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right, why, yours bodes ever so much the son of a poor man, and Jenny was good. But come, Hobert, let us go in- prospectively rich, and the faces of her to the house : it's raining harder.” parents were set as flints against the
“ How stupid of me, Jenny, not to poor young man. But Jenny had said remember that you were being drowned, in her heart more than once that she almost! You must try to excuse me: I would marry him; and if the old folks am really hardly myself to-night.” had known this, they might as well have
* Excuse you, Hobert! As if you held their peace. Hobert did not dream could ever do anything I should not that she had talked thus to her heart, think was just right!” And she laughed and, with his constitutional timidity, he the little musical laugh that had been feared she would never say anything of ringing in his ears so long, and skipped the kind. Then, too, his conscientiousbefore him into the house.
ness stood in his way. Should he preHe followed her with better heart; sume to take her to his poor house, and, as she strained and put away the even if she would come ? No, no, he milk, and swept the hearth, and set the must not think of it; he must work and house in order, he pleased himself with wait, and defer hope. This hour so fancies of a home of which she would opportune was also most inopportune, be always the charming mistress. -such sorrow at home! He would
And who, that saw the sweet do not speak to-night, -O no, not tomestic cheer she diffused through the night! And yet he could bear up house with her harmless little gossip against everything else, if she only about this and that, and the artfully cared for him! Such were his resolves, artless kindnesses to him she mingled as she passed to and fro before him, with all, could have blamed him ? trilling away the time with pretence of He was given to melancholy and to adjusting this thing and that; but at musing ; his cheek was sometimes pale, last expedients failed, and reaching for and his step languid ; and he saw, all her cloak, which hung almost above too often, troublesome phantoms com- him as he sat against the wall, she said ing to meet him. This disposition in it was time to go. As frostwork disanother would have incited the keenest appears in the sunshine, so his brave ridicule in the mind of Jenny Bowen, but resolutions vanished when her arm in Hobert it was well enough; nay, reached across his shoulder, and the more, it was actually fascinating, and ribbon that tied her beads fluttered she would not have had him otherwise. against his cheek. With a motion These characteristics — for her sake quite involuntary, he snatched her we will not say weaknesses — constant hand. “No, Jenny, not yet, -- not quite ly suggested to her how much she yet !” he said. could be to him, — she who was so “ And why not?” demanded Jenny; strong in all ways, - in health, in hope, for could any woman, however innoand in enthusiasm. And for him it cent, or rustic, be without her little was joy enough to look upon her full coquetries ? And she added, in a tone bright cheek, to see her compact little that contradicted her words, “I am figure before him; but to touch her sure I should not have come if I had dimpled shoulder, to feel one tress of known you were coming!” ber hair against his face, was ecstasy; “I dare say not," replied Hobert, in and her voice,- the tenderest trill of the a voice so sad and so tender withal, wood-dove was not half so delicious! as to set the roses Jenny wore in her But who shall define the mystery of bosom trembling. “I dare say not, love? They were lovers ; and when we indeed. I would not presume to hope have said that, is there anything more you would go a step out of your way to to be said? Their love had not, how- give me pleasure ; only I was feeling ever, up to the time of which we write, so lonesome to-night, I thought may be found utterance in words. Hobert was - no, I did n't think anything; I cer
tainly did n't hope anything. Well, Jenny, I want you to tell me the meanno matter, I am ready to go." And ing of my dream ; and yet I am afraid he let go the hand he had been hold you will interpret it as your granding, and stood up.
mother used to hers." It was Jenny's privilege to pout a Jenny laughed gayly. “That is just little now, and to walk sullenly and what I will do, dear Hobert,” she said; silently home, - So torturing herself “for she used to say that only bad and her honest - hearted lover ; but dreams went by contraries, and yours she was much too generous, much was the prettiest dream I ever heard.” too noble, to do this. She would not The reply to this sweet interpretafor the world have grieved poor Ho- tion was after the manner of all lovers bert, - not then, --- not when his heart since the world began. And so, for was so sick and so weighed down with getting the stern old folks at home, shadows; and she told him this with a forgetting everything but each other, simple earnestness that admitted of no they sat for an hour at the very gate doubt, concluding with, “I only wish, of heaven. How often Hobert called Hobert, I could say or do something her his sweetheart, and his rosebud, to comfort you."
