she almost hated him for making so much trouble, for hurting

Stephen, for abasing her in her own eyes, and, above all, for

giving her rustic lover the chance of impersonating an injured


It did not simplify the situation to have Mite Shapley come in

during the evening and run upstairs, uninvited, to sit on the

toot of her bed and chatter.

Rose had closed her blinds and lay in the dark, pleading a


Mite was in high feather. She had met Claude Merrill going to

the station that afternoon. He was much too early for the train,

which the station agent reported to be behind time, so he had

asked her to take a drive. She didn't know how it happened, for

he looked at his watch every now and then; but, anyway, they got

to laughing and "carrying on," and when they came back to the

station the train had gone. Wasn't that the greatest joke of

the season? What did Rose suppose they did next?

Rose didn't know and didn't care; her head ached too badly.

Well, they had driven to Wareham, and Claude had hired a livery

team there, and had been taken into Portland with his trunk, and

she had brought Mrs. Brooks's horse back to Edgewood. Wasn't

that ridiculous? And hadn't she cut out Rose where she least


Rose was distinctly apathetic, and Mite Shapley departed after a

very brief call, leaving behind her an entirely new train of


If Claude Merrill were so love-blighted that he could only by the

greatest self-control keep from flinging himself into the river,

how could he conceal his sufferings so completely from Mite

Shapley,--little shallow-pated, scheming coquette?

"So that pretty Merrill feller has gone, has he, mother?"

inquired Old Kennebec that night, as he took off his wet shoes

and warmed his feet at the kitchen oven. "Well, it ain't a mite

too soon. I allers distrust that pink-an'-white, rosy-posy kind

of a man. One of the most turrible things that ever happened in

Gard'ner was brought about by jest sech a feller. Mothers hedn't

hardly ought to name their boy babies Claude without they

expect 'em to play the dickens with the girls. I don' know

nothin' 'bout the fust Claude, there ain't none of 'em in the

Bible, air they, but whoever he was, I bate ye he hed a deceivin'

tongue. If it hedn't be'n for me, that Claude in Gard'ner would

'a' run away with my brother's fust wife; an' I'll tell ye jest

how I contrived to put a spoke in his wheel."

But Mrs. Wiley, being already somewhat familiar with the

circumstances, had taken her candle and retired to her virtuous



Was this the world, after all? Rose asked herself; and, if so,

what was amiss with it, and where was the charm, the

bewilderment, the intoxication, the glamour!

She had been glad to come to Boston, for the last two weeks in

Edgewood had proved intolerable. She had always been a favorite

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