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【英文原版】Beauty and The Beast, and Tales of Home / Bayard Taylor [复制链接]

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只看该作者 10楼 发表于: 2012-07-14
Beauty and the Beast. 6)?TWr'Ke  
Chapter X. JD>!3>S)?  
>0m-S :lk  
  When Prince Alexis received his son's letter, an expression of fierce, cruel delight crept over his face, and there remained, horribly illuminating its haggard features. The orders given for swimming horses in the Volga--one of his summer diversions--were immediately countermanded; he paced around the parapet of the castle-wall until near midnight, followed by Sasha with a stone jug of vodki. The latter had the useful habit, notwithstanding his stupid face, of picking up the fragments of soliloquy which the Prince dropped, and answering them as if talking to himself. Thus he improved upon and perfected many a hint of cruelty, and was too discreet ever to dispute his master's claim to the invention. y3xP~]n  
Z`f _e?  
Sasha, we may be sure, was busy with his devil's work that night. The next morning the stewards and agents of Prince Alexis, in castle, village, and field, were summoned to his presence. ?LW1D+  
oo qNPLa  
"Hark ye!" said he; "Borka and his trumpery wife send me word that they will be here to-morrow. See to it that every man, woman, and child, for ten versts out on the Moskovskoi road, knows of their coming. Let it be known that whoever uncovers his head before them shall uncover his back for a hundred lashes. Whomsoever they greet may bark like a dog, meeouw like a cat, or bray like an ass, as much as he chooses; but if he speaks a decent word, his tongue shall be silenced with stripes. Whoever shall insult them has my pardon in advance. Oh, let them come!--ay, let them come! Come they may: but how they go away again"---- p'R}z|d)  
The Prince Alexis suddenly stopped, shook his head, and walked up and down the hall, muttering to himself. His eyes were bloodshot, and sparkled with a strange light. What the stewards had heard was plain enough; but that something more terrible than insult was yet held in reserve they did not doubt. It was safe, therefore, not only to fulfil, but to exceed, the letter of their instructions. Before night the whole population were acquainted with their duties; and an unusual mood of expectancy, not unmixed with brutish glee, fell upon Kinesma. {% ;tN`{M  
By the middle of the next forenoon, Boris and his wife, seated in the open kibitka, drawn by post-horses, reached the boundaries of the estate, a few versts from the village. They were both silent and slightly pale at first, but now began to exchange mechanical remarks, to divert each other's thoughts from the coming reception. >8QLo8)3C  
"Here are the fields of Kinesma at last!" exclaimed Prince Boris. "We shall see the church and castle from the top of that hill in the distance. And there is Peter, my playmate, herding the cattle! TU^UR}=lP  
I& DEF*  
Peter! Good-day, brotherkin!" j]Kpwf<NS  
g(& huS  
Peter looked, saw the carriage close upon him, and, after a moment of hesitation, let his arms drop stiffly by his sides, and began howling like a mastiff by moonlight. Helena laughed heartily at this singular response to the greeting; but Boris, after the first astonishment was over, looked terrified. !LJEo>D  
"That was done by order," said he, with a bitter smile. "The old bear stretches his claws out. Dare you try his hug?" R`5g#  
"I do not fear," she answered, her face was calm. a`e'HQ  
29AE B  
Every serf they passed obeyed the order of Prince Alexis according to his own idea of disrespect. One turned his back; another made contemptuous grimaces and noises; another sang a vulgar song; another spat upon the ground or held his nostrils. Nowhere was a cap raised, or the stealthy welcome of a friendly glance given. 2qdc$I&$  
The Princess Helena met these insults with a calm, proud indifference. Boris felt them more keenly; for the fields and hills were prospectively his property, and so also were the brutish peasants. It was a form of chastisement which he had never before experienced, and knew not how to resist. The affront of an entire community was an offence against which he felt himself to be helpless. ]x).C[^  
As they approached the town, the demonstrations of insolence were redoubled. About two hundred boys, between the ages of ten and fourteen, awaited them on the hill below the church, forming themselves into files on either side of the road. These imps had been instructed to stick out their tongues in derision, and howl, as the carriage passed between them. At the entrance of the long main street of Kinesma, they were obliged to pass under a mock triumphal arch, hung with dead dogs and drowned cats; and from this point the reception assumed an outrageous character. Howls, hootings, and hisses were heard on all sides; bouquets of nettles and vile weeds were flung to them; even wreaths of spoiled fish dropped from the windows. The women were the most eager and uproarious in this carnival of insult: they beat their saucepans, threw pails of dirty water upon the horses, pelted the coachman with rotten cabbages, and filled the air with screeching and foul words. V FM!K$_  
It was impossible to pass through this ordeal with indifference. Boris, finding that his kindly greetings were thrown away,--that even his old acquaintances in the bazaar howled like the rest,--sat with head bowed and despair in his heart. The beautiful eyes of Helena were heavy with tears; but she no longer trembled, for she knew the crisis was yet to come. u,nn\>Y  
As the kibitka slowly climbed the hill on its way to the castle- gate, Prince Alexis, who had heard and enjoyed the noises in the village from a balcony on the western tower, made his appearance on the head of the steps which led from the court-yard to the state apartments. The dreaded whip was in his hand; his eyes seemed about to start from their sockets, in their wild, eager, hungry gaze; the veins stood out like cords on his forehead; and his lips, twitching involuntarily, revealed the glare of his set teeth. A frightened hush filled the castle. Some of the domestics were on their knees; others watching, pale and breathless, from the windows: for all felt that a greater storm than they had ever experienced was about to burst. Sasha and the castle-steward had taken the wise precaution to summon a physician and a priest, provided with the utensils for extreme unction. Both of these persons had been smuggled in through a rear entrance, and were kept concealed until their services should be required. >q&5Z   
The noise of wheels was heard outside the gate, which stood invitingly open. Prince Alexis clutched his whip with iron fingers, and unconsciously took the attitude of a wild beast about to spring from its ambush. Now the hard clatter of hoofs and the rumbling, of wheels echoed from the archway, and the kibitka rolled into the courtyard. It stopped near the foot of the grand staircase. Boris, who sat upon the farther side, rose to alight, in order to hand down his wife; but no sooner had he made a movement than Prince Alexis, with lifted whip and face flashing fire, rushed down the steps. Helena rose, threw back her veil, let her mantle (which Boris had grasped, in his anxiety to restrain her action,) fall behind her, and stepped upon the pavement. vV$t`PEY  
Prince Alexis had already reached the last step, and but a few feet separated them. He stopped as if struck by lightning,--his body still retaining, in every limb, the impress of motion. The whip was in his uplifted fist; one foot was on the pavement of the court, and the other upon the edge of the last step; his head was bent forward, his mouth open, and his eyes fastened upon the Princess Helena's face. ~!2fUewEu  
She, too, stood motionless, a form of simple and perfect grace, and met his gaze with soft, imploring, yet courageous and trustful eyes. The women who watched the scene from the galleries above always declared that an invisible saint stood beside her in that moment, and surrounded her with a dazzling glory. The few moments during which the suspense of a hundred hearts hung upon those encountering eyes seemed an eternity. wGT>Xh!  
Prince Alexis did not move, but he began to tremble from head to foot. His fingers relaxed, and the whip fell ringing upon the pavement. The wild fire of his eyes changed from wrath into an ecstasy as intense, and a piercing cry of mingled wonder, admiration and delight burst from his throat. At that cry Boris rushed forward and knelt at his feet. Helena, clasping her fairest hands, sank beside her husband, with upturned face, as if seeking the old man's eyes, and perfect the miracle she had wrought. S _U |w9q  
The sight of that sweet face, so near his own, tamed the last lurking ferocity of the beast. His tears burst forth in a shower; he lifted and embraced the Princess, kissing her brow, her cheeks, her chin, and her hands, calling her his darling daughter, his little white dove, his lambkin. I2RXw  
"And, father, my Boris, too!" said she. r 20!   
' CJ_&HR  
The pure liquid voice sent thrills of exquisite delight through his whole frame. He embraced and blessed Boris, and then, throwing an arm around each, held them to his breast, and wept passionately upon their heads. By this time the whole castle overflowed with weeping. Tears fell from every window and gallery; they hissed upon the hot saucepans of the cooks; they moistened the oats in the manger; they took the starch out of the ladies' ruffles, and weakened the wine in the goblets of the guests. Insult was changed into tenderness in a moment. Those who had barked or stuck out their tongues at Boris rushed up to kiss his boots; a thousand terms of endearment were showered upon him. N:pP@o  
Still clasping his children to his breast, Prince Alexis mounted the steps with them. At the top he turned, cleared his throat, husky from sobbing, and shouted-- l$HBYA\Qh  
"A feast! a feast for all Kinesma! Let there be rivers of vodki, wine and hydromel! Proclaim it everywhere that my dear son Boris and my dear daughter Helena have arrived, and whoever fails to welcome them to Kinesma shall be punished with a hundred stripes! Off, ye scoundrels, ye vagabonds, and spread the news!" {VM^K1  
It was not an hour before the whole sweep of the circling hills resounded with the clang of bells, the blare of horns, and the songs and shouts of the rejoicing multitude. The triumphal arch of unsavory animals was whirled into the Volga; all signs of the recent reception vanished like magic; festive fir-boughs adorned the houses, and the gardens and window-pots were stripped of their choicest flowers to make wreaths of welcome. The two hundred boys, not old enough to comprehend this sudden bouleversement of sentiment, did not immediately desist from sticking out their tongues: whereupon they were dismissed with a box on the ear. By the middle of the afternoon all Kinesma was eating, drinking, and singing; and every song was sung, and every glass emptied in honor of the dear, good Prince Boris, and the dear, beautiful Princess Helena. By night all Kinesma was drunk. )U}`x }:,  

只看该作者 11楼 发表于: 2012-07-14
Beauty and the Beast. 4L[-[{2  
Chapter XI. 9 A1w5|X  
  In the castle a superb banquet was improvised. Music, guests, and rare dishes were brought together with wonderful speed, and the choicest wines of the cellar were drawn upon. Prince Boris, bewildered by this sudden and incredible change in his fortunes, sat at his father's right hand, while the Princess filled, but with much more beauty and dignity, the ancient place of the Princess Martha. The golden dishes were set before her, and the famous family emeralds--in accordance with the command of Prince Alexis-- gleamed among her dark hair and flashed around her milk-white throat. Her beauty was of a kind so rare in Russia that it silenced all question and bore down all rivalry. Every one acknowledged that so lovely a creature had never before been seen. "Faith, the boy has eyes!" the old Prince constantly repeated, as he turned away from a new stare of admiration, down the table. 9Fm><,0'u  
The guests noticed a change in the character of the entertainment. The idiot, in his tow shirt, had been crammed to repletion in the kitchen, and was now asleep in the stable. Razboi, the new bear,-- the successor of the slaughtered Mishka,--was chained up out of hearing. The jugglers, tumblers, and Calmucks still occupied their old place under the gallery, but their performances were of a highly decorous character. At the least-sign of a relapse into certain old tricks, more grotesque than refined, the brows of Prince Alexis would grow dark, and a sharp glance at Sasha was sufficient to correct the indiscretion. Every one found this natural enough; for they were equally impressed with the elegance and purity of the young wife. After the healths had been drunk and the slumber-flag was raised over the castle, Boris led her into the splendid apartments of his mother,--now her own,--and knelt at her feet. .5x+FHu7  
$xf{m9 8  
"Have I done my part, my Boris?" she asked. V3u[{^^f  
"You are an angel!" he cried. "It was a miracle! My life was not worth a copek, and I feared for yours. If it will only last!--if it will only last!" Xh/i5}5 t  
"It will," said she. " You have taken me from poverty, and given me rank, wealth, and a proud place in the world: let it be my work to keep the peace which God has permitted me to establish between you and your father!" pCz;km  
The change in the old Prince, in fact, was more radical than any one who knew his former ways of life would have considered possible. He stormed and swore occasionally, flourished his whip to some purpose, and rode home from the chase, not outside of a brandy cask, as once, but with too much of its contents inside of him: but these mild excesses were comparative virtues. His accesses of blind rage seemed to be at an end. A powerful, unaccustomed feeling of content subdued his strong nature, and left its impress on his voice and features. He joked and sang with his "children," but not with the wild recklessness of the days of reisaks and indiscriminate floggings. Both his exactions and his favors diminished in quantity. Week after week passed by, and there was no sign of any return to his savage courses. ?#xNz=V  
p 8BAan3  
Nothing annoyed him so much as a reference to his former way of life, in the presence of the Princess Helena. If her gentle, questioning eyes happened to rest on him at such times, something very like a blush rose into his face, and the babbler was silenced with a terribly significant look. It was enough for her to say, when he threatened an act of cruelty and injustice, "Father, is that right?" He confusedly retracted his orders, rather than bear the sorrow of her face.  r_]wa  
The promise of another event added to his happiness: Helena would soon become a mother. As the time drew near he stationed guards at the distance of a verst around the castle, that no clattering vehicles should pass, no dogs bark loudly, nor any other disturbance occur which might agitate the Princess. The choicest sweetmeats and wines, flowers from Moscow and fruits from Astrakhan, were procured for her; and it was a wonder that the midwife performed her duty, for she had the fear of death before her eyes. When the important day at last arrived the slumber-flag was instantly hoisted, and no mouse dared to squeak in Kinesma until the cannon announced the advent of a new soul. Jd&Qi)1  
That night Prince Alexis lay down in the corridor, outside of Helena's door: he glared fiercely at the nurse as she entered with the birth-posset for the young mother. No one else was allowed to pass, that night, nor the next. Four days afterwards, Sasha, having a message to the Princess, and supposing the old man to be asleep, attempted to step noiselessly over his body. In a twinkle the Prince's teeth fastened themselves in the serf's leg, and held him with the tenacity of a bull-dog. Sasha did not dare to cry out: he stood, writhing with pain, until the strong jaws grew weary of their hold, and then crawled away to dress the bleeding wound. After that, no one tried to break the Prince's guard. f&H):.  
The christening was on a magnificent scale. Prince Paul of Kostroma was godfather, and gave the babe the name of Alexis. As the Prince had paid his respects to Helena just before the ceremony, it may be presumed that the name was not of his own inspiration. The father and mother were not allowed to be present, but they learned that the grandfather had comported himself throughout with great dignity and propriety. The Archimandrite Sergius obtained from the Metropolitan at Moscow a very minute fragment of the true cross, which was encased in a hollow bead of crystal, and hung around the infant's neck by a fine gold chain, as a precious amulet. KZ`d3ad  
Prince Alexis was never tired of gazing at his grandson and namesake. hh{4r} |  
6QLWF @  
"He has more of his mother than of Boris," he would say. "So much the better! Strong dark eyes, like the Great Peter,--and what a goodly leg for a babe! Ha! he makes a tight little fist already,-- fit to handle a whip,--or" (seeing the expression of Helena's face)--"or a sword. He'll be a proper Prince of Kinesma, my daughter, and we owe it to you." a"b9h{h@  
Helena smiled, and gave him a grateful glance in return. She had had her secret fears as to the complete conversion of Prince Alexis; but now she saw in this babe a new spell whereby he might be bound. Slight as was her knowledge of men, she yet guessed the tyranny of long-continued habits; and only her faith, powerful in proportion as it was ignorant, gave her confidence in the result of the difficult work she had undertaken. T8GxoNm  

只看该作者 12楼 发表于: 2012-07-14
Beauty and the Beast. v?<x"XKR  
Chapter XII. 5G){7]P+r"  
NfR,m ]  
  Alas! the proud predictions of Prince Alexis, and the protection of the sacred amulet, were alike unavailing. The babe sickened, wasted away, and died in less than two months after its birth. There was great and genuine sorrow among the serfs of Kinesma. Each had received a shining ruble of silver at the christening; and, moreover, they were now beginning to appreciate the milder regime of their lord, which this blow might suddenly terminate. Sorrow, in such natures as his, exasperates instead of chastening: they knew him well enough to recognize the danger. {,APZ`q|  
x0lX6 |D  
At first the old man's grief appeared to be of a stubborn, harmless nature. As soon as the funeral ceremonies were over he betook himself to his bed, and there lay for two days and nights, without eating a morsel of food. The poor Princess Helena, almost prostrated by the blow, mourned alone, or with Boris, in her own apartments. Her influence, no longer kept alive by her constant presence, as formerly, began to decline. When the old Prince aroused somewhat from his stupor, it was not meat that he demanded, but drink; and he drank to angry excess. Day after day the habit resumed its ancient sway, and the whip and the wild-beast yell returned with it. The serfs even began to tremble as they never had done, so long as his vices were simply those of a strong man; for now a fiendish element seemed to be slowly creeping in. He became horribly profane: they shuddered when he cursed the venerable Metropolitan of Moscow, declaring that the old sinner had deliberately killed his grandson, by sending to him, instead of the true cross of the Saviour, a piece of the tree to which the impenitent thief was nailed. 87<y_P@{  
Plq [Ml9  
Boris would have spared his wife the knowledge of this miserable relapse, in her present sorrow, but the information soon reached her in other ways. She saw the necessity of regaining, by a powerful effort, what she had lost. She therefore took her accustomed place at the table, and resumed her inspection of household matters. Prince Alexis, as if determined to cast off the yoke which her beauty and gentleness had laid upon him, avoided looking at her face or speaking to her, as much as possible: when he did so, his manner was cold and unfriendly. During her few days of sad retirement he had brought back the bear Razboi and the idiot to his table, and vodki was habitually poured out to him and his favorite serfs in such a measure that the nights became hideous with drunken tumult. vQ_B2#U:  
The Princess Helena felt that her beauty no longer possessed the potency of its first surprise. It must now be a contest of nature with nature, spiritual with animal power. The struggle would be perilous, she foresaw, but she did not shrink; she rather sought the earliest occasion to provoke it. ` q@~78`  
That occasion came. Some slight disappointment brought on one of the old paroxysms of rage, and the ox-like bellow of Prince Alexis rang through the castle. Boris was absent, but Helena delayed not a moment to venture into his father's presence. She found him in a hall over-looking the court-yard, with his terrible whip in his hand, giving orders for the brutal punishment of some scores of serfs. The sight of her, coming thus unexpectedly upon him, did not seem to produce the least effect. %51pfuL  
"Father!" she cried, in an earnest, piteous tone, "what is it you do?" Z4!3I@yZ  
>xjy P!bca  
"Away, witch!" he yelled. "I am the master in Kinesma, not thou! Away, or--" \) ;rOqh  
The fierceness with which he swung and cracked the whip was more threatening than any words. Perhaps she grew a shade paler, perhaps her hands were tightly clasped in order that they might not tremble; but she did not flinch from the encounter. She moved a step nearer, fixed her gaze upon his flashing eyes, and said, in a low, firm voice-- Q\76jD`m\  
"It is true, father, you are master here. It is easy to rule over those poor, submissive slaves. But you are not master over yourself; you are lashed and trampled upon by evil passions, and as much a slave as any of these. Be not weak, my father, but strong!" i7V~LO:gq  
An expression of bewilderment came into his face. No such words had ever before been addressed to him, and he knew not how to reply to them. The Princess Helena followed up the effect--she was not sure that it was an advantage--by an appeal to the simple, childish nature which she believed to exist under his ferocious exterior. For a minute it seemed as if she were about to re-establish her ascendancy: then the stubborn resistance of the beast returned. -G#k/Rz6  
Among the portraits in the hall was one of the deceased Princess Martha. Pointing to this, Helena cried-- m\M+pjz  
"See, my father! here are the features of your sainted wife! Think that she looks down from her place among the blessed, sees you, listens to your words, prays that your hard heart may be softened! Remember her last farewell to you on earth, her hope of meeting you--" HJaw\zbL  
A cry of savage wrath checked her. Stretching one huge, bony hand, as if to close her lips, trembling with rage and pain, livid and convulsed in every feature of his face, Prince Alexis reversed the whip in his right hand, and weighed its thick, heavy butt for one crashing, fatal blow. Life and death were evenly balanced. For an instant the Princess became deadly pale, and a sickening fear shot through her heart. She could not understand the effect of her words: her mind was paralyzed, and what followed came without her conscious volition. G/z\^Q  
zn V1kqGU  
Not retreating a step, not removing her eyes from the terrible picture before her, she suddenly opened her lips and sang. Her voice of exquisite purity, power, and sweetness, filled the old hall and overflowed it, throbbing in scarcely weakened vibrations through court-yard and castle. The melody was a prayer--the cry of a tortured heart for pardon and repose; and she sang it with almost supernatural expression. Every sound in the castle was hushed: the serfs outside knelt and uncovered their heads. dv'E:R(a  
The Princess could never afterwards describe, or more than dimly recall, the exaltation of that moment. She sang in an inspired trance: from the utterance of the first note the horror of the imminent fate sank out of sight. Her eyes were fixed upon the convulsed face, but she beheld it not: all the concentrated forces of her life flowed into the music. She remembered, however, that Prince Alexis looked alternately from her face to the portrait of his wife; that he at last shuddered and grew pale; and that, when with the closing note her own strength suddenly dissolved, he groaned and fell upon the floor. xd^&_P$=  
{)B9Z I{+A  
She sat down beside him, and took his head upon her lap. For a long time he was silent, only shivering as if in fever. J`w]}GlH  
"Father!" she finally whispered, "let me take you away!" ~xS@]3n=  
He sat up on the floor and looked around; but as his eyes encountered the portrait, he gave a loud howl and covered his face with his hands. ]}kI)34/  
"She turns her head!" he cried. "Take her away,--she follows me with her eyes! Paint her head black, and cover it up!" n#BvW,6J  
With some difficulty he was borne to his bed, but he would not rest until assured that his orders had been obeyed, and the painting covered for the time with a coat of lamp-black. A low, prolonged attack of fever followed, during which the presence of Helena was indispensable to his comfort. She ventured to leave the room only while he slept. He was like a child in her hands; and when she commended his patience or his good resolutions, his face beamed with joy and gratitude. He determined (in good faith, this time) to enter a monastery and devote the rest of his life to pious works. ;F5"}x  
But, even after his recovery, he was still too weak and dependent on his children's attentions to carry out this resolution. He banished from the castle all those of his poor relations who were unable to drink vodki in moderation; he kept careful watch over his serfs, and those who became intoxicated (unless they concealed the fact in the stables and outhouses) were severely punished: all excess disappeared, and a reign of peace and gentleness descended upon Kinesma. V.6)0fKZW  
FhkkW W L  
In another year another Alexis was born, and lived, and soon grew strong enough to give his grandfather the greatest satisfaction he had ever known in his life, by tugging at his gray locks, and digging the small fingers into his tamed and merry eyes. Many years after Prince Alexis was dead the serfs used to relate how they had seen him, in the bright summer afternoons, asleep in his armchair on the balcony, with the rosy babe asleep on his bosom, and the slumber-flag waving over both. Lrd[O v  
Legends of the Prince's hunts, reisaks, and brutal revels are still current along the Volga; but they are now linked to fairer and more gracious stories; and the free Russian farmers (no longer serfs) are never tired of relating incidents of the beauty, the courage, the benevolence, and the saintly piety of the Good Lady of Kinesma. Lel|,mc`k2  

只看该作者 13楼 发表于: 2012-07-14
Tales From Home. x+:UN'"r  
The Strange Friend %lhEM}Sm  
  It would have required an intimate familiarity with the habitual demeanor of the people of Londongrove to detect in them an access of interest (we dare not say excitement), of whatever kind. Expression with them was pitched to so low a key that its changes might be compared to the slight variations in the drabs and grays in which they were clothed. Yet that there was a moderate, decorously subdued curiosity present in the minds of many of them on one of the First-days of the Ninth-month, in the year 1815, was as clearly apparent to a resident of the neighborhood as are the indications of a fire or a riot to the member of a city mob. P>C~ i:4n  
The agitations of the war which had so recently come to an end had hardly touched this quiet and peaceful community. They had stoutly "borne their testimony," and faced the question where it could not be evaded; and although the dashing Philadelphia militia had been stationed at Camp Bloomfield, within four miles of them, the previous year, these good people simply ignored the fact. If their sons ever listened to the trumpets at a distance, or stole nearer to have a peep at the uniforms, no report of what they had seen or heard was likely to be made at home. Peace brought to them a relief, like the awakening from an uncomfortable dream: their lives at once reverted to the calm which they had breathed for thirty years preceding the national disturbance. In their ways they had not materially changed for a hundred years. The surplus produce of their farms more than sufficed for the very few needs which those farms did not supply, and they seldom touched the world outside of their sect except in matters of business. They were satisfied with themselves and with their lot; they lived to a ripe and beautiful age, rarely "borrowed trouble," and were patient to endure that which came in the fixed course of things. If the spirit of curiosity, the yearning for an active, joyous grasp of life, sometimes pierced through this placid temper, and stirred the blood of the adolescent members, they were persuaded by grave voices, of almost prophetic authority, to turn their hearts towards "the Stillness and the Quietness." VcO0sa f`  
It was the pleasant custom of the community to arrive at the meeting-house some fifteen or twenty minutes before the usual time of meeting, and exchange quiet and kindly greetings before taking their places on the plain benches inside. As most of the families had lived during the week on the solitude of their farms, they liked to see their neighbors' faces, and resolve, as it were, their sense of isolation into the common atmosphere, before yielding to the assumed abstraction of their worship. In this preliminary meeting, also, the sexes were divided, but rather from habit than any prescribed rule. They were already in the vestibule of the sanctuary; their voices were subdued and their manner touched with a kind of reverence. E)5\i-n  
If the Londongrove Friends gathered together a few minutes earlier on that September First-day; if the younger members looked more frequently towards one of the gates leading into the meeting-house yard than towards the other; and if Abraham Bradbury was the centre of a larger circle of neighbors than Simon Pennock (although both sat side by side on the highest seat of the gallery),--the cause of these slight deviations from the ordinary behavior of the gathering was generally known. Abraham's son had died the previous Sixth- month, leaving a widow incapable of taking charge of his farm on the Street Road, which was therefore offered for rent. It was not always easy to obtain a satisfactory tenant in those days, and Abraham was not more relieved than surprised on receiving an application from an unexpected quarter. A strange Friend, of stately appearance, called upon him, bearing a letter from William Warner, in Adams County, together with a certificate from a Monthly Meeting on Long Island. After inspecting the farm and making close inquiries in regard to the people of the neighborhood, he accepted the terms of rent, and had now, with his family, been three or four days in possession. eCDev}  
B dj!ia;H  
In this circumstance, it is true, there was nothing strange, and the interest of the people sprang from some other particulars which had transpired. The new-comer, Henry Donnelly by name, had offered, in place of the usual security, to pay the rent annually in advance; his speech and manner were not, in all respects, those of Friends, and he acknowledged that he was of Irish birth; and moreover, some who had passed the wagons bearing his household goods had been struck by the peculiar patterns of the furniture piled upon them. Abraham Bradbury had of course been present at the arrival, and the Friends upon the adjoining farms had kindly given their assistance, although it was a busy time of the year. While, therefore, no one suspected that the farmer could possibly accept a tenant of doubtful character, a general sentiment of curious expectancy went forth to meet the Donnelly family. shy-Gu&  
Even the venerable Simon Pennock, who lived in the opposite part of the township, was not wholly free from the prevalent feeling. "Abraham," he said, approaching his colleague, "I suppose thee has satisfied thyself that the strange Friend is of good repute." <y('hI'  
Fo (fWvz  
Abraham was assuredly satisfied of one thing--that the three hundred silver dollars in his antiquated secretary at home were good and lawful coin. We will not say that this fact disposed him to charity, but will only testify that he answered thus: _P#|IAq*  
"I don't think we have any right to question the certificate from Islip, Simon; and William Warner's word (whom thee knows by hearsay) is that of a good and honest man. Henry himself will stand ready to satisfy thee, if it is needful." ch*8B(:  
Here he turned to greet a tall, fresh-faced youth, who had quietly joined the group at the men's end of the meeting-house. He was nineteen, blue-eyed, and rosy, and a little embarrassed by the grave, scrutinizing, yet not unfriendly eyes fixed upon him. B6+khuG(  
"Simon, this is Henry's oldest son, De Courcy," said Abraham. 5+0gR &|j  
Simon took the youth's hand, saying, "Where did thee get thy outlandish name?" 8}x:`vDK  
The young man colored, hesitated, and then said, in a low, firm voice, "It was my grandfather's name." B)g[3gQ  
One of the heavy carriages of the place and period, new and shiny, in spite of its sober colors, rolled into the yard. Abraham Bradbury and De Courcy Donnelly set forth side by side, to meet it. j{A y\n(  
Out of it descended a tall, broad-shouldered figure--a man in the prime of life, whose ripe, aggressive vitality gave his rigid Quaker garb the air of a military undress. His blue eyes seemed to laugh above the measured accents of his plain speech, and the close crop of his hair could not hide its tendency to curl. A bearing expressive of energy and the habit of command was not unusual in the sect, strengthening, but not changing, its habitual mask; yet in Henry Donnelly this bearing suggested--one could scarcely explain why--a different experience. Dress and speech, in him, expressed condescension rather than fraternal equality. .}TZxla0Zr  
He carefully assisted his wife to alight, and De Courcy led the horse to the hitching-shed. Susan Donnelly was a still blooming woman of forty; her dress, of the plainest color, was yet of the richest texture; and her round, gentle, almost timid face looked forth like a girl's from the shadow of her scoop bonnet. While she was greeting Abraham Bradbury, the two daughters, Sylvia and Alice, who had been standing shyly by themselves on the edge of the group of women, came forward. The latter was a model of the demure Quaker maiden; but Abraham experienced as much surprise as was possible to his nature on observing Sylvia's costume. A light-blue dress, a dark-blue cloak, a hat with ribbons, and hair in curls-- what Friend of good standing ever allowed his daughter thus to array herself in the fashion of the world? LYK"(C  
Henry read the question in Abraham's face, and preferred not to answer it at that moment. Saying, "Thee must make me acquainted with the rest of our brethren," he led the way back to the men's end. When he had been presented to the older members, it was time for them to assemble in meeting. B%6)}Nl[  
The people were again quietly startled when Henry Donnelly deliberately mounted to the third and highest bench facing them, and sat down beside Abraham and Simon. These two retained, possibly with some little inward exertion, the composure of their faces, and the strange Friend became like unto them. His hands were clasped firmly in his lap; his full, decided lips were set together, and his eyes gazed into vacancy from under the broad brim. De Courcy had removed his hat on entering the house, but, meeting his father's eyes, replaced it suddenly, with a slight blush. -x`@6  
When Simon Pennock and Ruth Treadwell had spoken the thoughts which had come to them in the stillness, the strange Friend arose. Slowly, with frequent pauses, as if waiting for the guidance of the Spirit, and with that inward voice which falls so naturally into the measure of a chant, he urged upon his hearers the necessity of seeking the Light and walking therein. He did not always employ the customary phrases, but neither did he seem to speak the lower language of logic and reason; while his tones were so full and mellow that they gave, with every slowly modulated sentence, a fresh satisfaction to the ear. Even his broad a's and the strong roll of his r's verified the rumor of his foreign birth, did not detract from the authority of his words. The doubts which had preceded him somehow melted away in his presence, and he came forth, after the meeting had been dissolved by the shaking of hands, an accepted tenant of the high seat. ^o&. fQ*  
That evening, the family were alone in their new home. The plain rush-bottomed chairs and sober carpet, in contrast with the dark, solid mahogany table, and the silver branched candle-stick which stood upon it, hinted of former wealth and present loss; and something of the same contrast was reflected in the habits of the inmates. While the father, seated in a stately arm-chair, read aloud to his wife and children, Sylvia's eyes rested on a guitar- case in the corner, and her fingers absently adjusted themselves to the imaginary frets. De Courcy twisted his neck as if the straight collar of his coat were a bad fit, and Henry, the youngest boy, nodded drowsily from time to time. gT6jYQ  
"There, my lads and lasses!" said Henry Donnelly, as he closed the book, "now we're plain farmers at last,--and the plainer the better, since it must be. There's only one thing wanting--" B \2 SH%\  
9CD_ os\h  
He paused; and Sylvia, looking up with a bright, arch determination, answered: "It's too late now, father,--they have seen me as one of the world's people, as I meant they should. When it is once settled as something not to be helped, it will give us no trouble." @b2aNS<T  
"Faith, Sylvia!" exclaimed De Courcy, "I almost wish I had kept you company." E r?&Y,o  
"Don't be impatient, my boy," said the mother, gently. "Think of the vexations we have had, and what a rest this life will be!" p9-K_dw3X@  
!R`{ TbN  
"Think, also," the father added, "that I have the heaviest work to do, and that thou'lt reap the most of what may come of it. Don't carry the old life to a land where it's out of place. We must be what we seem to be, every one of us!" SNk=b6`9  
"So we will!" said Sylvia, rising from her seat,--" I, as well as the rest. It was what I said in the beginning, you--no, thee knows, father. Somebody must be interpreter when the time comes; somebody must remember while the rest of you are forgetting. Oh, I shall be talked about, and set upon, and called hard names; it won't be so easy. Stay where you are, De Courcy; that coat will fit sooner than you think." J C}D` h  
Her brother lifted his shoulders and made a grimace. "I've an unlucky name, it seems," said he. "The old fellow--I mean Friend Simon--pronounced it outlandish. Couldn't I change it to Ezra or Adonijah?" ~pky@O#b  
"Boy, boy--" ]eV8b*d6  
"Don't be alarmed, father. It will soon be as Sylvia says; thee's right, and mother is right. I'll let Sylvia keep my memory, and start fresh from here. We must into the field to-morrow, Hal and I. There's no need of a collar at the plough-tail." YchH~m|  
They went to rest, and on the morrow not only the boys, but their father were in the field. Shrewd, quick, and strong, they made available what they knew of farming operations, and disguised much of their ignorance, while they learned. Henry Donnelly's first public appearance had made a strong public impression in his favor, which the voice of the older Friends soon stamped as a settled opinion. His sons did their share, by the amiable, yielding temper they exhibited, in accommodating themselves to the manners and ways of the people. The graces which came from a better education, possibly, more refined associations, gave them an attraction, which was none the less felt because it was not understood, to the simple-minded young men who worked with the hired hands in their fathers' fields. If the Donnelly family had not been accustomed, in former days, to sit at the same table with laborers in shirt-sleeves, and be addressed by the latter in fraternal phrase, no little awkwardnesses or hesitations betrayed the fact. They were anxious to make their naturalization complete, and it soon became so. ,wPr"U+7  
The "strange Friend" was now known in Londongrove by the familiar name of "Henry." He was a constant attendant at meeting, not only on First-days, but also on Fourth-days, and whenever he spoke his words were listened to with the reverence due to one who was truly led towards the Light. This respect kept at bay the curiosity that might still have lingered in some minds concerning his antecedent life. It was known that he answered Simon Pennock, who had ventured to approach him with a direct question, in these words: Qe(:|q _  
%e} Saf  
"Thee knows, Friend Simon, that sometimes a seal is put upon our mouths for a wise purpose. I have learned not to value the outer life except in so far as it is made the manifestation of the inner life, and I only date my own from the time when I was brought to a knowledge of the truth. It is not pleasant to me to look upon what went before; but a season may come when it shall be lawful for me to declare all things--nay, when it shall be put upon me as a duty. ENY+^7  
Thee must suffer me to wait the call." `*KHS A  
After this there was nothing more to be said. The family was on terms of quiet intimacy with the neighbors; and even Sylvia, in spite of her defiant eyes and worldly ways, became popular among the young men and maidens. She touched her beloved guitar with a skill which seemed marvellous to the latter; and when it was known that her refusal to enter the sect arose from her fondness for the prohibited instrument, she found many apologists among them. She was not set upon, and called hard names, as she had anticipated. It is true that her father, when appealed to by the elders, shook his head and said, "It is a cross to us!"--but he had been known to remain in the room while she sang "Full high in Kilbride," and the keen light which arose in his eyes was neither that of sorrow nor anger. TRq6NB  
At the end of their first year of residence the farm presented evidences of much more orderly and intelligent management than at first, although the adjoining neighbors were of the opinion that the Donnellys had hardly made their living out of it. Friend Henry, nevertheless, was ready with the advance rent, and his bills were promptly paid. He was close at a bargain, which was considered rather a merit than otherwise,--and almost painfully exact in observing the strict letter of it, when made. &KRX[2  
As time passed by, and the family became a permanent part and parcel of the remote community, wearing its peaceful color and breathing its untroubled atmosphere, nothing occurred to disturb the esteem and respect which its members enjoyed. From time to time the postmaster at the corner delivered to Henry Donnelly a letter from New York, always addressed in the same hand. The first which arrived had an "Esq." added to the name, but this "compliment" (as the Friends termed it) soon ceased. Perhaps the official may have vaguely wondered whether there was any connection between the occasional absence of Friend Henry--not at Yearly-Meeting time--and these letters. If he had been a visitor at the farm-house he might have noticed variations in the moods of its inmates, which must have arisen from some other cause than the price of stock or the condition of the crops. Outside of the family circle, however, they were serenely reticent. VS8Rx.?  
