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-gabled, mossy-roofed, and quaintly built, but picturesque and pleasant to the eye; for a brook ran babbling through the orchard that encompassed it about, a garden-plat stretched upward to the whispering birches on the slope, and patriarchal elms stood sentinel upon the lawn, as they had stood almost a century ago, when the Revoiution rolled that way and found them young. One summer morning, when the air was full of country sounds, of mowers in the meadow, blackbirds by the brook, and the low of kine upon the hill-side, the old house wore its cheeriest aspect, and a certain humble history began. "Nan!" "Yes, Di." And a head, brown-locked, blue-eyed, softfeatured, looked in at the open door in answer to the call. Just bring me the third volume of 'Wilhelm Meister,' there's a dear. It's hardly worth while to rouse such a restless ghost as I, when I'm once fairly laid." As she spoke, Di PUlled up her black braids, thumped the pillow of the couch where she was lying, and with eager eyes went down the last page of her book.
"Nan!" "Yes, Laura," replied the girl, coming back with the third volume for the literay cormorant, who took it with a nod, still too content upon the "Confessions of a Fair Saint" to remember the failings of a certain plain sinner. "Don't forget the Italian cream for dinner. I depend upon it; for it's the only thing fit for me this hot weather." And Laura, the cool blonde, disposed the folds of her white gown more gracefully about her, and touched up the eyebrow of the Minerva she was drawing. "Little daughter!" "Yes, father." "Let me have plenty of clean collars in my bag, for I must go at once; and some of you bring me a glass of cider in about an hour;--I shall be in the lower garden." The old man went away into his imaginary paradise, and Nan into that domestic purgatory on a summer day, -- the kitchen. There were vines about the windows, sunshine on the floor, and order everywhere; but it was haunted by a cooking-stove, that family altar whence such varied incense rises to appease the appetite of household gods, before which such dire incantations are pronounced to ease the wrath and woe of the priestess of the fire, and about which often linger saddest memories of wasted temper, time, and toil.
Nan was tired, having risen with the birds,-hurried, having many cares those happy little housewives never know,--and disappointed in a hope that hourly " dwindled, peaked, and pined." She was too young to make the anxious lines upon her forehead seem at home there, too patient to be burdened with the labor others should have shared, too light of heart to be pent up when earth and sky were keeping a blithe holiday. But she was one of that meek sisterhood who, thinking humbly of themselves, believe they are honored by being spent in the service of less conscientious souls, whose careless thanks seem quite reward enough. To and fro she went, silent and diligent, giving the grace of willingness to every humble or distasteful task the day had brought her; but some malignant sprite seemed to have taken possession of her kingdom, for rebellion broke out everywhere. The kettles would boil over most obstreperously,-the mutton refused to cook with the meek alacrity to be expected from the nature of a sheep,--the stove, with unnecessary warmth of temper, would glow like a fiery furnace,--the irons would scorch,--the linens would dry,--and spirits would fail, though patience never. Nan tugged on, growing hotter and wearier, more hurried and more hopeless, till at last the crisis came; for in one fell moment she tore her gown, burnt her hand, and smutched the collar she was preparing to finish in the most unexceptionable style. Then, if she had been a nervous
seemed to soothe all unpropitious powers with a . But. "I only obeyed orders. So I took the basket of consolation." As he spoke. and came to fold my feet upon the carpet of contentment in the tent of friendship. Nan. and the old butternut sent pleasant shadows dancing to and fro. and bewaileth herself because of much tribulation. John gave his own gift in his mother's name. most welcome sight she had beheld that day. the girl thought this plain young man the comeliest. she only "lifted up her voice and wept. where morning-glories nodded at him. and sent me as a sort of life-preserver. plucketh berries to comfort her withal. looking up like a grateful child. as she led him in. she watereth her linen with salt tears. she would have scolded. His advent. and bestowed himself in the wide window-seat. the house-friend. kind lips." "Behold. "How good of you. lo! Help cometh from afar: a strong man bringeth lettuce wherewith to stay her. with her hope fulfilled. for a certain dear old lady had a motherly presentiment that you had got into a domestic whirlpool. being a gentle girl. and as she saw his honest eyes. and helpful hands. to come through all this heat. like that of Orpheus in hades." The voice came from the porch. and clasheth cymbals that she may dance for joy.woman. Nan looked up to greet John Lord. who stood there with a basket on his arm. and. and not to laugh at my despair!" she said.
you needn't do that. for such is the destructiveness of my nature. extracting a dish from the closet. and was seized with a great desire to lighten the homely tasks that tried her strength of body and soul.sudden spell. John. the clothes began to behave. John watched the change. break something valuable. to sit upon that hand!" sighed John. or sit upon something crushable. and. See. the spirits began to rise. the kettles began to lull. the meat began to cook. you'd better leave me alone. that. then. and preparing them . "Oh. made the pudding and done these things. abased himself to take compassion on the weaker vessel. I shall have time when I've turned the meat. relative to 'Satan' and idle hands. Watts. and the collar was finished off with most triumphant success. "Oh that I were a collar.' but will merely say. as a matter of public safety. I might answer it with a gem from Dr. "As to the berry question. though a lord of creation. proceeded to imbue his hands in the strawberries' blood. The Fire began to slacken.--adding. isn't that nice?" As she spoke. the irons began to cool. He took a comprehensive glance about the room. Nan offered the polished absurdity for inspection with innocent pride. that I shall certainly eat something hurtful. unless you let me concentrate my energies by knocking on these young fellows' hats. argumentatively. I'm getting on finely now:--you're a judge of such matters.
to memory clear'. and won't be back till Monday. if I had to stay here long. and will make herself one great blot some of these days. for I was just thinking. "Where's Sally?" asked John. and went cheerfully on with her work. looking vainly for the functionary who usually pervaded that region like a domestic police-woman. as I did her things. she's a talented dear. and to write things that make me cry with pride and delight. or comes to grief in some way. it was a pleasure to hear her. "Where's Di?" asked John. about once a month. and men. But I don't blame poor Sally for wanting to get away from this place now and then. but. and been so ungrateful for the blessings of her lot." Looking at the matter in a charitable light.for their doom. "She is in Germany with 'Wilhelm Meister'." And Nan laughed so blithely. There seems to be a great fatality among her relations. though 'lost to sight. a terror to cats. when the 'divine afflatus' . seized with a most unmasculine curiosity all at once. Nan consented. though she hardly knows a needle from a crowbar. wondering how she could have thought ironing an infliction. for one dies. Yes. I think I could find it in my heart to murder an imaginary friend or two. how clever she is to like all kinds of books that I don't understand at all. dogs. "She has gone to her cousin's funeral.
bless the dear man! I forgot it was time for the cider." And Nan rubbed away with sisterly zeal at Di's forlorn hose and inky pocket-handkerchiefs. and I've peeped two or three times to see how she gets on." And Nan bestirred herself to prepare the dish Wherewith her picturesque sister desired to prolong her artistic existence. "Where is your father?" John asked again. and the lane is so cool. and then poking a few seeds into the middle of each. deep in some plan about melons. Why.-"I couldn't possibly go. and answered with a sudden assumption of immense industry. Nan. sitting before her easel." John glanced from the steamy kitchen to the shadowy path. John? He'd love to consult you. the beginning of which seems to consist in stamping the first proposition in Euclid all over the bed. I'm afraid. Wouldn't you like to take it to him.--I've so much . and she looks so picturesque in her pretty gown. "Where is Laura?" proceeded the inquisitor. for she is copying some fine thing of Raphael's or Michael Angelo's. that it's really a sight to behold. or some great creatures or other. checking off each answer with a nod and a little frown. I might say that she was in Italy. "He is down in the garden. "Well.descends upon her. it does one's heart good to look at it.
and the lane is so cool. and went smiling away. with melodramatic sternness. Robert of Lincoln' has something for your private ear. you'd . little woman!" She obeyed the venerable highwayman. but please. now I think of it. John. for all she knew of it. with slight variation. leave me!" And.--that's good work for you girls. and followed him to and fro. and she would have passed her father as unconcernedly as if he had been an apple-tree.-'Tell the dear old body This day I cannot run. 'Mr. For the pots are boiling over And the mutton isn't done. and offered the glass like a poisoned goblet. for I don't like to leave you here. "That hop-pole is really an ornament now. Nan took it. Give my regards to your father. do you? Ungrateful girl. it will do one's heart good to see you in it. John extinguished her in his broad-brimmed hat. in the words of 'Little Mabel's' mother." said Nan.-"Stand and deliver.'" "I will. and. But the lane might have been the Desert of Sahara. listening to his plans and directions with a mute attention that quite won his heart.on my hands. Nan. had he not called out. this sage-bed needs weeding. and. "You insinuate that I should pick at the pudding or invade the cream. go in to the girls and be comfortable. You'll have to do it yourself.
after I'm gone. the sage-bed. appearing. lost in amaze at its desolate appearance. you absurd man. "John. "Go home. go home! he is there!" She found John--he having made a free-mason of himself." To all of which remarks Nan gave her assent.-- . the hop-pole took the likeness of a tall figure she had seen in the porch. what are you doing?" "I'm helpin' the maid of all work.better water the lettuce in the cool of the evening. curiously enough. and all her cares seemed to have been lost in the windings of the lane. and John was gratified at the efficacy of his treatment." And John dropped a curtsy with his limited apron. are you in hysterics?" cried Di. please marm. suggested a strawberry ditto. and the other half put on awry. by assuming her little apron--meditating over the partially spread table. book in hand. "Nan. exclaiming. irefully. one half its proper paraphernalia having been forgotten. for the merry words were a covert reproach. Nan laughed till the tears ran over her cheeks. the lettuce vividly reminded her of certain vegetable productions a basket had brought. and the bobolink only sung in his cheeriest voice. Di looked ruffled. and with her usual energy of manner and freedom of speech she tossed "Wilhelm" out of the window. for her face had brought a whole harvest of sunshine from the garden.
but. as if she were revengefully pulling her own hair. when I'm hearing the 'Harper' and little 'Mignon?' John. getting lost among the lights and shadows of Minerva's helmet. forgot to appear till dinner had been evoked from chaos and peace was restored. Laura retied his old-fashioned neckcloth. full of remorseful zeal. which received him with audible . instead of shaking me and telling me to do it myself? Take that toasted child away. he ascended the venerable chariot. Di performed the coronation ceremony with her father's best hat. Laura had a vague intention of going to assist. John attached himself to the bag. while I dish up this dreadful dinner. and fan her like a Chinese mandarin. charged at the kettles. Nan appeared with a beautifully written sermon. Having kissed the female portion of his tribe. how dare you come here and do my work. but it's all Goethe's fault. I'm never where I ought to be. and arranged his white locks with an eye to saintly effect. and the patriarch was escorted to the door of his tent with the triumphal procession which usually attended his out-goings and in-comings. At three o'clock. and people must eat. and wrenched off the potatoes' jackets."That's always the way. and never think of anything till it's too late. while Di. What does he write books full of smart 'Phillinas' and interesting 'Meisters' for? How can I be expected to remember that Sally's away." John and Nan fled like chaff before the wind. and suspicious ink-stains on the fingers that slipped it into his pocket.
so take care of yourselves. by the way. Come. and don't overwork yourself.' Come--" At this juncture Solon suddenly went off. as premonitory symptoms of departure. and remained a fixed fact. Now. "Oh. John. my dears! I shall be back early on Monday morning." "Bless me! I've forgotten my spectacles. They are probablv shut up in that volume of Herbert on my table. nor let Laura stay out in the dew. John. And Di. then go ahead! He knew things were not right.lamentation. "Be sure you're right. Come. girls. gently agitated his mortified tail. and never stirred a hoof. Solon!" But Solon only cocked the other ear. Very awkward to find myself without them ten miles away. and be sure you all go and hear Mr. Emerboy preach to-morrow. like . my little 'Martha. Nan. I believe I'm off. "Good-bye. Thank you. don't forget to pay Tommy Mullein for bringing up the cow: he expects it to-night. as its rheumatic joints swayed to and fro. for long experience had induced the philosophic beast to take for his motto the Yankee maxim. being well aware that it always took three "comes" to make a "go. therefore he did not go ahead. Solon!" But Solon merely cocked one ear. don't sit up till daylight. Don't neglect to water the lettuce. My regards to your mother.
and the benign old pastor disappeared. whittling away in a sadly wasteful manner. I'm very sorry. How glad you must feel to hear it!" he said. and Di. Laura retired to take her siesta. Nan. tried her patience over a piece of knitting. with refined tastes. "No. in which she soon originated a somewhat remarkable pattern. by dropping every third stitch." but being only an uncultivated youth. and I miss you very much when you are gone. Nan made a small carbonaro of herself by sharpening her sister's crayons. he would have elevated his feet and made a nuisance of himself by indulging in a "weed. instead of smoking like a chimney. as a sort of penance for past sins. apparently deaf and blind to all mundane matters. except the refreshments awaiting him ten miles away."Mrs. Gamp. "It will probably be six months before I sit here again. years ago. he kept his head uppermost. and seaming ad libitum. John." in a sort of walking swoon. and talked like a man. as her thoughts flew back to the happy times when a little lad rode a little lass in a . humming "Hebron" to the creaking accompaniment of the bulgy chaise." answered truthful Nan. tangling your threads and maltreating your needles. for I like to see you coming and going as you used to. looking up from a thoughtful examination of the hard-working little citizens of the Industrial Community settled in Nan's work-basket. If John bad been a gentlemanly creature. with a rustic regard for pure air and womankind in general.
and his hand seemed involuntarily to close. and John regarded the battered thimble on his finger-tip with increased benignity of aspect as he heard the sound. saying. "When are you going to make your fortune. he will become a partner. as if the desired good were not to be his yet. wait till then. and get out of that disagreeable hardware concern? " demanded Di. as she thought of these things.' for. and then --and then--" The color sprang up into the young man's cheek. with a knitting-needle stuck into her hair. if the world keeps rolling. as if he saw and seized some invisible delight. like a sarcastic unicorn. Di looked at him." and looking almost as much exhausted as if it had been a veritable pugilistic encounter. "I'll tell you in a year. Nan sighed." and John's strong hand unclosed. Nan. and never spilt his load. "I intend to make it by plunging still deeper into 'that disagreeable hardware concern. and the favorite play was "Babes in the Wood. John?" asked Nan.-- . "What will happen then. his eyes looked out with a sudden shine.--when two brown heads bobbed daily side by side to school. next year." with Di for a somewhat peckish robin to cover the small martyrs with any vegetable substance that lay at hand.big wheelbarrow. pausing after an exciting "round. with a wondering glance. and John Lord is alive. John.
insists on quenching his energies in a saucepan. dear. who might fight dragons. and prove that heroes are not all dead yet. But. as if at some mighty pleasant fancy of his own.-"Dear. Some of the happiest hours of my life have been spent in their society. and I beg your pardon for the injustice I have done you. and as a further proof of the utter depravity of my nature. some of my pleasantest associations are connected with them. Di. some of my best lessons have come to me among them. as he replied. Nan laughed merrily. I'm only a woman. if I were only a man. Ah. and sighed despondingly. as she looked at the burns on her hand."I really thought you had a soul above pots and kettles. let me tell you that I have the greatest possible respect for those articles of ironmongery. than down it comes about my ears.-"Thank you. and the ungrateful youth. I would do something better than that. what a disappointing world this is! I no sooner build a nice castle in Spain. and settle a smart young knight therein. but Di elevated the most prominent feature of her brown countenance. but I see you haven't. instead of that. John smiled. I intend to show my gratitude by taking three flat-irons rampant for my coat of arms. and making a Saint Lawrence of himself by wasting his life on a series of gridirons. and must sit rasping my temper with absurdities like this." And Di . and when my fortune is made." Not a whit disturbed. if he chose.
" Di winked violently. and left it the richer for the useful years he spent here. I am eager to conquer my own rebellious nature.-"Di. I think I am not quite a clod. for there he made an honest name. John leaned toward her. saying. and seamed five times in perfect silence. and by a timely word saved her sister from a thunder-shower and her stocking from destruction. and earn the confidence of innocent and upright souls. have you seen Philip since you wrote about your last meeting with him? The question was for John. That is a sort of hardware. I have a great ambition to become as good a man and leave as good a memory behind me as old John Lord.wrestled with her knitting as if it were Fate. or quite without some aspirations above money-getting.--as I hope I may leave it some halfcentury hence. "John. with a look that made his plain face handsome. His memory makes that dingy shop a pleasant place to me. Di. for I sincerely desire that courage that makes daily life heroic by self-denial and cheerfulness of heart. and which will always prove a better fortune than any your knights can achieve with sword and shield. and she were paying off the grudge she owed it. but the soothing . my father began the world as I begin it. but quiet Nan had the gift of knowing when to speak. that no rust can corrupt. led an honest life and bequeathed to me his reverence for honest work.
and make him a stronger man for the trial and the pain.--thereby proving the injustice of your father's prediction concerning his want of perseverance. they saw the cold.' as he forcibly expressed himself. and that a few more months of persistent endeavor would conquer your father's prejudice against him. I read him bits about Laura from your own and Di's letters." "God bless you for it. "Yes. piunging into the subject at once. and he went away at last as patient as Jacob ready to serve another 'seven years' for his beloved Rachel.--' just ready to go to the Devil. John rose involuntarily in the presence of an innocent nature whose sorrow needed no interpreter . and I meant to have told you about it. and. all aglow with love and longing. looking up. telling him his wisest plan was to defer his proposed expedition. who gratefully accepted it. and perked up again with speed. John!" cried a fervent voice. I told him the change in Laura's health and spirits was silently working in his favor." answered John. I consoled the poor lad as well as I could. and the sincerity of his affection. as she dropped her mask. and found him more disconsolate than ever. and showed a living countenance eloquent with the first passion and softened by the first grief of her life. listless Laura transformed into a tender girl. "I saw him a few days before I came home. and go on as steadily as he had begun.tone was for Di.
he fancied that his mother had a better right to his last hour than any younger woman in the land.to him. Di looked on approvingly. The girl read sympathy in his brotherly regard. and John declared that he must go. The clock struck five. half seriously. while two great tears rolled down the cheeks grown wan with hope deferred. for. and found comfort in the friendly voice that asked." Nan went to her and held her fast. . being an old-fashioned soul. and John. and that I never can forget. though stony-hearted regarding the cause. and he her only son. turning to the window. leaving the prints of two loving but grimy hands upon her shoulders." Nan ran away to wash her hands.-always remembering that "she was a widow. for. and came back with the appearance of one who had washed her face also: and so she had. received the commendations of a robin swaying on an elm-bough with sunshine on its ruddy breast. "Tell him I believe all things. but there was a difference in the water. half playfully. hope all things. even for an Apollo? that Laura the artist has not conquered Laura the woman? and predict that the good daughter will yet prove the happy wife?" With a gesture full of energy.-"Shall I tell him that he is not forgotten. Laura tore her Minerva from top to bottom. she fully appreciated the effect.
"Let's throw a shoe after him for luck. as dear old 'Mrs. girls. as many another John has gone. to wait and hope and work. and three little maids bemoaned his fate. with a great softness at his heart. toss one. Nan tore off her shoe. feeling better for the companionship of innocent maidenhood. But times were changed now." With which preface the young man kissed his former playfellows as heartily as the boy had been wont to do. with the endless messages and warnings girls are so prone to give. for Di grew alarmingly rigid during the ceremony.'" Then they all streamed after him along the garden-path. making such an improvement on the childish fashion of the thing that John was moved to support his paternal character by softly echoing her father's words. 'Good luck!'" cried Di. Nan! you always have old shoes on. with one of her eccentric inspirations."Play I'm your father.--"Take care of yourself. went away. Laura received the salute like a graceful queen. and remember that it will be six months before 'that John' will trouble you again. with a sudden longing to become that . when stern parents banished him to distant schools. and the young man. my little 'Martha. and shout. and stronger to wrestle with temptation. and threw it far along the dusty road. and Nan returned it with heart and eyes and tender lips. Gummage' did after 'David' and the 'willin' Barkis!' Quick.
with flying draperies and countenances of mingled mirth and dismay. John answered the meek shout cheerily.auspicious article of apparel. Three agitated young ladies. run! fly. being used to ground-and-lofty tumbling. that the omen might not fail. and Nan's without her shoe. tumbling off her perch in sudden alarm. and Nan leaning far over the gate with her hand above her eyes and the sunshine touching her brown hair with gold. my hair is in a toss. Di perched on the fence. "Bless and save us! here's a flock of people coming. might have been seen precipitating themselves into a respectable mansion with unbecoming haste. but the music seemed to die out of the blackbird's song. and in all the summer landscape his eyes saw nothing but the little figure at the gate. Looking backward from the hill-top. and nothing more. didn't mind it. whistling with more vigor of tone than accuracy of tune. and took in the group with a lingering glance: Laura in the shadow of the elms. "Only that. and no one visible but a young man." . and marched away again. who snatched something out of the road." and. the door was decorously closed. girls! or the Philistines will be upon us!" cried Di. but the squirrels were the only witnesses of this "vision of sudden flight. When the pedestrians passed. He waved his hat and turned away.
wood-pigeons cooed and crickets chirped their shrill roundelays. familiar words sounded in the whisper of the leaves. for when she came into its precincts. grew conscious that an unseen influence filled the air with new delights. where as a child she had read her fairy tales. as they stood looking heavenward through veils of summer sunshine or shrouds of wintry snow. yet not cut off from the echo of human speech. anemones and lady-ferns looked up from the moss that kissed the wanderer's feet. and now as a woman turned the first pages of a more wondrous legend still. and something fairer than "Sweet-peas and mignonette in Annie's garden grew. larches gave their green tassels to the wind. and touched earth and sky with a beauty never seen before. Warm airs were all afloat. Slowly these Mayflowers budded in her . Gentle creatures haunted it.HOW IT WAS FOUND Summer ripened into autumn. and full of summer melody and bloom. Lifted above the many-gabled roof. all things seemed to wear one shape. fringed about with violets. once so full of solitude." Her nature was the counterpart of the hill-side grove. the little grove seemed a green sanctuary.PART 2 . and pines made airy music sweet and solemn. and there was none to make afraid. full of vernal odors for the grateful sense. Nan never felt alone now in this charmed wood. silvery birches shimmered like spirits of the wood. familiar eyes looked at her from the violets in the grass.
maiden heart, rosily they bloomed and silently they waited till some lover of such lowly herbs should catch their fresh aroma, should brush away the fallen leaves, and lift them to the sun. Though the eldest of the three, she had long been overtopped by the more aspiring maids. But though she meekly yielded the reins of government, whenever they chose to drive, they were soon restored to her again; for Di fell into literature, and Laura into love. Thus engrossed, these two forgot many duties which even bluestockings and inamoratos are expected to perform, and slowly all the homely humdrum cares that housewives know became Nan's daily life, and she accepted it without a thought of discontent. Noiseless and cheerful as the sunshine, she went to and fro, doing the tasks that mothers do, but without a mother's sweet reward, holding fast the numberless slight threads that bind a household tenderly together, and making each day a beautiful success. Di, being tired of running, riding, climbing, and boating, decided at last to let her body rest and put her equally active mind through what classical collegians term "a course of sprouts." Having undertaken to read and know everything, she devoted herself to the task with great energy, going from Sue to Swedenborg with perfect impartiality, and having different authors as children have sundry distempers, being fractious while they lasted, but all the better for them when once over. Carlyle appeared like scarlet-fever, and raged violently for a time; for, being anything but a "passive
bucket," Di became prophetic with Mahomet, belligerent with Cromwell, and made the French Revolution a veritable Reign of Terror to her family. Goethe and Schiller alternated like fever and ague; Mephistopheles became her hero, Joan of Arc her model, and she turned her black eyes red over Egmont and Wallenstein. A mild attack of Emerson followed, during which she was lost in a fog, and her sisters rejoiced inwardly when she emerged informing them that "The Sphinx was drowsy, Her wings were furled." Poor Di was floundering slowly to her proper place; but she splashed up a good deal of foam by getting out of her depth, and rather exhausted herself by trying to drink the ocean dry. Laura, after the "midsummer night's dream " that often comes to girls of seventeen, woke up to find that youth and love were no match for age and common sense. Philip had been flying about the world like a thistle-down for five-and-twenty years, generous-hearted. frank, and kind, but with never an idea of the serious side of life in his handsome head. Great, therefore, were the wrath and dismay of the enamored thistle-down, when the father of his love mildly objected to seeing her begin the world in a balloon with a very tender but very inexperienced aeronaut for a guide. "Laura is too young to 'play house' yet, and you are too unstable to assume the part of lord
and master, Philip. Go and prove that you have prudence, patience, energy, and enterprise, and I will give you my girl,--but not before. I must seem cruel, that I may be truly kind; believe this, and let a little pain lead you to great happiness, or show you where you would have made a bitter blunder." The lovers listened, owned the truth of the old man's words, bewailed their fate, and yielded,-Laura for love of her father, Philip for love of her. He went away to build a firm foundation for his castle in the air, and Laura retired into an invisible convent, where she cast off the world, and regarded her sympathizing sisters throug a grate of superior knowledge and unsharable grief. Like a devout nun, she worshipped "St. Philip," and firmly believed in his miraculous powers. She fancied that her woes set her apart from common cares, and slowly fell into a dreamy state, professing no interest in any mundane matter, but the art that first attacted Philip. Crayons, bread-crusts, and gray paper became glorified in Laura's eyes; and her one pleasure was to sit pale and still before her easel, day after day, filling her portfolios with the faces he had once admired. Her sisters observed that every Bacchus, Piping Faun, or Dying Gladiator bore some likeness to a comely countenance that heathen god or hero never owned; and seeing this, they privately rejoiced that she had found such solace for her grief. Mrs. Lord's keen eye had read a certain newly written page in her son's heart,--his first chapter of that romance, begun in paradise, whose interest
" John smiled at the motherly pride of her words. my dear. why disturb her by a word which will bring the tender cares and troubles that come soon . and no doubt of your own worthiness disturbs you. if time only strengthens your affection. dear. Nan is happy.--so hard to be recalled. If I could just ask her for a word of hope. and learn to know yourself before you take a woman's happiness into your keeping. gayer girls. and by absence prove the truth of your belief.-my boy's true heart. John. feeling that. if distance only makes her dearer. You and Nan have known each other all your lives. think of Nan in the light of this new hope: compare her with comelier. like many a healthful herb. It is too soon to say the words so often spoken hastily. "Love like a man. not like a boy. yet. come back and offer her what any woman should be glad to take. With womanly skill she divined the secret. for another year. Go back to your work. Then. whose end can never come till Love lies dead. its worth lay in its bitterness.never flags. and her son accepted her advice. but answered with a wistful look. mother. better bear one year of impatience now than a lifetime of regret hereafter." "Ah. with motherly discretion she counselled patience. "It seems very long to wait. till this last visit. you never thought you loved her more than any other childish friend. whose beauty never fades. I could be very patient then.
time will prove it. "Laura looks like a cool Undine." was all he said. hovered like an affectionate bee about two very full-blown flowers." The young man's eye kindled. and then fell back to survey the grand effect. how splendid you are! It does my heart good to see my handsome sisters in their best array. "Oh. and Laura shares it with him. for lack of the many pins extracted in exciting crises of the toilet. let the new affection spring and ripen as your early friendship has done. dear. with her own locks fallen on her shoulders. for want of sundry combs promoted to her sisters' heads and her dress in unwonted disorder. Promise me this. one mild October night. with the ivywreaths in her shining hair. John. as she put the last touches to certain airy raiment fashioned by her own skilful hands. make your trial. girls. and has to bear his trial now. mother. Be more generous. a truer valor. Philip was rash. therefore. than any Di's knights had ever known. bear your doubts alone. but she was satisfied. and in his heart there rose a better chivalry. for John seldom tried in vain. and Di has illuminated . and it will be all the stronger for a summer's growth.--promise me to hope and wait." and Nan." cried Nan. "I'll try.enough to such conscientious creatures as herself? If she loves you. "Di and Laura were preparing to assist at an event of the season. and give Nan the happiness without the pain.
