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Title: In the High Valley - Being the fifth and last volume of the Katy Did series
Author: Coolidge, Susan, 1835-1905
Language: English
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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.

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[Illustration: "'I suppose we shall never see the ocean from where we
are to live,' said Imogen."--PAGE 15.]











          _Copyright_, _1891_,

          =University Press:=


  CHAPTER                                              PAGE

     I. ALONG THE NORTH DEVON COAST                      7

    II. MISS OPDYKE FROM NEW YORK                       40


    IV. IN THE HIGH VALLEY                              93

     V. ARRIVAL                                        127

    VI. UNEXPECTED                                     149

   VII. THORNS AND ROSES                               174

  VIII. UNCONDITIONAL SURRENDER                        204

    IX. THE ECHOES IN THE EAST CANYON                  235

     X. A DOUBLE KNOT                                  267




IT was a morning of late May, and the sunshine, though rather watery,
after the fashion of South-of-England suns, was real sunshine still, and
glinted and glittered bravely on the dew-soaked fields about Copplestone

This was an ancient house of red brick, dating back to the last half of
the sixteenth century, and still bearing testimony in its sturdy bulk to
the honest and durable work put upon it by its builders. Not a joist had
bent, not a girder started in the long course of its two hundred and odd
years of life. The brick-work of its twisted chimney-stacks was intact,
and the stone carving over its doorways and window frames; only the
immense growth of the ivy on its side walls attested to its age. It
takes longer to build ivy five feet thick than many castles, and though
new masonry by trick and artifice may be made to look like old, there is
no secret known to man by which a plant or tree can be induced to
simulate an antiquity which does not rightfully belong to it.
Innumerable sparrows and tomtits had built in the thick mats of the old
ivy, and their cries and twitters blended in shrill and happy chorus as
they flew in and out of their nests.

The Grange had been a place of importance, in Queen Elizabeth's time, as
the home of an old Devon family which was finally run out and
extinguished. It was now little more than a superior sort of farm-house.
The broad acres of meadow and pleasaunce and woodland which had given it
consequence in former days had been gradually parted with, as
misfortunes and losses came to its original owners. The woods had been
felled, the pleasure grounds now made part of other people's farms, and
the once wide domain had contracted, until the ancient house stood with
only a few acres about it, and wore something the air of an old-time
belle who has been forcibly divested of her ample farthingale and
hooped-petticoat, and made to wear the scant kirtle of a village maid.

Orchards of pear and apple flanked the building to east and west. Behind
was a field or two crowning a little upland where sedate cows fed
demurely; and in front, toward the south, which was the side of
entrance, lay a narrow walled garden, with box-bordered beds full of
early flowers, mimulus, sweet-peas, mignonette, stock gillies, and blush
and damask roses, carefully tended and making a blaze of color on the
face of the bright morning. The whole front of the house was draped with
a luxuriant vine of Gloire de Dijon, whose long, pink-yellow buds and
cream-flushed cups sent wafts of delicate sweetness with every puff of

Seventy years before the May morning of which we write, Copplestone
Grange had fallen at public sale to Edward Young, a well-to-do banker of
Bideford. He was a descendant in direct line of that valiant Young who,
together with his fellow-seaman Prowse, undertook the dangerous task of
steering down and igniting the seven fire-ships which sent the Spanish
armada "lumbering off" to sea, and saved England for Queen Elizabeth and
the Protestant succession.

Edward Young lived twenty years in peace and honor to enjoy his
purchase, and his oldest son James now reigned in his stead, having
reared within the old walls a numerous brood of sons and daughters, now
scattered over the surface of the world in general, after the sturdy
British fashion, till only three or four remained at home, waiting their
turn to fly.

One of these now stood at the gate. It was Imogen Young, oldest but one
of the four daughters. She was evidently waiting for some one, and
waiting rather impatiently.

"We shall certainly be late," she said aloud, "and it's quite too bad of
Lion." Then, glancing at the little silver watch in her belt, she began
to call, "Lion! Lionel! Oh, Lion! do make haste! It's gone twenty past,
and we shall never be there in time."

"Coming," shouted a voice from an upper window; "I'm just washing my
hands. Coming in a jiffy, Moggy."

"Jiffy!" murmured Imogen. "How very American Lion has got to be. He's
always 'guessing' and 'calculating' and 'reckoning.' It seems as if he
did it on purpose to startle and annoy me. I suppose one has got to get
used to it if you're over there, but really it's beastly bad form, and I
shall keep on telling Lion so."

She was not a pretty girl, but neither was she an ill-looking one.
Neither tall nor very slender, her vigorous little figure had still a
certain charm of trim erectness and youthful grace, though Imogen was
twenty-four, and considered herself very staid and grown-up. A fresh,
rosy skin, beautiful hair of a warm, chestnut color, with a natural
wave in it, and clear, honest, blue eyes, went far to atone for a thick
nose, a wide mouth, and front teeth which projected slightly and seemed
a size too large for the face to which they belonged. Her dress did
nothing to assist her looks. It was woollen, of an unbecoming shade of
yellowish gray; it fitted badly, and the complicated loops and hitches
of the skirt bespoke a fashion some time since passed by among those who
were particular as to such matters. The effect was not assisted by a
pork-pie hat of black straw trimmed with green feathers, a pink ribbon
from which depended a silver locket, a belt of deep magenta-red, yellow
gloves, and an umbrella bright navy-blue in tint. She had over her arm a
purplish water-proof, and her thick, solid boots could defy the mud of
her native shire.

"Lion! Lion!" she called again; and this time a tall young fellow
responded, running rapidly down the path to join her. He was two years
her junior, vigorous, alert, and boyish, with a fresh skin, and tawny,
waving hair like her own.

"How long you have been!" she cried reproachfully.

"Grieved to have kept you, Miss," was the reply. "You see, things went
contrairy-like. The grease got all over me when I was cleaning the guns,
and cold water wouldn't take it off, and that old Saunders took his time
about bringing the can of hot, till at last I rushed down and fetched it
up myself from the copper. You should have seen cook's face! 'Fancy,
Master Lionel,' says she, 'coming yourself for 'ot water!' I tell you,
Moggy, Saunders is past his usefulness. He's a regular duffer--a gump."

"There's another American expression. Saunders is a most respectable
man, I'm sure, and has been in the family thirty-one years. Of course he
has a good deal to do just now, with the packing and all. Now, Lion, we
shall have to walk smartly if we're to get there at half-after."

"All right. Here goes for a spin, then."

The brother and sister walked rapidly on down the winding road, in the
half-shadow of the bordering hedges. Real Devonshire hedge-rows they
were, than which are none lovelier in England, rising eight and ten feet
overhead on either side, and topped with delicate, flickering birch and
ash boughs blowing in the fresh wind. Below were thick growths of
hawthorn, white and pink, and wild white roses in full flower
interspersed with maple tips as red as blood, the whole interlaced and
held together with thick withes and tangles of ivy, briony, and
travellers' joy. Beneath them the ground was strewn with
flowers,--violets, and king-cups, poppies, red campions, and blue
iris,--while tall spikes of rose-colored foxgloves rose from among ranks
of massed ferns, brake, hart's-tongue, and maiden's-hair, with here and
there a splendid growth of Osmund Royal. To sight and smell, the
hedge-rows were equally delightful.

Copplestone Grange stood three miles west of Bideford, and the house to
which the Youngs were going was close above Clovelly, so that a
distance of some seven miles separated them. To walk this twice for the
sake of lunching with a friend would seem to most young Americans too
formidable a task to be at all worth while, but to our sturdy English
pair it presented no difficulties. On they went, lightly and steadily,
Imogen's elastic steps keeping pace easily with her brother's longer
tread. There was a good deal of up and down hill to get over with, and
whenever they topped a rise, green downs ending in wooded cliffs could
be seen to the left, and beyond and below an expanse of white-flecked
shimmering sea. A salt wind from the channel blew in their faces, full
of coolness and refreshment, and there was no dust.

"I suppose we shall never see the ocean from where we are to live," said
Imogen, with a sigh.

"Well, hardly, considering it's about fifteen-hundred miles away."

"Fifteen hundred! oh, Lion, you are surely exaggerating. Why, the whole
of England is not so large as that, from Land's End to John O'Groat's

"I should say not, nothing like it. Why Moggy, you've no idea how small
our 'right little, tight little island' really is. You could set it down
plump in some of the States, New York, for instance, and there would be
quite a tidy fringe of territory left all round it. Of course, morally,
we are the standard of size for all the world, but geographically,
phew!--our size is little, though our hearts are great."

"I think it's vulgar to be so big,--not that I believe half you say,
Lion. You've been over in America so long, and grown such a Yankee, that
you swallow everything they choose to tell you. I've always heard about
American brag--"

"My dear, there's no need to brag when the facts are there, staring you
in the face. It's just a matter of feet and inches,--any one can do the
measurement who has a tape-line. Wait till you see it. And as for its
being vulgar to be big, why is the 'right little, tight little' always
stretching out her long arms to rope in new territory, in that case, I
should like to know? It would be much eleganter to keep herself to

"Oh, don't talk that sort of rot; I hate to hear you."

"I must when you talk that kind of--well, let us say 'rubbish.' 'Rot' is
one of our choice terms which hasn't got over to the States yet. You're
as opiniated and 'narrer' as the little island itself. What do you know
about America, any way? Did you ever see an American in your life,

"Yes, several. I saw Buffalo Bill last year, and lots of Indians and
cow-boys whom he had fetched over. And I saw Professor--Professor--what
was his name? I forget, but he lectured on phrenology; and then there
was Mrs. Geoff Templestowe."

"Oh Mrs. Geoff--she's a different sort. Buffalo Bill and his show can
hardly be treated as specimens of American society, and neither can your
bump-man. But she's a fair sample of the nice kind; and you liked her,
now didn't you? you know you did."

"Well, yes, I did," admitted Imogen, rather grudgingly. "She was really
quite nice, and good-form, and all that, and Isabel said she was far and
away the best sister-in-law yet, and the Squire took such a fancy to her
that it was quite remarkable. But she cannot be used as an argument, for
she's not the least like the American girls in the books. She must have
had unusual advantages. And after all,--nice as she was, she wasn't
English. There was a difference somehow,--you felt it though you
couldn't say exactly what it was."

"No, thank goodness--she isn't; that's just the beauty of it. Why should
all the world be just alike? And what books do you mean, and what girls?
There are all kinds on the other side, I can tell you. Wait till you get
over to the High Valley and you'll see."

This sort of discussion had become habitual of late between the brother
and sister. Three years before, Lionel had gone out to Colorado, to
"look about and see how ranching suited him," as he phrased it, and had
decided that it suited him exactly. He had served a sort of
apprenticeship to Geoffrey Templestowe, the son of an old Devonshire
neighbor, who had settled in a place called High Valley, and, together
with two partners, had built up a flourishing and lucrative cattle
business, owning a large tract of grazing territory and great herds. One
of the partners was now transferred to New Mexico, where the firm owned
land also, and Mr. Young had advanced money to buy Lionel, who was now
competent to begin for himself, a share in the business. He was now
going out to remain permanently, and Imogen was going also, to keep his
house and make a home for him till he should be ready to marry and
settle down.

All over the world there are good English sisters doing this sort of
thing. In Australia and New Zealand they are to be found, in Canada, and
India, and the Transvaal,--wherever English boys are sent to advance
their fortunes. Had her destination been Canada or Australia, Imogen
would have found no difficulty in adjusting her ideas to it, but the
United States were a _terra incognita_. Knowing absolutely nothing about
them, she had constructed out of a fertile fancy and a few facts an
altogether imaginary America, not at all like the real one; peopled by
strange folk quite un-English in their ideas and ways, and very hard to
understand and live with. In vain did Lionel protest and explain; his
remonstrances were treated as proofs of the degeneracy and blindness
induced by life in "The States," and to all his appeals she opposed that
calm, obstinate disbelief which is the weapon of a limited intellect and
experience, and is harder to deal with than the most passionate

Unknown to herself a little sting of underlying jealousy tinctured these
opinions. For many years Isabel Templestowe had been her favorite
friend, the person she most admired and looked up to. They had been at
school together,--Isabel always taking the lead in everything, Imogen
following and imitating. The Templestowes were better born than the
Youngs, they took a higher place in the county; it was a distinction as
well as a tender pleasure to be intimate in the house. Once or twice
Isabel had gone to her married sister in London for a taste of the
"season." No such chance had ever fallen to Imogen's lot, but it was
next best to get letters, and hear from Isabel of all that she had seen
and done; thus sharing the joys at second-hand, as it were.

Isabel had other intimates, some of whom were more to her than Imogen
could be, but they lived at a distance and Imogen close at hand.
Propinquity plays a large part in friendship as well as love. Imogen had
no other intimate, but she knew too little of Isabel's other interests
to be made uncomfortable about them, and was quite happy in her position
as nearest and closest confidante until, four years before, Geoffrey
Templestowe came home for a visit, bringing with him his American wife,
whose name before her marriage had been Clover Carr, and whom some of
you who read this will recognize as an old friend.

Young, sweet, pretty, very happy, and "horribly well-dressed," as poor
Imogen in her secret soul admitted, Clover easily and quickly won the
liking of her "people-in-law." All the outlying sons and daughters who
were within reach came home to make her acquaintance, and all were
charmed with her. The Squire petted and made much of his new daughter
and could not say enough in her praise. Mrs. Templestowe averred that
she was as good as she was pretty, and as "sensible" as if she had been
born and brought up in England; and, worst of all, Isabel, for the time
of their stay, was perfectly absorbed in Geoff and Clover, and though
kind and affectionate when they met, had little or no time to spend on
Imogen. She and Clover were of nearly the same age, each had a thousand
interesting things to tell the other, both were devoted to Geoffrey,--it
was natural, inevitable, that they should draw together. Imogen
confessed to herself that it was only right that they should do so, but
it hurt all the same, and it was still a sore spot in her heart that
Isabel should love Clover so much, and that they should write such long
letters to each other. She was a conscientious girl, and she fought
against the feeling and tried hard to forget it, but there it was all
the same.

But while I have been explaining, the rapid feet of the two walkers had
taken them past the Hoops Inn, and to the opening of a rough shady lane
which made a short cut to the grounds of Stowe Manor, as the
Templestowes' place was called.

They entered by a private gate, opened by Imogen with a key which she
carried, and found themselves on the slope of a hill overhung with
magnificent old beeches. Farther down, the slope became steeper and
narrowed to form the sharp "chine" which cut the cliff seaward to the
water's edge. The Manor-house stood on a natural plateau at the head of
the ravine, whose steep green sides made a frame for the beautiful
picture it commanded of Lundy Island, rising in bold outlines over
seventeen miles of blue, tossing sea.

The brother and sister paused a moment to look for the hundredth time at
this exquisite glimpse. Then they ran lightly down over the grass to
where an intersecting gravel-path led to the door. It stood hospitably
open, affording a view of the entrance hall.

Such a beautiful old hall! built in the time of the Tudors, with a great
carven fireplace, mullioned windows in deep square bays, and a ceiling
carved with fans, shields, and roses. "Bow-pots" stood on the sills,
full of rose-leaves and spices, huge antlers and trophies of weapons
adorned the walls, and the polished floor, almost black with age, shone
like a looking-glass.

Beyond opened a drawing-room, low-ceiled and equally quaint in build.
The furniture seemed as old as the house. There was nothing with a
modern air about it, except some Indian curiosities, a water-color or
two, the photographs of the family, and the fresh flowers in the vases.
But the sun shone in, there was a great sense of peace and stillness,
and beside a little wood-fire, which burned gently and did not hiss or
crackle as it might have done elsewhere, sat a lovely old lady, whose
fresh and peaceful and kindly face seemed the centre from which all the
home look and comfort streamed. She was knitting a long silk stocking, a
volume of Mudie's lay on her knee, and a skye terrier, blue, fuzzy, and
sleepy, had curled himself luxuriously in the folds of her dress.

This was Mrs. Templestowe, Geoff's mother and Clover's mother-in-law.
She jumped up almost as lightly as a girl to welcome the visitors.

"Take your hat off, my dear," she said to Imogen, "or would you rather
run up to Isabel's room? She was here just now, but her father called
her off to consult about something in the hot-house. He won't keep her
long-- Ah, there she is now," as a figure flashed by the window; "I knew
she would be here directly."

Another second and Isabel hurried in, a tall, slender girl with thick,
fair hair, blue eyes with dark lashes, and a look of breeding and
distinction. Her dress, very simple in cut, suited her, and had that
undefinable air of being just right which a good London tailor knows how
to give. She wore no ornaments, but Imogen, who had felt rather
well-dressed when she left home, suddenly hated her gown and hat,
realized that her belt and ribbon did not agree, and wished for the
dozenth time that she had the knack at getting the right thing which
Isabel possessed.

"Her clothes grow prettier all the time, and mine get uglier," she
reflected. "The Squire says she got points from Mrs. Geoff, and that the
Americans know how to dress if they don't know anything else; but that's
nonsense, of course,--Isabel always did know how; she didn't need any
one to teach her."

Pretty soon they were all seated at luncheon, a hearty and substantial
meal, as befitted the needs of people who had just taken a seven-mile
walk. A great round of cold beef stood at one end of the table, a
chicken-pie at the other, and there were early peas and potatoes, a huge
cherry-tart, a "junket" equally large, strawberries, and various cakes
and pastries, meant to be eaten with a smother of that delicacy peculiar
to Devonshire, clotted cream. Every body was very hungry, and not much
was said till the first rage of appetite was satisfied.

"Ah!" said the Squire, as he filled his glass with amber-hued
cider,--"you don't get anything so good as this to drink over in
America, Lionel."

"Indeed we do, sir. Wait till you taste our lemonade made with natural

"Lemonade? phoo! Poor stuff I call it, cold and thin. I hope Geoff has
some better tipple than that to cheer him in the High Valley."

"Iced water," suggested Lionel, mischievously.

"Don't talk to me about iced water. It's worse than lemonade. It's the
perpetual use of ice which makes the Americans so nervous, I am

"But, papa, are they so nervous? Clover certainly isn't."

"Ah! my little Clover,--no, she wasn't nervous. She was nothing that she
ought not to be. I call her as sweet a lass as any country need want to
see. But Clover's no example; there aren't many like her, I fancy,--eh,

"Well, Squire, she's not the only one of the sort over there. Her
sister, who married Mr. Page, our other partner, you know, is quite as
pretty as she is, and as nice, too, though in a different way. And
there's the oldest one--the wife of the naval officer, I'm not sure but
you would like her the best of the three. She's a ripper in
looks,--tall, you know, with lots of go and energy, and yet as sweet and
womanly as can be; you'd like her very much, you'd like all of them."

"How is the unmarried one?--Joan, I think they call her," asked Mrs.

"Oh!" said Lionel, rather confused, "I don't know so much about her.
She's only once been out to the valley since I was there. She seems a
nice girl, and certainly she's mighty pretty."

"Lion's blushing," remarked Imogen. "He always does blush when he speaks
of that Miss Carr."

"Rot!" muttered Lionel, with a wrathful look at his sister. "I do
nothing of the kind. But, Squire, when are you coming over to see for
yourself how we look and behave? I think you and the Madam would enjoy a
summer in the High Valley very much, and it would be no end of larks to
have you. Isabel would like it of all things."

"Oh, I know I should. I would start to-morrow, if I could. I'm coming
across to make Clover and Imogen a long visit the first moment that papa
and mamma can spare me."

"That will be a long time to wait, I fear," said her mother, sadly.
"Since Mr. Matthewson married and carried off poor Helen's children, the
house has seemed so silent that except for you it would hardly be worth
while to get up in the morning. We can't spare you at present, dear

"I know, mamma, and I shall never go till you can. The perfect thing
would be that we should all go together."

"Yes, if it were not for that dreadful voyage."

"Oh, the voyage is nothing," broke in the irrepressible Lionel, "you
just take some little pills; I forget the name of them, but they make
you safe not to be sick, and then you're across before you know it. The
ships are very comfortable,--electric bells, Welsh rabbits at bed-time,
and all that, you know."

"Fancy mamma with a Welsh rabbit at bed-time!--mamma, who cannot even
row down to Gallantry on the smoothest day without being upset! You must
bait your hook with something else, Lionel, if you hope to catch her."

"How would a trefoil of clover-leaves answer?" with a smile,--"she,
Geoff, and the boy."

"Ah, that dear baby. I wish I _could_ see the little fellow. He is so
pretty in his picture," sighed Mrs. Templestowe. "That bait would land
me if anything could, Lion. By the way, there are some little parcels
for them, which I thought perhaps you would make room for, Imogen."

"Yes, indeed, I'll carry anything with pleasure. Now I'm afraid we must
be going. Mother wants me to step down to Clovelly with a message for
the landlady of the New Inn, and I've set my heart upon walking once
more to Gallantry Bower. Can't you come with us, Isabel? It would be so
nice if you could, and it's my last chance."

"Of course I will. I'll be ready in five minutes, if you really can't
stay any longer."

The three friends were soon on their way, under a low-hung sky, which
looked near and threatening. The beautiful morning was fled.

"We had better cut down into the Hobby grounds and get under the trees,
for I think it's going to be wet," said Imogen.

The suggestion proved a wise one, for before they emerged from the
shelter of the woods it was raining smartly, and the girls were glad of
their water-proofs and umbrellas. Lionel, with hands in pockets, strode
on, disdaining what he was pleased to call "a little local shower."

"You should see how it pours in Colorado," he remarked. "That's worth
calling rain! Immense! Noah would feel perfectly at home in it!"

The tax of threepence each person, by which strangers are ingeniously
made to contribute to the "local charities," was not exacted of them at
the New Road Gate, on the strength of their being residents, and
personal friends of the owners of Clovelly Court. A few steps farther
brought them to the top of a zig-zag path, sloping sharply downward at
an angle of some sixty-five degrees, paved with broad stones, and
flanked on either side by houses, no two of which occupied the same
level, and which seemed to realize their precarious footing, and hug the
rift in which they were planted as limpets hug a rock.

This was the so-called "Clovelly Street," and surely a more
extraordinary thing in the way of a street does not exist in the known
world. The little village is built on the sides of a crack in a
tremendous cliff; the "street" is merely the bottom of the crack, into
which the ingenuity of man has fitted a few stones, set slant-wise, with
intersecting ridges on which the foot can catch as it goes slipping
hopelessly down. Even to practised walkers the descent is difficult,
especially when the stones are wet. The party from Stowe were familiar
with the path, and had trodden it many times, but even they picked their
steps, and went "delicately" like King Agag, holding up umbrellas in one
hand, and with the other catching at garden palings and the edges of
door-steps to save themselves from pitching headlong, while beside them
little boys and girls with the agility of long practice, went down
merrily almost at a run, their heavy, flat-bottomed shoes making a
clap-clap-clapping noise as they descended, like the strokes of a mallet
on wood.

Looking up and above the quaint tenements that bordered the "street,"
other houses equally quaint could be seen on either side rising above
each other to the top of the cliff, in whose midst the crack which held
the village is set. How it ever entered into the mind of man to utilize
such a place for such a purpose it was hard to conceive. The
eccentricity of level was endless, gardens topped roofs,
gooseberry-bushes and plum-trees seemed growing out of chimneys, tall
trees rose apparently from ridge-poles, and here and there against the
sky appeared extraordinary wooden figures of colossal size, Mermaids and
Britannias and Belle Savages, figure-heads of forgotten ships which old
sea-captains out of commission had set up in their gardens to remind
them of perils past. The weather-beaten little houses looked centuries
old, and all had such an air of having been washed accidentally into
their places by a great tidal wave that the vines and flowers which
overhung them affected the new-comer with a sense of surprise.

Down went the three, slipping and sliding, catching on and recovering
themselves, till they came to a small, low-browed building dating back
for a couple of centuries or so, which was the "New Inn." "Old" and
"new" have a local meaning of their own in Clovelly which does not
exactly apply anywhere else.

Up two little steps they passed into a narrow entry, with a parlor on
one side and on the other a comfortable sort of housekeeper's room,
where a fire was blazing in a grate with wide hobs. Both rooms as well
as the entry were hung with plates, dishes, platters, and bowls, set
thickly on the walls in groups of tens and scores and double-scores, as
suited their shape and color. The same ceramic decoration ran upstairs
and pervaded the rooms above more or less; a more modern brick-building
on the opposite side of the street which was the "annex" of the Inn, was
equally full; hundreds and hundreds of plates and saucers and cups,
English and Delft ware chiefly, and blue and white in color. It had been
the landlady's hobby for years past to form this collection of china,
and it was now for sale to any one who might care to buy.

Isabel and Lionel ran to and fro examining "the great wall of China," as
he termed it, while Imogen did her mother's errand to the landlady. Then
they started again to mount the hill, which was an easier task than
going down, passing on the way two or three parties of tourists holding
on to each other, and shrieking and exclaiming; and being passed by a
minute donkey with two sole-leather trunks slung on one side of him, and
on the other a mountainous heap of hand-bags and valises. This is the
only creature with four legs, bigger than a dog, that ever gets down the
Clovelly street; and why he does not lose his balance, topple backward,
and go rolling continuously down till he falls into the sea below,
nobody can imagine. But the valiant little animal kept steadily on,
assisted by his owner, who followed and assiduously whacked him with a
stout stick, and he reached the top much sooner than any of his biped
following. One cannot have too many legs in Clovelly,--a centipede would
find himself at an uncommon advantage.

At the top of the street is the "Yellery Gate" through which our party
passed into lovely park grounds topping a line of fine cliffs which lead
to "Gallantry Bower." This is the name given to an enormous headland
which falls into the sea with a sheer descent of nearly four hundred
feet, and forms the western boundary of the Clovelly roadstead.

The path was charmingly laid out with belts of woodland and clumps of
flowering shrubs. Here and there was a seat or a rustic summer-house,
commanding views of the sea, now a deep intense blue, for the rain had
ceased as suddenly as it came, and broad yellow rays were streaming over
the wet grass and trees, whose green was dazzling in its freshness.
Imogen drew in a long breath of the salt wind, and looked wistfully
about her at the vivid turf, the delicate shimmer of blowing leaves, and
the tossing ocean, as if trying to photograph each detail in her

"I shall see nothing so beautiful over there," she said. "Dear old
Devonshire, there's nothing like it."

"Colorado is even better than 'dear old Devonshire,'" declared her
brother; "wait till you see Pike's Peak. Wait till I drive you through
the North Cheyenne Canyon."

But Imogen shook her head incredulously.

"Pike's Peak!" she answered, with an air of scorn. "The name is enough;
I never want to see it."

"Well, you girls are good walkers, it must be confessed;" said Lionel,
as they emerged on the crossing of the Bideford road where they must
separate. "Isabel looks as fresh as paint, and Moggy hasn't turned a
hair. I don't think Mrs. Geoff could stand such a walk, or any of her

"Oh, no, indeed; Clover would feel half-killed if she were asked to
undertake a sixteen-mile walk. I remember, when she was here, we just
went down to the pier at Clovelly for a row on the Bay and back through
the Hobby, six miles in all, perhaps, and she was quite done up, poor
dear, and had to go on to the sofa. I can't think why American girls are
not better walkers,--though there _was_ that Miss Appleton we met at
Zermatt, who went up the Matterhorn and didn't make much of it. Good-by,
Imogen; I shall come over before you start and fetch mamma's parcels."



THE next week was a busy one. Packing had begun; and what with Mrs.
Young's motherly desire to provide her children with every possible
convenience for their new home, and Imogen's rooted conviction that
nothing could be found in Colorado worth buying, and that it was
essential to carry out all the tapes and sewing-silk and buttons and
shoe-thread and shoes and stationery and court-plaster and cotton cloth
and medicines that she and Lionel could possibly require during the next
five years,--it promised to be a long job.

In vain did Lionel remonstrate, and assure his sister that every one of
these things could be had equally well at St. Helen's, where some of
them went almost every day, and that extra baggage cost so much on the
Pacific railways that the price of such commodities would be nearly
doubled before she got them safely to the High Valley.

"Now what can be the use of taking two pounds of pins, for example?" he
protested. "Pins are as plenty as blackberries in America. And all those
spools of thread too!"

"Reels of cotton, do you mean? I wish you would speak English, at least
while we are in England. I shouldn't dare go without plenty of such
things. American cotton isn't as good as ours; I've always been told

"Well, it's good enough, as you'll find. And do make a place for
something pretty; a few nice tea-cups for instance, and some things to
hold flowers, and some curtain stuffs for the windows, and photographs.
Geoff and Mrs. Geoff have made their house awfully nice, I can tell you.
Americans think a deal of that sort of thing. All this haberdashery and
hardware is ridiculous, and you'll be sorry enough that you didn't
listen to me before you are through with it."

"Mother has packed some cups already, I believe, and I'll take that
white Minton jar if you like, but really I shouldn't think delicate
things like that would be at all suitable in a new place like Colorado,
where people must rough it as we are going to do. You are so infatuated
about America, Lion, that I can't trust your opinion at all."

"I've been there, and you haven't," was all that Lionel urged in answer.
It seemed an incontrovertible argument, but Imogen made no attempt to
overthrow it. She only packed on according to her own ideas, quite

It lacked only five days of their setting out when she and her brother
walked into Bideford one afternoon for some last errands. It was June
now, and the south of England was at its freshest and fairest. The
meadows along the margin of the Torridge wore their richest green, the
hill slopes above them were a bloom of soft color. Each court yard and
garden shimmered with the gold of laburnums or the purple and white of
clustering clematis; and the scent of flowers came with every puff of

As they passed up the side street, a carriage with three strange ladies
in it drove by them. It stopped at the door of the New Inn,--as quaint
in build and even older than the New Inn of Clovelly. The ladies got
out, and one of them, to Imogen's great surprise, came forward and
extended her hand to Lionel.

"Mr. Young,--it is Mr. Young, isn't it? You've quite forgotten me, I
fear,--Mrs. Page. We met at St. Helen's two years ago when I stopped to
see my son. Let me introduce you to my daughter, the Comtesse de
Conflans, and Miss Opdyke, of New York."

