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Title: Stories by American Authors (Volume 4)
Author: Woolson, Constance Fenimore, 1840-1894, Bunner, H. C. (Henry Cuyler), 1855-1896, De Forest, J. W. (John William), 1826-1906, Willis, Nathaniel Parker, 1806-1867, Foote, Mary Hallock, 1847-1938
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 "Stories by American Authors (Volume 4)" ***

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STORIES BY AMERICAN AUTHORS.

VOLUME 4



_The Stories in this Volume are protected by copyright, and are
printed here by authority of the authors or their representatives._


[Illustration: Noah Brooks]



Stories by American Authors

VOLUME IV


_MISS GRIEF_
  By CONSTANCE FENIMORE WOOLSON

_LOVE IN OLD CLOATHES_
  By H. C. BUNNER

_TWO BUCKETS IN A WELL_
  By N. P. WILLIS

_FRIEND BARTON'S CONCERN_
  By MARY HALLOCK FOOTE

_AN INSPIRED LOBBYIST_
  By J. W. DE FOREST

_LOST IN THE FOG_
  By NOAH BROOKS



NEW YORK
CHARLES SCRIBNER'S SONS
1897


Copyright, 1884, by
CHARLES SCRIBNER'S SONS



Transcriber's Note: In the story LOVE IN OLD CLOATHES, the circumflex
(^) is used to indicate that the letters following it are printed in
superscript type.



MISS GRIEF.

By Constance Fenimore Woolson.

(_Lippincott's Magazine, May,_ 1880.)


"A conceited fool" is a not uncommon expression. Now, I know that I am
not a fool, but I also know that I am conceited. But, candidly, can it
be helped if one happens to be young, well and strong, passably
good-looking, with some money that one has inherited and more that one
has earned--in all, enough to make life comfortable--and if upon this
foundation rests also the pleasant superstructure of a literary
success? The success is deserved, I think: certainly it was not
lightly-gained. Yet even with this I fully appreciate its rarity. Thus,
I find myself very well entertained in life: I have all I wish in the
way of society, and a deep, though of course carefully concealed,
satisfaction in my own little fame; which fame I foster by a gentle
system of non-interference. I know that I am spoken of as "that quiet
young fellow who writes those delightful little studies of society, you
know;" and I live up to that definition.

A year ago I was in Rome, and enjoying life particularly. I had a large
number of my acquaintances there, both American and English, and no day
passed without its invitation. Of course I understood it: it is seldom
that you find a literary man who is good-tempered, well-dressed,
sufficiently provided with money, and amiably obedient to all the rules
and requirements of "society." "When found, make a note of it;" and the
note was generally an invitation.

One evening, upon returning to my lodgings, my man Simpson informed me
that a person had called in the afternoon, and upon learning that I was
absent had left not a card, but her name--"Miss Grief." The title
lingered--Miss Grief! "Grief has not so far visited me here," I said to
myself, dismissing Simpson and seeking my little balcony for a final
smoke, "and she shall not now. I shall take care to be 'not at home' to
her if she continues to call." And then I fell to thinking of Isabel
Abercrombie, in whose society I had spent that and many evenings: they
were golden thoughts.

The next day there was an excursion; it was late when I reached my
rooms, and again Simpson informed me that Miss Grief had called.

"Is she coming continuously?" I said, half to myself.

"Yes, sir: she mentioned that she should call again."

"How does she look?"

"Well, sir, a lady, but not so prosperous as she was, I should say,"
answered Simpson, discreetly.

"Young?"

"No, sir."

"Alone?"

"A maid with her, sir."

But once outside in my little high-up balcony with my cigar, I again
forgot Miss Grief and whatever she might represent. Who would not
forget in that moonlight, with Isabel Abercrombie's face to remember?

The stranger came a third time, and I was absent; then she let two days
pass, and began again. It grew to be a regular dialogue between Simpson
and myself when I came in at night: "Grief to-day?"

"Yes, sir."

"What time?"

"Four, sir."

"Happy the man," I thought, "who can keep her confined to a particular
hour!"

But I should not have treated my visitor so cavalierly if I had not
felt sure that she was eccentric and unconventional--qualities
extremely tiresome in a woman no longer young or attractive. If she
were not eccentric she would not have persisted in coming to my door
day after day in this silent way, without stating her errand, leaving a
note, or presenting her credentials in any shape. I made up my mind
that she had something to sell--a bit of carving or some intaglio
supposed to be antique. It was known that I had a fancy for oddities. I
said to myself, "She has read or heard of my 'Old Gold' story, or else
'The Buried God,' and she thinks me an idealizing ignoramus upon whom
she can impose. Her sepulchral name is at least not Italian; probably
she is a sharp countrywoman of mine, turning, by means of the present
æsthetic craze, an honest penny when she can."

She had called seven times during a period of two weeks without seeing
me, when one day I happened to be at home in the afternoon, owing to a
pouring rain and a fit of doubt concerning Miss Abercrombie. For I had
constructed a careful theory of that young lady's characteristics in my
own mind, and she had lived up to it delightfully until the previous
evening, when with one word she had blown it to atoms and taken flight,
leaving me standing, as it were, on a desolate shore, with nothing but
a handful of mistaken inductions wherewith to console myself. I do not
know a more exasperating frame of mind, at least for a constructor of
theories. I could not write, and so I took up a French novel (I model
myself a little on Balzac). I had been turning over its pages but a few
moments when Simpson knocked, and, entering softly, said, with just a
shadow of a smile on his well-trained face, "Miss Grief." I briefly
consigned Miss Grief to all the Furies, and then, as he still
lingered--perhaps not knowing where they resided--I asked where the
visitor was.

"Outside, sir--in the hall. I told her I would see if you were at
home."

"She must be unpleasantly wet if she had no carriage."

"No carriage, sir: they always come on foot. I think she _is_ a little
damp, sir."

"Well, let her in; but I don't want the maid. I may as well see her
now, I suppose, and end the affair."

"Yes, sir."

I did not put down my book. My visitor should have a hearing, but not
much more: she had sacrificed her womanly claims by her persistent
attacks upon my door. Presently Simpson ushered her in. "Miss Grief,"
he said, and then went out, closing the curtain behind him.

A woman--yes, a lady--but shabby, unattractive, and more than
middle-aged.

I rose, bowed slightly, and then dropped into my chair again, still
keeping the book in my hand. "Miss Grief?" I said interrogatively as I
indicated a seat with my eyebrows.

"Not Grief," she answered--"Crief: my name is Crief."

She sat down, and I saw that she held a small flat box.

"Not carving, then," I thought--"probably old lace, something that
belonged to Tullia or Lucrezia Borgia." But as she did not speak I
found myself obliged to begin: "You have been here, I think, once or
twice before?"

"Seven times; this is the eighth."

A silence.

"I am often out; indeed, I may say that I am never in," I remarked
carelessly.

"Yes; you have many friends."

"--Who will perhaps buy old lace," I mentally added. But this time I
too remained silent; why should I trouble myself to draw her out? She
had sought me; let her advance her idea, whatever it was, now that
entrance was gained.

But Miss Grief (I preferred to call her so) did not look as though she
could advance anything; her black gown, damp with rain, seemed to
retreat fearfully to her thin self, while her thin self retreated as
far as possible from me, from the chair, from everything. Her eyes were
cast down; an old-fashioned lace veil with a heavy border shaded her
face. She looked at the floor, and I looked at her.

I grew a little impatient, but I made up my mind that I would continue
silent and see how long a time she would consider necessary to give due
effect to her little pantomime. Comedy? Or was it tragedy? I suppose
full five minutes passed thus in our double silence; and that is a long
time when two persons are sitting opposite each other alone in a small
still room.

At last my visitor, without raising her eyes, said slowly, "You are
very happy, are you not, with youth, health, friends, riches, fame?"

It was a singular beginning. Her voice was clear, low, and very sweet
as she thus enumerated my advantages one by one in a list. I was
attracted by it, but repelled by her words, which seemed to me flattery
both dull and bold.

"Thanks," I said, "for your kindness, but I fear it is undeserved. I
seldom discuss myself even when with my friends."

"I am your friend," replied Miss Grief. Then, after a moment, she added
slowly, "I have read every word you have written."

I curled the edges of my book indifferently; I am not a fop, I hope,
but--others have said the same.

"What is more, I know much of it by heart," continued my visitor.
"Wait: I will show you;" and then, without pause, she began to repeat
something of mine word for word, just as I had written it. On she went,
and I--listened. I intended interrupting her after a moment, but I did
not, because she was reciting so well, and also because I felt a desire
gaining upon me to see what she would make of a certain conversation
which I knew was coming--a conversation between two of my characters
which was, to say the least, sphinx-like, and somewhat incandescent as
well. What won me a little, too, was the fact that the scene she was
reciting (it was hardly more than that, though called a story) was
secretly my favorite among all the sketches from my pen which a
gracious public has received with favor. I never said so, but it was;
and I had always felt a wondering annoyance that the aforesaid public,
while kindly praising beyond their worth other attempts of mine, had
never noticed the higher purpose of this little shaft, aimed not at the
balconies and lighted windows of society, but straight up toward the
distant stars. So she went on, and presently reached the conversation:
my two people began to talk. She had raised her eyes now, and was
looking at me soberly as she gave the words of the woman, quiet,
gentle, cold, and the replies of the man, bitter, hot, and scathing.
Her very voice changed, and took, though always sweetly, the different
tones required, while no point of meaning, however small, no breath of
delicate emphasis which I had meant, but which the dull types could not
give, escaped an appreciative and full, almost overfull, recognition
which startled me. For she had understood me--understood me almost
better than I had understood myself. It seemed to me that while I had
labored to interpret, partially, a psychological riddle, she, coming
after, had comprehended its bearings better than I had, though
confining herself strictly to my own words and emphasis. The scene
ended (and it ended rather suddenly), she dropped her eyes, and moved
her hand nervously to and fro over the box she held; her gloves were
old and shabby, her hands small.

I was secretly much surprised by what I had heard, but my ill-humor was
deep-seated that day, and I still felt sure, besides, that the box
contained something which I was expected to buy.

"You recite remarkably well," I said carelessly, "and I am much
flattered also by your appreciation of my attempt. But it is not, I
presume, to that alone that I owe the pleasure of this visit?"

"Yes," she answered, still looking down, "it is, for if you had not
written that scene I should not have sought you. Your other sketches
are interiors--exquisitely painted and delicately finished, but of
small scope. _This_ is a sketch in a few bold, masterly lines--work of
entirely different spirit and purpose."

I was nettled by her insight. "You have bestowed so much of your kind
attention upon me that I feel your debtor," I said, conventionally. "It
may be that there is something I can do for you--connected, possibly,
with that little box?"

It was impertinent, but it was true; for she answered, "Yes."

I smiled, but her eyes were cast down and she did not see the smile.

"What I have to show you is a manuscript," she said after a pause which
I did not break; "it is a drama. I thought that perhaps you would read
it."

"An authoress! This is worse than old lace," I said to myself in
dismay.--Then, aloud, "My opinion would be worth nothing, Miss Crief."

"Not in a business way, I know. But it might be--an assistance
personally." Her voice had sunk to a whisper; outside, the rain was
pouring steadily down. She was a very depressing object to me as she
sat there with her box.

"I hardly think I have the time at present--" I began.

She had raised her eyes and was looking at me; then, when I paused, she
rose and came suddenly toward my chair. "Yes, you will read it," she
said with her hand on my arm--"you will read it. Look at this room;
look at yourself; look at all you have. Then look at me, and have
pity."

I had risen, for she held my arm, and her damp skirt was brushing my
knees.

Her large dark eyes looked intently into mine as she went on; "I have
no shame in asking. Why should I have? It is my last endeavor; but a
calm and well-considered one. If you refuse I shall go away, knowing
that Fate has willed it so. And I shall be content."

"She is mad," I thought. But she did not look so, and she had spoken
quietly, even gently.--"Sit down," I said, moving away from her. I felt
as if I had been magnetized; but it was only the nearness of her eyes
to mine, and their intensity. I drew forward a chair, but she remained
standing.

"I cannot," she said in the same sweet, gentle tone, "unless you
promise."

"Very well, I promise; only sit down."

As I took her arm to lead her to the chair I perceived that she was
trembling, but her face continued unmoved.

"You do not, of course, wish me to look at your manuscript now?" I
said, temporizing; "it would be much better to leave it. Give me your
address, and I will return it to you with my written opinion; though, I
repeat, the latter will be of no use to you. It is the opinion of an
editor or publisher that you want."

"It shall be as you please. And I will go in a moment," said Miss
Grief, pressing her palms together, as if trying to control the tremor
that had seized her slight frame.

She looked so pallid that I thought of offering her a glass of wine;
then I remembered that if I did it might be a bait to bring her there
again, and this I was desirous to prevent. She rose while the thought
was passing through my mind. Her pasteboard box lay on the chair she
had first occupied; she took it, wrote an address on the cover, laid it
down, and then, bowing with a little air of formality, drew her black
shawl round her shoulders and turned toward the door.

I followed, after touching the bell. "You will hear from me by letter,"
I said.

Simpson opened the door, and I caught a glimpse of the maid, who was
waiting in the anteroom. She was an old woman, shorter than her
mistress, equally thin, and dressed like her in rusty black. As the
door opened she turned toward it a pair of small, dim blue eyes with a
look of furtive suspense. Simpson dropped the curtain, shutting me into
the inner room; he had no intention of allowing me to accompany my
visitor further. But I had the curiosity to go to a bay-window in an
angle from whence I could command the street-door, and presently I saw
them issue forth in the rain and walk away side by side, the mistress,
being the taller, holding the umbrella: probably there was not much
difference in rank between persons so poor and forlorn as these.

It grew dark. I was invited out for the evening, and I knew that if I
should go I should meet Miss Abercrombie. I said to myself that I would
not go. I got out my paper for writing, I made my preparations for a
quiet evening at home with myself; but it was of no use. It all ended
slavishly in my going. At the last allowable moment I presented myself,
and--as a punishment for my vacillation, I suppose--I never passed a
more disagreeable evening. I drove homeward in a murky temper; it was
foggy without, and very foggy within. What Isabel really was, now that
she had broken through my elaborately-built theories, I was not able to
decide. There was, to tell the truth, a certain young Englishman--But
that is apart from this story.

I reached home, went up to my rooms, and had a supper. It was to
console myself; I am obliged to console myself scientifically once in a
while. I was walking up and down afterward, smoking and feeling
somewhat better, when my eye fell upon the pasteboard box. I took it
up; on the cover was written an address which showed that my visitor
must have walked a long distance in order to see me: "A. Crief."--"A
Grief," I thought; "and so she is. I positively believe she has brought
all this trouble upon me: she has the evil eye." I took out the
manuscript and looked at it. It was in the form of a little volume, and
clearly written; on the cover was the word "Armor" in German text, and,
underneath, a pen-and-ink sketch of a helmet, breastplate, and shield.

"Grief certainly needs armor," I said to myself, sitting down by the
table and turning over the pages. "I may as well look over the thing
now; I could not be in a worse mood." And then I began to read.

Early the next morning Simpson took a note from me to the given
address, returning with the following reply: "No; I prefer to come to
you; at four; A. CRIEF." These words, with their three semicolons, were
written in pencil upon a piece of coarse printing-paper, but the
handwriting was as clear and delicate as that of the manuscript in ink.

"What sort of a place was it, Simpson?"

"Very poor, sir, but I did not go all the way up. The elder person came
down, sir, took the note, and requested me to wait where I was."

"You had no chance, then, to make inquiries?" I said, knowing full well
that he had emptied the entire neighborhood of any information it might
possess concerning these two lodgers.

"Well, sir, you know how these foreigners will talk, whether one wants
to hear or not. But it seems that these two persons have been there but
a few weeks; they live alone, and are uncommonly silent and reserved.
The people round there call them something that signifies 'the Madames
American, thin and dumb.'"

At four the "Madames American" arrived; it was raining again, and they
came on foot under their old umbrella. The maid waited in the anteroom,
and Miss Grief was ushered into my bachelor's parlor. I had thought
that I should meet her with great deference; but she looked so forlorn
that my deference changed to pity. It was the woman that impressed me
then, more than the writer--the fragile, nerveless body more than the
inspired mind. For it was inspired: I had sat up half the night over
her drama, and had felt thrilled through and through more than once by
its earnestness, passion, and power.

No one could have been more surprised than I was to find myself thus
enthusiastic. I thought I had outgrown that sort of thing. And one
would have supposed, too (I myself should have supposed so the day
before), that the faults of the drama, which were many and prominent,
would have chilled any liking I might have felt, I being a writer
myself, and therefore critical; for writers are as apt to make much of
the "how," rather than the "what," as painters, who, it is well known,
prefer an exquisitely rendered representation of a commonplace theme to
an imperfectly executed picture of even the most striking subject. But
in this case, on the contrary, the scattered rays of splendor in Miss
Grief's drama had made me forget the dark spots, which were numerous
and disfiguring; or, rather, the splendor had made me anxious to have
the spots removed. And this also was a philanthropic state very unusual
with me. Regarding unsuccessful writers, my motto had been "Væ victis!"

My visitor took a seat and folded her hands; I could see, in spite of
her quiet manner, that she was in breathless suspense. It seemed so
pitiful that she should be trembling there before me--a woman so much
older than I was, a woman who possessed the divine spark of genius,
which I was by no means sure (in spite of my success) had been granted
to me--that I felt as if I ought to go down on my knees before her, and
entreat her to take her proper place of supremacy at once. But there!
one does not go down on one's knees, combustively, as it were, before a
woman over fifty, plain in feature, thin, dejected, and ill-dressed. I
contented myself with taking her hands (in their miserable old gloves)
in mine, while I said cordially, "Miss Crief, your drama seems to me
full of original power. It has roused my enthusiasm: I sat up half the
night reading it."

The hands I held shook, but something (perhaps a shame for having
evaded the knees business) made me tighten my hold and bestow upon her
also a reassuring smile. She looked at me for a moment, and then,
suddenly and noiselessly, tears rose and rolled down her cheeks. I
dropped her hands and retreated. I had not thought her tearful: on the
contrary, her voice and face had seemed rigidly controlled. But now
here she was bending herself over the side of the chair with her head
resting on her arms, not sobbing aloud, but her whole frame shaken by
the strength of her emotion. I rushed for a glass of wine; I pressed
her to take it. I did not quite know what to do, but, putting myself in
her place, I decided to praise the drama; and praise it I did. I do not
know when I have used so many adjectives. She raised her head and began
to wipe her eyes.

"Do take the wine," I said, interrupting myself in my cataract of
language.

"I dare not," she answered; then added humbly, "that is, unless you
have a biscuit here or a bit of bread."

I found some biscuit; she ate two, and then slowly drank the wine,
while I resumed my verbal Niagara. Under its influence--and that of the
wine too, perhaps--she began to show new life. It was not that she
looked radiant--she could not--but simply that she looked warm. I now
perceived what had been the principal discomfort of her appearance
heretofore: it was that she had looked all the time as if suffering
from cold.

At last I could think of nothing more to say, and stopped. I really
admired the drama, but I thought I had exerted myself sufficiently as
an anti-hysteric, and that adjectives enough, for the present at least,
had been administered. She had put down her empty wine-glass, and was
resting her hands on the broad cushioned arms of her chair with, for a
thin person, a sort of expanded content.

"You must pardon my tears," she said, smiling; "it was the revulsion of
feeling. My life was at a low ebb: if your sentence had been against me
it would have been my end."

"Your end?"

"Yes, the end of my life; I should have destroyed myself."

"Then you would have been a weak as well as wicked woman," I said in a
tone of disgust. I do hate sensationalism.

"Oh no, you know nothing about it. I should have destroyed only this
poor worn tenement of clay. But I can well understand how _you_ would
look upon it. Regarding the desirableness of life the prince and the
beggar may have different opinions.--We will say no more of it, but
talk of the drama instead." As she spoke the word "drama" a triumphant
brightness came into her eyes.

I took the manuscript from a drawer and sat down beside her. "I suppose
you know that there are faults," I said, expecting ready acquiescence.

"I was not aware that there were any," was her gentle reply.

Here was a beginning! After all my interest in her--and, I may say
under the circumstances, my kindness--she received me in this way!
However, my belief in her genius was too sincere to be altered by her
whimsies; so I persevered. "Let us go over it together," I said. "Shall
I read it to you, or will you read it to me?"

"I will not read it, but recite it."

"That will never do; you will recite it so well that we shall see only
the good points, and what we have to concern ourselves with now is the
bad ones."

"I will recite it," she repeated.

"Now, Miss Crief," I said bluntly, "for what purpose did you come to
me? Certainly not merely to recite: I am no stage-manager. In plain
English, was it not your idea that I might help you in obtaining a
publisher?"

"Yes, yes," she answered, looking at me apprehensively, all her old
manner returning.

I followed up my advantage, opened the little paper volume and began. I
first took the drama line by line, and spoke of the faults of
expression and structure; then I turned back and touched upon two or
three glaring impossibilities in the plot. "Your absorbed interest in
the motive of the whole no doubt made you forget these blemishes," I
said apologetically.

But, to my surprise, I found that she did not see the blemishes--that
she appreciated nothing I had said, comprehended nothing. Such
unaccountable obtuseness puzzled me. I began again, going over the
whole with even greater minuteness and care. I worked hard: the
perspiration stood in beads upon my forehead as I struggled with
her--what shall I call it--obstinacy? But it was not exactly obstinacy.
She simply could not see the faults of her own work, any more than a
blind man can see the smoke that dims a patch of blue sky. When I had
finished my task the second time she still remained as gently impassive
as before. I leaned back in my chair exhausted, and looked at her.

Even then she did not seem to comprehend (whether she agreed with it or
not) what I must be thinking. "It is such a heaven to me that you like
it!" she murmured dreamily, breaking the silence. Then, with more
animation, "And _now_ you will let me recite it?"

I was too weary to oppose her; she threw aside her shawl and bonnet,
and, standing in the centre of the room, began.

And she carried me along with her: all the strong passages were doubly
strong when spoken, and the faults, which seemed nothing to her, were
made by her earnestness to seem nothing to me, at least for that
moment. When it was ended she stood looking at me with a triumphant
smile.

"Yes," I said, "I like it, and you see that I do. But I like it because
my taste is peculiar. To me originality and force are everything--perhaps
because I have them not to any marked degree myself--but the world at
large will not overlook as I do your absolutely barbarous shortcomings
on account of them. Will you trust me to go over the drama and correct
it at my pleasure?" This was a vast deal for me to offer; I was
surprised at myself.

"No," she answered softly, still smiling. "There shall not be so much
as a comma altered." Then she sat down and fell into a reverie as
though she were alone.

"Have you written anything else?" I said after a while, when I had
become tired of the silence.

"Yes."

"Can I see it? Or is it _them_?"

"It is _them_. Yes, you can see all."

"I will call upon you for the purpose."

"No, you must not," she said, coming back to the present nervously. "I
prefer to come to you."

At this moment Simpson entered to light the room, and busied himself
rather longer than was necessary over the task. When he finally went
out I saw that my visitor's manner had sunk into its former depression:
the presence of the servant seemed to have chilled her.

"When did you say I might come?" I repeated, ignoring her refusal.

"I did not say it. It would be impossible."

"Well, then, when will you come here?" There was, I fear, a trace of
fatigue in my tone.

"At your good pleasure, sir," she answered humbly.

My chivalry was touched by this: after all, she was a woman. "Come
to-morrow," I said. "By the way, come and dine with me then; why not?"
I was curious to see what she would reply.

"Why not, indeed? Yes, I will come. I am forty-three: I might have been
your mother."

This was not quite true, as I am over thirty: but I look young, while
she--Well, I had thought her over fifty. "I can hardly call you
'mother,' but we might compromise upon 'aunt,'" I said, laughing. "Aunt
what?"

"My name is Aaronna," she gravely answered. "My father was much
disappointed that I was not a boy, and gave me as nearly as possible
the name he had prepared--Aaron."

"Then come and dine with me to-morrow, and bring with you the other
manuscripts, Aaronna," I said, amused at the quaint sound of the name.
On the whole, I did not like "aunt."

"I will come," she answered.

It was twilight and still raining, but she refused all offers of escort
or carriage, departing with her maid, as she had come, under the brown
umbrella. The next day we had the dinner. Simpson was astonished--and
more than astonished, grieved--when I told him that he was to dine with
the maid; but he could not complain in words, since my own guest, the
mistress, was hardly more attractive. When our preparations were
complete I could not help laughing: the two prim little tables, one in
the parlor and one in the anteroom, and Simpson disapprovingly going
back and forth between them, were irresistible.

I greeted my guest hilariously when she arrived, and, fortunately, her
manner was not quite so depressed as usual: I could never have accorded
myself with a tearful mood. I had thought that perhaps she would make,
for the occasion, some change in her attire; I have never known a woman
who had not some scrap of finery, however small, in reserve for that
unexpected occasion of which she is ever dreaming. But no: Miss Grief
wore the same black gown, unadorned and unaltered. I was glad that
there was no rain that day, so that the skirt did not at least look so
damp and rheumatic.

She ate quietly, almost furtively, yet with a good appetite, and she
did not refuse the wine. Then, when the meal was over and Simpson had
removed the dishes, I asked for the new manuscripts. She gave me an old
green copybook filled with short poems, and a prose sketch by itself; I
lit a cigar and sat down at my desk to look them over.

"Perhaps you will try a cigarette?" I suggested, more for amusement
than anything else, for there was not a shade of Bohemianism about her;
her whole appearance was puritanical.

"I have not yet succeeded in learning to smoke."

"You have tried?" I said, turning round.

"Yes: Serena and I tried, but we did not succeed."

"Serena is your maid?"

"She lives with me."

I was seized with inward laughter, and began hastily to look over her
manuscripts with my back toward her, so that she might not see it. A
vision had risen before me of those two forlorn women, alone in their
room with locked doors, patiently trying to acquire the smoker's art.

But my attention was soon absorbed by the papers before me. Such a
fantastic collection of words, lines, and epithets I had never before
seen, or even in dreams imagined. In truth, they were like the work of
dreams: they were _Kubla Khan_, only more so. Here and there was
radiance like the flash of a diamond, but each poem, almost each verse
and line, was marred by some fault or lack which seemed wilful
perversity, like the work of an evil sprite. It was like a case of
jeweller's wares set before you, with each ring unfinished, each
bracelet too large or too small for its purpose, each breastpin without
its fastening, each necklace purposely broken. I turned the pages,
marvelling. When about half an hour had passed, and I was leaning back
for a moment to light another cigar, I glanced toward my visitor. She
was behind me, in an easy-chair before my small fire, and she was--fast
asleep! In the relaxation of her unconsciousness I was struck anew by
the poverty her appearance expressed; her feet were visible, and I saw
the miserable worn old shoes which hitherto she had kept concealed.