my dear. with a touch of Xantippe by way of spice. But. as she bore down upon the door like a man-of-war under full sail. by alll means. that I don't know what great creature she resembles most." added Di. "Like Juno. Whereupon Nan persuaded herself that her strong inclination to sit down was owing to want of exercise. the finest woman of the three is the dishevelled young person embracing the bed-post: for she stays at home herself. and an imposition on the public. and you will be lonely if you stay. and gives her time and taste to making homely people fine. It will do you good. Nan.--which is a waste of good material. she ran down to tell her father of the new arrangement. with a wistful look. Lord's on our way. and we'll leave you at Mrs. they were obliged to nip their feelings in the bud. but. But I . to my eye. "Go. both the fashion-plates looked affectionately at the gray-gowned figure. and reserve their caresses till they returned to common life. I shall be writing. speedily smoothing her ruffled plumage. "Put on your bonnet. "Or from Philip. Zenobia. and perhaps there may be news from John. and the heaviness of her eyelids a freak of imagination. and Cleopatra simmered into one." sighed Laura.herself to such an extent with those scarlet leaves. so. beaming with sisterly admiration." said Nan." As Di spoke. being works of art.
and smiled content. her father drew Nan closer. "Well." In her enthusiasm. Laughing merrily. always my 'cricket on the hearth.' As he spoke. I should like to know what is. and I declare to goodness it's as interestin' as playactin'. roused from his lawful slumbers. flourishing her milk-pan like a modern Miriam about to sound her timbrel for excess of joy. for I caught glimpses of certain surprising phantoms flitting by the door. the two Mont Blancs bestowed themselves in the family ark. if ever I see picters. Miss Di with all them boughs in her head. Sally gambolled about the girls. and hardly know them. and Solon.must see my girls. I see 'em now. "Yes. much to the good man's edification: for with his fatherly pleasure there was mingled much mild wonderment at the amplitude of array. But. kissed her tranquil face. when she went a-visitin' What's-his-name. But this little daughter is always available. every bit. morosely trundled them away. looks like the Queen of Sheby. and the two pyramids revolved before him with the rapidity of lay-figures. Nan hopped up beside Patrick. and if Miss Laura ain't as sweet as a lally-barster figger. though there is such a cloud between us that I feel a long way off. I see my geese are really swans. looking backward with a last "Goodnight!" Nan saw her father still standing at the ." Nan led the way.
being a mother. after an hour of pleasant chat. you needn't put on your bonnet. even in his mother's arms.door with smiling countenance. And--oh. when her guest rose to depart. and be sure you let me know the next time he is poorly. who stood among the ruins with never a sign of weariness in her face. and. There was no need to ask who the new-comer was. must pet the one delight of her life. and the moonlight falling like a benediction on his silver hair. and her flood of questions was purred softly in her son's ear. "Now tell us how and why and when you came. she must talk. "Betsey shall go up the hill with you. and flew across the room to meet a tall shape pausing in the shadow of the door. But Nan never got the gift. for. and here's a basket of eggs for your father. Give him my love. to her great dismay. being a woman. for. for. my dear boy. and a banquet appeared . Lord was a quiet soul.-for they all went out when John came in. her hostess dropped the basket with a crash. my dear! And here are the old slippers. Lord said. A whole drove of fatted calves were metaphorically killed. my dear. Take off your coat. nor the memory of a care at her heart. Why didn't you let us know you were coming so soon? How have you been? and what makes you so late to-night? Betsey. and make a little festival when the lord of the manor came home. John looked over her shoulder with an eager nod to Nan." Mrs. have you been to supper yet? Mrs.
for the poor lad was pining for Laura. The dear old gentleman was very kind. He would not let me come here till we had seen your father.with speed. therefore. and hoped his good behavior for the past year would satisfy his judge and secure his recall. Nan." while the two women beamed over each mouthful with an interest that enhanced its flavor. should receive his reward in the spring. John was not one of those romantic heroes who can go through three volumes of hair-breadth escapes without the faintest hint of that blessed institution. We had a fine talk with your father. upon my life. told Phil he was satisfied with the success of his probation. like "Lady Letherbridge. as if dyspepsia and nightmare were among the lost arts. for he made a most eloquent plea. that he should see Laura when he liked. pickles and pie. and up we came to-night. and. dinner." . according to custom. I assure you." he partook. Then he opened his budget of news and fed them. copiously of everything. which I've stored away for future use. and. It must be a delightful sensation to know you have made a fellow-creature as happy as those words made Phil to-night. Philip seemed to have received the gift of tongues. but Philip fell upon and so tempted me. "I was coming next month. and urged upon him cold meat and cheese. if all went well. that I was driven to sacrifice myself to the cause of friendship.
and he rushed straight to Mrs. and gave my testimony in behalf of the prisoner at the bar.John paused. the bride-elect's tears. At ten Nan retired into the depths of her old . John. I thank you very much for this! Mrs. for he has been most kind to me. and I am sure there was other eloquence beside his own before father granted all you say he has. as she saw the pleasure these words gave him.-"I only tried to be a brother to him. the stir. though he answered simply. but we know it. And John led the laugh at the picture he had conjured up. Nan twinkled off the drops that rose at the thought of Laura's joy.-"You say nothing of your own share in the making of that happiness. and said. to turn the thoughts of Di's dangerous sister from himself. I said my little say to-night. Just imagine the scene when he appears. with grateful warmth. as if he saw a wondrous future in its shine. Oh. Nan. for Philip has told Laura in his letters all that you have been to him. and caricature it to-morrow. John. and the romance of the thing. Leigh's to tell Laura the blissful news. She'll cry over it to-night. Lord beamed a whole midsummer of delight upon her son. and how Di will open her wicked eyes and enjoy the spectacle of the dishevelled lover. and looked musingly at the matronly tea-pot. a most merciful judge pronounced his sentence. Yes.
from the orchard came the scent of ripening fruit. and all the garden-plots lay ready to yield up their humble offerings to their master's hand. for though Philip's happiness floated temptingly before him. we will go ourselves.bonnet with a far different face from the one she brought out of it." And slowly the two paced down the leaf-strewn walk. but utterly repudiating the idea of sleep. mounted guard. remember. "I see many signs of promise in her happy face. and sere corn blades rustled in the wind. But in the silence of the night a greater Reaper had passed by. and set a seal upon his lips. when the gentlemen cleared. Fields of yellow grain were waving on the hill-side. Lord's voice there was a warning tone that her son interpreted aright." And he kept his word. bein' a little flustered by the goin's on. he ignored the bland winds. miss." "Where is father. Shall I fetch him in?" asked Sally. blinking owlishly. gathering in the harvest of a righteous . John!" And in Mrs. "I'll not forget. mother. "Don't stay late. resuming his hat. Sally?" asked Nan. thinking manfully within himself. and John. but I will wait and hope a little longer for her sake. as that functionary appeared. "No. as irreverently as if her master were a bag of meal. and the little figure at his side had never seemed so dear. the tender night. "He went down the garding.
and Nan dropped down beside it. dear. "How fast he sleeps! Poor father! I should have come before and made it pleasant for him. but one by one the busy feet passed out. and its leaves still whispered the low lullaby that hushed him to his rest. and leaving only tender memories for the gleaners who had come so late. soothing her with the mute solace of that motherly embrace. one by one the voices died away. "Oh. "Nan.life." For a moment the shadows flickered over three white faces and the silence deepened solemnly.-"He kissed me when I went. and kissed his pallid cheek. and skilful hands touched the beloved clay she held so fast. John. saying. the happiest he will ever know. Nan! here's Philip! come and see!" . Nan lifted up the head bent down upon his breast. The old man sat in the shadow of the tree his own hands planted." As she spoke. Lord drew the orphan to the shelter of her arms. many voices whispered near her. and human skill proved vain. Then Mrs. with a rain of grateful tears. this is not sleep. and said a last good-night!'" For an hour steps went to and fro about her. Then John reverently bore the pale shape in. its fruit boughs shone ruddily." "Yes.
as her friend parted from her a week later. and two wild-eyed creatures came into the hush of that familiar room. and led her from the room. more eloquent than words. "I must tell them. closing the door upon the sacredness of grief. and Nan sprang up as if her time for grief were past. how will they bear it?--they have known so little sorrow!" But there was no need for her to speak. we shall get on very well. for the first time meeting with no welcome from their father's voice. my poor girls. . after the saddest holiday he had ever known. then Laura will be married. a sharp cry rent the air.The happy call re-echoed through the house. watching the patient eyes that smiled when others would have wept. With one impulse. and Di can go on their travels with them. For. We can let a part of this great house. Nan?" he asked. John took his mother by the hand. "And what becomes of you." Nan said this. Di and Laura fled to Nan. and the sisters clung together in a silent embrace. as Philip wishes her to do. other lips had spared her the hard task. and live quietly together until spring. Oh. but when everything is settled. John. we are poorer than we thought. so never fear for us. steps rang upon the stairs. We shall be cared for. "Yes. as she stirred to meet them.
and be quite happy till the girls come back and want me. and more silent. as he listened. thinner. as she looked into the anxious faces bending over . though invisible. and went away prophesying within himself. Di and Laura consoled themselves with their favorite employments. Slowly the divided waters closed again. I shall find some little child to love and care for. and it suddenly became manifest that she was utterly worn out with many cares and the secret suffering of a tender heart bereft of the paternal love which had been its strength and stay. and." she said cheerily. till one day she dropped quietly before them. But the touch of sorrow drew them closer. for no other place would seem like home to me. Don't be troubled!. dear girls.-"She shall find something more than a child to love."I shall stay in the dear old house. unconscious that Nan was growing paler. and in the depth of winter the good seed was sown. a familiar voice still spoke to them in the silence of their softened hearts. and. as the weeks went by. for I shall be up to-morrow. shall be very happy till the girls come home and--cannot have her. and soon sprang up green with a promise of a harvest for their after years. God willing. Thus the soil was made ready. a beloved presence still moved among them. and the three fell back into their old life. was watered with many tears." John nodded wisely." Nan's plan was carried into effect. "I'm only tired.
Di corked her inkstand. she learned a finer art than that she had left. Sally had departed to sit under a vine and fig-tree of her own. Her eye grew clear to see the beauty of a self-denying life. sitting at her sister's bedside. though her struggles were pathetic to behold. she gave her hand to that humbler and more human teacher.her. and her devotion was repaid four-fold. and her sisters went through a series of messes equal to a course of "Prince Benreddin's" peppery tarts. locked her bookcase. and turning from the worship of the goddess Beauty. sweet virtues that made her what she was. Laura gave herself to their attainment. But the weariness was of many months' growth. so Di had undisputed sway. Duty. Laura installed herself as nurse. of course she missed the leap. direful would have been the history of that crusade against frost and fire. but if dish-pans and dusters had tongues. and appeared much sobered by the exercise. that she might become to another household the blessing Nan had been to her own. indolence and inexperience. . for Philip's sake. But they were dumb. and it was weeks before that "to-morrow " came. but scrambled bravely through. for. and in the depths of Nan's meek nature she found the strong. and went at housework as if it were a five-barred gate. Then remembering that these womanly attributes were a bride's best dowry.--learning her lessons with a willing heart. and Di scorned to complain.
for love taught Laura. for. Her hand-maids. and this dreariest season proved the most fruitful of the year. Nature. Mind won the victory over matter in the end. Di met her fate in a big checked apron and dust-cap.Reality turned Romance out of doors. unlike her favorite heroines in satin and tears. and patience fitted Nan for the blessing of her life. and keen winds howled among the leafless elms. and in the stillness of her sleepless nights prayed Heaven to keep him safe. for she drowned her idle fancies in her wash-tub. and learned the worth of self-denial. yet most diligent of housewives. wind and rain . or helmet and shield. Nan thought of John. as she sang with happy voice among the pots and kettles of her conquered realm. began at last that "spring cleaning" which she makes so pleasant that none find the heart to grumble as they do when other matrons set their premises a-dust. that stillest. yet she wielded her broom as stoutly as "Moll Pitcher" shouldered her gun. wonderful to see. but "herbs of grace" were blooming beautifully in the sunshine of sincere endeavor. labor chastened Di. made burnt-offerings of selfishness and pride. Snow fell without. and Di was better all her days for the tribulations and the triumphs of that time. and marched to her daily martyrdom in the kitchen with as heroic a heart as the "Maid of Orleans" took to her stake. and make her worthy to receive and strong enough to bear the blessedness or pain of love.
and sun, swept, washed, and garnished busily, green carpets were unrolled, apple-boughs were hung with draperies of bloom, and dandelions, pet nurslings of the year, came out to play upon the sward. From the South returned that opera troupe whose manager is never in despair, whose tenor never sulks, whose prima donna never fails, and in the orchard bona fide matinees were held, to which buttercups and clovers crowded in their prettiest spring hats, and verdant young blades twinkled their dewy lorgnettes, as they bowed and made way for the floral belles. May was bidding June good-morrow, and the roses were just dreaming that it was almost time to wake, when John came again into the quiet room which now seemed the Eden that contained his Eve. Of course there was a jubilee; but something seemed to have befallen the whole group, for never had they appeared in such odd frames of mind. John was restless, and wore an excited look, most unlike his usual serenity of aspect. Nan the cheerful had fallen into a well of silence and was not to be extracted by any Hydraulic power, though she smiled like the June sky over her head. Di's peculiarities were out in full force, and she looked as if she would go off like a torpedo at a touch; but through all her moods there was a half-triumphant, half-remorseful expression in the glance she fixed on John. And Laura, once so silent, now sang like a blackbird, as she flitted to and fro; but her fitful song was
always, "Philip, my king." John felt that there had come a change upon the three, and silently divined whose unconscious influence had wrought the miracle. The embargo was off his tongue, and he was in a fever to ask that question which brings a flutter to the stoutest heart; but though the "man" had come, the "hour" had not. So, by way of steadying his nerves, he paced the room, pausing often to take notes of his companions, and each pause seemed to increase his wonder and content. He looked at Nan. She was in her usual place, the rigid little chair she loved, because it once was large enough to hold a curly-headed playmate and herself. The old work-basket was at her side, and the battered thimble busily at work; but her lips wore a smile they had never worn before, the color of the unblown roses touched her cheek, and her downcast eyes were full of light. He looked at Di. The inevitable book was on her knee, but its leaves were uncut; the strongminded knob of hair still asserted its supremacy aloft upon her head, and the triangular jacket still adorned her shoulders in defiance of all fashions, past, present, or to come; but the expression of her brown countenance had grown softer, her tongue had found a curb, and in her hand lay a card with "Potts, Kettel & Co." inscribed thereon, which she regarded with never a scornful word for the Co." He looked at Laura. She was before her easel
as of old; but the pale nun had given place to a blooming girl, who sang at her work, which was no prim Pallas, but a Clytie turning her human face to meet the sun. "John, what are you thinking of?" He stirred as if Di's voice had disturbed his fancy at some pleasant pastime, but answered with his usual sincerity,-"I was thinking of a certain dear old fairy tale called 'Cinderella.'" "Oh!" said Di; and her "Oh" was a most impressive monosyllable. "I see the meaning of your smile now; and though the application of the story is not very complimentary to all parties concerned, it is very just and very true." She paused a moment, then went on with softened voice and earnest mien:-"You think I am a blind and selfish creature. So I am, but not so blind and selfish as I have been; for many tears have cleared my eyes, and much sincere regret has made me humbler than I was. I have found a better book than any father's library can give me, and I have read it with a love and admiration that grew stronger as I turned the leaves. Henceforth I take it for my guide and gospel, and, looking back upon the selfish and neglectful past, can only say, Heaven bless your dear heart, Nan!" Laura echoed Di's last words; for, with eyes as full of tenderness, she looked down upon the sister she had lately learned to know, saying,
black and golden. as the tall heads. John sent us money. you know when father died. playfully. with happy wonderment. and am ashamed to look you in the face. but . for. saying.-where shall we find the Prince? " "There!" cried Di. which you have made so pleasant to me all these years by kindnesses as numberless and noiseless as the drops of dew. The face will be yours. and then her secret went off like a rocket. what have I ever done. Girls.warmly. 'Heaven bless your dear heart. remembering the past. she said. there will be one place more dear to me than Rome. and her sisters' mute lips answered her.-"Here are the good and wicked sisters. which he said Mr. bent to meet the lowly brown one. always so serene. I know you meant that we should never find this out.-"I have found you out.-"Yes. always so patient. with her old impetuosity. Owen had long owed us and had paid at last? It was a kind lie." "Dear girls. Nan. John. Nan!' I never can forget all you have been to me. but never would have taken it as a gift. pointing to John. that you should love me so?" cried Nan. Then Laura looked up. there will always be one countenance more beautiful to me than any pictured face I may discover. and when I am far away with Philip. and a generous thing to do. John. for we needed it. and the dearer place will be this home of ours.
" Di spoke first. for I am.-They know him now. he gruffly told me he had never paid the debt. that shone upon her work. treated you unkindly. and I shall do it. and write stories full of clear old souls like you and Nan. And Nan sat with drooping eyes. and don't think I'm not sincere.--I couldn't help it. but broke her pet crayon. and I seal my real repentance so-and so. I have laughed at you. Di rushed across the room.--I am. John. rallying to her colors. owing to the dimness of her own.yesterday I met Mr. and never shall forget the lesson you have taught me. and we could not claim a farthing. and when I thanked him for a piece of justice we had not expected of him. I am proud as Lucifer. for it was outlawed. John. will like and . I know." still tried to draw. but I ask you to forgive me. Laura. and some one. but I know you now. and love him for his generous heart. for Di finally illustrated her strong-minded theories by crying like the weakest of her sex. never meant to pay it. though a little daunted by her loss of self-control. thinking with tender pride. There was a momentary silence. and I will prove it by growing good enough to be your friend. thought you stupid. threw both arms about the astonished young man's neck and dropped an energetic kiss upon his cheek. "Don't laugh." With tragic countenance. with "the ruling passion strong in death. That debt must all be paid. for I'll turn my books and pen to some account. Owen returning from the West. and endowed her Clytie with a supplementary orb.
shaking off the last drops.' Di. John believed in her most heartily. I feel already doubly repaid by the esteem so generously confessed. I never let him go." As she spoke." But proud Di would not let him add to her obligation. and yet make us very proud of our 'Chaos. her will. and when you have a fortune. so cordially bestowed. John. but. now I have the motive.-"No more sentiment. even by returning her impetuous salute. there would have been many chances of success.buy them. once moved.-"I know you will. and. though they are not 'works of Shakespeare. have felt I had the power in me. believe me. and when I find a friend. We know each other now. would knock down the obstacles her wits could not surmount. . she slipped away. looking into her resolute face. so let us go back to our wigwams and bury the feud. and. answered with a curious mixture of old freedom and new respect. I'll claim it with enormous interest. for. as we used to years ago. or build a new Saint Paul's. and now I'll do it.--'Now let's forgive and so forget. and can only say. We have smoked the pipe of peace. Let the money lie. and showed it. please. turning. like a battering-ram." If Di had Proposed to translate the Koran. Where were we when I lost my head? and what were we talking about?" "Cinderella and the Prince. as he answered.' I've thought of this before. John's eye kindled.
--who will try it first?" Di's black eyes opened wide. she swept her out and closed the door with a triumphant bang. as she promptly took her cue. the wrong side out. and a sudden change befell his voice. therefore 'Exeunt wicked sisters to the music of the wedding-bells. "Yes. as she thought of the many times they had played it together years ago. as he said. our parts are played out. then her romance-loving nature saw the whole plot of that drama which needs but two to act it. he asked. as they fell on the familiar object. for it wouldn't fit us. a sudden purpose shone in his countenance. the characters of the story are well personated. still smiling. if our feet were as small as Chinese dolls.'" And pouncing upon the dismayed artist. producing from some hiding-place a little wornout shoe. John went to Nan. A great delight flushed up into her face.-"I can supply the slipper.-- . laughing. who sat diligently ornamenting with microscopic stitches a great patch going on. but with lips grown tremulous.he looked down at Nan. Laura. and. dropping on his knee as reverently as the herald of the fairy tale.--all but the slipper. saying-" No need for us to try it. and now taking pussy for the godmother.--so we were. A sudden movement stirred John's frame." said Di.
This little shoe has been mv comforter through this long year."Will Cinderella try the little shoe. and knew it spoke the truth. and when I recalled the gentle creature who had worn it last. when I saw the little bow you tied. . as I am trying to tell it now. as simple in her love as in her life. while all the weary work strayed down upon the floor. when I saw how worn it was. I always thought of the willing feet that came and went for others' comfort all day long.--and tried to grow more worthy of her. I promised mother to be silent till I was sure I loved you wholly. and I have kept it as other lovers keep their fairer favors. weeping happy tears. Nan heard the beating of the strong man's heart. that I might one day dare to ask if she would walk beside me all my life and be my 'angel in the house. dear? Believe me. for. It has been a talisman more eloquent to me than flower or ring. and while she listened to his eager words." Then Nan.--sure that the knowledge would give no pain when I should tell it.' Will you. you shall never know a weariness or grief I have the power to shield you from. tender. "Nan. I always saw her patient. John drew the hidden face still closer. as if it knew her holiday had come. I always thought of the hands so diligent in serving any one who knew a want or felt a pain. and--if it fits--go with the Prince?" But Nan only covered up her face. and devout.
Ehrenbreitstein towered opposite. A Modern Cinderella. I never can be sad or tired any more!" THE END. as she looked from the balcony which overhangs the Rhine at the hotel of the "Three Kings" at Coblentz. or The Little Old Shoe A short story by Louisa May Alcott THE BARON'S GLOVES (AMY'S ROMANCE) Title: The Baron's Gloves." "How can you call Germany stupid when you have a scene like this before you?" said Helen. Amy?" "Yes." I HOW THEY WERE FOUND "What a long sigh! Are you tired. I never would have undertaken this journey if I had not thought it would be full of novelty. and disappointed as well.laid her arms about his neck. I wish there were brigands in Germany--it needs something of that sort to enliven its stupidity. the broad river . we have had several adventures. and charming adventures. with a sigh of pleasure. her happy face against his own." "Bah! losing one's hat in the Rhine. are not what I call adventures. and having our pockets picked. John." "Well. Amy's Romance Author: Louisa May Alcott [More Titles by Alcott] "All is fair in love and war.-"Oh. Or. and answered softly. getting left at a dirty little inn. romance.
half petulant mood. and traces of recent illness were visible in the languor of her movements and the pallor of her cheeks." "My dear. so little soiled.glittered below. scented with violets! Here's a little hole fretted by a ring on the third finger. In fact. I'd like to see the man. there are balconies all about us. eagerly. Now amuse yourself by weaving a romance out of them and their owner.' stamped on the inside. examined them by the candle. drawing nearer after an upward glance. with a coat of arms below. She seemed in a half melancholy. and in that way we may discover their owner. 'S. her companion half rose from the low chair where she lounged. something _has_ happened that you may make a little romance out of. "What is the beginning of a romance?" whispered Amy. I don't care what. "Yes. Such a delicate color. and you lay with your eyes shut. "A pair of gloves. perhaps. and a midsummer moon lent its enchantment to the landscape. Here's the hotel . Something pleasant will happen." Helen laughed at the girl's interest. and was satisfied if any trifle amused her _ennui_. though. Just now. it is lovely. "Speak low. and we may be overheard. Do not be ungrateful to uncle or unjust to yourself. as I stood here. What a fop to get up his gloves in this style! They are exquisite. As she spoke. these waiters are so stupid you'll get nothing out of them. and showed the pretty. "I've a better plan.. "I will send them back by the _kellner_. if something would only happen. but I want adventures and romance of some sort to make it quite perfect. piquant face of a young girl. I've no doubt. "A gentleman's gloves." said Helen. Bless me! here are the initials." she said." "What do you mean?" and Amy's listless face brightened. you are out of spirits and weary now.P. But Amy arrested her on the way to the door. for lack of a more thrilling adventure." Amy seized them. to-morrow you'll be yourself again. and stepping inside the window. these dropped from the balcony overhead. and so prettily ornamented! Handsome hands wore these.
Dresden. He came to-day. and they had to run the gauntlet of many eyes as they made their way to the head of the upper table." Amy looked and saw a white. if he wears such distracting gloves. Some way down sat several gentlemen. or more frequently pulling at a blond beard which adorned the face of the unknown. and presently she whispered to Helen. then. look at the hands. Now. Amy glanced down the line of faces opposite. but I shall ask the man a few questions. Amy shook her head decidedly. now emphasizing an opinion. and when the gong pealed through the house." "You'd better take them up yourself. Before she touched her soup. and if the baron is agreeable I shall make uncle return the gloves. he's a baron! Isn't that charming? 'Sigismund von Palsdorf." "You know I can't do that. shapely hand with an antique ring on the third finger. "I hate light men. Then I shall change my mind and go down to dinner. and as she bent to observe them. she busied herself with her soup: but the fancy had taken possession of her. The long tables were crowded. don't be duennaish and say I'm silly. with a comely niece on each arm." Helen submitted. and don't think that is the baron. and finding none that answered the slight description elicited from the waiter. written in many hands and many languages. That will be so nice when we go home. for the man said the rooms above were just taken. one did the same. and I can say I've known a real baron.-"Do you see any signs of the baron?" "On my left. and come and dress. for the gloves are a size too small for those . and she received an admiring glance from a pair of fine black eyes. Major Erskine marched into the great _salle a manger_. let us look among the day's arrivals and see who 'S. now lifting a glass. Somewhat abashed. just to get an idea what sort of person the baron is. Amy was soon intently poring over the long list of names.P. so we could not have them. for I know he's handsome. Its owner's face was averted. she leaned a little forward to examine those on her own side of the table.' We _must_ see him. Nell." Opening the big book.' is. He will thank us. but as he conversed with animation. the hand was in full play. I'm sure. but let me do as I like. shall look well about me.book sent up for our names. "I've got it! Here he is--oh.
he is bound for Baden-Baden." "Now. There is everything but love in the bargain. and he is right. "Yes. The duel was a bad affair. "No. She was languidly eating grapes. and tell me if you make any discoveries.hands. we must be off." Being hungry. but almost instantly bent to her plate again. He will sow his wild oats and make a grand man in time. The speakers sat at a table behind her. All five went down the hall and . if we are going to the fortress. for the man almost died. he stares rudely. and also touched the dark-eyed gentleman on the shoulder. it will do your eyes good. he is dining at the other table with Power. By the by." "There is much nobleness in him. Palsdorf says. I like that. and he must make his game while the ball is rolling. she turned away blushing." Helen obeyed. when the word "baron" caught her ear. spite of his vagaries. while Helen talked with the major. or it is all up with the open-handed Sigismund. but seeing several pairs of eyes fixed on herself. Give Sigismund the word. with the not unpleasant consciousness that "the pretty English girl" was herself. after the fat Frauleins we have seen of late. and the baron barely managed to get out of the scrape through court influence. who paused behind the man with the blond beard. Longing to see which Sigismund was. Well. When is the wedding to be?" "Never. Amy devoted herself to her dinner. and he swears he'll not agree to it. but she listened eagerly to the following scrap of chat:-"Is the baron going on to-morrow?" asked a gay voice in French. "Won't his father pardon the last escapade?" asked a third. for I _will_ find the baron. with a laugh. says 'By Jove!' and wears no jewelry or beard. keep on the watch. she ventured to look after the young men. "Take a look at the pretty English girl as you go by. I'm disappointed. "That is an Englishman. Three gentlemen rose." added the rough one. smiling in spite of herself. till dessert was on the table." said the gay voice. which was impossible. The season is at its height." answered a rough voice. so that she could not see them without turning quite round. Lean back and look some four or five seats lower down on the right. and as they passed Amy stole a glance at them. See what sort of person the dark man with the fine eyes is.