and other fond names, we need not “Then you will stay ? Just a mo- stop to enumerate : how often he said ment, Jenny!” And the hand was in that for her sake he could brave the winhis again.
ter storm and the summer heat, that she “Dear Jenny, - dear, dear Jenny!” should never know rough work nor sad She was sitting on his knee now; and days, but that she should be as tenderthe rain, with its pattering against the ly protected, as daintily cared for, as window, drowned their heart-beats; and any lady of them all, - how often he the summer darkness threw over them said all these things, we need not enuits sacred veil.
merate; nor need we say with what "Shall I tell you, darling, of another unquestioning trust, and deafness to dream I have had to-night — since I all the suggestions of probability, Jenny have been sitting here?” The fair believed. Does not love, in fact, always cheek bent itself close to his to lis- believe what it hopes? Who would do ten, and he went on. “I have been away with the blessed insanity that dreaming, Jenny, a very sweet dream; clothes the marriage day with such enand this is what it was. You and I chantment? Who would dare to do were living here, in this house, with it? grandmother; and she was your grand- No royal mantle could have been admother as well as mine ; and I was justed with tenderer and more reverent farmer of the land, and you were mis- solicitude than was that night the coarse tress of the dairy; and the little room cloak about the shoulders of Jenny. with windows toward the sunrise, and The walk homeward was all too short ; the pretty bureau, and bed with snow- and whether the rain fell, or whether white coverlet and pillows of down, - the moon were at her best, perhaps that was " - perhaps he meant to say neither of them could have told until “ours,” but his courage failed him, and, they were come within earshot of the with a charming awkwardness, he said, Bowen homestead ; then both suddenly * yours, Jenny,'' and hurried on to speak stood still. Was it the arm of Jenny that of the door-yard flowers, and the gar- trembled so? No, no! we must own den with its beds of thyme and mint, the truth, - it was the arm through its berry-bushes and hop-vines and bee- which hers was drawn. At her cham hives, - all of which were brighter and ber window, peering out curiously and sweeter than were ever hives and anxiously, was the yellow-white face of bushes in any other garden ; and when Mrs. Bowen; and, leaning over the he had run through the catalogue of gate, gazing up and down the road, the rustic delights, he said: "And now, rain falling on his bent shoulders and gray head, was the father of Jenny, - estations; hard demands and sullen angry and impatient, past doubt. pouting, --so that the home, at no time tion; but her heart could not hold re- shall never want you to do anything sentment just then. She must relieve more for me. Cold water ! give me her burdened soul by talking of “poor some cold water! If I don't have it, my Johnny," even though it were to deaf senses will surely fly out of my head !' ears. She must tell what a good boy "Yes, Johnny,' says I, - and I went he had been, -how kind to her and and brought a tin bucketful, right out considerate of her, how manly, how of the well, and set it on the table in generous, how self-forgetful. And then his sight; for I thought it would do him she must tell how hard he had worked, good to see even more than he could and how saving he 'had been in order to drink ; and then I brought a cup and give his children a better chance in the dipped it up full. It was all dripping world than he had had ; and how, if he over, and he had raised himself on one had lived another year, he would have elbow, and was leaning toward me, paid off the mortgage, and been able to when the young doctor came in, and, hold up his head amongst men.
