J.G. Austin

Part 6 out of 6

floating tresses of her hair; then, whispering farewell, he crept
away to hide in the recesses of the wood, and sigh himself to sleep.

"Dora, where are you, love? Do you hide from me today?" called a
voice; and Dora, peeping round the stem of the old oak at whose foot
she sat, said shyly,--

"Do you want me, Tom?"

"Want you, my darling? What else on earth do I want but you? And how
lovely you are to-day, Dora! You never looked like this before."

"It never was my wedding-day before," whispered Dora; and, like the
summer day and the west wind, we will pass on, leaving these our
lovers to their own fond folly, which yet is such wisdom as the
philosophers and the savans can never give us by theory or diagram.

As the fair day waned to sunset, they were married; Mr. Brown saying
the solemn words that barred from his own heart even the unrequited
love that had been a dreary solace to it. But Mr. Brown was not only
a good man, but a strong man, and one of an iron determination; and
so it was possible to him to say those words unfalteringly, and to
look upon the bride-lovelier in her misty robes of white, and
floating veil, than he had ever seen her before-with unfaltering
eyes and unchanging color. No great effort stops short at the end
for which it was exerted; and the chaplain himself was surprised to
find how calm his heart could be, and how little of pain or regret
mingled with his honest admiration and affection for Thomas
Burroughs's wife.

The carriage stood ready in the lane, and in another hour they were
gone; and let us say with Mrs. Ginniss,--radiant in her new cap and

"The blissing of God go with 'em! fur it's thimsilves as desarves

To those who remain behind when an absorbing interest is suddenly
withdrawn, all ordinary events seem to have lost their connection
with themselves, and to be dull, disjointed, and fatiguing.

Perhaps that was the reason why Kitty, as soon as the bridal party
was out of sight, crept away to her own chamber, and cried as if her
heart would break; but nothing except the natural love of mischief,
inherent in even the sweetest of children, could have tempted
'Toinette, after visiting her, to go straight to Mr.
Brown,--strolling in the rambling old garden,--and say,--

"Now, Mr. Brown! did you say that you despised Kitty?"

"Despise Kitty! Certainly not, my dear. What made you think of such
a thing?"

"Why, she said so. She's up in our room, crying just as hard! And,
when I asked her what was the matter, she hugged me up tight, and
said nobody cared for her, and nobody would ever love her same as
Cousin Tom does Dora. And I told her, yes, they would, and maybe you
would; and then she said, 'Oh, no, no, no! he despises me!' and then
she cried harder than ever. Tell her you don't; won't you, Mr.

The chaplain looked much disturbed, and then very thoughtful; but,
as the child still urged him with her entreaties, he said,--

"Yes, I will tell her so, Sunshine, but not just now. And mind you
this, little girl,--you must never, never let Kitty know that you
told me what she said. Will you promise?"

"Yes, I'll promise. I guess you're afraid, if she knows, she'll
think you just say so to make her feel happy. Isn't that it?"

"Yes: that is just it. So remember!"

"I'll 'memberer. Oh, there's Karlo! I'm going to look for chestnuts
with him to-morrow. Good-by, Mr. Brown!"

"Good-by, little Sunshine!"

And, for a good hour, Mr. Brown, pacing up and down the garden-walk,
took counsel with his own heart, and, we may hope, found it docile.

The next day, he said to Kitty,--

"I have been telling your brother that he had better let you board
at Yellow Springs this winter, and attend the lectures at the
college. Should you like it?"

"Oh, ever so much!" exclaimed Kitty eagerly. "But we were to keep
house together at Outpost."

"Karl thinks it will be as well to shut up the house and leave
farm-matters to Seth and Mehitable, until spring, when Mr. and Mrs.
Burroughs return. He will prefer for himself to spend the winter in
Greenfield, perhaps in Dr. Gershom's family. If you are at Antioch
College, I can perhaps help you with your studies. I take some
private pupils."