"Did you see the baron?" she whispered eagerly. I wish to go. being busy gathering up my dress. for Helen. with provoking indifference. He will be there with a party of gentlemen." "I did not observe him. and the cousins sat on the balcony enjoying the lovely night. and come home in time to tell me all about it. "I'm seized with a longing to go to Baden-Baden and see a little gambling. "Uncle. Mind what he is like. monsieur_. I've wanted one ever since we started. you are going to see the fortress. when a voice said behind her. You can easily manage it. admiring the picturesque scene. but Helen was close behind her." she murmured.-"Did you find him?" "I found something much better than any baron.-"Permit me. You are not a wild young man. Up he rose. men are so free and easy. but I want you to take these gloves and inquire for Baron Sigismund Palsdorf. turning as she went out. . as they went up-stairs. and coming to the door. I thought the person was a waiter. Wait an instant till I get my hat. The unwieldy foreign lock resisted her efforts. and never looked at him. whose will was law to the amiable major." Away went the major. I knew him by his hand and ring. we don't care for it. as she took his arm. and the door opened." "I hope so. in spite of her three-and-twenty years." said Helen. and we'll do our best to have a gay time. was as romantic as Amy at eighteen. Amy tried to open it. and no one else to be seen except the massive major in the rear. the flash of a diamond shone before her. and she was just giving it an impatient little shake. a courier." said Amy. He was close to you. Now you are a sensible little woman. "_Merci." While the major searched for the missing article the girls went on. and Amy added. It was past eleven when the major came. and indulging in the flights of fancy all girls love. mademoiselle. and the only greeting he received was the breathless question. so you can be trusted there. where was he?" "He opened the door for me.stood talking near the door. for two young ladies and their baggage are more than one man can do his duty by. "No. "How unfortunate! Uncle." at the same moment a handsome hand turned the latch.
that he wooed and won her." whispered Helen. still absorbed in the baron. Of course it is the baron. hide behind the curtains and listen. "Hush." "How very provoking! Did you bring the gloves back?" asked Amy. Presently a single voice rose. Tired of talking. a dark group stood below. the romance has begun in earnest. I know the gloves will bring us fun of some kind. and the sound of her own name uttered in such ardent tones made her heart beat and her color rise." laughed Helen. as she examined the flowers. singing an exquisite little French canzonet." She thought she recognized the voice. there came a stifled laugh from below. and they were floating down the river to the chime of wedding-bells. and see who will find the baron first. At this rapturous climax she woke to find the air full of music. and went away to give orders for an early start next morning. they leaned and listened till the song ended. and Amy was soon continuing in sleep the romance she had begun awake. She dreamed that the baron proved to be the owner of the fine eyes. the girls lay down in the two little white beds always found in German hotels. then creeping forward Amy drew in a lovely bouquet of myrtle. and now seemed whispering together. and I have flowers tossed up to me in the charming old style. The major tossed them to her. Shrouded in the drapery. As the last melodious murmur ceased. the refrain of which was a passionate repetition of the word "_Amie_. Neither dared stir till the sound of departing feet reassured them. it's a serenade. all were bareheaded. and something fell into the balcony. roses. and indulged in a hearty laugh at her girlish regrets. for it seemed to signify that the serenade was for them. and he comes to-morrow. and to see Helen standing tall and white in the moonlight that streamed in at the open window. and great German forget-me-nots. but whoever it is. Do you take one and I'll take the other. they are regular troubadours. tied with a white ribbon and addressed in a dashing hand to _La belle Helene_. "Upon my life. "You are serenaded by some unknown nightingale. Amy. that I did not hesitate to engage him. then bade them good-night. so henceforth I've nothing to do but devote myself to you. as Amy stole to her side.Karl Hoffman had such excellent testimonials from persons I know. and I'm delighted. Isn't it odd that they knew our names?" ." "I hope so. then Amy peeped.
_Amie_. who--" began Amy. Come and see. which stood half open. "As adventures have begun. and then both went back to their pillows. the major desired me to tell you the carriage waits. He bowed again. to dream delightfully till morning. carefully arranging her bouquet in her travelling-basket. so resign yourself and be ready for anything."Amy. laying her glove carefully away. before we reach Baden. but let us see what will come of it. "You are right. staring with her blue eyes full of wonder at the stranger. I feel assured that they will continue to cheer the way." replied Helen. and meeting Helen's eyes. but I think '_La belle Helene_' gives an added relish to life. as she tied on her hat next morning." Amy began to hand him her miscellaneous collection of bags. but with a strong German accent." "The courier--oh. I begin to enjoy myself heartily now--don't you?" said Amy. and said. saying in good English. brown. the writing on this card is very like that in the big book. THE COURIER "Three days. but it really is very like it. A tap at the door. looking all the more charming for the dishevelled curls and braids that hung about them as the girls laughed and whispered together in the softly brilliant light that filled the room. hat in hand.-"Ladies. bowed respectfully. and ready for any prank. Please take these things." laughed Nell. at your service. I may be bewitched by this midsummer moonlight. . at least. made both look up. mademoiselle. A tall. in a gray suit. The men who stared so at dinner are gay students perhaps." The two charming heads bent over the card. gentlemanly man. putting her flowers in water. II KARL. How tiresome it is that uncle won't go faster!" said Amy. "I enjoyed myself before. stood there. books." "Why. with a leathern bag slung over his shoulder. shawls and cushions. simply.-"Karl Hoffman. it is the same. wondering as she did so if the baron would take the same boat. yes! I forgot all about it. Don't tell uncle.
my dear. leaning luxuriously back. kreutzers. but I thought you'd like the romance of the thing. everything is done in the best manner." "But one doesn't know how to treat him. timetables. who wasn't a gentleman." whispered Amy. "I don't like to address him as a servant. being poor. as they followed him along the hall. His manners are nice." "Not handsome enough. He has lost his fortune." said Helen. eyes full of an infinite tenderness. Many of these couriers are well born and educated. This man is a treasure. and pfenniges. turned courier for a time. and the everlasting perplexity of thalers. eying a decidedly aristocratic foot through the front window of the carriage. as the silvery peal sounded behind him." said Amy. Only don't either of you run away with him." said Amy. Everything was ready. and we are fortunate to have secured him. exclaimed. with a night of hair. and find him an excellent and accomplished fellow. and yet it's not pleasant to order a gentleman about. and often pleasant society. the major." "Oh."I'd no idea couriers were such decent creatures. through no fault of his own. and his knowledge of matters is really amazing." "He's a very gentlemanly-looking person. trains. Nell?" . for Karl sat up beside the driver. I've had a long talk with Hoffman. with his brown face and black beard: doesn't he. it seems. prefer this business to any other. and behave as if you knew nothing about his past.-"Now I begin to enjoy travelling. and Amy averred that Karl's eyes danced with merriment as he glanced over his shoulder. as it gives them variety. and a sumptuous cheek. Just call him Hoffman. and as they drove away.'" Both girls laughed. for I'm no longer worried by the thought of luggage. so being fond of a roving life. and her funny description of him? 'Beautiful to behold. "I don't like blue eyes and black hair. but he looks like a gipsy. we must be careful. by the way. "Don't you remember the raptures Mrs. and neither spoke again till they reached the carriage. it will be easy enough as we go on together. Mortimer used to have over their Italian courier." said Helen. "He _is_ a gentleman. He begged me not to mention it. as Ponsonby's daughter did with her courier. but. "Hush! he understands English.
smiling at the recollection. On reaching Biebrich." All went well next day till nightfall. Hoffman told the story so well that he was kept explaining and describing for an hour. which gives one confidence in him. and when he went away to order lunch. Here we are. at nightfall. the courier. but can rest a day. and finding the meagre description of the guide-books very unsatisfactory. "Bless me. let us wait a little before we judge. and cunning in feature as in nature. Hoffman has large. So easily and well did he do his duty. I know nothing. the major strolled about the boat. Amy begged her uncle to tell her all the legends of picturesque ruin. as you will see. Nell. though he dared not show it. while the courier made matters comfortable for the day. and was as grave as an owl when we met uncle. and then on to Baden. manly expression.-"He is a new broom now. Karl. though Amy. We shall get in late to-morrow night. Amy declared it was as pleasant as reading fairy tales to listen to his dramatic histories and legends. and then by rail to Heidelberg. added. wicked look in his blue eyes. I'm sure. well-moulded features. with unusual prudence. child." And putting his hands in his pockets. I mean mischievously. or losing his temper in vain attempts to make himself understood. As they sailed up the lovely Rhine they grew more and more enthusiastic in their admiration and curiosity." Leaning on the railing. I dare say. and a mild. but here's Hoffman. who will tell you everything." said Amy." "He has a keen. now make yourselves easy. and let Karl take care of everything. not malignantly wicked. rock and river. tired and hungry. as they passed. what's that old castle up there? The young ladies want to know about it. they are thin. Gipsies haven't that style of face. when a most untoward accident occurred. books and bags laid commodiously at hand. sharp. "We shall go by boat to Biebrich. as I do. He likes fun. that both girls enjoyed watching him after he had established them on the shady side of the boat. At lunch the major was charmed to find his favorite wines and dishes without any need of consulting dictionary or phrase-book beforehand. cushions to lean on. with camp-stools for their feet."Not at all. and Helen's . a German born. everything was ready for them. for he laughed about the 'sumptuous cheek' till his own were red. and all went to bed praising Karl.
but only in time to see the train move away. I have sent word to several posts along the road that we are coming by the night train. one can make one's way everywhere." He left her. and we can telegraph to Heidelberg that they may not fear for you. and with a smile at Amy's enjoyment of the adventure when it was over. as Karl marched up and down the platform. Hoffman. left alone and moneyless at night in a strange town. though a trace of anxiety was still visible in her watchful eyes. rest easy. and refused to see the dismayed young lady imploring him to wait for her." Helen's usual self-possession rather failed her in the flurry of the moment. with her uncle gesticulating wildly to the guard. here is both gold and silver. Twice the whistle warned her. a charming little garden. In half an hour he returned. for uncle takes care of all the money. Amy was very tired. hoping to please the invalid. a train passes in two hours. and having made herself comfortable on one of the sofas. as we must travel till dawn." Helen gladly waited for it. and being weary with long sitting. who shook his stupid German head. and passionately fond of flowers. Helen fell asleep. A pleasant sense of security stole over her. and I have only my watch. and there she found. "Mademoiselle. mademoiselle. and put her into the care of the woman of the place. a man leaped from a second-class carriage at the risk of his neck. finding Helen refreshed and cheerful. as well she might. . how kind of you to stop for me! What should I have done without you. and at last she ran back. A rosy sunset tempted her to the end of the platform. rather cross. with the tireless tramp of a sentinel on duty. Just as the train was vanishing from the station. so that Monsieur le Major will rest tranquil till we meet. and she caught Karl's arm with a feminine little gesture of confidence very pleasant to see. Leading her to the waiting-room. it is I. "All goes excellently. so when an old woman offered to pull a nosegay for "the gracious lady. With this. what nearly all foreign railway stations possess.adventures began in earnest. if mademoiselle will permit me to advise. she will rest for an hour. it is not likely so soon. Now. she lay watching the tall shadow pass and repass door and window. Helen got out at one of the stations where the train paused for ten minutes. It is best that I give you some money. lest such a mishap should again occur. we can soon go on. and hurried back to find Helen looking pale and bewildered. The three occupied a _coupe_." "Oh. nevertheless. he ordered supper. I will keep guard without and watch for the train. while he went to make inquiries and dispatch the telegram.
. and with every aspect of inhospitality. the dim landscape flying past the windows. but behaved with exemplary politeness till sleep overpowered them. Pray come in. and Helen's heavy eyelids were beginning to droop.-"Is there no other place?" "None. But we must decide at once. Hoffman followed her into the carriage. except when she addressed him. and looked wistfully at the suppressed cigars. mademoiselle. it is nothing. and assiduous in making the long night as easy as possible." in many languages." said Helen. to be met with everywhere by the cry. and one after the other dropped off asleep to dream of their respective Gretchens." "I do not forget that you are a gentleman. my uncle will thank you. when suddenly there came an awful crash. But Helen shrunk back. "Mademoiselle forgets I am her courier.A far-off shriek half woke her." "I will. It was past midnight. she turned to meet the courier coming in to wake her. every carriage apparently full of sleepy passengers. and the guard in a state of sullen wrath at some delay. and starting up. "All full. then utter oblivion. wakeful also. this. Up thundered the train. One carriage only showed two places." said Karl. Helen could not sleep.--anywhere. The young gentlemen stared at the veiled lady and her grim escort. They were off at once." "Come with me. the consequences of which would fall heaviest on him. who gallantly invited the lady to enter. and for hours sat studying the unconscious faces before her. or remain till morning. or forgot herself in reveries. From carriage to carriage hurried Karl and his charge. Hoffman remained motionless and silent. desperately. I'm afraid to be locked in here alone. the other seats were occupied by six students. a pang of mortal fear. and the thing was done before Helen had time to feel anything but the relief which the protection of his presence afforded her. "Where will you go if I take this place?" "Among the luggage. and an air of redoubled respect." and with a sudden brightening of the eyes. joked under their breath. a grateful glance. saying.
"Thank heaven. as it rushed away for help. and even in her pain and peril. with a thrill of joy at the sound of a familiar voice. A lamp torn from some demolished carriage was held through an opening. groping in the gloom. supporting by main strength a mass of timber. Through the darkness she heard the pant as of some one struggling desperately. Be quiet.-"Bear up. and great drops stood upon his forehead. I will save you. then a cry close by her. But as she looked. which otherwise would fall and crush them all. Now. they are coming.As her senses returned she found herself lying in a painful position under what had been the roof of the car." A shout answered the faint halloo he gave as if to guide them to the spot. lads.-"My God. with an undertone of fervent gratitude in its breathless accents. and a moment after. and the shrill whistle of the engine. work with a will." They did work like heroes. he smiled with a cheery. Have no fear!" panted the voice. five of the students were swarming about the wreck. and Helen saw a sight that made her blood chill in her veins. and Helen cried out in alarm. The lads are gone for help. his eyes haggard with pain and suspense. my strength is going fast. the crash of wood and iron. are you there?" cried Helen. crushed and bleeding. energy. and her dizzy brain rung with a wild uproar of shrieks and groans." Karl's voice died in a stifled groan.-"Where are you? You are hurt?" "Not much. "What has happened? Where are the rest?" "We have been thrown down an embankment. eager voices. we shall soon be out of danger. something heavy weighed down her lower limbs. lay the youngest of the students. God only knows what harm is done. His face was ghastly pale. followed by a strong voice exclaiming. Across her feet. will no one come!" "Hoffman. I keep the ruins from falling in to crush us. in an agony of suspense. intent on saving the three whose lives were still in danger. you are safe. dear lady. Help is coming. Helen admired the skill. Lie still. . and kneeling close beside him was Hoffman.
"Where is the boy who was hurt? Bring him to me. intent on warming his delicate charge if he felled a forest to do it. faint but unhurt. The wounded. drink a cordial draught from some one's flask. the rest remained.-"He is alive. Helen had refused to go. who. and be praised. Karl and Helen soon brought back life and sense to the boy." For an hour terrible confusion reigned. as the band of waiters roamed about. and then. we must have a fire. as tenderly as if she were a child." and Karl was away to a neighboring hedge. leaving many anxious watchers behind. had seemed to have no ideas above pipes and beer. were taken. thereby overwhelming his brother and comrades with gratitude. the rest must wait till a return train could be sent for them. and soon returned in triumph to build a glorious fire. and it is damp here. A motley assemblage.and courage of the young men. soon herself again. the wide field was miles from any hamlet. you shiver. and I can bind up his wounds. "Mademoiselle. I am strong now. as far as possible. they raised and set her down. already strewn with sad tokens of the wreck. Karl was taken possession of as well as herself. and fear made many selfish. and chivalrously devoted themselves to Helen as a body-guard. then the panic subsided a little. A struggle of course ensued. and had given her place to poor Conrad. embraced. I have salts in my pocket. and never had human face looked so lovely as did Helen's to the anxious comrades when she looked up in the moonlight with a joyful smile. Two went on with the wounded lad. and such of the carriages as were whole were made ready to carry away as many as possible. forced to rest a moment. and softly whispered. but mutual danger . an hour ago. and a desolate silence succeeded to the late uproar. and the laden train moved away. and enthusiastically blessed by the impetuous youths. The moon shone clearly. for every one wished to go on. I want to help. the poor senseless youth lifted out. the women and children. The students rushed after him. which drew all forlorn wanderers to its hospitable circle. in a wide meadow. longing for help and dawn." said Helen. the dew falls. Soon Hoffman was free.
he whispered to Wilhelm and his mates. and while away this tedious night. In a sad state of confusion." As he spoke Karl appeared with an odd collection of baskets. making the night musical with blithe drinking songs. See. he gave the children whatever first appeared. then. comrades." The young men laughed and sang as only German students can sing. Dawn was reddening the east when a welcome whistle broke up the camp. bags. battle-hymns. eat and be patient. Here is your own basket with the lunch I ordered you. Every heart was cheered and warmed by the magic of the music. His care for the little ones as well as for herself touched her and her eyes filled. it is not bad. but still eatable. was already madly in love with Helen. as she remembered that she owed her life to him. and Volkslieder sweeter than any songs across the water. so I ransack the ruins and bring away my spoils.and discomfort produced mutual sympathy and good will. "You too need something. and fruit." and he deftly spread on a napkin before Helen cold chicken. the blond student. "Where is the brave Hoffman?" asked Wilhelm. and a general atmosphere of friendship pervaded the party. making them laugh in spite of weariness and hunger by the merry speeches which accompanied his gifts.-"Sing. and the moonlight betrayed her wet eyes. but Helen paused to gather a handful of blue forget-me-nots. He fancied she was worn out with excitement and fatigue. "Behold me! The little ones cry for hunger. tender love-lays. who. sandwiches. and recalled the sight of his face in the overturned car. Kinder. and with a fatherly air that won all the mothers. and the most forlorn felt the romance of that bivouac under the summer sky. strangers grew friendly. and bottles. Her voice trembled a little as she thanked him. the babies fell asleep. and the babies need a lullaby. Every one hurried to the railway. being in the Werther period of youth. fear changed to courage. Eat. and anxious to cheer her spirits. saying to . and sat at her feet catching cold in the most romantic manner. It is hard for all to wait so long.
and all remained at Heidelberg for several days to rest and recover. Helen saw these marks of the night's labors and perils for the first time. but Wilhelm unceremoniously removed the handkerchief. mademoiselle. Care must be taken. who waited with her wraps on his arm. in spite of the danger and discomfort. and take these as a souvenir. saying.Hoffman. III AMY'S ADVENTURE The excitement and suspense of the major and Amy can be imagined when news of the accident reached them. his coat torn." He smiled." he returned.-"It has been a happy night. I give you my word. On the afternoon of the last day the major and young ladies drove off to the castle for a . and as soon as they were seated desired to see his hand. mademoiselle. Karl was put under the surgeon's care. and added gratefully. I shall not soon forget it." "I already have my reward. as if surprised and touched by the young lady's interest. showing a torn and bleeding hand which must have been exquisitely painful. with the faithful Hoffman still at his post. She saw that." he began. When the story had been told." Hoffman submitted in bashful silence. Their gratitude and relief were intense when Helen appeared next morning. with a respectful inclination and a look she could neither understand nor forget. a mere scratch. for his hat was lost.--a scratch. and one hand carelessly bound up in his handkerchief. My uncle will thank you better than I can. as she handed a silken scarf to Wilhelm. hair dishevelled. and with a reproachful glance skilfully bound it up again. "It is nothing. standing bare-headed in the chilly wind. or harm will come of it. Helen turned pale. though you seem to have done so. though no longer able to disguise the fact that he was suffering from his wound. please.-"I do not forget that you saved my life.-"Make of that a sling. and put the poor hand in it.
rusty chains on the walls. and the vaults. The other visitors were gone. Amy wanted to see a certain cell. had a great fear of ghosts. The sun set. gathering damps. who had been appearing and disappearing in every nook and cranny of the halfruined castle. and no voice answered when he called. she saw the candle placed on the ground. seeing that she had none. and Helen hurried to and fro in great distress. with a little lad for a guide. Meanwhile Amy. and heavy bolts on the old door. and twilight began to fall when Helen put up her pencils. fearing all manner of dangers. glimpses of sky through shattered roofs. and the place seemed deserted. she ran on. Helen began to sketch the great stone lion's head above the grand terrace. and Anderl's reluctant service. and Amy. and searched high and low. except by themselves and the old man who showed the ruins. with a stone table. Coming at last to a narrow cell. her guide. delighted with little arched doors. and the major set off to find Amy. and legions were said to haunt the ruins after nightfall. so when Amy rambled on deeper and deeper into the gloom the boy's courage ebbed away with every step. and all manner of mysterious nooks and corners. full of flowers and ferns. Now little Anderl. went to take another look at the Tun. and forgetful of waning daylight. Her call was unanswered. but no other trace appeared. or lost her way among the vaults where the famous Tun lies. for the boy had lighted one. Amy's hat. . but no Anderl. she felt sure this was poor Elfrida's prison. where a nun was said to have pined to death because she would not listen to the Margraf's love. for his own comfort rather than hers. the major smoked and chatted with a party of English artists whom he had met. was found in the Lady's Walk. and called Anderl to come on with his candle.farewell view. having explored every other part of the castle. up steps and down. and glancing back. explored the old castle to her heart's content. the dwarf. The legend pleased the romantic girl. yet he was ashamed to own his fear. Nowhere could he find her. as the little terrace is called. Becoming alarmed lest the girl had fallen somewhere. the major called out old Hans with his lantern.
thou shalt pay dearly for leading me such a chase. "Lottchen. and having satisfied her curiosity. to whom she could make no intelligible appeal or explanation. the gloom had deepened and nothing was clear. her courage deserted her. she stood mute till the figure was very near. and was fast getting into a state of frantic terror."Little coward. "Mortal. and stepping forward. In vain she tried to recall some landmark. he has run away. when the sound of an approaching step reassured her. but found no opening. when she remembered that as she could speak no German how could she explain her plight to the stranger. in German. and she screamed desperately. turned to retrace her steps. and she was about to spring forward.--no easy task to one ignorant of the way. and hoping to come out somewhere. Crouching close against the wall. a vain effort to escape. like a lost child. and a low laugh followed the words. "Who is lost here?" said a clear voice. ghost or devil. and the man paused. but with a faint cry. as if looking for the person who called for help." As he spoke he drew the girl toward him. Amy's . laughing." she said. for the voice was that of a young man. for vault after vault opened on both sides. thinking the lady would find her way back. is it thou? Little rogue. I'll find it. Amy shrunk closer to the wall. as if guided by her cries. and preferring to lose his kreutzers to seeing a ghost. A sensation of intense joy rushed over her. calling the boy in a voice that woke a hundred echoes. a hand groped for and found her. and. stopped at last. fearing to speak. or some rollicking student." exclaimed the voice. if he understood neither French nor English? Fear took possession of her at the thought of meeting some rough peasant. On she hurried. and no path was discernible. Poor Amy's bewilderment and alarm increased with every moment's delay. straining her eyes. and really frightened. Holding her breath. Left in the dark. she heard a quick tread drawing nearer. She was in the shadow of an angle. as if the speaker found the situation amusing. she caught the outline of a man's figure in the gloom. she ran on till a misstep jostled the candle from her hand and extinguished it. But Anderl had fled home.
"Not yet. "I have that happiness. Shall we go? Your uncle will be uneasy. and clasping her hands imploringly. I must get her out of this gloomy place at once. "Who the deuce is it. I meant to help you when I followed." "Indeed it is. Some poor little girl lost in earnest. reassured Amy at once. with a faint smile and a petulant tone. sir. Very soon she looked up with dizzy eyes. "But I don't know _you_. with respectful earnestness." and she peered at him. rising. and soon came out through a shattered gateway into the shrubbery which surrounds the base of the castle. and twilight had come on rapidly. then gave himself entirely to the task of recovering the poor girl whom he had frightened out of her senses. cried. and spent with fatigue and excitement. so I was afraid to answer you at first. and find her party afterward." "I will. she lost consciousness." The true English accent of the words. take me to my uncle. he gently chafed her hands." . Miss Erskine?" asked the stranger. the moment you can walk. smiled and made a gesture of pleasure and surprise. sir.-"I was very silly. eying the pale. At his first glimpse of it he had started. trying to see his face in the darkness. and. the keeper's little girl. for it's rather startling to be clutched in the dark. I fancied it was Lottchen.-"I am lost! Oh. but my guide ran away. I was very thoughtless. "You know my name?" cried Amy in her impulsive way. she said. I lost the path. and let me take you to your friends. then? Lottchen never faints on a frolic. but now let me atone for it. and then I lost my wits altogether. in English. for the copse was thick. Upon my soul. Laying her on the grass. pretty face meantime with the utmost solicitude. Pardon the fright I've caused you. and the hearty tone of sincerity in the apology. the young man hurried on. like a bewildered child.terror reached its climax. and can speak no German. but as you did not answer." Lifting the slight figure in his arms." was the answer. I live in hope. Where is your uncle. my candle went out. with a smile.
I assure you. You were near the entrance to it from the vaults when you fainted. . that is a cruel wish. "Must we return by these dreadful vaults?" faltered Amy." "Nay." he said. giving directions to the keeper. Do you fear to trust me?" "No. and everything is so strange to me. and the stranger's manner fluttered her. Major Erskine's voice was audible." And Amy still hesitated. but better than going a long way round through the dew. but were forced to pause on reaching a broken flight of steps. but it is so dark. it is steep and dark. "I brought you up in safety. "It is the shortest and safest route. A dim light filled the place. and assuming an air of dignified displeasure. though she enjoyed the romance of the adventure immensely. with an odd mixture of fear and coquetry. shrinking back. motioned him to proceed. for Amy could not see the way before her." "I wish I had kept on a little longer. and not disgraced myself by such a panic. Can we get down safely? I see nothing but a black pit. which he did for three steps. and Helen's figure visible as she groped among the shadows of the ruined chapel for her cousin." "Are you sure you know the way?" "Quite sure. then Amy slipped. for then I should have lost the happiness of helping you. "We are in the park which surrounds the castle. but with unerring steps her guide went on till they emerged into the courtyard. for the interview was becoming too personal even for her. I have lived here by the week together. glad to move on. "Let me lead you. and gladly caught at the arm extended to save her."Where are we?" asked Amy. offering his hand. shall I take you down again?" asked the stranger. with a smile flickering over his face." They had been walking side by side. Amy felt rather than saw it. Without a word he took her hand and led her back through the labyrinth she had threaded in her bewilderment.
listening to the very brief account which Amy gave of her adventure. for it was far more valuable than the little pearl one which it replaced. and three stars on a heart-shaped shield. yet you look as if you liked it. 'S." cried Amy." said Helen. what shall I do?" she said. Helen examined the ring and shook her head." and hastily kissing the little hand that had lain so confidingly in his. and when I recovered my wits after my fright.-"Nell. Now I am safe.' the same coat of arms. as the girl pulled a handkerchief off her head. with its delicately stamped initials under the stag's head. "I want no thanks--forgive me--adieu. how could you go and terrify me so. I found this tied over my head. Amy blushed and answered shyly. Nell. as she led Amy into their room at the hotel. Nell."There are my friends. and exulted over. and began to examine the corners of it. and going through the vaults with him." Amy glanced at her hand as she spoke. it was very charming there in that romantic old park. "I didn't tell you all that happened before uncle. "I do. No one ever did that before." was the decided answer. Two tiny hands of finest gold were linked together about a diamond of . exclaiming. look here! The same letters. chidden. "Where did you get it?" she added. My hat was left behind. and when the lost lamb had been welcomed. for there on her forefinger shone a ring she had never seen before. half pleased. and stood staring as if struck dumb. childlike warmth of manner. in her frank.P. Amy rushed at once to Helen. looking half frightened. the same perfume--it was the baron!" "What? who? are you out of your mind?" said Helen. "Look! look! mine is gone. and having my hand kissed at parting. and I like it. like the Countess of Rudolstadt. You are as wet and dirty as if you had been digging a well. the stranger was gone. "Naughty little gad-about. examining the large. Oh. and this in its place! Oh.. wandering in vaults with mysterious strangers. fine cambric handkerchief. they drove home. as she inhaled the soft odor of violets shaken from its folds. but now I will. Come and let them thank you. Suddenly she uttered a cry and flew to the light. Nell.
