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About The McCook tribune. (McCook, Neb.) 1886-1936 | View Entire Issue (Feb. 9, 1894)
that. My hopes may mislead me, but
he comes here often. ”
‘‘Yes, and he comes to see you, Vic
torine,” 1 said decidedly.
"I am not quite sure,” my half sister
said in a low, dreamy tone. "Once or
twice when I have seen him looking at
you I have said: ‘She is the object of
his admiration. It is not I. You have
many charms, Persia. You are young,
and men of mature years think more of
youth than young men do. You are
Oot interested, love?”
"In Mr. Summers? Only as a pros
pective brother-in-law.” 1 said, trying
not to laugh.
"1 am glad you feel as you do," said
Victorine. "To tell the truth. 1 am
deeply interested.” She paused and put
her kerchief to her eyes.
"Thank you for your confidence,” 1
said and kissed her.
Then Victorine got out her embroid
ery, and I resolved to take a run about
the garden, for 1 had been busy all day
over some sewing and needed the ex
ercise. I said as much to Victorine.
"Very well, only, pray, do not go
outside the gate without escort and do
wrap up. Here, put on my cloak."
She took it from the sofa, where it lay,
and wrapped it about me, pulling the
hood well over my head. Then away 1
went, walking briskly round about the
garden several times, until at last 1
paused, and folding my arms upon the
palings looked out along the road.
It was a beautiful night. The full
moon was just setting over the distant
hills. The whippoorwill was calling
plaintively in the woods. A long eared
rabbit went loping through the gruss
and sat on its haunches to look back at
me, and then, as though convinced that
.1 was more dangerous than he had
thought at first, vanished in haste.
How sweet and peaceful everything
was! I turned my gaze toward the Sum
mers residence, and at that moment the
door opened, a flood of rosy light rush
ed out. and I saw Harry and his father
crossing the road. They paused, Mr.
Summers spoke to his son, 1 saw Harry
enter the gate, and in a moment more
there was a rustling of steps at my side,
not Harry’s—it was Mr. Summers who
stood there. The moon at this instant
gave her last dip below the hills, a lit
tle golden haze remained and van
ished. In the starlight, the shadow
of the trees was very deep where 1
stood. I cannot tell what curious feel
ings crept ever me—a sort of fright,
though why the presence of that most
respectable of gentlemen should have
terrified me I cannot imagine. It may
have been because there was something
unusual in his manner. He came upon
me stealthily, yet breathlessly, and in
a moment more and without warning
he put his arm about my waist.
“I have been seeking this opportunity
for a long while,” he said, “For once I
catch you alone, for I saw your sister’s
shadow on the curtain just now. Real
ly, 1 believe I am bashful. I ought to
be past that by my age, ought I not?
But 1 have no courage where you are
All this while 1 had been doing my
best to escape from his arm, and now
he took it away and folded both his own
behind his back.
“Be free, struggling little bird,” he
said. “Certainly I am too bold, but
perhaps before long—ahem—in fact, to
go straight to the point, I must tell you
that I love you; that I have loved you
ever since I took you in my arms and
bore you through the flames on that
night which I can never forget while 1
exist. 1 have never met any one since
those past days when I courted my ex
cellent and lamented wife, then Miss
Jones. My income is ample, though 1
am not rich. If you will share it, if
you will be my wife, I shall be the hap
piest man alive. I should prefer mak
ing the offer upon my bended knees,
but the grass is damp. I am not a
fluent speaker, but I trust I express the
emotions of my heart. My dear young
lady, do not avert your face. Let me
read my answer in your splendid eyes”
—here he touched my shoulder deli
cately with the tips of his fingers—“in
your eyes, my angel.”
Meanwhile I had been transfixed with
horror. Here was a pretty state of
things! The man I had believed to be
Victorine’s suitor was offering himself
i Knew v lcrorine wen enougn to Do
sure that she was capable ot dying of a
broken heart if she knew it; that the
remembrance that she had made those
tender confessions to me would crush
her with mortification.
Oh. this was terrible! And then
there was Harry, whom I loved—who
loved me. 1 was sure.
What could 1 do? What could I say?