After looking at her for a moment I returned to my task and took up the
prose story; in prose she must be more reasonable. She was less
fantastic perhaps, but hardly more reasonable. The story was that of a
profligate and commonplace man forced by two of his friends, in order
not to break the heart of a dying girl who loves him, to live up to a
high imaginary ideal of himself which her pure but mistaken mind has
formed. He has a handsome face and sweet voice, and repeats what they
tell him. Her long, slow decline and happy death, and his own inward
ennui and profound weariness of the rôle he has to play, made the vivid
points of the story. So far, well enough, but here was the trouble:
through the whole narrative moved another character, a physician of
tender heart and exquisite mercy, who practised murder as a fine art,
and was regarded (by the author) as a second Messiah! This was
monstrous. I read it through twice, and threw it down; then, fatigued,
I turned round and leaned back, waiting for her to wake. I could see
her profile against the dark hue of the easy-chair.

Presently she seemed to feel my gaze, for she stirred, then opened her
eyes. "I have been asleep," she said, rising hurriedly.

"No harm in that, Aaronna."

But she was deeply embarrassed and troubled, much more so than the
occasion required; so much so, indeed, that I turned the conversation
back upon the manuscripts as a diversion. "I cannot stand that doctor
of yours," I said, indicating the prose story; "no one would. You must
cut him out."

Her self-possession returned as if by magic. "Certainly not," she
answered haughtily.

"Oh, if you do not care--I had labored under the impression that you
were anxious these things should find a purchaser."

"I am, I am," she said, her manner changing to deep humility with
wonderful rapidity. With such alternations of feeling as this sweeping
over her like great waves, no wonder she was old before her time.

"Then you must take out that doctor."

"I am willing, but do not know how," she answered, pressing her hands
together helplessly. "In my mind he belongs to the story so closely
that he cannot be separated from it."

Here Simpson entered, bringing a note for me: it was a line from Mrs.
Abercrombie inviting me for that evening--an unexpected gathering, and
therefore likely to be all the more agreeable. My heart bounded in
spite of me; I forgot Miss Grief and her manuscripts for the moment as
completely as though they had never existed. But, bodily, being still
in the same room with her, her speech brought me back to the present.

"You have had good news?" she said.

"Oh no, nothing especial--merely an invitation."

"But good news also," she repeated. "And now, as for me, I must go."

Not supposing that she would stay much later in any case, I had that
morning ordered a carriage to come for her at about that hour. I told
her this. She made no reply beyond putting on her bonnet and shawl.

"You will hear from me soon," I said; "I shall do all I can for you."

She had reached the door, but before opening it she stopped, turned and
extended her hand. "You are good," she said: "I give you thanks. Do not
think me ungrateful or envious. It is only that you are young, and I am
so--so old." Then she opened the door and passed through the anteroom
without pause, her maid accompanying her and Simpson with gladness
lighting the way. They were gone. I dressed hastily and went out--to
continue my studies in psychology.

Time passed; I was busy, amused and perhaps a little excited (sometimes
psychology is exciting). But, though much occupied with my own affairs,
I did not altogether neglect my self-imposed task regarding Miss Grief.
I began by sending her prose story to a friend, the editor of a monthly
magazine, with a letter making a strong plea for its admittance. It
should have a chance first on its own merits. Then I forwarded the
drama to a publisher, also an acquaintance, a man with a taste for
phantasms and a soul above mere common popularity, as his own coffers
knew to their cost. This done, I waited with conscience clear.

Four weeks passed. During this waiting period I heard nothing from Miss
Grief. At last one morning came a letter from my editor. "The story has
force, but I cannot stand that doctor," he wrote. "Let her cut him out,
and I might print it." Just what I myself had said. The package lay
there on my table, travel-worn and grimed; a returned manuscript is, I
think, the most melancholy object on earth. I decided to wait, before
writing to Aaronna, until the second letter was received. A week later
it came. "Armor" was declined. The publisher had been "impressed" by
the power displayed in certain passages, but the "impossibilities of
the plot" rendered it "unavailable for publication"--in fact, would
"bury it in ridicule" if brought before the public, a public
"lamentably" fond of amusement, "seeking it, undaunted, even in the
cannon's mouth." I doubt if he knew himself what he meant. But one
thing, at any rate, was clear: "Armor" was declined.

Now, I am, as I have remarked before, a little obstinate. I was
determined that Miss Grief's work should be received. I would alter and
improve it myself, without letting her know: the end justified the
means. Surely the sieve of my own good taste, whose mesh had been
pronounced so fine and delicate, would serve for two. I began; and
utterly failed.

I set to work first upon "Armor." I amended, altered, left out, put in,
pieced, condensed, lengthened; I did my best, and all to no avail. I
could not succeed in completing anything that satisfied me, or that
approached, in truth, Miss Grief's own work just as it stood. I suppose
I went over that manuscript twenty times: I covered sheets of paper
with my copies. But the obstinate drama refused to be corrected; as it
was it must stand or fall.

Wearied and annoyed, I threw it aside and took up the prose story: that
would be easier. But, to my surprise, I found that that apparently
gentle "doctor" would not out: he was so closely interwoven with every
part of the tale that to take him out was like taking out one especial
figure in a carpet: that is, impossible, unless you unravel the whole.
At last I did unravel the whole, and then the story was no longer good,
or Aaronna's: it was weak, and mine. All this took time, for of course
I had much to do in connection with my own life and tasks. But, though
slowly and at my leisure, I really did try my best as regarded Miss
Grief, and without success. I was forced at last to make up my mind
that either my own powers were not equal to the task, or else that her
perversities were as essential a part of her work as her inspirations,
and not to be separated from it. Once during this period I showed two
of the short poems to Isabel, withholding of course the writer's name.
"They were written by a woman," I explained.

"Her mind must have been disordered, poor thing!" Isabel said in her
gentle way when she returned them--"at least, judging by these. They
are hopelessly mixed and vague."

Now, they were not vague so much as vast. But I knew that I could not
make Isabel comprehend it, and (so complex a creature is man) I do not
know that I wanted her to comprehend it. These were the only ones in
the whole collection that I would have shown her, and I was rather glad
that she did not like even these. Not that poor Aaronna's poems were
evil: they were simply unrestrained, large, vast, like the skies or the
wind. Isabel was bounded on all sides, like a violet in a garden-bed.
And I liked her so.

One afternoon, about the time when I was beginning to see that I could
not "improve" Miss Grief, I came upon the maid. I was driving, and she
had stopped on the crossing to let the carriage pass. I recognized her
at a glance (by her general forlornness), and called to the driver to
stop: "How is Miss Grief?" I said. "I have been intending to write to
her for some time."

"And your note, when it comes," answered the old woman on the crosswalk
fiercely, "she shall not see."

"What?"

"I say she shall not see it. Your patronizing face shows that you have
no good news, and you shall not rack and stab her any more on _this_
earth, please God, while I have authority."

"Who has racked or stabbed her, Serena?"

"Serena, indeed! Rubbish! I'm no Serena: I'm her aunt. And as to who
has racked and stabbed her, I say you, _you_--YOU literary men!" She
had put her old head inside my carriage, and flung out these words at
me in a shrill, menacing tone. "But she shall die in peace in spite of
you," she continued. "Vampires! you take her ideas and fatten on them,
and leave her to starve. You know you do--_you_ who have had her poor
manuscripts these months and months!"

"Is she ill?" I asked in real concern, gathering that much at least
from the incoherent tirade.

"She is dying," answered the desolate old creature, her voice softening
and her dim eyes filling with tears.

"Oh, I trust not. Perhaps something can be done. Can I help you in any
way?"

"In all ways if you would," she said, breaking down and beginning to
sob weakly, with her head resting on the sill of the carriage-window.
"Oh, what have we not been through together, we two! Piece by piece I
have sold all."

I am good-hearted enough, but I do not like to have old women weeping
across my carriage-door. I suggested, therefore, that she should come
inside and let me take her home. Her shabby old skirt was soon beside
me, and, following her directions, the driver turned toward one of the
most wretched quarters of the city, the abode of poverty, crowded and
unclean. Here, in a large bare chamber up many flights of stairs, I
found Miss Grief.

As I entered I was startled: I thought she was dead. There seemed no
life present until she opened her eyes, and even then they rested upon
us vaguely, as though she did not know who we were. But as I approached
a light came into them: she recognized me, and this sudden
revivification, this return of the soul to the almost deserted bod, was
the most wonderful thing I ever saw. "You have good news of the drama?"
she whispered as I bent over her: "tell me. I _know_ you have good
news."

What was I to answer? Pray, what would you have answered, puritan?

"Yes, I have good news, Aaronna," I said. "The drama will appear." (And
who knows? Perhaps it will in some other world.)

She smiled, and her now brilliant eyes did not leave my face.

"He knows I'm your aunt: I told him," said the old woman, coming to the
bedside.

"Did you?" whispered Miss Grief, still gazing at me with a smile. "Then
please, dear Aunt Martha, give me something to eat."

Aunt Martha hurried across the room, and I followed her. "It's the
first time she's asked for food in weeks," she said in a husky tone.

She opened a cupboard-door vaguely, but I could see nothing within.
"What have you for her?" I asked with some impatience, though in a low
voice.

"Please God, nothing!" answered the poor old woman, hiding her reply
and her tears behind the broad cupboard-door. "I was going out to get a
little something when I met you."

"Good Heavens! is it money you need? Here, take this and send; or go
yourself in the carriage waiting below."

She hurried out breathless, and I went back to the bedside, much
disturbed by what I had seen and heard. But Miss Grief's eyes were full
of life, and as I sat down beside her she whispered earnestly, "Tell
me."

And I did tell her--a romance invented for the occasion. I venture to
say that none of my published sketches could compare with it. As for
the lie involved, it will stand among my few good deeds; I know, at the
judgment-bar.

And she was satisfied. "I have never known what it was," she whispered,
"to be fully happy until now." She closed her eyes, and when the lids
fell I again thought that she had passed away. But no, there was still
pulsation in her small, thin wrist. As she perceived my touch she
smiled. "Yes, I am happy," she said again, though without audible
sound.

The old aunt returned; food was prepared, and she took some. I myself
went out after wine that should be rich and pure. She rallied a little,
but I did not leave her: her eyes dwelt upon me and compelled me to
stay, or rather my conscience compelled me. It was a damp night, and I
had a little fire made. The wine, fruit, flowers, and candles I had
ordered made the bare place for the time being bright and fragrant.
Aunt Martha dozed in her chair from sheer fatigue--she had watched many
nights--but Miss Grief was awake, and I sat beside her.

"I make you my executor," she murmured, "as to the drama. But my other
manuscripts place, when I am gone, under my head, and let them be
buried with me. They are not many--those you have and these. See!"

I followed her gesture, and saw under her pillows the edges of two more
copybooks like the one I had. "Do not look at them--my poor dead
children!" she said tenderly. "Let them depart with me--unread, as I
have been."

Later she whispered, "Did you wonder why I came to you? It was the
contrast. You were young--strong--rich--praised--loved--successful: all
that I was not. I wanted to look at you--and imagine how it would feel.
You had success--but I had the greater power. Tell me, did I not have
it?"

"Yes, Aaronna."

"It is all in the past now. But I am satisfied."

After another pause she said with a faint smile, "Do you remember when
I fell asleep in your parlor? It was the good and rich food. It was so
long since I had had food like that!"

I took her hand and held it, conscience-stricken, but now she hardly
seemed to perceive my touch. "And the smoking?" she whispered. "Do you
remember how you laughed? I saw it. But I had heard that smoking
soothed--that one was no longer tired and hungry--with a cigar."

In little whispers of this sort, separated by long rests and pauses,
the night passed. Once she asked if her aunt was asleep, and when I
answered in the affirmative she said, "Help her to return home--to
America: the drama will pay for it. I ought never to have brought her
away."

I promised, and she resumed her bright-eyed silence.

I think she did not speak again. Toward morning the change came, and
soon after sunrise, with her old aunt kneeling by her side, she passed
away.

All was arranged as she had wished. Her manuscripts, covered with
violets, formed her pillow. No one followed her to the grave save her
aunt and myself; I thought she would prefer it so. Her name was not
"Crief," after all, but "Moncrief;" I saw it written out by Aunt Martha
for the coffin-plate, as follows: "Aaronna Moncrief, aged forty-three
years, two months, and eight days."

I never knew more of her history than is written here. If there was
more that I might have learned, it remained unlearned, for I did not
ask.

And the drama? I keep it here in this locked case. I could have had it
published at my own expense; but I think that now she knows its faults
herself, perhaps, and would not like it.

I keep it; and, once in a while, I read it over--not as a _memento
mori_ exactly, but rather as a memento of my own good fortune, for
which I should continually give thanks. The want of one grain made all
her work void, and that one grain was given to me. She, with the
greater power, failed--I, with the less, succeeded. But no praise is
due to me for that. When I die "Armor" is to be destroyed unread: not
even Isabel is to see it. For women will misunderstand each other; and,
dear and precious to me as my sweet wife is, I could not bear that she
or any one should cast so much as a thought of scorn upon the memory of
the writer, upon my poor dead, "unavailable," unaccepted "Miss Grief."



LOVE IN OLD CLOATHES.

By H. C. Bunner.

(_Century Magazine, September,_ 1883.)


Newe York, y^e 1^st Aprile, 1883.

Y^e worste of my ailment is this, y^t it groweth not Less with much
nursinge, but is like to those fevres w^ch y^e leeches Starve, 'tis
saide, for that y^e more Bloode there be in y^e Sicke man's Bodie, y^e
more foode is there for y^e Distemper to feede upon.--And it is moste
fittinge y^t I come backe to y^s my Journall (wherein I have not writt
a Lyne these manye months) on y^e 1^st of Aprile, beinge in some Sort
myne owne foole and y^e foole of Love, and a poore Butt on whome his
hearte hath play'd a Sorry tricke.--

For it is surelie a strange happenninge, that I, who am ofte accompted
a man of y^e Worlde, (as y^e Phrase goes,) sholde be soe Overtaken &
caste downe lyke a Schoole-boy or a countrie Bumpkin, by a meere Mayde,
& sholde set to Groaninge and Sighinge, &, for that She will not have
me Sighe to Her, to Groaninge and Sighinge on paper, w^ch is y^e greter
Foolishnesse in Me, y^t some one maye reade it Here-after, who hath
taken his dose of y^e same Physicke, and made no Wrye faces over it; in
w^ch case I double I shall be much laugh'd at.--Yet soe much am I a
foole, and soe enamour'd of my Foolishnesse, y^t I have a sorte of
Shamefull Joye in tellinge, even to my Journall, y^t I am mightie deepe
in Love withe y^e yonge Daughter of Mistresse Ffrench, and all maye
knowe what an Angell is y^e Daughter, since I have chose M^rs. Ffrench
for my Mother in Lawe.--(Though she will have none of my choosinge.)--And
I likewise take comforte in y^e Fancie, y^t this poore Sheete, wh^on I
write, may be made of y^e Raggs of some lucklesse Lover, and maye y^e
more readilie drinke up my complaininge Inke.--

This muche I have learnt y^t Fraunce distilles not, nor y^e Indies
growe not, y^e Remedie for my Aile.--For when I 1^st became sensible of
y^e folly of my Suite, I tooke to drynkinge & smoakinge, thinkinge to
cure my minde, but all I got was a head ache, for fellow to my Hearte
ache.--A sorrie Payre!--I then made Shifte, for a while, withe a
Bicycle, but breakinge of Bones mendes no breakinge of Heartes, and 60
myles a Daye bringes me no nearer to a Weddinge.--This beinge Lowe
Sondaye, (w^ch my Hearte telleth me better than y^e Allmanack,) I will
goe to Churche; wh. I maye chaunce to see her.--Laste weeke, her Eastre
bonnett vastlie pleas'd me, beinge most cunninglie devys'd in y^e mode
of oure Grandmothers, and verie lyke to a coales Scuttle, of white
satine.--


2^nd Aprile.

I trust I make no more moane, than is just for a man in my case, but
there is small comforte in lookinge at y^e backe of a white Satine
bonnett for two Houres, and I maye saye as much.--Neither any cheere in
Her goinge out of y^e Churche, & Walkinge downe y^e Avenue, with a
Puppe by y^e name of Williamson.


4^th Aprile.

Because a man have a Hatt with a Brimme to it like y^e Poope-Decke of a
Steam-Shippe, and breeches lyke y^e Case of an umbrella, and have loste
money on Hindoo, he is not therefore in y^e beste Societie.--I made
this observation, at y^e Clubbe, laste nighte, in y^e hearinge of
W^mson, who made a mightie Pretence, to reade y^e Sp^t of y^e Tymes.--I
doubte it was scurvie of me, but it did me muche goode.


7^th Aprile.

Y^e manner of my meetinge with Her and fallinge in Love with Her (for
y^e two were of one date) is thus--I was made acquainte withe Her on a
Wednesdaie, at y^e House of Mistresse Varick, ('twas a Reception,) but
did not hear Her Name, nor She myne, by reason of y^e noise, and of
M^rsse Varick having but lately a newe sett of Teethe, of wh. she had
not yet gott, as it were, y^e just Pitche and accordance.--I sayde to
Her that y^e Weather was warm for that season of y^e yeare.--She made
answer She thought I was right, for M^r Williamson had saide y^e same
thinge to Her not a minute past--I tolde Her She muste not holde it
originall or an Invention of W^mson, for ye Speache had beene manie
yeares in my Familie.--Answer was made, She wolde be muche bounden to
me if I wolde maintaine y^e Rightes of my Familie, and lett all others
from usinge of my propertie, when perceivinge Her to be of a livelie
Witt, I went about to ingage her in converse, if onlie so I mighte
looke into Her Eyes, wh. were of a coloure suche as I have never seene
before, more like to a Pansie, or some such flower, than anything else
I can compair with them.--Shortlie we grew most friendlie, so that She
did aske me if I colde keepe a Secrett.--I answering I colde, She saide
She was anhungred, having Shopp'd all y^e forenoone since
Breakfast.--She pray'd me to gett Her some Foode.--What, I ask'd.--She
answer'd merrilie, a Beafe-steake.--I tolde Her y^t that _Confection_
was not on y^e Side-Boarde; but I presentlie brought Her such as there
was, & She beinge behinde a Screane, I stoode in y^e waie, so y^t none
mighte see Her, & She did eate and drynke as followeth, to witt--

    iij cupps of Bouillon (w^ch is a Tea, or Tisane, of Beafe, made verie
        hott & thinne)
     iv Alberte biscuit
     ij eclairs
      i creame-cake

together with divers small cates & comfeits wh^of I know not y^e names.

So y^t I was grievously afeard for Her Digestion, leste it be
over-tax'd. Saide this to Her, however addinge it was my Conceite, y^t
by some Processe, lyke Alchemie, wh^by y^e baser metals are transmuted
into golde, so y^e grosse mortall foode was on Her lippes chang'd to
y^e fabled Nectar & Ambrosia of y^e Gods.--She tolde me 'twas a sillie
Speache, yet seam'd not ill-pleas'd withall.--She hath a verie prettie
Fashion, or Tricke, of smilinge, when She hath made an end of
speakinge, and layinge Her finger upon Her nether Lippe, like as She
wolde bid it be stille.--After some more Talke, wh^in She show'd that
Her Witt was more deepe, and Her minde more seriouslie inclin'd, than I
had Thoughte from our first Jestinge, She beinge call'd to go thence, I
did see Her mother, whose face I knewe, & was made sensible, y^t I had
given my Hearte to y^e daughter of a House wh. with myne owne had longe
been at grievous Feud, for y^e folly of oure Auncestres.--Havinge come
to wh. heavie momente in my Tale, I have no Patience to write more
to-nighte.


22^nd Aprile.

I was mynded to write no more in y^s journall, for verie Shame's sake,
y^t I shoude so complayne, lyke a Childe, whose toie is taken f^m him,
butt (mayhapp for it is nowe y^e fulle Moone, & a moste greavous period
for them y^t are Love-strucke) I am fayne, lyke y^e Drunkarde who maye
not abstayne f^m his cupp, to set me anewe to recordinge of My Dolorous
mishapp.--When I sawe Her agayn, She beinge aware of my name, & of y^e
division betwixt oure Houses, wolde have none of me, butt I wolde nott
be putt Off, & made bolde to question Her, why She sholde showe me
suche exceed^g Coldness.--She answer'd, 'twas wel knowne what Wronge my
Grandefather had done Her G.father.--I saide, She confounded me with My
G.father--we were nott y^e same Persone, he beinge muche my Elder, &
besydes Deade.--She w^d have it, 'twas no matter for jestinge.--I tolde
Her, I wolde be resolv'd, what grete Wronge y^is was.--Y^s more for to
make Speache th^n for mine owne advertisem^t, for I knewe wel y^e whole
Knaverie, wh. She rehears'd, Howe my G.father had cheated Her G.father
of Landes upp y^e River, with more, howe my G.father had impounded y^e
Cattle of Hern.--I made answer, 'twas foolishnesse, in my mynde, for
y^e iii^d Generation to so quarrell over a Parsel of rascallie Landes,
y^t had long ago beene solde for Taxes, y^t as to y^e Cowes, I wolde
make them goode, & th^r Produce & Offspringe, if it tooke y^e whole
Wash^tn Markett.--She however tolde me y^t y^e Ffrenche familie had y^e
where w^al to buye what they lack'd in Butter, Beafe & Milke, and
likewise in _Veale_, wh. laste I tooke much to Hearte, wh. She seeinge,
became more gracious &, on my pleadinge, accorded y^t I sholde have y^e
Privilege to speake with Her when we next met.--Butt neyther then, nor
at anie other Tyme th^after wolde She suffer me to visitt Her. So I was
harde putt to it to compass waies of gettinge to see Her at such Houses
as She mighte be att, for Routs or Feasts, or y^e lyke.--

But though I sawe Her manie tymes, oure converse was ever of y^ts
Complex^n, & y^e accursed G.father satt downe, & rose upp with us.--Yet
colde I see by Her aspecte, y^t I had in some sorte Her favoure, & y^t
I mislyk'd Her not so gretelie as She w^d have me thinke.--So y^t one
daie, ('twas in Januarie, & verie colde,) I, beinge moste distrackt,
saide to Her, I had tho't 'twolde pleasure Her more, to be friends w. a
man, who had a knave for a G.father, y^n with One who had no G.father
att alle, lyke W^mson (y^e Puppe).--She made answer, I was exceedinge
fresshe, or some such matter. She cloath'd her thoughte in phrase more
befittinge a Gentlewoman.--Att this I colde no longer contayne myself,
but tolde Her roundlie, I lov'd Her, & 'twas my Love made me soe
unmannerlie.--And w. y^ts speache I att y^e leaste made an End of my
Uncertaintie, for She bade me speake w. Her no more.--I wolde be
determin'd, whether I was Naught to Her.--She made Answer She colde not
justlie say I was Naught, seeing y^t wh^ever She mighte bee, I was One
too manie.--I saide, 'twas some Comforte, I had even a Place in Her
thoughtes, were it onlie in Her disfavour.--She saide, my Solace was
indeede grete, if it kept pace with y^e measure of Her Disfavour, for,
in plain Terms, She hated me, & on Her intreatinge of me to goe, I
went.--Y^is happ'd att y^e house of M^rss Varicke, wh. I 1^st met Her,
who (M^rss Varicke) was for staying me, y^t I might eate some Ic'd
Cream, butt of a Truth I was chill'd to my Taste allreadie.--Albeit I
afterwards tooke to walkinge of y^e Streets till near Midnight.--'Twas
as I saide before in Januarie & exceedinge colde.


20^th Maie.

How wearie is y^is dulle procession of y^e Yeare! For it irketh my
Soule y^t eache Monthe shoude come so aptlie after y^e Month afore, &
Nature looke so Smug, as She had done some grete thinge.--Surelie if
she make no Change, she hath work'd no Miracle, for we knowe wel, what
we maye look for.--Y^e Vine under my Window hath broughte forth Purple
Blossoms, as itt hath eache Springe these xii Yeares.--I wolde have had
them Redd, or Blue, or I knowe not what Coloure, for I am sicke of
likinge of Purple a Dozen Springes in Order.--And wh. moste galls me is
y^is, I knowe howe y^is sadd Rounde will goe on, & Maie give Place to
June, & she to July, & onlie my Hearte blossom not nor my Love growe no
greener.


2^nd June.

I and my Foolishnesse, we laye Awake last night till y^e Sunrise gun,
wh. was Shott att 4-1/2 o'ck, & wh. beinge hearde in y^t stillnesse fm.
an Incredible Distance, seem'd lyke as 'twere a Full Stopp, or Period
putt to y^is Wakinge-Dreminge, wh^at I did turne a newe Leafe in my
Counsells, and after much Meditation, have commenc't a newe Chapter,
wh. I hope maye leade to a better Conclusion, than them y^t came
afore.--For I am nowe resolv'd, & havinge begunn wil carry to an Ende,
y^t if I maie not over-come my Passion, I maye at y^e least over-com
y^e Melanchollie, & Spleene, borne y^of, & beinge a Lover, be none y^e
lesse a Man.--To wh. Ende I have come to y^is Resolution, to departe
fm. y^e Towne, & to goe to y^e Countrie-House of my Frend, Will
Winthrop, who has often intreated me, & has instantlie urg'd, y^t I
sholde make him a Visitt.--And I take much Shame to myselfe, y^t I have
not given him y^is Satisfaction since he was married, wh. is nowe ii
Yeares.--A goode Fellowe, & I minde me a grete Burden to his Frends
when he was in Love, in wh. Plight I mockt him, who am nowe, I much
feare me, mockt myselfe.


3^rd June.

Pack'd my cloathes, beinge Sundaye. Y^e better y^e Daie, y^e better y^e
Deede.


4^th June.

Goe downe to Babylon to-daye.


5^th June.

Att Babylon, att y^e Cottage of Will Winthrop, wh. is no Cottage, but a
grete House, Red, w. Verandahs, & builded in y^e Fash^n of Her Maiestie
Q. Anne.--Found a mightie Housefull of People.--Will, his Wife, a verie
proper fayre Ladie, who gave me moste gracious Reception, M^rss Smithe,
y^e ii Gresham girles (knowne as y^e Titteringe Twins), Bob White,
Virginia Kinge & her Moth^r, Clarence Winthrop, & y^e whole Alexander
Family.--A grete Gatheringe for so earlie in y^e Summer.--In y^e
afternoone play'd Lawne-Tenniss.--Had for Partner one of y^e Twinns,
ag^st Clarence Winthrop & y^e other Twinn, wh. by beinge Confus'd, I
loste iii games.--Was voted a Duffer.--Clarence Winthrop moste
unmannerlie merrie.--He call'd me y^e Sad-Ey'd Romeo, & lykewise cut
down y^e Hammocke wh^in I laye, allso tied up my Cloathes wh. we were
att Bath.--He sayde, he Chaw'd them, a moste barbarous worde for a
moste barbarous Use.--Wh. we were Boyes, & he did y^is thinge, I was
wont to trounce him Soundlie, but nowe had to contente Myselfe w.
beatinge of him iii games of Billyardes in y^e Evg., & w. daringe of
him to putt on y^e Gloves w. me, for Funne, wh. he mighte not doe, for
I coude knocke him colde.