"S. looking pale.P." "Have in Karl at once." remembering gratefully how much she owed this man. and as we leave to-morrow. and may get into trouble. He is quick to take offence. pleased with the flash of the ring. It really is absurd. to take advantage of me so. never mind. having learned his address.' is a baron." "How did it happen?" she asked. Nell. "Upon my word. and with his hand in a sling. He doesn't understand foreign ways. as she waved her hand to and fro. tragically. and what _shall_ I do about it?" "Tell uncle. especially where we are concerned." began Amy. I don't know. Hoffman came. The man will understand. I submit. but an English gentleman. and on the inside appeared again the initials." "How. but was as gravely devoted as ever. for if I wear this lovely thing long I shall not be able to let it go at all. and substituted "strangers. you know. How dared the creature take such a liberty!" and Amy pulled off the ring with an expression of great scorn. I'm sure. rather offended. . unless he put it on while I was stupidly fainting. We will manage it quietly ourselves. Nell?" "Karl is discreet. Rude man. it deepens the mystery." and Helen frowned. we shall be out of the way before he can play any new prank. Let me speak. we can send them back. find out the man and send back his things. I'm prepared for any enormity.' and. rather sternly. "He was neither a German nor a boy. though she was strongly tempted to laugh at the whole thing. "Amy. "But 'S.great brilliancy. He may know this 'S. It's my fate." said Amy. "I forgot that." but checked herself. or you will say too much.P. unless there are two Richmonds in the field. "Come into the _salon_ and see what Karl says to the matter. it is splendid. we will merely say we found these things and wish to discover the owner." broke in Helen. and after this performance. I think on the whole I won't speak to uncle. But. One must be prudent before--" She was going to say "servants.P. the manner in which German boys behave.
" and with his gentlemanly bow." "But the initials stand for Sigismund Palsdorf.--a laugh so full of hearty and infectious merriment that both girls smiled involuntarily. "If mademoiselle knows the name and title of this gentleman it will not be hard to find him. as this ring is of value.and listened to Helen's brief story with serious attention. in a tone of disgust and comical despair. He glanced at the initials. and heard Amy exclaim. and the man is English. the courier left the room. and Amy peeped out to see who the blithe personage might be." "Are you sure?" "Quite so. and Karl was just about to descend the stairs. was the owner of the ring. It is easy to find persons if one has a clue. and a Samuel should leave me this token of regard!" .-"Samuel Peters! That spoils all the romance and dims the beauty of the diamond. Inquire quietly. as a ringing laugh echoed through the corridor. To think that a Peters should be the hero to whom I owe my safety. Late in the evening Hoffman returned to report that a party of young Englishmen had visited the castle that afternoon. like all the rest of it. a moment afterward. Hoffman. what's that?" cried Amy. May I see the handkerchief?" Helen showed it." said Helen. and I wish to restore it to its owner. mademoiselle. mademoiselle. if you please. "The coat-of-arms is English. but both were quite grave. An old gentleman was entering his room near by. I dare say it is a mistake. doubtless. I understand heraldry." "We only fancy it is the same because of the initials." broke in Amy. rather sharply. and he. and had left by the evening train. and laid it down with a slight smile. and we know he is a German baron. "I shall do so. mademoiselle. "I will inquire. "Bless me. One of them had been named Samuel Peters. forgetting prudence in eagerness. A humorous expression lurked in the couriers eye as he made his report. and the peal of laughter remained a mystery. Both looked back at the girlish face peeping at them. and let you know at once.
Amy. "They tell me I can have no other fate. Amy opened her eyes. sir. comely and of the opposite sex. and said." IV A POLISH EXILE "Room for one here. Evidently an invalid." said the guard. She repeated it in French. He took another survey. but I still hope and fight for my life. No answer. and the ungloved hand attenuated and delicate as a woman's. and drawing his cloak about him with a slight shiver. especially if young. lightly touching his cloak to arrest his attention. with a green shade over his eyes. for his face was thin and pale. with a tone of satisfaction. in English. I hope. and in the purest French he assured her that the fresh air was most agreeable. that my malady is fatal. as he marked the martial carriage of the young man. wrapped in a cloak. The major put down his guide-book. sir?" said the major. "Not an invalid. and returned to his book. Hoffman. "Do the open windows inconvenience you. for women always pity invalids." whispered Helen."Hush. as a young man. Presently a hollow cough gave Helen a pretext for discovering the nationality of the newcomer.-- ." A stifled sigh and a sad emphasis on the last word roused the sympathy of the girls. and a general air of feebleness. got in and sank back with a sigh of weariness or pain. it is all I have to give my country now. the interest of the major. Helen and Amy exchanged glances of compassionate interest. we must wait now for chance to help us. his dark hair cropped short. The major took one look. "Thanks. he leaned into the corner and seemed to forget that he was not alone. on its way from Heidelberg to Baden. as the train stopped at Carlsruhe next day. and begged pardon for annoying them with his troublesome cough. and Helen removed her shawl from the opposite seat. in his bluff yet kindly voice. A sidelong glance from under the deep shade seemed to satisfy him regarding his neighbors. the question evidently unintelligible. and caught a fiery glance of the half-hidden eyes. shrugged his shoulders. Instantly a smile broke over the handsome mouth. sir?" she asked.
-"Ah. "My friends and myself left the University at Varsovie. and now all lie in their graves but three."You are a soldier. it is balm to my sore heart to hear words like these. low to himself. sir?" "I was. "For Geneva first. giving the unhappy outbreak the most respectful name he could use. who pricked up his ears like an old war-horse at the sound of battle. "It is a kind prophecy." Helen spoke warmly." "You were wounded. we felt much sympathy for you. it seems?" "Many times. we did our part. I go to . Exposure. Pressing both hands upon his breast. Poland loves liberty too well. and sorrow will finish what the Russian bullets began. I thank you. with such genuine interest and pity in her tone. it was impossible to resist. I am nothing now but an exile. and the young man listened with a brightening face. perhaps?" asked the major. and tell you what you will. for Poland is in chains. "You were in the late revolution." cried Amy. unless Montreaux is mild enough for me to winter in. with a flush of feeling on his pale cheek. and has suffered too much for it. and answered eagerly. to be kept long in captivity." The words "Poland" and "exile" brought up all the pathetic stories of that unhappy country which the three listeners had ever heard. instead of a quick." he added. brave one with my comrades. "From beginning to end. you are kind. Italy later." said the major. I accept it. privation. tell us about it. in a most un-English fit of curiosity. and won their interest at once. and die a long death." "You are young to have borne a part in a revolution. as volunteers. and I can no longer help her. I have no wish to see my country enslaved. and take courage. sir. God knows I need it. But it is well. and longed to have you win. yet I give my life. It is but little that I do. "Are you bound for Italy?" said the major." "Let us hope that a happier future waits for you both. the young man bent low." "Oh.
"I fly from an enemy for the first time in my life. like a grateful boy. Karl. they are almost worthy the lips that shall taste them. who _had_ understood the rapid dialogue. to the girls. tried to seem as unconscious as Amy. laden with yellow and purple clusters. with the vivacity of a foreigner. the good God knows best. . and. and exclaimed. old friend. with a charming mixture of timidity and grace. go thou and buy me two of those pretty baskets of grapes. and Hoffman came to ask if the ladies desired anything. hoping to hide her confusion under a playful air. now. grasping the slender hand outstretched to him. but with health thou art king of circumstances. in German. and Helen. I will please myself by giving them to these pitying angels. Thanks. "Say a friendly word to me at times. Speak they German?" "One. and Vevay. "Near Clarens." Here the train stopped again. but they understand not this rattle of ours.-"By my life. my Hoffman. permit that I thank you in this poor way. where Rousseau wrote his Heloise. I go to Switzerland. but the wound in the breast reopened. At the sound of his voice the young Pole started." Taking the two little osier baskets. and nothing but a miracle will save me. shall be conquered in the end. the elder. Casimer offered them." cried Helen. I serve this gentleman. but doubt if it avails. I wrote thee I was better. looked up." Karl disappeared. I am so homesick and faint-hearted. my boy. like a little purple goblet. like all cowards." "I drink success to Poland. where so many English go to enjoy Chillon. saying. and satisfy me that it is thyself by a handshake. while I?--Ah well." "Casimer! What wind blows thee hither. and thou?" "Where my master commands. it is Karl! Behold me. The climate is divine for unfortunates like myself.satisfy my friends. lifting a great.-"You give me kind words and good hopes. and life more cheap there than in Italy." "Where is Montreaux?" asked Amy. in such sad plight?" replied Hoffman." "Hard changes for both. juicy grape to her lips.
and Austria. It's not an amusement for respectable Englishwomen. for fortune seemed to favor his kind object. The wrongs and sufferings of Poland were discussed so eloquently that both young ladies were moved to declare the most undying hatred of Russia." said the major. or. You will agree with me there. as I foolishly promised you should. this unusual success. this odd fancy?" asked Helen. His own fortune was spent in helping needy students at the University. for in travelling on the Continent it is impossible for the gruffest. and healths were drunk with much merriment. and while the soldiers fought their battles over again the girls listened and took notes. with an interested face. except enough for his simple personal wants. and being skilful at all games. monsieur?" and the major glanced at the Pole. and to taste the fascination of the game which draws people here from all parts of Europe. We want to know how gamblers feel. I must try my fortune once." "How did it succeed. "It may be so: but it is not for me to censure my benefactor. and he refused supplies." "Wrong.The grapes went round. while Amy pinched her arm at the word "Sigismund. and as his purpose became known it caused no unkind feeling. to do evil that good may come of it. the most intense sympathy for "poor Pologne. nevertheless. when I little thought you would ever have an opportunity to remind me of my promise. He has done much for my . Sigismund chafed at this. with his peculiar smile:-"Surely. yet I have known one man who found some good in it. and as Baden-Baden approached. I've set my heart upon it. I have a friend who has a mania for giving. primmest person to long resist the frank courtesy and vivacious chat of foreigners. he resolved to play with those whose money was wasted on frivolities. yes. as a gentleman may be in the way of amusement. in her half-pleading. Prussia. "You may risk one napoleon each." All day they travelled together." "Excellently. and give his winnings to his band of paupers. morally. brought good out of it. or men either. who replied. half-imperious way. and poor professors. This displeased his father. "Uncle." said Amy. The major was unusually social and inquisitive. and so has Nell. My friend won often. rather. It is great folly and waste of time and money. with feminine wits on the alert to catch any personal revelations which might fall from the interesting stranger. they naturally fell to talking of the gay place.
He hates slavery of all kinds. Very unfortunate to be sure. so it could not have been your friend. doubtless. and Palsdorf is a true German. because he is original. and sometimes never meet till they are grown. but the young one was firm. The old baron stormed." . and asks too much. I think. He went back at the appointed time. I may tell you the truth of the duel and the betrothal." "Palsdorf!--was not that the name of the count or baron we heard them talking of at Coblentz?" said Helen to Amy. Sigismund was plighted. He gladly went away. and pretty Minna was less dear than a life of perfect freedom. glancing at Helen with mirthful eyes." Casimer looked eager to defend his friend. for love cannot come at command. he only loved his liberty. saw his cousin. strength and intellect. found it impossible." was Amy's demure reply. vowed he would never make her unhappiness as well as his own. and would not listen to a marriage without love. in the most artless tone of interest. permission was given. On returning. and set out again on his travels. and is so truly noble I can see no fault in him. "How our baron haunts us!" "It is the same. and as the girls were longing to hear the romance. to his young cousin. with a well-feigned air of uncertainty. tried to do his duty and love her. if you care to hear a little romance. and then sent away to the University till of age. sir. with the gayety and simplicity of a boy. wished his rival success. he was to travel a year or two. and. mademoiselle. is it not?" asked Amy. "Yes. "In Germany." said the major with a sigh. but pleaded for Minna. and will be free at all costs. much courage. and with increasing disquiet saw the time draw near when he must keep his troth-plight. the young people are often betrothed in childhood by the parents. Sigismund will not submit to sell himself. Usually all goes well. "Yes. The people seemed to consider the baron a wild young man. but his father is tyrannical. you know." "What an odd name! Sigismund is German. He is a good son. discovering that Minna loved another. and dares act for himself.countrymen and myself. I heard something of a duel and a broken betrothal. As it is well known. and so is in disgrace for a time. Many consider him wild." "Hum! loved some one else. but not always. when a boy of fifteen. "Not so. and then marry. as if to say.
. with an odd expression. however. has blown over. which the girls had kept. "I hate fair men." "Is he handsome. the major waits. that it might be at hand to return at any moment. this hero of yours?" said Amy." and Karl came up. All was bustle in a moment. and Sigismund with his liberty. should chance again bring the baron in their way. quite unconscious that she stood in everybody's way. "Hush! Here are Baden and Karl. half aloud. and leave the baron to you. for in spite of Helen's advice. as the major asked some question about hotels. who took less interest in love than war. V LUDMILLA "I wonder what that young man's name was. "A true German of the old type. "Take a new hero." replied Helen. hat in hand." pouted Amy. "That was as characteristic as the other act. My hero in good truth-brave and loyal. A son of one high in office at Berlin circulated false reports of the cause of Palsdorf's refusal of the alliance--reports injurious to Minna. "I will. glancing at the pale. leaving Amy looking after him wistfully. dark-haired figure wrapped in the military cloak opposite. blond and blue-eyed. Sigismund settled the matter in the most effectual manner. and that her uncle was beckoning impatiently from the carriage door. then. just in time to hear her and glance after Casimer. "Mademoiselle. with a stifled laugh. tender and true. by challenging and wounding the man. till he tires of it. she insisted on wearing it. the Pole walked away. and taking leave of them with an air of reluctance. Helen?" said the major. thankful for the interruption." was the enthusiastic answer. "Poor boy! I wish he had some one to take care of him. The storm." whispered Helen." said Amy. as if the question was suggested by the sight of the little baskets. under her breath. Did he mention it. nothing can be more romantic than that. tall and strong. feeling the ring under her glove. Minna will be happy with her lover. pausing in his march up and down the room."And the duel?" asked the major." she sighed. But for court influence it would have gone hardly with my friend.
" Helen glanced at Hoffman." "How sad! I wish we were going his way." "He is what he seems. They only caught a glimpse of the Pole that evening at the Kursaal. mademoiselle. "Casimer Teblinski. Hoffman?" said the major. or anything of that sort? One is often deceived. so that we might do something for him--at least give him the society of his friend. uncle." "I was rather interested in him. but next morning they . and as brave as he is accomplished and excellent." "A baron?" asked Amy. and Amy gave a sentimental sigh to the memory of the baron. You want to see the Lake of Geneva. who was decidedly a young lady of one idea just then. is he?--no impostor. so the poor lad must take his chance and trust in heaven for help. but of a noble family. uncle? That's capital! We need say nothing. for that is to Polish and Russian names what 'von' is to German and 'de' to French. but you can easily ask Hoffman. as the courier came in with newspapers. Chillon. and that neighborhood. but there is no one to nurse him. Where did you pick him up."No. who was the Polish gentleman who came on with us?" asked the major a moment afterward. Karl. if we can. "With care he would recover. "Perhaps we are." "Will he die?" asked Amy. but go on and help the poor boy." "On my honor. instead of later?" "Will you. "By the way." Helen spoke like a matron of forty." replied Helen. sir. sir. Why not go now. where he was with fellow-exiles. I think. "No. and looked as full of maternal kindness as if the Pole were not out of his teens. feeling that if he were not already engaged by them. pathetically. the major laughed behind his paper. in whom her interest was failing. as the 'ski' denotes. "In Paris. you know. he is a gentleman. he would devote himself to the invalid without any thought of payment. The courier bowed.
for a cool seat in the courtyard and a glass of beer were more tempting than turrets and prospects to the stout gentleman. It was worth the long ascent. Amy was particularly merry and charming. or she'll get lost again. and they began their winding way. Casimer had time to study the little tableau in many lights. Once when. Helen came leisurely after. often pausing to rest in the embrasures of the loopholes." she said to herself. while Casimer held a sun-umbrella over her. I am her body-guard." Casimer offered his hand to Amy. recalling the brother she had lost. and Hoffman followed with a telescope. remembering the vaults and the baron. and in spite of the dark glasses. as at Heidelberg." said the major. the young coquette seemed utterly unconscious. but pray take care of the child. but seemed to recollect himself and drew back . and he was invited to join their party for a little expedition. laughing lips. "I'm not equal to mounting all those steps for a view I've seen a dozen times. The major was in fine spirits. As she took the hand. the balmy wind blew. Sitting on a fallen block of stone. she uttered an impatient little exclamation. Leaning opposite in the narrow stairway. Karl made a gesture as if to take the pencil and show her. and kept the whole party laughing at her comical efforts to learn Polish and teach English as they drove up the mountainside to the old Schloss. making a pretty picture of the girl. Nell. that wide-spread landscape basking in the August glow. after repeated efforts to catch a curious effect of light and shade. mademoiselle. as she sat with rosy color on her usually pale cheeks. as he went. for the sound of that hollow cough always brought a shadow over her face. however. and Helen assumed her maternal air toward both invalids. brown curls fluttering about her forehead. It is steep--permit that I lead you. "She shall not be lost. Amy had raptures at her ease. wishing. as they climbed step by step. and vines peeped from without. while Helen sketched and asked questions of Hoffman. the girl blushed and half smiled. "I like this better. to convey warm glances of admiration. who stood beside her. when they had roamed about the lower part of the place. of which. and bright eyes full of pleasant changes. where the sun glanced in. watching her progress with interest. for which masculine iniquity he will be pardoned by all who have seen the foot of a German Fraulein.met. that his countrywomen possessed such dainty feet as those going on before him.
She was glad of it. and following the womanly impulse." "Thanks. mademoiselle." Amy led the way.with a hasty "Pardon. come away and forget that I wanted them. but Amy was making an ivy wreath for her hat. An excellent lunch waited on one of the tables in front of the old gateway. and the Pole pulling sprays for the absorbing work. please show me. He seemed to feel that something was amiss." Hoffman looked over his shoulder at the other pair. you are quick to discover my disguise." He did so. she smiled and offered the pencil. thanks! there will come a time when I may confess the truth and be myself. shot a quick glance at her. come down to lunch. for he had removed his hat when she spoke to him. saying simply. but not yet. for Helen touched her forehead significantly. especially Helen and Hoffman. Speaking rapidly. and having done justice to it. bidding the girls . and said in a low tone.-"I am an artist. I do not forget that I owe my life to you. monsieur. whom I desire to escape: I would earn my bread unknown. with an almost defiant air. as if concealment was irksome. with a peculiar blending of merriment. which plainly betrayed that for a moment the gentleman had forgotten he was a courier. the major made himself comfortable with a cigar." and his regretful tone was emphasized by an impatient gesture. returned the pencil and rose erect. and anxiety in his tone. dark face. humility. and a few masterly strokes gave the sketch what it needed." Helen glanced up and saw the expression of his face. will you also be kind in concealing? I have enemies as well as friends. let me recommend Vandyke brown. No. nor that you are a gentleman. yet something of shame in his eye. Monsieur le Major keeps my foolish secret. Karl said. uncle is signalling as if he'd gone mad. "Nell. and all went down more quietly than they came up. Trust me. for it was a daily trial to her to order this man about. As he bent near her to do this Helen stole a glance at the grave. and suddenly a disturbed look dawned in the eyes fixed on the glossy black locks pushed off the courier's forehead. may I hope for equal goodness from yourself?" "You may. which is _not_ affected by heat.-"I felt sure you understood it. it is quite impossible. I never will betray you. But not a word did he utter. you cannot reach the harebells without risking too much. as his lips moved as if to speak impetuously.-"Mademoiselle.
Amy covered her eyes. coolly gathering harebells from the clefts of the wall. and there is nothing below. the fall of a bit of stone and a rending sound above made them fly back to the path and look up. and taking it between his teeth. Crazy boy! Let us see what he will do. he rapidly swung down to the wide ledge. and how will he get down the lower wall? for you see the ivy grows up from that ledge. for part way down the crumbling tower. the vines are so torn and weak. when they grow in tufts up there. and the young ladies went to gather wild flowers at the foot of the tower. Casimer strolled away with him. what's that? Run. unperceived. Lightly folding and fastening the cap together. clinging like a bird to the thick ivy stems.keep near. "Hush. he dropped it down. "Deuce take it!" Helen and Amy looked at each other with a mutual smile and exclamation. "Not a harebell here. and Helen grew pale. and down swung the slender tree. exclaiming reproachfully. and. where ferns and mosses grew luxuriantly. In breathless silence they watched the climber till his cap was full of flowers. don't cry out or speak. the first time he frowned. and waited anxiously what should follow. for they must be off in half an hour. half angry. The girls stood in the shadow of an old gateway. Hoffman went to see to the horses. Helen cried. then!" There was time for no more--a violent rustle. hung Casimer. Twice he missed it. a boyish laugh. "Bravo!" and Amy rushed out." whispered Helen. with the young man clinging to the top. As he landed safely. the old wall is coming down!" Both had been grubbing in a damp nook. leaning forward." returned Amy. where one can't reach them. it may startle him.-"He knows some English. yet . "He can't go back. but the second he uttered an emphatic. from which there appeared to be no way of escape but a reckless leap of many feet on to the turf below. ready to leap into a lion's den for a lady's glove. Nell. isn't it provoking. Mercy. tried to catch the top of a young birch rustling close by the wall. How could he do it? I was only joking when I lamented that there were no knights now.
A sort of cloister ran round the court. "Now I shall go and press them at once in uncle's guide-book." was the smiling reply. my Ludmilla. Keep silent and I shall soon be with you. and as Karl kissed it warmly. Embrace the little one. I wonder if uncle knows that. paternally. and seemed refusing something for which the other pleaded eagerly.-"'Ludmilla' and 'the little one' are his wife and child." When Hoffman next appeared she could not resist looking at him. well dressed. each going a different way." Both left the place as they spoke. for if I wanted the moon you'd rashly try to get it. "Well. Casimer presented the flowers. for the excellent man adored his nieces. and Helen slowly returned to her party. and standing in one of these arched nooks. as if the exploit was a mere trifle.admiringly.-"How could you do it and frighten us so? I shall never express a wish before you again. They seemed about to part as Helen looked. . but the accustomed gravity was resumed." And Amy led the way to the major with her flowers and their giver. saying to herself in a troubled tone. he said in German. and do not let him forget me.-"Farewell. open on both sides. ready to set out by the afternoon train. I know. with a white hand now and then caressing his face. and nothing remained of the glow and brightness he had worn when with Ludmilla in the cloister. and she leaned affectionately upon him. she saw Hoffman and a young girl talking animatedly." "_Certainement_. laughingly offered her blooming cheek. little girls. what's the matter now?" he asked. His arm was about her. which was full of sparkle and vivacity now. for the maiden standing on tiptoe. doubtless. Helen roamed into one of the ruined courts for a last look at a fountain which pleased her eye. all having dined and rested after the morning's excursion. VI CHATEAU DE LA TOUR Helen looked serious and Amy indignant when their uncle joined them. else you will be in mischief again. so audibly Helen heard every word. Come and help me. The girl was pretty. mademoiselle.
We've always a spare seat for you." said Helen." With a flush of pleasure the young man came up. and she whispered to her uncle. and you can't deny you like to nurse sick heroes. and a foreigner. and promising to leave the matter in the major's hands. as the major. uncle. but hesitated to accept the invitation till Helen seconded it with a smile of welcome." began Amy. But she shook her head privately when she saw the ill-disguised eagerness with which her cousin glanced up and down the platform after they were in the train. if we see too much of him. and don't ask the Pole in. "Bless my soul. and is perfectly nonsensical. a Catholic. Little Amy isn't so foolish as to be in danger of losing her heart to a person so entirely out of the question as this poor lad. don't desert us. without being accused of coquetry. I should as soon think of losing my heart to Hoffman as to the Pole." and Amy sobbed in the most heart-rending manner. "Better be silly now than sorry by and by. being interesting." was all the answer she got. even if he wasn't what he is. One may surely be kind to a dying man. But soon the cloud passed."Helen says it's not best to go on with the Pole. Amy was in an injured mood. she might find this young man too charming. if you haven't pleasanter quarters. uncle. and Amy romantic. any one of which objections are enough to settle that matter. and she emerged in a radiant state of good humor. petulantly. Nell. You are as particular as your aunt. for the major called in Hoffman to . The lad amuses me. Teblinski. a very happy party. I only suggested that. with true masculine perversity. "Why. put his head out of the window and hailed Casimer as he was passing with a bow. _You_ do me justice. which lasted unbroken until the journey ended.-"Leave future meetings to chance. Helen comforted her by withdrawing all objections. shrouded in a great blue veil. and entirely forgets that she is a great deal more attractive than a feeble thing like me." "Nonsense. unobserved. and. "Here. my dear. he's an invalid. pensively reclined in her corner as if indifferent to everything about her. is she?" "Of course not. and not very coherently. For two days they went on together. Nell thinks she may pity and pet any one she likes because she is five years older than I. what an idea!" cried the major. my good fellow. if you can help it.
