Imagens das páginas
PDF
ePub

more than

a

[ocr errors]

me."

the district school. Begin to wish we were al-1

(From Xerxes.) ready married-an intelligent wish for a fellow "Sometimes the awfulness of this work into with just one coat in the world.

which I have come strikes me dumb. Have “Met the Greek Professor and his niece to- been thinking of it here in the dark till I am day. The young lady noticed my old gray shawl. choked-stified. Did I take the shoes from off What young lady would not? I have so few ac

my feet before I stepped in ? Have I waited, as quaintances in Xerxes that I observed her ob- / Whitefield waited, not daring to enter till God servation, and thought that, were I settled over thrust him in?' the Brick Church in New York, for instance, on "We were speaking of Whitefield last night a salary of, say, seven thousand, I would buy an Miss Hartley told the story about taking to the Over-coat. How pleased a little girl I know life-boats with great dramatic effect. would be with a seven thousand dollar salary!" I "*This growing burden of God's message,' I

" 6th.-Made a call at Prof. Craik's. He said to her one day, seems to me sometimes was engaged. His niece entertained me con-|

Iman can be scientiously.

" A man need not bear it,' she said, very low. “A discussion at Club this noon on federal · He can trust it.' And her eyes as she spoke headship in Adam."

were full." “13th.-Prof. Craik has engaged me as one of his readers. In his nervous, shattered state

(From Bloomsbury.) of health and eyesight, he is accustomed to em- "Gershom writes me what tine skating they ploy students to read him to sleep, every night. have in Xerxes. He wishes I were there to cut We feel that the privilege more than balances

circles with him. His last letter was very funthe loss of a little sleep. Am especially pleased

ea ny; and he seems in such a hurry to see me! with the arrangement, for my bell-ringing and the private scholar in the village will hardly eke studving Sir Alexander Xamilton, for Mr. Love

and I asked him the other day whether he were still out term-bills.” “30th.-Have been dipping into Hegel this

.. wanted to know; but he has forgotten to tell week. Pastor and scholar-how can a man be the two?

(From Xerxes.) "This fortnight's reading to the Professor wears a little, but pays.

"Sunday.-Read Milton for two hours after “At tea there again. Miss Craik instructed

church. The three words, “Myself am hell,' dog me on the French salon system. Her uncle in

one like the toll of the bell after one has come troduced the subject. Between the two I was

as from a funeral. The downward impetus of sin annoyed at my ignorance. Have my doubts

is something terrible to find out. We are all of 'about that sort of thing in a woman. Undoubt

us embryo Satans. Even systematic theology, edly Miss Hartley makes sour bread."

I see, has its practical uses to Christian experi"Apropos of bread, I find in chronological

ence. unity with the Xerxes journal a pet receipt of

“How long must a man live before he is justiHitty's:

fied in supposing himself to have any acquaint«*Use two of Froth and Fermenti's yeast

ance with himself?” cakes (more reliable than home-made), and half a teacupful of sugar in my opinion is— A letter

(From Bloomsbury.) just from Gershom. What a dear good boy to

“There is such a lovely moonlight out of write so often and so much, and he so busy ! doors! But I don't like moonlight without GerAnd then such affectionate letters! It seems to :

shom. Skated too long to-day, and am very tired. me that he must love me more than ever this How sweet it would be, and strange, never to be winter. It is so pleasant! I lock myself in here tired, or blue, or happy without him! I did not and look at his picture every night. And then get a letter to-day, and have been crying a little I tell God how much I love him, and how much about it. Am going to read Bancroft's History he loves me, and how happy we are. Only one of the United States, as he asked me. But there little thing troubles me, which is quite wrong, I

are so many big volumes! And they are such a know, when we are so happy-he didn't make

| horrid red color! Besides, I did go to sleep in me any answer about old Mr. Benson's silver

the middle of the first chapter. And then Cousin wedding. And I wrote him six pages about it,

| Phipps came to say that Miss Mazeppa must try thinking he would like all the Bloomsbury news. on my dress that very minute." But then I suppose he is so busy and hurried. And he told me that I spelled irresistable wrong,

(From Xerxes.) but I don't think I did.”

