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´╗┐Title: Little Wolf - A Tale of the Western Frontier
Author: Cornelius, M. A.
Language: English
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                             Little Wolf.

                                A TALE
                       OF THE WESTERN FRONTIER.

                                  BY
                         MRS. M. A. CORNELIUS.


                              CINCINNATI:
                        JOURNAL AND MESSENGER,
                          No. 178 ELM STREET.


     Entered, according to Act of Congress, in the year 1872, by
                         MRS. M. A. CORNELIUS,
      In the Office of the Librarian of Congress, at Washington.



CONTENTS:


  CHAPTER I.
    A sad breakfast--The Sherman Family--The Language of
    Flowers--What a Young Man was sure of--The Parting             5

  CHAPTER II.
    Pendleton--The Revelation at the Saloon--Euphonious
    names--The Encounter--Our Heroine Appears and Highwaymen
    Disappear                                                     19

  CHAPTER III.
    A Reign of Confusion--Bloody Jim--Little Wolf's Allies
    Prepare for Defence--Family Trouble                           30

  CHAPTER IV.
    More Troubles--Who was Bloody Jim--His Attempt at Kidnapping
    Little Wolf--The Cause of His Hatred and the Terror he
    Inspired                                                      41

  CHAPTER V.
    Dr. Goodrich leaves with Daddy as Guide--Daddy's War-like
    Preparations--His Testimony to the Curse of Strong
    Drink--What they Discovered on their way to the Village       53

  CHAPTER VI.
    The Saloon Keeper--Comforting Reflections--The Unwelcome
    Call--Diabolical Plotting                                     70

  CHAPTER VII.
    Music--The Warning--Preparations for Winter Interrupted--The
    Welcome Boat                                                  77

  CHAPTER VIII.
    The Love-letter--Discussion--A Quick Ride--Too Late--Violence
    and Death                                                     89

  CHAPTER IX.
    Bloody Jim's Advantages--The Fainting Captive--The Tragic
    Quarrel--Outwitted at Last--The Refuge                       100

  CHAPTER X.
    The Kidnapper's Surprise--On the Wrong Track--Bloody Jim's
    Capture--The Rotten Plank                                    108

  CHAPTER XI.
    Harmless Conspiracy--The Ghost--The Wife Murderer--Tippling
    and Tattling--Misrepresentations                             119

  CHAPTER XII.
    The Cottage in the Grove--The Disguise--Back to
    Health--Impatience--Searching the Box--Antoinette
    La Clair's Story                                             129

  CHAPTER XIII.
    Twofold Agony--Dr. Goodrich's Promise--Home Again--Lilly
    Foot--The Convalescent--The Neighborhood Wedding--News from
    Chimney Rock--The Sherman Family at the West                 146

  CHAPTER XIV.
    Rough Roads--The Happy Bridegroom--Jacob Mentor's
    Experience--Fairy Knoll--A Joyful Meeting                    160

  CHAPTER XV.
    Busy Preparations and the Climax--The Lovers--Tom Tinknor's
    Discovery--General Rejoicings--The Idol Defaced              170

  CHAPTER XVI.
    Painful Recollections--The Last Boat of the Season--Ruffled
    Plumes--Reconciliation                                       181

  CHAPTER XVII.
    Winter Sports--The Doctor's Visits--Preparations for New
    Year's Day--A Discussion                                     189

  CHAPTER XVIII.
    The New Year's Ball--A Check to Festivity--The Midnight
    Ride--Death in the Old Brown House                           201

  CHAPTER XIX.
    Neighborly Sympathy--Little Wolf's Bosom Friend A
    Disappointed Lover                                           215

  CHAPTER XX.
    A Weight of Sorrow--Marrying a Drunkard--Suspense            227

  CHAPTER XXI.
    Daddy's Diplomacy--A Passage at Arms--Fannie Green--A
    Catastrophe                                                  235

  CHAPTER XXII.
    The Rescue                                                   248

  CHAPTER XXIII.
    An Indian Messenger--Frozen to Death                         260

  CHAPTER XXIV.
    A Crisis--Pride and Folly                                    271

  CHAPTER XXV.
    The Sleighing Party--Clara Hastings--Mother and Son          280

  CHAPTER XXVI.
    Letter Writing--Daddy's Nocturnal Labors and early Walk      294

  CHAPTER XXVII.
    Doing and Getting Good--Wycoff's Reform                      308

  CHAPTER XXVIII.
    Daddy's Soliloqy--A Beer-Soaker--A Knock-Down Argument--A
    Present for Little Wolf                                      323

  CHAPTER XXIX.
    A Chapter of Accidents and Deliverances                      333

  CHAPTER XXX.
    Another Saloon Scene--The Bridal Trousseau--The Lovely Nurse 341

  CHAPTER XXXI.
    Threats--Little Wolf and Black Hawk--Tragic Death of Hank
    Glutter                                                      354

  CHAPTER XXXII.
    The May Day Weddings--Miss Orrecta Lippincott's
    Surprise--How Old Lovers Behave                              367

  CHAPTER XXXIII.
    The Old Brown House Deserted--The Pearl and Diamond
    Ring--Mr. and Mrs. Marsden's Conjectures                     380

  CHAPTER XXXIV.
    A Trip to California--Jumping Overboard--The Grand Supper
    and what Came of it--The Captain's Little Daughter           393

  CHAPTER XXXV.
    A Visit to Mrs. Sherman's Room--Daddy and his New
    Spouse--Ominous Signs                                        408

  CHAPTER XXXVI.
    More News from Little Wolf--Tom Tinknor's Testimony          415

  CHAPTER XXXVII.
    Another Death in the Old Brown House                         423

  CHAPTER XXXVIII.
    Daddy's Temperance Lecture                                   430

  CHAPTER XXXIX.
    Death in Mid Ocean--Love Making and a Double Wedding         448



LITTLE WOLF.



CHAPTER I.

    A SAD BREAKFAST--THE SHERMAN FAMILY--THE LANGUAGE OF
    FLOWERS--WHAT A YOUNG MAN WAS SURE OF--THE PARTING.


Early in the morning of a long ago midsummer's day, the inmates of a
quiet New England home were making unusual preparations for the
approaching repast. The mistress of the house was ostensibly
overseeing the table; but there was an uncertainty in her movements,
which indicated a contradictory mingling of interest and abstraction,
such as agitates the mind, when trifles intrude on more weighty
matters. Not so the maid in attendance, who had served in her present
capacity for more than twenty years, and was without dispute an adept
in the culinary department, if not in affairs of the heart. She was
not so obtuse, however, in the present instance, as not to perceive
the uncomfortable state of her mistress, and, notwithstanding the
pressure of business in hand, she magnanimously paused a moment to
attempt a word of comfort. How to approach a subject which had been
continually on the lips of the whole family for weeks, was now the
poor girl's difficulty. Every instant was precious. She was in a
measure neglecting the smoking viands under her supervision, and her
long established reputation as cook was in jeopardy. At this critical
juncture she blundered out, "Mrs. Sherman, it's a pity; indeed, it is,
that he, that Edward, is bent on going."

"Why, Recta," interrupted a musical voice reproachfully, "ma is
already convinced that it is a pity Edward is going. It remains for us
to persuade her that he will speedily return."

"Bless my heart, is that Miss Louise?" said Recta, turning to the
person who had so unceremoniously interrupted her condolements. "Well,
now, I declare," she continued, "if I ain't beat. Young girls have
great arts of covering up their feelings. There's Miss Louise taking
on, and walking her chamber all night, and now she's telling me what
to say as unconcerned as if this wasn't the last meal she was going to
enjoy with her only brother."

"O fie, Recta, haven't I told you that Edward is coming home again
soon," said Louise, and, she added with a blush, "You must have heard
kitty in your dreams, and magnified her step into mine. You know you
have often said my tread was as light as Tabby's."

"But it wasn't, last night," persisted the other, "it was as heavy as
lead."

The blush deepened on the young lady's cheek; not so much on account
of the audacity with which this privileged servant had assailed her
veracity, as for other and more private reasons, herein unfolded. It
was not indeed, the distress occasioned by her brother's departure,
which, as intimated in the preceding conversation, was about to occur,
that she desired to hide; but there was one to accompany him, on whom
she had bestowed more than a sister's love, and furthermore, this
friend, having arrived the day before, had progressed, perhaps farther
in his suit than on any former occasion, Such being the state of the
case, it was natural, that, with her lover under the same roof, she
should be jealous of exhibiting feelings, others than a sister's love
would warrant. To cover her confusion, therefore, which Recta secretly
exulted in having occasioned, she retorted;

"Heavy footsteps! ridiculous! Look at me," and she drew up her slight
little figure; "for shame, Recta; confess it was your heavy ears, and
I'll forgive you."

Recta compressed her lips and Louise immediately changed her tactics.

"What a nice breakfast! Recta knows what Ned likes, don't she, ma?
Fie! Ned wont stay long away from Recta and broiled chickens, will he,
ma?"

Recta's lips visibly expanded. "I reckon he won't stay long away from
Miss Louise and flowers," said she, glancing at a beautiful bouquet,
which Louise held in her hand.

"Aren't they lovely, Recta? I've just gathered them fresh for Edward.
Now I'll arrange them on the table, while you put on the hot dishes.'"

"Gathered for Edward, as much as they are for me," muttered the
unconquered servant. "Roses and forget-me-nots mean--well, George
Goodrich will know what they mean; that's enough."

As dispatch was no mean part of the cook's accomplishments, it was not
long before the parties mentioned in her private conjectures were
seated at the breakfast table, in company with the family, the names
of all of whom we know already. It will be observed that allusion has
been made to but one parent. The memory of the other, still lived
fresh in the affections of his wife and children, and deserves first
notice among those whose plans and persons we shall endeavor in a few
words, to introduce more minutely to the reader.

Judge Sherman was a man, who, through a long and active life, was
distinguished for inflexible integrity, and, by means of sterling
talents, he rose to the first rank in his profession as a lawyer. He
married at an early age, although his courtship approached closely to
the term of years which Jacob served for Rachel. Political differences
of opinion were the obstacles which opposed his suit. In those days
the Federalists and Democrats indulged in animosities as bitter as
those which existed between the Jews and Samaritans. The latter party,
being in its infancy, could ill afford to lose even a petticoat from
its ranks. Luckily for the young Federalist, the lady of his choice
was in her heart a rebel to her father's will and purposes. But after
she became Mrs. Sherman, the united influences of both did not
annihilate the opposite party, as its future history, clearly
demonstrates. The ball, set rolling by Jefferson, continued to roll
on, and Judge Sherman, to the day of his death, never saw his favorite
principles triumph. In his efforts of a pecuniary nature he was more
successful. He had accumulated a handsome property, consisting mainly
of many broad acres of well-cultivated Massachusetts soil, which, for
a long course of years, had been in charge of a faithful and efficient
tenant, occupying a cottage a short distance from his own dwelling, a
plain old-fashioned house, situated on an airy knoll near the centre
of his domains.

Here, for nearly two years after her husband's death, Mrs. Sherman
lived in seclusion, receiving only occasional visits from her
children, Edward and Louise. The son being engaged in studying his
father's profession, while the daughter was at school preparing
herself, it would be safe to say, to follow her mother's business.
Indeed, it was a fixed fact in her own mind, that when George
Goodrich, her brother's warm friend and her ladyship's still warmer
admirer, should become established in his profession as a physician,
she would then trust herself to his care, without fear of poverty or
disease. But the young M. D. having no patrimony, and becoming
disgusted with the slow path in which he was treading to fortune,
resolved to turn his course into a rougher road at the far West.

About the same time, Edward Sherman, having been admitted to the Bar,
with no other reason except Yankee restlessness and craving, turned
his thoughts in a similar direction. On discovering to each other
their mutual proclivities, the friends determined to set out together,
as soon as Edward could gain his mother's consent, for the Territory
of Minnesota. With characteristic nobleness and fortitude, Mrs.
Sherman sacrificed her her own to her son's wishes, and it was not
until the morning of his departure, that her courage faltered.

Mother-like she sat at the head of the table, unable to swallow a
mouthful herself, while urging every delicacy upon her darling son.

"Do, dear Edward, have another cup of coffee," she pleaded, observing
that his cup was empty, while his breakfast remained untasted.

"Well, just to accommodate," said Edward smiling. "I really have not
much appetite this morning."

"I'm glad you can relish it, Mr. Edward," said Recta, in a whining
tone. "It's seasoned with old Spot's cream, and I'm thinking it will
be a long time before you'll taste any more tame milk, out there among
them wild cattle."

At this remark, the great square dining-room rang with the laughter
of the younger occupants of the old-fashioned straight backed
chairs,--this being the only room in the house, to which the
progressive spirit had not yet extended, except, indeed, that which
was manifested in the cut glass decanters, standing _empty_ on the
handsome sideboard.

A deep convulsive sob broke from Mrs. Sherman, and the merriment
instantly ceased. The mother leaned forward and covering her face with
her hands, gave vent to her long suppressed feelings. Edward was by
her side in an instant, and throwing his arms around her neck,
exclaimed:

"Mother, I will not leave you!"

"Then I can't go alone," whispered George Goodrich to Louise.

"Ma," said Louise, "Dr. Goodrich says he will stay, too."

"No, not quite that," said the embarrassed lover.

"O, you must both go," interrupted Mrs. Sherman, recovering with an
effort her presence of mind; "and we are wasting precious time," she
continued, pointing to the clock, with returning firmness.

The old clock which occupied one corner in seven feet grandeur, would
as soon have thought of stopping to indulge in sighs and tears, as
would Mrs. Sherman, when her spirit was moved to the necessity for
action. So, all the scruples of her son were peremptorily shut out of
existence, and Recta, frowned into silence, withheld the probe, which,
having fallen into the common error, she had mistaken for the healing
salve.

In passing briefly over the season of parting, there is an item which
should claim special attention for a moment, as it is intimately
connected with the destination of our adventurers.

As Edward stood by the family carriage, which was to transport them to
the public conveyance, while waiting for his friend, who had
appropriated to himself a private moment with Louise, Mrs. Sherman
inquired rather anxiously, "Edward, have you that letter?"

"Yes, mother," and, more to fill up an unpleasant gap of time than to
prove his veracity, he produced from his pocket the missive. It was
superscribed, "Dr. DeWolf, Chimney Rock, Minnesota Territory."

Prompted by the same motive which had actuated the other, Mrs. Sherman
repeated some of her previous instructions.

"Now, Edward, when you arrive at Penddleton, by all means make an
immediate effort to discover the whereabouts of Dr. DeWolf. I should
much like to hear from your father's early friend. I think he states,
in the only letter we have ever received from him, that he has fixed
his home at Chimney Rock, in the vicinity of Pendleton. However, he
may have removed from there by this time, although he was not of a
roving disposition. The persuasions of an affectionate wife, who saw
with anxiety, her husband's growing love for the wine cup, induced him
to emigrate to the far West. In breaking away from the associations
which led him to form the habit, she hoped he might attain that rank
in his profession, which his brilliant youth had promised. Edward,"
and here Mrs. Sherman's voice sank to a whisper, "your father was
saved about that time. It was by signing the Washingtonian Temperance
Pledge. Be warned, my son, and flee the temptation which had well nigh
stigmatized you as a drunkard's son. I have always intended to tell
you this, but the subject was too harrowing. I could not do it."

"You might have saved yourself the pain, now, mother," said Edward
proudly; "There is no danger of _me_."

That positive declaration came from just such a son, as many a widowed
mother and affectionate sister have doted on. Generous, warm-hearted,
and strikingly handsome, Edward Sherman, appeared a perfect type of
manhood. Were it not that the noblest forms have sometimes hid
blemished souls the world had not so often been baptized in tears.

The lovers were now at hand. Time had flown with them on a "dove's
wings," and its flutterings lightened their last adieu.



CHAPTER II.

    PENDLETON--THE REVELATION AT THE SALOON--EUPHONIOUS
    NAMES--THE ENCOUNTER--OUR HEROINE APPEARS AND HIGHWAYMEN
    DISAPPEAR.


A journey of a few days brought our travellers to the lively, bustling
village, which for convenience we have named Pendleton, situated on
the Upper Mississippi. After several hours of rest and refreshment at
their hotel, they sallied out to enjoy a pedestrian excursion in the
cool of the day. Not much of the place of their sojourn was visible.
Gaslight, had not wandered so far from its birthplace. The
enterprising inhabitants, however, had manufactured an article by the
same name, but it was never known to generate light. The wagging of
the machinery was all that came of it.

"Lager Beer," pronounced Edward Sherman, glancing at the gilt letters,
that stood out in bold relief on the illumined window of a fashionable
saloon, which they were at the moment passing.

"Yes, lager beer," repeated George Goodrich, musingly. "Ned, what a
nation of beer drinkers we are becoming. Not at the east only, but
these western towns seem to have a beer saloon at every corner."

"Well, Doctor, what is more harmless than beer? Come, let us turn back
and take a glass;" and suiting the action to the word, Edward had
passed behind the screen which shaded the entrance, before the
expostulations of his companion, who followed mechanically, could
reach his ear.

While Edward was leisurely sipping his lager, the loud and angry
voices of a party of young men, who were in the act of leaving an
adjoining apartment, used as a billiard saloon, attracted his
attention. As a lady proved to be the cause of the altercation, we
will do them the justice to state that they were decidedly under the
influence of stimulants, One of their number, less insane than his
companions, was endeavoring to quell the disturbance.

"Gentlemen," he said, "the name of a lady, whom we all respect should
not be used too freely."

"Just so," chimed in another, "I say, let the matter rest."

"The hatchet is buried. Peace, peace, to Dr. DeWolf and his lovely
daughter, forever," sang out the third.

The name and place, introduced in the quarrel, quite satisfied Edward
that the daughter of his father's friend was the subject of the
altercation.

"I've had a revelation to-night, George," said Edward, when they were
again in the street.

"Then your eyes were opened, and you saw the handwriting on the wall,
did you? Pity, those poor fools we left behind, could not borrow your
optics."

"Ah, Doctor, you're on the wrong track. It has been revealed to me,
that Dr. DeWolf has a lovely daughter, and--come, now, don't interrupt
me with your old-fashioned, worn-out temperance hobby--as I was about
to say, I have in my possession a letter of introtion to said DeWolf.
He was formerly a friend of father's, and, of course, it will be my
duty to cultivate his acquaintance and that of his lovely daughter, as
early as possible,--say to-morrow. What say you, friend sober-sides?
You know, my particular weakness is a lovely lady."

"Why, it's no affair of mine, Ned. Flirting is out of my line. But,
how do you know the lady is lovely?"

"Why, was it not revealed to me, through the imprudence of a whole
bevy of her admirers."

"O, but, Ned, the ravings of a set of drunken rowdies is not
conclusive evidence."

"True," said Edward more seriously, "but," smiling again, "it's a
young lady, anyhow, and I hope she is handsome."

Nothing further was said on the subject that evening, but, on the day
following, young Sherman was informed by the landlord, of whom he
inquired, that Dr. DeWolf resided at Chimney Rock, about five miles
distant, and to the question, "Has he a family?" replied, "But one
daughter, a beauty of some celebrity."

The informant observed the gratified twinkle in the eye of his guest
and was not surprised when Edward ordered a carriage to be in
readiness for him directly after dinner.

"The road is precipitous in some places, and horseback riding is
considered safer," suggested the landlord.

"Well, two saddle horses, then," replied the other.

Accordingly, at the time above specified, our adventurers, each
mounted on a dapple gray, set out for Chimney Rock. The scorching sun,
and dusty streets, and poor little withered flowers by the wayside,
prodigals from the adjoining valley, were soon exchanged for the
"Valley Road," fringed with the loveliest specimens of the floral
family, and cooled by the shade of the surrounding bluffs. Like all
other things in life, this part of their journey was of short
duration.

"Half a mile on this road," said Edward, reining in his steed, and
repeating previous instructions, "brings us to the 'Siamese Twins' a
double bluff singularly joined towards the top by the projection of an
enormous rock. Now, we are here, and no mistake, then turn to the
right."

"And keep the road as best we may," said Dr. Goodrich, raising his
hat, and wiping the perspiration from his brow. "Well, come on."

They went on, on and on, over rocks and ledges and fallen trees;
fording streams and climbing heights (for they had lost their way)
until the lengthened twilight, attendant on the summer evenings of
Minnesota, began to darken into night.

At this junction, when it may be readily imagined that Edward
Sherman's ardor had somewhat cooled, and the emotions of his fellow
traveller were not of the most agreeable nature, alternate snatches of
song-singing and whistling were heard, not far distant. The bewildered
parties rode hastily forward, and met the musician.

"Can you tell how far we are from Chimney Rock, my friend? We have
lost our way," said Edward frankly.

"Why no, you ain't lost your way neither," replied the stranger
roughly. "You are there, now. Just ride round the 'tother side of this
bluff, and you'll see all there is of it."

"Well, can you inform me where Dr. DeWolf lives?"

"I guess I can. Keep right straight ahead, when you get the 'tother
side of the Pass, there. That road takes you down to Hog Run, and the
Run takes you to Beer Holler, and the brewery is right in the Holler,
and 'tother side of that, on the hill, is Dr. DeWolf's."

"What a huddle of euphonious names," exclaimed the Doctor, after
having proffered a "Thank you, sir," to the individual who had so
opportunely appeared. "Beer Hollow will be just suited to your mind,
Ned. In that romantic spot, inhaling the perfume of your favorite
beverage, love making will be doubly intoxicating."

"Hush, Doctor, eavesdroppers ahead," said Edward, pointing towards the
Pass.

Now, the Pass was nothing more than a narrow strip of table land,
serving as a passage way between the Mississippi River, and a towering
bluff. The view of the river was here intercepted by a thick grove of
trees and shrubbery, which our horsemen had already entered. They did
not, therefore, see the tiny green skiff, with its sprinkling of
white letters on the bow, christening it "Comet," shoot ahead, and
dart into the little cove near by, one of the most romantic and cosy
of those emerald-hung parlors opening from the grand reception hall,
of the "Father of Waters." Neither did they see the fair occupant rise
on tip-toe, and peep mischieveously, through the festooned loopholes
of the forest.

But they saw the dark objects to which the last speaker had called
attention, partially concealed by the trees. The beast on which Edward
was mounted stopped suddenly, shivering, apparently with fear.
Instantaneously, two dark figures darted from their lurking places,
and, in low gutteral tones demanded money. Unarmed, and completely in
the power of the ruffians, who each, pistol in hand, held firmly by
bit and bridle, the horse of his victim, the part of wisdom, seemed to
be to surrender.

At that instant, a slight figure glided from the thicket behind the
waylayers, and cautiously drawing forth a revolver which projected
from the belt of the nearest, placed the muzzle at his back and fired.
He fell with a deep groan. Another discharge followed quickly, and his
companion reeled several yards, seizing convulsively trees and
shrubbery, and finally, was heard sliding down the bank towards the
river.

"Now, ride for your lives, there's more of them," said their
deliverer, in a voice husky with excitement.

"What will you do?" said Edward.

"Take my skiff."

"No, mount here, quick," and he drew her up, and set off at full
speed.

"Now, turn here, now up that hill; now we are there," the lady faintly
articulated, as they flew along, and drew up before her father's door.

The house at which they had arrived, was the residence of Dr. DeWolf,
and the heroine of the adventure, was no other than the Doctor's only
daughter, quaintly named, Little Wolf. She had been, as was her wont,
on a short independent trip up the river. In the full enjoyment of the
romantic scenery and twilight hour, night had stolen upon her
unawares. Warned of her imprudence by the distant clatter of horses,
she immediately turned homeward. The swift current aided her efforts,
and she neared the Pass, just in time to overhear all that was said.
Not satisfied with the dim outline of objects, which a peep through
the leaves disclosed, she sprang to the shore, and catching by the
branch of an overhanging tree, drew herself up the steep bank. The
part which she performed in the perilous encounter is already known to
the reader, but the leading motives which prompted it, will be better
understood hereafter.



CHAPTER III.

    A REIGN OF CONFUSION--BLOODY JIM--LITTLE WOLF'S ALLIES
    PREPARE FOR DEFENCE--FAMILY TROUBLE.


A shout from the fugitives brought several faces to the window, and
from the door hobbled an old man. He cautiously peered into the gloom,
and finally at the sound of a familliar voice sidled up to Edward and
his charge.

"'Tween you and me, what's the matter?" said he.

"It's me, help me down, daddy, do, I'm tired," said Little Wolf, in
feeble tones.

"O, lamb, O, honey, O, pet, is it you?" exclaimed the old dotard,
trembling with apprehension. "'Tween you and me, what has happened to
the darling?"

"O, nothing, daddy, only I saw Bloody Jim, and I'm afraid there's more
of them."

"O, my Lord, did you? O, my Lord, the men are down to the brewery. O,
my, 'tween you and me, what _shall_ we do?"

Perceiving the old man's utter incapacity to the exigency, Edward
threw his rein to the Doctor, and immediately bore the young lady into
the house. The old man followed, grasping his arm, and shouting in his
ear at every step, "'Tween you and me, she saw Bloody Jim, did
she--she saw him--did she--ha!"

"In the ante-room, they were met by a little bustling elderly woman,
in cap and spectacles. "O, daddy, what is it?" she exclaimed.

"O, mammy," he cried, releasing Edward, and laying hold on his
wife,--a method by which he invaribly compelled attention, "'tween
you and me, she's seen Bloody Jim she has; she says there's more of
them, she does."

"Why, you, old fool, why don't you do something?" said the woman,
shaking him off with a jerk. "Lock the doors, shut the windows, call
Sorrel Top; blow the horn. Is the love hurt?" turning anxiously to
Little Wolf, who was reclining on the sofa.

Mammy had hastily snatched up the small lamp, with which the apartment
was dimly lighted, and, as she was scrutinizing her pet, Edward
obtained a full view of the young lady's features. He gave a sudden
start, and the blood rushed to his face. Was it the lady he had so
frequently seen on Broadway, a few months since? he asked himself.
Yes, the very same; that countenance was not easily forgotten. Why,
she was a New York belle, was his first reflection. Our heroine's
voice was still low and agitated as she replied, "O, no, mammy, not
hurt, only frightened. You attend to the gentlemen and the house I
can take care of myself. I feel better now."

"Well, then, rest here, love; you look pale. Now don't move; don't get
excited; nobody shall hurt the pet, I'll tell Sorrel Top to bring you
a glass of water."

Amidst the slamming of doors and rattling of windows, mammy was heard
calling at the top of her voice, "Sorrel Top, Sorrel, take a glass of
water to the parlor;" and to the parlor hastened Sorrel Top. But
meeting daddy at the door, she was forcibly detained, and subjected to
his deafening vociferations, rendered doubly aggravating, by his using
the ear of his auditor as one would a speaking trumpet. The burden of
his song, was still "Bloody Jim, Bloody Jim!"

"Who cares for Bloody Jim;" said Sorrel Top angrily; "I don't care for
him, nor none of his tribe. Let me go, you, torment."

Daddy held his ground, for he bore in mind firstly: that Sorrel Top
was his fellow servant; secondly, she possessed no great strength of
muscle or nerve, and, thirdly and lastly, that she was a helpless
widow, whom it was no sin to call Sorrel Top, because of her enormous
growth of reddish hair.

Edward stepped forward to relieve Sorrel Top of the glass of water,
which she was holding at arm's length, and at the same time suggested
that a little brandy might be beneficial to the lady.

"Brandy! Brandy! did you say?" sounded in his ear like a knell, and he
was caught in the old man's trap. "Laws! young man, she'd as soon
drink a rattle snake; she's down on brandy; she's down on the hull of
that infarnel stuff. Spirits of every kind is her abhorrence.

The Doctor was highly amused at his friend's predicament, and, giving
him a sly wink, remarked, "Beer will do as well, Ned, and it is
perfectly harmless, you know."

The Doctor's turn had come, In a still higher stage of excitment,
daddy pounced upon him. "Young man," he thundered, "beer harmless?
'tween you and me, lager beer is the devil's pison, slow but sure.
Don't you believe me?"

"Coax him away, Sorrel Top," said Little Wolf, rousing herself.

"Come, daddy, Miss DeWolf wants us to be off, she says so," said
Sorrel Top, resolutely approaching him.

"Me go! O, no, 'tween you an' me, I must stay and protect the love."
The Doctor was instantly released. His assailant had embarked in a new
enterprise. But Sorrel Top was firm.

"What good are you doing, I should like to know," she said.

"What good be you a doing, you, hussy?" reiterated daddy; don't you
hear mammy blowing the horn; 'tween me an' you, she's short winded.
I'll protect the pet."

"Never mind me, daddy," said the young mistress, now quite revived;
"if you ain't afraid, you had better assist mammy."

She had touched her would-be-protector in a sensitive spot, and he
vehemently ejaculated "me afraid; not I. 'Tween you and me, what
should I be afraid of, I would like to know?"

"Why, of Bloody Jim."

The old man glanced dubiously towards the door, and slid out.

Edward eagerly seized the propitious moment to formerly introduce
himself and companion, to their fair preserver. Mutual explanation
followed, and Little Wolf cordially welcomed our friends to Chimney
Rock. "Father is at the brewery," she said, "he'll be in directly; the
horn is our alarm bell."

"Is there any further danger to be apprehended?" said Edward; "I think
you killed them both."

Little Wolf suddenly changed countenance.

Her beautiful, bewitching face had been half hidden by curls, and
covered with blushes, from the moment her faintness had passed off,
and, but for the twinkle of those mischief-loving brown eyes, and
certain unmistakable movements of her slight figure, she might have
passed for meekness itself. To those, therefore, who were unacquainted
with her peculiarly nervous and impulsive temperament, the change in
her apperance was rather surprising. With one sweep of her plump
little hand, she tossed back the ringlets from her brow, and
frowningly declared she wished she had killed them. "I didn't kill
them, though," she said, "or, at all events, I killed but one; the
other, Bloody Jim, he's called, I cannot kill. I've tried it before.
He's my evil genius. He carried me off bodily, once, just before I
went away to school."

"Indeed," said Edward, deeply interested, "how did you escape?"

"O, a gentleman rescued me."

Edward said "indeed" again, but his tone was _slightly_ changed. He
did not feel _quite_ as comfortable, as he had a moment before; but in
the unpleasant scene which immediately followed, his chagrin passed
unnoticed.

The sound of the horn, had brought to the house, all the loungers at
the brewery who were in a condition to render aid, and some who were
not. Among the last named was Dr. DeWolf, who staggered to the parlor,
and boisterously demanded, "What's all this fuss about?"

He was in the first stage of drunkenness, and consequently more
difficult to manage than he would have been an hour or two later, when
he was usually brought home in a helpless condition.

Little Wolf made a desperate struggle to appear composed.

"O, nothing," she replied with the slightest possible quiver in her
voice, "I saw Bloody Jim, that's all."

"That's enough," murmured the parent, sinking into a chair. The very
mention of that name seemed to have completely sobered him. For,
bloated and inebriated though he was, paternal love still lived, a
green spot in the waste, which alcoholic fires had not yet burned
out. He sat for a moment in silence, pressing his hand to his brow,
and then, without appearing to notice his guests, abruptly left the
room.

His daughter hastily excused herself, and followed him. Once outside
the door, she drew a long breath, but shill choking down her mortified
feelings, she bounded across the adjoining room, and meeting mammy,
paused to give a few necessary orders.

"O, laws, honey," objected mammy, "I can't do nothing, and I can't get
nobody else to do nothing. O, laws, honey, what if Bloody Jim should
come? the men are half of 'em drunk; we'll all go to destruction
together."

"O, fudge, mammy, Bloody Jim is shot; there's no danger. Come, now,
you do as I tell you. I _must_ go to my room a minute." and she flew
into the hall and up the long staircase, as if she had wings, leaving
mammy muttering to herself.

"Poor motherless child; sich as this is enough to make the honey
stiddy; dear me, there's no stiddying her--clean gone mad, I
declare.



CHAPTER IV.

    MORE TROUBLES--WHO WAS BLOODY JIM--HIS ATTEMPT AT KIDNAPPING
    LITTLE WOLF--THE CAUSE OF HIS HATRED AND OF THE TERROR HE
    INSPIRED.


Quite like a little fury, Little Wolf burst into her own private
apartment. Locking the door, she stopped suddenly and stamped, in a
paroxism of grief and vexation.

"A drunkard's child!" she said scornfully "Disgrace!--I hate
everybody!--I wish I'd shot myself!--I wish I was dead!--I wish
father--" she did not finish the sentence; a loud knock at the door
interrupted her.

"Who's there?" she asked.

"Me," said Sorrel Top.

"Go away," said her young mistress, imperatively.

"Mammy sent me," said Sorrel Top, "the Doctor is dying."

"O, God!" exclaimed Little Wolf, in an agony, "I have got my wish."

Trembling violently, she descended to the parlor and found her father
stretched out on the sofa in an apoplectic fit. Wild and reckless as
her words had been, Little Wolf would not for the world have seen her
wishes fulfilled, and she was spared the remorse, which under the
peculiar circumstances, her father's death would have occasioned.

Not having perceived how completely her information respecting Bloody
Jim, had brought her father to his senses, she little dreamed that,
while she was giving orders to mammy, he was in another part of the
house inspecting the fastenings of the doors and shutters. Finding all
secure, he returned to the parlor, in order to learn the particulars
of her meeting with the being, whose very name had created such
terror and dismay throughout the household. Observing young Sherman
and Dr. Goodrich, he attempted to address them, but suddenly lost the
power of speech.

It was many hours before Dr. Goodrich dared give any encouragement of
his recovery to his almost distracted daughter. All night long, she
watched, with the young physician and Edward, by his bedside.

Daddy and others, kept a bright look out for the enemy; but he had
been too badly wounded, to attempt any further violence that night.

For reasons unknown to any except the parties concerned, Dr. DeWolf
had, in the person of Bloody Jim, a revengeful and deadly enemy. He
belonged to the Red River half-breeds. Several years before, while a
company of his people were encamped in the vicinity of St. Paul, on
the upper Mississippi, for the purpose of trafficking with the
whites, Dr. DeWolf had paid them a chance visit.

As some alleviation to the insupportable loneliness, which the recent
death of his wife occasioned, he accepted the invitation, of his
friend and financial adviser, Squire Tinknor, to spend a few weeks
with him, in the place above mentioned. This friend, was
unfortunately, for a man of the Doctor's irregular habits, wealthy,
wild and dissipated. Together they sought out and visited every place
of amusement. Returning in company, from a horse race, one pleasant
afternoon, they came in sight of the tented village, occupied by this
demi-savage people. The novelty attracted the Doctor's attention and
he insisted on alighting. "I must see what they've got in there," he
said, pointing towards a tent from which the sound of music was heard.

Peeping slyly through a crack in the canvas, he saw the music-maker, a
young girl, carelessly drawing a bow across the strings of a
dilapitated violin, while her own very sweet voice, dropped out a gay
stanza, in broken English. She was alone; so the Doctor boldly lifted
the door and went in. Five, ten and fifteen minutes, his companion
impatiently awaited his appearance, and at length, seriously disturbed
at his absence, he shouted his name.

"Yes, yes," said the Doctor from within, "I'm coming."

"What detained you so deuced long," said his friend, when they were
again on their way.

"O, playing the agreeable to a little fool, who was sawing away on a
greasy fiddle," said the recent widower of forty-five, or more. He was
careful not to mention that the "little fool," was beautifully formed,
with ruddy checks, with dark, loving eyes and, being rather handsome
himself, he had conceived the idea of captivating her silly heart. The
story of the "Spider and the fly," fitly illustrates the means by
which his purpose was afterwards accomplished.

His inamorata had innocently informed him that her protector,
"brother Jim," spent the most of his time in the city, and the Doctor
soon discovered that her savage looking relative frequently drank to
excess. Under such favorable circumstances it required but little
management to elude his vigilance. But, after the mischief was done,
it was not so easy to escape a brother's revenge; especially as that
brother's naturally ferocious nature had already acquired him the
title of "Bloody Jim."

Not many months after the Doctor had returned home, his punishment
began. He had just gone to the brewery to spend the evening, when his
little daughter came running in.

"O, papa," she exclaimed, panting for breath, "I met such a great tall
man out here--he wasn't an Injin--he talked a little like one, though.
He had on a blue coat with bright buttons, and he had such _awful_
eyes; O, dear!"

"What did he say, daughter?" said the Doctor, catching up his child,
and pressing her to his heart.

"O, he said, 'what name?' I told him papa always called me daughter,
mamma used to call me Little Wolf, and daddy and mammy called me
honey, pet, dove, love, and _every thing_, I wish I had a regular
name, papa--I mean to give orders to be called Little Wolf, for mamma
knew best, and she called me so."

"Little Wolf it shall be," said obedient papa. "But what next did the
man say?"

"O, he said 'papa's name.' I said Dr. DeWolf; than he made such a
coarse noise in his throat, just like an Injin; I thought he wanted to
get me, so I ran in here, quick."

Dr. DeWolf groaned in bitterness of spirit. He thought of Bloody Jim,
and was tortured with vague fears of what might be. He did not spend
that evening in drinking at the brewery. But it was the last night his
child knew a father's care. After that, he did nothing but drink,
drink. He had drank before, in spite of the pleadings of his wife,
whom his conduct had brought to a premature grave, and, as trouble
increased, he drank yet the more.

From the moment Bloody Jim saw the Doctor's beautiful child, he worked
to gain possession of her and spared her father's life for a time. In
pursuance of his plans he returned to the Red River country and
gathered about him a set of lawless wretches, whom he had before led
on to deeds of violence, and brought them to Chimney Rock. The gang
secreted themselves among the towering bluffs in the vicinity, and,
while watching for their prey, robbed all who came in their way. The
frequent outrages committed on travellers, spread alarm throughout the
surrounding country, and officers of justice were dispatched in search
of the perpetrators. In this state of affairs, Bloody Jim, resolved at
once to make a bold attempt to capture the coveted prize, and quit the
country. Selecting for his purpose, the hour when the Doctor was in
the habit of leaving home for the brewery, he lurked in ambush, until
Little Wolf, who usually accompanied her father the most of the way,
should return home alone, and, when the opportunity came, seized
suddenly upon her, and, in spite of her struggles, bore her away
towards the river. Leaping into a canoe, he threatened her with
instant death, if she made the slightest resistance, and pushed out
for the opposite shore. It was quite dusk when they landed on the
other side. The poor frightened child, now for the first time broke
the silence. She begged to be taken home again; but her captor only
laughed horribly. "I Bloody Jim," said he; "how you like to be my
wife?"

"O, take me home, I'm only a little girl," pleaded Little Wolf with
quivering lip.

"You be big, by and by."

As he said this, an unseen hand laid him senseless on the beach. The
same individual who dealt the blow, returned the child safely to her
home, and leaving her to tell her own story, disappeared.

A chill of horror crept over the Doctor, when mammy, the next morning,
related to him, her pet's adventure. He wrote immediately to his
friend, Squire Tinknor, for advice. "Send the child away to boarding
school," was the counsel given, and forthwith, the Doctor acted upon
it.

Four years at school, and a winter of fashionable life in New York,
transformed the little miss into an accomplished young lady.

When about to return home, she purchased a superb brace of pistols. At
her request, Mr. Marston, the brother of the young lady whose
hospitality she had shared, selected them for her. As he was one of
those quiet, fatherly sort of young men, who naturally win the
confidence, if not the love, of young ladies, she felt no hesitancy in
opening her heart to him, on the subject of the pistols. She also
related to him the story of her wonderful escape from Bloody Jim, and
positively declared that if he ever came near her again, she intended
to shoot him through the heart.

"But how would you reward the person who rescued you," said Mr.
Marston, eagerly.

"O, I'd do anything in the world for him," she replied, "if I only
knew who he was."

"Would you love him?"

"Yes, I'd love him."

Just then the peculiar expression of her sober friend's face startled
her, and she added, with one of her merry laughs, "provided he was not
a poky old bachelor."

The bachelor perceiving that his time had not yet come, allowed the
little would-be Amazon to depart, without again making the slightest
approach to the subject nearest his heart.

Her skill in the use of the silver-mounted weapons, excited great
admiration in the breast of daddy, whom she usually allowed to assist
in setting up a target, because she could not well get rid of him. His
eulogies were, on the whole, rather gratifying to her vanity, for
before his sight failed him, he had been no mean marksman.

Entirely unconscious of the dangerous resistance to be met, Bloody Jim
made his second attempt on Little Wolf's freedom. She was returning
from a long tedious walk, among the bluffs, at the close of a Spring
day; her revolvers hid away in the holders, beneath her mantle, when
suddenly, her enemy appeared in her path. Little Wolf stood for a
moment as if spell-bound. Again she heard that horrid guttural laugh
and saw those fiendish black eyes. "I got you now," was all he had
time to say, before a ball from her pistol pierced him. She saw him
fall, and fled. As nothing more was heard from him, or his men, it was
generally supposed that Little Wolf had put an end to his life.

Like one risen from the dead, he appeared to her in his attack upon
Dr. Goodrich and Edward Sherman, at the Pass. She knew he must have
gone there to watch for her, and in saving others, she had also saved
herself.



CHAPTER V.

    DR. GOODRICH LEAVES WITH DADDY AS GUIDE--DADDY'S WAR-LIKE
    PREPARATIONS--HIS TESTIMONY TO THE CURSE OF STRONG
    DRINK--WHAT THEY DISCOVERED ON THEIR WAY TO THE VILLAGE.


Morning dawned fresh and beautiful. Dr. DeWolf's symptoms continued
favorable. Refreshed and re-invigorated, after an hour's repose, the
watchers gathered around the breakfast table with cheerful faces. Too
young and mirthful to be very seriously affected, for any great length
of time, by what had occured, Little Wolf joined with her guests in
sipping coffee, and talking over the events of the preceeding evening
with becoming composure.

During the meal, she slipped out to peep into the invalid's apartment.
As she flitted from the room, the Doctor turned to Edward, who was
gazing after her with an expression of intense admiration. "Ah, Ned,"
said he "your time has come."

"Fact, Doctor, I do feel queer. The little witch is too much for me."

"What can I do for you?" said the Doctor, with a professional nod.

"O, leave me here to-day, Doctor. Positively, I can't go back with
you."

"What, Ned, allow me to fight my way alone, through a band of
desperadoes?" said the Doctor, with feigned trepidation.

"Pshaw, Doctor! there's no danger; their chief is dead, or wounded,
and they've fled long before this time."

Their young hostess broke in upon the conference with a smiling face.
"Papa is resting very quietly," she said; "but I fear a return of his
complaint. I shall feel anxious 'till you return, Doctor, if indeed,
you still think you must go back this morning. Could not Mr. Sherman
go for you? Daddy might show him the way."

Edward cast an imploring look towards the Doctor, who magnanimously
sacrificed his own ease to the wishes of his friend. "It will be
necessary, for me to go myself," he replied; "but give yourself no
uneaseiness, Miss DeWolf. I do not think your father will have a
second attack. I will accept your offer of a guide, and, with your
permission will leave my friend, Mr. Sherman, as my proxy."

There was a slight dash of malice in the Doctor's last words, which
Edward was too grateful to notice.

When the hour for setting out arrived, daddy appeared, armed and
equipped, for what his fears had magnified into an exceedingly
perilous journey. At sight him, of Little Wolf burst into an
uncontrollable fit of laughter. His little, insignificant figure was
girded by an old leathern belt, which was literally stuck full, of
such weapons as he could hastily pick up, about the premises.

"Bless me! what do you expect to do with that outlandish outfit?" said
his young mistress, when she was able to speak.

"Why 'fend myself, to be sure," replied the old man indignantly.

"O, fie, daddy," said she coaxingly; take off that heavy old belt. Why
it makes you look so, and sweat so, too. Come, now, if you will, I'll
lend you one of my pistols."