"Don't stand looking any longer, for so attractive as we like to imagine the mercy's sake!” called the querulous home of a young girl who has father voice from the house. “You 'll get and mother to provide for her and proyour death of cold, and then what 'll be- tect her, became to her like a prisoncome of us all ? Saddle your horse this house. At the close of the first and minute, and ride over to John Walker's, second days after her meeting with Ho. - for there's where you 'll find Jinny, bert, when the work was all faithfully the gad-about, -and bring her home at done, she ventured to ask leave to go the tail of your critter. I 'll see who over to John Walker's and inquire how is going to be mistress here!”
the sick man was; but so cold a refusal “She's had her own head too long met her, that, on the evening of the a'ready, I 'm afeard," replied the old third day, she sat down on the porchman, turning from the gate, with intent, side to while away the hour between probably, to execute his wife's order. working and sleeping, without having
Seeing this, and hearing this, Hobert, renewed her request. as we said, stood still and trembled, The sun was down, and the first star and could only ask, by a little pressure began to show faintly above a strip of of the hand he held, what was to be gray cloud in the west, when a voice, said or done.
low and tender, called to her, “ Come Jenny did not hesitate a moment. here, my child !” and looking up she “I expected this or something worse," saw Grandmother Walker sitting on she said. “Don't mind, Hobert; so her horse at the gate. She had in the they don't see you, I don't care for the saddle before her her youngest grandrest. You must not go one step farther: daughter, and on the bare back of the the lightning will betray us, you see horse, behind her, a little grandson, I will say I waited for the rain to slack, both their young faces expressive of and the two storms will clear off about the sorrow at home. Jenny arose on the same time, I dare say. There, good the instant, betraying in every motion night!” — and she turned her cheek the interest and sympathy she felt, and to him ; for she was not one of those was just stepping lightly from the porch impossible maidens we read of in books, to the ground, when a strong hand who don't know they are in love, until grasped her shoulder and turned her after the consent of parents is obtained, back. It was her father who had overand blush themselves to ashes at the taken her. “Go into the house !” he thought of a kiss. To love Hobert was said. “If the old woman has got any to her the most natural and proper arrant at all, it 's likely it's to your thing in the world, and she did not mother and me.” dream there was anything to blush for. Nor was his heart melted in the It is probable, too, that his constitu- least when he learned that his friend tional bashfulness and distrust of him and neighbor was no more. He evinced self brought out her greater confidence surprise, and made some blunt and and buoyancy.
coarse inquiries, but that was the "And how and where am I ever to amount. “The widder is left purty see you again ?” he asked, as he de destitute, I reckon,” he said; and then tained her, against her better judgment, he added, the Lord helped them that if not against her will.
helped themselves, and we must n't fly * Trust that to me," - and she hur- in the face of Providence. She had her ried away in time to meet and prevent son, strong and able-bodied; and of her father from riding forth in search course he had no thoughts of encumberof her.
ing himself with a family of his own, Of course there were fault-finding young and poverty-struck as he was. and quarrelling, accusations and prot Mrs. Walker understood the insinua
VOL. XVIII. - NO. 105.
stepping between us, took the cup out After all the ploughing and sowing, of my hand. All his strength seemed - after all the preparation for the gath- to go from poor Johnny at that, and he ering in of the harvest, -it seemed very fell back on his pillow and never lifted hard, she said, that Johnny must be his head any more. Still he kept begcalled away, just as the shining ears be- ging in a feeble voice for the water. gani to appear. The circumstances of "Just two or three drops, – just one his death, too, seemed to her peculiar- drop!' he said. I could n't bear it, and ly afflictive. “We had all the doctors the doctor said I had better go out of in the neighborhood,” she said, “but the room, and so I did, -and the good none of them understood his case. At Lord forgive me; for when I went back, first they thought he had small-pox, after half an hour, he was clean crazy, and doctored him for that; and then He did n't know me, and he never they thought it was liver-complaint, and knowed me any more." doctored him for that; and then it was “It's purty hard, Miss Walker," anbilious fever, and then it was typhus swered Mr. Bowen, “ to accuse the docfever ; and so it went on, and I really tors with the murder of your son. A can't believe any of them understood purty hard charge, that, I call it! So anything about it. Their way seemed John's dead! Well, I hope he is betto be to do just what he did n't want ter off. Where are you goin' to bury done. In the first place, he was bled; him ?” and then he was blistered; and