Lionel could do no less than stop, shake hands, and present his sister,
whereupon Mrs. Page urged them both to come in for a few minutes and
have a cup of tea.

"We are here only till the evening-train," she explained,--"just to see
Westward Ho and get a glimpse of the Amyas Leigh country. And I want to
ask any quantity of questions about Clarence and his wife. What! you
are going out to the High Valley next week, and your sister too? Oh,
that makes it absolutely impossible for me to let you off. You really
must come in. There are so many messages I should like to send, and a
cup of tea will be a nice rest for Miss Young after her long walk."

"It isn't long at all," protested Imogen; but Mrs. Page could not be
gainsaid, and led the way upstairs to a sitting-room with a bay window
overlooking the windings of the Torridge, which was crammed with quaint
carved furniture of all sorts. There were buffets, cabinets,
secretaries, delightful old claw-footed tables and sofas, and chairs
whose backs and arms were a mass of griffins and heraldic emblems. Old
oak was the specialty of the landlady of this New Inn, it seemed, as
blue china was of the other. For years she had attended sales and poked
about in farmhouses and attics, till little by little she had
accumulated an astonishing collection. Many of the pieces were genuine
antiques, but some had been constructed under her own eye from wood
equally venerable,--pew-ends and fragments of rood-screens purchased
from a dismantled and ruined church. The effect was both picturesque and

Mrs. Page seated her guests in two wide, high-backed chairs, rang for
tea, and began to question Lionel about affairs in the High Valley,
while Imogen, still under the influence of surprise at finding herself
calling on these strangers, glanced curiously at the younger ladies of
the party. The Comtesse de Conflans was still young, and evidently had
been very pretty, but she had a worn, dissatisfied air, and did not look
happy. Imogen learned afterward that her marriage, which was considered
a triumph and a grand affair when it took place, had not turned out very
well. Count Ernest de Conflans was rather a black sheep in some
respects, had a strong taste for baccarat and _rouge et noir_, and spent
so much of his bride's money at these amusements during the first year
of their life together, that her friends became alarmed, and their
interference had brought about a sort of amicable separation. Count
Ernest lived in Washington, receiving a specified sum out of his wife's
income, and she was travelling indefinitely in Europe with her mother.
It was no wonder that she did not look satisfied and content.

"Miss Opdyke, of New York" was quite different and more attractive,
Imogen thought. She had never seen any one in the least like her. Rather
tall, with a long slender throat, a waist of fabulous smallness, and
hands which, in their _gants de Suède_, did not seem more than two
inches wide, she gave the impression of being as fragile in make and as
delicately fibred as an exotic flower. She had pretty, arch, gray eyes,
a skin as white as a magnolia blossom, and a fluff of wonderful pale
hair--artlessly looped and pinned to look as if it had blown by accident
into its place--which yet exactly suited the face it framed. She was
restlessly vivacious, her mobile mouth twitched with a hidden amusement
every other moment; when she smiled she revealed pearly teeth and a
dimple; and she smiled often. Her dress, apparently simple, was a wonder
of fit and cut,--a skirt of dark fawn-brown, a blouse of ivory-white
silk, elaborately tucked and shirred, a cape of glossy brown fur whose
high collar set off her pale vivid face, and a "picture hat" with a
wreath of plumes. Imogen, whose preconceived notion of an American girl
included diamond ear-rings sported morning, noon, and night, observed
with surprise that she wore no ornaments except one slender bangle. She
had in her hand a great bunch of yellow roses, which exactly toned in
with the ivory and brown of her dress, and she played with these and
smelled them, as she sat on a high black-oak settle, and, consciously or
unconsciously, made a picture of herself.

She seemed as much surprised and entertained at Imogen as Imogen could
possibly be at her.

"I suppose you run up to London often," was her first remark.

"N-o, not often." In fact, Imogen had been in London only once in the
whole course of her life.

"Dear me!--don't you? Why, how can you exist without it? I shouldn't
think there would be anything to do here that was in the least
amusing,--not a thing. How do you spend your time?"

"I?--I don't know, I'm sure. There's always plenty to do."

"To do, yes; but in the way of amusement, I mean. Do you have many
balls? Is there any gayety going on? Where do you find your men?"

"No, we don't have balls often, but we have lawn parties, and tennis,
and once a year there's a school feast."

"Oh, yes, I know,--children in gingham frocks and pinafores, eating buns
and drinking milk-and-hot-water out of mugs. Rapturous fun it must
be,--but I think one might get tired of it in time. As for lawn parties,
I tried one in Fulham the other day, and I don't want to go to any more
in England, thank you. They never introduced a soul to us, the band
played out of tune, it was as dull as ditch-water,--just dreary,
ill-dressed people wandering in and out, and trying to look as if five
sour strawberries on a plate, and a thimbleful of ice cream were bliss
and high life and all the rest of it. The only thing really nice was the
roses; those _were_ delicious. Lady Mary Ponsonby gave me three,--to
make up for not presenting any one to me, I suppose."

"Do you still keep up the old fashion of introductions in America?" said
Imogen with calm superiority. "It's quite gone out with us. We take it
for granted that well-bred people will talk to their neighbors at
parties, and enjoy themselves well enough for the moment, and then they
needn't be hampered with knowing them afterward. It saves a lot of
complications not having to remember names, or bow to people."

"Yes, I know that's the theory, but I call it a custom introduced for
the suppression of strangers. Of course, if you know all the people
present, or who they are, it doesn't matter in the least; but if you
don't, it makes it a ghastly mockery to try to enjoy yourself at a
party. But do tell me some more about Bideford. I'm so curious about
English country life. I've seen only London so far. Is it ever warm over

"Warm?" vaguely, "what do you mean?"

"I mean _warm_. Perhaps the word is not known over here, or doesn't mean
the same thing. England seems to me just one degree better than Nova
Zembla. The sun is a mere imitation sun. He looks yellow, like a real
one, when you see him,--which isn't often,--but he doesn't burn a bit.
I've had the shivers steadily ever since we landed." She pulled her fur
cape closer about her ears as she spoke.

"Why, what can you want different from this?" asked Imogen, surprised.
"It's a lovely day. We haven't had a drop of rain since last night."

"That is quite true, and remarkable as true; but somehow I don't feel
any warmer than I did when it rained. Ah, here comes the tea. Let me
pour it, Mrs. Page. I make awfully good tea. Such nice, thick cream!
but, oh, dear!--here is more of that awful bread."

It was a stout household loaf, of the sort invariable in south-county
England, substantial, crusty, and tough, with a "nubbin" on top, and in
consistency something between pine wood and sole leather. Miss Opdyke,
after filling her cups, proceeded to cut the loaf in slices, protesting
as she did so that it "creaked in the chewing," and that

          "The muscular strength that it gave to her jaw
           Would last her the rest of her life."

"Why, what sort of bread do you have in America?" demanded Imogen,
astonished and offended by the frankness of these strictures. "This is
the sort every one eats here. I'm sure it's excellent. What is there
about it that you don't like?"

"Oh, everything. Wait till you taste our American bread, and you'll
understand,--or rather, our breads, for we have dozens of kinds, each
more delicious than the last. Wait till you eat corn-bread and waffles."

"I've always been told that the American food was dreadfully messy,"
observed Imogen, nettled into reprisals; "pepper on eggs, and all that
sort of thing,--very messy and nasty, indeed."

"Well, we _have_ deviated from the English method as to the eating of
eggs, I admit. I know it's correct to chip the shell, and eat all the
white at one end by itself, with a little salt, and then all the yellow
in the middle, and last of all the white at the other end by itself; but
there are bold spirits among us who venture to stir and mix. Fools rush
in, you know; they _will_ do it, even where Britons fear to tread."

"We stopped at Northam to see Sir Amyas Leigh's house," Mrs. Page was
saying to Lionel. "It's really very interesting to visit the spots where
celebrated people have lived. There is a sad lack of such places in
America. We are such a new country. Lilly and Miss Opdyke walked up to
the hill where Mrs. Leigh stood to see the Spanish ship come in,--quite
fascinating, they said it was."

"You must be sure to stay long enough in Boston to see the house where
Silas Lapham lived," put in the wicked Miss Opdyke. "One cannot see too
much of places associated with famous people."

"I don't remember any such name in American history," said honest
Imogen,--"'Silas Lapham,' who was he?"

"A man in a novel, and Amyas Leigh is a man in another novel," whispered
Miss Opdyke. "Mrs. Page isn't quite sure about him, but she doesn't like
to confess as frankly as you do. She has forgotten, and fancies that he
really lived in Queen Elizabeth's time; and the coachman was so solemnly
sure that he did that it's not much wonder. I bought an old silver
patch-box in a jeweller's shop on the High Street, and I'm going to tell
my sister that it belonged to Ayacanora."

"What an odd idea."

"We are full of odd ideas over in America, you know."

"Tell me something about the States," said Imogen. "My brother is quite
mad over Colorado, but he doesn't know much about the rest of it. I
suppose the country about New York isn't very wild, is it?"

"Not very," returned Miss Opdyke, with a twinkle. "The buffalo are
rarely seen now, and only two men were scalped by the Indians outside
the walls of the city last year."

"Fancy! And how do you pass your time? Is it a gay place?"

"Very. We pass our time doing all sorts of things. There's the Corn
Dance and the Green Currant Dance and the Water Melon pow wow, of
course, and beside these, which date back to the early days of the
colony, we have the more modern amusements, German opera and Italian
opera and the theatre and subscription concerts. Then we have balls
nearly every night in the season and dinner-parties and luncheons and
lectures and musical parties, and we study a good deal and 'slum' a
little. Last winter I belonged to a Greek class and a fencing class,
and a quartette club, and two private dancing classes, and a girls'
working club, and an amateur theatrical society. We gave two private
concerts for charities, you know, and acted the Antigone for the benefit
of the Influenza Hospital. Oh, there is a plenty to pass one's time in
New York, I can assure you. And when other amusements fail, we can go
outside the walls, with a guard of trappers, of course, and try our hand
at converting the natives."

"What tribe of Indians is it that you have near you?"

"The Tammanies,--a very trying tribe, I assure you. It seems impossible
to make any impression on them or teach them anything."

"Fancy! Did you ever have any adventures yourself with these Indians?"
asked Imogen, deeply excited over this veracious resumé of life in
modern New York.

"Oh, dear, yes--frequently."

"Do tell me some of yours. This is so very interesting. Lionel never has
said a word about the--Tallamies, did you call them?"

"Tammanies. Perhaps not; Colorado is so far off, you know. They have
Piutes there,--a different tribe entirely, and much less deleterious to

"How sad. But about the adventures?"

"Oh, yes--well, I'll tell you of one; in fact it is the only really
exciting experience I ever had with the New York Indians. It was two
years ago; I had just come out, and it was my birthday, and papa said I
might ride his new mustang, by way of a celebration. So we started, my
brother and I, for a long country gallop.

"We were just on the other side of Central Park, barely out of the city,
you see, when a sudden blood-curdling yell filled the air. We were
horror-struck, for we knew at once what it must be,--the war-cry of the
savages. We turned of course and galloped for our lives, but the Indians
were between us and the gates. We could see their terrible faces
streaked with war-paint, and the tomahawks at their girdles, and we
felt that all hope was over. I caught hold of papa's lasso, which was
looped round the saddle, and cocked my revolving rifle--all the New York
girls wear revolving rifles strapped round their waists," continued Miss
Opdyke, coolly, interrogating Imogen with her eyes as she spoke for
signs of disbelief, but finding none--"and I resolved to sell my life
and scalp as dearly as possible. Just then, when all seemed lost, we
heard a shout which sounded like music to our ears. A company of mounted
Rangers were galloping out from the city. They had seen our peril from
one of the watch-towers, and had hurried to our rescue."

"How fortunate!" said Imogen, drawing a long breath. "Well, go on--do go

"There is little more to tell," said Miss Opdyke, controlling with
difficulty her inclination to laugh. "The Head Ranger attacked the
Tammany chief, whose name was Day Vidbehill,--a queer name, isn't
it?--and slew him after a bloody conflict. He gave me his brush, I mean
his scalp-lock, afterward, and it now adorns--" Here her amusement
became ungovernable, and she went into fits of laughter, which Imogen's
astonished look only served to increase.

"Oh!" she cried, between her paroxysms, "you believed it all! it is too
absurd, but you really believed it! I thought till just now that you
were only pretending, to amuse me."

"Wasn't it true, then?" said Imogen, her tardy wits waking slowly up to
the conclusion.

"True! why, my dear child, New York is the third city of the world in
size,--not quite so large as London, but approaching it. It is a great,
brilliant, gay place, where everything under the sun can be bought and
seen and done. Did you really think we had Indians and buffaloes close
by us?"

"And haven't you?"

"Dear me, no. There never was a buffalo within a thousand miles of us,
and not an Indian has come within shooting distance for half a century,
unless he came by train to take part in a show. You mustn't be so
easily taken in. People will impose upon you no end over in America,
unless you are on your guard. What has your brother been about, not to
explain things better?"

"Well, he _has_ tried," said Imogen, candidly, "but I didn't half
believe what he said, because it was so different from the things in the
books. And then he is so in love with America that it seemed as if he
must be exaggerating. He did say that the cities were just like our
cities, only more so, and that though the West wasn't like England at
all, it was very interesting to live in; but I didn't half listen to
him, it sounded so impossible."

"Live and learn. You'll have a great many surprises when you get across,
but some of them will be pleasant ones, and I think you'll like it.
Good-by," as Imogen rose to go; "I hope we shall meet again some time,
and then you will tell me how you like Colorado, and the Piutes,
and--waffles. I hope to live yet to see you stirring an egg in a glass
with pepper and a 'messy' lump of butter in true Western fashion. It's
awfully good, I've always been told. Do forgive me for hoaxing you. I
never thought you _could_ believe me, and when I found that you did, it
was irresistible to go on."

"I can't make out at all about Americans," said Imogen, plaintively, as
after an effusive farewell from Mrs. Page and a languid bow from Madame
de Conflans they were at last suffered to escape into the street. "There
seem to be so many different kinds. Mrs. Page and her daughter are not a
bit like each other, and Miss Opdyke is quite different from either of
them, and none of the three resembles Mrs. Geoffrey Templestowe in the

"And neither does Buffalo Bill and your phrenological lecturer. Courage,
Moggy. I told you America was a sizable place. You'll begin to take in
and understand the meaning of the variety show after you once get over

"It was queer, but do you know I couldn't help rather liking that girl;"
confessed Imogen later to Isabel Templestowe. "She was odd, of course,
and not a bit English, but you couldn't say she was bad form, and she
was so remarkably quick and bright. It seemed as if she had seen all
sorts of things and tried her hand on almost everything, and wasn't a
bit afraid to say what she thought, or to praise and find fault. I told
you what she said about English bread, and she was just as rude about
our vegetables; she said they were only flavored with hot water. What do
you suppose she meant?"

"I believe they cook them quite differently in America. Geoff likes
their way, and found a great deal of fault when he was at home with the
cauliflower and the Brussels sprouts. He declared that they had no
taste, and that mint in green-peas killed the flavor. Clover was too
polite to say anything, but I could see that she thought the same. Mamma
was quite put about with Geoff's new notions."

"I must say that it seems rather impertinent and forth-putting for a new
nation like that to be setting up opinions of its own, and finding
fault with the good old English customs," said Imogen, petulantly.

"Well, I don't know," replied Isabel; "we have made some changes
ourselves. John of Gaunt or Harry Hotspur might find fault with us for
the same reason, giving up the 'good old customs' of rushes on the
floor, for instance, and flagons of ale for breakfast. There were the
stocks and the pillory too, and hanging for theft, and the torture of
prisoners. Those were all in use more or less when the Pilgrims went to
America, and I'm sure we're all glad that they were given up. The world
must move, and I suppose it's but natural that the new nations should
give it its impulse."

"England is good enough for me," replied the practical Imogen. "I don't
want to be instructed by new countries. It's like a child in a pinafore
trying to teach its grandmother how to do things. Now, dear Isabel, let
me hear about your mother's parcels."

Mrs. Templestowe had wisely put her gifts into small compass. There were
two dainty little frocks for her grandson, and a jacket of her own
knitting, two pairs of knickerbocker stockings for Geoff, and for Clover
a bit of old silver which had belonged to a Templestowe in the time of
the Tudors,--a double-handled porringer with a coat of arms engraved on
its somewhat dented sides. Clover, like most Americans, had a passion
for the antique; so this present was sure to please.

"And you are really off to-morrow," said Isabel at the gate. "How I wish
I were going too."

"And how I wish I were not going at all, but staying on with you,"
responded Imogen. "Mother says if Lionel isn't married by the end of
three years she'll send Beatrice out to take my place. She'll be turned
twenty then, and would like to come. Isabel, you'll be married before I
get back, I know you will."

"It's most improbable. Girls don't marry in England half so easily as in
America. It will be you who will marry, and settle over there

"Never!" cried Imogen.

Then the two friends exchanged a last kiss and parted.

"My love to Clover," Isabel called back.

"Always Clover," thought Imogen; but she smiled, and answered, "Yes."



WITH the morrow came the parting from home. "Farewell" is never an easy
word to say when seas are to separate those who love each other, but the
Young family uttered it bravely and resolutely. Lionel, who was
impatient to get to work and to his beloved High Valley, was more than
ready to go. His face, among the sober ones, looked aggressively

"Cheer up, mother," he said, consolingly. "You'll be coming over in a
year or two with the Pater, and Moggy and I will give you such a good
time as you never had in your lives. We'll all go up to Estes Park and
camp out for a month. I can see you now coming down the trail on a
burro,--what fun it will be."

"Who knows?" said Mrs. Young, with a smile that was half a sigh. She and
her husband had sent a good many sons and daughters out into the world
to seek their fortunes, and so far not one of them had come back. To be
sure, all were doing well in their several ways,--Cyril in India, where
he had an excellent appointment, and the second boy in the army; two
were in the navy, and Tom and Giles in Van Diemen's Land, where they
were making a very good thing out of a sheep ranch. There was no reason
why Lionel should not be equally lucky with his cattle in Colorado;
there were younger children to be considered; it was "all in the day's
work," the natural thing. Large families must separate, parents could
not expect to keep their grown boys and girls with them always. So they
dismissed the two who were now going forth cheerfully, uncomplainingly,
and with their blessing, but all the same it was not pleasant; and Mrs.
Young shed some quiet tears in the privacy of her own room, and her
husband looked very serious as he strode down the Southampton docks
after saying good-by to his children on board the steamer.

Imogen had never been on a great sea-going vessel before, and it struck
her as being very crowded and confused as well as bewilderingly big. She
stood clutching her bags and bundles nervously and feeling homesick and
astray while farewells and greetings went on about her, and the people
who were going and those who were to stay behind seemed mixed in an
inextricable tangle on the decks. Then a bell rang, and gradually the
groups separated; those who were not going formed themselves into a
black mass on the pier; there was a great fluttering of handkerchiefs, a
plunge of the screw, and the steamer was off.

Lionel, who had been seeing to the baggage, now appeared, and took
Imogen down to her stateroom, advising her to get out all her warm
things and make ready for a rough night.

"There's quite a sea on outside," he remarked. "We're in for a rolling
if not for a pitching."

"Lion!" cried Imogen, indignantly. "Do you mean to say that you suppose
I'm going to be sick,--I, a Devonshire girl born and bred, who have
lived by the sea all my life? Never!"

"Time will show," was the oracular response. "Get the rugs out, any way,
and your brushes and combs and things, and advise Miss What-d'-you-call-her
to do the same."

"Miss What-d'-you-call-her" was Imogen's room-mate, a perfectly unknown
girl, who had been to her imagination one of the chief bug-bears of the
voyage. She was curled up on the sofa in a tumbled little heap when they
entered the stateroom, had evidently been crying, and did not look at
all formidable, being no older than Imogen, very small and shy, a soft,
dark-eyed appealing creature, half English, half Belgic by extraction,
and going out, it appeared, to join a lover who for three years had been
in California making ready for her. He was to meet her in New York, with
a clergyman in his pocket, so to speak, and as soon as the marriage
ceremony was performed, they were to set out for their ranch in the San
Gabriel Valley, to raise grapes, dry raisins, and "live happily all the
days of their lives afterward," like the prince and princess of a fairy

These confidences were not made immediately or all at once, but
gradually, as the two girls became acquainted, and mutual suffering
endeared them to each other. For, in spite of Imogen's Devonshire
bringing up, the English Channel proved too much for her, and she had to
endure two pretty bad days before, promoted from gruel to dry toast, and
from dry toast to beef-tea, she was able to be helped on deck, and
seated, well wrapped up, in a reclining chair to inhale the cold, salty
wind which was the best and only medicine for her particular kind of

The chair next hers was occupied by a pretty, dark-eyed, and very
lady-like woman, with whom Lionel had apparently made an acquaintance;
for he said, as he tucked Imogen's rugs about her, "Here's my sister at
last, you see;" which off-hand introduction the lady acknowledged with a
pleasant smile, saying she was glad to see Miss Young able to be up.
Her manner was so unaffected and cordial that Imogen's stiffness melted
under its influence, and before she knew it they were talking quite like
old acquaintances.

Imogen was struck by the sweet voice of the stranger, with its well-bred
modulations, and also by the good taste and perfection of all her little
appointments, from the down pillow at top of her chair to the
fur-trimmed shoes on a pair of particularly pretty feet at the other
end. She set her down in her own mind as a London dame of
fashion,--perhaps a countess, or a Lady Something-or-other, who was
going out to see America.

"Your brother tells me this is your first voyage," said the lady.

"Yes. He has been out before, but none of us were with him. It's all
perfectly strange to me"--with a sigh.

"Why do you sigh? Don't you expect to like it?"

"Why no, not _like it_ exactly. Of course I'm glad to be with Lionel and
of use to him, but I didn't come away from home for pleasure."

"Pleasure must come to you, then," said the lady, with a smile. "And
really I don't see why it shouldn't. In the first place you are acting
the part of a good sister; and you know the adage about duty performed
making rainbows in the soul. And then Colorado is a beautiful State,
with the finest of mountain views, a wonderful climate, and such wild
flowers as grow nowhere else. I have some friends living there who are
quite infatuated about it. They say there is no place so delightful in
the world."

"That is just the way with my brother. It's really absurd the way he
talks about it. You would think it was better than England!"

"It is sure to be very different; but all the same, you will like it, I

"I hope so"--doubtfully.

Just then came an interruption in the shape of a tall girl of fifteen or
sixteen, with a sweet, childish face who came running down the deck
accompanied by a maid, and seized the strange lady's hand.

"Mamma," she began, "the first officer says that if you are willing he
will take me across to the bows to see the rainbows on the foam. May I
go? He says Anne can go too."

"Yes, certainly, if Mr. Graves will take charge of you. But first speak
to this young lady, who is the sister of Mr. Young, who was so kind
about playing ship-coil with you yesterday, and tell her you are glad
she is able to be on deck. Then you can go, Amy."

Amy turned a pair of beautiful, long-lashed, gray eyes on Imogen.

"I'm glad you're better, Miss Young. Mamma and I were sorry you were so
sick," she said, with a frank politeness that was charming. "It must be
very disagreeable."

"Haven't you been sick, then?" said Imogen, holding fast the little hand
that was put in hers.

"No, I'm never sick _now_. I was, though, the first time we came over,
and I behaved _awfully_. Do you recollect, mamma?"

"Only too well," said her mother, laughing. "You were like a caged bird,
beating yourself against the bars in desperation."

Amy lingered a moment, while a dimple played in her pink cheek as if she
were moved by some amusing remembrance.

"Ah, there's Mr. Graves," she said. "I must go. I'll come back presently
and tell you about the rainbows, mamma."

"I suppose most of these people on board are Americans," said Imogen
after a little pause. "It's always easy to tell them, don't you think?"

"Not always. Yes, I suppose a good many of them are--or call themselves

"What do you mean by 'call themselves so'? That girl is one, I am sure,"
indicating a pretty, stylish young person, who was talking rather too
loudly for good taste with the ship's doctor.

"Yes, I imagine she is."

"And those people over there," pointing to a large, red-bearded man who
lay back in a sea-chair reading a novel, by the side of a fat wife who
read another, while their little boy raced up and down the deck quite
unheeded, and amused himself by pulling the rugs off the knees of the
sicker passengers. "They are Americans, I know! Did you ever see such
creatures? The idea of letting that child make a nuisance of himself
like that! No one but an American would allow it. I've always heard that
children in the States do exactly as they please, and the grown people
never interfere with them in the least."

"General rules are dangerous things," said her neighbor, with an odd
little smile. "Now, as it happens, I know all about those people. They
call themselves Americans because they have lived in Buffalo for ten
years and are naturalized; but he was born in Scotland and she in Wales,
and the child doesn't belong exactly to any country, for he happened to
be born at sea. You see you can't always tell."

"Do you mean, then, that they are English, after all?" cried Imogen,
disconcerted and surprised.

"Oh, no. Every body is an American who has taken the oath of allegiance.
Those Polish Jews over there are Americans, and that Italian couple
also, and the big party of Germans who are sitting between the boats.
The Germans have a large shop in New York, and go out every year to buy
goods and tell their relations how superior the United States are to
Breslau. They are all Americans, though you would scarcely suppose it to
look at them. America is like a pudding,--plums from one part of the
world, and spice from another, and flour and sugar and flavoring from
somewhere else, but all known by the name of pudding."

"How very, very odd. Somehow I never thought of it before in that light.
Are there no real Americans, then? Are they all foreigners who have been

"Oh, no. It is not so bad as that. There are a great many 'real
Americans.' I am one, for example."

"You!" There was such a world of unfeigned surprise in Imogen's tone
that it was impossible for her new friend not to laugh.

"I. Did you not know it? What did you take me for?"

"Why, English of course, like myself. You are exactly like an English

"I suppose you mean it for a compliment; thank you, therefore. I like
England very much, so I don't mind being taken for an English woman."

"Of course you don't," said Imogen, staring. "It's the height of an
American's ambition, I've always heard, to be thought English."

"There you are mistaken. There are a few foolish people who feel so no
doubt, and all of us would be glad to copy what is best and nicest in
English ways and manners, but a really good American likes his own
country best of all, and would rather seem to belong to it than any

"And I was thinking how different your daughter is from the American
girls!" said Imogen, continuing her own train of thought; "and how her
manners were so pretty, and did such credit to _us_, and would surprise
people over there! How very odd. I shall never get to understand the
Americans. They're so different from each other as well as from us.
There were some ladies from New York at Bideford the other day,--a Mrs.
Page and a Comtesse de Something-or-other, her daughter, and a Miss
Opdyke from New York. _She_ was very pretty and really quite nice,
though rather queer, but all three were as unlike each other as they
could be. Do you know them in America?"

"Not Miss Opdyke; but I have met Mrs. Page once in Europe a good while
since. It was before her daughter was married. She is a relative of my
sister-in-law, Mrs. Worthington."

"Do you mean the Mrs. Worthington whose husband is in the navy? Why,
that's Mrs. Geoffrey Templestowe's sister!"

"Do you know Clover Templestowe, then?" said the lady, surprised in her
turn. "That is really curious. Was it in England that you met?"

"Yes, and we are on our way to her neighborhood now. My brother has
bought a share in Geoff's business, and we are going to live near them
at High Valley."

"I do call this an extraordinary coincidence. Amy, come here and listen.
This young lady is on her way to Colorado, to live close to Aunt Clover;
what do you think of that for a surprise? I don't wonder that you open
your eyes so wide. Isn't it just like a story-book that she should have
come and sat down in the next chair to ours?"

"It's so funny that I can't believe it, till I take time to think," said
Amy, perching herself on the arm of her mother's seat. "Just think,
you'll see Elsie and her baby, and Aunt Clover's baby, and Uncle Geoff
and Phil, and all of them. It's the beautifulest place out there that
you ever saw. There are whole droves of horses, and you ride all the
while, and when you're not riding you can pick flowers and play with the
babies. Oh, I wish I were going with you; it would be such fun!"

"But aren't you coming?" said Imogen, much taken by the frankness of the
little American maid. "Coax mamma to fetch you out this summer, and
come and make me a visit. We're going to have a little cabin of our own,
and I'd be delighted to have you. Is it far from where you live?"

"Well, it's what you would call 'a goodish bit' in England," replied
Mrs. Ashe,--"two thousand miles or so, nearly three days' journey. Amy
would be charmed to come, I am sure, but I am afraid the distance will
stand in her way. One doesn't 'step out' to Colorado every summer, but
perhaps we may be there some day, and then we shall certainly hope to
see you."

This encounter with Mrs. Ashe, who was, in a way, part of the family
with whom Imogen expected to be most intimately associated in America,
made the remainder of the voyage very pleasant. They sat together for
hours every day, talking, and reading, and gradually Imogen waked up to
the fact that American life and society was a much more complex and less
easily understood affair than she had imagined.

The weather was favorable when the first rough days were past, and after
they rounded the curve of the wide sea hemisphere and began to near the
American coast it became beautiful, with high-arching skies and very
bright sunsets. Accustomed to the low-hung grays and struggling sunbeams
of southern England, Imogen could not get used to these novelties. Her
surprise over the dazzle of the day and the clear, vivid blue of the
heavens was a continual amusement and joy to Mrs. Ashe, who took a
patriotic pride in her own climate, and, as it were, made herself
responsible for it.

Then came the eventful morning, when, rousing to the first glow of dawn,
they found the screw motionless, and the steamer lying off a green
island, with a big barrack-building on it, over which waved the American
flag. The health officer made his visit, and before long they were
steaming up the wide bay of New York, between green, flowery shores,
under the colossal Liberty, whose outstretched arm seemed to point to
the dim rich mass of roofs and towers and spires of the city which lay
beyond. Then they neared the landing-stage, where a black mass of people
stood waiting them, and Amy gave a cry of delight as she saw a
gold-banded cap among them, and recognized her Uncle Ned.