In five or six years, when De Courcy had grown to be a hale, handsome man of twenty-four, and as capable of conducting a farm as any to the township born, certain aberrations from the strict line of discipline began to be rumored. He rode a gallant horse, dressed a little more elegantly than his membership prescribed, and his unusually high, straight collar took a knack of falling over. Moreover, he was frequently seen to ride up the Street Road, in the direction of Fagg's Manor, towards those valleys where the brick Presbyterian church displaces the whitewashed Quaker meeting-house. [j/9neaye  
5f K_Aq{  
Had Henry Donnelly not occupied so high a seat, and exercised such an acknowledged authority in the sect, he might sooner have received counsel, or proffers of sympathy, as the case might be; but he heard nothing until the rumors of De Courcy's excursions took a more definite form. c2 C8g1n  
But one day, Abraham Bradbury, after discussing some Monthly- Meeting matters, suddenly asked: "Is this true that I hear, Henry,--that thy son De Courcy keeps company with one of the Alison girls?" o&)8o5  
"Who says that?" Henry asked, in a sharp voice. l<LP&  
,,&* :<Q  
"Why, it's the common talk! Surely, thee's heard of it before?" $m%f wB  
"No!" L%*!`TN  
Henry set his lips together in a manner which Abraham understood. Considering that he had fully performed his duty, he said no more. }l(&}#dY  
k_L7 kvpt  
That evening, Sylvia, who had been gently thrumming to herself at the window, began singing "Bonnie Peggie Alison." Her father looked at De Courcy, who caught his glance, then lowered his eyes, and turned to leave the room. [`#CXq'  
"Stop, De Courcy," said the former; "I've heard a piece of news about thee to-day, which I want thee to make clear." 8 `v-<J  
"Shall I go, father?" asked Sylvia. 9sM!`Lz{  
a)!o @  
"No; thee may stay to give De Courcy his memory. I think he is beginning to need it. I've learned which way he rides on Seventh- day evenings." M.JA.I@XC  
"Father, I am old enough to choose my way," said De Courcy. "2!&5s,1p  
"But no such ways now, boy! Has thee clean forgotten? This was among the things upon which we agreed, and you all promised to keep watch and guard over yourselves. I had my misgivings then, but for five years I've trusted you, and now, when the time of probation is so nearly over--" yNBQGSH  
m[osg< CR_  
He hesitated, and De Courcy, plucking up courage, spoke again. With a strong effort the young man threw off the yoke of a self-taught restraint, and asserted his true nature. "Has O'Neil written?" he asked. PN%zIkbo  
[Y/} ^  
"Not yet." jdP2Pf^^  
A Q U+mo  
"Then, father," he continued, "I prefer the certainty of my present life to the uncertainty of the old. I will not dissolve my connection with the Friends by a shock which might give thee trouble; but I will slowly work away from them. Notice will be taken of my ways; there will be family visitations, warnings, and the usual routine of discipline, so that when I marry Margaret Alison, nobody will be surprised at my being read out of meeting. I shall soon be twenty-five, father, and this thing has gone on about as long as I can bear it. I must decide to be either a man or a milksop." 7"D", 1h  
e]aDP 1n3t  
The color rose to Henry Donnelly's cheeks, and his eyes flashed, but he showed no signs of anger. He moved to De Courcy's side and laid his hand upon his shoulder. P;no?  
`[yKFa I  
"Patience, my boy!" he said. "It's the old blood, and I might have known it would proclaim itself. Suppose I were to shut my eyes to thy ridings, and thy merry-makings, and thy worldly company. So far I might go; but the girl is no mate for thee. If O'Neil is alive, we are sure to hear from him soon; and in three years, at the utmost, if the Lord favors us, the end will come. How far has it gone with thy courting? Surely, surely, not too far to withdraw, at least under the plea of my prohibition?" S13nL^=i  
De Courcy blushed, but firmly met his father's eyes. "I have spoken to her," he replied, "and it is not the custom of our family to break plighted faith." wlvgg  
"Thou art our cross, not Sylvia. Go thy ways now. I will endeavor to seek for guidance." xCTML!H  
"Sylvia," said the father, when De Courcy had left the room, "what is to be the end of this?" Y3b *a".X  
"Unless we hear from O'Neil, father, I am afraid it cannot be prevented. De Courcy has been changing for a year past; I am only surprised that you did not sooner notice it. What I said in jest has become serious truth; he has already half forgotten. We might have expected, in the beginning, that one of two things would happen: either he would become a plodding Quaker farmer or take to his present courses. Which would be worse, when this life is over,--if that time ever comes?" <5051U Eu  
Sylvia sighed, and there was a weariness in her voice which did not escape her father's ear. He walked up and down the room with a troubled air. She sat down, took the guitar upon her lap, and began to sing the verse, commencing, "Erin, my country, though sad and forsaken," when--perhaps opportunely--Susan Donnelly entered the room. $`8wJf9@w  
* T1_;4i  
"Eh, lass!" said Henry, slipping his arm around his wife's waist, "art thou tired yet? Have I been trying thy patience, as I have that of the children? Have there been longings kept from me, little rebellions crushed, battles fought that I supposed were over?" /dHF6yW  
"Not by me, Henry," was her cheerful answer. "I have never have been happier than in these quiet ways with thee. I've been thinking, what if something has happened, and the letters cease to come? And it has seemed to me--now that the boys are as good farmers as any, and Alice is such a tidy housekeeper--that we could manage very well without help. Only for thy sake, Henry: I fear it would be a terrible disappointment to thee. Or is thee as accustomed to the high seat as I to my place on the women's side?" y{Q {'De  
HOi`$vX }N  
"No!" he answered emphatically. "The talk with De Courcy has set my quiet Quaker blood in motion. The boy is more than half right; I am sure Sylvia thinks so too. What could I expect? He has no birthright, and didn't begin his task, as I did, after the bravery of youth was over. It took six generations to establish the serenity and content of our brethren here, and the dress we wear don't give us the nature. De Courcy is tired of the masquerade, and Sylvia is tired of seeing it. Thou, my little Susan, who wert so timid at first, puttest us all to shame now!" 3g B7g'U  
"I think I was meant for it,--Alice, and Henry, and I," said she. NlXimq  
No outward change in Henry Donnelly's demeanor betrayed this or any other disturbance at home. There were repeated consultations between the father and son, but they led to no satisfactory conclusion. De Courcy was sincerely attached to the pretty Presbyterian maiden, and found livelier society in her brothers and cousins than among the grave, awkward Quaker youths of Londongrove. Mihg:  
With the occasional freedom from restraint there awoke in him a desire for independence--a thirst for the suppressed license of youth. His new acquaintances were accustomed to a rigid domestic regime, but of a different character, and they met on a common ground of rebellion. Their aberrations, it is true, were not of a very formidable character, and need not have been guarded but for the severe conventionalities of both sects. An occasional fox- chase, horse-race, or a "stag party" at some outlying tavern, formed the sum of their dissipation; they sang, danced reels, and sometimes ran into little excesses through the stimulating sense of the trespass they were committing. T;#FEzBz  
By and by reports of certain of these performances were brought to the notice of the Londongrove Friends, and, with the consent of Henry Donnelly himself, De Courcy received a visit of warning and remonstrance. He had foreseen the probability of such a visit and was prepared. He denied none of the charges brought against him, and accepted the grave counsel offered, simply stating that his nature was not yet purified and chastened; he was aware he was not walking in the Light; he believed it to be a troubled season through which he must needs pass. His frankness, as he was shrewd enough to guess, was a scource of perplexity to the elders; it prevented them from excommunicating him without further probation, while it left him free to indulge in further recreations. _g. {MTQ  
`9 L>*  
Some months passed away, and the absence from which Henry Donnelly always returned with a good supply of ready money did not take place. The knowledge of farming which his sons had acquired now came into play. It was necessary to exercise both skill and thrift in order to keep up the liberal footing upon which the family had lived; for each member of it was too proud to allow the community to suspect the change in their circumstances. De Courcy, retained more than ever at home, and bound to steady labor, was man enough to subdue his impatient spirit for the time; but he secretly determined that with the first change for the better he would follow the fate he had chosen for himself. OH88n69  
p[-O( 3Y  
Late in the fall came the opportunity for which he had longed. One evening he brought home a letter, in the well-known handwriting. His father opened and read it in silence. IcEdG(  
"Well, father?" he said. ~>G^=0LT  
"A former letter was lost, it seems. This should have come in the spring; it is only the missing sum." WAqINLdX  
} \f0 A-  
"Does O'Neil fix any time?" (:_$5&i7  
! if   
"No; but he hopes to make a better report next year." eRYK3W  
"Then, father," said De Courcy, "it is useless for me to wait longer; I am satisfied as it is. I should not have given up Margaret in any case; but now, since thee can live with Henry's help, I shall claim her." Z~CjA%l  
py4 h(04u  
"Must it be, De Courcy?" uFE)17E  
"It must." ]gOy(\B  
But it was not to be. A day or two afterwards the young man, on his mettled horse, set off up the Street Road, feeling at last that the fortune and the freedom of his life were approaching. He had become, in habits and in feelings, one of the people, and the relinquishment of the hope in which his father still indulged brought him a firmer courage, a more settled content. His sweetheart's family was in good circumstances; but, had she been poor, he felt confident of his power to make and secure for her a farmer's home. To the past--whatever it might have been--he said farewell, and went carolling some cheerful ditty, to look upon the face of his future. K- v#.e4  
That night a country wagon slowly drove up to Henry Donnelly's door. The three men who accompanied it hesitated before they knocked, and, when the door was opened, looked at each other with pale, sad faces, before either spoke. No cries followed the few words that were said, but silently, swiftly, a room was made ready, while the men lifted from the straw and carried up stairs an unconscious figure, the arms of which hung down with a horrible significance as they moved. He was not dead, for the heart beat feebly and slowly; but all efforts to restore his consciousness were in vain. There was concussion of the brain the physician said. He had been thrown from his horse, probably alighting upon his head, as there were neither fractures nor external wounds. All that night and next day the tenderest, the most unwearied care was exerted to call back the flickering gleam of life. The shock had been too great; his deadly torpor deepened into death. }BEB1Q}L  
w0. u\  
In their time of trial and sorrow the family received the fullest sympathy, the kindliest help, from the whole neighborhood. They had never before so fully appreciated the fraternal character of the society whereof they were members. The plain, plodding people living on the adjoining farms became virtually their relatives and fellow-mourners. All the external offices demanded by the sad occasion were performed for them, and other eyes than their own shed tears of honest grief over De Courcy's coffin. All came to the funeral, and even Simon Pennock, in the plain yet touching words which he spoke beside the grave, forgot the young man's wandering from the Light, in the recollection of his frank, generous, truthful nature. 6]N.%Y[(  
If the Donnellys had sometimes found the practical equality of life in Londongrove a little repellent they were now gratefully moved by the delicate and refined ways in which the sympathy of the people sought to express itself. The better qualities of human nature always develop a temporary good-breeding. Wherever any of the family went, they saw the reflection of their own sorrow; and a new spirit informed to their eyes the quiet pastoral landscapes. zs;JJk^  
0(I j%Wi,  
In their life at home there was little change. Abraham Bradbury had insisted on sending his favorite grandson, Joel, a youth of twenty-two, to take De Courcy's place for a few months. He was a shy quiet creature, with large brown eyes like a fawn's, and young Henry Donnelly and he became friends at once. It was believed that he would inherit the farm at his grandfather's death; but he was as subservient to Friend Donnelly's wishes in regard to the farming operations as if the latter held the fee of the property. His coming did not fill the terrible gap which De Courcy's death had made, but seemed to make it less constantly and painfully evident. jpOp.  
Susan Donnelly soon remarked a change, which she could neither clearly define nor explain to herself, both in her husband and in their daughter Sylvia. The former, although in public he preserved the same grave, stately face,--its lines, perhaps, a little more deeply marked,--seemed to be devoured by an internal unrest. His dreams were of the old times: words and names long unused came from his lips as he slept by her side. Although he bore his grief with more strength than she had hoped, he grew nervous and excitable,-- sometimes unreasonably petulant, sometimes gay to a pitch which impressed her with pain. When the spring came around, and the mysterious correspondence again failed, as in the previous year, his uneasiness increased. He took his place on the high seat on First-days, as usual, but spoke no more. AS,%RN^.  
Sylvia, on the other hand, seemed to have wholly lost her proud, impatient character. She went to meeting much more frequently than formerly, busied herself more actively about household matters, and ceased to speak of the uncertain contingency which had been so constantly present in her thoughts. In fact, she and her father had changed places. She was now the one who preached patience, who held before them all the bright side of their lot, who brought Margaret Alison to the house and justified her dead brother's heart to his father's, and who repeated to the latter, in his restless moods, "De Courcy foresaw the truth, and we must all in the end decide as he did." H[UlY?&+  
"Can thee do it, Sylvia?" her father would ask. T)CP2U  
"I believe I have done it already," she said. "If it seems difficult, pray consider how much later I begin my work. I have had all your memories in charge, and now I must not only forget for myself, but for you as well." &=Wlaa/,&  
Indeed, as the spring and summer months came and went, Sylvia evidently grew stronger in her determination. The fret of her idle force was allayed, and her content increased as she saw and performed the possible duties of her life. Perhaps her father might have caught something of her spirit, but for his anxiety in regard to the suspended correspondence. He wearied himself in guesses, which all ended in the simple fact that, to escape embarrassment, the rent must again be saved from the earnings of the farm. 'eX '  
lA-h`rl /  
The harvests that year were bountiful; wheat, barley, and oats stood thick and heavy in the fields. No one showed more careful thrift or more cheerful industry than young Joel Bradbury, and the family felt that much of the fortune of their harvest was owing to him. `V3Fx{  
.y,0[i V N  
On the first day after the crops had been securely housed, all went to meeting, except Sylvia. In the walled graveyard the sod was already green over De Courcy's unmarked mound, but Alice had planted a little rose-tree at the head, and she and her mother always visited the spot before taking their seats on the women's side. The meeting-house was very full that day, as the busy season of the summer was over, and the horses of those who lived at a distance had no longer such need of rest. f0aKlhEC  
It was a sultry forenoon, and the windows and doors of the building were open. The humming of insects was heard in the silence, and broken lights and shadows of the poplar-leaves were sprinkled upon the steps and sills. Outside there were glimpses of quiet groves and orchards, and blue fragments of sky,--no more semblance of life in the external landscape than there was in the silent meeting within. Some quarter of an hour before the shaking of hands took place, the hoofs of a horse were heard in the meeting-house yard-- the noise of a smart trot on the turf, suddenly arrested. R#8L\1l  
The boys pricked up their ears at this unusual sound, and stole glances at each other when they imagined themselves unseen by the awful faces in the gallery. Presently those nearest the door saw a broader shadow fall over those flickering upon the stone. A red face appeared for a moment, and was then drawn back out of sight. The shadow advanced and receded, in a state of peculiar restlessness. Sometimes the end of a riding-whip was visible, sometimes the corner of a coarse gray coat. The boys who noticed these apparitions were burning with impatience, but they dared not leave their seats until Abraham Bradbury had reached his hand to Henry Donnelly. P&e\)Z|  
\:ak ''  
Then they rushed out. The mysterious personage was still beside the door, leaning against the wall. He was a short, thick-set man of fifty, with red hair, round gray eyes, a broad pug nose, and projecting mouth. He wore a heavy gray coat, despite the heat, and a waistcoat with many brass buttons; also corduroy breeches and riding boots. When they appeared, he started forward with open mouth and eyes, and stared wildly in their faces. They gathered around the poplar-trunks, and waited with some uneasiness to see what would follow. ,lA  s  
Slowly and gravely, with the half-broken ban of silence still hanging over them, the people issued from the house. The strange man stood, leaning forward, and seemed to devour each, in turn, with his eager eyes. After the young men came the fathers of families, and lastly the old men from the gallery seats. Last of these came Henry Donnelly. In the meantime, all had seen and wondered at the waiting figure; its attitude was too intense and self-forgetting to be misinterpreted. The greetings and remarks were suspended until the people had seen for whom the man waited, and why. ssRbhlD/*1  
( _)jkI \  
Henry Donnelly had no sooner set his foot upon the door-step than, with something between a shout and a howl, the stranger darted forward, seized his hand, and fell upon one knee, crying: "O my lord! my lord! Glory be to God that I've found ye at last!" Yc `)R  
O_ DtvjI'  
If these words burst like a bomb on the ears of the people, what was their consternation when Henry Donnelly exclaimed, "The Divel! Jack O'Neil, can that be you?" 2hkRd>)&5  
7C ,UDp|  
"It's me, meself, my lord! When we heard the letters went wrong last year, I said `I'll trust no such good news to their blasted mail-posts: I'll go meself and carry it to his lordship,--if it is t'other side o' the say. Him and my lady and all the children went, and sure I can go too. And as I was the one that went with you from Dunleigh Castle, I'll go back with you to that same, for it stands awaitin', and blessed be the day that sees you back in your ould place!" g(J&m< I  
"All clear, Jack? All mine again?" F^LZeF[#t  
X>. NFB  
"You may believe it, my lord! And money in the chest beside. But where's my lady, bless her sweet face! Among yon women, belike, and you'll help me to find her, for it's herself must have the news next, and then the young master--" !i%"7tQ3$  
With that word Henry Donnelly awoke to a sense of time and place. He found himself within a ring of staring, wondering, scandalized eyes. He met them boldly, with a proud, though rather grim smile, took hold of O'Neil's arm and led him towards the women's end of the house, where the sight of Susan in her scoop bonnet so moved the servant's heart that he melted into tears. Both husband and wife were eager to get home and hear O'Neil's news in private; so they set out at once in their plain carriage, followed by the latter on horseback. As for the Friends, they went home in a state of bewilderment. -tI'3oT1  
Alice Donnelly, with her brother Henry and Joel Bradbury, returned on foot. The two former remembered O'Neil, and, although they had not witnessed his first interview with their father, they knew enough of the family history to surmise his errand. Joel was silent and troubled. b2b75}_A  
)*d W=r/$V  
"Alice, I hope it doesn't mean that we are going back, don't you?" said Henry. =4 X]gW  
"Yes," she answered, and said no more. WnAd5#G  
I 2HT2c$  
They took a foot-path across the fields, and reached the farm-house at the same time with the first party. As they opened the door Sylvia descended the staircase dressed in a rich shimmering brocade, with a necklace of amethysts around her throat. To their eyes, so long accustomed to the absence of positive color, she was completely dazzling. There was a new color on her cheeks, and her eyes seemed larger and brighter. She made a stately courtesy, and held open the parlor door. ev>oC~>s  
"Welcome, Lord Henry Dunleigh, of Dunleigh Castle!" she cried; "welcome, Lady Dunleigh!" )45_]tk >  
Her father kissed her on the forehead. "Now give us back our memories, Sylvia!" he said, exultingly. OKQLv+q5K)  
h3h8lt_ |  
Susan Donnelly sank into a chair, overcome by the mixed emotions of the moment. fm6]CU1^  
"Come in, my faithful Jack! Unpack thy portmanteau of news, for I see thou art bursting to show it; let us have every thing from the beginning. Wife, it's a little too much for thee, coming so unexpectedly. Set out the wine, Alice!" Hc /w ta  
The decanter was placed upon the table. O'Neil filled a tumbler to the brim, lifted it high, made two or three hoarse efforts to speak, and then walked away to the window, where he drank in silence. This little incident touched the family more than the announcement of their good fortune. Henry Donnelly's feverish exultation subsided: he sat down with a grave, thoughtful face, while his wife wept quietly beside him. Sylvia stood waiting with an abstracted air; Alice removed her mother's bonnet and shawl; and Henry and Joel, seated together at the farther end of the room, looked on in silent anticipation. }7&\eV{qU  
O'Neil's story was long, and frequently interrupted. He had been Lord Dunleigh's steward in better days, as his father had been to the old lord, and was bound to the family by the closest ties of interest and affection. When the estates became so encumbered that either an immediate change or a catastrophe was inevitable, he had been taken into his master's confidence concerning the plan which had first been proposed in jest, and afterwards adopted in earnest. F: f2s:<  
The family must leave Dunleigh Castle for a period of probably eight or ten years, and seek some part of the world where their expenses could be reduced to the lowest possible figure. In Germany or Italy there would be the annoyance of a foreign race and language, of meeting of tourists belonging to the circle in which they had moved, a dangerous idleness for their sons, and embarrassing restrictions for their daughters. On the other hand, the suggestion to emigrate to America and become Quakers during their exile offered more advantages the more they considered it. It was original in character; it offered them economy, seclusion, entire liberty of action inside the limits of the sect, the best moral atmosphere for their children, and an occupation which would not deteriorate what was best in their blood and breeding. k0gJ('zah  
How Lord Dunleigh obtained admission into the sect as plain Henry Donnelly is a matter of conjecture with the Londongrove Friends. The deception which had been practised upon them-- although it was perhaps less complete than they imagined--left a soreness of feeling behind it. The matter was hushed up after the departure of the family, and one might now live for years in the neighborhood without hearing the story. How the shrewd plan was carried out by Lord Dunleigh and his family, we have already learned. O'Neil, left on the estate, in the north of Ireland, did his part with equal fidelity. He not only filled up the gaps made by his master's early profuseness, but found means to move the sympathies of a cousin of the latter--a rich, eccentric old bachelor, who had long been estranged by a family quarrel. To this cousin he finally confided the character of the exile, and at a lucky time; for the cousin's will was altered in Lord Dunleigh's favor, and he died before his mood of reconciliation passed away. Now, the estate was not only unencumbered, but there was a handsome surplus in the hands of the Dublin bankers. The family might return whenever they chose, and there would be a festival to welcome them, O'Neil said, such as Dunleigh Castle had never known since its foundations were laid. BBaHM sr  
"Let us go at once!" said Sylvia, when he had concluded his tale. "No more masquerading,--I never knew until to-day how much I have hated it! I will not say that your plan was not a sensible one, father; but I wish it might have been carried out with more honor to ourselves. Since De Courcy's death I have begun to appreciate our neighbors: I was resigned to become one of these people had our luck gone the other way. Will they give us any credit for goodness and truth, I wonder? Yes, in mother's case, and Alice's; and I believe both of them would give up Dunleigh Castle for this little farm." si+5h6I.}  
"Then," her father exclaimed, "it is time that we should return, and without delay. But thee wrongs us somewhat, Sylvia: it has not all been masquerading. We have become the servants, rather than the masters, of our own parts, and shall live a painful and divided life until we get back in our old place. I fear me it will always be divided for thee, wife, and Alice and Henry. If I am subdued by the element which I only meant to asssume, how much more deeply must it have wrought in your natures! Yes, Sylvia is right, we must get away at once. To-morrow we must leave Londongrove forever!" b W`)CWd  
He had scarcely spoken, when a new surprise fell upon the family. Joel Bradbury arose and walked forward, as if thrust by an emotion so powerful that it transformed his whole being. He seemed to forget every thing but Alice Donnelly's presence. His soft brown eyes were fixed on her face with an expression of unutterable tenderness and longing. He caught her by the hands. "Alice, O, Alice!" burst from his lips; "you are not going to leave me?" N'q/7jOy  
#v]aT  ]}  
The flush in the girl's sweet face faded into a deadly paleness. A moan came from her lips; her head dropped, and she would have fallen, swooning, from the chair had not Joel knelt at her feet and caught her upon his breast. 5&7?0h+I  
For a moment there was silence in the room. {?M*ZRO'  
Presently, Sylvia, all her haughtiness gone, knelt beside the young man, and took her sister from his arms. "Joel, my poor, dear friend," she said, "I am sorry that the last, worst mischief we have done must fall upon you." 7)X&fV6<8  
Joel covered his face with his hands, and convulsively uttered the words, "Must she go?" VL1z$<vVXt  
AH,F[ vS  
Then Henry Donnelly--or, rather, Lord Dunleigh, as we must now call him--took the young man's hand. He was profoundly moved; his strong voice trembled, and his words came slowly. "I will not appeal to thy heart, Joel," he said, "for it would not hear me now. M57(,#g  
But thou hast heard all our story, and knowest that we must leave these parts, never to return. We belong to another station and another mode of life than yours, and it must come to us as a good fortune that our time of probation is at an end. Bethink thee, could we leave our darling Alice behind us, parted as if by the grave? Nay, could we rob her of the life to which she is born--of her share in our lives? On the other hand, could we take thee with us into relations where thee would always be a stranger, and in which a nature like thine has no place? This is a case where duty speaks clearly, though so hard, so very hard, to follow." ],4LvIPD  
He spoke tenderly, but inflexibly, and Joel felt that his fate was pronounced. When Alice had somewhat revived, and was taken to another room, he stumbled blindly out of the house, made his way to the barn, and there flung himself upon the harvest-sheaves which, three days before, he had bound with such a timid, delicious hope working in his arm. ?HTwTi 5!)  