10^th June.

Beinge gon to my Roome somewhatt earlie, for I found myselfe of a
peevish humour, Clarence came to me, and pray^d a few minutes'
Speache.--Sayde 'twas Love made him so Rude & Boysterous he was
privilie betroth'd to his Cozen, Angelica Robertes, she whose Father
lives at Islipp, & colde not containe Himselfe for Joye.--I sayinge,
there was a Breache in y^e Familie, he made Answer, 'twas true, her
Father & His, beinge Cozens, did hate each other moste heartilie, butt
for him he cared not for that, & for Angelica, She gave not a
Continentall.--But, sayde I, Your Consideration matters mightie Little,
synce y^e Governours will not heare to it.--He answered 'twas for that
he came to me, I must be his allie, for reason of our olde Friend^sp.
With that I had no Hearte to heare more, he made so Light of suche a
Division as parted me & my Happinesse, but tolde him I was his Frend,
wolde serve him when he had Neede of me, & presentlie seeing my Humour,
he made excuse to goe, & left me to write downe this, sicke in Mynde,
and thinkinge ever of y^e Woman who wil not oute of my Thoughtes for
any change of Place, neither of employe.--For indeede I doe love Her
moste heartilie, so y^t my Wordes can not saye it, nor will y^is Booke
containe it.--So I wil even goe to Sleepe, y^t in my Dreames perchaunce
my Fancie maye do my Hearte better Service.


12^th June.

She is here.--What Spyte is y^is of Fate & y^e alter'd gods! That I,
who mighte nott gett to see Her when to See was to Hope, muste nowe
daylie have Her in my Sighte, stucke lyke a fayre Apple under olde
Tantalus his Nose.--Goinge downe to y^e Hotell to-day, for to gett me
some Tobackoe, was made aware y^t y^e Ffrench familie had hyred one of
y^e Cottages round-abouts.--'Tis a goodlie Dwellinge Without--Woude I
coude speake with as much Assurance of y^e Innsyde!


13^th June.

Goinge downe to y^e Hotell againe To-day, for more Tobackoe, sawe y^e
accursed name of W^mson on y^e Registre.--Went about to a neighbouringe
Farm & satt me downe behynd y^e Barne, for a 1/2 an Houre.--Frighted
y^e Horned Cattle w. talkinge to My Selfe.


15^th June.

I wil make an Ende to y^is Businesse.--Wil make no longer Staye
here.--Sawe Her to-day, driven Home fm. y^e Beache, about 4-1/2 of y^e
After-noone, by W^mson, in his Dogge-Carte, wh. y^e Cadde has broughten
here.--Wil betake me to y^e Boundlesse Weste--Not y^t I care aught for
y^e Boundlesse Weste, butt y^t I shal doe wel if haplie I leave my
Memourie am^g y^e Apaches & bringe Home my Scalpe.


16^th June.

To Fyre Islande, in Winthrop's Yacht--y^e Twinnes w. us, so Titteringe
& Choppinge Laughter, y^t 'twas worse y^n a Flocke of Sandpipers.--Found
a grete Concourse of people there, Her amonge them, in a Suite of blue,
y^t became Her bravelie.--She swimms lyke to a Fishe, butt everie
Stroke of Her white Arms (of a lovelie Roundnesse) clefte, as 'twere,
my Hearte, rather y^n y^e Water.--She bow'd to me, on goinge into y^e
Water, w. muche Dignitie, & agayn on Cominge out, but y^is Tyme w.
lesse Dignitie, by reason of y^e Water in Her Cloathes, & Her Haire in
Her Eyes.--


17^th June.

Was for goinge awaie To-morrowe, butt Clarence cominge againe to my
Chamber, & mightilie purswadinge of me, I feare I am comitted to a
verie sillie Undertakinge.--For I am promis'd to Help him, secretlie to
wedd his Cozen.--He wolde take no Deniall, wolde have it, his Brother
car'd Naughte, 'twas but y^e Fighte of theyre Fathers, he was bounde it
sholde be done, & 'twere best I stoode his Witnesse, who was wel lyked
of bothe y^e Braunches of y^e Family.--So 'twas agree'd, y^t I shal
stay Home to-morrowe fm. y^e Expedition to Fyre Islande, feigning a
Head-Ache, (wh. indeede I meante to do, in any Happ, for I cannot see
Her againe,) & shall meet him at y^e little Churche on y^e Southe
Roade.--He to drive to Islipp to fetch Angelica, lykewise her Witnesse,
who sholde be some One of y^e Girles, she hadd not yet made her
Choice.--I made y^is Condition, it sholde not be either of y^e
Twinnes.--No, nor Bothe, for that matter.--Inquiringe as to y^e
Clergyman, he sayde y^e Dominie was allreadie Squar'd.


Newe York, y^e Buckingham Hotell,
19^th June.

I am come to y^e laste Entrie I shall ever putt downe in y^s Booke, and
needes must y^t I putt it downe quicklie, for all hath Happ'd in so
short a Space, y^t my Heade whirles w. thynkinge of it. Y^e after-noone
of Yesterdaye, I set about Counterfeittinge of a Head-Ache, & so wel
did I compasse it, y^t I verilie thinke one of y^e Twinnes was mynded
to Stay Home & nurse me.--All havinge gone off, & Clarence on his waye
to Islipp, I sett forth for y^e Churche, where arriv'd I founde it
emptie, w. y^e Door open.--Went in & writh'd on y^e hard Benches a 1/4
of an Houre, when, hearinge a Sounde, I look'd up & saw standinge in
y^e Door-waye, Katherine Ffrench.--She seem'd muche astonished, saying
You Here! or y^e lyke.--I made Answer & sayde y^t though my Familie
were greate Sinners, yet had they never been Excommunicate by y^e
Churche.--She sayde, they colde not Putt Out what never was In.--While
I was bethynkinge me wh. I mighte answer to y^is, she went on, sayinge
I must excuse Her, She wolde goe upp in y^e Organ-Lofte.--I enquiring
what for? She sayde to practice on y^e Organ.--She turn'd verie Redd,
of a warm Coloure, as She sayde this.--I ask'd Do you come hither
often? She replyinge Yes, I enquir'd how y^e Organ lyked Her.--She
sayde Right well, when I made question more curiously (for She grew
more Redd eache moment) how was y^e Action? y^e Tone? how manie Stopps?
Wh^at She growinge gretelie Confus'd, I led Her into y^e Churche, &
show'd Her y^t there was no Organ, y^e Choire beinge indeede a Band, of
i Tuninge-Forke, i Kitt, & i Horse-Fiddle.--At this She fell to
Smilinge & Blushinge att one Tyme.--She perceiv'd our Errandes were y^e
Same, & crav'd Pardon for Her Fibb.--I tolde Her, If She came Thither
to be Witness at her Frend's Weddinge, 'twas no greate Fibb, 'twolde
indeede be Practice for Her.--This havinge a rude Sound, I added I
thankt y^e Starrs y^t had bro't us Together. She sayde if y^e Starrs
appoint'd us to meete no oftener y^n this Couple shoude be Wedded, She
was wel content. This cominge on me lyke a last Buffett of Fate, that
She shoude so despitefully intreate me, I was suddenlie Seized with so
Sorrie a Humour, & withal so angrie, y^t I colde scarce Containe
myselfe, but went & Sat downe neare y^e Doore, lookinge out till
Clarence shd. come w. his Bride.--Looking over my Sholder, I sawe y^t
She wente fm. Windowe to Windowe within, Pluckinge y^e Blossoms fm. y^e
Vines, & settinge them in her Girdle.--She seem'd most tall and faire,
& swete to look uponn, & itt Anger'd me y^e More.--Meanwhiles, She
discours'd pleasantlie, askinge me manie questions, to the wh. I gave
but shorte and churlish answers. She ask'd Did I nott Knowe Angelica
Roberts was Her best Frend? How longe had I knowne of y^e Betrothal?
Did I thinke 'twolde knitt y^e House together, & Was it not Sad to see
a Familie thus Divided?--I answer'd Her, I wd. not robb a Man of y^e
precious Righte to Quarrell with his Relations.--And then, with
meditatinge on y^e goode Lucke of Clarence, & my owne harde Case, I had
suche a sudden Rage of peevishnesse y^t I knewe scarcelie what I
did.--Soe when She ask'd me merrilie why I turn'd my Backe on Her, I
made Reply I had turn'd my Backe on muche Follie.--Wh. was no sooner
oute of my Mouthe than I was mightilie Sorrie for it, and turninge
aboute, I perceiv'd She was in Teares & weepinge bitterlie. Wh^at my
Hearte wolde holde no More, & I rose upp & tooke Her in my arms &
Kiss'd & Comforted Her, She makinge no Denyal, but seeminge gretelie to
Neede such Solace, wh. I was not Loathe to give Her.--Whiles we were at
This, onlie She had gott to Smilinge, & to sayinge of Things which even
y^is paper shal not knowe, came in y^e Dominie, sayinge He judg'd We
were the Couple he came to Wed.--With him y^e Sexton & y^e Sexton's
Wife.--My swete Kate, alle as rosey as Venus's Nape, was for Denyinge
of y^is, butt I wolde not have it, & sayde Yes.--She remonstrating w.
me, privilie, I tolde Her She must not make me Out a Liar, y^t to
Deceave y^e Man of God were a greavous Sinn, y^t I had gott Her nowe, &
wd. not lett her Slipp from me, & did soe Talke Her Downe, & w. suche
Strengthe of joie, y^t allmost before She knewe it, we Stoode upp, &
were Wed, w. a Ringe (tho' She Knewe it nott) wh. belong'd to My G.
father. (Him y^t Cheated Her^n.)--

Wh. was no sooner done, than in came Clarence & Angelica, & were Wedded
in theyre Turn.--The Clergyman greatelie surprised, but more att y^e
Largenesse of his Fee.

This Businesse beinge Ended, we fled by y^e Trayne of 4-1/2 o'cke, to
y^is Place, where we wait till y^e Bloode of all y^e Ffrenches have
Tyme to coole downe, for y^e wise Mann who meeteth his Mother in Lawe
y^e 1^st tyme, wil meete her when she is Milde.--

And so I close y^is Journall, wh., tho' for y^e moste Parte 'tis but a
peevish Scrawle, hath one Page of Golde, wh^on I have writt ye laste
strange Happ wh^by I have layd Williamson by y^e Heeles & found me y^e
sweetest Wife y^t ever

                         *    *    *    *    *

stopp'd a man's Mouthe w. kisses for writinge of Her Prayses.



TWO BUCKETS IN A WELL.

By N. P. Willis.

(_From "People I Have Met" (now out of print)._)


"Five hundred dollars a year!" echoed Fanny Bellairs, as the first
silver gray of the twilight spread over her picture.

"And my art," modestly added the painter, prying into his bright copy
of the lips pronouncing upon his destiny.

"And how much may that be, at the present rate of patronage--one
picture a year, painted for love!"

"Fanny, how can you be so calculating!"

"By the bumps over my eyebrows, I suppose. Why, my dear coz, we have
another state of existence to look forward to--old man-age and old
woman-age! What am I to do with five hundred dollars a year, when my
old frame wants gilding--(to use one of your own similes)--I sha'n't
always be pretty Fanny Bellairs!"

"But, good Heavens! we shall grow old together!" exclaimed the painter,
sitting down at her feet, "and what will you care for other admiration,
if your husband see you still beautiful, with the eyes of memory and
habit."

"Even if I were sure he would so look upon me," answered Miss Bellairs,
more seriously, "I cannot but dread an old age without great means of
embellishment. Old people, except in poetry and in very primitive
society, are dishonored by wants and cares. And, indeed, before we are
old--when neither young nor old--we want horses and ottomans, kalydor
and conservatories, books, pictures, and silk curtains--all quite out
of the range of your little allowance, don't you see!"

"You do not love me, Fanny!"

"I do--and will marry you, Philip--as I, long ago, with my whole heart,
promised. But I wish to be happy with you--as happy, quite as happy, as
is at all possible, with our best efforts, and coolest, discreetest
management. I laugh the matter over sometimes, but I may tell you,
since you are determined to be in earnest, that I have treated it, in
my solitary thought, as the one important event of my life--(so indeed
it is!)--and, as such, worthy of all forethought, patience, self-denial,
and calculation. To inevitable ills I can make up my mind like other
people. If your art were your only hope of subsistence--why--I don't
know--(should I look well as a page?)--I don't know that I couldn't run
your errands and grind your paints in hose and doublet. But there is
another door open for you--a counting-house door, to be sure--leading
to opulence and all the appliances of dignity and happiness, and
through this door, my dear Philip, the art you would live by comes to
pay tribute and beg for patronage. Now, out of your hundred and twenty
reasons, give me the two stoutest and best, why you should refuse your
brother's golden offer of partnership--my share, in your alternative of
poverty, left for the moment out of the question."

Rather overborne by the confident decision of his beautiful cousin, and
having probably made up his mind that he must ultimately yield to her,
Philip replied in a lower and more dejected tone:

"If you were not to be a sharer in my renown, should I be so fortunate
as to acquire it, I should feel as if it were selfish to dwell so much
on my passion for distinction, and my devotion to my pencil as a means
of winning it. My heart is full of you--but it is full of ambition,
too, paradox though it be. I cannot live ignoble. I should not have
felt worthy to press my love upon you--worthy to possess you--except
with the prospect of celebrity in my art. You make the world dark to
me, Fanny! You close down the sky, when you shut out this hope! Yet it
shall be so."

Philip paused a moment, and the silence was uninterrupted.

"There was another feeling I had, upon which I have not insisted," he
continued. "By my brother's project, I am to reside almost wholly
abroad. Even the little stipend I have to offer you now is absorbed of
course by the investment of my property in his trading capital, and
marriage, till I have partly enriched myself, would be even more
hopeless than at present. Say the interval were five years--and five
years of separation!"

"With happiness in prospect, it would soon pass, my dear Philip!"

"But is there nothing wasted in this time? My life is yours--the gift
of love. Are not these coming five years the very flower of it!--a
mutual loss, too, for are they not, even more emphatically, the very
flower of yours? Eighteen and twenty-five are ages at which to marry,
not ages to defer. During this time the entire flow of my existence is
at its crowning fulness--passion, thought, joy, tenderness,
susceptibility to beauty and sweetness--all I have that can be
diminished or tarnished, or made dull by advancing age and contact with
the world, is thrown away--for its spring and summer. Will the autumn
of life repay us for this? Will it--even if we are rich and blest with
health, and as capable of an unblemished union as now? Think of this a
moment, dear Fanny!"

"I do--it is full of force and meaning, and, could we marry now, with a
tolerable prospect of competency, it would be irresistible. But poverty
in wedlock, Philip--"

"What do you call poverty? If we can suffice for each other, and have
the necessaries of life, we are not poor! My art will bring us
consideration enough--which is the main end of wealth, after all--and,
of society, speaking for myself only, I want nothing. Luxuries for
yourself, Fanny--means for your dear comfort and pleasure--you should
not want if the world held them, and surely the unbounded devotion of
one man to the support of the one woman he loves, _ought_ to suffice
for the task! I am strong--I am capable of labor--I have limbs to toil,
if my genius and my present means fail me, and, oh, Heaven! you could
not want!"

"No, no, no! I thought not of want!" murmured Miss Bellairs, "I thought
only--"

But she was not permitted to finish the sentence.

"Then my bright picture for the future _may_ be realized!" exclaimed
Philip, knitting his hands together in a transport of hope. "I may
build up a reputation, with _you_ for the constant partner of its
triumphs and excitements! I may go through the world, and have some
care in life besides subsistence, how I shall sleep, and eat, and
accumulate gold; some companion, who, from the threshold of manhood,
shared every thought--and knew every feeling--some pure and present
angel who walked with me and purified my motives and ennobled my
ambitions, and received from my lips and eyes, and from the beating of
my heart against her own, all the love I had to give in a lifetime.
Tell me, Fanny! tell me, my sweet cousin! is not this a picture of
bliss, which, combined with success in my noble art, might make a
Paradise on earth for you and me?"

The hand of Fanny Bellairs rested on the upturned forehead of her lover
as he sat at her feet in the deepening twilight, and she answered him
with such sweet words as are linked together by spells known only to
woman--but his palette and pencils were, nevertheless, burned in solemn
holocaust that very night, and the lady carried her point, as ladies
must. And, to the importation of silks from Lyons, was devoted,
thenceforth, the genius of a Raphael--perhaps! Who knows?

                         *    *    *    *    *

The reader will naturally have gathered from this dialogue that Miss
Fanny Bellairs had black eyes, and was rather below the middle stature.
She was a belle, and it is only belle-metal of this particular
description which is not fusible by "burning words." She had mind
enough to appreciate fully the romance and enthusiasm of her cousin,
Philip Ballister, and knew precisely the phenomena which a tall
_blonde_ (this complexion of woman being soluble in love and tears)
would have exhibited under a similar experiment. While the fire of her
love glowed, therefore, she opposed little resistance, and seemed
softened and yielding, but her purpose remained unaltered, and she rang
out "No!" the next morning, with a tone as little changed as a
convent-bell from matins to vespers, though it has passed meantime
through the furnace of an Italian noon.

Fanny was not a designing girl, either. She might have found a
wealthier customer for her heart than her cousin Philip. And she loved
this cousin as truly and well as her nature would admit, or as need be,
indeed. But two things had conspired to give her the unmalleable
quality just described--a natural disposition to confide, first and
foremost, on all occasions, in her own sagacity, and a vivid impression
made upon her mind by a childhood of poverty. At the age of twelve she
had been transferred from the distressed fireside of her mother, Mrs.
Bellairs, to the luxurious roof of her aunt, Mrs. Ballister, and, her
mother dying soon after, the orphan girl was adopted, and treated as a
child; but the memory of the troubled hearth at which she had first
learned to observe and reason, colored all the purposes and affections,
thoughts, impulses, and wishes of the ripening girl, and to think of
happiness in any proximity to privation seemed to her impossible, even
though it were in the bosom of love. Seeing no reason to give her
cousin credit for any knowledge of the world beyond his own experience,
she decided to think for him as well as love him, and, not being so
much pressed as the enthusiastic painter by the "_besoin d'aimer et de
se faire aimer_," she very composedly prefixed, to the possession of
her hand, the trifling achievement of getting rich--quite sure that if
he knew as much as she, he would willingly run that race without the
incumbrance of matrimony.

The death of Mr. Ballister, senior, had left the widow and her two boys
more slenderly provided for than was anticipated--Phil's portion, after
leaving college, producing the moderate income before mentioned. The
elder brother had embarked in his father's business, and it was thought
best on all hands for the younger Ballister to follow his example. But
Philip, whose college leisure had been devoted to poetry and painting,
and whose genius for the latter, certainly, was very decided, brought
down his habits by a resolute economy to the limits of his income, and
took up the pencil for a profession. With passionate enthusiasm, great
purity of character, distaste for all society not in harmony with his
favorite pursuit, and an industry very much concentrated and rendered
effective by abstemious habits, Philip Ballister was very likely to
develop what genius might lie between his head and hand, and his
progress in the first year had been allowed, by eminent artists, to
give very unusual promise. The Ballisters were still together, under
the maternal roof, and the painter's studies were the portraits of the
family, and Fanny's picture, of course, much the most difficult to
finish. It would be very hard if a painter's portrait of his liege
mistress, the lady of his heart, were not a good picture, and Fanny
Bellairs on canvas was divine accordingly. If the copy had more
softness of expression than the original (as it was thought to have),
it only proves that wise men have for some time suspected, that love is
more dumb than blind, and the faults of our faultless idols are noted,
however unconsciously. Neither thumb-screws nor hot coals--nothing
probably but repentance after matrimony--would have drawn from Philip
Ballister, in words, the same correction of his mistress's foible that
had oozed out through his treacherous pencil!

Cupid is often drawn as a stranger pleading to be "taken in," but it is
a miracle that he is not invariably drawn as a portrait-painter. A bird
tied to the muzzle of a gun--an enemy who has written a book--an Indian
prince under the protection of Giovanni Bulletto (Tuscan for John
Bull),--is not more close upon demolition, one would think, than the
heart of a lady delivered over to a painter's eyes, posed, draped, and
lighted with the one object of studying her beauty. If there be any
magnetism in isolated attention, any in steadfast gazing, any in passes
of the hand hither and thither--if there be any magic in _ce doux
demi-jour_ so loved in France, in stuff for flattery ready pointed and
feathered, in freedom of admiration, "and all in the way of
business"--then is a lovable sitter to a love-like painter in "parlous"
vicinity (as the new school would phrase it) to sweet heart-land!
Pleasure in a vocation has no offset in political economy as honor has
("the more honor the less profit"), or portrait-painters would be
poorer than poets.

And, _malgré_ his consciousness of the quality which required softening
in his cousin's beauty, and _malgré_ his rare advantages for obtaining
over her a lover's proper ascendency, Mr. Philip Ballister bowed to the
stronger will of Miss Fanny Bellairs, and sailed for France on his
apprenticeship to Mammon.

                         *    *    *    *    *

The reader will please to advance five years. Before proceeding thence
with our story, however, let us take a Parthian glance at the
overstepped interval. Philip Ballister had left New York with the
triple vow that he would enslave every faculty of his mind and body to
business, that he would not return till he had made a fortune, and that
such interstices as might occur in the building up of this chateau for
felicity should be filled with sweet reveries about Fanny Bellairs. The
forsworn painter had genius, as we have before hinted, and genius is
(as much as it is any one thing) the power of concentration. He entered
upon his duties, accordingly with a force and patience of application
which soon made him master of what are called business habits, and,
once in possession of the details, his natural cleverness gave him a
speedy insight to all the scope and tactics of his particular field of
trade. Under his guidance, the affairs of the house were soon in a much
more prosperous train, and, after a year's residence at Lyons, Philip
saw his way very clear to manage them with a long arm and take up his
quarters in Paris. "_Les fats sont les seuls hommes qui aient soin
d'eux mêmes_," says a French novelist, but there is a period, early or
late, in the lives of the cleverest men, when they become suddenly
curious as to their capacity for the graces. Paris, to a stranger who
does not visit in the Faubourg St. Germain, is a republic of personal
exterior, where the degree of privilege depends, with Utopian
impartiality, on the style of the outer man; and Paris, therefore, if
he is not already a Bachelor of Arts (qu?--_beau's Arts_), usually
serves the traveller as an Alma Mater of the pomps and vanities.

Phil. Ballister, up to the time of his matriculation in _Chaussée
d'Antin_, was a romantic-looking sloven. From this to a very dashing
coxcomb is but half a step, and, to be rid of the coxcombry and retain
a look of fashion, is still within the easy limits of imitation.
But--to obtain superiority of presence, with no apparent aid from dress
and no describable manner, and to display, at the same time, every
natural advantage in effective relief, and, withal, to adapt this
subtle philtre, not only to the approbation of the critical and
censorious, but to the taste of fair women gifted with judgment as God
pleases--this is a finish not born with any man (though unsuccessful if
it do not seem to be), and never reached in the apprenticeship of life,
and never reached at all by men not much above their fellows. He who
has it, has "bought his doublet in Italy, his round hose in France, his
bonnet in Germany, and his behavior everywhere," for he must know, as a
chart of quicksands, the pronounced models of other nations; but to be
a "picked man of countries," and to _have been_ a coxcomb and a man of
fashion, are, as a painter would say, but the setting of the palette
toward the making of the _chef-d'oeoeuvre_.

Business prospered, and the facilities of leisure increased, while
Ballister passed through these transitions of taste, and he found
intervals to travel, and time to read, and opportunity to indulge, as
far as he could with the eye only, his passion for knowledge in the
arts. To all that appertained to the refinement of himself, he applied
the fine feelers of a delicate and passionate construction, physical
and mental, and, as the reader will already have included, wasted on
culture comparatively unprofitable, faculties that would have been
better employed but for the meddling of Miss Fanny Bellairs.

                         *    *    *    *    *

Ballister's return from France was heralded by the arrival of statuary
and pictures, books, furniture, and numberless articles of tasteful and
costly luxury. The reception of these by the family at home threw
rather a new light on the probable changes in the long-absent brother,
for, from the signal success of the business he had managed, they had
very naturally supposed that it was the result only of unremitted and
plodding care. Vague rumors of changes in his personal appearance had
reached them, such as might be expected from conformity to foreign
fashions, but those who had seen Philip Ballister in France, and called
subsequently on the family in New York, were not people qualified to
judge of the man, either from their own powers of observation or from
any confidence he was likely to put forward while in their society. His
letters had been delightful, but they were confined to third-person
topics, descriptions of things likely to interest them, etc., and Fanny
had few addressed personally to herself, having thought it worth while,
for the experiment sake, or for some other reason, to see whether love
would subsist without it usual _pabulum_ of tender correspondence, and
a _veto_ on love-letters having served her for a parting injunction at
Phil's embarkation for Havre. However varied by their different
fancies, the transformation looked for by the whole family was
substantially the same--the romantic artist sobered down to a
practical, plain man of business. And Fanny herself had an occasional
misgiving as to her relish for his counting-house virtues and manners;
though, on the detection of the feeling, she immediately closed her
eyes upon it, and drummed up her delinquent constancy for "parade and
inspection."

All bustles are very much alike (we use the word as defined in
Johnson), and the reader will appreciate our delicacy, besides, in not
intruding on the first reunion of relatives and lovers long separated.

The morning after Philip Ballister's arrival, the family sat long at
breakfast. The mother's gaze fastened untiringly on the features of her
son--still her boy--prying into them with a vain effort to reconcile
the face of the man with the cherished picture of the child with sunny
locks, and noting little else than the work of inward change upon the
countenance and expression. The brother, with the predominant feeling
of respect for the intelligence and industry of one who had made the
fortunes of the house, read only subdued sagacity in the perfect
simplicity of his whole exterior. And Fanny--Fanny was puzzled. The
_bourgeoisie_ and ledger-bred hardness of manner which she had looked
for were not there, nor any variety of the "foreign slip-slop" common
to travelled youth, nor any superciliousness, nor (faith!) any wear and
tear of youth and good looks--nothing that she expected--nothing! Not
even a French guard-chain!

What there _was_ in her cousin's manners and exterior, however, was
much more difficult to define by Miss Bellairs than what there _was
not_. She began the renewal of their intercourse with very high
spirits, herself--the simple nature and unpretendingness of his address
awakening only an unembarrassed pleasure at seeing him again--but she
soon began to suspect there was an exquisite refinement in this very
simplicity, and to wonder "at the trick of it;" and, after the first
day passed in his society, her heart beat when he spoke to her, as it
did not use to beat when she was sitting to him for her picture, and
listening to his passionate love-making. And, with all her faculties,
she studied him. What was the charm of his presence? He was himself,
and himself only. He seemed perfect, but he seemed to have arrived at
perfection like a statue, not like a picture--by what had been taken
away, not by what had been laid on. He was as natural as a bird, and as
graceful and unembarrassed. He neither forced conversation, nor pressed
the little attentions of the drawing-room, and his attitudes were full
of repose; yet she was completely absorbed in what he said, and she had
been impressed imperceptibly with his high-bred politeness, and the
singular elegance of his person. Fanny felt there was a change in her
relative position to her cousin. In what it consisted, or which had the
advantage, she was perplexed to discover--but she bit her lips as she
caught herself thinking that if she were not engaged to marry Philip
Ballister, she should suspect that she had just fallen irrecoverably in
love with him.