The old man's rising temper was quite mollified, at the proposal of
Little Wolf; for to sport those pistols, had been an honor, to which
he had hitherto aspired in vain.

"Well, now, I'll explain the case, honey," said he, attempting to
approach her; "'tween you and me--"

"O, no, no," said Little Wolf, putting her fingers to her ears, and
slipping our of his way.

"Bless her heart," said daddy, turning to the Doctor; "that's just the
way she used to run away from me, when she was a little gal. 'Tween
you and me, though, I was only going to tell her, how it wasn't the
heft of this ere belt, that made me sweat so. It was sharpening these
ere, on the old grindstone," and he drew forth a couple of large
butcher knives, which glistened brightly in the sunbeams.

"O, those knives are just what mammy wants in the kitchen; I heard her
say so," said Little Wolf appearing on the piazza with the pistols.

It required a vast amount of coaxing to bring the old man to terms,
but finally a compromise was effected, and stowing a knife away in his
coat pocket, he set out with one of the pistols, the Doctor being
armed with the other.

Instead of the short cut of the night before, the Doctor chose the
more circuitous route through the village; if a cluster of dilapidated
houses might be dignified by that name. Dr. DeWolf's old brown
residence, situated on a high hill, with its piazza stretching across
the front, was the most imposing edifice to be seen. The remaining
comfortless dwellings, mostly log cabins, and board shanties, with
their broken windows and ragged inmates, who flocked out to gaze at
the strangers, presented an appearance desolate in the extreme. Even
the shadow cast by old Chimney Rock, after which the place was named,
added a darker aspect to the scene. Chinmey Rock was an irregular old
bluff, standing like a grim old castle by the riverside, its
chimney-like summit, rocky and bare, the most conspicuous object in
the landscape.

"What a God-forsaken place," exclaimed the doctor, involuntarily.

"'Tis so, this ere is a broke-down, one-horse concern, and that ain't
the wust on't, nuther," said his companion; who was almost bursting
with communicativeness.

"Well, what is the worst of it?" inquired the Doctor, as much to
gratify the old man's weakness, as to satisfy his own curiosity.

"Why, Doctor, 'tween you an' me, there's awful doin's here. Ye see,
sence that saloon was sot up in one end of the old brewery, all the
men here have got to drinking, and 'tis astonishing how men will act,
when they git soaked in liquor. I've heered temperance lecturers tell
stories that would make your har stand on ind; that was when I was
young, and there was a great excitement on the subject. I signed the
pledge then, and I never broke my word on no account, or I expect I
should be as bad as the rest of them here. I've had to stand out agin
hard persuasions. They've tried to git me to take a glass of lager;
sez they, 'lager won't hurt nobody;' sez I, 'it's hurt you.' You see,
it don't require no argument, I can pint 'em to facts. Now, there's
Prime Hawley; when he come here to live, he was a fine, stiddy young
man; his wife was as pretty as a rose, and as happy as a lark.
Somehow, Prime got to going to that saloon. Well, I gin him fair
waning. Sez I, 'Prime, they'll get the halter on ye, if ye go there;'
sez he 'I guess not, a glass of lager won't hurt nobody;' but now,
sure as fate, he's the worst of 'em all. He's whipped and frightened
his putty wife most to death, and she's got sickly now. Some say he's
even jined Bloody Jim's gang. 'Tween--"

"Hark!" said the Doctor, suddenly interrupting the narrator.

Deep, agonizing groans were distinctly heard in the direction of the
Pass, which they were nearing.

"O, murder, what's that?" shouted daddy; and he wheeled his horse
about and gallopped homeward.

"Stop, come back here," shouted the Doctor, at the top of his voice.

The old man reluctantly obeyed. Approaching within a short distance of
the Doctor, he motioned that individual towards him. "O, Doctor,
'twont do fur to go furder," said he; "'tween you and me, I've heern
say, that's jist the way them robbers do, when they want to ketch
anybody. There goes that yell agin. O, that ere _is_ awful; we'll get
ketched; it won't do fur to stay here."

Exasperated beyond endurance at the cowardice of his guide, the Doctor
bade him remain where he was, while he went forward to reconnoitre. A
short ride round the point of the bluff brought him directly upon the
bleeding form of the desperado, who had attacked him the preceeding
evening. Hailing daddy, he alighted and approached the apparently
dying man.

"Prime Hawley, by gol!" exclaimed daddy, as he came up. "Why, Prime,"
said he, hopping briskly down from his saddle; "twixt you and me, how
did you get in this ere fix?"

"Oh! oh!" groaned Prime, "take me home; I'm dying."

"I'll take him home if you say so, Doctor," said daddy, "his heft is
nothing, and it's near by."

"Very well, I'll follow with the horses."

"I say, Prime," said the old man, when they had nearly reached the
home of the sufferer, "tween you and me, aint had nothin' to do with
Bloody Jim, have you!"

"Yes, I have; curse him!"

"He ain't nowhere 'bout here now, is he?"

"I expect not, oh! oh! I wish he was suffering as I am."

"O, Miss Hawley, 'tween you an' me, here's a sore trial fur you," said
daddy to a pale-faced, delicate looking woman, who met him at the
cabin door with looks of alarm.

Mrs. Hawley trembled violently, and her pale face grew a shade paler,
but she asked no questions, as she led the way to the bed. Her
silence, at first, impressed the Doctor with the idea that she was
accessory to her husband's guilt, and he watched her closely. No tear
dimmed her eye, no sigh escaped her, yet she seemed painfully alive to
the agony which her miserable husband endured, while the Doctor was
dressing his wound.

"Do you think he will live, Doctor?" she enquired in a sort of
hopeless, melancholy tone, as Dr. Goodrich was about to leave.

"It is an exceedingly critical case," replied the Doctor, "he may
possibly recover."

"'Tween you and me," said daddy, coming between them, "I'd like to
know how Prime got that shot?"

Poor Prime shook his head imploringly towards the Doctor, who went to
him, and quieted his apprehensions in a few whispered words. "I don't
care," said Prime, "only it would kill her to know it."

As they were passing the old brewery, when they were again on their
way, a man came out and accosted them. "Hello, old Roarer," said he,
addressing daddy, "how is Dr. DeWolf, this morning"

The old man straightened himself in his saddle, and preserved a
dignified silence.

With an oath, the man commanded him to speak, but daddy rode calmly
on; his indignation got the better of his cautiousness.

"I'll pound you to a jelly," shouted the man after him,

"I'll risk it," said daddy addressing the Doctor.

Now daddy was not really a natural coward. But it cannot be denied
that old age and extreme cautionsness had greatly moderated the
courage which he possessed in his youth. "'Tween you and me," he
continued, "that Hank Glutter is the meanest critter that ever trod
shoe-leather. I've heern poor Mrs. Hawley plead with him not to sell
Prime liquor, and I've heern him order her out of the saloon, and I've
follered her hum, to see how she took it. Well, it was dreadful to see
her goings on. She'd bounce on to the bed and groan there, then she'd
bounce up and throw herself on the floor and groan there, and moan and
holler right out; O, it seemed 'zif she never would get cool. She'd
walk the floor, and wring her hands and take on awful. Them was the
times when she was young and was full of grit--I've been watching her
lately, and she's acted rather different. Ye see she was down to the
brewery night afore last, I seen her coming hum and I knowed she was
dreadful riled about something, so I kept my eyes on her; Lord! if she
didn't drop, right down on her knees afore her bed, and let off all
her feelins in a wonderful strange way. Seems 'zif she just talked to
the Lord. When she riz up, she looked kinder quiet and resigned like,
just as she did to-day; sez I to myself, if there's a God in heaven,
he's heern that woman. I expected he would send fire down and burn
that old brewery that very night, but there it stands and that old
cuss, that hollered after me, is alive yet. 'Tween you and me, them
things is kinder strange, now aint they, Doctor?"

"Rather strange," replied the Doctor dryly.

After riding a few moments in silence, daddy ventured to make still
another attempt to open a conversation. "'Tween you and me, Doctor,
was you acquainted with Miss Sherman?"

"What Miss Sherman?" said the Doctor in surprise.

"Why, young Edward's mother, down in the old Bay State. I ain't heern
nothin' from the folks down thar since I left. I seed young Edward
didn't know me, but I've dandled him on my knee many a time, when he
was a leetle shaver. 'Tween you and me there was a gal working at
Judge Sherman's that I had a liking fur, so Sundays, I used to go down
thar sparking, I'd kinder like to know if that gal's spliced yet."

"What was her name?"

"Her name was Miss Orrecta Lippincott; they generally called her
Recta, in the Judge's family."

"Recta is single yet, I saw her just before we left; but why did'nt
you marry her?"

"'Tween you and me, Doctor, I was a fool, I've allers felt a kinder
hankering after her. I can't get over them fust feelings I had, to
this ere day. Is she handsome yit, Doctor?"

"Not very."

"Well, I used to tell her if she got old and grey, it wouldn't make no
difference in my feelins," said the old man, rubbing his great, coarse
hand across his eyes.

"'Tain't natur," he began after a moment's pause, "to keep our
feelings shet in allers. Now, mammy is chuck full of spunk since
she's married me, so I aint let on to nobody. Ye see, if she got hold
on't, she'd never give me a minute's peace."

"Well, why didn't you marry Miss Lippincott?"

"'Tween you and me, Doctor, I got it into my head that she liked Sam
Brown. Ye see, there was a man told me that he seed him and her kiss,
right afore Judge Sherman's gate. Wall, this feller was allers puttin'
me up to think that Orrecta was flirty like, and I was jest fool
enough to believe him, so I jest packed up my duds and cum out West,
with Dr. DeWolf. He'd been teasing me to cum 'long with him fur some
time. Ye see, I'd allers been his gardener, ever since he was married.
Miss DeWolf that's dead now, she sot heaps by me. 'Now, Philip,' says
she--ye see my real name is Philip Roarer--'we can't get 'long without
you, fur to milk the cow and make the garden'. I could see that her
eyes was a leetle watery like, and I knew that she hated to cum off
alone, with the Doctor, 'cause sometimes when he got a leetle tight,
he didn't treat her nun too well. But the Doctor got 'long fust rate,
when he fust got here; he didn't drink much and he made heaps of
money, he and a crony of hisn, named Squire Tinknor. He lives in St.
Paul now, and does the Doctor's business fur him yet. Ye see, Squire
Tinknor can drink a barrel of liquor and not feel it, but the Doctor
gets crazy enough, on nothing but lager. 'Tween you an' me, that old
brewery in the holler has played the devil with the Doctor. I told
Hank Glutter how it would be, when he fust sot up the saloon in't. Sez
I, 'Mr. Glutter, I'd rather you'd chop this ere right hand of mine
right off, than to place that are temptation afore Dr. DeWolf.' Sez
he, 'What's the harm of a leetle beer?' Sez I, 'Ain't you goin' to
sell nothin' else?' Sez he, 'O, I may keep a few liquors jest for
variety.' Seems zif I should sink when he said that are, but I jest
felt zif I couldn't gin up, so I let right into him. It didn't do no
kinder good though. Sez he, 'If I don't sell it somebody else will,
and I might as will make money on it as anybody.' Well, the long and
short of it is, Doctor, he has got rich on't and now, 'tween you and
me, he's kinder hanging 'round the honey, but I guess he'll git his
walkin' papers afore long; ye see, the honey she's alive, every inch
on her."



CHAPTER VI.

    THE SALOON KEEPER--COMFORTING REFLECTIONS--THE UNWELCOME
    CALL--DIABOLICAL PLOTTING.


Swearing vengeance on daddy, who had treated him with such unqualified
contempt, Hank Glutter entered his saloon. He was a young man of about
thirty years of age, rather below medium height. His form was well
developed, his complexion light, and his hair curled in luxuriant
ringlets. He was exceedingly vain of his appearance, and, when in good
humor, caressed his whiskers incessantly. He was of a respectable
family and his education was liberal, and yet he was nothing more
than a smooth-tongued, hard-hearted, revengeful villain.

He had aspired to Little Wolf's hand, but, on making some unmistakable
advances to that lady, he was promptly repelled.

The supreme contempt with which she invariably treated him exasperated
him to such a degree, that he conceived the diabolical project of
placing her in the power of Bloody Jim, with whom he had already had
some secret dealings.

At his suggestion, Bloody Jim made overtures to Prime Hawley to assist
in the undertaking. Prime, being in exceedingly indigent
circumstances, could not resist the tempting reward offered.

The plan to capture Little Wolf, and convey her across the river, in
her own skiff, to a point, where, having in mind his defeat on a
former occasion, he had stationed a guard, was well laid, but
miscarried, as we have already seen.

Bloody Jim was but slightly wounded, and he soon recovered
sufficiently to seek a place of safety, leaving Prime Hawley, as he
supposed, dead.

Hank Glutter could gather no satisfactory information from the
intoxicated set, who that night returned from Dr. DeWolf's, and, as we
have seen, daddy was disinclined to relieve his suspense; therefore,
he resolved to go in person to the Doctor's, and ascertain, if
possible, the precise position of affairs.

By way of smoothing his ruffled plumes, he hastily swallowed a
stimulating draught, and very soon a more complacent expression
settled upon his countenance.

Approaching a large mirror, he bestowed a momentary attention upon his
dress, but lingered lovingly over his glossy ringlets. "Miss DeWolf
was a fool to turn the cold shoulder to me," said he to himself, as he
gave the finishing touch to his soft flaxen hair. "I wonder if Bloody
Jim really got her. If he has, wouldn't she be glad to fly to my arms,
though."

These comforting reflections were entirely dispelled, when a few
moments afterwards, he was ushered into the parlor at Dr. DeWolf's,
and in utter astonishment, beheld Little Wolf on apparently intimate
terms with the handsome stranger. She was holding an earnest
conversation with Edward concerning her father, and did not at first
notice the presence of the intruder, who was, by this time, heartily
wishing himself behind his bar again. But, contrary to his
expectations, the young lady granted him a gracious reception, and
introducing him to Mr. Sherman, almost immediately excused herself to
attend upon the invalid.

The young men left alone entered into conversation, and, so well did
Hank Glutter conceal his true character, that Edward was quite well
pleased with his appearance, and at the close of the interview,
accepted a polite invitation to accompany Hank to his saloon, and when
there, was easily persuaded to take a glass of lager beer. The day was
hot and the lager of the finest quality, so before he left, he drank
several glasses more, and while thus engaged, confided to his
entertainer the whole story of his adventure with Bloody Jim.

"But what became of the men who were shot," said Hank, burning with
impatience to learn the fate of his accomplices.

"O, we left the dead to bury their dead, Mr. Glutter. Miss DeWolf is
confident there is a gang of the ruffians. I intend to make it my
business to look after them a little."

"So do I," said Hank, and as soon as Mr. Sherman was gone, he
proceeded to put his dangerous threat into execution, by calling upon
Mrs. Hawley.

"Good morning, Mrs. Hawley," said he in his blandest tone, as she
slowly approached the open door, in answer to his gentle tap. "Is
Prime at home?"

He was about to enter, but Mrs. Hawley quietly motioned him back, and
herself stepped outside, "Mr. Hawley is very ill," said she, "and
unable to see company."

"May I not be allowed to see him a moment?"

"No, sir."

"Just for a moment," he persisted, "I am really anxious to see Prime."

"No, sir; his life might be the forfeit."

"Now, really, Mrs. Hawley--"

"Mr. Glutter," said she, interrupting him, "have you forgotten your
conduct to me the last time we met?" and a burning spot came to her
cheeks, and scathing words dropped from her lips. "You know too well,
sir, that my home is desolate, my heart is broken, and my husband is
murdered, all through the influence of your cursed business. I thought
I would treat you politely, Mr. Glutter, but I cannot. God forgive me.
Leave me; the very sight of you makes me desperate. Leave me, I say,
if you would not again have the curse of a drunkard's wife fall upon
your blackened soul."

"What a perfect she-devil you are," said Hank, now throwing off all
restraint. "I mean to see Prime, spite of you."

"Try it, if you dare," said she, and her eyes flashed and sparkled
with a desperate purpose, as she planted herself in the door.

Just then, Dr. Goodrich and daddy, on their return trip, were seen
approaching.

"You'll repent this," said her persecutor with an oath, and
immediately withdrew.

He went directly to the cove where Little Wolf's boat was usually
moored. It was not there, and he took courage.

"Bloody Jim could not be hurt much," he soliloquized in an undertone,
"or he couldn't have taken the boat away. I shall manage that girl
yet, and that Sherman, too, if he don't take care of himself. They'll
be lovers, I see that plainly enough. So much the better; moonlight
walks will follow, as a matter of course. Now we'll see who will beat
in this game."



CHAPTER VII.

    MUSIC--THE WARNING--PREPARATIONS FOR WINTER INTERRUPTED--THE
    WELCOME BOAT.


Three months had passed, and during that time, Dr. DeWolf had entirely
recovered his health. Prime Hawley was up and doing, following with
renewed vigor his former pursuits; threats and entreaties had wrung
from him a half-hearted confession, but, out of pity for his wife, the
affair was hushed up, and he was saved from merited punishment.

Bloody Jim had not been seen or heard of, and he alone carried the
secret of Hank Glutter's criminal designs.

Edward Sherman had become an almost daily visitor at Dr. DeWolf's, and
while his friend Dr. Goodrich was establishing himself in his
profession at Pendleton, he was gradually gaining a more certain hold,
on the affections of Little Wolf.

Our heroine was still, to all appearance, the same little bundle of
contradictions that she had always been.

"There, I'm always sure to do the very thing I say I will not do," she
said to herself half pettishly, as she opened her piano with a jerk,
and ran her fingers carelessly, over the keys, one fine October day.

Very soon she was quite absorbed, in practicing a difficult piece of
music, which her lover had, heretofore, recommended in vain.

"O, Miss DeWolf, there's a squaw here that wants to see you," said
Sorrel Top, bursting suddenly into the room.

"O, she's begging, no doubt. Give her what she wants, Sorrel Top, I'm
engaged just now," and Little Wolf went on with her music.

"There, I told you so. I knowed Miss DeWolf wouldn't have nothing to
do with squaws, or injins, nor nothing else that's low," exclaimed
Sorrel Top, loud enough to be heard by her young mistress, who always
made it a point to do the very thing it was expected she would not do.

The dumpy little copper-colored creature, enveloped in an Indian
blanket, before whom Sorrel Top had drawn herself up with a triumphant
toss of the head, was just making a second plea, when Little Wolf made
her appearance.

"I want to hear music, do tell the lady I want to hear music," she
said in very good English.

"O, if that's what you want, come this way," said Little Wolf, leading
on to the parlor.

The Indian followed, pattering along in her soft moccasins, leaving
Sorrel Top quite crest fallen.

"Now here is where the music comes from," said Little Wolf, placing
her hand upon the instrument, and following her piece of information
with a lively air.

"Now, how do you like that?"

"It is very pretty; may I try to make music?"

"Certainly," said Little Wolf, vacating her seat with infinite
condescention. The maiden drew her blanket more closely around her,
and made it fast. Her exceedingly small and finely formed hands were
now at liberty, and, instead of the discordant notes which her auditor
fully expected, a flood of harmonious sounds burst upon her ear.

"What does this mean?" exclaimed Little Wolf in utter astonishment,
when the strains had ceased.

The performer bent upon her a long searching look, and enquired, "Are
you Miss De Wolf?"

"I am."

The strange visitor immediately rose and approached the door.

"There! stop; who are you?" demanded Little Wolf, vehemently.

"Hush! I was going to bolt the door," and she deliberately turned the
key in the lock. "I'm your friend, young lady, and I'm come to warn
you of impending danger."

Little Wolf slightly paled, but she stood firm awaiting further
developments.

"Too much time has been wasted already," she began, "Bloody Jim is
here, at Chimney Rock, waiting for the first favorable moment to
kidnap you, and murder your servants, and set fire to your home. He is
now more daring and reckless than ever. Three times you have thwarted
him, and he still carries the scars he has received at your hands.
This is the day, and, for ought I know, the very hour, that he designs
to fall upon you. It was to be when your father was helplessly
intoxicated, and yourself entirely off your guard. I think he has two
or three accomplices living in this place. I love Bloody Jim, steeped
in crime as he is, and I beg of you, if it shall be possible for you
to save yourself without taking his life, you will do so. I have now
done all I can for you; good bye."

"There, you shall not go," exclaimed Little Wolf, springing towards
her, "you must stay and assist me."

"I can do nothing more for you, Miss De Wolf, indeed, I cannot. I have
told you all I know. My journey has been exceedingly painful and
perilous, and I am completely exhausted. If I am discovered, I must
inevitably lose my life. I do not dread death, but if alive, and you
should be captured, I might possibly render you some assistance. Now
you must not detain me."

"Well, but who are you," persisted Little Wolf, "that you are able to
give me all this information, and yet cannot give me any aid?"

"I can, in all probability, aid you more by going than by remaining,"
said the other hurriedly. "My skin is stained, my clothes are stuffed
to give me this fleshy appearance, but you will recognize me if we
meet again. My name is Antoinette Le Claire. Now I _must_ go. The
good Lord help you," and she waddled off, in precise imitation of a
fat old squaw.

"Now I must be brave," thought Little Wolf, pressing her hand on her
brow, while she tried to think what plan to pursue.

Her first thought was for her father's safety, who was, as usual, at
the brewery, where he had gone soon after dinner, and as he had not
been there long, she hoped he was not, as yet, intoxicated.

Stepping to the door, she hailed daddy, who was busy storing away some
vegetables in the cellar, for winter use. "See here, daddy, I want you
to go down to the brewery as quick as you can, and tell father--well,
tell him I'm sick, and want to see him right away."

"'Tween you and me, honey,"--

"O, go, this minute, daddy," and she shut the door in his face, and
proceeded to the kitchen, where she found mammy quietly smoking her
pipe in the corner.

"O, mammy, where is Sorrel Top?" said she.

"Sorrel Top, why she's picking grapes for that are jelly you wanted
made. I'm going to help her when I git rested, and slick up a leetle."

"No, mammy, you must help me. Bloody Jim is around here somewhere, and
he's going to try to kill us all and burn the house. I've just sent
daddy for father, and you had better call Sorrel Top. I'll get my
pistols, and we'll secure the house."

"O, laws a mercy! how did you find it out, honey?"

"Wait 'till we are safe and I'll tell you."

"O, honey, did you tell daddy?"

"No."

"O, I'm awful glad, he'd be so flustrated you know."

"Yes, I know; now don't you get flustrated, and let it out quite yet,
you had better tell Sorrel Top, though."

Sorrel Top was duly informed, and they all set to work, and had made
what arrangements for their safety they could, when daddy returned.

"'Tween you and me, Honey, the Doctor can't come."

Little Wolf knew, by the expression on the old servant's face, why her
father could not come, and she went up close to him, and whispered,
"Is he very bad, daddy?"

"O yes, pet, 'tween you and me, he's dead drunk."

A shiver ran through the daughter at this intelligence, and she now
felt strong suspicions that Hank Glutter was implicated in her enemy's
plot, and the condition of her father indicated that the crisis was
near at hand.

"Well, daddy, cannot you get him some way?" she enquired, after a
moment's thought, "can't you get some of the men to help you?"

"There ain't nobody there but Hank Glutter."

"Well, won't he assist you?"

"Bless your heart, honey, no--he ordered me off when I was there just
now, and said things it wouldn't do for you to hear, no how."

"If you should write him a little billet and ask him, may be he
would," suggested mammy.

The note was speedily dispatched, and ran thus:--

    "Will Mr. Glutter do Miss DeWolf the favor to assist the
    bearer, in bringing her father home."

"Now, honey, 'tween you and me," said daddy, who soon after returned
in high displeasure, "that Hank Glutter can lie as fast as a hoss can
trot. He turned red clar up to his har, when he read your billet, and
sez he to me, 'go tell Miss DeWolf that I've sprained my right arm,
and can't lift a pound.'"

"The Lord be praised, there's a steamer coming," exclaimed Little
Wolf.

All eyes were instantly turned in the direction of the river, and
several miles away, the smoke bursting from the tall pipes of a
steamboat, and curling towards the clouds, was distinctly visible.

"Now, daddy, you must take that boat and carry a letter to--to Mr.
Sherman, and we'll see if we can't outwit Mr. Glutter."

"O, but, honey, 'tween you and me, them 'taters and things must be got
in. What if we should have a frost to-night, and spile 'em. Hank will
send the Doctor home when it's time to lock up, and it don't make much
difference whether he's here or there."

"Yes, it does, daddy, and I'm bound to have father home, now I've set
out, so you run to the landing, and give the signal."

"Hurry him up, mammy," she whispered to her housekeeper, and
immediately went to her writing desk.

"Laws, how can I leave them are taters, mammy?" he said, appealing to
his better-half.

"Laws, you can git back in time to kiver 'em up; you'll better let
'em spile and keep on the right side of the pet. Likely she's got
something _particular_ she wants to say to Mr. Sherman; girls is up to
sich things. There, now, you'd better leave, that are boat is heaving
in sight."

Chimney Rock was one of those insignificant points, on the Upper
Mississippi, where steamers seldom had occasion to land, and it became
necessary to hoist a signal, when any of the inhabitants wished to
take passage on a boat from that place.

Daddy vigorously waved his red flag to and fro, and the result was, in
ten minutes, he had embarked on board the steamer "Golden Era," with
Little Wolf's communication stowed safely away in his pocket.



CHAPTER VIII.

    THE LOVE-LETTER--DISCUSSION--A QUICK RIDE--TOO LATE--VIOLENCE
    AND DEATH.


Dr. Goodrich's cosey office, situated on the corner of Second and
Centre Streets, in the village of Pendleton, was a convenient lounging
place for Edward Sherman, and it so happened that on the very day that
Little Wolf had dispatched her messenger, he had repaired thither to
read his newspapers and letters, smoke cigars, and indulge in the
comfort which a confidential chat with a friend, generally affords to
a companionable mind.

"See here, Doctor," said he, depositing the bundle of mail matter on
the office table, and seating himself in an arm-chair beside it.

"Anything for me?" said the Doctor, who was busy arranging some
papers.

"A letter from _her_," said Edward, with slow, droll emphasis.

"Really, Ned, that is decidedly cool. How long do you propose to make
me wait for it?"

"Help yourself, Doctor. It's there among the papers," said Edward,
lighting a cigar.

Occasionally, Edward glanced over the top of his newspaper to observe
the animated countenance of his friend, as he perused the lines traced
by the hand of love.

Having thus marked his progress to the end, he enquired, "Now, Doctor,
what says my little sister?"

"She says, Ned, 'this is now the middle of Autumn.'"

"O, is that _all_?"

"Well, the next in order is,'and mother is expecting Edward home
soon.'"

"That is just what I have been expecting to hear for a week past,
Doctor. You know I have made my success with Miss De Wolf the
condition on which I should be induced to locate here. Well, I'm
pretty sure of her, and I have at length determined to hang out my
shingle, and go to work. I can see no way but to persuade mother and
Louise to come out here and live with us."

"Then, you are really engaged to Miss De Wolf, Ned?"

"Why, no, not exactly. I doubt whether we shall ever, really, be
formally engaged. I wouldn't be surprised if she told me, an hour
before our marriage, that she didn't intend to take me; but then, I
know she will. Poor old daddy has frequently volunteered the
information that the Pet will never marry a man, who has been guilty
of drinking a glass of lager beer. He says she is bitterly opposed to
anything that will _'toxicate_, but I suspect the experience she has
had with her father has put those ultra notions into her head."

"No wonder, Ned; the fact that there are hundreds of such cases as
Dr. De Wolf's has influenced my opinion on the subject to a greater
extent, perhaps, than any other, and really, I'm glad Miss De Wolf
favors total abstinence; I hope she will convert you."

"Never, my friend. I shall always adhere to the principle that a man
is capable of controlling his appetite, within the bounds of reason.
Let a man but _will_ to drink moderately, and he can."

"But, Ned, a person seldom _wills_ to drink moderately, but ends by
_willing_ to drink immoderately. Now in such cases what becomes of
your theory?"

"The fact is, Doctor, you and I have so often discussed the subject,
that I believe there is nothing new left to be said, on either side. I
wish Hank Glutter was here, and he would show you in five minutes, why
we should not deprive ourselves of the gifts of Providence, simply
because others have abused them."

"I pity a drunkard, Ned," said the Doctor, very quietly, "but I
despise a drunkard-maker, and the less conversation I have with one
of that class, the better."

The color quickly mounted to Edward's face, but a loud knock at the
door suspended his reply.

"Come in," said the Doctor, and in stalked daddy.

"'Tween you and me, Mr. Sherman," said he, approaching Edward, "the
honey has sent you a letter; here it is."

Edward received the letter with a mixture of surprise and pleasure,
which he could not conceal.

Unfolding it with nervous haste, he ran his eye over the few brief
lines. "Good heavens!" he exclaimed, starting to his feet, "Bloody Jim
is at Chimney Rock again."

Daddy sprang forward, with dilated eyes and open mouth, and fastened
his grip upon Edward, who comprehended in an instant why the old man
had not been apprized of the nature of his errand, and he resolved on
returning him to his former state of blissful ignorance.

"Let me see; have I made a mistake?" said he, again looking over the
letter, "Bloody Jim is not at Chimney-Rock, after all."

"'Tween you and me, what made you think he was?" said daddy, whose
panic began to subside.

"O, I saw his name, and took it for granted he was there. I did not
quite make out what was said."

"The billet was writ in a hurry, Mr. Sherman; you must excuse it. The
honey is the most distinctest writer I knows on. She got a wonderful
edication down thar, in New York; 'tween--

"Miss DeWolf wants me to go to Chimney Rock immediately," said Edward,
arresting the words on the lips of his garrulous visitor.

"Sartain, I know'd it."

"The Doctor will go with us, and I want you to go to Frink's stable
and order the horses; we will be ready by the time you come round."

"I'll dew it."

"Now in the name of wonder, what does all this mean?" exclaimed the
Doctor, as daddy slammed the door behind him.

Edward handed him Little Wolf's letter, which merely stated that
Bloody Jim was at Chimney Rock, and she was momentarily expecting
violence at his hands.

No time was lost in vain conjectures; a constable was engaged, and the
friends had already buckled on their armor, which consisted of pistols
and bowie knives, when daddy returned with their horses. They were
fleet-footed animals, and he was himself well mounted.

Not long were the horsemen in reaching the well-known "Pass," and as
they emerged from the trees, and approached the house, no indication
of the threatened hostilities appeared. But still they dashed along
over the fallen leaves and faded turf, and drew up in front of Dr. De
Wolf's.

All was quiet about the old brown house. They dismounted and
approached the door, daddy leading the way, with the air of a
conqueror. He saw in imagination his young mistress triumphing over
the discomfited Hank Glutter, and he greatly gloried in the
anticipated conquest.

His companions were secretly uneasy at the unusual stillness which
reigned around, and when he attempted to open the front door, and it
resisted his efforts, Edward anxiously stepped forward and knocked
loudly and hurriedly.

"Never mind," said the old man complacently, "I guess them women folks
have gone out. I'll just step around the back way, and let you in."

The gentlemen followed him without ceremony into the kitchen, and the
first object that met their horrified sight, was mammy, stretched
lifeless on the floor.

It would be impossible to describe the grief and terror which took
possession of daddy, or the agony of doubt which sent Edward like a
madman through the house. As he flung open the door of a spacious
sleeping apartment on the second floor, clouds of smoke and flame
drove him back. A pile of light bedding and other inflammable
articles had been set on fire near the centre of the room, but the
fire had not, as yet, communicated itself to the building, and Edward,
finding water near by, soon succeeded in extinguishing the flames.

While he was thus engaged, Sorrel Top emerged from an adjoining
chamber, trembling so as to be scarcely able to stand.

"Where is Miss De Wolf?" exclaimed Edward.

"O, they've carried her off; oh! oh! oh!"--and a long shudder shook
her frame.

"Sorrel Top," said Edward, assuming calmness in order to allay her
fears, "there is no immediate danger, and I want you to tell me as
distinctly as you can, all that has occurred."

"O, Mr. Sherman, Bloody Jim has been here. I expect it was he, and we
were watching for him, too, but we didn't any of us see him come. I
was watching on the east side of the house, and mammy was watching in
the kitchen, and I could see Miss De Wolf through the long hall,
standing right by that window there, looking out, and Bloody Jim came
up behind her sly, and catched her before she saw him at all. She
screeched out, and tried to get away, but he held her tight, and
hollered, 'come on, boys.' and two men run right in, and they tied her
hands, and stopped her mouth, and just strapped a big blanket around
her, and carried her off, and I ran and hid, for I thought they'd kill
me if they saw me."

"How long since they were here?" said Edward, eagerly.

"O, it's only a little while, and may be you can ketch 'em," said
Sorrel Top, brightening up a little.

Sorrel Top's reply infused a bright ray of hope into Edward's highly
wrought feelings, and, accompanied by his friends, he immediately
started in pursuit.

Just outside the house they met Mrs. Hawley, who informed them, that
sometime before she had seen three men going towards the brewery. To
the brewery they quickly went. The wily proprietor denied having seen
the fugitives, and feigned excessive emotion when informed of their
inhuman deeds.

"In what direction would you advise us to search, Mr. Glutter?" said
Edward.

"O, you had better strike off among the bluffs. They could hardly take
the river by daylight without being discovered. Probably they will
reach some point above here after dark, and cross to the other side
under cover of night. I will dispatch a messenger to Pendleton for
aid. My men, unfortunately, are gone after grain, and I am uncertain
when they will return. Dr. DeWolf, I am sorry to say, is perfectly
helpless to-day. While I was out a few minutes he helped himself too
freely."

Hank Glutter faithfully performed his promises. The same evening
officers of justice were sent out from Pendleton, and a party of young
men volunteered their services, and like Edward and the Doctor,
travelled many miles. But all in vain, Bloody Jim had escaped with his
prize.



CHAPTER IX.

    BLOODY JIM'S ADVANTAGES--THE FAINTING CAPTIVE--THE TRAGIC
    QUARREL--OUTWITTED AT LAST--THE REFUGE.


His intimate acquaintance with the wild region of country, over which
he directed his course, gave Bloody Jim an immense advantage over his
pursuers.

While they were floundering in treacherous sloughs, or climbing
unknown heights, he was riding safely and swiftly along in company
with his prisoner and the two villians, whom Sorrel Top described as
having assisted in kidnapping her mistress.

Little Wolf was so narrowly watched by the trio that escape seemed
impossible. As each hour bore her farther from civilization, and
nearer to the Red River country, her heart sank within her.

She was compelled to pursue her journey a large portion of each night,
and when her captors stopped for rest and refreshment, she was either
lashed to a tree, or bound, so as to be unable to rest with the
slightest ease or comfort.

Under such rigorous treatment her strength rapidly declined, and, at
the close of the third day, entirely failed. They had reached the foot
of a beautiful wooded bluff at a bend in the Mississippi, where the
town of St. Cloud has since been located. Here they were suddenly
brought to a stand; the poor jaded captive had fainted.

Bloody Jim saw her reeling in her saddle and instantly threw his
brawny arm around her frail form. Dismounting, and laying his
unconscious burden on a bed of dry leaves, which the wind had gathered
under a huge oak, he produced from his knapsack a bottle of brandy,
and proceeded to wet her face, and force a few drops into her mouth.

At the sight of the long-concealed bottle, his men chuckled with
delight, and as soon as Little Wolf exhibited signs of returning life,
they requested a "treat."

Bloody Jim, now deeming himself beyond pursuit for one night at least,
acceded to their wishes, and also himself indulged in his favorite
beverage.

Little Wolf gathered from their conversation and movements that they
designed to camp for the night at their present station, and their
occasional rude allusions to herself filled her with terror. She
struggled to throw off the oppressive faintness which she felt a
second time stealing upon her, but, when she saw Bloody Jim
approaching her, the horrors of her situation completely overcame her,
and she again swooned.

"Ugh!" grunted the disappointed savage, giving her inanimate form a
rude kick.

"She wake before morning," suggested one of his comrades
encouragingly, as he passed him the precious bottle.

Bloody Jim took it, put it to his lips, drained it dry, and handed it
back.

This was too much for his already half drunk consoler; he angrily
flung the empty bottle into Bloody Jim's face, and in retaliation
received in a twinkling his death stab.

Half breed No. 3 observed the transaction with evident satisfaction.
He applauded the murderer and cajoled him into furnishing from, the
bowels of his knapsack a fresh supply of the poisonous liquor.

After gratifying their rum appetite to the full, the athletic men
gradually became as helpless as infants, and, sinking on the ground as
the darkness gathered around them, they fell into heavy sleep.

In about an hour Little Wolf partially recovered, but, supposing
herself to be closely guarded, and still suffering from extreme
lassitude, she closed her eyes, and gradually fell into profound
slumber.

The hours glided on. The waning moon looked sadly in through the
branches of the old oaks upon the sleepers. There lay the murdered man
with his upturned, ghastly face; scattered near him were the fragments
of the broken bottle. Yet a little further on were the prostrate forms
of his guilty fellows, and still beyond reclined the innocent one.

There was a rustling among the leaves and light footsteps drew near,
and Antoinette Le Clare gazed upon the scene. She was still habited in
her Indian costume. Softly approaching Little Wolf she as softly awoke
her.

Little Wolf looked up wildly into the dark face that bent over her and
recognized it in a moment. Antoinette silently assisted her to rise,
undid her fetters, and taking her hand, noiselessly led her from the
spot.

The staggering gait of her companion disclosed to Antoinette her
extreme weakness hoping to revive her drooping energies she whispered
"Courage a little longer, Miss de Wolf, and you are safe."

"I've courage enough to put an end to them," said Little Wolf, with a
momentary flash of her wonted spirit, "but I'm so dizzy."

"Well, rest here while I bring my pony."

"No, I'll go with you," and by an act of the will Little Wolf forced
herself along until they reached the shaggy little Indian pony on the
glade.

This they both mounted, Little Wolf still struggling bravely with her
increasing illness. But it was all in vain; a violent fever was
seizing upon her. She was alternately distressed with hot flashes and
cold chills, and worse still, her mind began to wander.

Antoinette was in deep distress. Her plan to fly for protection to the
nearest settlement was completely frustrated. It was too far; she
could not hope to reach it in safety. But, thinking she might possibly
discover a place of refuge in some other direction, she turned her
horse and dashed off she knew not whither.

Having rode on for several miles over prairie and oak openings,
determining to put all possible distance between herself and Bloody
Jim, a most welcome sight met her view.

It was a log cabin standing on an eminence, comfortable in appearance
and snugly embosomed in a grove of trees.

As there was no enclosure around it, she rode close to the door, and,
without dismounting; knocked loudly with her riding whip.

An echo was her only reply. The same results followed repeated
attempts to obtain a hearing, and she came to the conclusion that the
house was either unoccupied, or the inmates were insensible to noise.
The former proved to be the case, and what was more unpleasant, the
door was firmly fastened.

Letting the invalid--whom she had supported partly by her arm and
partly by fastening her blanket around both--slide softly to the
ground, Antoinette dismounted and effected an entrance through a small
window. There was but one room in the dwelling, and this was scantily
furnished. A bed, a cook-stove, a flour barrel and a chest occupied
each a corner.

On a couple of hooks that were fastened to a beam overhead rested a
rifle, and from a peg at the side was suspended a violin. A hat, an
old pair of boots, pushed partly under the bed, and several other
articles of men's wearing apparel lying about the room, proclaimed the
abode of a single man.

The door was secured within by a wooden bar, which Antoinette speedily
removed, and, by extraordinary exertions on the part of her friend,
Little Wolf was removed to a comfortable couch in the cabin.



CHAPTER X.

    THE KIDNAPPER'S SURPRISE--ON THE WRONG TRACK--BLOODY JIM'S
    CAPTURE--THE POWER OF HABIT--DISPAIR--THE ROTTEN PLANK.


It was late on the following morning when Bloody Jim awoke. He rubbed
his eyes and scratched his head with a vacant stare, for he did not at
first remember where he was. When the objects by which he was
surrounded had sufficiently refreshed his memory he began to look
about for his prisoner and, behold, she was nowhere to be seen.

He ground his teeth with rage. "Ketchum," he said, giving his still
snoring companion a tremendous shake, "wake up, that d----d gal is
gone."

"Gone!" exclaimed Ketchum, starting up and beating around among the
bushes, "she aint gone far I reckon."

"She has too," said Bloody Jim, following his exclamation with an
oath.

"How do you know, Jim?"

"That horse she's taken, Ketchum, will travel like lightning."

Now it so happened that the animal alluded to had broken loose during
the night, and, as Bloody Jim had appropriated his services without
consulting his master, who was an honest farmer living in the vicinity
of St. Paul, the sagacious beast deliberately set out to return to his
former comfortable quarters.

The natural conclusion of the villains was that Little Wolf had fled
on their missing horse, and so when they had succeeded in finding his
track they followed it. Mile after mile of their former route was
retraced. Hour after hour they plodded on, scarcely stopping to give
their beasts necessary rest until the night overtook them, and then
were only delayed for a short time. They rose with the moon, and, in a
few hours actually came in sight of the deserter. He was drinking at
the river's brink within sound of the roar of St. Anthony's Falls.
Perceiving his pursuers approaching, the noble beast threw up his
head, gave a loud snort and darted off.

Bloody Jim gave an impatient grunt, but Ketchum clapped his hands with
delight. "Golly: the gal must be near here," said he.

"No, me think she got to the tavern on yonder hill. We must find a
hiding place, Ketchum, and me have the gal yet, or the constable have
me."

Bloody Jim little thought when he made his boast that he would be in
the power of the constable before night, but so it was. The riderless
horse having been seen at St. Anthony's, suspicions were aroused, a
search was instituted, and the result was the capture of the imprudent
and high-handed outlaw.

To all questions put to him concerning Little Wolf, he had but one
answer, "me not know."

Threats and bribes elicited nothing more and it was generally supposed
that he had murdered her. But as the whole affair was shrouded in
mystery, there was some few inclined to the opinion, that she was
secreted in some place, from which the protracted absence of Bloody
Jim would give her an opportunity to escape. Among the last named was
Dr. Goodrich and Edward Sherman.

The Doctor was not at the examination of the prisoner, and Edward
hastened to inform him of the result. He was at his old haunt, and, as
usual, under the influence of stimulus when Edward entered.

"No satisfactory information could be obtained from the old
scoundrel," said he, throwing himself upon a lounge.

The events of the past few days had worn upon him, and his anxious
look did not escape Hank Glutter, who turned away to conceal his
exultation.

"Poor fellow, he too mourns for her," thought Edward, mistaking his
movement for one of grief.

After a moment's silence, Hank poured out something from the bar.
"Drink this, Sherman," said he, passing it to Edward, "I see you are
tired; it will strengthen you."

Since Edward's entrance, Dr. DeWolf had sat gazing at him fixedly. The
bleared, dull light of his eyes gave place to a keen, wild expression
as Edward accepted the proffered glass.

"Mr. Sherman," said he, in an unusually strong voice, "do you see what
is in that cup?"

"Why, yes, doctor; it is wine."

"Yes, surely it is wine," replied the other "and your inexperienced
eye sees nothing more than a harmless beverage; neither did this
bleared and bloated old man see more than that in his wine years ago.
Ah! could he have seen in his youth the vision in his cup which he now
sees in that which you now hold to your lips, he might have been
saved from a life of disgrace and ruin. The chain which once bound me
was as light as that which now binds you."

"No chain binds _me_," said Edward proudly. "I need not drink this
unless I choose."