Some girls could have got out of it
beautifully, no donbt, but 1 felt help
‘Look at me.” he pleaded. Well,
though 1 could not speak. 1 could look.
1 turned my head, my cloak hood falling
hack as 1 did so, and glared at him.
1 shall never forget the expression of
his countenance at that moment.
"Good heavens!" he ejaculated,"Miss
Persis. I"— but I would not listen. I
simply turned and ran away. It was
the most ridiculous, childish conduct
possible, but then it seemed the only
thing that 1 could do.
"Miss Persis, stop—stop—one word—
only one!" 1 heard him cry, but I only
ran the faster, 1 knew not whither, I
encircled the house thrice, hearing him
all out of breath at my heels. My
cloak dropped off. 1 did not stop to
pick it np. Whatever happened, I was
determined that he should not say
another word to me. I knew I was be
having in an undignified manner, bnt
this offer of heart and hand from the
man who had given poor sister Victor
ine good reason to think he loved her
terrified me out of my senses.
I rushed into the potato patch. I
glided through the rows of corn. He
kept close behind me. Among the mel
ons 1 heard him stumble and fall fiat,
and I left him lying there. Then I
Marched for my cloak, found it and'
crept into the house by the kitchen;
door, and more dead than alive sough'
my own room.
I could not face poor Victorine at ,
first, remembering her confession ol
affection for Mr. Summers, her lielnd
in his love for her. Oh. she must never
know of this, never!
Poor Victorine! Assho had said. I was
younger than she was, and I was pret j
tier, and then I had a fortune of my j
own. Doubtless this had caused Mr
Summers’ inconstancy Greed is tin
Vice of middle age. Never at her fiercest
had Victorine so utterly disapproved ol
tins man from the north as I did in that 1
hour, and at first I wept for Victorine. .
and at last for myself, for now how
could Harry and i hope for happiness."
After awhile I washed my face atnl
went down to the sitting room Tie
lamp was put out. but the taint light |
of the dying embers on the hearth re j
vealed Victorine sitting in a large arm
chair, wrapped in my white shawl which
she had thrown up over her comb as a ,
Spanish lady wears her mantilla. Slow !
ly she swayed to and fro.
“You don’t mind the darkness, do 1
you, love?” she asked.
"No. indeed." 1 cried. Little could
she comprehend how grateful 1 was tor
veiling shadows just then.
"1 put the lamp out that i might
think the better, " she went on. 1
have been indulging in the most bean
tiful dreams. 1 am sure, my dear, that
married life must be far happier than
a single existence. Once or twice I
have had much attention paid to me.
but as 1 contemplated the possibility of
changing my peaceful condition 1 have
sat down in silence and darkness, as I
have tonight, with something over my
head and asked myself.’ Will it be well?
and the answer has never been favor
able until now. In the case of Major
Stibbs, 1 remembered that I bad smelled
whisky on his breath. Professor Bud
worth. i concluded, would bore me at
times, but m thinking of Mr. Summers
I heard him stumble and fall.
I confess—I—could only sav. ‘ Ho is de
lightful,' and 1 have had such a dream,
such a dream—it must have been a
1 drew near Victorino and sat down
upon a footstool and put my head upon
Oh, had I. I asked myself, by any co
quettish glance or tone beguiled her el
derly lover? My conscience should
have been free enough, but 1 tortured
myself by this thought.
"A dream,” she repeated. "1 sat
just halt asleep, and my eye3 were
shut. Then 1 fancied the door opened,
and some one came softly into the
room, crossed the floor, knelt beside
me, took my hand anu kissed it. then
crept softly away.
”1 did not even open my eyes. It
was like that thrilling scene in ' Lord
Charles Fitz James; or, a Heart of Oak, ’
where Lady Arabella falls asleep over
her embroidery’ frame, and he. finding
her so, presses a kiss upon her taper
fingers. Oh, it was lovely! Do you
think it was a dream?”
"A dream, darling, a dream,” 1 an
swered. and unable longer to restrain
my tears kissed her and bado her good
I awoke with a feeling that some
thing dreadful had happened. It seem
ed to me that 1 must have been crying
in my sleep. A moment more and ray
memory became active, but one can
never be as tragic by dawn as by moon
light. Indeed there was a ludicrous
aspect to the affair as I looked back
npon it. Why in the name of goodness
did 1 run away from so very respectable
a gentleman? Why did I not thank
him for the honor he intended and de
cline it courteously? Why did 1 scamper
off like a wild colt, and why, when l
did so, did he run after me through the
corn and potatoes and other vegetables?