We can enter at once. and when. had not been brightened for a long time by such a charming little apparition as Amy when she shook out her airy muslins. entering by the old stone gate." "Well done. off we go without delay. and Helen's face proved her satisfaction. On his return he reported that all the hotels and _pensions_ were full. with its shadowy bed. . found herself putting flowers in her hair. as Karl was a favorite. An English widow and two quiet old German professors on a vacation were the only inmates besides themselves and the buxom Swiss housekeeper and her maids. Amy declared nothing could be more perfect. At Lausanne they waited while he crossed the lake to secure rooms at Vevay. quaintly furnished and opening into a terrace-garden overhanging the water. pleasant. and studying the effect of bracelets on her handsome arms. and comfortable. I engaged them all. but that at La Tour he had secured rooms for a few weeks in a quaint old chateau on the banks of the lake. after this long trip. for I really long to rest my old bones in something like a home. A _salon_ and four bed-rooms. The great chamber. with Chillon and the Alps in sight. and I am sure the ladies will approve of the picturesque place. Hoffman. who always kept his little troop in light marching order. and every one missed him when away. smoothed her curls. thinking that Teblinski might like a room there till he finds lodgings at Montreaux. and there was only time for a hasty survey of their rooms and a stroll in the garden before dinner. Even Helen. The suite of rooms I speak of were engaged to a party who are detained by sickness--they are cheap. The sail across that loveliest of lakes prepared the new-comers to be charmed with all they saw. dark mirrors.see his friend and describe the places through which they passed. they were led into a large saloon. "Count Severin is absent in Egypt. as if there was some especial need of looking her best on this occasion. ghostly wainscot-doors and narrow windows. and assumed all manner of distracting devices for the captivation of mankind. though not much given to personal vanity. It was late when our party arrived. An arrangement very agreeable to all. and the housekeeper has permission to let the apartments to transient visitors." said the major.
she was watching the lake. How like an angel that man did play!" chattered Amy.Both were certainly great ornaments to the drawing-room that evening. and. lighted her candle and tried to unbolt the tall. the major cultivated the acquaintance of the plump widow. noiselessly slipping from Amy's side. full of all manner of . but still she lay awake. all low and arched. Casimer surprised them by his skill in music. and exciting herself with recalling the tales of German goblins with which the courier had amused them the day before." she thought. like a pair of benign owls. Hour after hour rung from the cuckoo-clock in the hall. Helen could not sleep. and. with no care for him. though forbidden to sing on account of his weak lungs. for. perhaps. and. and was about to speak. and lulled herself to sleep by humming the last air Casimer had given them. as if startled by some sound she did not hear. sitting here alone while all the rest make merry. light. "It is close and musty here. diamond-paned lattice. he played as if inspired. Uncle says it's a very Radcliffian place. but the fourth opened easily. one into the passage. she glanced about to see whence air could be admitted. with all this old tapestry and stuff about. watching the curious shadows in the room. with clumsy locks and heavy handles. so must leave it for my amusement to-morrow. Uncle must see to this. enjoying the lovely night and music. The window was open. "I meant to have seen where all these doors led. he rose and vanished in the gloom of the garden. but through the starlight she saw a man's figure among the shrubs below. leaning from it. sitting with bent head and hidden face in the forlorn attitude of one shut out from the music. lifting her light. the third was locked. There was no moon. I'll open the other window. as the old professors agreed while they sat blinking at them. There were four doors in the room." she thought. she peeped into a small octagon room. and gayety that reigned within. Amy hovered about him like a moth. "It is Karl. she threw on wrapper and slippers. "Poor man! he thought of his wife and child. and. for the lonely figure in the garden haunted her." and Helen fell into a reverie till Amy came to propose retiring. and she wearied herself with conjectures about Hoffman and his mystery. but was so busy dressing I had no time. It was rusty and would not yield. giving it up. One opened into a closet. when the sound of a heavy sigh caught her ear. till something happened which destroyed her pleasure in both. when. and Helen stood at the window.
now feeling more angry than frightened. till she woke. and possessing much courage. The last hour that struck was three. she heard the sound of some one breathing as he listened at the key-hole. for Hoffman might be a traitor. and this charming chateau a den of thieves. Helen went down to breakfast a little paler than usual. Hoffman. yet. Hardly had she collected herself. the unknown person drew two bolts across the door and stole away. come and see the mysteries of Udolpho.-"Now. very entertaining to examine. was a man who looked over his shoulder. What they were she had no time to see. and the moment they rose from the table he exclaimed." "I'll say nothing.curiosities. Having finished these. She knew the major was close by. was the figure of a monk. smiling and rosy as a child. unless this is satisfactorily cleared up. Such things had been. Dressing herself. and she was in a mood to believe anything. with a ghastly face half hidden by hair and beard. and soon the summer dawn reddened the sky. and sitting close by in the dark. the attitude effective. feeling braver by daylight. Then a careful hand tried the door. bolted it and dropped into a chair. led them into a little gloomy room containing a straw pallet. Helen sat by Amy. but otherwise unchanged. so noiselessly that no sleeper would have been awakened. The noise did not wake Amy. The upper story was a perfect museum of antique relics. a stone table with a loaf and pitcher on it. Her light had gone out as she closed the door. and a moment's thought showed Helen the wisdom of keeping her in ignorance of this affair. but I'll not pass another night under this roof. and fierce black eyes as full of malignant menace as was the clinched hand holding the pistol. One instant Helen looked. A heavy table stood in the middle of the room." thought Helen. trembling in every limb. Saying nothing of her last night's alarm. where the light from a single slit in the wall fell on him. a sleepless guard. the next flung to the door. yet troubled by her secret. when steps were heard moving softly in the octagon room. girls. with some kind of weapon before him. who acted as guide. she resolved to wait a little before rousing the house. kneeling before a crucifix. The waxen mask was life-like." thought Helen. The major never liked to be disturbed till he had broken his fast. and seated at it. Amy cried out when she . and as if to guard against a second surprise. and the cell excellently arranged. for her startled eyes were riveted on an object that turned her faint and cold with terror. "Safe for a time. and.
first saw it, but a second glance reassured her, and she patted the bald head approvingly, as Karl explained.-"Count Severin is an antiquarian, and amuses himself with things of this sort. In old times there really was a hermit here, and this is his effigy. Come down these narrow stairs, if you please, and see the rest of the mummery." Down they went, and the instant Helen looked about her, she burst into a hysterical laugh, for there sat her ruffian, exactly as she saw him, glaring over his shoulder with threatening eyes, and one hand on the pistol. They all looked at her, for she was pale, and her merriment unnatural; so, feeling she had excited curiosity, she gratified it by narrating her night's adventure. Hoffman looked much concerned. "Pardon, mademoiselle, the door should have been bolted on this side. It usually is, but that room being unused, it was forgotten. I remembered it, and having risen early, crept up to make sure that you did not come upon this ugly thing unexpectedly. But I was too late, it seems; you have suffered, to my sorrow." "Dear Nell, and that was why I found you so pale and cold and quiet, sitting by me when I woke, guarding me faithfully as you promised you would. How brave and kind you were!" "Villain! I should much like to fire your own pistols at you for this prank of yours." And Casimer laughingly filliped the image on its absurdly aquiline nose. "What in the name of common sense is this goblin here for?" demanded the major, testily. "There is a legend that once the owner of the chateau amused himself by decoying travellers here, putting them to sleep in that room, and by various devices alluring them thither. Here, one step beyond the threshold of the door, was a trap, down which the unfortunates were precipitated to the dungeon at the bottom of the tower, there to die and be cast into the lake through a water-gate, still to be seen. Severin keeps this flattering likeness of the rascal, as he does the monk above, to amuse visitors by daylight, not at night, mademoiselle." And Hoffman looked wrathfully at the image, as if he would much enjoy sending it down the trap. "How ridiculous! I shall not go about this place alone, for fear of lighting upon some horror of this sort. I've had enough; come away into the garden; it's full of roses, and we may have as many as we like."
As she spoke Amy involuntarily put out her hand for Casimer to lead her down the steep stone steps, and he pressed the little hand with a tender look which caused it to be hastily withdrawn. "Here are your roses. Pretty flower; I know its meaning in English, for it is the same with us. To give a bud to a lady is to confess the beginning of love, a half open one tells of its growth, and a full-blown one is to declare one's passion. Do you have that custom in your land, mademoiselle?" He had gathered the three as he spoke, and held the bud separately while looking at his companion wistfully. "No, we are not poetical, like your people, but it is a pretty fancy," and Amy settled her bouquet with an absorbed expression, though inwardly wondering what he would do with his flowers. He stood silent a moment, with a sudden flush sweeping across his face, then flung all three into the lake with a gesture that made the girl start, and muttered between his teeth: "No, no; for me it is too late." She affected not to hear, but making up a second bouquet, she gave it to him, with no touch of coquetry in compassionate eyes or gentle voice. "Make your room bright with these. When one is ill nothing is so cheering as the sight of flowers." Meantime the others had descended and gone their separate ways. As Karl crossed the courtyard a little child ran to meet him with outstretched arms and a shout of satisfaction. He caught it up and carried it away on his shoulder, like one used to caress and be caressed by children. Helen, waiting at the door of the tower while the major dusted his coat, saw this, and said, suddenly, directing his attention to man and child,-"He seems fond of little people. I wonder if he has any of his own." "Hoffman? No, my dear; he's not married; I asked him that when I engaged him." "And he said he was not?" "Yes; he's not more than five or six-and-twenty, and fond of a wandering life, so what should
he want of a wife and a flock of bantlings?" "He seems sad and sober sometimes, and I fancied he might have some domestic trouble to harass him. Don't you think there is something peculiar about him?" asked Helen, remembering Hoffman's hint that her uncle knew his wish to travel incognito, and wondering if he would throw any light upon the matter. But the major's face was impenetrable and his answer unsatisfactory. "Well, I don't know. Every one has some worry or other, and as for being peculiar, all foreigners seem more or less so to us, they are so unreserved and demonstrative. I like Hoffman more and more every day, and shall be sorry when I part with him." "Ludmilla is his sister, then, or he didn't tell uncle the truth. It is no concern of mine; but I wish I knew," thought Helen anxiously, and then wondered why she should care. A feeling of distrust had taken possession of her and she determined to be on the watch, for the unsuspicious major would be easily duped, and Helen trusted more to her own quick and keen eye than to his experience. She tried to show nothing of the change in her manner: but Hoffman perceived it, and bore it with a proud patience which often touched her heart, but never altered her purpose. VII AT FAULT Four weeks went by so rapidly that every one refused to believe it when the major stated the fact at the breakfast-table, for all had enjoyed themselves so heartily that they had been unconscious of the lapse of time. "You are not going away, uncle?" cried Amy, with a panic-stricken look. "Next week, my dear; we must be off, for we've much to do yet, and I promised mamma to bring you back by the end of October." "Never mind Paris and the rest of it; this is pleasanter. I'd rather stay here--" There Amy checked herself and tried to hide her face behind her coffee-cup, for Casimer looked up in a way that made her heart flutter and her cheeks burn. "Sorry for it, Amy; but go we must, so enjoy your last week with all your might, and come again next year."
as if conscious of some danger." as if sadly wondering if the present year would not be his last. As Amy took her place that day she looked forlorn. she was a devoted teacher. but no longer offered advice or asked confidence. or lounging on the turf in frequent fits of idleness. She often looked anxious. The persistency with which the English lessons had gone on was amazing. however. below which lay the lake. then standing before her to recite. A seat at the opposite end of the walk was Amy's haunt. Helen rose silently and went into the garden. for of late she had fallen into the way of reading and working in the little pavilion which stood in an angle of the wall. and her pupil did her great credit by the rapidity with which he caught the language." sighed Amy. Now. All seemed waiting for something to break up the party. All very well for a time. and each corrected the other's. Casimer marching to and fro on the wide. overlooking lake and mountains. It looked like pleasant play. and Amy and Casimer looked as if they had fallen from the clouds. while he learned his lesson. and each was intent on her own affairs. Each seemed happier apart. Helen watched over Amy's health. and when her pupil came her only welcome was a reproachful-- . and no one had the courage to do it. or leisurely walking with her to the chapel on the hillside. Amy affecting to embroider while she taught. and generally forgetting everything but the pleasure of being together. sitting among the roses day after day. But the worthy man seemed to have been bewitched as well as the young folks. and within a week or two something like constraint had existed between the cousins. The major's decision took every one by surprise. but as the notes increased the corrections decreased. and once or twice urged the major to go. for she liked the sun. Casimer in English. They wrote little notes as exercises--Amy in French. for Amy usually tired of everything in a day or two. and at last nothing was said of ungrammatical French or comical English and the little notes were exchanged in silence. both talking and laughing a great deal. low wall. and was quite happy sitting by the plump. placid widow."It will never be again what it is now. and Casimer echoed the words "next year.
" and Amy was about to tear it up." replied Amy. It was very wrong and rude. "Ten o'clock. and I will do penance.-"The 'mon' is one abbreviation of 'monsieur. and leave out 'of' before minutes." "It is fifteen of minutes yet to ten clocks.' and let me call you so a long time. that you doubt me?" and Casimer assumed an injured look.' How dare you. ungrateful creature that you are!" . but not a villain."You are very late. and I have none person to make this charming English go in my so stupide head." Amy colored." was Casimer's reply. though his eyes danced with merriment. I am wiser now. and holding it out of reach." "Good! See here. "Who has said stupidities to you." "_Mon Dieu_! where have I gone in sinning! I am a _polisson_. when he caught it from destruction. that was only an oversight. '_Ma drogha. suicide isn't a pleasant subject. not a deliberate deception like that you put upon me. and want to be cheered up. those two words meant. I'm dull to-day. but had her return shot ready. How many times must I tell you that?" said Amy. the burden of which was. with great dignity. "'Mon Casimer Teblinski. Ma drogha_." "Don't be foolish." "What will you do then?" "I _jeter_ myself into the lake. "Don't exult. and I shall not forgive it.' but you put no little--how do you say?--period at the end of him. then--a little _plaisanterie_--what you call joke. as I say each day. Say to me that which I have made of wrong.' and when I asked him to translate it.' and that is of the most charming address. "Ah. laughing wickedly. sir. 'My darling. it goes now in English--_My_ Casimer Teblinski. "I heard Hoffman singing a Polish song to little Roserl.' I see no joke. said." "You told me '_Ma drogha_' was the Polish for 'My pupil. to cover her first mistake. I swear to you. in his best English. severely. Can you will to see it?" and he laid a little pink cocked-hat note on her lap. soon all goes to finish. looking like a mischievous boy as he did so. not many times.
in good English. I hate him. but therein lay the charm. He rose meekly.-"Poor Thaddeus! don't you pity him?--alone. sick. but sat so motionless. he listened with his head leaning on his hand.--it can never be. and afraid to own his love. but her voice was sweet and steady. as she read." yet each morning she felt." "Get up this instant. and suggested that they read it together. Amy agreed.-"Are you suffering to-day? Can we do anything for you? Please let us. and they were in the heart of the sentimental romance. he won his Marie. with his fine boots and plumes. though Amy said to herself each night. Amy's heart ached. while I--" Casimer spoke with sudden passion. so that he might correct her accent. he made no correction." "No. Casimer read a little.-"Be merciful to me a sinner. as she said. and I could not resist." was the stern reply. exclaiming. and tragedy airs. Catholic. And Casimer. and the Pole a fairer. Dangerous times for both. with increasing force. and in spite of the glasses. and begun for her own amusement. It was "Thaddeus of Warsaw. honorably restraining every word of love. seemed interested. like one weary of it. she said. by proposing to read her French to him. putting by the book. with folded hands and penitent face. kinder Mary Beaufort. Thinking to rouse him. for he recovered health. He was not to be pitied. for. yet looked volumes." that his teacher was glad to put an end to it. as if to hide some emotion he was too proud to show. "Sick. the girl felt the eloquence of the fine eyes they could not entirely conceal. and pausing abruptly. she fancied at last that he had actually fallen asleep. His sufferings were nothing. in French. there was no fatal blight on him.As Amy spoke. though Amy's face dimpled all over with suppressed merriment. but made such sad work with the verb "To love. half-angrily. and he had time and power to conquer his misfortunes. I was tempted. To-day. poor. Say your lesson. and her eyes filled." . if we may. and stop laughing. he found a fortune. for this will be your last. and a foreigner. turned his face away. for the girl had an improved Thaddeus before her. and though she never had read worse. the absurd imbecile. finding it more interesting than most modern readers. Casimer went down upon his knees. half-confusedly. how blank her day would be without him." a musty little translation which she had found in the house.
" . Amy dropped in a heap on the floor.P." was Helen's answer. or I shall get hysterical. tearfully." "Casimer is Sigismund Palsdorf. what is it? You are so odd to-night I can't understand you. "I've found him!" whispered Helen. and I want to know what has happened. holding up the glove with a gesture of triumph. "Oh. eagerly. watching the slender hands chase one another up and down the keys with untiring strength and skill. The trouble in Amy's face seemed reflected in Helen's. but I discovered nothing till to-day." "Where?--when?" cried the girl. as if fascinated. The woman was waiting for her money. she could restrain herself no longer. and that was the end of it. and slipping out. Amy was so nervous by that time. I found a collar that was not his. without another word. and I asked her. and would sing in defiance of danger."You give me all I can receive. and now. She kept her eye on Casimer. She saw him no more till evening. for his name is too much for her. not fainting. Suddenly she left the room and did not return. blinded by her tears." "Don't take my breath away. The feeling grew. played stormily. but a time will come when something may be done for me.' and I at once felt a great desire to know who owned it." And. with an intentness that worried Amy. but so amazed she had neither strength nor breath left.. Helen rapidly went on. tell me quick. and began to watch. As I looked over uncle's things when the laundress brought them this afternoon. he rose and left her. It was marked 'S. "Here. "The baron. then I will speak. and even when he was at the instrument Helen stood near him.-"I had a feeling as if something was wrong. to her great surprise. it was so unromantic. Nell. no one can help my pain yet. amazed. She took it into his room.' she said." she said. Sitting by her. though not a word had passed between them. and no more a Pole than I am. found her cousin in their chamber. "Who?" asked Amy. It will make you laugh. and I'm miserable. poring over a glove. The music excites me. then he looked excited. 'Monsieur Pologne.
for on looking back many things confirm the idea. Little Roserl came crying through the hall an hour ago. and her cousin sat by the window trying to collect her thoughts. He says he is a _polisson_. and I'll keep people away. and some of the peculiarities have left traces on the glove. The Germans are famous for masquerading and practical jokes." Here a maid tapped to say that tea was served. but the same coat-of-arms as the glove and the handkerchief."But it may be another name. no name. it isn't. and I fear that while apparently serving and enjoying us they are using him. the major and Mrs." "But why all this concealment?" cried Amy. I looked into it. but that may be only a cloak to hide darker designs. . and had been ordered by her mother to carry back. hatless." faltered Amy. in the dew. Cumberland were sipping tea side by side. She showed me a prettily-bound prayer-book which she had taken from the Pole's room to play with. Plead headache to excuse your paleness. I thought he was in love with the widow. too bewildered to answer. and clever at playing them. Karl brought us here. generous. and unsuspicious. "We must go down. I am sure. Helen engaged them both in a lively chat. and uncle will be terribly angry if he discovers it. Some one was pacing up and down the garden. "Why play jokes on us? You look so worried I know you have not told me all you know or fear. this is one." said Helen. if I can. or take you away on my own responsibility. looking frightened. "No. I am sure it is he. or some one will suspect trouble. and I asked what the trouble was. fond of jokes. To leave Amy in peace. We will manage the affair and be off as soon as possible. Casimer was not in the room. and the professors roaming vaguely about. a rogue. there is more to come. and they make tools of rich and ignorant foreigners to further their ends." "Heavens. and mean to demand an explanation from uncle." "I confess I do fear that these men are political plotters as well as exiles. "Don't be alarmed! I am on the watch. they are peculiar. the initials only a coincidence. Uncle is rich. as Amy followed her. To-night as he played I examined his hands. it may be! and that would account for the change we see in him. and I dare say it is a den of conspirators!" cried Amy. feeling as if she were getting more of an adventure than she had bargained for. dear. There are many such.
" "You are not the baron?" cried Amy." said a timid voice. Who are you?" "Your lover. striding down the path tempestuously. I entreat you. but his voice was steady and his manner earnest. then. Amy forgot Helen. are you?" "Shall I confess?" "Yes." She could not see his face. as Amy turned away." "You have deceived me. is not your true name Sigismund Palsdorf?" He started." "How?" "Will you own the truth?" and in her eagerness to set her fears at rest. "You are so imprudent I fear for you. forgetful of yourself! Little angel of kindness. "I pitied you because you were ill and lonely. and bring your things." "I do. Tell me my fault and I will amend. "Tell me. then. as the little white figure approached the tall black one. but I forgive that. but the hands that held it. but answered instantly. why do you take such care of me?" cried Casimer. "You to think of me." "Remember. saying earnestly.Amy forgot everything but the danger of such exposure to her reckless friend. "No. and would not see you suffer. she caught them up and glided unperceived from the long window. But he held her fast. You do not deserve my pity.-"What have I done? You are angry. His cloak and hat lay on a chair. "I will." "Who. eagerly taking not only the cloak." ." was the reproachful answer. I will swear it if you wish. you command me to speak.-"It is not.
I'm busy. But you keep me. forget me and be happy. and I say. or be anything to him. see him. but I didn't know it till he was so unhappy. yet still kissed and clung to her hands till she tore them away and fled into the house." Angry. "Go! go!" he cried." was the hasty reply. and conscience-stricken. Forgive me. vain and dishonorable as it is in one like me. Helen devoted herself to calming Amy. I try to hide it. then went to their chamber and there found Amy drowned in tears. He'll die. go. and I tell it. and I can't help him. I say 'it cannot be. I know it is folly. and when at last the poor. my dear. Casimer poured out his passion with an impetuosity that held her breathless. I have been very selfish. throwing himself down before her. you care for me. perplexed. before it is too late for you. Helen missed her soon after she went. can I speak to you a moment?" said Helen. "Not now. and never can be happy any more. feeling that her only safety was in flight. I must go--it is all wrong.The words were breathed into her ear as softly as ardently. as they left the breakfastroom next morning. teach me. she pondered half the night upon the still unsolved enigma of the Baron Sigismund. pity me. and I can only love and die. as the major shawled Mrs. but could not follow for several minutes. in a heart-broken tone. "Yes. very gravely. Oh. and terribly agitated.' I plan to go away. and now I've done this dreadful harm. and. for what now seemed blind and unwise submission to the major. ." faltered Amy. I pray to God to bless you always. Oh. I've been a wicked. Go. as now for me!" "Yes. but they startled her so much she could find no reply. I do. I love you. and despairing lamentations fit to touch a heart of stone. broken-hearted little soul fell asleep in her arms. wicked girl. "I do love him--oh. you take my heart. you are angel-good to me. VIII MORE MYSTERY "Uncle. Cumberland for an early promenade. I ask nothing. Soon the story was told with sobs and moans.
and wish with all my heart that it was possible to make you happy. and instantly assuming a confiding. We have been there once." .-"Mademoiselle. then. and I will agree. and spare Amy further grief by avoiding her for the little time we stay. meekly. As Helen was about to leave the _salon_ Casimer appeared. but it desolates me to know that I have grieved the little angel who is too dear to me. I swear to you I am not. "I will forgive you and carry your gift to Amy on one condition. are you not Baron Palsdorf?" "On my honor as a gentleman. gravely. and a most unhappy man." "I may see her if I am dumb? Do not deny me this. as she said. looking much relieved.Helen knit her brows irefully. with but a little while to live. For her sake. and explanations. remonstrances. It was evident he wished to avoid all lectures." "Tell me. the condition.-"Pardon my doubts. on your honor as a gentleman. dearest Mademoiselle Helene. I do not deserve a word from you." she said. I will not speak. "Lovers are worse than lunatics to manage." sighed Helen. persuasive air that was irresistible. Casimer. A single glance at her face assured him that she knew all. her eyes betrayed that. therefore I am sure you will be wise and generous. and permit me to send her this. He looked so penitent and anxious. as her uncle was gallantly leading his stout divinity away into the garden: "Amy has a bad headache. I trust you now. so it is vain to try to get any help from him. "Ah. and her voice was very kind. pardon that I spoke my heart in spite of prudence." "Are you. Believe this and pity me. what you profess to be?" "I am. he said." She did pity him. so you needn't postpone it for us. and her own softened. my dear." and the major walked away. for this answer had been given her half a dozen times lately when she asked for an interview. sir. I implore you. adding." Helen glanced from the flowers he held to his beseeching face. in truth. You know it is not. she had not the heart to reproach him. and it was also evident that he was in love with the widow. then. Amy's lover. Promise me this." "Very well. but I must look at my little and dear angel when she is near. your devoted servant. and I shall stay to take care of her. so we can't join your party to Chillon. in truth. you are kind! Name.
" "But. and she was in no mood to see anything comical in cracking eggshells while she bewailed her broken heart. with her bright hair loose on her shoulders. making a fragrant record and avowal of the love which she must renounce.-"So much the more need of me to make that little while happy. Casimer would have become desperate had he seen her in the little blue wrapper. that Helen could not deny him. It is a great risk to marry a foreigner. Amy. uncle must let me write or go to mamma. Oh. I'm rich.He pleaded so ardently with lips and hands. one a bud. and eager eyes. habits. character. sobbing and sipping.-"It is no sacrifice. He is good.--three dewy roses. one half and the other fully blown. and her pretty face wet with tears. Nell. I can't. She shall decide. or in eating honey in the act of lamenting the bitterness of her fate. "Casimer will not marry. races are so unlike. when he is so fond. and beliefs. so different in tastes. and when he had poured out his thanks she left him. my dear boy! how can I give him up. and no one need object if I don't." "I don't care if he is a Tartar. her appetite was good. why mind whether he is Catholic or Protestant?" "But a Pole. for. or any of the other wild tribes. I love him. yet so warm. over her roses." began Helen. but she answered. he loves me. moaning and munching. and no one else has a right to part us. we can believe what we will. with soft earnestness. a Calmuck. he is too generous to ask such a sacrifice. can I let him die . but Amy cried indignantly. surely I may do something for him." Amy's angry eyes grew dim. whose passion was so hopeless. dear. Think how much he has suffered and done for others. feeling very tender toward the unhappy young lover. "It need not part us. the great and sad objection still remains--his health. What do I care for his poverty?" "His religion!" hinted Helen. "Oh. He just said he had but a little while to live. as she dropped her spoon to seize his flowers. anxiously. and I am all he has? Helen. dear. Amy was at breakfast in her room. though her grief was great." sobbed Amy.
Let us ask him if Casimer is worse. You do it." and Helen felt grateful for any pretext to address a friendly word to Karl. since you are a friend of Casimer's. "You can. eagerly. and I intend to ask your advice." "I am both friend and confidant. for with this interest in the love of another came a sad sense of loneliness. yet withheld by a sudden sense of shyness in approaching the subject. as if she was denied the sweet experience that every woman longs to know. mademoiselle. It was never difficult. I feel oppressed by some mystery. sail. "Hoffman said he might live with care. longing to ask his help. don't you remember? and Hoffman knows the case better than we. Cumberland.-"Has mademoiselle any orders? Will the ladies drive." And Helen knit her delicate dark brows with an expression of great determination. mademoiselle? If so. "Can I serve you. when I have both heart and home to give him?" Helen could say no more. I don't like the air of this place. she kissed and comforted the faithful little soul. who had looked sad of late." "No. Hardly had she reached her favorite nook in the garden when he approached with letters. pray command me." "I will. and mademoiselle looks as if the air would refresh her." he answered. I can't without betraying myself. though she had decided to speak to Karl of the Pole.alone and in exile. "Switzerland is the refuge of political exiles. Hoffman. feeling all the while such sympathy and tenderness that she wondered at herself. and mean to solve or break away from it at once. or make a little expedition? It is fine. Helen went away to find Hoffman." he said. and I hate plots and disguises." She stopped abruptly. Amy never could remain long under a cloud. coming a step nearer. as if anxious to let her . for there can be nothing amiss in doing so. began to cheer both her cousin and herself. as she glanced at and threw them by with an impatient sigh. Leaving Amy to compose herself. and intend to leave as soon as possible. and had been less with them since the major became absorbed in Mrs. for he seemed to divine her wishes and appear uncalled the moment he was wanted. and seeing Helen's tears. Pardon that I make the suggestion. and asked with respectful anxiety.
he is worth it. softly. Till he denied it on his honor I believed him to be Baron Palsdorf. Please tell me if he is indeed fatally ill?" "It was thought so some months ago. She collected herself soonest. relieved. rapidly told the story ." "Then." "God knows it is!" The exclamation broke from Hoffman as if an irrepressible impulse wrung it from him. and without turning. said.-"Ah.-"I have been troubled by a strong impression that Casimer is not what he seems. then?" "Everything. as motionless and expressionless as a statue. but looked on the ground. Casimer Teblinski is his real name?" No answer. if it were only wise to let him be happy. I am not annoyed. I must know the truth. She turned sharply. Helen started. and added. and the poor lad sorely needed comfort. quietly.-"For my cousin's sake. Several curious coincidences make me strongly suspect that he is passing under an assumed name. Did he speak the truth when he said he was not?" "Yes. and be equally frank. without the embarrassment of words. and since he has loved. "He has told you. as if fearful of venturing too far.understand that he knew all. now I hope. Pardon me if this afflicts you. mademoiselle. mademoiselle." Not a word said Hoffman. Happiness cures many ills. but Helen seemed to confide freely in him. It is so bitter to deny love. and said." Hoffman paused. Now I may speak freely." "He did. yet troubled. Helen lost patience. for I know you will sustain him. I always thought care would save him. and for a moment neither spoke. he has improved. She looked up quickly. and in order to show how much she had discovered. I am glad. I am his only friend here.