"It seems but yesterday, Edward Sherman since I addressed similar
language to your father, and well do I remember his arguments to
induce me to abandon every beverage that could intoxicate. I recollect
how I loathed the drunkard, as you do me, and how my proud heart
rebelled at the humiliating thought that habit would ever become too
strong to be controlled by my will; but boastings were vain; the time
will shortly come when I shall sink into a drunkard's hell--and you,
poor Hank, will be there too," he continued, turning to Hank Glutter,
"you will be sent down to wait upon your customers. You must stand
behind your flaming bar and pour out the liquid fire and brimstone for
such as I; but, never mind, the traffic will enrich you with showers
of molten gold. No drop from God's pure fountain to cool your parched
tongue. One long eternal blaze shall light up your saloon. Drunken
devils reeling to and fro--Oh! I see them now"--and the doctor gave, a
fearful shriek and fell upon the floor.

He raved frightfully for hours, but in an interval of calmness was
removed to his desolate home.

The loss of his wife had entirely unfitted daddy for active service,
and Sorrel Top, on account of her youth and inexperience, was an
inefficient nurse: consequently Mrs. Hawley's services were engaged.
Edward also bestowed every attention in his power, but the delirium
tremens had fixed upon his aged friend and his horrid imaginings
continued for days.

It was impossible for Edward, who was the soul of humanity, to witness
unmoved the doctor's terrible agony, and, at such seasons, he would
invariably resolve that he would put forth an effort to reclaim him.
"I will reason with him and show him the folly of his course," said he
to himself.

When the invalid was able to bear conversation, Edward approached him
on the subject as delicately as possible.

"Dr.," said he, "I am young to advise one like you, but if you would
permit me, I think I could prescribe a remedy for your disease, and
one that would ensure you a hale, hearty old age."

"I know what you would say, Edward," replied the Dr., rising upon his
elbow, "but I cannot do it. I cannot let drink alone. I must drink if
it kills me. Times without number I have forsworn it, and I will never
add another broken vow to my perjured soul. If you would be useful in
the cause of temperance, Edward, if you would save such as I, and,
what is more important, if you would save the young, then use all your
influence to stop the liquor traffic."

"Oh, I'm not at all ultra," said Edward, somewhat embarrassed, "I have
never given the subject which you mention much thought."

"Then it is high time you should," said the Dr., warming up with a
look of lofty enthusiasm, "I am sober now, Edward, and I may never be
in my right mind again. I _must_ drink to-day, I know I can get it,
and I will have it; I suppose you would say, 'if he will go to the
devil, let him go;' but I say, if there was no drink to be had, if it
were not sold here, if it were not sold elsewhere, I could not get it,
and I should be saved. A law prohibiting the sale of intoxicating
drinks is what is most needed. I know these sentiments coming from one
like me sound strangely, but, Edward, such a law enforced in my native
state would have saved me, and I know it. Such a law now enforced in
all our states would restore many a besotted husband to a
broken-hearted wife; many a lost son to a widowed mother, many a
darling brother to a distressed and mortified sister. It would bring
light and gladness to thousands of sorrowful hearts and homes; it
would feed the hungry, clothe the naked. Less blood would cry aloud to
heaven for vengeance, and less crime of every description would be
committed. This lovely territory will soon become a state; here you
will rise to eminence in your profession. I know it will be so. You
possess your father's talents, and you also possess his high social
qualities, which, at one time, brought him to the verge of ruin. Judge
Sherman did not at first love drink, but he often drank to please his
friends. His associates tarried at the wine, and he would be one with
them. The secret, Edward, of the fall of nine-tenths of our young men
is social drinking; now, moral suasion has saved many, and no doubt
will save many more. But would you give the serpent his death wound,
then bring the arm of the law down upon him and it is done."

"The prohibitory liquor law of Maine has been said to have worked
wonders," said Edward rather faintly, "but it is thought to be
unconstitutional, by many of our best lawyers."

"Undoubtedly it has been so declared," said the Dr., "but I would be
sorry to believe the opinion correct; would not you, Edward?"

The Dr. fixed his piercing eyes upon Edward, for he began to suspect
that his young friend's views did not coincide with those which he had
expressed.

Edward moved uneasily in his chair, bit his lips, and finally
stammered out, "Well, I don't know Dr., really, it seems like
depriving a man of his liberty to legislate upon what he shall, or
shall not sell."

"Even if he sells that which he knows will craze his neighbor's brain,
and cause him to commit the most atrocious crimes? When an individual
directly, or indirectly aids and abets crime, ought he to escape
punishment?"

Edward saw that he stood upon a plank of the rotten old platform, upon
which so many have broken through, though they still hold to the
decaying posts, and he ingeniously evaded the question.

"I'm afraid, Dr., you are over-exerting yourself," said he, "I will
leave you to rest while I walk out and breathe the fresh air."



CHAPTER XI.

    HARMLESS CONSPIRACY--THE GHOST--THE WIFE MURDERER--TIPPLING
    AND TATTLING--MISREPRESENTATIONS.


"Mr. Glutter, Dr. DeWolf wants you to fill this flask with brandy,"
said Sorrel Top entering the saloon of the former, about an hour after
Edward had left the latter to repose.

"Certainly," said Hank, with a bland smile.

"Allow me to speak with you a moment, Mr. Glutter," said Edward
Sherman, hastily leaving his seat near a billiard table, where he was
watching the progress of a game, and taking Hank aside.

They whispered earnestly together for a few moments. "Very well," said
Hank in conclusion, "I am willing to try that experiment if you wish
it, but the Dr. is very stubborn, I have often tried to check him."
Then turning to Sorrel Top, "Tell the Dr. I have no brandy."

"Has no brandy?" exclaimed the Dr. as Sorrel Top delivered her
message; "it's a lie. O, I see how it is; Mr. Sherman was there, was
he not?"

"Yes, sir."

Here the subject dropped, and the Dr. was unusually quiet and patient
during the remainder of the day. But when Edward kindly offered to sit
by him during the night, he would not listen to him.

"No, no," said he "I am quite well; the parade of watchers would only
disturb my rest," so Edward contented himself to retire about
midnight.

The Dr. lay perfectly quiet for an hour or two after Edward left him;
he then crept softly out of bed, partially dressed himself,
noiselessly out of bed, partially dressed himself, and then wrapping a
sheet around him, crept out of the house, by a window which opened
from the room to the piazza. Gliding down the steps and along the
well-worn path he soon reached the brewery, and, as he was familiar
with every part of the establishment, found no difficulty in gaining
access to the saloon.

The proprietor was lying fast asleep in a room from which he could see
and be seen by any one behind the bar. At the first click of the
bottles he partially aroused and opened his eyes upon his ghost-like
visitor.

Enveloped in white, and seen in the obscure light, the Dr.'s. most
familiar friends could not possibly have recognized him, and to Hank's
half awakened vision, he presented a really supernatural appearance.

Hank was not naturally superstitious, and, obeying his first impulse,
he shouted out, "Who in the d----l are you?"

The Dr. made a warning gesture with his hand, as if to compel silence,
and the audacious questioner instinctively recoiled further back in
his bed. His courage began to fail him, and a mixture of fear and
astonishment kept him silent while his visitor remained, which was
only long enough to secure the prize he was seeking among the contents
of the shelves.

Not suspecting the full extent of the paralyzing effect his presence
had had upon Hank, and fearing he might attempt to follow, the Dr.
took a circuitous route home, and in his haste stumbled over something
which he discovered to be a shivering, half naked child, crouched upon
the ground.

"What are you doing out here this time of night, my little fellow?"
said he.

"I'm afraid of papa," sobbed the child, "he said he'd skin me alive if
I didn't get out of his sight."

"What is your name? Where do you live? what bad thing have you been
doing?" said the Dr., all in a breath.

"I live in a shanty out there, I am Fanny Green. I ain't done anything
bad but cry, and I couldn't help it, for papa was striking mamma so."

"Well, come with me, Fanny, I'll take you to your home, and I won't
let your papa hurt you."

"Are you an angel?" said Fanny, feeling of the hand that held hers.

"No, I'm a man, my little girl."

"I thought you were one of those angels dressed in white that mamma
told me about; they take folks to heaven, and I want to go there, I
don't want to go home."

They had now reached the wretched hovel that the child called her
home, and she began to weep afresh.

"O, no, no! I dare not go in," she said, clinging convulsively to her
protector, "I'm afraid he will kill me."

While she was speaking, the door was roughly flung open, and her
unnatural parent rushed out, brandishing a heavy club; but, at sight
of the figure clad in white, he dropped his bludgeon and ran off,
howling like a wild beast deprived of its prey.

With a glad cry the child bounded into the shanty, and he heard her
childish voice saying "mamma, don't be afraid any more, papa has gone
way off."

On reaching his room, the Dr. was relieved to find that his absence
had remained undiscovered, and he drank himself off to sleep. He was,
however, suddenly awakened quite early in the morning by loud
exclamations coming from daddy, and, in the intervals, he
distinguished the sound of the same childlike voice which was
associated with his night's adventure. Immediately calling his old
servant, he inquired the meaning of the commotion.

"'Tween you and me," said daddy indignantly, "there's more
distruction; little Fanny Green's mother is dead; that brute of a
husband has fairly killed her; knocked her skull in with a club."

"When did it happen?"

"O, in the night; Fanny had run out door for to get out of his reach,
and 'tween you and me, she says a man with a white dress on led her
back, and she found her mother dead on the floor. O! we're havin' on't
dreadful now days; spirits walking the airth, never no good comes of
sich things."

The murder and the reputed ghost, whom several of the inhabitants
testified to having seen at the midnight hour, was the absorbing topic
of conversation in the immediate neighborhood where the tragedy was
enacted.

For several days succeeding the affair Hank Glutter's saloon was the
general rendezvous of the wonder-loving country people round about.
All appeared to enjoy the tippling vastly more than Hank himself.

It was not the thought of the needy wife sighing for the hard earned
shilling, with which to provide for the many little forms that must go
half clad, and the little feet uncovered during the approaching
winter, for want of those bits of metal ringing out so sadly as they
fell into his drawer, that clouded his unusually complacent smile;
neither was it the remembrance of the cruel part he had acted in
Little Wolf's abduction that shook his sin-stained soul. He affected
to discredit the appearance of the much-talked-of apparition, and yet
he was continually tormented with a vague dread of a second visit from
his ghost-ship, which he would have pursuaded himself was entirely a
creature of the imagination, had not his missing fourth proof brandy
bottle proved the contrary.

He had resolved not to mention the occurrence that had so strangely
disturbed him, but, being one day alone with Edward, who had called
particularly to make one of a company who were going out the day
following to renew the search for Little Wolf, he ventured to
communicate his secret to him.

"Why, Mr. Glutter, why didn't you tell me before?" said Edward smiling
in spite of the sad errand that had brought him there, "all this time
you have needlessly tormented yourself."

"How so, Mr. Sherman?"

"Why, Dr. DeWolf swallows a portion of that fourth proof every day. I
have no doubt it was he who paid you the visit. I am certain that he
knows something about the murder of Mrs. Green, and he must have been
the man in white that little Fanny talks about. I see it all clearly
now; Dr. DeWolf is the ghost, and he has kept his bed to prevent
suspicion."

"I was confident," said Hank with a look of infinite relief, "that the
Dr. would have his dram, spite of our machinations. I have known
several such cases of apparently insatiable thirst, and it was
impossible to keep liquor away from them. Sorrel Top's husband, Harry
Herrick, was the worst case of the kind that ever came under my
observation. He drank quite moderately at first, but suddenly appeared
to have lost all control over his appetite. I reasoned with him in
vain, and finally, out of pity to his family I refused him admission
here altogether. Well, the result was he stole from my cellar what he
could not beg; for the miserable creature was penniless, and before I
was aware of it, he actually drank himself to death. It happened while
Miss DeWolf was away at school, and on her return my conduct was
basely misrepresented to her, and she espoused the widow's cause and
took her into her family, and ever after has treated me with contempt.
However, I harbor no ill will towards Miss DeWolf. I would gladly make
one of your party, were it not entirely impossible for me to leave
here; but believe me, I wish you success, Mr. Sherman."



CHAPTER XII.

    THE COTTAGE IN THE GROVE--THE DISGUISE--BACK TO
    HEALTH--IMPATIENCE--SEARCHING THE BOX--ANTOINETTE
    LA CLAIR'S STORY.


Very sad and dreary seemed the hours to Antoinette La Clair, as she
watched by Little Wolf's bed side. While her loving hand bathed the
burning brow, and her soft musical voice soothed the wild ravings of
the invalid, she thought much upon the strange loneliness of their
situation. Day after day passed by, and no living soul approached the
cottage. She often wondered why it's owner came not, and it was a
mystery to her, why Bloody Jim had not discovered their retreat.

From the first, she had taken the precaution whenever she appeared
outside to disguise herself in the various articles of clothing, which
she found strewn about the house, and, as she went to procure water
from the spring, which was at some distance from the house, she would
assume the air and gait of a logy country boy. Her sun-burnt straw hat
with its crown piece flapping about in the wind; great coarse boots
slipping hither and thither on her little feet and her other generally
loose fitting attire would, but for her absorbing anxiety, have
excited rather more than a smile on her usually melancholly
countenance.

It was well that the fact of having remained unmolested for nearly
three weeks did not lesson her vigilance on one eventful occasion. It
was about sun rise; as she was toiling up the eminence with a heavy
bucket of water, which an occasional mis-step would send splashing
over her great awkward boots, she saw a man approaching the spring. It
was Ketchum; and, as she recognized him, her breath came quicker and
she hurried onward and upward. She had nearly reached the top of the
hill when she heard him calling out,

"Hello there, boy!"

She turned round, sat down her bucket and stood in a listening
attitude.

"I say boy, who lives yonder?"

"I du," she replied in exact imitation of backwoodsman twang, and,
taking a step or two downward, she stooped forward and appeared to be
attentively eyeing her new acquaintance.

"Be you the man they're looking fur?" she at length drawled out.

"Who's looking fur?" said he with a start.

"Them men at our house."

"No, you fool of a boy."

The last she saw of Ketchum he was hurrying off with all his might.

Antoinette fairly ran into the house and closing and barring the door
she fell upon her knees, and, from her full heart went up to Heaven a
song of thankfulness. Blessings multiply when gratitude reigns in the
soul; so while Antoinette still knelt a change came over Little Wolf
and consciousness returned.

"Where am I?" she faintly articulated, as her watchful and tender
nurse arose and approached the bed.

"You are safe, thank God," said Antoinette bursting into tears.

Antoinette now felt new courage, and, when Little Wolf was able to
bear it, she related to her that part of their flight of which the
illness of the other prevented her having any recollection; but
carefully avoided any allusion to her own personal history.

Little Wolf longed to penetrate the mystery that hung over her
benefactress, and she would often say to herself, as she sat propped
up with pillows watching Antoinette's quiet movements about the house,
"how I wish I knew more about her; what a romance!"

But as her strength increased, other desires shared her thoughts more
largely.

"How are we to get out of this place?" she frequently exclaimed, and,
as often, Antoinette would meekly reply, "The Lord will provide a
way."

"Well why don't the Lord provide a way to get us away from here?" she
said one day rather impatiently as she sat by the window looking out
into the sunshine, "I'm sure I'm well enough to travel now, and winter
is coming on and, when once the snow falls, we shall freeze and starve
shut up here."

"We shall hardly freeze with that big wood pile at the door, or starve
with a cellar full of vegetables," said Antoinette pleasantly.

"O Antoinette, I'm sure your faith hangs on the cellar and woodpile;
but, dear me, I've seen neither; I must peep into the cellar right
away."

"Let me lift the door for you Miss DeWolf."

A light trap door led to the vegetable kingdom underneath. One glance
at the potatoes, cabbages and onions, which were only a part of the
products of the garden, piled up in this ten by twelve hole in the
ground was enough, as Little Wolf declared, to strengthen the weakest
faith.

"Now, if we only had wings, we might mount to that nice dried venison
in the garret," she said, glancing upward through a square opening cut
in the rough boards overhead. "I wonder how they managed to hang it so
high; I do believe the place has been inhabited by a giant. Now where
shall we hide when we see him coming? O, I'll get into that huge
chest, we little folks might both hide there. I wonder I hadn't
thought of it before. Why I'm just beginning to feel like myself; I
see how it is, I've been petted and babied too long. Please help me
lift this heavy lid. O, its locked--O here's the key sticking just in
this niche, O--what a sight!"

Here indeed our heroine had penetrated into the mysteries of a
heterogeneous mass. Cooking utensils, carpenters' tools, crockery,
salt, pepper, and various other condiments used in the culinary
department were huddled together in one end, while the remainder of
the space was appropriated to books and clothing, and a bachelor's
work box, which, for all the order it boasted, might have belonged to
the indulgent mother of ten children.

Antoinette watched her friend with an amused expression of
countenance, as she flew from one article to another really delighted
to find some amusement, however simple, to while away the tedious
hours.

"O, John Hanford is our landlord's name. Here it is on the fly leaf of
this book, and here is a book purporting to be the property of
Antoinette La Clare. Why Antoinette, I thought the honor of
discovering the contents of this box belonged to me; but really I see
you have been here before me."

"No, Miss DeWolf, I never saw the inside of the box before, I thought
there was no key."

"Is it possible? Why what does it mean? Here is surely an old bible
with your name written in it in full, 'Antoinette La Clare,' now here
it is, you can see for yourself.

Antoinette eagerly took the book, and, having examined the name,
proceeded to look it carefully through. It was a pocket bible of the
English version in old fashioned binding, and bore marks of long and
frequent use.

Little Wolf watched Antoinette's varying countenance as she turned
over the leaves. A ray of pleasure, at first, lighted up her sad,
wistful face, but slowly faded leaving her apparently more wan and sad
than ever, as she returned the volume in silence.

A vague suspicion of evil crept into Little Wolf's mind. How came
Antoinette's name in the book and why was she so silent, and why had
she appeared so satisfied to remain where they were, if she knew no
more about their present abode than she had professed, were a few of
the many questions, which awakened distrust, suggested to her busy
brain.

The chest had lost its interest and down came the cover with a bang,
sadly startling poor Antoinette, who had walked to the window to hide
her fast falling tears.

Little Wolf saw the tears and Antoinette felt that she had seen them,
and the way was made easy for her to say, "O, Miss DeWolf, I'm a child
of sorrow. I am sometimes almost overwhelmed with sorrow. Come, let us
sit down together, and I will try to tell you why it is. It seems but
a few days since I gaily roamed about my childhood's home, hand in
hand with brother Jim, or bloody Jim, as he is called."

"Bloody Jim your brother! It cannot be so!" interrupted Little Wolf in
amazement, "I thought he was a half breed."

"So he is a half breed; and he is also my half brother; my father was
of French descent and, when a young man, he went to the Red River
country and engaged in trapping, and trading with the Indians. For
several years he made his home principally among the Chippewas, and,
like many others of his class, married an Indian women; brother Jim
was the fruit of this marriage. His mother was accidentally drowned
when he was quite an infant; soon afterwards my father returned to
Canada, leaving his little son in charge of his Indian grandmother.
While there he became acquainted with my mother, whom he made his wife
with the understanding that she should accompany him to his wild home
and be a mother to his motherless child. Perhaps it may be a mystery
to you, Miss DeWolf, that a young and cultivated woman could have been
so readily induced to expose herself to the hardships and dangers of
frontier life."

"O, no!" broke in Little Wolf, enthusiastically, "not if she did it
for love."

"What do you know about love, Miss DeWolf?"

A conscious blush overspread the pale young face, for Antoinette
accompanied the question with a wistful enquiring look, that seemed to
reach to her very heart.

"O nothing, my very good, penetrating friend; please go on with your
story. Was your mother happy?" she asked with a kind of nervous
haste, as if to compel an immediate compliance with her request.

"I can not say," said Antoinette very obligingly relieving the
embarrassment she had occasioned, "I should think she must have been
happy, though, for I believe her short life was a very useful one. She
died at my birth having been a wife but one year. During that time,
she had by many acts of kindness greatly endeared herself to the
savages, and the young Indian woman, who had assisted her in nursing
brother Jim, for the love she bore my mother, reared her little
daughter with unusually tender care. My father survived her loss but a
few weeks, and then brother Jim and myself were thrown entirely upon
the care of our kind nurse. My mother had taught her to read and she
in turn imparted such instruction to us as she had received, or rather
I should say her pains were mostly bestowed upon me, for I was her
pet.

Brother Jim grew up like the savages around him, only, if possible,
more vindictive and revengeful in his nature. I was the only being
for whom he seemed to entertain the least affection, and he certainly
lavished upon me wonderful tenderness and love. In his early youth he
gathered for me the rarest flowers, and, as he grew older, he brought
me game and the choicest fruits, and seemed never so happy as when
promoting my comfort. For my amusement he brought me a violin from the
distant settlement of Pembinaw, and at length, gratified my curiosity
by taking me with him in one of his frequent visits thither. While
there my fair skin attracted the attention of a missionary's family,
and as brother Jim was rather proud of my parentage, they readily
elicited a correct account of my birth from him, and by appealing to
his pride, at length wrung from him a reluctant consent to place me
for a time under their tutorage, where, beside making rapid progress,
I cultivated my naturally correct taste for music. Under their
hospitable roof, amid the refinements and courtisies of civilized life
I spent many happy months."

"At length the last painful illness of my faithful nurse, who had
never ceased to mourn my absence, recalled me to her. After her death
I was exceedingly sad and lonely, and, to add to my sorrows, brother
Jim had acquired a love for strong drink, and frequently came to our
lodge in a state of intoxication. I grieved over his infatuation and
reasoned with him in his sober hours, but all in vain; he grew worse
and worse, and often treated me harshly, In despair I went to the
trader who I knew supplied him with whiskey and entreated him with
tears not to sell him any more. I received from him only insults."

"Of course, you might have known what to expect from one of that
class," said Little Wolf with flashing eyes, "I discovered long ago,
that there was no mercy in the heart of the liquor dealer. They know
it's a mean business and any one who engages in it must first harden
his heart enough to turn away from tears of blood."

"I don't think _all_ who engage in the traffic realize the
consequences accruing from it," Antoinette mildly replied. "I am sure
no humane person would continue in it, if they once took into
consideration the vast amount of misery occasioned by it. I am sure
brother Jim was bad enough before he began to drink; but after that he
became as unmanageable as a wild beast. Still, alone in the world, I
clung to him with all the warm affection of my nature.

"A few months after the death of my nurse, he was pursuaded to join a
party from Pembinaw, who were going on their annual visit to St. Paul
for the purpose of trading with the whites. At my earnest request he
permitted me to accompany him. I was then in my fifteenth year, and
mere child as I was, he left me the first day of our arrival entirely
alone in our encampment at St. Paul, while he went with the rest of
the company to the city.

"By chance a gentleman passing, heard the sound of the violin, with
which I was beguiling the tedious hours, and came into my tent. At
first I was quite alarmed at sight of a stranger, but his words and
manner immediately won my confidence, and put my fears to rest, and,
I confess, I was lonelier when he left me and glad when he came again.
He knew my unprotected situation, and always made it a point to come
when brother Jim was absent. It would be quite impossible for me to
describe to you the subtile influence which this person gained over
me. I learned to love him with all the ardor of which my passionate
and imaginative nature was capable. It was the first unbounded
devotion of a warm and innocent heart that he betrayed. I have no
words with which to convey an adequate idea of the anguish which I
suffered at parting with him. He promised to follow me and make me his
wife, but he never came, and at a time when I was least able to bear
it, I was subject to brother Jim's fury. His cruelty brought me near
to death, and my sufferings only aggravated his bitterness and wrath.
With awful curses he swore vengeance on the man for whom I would even
then have laid down my life.

"As soon as my strength would permit, I fled to my friends at
Pembinaw. I told them all, even of my shame, which a little grave had
forever hid from the world. Like true Christians they soothed my
sorrows, and gave me the place in their family which their only
daughter, who had married and left them during my absence, had
occupied. Several years had passed away, and the good missionary died.
His wife soon followed him, and I was again left alone. I had never
seen brother Jim since I left him, but had frequently heard of his
wicked deeds. I thought now that I would go with my life in my hand
and seek him out and try once more by affectionate pursuasion, to
induce him to give up his reckless life. Accordingly, I mounted my
pony and set out for my former wild home. Reaching the lodge after
nightfall, to my surprise I heard voices within. I did not go in, but
stood listening at the entrance. I heard brother Jim and his
companions propose a plan to capture you. They were to start that very
night; so I hid myself among the trees and waited until they were
gone. Then I went in for the night, and the next morning set out to
do what I could towards rescuing you.

"Now I have told you all, Miss DeWolf, and our Heavenly Father alone
knows our future. As for my name in that bible, you know as much about
it as I do. I never saw the book before."



CHAPTER XIII.

    TWOFOLD AGONY--DR. GOODRICH'S PROMISE--HOME AGAIN--LILLY
    FOOT--THE CONVALESCENT--THE NEIGHBORHOOD WEDDING--NEWS FROM
    CHIMNEY ROCK--THE SHERMAN FAMILY AT THE WEST.


Edward Sherman was still where we left him, listening graciously to
the pretended good wishes of Hank Glutter, when Dr. Goodrich, who
happened to pass that way, saw him through the window and beckoned him
out side.

"I expected to have met you at Dr. DeWolf's," said he, "and I brought
a letter for you."

Edward took the letter and read it carefully through, turning very
pale as he did so. It was from his sister Louise, and contained a
brief account of the dangerous illness of his mother, with a request
for his immediate presence at home. His extreme paleness and the
trembling hand, with which he in silence offered the open sheet for
the Doctor's persual were all the outward sign of his soul's agony;
agony for a beloved and dying mother; agony for the beloved, lost one,
for whom, in company with a few friends, he was about to go in quest.

While the Doctor was running over the communication, Edward tried to
calm the surging tempest within, sufficiently to decide him how to
act.

"Doctor," said he, "I must go to mother, can you, I know it will be
difficult, but _can_ you take my place in the company to-morrow?"

"I will go, and, by the love I bear your sister, I promise to do what
I can."

"Let me hear from you by mail," said Edward, wringing his hand.

Edward had now barely time to return to Pendleton, and hastily get his
trunk in readiness for the forthcoming steamer.

At the sound of the bell he was ready to embark and a few days rapid
travelling brought him worn and weary to the old homestead. It was
evening when he arrived, and, as he approached the house, he saw a
light in his mother's room. His apprehensions were so great that he
had not the courage to enter, and, listening near the window, he
distinguished his mother's voice in conversation with Louise.

"I would not be surprised to see him this very evening," he heard his
sister say.

"Miss Louise," called out Recta's familiar voice. "Miss Louise, won't
you please come here quick. Old Spot has got into the front yard;
there she is nibbling at that rose bush under the window. I can't see
nothing but the white spot in her face; but I know it must be her,
she's such an unruly critter; won't you just hold the light while I
hist her out?"

"O where's Lilly Foot," said Louise, "she'll drive her out while you
open the gate. Here, Lilly Foot."

Lilly Foot came growling along from the vicinity of the barn, where,
after the fatigue of bringing the cows from the distant meadow, she
had gone to rest and recruit for night watching.

Having forgotten at the beginning of our story to introduce Lilly Foot
under the family head we will pause for a moment and give her the
notice to which her position and worth entitle her. She was a very
respectable looking animal of the canine species originally coal black
with the exception of one white foot, from which she derived her name,
but now grown grey in the service of the family.

From puppyhood to old age, this faithful creature had made it her
daily business to keep the cows, sheep, pigs, and poultry each in
their proper places, and, having been raised on a quiet, orderly New
England farm, had never in the course of her whole life, had occasion
to perform more onerous nightly duties than to sleep with one eye
open; consequently, she had come to consider regular rest as her
lawful right, and was in no mood to bear the present encroachment.

"I believe the dog is getting old and cross," said Recta in a voice
very like that which had occasioned her censure. "Here Lilly Foot,
there's Old Spot; take her."

The words had scarcely left Recta's lips before Lilly Foot saw and
flew violently at the object indicated,

"Lilly Foot."

They all heard--Edward's voice that came from the rose bush, and it
would be difficult to say from which of the three, Louise, Recta, or
Lilly Foot, he received the warmest greeting.

Mrs. Sherman had passed the crisis, of her disease, and Edward,
assured of her convalesence, sought her bedside with a buoyant step.

"My dear son, to have you here is all the medicine I need now," she
said, as she held him to her bosom.

The first greetings over, Edward's unnatural strength produced by
anxiety and excitement gave way, and he lay down to rest that night
prostrated in body and mind.

Confused images of his mother, Little Wolf, and Bloody Jim crowded his
unquiet dreams, and he awoke in the morning comparatively unrefreshed,
and the old load in his bosom but little lightened. Soon after
breakfast he signified his intention of riding over to the Post
Office, two miles distant.

"O no," said his sister playfully, "mother will be disappointed; she
expects to have you all to herself this morning. I made it a point to
go for the mail every day until she was taken sick. Let me go this
time, I really need a horseback ride. If I get a letter for you, you
shall have it in just fifteen minutes."

"From now?"

"No; from the time I get it."

"I am overruled," laughed Edward, and he went to his mother's room.
Scarcely had he seated himself when Mrs. Sherman enquired,

"Has Dr. DeWolf's daughter been found yet, Edward?"

"No, mother."

"How dreadful! Dr. Goodrich said in his last letter he had but little
hope of seeing her alive. I was gratified to hear that you were in
pursuit, and that you were situated so you could do your father's old
friend a favor. I wish you would tell me the particulars of the sad
affair."

Mrs. Sherman wondered at Edward's prolonged silence, as he sat there
utterly unable to say a word. She was beginning to have a vague
conception of the truth, when he turned to her and said in a voice
which the effort to control rendered scarcely audible.

"Mother, I expected to have made Miss De Wolf my wife. I can not talk
about it now."

But Mrs. Sherman led him gently on by means which true mothers know so
well how to use, to unburden his heart, and ere long her sympathy ran
so high as to propose that he should return to Minnesota, and if need
he should return to Minnesota, and if need be spend the winter there.

"If I could take you and Louise with me," said he.

Just then Louise came, in high spirits.

"O mother," said she, "you must hurry and get well in time to attend
Maria Dole's wedding. I met her going to shop. She wants me to be one
of her bridesmaids. Now guess who she is going to marry; but of course
you'd never guess for you are not acquainted with the gentleman; so I
may as well toll you at once; John Hanford, from the wilds of
Minnesota. Maria says she is afraid of being carried off by the bears,
but still too willing to venture a home in the woods for her dear
Johnny's sake. I did not tell her about Dr. DeWolf's daughter, I was
afraid it would stop the wedding, Maria is such a timid creature.
Brother, do tell me about that horrible affair."

"Tell her mother," said Edward and immediately left the room.

While Mrs. Sherman was explaining the matter, Edward was walking up
and down the lawn in front of the house, vainly considering the
probabilities of a favorable termination of his troubles.

"What can we do for poor Edward?" said Louise, after a long silence,
"I think he ought to go back."

"He was saying when you came in if he could only take you and me."

"Well why not?" said Louise eagerly, "I am sure if you keep on getting
well as rapidly as you have for a few days you'll be about the house
in a week."

"When we hear from Dr. Goodrich, my dear, we shall be better able to
decide what is best for us to do."

"Then all we can do is to wait in patience."

Wait they did for over a week before the looked-for intelligence
arrived, and the following is the contents of Dr. Goodrich's letter.

    "DEAR SHERMAN. All our efforts have proved unavailing. We
    could not find the least clue to aid us in our search. I
    am now inclined to think that Miss DeWolf has voluntarily
    secreted herself until such times as she hopes to return
    unmolested by Bloody Jim, whom, if my conjectures are
    correct, she no doubt thinks still at large. As for Bloody
    Jim his lips are forever closed. In attempting to escape
    from prison last evening he was shot dead.

    I learn with pleasure from your letter which I have just
    received, that your mother's health is rapidly improving.
    Take courage Ned, the same hand that restored one loved one
    can also restore the other. You say you must return. Why not
    bring your mother and sister with you? A change of climate
    would no doubt benefit both. I think there will be time for
    you to come before navigation closes. The weather continues
    splendid. I am now at Dr. DeWolf's. He is worse again; I
    think he cannot last long. He is literally drinking himself
    to death. Mrs. Hawley still attends on him. Sorrel Top and
    daddy do not get along very well together, but between them
    the Doctor's house is well cared for.

    If it will be any comfort to you I will say that I have
    sanguine expectations of again seeing Miss DeWolf safe at
    home,

    Yours with more sympathy than I can express.

                                               G. GOODRICH."

Louise received a letter from the same hand, but it being an entirely
private affair we can only speculate upon its contents. Doubtless
among other things there were unanswerable arguments in favor of a
western trip, for when the reading was over, she was the first one to
say.

"I think we had all better get ready as soon as we can and start for
Minnesota."

Edward being of the same mind, and Mrs. Sherman willing to gratify her
children, it was not many days before the arrangments were all made
for the journey. Recta and Lilly Foot were to be left in sole charge
of the house; the tenant having promised the assistance of one of his
sons when required.

The wedding ceremony of John Hanford and Maria Dole having been
performed the evening previous to their departure, they traveled in
company with the bridal pair.

Maria Dole was the only daughter of a neighboring farmer, and the two
girls had from childhood been on intimate terms, and Louise had hoped
some day to call her sister; but she loved the gentle girl none the
less for the step she had taken, and Edward's regard for her seemed to
have suddenly increased. The conduct of her husband who was a bashful
soul, exceedingly shy, and sparing of his husbandly attentions, gave
Edward frequent opportunities during their trip of cultivating a more
familiar acquaintance with her than he had ever imagined possible.

"Some women appear to better advantage after marriage and Maria Dole
is one of them," he said in a very decided manner to his sister after
having been engaged in a long conversation with the newly-made wife.
"She can converse now and she never could before."

"Yon mean, brother, you were afraid of each other before. It was my
fault; you both knew what my wishes were, and it spoiled all. To have
carried out the romance of the thing, you ought to have discovered her
perfections before it was too late."

Louise quite forgot for the moment her brother's affliction, but on
second thought said no more.

"I am sorry Mr. Hanford is going to take her so far from any
settlement," said Edward, not appearing to notice what had been said,
"he tells me his nearest neighbor is ten miles distant."

"How lonely Maria will be, I'm glad we are all to visit her in the
Spring," said Louise, alluding to a promise made to that effect.

"Mr. Hanford rather insists upon my going out with them now, but I
could not promise until I had seen the Doctor. If I decide to go I can
overtake him by the next steamer, as he will stop for a day or two at
St. Paul."

The next day after the above conversation, the party having arrived at
Pendleton, separated; Mr. and Mrs. Hanford continuing up the river to
the head of navigation, while the Sherman family were introduced to
comfortable quarters provided by the forethought of Dr. Goodrich.

By the advice of his friends, who plainly saw, that under the
circumstances, he could not content himself to remain where he was,
Edward decided to join Mr. Hanford at St. Paul, and the following
chapter will chronicle the result.



CHAPTER XIV.

    ROUGH ROADS--THE HAPPY BRIDEGROOM--JACOB MENTOR'S
    EXPERIENCE--FAIRY KNOLL--A JOYFUL MEETING.


The prospect of a change from steamboat navigation, always so
delightful on the upper Mississippi, to jolting and jarring over a
rough extent of country in a heavy, lumbering wagon, suited to the
unimproved state of the roads, was anything but agreeable to Mr. and
Mrs. Hanford, as they surveyed the uncomely vehicle drawn up before
their hotel.

Edward had overtaken them, and with Mr. and Mrs. Hanford, stood
waiting on the porch, while Mr. Hanford made every arrangement for
their comfort, of which the state of the case would admit. The
cushions and buffalos at length fixed to his satisfaction he assisted
in his wife, and after a small strife, in which each contended for the
seat which neither wanted, Edward prevailed, and planted himself
beside the driver, while Mr. Hanford, looking remarkably happy for a
vanquished man, took his place beside his wife.

The sober driver, Jacob Mentor by name, looked over his shoulder and
carefully surveyed his load before starting. The trunks were firmly
strapped on behind, and a half a dozen chairs were also disposed of in
the same way. A small sized dining table, bed downward, rested behind
the seats, so hugged up by boxes and bundles, that it appeared
impossible for any number of bumps or thumps to disturb its quiet. The
two beaming faces, just in the van of all this array, did not escape
the eyes of honest Jacob.

"I guess yer pretty comfortable to start on," said he.

"All right," said Mr. Hanford, "drive on."

It would be a matter of surprise how it had entered into the head of a
plain, common-sense, matter-of-fact young man like John Hanford, to
bestow the name of "Fairy Knoll" on the little hillock in the
wilderness, where stood his solitary cabin, did we not remember that
at the time he was completely under love's influence. The name given
under such circumstances was music to him as it fell frequently from
the lips of his young bride on their toilsome journey thither.

"I hope the fairies at Fairy Knoll will have a nice fire to welcome
us, she said, as the day was drawing to a close, and they were nearing
her future home.

"Are you very cold?" said her husband, drawing her more closely to his
side.

The day had been unusually chilly, and towards night the autumn winds
got up a boisterous frolic, and swept past, dashing from their wings
light flurries of snow directly in the faces of our travelers, and
the delicate bride, unused to such rough play, had at last hid her
face behind her veil and wished for the warm fireside. Before she had
had time to reply to Mr. Hanford's question, Edward produced a neat
little flask encased in silver, and unfastening from the stopper a
tiny cup of the same make, he filled it with the sparkling fluid, at
the same time giving orders for the wagon to stop.

"Now here is something almost equal to a warm fire," he said offering
Mrs. Hanford the cup.

"What is it?" said she, hesitatingly.

"Pure domestic wine, some of Col. Wilson's best, ho presented it to me
just before I left home, and gave me his word it was unadulterated,"
said Edward, with great assurance.

"Col. Wilson's wines are justly popular," said Mrs. Hanford, sipping
the beverage; but it is whispered that the Colonel uses alcohol in
their preparation."

"O, very likely," said Edward carelessly. "I have no doubt of it, but
this he assured me was unadulterated. Have some, Mr. Hanford?"

"I don't care if I do. It is really very fine," he said, returning the
cup, "quite stimulating, but I prefer a little brandy to any other
stimulant; it takes right hold."

"You surely don't drink brandy!" exclamed the young wife, anxiously.

"Only a little, occasionally, when I need it to keep the cold out. O
never fear, my dear," he continued observing the look of concern upon
his wife's countenance. "I'm a good temperance man, but not a
teetotaler; that is drawing the reins rather too tight."

Meantime, Edward had offered the driver a drink, but the man shook his
head; "No, thank you," said he, "I'd rather not take any."

"Not take any!" said Edward, "why, sir, it will do you good."

"I'm not sick," said the other.

"But you are cold," said Edward, mistaking his modest demeanor for
bashfulness.

But the earnest and decided shake of the head by which he refused the
second invitation, signified more than words that he was an adherent
of the total abstinence principles.

"What a simpleton," said Edward to himself, as the individual by his
side shiveringly gathered up the reins and drove on.

But the individual's ruminations were of quite a different character,
and something after this wise: "Shiver away, old man, it is better to
shiver than to drink." Be it known that for many years this grey
headed man had without measure, poured down the alcoholic fire. When
at length overcome by it, a good Samaritan had discovered him lying
sick by the wayside, and had humanely assisted him to rise, and had
set him upon the beast commonly known as "Total Abstinence," upon
which he had ridden with great comfort and safety up to the time of
our story. Moreover being satisfied that the animal was of good parts
and _sure-footed_, he was not at all inclined to exchange the faithful
old creature for any of the best bloods belonging to the domestic wine
family. He had not forgotten that apparently harmless little
hobby-horse whose _cognomen_ was Lager Beer, which he had sported in
his youth, but which at last got unruly; whether from having been
stabled with vicious beasts, or from a bad quality which it inherently
possessed, he was not in a condition to inquire the first time it
played off its pranks upon him. But one thing was certain, after
several months of docile behavior, one fine morning his pet landed him
very unceremoniously in the gutter, after which, on various occasions,
he mounted nearly all the beasts in the stable, whiskey, rum, brandy,
etc., but they, one and all, proved vastly more refractory than the
first named, and, as we have seen, he was at length left battered and
bruised by the way side.

It is needless to state that Jacob Mentor's experience had not, nor
was it likely to benefit any so much as himself; for who, among the
thousands tampering with stimulating drinks, could be made to believe
that a glass of beer, or an occasional sip of wine would result in
their final overthow?

Such, at all events, was not the opinion of our young friends
journeying in the direction of "Fairy Knoll; for more than once the
wine went round as the night winds whistled colder. But the tedious
road had at length an end, and about dark, the heavy wagon lumbered up
under the shadows of Fairy Knoll.

"It won't do to drive up that hill with this heavy load, the horses
are too much jaded," said Jacob.

"Then we'll walk up," said Mr. Hanford, jumping out. "Come now, Mrs.
Hanford," proudly stretching out his arms, "I will carry you up. Mr.
Sherman follow me; the path is a little slippery, and we shall have to
step carefully."

By reason of his burden and the icy path, Mr. Hanford was sometime in
reaching his cabin, but he made short work of getting inside; for,
having bestowed several impatient thumps upon the window which he
declared frozen down, he suddenly threw himself against the door, and
crack went the wooden fastening, and open flew the door, and a most
unexpected scene burst upon his astonished vision.

Surely here were the fairies, and here the warm fire for which his
shivering little wife had been wishing. Surprise held him upon the
threshold; but Edward, who instantly recognized in one of the
so-called fairies, the person of Little Wolf, sprang forward with a
shout of joy.

"The honey, sure as I'm alive," cried Jacob Mentor, pressing eagerly
after him. "Laws," said he, precipitately dropping his bundles in the
middle of the floor, and rushing up to Edward, "how came the little
creature here?"

Edward silently held the little creature in his arms as if he would
keep back the dear life that appeared leaving her, and when Jacob's
eye fell upon the white, upturned face, he drew back with a look of
alarm.

When this and that restorative had been resorted to with happy effect,
and Little Wolf no longer required undivided attention, at her
suggestion Antoinette La Clare briefly related the story of their
escape from Bloody Jim. Mutual explanations followed, discovering to
Antoinette the fact, that she had taken refuge in the house of her
cousin, for such John Hanford proved to be, his mother's sister having
married Antoinette's father.

Amid the general rejoicings and congratulations, Edward naturally
alluded to the death of Bloody Jim, and the means by which it was
accomplished. "We are fairly rid of him now," he said, turning to
Little Wolf, who had quietly slipped from his embrace and perched
herself upon the big chest, "the ball made sure work."

The color had come to her cheek, and there was great joy in her eye,
but Edward's unlucky words made her pale again, and she looked quickly
and apprehensively towards Antoinette.

The poor girl shiveringly hid her face in her hands and sobbed
audibly.



CHAPTER XV.

    BUSY PREPARATIONS AND THE CLIMAX--THE LOVERS--TOM TINKNOR'S
    DISCOVERY--GENERAL REJOICINGS--THE IDOL DEFACED.


The next morning the cottage on the knoll presented a scene of busy
preparation, the climax of which brought forth Little Wolf rosy, and
roguish, wrapped in blankets and shawls, sufficient, we doubt not, to
have covered over more land than the nether garments of the famous Ten
Breeches.

She was now in readiness for her homeward journey. The long-wished-for
time had come, and with it, ten thousand joyous emotions, which, amid
all the changes of after life, she never forgot. Her heart had put
forth its life flower, and who ever forgot a like season of bloom.

Edward was here, there, and everywhere, arranging for her comfort, and
he looked very proud indeed when he handed, or rather lifted the lady
in blankets into the big wagon, and took his seat beside her.

They were to go alone, Antoinette having accepted a pressing
invitation to remain with her newly-found cousins. The driver of the
day before did not, as on a previous occasion, wait for orders. Before
the adieus were fairly spoken he cracked his whip and drove off at a
rate, which, in his cooler moments, he would have pronounced
absolutely ruinous to his carefully preserved establishment. The fact
that said establishment comprised all the earthly possessions of
honest Jacob, was of itself a sufficient guarantee for the safe
transportation of his employers. But when added to this was a natural
cautiousness and benevolence of disposition, which could not but be
observed on the most casual acquaintance, few could have lost their
assurance, even on the verge of a precipice, when he held the reins.