It would have been a novelty in the history of Miss Bellairs that any
event to which she had once consented, should admit of reconsideration;
and the Ballister family, used to her strong will, were confirmed
fatalists as to the coming about of her ends and aims. Her marriage
with Philip, therefore, was discussed, _coeur ouvert_, from his first
arrival, and, indeed, in her usual fashion of saving others the trouble
of making up their minds, "herself had named the day." This, it is
true, was before his landing, and was, then, an effort of considerable
magnanimity, as the expectant Penelope was not yet advised of her
lover's state of preservation or damages by cares and keeping. If
Philip had not found his wedding-day fixed on his arrival, however, he
probably would have had a voice in the naming of it, for, with Fanny's
new inspirations as to his character, there had grown up a new flower
in her garden of beauties--timidity! What bird of the air had sown the
seed in such a soil was a problem to herself--but true it was!--the
confident belle had grown a blushing trembler! She would as soon have
thought of bespeaking her wings for the sky, as to have ventured on
naming the day in a short week after.

The day _was_ named, however, and the preparations went on--_nem.
con._--the person most interested (after herself) accepting every
congratulation and allusion, touching the event, with the most
impenetrable suavity. The marbles and pictures, upholstery and
services, were delivered over to the order of Miss Bellairs, and
Philip, disposed, apparently, to be very much a recluse in his rooms,
or, at other times, engrossed by troops of welcoming friends, saw much
less of his bride elect than suited her wishes, and saw her seldom
alone. By particular request, also, he took no part in the plenishing
and embellishing of the new abode--not permitted even to inquire where
it was situated; and, under this cover, besides the pleasure of having
her own way, Fanny concealed a little secret, which, when disclosed,
she now felt, would figure forth Philip's comprehension, her whole
scheme of future happiness. She had taken the elder brother into her
counsels a fortnight after Philip's return, and, with his aid and
consent, had abandoned the original idea of a house in town, purchased
a beautifully-secluded estate and _cottage ornée_, on the East River,
and transferred thither all the objects of art, furniture, etc. One
room only of the maternal mansion was permitted to contribute its quota
to the completion of the bridal dwelling--the wing, never since
inhabited, in which Philip had made his essay as a painter--and,
without variation of a cobweb, and, with whimsical care and effort on
the part of Miss Fanny, this apartment was reproduced at Revedere--her
own picture on the easel, as it stood on the night of his abandonment
of his art, and palette, pencils and colors in tempting readiness on
the table. Even the fire-grate of the old studio had been re-set in the
new, and the cottage throughout had been refitted with a view to
occupation in the winter. And to sundry hints on the part of the elder
brother, that some thought should be given to a city residence--for the
Christmas holidays at least--Fanny replied, through a blush, that she
would never wish to see the town--with Philip at Revedere!

Five years had ripened and mellowed the beauty of Fanny Bellairs, and
the same summer-time of youth had turned into fruit the feeling left by
Philip in bud and flower. She was ready now for love. She had felt the
variable temper of society, and there was a presentiment in the heart,
of receding flatteries and the winter of life. It was with mournful
self-reproach that she thought of the years wasted in separation, of
her own choosing, from the man she loved; and, with the power to recall
time, she would have thanked God with tears of joy for the privilege of
retracing the chain of life to that link of parting. Not worth a day of
those lost years, she bitterly confessed to herself, was the wealth
they had purchased.

It lacked as little as one week of "the happy day," when the workmen
were withdrawn from Revedere, and the preparations for a family
breakfast, to be succeeded by the agreeable surprise to Philip of
informing him he was at home, were finally completed. One or two very
intimate friends were added to the party, and the invitations (from the
elder Ballister) proposed simply a _déjeuner sur l'herbe_ in the
grounds of an unoccupied villa, the property of an acquaintance.

With the subsiding of the excitement of return, the early associations
which had temporarily confused and colored the feelings of Philip
Ballister settled gradually away, leaving uppermost once more the
fastidious refinement of the Parisian. Through this medium, thin and
cold, the bubbles from the breathing of the heart of youth, rose rarely
and reluctantly. The Ballisters held a good station in society, without
caring for much beyond the easy conveniences of life, and Fanny, though
capable of any degree of elegance, had not seen the expediency of
raising the tone of her manners above that of her immediate friends.
Without being positively distasteful to Philip, the family circle,
Fanny included, left him much to desire in the way of society, and,
unwilling to abate the warmth of his attentions while with them, he had
latterly pleaded occupation more frequently, and passed his time in the
more congenial company of his library of art. This was the less noticed
that it gave Miss Bellairs the opportunity to make frequent visits to
the workmen at Revedere, and, in the polished devotion of her betrothed
when with her, Fanny saw nothing reflected but her own daily increasing
tenderness and admiration.

The morning of _fête_ came in like the air in an overture--a harmony of
all the instruments of summer. The party were at the gate of Revedere
by ten, and the drive through the avenue to the lawn drew a burst of
delighted admiration from all. The place was exquisite, and seen in its
glory, and Fanny's heart was brimming with gratified pride and
exultation. She assumed at once the dispensation of the honors, and
beautiful she looked with her snowy dress and raven ringlets flitting
across the lawn, and queening it like Perdita among the flowers. Having
narrowly escaped bursting into tears of joy when Philip pronounced the
place prettier than anything he had seen in his travels, she was, for
the rest of the day, calmly happy; and, with the grateful shade, the
delicious breakfast in the grove, the rambling and boating on the
river, the hours passed off like dreams, and no one even hinted a
regret that the house itself was under lock and bar. And so the sun
set, and the twilight came on, and the guests were permitted to order
round their carriages and depart, the Ballisters accompanying them to
the gate. And, on the return of the family through the avenue, excuses
were made for idling hither and thither, till light began to show
through the trees, and, by the time of their arrival at the lawn, the
low windows of the cottage poured forth streams of light, and the open
doors, and servants busy within, completed a scene more like magic than
reality. Philip was led in by the excited girl who was the fairy of the
spell, and his astonishment at the discovery of his statuary and
pictures, books and furniture, arranged in complete order within, was
fed upon with the passionate delight of love in authority.

When an hour had been spent in examining and admiring the different
apartments, an inner room was thrown open, in which supper was
prepared, and this fourth act in the day's drama was lingered over in
untiring happiness by the family.

Mrs. Ballister, the mother, rose and retired, and Philip pleaded
indisposition, and begged to be shown to the room allotted to him. This
was ringing-up the curtain for the last act sooner than had been
planned by Fanny, but she announced herself as his chamberlain, and,
with her hands affectionately crossed on his arm, led him to a suite of
rooms in a wing still unvisited, and, with a goodnight kiss, left him
at the open door of the revived studio, furnished for the night with a
bachelor's bed. Turning upon the threshold, he closed the door with a
parting wish of sweet dreams, and Fanny, after listening a moment with
a vain hope of overhearing some expression of pleasure, and lingering
again on her way back, to be overtaken by her surprised lover, sought
her own bed without rejoining the circle, and passed a sleepless and
happy night of tears and joy.

Breakfast was served the next morning on a terrace overlooking the
river, and it was voted by acclamation that Fanny never before looked
so lovely. As none but the family were to be present, she had stolen a
march on her marriage wardrobe, and added to her demi-toilet a morning
cap of exquisite becomingness. Altogether she looked deliciously
wife-like, and did the honors of the breakfast-table with a grace and
sweetness that warmed out love and compliments even from the sober soil
of household intimacy. Philip had not yet made his appearance, and they
lingered long at table, till at last, a suggestion that he might be ill
started Fanny to her feet, and she ran to his door before a servant
could be summoned.

The rooms were open, and the bed had not been occupied. The candle was
burned to the socket, and on the easel, resting against the picture,
was a letter addressed--"Miss Fanny Bellairs."

    THE LETTER.

    "I have followed up to this hour, my fair cousin, in the path you
    have marked out for me. It has brought me back, in this chamber, to
    the point from which I started under your guidance, and if it had
    brought me back unchanged--if it restored me my energy, my hope,
    and my prospect of fame, I should pray Heaven that it would also
    give me back my love, and be content--more than content, if it gave
    me back also my poverty. The sight of my easel, and of the
    surroundings of my boyish dreams of glory, have made my heart
    bitter. They have given form and voice to a vague unhappiness,
    which has haunted me through all these absent years--years of
    degrading pursuits and wasted powers--and it now impels me from
    you, kind and lovely as you are, with an aversion I cannot control.
    I cannot forgive you. You have thwarted my destiny. You have
    extinguished with sordid cares a lamp within me, that might, by
    this time, have shone through the world. And what am I, since your
    wishes are accomplished? Enriched in pocket, and bankrupt in
    happiness and self-respect.

    "With a heart sick, and a brain aching for distinction, I have come
    to an unhonored stand-still at thirty! I am a successful tradesman,
    and in this character I shall probably die. Could I begin to be a
    painter now, say you? Alas! my knowledge of the art is too great
    for patience with the slow hand! I could not draw a line without
    despair. The pliant fingers and the plastic mind must keep pace to
    make progress in art. My taste is fixed, and my imagination
    uncreative, because chained down by certainties; and the
    shortsighted ardor and daring experiments which are indispensable
    to sustain and advance the follower in Raphael's footsteps, are too
    far behind for my resuming. The tide ebbed from me at the accursed
    burning of my pencils by your pitiless hand, and from that hour I
    have felt hope receding. Could I be happy with you, stranded here
    in ignoble idleness, and owing to you the loss of my whole venture
    of opportunity? No, Fanny?--surely no!

    "I would not be unnecessarily harsh. I am sensible of your
    affection and constancy. I have deferred this explanation unwisely,
    till the time and place make it seem more cruel. You are at this
    very moment, I well know, awake in your chamber, devoting to me the
    vigils of a heart overflowing with tenderness. And I would--if it
    were possible--if it were not utterly beyond my powers of self
    sacrifice and concealment--I would affect a devotion I cannot feel,
    and carry out this error through a life of artifice and monotony.
    But here, again, the work is your own, and my feelings revert
    bitterly to your interference. If there were no other obstacle to
    my marrying you--if you were not associated repulsively with the
    dark cloud on my life, you are not the woman I could now enthrone
    in my bosom. We have diverged since the separation which I pleaded
    against, and which you commanded. I need for my idolatry, now, a
    creature to whom the sordid cares you have sacrificed me to, are
    utterly unknown--a woman born and educated in circumstances where
    want is never feared, and where calculation never enters. I must
    lavish my wealth, if I fulfil my desire, on one who accepts it like
    the air she breathes, and who knows the value of nothing but
    love--a bird with a human soul and form, believing herself free of
    all the world is rich in, and careful only for pleasure and the
    happiness of those who belong to her. Such women, beautiful and
    highly educated, are found only in ranks of society between which
    and my own I have been increasing in distance--nay, building an
    impassable barrier, in obedience to your control. Where I stop,
    interdicted by the stain of trade, the successful artist is free to
    enter. You have stamped me _plebeian_--you would not share my slow
    progress toward a higher sphere, and you have disqualified me for
    attaining it alone. In your mercenary and immovable will, and in
    that only, lies the secret of our twofold unhappiness.

    "I leave you, to return to Europe. My brother and my friends will
    tell you I am mad and inexcusable, and look upon you as a victim.
    They will say that, to have been a painter, were nothing to the
    career that I might mark out for my ambition, if ambition I must
    have, in politics. Politics in a country where distinction is a
    pillory! But I could not live here. It is my misfortune that my
    tastes are so modified by that long and compulsory exile, that
    life, here, would be a perpetual penance. This unmixed air of
    merchandise suffocates me. Our own home is tinctured black with it.
    You yourself, in this rural Paradise you have conjured up, move in
    it like a cloud. The counting-house rings in your voice,
    calculation draws together your brows, you look on everything as a
    _means_, and know its cost; and the calm and means-forgetting
    _fruition_, which forms the charm and dignity of superior life, is
    utterly unknown to you. What would be my happiness with such a
    wife? What would be yours with such a husband? Yet I consider the
    incompatibility between us as no advantage on my part--on the
    contrary, a punishment, and of your inflicting. What shall I be,
    anywhere, but a Tantalus--a fastidious _ennuyé_, with a thirst for
    the inaccessible burning in my bosom continually!

    "I pray you let us avoid another meeting before my departure.
    Though I cannot forgive you as a lover, I can think of you with
    pleasure as a cousin, and I give you as your due ('damages,' the
    law would phrase it,) the portion of myself which you thought most
    important when I offered you my all. You would not take me without
    the fortune, but perhaps you will be content with the fortune
    without me. I shall immediately take steps to convey to you this
    property of Revedere, with an income sufficient to maintain it, and
    I trust soon to hear that you have found a husband better worthy of
    you than your cousin--

    "Philip Ballister."



FRIEND BARTON'S CONCERN.

By Mary Hallock Foote.

(_Scribner's Magazine, July,_ 1879.)


It had been "borne in" upon him, more or less, during the long winter;
it had not relaxed its hold when the frosts unlocked and the streams
were set free from their long winter's silence among the hills. He grew
restless and abstracted under "the turnings of the Lord's hand upon
him," and his speech unconsciously shaped itself into the Biblical
cadences which came to him in his moments of spiritual exercise.

The bedrabbled snows of March shrank away before the keen, quickening
sunbeams; the hills emerged, brown and sodden, like the chrysalis of
the new year. The streams woke in a tumult, and all day and night their
voices called from the hills back of the mill. The waste-weir was a
foaming torrent, and spread itself in muddy shallows across the meadow
beyond the old garden where the robins and blue birds were
house-hunting. Friend Barton's trouble stirred with the life-blood of
the year, and pressed upon him sorely; but as yet he gave it no words.
He plodded about among his lean kine, tempering the winds of March to
his untimely lambs, and reconciling unnatural ewes to their maternal
duties.

Friend Barton had never heard of the doctrine of the survival of the
fittest; though it was the spring of 1812, and England and America were
investigating the subject on the seas, while the nations of Europe were
practically illustrating it. The "hospital tent," as the boys called an
old corn-basket, covered with carpet, which stood beside the kitchen
chimney, was seldom without an occupant,--a brood of chilled chickens,
a weakly lamb, or a wee pig (with too much blue in its pinkness), which
had been left behind by its stouter brethren in the race for existence.
The old mill hummed away through the day, and often late in the evening
if time pressed, upon the grists which added a thin, intermittent
stream of tribute to the family income. Whenever work was "slack,"
Friend Barton was sawing or chopping in the wood-shed adjoining the
kitchen; every moment he could seize or make he was there, stooping
over the rapidly growing pile.

"Seems to me, father, thee's in a great hurry with the wood this
spring. I don't know when we've had such a pile ahead."

"'Twon't burn up any faster for being chopped," Friend Barton said; and
then his wife Rachel knew that if he had a reason for being
"forehanded" with the wood, he was not ready to give it.

One rainy April afternoon, when the smoky gray distances began to take
a tinge of green, and through the drip and rustle of the rain the call
of the robins sounded, Friend Barton sat in the door of the barn,
oiling the road-harness. The old chaise had been wheeled out and
greased, and its cushions beaten and dusted.

An ox team with a load of grain creaked up the hill and stopped at the
mill door. The driver, seeing Friend Barton's broad-brimmed drab felt
hat against the dark interior of the barn, came down the short lane
leading from the mill past the house and farm-buildings.

"Fixin' up for travellin', Uncle Tommy?"

Vain compliments were unacceptable to Thomas Barton, and he was
generally known and addressed as "Uncle Tommy" by the world's people of
a younger generation.

"It is not in man that walketh to direct his own steps, neighbor
Gordon. I am getting myself in readiness to obey the Lord, whichever
way He calls me."

Farmer Gordon cast a shrewd eye over the premises. They wore that
patient, sad, exhumed look which old farm-buildings are apt to have in
early spring. The roofs were black with rain, and brightened with
patches of green moss. Farmer Gordon instinctively calculated how many
"bunches o' shingle" would be required to rescue them from the decline
into which they had fallen, in spite of the hectic green spots.

"Wal, the Lord calls most of us to stay at home and look after things,
such weather as this. Good plantin' weather; good weather for breakin'
ground; fust-rate weather for millin'! This is a reg'lar miller's rain,
Uncle Tommy. You ought to be takin' advantage of it. I've got a grist
back here; wish ye could manage to let me have it when I come back from
store."

The grist was ground and delivered before Friend Barton went in to his
supper that night. Dorothy Barton had been mixing bread, and was wiping
her white arms and hands on the roller towel by the kitchen door, as
her father stamped and scraped his feet on the stones outside.

"I do believe I forgot to toll neighbor Gordon's rye," he said, as he
gave a final rub on the broom Dorothy handed out to him. "It's
wonderful how careless I get!"

"Well, father, I don't suppose thee'd ever forget, and toll a grist
twice!"

"I believe I've been mostly preserved from mistakes of that kind," said
Friend Barton gently. "It may have been the Lord who stayed my hand
from gathering profit unto myself while his lambs go unfed."

Dorothy put her hands on her father's shoulders. She was almost as tall
as he, and could look into his patient, troubled eyes.

"Father, I know what thee is thinking of; but do think _long_. It will
be a hard year; the boys _ought_ to go to school; and mother is so
feeble."

Friend Barton's "concern" kept him awake long that night. His wife
watched by his side, giving no sign, lest her wakeful presence should
disturb his silent wrestlings. The tall, cherry-wood clock in the entry
measured the hours as they passed with its slow, dispassionate tick.

At two o'clock Rachel Barton was awakened from her first sleep of
weariness by her husband's voice whispering heavily in the darkness.

"My way is hedged up! I see no way to go forward. Lord, strengthen my
patience, that I murmur not, after all I have seen of Thy goodness. I
find daily bread is very desirable; want and necessity are painful to
nature; but shall I follow Thee for the sake of the loaves, or will it
do to forsake Thee in times of emptiness and abasement?"

There was silence again, and restless tossings and sighings continued
the struggle.

"Thomas," the wife's voice spoke tremulously in the darkness, "my dear
husband, I know where thy thoughts are tending. If the Spirit is with
thee, do not deny it for our sakes, I pray thee. The Lord did not give
thee thy wife and children to hang as a millstone round thy neck. I am
thy helpmeet, to strengthen thee in his service. I am thankful that I
have my health this spring better than usual, and Dorothy is a
wonderful help. Her spirit was sent to sustain me in thy long absences.
Go, dear, and serve our Master, who has called thee in these bitter
strivings! Dorothy and I will keep things together as well as we can.
The way will open--never fear!" She put out her hand and touched his
face in the darkness; there were tears on the furrowed cheeks. "Try to
sleep, dear, and let thy spirit have rest. There is but one answer to
this call."

With the first drowsy twitterings of the birds, when the
crescent-shaped openings in the board shutters began to define
themselves clearly in the shadowy room, they arose and went about their
morning tasks in silence. Friend Barton's step was a little heavier
than usual, and the hollows round his wife's pale brown eyes were a
little deeper. As he sat on the splint-bottomed chair by the kitchen
fireplace, drawing on his boots, she laid her hands on his shoulders,
and her cheek on the worn spot on the top of his head.

"Thee will lay this concern before meeting to-morrow, father?"

"I had it on my mind to do so,--if my light be not quenched before
then."

Friend Barton's light was not quenched. Words came to him without
seeking, in which to "open the concern which had ripened in his mind,"
of a religious visit to the meeting constituting the yearly meetings of
Philadelphia and Baltimore. A "minute" was given him encouraging him in
the name of, and with the full concurrence of, the monthly meetings of
Nine Partners, and Stony Valley, to go wherever the Truth might lead
him. While Friend Barton was thus freshly anointed, and "abundantly
encouraged," his wife, Rachel, was talking with Dorothy in the low
upper chamber, known as the "wheel-room."

Dorothy was spinning wool on the big wheel, dressed in her light calico
short-gown and brown quilted petticoat; her arms were bare, and her
hair was gathered away from her flushed cheeks and knotted behind her
ears. The roof sloped down on one side, and the light came from a long
low window under the eaves. There was another window (shaped like a
half moon high up in the peak), but it sent down only one long beam of
sunlight, which glimmered across the dust and fell upon Dorothy's white
neck.

The wheel was humming a quick measure, and Dorothy trod lightly back
and forth, the wheel-pin in one hand, the other upraised holding the
tense, lengthening thread, which the spindle devoured again.

"Dorothy, thee looks warm:--can't thee sit down a moment, while I talk
to thee?"

"Is it anything important, mother? I want to get my twenty knots before
dinner." She paused as she joined a long tress of wool at the spindle.
"Is it anything about father?"

"Yes, it's about father, and all of us."

"I know," said Dorothy, stretching herself back with a sigh. "He's
going away again!"

"Yes, dear. He feels that he is called. It is a time of trouble and
contention everywhere,--'the harvest truly is plenteous, but the
laborers are few.'"

"There are not so _many_ 'laborers' _here_, mother, though to be sure,
the harvest--"

"Dorothy, my daughter! don't let a spirit of levity creep into thy
speech. Thy father has striven and wrestled with his urgings. I've seen
it working on him all winter; he feels now it is the Lord's will."

"I don't see how he can be so sure," said Dorothy, swaying gloomily to
and fro against the wheel. "I don't care for myself,--I'm not afraid of
work,--but _thee's_ not able to do what thee does _now_, mother. If I
have outside things to look after, how can I help thee as I should? The
boys are about as much dependence as a flock of barn swallows!"

"Don't fret about me, dear; the way will open. Thy father has thought
and planned for us; have patience while I tell thee. Thee knows Walter
Evesham's pond is small and his mill is doing a thriving business?"

"Yes, I know it!" Dorothy exclaimed. "He has his own share, and ours
too--most of it!"

"Wait, dear, wait! Thy father has rented him the ponds to use when his
own gives out. He is to have the control of the water, and it will give
us a little income, even though the old mill does stand idle."

"He may as well take the mill, too. If father is away all summer it
will be useless ever to start it again. Thee'll see, mother, how it
will end if Walter Evesham has the custom and the water all summer. I
think it's miserable for a young man to be so keen about money."

"Dorothy, seems to me thee's hasty in thy judgments. I never heard that
said of Walter Evesham. His father left him with capital to improve his
mill. It does better work than ours; we can't complain of that. Thy
father was never one to study much after ways of making money. He felt
he had no right to more than an honest livelihood. I don't say that
Walter Evesham's in the wrong. We know that Joseph took advantage of
his opportunities, though I can't say that I ever felt much unity with
some of his transactions. What would thee have, my dear? Thee's
discouraged with thy father for choosing the thorny way, which we tread
with him; but thee seems no better satisfied with one who considers the
flesh and its wants!"

"I don't _know_, mother, _what_ I want for myself. It doesn't matter,
but for thee I would have rest from all these cruel worries thee has
borne so long."

She buried her face in her mother's lap and put her strong young arms
about the frail, toil-bent form.

"There, there, dear. Try to rule thy spirit, Dorothy. Thee's too much
worked up about this. They are not worries to me. I am thankful we have
nothing to decide, one way or the other--only to do our best with what
is given us. Thee's not thyself, dear. Go down-stairs and fetch in the
clothes, and don't hurry; stay out till thee gets more composed."

Dorothy did not succeed in bringing herself into unity with her
father's call, but she came to a fuller realization of his struggle.
When he bade them good-by, his face showed what it had cost him, but
Rachel was calm and cheerful. The pain of parting is keenest to those
who go, but it stays longer with those who are left behind.

"Dorothy, take good care of thy mother!" Friend Barton said, taking his
daughter's face between his hands and gravely kissing her brow between
the low-parted ripples of her hair.

"Yes, father," she said, looking into his eyes. "Thee knows I'm thy
eldest son."

They watched the old chaise swing round the corner of the lane, then
the pollard willows shut it from sight.

"Come, mother," said Dorothy, hurrying her in at the gate. "I'm going
to make a great pot of mush, and have it hot for supper, and fried for
breakfast, and warmed up with molasses for dinner, and there'll be some
cold with milk for supper, and we shan't have any cooking to do at
all."

They went round to the kitchen door. Rachel stopped in the wood-shed,
and the tears rushed to her eyes.

"Dear father! How he has worked over that wood, early and late, to
spare us!"

We will not revive Dorothy's struggles with the farm-work and with the
boys. They were an isolated family at the mill-house; their peculiar
faith isolated them still more, and they were twelve miles from meeting
and the settlement of Friends at Stony Valley. Dorothy's pride kept her
silent about her needs, lest they might bring reproach upon her father
among the neighbors, who would not be likely to feel the urgency of his
spiritual summons.

The summer heats came on apace and the nights grew shorter. It seemed
to Dorothy that she had hardly stretched out her tired young body and
forgotten her cares in the low attic bedroom, before the east was
streaked with light and the birds were singing in the apple-trees,
whose falling blossoms drifted in at the window.

One day in early June, Friend Barton's flock of sheep--consisting of
nine experienced ewes, six yearlings, and a sprinkling of close-curled
lambs whose legs had not yet come into mature relations with their
bodies--were gathered in a little railed inclosure, beside the stream
which flowed into the "mill head." It was supplied by the waste from
the pond, and when the gate was shut, rambled easily over the gray
slate pebbles, with here and there a fall, just forcible enough to
serve as a douche bath for a well-grown sheep. The victims were panting
in their heavy fleeces, and their hoarse, plaintive tremolo mingled
with the ripple of the water and the sound of young voices in a frolic.
Dorothy had divided her forces for the washing to the best advantage.
The two elder boys stood in the stream to receive the sheep, which she,
with the help of little Jimmy, caught and dragged to the bank.

The boys were at work now upon an elderly ewe, while Dorothy stood on
the brink of the stream, braced against an ash sapling, dragging at the
fleece of a beautiful but reluctant yearling. Her bare feet were
incased in a pair of moccasins which laced around the ankle; her
petticoats were kilted, and her broad hat bound down with a ribbon; one
sleeve was rolled up, the other had been sacrificed in a scuffle in the
sheep-pen. The new candidate for immersion stood bleating and
trembling, with her fore feet planted against the slippery bank,
pushing back with all her strength, while Jimmy propelled from the
rear.

"Boys!" Dorothy's clear voice called across the stream. "_Do_ hurry!
She's been in long enough, now! Keep her head up, can't you, and
squeeze the wool _hard_! You're not _half_ washing! Oh, Reuby! thee'll
drown her! Keep her _head_ up!"