" he said. but in this she is mistaken. You Germans love masquerades and jokes.of the gloves. handkerchief. gravely. "When uncle used to talk about the Polish revolution. and it clears up my doubts. Of this I solemnly assure you.-"I have it!" "Now for it. as if sure of the truth now. Hoffman looked up with a curious expression. and once he opened his lips to speak. his color rose. I cannot break my word. and no Pole. He sobered in a breath. entirely forgetful of herself in her eagerness to solve the mystery. This is one. as if preparing for some new surprise or attack. there was." he muttered. but I will confess to you that Casimer does _not_ bear his own name. and with an entire change of countenance said.-"Pardon my rudeness. a short. I remember a gallant young Pole who did something brave. admiration and annoyance seemed to contend.'--and Casimer is the man. "He _is_ the baron. She mused a few minutes. He met her eye to eye. to her surprise. Hoffman stood so near that her dress touched him. and exclaimed. and the wind blew her scarf against his hand. prayer-book and collar. "Mademoiselle. I can say nothing till released from my promise. ring. Casimer is _not_ the baron. mademoiselle's acuteness threw me off my guard. but. with a flash of triumph in her eyes. bright face." Helen spoke with an eager. in an embarrassed tone." "I knew it!" said Helen. but mademoiselle may rest assured that Casimer Teblinski is as good and brave a man as Stanislas Prakora. Hoffman laughed. and never wavered till her own fell.P. omitting all hint of the girlish romance they had woven about these things. "I am about to prove to you that I feel honored by the confidence you place in me." . he did fight for Poland. full of hearty but brief merriment. As she ended. in which confusion. but I must spoil it before it is played out. The name just flashed on me. but she moved at the instant. and as she thought he watched her while his eyes kindled. amusement. Stanislas Prakora--'S." She stood up and looked him straight in the face. and his name is known and honored there." "Pardon. mademoiselle is keen. irrepressible laugh.
mademoiselle. for in this reluctant reply she read confirmation of her suspicion. and never relinquish your hearts' desire?" "Never." "This accounts for your disguise and Casimer's false name?" "Yes. "You _are_ exiles.-"All this may be amusing to you. but still hope and plot. we cannot escape. I fear the romantic interest with which the ladies have honored us will be much lessened. as surely as the sun shines. Is your name also false?" "I am Karl Hoffman. and value people for their own worth. with such passion that Helen found patriotism a lovely and inspiring thing. not for their rank. but we shall still remain their most humble and devoted servants. and glanced at his darkened skin with a shake of the head. "Alas! yes. "I dare not answer that. unable to control her interest." "No matter. "And nothing more?" She smiled as she spoke. I hate titles. "You have enemies?" she asked. mademoiselle!" "You are in danger?" "In daily peril of losing all we most love and long for." answered Karl. eagerly. and hope that a time will soon arrive when we may be ourselves." . Do not wound me by a doubt. "Can you not conquer them." was the mournful reply." Something in his tone nettled Helen. but it spoils my confidence in others to know they wear masks. We beg that mademoiselle will pardon us the anxiety and perplexity we have caused her. as Karl dropped his eyes to hide the curious expression of mirth which he could not banish from them.Helen's eyes sparkled. or escape the danger they place you in?" "We hope to conquer." he said. and she said sharply. and thought that Amy would rejoice to learn that her lover was a hero. and feeling the charm of these confidences.
as Casimer came up with an imploring glance. who was in an antic mood and disposed to be gracious. Every one was dancing but herself and Hoffman. as Amy said. He seemed to take courage at this. pride. The vineyard sloped up from the chateau. monsieur. As the gentlefolk approached." A look of triumph was in his eyes as he swept her away to dance. the major turned to the Count's buxom housekeeper. and as Mrs. and away they went as nimbly as the best. and on the hillside was a small plateau of level sward. He glanced covertly at her. and saw that she was beating time with foot and hand. his fate is almost as hard as Casimer's. while underneath danced the chateau servants with their families. with a shy glance from her hand to the spot where he had stood. he said. and whispered. All were glad to go. as if fearing to trust himself a moment longer. shadowed by a venerable oak now hung with garlands. who stood near by. her lips smiled. The major appeared to share the secret disquiet that made the rest roam listlessly about. walking straight up to her. as if carried away by her words and manner. and was gone. but stopped to blush.-"Is it possible that I may enjoy one divine waltz with you before I go?" Amy gave him her hand with a glad assent. and. for a German waltz is full of life and spirit. Helen stood where he left her. and Helen was left alone. and .-"Mademoiselle. as she had never danced before. as coolly as if a crown-prince." Some subtile power seemed to make the four young people shun one another carefully. or hesitation in her manner. till little Roserl came to invite them to a _fete_ in honor of the vintage.-"It _is_ pleasant to have one's hand kissed. for. the revel stopped.Helen spoke impulsively. though all longed to be together. hoping in the novelty and excitement to recover their composure. She assented. Poor Karl. and besought her to waltz with him. but there was no anger. Hoffman caught her hand and pressed his lips to it ardently. as she leaned toward him with a quiet "Thanks. but the major. to the music of a pipe played by little Friedel. dropped it. wonderfully captivating to English girls. that her eyes shone. bade Friedel play on. Amy laughed. apparently unconscious of the fact. Cumberland refused his hand with a glance at her weeds. may I have the honor?" A flash of surprise passed over her face. thinking.
" and Helen colored beautifully as she spoke. in a careless tone. said deferentially." was the brief reply. and begs you to come at once. Hoffman never took his eyes off Helen's." As he impatiently opened it. but his face grew very tender. were made to fall.-"Did you read the name on it?" "I saw only the flowers. half conscious that he was reading her heart as she read his. we do not need you. When they paused. Hoffman saw the change. Soldier-like we march away. sends you this. Ludmilla. he also. "And read _them_?" he asked. leaving it very cold and quiet. saying.German gentlemen make it a memorable experience when they please.-"Monsieur Hoffman. "Thanks. he walked away. her quick eye caught the signature. saw it. as if well pleased. and seating her he went away to bring her a glass of wine. for just then a lad came up. fell out. As they circled round the rustic ball-room. She restored it. at the hotel. she was breathless and pale. and smiled." A slight shadow passed over her face.-"Will mademoiselle permit me to visit my friend for an hour?--she is expecting me. and taking it up." "Go." . She was spared an answer. humming gayly to himself Goethe's lines. opened it. He said not a word. madame. and looked intensely annoyed as he asked. very beautiful in her sight. I shall not be long away. and. as she forgot everything except that he had saved her life and she loved him. as if his absence was a thing of no interest to any one. quickly. A worn paper. "Thine ever. with a look she could not meet. she saw a little case at her feet. when Hoffman returned.-"Gathered where Helen sat on the night of August 10th. containing some faded forget-me-nots and these words. and in the act. as if fascinated. the wind blew the paper into Helen's lap. When we've held them each their day." and giving her a glance that made her turn scarlet with anger at its undisguised admiration.-"Maiden's heart and city's wall Were made to yield. then. as he offered a note. but assuming suddenly his usual manner." There was just time to restore its contents to the case. As her dizzy eyes grew clear. she looked up at him.
" returned Helen. and the _salon_ deserted by all but the two young ladies. Steps approached. and became intensely interested." The major looked as if braced up to some momentous undertaking.-"I'll bear them." muttered Helen. Amy's mother gave her into my charge. my dear. and will take the consequences. . I've played a bold game. don't say that!" cried Amy. despairingly.-"Girls. both held their breath and felt their hearts flutter as they never had done before at the step of mortal man. "Girls. but you don't." "We know what it is." AND THE BARON Dinner was over. As to the lads they must take care of themselves. and the young men you love are impostors. I've something to tell you. The major's eyes twinkled as he assumed a perfectly impassive expression. don't. and accountable to me alone. fluttered. grimly." "I thought so. The door opened. Helen is my ward. who sat apart. yet each was conscious of mingled disappointment and relief when the major said. neither looked up. coolly. sir. and answered." said Helen.IX "S. apparently absorbed in novels." Suddenly both girls colored. but you are quite wrong. dashed bravely into the subject. "Girls. my dear. shrugged his shoulders. uncle. you have been deceived. and planting himself before the two young ladies. in your surmises. if you will give me your attention. but I've won it. stoutly. and rapidly delivered himself of the following thunderbolt. planning to fly if certain somebodies _did_ appear. as you will soon see. The major laughed. both buried themselves in their books.P. as I will prove in five minutes. and with the charming inconsistency of the fair sex. "Oh. uncle. thinking he was about to declare his love for the widow." "They will fall heaviest on you. in a grave tone. "I beg your pardon. and won't reproach me for anything that has passed when I explain matters. while each was privately longing for somebody to come.
being younger and more in love. my lads. appeared as an exile.-"You don't know what trouble has come of it." "Uncle. we will forget and forgive. we had a merry time planning our prank. no. we promise!" "Then. so we left him to come into the comedy when he was ready. Karl did capitally. with blond hair and beard. We met at the Fortress. "You promise to be lenient and mild. though I objected. I knew the truth all the time. Angry. refuse to forgive their frolic. No. and plead for your lives. both admired you. who are they?" cried both girls. only speak!" was the command of both. little girl. to let them confess their motives. liked the part. the other. and the worst of it is. I do know everything. He'd done it before. . you were mad. and fail to see any trouble. my dears. "Wait a bit. for in all respects he has been true to his word." "Perhaps I was. One of the lads insisted on playing courier. two young men overheard Amy sigh for adventures. breathlessly. I knew one of them. and made quick work with the prejudices of my well-beloved nieces-hey. don't have hysterics. as I had perfect confidence in both. that remains to be proved. and I am much attached to him. they resolved to devote their vacation to gratifying your wishes and enjoying themselves. and two gentlemen entered the room--one. as you will allow. to forget their love. They had seen you by day. and would have his way. Amy?" "Go on. when you sat in the balcony." "No. so when they confided their scheme to me I agreed to help them carry it out. The other couldn't decide. with brilliant black eyes. gay young fellows. "Well. He began at Coblentz."It's true. I'm not bound to expose the poor fellows to your scorn and anger. and rend their hearts with reproaches." briskly replied the inexplicable major. and Helen advise making a romance out of the gloves one of the lads had dropped." said Helen. Now. but listen and enjoy the joke as I do. the other tall and large. slight and dark. come in. At Coblentz. and to award a gentle penance for their sins?" "Yes. and thought a little adventure or two would do you good. if you are going to be high and haughty. better let them remain unknown. tragically. and Amy added. so don't cry." As he spoke the major threw open the door. after doing the mysterious at Heidelberg. and being idle. and liked the other immensely.
and Sidney followed her into the garden. you trusted me in spite of my disguise. "Heart's dearest. with the courage of her nature. like one conquered but too proud to cry "Quarter. without waiting to see its effect. maiden shame overcame anger. and shame-stricken as they were. feminine curiosity overpowered all other feelings for the moment. they felt no doubt. you are false and forsworn." And. the courier and exile are defunct. and the girls sat looking at the culprits with eager eyes.-"Karl!" "Casimer. took refuge in flight. and see if I was not true in spite of all my seeming deception. finding it vain to meet and bear down the steady. having fired his last shot. then drew near. and dare to offer you the title that you hate. and neither had seen them in their true characters but once. knelt down before her. with an undertone of deep feeling below the mirthful malice of his words." Her lover watched her till she hid her face. presumptuous as it is. and Sidney Power." "You said your name was Karl Hoffman. and from their ashes rise Baron Sigismund Palsdorf. but love was stronger than pride. Helen. and said." "No. How can I believe that anything is true?" And Helen drew away the hand of which he had taken possession. for it carried confusion into the fair enemy's camp. the major prudently retreated. pardon me that I am a foolish baron. full of instant recognition. For a moment the four remained mute and motionless: then Amy. say you forgive the deceit for love's sake. she dropped her head into her hands and sat before him.bewildered. and involuntarily exclaimed. glad to gain a little time to calm . Catechise me. tender glance of the blue eyes fixed upon her. then I shall return to bestow my blessing or to banish these scapegraces forever. It was tremendous. and I will prove that I am neither false nor forsworn. glad to see the allies separated." "No. like all timid things. tried to face and repulse the foe.-"Mademoiselle. trust me still." began Helen. my nephew. my friend. and. and. and gave the besiegers a momentary advantage of which they were not slow to avail themselves. I ask to be allowed to serve you all my life. young ladies. I have served you faithfully for a month. Helen. I give you one hour to settle the matter. for though the disguise was off.
you denied it. it is true. with a triumphant smile at her betrayal of jealousy. to-morrow you shall see how dear you already are to them. and my family choose to call me Sigismund. you shall be Karl. for it assures me that all my life I shall be something to you. and in England we are not won in this wild way. What next?" "When I asked if you were the baron." "How if she is my dearest sister. as it became evident that he no longer considered restraint necessary. I think I should have confessed all. "How if she is a former love?" he asked. so?" And Helen's eyes dimmed as the thought of parents. home and love filled her heart with tenderest gratitude. I also have friends. with a sly look at her changing face. that she might welcome you and bring the greetings of my parents to their new daughter?" "Is it. I will yet prove you false. "_Leibchen_. not yet. "Who is Ludmilla?" she said. You said Casimer had fought in Poland. my heart." "Pardon! I simply said my name was Hoffman." and Helen warned him away. lest too easy victory should reward this audacious lover." was the laughing answer. the courier. I am prepared for anything. for whom I sent. it will console me for being so duped if I can call you traitor. "Good." Helen felt herself going very fast. I like that well. "It is.herself before the momentous question came. for she had long been an orphan. for I write often and they wait eagerly to receive you." cried Helen. and made an effort to harden her heart. "I may not go." "No. sharply. still unable to meet the ardent eyes before her. I have more questions." . indeed. that is superb!" exclaimed the baron. You did not ask me point blank if I was the baron. "My faith. I have many. had you done so. for it was very hard to restrain myself this morning. all your life to me. "I'll never call you so. "It would cause me no surprise.
for I could not learn of her in years what I learned in a day when I met you. Sidney Power. took possession of Amy. and speaks too well for me.-"And the betrothed. look in my face and tell me you believe it. utterly and forever." "But his illness was a ruse?" "No. and believe me when I promise to play and duel no more?" "Yes. the romances he told us about your charity.-"I do believe. he was wounded in the war and has been ill since. with a keen glance. there are both. and with her heart upon her lips. wistfully. but less so than another. Truth. in truth.--is she. "Sidney is enthusiastic in his friendship. his cough misled you. tenderness. Helen brushed back the blond hair and looked into her lover's face. Will you forgive my follies. in Paris. presuming upon his cousinship. but he doubtless glorified the simplest by his way of telling it. Sigismund!" Meanwhile another scene was passing in the garden. power. Sudden color rose to his forehead." He spoke now as seriously as fervently. and I have lost it." "Then.--it ends in solemn earnest. Sidney. as he drew her close. and her eyes were full of happiness. Not of a fatal malady. your cousin. this was begun in jest. and when we go there you shall see them. and candor were written there in characters that could not lie. for I love my liberty. Helen. but with a modest man's annoyance at hearing himself praised.--not in shame. bidding her "strike but hear . Yet I am glad. and for the first time his eyes fell before hers." "Then. and with no shadow on her own. your virtues. I am not to bear the burden of his sins. Minna.--his and my friends. and--your love of liberty were false?" said Helen. not dear to you?" "Very dear. and _he_ has no scruples in fabling to any extent. he was not the brave Stanislas?--and there is no charming Casimer?" "Yes. she answered. he did."Crudest of women. true Poles." She yielded her hand now. but under his own name. I own. for these tales had done much to interest her in the unknown baron. do love you. The facts are true. yet she added.
but you are very much engaged now. What made you think of this prank?" "You did. A while ago I went to England. "It looks like neglect. and our fond mammas vowed we should one day mate. you know. and twice of your being engaged. but never mind that now. and very proud of it I am. I'll show you my scars some day. listen and be appeased. strongly tempted to repeat her part of the childish scene as well as her cousin." . Too young for such nonsense. so put on your ring and make no romances about any 'S. I didn't like it." "I shall wait till you clear your character. and he got the kiss without the blow. but her hand was not free.' but myself." "I do. You forgot me. yes. reproaches and exclamations. Being in a fret because you couldn't go also. "For eleven years we never met. and 'Cousin Sidney' remained an empty name." "I admire your patience in waiting. were you wounded?" "Bless you. I was in India till four years ago." cried Amy. so I kept away till my work was done.P." "We shall see. and I was only engaged a little bit once or twice. Years ago you and I played together as babies. Sidney. When I was a youth of fourteen and you a mite of seven I went away to India with my father.him. Do you remember it?" "Not I." "My dear boy. and I've done it. sir. I confess. struck me with this very little hand. "_Ma drogha_. Was it true?" "I never flirt. and when I offered a farewell kiss. and never mean to do so any more. so flattering to me. I'm not going to care for a deceitful impostor. since then I've been flying about Germany and fighting in Poland. seized with a sudden desire to find my wife." "I shall see that you don't flirt." was the sharp answer. and I also remember that in my boyish way I resolved to keep my word sooner or later. where I nearly got my quietus. but I'd heard reports of your flirtations. you haughtily declined the honor. and at our parting promised to come back and marry you. varied by cruel exultations and coquettish commands to go away and never dare approach her again." Of course she listened with the usual accompaniment of tears and smiles.
and fell in love with it. and you never saw it. Turning over a trunk of things left there the year before. but let me find you and make myself known when I liked. of which I'd no more need than an African has of a blanket. but I never did till the other night. Your mother told me much about you. Then a scene I'd read in a novel came into my head. but not a bit so with you. I meant to speak soon. and I went after you." "It was very base."I? How?" "When in England I saw your picture. and meant to follow it up by acting the baron. put on a mustache. and I can't help feeling sorry that I wasted . and admired Helen immensely." "Peacock! Did you think that one glimpse of your black eyes and fine hair would make such an impression that I should recognize you again?" "I did. "Very hard with Helen. but had not decided how. and for that reason disfigured my head. Amy?" "I thought so then. and told him my case. but Sigismund forbade it. and when we overheard you in the balcony we were glad of the hint. I let him begin. I was proud of my curls. I should think you'd be devoured with remorse. meaning to personate an artist. he is full of romance." "Didn't I do that well? I give you my word it was all done on the spur of the minute. and I just repeated it _con amore_. it was capital fun to play the forlorn exile. and assumed hideous spectacles. wonderingly." "How well you did it! Wasn't it hard to act all the time?" asked Amy. It strikes me as ridiculous now. Meeting you at the castle. You were in Switzerland. and followed you unseen to Heidelberg. Sigismund was with me when you came. though you were many a mile away. Ah. and I saw she would not frown upon my suit. for you are such a confiding soul any one could cheat you. study English. so he was wild to have a part in the frolic. I cropped my head lest you should know me. but I sacrificed them all to you. and flirt with my cousin. I've betrayed myself a dozen times. and decided to be a Thaddeus. Amy?" "No. when you came out so sweetly with that confounded old cloak. I made a good beginning with the vaults and the ring. I came upon my old Polish uniform. you were so bent on finding him. At Coblentz I met Sigismund. Was I very pathetic and tragical. Did you never suspect my disguise. Helen used to say that she felt something was wrong. I begged her not to tell you I had come. Aren't you sorry?" "For one thing. she is so keen.
Will you be Countess Zytomar and get laughed at for your pains. it's only a girlish fancy. Protestant cousin. or because your love was only a girl's fancy. but go soberly to work and do something that shall make me proud to be your cousin. dying. and let us take care of you in quiet England. and her anger melted away like dew before the sun." "Shall I be a count? They gave me a title in Poland. that she thinks much of him and loves Karl Hoffman. a barren honor." "No fear of him. which will soon be forgotten.so much pity on a man who--" "Loves you with all his heart and soul." He was in earnest now. abruptly. she is not one to make confidantes. her sadness lately. poor souls. when I was a poor. confided in. How it will be with the baron I cannot say. you turn cold and cruel. and you shall see how true and good and steady I can be when I have any one to love and care for me. Amy. she felt it. and she?" "I think he will be happy. bent only on amusing myself at the expense of others? It's not so. dear little tender thing? and do you think now that I am a heartless fellow. with a good old English name?" "Neither. "Desperately. I've been alone so long it's new and beautiful to be petted. rich. thank you. Did you cry and grieve over me. and something in her way of brightening when he comes. he wins his way everywhere. Power. Is it because the romance is gone. won't you?" "If you'll change 'cousin' to 'wife' I'll be and do whatever you please. in return for a little blood. but I know by her tenderness with me. Now that I'm your well." and the gay young gentleman heaved an artful sigh and coughed the cough that always brought such pity to the . I wish I were as fortunate. but I'll try. and looked up to by an angel like you. who adores you as that Pole never could. "Poor boy! You will go home with us now. "Are you disappointed that I'm not a baron?" "A little bit. Does the baron love Helen?" asked Amy. Catholic foreigner you loved me and would have married me in spite of everything." was the soft answer to his reproaches. or plain Mrs. but all they had to offer. You'll play no more pranks. after all?" "You deceived me and I can't forget it.
" "Amy. in a tone that banished her last doubt of his love and made her whisper tenderly. Cumberland on his arm.-"You are not really ill. I've given it all to you." As he drew forward the plump widow with a face full of smiles and tears. as he eyed the four young people together again. let me present to you--my wife. you've got no heart!" he cried. Major Erskine marched into the _salon_. my children. with a wicked glance. for the girls embraced and kissed him. the young men wrung his hand and thanked him. looking down into the lake." Punctual to the minute. as she added. and all seemed bent on assuring him that they were intensely happy. with Mrs. exclaiming. as she clung to his arm.-"Now.-"No. dear. as she said. else I may have a relapse. I hoped and worked for this. as if in a transport of gratitude." was the reply of this treacherous youth. but beaming with satisfaction. anxiously.-"Wear spectacles. Amy clasped her hands. exclaiming. fervently.girl's soft eyes. From this assault he emerged flushed and breathless. and still need care. bless you. and to prove how well I practise what I preach. and Sidney turned to her with a beaming face. ladies. is it to be 'Paradise Lost' or 'Regained' for the prisoners at the bar?" At this point the astonished gentleman found himself taken possession of by four excited individuals.-"What a relief it is to know that you are not doomed to--" She paused with a shiver. She glanced at him as he leaned pensively on the low wall. and saying paternally. a second rush was . with the level rays of sunshine on his comely face and figure.-"Bless you. Sidney?" "I have been. whose constitution was as sound as a bell. Something softer than pity stole into her eye. which changed to one of mingled pain and anger. as if the word were too hard to utter. grateful and affectionate.
and the gesture with which he returned the pressure of the hand upon his arm. Or. and congratulations. and if mamma is willing I'll think about it by and by. You may keep the gloves." [The end] Louisa M. I have the baron. simply. salutes. and touched the hearts of those who loved him.-"We were married yesterday at Montreaux. exclamations and embraces were indulged in to every one's satisfaction. the dimness of his eyes. won't you. drew from her pocket a small pearl-colored object. which she gave to Amy with mock solemnity." answered Amy.made. I loved this lady in my youth. anxious to turn the thoughts of all from emotions too deep for words. told the little romance of the good major's life more eloquently than pages of fine writing. Let me hope that you will prove as faithful as I have been. Alcott's short story: The Baron's Gloves." The falter in his cheery voice. turning to lay her hand again in her lover's." said Sigismund to his betrothed. "It is beautiful! let us go and do likewise. "I have been faithful for eleven years. as she said. But Helen. for love never comes too late. "Don't marry me to-morrow.-"Amy. Give me my reward soon. have waited many years. As the excitement subsided the major said. our search is over. the smile on his lips. as blest as I shall be. Amy's Romance . and am rewarded at last. dear?" whispered Sidney. as happy as I am.
tell him so." My Ganymede departed. when the inevitable bowl appeared." _HARDLY_ was I settled again." "The moment this boy is asleep. and the serenest eyes I ever met. who had remained behind. FROM "HOSPITAL SKETCHES. A most attractive face he had. I was a little afraid of the stately looking man." I found a lately emptied bed occupied by a large. as yet unsubdued by pain. when I entered my "pathetic room. always winding up with. yet dreaded to receive:-"John is going. self-denial. but a true history. fair man. and its bearer delivered a message I had expected. with a fine face. ma'am. you see if he ain't. one evening. . whose bed had to be lengthened to accommodate his commanding stature. and. watched him for a night or two. with plenty of will and courage in its lines. for. One of the earlier comers had often spoken of a friend.--his courage. His mouth was grave and firm. comely featured and full of vigor. The man fretted for his mate. if you can come. He came in a day or two after the others. asked no sympathy. and was never tired of praising John. sobriety. uttered no complaint. ma'am. and. as if entirely forgetful of his own. who seldom spoke. and when he came. framed in brown hair and beard. before I made friends with him." I had some curiosity to behold this piece of excellence. I thought of John. thoughtful and often beautifully mild while watching the afflictions of others. and while I quieted poor Shaw. and wants to see you. no picture of dying statesman or warrior was ever fuller of real dignity than this Virginia blacksmith. as he lay high upon his pillows. and unfailing kindliness of heart.--ED.THE DEATH OF JOHN Title: The Death of John Author: Louisa May Alcott [More Titles by Alcott] This is not a tale. that those apparently worse wounded than himself might reach a shelter first. and let me know if I am in danger of being too late. "He's an out an' out fine feller. but tranquilly observed what went on about him. It seemed a David and Jonathan sort of friendship. to tell the truth.
--earnest. so I leave it to you. left the issue in God's hands. fighting for liberty and justice with both heart and hand. and did no end of damage here and there. straightforward glance. P. brave. who scrutinized their faces with an anxious look. for he possesses great vitality. to my great surprise. John's eye still followed them. burdens to others.--"Do you think I shall pull through. and faithful. I happened to ask which man in the room probably suffered most. then came the usual serenity." I could have sat down on the spot and cried heartily. which promised well for such as placed their faith in him.. and by no means as "comfortable" as he politely suggested. "Tell him he must die. my man. and blundered into eternity by the rashness or stupidity of those at whose hands so many lives may be required. broke a rib. as I went my rounds with Dr. and his eyes were child's eyes. when half a dozen worn-out. if I had not learned the wisdom of bottling up one's tears for leisure moments. He seemed to cling to life. It was an easy thing for Dr. The next night." "You don't mean he must die. with an intentness which would have won a clearer answer from them. as the two passed on. He won't last more than a day or two. there's not the slightest hope for him. because he must lie on his wounded back or suffocate. as if it were rich in duties and delights. but even his temperate life can't save him. he had acknowledged the existence of some hard possibility. and you'd better tell him so before long. I wish it could. I could not give him up so soon. and. worthless bodies round him were gathering up the remnants of wasted lives. true soldiers of the Lord. The army needed men like John. The only time I saw his composure disturbed was when my surgeon brought another to examine John. daily reproaches to themselves. for the ball pierced the left lung. with that submission which is true piety. Such an end seemed very hard for such a man. as if. Doctor?" "Bless you. at furthest. and he had learned the secret of content. A momentary shadow flitted over his face. P. or think with any patience of so excellent a nature robbed of its fulfilment. in that brief eclipse." but a cruelly hard thing to do. so the poor lad can find neither forgetfulness nor ease.but a smile could make it as sweet as any woman's. It will be a hard struggle and a long one. to say. I had not the . yet hoping all things. and. he glanced at John:-"Every breath he draws is like a stab. asking nothing. to linger on for years perhaps. looking one fairly in the face with a clear." And. had they seen it. sir?" "I hope so. asking of the elder. women have a way of doing such things comfortably.
till. the sympathetic magnetism of a woman's presence. he had never guessed the truth. wife. not of any real duty perhaps." Nor did he. and in his eyes no stranger. for. When he was laid down again. for though I had seen many suffer. some swore. holding my hand fast. surprise. as I came in again with fresh rollers. only very touching. and. hands folded on his knee. rendering my task unnecessary.-"Thank you ma'am. or sister. now I knew that to him. as I went out. and make the heavy hours pass easier. and privately indulged the hope that some change for the better might take place. This was changed now. thinking it might be more agreeable and safe. some groaned. for both strength and experience were needed in his case. and knowing the fidelity of the attendant. and comfort. most endured silently. and straightway my fear vanished. and I could manage to get on alone. with no one to support him. having simpler wounds to attend to. as well as the feebler souls about him. and no outward sign of suffering. or merely a passing nod." "You shall not want it any more. on any human countenance. I had forgotten that the strong man might long for the gentler tendance of a woman's hands. while the surgeon dressed his back. this is right good! this is what I wanted!" "Then why not ask for it before?" "I didn't like to be a trouble. after a brief pause beside his bed. no one saw them fall but me. I was the poor substitute for mother. have I seen so swift and beautiful a look of gratitude. The Doctor's words caused me to reproach myself with neglect. John. so. my heart opened wide and took him in. John. A few minutes later." Never. gathering the bent head in my arms. as to so many. as. in his modesty. looking nearer. but none wept. he leaned against me. in spite of gloomy prophecies. and. I had never hitherto seen it done. as freely as if he had been a little child. if pain wrung further tears from him. for now I understood the wistful look that sometimes followed me. for. while busied with those who seemed to need me more than he. and dressing his wounds. as that which answered me more eloquently than the whispered. I said. through the tedious operation of probing. John looked lonely and forsaken just then. but a friend who hitherto had seemed neglectful. you seemed so busy. I . I saw great tears roll down and drop upon the floor. Yet it did not seem weak. bathing. as he sat with bent head. It was a new sight there. I had left John to him. I saw John sitting erect.heart to do it then.--"Let me help you bear it. because more urgent in their demands. but of those little cares and kindnesses that solace homesick spirits.