His extreme caution made him a favorite teamster, not only overland,
but especially on the Mississippi; when at certain seasons there was
danger in travelling on the ice. At such times, Squire Tinknor and Dr.
DeWolf had taken some pains to secure his services, when exchanging
family visits, and he had frequently been entrusted with the sole
charge of Little Wolf, when she was but a child, and delighted with
the long icy trip.

In those days, the little lady had completely won the heart of her
protector, and he had never before had occasion to be jealous of
attentions which she was pleased to receive from any of her friends,
except, indeed, when Daddy would sometimes infringe upon his rights,
by officiously lifting her in and out of his sleigh. Nor could he be
said to be jealous now. It was only the same disagreeable sensation
which affectionate sisters sometimes experience on the occasion of
the marriage of a favorite brother. Had Jacob been questioned on the
subject, he would have stoutly declared that he was glad of it; for
that was just what he tried to say to himself, when he saw Edward put
his dearly beloved pet into the wagon. But even his fine horses, which
he hurried off with such unseemly haste, ought to have known it was
not so.

"Why, what has got into the man? he has almost taken your breath
away," said Edward tenderly.

"A little more careful, sir," he said, as Jacob turned his head at his
loud exclamation.

"Yes, yes; I beg pardon, I was careless."

The speaker was evidently ashamed of his freak. A second look at the
happy couple, and a kind word from his pet, "Dear Jacob, I believe old
Grey and Bill remember how I used to want to go fast when we went so
much together," soothed his turbulent feelings and he went on quite
slowly, picking up some crumbs of comfort in default of the whole
loaf.

The loaf, be it remembered, had fallen into the hands of the voracious
couple just behind him, and if greedily devouring it during the entire
day would have made a finish of it, the deed would have been done. But
the more they fed on it, the larger and sweeter it grew, and, by the
time they had arrived at Squire Tinknor's, their loaf had grown to be
almost as much as they could carry.

Squire Tinknor, it will be remembered, was an old acquaintance of Dr.
DeWolf, and, as we have elsewhere stated, the two gentlemen were on
intimate terms. Having at one time been his partner in some extensive
land speculations, the Squire had, since that period, acted as the
doctor's financial agent and advisor. He was generally shrewd and
reliable in his business transactions, although his appetite for drink
occasionally got the better of his judgment. This known discrepancy of
character was tolerated in society rather as an amiable weakness, than
a vile habit, for none had the hardihood to frown openly upon a man of
Squire Tinknor's wealth and position.

His family consisted of a wife and one son. The latter, a handsome,
dashing young man, he had secretly desired to see attracted towards
the daughter of his friend, and in this had not been disappointed.
Thomas Tinknor had, from a boy, bestowed his choicest attentions upon
the young lady, and when she was carried off, he had sworn to bring
her back, or "die in the attempt." To this end he had faithfully
mounted his horse each day since her disappearance, and had ridden
several miles into the woods, always going out in high spirits, and
returning somewhat dejected.

It was in this condition that he might have been seen approaching his
father's house just as Jacob Mentor drew up before the gate. His heart
beat quickly, for he instantly recognized the toss of that little
head, enveloped as it was in hood and veil. He was not slow in
extending to Little Wolf a warm welcome. So warm indeed, was it, and
of such vapory stuff is comfort made, that Edward's ponderous loaf
evaporated, leaving only a small fragment such as could be drawn from
a stolen glance of the eye, while she was being carried into the
house, and transported from the arms of Mr. Tinknor the younger, to
the arms of Mr. Tinknor the elder, and lastly, affectionately folded
in the embrace of Mrs. Tinknor.

"You see everything I have on is borrowed," said Little wolf, as Mrs.
Tinknor was assisting her in undoing her wrappings, "but I hope to be
at home in a day or two."

"Home in a day or two!" interrupted Tom, "Not in a month or two, if I
can prevent it."

"I intend to be at home to-morrow, provided the steamers are still
running," said the young lady decidedly.

"O, now, you are too bad to treat us so shabbily," said Tom,
coaxingly, "do stay until the river freezes, and I'll take you down on
the ice."

"Thank you, Mr. Tinknor, I must go to-morrow."

Tom Tinknor, knew from past experience that to attempt further
persuasion was entirely useless, and he said no more, silently
indulging the hope that the ice would blockade the river before
morning. His desires were in part gratified. The next day it was
ascertained that no steamers would venture forth among the floating
ice cakes, and Tom was exultant.

In this mood he determined to give Little Wolf a surprise party, and
thus alleviate, in some degree her disappointment. His parents
heartily co-operated in his project, and the trio immediately set
about making preparations for the entertainment of a large circle of
friends.

It was decided that Edward should be initiated into the secret, and
the task of hoodwinking their prying and discontented young guest, was
assigned to him. By ways and means known only to a masterly hand,
Edward contrived on that eventful day to perform the feat, in which,
no doubt, the whole Tinknor family combined would have failed.

For when evening came on, and the company were assembled, Little Wolf
most unexpectedly found herself in the midst, an object of universal
interest. A more beautiful object could scarce have been found. At all
events, so thought Edward Sherman, as he mingled in the throng, great
billows of gladness surging in his soul. His cup of joy was large and
full. He was holding it with a firm hand, and he said in his heart, "I
shall never be moved."

The evening was drawing to a close, but the feasting and toasting was
still kept up. The wine went round, and the adventures of our heroine
continued to be commemorated in appropriate sentiments. While the
guests still lingered, a shade of anxiety might occasionally be traced
on many a fair face, as husband or brother, or "that other," exhibited
unmistakable signs of an overheated brain.

Little Wolfs cheek grew pale, as from time to time she observed the
rising flush on Edward's brow. He was exceedingly susceptible to the
use of stimulants, and was rapidly thrown into a highly exhilarated
condition, making him for a time brilliant, but finally entangling
his talk in a labyrinth of meaningless and silly words. When in the
latter condition which was not observable until just before the party
broke up, he conceived the unlucky idea of urging upon Little Wolf a
glass of his favorite drink. "Permit me," said he, stepping, or rather
swaggering up to where the lady stood, "to--to--," and suddenly
appearing to notice the extreme pallor that overspread her
countenance, he stammered, "to bring the blushes to those cheeks."

It was enough. The heart at once threw its crimson mantle upon her
face, but alas! it was dyed in shame. Poor Little Wolf had no words at
command. There, before her, stood the man in whom, a few hours before
she had felt so much pride and confidence. Her heart's best feelings
had gone out to him, and here was her idol horribly defaced, and he
knew it not. He even held invitingly towards her the instrument that
had done the mischief, and, while the cup still shook in his trembling
hand, he began to wonder at her silence.

She once or twice moved her lips, as if to speak, but the words died
away. She was not faint or weak, but was for the moment paralyzed.
When the quick reaction came, on fire with indignation she acted with
characteristic energy and decision, and all heard the crash of the
goblet, as with one rapid sweep of her little hand she dashed it to
the floor, and fled from the room.

Did she forgive him? She said in her heart she would not.



CHAPTER XVI.

    PAINFUL RECOLLECTIONS--THE LAST BOAT OF THE SEASON--RUFFLED
    PLUMES--RECONCILIATION.


When Little Wolf awoke the next morning, her mind instantly reverted
to the painful subject, that had banished sleep from her eyes the
greater part of the night, and, as the shameful scene came up again
vividly before her, she buried her face in her pillow and groaned
aloud. While thus indulging afresh her grief and mortification, she
was aroused by a sound which turned her thoughts in another
direction. She started up eagerly and threw open the window which
commanded an extended view of the river, and, in the distance, she
could just discern through the fast falling snow, a brave little
steamer, as if by magic ploughing its way up through snow and ice.

Little Wolf hung out of the window half in fear lest the welcome
vision should vanish; but it kept steadily onward, drawing nearer and
nearer to its destination, and soon she had the satisfaction of seeing
it safely moored, and, by the active discharge of freight, it was
evident that it would attempt a downward trip.

The thought of home banished every other from her mind, and she
hastily drew inside and shook the white flakes from her glossy hair,
and began to arrange them in curls. But the unruly locks had blown
about so long in the wind, and got so cold and tangled and required so
much coaxing and brushing, that Little Wolf began to despair of ever
getting them in order.

Just then she observed on the dresser a bottle of what she supposed to
be pomatum, but in reality, a mixture for the lungs, made of honey and
other ingredients, which by exposure to the cold had partially
congealed. She caught it up and literally saturated her hair in the
contents and then with great spirit proceeded to her task.

At the first onset the brush stuck fast; "Dear me what ails it?" she
ejaculated throwing down the brush and making desperate dives with a
coarse tooth comb.

By this time her pretty tangled ringlets had stiffened into a striking
resemblance to cork screws interspersed with porcupine quills. By a
succession of impatient jerks she endeavored to bring the wayward mass
to submission; but the more she attempted to separate and arrange, the
closer the loving locks embraced each other, and she was beginning to
despair of conquering the difficulty, when she heard a light knock and
Mrs. Tinknor's kind voice said "May I come in?"

"O dear, yes," said Little Wolf, springing to the door, "do come in,
my dear Mrs. Tinknor, and tell me what this horrid pomade is made of."

"Why, dear child, what have you been doing to yourself? your hair
looks as if ten thousand furies had been tearing it."

"O Mrs. Tinknor, it is this horrid pomade."

Mrs. Tinknor's eye fell upon the offending preparation. "Why, bless
your heart my child," she exclaimed in dismay, "you have been using
Aunt Betsy's cough medicine."

Little Wolf threw herself on the bed convulsed with laughter, and Mrs.
Tinknor heartily joined in the merry peals.

"I came to tell you," said Mrs. Tinknor, when somewhat composed, "that
a steamer has just arrived, and Mr. Tinknor and Tom have gone out to
ascertain when she will return, if at all.

"O, I know she's going back right away," said Little Wolf springing
up. "I saw them hurrying off the freight; O dear, what shall I do with
my hair?" She was beginning to feel too anxious to laugh now.

"Come to my room, dear, it is warmer there and I can soon wash it out
for you. Now put this shawl around you; never mind dressing, we have
the house all to ourselves you know."

"Suppose I were to get caught in this ridiculous plight," said Little
Wolf, pushing her feet into her slippers, "I wouldn't have Tom see me
for the world."

"Then run along quickly and make sure," said Mrs. Tinknor, laughingly,
"I think we needn't feel concerned about the gentlemen coming back for
half an hour," she added, as Little Wolf ran on before.

Now the gentlemen had already returned, bringing Edward with them. The
latter, having forstalled them at the boat, met them as he was
hurrying to Little Wolf with the necessary information. On coming in
they unluckily took possession of the very room through which the
ladies would pass in order to reach Mrs. Tinknor's apartment.

Reassured by her hostess, Little Wolf pushed confidently forward,
making bold and decisive charges at the obstructing doors, and in
this manner, made her way directly into the presence of the two young
gentlemen, Mr. Tinknor having gone in search of his wife.

Here she was brought to a sudden stand, but it was only for an
instant, for Little Wolf, like a true womanly general, was skilled in
retreat when caught in rumpled uniform. She turned and darted through
the door which stood accommodatingly open, and although Edward's
suppressed smile, and Tom's uproarious laugh, goaded her on, she
stopped long enough to lock them in, thus cutting off pursuit which
Tom evidently meditated; he having, in consideration of their long and
intimate acquaintance, felt himself warranted in chasing after her,
and was at her heels, when he suddenly found himself a prisoner.

"O Wolf, Wolf, he shouted, pounding upon the door, "the boat, the
boat, she'll leave"--

"When will she leave?" said Little Wolf, stopping short.

"Let me out and I'll tell you, come, be quick, there's no time to be
lost. If you want to go here's Mr. Sherman to take charge of you."

"I can take care of myself," muttered Little Wolf, but, while she
paused she had additional cause for mortification; for Squire Tinknor
had found his way to his wife, and her only refuge was behind Mrs.
Tinknor's flowing skirts. Here she partially screened herself, while
he informed them that the boat would attempt a downward trip in the
course of an hour. "Ha, ha, ha," concluded the Squire, "if sis is bent
on going, she must make haste out of that plight."

By the united efforts of her friends, Little Wolf took passage for
Chimney Rock, and Edward, looking very handsome and self-possessed,
acted as her escort.

Without explanation, without apology, without so much as a look of
contrition from her travelling companion, at the first interview
Little Wolf forgave all the pain and mortification he had made her
feel. She had forgiven him without knowing it. She thought herself
still angry because her heart ached.

Edward was surprised. He had expected to meet indignant looks, and
perhaps reproachful words; he had feared even worse, for he well knew
the decision that marked Little Wolf's forming character, and he had
armed himself to meet the treatment which he felt he justly merited.
But his chosen weapon of defense was pride and so was useless when
opposed to Little Wolf's unusual gentleness. He was subdued, and when
man's proud spirit is once subdued by the forbearance of the woman he
loves, that woman henceforth becomes to him an object of adoration.

Edward had the day before called Little Wolf, darling, now he called
her angel, and before he parted from her he had said "my angel," and
she had smiled upon him when he said it.



CHAPTER XVII.

    WINTER SPORTS--THE DOCTOR'S VISITS--PREPARATIONS FOR NEW
    YEAR'S DAY--A DISCUSSION.


Winter had fairly set in. The December winds had for several weeks,
blown upon the "Father of Waters," and he slept like a huge giant, all
unmindful of the western breezes which came to fetter and play their
pranks upon him. Many wild revelries did those winged sprites hold
upon his grim visage, and many a day did the pleasure loving
inhabitants of the lively village of Pendleton go forth and join the
grand revel. On such occasions the newly made playground resounded
with merry shouts and tinkling bells, for there skating and
sleigh-riding and other winter sports were brought to perfection.

Our young friends of the "Bay State" were quite at home amid such
scenes, and nearly every day, might be seen dashing up before their
hotel, a fanciful little sleigh drawn by a fine spirited grey, who
chafed and stamped, and shook his necklace of silver bells, as if to
signal the fair lady, whose coming he so impatiently waited. His
temper, however, was seldom severely tested, for it was Dr. Goodrich
who sported this elegant little establishment, and Louise Sherman well
knew at what hour of the day to be in readiness for a ride.

Occasionally the duties of his profession detained the doctor beyond
his usual time, and then came Louise's turn to feel the least bit in
the world uneasy and anxious. But one day there was a delay of the
kind which passed apparently unheeded by her. She had as usual
brought out her little fur cap with its red ribbon ties and deposited
it with her gloves upon the table, and having arranged her mantle near
the fire, and put her overshoes in a warm place upon the hearth, she
seated herself by the window, just opposite her mother who has taking
her afternoon nap in an easy chair. Here she sat for some time
anxiously watching the sleeper, and evidently waiting for her to
awaken. At length Mrs. Sherman opened her eyes, and, as she caught
Louise's eager glance gave a little start. "Hasn't the doctor come
yet?" she asked.

"No mother, but I'm all ready, and I'm glad you are awake, for I
wanted to tell you before I left, that Edward had ordered wine for New
Year's, and he said if it came while he was out, he wished it put in
his private room."

"Wine for New Year's! exclaimed Mrs. Sherman in unfeigned
astonishment.

"Why yes, mother, Edward says our friends will expect it of us."

"I cannot consent to it," said Mrs. Sherman decidedly, "we shall have
a plentiful supply of refreshments, and, Louise, I'm surprised that
you should, in the remotest manner, give your sanction to your
brother's foolish proposal."

"But, mother, said Louise, eagerly, "Edward says that it is pure
domestic wine, and I don't see what harm that can do."

"It was pure domestic wine that made Noah drunk, my dear."

"O dear," said Louise rather impatiently, "I wish old Noah had never
got drunk, if"--

Just then she happened to glance out of the window, and saw the doctor
drive up, and consequently her frowns and Noah's sins were burried in
oblivion, and a smile and a blush bloomed upon their tomb.

Louise had just done tying on her cap when the doctor appeared at the
door, and, while he was exchanging civilities with her mother, she
slipped out and ran to her brother whom she saw coming in the
passage.

"We can't have it Ned," she whispered, "mother has set her foot down."

"Yes?"

"Yes Ned, she has."

Edward frowned slightly, but said nothing, for by that time, the
doctor was hastening his sister away and his mother was gently calling
him.

"Edward."

"Yes mother," and, entering her room, he threw himself carelessly into
the seat which Louise had vacated.

For a few moments both were silent, and as the son looked into the
mother's face, he plainly saw that she was filled with grief and
anxiety; and his heart smote him for he really loved and revered his
mother; but he resolved to appear as if he had observed nothing amiss,
and, taking his hat to leave, he said quite cheerfully, "well mother
what are your commands?"

"Edward I have a request to make of you," replied Mrs. Sherman with
some feeling in her tone.

"Speak, mother dear," said he, falling pleasantly into his seat.

"It is my request, Edward, that you do not provide wine, or any other
stimulant for our New Year's entertainment."

"What, not coffee, mother?" said Edward laughingly.

"You know very well what I mean," said Mrs. Sherman with a faint
smile.

"Of course it shall be as you wish," said he more seriously, "but
really, mother, I think you are too strict. I am afraid our friends
will have a mean opinion of our hospitality."

"They will, of course, understand that we are principled against the
use of intoxicating drinks.

"As a beverage," chimed in Edward with a touch of irony in his tone.

Mrs. Sherman looked hurt, and Edward repented again. "Mother," said
he, "forgive me, I did not intend to wound you. Let us drop a subject
upon which we cannot agree.

"But, Edward, I cannot bear that we should differ. I have always
endeavored to instil correct principles into the minds of my children,
and now, just as they are on the threshold of what might be a useful
life, I find the tares which an enemy had sown beginning to spring up.

"But mother, you know I do not approve of indulging to excess any more
than you do. It is only the total abstinence principles to which I
object, and even Louise says she can see no harm in an occasional
social glass."

"Does Miss DeWolf say the same," said Mrs. Sherman fixing her eyes on
Edward.

"I do not know, I am sure," replied Edward nervously twirling his hat,
"I have never had any conversation with her on the subject."

"Miss DeWolf is orthodox, I am prepared to testify," exclaimed Louise,
tripping into the room, and, before any question could be put as to
the cause of her sudden return, she gratuitously gave the information.

"A man had a fit or something," she said, "and I must forsooth, lose
my ride, for the doctor's motto is business before pleasure; a very
good motto when I am not concerned, but if the man could only have
been taken an hour or two later, it would have been a great
accommodation. However," and she glanced archly at her brother, "I
should then have lost the opportunity of eavesdropping, and
consequently of giving in my testimony in favor of my future
sister-in-law."

"Thank you, I suppose you obtained your information of my future
brother-in-law."

"No matter how I got it, but I'm fully prepared to prove that the
young lady's principles are severely 'touch not, taste not, handle
not.' We have a great work before us, Ned, for they will not easily be
persuaded to our opinions I can assure you."

"I do not wish to influence my friends to think just as I do," said
Edward, proudly.

"Well, somehow you have managed to make me think as you do, for you
know I was once as strict as mother."

"I hope you have not changed your views on my account, Louise."

"No, not exactly, Ned, yet, I must confess, your arguments have had
great weight with me."

"I would advise you to reconsider, and think independently," said
Edward rather sharply.

Louise was silent, and Mrs. Sherman now seized the opportunity to
change the topic to one more intimately connected with their future
plans and prospects. In this the attention of the trio was absorbed
until towards evening, when they were interrupted by the doctor's well
known knock.

The doctor looked pale and worn, and, as he seated himself, Edward
remarked, "you look tired doctor."

"Yes, I _am_ tired," replied the doctor, "I am tired of the world, or
rather I am tired of the way we are living in it. I have had an
aggravated case of delirium tremens on my hands this afternoon, and I
wish every liquor seller in Pendleton could have looked in upon that
distressed family. A young and interesting wife, and several small
children were compelled to witness a scene of suffering, the horrors
of which were truly appalling."

"It is strange," said Edward, "that men will make such beasts of
themselves."

"It is strange," said the doctor, "that if men have no hearts of pity,
that we can not have laws to prevent the sale of the poison."

"But, doctor, men are not compelled to buy it."

"But, Sherman, men _will_ buy it, and will drink it, the proof of
which is before us every day we live. These temperance societies are
no doubt most of them useful to society, but they do not deal the
death-blow to the monster. Nothing but the law can do that. I know
your opinion, Sherman, but in the name of humanity, what are we to
do?"

"Why, doctor, we shall have to let men kill themselves if they will be
so foolish. We cannot forbid the sale of pistols, because men often
use them for purposes of committing suicide; and, even to suppose that
a man is quite certain when he sells a deadly weapon to another, that
he will use it for the purpose of self distruction, I hold that he has
the legal right to sell it; that he has no moral right I readily
admit."

"I do not understand law, Sherman; _perhaps_ our constitution is so
framed that the people have not the power to say whether or not, our
nation shall become a nation of drunkards; perhaps the thousands of
intelligent men, who, heart-sick as I am this day in view of the
dreadful consequences accruing from the sale of intoxicating drinks,
have ignorantly petitioned their state legislature for a prohibitory
law, which they had no power to enact; perhaps those judges are
correct who have said their state can not have a law that would
restore peace and happiness to thousands of families, whose sorrow it
is too harrowing to think upon. I say, _perhaps_, for, I cannot but
hope that judges who are equally intelligent and who have told us
differently may not be mistaken. One thing is certain, the hand of the
liquor dealer must be stayed, or in every house there will be one
dead."

"Public opinion might do much towards accomplishing the desired
object," suggested Mrs. Sherman."

"True enough, Mrs. Sherman, said the doctor, "but public opinion must
have its naps, and at best it is seldom half awake and it requires an
immoderate amount of force to bring the sleepy thing to the right
standpoint."

"Well, doctor, I am willing to use my little strength in the cause,
although I regret to say that my efforts as far as my family are
concerned have proved entirely fruitless."

The doctor turned a surprised look towards Louise, whose face was
instantly suffused with blushes.



CHAPTER XVIII.

    THE NEW YEAR'S BALL--A CHECK TO FESTIVITY--THE MIDNIGHT
    RIDE--DEATH IN THE OLD BROWN HOUSE.


Holiday festivities and dancing parties were words synonymous in the
early settlement of Minnesota, and, although Mrs. Sherman would have
been shocked at the bare idea of her daughter attending a public ball
in her native village, the influences of a new country so wrought upon
her prejudices, that her scruples gradually yielded; and, when Louise
rather doubtfully asked permission to attend a party of the kind to
be given on New Year's Eve, she gained a reluctant consent.

"I could not consent on any account, Louise," said her mother with a
view to excuse this apparant departure from her principles, "if I had
not sometime ago had some conversation with the doctor on the subject.
I have great confidence in his judgment, and, I am sure he would not
desire it, if it were not a proper place for you. However, I have my
misgivings, for I never was allowed to go to such a place when I was
young," and she sighed, "but as the Doctor says, there is no other
amusement for the young in this new country," and she sighed again.
"Is Miss DeWolf going, Louise?"

"Yes, mother, Ned says he had hard work to persuade her to go. She
don't like to leave her father. What a pity he is such a sot. I
believe I should detest such a father. I don't see how she can be so
good to him."

"She is a dutiful daughter, Louise, and a noble girl, and I hope
nothing will ever happen to prevent her becoming Edward's wife."

"What can prevent it mother? I'm sure Ned is handsome, and talented
and rich enough for anybody."

"I don't know what could prevent it, Louise, but I shall be glad when
they are really married. I think a wife of the right stamp would have
a great influence on Edward."

"Why, mother, I'm sure Ned's principles are good, and he is steady
enough for a young man; I don't see what particular advantage a wife
would be to him."

Mrs. Sherman only sighed.

Louise looked a little disconcerted. "Why, mother," said she, "you act
as if you thought something terrible was going to happen to Ned and
me, and our only escape was matrimony."

"Louise," said Mrs. Sherman after a pause, "could not Miss DeWolf be
prevailed upon to spend the day of the party with us; she would only
be a few hours longer away from her father."

"Why yes, I think so," said Louise thoughtfully. "Ned could go for
her in the morning. O yes," she concluded decidedly, "Ned can manage
that I know."

Little Wolf spent the day above mentioned in Mrs. Sherman's family.
She was happy; happier than she had been since her return home. The
memory of the dreadful night which she passed at Squire Tinknor's had
ever since haunted her. It was only when in Edward's presence that she
forgot it, and it would even sometimes cloud a moment of such
companionship, as comes only to those whose very life is bound up in
another's. She often said to herself, it was his first mistake, it
would never be repeated; he would not dare to indulge again, now that
he was convinced how a stimulant would effect him. But, spite of all
her attempts at self-control, whenever the well remembered scene came
up before her, she was ready to cry out with anguish. The society of
Edward's mother, comforted, and reassured her. The son of such a
mother was exalted, if that were possible, in her opinion, and she
instinctively gathered renewed confidence in her own future
happiness.

During the day, Mrs. Sherman's penetrating eye was frequently fixed
upon Little Wolf, as if she would read her very soul, and the glimpses
which she caught, shining out in her words and actions were on the
whole satisfactory.

Louise, who was naturally rather yielding and dependent, involuntarily
deferred to her young companion, whose opinions were always
independent and often expressed with marked decision. In fact, before
the day was ended, Little Wolf's force of character was felt and
silently acknowledged; and little, and rosy, and curly though she was,
she had become a power in the Sherman family. But what beauty, what
sweetness, what love is potent when opposed to a depraved appetite?
But why anticipate?

As Edward was busy in his office the greater part of the day, and the
doctor in his professional duties, they saw but little of the ladies,
and Mrs. Sherman, anticipating their wishes, advised Little Wolf and
Louise to dress at an early hour of the evening, in order to enjoy a
quiet social hour all together before the party.

The mysteries of the toilet occupied more time than they had
calculated upon, and, just as they were in the midst of an important
discussion, as to whether pink or white flowers became Louise best,
they heard the gentlemen come in.

"There they come," said Louise, "I hear them in the parlor; do,
mother, tell them we are most ready!"

"Now Miss DeWolf," said she, turning to Little Wolf, as her mother
left the room, "how do you think I look?"

"Why you look like a prim puritan. The roses in your hair look as if
they had been taught to grow very properly all their lives and they
were not going to depart from early habits, even if they were going to
a 'hop.'"

"Now, do you think they look stiff?" said Louise anxiously.

"Just a little, Miss Louise."

"Please arrange them for me," said Louise, stepping up to Little Wolf.

Little Wolf gave the offending flowers several slight twiches, this
way, and that. "There, how do you think they look now," said she.

"O they do look lovely," said Louise, glancing at herself, admiringly
in the mirror, why could not I fix them so?"

Little Wolf gave her head a slight toss of triumph, thereby creating a
breezy excitement, quite becoming among her ringlets, and the moss
rose buds with which they were ornamented. Her dress was white and
gauzy, and her every movement floated it gracefully about her slender
figure.

Louise was also dressed in white, but there was an air of precision
about her, with which although it accorded well with her conservative
character, she was evidently dissatisfied, when comparing her
appearance with Little Wolf's.

"I wish my hair would curl like yours," she said, glancing from the
reflection of her own smoothly braided locks, to Little Wolf's
dancing ringlets.

"Why I'm sure you look very beautiful indeed, beautiful as a bride,
Miss Louise; now, go ask the doctor if you don't. Don't wait for me,
the doctor is waiting for you; I'll come directly when I get this lace
fixed."

"Well, remember _somebody_ is waiting for you," said Louise, as she
left the room.

A shower of compliments fell upon Louise as she presented herself to
her brother and lover. "Now don't waste any more admiration on me,
either of you," said she, "save it for Miss DeWolf, she is the most
beautiful thing I ever saw. She is grace itself. She touches a ribbon
and it knots itself into an exquisite shape, she lays her hand upon
lace and it fastens and floats, she gently pats a flower, and it
instantly assumes its most graceful attitude. O Ned, how happy you
will be."

The words were still upon Louise's lips when Little Wolf joined the
circle, and somehow, she instantly caught the expression of Edward's
face, and read in it those emotions, with which our pen intermedleth
not.

It was very pleasant to look into that quiet parlor, presided over by
Mrs. Sherman, who sat regarding her happy children with so much
tenderness and pride. But we must not linger, for there are other
scenes to be presented.

It was near the midnight hour when pleasure ran highest in the
brilliantly lighted ballroom that Edward might be seen leading Little
Wolf to a seat. She had appeared on the floor many times, and had at
length acknowledged herself weary.

"What a handsome couple," whispered Louise to the doctor, nodding
significantly towards them, and her whisper was echoed by many others.

There was a deep red spot in Edward's cheek, and a flash in his eye,
which some might have attributed to the excitement of the occasion,
but the doctor and those who knew him well, interpreted it
differently. He had several times during the evening left the room
with one or two of his friends, who were in the habit of indulging in
a social glass, and Edward's principles were not such, as to shield
him from their influence.

Little Wolf's quick eye followed him when he went and when he came;
not indeed with a suspicion of the truth, for it did not occur to her
that he was being led into temptation, but the fact was about to burst
upon her.

"Excuse me for a few moments, love," whispered Edward as he seated
her, "I will be back in time to dance the old year out and the new
year in with you; the next is to be our wedding year, is it not?"

Little Wolf smiled and fluttered her fan to conceal her confusion.

Two gentlemen were engaged in conversation near Little Wolf, and, as
Edward left her one of them remarked, "What a pity so many of our
promising young men are falling into the habit of drinking. There is
young Sherman, if I am not mistaken, under the influence of
stimulant."

Although not intended for her ear, Little Wolf caught the words, and
her bright smile faded, and her busy little fan dropped in her lap.
The wound so lately healed was reopened, and in it had fallen a
corrosive poison. She felt the aching pain, and the eating smart, she
begged Dr. Goodrich to take her from the room. She had arisen and was
leaning on his arm when Edward returned.

"I see my bird is on the wing," said he claiming Little Wolf's hand
for the forming cotillion.

Little Wolf caught his breath as he leaned towards her, and grew
paler, "I cannot dance," said she drawing back.

Edward looked surprised, but the doctor knew what all meant and he
turned with her towards the door, when who should they see, but daddy,
making his way towards them.

He had evidently come in haste, for his great rough over-coat was only
partly buttoned, his leggins were put on awry, his over shoes were
untied and the strings dangled under his feet somewhat retarding his
shuffling locomotion. With fur cap drawn low so as to protect his
face as much as possible from the biting winds, beard white with
frost, and clusters of snow flakes resting upon his broad shoulders,
Daddy pushed forward into the throng.

Little Wolf no sooner saw than she ran up to him, "What's the matter
Daddy?" said she.

"Twixt you and me, Honey," said he clutching her by the arm, "the
doctor is pretty nigh done fur."

Little Wolf waited for no futher explanation. She gave her little
dimpled arm a jerk and was out of the room in a twinkling.

"Bless me, twixt you an'me, it will go hard with the Honey," said
Daddy addressing Dr. Goodrich, "your services is needed. Miss Hawley
said fetch you right along with the Honey, and, doctor hev' her wrap
up right smart, its awful cold and blowy--howsoever, I clapped in two
big buffaloes, for I know'd putty well how gals is dressed at sich
places. Laws, I expect them are buffaloes would keep her warm if she
hadn't nothing on but that are outside fish net."

For once Daddy made no useless delays. He saw that Little Wolf was
well wrapped in as they sped along the frozen river. The horses were
put to their utmost speed, but in vain. Little Wolf arrived a few
minutes too late to attend her dying father.

With a despairing wail she threw herself beside his dead body. She did
not weep, but moaned so pitifully that it was distressing to listen to
her.

Mrs. Hawley at length went to her and gently raised her up and removed
her hood and cloak. In her haste, Little Wolf had made no change in
her dress, and she was too much absorbed in grief to once think of her
appearance. The rose buds fell from her hair on the still face of the
corpse and her white robes floated over it, while Mrs. Hawley tried to
soothe and speak words of comfort to her.

But suddenly her eye fell upon a form at the opposite side of the bed.
It was Hank Glutter. She was pale before, but at sight of him she
became absolutely ghastly. Slowly she arose to her feet and went
around to where he stood. "Mr. Glutter," said she solemly, raising her
hand, as if to pronounce upon him some dreadful anathema.

"Miss DeWolf," said Hank, eagerly interrupting her, "do not curse me."

"Vengeance is mine, and I will repay, saith the Lord," burst from
Little Wolfs white lips.

Is there not a curse which the liquor seller cannot escape?"



CHAPTER XIX.

    NEIGHBORLY SYMPATHY--LITTLE WOLF'S BOSOM FRIEND--A
    DISAPPOINTED LOVER.


The news of the sudden and unexpected death of Dr. DeWolf, quickly
spread among the few poor families living in the vicinity, casting a
gloom over the little community, where he had been so long well known,
and, before strong drink got the mastery of him, greatly respected and
beloved. Many a sorrowful face looked out from doors and windows
towards the old brown house on New Year's morning, and one after
another, the sympathising neighbors offered their assistance at the
door of the bereaved, whose sunny face had often cheered their own
quiet homes.

But poor Little Wolf at the time knew nothing of their kind
intentions. After the first burst of grief, leaving all arrangements
which the occasion required to Dr. Goodrich, she shut herself in her
own room, and none dared intrude upon her night of sorrow, except
indeed Daddy, who was indefatigable in his attentions. The kind
hearted old man wrapped himself in blankets, and lay down near her
door, and, at intervals, during the hours of that cold January
morning, he crept in softly and replenished the fire, and, after
lingering a moment in the vain hope that she would notice and speak to
him, he would go away muttering pitifully to himself, "poor Pet, poor
Honey."

About daylight, worn out with anxiety and fatigue, he fell asleep, and
a few hours afterwas awakened by a hard thump on the head and
starting up, he saw Sorrel Top, just gathering herself up from a fall.

Who told you to lie down there like a dog, for folks to stumble over?"
said she angrily, I thought you were going to take care of Little
Wolf, and here I find you snoring away and she may be frozen to death,
for all you know."

"Tween you an'me," said Daddy looking rather mortified, "I'm afeared
that are fire has gin' out."

"Of course it has--there ain't a good fire in the hull house. It takes
Mrs. Hawley all the time to tend the door and tell the folks we don't
want their help, and when the funeral will be;--I tell ye, we ain't
hardly had a mite of rest since the doctor was brought home."

"Tell Miss Hawley I'll be down there in five minutes," said Daddy
decidedly.

"It don't make much difference whether he's here or not," said Mrs.
Hawley, when Sorrel Top had delivered his message.

"O he'll be handy to talk," replied Sorrel Top with a grim smile.

"Tween you an' me, it ain't no time fur to be jokin," said Daddy, who
had come in time to catch a few words, and had a suspicion of what was
passing between the women, "I guess," he continued "if you could see
how broke down the Honey is, you'd begin to think it was a serious
matter."

"We do already think it a very serious matter, Daddy," said Mrs.
Hawley with great feeling, and I wish Miss DeWolf would let me do
something for her."

"Taint no use saying a word to her, I don't open my head when I go
into the room, but I'd lay down my life fur to ease her," said Daddy
the tears coming to his eyes. "Tween you and me, it ain't no common
trouble workin' on the pet," he said, coming close to the two and
speaking low, "I've knowed her sence she was a baby, I've seen all of
her putty ways, and none of her bad ways, fur she never had none; she
hes growd up perfect and she allers treated the doctor dutiful, and
she's got nothin' to reproach herself fur. I'm afered," and he sank
his voice to a whisper, "the Honey has got a separate trouble."

"What that trouble was Daddy did not define for he was interrupted by
a knock at the door, which he opened and ushered in the Sherman
family.

"Tween you and me, the Honey ain't spoke nor slept, nor eat," said
Daddy, in answer to Mrs. Sherman's enquiry after Little Wolf, "but
maybe it will ease her a leetle to know that you are here," he said,
looking sideways at Edward.

Daddy fidgeted around Little Wolf for several moments, before he could
muster courage to break the silence, and tell her who were waiting
below, and he almost regretted having done so, when he saw the look of
agony, which the information brought to her face.

"Daddy," said she in a choking voice, "ask Mrs. Sherman to my room,
the others will excuse me to-day."

It was some alleviation to Edward's disappointment, as he rode home
with Louise, to know that his mother was to be Little Wolf's companion
and consoler until the arrival of her old friends, the Tinknors, who
had been sent for, to be present at the funeral.

During the few days they were together, Mrs. Sherman strove by every
means she could devise to give her young friend some relief from the
distress of mind, under which it was evident she was laboring. But she
was at length obliged to return home, leaving to Mrs. Tinknor's skill
the trying case, which had baffled her own benevolent efforts.

It was the day on which her father's remains had been consigned to
their last resting place in a secluded part of his grounds, beside the
grave of her mother, that Little Wolf sat alone by her upper window
looking sadly out towards the burial spot, which she had left only a
few hours previously.

The Squire and Mrs. Tinknor were in the parlor below, engaged in
conversation concerning the events of the past few days, and Tom
Tinknor, to whom the solemnities of the occasion had been extremely
irksome, was wandering aimlessly about the house with hands in his
pockets, occasionally checking himself in the very act of whistling
away the oppressive silence.

The sudden opening of a door gave him quite a start, and turning
quickly, he saw Daddy, who said good naturedly, "I guess ye're skeered
ain't ye? 'Tween you an' me I've felt ruther shaky myself lately in
this ere great big house, where there is so much spare room, fur
ghosts and sperits of pussens is apt fur to hang around the house
where they die."

"O, that's all nonsense, Daddy," said Tom, "I thought you knew too
much to believe in such things."

"Wall, I don't really believe in 'em, but I did feel kinder queer
like, last night when I went through that are long hall to the Honey's
room, but I never hev really seen a sperit yet, but I've seen shaders
that looked mighty like 'em, and I ain't no doubt, if there is any, I
shell see 'em, fur the Honey says I'm uncommon sharp that are way.
Laws, she ain't afeared of nothin: why, she went inter the doctor's
room, the next day after he was laid out, and stayed thar ever so long
all alone, and wouldn't even come out fur to see Mr. Sherman, 'Tween
you an' me, I guess the Honey is throwin off on that are Sherman, fur
ye see I hed to go right inter the ball-room fur her, the night the
doctor died, and I see her, with my own eyes, draw away from him as if
he had hurt her, and I kinder hed a inklin that may be he'd been
drinking a leetle too much, fur, to my sartin knowledge, she ain't
'lowed him fur to come nigh her sence. But I guess its affectin' her
serious, fur she does 'pear to feel the wust she ever did, and I used
to say, sometimes, when the doctor was brung hum dead drunk, she
couldn't feel no wuss if he was really dead; but them times was
nothin' to the way she broke down the night he died. 'Tween you an'
me," said Daddy, as if suddenly recollecting himself, "it wouldn't be
best fur to say nothin' about this to nobody, fur the Honey likes to
keep her own affairs strict."

"Certainly not," said Tom, and he walked straight to the parlor, and
repeated to his parents every word he had heard.

"She certainly grieves more than is natural considering the
circumstances," said the Squire, "and if the old man's conjectures are
correct, you are here just in the nick of time, Tom."

"I don't know about that," said Tom, rather dubiously, "she will have
to change wonderfully if she gives a fellow a chance to see or speak
to her while we stay."

"I shall try to prevail upon the poor child to come down awhile this
evening," said Mrs. Tinknor very gently.

"A handsome fortune is not to be obtained by marriage every day," said
the Squire.

"A noble-hearted, whole-souled woman like Little Wolf is not to be
obtained every day," said Mrs. Tinknor, "but, I never thought," said
she affectionately regarding her son, "that Little Wolf cherished
other than a sister's love for Tom."

Tom was silent, and, after a short pause, Mrs. Tinknor said, "when you
came in Tom, I was telling your father of a conversation I had with
Little Wolf last evening, concerning her going home with us, but she
thinks it best, on account of her dependent family, not to break up
house-keeping before Spring."

"Displaying thereby very little financial ability," said Tom, rather
contemptously.

"Tut, tut," said the Squire, "Little Wolf is posted. She knows just as
much about her father's affairs as I do, She would give me no rest
months ago, until I spread out the whole thing before her, and I
believe her to be as capable of managing the property, as a woman can
be.

"I reminded her of the extra expense attending house-keeping," said
Mrs. Tinknor, "but she said she felt it her duty to provide for those
poor creatures in her employment. There's Daddy, you know, cannot,
more than earn his board, and Mrs. Hawley besides being feeble, has no
other home, and nobody would do as well by an inefficient girl like
Sorrel Top, as she does, and then she has decided to take Fanny Green
into her family for the winter."

"Now, who is Fanny Green?" broke in Tom.

"Why, she is the little girl whose father killed his wife in a fit of
intoxication, and then ran off leaving the child to the charity of
strangers, and I think Little Wolf said, she was cruelly treated in
the family where she is now living, and the family do not wish to be
burdened with her.

"Well, _well_" said Tom, drawing a long breath, "I'm convinced Little
Wolf will be a moping old maid, dressed in black, managing well her
property, devising philanthropic plans for the benefit of paupers, she
is getting too good for any man that lives."

"The best of it is, she does not even know she is doing a good thing,"
said Mrs. Tinknor smilingly.

Tom got up and walked impatiently to the window. Having accompanied
his parents, with a view, to himself wipe away the few natural tears,
that he imagined bedewed the rosy cheeks of Little Wolf, and pour into
her willing ear a volume of cheering words, as he should ride by her
side on their return trip, and, finally, to prevail upon her to reward
his unequalled constancy, by becoming his wife, he was quite
unprepared to meet the pale anguished face beneath the long black veil
of which, for the first time, he caught a glimpse on the funeral day.
Having witnessed the quiver that shook her delicate frame, as the
grave received its dead, he lost all confidence in his pre-arranged
means of consolation, and the words of his mother, not having been
calculated to reassure him he was now thoroughly annoyed at the course
things had taken.

But as Mrs. Tinknor well knew that Tom's feelings were evanescent, and
seldom went beyond the surface, she immediately arose to go to Little
Wolf, comforting herself with the reflection, that the storm she was
leaving would be of short duration.



CHAPTER XX.

    A WEIGHT OF SORROW--MARRYING A DRUNKARD--SUSPENSE.


Meantime Little Wolf had not stirred from her place by the window,
neither had she withdrawn her gaze from the desolate scene without.
All nature was shrouded in snow. On the ground, on every tree and
shrub, and in the air; snow was everywhere. But Little Wolf was too
much absorbed in her own reflections to bestow a thought upon the
raging storm.

From the graves of her parents, dimly seen through the whirling
flakes, her mind had wandered to an equally painful subject, upon
which the timely appearance of her beloved friend, Mrs. Tinknor, gave
her the longed for opportunity to converse. She had always confided in
that lady, as in a mother, and in the present instance, nothing was
witheld pertaining to her feelings past and present towards Edward
Sherman, and the relation in which he stood to her.

Mrs. Tinknor's previous interview with Tom had in a measure prepared
her for Little Wolf's communication, but the tearless eye, so full of
anguish, the white cheek and compressed lips, all so unlike her
brilliant little friend, struck her painfully; and indignation towards
the author of so much wretchedness was the uppermost feeling as, in
conclusion, Little Wolf pleadingly asked, "what can I do, my dear Mrs.
Tinknor?"

Now Mrs. Tinknor was a mild, undemonstrative woman, not prone to
giving advice, but the memory of all the wrongs which she had endured
through the intemperance of her husband, wrongs which had sunk deep
within her bleeding heart, nerved her to raise a warning voice, to
save, if possible, one whom she really loved from a life, to which it
made her shudder to look forward, and she freely and earnestly
answered.

"Think no more of one, who, if you were to become his wife, would make
your life, beyond all expression, miserable."

