bundles and baskets after baskets were packed into the wagon,--

behind the seat, beneath the seat, and finally under the

lap-robe. She gave a dramatic flourish to the whip, drove across

the bridge, went through Pleasant River village, and up the leafy

road to the little house, stared the "To Let" sign scornfully in

the eye, alighted, and ran like a deer through the aisles of

waving corn, past the kitchen windows, to the back door.

"If he has kept the big key in the old place under the stone,

where we both used to find it, then he hasn't forgotten me--or

anything," thought Rose.

The key was there, and Rose lifted it with a sob of gratitude.

It was but five minutes' work to carry all the bundles from the

wagon to the back steps, and another five to lead old Tom across

the road into the woods and tie him to a tree quite out of the

sight of any passer-by.

When, after running back, she turned the key in the lock, her

heart gave a leap almost of terror, and she started at the sound

of her own footfall. Through the open door the sunlight streamed

into the dark room. She flew to tables and chairs, and gave a

rapid sweep of the hand over their surfaces.

"He has been dusting here,--and within a few days, too," she

thought triumphantly.

The kitchen was perfection, as she always knew it would be, with

one door opening to the shaded road and the other looking on the

river; windows, too, framing the apple-orchard and the elms. She

had chosen the furniture, but how differently it looked now that

it was actually in place! The tiny shed had piles of split wood,

with great boxes of kindlings and shavings, all in readiness for

the bride, who would do her own cooking. Who but Stephen would

have made the very wood ready for a woman's home-coming; and why

had he done so much in May, when they were not to be married

until August? Then the door of the bedroom was stealthily

opened, and here Rose sat down and cried for joy and shame and

hope and fear. The very flowered paper she had refused as too

expensive! How lovely it looked with the white chamber set! She

brought in her simple wedding outfit of blankets, bed-linen, and

counterpanes, and folded them softly in the closet; and then for

the rest of the morning she went from room to room, doing all

that could remain undiscovered, even to laying a fire in the new

kitchen stove.

This was the plan. Stephen must pass the house on his way from

the River Farm to the bridge, where he was to join the

riverdrivers on Monday morning. She would be out of bed by the

earliest peep of dawn, put on Stephen's favorite pink calico,

leave a note for her grandmother, run like a hare down her side

of the river and up Stephen's, steal into the house, open blinds

and windows, light the fire, and set the kettle boiling. Then

with a sharp knife she would cut down two rows of corn, and thus

make a green pathway from the front kitchen steps to the road.

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