" set all things smooth about him. and lay contentedly regarding the glimmer of the sunshine on the green. which. held it carefully in his great hand. received suggestions for his comfort with the quick smile that brightened his whole face. if I can. he said. ma'am. the other pleasing myself. Once he asked me to write a letter. Although the manliest man among my forty. "Shall it be addressed to wife. touching a plain ring he wore.--a look which young men seldom get until they marry. but from occasional conversations. an hour of each evening that remained to him was devoted to his ease or pleasure. for breath was precious. for mother's a widow. for one is helping my neighbor. and. if you felt so? Wasn't enlisting as bad as marrying?" "No. but I'm not so very young. having no power to express themselves in words. as I stood tidying the table by his bed. and when I offered the little nosegay. in a remorseful state of mind that would not let me rest. and husband to the dear old woman.hovered about him. and laid a knot of heath and heliotrope on his clean pillow." like a little boy. and Laurie's learned his trade. as if to assure himself that I was there. but more from a settled sort of look you have. he watched me with the satisfied expression I so linked to see. Anything more natural and frank I never saw. for we're not rich. Did you think I was married because of this?" he asked." "No doubt but you are both. yet how came you to go to war." "I don't know that. ma'am. and I must be father to the children. surveyed and smelt it with an air of genuine delight. I gleaned scraps of private history which only added to the affection and respect I felt for him. After that night. yet full of excellences and fine aspirations. and now and then. and will write to mother myself when I get better. I went . and it wouldn't do for me to marry until Lizzie has a home of her own. ma'am. thirty in May and have been what you might call settled this ten years. till I had bathed his face. "Yes. While doing this. John. He could not talk much. as I settled pen and paper. and found this brave John as bashful as brave. seemed to have bloomed into his character and made him what he was. I said. and he spoke in whispers. I'm the oldest child she has. or mother. and often turned thoughtfully on his finger when he lay alone. smoothed a ruffled leaf or two. John?" "Neither. brushed his "bonny brown hair. ma'am. "Partly that. I felt him softly touch my gown. not as I see it. I've got no wife. with an irrepressible glimmer of feminine curiosity.
with the same unquestioning obedience with which the soldier had . and if it was to do over again. I know. but they did not. could not believe his own wound more fatal than these. he never had. but it's difficult to believe all at once. doubly hard with those clear eyes fixed on mine. except that a shot in front might have spared the long agony in store for him. gave me her ring to keep me steady." A short story and a simple one. the Lord knows! but I held off as long as I could. but I've shown I was willing to give my life. for the man received the order of the Divine Commander to march. I'm so strong it don't seem possible for such a little wound to kill me. then shook his head. forcing a truthful answer by their own truth. He seemed a little startled at first. I'm a little sorry I wasn't wounded in front. seeing the ghastly sights about him. and. I'd do it. thinking that these sudden tidings might change all plans and purposes." Poor John! it did not matter now. He seemed to read the thought that troubled me.-"This is my first battle. "Do you ever regret that you came. nor so wide as a church door. mother saw the case. do they think it's going to be my last?" "I'm afraid they do. not knowing which was my duty. but 'tis enough." It was the hardest question I had ever been called upon to answer. pondered over the fateful fact a moment.' so I went. I was in earnest." Merry Mercutio's dying words glanced through my memory as he spoke:--"'Tis not so deep as a well. with a glance at the broad chest and muscular limbs stretched out before him:-"I'm not afraid. it looks cowardly to be hit in the back. and said 'Go. and it doesn't matter in the end." And John would have said the same. I haven't helped a great deal. for all the suffering it caused him. when you lie here suffering so much?" "Never ma'am. for he suddenly added. I didn't want the glory or the pay. and perhaps I've got to. as he spoke so hopefully when there was no hope. but the man and the mother were portrayed better than pages of fine writing could have done it.because I couldn't help it. could he have seen the ominous black holes between his shoulders. and people kept saying the men who were in earnest ought to flight. but I don't blame anybody. John. "Shall I write to your mother. I wanted the right thing done. but I obeyed orders. now?" I asked.
as if he asked. as I sealed it. his face damp. I had been summoned to many death-beds in my life. and round the room appeared a circle of pale faces and watchful eyes. even while he spoke. finding it better than any I had sent. as if to hide some quiver of emotion at the thought of such a sudden sundering of all the dear home-ties. forcing him to draw each breath with a spasm. One by one the men woke. since my mother called me to watch the departure of a spirit akin to this in its gentleness and patient strength. turning away his face. though a stranger. "No. he tore the covering off his breast. laid the flowers against his lips. full of awe and pity. wiped the drops from his forehead. but most expressive. As I went in. full of excellent counsel to the boy. for. I sat down by him. stirred the air about him with the slow wave of a fan. over his face I saw the gray veil falling that no human hand can lift. now John was dying. or a moment's murmuring. for. as if the lightest weight added to his agony. and the letter had not come. he'll break it to her best. and waited to help him die. and now lamented .-"I knew you'd come! I guess I'm moving on. He stood in sore need of help. He added a few lines with steady hand. as the doctor had foretold. and the man's soul seemed to sit therein. "How long must I endure this. tenderly "bequeathing mother and Lizzie" to his care. the strong body rebelled against death. without a moment's respite. with a patient sort of sigh. his limbs grew cold. doubtless remembering that the first led him to life." then. his lips white. yet through it all. though here and there a little ungrammatical or inelegant. ma'am. respected his piety. each sentence came to me briefly worded. and the last to death. These things had happened two days before. to Laurie just the same. and I'll add a line to her myself when you get done. ma'am. said." He was. Each man there had wondered at his patience. his eyes never lost their perfect serenity. and clench his hands with an imploring look. and fought every inch of the way. and. admired his fortitude. for. undaunted by the ills that vexed his flesh." So I wrote the letter which he dictated.--and I could do so little. John stretched out both hands. and bidding him good-by in words the sadder for their simplicity. and be still?" For hours he suffered dumbly. again and again. and so rapidly that. "I hope the answer will come in time for me to see it. and. John was beloved by all. but to none that made my heart ache as it did then.received that of the human one.
brighter than any smile. as he slowly breathed his life away. For a little while. and John's distressful gasps. for poor Ned could not stay to see his comrade die. there was no sound in the room but the drip of water from a stump or two." "Good-by. how are you?" faltered the one.-"For God's sake. so close that . but to the end held my hand close. even in one little week. the only boon he had asked. a herald of the coming sun. the grasp of his hand betrayed. "Can I say or do anything for you anywheres?" "Take my things home. thank heaven!" whispered the other." "I will! I will!" "Good-by. The kind soul was full of trouble. good-by!" They kissed each other. Ned. and so parted. when suddenly he rose up in his bed. tenderly as women. John saw it. give me air!" It was the only cry pain or death had wrung from him. and. as if to grasp and bring the blessed air to his lips in a fuller flow. and the farewell of the friends was the more touching for its brevity. believing its help to be no longer needed. as the choke in his voice. for. which an immortal voyager had deserted with a smile. lapsed into a merciful unconsciousness. for all the airs that blew were useless now. I thought him nearly gone. and had just laid down the fan. though the heavy breaths still tore their way up for a little longer. and tell them that I did my best. which assured us that for him suffering was forever past. John. The first red streak of dawn was warming the gray east.his hard death. and none of us could grant it. "Old boy. He never spoke again. Dan flung up the window. for. He died then. "Most through. for the influence of an upright nature had made itself deeply felt. which often comes to eyes that look their last. Presently. the Jonathan who so loved this comely David came creeping from his bed for a last look and word. they were but the waves of an ebbing tide that beat unfelt against the wreck. and with the love of light which lingers in us to the end. stretching out his strong right arm. sharply startling every one with its agonized appeal. but there were no tears. He laid himself gently down. and cried out with a bitter cry that broke the silence. over his whole face there broke that mysterious expression. seemed to read in it a sign of hope of help.
As we stood looking at him. I kissed this good son for her sake. but a universal sentiment of reverence and affection seemed to fill the hearts of all who had known or heard of him. but though my hand was strangely cold and stiff.when he was asleep at last. feeling that its place was there. had lightened that hard hour. and when the rumor of his death went through the house. lying there stately and still as the statue of some young knight asleep upon his tomb. perhaps. through its touch. the ward master handed me a letter. and taken off the ring to send her." he would not be without some token of the love which makes life beautiful and outlives death. Then I left him. I could not but be glad that. and I felt a tender sort of pride in my lost patient. even in his solitary place in the "Government Lot. the presence of human sympathy. and I longed for those who loved him best to see him when half an hour's acquaintance with Death had made them friends. after I had cut some brown locks for his mother. and carrying with me an enduring memory of the brave Virginia blacksmith. for. for he looked a most heroic figure. The lovely expression which so often beautifies dead faces soon replaced the marks of pain. many came to see him. and making myself happy with the thought. a thing which seldom happened in that busy place. yet he had it. telling how well the talisman had done its work. still folded as when I drew my own away. [The end] Louisa May Alcott's short story: Death of John . and laid the letter in his hand. saying it had been forgotten the night before. even when warmth and color had returned elsewhere. that it was unsafe for dead and living flesh to lie so long together. I could not draw it away. and four white marks remained across its back. When they had made him ready for the grave. warning me as he did so. It was John's letter. always astir. as he lay serenely waiting for the dawn of that long day which knows no night. glad to have known so genuine a man. Dan helped me. John lay in state for half an hour. come just an hour too late to gladden the eyes that had longed and looked for it so eagerly.
French sauce. nor stage madness. nor gymnastic convulsions. tender touch. paper. receptions." Once upon a time there raged in a certain city one of those fashionable epidemics which occasionally attack our youthful population. amusement. lectures. depth and juiciness of color. They covered canvas with the expedition of scene-painters. and a good tone." Even in dress . had classes. nor yet that American lecturing influenza which yearly sweeps over the land. and charcoal. like a tarantula-bite. nor that wide-spread malady. and it ran its course to the dismay. and it attacked the young women of the community with great violence. Neither was it one of the new dances which. It wasn't the music mania. and exhibitions. croquet. for its victims did all manner of queer things in their delirium. and caused a rise in the price of bread. seventh spinus process. set every one a twirling. by their ardor in crayoning. Nothing but time could cure it. drove Italian plaster-corkers out of their wits with unexecutable orders got neuralgia and rheumatism sketching perched on fences and trees like artistic hens. made models of each other. or edification of the beholders. Their conversation ceased to be intelligible to the uninitiated. and rendered their walls hideous with bad likenesses of all their friends.PSYCHE'S ART Title: Psyche's Art Author: Louisa May Alcott [More Titles by Alcott] "Handsome is that handsome does. it was a new disease called the Art fever. refraction of the angle of the eye. They begged potteries for clay. No. and they prattled prettily of "chiaro oscuro.
hurrying on her gray linen pinafore. gliding through the corridors hitherto haunted only by shabby paletots. that's all. gossiping the while. It was found impossible to keep them safe at home. chalk. Others flushed themselves with scarlet. "I was coming up in a hurry when I ran .the artistic disorder was visible. shadowy hats. small services. and cigar smoke. and the heads of all were adorned with classic braids. you've had an adventure! I see it in your face. for the poor things found the road to fame rather dull and dusty without such verbal sprinklings. as a bright-eyed girl entered with some precipitation. these harmless maniacs invaded the sacred retreats where artists of the other sex did congregate. and a man picked it up. "I dropped my portfolio. so tell it at once. polishing off the massive nose of her Homer." said the first speaker. brooding over master-pieces in "a divine despair. and studies from life were generously offered them in glimpses of picturesque gentlemen posed before easels. not to mention the accidental rencontres. I know something interesting happened. which somewhat lightened the severe studies of all parties. Half a dozen young victims of this malady met daily in one of the cells of a great art beehive called "Raphael's Rooms. There were peepings and whisperings. and stalked about with a severe simplicity of outline worthy of Flaxman. and eye telegrams. "That won't do." replied Psyche. curls tied Hebe-wise. for studio doors stood hospitably open as the fair invaders passed." cried one of the sisterhood. startling those anchorites with visions of large-eyed damsels bearing portfolios in hands delicately begrimed with crayon." and devoted their shining hours to modelling fancy heads." or attitudinizing upon couches as if exhausted by the soarings of genius. and you look brisker than usual this morning. and clay. that no landscape which they adorned should be without some touch of Turner's favorite tint. Some were _blue_ in every sense of the word. and nature and art took turns. much stifled laughter and whisking in and out. This irruption was borne with manly fortitude. as the fever grew. An atmosphere of romance began to pervade the old buildings when the girls came. or hair dressed a la hurricane. not to say cheerfulness." began Psyche a little reluctantly. and. "Psyche Dean. for we are stupid as owls here to-day. for you've been blushing. some cast aside crinoline altogether. "It wasn't anything.
for the girls had a name for all the attitudinizers and promenaders whom they oftenest met. his hair was brown and curly. for his head is splendid. as we all agree." answered Psyche. and hurried away before any one came." cut in the Homeric Miss Cutter. as if half sorry she had told her little story. the black-eyed one?" asked the fair Cutter. you know I always wear a posy into town to give me inspiration." "Had he a broken nose. so I held the book while he collected the sketches. and there he was." "It was the red-headed man. "Like Peerybingle's baby when its cap was taken off. it wasn't. and very fine ones they were too. as if to herself." returned Psyche severely. but he wouldn't let me. gathering up every one of those half-dead violets as carefully as if they had been tea-roses. the believer in fate. My portfolio slipped. I didn't care for the dusty flowers. and a good deal of weedy shrubbery in her hat. "I didn't particularly observe. and you are a regular genius. "No. he had gray eyes. and my papers went flying all about the landing. but he fell to picking up a little bunch of violets I had dropped." "Not a bit of it. and told him so." quoted Miss Dickenson. I saw him glance at them as he did so. Psyche frowned and shook her head. and I began to pick them up. "Was he handsome?" asked Miss Larkins. for they are wretched things." "No. with straw-colored tresses. whom we call Titian: he's always on the stairs. they are capital. so I had a fine . adding. "he looked as I imagine Michael Angelo might have looked when young." cried Psyche. no one would mind it. who pined to drop the last two letters of her name. "Never tell people they are geniuses unless you wish to spoil them. and that made me blush. "Well. "Was it Murillo." "Psyche Dean. he took his hat off. which gave an Ophelia-like expression to her sentimental countenance.against a man coming down in a hurry. Of course we both laughed and begged pardon. when the portfolio was put to rights I was going on. "If he had. you know. like the great Mike?" asked an irreverent damsel. At the top of the stairs I peeped over the railing. innocently falling into the trap. you have met your fate this day!" exclaimed a third damsel.
"Now _I_ am perfectly satisfied with my Apollo. Just as I came up. are perfect. Psyche felt that. the brow classically smooth and low." said the lively Cutter. the nose was strictly Greek. We'll call him Michael Angelo. What _does_ it need?" said Psyche. "Well. "Ah. complacently caressing the ambrosial locks of her Smythified Phebus. He only needs a cloak. He isn't handsome. "What shall you do if it does not?" asked Miss Cutter. but he'll _do_ something.view. Many would have pronounced it a clever thing." "This isn't the genuine thing by any means. and the breezy hair well done. looking with a despondent air at the head on her stand. that sumptuous cheek. giving me a never-tobe-forgotten look. the chin curved upward gracefully. the speech. and nature in art. if that would have put strength and spirit into the lifeless face. you have no soul for art in nature. Sir Joshua laughed. with elegance. I prefer stout old Rembrandt myself.--the umbrella. veil my bust. the umbrella fell right before me. as she recalled the strong. a curve. shall drop my tools. for I feed upon a glance. 'Deuce take it!' and caught up the umbrella. and could have taken her Venus by the dimpled shoulders. with exquisite delight. lace collar. or the look?" asked Psyche. a tint. dear. He says so himself. and cast myself . who was not sentimental. But something was wanting. the mouth was sweetly haughty. "I have." "Which. you've given us a very good idea of his appearance. "Raphael is a dear. but Rubens is more to my taste now. and Larkie adores that dandified Raphael. and given her a hearty shake. ambitious face which she had often observed. "I shall feel that I have mistaken my sphere." remarked Miss Larkins. prophetically. but Rubens said. considering that you didn't 'particularly look' at the man. It was perfectly thrilling. Rubens is adorable (_as a study_). slapping away at Homer's bald pate energetically. "He was in the hall yesterday talking with Sir Joshua. and he shall be your idol. as she spoke. I started back. though you all insist that it is the image of Theodore Smythe." said Psyche. and slouching hat to be the genuine thing. and assures me it will make a sensation when we exhibit." returned Miss Larkins. but never mentioned before." sighed the amber-tressed Larkins. that night of hair. who had his inevitable umbrella. like a true Englishman. that lustrous eye.
leaning from one of the windows. and Harry's unmended hose persisted in dancing a spectral jig before her mental eye. her heart was not in tune. Nothing went well. and little May's wistful face put the goddess of beauty entirely out of countenance. "It's no use. for certain neglected home-duties had dogged her into town. but somehow ambitious aspirations were not in a flourishing condition that morning. one side of which was so much plumper than the other that it looked as if the Queen of Olympus was being hydropathically treated for a severe fit of ague. a run will do me good." cried Giovanni. Tom. who was tenderly winding a wet bandage round her Juno's face. with a tragic gesture and an expression which strongly suggested that in her eyes nature meant Theodore. that brought spring odors from the hills. On the western side they were shady and cool. lying green and sunny far away. Where is Giovanni?" she asked. or heat." answered Miss Dickenson.into the arms of Nature. "She must have capacious arms if she is to receive all Art's rejected admirers. throwing down her tools with a petulant gesture and a dejected air. it is greatly beautiful. so I'm doing his work myself. Following the sound she found the little Italian errand-boy busily uncovering a clay model which stood in the middle of a scantily furnished room near by. and now worried her more than dust. till a shrill whistle disturbed her day-dreams. Dick. I can't work till the clay is wet again. and head and hands sympathized. "He is not here. Silence and solitude were such pleasant companions that the girl forgot herself. since Art rejects me. which seemed to be too high even for the lovers of High Art. I can't wait for him any longer. or the ceaseless clatter of tongues. come and look." Doffing her apron. Shall I be one of them?" Psyche put the question to herself as she turned to work. "I'll go and find the little scamp. Psyche watched the feathery tree-tops ruffled by the balmy wind. Psyche strolled away up an unfrequented staircase to the empty apartments. so will a breath of air and a view of the park from the upper windows." replied Miss Larkins. "He is probably playing truant in the empty upper rooms. beckoning with an air of importance. and. and reminded her what she came for. . as usual. mother's querulous complaints spoilt the song she hummed to cheer herself.
I'd die happy!" she exclaimed impetuously. as a feeling of despair came over her at the thought of her own poor attempts. despondency and discontent vanished. Giovanni went away unseen. saying heartily. and her soul was in her face. and. her color rose. Her eyes kindled. standing in the doorway. How long she stood there Psyche did not know. the frankness of her manner. still looking up at the grand face with unsatisfied eyes. but the spell lay in the face. the grace of the pose.Psyche did look and speedily forgot both her errand and herself. was full of human truth and tenderness. attentively observing her. It was neither a mythological nor a historical character. but looked straight at him. a courage half heroic seemed to have been born from some great loss or woe. "Who did it. and . she neither blushed nor apologized.-"You have done a wonderful piece of work. for there was no affectation about either. Psyche turned to see her Michael Angelo. and a grateful smile. A majestic figure. to fill his waterpail. and I envy you more than I can tell!" The enthusiasm in her face. and looking straight before him with a wonderfully lifelike expression.--"Then my Adam is not a failure in spite of his fall?" Psyche turned from the sculptor to his model with increased admiration in her face. for pain and passion seemed to have passed over it. standing erect. "Paul Gage. Small as her knowledge was. the accurate anatomy of the vigorous limbs. He gave her a keen. the strength and spirit in the countenance. and was glad of it. and a humility half pathetic. Being too full of artless admiration to think of herself just yet. and all that was best and truest in her did honor to the genius of the unknown worker." a little bow." It was not the boy's voice. kind glance out of the "fine gray eyes. It was the figure of a man. She soon ceased to wonder what it was. for she loved beauty passionately. Psyche thought. feeling only the indescribable charm of something higher than beauty. while it suggested the divine. she could see and enjoy the power visible in every part of it. which. Giovanni?" she asked. saying quietly. seemed to please him. clay though it was. being tired to death of gods and heroes. with a start. "If I could do a thing like that. and in the silence she just stood and looked.
gave Psyche courage to say more. you have indeed succeeded. but much to foster it." As she spoke the girl's eyes filled and fell in spite of herself. "What can one do to learn your secret?" asked the girl wistfully. and imagination with the best food one can get. as she exclaimed delighted. "I wish I could tell you. but the look he gave his work was a very eloquent one. and found that life was duty. and in spite of my intense desire I never get on. lying on the table beside her among other scraps in manuscript and print.-"I slept. but each needs different fare. "I love beauty so much that I not only want to possess it myself. finding it impossible to give a receipt for genius. as well as the lines in his forehead. And thou shall find thy dream to be A noonday light and truth to thee. "I can work and wait a long time to gain my end. and meantime feed heart. I have tried very hard to do it.-"Adam! I might have known it was he. for you have given that figure the power and pathos of the first man who sinned and suffered. the well-known lines. and turning a little with sudden shamefacedness she saw. for it betrayed that he had paid the price of success in patience and privation." The kindly tone and the sympathizing look. sad heart. "Work and wait. and the art of reproducing it with truth." That was all he said. and each must look for it in different places. labor and hope. because to the solitary worker this confiding guest was as welcome as the doves who often hopped in at his window." "Then I am satisfied. O sir. Was thy dream then a shadowy lie? Toil on. but something is wanting." . courageously. for there was nothing in the man's manner to disturb her self-forgetful mood. looking at him like a hungry child.earnestness in her voice. but I don't know where to find the food you speak of?" she answered. and a few gray hairs among the brown." he answered slowly. and dreamed that life was beauty. I woke. and began again. but to gain the power of seeing it in all things. soul.
murmuring thanks and apologies as she went. now hard at work. whom it is unnecessary to . for his woollen mills left him no time for anything but sleep.-"Is doing one's duty a good way to feed heart." returned Psyche. wrapt in flannel. for I'm going to work at home hereafter. then. I found him. retreated precipitately to the door. I shan't come any more. not Giovanni." He spoke with the energy of a man who believed what he said. and Giovanni staring at her with round eyes. with an expression of great contempt for the whole thing. "Did you find him? I thought you had forgotten. and newspapers. she blushed deeply. one can work well. shawls and lamentations. soul. food. "Yes. She stood before her work eying it intently for several minutes. had read them many times. There were three riotous and robust young brothers. saying briefly to the dismayed damsels. and imagination?" As if he had caught a glimpse of what was going on in her mind. so to speak. seeing that his eye had followed hers. for if one is good. and put on her hat in a decisive manner. Paul answered emphatically. one is happy. The sight of her violets in a glass of water. Mrs.-"Excellent. and. thinking of Gage. and if happy. I shall not forget." II The prospect of pursuing artistic studies at home was not brilliant. Dean was one of those exasperating women who pervade their mansions like a domestic steam-engine one week and take to their sofas the next. girls. as one may imagine when I mention that Psyche's father was a painfully prosaic man. A sort of panic seized her. suddenly recalled Psyche to a sense of the proprieties which she had been innocently outraging for the last ten minutes. gave the classical face a finishing crunch. and did his best to be worthy of the rich gift bestowed upon him.-"Good-by. absorbed by fidgets and foot-stoves. and vanished. and all of us should learn that art before we touch clay or marble." said Miss Dickenson. she suddenly tilted her cherished Venus on to the floor.She knew them at a glance. but now they came home to her with sudden force. No. Moulding character is the highest sort of sculpture. she said in her impulsive fashion.
didn't work well together. but not least by any means. Harry! what have you done to yourself now? Split your fingers with a cricket-ball again?" cried Psyche. not because it _was_ her duty. who. No use to try and explain it all. calls and crayons. But being very much in earnest about doing her duty. but the live models were so exacting in their demands upon her time and strength. "I just thrashed one of the fellows because he got mad and said father was going to fail. but as a means toward an end. . there were two Irish ladies. long-legged boy burst in. thank goodness. With a book on her lap. mother quiet." "O Harry." was the characteristic reply of the young man. Biceps. "Deltoides. Pronator. with the best intentions imaginable. Take a day as a sample. perhaps. Sculpture and sewing.describe except by stating that they were _boys_ in the broadest sense of that delightful word. Triceps. Ruskin and receipt-books. "Mercy on us. and her own round white arm going through all manner of queer evolutions." interrupted a voice. as a flushed." Psyche said. is he?" "Of course he isn't! It's hard times for every one. girls can't understand business. which began in a shrill falsetto and ended in a gruff bass. of course treated the weaker vessel with lordly condescension. being three years her junior. and don't worry. who. produced a universal state of topsy-turviness when left to themselves for a moment. so I'll indulge myself in a blissful day after my own heart. if flesh and blood had been as plastic as clay. Palmanis. that the poor statues went to the wall. so you just tie me up. There was a feeble little sister. as she shut herself into her little studio. Supinator. So she might have done. whose patient. and poor Psyche found duties and desires desperately antagonistic. the boys out of the way. but father will pull through all right. Flexor carpi ulnaris--" "Here's Flexis what-you-call-ums for you. suffering face demanded constant love and care to mitigate the weariness of a life of pain. hoping to serve both masters at once. "The washing and ironing are well over. and May comfortable. and prepared to enjoy a few hours of hard study and happy day-dreams. And last. Psyche fell to work with a will. she was placidly repeating. dusty. with a bleeding hand obligingly extended for inspection. as her arms went up and her book went down.
she took up The Old Painters and went on with the story of Claude Lorraine. then I'll hurrah for your mud-pies like a good one. keeping her countenance. in a dignified tone." "How sweet!" said Psyche." retorted Psyche. "Don't sneer. all carefully developed in the wrong places. and hoping to compose her mind."What a dreadful wound! I hope nothing is broken." returned the girl. if ye plase?" "Purlash. fearing to enrage Katy by a laugh. by all means. and will I be puttin' purlash or sallyrathis into it. if you can't right up a little cut like that. thin!" echoed Katy. with a romantic sigh. for I haven't studied the hand much yet. pointing with a scornful grin at a clay arm humpy with muscles. 'I read in thy picture thy immortality!' As she spoke. thank heaven. I intend to make perfect hands and arms. not mend damaged ones. and things do you.-"Calista gazed with enthusiasm. "It's gingy-bread I'm making the day. Wait a few years and see if you're not proud of me. and things" uninteresting." squeaked the ungrateful hero. her head sunk upon his bosom." said Psyche. and deltoids. while she looked like a being of heaven rather than earth. . whose red head had just appeared round the half opened door. Hal. and it was several moments before Claude perceived that he supported a lifeless form. "Much good your biceps. having effectually disturbed his sister's peaceful mood. deltoids. and swate it is.' she cried. examining the great grimy paw with tender solicitude. She had just reached the tender scene where." growled Harry. "I should say a surgeon could improve _that_ perfect thing. "I'm not going to be a surgeon." with which cheering promise the youth left. miss." "Sculp away and do something. and may do mischief doing it up. for the angry passions of the red-haired one rose more quickly than her bread. if he didn't die a-laughing before he began. somewhat marred by a great piece of court-plaster on her tongue. Anxious thoughts of her father rendered "biceps. 'My friend. for you don't know anything about it. As she departed with alacrity to add a spoonful of starch and a pinch of whiting to her cake. "Faith.
