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About The Hesperian / (Lincoln, Neb.) 1885-1899 | View Entire Issue (April 11, 1896)
Ho wnlkod homo clown tho old road,
watching tho snatches of snnaot through tho
tall poplars that rose on oithor sido. Thoy
stood liko tall scntinols, watching ovor tho
highway. 13ut, looking at thoirstntoly stoma,
ono folt only a disappointing sonso of what
might havo boon. Somo woro dying at tho
high crown, somo woro brown and withorod
bolow. Somo had died down and started
again in thick, stubby growths, half way up
tho trunk; somo stood with naked branches,
sore and dead. Tho captain whistled an old
lar song. Tho poplars always gave him a
dismal, uneasy feeling.
Ho did not look dismal or uneasy as ho
strode along, his keen grey eyes returning
from tho familiar fields and hills to look
longest at tho little brown house from which
ho had taken Lucy. Away boyond tho
smooth slope that stretched out before him,
tho road turned to tho hills, and there, in a
cottage hidden away in drooping elms, Lucy
awaited him. Ho know how she would
como out to tho gate, with her halting stop,
and wait; with tho last sun-rays shining on
her brown hair. All day long, while that
sun Bhono down hot and blinding, ho had
stood on a dizzy scaffolding, making tho
timbers ring with his steady hammer. Novor
scaffolding had seemed dizzy to tho captain
-before. On swaying ropes and reeling masts
his oyo had learned to keep its clear gaze
true. His hand and foot never trombled
,on the highest ladder.
The wind stirred tho dark poplars. Tho
captain looked at a tall, majestic tree, rising
on a littlo knoll, distinct against tho glowing
west. It rose, stately and green, far up,
but at tho very top a withered branch crown
ed tho fair column. Tho next tree, with its
thin, skeleton branches, was a grim spectre
of what tho towering monarch soon would
Tho captain shivered. Ho was glad when
ho had reached tho gate, aud Lucy's smile
had sent the black shadows flying from his
brow. Ho laughed at them now, ovor tho
cheery littlo table, and told hor his strange
uJDo you know, littlo wife, that your hus
band is getting foolish in his old age?"
Lucy looked at tho captain's clear oyos,
and his brown chooks whoro a touch
of rod showod through tho tan. She
laughed such a morry littlo laugh 1
Tho captain looked at his strong
right hand. "It was a crazy notion, Lucy,
but 1 imaginod that my hand tromblod as I
hold tho hammor."
Lucy's face soborod. "Vcryllkoly it did,
Dennis. You are tired. You havo beon at
work for two weeks now, and it is no wonder
that trusty hand is getting woary. You must
take better care of it." And sho stroked
tho hard, brown fingers gontly.
"It is strange," said sister Martha, "why
that trembling continues." It was Thanks
giving day, and John and Martha always
came to spend it with tho captain and Lucy.
Lame Lucy would always be a "homo wife,"
tho captain had said, and a dear homo wifo
John and Martha found hor. Thoy sat
about the little polished stove such a little
stove that made such a great fire and
listened to ono of the captain's stories. It
was tho usual finishing touch to a morry
evening. When tho captain was unusually
merry, ho ended with a performance that he
called a "South Sea Island jig." Ho
executed the feat tonight, whistling Yankee
Doodle as an appropriate accompaniment.
But sister Martha looked grave when sho
and John walked homo in tho starlight, with
tho captain's "good night" ringing in thoir
oars. "Did you notice," she said, "that
Lucy does not pour Dennis' cup nearly full?"
"What of that, Martha?"
"I think Dennis could not hold it steady."
"Why, Martha, you aro getting fidgety as
an old woman. Dennis was never jollier in
his life than tonight. If ho woro a drinking
man, thoro might bo somo cause for alarm.
That nervous twitching will soon go ovor."
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