That crash in the melon patch went
to my heart. Perhaps Mr. Summers
had hurt himself. How unwisely I
had acted! Still, there was Victorine
to think of. However funny the race
between Mr. Summers and myself may
have been, he had no less been false and
fickle to my beloved half sister, or even
if he had not intentionally won her
heart it was won. and this was a fright
ful state and condition of things. I was
growing quite as angry as ever, when
Aunt Emily stole into the room with
her big, flat slippers in one hand and
her other hand in her apron pocket.
Shutting the door, she put her back
against it and drew forth a letter which
she then stepped forward and laid upon i
"Mars Summers, he send yo’ dis yah
letter wid his complements, an please, i
ma’am, Miss Persis, yo’ kin’ly anser
it right off. and lemme fetch it back
soon as yo’ is convenient." she said.
Upon the letter was written: "Miss
Persis Carlton. In great haste and ;
“Pears like Mars Snmmers don’t feel
good dis mornin. ” she added. “Got a
kin’er scratch onto his cheek, line de
cat claw him, and a bruise jess dar,
whar de ha’r don’ grow onto his frow
“Dear me, ” I said. "Well, give me
an envelope and a pencil. ”
Emily supplied my wants, and I
wrote across the letter, “Returned un
opened, ” and inclosing it in the fresh
envelope and addressing it said, “Take
that to Mr. Summers.”
Emily staled at me in amazement.
“Miss Persia know jess wliat she do
in'? Ain’t made no mistake?” she
“No,” I replied. “It’s all right,
“Guess Miss Persis don’ know she
wrop up her letter ’fore she lead it,”
•‘Yes, I know,” l said. “Now, take
it to the gentleman at once, ana don’t
tell Miss Victorine anything about it.”
”Dcsa what Mars bummers say,”
said Emily. “Not menshun ’bout dat
yar letter to Miss Vict’nne. Gib it to
yo’ when yo’ wus all alone, he say.”
Then sho shook her head and looked at
the letter. “ ’Pears like letters wus
flyin round dis mornin,” she said.
“What do you mean?” I asked.
“No matter. I knows my place. I’ve
got no right lo jaw,” said Emily.
“Only when dar is one sokert in a
fam’ly, dar is up’ to be two,” then she
When I went down to breakfast, I
found sister Victorine in a very curious
mood. She persisted in looking away
■Nothing could induce her to meet my
eye. Moreover, it was one of her fan
cies to dress to match her feelings.
Lately she had worn a variety of gay
morning gowns of pretty lace ruffles,
bright ribbons had set oil her black hair
or showy pins and combs of gold and
coral. This morning she was attired
in Bomber iron gray, and her hair was
crimpless, flat upon her forehead and
twisted low in the back of her neck.
She looked Bad beyond expression.
My first thought was that she had
learned of my last night’s adventure,
but if bo she was not angry with me.
Shospoko to mo in the gentlest manner,
in low tones as though I were ill. She
had ordered a dish of which I was es
pecially fond to be prepared. If she
had been guilty of some terrible crime
against me for which she wished to
atone, though she could not hope to be
pardoned, her manner could scarcely
have been different. After breakfast as
I passed through the kitchen, Aunt Em
ily sat on a low chair, with her elbows
on her knees and her chin in her hand,
staring at nothing.
“And what is the matter with you,
Emily?” I asked.
“I’s dess steddyin what de matter
wid my ladies,” Emily replied. “Miss
Vict’rine don’ pay no 'tention to her
twilite an pull down her mouff till she
make a fiddle face an look like dey
goin to be a fewnel in de fam’ly, an
Miss Persis,plain to see she been a-weep
in an a-wailiu tell her eyes is red, an
breaktiss come out mos’ de same as it
goin, an letters goes flyin roun. Reck
on de world mus’ be comin to an end,
and Mars Uabrel gwine to blow his las’
“Not quite so bad as that, Emily,”
“H’m,” grunted the old woman;
“even de gyarden opset. All de veger
bles trorap down, an tracks like mules
been drove through ’em, an de four
fines’ cantelopes an de ripes’ watermil
lion smash flat, an a tall hat squash
flat, too, ’long side of um. Kiner cur’us
whose dat hat, Miss Persis?”