then And then Mrs. Walker said she did he was bled again and blistered again, n't charge anybody with the murder of the fever all the time getting higher poor Johnny, - nobody meant to do and higher; and when he wanted wa- him any harm, she knew that ; but, after, they said it would kill him, and ter all, she wished she could only have gave him hot drinks till it seemed to had her own way with him from the me they would drive him mad; and first. And so she rode away, - her litsure enough, they did ! The last word tle bare-legged grandson, behind her, he ever said, to know what he was say- aggravating her distress by telling her ing, was to ask me for a cup of cold that, when he got to be a man, he water. I only wish I had given it to meant to do nothing all the days of his him ; all the doctors in the world life but dig wells, and give water to would n't prevent me now, if I only had whoever wanted it. him back. The fever seemed to be It is not worth while to dwell at just devouring him : his tongue was as length on the humiliations and privadry as sand, and his head as hot as tions to which Jenny was subjected, fire. 'O mother !' says he, and there the mention of one or two will indicate was such a look of beseeching in his, the nature of all. In the first place, eyes as I can never forget, may be I the white heifer she had always called hers was sold, and the money tied up so long, Jenny thought; and she prattled in a tow bag. Jenny would not want a lightly and gayly of this and of that, cow for years to come. The piece of and, seeing that she won no answer, land that had always been known as fell to tenderer tones, and imparted the "Jenny's Corner" was not thus denom- little vexing secrets of her daily life, and inated any more, and she was given to the sweet hopes of her nightly dreams. understand that it was only to be hers They were seated on a grassy knoll, conditionally. There were obstacles the moonlight creeping tenderly about put in the way of her going to meeting their feet, and the leaves of the droopof a Sunday, -- first one thing, then ing vines touching their heads like another; and, finally, the bureau was hands of pity, or of blessing. The walocked, and the best dress and bright- ter running over the pebbly bottom of est ribbon inside the drawers. The the brook just made the silence sweet, new side-saddle she had been promised and the evening dews shining on the was refused to her, unless she in turn red globes of the clover made the darkwould make a promise ; and the long ness lovely; but with all these enchantday's work was made to drag on into ments of sight and sound about him, — the night, lest she might find time to nay, more, with the hand of Jenny, his visit some neighbor, and lest that neigh- own true-love, Jenny, folded in his, bor might be the Widow Walker. But Hobert was not happy. what device of the enemy ever proved " And so you think you love me!" successful when matched against the be said at last, speaking so sadly, and simple sincerity of true love ? It came clasping the hand he held with so faint about, in spite of all restraint and pro- a pressure, that Jenny would have been hibition, that Jenny and Hobert met in offended if she had not been the dear, their own times and ways; and so a trustful little creature she was, year went by..
There was, indeed, a slight reproach One night, late in the summer, when in her accent as she answered, “ Think the katydids began to sing, Jenny wait- I love you, Hobert? No, I don't think ed longer than usual under the vine- anything about it, - I know." covered beech that drooped its boughs “And I know I love you, Jenny," he low to the ground all round her, - now replied. “I love you so well that I am listening for the expected footstep, and going to leave you without asking you now singing, very low, some little song to marry me!” to her heart, such as many a loving For one moment Jenny was silent, and trusting maiden had sung before for one moment the world seemed unher. What could keep Hobert? She steady beneath her, - then she stood knew it was not his will that kept him; up, and, taking the hand of her lover and though her heart began to be heavy, between her palms, gazed into his face she harbored therein no thought of re- with one long, earnest, .steadfast gaze. proach. By the movement of the shad- “You have asked me already, Hobert,” ow on the grass, she guessed that an she said, "a thousand times, and I bour beyond the one of appointment have consented as often. You may go must have passed, when the far-away away, but you will not leave me; for footfall set her so lately hushed pulses Whither thou goest I will go, where fluttering with delight. He was com- thou diest will I die, and there will I ing. -- he was coming! And, no matter be buried.'” what had been wrong, all would be He drew her close to his bosom now, right now. She was holding wide the and kissed her with most passionate, curtaining boughs long before he came but still saddest tenderness. “You near; and when they dropped, and her know not, my darling," he said, “what arms closed, it is not improbable that you would sacrifice.” Then he laid he was within them. It was the de- before her all her present advantages, light of meeting her that kept him still all her bright prospects for the future,