« AnteriorContinuar »
have, I shall take ship Monday morning and be off again. " Yours till death,
“SAM'L. CURRY. “P.S.--I have had two lucky 'ventures, and we shan't want for nothing. I hope you aint lost the ring."
“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 keist 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 faint 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
seemed to come to a little, and spoke right out, “Sally, dear.
“What, mother? says I, and my heart beat as if it would come through.
“Is there anybody with you? says she.
“Yes, dear mother, a friend,' says I, whispering
“«Will he take care of you?' says she, and she looked with her sunk eye full on Curry.
Curry got right up, and came by the bedside, and knelt down, and took her thin hand, and said, in a voice quite loud and solemn, 'I will take care of her, so help me God.'
"She didn't say another word, but just gave a kind of sigh, as it were, not sorrowful, but as if she was satisfied, and squeezed his hand, and Ho she died.
"The sun rose then quite glorious. The light didn't look right to me; it shot to my heart like ice, and I would rather have had it dark again.
Curry was very kind and serviceable to me, but just as he was going to call in the neigh
bours, one of the crew came, and said, the vessel was gettin under way, and he must go.
“There wasn't much to be said, because he had to go so quick, but he kissed me once (you know I was in trouble, and that somehow brings us all equal), and took a gold ring out of his waistcoat pocket, and putting it on my finger, said, 'I bought that ring for my sister; but, Miss Sally, I love you more than I do her now, and if I live to come back, you shall see that I do, that you shall.'
“I felt as if my mother had died over again when he went out, but the neighbours soon came in, and she was decently laid out. Curry left twenty dollars to pay expenses. I was the only mourner at her funeral, and I cried enough for a hundred; and it seemed to me, the night after the funeral, that I should just like to go and throw myself into the ocean that poor Curry sailed on.
“Time passed on, and the ring was a kind of comfort to me. Sometimes I was so foolish as
to talk to it, as if it could understand, and I would ask it questions I wouldn't like to ask anybody else.
“The folks told me I should get higher wages in Boston than in Salem, and I have made out tolerable. I don't know how it was, it seemed to me that I would give myself a year to hear good news in, and I thought I might as well be laying up things with my earnings, when they turned up cheap, so that I have got pretty considerable beforehand.
"I hope, ma'am,” said Sally after a pause, for I was silent from the emotion her simple story caused me—“I hope you don't think I've been over-quick in my liking. I heard a very good character of Curry from the folks he lodged with, and the image of him that night seemed to take the place of my mother's, and filled up a very heavy want in my heart.”
“Oh no, Sally,” said I, quite charmed with her simplicity, “I do not blame you, but I hear the sound of a chaise on the pavement at the side door."