The little Anglo-Belgian had been more or less ill all the way over, and
looked pale and wan, though still very pretty, as she stood with the
rest, gazing at the crowd of faces, all of whose eyes were turned toward
the steamer. Imogen, who had helped her to dress, remained protectingly
by her side.

"What shall you do if he doesn't happen to be there?" she asked, smitten
with a sudden fear. "Something might detain him, you know."

"I--I--am not sure," turning pale. "Oh, yes, I am," rallying. "He have
aunt in Howbokken. I go there and wait. But he not fail; he will be
here." Then her eyes suddenly lit up, and she exclaimed with a little
shriek of joy, "He _are_ here! That is he standing by the big timber. My
Karl! my Karl! He are here!"

There indeed he was, foremost in the throng, a tall, brown, handsome
fellow, with a nice, strong face, and such a look of love and
expectation in his eyes that prosaic Imogen suddenly felt that it might
be worth while, after all, to cross half the world to meet a look and a
husband like that,--a fact which she had disbelieved till now, demurring
also in her private mind as to the propriety of such a thing. It was
pretty to see the tender happiness in the girl's face, and the answering
expression of her lover's. It seemed to put poetry and pathos into an
otherwise commonplace scene. The gang-plank was lowered, a crowd of
people surged ashore, to be met by a corresponding surge from the
on-lookers, and in the midst of it Lieutenant Worthington leaped aboard
and hastened to where his sister stood waiting him.

"You're coming up to Newport with me at five-thirty," were his first
words. "Katy's all ready, and means to sit up till the boat gets in at
two-thirty, keeping a little supper hot and hot for you. The Torpedo
Station is in its glory just now, and there's going to be a great
explosion on Thursday, which Amy will enjoy."

"How lovely!" cried Amy, clinging to her uncle's arm. "I love
explosions. Why didn't Tanta come too?--I'm in such a hurry to see her."

Then Mr. Worthington asked to be introduced to Imogen and Lionel, and
explained that acting on a request from Geoffrey Templestowe, he had
taken rooms for them at a hotel, and secured their tickets and sleeping
sections in the "limited" train for the next day.

"And I told them to save two seats for Rip Van Winkle to-night till you
got there," he added. "If you're not too tired I advise you to go.
Jefferson is an experience which you ought not to miss, and you may
never have another chance."

"How awfully kind your brother is," said the surprised Imogen to Mrs.
Ashe; "all this trouble, and he never saw either of us before! It's very
good of him."

"Oh, that's nothing. That's the way American men do. They _are_ perfect
dears, there's no doubt as to that, and they don't consider anything a
trouble which helps along a friend or a friend's friend. It's a matter
of course over here."

"Well, I don't consider it a matter of course at all. I think it
extraordinary, and it was so very nice in Geoff to send word to Lion."

Then they parted. Meanwhile the little room-mate had been having a
private conference with her "young man." She now joined Imogen.

"Karl says we shall be married directly, in a church, in half an hour,"
she told her. "And oh, won't you and Mr. Young come to be with us? It is
so sad not to have one friend when one is married."

It was impossible to refuse this request; so it happened that the very
first thing Imogen did in America was to attend a wedding. It took place
in an old church, pretty far down town; and she always afterward carried
in her mind the picture of it, dim and sombre in coloring, with the
afternoon sun pouring in through a rich rose window and throwing blue
and red reflections on the little group of five at the altar, while from
outside came the din of wheels and the unceasing tread of busy feet. The
service was soon over, the signatures were made, and the little bride
went down the chancel on her husband's arm, with her face appropriately
turned to the west, and with such a look of secure and unfearing
happiness upon it as was good to see. It was an unusual and typical
scene with which to begin life in a new country, and Imogen liked to
think afterward that she had been there.

Then followed a long drive up town over rough ill-laid pavements,
through dirty streets, varied by dirtier streets, and farther up, by
those that were less dirty. Imogen had never seen anything so shabby as
the poorest of the buildings that they passed, and certainly never
anything quite so fine as the best of them. Squalor and splendor jostled
each other side by side; everywhere there was the same endless throng of
hurrying people, and everywhere the same abundance of flowers for sale,
in pots, in baskets, in bunches, making the whole air of the streets
sweet. Then they came to the hotel, and were shown to their rooms,--high
up, airy, and nicely furnished, though Imogen was at first disposed to
cavil at the absence of bed-curtains.

"It looks so bare," she complained. "At home such a thing would be
considered very odd, very odd indeed. Fancy a bed without curtains!"

"After you've spent one hot night in America you'll be glad enough to
fancy it," replied her brother. "Stuffy old things. It's only in cold
weather that one could endure them over here."

The first few hours on shore after a voyage have a delightfulness all
their own. It is so pleasant to bathe and dress without having to hold
on and guard against lurches and tips. Imogen went about her toilet
well-pleased; and her pleasure was presently increased when she found on
her dressing-table a beautiful bunch of summer roses, with "Mrs.
Geoffrey Templestowe's love and welcome" on a card lying beside it.
Thoughtful Clover had written to Ned Worthington to see to this little
attention, and the pleasure it gave went even farther than she had

"I declare," said Imogen, sitting down with the flowers before her, "I
never knew anybody so kind as they all are. I don't feel half so
home-sick as I expected. I must write mamma about these roses. Of course
Mrs. Geoff does it for Isabel's sake; but all the same it is awfully
nice of her, and I shall try not to forget it."

Then, when, after finishing her dressing, she drew the blinds up and
looked from the windows, she gave a cry of sheer pleasure, for there
beneath was spread out a beautiful wide distance of Park with feathery
trees and belts of shrubs, behind which the sun was making ready to set
in a crimson sky. There was a balcony outside the windows, and Imogen
pulled a chair out on it to enjoy the view. Carriages were rolling in at
the Park gates, looking exactly like the equipages one sees in London,
with fat coachmen, glossy horses, and jingling silvered harness. Girls
and young men were cantering along the bridle-paths, and throngs of
well-dressed people filled the walks. Beyond was a fairy lake, where
gondolas shot to and fro; a band was playing; from still farther away
came a peal of chimes from a church tower.

"And this is New York!" thought Imogen. Then her thoughts reverted to
Miss Opdyke and her tale of the Tammany Indians, and she flushed with
sudden vexation.

"What an idiot she must have considered me!" she reflected.

But her insular prejudices revived in full force as a knock was heard,
and a colored boy, entering with a tinkling pitcher, inquired, "Did you
ring for ice-water, lady?"

"No!" said Imogen sharply; "I never drink iced water. I rang for hot
water, but I got it more than an hour ago."

"Beg pardon, lady."

"Why on earth does he call me 'lady'?" she murmured--"so tiresome and

Then Lionel came for her, and they went down to dinner,--a wonderful
repast, with soups and fishes and vegetables quite unknown to her; a
bewildering succession of meats and entrées, strawberries such as she
had supposed did not grow outside of England, raspberries and currants
such as England never knew, and wonderful blackberries, of great size
and sweetness, bursting with purple juice. There were ices too, served
in the shapes of apples, pears, and stalks of asparagus, which dazzled
her country eyes not a little, while the whole was a terror and
astonishment to her thrifty English mind.

"Lionel, don't keep on ordering things so," she protested. "We are
eating our heads off as it is, I am sure."

"My dear young friend, you are come to the Land of Fat Things," he
replied. "Dinner costs just the same, once you sit down to it, whether
you have a biscuit and a glass of water, or all these things."

"I call it a sinful waste, then," she retorted. "But all the same, since
it is so, I'll take another ice."

"'First endure, then pity, then embrace,'" quoted her brother. "That's
right, Moggy; pitch in, spoil the Egyptians. It doesn't hurt them, and
it will do you lots of good."

From the dinner-table they went straight to the theatre, having decided
to follow Lieut. Worthington's advice and see "Rip Van Winkle." And then
they straightway fell under the spell of a magician who has enchanted
many thousands before them, and for the space of two hours forgot
themselves, their hopes and fears and expectations, while they followed
the fortunes of the idle, lovable, unpractical Rip, up the mountain to
his sleep of years, and down again, white-haired and tottering, to find
himself forgotten by his kin and a stranger in his own home. People
about them were weeping on relays of pocket-handkerchiefs, hanging them
up one by one as they became soaked, and beginning on others. Imogen had
but one handkerchief, but she cried with that till she had to borrow
Lionel's; and he, though he professed to be very stoical, could not
quite command his voice as he tried to chaff her in a whisper on her
emotions, and begged her to "dry up" and remember that it was only a
play after all, and that presently Jefferson would discard his white
hair and wrinkles, go home to a good supper, and make a jolly end to the

It was almost too exciting for a first night on shore, and if Imogen had
not been so tired, and if her uncurtained bed had not proved so
deliciously comfortable, she would scarcely have slept as she did till
half-past seven the next morning, so that they had to scramble through
breakfast not to lose their train. Once started in the "Limited," with a
library and a lady's-maid, a bath and a bed at her disposal, and just
beyond a daintily appointed dinner-table adorned with fresh
flowers,--all at forty miles an hour,--she had leisure to review her
situation and be astonished. Bustling cities shot past them,--or seemed
to shoot,--beautifully kept country-seats, shabby suburbs where goats
and pigs mounted guard over shanties and cabbage-beds, great tracts of
wild forest, factory towns black with smoke, rivers winding between blue
hill ridges, prairie-like expanses so overgrown with wild-flowers that
they looked all pink or all blue,--everything by turns and nothing long.
It seemed the sequence of the unexpected, a succession of rapidly
changing surprises, for which it was impossible to prepare beforehand.

"I shall never learn to understand it," thought poor perplexed Imogen.



MEANWHILE, as the "Limited" bore the young English travellers on their
western way, a good deal of preparation was going on for their benefit
in that special nook of the Rocky mountains toward which their course
was directed. It was one of those clear-cut, jewel-like mornings which
seem peculiar to Colorado, with dazzling gold sunshine, a cloudless sky
of deep sapphire blue, and air which had touched the mountain snows
somewhere in its nightly blowing, and still carried on its wings the
cool pure zest of the contact.

Hours were generally early in the High Valley, but to-day they were a
little earlier than usual, for every one had a sense of much to be done.
Clover Templestowe did not always get up to administer to her husband
and brother-in-law their "stirrup-cup" of coffee; but this morning she
was prompt at her post, and after watching them ride up the valley, and
standing for a moment at the open door for a breath of the scented wind,
she seated herself at her sewing-machine. A steady whirring hum
presently filled the room, rising to the floor above and quickening the
movements there. Elsie, running rapidly downstairs half an hour later,
found her sister with quite a pile of little cheese-cloth squares and
oblongs folded on the table near her.

"Dear me! are those the Youngs' curtains you are doing?" she asked. "I
fully meant to get down early and finish my half. That wretched little
Phillida elected to wake up and demand ''tories' from one o'clock till a
quarter past two. 'Hence these tears.' I overslept myself without
knowing it."

Phillida was Elsie's little girl, two years and a half old now, and Dr.
Carr's namesake.

"How bad of her!" said Clover, smiling. "I wish children could be born
with a sense of the fitness of times and seasons. Jeffy is pretty good
as to sleeping, but he is dreadful about eating. Half the time he
doesn't want anything at dinner; and then at half-past three, or a
quarter to eight, or ten minutes after twelve, or some such uncanonical
hour, he is so ragingly hungry that he can scarcely wait till I fetch
him something. He is so tiresome about his bath too. Fancy a young
semi-Britain objecting to 'tub.' I've circumvented him to-day, however,
for Geoff has promised to wash him while you and I go up to set the new
house in order. Baby is always good with Geoff."

"So he is," remarked Elsie as she moved about giving little tidying
touches here and there to books and furniture. "I never knew a father
and child who suited each other so perfectly. Phil flirts with Clarence
and he is very proud of her notice, but I think they are mutually rather
shy; and he always touches her as though she were a bit of eggshell
china, that he was afraid of breaking."

The room in which the sisters were talking bore little resemblance to
the bare ranch-parlor of old days. It had been enlarged by a
semi-circular bay window toward the mountain view, which made it half as
long again as it then was; and its ceiling had been raised two feet on
the occasion of Clarence's marriage, when great improvements had been
undertaken to fit the "hut" for the occupation of two families. The
solid redwood beams which supported the floor above had been left bare,
and lightly oiled to bring out the pale russet-orange color of the wood.
The spaces between the beams were rough-plastered; and on the decoration
of this plaster, while in a soft state, a good deal of time had been
expended by Geoffrey Templestowe, who had developed a turn for household
art, and seemed to enjoy lying for hours on his back on a staging, clad
in pajamas and indenting the plaster with rosettes and sunken
half-rounds, using a croquet ball and a butter stamp alternately, the
whole being subsequently finished by a coat of dull gold paint. He and
Clover had themselves hung the walls with its pale orange-brown paper; a
herder with a turn for carpentry had laid the new floor of narrow
redwood boards. Clover had stained the striped pattern along its edges.
In that remote spot, where trained and regular assistance could be had
only at great trouble and expense, it was desirable that every one
should utilize whatever faculty or accomplishment he or she possessed,
and the result was certainly good. The big, homelike room, with its
well-chosen colors and look of taste and individuality, left nothing to
be desired in the way of comfort, and was far prettier and more original
than if ordered cut-and-dried from some artist in effects, to whom its
doing would have been simply a job and not an enjoyment.

Clover's wedding presents had furnished part of the rugs and etchings
and bits of china which ornamented the room, but Elsie's, who had
married into a "present-giving connection," as her sister Johnnie called
it, did even more. Each sister was supposed to own a private
sitting-room, made out of the little sleeping-chambers of what Clarence
Page stigmatized as the "beggarly bachelor days," which were thrown
together two in one on either side the common room. Clover and Elsie had
taken pains and pleasure in making these pretty and different from each
other, but as a matter of fact the "private" parlors were not private at
all; for the two families were such very good friends that they
generally preferred to be together. And the rooms were chiefly of use
when the house was full of guests, as in the summer it sometimes was,
when Johnnie had a girl or two staying with her, or a young man with a
tendency toward corners, or when Dr. Carr wanted to escape from his
young people and analyze flowers at leisure or read his newspaper in
peace and quiet.

The big room in the middle was used by both families as a dining and
sitting place. Behind it another had been added, which served as a sort
of mixed library, office, dispensary, and storage-room, and over the
four, extending to the very edge of the wide verandas which flanked the
house on three sides, were six large bedrooms. Of these each family
owned three, and they had an equal right as well to the spare rooms in
the building which had once been the kitchen. One of these, called
"Phil's room," was kept as a matter of course for the use of that young
gentleman, who, while nominally studying law in an office at St.
Helen's, contrived to get out to the Valley very frequently. The
interests of the party were so identical that the matter of ownership
seldom came up, and signified little. The sisters divided the
house-keeping between them amicably, one supplementing the other; the
improvements were paid for out of a common purse; their guests, being
equally near and dear, belonged equally to all. It was an ideal
arrangement, which one quick tongue or jealous or hasty temper would
have brought to speedy conclusion, but which had now lasted to the
satisfaction of all parties concerned for nearly four years.

That Clarence and Elsie should fancy each other had been a secret though
unconfessed dream of Clover's ever since her own engagement, when
Clarence had endeared himself by his manly behavior and real
unselfishness under trying circumstances. But these dreams are rarely
gratified, and she was not at all prepared to have hers come true with
such unexpected ease and rapidity. It happened on this wise. Six months
after her marriage, when she and Geoff and Clarence, working together,
had just got the "hut" into a state to receive visitors, Mr. and Mrs.
Dayton, who had never forgotten or lost their interest in their pretty
fellow-traveller of two years before, hearing from Mrs. Ashe how
desirous Clover was of a visit from her father and sisters, wrote and
asked the Carrs to go out with them in car 47 as far as Denver, and be
picked up and brought back two months later when the Daytons returned
from Alaska. The girls were wild to go, it seemed an opportunity too
good to be lost; so the invitation was accepted, and, as sometimes
happens, the kindness shown had an unlooked-for return. Mr. Dayton was
seized with a sudden ill turn on the journey, of a sort to which he was
subject, and Dr. Carr was able not only to help him at the moment, but
to suggest a regimen and treatment which was of permanent benefit to
him. Doctor and patient grew very fond of each other, and every year
since, when car 47 started on its western course, urgent invitations
came for any or all of them to take advantage of it and go out to see
Clover; whereby that hospitable housekeeper gained many visits which
otherwise she would never have had, Colorado journeys being expensive

But this is anticipating. No visit, they all agreed, ever compared with
that first one, when they were so charmed to meet, and everything was
new and surprising and delightful. The girls were enchanted with the
Valley, the climate, the wild fresh life, the riding, the flowers, with
Clover's little home made pretty and convenient by such simple means,
while Dr. Carr revelled in the splendid air, which seemed to lift the
burden of years from his shoulders.

And presently began the excitement of watching Clarence Page's rapid and
successful wooing of Elsie. No grass grew under his feet this time, you
may be sure. He fell in love the very first evening, deeply and
heartily, and he lost no opportunity of letting Elsie know his
sentiments. There was no rival in his way at the High Valley or
elsewhere, and the result seemed to follow as a matter of course. They
were engaged when the party went back to Burnet, and married the
following spring, Mr. Dayton fitting up 47 with all manner of
sentimental and delightful appointments, and sending the bride and
bridegroom out in it,--as a wedding present, he said, but in truth the
car was a repository of wedding presents, for all the rugs and portières
and silken curtains and brass plaques and pretty pottery with which it
was adorned, and the flower-stands and Japanese kakemonos, were to
disembark at St. Helen's and help to decorate Elsie's new home. All went
as was planned, and Clarence's life from that day to this had been, as
Clover mischievously told him, one pæan of thanksgiving to her for
refusing him and opening the way to real happiness. Elsie suited him to
perfection. Everything she said and did and suggested was exactly to his
mind, and as for looks, Clover was dear and nice as could be, of course,
and pretty,--well, yes, people would undoubtedly consider her a pretty
little woman; but as for any comparison between the two sisters, it was
quite out of the question! Elsie had so decidedly the advantage in every
point, including that most important point of all, that she preferred
him to Geoff Templestowe and loved him as heartily as he loved her.
Happiness and satisfied affection had a wonderfully softening influence
on Clarence, but it was equally droll and delightful to Clover to see
how absolutely Elsie ruled, how the least indication of her least finger
availed to mould Clarence to her will,--Clarence, who had never yielded
easily to any one else in the whole course of his life!

So the double life flowed smoothly on in the High Valley, but not quite
so happily at Burnet, where Dr. Carr, bereft of four out of his six
children, was left to the companionship of the steady Dorry, and what he
was pleased to call "a highly precarious tenure of Miss Joanna." Miss
Joanna was a good deal more attractive than her father desired her to
be. He took gloomy views of the situation, was disposed to snub any
young man who seemed to be casting glances toward his last remaining
treasure, and finally announced that when Fate dealt her last and final
blow and carried off Johnnie, he should give up the practice of medicine
in Burnet, and retire to the High Valley to live as physician in
ordinary to the community for the rest of his days. This prospect was so
alluring to the married daughters that they turned at once into the
veriest match-makers and were disposed to many Johnnie off
immediately,--it didn't much matter to whom, so long as they could get
possession of their father. Johnnie resented these manoeuvres highly,
and obstinately refused to "remove the impediment," declaring that
self-sacrifice was all very well, but she couldn't and wouldn't see that
it was her duty to go off and be content with a dull anybody, merely for
the sake of giving papa up to that greedy Clover and Elsie, who had
everything in the world already and yet were not content. She liked to
be at the head of the Burnet house and rule with a rod of iron, and make
Dorry mind his _p_'s and _q_'s; it was much better fun than marrying any
one, and there she was determined to stay, whatever they might say or
do. So matters stood at the present time, and though Clover and Elsie
still cherished little private plans of their own, nothing, so far,
seemed likely to come of them.

Elsie had time to set the room in beautiful order, and Clover had nearly
finished her hemming, before the sound of hoofs announced the return of
the two husbands from their early ride. They came cantering down the
side pass, with appetites sharpened by exercise, and quite ready for the
breakfast which Choo Loo presently brought in from the new
cooking-cabin, set a little one side out of sight, in the shelter of the
grove. Choo Loo was still a fixture in the valley. He and his methods
were a puzzle and somewhat of a distress to the order-loving Clover, who
distrusted not a little the ways and means of his mysteriously conducted
kitchen; but servants were so hard to come by at the High Valley, and
Choo Loo was so steady and faithful and his viands on the whole so good,
that she judged it wise to ask no questions and not look too closely
into affairs but just take the goods the gods provided, and be thankful
that she had any cook at all. Choo Loo was an amiable heathen also, and
very pleased to serve ladies, who appreciated his attempts at
decoration, for he had an eye for effect and loved to make things
pretty. Clover understood this and never forgot to notice and praise,
which gratified Choo Loo, who had found his bachelor employers in the
old days somewhat dull and unobservant in this respect.

"Missie like?" he asked this morning, indicating the wreath of wild
cranberry vine round the dish of chicken. Then he set a mound of white
raspberries in the middle of the table, starred with gold-hearted brown
coreopsis, and asked again, "Missie like dat?" pleased at Clover's
answering nod and smile. Noiselessly he came and went in his white-shod
feet, fetching in one dish after another, and when all was done, making
a sort of dual salaam to the two ladies, and remarking "Allee yeady
now," after which he departed, his pigtail swinging from side to side
and his blue cotton garments flapping in the wind as he walked across to
the cook-house.

Delicious breaths of roses and mignonette floated in as the party
gathered about the breakfast table. They came from the flower-beds just
outside, which Clover sedulously tended, watered, and defended from the
roving cattle, which showed a provoking preference for heliotropes over
penstamens whenever they had a chance to get at them. Cows were a great
trial, she considered; and yet after all they were the object of their
lives in the Valley, their _raison d'être_, and must be put up with

"Do you suppose the Youngs have landed yet?" asked Elsie as she
qualified her husband's coffee with a dash of thick cream.

"They should have got in last night if the steamer made her usual time.
I dare say we shall find a telegram at St. Helen's to-morrow if we go
in," answered her brother-in-law.

"Yes, or possibly Phil will ride out and fetch it. He is always glad of
an excuse to come. I wonder what sort of girl Miss Young is. You and
Clover never have said much about her."

"There isn't much to say. She's just an ordinary sort of girl,--nice
enough and all that, not pretty."

"Oh, Geoff, that's not quite fair. She's rather pretty, that is, she
would be if she were not stiff and shy and so very badly dressed. I
didn't get on very much with her at Clovelly, but I dare say we shall
like her here; and when she limbers out and becomes used to our ways,
she'll make a nice neighbor."

"Dear me, I hope so," remarked Elsie. "It's really quite important what
sort of a girl Miss Young turns out to be. A stiff person whom you had
to see every day would be horrid and spoil everything. The only thing we
need, the only possible improvement to the High Valley, would be a few
more nice people, just two or three, with pretty little houses, you
know, dotted here and there in the side canyons, whom we could ride up
to visit, and who would come down to see us, and dine and play whist and
dance Virginia reels and 'Sally Waters' on Christmas Eve. That would be
quite perfect. But I suppose it won't happen till nobody knows how

"I suppose so, too," said Geoff in a tone of well-simulated sympathy.
"Poor Elsie, spoiling for people! Don't set your heart on them. High
Valley isn't at all a likely spot to make a neighborhood of."

"A neighborhood! I should think not! A neighborhood would be horrid. But
if two or three people wanted to come,--really nice ones, you know,
perfect charmers,--surely you and Clare wouldn't have the heart to
refuse to sell them building lots?"

"We are exactly a whist quartet now," said Clarence, patting his wife's
shoulder. "Cheer up, dear. You shall have your perfect charmers _when_
they apply; but meantime changes are risky, and I am quite content with
things as they are, and am ready to dance Sally Waters with you at any
time with pleasure. Might I have the honor now, for instance?"

"Indeed, no! Clover and I have to work like beavers on the Youngs'
house. And, Clare, _we_ are quite a complete party in ourselves, as you
say; but there are the children to be considered. Geoffy and Phillida
will want to play whist one of these days, and where is _their_ quartet
to come from?"

[Illustration: "Down they came, hand in hand, chattering as they
went."--PAGE 111]

"We shall have to consider that point when they are a little nearer the
whist age. Here they come now. I hear the nursery door slam. They don't
look particularly dejected about their future prospects, I must say."

Four pairs of eyes turned expectantly toward the staircase, down which
there presently came the dearest little pair of children that can be
imagined. Clover's boy of three was as big as most people's boys of
five, a splendid sturdy little Englishman in build, but with his
mother's lovely eyes and skin. Phillida, whose real name was Philippa,
was of a more delicate and slender make, with dark brown eyes and a mane
of ruddy gold which repeated something of the tawny tints of her
father's hair and beard. Down they came hand in hand, little Phil
holding tightly to the polished baluster, chattering as they went, like
two wood-thrushes. Neither of them had ever known any other child
playmates, and they were devoted to each other and quite happy together.
Little Geoff from the first had adopted a protecting attitude toward his
smaller cousin, and had borne himself like a gallant little knight in
the one adventure of their lives, when a stray coyote, wandering near
the house, showed his teeth to the two babies, whose nurse had left them
alone for a moment, and Geoff, only two then, had caught up a bit of a
stick and thrown himself in front of Phillida with such a rush and shout
that the beast turned and fled, before Roxy and the collies could come
to the rescue. The dogs chased the coyote up the ravine down which he
had come, and he showed himself no more; but Clover was so proud of her
boy's prowess that she never forgot the exploit, and it passed into the
family annals for all time.

One wonderful stroke of good-luck had befallen the young mothers in
their mountain solitude, and that was the possession of Roxy and her
mother Euphane. They were sister and niece to good old Debby, who for so
many years had presided over Dr. Carr's kitchen; and when they arrived
one day in Burnet fresh from the Isle of Man, and announced that they
had come out for good to better their fortunes, Debby had at once
devoted them to the service of Clover and Elsie. They proved the
greatest possible comfort and help to the High Valley household. The
place did not seem lonely to them, used as they were to a still lonelier
cabin at the top of a steep moor up which few people ever came. The
Colorado wages seemed riches, the liberal comfortable living luxury to
them, and they rooted and established themselves, just as Debby had
done, into a position of trusted and affectionate helpfulness, which
seemed likely to endure. Euphane was housemaid, Roxy nurse; it already
seemed as though life could never have gone on without them, and Clover
was disposed to emulate Dr. Carr in objecting to "followers," and in
resenting any admiring looks cast by herders at Roxy's rosy English
cheeks and pretty blue eyes.

Little Geoff ran to his father's knee, as a matter of course, on
arriving at the bottom of the stairs, while Phillida climbed her
mother's, equally as a matter of course. Safely established there, she
began at once to flirt with Clarence, making wide coquettish eyes at
him, smiling, and hiding her face to peep out and smile again. He
seized one of her dimpled hands and kissed it. She instantly pulled it
away, and hid her face again.

"Fair Phillida flouts me," he said. "Doesn't baby like papa a bit? Ah,
well, he is going to cry, then."

He buried his face in his napkin and sobbed ostentatiously. Phillida,
not at all impressed, tugged bravely at the corner of the handkerchief;
but when the sobs continued and grew louder, she began to look troubled,
and leaning forward suddenly, threw her arms round her father's neck and
laid her rose-leaf lips on his forehead. He caught her up rapturously
and tossed her high in air, kissing her every time she came down.

"You angel! you little angel! you little dear!" he cried, with a
positive dew of pleasure in his eyes. "Elsie, what have we ever done to
deserve such a darling?"

"I really don't know what you have done," remarked Elsie, coolly; "but I
have done a good deal. I always was meritorious in my way, and deserve
the best that is going, even Phillida. She is none too good for me. Come
back, baby, to your exemplary parent."

She rose to recapture the child; but Clarence threw a strong arm about
her, still holding Phillida on his shoulder, and the three went waltzing
merrily down the room, the little one from her perch accenting the dance
time with a series of small shouts. Little Geoff looked up soberly, with
his mouth full of raspberries, and remarked, "Aunty, I didn't ever know
that people danced at breakfast."

"No more did I," said Elsie, trying in vain to get away from her
pirouetting husband.

"No more does any one outside this extraordinary valley of ours,"
laughed Geoff. "Now, partner, if you have finished your fandango, allow
me to remind you that there are a hundred and forty head of cattle
waiting to be branded in the upper valley, and that Manuel is to meet us
there at ten o'clock."

"And we have the breakfast things to wash, and a whole world to do at
the Youngs'," declared Elsie, releasing herself with a final twirl.
"Now, Clare dear, order Marigold and Summer-Savory, please, to be
brought down in half an hour, and tell old José that we want him to help
and scrub. No, young man, not another turn. These sports are unseemly on
such a busy day as this. 'Dost thou not suspect my place? dost thou not
suspect my years?' as the immortal W. would say. I am twenty-five,--nearly
twenty-six,--and am not to be whisked about thus."

Everybody went everywhere on horseback in the High Valley, and the
gingham riding-skirts and wide-brimmed hats hung always on the antlers,
ready to hand, beside water-proofs and top-coats. Before long the
sisters were on their way, their saddle-pockets full of little stores,
baskets strapped behind them, and the newly made curtains piled on their
laps. The distance was about a mile to the house which Lionel Young and
his sister were to inhabit.

It stood in a charming situation on the slope of one of the side
canyons, facing the high range and backed by a hillside clothed with
pines. In build it was very much such a cabin as the original hut had
been,--six rooms, all on one floor, the sixth being a kitchen. It was
newly completed, and sawdust and fresh shavings were littered freely
about the place. Clover's first act was to light a fire in the wide
chimney for burning these up.

"It looks bare enough," she remarked, sweeping away industriously. "But
it will be quite easy to make it pleasant if Imogen Young has any
faculty at that sort of thing. I'm sure it's a great deal more promising
than the Hut was before Clarence and Geoff and I took hold of it. See,
Elsie,--this room is done. I think Miss Young will choose it for her
bedroom, as it is rather the largest; so you might tack up the dotted
curtains here while I sweep the other rooms. And that convolvulus chintz
is to cover her dress-pegs."

