« ElőzőTovább »
A DAY IN JUNE
BY ALICE CHOATE PERKINS
Sort breezes through the apple orchards blow.
Deep in the tangle of the matted grass
Lies golden silence. High above me pass The summer clouds, white, fathomless, and slow. The dim green aisles beneath the branches low
Are hushed and still; only one merry bird
Clear calling from a treetop high is heard. The sunlight glances through the leaves below. There is a sense as of a world apart,
Where peace and beauty hand in hand will go.
Lost is all bitterness, and hate, and wrong. Concealed within the dusky wood's deep heart
The quiet hours seem lingering as they go,
BY BLISS CARMAN
Now when the time of fruit and grain is come,
JONAS AND MATILDA
THE CONTRIBUTORS' CLUB
THEY were English, and their names were Jonas and Matilda; not their real names, of course, for though one often writes of real individuals, it is the custom to give them fictitious names. In this case I am obliged to use fictitious names, for though this couple lived next door to me for two seasons, I never found out their true names; so, in order to discuss their affairs in the privacy of my family, I christened them Jonas and Matilda. Their dwelling was not over twenty feet from my sittingroom window. It was quite old, but had never before, to my knowledge, been occupied; and when, one April morning, I saw a couple inspecting it with the evident intention of making it their residence if it proved satisfactory, I became much interested in the prospect of new neighbors.
I was somewhat of an invalid that spring, or thought I was, — which is much the same thing, as all physicians can testify, — and as I could neither read nor work long at a time, I welcomed the advent of the newcomers as a pleasant break in watching the clock for medicine hours.
Several visits were made before the couple decided to make the place their local habitation, and I had my couch drawn close to the window, where, behind the friendly screen of the muslin curtains, I could see with
out being seen. Sometimes, when the discussion over the location became specially lively, I did not scruple to use my opera-glass. I may as well confess that, owing to the perfectly open way in which Jonas and Matilda conducted their domestic affairs, by keeping up a daily espionage assisted by the aforementioned glass, I became almost as familiar with their household concerns as with my own, and I can assure you I found them vastly more interesting.
From the very first Matilda showed herself a female of decided opinions, which she aired both in season and out of season. As for Jonas, he proved himself like charity: he bore all things, hoped all things, endured all things, did not behave himself unseemly, suffered long, and was kind. After at least a dozen visits, in which Matilda pointed out every disadvantage of the situation, to which Jonas ventured only to utter a mild protest now and then, they decided to take the place for the season. Then began the moving and settling. All the furnishings were new, and instead of going to look and select for herself, Matilda stayed at home and had everything brought for her inspection. When Jonas brought what he considered a piece of fine floor-covering or wall-decoration, she turned and twisted it in every conceivable way; and if, after thoroughly examining it, she decided it would do, she laid it down, and Jonas picked it up and fitted it into the house. This did not end the matter, however, for as soon as Jonas came out and began to brush himself, Matilda would pop her head in the door; and if the thing was not arranged to her liking, she would drag it out, and patient Jonas had his work to do over again. A whole morning would often
be spent in this way, Jonas putting in order and Matilda pulling to pieces some part of the furniture. When Jonas brought home anything that did not please Matilda, she would snatch it from him, run a short distance, and toss it into the air, so that it would fall over into my yard. Then he would find a choice dainty which he would offer her, and hasten away to get something else while she was for the moment apparently goodnatured.
In the five weeks which it took Jonas to get the house in order, only once was he seen to rebel against Matilda's tyranny. It was a very hot, close morning, and he had been gone for at least two hours, during which time Matilda had done nothing but prance back and forth in front of the house. Whether the material itself did not please her, or she was angry because Jonas had been gone so long, I do not know, but as soon as he came in sight, with a sharp exclamation she pounced on him and tried to pull his burden away from him. To her great astonishment he refused to let go his hold. She moved away a little, and looked at him as if she could not believe the evidence of her own senses. Then she again caught hold of one end and tugged with all her might, but Jonas held on firmly; and thus they tugged and pulled for nearly five minutes. At last Matilda succeeded in wresting it from Jonas, and running with it, endeavored to drop it into my yard; but Jonas was too quick for her, and caught it just as it was falling. Again they contended for its possession, without either gaining any advantage, when suddenly Matilda let go her hold, and going off a little way sat down. Jonas, unexpectedly finding himself the victor, seemed at first
undecided what to do; but after waiting a minute and finding Matilda did not renew the attack, he carried the material into the house and fitted it in place. When he came out he waited, as was his custom, for Matilda to inspect his work, but the little minx never so much as looked toward the house.
After a while Jonas went away. As soon as he was out of sight, Mistress Matilda ran to the house, and tore out, not only what Jonas had just put in, but also several other things, and tossed them, one by one, into my yard. Then she too went away. Presently Jonas returned with more material for Matilda, but no Matilda was in sight. He called several times, and getting no response peeped into the house. I could not tell what his feelings were on beholding his dismantled home, for feelings cannot be seen, even with an opera-glass; but after standing about for a while, he laid his bundle down and hurried away, and I saw neither of them again for two days.
The second morning they returned together. Matilda seemed to be in a very peaceful frame of mind, for she allowed Jonas to repair the damage she had wrought and finish the furnishings without further interference. When it was all done, she refused to go one step inside. Jonas coaxed and pleaded. He went in and out half a dozen times, and tried his best to persuade Matilda to enter; but no, she would not even cross the threshold. Finding all his entreaties of no avail, he went away, and returned with an elderly looking female, whom I took to be either an aunt or a mother-in-law. Then the two tried their united eloquence, the elderly female talking as rapidly and volubly as a book-agent, to induce the