Image provided by: University of Nebraska-Lincoln Libraries, Lincoln, NE
About The courier. (Lincoln, Neb.) 1894-1903 | View Entire Issue (Dec. 15, 1900)
stopped, cocked his left eye and bia
right ear and flourished his tail judi
ciously. "Stupids," he said to himself,
and then looked down with contempt
upon his comrades, who were gossiping
and flirting in a perfectly shocking man
ner. He ran farther out on the limb,
glanced sidewise below and nodded his
wise little head. Then back he came,
ran out on another limb that projected
from the opposite side of the tree, and
peered down. Meditated a moment and
then came back. "Those chipmunks
are too slow to discover this," he said to
himself, "but you would have thought
those inquisitive old squirrels would
have found it out. What fun I shall
have telling them." He waved his tail
in deep thought, trying to remember his
mother's words. Sho was very literary
and used long words. What was it she
Eaid? "My child, when you behold such
a picture as I have just described to
you, there is no danger. Man's mind
does not dwell upon squirrels during
such a crisis." In his excitement this
young squirrel bit oft" two cones and
down they came helter skelter against
the rocks. One fell on Mrs. Martin's
forehead. She opened her eyes. WaB
Bhe dreaming? A voice that was as
suredly Mr. Barrett's was saying:
"Annette, you are the gem in my life.
You shall give to me the elixir of youth
and your beauty shall be my guiding
star We will travel and we shall find
many beautiful things that will give
The wind stopped and there was sil
ence. Mrs. Martin sat up and smoothed
back her hair in a bewildered fashion.
The landscape was the suggestion of
peace, when the squirrel bnt on the
cone commission came down with a
grand flurry or tail and cheerful malice
of eye. The breeze came again with a
flutter of aspen leaves as an obligato to
another voice that was saying:
"Gertrude, though I have tried
mightily to persuade you for a long
time, I don't want to tako advantage of
your decision. I couldn't let you go
now, but I want you to understand how
it is. My office still has the look of a
beginner that I can't rub off. It will be
some time before I can contemplate my
income, with cheerful indifference, but
in the last few minutes I have felt
someway, as it the 'mere man' might
amount to something There isn't any
thing I wouldn't do for you."
"But if I should ask something smal
anJ mean, what then?"
Mrs. Martin got up hurriedly, looked
about with amazement The Squirrels
looked up in doubt. "She is harmless,"
said one. Another, "she belongs to
those boys," and such a scampering
then as there was for the forts of squir
"Oh dear, ob dear," said Mrs. Martin.
'Where am I?" whereupon a squirrel in
his haste to escape, jumped past her.
She screamed. From one concave
opening at the end of the rock came
Mr. Barrett and Miss Brown, and from
the other came Miss Stanton and Jack
"I have been asleep," said Mrs. Mar
tin apologetically. "I have just waked
"Oh." said Miss Brown. "Oh," she
"I am the happiest man in the world,"
eaid Mr Barrett.
"I am going right away," answered
Mrs. Martin humbly, and by way of
congratulation, as she stooped to pick
up her rug.
"So are we," said Miss Stanton, and
Horton gathered up the rug, his mouth
drawn into a whimsical smile and the
three walked on.
"Mrs. Martin," said Jack, "I shall
never be able to disprove your logic by,
by personal experience that is."
"I am so glad, glad" and then with a
merry gleam of the eye, as she glanced
back at the rock, "nor by personal ob
servation.'' The sun broke through a
dark cloud, behind which it had been
hiding for the last half hour and danc
ed along their path.
"A good omen," said Mrs. Martin and
she stooped to pick a hare-bell that
grew by the wayside.
BV MARTHA PIEKCE.
Mother took the last stitch off the
knitting needle, and holding up the
gray stocking she was "toeing" looked
at it critically. Father leaned down,
thrust the poker Into the lower door
of the Round Oak stove, and shook it
savagely, though there was a red spot
on the side of the barrel next him.
From beneath the white shade the
lamp set precisely in the middle of the
green moss mat shed its clear light
down on the round table. Within Its
soft radiance was a shell with the
Lord's prayer in undecipherable letter
ing on its humped back, a newspaper,
neatly folded, and a spectacle case.
That was all except, indeed, a letter
which lay next to mother. When the
needles were flittering briskly again
and father content with the fire set
tled into one of the favorite attitudes
of the aged, his chest sunken, his
hands lying loosely on his knees, his
eyes on the bright coals glowing be
hind the isenglass, mother spoke:
"I'm selfish, I spose, but I did hope
Mollie'd come home for Chris'mas.
It's no more'n fair, as she says, that
they should go to John's folks this
year seein' they was here last. I ain't
no ill-will, but I can't get over it some
way It'll be the first Chris'mas since
Mollie was a baby we ain't had her 't
home to plan and to fuss over."
" 'Twas hard enough last Chris'mas
with her and John both," said father
slowly. "Seems like I never missed
George so much."
Mother did not reply. She leaned to
ward the lamp and picked up stitches.
"After all, he always set more store
by Chris'mas than Mollie seemed to,
anyways. Mebbe 'twas because he was
youngest, and we all layed out to give
him a little the best time and Mollie,
keener at it then either of us, always
had a kind of motherin way with 'im
d'ya mind? It was Little Brother
must have this and Little Brother
must have that. She was always for
givin' him everything he wanted far's
she could. Land! What a time she
used t' have givin' me d'rections 'bout
fillin' his stockin' 'fore she hung her's
up 'nd went t' bed. Seems like no
longer ago than las' Chris'mas, they
was workin' away over there under
that shelf, gittin' that stockin' o his
hung t' his satisfaction. D'ye mind,
how he al'ays would hang it there
and no-where's else? 'Nd how they'd
git their heads t'gether, and whisper
and laugh over their turrible big
secrets, they thought they was keepin'
Mother rose and went to the win
dow. Her ball rolled to the farthest
corner of the room, and the watchful
kitten sprang after it, tangling the
thread, but she did not notice. She
pushed up the blue shade, parted the
coarse lace curtains and looked out for
a long time.
"There's a deep saow," she said at
last. "I d'no as I ever saw a whiter
Chris'mas. It's clean up t' the top o
the fence. There'll be fine slelghin'."
A long silence fell. Mother came
back, rescued her work from the kit
ten, and sat down again.
"It never snows over there, I guess,"
the old man said at last, slowly. "I've
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