"What fun a house is!" observed Elsie a moment or two later, between her
hammer strokes. "People who can get a carpenter or upholsterer to help
them at any minute really lose a great deal of pleasure. I always
adored baby-houses when I was little, and this is the same thing grown

"I don't know," replied Clover, abstractedly, as she threw a last
dustpanful of chips into the fire. "It _is_ good fun, certainly; but out
here one has so much of it that sometimes it comes under the suspicion
of being hard work. Now, when José has the kitchen windows washed it
will all be pretty decent. We can't undertake much beyond making the
first day or two more comfortable. Miss Young will prefer to make her
own plans and arrangements; and I don't fancy she's the sort of girl who
will enjoy being too much helped."

"Somehow I don't get quite an agreeable idea of Miss Young from what you
and Geoffrey say of her. I do hope she isn't going to make herself

"Oh, I'm sure she won't do that; but there is a wide distance between
not being disagreeable and being agreeable. I didn't mean to give you an
unpleasant impression of her. In fact, my recollections about her are
rather indistinct. We didn't see a great deal of her when we were at
Clovelly, or perhaps it was that Isabel and I were out so much and there
was so much coming and going."

"But are not she and Isabel very intimate?"

"I think so; but they are not a bit alike. Isabel is delightful. I wish
it were she who was coming out. You would love her. Now, my child, we
must begin on the kitchen tins."

It was an all-day piece of work which they had undertaken, and they had
ordered dinner late accordingly, and provided themselves with a basket
of sandwiches. By half-past five all was fairly in order,--the windows
washed, the curtains up, kitchen utensils and china unpacked and
arranged, and the somewhat scanty supply of furniture placed to the best

"There! Robinson Crusoe would consider himself in clover; and even Miss
Young can exist for a couple of days, I should think," said Elsie,
standing back to note the effect of the last curtain. "Lionel will have
to go in to St. Helen's and get a lot of things out before it will be
really comfortable, though. There come the boys now to ride home with
us. No, there is only one horse. Why, it is Phil!"

Phil indeed it was, but such a different Phil from the delicate boy whom
Clover had taken out to Colorado six years before. He was now a
broad-shouldered, muscular, athletic young fellow, full of life and
energy, and showing no trace of the illness which at that time seemed so
menacing. He gave a shout when he caught sight of his sisters, and
pushed his broncho to a gallop, waving a handful of envelopes high in

"This despatch came last night for Geoff," he explained, dismounting,
"and there were a lot of letters besides, so I thought I'd better bring
them out. I left the newspapers and the rest at the house, and fetched
your share on. Euphane told me where you two were. So this is where the
young Youngs are going to live, is it?"

He stepped in at the door and took a critical survey of the interior,
while Clover and Elsie examined their letters.

"This telegram is for Geoff," explained Clover. "The Youngs are here,"
and she read:--

          Safely landed. We reach Denver Thursday morning,
                                             LIONEL YOUNG.

"So they will get here on Thursday afternoon. It's lucky we came up
to-day. My letters are from Johnnie and Cecy Slack. Johnnie says--"

She was interrupted by a joyful shriek from Clover, who had torn open
her letter and was eagerly reading it.

"Oh, Elsie, Elsie, what do you think is going to happen? The most
enchanting thing! Rose Red is coming out here in August! She and Mr.
Browne and Röslein! Was there ever anything so nice in this world! Just
hear what she says:"--

                                             BOSTON, June 30.

          something so wonderful to tell that I can scarcely
          find words in which to tell it. A kind Providence
          _and_ the A. T. and S. F. R. R. have just decided
          that Deniston must go to New Mexico early in
          August. This would not have been at all delightful
          under ordinary circumstances, for it would only
          have meant perspiration on his part and widowhood
          on mine, but most fortunately, some angels with a
          private car of their own have turned up, and have
          asked all three of us to go out with them as far
          as Santa Fé. What _do_ you think of that? It is
          not the Daytons, who seem only to exist to carry
          you to and fro from Burnet to Colorado free of
          expense, this time, but another batch of angels
          who have to do with the road,--name of Hopkinson.
          I never set eyes on them, but they appear to my
          imagination equipped with the largest kind of
          wings, and nimbuses round their heads as big as

          I have always longed to get out somehow to your
          Enchanted Valley, and see all your mysterious
          husbands and babies, and find out for myself what
          the charm is that makes you so wonderfully
          contented there, so far from West Cedar Street and
          the other centres of light and culture, but I
          never supposed I could come unless I walked. But
          now I _am_ coming! I do hope none of you have the
          small-pox, or pleuro-pneumonia, or the
          "foot-and-mouth disease" (whatever that is), or
          any other of the ills to which men and cattle are
          subject, and which will stand in the way of the
          visit. Deniston, of course, will be forced to go
          right through to Santa Fé, but Röslein and I are
          at your service if you like to have us. We don't
          care for scenery, we don't want to see Mexico or
          the Pacific coast, or the buried cities of Central
          America, or the Zuñi corn dance,--if there is such
          a thing,--or any alkaline plains, or pueblos, or
          buttes, or buffalo wallows; we only want to see
          you, individually and collectively, and the High
          Valley. May we come and stay a fortnight? Deniston
          thinks he shall be gone at least as long as that.
          We expect to leave Boston on the 31st of July. You
          will know what time we ought to get to St.
          Helen's,--I don't, and I don't care, so only we
          get there and find you at the station. Oh, my dear
          Clovy, isn't it fun?

          I have seen several of our old school-set lately,
          Esther Dearborn for one. She is Mrs. Joseph P.
          Allen now, as you know, and has come to live at
          Chestnut Hill, quite close by. I had never seen
          her since her marriage, nearly five years since,
          till the other day, when she asked me out to
          lunch, and introduced me to Mr. Joseph P., who
          seems a very nice man, and also--now don't faint
          utterly, but you will! to their seven children! He
          had two of his own when they married, and they
          have had two pairs of twins since, and "a
          singleton," as they say in whist. Such a houseful
          you never did see; but the twins are lovely, and
          Esther looks very fat and happy and well-to-do,
          and says she doesn't mind it a bit, and sees more
          clearly every day that the thing she was born for
          was to take the charge of a large family. Her
          Joseph P. is very well off, too. I should judge
          that they "could have cranberry sauce every day
          and never feel the difference," which an old
          cousin of my mother's, whom I dimly remember as a
          part of my childhood, used to regard as
          representing the high-water mark of wealth.

          Mary Strothers has been in town lately, too. She
          has only one child, a little girl, which seems
          miserably few compared with Esther, but on the
          other hand she has never been without neuralgia in
          the face for one moment since she went to live in
          the Hoosac Tunnel, she told me, so there are
          compensations. She seems happy for all that, poor
          dear Mary. Ellen Gray never has married at all,
          you know. She goes into good works instead, girls'
          Friendlies and all sorts of usefulnesses. I do
          admire her so much, she is a standing reproach and
          example to me. "Wish I were a better boy," as your
          brother Dorry said in his journal.

          Mother is well and my father, but the house seems
          empty and lonely now. We can never get used to
          dear grandmamma's loss, and Sylvia is gone too.
          She and Tom sailed for Europe in April, and it
          makes a great difference having them away, even
          for a summer. My brother-in-law is such a nice
          fellow, I hope you will know him some day.

          And all this time I have forgotten to tell you the
          chief news of all, which is that I have seen Katy.
          Deniston and I spent Sunday before last with her
          at the Torpedo station. She has a cosey, funny
          little house, one of a row of five or six, built
          on the spine, so to speak, of a narrow, steep
          island, with a beautiful view of Newport just
          across the water. It was a superb day, all
          shimmery blue and gold, and we spent most of our
          time sitting in a shady corner of the piazza, and
          talking of the old times and of all of you. I
          didn't know then of this enchanting Western plan,
          or we should have had a great deal more to talk
          about. The dear Katy looks very well and handsome,
          and was perfectly dear, as she always is, and she
          says the Newport climate suits her to perfection.
          Your brother-in-law is a stunner! I asked Katy if
          she wasn't going out to see you soon, and she said
          not till Ned went to sea next spring, then she
          should go for a long visit.

          Write at once if we may come. I won't begin on the
          subject of Röslein, whom you will never know, she
          has grown so. She goes about saying rapturously,
          "I shall see little Geoff! I shall see Phillida! I
          shall see Aunt Clovy! Perhaps I shall ride on a
          horse!" You'll never have the heart to disappoint
          her. My "milk teeth are chattering with fright" at
          the idea of so much railroad, as one of her books
          says, but for all that we are coming, if you let
          us. Do let us!

                                         YOUR OWN ROSE RED.

"Let them! I should think so," cried Clover, with a little skip of
rapture. "Dear, dear Rose! Elsie, the nicest sort of things do happen
out here, don't they?"



THE train from Denver was nearing St. Helen's,--and Imogen Young looked
eagerly from the window for a first sight of the place. Their journey
had been exhaustingly hot during its last stages, the alkaline dust most
trying, and they had had a brief experience of a sand-storm on the
plains, which gave her a new idea as to what wind and grit can
accomplish in the way of discomfort. She was very tired, and quite
disposed to be critical and unenthusiastic; still she had been compelled
to admit that the run down from Denver lay over an interesting country.

The town on its plateau was shining in full sunshine, as it had done
when Clover landed there six years before, but its outlines had greatly
changed with the increase of buildings. The mountain range opposite was
darkly blue from the shadows of a heavy thunder gust which was slowly
rolling away southward. The plains between were of tawny yellow, but the
belts of mesa above showed the richest green, except where the lines of
alfalfa and grain were broken by white patches of mentzelia and poppies.
It was wonderfully beautiful, but the town itself looked so much larger
than Imogen had expected that she exclaimed with surprise:--

"Why, Lion, it's a city! You said you were bringing me out to live in
the wilderness. What made you tell such stories? It looks bigger than

"It looks larger than it did when I came away," replied her brother.
"Two, three, six,--eight fine new houses on Monument Avenue, by Jove,
and any number off there toward the north. You've no idea how these
Western places sprout and thrive, Moggy. This isn't twenty years old

"I can't believe it. You are imposing on me. And why on earth did you
let me bring out all those pins and things? There seem to be any number
of shops."

"I let you! Oh, I say, that is good! Why, Moggy, don't you remember how
I remonstrated straight through your packing. Never a bit would you
listen to me, and here is the result," pulling out a baggage memorandum
as he spoke, and reading aloud in a lugubrious tone, "Extra weight of
trunks, thirteen dollars, fifty-two cents."

"Thirteen fifty," cried Imogen with a gasp. "My gracious! why, that's
nearly three pounds! Lion! Lion! you ought to have _made_ me listen."

"I'm sure I did all I could in that way. But cheer up! You'll want your
pins yet. You mustn't confound this place with High Valley. That's
sixteen miles off and hasn't a shop."

The discussion was brought to end by the stopping of the train. In
another moment Geoff Templestowe appeared at the door.

"Hallo, Lion! glad to see you. Imogen," shaking hands warmly, "how are
you? Welcome to Colorado. I'm afraid you've had a bad journey in this

"It _has_ been beastly. Poor Moggy's dead beat, I'm afraid. Neither of
us could sleep a wink last night for the dust and sand. Well, it's all
well that ends well. We'll cool her off in the valley. How is everything
going on there? Mrs. Templestowe all right, and Mrs. Page, and the
children? I declare," stretching himself, "it's a blessing to get a
breath of good air again. There's nothing in the world that can compare
with Colorado."

A light carryall was waiting near the station, whose top was little more
than a fringed awning. Into this Geoffrey helped Imogen, and proceeded
to settle her wraps and bags in various seat boxes and pockets with
which the carriage was cleverly fitted up. It was truly a carry-all and
came and went continually between the valley and St. Helen's.

"Now," he remarked as he stuffed in the last parcel, "we will just stop
long enough to get the mail and some iced tea, which I ordered as I
came down, and then be off. You'll find a cold chicken in that basket,
Lion. Clover was sure you'd need something, and there's no time for a
regular meal if we are to get in before dark."

"Iced tea! what a queer idea!" said Imogen.

"I forgot that you were not used to it. We drink it a great deal here in
summer. Would you rather have some hot? I didn't fancy that you would
care for it, the day is so warm; but we'll wait and have it made, if you

"Oh, no. I won't delay you," said Imogen, rather grudgingly. She was
disposed to resent the iced tea as an American innovation, but when she
tried it she found herself, to her own surprise, liking it very much.
"Only, why do they call it tea," she meditated. "It's a great deal more
like punch--all lemon and things." But she had to own that it was
wonderfully refreshing.

The sun was blazing on the plain; but after they began to wind up the
pass a cool, strong wind blew in their faces and the day seemed suddenly
delightful. The unfamiliar flowers and shrubs, the strange rock forms
and colors, the occasional mountain glimpses, interested Imogen so much
that for a time she forgot her fatigue. Then an irresistible drowsiness
seized her; the talk going on between Geoffrey Templestowe and her
brother, about cows and feed and the prospect of the autumn sales,
became an indistinguishable hum, and she went off into a series of
sleeps broken by brief wakings, when the carryall bumped, or swayed
heavily from side to side on the steep inclines. From one of the
soundest of these naps she was roused by her brother shaking her arm and

"Moggy, wake, wake up! We are here."

With a sharp thump of heart-beat she started into full consciousness to
find the horses drawing up before a deep vine-hung porch, on which stood
a group of figures which seemed to her confused senses a large party.
There was Elsie in a fresh white dress with pale green ribbons,
Clarence Page, Phil Carr, little Philippa in her nurse's arms, small
Geoff with his two collies at his side, and foremost of all, ready to
help her down, hospitable little Clover, in lilac muslin, with a rose in
her belt and a face of welcome.

"How the Americans do love dress!" was Imogen's instant thought,--an
ungracious one, and quite unwarranted by the circumstances. Clover and
Elsie kept themselves neat and pretty from habit and instinct, but the
muslin gowns were neither new nor fashionable, they had only the merit
of being fresh and becoming to their wearers.

"You poor child, how tired you must be!" cried Clover, as she assisted
Imogen out of the carriage. "This is my sister, Mrs. Page. Please take
her directly to her room, Elsie, while I order up some hot water. She'll
be glad of that first of all. Lion, I won't take time to welcome you
now. The boys must care for you while I see after your sister."

A big sponging-bath full of fresh water stood ready in the room to
which Imogen was conducted; the white bed was invitingly "turned down;"
there were fresh flowers on the dressing-table, and a heap of soft
cushions on a roomy divan which filled the deep recess of a range of low
windows. The gay-flowered paper on the walls ran up to the peak of the
ceiling, giving a tent-like effect. Most of the furnishings were
home-made. The divan was nothing more or less than a big packing-box
nicely stuffed and upholstered; the dressing-table, a construction of
pine boards covered and frilled with cretonne. Clover had plaited the
chintz round the looking-glass and on the edges of the book-shelves,
while the picture-frames, the corner-brackets, and the impromptu
washstand owed their existence to Geoff's cleverness with tools. But the
whole effect was pretty and tasteful, and Imogen, as she went on with
her dressing, looked about her with a somewhat reluctant admiration,
which was slightly tinctured with dismay.

"I suppose they got all these things out from the East," she reflected.
"I couldn't undertake them in our little cabin, I'm sure. It's very
nice, and really in very good taste, but it must have cost a great deal.
The Americans don't think of _that_, however; and I've always heard they
have a great knack at doing up their houses and making a good show."

"Go straight to bed if you feel like it. Don't think of coming down. We
will send you up some dinner," Clover had urged; but Imogen, tired as
she was, elected to go down.

"I really mustn't give in to a little fatigue," she thought. "I have the
honor of England to sustain over here." So she heroically put on her
heavy tweed travelling-dress again, and descended the stairs, to find a
bright little fire of pine-wood and cones snapping and blazing on the
hearth, and the whole party gathered about it, waiting for her and

"What an extraordinary climate!" she exclaimed in a tone of
astonishment. "Melting with heat at three, and here at a quarter past
seven you are sitting round a fire! It really feels comfortable, too!"

"The changes _are_ very sharp," said Geoff, rising to give her his
chair. "Such a daily drop in temperature would make a sensation in our
good old Devonshire, would it not? You see it comes from the high
elevation. We are nearly eight thousand feet above the sea-level here;
that is about twice as high as the top of the highest mountain in the
United Kingdom."

"Fancy! I had no idea of it. Lionel did say something about the
elevation, but I didn't clearly attend." She glanced about the room,
which was looking its best, with the pink light of the shaded candles
falling on the white-spread table, and the flickering fire making golden
glows and gleams on the ceiling. "How _did_ you get all these pretty
things out here?" she suddenly demanded.

"Some came in wagons, and some just 'growed,'" explained Clover,
merrily. "We will let you into our secrets gradually. Ah, here comes
dinner at last, and I am sure we shall all be glad of it."

Choo Loo now entered with the soup-tureen, a startling vision to Imogen,
who had never seen a Chinaman before in her life.

"How very extraordinary!" she murmured in an aside to Lionel. "He looks
like an absolute heathen. Are such things usual here?"

"Very usual, I should say. Lots of them about. That fellow has a Joss in
his cabin, and very likely a prayer-wheel; but he's a capital cook. I
wish we could have the luck to happen on his brother or nephew for

"I don't, then," replied his scandalized sister. "I can't feel that it
is right to employ such people in a Christian country. The Americans
have such lax notions!"

"Hold up a bit! What do you know about their notions? Nothing at all."

"Come to dinner," said Clover's pleasant voice. "Geoff, Miss Young will
sit next to you. Put a cushion behind her back, Clarence."

Dinner over, Imogen concluded that she had upheld the honor of England
quite as long as was desirable, or in fact possible, and gladly accepted
permission to go at once to bed. She was fairly tired out.

She woke wonderfully restored by nine hours' solid sleep in that elastic
and life-giving atmosphere, and went downstairs to find every one
scattered to their different tasks and avocations, except Elsie, who was
waiting to pour her coffee. Clover and Lionel were gone to the new
house, she explained, and they were to follow them as soon as Imogen had

Elsie's manner lacked its usual warmth and ease. She had taken no fancy
at all to the stiff, awkward little English woman, in whom her quick
wits detected the lurking tendency to cavil and criticise, and was
discouraging accordingly. Oddly enough, Imogen liked this offish manner
of Elsie's. She set it down to a proper sense of decorum and _retenue_.
"So different from the usual American gush and making believe to be at
ease always with everybody," she thought; and she made herself as
agreeable as possible to Elsie, whom she considered much prettier than
Clover, and in every way more desirable. These impressions were
doubtless tinctured by the underlying jealousy from which she had so
long suffered, and which still influenced her, though Isabel Templestowe
was now far away, and there was no one at hand to be jealous about.

The two rode amicably up the valley together.

"There, that's your new home," said Elsie, when they came in sight of
the just finished cabin. "Didn't Lionel choose a pretty site for it? And
you have a most beautiful view."

"Well, Moggy," cried her brother, hurrying out to help her dismount,
"here you are at last. Mrs. Templestowe and I have made you a fire and
done all sorts of things. How do you like the look of it? It's a decent
little place, isn't it? We must get Mrs. Templestowe to put us up to
some of her nice little dodges about furniture and so on, such as they
have at the other house. She and Mrs. Page have made it all tidy for us,
and put up lots of nice little curtains and things. They must have
worked awfully hard, too. Wasn't it good of them?"

"Very," said Imogen, rather stiffly. "I'm sure we're much obliged to
you, Mrs. Templestowe. I fear you have given yourself a great deal of

The words were polite enough, but the tone was distinctly repellent.

"Oh, no," said Clover, lightly. "It was only fun to come up and arrange
a little beforehand. We were very glad to do it. Now, Elsie, you and I
will ride down, and leave these new housekeepers to discuss their plans
in peace. Dinner at six to-night, Lionel; and please send old José down
if you need anything. Don't stay too long or get too tired, Miss Young.
We shall have lunch about one; but if you are doing anything and don't
want to leave so early, you'll find some sardines and jam and a tin of
biscuits in that cupboard by the fire."

She and Elsie rode away accordingly. When they were out of hearing,
Clover remarked,--

"I wonder why that girl dislikes me so."

"Dislikes you! Clover, what do you mean? Nobody ever disliked you in
your life, or ever could."

"Yes, she does," persisted Clover. "She has got some sort of queer twist
in her mind regarding me, and I can't think what it is. It doesn't
really matter, and very likely she'll get over it presently; but I'm
sorry about it. It would be so pleasant all to be good friends together
up here, where there are so few of us."

Her tone was a little pathetic. Clover was used to being liked.

"Little wretch!" cried Elsie, with flashing eyes. "If I really thought
that she dared not to like you, I'd--I'd--, well, what would I
do?--import a grisly bear to eat her, or some such thing! I suppose an
Indian could be found who for a consideration would undertake to scalp
Miss Imogen Young, and if she doesn't behave herself he _shall_ be
found. But you're all mistaken, Clovy; you must be. She's only stiff and
dull and horribly English, and very tired after her journey. She'll be
all right in a day or two. If she isn't, I shall 'go for' her without

"Well, perhaps it is that." It was easier and pleasanter to imagine
Imogen tired than to admit that she was absolutely unfriendly.

"After all," she added, "it's for Miss Young's sake that I should regret
it if it were so, much more than for my own. I have Geoff and you and
Clare,--and papa and Johnnie coming, and dear Rose Red,--all of you are
at my back; but she, poor thing, has no one but Lionel to stand up for
her. I am on my own ground," drawing up her figure with a pretty
movement of pride, "and she is a stranger in a strange land. So we won't
mind if she is stiff, Elsie dear, and just be as nice as we can be to
her, for it must be horrid to be so far away from home and one's own
people. We cannot be too patient and considerate under such

Meanwhile the moment they were out of sight Lionel had turned upon his
sister sharply, and angrily.

"Moggy, what on earth do you mean by speaking so to Mrs. Templestowe?"

"Speaking how? What did I say?" retorted Imogen.

"You didn't _say_ anything out of the common, but your manner was most
disagreeable. If she hadn't been the best-tempered woman in the world
she would have resented it on the spot. Here she, and all of them, have
been doing all they can to make ready for us, giving us such a warm
welcome too, treating us as if we were their own kith and kin, and you
return it by putting on airs as if she were intruding and interfering in
our affairs. I never was so ashamed of a member of my own family before
in my life."

"I can't imagine what you mean," protested Imogen, not quite truthfully.
"And you've no call to speak to me so, Lionel, and tell me I am rude,
just because I don't gush and go about making cordial speeches like
these Americans of yours. I'm sure I said everything that was proper to
Mrs. Templestowe."

"Your words were proper enough, but your manner was eminently improper.
Now, Moggy," changing his tone, "listen to me. Let us look the thing
squarely in the face. You've come out here with me, and it's awfully
good of you and I sha'n't ever forget it; but here we are, settled for
years to come in this little valley, with the Templestowes and Pages for
our only neighbors. They can be excellent friends, as I've found, and
they are prepared to be equally friendly to you; but if you're going to
start with a little grudge against Mrs. Geoff,--who's the best little
woman going, by Jove, and the kindest,--you'll set the whole family
against us, and we might as well pack up our traps at once and go back
to England. Now I put it to you reasonably; is it worth while to upset
all our plans and all my hopes,--and for what? Mrs. Templestowe can't
have done anything to set you against her?"

"Lion," cried Imogen, bursting into tears, "don't! I'm sure I didn't
mean to be rude. Mrs. Geoff never did anything to displease me, and
certainly I haven't a grudge against her. But I'm very tired, so please
don't s-c-o-ld me; I've got no one out here but you."

Lionel melted at once. He had never seen his sister cry before, and felt
that he must have been harsh and unkind.

"I'm a brute," he exclaimed. "There, Moggy, there, dear--don't cry. Of
course you're tired; I ought to have thought of it before."

He petted and consoled her, and Imogen, who was really spent and weary,
found the process so agreeable that she prolonged her tears a little. At
last she suffered herself to be comforted, dried her eyes, grew
cheerful, and the two proceeded to make an investigation of the
premises, deciding what should go there and what here, and what it was
requisite to get from St. Helen's. Imogen had to own that the ladies of
the Valley had been both thoughtful and helpful.

"I'll thank them again this evening and do it better," she said; and
Lionel patted her back, and told her she really was quite a little brick
when she wasn't a big goose,--a brotherly compliment which was more
gratifying than it sounded.

It was decided that he should go into St. Helen's next day to order out
stores and what Lionel called "a few sticks" that were essential, and
procure a servant.

"Then we can move in the next day," said Imogen. "I feel in such a hurry
to begin house-keeping, Lionel, you can't think. One is always a
stranger in the land till one has a place of one's own. Geoff and his
wife are very kind and polite, but it's much better we should start for
ourselves as soon as possible. Besides, there are other people coming to
stay; Mrs. Page said so."

"Yes, but not for quite a bit yet, I fancy. All the same, you are right,
Moggy; and we'll set up our own shebang as soon as it can be managed.
You'll feel twice as much at home when you have a house of your own.
I'll get the mattresses and tables and chairs out by Saturday, and
fetch the slavey out with me if I can find one."

"No Chinese need apply," said Imogen. "Get me a Christian servant,
whatever you do, Lion. I can't bear that creature with the pig-tail."

"I'll do my possible," said her brother, in a doubtful tone; "but you'll
come to pig-tails yet and be thankful for them, or I miss my guess."


Imogen remembered her promise. She was studiously polite and grateful
that evening, and exerted herself to talk and undo the unpleasant
impression of the morning. The little party round the dinner-table waxed
merry, especially when Imogen, under the effect of her gracious
resolves, attempted to adapt her conversation to her company and gratify
her hosts by using American expressions.

"People absquatulate from St. Helen's toward autumn, don't they?" she
remarked. Then when some one laughed she added, "You say 'absquatulate'
over here, don't you?"

"Well, I don't know. I never did hear any one say it except as a joke,"
replied Elsie.

And again: "Mother would be astonished, Lion, wouldn't she, if she knew
that a Chinese can make English puddings as well as the cooks at home.
She'd be all struck of a heap."

And later: "It really was dreadful. The train was broken all to bits,
and nearly every one on board was hurt,--catawampously chawed up in
fact, as you Americans would say. Why, what are you all laughing at?
Don't you say it?"

"Never, except in the comic newspapers and dime novels," said Geoffrey
Templestowe when he recovered from his amusement, while Lionel, utterly
overcome with his sister's vocabulary, choked and strangled, and finally
found voice to say,--

"Go on, Moggy. You're doing beautifully. Nothing like acquiring the
native dialect to make a favorable impression in a new country. Oh,
wherever _did_ she learn 'catawampus'? I shall die of it."



IMOGEN'S race-prejudices experienced a weakening after Lionel's return
from St. Helen's with the only "slavey" attainable, in the shape of an
untidy, middle-aged Irish woman, with red hair, and a hot little spark
of temper glowing in either eye. Putting this unpromising female in
possession of the fresh, clean kitchen of the cabin was a trial, but it
had to be done; and the young mistress, with all the ardor of
inexperience, bent herself to the task of reformation and improvement,
and teaching Katty Maloney--who was old enough to be her mother--a great
many desirable things which she herself did not very well understand. It
was thankless work and resulted as such experiments usually do. Katty
gave warning at the end of a week, affirming that she wasn't going to
be hectored and driven round by a bit of a miss, who didn't well know
what she wanted; and that the Valley was that lonesome anyhow that she'd
not remain in it; no, not if the Saints themselves came down from glory
and kivered up every fut of soil with shining gold, and she a-starving
in the mud,--that she wouldn't!

Imogen saw her go with small regret. She had no idea how difficult it
might be to find a successor, and it was not till three incompetents of
the same nationality had been lured out by the promise of high wages,
only to decide that the place was too "lonely" for them and
incontinently depart, that she realized how hard was the problem of
"help" in such a place. It was her first trial at independent
housekeeping, and with her English ideas she had counted on neatness,
respectfulness of manner, and a certain amount of training as a matter
of course in a servant. One has to learn one's way in a new country by
the hardest, and perhaps, the least hard part of Imogen's lesson were
the intervals when she and Lionel did the work themselves, with only old
José to scrub and wash up; then at least they could be quiet and at
peace, without daily controversies. Later, relief and comfort came to
them in the shape of a gentle Mongolian named Ah Lee, procured through
the good offices of Choo Loo, whom Imogen was only too thankful to
accept, pig-tail and all, for his gentleness of manner, general neatness
and capacity, and the good taste which he gave to his dishes. In fact,
she confessed one day to Lionel, privately in a moment of confidence,
that rather than lose him, she would herself carve a joss stick and nail
it up in the kitchen; which concession proves the liberalizing and
widening effect of necessity upon the human mind. But this is

The cabin was a pleasant place enough when once fairly set in order.
There was an abundance of sunshine, fire-wood was plenty, and so small a
space was easily kept tidy. Imogen, when she reviewed her resources,
realized how wise Lionel had been in recommending her to bring more
ornamental things and fewer articles of mere use, such as tapes and
buttons. Buttons and tapes were easy enough to come by; but things to
make the house pretty were difficult to obtain and cost a great deal.
She made the most of her few possessions, and supplied what was lacking
with wild flowers, which could be had in any quantity for the picking.
Lionel had hunted a good deal during his first Colorado years, and
possessed quite a good supply of fox, wolf, and bear skins. These did
duty for rugs on the floor. Elk and buffalo horns fastened on the walls
served as pegs on which to hang whips and hats. Some gay Mexican pots
adorned the chimney-piece; it all looked pretty enough and quite
comfortable. Imogen would fain have tried her hand at home-made devices
of the sort in which the ladies at the lower house excelled, but somehow
her attempts turned out failures. She lacked lightness of touch and
originality of fancy, and the results were apt to be what Elsie
privately stigmatized as "wapses of red flannel and burlaps without
form or comeliness," at which Lionel jeered, while visitors discreetly
averted their eyes lest they should be forced to express an opinion
concerning them.

