a bit of an angel, too, with healing in her wings. When and how
had this metamorphosis come about? Last summer the fragile
brier-rose had hung over the river and looked at its pretty
reflection in the placid surface of the water. Its few buds and
blossoms were so lovely, it sighed for nothing more. The changes
in the plant had been wrought secretly and silently. In some
mysterious way, as common to soul as to plant life, the roots had
gathered in more nourishment from the earth, they had stored up
strength and force, and all at once there was a marvelous
fructifying of the plant, hardiness of stalk, new shoots
everywhere, vigorous leafage, and a shower of blossoms.
But everything was awry: Boston was a failure; Claude was a
weakling and a flirt; her turquoise ring was lying on the
riverbank; Stephen did not love her any longer; her flower-beds
were plowed up and planted in corn; and the cottage that Stephen
had built and she had furnished, that beloved cottage, was to
She was in Boston; but what did that amount to, after all? What
was the State House to a bleeding heart, or the Old South Church
to a pride wounded like hers?
At last she fell asleep, but it was only by stopping her ears to
the noises of the city streets and making herself imagine the
sound of the river rippling under her bedroom windows at home.
The back yards of Boston faded, and in their place came the banks
of the Saco, strewn with pine needles, fragrant with wild
flowers. Then there was the bit of sunny beach, where Stephen
moored his boat. She could hear the sound of his paddle. Boston
lovers came a-courting in the horse-cars, but hers had floated
down stream to her just at dusk in a birch-bark canoe, or
sometimes, in the moonlight, on a couple of logs rafted together.
But it was all over now, and she could see only Stephen's stern
face as he flung the despised turquoise ring down the river bank.
A COUNTRY CHEVALIER
It was early in August when Mrs. Wealthy Brooks announced her
speedy return from Boston to Edgewood.
"It's jest as well Rose is comin' back," said Mr. Wiley to his
wife. "I never favored her goin' to Boston, where that rosyposy
Claude feller is. When he was down here he was kep' kind o' tied
up in a boxstall, but there he's caperin' loose round the
"I should think Rose would be ashamed to come back, after the way
she's carried on," remarked Mrs. Wiley, "but if she needed
punishment I guess she's got it bein' comp'ny-keeper to Wealthy
Ann Brooks. Bein' a church member in good an' reg'lar standin',
I s'pose Wealthy Ann'll go to heaven, but I can only say that it
would be a sight pleasanter place for a good many if she didn't."
"Rose has be'n foolish an' flirty an' wrong-headed," allowed her
grandfather; "but it won't do no good to treat her like a
hardened criminile, same's you did afore she went away. SheDownload<<BackPagesMainNext>>