« ElőzőTovább »
Possibly. There's no knowing.” like her! You poor little darling! “You will tell her of course if she pearly makes me cry, to think of the tiny does ?"
feet going tramp, tramp, all that horrible " I think not."
way, and she high up on her big horse ! “But ought you not to tell her ?” She always rides the biggest horse she "No."
can get !
And then never to see or say a “ You are sure?”
word to you, after she brought you home!” “ Yes.”
“Mr. Day," I returned, “ I would not “You don't mean you will tell her a bave told you had I known it would make
you speak so naughtily of your mother. Certainly not."
You make me unhappy." “What will you do then ?
He was silent. I thought he was " I will tell her that I will not tell her.” ashamed of himself, and was sorry for “ Can that be right?”
him. But my sympathy was wasted. Through the dusk I could see his white The next instant he broke into a murmurteeth lighting up his smile as he answered: ing laugh of merriment.
" I think so. You may be quite sure I “ When is a mother not a mother?." he shall not tell her."
said. “Do you give it up? When she's "But," I began.
a north wind. When she's, a Roman emHe interrupted me.
peror. When she's an iceberg. When It was with no hypocrisy I would have she's a brass tiger. There ! that'll do. objected to the concealment of our inter. Good-bye, mother, for the preseot; I view. I was myself doing precisely the mayn't know much yet, as she's always thing I would have questioned; but not telling me, but I do know that a noun is only did I want to hear what he would say, not a thing, nor a name a person.” in the hope of seeing my own duty more I would have expostulated. plainly, but I almost shuddered at the idea For love-sake, dearest,” he said, with of having with any young man a secret solemnity, “don't let us dispute where against his mother - for against her only one of us knows. I will tell you all surely her son's secret must be.
some day- soon, I hope, very soon. I “ It must look strange to you," he said ; am angry now! Poor little tramping “but you don't know my mother.”
child ! “I think I do know your mother,” I re- I saw I had been behaving presumpjoined. “She saved my poor little life tuously; for I had attempted argument once, I think. I am not sure it was your while in completest ignorance. Had not mother, but I think it must have been." my uncle taught me the folly of reasoning “How could it be?” he said. " When from the ideal where no ideal was ? To
reason of what is by what ought to be, is " Many years ago - I cannot tell how worse than useless. We can reason of many. But I remember the time I mean only what will be by what ought to be. very well though the lady may not have The ideal must be our guide as to how to been your mother. I cannot have been treat the actual, but at least the actual more than eight, I think.”
must be there to treat. We must know “She couldn't have been at the manor what things exist before we can deal with then - could she?” he said, putting the them. I thought I saw also, that little question to himself, not me. “ How was enlightenment as to my duty was to be it? Tell me,” he went on, rising to his got from John Day; there could be no feet, and looking at me with a peculiar, likeness between his mother and my almost frightened eagerness.
uncle. I told him the tale as I could recall the Will you tell me something about facts. He listened in absolute silence. yourself, then?” I said. When I had done he broke out,
• That would not be interesting," he “ It was my mother! I don't know an objected. other woman would have let a child walk “ Then why are you here?" I returned. like that! Any other would have put you “Or can anything without a history be on the horse, or taken you up beside her!” interesting? I don't know, I am only
“A gentleman would, I know," I replied. asking. You will have to tell me many " But it is not so easy for a lady.” things I do not know."
“ She could have done it well enough, “Yes,” he answered; "a thing that is either way. She's as strong as a horse going to have a history may be interest. herself, and rides like an Amazon. But I ing.' am not in the least surprised; it was just | « But would a person with a history that
was not worth telling be interesting ? | a wife to the house she was in, as I would . How then should I be interested in you? ask her to creep with me into the den of a But the thing that I know will interest me hyena.' in the hearing, ought to interest you in the It was too dreadful. I rose from my telling.”
clover-throne. "I see,” he rejoined, with his merry “You must excuse me, sir," I said. laugh, “ I shall have to be careful what I "With one who can speak so of his mother, say! The little lady will at once find out I am where I ought not to be." the weak points of its logic !”