Imogen's views as to the character and capacities of American women
underwent many modifications during that first summer in the Valley. It
seemed to her that Mrs. Templestowe and her sister were equal to any
emergency however sudden and unexpected. She was filled with daily
wonder over their knowledge of practical details, and their
extraordinary "handiness." If a herder met with an accident they seemed
to know just what to do. If Choo Loo was taken with a cramp or some odd
Chinese disease without a name, and laid aside for a day or two, Clover
not only nursed him but went into the kitchen as a matter of course, and
extemporized a meal which was sufficiently satisfactory for all
concerned. If a guest arrived unexpectedly they were not put out; if
some article of daily supply failed, they seemed always able to devise
a substitute; and through all and every contingency they managed to look
pretty and bright and gracious, and make sunshine in the shadiest

Slowly, for Imogen's mind was not of the quick working order, she took
all this in, and her respect for America and Americans rose accordingly.
She was forced to own that whatever the rest of womankind in this
extraordinary new country might be, these particular specimens were of a
sort which any land, even England, might be justly proud to claim.

"And with all they do, they contrive to look so nice," she said to
herself. "I can't understand how they manage it. Their gowns fit so
well, and they always seem to have just the right kind of thing to put
on. It is really wonderful, and it certainly isn't because they think a
great deal about it. Before I came over I always imagined that American
women spent their time in reading fashion magazines and talking over
their clothes. Mrs. Geoff and Mrs. Page certainly don't do that. I don't
often hear them speak about dresses, or see them at work at them; and
both of them know a great deal more about a house than I do, or any
other English girl I ever saw. Mrs. Geoff, and Mrs. Page too, can make
all sorts of things,--cakes and puddings and muffins and even bread; and
they read a good deal as well. The Americans are certainly a cleverer
people than I supposed."

The mile of distance between what Clarence called "the Hut and the
Hutlet" counted for little, and a daily intercourse went on, trending
chiefly, it must be owned, from the Hut to the Hutlet. Clover was
unwearied in small helps and kindnesses. If Imogen were cookless, old
José was sure to appear with a loaf of freshly baked bread, or a basket
of graham gems; or Geoff with a creel of trout and an urgent invitation
to lunch or dinner or both. New books made their appearance from below,
newspapers and magazines; and if ever the day came when Imogen felt
hopelessly faint-hearted, lonely, and over-worked, she was sure to see
the flutter of skirts, and her pretty, cordial neighbors would come
riding up the trail to cheer her, and to propose something pleasant or
helpful. Sometimes Elsie would have her baby on her knee, trusting to
"Summer Savory's" sure-footed steadiness; sometimes little Geoff would
be riding beside his mother on a minute _burro_. Always it seemed as
though they brought the sun with them; and she learned to watch for
their coming on dull days, as if they were in the secret of her moods
and knew just when they were most wanted. But they came so often that
these coincidences were not so wonderful, after all.

Imogen did appreciate all this kindness, and was grateful, and, after
her manner, responsive; still the process of what Elsie termed
"limbering out Miss Young" went on but slowly. The English stock,
firm-set and sturdily rooted, does not "limber" readily, and a bent
toward prejudice is never easily shaken. Compelled to admit that Clover
was worth liking, compelled to own her good nature and friendliness,
Imogen yet could not be cordially at ease with her. Always an inward
stiffness made itself apparent when they were together, and always
Clover was aware of the fact. It made no difference in her acts of
good-will, but it made some difference in the pleasure with which she
did them,--though on no account would she have confessed it, especially
to Elsie, who was so comically ready to fire up and offer battle if she
suspected any one of undervaluing her sister. So the month of July went.

It was on the morning of the last day, when the long summer had reached
its height of ripeness and completeness, and all things seemed making
themselves ready for Rose Red, who was expected in three days more, that
Clover, sitting with her work on the shaded western piazza, saw the
unwonted spectacle of a carriage slowly mounting the steep road up the
Valley. It was so unusual to see any wheeled vehicle there, except their
own carryall, that it caused a universal excitement. Elsie ran to the
window overhead with Phillida in her arms; little Geoff stood on the
porch staring out of a pair of astonished eyes, and Clover came forward
to meet the new arrivals with an unmistakable look of surprise in her
face. The gentleman who was driving and the lady beside him were quite
unknown to her; but from the back part of the carriage a head extended
itself,--an elderly head, with a bang of oddly frizzled gray hair and a
pair of watery blue eyes, all surmounted by an eccentric shade hat, and
all beaming and twittering with recognition and excitement. It took
Clover a moment to disentangle her ideas; then she perceived that it was
Mrs. Watson, who, when she and Phil first came out to Colorado, years
before, came with them, and for a time had been one of the chief trials
and perplexities of their life there.

"Well, my dear, and I don't wonder that you look astonished, for no one
would suppose that after all I went through with I should ever again--
This is my daughter, and her husband, you know, and of course their
coming made it seem quite-- We are staying in the Ute Valley; only five
miles over, they said it was, but such miles! I'd rather ride ten on a
level, any day, as I told Ellen, and--well, they said you were living up
here; and though the road was pretty rough, it was possible to-- And if
ever there was a man who could drive a buggy up to the moon, as Ellen
declares, Henry is the--but really I was hardly prepared for--but any
way we started, and here we are! What a wild sort of place it is that
you are living in, my dear Miss Carr--not that I ought to call you Miss
Carr, for-- I got your cards, of course, and I was told then that-- And
your sister marrying the other young man and coming out to live here
too! that must be very-- Oh, dear me! is that little boy yours? Well, I

"I am very glad to see you, I am sure," said Clover, taking the first
opportunity of a break in the torrent of words, "and Mrs. Phillips
too,--this is Mrs. Phillips, is it not? Let me help you out, Mrs.
Watson, and Geoffy dear, run round to the other door and ask Euphane to
send somebody to take the horses."

"Thank you," said Mrs. Phillips. "Let me introduce my husband, Mrs.
Templestowe. We are at the hotel in the Ute Valley for three days, and
my mother wished so much to drive over and see you that we have brought
her. What a beautiful place your valley is!"

Mrs. Phillips, tall, large-featured, dark and rather angular, with a
pleasant, resolute face, and clear-cut, rather incisive way of speaking,
offered as complete a contrast to her pale, pudgy, incoherent little
mother as could well be imagined. Clover's instant thought was, "Now I
know what _Mr._ Watson must have been like." Mr. Phillips was also tall,
with a keen, Roman-nosed face, and eye-glasses. Both had the look of
people who knew what was what and had seen the world,--just the sort of
persons, it would seem, to whom a parent like Mrs. Watson would be a
great trial; and it was the more to their credit that they never seemed
in the least impatient, and were evidently devoted to her comfort in all
ways. If she fretted them, as she undoubtedly must, they gave no sign of
it, and were outwardly all affectionate consideration.

"Why, where is your little boy gone? I wanted to see him," said Mrs.
Watson, as soon as she was safely out of the carriage. "He was here just
this moment, and then--I must say you have got a beautiful situation;
and if mountains were all that one needed to satisfy--but I recollect
how you used to go on about them at St. Helen's-- Take care, Ellen, your
skirt is caught! Ah, that's right! Miss Carr is always so--but I mustn't
call her that, I know, only I never-- And now, my dear, I must have a
kiss, after climbing up all this way; and there were gopher holes--at
least, a man we met said they were that, and I really thought-- Tell me
how you are, and all about-- That's right, Henry, take out the wraps;
you never can tell how-- Of course Miss Carr's people are all-- I keep
calling you Miss Carr; I really can't help it. What a beautiful view!"

Clover now led the way in-doors. The central room, large, cool, and
flower-scented, was a surprise to the Eastern guests, who were not
prepared to find anything so pretty and tasteful in so remote a spot.

"This is really charming!" said Mr. Phillips, glancing from fireplace to
wall, and from wall to window; while his wife exclaimed with delight
over the Mariposa lilies which filled a glass bowl on the table, and the
tall sheaves of scarlet penstamens on either side the hearth. Mrs.
Watson blinked about curiously, actually silent for a moment, before her
surprise took the form of words.

"Why, how pretty it looks, doesn't it, Ellen? and so large and spacious,
and so many-- I'm all the more surprised because when we were together
before, you wouldn't go to the Shoshone House, you remember, because it
was so expensive, and of course I-- Well, circumstances _do_ alter; and
it is a world of changes, as Dr. Billings said in one of his sermons
last spring. And I'm sure I'm glad, only I wasn't prepared to-- Ellen!
Ellen! look at that etching! It's exactly the same as yours, which Jane
Phillips gave you and Henry for your tin wedding. It was very expensive,
I know, for I was with her when she got it, and so--at Doll's it was;
and his things naturally--but I really think the frame of this is the
handsomest! Now, my dear Miss Carr, where _did_ you get that?"

"It was one of _our_ gifts," said Clover, smiling. "There is a double
supply of wedding presents in this house, Mrs. Watson, for my sister's
are here as well as our own. So we _are_ rather rich in pretty things,
as you see, but not in anything else, except cows; of those we have any
number. Now, if you will all excuse me for a moment, I will go up and
tell Mrs. Page that you are here."

Up she went, deliberately till she was out of sight, and then at a
swift, light run the rest of the way.

"Elsie dear," she cried, bursting into the nursery, "who do you think is
here? Mrs. Watson, our old woman of the Sea, you know. She has her
son-in-law and daughter with her, and they look like rather nice people,
strange to say. They have driven over from the Ute Valley, and of course
they must have some lunch; but as it happens it is the worst day of the
whole year for them to choose, for I have sent Choo Loo into St. Helen's
to look up a Chinese cook for Imogen Young, and I meant to starve you
all on poached eggs and raspberries for lunch. I can't leave them of
course, but will you just run down, my darling duck, and see what can be
done, and tell Euphane? There are cans of soup, of course, and sardines,
and all that, but I fear the bread supply is rather short. I'll take
Phillida. She's as neat as a new pin, happily. Ah, here's Geoffy. Come
and have your hair brushed, boy."

She went down with one child in her arms and the other holding her
hand,--a pretty little picture for those below.

"My sister will come presently," she explained. "This is her little
girl. And here is my son, Mrs. Watson."

"Dear me,--I had no idea he was such a big child," said that lady. "Five
years old, is he, or six?--only three! Oh, yes, what am I thinking
about; of course he--Well, my little man, and how do you like living up
here in this lonesome place?"

"Very much," replied little Geoff, backing away from the questioner, as
she aimlessly reached out after him.

"He has never lived anywhere else," Clover explained; "so he cannot make
comparisons. Ignorance is bliss, we are told, Mrs. Watson."

Euphane, staid and respectable in her spotless apron, now entered with
the lunch-cloth, and Clover convoyed her guests upstairs to refresh
themselves with cold water after the dust of the drive. By the time they
returned the table was set, and presently Elsie appeared, cool and
fresh in her pretty pink and white gingham with a knot of rose-colored
ribbon in her wavy hair, her cheeks deepened to just the becoming tint,
the very picture of a dainty, well-cared-for little lady. No one would
have suspected that during the last half-hour she had stirred and baked
a pan of brown "gems," mixed a cream mayonnaise for the lettuce, set a
glass dish of "junket" to form, and skimmed two pans of cream, beside
getting out the soup and sweets for Euphane, and trimming the dishes of
fruit with kinnikinick and coreopsis. The little feast seemed to have
got itself ready in some mysterious manner, without trouble to any one,
which is the last added grace of any feast.

"It is perfectly charming here," said Mrs. Phillips, more and more
impressed. "I have seen nothing at all like this at the West."

[Illustration: "No one would have suspected that she had skimmed two
pans of cream"--PAGE 166.]

"There isn't any other place exactly like our valley, I really think. Of
course there are other natural parks among the ranges of the Rockies,
but ours always seems to me quite by itself. You see we lie so as to
catch the sun, and it makes a great difference even in the winter. We
have done very little to the Valley, beyond just making ourselves

"Very comfortable indeed, I should say."

"And so you married the other young man, my dear?" Mrs. Watson was
remarking to Elsie. "I remember he used to come in very often to call on
your sister, and it was easy enough to see,--people in boarding-houses
will notice such things of course, and we all used to think-- But
there--of course she knew all the time, and it is easy to make mistakes,
and I dare say it's all for the best as it is. You look very young
indeed to be married. I wonder that your father could make up his mind
to let you."

"I am not young at all, I'm nearly twenty-six," replied Elsie, who
always resented remarks about her youth. "There are three younger than I
am in the family, and they are all grown up."

"Oh, my dear, but you don't look it! You don't seem a day over twenty.
Ellen was nearly as old as you are before she ever met Henry, and they
were engaged nearly two-- But she never did look as young as most of the
girls she used to go with, and I suppose that's the reason that now they
are all got on a little, she seems younger than-- Well, well! we never
thought while I was with your sister at St. Helen's, helping to take
care of your poor brother, you know, how it would all turn out. There
was a young man who used to bring roses,--I forget his name,--and one
day Mrs. Gibson said-- Her husband had weak lungs and they came out to
Colorado on that account, but I believe he-- They were talking of
building a house, and I meant to ask-- But there, I forgot; one does
grow so forgetful if one travels much and sees a good many people; but
as I was saying--he got well, I think."

"Who, Mr. Gibson?" asked Elsie, quite bewildered.

"Oh, no! not Mr. Gibson, of course. He died, and Mrs. Gibson married
again. Some man she met out at St. Helen's, I believe it was, and I
heard that her children didn't like it; but he was rich, I believe and
of course-- Riches have wings,--you know that proverb of course,--but it
makes a good deal of difference whether they fly toward you or away from

"Indeed it does," said Elsie, much amused. "But you asked me if somebody
got well. Who was it?"

"Why, your brother of course. He didn't die, did he?"

"Oh dear, no! He is living at St. Helen's now, and perfectly well and

"Well, that must be a great comfort to you all. I never did think that
he was as ill as your sister fancied he was. Girls will get anxious, and
when people haven't had a great deal of experience they-- He used to
laugh a great deal too, and when people do that it seems to me that
their lungs-- But of course it was only natural at her age. I used to
cheer her up all I could and say-- The air is splendid there, of course,
and the sun somehow never seems to heat you up as it does at the East,
though it _is_ hot, but I think when people have weak chests they'd
better-- Dr. Hope doesn't think so, I know, but after all there are a
great many doctors beside Dr. Hope, and-- Ellen quite agrees with me--
What was I saying."

Elsie wondered on what fragment of the medley she would fix. She was
destined never to know, for just then came the trample of hoofs and the
"Boys" rode up to the door.

She went out on the porch to meet them and break the news of the
unexpected guests.

"That old thing!" cried Clarence, with unflattering emphasis. "Oh,
thunder! I thought we were safe from that sort of bore up here. I shall
just cut down to the back and take a bite in the barn."

"Indeed you will do nothing of the sort. Do you suppose I came up to
this place, where company only arrives twice a year or so, to be that
lonesome thing a cowboy's bride, that you might slip away and take bites
in barns? No sir--not at all. You will please go upstairs, make yourself
fit to be seen, and come down and be as polite as possible. Do you
hear, Clare?"

She hooked one white finger in his buttonhole, and stood looking in his
face with a saucy gaze. Clarence yielded at once. His small despot knew
very well how to rule him and to put down such short-lived attempts at
insubordination as he occasionally indulged in.

"All right, Elsie, I'll go if I must. They're not to stay the night, are

"Heaven forbid! No indeed, they are going back to the Ute Valley."

He vanished, and presently re-appeared to conduct himself with the
utmost decorum. He did not even fidget when referred to pointedly as
"the other young man," by Mrs. Watson, with an accompaniment of nods and
blinks and wreathed smiles which was, to say the least, suggestive.
Geoff's manners could be trusted under all circumstances, and the little
meal passed off charmingly.

"Good-by," said Mrs. Watson, after she was safely seated in the
carriage, as Clover sedulously tucked her wraps about her. "It's really
been a treat to see you. We shall talk of it often, and I know Ellen
will say-- Oh, thank you, Miss Carr, you always were the kindest-- Yes,
I know it isn't Miss Carr, and I ought to remember, but somehow--
Good-by, Mrs. Page. Somehow--it's very pretty up here certainly, and you
have every comfort I'm sure, and you seem-- But it will be getting dark
before long, and I don't like the idea of leaving you young things up
here all by yourselves. Don't you ever feel a little afraid in the
evenings? I suppose there are not any wild animals--though I remember--
But there, I mustn't say anything to discourage you, since you _are_
here, and have got to stay."

"Yes, we have to stay," said Clover, as she shook hands with Mr.
Phillips, "and happily it is just what we all like best to do." She
watched the carriage for a moment or two as it bumped down the road, its
brake grinding sharply against the wheels, then she turned to the others
with a look of comically real relief.

"It seems like a bad dream! I had forgotten how Phil and I used to feel
when Mrs. Watson went on like that, and she always did go on like that.
How did we stand her?"

"Ellen seems nice," remarked Elsie,--"Poor Ellen!"

"Geoff," added Clarence, vindictively, "this must not happen again. You
and I must go to work below and shave off the hill and make it twice as
steep! It will never do to have the High Valley made easy of access to
old ladies from Boston who--"

"Who call you 'the other young man,'" put in naughty Elsie. "Never mind,
Clare. I share your feelings, but I don't think there is any risk. There
is only one of her, and I am quite certain, from the scared look with
which she alluded to our 'wild beasts,' that she never proposes to come



"GEOFF," said Clover as they sat at dinner two days later, "couldn't we
start early when we go in to-morrow to meet Rose, and have the morning
at St. Helen's? There are quite a lot of little errands to be done, and
it's a long time since we saw Poppy or the Hopes."

"Just as early as you like," replied her husband. "It's a free day, and
I am quite at your service."

So they breakfasted at a quarter before six, and by a quarter past were
on their way to St. Helen's, passing, as Clover remarked, through three
zones of temperature; for it was crisply cold when they set out,
temperately cool at the lower end of the Ute Pass, and blazing hot on
the sandy plain.

"We certainly do get a lot of climate for our money out here," observed

They reached the town a little before ten, and went first of all to see
Mrs. Marsh, for whom Clover had brought a basket of fresh eggs. She
never entered that house without being sharply carried back to former
days, and made to feel that the intervening time was dreamy and unreal,
so absolutely unchanged was it. There was the rickety piazza on which
she and Phil had so often sat, the bare, unhomelike parlor, the
rocking-chairs swinging all at once, timed as it were to an
accompaniment of coughs; but the occupants were not the same. Many sets
of invalids had succeeded each other at Mrs. Marsh's since those old
days; still the general effect was precisely similar.

Mrs. Marsh, who only was unchanged, gave them a warm welcome. Grateful
little Clover never had forgotten the many kindnesses shown to her and
Phil, and requited them in every way that was in her power. More than
once when Mrs. Marsh was poorly or overtired, she had carried her off
to the High Valley for a rest; and she never failed to pay her a visit
whenever she spent a day at St. Helen's.

Their next call was at the Hopes'. They found Mrs. Hope darning
stockings on the back piazza which commanded a view of the mountain
range. She always claimed the entire credit of Clover's match, declaring
that if she had not matronized her out to the Valley and introduced her
and Geoff to each other, they would never have met. Her droll airs of
proprietorship over their happiness were infinitely amusing to Clover.

"I _think_ we should have got at each other somehow, even if you had not
been in existence," she told her friend; "marriages are made in Heaven,
as we all know. Nobody could have prevented ours."

"My dear, that is just where you are mistaken. Nothing is easier than to
prevent marriages. A mere straw will do it. Look at the countless old
maids all over the world; and probably nearly every one of them came
within half an inch of perfect happiness, and just missed it. No,
depend upon it, there is nothing like a wise, judicious, discriminating
friend at such junctures, to help matters along. You may thank me that
Geoff isn't at this moment wedded to some stiff-necked British maiden,
and you eating your head off in single-blessedness at Burnet."

"Rubbish!" said Clover. "Neither of us is capable of it;" but Mrs. Hope
stuck to her convictions.

She was delighted to see them, as she always was, and no less the bottle
of beautiful cream, the basket full of fresh lettuces, and the bunch of
Mariposa lilies which they had brought. Clover never went into St.
Helen's empty-handed.

Here they took luncheon No. 1,--consisting of sponge-cake and
claret-cup, partaken of while gazing across at Cheyenne Mountain, which
was at one of its most beautiful moments, all aerial blue streaked with
sharp sunshine at the summit. It was the one defect of the High Valley,
Clover thought, that it gave no glimpse of Cheyenne.

Luncheon No. 2 came a little later, with Marian Chase, whom every one
still called "Poppy" from preference and long habit. She was perfectly
well now, but she and her family had grown so fond of St. Helen's that
there was no longer any talk of their going back to the East. She had
just had some beautiful California plums sent her by an admirer, and
insisted on Clover's eating them with an accompaniment of biscuits and
"natural soda water."

"I want you and Alice Perham to come out next week for two nights," said
Clover, while engaged in this agreeable occupation. "My friend Mrs.
Browne arrives to-day, and she is by far the greatest treat we have ever
had to offer to any one since we lived in the Valley. You will delight
in her, I know. Could you come on Monday in the stage to the Ute Hotel,
if we sent the carryall over to meet you?"

"Why, of course. I never have any engagements when a chance comes for
going to the dear Valley; and Alice has none, I am pretty sure. It will
be perfectly delightful! Clover, you are an angel,--'the Angel of the
Penstamen' I mean to call you," glancing at the great sheaf of purple
and white flowers which Clover had brought. "It's a very good name. As
for Elsie, she is 'Our Lady of Raspberries;' I never saw such beauties
as she fetched in week before last."

Some very multifarious shopping for the two households followed, and by
that time it was two o'clock and they were quite ready for luncheon No.
3,--soup and sandwiches, procured at a restaurant. They were just coming
away when an open carriage passed them, silk-lined, with a crest on the
panel, jingling curb-chains, and silver-plated harnesses, all after the
latest modern fashion, and drawn by a pair of fine gray horses. Inside
was a young man, who returned a stiff bow to Clover's salutation, and a
gorgeously gowned young lady with rather a handsome face.

"Mr. and Mrs. Thurber Wade, I declare," observed Geoffrey. "I heard that
they were expected."

"Yes, Mrs. Wade is so pleased to have them come for the summer. We must
go and call some day, Geoff, when I happen to have on my best bonnet. Do
you think we ought to ask them out to the Valley?"

"That's just as you please. I don't mind if he doesn't. What fine
horses. Aren't you conscious of a little qualm of regret, Clover?"

"What for? I don't know what you mean. Don't be absurd," was all the
reply he received, or in fact deserved.

And now it was time to go to the train. The minutes seemed long while
they waited, but presently came the well-known shriek and rumble, and
there was Rose herself, dimpled and smiling at the window, looking not a
whit older than on the day of Katy's wedding seven years before. There
was little Rose too, but she was by no means so unchanged as her mother,
and certainly no longer little, surprisingly tall on the contrary, with
her golden hair grown brown and braided in a pig-tail, actually a
pig-tail. She had the same bloom and serenity, however, and the same
sedate, investigating look in her eyes. There was Mr. Browne too, but he
was a brief joy, for there was only time to shake hands and exchange
dates and promises of return, before the train started and bore him away
toward Pueblo.

"Now," said Rose, who seemed quite unquenched by her three days of
travel, "don't let's utter one word till we are in the carriage, and
then don't let's stop one moment for two weeks."

"In the first place," she began, as the carryall, mounting the hill,
turned into Monument Avenue, where numbers of new houses had been built
of late years, Queen Anne cottages in brick and stone, timber, and
concrete, with here and there a more ambitious "villa" of pink granite,
all surrounded with lawns and rosaries and vine-hung verandas and
tinkling fountains. "In the first place I wish to learn where all these
people and houses come from. I was told that you lived in a lodge in the
wilderness, but though I see plenty of lodges the wilderness seems
wanting. Is this really an infant settlement?"

"It really is. That is, it hasn't come of age yet, being not quite
twenty-one years old. Oh, you've no notion about our Western towns,
Rose. They're born and grown up all in a minute, like Hercules
strangling the snakes in his cradle. I don't at all wonder that you are

"'Surprised' doesn't express it. 'Flabbergasted,' though low, comes
nearer my meaning. I have been breathless ever since we left Albany.
First there was that enormous Chicago which knocked me all of a heap,
then Denver, then that enchanting ride over the Divide, and now this!
Never did I see such flowers or such colored rocks, and never did any
one breathe such air. It sweeps all the dust and fatigue out of one in a
minute. Boston seems quite small and dull in comparison, doesn't it,

"It isn't so big, but I love it the most," replied that small person
from the front seat, where she sat soberly taking all things in.
"Mamma, Uncle Geoff says I may drive when we get to the foot of a long
hill we are just coming to. You won't be afraid, will you?"

"N-o; not if Uncle Geoff will keep his eye on the reins and stand ready
to seize them if the horses begin to run. Rose just expresses my
feelings," she continued; "but this is as beautiful as it is big. What
is the name of that enchanting mountain over there,--Cheyenne? Why,
yes,--that is the one that you used to write about in your letters when
you first came out, I remember. It never made much impression on
me,--mountains never seem high in letters, somehow, but now I don't
wonder. It's the loveliest thing I ever saw."

Clover was much pleased at Rose's appreciation of her favorite mountain,
and also with the intelligent way in which she noted everything they
passed. Her eyes were as quick as her tongue; chattering all the time,
she yet missed nothing of interest. The poppy-strewn plain, the green
levels of the mesa delighted her; so did the wide stretches of blue
distance, and she screamed with joy at the orange and red pinnacles in
Odin's Garden.

"It is a land of wonders," she declared. "When I think how all my life I
have been content to amble across the Common, and down Winter Street to
Hovey's, and now and then by way of adventure take the car to the Back
Bay, and that I felt all the while as if I were getting the cream and
pick of everything, I am astonished at my own stupidity. Rose, are you
not glad I did not let you catch whooping cough from Margaret Lyon? you
were bent on doing it, you remember. If I had given you your way we
should not be here now."

Rose only smiled in reply. She was used to her little mother's vagaries
and treated them in general with an indulgent inattention.

The sun was quite gone from the ravines, but still lingered on the
snow-powdered peaks above, when the carriage climbed the last steep
zigzag and drew up before the "Hut," whose upper windows glinted with
the waning light. Rose looked about her and drew a long breath of
surprise and pleasure.

"It isn't a bit like what I thought it would be," she said; "but it's
heaps and heaps more beautiful. I simply put it at the head of all the
places I ever saw." Then Elsie came running on to the porch, and Rose
jumped out into her arms.

          "I thank the goodness and the grace
             That on my birth has smiled,
           And brought me to this blessed place
             A happy Boston child!"

she cried, hugging Elsie rapturously. "You dear thing! how well you
look! and how perfect it all is up here! And this is Mr. Page, whom I
have known all about ever since the Hillsover days! and this is dear
little Geoff! Clover, his eyes are exactly like yours! And where is
_your_ baby, Elsie?"

"Little wretch! she _would_ go to sleep. I told her you were coming, and
I did all I could, short of pinching, to keep her awake,--sang, and
repeated verses, and danced her up and down, but it was all of no use.
She would put her knuckles in her eyes, and whimper and fret, and at
last I had to give in. Babies are perfectly unmanageable when they are

"Most of us are. It's just as well. I can't half take it in as it is. It
is much better to keep something for to-morrow. The drive was perfect,
and the Valley is twice as beautiful as I expected it to be. And now I
want to go into the house."

Elsie had devoted her day to setting forth the Hut to advantage. She and
Roxy had been to the very top of the East Canyon for flowers, and
returned loaded with spoil. Bunches of coreopsis and vermilion-tipped
painter's-brush adorned the chimney-piece; tall spikes of yucca rose
from an Indian jar in one corner of the room, and a splendid sheaf of
yellow columbines from another; fresh kinnikinick was looped and
wreathed about the pictures; and on the dining-table stood, most
beautiful and fragile of all, a bowlful of Mariposa lilies, their
delicate, lilac-streaked bells poised on stems so slender that the
fairy shapes seemed to float in air, supported at their own sweet will.
There were roses, too, and fragrant little knots of heliotrope and
mignonette. With these Rose was familiar; the wild flowers were all new
to her.

She ran from vase to vase in a rapture. They could scarcely get her
upstairs to take off her things. Such a bright evening followed! Clover
declared that she had not laughed so much in all the seven years since
they parted. Rose seemed to fit at once and perfectly into the life of
the place, while at the same time she brought the breath of her own more
varied and different life to freshen and widen it. They all agreed that
they had never had a visitor who gave so much and enjoyed so much. She
and Geoffrey made friends at once, greatly to Clover's delight, and
Clarence took to her in a manner astonishing to his wife, for he was apt
to eschew strangers, and escape them when he could.

They all woke in the morning to a sense of holiday.

"Boys," said Elsie at breakfast, "this isn't at all a common, every-day
day, and I don't want to do every-day things in it. I want something new
and unusual to happen. Can't you abjure those wretched beasts of yours
for once, and come with us to that sweet little canyon at the far end of
the Ute, where we went the summer after I was married? We want to show
it to Rose, and the weather is simply perfect."

"Yes, if you'll give us half an hour or so to ride up and speak to

"All right. It will take at least as long as that to get ready."

So Choo Loo hastily broiled chickens and filled bottles with coffee and
cream; and by half-past nine they were off, children and all, some on
horseback, and some in the carryall with the baskets, to Elsie's "sweet
little canyon," over which Pike's Peak rose in lonely majesty like a
sentinel at an outpost, and where flowers grew so thickly that, as Rose
wrote her husband, "it was harder to find the in-betweens than the
blossoms." They came back, tired, hungry, and happy, just at nightfall;
so it was not till the second day that Rose met the Youngs, about whom
her curiosity was considerably excited. It seemed so odd, she said, to
have "only neighbors," and it made them of so much consequence.