Little Wolf laid her hand quickly on that of her friend and looking
straight into her eyes said vehemently, "I cannot, no, I cannot do
that, could you?"

"Could I, rather, did I," said Mrs. Tinknor, drawing a long breath, "I
had not the decision that marks your character, darling, and
consequently am a drunkard's wife."

Mrs. Tinknor's voice fell very low, as she repeated the last words,
and Little Wolf involuntarily clasped more closely the hand on which
she had laid her own.

"You are not, really, what you called yourself, Mrs. Tinknor," she
whispered, "nobody calls Squire Tinknor that, oh, do not talk so."

"I do not like to say it my dear, and I never said it before, but for
your sake I lay open the hidden part of my life, and after you have
heard me through I shall never give another word of advice as to your
future course."

"I was just of your age, darling, and about to be married when an
intimate friend said to me," "I'm afraid Mr. Tinknor is fond of drink,
I saw him go into one of those drinking saloons." I answered
carelessly; for I did not wish her to know that she had made me
anxious; but that evening I repeated her words to my lover. He made
light of it, and said a friend invited him to drink and he did not
like to refuse; that he might be a man among men, that there was no
danger, he could stop when he pleased, he only drank socially, never
for the love of it.

"But my fears were aroused and I begged him with tears, to give up
social drinking all together, and he finally appeared hurt, and
finally asked me if I could not trust him, and I said yes; for he was
so noble, so full of warm affection, that I was sure I could win him
from those habits, which threatened to darken our sky. I ventured
forth on a dangerous sea, and clouds and storms have been my portion.

"Spite of all you love him, and he loves you," Little Wolf ventured to
say, "and while there is love there is hope, and some little comfort;
life is not entirely aimless and barren."

Mrs. Tinknor so pitied Little Wolf, who had so bravely risen above all
the misfortunes to which her young life had been subjected, only to
sacrifice herself to a most unfortunate attachment, that, for the
moment, she was silent not knowing what to say.

"O do not look so hopeless, dear Mrs. Tinknor," said Little Wolf
eagerly, "tell me there is something to live for."

"We may, to be good, and do good," said Mrs. Tinknor slowly, as if to
make quite sure of answering wisely.

Little Wolf caught at the words, "that is just what you are doing,"
she said, "and why may not I? I know you think I could not do as you
have done; but you do not know how my heart is in this thing. I did
not know myself until the trial came, why, Mrs. Tinknor, I could
sacrifice my soul for his sake."

"O darling, darling, I cannot bear to hear you say so. I cannot bear
to have you sacrifice yourself to one who would not even control a
vitiated appetite for your sake. Believe me you will regret it, if you
become the wife of an inebriate."

"O he is not that, he is not that."

"He may not have come to that yet, dear child, but you have seen and
heard enough to convince you that he is on the road from which few
turn back. He has already felt the debasing effects of intoxicating
drink and still he keeps on, and shall that noble soul of yours be for
a whole life time bound to one with whom eventually there can be no
sympathy? God forbid. You may remember, although you were very young,
what your dear mother's sufferings were; could she speak to you now,
what think you would be her advice?"

"O my dear, patient, loving, broken hearted mother," and Little Wolf
burst into a paroxysm of tears.

Mrs. Tinknor leaned very tenderly over her young friend and kissed her
cheek, and, after this little act of love and sympathy, she went down
stairs, without so much as having hinted at the object for which she
came. However to the surprise of all, Little Wolf spent the evening in
the parlor with her guests, and at her earnest solicitation, they
consented to delay their intended departure for a few days.

It was a sore disappointment to Edward Sherman to be obliged to meet
Little Wolf day after day under the watchful eye of Tom Tinknor. But,
to Little Wolf it was an infinite relief, for Mrs. Tinknor's words
"think no more of one who if you were to become his wife, would make
your life beyond all expression, miserable," rang continually in her
ears: and, while her heart prompted her to a different course, her
intellect in a measure approved the advice. Consequently she naturally
shrank from a private interview, before her mind was fully prepared to
meet the exigency.

The subject was not again broached between Mrs. Tinknor and herself
until the morning that the first named started for her home, and it
was only at the moment of their last fond leave taking, that Little
Wolf leaned over the side of the sleigh and whispered in her ear, "I
shall never be able to write to you about it, but if _he_ refuses to
accept the condition which I feel I _ought_ to make, I will just send
you a lock of my hair and you will know it is all over with us."

Her lip quivered as she turned away and as the Squire drove off, Tom
who had observed her agitation said to his mother, "she is tender
hearted, that savage Little Wolf after all."



CHAPTER XXI.

    DADDY'S DIPLOMACY--A PASSAGE AT ARMS--FANNIE GREEN--A
    CATASTROPHE.


A sudden sense of responsibility seemed to fall upon Daddy, as with
Little Wolf, he watched the Squire's swift gliding sleigh, and its
occupants, until they had dwindled together, a mere speck on the
silent river.

'Tween you and me, Honey, it won't du for you to be shiverin, here in
the snow. Mr. Tom said I was fur to take care of you when he was gone;
'tween you and me Mr. Tom is oncommon nice young man, oncommon,
considerin his father, very oncommon."

"How so Daddy?"

"'Tween you and me he's a teetotaler, out and out, and the Squire
ain't. I ketched him sneakin off down to the brewery several times. I
kinder think Tom takes after his mother, and its a good sign fur boys
to take after their mother. Now there's Mr. Sherman, he takes after
his father. His every motion is like the judge. To be sure, the Judge
was a wonderful smart man, but then when I lived in them parts he was
in the habit of drinkin, pretty heavy. Afore I left he signed the
pledge, but there ain't no tellin how he would have turned out if he
had lived."

It was plainly to be seen in whose interest Daddy was enlisted. His
diplomatic efforts were listened to with great composure and he could
only speculate on the result as he went into the house with Little
Wolf.

The parlor was in a state of confusion, Mrs. Hawley and Sorrel Tom
having combined forces to raise the greatest possible amount of dust
and disorder out of the material at hand; such as the ashes from the
Squire's segar inadvertantly dropped, the dirt from Tom's boots which
he never remembered to clean, and Daddy's careless litter in making
the fire. The light litter was easily disposed of, but the inevitable
stain left by the melted snow upon the carpet occasioned an angry
outburst from Sorrel Top, who did not see her young mistress just
behind.

"Tom Tinknor is a filthy fellow," said she, and I'm glad he's gone; he
kept me cleaning up after him all the time, and now here's two more
great spots to be scrubbed."

"'Tween you and me Tom didn't make them are," said Daddy indignantly.

"He did, too."

"He didn't nuther, I see Mr. Sherman set in that are very spot
yesterday."

At the commencement of the dispute, Little Wolf slipped away and
sought refuge in her own room, and Daddy embraced the opportunity to
lecture Sorrel Top soundly.

"'Tween you and me, you've disgusted the Honey," said he, "speakin so
unrespectful of her friends."

"She don't know nothing about it," said Sorrel Top.

"'Tween you and me she stood right behind you and heered the hull,"
said Daddy triumphantly.

"I don't believe it," said Sorrel Top, getting very red in the face.

"I'll leave it to Miss Hawley," said Daddy.

Mrs. Hawley corrobarated the statement and Daddy continued his
lecture.

"'Tain't never best to speak disrespectful of nobody," said he, "I
never du, except of them are liquor sellers, and sich low critters.
'Tween you an' me, Mr. Tinknor is a very respectable young man; he
told me he'd never drunk a drop of liquor in his hull life, except
once when he had the colic, and it ain't likely he'll ever tech the
infarnel stuff agin, for he ain't subject to colic, and if he should
be tackled with it, I've told him how to doctor with hot plates and
yarb tea. I advised him not to send fur no doctor, fur ten chances tu
one, they would prescribe brandy. Them doctors, as a general thing,
don't know no better than to prescribe things fur young men that gits
'em in the habit of drinkin. I wouldn't hev the Honey heard you run
down Mr. Tom, as you did, fur no money. I hope this will be a warnin
fur you to be oncommon keerful of that are tongue of yourn in futur."

"I guess Miss DeWolf can tend to her own affairs without anybody's
help," said Sorrel Top, not in the least dismayed by Daddy's
expostulations. "I wonder what has sot you agin Mr. Sherman, he is
much more agreeable than Tom Tinknor, and I had rather clean up his
dirt a thousand times, than so much as set a chair for that silly
Tom."

"You never had no penetration, no how," said Daddy contemptously, "if
you ever marry you'll get a drunken loafer to wait on, no doubt."

With this unkind prophesy on his lips, Daddy got himself out of the
sound of Sorrel Top's retort as quickly as possible, and, as he could
whenever it suited him, make an errand to Little Wolf's room, he very
soon made it convenient to start with an armful of wood in that
direction.

The fire was burning very briskly and Little Wolf sat before it in an
attitude of deep thought, so Daddy very gently put down the wood, and
was going out, when his young mistress called after him.

"Daddy."

"Yes, Honey."

"Daddy, I've been thinking of going for Fanny Green to-day."

"'Tween you and me, its a oncommon fair day, likely you wouldn't take
no cold.

"Well, daddy, we will drive over for her, early this afternoon."

The honor of riding with Little Wolf and the errand on which, they
were going combined to form an occasion of deep interest with Daddy
who hastened down, eager to impart the information he had obtained.
But, as only Sorrel Top was visible, and she in a fit of sulks, in
the bringing on of which he had been instrumental, he delayed his
important communication for a more appreciative audience, and
contented himself with the performance of what he considered a solemn
duty.

"'Tween you and me, its never best to pout," said he, "I've seen many
a handsome face spiled by it."

Having administered this inflammatory admonition, Daddy betook himself
to the wood pile, where he pecked away with uncommon assiduity until
he was called to dinner.

Putting away his ax with alacrity, he hurried into the house, with an
air of a man of business, and soon, under the influence of a very
palatable dinner, his tongue loosed more agreeably.

"'Tween you and me, the Honey and me have been talkin the matter
over," said he, "and we are going fur to fetch Fanny this afternoon."

"You ain't told us no news," said Sorrel Top, "has he Miss Hawley?"

"I didn't go fur to tell no news, a man never expects to tell _women_
any news."

Daddy told this little fib good naturedly, although it was evident
that he was the least bit annoyed.

Sorrel Top delighted in view of Daddy's discomfiture, and her temper
restored, condescended to disclose the part she was to act in the
matter.

"I've just been fixing a bed for her in the little room inside of Miss
DeWolf's," said she "and as it ain't at all likely she'll be very
tidy, brought up as she has been in that old shanty, I expect to have
to teach her to keep it in order."

"'Tween you and me, it's time I was gittin ready fur to fetch her,"
said Daddy glad of an excuse to terminate the interview.

Little Wolf was on the veranda when Daddy drove up, for she was aware
that her spirited little saddle horse, Fleet Foot, was as a general
thing rather restive in harness. However, on the present occasion,
his behavior was unexceptionable, and, in a few minutes, he was
trotting off, the perfection of docility.

It was about a half an hour's drive to Mr. Wycoff's the farmer in
whose family Fanny Green was living, and it was not to be expected
that Daddy could by any means remain silent for that length of time,
and as the subject most likely to interest his young mistress, he
fixed upon Fleet Foot.

"'Tween you and me, Fleet Foot is oncommon stiddy to-day."

"Yes," said Little Wolf, absently.

"'Tween you and me hosses is like pussens, they ken be coaxed better
than driv, fur generally speakin, coaxing brings 'em round when
driving won't. It always makes my blood brile tu see a hoss abused,
and the men that du it ain't much better than them are liquor sellers,
and I have always said that they were the meanest of God's creation.
'Tween you and me, if common folks had had the care of Fleet Foot, you
couldn't do nothin with him. He's naturally as full of fire as an egg
is of meat, and he's a very knowin hoss tu; the minute you're in the
saddle he pricks up his ears, and dances off like a young colt, fur he
knows you like fur to have him prance and show off; but when I back
him, he knows just as well he's got a stiddy old man aboard. When I
fust took him out this afternoon, he went a caperin and carcerin
round, and one spell I cum mighty nigh not gitting harness on him, but
laws if anybody ken manage a hoss I ken," and Daddy unconsciously gave
the reins a triumphant jerk, which instantly increased Fleet Foot's
speed to what the careful old man considered an alarming degree, and
by the time they had reached their destination, he was nearly out of
breath, and had become quite nervous in his efforts to check the
spirited animal.

"'Tween you and me, it wont du to keep Fleet Foot standing long in the
cold," suggested Daddy anxiously as Little Wolf was alighting.

Sharing Daddy's anxiety Little Wolf stated to Mrs. Wycoff as
concisely as possible, the object of her visit, and that individual
brought the affair to a crisis in the following summary manner.

"Here's the girl, take her. Fanny put on your hood, and that old cloak
that was your mother's. Mr. Wycoff has given you to this lady, and
she's in a hurry. Now be quick."

Fanny's little white tear stained face fairly shone with delight, as
she followed her new found friend to the sleigh. No alteration had
been made in the mantle which was once her mother's, and Daddy wrapped
her carefully in its ample folds and stowed her away at his feet, and
she looked her last upon a house where she had suffered, as ill
treated, motherless children sometimes do suffer.

From the day of her mother's death, she had excited Daddy's earnest
sympathy. He had seen her carried home by Mr. Wycoff, whom he knew to
be a hard man, and fond of strong drink. Mrs. Wycoff had the
reputation of being no better than her husband, and Fanny's fate was
generally commiserated when it was known that she was to be nurse and
chore girl in that family. She had been there but a few months,
however, when the infant under her charge suddenly sickened and died,
and as she was too small and delicate to be put to hard labor, the
family had no futher use for her. These facts coming to Little Wolf's
knowledge through Daddy, she had successfully employed him to gain Mr.
Wycoff's consent to give the child up to her."

There was a world of gratitude in Fanny's sweet blue eyes, when
occasionally she would modestly turn them up to Little Wolf as they
rode in silence.

Daddy was to much absorbed in holding the reins to think of anything
else, and as they neared the last long hill he drew a sigh of relief,
"'tween you an' me, we're all right so fur," he said.

The words were scarcely out of his mouth before they were half way up
the hill. Just on the brow they saw a two horse team, which as the
road was narrow and the sides precipitous and rocky could only be
passed with safety where it then was. Imagine then the dismay of the
little party as they saw the heavy sled descending, and the driver
madly urging on his horses.

Daddy shouted at the top of his voice, Little Wolf sprang upon her
feet and waved her handkerchief with all her might, and little Fanny
said dispairingly, "Oh its Mr. Wycoff, he is drunk, oh he _will_ run
over us."

Down, down, with fearful rapidity came the heavy team, the driver
flourishing his whip and shouting dreadful oaths; while like lightning
leaped Fleet Foot onward to his destiny. An instant more and Little
Wolf had thrown Fanny from the sleigh and leaped after her down the
side hill. There was a crash, a prolonged neigh; Fleet Foot's death
yell, as, for an instant, he hung suspended from the sleigh, which had
caught on a projecting rock, and all was silent save the distant
clatter of horses' hoofs and the faint hallos of the drunken maniac.

At the moment of the collision, Daddy had risen to his feet and was
in some unaccountable way thrown uninjured into the road. Although
stunned and bewildered by the fall, his faculties gradually brightened
and he was soon in a condition to survey the scene.

On a ledge of rocks overhanging the precipice was the forlorn wreck of
the once fanciful little sleigh. In the depths below lay Fleet Foot,
stretched motionless upon the rocky bottom. The deep ravine into which
he had been plunged ran angling, and formed the point, where by her
presense of mind Little Wolf had saved herself, and Fanny from almost
certain death.

At this point the hill was less steep, and the snow had fallen to a
great depth, forming a bed as soft as down, and cushioning the very
rocks. Upon this capacious couch of unsullied whiteness, lay Little
Wolf and Fanny.

Powerless himself to render any assistance, Daddy opened his mouth and
there went forth a wail such as caused Little Wolf to start and
shudder as she thought of what it might portend. But her worst fears
were in a moment dispelled, as she saw Daddy's anxious face bending
imploringly over the bank.

"Honey" said he most dolefully.

"Yes, Daddy."

"'Tween you an' me, you ain't hurt nun, be you?"

"Not very much, Daddy, but when I try to rise I only sink deeper in
the snow. Hark! I hear the sound of bells."

"Well, now, if there ain't Mr. Sherman coming down the hill," said
Daddy delightfully. "'Tween you and me, Honey, that are Mr. Sherman
will hev fur to help you git out. His legs is a heap longer than these
old stumps of mine."



CHAPTER XXII.

    THE RESCUE.


The circumstances which had brought Edward Sherman so opportunely to
the scene of disaster were simply these:

On his way to call upon Little Wolf he had ridden round to Hank
Glutter's saloon in order to leave a package of Eastern papers, as an
act of courtesy in return for previous favors from Hank. As he pulled
up before the door, Mr. Wycoff, urged by the proprietor, came reeling
out with blood-shot eyes, and swearing that he would never leave the
place without another drink. Hank had some trouble in coaxing him on
to his sled, and getting him started for home. Having rid himself of
his troublesome customer, he turned his attention to Edward.

"Come in, Mr. Sherman," said he, "I am at liberty now. That man Wycoff
has been quite an annoyance to me of late. He has no control over his
appetite, and consequently ought never to drink; but I can't refuse
him, and it wouldn't mend the matter if I did, for he can easily get
it elsewhere, and, perhaps, where no discrimination would be used, and
he would become too much intoxicated to get home at all; but drunken
loafers are not allowed to hang around here."

"I have brought some papers which I thought you might like to look
at," said Edward taking no notice of what the other had said.

"Thank you, Mr. Sherman, you had better come in a while. I have just
received some sherry said to be very fine. I would like your judgment
upon the quality of the article."

"Another time, Mr. Glutter; I am in something of a hurry to-day."

"Well, just wait a minute," said Hank, and he darted in and brought
out a bottle and slipped it in the corner of the sleigh under the
buffalo. "There," said he, "try it at your leisure, Mr. Sherman."

"Thank you, Mr. Glutter,--good day," and Edward hastened to the home
of Little Wolf.

When informed by Sorrel Top that Little Wolf had gone to Mr. Wycoff's
for Fanny, his pride was at the moment piqued; for he well knew that
she had reason to suppose that he would visit her that afternoon.
Since the memorable New Year's eve, when leaning upon Dr. Goodrich's
arm, she had so resolutely turned away from him, he felt that all was
not right between them; and he had looked forward with longing
impatience for the hour, when, once more alone with her, he could ask
an explanation. Although he was confident that she was then absent
purposely to avoid him, alarm for her safety overcame every other
feeling, and with a foreboding heart, he turned in the direction she
had taken.

From the top of the hill he saw enough to hasten him down to Daddy,
and from thence through snow and rocks to Little Wolf.

"Are you hurt, darling?" he said, eagerly grasping her hand.

Little Wolf uttered an exclamation of pain and fainted. Edward turned
pale. "Daddy," he shouted, throw down that bottle in the corner of the
sleigh."

"What is it you want fur to give her," said Daddy, doubtfully.

"It's wine; throw it down here quickly."

"She won't tech the infarnel stuff."

"She has fainted, you simpleton; give me the wine."

"'Tween you and me, there ain't no bottle here," said Daddy, doggedly.
"Sprinkle a little snow in her face, and she'll come too."

"Daddy," thundered Edward, completely exasperated, "throw down that
wine, or I'll know the reason why."

"The reason why, is," said Daddy, deliberately, "there ain't no bottle
in this ere sleigh--'tween you and me, this ere hoss of yourn is
gettin mighty oneasy, I'm obleeged fur tu stand at his head every
minute."

"Hitch him somewhere, Daddy, and throw the buffalo over him--the
bottle is under the buffalo, you'll find it and bring it."

"No I won't bring it nuther," muttered Daddy to himself."

"I guess there's something the matter with Miss DeWolf's arm, she
couldn't use it when she tried to get up," said a voice close behind
Edward.

He turned and saw that the suggestion had come from Fanny Green, who
lay a short distance off, cosily wrapped in the form of a little black
bundle.

"Are you hurt, Fanny?" he said.

"O no, I'm not hurt a bit," she answered brightly. "I prayed that I
might be saved, and I was saved."

"I wish you would pray we might get safely up this steep place into
the road," said Edward.

"Miss DeWolf is very little, replied Fanny hopefully, "I guess you can
carry her up. If my cloak was off, I think I could walk by myself."

Edward undid her cloak and stood her upon her feet. He then raised
Little Wolf in his arms, and staggered a few feet in the snow, and
laid her down again, almost discouraged. But as he could devise no
other plan to rescue her from her unpleasant situation, he redoubled
his efforts. He occasionally stumbled against rocks, and fell into
drifts, but always so as to shield his burden from harm.

Daddy was stubborn in witholding the bottle, and Little Wolf at length
awoke to consciousness without it. Awoke to feel herself pressed close
to Edward's throbbing breast, to listen to endearing words, that
warmed into new life and vigor the hope in which she had indulged. The
hope, that possibly, through her influence, he might be persuaded to
give up the only habit which marred his otherwise unblemished,
character.

"Darling, darling, you are safe now with me," he whispered, as she
unclosed her eyes; "were you hurt by the fall?"

"Only my arm, Edward; it is very painful. I'm afraid it is broken--oh,
put me down, the pain makes me faint."

"I love so to hold you to my heart," he said as he let her slip softly
on the snow, and examined the wounded member.

"It _is_ really broken, just above the wrist," he said in surprise,
how careless I have been!"

Edward was not skilful in surgery, but he did the best he could with
pocket handkerchief bandages.

Little Wolf nerved herself to bear the pain which every movement
aggravated, and Edward again lifted her up.

"Now, darling, we shall soon get to the top."

"Where is Fanny?" said Little Wolf, suddenly remembering her protege.

"O, she is somewhere, working her way along in my track," said Edward.

Both looked back, and not far behind saw Fanny kneeling with closed
eyes beside a snow capped rock. Her tiny hand, rough and red with cold
and toil, clasped devoutly upon her breast, and her lips moved as if
in prayer. The little black quilted hood she wore had fallen back,
revealing soft golden hair, radiant in the slant rays of the declining
sun, and upon her cheek a tear glistened like a dew-drop on a flower.

"The tears came to Little Wolf's eyes. "Poor little thing! she feels
forsaken," she whispered, "let us wait and encourage her."

While they were waiting a neighboring farmer happened along; a strong,
stalwart man, who joined right heartily in helping them out of their
difficulty.

The first thing that Edward did when he reached the sleigh was to
search for the bottle of sherry. "Strange," said he to Little Wolf,
"Mr. Glutter certainly put a bottle of sherry here as I came along,
and now it is nowhere to be found. I wish I had it for your sake."

Daddy glanced furtively at Little Wolf, who, suspecting the truth,
murmured something about feeling better.

"He ain't a goin fur to git none of that infarnel stuff down the
honey," said Daddy to himself, as the sleigh with Edward, Little Wolf,
and Fanny disappeared down the other side of the hill.

A consultation was next held between Daddy and the farmer as to the
probable condition of Fleet Foot, which was speedily ascertained by
the latter who chanced to have a rope with him suitable for letting
himself down to where he could test the case. Scaleing the rocks with
his temporary ladder, he returned the verdict "died of a broken neck."

"I was pretty nigh sartin he was stun dead," said Daddy, gravely. "I'm
much, obleeged to ye, neighbor; I guess I'll go hum, bein I can't du
nothin fur the poor critter.--I tell ye, neighbor, these are things
takes right hold on me. Fleet Foot was a buster, and I sot heaps by
him, and so did the honey. 'Tween you and me, that cussed, infarnel
liquor drinkin is at the bottom of a awful heap of trouble. If I could
make the laws, the hull infarnel stuff would be handled like pison and
pistols, ruther keerful."

"Wycoff is pretty well off, I guess he can be made to pay pretty heavy
damages," said the farmer.

"'Tween you an' me, that ere is poor consolation. Supposen the honey's
neck had been broken, and the chances was agin her, what money du ye
think could pay for her life? I tell ye what, the thing is all wrong,
liquor makin and liquor sellin does mischief that no money can't pay
fur."



CHAPTER XXIII.

    AN INDIAN MESSENGER--FROZEN TO DEATH.


The evening hour drew on. Little Wolf lay upon her bed feverish with
pain. Her arm was in bandages, and Dr. Goodrich stood by soothing and
encouraging her. Louise Sherman having arrived, kindly relieved Mrs.
Hawley, who embraced the opportunity to slip out and regale herself
with a cup of tea.

As she approached the kitchen, the sound of Daddy's voice reached her
ear, and the few words that she caught hastened her footsteps
thither.

"It was as much as ever I could du fur to hold Fleet Foot," he was
saying as she opened the door.

"Go on, Daddy," said Mrs. Hawley as he paused at her entrance, "I want
to hear all about it."

"Wall, as I was a tellin Sorrel Top," he continued, "I was pretty nigh
done out a holdin Fleet Foot, when we got tu that are long hill, fur I
was a leetle afeared he might git the better on me, but the Honey
want, she ain't never afeared of nothin nor never was, but she was
oncommon quiet, she hadn't spoke for a long time--when, all at once,
jest as we was agoin up the hill, what should we see but Wycoff's big
team a tearin down like Jehu. He was a swearin and a cussin and there
want no dodging of him. I riz right up and hollered, and the Honey riz
up and hollered and shook her handkerchief, but it want no use. Down,
down it cum like lightning, sled and all. Fleet Foot got skeered with
the hollerin and he jest _went it_. Wall, the Honey ketched up Fanny
in a jiff, and tossed her out, and was out herself afore I knowed it,
and I was jest a goin fur to git out when the teams cum together
kersmash, and I was pitched head fust clean over Wycoff's sled inter
the road, and would no doubt hev been killed but my time hadn't come.
'Tween you and me, it is _foreordinated_ that we won't die till our
time comes. Fur you may pitch a man about, and break him all tu bits
and he lives and gits well. But when his time comes, the prick of a
pin will kill him and nothin on airth ken save him. Wall, the fust
thing I did when I found myself alive, was to look for the Honey, and
afore I hed a chance fur to help her, that are Sherman happened along,
and left me in charge of his hoss, while he went fur to fetch her. The
fust thing I hearn was a great hollerin fur a bottle of wine that he
had in his sleigh. Wall, I took the infarnel stuff and slung it as fur
as I could see and told him there want nun there."

"Miss DeWolf would give you fits if she knew what you'd done," said
Sorrel Top, "the wine want yourn."

"Wall, it was the devil's, and I slung it tu him," retorted Daddy
triumphantly, "that are Sherman was riled, and I let him sweat, fur I
want a goin fur to hev him pour pisen down the Honey. No doubt, if he
had gin it tu her, her blood would hev got heated and fever hev sot
in. Some folks don't seem to know nothin about them things," said the
speaker darting a contemptous glance at Sorrel Top.

"Well, Daddy, what happened next?" said Mrs. Hawley, soothingly.

"I ain't a goin fur to tell nothin more tonight," said Daddy
decidedly. "If folks can't listen without interruptin me, they may
wait till they ken," and he shot another meaning glance at the
offending Sorrel Top.

"I guess," said Sorrel Top with some asperity "you're not the only one
that can tell me about it, is he Fanny?" she said turning to Fanny
Green, whom she discovered to have fallen fast asleep in her chair.

"'Tween you an me," said Daddy rather dryly, "I guess you won't hear
no more of that are story to-night."

Sorrel Top's temper was slightly ruffled and she began to shake Fanny
rather roughly. "Wake up, Fanny," said she "wake up."

"Oh! Mrs. Wycoff, don't whip me," mourned Fanny piteously, as she
opened her eyes, "I didn't mean to go to sleep, but I was so tired."

"Don't you know no better than to treat a little motherless thing in
that are way?" said Daddy coming indignantly forward. "Come here,
Fanny," and he took the child tenderly in his arms; "if anybody speaks
a cross word to you in this are house, they'll git reported."

By degrees Fanny awoke, and was borne off to bed by Mrs. Hawley.

Scarcely had they gone when a new object of interest attracted Daddy's
attention. There was a slight rustling at the outside door, and in
stalked a sturdy Indian in blanket and leggins and soft moccasins,
causing his firm tread to fall noiselessly, and giving Daddy a
superstitious start, as if he had seen an apparition. The red man
stated in broken English that he had brought a letter a long way from
the "lodge of the pale face, to the Wolf squaw."

Daddy hastened to put the letter in Little Wolf's hand. It proved to
be a rather lengthy communication from Antoinette La Claire, and as
all were interested, at Little Wolf's request, Louise proceeded to
read it aloud.

                                "Fairy Knoll, Jan. 20th, 18--.

    MY DEAR MISS DEWOLF:

    A faithful Indian, known for a long time to cousin John, has
    called here on his route to Chimney Rock and I embrace the
    opportunity to write to you, as it will probably be the last
    I shall have before spring opens.

    Cousin John has fitted up a cosy little room for me in the
    loft. It is hung around with skins and blankets, and is made
    comfortably warm by the fire below. There is one little
    window from which I obtain a fine view of the "City of
    Trees," which you used so much to admire. They are now shorn
    of their foliage, and snow and ice cover the branches, and,
    forsaken by their summer inhabitants, they stand and sadly
    moan day and night.

    But these mournful sounds pass unheeded, by the happy couple
    in this peaceful cottage. Not a cloud has yet darkened their
    "honeymoon." All their hours are pleasant hours, and all
    their dreams are pleasant dreams. On these wintry mornings we
    rise rather late; after the sun has peeped in at the window a
    long time.

    Cousin John goes out in the warmest part of the day to split
    rails, but, even then, he finds it convenient to take his
    brandy bottle with him. He is a firm believer in the efficacy
    of brandy to keep out the cold. But when, with the experience
    I have had, I see him in perfect strength and health, go out
    day after day with that little flask in his side pocket, I
    pray that it may never become a snare to him.

    Yesterday morning, as he was about starting, I ventured to
    remonstrate with him. "Cousin John" I said, "I would not
    take the brandy to-day, I do not think you will miss it." He
    laughed good naturedly, and turning to Cousin Maria, he said,
    'Maria dear, Antoinette is concerned about my morals. Shall I
    tell her of a certain lady who drained Mr. Sherman's wine
    bottle on her way to Fairy Knoll?"

    Cousin Maria blushed and said, "I am sorry John that I ever
    touched it. Let us now mutually pledge ourselves never again
    to drink anything that will intoxicate." But Cousin John only
    laughed, and kissed his young wife tenderly and went away to
    the wood, taking the brandy bottle with him.

    When he came home at night, and the supper was over, and he
    had, as usual, seated himself by Maria and taken her hand in
    his, (at which signal I invariably become suddenly sleepy and
    am obliged to retire,) I stole away from the scene, and
    sitting down by my little window, looked out into the faint
    moonlight, and thought much and long upon the joys and
    sorrows of earth, but most upon its sorrows, for the "whole
    creation groaneth," and my own heart is always sorrowful.

    I do not know why, but it may have been, and probably was,
    because all the anguish and sorrow that has ever come under
    my personal observation, has been occasioned by that drink
    that "biteth like a serpent, and stingeth like an adder,"
    that the scene of the morning mingled with the thought of my
    cousins below eagerly quaffing their cup of bliss; the
    sweetest that earth offers to youthful lips. 'Can bitter
    drops ever mingle there?' thought I. 'Can the honey become
    wormword and gall, and every joy be forgotten? Can the little
    speck that I thought I saw this morning on the horizon become
    a great cloud and overshadow us all?' In imagination I saw
    lovely cousin Maria pale and faded, and careworn, and cousin
    John's noble and manly countenance bloated and brutish, as I
    have seen men become by the use of stimulating drinks, and
    involuntarily I threw up my hands and cried, 'Is there none
    to help?'

    It may have been a morbid condition of the mind that wrought
    these sad fancies, and I am sure those who have never
    realized the danger of the cup would treat them lightly, but
    you dear friend, know that from just such beginnings the most
    harrowing sorrows have sprung.

    I know cousin John would smile if he knew what a serious
    matter I have made of a thing that he considers so trifling,
    and he is so good and kind to me, and his whole soul so free
    from vice, that I almost regret having put these thoughts on
    paper. But out of the fulness of my anxious heart I have
    written as perhaps I ought not.

    God grant that all my fears may prove groundless, and that
    the serpent's sting may never, never more through another's
    infatuation reach our hearts, or yours.

    I was at length aroused from my reverie by our Indian
    visitor. I caught a glimpse of him just as he emerged from
    the woods, and before I could go down to announce his coming,
    he was within, and by his noiseless footfall had taken my
    cousins greatly by surprise. Maria was smoothing her rumpled
    hair and looking rather annoyed at the unceremonious
    intrusion, while cousin John and his visitor were deep in the
    mysteries of "jargon," which being interpreted by my humble
    self was truly startling and shocking.

    He stated that two "pale faces," were lying a short distance
    off, frozen to death. His supposition was that they had
    indulged too freely in "fire water."

    Cousin John immediately accompanied him to the spot, and
    found indeed two men cold and stiff in death, and the empty
    bottle found upon their persons gave evidence of the cause.
    The Indian recognized one, having seen him with my dead
    brother, and said he was "no good pale face," and his name
    was Prime Hawley. They found in the pocket of the other an
    old letter addressed to "Hiram Green, Chimney Rock." You may
    possibly know something about the latter.

"Fanny Green's father, and Mrs. Hawley's husband," ejaculated Little
Wolf. "Hark, Louise," she added in a whisper, "they have heard it
all."

Sounds of distress were heard in the adjoining room where Mrs. Hawley
was engaged in putting her little charge to rest. Both she and Fanny
had heard every word of the letter and the news of the unhappy death
of the husband of the one, and the father of the other, burst suddenly
upon them, and deep and tearless groans of Mrs. Hawley and Fanny's
heart breaking sobs mingled together.

"Put the letter away Louise, _do_," said Little Wolf, turning her face
away with a heart truly sick.



CHAPTER XXIV.

    A CRISIS--PRIDE AND FOLLY.


For weeks Antoinette's letter lay in the drawer where Louise had
hastily thrust it, and no one had read it to the end.

Mrs. Hawley's health, which had been feeble for a long time, rapidly
declined after the news of her husband's death, and in a few days she
took to her bed, and shortly after died. The sickness and death of a
member of her family, combined with her own sufferings so absorbed the
mind of Little Wolf, that at the time she thought of but little else.
But when it was all over, and her arm had partially healed, she began
to realize acutely the anomalous position in which the purpose she had
formed placed her to Edward.

It is true he came every day, and always with words upon his lips that
sent the hot blood to her cheek, and each time she strove in vain for
courage to approach the subject upon which hung her destiny. It was no
wonder that she thus halted; that her heart stood still at the bare
possibility of losing its idol; for, orphaned and alone, beyond it she
saw no light in her path; only fearful darkness like the shadows of
death.

There had been no word of explanation, and Edward seemed to have
forgotten that he had ever desired any, and he had settled into his
former assurance. His mother had, of late, spoken to her
confidentially of the time when, as Edward's wife it would be her
pleasure to relieve her of all troublesome cares; and Little Wolf
listened in silence and in agony. She longed to unbosom her feelings
but restrained herself with the resolve that she would, without
delay, make them known to Edward.

In this state of mind she one day opened the drawer where lay
Antoinette's letter and taking it out sat down to read it. She found
nothing of interest in the contents, except that which she had
previously heard, until her eye caught the postscript at the bottom
which read thus:

    "One day later. The Indian stayed yesterday to assist in
    burying the dead. He has just breakfasted and will start in a
    few moments, and I hasten to tell you the good news. Rejoice
    with me, all my fears are put to flight. Last night my
    conscience told me that I ought to invite cousin John to read
    this letter. He looked so serious when he had done so, that I
    was afraid I had offended him. But this morning to my utter
    astonishment he handed me a Total Abstinence Pledge, drawn up
    in due form, with his own name and Maria's signed to it, and
    playfully bade me write my name with theirs. "For," said he,
    "Antoinette, I intend in future to look well to the morals of
    my household, and see that they touch not, taste not, handle
    not, any beverage that will intoxicate." I burst into tears,
    and he said, "O well, if you feel so badly about it, you need
    not sign it," but he well knew they were tears of joy, and
    there would be no trouble about signing it. Would that the
    head of every family in the land, might do as cousin John has
    done. Then indeed, there would be rejoicing around many a
    fireside, where now sits sorrow and despair.

                                          In love and haste,

                                                 "ANTOINETTE,"

Little Wolf sat pondering over what she had read, never dreaming that
her lover was peeping in upon her through the half open door. But
Edward was to full of what he had come that day especially to say, to
delay long, and he tapped lightly to attract her attention. Little
Wolf welcomed him to her side, with the determination that she would
then and there speak frankly upon the subject, which had so long
pressed upon her mind.

But Edward had scarcely seated himself before he began in high spirits
to speak of family arrangements.

"Louise and the doctor," said he, "have finally fixed upon their
wedding, and darling," he said, lowering his voice, and speaking
earnestly, "it remains for you to say whether or not, ours shall be at
the same time.

Little Wolf's pulse quickened almost to suffocation, but she
controlled herself bravely, and placing her finger on the last passage
in Antoinette's letter, she said, "read that, Edward."

Edward did as she desired, and again turned upon her a questioning
look.

"Now, Edward," said Little Wolf, smiling although her lip slightly
quivered, "I am ready to set up house-keeping with you any time,
provided you will put your name with mine to a pledge like that of
which you have just read."

Although she had spoken playfully, Edward saw she was deeply in
earnest, and his pride kindled, as the truth flashed upon him.

"Darling," said he, reproachfully, "I may have given you reason once,
in an unguarded moment, to fear for me, but I had hoped that that
scene had long since been forgotten."

"It will never more be remembered, nothing of the kind will _ever_ be
remembered," Little Wolf hastened to say, "If I but have your
promise."

"Well, then," said Edward clasping her in his arms, "I promise."

In due time Little Wolf disengaged herself and opening her writing
desk, she drew him towards it, saying, "Now, Edward, you draw up the
document, and we will both sign it.

"What document do you wish me to draw up? Is not my pledged word to
love, cherish and protect you not enough, you little infidel?" said
Edward gayly."

"It is my request that you draw up a pledge promising to abstain from
all intoxicating drinks, and sign your name to it, and I will put mine
to the same," said Little Wolf, in the same gay humor.

"Why, darling," said Edward, in surprise, "my promise was all you
asked."

"O yes, your promise to sign a total abstinence pledge was all I did
ask," said Little Wolf cheerily, "and now, all I ask is that you do as
you agreed."

"I did not understand it so," said Edward, "but never mind, darling;
now listen to me. Would you, provided it were in your power, prevent
my taking a harmless glass of beer in a warm summer day?"

"Well, Edward, of course I would not wish to prevent your indulging in
any _harmless_ enjoyment, but don't people sometimes get intoxicated
on beer?"

"Only slightly elevated," said Edward laughingly.

"O, Edward!" broke forth Little Wolf in agony, "I wish you could see
this thing as I do but you cannot."

There was silence for a few moments, which Edward broke by saying,
sympathizingly, "I know why you feel as you do, darling, and I do not
wonder at it, but warned by my own, as well as the experience of
others, I shall keep a strict watch over myself for your dear sake,
and I assure you there is no danger of me."

"Then," said Little Wolf, despairingly, "I cannot persuade you to
pledge yourself to total abstinence?"

"No," said Edward decidedly, his pride deeply wounded by her implied
doubts of his inability to control his appetite, "if you feel that you
cannot trust yourself with me after all I have said, I can say no
more."

Had Edward fallen dead at her feet, Little Wolf could not have looked
at him more hopelessly. But Edward was blind to her mute anguish, and
mortified and impatient at her silence, and little dreaming of what
her answer would be, he at length asked rather coolly, "Do you really
feel that you cannot trust your happiness with me?"

Little Wolf struggled a moment for composure, and then bowed her head
in the affirmative.

Edward's flushed face suddenly paled. "Very well," said he proudly,
and without another word abruptly withdrew. His quick, impetuous
footsteps echoed through the hall; the front door opened and closed,
and soon the distant tinkling of bells announced that he had really
gone.

As the lovely violet closes its leaves when the shadows of night
gather round, so closed the flower, which, in the sunshine of love,
had bloomed in the heart of Little Wolf. She neither wept nor made any
other demonstration of sorrow, but as she sat silent and alone her
lips grew firm, and her eyes brightened and the pupils expanded, and
her whole being seemed rising up in supernatural strength to bear the
blow.



CHAPTER XXV.

    THE SLEIGHING PARTY--CLARA HASTINGS--MOTHER AND SON.


On his way home, Edward Sherman found himself suddenly assailed by a
chorus of eager voices, as he unexpectedly encountered a sleighing
party of gay young friends. They were bound for a settlement near by,
where rural festivities were in anticipation.

As he reluctantly drew up alongside of the capacious establishment,
where nearly a dozen ladies, (including his own sister), and about
the same number of gentlemen were cozily stowed away, he was beset
with urgent solicitations to join their company.

The affair, they stated, had been gotten up on a short notice during
his brief absence from the city, and his sister had been inveigled
into it, with the expectation of meeting her brother, and particular
friend Dr. Goodrich. But the doctor had given them the slip, and they
could not, on any account dispense with his society. Louise joined her
entreaties with the others. "I will ride with you, brother," she said,
if you will only go."

"No, no;" objected the gentleman who sat next her, "I will propose a
more fitting expedient. Let Mr. Sherman close his eyes and throw a
soft snow ball into the crowd, and upon whomsoever the ball shall
rest, let her be transferred to his sleigh."

The proposition at first occasioned quite a tumult, but finally all
laughingly agreed to it. Into their midst quickly flew the lump of
glittering snow and rested upon the belle of the party, Miss Clara
Hastings, and Edward in triumph bore off the crested prize.

Miss Hastings, we have said, was the belle of the party, nor was this
all; she was one of the most popular young ladies in the city of
Pendleton. Her father, Judge Hastings, a man of talent, and high
standing, had bestowed every advantage upon his only child, and she,
petted and caressed in society as well as in the family circle,
handsome and dashing in appearance, with spirits unbroken, gave life
and interest to every amusement in which she was engaged. The turn the
affair had taken was therefore as much regretted by her friends, as it
was gratifying to Edward, to have obtained so agreeable a companion.

The lady herself did not appear in the least disturbed by the change.
On the contrary, as they started off in advance of the rest, her
smiling face indicated the satisfaction which she felt at the result;
for from the first of her acquaintance with Edward, she had conceived
a decided partiality for him.

"It will be nice to get there and rest and warm before the others
arrive," she said, as they rapidly outdistanced the other sleigh.

"Yes, and have a little time all to ourselves," Edward replied, in
pretty much the same style in which he would have addressed Little
Wolf, had she been by his side.

Miss Hastings looked surprised and tossed her head proudly, freeing
the plumes in her jaunty little cap of their snowy remains, and, as
the soft particles showered upon Edward, and pelting his cheek, he
turned and looking her full in the face said, "those little ice bolts,
Miss Hastings, serve to remind me of what a lucky individual I have
been this afternoon."

"Have you always been lucky, Mr. Sherman?" said Miss Hastings waiving
the intended compliment.

A look of pain crossed Edward's face, but he answered quickly, almost
defiantly, "Not always," and giving his horse a smart cut, he created
such a jingling among the bells, that farther conversation was
rendered impracticable,

"The destination was soon reached, and, being joined by the remainder
of the party, the evening hours charged with pleasure flew rapidly, to
most of the assembled guests. But neither Edward, nor Miss Hastings
were in their happiest mood, and the latter complaining of a headache
Edward signified his willingness to conduct her home before the party
broke up.

Again in the open air, her indisposition was relieved, and she chatted
cheerily, and made herself so agreeable, that her companion really
became quite interested, and, loth to part with her, as they drove up
before her father's house, he proposed to prolong their ride.