You have a right to know what my " I do not look for weak points any mother is,” he answered - coldly I where; but my uncle bas taught me that thought, “and I should not be a true man wisdom lies in knowing when I don't know if I spoke of her otherwise than I have a thing."
“ Yours must be a very unusual kind of He had risen when I rose. He would uncle," he returned.
pretend nothing to please me. I saw that "I thiok he has taught me how to learn," I was again in the wrong. Was I so little I said. “ If God had made many men like read as to imagine that a mother must of my uncle, the world wouldn't be the same necessity be a good woman? Must he place."
speak of his mother as he did not believe "I wonder why he didn't !” said John of her, or be unfit for my company? Day thoughtfully.
Would untruth be a fitting bond between “I have wondered much, and cannot us? answer the question," I replied. “Of “I beg your pardon," I said; “I was course there is an answer !”
wrong. But you can hardly wonder I “What if it wouldn't be good for the should be shocked to hear a son speak so world to have many good men in it before of his mother to one all but a stranger." it was ready to treat them properly ! ” What!” he returned, with a look of suggested John.
surprise ; "do
think of me so — as a The words let me know that at least stranger? I feel as if I had known you he could think. Hitherto my uncle had all my life — and before it.” seemed the only man that thought.
I was ashamed and silent. “ It may be so," I answered. “ I will “ You must not think I speak so to any think of it. But now tell me something one,” he said. “ Of those who know my about yourself. Were you brought up at mother and do not know her, not one has Rising? Have you been there all the a right to demand of me the truth concern. time? Were you there that night? Iing her. But what right could I have to should surely have known had you been ask you to see me if I would not tell you in the house!”
the truth about my mother ? Truth is He looked at me with a grateful smile. at the root of all right. Wisdom says:
“ I was not brought up there,” he an- • Have nothing to do with the son of such swered. "
Rising is my property, however a woman !? Not to tell you what she was, at least will be when I come of age. It yet to seek your love, would make me a was left me some ten years ago by a great. liar.” aunt. My father's property will be mine He made it clear he felt far too strongly too of course. He left my mother some to be influenced by a world of common. property in Ireland. She ought to be in places. Ireland, not here, but she likes my estates “Forgive me," I said. “May I sit better than her own, and makes the most down again ? " of being my guardian."
He held out his hand. I took it, and so “But you would not have her go there reseated myself on the clover-hillock. He if she is happier here!”
laid himself again at my feet. After a “ All who have land ought to live on it, little silence, he resumed, and told me a or else give it to those who do. What good deal more — only of his outward makes it theirs if their only connection history, however, while what I wanted was with it is the money it brings them? If I to know how he had come to be the kind let my horse run wild over the country, of man he was. Plainly it was not easy to how could I claim him, and refuse to pay him to talk about himself. But I heard his damages ?"
nothing more to wake the doubt whether " I don't quite understand you.” I ought to have met him, and was loving
“ Well, never mind'; I don't put it quite him a great deal more by the time he had clearly. But for my mother, I can say one done than when he began. thing plainly - that I would as soon take I then told him in return what my life
had hitherto been; bow I knew nothing It tears my heart. Why wasn't it made of father or mother ; how my uncle had bigger?' been everything to me, had taught me Perhaps that is just what is now being everything, had helped me to love what done with it,” he answered. was good and hate what was evil, had " I hope it may," I returned.
" But it made me know and love good books, and is time I went in." turn away from foolish ones. In short, I “Shall I not see you again tomorrow made him feel that all his mother had not evening?” he asked. been to him, my uncle had been to me; “ No," I answered. “ You have helped and that it would take a long time to make me to see what is right. It is clear to me me as much indebted to a husband as I must not see you again till I have already I was to my uncle. Then I put told my uncle everything." my question :
“ You do not mean for weeks and weeks “What would you think of me,” I said, – till he is well enough to be brought “ if I were to have a secret from an uncle home! How am I to live till then ? " like that?"
" As I shall bave to live. But I hope "If I had an uncle like that,” he an- it will be but for a few days. Only then swered, “ I would sooner have my throat much will depend on what my uncle cut than keep anything from him.” thinks."
“I'm so glad," I cried. “ You side with “ Will he decide for you wbat you are my conscience ! He shall be told the to do?" minute he is able to hear it.