Another unlucky douse and another half-smothered bleat,--Dorothy
released the yearling and plunged to the rescue. "Go after that lamb,
Reuby!" she cried, with exasperation in her voice. Reuby followed the
yearling, which had disappeared over the orchard slope, upsetting an
obstacle in its path, which happened to be Jimmy. He was now wailing on
the bank, while Dorothy, with the ewe's nose tucked comfortably in the
bend of her arm, was parting and squeezing the fleece, with the water
swirling round her. Her stout arms ached, and her ears were stunned
with the incessant bleating; she counted with dismay the sheep still
waiting in the pen. "Oh, Jimmy! _do_ stop crying, or else go to the
house!"

"He'd better go after Reuby," said Sheppard Barton, who was now
Dorothy's sole dependence.

"Oh yes; do, Jimmy, that's a good boy. Tell him to let the yearling go,
and come back quick."

The water had run low that morning in Evesham's pond. He shut down the
mill, and strode up the hills, across lots, to raise the gate of the
lower Barton Pond, which had been heading up for his use. He passed the
corn-field where, a month before, he had seen pretty Dorothy Barton
dropping corn with her brothers. It made him ache to think of Dorothy,
with her feeble mother, the boys, as wild as preacher's sons
proverbially are, and the old farm running down on her hands; the
fences all needed mending, and there went Reuben Barton, now, careering
over the fields in chase of a stray yearling. His mother's house was
big, and lonely, and empty; and he flushed as he thought of the "one
ewe-lamb" he coveted, out of Friend Barton's rugged pastures. As he
raised the gate, and leaned to watch the water swirl and gurgle through
the "trunk," sucking the long weeds with it, and thickening with its
tumult the clear current of the stream, the sound of voices and
bleating of sheep came up from below. He had not the farming instincts
in his blood;--the distant bleating, the hot June sunshine and
cloudless sky, did not suggest to him sheep-washing;--but now came a
boy's voice shouting and a cry of distress, and he remembered, with a
thrill, that Friend Barton used the stream for that peaceful purpose.
He shut down the gate and tore along through the ferns and tangled
grass till he came to the sheep-pen, where the bank was muddy and
trampled. The prisoners were bleating drearily and looking with longing
eyes across to the other side, where those who had suffered were now
straying and cropping the short turf, through the lights and shadows of
the orchard.

There was no other sign of life, except a broad hat with a brown
ribbon, buffeted about in an eddy, among the stones. The stream dipped
now below the hill, and the current, still racing fast with the impetus
he had given it, shot away among the hazel thickets which crowded close
to the brink. He was obliged to make a detour by the orchard, and come
out at the "mill-head" below;--a black, deep pool, with an ugly ripple
setting across it to the "head-gate." He saw something white clinging
there and ran round the brink. It was the sodden fleece of the old ewe
which had been drifted against the "head-gate," and held there to her
death. Evesham, with a sickening contraction of the heart, threw off
his jacket for a plunge, when Dorothy's voice called rather faintly
from the willows on the opposite bank.

"Don't jump! I'm here," she said. Evesham searched the willows, and
found her seated in the sun just beyond, half buried in a bed of ferns.

"I wouldn't have called thee," she said shyly, as he sank, pale and
panting, beside her, "but thee looked--I thought thee was going to jump
into the mill-head!"

"I thought _you_ were there, Dorothy!"

"I was there quite long enough. Shep pulled me out; I was too tired to
help myself much." Dorothy held her palm pressed against her temple,
and the blood trickled from beneath, streaking her pale, wet cheek.

"He's gone to the house to get me a cloak. I don't want mother to see
me--not yet," she said.

"I'm afraid you ought not to wait, Dorothy. Let me take you to the
house, won't you? I'm afraid you'll get a deadly chill."

Dorothy did not look in the least like death. She was blushing now,
because Evesham would think it so strange of her to stay, and yet she
could not rise in her wet clothes, which clung to her like the calyx to
a bud.

"Let me see that cut, Dorothy, _please_!"

"Oh, it's nothing. I don't _wish_ thee to look at it!"

"But I will! Do you want to make me your murderer--sitting there in
your wet clothes, with a cut on your head?"

He drew away her hand, and the wound, indeed, was no great affair, but
he bound it up deftly with strips of his handkerchief. Dorothy's wet
curls touched his fingers and clung to them, and her eyelashes drooped
lower and lower.

"I think it was _very_ stupid of thee. Didn't thee hear us from the
dam? I'm sure we made noise enough."

"Yes, I heard you when it was too late. I heard the sheep before, but
how could I imagine that _you_, Dorothy, and three boys, as big as
cockerels, were sheep-washing? It's the most preposterous thing I ever
heard of!"

"Well, I can't help being a woman, and the sheep had to be washed. I
think there ought to be more men in the world when half of them are
preaching and fighting."

"If you'd only let the men who are left help you a little, Dorothy!"

"I don't want any help. I only _don't_ want to be washed into the
mill-head."

They both laughed, and Evesham began again entreating her to let him
take her to the house.

"Hasn't thee a coat or something I could put around me until Shep
comes?" said Dorothy. "He must be here soon."

"Yes, I've got a jacket here somewhere."

He sped away to find it, and faithless Dorothy, as the willows closed
between them, sprang to her feet and fled like a startled Naiad to the
house.

When Evesham, pushing through the willows, saw nothing but the bed of
wet, crushed ferns and the trail through the long grass where Dorothy's
feet had fled, he smiled grimly to himself, remembering that
"ewe-lambs" are not always as meek as they look.

That evening Rachel had received a letter from Friend Barton, and was
preparing to read it aloud to the children. They were in the kitchen,
where the boys had been helping Dorothy, in a desultory manner, to
shell corn for the chickens; but now all was silence, while Rachel
wiped her glasses and turned the large sheet of paper, squared with
many foldings, to the candle.

She read the date, "London Grove, 5th month, 22nd.--Most affectionately
beloved." "He means us all," said Rachel, turning to the children with
a tender smile. "It's spelled with a small b."

"He means thee!" said Dorothy, laughing. "Thee's not such a very big
beloved."

There was a moment's silence. "I don't know that the opening of the
letter is of general interest," Rachel mused, with her eyes travelling
slowly down the page. "He says: 'In regard to my health, lest thee
should concern thyself, I am thankful to say I have never enjoyed
better since years have made me acquainted with my infirmities of body,
and I earnestly hope that my dear wife and children are enjoying the
same blessing.

"'I trust the boys are not deficient in obedience and helpfulness. At
Sheppard's age I had already begun to take the duties of a man upon my
shoulders.'"

Sheppard giggled uncomfortably, and Dorothy laughed outright.

"Oh! if father only _knew_ how good the boys are! Mother, thee must
write and tell him about their 'helpfulness and obedience'! Thee can
tell him their appetites keep up pretty well; they manage to take their
meals regularly, and they are _always_ out of bed by eight o'clock, to
help me hang up the milking-stool!"

"Just wait till thee gets in the mill-head again, Dorothy Barton! Thee
needn't come to _me_ to help thee out!"

"Go on, mother! Don't let the boys interrupt thee!"

"Well," said Rachel, rousing herself, "where was I? Oh, 'when I was
Sheppard's age'! Well, next come some allusions to the places where he
has visited, and his spiritual exercises there. I don't know that the
boys are quite old enough to enter into this yet. Thee'd better read it
thyself, Dorothy. I'm keeping all father's letters for the boys to
read, when they are old enough to appreciate them."

"Well, I think thee might read us about where he's been preachin'! We
can understand a great deal more than thee thinks we can!" said Shep,
in an injured voice. "Reuby, he can preach some himself! Thee ought to
hear him, mother. It's almost as good as meetin'!"

"I _wondered_ how Reuby spent his time!" said Dorothy, and the mother
hastened to interpose.

"Well, here's a passage that may be interesting: 'On sixth day attended
the youths' meeting here,--a pretty favored time on the whole. Joseph'
[that's Joseph Carpenter; he mentions him aways back] 'had good service
in lively testimony, while I was calm and easy, without a word to say.
At a meeting at Plumstead, we suffered long, but at length we felt
relieved. The unfaithful were admonished, the youth invited, and the
heavy-hearted encouraged. It was a heavenly time!' Heretofore he seems
to have been closed up with silence a good deal; but now the way opens
continually for him to free himself. He's been 'much favored,' he says,
'of late.' Reuby, what's thee doing to thy brothers?" (Shep and Reuby,
who had been persecuting Jimmy by pouring handfuls of corn down the
neck of his jacket until he had taken refuge behind Dorothy's chair,
were now recriminating with corn-cobs on each other's faces.) "Dorothy,
can't thee keep those boys quiet?"

"Did thee ever know them to be quiet?" said Dorothy, helping Jimmy to
relieve himself of his corn.

"Well now, listen!" Rachel continued placidly, "'Second day, 27th' (of
fifth month, he means, the letter's been a _long time_ coming),
'attended their mid-week meeting at London Grove, where my tongue as it
were clave to the roof of my mouth, while Hannah Husbands was much
favored, and enabled to lift up her voice like the song of an angel'"--

"Who's Hannah Husbands?" cried Dorothy.

"Thee don't know her, dear. She was second cousin to thy father's
step-mother; the families were not congenial, I believe; but she has a
great gift for the ministry."

"I should think she'd better be at home with her children,--if she has
any. Fancy _thee_, mother, going about to strange meetings, and lifting
up thy voice."

"Hush! hush! Dorothy! Thy tongue's running away with thee. Consider the
example thee's setting the boys."

"Thee'd better write to father about Dorothy, mother! Perhaps Hannah
Husbands would like to know what she thinks about her preachin'!"

"Well now, be quiet, all of you. Here's something about Dorothy: 'I
know that my dear daughter Dorothy is faithful and loving, albeit
somewhat quick of speech, and restive under obligation. I would have
thee remind her that an unwillingness to accept help from others argues
a want of Christian Meekness. Entreat her, from me, not to conceal her
needs from our neighbors, if so be she find her work oppressive. We
know them to be of kindly intention, though not of our way of thinking
in all particulars. Let her receive help from them, not as individuals,
but as instruments of the Lord's protection, which it were impiety and
ingratitude to deny.'"

"There!" cried Shep. "That means thee's to let Luke Jordan finish the
sheep-washing. Thee'd better have done it in the first place. We
wouldn't have the old ewe to pick if thee had!"

Dorothy was dimpling at the idea of Luke Jordan in the character of an
instrument of heavenly protection. She had not regarded him in that
light, it must be confessed, and had rejected him with scorn.

"He may if he wants to," she said; "but you boys shall drive them over.
I'll have nothing to do with it."

"And shear them too, Dorothy? He asked to shear them long ago."

"Well, _let_ him shear them, and keep the wool too."

"I wouldn't say that, Dorothy!" said Rachel Barton. "We need the wool,
and it seems as if over-payment might not be quite honest either."

"Oh! mother, mother! What a mother thee is!" cried Dorothy laughing,
and rumpling her cap-strings in a tumultuous embrace.

"She's a great deal too good for _thee_, Dorothy Barton."

"She's too good for all of us! How did thee ever come to have such a
graceless set of children, mother?"

"I'm very well satisfied," said Rachel. "But now do be quiet, and let's
finish the letter. We must get to bed some time to-night!"

The wild clematis was in blossom now--the fences were white with it,
and the rusty cedars were crowned with virgin wreaths, but the weeds
were thick in the garden and in the potato patch. Dorothy, stretching
her cramped back, looked longingly up the shadowy vista of the
farm-lane, which had nothing to do but ramble off into the remotest
green fields, where the daisies' faces were as white and clear as in
early June.

One hot August night she came home late from the store. The stars were
thick in the sky; the katydids made the night oppressive with their
rasping questionings, and a hoarse revel of frogs kept the ponds from
falling asleep in the shadow of the hills.

"Is thee very tired to-night, Dorothy?" her mother asked, as she took
her seat on the low step of the porch. "Would thee mind turning old
John out thyself?"

"No, mother, I'm not tired. But why--oh, _I_ know!" cried Dorothy, with
a quick laugh. "The dance--at Slocum's barn. I _thought_ those boys
were uncommonly helpful."

"Yes, dear, it's but natural they should want to see it. Hark! we can
hear the music from here."

They listened, and the breeze brought across the fields the sound of
fiddles and the rhythmic tramp of feet, softened by the distance.
Dorothy's young pulses leaped.

"Mother, is it any harm for them just to _see_ it? They have so little
fun except what they get out of teasing and shirking."

"My dear, thy father would never countenance such a scene of frivolity,
or permit one of his children to look upon it."

Through our eyes and ears the world takes possession of our hearts.

"Then I'm to spare the boys this temptation, mother? Thee will trust
_me_ to pass the barn?"

"I would trust my boys, if they were thy age Dorothy. But their
resolution is tender, like their years."

It might be questioned whether the frame of mind in which the boys went
to bed that night, under their mother's eye,--for Rachel could be firm
in a case of conscience,--was more improving than the frivolity of
Slocum's barn.

"Mother," called Dorothy, looking in at the kitchen window, where
Rachel was stooping over the embers in the fireplace, to light a
bedroom candle, "I want to speak to thee."

Rachel came to the window, screening the candle with her hand.

"Will thee trust _me_ to look at the dancing a little while? It is so
very near."

"Why, Dorothy, does thee _want_ to?"

"Yes, mother, I believe I do. I've never seen a dance in my life. It
cannot ruin me to look just once."

Rachel stood puzzled.

"Thee's old enough to judge for thyself, Dorothy. But, my child, do not
tamper with thy inclinations through heedless curiosity. Thee knows
thee's more impulsive than I could wish--for thy own peace."

"I'll be very careful, mother. If I feel in the _least_ wicked I will
not look."

She kissed her mother's hand, which rested on the window-sill. Rachel
did not like the kiss, or Dorothy's brilliant eyes and flushed cheeks,
as the candle revealed them like a fair picture painted on the
darkness. She hesitated, and Dorothy sped away up the lane with old
John lagging at his halter.

Was it the music growing nearer that quickened her breathing, or only
the closeness of the night, shut in between the wild grape-vine
curtains, swung from one dark cedar column to another? She caught the
sweet-brier breath as she hurried by, and now, a loop in the leafy
curtain revealed the pond lying black in a hollow of the hills, with a
whole heaven of stars reflected in it. Old John stumbled along over the
stones, cropping the grass as he went. Dorothy tugged at his halter and
urged him on to the head of the lane where two farm-gates stood at
right angles. One of them was open, and a number of horses were
tethered in a row along the fence within. They whinneyed a cheerful
greeting to John as Dorothy slipped his halter and shut him into the
field adjoining. Now should she walk into temptation with her eyes and
ears open? The gate stood wide, with only one field of perfumed
meadow-grass between her and the lights and music of Slocum's barn! The
sound of revelry by night could hardly have taken a more innocent form
than this rustic dancing of neighbors after a "raisin' bee," but had it
been the rout of Comus and his crew, and Dorothy the Lady Una,
trembling near, her heart could hardly have throbbed more thickly as
she crossed the dewy meadow. A young maple stood within ten rods of the
barn, and here she crouched in shadow.

The great doors stood wide open, and lanterns were hung from the beams
lighting the space between the mows, where a dance was set, with youths
and maidens in two long rows. The fiddlers sat on barrel-heads near the
door; a lantern hanging just behind projected their shadows across the
square of light on the trodden space in front where they executed a
grotesque pantomime, keeping time to the music with spectral wavings
and noddings. The dancers were Dorothy's young neighbors, whom she had
known and yet not known all her life, but they had the strangeness of
familiar faces seen suddenly in some fantastic dream.

Surely that was Nancy Slocum, in the bright pink gown, heading the line
of girls, and that was Luke Jordan's sunburnt profile leaning from his
place to pluck a straw from the mow behind him. They were marching now,
and the measured tramp of feet, keeping solid time to the fiddles, set
a strange tumult vibrating in Dorothy's blood; and now it stopped with
a thrill as she recognized that Evesham was there marching with the
young men, and that his peer was not among them. The perception of his
difference came to her with a vivid shock. He was coming forward now,
with his light, firm step, formidable in evening dress, and with a
smile of subtle triumph in his eyes, to meet Nancy Slocum, in the
bright pink gown; Dorothy felt she hated pink, of all the colors her
faith had abjured. She could see, in spite of the obnoxious gown, that
Nancy was very pretty. He was taking her first by the right hand, then
by the left, and turning her gayly about;--and now they were meeting
again, for the fourth or fifth time, in the centre of the barn, with
all eyes upon them, and the music lingered while Nancy, holding out her
pink petticoats, coyly revolved around him. Then began a mysterious
turning, and clasping of hands, and weaving of Nancy's pink frock and
Evesham's dark blue coat and white breeches in and out of the line of
figures, until they met at the door, and taking each other by both
hands, swept with a joyous measure to the head of the barn. Dorothy
gave a little choking sigh.

What a senseless whirl it was! But she was thrilling with a new and
strange excitement, too near the edge of pain to be long endured as a
pleasure. If this were the influence of dancing, she did not wonder so
much at her father's scruples,--and yet it held her like a spell.

All hands were lifted now, making an arch, through which Evesham,
holding Nancy by the hands, raced stooping and laughing. As they
emerged at the door, he threw up his head to shake a brown lock back.
He looked flushed, and boyishly gay, and his hazel eye searched the
darkness with that subtle ray of triumph in it which had made Dorothy
afraid. She drew back behind the tree and pressed her hot cheek to the
cool, rough bark. She longed for the stillness of the starlit meadow,
and the dim lane, with its faint perfumes and whispering leaves.

But now suddenly the music stopped, and the dance broke up in a tumult
of voices. Dorothy stole backward in the shadow of the tree-trunk, till
it joined the darkness of the meadow, and then fled,--stumbling along
with blinded eyes, and the music still vibrating in her ears. There
came a quick rush of footsteps behind her, swishing through the long
grass. She did not look back, but quickened her pace, struggling to
reach the gate. Evesham was there before her. He had swung the gate to
and was leaning with his back against it, laughing and panting.

"I've caught you, Dorothy, you little deceiver! You'll not get rid of
me to-night with any of your tricks. I'm going to take you home to your
mother, and tell her you were peeping at the dancing."

"Mother knows I am here," said Dorothy. "I asked her!" Her knees were
trembling, and her heart almost choked her with its throbbing.

"I'm so glad you don't dance, Dorothy. This is much nicer than the
barn; and the katydids are better fiddlers than old Darby and his son.
I'll open the gate if you will put your hand in mine, so I can be sure
of you--you little runaway!"

"I will stay here all night, first!" said Dorothy, in a low quivering
voice.

"As you choose. I shall be happy as long as you are here."

Dead silence, while the katydids seemed to keep time to their
heart-beats; the fiddles began tuning for another reel, and the horses
tethered near stretched out their necks with low inquiring whinneys.

"Dorothy," said Evesham, softly, leaning toward her and trying to see
her face in the darkness, "are you angry with me? Don't you think you
deserve a little punishment for the trick you played me at the
mill-head?"

"It was thy fault for wetting me!" Dorothy was too excited and angry to
cry, but she was as miserable as she had ever been in her life before.
"I didn't _want_ thee to stay. People who force themselves where they
are not wanted must take what they get!"

"What did you say, Dorothy?"

"I say I didn't want thee then. I do not want thee now! Thee may go
back to thy fiddling and dancing! I'd rather have one of those dumb
brutes for company to-night than thee, Walter Evesham!"

"Very well! The reel has begun," said Evesham. "Fanny Jordan is waiting
to dance it with me, or if she isn't she ought to be! Shall I open the
gate for you?"

She passed out in silence, and the gate swung to with a heavy jar. She
made good speed down the lane, and then waited outside the fence till
her breath came more quietly.

"Is that thee, Dorothy?" Rachel's voice called from the porch. She came
out to meet her, and they went along the walk together. "How damp thy
forehead is, child! is the night so warm?" They sat down on the low
steps, and Dorothy slid her arm under her mother's and laid her soft
palm against the one less soft by twenty years of toil for others.
"Thee's not been long, dear; was it as much as thee expected?"

"Mother, it was dreadful! I never wish to hear a fiddle again as long
as I live!"

Rachel opened the way for Dorothy to speak further; she was not without
some mild stirrings of curiosity on the subject herself; but Dorothy
had no more to say.

They went into the house soon after, and as they separated for the
night, Dorothy clung to her mother with a little nervous laugh.

"Mother, what is that text about Ephraim?"

"Ephraim is joined to idols?" Rachel suggested.

"Yes! Ephraim is joined to his idols!" said Dorothy, lifting her head.
"Let him go!"

"Let him _alone_," corrected Rachel.

"Let him _alone!_" Dorothy repeated. "That is better yet."

"What's thee thinking of, dear?"

"Oh, I'm thinking about the dance in the barn."

"I'm glad thee looks at it in that light," said Rachel.

                         *    *    *    *    *

Dorothy knelt by her bed in the low chamber under the eaves, crying to
herself that she was not the child of her mother any more.

She felt she had lost something, which, in truth, had never been hers.
It was only the unconscious poise of her unawakened girlhood which had
been stirred. She had mistaken it for that abiding peace which is not
lost or won in a day.

Dorothy could not stifle the spring thrills in her blood any more than
she could crush its color out of her cheek or brush the ripples out of
her bright hair, but she longed for the cool grays and the still
waters. She prayed that the "grave and beautiful damsel called
Discretion" might take her by the hand and lead her to that "upper
chamber, whose name is Peace." She lay awake, listening to the music
from the barn, and waiting through breathless silences for it to begin
again. She wondered if Fanny Jordan had grown any prettier since she
had seen her as a half-grown girl; and then she despised herself for
the thought. The katydids seemed to beat their wings upon her brain,
and all the noises of the night, far and near, came to her strained
senses, as if her silent chamber were a whispering gallery. The clock
struck twelve, and in the silence that followed she missed the music;
but voices, talking and laughing, were coming down the lane. There was
the clink of a horse's hoof on the stones; now it was lost on the turf;
and now they were all trooping noisily past the house. She buried her
head in her pillow, and tried to bury with it the consciousness that
she was wondering if Evesham were there, laughing with the rest.

Yes, Evesham was there. He walked with Farmer Jordan, behind the young
men and girls, and discussed with him, somewhat absently, the war news
and the prices of grain.

As they passed the dark old house, spreading its wide roofs, like a hen
gathering her chickens under her wing, he became suddenly silent. A
white curtain flapped in and out of an upper window. It was the window
of the boys' room; but Evesham's instincts failed him there.

"Queer kinks them old Friend preachers git into their heads sometimes!"
said farmer Jordan, as they passed the empty mill. "Now what do you
s'pose took Uncle Tommy Barton off right on top of plantin', leavin'
his wife 'n' critters 'n' child'en to look after themselves? Mighty
good preachin' it ought to be, to make up for such practicin'.
Wonderful set ag'in the war, Uncle Tommy is! He's a-preachin' up peace
now. But Lord! all the preachin' sence Moses won't keep men from
fightin' when their blood's up and there's ter'tory in it!"

"It makes saints of the women," said Evesham shortly.

"Wal, yes! Saints in heaven before their time, some of 'em. There's
Dorothy, now. _She'll_ hoe her row with any saint _in_ the kingdom or
out of it. I never see a hulsomer-lookin' gal. My Luke, he run the
furrers in her corn-patch last May. Said it made him sick to see a gal
like that a-staggerin' after a plow. She wouldn't more'n _half let_
him! She's a proud little piece. They're all proud, Quakers is. I never
could see no 'poorness of spirit,' come to git at 'em! And they're
wonderful clannish, too. My Luke, he'd a notion he'd like to run the
hull concern--Dorothy 'n' all; but I told him he might 's well p'int
off. Them Quaker gals don't never marry out o' meetin'. Besides, the
farm's too poor!"

"Good-night, Mr. Jordan!" said Evesham suddenly. "I'm off across lots!"
He leaped the fence, crashed through the alder hedge-row, and
disappeared in the dusky meadow.

Evesham was by no means satisfied with his experiments in planetary
distances. Somewhere, he felt sure, either in his orbit or hers, there
must be a point where Dorothy would be less insensible to the
attraction of atoms in the mass. Thus far, she had reversed the laws of
the spheres, and the greater had followed the less. When she had first
begun to hold a permanent place in his thoughts, he had invested her
with something of that atmosphere of peace and cool passivity which
hedges in the women of her faith. It had been like a thin, clear glass,
revealing her loveliness, but cutting off the magnetic currents. A
young man is not long satisfied with the mystery his thoughts have
woven around the woman who is their object. Evesham had grown
impatient; he had broken the spell of her sweet remoteness. He had
touched her, and found her human,--deliciously, distractingly human,
but with a streak of obduracy which history has attributed to the
Quakers under persecution. In vain he haunted the mill-dam, and bribed
the boys with traps and pop-guns, and lingered at the well-curb to ask
Dorothy for water, which did not reach his thirst. She was there in the
flesh, with her arms aloft, balancing the well-sweep, while he stooped
with his lips at the bucket; but in spirit she was unapproachable. He
felt, with disgust at his own persistence, that she even grudged him
the water! He grew savage and restless, and fretted over the subtle
changes which he counted in Dorothy, as the summer waned. She was
thinner and paler,--perhaps with the heats of harvest, which had not,
indeed, been burdensome from its abundance. Her eyes were darker and
shyer, and her voice more languid. Was she wearing down, with all this
work and care? A fierce disgust possessed him, that this sweet life
should be cast into the breach between faith and works.

He did not see that Rachel Barton had changed, too,--with a change that
meant more, at her age, than Dorothy's flushings and palings. He did
not miss the mother's bent form from the garden, or the bench by the
kitchen door, where she had been used to wash the milk-things.

Dorothy washed the milk-things now, and the mother spent her days in
the sunny east room, between her bed and the easy-chair, where she sat
and mused for hours over the five letters she had received from her
husband in as many months. The boys had, in a measure, justified their
father's faith in them, since Rachel's illness, and Dorothy was
released from much of her out-door work; but the silence of the
kitchen, when she was there alone with her ironing and dish-washing,
was a heavier burden than she had yet known.

Nature sometimes strikes in upon the hopeless monotony of life in
remote farm-houses, with one of her phenomenal moods. They come like
besoms of destruction; but they scatter the web of stifling routine;
they fling into the stiffening pool the stone which jars the atoms into
crystal.

The storms which had ambushed in the lurid August skies, and circled
ominously round the horizon during the first weeks of September, broke
at last in an equinoctial which was long remembered in the mill-house.
It took its place in the family calendar of momentous dates with the
hard winter of 1800; with the late frost, which coated the incipient
apples with ice, and froze the new potatoes in the ground; and with the
year the typhus got into the valley.

