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When our dinner was cooked, we formed a procession from the kitchen to the parlour. Edward bore the steak, whistling a march. I followed, laughing, with the pudding, for we had to economize time, and little Polly, enjoying the joke, trudged after with the potatoes.
Still we felt that there was an effort in all this, and when
husband looked at me for the first time alone, at his table, he perceived that the kitchen fire, added to the effects of weeping, had deepened the hue of my complexion beyond the delicacy of beauty, and as I was assisting him to a potato, detected a spot of “smut” (pot-black) on the finger on which he had placed a pearl ring. I blushed deeper crimson; and tears, those trials to young wives, started to my eyes. Edward seemed not to notice it, and I transferred the sable stain to one of my bridal handkerchiefs
She is not the fairest, although she is fair,
Nothing could be more calm than our evening meal after the excitement of our cook's departure. We felt the happiness of that intercourse where “love is.” It was autumn.The beauty and freshness of summer were in the heavens, and the warmth of winter on our hearth.
I felt no embarrassment in carrying my shining brass tea-kettle into the parlour, and making tea there, which, with blushing importance, I poured out for my husband. He was full of the gentle pleasantry of satisfied affection.
Little Polly superintended the toasting iron, that luxury so little known in some places, where forks are destroyed daily in burning one
piece of bread, while the iron toasts three in less time.
My mother was soon apprized of the loss of my cook, and the very next evening “help” came in the form of a gentle, but ignorant-looking girl of eighteen. She was one to whom I would willingly have extended my hand, and given my heart. I dreaded to think that so soft a creature should be visited by the elements “too roughly." She was however active, and her duties were soon well performed. Sålly had been an inmate of my family but six weeks, when one day she came into the parlour, and, colouring very deeply, handed me a letter, which was written as follows.
“SALEM, “Dear Sally, I've got home safe from Calcutta, and reckon that you will be glad to see me, tho’ sometimes I aint so sure. I calculate to be in Boston by to-morrow, and shall find you out. If you haven't got another sweetheart I shall want to marry you Sunday night; if you
have, I shall take ship Monday morning and be
“Well, Sally,” said I, smiling, "am I to lose you on Sunday night?"
“I am afeard so, ma'am,” replied she, sliding behind the door.
“Don't be ashamed, Sally,” said I. “I have shown you such an example of marrying one whom I preferred, that I am sure I cannot blame you."
Upon this Sally looked up, and I asked her how long she had known Mr. Curry.
Sally began twisting a gold ring that was on the fore-finger of her left hand, and said,
“My mother, ma'am, was a poor woman in Salem, the widow of a sea-captain. He was lost on a voyage, and she fell sick, declining,
like. I was her only child. It was a very stormy night, a year ago, and my mother was very ill. I sent to a neighbour to say that I was afeard she wouldn't stand it. Our neighbour sent back she daresn't leave her baby, who was sick, but a young man what was boarding there, a sailor named Curry, a very decent person, would come and watch with me. I was thankful to see a living countenance, and said he might come and welcome.
“That was a forlorn night; but Mr. Curry helped me a sight. My mother was in a kind of a saint like all night, and he was as tender as a child to her. Once he began to tell a sea story, to try and cheer me up, but he found he made me cry more, because it didn't seem somehow respectful to talk of the things of life by a deathbed, and he stopped talking, and only now and then, when he found he couldn't comfort me, nor raise her neither, he would fetch up such a pitying look, as if he wished he could.
“The day was just dawning when my mother