But you un
“ Yes - I think so. Perhaps if he derstand it is just my love for my uncle were that makes it hard to tell him ? It has I was on the point of saying, " like your the look of turning away from him to love mother, I would act for myself ; " but I another."
stopped in time — or hardly. for í fear he “ It has that look, but I trust it is only a saw what I just saved myself from. Never, look. Anyhow he knows that such things then or after, did he once press me to must be; and the more he is a good man complete an interrupted sentence. and a gentleman the less will he be pained But he looked so sad, that I felt driven that we should love one another."
to say a word more. “I am sure of all that," I replied. “I " I don't think there is any good,” I ream only afraid that he may never have marked, "in resolving what you will or been in love himself, and so does not will not do, before the occasion appears, koow how it feels, and, not understanding compelling, decision. I will try to do it, may think I have forsaken him for what is right. I cannot promise anything you."
without knowing what my uncle thinks." “ Have you been always together?”
He took me in his arms for “No; I have been a good deal alone. a moment, and we parted with the underHe has always given me perfect liberty.' standing that I was to write to him as
** Then he could live without you?” soon as I had spoken with my uncle.
56 Yes, indeed. He would be a poor creature that could not live without an. other!”
He said nothing, and I added, “He often goes out alone without me The certainty with which I now saw so sometimes in the darkest midnights." far, was a wonder to me. So was the ease * Then be sure he knows what love is of my mind, pow I had resolved, on the
or at least will understand when you first opportunity, to make my uncle actell him. But, if you would rather, I will quainted with what I had done. I might tell him."
be in doubt about revealing my thoughts; “I could not have any one, even you, I could be in pone about revealing my uncle any news about me."
actions. I found also that it was much “ You are right. When will you tell less appalling, somehow, to tell what I him ? "
had done, than to tell what I was feeling. " I cannot be sure. I would go to him I may here be allowed to remark, in to-morrow, but they will not let me until addition, how much easier an action is he has got a little over this accident.” | when immediately demanded, than it Then I told John what had happened. “It seems while it lies in the contingent fuis dreadful to think how he must have ture – when the thing is before you in its suffered," I said, “and how much more I reality, and not as a mere thought-spectre. should have thought about it but for you. | The thing itself and the idea of it are two
THE TIME BETWEEN.
such different grounds upon which to they imagine their presence necessary to come to a decision !
all about them, when they learn that their One thing more : when a woman wants disappearance from the world sent a thrill to do right — I do not mean wants to coax of relief through the hearts of those nearthe right to side with her — she will, some-est them! It will one day prove a strong how, be led to see right.
medicine for souls self-absorbed, to learn My uncle was very feverish and trou how little they were prized. “ There is bled the first night, and had a good deal nothing covered that shall not be reof delirium, during which his care and vealed." anxiety seemed all about me. Martha had to assure bim every other moment that I was well and in no danger of any sort; he
FAULT AND NO FAULT. would be silent for a time, and then again be tormented with forebodings about me. The next day I kept the house till the In the morning, however, he was better, evening, and then went walking in the only be looked sadder than usual. She garden in the twilight. Between the dark thought he was anxious about me. So alleys and the open wilderness I Aitted and much I gathered from Martha's letter, by wandered, alternating gloom and gleam no means scholarly, but graphic enough. outside me, even as they chased one an
Its contents gave me much pain. My other within me. uncle was miserable about me; he had In the wilderness all at once I looked seen, and he knew and felt, that something up- and there was John! He stood outhad come between us. Alas, it was no side the fence, just as I had seen him the fancy of the brain-troubled soul! Whether night before, only now there was no aureole I was in fault or not, there was that some about his head; the moon had not yet thing. It troubled that unity that had reached the horizon. hitherto seemed a state essential and in- My first feeling was anger; he had divisible.
broken our agreement. I did not reflect Dared I go to him without a summons ? that there was such a thing as breaking a I knew Martha would call me the moment law, or even a promise, and being blamethe doctor allowed her, and did not feel it less. He leaped the fence, and clearing would be right to go without that call, every bush like a deer, came straight especially as what I had to tell might toward me. It was no use trying to esjustify more anxiety than the sight of me cape him. I turned my back, and stood. would counteract. If I went and said He stopped close behind me, a yard or nothing, the keen eye of his love would two away. but see the more plainly that there was “Will you not speak to me?” he said. something hid in my silence
that all was “It's not my fault I am come.” not as it had been betwixt us. I resolved " Whose fault else can it be?” I retherefore to remain where I was, waiting joined, with difficulty keeping my position. as patiently as I could.