The rain had been falling a night and a day. It had been welcomed with
thanksgiving; but it had worn out its welcome some hours since, and now
the early darkness was coming on without a lull in the storm. Dorothy
and the two biggest boys had made the rounds of the farm-buildings,
seeing all safe for the second night. The barns and mill stood on high
ground, while the house occupied the sheltered hollow between. Little
streams from the hills were washing in turbid currents across the lower
levels; the waste-weir roared as in early spring; the garden was
inundated, and the meadow a shallow pond. The sheep had been driven
into the upper barn floor; the chickens were in the corn-bin; and old
John and the cows had been transferred from the stable, which stood
low, to the weighing-floor of the mill. A gloomy echoing and gurgling
sounded from the dark wheel-chamber, where the water was rushing under
the wheel, and jarring it with its tumult. At eight o'clock the
wood-shed was flooded, and water began to creep under the kitchen door.
Dorothy and the boys carried armfuls of wood, and stacked them in the
passage to the sitting-room, two steps higher up. At nine o'clock the
boys were sent, protesting, to bed; and Dorothy, looking out of their
window, as she fumbled about in the dark for a pair of Shep's trowsers
which needed mending, saw a lantern flickering up the road. It was
Evesham, on his way to the mill-dams. The light glimmered on his
oil-skin coat as he climbed the stile behind the well-curb.

"He raised the flood-gates at noon," Dorothy said to herself. "I wonder
if he is anxious about the dams." She resolved to watch for his return,
but she was busy settling her mother for the night when she heard his
footsteps on the porch. The roar of water from the hills startled
Dorothy as she opened the door;--it had increased in violence within an
hour. A gust of wind and rain followed Evesham into the entry.

"Come in," she said, running lightly across the sitting-room to close
the door of her mother's room.

He stood opposite her on the hearth-rug and looked into her eyes across
the estrangement of the summer. It was not Dorothy of the mill-head, or
of Slocum's meadow, or the cold maid of the well: it was a very
anxious, lovely little girl, in a crumbling old house, with a foot of
water in the cellar, and a sick mother in the next room. She had
forgotten about Ephraim and his idols; she picked up Shep's trowsers
from the rug, where she had dropped them, and looking intently at her
thimble finger, told him she was very glad he had come.

"Did you think I wouldn't come?" said he. "I'm going to take you home
with me, Dorothy,--you and your mother and the boys. It's not fit for
you to be here alone!"

"Do you know of any danger?"

"I _know_ of none, but water's a thing you can't depend on. It's an
ugly rain; older men than your father remember nothing like it."

"I shall be glad to have mother go, and Jimmy;--the house is very damp.
It's an awful night for her to be out, though!"

"She _must_ go!" said Evesham. "You must all go. I'll be back in half
an hour--"

"_I_ shall not go," Dorothy said; "the boys and I must stay and look
after the stock."

"What's that?" Evesham was listening to a trickling of water outside
the door.

"Oh! it's from the kitchen! The door's blown open, I guess!"

Dorothy looked out into the passage; a strong wind was blowing in from
the kitchen, where the water covered the floor and washed against the
chimney.

"This is a nice state of things! What's all this wood here for?"

"The wood-shed's under water, you know."

"You must get yourself ready, Dorothy! I'll come for your mother first
in the chaise."

"I cannot go," she said; "I don't believe there is any danger. This old
house has stood for eighty years; it's not likely this is the first big
rain in all that time." Dorothy's spirits had risen. "Besides, I have a
family of orphans to take care of! See here," she said, stooping over a
basket in the shadow of the chimney. It was the "hospital tent," and as
she uncovered it, a brood of belated chickens stretched out their thin
necks with plaintive peeps.

Dorothy covered them with her hands, and they nestled with cozy
twitterings into silence.

"You're a kind of special providence, aren't you, Dorothy? But I've no
sympathy with chickens who _will_ be born just in time for the
equinoctial."

"_I_ didn't want them," said Dorothy, anxious to defend her management.
"The old hen stole her nest, and she left them the day before the rain.
She's making herself comfortable now in the corn-bin."

"She ought to be made an example of;--that's the way of the world,
however;--retribution don't fall always on the right shoulders. I must
go now. We'll take your mother and Jimmy first, and then, if you
_won't_ come, you shall let me stay with you. The mill is safe enough,
anyhow."

Evesham returned with the chaise and a man who he insisted should drive
away old John and the cows, so Dorothy should have less care. The
mother was packed into the chaise with a vast collection of wraps,
which almost obliterated Jimmy. As they started, Dorothy ran out in the
rain with her mother's spectacles and the five letters, which always
lay in a box on the table by her bed. Evesham took her gently by the
arms and lifted her back across the puddles to the stoop.

As the chaise drove off, she went back to the sitting-room and crouched
on the rug, her wet hair shining in the firelight. She took out her
chickens one by one and held them under her chin, with tender words and
finger-touches. If September chickens have hearts as susceptible as
their bodies, Dorothy's orphans must have been imperilled by her
caresses.

"Look here, Dorothy! Where's my trowsers?" cried Shep, opening the door
at the foot of the stairs.

Reuby was behind him, fully arrayed in the aforesaid articles, and
carrying the bedroom candle.

"Here they are--with a needle in them," said Dorothy. "What are you
getting up in the middle of the night for?"

"Well, I guess it's time somebody's up. Who's that man driving off our
cows?"

"Goosey! It's Walter Evesham's man. He came for mother and all of us,
and he's taken old John and the cows to save us so much foddering."

"Ain't we going too?"

"I don't see why we should, just because there happens to be a little
water in the kitchen. I've often seen it come in there before."

"Well, thee never saw anything like _this_ before--nor anybody else,
either," said Shep.

"I don't care," said Reuby; "I wish there'd come a reg'lar flood. We
could climb up in the mill-loft and go sailin' down over Jordan's
meadows. Wouldn't Luke Jordan open that big mouth of his to see us
heave in sight about cock-crow--three sheets in the wind, and the old
tackle a-swingin'!"

"Do hush!" said Dorothy. "We may have to try it yet."

"There's an awful roarin' from our window," said Shep. "Thee can't half
hear it down here. Come out on the stoop. The old ponds have got their
dander up this time."

They opened the door and listened, standing together on the low step.
There was, indeed, a hoarse murmur from the hills which grew louder as
they listened.

"Now she's comin'! There goes the stable-door! There was only one hinge
left, anyway," said Reuby. "Mighty! Look at that wave!"

It crashed through the gate, swept across the garden, and broke at
their feet, sending a thin sheet of water over the floor and stoop.

"Now it's gone into the entry. Why didn't thee shut the door, Shep?"

"Well, I think we'd better clear out, anyhow. Let's go over to the
mill. Say, Dorothy, sha'n't we?"

"Wait. There comes another wave!"

The second onset was not so violent, but they hastened to gather
together a few blankets, and the boys filled their pockets, with a
delightful sense of unusualness and peril, almost equal to a shipwreck
or an attack by Indians. Dorothy took her unlucky chickens under her
cloak and they made a rush, all together, across the road and up the
slope to the mill.

"Why didn't we think to bring a lantern?" said Dorothy, as they huddled
together on the platform of the scale. "Will _thee_ go back after one,
Shep?"

"If Reuby'll go, too."

"Well, _my_ legs are wet enough now! What's the use of a lantern?
Mighty Moses! What's that?"

"The old mill's got under weigh!" cried Shep. "_She's_ going to tune up
for Kingdom Come!"

A furious head of water was rushing along the race. The great wheel
creaked and swung over, and with a shudder the old mill awoke from its
long sleep. The cogs clenched their teeth, the shafting shook and
rattled, the stones whirled merrily round.

"Now she goes it!" cried Shep, as the humming increased to a tremor,
and the tremor to a wild, unsteady din, till the timbers shook and the
bolts and windows rattled. "I just wish _father_ could hear them old
stones hum."

"Oh, this is awful!" said Dorothy. She was shivering, and sick with
terror at this unseemly midnight revelry of her grandfather's old mill.
It was as if it had awakened in a fit of delirium, and given itself up
to a wild travesty of its years of peaceful work.

Shep was creeping about in the darkness.

"Look here! We've got to stop this clatter somehow. The stones are hot
now. The whole thing'll burn up like tinder if we can't chock her
wheels."

"Shep! Does thee _mean_ it?"

"Thee'll see if I don't. Thee won't need any lantern either."

"Can't we break away the race?"

"Oh, there's a way to stop it. There's the tip-trough, but it's
down-stairs, and we can't reach the pole."

"I'll go," said Dorothy.

"It's outside, thee knows. Thee'll get awful _wet_, Dorothy."

"Well, I'd just as soon be drowned as burned up. Come with me to the
head of the stairs."

They felt their way hand in hand in the darkness, and Dorothy went down
alone. She had forgotten about the "tip-trough," but she understood its
significance. In a few moments a cascade shot out over the wheel,
sending the water far into the garden.

"Right over my chrysanthemum bed!" sighed Dorothy.

The wheel swung slower and slower, the mocking tumult subsided, and the
old mill sank into sleep again.

There was nothing now to drown the roaring of the floods and the steady
drive of the storm.

"There's a lantern," Shep called from the door. He had opened the upper
half, and was shielding himself behind it. "I guess it's Evesham coming
back for us. He's a pretty good sort of a fellow, after all; don't thee
think so, Dorothy? He owes us something for drowning us out at the
sheep-washing."

"What _does all_ this mean?" said Dorothy, as Evesham swung himself
over the half-door, and his lantern showed them in their various phases
of wetness.

"There's a big leak in the lower dam! I've been afraid of it all along;
there's something wrong in the principle of the thing."

Dorothy felt as if he had called her grandfather a fraud, and her
father a delusion and a snare. She had grown up in the belief that the
mill-dams were part of Nature's original plan, in laying the
foundations of the hills;--but it was no time to be resentful, and the
facts were against her.

"Dorothy," said Evesham, as he tucked the buffalo about her, "this is
the second time I've tried to save you from drowning, but you never
will wait! _I'm_ all ready to be a hero, but _you_ won't be a heroine."

"I'm too practical for a heroine," said Dorothy. "There! I've forgotten
my chickens."

"I'm glad of it! Those chickens were a mistake. They oughtn't to be
perpetuated."

Youth and happiness can stand a great deal of cold water; but it was
not to be expected that Rachel Barton should be especially benefited by
her night journey through the floods. Evesham waited in the hall when
he heard the door of her room open next morning. Dorothy came slowly
down the stairs; he knew by her lingering step and the softly closed
door that she was not happy.

"Mother is very sick," she answered his inquiry.

"It is like the turn of inflammation and rheumatism she had once
before. It will be very slow,--and oh! it is such suffering! Why _do_
the best women in the world have to suffer so?"

"Will you let me talk things over with you after breakfast, Dorothy?"

"Oh yes!" she said; "there is so much to do and think about. I _wish_
father _would_ come home!"

The tears came into Dorothy's eyes as she looked at him. Rest--such as
she had never known, or felt the need of till now--and strength
immeasurable, since it would multiply her own by an unknown quantity,
stood within reach of her hand, but she might not put it out! And
Evesham was dizzy with the struggle between longing and resolution.

He had braced his nerves for a long and hungry waiting, but fate had
yielded suddenly;--the floods had brought her to him,--his flotsam and
jetsam, more precious than all the guarded treasures of the earth. She
had come, with all her girlish, unconscious beguilements, and all her
womanly cares, and anxieties too. He must strive against her sweetness,
while he helped her to bear her burdens.

"Now about the boys, Dorothy," he said two hours later, as they stood
together by the fire in the low, oak-finished room at the foot of the
stairs, which was his office and book-room. The door was ajar, so
Dorothy might hear her mother's bell. "Don't you think they had better
be sent to school somewhere?"

"Yes," said Dorothy, "they _ought_ to go to school--but--well, I may as
well tell thee the truth! There's very little to do it with. We've had
a poor summer. I suppose I've managed badly, and mother has been sick a
good while."

"You've forgotten about the pond-rent, Dorothy."

"No," she said, with a quick flush; "I hadn't forgotten it; but I
couldn't _ask_ thee for it!"

"I spoke to your father about monthly payments; but he said better
leave it to accumulate for emergencies. Shouldn't you call this an
'emergency,' Dorothy?"

"But does thee think we ought to ask rent for a pond that has all
leaked away?"

"Oh, there's pond enough left, and I've used it a dozen times over this
summer! I would be ashamed to tell you, Dorothy, how my horn has been
exalted in your father's absence. However, retribution has overtaken me
at last; I'm responsible, you know, for all the damage last night. It
was in the agreement that I should keep up the dams."

"Oh!" said Dorothy; "is thee sure?"

Evesham laughed.

"If your father were like any other man, Dorothy, he'd make me 'sure,'
when he gets home! I will defend myself to this extent: I've patched
and propped them all summer, after every rain, and tried to provide for
the fall storms; but there's a flaw in the original plan--"

"Thee said that once before," said Dorothy. "I wish thee wouldn't say
it again."

"Why not?"

"Because I love those old mill-dams! I've trotted over them ever since
I could walk alone!"

"You shall trot over them still! We will make them as strong as the
everlasting hills. They shall outlast our time, Dorothy."

"Well, about the rent," said Dorothy. "I'm afraid it will not take us
through the winter, unless there is something I can do. Mother couldn't
possibly be moved now, and if she could, it will be months before the
house is fit to live in. But we cannot stay here in comfort, unless thy
mother will let me make up in some way. Mother will not need me all the
time, and I know thy mother hires women to spin."

"She'll let you do all you like, if it will make you any happier. But
you don't know how much money is coming to you. Come, let us look over
the figures."

He lowered the lid of the black mahogany secretary, placed a chair for
Dorothy, and opened a great ledger before her, bending down, with one
hand on the back of the chair, the other turning the leaves of the
ledger. Considering the index, and the position of the letter B in the
alphabet, he was a long time finding his place. Dorothy looked out of
the window, over the tops of the yellowing woods, to the gray and
turbid river below. Where the hemlocks darkened the channel of the
glen, she heard the angry floods rushing down. The formless rain mists
hung low, and hid the opposite shore.

"See!" said Evesham, with his finger wandering rather vaguely down the
page. "Your father went away on the third of May. The first month's
rent came due on the third of June. That was the day I opened the gate
and let the water down on you, Dorothy. I'm responsible for everything,
you see,--even for the old ewe that was drowned!"

His words came in a dream as he bent over her, resting his unsteady
hand heavily on the ledger.

Dorothy laid her cheek on the date she could not see, and burst into
tears.

"Don't--please don't!" he said, straightening himself, and locking his
hands behind him. "I am human, Dorothy!"

The weeks of Rachel's sickness that followed were perhaps the best
discipline Evesham's life had ever known. He held the perfect flower of
his bliss, unclosing in his hand; yet he might barely permit himself to
breathe its fragrance! His mother had been a strong and prosperous
woman; there was little he could ever do for her. It was well for him
to feel the weight of helpless infirmity in his arms, as he lifted
Dorothy's mother from side to side of her bed, while Dorothy's hands
smoothed the coverings. It was well for him to see the patient
endurance of suffering, such as his youth and strength defied. It was
bliss to wait on Dorothy, and follow her with little watchful homages,
received with a shy wonder which was delicious to him,--for Dorothy's
nineteen years had been too full of service to others to leave much
room for dreams of a kingdom of her own. Her silent presence in her
mother's sick-room awed him. Her gentle, decisive voice and ways, her
composure and unshaken endurance through nights of watching and days of
anxious confinement and toil, gave him a new reverence for the
mysteries of her unfathomable womanhood.

The time of Friend Barton's return drew near. It must be confessed that
Dorothy welcomed it with a little dread, and Evesham did not welcome it
at all. On the contrary, the thought of it roused all his latent
obstinacy and aggressiveness. The first day or two after the momentous
arrival wore a good deal upon every member of the family, except
Margaret Evesham, who was provided with a philosophy of her own, which
amounted almost to a gentle obtuseness, and made her a comfortable
non-conductor, preventing more electric souls from shocking each other.

On the morning of the fourth day, Dorothy came out of her mother's room
with a tray of empty dishes in her hands. She saw Evesham at the
stair-head and hovered about in the shadowy part of the hall till he
should go down.

"Dorothy," he said, "I'm waiting for you." He took the tray from her
and rested it on the banisters. "Your father and I have talked over all
the business. He's got the impression I'm one of the most generous
fellows in the world. I intend to let him rest in that delusion for the
present. Now may I speak to him about something else, Dorothy? Have I
not waited long enough for my heart's desire?"

"Take care!" said Dorothy, softly,--"thee'll upset the tea-cups!"

"Confound the tea-cups!" He stooped to place the irrelevant tray on the
floor, but now Dorothy was half-way down the staircase. He caught her
on the landing, and taking both her hands, drew her down on the step
beside him.

"Dorothy, this is the second time you've taken advantage of my
unsuspicious nature! This time you shall be punished! You needn't try
to hide your face, you little traitor! There's no repentance in you!"

"If I'm to be punished there's no need of repentance."

"Dorothy, do you know, I've never heard you speak my name, except once,
when you were angry with me."

"When was that?"

"The night I caught you at the gate. You said, 'I would rather have one
of those dumb brutes for company than thee, Walter Evesham.' You said
it in the fiercest little voice! Even the 'thee' sounded as if you
hated me."

"I did," said Dorothy promptly. "I had reason to."

"Do you hate me now, Dorothy?"

"Not so much as I did then."

"What an implacable little Quaker you are!"

"A tyrant is _always_ hated," said Dorothy, trying to release her
hands.

"If you will look in my eyes, Dorothy, and call me by my name, just
once,--I'll let 'thee' go."

"Walter Evesham!" said Dorothy, with great firmness and decision.

"No! that won't do! You must look at me,--and say it softly,--in a
little sentence, Dorothy!"

"Will thee please let me go, Walter?"

Walter Evesham was a man of his word, but as Dorothy sped away, he
looked as if he wished he were not.

The next evening, Friend Barton sat by his wife's easy-chair, drawn
into the circle of firelight, with his elbows on his knees, and his
head between his hands.

The worn spot on the top of his head had widened considerably during
the summer, but Rachel looked stronger and brighter than she had for
many a day. There was even a little flush on her cheek, but that might
have come from the excitement of a long talk with her husband.

"I'm sorry thee takes it so hard, Thomas; I was afraid thee would. But
the way didn't seem to open for me to do much. I can see now, that
Dorothy's inclinations have been turning this way for some time, though
it's not likely she would own it, poor child; and Walter Evesham's not
one who is easily gainsayed. If _thee_ could only feel differently
about it, I can't say but it would make me very happy to see Dorothy's
heart satisfied. Can't thee bring thyself into unity with it, father?
He's a nice young man. They're nice folks. Thee can't complain of the
_blood_. Margaret Evesham tells me a cousin of hers married one of the
Lawrences, so we are kind of kin, after all."

"I don't complain of the blood; they're well enough placed as far as
the world is concerned! But their ways are not our ways, Rachel! Their
faith is not our faith!"

"Well! I can't see such a very great difference, come to live among
them! 'By their fruits ye shall know them.' To comfort the widow and
the fatherless, and keep ourselves unspotted from the world!--thee's
always preached that, father! I really can't see any more worldliness
here than among many households with us,--and I'm sure if we haven't
been the widow and the fatherless this summer, we've been next to it!"

Friend Barton raised his head a little, and rested his forehead on his
clasped hands.

"Rachel," he said, "look at that!" He pointed upward to an ancient
sword with belt and trappings, which gleamed on the panelled
chimney-piece--crossed by an old queen's arm. Evesham had given up his
large sunny room to Dorothy's mother, but he had not removed all his
lares and penates.

"Yes, dear; that's his grandfather's sword--Colonel Evesham, who was
killed at Saratoga!"

"Why does he hang up that thing of abomination for a light and a guide
to his footsteps, if his way be not far from ours?"

"Why, father! Colonel Evesham was a good man!--I dare say he fought for
the same reason that thee preaches--because he felt it his duty!"

"I find no fault with _him_, Rachel. Doubtless he followed his light,
as thee says; but he followed it in better ways too. He cleared land
and built a homestead and a meeting-house. Why don't his grandson hang
up his old broad-ax and ploughshare, and worship _them_, if he must
have idols, instead of that symbol of strife and bloodshed. Does thee
want our Dorothy's children to grow up under the shadow of that sword?"

There was a stern light of prophecy in the old man's eyes.

"Maybe Walter Evesham would take it down," said Rachel, leaning back
wearily and closing her eyes. "I never was much of a hand to argue,
even if I had the strength for it; but it would hurt me a good deal--I
must say it--if thee denies Dorothy in this matter, Thomas. It's a very
serious thing to have old folks try to turn young hearts the way they
think they ought to go. I remember now,--I was thinking about it last
night, and it all came back as fresh! I don't know that I ever told
thee about that young friend who visited me before I heard thee preach
at Stony Valley? Well! _father, he_ was wonderful pleased with him, but
I didn't feel any drawing that way. He urged me a good deal, more than
was pleasant for either of us. He wasn't at all reconciled to thee,
Thomas, if thee remember."

"I remember," said Thomas Barton, "it was an anxious time."

"Well dear, if father _had_ insisted, and sent thee away, I can't say
but life would have been a very different thing to me."

"I thank thee for saying it, Rachel." Friend Barton's head drooped
between his hands.

"Thee's suffered much through me; thee's had a hard life, but thee's
been well beloved."

The flames leaped and flickered in the chimney, they touched the
wrinkled hands, whose only beauty was in their deeds; they crossed the
room and lit the pillows where, for three generations, young heads had
dreamed, and gray heads had watched and suffered; then they mounted to
the chimney and struck a gleam from the sword.

"Well, father," said Rachel, "what answer is thee going to give Walter
Evesham?"

"I shall say no more, my dear. Let the young folks have their way.
There's strife and contention enough in the world without my stirring
up more. And it may be I'm resisting the Master's will; I left her in
His care: this may be His way of dealing with her."

Walter Evesham did not take down his grandfather's sword. Fifty years
later another went up beside it,--the sword of a young Evesham who
never left the field of Shiloh; and beneath them both hangs the
portrait of the Quaker grandmother, Dorothy Evesham, at the age of
sixty-nine.

The golden ripples, silver now, are hidden under a "round-eared cap,"
the quick flush has faded in her cheek, and fold upon fold of snowy
gauze and creamy silk are crossed over the bosom that thrilled to the
fiddles of Slocum's barn. She has found the cool grays and the still
waters; but on Dorothy's children rests the "Shadow of the Sword"!



AN INSPIRED LOBBYIST.

By J. W. DeForest.

(_Atlantic Monthly, December,_ 1872.)


A certain fallen angel (politeness toward his numerous and influential
friends forbids me to mention his name abruptly) lately entered into
the body of Mr. Ananias Pullwool, of Washington, D.C.

As the said body was a capacious one, having been greatly enlarged
circumferentially since it acquired its full longitude, there was
accommodation in it for both the soul of Pullwool himself (it was a
very little one) and for his distinguished visitant. Indeed, there was
so much room in it that they never crowded each other, and that
Pullwool hardly knew, if he even so much as mistrusted, that there was
a chap in with him. But other people must have been aware of this
double tenantry, or at least must have been shrewdly suspicious of it,
for it soon became quite common to hear fellows say, "Pullwool has got
the Devil in him."

There was, indeed, a remarkable change--a change not so much moral as
physical and mental--in this gentleman's ways of deporting and behaving
himself. From being logy in movement and slow if not absolutely dull in
mind, he became wonderfully agile and energetic. He had been a
lobbyist, and he remained a lobbyist still, but such a different one,
so much more vigorous, eager, clever, and impudent, that his best
friends (if he could be said to have any friends) scarcely knew him for
the same Pullwool. His fat fingers were in the buttonholes of
Congressmen from the time when they put those buttonholes on in the
morning to the time when they took them off at night. He seemed to be
at one and the same moment treating some honorable member in the
bar-room of the Arlington and running another honorable member to cover
in the committee-rooms of the Capitol. He log-rolled bills which nobody
else believed could be log-rolled, and he pocketed fees which
absolutely and point-blank refused to go into other people's pockets.
During this short period of his life he was the most successful and
famous lobbyist in Washington, and the most sought after by the most
rascally and desperate claimants of unlawful millions.

But, like many another man who has the Devil in him, Mr. Pullwool ran
his luck until he ran himself into trouble. An investigating committee
pounced upon him; he was put in confinement for refusing to answer
questions; his filchings were held up to the execration of the envious
both by virtuous members and a virtuous press; and when he at last got
out of durance he found it good to quit the District of Columbia for a
season. Thus it happened that Mr. Pullwool and his eminent lodger took
the cars and went to and fro upon the earth seeking what they might
devour.

In the course of their travels they arrived in a little State, which
may have been Rhode Island, or may have been Connecticut, or may have
been one of the Pleiades, but which at all events had two capitals.
Without regard to Morse's Gazetteer, or to whatever other Gazetteer may
now be in currency, we shall affirm that one of these capitals was
called Slowburg and the other Fastburg. For some hundreds of years (let
us say five hundred, in order to be sure and get it high enough)
Slowburg and Fastburg had shared between them, turn and turn about,
year on and year off, all the gubernatorial and legislative pomps and
emoluments that the said State had to bestow. On the 1st of April of
every odd year the governor, preceded by citizen soldiers, straddling
or curvetting through the mud--the governor, followed by twenty
barouches full of eminent citizens, who were not known to be eminent at
any other time, but who made a rush for a ride on this occasion as
certain old ladies do at funerals--the governor, taking off his hat to
pavements full of citizens of all ages, sizes, and colors, who did not
pretend to be eminent--the governor, catching a fresh cold at every
corner, and wishing the whole thing were passing at the equator,--the
governor triumphantly entered Slowburg,--observe, Slowburg,--read his
always enormously long message there, and convened the legislature
there. On the 1st of April of every even year the same governor, or a
better one who had succeeded him, went through the same ceremonies in
Fastburg. Each of these capitals boasted, or rather blushed over, a
shabby old barn of a State-House, and each of them maintained a company
of foot-guards and ditto of horse-guards, the latter very loose in
their saddles. In each the hotels and boarding-houses had a full year
and a lean year, according as the legislature sat in the one or in the
other. In each there was a loud call for fresh shad and stewed oysters,
or a comparatively feeble call for fresh shad and stewed oysters, under
the same biennial conditions.

Such was the oscillation of grandeur and power between the two cities.
It was an old-time arrangement, and like many other old-fashioned
things, as for instance wood fires in open fireplaces, it had not only
its substantial merits but its superficial inconveniences. Every year
certain ancient officials were obliged to pack up hundreds of public
documents and expedite them from Fastburg to Slowburg, or from Slowburg
back to Fastburg. Every year there was an expense of a few dollars on
this account, which the State treasurer figured up with agonies of
terror, and which the opposition roared at as if the administration
could have helped it. The State-Houses were two mere deformities of
patched plaster and leprous whitewash; they were such shapeless,
graceless, dilapidated wigwams, that no sensitive patriot could look at
them without wanting to fly to the uttermost parts of the earth; and
yet it was not possible to build new ones, and hardly possible to
obtain appropriations enough to shingle out the weather; for Fastburg
would vote no money to adorn Slowburg, and Slowburg was equally
niggardly toward Fastburg. The same jealousy produced the same
frugality in the management of other public institutions, so that the
patients of the lunatic asylum were not much better lodged and fed than
the average sane citizen, and the gallows-birds in the State's prison
were brought down to a temperance which caused admirers of that species
of fowl to tremble with indignation. In short, the two capitals were as
much at odds as the two poles of a magnet, and the results of this
repulsion were not all of them worthy of hysterical admiration.