"The Professor was exceedingly weary last

night, and demanded a little of Goethe by way of (From Xerxes.)

diversion. Came home with my brain spinning. February.—The lectures on German Ration- Seem this winter to have stepped out of myself. alism interest me greatly. Am reading Emer Am confused, bewildered, never at rest. Where son to the Professor. He told me that capital was it I saw a picture of a man in a labyrinth story about Idealism at Princeton."

whose clew—a silver cord with the sun on it, a

little cord, but one that could not break-led him (From Bloomsbury.)

straight into a desert ?". “Forgot the rose in my apple-pies to-day! Walked over to see Jenny Smith's wedding-pres

(From Bloomsbury.). ents. Had to keep Pat Donahue after school. “Trimmed my black alpaca with pink velvet. He makes me a great deal of trouble. Our gray G. likes black and pink. Jimmy Glendower has hen is dead."

the mumps."

(From Xerxes.)

1 Here the record stopped abruptly, and my (These entries, in irregular characters, bear blurred young friend came as near perhaps to not redates in February.] “Feeling a little under the weather, apparent

suming it, in form or fact, as he is likely to ly for no better reason than the loss of a few

come till the compiler of his Life, Letters, and nights' sleep, I have forbidden myself all books

Remains shall apply to me for this material. A to-night. My chum sits magnanimously copying lung-fever of the most unromantic pattern, confor me the lecture which I missed to-day. “I sit tracted by late walking and hard study, just here by the fire and journalize like a school-boy. failed of depriving the Gospel ministry of his In an exhausted physical condition even this may valuable services. be preferable to aimless thought.

1 He, following only a tortuous dream of laby6 Naturalists tell of a species of worm which, Irinths and Saint Cecilias, turned weakly in bed if cut in twain, comfortably accepts the situation one sweet

one sweet spring morning to see through a mist by turning into two separate and individual

a woman's watching face, to mutter some words worms, and going its happy ways. Supposing a

which no one could quite interpret, to hear a life to be simply bisected by one short winter, shall the two ends go writhing off from one an

brisk voice saying, decidedly: other? A sensible worm might grow together

“There now! Told you so! Look a here! again, one would fancy; if, like the surgeon's He'll be as chirp as a cricket in a week, you dog, a little the wrong way, what matters it ?" see!".

"I see little of her when I go to read, yet one “Cousin Phipps?" he suggested, faintly. is always conscious of her presence in a house, as “Precisely, Sir. You with no mother, poor one is of a tuberose. I mean, of course, Miss dear, to tend to you—and the child besetting Hartley. I should like to have Hitty know her. ( me day and night to bring her, and your father That French system of sound friendships between laid up with rheumatiz in his own bed this whole man and woman, who can be and care to be

blessed time- See here! Well, well, well, friends only, is sensible. Mentioned the idea in a letter to Bloomsbury the other day. Hitty

you baby! Have your own way, then!" quite agreed with me."

So Hitty was standing there in the living "Sometimes, going a little early, I find her in light, and Hitty's passionate sobbing filled the the heated, lighted, tinted parlor, at the piano, air, and Hitty's touch and tears were on his at her work, at her reading; the door is open as face, and, smiling, he closed his eyes. Her finI pass by. She, in a soft dress, with her head gers patted his helpless hands. Her voice cooed bent in profile, sits framed in there alone. Some in his weary ear. They seemed to be playing times she lifts her eyes to smile. Sometimes at lovers again behind the wood-pile. The I step in, and we talk a little together. Some

spring sun upon the floor was cool and still. times I go on my way in silence. Sometimes Life, with “the green things growing,” sprang, the door is shut.' "A man's work is one thing; his home an

and was sweet. He “asked no questions; he other. Who would want the sharer of his life to

had no replies.” be criticising his sermons, and burning his steak

"Day and night, up and down,” said Couswhile Ruskin lay on the kitchen table? To be in Phipps, at the first opportunity, in Cousin simple, tender, true--this must best complement Phipps's own loud whisper—"never eatin' nor the perplexities and temptations of an over-drinkin' enough to keep a bantam hen alive, till wrought life. It being my birthday, the little girl you was out of danger. There's good stuff in at Bloomsbury remembered me by a pretty affair that child, Gershom Bell, though I say it as -watch-case, I believe she called it. “There's shouldn't say it; and you're better'n most mennothing, I have somewhere read, 'like having folks if you're half good enough for her, poor a woman at hand who believes in you.' I walk

thing !" a great deal-at morning, at night, at midnightup and down the silent Seminary paths, into the

