ain't hardly got her wisdom teeth cut, in love affairs! She

ain't broke the laws of the State o' Maine, nor any o' the ten

commandments; she ain't disgraced the family, an' there's a

chance for her to reform, seein' as how she ain't twenty year old

yet. I was turrible wild an' hot-headed myself afore you ketched

me an' tamed me down."

"You ain't so tame now as I wish you was," Mrs. Wiley replied

testily.

"If you could smoke a clay pipe 'twould calm your nerves, mother,

an' help you to git some philosophy inter you; you need a little

philosophy turrible bad."

"I need patience consid'able more," was Mrs. Wiley's withering

retort.

"That's the way with folks," said Old Kennebec reflectively, as

he went on peacefully puffing. "If you try to indoose 'em to

take an int'rest in a bran'-new virtue, they won't look at it;

but they'll run down a side street an' buy half a yard more o'

some turrible old shopworn trait o' character that they've kep'

in stock all their lives, an' that everybody's sick to death of.

There was a man in Gard'ner"--

But alas! the experiences of the Gardiner man, though told in the

same delightful fashion that had won Mrs. Wiley's heart many

years before, now fell upon the empty air. In these years of Old

Kennebec's "anecdotage," his pipe was his best listener and his

truest confidant.

Mr. Wiley's constant intercessions with his wife made Rose's

home-coming somewhat easier, and the sight of her own room and

belongings soothed her troubled spirit, but the days went on, and

nothing happened to change the situation. She had lost a lover,

that was all, and there were plenty more to choose from, or there

always had been; but the only one she wanted was the one who made

no sign. She used to think that she could twist Stephen around

her little finger; that she had only to beckon to him and he

would follow her to the ends of the earth. Now fear had entered

her heart. She no longer felt sure, because she no longer felt

worthy, of him, and feeling both uncertainty and unworthiness,

her lips were sealed and she was rendered incapable of making any

bid for forgiveness.

So the little world of Pleasant River went on, to all outward

seeming, as it had ever gone. On one side of the stream a girl's

heart was longing, and pining, and sickening, with hope deferred,

and growing, too, with such astonishing rapidity that the very

angels marveled! And on the other, a man's whole vision of life

and duty was widening and deepening under the fructifying

influence of his sorrow.

The corn waved high and green in front of the vacant riverside

cottage, but Stephen sent no word or message to Rose. He had

seen her once, but only from a distance. She seemed paler and

thinner, he thought,--the result; probably, of her metropolitan

gayeties. He heard no rumor of any engagement, and he wondered

if it were possible that her love for Claude Merrill had not,

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