But advantages seesawed with disadvantages. In this double-ender of a
State political jobbery was at fault, because it had no headquarters.
It could not get together a ring; it could not raise a corps of
lobbyists. Such few axe-grinders as there were had to dodge back and
forth between the Fastburg grindstone and the Slowburg grindstone,
without ever fairly getting their tools sharpened. Legislature here and
legislature there; it was like guessing at a pea between two thimbles;
you could hardly ever put your finger on the right one. Then what one
capital favored the other disfavored; and between them appropriations
were kicked and hustled under the table; the grandest of railroad
schemes shrunk into waste-paper baskets; in short, the public treasury
was next door to the unapproachable. Such, indeed, was the desperate
condition of lobbyists in this State, that, had it contained a single
philanthropist of the advanced radical stripe, he would surely have
brought in a bill for their relief and encouragement.

Into the midst of this happily divided community dropped Mr. Ananias
Pullwool with the Devil in him. It remains to be seen whether this pair
could figure up anything worth pocketing out of the problem of two
capitals.

It was one of the even years, and the legislature met in Fastburg, and
the little city was brimful. Mr. Pullwool with difficulty found a place
for himself without causing the population to slop over. Of course he
went to a hotel, for he needed to make as many acquaintances as
possible, and he knew that a bar was a perfect hot-house for ripening
such friendships as he cared for. He took the best room he could get;
and as soon as chance favored he took a better one, with parlor
attached; and on the sideboard in the parlor he always had cigars and
decanters. The result was that in a week or so he was on jovial terms
with several senators, numerous members of the lower house, and all the
members of the "third house." But lobbying did not work in Fastburg as
Mr. Pullwool had found it to work in other capitals. He exhibited the
most dazzling double-edged axes, but nobody would grind them; he
pointed out the most attractive and convenient of logs for rolling, but
nobody would put a lever to them.

"What the doose does this mean?" he at last inquired of Mr. Josiah
Dicker, a member who had smoked dozens of his cigars and drunk quarts
out of his decanters. "I don't understand this little old legislature
at all, Mr. Dicker. Nobody wants to make any money; at least, nobody
has the spirit to try to make any. And yet the State is full; never
been bled a drop; full as a tick. What does it mean?"

Mr. Dicker looked disconsolate. Perhaps it may be worth a moment's time
to explain that he could not well look otherwise. Broken in fortune and
broken in health, he was a failure and knew it. His large forehead
showed power, and he was in fact a lawyer of some ability; and still he
could not support his family, could not keep a mould of mortgages from
creeping all over his house-lot, and had so many creditors that he
could not walk the streets comfortably. The trouble lay in hard
drinking, with its resultant waste of time, infidelity to trust, and
impatience of application. Thin, haggard, duskily pallid, deeply
wrinkled at forty, his black eyes watery and set in baggy circles of a
dull brown, his lean dark hands shaky and dirty, his linen wrinkled and
buttonless, his clothing frayed and unbrushed, he was an impersonation
of failure. He had gone into the legislature with a desperate hope of
somehow finding money in it, and as yet he had discovered nothing more
than his beggarly three dollars a day, and he felt himself more than
ever a failure. No wonder that he wore an air of profound depression,
approaching to absolute wretchedness and threatening suicide.

He looked the more cast down by contrast with the successful Mr.
Pullwool, gaudily alight with satin and jewelry, and shining with
conceit. Pullwool, by the way, although a dandy (that is, such a dandy
as one sees in gambling-saloons and behind liquor-bars), was far from
being a thing of beauty. He was so obnoxiously gross and shapeless,
that it seemed as if he did it on purpose and to be irritating. His fat
head was big enough to make a dwarf of, hunchback and all. His mottled
cheeks were vast and pendulous to that degree that they inspired the
imaginative beholder with terror, as reminding him of avalanches and
landslides which might slip their hold at the slightest shock and
plunge downward in a path of destruction. One puffy eyelid drooped in a
sinister way; obviously that was the eye that the Devil had selected
for his own; he kept it well curtained for purposes of concealment.
Looking out of this peep-hole, the Satanic badger could see a short,
thick nose, and by leaning forward a little he could get a glimpse of a
broad chin of several stories. Another unpleasing feature was a full
set of false teeth, which grinned in a ravenous fashion that was truly
disquieting, as if they were capable of devouring the whole internal
revenue. Finally, this continent of physiognomy was diversified by a
gigantic hairy wart, which sprouted defiantly from the temple nearest
the game eye, as though Lucifer had accidentally poked one of his horns
through. Mr. Dicker, who was a sensitive, squeamish man (as drunkards
sometimes are, through bad digestion and shaky nerves), could hardly
endure the sight of this wart, and always wanted to ask Pullwool why he
didn't cut it off.

"What's the meaning of it all?" persisted the Washington wire-puller,
surveying the Fastburg wire-puller with bland superiority, much as the
city mouse may have surveyed the country mouse.

"Two capitals," responded Dicker, withdrawing his nervous glance from
the wart, and locking his hands over one knee to quiet their trembling.

Mr. Pullwool, having the Old Harry in him, and being consequently full
of all malice and subtlety, perceived at once the full scope and force
of the explanation.

"I see," he said, dropping gently back into his arm-chair, with the
plethoric, soft movement of a subsiding pillow. The puckers of his
cumbrous eyelids drew a little closer together; his bilious eyes peered
out cautiously between them, like sallow assassins watching through
curtained windows; for a minute or so he kept up what might without
hyperbole be called a devil of a thinking.

"I've got it," he broke out at last. "Dicker, I want you to bring in a
bill to make Fastburg the only capital."

"What is the use?" asked the legislator, looking more disconsolate,
more hopeless than ever. "Slowburg will oppose it and beat it."

"Never you mind," persisted Mr. Pullwool. "You bring in your little
bill and stand up for it like a man. There's money in it. You don't see
it? Well, I do; I'm used to seeing money in things; and in this case I
see it plain. As sure as whiskey is whiskey, there's money in it."

Mr. Pullwool's usually dull and, so to speak, extinct countenance was
fairly alight and aflame with exultation. It was almost a wonder that
his tallowy person did not gutter beneath the blaze, like an over-fat
candle under the flaring of a wick too large for it.

"Well, I'll bring in the bill," agreed Mr. Dicker, catching the
enthusiasm of his counsellor and shaking off his lethargy. He perceived
a dim promise of fees, and at the sight his load of despondency dropped
away from him, as Christian's burden loosened in presence of the cross.
He looked a little like the confident, resolute Tom Dicker, who twenty
years before had graduated from college the brightest, bravest, most
eloquent fellow in his class, and the one who seemed to have before him
the finest future.

"Snacks!" said Mr. Pullwool.

At this brazen word Mr. Dicker's countenance fell again; he was ashamed
to talk so frankly about plundering his fellow-citizens; "a little
grain of conscience turned him sour."

"I will take pay for whatever I can do as a lawyer," he stammered.

"Get out!" laughed the Satanic one. "You just take all there is
a-going! You need it bad enough. I know when a man's hard up. I know
the signs. I've been as bad off as you; had to look all ways for five
dollars; had to play second fiddle and say thanky. But what I offer you
ain't a second fiddle. It's as good a chance as my own. Even divides.
One half to you and one half to me. You know the people and I know the
ropes. It's a fair bargain. What do you say?"

Mr. Dicker thought of his decayed practice and his unpaid bills; and
flipping overboard his little grain of conscience, he said, "Snacks."

"All right," grinned Pullwool, his teeth gleaming alarmingly. "Word of
a gentleman," he added, extending his pulpy hand, loaded with
ostentatious rings, and grasping Dicker's recoiling fingers. "Harness
up your little bill as quick as you can, and drive it like Jehu.
Fastburg to be the only capital. Slowburg no claims at all, historical,
geographical, or economic. The old arrangement a humbug; as
inconvenient as a fifth wheel of a coach; costs the State thousands of
greenbacks every year. Figure it all up statistically and dab it over
with your shiniest rhetoric and make a big thing of it every way.
That's what you've got to do; that's your little biz. I'll tend to the
rest."

"I don't quite see where the money is to come from," observed Mr.
Dicker.

"Leave that to me," said the veteran of the lobbies; "my name is
Pullwool, and I know how to pull the wool over men's eyes, and then I
know how to get at their britches-pockets. You bring in your bill and
make your speech. Will you do it?"

"Yes," answered Dicker, bolting all scruples in another half tumbler of
brandy.

He kept his word. As promptly as parliamentary forms and mysteries
would allow, there was a bill under the astonished noses of honorable
lawgivers, removing the seat of legislation from Slowburg and centring
it in Fastburg. This bill Mr. Thomas Dicker supported with that fluency
and fiery enthusiasm of oratory which had for a time enabled him to
show as the foremost man of his State. Great was the excitement, great
the rejoicing and anger. The press of Fastburg sent forth shrieks of
exultation, and the press of Slowburg responded with growlings of
disgust. The two capitals and the two geographical sections which they
represented were ready to fire Parrott guns at each other, without
regard to life and property in the adjoining regions of the earth. If
there was a citizen of the little Commonwealth who did not hear of this
bill and did not talk of it, it was because that citizen was as deaf as
a post and as dumb as an oyster. Ordinary political distinctions were
forgotten, and the old party-whips could not manage their very
wheel-horses, who went snorting and kicking over the traces in all
directions. In short, both in the legislature and out of it, nothing
was thought of but the question of the removal of the capital.

Among the loudest of the agitators was Mr. Pullwool; not that he cared
one straw whether the capital went to Fastburg, or to Slowburg, or to
Ballyhack; but for the money which he thought he saw in the agitation
he did care mightily, and to get that money he labored with a zeal
which was not of this world alone. At the table of his hotel, and in
the barroom of the same institution, and in the lobbies of the
legislative hall, and in editorial sanctums and barbers' shops, and all
other nooks of gossip, he trumpeted the claims of Fastburg as if that
little city were the New Jerusalem and deserved to be the metropolis of
the sidereal universe. All sorts of trickeries, too; he sent spurious
telegrams and got fictitious items into the newspapers; he lied through
every medium known to the highest civilization. Great surely was his
success, for the row which he raised was tremendous. But a row alone
was not enough; it was the mere breeze upon the surface of the waters;
the treasure-ship below was still to be drawn up and gutted.

"It will cost money," he whispered confidentially to capitalists and
land-owners. "We must have the sinews of war, or we can't carry it on.
There's your city lots goin' to double in value if this bill goes
through. What per cent will you pay on the advance? That's the
question. Put your hands in your pockets and pull 'em out full, and put
back ten times as much. It's a sure investment; warranted to yield a
hundred per cent; the safest and biggest thing agoing."

Capitalists and land-owners and merchants hearkened and believed and
subscribed. The slyest old hunks in Fastburg put a faltering forefinger
into his long pocket-book, touched a greenback which had been laid away
there as neatly as a corpse in its coffin, and resurrected it for the
use of Mr. Pullwool. By tens, by twenties, by fifties, and by hundreds
the dollars of the ambitious citizens of the little metropolis were
charmed into the portemonnaie of this rattlesnake of a lobbyist.

"I never saw a greener set," chuckled Pullwool. "By jiminy, I believe
they'd shell out for a bill to make their town a seaport, if it was a
hundred miles from a drop of water."

But he was not content with individual subscriptions, and
conscientiously scorned himself until he had got at the city treasury.

"The corporation must pony up," he insisted, with the mayor. "This bill
is just shaking in the wind for lack of money. Fastburg must come down
with the dust. You ought to see to it. What are you chief magistrate
for? Ain't it to tend to the welfare of the city? Look here, now; you
call the common council together; secret session, you understand. You
call 'em together and let me talk to 'em. I want to make the loons
comprehend that it's their duty to vote something handsome for this
measure."

The mayor hummed and hawed one way, and then he hawed and hummed the
other way, and the result was that he granted the request. There was a
secret session in the council-room, with his honor at the top of the
long green table, with a row of more or less respectable functionaries
on either side of it, and with Mr. Pullwool and the Devil at the
bottom. Of course it is not to be supposed that this last-named
personage was visible to the others, or that they had more than a vague
suspicion of his presence. Had he fully revealed himself, had he
plainly exhibited his horns and hoofs, or even so much as uncorked his
perfume-bottle of brimstone, it is more than probable that the city
authorities would have been exceedingly scandalized, and they might
have adjourned the session. As it was, seeing nothing more disagreeable
than the obese form of the lobbyist, they listened calmly while he
unfolded his project.

Mr. Pullwool spoke at length, and to Fastburg ears eloquently. Fastburg
must be the sole capital; it had every claim, historical, geographical,
and commercial, to that distinction; it ought, could, would, and should
be the sole capital; that was about the substance of his exordium.

"But, gentlemen, it will cost," he went on. "There is an unscrupulous
and furious opposition to the measure. The other side--those fellows
from Slowburg and vicinity--are putting their hands into their
britches-pockets. You must put your hands into yours. The thing will be
worth millions to Fastburg. But it will cost thousands. Are you ready
to fork over? _Are_ you ready?"

"What's the figure?" asked one of the councilmen. "What do you
estimate?"

"Gentlemen, I shall astonish _some_ of you," answered Mr. Pullwool,
cunningly. It was well put; it was as much as to say, "I shall astonish
the green ones; of course the really strong heads among you won't be in
the least bothered." "I estimate," he continued, "that the city
treasury will have to put up a good round sum, say a hundred thousand
dollars, be it more or less."

A murmur of surprise, of chagrin, and of something like indignation ran
along the line of official mustaches. "Nonsense," "The dickens," "Can't
be done," "We can't think of it," broke out several councilmen, in a
distinctly unparliamentary manner.

"Gentlemen, one moment," pleaded Pullwool, passing his greasy smile
around the company, as though it were some kind of refreshment. "Look
at the whole job; it's a big job. We must have lawyers; we must have
newspapers in all parts of the State; we must have writers to work up
the historical claims of the city; we must have fellows to buttonhole
honorable members; we must have fees for honorable members themselves.
How can you do it for less?"

Then he showed a schedule; so much to this wire-puller and that and the
other; so much apiece to so many able editors; so much for eminent
legal counsel; finally, a trifle for himself. And one hundred thousand
dollars or thereabouts was what the schedule footed up, turn it
whichever way you would.

Of course this common council of Fastburg did not dare to vote such a
sum for such a purpose. Mr. Pullwool had not expected that it would;
all that he had hoped for was the half of it; but that half he got.

"Did they do it?" breathlessly inquired Tom Dicker of him, when he
returned to the hotel.

"They done it," calmly, yet triumphantly, responded Mr. Pullwool.

"Thunder!" exclaimed the amazed Dicker. "You are the most extraordinary
man! You must have the very Devil in you!"

Instead of being startled by this alarming supposition, Mr. Pullwool
looked gratified. People thus possessed generally do look gratified
when the possession is alluded to.

But the inspired lobbyist did not pass his time in wearing an aspect of
satisfaction. When there was money to get and to spend he could run his
fat off almost as fast as if he were pouring it into candle-moulds. The
ring--the famous capital ring of Fastburg--must be seen to, its fingers
greased, and its energy quickened. Before he rolled his apple-dumpling
of a figure into bed that night he had interviewed Smith and Brown the
editors, Jones and Robinson the lawyers, Smooth and Slow the literary
characters, various lobbyists, and various lawgivers.

"Work, gentlemen, and capitalize Fastburg and get your dividends," was
his inspiring message to one and all. He promised Smith and Brown ten
dollars for every editorial, and five dollars for every humbugging
telegram, and two dollars for every telling item. Jones and Robinson
were to have five hundred dollars apiece for concurrent legal
statements of the claim of the city; Smooth and Slow, as being merely
authors and so not accustomed to obtain much for their labor, got a
hundred dollars between them for working up the case historically. To
the lobbyists and members Pullwool was munificent; it seemed as if
those gentlemen could not be paid enough for their "influence;" as if
they alone had that kind of time which is money. Only, while dealing
liberally with them, the inspired one did not forget himself. A
thousand for Mr. Sly; yes, Mr. Sly was to receipt for a thousand; but
he must let half of it stick to the Pullwool fingers. The same
arrangement was made with Mr. Green and Mr. Sharp and Mr. Bummer and
Mr. Pickpurse and Mr. Buncombe. It was a game of snacks, half to you
and half to me; and sometimes it was more than snacks,--a thousand for
you two and a thousand for me too.

With such a greasing of the wheels, you may imagine that the machinery
of the ring worked to a charm. In the city and in the legislature and
throughout the State there was the liveliest buzzing and humming and
clicking of political wheels and cranks and cogs that had ever been
known in those hitherto pastoral localities. The case of Fastburg
against Slowburg was put in a hundred ways, and proved as sure as it
was put. It really seemed to the eager burghers as if they already
heard the clink of hammers on a new State-House and beheld a perpetual
legislature sitting on their fences and curbstones until the edifice
should be finished. The great wire-puller and his gang of stipendiaries
were the objects of popular gratitude and adoration. The landlord of
the hotel which Mr. Pullwool patronized actually would not take pay for
that gentleman's board.

"No, sir!" declared this simple Boniface, turning crimson with
enthusiasm. "You are going to put thousands of dollars into my purse,
and I'll take nothing out of yours. And any little thing in the way of
cigars and whiskey that you want, sir, why, call for it. It's my treat,
sir."

"Thank you, sir," kindly smiled the great man. "That's what I call the
square thing. Mr. Boniface, you are a gentleman and a scholar; and I'll
mention your admirable house to my friends. By the way, I shall have to
leave you for a few days."

"Going to leave us!" exclaimed Mr. Boniface, aghast. "I hope not till
this job is put through."

"I must run about a bit," muttered Pullwool, confidentially. "A little
turn through the State, you understand, to stir up the country
districts. Some of the members ain't as hot as they should be, and I
want to set their constituents after them. Nothing like getting on a
few deputations."

"Oh, exactly!" chuckled Mr. Boniface, ramming his hands into his
pockets and cheerfully jingling a bunch of keys and a penknife for lack
of silver. It was strange indeed that he should actually see the Devil
in Mr. Pullwool's eye and should not have a suspicion that he was in
danger of being humbugged by him. "And your rooms?" he suggested. "How
about them?"

"I keep them," replied the lobbyist, grandly, as if blaspheming the
expense--to Boniface. "Our friends must have a little hole to meet in.
And while you are about it, Mr. Boniface, see that they get something
to drink and smoke; and we'll settle it between us."

"Pre--cisely!" laughed the landlord, as much as to say, "My treat!"

And so Mr. Pullwool, that Pericles and Lorenzo de' Medici rolled in
one, departed for a season from the city which he ruled and blessed.
Did he run about the State and preach and crusade in behalf of
Fastburg, and stir up the bucolic populations to stir up their
representatives in its favor? Not a bit of it; the place that he went
to and the only place that he went to was Slowburg; yes, covering up
his tracks in his usual careful style, he made direct for the rival of
Fastburg. What did he propose to do there? Oh, how can we reveal the
whole duplicity and turpitude of Ananias Pullwool? The subject is too
vast for a merely human pen; it requires the literary ability of a
recording angel. Well, we must get our feeble lever under this boulder
of wickedness as we can, and do our faint best to expose all the
reptiles and slimy things beneath it.

The first person whom this apostle of lobbyism called upon in Slowburg
was the mayor of that tottering capital.

"My name is Pullwool," he said to the official, and he said it with an
almost enviable ease of impudence, for he was used to introducing
himself to people who despised and detested him. "I want to see you
confidentially about this capital ring which is making so much
trouble."

"I thought you were in it," replied the mayor, turning very red in the
face, for he had heard of Mr. Pullwool as the leader of said ring; and
being an iracund man, he was ready to knock his head off.

"In it!" exclaimed the possessed one. "I wish I was. It's a fat thing.
More than fifty thousand dollars paid out already!"

"Good gracious!" exclaimed the mayor in despair.

"By the way, this is between ourselves," added Pullwool. "You take it
so, I hope. Word of honor, eh?"

"Why, if you have anything to communicate that will help us, why, of
course, I promise secrecy," stammered the mayor. "Yes, certainly; word
of honor."

"Well, I've been looking about among those fellows a little," continued
Ananias. "I've kept my eyes and ears open. It's a way I have. And I've
learned a thing or two that it will be to your advantage to know. Yes,
sir! fifty thousand dollars!--the city has voted it and paid it, and
the ring has got it. That's why they are all working so. And depend
upon it, they'll carry the legislature and turn Slowburg out to grass,
unless you wake up and do something."

"By heavens!" exclaimed the iracund mayor, turning red again. "It's a
piece of confounded rascality. It ought to be exposed."

"No, don't expose it," put in Mr. Pullwool, somewhat alarmed. "That
game never works. Of course they'd deny it and swear you down, for
bribing witnesses is as easy as bribing members. I'll tell you what to
do. Beat them at their own weapons. Raise a purse that will swamp
theirs. That's the way the world goes. It's an auction. The highest
bidder gets the article."

Well, the result of it all was that the city magnates of Slowburg did
just what had been done by the city magnates of Fastburg, only, instead
of voting fifty thousand dollars into the pockets of the ring, they
voted sixty thousand. With a portion of this money about him, and with
authority to draw for the rest on proper vouchers, Mr. Pullwool, his
tongue in his cheek, bade farewell to his new allies. As a further
proof of the ready wit and solid impudence of this sublime politician
and model of American statesmen, let me here introduce a brief
anecdote. Leaving Slowburg by the cars, he encountered a gentleman from
Fastburg, who saluted him with tokens of amazement, and said, "What are
you doing here, Mr. Pullwool?"

"Oh, just breaking up these fellows a little," whispered the man with
the Devil in him. "They were making too strong a fight. I had to _see_
some of them," putting one hand behind his back and rubbing his fingers
together, to signify that there had been a taking of bribes. "But be
shady about it. For the sake of the good cause, keep quiet. Mum's the
word."

The reader can imagine how briskly the fight between the two capitals
reopened when Mr. Pullwool re-entered the lobby. Slowburg now had its
adherents, and they struggled like men who saw money in their warfare,
and they struggled not in vain. To cut a very long story very short, to
sum the whole of an exciting drama in one sentence, the legislature
kicked overboard the bill to make Fastburg the sole seat of government.
Nothing had come of the whole row, except that a pair of simple little
cities had spent over one hundred thousand dollars, and that the
capital ring, fighting on both sides and drawing pay from both sides,
had lined its pockets, while the great creator of the ring had crammed
his to bursting.

"What does this mean, Mr. Pullwool?" demanded the partially honest and
entirely puzzled Tom Dicker, when he had discovered by an unofficial
count of noses how things were going. "Fastburg has spent all its money
for nothing. It won't be sole capital, after all."

"I never expected it would be," replied Pullwool, so tickled by the
Devil that was in him that he could not help laughing. "I never wanted
it to be. Why, it would spoil the little game. This is a trick that can
be played every year."

"Oh!" exclaimed Mr. Dicker, and was dumb with astonishment for a
minute.

"Didn't you see through it before?" grinned the grand master of all
guile and subtlety.

"I did not," confessed Mr. Dicker, with a mixture of shame and
abhorrence. "Well," he presently added, recovering himself, "shall we
settle?"

"Oh, certainly, if you are ready," smiled Pullwool, with the air of a
man who has something coming to him.

"And what, exactly, will be my share?" asked Dicker, humbly.

"What do you mean?" stared Pullwool, apparently in the extremity of
amazement.

"You said _snacks_, didn't you?" urged Dicker, trembling violently.

"Well, _snacks_ it is," replied Pullwool. "Haven't you had a thousand?"

"Yes," admitted Dicker.

"Then you owe me five hundred?"

Mr. Dicker did not faint, though he came very near it, but he staggered
out of the room as white as a sheet, for he was utterly crushed by this
diabolical impudence.

That very day Mr. Pullwool left for Washington, and the Devil left for
_his_ place, each of them sure to find the other when he wanted him, if
indeed their roads lay apart.



LOST IN THE FOG.

By Noah Brooks.

(_Overland Monthly, December,_ 1868.)


"Down with your helm! you'll have us hard and fast aground!"

My acquaintance with Captain Booden was at that time somewhat limited,
and if possible I knew less of the difficult and narrow exit from
Bolinas Bay than I did of Captain Booden. So with great trepidation I
jammed the helm hard down, and the obedient little Lively Polly fell
off easily, and we were over the bar and gliding gently along under the
steep bluff of the Mesa, whose rocky edge, rising sheer from the beach
and crowned with dry grass, rose far above the pennon of the little
schooner. I did not intend to deceive Captain Booden, but being anxious
to work my way down to San Francisco, I had shipped as "able seaman" on
the Lively Polly, though it was a long day since I had handled a
foresheet or anything bigger than the little plungers which hover about
Bolinas Bay, and latterly I had been ranching it at Point Reyes, so
what could I know about the bar and the shoals of the harbor, I would
like to know? We had glided out of the narrow channel which is skirted
on one side by a long sandspit that curves around and makes the
southern and western shelter of the bay, and on the other side by a
huge elevated tongue of table-land, called by the inhabitants
thereabouts the Mesa. High, precipitous, perpendicular, level, and
dotted with farm-houses, this singular bit of land stretches several
miles out southward to sea, bordered with a rocky beach, and tapered
off into the wide ocean with Duxbury Reef--a dangerous rocky reef,
curving down to the southward and almost always white with foam, save
when the sea is calm, and then the great lazy green waves eddy
noiselessly over the half-hidden rocks, or slip like oil over the
dreadful dangers which they hide.

Behind us was the lovely bay of Bolinas, blue and sparkling in the
summer afternoon sun, its borders dotted with thrifty ranches, and the
woody ravines and bristling Tamalpais Range rising over all. The tide
was running out, and only a peaceful swash whispered along the level
sandy beach on our left, where the busy sandpiper chased the playful
wave as it softly rose and fell along the shore. On the higher centre
of the sandspit which shuts in the bay on that side, a row of
ashy-colored gulls sunned themselves, and blinked at us sleepily as we
drifted slowly out of the channel, our breeze cut off by the Mesa that
hemmed us in on the right. I have told you that I did not much pretend
to seamanship, but I was not sorry that I had taken passage on the
Lively Polly, for there is always something novel and fascinating to me
in coasting a region which I have heretofore known only by its hills,
cañons, and sea-beaches. The trip is usually made from Bolinas Bay to
San Francisco in five or six hours, when wind and tide favor; and I
could bear being knocked about by Captain Booden for that length of
time, especially as there was one other hand on board--"Lanky" he was
called--but whether a foremast hand or landsman I do not know. He had
been teaching school at Jaybird Cañon, and was a little more awkward
with the running rigging of the Lively Polly than I was. Captain Booden
was, therefore, the main reliance of the little twenty-ton schooner,
and if her deck-load of firewood and cargo of butter and eggs ever
reached a market, the skilful and profane skipper should have all the
credit thereof.