What most “men-folks" would have done fields, over the crusted snow. Health does notur

of under the circumstances remains a problem. improve."

Gershom Bell could have groaned aloud, but i Miss Hartley to-night was singing as I passed changed his mind, and calling Hitty, asked her the door. Caught in fragments words of Jean to kiss him. Ingelow:

Miss Craik, visiting in Athens at about this “Sing on! we sing in the glorious weather, time, received, among other letters from her

Till one steps over the tiny strand, So narrow, in sooth, that still together

uncle, one from which I take this extract: On either brink we go hand in hand.

“Young Bell, one of my readers, you remem""The beck grows wider, the hands must never ber, has been down with lung-fever in his Sem

“Have been humming the tune till my chum inary room. Have been so driven with the has caught it, and we whistle together a spas- | proofs on Malachi that I could not do more than modic duet:

run in to inquire how he was. Found ladies "The beck grows wider, the hands must sever.'"

polo there-his mother and sister, I believe--in at

tendance upon him, and presume he has all the * Found that letter of H.'s which I had mis- care he needs. I regretted that you were not at laid. It was in the Professor's copy of Words- home to send him something in the soup or jelly worth, which, by-the-way, must be returned to- line, but mentioned his case to one of the ladies morrow."

connected with the Pinkerton Occasional Need “A face in church at the Communion Service Society." to-day reminds me of–1 think it was Saint Cecilia--but my head gives me pain.”......

They took him home-Cousin Phipps and

[ocr errors]

Hitty-on a warm, spicy day, when the music | they are pretty women. Then the child could of the earliest birds was overhead, the trickling have her money back by the middle of the of unseen water underfoot. He obeyed them term, and her lip grieved so like a child's-how passively; he was glad to be at home, glad to could he cross her fancy? be with them, glad to hear talk of cows and So he neither argued nor blamed, but let her plowing, of weddings and funerals, of spring have her way, and rather loved her the better planting and spring bonnets, of little healthful, for it, for twenty-four hours to come. restful things; quieted through all his brain Once in the cars, however, fairly started for and heart and body by a simple life into which Xerxes in the morning air, leaving spring flowWhitefield, Goethe, Everlasting Punishment, the ers and scents and dreams behind-and leaving Categorical Imperative, Neander, Miss'Ingelow, them in a woman's debt-he felt annoyed about Night-Reading, and Morning-Prayer could not it. He began to think that it was an inapproenter—from which struggles, burdens, doubts, priate thing in Hitty, after all; she showed regrets were blotted out.

want of tact in forcing him to accept such a Coming back to existence slowly in the sweet position; the more pleasant conclusion this to spring hours, Hitty, you see, came with him. arrive at, because he was perfectly aware that Was he too weary to speak, to think? Why, he had not at that moment five dollars in the Hitty would chat and sing. Did he falter and world with which to repay her. grow faint on their walks in the budding weath-! A party of very well-dressed ladies entering er? Hitty's strong hand held him. If she the car in the middle of his musing caught his asked, in reading the papers to him, who was eye and mood unpleasantly; Hitty at the staSpeaker of the Senate, he only smiled. Her tion, in her broad hat and ill-cut sack-Hitty very blunders were pretty to him. In his fee- was one of those people whose things never have ble state he found it a relief that she did not an “air"-crossed his perplexed fancy. He know much. He seemed to himself to have wondered how she would look in a city church, stepped from a whirlwind into a vacuum ; beat- and so wondering put her from his thought for en, blinded, bruised-who should care now even other things; then, in the whirl of travel, growto breathe? Little concern for the past, little ing a little confused within himself, old Xerxes fear for the future, came to him. He felt him- habits of feeling assumed distinctness in nearself to be stranded; he believed himself to be ing Xerxes boundaries. safe ; why make ado over an unquiet dream? He sent his trunk to his room by coach with