"It is early yet," he said, "and your head is so much better in the
open air, would you not like to drive out of the city again for half
an hour?"

"O no, I thank you, Mr. Sherman," she said with a gratified smile,"
"the family are up waiting for me, and I would be happy to have you go
in and see papa. He will treat you to a glass of superior domestic
wine."

Edward went in and drank the wine, and spent a pleasant half hour.
Shortly after leaving he fell in with some friends, who invited him
into another place where choice wines were kept, and he drank again
and yet again, and finally went home quite exhilerated under the
influence of stimulant. He found that his sister had arrived some time
previously, and she and his mother, and the doctor were quietly seated
around the center-table, and had been wondering at his non-arrival.

"Give an account of yourself, loiterer," said Louise, playfully, as he
joined the circle.

"We had a fine time Lou, did we not?" said he patting her cheek.

"O, if by _we_ you mean yourself and Miss Hastings I suppose you did
have a good time, but I did not enjoy myself a bit."

"Not a bit, are you quite sure? I thought I saw you smile very
benignly on a certain young getleman, who objected to your riding with
me."

"An optical dulusion, brother, entirely so, I would have much
preferred to have gone with you."

"Now I'll kiss you for that," said Edward, suiting the action to the
word.

"O Ned, what have you been drinking? Your breath smells of
_something_."

"O, I went in and took a glass of domestic wine with Judge Hastings,"
said Edward carelessly.

Mrs. Sherman instantly took the alarm. "I am afraid," she said, that
these domestic wines create an appetite for more hurtful drinks. Don't
you think so, Edward?"

"Why no, mother. If every family kept a supply of pure domestic wine
in the cellar, and were at liberty to drink when they pleased, there
would, in my opinion, be much less drunkenness than there is at
present. Plenty of pure wine would soon do away with the adulterated
liquors so common in public places and social drinking would become
much more harmless than it is at present. I would advise you, mother,
to keep up a vigorous correspondence with Recta on the subject, about
currant time next summer, for it is getting quite fashionable to
manufacture your own wines."

"Mark my words, Edward, the fashion will prove an injury to society;
frequent indulgences in any drink that will intoxicate, it is well
known, has always proved more or less fatal to the peace and
prosperity of communities, as well as individuals. I can well remember
the time when social drinking was practised in almost every family,
and at all fashionable entertainments, and I well remember the
consequences. The ruin it wrought cannot be told. It was wine in the
cellar, and on the side board, Edward, as well as stronger drinks that
did the mischief. Good men and brave, felt its effects and gave the
alarm, and great efforts were made to put a stop to the evil, and
thousands were reclaimed from drunkenness, but, of late years, the
agitation has in a measure subsided, and the evil is again on the
increase, insinuating itself into families in the form of domestic
wines, which are generally supposed to be so harmless, but which are,
in reality, the foundation of intemperance."

"You cannot make people believe that mother."

"The time will come when they will be forced to believe it, my son;
for the free use of domestic wines in families, is not going to keep
husbands, brothers and friends from the lager beer saloons where the
feet of the unwary become so easily entangled. On the contrary, past
experience proves that the taste for stimulating drinks acquired at
home rather has a tendency to lead men to frequent such places."

"But, mother, remember it is not the use of these things, but the
abuse, that does the harm."

"True, my son, but the use in nine cases out of ten, leads to the
abuse, and it is strange that mothers and sisters will imperil their
happiness for fashion's sake. I would rather that Judge Hastings had
offered you an adder in the cup, than the drink which he did; for had
you seen the poisonous reptile, you would have turned from it, but,
hidden in the enticing wine, the serpent's sting fastens itself upon
the vitals and its victim knows it not."

O, mother, you are perfectly beside yourself on the subject. Judge
Hastings is a man who, I make no doubt, has drank moderately all his
life; and who among us is more vigorous in mind and body? It is all
nonsense, the idea that a man must necessarily become a drunkard,
because he occasionally indulges in stimulants."

"Ma, ma," broke in Louise, who saw that her mother felt hurt, "you
might as well hand Edward over to the persuasion of Miss DeWolf. If
anybody can convert him she can. The doctor says she becomes more
beautiful and interesting every day. What do you think, Ned? The
doctor was there this afternoon while we were out sleigh riding; he
confesses it himself.

"I must bid you good night," said Edward abruptly, and, quite to the
surprise of the trio he withdrew without another word.

His mother suspecting something wrong, followed him to his room, and
with true motherly solicitude sought out the cause. "Edward," said
she, "when you were a boy, you used to confide all your annoyances to
your mother. Can it be that anything has been said this evening to
wound your feelings?"

"There are none that love like a mother," said Edward, putting his arm
tenderly around her neck, "and there is none in whom I can so safely
confide as in you, mother, but manhood's griefs are not so easily
soothed as boyhood's. It is not now a broken kite to mend, or a
bruised finger to bind up, would it were; would that I had not lived
to see this day."

"Why, Edward, what do you mean?"

"I mean, mother, that Miss DeWolf has refused to become my wife, and
all because I would not consent to pledge myself to total abstinence
from all liquors. I would not deceive her and bind myself to pursue a
different course from that which I intend. My habits, I believe, are
generally considered good, and if a woman cannot take me as I am, I
would not ask her to take me at all."

"O Edward, Edward," said Mrs. Sherman beseechingly, "do not let
wounded pride, and self-will, come between you and the woman you
really love, for I do assure you, young ladies like Miss DeWolf are
very rare."

"Were she a thousand times more lovely and interesting, beloved more
she could not be, but, mother, I shall never yield the point, and
admit that I am incapable of controlling my appetite. When it suits me
to take a social glass with a friend, I shall do it; and when I choose
to decline it shall be of my own free will."

"You are a free agent, certainly, Edward, you may pursue the course
you have marked out for yourself, and go through life a moderate
drinker, and young men may point to you as you have to Judge Hastings,
and make your escape an excuse for venturing in the same dangerous
path, and thus go down to a drunkard's grave; or you may yourself
venture to near the precipice, and before you are aware take the
fatal plunge; for drunkenness, like death, generally takes the victim
unawares. In either case your influence must inevitably act upon those
with whom you associate, and you cannot escape the fearful
responsibility. Then judgment day alone will open the records of those
who have been forever ruined through the influence of moderate
drinkers, as well as the confirmed drunkard. The preponderating
influence, however, lies with the moderate drinker; with such men as
Judge Hastings; who, perhaps, have given the subject but little
thought, and who having through a long course of years tampered
without apparent injury, with the intoxicating cup, deem that others
may do as he has done.

"Yes, and so they may, mother, if they choose. Every man must answer
for his own crimes and not for the crimes of others."

"True Edward, and if your neighbor become a drunkard, see to it that
the sin lies not at your door."

Edward made a gesture of impatience. "Mother" he said bitterly, "I am
not in a mood to hear much more to-night. I am sorry that we do not
think alike, but, as we never shall, perhaps the less said about it
the better."

Mrs. Sherman silently kissed her son, and, with a foreboding heart,
withdrew to her own room.



CHAPTER XXVI.

    LETTER WRITING--DADDY'S NOCTURNAL LABORS AND EARLY WALK.


There were two letters written by lamp light in the old brown house,
the day Edward left so unceremoniously. One was by Little Wolf to her
confidential friend, Mrs. Tinknor. A few hasty hopeless lines traced
upon the dainty sheet; a long glossy curl folded within and her task
was done.

The other, Daddy addressed to the sweetheart of his youth, Miss
Orrecta Lippincott. He had for some time meditated opening a
correspondence with the object of his early affections on the subject
of matrimony, but the magnitude of the undertaking had hitherto
deterred him; and, at last, he was only brought to the point by the
encouragement of his young mistress.

He had resorted to his regularly organized plan of loitering in her
room under pretext of mending the fire, while he marked with
admiration the easy movements of her pen.

"'Tween you and me, Honey," said he, when she had finished, "I wish I
could write like that. I've been wanting fur to write a letter fur
sometime.

Little Wolf, without the remotest idea of what the subject of the
letter in contemplation was to be, said kindly, "Well, Daddy, you may
sit right down here if you like, and use my pen and ink."

Daddy shuffled along hesitatingly towards the vacant seat. "Tween you
and me I'm afeared I shall make a very sorry job on it," said he, "I
ain't writ none to speak on this forty year."

"Shall I write it for you Daddy?"

"O no, Honey. I'll try myself, fust anyhow."

"O well, I'll go down to the parlor and you shall have the room all to
yourself."

"I couldn't stand it no-how fur ter hev the Honey laugh at the old
man's foolishness," muttered Daddy to himself, as Little Wolf slipped
away, glad to be relieved of all responsibility in the matter, and
feeling less perhaps like laughing at the old man's eccentricities
than ever before in her life; and, indeed, it was a long time
afterwards before she felt like laughing at all.

In the hall leading to the parlor, she met Sorrel Top, who blushingly
begged a private interview, which Little Wolf was too obliging to
deny, although she panted to indulge her thoughts alone.

The interview, however, did not detain her long. Sorrel Top had under
consideration an offer of marriage and wished to ask advice which
Little Wolf gave without a smile, or change of countenance.

"Well, Sorrel Top, if he is as you say a man of good habits, and loves
you and you love him, I see no objection to your getting married as
soon as you like."

While Sorrel Top's affair was being thus satisfactorily disposed of,
Daddy was anxiously bending over the sheet, upon which he could not
get courage to make the first mark. There he sat silent and anxious,
looking vacantly first at the ceiling, then at the pen which stood
exactly perpendicular between his clumsy fingers. At length in dispair
he arose and began to walk the floor, and then for the first time he
observed Fanny Green quietly playing with her pet kitten.

"Fanny," said he, "do you know how to write?"

"O yes, Daddy, a little; mamma taught me to make all the letters."

"Well, Fanny," said he coaxingly, "come here and make a D for me;
won't you? "'Tween you and me I've forgot which side the plaguey
quirl goes. Here take this ere piece of paper, you might spile the
sheet, and I'm mighty particular about hevin it in prime order."

As she took the pen Fanny suddenly began to distrust her memory.
"Maybe I've forgot myself, Daddy;" rolling up her blue eyes to the
anxious face bending over her. But she succeeded admirably in
performing her task, which Daddy duly approved, by declaring that the
quirl was almost equal to the Honey's quirls. His effort to copy it
was also a success.

"See here, Fanny," said he pausing again, "you spell dear, d-e-r-e,
don't you?"

"O no, Daddy, I spell it d-e-e-r. It's spelled so right under the
picture of one in my book."

"'Tween you an' me, I don't mean that ere kind of a dear, Fanny, I
guess it's d-e-r-e, I mean. Howsoever, I'll spell it so and risk it.
Now, Fanny," said he, again dipping his pen in the ink, "you stand
right here, fur there may be more letters that I've forgot how tu
make, and if you'll show me, and help me fur to spell a letter, I'll
mend your sled for you to-morrow."

Thus encouraged, the child, with visions of coasting in her pretty
little head, combined wisdom with Daddy's, who also had his visions,
while he wrote as follows:

    DERE ORRECTA.

    "Mi hart has allers ben yourn, it is old now, but it ain't
    dride up nun. will yu marry me now iv got tu be a poor old
    man. if yu wil i wil cum fur yu on the fust bote. iv got a
    leetle muny lade up fur a wet day. i hev allers ben stidy,
    and never drunk anything in my hull life. if yu wil hev me
    let me no as quick as lightnin figerative speekin.

                         your old flame,

                                          philip Roarer

        Chimney Rock.                  Minnesota territory."

"'Tween you an' me I reckon that ere is tu the pint, anyhow," said
Daddy, proudly folding the letter, upon which he had spent two hours
of hard mental labor. "I wonder what keeps the honey away so long; it
must be monstrous cold in the parlor. Tom Tinknor wont thank me fur
lettin the Honey git cold; bless her heart. That ere sled will git
fixed to-morrow, you may depend on't, Fanny, fur I shall feel fust
rate;" and Daddy capered out of the room as jolly as a half grown boy,
with a plum pudding in anticipation. But, we will do him the justice
to say, that there was a depth and earnestness of feeling in this
life-long devotion, to which the ebullitions of youth can bear no
comparison.

How to break the matter to Little Wolf was Daddy's next anxiety. He
stood in mortal dread of the ridicule of his young mistress, but still
felt that he ought to confide in her. After taking several fidgety
turns before the parlor door, he finally resolved to make the
_denouement_, and boldly face the consequences.

But the condition in which he found Little Wolf changed the course
which he had marked out. She had lain down upon the sofa where
fearfully pale and cold and still, she rested, utterly prostrated by
the events of the day. Daddy had never seen such a ghastly look upon
her face before, and the vague fear that life had fled horrified him,
as he stood gazing at her in mute astonishment.

At a movement of the slight little figure Daddy was reassured, and he
bent over her in tender solicitude, "O Honey, O Pet, be you sick? you
look awful pale?"

A groan escaped Little Wolf, and, with a long drawn sigh, she rose up
languidly. "I don't feel quite well to-night, Daddy," she said.

"O, Honey, you ought fur to have somebody to nuss you; old Daddy don't
know nothin about gals, and Sorrel Top don't know nothin about nussin
neither. Now here's the letter I've jest writ, if you feel able fur to
read it, Honey, you will see that I am tryin fur to git somebody here
fur to take care of you suitable."

Daddy watched closely the effect upon Little Wolf, while she purused
the letter, and as he discovered no symptoms of ridicule, he fairly
worshipped her for her forbearance. "Honey," said he, "what du you
think on it?"

"I don't know," replied Little Wolf absently, "I think on the whole it
will do very well."

Daddy's face fairly shone. "I know'd you would agree tu it," said he,
"you allers had uncommon penetration."

Little Wolf sat shivering and silent, while Daddy pronounced his
eulogy, and the old man began again to be alarmed. "O Honey," he broke
forth, "what makes you so sick? the doctor said you was doin fust rate
this afternoon. I guess I'd better go fur to fetch him right off."

"O no, Daddy, I'm only chilled; you may light me to my room."

"Sartin I will, Honey, and I'll keep a fire fur you all night, fur I
shouldn't sleep a wink nohow."

True to his word, Daddy diligently tended the fire, creating in Little
Wolf's apartment a general disturbance by his nocturnal labors. Had
she been so inclined, sleep would have been impossible, while Daddy's
enthusiasm raged, for a series of disasters attended his most careful
efforts. The bedroom door creaked, the stove door grated on its
hinges, the shovel and tongs would rattle, and there was sure to be an
occasional downfall of wood, which echoed through the lonely house
like the voice of seven thunders.

It was therefore quite a relief to Little Wolf when the grey morning
hours began to dawn and Daddy consented to seek a little repose, with
the promise that he should not be allowed to over-sleep, "fur," said
he, "I must start airly fur to post them are letters, and you won't
mind a calling of me, Honey, bein you had such a oncommon night's
rest, fur I took particular pains not to disturb you."

Little Wolf did not think it worth while to mention that she had lain
awake the entire night, for there was then no counting upon the effect
such a communication might have upon Daddy's already over-wrought
sensibilities. As it was, he left her, flattering himself that he had
greatly contributed to her health and comfort, and, with an approving
conscience, laid him down and slept.

At the appointed time he was awakened by Fanny, and rubbing open his
eyes, he asked, "Is the Honey up yet?"

"O yes, Daddy and we've all had breakfast, and I've got my sled all
ready for you to mend," said Fanny cheerfully.

"Why yes, Fanny, I know I promised fur tu mend it; but, 'tween you and
me, I've got fur to go to Pendleton first." Howsoever, I'll fix it
afore night."

Fanny looked rather grave.

"'Tween you an' me, I'm sorry fur tu disappoint you, Fanny, but the
Honey would be wuss disappointed if I did not post her letter."

"Yours too, Daddy, you musn't forget it," said Fanny thoughtfully.

Notwithstanding Fanny's exhortation Daddy actually forgot both
letters, having neglected to take them from his pocket when he changed
his coat, Imagine then his consternation, when, having arrived at the
post-office and rummaged his pockets in vain he discovered his
mistake.

At this critical juncture young Sherman and Dr. Goodrich, arm in arm,
happened to drop in at the office, and Daddy, for reasons of his own,
pounced upon the latter and held him fast. "Doctor," said he, "'tween
you an' me, was you a going fur tu see the Honey to-day? She was took
very poorly last night. I was afeared she was clean gone one spell."

"Did Miss DeWolf send for me, Daddy?" said the doctor uneasily
regarding the grip that the old man had fastened upon his coat sleeve.

"Why no, doctor; she sent me fur to mail some important letters, and I
actually left 'em at home in my tother coat. One of 'em was fur to go
tu Miss Tinknor; 'tween you an me the Honey is mighty fond of Miss
Tinknor. I'm kinder calculatin the old lady will be the Honey's
mother-in-law some day."

The start which Edward gave at this announcement was perceptible to
both Daddy and the doctor. The former, not relishing such a
demonstration of interest from so questionable a source, inwardly
resolved to put to flight the false hopes by which he imagined the
young man was agitated. Casting a side long glance at his intended
victim he added, "Mr. Tom is a very uncommon fine young man; he is
stidy; he never drinks nothin. The Honey has know'd him allers; they
played together when they was children and has allers been uncommon
attached. Tom particularly requested me fur tu take good care of her
while he was gone, and I ain't no doubt if the good Lord was fur tu
take her away it would nigh about break his heart."

The doctor, conscious that Edward did not relish the subject, and
anxious himself to terminate the interview, waved the matter, simply
saying, "I shall be going that way by-and-by, Daddy, and will call
upon Miss DeWolf if I have time."

On this assurance Daddy's grasp readily relaxed, and his prisoner,
taking advantage of this favorable symptom, made his escape.



CHAPTER XXVII.

    DOING AND GETTING GOOD--WYCOFF'S REFORM.


The day was mild and spring-like, and Daddy had not been long gone,
when the snow began to yield to the soft touches of the sun's bright
rays.

Fanny stood by the window and sighed, and wished audibly that the sun
would "put on a veil."

The wish and manner so entirely foreign to the child's naturally
cheerful and contented disposition attracted Little Wolf's attention.

"Why Fanny, do you complain of this lovely day?" she said, in
surprise.

"O no, Miss DeWolf, but I was afraid the snow would all melt away
before my sled was mended, and I love so much to be out of doors
coasting."

"How would you like to take a walk with me?" said Little Wolf, willing
to amuse the child, for whom she had already conceived a warm
affection.

"O I would like it ever so much," said Fanny, joyfully.

"Now where shall we go, Fanny?" said Little Wolf, as they started out.

"Why, I don't know," said Fanny hesitatingly; "when mamma used to take
me out, she said we must go somewhere where we could do good.
Sometimes we went over to old Mrs. Peters'; she is sick all the time,
and has no one to help her except her grandson, Charley. Mamma used to
make her bed, and read the bible and pray with her, and comfort her
all she could. Poor mamma often wished she could carry her something
nice to eat, but we hadn't hardly anything to eat ourselves. May be
you wouldn't like to go there, though?" said Fanny, doubtfully.

Little Wolf hesitated.

"She used to know your mamma," said Fanny, "and she said that Mrs.
DeWolf was one of the kindest friends she ever had."

"We will go there, Fanny," said Little Wolf decidedly

Their way lay over the very hill where occurred their disastrous
collision with Mr. Wycoff; about half a mile from the foot of which,
on a cross road, lived Mrs. Peters. Fanny ran joyously on before,
occasionally turning back to call Little Wolf's attention to a
squirrel, or a bird, never dreaming that her companion was less
interested than herself. In this way they reached the top of the hill,
and began the descent, when suddenly Fanny began to look grave and
loiter beside Little Wolf. At length she spoke in a subdued whisper,
"There lies poor Fleet Foot, Miss DeWolf; he will never breathe
again."

Little Wolf sank upon a rock by the wayside, and hid her face in her
hands. She thought and said aloud, "O, why was I spared to be so
wretched?"

Fanny burst into a flood of tears. "What would have become of me if
you had been killed?" she sobbed.

Surprised at this demonstration of affection, Little Wolf looked up
and drew Fanny towards her. The child's words, she knew not why, had
consoled and strengthened her. "Fanny," said she, "everybody must have
something to live for, and I have you"

"O yes, mamma used to say we must all live to do good," said Fanny,
brightening.

Little Wolf rose and struggled bravely to choke down her rising
feelings, for just then she was comparing the bright voyage of life,
which she had so lately pictured for herself, with the dark and stormy
reality. At that moment, when she would have scorned to indulge in
pusillanimous grief, her noble spirit recognized and bowed in willing
obedience to the sublime principle involved in Fanny's life-inspiring
words.

"Well, Fanny," she replied, "if I do live, I hope it will not be in
vain. I'm afraid I've been very wicked and selfish all my life."

"O, Miss DeWolf I'm sure you are the _bestest_, _preciousest_ woman
next to my mother, that I ever saw in all my life."

Fanny made this declaration with the air and assurance of one whose
years had embraced a century; but at that moment, an object met her
eye, which reminded her that she was but a helpless child. "O, there
is Mr. Wycoff!" she exclaimed suddenly, as the rough farmer was seen
coming up the hill.

Fanny trembled violently, for she feared this man. But Little Wolf,
constitutionally brave, in her present state of mind feared nothing,
composedly seated herself again upon the rock.

The farmer advanced slowly, and recognized Little Wolf with a bow, and
reassured Fanny with a cordial "How are you, Fanny?" Then, as he
observed traces of tears on Fanny's cheek, and Little Wolf's sad look
and mourning dress, he stopped short. "Now Miss DeWolf," said he,
bluntly, "I may as well say it first as last, I did not mean to run
over you that day, but I had been drinking, and did not know what I
was about. Whatever you say is right, I will pay you, for I have felt
mean about it ever since; 'specially as you haven't made any fuss
about it."

Little Wolf appeared noble indeed, as she feelingly replied, "Mr.
Wycoff, I would cheerfully make the same sacrifice again, if by that
means I could persuade you never to taste another drop of intoxicating
drink."

"O, I cannot agree to that," said Wycoff, "but I shall do the fair
thing by you, for you have acted like a lady."

Then Little Wolf, with a sudden impulse, arose and stepped forward,
and began to plead earnestly and eloquently with the man to give up
the use of the intoxicating cup. Nor did she plead in vain. The strong
man at length yielded to her persuasions; persuasions around which
hung the fragrance of the bruised heart, from which they emanated;
touching, irresistible.

Inspirational hours are often the fruit of anguish unutterable. The
suffering soul begins unconsciously to feel upward, and, at the
propitious moment, heaven appoints its work. Thus Little Wolf received
her mission, which, with characteristic energy she delayed not to
fulfil.

His word having been pledged to total abstinence, Wycoff turned back
towards home.

"I was only going to the brewery to meet a few friends," he said, "and
if I don't drink with them I may as well keep away."

He walked along with Little Wolf and Fanny as far as the cross road,
and when they parted, again renewed his vow right heartily. "Never
fear, Miss DeWolf," he said, "I shall never taste another drop of
liquor, so help me Almighty God."

"There, now we are _certain_, ain't we, Miss DeWolf? for he asked God
to help him. O, I'm so glad, I'm so glad you have lived to do good,"
said Fanny, as the farmer passed on.

Fanny was exuberant. Her little heart overflowed, and, at intervals
during the remainder of their walk, "I'm so glad, I'm so glad," rang
out on the still air in sweet, childish accents, mingling with the
songs of spring birds, and echoing through the lonely woods.

Arrived at the cottage, they met a warm welcome from Mrs. Peters. For
many years, widowed and bed ridden, she had lingered in pain and
poverty. Her grandson Charley, a bright, active youth, orphaned at an
early age, had, since the death of his mother, been her constant
companion and faithful nurse.

He was her pride and her delight, and she in turn shared his warmest
affections. It was beautiful indeed to see the noble-hearted boy
yielding all his young strength in providing for her wants. His small
earnings at wood cutting, combined with the charity of a few kind
hearted neighbors, had during the winter, kept them from absolute
want. No wonder, then, that the ambitious youth, anxious to escape
the pinches of poverty, was eager to accept a situation in Hank
Glutter's saloon, that morning liberally offered by the proprietor in
person. No wonder that, grieved and disheartened by the opposition of
his grandmother, he met Little Wolf and Fanny, (who had interrupted
their discussion of the matter), with a downcast countenance.

Conscious that his manner had been observed, the old lady hastened to
apologize, "My Charley is feeling quite badly just now," she said.
"Mr. Glutter called here this morning on the way to one of our
neighbors, and offered him a clerkship. He will call soon for his
answer, and I was just telling Charley that I was unwilling to have
him go where he would be exposed to so many temptations."

"Grandmother needs the money," said Charley, "and it is for her sake I
want to go. She needn't be afraid of my getting bad habits."

"Well, Charley, we will talk about it again bye and bye," said the
old lady, soothingly.

"But there's Mr. Glutter, now, grandma," said the boy springing to the
door, "do let me tell him that I will go, _do_ grandma," he begged
with painful earnestness.

"Do as your grandma think's best, and you will not be sorry," said
Little Wolf in an undertone as Hank approached the door.

"Well, my man," said Hank with great assurance.

"I must do as grandma says," and Charley threw the door wide open.

At sight of Mrs. Peters' visitors, Hank gave a start of surprise, but
quickly recovering himself, he bestowed upon each a gentlemanly
greeting, and without futher ceremony, plunged into the business upon
which he had come.

"Well, Mrs. Peters, have you decided to accept my offer?"

"You are very kind and generous, Mr. Glutter, and I thank you," said
the old lady, anxious to soften her refusal; but too honest to give
any except the true reason, she continued, "the truth is, I do not
like to have Charley go where the influence will be so unfavorable to
his becoming a good, sober man."

Had she studied to make it so, Mrs. Peters' guileless reply could not
have been more inflammatory to Hank's temper, for, like others of his
class, he was peculiarly sensitive to any reflection cast upon his
business. His eyes flashed, and his lip curled scornfully, but having
in mind Little Wolf's presence, he responded smoothly enough, "Very
well, Mrs. Peters. Good morning; good morning, ladies," and bowed
himself out of the room.

Mrs. Peters drew a sigh of relief, but poor Charley, after struggling
a moment for composure, left the apartment with quivering lip, and
Little Wolf soon caught a view of him through the window, wiping his
eyes with his coat sleeve.

"Poor dear Charley," said his grandmother, "it comes hard on him now,
but, God willing, I hope he will live to thank me for it."

Little Wolf rose hastily. "I must go out and have a little talk with
Charley," she said.

"She is just like her father," said Mrs. Peters, as Little Wolf
flitted from the room, "when he first came to Chimney Rock he was a
princely looking man.

"O, she is the beautifulest lady I ever saw," was Fanny's enthusiastic
rejoinder.

"I have understood that she is very gay and fashionable since she came
from boarding school."

Fanny was at first rather doubtful as to what construction to put upon
the reports which had reached the ears of the old lady, and she
hesitated to endorse anything of the nature of which she was not quite
clear; but she finally compromised the matter by saying, "if it is
very good to be gay and fashionable, then she is, for she is nothing
else but good."

"Well, if she is only a humble, devoted Christian like her mother, I
shall be satisfied," sighed Mrs. Peters.

Fanny had by this time come to the conclusion that gay and fashionable
was only another name for superior goodness, and she answered
accordingly. "Why, Mrs. Peters, she is really a very gay, humble,
fashionable, devoted Christion. She is gooder than her mother, for she
never took me away from bad people as she did."

Not deeming it worth while to enter into any troublesome explanations,
Mrs. Peters determined to suit her language to the child's
comprehension, said simply, "Well, I hope she loves God, and will
teach you to love him too."

"O, she does love God, Mrs. Peters. I heard her speak to him ever so
many times last night, and I was teached to love him before she had
me," said Fanny very seriously.

At this instant the object of their conversation made her appearance
followed by Charley, whose countenance exhibited quite a different
aspect from that which it had worn a short time previously.

Little Wolf had successfully held the cup of consolation to him in the
form of a present and a promise, and she was now about to take her
leave, but Mrs. Peters detained her. Never came one into her presence
that she allowed to depart without first satisfying herself as to
whether, as she expressed it, they had "got religion."

Now, it was her belief that pure and undefiled religion before God is
this: "To visit the widow and fatherless in their affliction, and to
keep ourselves unspotted from the world." An intimate acquaintance
with the book in which these sentiments are to be found, had quickened
her perceptions as to their true meaning, and, as by that standard she
gave judgment, it was not easy to deceive her.

Highly as Little Wolf had risen in her esteem, and highly as Fanny had
eulogized the piety of her young benefactress, there yet remained a
doubt in the old lady's mind as to the entire soundness of her
religious principles. A straightforward question while she still held
Little Wolf's hand in her parting grasp, "Dear child, I know you visit
the widow and fatherless in their affliction, but do you keep
yourself unspotted from the world?"

The innocent rejoinder, "I do not quite know what that means, 'to keep
yourself unspotted from the world,'" resolved her doubts.

"Well, dear child, read your Bible carefully and you will find out all
about it," exhorted Mrs. Peters, "I might give you my opinion, but it
is better to get your ideas fresh from the fountain head. You will
find that those spotless robes hang very high, but not beyond the
reach of the arms of faith."

Our heroine went away deeply pondering the words of her newly found
friend.



CHAPTER XXVIII.

    DADDY'S SOLILOQUY--A BEER-SOAKER--A KNOCK DOWN ARGUMENT--A
    PRESENT FOR LITTLE WOLF.


"I guess that ere Sherman won't be a hanging round the Honey no great
deal after this; if he does I'll put another flea in his ear fur I
ain't a going fur tu see her throwd away on no beer-soaker."

Thus soliloquized Daddy, as he watched with evident satisfaction, the
hurried departure of the young gentleman, whom, when we last left him
he had just released from his inevitable trap.

A horrible oath sounded in Daddy's ear, and he lay sprawling on the
pavement. "Call me a beer-soaker again will you," and out rolled
another oath, but Daddy did not hear it. The fall had stunned him, and
he was taken up insensible.

Absorbed in the subject which was agitating his mind at the time he
received the blow Daddy had raised his voice to a high pitch, and,
"beer-soaker," rang out loud and clear, reaching the ear of a
passer-by, who, being pretty well soaked in the beverage mentioned, or
in something stronger, resented the imagined insult after the manner
described.

Proud of his achievement, which he had just sense enough to see was
not generally approved by the crowd that had gathered round, Daddy's
assailant proceeded defiantly to defend his cruel deed. "He'd better
never say beer-soaker to me again, the cursed scoundrel, nor look it
either, curse him. Let any man in this crowd say that he didn't
deserve what he got, and I'll----

"You'll come right along with me, my friend," and the foolish boaster
was marched off by the city authorities, whom from past experience, he
well knew it was useless to resist.

This same man, now led away amid the exertions of Daddy's friends, had
gone out from his humble home that beautiful sunny morning with the
solemn promise on his lips to keep sober for that one day at least.
His hopeful long-suffering wife had watched lovingly his receding
footsteps, as in days, when a fond husband and father, he always
returned sober. All day long she went trustingly about her work with
kind glad words to her little children, whose pleased surprise to
receive, as of old, their father's fond caress, she delighted to
imagine.

But alas! it was the old story. The man's will was too weak to
withstand the pursuasions of drinking companions, and the tempttations
of the liquor seller. He yielded, and, when once he had got the taste,
wife and children and all were forgotten. At a late hour that night
the little ones were put sadly away to bed; the supper table, spread
in joy, was cleared away in sorrow, and the wife and mother was again
doomed to wait, and watch, and weep.

But let us return to Daddy. Stretched on a couch of suffering he lies;
impatient, vociferous and generally unmanageable.

"Hurry up that ere doctor afore I die," he exclaims; "hurry him up I
say. Lord, that ere pain in my shoulder; now its in my long ribs; now
its in my short ribs; I ken feel it clare down to my heel cord and toe
cord. Take away that ere infernal brandy," he cried, raising his voice
to its highest pitch, "ye don't spose I want fur to drink pison, do
ye, when I'm most dead already?"

"But it will strengthen you, Daddy," said the attendant soothingly.

"It won't nuther. It will set me all on fire and I'll mortify afore
the doctor gits here."

When Dr. Goodrich at length made his appearance, there was then
enacted a scene, if possible, still more uproarious. Poor Daddy
winced and groaned at every touch, and oftimes, commanded his
physician to desist in his examinations of the injured parts. "Don't!
Hold on there doctor, you'll yank me all to bits. There; stop that
yanking; for the lord's sake, doctor, hold on there."

"I am holding on, Daddy," said the doctor very firmly, as he mended
the dislocated shoulder.

The necessary surgical operation performed, and an opiate
administrated, with the assurance that no serious results were to be
apprehended, and Daddy's mind and body were soon at rest.

Meantime, in happy ignorance of Daddy's accident, Little Wolf and
Fanny plodded homeward; the former deeply absorbed in thought, the
latter blithe and airy, singing with the birds, and tripping and
slipping in the dissolving snow.

The exuberance of Fanny's delight, however, began perceptibly to wane
as they were about repassing the spot, where, a few hours before, they
had paused to mourn and lament. Again she loitered by her companion's
side, again she sighed, "Poor Fleet Foot;" but not again did Little
Wolf yield to her feelings. Her tearless eyes looked straight forward,
and she hurried by the frightful gorge, where lay the remains of her
high-mettled and much loved pet.

On the brow of the hill she paused in surprise, for again she saw
Wycoff with his face turned towards the brewery. On the present
occasion he was mounted upon his favorite horse Black Hawk, and,
having overtaken Hank Glutter, the two men were engaged in a
conversation which we will here transcribe.

"How are you, Wycoff? Bound for the brewery this fine day?"

"Why no, Mr. Glutter, I have about made up my mind that you have got
your share of my hard earnings this year, I guess I'll pay up my debts
and keep clear of the brewery, and see how I'll come out about this
time next spring."

"Why, I thought you were doing well enough, Wycoff," said Hank,
uneasily.

"I'm sure your bill at the brewery is not large, considering."

"O, I don't complain of the charges, Mr. Glutter. As Miss DeWolf says,
money is not the only thing you part with at a drinking saloon."

"O, you're being nosed about by Miss DeWolf, are you," said Hank
contemptuously.

"I had as leif be nosed by a fine lady, as by a saloon keeper," said
Wycoff, drawing himself up in his saddle.

"D----m the fine lady," said Hank between his closed teeth, "I'll
attend to her case."

"Shame on the man that will threaten a lady," said Wycoff hotly.

"When women stoop to interfere with men's business, they must take the
consequences, Wycoff. Shall I tell you what was done to a woman who
went whining around trying to raise a prejudice against a respectable
liquor dealer in the place where I once lived? One dark night her
house was pretty well pelted with stones and brickbats. The windows
and doors were broken in, and I do not know what the enraged crowd
would have done had she not made good her escape."

"A low cowardly set, to attack a defenceless woman," said Wycoff, "but
I've drank enough myself to know that under the influence of liquor,
men will do almighty mean things. Every time I've passed the place
where Fleet Foot lays, I have tried to make up my mind to give up
drinking, and pay Miss De Wolf for the horse, like a man; and to-day
I've come to the sticking point; I have promised to give up liquor,
and in a few minutes I shall present Black Hawk to Miss DeWolf."

"Well, she had better mind her own business after this," said Hank
with a sneer. "She has cheated me out of getting a first-rate clerk
this morning. I will not brook her interference in my affairs. Let her
beware, or I'll make this place too hot for her."

Wycoff's eyes flashed, and he extended his clenched fist towards Hank.
"You will, will you?" said he defiantly; "now listen, you Glutter. If
ever you attempt to harm that lady, I swear to you that this fist of
mine shall batter your brains, and on Black Hawk she shall ride over
your lifeless body."

Black Hawk pawed and snorted and turned his firey black eyes very
wickedly upon Hank, as if to enforce his master's threat. He was a
most magnificent animal; coal black, his silken coat, now curried with
special care, shone resplendent in the noon-day sun.

As Wycoff rode off, Hank muttered to himself, "She shall never ride
that horse."

Half an hour later, Hank had the mortification of beholding Little
Wolf flying past his door seated, like a little queen, upon Black
Hawk's back.

"She shall never ride that horse again," said the enraged saloon
keeper, with an oath.

Wycoff had great difficulty in pursuading Little Wolf to except his
present. Indeed she only consented when she became convinced that he
would be seriously displeased by her refusal. Further to gratify the
giver, she took her first ride under his immediate supervision; and,
at his request, she had followed the road by the brewery, making a
circle of about a quarter of a mile.

"Now that's what I call neatly done," said Wycoff, as Little Wolf drew
up, and leaped from the saddle. "You are the first lady that ever
backed Black Hawk," he said, patting the animal's neck. "The fact is,
I had my doubts about your being able to ride him at all. I was afraid
I would have to sell him and get a gentler beast, and I hated to do
that, for I have raised him from a colt. As a general thing, he won't
allow a stranger to come nigh him. I had to ride him myself at the
races last September, for everybody was afraid of him. I won five
hundred dollars on him though. I guess I had better stable him now;
hadn't I? I'll be up here early to-morrow morning to see how Daddy
gets along with him. I reckon the old man won't dare to go nigh him
till he gets used to him."



CHAPTER XXIX.

    A CHAPTER OF ACCIDENTS AND DELIVERANCES.


Little Wolf was glad to see Black Hawk led away, for she was now
thoroughly weary. The events of the last twenty-four hours had worn
upon her; and the cozy fire and warm dinner, which awaited her within,
were duly appreciated.

An hour later, nestled upon the parlor sofa she was burried in
profound slumber. Fanny moved softly about the room, tiptoeing
occasionally to the window to watch for Daddy.

Towards night he was brought home on a stretcher, comfortably arranged
in a large sleigh, Dr. Goodrich accompanying him. The first intimation
that Little Wolf had of their arrival was a loud ring at the door,
which suddenly roused her from dreams, in which she was living over
again the happiest moments of her life.

It was some little time before she could collect her scattered
thoughts; but Daddy's roarings and vociferations at length brought her
to a realizing sense of her responsibilities.

Although assured by his physician that his hurts would in a few weeks
at furthest all be healed, the old man was not content. He had a
lurking infidelity in regard to the opinions of the medical profession
generally, and, as soon as Dr. Goodrich had departed, he confided to
Little Wolf his fears.

"'Tween you and me, Honey," said he, "them ere doctors hev been knowd
to tell a pussen that he was a goin fur tu git well, and just as that
pussen had made all his calculations fur tu live, (and may be git
married), the fust thing he knew, he would be a dead man. Now 'tween
you and me, its my opinion, I shan't live twenty-four hours, fur I
feel awful gone like."

"O, its the opiate that makes you feel so, Daddy. I shall nurse you up
and you'll get well and marry, what's her name?"

"Recta," said Daddy brightening. "Recta, Miss Orrecta Lippincott. May
be, Honey, with good nussing I shall make out fur tu stand it. 'Tween
you and me, there's nuthin like good nussin, after the bones is all
set proper."

His wise young nurse did not think it worth while to remind the
invalid that not one of his bones had been broken, but she assiduously
set herself to work to meet his accumulating wants. With liniments and
bandages, and cooling drinks, and consoling words, she stood patiently
over him, until near the midnight hour, he fell asleep.

Shading the lamp, so that scarcely a ray of light was visible, Little
Wolf curled in behind the window curtain, where she could peep
through the crevices of the blinds out on the distant stars and ever
shifting clouds, which in the solitude of the night, speak so
eloquently to the human heart.

Calm and cold was the still hour. The warm, thawing winds had ceased
to blow, the eaves had ceased their droppings and were beautifully
fringed with icicles. The snow had become crusted over, but so
slightly, indeed, that the lightest footfall would crush the
treacherous coating, and the cracking of the icy fragments betray the
presence of prowlers.

By such sounds as we have described, Little Wolf's meditations were at
length disturbed. Indistinctly at first, but soon with unmistakable
clearness, she recognized approaching footsteps.

Daddy's room overlooked the stable, and in that quarter, a human
figure was just visible. Slowly and stealthily it drew near; and now
with dilated eyes and quickly beating heart, the watcher peered
eagerly into the darkness. Nearer, and still nearer the form
approached, until close against the house, just where she could
conveniently note every motion, it paused. A moment of suspense, and a
small flame shot up revealing Hank Glutter in the act of firing the
house.

Quick as thought Little Wolf sprang for her pistol, which to gratify
Daddy she had stored in his room; and hiding it in the folds of her
dress she flew to meet the incendiary.

During the few seconds consumed in reaching the spot, Hank had
disappeared, and having strong suspicions that he meditated mischief
to Black Hawk, Little Wolf scattered the pile of slowly burning
faggots, (the fire not having yet communicated itself to the
building), and made a dash for the stable.

Hank was there just in the act of lighting a match. He had completely
surrounded Black Hawk with hay and straw, and, in an instant more, the
helpless animal would have been enveloped in flames.

"Mr. Glutter, the brewery is on fire!" shouted Little Wolf
breathlessly.

The match fell from Hank's nerveless hand, for he saw through the
wide open door that the announcement was but too true. To spring past
Little Wolf and rush to secure his property, was his first thought.

But he was too late. Neither he, nor all the crowd that quickly
gathered there, could stay the consuming element. The old brewery
burned to the ground, and, for miles around the country was
illuminated by what to many a poor broken-hearted woman, was a grand
and festive bonfire.

Among the first who discovered the conflagration was Wycoff, and he
was much relieved, on ascertaining the precise location of the fire;
for he had started out filled with apprehensions for Little Wolf. To
his great satisfaction, the old brown house stood out in full relief,
unharmed.

A critical survey of the premises, however, discovered to him the
stable door standing open, and, by the brilliant blaze, he could
distinctly see Black Hawk, pawing and floundering in the midst of the
hay which Hank had arranged for his funeral pile.

Quite as distinctly from the upper window could Little Wolf see the
former, and she hastened to make him acquainted with her narrow escape
and claim his protection.

While he listened, the man's worst passions were aroused. There was
murder in his heart, and, but for the entreaties of Little Wolf,
another day would never have dawned upon Hank Glutter.

As for Hank; having the bitter consciousness that he had brought the
calamity upon himself, he raved and swore like a mad man. To all
questions as to the cause of the fire he had but one answer, "I
suppose I must have left the confounded lamp too near the bed." This
admission was invariably followed by oaths and curses, as he passed up
and down before the burning building.

How different were Daddy's emotions! It was amusing to behold him
bolstered up in bed, exultant to the highest degree. His old wrinkled
face fairly shone with delight, and he frequently ejaculated as he
watched the progress of the flames, "Thank the Lord God Almighty, for
that dispensation!"

As the light began to die away, he turned to Little Wolf and whispered
confidentially. "'Tween you and me, Honey, if I should happen fur tu
hev any children, Recta wont feel any consarn about the boys gittin to
drinking, now that ere old brewery is out of the way. Some folks say
if a man is tu be a drunkard, he'll be one any how; but if there's no
liquor, I'd like fur to know how he is going fur tu git it? I guess
nobody ever got burnt that never see a fire."



CHAPTER XXX.

    ANOTHER SALOON SCENE--THE BRIDAL TROUSSEAU--THE LOVELY NURSE.


As Hank Glutter's was unfortunately not the only saloon in the world,
we will now open the scene on another place of the same sort, not many
miles away from the smoking ruins; a place, where, for various
reasons, men did congregate; some to gratify a vitiated appetite,
others simply to indulge in a social glass, and still others because
they had no where else to go; some because they were glad, and some
because they were sad; each and all forgetting the words of the wise
man, "Look not upon the wine."

The door had just opened to admit a small party of young men. Among
the number is Edward Sherman. There he stands, a little apart from the
rest, just under the chandelier. Directly opposite, the shelves
glitter in Bohemian and cut glass, and all the attractive features of
the bar. Mark his proud and lofty bearing, as he steps forward and
lifts the goblet to his lips.