They had been asked to dinner to meet Rose, which was a very formal and
festive invitation for the High Valley, though the dinner must perforce
be much as usual, and the party was inevitably the same. Imogen felt
that it was an occasion, and wishing to do credit to it, she unpacked a
gown which had not seen the light before since her arrival, and which
had done duty as a dinner dress for two or three years at Bideford. It
was of light blue mousselaine-de-laine, made with a "half-high top" and
elbow sleeves, and trimmed with cheap lace. A necklace of round coral
beads adorned her throat, and a comb of the same material her hair,
which was done up in a series of wonderful loops filleted with narrow
blue ribbons. She carried a pink fan. Lionel, who liked bright colors,
was charmed at the effect; and altogether she set out in good spirits
for the walk down the Pass, though she was prepared to be afraid of
Rose, of whose brilliancy she had heard a little too much to make the
idea of meeting her quite comfortable.

The party had just gathered in the sitting-room as they entered. Clover
and Elsie were in pretty cotton dresses, as usual, and Rose, following
their lead, had put on what at home she would have considered a morning
gown, of linen lawn, white, with tiny bunches of forget-me-nots
scattered over it, and a jabot of lace and blue ribbon. These toilettes
seemed unduly simple to Imogen, who said within herself, complacently,
"There is one thing the Americans don't seem to understand, and that is
the difference between common dressing and a regular dinner
dress,"--preening herself the while in the sky-blue mousselaine-de-laine,
and quite unconscious that Rose was inwardly remarking, "My! where _did_
she get that gown? I never saw anything like it. It must have been made
for Mrs. Noah, some years before the ark. And her hair! just the ark
style, too, and calculated to frighten the animals into good behavior
and obedience during the bad weather. Well, I put it at the head of all
the extraordinary things I ever saw."

It is just as well, on the whole, that people are not able to read each
other's thoughts in society.

"You've only just come to America, I hear," said Rose, taking a chair
near Imogen. "Do you begin to feel at home yet?"

"Oh, pretty well for that. I don't fancy that one ever gets to be quite
at home anywhere out of their own country. It's very different over here
from England, of course."

"Yes, but some parts of America are more different than some other
parts. You haven't seen much of us as yet."

"No, but all the parts I have seen seemed very much alike."

"The High Valley and New York, for example."

"Oh, I wasn't thinking of New York. I mean the plains and mountains and
the Western towns. We didn't stop at any of them, of course; but seen
from the railway they all look pretty much the same,--wooden houses, you
know, and all that."

"What astonished us most was the distance," said Rose. "Of course we all
learned from our maps, when we were at school, just how far it is across
the continent; but I never realized it in the least till I saw it. It
seemed so wonderful to go on day after day and never get to the end!"

"Only about half-way to the end," put in Clover. "That question of
distance is a great surprise; and if it perplexes you, Rose, it isn't
wonderful that it should perplex foreigners. Do you recollect that
Englishman, Geoff, whom we met at the _table d'hôte_ at Llanberis, when
we were in Wales, and who accounted for the Charleston earthquake by
saying that he supposed it had something to do with those hot springs
close by."

"What hot springs _did_ he mean?"

"I am sure you would never guess unless I told you. The hot springs in
the Yellowstone Park, to be sure,--simply those, and nothing more! And
when I explained that Charleston and the Yellowstone were about as
distant from each other as Siberia and the place we were in, he only
stared and remarked, 'Oh, I think you must be mistaken.'"

"And are they so far apart, then?" asked Imogen, innocently.

"Oh, Moggy, Moggy! what were your geography teachers thinking about?"
cried her brother. "It seems sometimes as if America were entirely left
out of the maps used in English schools."

"Lionel," said his sister, "how can you say such things? It isn't so at
all; but of course we learned more about the important countries."
Imogen spoke quite artlessly; she had no intention of being rude.

"Great Scott!" muttered Clarence under his breath, while Rose flashed a
look at Clover.

"Of course," she said, sweetly, "Burmah and Afghanistan and New Zealand
and the Congo States _would_ naturally interest you more,--large heathen
populations to Christianize and exterminate. There is nothing like fire
and sword to establish a bond."

"Oh, I didn't mean that. Of course America is much larger than those

"'Plenty of us such as we are'" quoted the wicked Rose.

"And pretty good what there is of us," added Clover, glad of the
appearance of dinner just then to create a diversion.

"That's quite a dreadful little person," remarked Rose, as they stood at
the doorway two hours later, watching the guests walk up the trail under
the light of a glorious full moon. "Her mind is just one inch across.
You keep falling off the edge and hurting yourself. It's sad that she
should be your only neighbor. I don't seem to like her a bit, and I
predict that you will yet have some dreadful sort of a row with her,

"Indeed we shall not; nothing of the kind. She's really a good little
thing at bottom; this angularity and stiffness that you object to is
chiefly manner. Wait till she has been here long enough to learn the
ways and wake up, and you will like her."

"I'll wait," said Rose, dryly. "How much time should you say would be
necessary, Clover? A hundred years? I should think it would take at
least as long as that."

"Lionel's a dear fellow. We are all very fond of him."

"I can understand your being fond of _him_ easily enough. Imogen! what a
name for just that kind of girl. 'Image' it ought to be. What a figure
of fun she was in that awful blue gown!"

The two weeks of Rose's visit sped only too rapidly. There was so much
that they wanted to show her, and there were so many people whom they
wanted her to see, and so many people who, as soon as they saw her,
became urgent that she should do this and that with them, that life soon
became a tangle of impossibilities. Rose was one of those charmers that
cannot be hid. She had been a belle all her days, and she would be so
till she died of old age, as Elsie told her. Her friends of the High
Valley gloried in her success; but all the time they had a private
longing to keep her more to themselves, as one retires with two or three
to enjoy a choice dainty of which there is not enough to go round in a
larger company. They took her to the Cheyenne Canyons and the top of
Pike's Peak; they carried her over the Marshall Pass and to many smaller
places less known to fame, but no less charming in their way.
Invitations poured in from St. Helen's, to lunch, to dinner, to
afternoon teas; but of these Rose would none. She could lunch and dine
in Boston, she declared, but she might never come to Colorado again, and
what she thirsted for was canyons, and not less than one a day would
content her insatiable appetite for them.

But though she would not go to St. Helen's, St. Helen's in a measure
came to her. Marian Chase and Alice made their promised visit; Dr. and
Mrs. Hope came out more than once, and Phil continually; while smart
Bostonians whom Clover had never heard of turned up at Canyon Creek and
the Ute Valley and drove over to call, having heard that Mrs. Deniston
Browne was staying there. The High Valley became used to the roll of
wheels and the tramp of horses' feet, and for the moment seemed a
sociable, accessible sort of place to which it was a matter of course
that people should repair. It was oddly different from the customary
order of things, but the change was enlivening, and everybody enjoyed it
with one exception.

This exception was Imogen Young. She was urged to join some of the
excursions made by her friends below, but on one excuse or another she
refused. She felt shy and left out where all the rest were so
well-acquainted and so thoroughly at ease, and preferred to remain at
home; but all the same, to have the others so gay and busy gave her a
sense of loneliness and separation which was painful to bear. Clover
tried more than once to persuade her out of her solitary mood; but she
was too much occupied herself and too absorbed to take much time for
coaxing a reluctant guest, and the others dispensed with her company
quite easily; in fact, they were too busy to notice her absence much or
ask questions. So the fortnight, which passed so quickly and brilliantly
at the Hut, and was always afterward alluded to as "that delightful time
when Rose was here," was anything but delightful at the "Hutlet," where
poor Imogen sat homesick and forlorn, feeling left alone on one side of
all the pleasant things, scarcely realizing that it was her own choice
and doing, and wishing herself back in Devonshire.

"Lion seems quite taken up with these new people and _that_ Mrs.
Browne," she reflected. "He's always going off with them to one place or
another. I might as well be back in Bideford for all the use I am to
him." This was unjust, for Lionel was anxious and worried over his
sister's depressed looks and indisposition to share in the pleasures
that were going on; but Imogen just then saw things through a gloomy
medium, and not quite as they were. She felt dull and heavy-hearted, and
did not seem able to rouse herself from her lassitude and weariness.

Out of the whole party no one was so perfectly pleased with her
surroundings as the smaller Rose. Everything seemed to suit the little
maid exactly. She made a delightful playfellow for the babies, telling
them fairy stories by the dozen, and teaching them new games, and
washing and dressing Phillida with all the gravity and decorum of an old
nurse. They followed her about like two little dogs, and never left her
side for a moment if they could possibly help it. All was fish that came
to her happy little net, whether it was playing with little Geoff, going
on excursions with the elders, scrambling up the steep side-canyons
under Phil's escort in search of flowers and curiosities, or riding
sober old Marigold to the Upper Valley as she was sometimes allowed to
do. The only cloud in her perfect satisfaction was that she must some
day go away.

"It won't be very pleasant when I get back to Boston, and don't have
anything to do but just walk down Pinckney Street with Mary Anne to
school, and slide a little bit on the Common when the snow comes and
there aren't any big boys about, will it, mamma?" she said,
disconsolately. "I sha'n't feel as if that were a great deal, I think."

"I am afraid the High Valley is a poor preparation for West Cedar
Street," laughed Rose. "It _will_ seem a limited career to both of us at
first. But cheer up, Poppet; I'm going to put you into a dancing-class
this winter, and very likely at Christmas-time papa will treat us both
to a Moral Drayma. There _are_ consolations, even in Boston."

"That 'even in Boston' is the greatest compliment the High Valley ever
received," said Clover, who happened to be within hearing. "Such a
moment will never come to it again."

And now the last day came, as last days will. Mr. Browne returned from
Mexico, with forty-eight hours to spare for enjoyment, which interval
they employed in showing him the two things that Rose loved
most,--namely, the High Valley from top to bottom, and the North
Cheyenne Canyon. The last luncheon was taken at Mrs. Hope's, who had
collected a few choice spirits in honor of the occasion, and then they
all took the Roses to the train, and sent them off loaded with fruit and

"Miss Young was extraordinarily queer and dismal last night," said Rose
to Clover as they stood a little aside from the rest on the platform. "I
can't quite see what ails her. She looks thinner than when we came, and
doesn't seem to know how to smile; depend upon it she's going to be ill,
or something. I wish you had a pleasanter neighbor,--especially as she's
likely to be the only one for some time to come."

"Poor thing. I've neglected her of late," replied Clover, penitently. "I
must make up for it now that you are going away. Really, I couldn't
take my time for her while you were here, Rosy."

"And I certainly couldn't let you. I should have resented it highly if
you had. Oh dear,--there's that whistle. We really have got to go. I
hoped to the last that something might happen to keep us another day. Oh
dear Clover,--I wish we lived nearer each other. This country of ours is
a great deal too wide."

"Geoff," said Clover, as they slowly climbed the hill, "I never felt
before that the High Valley was too far away from people, but somehow I
do to-night. It is quite terrible to have Rose go, and to feel that I
may not see her again for years."

"Did you want to go with her?"

"And leave you? No, dearest. But I am quite sure that there are no
distances in Heaven, and when we get there we shall find that we all are
to live next door to each other. It will be part of the happiness."

"Perhaps so. Meanwhile I am thankful that my happiness lives close to me
now. I don't have to wait till Heaven for that, which is the reason
perhaps that for some years past Earth has seemed so very satisfactory
to me."

"Geoff, what an uncommonly nice way you have of putting things," said
Clover, nestling her head comfortably on his arm. "On the whole I don't
think the High Valley is so _very_ far away."



"HAVE you seen Imogen Young to-day?" was Clover's first question on
getting home.

"No. Lionel was in for a moment at noon, and said she was preserving
raspberries; so, as I had a good deal to do, I did not go up. Why?"

"Oh, nothing in particular. I only wanted to know. Well, here we are,
left to ourselves with not a Rose to our name. How we _shall_ miss them!
There's a letter from Johnnie for you by way of consolation."

But the letter did not prove in the least consoling, for it was to break
to them a piece of disappointing news.

"The Daytons have given up their Western trip," wrote Johnnie. "Mrs.
Dayton's father is very ill at Elberon; she has gone to him, and there
is almost no chance of their getting away at all this summer. It really
is a dreadful disappointment, for we had set our hearts on our visit,
and papa had made all his arrangements to be absent for six
weeks,--which you know is a thing not easily done, or undone. Then Debby
and Richard had been promised a holiday, and Dorry was going in a yacht
with some friends to the Thousand Islands. It all seemed so nicely
settled, and here comes this blow to unsettle it. Well, _Dieu
dispose_,--there is nothing for it but resignation, and unpacking our
hopes and ideas and putting them back again in their usual shelves and
corners. We must make what we can of the situation, and of course, it
isn't anything so very hard to have to pass the summer in Burnet with
papa; still I was that wild with disappointment at the first, that I
actually went the length of suggesting that we should go all the same,
_and pay our own travelling expenses_! You can judge from this how
desperate my state of mind must have been! Papa, as you may naturally
suppose, promptly vetoed the proposal as impossible, and no doubt he was
right. I am growing gradually resigned to Fate now, but all the same I
cannot yet think of the blessed Valley and all of you, and--and the
happy time we are _not_ going to have, without feeling quite like
'weeping a little weep.' How I wish that we possessed a superfluous

"Now," said Elsie, and her voice too sounded as if a "little weep" were
not far off, "isn't that too bad? No papa this year, and no Johnnie. I
suppose we are spoiled, but the fact is, I have grown to count on the
Daytons and their car as confidently as though they were the early and
the latter rain." Her arch little face looked quite long and

"So have I," said Clover. "It doesn't bear talking about, does it?"

She had been conscious of late of a great longing after her father. She
had counted confidently on his visit, and the sense of disappointment
was bitter. She put away her bonnet and folded her gloves with a very
sober face. A sort of disenchantment seemed to have fallen on the Valley
since the coming of this bad news and the departure of Rose.

"This will never do," she told herself at last, after standing some
moments at the window looking across at the peak through a blur of
tears,--"I _must_ brace up and comfort Elsie." But Elsie was not to be
comforted all at once, and the wheels of that evening drave rather

Next morning, as soon as her usual tasks were despatched, Clover ordered
Marigold saddled and started for the Youngs'. Rose's last remarks had
made her uneasy about Imogen, and she remembered with compunction how
little she had seen of her for a fortnight past.

No one but Sholto, Lionel's great deerhound, came out to meet her as she
dismounted at the door. His bark of welcome brought Ah Lee from the back
of the house.

"Missee not velly well, me thinkee," he observed.

"Is Missy ill? Where is Mr. Young, then?"

"He go two hours ago to Uppey Valley. Missee not sick then."

"Is she in her room?" asked Clover. "Tie Marigold in the shade, please,
and I will go in and see her."

"All litee."

The bed-room door was closed, and Clover tapped twice before she heard a
languid "Come in." Imogen was lying on the bed in her morning-dress,
with flushed cheeks and tumbled hair. She looked at Clover with a sort
of perplexed surprise.

"My poor child, what is the matter? Have you a bad headache?"

"Yes, I think so, rather bad. I kept up till Lion had had his breakfast,
and then everything seemed to go round, and I had to come and lie down.
So stupid of me!" impatiently; "but I thought perhaps it would pass off
after a little."

"And has it?" asked Clover, pulling off her gloves and taking Imogen's
hand. It was chilly rather than hot, but the pulse seemed weak and
quick. Clover began to feel anxious, but did her best to hide it under a
cheerful demeanor lest she should startle Imogen.

"Were you quite well yesterday?" she asked.

"Yes,--that is, I wasn't ill. I had no headache then, but I think I
haven't been quite right for some time back, and I tried to do some
raspberries and felt very tired. I dare say it's only getting
acclimated. I'm really very strong. Nothing ever was the matter with me
at home."

"Now," said Clover, brightly, "I'll tell you what you are going to do;
and that is to put on your wrapper, make yourself comfortable, and take
a long sleep. I have come to spend the day, and I will give Lion his
luncheon and see to everything if only you will lie still. A good rest
would make you feel better, I am sure."

"Perhaps so," said Imogen, doubtfully. She was too miserable to object,
and with a docility foreign to her character submitted to be undressed,
to have her hair brushed and knotted up, and a bandage of cold water and
eau de cologne laid on her forehead. This passive compliance was so
unlike her that Clover felt her anxieties increase. "Matters must be
serious," she reflected, "when Imogen Young agrees meekly to any
proposal from anybody."

She settled her comfortably, shook up the pillows, darkened the window,
threw a light shawl over her, and sat beside the bed fanning gently till
Imogen fell into a troubled sleep. Then she stole softly away and busied
herself in washing the breakfast things and putting the rooms to rights.
The young mistress of the house had evidently felt unequal to her usual
tasks, and everything was left standing just as it was.

Clover was recalled by a cry from the bedroom, and hurried back to find
Imogen sitting up, looking confused and startled.

"What is it? Is anything the matter?" she demanded. Then, before Clover
could reply, she came to herself and understood.

"Oh, it is you," she said. "What a comfort! I thought you were gone

"No, indeed, I have no idea of going away. I was just in the other room,
straightening things out a little. It was settled that I was to stay to
lunch and keep Lionel company, you remember."

"Ah, yes. It is very good of you, but I'm afraid there isn't much for
luncheon," sinking back on her pillows again. "Ah Lee will know. I don't
seem able to think clearly of anything." She sighed, and presently was
asleep again, or seemed to be so, and Clover went back to her work.

So it went all day,--broken slumbers, confused wakings, increasing
fever, and occasional moments of bewilderment. Clover was sure that it
was a serious illness, and sent Lionel down with a note to say that
either Geoff or Clarence must go in at once and bring out Dr. Hope, that
she herself was a fixture at the other house for the night at least, and
would like a number of things sent up, of which she inclosed a list.
This note threw the family into a wild dismay. Life in the High Valley
was only meant for well people, as Elsie had once admitted. Illness at
once made the disadvantages of so lonely and inaccessible a place
apparent,--with the doctor sixteen miles distant, and no medicines or
other appliances of a sick-room to be had short of St. Helen's.

Dr. Hope reached them late in the evening. He pronounced that Imogen had
an attack of "mountain fever," a milder sort of typhoid not uncommon in
the higher elevations of Colorado. He hoped it would be a light case,
gave full directions, and promised to send out medicines and to come
again in three days. Then he departed, and Clover, as she watched him
ride down the trail, felt as a shipwrecked mariner might, left alone on
a desert island,--astray and helpless, and quite at a loss as to what
first to do.

There were too many things to be done, however, to allow of her long
indulging this feeling, and presently her wits cleared and she was able
to confront the task before her with accustomed sense and steadiness.
Imogen could not be left alone, that was evident; and it was equally
evident that she herself was the person who must stay with her. Elsie
could not be spared from her baby, and Geoffrey, beside being more
especially interested in the Youngs, would be far more amenable and less
refractory than Clarence at a curtailment of his domestic privileges.
So, pluckily and reasonably, she "buckled to" the work so plainly set
for her, established herself and her belongings in the spare chamber,
gathered the reins of the household and the sick-room into her hands,
and began upon what she knew might prove to be a long, hard bout of
patience and vigilance, resolved to do her best each day as it came and
let the next day take care of itself, minding nothing, no fatigue or
homesickness or difficulty, if only Imogen could be properly cared for
and get well.

After the first day or two matters fell into regular grooves. The attack
proved a light one, as the doctor had hoped. Imogen was never actually
in danger, but there was a good deal of weakness and depression,
occasional wandering of mind, and always the low, underlying fever, not
easily detected save by the clinical thermometer. In her semi-delirious
moments she would ramble about Bideford and the people there, or hold
Clover's hand tight, calling her "Isabel," and imploring her not to like
"Mrs. Geoff" better than she liked her. It was the first glimpse that
Clover had ever caught of this unhappy tinge of jealousy in Imogen's
mind; it grieved her, but it also explained some things that had been
perplexing, and she grew very pitiful and tender over the poor girl,
away from home among strangers, and so ill and desolate.

The most curious thing about it all was the extraordinary preference
which the patient showed for Clover above all her other nurses. If
Euphane came to sit beside her, or Elsie, or even Lionel, while Clover
took a rest, Imogen was manifestly uneasy and unhappy. She never _said_
that she missed Clover, but lay watching the door with a strained,
expectant look, which melted into relief as soon as Clover appeared.
Then she would feebly move her fingers to lay hold of Clover's hand,
and holding it fast, would fall asleep satisfied and content. It seemed
as if the sense of comfort which Clover's appearance that first morning
had given continued when she was not quite herself, and influenced her.

"It's queer how much better she likes you than any of the rest of us,"
Lionel said one day. Clover felt oddly pleased at this remark. It was a
new experience to be preferred by Imogen Young, and she could not but be

"Though very likely," she told herself, "she will stiffen up again when
she gets well; so I must be prepared for it, and not mind when it

Meanwhile Imogen could not have been better cared for anywhere than she
was in the High Valley. Clover had a natural aptitude for nursing. She
knew by instinct what a sick person would like and dislike, what would
refresh and what weary, what must be remembered and what avoided. Her
inventive faculties also came into full play under the pressure of the
little daily emergencies, when exactly the thing wanted was sure not to
be at hand. It was quite wonderful how she devised substitutes for all
sorts of deficiencies. Elsie, amazed at her cleverness, declared herself
sure that if Dr. Hope were to say that a roc's egg was needful for
Imogen's recovery, Clover would reply, as a matter of course,
"Certainly,--I will send it up directly," and thereupon proceed to
concoct one out of materials already in the house, which would answer as
well as the original article and do Imogen just as much good. She cooked
the nicest little sick-room messes, giving them variety by cunningly
devised flavors, and she originated cooling drinks out of sago and
arrowroot and tamarinds and fruit juices and ice, which Imogen would
take when she refused everything else. Her lightness of touch and
bright, equable calmness were unfailing. Dr. Hope said she would make
the fortune of any ordinary hospital, and that she was so evidently cut
out for a nurse that it seemed a clear subversion of the plans of
Providence that she should ever have married,--a speech for which the
doctor got little thanks from anybody, for Clover declared that she
hated hospitals and sick folks, and never wanted to nurse anybody but
the people she loved best, and then only when she couldn't help herself;
while Geoffrey treated the facetious physician to the blackest of
frowns, and privately confided to Elsie that the doctor, good fellow
that he was, deserved a kicking, and he shouldn't mind being the one to
administer it.

By the end of a fortnight the fever was conquered, and then began the
slow process of building up exhausted strength, and fanning the dim
spark of life once again into a generous flame. This is apt to be the
most trying part of an illness to those who nurse; the excitement of
anxiety and danger being past, the space between convalescence and
complete recovery seems very wide, and hard to bridge over. Clover found
it so. Imogen's strength came back slowly; all her old vigor and
decision seemed lost; she was listless and despondent, and needed to be
coaxed and encouraged and cheered as much as does an ailing child.

She did not "stiffen," however, as Clover had feared she might do; on
the contrary, her dependence upon her favorite nurse seemed to increase,
and on the days when she was most languid and hopeless she clung most to
her. There was a wistful look in her eyes as they followed Clover in her
comings and goings, and a new, tender tone in her voice when she spoke
to her; but she said little, and after she was able to sit up just lay
back in her chair and gazed at the mountains in a dreamy fashion for
hours together.

"This will never do," Lionel declared. "We must hearten her up somehow,"
which he proceeded to do, after the blundering fashion of the ordinary
man, by a series of thrilling anecdotes about cattle and their vagaries,
refractory cows who turned upon their herders and "horned" them, and
wild steers who chased mounted men, overtook and gored them; how Felipe
was stampeded and Pepe just escaped with his life. The result of this
"heartening," process was that Imogen, in her weak state, conceived a
horror of ranch work, and passed the hours of his absence in a subdued
agony of apprehension concerning him. He was very surprised and contrite
when scolded by Clover.

"What shall I talk to her about, then?" he demanded ruefully. "I can't
bear to see her sit so dull and silent. Poor Moggy! and cattle are the
only subjects of conversation that we have up here."

"Talk about yourself and herself and the funny things that happened when
you were little, and pet her all you can; but pray don't allude to
horned animals of any kind. She's so quiet only because she is weak.
Presently we shall see her brighten."

And so they did. With the first breath of autumn, full of cool sparkle
and exhilaration, Imogen began to rally. Color stole back to her lips,
vigor to her movements; each day she could do a little and a little
more. Her first coming out to dinner was treated as a grand event. She
was placed in a cushioned chair and served like a queen. Lionel was in
raptures at seeing her in her old place, at the head of the table,
"better than new," as he asserted; and certainly Imogen had never in her
life been so pretty. They had cut her long hair during the illness
because it was falling out so fast; the short rings round her face were
very becoming, the sunburn of the summer had worn off and her complexion
was delicately fair. Clover had dressed her in a loose jacket of
pale-pink flannel which Elsie had fitted and made for her; it was
trimmed with soft frills of lace, and knots of ribbon, and Geoff had
brought up a half-opened tea rose which exactly matched it.

"I shall carry you home with me when I go," she told Imogen as she
helped her undress. "You must come down and make us a good long visit. I
can't and won't have you left alone up here, to keep the house and sit
for hours every day imagining that Lionel is being gored by wild bulls."

"When you go?" repeated Imogen, in a dismayed tone; "but yes, of course
you must go--what was I thinking of?"

"Not while you need me," said Clover, soothingly. "But you are nearly
well now, and will soon be able to do everything for yourself."

"I am absolutely silly," said Imogen, with her eyes full of tears. "What
extraordinary things fevers are! I declare, I am as bad as any child. It
is absurd, but the mere idea of having to give you up makes me quite
cold and miserable."

"But you won't have to give me up; we are going to be neighbors still,
and see each other every day. And you won't be ill again, you know. You
are acclimated now, Dr. Hope says."

"Yes--I hope so; I am sure I hope so. And yet, do you know, I almost
think I would go through the fever all over again for the sake of having
you take care of me!"

"Why, my dear child, what a thing to say! It's the greatest compliment I
ever had in my life, but yet--"

"It's no compliment at all. I should never think of paying you
compliments. I couldn't."

"That is sad for me. Compliments are nice things, I think."

Imogen suddenly knelt down and put her arms on Clover's lap as she sat
by the window.

"I want to tell you something," she said in a broken voice. "I was so
unjust when I came over,--so rude and unkind in my thoughts. You will
hardly believe it, but I didn't like you!"

"I can believe it without any particular difficulty. Everybody can't
like me, you know."

"Everybody ought to. You are simply the best, dearest, truest person I
ever knew. Oh, I can't half say what you are, but I know! You have
heaped coals of fire on my head. Perhaps that's the reason my hair has
fallen off so," with a mirthless laugh. "I used to feel them burn and
burn, on those nights when I lay all scorching up with fever, and you
sat beside me so cool and sweet and patient. And there is more still. I
was jealous because I fancied that Isabel liked you better than she did
me. Did you ever suspect that?"

"Never till you were ill. Some little things that you muttered when you
were not quite yourself put the idea into my head."

"I can't think why I was so idiotic about it. Of course she liked you
best,--who wouldn't? How horrid it was in me to feel so! I used to try
hard not to, but it was of no use; I kept on all the same."

"But you're not jealous now, I hope?"

"No, indeed," shaking her head. "The feeling seems all burnt out of me.
If I am ever jealous again it will be just the other way, for fear you
will care for her and not at all for me."

"I do believe you are making me a declaration of attachment!" cried
Clover, amazed beyond expression at this outburst, but inexpressibly
pleased. The stiff, reserved Imogen seemed transformed. Her face glowed
with emotion, her words came in a torrent. She was altogether different
from her usual self.

"Attachment! If I were not attached to you I should be the most
ungrateful wretch going. Here you have stayed away from home all these
weeks, and worked like a servant making me all those lovely
lemon-squashes and things, and letting your own affairs go to wrack and
ruin, and you never seemed to remember that you _had_ any affairs, or
that there was such a thing as getting tired,--never seemed to remember
anything except to take care of me. You are an angel--there is nobody
like you. I don't believe any one else in the world would have done what
you did for a stranger who had no claim upon you."

"That is absurd," said Clover, frightened at the probable effect of all
this excitement on her patient, and trying to treat the matter lightly.
"You exaggerate things dreadfully. We all have a claim on each other,
especially here in the Valley where there are so few of us. If I had
been ill you would have turned to and helped to nurse me as I did you, I
am sure."

"I shouldn't have known how."

"You would have learned how just as I did. Emergencies are wonderful
teachers. Now, dear Imogen, you _must_ get to bed. If you excite
yourself like this you will have a bad night and be put back."

"Oh, I'll sleep. I promise you that I will sleep if only you will let me
say just one more thing. I won't go on any more about the things you
have done, though it's all true,--and I don't exaggerate in the least,
for all that you say I do; but never mind that, only please tell me that
you forgive me. I can't rest till you say that."

"For what,--for not liking me at first; for being jealous of Isabel?
Both were natural enough, I think. Isabel was your dearest friend; and I
was a new-comer, an interloper. I never meant to come between you, I am
sure; but I daresay that I seemed to do so, and I can understand it all
easily. There is no question of forgiving between us, dear, only of
forgetting. We are friends now, and we will both love Isabel; and I will
love you if you will let me, and you shall love me."

"How good you are!" exclaimed Imogen, as Clover bent over for a
good-night kiss. She put her arms round Clover's neck and held her tight
for a moment.

"Yes, indeed," she sighed. "I don't deserve it after my bad behavior,
but I shall be only too glad if I may be your friend. I don't believe
any other girl in the world has two so good as you and Isabel."

"Don't lie awake to think over our perfections," said Clover, as she
withdrew with the candle. "Go to sleep, and remember that you are coming
down to the Hut with me for a visit, whenever I go."

Dr. Hope, however, negatived this suggestion decidedly. He was an
autocrat with his sick people, and no one dared dispute his decisions.

"What your young woman needs is to get away from the Valley for a while
into lower air; and what you need is to have her go, and forget that you
have been nursing her," he told Clover. "There is a look of tension
about you both which is not the correct thing. She'll improve much
faster at St. Helen's than here, and besides, I want her under my eye
for a while. Mary shall send up an invitation to-morrow, and mind that
you make her accept it."

So the next day came the most cordial of notes from Mrs. Hope, asking
Imogen to spend a fortnight with her.

"Dr. Hope wishes to consider you his patient a little longer," she
wrote, "and says the lower level will do you good; and I want you as
much as he does for other reasons. St. Helen's is rather empty just now,
in this betwixt-and-between season, and a visitor will be a real
God-send to me. I am so afraid that you will be disobliging, and say
'No,' that I have made the doctor put it in the form of a prescription;
and please tell Clover that we count upon her to see that you begin to
take the remedy without delay."