Thus the lighted, scented days slipped softly; out him (thereby saving ten cents), and walked and thus, in due time, the man waxed strong. a little slowly or reluctantly up the hill. He With strength there came a pause.

passed a lady at the bend of the road; her face It was the day, I think, before the Seminary was outlined against the waning light. She term began that Hitty, alone with him, a little raised her eyes, and turning, smiling, bowed. tearful for to-morrow's parting, fell to talking He lifted his hat and went his way—and that of the expenses of his sickness, of his summer was all that happened. plans. How should the two ends meet? And It was all that happened, except that the had he strength for private scholars now? And young man, walking on in the dusk, stopped so drew from him, as she might not at another suddenly and drew his hand across his foretime, the wearing, worrying story of his debts head; the gesture was a confused one, like that and dreads.

of a person a little blinded or stunned. Per“No, my board-bills are not paid, Hitty, to haps only a young man could have thoroughly tell the truth, and the fact is—".

understood it. "The fact is," interrupted Hitty, with hang- You and I, in the smoothness of “life's late ing head and sudden crimson forehead, " that afternoon," forget perhaps the chasms we met -oh, Gershom! don't be angry-but I knew in the morning; can scarcely understand how how much the doctor charged, and I haven't looks, tones, touches, instants, atoms of things used the money since I taught, and so I-paid ever plunged us too down precipices which it the old board-bills-in your name; in a little had exhausted weeks, months, years to scale. letter; nobody knew; and I've been afraid to Young Bell turned sharply upon himself now; tell you, and you know "

French friendship and convalescent dreaming “ Hitty!"

fluttered airily away, and were not. The young man flushed hotly; but when he What, then? Did he love two women-two saw her face he said only the one word. women at once? Possibly. The thing has been

“If we belong to one another,” said Hitty, done. He must be an older man than Gershom in a whisper, “and God sends you sickness, Bell, who knows whether or not he is incapable and I'm strong and well, and so glad-oh, Ger- of it. shom!-to do any thing!"

It takes a man, after all, to “go right*along" Gershom was a man of sense, and this little with a trouble. There is spice in the old Scanpromised wife of his seemed just then, you know dinavian proverb: “It is for women to lament, (Xerxes, except by way of board-bills, blanch- for men to remember.” Girls, facing a discovery ing from his thoughts), the one only woman in like that which Gershom, stopping there in the the world to him-as pretty women, taken at dusk of the Seminary walk, had faced, extemporandom, have a way of seeming, just because rize hendaches and get away alone with it on the spot. The young student ate his club-sup- tell her, in his grief and shame, that the thing per, talked politics, unpacked his trunk, chatted which he greatly feared had come upon them with his chum, precisely as he would yesterday, both, scarcely crossed his purpose as a sane posto-day, and to-morrow, while suppers, chums, sibility; never, as a sacred duty owing both to and politics endure.

her and to himself. With night and stillness reflection came The case, it must be owned, was hard. It was none the cheerier, perhaps, for delay; Matil- such a true little girl! whom he had taught to da's method has its own advantages.

| love him while she was a baby; whose strengthHe struck a match after a while in his chilly, ening trust he had fostered with their strengthdark room, and hunting for a picture which he ening years; whose budding, hallowed dreams had somewhere it required some hunting to of wifehood he had deliberately folded round find it), laid it down in the light, and, with his himself; who had turned from all other loves for hands above his eyes, examined it.

his dear sake; whose whole being was bounded He saw an ambrotyped girl with supernatu--he knew it-by his smile; who had thought it rally red cheeks and lips, yellow velvet on her priceless privilege to wear herself to exhaustion hair, and an awkward blue dress with white over his sick-bed; and who, to crown the whole, spots. He saw “only that, and nothing more," had paid his board-bills ! He closed the case, and put the thing away. Now, just because he had outgrown her, was