Again, and yet again, the cup goes round, until no longer he stands
firmly among his companions. See him now, reeling, tottering,
staggering, as he is borne away for the first time in his life,
helplessly intoxicated, borne to his loving mother, whose grey hairs
blanched whiter in that night of sorrow.

In a desperate mood young Sherman had permitted himself to be thus
overcome, and, when the effects of the stimulant had worn off, he
strove by the most affectionate attentions to make amends for the pain
he had occasioned his mother.

He even went so far as to bend his proud spirit to offer something
like an apology.

"Mother," said he, as he placed his morning kiss upon her care worn
face, before going to his office, "do not worry; I shall not again
forget myself. It was foolish, I know, but I cared not at the time
what became of me. Now don't worry. There is no danger of me."

Mrs. Sherman sighed as the door closed on her darling. "So like his
father," she murmured.

Could she have seen him an hour later, the resemblance to his father
might have struck her still more forcibly, for the social glass was
again at his lips.

Fortunately for the dear old lady, there were other claims upon her
attention, and, from a sense of duty, she strove very hard to bury her
anxiety for her son in the folds of silk and laces which were to
constitute the wedding paraphernalia of her daughter.

Lacking independence of thought, that young lady relied almost
entirely upon the opinion of others, and the consequence was that not
a ribbon, or a flower met her approval until she had first consulted
half a dozen young friends, who, being apt to differ, kept her mind in
a perpetual tumult.

The mooted question on the morning before mentioned, was the exact
length required for the bridal veil, Her confidents all differed in
opinion, and, in despair, she appealed to her mother. "Mamma, Isabel
thinks the veil is two inches too long, and Clara says it is only half
an inch, and Caroline says it is just right. Now what do you think?"

"Why, it seems to be entirely a matter of taste, my dear; perhaps you
had better put it on and ask the doctor's advice."

"O, mamma, the doctor knows nothing at all about the fashions, and if
he did, he would not follow them I know," said she rather petishly.
"He won't do anything anybody else does."

"Why, Louise!" said her mother in surprise.

"I can't help it, mamma; Ned and I had set our hearts upon having wine
at the wedding, for it is quite fashionable now, and we were very sure
that we could coax you to let us, and when I confided in the doctor,
and asked him to use his influence in our favor, he declared flatly
that he would never give his consent, if it was ever so fashionable. I
declare, it made me almost wish I was going to marry Charley Horton.
You know he and Isabel Merton are engaged, and the other day when we
were all together, Isabel told me that she had never asked but one
favor of Charley which he was not willing to grant, and that was, that
he would promise not to use wine in his family nor offer it to his
friends. She said she felt uncomfortable whenever she thought of the
matter, but she hoped to be able to influence him to give it up after
they were married. Caroline Wyndam was there, and she said she would
not _dare_ to say a word to her lover on the subject, although she
would give the world to have him leave off social drinking. But Clara
Hastings and the other girls said they did not think a little wine or
beer would hurt anybody, and they would not give a fig for a man that
could not control his appetite. Clara Hastings said if she ever got
married, she would have wine at the wedding. When I told Ned about it
he said Clara was the girl for him. I wonder what Miss DeWolf would
say to that.

Mrs. Sherman tried to choke down her feelings, but the bitter, burning
tears would come and one by one they coursed down her withered cheek.

There was silence for a few minutes, and Louise would have left the
room, but her mother gently detained her. "Edward wished me to say to
you that his intimacy with Miss DeWolf was broken off, and he further
requested that you would never mention the subject to him."

Great consternation was depicted on Louise's countenance. Oh! it is
too bad," she exclaimed; "and just as she had promised to show me how
that beautiful trimming was made which Miss Marsdon sent her from New
York. I wonder what it means. Do you know, mamma?"

"Why yes, my dear; it means that Miss DeWolf is possessed of a
sensible, well-balanced mind, and that your brother has acted very
foolishly."

Just at that moment the conversation was interrupted by the appearance
of one of Louise's friends and advisers, and the two girls were soon
absorbed in discussing the merits of some article of dress belonging
to the trousseau.

Thus the hours slipped away, until about one o'clock, Edward came for
dinner. He knew as soon as his eye rested upon his demonstrative
sister that she had been made acquainted with his disappointment, and,
as he naturally shrank from receiving sympathy, either by word or
look, he exerted himself to appear much more cheerful than he really
felt.

Louise inwardly resolved that she would be very watchful, and not
cloud her brother's spirits by any allusion whatever to Chimney Rock,
and the next moment she suddenly remembered having seen at the
midnight hour a very bright light from her chamber window in that
direction. Without second thought, she related the circumstance, and
caught herself making the inquiry, "Did you see it, Ned?"

Edward's face flushed scarlet, as he answered evasively, "O, that was
the brewery on fire. I met Mr. Glutter in the city this morning. He
came to make arrangements to open another saloon here. I never saw a
man of more indomitable will and perseverance. Although he lost an
immense amount he is not in the least disheartened."

"Brave fellow," said Louise, cordially embracing her brother's
estimate of the man's character. "I wonder what occasioned the fire."

"Why, he placed the lamp too near his bed, while he went out to learn
if there was any trouble at Miss DeWolf's. It seems that he had always
had a friendly care for her, and, hearing noises in that direction,
he was so kind as to run over. Finding it all quiet about the house,
he followed the sounds to the stable, and discovered that it was only
a horse, which Mr. Wycoff had, a few hours before presented to Miss
DeWolf, that had occasioned the disturbance. The horse had broken
loose, and just as Mr. Glutter was fastening him in the stall, he saw
the flames bursting from the saloon; and so his benevolent trip cost
him his brewery."

While Louise was listening with interest to the recital, Mrs. Sherman
and Dr. Goodrich entered the room. The latter was evidently disgusted
with the expression, "poor fellow," that fell once or twice from the
lips of the young lady, and his annoyance reached the climax when, a
moment's pause, she ventured to assert with one eye on her brother,
that "the poor fellow" would never get any thanks, "for," said she,
"Miss DeWolf detests him, I know she does."

There was a short, awkward silence, which Mrs. Sherman broke, by
saying, deprecatingly she was sure she could not blame Miss DeWolf
for feeling bitterly towards the saloon keeper.

"Blame her!" exclaimed Dr. Goodrich, who could no longer keep silence.
"Blame Miss DeWolf! I would as soon think of blaming an angel in
heaven. What has she to thank Hank Glutter for, I should like to know?
He whose hands are red in the blood of her father. He who has made
orphans and widows at her very door. He who has more than once
endangered her very life by selling those cursed drinks which so
infuriate men. He who would, I doubt not, take her life this day, if
by so doing he could escape punishment, and add another penny to his
cursed store."

"With your sentiments you are hardly prepared to do the man justice,"
said Edward forestalling a reply upon his sister's pouting lips.

"Had a man by his nefarious business, blasted every hope in my
Louise's life save one, and were I that one, think you I could speak
favorably of the wretch? No." said the doctor, impetuously.

Louise, partially restored to good humor, had managed to slip behind
her brother, where she stood making all sorts of admonitory gestures
to her lover, who had not as yet, been let into the secret of the
change in his friends's relation to Little Wolf.

But the doctor could not; or would not take Louise's hints, and he
went on hotly. "Curse the business! I say. Curse the man, who, with
his eyes open to the consequences, engages in it. The law could, and
should, make him responsible. Hank Glutter is the man who ought to
have been compelled to indemnify Miss DeWolf for the losses she
sustained on that dreadful day when Wycoff came so near dashing her
over the precipice. It was he who tempted the man to drink, until he
became drunk, and did the mischief, to repair which he sacrificed his
favorite horse. Thank God it was by Hank's own confession, the
animal's noise that brought about the burning of the brewery. It is
some comfort that God now and then legislates on the traffic, when men
will not."

The doctor paused, and, as no one seemed inclined to make any
comments, he began to speak more calmly, and on a subject which he
flattered himself would be more agreeable.

"I have just been down to bind up Daddy's bruises," he said, "but his
lovely nurse had done all that was necessary. Then turning to Edward
with a meaning smile, "Ned, she is a right regal nurse. I almost
wished myself in Daddy's place this morning. It must be very consoling
in hours of pain to have a little angel smoothing your pillow, and
hovering over you with sweet words and gentle touches."

The doctor suddenly stopped short. There was an expression of sharp
agony on Edward's face that could not be mistaken. Louise had never
looked on him so before. Added to her sympathy for her brother, was an
indefinable pang occasioned by her lover's warm praises of another.
Mrs. Sherman, the picture of distress, looked helplessly from one to
the other.

The dinner bell was at that moment a welcome sound.



CHAPTER XXXI.

    THREATS--LITTLE WOLF AND BLACK HAWK--TRAGIC DEATH OF HANK
    GLUTTER.


His business arrangements satisfactorily completed, towards night,
Hank Glutter was seen setting out for Chimney Rock.

To say the truth, he appeared secretly uneasy, glancing furtively
behind at every sound as he hurried forward like one pursued. By, and
by, out on the solitary highway he walked on with more confidence, and
finally, after assuring himself that he was quite alone, began to let
fall some very energetic expressions in which were mingled the names
of Miss DeWolf, of Black Hawk and of Wycoff.

"She shall never ride Black Hawk again," he muttered, "Miss DeWolf
can't circumvent me. If she has dared to betray me, she will never
tell the story again. I guess my word is as good as hers--I defy
Wycoff." Then followed such expletives as the speaker deemed suitable
to the occasion: but which were suddenly interrupted by the appearance
of Mr. Wycoff mounted upon Black Hawk and apparently in good humor
with himself and all the world.

He evidently did not wish to remember the unpleasant scene of the
previous day, for he partly halted as he came up to Hank, and said
pleasantly, "What luck to-day, Mr. Glutter?"

Hank seeing in him a future victim to his wiles, spread his net right
warily: "Well, Wycoff," he replied," "I have had the good luck to
secure the most desirable corner in the city for my business, and I
intend to keep on hand first class liquors, just such as you like
best; and I consider you a judge of the article."

"How unfortunate that I have given up drinking," said Wycoff with
great gravity.

The corners of Hank's mouth drew down a little, but he replied in the
most persuasive manner, "O well, its never best to drink to excess,
but I hope to have the pleasure, Mr. Wycoff, of treating you to many a
harmless glass."

"I must be going back," said Wycoff, abruptly wheeling round, "I just
rode out a little way to get some of the spirit out of the horse
before Miss DeWolf takes her evening ride."

Hank shook his fist after him, "I'll take the spirit out of the horse,
and out of the girl too," he threatened. "Lucky she hasn't told
Wycoff, I can tell my own story all the better."

Hank had just entered the "pass" when he again caught a view of Black
Hawk in the distance; but this time Little Wolf was the rider. He
drew his breath hard, and in an instant his hand was upon his dirk.
"Now is my time," came from between his closed teeth and he threw
himself behind the trunk of a tree, and in the twilight not a shadow
of him was visible.

On came Little Wolf, sitting her splendid steed right regally. Her
proud, fearless little face was slightly shaded by the waving plumes
in her velvet cap, and her long black robes floated on the evening
breeze.

By constant petting from the hour that he became hers, Black Hawk had
been won, and the intractable, fiery creature, who had hitherto
spurned all control but Wycoff's, readily yielded to Little Wolf's
guiding hand. The sagacious creature had exhibited no little pride in
bearing off his precious burden under the eye of his old master. His
new mistress glorying in her power over him bade him forward and
without a suspicion of danger, entered the fatal pass.

In a moment they were opposite Hank's hiding place, who concentrating
all his energies, made a cat-like spring and caught at Black Hawk's
bridle.

To sheer off, rear high in the air, and plant his fore foot right into
the would-be-murderer's brain, was a feat performed without a sign
from Little Wolf, who sat like one paralyzed, while Black Hawk in a
fury trampled their assailant under his feet. She saw Hank's ghastly
face and flaxen ringlets go down, and she saw his life blood spurting
far over the pure white snow, and the next instant she was borne
swiftly away from the terrible scene.

For some little time Black Hawk had it all his own way, and they were
far out on the main traveled road to Pendleton before Little Wolf made
an effort to check his speed. But suddenly she drew the rein with no
gentle hand.

They had overtaken a lady and gentleman, who were riding leisurely,
evidently quite absorbed in each other's society. One quick, searching
glance revealed the parties to Little Wolf; and she curled her lip in
scorn, as she saw those attentions which Edward had so lately lavished
upon herself, now given to Clara Hastings.

Well might Edward start and strain his eyes after the retreating
figure to which the loud clatter of hoofs had called his attention,
for fleeing fast away was one in whose true heart, he had planted
still another arrow, which would there rankle long, spite of the vow
of eternal forgetfulness even then upon her proud lips.

In order to avoid "The Pass," and its horrors, Little Wolf took a
circuitous route home. She emerged from the wild, unbroken path
through the forest just as Wycoff was begining to feel seriously
uneasy at her prolonged absence.

He eagerly caught at the bridle, "I was afraid Black Hawk had been
playing pranks," he said, patting the animal's neck: "Why, here's
blood upon the beast; I guess he's got rubbed agin a tree. It wan't
exactly safe to come that way, anyhow, but girls will be girls,
there's a natural tendancy in 'em to go into crooked ways," and Wycoff
laughed, as he thought that he had perpetrated a good joke, and looked
at Little Wolf as if he expected her too appreciate it.

"It is Mr. Glutter's blood," gasped Little Wolf, "he attempted to stop
us in the Pass, and Black Hawk trampled upon him."

"Oh! that's it, eh?" said Wycoff. "A knowing critter, that. He's got
the instincts of a woman, and I ain't sure but he knows as much as a
man. Well, I hope Hank is dead, anyhow."

"Oh, don't say so, Mr. Wycoff," said Little Wolf, every particle of
color forsaking her face.

"Well, now if I ain't beat," said the rough man, "I thought you would
be tickled to dance on Hank's grave."

Little Wolf turned silently away and went into the house.

"Well, well," and Wycoff bent a look of inquiry upon Sorrel Top, who
had been out sharing his solicitude for her mistress.

"I guess she feels kinder horrible like, about seeing him mashed," was
Sorrel Top's explanatory reply.

"Well, I'll jest go round and see what his condition is, anyhow."

While Wycoff was on his mission and Little Wolf shut up in her room,
Sorrel Top hastened to communicate the news to Daddy.

"'Tween you and me I'm glad on't," said Daddy, exultingly. I hope he's
dead."

"Well, now, that's heathenish, Daddy, to wish a feller critter dead."

"He wan't no feller critter," said Daddy, indignantly, "he was nothin'
but a liquor-seller: the wust kind tu, fur he knowed just what
mischief he wus a doing to the human race. Yes, and to the brute race
tu, fur I've seen men whallop their hosses nigh about tu death when
they was in liquor."

"I've seen 'em wallop 'em when they want in liquor," said Sorrel Top,
determined as usual to combat Daddy at all hazards.

"'Tween you and me, sich men ain't feller critters, nuther, I reckon
they'll live next door to liquor sellers, by and by," said Daddy, with
self righteous-assurance.

"I'd like to know where you expect to go when you die?" said Sorrel
Top, with a toss of the head."

"Why, I'll go tu that ere place where folks go that du the best they
know."

"Well, you're lucky if you can say you have always done the best you
could," said the other in a tone which clearly indicated a doubt of
Daddy's entire veracity.

"'Tween you and me, I've been thinking that I might hev been more
active in the temperance cause. I guess afore long I'll git up a
temperance lectur and go round deliverin' of it."

"O, pshaw, you wouldn't git no _ordiance_. Would he Fanny?" said
Sorrel Top, appealing to Fanny Green, who had been a silent but not
uninterested listener to the conversation.

"I guess he would," said Fanny, hopefully, "I would attend."

"Of course you would," said Daddy, excitedly, "and the Honey would
too."

"Well, you couldn't tell me nothing more than I know on that pint,"
said Sorrel Top, flinging herself out of the room with an air of
unqualified contempt.

Left alone with Daddy, Fanny ventured to say softly, "Daddy have you
ever prayed about it?"

"About what, Fanny?"

"Why, about people's drinking and selling liquor and those things that
you talk about?"

"Pray about it? why no. What should I pray about it fur? I never pray
about nothing."

Fanny looked shocked. "Don't you know the Bible tells us to pray,
Daddy?"

"Well, I spose it does," Daddy admitted, "but somehow I hev never said
my prayers, since I was a little shaver; I reckon it don't do no good
fur tu pray, no how. My religion is tu do the best I ken."

"But, Daddy, if God tells you to ask for what you want, and you don't
do it, is that doing the best you can?"

"I ruther guess you've got the best of old Daddy, this ere time," said
the old man, stroking the child's sunny locks. "'Tween you and me,
Fanny, I don't know nothin' at all about the Bible. My father and
mother died afore I was old enough fur tu read, and I was bound tu a
man that didn't gin me a big edication, I never seen a Bible in his
house,"

"Then you don't know about Jesus Christ?" said Fanny, quite pitifully

"Laws yes, I've heern ministers preach a leetle about him once in a
while when I went to church fur tu go hum with Recta; but, somehow, I
want much took up with him."

"O, but Daddy, you would have been if you had understood that he was
the best friend you ever had. My mamma used to tell me how he came to
die for us, and how we could not get to Heaven without him. I will
tell you all about it, Daddy, shall I? I told Miss DeWolf, yesterday,
and she looked real glad."

"Laws, Fanny, the Honey is high edicated and knows a heap more than we
do."

"O, yes, of course, Daddy, but then she had never heard it just as
mamma used to tell it; for you know mamma talked just as if she had
lived in the same house with Him, and He had told her Himself all
about the beautiful place for all those that He can take there."

"Well, He may take me," said Daddy.

"O, but you will have to ask him to take you, Daddy," said his little
instructress, opening wide her eyes.

"'Tween you and me, there's the stick, Fanny, I really don't know how
fur tu ask him."

"Why, Daddy, how would you ask him for bread if you were starving?"

"I calculate I'd beg mighty hard if I was in sich a tight place."

Fanny's eyes filled, and Daddy feeling rather uncomfortable, patted
her cheek tenderly.

"You're a fust rate leetle gal, Fanny," he said, "and I'm kinder
thinking I'll look into this ere matter by and by, when I get my
lectur writ."

"May be, if you should ask Him, God would make you think what is the
best thing to say in your lecture," persisted the child.

"Laws, Fanny, I ken think of them ere things myself. All the help I
want is a leetle mite from you about the spellin.

"Wycoff now appeared looking very grave and reported Hank, "stone
dead."



CHAPTER XXXII.

    THE MAY DAY WEDDINGS--MISS ORRECTA LIPPINCOTT'S SURPRISE--HOW
    OLD LOVERS BEHAVE.


Spring opened slowly. It is true, at the first fierce glance of the
sun, the sensitive snow dissolved in tears; but he was forced to call
to his aid the strong winds to blow long upon the ice-bound river, ere
it yielded and permitted the beautiful steamers again to ride upon its
throbbing bosom.

There were those who eagerly counted the weeks that brought about
these changes, for each hour drew them nearer to their bridal
morning, and one fair May day, when the earth was decked in her
garments of green, Louise Sherman, arrayed in her bridal robes, was
led by Dr. Goodrich to the marriage altar.

Edward Sherman also was there, to celebrate the same rite, for, in a
few short weeks he had wooed and won Miss Clara Hastings. It was with
no small degree of pride, that he looked upon that tall, elegant woman
and called her wife.

Clara was equally proud of her husband. Talented, handsome, and, as
she supposed, on the road to wealth, she asked no more. Thus they set
out in life together.

The ceremony over, the wedding parties, including Mrs. Sherman,
started on a tour to the old homestead, where it was their intention
to pass a few weeks, and finally to change it for a permanent home in
Minnesota.

They had given Recta timely notice of their coming, and, had she had
no interruption, the housekeeper's preparations would indeed have
been elaborate. She had received and answered Daddy's letter
favorably, and was in daily expectation of a second communication from
the same source. The plan which she had arranged in her own mind was
to remain until after the arrival of the family, and then to spend a
few weeks with a married sister, whose assistance she would require in
the preperation of her bridal outfit. As a general thing Recta's head
was pretty clear, but in this case, she did not count upon the
proverbial impetuosity of a widower, and, consequently, signally
failed.

One bright morning, when all the bed and table linen, and every
bleachable thing to be found in the house, were spread upon the grass;
when feather beds and blankets, and carpets, were hung out to air;
when soap-suds and white-wash stood side by side; when the china
closet had disgorged its treasures, and the silver was spread out for
extra polishing; when all the ingredients for a mammoth fruit cake
were marshalled on the kitchen table; when chairs and other furniture
were gathered in clusters, as if discussing the general uproar; when
poor old Lilly Foot had been driven forth with a sharp reproof and a
cold breakfast, and forlorn kitty, hid away in a dark corner, where
only her green eyes were visible, mewed disconsolate, a loud knock was
heard at the door.

"I do wonder who is going to hinder me now?" fretted Recta, as lifting
her dripping hands from her scrubbing suds, and drying them upon her
apron she obeyed the summons.

At the first glance at the intruder she recognized Daddy, and turning
pale and then red by turns, she sank speedily into a chair.

How changed were both since they last met. She was then a blooming,
brown haired, rather coquettishly dressed country girl, and he black
haired, dapper and gay. Now he beheld her in faded calico, sallow,
wrinkled and grey; and she looked upon a white haired, shrivelled up,
little old man.

Both were for the moment, silent and disappointed, but Daddy was the
first to recover his presence of mind. "'Tween you and me, don't you
know me, Recta?"

"Well, I reckon I do, Philip," said Recta instinctively covered her
face with her apron.

A smile of delight broke over Daddy's features, and his first
disappointment was forgotten. "That's jest as you used to sarve me,
Recta; now I'm agoin fur tu sarve you one of my old tricks," and, by
an adroit movement to which he encountered a very slight resistance,
Recta's features were again visible.

There was a deep red spot on either cheek, and she looked rather
foolish, but it was not long before the old lovers were living over
again their youthful hours.

Oblivious of the flight of time, the mid-day sun shone in upon them,
still absorbed in each other. It would be impossible to say how long
this state of things might have continued had not Daddy inadvertantly
called Recta's attention to her household duties.

"'Tween you and me, I want fur tu git married afore night," he was
saying, when Recta suddenly sprang to her feet in dire dismay.

"Why Philip," she exclaimed, "how can I get married and all this work
on hand?"

"I'm kinder thinkin we ken hev the job did, and then I ken help you
fur to do the work."

Recta, demurred, but overwhelmed with persuasions, she finally
consented to confer with her sister, living near by, and the result
was, they were married before night, which fully accorded with Daddy's
desires.

The next morning the atmosphere of the house had materially changed:
but the aspect not. Lilly Foot luxuriated on a warm breakfast, and
strutted about the house complacently wagging his tail, and green-eyed
pussy purred contentedly behind the kitchen stove.

But still confronting Recta was the untouched white-wash, unwashed
china, unpolished silver, unmade cake, and the undone condition of
things generally.

"'Tween you and me, I wouldn't go fur tu du no work to-day," advised
Daddy, as Recta made a movement towards setting the house in order.

"I reckon, Philip, Miss Sherman will be here in a few days, and I
wouldn't get ketched in this plight for nothing.

"You ain't a mite like mammy was," said Daddy, holding affectionately
on to Recta's dress. "Laws, she would jerk herself away from me, and
afore I knowd it be a flying around the house like a whirl-wind,
orderin me round 'till I didn' know what fur tu du fust."

"O, well, you must let me go now, Philip," said Recta, good-naturedly,
"or I won't git nothing done to-day. Now don't tech me again until I
git them dishes washed and sot up."

"Laws, Recta, don't ask me fur tu wait that long; I'd like fur tu help
you, so you'd get through quicker. Now set me tu work, du,"

"Well, Philip, them things on the line ought to be brought in. I
forgot 'em last night."

"'Tween you an' me, what made ye forgit 'em?" said Daddy,
mischievously.

"I reckon when anybody is tagged to me every minute, I can't remember
nothing, Philip."

At this mild rebuke Daddy laughed immoderately, but he was none the
less at her heels. Turn whichever way she would, he was always there,
and consequently her work progressed slowly; so slowly, indeed, that
the bridal party arrived, and found her illy prepared to meet them.

But when the circumstances became known, she was at once absolved from
all blame, and loaded with congratulations and presents made
wondrously happy.

As their services were indispensable, it was decided that the useful
old couple should remain through the breaking up and moving season.

While the younger portion of the household gave themselves up to a
succession of pleasure parties given in their honor, Daddy and Recta
spent their evenings in social chat by the kitchen fire. At such times
Daddy was the chief speaker, and Recta never wearied of listening to
his wonderful stories.

Especially was she interested in Little Wolf's career. Her wonderful
escape from Bloody Jim, her triumphal ride over Hank Glutter, her
astonishing beauty, talents, and virtues were subjects upon which he
descanted with great fluency.

"'Tween you an' me, Recta," said he, being in an uncommonly
confidential frame on one of these occasions, "I used fur tu think
that are Edward Sherman was a hanging around the Honey, and I sot
myself tu put a stop to it, and that are day I was knocked down, and
had my shoulder put out of jint, I jest gin him a hint that a nice
young man was a goin fur tu git her."

"Why, Philip, I thought Edward was about the nicest young man in the
world," Recta ventured to assert.

Daddy elevated his eyebrows, and hitching up very close to his
companion, whispered, "'Tween you an' me, didn't you know he drunk
nothin?"

"You don't say so, Philip!" exclaimed Recta, in tones in which were
blended surprise and grief.

"I've seed him," declared Daddy, decidedly.

"Dear me, how I wish he had always staid to home. Dear me, I can't
bear to have it so; he was such a sweet little feller, when I nussed
and tended on him. He don't drink hard, does he, Philip?"

"I guess about middlin. I never seed him dead drunk, but I've ketched
him a few times about as full as he could hold. He cum hum pretty
tight from the party last night."

"You don't say! I guess that's what's made his mother so low-spirited
all day."

"I kinder think that are wife of hisen don't feel nun tu nice over it
nuther, fur she 'pears ruther down in the mouth. I happened fur tu
hear her a tellin him this morning, that fur tu drink moderate was
genteel, but tu over drink was vulgar. It's my opinion he ain't got a
fur-seein woman, or she wouldn't hev preached no sech doctrine as that
are. You wouldn't have ketched the Honey a doin of it; she thinks it's
all vulgar and wicked tu."

"I think it's a sin to pass it around at them parties, Philip."

"Sartin, Recta; young fellers will get a liking for it, and get ruined
in that are way."

"I don't see what makes folks do it when they know it's such dangerous
practice."

"'Tween you and me, it's the devil," said Daddy bluntly. "He has
allers tempted good folks as well as bad with his pison. He manages
somehow fur tu make 'em believe there ain't no harm in it. I should
think nobody could help a knowin of it. I heered some women talkin on
the steamer, and one of 'em said she knowed a lady what was in the
habit of treating gentlemen friends to all sorts of fancy drinks, and
she was a real nice lady, tu, and got lots of 'em to attend her church
jest by them means. They said it was so popular to drink wine
now-a-days, that the best of folks didn't think there was no harm in
it."

"That was the common way of thinking when I was young. I remember very
clear when the minister used to come here with the judge, and the
judge was very apt to go off and have a spree after it. Miss Sherman
mourned herself most to death, but when the minister came out strong
on the side of temperance and preached and practised, and the judge
had signed the pledge, we had different times, I tell you. Them
decanters have stood empty on the side board ever since."

"I wish, they were smashed," said Daddy, emphatically.

"So do I," echoed Recta. "I'd like to sarve 'em as the heathen do
their idols when they git converted to Christianity."

"Be you a Christian, Recta."

Recta looked down confusedly, twirled her thumbs, and finally answered
in a constrained tone, "I belong to the church."

"Du ye? well, may be I'll jine it tu. I promised Fanny fur tu tend tu
that are matter when I got my lectur done, but I hed fur to tend tu
gittin married fust."

"Your what done, Philip?"

"My lectur, I writ one on temperance when I was sick. I calculate fur
tu go round deliverin of it next winter when we git settled. 'Tween
you and me, I may clare a little money on it. Lecturers are apt tu,
I've heern say."

"You had better lectur on cabbages if you want tu make money on it,"
was the wise response.



CHAPTER XXXIII.

    THE OLD BROWN HOUSE DESERTED--THE PEARL AND DIAMOND RING--MR.
    AND MRS. MARSDEN'S CONJECTURES.


The old brown house was desolate; the doors bolted, the shutters
closed, and not a sound to be heard within its walls. The stable too,
was deserted, for now Black Hawk freely roamed in the pastures of his
former master.

But in more ways than one had he done our heroine good service. Day
after day, during that unhappy Spring she had, while striving to
banish thought, ridden him through the wildest of wild forest paths,
reckless alike of her own safety and his. The noble animal forded
swollen streams, floundered through treacherous sloughs, leaped over
fallen trees and climbed rocky precipices, and had not heaven ordained
it otherwise, both horse and rider must have fallen a prey to the
dangers of the way.

Although indulging in this abandonment of feeling, Little Wolf
neglected none of her duties. Indeed, she seemed determined never to
let a moment escape unoccupied. While Daddy was confined to his room,
and Mrs. Peters lived, she faithfully supplied their wants, but after
the former became convalescent, and started for his wife, and the
latter went to her last rest, blessing her benefactress with her
latest breath, she had no one but Fanny on whom to bestow her care,
except, indeed, Mrs. Peters' grandson Charley, for whom she soon
obtained a desirable situation.

About this time, she received repeated and pressing invitations from
her much loved school friend, Miss Marsden, to accompany herself and
brother on a tour to California, upon which they expected to set out
sometime in June. The marriage of Sorrel Top, with whom she had made
arrangements for Fanny Green to remain, until such times as Daddy and
his wife should return and take possession of the old homestead, and
the charge of the child was most opportune: for she was now at liberty
to avail herself of the change so affectionately urged upon her.

In addition to the allusions before made to Alfred and Annie Marsden,
we will here simply state, that the brother and sister were orphans,
and heirs of considerable property, a part of which consisted in an
elegant city residence. Here they had lived since the death of their
parents, which occured a short time previous to the period when Little
Wolf and their daughter left school together.

The son, a bachelor of about thirty, had, a number of years before,
visited Minnesota in quest of health. His proclivity for hunting and
fishing led him to the vicinity of Chimney Rock, and he it was, who,
when she was a small child, rescued Little Wolf from the hands of
Bloody Jim.

But this was his own secret most carefully guarded from our heroine,
who, during her former visit had learned to regard him in the light of
an elder brother; but, as will be seen hereafter his feelings towards
her were of a warmer character.

Having, therefore, paid a flying visit to St. Paul, and wept her
adieus upon the bosom of her sympathizing friend, Mrs. Tinknor, having
pouted at Tom, and made her financial arrangements with the Squire, we
now behold Little Wolf in the embrace of one, who had so long
stretched forth her arms to receive her.

The first raptures over, we hear Miss Marsden saying, "we will never
part with our Little Wolf again, will we, brother?"

The response is, "Not if I can help it."

We know not why, it may have been that these words of affection,
brought suddenly to her mind all that she had loved and lost, or she
might have intuitively divined young Marsden's sentiments towards her,
we only know that her lip quivered, and she trembled and grew pale and
sank helpless upon the sofa.

Her extreme agitation created in her friends no little alarm, but it
soon passed off, and as they could not but observe that any futher
allusion to the matter was annoying to her, the brother and sister
exchanged expressive glances which, being interpreted, signified,
"resolved that the subject be indefinitely postponed." But it was
again mooted on the first occasion of the absence of their guest; Miss
Marsden being the first to bring it under consideration.

"O, it was only fatigue," said her brother, in reply to her various
surmises.

"No, it was not fatigue," she insisted with an arch smile. "It is my
opinion she was laboring under some powerful emotion. I once saw her
almost as much agitated in one of our school exhibitions, in which she
was to act a prominent part; but she went through it splendidly, the
determined little thing."

"O well, it might have been excess of joy at meeting you."

"At meeting _me_, do you say, sir? Now brother, don't try to crawl out
of it, for I have determined to extort the truth from you. Was she not
overjoyed at meeting _you_?"

"Well, then, my dear sister, the truth is, I think not. You must have
noticed she takes special pains to address me as brother, and always
to treat me as such, and you young ladies rarely faint at the sight of
a brother."

"O, but you are only an adopted brother,"--slyly.

"That's all," sighed the young man.

"I think her father's death has changed her a little. She appears more
thoughtful and womanly: don't she brother?"

"I wouldn't be surprised if she were in love," suggested the other.

"O fie, brother, she's not in love, unless it be with you; or she
would have confided it to me. Moreover," she continued, seeing an
incredulous smile playing upon her brother's lips, "you must yourself
admit that it would be a very strange freak for a young lady in love
to voluntarily put the ocean between herself and the object of her
affections. I verily believe our Little Wolf is more anxious if
possible, to start on the tour than we are."

"Yes, so do I," admitted her brother, "and I can't account for it."

"O, it is simply to run away from Mr. Alfred Marsden," was the ironic
reply.

"I do assure you, sister, that you greatly mistake our mutual
sentiments."

"Not yours, certainly, brother, and I think not hers; but I'll find
out."

"For Heaven's sake, don't broach the matter to her, sister," said
young Marsden in alarm, "It would spoil all the pleasure of our trip.
Indeed, I know she would not go at all."

"Nonsense, brother, do you think me a goose? I would not be so
indelicate; no indeed. There are more ways than you have dreamed of,
for ferreting out a love secret."

"O yes, I know such secrets develope themselves in a thousand forms,
and if there is anything of that nature in her breast it will
transpire in due time."

"It was not long before the young man's prediction came near proving
true, and thus it happened.

"The two young ladies, Annie and Little Wolf were out shopping, and
becoming wearied, they stepped into a fashionable place of resort for
rest and refreshment. While waiting, a small party, two ladies and a
gentleman, came in and were seated at a table not far removed from
their own. Little Wolf's back was to the party, but Annie, being
opposite her friend, faced them.

At the first sound of their voices, Little Wolf turned partly round,
and behold there was Edward Sherman with his wife and sister. Her
movement not having been observed, she was unrecognized by the trio.
But so violently did she tremble and so deathly was her countenance,
that Annie would have betrayed her by an exclamation of alarm, had
not a warning gesture from Little Wolf stayed the word upon her lips.

In a moment Little Wolf recovered herself sufficiently to write upon
her tablets, "Do not speak to me, Annie, I do not wish to be known by
the party opposite."

"Annie read the request, and returned the answer, "You will faint, let
me order wine."

"No, I shall not faint," wrote Little Wolf's trembling fingers, and
her erect little figure involuntarily drew itself up.

"Poor things, they are mutes;" said Louise, compassionately regarding
the means of communication between the silent young ladies.

Mrs. Sherman assented, and the lively young bride's acting on this
supposition, imposed no restraint upon their conversation. They talked
about the past, and unveiled their future plans; sipped their fancy
drinks and ate cake while Little Wolf and Miss Marsden vigorously
plied their pencils.

Edward alone remained unoccupied except indeed, the use he was making
of his eyes, and they were riveted upon Little Wolf. He was watching
those busy little hands, and there came over him a strange feeling of
heart sickness, as he saw on one dimpled finger a well remembered
ring, a golden hoop with diamonds uniquely set in pearls. It was a
relic of the past, having been presented to Little Wolf's mother on
her wedding day. He knew well it's history, for the present owner had
told it to him, and blushed when he said to her, "My Little Wolf will
wear another on her wedding day."

Then, in the thought there was bliss, now, naught but anguish.

The longer he gazed, the more he became convinced that it was none
other than Little Wolf whom he saw, and anxious to conceal the fact
from his wife and sister, he made a hasty movement to leave.

"Why, Edward, what possesses you?" exclaimed his wife, "going already,
and your wine untasted. I believe you are crazy. Sit still a moment,
I'm not ready. The stimulant hasn't got into my feet, but I feel it
going down. Come, do drink a little, you look as pale as a ghost."

"Do, brother," chimed in Louise, "I feel a great deal brighter; but
don't tell the doctor I have been taking anything strong."

"Strong," repeated Clara, "I hope you don't call a little light
claret, strong."

"O no, I don't, but the doctor does, and I may as well keep his mind
easy," replied Louise.

Edward had risen to his feet, and waited silently but evidently
impatiently.

"Can't I persuade you to take a little before we go? Do; you look so
pale this morning," persisted Mrs. Sherman, herself lifting the goblet
towards her husband.

Determined not to have any more words, Edward hastily drank the
proffered beverage, and immediately left the place.

When they had fairly disappeared, Little Wolf sank back in her chair,
and breathed hard as if awaking from a terrible night mare.

"O, I was so afraid they would discover me," she gasped. "They were
once good friends of mine," she continued with an effort at composure,
"but you won't care will you, dear good Annie, if I don't tell you how
it came to be otherwise?"

Annie looked a little disappointed, but she magnanimously put Little
Wolf at her ease by saying, "No indeed, for I'm sure it was no fault
of yours."

In absence of evidence, Annie of course, put her own construction on
what had occured, and mentally voted Edward a villain, and his wife
and sister his accomplices. This opinion she expressed to her brother,
when in an hour of confidence, she glowingly pictured the scene.

"I think the young man must be at the bottom of the mischief," she
said, "for he was even more agitated than Little Wolf. He had
recognized her from the first, although I cannot devine how, for she
sat with her back to them."

"I would have known her among a thousand," cried young Marsden,
enthusiastically.

"O, then, I suppose he must have been an old lover," said his sister
mischievously.



CHAPTER XXXIV.

    A TRIP TO CALIFORNIA--JUMPING OVERBOARD---THE GRAND SUPPER
    AND WHAT CAME OF IT--THE CAPTAIN'S LITTLE DAUGHTER.


As the most agreeable method of conveying to the reader a correct
account of Little Wolf's adventures, and personal feelings during her
journeying, we will quote largely from letters addressed from time to
time to her friend, Mrs. Tinknor.

"From the first we take the following:

"While I write, the Captain's little daughter sits beside me. We have
met several times on the hurricane deck--Flora and I--and are on quite
intimate terms, considering the shortness of our acquaintance. The
first twenty four hours she was seasick, 'wery, wery sick,' she
informed me, and her pale face bore traces of the ordeal through which
she had passed; and, indeed, the countenances of most of the
passengers are suggestive of Tompsonian doctors. To such, our three
days at sea must have been uncommonly disagreeable, the weather having
been rough the entire period. Yesterday, we were favored with a storm.
The commencement was most sublime, but all having been unwillingly
ordered below I was borne resisting into the cabin and the splendid
exhibition of nature shut from my view, of course I could not keep on
my feet, but I managed to climb upon a stand, and holding on with all
my might, I could see the waves through the port hole run mountains
high, and what silly thing do you think I did? I actually cried with
vexation, shut up in that miserable place.

"It was as if Black Hawk had been bearing me exultant on a wild gallop
in the face of winds that shook the very foundations of the earth,
and, the loftiest enthusiasm having been enkindled, I was suddenly
plunged into a sickening, stifling, dismal cavern, and shut out from
light and liberty.

"I made frantic assaults upon the porthole, and the remonstrances of
the ship carpenter, who chanced to spy me, would have availed him
nothing had he not forcibly lifted me down, and seated me upon the
floor of my state-room.

"The miserable creature imagined me frightened out of my senses. 'No
immediate danger Miss,' said he, 'compose yourself; the ship will
right up directly--throwing all the light trash overboard--chicken
coops just gone over.'

"'Man,' moaned a woman on whose face was blended an expression of
benevolence and nausea, 'did you open those coops, and let out those
fowls, that they may not drift about and starve?'

"'The sea, madam,' said the builder of ships, grandly, 'the sea has
swallowed them coops and all.'

"Miss Flora has just asked me if my letter is not most finished,
'for,' said the cunning little elf 'you might put in that papa called
you a stubborn little wretch yesterday, when you wouldn't go down to
the cabin.'

"I wonder if he dared to say it, I suppose I looked incredulous, for
the little mischief continues to reiterate the assertion, but she
consolingly adds, 'He was wery, wery angry then, and he knew you
wouldn't hear him. You don't care, do you?'

"I have almost told a fib, and said, 'no indeed.'

Two days later.

"I have had my revenge on the captain by jumping overboard.

"Yesterday Flora and myself were lounging upon the stationary seat,
attached to the railing of the hurricane deck. Both of us had been
silent for some time. I had been gazing dreamily down into the deep,
blue waters thinking of, I hardly know what, but, I remember that a
strange impulse occasionally seized me to plunge beneath those
snow-capped waves and rest my poor head upon the ocean's bed, for it
is not as easy to hold it up now as it once was, when mammy lived, and
took me in her arms and bade the 'Honey hold up her blessed little
head, and never let that droop whatever might come.' Precious old
creature, she too bore a life long sorrow, and bravely bore it. Daddy
never suspected, that his bustling, little grey wife had a tender
secret burried beneath the tumult of activity, which continually
bubbled up within her generous breast.

"But I am digressing from the subject of my sea bath, of which Miss
Flora was the immediate occasion. She had incautiously leaned too far
over the railing, and, losing her balance, fell. I was startled from
my reverie by a slight scream, and in an instant more, she was beneath
the waves. I knew that I could swim, and had I not, I would have
plunged after her all the same.

"I discovered, however, that the waves in a quiet cove of the
Mississippi, were but ripples compared with the surging waters of the
ocean, and my childhood paddle in the former but a poor preparation
for battle. I sank deep and rose breathless, and almost helpless, but
fortunately, Flora was dashed within my reach, and I clutched her
dress, and we were both saved.

"The captain had witnessed the accident from the deck and was the
first to come to our rescue. Spars were thrown out, and several hardy
sailors leaped in and helped to bear us up until the life boat was
lowered, and we were all once more transported on board of our staunch
ship.

"I have been flattered and feted ever since. A grand supper was given
in my honor last evening, and, as I was in such high favor, I made
bold to accept my invitation on condition that the table should be
innocent of wine. The Captain cordially complied with the condition,
although Flora had previously volunteered the information, that 'papa
was wery fond of wine, but mamma did not like him to drink it.'

"The dear child has much to say about her mama, who, 'died, a wery,
wery long time ago.' One little year has she been motherless, and what
sweet graphic pictures does she draw of the lost one. 'Mama had wery
soft curls, papa called 'em golden; mama had wery blue eyes, papa
called 'em wiolet, and she had wery pink cheeks, and papa called 'em
sea shells, and he called her wery little mouth, a rose bud and her
wery soft hands, welvet, and what do you think he named her wery,
wery, cunning little feets?--mices.--He read all about 'em in a book
one evening, how they stoled in and out like little mices,--now wasn't
that wery, wery nice?'

"She is more devoted to me than ever, since her narrow escape from the
sea, and she is sure that I will not be sent into the cabin when the
next storm comes on. Indeed I exacted a promise from the Captain,
while at the feast to that effect. He said I might be lashed to the
rigging and blown to pieces if I wished, and I do wish--O how I long
for another storm,"

Three days later.

"The sky is clear, the sea smooth, and the passengers are mostly upon
deck, enjoying the fine weather.

"Mr. and Miss Marsden have appeared for the first time, and we have
had a general rejoicing. The Captain is an old friend of theirs and we
were invited into his room and treated to wine on the occasion. All
drank socially except myself and Flora, who, when she saw that I had
taken none, set her glass down untasted.

'The influence of good example,' said the Captain smiling approvingly
on Flora.

"Do you really think the example good?" I asked eagerly.

"'Most certainly, my dear Miss DeWolf, my wife would have acted
precisely the same. She did not approve social drinking, but one in my
position acquires the habit almost from necessity. My associations are
mostly with a class that expect it of me. I do not care for it
myself, but I do not like to appear unsocial.'

"'Nor do I,' chimed in Miss Marsden, sipping her glass.