and tell you all about the nice little bones and muscles?" asked Psyche. followed by Biddy to announce callers. May didn't look as if the proposed amusement overwhelmed her with delight. Sy." she said." "That's better." Whereat "miss" cast down her tools in despair. child? It shakes so I can't get it right. . forgetting that a few minutes may seem ages. she found her little sister sitting on the floor with her cheek against the studio door. Wouldn't you like to play be a model and let me draw your arm. and when she drew again there was a blur before her eyes for a minute. feeling that duty and pleasure were being delightfully combined. while Psyche drew busily. and add that as "the mistress was in her bed. "Can't you hold your arm still. Dean. as she lifted up the heavy head that always ached. Dinner being accomplished after much rushing up and down stairs with trays and messages for Mrs. threw her cap one way." she said. then came a ring at the door-bell. Sy. and went in to her guests with anything but a rapturous welcome. Come in and stay with me. dear. her bib another. I try hard." cried the artist. feeling better for her story and her smile. miss must go and take care of 'em." Psyche glanced up at the wasted limb.Psyche. but meekly consented to be perched upon a high stool with one arm propped up by a dropsical plaster cherub. it will tremble 'cause it's weak. you are such a mouse you won't disturb me. All went well till. going in search of something. "I didn't mean to be naughty. apologetically. Psyche fled again to her studio. ordering no one to approach under pain of a scolding. keep it so a few minutes and I'll be done. rather impatiently. but mother is asleep. put on her bib and paper cap and fell to work on the deformed arm. "The boys are very thoughtless.--can't you?" "Yes. so I just came to be near you. and the boys all gone. "No. An hour of bliss. "My arm is so thin you can see the bunches nicely. who had the fever very strong upon her just then. it's so lonely everywhere. but there doesn't seem to be much strongness in me lately.
that her fancy was teeming with lovely conceits. cheered her heart. come out and see the chickens. but everybody is so busy all the time." said the child. and the tired face brightened beautifully as the child exclaimed. Finding. So Psyche's day ended. good-by. and the peace and beauty of nature soothed her own troubled spirit. "I'm a sinful. don't say that. looking at the winged cherub with sorrowful envy."I wish I was as fat as this white boy. I wouldn't mind the pain if I could stay a little longer. dear. "Don't. but accomplished very little. with grateful delight. and the "pretty things" she loved so well. pert robins hopping by.-"Oh." The weak arms were strong enough to clasp Psyche's neck. dropping her work with a sudden pang at her heart. elves and angels.-"You make me so happy. But mother wanted a bit of gossip. Sy. while May lay contentedly enjoying sun and air. and have a good romp with the boys." Her last look and word and kiss were all for Psyche. sisterly care. good-by. selfish girl to keep you here! you're weak for want of air." cried Psyche. and almost heart-sick with the shadow of a coming sorrow. yet this was the teaching she most needed. and pick dandelions. But if I can't. and did her more good than hours of solitary study. and if she needed any reward she surely found it. I don't want to play. but just to lie on the grass with my head in your lap while you tell stories and draw me pretty things as you used to. for this time her heart was in it. with her arms about her sister's neck. buttercups and mosses. Sy. who felt then with grateful tears that her . and pretty soon there won't be any of me left but my little bones. I'd like it very much! I wanted to go dreadfully. In the autumn May died. May's lullaby could not be forgotten. as she thought. All summer she did her best. much to her own surprise. leaving her very tired. she did hope for a quiet evening. the boys had lessons and rips and grievances to be attended to. whispering. for the little face on her knee lost its weary look. father must have his papers read to him. and in time she came to see it. lest burly "cousins" should be hidden in the boiler. for Psyche sat in the orchard drawing squirrels on the wall. my darling. and the maids had to be looked after. Psyche did not find the task a hard one. or lucifer matches among the shavings. but I get thinner every day somehow. rather discouraged." The studio was deserted all that afternoon.
" Mr. or sing sweetly in the twilight when all thought of little May and grew quiet. and the boys needed much comforting. Then it faded as she shook her head. The boys found home very pleasant with Sy always there ready to "lend a hand." But she tried. installed herself in the place the child's death left vacant. Housekeeping ceased to be hateful. Dean grew gray with the weight of business cares about which he never spoke. as a thirsty traveller's might at the sight or sound of water. Mrs. with the sweet selfforgetfulness of a strong yet tender nature. as Harry said. Dean. In the solemn pause which death makes in every family. for the poor lads never knew how much they loved "the baby" till the little chair stood empty. a gentle hand smoothed the wrinkles out of his anxious forehead. anxious. and her patient eyes grew bright and eager. laboring under the delusion that an invalid was a necessary appendage to the family.summer had not been wasted. but try to comfort them. and with great wonder and delight discovered that she could work as she had never done before. for if one is . seemed to lend their aid.-"He was right. Dean. Mr. and peace reigned in parlor and kitchen while Mrs. sweet thought. and imagination. Patience and cheerfulness. saying with a regretful sigh. courage and skill came at her call like good fairies who had bided their time. soul. The studio door remained locked till her brothers begged Psyche to open it and make a bust of the child. never thinking of reward. then Psyche said within herself. while every tender memory. "it was hard times for every one. humdrum winter. She thought the newly found power lay in her longing to see the little face again. and praise more precious than any the world could give.-"I must not think of myself. Dean sometimes forgot his mills when a bright face came to meet him. for it grew like magic under her loving hands. and her strength seemed to increase with the demand upon it. and devout hope she had ever cherished. read Hahnemann's Lesser Writings on her sofa." and with this resolution she gave herself heart and soul to duty. A flush of joy swept over her face at the request. All turned to Sy for help and consolation. for. and a daughterly heart sympathized with all his cares. A busy. shrouded in shawls." pull candy. But when it was done and welcomed with tears and smiles. like one who saw light at last. for the smile upon the little dead face was more to her than any marble perfection her hands could have carved." whether it was to make fancy ties. help conjugate "a confounded verb. "I'm afraid I've lost the little skill I ever had. Psyche said. doing one's duty _is_ the way to feed heart.
and blither sang the birds. she must have accomplished something in that time. to look at his creation with paternal pride. as if deciding some question within himself. though each time he saw it. I'll take the violets as a sign that I may go and ask her what. balmier blew the wind." For several moments he stood thoughtfully turning the flowers to and fro in his hands." How she prospered he never asked. often anxious and sad. Adam was finished at last. and if happy." He knew she lived just out of the city. and Paul heartily enjoyed the wellearned reward for years of honest work. she has taken the right way to find it out. But. and as he left the streets behind him. though he met her more than once that year. One blithe May morning. and then forgot it. possessing the gifted eyes which can look below the surface of things. and with an approving nod turned to his work again. proved a genuine success. concert-room." was Giovanni's somewhat startling answer when Paul asked about Psyche. where the statue now stood. he said. with the dew still on them." III "She broke her head and went home to come no more. "She is getting on. for at the feet of his Adam lay a handful of wild violets." he said to himself with a cordial satisfaction which gave his manner a friendliness as grateful to Psyche as his wise reticence. He understood what the boy meant. "She has been here and found my work good. Greener grew the road.good. for. He was quite alone with the stately figure that shone white against the purple draperies and seemed to offer him a voiceless welcome from its marble lips. as .-"It is just a year since she went home. he slipped early into the artgallery. it looked older and more thoughtful. the interviews were brief ones in street. finding that he no longer met her on the stairs or in the halls. then. "I like that! If there is any power in her. A sudden smile broke over his face as he took them up. or picture-gallery. with the thought. He gave it one loving look. one is happy. one can work well. saying. between the river and the mills. he found more violets blooming all along the way like flowery guides to lead him right. he detected in the girl's face something better than beauty. I suspect. still smiling. and she carefully avoided speaking of herself.
three shawls on her shoulders. Close by the stone. turning the pages to find some clue to its owner. "She lives there. with great discrimination if not originality. Katy." he said. "I hope Miss Psyche is well. Still following their guidance he took the narrow path." cried a voice from above." began Paul. till. and. and while he waited looked about him. Dean at once. The room. Dean appeared with his card in her hand. where the whisk of skirts was followed by the appearance of an inquiring eye over the banisters. spoken long ago. knocking. the books such as never grow old. showing by his altered face that the simple record of a girl's life had touched him deeply. with as much certainty as if the pansies by the door-stone spelt her name. Lovely in its simple grace and truth was the figure of a child looking upward as if watching the airy flight of some butterfly which had evidently escaped from the chrysalis still lying in the little hand. though very simply furnished. and in her face a somewhat startled expression. though longing intensely to know more. and. he read here and there enough to give him glimpses into an innocent and earnest heart which seemed to be learning some hard lesson patiently. the music lying on the well-worn piano of the sort which is never out of fashion. and a name. as if she expected some novel demonstration from the man whose genius her daughter so much admired. The gate swung invitingly open. No name appeared on the fly-leaf. Only near the end did he find the clue in words of his own. Paul was looking at it with approving eyes when Mrs. enjoying his holiday with the zest of a boy. and standing somewhat apart was one small statue in a recess full of flowers.he went on. coming to a mossy stone beside a brook. Ask the gentleman to walk in and wait. for the pictures were few and well chosen. and. The gentleman did walk in. The delightfully commonplace remark tranquillized Mrs. until he reached a most attractive little path winding away across the fields. taking off the . Then. he sat down to listen to the blackbirds singing deliciously in the willows over head. taking it up he found it was a pocket-diary. he shut the little book and went on. had a good deal of beauty in it. and all the ground before it was blue with violets. "She's gone to town. and. half hidden in the grass lay a little book. he asked for Psyche. Soon an old house appeared nestling to the hillside with the river shining in the low green meadows just before it. but I expect her home every minute.
the housekeeping. I don't know that you were aware of our loss. as Tom. and I know she'll have it. as if the thought of Psyche. sir. or the presence of a genial guest had touched Mrs. "I'm afraid ambition isn't good for women. understanding better now the pathetic words on a certain tearstained page of the little book still in his pocket. she gave that up last spring." he said. lend us a hand at catching him!" . But Sy deserves some reward. with mingled regret and hope in his voice." added her mother. and it came very hard upon Sy. for the child wasn't happy with any one else. "I am glad to hear it. my balloon has got away. and though it was a great disappointment to her at the time. with a hungry look in her eyes. Dean. I hope. hoping to arrest the shower. Paul murmured his regrets. and I sincerely believe that time will prove me a true prophet. Further conversation was interrupted by the avalanche of boys which came tumbling down the front stairs. "I thought there was much promise in Miss Psyche. Sy is well." and unaffected maternal grief gave sudden dignity to the faded. I'm sure. for a better daughter never lived. I suppose?" said Paul. Dick. remembering as she spoke that Psyche even now went about the house sometimes pale and silent. natural as it was.upper shawl with a fussy gesture. "Miss Psyche has not had much time for art-studies this year." continued Mrs. fretful face of the speaker. as he glanced about the room. for he was too true an artist to believe that any work could be as happy as that which he loved and lived for. "Yes. thank heaven. she settled herself for a chat. Dean's chilly nature with a comfortable warmth. Dean's business embarrassments. "How could she with two invalids. she suffered everything. her father and the boys to attend to? No.-"Sy. and almost lived in her arms. which betrayed the tastes still cherished by the girl. and May's death. It has been a hard and sorrowful year for us with Mr. I mean the sort that makes them known by coming before the public in any way. my feeble health. dropping the second shawl to get her handkerchief. she has got over it now." Here the third shawl was cast off. and Harry shouted in a sort of chorus. I don't know what would become of us if she wasn't." though a little shadow passed over his face as Paul spoke. "Poor dear.
there's such a mess in the kitchen! Katy's burnt up the pudding. and her hands occupied by a remarkably ugly turtle. for though Mr.-"My little Sy never forgets old father. followed by an Irish wail. I want a lot of paste made."Sy. there's a dear!" On beholding a stranger the young gentlemen suddenly lost their voices. mother. Dean to clap on her three shawls again and excuse herself in visible trepidation. mother dear. I'm so glad. Here are your bundles. and. and so she had. smashed the best meat-dish. There is Tom's gunpowder." "Sy. right off. I went to the mill and got him. does she?" "Good gracious me. and with nods and grins took themselves away as quietly as could be expected of six clumping boots and an unlimited quantity of animal spirits in a high state of effervescence. and here's Mr. here's father home in time for a good rest before dinner. and then I'll come and attend to everything. "Here we are!" cried a cheery voice. Dick's fishhooks. my dear. as they entered without observing the new-comer. then turned sober and said. "I've done all my errands and had a lovely time. an unmistakable odor of burnt milk pervaded the air. Dean in accents of despair as she tied up her head in a fourth shawl. His big hand patted her cheek very gently as he said. best of all. and the crash of china. come sew me up." cried Mrs. "Oh. I've split my jacket down the back. it woke and warmed with the affection which his daughter had fostered till no amount of flannel could extinguish it. As they trooped off." "How did you find me out?" asked Psyche as she shook hands with her guest and stood ." Psyche spoke as if she had brought a treasure. "Poor Psyche!" with a sympathetic sigh. found their manners. Dean's face usually was about as expressive as the turtle's. in a tone of fatherly love and pride. so don't worry. Paul laughed quietly to himself. Gage come to dinner. He roamed about the room impatiently till the sound of voices drew him to the window to behold the girl coming up the walk with her tired old father leaning on one arm. the other loaded with baskets and bundles. I'll go in and see him a few minutes. and one of Professor Gazzy's famous turtles for Harry. caused Mrs. put castor-oil instead of olive in the salad.
anxiety. but in trying to be faithful to one I find I am nearer and dearer to the other. I enjoyed your work for an hour to-day. Forgive me. for my head is full of ambitious plans. "I've been working and waiting." . but I didn't think you would guess. if I may believe what I see and hear and read." "There is no need of any. "The violets showed me the way. with an expressive little wave of the book as he laid it down before her. "Never! I thought at first that I could not serve two masters. and I feel that I can do something _now_. love. The moment I saw your name I shut it up. and a sense of power betrayed itself in voice and gesture as she spoke." he said heartily. and am just beginning to find that my dream _is_ 'a noonday light and truth.' to me. "And succeeding. "I believe it. as that proves. "You have learned the secret. "My diary! I didn't know I had lost it." All the old enthusiasm shone in her eyes. for discontent. I gave them to Adam. and when my leisure does come I shall know how to use it. with a momentary shadow on her face. but I can't ask pardon for reading a few pages of that little gospel of patience.looking up at him with all the old confiding frankness in her face and manner. My cares and duties are growing lighter every day (or I have learned to bear them better). and I have no words strong enough to express my admiration. "Yes. and selfdenial. and lay down your tools?" he asked." "Then you do not relinquish your hopes. with some eagerness." he said." She glanced at the posy in his button-hole and smiled. and sadness were no longer visible there. watching with genuine satisfaction the serene and sunny face before him.-"It has been a hard task. and hurried the telltale book out of sight as she said. Where did you find it?" "By the brook where I stopped to rest." she began. but I think I have learned it. Tell me about yourself: what have you been doing all this year?" he asked." She gave him a reproachful look.
but not the expression. _I_ think I have." Then. A hopeful. though this is all I have done. and into her face there came a motherly expression that made it very sweet.-"I hear you think of giving your Adam a mate. since you have succeeded so well with Adam's. she added rather abruptly. the power of seeing it in all things. I think the year has granted them. That is the charm of feminine faces. and the art of reproducing it with truth. one that shall be sweet and strong without being either weak or hard. earnest face with a tender touch of motherliness in it. "That little sister was so dear to me I could not fail to make her lovely.Psyche looked at the childish image as he pointed to it. all but the face. we will stop here." said Psyche." She colored deeply under the glance which accompanied the threefold compliment." "I don't expect to find it in perfection. my design is finished. in order that every one may be suited. a charm so subtile that few can catch and keep it. thinking of the dinner." "It will be hard to find a face like that. I want a truly womanly face." Now." "I sincerely hope you will find one then. and answered with grateful humility. and in rare moments give glimpses of a lovely possibility. but one sometimes sees faces which suggest all this.-"You are very kind to say so." "You forget your three wishes. The year has gone. and perhaps the shadow of a grief that has softened but not saddened it. "Thank you. but I don't regret it. Those who prefer the good old fashion may believe that the hero and . as if anxious to forget herself." "The features perhaps." "I should think you could image Eve's beauty. I wish I could believe it. loving.--have you begun yet?" "Yes." "What were they?" "To possess beauty in yourself. for I put my heart into my work. and leave our readers to finish the story as they like.
Alcott's short story: Psyche's Art . were married. while Paul won fame and fortune. happy in duties which became pleasures. and brought rewards in time. and lived happily ever afterward. and Psyche grew beautiful with the beauty of a serene and sunny nature. rich in the art which made life lovely to herself and others. [The end] Louisa M. But those who can conceive of a world outside of a wedding-ring may believe that the friends remained faithful friends all their lives.heroine fell in love.
To their great delight the Pitcher-plant. the Fringed Gentians shut their blue eyes that they might not see the bold Asters. and things will go on as they always have done. for the Golden-rods rule." Quite a shout went up from all the Asters. It was proposed to have a queen. from the little white stars in the grass to the tall sprays tossing their purple plumes above the mossy wall. dear friends. as their name shows. These sturdy plants told the news to their relations inside. and they care only for money and power. say Aye. and so the Asters were unusually wise and energetic flowers. "Things are moving in the great world. for queen this year. Now. sensible flowers. Violet Aster. and the late Clovers and Buttercups joined in it." and was much honored everywhere. for they were honest. for this fine family came over in the "Mayflower. and no one thought of choosing a king from any other family. and our tribe is even larger than the Golden-rod tribe. and at its foot lay a large rock . for they were strong and handsome. so it is but fair that we should take our turn at governing. but help us elect our handsome cousin who was born in the palace this year. and it is time we made a change in our little one. for some of them grew outside the wall beside the road. we are descended from the stars.QUEEN ASTER Title: Queen Aster Author: Louisa May Alcott [More Titles by Alcott] For many seasons the Golden-rods had reigned over the meadow. and were much amused at the suggestion to put them off the throne where they had ruled so long. and loved to rule. so. she was so shocked. It will soon be time to choose. "Let those discontented Asters try it. and Clematis fainted away in the grass. "Matters are not going well in the meadow. But one autumn something happened which caused great excitement among the flowers. or Forefathers' Cup." In the middle of the meadow stood a beautiful maple. and such a thing had never been heard of before. after a long talk with a wandering wind. don't be troubled." they said. and saw and heard what went on in the great world. and that impressed all the other plants. It began among the Asters." said one of the roadside Asters. and I propose our stately cousin. and liked fair play. Whoever agrees with me. and are both wise and good. "No one will vote for that foolish Violet. But the proud Cardinals by the brook blushed with shame at the idea of a queen. said "Aye" most decidedly. The Golden-rods laughed scornfully.
high-born flower like herself. the Pitcher-plant refreshed her with the history of the brave Puritans who loved liberty and justice and suffered to win them. The Prince tossed his yellow head behind the screen. and believed in her. with only a screen of ferns between them." So the meadow was divided: one half turned its back on the new queen. Clematis. Cardinals.--the tree living so high above them. and Pitcher-plants voted for Violet. This was called the palace." cried the haughty Cardinals. and will soon be glad to give up and let me take my proper place. and all waited to see how the experiment would succeed. The Golden-rods. and with loud rejoicing by her friends she was proclaimed queen of the meadow and welcomed to her throne. Clematis hid her face among the vine leaves.-"Let her try. and both believed in gentle Violet. Their votes won the day." added the Gentians. "Nor we! Dreadful. Buttercups. and said many untrue and disrespectful things of Violet. the other half loved. They seldom took part in the affairs of the flower people. Clovers. busy with its own music. "We will never go to Court or notice her in any way. admired. she never can do it. and many of the other flowers agreed with them that a change of rulers ought to be made for the good of the kingdom. and the Rock gave a bit of lichen for her also. the other a philosopher). as they called the handsome fellow by the rock. But her best help came from the rock and the tree. unfeminine creature! Let us turn our backs and be grateful that the brook flows between us. The wise Asters helped her with advice. and laughed as if he did not mind. and Bitter-sweet voted for the Prince. the honest Clovers sweetened life with their sincere friendship. and to the surprise of the meadow the Maple dropped a leaf. All kinds of flowers sprung up here. there was great excitement as the wind went about collecting the votes. So when the day came to choose.--for when . and the cheerful Buttercups brightened her days with kindly words and deeds. feeling that the palace was no longer a fit home for a delicate.overgrown by a wild grape-vine. shaking their fringes as if the mere idea soiled them. Gentians. red with anger. but they liked the idea of a queen (for one was a poet. and seeing their cousin there made the Asters feel that their turn had come. and the rock being so old that it seemed lost in meditation most of the time. All the Asters. and this autumn a tall spray of Golden-rod and a lovely violet Aster grew almost side by side. All the Golden-rods raged at this dreadful disappointment. saying carelessly.
always full of soft music. the thrushes from the wood. but the Queen was not afraid. and the lively wrens bits of gossip and witty jokes to relate. and courage seemed to come to her from the wise old stone that had borne the storms of a hundred years. the robins had domestic news. She ordered the field-mice to nibble all the stems of the clusters before they were ripe. except the Cardinals. The first thing she did was to banish the evil snakes from her kingdom. and the wise bees were heartily glad to see the Grape-vine saloon shut up. and if any dispute came up. and she would decide it fairly. and were always welcome. for they were always at war. for they lured the innocent birds to death. who liked to hear their splendid dresses and fine feasts talked about. and the crows criticised and condemned every one who did not believe and do just as they did. so the magpies were forbidden to go gossiping about the meadow.she needed strength she leaned her delicate head against the rough breast of the rock. The Pitcher-plant offered pure water from its green and russet cups to the busy workers. and all her good subjects thanked her. This was a hard task. The larks brought tidings from the clouds. and all loved to hear their pretty romances. lazy. for the ants loved to fight. a disgrace to their family and a terror to the flowers. Every one felt safe and comfortable when this was done. and cross. and was comforted by these glimpses of a world above her. always pointing heavenward. who were so . She bade each tribe keep in its own country. But she made them friends at last. when her heart was heavy with care or wounded by unkindness. Then she stopped the bees from getting tipsy on the wild grapes and going about stupid. The wind was telegraphmessenger. but the birds were reporters. she looked up to the beautiful tree. and every one was glad. and would go on struggling after their bodies were separated from their heads. and filled many a happy nest with grief. But the magpies made much mischief with their ill-natured tattle and evil tales. and did no harm. and the Golden-rods. and the bees and wasps scolded and stung. Another reform was to purify the news that came to the meadow. The vine was very angry. to the great dismay of more peaceful insects. and the gloomy black crows were ordered off the fence where they liked to sit cawing dismally for hours at a time. to bring it to her. so they fell and withered. The next task was to stop the red and black ants from constantly fighting. so fierce were they. and some of them very bad ones.
a sad lady-bug who had lost all her children found comfort in her loneliness. and it was a hard task. and the meadow grew more beautiful day by day. and the proud flowers began to see that they would have to give in." said the Cardinals. for they could not deny that Violet had succeeded better than any one dared to hope. "Our time will soon be over. we can only gracefully submit. Safe from their enemies the snakes. Sunshine and shower seemed to love to freshen the thirsty flowers and keep the grass green. longing to display their red velvet robes at the feasts which Violet was obliged to give in the palace when kings came to visit her. for they wonder not to see us there. eager to be again the belles of the ball. and there several belated butterflies were tucked up in their silken hammocks to sleep till spring." answered the Gentians. Clematis astonished every one by suddenly beginning to climb the maple-tree and shake her . and brought back messages of praise and good-will from other rulers. "We shall have to go to Court if ambassadors keep coming with such gifts and honors to her Majesty. own they were wrong. like old soldiers. in the sunshine. It took a long time to do all this. for the rich and powerful flowers gave no help. A hospital for sick and homeless creatures was opened under the big burdock leaves. birds came to build in all the trees and bushes. so did the Clovers and Buttercups. It is hard to see the good old ways changed. saying with a smile. But the Asters worked bravely. and the Pitcherplant kept open house with the old-fashioned hospitality one so seldom sees now-a-days. and I'm afraid we must humble ourselves or lose all the gayety of the season. but if they must be. This made a deep impression on the Golden-rods and their friends. glad to know that the experiment worked so well. and become loyal subjects of this wise and gentle queen. as well as the scandal of the magpies and the political and religious arguments and quarrels of the crows. and many crippled ants sat talking over their battles. smoothing their delicate blue fringes. and will tell that we are sulking at home instead of shining as we only can. singing their gratitude so sweetly that there was always music in the air. Everything seemed to prosper.used to living in public that they missed the excitement. till every plant grew strong and fair. and passers-by stopped to look.-"What a pretty little spot this is!" The wind carried tidings of these things to other colonies.
He saw the daily acts of charity which no one else discovered. how humbly she asked help. and whispered. He knew she was awake. and waited for a chance. and I'll be the first to own it. and how bravely she bore them. and the air was balmy with the last breath of summer. and being in a tender mood. So he sung his sweetest song. He could not help hearing her words of comfort or reproof to those who came to her for advice.silvery tassels like a canopy over the Queen's head. I choose the noblest I can find. and love the modest faithful flower who grew so near him. but as a friend and faithful subject. as if something troubled her. for he had peeped through the ferns and seen her looking at the stars with her violet eyes full of dew. for she much longed to be friends with the gallant Prince. and look up. she was easily guided." As he spoke the leaves that hid Violet's golden heart opened wide and let him see how glad ." he said to himself. forevermore.-"What troubles you. wondering how long it would be before he told her what she knew was in his heart. Since I must cling to something. pushed away the screen. for he was a gentleman with a really noble heart under his yellow cloak. to thank her and offer my allegiance. for like many weak and timid creatures. As he ended she sighed. though I love you dearly. while his face shone and his voice showed how much he felt. Golden-rod heard the soft sigh. "I cannot live so near her and not begin to grow. and only waited for him to speak to own how dear he was to her. so he was among the first to see. because both were born in the palace and grew up together very happily till coronation time came. for I confess that you are fitter to rule than I. One night when the September moon was shining over the meadow.--I dare not say as Prince Consort. the Prince ventured to serenade the Queen on his wind-harp. Prince Golden-rod had found it impossible to turn his back entirely upon her Majesty. and it was well for her that Violet's example had been a brave one. he knew how many trials came to her. sweet neighbor? Forget and forgive my unkindness. and how sweetly she confessed her shortcomings to the wise rock and the stately tree." she said. forgot his pride. and let me help you if I can. "She has done more than ever we did to make the kingdom beautiful and safe and happy. admire. and her Majesty leaned nearer to hear it. not down.
she was. and each needs the other. and the old rock waved his crown of vine-leaves as he said. while the maple showered its rosy leaves over them. love and strength going hand in hand. and justice making the earth glad. and let us rule together. but when morning came all the meadow was surprised and rejoiced to see the gold and purple flowers standing side by side. as she bent her stately head and answered softly. for it is lonely without love.-"There is room upon the throne for two: share it with me as King.-"This is as it should be." What the Prince answered only the moon knows." [The end] Louisa May Alcott's short story: Queen Aster .
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