I shook my head.
“Shore as I live,” Emily muttered,
pushing back her headkerchief—some
—— —— •"»
“An a tall hat squash flat, too, ’long side
tiling she only did when much excited
—“shore as I live, ef any norf folks
give my ladies any sass, I don’ hold my
han’s. I dess lynches ’em dead and
frows ’em in de bresh, like dey wus
“No one has offended us, Emily,”-1
said. “Nothing is the matter. ”
“H'm,” said Emily again; “I don’
set np to be nuffin but a ches’nut col
ored nigger. I don’ take no airs, but
I lias got eyes, an I kin see out of ’em
good. Ef nobody ain’t got no confer
ence in me, after my nussin ’em, an
dere mas before ’em”
1 put my hand on Emily’s shoulder,
and she took it in her black palms and
kissed it. But I could not tell her why
I was sad, or what troubled Victorine.
All day she remained in the same mood,
and not once did I see Harry.
Another letter came to me from Mr.
Summers toward evening. A boy
brought it to me while I was watering
some flowers in the garden. I took a
pencil and wrote upon the envelope:
“It will be useless to write again. I
decline either correspondence or con
I saw the boy hand it to Mr. Sum
mers, who seemed to be hiding behind
a tree some distance up the road. A
moment more and Harry’s head appear
ed over the slope of a hill. He carried
a gamebag over his shoulder and in
his hand held a gun. As he advanced
I saw that his face was as long as Vic
torine’s. He did not look toward me.
As he came near the gate I saw that he
purposely averted his face. He march
ed past me without a word or look,
though his dog paused, whining and
leaping at the gate to attract my notice.
Offense was on his brow, sorrow in his
eyes. He bore the air of one who had
been deeply and outrageously insulted.
“Are we all bewitched?” I asked my
self as I stared after him in a stupor of
A sciatching and rustling above my
head aroused me from my dazed condi
tion. I looked np.
Victorine stood at her window, her
brow bent, her mouth grin. And from
the long, black pole with its tarnished
golden knob her weather stained flag
once more floated.
That Harry should pass me with
frowning brows and averted eyes was
such a shock that even at this date I
cannot recall it calmly.
I supposed,of course, that his strange
conduct and Victorine's despair were
caused by their knowledge of Mr. Sum
mers’ offer of the previous evening.
But why should Harry behave as he
did? Of course under the circumstances
we could not have expected the consent
of Mr. Summers to our marriage, nor
could I give myself to the son of a man
who had so injured the feelings of my
sister. I was prepared for sorrow, but
wo should not have parted thus. We
could at least have said goodby tender
ly. To cut me outright was ungentle
manly, brutal, boorish. I decided that
I felt nothing but contempt for him.
My anger blazed high.
I sailed with firm steps and scornful
air to my own room, gathered his gifts
together and was about to make a par
,.■'>11 a i'.-ii , i 1 ;i i i
“Oh, my poor child, don’t grieve so.”
eel of them, when the sight of his pho
tograph caused me to realize the fact
that “to be wroth with one we love
doth work like madness on the brain,”
and I fairly broke down. Casting my
self upon the bed, I wept bitterly. The
end of the world seemed to have come.
After awhile some one 6tole softly into
the room. I knew the frou frou of Vic
torine’s gown, the tap of her high heels.
She paused a moment at the table.
She came to the bedside and sat down
upon it. Her hand, which would stand
the Virginia test of aristocracy—“floss
silk would not stick to the fingers”—
passed tenderly over my hair, rested
gently on my cheek.
“Oh, my poor child, don’t grieve
so,” she said. “A man is not worth
grieving for. Take example by me.
For an hour or so I succumbed to mis
ery, but look at me now.”