The day which brought such great fortune had thus a sad and troubled termination. It was proposed that the family should start for Philadelphia on the morrow, leaving O'Neil to pack up and remove such furniture as they wished to retain; but Susan, Lady Dunleigh, could not forsake the neighborhood without a parting visit to the good friends who had mourned with her over her firstborn; and Sylvia was with her in this wish. So two more days elapsed, and then the Dunleighs passed down the Street Road, and the plain farm-house was gone from their eyes forever. Two grieved over the loss of their happy home; one was almost broken-hearted; and the remaining two felt that the trouble of the present clouded all their happiness in the return to rank and fortune. HYS7=[hv6  
 ar yr  
They went, and they never came again. An account of the great festival at Dunleigh Castle reached Londongrove two years later, through an Irish laborer, who brought to Joel Bradbury a letter of recommendation signed "Dunleigh." Joel kept the man upon his farm, and the two preserved the memory of the family long after the neighborhood had ceased to speak of it. Joel never married; he still lives in the house where the great sorrow of his life befell. eM}Xn^}  
y =CemJ[~  
His head is gray, and his face deeply wrinkled; but when he lifts the shy lids of his soft brown eyes, I fancy I can see in their tremulous depths the lingering memory of his love for Alice Dunleigh. OtJS5A  

只看该作者 14楼 发表于: 2012-07-14
Tales From Home. W&>ONo6ki  
Jacob Flint's Journey.  <sdC#j  
  If there ever was a man crushed out of all courage, all self- reliance, all comfort in life, it was Jacob Flint. Why this should have been, neither he nor any one else could have explained; but so it was. On the day that he first went to school, his shy, frightened face marked him as fair game for the rougher and stronger boys, and they subjected him to all those exquisite refinements of torture which boys seem to get by the direct inspiration of the Devil. There was no form of their bullying meanness or the cowardice of their brutal strength which he did not experience. He was born under a fading or falling star,--the inheritor of some anxious or unhappy mood of his parents, which gave its fast color to the threads out of which his innocent being was woven. & !0[T   
Even the good people of the neighborhood, never accustomed to look below the externals of appearance and manner, saw in his shrinking face and awkward motions only the signs of a cringing, abject soul. gZ{q85C.>  
, Oqd4NS  
"You'll be no more of a man than Jake Flint!" was the reproach which many a farmer addressed to his dilatory boy; and thus the parents, one and all, came to repeat the sins of the children. ]m ED3#  
If, therefore, at school and "before folks," Jacob's position was always uncomfortable and depressing, it was little more cheering at home. His parents, as all the neighbors believed, had been unhappily married, and, though the mother died in his early childhood, his father remained a moody, unsocial man, who rarely left his farm except on the 1st of April every year, when he went to the county town for the purpose of paying the interest upon a mortgage. The farm lay in a hollow between two hills, separated from the road by a thick wood, and the chimneys of the lonely old house looked in vain for a neighbor-smoke when they began to grow warm of a morning. xt{f+c@P  
Beyond the barn and under the northern hill there was a log tenant- house, in which dwelt a negro couple, who, in the course of years had become fixtures on the place and almost partners in it. Harry, the man, was the medium by which Samuel Flint kept up his necessary intercourse with the world beyond the valley; he took the horses to the blacksmith, the grain to the mill, the turkeys to market, and through his hands passed all the incomings and outgoings of the farm, except the annual interest on the mortgage. Sally, his wife, took care of the household, which, indeed, was a light and comfortable task, since the table was well supplied for her own sake, and there was no sharp eye to criticise her sweeping, dusting, and bed-making. The place had a forlorn, tumble-down aspect, quite in keeping with its lonely situation; but perhaps this very circumstance flattered the mood of its silent, melancholy owner and his unhappy son. L `7~~  
In all the neighborhood there was but one person with whom Jacob felt completely at ease--but one who never joined in the general habit of making his name the butt of ridicule or contempt. This was Mrs. Ann Pardon, the hearty, active wife of Farmer Robert Pardon, who lived nearly a mile farther down the brook. Jacob had won her good-will by some neighborly services, something so trifling, indeed, that the thought of a favor conferred never entered his mind. Ann Pardon saw that it did not; she detected a streak of most unconscious goodness under his uncouth, embarrassed ways, and she determined to cultivate it. No little tact was required, however, to coax the wild, forlorn creature into so much confidence as she desired to establish; but tact is a native quality of the heart no less than a social acquirement, and so she did the very thing necessary without thinking much about it. LLa72HW  
Robert Pardon discovered by and by that Jacob was a steady, faithful hand in the harvest-field at husking-time, or whenever any extra labor was required, and Jacob's father made no objection to his earning a penny in this way; and so he fell into the habit of spending his Saturday evenings at the Pardon farm-house, at first to talk over matters of work, and finally because it had become a welcome relief from his dreary life at home. ?A[q/n:K  
Now it happened that on a Saturday in the beginning of haying-time, the village tailor sent home by Harry a new suit of light summer clothes, for which Jacob had been measured a month before. After supper he tried them on, the day's work being over, and Sally's admiration was so loud and emphatic that he felt himself growing red even to the small of his back. xMk0Xf'_  
"Now, don't go for to take 'em off, Mr. Jake," said she. "I spec' you're gwine down to Pardon's, and so you jist keep 'em on to show 'em all how nice you kin look." :G&tM   
The same thought had already entered Jacob's mind. Poor fellow! It was the highest form of pleasure of which he had ever allowed himself to conceive. If he had been called upon to pass through the village on first assuming the new clothes, every stitch would have pricked him as if the needle remained in it; but a quiet walk down the brookside, by the pleasant path through the thickets and over the fragrant meadows, with a consciousness of his own neatness and freshness at every step, and with kind Ann Pardon's commendation at the close, and the flattering curiosity of the children,--the only ones who never made fun of him,--all that was a delightful prospect. He could never, never forget himself, as he had seen other young fellows do; but to remember himself agreeably was certainly the next best thing. Fa}3UVm  
K `|%-k+D  
Jacob was already a well-grown man of twenty-three, and would have made a good enough appearance but for the stoop in his shoulders, and the drooping, uneasy way in which he carried his head. Many a time when he was alone in the fields or woods he had straightened himself, and looked courageously at the buts of the oak-trees or in the very eyes of the indifferent oxen; but, when a human face drew near, some spring in his neck seemed to snap, some buckle around his shoulders to be drawn three holes tighter, and he found himself in the old posture. The ever-present thought of this weakness was the only drop of bitterness in his cup, as he followed the lonely path through the thickets. X?m"86L  
Some spirit in the sweet, delicious freshness of the air, some voice in the mellow babble of the stream, leaping in and out of sight between the alders, some smile of light, lingering on the rising corn-fields beyond the meadow and the melting purple of a distant hill, reached to the seclusion of his heart. He was soothed and cheered; his head lifted itself in the presentiment of a future less lonely than the past, and the everlasting trouble vanished from his eyes. ${(c `X  
Suddenly, at a turn of the path, two mowers from the meadow, with their scythes upon their shoulders, came upon him. He had not heard their feet on the deep turf. His chest relaxed, and his head began to sink; then, with the most desperate effort in his life, he lifted it again, and, darting a rapid side glance at the men, hastened by. They could not understand the mixed defiance and supplication of his face; to them he only looked "queer." y `)oD0)Fj  
"Been committin' a murder, have you?" asked one of them, grinning. .>/Tc  
{ \r1A  
"Startin' off on his journey, I guess," said the other. I: j!A  
The next instant they were gone, and Jacob, with set teeth and clinched hands, smothered something that would have been a howl if he had given it voice. Sharp lines of pain were marked on his face, and, for the first time, the idea of resistance took fierce and bitter possession of his heart. But the mood was too unusual to last; presently he shook his head, and walked on towards Pardon's farm-house. >$%rsc}^  
Ann wore a smart gingham dress, and her first exclamation was: "Why, Jake! how nice you look. And so you know all about it, too?" m\Xgvpv rP  
R _c! ,y  
"About what?" )PU_'n=>  
"I see you don't," said she. "I was too fast; but it makes no difference. I know you are willing to lend me a helping hand." E76#xsyhF  
!qQ B}sAf  
"Oh, to be sure," Jacob answered. aYBc)LCd  
"And not mind a little company?" O #  
Jacob's face suddenly clouded; but he said, though with an effort: "No--not much--if I can be of any help." T]fBVA  
"It's rather a joke, after all," Ann Pardon continued, speaking rapidly; "they meant a surprise, a few of the young people; but sister Becky found a way to send me word, or I might have been caught like Meribah Johnson last week, in the middle of my work; eight or ten, she said, but more may drop in: and it's moonlight and warm, so they'll be mostly under the trees; and Robert won't be home till late, and I do want help in carrying chairs, and getting up some ice, and handing around; and, though I know you don't care for merry makings, you can help me out, you see-- " 3!OO_  
-T  5$l  
Here she paused. Jacob looked perplexed, but said nothing. -H;%1y$A-  
"Becky will help what she can, and while I'm in the kitchen she'll have an eye to things outside," she said. sT^^#$ub  
Jacob's head was down again, and, moreover, turned on one side, but his ear betrayed the mounting blood. Finally he answered, in a quick, husky voice: "Well, I'll do what I can. What's first?" @'K+   
Thereupon he began to carry some benches from the veranda to a grassy bank beside the sycamore-tree. Ann Pardon wisely said no more of the coming surprise-party, but kept him so employed that, as the visitors arrived by twos and threes, the merriment was in full play almost before he was aware of it. Moreover, the night was a protecting presence: the moonlight poured splendidly upon the open turf beyond the sycamore, but every lilac-bush or trellis of woodbine made a nook of shade, wherein he could pause a moment and take courage for his duties. Becky Morton, Ann Pardon's youngest sister, frightened him a little every time she came to consult about the arrangement of seats or the distribution of refreshments; but it was a delightful, fascinating fear, such as he had never felt before in his life. He knew Becky, but he had never seen her in white and pink, with floating tresses, until now. In fact, he had hardly looked at her fairly, but now, as she glided into the moonlight and he paused in the shadow, his eyes took note of her exceeding beauty. Some sweet, confusing influence, he knew not what, passed into his blood. HDyus5g  
The young men had brought a fiddler from the village, and it was not long before most of the company were treading the measures of reels or cotillons on the grass. How merry and happy they all were! How freely and unembarrassedly they moved and talked! By and by all became involved in the dance, and Jacob, left alone and unnoticed, drew nearer and nearer to the gay and beautiful life from which he was expelled. ta*B#2D>  
r00 fvZyK  
With a long-drawn scream of the fiddle the dance came to an end, and the dancers, laughing, chattering, panting, and fanning themselves, broke into groups and scattered over the enclosure before the house. Jacob was surrounded before he could escape. Becky, with two lively girls in her wake, came up to him and said: "Oh Mr. Flint, why don't you dance?" m}] bP  
If he had stopped to consider, he would no doubt have replied very differently. But a hundred questions, stirred by what he had seen, were clamoring for light, and they threw the desperate impulse to his lips. wt4uzg8  
8;YeEW 5  
"If I could dance, would you dance with me?" :SilQm*Pl  
The two lively girls heard the words, and looked at Becky with roguish faces. `2\vDy1,j  
"Oh yes, take him for your next partner!" cried one. z><=F,W  
"I will," said Becky, "after he comes back from his journey." s>(OK.o  
Then all three laughed. Jacob leaned against the tree, his eyes fixed on the ground. ;0DT f  
Xkc y~e  
"Is it a bargain?" asked one of the girls. EH{m~x[Ei  
"No," said he, and walked rapidly away. 1 ; _tu  
XC 44]o4jx  
He went to the house, and, finding that Robert had arrived, took his hat, and left by the rear door. There was a grassy alley between the orchard and garden, from which it was divided by a high hawthorn hedge. He had scarcely taken three paces on his way to the meadow, when the sound of the voice he had last heard, on the other side of the hedge, arrested his feet. sVXIR  
"Becky, I think you rather hurt Jake Flint," said the girl. 6f=,$:S$  
"Hardly," answered Becky; "he's used to that." Re[x$rw  
"Not if he likes you; and you might go further and fare worse." R>C^duos.  
"Well, I must say!" Becky exclaimed, with a laugh; "you'd like to see me stuck in that hollow, out of your way!" Y[R;UJE`5  
E9bc pup  
"It's a good farm, I've heard," said the other. $&ZN%o3  
"Yes, and covered with as much as it'll bear!" N#&/d nV  
Here the girls were called away to the dance. Jacob slowly walked up the dewy meadow, the sounds of fiddling, singing, and laughter growing fainter behind him. 3v,Bg4[i  
=2R0 g2n  
"My journey!" he repeated to himself,--" my journey! why shouldn't I start on it now? Start off, and never come back?" x!;;;iS  
It was a very little thing, after all, which annoyed him, but the mention of it always touched a sore nerve of his nature. A dozen years before, when a boy at school, he had made a temporary friendship with another boy of his age, and had one day said to the latter, in the warmth of his first generous confidence: "When I am a little older, I shall make a great journey, and come back rich, and buy Whitney's place!" W*.6'u)9  
x) OJ?l  
Now, Whitney's place, with its stately old brick mansion, its avenue of silver firs, and its two hundred acres of clean, warm- lying land, was the finest, the most aristocratic property in all the neighborhood, and the boy-friend could not resist the temptation of repeating Jacob's grand design, for the endless amusement of the school. The betrayal hurt Jacob more keenly than the ridicule. It left a wound that never ceased to rankle; yet, with the inconceivable perversity of unthinking natures, precisely this joke (as the people supposed it to be) had been perpetuated, until "Jake Flint's Journey" was a synonyme for any absurd or extravagant expectation. Perhaps no one imagined how much pain he was keeping alive; for almost any other man than Jacob would have joined in the laugh against himself and thus good-naturedly buried the joke in time. "He's used to that," the people said, like Becky Morton, and they really supposed there was nothing unkind in the remark! T[+~-D @  
After Jacob had passed the thickets and entered the lonely hollow in which his father's house lay, his pace became slower and slower. M$MFUGS'  
HrH! 'bd  
He looked at the shabby old building, just touched by the moonlight behind the swaying shadows of the weeping-willow, stopped, looked again, and finally seated himself on a stump beside the path. `PI?RU[g*  
\3 M%vJ  
"If I knew what to do!" he said to himself, rocking backwards and forwards, with his hands clasped over his knees,--"if I knew what to do!" 9Je+|+s]  
The spiritual tension of the evening reached its climax: he could bear no more. With a strong bodily shudder his tears burst forth, and the passion of his weeping filled him from head to foot. How long he wept he knew not; it seemed as if the hot fountains would never run dry. Suddenly and startlingly a hand fell upon his shoulder. 6h{>U*N"&d  
"Boy, what does this mean?" I;+>@Cn(g<  
_6]c f!H  
It was his father who stood before him. FZx.Yuv  
Jacob looked up like some shy animal brought to bay, his eyes full of a feeling mixed of fierceness and terror; but he said nothing. 4q*mEV  
]}L tf,9  
His father seated himself on one of the roots of the old stump, laid one hand upon Jacob's knee, and said with an unusual gentleness of manner, "I'd like to know what it is that troubles you so much." 3]h*6 V1$  
After a pause, Jacob suddenly burst forth with: "Is there any reason why I should tell you? Do you care any more for me than the rest of 'em?" WkDXWv\{,{  
"I didn't know as you wanted me to care for you particularly," said the father, almost deprecatingly. "I always thought you had friends of your own age." rUZ09>nDy  
r! ~6.  
"Friends? Devils!" exclaimed Jacob. "Oh, what have I done--what is there so dreadful about me that I should always be laughed at, and despised, and trampled upon? You are a great deal older than I am, father: what do you see in me? Tell me what it is, and how to get over it!" &Qq|  
The eyes of the two men met. Jacob saw his father's face grow pale in the moonlight, while he pressed his hand involuntarily upon his heart, as if struggling with some physical pain. At last he spoke, but his words were strange and incoherent. }s[`T   
"I couldn't sleep," he said; "I got up again and came out o' doors. .y lvJ$  
$ Ggnn#  
The white ox had broken down the fence at the corner, and would soon have been in the cornfield. I thought it was that, maybe, but still your--your mother would come into my head. I was coming down the edge of the wood when I saw you, and I don't know why it was that you seemed so different, all at once--" @C^wV  
tY: Nq*@  
Here he paused, and was silent for a minute. Then he said, in a grave, commanding tone: "Just let me know the whole story. I have that much right yet." o OC&w0  
Jacob related the history of the evening, somewhat awkwardly and confusedly, it is true; but his father's brief, pointed questions kept him to the narrative, and forced him to explain the full significance of the expressions he repeated. At the mention of "Whitney's place," a singular expression of malice touched the old man's face. EmR82^_:  
"Do you love Becky Morton?" he asked bluntly, when all had been told. #v<`|_  
8=TC 3]  
"I don't know," Jacob stammered; "I think not; because when I seem to like her most, I feel afraid of her." GEF's#YWK  
"It's lucky that you're not sure of it!" exclaimed the old man with energy; "because you should never have her." hdx_Tduue  
"No," said Jacob, with a mournful acquiescence, "I can never have her, or any other one." #X'-/q`.  
"But you shall--and will I when I help you. It's true I've not seemed to care much about you, and I suppose you're free to think as you like; but this I say: I'll not stand by and see you spit upon! `Covered with as much as it'll bear!' That's a piece o' luck anyhow. If we're poor, your wife must take your poverty with you, or she don't come into my doors. But first of all you must make your journey!" ,dQ*0XO!  
"My journey!" repeated Jacob. HLDv{G'7  
#]c_ 2V  
"Weren't you thinking of it this night, before you took your seat on that stump? A little more, and you'd have gone clean off, I reckon." jNX6Ct?  
Jacob was silent, and hung his head. ~FAk4z=Ed  
"Never mind! I've no right to think hard of it. In a week we'll have finished our haying, and then it's a fortnight to wheat; but, for that matter, Harry and I can manage the wheat by ourselves. You may take a month, two months, if any thing comes of it. Under a month I don't mean that you shall come back. I'll give you twenty dollars for a start; if you want more you must earn it on the road, any way you please. And, mark you, Jacob! since you are poor, don't let anybody suppose you are rich. For my part, I shall not expect you to buy Whitney's place; all I ask is that you'll tell me, fair and square, just what things and what people you've got acquainted with. Get to bed now--the matter's settled; I will have it so." +:aNgO#e8  
They rose and walked across the meadow to the house. Jacob had quite forgotten the events of the evening in the new prospect suddenly opened to him, which filled him with a wonderful confusion of fear and desire. His father said nothing more. They entered the lonely house together at midnight, and went to their beds; but Jacob slept very little. -#4QY70H t  
Six days afterwards he left home, on a sparkling June morning, with a small bundle tied in a yellow silk handkerchief under his arm. His father had furnished him with the promised money, but had positively refused to tell him what road he should take, or what plan of action he should adopt. The only stipulation was that his absence from home should not be less than a month. j}J=ZLr/V"  
After he had passed the wood and reached the highway which followed the course of the brook, he paused to consider which course to take. Southward the road led past Pardon's, and he longed to see his only friends once more before encountering untried hazards; but the village was beyond, and he had no courage to walk through its one long street with a bundle, denoting a journey, under his arm. Northward he would have to pass the mill and blacksmith's shop at the cross-roads. Then he remembered that he might easily wade the stream at a point where it was shallow, and keep in the shelter of the woods on the opposite hill until he struck the road farther on, and in that direction two or three miles would take him into a neighborhood where he was not known. 6u`$a&dR'l  
Once in the woods, an exquisite sense of freedom came upon him. There was nothing mocking in the soft, graceful stir of the expanded foliage, in the twittering of the unfrightened birds, or the scampering of the squirrels, over the rustling carpet of dead leaves. He lay down upon the moss under a spreading beech- tree and tried to think; but the thoughts would not come. He could not even clearly recall the keen troubles and mortifications he had endured: all things were so peaceful and beautiful that a portion of their peace and beauty fell upon men and invested them with a more kindly character. 6iHY{WcDj  
Towards noon Jacob found himself beyond the limited geography of his life. The first man he encountered was a stranger, who greeted him with a hearty and respectful "How do you do, sir?" ]n:R#55A  
"Perhaps," thought Jacob, "I am not so very different from other people, if I only thought so myself." x~D8XN{  
At noon, he stopped at a farm-house by the roadside to get a drink of water. A pleasant woman, who came from the door at that moment with a pitcher, allowed him to lower the bucket and haul it up dripping with precious coolness. She looked upon him with good- will, for he had allowed her to see his eyes, and something in their honest, appealing expression went to her heart. 0[7"Lhpd  
"We're going to have dinner in five minutes," said she; "won't you stay and have something?" GsiKL4|mj  
Jacob stayed and brake bread with the plain, hospitable family. Their kindly attention to him during the meal gave him the lacking nerve; for a moment he resolved to offer his services to the farmer, but he presently saw that they were not really needed, and, besides, the place was still too near home. nmyDGuzk  
Towards night he reached an old country tavern, lording it over an incipient village of six houses. The landlord and hostler were inspecting a drooping-looking horse in front of the stables. Now, if there was any thing which Jacob understood, to the extent of his limited experience, it was horse nature. He drew near, listened to the views of the two men, examined the animal with his eyes, and was ready to answer, "Yes, I guess so," when the landlord said, "Perhaps, sir, you can tell what is the matter with him."  OAgZeK$  
His prompt detection of the ailment, and prescription of a remedy which in an hour showed its good effects, installed him in the landlord's best graces. The latter said, "Well, it shall cost you nothing to-night," as he led the way to the supper-room. When Jacob went to bed he was surprised on reflecting that he had not only been talking for a full hour in the bar-room, but had been looking people in the face. wbg ?IvY[  
<)Y jVGG  
Resisting an offer of good wages if he would stay and help look after the stables, he set forward the next morning with a new and most delightful confidence in himself. The knowledge that now nobody knew him as "Jake Flint" quite removed his tortured self- consciousness. When he met a person who was glum and ungracious of speech, he saw, nevertheless, that he was not its special object. He was sometimes asked questions, to be sure, which a little embarrassed him, but he soon hit upon answers which were sufficiently true without betraying his purpose. Ag&K@%|*  
Wandering sometimes to the right and sometimes to the left, he slowly made his way into the land, until, on the afternoon of the fourth day after leaving home, he found himself in a rougher region--a rocky, hilly tract, with small and not very flourishing farms in the valleys. Here the season appeared to be more backward than in the open country; the hay harvest was not yet over. D r"PS >.  
Jacob's taste for scenery was not particularly cultivated, but something in the loneliness and quiet of the farms reminded him of his own home; and he looked at one house after another, deliberating with himself whether it would not be a good place to spend the remainder of his month of probation. He seemed to be very far from home--about forty miles, in fact,--and was beginning to feel a little tired of wandering. 4E$d"D5]>p  
Finally the road climbed a low pass of the hills, and dropped into a valley on the opposite side. There was but one house in view--a two-story building of logs and plaster, with a garden and orchard on the hillside in the rear. A large meadow stretched in front, and when the whole of it lay clear before him, as the road issued from a wood, his eye was caught by an unusual harvest picture. a|k*A&5u2  
Directly before him, a woman, whose face was concealed by a huge, flapping sun-bonnet, was seated upon a mowing machine, guiding a span of horses around the great tract of thick grass which was still uncut. A little distance off, a boy and girl were raking the drier swaths together, and a hay-cart, drawn by oxen and driven by a man, was just entering the meadow from the side next the barn. z$VVt ?K  
Jacob hung his bundle upon a stake, threw his coat and waistcoat over the rail, and, resting his chin on his shirted arms, leaned on the fence, and watched the hay-makers. As the woman came down the nearer side she appeared to notice him, for her head was turned from time to time in his direction. When she had made the round, she stopped the horses at the corner, sprang lightly from her seat and called to the man, who, leaving his team, met her half-way. They were nearly a furlong distant, but Jacob was quite sure that she pointed to him, and that the man looked in the same direction. Presently she set off across the meadow, directly towards him. .m xc~  
When within a few paces of the fence, she stopped, threw back the flaps of her sun-bonnet, and said, "Good day to you!" Jacob was so amazed to see a bright, fresh, girlish face, that he stared at her with all his eyes, forgetting to drop his head. Indeed, he could not have done so, for his chin was propped upon the top rail of the fence. %V(U]sbV  
"You are a stranger, I see," she added. QjTs$#eMW  
0u I=8j  
"Yes, in these parts," he replied. ra1_XR}  
"Looking for work?" gdg "g6b  
He hardly knew what answer to make, so he said, at a venture, "That's as it happens." Then he colored a little, for the words seemed foolish to his ears. P6`LUyz3  
"Time's precious," said the girl, "so I'll tell you at once we want help. Our hay must be got in while the fine weather lasts." !z]{zM%  
"I'll help you!" Jacob exclaimed, taking his arms from the rail, and looking as willing as he felt. lN_b&92  
"I'm so glad! But I must tell you, at first, that we're not rich, and the hands are asking a great deal now. How much do you expect?" x6Q_+!mnk  
"Whatever you please?" said he, climbing the fence. hjp,v)#  
"No, that's not our way of doing business. What do you say to a dollar a day, and found?" :%IB34e  
"All right!" and with the words he was already at her side, taking long strides over the elastic turf. '>t'U?7w<  
ix5<h }  
"I will go on with my mowing," said she, when they reached the horses, "and you can rake and load with my father. What name shall I call you by?" ,Uy;jk  
6Y9<| .  
"Everybody calls me Jake." 18]Q4s8E  
=nlj|S ~3  
"`Jake!' Jacob is better. Well, Jacob, I hope you'll give us all the help you can." Wj, {lJ,  
MI~Q Xy,  
With a nod and a light laugh she sprang upon the machine. There was a sweet throb in Jacob's heart, which, if he could have expressed it, would have been a triumphant shout of "I'm not afraid of her! I'm not afraid of her!" <f0yh"?6VH  
h{ eQ\iI  
The farmer was a kindly, depressed man, with whose quiet ways Jacob instantly felt himself at home. They worked steadily until sunset, when the girl, detaching her horses from the machine, mounted one of them and led the other to the barn. At the supper-table, the farmer's wife said: "Susan, you must be very tired." KC54=Rf  
"Not now, mother!" she cheerily answered. "I was, I think, but after I picked up Jacob I felt sure we should get our hay in." h5[.G!  
"It was a good thing," said the farmer; "Jacob don't need to be told how to work." m_UzmWF  
Poor Jacob! He was so happy he could have cried. He sat and listened, and blushed a little, with a smile on his face which it was a pleasure to see. The honest people did not seem to regard him in the least as a stranger; they discussed their family interests and troubles and hopes before him, and in a little while it seemed as if he had known them always. "@&I*1&  
How faithfully he worked! How glad and tired he felt when night came, and the hay-mow was filled, and the great stacks grew beside the barn! But ah! the haying came to an end, and on the last evening, at supper, everybody was constrained and silent. Even Susan looked grave and thoughtful. 3AarRQWsn  
"Jacob," said the farmer, finally, "I wish we could keep you until wheat harvest; but you know we are poor, and can't afford it. Perhaps you could--" \J3n[6;  
5K %  
He hesitated; but Jacob, catching at the chance and obeying his own unselfish impulse, cried: "Oh, yes, I can; I'll be satisfied with my board, till the wheat's ripe." E0Jk=cq  
Susan looked at him quickly, with a bright, speaking face. "It's hardly fair to you," said the farmer. F/I`EV  
"But I like to be here so much!" Jacob cried. "I like--all of you!" 1SYBq,[])  
"We do seem to suit," said the farmer, "like as one family. And that reminds me, we've not heard your family name yet." jZ8#86/#{  
"Flint." zu~E}  
n' \poB?  
"Jacob Flint!" exclaimed the farmer's wife, with sudden agitation. k8}*b&+{vz  
Jacob was scared and troubled. They had heard of him, he thought, and who knew what ridiculous stories? Susan noticed an anxiety on his face which she could not understand, but she unknowingly came to his relief. z8SrZ#mg  
"Why, mother," she asked, "do you know Jacob's family?" OC$Y8Ofr  
: Gp,d*M  
"No, I think not," said her mother, "only somebody of the name, long ago." b~khb!]  
His offer, however, was gratefully accepted. The bright, hot summer days came and went, but no flower of July ever opened as rapidly and richly and warmly as his chilled, retarded nature. New thoughts and instincts came with every morning's sun, and new conclusions were reached with every evening's twilight. Yet as the wheat harvest drew towards the end, he felt that he must leave the place. The month of absence had gone by, he scarce knew how. He was free to return home, and, though he might offer to bridge over the gap between wheat and oats, as he had already done between hay and wheat, he imagined the family might hesitate to accept such an offer. Moreover, this life at Susan's side was fast growing to be a pain, unless he could assure himself that it would be so forever. UADD 7d  
They were in the wheat-field, busy with the last sheaves; she raking and he binding. The farmer and younger children had gone to the barn with a load. Jacob was working silently and steadily, but when they had reached the end of a row, he stopped, wiped his wet brow, and suddenly said, "Susan, I suppose to-day finishes my work here." %A@Q%l6  
jS LNQ  
"Yes," she answered very slowly. 5r;M61  
"And yet I'm very sorry to go." -p|@Enn  
"I--we don't want you to go, if we could help it." vh8{*9+  
C^]y iR-U  
Jacob appeared to struggle with himself. He attempted to speak. "If I could--" he brought out, and then paused. "Susan, would you be glad if I came back?" Hd(|fc{2  
v%t "N  
His eyes implored her to read his meaning. No doubt she read it correctly, for her face flushed, her eyelids fell, and she barely murmured, "Yes, Jacob." JCNZtWF  
"Then I'll come!" he cried; "I'll come and help you with the oats. Don't talk of pay! Only tell me I'll be welcome! Susan, don't you believe I'll keep my word?" R[>fT}Lo  
"I do indeed," said she, looking him firmly in the face. ,Z*Fo: q  
That was all that was said at the time; but the two understood each other tolerably well. BU-+L}-48  
On the afternoon of the second day, Jacob saw again the lonely house of his father. His journey was made, yet, if any of the neighbors had seen him, they would never have believed that he had come back rich. i-oi?x<u&(  
Samuel Flint turned away to hide a peculiar smile when he saw his son; but little was said until late that evening, after Harry and Sally had left. Then he required and received an exact account of Jacob's experience during his absence. After hearing the story to the end, he said, "And so you love this Susan Meadows?" Pnq[r2#]:  
"I'd--I'd do any thing to be with her." =1 g  
"Are you afraid of her?" QCkPua9  
"No!" Jacob uttered the word so emphatically that it rang through the house. D?~`L[}I!}  
"Ah, well!" said the old man, lifting his eyes, and speaking in the air, "all the harm may be mended yet. But there must be another test." Then he was silent for some time. Xy[O  
"I have it!" he finally exclaimed. "Jacob, you must go back for the oats harvest. You must ask Susan to be your wife, and ask her parents to let you have her. But,--pay attention to my words!--you must tell her that you are a poor, hired man on this place, and that she can be engaged as housekeeper. Don't speak of me as your father, but as the owner of the farm. Bring her here in that belief, and let me see how honest and willing she is. I can easily arrange matters with Harry and Sally while you are away; and I'll only ask you to keep up the appearance of the thing for a month or so." ktX\{g!U  
"But, father,"--Jacob began. >2Z0XEe  
"Not a word! Are you not willing to do that much for the sake of having her all your life, and this farm after me? Suppose it is covered with a mortgage, if she is all you say, you two can work it off. Not a word more! It is no lie, after all, that you will tell her." Y#aL]LxZE  
"I am afraid," said Jacob, "that she could not leave her home now. She is too useful there, and the family is so poor." f\p#3IwwH  
"Tell them that both your wages, for the first year, shall go to them. It'll be my business to rake and scrape the money together somehow. Say, too, that the housekeeper's place can't be kept for her--must be filled at once. Push matters like a man, if you mean to be a complete one, and bring her here, if she carries no more with her than the clothes on her back!" Am'%tw ~  
During the following days Jacob had time to familiarize his mind with this startling proposal. He knew his father's stubborn will too well to suppose that it could be changed; but the inevitable soon converted itself into the possible and desirable. The sweet face of Susan as she had stood before him in the wheat-field was continually present to his eyes, and ere long, he began to place her, in his thoughts, in the old rooms at home, in the garden, among the thickets by the brook, and in Ann Pardon's pleasant parlor. Enough; his father's plan became his own long before the time was out. 7 /6 Zp?  
On his second journey everybody seemed to be an old acquaintance and an intimate friend. It was evening as he approached the Meadows farm, but the younger children recognized him in the dusk, and their cry of, "Oh, here's Jacob!" brought out the farmer and his wife and Susan, with the heartiest of welcomes. They had all missed him, they said--even the horses and oxen had looked for him, and they were wondering how they should get the oats harvested without him. 3\ {?L  
Jacob looked at Susan as the farmer said this, and her eyes seemed to answer, "I said nothing, but I knew you would come." Then, first, he felt sufficient courage for the task before him. R > [2*o"  
He rose the next morning, before any one was stirring, and waited until she should come down stairs. The sun had not risen when she appeared, with a milk-pail in each hand, walking unsuspectingly to the cow-yard. He waylaid her, took the pails in his hand and said in nervous haste, "Susan, will you be my wife?" u2S8D uJ  
z(u,$vZ _  
She stopped as if she had received a sudden blow; then a shy, sweet consent seemed to run through her heart. "O Jacob!" was all she could say. oE_*hp+  
Vry*=X &Q  
"But you will, Susan?" he urged; and then (neither of them exactly knew how it happened) all at once his arms were around her, and they had kissed each other. 3ZN\F  
"Susan," he said, presently, "I am a poor man--only a farm hand, and must work for my living. You could look for a better husband." ,)N/2M\B-  
=c$x xEDD  
"I could never find a better than you, Jacob." b#"&]s-  
"Would you work with me, too, at the same place?" H'7s`^- >I  
"You know I am not afraid of work," she answered, "and I could never want any other lot than yours." nT +ZSr  
Then he told her the story which his father had prompted. Her face grew bright and happy as she listened, and he saw how from her very heart she accepted the humble fortune. Only the thought of her parents threw a cloud over the new and astonishing vision. Jacob, however, grew bolder as he saw fulfilment of his hope so near. They took the pails and seated themselves beside neighbor cows, one raising objections or misgivings which the other manfully combated. Jacob's earnestness unconsciously ran into his hands, as he discovered when the impatient cow began to snort and kick. (=fLWK{8  
The harvesting of the oats was not commenced that morning. The children were sent away, and there was a council of four persons held in the parlor. The result of mutual protestations and much weeping was, that the farmer and his wife agreed to receive Jacob as a son-in-law; the offer of the wages was four times refused by them, and then accepted; and the chance of their being able to live and labor together was finally decided to be too fortunate to let slip. When the shock and surprise was over all gradually became cheerful, and, as the matter was more calmly discussed, the first conjectured difficulties somehow resolved themselves into trifles. ov H'_'  
^ <`SUBI  
It was the simplest and quietest wedding,--at home, on an August morning. Farmer Meadows then drove the bridal pair half-way on their journey, to the old country tavern, where a fresh conveyance had been engaged for them. The same evening they reached the farm- house in the valley, and Jacob's happy mood gave place to an anxious uncertainty as he remembered the period of deception upon which Susan was entering. He keenly watched his father's face when they arrived, and was a little relieved when he saw that his wife had made a good first impression. F.i}&UQ%  
T ,!CDm$=  
"So, this is my new housekeeper," said the old man. "I hope you will suit me as well as your husband does." 'jE/Tre^  
cr ]b #z  
"I'll do my best, sir," said she; "but you must have patience with me for a few days, until I know your ways and wishes." mOHOv61  
"Mr. Flint," said Sally, "shall I get supper ready?" Susan looked up in astonishment at hearing the name. "[fPzIP9  
"Yes," the old man remarked, "we both have the same name. The fact is, Jacob and I are a sort of relations." }QQl.'  
hR2 R  
Jacob, in spite of his new happiness, continued ill at ease, although he could not help seeing how his father brightened under Susan's genial influence, how satisfied he was with her quick, neat, exact ways and the cheerfulness with which she fulfilled her duties. At the end of a week, the old man counted out the wages agreed upon for both, and his delight culminated at the frank simplicity with which Susan took what she supposed she had fairly earned. \SwqBw  
iGj,B =35  
"Jacob," he whispered when she had left the room, "keep quiet one more week, and then I'll let her know." F2<Q~gQ;  
He had scarcely spoken, when Susan burst into the room again, crying, "Jacob, they are coming, they have come!" h.- o$+Sa  
"Who?" Nlc3S+$`z  
"Father and mother; and we didn't expect them, you know, for a week yet." @_;vE(!5  
All three went to the door as the visitors made their appearance on the veranda. Two of the party stood as if thunderstruck, and two exclamations came together: \!r,>P   
"Samuel Flint!" _R|8_#yM  
"Lucy Wheeler!" oi/bp#(fa  
There was a moment's silence; then the farmer's wife, with a visible effort to compose herself, said, "Lucy Meadows, now." Lb%Wz*Fa%!  
