mothered as he was, felt all at once uncouth and awkward, rather
as if he were some clumsy lout pitchforked into the presence of a
fairy queen. He offered her the little bunch of bachelor's
buttons he held in his hand, augury of the future, had he known
it,--and she accepted them with a smile. She dropped her
memorandum; he picked it up, and she smiled again, doing still
more fatal damage than in the first instance. No words were
spoken, but Rose, even at ten, had less need of them than most of
her sex, for her dimples, aided by dancing eyes, length of
lashes, and curve of lips, quite took the place of conversation.
The dimples tempted, assented, denied, corroborated, deplored,
protested, sympathized, while the intoxicated beholder cudgeled
his brain for words or deeds which should provoke and evoke more
and more dimples.
The storekeeper hung the molasses pail over Rose's right arm and
tucked the packages under her left, and as he opened the mosquito
netting door to let her pass out she looked back at Stephen,
perched on the kerosene barrel. Just a little girl, a little
glance, a little dimple, and Stephen was never quite the same
again. The years went on, and the boy became man, yet no other
image had ever troubled the deep, placid waters of his heart.
Now, after many denials, the hopes and longings of his nature had
been answered, and Rose had promised to marry him. He would
sacrifice his passion for logging and driving in the future, and
become a staid farmer and man of affairs, only giving himself a
river holiday now and then. How still and peaceful it was under
the trees, and how glad his mother would be to think that the old
farm would wake from its sleep, and a woman's light foot be heard
in the sunny kitchen!
Heaven was full of silent stars, and there was a moonglade on the
water that stretched almost from him to Rose. His heart embarked
on that golden pathway and sailed on it to the farther shore.
The river was free of logs, and under the light of the moon it
shone like a silver mirror. The soft wind among the fir branches
breathed Rose's name; the river, rippling against the shore,
sang, "Rose;" and as Stephen sat there dreaming of the future,
his dreams, too, could have been voiced in one word, and that
word " Rose."
THE LITTLE HOUSE
The autumn days flew past like shuttles in a loom. The river
reflected the yellow foliage of the white birch and the scarlet
of the maples. The wayside was bright with goldenrod, with the
red tassels of the sumac, with the purple frost-flower and
If Rose was not as happy as Stephen, she was quietly content, and
felt that she had more to be grateful for than most girls, for
Stephen surprised her with first one evidence and then another of
thoughtful generosity. In his heart of hearts he felt that Rose
was not wholly his, that she reserved, withheld something; and itDownload<<BackPagesMainNext>>