And even with his hand upon it the room he to cast her by like a plaything from which grew luminous with a dead sunset, and a face the gloss was worn ? Because she was only leaned living from it--the strong, tender face! that which God had made her, was the debt the womanly, gracious face !......

he owed her canceled ? Because she could He went out into the other room and sat not read Jean Paul in the original, could he down a while by the smouldering fire. Oddly not therefore become her honorable husband ? enough, the only distinct thought which he had And yet--and yet—had it been Hitty who weawas a scrap from an old ballad which he had ried of him? She could have freed the prisonnot remembered before in half a dozen years. ed secret, and there would be few to blame her. He used to “spout" it at school:

He must keep his struggles barred. The man's

conscious chivalry stung within him. All the A man might sail to hell in your companie, ....'Why not to heaven !' quo' she."

old mistaken sense of honor faced him and

fought with him. What was done was done. Bell's chum simply gasped the next morning That which he had sown he should likewise on being met with the proposition that they reap. Amen. should sell their stove.

His wife should never suffer sense of loss in In a climate where you have a week's 'nor'- him; they should become each to the other all easter' in July? If it were theological, I should that God in his sweet pity (and God knew they say you'd been on a spree!”

needed pity, they two!) would help them to be“I need money to pay a little bill," said Bell, come. She should be honored of him so tena bit pale that morning.

derly that she might never guess the outlines The idea was preposterous, and he knew it; of that other face which must die—which must dropped it of sheer necessity; went off down die!-with the dying sunset from out his martown and found wood to saw; but it was the ried skies. And, in the “ courts she could not middle of the term, after all, before Hitty had enter," an angel with finger on its lips should that money.

stand forever. The record of Gershom Bell's closing years All this may be very fine writing; at any rate, at Xerxes Seminary is largely a sealed one. it was very fine thinking; at least, it served a From the commencement of that perfumed very fine purpose through the remainder of the spring term the entries in his diary ceased al- 1 young man's student-life. together. The young man was living that of When it failed him at last- as it must, as it which written words and characters are no should, as any but the poor fellow himself could symbol. At least, he had undeceived him- have foreseen that it would-it failed with a. self. That old suspicion of loving two wo- crash; broke and bounded beneath his feet as men at once (which had mortified him ex- if the earth were reeling. tremely at the time) faded in a clearer self- ! It' failed of course when, in the confusion of analysis ; brightened in spots occasionally when his anniversary week, he went, at the close of a pretty note from Bloomsbury came on a dull a blazing summer's day, to bid the Professor's afternoon; died by degrees in a haze of sum- niece good-by; when he found her by chance mer gardens, winter moons, lighted evenings, alone, in the dusk, at the piano—her pale musMendelssohn, and Mrs. Browning, penetrated lin dress shining like a softened lamp through forever by the richness of this Hartley Craik's the sweet darkness, as one looked in through unconscious face.

the open front-door. He, looking, passed in Was it unconscious, though! The query oc- without announcement, and stood in the shadcurred to him once only; he could have had his ow unseen, unheard — not caring to interrupt hands round his own throat for it with pleasure- her-till she had finished her song. he, the pledged husband of another woman. It was a simple little song, running to an old

To go like a man to this other woman, and Scotch melody, thus:
Vol. XXXVIII.–No. 228.-30

. "God be with you! through my losing | Cynthy Glendower, says I, Du tell! Well, I And my grieving, shall I say?

never! Want to know ! for I never'd have Through my smiling and my hopingGod be with you, friend, to-day!

thought it, not if I'd died for it--them two chil“Somewhere, on a shore of silver

dren seemed so happy!” (God be with you on the way 9,

That these trivial words should have been reIn a sunlight sifted richly

peated at the lapse of years to me, that I should From a thousand skies of May.

be repeating now to you, that the fate of three “In a dream of June's white roses,

lives should have been checked and turned by In a chant of waters low,

them, is—not so strange after all, when one In a glory of red maples, A hush of moonlight upon snow.

stops to consider.