7 P$>T  
The tears came into Samuel Flint's eyes. "Let us shake hands, Lucy," he said: "my son has married your daughter." '4""Gz  
AD ,  
All but Jacob were freshly startled at these words. The two shook hands, and then Samuel, turning to Susan's father, said: "And this is your husband, Lucy. I am glad to make his acquaintance." sKvz<7pag  
"Your father, Jacob!" Susan cried; "what does it all mean?" 'D B4po.   
Jacob's face grew red, and the old habit of hanging his head nearly came back upon him. He knew not what to say, and looked wistfully at his father. $qoh0$  
"Come into the house and sit down," said the latter. "I think we shall all feel better when we have quietly and comfortably talked the matter over." 8y<NT"  
6' 9ITA  
They went into the quaint, old-fashioned parlor, which had already been transformed by Susan's care, so that much of its shabbiness was hidden. When all were seated, and Samuel Flint perceived that none of the others knew what to say, he took a resolution which, for a man of his mood and habit of life, required some courage. #cN0ciCT'  
*, /ADtL  
"Three of us here are old people," he began, "and the two young ones love each other. It was so long ago, Lucy, that it cannot be laid to my blame if I speak of it now. Your husband, I see, has an honest heart, and will not misunderstand either of us. The same thing often turns up in life; it is one of those secrets that everybody knows, and that everybody talks about except the persons concerned. When I was a young man, Lucy, I loved you truly, and I faithfully meant to make you my wife." 2"31k2H[  
< a g|#  
"I thought so too, for a while," said she, very calmly. <kQ 5sG  
Farmer Meadows looked at his wife, and no face was ever more beautiful than his, with that expression of generous pity shining through it. X<\E 'v`~  
"You know how I acted," Samuel Flint continued, "but our children must also know that I broke off from you without giving any reason. &h(>jY7b;  
A woman came between us and made all the mischief. I was considered rich then, and she wanted to secure my money for her daughter. I was an innocent and unsuspecting young man, who believed that everybody else was as good as myself; and the woman never rested until she had turned me from my first love, and fastened me for life to another. Little by little I discovered the truth; I kept the knowledge of the injury to myself; I quickly got rid of the money which had so cursed me, and brought my wife to this, the loneliest and dreariest place in the neighborhood, where I forced upon her a life of poverty. I thought it was a just revenge, but I was unjust. She really loved me: she was, if not quite without blame in the matter, ignorant of the worst that had been done (I learned all that too late), and she never complained, though the change in me slowly wore out her life. I know now that I was cruel; but at the same time I punished myself, and was innocently punishing my son. But to him there was one way to make amends. `I will help him to a wife,' I said, `who will gladly take poverty with him and for his sake.' I forced him, against his will, to say that he was a hired hand on this place, and that Susan must be content to be a hired housekeeper. Now that I know Susan, I see that this proof might have been left out; but I guess it has done no harm. The place is not so heavily mortgaged as people think, and it will be Jacob's after I am gone. And now forgive me, all of you,--Lucy first, for she has most cause; Jacob next; and Susan,--that will be easier; and you, Friend Meadows, if what I have said has been hard for you to hear." u/wWP4'$J@  
The farmer stood up like a man, took Samuel's hand and his wife's, and said, in a broken voice: "Lucy, I ask you, too, to forgive him, and I ask you both to be good friends to each other." U yb-feG  
Susan, dissolved in tears, kissed all of them in turn; but the happiest heart there was Jacob's. 00 9[`Z  
h tuYctu`  
It was now easy for him to confide to his wife the complete story of his troubles, and to find his growing self-reliance strengthened by her quick, intelligent sympathy. The Pardons were better friends than ever, and the fact, which at first created great astonishment in the neighborhood, that Jacob Flint had really gone upon a journey and brought home a handsome wife, began to change the attitude of the people towards him. The old place was no longer so lonely; the nearest neighbors began to drop in and insist on return visits. Now that Jacob kept his head up, and they got a fair view of his face, they discovered that he was not lacking, after all, in sense or social qualities. JBI>D1`"  
In October, the Whitney place, which had been leased for several years, was advertised to be sold at public sale. The owner had gone to the city and become a successful merchant, had outlived his local attachments, and now took advantage of a rise in real estate to disburden himself of a property which he could not profitably control. &5y|Q?  
Everybody from far and wide attended the sale, and, when Jacob Flint and his father arrived, everybody said to the former: "Of course you've come to buy, Jacob." But each man laughed at his own smartness, and considered the remark original with himself. sZ> 0*S  
zwJ\F '  
Jacob was no longer annoyed. He laughed, too, and answered: "I'm afraid I can't do that; but I've kept half my word, which is more than most men do." {ceY:49  
"Jake's no fool, after all," was whispered behind him. 8M,$|\U  
The bidding commenced, at first very spirited, and then gradually slacking off, as the price mounted above the means of the neighboring farmers. The chief aspirant was a stranger, a well- dressed man with a lawyer's air, whom nobody knew. After the usual long pauses and passionate exhortations, the hammer fell, and the auctioneer, turning to the stranger, asked, "What name?" h7PIF*7m e  
WH<\f |xR  
"Jacob Flint!" lt%9Zgr[u  
There was a general cry of surprise. All looked at Jacob, whose eyes and mouth showed that he was as dumbfoundered as the rest. 0NXaAf:2Z  
The stranger walked coolly through the midst of the crowd to Samuel Flint, and said, "When shall I have the papers drawn up?" ht*;,[ea  
"As soon as you can," the old man replied; then seizing Jacob by the arm, with the words, "Let's go home now!" he hurried him on. jNAboSf2Y  
The explanation soon leaked out. Samuel Flint had not thrown away his wealth, but had put it out of his own hands. It was given privately to trustees, to be held for his son, and returned when the latter should have married with his father's consent. There was more than enough to buy the Whitney place. `%=!_|  
n ZzGak  
Jacob and Susan are happy in their stately home, and good as they are happy. If any person in the neighborhood ever makes use of the phrase "Jacob Flint's Journey," he intends thereby to symbolize the good fortune which sometimes follows honesty, reticence, and shrewdness. Yu|L6#[E  

只看该作者 15楼 发表于: 2012-07-14
Tales From Home. 4r. W:}4:  
Can a Life Hide Itself? ~{+{pcO}  
!_ Q!H2il  
  I had been reading, as is my wont from time to time, one of the many volumes of "The New Pitaval," that singular record of human crime and human cunning, and also of the inevitable fatality which, in every case, leaves a gate open for detection. Were it not for the latter fact, indeed, one would turn with loathing from such endless chronicles of wickedness. Yet these may be safely contemplated, when one has discovered the incredible fatuity of crime, the certain weak mesh in a network of devilish texture; or is it rather the agency of a power outside of man, a subtile protecting principle, which allows the operation of the evil element only that the latter may finally betray itself? Whatever explanation we may choose, the fact is there, like a tonic medicine distilled from poisonous plants, to brace our faith in the ascendancy of Good in the government of the world. %20-^&zZ  
Laying aside the book, I fell into a speculation concerning the mixture of the two elements in man's nature. The life of an individual is usually, it seemed to me, a series of results, the processes leading to which are not often visible, or observed when they are so. Each act is the precipitation of a number of mixed influences, more or less unconsciously felt; the qualities of good and evil are so blended therein that they defy the keenest moral analysis; and how shall we, then, pretend to judge of any one? Perhaps the surest indication of evil (I further reflected) is that it always tries to conceal itself, and the strongest incitement to good is that evil cannot be concealed. The crime, or the vice, or even the self-acknowledged weakness, becomes a part of the individual consciousness; it cannot be forgotten or outgrown. It follows a life through all experiences and to the uttermost ends of the earth, pressing towards the light with a terrible, demoniac power. There are noteless lives, of course-- lives that accept obscurity, mechanically run their narrow round of circumstance, and are lost; but when a life endeavors to lose itself,--to hide some conscious guilt or failure,--can it succeed? Is it not thereby lifted above the level of common experience, compelling attention to itself by the very endeavor to escape it? (eG]Cp@  
I turned these questions over in my mind, without approaching, or indeed expecting, any solution,--since I knew, from habit, the labyrinths into which they would certainly lead me,--when a visitor was announced. It was one of the directors of our county almshouse, who came on an errand to which he attached no great importance. I owed the visit, apparently, to the circumstance that my home lay in his way, and he could at once relieve his conscience of a very trifling pressure and his pocket of a small package, by calling upon me. His story was told in a few words; the package was placed upon my table, and I was again left to my meditations. T:%wX9W  
\v3> Eo[  
Two or three days before, a man who had the appearance of a "tramp" had been observed by the people of a small village in the neighborhood. He stopped and looked at the houses in a vacant way, walked back and forth once or twice as if uncertain which of the cross-roads to take, and presently went on without begging or even speaking to any one. Towards sunset a farmer, on his way to the village store, found him sitting at the roadside, his head resting against a fence-post. The man's face was so worn and exhausted that the farmer kindly stopped and addressed him; but he gave no other reply than a shake of the head. *o e0=  
The farmer thereupon lifted him into his light country-wagon, the man offering no resistance, and drove to the tavern, where, his exhaustion being so evident, a glass of whiskey was administered to him. He afterwards spoke a few words in German, which no one understood. At the almshouse, to which he was transported the same evening, he refused to answer the customary questions, although he appeared to understand them. The physician was obliged to use a slight degree of force in administering nourishment and medicine, but neither was of any avail. The man died within twenty-four hours after being received. His pockets were empty, but two small leathern wallets were found under his pillow; and these formed the package which the director left in my charge. They were full of papers in a foreign language, he said, and he supposed I might be able to ascertain the stranger's name and home from them. }Cmj(k`~  
I took up the wallets, which were worn and greasy from long service, opened them, and saw that they were filled with scraps, fragments, and folded pieces of paper, nearly every one of which had been carried for a long time loose in the pocket. Some were written in pen and ink, and some in pencil, but all were equally brown, worn, and unsavory in appearance. In turning them over, however, my eye was caught by some slips in the Russian character, and three or four notes in French; the rest were German. I laid aside "Pitaval" at once, emptied all the leathern pockets carefully, and set about examining the pile of material. D,GPn%Wqi  
I first ran rapidly through the papers to ascertain the dead man's name, but it was nowhere to be found. There were half a dozen letters, written on sheets folded and addressed in the fashion which prevailed before envelopes were invented; but the name was cut out of the address in every case. There was an official permit to embark on board a Bremen steamer, mutilated in the same way; there was a card photograph, from which the face had been scratched by a penknife. There were Latin sentences; accounts of expenses; a list of New York addresses, covering eight pages; and a number of notes, written either in Warsaw or Breslau. A more incongruous collection I never saw, and I am sure that had it not been for the train of thought I was pursuing when the director called upon me, I should have returned the papers to him without troubling my head with any attempt to unravel the man's story. Z0()pT  
hapB! ~M?  
The evidence, however, that he had endeavored to hide his life, had been revealed by my first superficial examination; and here, I reflected, was a singular opportunity to test both his degree of success and my own power of constructing a coherent history out of the detached fragments. Unpromising as is the matter, said I, let me see whether he can conceal his secret from even such unpractised eyes as mine. p|FlWR'mA  
I went through the papers again, read each one rapidly, and arranged them in separate files, according to the character of their contents. Then I rearranged these latter in the order of time, so far as it was indicated; and afterwards commenced the work of picking out and threading together whatever facts might be noted. The first thing I ascertained, or rather conjectured, was that the man's life might be divided into three very distinct phases, the first ending in Breslau, the second in Poland, and the third and final one in America. Thereupon I once again rearranged the material, and attacked that which related to the first phase. wFK:Dp_^  
BKa A=Bl  
It consisted of the following papers: Three letters, in a female hand, commencing "My dear brother," and terminating with "Thy loving sister, Elise;" part of a diploma from a gymnasium, or high school, certifying that [here the name was cut out] had successfully passed his examination, and was competent to teach,--and here again, whether by accident or design, the paper was torn off; a note, apparently to a jeweller, ordering a certain gold ring to be delivered to "Otto," and signed " B. V. H.;" a receipt from the package-post for a box forwarded to Warsaw, to the address of Count Ladislas Kasincsky; and finally a washing-list, at the bottom of which was written, in pencil, in a trembling hand: "May God protect thee! But do not stay away so very long." 9 b?i G  
In the second collection, relating to Poland, I found the following: Six orders in Russian and three in French, requesting somebody to send by "Jean" sums of money, varying from two to eight hundred rubles. These orders were in the same hand, and all signed "Y." A charming letter in French, addressed "cher ami," and declining, in the most delicate and tender way, an offer of marriage made to the sister of the writer, of whose signature only "Amelie de" remained, the family name having been torn off. A few memoranda of expenses, one of which was curious: "Dinner with Jean, 58 rubles;" and immediately after it: "Doctor, 10 rubles." There were, moreover, a leaf torn out of a journal, and half of a note which had been torn down the middle, both implicating "Jean" in some way with the fortunes of the dead man. 7sj<|g<h(_  
The papers belonging to the American phase, so far as they were to be identified by dates, or by some internal evidence, were fewer, but even more enigmatical in character. The principal one was a list of addresses in New York, divided into sections, the street boundaries of which were given. There were no names, but some of the addresses were marked +, and others ?, and a few had been crossed out with a pencil. Then there were some leaves of a journal of diet and bodily symptoms, of a very singular character; three fragments of drafts of letters, in pencil, one of them commencing, "Dog and villain!" and a single note of "Began work, September 10th, 1865." This was about a year before his death. =.DTR5(_h  
]y.R g{iv  
The date of the diploma given by the gymnasium at Breslau was June 27, 1855, and the first date in Poland was May 3, 1861. Belonging to the time between these two periods there were only the order for the ring (1858), and a little memorandum in pencil, dated "Posen, Dec., 1859." The last date in Poland was March 18, 1863, and the permit to embark at Bremen was dated in October of that year. Here, at least, was a slight chronological framework. The physician who attended the county almshouse had estimated the man's age at thirty, which, supposing him to have been nineteen at the time of receiving the diploma, confirmed the dates to that extent. \WcB9  
'5AvT: ^u  
I assumed, at the start, that the name which had been so carefully cut out of all the documents was the man's own. The "Elise" of the letters was therefore his sister. The first two letters related merely to "mother's health," and similar details, from which it was impossible to extract any thing, except that the sister was in some kind of service. The second letter closed with: "I have enough work to do, but I keep well. Forget thy disappointment so far as _I_ am concerned, for I never expected any thing; I don't know why, but I never did."  +tIz[+u  
Here was a disappointment, at least, to begin with. I made a note of it opposite the date, on my blank programme, and took up the next letter. It was written in November, 1861, and contained a passage which keenly excited my curiosity. It ran thus: "Do, pray, be more careful of thy money. It may be all as thou sayest, and inevitable, but I dare not mention the thing to mother, and five thalers is all I can spare out of my own wages. As for thy other request, I have granted it, as thou seest, but it makes me a little anxious. What is the joke? And how can it serve thee? That is what I do not understand, and I have plagued myself not a little to guess." ;\x~'@  
O |WbFf  
Among the Polish memoranda was this: "Sept. 1 to Dec. 1, 200 rubles," which I assumed to represent a salary. This would give him eight hundred a year, at least twelve times the amount which his sister--who must either have been cook or housekeeper, since she spoke of going to market for the family--could have received. His application to her for money, and the manner of her reference to it, indicated some imprudence or irregularity on his part. What the "other request" was, I could not guess; but as I was turning and twisting the worn leaf in some perplexity, I made a sudden discovery. One side of the bottom edge had been very slightly doubled over in folding, and as I smoothed it out, I noticed some diminutive letters in the crease. The paper had been worn nearly through, but I made out the words: "Write very soon, dear Otto!" nP1GW6Pu  
This was the name in the order for the gold ring, signed "B. V. H."--a link, indeed, but a fresh puzzle. Knowing the stubborn prejudices of caste in Germany, and above all in Eastern Prussia and Silesia, I should have been compelled to accept "Otto," whose sister was in service, as himself the servant of "B. V. H.," but for the tenderly respectful letter of "Amelie de----," declining the marriage offer for her sister. I re-read this letter very carefully, to determine whether it was really intended for "Otto." It ran thus: L/i(KF{  
i_ QcC  
"Dear Friend,--I will not say that your letter was entirely unexpected, either to Helmine or myself. I should, perhaps, have less faith in the sincerity of your attachment if you had not already involuntarily betrayed it. When I say that although I detected the inclination of your heart some weeks ago, and that I also saw it was becoming evident to my sister, yet I refrained from mentioning the subject at all until she came to me last evening with your letter in her hand,--when I say this, you will understand that I have acted towards you with the respect and sympathy which I profoundly feel. Helmine fully shares this feeling, and her poor heart is too painfully moved to allow her to reply. Do I not say, in saying this, what her reply must be? But, though her heart cannot respond to your love, she hopes you will always believe her a friend to whom your proffered devotion was an honor, and will be--if you will subdue it to her deserts--a grateful thing to remember. We shall remain in Warsaw a fortnight longer, as I think yourself will agree that it is better we should not immediately return to the castle. Jean, who must carry a fresh order already, will bring you this, and we hope to have good news of Henri. I send back the papers, which were unnecessary; we never doubted you, and we shall of course keep your secret so long as you choose to wear it. Fm3t'^SqF  
"Amelie de----" &leK}je [  
The more light I seemed to obtain, the more inexplicable the circumstances became. The diploma and the note of salary were grounds for supposing that "Otto" occupied the position of tutor in a noble Polish family. There was the receipt for a box addressed to Count Ladislas Kasincsky, and I temporarily added his family name to the writer of the French letter, assuming her to be his wife. "Jean" appeared to be a servant, and "Henri" I set down as the son whom Otto was instructing in the castle or family seat in the country, while the parents were in warsaw. Plausible, so far; but the letter was not such a one as a countess would have written to her son's tutor, under similar circumstances. It was addressed to a social equal, apparently to a man younger than herself, and for whom--supposing him to have been a tutor, secretary, or something of the kind--she must have felt a special sympathy. Her mention of "the papers" and "your secret" must refer to circumstances which would explain the mystery. "So long as you choose to wear it," she had written: then it was certainly a secret connected with his personal history. S h4wqf  
Further, it appeared that "Jean" was sent to him with "an order." What could this be, but one of the nine orders for money which lay before my eyes? I examined the dates of the latter, and lo! there was one written upon the same day as the lady's letter. The sums drawn by these orders amounted in all to four thousand two hundred rubles. But how should a tutor or secretary be in possession of his employer's money? Still, this might be accounted for; it would imply great trust on the part of the latter, but no more than one man frequently reposes in another. Yet, if it were so, one of the memoranda confronted me with a conflicting fact: "Dinner with Jean, 58 rubles." The unusual amount--nearly fifty dollars--indicated an act of the most reckless dissipation, and in company with a servant, if "Jean," as I could scarcely doubt, acted in that character. I finally decided to assume both these conjectures as true, and apply them to the remaining testimony. PX,rWkOce  
+: Ge_-  
I first took up the leaf which had been torn out of a small journal or pocket note-book, as was manifested by the red edge on three sides. It was scribbled over with brief notes in pencil, written at different times. Many of them were merely mnemonic signs; but the recurrence of the letters J and Y seemed to point to transactions with "Jean," and the drawer of the various sums of money. The letter Y reminded me that I had been too hasty in giving the name of Kasincsky to the noble family; indeed, the name upon the post-office receipt might have no connection with the matter I was trying to investigate. g"8 .}1)~r  
Suddenly I noticed a "Ky" among the mnemonic signs, and the suspicion flashed across my mind that Count Kasincsky had signed the order with the last letter of his family name! To assume this, however, suggested a secret reason for doing so; and I began to think that I had already secrets enough on hand. arZ@3]X%a  
The leaf was much rubbed and worn, and it was not without considerable trouble that I deciphered the following (omitting the unintelligible signs): Hgc=M  
"Oct. 30 (Nov. 12)--talk with Y; 20--Jean. Consider. VrP}#3I  
"Nov. 15--with J--H--hope. &Y>zT9]$K  
"Dec. 1--Told the C. No knowledge of S--therefore safe. Uncertain of---- C to Warsaw. Met J. as agreed. Further and further. !F4;_A`X  
"Dec. 27--All for naught! All for naught! l[h'6+o  
.J.vC1 4gi  
"Jan. 19, '63--Sick. What is to be the end? Threats. No tidings of Y. Walked the streets all day. At night as usual. U@lV  
"March 1--News. The C. and H. left yesterday. No more to hope. Let it come, then!" vgG}d8MW37  
These broken words warmed my imagination powerfully. Looking at them in the light of my conjecture, I was satisfied that "Otto" was involved in some crime, or dangerous secret, of which "Jean" was either the instigator or the accomplice. "Y.," or Count Kasincsky,--and I was more than ever inclined to connect the two,-- -also had his mystery, which might, or might not, be identical with the first. By comparing dates, I found that the entry made December 27 was three days later than the date of the letter of "Amelie de----"; and the exclamation "All for naught!" certainly referred to the disappointment it contained. I now guessed the "H." in the second entry to mean "Helmine." The two last suggested a removal to Warsaw from the country. Here was a little more ground to stand on; but how should I ever get at the secret? rw u3Nb  
I took up the torn half of a note, which, after the first inspection, I had laid aside as a hopeless puzzle. A closer examination revealed several things which failed to impress me at the outset. It was written in a strong and rather awkward masculine hand; several words were underscored, two misspelled, and I felt--I scarcely knew why--that it was written in a spirit of mingled contempt and defiance. Let me give the fragment just as it lay before me: sR79 K1*j  
"Aron! ZNy9_a:dX  
It is quite time jrcc  
            be done.  Who knows Q'C 4pn@  
           is not his home by this *Ji9%IA  
         CONCERN FOR THE eoC<a"bJ>  
           that they are well off, Le_CIk 5YL  
         sian officers are ,,XS;X?  
            cide at once, my FyQOa)5  
            risau, or I must w($XEv;  
           t TEN DAYS DELAY fN~8L}!l  
           money can be divi- h}Fu"zK  
           tier, and you may Yqq$kln  
            ever you please. KyVe0>{_u  
            untess goes, and she < :S?t2C  
          will know who you aG8;,H=%,  
                  time, unless you carry ,& {5,=  
         friend or not ?PH}b?f4  
              decide, ](( >i%%~  
                 ann Helm."Here, I felt sure, was the clue to much of the mystery. The first thing that struck me was the appearance of a new name. I looked at it again, ran through in my mind all possible German names, and found that it could only be "Johann,"--and in the same instant I recalled the frequent habit of the Prussian and Polish nobility of calling their German valets by French names. This, then, was "Jean!" The address was certainly "Baron," and why thrice underscored, unless in contemptuous satire? Light began to break upon the matter at last. "Otto" had been playing the part, perhaps assuming the name, of a nobleman, seduced to the deception by his passion for the Countess' sister, Helmine. This explained the reference to "the papers," and "the secret," and would account for the respectful and sympathetic tone of the Countess' letter. But behind this there was certainly another secret, in which "Y." (whoever he might be) was concerned, and which related to money. The close of the note, which I filled out to read, "Your friend or not, as you may decide," conveyed a threat, and, to judge from the halves of lines immediately preceding it, the threat referred to the money, as well as to the betrayal of an assumed character. w1/T>o  
Here, just as the story began to appear in faint outline, my discoveries stopped for a while. I ascertained the breadth of the original note by a part of the middle-crease which remained, filled out the torn part with blank paper, completed the divided words in the same character of manuscript) and endeavored to guess the remainder, but no clairvoyant power of divination came to my aid. I turned over the letters again, remarking the neatness with which the addresses had been cut off, and wondering why the man had not destroyed the letters and other memoranda entirely, if he wished to hide a possible crime. The fact that they were not destroyed showed the hold which his past life had had upon him even to his dying hour. Weak and vain, as I had already suspected him to be,--wanting in all manly fibre, and of the very material which a keen, energetic villain would mould to his needs,--I felt that his love for his sister and for "Helmine," and other associations connected with his life in Germany and Poland, had made him cling to these worn records. Ydd>A\v\;  
I know not what gave me the suspicion that he had not even found the heart to destroy the exscinded names; perhaps the care with which they had been removed; perhaps, in two instances, the circumstance of their taking words out of the body of the letters with them. But the suspicion came, and led to a re-examination of the leathern wallets. I could scarcely believe my eyes, when feeling something rustle faintly as I pressed the thin lining of an inner pocket, I drew forth three or four small pellets of paper, and unrolling them, found the lost addresses! I fitted them to the vacant places, and found that the first letters of the sister in Breslau had been forwarded to "Otto Lindenschmidt," while the letter to Poland was addressed "Otto von Herisau." wk 7_(gT`0  
I warmed with this success, which exactly tallied with the previous discoveries, and returned again to the Polish memoranda The words "[Rus]sian officers" in "Jean's" note led me to notice that it had been written towards the close of the last insurrection in Poland-- a circumstance which I immediately coupled with some things in the note and on the leaf of the journal. "No tidings of Y" might indicate that Count Kasincsky had been concerned in the rebellion, and had fled, or been taken prisoner. Had he left a large amount of funds in the hands of the supposed Otto von Herisau, which were drawn from time to time by orders, the form of which had been previously agreed upon? Then, when he had disappeared, might it not have been the remaining funds which Jean urged Otto to divide with him, while the latter, misled and entangled in deception rather than naturally dishonest, held back from such a step? I could hardly doubt so much, and it now required but a slight effort of the imagination to complete the torn note. `ha:Gf  
?YykCJJ ~@  
The next letter of the sister was addressed to Bremen. After having established so many particulars, I found it easily intelligible. "I have done what I can," she wrote. "I put it in this letter; it is all I have. But do not ask me for money again; mother is ailing most of the time, and I have not yet dared to tell her all. I shall suffer great anxiety until I hear that the vessel has sailed. My mistress is very good; she has given me an advance on my wages, or I could not have sent thee any thing. Mother thinks thou art still in Leipzig: why didst thou stay there so long? but no difference; thy money would have gone anyhow." !Qzp!k9d  
It was nevertheless singular that Otto should be without money, so soon after the appropriation of Count Kasincsky's funds. If the "20" in the first memorandum on the leaf meant "twenty thousand rubles," as I conjectured, and but four thousand two hundred were drawn by the Count previous to his flight or imprisonment, Otto's half of the remainder would amount to nearly eight thousand rubles; and it was, therefore, not easy to account for his delay in Leipzig, and his destitute condition. a $%[!vF  
Before examining the fragments relating to the American phase of his life,--which illustrated his previous history only by occasional revelations of his moods and feelings,--I made one more effort to guess the cause of his having assumed the name of "Von Herisau." The initials signed to the order for the ring ("B. V. H.") certainly stood for the same family name; and the possession of papers belonging to one of the family was an additional evidence that Otto had either been in the service of, or was related to, some Von Herisau. Perhaps a sentence in one of the sister's letters--"Forget thy disappointment so far as _I_ am concerned, for I never expected any thing"--referred to something of the kind. On the whole, service seemed more likely than kinship; but in that case the papers must have been stolen. ulM&kw.4i  
I had endeavored, from the start, to keep my sympathies out of the investigation, lest they should lead me to misinterpret the broken evidence, and thus defeat my object. It must have been the Countess' letter, and the brief, almost stenographic, signs of anxiety and unhappiness on the leaf of the journal, that first beguiled me into a commiseration, which the simple devotion and self-sacrifice of the poor, toiling sister failed to neutralize. However, I detected the feeling at this stage of the examination, and turned to the American records, in order to get rid of it. [CX?Tt  
The principal paper was the list of addresses of which I have spoken. I looked over it in vain, to find some indication of its purpose; yet it had been carefully made out and much used. There was no name of a person upon it,--only numbers and streets, one hundred and thirty-eight in all. Finally, I took these, one by one, to ascertain if any of the houses were known to me, and found three, out of the whole number, to be the residences of persons whom I knew. One was a German gentleman, and the other two were Americans who had visited Germany. The riddle was read! During a former residence in New York, I had for a time been quite overrun by destitute Germans,--men, apparently, of some culture, who represented themselves as theological students, political refugees, or unfortunate clerks and secretaries,--soliciting assistance. I found that, when I gave to one, a dozen others came within the next fortnight; when I refused, the persecution ceased for about the same length of time. I became convinced, at last, that these persons were members of an organized society of beggars, and the result proved it; for when I made it an inviolable rule to give to no one who could not bring me an indorsement of his need by some person whom I knew, the annoyance ceased altogether. :PkZ(WZ9  
The meaning of the list of addresses was now plain. My nascent commiseration for the man was not only checked, but I was in danger of changing my role from that of culprit's counsel to that of prosecuting attorney. I]1Hi?A2  
When I took up again the fragment of the first draught of a letter commencing, "Dog and villain!" and applied it to the words "Jean" or "Johann Helm," the few lines which could be deciphered became full of meaning. "Don't think," it began, "that I have forgotten you, or the trick you played me! If I was drunk or drugged the last night, I know how it happened, for all that. I left, but I shall go back. And if you make use of "(here some words were entirely obliterated) . . . . "is true. He gave me the ring, and meant" . . . . This was all I could make out. The other papers showed only scattered memoranda, of money, or appointments, or addresses, with the exception of the diary in pencil. G11.6]?Gg  
I read the letter attentively, and at first with very little idea of its meaning. Many of the words were abbreviated, and there were some arbitrary signs. It ran over a period of about four months, terminating six weeks before the man's death. He had been wandering about the country during this period, sleeping in woods and barns, and living principally upon milk. The condition of his pulse and other physical functions was scrupulously set down, with an occasional remark of "good" or "bad." The conclusion was at last forced upon me that he had been endeavoring to commit suicide by a slow course of starvation and exposure. Either as the cause or the result of this attempt, I read, in the final notes, signs of an aberration of mind. This also explained the singular demeanor of the man when found, and his refusal to take medicine or nourishment. He had selected a long way to accomplish his purpose, but had reached the end at last. aX'g9E  
The confused material had now taken shape; the dead man, despite his will, had confessed to me his name and the chief events of his life. It now remained--looking at each event as the result of a long chain of causes--to deduce from them the elements of his individual character, and then fill up the inevitable gaps in the story from the probabilities of the operation of those elements. This was not so much a mere venture as the reader may suppose, because the two actions of the mind test each other. If they cannot, thus working towards a point and back again, actually discover what was, they may at least fix upon a very probable might have been. ^&';\O@)  
A person accustomed to detective work would have obtained my little stock of facts with much less trouble, and would, almost instinctively, have filled the blanks as he went along. Being an apprentice in such matters, I had handled the materials awkwardly. I will not here retrace my own mental zigzags between character and act, but simply repeat the story as I finally settled and accepted it. @"{'j  
Otto Lindenschmidt was the child of poor parents in or near Breslau. His father died when he was young; his mother earned a scanty subsistence as a washerwoman; his sister went into service. Being a bright, handsome boy, he attracted the attention of a Baron von Herisau, an old, childless, eccentric gentleman, who took him first as page or attendant, intending to make him a superior valet de chambre. Gradually, however, the Baron fancied that he detected in the boy a capacity for better things; his condescending feeling of protection had grown into an attachment for the handsome, amiable, grateful young fellow, and he placed him in the gymnasium at Breslau, perhaps with the idea, now, of educating him to be an intelligent companion. [*9YIjn  
The boy and his humble relatives, dazzled by this opportunity, began secretly to consider the favor as almost equivalent to his adoption as a son. (The Baron had once been married, but his wife and only child had long been dead.) The old man, of course, came to look upon the growing intelligence of the youth as his own work: vanity and affection became inextricably blended in his heart, and when the cursus was over, he took him home as the companion of his lonely life. After two or three years, during which the young man was acquiring habits of idleness and indulgence, supposing his future secure, the Baron died,--perhaps too suddenly to make full provision for him, perhaps after having kept up the appearance of wealth on a life-annuity, but, in any case, leaving very little, if any, property to Otto. In his disappointment, the latter retained certain family papers which the Baron had intrusted to his keeping. The ring was a gift, and he wore it in remembrance of his benefactor. ;-KA UgL2  
Wandering about, Micawber-like, in hopes that something might turn up, he reached Posen, and there either met or heard of the Polish Count, Ladislas Kasincsky, who was seeking a tutor for his only son. His accomplishments, and perhaps, also, a certain aristocratic grace of manner unconsciously caught from the Baron von Herisau, speedily won for him the favor of the Count and Countess Kasincsky, and emboldened him to hope for the hand of the Countess' sister, Helmine ----, to whom he was no doubt sincerely attached. Here Johann Helm, or "Jean," a confidential servant of the Count, who looked upon the new tutor as a rival, yet adroitly flattered his vanity for the purpose of misleading and displacing him, appears upon the stage. "Jean" first detected Otto's passion; "Jean," at an epicurean dinner, wormed out of Otto the secret of the Herisau documents, and perhaps suggested the part which the latter afterwards played. f._l105.  