And sure enough, on the doctor's prescription paper, with the regular
appeal to Jupiter which heads all prescriptions, a formula was enclosed
setting forth with due professional precision that Miss Imogen Young was
to be put in a carryall, "well shaken" on the way down, and taken in
fourteen daily doses in the town of St. Helen's. "Immediate."

"How very good of them!" said Imogen. "Everybody is so wonderfully good
to me! I think America must be the kindest country in the world!"

She made no difficulty about accepting the invitation, and resigned
herself to the will of her friends with a docility that was astonishing
to everybody except Clover, who was in the secret of her new-born
resolves. They packed her things at once, and Lionel drove her down to
St. Helen's the very day after the reception of Mrs. Hope's note. Imogen
parted from the sisters with a warm embrace, but she clung longest to

"You will let me come for a night or two when I return, before I settle
again at home, won't you?" she said. "I shall be half-starved to see
you, and a mile is a goodish bit to get over when you're not strong."

"Why, of course," said Clover, delighted. "We shall count on it, and
Lion has promised to stay with us all the time you are away."

"I do think that girl has experienced a change of heart," remarked
Elsie, as they turned to go in-doors. "She seems really fond of you, and
almost fond of me. It is no wonder, I am sure, so far as you are
concerned, after all you have done for her. I never supposed she could
look so pretty or come so near being agreeable as she does now.
Evidently mountain-fever is what the English emigrant of the higher
classes needs to thaw him out and attune him to American ways. It's a
pity they can't all be inoculated with it on landing.

"Now, Clovy,--my dear, sweet old Clovy,--what fun it is to have you at
home again!" she went on, giving her sister a rapturous embrace. "I
wouldn't mention it so long as you had to be away, but I have missed you
horribly. 'There's no luck about the house' when you are not in it. We
have all been out of sorts,--Geoff quite down in the mouth, little
Geoff not at all contented with me as a mother; even Euphane has worn a
long face and exhibited a tendency to revert to the Isle of Man, which
she never showed so long as you were to the fore. As for me, I have felt
like a person with one lung, or half a head,--all broken up, and unlike
myself. Oh, dear! how good it is to get you back, and be able to consult
you and look at you! Come upstairs at once, and unpack your things, and
we will play that you have never been away, and that the last month is
nothing but a disagreeable dream from which we have waked up."

"It _is_ delightful to get back," admitted Clover; "still the month has
had its nice side, too. Imogen is so sweet and grateful and
demonstrative that it would astonish you. She is like a different girl.
I really think she has grown to love me."

"I should say that nothing was more probable. But don't let's talk of
Imogen now. I want you all to myself."

The day had an ending as happy as unexpected. This was the letter that
Lionel Young brought back that evening from Johnnie at Burnet:--

          DEAREST SISTERS,--What do you think has happened?
          Something as enchanting as it is surprising! I
          wrote you about Dorry's having the grippe; but I
          would not tell you what a serious affair it was,
          because you were all so anxious and occupied about
          Miss Young that I did not like to add to your
          worries more than I could help. He was pretty ill
          for nearly a week; and though on the mend now, he
          is much weakened and run down, and papa, I can
          see, considers him still in a poor way. There is
          no chance of his being able to go back to the
          works for a couple of months yet, and we were
          casting about as to the best way of giving him a
          change of air, when, last night, came a note from
          Mr. Dayton to say that he has to take a business
          run to Salt Lake, with a couple of his directors,
          and there are two places in car 47 at our service
          if any of us still care to make the trip to
          Colorado, late as it is. We had to answer at once,
          and we took only ten minutes to make up our minds.
          Dorry and I are to start for Chicago to-morrow,
          and will be with you on Thursday if all goes
          well,--and for a good long visit, as the company
          have given Dorry a two months' vacation. We shall
          come back like common folks at our own charges,
          which is an unusual extravagance for the Carr
          family; but papa says sickness is a valid reason
          for spending money, while mere pleasure isn't. He
          thinks the journey will be the very thing for
          Dorry. It has all come so suddenly that I am quite
          bewildered in my mind. I don't at all like going
          away and leaving papa alone; but he is quite
          decided about it, and there is just the bare
          chance that Katy may run out for a week or two, so
          I am going to put my scruples in my pocket, and
          take the good the gods provide, prepared to be
          very happy. How perfectly charming it will be to
          see you all! Somehow I never pined for you and the
          valley so much as I have of late. It was really an
          awful blow when the August plan came to nothing,
          but Fate is making amends. Thursday! only think of
          it! You will just have time to put towels in our
          rooms and fill the pitchers before we are there. I
          speak for the west corner one in the guest cabin,
          which I had last year. Our dear love to you all.

                Your affectionate                  JOHNNIE.

          P.S. Please tell Mr. Young how happy we are that
          his sister is recovering.

"This is too delicious!" said Elsie, when she had finished reading this
letter. "Dorry, who never has been here, and John, and for October, when
we so rarely have anybody! I think it is a sort of 'reward of merit' for
you, Clover, for taking such good care of Imogen Young."

"It's a most delightful one if it is. I half wish now that we hadn't
asked Lion to stay while his sister is gone. He's a dear good fellow,
but it would be nicer to have the others quite to ourselves, don't you
think so?"

"Clover dear," said Elsie, looking very wise and significant, "did it
never occur to you that there might be a little something like a
sentiment or tenderness between John and Lionel? Are you sure that she
would be so thoroughly pleased if we sent him off and kept her to

"Certainly not. I never thought of such a thing."

"You never _do_ think of such things. I am much sharper about them than
you are, and I have observed a tendency on the part of Miss John to
send messages to that young man in her letters, and always in
postscripts. Mark that, _postscripts_! There is something very
suspicious in postscripts, and he invariably blushes immensely when I
deliver them."

"You are a great deal too sharp," responded Clover, laughing. "You see
through millstones that don't exist. It would be very nice if it were
so, but it isn't. I don't believe a word about your postscripts and
blushes; you've imagined it all."

"Some people are born stupid in these directions," retorted Elsie. "I'll
bet you Phillida's back-hair against the first tooth that Geoffy loses
that I am right."



LIONEL certainly did redden when Johnnie's message was delivered to him.
The quick-eyed Elsie noted it and darted a look at Clover, but Clover
only shook her head slightly in return. Each sister adhered to her own

They were very desirous that the High Valley should make a favorable
impression on Dorry, for it was his first visit to them. The others had
all been there except Katy, and she had seen Cheyenne and St. Helen's,
but to Dorry everything west of the Mississippi was absolutely new. He
was a very busy person in these days, and quite the success of the Carr
family in a moneyed point of view. The turn for mechanics which he
exhibited in boyhood had continued, and determined his career.
Electrical science had attracted his attention in its earlier,
half-developed stages; he had made a careful study of it, and qualified
himself for the important position which he held under the company,
which was fast revolutionizing the lighting and street-car system of
Burnet, now growing to be a large manufacturing centre. This was doing
well for a young fellow not quite twenty-five, and his family were very
proud of him. He was too valuable to his employers to be easily spared,
and except for the enforced leisure of the grippe it might probably have
been years before he felt free to make his sisters in Colorado a visit,
in which case nothing would have happened that did happen.

"Dear, steady old Sobersides!" said Elsie, as she spread a fresh cover
over the shelf which did duty for a bureau in the Bachelors' Room; "I
wonder what he will think of it all. I'm afraid he will be scandalized
at our scrambling ways, and our having no regular church, and consider
us a set of half-heathen Bohemians."

"I don't believe it. Dorry has too much good sense, and has seen too
much of the world among business men to be easily shocked. And our
little Sunday service is very nice, I think; Geoff reads so
reverently,--and for sermons, we have our pick of the best there are."

"I know, and I like them dearly myself; but I seem to feel that Dorry
will miss the pulpit and sitting in a regular pew. He's rather that sort
of person, don't you think?"

"You are too much inclined to laugh at Dorry," said Clover, reprovingly,
"and he doesn't deserve it of you. He's a thoroughly good, sensible
fellow, and has excellent abilities, papa says,--not brilliant, but very
sound. I don't like to have you speak so of him."

"Why, Clovy--my little Clovy, I almost believe you are scolding me! Let
me look at you,--yes, there's quite a frown on your forehead, and your
mouth has the firm look of grandpapa Carr's daguerreotype. I'll be
good,--really I will. Don't fire again,--I've 'come down' like the coon
in the anecdote. Dorry's a dear, and you are another, and I'm ever so
glad he's coming; but really, it's not in human nature not to laugh at
the one solemn person in a frivolous family like ours, now is it?"

"See that you behave yourself, then, and I'll not scold you any more,"
replied Clover, magisterially, and ignoring the last question. She
marred the effect of her lecture by kissing Elsie as she spoke; but it
was hard to resist the temptation, Elsie was so droll and coaxing, and
so very pretty.

They expected to find Dorry still something of an invalid, and made
preparations accordingly; but there was no sign of debility in his jump
from the carriage or his run up the steps to greet them. He was a little
thinner than usual, but otherwise seemed quite himself.

"It's the air," explained Johnnie, "this blessed Western air! He was
forlorn when we left Burnet, and _so_ tired when we got to Chicago; but
after that he improved with every mile, and when we reached Denver this
morning he seemed fresher than when we started. I do think Colorado air
the true elixir of life."

"It is quite true, what she says. I feel like a different man already,"
added Dorry. "Clover, you look a little pulled down yourself. Was it
nursing Miss What's-her-name?"

"I'm all right. Another day or two will quite rest me. I came home only
day before yesterday, you see. How delicious it is to have you both
here! Dorry dear, you must have some beef-tea directly,--Euphane has a
little basin of it ready,--and dinner will be in about an hour."

"Beef-tea! What for? I don't need anything of the sort, I assure you.
Roast mutton, which I seem to smell in the distance, is much more in my
line. I want to look about and see your house. What do you call that
snow-peak over there? This is a beautiful place of yours, I declare."

"Papa would open his eyes if he could see him," remarked Johnnie,
confidentially, when she got her sisters to herself a little later.
"It's like a miracle the way he has come up. He was so dragged and
miserable and so _very_ cross only three days ago. Now, you dear things,
let me look at you both. Are you quite well? How are the
brothers-in-law? Where are the babies, and what have you done with Miss

"The brothers-in-law are all right. They will be back presently. There
is a round-up to-day, which was the reason we sent Isadore in with the
carriage; no one else could be spared. The babies are having their
supper,--you will see them anon,--and Imogen has gone for a fortnight to
St. Helen's."

"Oh!" Johnnie turned aside and began to take down her hair. "Mr. Young
is with her, I suppose."

"No, indeed, he is here, and staying with us. You will see him at

"Oh!" said Johnnie again. There was a difference between these two
"ohs," which Elsie's quick ear detected.

"Please unlock that valise," went on Johnnie, "and take out the dress
on top. This I have on is too dreadfully dusty to be endured."

Joanna Carr had grown up very pretty; many people considered her the
handsomest of the four sisters. Taller than any of them except Katy, and
of quite a different build, large, vigorous, and finely formed, she had
a very white skin, hair of pale bronze-brown, and beautiful velvety dark
eyes with thick curling lashes. She had a turn for dress too, and all
colors suited her. The woollen gown of cream-yellow which she now put on
seemed exactly what was needed to throw up the tints of her hair and
complexion; but she would look equally well on the morrow in blue. With
quick accustomed fingers she whisked her pretty locks into a series of
artlessly artful loops, with little blowing rings about the forehead,
and stuck a bow in here and a pin there, talking all the time, and
finally caught little Phillida up in her strong young arms, and ran
downstairs just in time to greet the boys as they dismounted at the
door, and shake hands demurely with Lionel Young, who came with them.
All three had raced down from the very top of the Upper Valley at
breakneck speed, to be in time to welcome the travellers.

There is always one moment, big with fate, when processes begin to take
place; when the first fine needle of crystallization forms in the
transparent fluid; when the impulse of the jellying principle begins to
work on the fruit-juice, and the frost principle to inform the water
atoms. These fateful moments are not always perceptible to our dull
apprehensions, but none the less do they exist; and they are apt to take
us by surprise, because we have not detected the fine gradual chain of
preparation which has made ready for them.

I think one of these fateful moments occurred that evening, as Lionel
Young held Joanna Carr's hand, and his straight-forward English eyes
poured an ardent beam of welcome into hers. They had seen a good deal of
each other two years before, but neither was prepared to be quite so
glad to meet again. They did not pause to analyze or classify their
feelings,--people rarely do when they really feel; but from that night
their attitude toward each other was changed, and the change became more
apparent with every day that followed.

As these days went on, bright, golden days, cloudless, and full of the
zest and snap of the nearing cold, Dorry grew stronger and stronger. So
well did he feel that after the first week or so he began to allude to
himself as quite recovered, and to show an ominous desire to get back to
his work; but this suggestion was promptly scouted by everybody,
especially by John, who said she had come for six weeks at least, and
six weeks at least she should stay,--and as much longer as she could;
and that Dorry as her escort _must_ stay too, no matter how well he
might feel.

"Besides," she argued, "there's all your life before you in which to dig
away at dynamos and things, and you may never be in Colorado again. You
wouldn't have the heart to disappoint Clover and Elsie and hurry back,
when there's no real necessity. They are so pleased to have a visit from

"Oh, I'll stay! I'll certainly stay," said Dorry. "You shall have your
visit out, John; only, when a fellow feels as perfectly well as I do, it
seems ridiculous for him to be sitting round with his hands folded,
taking a mountain cure which he doesn't need."

Autumn is the busiest season for cattlemen everywhere, which made it the
more singular that Lionel Young should manage to find so much time for
sitting and riding with Johnnie, or taking her to walk up the steepest
and loneliest canyons. They were together in one way or another half the
day at least; and during the other half Johnnie's face wore always a
pre-occupied look, and was dreamily happy and silent. Even Clover began
to perceive that something unusual was in the air, something that seemed
a great deal too good to be true. She and Elsie held conferences in
private, during which they hugged each other, and whispered that "If!
whenever!--if ever!-- Papa would surely come out and live in the
Valley. He never could resist _three_ of his girls all at once." But
they resolved not to say one word to Johnnie, or even _look_ as if they
suspected anything, lest it should have a discouraging effect.

"It never does to poke your finger into a bird's nest," observed Elsie,
with a sapient shake of the head. "The eggs always addle if you do, or
the young birds refuse to hatch out; and of course in the case of
turtle-doves it would be all the more so. 'Lay low, Bre'r Fox,' and wait
for what happens. It all promises delightfully, only I don't see
exactly, supposing this ever comes to anything, how Imogen Young is to
be disposed of."

"We won't cross that bridge till we come to it," said Clover; but all
the same she did cross it in her thoughts many times. It is not in human
nature to keep off these mental bridges.

At the end of the fortnight Imogen returned in very good looks and
spirits; and further beautified by a pretty autumn dress of dark blue,
which Mrs. Hope had persuaded her to order, and over the making of
which she herself had personally presided. It fitted well, and set off
to admiration the delicate pink and white of Imogen's skin, while the
new warmth of affection which had come into her manner was equally

"Why didn't you say what a pretty girl Miss Young was?" demanded Dorry
the very first evening.

"I don't know, I'm sure. She looks better than she did before she was
ill, and she's very nice and all that, but we never thought of her being
exactly pretty."

"I can't think why; she is certainly much better-looking than that Miss
Chase who was here the other day. I should call her decidedly handsome;
and she seems easy to get on with too."

"Isn't it odd?" remarked Elsie, as she retailed this conversation to
Clover. "Imogen never seemed to me so very easy to get on with, and
Dorry never before seemed to find it particularly easy to get on with
any girl. I suppose they happen to suit, but it is very queer that they
should. People are always surprising you in that way."

What with John's recently developed tendency to disappear into canyons
with Lionel Young, with the boys necessarily so occupied, and their own
many little tasks and home duties, there had been moments during the
fortnight when Clover and Elsie had found Dorry rather heavy on their
hands. He was not much of a reader except in a professional way, and
still less of a horseman; so the two principal amusements of the Valley
counted for little with him, and they feared he would feel dull, or
fancy himself neglected. With the return of Imogen these apprehensions
were laid at rest. Dorry, if left alone, promptly took the trail in the
direction of the "Hutlet," returning hours afterward looking beaming and
contented, to casually mention by way of explanation that he had been
reading aloud to Miss Young, or that he and Miss Young had been taking a

"It's remarkably convenient," Elsie remarked one evening; "but it's just
as remarkably queer. What can they find to say to each other do you

If Dorry had not been Dorry, besides being her brother, she would
probably have arrived at a conclusion about the matter much sooner than
she did. Quick people are too apt to imagine that slow people have
nothing to say, or do not know how to say it when they have; while all
the time, for slow and quick alike, there is the old, old story for each
to tell in his own way, which makes the most halting lips momentarily
eloquent, and which both to speaker and listener seems forever new,
fresh, wonderful, and inexhaustibly interesting.

In a retired place like the High Valley intimacies flourish with
wonderful facility and quickness. A month in such a place counts for
more than half a year amid the confusions and interruptions of the city.
Dorry had been struck by Imogen that first evening. He had never got on
very well with girls, or known much about them; there was a delightful
novelty in his present sensations. There was not a word as to the need
of getting back to business after she dawned on his horizon. Quite the
contrary. Two weeks, three, four went by; the original limit set for the
visit was passed, the end of his holiday drew near, and still he stayed
on contentedly, and every day devoted himself more and more to Imogen

She, on her part, was puzzled and fluttered, but not unhappy. She was
quite alive to Dorry's merits; he was her first admirer, and it was a
new and agreeable feature of life to have one, "like other girls," as
she told herself. Lionel was too much absorbed in his own affairs to
notice or interfere; so the time went on, and the double entanglement
wound itself naturally and happily to its inevitable conclusion.

It was in the beautiful little ravine to the east, which Clover had
named "Penstamen Canyon," from the quantity of those flowers which grew
there, that Dorry made his final declaration. There were no penstamens
in the valley now, no yuccas or columbines, only a few belated autumn
crocuses and the scarlet berried mats of kinnikinick remained; but the
day was as golden-bright as though it were still September.

"We have known each other only four weeks," said Dorry, going straight
to the point in his usual direct fashion; "and if I were going to stay
on I should think I had no right, perhaps, to speak so soon,--for your
sake, mind, not for my own; I could not be surer about my feelings for
you if we had been acquainted for years. But I have to go away before
long, back to my home and my work, and I really cannot go without
speaking. I must know if there is any chance for me."

"I like you very much," said Imogen, demurely.

"Do you? Then perhaps one day you might get to like me better still. I'd
do all that a man could to make you happy if you would, and I think
you'd like Burnet to live in. It's a big place, you know, with all the
modern improvements,--not like this, which, pretty as it is, would be
rather lonely in the winters, I should think. There are lots of nice
people in Burnet, and there's Johnnie, whom you already know, and my
father,--you'd be sure to like my father."

"Oh, don't go on in this way, as if it were only for the advantages of
the change that I should consent. It would be for quite different
reasons, if I did." Then, after a short pause, she added, "I wonder what
they will say at Bideford."

It was an indirect yes, but Dorry understood that it _was_ yes.

"Then you'll think of it? You don't refuse me? Imogen, you make me very

Dorry did look happy; and as bliss is beautifying, he looked handsome as
well. His strong, well-knit figure showed to advantage in the rough
climbing-suit which he wore; his eyes sparkled and beamed as he looked
at Imogen.

"May I talk with Lionel about it?" he asked, persuasively. "He
represents your father over here, you know."

"Yes, I suppose so." She blushed a little, but looked frankly up at
Dorry. "Poor Lion! it's hard lines for him, and I feel guilty at the
idea of deserting him so soon; but I know your sisters will be good to
him, and I can't help being glad that you care for me. Only there's one
thing I must say to you, Theodore [no one since he was baptized had ever
called Dorry 'Theodore' till now!], for I don't want you to fancy me
nicer than I really am. I was horribly stiff and prejudiced when I first
came out. I thought everything American was inferior and mistaken, and
all the English ways were best; and I was nasty,--yes, really very nasty
to your sisters, especially dear Clover. I have learned her worth now,
and I love her and America, and I shall love it all the better for your
sake; but all the same, I shall probably disappoint you sometimes, and
be stiff and impracticable and provoking, and you will need to have
patience with me: it's the price you must pay if you marry an English
wife,--this particular English wife, at least."

"It's a price that I'll gladly pay," cried Dorry, holding her hand
tight. "Not that I believe a word you say; but you are the dearest,
truest, honestest girl in the world, and I love you all the better for
being so modest about yourself. For me, I'm just a plain, sober sort of
fellow. I never was bright like the others, and there's nothing in the
least 'subtle' or hard to understand about me; but I don't believe I
shall make the worse husband for that. It's only in French novels that
dark, inscrutable characters are good for daily use."

"Indeed, I don't want an inscrutable husband. I like you much better as
you are." Then, after a happy pause, "Isabel Templestowe--she's Geoff's
sister, you know, and my most intimate friend at home--predicted that I
should marry over here, but I never supposed I should. It didn't seem
likely that any one would want me, for I'm not pretty or interesting,
like your sisters, you know."

"Oh, I say!" cried Dorry, "haven't I been telling you that you interest
me more than any one in the world ever did before? I never saw a girl
whom I considered could hold a candle to you,--certainly not one of my
own sisters. You don't think your people at home will make any
objections, do you?"

"No, indeed; they'll be very pleased to have me settled, I should think.
There are a good many of us at home, you know."

Meanwhile, a little farther up the same canyon, but screened from
observation by a projecting shoulder of rock, another equally
satisfactory conversation was going on between another pair of lovers.
Johnnie and Lionel had strolled up there about an hour before Dorry and
Imogen arrived. They had no idea that any one else was in the ravine.

"I think I knew two years ago that I cared more for you than any one
else," Lionel was saying.

"Did you? Perhaps the faintest suspicion of such a thing occurred to me

"I used to keep thinking about you at odd minutes all day, when I was
working over the cattle and everything, and I always thought steadily
about you at night when I was falling asleep."

"Very strange, certainly."

"And the moment you came and I saw you again, it flashed upon me what it
meant; and I perceived that I had been desperately in love with you all
along without knowing it."

"Still stranger."

"Don't tease me, darling Johnnie,--no, Joan; I like that better than
Johnnie. It makes me think of Joan d'Arc. I shall call you that, may I?"

"How can I help it? You have a big will of your own, as I always knew.
Only don't connect me with the ark unless you spell it, and don't call
me Jonah."

"Never! He was the prophet of evil, and you are the good genius of my

"I'm not sure whether I am or not. It plunges you into all sorts of
embarrassments to think of marrying me. Neither of us has any money.
You'll have to work hard for years before you can afford a wife,--and
then there's your sister to be considered."

"I know. Poor Moggy! But she came out for my sake. She will probably be
only too glad to get home again whenever--other arrangements are
possible. Will you wait a while for me, my sweet?"

"I don't mind if I do."

"How long will you wait?"

"Shall we say ten years?"

"Ten years! By Jove, no! We'll say no such thing! But eighteen
months,--we'll fix it at eighteen months, or two years at farthest. I
can surely fetch it in two years."

"Very well, then; I'll wait two years with pleasure."

"I don't ask you to wait _with pleasure_! That's carrying it a little
too far!"

"I don't seem able to please you, whatever I say," remarked Johnnie,
pretending to pout.

"Please me, darling Joan! You please me down to the ground, and you
always did! But if you'll wait two years,--not with pleasure, but with
patience and resignation,--I'll buckle to with a will and earn my
happiness. Your father won't be averse, will he?"

"Poor papa! Yes, he _is_ very averse to having his girls marry, but he's
somewhat hardened to it. I'm the last of the four, you know, and I think
he would give his blessing to you rather than any one else, because you
would bring me out here to live near the others. Perhaps he will come
too. It is the dream of Clover's and Elsie's lives that he should."

"That would be quite perfect for us all."

"You say that to please me, I know, but you will say it with all your
heart if ever it happens, for my father is the sweetest man in the
world, and the wisest and most reasonable. You will love him dearly. He
has been father and mother and all to us children. And there's my sister
Katy,--you will love her too."

"I have seen her once, you remember."

"Yes; but you can't find Katy out at once,--there is too much of her.
Oh, I've ever so many nice relations to give you. There's Ned
Worthington; he's a dear,--and Cousin Helen. Did I ever tell you about
her? She's a terrible invalid, you know, almost always confined to her
bed or sofa, and yet she has been one of the great influences of our
lives,--a sort of guardian angel, always helping and brightening and
cheering us all, and starting us in right directions. Oh, you must know
her. I can't think how you ever will, for of course she can never come
to Colorado; but somehow it shall be managed. Now tell me about _your_
people. How many are there of you?"

"Eleven, and I scarcely remember my oldest brother, he went away from
home so long ago. Jim was my chum,--he's no end of a good fellow. He's
in New Zealand now. And Beatrice--that's the next girl to Imogen--is
awfully nice too, and there are one or two jolly ones among the smaller
kids. Oh, you'll like them all, especially my mother. We'll go over
some day and make them a visit."

"That will be nice; but we shall have to wait till we grow rich before
we can take such a long journey. Lion, do you think by-and-by we could
manage to build another house, or move your cabin farther down the
Valley? I want to live nearer Clover and Elsie. You'll have to be away a
good deal, of course, as the other boys are, and a mile is 'a goodish
bit,' as Imogen would say. It would make all the difference in the world
if I had the sisters close at hand to 'put my lips to when so

"Why, of course we will. Geoff built the Hutlet, you know; I didn't put
any money into it. I chose the position because--well, the view was
good, and I didn't know how Moggy would hit it off with the rest, you
understand. I thought she might do better a little farther away; but
with you it's quite different of course. I dare say the Hutlet could be
moved; I'll talk to Geoff about it."

"I don't care how simple it is, so long as it is near the others," went
on Johnnie. "It's easy enough to make a simple house pretty and nice. I
am so glad that your house is in this valley, Lion."

A little pause ensued.

"What was that?" asked Johnnie, suddenly.


"That sound? It seemed to come from down the canyon. Such a very odd
echo, if it was an echo!"

"What kind of a sound? I heard nothing."

"Voices, I should say, if it were not quite impossible that it could be
voices,--very low and hushed, as if a ghost were confabulating with
another ghost about a quarter of a mile away."

"Oh, that must be just a fancy," protested Lionel. "There isn't a living
soul within a mile of us."

[Illustration: "Voices, I should say, if it were not quite impossible
that it could be voices,--very low and hushed."--PAGE 260.]

And at the same moment Dorry, a couple of hundred feet distant, was
remarking to Imogen:--

"These canyons do have the most extraordinary echoes. There's the
strangest cooing and sibilating going on above."

"Wood pigeons, most probably; there are heaps of them hereabout."

Presently the pair from above, slowly climbing down the ravine
hand-in-hand, came upon the pair below, just rising from their seat to
go home. There was a mutual consternation in the four countenances
comical to behold.

"You here!" cried Imogen.

"And _you_ here!" retorted Lionel. "Why, we never suspected it. What
brought you up?--and Carr, too, I declare!"

"Why--oh--it's a pretty place," stammered Imogen. "Theodore--Mr. Carr, I
mean-- Now, Lionel, what _are_ you laughing at?"

"Nothing," said her brother, composing his features as best he could;
"only it's such a very odd coincidence, you know."

"Very odd indeed," remarked Dorry, gravely. The four looked at one
another solemnly and questioningly, and then--it was impossible to help
it--all four laughed.

"By Jove!" cried Lionel, between his paroxysms, "I do believe we have
all come up here on the same errand!"

"I dare say we have," remarked Dorry; "there were some extremely queer
echoes that came down to us from above."

"Not a bit queerer, I assure you, than some which floated up to us from
below," retorted Johnnie, recovering her powers of speech.

"We thought it was doves."

"And we were sure it was ghosts,--affectionate ghosts, you know, on
excellent terms with each other."

"Young, I want a word with you," said Dorry, drawing Lionel aside.

"And I want a word with you."

"And I want several words with you," cried Johnnie, brightly, putting
her arm through Imogen's. She looked searchingly at her.

"I'm going to be your sister," she said; "I've promised Lionel. Are you
going to be mine?"

"Yes,--I've promised Theodore--"

"Theodore!" cried Johnnie, with a world of admiration in her voice.
"Oh, you mean Dorry. We never call him that, you know."

"Yes, I know, but I prefer Theodore. Dorry seems a childish sort of name
for a grown man. Do you mean to say that you are coming out to the
Valley to live?"

"Yes, by-and-by, and you will come to Burnet; we shall just change
places. Isn't it nice and queer?"

"It is a sort of double-barrelled International Alliance," declared
Lionel. "Now let us go down and astonish the others."

The others _were_ astonished indeed. They were prepared for Johnnie's
confession, but had so little thought of Dorry's that for some time he
and Imogen stood by unheeded, waiting their turn at explanation.

"Why, Dorry," cried Elsie at last, "why are you standing on one side
like that with Miss Young? You don't look as surprised as you ought. Did
you hear the news before we did? Imogen dear,--it isn't such good news
for you as for us."

"Oh, yes, indeed it is. I am quite as happy in it as you can be."

"Ladies and gentlemen," cried Lionel, who was in topping spirits and
could not be restrained, "this shrinking pair also have a tale to tell.
It is a case of 'change partners all round and down the middle.' Let me
introduce to you Mr. and Mrs. Theo--"

"Lion, you wretched boy, stop!" interrupted Johnnie. "That's not at all
the right way to do it. Let _me_ introduce them. Friends and countrymen,
allow the echoes of the Upper East Canyon to present to your favorable
consideration the echoes of the Lower East Canyon. We've all been
sitting up there, 'unbeknownst,' within a few feet of each other, and
none of us could account for the mysterious noises that we heard, till
we all started to come home, and met each other on the way down."

"What kind of noises?" demanded Elsie, in a suffocated voice.

