and grim in rocky soil. If, in its present stage of development,
it gravitated toward anything in particular, it would have been a
well-dressed white birch growing on an irreproachable lawn.
And the river, now deep, now shallow, now smooth, now tumultuous,
now sparkling in sunshine, now gloomy under clouds, rolled on to
the engulfing sea. It could not stop to concern itself with the
petty comedies and tragedies that were being enacted along its
shores, else it would never have reached its destination. Only
last night, under a full moon, there had been pairs of lovers
leaning over the rails of all the bridges along its course; but
that was a common sight, like that of the ardent couples sitting
on its shady banks these summer days, looking only into each
other's eyes, but exclaiming about the beauty of the water.
Lovers would come and go, sometimes reappearing with successive
installments of loves in a way wholly mysterious to the river.
Meantime it had its own work to do and must be about it, for the
side jams were to be broken and the boom "let out" at the
It was just seven o'clock that same morning when Rose Wiley
smoothed the last wrinkle from her dimity counterpane, picked up
a shred of corn-husk from the spotless floor under the bed,
slapped a mosquito on the window-sill, removed all signs of
murder with a moist towel, and before running down to breakfast
cast a frowning look at her pincushion. Almira, otherwise
"Mite," Shapley had been in her room the afternoon before and
disturbed with her careless hand the pattern of Rose's pins.
They were kept religiously in the form of a Maltese cross; and
if, while she was extricating one from her clothing, there had
been an alarm of fire, Rose would have stuck the pin in its
appointed place in the design, at the risk of losing her life.
Entering the kitchen with her light step, she brought the morning
sunshine with her. The old people had already engaged in
differences of opinion, but they commonly suspended open warfare
in her presence. There were the usual last things to be done for
breakfast, offices that belonged to her as her grandmother's
assistant. She took yesterday's soda biscuits out of the steamer
where they were warming and softening; brought an apple pie and a
plate of seed cakes from the pantry; settled the coffee with a
piece of dried fish skin and an egg shell; and transferred some
fried potatoes from the spider to a covered dish.
"Did you remember the meat, grandpa? We're all out," she said, as
she began buttoning a stiff collar around his reluctant neck.
"Remember? Land, yes! I wish't I ever could forgit anything!
The butcher says he's 'bout tired o' travelin' over the country
lookin' for critters to kill, but if he finds anything he'll be
up along in the course of a week. He ain't a real smart butcher,Download<<BackPagesMainNext>>