This "Jean" seemed to me to have been the evil agency in the miserable history which followed. After Helmine's rejection of Otto's suit, and the flight or captivity of Count Kasincsky, leaving a large sum of money in Otto's hands, it would be easy for "Jean," by mingled persuasions and threats, to move the latter to flight, after dividing the money still remaining in his hands. After the theft, and the partition, which took place beyond the Polish frontier, "Jean" in turn, stole his accomplice's share, together with the Von Herisau documents. ;wJ~haC  
Exile and a year's experience of organized mendicancy did the rest. #Mh{<gk%ax  
- a y5  
Otto Lindenschmidt was one of those natures which possess no moral elasticity--which have neither the power nor the comprehension of atonement. The first real, unmitigated guilt--whether great or small--breaks them down hopelessly. He expected no chance of self- redemption, and he found none. His life in America was so utterly dark and hopeless that the brightest moment in it must have been that which showed him the approach of death. EeB ]X24  
\ p4*$  
My task was done. I had tracked this weak, vain, erring, hunted soul to its last refuge, and the knowledge bequeathed to me but a single duty. His sins were balanced by his temptations; his vanity and weakness had revenged themselves; and there only remained to tell the simple, faithful sister that her sacrifices were no longer required. I burned the evidences of guilt, despair and suicide, and sent the other papers, with a letter relating the time and circumstances of Otto Lindenschmidt's death, to the civil authorities of Breslau, requesting that they might be placed in the hands of his sister Elise. *#y;8  
This, I supposed, was the end of the history, so far as my connection with it was concerned. But one cannot track a secret with impunity; the fatality connected with the act and the actor clings even to the knowledge of the act. I had opened my door a little, in order to look out upon the life of another, but in doing so a ghost had entered in, and was not to be dislodged until I had done its service. ifK%6o6  
Q;u SWt<{  
In the summer of 1867 I was in Germany, and during a brief journey of idlesse and enjoyment came to the lovely little watering-place of Liebenstein, on the southern slope of the Thuringian Forest. I had no expectation or even desire of making new acquaintances among the gay company who took their afternoon coffee under the noble linden trees on the terrace; but, within the first hour of my after-dinner leisure, I was greeted by an old friend, an author, from Coburg, and carried away, in my own despite, to a group of his associates. My friend and his friends had already been at the place a fortnight, and knew the very tint and texture of its gossip. While I sipped my coffee, I listened to them with one ear, and to Wagner's overture to "Lohengrin" with the other; and I should soon have been wholly occupied with the fine orchestra had I not been caught and startled by an unexpected name. x3p ND  
"Have you noticed," some one asked, "how much attention the Baron von Herisau is paying her?" `qVjwJ!+  
I whirled round and exclaimed, in a breath, "The Baron von Herisau!" me6OPc;:!  
"Yes," said my friend; "do you know him?" 7XKY]|S,'  
I was glad that three crashing, tremendous chords came from the orchestra just then, giving me time to collect myself before I replied: "I am not sure whether it is the same person: I knew a Baron von Herisau long ago: how old is the gentleman here?" w =. Fj  
"About thirty-five, I should think," my friend answered. @6l%,N<fou  
"Ah, then it can't be the same person," said I: "still, if he should happen to pass near us, will you point him out to me?" !9xp cQ>  
It was an hour later, and we were all hotly discussing the question of Lessing's obligations to English literature, when one of the gentlemen at the table said: "There goes the Baron von Herisau: is it perhaps your friend, sir?" 'Y]mOD^ p  
I turned and saw a tall man, with prominent nose, opaque black eyes, and black mustache, walking beside a pretty, insipid girl. Behind the pair went an elderly couple, overdressed and snobbish in appearance. A carriage, with servants in livery, waited in the open space below the terrace, and having received the two couples, whirled swiftly away towards Altenstein. zD<or&6  
Had I been more of a philosopher I should have wasted no second thought on the Baron von Herisau. But the Nemesis of the knowledge which I had throttled poor Otto Lindenschmidt's ghost to obtain had come upon me at last, and there was no rest for me until I had discovered who and what was the Baron. The list of guests which the landlord gave me whetted my curiosity to a painful degree; for on it I found the entry: "Aug. 15.--Otto V. Herisau, Rentier, East Prussia." G8;w{-{m  
It was quite dark when the carriage returned. I watched the company into the supper-room, and then, whisking in behind them, secured a place at the nearest table. I had an hour of quiet, stealthy observation before my Coburg friend discovered me, and by that time I was glad of his company and had need of his confidence. But, before making use of him in the second capacity, I desired to make the acquaintance of the adjoining partie carree. He had bowed to them familiarly in passing, and when the old gentleman said, "Will you not join us, Herr ----?" I answered my friend's interrogative glance with a decided affirmative, and we moved to the other table. B4mR9HMh  
?G -e](]^<  
My seat was beside the Baron von Herisau, with whom I exchanged the usual commonplaces after an introduction. His manner was cold and taciturn, I thought, and there was something forced in the smile which accompanied his replies to the remarks of the coarse old lady, who continually referred to the "Herr Baron" as authority upon every possible subject. I noticed, however, that he cast a sudden, sharp glance at me, when I was presented to the company as an American. P`e!Z:  
The man's neighborhood disturbed me. I was obliged to let the conversation run in the channels already selected, and stupid enough I found them. I was considering whether I should not give a signal to my friend and withdraw, when the Baron stretched his hand across the table for a bottle of Affenthaler, and I caught sight of a massive gold ring on his middle finger. Instantly I remembered the ring which "B. V. H." had given to Otto Lindenschmidt, and I said to myself, "That is it!" The inference followed like lightning that it was "Johann Helm" who sat beside me, and not a Baron von Herisau! n2I V2^ "  
That evening my friend and I had a long, absorbing conversation in my room. I told him the whole story, which came back vividly to memory, and learned, in return, that the reputed Baron was supposed to be wealthy, that the old gentleman was a Bremen merchant or banker, known to be rich, that neither was considered by those who had met them to be particularly intelligent or refined, and that the wooing of the daughter had already become so marked as to be a general subject of gossip. My friend was inclined to think my conjecture correct, and willingly co-operated with me in a plan to test the matter. We had no considerable sympathy with the snobbish parents, whose servility to a title was so apparent; but the daughter seemed to be an innocent and amiable creature, however silly, and we determined to spare her the shame of an open scandal. q]\g,a  
If our scheme should seem a little melodramatic, it must not be forgotten that my friend was an author. The next morning, as the Baron came up the terrace after his visit to the spring, I stepped forward and greeted him politely, after which I said: "I see by the strangers' list that you are from East Prussia, Baron; have you ever been in Poland?" At that moment, a voice behind him called out rather sharply, "Jean!" The Baron started, turned round and then back to me, and all his art could not prevent the blood from rushing to his face. I made, as if by accident, a gesture with my hand, indicating success, and went a step further. Ii:>xuF&  
hbc uK&  
"Because," said I, "I am thinking of making a visit to Cracow and Warsaw, and should be glad of any information--" .WQ+AE8Q  
s-ZI ^I2\  
"Certainly!" he interrupted me, "and I should be very glad to give it, if I had ever visited Poland." [+Y{%U  
"At least," I continued, "you can advise me upon one point; but excuse me, shall we not sit down a moment yonder? As my question relates to money, I should not wish to be overheard." .4l/_4,s_  
8I,QD` xu  
I pointed out a retired spot, just before reaching which we were joined by my friend, who suddenly stepped out from behind a clump of lilacs. The Baron and he saluted each other. nIfCF,6,  
"Now," said I to the former, "I can ask your advice, Mr. Johann Helm!" hF&}lPVtv  
He was not an adept, after all. His astonishment and confusion were brief, to be sure, but they betrayed him so completely that his after-impulse to assume a haughty, offensive air only made us smile. v@u<Ww;=@  
qSiWnN8D t  
"If I had a message to you from Otto Lindenschmidt, what then?" I asked. %cW;}Y[?P  
He turned pale, and presently stammered out, "He--he is dead!" JE)J<9gf  
K^ 6+Ily  
"Now," said my friend, "it is quite time to drop the mask before us. You see we know you, and we know your history. Not from Otto Lindenschmidt alone; Count Ladislas Kasincsky--" *8206[y  
"What! Has he come back from Siberia?" exclaimed Johann Helm. His face expressed abject terror; I think he would have fallen upon his knees before us if he had not somehow felt, by a rascal's instinct, that we had no personal wrongs to redress in unmasking him. K#;txzi  
Our object, however, was to ascertain through him the complete facts of Otto Lindenschmidt's history, and then to banish him from Liebenstein. We allowed him to suppose for awhile that we were acting under the authority of persons concerned, in order to make the best possible use of his demoralized mood, for we knew it would not last long. tPzM7 n|  
My guesses were very nearly correct. Otto Lindenschmidt had been educated by an old Baron, Bernhard von Herisau, on account of his resemblance in person to a dead son, whose name had also been Otto. tb:    
!W 0P `i<  
He could not have adopted the plebeian youth, at least to the extent of giving him an old and haughty name, but this the latter nevertheless expected, up to the time of the Baron's death. He had inherited a little property from his benefactor, but soon ran through it. "He was a light-headed fellow," said Johann Helm, "but he knew how to get the confidence of the old Junkers. If he hadn't been so cowardly and fidgety, he might have made himself a career." zUNH8=U  
The Polish episode differed so little from my interpretation that I need not repeat Helm's version. He denied having stolen Otto's share of the money, but could not help admitting his possession of the Von Herisau papers, among which were the certificates of birth and baptism of the old Baron's son, Otto. It seems that he had been fearful of Lindenschmidt's return from America, for he managed to communicate with his sister in Breslau, and in this way learned the former's death. Not until then had he dared to assume his present disguise. |= tJ|  
We let him go, after exacting a solemn pledge that he would betake himself at once to Hamburg, and there ship for Australia. (I judged that America was already amply supplied with individuals of his class.) The sudden departure of the Baron von Herisau was a two days' wonder at Liebenstein; but besides ourselves, only the Bremen banker knew the secret. He also left, two days afterwards, with his wife and daughter--their cases, it was reported, requiring Kissingen. N$N;Sw  
}2-[Ki yv  
Otto Lindenschmidt's life, therefore, could not hide itself. Can any life? <Cf7E  
2 ||KP|5@  

只看该作者 16楼 发表于: 2012-07-14
Tales From Home. 4 0eNgm^  
Twin-Love i=+ "[h^  
  When John Vincent, after waiting twelve years, married Phebe Etheridge, the whole neighborhood experienced that sense of relief and satisfaction which follows the triumph of the right. Not that the fact of a true love is ever generally recognized and respected when it is first discovered; for there is a perverse quality in American human nature which will not accept the existence of any fine, unselfish passion, until it has been tested and established beyond peradventure. There were two views of the case when John Vincent's love for Phebe, and old Reuben Etheridge's hard prohibition of the match, first became known to the community. The girls and boys, and some of the matrons, ranged themselves at once on the side of the lovers, but a large majority of the older men and a few of the younger supported the tyrannical father. Gg/K  
Reuben Etheridge was rich, and, in addition to what his daughter would naturally inherit from him, she already possessed more than her lover, at the time of their betrothal. This in the eyes of one class was a sufficient reason for the father's hostility. When low natures live (as they almost invariably do) wholly in the present, they neither take tenderness from the past nor warning from the possibilities of the future. It is the exceptional men and women who remember their youth. So, these lovers received a nearly equal amount of sympathy and condemnation; and only slowly, partly through their quiet fidelity and patience, and partly through the improvement in John Vincent's worldly circumstances, was the balance changed. Old Reuben remained an unflinching despot to the last: if any relenting softness touched his heart, he sternly concealed it; and such inference as could be drawn from the fact that he, certainly knowing what would follow his death, bequeathed his daughter her proper share of his goods, was all that could be taken for consent. P9gIKOOx#4  
8|gwH2 st~  
They were married: John, a grave man in middle age, weather-beaten and worn by years of hard work and self-denial, yet not beyond the restoration of a milder second youth; and Phebe a sad, weary woman, whose warmth of longing had been exhausted, from whom youth and its uncalculating surrenders of hope and feeling had gone forever. They began their wedded life under the shadow of the death out of which it grew; and when, after a ceremony in which neither bridesmaid nor groomsman stood by their side, they united their divided homes, it seemed to their neighbors that a separated husband and wife had come together again, not that the relation was new to either. .z+ [3Oj_E  
John Vincent loved his wife with the tenderness of an innocent man, but all his tenderness could not avail to lift the weight of settled melancholy which had gathered upon her. Disappointment, waiting, yearning, indulgence in long lament and self-pity, the morbid cultivation of unhappy fancies--all this had wrought its work upon her, and it was too late to effect a cure. In the night she awoke to weep at his side, because of the years when she had awakened to weep alone; by day she kept up her old habit of foreboding, although the evening steadily refuted the morning; and there were times when, without any apparent cause, she would fall into a dark, despairing mood which her husband's greatest care and cunning could only slowly dispel. p@0Va  
Two or three years passed, and new life came to the Vincent farm. One day, between midnight and dawn, the family pair was doubled; the cry of twin sons was heard in the hushed house. The father restrained his happy wonder in his concern for the imperilled life of the mother; he guessed that she had anticipated death, and she now hung by a thread so slight that her simple will might snap it. But her will, fortunately, was as faint as her consciousness; she gradually drifted out of danger, taking her returning strength with a passive acquiescence rather than with joy. She was hardly paler than her wont, but the lurking shadow seemed to have vanished from her eyes, and John Vincent felt that her features had assumed a new expression, the faintly perceptible stamp of some spiritual change. t*KgCk1  
It was a happy day for him when, propped against his breast and gently held by his warm, strong arm, the twin boys were first brought to be laid upon her lap. Two staring, dark-faced creatures, with restless fists and feet, they were alike in every least feature of their grotesque animality. Phebe placed a hand under the head of each, and looked at them for a long time in silence. /N=;3yWF  
"Why is this?" she said, at last, taking hold of a narrow pink ribbon, which was tied around the wrist of one. &[#iM0;)W0  
"He's the oldest, sure," the nurse answered. "Only by fifteen minutes or so, but it generally makes a difference when twins come to be named; and you may see with your own eyes that there's no telling of 'em apart otherways." V(#z{!  
"Take off the ribbon, then," said Phebe quietly; "_I_ know them." N3U.62  
"Why, ma'am, it's always done, where they're so like! And I'll never be able to tell which is which; for they sleep and wake and feed by the same clock. And you might mistake, after all, in giving 'em names--" ==XO:P  
"There is no oldest or youngest, John; they are two and yet one: this is mine, and this is yours." 0*{ 2^\  
"I see no difference at all, Phebe," said John; "and how can we divide them?" K Ml>~r  
~M Mv+d88  
"We will not divide," she answered; "I only meant it as a sign." J<h! H  
She smiled, for the first time in many days. He was glad of heart, but did not understand her. "What shall we call them?" he asked. "Elias and Reuben, after our fathers?" F|bg2)|du8  
"No, John; their names must be David and Jonathan." !t!'  
And so they were called. And they grew, not less, but more alike, in passing through the stages of babyhood. The ribbon of the older one had been removed, and the nurse would have been distracted, but for Phebe's almost miraculous instinct. The former comforted herself with the hope that teething would bring a variation to the two identical mouths; but no! they teethed as one child. John, after desperate attempts, which always failed in spite of the headaches they gave him, postponed the idea of distinguishing one from the other, until they should be old enough to develop some dissimilarity of speech, or gait, or habit. All trouble might have been avoided, had Phebe consented to the least variation in their dresses; but herein she was mildly immovable. YJB/*SV^  
"Not yet," was her set reply to her husband; and one day, when he manifested a little annoyance at her persistence, she turned to him, holding a child on each knee, and said with a gravity which silenced him thenceforth: "John, can you not see that our burden has passed into them? Is there no meaning in this--that two children who are one in body and face and nature, should be given to us at our time of life, after such long disappointment and trouble? Our lives were held apart; theirs were united before they were born, and I dare not turn them in different directions. Perhaps I do not know all that the Lord intended to say to us, in sending them; but His hand is here!" qJK-HF:#  
"I was only thinking of their good," John meekly answered. "If they are spared to grow up, there must be some way of knowing one from the other." w"AO~LF  
"They will not need it, and I, too, think only of them. They have taken the cross from my heart, and I will lay none on theirs. I am reconciled to my life through them, John; you have been very patient and good with me, and I will yield to you in all things but in this. I do not think I shall live to see them as men grown; yet, while we are together, I feel clearly what it is right to do. Can you not, just once, have a little faith without knowledge, John?" O>>%lr|  
"I'll try, Phebe," he said. "Any way, I'll grant that the boys belong to you more than to me." D]hwG0Chd  
Phebe Vincent's character had verily changed. Her attacks of semi- hysterical despondency never returned; her gloomy prophecies ceased. She was still grave, and the trouble of so many years never wholly vanished from her face; but she performed every duty of her life with at least a quiet willingness, and her home became the abode of peace; for passive content wears longer than demonstrative happiness. [TX5O\g![  
aDVBi: _  
David and Jonathan grew as one boy: the taste and temper of one was repeated in the other, even as the voice and features. Sleeping or waking, grieved or joyous, well or ill, they lived a single life, and it seemed so natural for one to answer to the other's name, that they probably would have themselves confused their own identities, but for their mother's unerring knowledge. Perhaps unconsciously guided by her, perhaps through the voluntary action of their own natures, each quietly took the other's place when called upon, even to the sharing of praise or blame at school, the friendships and quarrels of the playground. They were healthy and happy lads, and John Vincent was accustomed to say to his neighbors, "They're no more trouble than one would be; and yet they're four hands instead of two." b%D}mxbS  
Phebe died when they were fourteen, saying to them, with almost her latest breath, "Be one, always!" Before her husband could decide whether to change her plan of domestic education, they were passing out of boyhood, changing in voice, stature, and character with a continued likeness which bewildered and almost terrified him. He procured garments of different colors, but they were accustomed to wear each article in common, and the result was only a mixture of tints for both. They were sent to different schools, to be returned the next day, equally pale, suffering, and incapable of study. Whatever device was employed, they evaded it by a mutual instinct which rendered all external measures unavailing. To John Vincent's mind their resemblance was an accidental misfortune, which had been confirmed through their mother's fancy. He felt that they were bound by some deep, mysterious tie, which, inasmuch as it might interfere with all practical aspects of life, ought to be gradually weakened. Two bodies, to him, implied two distinct men, and it was wrong to permit a mutual dependence which prevented either from exercising his own separate will and judgment. @G:aW\Z  
P *zOt]T  
But, while he was planning and pondering, the boys became young men, and he was an old man. Old, and prematurely broken; for he had worked much, borne much, and his large frame held only a moderate measure of vital force. A great weariness fell upon him, and his powers began to give way, at first slowly, but then with accelerated failure. He saw the end coming, long before his sons suspected it; his doubt, for their sakes, was the only thing which made it unwelcome. It was "upon his mind" (as his Quaker neighbors would say) to speak to them of the future, and at last the proper moment came. y:+4-1  
It was a stormy November evening. Wind and rain whirled and drove among the trees outside, but the sitting-room of the old farm-house was bright and warm. David and Jonathan, at the table, with their arms over each other's backs and their brown locks mixed together, read from the same book: their father sat in the ancient rocking- chair before the fire, with his feet upon a stool. The housekeeper and hired man had gone to bed, and all was still in the house. ygn]f*;?kw  
John waited until he heard the volume closed, and then spoke. jj$D6f/mOG  
"Boys," he said, "let me have a bit of talk with you. I don't seem to get over my ailments rightly,--never will, maybe. A man must think of things while there's time, and say them when they have to be said. I don't know as there's any particular hurry in my case; only, we never can tell, from one day to another. When I die, every thing will belong to you two, share and share alike, either to buy another farm with the money out, or divide this: I won't tie you up in any way. But two of you will need two farms for two families; for you won't have to wait twelve years, like your mother and me." MJDW-KL-  
$ 9%UAqk9  
"We don't want another farm, father!" said David and Jonathan together. r]<?,xx [  
"I know you don't think so, now. A wife seemed far enough off from me when I was your age. You've always been satisfied to be with each other, but that can't last. It was partly your mother's notion; I remember her saying that our burden had passed into you. I never quite understood what she meant, but I suppose it must rather be the opposite of what we had to bear." Hph$Z 1{  
The twins listened with breathless attention while their father, suddenly stirred by the past, told them the story of his long betrothal. Fsi;[be$A  
"And now," he exclaimed, in conclusion, "it may be putting wild ideas into your two heads, but I must say it! That was where I did wrong--wrong to her and to me,--in waiting! I had no right to spoil the best of our lives; I ought to have gone boldly, in broad day, to her father's house, taken her by the hand, and led her forth to be my wife. Boys, if either of you comes to love a woman truly, and she to love you, and there is no reason why God (I don't say man) should put you asunder, do as I ought to have done, not as I did! And, maybe, this advice is the best legacy I can leave you." P`TJqJiY~  
"But, father," said David, speaking for both, "we have never thought of marrying." @*^%^ P  
7 (pl HW|  
"Likely enough," their father answered; "we hardly ever think of what surely comes. But to me, looking back, it's plain. And this is the reason why I want you to make me a promise, and as solemn as if I was on my death-bed. Maybe I shall be, soon." 'j 'G4P_G  
Tears gathered in the eyes of the twins. "What is it, father?" they both said. \%Lj !\  
"Nothing at all to any other two boys, but I don't know how you'll take it. What if I was to ask you to live apart for a while?" LX{mr{  
"Oh father!" both cried. They leaned together, cheek pressing cheek, and hand clasping hand, growing white and trembling. John Vincent, gazing into the fire, did not see their faces, or his purpose might have been shaken. 'tJxADK  
"I don't say now," he went on. "After a while, when--well, when I'm dead. And I only mean a beginning, to help you toward what has to be. Only a month; I don't want to seem hard to you; but that's little, in all conscience. Give me your word: say, `For mother's sake!'" W4"1H0s`l  
r=#v@]z B  
There was a long pause. Then David and Jonathan said, in low, faltering voices, "For mother's sake, I promise." M$e$%kPShE  
"Remember that you were only boys to her. She might have made all this seem easier, for women have reasons for things no man can answer. Mind, within a year after I'm gone!" EGj zjuJu{  
He rose and tottered out of the room. MJ.Kor  
The twins looked at each other: David said, "Must we?" and Jonathan, "How can we?" Then they both thought, "It may be a long while yet." Here was a present comfort, and each seemed to hold it firmly in holding the hand of the other, as they fell asleep side by side. CxVrnb[`q  
The trial was nearer than they imagined. Their father died before the winter was over; the farm and other property was theirs, and they might have allowed life to solve its mysteries as it rolled onwards, but for their promise to the dead. This must be fulfilled, and then--one thing was certain; they would never again separate. sB`zk[ R;  
"The sooner the better," said David. "It shall be the visit to our uncle and cousins in Indiana. You will come with me as far as Harrisburg; it may be easier to part there than here. And our new neighbors, the Bradleys, will want your help for a day or two, after getting home." gNzamorv[  
V .VV:`S  
"It is less than death," Jonathan answered, "and why should it seem to be more? We must think of father and mother, and all those twelve years; now I know what the burden was." :i:M7}r  
"And we have never really borne any part of it! Father must have been right in forcing us to promise." T.p:`}Ma  
dLn Md0  
Every day the discussion was resumed, and always with the same termination. Familiarity with the inevitable step gave them increase of courage; yet, when the moment had come and gone, when, speeding on opposite trains, the hills and valleys multiplied between them with terrible velocity, a pang like death cut to the heart of each, and the divided life became a chill, oppressive dream. a yQB@2%  
During the separation no letters passed between them. When the neighbors asked Jonathan for news of his brother, he always replied, "He is well," and avoided further speech with such evidence of pain that they spared him. An hour before the month drew to an end, he walked forth alone, taking the road to the nearest railway station. A stranger who passed him at the entrance of a thick wood, three miles from home, was thunderstruck on meeting the same person shortly after, entering the wood from the other side; but the farmers in the near fields saw two figures issuing from the shade, hand in hand. TE.O@:7Z  
Each knew the other's month, before they slept, and the last thing Jonathan said, with his head on David's shoulder, was, "You must know our neighbors, the Bradleys, and especially Ruth." In the morning, as they dressed, taking each other's garments at random, as of old, Jonathan again said, "I have never seen a girl that I like so well as Ruth Bradley. Do you remember what father said about loving and marrying? It comes into my mind whenever I see Ruth; but she has no sister." [;F%6MPK^  
"But we need not both marry," David replied, "that might part us, and this will not. It is for always now." VoOh$&"M  
"For always, David." oV)#s!  
Two or three days later Jonathan said, as he started on an errand to the village: "I shall stop at the Bradleys this evening, so you must walk across and meet me there." Oy,7>vWQI  
When David approached the house, a slender, girlish figure, with her back towards him, was stooping over a bush of great crimson roses, cautiously clipping a blossom here and there. At the click of the gate-latch she started and turned towards him. Her light gingham bonnet, falling back, disclosed a long oval face, fair and delicate, sweet brown eyes, and brown hair laid smoothly over the temples. A soft flush rose suddenly to her cheeks, and he felt that his own were burning. T J!d 7  
?;bsg 9  
"Oh Jonathan!" she exclaimed, transferring the roses to her left hand, and extending her right, as she came forward. R7 WGc[  
a(s% 3"*Q  
He was too accustomed to the name to recognize her mistake at once, and the word "Ruth!" came naturally to his lips. [b?[LK}.  
? kBX:(g  
"I should know your brother David has come," she then said; "even if I had not heard so. You look so bright. How glad I am!" tm#[.  
'#ow 9w+^  
"Is he not here?" David asked. rIRkXO)  
"No; but there he is now, surely!" She turned towards the lane, where Jonathan was dismounting. "Why, it is yourself over again, Jonathan!" I>n2# -8  
As they approached, a glance passed between the twins, and a secret transfer of the riding-whip to David set their identity right with Ruth, whose manner toward the latter innocently became shy with all its friendliness, while her frank, familiar speech was given to Jonathan, as was fitting. But David also took the latter to himself, and when they left, Ruth had apparently forgotten that there was any difference in the length of their acquaintance. jdW#; ]7+y  
On their way homewards David said: "Father was right. We must marry, like others, and Ruth is the wife for us,--I mean for you, Jonathan. Yes, we must learn to say mine and yours, after all, when we speak of her." dd|/I1  
"Even she cannot separate us, it seems," Jonathan answered. "We must give her some sign, and that will also be a sign for others. It will seem strange to divide ourselves; we can never learn it properly; rather let us not think of marriage." \/ 8 V|E  
7 *#pv}Y  
"We cannot help thinking of it; she stands in mother's place now, as we in father's." L>qLl_.  