I looked as well as I could through
my tear dimmed eyes. Victorina had
transformed herself. She had dressed
her hair high at the back and crimped
it over the forehead. She had put on
a very bright flowered silk with a lace
fichu. She wore bracelets, earrings
and her watch and chain. She had in
her belt a Lady Betty rose from the
greenhouse, and, whisper it low, she
had brightened her color with rouge—
just the tiniest dab, but enough to make
her eyes blaze.
“Scorn him, despise him as I do.”
she said. “Say to yourself, ‘He is
northern.’ I was shocked, horrified, sick
at heart, but it is over.”
“Thank heaven for that, dearest,” I
said. “But how did you know? I
never meant that you should know. ” I
“How you felt?” she queried. “Oh,
you show it more plainly than you
think. Besides, you weep, and you are
packing up his presents.”
“Harry Summers’ presents,” 1 ex
ur course, victorine assentea.
“I am glad you take the initiative.”
I merely hid my head again.
“I do not hesitate to admit that I
have bidden adieu to happiness,” said
Victorine, ‘‘but I can be content. I
know that I am doing my duty. Any
communication between our two fam
ilies becomes impossible. Of course we
cannot blame one man for the deeds of
another, but no matter—it is over. Sis
ters must stand by each other. Besides,
fancy father and son quarreling for one
‘‘Indeed it would be, Victorine,” I
‘‘Even now I feel as if I had heard
the voice of a serpent,” said Victorine, j
indicating with tragic gesture an em
broidered representation of Adam and
Eve, the apple tree and a boa constric
tor with a simpering human counten
ance, which being the work of an es
teemed ancestress had a place of honor
over the high mantelpiece. “The dis
parity of years would make it hideous,
even did you not suffer.”
“Oh, never mind me, Victorine,” I
cried. “If you can get over your trials
and believe me as utterly innocent of
any intention to”
“■Why, what do you mean. Persis?” j
queriei Victorine. “You make me feel
afraid that you are feverish. Won’t
you take a hot bath and go fairly to
bed and let me read you to sleep?”
“It is I who should pet you, Victo
rine, ” I said. But I yielded. I also
imbibed some “yarb tea” presented in
a fine china bowl by Aunt Emily, and
I can still remember how I drowsed
away and awakened at intervals to hear
scraps of verses from a volume en
titled, “Verses of Love and Sorrow.” j
which Victorine read dramatically, with j
appropriate gestures. I also remember j
being wide awake all night and steal- 1
ing down into the parlor to pace the i
carpet in a pair of knitted slippers and
wondei if I should get over being mis
Now and then I heard a soft little sob
from Victorine’s room, and once I
heard from the garret a low groan and
a murmured, “Oh, gorra mighty” as if
sleep had been murdered for Emily as
well aa for “her ladies."
The moonlight was white upon the
land-cape when later I returned to my
room. I looked through the floating
lace that veiled my window puues upon
the house over the way. A light shone
within an upper room. A tall, slender
shadow kept passing and repassing,
flinging itself darkly upon the white
shade. That was surely Harry’s figure.
His father was larger, stouter.
Upon the footpath that ran before
our gate I saw another form. Was it
ghost or burglar?
It paused beside the gate and looked
at our upper windows. It was Mr.
Summers, in a traveling cap and ulster.
As I watched him, he clasped his hands
to his head, and with a tragie gesture of
despair stalked away. Certainly wo
were all bewitched. Emily evidently
held the same opinion.
“Reckon my ladies has had spells
carst onto ’em,” she said next day.
“Use to have good manners. Don’ have
none now. Airly dis mawnin I an my
Miss Vict’rine was gwine to de chick
en house to fetch eggs, an long comes
“ ‘Mawnin, Miss Cawlton,’ he says.
Miss Vict’rine jess duck her head, kiu’er
cool and keerless.
“ ‘May I be permitted to make a
statement, madam?’ he say.
“ ‘No, sar,’ she say. ’t^uite onpossi
“ ‘Madam,’ he say, ‘it are of de ut
mos’ umportance. ’ She kin’er draw
herself up stiff, like a guy pos’.
“ ‘I mus’ decline havin any more
communication betwix’ our all’s fami
lies,’ she say, mighty haughty. IIow
she kin speak so to folks she have had
to supper I can’t steddy out! Then he
“ ‘You air unkind,’ and slio say,
‘Good mornin, sah, ’ and he go one way
an she go todder, an I plum shamed.