“My mother's, of course!” he anThe next two days were perhaps the swered. most uncomfortable ever I spent. A se. I turned aad looked him in the eyes, cret that one desires to turn out of doors saw through the dusk that he was trouat the first advantage, is not a comfortable bled, ran to him, and put my arms about companion. I do not say I was unhappy, him. still less that once I wished I had not seen “She has been spying,” he said, as John Day, but oh, how I longed to love soon as he could speak.
" She will part him openly! how I longed for my uncle's' us at any risk if she can. She is having sanction, without which our love could us watched this very moment, most likely. not be perfected! Then John's mother She may be watching, us herself. She is was by no means a gladsome thought. a terrible woman, my mother, when she is But however his feeling toward her might for or against anything. Literally, I don't demand explanation, he must be a good know what she would not do to get her man indeed who was good in spite of own way. She lives for her own way. being unable to love, respect, or trust his The loss of it would be as the loss of her mother! The true notion of heaven is to soul. She'll lose. it this time. She'll fail be with everybody one loves; to him the this time — for the first time, so far as I presence of his mother would destroy any know." heaven. What a painful but salutary “Well,” I returned, nowise inclined to shock it will be to those whose existence take her part," I hope she will fail ! What is such a glorifying of themselves that does she say?"
• She says she would rather go to her On my side, my uncle alone had a word grave than see me the husband of one of in the matter, and I knew he would not your family."
willingly interfere with my happiness. For “What is there against my uncle? Is me, I should never marry another than there anything against Martha Moon ? John Day - that was a thing of course; What have I done? What is it?"
had he not kissed me? But the best of “ I don't think she has had time to in- lovers had been parted, and that which vent anything against you yet; but she had been, might be again, though I could pretends there is something, and says if not see how. It was good to hear Jobo I don't give you up at once, if I don't talk as he did ; it was the right way for a swear never to look at you again, she will lover to talk ; but he had no supremacy tell that something."
over what was to be ! “What did you say?”
“Some would say it cannot be so great “I said no power on earth should make matter, seeing we have known each other me give you up: Whatever she knew, she such a little while," I remarked. could know nothing against you, and I was “ The true time is the long enough ! ” as ready to go to my grave as she was. he replied. “ Would it be a sign that our • Mother,' I said, “you may tell my deter- love was strong, that it took a great while mination by your own! When man and to grow up? The strongest thingswoman are both determined, then comes There he stopped, and I saw wby; the tug! But I tell you this,' I said, strongest things are not generally of ' whether I marry her or not, you and I quickest growth. But there is the eucapart company the day I come of age; and lyptus! And was not St. Paul as good if in the inean time you speak word or do a Christian as any of them? I said nothdeed against one of that family, my lawyer ing, however. There was indeed no rule shall look strictly into your accounts as in the matter. mý guardian.' You see I knew where to “ You must allow it possible,” I said, touch her!"
" that we may not be married." “ It is dreadful you should have to " I will not,” he answered.
" It is true speak like that to your mother."
my mother may get me brought in as in“It is; but you would feel to her just capable of managing my own affairs; as I do, if you knew all — though you but wouldn't speak so roughly. For that,
" What mother would do such a wicked
" She would !"
“ She would !"
sense of dismay at thus approaching such “But she cannot ! "
I knew of bad women, but only " It rests with you."
in books; it would appear they were in “ How with me?"
other places as well. “ It will be war to the knife between “We must be on our guard,” he said. her and me. If she succeeds, it must be Against what?" with you."
" Whatever she
“She has begun.”
“ Leander is lame,” he answered.
* I am so angry
“ Is it possible I understand you ?"
"I can no more' prove it than I can