@I '_  
Then both became silent and thoughtful. They felt that something threatened to disturb what seemed to be the only possible life for them, yet were unable to distinguish its features, and therefore powerless to resist it. The same instinct which had been born of their wonderful spiritual likeness told them that Ruth Bradley already loved Jonathan: the duty was established, and they must conform their lives to it. There was, however, this slight difference between their natures--that David was generally the first to utter the thought which came to the minds of both. So when he said, "We shall learn what to do when the need comes," it was a postponement of all foreboding. They drifted contentedly towards the coming change. 'RlPj 0Cg  
The days went by, and their visits to Ruth Bradley were continued. Sometimes Jonathan went alone, but they were usually together, and the tie which united the three became dearer and sweeter as it was more closely drawn. Ruth learned to distinguish between the two when they were before her: at least she said so, and they were willing to believe it. But she was hardly aware how nearly alike was the happy warmth in her bosom produced by either pair of dark gray eyes and the soft half-smile which played around either mouth. To them she seemed to be drawn within the mystic circle which separated them from others--she, alone; and they no longer imagined a life in which she should not share. McgTTM;E  
4ey m$UWw  
Then the inevitable step was taken. Jonathan declared his love, and was answered. Alas! he almost forgot David that late summer evening, as they sat in the moonlight, and over and over again assured each other how dear they had grown. He felt the trouble in David's heart when they met. M1^?_;B  
"Ruth is ours, and I bring her kiss to you," he said, pressing his lips to David's; but the arms flung around him trembled, and David whispered, "Now the change begins." 7q<2k_3<  
=  *7K_M&  
"Oh, this cannot be our burden!" Jonathan cried, with all the rapture still warm in his heart. 9MQ!5Zn  
"If it is, it will be light, or heavy, or none at all, as we shall bear it," David answered, with a smile of infinite tenderness. #-5.G>8  
For several days he allowed Jonathan to visit the Bradley farm alone, saying that it must be so on Ruth's account. Her love, he declared, must give her the fine instinct which only their mother had ever possessed, and he must allow it time to be confirmed. Jonathan, however, insisted that Ruth already possessed it; that she was beginning to wonder at his absence, and to fear that she would not be entirely welcome to the home which must always be equally his. yW3!V-iA  
David yielded at once. {&u`d.Lk2p  
"You must go alone," said Jonathan, "to satisfy yourself that she knows us at last." 0&21'K)pW  
Ruth came forth from the house as he drew near. Her face beamed; she laid her hands upon his shoulders and kissed him. "Now you cannot doubt me, Ruth!" he said, gently. TBU.%3dEyI  
"Doubt you, Jonathan!" she exclaimed with a fond reproach in her eyes. "But you look troubled; is any thing the matter?" Q<UKR|6  
"I was thinking of my brother," said David, in a low tone. RxrUnMF  
"Tell me what it is," she said, drawing him into the little arbor of woodbine near the gate. They took seats side by side on the rustic bench. "He thinks I may come between you: is it not that?" she asked. Only one thing was clear to David's mind--that she would surely speak more frankly and freely of him to the supposed Jonathan than to his real self. This once he would permit the illusion. =S|^pN  
Df L>fk  
"Not more than must be," he answered. "He knew all from the very beginning. But we have been like one person in two bodies, and any change seems to divide us." 6"UL+$k  
"I feel as you do," said Ruth. "I would never consent to be your wife, if I could really divide you. I love you both too well for that." 6$JRV  
"Do you love me?" he asked, entirely forgetting his representative part. I2!0,1Q  
Again the reproachful look, which faded away as she met his eyes. She fell upon his breast, and gave him kisses which were answered with equal tenderness. Suddenly he covered his face with his hands, and burst into a passion of tears. 27vLI~  
"Jonathan! Oh Jonathan!" she cried, weeping with alarm and sympathetic pain. EjB<`yT  
Y}"|J ~  
It was long before he could speak; but at last, turning away his head, he faltered, "I am David!" 5JI+42S \  
sEdWBT 8  
There was a long silence. Q-}oe Q  
When he looked up she was sitting with her hands rigidly clasped in her lap: her face was very pale. $z@e19gT  
"There it is, Ruth," he said; "we are one heart and one soul. Could he love, and not I? You cannot decide between us, for one is the other. If I had known you first, Jonathan would be now in my place. What follows, then?" [mWo&Ph[-  
"No marriage," she whispered. 7* `ldao~  
"No!" he answered; "we brothers must learn to be two men instead of one. You will partly take my place with Jonathan; I must live with half my life, unless I can find, somewhere in the world, your other half." 0IA '8_K  
"I cannot part you, David!" >2C;5ba  
"Something stronger than you or me parts us, Ruth. If it were death, we should bow to God's will: well, it can no more be got away from than death or judgment. Say no more: the pattern of all this was drawn long before we were born, and we cannot do any thing but work it out." |mM7P^I  
He rose and stood before her. "Remember this, Ruth," he said; "it is no blame in us to love each other. Jonathan will see the truth in my face when we meet, and I speak for him also. You will not see me again until your wedding-day, and then no more afterwards-- but, yes! Once, in some far-off time, when you shall know me to be David, and still give me the kiss you gave to-day." n/ 8fv~zU  
"Ah, after death!" she thought: "I have parted them forever." She was about to rise, but fell upon the seat again, fainting. At the same moment Jonathan appeared at David's side. 7oWv'  
 z/ i3  
No word was said. They bore her forth and supported her between them until the fresh breeze had restored her to consciousness. Her first glance rested on the brother's hands, clasping; then, looking from one to the other, she saw that the cheeks of both were wet. (0][hdI~B  
"Now, leave me," she said, "but come to-morrow, Jonathan!" Even then she turned from one to the other, with a painful, touching uncertainty, and stretched out both hands to them in farewell. EmH{G  
How that poor twin heart struggled with itself is only known to God. All human voices, and as they believed, also the Divine Voice, commanded the division of their interwoven life. Submission would have seemed easier, could they have taken up equal and similar burdens; but David was unable to deny that his pack was overweighted. For the first time, their thoughts began to diverge. XJQ[aU"[]N  
At last David said: "For mother's sake, Jonathan, as we promised. She always called you her child. And for Ruth's sake, and father's last advice: they all tell me what I must do." J|I|3h<T  
:Ct} ||9/  
It was like the struggle between will and desire, in the same nature, and none the less fierce or prolonged because the softer quality foresaw its ultimate surrender. Long after he felt the step to be inevitable, Jonathan sought to postpone it, but he was borne by all combined influences nearer and nearer to the time. ?$o8=h  
TM"i9a? ;  
And now the wedding-day came. David was to leave home the same evening, after the family dinner under his father's roof. In the morning he said to Jonathan: "I shall not write until I feel that I have become other than now, but I shall always be here, in you, as you will be in me, everywhere. Whenever you want me, I shall know it; and I think I shall know when to return." tw.%'oJ7  
The hearts of all the people went out towards them as they stood together in the little village church. Both were calm, but very pale and abstracted in their expression, yet their marvellous likeness was still unchanged. Ruth's eyes were cast down so they could not be seen; she trembled visibly, and her voice was scarcely audible when she spoke the vow. It was only known in the neighborhood that David was going to make another journey. The truth could hardly have been guessed by persons whose ideas follow the narrow round of their own experiences; had it been, there would probably have been more condemnation than sympathy. But in a vague way the presence of some deeper element was felt--the falling of a shadow, although the outstretched wing was unseen. Far above them, and above the shadow, watched the Infinite Pity, which was not denied to three hearts that day. 2O4U ytN  
It was a long time, more than a year, and Ruth was lulling her first child on her bosom, before a letter came from David. He had wandered westwards, purchased some lands on the outer line of settlement, and appeared to be leading a wild and lonely life. "I know now," he wrote, "just how much there is to bear, and how to bear it. Strange men come between us, but you are not far off when I am alone on these plains. There is a place where I can always meet you, and I know that you have found it,--under the big ash- tree by the barn. I think I am nearly always there about sundown, and on moonshiny nights, because we are then nearest together; and I never sleep without leaving you half my blanket. When I first begin to wake I always feel your breath, so we are never really parted for long. I do not know that I can change much; it is not easy; it is like making up your mind to have different colored eyes and hair, and I can only get sunburnt and wear a full beard. But we are hardly as unhappy as we feared to be; mother came the other night, in a dream, and took us on her knees. Oh, come to me, Jonathan, but for one day! No, you will not find me; I am going across the Plains!" "IB)=Hc  
And Jonathan and Ruth? They loved each other tenderly; no external trouble visited them; their home was peaceful and pure; and yet, every room and stairway and chair was haunted by a sorrowful ghost. As a neighbor said after visiting them, "There seemed to be something lost." Ruth saw how constantly and how unconsciously Jonathan turned to see his own every feeling reflected in the missing eyes; how his hand sought another, even while its fellow pressed hers; how half-spoken words, day and night, died upon his lips, because they could not reach the twin-ear. She knew not how it came, but her own nature took upon itself the same habit. She felt that she received a less measure of love than she gave--not from Jonathan, in whose whole, warm, transparent heart no other woman had ever looked, but something of her own passed beyond him and never returned. To both their life was like one of those conjurer's cups, seemingly filled with red wine, which is held from the lips by the false crystal hollow. y8 `H*s@  
Neither spoke of this: neither dared to speak. The years dragged out their slow length, with rare and brief messages from David. Three children were in the house, and still peace and plenty laid their signs upon its lintels. But at last Ruth, who had been growing thinner and paler ever since the birth of her first boy, became seriously ill. Consumption was hers by inheritance, and it now manifested itself in a form which too surely foretold the result. After the physician had gone, leaving his fatal verdict behind him, she called to Jonathan, who, bewildered by his grief, sank down on his knees at her bedside and sobbed upon her breast. Ks9"U^bPs  
"Don't grieve," she said; "this is my share of the burden. If I have taken too much from you and David, now comes the atonement. Many things have grown clear to me. David was right when he said that there was no blame. But my time is even less than the doctor thinks: where is David? Can you not bid him come?" 8[ :FU  
"I can only call him with my heart," he answered. "And will he hear me now, after nearly seven years?" 2t/ba3Rfk  
"Call, then!" she eagerly cried. "Call with all the strength of your love for him and for me, and I believe he will hear you!" U~!97,|ic  
The sun was just setting. Jonathan went to the great ash-tree, behind the barn, fell upon his knees, and covered his face, and the sense of an exceeding bitter cry filled his heart. All the suppressed and baffled longing, the want, the hunger, the unremitting pain of years, came upon him and were crowded into the single prayer, "Come, David, or I die!" Before the twilight faded, while he was still kneeling, an arm came upon his shoulder, and the faint touch of another cheek upon his own. It was hardly for the space of a thought, but he knew the sign. 12;" K?7{  
"David will come!" he said to Ruth. *`=V"nXw$|  
From that day all was changed. The cloud of coming death which hung over the house was transmuted into fleecy gold. All the lost life came back to Jonathan's face, all the unrestful sweetness of Ruth's brightened into a serene beatitude. Months had passed since David had been heard from; they knew not how to reach him without many delays; yet neither dreamed of doubting his coming. rF>:pS,`&  
P0 hC4Sxf  
Two weeks passed, three, and there was neither word nor sign. Jonathan and Ruth thought, "He is near," and one day a singular unrest fell upon the former. Ruth saw it, but said nothing until night came, when she sent Jonathan from her bedside with the words, "Go and meet him?" Aum&U){yY  
An hour afterwards she heard double steps on the stone walk in front of the house. They came slowly to the door; it opened; she heard them along the hall and ascending the stairs; then the chamber-lamp showed her the two faces, bright with a single, unutterable joy. rMdOE&5G  
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One brother paused at the foot of the bed; the other drew near and bent over her. She clasped her thin hands around his neck, kissed him fondly, and cried, "Dear, dear David!" U_K"JOZ  
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"Dear Ruth," he said, "I came as soon as I could. I was far away, among wild mountains, when I felt that Jonathan was calling me. I knew that I must return, never to leave you more, and there was still a little work to finish. Now we shall all live again!" UyTsUkY  
}Go?j# !  
"Yes," said Jonathan, coming to her other side, "try to live, Ruth!" {RH&mu  
Her voice came clear, strong, and full of authority. "I do live, as never before. I shall take all my life with me when I go to wait for one soul, as I shall find it there! Our love unites, not divides, from this hour!" S:B$c>  
The few weeks still left to her were a season of almost superhuman peace. She faded slowly and painlessly, taking the equal love of the twin-hearts, and giving an equal tenderness and gratitude. Then first she saw the mysterious need which united them, the fulness and joy wherewith each completed himself in the other. All the imperfect past was enlightened, and the end, even that now so near, was very good. j]HzI{7y  
E] 6]c!2:  
Every afternoon they carried her down to a cushioned chair on the veranda, where she could enjoy the quiet of the sunny landscape, the presence of the brothers seated at her feet, and the sports of her children on the grass. Thus, one day, while David and Jonathan held her hands and waited for her to wake from a happy sleep, she went before them, and, ere they guessed the truth, she was waiting for their one soul in the undiscovered land. NufRd/q  
6E@TcN~ ,!  
And Jonathan's children, now growing into manhood and girlhood, also call David "father." The marks left by their divided lives have long since vanished from their faces; the middle-aged men, whose hairs are turning gray, still walk hand in hand, still sleep upon the same pillow, still have their common wardrobe, as when they were boys. They talk of "our Ruth" with no sadness, for they believe that death will make them one, when, at the same moment, he summons both. And we who know them, to whom they have confided the touching mystery of their nature, believe so too. 4|&_i)S-Y  

只看该作者 17楼 发表于: 2012-07-14
Tales From Home. _(I6o  
The Experiences of the A. C. ai-rF^ehC  
  Bridgeport! Change cars for the Naugatuck Railroad!" shouted the conductor of the New York and Boston Express Train, on the evening of May 27th, 1858. Indeed, he does it every night (Sundays excepted), for that matter; but as this story refers especially to Mr. J. Edward Johnson, who was a passenger on that train, on the aforesaid evening, I make special mention of the fact. Mr. Johnson, carpet-bag in hand, jumped upon the platform, entered the office, purchased a ticket for Waterbury, and was soon whirling in the Naugatuck train towards his destination. -!:5jfT"  
On reaching Waterbury, in the soft spring twilight, Mr. Johnson walked up and down in front of the station, curiously scanning the faces of the assembled crowd. Presently he noticed a gentleman who was performing the same operation upon the faces of the alighting passengers. Throwing himself directly in the way of the latter, the two exchanged a steady gaze. O9(z"c  
"Is your name Billings?" "Is your name Johnson?" were simultaneous questions, followed by the simultaneous exclamations-- "Ned!" "Enos!" A51 a/p#  
1 :p'  
Then there was a crushing grasp of hands, repeated after a pause, in testimony of ancient friendship, and Mr. Billings, returning to practical life, asked-- )S g6B;CJ  
"Is that all your baggage? Come, I have a buggy here: Eunice has heard the whistle, and she’ll be impatient to welcome you." IA2VesHb  
The impatience of Eunice (Mrs. Billings, of course,) was not of long duration, for in five minutes thereafter she stood at the door of her husband’s chocolate-colored villa, receiving his friend. Kb%Y%j  
While these three persons are comfortably seated at the tea-table, enjoying their waffles, cold tongue, and canned peaches, and asking and answering questions helter-skelter in the delightful confusion of reunion after long separation, let us briefly inform the reader who and what they are. cY5&1Shb~  
Mr. Enos Billings, then, was part owner of a manufactory of metal buttons, forty years old, of middling height, ordinarily quiet and rather shy, but with a large share of latent warmth and enthusiasm in his nature. His hair was brown, slightly streaked with gray, his eyes a soft, dark hazel, forehead square, eyebrows straight, nose of no very marked character, and a mouth moderately full, with a tendency to twitch a little at the corners. His voice was undertoned, but mellow and agreeable. 0|AgmW_7 .  
Mrs. Eunice Billings, of nearly equal age, was a good specimen of the wide-awake New-England woman. Her face had a piquant smartness of expression, which might have been refined into a sharp edge, but for her natural hearty good-humor. Her head was smoothly formed, her face a full oval, her hair and eyes blond and blue in a strong light, but brown and steel-gray at other times, and her complexion of that ripe fairness into which a ruddier color will sometimes fade. Her form, neither plump nor square, had yet a firm, elastic compactness, and her slightest movement conveyed a certain impression of decision and self-reliance. 9^/Y7Wp/@  
As for J. Edward Johnson, it is enough to say that he was a tall, thin gentleman of forty-five, with an aquiline nose, narrow face, and military whiskers, which swooped upwards and met under his nose in a glossy black mustache. His complexion was dark, from the bronzing of fifteen summers in New Orleans. He was a member of a wholesale hardware firm in that city, and had now revisited his native North for the first time since his departure. A year before, some letters relating to invoices of metal buttons signed, "Foster, Kirkup, & Co., per Enos Billings," had accidentally revealed to him the whereabouts of the old friend of his youth, with whom we now find him domiciled. The first thing he did, after attending to some necessary business matters in New York, was to take the train for Waterbury. i8?oe%9l  
"Enos," said he, as he stretched out his hand for the third cup of tea (which he had taken only for the purpose of prolonging the pleasant table-chat), "I wonder which of us is most changed." ]EHsRd  
z-MQGq xR  
"You, of course," said Mr. Billings, "with your brown face and big mustache. Your own brother wouldn’t have known you if he had seen you last, as I did, with smooth cheeks and hair of unmerciful length. Why, not even your voice is the same!" Stw g[K0<  
"That is easily accounted for," replied Mr. Johnson. "But in your case, Enos, I am puzzled to find where the difference lies. Your features seem to be but little changed, now that I can examine them at leisure; yet it is not the same face. But, really, I never looked at you for so long a time, in those days. I beg pardon; you used to be so--so remarkably shy." }>M\iPO.]*  
Mr. Billings blushed slightly, and seemed at a loss what to answer. $gnrd~v4e  
His wife, however, burst into a merry laugh, exclaiming-- ,\iXZ5"R  
"Oh, that was before the days of the A. C!" O'IU1sU  
He, catching the infection, laughed also; in fact Mr. Johnson laughed, but without knowing why. AvrvBz[  
"The `A. C.’!" said Mr. Billings. "Bless me, Eunice! how long it is since we have talked of that summer! I had almost forgotten that there ever was an A. C." e1-tpD:J  
"Enos, could you ever forget Abel Mallory and the beer?--or that scene between Hollins and Shelldrake?--or" (here she blushed the least bit) "your own fit of candor?" And she laughed again, more heartily than ever. ;WSW&2  
"What a precious lot of fools, to be sure!" exclaimed her husband. xrkl)7;  
Mr. Johnson, meanwhile, though enjoying the cheerful humor of his hosts, was not a little puzzled with regard to its cause. OjUPvR2 0  
T`EV uRJ  
"What is the A. C.?" he ventured to ask. TLdlPBnr8  
Mr. and Mrs. Billings looked at each other, and smiled without replying. ,;)ZF  
C 0w+ j  
"Really, Ned," said the former, finally, "the answer to your question involves the whole story." ?8b19DMK6  
"Then why not tell him the whole story, Enos?" remarked his wife. %,$n^{v  
"You know I’ve never told it yet, and it’s rather a hard thing to do, seeing that I’m one of the heroes of the farce--for it wasn’t even genteel comedy, Ned," said Mr. Billings. "However," he continued, "absurd as the story may seem, it’s the only key to the change in my life, and I must run the risk of being laughed at." U84W(X  
"I’ll help you through, Enos," said his wife, encouragingly; "and besides, my role in the farce was no better than yours. Let us resuscitate, for to-night only, the constitution of the A. C." 8% @| /  
"Upon my word, a capital idea! But we shall have to initiate Ned." :Pud%}'  
Mr. Johnson merrily agreeing, he was blindfolded and conducted into another room. A heavy arm-chair, rolling on casters, struck his legs in the rear, and he sank into it with lamb-like resignation. !, 4ag1  
"Open your mouth!" was the command, given with mock solemnity. %&ejO= r  
He obeyed. Met?G0[  
"Now shut it!" -L2.cN_  
z} fpV T  
And his lips closed upon a cigar, while at the same time the handkerchief was whisked away from his eyes. He found himself in Mr. Billing’s library. ;i@S}LwL  
Xhe& "rM  
"Your nose betrays your taste, Mr. Johnson," said the lady, "and I am not hard-hearted enough to deprive you of the indulgence. Here are matches." uq5?t  
"Well," said he, acting upon the hint, "if the remainder of the ceremonies are equally agreeable, I should like to be a permanent member of your order." i(~DhXz*T  
By this time Mr. and Mrs. Billings, having between them lighted the lamp, stirred up the coal in the grate, closed the doors, and taken possession of comfortable chairs, the latter proclaimed-- |d0ZB_ci  
"The Chapter (isn’t that what you call it?) will now be held!" ||hQ*X<m>  
Sf S3}Tn[  
"Was it in ’43 when you left home, Ned?" asked Mr. B. &_L%wV|[  
xFF!)k #  
"Yes." )'kpO>_G  
@bg9 }Z%\h  
"Well, the A. C. culminated in ’45. You remember something of the society of Norridgeport, the last winter you were there? Abel Mallory, for instance?" r~,y3L6ic  
7 z    
"Let me think a moment," said Mr. Johnson reflectively. "Really, it seems like looking back a hundred years. Mallory--wasn’t that the sentimental young man, with wispy hair, a tallowy skin, and big, sweaty hands, who used to be spouting Carlyle on the `reading evenings’ at Shelldrake’s? Yes, to be sure; and there was Hollins, with his clerical face and infidel talk,--and Pauline Ringtop, who used to say, `The Beautiful is the Good.’ I can still hear her shrill voice, singing, `Would that _I_ were beautiful, would that _I_ were fair!’" {L;sF=d  
There was a hearty chorus of laughter at poor Miss Ringtop’s expense. It harmed no one, however; for the tar-weed was already thick over her Californian grave. w"0$cL3  
"Oh, I see," said Mr. Billings, "you still remember the absurdities of those days. In fact, I think you partially saw through them then. But I was younger, and far from being so clear-headed, and I looked upon those evenings at Shelldrake’s as being equal, at least, to the symposia of Plato. Something in Mallory always repelled me. I detested the sight of his thick nose, with the flaring nostrils, and his coarse, half-formed lips, of the bluish color of raw corned-beef. But I looked upon these feelings as unreasonable prejudices, and strove to conquer them, seeing the admiration which he received from others. He was an oracle on the subject of `Nature.’ Having eaten nothing for two years, except Graham bread, vegetables without salt, and fruits, fresh or dried, he considered himself to have attained an antediluvian purity of health--or that he would attain it, so soon as two pimples on his left temple should have healed. These pimples he looked upon as the last feeble stand made by the pernicious juices left from the meat he had formerly eaten and the coffee he had drunk. His theory was, that through a body so purged and purified none but true and natural impulses could find access to the soul. Such, indeed, was the theory we all held. A Return to Nature was the near Millennium, the dawn of which we already beheld in the sky. To be sure there was a difference in our individual views as to how this should be achieved, but we were all agreed as to what the result should be. 9,fV  
"I can laugh over those days now, Ned; but they were really happy while they lasted. We were the salt of the earth; we were lifted above those grovelling instincts which we saw manifested in the lives of others. Each contributed his share of gas to inflate the painted balloon to which we all clung, in the expectation that it would presently soar with us to the stars. But it only went up over the out-houses, dodged backwards and forwards two or three times, and finally flopped down with us into a swamp." ZS:[ZehF  
"And that balloon was the A. C.?" suggested Mr. Johnson.  qjfv9sU  
"As President of this Chapter, I prohibit questions," said Eunice. "And, Enos, don’t send up your balloon until the proper time. Don’t anticipate the programme, or the performance will be spoiled." xT9+l1_  
Sdmynuv U  
"I had almost forgotten that Ned is so much in the dark," her obedient husband answered. "You can have but a slight notion," he continued, turning to his friend, "of the extent to which this sentimental, or transcendental, element in the little circle at Shelldrake’s increased after you left Norridgeport. We read the `Dial,’ and Emerson; we believed in Alcott as the `purple Plato’ of modern times; we took psychological works out of the library, and would listen for hours to Hollins while he read Schelling or Fichte, and then go home with a misty impression of having imbibed infinite wisdom. It was, perhaps, a natural, though very eccentric rebound from the hard, practical, unimaginative New-England mind which surrounded us; yet I look back upon it with a kind of wonder. Y@%6*uTLa  
f4T-=` SO  
I was then, as you know, unformed mentally, and might have been so still, but for the experiences of the A. C." dl$l5z\  
Mr. Johnson shifted his position, a little impatiently. Eunice looked at him with laughing eyes, and shook her finger with a mock threat. =L wX+c  
"Shelldrake," continued Mr. Billings, without noticing this by- play, "was a man of more pretence than real cultivation, as I afterwards discovered. He was in good circumstances, and always glad to receive us at his house, as this made him, virtually, the chief of our tribe, and the outlay for refreshments involved only the apples from his own orchard and water from his well. There was an entire absence of conventionality at our meetings, and this, conpared with the somewhat stiff society of the village, was really an attraction. There was a mystic bond of union in our ideas: we discussed life, love, religion, and the future state, not only with the utmost candor, but with a warmth of feeling which, in many of us, was genuine. Even I (and you know how painfully shy and bashful I was) felt myself more at home there than in my father’s house; and if I didn’t talk much, I had a pleasant feeling of being in harmony with those who did. 9iy|=  
"Well, ’twas in the early part of ’45--I think in April,--when we were all gathered together, discussing, as usual, the possibility of leading a life in accordance with Nature. Abel Mallory was there, and Hollins, and Miss Ringtop, and Faith Levis, with her knitting,--and also Eunice Hazleton, a lady whom you have never seen, but you may take my wife at her representative--" oCYD@S>h  
"Stick to the programme, Enos," interrupted Mrs. Billings. }aM`Jp-O  
"Eunice Hazleton, then. I wish I could recollect some of the speeches made on that occasion. Abel had but one pimple on his temple (there was a purple spot where the other had been), and was estimating that in two or three months more he would be a true, unspoiled man. His complexion, nevertheless, was more clammy and whey-like than ever. /*^|5>-`i1  
"`Yes,’ said he, `I also am an Arcadian! This false dual existence which I have been leading will soon be merged in the unity of Nature. Our lives must conform to her sacred law. Why can’t we strip off these hollow Shams,’ (he made great use of that word,) `and be our true selves, pure, perfect, and divine?’ dHF$T33It  
"Miss Ringtop heaved a sigh, and repeated a stanza from her favorite poet: AYA&&b  
_p J_V>l  
        "`Ah, when wrecked are my desires 1 73<x){  
            On the everlasting Never, /}nrF4S  
         And my heart with all its fires (~ ]g,*+  
            Out forever, *b Ci2mbm@  
         In the cradle of Creation |jahpji6  
         Finds the soul resuscitation!"Shelldrake, however, turning to his wife, said-- ~@T+mHny  
"`Elviry, how many up-stairs rooms is there in that house down on the Sound?’ r_Lu~y|  
c  Qld$  
"`Four,--besides three small ones under the roof. Why, what made you think of that, Jesse?’ said she. ,1,&b_  
"`I’ve got an idea, while Abel’s been talking,’ he answered. `We’ve taken a house for the summer, down the other side of Bridgeport, right on the water, where there’s good fishing and a fine view of the Sound. Now, there’s room enough for all of us--at least all that can make it suit to go. Abel, you and Enos, and Pauline and Eunice might fix matters so that we could all take the place in partnership, and pass the summer together, living a true and beautiful life in the bosom of Nature. There we shall be perfectly free and untrammelled by the chains which still hang around us in Norridgeport. You know how often we have wanted to be set on some island in the Pacific Ocean, where we could build up a true society, right from the start. Now, here’s a chance to try the experiment for a few months, anyhow.’ @a0Q0M  
"Eunice clapped her hands (yes, you did!) and cried out-- E~qQai=]  
"`Splendid! Arcadian! I’ll give up my school for the summer.’ u h )o  
"Miss Ringtop gave her opinion in another quotation: e<"/'Ql!k  
        "`The rainbow  hues of the Ideal L'E^c,-x~  
         Condense to gems, and form the Real!’"Abel Mallory, of course, did not need to have the proposal repeated. He was ready for any thing which promised indulgence, and the indulgence of his sentimental tastes. I will do the fellow the justice to say that he was not a hypocrite. He firmly believed both in himself and his ideas--especially the former. He pushed both hands through the long wisps of his drab-colored hair, and threw his head back until his wide nostrils resembled a double door to his brain. y{=>$C[  
"`Oh Nature!’ he said, `you have found your lost children! We shall obey your neglected laws! we shall hearken to your divine whispers I we shall bring you back from your ignominious exile, and place you on your ancestral throne!’ K7(MD1tk  
"`Let us do it!’ was the general cry. #x@eDnb_  
"A sudden enthusiasm fired us, and we grasped each other’s hands in the hearty impulse of the moment. My own private intention to make a summer trip to the White Mountains had been relinquished the moment I heard Eunice give in her adhesion. I may as well confess, at once, that I was desperately in love, and afraid to speak to her. Gh( A%x)  
"By the time Mrs. Sheldrake brought in the apples and water we were discussing the plan as a settled thing. Hollins had an engagement to deliver Temperance lectures in Ohio during the summer, but decided to postpone his departure until August, so that he might, at least, spend two months with us. Faith Levis couldn’t go--at which, I think, we were all secretly glad. Some three or four others were in the same case, and the company was finally arranged to consist of the Shelldrakes, Hollins, Mallory, Eunice, Miss Ringtop, and myself. We did not give much thought, either to the preparations in advance, or to our mode of life when settled there. We were to live near to Nature: that was the main thing. 0Q9T3X  
"`What shall we call the place?’ asked Eunice. cI0 ]}S  
' I}: !Z  
"`Arcadia!’ said Abel Mallory, rolling up his large green eyes. <=K qc Hb  
Wzq>JNn y  
"`Then,’ said Hollins, `let us constitute ourselves the Arcadian Club!’" %V!iQzL1  
"Aha!" interrupted Mr. Johnson, "I see! The A. C.!" _m E^rT  
"Yes, you can see the A. C. now," said Mrs. Billings; "but to understand it fully, you should have had a share in those Arcadian experiences." DC+wD Bp;  
h&@R| N  
"I am all the more interested in hearing them described. Go on, Enos." X~.f7Ao[  
"The proposition was adopted. We called ourselves The Arcadian Club; but in order to avoid gossip, and the usual ridicule, to which we were all more or less sensitive, in case our plan should become generally known, it was agreed that the initials only should be used. Besides, there was an agreeable air of mystery about it: we thought of Delphi, and Eleusis, and Samothrace: we should discover that Truth which the dim eyes of worldly men and women were unable to see, and the day of disclosure would be the day of Triumph. In one sense we were truly Arcadians: no suspicion of impropriety, I verily believe, entered any of our minds. In our aspirations after what we called a truer life there was no material taint. We were fools, if you choose, but as far as possible from being sinners. Besides, the characters of Mr. and Mrs. Shelldrake, who naturally became the heads of our proposed community were sufficient to preserve us from slander or suspicion, if even our designs had been publicly announced. ~=r^3nZR/J  
"I won’t bore you with an account of our preparations. In fact, there was very little to be done. Mr. Shelldrake succeeded in hiring the house, with most of its furniture, so that but a few articles had to be supplied. My trunk contained more books than boots, more blank paper than linen. bJr[I  
m8]?hJY 3l  
"`Two shirts will be enough,’ said Abel: `you can wash one of them any day, and dry it in the sun.’ [K~]&  
"The supplies consisted mostly of flour, potatoes, and sugar. There was a vegetable-garden in good condition, Mr. Shelldrake said, which would be our principal dependence. yKagT$-  
"`Besides, the clams!’ I exclaimed unthinkingly. MWk:sBCqr  
"`Oh, yes!’ said Eunice, `we can have chowder-parties: that will be delightful!’ EY`H}S!xy  
"`Clams! chowder! oh, worse than flesh!’ groaned Abel. `Will you reverence Nature by outraging her first laws?’ Sydh2d  
q:>^ "P{  
"I had made a great mistake, and felt very foolish. Eunice and I looked at each other, for the first time." dBsX*}C  
"Speak for yourself only, Enos," gently interpolated his wife. uJx"W  
"It was a lovely afternoon in the beginning of June when we first approached Arcadia. We had taken two double teams at Bridgeport, and drove slowly forward to our destination, followed by a cart containing our trunks and a few household articles. It was a bright, balmy day: the wheat-fields were rich and green, the clover showed faint streaks of ruby mist along slopes leaning southward, and the meadows were yellow with buttercups. Now and then we caught glimpses of the Sound, and, far beyond it, the dim Long Island shore. Every old white farmhouse, with its gray-walled garden, its clumps of lilacs, viburnums, and early roses, offered us a picture of pastoral simplicity and repose. We passed them, one by one, in the happiest mood, enjoying the earth around us, the sky above, and ourselves most of all. pZ`|iLNl-  
"The scenery, however, gradually became more rough and broken. Knobs of gray gneiss, crowned by mournful cedars, intrenched upon the arable land, and the dark-blue gleam of water appeared through the trees. Our road, which had been approaching the Sound, now skirted the head of a deep, irregular inlet, beyond which extended a beautiful promontory, thickly studded with cedars, and with scattering groups of elm, oak and maple trees. Towards the end of the promontory stood a house, with white walls shining against the blue line of the Sound. nRd)++  
"`There is Arcadia, at last!’ exclaimed Mr. Shelldrake. <nEi<iAY>U  
"A general outcry of delight greeted the announcement. And, indeed, the loveliness of the picture surpassed our most poetic anticipations. The low sun was throwing exquisite lights across the point, painting the slopes of grass of golden green, and giving a pearly softness to the gray rocks. In the back-ground was drawn the far-off water-line, over which a few specks of sail glimmered against the sky. Miss Ringtop, who, with Eunice, Mallory, and myself, occupied one carriage, expressed her `gushing’ feelings in the usual manner: tBpC: SG  
        "`Where the turf is softest, greenest, r7qh>JrO  
            Doth an angel thrust me on,-- 4!KoFoZt*  
         Where the landscape lies serenest, {26ONa#i  
            In the journey of the sun!’"`Don’t, Pauline!’ said Eunice; `I never like to hear poetry flourished in the face of Nature. This landscape surpasses any poem in the world. Let us enjoy the best thing we have, rather than the next best.’ /soKucN"h  
"`Ah, yes!’ sighed Miss Ringtop, `’tis true! y  TDNNK  
        "`They sing to the ear; this sings to the eye!’"Thenceforward, to the house, all was childish joy and jubilee. All minor personal repugnances were smoothed over in the general exultation. Even Abel Mallory became agreeable; and Hollins, sitting beside Mrs. Shelldrake on the back seat of the foremost carriage, shouted to us, in boyish lightness of heart. }3L@J8:D"  
"Passing the head of the inlet, we left the country-road, and entered, through a gate in the tottering stone wall, on our summer domain. A track, open to the field on one side, led us past a clump of deciduous trees, between pastures broken by cedared knolls of rock, down the centre of the peninsula, to the house. It was quite an old frame-building, two stories high, with a gambrel roof and tall chimneys. Two slim Lombardy poplars and a broad- leaved catalpa shaded the southern side, and a kitchen-garden, divided in the centre by a double row of untrimmed currant-bushes, flanked it on the east. For flowers, there were masses of blue flags and coarse tawny-red lilies, besides a huge trumpet-vine which swung its pendent arms from one of the gables. In front of the house a natural lawn of mingled turf and rock sloped steeply down to the water, which was not more than two hundred yards distant. To the west was another and broader inlet of the Sound, out of which our Arcadian promontory rose bluff and bold, crowned with a thick fringe of pines. It was really a lovely spot which Shelldrake had chosen--so secluded, while almost surrounded by the winged and moving life of the Sound, so simple, so pastoral and home-like. No one doubted the success of our experiment, for that evening at least. go<W( ,O  
"Perkins Brown, Shelldrake’s boy-of-all-work, awaited us at the door. He had been sent on two or three days in advance, to take charge of the house, and seemed to have had enough of hermit-life, for he hailed us with a wild whoop, throwing his straw hat half-way up one of the poplars. Perkins was a boy of fifteen, the child of poor parents, who were satisfied to get him off their hands, regardless as to what humanitarian theories might be tested upon him. As the Arcadian Club recognized no such thing as caste, he was always admitted to our meetings, and understood just enough of our conversation to excite a silly ambition in his slow mind. His animal nature was predominant, and this led him to be deceitful. At that time, however, we all looked upon him as a proper young Arcadian, and hoped that he would develop into a second Abel Mallory. V:c;-)(  
"After our effects had been deposited on the stoop, and the carriages had driven away, we proceeded to apportion the rooms, and take possession. On the first floor there were three rooms, two of which would serve us as dining and drawing rooms, leaving the third for the Shelldrakes. As neither Eunice and Miss Ringtop, nor Hollins and Abel showed any disposition to room together, I quietly gave up to them the four rooms in the second story, and installed myself in one of the attic chambers. Here I could hear the music of the rain close above my head, and through the little gable window, as I lay in bed, watch the colors of the morning gradually steal over the distant shores. The end was, we were all satisfied. L>R P-x>  
"`Now for our first meal in Arcadia!’ was the next cry. Mrs. Shelldrake, like a prudent housekeeper, marched off to the kitchen, where Perkins had already kindled a fire. We looked in at the door, but thought it best to allow her undisputed sway in such a narrow realm. Eunice was unpacking some loaves of bread and paper bags of crackers; and Miss Ringtop, smiling through her ropy curls, as much as to say, `You see, _I_ also can perform the coarser tasks of life!’ occupied herself with plates and cups. We men, therefore, walked out to the garden, which we found in a promising condition. The usual vegetables had been planted and were growing finely, for the season was yet scarcely warm enough for the weeds to make much headway. Radishes, young onions, and lettuce formed our contribution to the table. The Shelldrakes, I should explain, had not yet advanced to the antediluvian point, in diet: nor, indeed, had either Eunice or myself. We acknowledged the fascination of tea, we saw a very mitigated evil in milk and butter, and we were conscious of stifled longings after the abomination of meat. Only Mallory, Hollins, and Miss Ringtop had reached that loftiest round on the ladder of progress where the material nature loosens the last fetter of the spiritual. They looked down upon us, and we meekly admitted their right to do so. VYk!k3qS  
E(8* pI  
"Our board, that evening, was really tempting. The absence of meat was compensated to us by the crisp and racy onions, and I craved only a little salt, which had been interdicted, as a most pernicious substance. I sat at one corner of the table, beside Perkins Brown, who took an opportunity, while the others were engaged in conversation, to jog my elbow gently. As I turned towards him, he said nothing, but dropped his eyes significantly. The little rascal had the lid of a blacking-box, filled with salt, upon his knee, and was privately seasoning his onions and radishes. 5',8 ziJQ  
I blushed at the thought of my hypocrisy, but the onions were so much better that I couldn’t help dipping into the lid with him. uj R_"r|l  
"`Oh,’ said Eunice, `we must send for some oil and vinegar! This lettuce is very nice.’ G MX?  