The wind died away, and the sea, before ruffled with a wholesale
breeze, grew as calm as a sheet of billowy glass, heaving only in long,
gentle undulations on which the sinking sun bestowed a green and golden
glory, dimmed only by the white fog-bank that came drifting slowly up
from the Farralones, now shut out from view by the lovely haze. Captain
Booden gazed morosely on the western horizon, and swore by a big round
oath that we should not have a capful of wind if that fog-bank did not
lift. But we were fairly out of the bay; the Mesa was lessening in the
distance, and as we drifted slowly southward the red-roofed buildings
on its level rim grew to look like toy-houses, and we heard the dull
moan of the ebb-tide on Duxbury Reef on our starboard bow. The sea grew
dead calm and the wind fell quite away, but still we drifted southward,
passing Rocky Point and peering curiously into Pilot Boat Cove, which
looked so strangely unfamiliar to me from the sea, though I had fished
in its trout-brooks many a day, and had hauled driftwood from the rocky
beach to Johnson's ranch in times gone by. The tide turned after
sundown, and Captain Booden thought we ought to get a bit of wind then;
but it did not come, and the fog crept up and up the glassy sea,
rolling in huge wreaths of mist, shutting out the surface of the water,
and finally the gray rocks of North Heads were hidden, and little by
little the shore was curtained from our view and we were becalmed in
the fog.

To say that the skipper swore would hardly describe his case. He cursed
his luck, his stars, his foretop, his main hatch, his blasted
foolishness, his lubberly crew--Lanky and I--and a variety of other
persons and things; but all to no avail. Night came on, and the light
on North Heads gleamed at us with a sickly eye through the deepening
fog. We had a bit of luncheon with us, but no fire, and were fain to
content ourselves with cold meat, bread, and water, hoping that a warm
breakfast in San Francisco would make some amends for our present short
rations. But the night wore on, and we were still tumbling about in the
rising sea without wind enough to fill our sails, a rayless sky
overhead, and with breakers continually under our lee. Once we saw
lights on shore, and heard the sullen thud of rollers that smote
against the rocks; it was aggravating, as the fog lifted for a space,
to see the cheerful windows of the Cliff House, and almost hear the
merry calls of pleasure-seekers as they muffled themselves in their
wraps and drove gayly up the hill, reckless of the poor homeless
mariners who were drifting comfortlessly about so near the shore they
could not reach. We got out the sweeps and rowed lustily for several
hours, steering by the compass and taking our bearings from the cliff.

But we lost our bearings in the maze of currents in which we soon found
ourselves, and the dim shore melted away in the thickening fog. To add
to our difficulties, Captain Booden put his head most frequently into
the cuddy; and when it emerged, he smelt dreadfully of gin. Lanky and I
held a secret council, in which we agreed, in case he became
intoxicated, we would rise up in mutiny and work the vessel on our own
account. He shortly "lost his head," as Lanky phrased it; and slipping
down on the deck, went quietly into the sleep of the gin-drunken. At
four o'clock in the morning the gray fog grew grayer with the early
dawning; and as I gazed with weary eyes into the vague unknown that
shut us in, Booden roused him from his booze, and seizing the tiller
from my hand, bawled: "'Bout ship, you swab! we're on the Farralones!"
And sure enough, there loomed right under our starboard quarter a group
of conical rocks, steeply rising from the restless blue sea. Their wild
white sides were crowded with chattering sea-fowl; and far above, like
a faint nimbus in the sky, shone the feeble rays of the lighthouse
lantern, now almost quenched by the dull gleam of day that crept up
from the water. The helm was jammed hard down. There was no time to get
out sweeps; but still drifting helplessly, we barely grazed the bare
rocks of the islet, and swung clear, slinking once more into the gloom.

Our scanty stock of provisions and water was gone; but there was no
danger of starvation, for the generous product of the henneries and
dairies of Bolinas filled the vessel's hold--albeit raw eggs and butter
without bread might only serve as a barrier against famine. So we
drifted and tumbled about--still no wind and no sign of the lifting of
the fog. Once in awhile it would roll upward and show a long, flat
expanse of water, tempting us to believe that the blessed sky was
coming out at last; but soon the veil fell again, and we aimlessly
wondered where we were and whither we were drifting. There is something
awful and mysterious in the shadowy nothingness that surrounds one in a
fog at sea. You fancy that out of that impenetrable mist may suddenly
burst some great disaster or danger. Strange shapes appear to be
forming themselves in the obscurity out of which they emerge, and the
eye is wearied beyond expression with looking into a vacuity which
continually promises to evolve into something, but never does.

Thus idly drifting, we heard, first, the creaking of a block, then a
faint wash of sea; and out of the white depths of the fog came the
bulky hull of a full-rigged ship. Her sails were set, but she made
scarcely steerage way. Her rusty sides and general look bespoke a long
voyage just concluding; and we found on hailing her that she was the
British ship Marathon, from Calcutta for San Francisco. We boarded the
Marathon, though almost in sight of our own port, with something of the
feeling that shipwrecked seamen may have when they reach land. It was
odd that we, lost and wandering as we were, should be thus encountered
in the vast unknown where we were drifting by a strange ship; and
though scarcely two hours' sail from home, should be supplied with
bread and water by a Britisher from the Indies. We gave them all the
information we had about the pilots, whom we wanted so much to meet
ourselves; and after following slowly for a few hours by the huge side
of our strange friend, parted company--the black hull and huge spars of
the Indiaman gradually lessening in the mist that shut her from our
view. We had touched a chord that bound us to our fellow-men but it was
drawn from our hands, and the unfathomable abyss in which we floated
had swallowed up each human trace, except what was comprised on the
contracted deck of the Lively Polly, where Captain Booden sat glumly
whittling, and Lanky meditatively peered after the disappeared
Marathon, as though his soul and all his hopes had gone with her. The
deck, with its load of cord-wood; the sails and rigging; the
sliding-hutch of the little cuddy; and all the features of the Lively
Polly, but yesterday so unfamiliar, were now as odiously wearisome as
though I had known them for a century. It seemed as if I had never
known any other place.

All that day we floated aimlessly along, moved only by the sluggish
currents, which shifted occasionally, but generally bore us westward
and southward; not a breath of wind arose, and our sails were as
useless as though we had been on dry land. Night came on again, and
found us still entirely without reckoning and as completely "at sea" as
ever before. To add to our discomfort, a drizzling rain, unusual for
the season of the year, set in, and we cowered on the wet deck-load,
more than ever disgusted with each other and the world. During the
night a big ocean steamer came plunging and crashing through the
darkness, her lights gleaming redly through the dense medium as she
cautiously felt her way past us, falling off a few points as she heard
our hail. We lay right in her path, but with tin horns and a wild
Indian yell from the versatile Lanky managed to make ourselves heard,
and the mysterious stranger disappeared in the fog as suddenly as she
had come, and we were once more alone in the darkness.

The night wore slowly away, and we made out to catch a few hours'
sleep, standing "watch and watch" with each other of our slender crew.
Day dawned again, and we broke our fast with the last of the Marathon's
biscuit, having "broken cargo" to eke out our cold repast with some of
the Bolinas butter and eggs which we were taking to a most unexpected
market.

Suddenly, about six o'clock in the morning, we heard the sound of
breakers ahead, and above the sullen roar of the surf I distinctly
heard the tinklings of a bell. We got out our sweeps and had commenced
to row wearily once more, when the fog lifted and before us lay the
blessed land. A high range of sparsely wooded hills, crowned with rocky
ledges, and with abrupt slopes covered with dry brown grass, running to
the water's edge, formed the background of the picture. Nearer, a
tongue of high land, brushy and rocky, made out from the main shore,
and curving southward, formed a shelter to what seemed a harbor within.
Against the precipitous point the sea broke with a heavy blow, and a
few ugly peaks of rock lifted their heads above the heaving green of
the sea. High up above the sky-line rose one tall, sharp, blue peak,
yet veiled in the floating mist, but its base melted away into a mass
of verdure that stretched from the shore far up the mountain-side. Our
sweeps were now used to bring us around the point, and cautiously
pulling in, we opened a lovely bay bordered with orchards and
vineyards, in the midst of which was a neat village, glittering white
in the sunshine, and clustered around an old-fashioned mission church,
whose quaint gable and tower reminded us of the buildings of the early
Spanish settlers of the country. As we neared the shore (there was no
landing-place) we could see an unwonted commotion in the clean streets,
and a flag was run up to the top of a white staff that stood in the
midst of a plaza. Captain Booden returned the compliment by hoisting
the Stars and Stripes at our mainmast head, but was sorely bothered
with the mingled dyes of the flag on shore. A puff of air blew out its
folds, and to our surprise disclosed the Mexican national standard.

"Blast them greasers," said the patriotic skipper, "if they ain't gone
and histed a Mexican cactus flag, then I'm blowed." He seriously
thought of hauling down his beloved national colors again, resenting
the insult of hoisting a foreign flag on American soil. He pocketed the
affront, however, remarking that "they probably knew that a Bolinas
butter-boat was not much of a fightist anyway."

We dropped anchor gladly, Captain Booden being wholly at a loss as to
our whereabouts. We judged that we were somewhere south of the Golden
Gate, but what town this was that slept so tranquilly in the summer
sun, and what hills were these that walled in the peaceful scene from
the rest of the world, we could not tell. The village seemed awakening
from its serene sleepiness, and one by one the windows of the adobe
cottages swung open as if the people rubbed their long-closed eyes at
some unwonted sight; and the doors gradually opened as though their
dumb lips would hail us and ask who were these strangers that vexed the
quiet waters of their bay. But two small fishing-boats lay at anchor,
and these Booden said reminded him of Christopher Columbus or Noah's
Ark, they were so clumsy and antique in build.

We hauled our boat up alongside, and all hands got in and went ashore.
As we landed, a little shudder seemed to go through the sleepy old
place, as if it had been rudely disturbed from its comfortable nap, and
a sudden sob of sea air swept through the quiet streets as though the
insensate houses had actually breathed the weary sigh of awaking. The
buildings were low and white, with dark-skinned children basking in the
doors, and grass hammocks swinging beneath open verandas. There were no
stores, no sign of business, and no sound of vehicles or labor; all was
as decorous and quiet, to use the skipper's description, "as if the
people had slicked up their door-yards, whitewashed their houses, and
gone to bed." It was just like a New England Sabbath in a Mexican
village.

And this fancy was further colored by a strange procession which now
met us as we went up from the narrow beach, having first made fast our
boat. A lean Mexican priest, with an enormous shovel hat and
particularly shabby cassock, came toward us, followed by a motley crowd
of Mexicans, prominent among whom was a pompous old man clad in a seedy
Mexican uniform and wearing a trailing rapier at his side. The rest of
the procession was brought up with a crowd of shy women, dark-eyed and
tawny and all poorly clad, though otherwise comfortable enough in
condition. These hung back and wonderingly looked at the strange faces,
as though they had never seen the like before. The old padre lifted his
skinny hands, and said something in Spanish which I did not understand.

"Why, the old mummy is slinging his popish blessings at us!" This was
Lanky's interpretation of the kindly priest's paternal salutation. And,
sure enough, he was welcoming us to the shore of San Ildefonso with
holy fervor and religious phrase.

"I say," said Booden, a little testily, "what did you say was the name
of this place, and where away does it lay from 'Frisco?" In very choice
Castilian, as Lanky declared, the priest rejoined that he did not
understand the language in which Booden was speaking. "Then bring on
somebody that does," rejoined that irreverent mariner, when due
interpretation had been made. The padre protested that no one in the
village understood the English tongue. The skipper gave a long low
whistle of suppressed astonishment, and wondered if we had drifted down
to Lower California in two days and nights, and had struck a Mexican
settlement. The colors on the flagstaff and the absence of any
Americans gave some show of reason to this startling conclusion; and
Lanky, who was now the interpreter of the party, asked the name of the
place, and was again told that it was San Ildefonso; but when he asked
what country it was in and how far it was to San Francisco, he was met
with a polite "I do not understand you, Señor." Here was a puzzle:
becalmed in a strange port only two days drift from the city of San
Francisco; a town which the schoolmaster declared was not laid down on
any map; a population that spoke only Spanish and did not know English
when they heard it; a Mexican flag flying over the town, and an
educated priest who did not know what we meant when we asked how far it
was to San Francisco. Were we bewitched?

Accepting a hospitable invitation from the padre, we sauntered up to
the plaza, where we were ushered into a long, low room, which might
once have been a military barrack-room. It was neatly whitewashed and
had a hard clay floor, and along the walls were a few ancient firelocks
and a venerable picture of "His Excellency, General Santa Aña,
President of the Republic of Mexico," as a legend beneath it set forth.
Breakfast of chickens, vegetables, bread, and an excellent sort of
country wine (this last being served in a big earthen bottle) was
served up to us on the long unpainted table that stood in the middle of
the room. During the repast our host, the priest, sat with folded hands
intently regarding us, while the rest of the people clustered around
the door and open windows, eying us with indescribable and
incomprehensible curiosity. If we had been visitors from the moon we
could not have attracted more attention. Even the stolid Indians, a few
of whom strolled lazily about, came and gazed at us until the pompous
old man in faded Mexican uniform drove them noisily away from the
window, where they shut out the light and the pleasant morning air,
perfumed with heliotropes, verbenas, and sweet herbs that grew
luxuriantly about the houses.

The padre had restrained his curiosity out of rigid politeness until we
had eaten, when he began by asking, "Did our galleon come from Manila?"
We told him that we only came from Bolinas; whereat he said once more,
with a puzzled look of pain, "I do not understand you, Señor." Then
pointing through the open doorway to where the Lively Polly peacefully
floated at anchor, he asked what ensign was that which floated at her
masthead. Lanky proudly, but with some astonishment, replied: "That's
the American flag, Señor." At this the seedy old man in uniform eagerly
said: "Americanos! Americanos! why, I saw some of those people and that
flag at Monterey." Lanky asked him if Monterey was not full of
Americans, and did not have plenty of flags. The Ancient replied that
he did not know; it was a long time since he had been there. Lanky
observed that perhaps he had never been there. "I was there in 1835,"
said the Ancient. This curious speech being interpreted to Captain
Booden, that worthy remarked that he did not believe that he had seen a
white man since.

After an ineffectual effort to explain to the company where Bolinas
was, we rose and went out for a view of the town. It was beautifully
situated on a gentle rise which swelled up from the water's edge and
fell rapidly off in the rear of the town into a deep ravine, where a
brawling mountain stream supplied a little flouring-mill with motive
power. Beyond the ravine were small fields of grain, beans and lentils
on the rolling slopes, and back of these rose the dark, dense
vegetation of low hills, while over all were the rough and ragged
ridges of mountains closing in all the scene. The town itself, as I
have said, was white and clean; the houses were low-browed, with
windows secured by wooden shutters, only a few glazed sashes being seen
anywhere. Out of these openings in the thick adobe walls of the humble
homes of the villagers flashed the curious, the abashed glances of many
a dark-eyed señorita, who fled, laughing, as we approached. The old
church was on the plaza, and in its odd-shaped turret tinkled the
little bell whose notes had sounded the morning angelus when we were
knocking about in the fog outside. High up on its quaintly arched gable
was inscribed in antique letters "1796." In reply to a sceptical remark
from Lanky, Booden declared that "the old shell looked as though it
might have been built in the time of Ferdinand and Isabella, for that
matter." The worthy skipper had a misty idea that all old Spanish
buildings were built in the days of these famous sovereigns.

Hearing the names of Ferdinand and Isabella, the padre gravely and
reverentially asked: "And is the health of His Excellency, General
Santa Aña, whom God protect, still continued to him?"

With great amazement, Lanky replied: "Santa Aña! why, the last heard of
him was that he was keeping a cockpit in Havana; some of the newspapers
published an obituary of him about six months ago, but I believe he is
alive yet somewhere."

A little flush of indignation mantled the old man's cheek, and with a
tinge of severity in his voice he said: "I have heard that shameful
scandal about our noble President once before, but you must excuse me
if I ask you not to repeat it. It is true he took away our Pious Fund
some years since, but he is still our revered President, and I would
not hear him ill-spoken of any more than our puissant and mighty
Ferdinand, of whom you just spoke--may he rest in glory!" and here the
good priest crossed himself devoutly.

"What is the old priest jabbering about?" asked Captain Booden,
impatiently; for he was in haste to "get his bearings" and be off. When
Lanky replied, he burst out: "Tell him that Santa Aña is not President
of Mexico any more than I am, and that he hasn't amounted to a row of
pins since California was part of the United States."

Lanky faithfully interpreted this fling at the ex-President, whereupon
the padre, motioning to the Ancient to put up his rapier, which had
leaped out of its rusty scabbard, said: "Nay, Señor, you would insult
an old man. We have never been told yet by our government that the
Province of California was alienated from the great Republic of Mexico,
and we owe allegiance to none save the nation whose flag we love so
well;" and the old man turned his tear-dimmed eyes toward the ragged
standard of Mexico that drooped from the staff in the plaza.
Continuing, he said: "Our noble country has strangely forgotten us, and
though we watch the harbor-entrance year after year, no tidings ever
comes. The galleon that was to bring us stores has never been seen on
the horizon yet, and we seem lost in the fog."

The schoolmaster of Jaybird Cañon managed to tell us what the priest
had said, and then asked when he had last heard of the outside world.
"It was in 1837," said he, sadly, "when we sent a courier to the
Mission del Carmelo, at Monterey, for tidings from New Spain. He never
came back, and the great earthquake which shook the country hereabout
opened a huge chasm across the country just back of the Sierra yonder,
and none dared to cross over to the main land. The saints have defended
us in peace, and it is the will of Heaven that we shall stay here by
ourselves until the Holy Virgin, in answer to our prayers, shall send
us deliverance."

Here was a new revelation. This was an old Spanish Catholic mission,
settled in 1796, called San Ildefonso, which had evidently been
overlooked for nearly forty years, and had quietly slept in an unknown
solitude while the country had been transferred to the United States
from the flag that still idly waved over it. Lost in the fog! Here was
a whole town lost in a fog of years. Empires and dynasties had risen
and fallen; the world had repeatedly been shaken to its centre, and
this people had heeded it not; a great civil war had ravaged the
country to which they now belonged, and they knew not of it; poor
Mexico herself had been torn with dissensions and had been insulted
with an empire, and these peaceful and weary watchers for tidings from
"New Spain" had recked nothing of all these things. All around them the
busy State of California was scarred with the eager pick of
gold-seekers or the shining share of the husbandman; towns and cities
had sprung up where these patriarchs had only known of vast cattle
ranges or sleepy missions of the Roman Catholic Fathers. They knew
nothing of the great city of San Francisco, with its busy marts and
crowded harbor; and thought of its broad bay--if they thought of it at
all--as the lovely shore of Yerba Buena, bounded by bleak hills and
almost unvexed by any keel. The political storms of forty years had
gone hurtless over their heads, and in a certain sort of dreamless
sleep San Ildefonso had still remained true to the red, white, and
green flag that had long since disappeared from every part of the State
save here, where it was still loved and revered as the banner of the
soil.

The social and political framework of the town had been kept up through
all these years. There had been no connection with the fountain of
political power, but the town was ruled by the legally elected
Ayuntamiento, or Common Council, of which the Ancient, Señor Apolonario
Maldonado, was President or Alcade. They were daily looking for advices
from Don José Castro, Governor of the loyal province of California; and
so they had been looking daily for forty years. We asked if they had
not heard from any of the prying Yankees who crowd the country. Father
Ignacio--for that was the padre's name--replied: "Yes; five years ago,
when the winter rains had just set in, a tall, spare man, who talked
some French and some Spanish, came down over the mountains with a pack
containing pocket-knives, razors, soap, perfumery, laces, and other
curious wares, and besought our people to purchase. We have not much
coin, but were disposed to treat him Christianly, until he did declare
that President General Santa Aña, whom may the saints defend! was a
thief and gambler, and had gambled away the Province of California to
the United States; whereupon we drave him hence, the Ayuntamiento
sending a trusty guard to see him two leagues from the borders of the
Pueblo. But months after, we discovered his pack and such of his poor
bones as the wild beasts of prey had not carried off, at the base of a
precipice where he had fallen. His few remains and his goods were
together buried on the mountain-side, and I lamented that we had been
so hard with him. But the saints forbid that he should go back and tell
where the people of San Ildefonso were waiting to hear from their own
neglectful country, which may Heaven defend, bless, and prosper."

The little town took on a new interest to us cold outsiders after
hearing its strange and almost improbable story. We could have scarcely
believed that San Ildefonso had actually been overlooked in the
transfer of the country from Mexico to the United States, and had for
nearly forty years been hidden away between the Sierra and the sea; but
if we were disposed to doubt the word of the good father, here was
intrinsic evidence of the truth of his narrative. There were no
Americans here: only the remnants of the old Mexican occupation and the
civilized Indians. No traces of later civilization could be found; but
the simple dresses, tools, implements of husbandry, and household
utensils were such as I have seen in the half-civilized wilds of
Central America. The old mill in the cañon behind the town was a
curiosity of clumsiness, and nine-tenths of the water-power of the
arroya that supplied it were wasted. Besides, until now, who ever heard
of such a town in California as San Ildefonso? Upon what map can any
such headland and bay be traced? and where are the historic records of
the pueblo whose well-defined boundaries lay palpably before us? I have
dwelt upon this point, about which I naturally have some feeling,
because of the sceptical criticism which my narrative has since
provoked. There are some people in the world who never will believe
anything that they have not seen, touched, or tasted for themselves;
California has her share of such.

Captain Booden was disposed to reject Father Ignacio's story, until I
called his attention to the fact that this was a tolerable harbor for
small craft, and yet had never before been heard of; that he never knew
of such a town, and that if any of his numerous associates in the
marine profession knew of the town or harbor of San Ildefonso, he
surely would have heard of it from them. He restrained his impatience
to be off long enough to allow Father Ignacio to gather from us a few
chapters of the world's history for forty years past. The discovery of
gold in California, the settlement of the country and the Pacific
Railroad were not so much account to him, somehow, as the condition of
Europe, the Church of Mexico, and what had become of the Pious Fund;
this last I discovered had been a worrisome subject to the good Father.
I did not know what it was myself, but I believe it was the alienation
from the church of certain moneys and incomes which were transferred to
speculators by the Mexican Congress, years and years ago.

I was glad to find that we were more readily believed by Father Ignacio
and the old Don than our Yankee predecessor had been; perhaps we were
believed more on his corroborative evidence. The priest, however,
politely declined to believe all we said--that was evident; and the Don
steadily refused to believe that California had been transferred to the
United States. It was a little touching to see Father Ignacio's doubt
and hopes struggle in his withered face as he heard in a few brief
sentences the history of his beloved land and Church for forty years
past. His eye kindled or it was bedewed with tears as he listened, and
an occasional flash of resentment flushed his cheek when he heard
something that shook his ancient faith in the established order of
things. To a proposition to take a passage with us to San Francisco, he
replied warmly that he would on no account leave his flock, nor attempt
to thwart the manifest will of Heaven that the town should remain
unheard of until delivered from its long sleep by the same agencies
that had cut it off from the rest of the world. Neither would he allow
any of the people to come with us.

And so we parted. We went out with the turn of the tide, Father Ignacio
and the Ancient accompanying us to the beach, followed by a crowd of
the townsfolk, who carried for us water and provisions for a longer
voyage than ours promised to be. The venerable priest raised his hands
in parting blessing as we shoved off, and I saw two big tears roll down
the furrowed face of Señor Maldonado, who looked after us as a stalwart
old warrior might look at the departure of a band of hopeful comrades
leaving him to fret in monkish solitude while they were off to the wars
again. Wind and tide served, and in a few minutes the Lively Polly
rounded the point, and looking back, I saw the yellow haze of the
afternoon sun sifted sleepily over all the place; the knots of
white-clad people standing statuesque and motionless as they gazed; the
flag of Mexico faintly waving in the air; and with a sigh of relief
slumbrous veil seemed to fall over all the scene; and as our boat met
the roll of the current outside the headland, the gray rocks of the
point shut out the fading view, and we saw the last of San Ildefonso.

Captain Booden had gathered enough from the people to know that we were
somewhere south of San Francisco (the Lively Polly had no chart or
nautical instruments on board of course), and so he determined to coast
cautiously along northward, marking the shore line in order to be able
to guide other navigators to the harbor. But a light mist crept down
the coast, shutting out the view of the headlands, and by midnight we
had stretched out to sea again, and we were once more out of our
reckoning. At daybreak, however, the fog lifted, and we found ourselves
in sight of land, and a brisk breeze blowing, we soon made Pigeon
Point, and before noon were inside the Golden Gate, and ended our long
and adventurous cruise from Bolinas Bay by hauling into the wharf of
San Francisco.

I have little left to tell. Of the shameful way in which our report was
received, every newspaper reader knows. At first there were some
persons, men of science and reading, who were disposed to believe what
we said. I printed in one of the daily newspapers an account of what we
had discovered, giving a full history of San Ildefonso as Father
Ignacio had given it to us. Of course, as I find is usual in such
cases, the other newspapers pooh-poohed the story their contemporary
had published to their exclusion, and made themselves very merry over
what they were pleased to term "The Great San Ildefonso Sell." I
prevailed on Captain Booden to make a short voyage down the coast in
search of the lost port. But we never saw the headland, the ridge
beyond the town, nor anything that looked like these landmarks, though
we went down as far as San Pedro Bay and back twice or three times. It
actually did seem that the whole locality had been swallowed up, or had
vanished into air. In vain did I bring the matter to the notice of the
merchants and scientific men of San Francisco. Nobody would fit out an
exploring expedition by land or sea; those who listened at first
finally inquired "if there was any money in it?" I could not give an
affirmative answer, and they turned away with the discouraging remark
that the California Academy of Natural Science and the Society of
Pioneers were the only bodies interested in the fate of our lost city.
Even Captain Booden somehow lost all interest in the enterprise, and
returned to his Bolinas coasting with the most stolid indifference. I
combated the attacks of the newspapers with facts and depositions of my
fellow-voyagers as long as I could, until one day the editor of the
Daily Trumpeter (I suppress the real name of the sheet) coldly told me
that the public were tired of the story of San Ildefonso. It was plain
that his mind had been soured by the sarcasms of his contemporaries,
and he no longer believed in me.

The newspaper controversy died away and was forgotten, but I have never
relinquished the hope of proving the verity of my statements. At one
time I expected to establish the truth, having heard that one Zedekiah
Murch had known a Yankee peddler who had gone over the mountains of
Santa Cruz and never was heard of more. But Zedekiah's memory was
feeble, and he only knew that such a story prevailed long ago; so that
clue was soon lost again, and the little fire of enthusiasm which it
had kindled among a few persons died out. I have not yet lost all hope;
and when I think of the regretful conviction that will force itself
upon the mind of good Father Ignacio, that we were, after all,
impostors, I cannot bear to reflect that I may die and visit the lost
town of San Ildefonso no more.





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