“Den what you reckon, Miss Persis;
she jess got out of sight, she done—gouo
cry, Miss Vict’rine do.”
Victorine and I were up in the great
open garret, putting a quilt into the
frame. It was a silk quilt, composed
entirely of brides' wedding dresses.
Sister had been making it ever since I
could remember anything. It was
much talked of in the neighborhood aiul
was a very beautiful design. The dress
es were almost all white or cream,
though there were silver grays and pale
buffs and lilac and blue tints where the
bride was married in the morning and
in her bonnet. All this was backed up
by a soft neutral tint that seemed to
chime in with anything,and it was lined
with pink and was to be quilted in
flowers with pink silk.
When any one in the county was
married, some one managed to get a bit
of the stuff left in cutting the dress
worn at the altar for Victorine. Noth
ing was more common than for a bride
who had no personal knowledge of us
to forward the scrap herself, with her
compliments. It was considered an
honor to be placed in that quilt, where
each bride’s name was written across
the center of the patch—in her own
hand, if possible. The quilt had a patch
which we solemnly believed to be a
piece of Martha Washington’s wedding
gown in the very center, and about it
other relics of the costumes of Revolu
tionary brides. Then there was a frag
ment of the robe of the Empress Eu
genie and that of the Princess of Wales.
I could make quite a catalogue of cele
brated brides wc-re I to begin, and, as
to the brides of Virginia families, the}'
at least were authentic, without a
doubt. For a good while Victorine had
been very mysterious about two empty
spaces. When those were filled, she
declared, she would call the quilt fin
ished, not before.
As I helped her pull and pat and
draw the delicate thing into shape, I
saw that the corners had something
written in them, and stooping read in
one, “A hope that died,” in the other,
“A dream that vanished.”
“You understand?” asked Victorine.
I shook my head.
“Those were to have been filled with
pieces of our wedding gowns, ” said my
half sister solemnly. “I meant—I
She put her handkerchief to her eyes
and sobbed. Then she rushed to me
and kissed me.
“I would do more for your sake,
Persis,” she said. “And I only did my
duty. This is the last time that I shall
refer to myself. ’ ’
"For my sake?” The speech puzzled
“Don’t think I regret it.” she added.
“He was the salt of the earth and
true as steel. But my duty was clear,
my poor wronged, ill used sister.”
I began to wonder if Victorine were
We stitched away in silence for some
time. Then I said:
“Victorine, would you like to trav
el? Would you like to go to Europe?” ,
a A iJ , ; ' .
Hx stitched away in silence.
“It would be good for you. darling,”
she answered. “Yes.” Her eyes be
gan to shine.
“1 think Miss Mull can make a very
pretty traveling dress, ’ ’ she said. ‘ ‘ Get
something showy, make yourself as
handsome as possible. As likely as
not there’ll be a nobleman or so on
board the steamer, and they always
fall in love with southern young ladies.
Before you reach the shores of Eng
land, ycu inu/ he affianced to a nuke,
and even if his mother is a duchess
she cannot ol jeet to our family. Oh,
dearest. I could die happy cw -1 1 1 ut
see you wedded to a duke.” And Vic
torino clasped her hands.
*‘A duke! How can you say such
dreadful tilings. Wlmt have I ever
done to you, VicturiI j aunistrat
ed. She did not laugh.
“I feel as though my soul were pro
phetic,” she went on; “as though I
were clairvoyant or had Scotch second
sight. I can picture th#scene. I sup
pose you would ho married in West
‘‘At least I am sure I will not be bur
ied there,” I murmured.
“Ever so many bishops—perhaps the
queen would bo present. Is tlmt court
etiquette? I forget. And ho would be
6 feet !!. They always are. And bis
mother, the dowager duchess, and liis
sisters, plain but aristocratic, and all
eyes fixed on you. ‘An American bride
—is she not beautiful?’ I fancy I I ar
ono say. ‘From the south,’ some one
answers. ‘Northern ladies never have
Buch eyes. ’
“Oh, what triumph! I should like
to see him when ho hears the news—the
false wretch! Why, I can hard,/ wait
to start. I’m so sure you’ll come back,
Persis, duchess of—what’s its name?”
