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
"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
"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
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,Download<<BackPagesMainNext>>