"Oh, cooings and gurglings and soft murmurs of conversation and
whisperings. It was very unaccountable indeed, very!"

"Dorry," said Elsie, next day when she chanced to be alone with him,
"Would you mind if I asked you rather an impertinent question? You
needn't answer if you don't want to; but what was it that first put it
into your head to fall in love with Imogen Young? I'm very glad that you
did, you understand. She will make you a capital wife, and I'm going to
be very fond of her,--but still, I should just like to know."

"I don't know that I could tell you if I tried," replied her brother.
"How can a man explain that sort of thing? I fell in love because I was
destined to fall in love, I suppose. I liked her at the start, and
thought her pretty, and all that; and she seemed kind of lonely and left
out among you all. And then she's a quiet sort of girl, you know, not so
ready at talk as most, or so quick to pick at a fellow or trip him up.
I've always been the slow one in our family, you see, and by way of a
change it's rather refreshing to be with a woman who isn't so much
brighter than I am. The rest of you jump at an idea and off it again
while I'm gathering my wits together to see that there _is_ an idea.
Imogen doesn't do that, and it rather suits me that she shouldn't.
You're all delightful, and I'm very fond of you, I'm sure; but for a
wife I think I like some one more like myself."

"Of all the droll explanations that I ever heard, that is quite the
drollest," said Elsie to her husband afterward. "The idea of a man's
falling in love with a woman because she's duller than his own sisters!
Nobody but Dorry would ever have thought of it."



THE next few days in the High Valley were too full of excitement and
discussions to be quite comfortable for anybody. Imogen was seized with
compunctions at leaving Lionel without a housekeeper, and proposed to
Dorry that their wedding should be deferred till the others were ready
to be married also,--a suggestion to which Dorry would not listen for a
moment. There were long business-talks between the ranch partners as to
hows and whens, letters to be written, and innumerable confabulations
between the three sisters, in which Imogen took part, for she counted as
a fourth sister now. Clover and Elsie listened and planned and advised,
and found their chief difficulty to consist in hiding and keeping in the
background their unfeigned and flattering joy over the whole
arrangement. It made matters so delightfully easy all round to have
Imogen engaged to Dorry, and it was so much to their own individual
advantage to exchange her for Johnnie that they really dared not express
their delight too openly.

The great question with all was how papa would take the announcement,
and whether he could be induced to carry out his half promise of leaving
Burnet and coming to live with them in the Valley. They waited anxiously
for his reply to the letters. It came by telegraph two days before they
had dared to hope for it, and was as follows:--

          God bless you all four! Genesis xliii. 14.
                                                  P. CARR.

This Biblical addition nearly broke John's heart. Her sisters had to
comfort her with all manner of hopeful auguries and promises.

"He'll be glad enough over it in time," they told her. "Think what it
would have been if you had been going to marry a Californian, or a man
with an orange plantation in Florida. He'll see that it's all for the
best as soon as he gets out here, and he _must_ come. Johnnie, you must
never let him off. Don't take 'no' for an answer. It is so important to
us all that he should consent."

They primed her with persuasive messages and arguments, and both Clover
and Elsie wrote him a long letter on the subject. On the very eve of the
departure came a second telegram. Telegrams were not every-day things in
the High Valley, the nearest "wire" being at the Ute Hotel five miles
away; and the arrival of the messenger on horseback created a momentary

This telegram was also from Dr. Carr. It was addressed to Johnnie,--

          Following just received: "Miss Inches died to-day
          of pneumonia." No particulars.
                                                   P. CARR.

It was a great shock to poor Johnnie. She and "Mamma Marian," as she
still called her god-mother, had been warm friends always; they
corresponded regularly; Johnnie had made her several long visits at
Inches Mills, and she had written to her among the first with the news
of her engagement.

"She never got it. She never will know about Lionel," she kept repeating
mournfully. "And now I can never tell her about any of my plans, and she
would have been so pleased and interested. She always cared so much for
what I cared about, and I hoped she would come out here for a long visit
some day, and see you all. Oh dear, oh dear! what a sad ending to our
happy time!"

"Not an ending, only an interruption," put in the comforting Clover. But
John for a time could not be consoled, and the party broke up under a
cloud, literal as well as metaphorical, for the first snow-storm was
drifting over the plain as they drove down the pass, the melting flakes
instantly drunk up by the sand; all the soft blue of distance had
vanished, and a gray mist wrapped the mountain tops. The High Valley was
in temporary eclipse, its brightness and sparkle put by for the moment.

But nothing could long eclipse the sunshine of such youthful hearts and
hopes. Before long John's letters grew cheerful again, and presently she
wrote to announce a wonderful piece of news.

"Something very strange has happened," she began. "I am an heiress! It
is just like the girls in books! Yesterday came a letter from a firm of
lawyers in Boston with a long document enclosed. It was an extract from
Mamma Marian's will; and only think,--she has left me a legacy of thirty
thousand dollars! Dear thing! and she never knew about my engagement
either, or how wonderfully it was going to help in our plans. She just
did it because she loved me. 'To Joanna Inches Carr, my namesake and
child by affection,' the will says; and I think it pleases me as much as
having the money. That frightens me a little, it seems so much. At first
I did not like to take it, and felt as if I might be robbing some one
else; but papa says that she had no very near relations, and that I need
not hesitate. Oh, my darling Clover, is it not wonderful? Now Lion and
I need not wait two years, unless _he_ prefers it, and can just go on
and make our plans happily to suit ourselves and all of you,--and I
shall love to think that we owe it all to dear Mamma Marian; only it
will be a sore spot always that she never got the letter telling of our
engagement. It came just after she died, and they returned it to me.

"Ned has his orders at last. He goes to sea in April, and Katy writes to
papa that she will come and spend a year with him if he likes, while Ned
is away. But papa won't be here. He has quite decided, I think, to leave
Burnet and make his home for the future with us in the High Valley.
Three different physicians have already offered to buy out his practice,
and it is arranged that Dorry shall rent the old house of him, and the
furniture too, except the books and a few special things which papa
wishes to keep. He is going to write to you about the building of what
he is pleased to call 'a separate shanty;' but please don't let the
shanty be really separate; he must be in with all of us somehow, or we
shall never be satisfied. Did Lionel decide to move the Hutlet? Of
course Katy will spend her year in the Valley instead of Burnet. I am
beginning to get my little trousseau together, and have set up a
'wedding bureau' to put the things in; but it is no fun at all without
any sisters at home to help and sympathize. I am the only one who has
had to get ready to be married all by herself. If Katy were not coming
in two months I should be quite desperate. The chief thing on my mind is
how to arrange about the two weddings with the family so scattered as it

This difficulty was settled by Clover a little later. Both the weddings
she proposed should take place in the Valley.

"It is a case of Mahomet and mountain," she wrote. "Look at it
dispassionately. You and papa and Katy and Dorry have got to come out
here any way,--the rest of us _are_ here; and it is clearly impossible
that all of us should go on to Burnet to see you married,--though if
you persist some of us will, inconvenient and expensive as it would be.
But just consider what a picturesque and romantic place the Valley is
for a wedding, with the added advantage that you would be absolutely the
first people who were ever married in it since the creation of the
world! I won't say what may happen in the remote future, for Rose Red
writes that she is going to change its name and call it henceforward
'The Ararat Valley,' not only because it contains 'a few souls, that is
eight,' but also because all the creatures who go into it seem to enter
pell-mell and come out two by two in pairs. You will inaugurate the long
procession at all events! Do please think seriously of this, dear John.
'Consider, cow, consider,--' and write me that you consent.

"We are building papa the most charming little bungalow ever seen,--a
big library and two bedrooms, one for himself and one to spare. It is
just off the southwest corner, and a little covered way connects it with
our piazza; for we are quite decided that he is to take his meals with
us and not have the bother of independent housekeeping. Then if you
decide to put _your_ bungalow on the other side of his, as we hope you
will, we shall all be close together. Lion will do nothing about the
building till you come. You are to stay on indefinitely with us, and
oversee the whole thing yourself from the driving of the first nail. We
will all help, and won't it be fun?

"There is something very stately and comforting in the idea of a
'resident physician.' Elsie declares that now Phillida may have croup or
any other infant disease she likes, and I sha'n't lie awake at night to
wonder what we should do in case Geoffey was thrown from the burro and
broke a bone. I am not sure but we may yet attain to the dignity of a
'resident pastor' as well, for Geoff has decided not to move the Hutlet,
but leave it as it is, putting in a little simple furniture, and offer
it from time to time to some invalid clergyman who needs Colorado air
and would be glad to spend a few months in the Valley. Who knows but it
may grow some day into a little church? Then indeed we should have a
small world of our own, with the learned professions all represented;
for of course Phil by that time will be qualified to do our law for us,
in case we quarrel and require writs and replevins or habeas corpuses,
or any last wills and testaments drawn up.

"I have begun on new curtains for Katy's room already, and Elsie and I
have all manner of beautiful projects for the weddings. Now Johnnie
darling, write at once and say that you agree to this plan. It really
does seem a perfect one for everybody. The time must of course depend on
when Dorry can get his leave, but we will be all ready whenever it

Clover's arguments were unanswerable, and every one gradually gave in to
the plan which she had so much at heart. Dorry got a fortnight's
holiday, beginning on the 15th of June; so the twentieth was fixed as
the day for the double wedding, and the preparations went merrily on.
Early in May Katy arrived in Burnet; and after that Johnnie had no need
to complain of being unsistered, for Katy was a host in herself, and
gave all her time to helping everybody. She sewed and finished, she
packed and advised, she assisted to box her father's books, and went
with Dorry to choose the new papers and rugs which were to make the old
house freshly bright for Imogen; she exclaimed and rejoiced over each
wedding present that arrived, and supplied that sweet atmosphere of
mutual interest and sympathy which is the vital breath of a family
occasion. All was ready in time; the old home was in exact and perfect
order for its new mistress, the good-bys were said, and on the morning
of the fifteenth the party started for Colorado.

Quite a little group waited for them on the platform of the St. Helen's
station three days later. Lionel had of course come in to meet his
bride, and Imogen her bridegroom; and Geoff had come, and Clover, to
meet her father and Katy, and Phil was also in waiting. It was truly a
wonderful moment when the train drew up, and Johnnie, all beautiful in
smiles and dimples, encountered Lionel; while Dorry jumped out to greet
Imogen, who was in blooming health again, and very pleased to see him.

"We have brought the two carryalls," Clover explained. "Geoff got a new
one the other day, that the means of transportation may keep pace with
the increase of population, as he says. I think, Geoff, we will put the
brides and bridegrooms together in the new one. Then the 'echoes' from
the back seat can mix with the 'echoes' from the front seat; and it will
be as good as the East Canyon, and they will all feel at home."

So it was arranged, and the party started.

"Katy," cried Clover, looking at her sister with eyes that seemed to
drink her in, "I had forgotten quite how dear you are! It seems to me
that you have grown handsome, my child; or is it only that you are a
little fatter?"

"I am afraid the latter," replied Katy, with a laugh. "No one but Ned
was ever so deluded as to call me handsome."

"Where is Ned? It is such a _shame_ that he can't be here,--the only one
of the family missing!"

"He is on his way to China," said Katy, with a little suppressed sigh.
"Yes, it is too bad; but it can't be helped. Naval orders are like time
and tide, and wait for no man, and most of all for no woman." She paused
a moment, and changed the subject abruptly. "Did I tell you," she asked,
"that after I broke up at Newport I went to Rose for a week?"

"Johnnie wrote that you were to go."

"It was such a bright week! Boston was beautiful, as it always is in
spring, with the Public Garden a blaze of flowers, and all the pretty
country about so green and sweet! Rose was most delightful; and I saw
ever so many of the old Hillsover girls, and even had a glimpse of Mrs.

"That must have been rather a bad joy."

"N--o, not exactly. I was rather glad, on the whole, to meet her again.
She isn't as bad as we made her out. School-girls are almost always
unjust to their teachers."

"Oh, come, now," said Clover, making a little face. "This is a happy
occasion, certainly, and I am in a benignant frame of mind, but really I
can't stand having you so horridly charitable. 'There is no virtue,
madam, in a mush of concession.' Mrs. Nipson was an unpleasant old
thing,--so there! Let us talk of something else. Tell me about your
visit to Cousin Helen."

"Oh, that was a sweet visit all through. I stayed ten days, and she was
better than usual, it seemed to me. Did I write about little Helen's


"She is just nineteen, and it was her first dance. Such a pretty
creature, and so pleased and excited about it! and Cousin Helen was
equally so. She gave Helen her dress complete, down to the satin shoes,
and the fan and the long gloves, and a turquoise necklace, and turquoise
pins for her hair. You never saw anything so charming as the way in
which she enjoyed it. You would have supposed that Helen was her own
child, as she lay on the sofa, with such bright beaming eyes, while the
pretty thing turned round and round to exhibit her finery."

"There certainly never was any one like Cousin Helen. She is embodied
sympathy," said Clover. "Now, Katy, I want you to look. We are just
turning into our own road."

It was a radiant afternoon, with long, soft shadows alternating with
golden sunshine, and the High Valley was at its very best as they slowly
climbed the zigzag pass. With every turn and winding Katy's pleasure
grew; and when they rounded the last curve, and came in sight of the
little group of buildings, with their picturesque background of forest
and the splendid peak soaring above, she exclaimed with delight:--

"What a perfect situation! Clover, you never said enough about it!
Surely the half was not told me, as the Queen of Sheba remarked! Oh, and
there is Elsie on the porch, and that thing in white beside her is
Phillida! I never dreamed she could be so large! How glad I am that I
didn't die of measles when I was little, as dear Rose Red used to say."

Katy's coming was the crowning pleasure of the occasion to all, but most
of all to Clover. To have her most intimate sister in her own home, and
be able to see her every day and all day long, and consult and advise
and lay before her the hopes and intentions and desires of her heart,
which she could never so fully share with any one else, except Geoff,
was a delight which never lost its zest, and of which Clover never grew

To settle Dr. Carr in his new quarters was another pleasure, in which
they all took equal part. When his books and microscopes were unpacked,
and the Burnet belongings arranged pretty much in their old order, the
rooms looked wonderfully homelike, even to him. The children soon
learned to adore him, as children always had done; the only trouble was
that they fought for the possession of his knee, and would never
willingly have left him a moment for himself. His leisure had to be
protected by a series of nursery laws and penances, or he would never
have had any; but he said he liked the children better than the leisure.
He was born to be a grandfather; nobody told stories like him, or knew
so well how to please and pacify and hit the taste of little people.

But all this, of course, came subsequently to the double wedding, which
took place two days after the arrival of the home-party. The morning of
the twentieth was unusually fine, even for Colorado,--fair, cloudless,
and golden bright, as if ordered for the occasion,--without a cloud on
the sky from dawn to sunset. The ceremony was performed by a clergyman
from Portland, who with his invalid wife were settled in the Hutlet for
the summer, very glad of the pleasant little home offered them, and to
escape from the crowd and confusion of Mrs. Marsh's boarding-house,
where Geoff had found them. Two or three particular friends drove out
from St. Helen's; but with that exception the whole wedding was
"valley-made," as Elsie declared, including delicious raspberry
ice-cream, and an enormous cake, over which she and Clover had expended
much time and thought, and which, decorated with emblematical designs in
icing and wreathed with yucca-blossoms, stood in the middle of the

The ceremony took place at noon precisely, when, as Phil facetiously
observed, "the shadows of the high contracting parties could never be
less." There was little that was formal about it, but much that was
reverent and sweet and full of true feeling. Imogen and Johnnie had both
agreed to wear white muslin dresses, very much such dresses as they
were all accustomed to wear on afternoons; but Imogen had on her head
her mother's wedding-veil, which had been sent out from England, and
John wore Katy's, "for luck," as she said. Both carried a big bouquet of
Mariposa lilies, and the house was filled with the characteristic
wild-flowers of the region most skilfully and effectively grouped and

A hospitably hearty luncheon followed the ceremony, of which all
partook; then Imogen went away to put on her pretty travelling-suit of
pale brown, and the carry-all came round to take Mr. and Mrs. Theodore
Carr to St. Helen's, which was the first stage on their journey of life.

The whole party stood on the porch to see them go. Imogen's last word
and embrace were for Clover.

"We are sisters now," she whispered. "I belong to you just as much as
Isabel does, and I am so glad that I do! Dear Clover, you have been more
good to me than I can say, and I shall never forget it."

"Nonsense about being good! You are my Dorry's wife now, and our own
dear sister. There is no question about goodness,--only to love one

She kissed Imogen warmly, and helped her into the carriage. Dorry sprang
after her; the wheels revolved; and Phil, seizing a horseshoe which hung
ready to hand on the wall of the house, flung it after the departing

"It's more appropriate than any other sort of old shoe for this Place of
Hoofs," he observed. "Well, the Carr family are certainly pretty well
disposed of now. I am 'the last ungathered rose on my ancestral tree.' I
wonder who will tear me from my stem!"

"You can afford to hang on a while longer," remarked Elsie. "I don't
consider you fairly expanded yet, by any means. You'll be twice as well
worth gathering a few years from now."

"Oh, very fine!--years indeed! Why, I shall be a seedy old bachelor!
That would never do! And Amy Ashe, whom I have had in my eye ever since
she was in pinafores, will be married to some other fellow!"

"Don't set your heart on Amy," said Katy. "She's not seventeen yet; and
I don't think her mother has any idea of having her made into Ashes of
Roses so early!"

"There's no harm in having a girl in one's eye," retorted Phil,
disconsolately. "I declare, you all look so contented and so satisfied
with yourselves and one another, that it's enough to madden a fellow,
left out, as I am, in the cold! I shall go back to St. Helen's with Dr.
and Mrs. Hope."

The others, left to themselves in their happy loneliness, gathered
together in the big room after the last guest had gone. Geoff touched a
match to the ready-laid fire; Clover wheeled an armchair forward for her
father, and sat down beside him with her arm on his knee; John and
Lionel took possession of a big sofa.

"Now let us enjoy ourselves," said Clover. "The world is shut out, we
are shut in; there are none to molest and make us afraid; and, please
Heaven, there is a whole, long, happy year before us! I never did
suppose anything so perfectly perfect could happen to us all as this.
Now, papa,--dear papa,--just say that you like it as much as we all do."

Elsie perched herself on the arm of her father's chair; Katy stood
behind, stroking his hair. Dr. Carr held out his hand to Johnnie, who
ran across the room, knelt down, caught it in both hers, and fondly laid
her cheek upon it.

"I like it _quite_ as much as you do," he said. "Where my girls are is
the place for me; and I am going to be the most contented old gentleman
in America for the rest of my days."



          SUSAN COOLIDGE has always possessed the affection
          of her young readers, for it seems as if she had
          the happy instinct of planning stories that each
          girl would like to act out in reality.--_The

          Not even Miss Alcott apprehends child nature with
          finer sympathy, or pictures its nobler traits with
          more skill.--_Boston Daily Advertiser._

          =THE NEW YEAR'S BARGAIN.= A Christmas Story for
          Children. With Illustrations by ADDIE LEDYARD.
          16mo. $1.25.

          =WHAT KATY DID.= A Story. With Illustrations by
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          =WHAT KATY DID AT SCHOOL.= Being more about "What
          Katy Did." With Illustrations. 16mo. $1.25.

          =MISCHIEF'S THANKSGIVING=, and other Stories. With
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          =NINE LITTLE GOSLINGS=. With Illustrations by J.
          A. MITCHELL. 16mo. $1.25.

          =EYEBRIGHT.= A Story. With Illustrations. 16mo.

          =CROSS PATCH.= With Illustrations. 16mo. $1.25.

          =A ROUND DOZEN.= With Illustrations. 16mo. $1.25.

          =A LITTLE COUNTRY GIRL.= With Illustrations. 16mo.

          =WHAT KATY DID NEXT.= With Illustrations. 16mo.

          =CLOVER.= A Sequel to the Katy Books. With
          Illustrations by JESSIE MCDERMOTT. 16mo. $1.25.

          =JUST SIXTEEN=. With Illustrations. 16mo. $1.25.

          =IN THE HIGH VALLEY=. With Illustrations. 16mo.

          =A GUERNSEY LILY=; or, How the Feud was Healed. A
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          Illustrated. 16mo. $1.25.

          =THE BARBERRY BUSH=, and Seven Other Stories about
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          MCDERMOTT. 16mo. $1.25.

          =NOT QUITE EIGHTEEN=. A volume of Stories. With
          illustrations by JESSIE MCDERMOTT. 16mo. $1.25.

       *       *       *       *       *

_Sold by all Booksellers. Mailed, post-paid, on receipt of price, by the

                                            ROBERTS BROTHERS, BOSTON

_Messrs. Roberts Brothers' Publications._


By LILY F. WESSELHOEFT, author of "Sparrow the Tramp," "Flipwing the
Spy," "The Winds, the Woods, and the Wanderer." With twenty-one
illustrations by J. F. Goodridge. Square 16mo, cloth, $1.25.

[Illustration: OLD ROUGH THE MISER.]

Mrs. Wesselhoeft's "Fable Stories" are proving themselves more and
more acceptable to the children. "Old Rough" is a decided acquisition to
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                                            ROBERTS BROTHERS, BOSTON

_Messrs. Roberts Brothers' Publications._







[Illustration: "The baby he may be a soldier."]

          "What a beautiful book! How fine are the
          illustrations! How pure and sweet are these
          rhymes!" Grandpa bought the book, and Dot was
          delighted with her present. So is mamma. She says
          the stories are as good as she could make them
          herself. If you want just the daintiest book of
          the season, get this. Don't be put off with
          something common. This beats "Mother Goose" and
          all the old nursery books all to pieces. It
          contains a great deal of sense, just a little
          nonsense, and sparkles with fun, which all the
          household will relish. This is better than forty
          dolls, because the dolls usually can't talk, but
          this can.--_Illustrated Christian Weekly._

          This is a charming collection of nursery ballads,
          full of lively nonsense and quaint conceits, such
          as appeal to childish imaginations. The merry
          rhymes and grotesque illustrations make each other
          doubly effective. No better book since "Mother
          Goose" than this for reading to children, who will
          cry, "Again, again," and will never tire of its
          felicitous jingles. It is dedicated to "My mother,
          Julia Ward Howe."--_Boston Woman's Journal._

          The rhymes and jingles in this little volume are
          very genuine products, for they have every sign of
          being what many nursery rhymes are not, songs
          which have stood the critical test of a house full
          of children of different ages and varying
          temperaments and been approved. Mrs. Richards has
          a natural gift of striking the whimsical without
          rising above the comprehension of young people,
          nor on the other hand, falling into the strained
          or the commonplace.--_New York Times._

          It is like getting a new and greatly enlarged
          sequel to dear old "Mother Goose" to take up Mrs.
          Laura E. Richards's pretty book. She knows how to
          be funny without being silly; her rhymes are
          lively and jingle merrily on the ear; the odd
          fancies and quaint imagery are just of the sort to
          entertain very young children. "In My Nursery" may
          be heartily commended as an almost inexhaustible
          store house of amusement for little girls and
          boys.--_The Boston Beacon._

One handsome small quarto volume, bound in cloth. Price, $1.25.

_Sold everywhere. Mailed, postpaid, by the publishers_,

                                            ROBERTS BROTHERS, BOSTON


          A Story. By Miss A. G. Plympton, author of "Dear
          Daughter Dorothy" and "Betty, a Butterfly."
          Illustrated by the author. Small 4to. Cloth. Price


          The author of "Dear Daughter Dorothy" needs no
          passport to favor. That bewitching little story
          which she not only wrote but illustrated must have
          given the name of A. G. Plympton a notable place
          among the writers of children's stories. Followed
          by "Betty, a Butterfly" and now by "The Little
          Sister of Wilifred," we have a most interesting
          trio with which to adorn a child's
          library.--_Boston Times._

_Sold by all booksellers; mailed, post-paid, by the publishers_,

                                            ROBERTS BROTHERS, BOSTON





=A Story for Girls and Boys.=



  _Author of "What Katy Did," "Clover," "In the High Valley," etc._

       *       *       *       *       *

          NEW EDITION. Square 16mo. Illustrated. Price, $1.25.

       *       *       *       *       *

                                            ROBERTS BROTHERS, BOSTON.

_Messrs. Roberts Brothers' Publications._


          WARD. With 30 illustrations by Frank T. Merrill.
          Small quarto. Cloth. Price, $1.50.


          The lost hero was a poor old negro who saved the
          Columbia express from destruction at the time of
          the Charleston earthquake, and vanished from human
          ken after his brave deed was accomplished,
          swallowed up, probably, in some yawning crevice of
          the envious earth. The story is written with that
          simplicity which is the perfection of art, and its
          subtle pathos is given full and eloquent
          expression. But noble as the book is, viewed as a
          literary performance, it owes not a little of its
          peculiar attractiveness to the illustrations with
          which it is now adorned after drawings by Frank T.
          Merrill.--_The Beacon._

                            ROBERTS BROTHERS, PUBLISHERS,
                                                 BOSTON, MASS.

_Messrs. Roberts Brothers' Publications._

_By the author of "Dear Daughter Dorothy."_



With illustrations by the author.

=Square 12mo. Cloth. Price, $1.00.=

[Illustration: "AM I NOT FINE?"]

       *       *       *       *       *

_Sold by all Booksellers. Mailed by the Publishers on receipt of the

                                            ROBERTS BROTHERS, BOSTON.




          A Fable for Children. By LILY F. WESSELHOEFT,
          author of "Sparrow, The Tramp," and "Flipwing, the
          Spy." With illustrations. 16mo, cloth. Price,

       *       *       *       *       *

                          ROBERTS BROTHERS, PUBLISHERS, BOSTON.

_Roberts Brothers' Juvenile Books._



          With seven illustrations by the author. Small 4to. Cloth

          PRICE, $1.00.


          "The child is father of the man."--so Wordsworth
          sang; and here is a jolly story of a little girl
          who was her father's mother in a very real way.
          There were hard lines for him, and she was
          fruitful of devices to help him along, even having
          an auction of the pretty things that had been
          given her from time to time, and realizing a neat
          little sum. Then her father was accused of
          peculation; and she, sweetly ignorant of the ways
          of justice, went to the judge and labored with
          him, to no effect, though he was wondrous kind.
          Then in court she gave just the wrong evidence,
          because it showed how poor her father was, and so
          established a presumption of his great necessity
          and desperation. But the _Deus ex machina_--the
          wicked partner--arrived at the right moment, and
          owned up, and the good father was cleared, and
          little Daughter Dorothy was made glad. But this
          meagre summary gives but a poor idea of the ins
          and outs of this charming story, and no idea of
          the happy way in which it is told.--_Christian

                                            ROBERTS BROTHERS, Boston.

_By the Author of "Jolly Good Times."_





A story founded on the actual experiences of two Roxbury boys, during
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                                            ROBERTS BROTHERS, BOSTON.


        =A Story of a Prince with a Court in His Box.= By ELEANOR
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_"Prince Vance" is an Entertaining Fairy Story of the wildest and most
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          Small 4to. Cloth gilt. Price, $1.50.

                                            ROBERTS BROTHERS, BOSTON.


=A Story for Children.=


   _Author of "Sparrow, the Tramp," "The Winds, the Woods, and
      the Wanderer," etc._


The story represents the action of certain animals, the characters of
which are depicted in accordance with their natures and the exigencies
of the story. The object is to cultivate the love of animal nature,
which most children feel, and especially for such creatures as bats,
toads and others, which children are often improperly taught to regard
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and the book will be found very entertaining to young people.

          _16mo. Cloth. Price. $1.25._

                                            ROBERTS BROTHERS, BOSTON.

_Uniform with "The Joyous Story of Toto."_




          With Illustrations. 16mo. Price, $1.25.

                               ROBERTS BROTHERS, _Publishers_, BOSTON.




          "A BOOK OF NONSENSE,"

With all the original illustrations. In one square 16mo volume. Handsome
cloth. Price, $2.00.

       *       *       *       *       *

          ROBERTS BROTHERS, Publishers.




          By SUSAN COOLIDGE, author of "What Katy Did," "The
          Barberry Bush," "A Guernsey Lily," etc. 16mo.
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       *       *       *       *       *


Messrs. Roberts Brothers' Publications.


          BY H. H.

          With Illustrations. 16mo, cloth. Price $1.50.

          "The sketches of life, especially of its odd and
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          radiant with sunlight and fresh as morning dew. In
          this new story the fruits of her fine genius are
          of Colorado growth, and though without the antique
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          are as delicious to the taste as they are tempting
          to the eye, and afford a natural feast of
          exquisite quality."--_N. Y. Tribune._

          "This charming little book, written for children's
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          beautiful by a happy family, and can say of Nelly,
          with their German neighbor, Mr. Kleesman, 'Ach
          well, she haf better than any silver mine in her
          own self.'"--_Chicago Inter-Ocean._

          "In 'Nelly's Silver Mine' Mrs. Helen Hunt Jackson
          has given us a true classic for the nursery and
          the school-room, but its readers will not be
          confined to any locality. Its vivid portraiture of
          Colorado life and its truth to child-nature give
          it a charm which the most experienced cannot fail
          to feel. It will stand by the side of Miss
          Edgeworth and Mrs. Barbauld in all the years to
          come."--_Mrs. Caroline H. Dall._

          "We heartily commend the book for its healthy
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          children."--_Atlantic Monthly._

       *       *       *       *       *

_Our publications are to be had of all Booksellers. When not to be
found, send directly to_

                                          ROBERTS BROTHERS, BOSTON.

       *       *       *       *       *

Transcriber's Notes:

Obvious punctuation errors repaired.

Page 69, word "in" inserted into text (For in spite of)

Page 138, word "to" inserted into text (sit next to you)

Page 237, "daguerrotype" changed to "daguerreotype" (Grandpapa Carr's

Varied hyphenation was retained. This includes:

    bedroom            bed-room
    carryall           carry-all
    homesick           home-sick
    housekeeping       house-keeping
    pigtail            pig-tail
    postpaid           post-paid
    straightforward    straight-forward
    zigzag             zig-zag

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