"`Oil and vinegar?’ exclaimed Abel.  \N!AXD  
-:2$ %  
"`Why, yes,’ said she, innocently: `they are both vegetable substances.’ Szq/hv=Q  
"Abel at first looked rather foolish, but quickly recovering himself, said-- *5vV6][  
"`All vegetable substances are not proper for food: you would not taste the poison-oak, or sit under the upas-tree of Java.’ ofPHmh`  
"`Well, Abel,’ Eunice rejoined, `how are we to distinguish what is best for us? How are we to know what vegetables to choose, or what animal and mineral substances to avoid?’ `8^TTQ  
"`I will tell you,’ he answered, with a lofty air. `See here!’ pointing to his temple, where the second pimple--either from the change of air, or because, in the excitement of the last few days, he had forgotten it--was actually healed. `My blood is at last pure. The struggle between the natural and the unnatural is over, and I am beyond the depraved influences of my former taste. My instincts are now, therefore, entirely pure also. What is good for man to eat, that I shall have a natural desire to eat: what is bad will be naturally repelled. How does the cow distinguish between the wholesome and the poisonous herbs of the meadow? And is man less than a cow, that he cannot cultivate his instincts to an equal point? Let me walk through the woods and I can tell you every berry and root which God designed for food, though I know not its name, and have never seen it before. I shall make use of my time, during our sojourn here, to test, by my purified instinct, every substance, animal, mineral, and vegetable, upon which the human race subsists, and to create a catalogue of the True Food of Man!’ @xbQYe%J  
"Abel was eloquent on this theme, and he silenced not only Eunice, but the rest of us. Indeed, as we were all half infected with the same delusions, it was not easy to answer his sophistries. cUvz2TK  
"After supper was over, the prospect of cleaning the dishes and putting things in order was not so agreeable; but Mrs. Shelldrake and Perkins undertook the work, and we did not think it necessary to interfere with them. Half an hour afterwards, when the full moon had risen, we took our chairs upon the sloop, to enjoy the calm, silver night, the soft sea-air, and our summer’s residence in anticipatory talk. fpFhn  
J2 'Nd'  
"`My friends,’ said Hollins (and his hobby, as you may remember, Ned, was the organization of Society, rather than those reforms which apply directly to the Individual),--`my friends, I think we are sufficiently advanced in progressive ideas to establish our little Arcadian community upon what I consider the true basis: not Law, nor Custom, but the uncorrupted impulses of our nature. What Abel said in regard to dietetic reform is true; but that alone will not regenerate the race. We must rise superior to those conventional ideas of Duty whereby Life is warped and crippled. Life must not be a prison, where each one must come and go, work, eat, and sleep, as the jailer commands. Labor must not be a necessity, but a spontaneous joy. ’Tis true, but little labor is required of us here: let us, therefore, have no set tasks, no fixed rules, but each one work, rest, eat, sleep, talk or be silent, as his own nature prompts.’ =o&>fw  
FRg^c kb"  
"Perkins, sitting on the steps, gave a suppressed chuckle, which I think no one heard but myself. I was vexed with his levity, but, nevertheless, gave him a warning nudge with my toe, in payment for the surreptitious salt. 1e&QSzL  
"`That’s just the notion I had, when I first talked of our coming here,’ said Shelldrake. `Here we’re alone and unhindered; and if the plan shouldn’t happen to work well (I don’t see why it shouldn’t though), no harm will be done. I’ve had a deal of hard work in my life, and I’ve been badgered and bullied so much by your strait-laced professors, that I’m glad to get away from the world for a spell, and talk and do rationally, without being laughed at.’ r9 !Tug*>m  
,B0_MDA +  
"`Yes,’ answered Hollins, `and if we succeed, as I feel we shall, for I think I know the hearts of all of us here, this may be the commencement of a new epoch for the world. We may become the turning-point between two dispensations: behind us every thing false and unnatural, before us every thing true, beautiful, and good.’ &9"-`-[e:  
"`Ah,’ sighed Miss Ringtop, `it reminds me of Gamaliel J. Gawthrop’s beautiful lines: K!]1oy'V  
        "`Unrobed man is lying hoary o,!T2&}  
            In the distance, gray and dead; jOyvDY9\  
         There no wreaths of godless glory 4#'(" #R  
            To his mist-like tresses wed, wHem5E  
         And the foot-fall of the Ages ,o7hk{fR*  
            Reigns supreme, with noiseless tread.’"`I am willing to try the experiment,’ said I, on being appealed to by Hollins; `but don’t you think we had better observe some kind of order, even in yielding every thing to impulse? Shouldn’t there be, at least, a platform, as the politicians call it--an agreement by which we shall all be bound, and which we can afterwards exhibit as the basis of our success?’ 34QfgMyH  
s6 }X t=j  
"He meditated a few moments, and then answered-- %k0EpJE%  
"`I think not. It resembles too much the thing we are trying to overthrow. Can you bind a man’s belief by making him sign certain articles of Faith? No: his thought will be free, in spite of it; and I would have Action--Life--as free as Thought. Our platform-- to adopt your image--has but one plank: Truth. Let each only be true to himself: be himself, act himself, or herself with the uttermost candor. We can all agree upon that.’ <SVmOmJ-K  
"The agreement was accordingly made. And certainly no happier or more hopeful human beings went to bed in all New England that night. M+sj}  
"I arose with the sun, went into the garden, and commenced weeding, intending to do my quota of work before breakfast, and then devote the day to reading and conversation. I was presently joined by Shelldrake and Mallory, and between us we finished the onions and radishes, stuck the peas, and cleaned the alleys. Perkins, after milking the cow and turning her out to pasture, assisted Mrs. Shelldrake in the kitchen. At breakfast we were joined by Hollins, who made no excuse for his easy morning habits; nor was one expected. I may as well tell you now, though, that his natural instincts never led him to work. After a week, when a second crop of weeds was coming on, Mallory fell off also, and thenceforth Shelldrake and myself had the entire charge of the garden. Perkins did the rougher work, and was always on hand when he was wanted. Very soon, however, I noticed that he was in the habit of disappearing for two or three hours in the afternoon. {e]NU<G ,  
"Our meals preserved the same Spartan simplicity. Eunice, however, carried her point in regard to the salad; for Abel, after tasting and finding it very palatable, decided that oil and vinegar might be classed in the catalogue of True Food. Indeed, his long abstinence from piquant flavors gave him such an appetite for it that our supply of lettuce was soon exhausted. An embarrassing accident also favored us with the use of salt. Perkins happening to move his knee at the moment I was dipping an onion into the blacking-box lid, our supply was knocked upon the floor. He picked it up, and we both hoped the accident might pass unnoticed. But Abel, stretching his long neck across the corner of the table, caught a glimpse of what was going on. ?;8M^a/  
"`What’s that?’ he asked. &9h  
"`Oh, it’s--it’s only,’ said I, seeking for a synonyme, `only chloride of sodium!’ L3>4t: 8  
wJr/FE 7c  
"`Chloride of sodium! what do you do with it?’ ;q^,[(8  
"`Eat it with onions,’ said I, boldly: `it’s a chemical substance, but I believe it is found in some plants.’ !/[AQ{**T!  
"Eunice, who knew something of chemistry (she taught a class, though you wouldn’t think it), grew red with suppressed fun, but the others were as ignorant as Abel Mallory himself. 0R.Gjz*Q  
"`Let me taste it,’ said he, stretching out an onion. |O #wdnYW  
"I handed him the box-lid, which still contained a portion of its contents. He dipped the onion, bit off a piece, and chewed it gravely. 6='_+{   
"`Why,’ said he, turning to me, `it’s very much like salt.’  *<h  
9"u @<]  

只看该作者 18楼 发表于: 2012-07-14
"Perkins burst into a spluttering yell, which discharged an onion- top he had just put between his teeth across the table; Eunice and I gave way at the same moment; and the others, catching the joke, joined us. But while we were laughing, Abel was finishing his onion, and the result was that Salt was added to the True Food, and thereafter appeared regularly on the table. }?"f#bI  
lLo FM  
"The forenoons we usually spent in reading and writing, each in his or her chamber. (Oh, the journals, Ned!--but you shall not see mine.) After a midday meal,--I cannot call it dinner,--we sat upon the stoop, listening while one of us read aloud, or strolled down the shores on either side, or, when the sun was not too warm, got into a boat, and rowed or floated lazily around the promontory. '0z@Jevd?  
"One afternoon, as I was sauntering off, past the garden, towards the eastern inlet, I noticed Perkins slipping along behind the cedar knobs, towards the little woodland at the end of our domain. Curious to find out the cause of his mysterious disappearances, I followed cautiously. From the edge of the wood I saw him enter a little gap between the rocks, which led down to the water. Presently a thread of blue smoke stole up. Quietly creeping along, I got upon the nearer bluff and looked down. There was a sort of hearth built up at the base of the rock, with a brisk little fire burning upon it, but Perkins had disappeared. I stretched myself out upon the moss, in the shade, and waited. In about half an hour up came Perkins, with a large fish in one hand and a lump of clay in the other. I now understood the mystery. He carefully imbedded the fish in a thin layer of clay, placed it on the coals, and then went down to the shore to wash his hands. On his return he found me watching the fire. GYyP+7K4l[  
Hq< Vk.Nk  
"`Ho, ho, Mr. Enos!’ said he, `you’ve found me out; But you won’t say nothin’. Gosh! you like it as well I do. Look ’ee there!’-- breaking open the clay, from which arose `a steam of rich distilled perfumes,’--`and, I say, I’ve got the box-lid with that ’ere stuff in it,--ho! ho!’--and the scamp roared again. aKhI|%5kA  
"Out of a hole in the rock he brought salt and the end of a loaf, and between us we finished the fish. Before long, I got into the habit of disappearing in the afternoon. ix=HLF-0zC  
"Now and then we took walks, alone or collectively, to the nearest village, or even to Bridgeport, for the papers or a late book. The few purchases we required were made at such times, and sent down in a cart, or, if not too heavy, carried by Perkins in a basket. I noticed that Abel, whenever we had occasion to visit a grocery, would go sniffing around, alternately attracted or repelled by the various articles: now turning away with a shudder from a ham,--now inhaling, with a fearful delight and uncertainty, the odor of smoked herrings. `I think herrings must feed on sea- weed,’ said he, `there is such a vegetable attraction about them.’ After his violent vegetarian harangues, however, he hesitated about adding them to his catalogue. >t<FG2  
Y4sf 2w  
"But, one day, as we were passing through the village, he was reminded by the sign of `Warter Crackers’ in the window of an obscure grocery that he required a supply of these articles, and we therefore entered. There was a splendid Rhode Island cheese on the counter, from which the shop-mistress was just cutting a slice for a customer. Abel leaned over it, inhaling the rich, pungent fragrance. ,3Y~ #{,i  
"`Enos,’ said he to me, between his sniffs, `this impresses me like flowers--like marigolds. It must be--really--yes, the vegetable element is predominant. My instinct towards it is so strong that I cannot be mistaken. May I taste it, ma’am?’ 55 )!cw4  
/bv `_ >  
"The woman sliced off a thin corner, and presented it to him on the knife. S'#KPzy.  
z6 2gF|Uj  
"`Delicious!’ he exclaimed; `I am right,--this is the True Food. Give me two pounds--and the crackers, ma’am.’ <;< _f U  
"I turned away, quite as much disgusted as amused with this charlatanism. And yet I verily believe the fellow was sincere-- self-deluded only. I had by this time lost my faith in him, though not in the great Arcadian principles. On reaching home, after an hour’s walk, I found our household in unusual commotion. Abel was writhing in intense pain: he had eaten the whole two pounds of cheese, on his way home! His stomach, so weakened by years of unhealthy abstinence from true nourishment, was now terribly tortured by this sudden stimulus. Mrs. Shelldrake, fortunately, had some mustard among her stores, and could therefore administer a timely emetic. His life was saved, but he was very ill for two or three days. Hollins did not fail to take advantage of this circumstance to overthrow the authority which Abel had gradually acquired on the subject of food. He was so arrogant in his nature that he could not tolerate the same quality in another, even where their views coincided. AB<|iJC  
"By this time several weeks had passed away. It was the beginning of July, and the long summer heats had come. I was driven out of my attic during the middle hours of the day, and the others found it pleasanter on the doubly shaded stoop than in their chambers. We were thus thrown more together than usual--a circumstance which made our life more monotonous to the others, as I could see; but to myself, who could at last talk to Eunice, and who was happy at the very sight of her, this `heated term’ seemed borrowed from Elysium. .y'iF>QQ\  
I read aloud, and the sound of my own voice gave me confidence; many passages suggested discussions, in which I took a part; and you may judge, Ned, how fast I got on, from the fact that I ventured to tell Eunice of my fish-bakes with Perkins, and invite her to join them. After that, she also often disappeared from sight for an hour or two in the afternoon." NAd|n+[d  
----"Oh, Mr. Johnson," interrupted Mrs. Billings, "it wasn’t for the fish!" B \?We\y  
"Of course not," said her husband; "it was for my sake." w-f[h  
"No, you need not think it was for you. Enos," she added, perceiving the feminine dilemma into which she had been led, "all this is not necessary to the story." Xz/5 Wis4  
"Stop!" he answered. "The A. C. has been revived for this night only. Do you remember our platform, or rather no-platform? I must follow my impulses, and say whatever comes uppermost." 5m.{ayE  
"Right, Enos," said Mr. Johnson; "I, as temporary Arcadian, take the same ground. My instinct tells me that you, Mrs. Billings, must permit the confession." HDmjt+3&n  
She submitted with a good grace, and her husband continued: u<g0oEs)  
A^2n i=b  
"I said that our lazy life during the hot weather had become a little monotonous. The Arcadian plan had worked tolerably well, on the whole, for there was very little for any one to do--Mrs. Shelldrake and Perkins Brown excepted. Our conversation, however, lacked spirit and variety. We were, perhaps unconsciously, a little tired of hearing and assenting to the same sentiments. But one evening, about this time, Hollins struck upon a variation, the consequences of which he little foresaw. We had been reading one of Bulwer’s works (the weather was too hot for Psychology), and came upon this paragraph, or something like it: +HXR ))X  
!RXG{1 :  
"`Ah, Behind the Veil! We see the summer smile of the Earth-- enamelled meadow and limpid stream,--but what hides she in her sunless heart? Caverns of serpents, or grottoes of priceless gems? ;:]#Isq  
c gOkm}h  
Youth, whose soul sits on thy countenance, thyself wearing no mask, strive not to lift the masks of others! Be content with what thou seest; and wait until Time and Experience shall teach thee to find jealousy behind the sweet smile, and hatred under the honeyed word!’ XCd[<\l  
skP'- ^F~  
"This seemed to us a dark and bitter reflection; but one or another of us recalled some illustration of human hypocrisy, and the evidences, by the simple fact of repetition, gradually led to a division of opinion--Hollins, Shelldrake, and Miss Ringtop on the dark side, and the rest of us on the bright. The last, however, contented herself with quoting from her favorite poet, Gamaliel J. Gawthrop: [T(`+ #f  
K"jS,a?s 6  
        "`I look beyond thy brow’s concealment! 57Bxx__S4`  
         I see thy spirit’s dark revealment! >BZ,g!N,J}  
         Thy inner self betrayed I see: 9t!Agxm  
         Thy coward, craven, shivering me!’"`We think we know one another,’ exclaimed Hollins; `but do we? We see the faults of others, their weaknesses, their disagreeable qualities, and we keep silent. How much we should gain, were candor as universal as concealment! Then each one, seeing himself as others see him, would truly know himself. How much misunderstanding might be avoided--how much hidden shame be removed--hopeless, because unspoken, love made glad--honest admiration cheer its object--uttered sympathy mitigate misfortune--in short, how much brighter and happier the world would become if each one expressed, everywhere and at all times, his true and entire feeling! Why, even Evil would lose half its power!’ ji C2B  
"There seemed to be so much practical wisdom in these views that we were all dazzled and half-convinced at the start. So, when Hollins, turning towards me, as he continued, exclaimed--`Come, why should not this candor be adopted in our Arcadia? Will any one-- will you, Enos--commence at once by telling me now--to my face--my principal faults?’ I answered after a moment’s reflection--`You have a great deal of intellectual arrogance, and you are, physically, very indolent’ fw5+eTQ^  
"He did not flinch from the self-invited test, though he looked a little surprised.  tN.$4+  
"`Well put,’ said he, `though I do not say that you are entirely correct. Now, what are my merits?’ Mp=T;Nz  
"`You are clear-sighted,’ I answered, `an earnest seeker after truth, and courageous in the avowal of your thoughts.’ @!j6y (@  
"This restored the balance, and we soon began to confess our own private faults and weaknesses. Though the confessions did not go very deep,--no one betraying anything we did not all know already,--yet they were sufficient to strength Hollins in his new idea, and it was unanimously resolved that Candor should thenceforth be the main charm of our Arcadian life. It was the very thing _I_ wanted, in order to make a certain communication to Eunice; but I should probably never have reached the point, had not the same candor been exercised towards me, from a quarter where I least expected it. zb4{nzX=  
"The next day, Abel, who had resumed his researches after the True Food, came home to supper with a healthier color than I had before seen on his face. yPe9KN_  
"`Do you know,’ said he, looking shyly at Hollins, `that I begin to think Beer must be a natural beverage? There was an auction in the village to-day, as I passed through, and I stopped at a cake-stand to get a glass of water, as it was very hot. There was no water-- only beer: so I thought I would try a glass, simply as an experiment. Really, the flavor was very agreeable. And it occurred to me, on the way home, that all the elements contained in beer are vegetable. Besides, fermentation is a natural process. I think the question has never been properly tested before.’ 0VNpd~G$  
"`But the alcohol!’ exclaimed Hollins. $%!06w#u  
"`I could not distinguish any, either by taste or smell. I know that chemical analysis is said to show it; but may not the alcohol be created, somehow, during the analysis?’ pFiE2V_aS  
"`Abel,’ said Hollins, in a fresh burst of candor, `you will never be a Reformer, until you possess some of the commonest elements of knowledge.’ &gC)%*I 4  
"The rest of us were much diverted: it was a pleasant relief to our monotonous amiability. U}=H1f,  
"Abel, however, had a stubborn streak in his character. The next day he sent Perkins Brown to Bridgeport for a dozen bottles of `Beer.’ Perkins, either intentionally or by mistake, (I always suspected the former,) brought pint-bottles of Scotch ale, which he placed in the coolest part of the cellar. The evening happened to be exceedingly hot and sultry, and, as we were all fanning ourselves and talking languidly, Abel bethought him of his beer. In his thirst, he drank the contents of the first bottle, almost at a single draught. )hK;27m4  
"`The effect of beer,’ said he, `depends, I think, on the commixture of the nourishing principle of the grain with the cooling properties of the water. Perhaps, hereafter, a liquid food of the same character may be invented, which shall save us from mastication and all the diseases of the teeth.’ !t&C,@Ox  
"Hollins and Shelldrake, at his invitation, divided a bottle between them, and he took a second. The potent beverage was not long in acting on a brain so unaccustomed to its influence. He grew unusually talkative and sentimental, in a few minutes. rJcZ a#  
"`Oh, sing, somebody!’ he sighed in a hoarse rapture: `the night was made for Song.’ 2lBfc  
"Miss Ringtop, nothing loath, immediately commenced, `When stars are in the quiet skies;’ but scarcely had she finished the first verse before Abel interrupted her. A LnE[}N6,  
"`Candor’s the order of the day, isn’t it?’ he asked. YO^iEI.  
"`Yes!’ `Yes!’ two or three answered. 0al8%z9e@  
"`Well then,’ said he, `candidly, Pauline, you’ve got the darn’dest squeaky voice’-- ^."HD(  
"Miss Ringtop gave a faint little scream of horror. D@ji1$K  
"`Oh, never mind!’ he continued. `We act according to impulse, don’t we? And I’ve the impulse to swear; and it’s right. Let Nature have her way. Listen! Damn, damn, damn, damn! I never knew it was so easy. Why, there’s a pleasure in it! Try it, Pauline! try it on me!’ e< Ee2pGX  
"`Oh-ooh!’ was all Miss Ringtop could utter. =*'X  
"`Abel! Abel!’ exclaimed Hollins, `the beer has got into your head.’ qrX6FI  
"`No, it isn’t Beer,--it’s Candor!’ said Abel. `It’s your own proposal, Hollins. Suppose it’s evil to swear: isn’t it better I should express it, and be done with it, than keep it bottled up to ferment in my mind? Oh, you’re a precious, consistent old humbug, you are!’ i&LbSxUh9  
"And therewith he jumped off the stoop, and went dancing awkwardly down towards the water, singing in a most unmelodious voice, `’Tis home where’er the heart is.’ |F=^Cu,  
"`Oh, he may fall into the water!’ exclaimed Eunice, in alarm. l;C_A;y\  
"`He’s not fool enough to do that,’ said Shelldrake. `His head is a little light, that’s all. The air will cool him down presently.’ t>[r88v  
But she arose and followed him, not satisfied with this assurance. Miss Ringtop sat rigidly still. She would have received with composure the news of his drowning. 1 W0;YcT]  
"As Eunice’s white dress disappeared among the cedars crowning the shore, I sprang up and ran after her. I knew that Abel was not intoxicated, but simply excited, and I had no fear on his account: I obeyed an involuntary impulse. On approaching the water, I heard their voices--hers in friendly persuasion, his in sentimental entreaty,--then the sound of oars in the row-locks. Looking out from the last clump of cedars, I saw them seated in the boat, Eunice at the stern, while Abel, facing her, just dipped an oar now and then to keep from drifting with the tide. She had found him already in the boat, which was loosely chained to a stone. Stepping on one of the forward thwarts in her eagerness to persuade him to return, he sprang past her, jerked away the chain, and pushed off before she could escape. She would have fallen, but he caught her and placed her in the stern, and then seated himself at the oars. She must have been somewhat alarmed, but there was only indignation in her voice. All this had transpired before my arrival, and the first words I heard bound me to the spot and kept me silent. `9ox?|iJ  
"`Abel, what does this mean?’ she asked A ? M]5d  
hli 10p$  
"`It means Fate--Destiny!’ he exclaimed, rather wildly. `Ah, Eunice, ask the night, and the moon,--ask the impulse which told you to follow me! Let us be candid like the old Arcadians we imitate. Eunice, we know that we love each other: why should we conceal it any longer? The Angel of Love comes down from the stars on his azure wings, and whispers to our hearts. Let us confess to each other! The female heart should not be timid, in this pure and beautiful atmosphere of Love which we breathe. Come, Eunice! we are alone: let your heart speak to me!’ jJZsBOW[8  
"Ned, if you’ve ever been in love, (we’ll talk of that after a while,) you will easily understand what tortures I endured, in thus hearing him speak. That he should love Eunice! It was a profanation to her, an outrage to me. Yet the assurance with which he spoke! Could she love this conceited, ridiculous, repulsive fellow, after all? I almost gasped for breath, as I clinched the prickly boughs of the cedars in my hands, and set my teeth, waiting to hear her answer. :z.Y$]F@  
"`I will not hear such language! Take me back to the shore!’ she said, in very short, decided tones. xs'kO=  
"`Oh, Eunice,’ he groaned, (and now, I think he was perfectly sober,) `don’t you love me, indeed? _I_ love you,--from my heart I do: yes, I love you. Tell me how you feel towards me.’ N(:nF5>_  
19F ;oFp  
"`Abel,’ said she, earnestly, `I feel towards you only as a friend; and if you wish me to retain a friendly interest in you, you must never again talk in this manner. I do not love you, and I never shall. Let me go back to the house.’ C5es2!^-]O  
"His head dropped upon his breast, but he rowed back to the shore, drew the bow upon the rocks, and assisted her to land. Then, sitting down, he groaned forth-- b -PSm=`  
z. 'Fv7  
"`Oh, Eunice, you have broken my heart!’ and putting his big hands to his face, began to cry. :$Q`>k7A  
"She turned, placed one hand on his shoulder, and said in a calm, but kind tone-- }Al YNEY  
"`I am very sorry, Abel, but I cannot help it.’ tU :EN;H  
"I slipped aside, that she might not see me, and we returned by separate paths. #oni:]E!m  
p< "3&HA  
"I slept very little that night. The conviction which I chased away from my mind as often as it returned, that our Arcadian experiment was taking a ridiculous and at the same time impracticable development, became clearer and stronger. I felt sure that our little community could not hold together much longer without an explosion. I had a presentiment that Eunice shared my impressions. My feelings towards her had reached that crisis where a declaration was imperative: but how to make it? It was a terrible struggle between my shyness and my affection. There was another circumstance in connection with this subject, which troubled me not a little. Miss Ringtop evidently sought my company, and made me, as much as possible, the recipient of her sentimental outpourings. I was not bold enough to repel her-- indeed I had none of that tact which is so useful in such emergencies,--and she seemed to misinterpret my submission. Not only was her conversation pointedly directed to me, but she looked at me, when singing, (especially, `Thou, thou, reign’st in this bosom!’) in a way that made me feel very uncomfortable. What if Eunice should suspect an attachment towards her, on my part. What if--oh, horror!--I had unconsciously said or done something to impress Miss Ringtop herself with the same conviction? I shuddered as the thought crossed my mind. One thing was very certain: this suspense was not to be endured much longer. wV\gj~U;P  
"We had an unusually silent breakfast the next morning. Abel scarcely spoke, which the others attributed to a natural feeling of shame, after his display of the previous evening. Hollins and Shelldrake discussed Temperance, with a special view to his edification, and Miss Ringtop favored us with several quotations about `the maddening bowl,’--but he paid no attention to them. Eunice was pale and thoughtful. I had no doubt in my mind, that she was already contemplating a removal from Arcadia. Perkins, whose perceptive faculties were by no means dull, whispered to me, `Shan’t I bring up some porgies for supper?’ but I shook my head. I was busy with other thoughts, and did not join him in the wood, that day. b2b?hA'k  
"The forenoon was overcast, with frequent showers. Each one occupied his or her room until dinner-time, when we met again with something of the old geniality. There was an evident effort to restore our former flow of good feeling. Abel’s experience with the beer was freely discussed. He insisted strongly that he had not been laboring under its effects, and proposed a mutual test. He, Shelldrake, and Hollins were to drink it in equal measures, and compare observations as to their physical sensations. The others agreed,--quite willingly, I thought,--but I refused. I had determined to make a desperate attempt at candor, and Abel’s fate was fresh before my eyes. a7N!B'y  
"My nervous agitation increased during the day, and after sunset, fearing lest I should betray my excitement in some way, I walked down to the end of the promontory, and took a seat on the rocks. The sky had cleared, and the air was deliciously cool and sweet. The Sound was spread out before me like a sea, for the Long Island shore was veiled in a silvery mist. My mind was soothed and calmed by the influences of the scene, until the moon arose. Moonlight, you know, disturbs--at least, when one is in love. (Ah, Ned, I see you understand it!) I felt blissfully miserable, ready to cry with joy at the knowledge that I loved, and with fear and vexation at my cowardice, at the same time. "I(xgx*  
"Suddenly I heard a rustling beside me. Every nerve in my body tingled, and I turned my head, with a beating and expectant heart. Pshaw! It was Miss Ringtop, who spread her blue dress on the rock beside me, and shook back her long curls, and sighed, as she gazed at the silver path of the moon on the water. `^)jLuyu  
"`Oh, how delicious!’ she cried. `How it seems to set the spirit free, and we wander off on the wings of Fancy to other spheres!’ ]jo1{IcI  
"`Yes,’ said I, `It is very beautiful, but sad, when one is alone.’ AP'*Nh@Ik(  
"I was thinking of Eunice. -p]1=@A<}  
"`How inadequate,’ she continued, `is language to express the emotions which such a scene calls up in the bosom! Poetry alone is the voice of the spiritual world, and we, who are not poets, must borrow the language of the gifted sons of Song. Oh, Enos, I wish you were a poet! But you feel poetry, I know you do. I have seen it in your eyes, when I quoted the burning lines of Adeliza Kelley, or the soul-breathings of Gamaliel J. Gawthrop. In him, particularly, I find the voice of my own nature. Do you know his `Night-Whispers?’ How it embodies the feelings of such a scene as this! I&}L*Z?`  
        "Star-drooping bowers bending down the spaces, {MtpkUN  
         And moonlit glories sweep star-footed on; v\KA'PmiP  
         And pale, sweet rivers, in their shining races, <;vbsksZeH  
         Are ever gliding through the moonlit places, ?oVx2LdD|  
         With silver ripples on their tranced faces, r[2ILe  
    And forests clasp their dusky hands, with low and sullen moan!’"`Ah!’ she continued, as I made no reply, `this is an hour for the soul to unveil its most secret chambers! Do you not think, Enos, that love rises superior to all conventionalities? that those whose souls are in unison should be allowed to reveal themselves to each other, regardless of the world’s opinions?’ =y [M\m  
"`Yes!’ said I, earnestly. w\(.3W7  
\ Pj  
"`Enos, do you understand me?’ she asked, in a tender voice--almost a whisper. M!/Cknm  
"`Yes,’ said I, with a blushing confidence of my own passion. yKa{08X:  
~io szX  
"`Then,’ she whispered, `our hearts are wholly in unison. I know you are true, Enos. I know your noble nature, and I will never doubt you. This is indeed happiness!’ r[4tPk  
/ c AUl  
"And therewith she laid her head on my shoulder, and sighed-- cc~O&?)i  
        "`Life remits his tortures cruel, auK?](U  
         Love illumes his fairest fuel, h*w%jdQ6  
         When the hearts that once were dual El.hu%#n*G  
         Meet as one, in sweet renewal!’"`Miss Ringtop!’ I cried, starting away from her, in alarm, `you don’t mean that--that--’ r:f[mk"-"A  
"I could not finish the sentence. pR(jglm7-  
"`Yes, Enos, dear Enos! henceforth we belong to each other.’ CyS$|E  
 _zY# U9  
"The painful embarrassment I felt, as her true meaning shot through my mind, surpassed anything I had imagined, or experienced in anticipation, when planning how I should declare myself to Eunice. Miss Ringtop was at least ten years older than I, far from handsome (but you remember her face,) and so affectedly sentimental, that I, sentimental as I was then, was sick of hearing her talk. Her hallucination was so monstrous, and gave me such a shock of desperate alarm, that I spoke, on the impulse of the moment, with great energy, without regarding how her feelings might be wounded. $ `ov4W  
`7c~m ypx  
"`You mistake!’ I exclaimed. `I didn’t mean that,--I didn’t understand you. Don’t talk to me that way,--don’t look at me in that way, Miss Ringtop! We were never meant for each other--I wasn’t----You’re so much older--I mean different. It can’t be--no, it can never be! Let us go back to the house: the night is cold.’ SW H2  
"I rose hastily to my feet. She murmured something,--what, I did not stay to hear,--but, plunging through the cedars, was hurrying with all speed to the house, when, half-way up the lawn, beside one of the rocky knobs, I met Eunice, who was apparently on her way to join us. ZT'`hK_up  
In my excited mood, after the ordeal through which I had passed, everything seemed easy. My usual timidity was blown to the four winds. I went directly to her, took her hand, and said-- &TnS4O  
"`Eunice, the others are driving me mad with their candor; will you let me be candid, too?’ j:^#rFD4?  
bh s5x  
"`I think you are always candid, Enos,’ she answered. n#/_Nz  
f& 0M*o,)  
"Even then, if I had hesitated, I should have been lost. But I went on, without pausing-- "C?#SO B  
"`Eunice, I love you--I have loved you since we first met. I came here that I might be near you; but I must leave you forever, and to-night, unless you can trust your life in my keeping. God help me, since we have been together I have lost my faith in almost everything but you. Pardon me, if I am impetuous--different from what I have seemed. I have struggled so hard to speak! I have been a coward, Eunice, because of my love. But now I have spoken, from my heart of hearts. Look at me: I can bear it now. Read the truth in my eyes, before you answer.’ OL5v).Bb  
b>_o xK  
"I felt her hand tremble while I spoke. As she turned towards me her face, which had been averted, the moon shone full upon it, and I saw that tears were upon her cheeks. What was said--whether anything was said--I cannot tell. I felt the blessed fact, and that was enough. That was the dawning of the true Arcadia." JROM_>mC  
Mrs. Billings, who had been silent during this recital, took her husband’s hand and smiled. Mr. Johnson felt a dull pang about the region of his heart. If he had a secret, however, I do not feel justified in betraying it. vQ<90Z xqB  
g wz7krUTe  
"It was late," Mr. Billings continued, "before we returned to the house. I had a special dread of again encountering Miss Ringtop, but she was wandering up and down the bluff, under the pines, singing, `The dream is past.’ There was a sound of loud voices, as we approached the stoop. Hollins, Shelldrake and his wife, and Abel Mallory were sitting together near the door. Perkins Brown, as usual, was crouched on the lowest step, with one leg over the other, and rubbing the top of his boot with a vigor which betrayed to me some secret mirth. He looked up at me from under his straw hat with the grin of a malicious Puck, glanced towards the group, and made a curious gesture with his thumb. There were several empty pint-bottles on the stoop. |nbf'  
"`Now, are you sure you can bear the test?’ we heard Hollins ask, as we approached. %ThyOl@O  
"`Bear it? Why to be sure!’ replied Shelldrake; `if I couldn’t bear it, or if you couldn’t, your theory’s done for. Try! I can stand it as long as you can.’ L f"i !  