“Really, Victorine,” I said, “I should
prefer a prince, if all the priii s are
not married off, and you don't n.md.”
‘ ‘ Dem Princes! Ike Prince do las’ lef ’
in town, an he done got put in do pen
nytensliary yes’day, ” said Emily, her
turban arising above the floor us she
ascended the well staircase. ‘ ‘ No count,
poor white trash hull oh dat Prince
fam’ly. Gamblin an goin on, an shoot
in folks an kitin about, seekiu who doy
Then we both laughed—one can
laugh with the heaviest sort of heart
Sister and I went to work at our
preparations with a will and wc'ro soon
One evening I joyfully put away ray
needle, conscious of having taken the
last necessary stitch, and went out for
a walk. Lest I should sue one of the
Summers at their door, I avoided the
road and went out by the kitchen way
ir‘ i a green lane that ran between
our place and tlie next plantation—as
good a place to pace up and down in us
any other. As I came to the melon
patch 1 paused and looked over the
fence. There was the spot where Mr.
Summers, in his pursuit ot me, had fal
len flat. What a strange, weird mem
ory it was! Why did I run? Why did
he run? It was so unlike him to do so.
Why—before I could ask myself anoth
er question the sound of feet smote my
ear. I looked up. A gentleman with
a tall hat on. eyeglasses and a neat
gray Vandyke heard was coming up the
lane at a great pace—Mr. Summers
himself and no other. Again terror of
an interview possessed me. Again I
turned and ran. He ran after me.
The race was swift and rapid.
This time I did not double, hut kept
straight on. Away went my hat, as
did John Gilpin’s in his famous ride.
Had I worn a wig, it must havo fol
lowed. As it was, my great shell hair
pin came out, and my hair, of which I
had a quantity, streamed down my
back. Still I kept on until, in ducking
under a low hough, I met with Absa
lom's fate and was held fast by my
floating locks. To free myself was im
possible, and I perforce stood still. In
a moment more Mr. Summers faced me.
His first speech was fiendish.
“I never was so glad of anything in
my life,” he said.
I scornfully regarded In: i m Hence.
“Miss Persis,” he went on, "some
time ago I made you an offer of mar
riage, and you, without answering,
rushed away. Am I to understand that
you intend to accept or reject my offer?”
“Of course I reject it,” I said fierce
ly. He breathed a great sigh, apparent
ly of relief.
“It was my duty to ask that,” he
said. “I should have held to my offer
if you had accepted it, of course, but
now I want to tell you that I made it
under an utter misapprehension. In
fact, I mistook you for your sister. You
wore her red cloak, and I had left my
glasses at home—you know I am near
sighted. Until you turned I did not
know you, and then you would not let
me speak.” Then he paused a moment
and began to untangle my hair. “Dis
parity in years, great disparity,” he
went on, as he carefully freed my tresses,
one at a time, “is an obstacle to happi
ness in marriage—hold that piece of
hair, please. I regard you as a little
girl, an obstinate little girl, but your
half sister—catch that piece—lovely
Miss Victorine, I simply adore. You
take very little notice for your age if
you never saw that for yourself. There,
you are free, if you want to run away
“Oh. Mr. Hammers!” I gasped. “I
have been such an idiot! I might have
known! I am so ashamed of myself!”
“You have done me a great injury.
You have robbed my lifo of .happiness,”
he said. "I suppose you told your story
to Miss Victorine? She turns from me
with scorn and evidently detests me.
She has strong feelings, Miss Persis. A
girl of your age and temperament can
not comprehend an attachment which
could conquer, as regards each other,
such strong sectional prejudices as were
“Say anything, Mr. Summers. I de
serve it.” I said,“hut I have never told
Victorine anything, and I will undo
the consequences of my folly. I am
sure it will not be difficult.”
“Ah, I am afraid it will,” Mr. Sum
mers replied, turning dejectedly away.
As for me, I fairly skipped home
again, feeling that after all I might hope
to make Victorine happy.
I ran into the room where she sat and
knelt down beside her and flung my
arms about her waist.
“Vicky, darling,” I gasped, all out
of breath, “it was a mistake. He took
(Cootiuuea od emu page.)
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