"'We tempt and are tempted on every hand,' said Mr. Marsden
thoughtfully. 'Society demands the social glass and we yield to its
demands, and why? Because we have not the moral courage to do
otherwise.'

"We have! I exclaimed, we have! you have, your sister has, the Captain
has. You have never tried. You have never fully realized whither it
tended--I have. Shall I tell you?

"At any ordinary time I would not have drawn the heart rending picture
of the consequences of social drinking which I was then inspired to
do. It was as if a frightful panorama of ruined fortunes, and ruined
families was passing before me and I described all I saw and when the
view became too painful, too revolting for words, I bowed my head and
wept.

"'For heavens sake, say no more,' cried out the Captain.

"Flora flung her arms around my neck, and mingled her tears with mine.
'What shall we do?' she asked plaintively.

"'We might draw up a total abstinence pledge and all put our names to
it,' said Sir. Marsden quite cheerfully.

"After some pleasent discussion, his suggestion obtained favor, and
was carried out without delay, and in half an hour's time we were all
pledged to total abstinence from intoxicating drinks. The matter was
duly explained to Flora, and she added her mark with an air of
consequence quite amusing.

"Nor was that all; the enthusiastic little missionary stated that she
knew of several wery nice sailors who would like to put their names on
the paper, for she had seen them drink something out of bottles. She
was accordingly permitted to present this pledge to her particular
friends, who, it transpired, included the whole crew.

"I was much affected by a little scene which I witnessed in
connection with her labors. A weather-beaten old sailor, whose only
fault was his uncontrollable appetite for rum, read the pledge
carefully, and, shaking his head quite hopelessly, handed it back. 'I
can't agree to that, little pet,' said he, 'I can't abstain, I'd give
the world if I could, but I can't. I lay in bed the morning we set
sail and thought it all over. I thought of my little boy and gal
sleeping in their trundle bed. I thought of the pleadings of my
patient wife, and I resolved to let liquor alone, but I can't do it--I
was the worse for it yesterday. No, I can't abstain,' and his voice
quivered.

"'May be, if you'd try again, wery, wery hard,' persisted Flora, who
did not comprehend how uncontrollable the appetite becomes.

"'No, my little pet--no--none but God Almighty can save me now--I'm in
the breakers.'

"His look of despair moved me to step forward and interpose. Would not
Flora have perished in the deep water, had there been no effort made
to save her? I questioned.

"'You're a brave gal,' said he. 'I saw you go after her; you would
have saved her if you could, and you would save me but you can't.'

"That's true, I replied, but God can. Jesus Christ will bring you
safely out of the breakers, if you will cling to him. You are in great
peril but it is not too late. Never give up the ship.

"Thus I talked until hope began to reanimate him, and he said 'when I
get back to New York I'll try again to give up my dram and be a
Christian.'

"Now--now, there's no time like now, I persisted, and finally he
yielded, and said, 'Now it shall be. I'll put my name to the paper,
and may God Almighty help me.'

"His name, John Hopkins, stands in full upon the pledge; the large
crooked letters bearing traces of the struggle by which he was shaken.

"I am so glad that I ever read the Bible to dear old Mrs. Peters, for
it was there that I learned the lesson, which I so lately taught the
despairing seamen, and nothing can now wrest the sweet knowledge of a
Saviour's love from me. My heart has found refuge in it.

"Do you remember the day that Tom dressed in your blue apron, with a
bunch of keys at his belt and pretended to personate me at the head of
an orphan asylum, how we all laughed? Well, I secretly wished myself
capable of doing good in that way, and you may tell Tom that if I
should ever attempt anything of the kind, I will give him a lucrative
situation as general overseer of the establishment."

Two days later.

"Last evening we arrived at Aspinwall having made the trip from New
York in ten days. This morning we bade adieu to our kind friends of
the steamship, 'Northern Star' and crossed the Isthmus of Panama, a
distance of about twenty miles, by railroad. A fine large steamer lay
upon the waters of the Pacific awaiting our arrival.

"Having embarked, I found a little vacant nook, under the awning,
where I am now writing, while the scenes of to-day are still fresh in
my mind.

"I was enchanted as we passed swiftly over the narrow neck of land
dividing the two oceans. The dense, vine-clad forests, alive with
birds of every brilliant hue, and bordered with gorgeous flowers; the
low thatched huts of the natives, and the natives themselves in
holiday dress of thin white, all conspired to awaken the most pleasing
emotions.

"The villages at both ends of the route were swarming with natives,
the women with baskets of cake and fruit and beautiful birds for sale,
the men eager to carry our luggage for 'two bits.'

"A small proportion of the women were bright and pretty; one really
beautiful, with liquid eyes and smooth jet braids, upon which were
fantastically perched a pair of green, trained birds, was very
popular with the passengers, and soon emptied her basket.

"I purchased her pet paroquets and sent them to console Flora, whom I
left sobbing quite piteously in the Captain's arms. We promised her
papa to make our arrangements to return on his steamer and his promise
to lash me to the rigging in the event of a storm still holds good."



CHAPTER XXXV.

    A VISIT TO MRS. SHERMAN'S ROOM--DADDY AND HIS NEW
    SPOUSE--OMINOUS SIGNS.


Before opening another letter, let us pay a flying visit to the
Sherman family, and also to Daddy and his spouse.

The former are to be found in their old quarters at Pendleton, the
latter installed in the brown house at Chimney Rock.

It is near midnight, rather an unseasonable hour to intrude upon our
friends, but no matter; at the house we shall first enter; regular
habits do not prevail.

We will now imagine ourselves in the broad hall, on the second floor
of the finest hotel in Pendleton.

Open softly the door at your right. There the eldest Mrs. Sherman lies
sleeping. Her grey hair is parted smoothly under her white frilled
cap, her hands are folded resignedly upon her breast, and the angel of
her dreams has imprinted upon her features the chastened smile so
often seen upon the face of age.

We would fain prolong her slumbers, for, alas, we cannot stay the
swiftly drifting cloud, that is coming to darken her waking hours: the
silver lining of which she will not see, until, a spirit winged for
glory, she soars above it.

A confusion of sounds from below reaches us. Footsteps are upon the
stairs, uncertain, shuffling, as if grouping in darkness. Low,
persuasive voices are heard, a sharp retort follows. "No, Clara is
fiendish when I have been drinking, I will not meet her."

A woman has just brushed past us. She stands at the head of the
stairs, pale and determined.

"Bring him not here," she hisses between her closed teeth, to the men
who are assisting her husband to mount. "Take him to your own
homes--listen to his ravings. Bear his insults; blows if need be.
Perform the most disagreeable services for him. Yes, even imperil your
lives in his service, you who are his disinterested friends. You, who
have enjoyed your bacchanalian revels with him, take the consequences.
Bring him not to me. I despise, I hate the man who cannot control his
appetite--I tell you away with him!" she shrieked, as his friends
continued to urge him upward.

"Clara." A hand is laid gently on her arm. Her mother-in-law stands
trembling beside her; the noise has awakened her, and she has come out
in her night dress. "I will take Edward to my room and quiet him; he
shall not disturb you, my daughter."

"I am not your daughter. I will no longer be his wife. I will leave
the house this moment never to return. He has disgraced me long
enough. I will not bear it. I will not be the wife of a drunkard. I
have told him so times without number. You may soothe him if you
like--pet him--give him peppermint--I will not live with a man who
cannot control his appetite."

Tears and entreaties, are of no avail; the determination of the
high-spirited wife remains unaltered, and she has gone forth to her
father's house, leaving her mother-in-law not quite alone with the
invalid, for Louise and the doctor have been summoned.

Meanwhile, how thrives Daddy?

We shall see by the morning sun. It has just risen, and so has Daddy.
He peeps out and the sun peeps in, blinding his old eyes and cheering
his old heart. He and Recta are happy now. Hear him whistle like a boy
as he dresses. Recta helps him put his rheumatic arm into his coat
sleeve, and he kisses Recta.

Both leave the room, and as they pass a door standing ajar, push it
open; Here is little Fanny Green standing with bare feet before the
open window, brushing out her flaxen hair.

"O, Daddy," she exclaims, "a bird flew in here awhile ago, a real live
bird flew right in at the window, and throbbed his wings so hard
against the glass that he woke me. Why, before I could catch him, he
flew out. Do you think it would have been wicked to have caught him,
Daddy?"

"Laws, no, Fanny. 'Tween you and me, the Honey would have ketched him
in a second. She was uncommon spry when she was a leetle gal."

"O, Daddy, may--"

"You musn't hinder me now; I must go fur tu milk the cows."

"O, well, you won't feed the chickens 'till I come, will you, Daddy?
I'll dress, O, ever so quick, and say a very little prayer, and come
right out. I want to feed the speckled hen and the little yellow
chicks; please Daddy don't forget me, will you?"

Recta looks very much disturbed as they pass on together. "That
bird," she mutters very mysteriously, "it's a very bad sign."

"What's a bad sign, Recta?"

"Why, don't you know, Phillip, when a bird comes into the house it's a
sure sign of death in the family? I have never known it to fail. There
was Squire Billings died in less than a year after a bird flew in at
the winder. Sally told me they was a watching for some one to die and
it turned out to be the Squire."

"'Tween you and me, Recta, that was singular; now I think on't I've
noticed lately that Fanny has looked ruther pimpin. We must not cross
her in nuthin. I shan't tech the chicken feed 'til she comes; 'tween
you and me, hadn't we better write to the Honey?"

"May be she don't believe in signs, some don't," said Recta,
reflectively.

"'Tween you and me, we might tell her about Squire Billings."

"That wouldn't make any difference, Phillip, you can't convince some
people. We may as well not write until Fanny is really taken sick. I
wonder if she had ever had the measles: Neighbor Wycoff is awful sick
with them."

"'Tween you and me, I guess we had better write," persists Daddy,
struck with a new terror.

There is a sudden hush, and Fanny trips in bright as a May morning.



CHAPTER XXXVI.

    MORE NEWS FROM LITTLE WOLF--TOM TINKNOR'S TESTIMONY.


Here again is news from Little Wolf. The postmark is San Francisco; a
few hurried lines running thus:

    "We arrived here last evening. Mr. Marsden has the Panama
    fever. His sister and myself watch over him day and night.
    His physician is hopeful, but says the disease is exceedingly
    tedious. We shall probably be detained here for a long time.

    Please write as soon as you receive this. I am anxious to
    hear from Daddy and Fanny.

                       Your affectionate

                                                 LITTLE WOLF."

From Mrs. Tinknor's answer we extract the following:

    "As we had not heard from Daddy for some time, I persuaded
    Tom to go down and see how they were getting along. He has
    just returned and stands ready to relieve your anxiety. I
    will leave him to give an account of affairs in his own
    language."

    "I am requested to give my testimony which is this: The house
    was in apple-pie order. Not a fly had the temerity to
    approach the parlor. Miss Fanny had learned to knit, and had
    constructed a pair of stockings. Mrs. Recta says if she
    _lives_ she will make a good housekeeper. I shall marry her
    when she is old enough. The old folks are sure she will die
    'afore the year is out, 'cause a bird flew in at her winder.'
    I told them the bird was after Daddy, and the superstitious
    old man was instantly seized with a violent pain in his big
    toe. I am afraid he will feel it is his duty to die. He and
    Recta bill and coo like two old fools.

    I am ready to swear to the above testimony.          T. T.

    P. S. Daddy saw six ghosts last evening in the pasture where
    half a dozen sheep were grazing.                     TOM."

    "I am afraid, my dear, that Tom's nonsense has illy prepared
    your mind for the sad news I have to communicate concerning
    your friends the Shermans. The elder and the younger Mrs.
    Sherman are both dead. The elder died last week; it is said
    of a broken heart. The other accidently put an end to her own
    life several weeks ago. She had parted from her husband, he
    having returned home several times intoxicated. Being in
    a very unhappy frame of mind in her father's house, she
    resorted to morphine to induce sleep, and, unaccustomed
    to its effects, swallowed an over dose. The mistake was
    discovered when too late to save her. It is said that
    Edward's remorse is fearful, and he has solemly sworn never
    to taste another drop of intoxicating drink. His home is
    now with Dr. Goodrich and his sister, who have commenced
    house-keeping in a nice little cottage."

Extract from Little Wolf's reply.

    "Many thanks to Tom for his share of the letter. I hope he
    will frequently repeat his visits to Chimney Rock, and
    acquaint me with the results. It will discipline him for the
    work I shall assign him in my orphan asylum, and moreover I
    feel concerned about the pain in Daddy's big toe.

    "All jesting aside, so many unforseen events have crowded
    into the months of my absense that I feel prepared for almost
    any change. It is well that I know that you will be a mother
    to Fanny in the event of any change in Daddy's family.
    According to Tom's account, he is to be her husband. I will
    draw a picture of their courtship for him.

    "A slender, fair haired girl and a gallant youth seated--let
    me think--_three feet apart_ in the grape arbor at the old
    brown house. Their eyes meet and speak a language quite
    familiar to gallant youths and fair haired girls in general,
    and to those two in particular. How prettily the white throat
    of the beautiful blonde swells, and how the frill of lace
    around it trembles, as if fanned by the passing breeze.

    "They do not see the white haired old man who is silently
    gathering grapes without the arbor, occasionally peering
    cautiously through the vines and lattice work at them.

    "He is a loquacious old fellow, (that Daddy) and he will
    doubtless complete the picture for us by and by.

    "Mr. Marsden's fever has left him broken in health and
    spirits. His lungs have never been strong, having been
    subject to occasional hemorrhages. He complains of constant
    pain in his chest, and I fear it will be a long time before
    he recovers. His physician thinks it will not be safe for him
    to return home this fall, and we shall probably spend the
    winter in this mild climate.

    "We have formed quite a pleasant circle of acquaintances,
    and our evenings are musical, conversational or _gamical_, as
    best suits the invalid, who lies upon the sofa and dictates
    the programme. Last evening we did nothing but talk. An
    editor of one of our city journals was present, having just
    returned from an extensive tour through the wine growing
    districts of the State. He says that wine making is fraught
    with dire evils to the producer and to the country. That it
    has become almost as cheap as milk, and as freely drank, till
    many once sober men are now habitually intoxicated. He was
    told that in one neighborhood, young girls seventeen years of
    age, reeled in the streets under the intoxication of pure
    California wine. Men whom he once knew to be of worth he
    found lost to society, and becoming a fear and disgrace to
    their families. One leading man whom he met, enumerated five
    of his acquaintances, who, once noble men, are now to be
    called drunkards through wine. He thinks that the production
    of the article, now fearfully on the increase, must become a
    curse to the whole land if persevered in.

    "In going through the wine growing regions he found it
    expected, as an act of politeness, that wine must everywhere
    be presented and drank, and if he consented at all to drink,
    he would be compelled to drink many times a day, and would
    become a wine toper with others. He declared that touch not,
    taste not, handle not the accursed thing, was the only rule
    of safety.

    "He said if each grape grower would grow only the raisin
    grape for sale, there would be no end to the profitable
    disposal of all which he could ever produce without sin or
    danger to any one.

    "I remarked that European travellers told us that very few
    drank to intoxication in those places where wine was made
    from the pure juice of the grape, and it was generally
    supposed that the manufacture of pure domestic wine in this
    country would do away almost entirety with intemperance.

    "In answer, he read us a letter which he had just received
    from his friend, a well known resident of this city now in
    France. It contained a flat contradiction of the statements
    to which I had alluded, and drew a dark picture of the
    intemperance in the wine producing districts of France and
    Germany. In fact, it was a radical plea--as Daddy would
    say--'agin the hull infarnel stuff.'"



CHAPTER XXXVII.

    ANOTHER DEATH IN THE OLD BROWN HOUSE.


It was late in the month of December when Little Wolf received from
Mrs. Tinknor the following sad account of the Death Angel's visit to
the old brown house:

    "My dear child:

    What I am about to write will give you great pain, for I know
    how dearly you loved poor old Daddy, and how it will grieve
    you to hear that you will never see him again in this world.
    He died on the morning of the fifteenth, after a short
    illness of ten days.

    "Tom had been down on a visit and returned saying that Daddy
    was complaining of rheumatic pains, and he was much worse the
    day he left, and his wife was much concerned about him. As
    Tom urged it, I went down hoping to cheer up the old couple.

    "When I arrived I found Daddy confined to his bed, and
    groaning with pain, while his wife and Fanny and several of
    the neighbors, were flying about, applying hot fomentations,
    and a variety of liniments. (It is astonishing how many busy
    feet one sick man can keep in motion.)

    "I immediately sent for Dr. Goodrich, although Daddy's wife
    mentioned to me in confidence, that a 'parcel of old women
    were worth a dozen doctors who killed more than they cured;
    and Daddy himself managed to gasp out, ''Tween you an' me,
    Miss Tinknor a leetle good nussin is the most I need. Doctors
    can't cure rheumatiz.'

    "However, he looked forward very anxiously to the Doctor's
    arrival. When he did come and prescribed the free use of
    brandy, all of Daddy's prejudices were at once aroused, and
    no persuasions could induce him to use 'the devil's pison
    outside or in.'

    "I believe had he been stretched upon the rack he would have
    died rather than yield the point; for to the last, he adhered
    firmly to his total abstinence principles, and at the
    eleventh hour he entered his master's vineyard.

    "It was beautiful indeed to witness the ministrations of
    little Fanny. From the first of his illness she wept over and
    prayed for him, and taught him, who had gone all his life
    long a hungry prodigal, the way to his Father's house. I
    never shall forget those lessons, which so sweetly fell from
    her childish lips and the joy that beamed in her speaking
    face, when Daddy at length appeared to have a clear
    understanding of her teachings.

    "''Tween you and me, Fanny, you've pinted straight this
    time,' said he one day, after having listened a while to her
    conversation. 'It's all plain now--I see my Father, I see my
    elder brother, the Lord Jusus interceding for me--I see the
    table spread, and I ain't had no hand in the spreadin of it.
    He'll hev to reach down and take me jest as I am, and he'll
    du it--I'm sartin of it, cause Fanny, you know it is said
    _whosoever_. That are _whosoever_ is the _comprehendest_ word
    in the hull Bible. Miss Peters pinted it out to the Honey,
    and the Honey told me about it jest afore I started fur
    Recta, and some how it went into one ear and out 'tother.
    Howsoever, I could see the Honey was a heap changed by it,
    though it don't take away nun of her pretty.--She was more
    tenderer like, and when she spoke tu me about it, the tears
    cum into her bright eyes, jest like the pearls sot around the
    diamonds in her ring. I'm kinder thinkin we shall talk that
    are matter over when she comes back.'

    "Up to the last day he was hopeful of getting well, and none
    of us felt specially concerned about him. The doctor came
    and went with words of cheer, and I was making preparations
    to go home, when the unexpected summons came. His pain seemed
    suddenly to change to the region of his heart, and I heard
    him say to Fanny, ''Tween you an me, Fanny, the pain is in my
    heart. I believe I'm called fur, and I ain't done no good in
    the world yet. My temperance lectur didn't amount to nothin.
    I'm glad I never delivered it, fur it ain't got none of
    Jesus's love in it, and men du need the Almighty's lovin hand
    in that are thing. Fur it's the devil's pison and mighty hard
    to fight agin. Wouldn't the Honey be glad though, if she knew
    what a fine man that are Sherman is since he give up drinkin.
    Tell her that poor old Daddy blessed her with his dyin
    breath. Call Recta, Fanny.'

    "I sprang to his bedside, and in a moment Recta was there
    also. The dying man took my hand and thanked me for all my
    attentions to him, and then his eyes rested tenderly upon his
    wife. He tried to speak, but a spasm of pain checked him, and
    Recta bent low to catch the words. He pointed upwards, threw
    his arms around her neck, and was gone.

    "We buried him at the left of your parents beside mammy, and
    when I left a mantle of soft, white snow was flung over all.

    "I brought Fanny home with me, and Recta is living with Dr.
    Goodrich's family. Having previously been so many years their
    servant, she is much attached to the doctor's wife and Edward
    Sherman.

    "Edward Sherman was very attentive to Daddy during his
    illness, frequently riding down with the doctor and remaining
    until his next morning's visit. There is certainly a striking
    change in his appearance. I honor him for the
    straight-forward, high-minded course he has of late taken.
    Having learned his weakness before it was too late, it has
    become to him an element of strength, and his influence over
    his associates speaks well for his future usefulness.

    "We all long to see you again, Fanny in particular wishes for
    your return every day, although she seems quite content with
    us, and is a great favorite with Tom, who amuses himself by
    plying her with difficult questions, which she patiently
    puzzles her ingenious little brain to answer.

    P.S. I obtained permission of Recta to send you Daddy's
    temperance lecture, with the request that you carefully
    preserve and return it to her."



CHAPTER XXXVIII.

    DADDY'S TEMPERANCE LECTURE.


Having slightly modified the spelling in Daddy's lecture, in order to
make it the more easily read, and at the same time to render it in his
own diction, we now place it, with the preliminary arrangments, "fur
tu be read silent," before the reader.

"Fust, haul out my specks.

Second, haul out my yeller silk hankercher.

Third, wipe them air specks.

Fourth, put them air specks on my nose.

Fifth, put that air yeller silk handkercher in my pocket.

Sixth, clar my throat.

Seventh, go at it loud.

I don't expect fur to say nothin new on the subject of temperance, but
it wont du fur tu say nothin cause you can't get up no new ideas. Now
supposen a neat housekeeper shouldn't hev nothin fur to say, tu a
parcel of careless heedless boys and gals, cause she must say the same
old thing over every day. Hezekiah clean yer feet. Matilda, hang up
yer shawl. Susan Maria put away yer gloves, what kind of a house du ye
think that air would be, all topsy turvey and kivered with dirt? If
them air children don't mind at fust, she keeps up that air kind of
talk from one year's end tu 'tother, and ginerally speaking they grow
up tu be orderly men and women.

Just so we've got to hammer and ding away at the temperance cause from
generation to generation, if we want our children tu be nice
temperate men. Never mind gitten up no new ideas: tech not, taste not,
handle not, is good enough for any age. Then agin, ken ye expect yer
boys fur tu be tidy when yer own feet are dirty and yer things out of
place over the hull house? Them are little shavers think it's big tu
du what daddy does and they are pretty nigh sartin fur to drink that
air nasty lager beer if daddy does. Hev a mat at yer door and keep yer
own feet clean, and hev Hezekiah and Matilda and Susan Maria put
theirn there, tu. That's the way fur tu du.

Some say, a little wine won't hurt a pussen; some say, lager beer
won't hurt a pussen; some say, cider won't hurt nobody: but I say, the
infarnel stuff which makes men drunk, no matter what name it goes by,
is the stuff fur to let alone. It's the infarnel stuff, that makes
holes in yer wallets and holes in yer breeches, and holes in yer
winders, and holes in yer wife's heart, and kivers yer children all
over with holes; and last of all opens a big hole in the ground fur
ye tu slide through inter the infarnel regions.

I hev had it thrown inter my face that Jesus Christ hisself, made wine
out of water, fur weddins, and the govenor of the feast said it was
the best they hed hed. I ain't no doubt of it nuther, jest fur two
reasons, fust, it was made of water, second, Jesus Christ hisself made
it, and ye may bet all yer new clothes, _He_ wouldn't hev done nothin
to hurt nobody, I wouldn't have been afeared myself, fur tu drink wine
made of water, by Jesus Christ. I reckon we don't get no such now
days. Like enough, one reason for his makin it was fur tu hender 'em
from gittin any more of the miserable intoxicating stuff. One thing is
sartin, if he was God, he wouldn't dispute hisself, and the Bible
expressly says, 'Look not upon the wine--fur in the end it biteth like
a sarpent and stingeth like an adder.'

I don't profess fur tu know much about scriptur, but a nice leetle gal
pinted that air varse out to me, and she pinted out another which
said, 'No drunkard ken enter the kingdom of heaven.' Howsoever, I
ain't no preacher, and like enough tham air black coats hev got up
some big idee that clars up the hull subject. My religion is tu do the
best we kin, and we needn't be shaky about the futur. I've been a
advocating that air doctrine this sixty years and folks ginerally
sarve me as two leetle boys did not long ago. They was a making a puny
leetle dog draw a heavy loaded sled, and I said to them are leetle
shavers, 'you'd better turn in and push the sled and help that air
tired weakly dog of yourn;' and when I looked back a few minutes
after, them air leetle rascals was both riding on top of the load, and
had their fingers at their noses a pintin at me.

What people want is fur to have their hearts teched deep, and I don't
know how fur tu du it. I could tell stories about what liquor has
done, that orter set every one of ye a snivellin powerful, but I
reckon you'd ruther hear something funny. Temperance lecturers is
generally expected fur tu tell funny stories jest as a farmer is
expected fur tu feed out his husks tu them air animals that loves fur
tu chaw husks. The grain goes futher when he fodders in that air way.

But I don't know nothin funny connected with the subject of drinking.
It is all kivered over with groans and sighs and tears and blood, and
ye'd shudder fur tu hear about it, and yer feelins may be would get tu
tossin and bilin like mad, but yer wouldn't _du_ nothin. My be in a
few minutes you'd treat me as them air boys did, and take a glass of
beer with yer neighbors, cause all that biling and tossin is on the
surface. It don't go deep enough fur tu make ye act.

T'other night a neighbor of mine was a walkin hum with me and we went
past the house of an old Scothman, who gits drunk every time he ken
git trusted, or treated or ken git change enough fur tu buy the
whiskey, and his wife ain't no better than he is. They hev two nice
leetle children, a boy and a gal, and them air unfeeling wretches,
hed, in a fit of drunken madness, actually shet their leetle boy and
gal out of doors that cold freezing night. The poor babies was half
naked, and they had curled powerful close together on the door step,
where the winds blowed around and gnawed away at their half froze
bodies, until the stout hearted boy cried with pain as he tuck off his
Scotch bonnet and put his sister's poor, little, red, frostbit feet
inter it. His own feet was bare, and their heads was bare, and in a
little while they might hev froze to death, hed we not passed that air
way. Wall, we stopped and tried fur tu make them air critters inside
open the door, but they hed locked up, and settled down inter a
drunken sleep, and the children begged us not fur tu disturb 'em for
them are children was afeared of being mauled tu death. They'd ruther
freeze than ventur in. So one of 'em I tuck and my neighbor tuck
t'other hum. He was a swearing away all the time at them air folks
making such beasts of themselves.

Now, what du yer think he did hisself the next day? He got so tight he
couldn't walk straight. I met him a going hum smellin like a whiskey
barrel and raising his feet powerful high. Says I, 'Neighbor G., I
wouldn't hev thought you would ever hev teched another mite of liquor
after what we see last night.' Says he, 'Mr. Roarer, I ken control my
appetite. I know jest when fur tu stop. I shall go hum and kiss my
wife and children and not drive 'em out of doors as Scotch Billy did.'

Says I, 'Thats just the way Scotch Billy talked five years ago.'
'Wall, wall,' says he, 'I ain't one of yer Scotch Billys; I know when
fur tu stop.'

But ye won't du it; ye'll cave under by and by. Them air kind that
brag that they know jest when fur tu stop is generally the very ones
that go under afore they know it, I thinked tu myself as he staggered
off.

If there is an old toper present, or a young toper, let 'em take the
warning of an old man who has been awatching the gradual down fall of
moderate drinkers for threescore years. I've seen 'em live, and I've
seen 'em die. _Die_ ain't no name fur the last struggle I've seen 'em
go through with. Jest picture tu yourself a grapery, stretchin miles
away, and in that air grapery is walkin men of every age and
condition, and all are a pluckin them are big purple grapes. Some eat
many, some, few; some grow red and portly, some grow pale and thin,
(them air pale ones take the longest strides and get to the end fust.)
They hev all been warned that that air fruit hes been pisened, and
some of them git a leetle frightened at seein the strange way it
effects companions, and they turn back, but the most on 'em go on,
plucking and eating, heedless of the cries of them without. O, they
know jest how many fur tu eat and not die. Their friends needn't
worry: they ken take care of theirselves.

'Mother,' says a youth, lookin through the lattices, with a glow upon
his cheek, 'I'm all right, don't bother about me. See Mr. Moderate
Drinker ahead there,--see how hale he looks--he'll live longer than
any of ye outside.' But afore long that air smart youth goes reeling
past Mr. Moderate Drinker, toward the end.--It is too late now--let
his mother cry to heaven and wring her hands and lie in the ashes upon
the hearth. It is all in vain.--'My boy, oh, my boy!' rings unheeded
in his ear. A mother's voice, a mother's tears, a mother's anguish,
what are they compared with the fruit, which he has lost the power to
resist, and which his companions are constantly urging upon him? But
look! He suddenly starts back pale and fearful. He has seen the
precipice and the black gulfs with open jaws jest afore him? No, ah
no, the heavy clusters and the interlaced vines hide that. But he
heard the despairing shriek of a feller traveller as he plunged in;
and for a moment he tremblingly questions, what is there?

Ah, there is no clusters, no leaves, no vines, between that spot and
his devoted mother's eye. She has long looked fearfully towards it,
and, just upon the verge, she sees him falter.

A faint hope springs up within her, and, with the courage of
desperation, she cries out in a voice that might pierce the skies,
'Turn, oh, my boy, turn, flee fur yer life--one step forward and ye
are lost!' Her last words are drowned in the jeers of his companions,
and his senses are deadened by the odors of the purple cluster just
ahead, and to reach it he takes the fatal step. Fur a moment he hangs
suspended over the abyss, clutchin the vines whose roots take hold on
hell, and as with bloodshot eyes and fearful shrieks, he tugs and
strains to regain his footin, a foul sarpent winds its way among the
leaves, and stealthily strikes his fangs inter the branch to which he
clings, and gnaws his last refuge.

That air is the way they die.

Now, can't nothin be done fur to keep folks out of that air grapery?
If the law would only put a door tu it, and shet it tight, I recken
there wouldn't be many that would git in thar. Some old topers that
hev got a strong hankerin after that pisen fruit, might crawl through
the lattices to get it. When the place is wide open and everything
looks temptin, and they see a crowd a going that air way, it is easy
fur tu foller, but when it's all shet up they turn away tu somethin
better, fur almost any thin is better than sech a place as I hev
described.

I know that a passel of big lawyers and judges say that we can't make
a effectual door cause there ain't no timber in the constitution fur
tu make it of and so some is fur putting up a rickety kind of a
barricade fur tu keep folks on Sundays and lection days, and some is
fur hevin a gate that them air sarpents inside will hev fur tu pay a
big pile of money fur tu get the privilege of openin. But I don't see
why on airth, if they ken git timber fur them air half way consarns,
they can't git it fur a hull door. If they can't, they hed better
graft, some law agin liquor sellin branches inter that air
constitutional tree, and hev them air infarnel roads to the infarnel
regions blocked up entirely.

Howsoever, while its open a single crack we must du the best we ken
fur tu keep the people out of the wrong track. Them air temperance
societies, and temperance pledges is mighty good, but there ain't
enough of 'em and they ain't active enough. Now, a nice, smart,
rosy-cheeked gal instead of passin round wine tu her little party of
friends, might pass a temperance pledge, and coax them air beaux of
hern inter puttin their names tu it, and give 'em a nice cup of coffee
fur tu top off with. There might be lots of them air kind of things
did, if folks only set themselves to work in earnest. Instead of
telling yer friends that it won't hurt'em, as I've heerd of some
infatuated pussons doin, tell 'em total abstinence won't hurt 'em, and
I'll ventur fur tu say they'll thank ye fur it, instead of cussin of
ye tu all eternity fur puttin the glass to their lips. That air
reminds me of another scriptur that that air little gal pinted out to
me, 'Woe tu him that putteth the glass to his neighbor's lips.' That
air is all the scriptur I ken quote correct 'tween Genesis and
Revelation. I larned it fur tu throw in the face of one of them black
coats, that hes invited me fur tu tend his church. Sez I tu him, 'If
ye'll preach from that air text I'll go.' Sez he, 'I preach the
gospel. I can't be givin my valooble time to politics and temperance
lecturs, but I'll read that air chapter to my congregation if ye'll
come.' Sez I, 'no-siree! I don't believe in no half way business.' Ye
see I had an inkling that he was afeered of that air rich hullsale
liquor dealer that tended his church. Them that retail the stuff is
generally looked down upon, but them air that is rich enough to shovel
it out by the hullsale is looked up tu on the principle, turn yer back
tu a poor devil, take off yer hat to a rich devil.

I never could think of anythin bad enough fur tu say about the
mischief them air liquor dealers du, and rather guess on that account
I'll hev fur tu leave 'em to the cuss which God Almighty hisself has
passed upon 'em. I hev no doubt but that air cuss has been echoed and
rechoed by millions upon millions of their victims. I would hate to
have all the cusses of the widows and orphans, and the wus than widows
and orphans that them air ginerations of vipers hev made, and bit.

But there is another pint which consarns every one of us. Hev we a
right to stand by silent and see these things did?

That air is a big question that some folks would like fur to dodge,
cause maybe if they took a active part agin drunkard makin, it might
interfere with their dollars, or with their friends or with their
interests in other ways. But ye can't dodge the question; its afore
ye, and there it shall stand until Gabriel blows his big horn, and
you'll hev fur tu answer it, tu the Almighty, hisself.

Don't the Bible say that every tub shall stand on its own bottom? I've
heerd it did, and I'm a thinkin that all of them air useless tubs that
stand out a sunning theirselves, will fall down and not hev any bottom
fur tu stand on when they are fur, and will only be fit fur firewood.
Fur my part I don't blame God Almighty fur pitchin folks inter the
infarnel regions when they won't du nothin fur tu keep things right in
this ere world, and some actually hender others from doing anything.

Now, supposen there was a big hole in the end of our street and a
passel of citizens should du all they could to keep that air hole open
fur people to fall inter, and you'd hear 'em hollerin out tu folks
that was a tryin to stop it up; 'Let that air hole alone, everybody
knows its there, if they don't want fur tu git inter it let em go
another way; there is plenty of streets;' wouldn't yer think them air
rascals ought to be singed to all etarnity? Well, what's the mighty
difference 'tween them air, and a passel of citizens that'll set by
and see their feller citizens go straight inter that air hole and say
nothin? I believe in men's minding their own business, and I hold its
a man's business to save a drownding feller critter if he ken.

I hev now come to my last pint. It is this. Shall we hev laws that
will save our nation from becoming a nation of drunkards, or shall we
not? Just picture to yourself a drunken president. We hev hed him.
Then picture a passel of drunken senators. We hev hed them, tu. Seems
zif the more big men ken circulate the devil's pisen, the better they
like it, and that air in my opinion is one reason why we can't get
laws tu shet down the making and selling of the infarnel stuff. Why,
keep that air kind of men in office, and figuratively speakin, the
fust we know, a pair of the president's breeches will be stuffed inter
a broken winder of that air White House. Fur if we keep a sendin men
tu Washington, that is friendly tu that air sarpent with many heads,
it will git so big that it will sartin bust every thing to flinters.
It's leetle young ones are a crawlin everywhere now. They lay coiled
on the hearth of the rich man and the poor man, and woe to the
infatuated pussen who gits inter their slimy folds. O, what wretched
slaves they do make of their victims. What tears, what anguish, what
poverty, what degradation du they bring them tu!

Shall we, the free born sons of America, consent fur tu be made
slaves, and lay among the pots? Shall we walk in rags and stagger in
fetters with the blood of the innercent on our hands? I say, shall
this big proud nation be made fur tu totter and tu reel like a
helpless baby a learnin fur tu walk? Shall that air many headed
sarpent rule us, or shall we rule it?

Haul out yer temperance pledges! Float the banner of total abstinence!
Wave high the flag of freedom; and fight long and fight well fur
freedom; from the intoxicatin cup!"



CHAPTER XXXIX.

    DEATH IN MID OCEAN--LOVE MAKING AND A DOUBLE WEDDING.


"The birds are mating, and the spring will soon open, and when the
little songsters come to you, I am coming with them," wrote Little
Wolf to Mrs. Tinknor in the month of February.

So now, dear reader, let us skip the intervening months, and go half
way to meet her. Her friends having planned to carry out their promise
to Captain Green, whose acquaintance and that of his little daughter
Flora, it will be remembered, she formed on her outward trip; all we
have to do is to take passage on the steamship "Northern Star,"
Captain Green, commander, and we will soon have the pleasure of
greeting our heroine.

Little Flora, who has once more been permitted to accompany her papa,
is all impatience, and almost every hour of the day she may be heard
singing, "O dear, I am so wery, wery, anxious to see dear Miss
DeWolf," and "papa, ain't you wery, wery, anxious to see Miss DeWolf?"

The Captain assures his daughter that he is "wery anxious," and,
indeed, when he says so, his dark eyes kindle, and his fine, sunburnt
countenance glows and warms expressively under his broad brimmed hat.

The day has come at last, and Little Wolf's party are aboard, but oh,
how changed are they all!

Consumption has fastened itself upon poor Alfred Marsden. His days are
numbered, and for earth he seems to have but one desire, to see again
his childhood home, and die there. His faithful nurses, Annie and
Little Wolf, have grown pale and thin, His sister's eyes are tear
stained, and Little Wolf's also grief shaded, for together they have
watched over and tended him, striving to drive away that unseen
something, which makes his cheeks and lips so white, and takes fast
hold upon his vitals, determined to wrench him away from those he
loves.

It will not even grant his last wish; for here, in mid ocean, he
grapples with death. All day long those fair young faces have bent
over him, and his friend, the Captain, has been there with them, and
little Flora has hovered near with trembling lips, whispering softly,
"I am so wery, wery, sorry."

As the evening draws on, the sick man revives a little, and in a low,
rapid tone, says something to his sister, which we do not hear, but
with a few hurried words to Little Wolf, she moves away with the
Captain and Flora, and Little Wolf is left alone with the dying. All
that he is breathing into her ear we shall never know; but her cheek
changes, and her lip quivers, and she bends over and kisses him
tenderly.

That hungry look in his eyes is gone. He is satisfied, and now,
surrounded by those he loves, he dies with a smile upon his lips.

His body will not rest in the place prepared for him in Greenwood,
beside his parents, but will sink into the ocean's Greenwood, where
the sea shall ever kiss his lips, where flowers bloom, and things of
beauty are perpetual, and coral monuments are raised, out-rivalling
those of the cemeteries of art.

The fair moon shines out upon the waves and the winding sheet, and the
burial is over.

Three days more, and we shall be on shore again," says Little Wolf,
half regretfully.

The Captain is by her side, and he bends over and says something which
we do not hear.

Little Wolf shakes her head, and her ingenuous little face says no, as
plainly as words could.

A shade of disappointment manifests itself in the Captain's manner,
and again he speaks.

His companion still replies in the negative.

"Then he was but a deer friend, and I may be the same," says the
Captain, now loud enough to be heard.

Now Little Wolf says distinctly, "yes, you may be the same, Captain
Green. You rescued me in perils by sea, and he in perils by land. He
told me with his latest breath how he had saved me from certain
destruction when I was a little child, and--"

"And how he loved you in after years, and how he longed to kiss you,"
said the Captain, seeing her hesitate.

"Yes, Captain," said Little Wolf solemnly, he told me that, and more
which you must not hear."

"I know how he felt," says the Captain, folding his arms across his
breast, "for I would be willing to die, if you would but kiss me."

"Captain," Little Wolf's cheek grows scarlet, and she pauses to choke
down a strong emotion, "there is a man _living_ whom I have kissed,
and I shall never kiss another."

The Captain's voice sinks very low in reply, but Little Wolf warmly
takes his proffered hand, and it is easily to be seen that more than a
common friendship has sprung up between them.

Now the Captain, Little Wolf, Miss Marsden, and little Flora, have
become almost inseparable. A permanent parting is not once spoken of
between them. Their last day at sea is spent in planning to be
together for the summer.

It has transpired that Little Wolf's protege, Fanny Green, is a niece
of the Captain's. His elder brother, Fanny's father, having formed bad
habits, ran away from home, and it was supposed, went to sea, and had
not been heard of by his family up to the time of the Captain's
acquaintance with Little Wolf.

In the course of a few weeks, the Captain and Flora, are to accompany
Little Wolf and Miss Marsden to Minnesota, where they expect to greet
their newly discovered little relative.

A few weeks later, and everything was in company order at Squire
Tinknor's, and Fanny Green's demure little face looked out of the
window, almost the entire day that Little Wolf and her friends were to
arrive, and when, just at twilight, a carriage brought them to the
gate, she shrank away in the folds of the curtain, and Little Wolf
found her there sobbing for joy.

Her cousin Flora greeted her with the remark, "Why, dear me, how wery,
wery large you are, cousin Fanny; I thought you would be smaller than
me."

Little Wolf found letters awaiting her from the Hanfords, and
Antoinette Le Clare, urging her to come with her friends and spend a
few weeks at Fairy Knoll.

It was decided that they should accept the invitation, and
accordingly, on a warm summer morning, a requisition was made on
Squire Tinknor's horses and carriage, and Tom was installed as
driver.

Fanny and Flora were to be left with Mrs. Tinknor, and, as Tom
tenderly kissed the former, his charge to her was, "Take care of
yourself, Fanny dear, for you know you have promised to be my little
wife," and Flora said that was "wery, wery nice."

The Captain occupied a seat beside Miss Marsden, and Little Wolf sat
by Tom, whom, having ceased to be a lover, she found to be quite
entertaining, and they amused themselves by building air castles and
earth castles, such as baloons and orphan asylums; and indeed, by the
time Fairy Knoll loomed up before them in the moonlight, they had
become warmer friends than they had ever been.

As they neared the cottage, Little Wolf could not repress a sigh, for
too well did she remember her emotions on that wintry morning, when
she and Edward Sherman left that spot together, so light of heart, so
full of hope and joy.

Out sprang the watchers from within, to welcome their guests, and into
the arms of Edward Sherman sprang Little Wolf. She had instantly
recognized him, and a glad cry escaped her, as he caught her to his
breast.

The Captain saw all at a glance, and he then knew whom Little Wolf had
kissed, and who was kissing her. Light also seemed to have suddenly
dawned on Tom's benighted vision.

Without ceremony or apology, Edward bore our heroine away to a retired
spot in the grove surrounding the cottage. Their interview was not
interrupted, until Tom, in the course of half an hour had the temerity
to venture out, and suggest the propriety of Little Wolf's partaking
of a cup of tea.

"Did we not manage it nicely?" said Antoinette Le Clare to Little Wolf
when they were alone. "Mr. Sherman came out for a little recreation,
and did not think of seeing you. We made him think that it was his
sister we were expecting, and when he rushed to meet her and saw who
it was you ought to have seen his face."

On the subject of lovemaking, which was witnessed by the trees in the
grove at Fairy Knoll, we will be silent. But the double wedding which
followed was public and grand, and took place at St. Paul, under Mrs.
Tinknor's supervision.

Miss Marsden returned to New York as Mrs. Captain Green, and little
Flora declared herself "wery, wery fond of her new mama."

Mr. and Mrs. Sherman accompanied them as far as the city of Pendleton,
where Edward proposes to make his future home.

At parting Tom wickedly mentioned to Little Wolf that he was concerned
for the prosperity of that much talked of orphan asylum. Whereupon the
dignified Mrs. Sherman assured him that having proved himself so
capable of preparing an asylum for the orphan in which they were
mutually interested, she thought him better adapted to carry out her
benevolent projects than she was, and consequently would leave the
matter in his hands for the present.

Not long after their marriage Edward Sherman discovered in his wife's
secretary a total abstinence pledge, to which was appended a long
list of names. It was the same which Mr. Marsden had drawn up on
shipboard, and "Alfred Marsden," headed the list.

Edward took it from its place, and he was in the act of signing his
own name at the bottom, when a bright curly head came between him and
the paper, and rosy lips whispered, "Thank you, Edward love, for this
free will offering."



                               THE END.


TRANSCRIBER'S NOTE:

Spelling and punctuation left as found in the original text.





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