"`Well, then,’ said Hollins, `I think you are a very ordinary man. I derive no intellectual benefit from my intercourse with you, but your house is convenient to me. I’m under no obligations for your hospitality, however, because my company is an advantage to you. Indeed if I were treated according to my deserts, you couldn’t do enough for me.’ >*-FV{{  
"Mrs. Shelldrake was up in arms. lqowG!3H  
"`Indeed,’ she exclaimed, `I think you get as good as you deserve, and more too.’ %*o8L6Hn  
"`Elvira,’ said he, with a benevolent condescension, `I have no doubt you think so, for your mind belongs to the lowest and most material sphere. You have your place in Nature, and you fill it; but it is not for you to judge of intelligences which move only on the upper planes.’ ygS L  
"`Hollins,’ said Shelldrake, `Elviry’s a good wife and a sensible woman, and I won’t allow you to turn up your nose at her.’ S'U@X  
"`I am not surprised,’ he answered, `that you should fail to stand the test. I didn’t expect it.’ &hV Zx  
"`Let me try it on you!’ cried Shelldrake. `You, now, have some intellect,--I don’t deny that,--but not so much, by a long shot, as you think you have. Besides that, you’re awfully selfish in your opinions. You won’t admit that anybody can be right who differs from you. You’ve sponged on me for a long time; but I suppose I’ve learned something from you, so we’ll call it even. I think, however, that what you call acting according to impulse is simply an excuse to cover your own laziness.’ %*)2s,8  
"`Gosh! that’s it!’ interrupted Perkins, jumping up; then, recollecting himself, he sank down on the steps again, and shook with a suppressed `Ho! ho! ho!’ ,9ml>ji`=  
"Hollins, however, drew himself up with an exasperated air. ;?im(9h"v!  
"`Shelldrake,’ said he, `I pity you. I always knew your ignorance, but I thought you honest in your human character. I never suspected you of envy and malice. However, the true Reformer must expect to be misunderstood and misrepresented by meaner minds. That love which I bear to all creatures teaches me to forgive you. Without such love, all plans of progress must fail. Is it not so, Abel?’ ~|=rwDBZ8l  
"Shelldrake could only ejaculate the words, `Pity!’ `Forgive?’ in his most contemptuous tone; while Mrs. Shelldrake, rocking violently in her chair, gave utterance to that peculiar clucking, `ts, ts, ts, ts,’ whereby certain women express emotions too deep for words. 6#?NL ]A  
"Abel, roused by Hollins’s question, answered, with a sudden energy-- `J]<_0kX}%  
k>$FT `  
"`Love! there is no love in the world. Where will you find it? Tell me, and I’ll go there. Love! I’d like to see it! If all human hearts were like mine, we might have an Arcadia; but most men have no hearts. The world is a miserable, hollow, deceitful shell of vanity and hypocrisy. No: let us give up. We were born before our time: this age is not worthy of us.’  W{L  
xI-=t ib  
"Hollins stared at the speaker in utter amazement. Shelldrake gave a long whistle, and finally gasped out-- deR$  
V%X:1 8j  
"`Well, what next?’ GInZ53cQ  
"None of us were prepared for such a sudden and complete wreck of our Arcadian scheme. The foundations had been sapped before, it is true; but we had not perceived it; and now, in two short days, the whole edifice tumbled about our ears. Though it was inevitable, we felt a shock of sorrow, and a silence fell upon us. Only that scamp of a Perkins Brown, chuckling and rubbing his boot, really rejoiced. I could have kicked him. !I~C\$^U  
"We all went to bed, feeling that the charm of our Arcadian life was over. I was so full of the new happiness of love that I was scarcely conscious of regret. I seemed to have leaped at once into responsible manhood, and a glad rush of courage filled me at the knowledge that my own heart was a better oracle than those--now so shamefully overthrown--on whom I had so long implicitly relied. In the first revulsion of feeling, I was perhaps unjust to my associates. I see now, more clearly, the causes of those vagaries, which originated in a genuine aspiration, and failed from an ignorance of the true nature of Man, quite as much as from the egotism of the individuals. Other attempts at reorganizing Society were made about the same time by men of culture and experience, but in the A. C. we had neither. Our leaders had caught a few half- truths, which, in their minds, were speedily warped into errors. I can laugh over the absurdities I helped to perpetrate, but I must confess that the experiences of those few weeks went far towards making a man of me." JA SR  
"Did the A. C. break up at once?" asked Mr. Johnson. Ddm76LS  
"Not precisely; though Eunice and I left the house within two days, as we had agreed. We were not married immediately, however. Three long years--years of hope and mutual encouragement--passed away before that happy consummation. Before our departure, Hollins had fallen into his old manner, convinced, apparently, that Candor must be postponed to a better age of the world. But the quarrel rankled in Shelldrake’s mind, and especially in that of his wife. I could see by her looks and little fidgety ways that his further stay would be very uncomfortable. Abel Mallory, finding himself gaining in weight and improving in color, had no thought of returning. The day previous, as I afterwards learned, he had discovered Perkins Brown’s secret kitchen in the woods. |IcxegE  
"`Golly!’ said that youth, in describing the circumstance to me, `I had to ketch two porgies that day.’ 4Ig{#}<  
"Miss Ringtop, who must have suspected the new relation between Eunice and myself, was for the most part rigidly silent. If she quoted, it was from the darkest and dreariest utterances of her favorite Gamaliel. \HQb#f,  
"What happened after our departure I learned from Perkins, on the return of the Shelldrakes to Norridgeport, in September. Mrs. Shelldrake stoutly persisted in refusing to make Hollins’s bed, or to wash his shirts. Her brain was dull, to be sure; but she was therefore all the more stubborn in her resentment. He bore this state of things for about a week, when his engagements to lecture in Ohio suddenly called him away. Abel and Miss Ringtop were left to wander about the promontory in company, and to exchange lamentations on the hollowness of human hopes or the pleasures of despair. Whether it was owing to that attraction of sex which would make any man and any woman, thrown together on a desert island, finally become mates, or whether she skilfully ministered to Abel’s sentimental vanity, I will not undertake to decide: but the fact is, they were actually betrothed, on leaving Arcadia. I think he would willingly have retreated, after his return to the world; but that was not so easy. Miss Ringtop held him with an inexorable clutch. They were not married, however, until just before his departure for California, whither she afterwards followed him. She died in less than a year, and left him free." f -nC+   
"And what became of the other Arcadians?" asked Mr. Johnson. YY<?w  
>qvD3 9w  
"The Shelldrakes are still living in Norridgeport. They have become Spiritualists, I understand, and cultivate Mediums. Hollins, when I last heard of him, was a Deputy-Surveyor in the New York Custom-House. Perkins Brown is our butcher here in Waterbury, and he often asks me--`Do you take chloride of soda on your beefsteaks?’ He is as fat as a prize ox, and the father of five children." 2`U&,,-Mf  
"a{f? .X.  
"Enos!" exclaimed Mrs. Billings, looking at the clock, "it’s nearly midnight! Mr. Johnson must be very tired, after such a long story. 5c7a\J9>  
The Chapter of the A. C. is hereby closed!" HI 61rXNF  

只看该作者 19楼 发表于: 2012-07-14
Tales From Home. 'yuM=Pb  
Friend Eli’s Daughter ]@)T]  
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  I. #n&/yYl9(l  
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The mild May afternoon was drawing to a close, as Friend Eli Mitch- '6U~|d  
enor reached the top of the long hill, and halted a few minutes, to allow his horse time to recover breath. He also heaved a sigh of satisfaction, as he saw again the green, undulating valley of the Neshaminy, with its dazzling squares of young wheat, its brown patches of corn-land, its snowy masses of blooming orchard, and the huge, fountain like jets of weeping willow, half concealing the gray stone fronts of the farm-houses. He had been absent from home only six days, but the time seemed almost as long to him as a three years’ cruise to a New Bedford whaleman. The peaceful seclusion and pastoral beauty of the scene did not consciously appeal to his senses; but he quietly noted how much the wheat had grown during his absence, that the oats were up and looking well, that Friend Comly’s meadow had been ploughed, and Friend Martin had built his half of the line-fence along the top of the hill-field. If any smothered delight in the loveliness of the spring-time found a hiding-place anywhere in the well-ordered chambers of his heart, it never relaxed or softened the straight, inflexible lines of his face. As easily could his collarless drab coat and waistcoat have flushed with a sudden gleam of purple or crimson. _hP siZY9  
3#fu; ??1.  
Eli Mitchenor was at peace with himself and the world--that is, so much of the world as he acknowledged. Beyond the community of his own sect, and a few personal friends who were privileged to live on its borders, he neither knew nor cared to know much more of the human race than if it belonged to a planet farther from the sun. In the discipline of the Friends he was perfect; he was privileged to sit on the high seats, with the elders of the Society; and the travelling brethren from other States, who visited Bucks County, invariably blessed his house with a family-meeting. His farm was one of the best on the banks of the Neshaminy, and he also enjoyed the annual interest of a few thousand dollars, carefully secured by mortgages on real estate. His wife, Abigail, kept even pace with him in the consideration she enjoyed within the limits of the sect; and his two children, Moses and Asenath, vindicated the paternal training by the strictest sobriety of dress and conduct. Moses wore the plain coat, even when his ways led him among "the world’s people;" and Asenath had never been known to wear, or to express a desire for, a ribbon of a brighter tint than brown or fawn-color. Friend Mitchenor had thus gradually ripened to his sixtieth year in an atmosphere of life utterly placid and serene, and looked forward with confidence to the final change, as a translation into a deeper calm, a serener quiet, a prosperous eternity of mild voices, subdued colors, and suppressed emotions. 3$Ecq|4J:  
/4 zO  
He was returning home, in his own old-fashioned "chair," with its heavy square canopy and huge curved springs, from the Yearly Meeting of the Hicksite Friends, in Philadelphia. The large bay farm-horse, slow and grave in his demeanor, wore his plain harness with an air which made him seem, among his fellow-horses, the counterpart of his master among men. He would no more have thought of kicking than the latter would of swearing a huge oath. Even now, when the top of the hill was gained, and he knew that he was within a mile of the stable which had been his home since colthood, he showed no undue haste or impatience, but waited quietly, until Friend Mitchenor, by a well-known jerk of the lines, gave him the signal to go on. Obedient to the motion, he thereupon set forward once more, jogging soberly down the eastern slope of the hill,-- across the covered bridge, where, in spite of the tempting level of the hollow-sounding floor, he was as careful to abstain from trotting as if he had read the warning notice,--along the wooded edge of the green meadow, where several cows of his acquaintance were grazing,--and finally, wheeling around at the proper angle, halted squarely in front of the gate which gave entrance to the private lane. i!zh9,i>M  
The old stone house in front, the spring-house in a green little hollow just below it, the walled garden, with its clumps of box and lilac, and the vast barn on the left, all joining in expressing a silent welcome to their owner, as he drove up the lane. Moses, a man of twenty-five, left his work in the garden, and walked forward in his shirt-sleeves. MFHPh8P  
"Well, father, how does thee do?" was his quiet greeting, as they shook hands. ?{#P.2  
"How’s mother, by this time?" asked Eli. / /qTMxn  
"Oh, thee needn’t have been concerned," said the son. "There she is. Go in: I’ll tend to the horse." wpY%"x#-+=  
Abigail and her daughter appeared on the piazza. The mother was a woman of fifty, thin and delicate in frame, but with a smooth, placid beauty of countenance which had survived her youth. She was dressed in a simple dove-colored gown, with book-muslin cap and handkerchief, so scrupulously arranged that one might have associated with her for six months without ever discovering a spot on the former, or an uneven fold in the latter. Asenath, who followed, was almost as plainly attired, her dress being a dark- blue calico, while a white pasteboard sun-bonnet, with broad cape, covered her head. :<ujk  
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"Well, Abigail, how art thou?" said Eli, quietly giving his hand to his wife. lDp5aT;DsM  
"I’m glad to see thee back," was her simple welcome. J>hl&J  
( Y/ DMQ  
No doubt they had kissed each other as lovers, but Asenath had witnessed this manifestation of affection but once in her life-- after the burial of a younger sister. The fact impressed her with a peculiar sense of sanctity and solemnity: it was a caress wrung forth by a season of tribulation, and therefore was too earnest to be profaned to the uses of joy. So far, therefore, from expecting a paternal embrace, she would have felt, had it been given, like the doomed daughter of the Gileadite, consecrated to sacrifice. *WX6C("M  
B>?. Nr  
Both she and her mother were anxious to hear the proceedings of the meeting, and to receive personal news of the many friends whom Eli had seen; but they asked few questions until the supper-table was ready and Moses had come in from the barn. The old man enjoyed talking, but it must be in his own way and at his own good time. They must wait until the communicative spirit should move him. With the first cup of coffee the inspiration came. Hovering at first over indifferent details, he gradually approached those of more importance,--told of the addresses which had been made, the points of discipline discussed, the testimony borne, and the appearance and genealogy of any new Friends who had taken a prominent part therein. Finally, at the close of his relation, he said-- 7z%zXDe~T[  
2^ UFP+Yw  
"Abigail, there is one thing I must talk to thee about. Friend Speakman’s partner,--perhaps thee’s heard of him, Richard Hilton,-- has a son who is weakly. He’s two or three years younger than Moses. His mother was consumptive, and they’re afraid he takes after her. His father wants to send him into the country for the summer--to some place where he’ll have good air, and quiet, and moderate exercise, and Friend Speakman spoke of us. I thought I’d mention it to thee, and if thee thinks well of it, we can send word down next week, when Josiah Comly goes" AE7>jkHB  
% ;6e@U}  
"What does thee think?" asked his wife, after a pause }A2@1TTPX  
"He’s a very quiet, steady young man, Friend Speakman says, and would be very little trouble to thee. I thought perhaps his board would buy the new yoke of oxen we must have in the fall, and the price of the fat ones might go to help set up Moses. But it’s for thee to decide." pGsVO5M?  
"I suppose we could take him," said Abigail, seeing that the decision was virtually made already; "there’s the corner room, which we don’t often use. Only, if he should get worse on our hands--" (D~mmffY1  
"Friend Speakman says there’s no danger. He is only weak-breasted, as yet, and clerking isn’t good for him. I saw the young man at the store. If his looks don’t belie him, he’s well-behaved and orderly." `Y+p7*Qr2  
So it was settled that Richard Hilton the younger was to be an inmate of Friend Mitchenor’s house during the summer. TNiF l hq  
II. G?YKm1:w   
At the end of ten days he came. qfG`H#cA<  
In the under-sized, earnest, dark-haired and dark-eyed young man of three-and-twenty, Abigail Mitchenor at once felt a motherly interest. Having received him as a temporary member of the family, she considered him entitled to the same watchful care as if he were in reality an invalid son. The ice over an hereditary Quaker nature is but a thin crust, if one knows how to break it; and in Richard Hilton’s case, it was already broken before his arrival. His only embarrassment, in fact, arose from the difficulty which he naturally experienced in adapting himself to the speech and address of the Mitchenor family. The greetings of old Eli, grave, yet kindly, of Abigail, quaintly familiar and tender, of Moses, cordial and slightly condescending, and finally of Asenath, simple and natural to a degree which impressed him like a new revelation in woman, at once indicated to him his position among them. His city manners, he felt, instinctively, must be unlearned, or at least laid aside for a time. Yet it was not easy for him to assume, at such short notice, those of his hosts. Happening to address Asenath as "Miss Mitchenor," Eli turned to him with a rebuking face. s#-`,jqD  
"We do not use compliments, Richard," said he; "my daughter’s name is Asenath. F@)wi0  
Pur~Rz\ \  
"I beg pardon. I will try to accustom myself to your ways, since you have been so kind as to take me for a while," apologized Richard Hilton. Fr`"XH  
"Thee’s under no obligation to us," said Friend Mitchenor, in his strict sense of justice; "thee pays for what thee gets." 2? 9*V19yu  
The finer feminine instinct of Abigail led her to interpose. 0' j/ 9vm  
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"We’ll not expect too much of thee, at first, Richard," she remarked, with a kind expression of face, which had the effect of a smile: "but our ways are plain and easily learned. Thee knows, perhaps, that we’re no respecters of persons." X^Dklqqy  
It was some days, however, before the young man could overcome his natural hesitation at the familiarity implied by these new forms of speech. "Friend Mitchenor" and "Moses" were not difficult to learn, but it seemed a want of respect to address as "Abigail" a woman of such sweet and serene dignity as the mother, and he was fain to avoid either extreme by calling her, with her cheerful permission, "Aunt Mitchenor." On the other hand, his own modest and unobtrusive nature soon won the confidence and cordial regard of the family. He occasionally busied himself in the garden, by way of exercise, or accompanied Moses to the corn-field or the woodland on the hill, but was careful never to interfere at inopportune times, and willing to learn silently, by the simple process of looking on. Pk{eGG<F$  
One afternoon, as he was idly sitting on the stone wall which separated the garden from the lane, Asenath, attired in a new gown of chocolate-colored calico, with a double-handled willow work- basket on her arm, issued from the house. As she approached him, she paused and said-- AX{X:L8Ut2  
Q# Yba  
"The time seems to hang heavy on thy hands, Richard. If thee’s strong enough to walk to the village and back, it might do thee more good than sitting still." gJFx#s0?6.  
Richard Hilton at once jumped down from the wall. ]#sF pWI[N  
  -]. a0  
"Certainly I am able to go," said he, "if you will allow it." 5HC5   
"Haven’t I asked thee?" was her quiet reply. e'|IRhr  
"Let me carry your basket," he said, suddenly, after they had walked, side by side, some distance down the lane. watTV\b  
"Indeed, I shall not let thee do that. I’m only going for the mail, and some little things at the store, that make no weight at all. Thee mustn’t think I’m like the young women in the city, who, I’m told, if they buy a spool of Cotton, must have it sent home to them. Besides, thee mustn’t over-exert thy strength." qpjiQ,\:b  
A ^t _"J  
Richard Hilton laughed merrily at the gravity with which she uttered the last sentence. Uz=o l.E  
A-, hm=?  
"Why, Miss--Asenath, I mean--what am I good for; if I have not strength enough to carry a basket?" /([a%,DI  
"Thee’s a man, I know, and I think a man would almost as lief be thought wicked as weak. Thee can’t help being weakly-inclined, and it’s only right that thee should be careful of thyself. There’s surely nothing in that that thee need be ashamed of." )L7[;(gQ  
While thus speaking, Asenath moderated her walk, in order, unconsciously to her companion, to restrain his steps. `t44.=%  
"Oh, there are the dog’s-tooth violets in blossom?" she exclaimed, pointing to a shady spot beside the brook; "does thee know them?" 65VTKlDD  
<AiE~l| D  
Richard immediately gathered and brought to her a handful of the nodding yellow bells, trembling above their large, cool, spotted leaves. m6H+4@Z-;(  
"How beautiful they are!" said he; "but I should never have taken them for violets." 0B2f[A  
"They are misnamed," she answered. "The flower is an Erythronium; but I am accustomed to the common name, and like it. Did thee ever study botany?" /Tw $} 8  
"Not at all. I can tell a geranium, when I see it, and I know a heliotrope by the smell. I could never mistake a red cabbage for a rose, and I can recognize a hollyhock or a sunflower at a considerable distance. The wild flowers are all strangers to me; I wish I knew something about them." )G#O#Yy  
"If thee’s fond of flowers, it would be very easy to learn. I think a study of this kind would pleasantly occupy thy mind. Why couldn’t thee try? I would be very willing to teach thee what little I know. It’s not much, indeed, but all thee wants is a start. See, I will show thee how simple the principles are." bp P3#~ K  
[|L~" BB  
Taking one of the flowers from the bunch, Asenath, as they slowly walked forward, proceeded to dissect it, explained the mysteries of stamens and pistils, pollen, petals, and calyx, and, by the time they had reached the village, had succeeded in giving him a general idea of the Linnaean system of classification. His mind took hold of the subject with a prompt and profound interest. It was a new and wonderful world which suddenly opened before him. How surprised he was to learn that there were signs by which a poisonous herb could be detected from a wholesome one, that cedars and pine-trees blossomed, that the gray lichens on the rocks belonged to the vegetable kingdom! His respect for Asenath’s knowledge thrust quite out of sight the restraint which her youth and sex had imposed upon him. She was teacher, equal, friend; and the simple candid manner which was the natural expression of her dignity and purity thoroughly harmonized with this relation. m Wh   
Although, in reality, two or three years younger than he, Asenath had a gravity of demeanor, a calm self-possession, a deliberate balance of mind, and a repose of the emotional nature, which he had never before observed, except in much older women. She had had, as he could well imagine, no romping girlhood, no season of careless, light-hearted dalliance with opening life, no violent alternation even of the usual griefs and joys of youth. The social calm in which she had expanded had developed her nature as gently and securely as a sea-flower is unfolded below the reach of tides and storms. l1" *  
She would have been very much surprised if any one had called her handsome: yet her face had a mild, unobtrusive beauty which seemed to grow and deepen from day to day. Of a longer oval than the Greek standard, it was yet as harmonious in outline; the nose was fine and straight, the dark-blue eyes steady and untroubled, and the lips calmly, but not too firmly closed. Her brown hair, parted over a high white forehead, was smoothly laid across the temples, drawn behind the ears, and twisted into a simple knot. The white cape and sun-bonnet gave her face a nun-like character, which set her apart, in the thoughts of "the world’s people" whom she met, as one sanctified for some holy work. She might have gone around the world, repelling every rude word, every bold glance, by the protecting atmosphere of purity and truth which inclosed her. qnTW?c9Z5  
The days went by, each bringing some new blossom to adorn and illustrate the joint studies of the young man and maiden. For Richard Hilton had soon mastered the elements of botany, as taught by Priscilla Wakefield,--the only source of Asenath’s knowledge,-- and entered, with her, upon the text-book of Gray, a copy of which he procured from Philadelphia. Yet, though he had overtaken her in his knowledge of the technicalities of the science, her practical acquaintance with plants and their habits left her still his superior. Day by day, exploring the meadows, the woods, and the clearings, he brought home his discoveries to enjoy her aid in classifying and assigning them to their true places. Asenath had generally an hour or two of leisure from domestic duties in the afternoons, or after the early supper of summer was over; and sometimes, on "Seventh-days," she would be his guide to some locality where the rarer plants were known to exist. The parents saw this community of interest and exploration without a thought of misgiving. They trusted their daughter as themselves; or, if any possible fear had flitted across their hearts, it was allayed by the absorbing delight with which Richard Hilton pursued his study. An earnest discussion as to whether a certain leaf was ovate or lanceolate, whether a certain plant belonged to the species scandens or canadensis, was, in their eyes, convincing proof that the young brains were touched, and therefore not the young hearts. ,w$:=;i  
But love, symbolized by a rose-bud, is emphatically a botanical emotion. A sweet, tender perception of beauty, such as this study requires, or develops, is at once the most subtile and certain chain of communication between impressible natures. Richard Hilton, feeling that his years were numbered, had given up, in despair, his boyish dreams, even before he understood them: his fate seemed to preclude the possibility of love. But, as he gained a little strength from the genial season, the pure country air, and the release from gloomy thoughts which his rambles afforded, the end was farther removed, and a future--though brief, perhaps, still a future--began to glimmer before him. If this could be his life,--an endless summer, with a search for new plants every morning, and their classification every evening, with Asenath’s help on the shady portico of Friend Mitchenor’s house,--he could forget his doom, and enjoy the blessing of life unthinkingly. "-:-!1;Ji  
The azaleas succeeded to the anemones, the orchis and trillium followed, then the yellow gerardias and the feathery purple pogonias, and finally the growing gleam of the golden-rods along the wood-side and the red umbels of the tall eupatoriums in the meadow announced the close of summer. One evening, as Richard, in displaying his collection, brought to view the blood-red leaf of a gum-tree, Asenath exclaimed-- c)4L3W-x=  
rk &ME#<r  
"Ah, there is the sign! It is early, this year." z-_$P)[c  
"What sign?" he asked. `#4q7v~>oe  
"That the summer is over. We shall soon have frosty nights, and then nothing will be left for us except the asters and gentians and golden-rods." A<IV"bo  
Was the time indeed so near? A few more weeks, and this Arcadian life would close. He must go back to the city, to its rectilinear streets, its close brick walls, its artificial, constrained existence. How could he give up the peace, the contentment, the hope he had enjoyed through the summer? The question suddenly took a more definite form in his mind: How could he give up Asenath? Yes--the quiet, unsuspecting girl, sitting beside him, with her lap full of the September blooms he had gathered, was thenceforth a part of his inmost life. Pure and beautiful as she was, almost sacred in his regard, his heart dared to say--"I need her and claim her!" AoY!f'Z  
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"Thee looks pale to-night, Richard," said Abigail, as they took their seats at the supper-table. "I hope thee has not taken cold." kOC0d,  
III. |:,`dQfw  
SLp nVD:'1  
"Will thee go along, Richard? I know where the rudbeckias grow," said Asenath, on the following "Seventh-day" afternoon. P + C5 s  
L3 KJ~LI  
They crossed the meadows, and followed the course of the stream, under its canopy of magnificent ash and plane trees, into a brake between the hills. It was an almost impenetrable thicket, spangled with tall autumnal flowers. The eupatoriums, with their purple crowns, stood like young trees, with an undergrowth of aster and blue spikes of lobelia, tangled in a golden mesh of dodder. A strong, mature odor, mixed alike of leaves and flowers, and very different from the faint, elusive sweetness of spring, filled the air. The creek, with a few faded leaves dropped upon its bosom, and films of gossamer streaming from its bushy fringe, gurgled over the pebbles in its bed. Here and there, on its banks, shone the deep yellow stars of the flower they sought. 'pO-h,{TS  
Richard Hilton walked as in a dream, mechanically plucking a stem of rudbeckia, only to toss it, presently, into the water. ] ;HCt=I~  
"Why, Richard! what’s thee doing?" cried Asenath; "thee has thrown away the very best specimen." ub+XgNO  
"Let it go," he answered, sadly. "I am afraid everything else is thrown away." IYH4@v/#  
"What does thee mean?" she asked, with a look of surprised and anxious inquiry. M-q5Jfm  
"Don’t ask me, Asenath. Or--yes, I will tell you. I must say it to you now, or never afterwards. Do you know what a happy life I’ve been leading since I came here?--that I’ve learned what life is, as if I’d never known it before? I want to live, Asenath,--and do you know why?" ;d]vAj  
"I hope thee will live, Richard," she said, gently and tenderly, her deep-blue eyes dim with the mist of unshed tears. ,Z! I^  
"But, Asenath, how am I to live without you? But you can’t understand that, because you do not know what you are to me. No, you never guessed that all this while I’ve been loving you more and more, until now I have no other idea of death than not to see you, not to love you, not to share your life!" x(~V7L>"i  
"Oh, Richard!" dX[ Xe  
"I knew you would be shocked, Asenath. I meant to have kept this to myself. You never dreamed of it, and I had no right to disturb the peace of your heart. The truth is told now,--and I cannot take it back, if I wished. But if you cannot love, you can forgive me for loving you--forgive me now and every day of my life." Xd1+?2  
yWr &G@>G  
He uttered these words with a passionate tenderness, standing on the edge of the stream, and gazing into its waters. His slight frame trembled with the violence of his emotion. Asenath, who had become very pale as he commenced to speak, gradually flushed over neck and brow as she listened. Her head drooped, the gathered flowers fell from her hands, and she hid her face. For a few minutes no sound was heard but the liquid gurgling of the water, and the whistle of a bird in the thicket beside them. Richard Hilton at last turned, and, in a voice of hesitating entreaty, pronounced her name-- ~i>'3j0@k  
"Asenath!" !wro7ilMB  
She took away her hands, and slowly lifted her face. She was pale, but her eyes met his with a frank, appealing, tender expression, which caused his heart to stand still a moment. He read no reproach, no faintest thought of blame; but--was it pity?--was it pardon?--or---- B{V(g"dM  
+ ^4HCyW  
"We stand before God, Richard," said she, in a low, sweet, solemn tone. "He knows that I do not need to forgive thee. If thee requires it, I also require His forgiveness for myself." ip*UujmNyR  
jZq CM{  
Though a deeper blush now came to cheek and brow, she met his gaze with the bravery of a pure and innocent heart. Richard, stunned with the sudden and unexpected bliss, strove to take the full consciousness of it into a being which seemed too narrow to contain it. His first impulse was to rush forward, clasp her passionately in his arms, and hold her in the embrace which encircled, for him, the boundless promise of life; but she stood there, defenceless, save in her holy truth and trust, and his heart bowed down and gave her reverence. ESkhCDU  
"Asenath," said he, at last, "I never dared to hope for this. God bless you for those words! Can you trust me?--can you indeed love me?" l>@){zxL  
"I can trust thee,--I do love thee!" ^e1mK4`  
They clasped each other’s hands in one long, clinging pressure. No kiss was given, but side by side they walked slowly up the dewy meadows, in happy and hallowed silence. Asenath’s face became troubled as the old farmhouse appeared through the trees. KvuM{UI5  
"Father and mother must know of this, Richard," said she. "I am afraid it may be a cross to them." rZG6}<Hx  
The same fear had already visited his own mind, but he answered, cheerfully-- BMovl4*5  
yU< "tgE  
"I hope not. I think I have taken a new lease of life, and shall soon be strong enough to satisfy them. Besides, my father is in prosperous business." qBXIR }  
"It is not that," she answered; "but thee is not one of us." $SPA'63AC  
It was growing dusk when they reached the house. In the dim candle-light Asenath’s paleness was not remarked; and Richard’s silence was attributed to fatigue. !0!r}#P  
Q _ M:v  
The next morning the whole family attended meeting at the neighboring Quaker meeting-house, in the preparation for which, and the various special occupations of their "First-day" mornings, the unsuspecting parents overlooked that inevitable change in the faces of the lovers which they must otherwise have observed. After dinner, as Eli was taking a quiet walk in the garden, Richard Hilton approached him. hz*H,E!>  
"Friend Mitchenor," said he, "I should like to have some talk with thee." N,~"8YSo  
"What is it, Richard?" asked the old man, breaking off some pods from a seedling radish, and rubbing them in the palm of his hand. ruK, Z,3Q  
"I hope, Friend Mitchenor," said the young man, scarcely knowing how to approach so important a crisis in his life, "I hope thee has been satisfied with my conduct since I came to live with thee, and has no fault to find with me as a man." 2i_X{!0}  
"Well," exclaimed Eli, turning around and looking up, sharply, "does thee want a testimony from me? I’ve nothing, that I know of, to say against thee." PS${B   
"If I were sincerely attached to thy daughter, Friend Mitchenor, and she returned the attachment, could thee trust her happiness in my hands?" gQ=g,X4  
"What!" cried Eli, straightening himself and glaring upon the speaker, with a face too amazed to express any other feeling. bqt*d)$  
"Can you confide Asenath’s happiness to my care? I love her with my whole heart and soul, and the fortune of my life depends on your answer." eL-9fld /n  
H?~|Uj 6  
The straight lines in the old man’s face seemed to grow deeper and more rigid, and his eyes shone with the chill glitter of steel. Richard, not daring to say a word more, awaited his reply in intense agitation. iwnctI  
"So!" he exclaimed at last, "this is the way thee’s repaid me! I didn’t expect this from thee! Has thee spoken to her?" 8E:8iNbF  
"I have." Zd~'%(q  
"Thee has, has thee? And I suppose thee’s persuaded her to think as thee does. Thee’d better never have come here. When I want to lose my daughter, and can’t find anybody else for her, I’ll let thee know." [BPK0  
"What have you against me, Friend Mitchenor?" Richard sadly asked, forgetting, in his excitement, the Quaker speech he had learned. T;7=05k<_  
"Thee needn’t use compliments now! Asenath shall be a Friend while _I_ live; thy fine clothes and merry-makings and vanities are not for her. Thee belongs to the world, and thee may choose one of the world’s women." $-J0ou8~  
'' Pu  
"Never!" protested Richard; but Friend Mitchenor was already ascending the garden-steps on his way to the house. a)o-6  
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