"Bob did very wrong,"pronounced Gershom, “ In the meanings of the sunrise, In the soul of summer rain,

resolutely. In the heart of purple hazes

"I don't know about that," Hitty said, humWe will not say good-by again.

ming a little love-song over her crochet work. " But the tears dash through my dreaming, “It would be far worse if he had waited, and And the thing I fain would say

Cynthy had found out too late."
Falters into this--this only:

“Too fiddlestick!" interrupted Cousin Phipps, God be with you till that day!"

with decision. “When a young man has made Turning, a little startled, with the last words honorable proposals of marriage to a young woupon her lips, to see him, she raised her eyes, man, and she's been and gone and accepted and Gershom Bell knew nothing in heaven or him, I was brought up to believe it's his busiearth but the thing which he found in them; ness to marry her, whether or no. But I'll say he had caught it, prisoned it; none could take this, though," added the old lady, with a sharp it from him ; it was his forever; and so, in his nod; “if a girl finds out a fellow's tired of her, thrill of delight and dread and danger, he broke in my opinion she's a fool of the first water if his silence.

she'll have him !" When he had come to himself, and told her “I wonder-" began Bell, and stopped. Hitall, he went out from her presence with an ex- ty looked up from the crochet work, and her ceeding great and bitter cry.

little love-song stopped too. The two young

people looked into one another's eyes, and GerIt was Cousin Phipps who tipped the balance, shom turned exceedingly pale. after all; the last person in the world from whom “Good laud !” said Aunt Phipps, after a one would have expected it.

long pause; “where are you going to now, MeBut that part of the story requires prelude. hitabel ?"

The young man went back to his promised “I will be back presently,” said Hitty, in a wife with hand upon his mouth and his mouth steady voice. With a steady hand she folded in the dust. He felt himself unworthy to touch her soft, bright work, and Gershom, with the the hem of her garment. Before her trustful, room reeling before his eyes, noticed how steaduplifted eyes his own wandered and fell. In ily she shut the door. that habit peculiar to the Christian man of tak- All that Hitty did was to go away into the ing his very mistakes to God for a blessing, he moonless summer night, and find a still spot asked night after night upon his knees for beneath some evergreens, and lie down there strength to be true to this little girl ; true to for a little while, with her face crushed down his life's remotest corner; true to every shading into her hands. “To find out what had hapof his married fancy. But his honest soul told pened," she very simply said, in telling me the him that he had no answer for his pleading, and story a long while after. so, like the wheel of Ixion, his conflicts turned All that she said when, coming in at last, she themselves about..

| found Gershom sitting wretched and alone in Hitty, if his stereotyped notes had disappoint- the lighted room, was, ed her sometimes, had long ago concluded that “Gershom?". ministers had no time to waste on love-letters. It was very gently spoken, though somewhat If his studied tenderness rang a little hollow to low. He turned his haggard face about. her now, it was her puzzled eyes alone which “What did it mean? I would like to have noted it. To question if her husband should you tell me—the look in your eyes just now love her as she, his wife, loved him would have when Cousin Phipps was talking ? seemed to her an insult to them both. Still, I “How can I tell you ?" groaned Gershom. think, quite unconsciously to herself, and in such “But you must!" said Hitty, speaking with blind way as came by nature to her, the girl's drawn breath. “I must know; I must guess ; heart had gone up alone into a watch-tower. I must tell yjou. It meant that somehow-after

So it came about that they sat one night to-all-you do not love me as I love you." gether, he and she and Cousin Phipps, talking “I love you, Hitty," the young man mado of his call to East Athens, of Hitty's wedding- answer, honestly enough. dress, of this and that; Cousin Phipps sprink- “But not as I love you." Hitty repeated ling Bloomsbury gossip in at intervals, making the words, speaking steadily again, and nodat last this observation :

ding as she spoke. “Perhaps somebody-who “When I heard of Bob's breaking off with knows a great deal more than 14"

« AnteriorContinuar »