Mr. Brown did not make this proposition with his usual fluency.
Indeed, he was embarrassed to a considerable extent; and so, no
doubt, was Kitty, who answered confusedly,--

"I could try; but I never shall be fit for any thing. I never-I
never shall know much; though, if you will try to teach me"--

"I will try, Kitty, with all my heart. You have excellent abilities,
and it is foolish to say you 'never can be fit' for almost any

"O Mr. Brown! it seems to me as if I was such a poor sort of
creature, compared with almost any one!"

"Dora, for instance?"

"Yes. I never can be Dora: now, could I?"

"No, any more than I could be Mr. Burroughs. But perhaps Kitty
Windsor and Frank Brown may fill their places in this world, and the
next too, as well as these friends of theirs whom they both admire."

"O Mr. Brown! will you help me?" asked Kitty, turning involuntarily
toward him, and raising her handsome dark eyes and glowing face to
his. He took her hands, looked kindly into her eyes, and said both
tenderly and solemnly,--

"Yes, Kitty, God helping me, I will be to you all that a thoughtful
brother could be to his only sister; and, what you may be to me in
the dim future, that future only knows."

And Kitty's eyes drooped happily beneath that earnest gaze, and upon
her cheeks glowed the dawn of a hope as vague as it was sweet.



YOURS of the 10th duly received, and as welcome as your letters
always are. So you have seen the kingdoms of the world and the glory
thereof, and find that all is vanity, as saith the Preacher. Do not
imagine that I am studying divinity instead of medicine; but to-day
is Sunday, and I have been twice to meeting, and taken tea with the
minister besides.

But to return to our mutton. Nothing could be more delightful, or,
on the whole, more probable to me, than your decision to return to
Outpost, instead of settling in Boston or New York. I can hardly
fancy my cousin Dora changed into a fine lady, and fretting herself
thin over the color of ribbon, or the trail of a skirt; and I am not
surprised that she finds what is called "society" puzzling and
wearisome. Your life, Dora, began upon too wide a plan to bear
narrowing down into conventional limits now; and I feel through my
own heart the thrill with which you wrote the words,--

"I long for the opportunity of action and usefulness; I long for the
freedom of the prairie, and the dignity of labor; I long to resume
my old life, and to see my husband begin his new one."

But, to be quite frank, I was a little surprised that Mr. Burroughs
should enter so heartily into your plan of resuming the farm. To be
sure, I suppose the land-agency, and the practice of his profession,
will occupy most of his time; and his principal concern with the
estate will be to admire your able management of it. You and he, my
dear Dora, seem to form not only a mutual-admiration, but a
mutual-encouragement and mutual-assistance society; and I wish my
partnership with Dr. Gershom was half as satisfactory an

Yesterday, after receiving your letter, I rode directly to Outpost,
and communicated your wishes to Seth and Mehitable. The former threw
the chip he was whittling into the fire, and said,--

"Miss Burroughs coming back? Waal, then, I'll stop; but I own,
doctor, I wouldn't ha' done it ef she hadn't. It's took all the
heart out o' the place, her bein' gone so."

And Mehitable and he joined in a chorus of praises and
reminiscences, which, pleasant though I found it, I will not put you
to the blush by repeating. Both, however, promised faithfully that
the house and farm should be ready for you by the middle of April;
and Seth says he can take hold "right smart" at helping put up the
new house, as he was "raised a carpenter," in part at least.

You ask about me, my dear cousin; but what have I to tell? I work
hard at my profession, and take nearly all the night-practice off
Dr. Gershom's hands; so I have very little leisure for any thing
besides: and you say to be useful is to be happy; so I suppose I am
happy; but, if I may be allowed the suggestion, it is rather a
negative kind of bliss, and will be decidedly augmented when Outpost
is once again open to me as a second home (I assure you I shall be a
frequent visitor), and when Burroughs comes to occupy an office
beside my own.

As for the rumor of my engagement to Sarah Gershom, it is quite
unfounded. I am not thinking of marrying at present.

A letter from Kitty, received a few days since, brings very
satisfactory accounts of her progress in learning and in life. She
is as happy as possible in her engagement to Frank Brown, and
improves, under his tuition, beyond my wildest hopes. She has a
strong nature and a deep heart, has Kitty; and I believe Brown
understands and can guide them both. Kitty tells me, also, that
Theodore Ginniss is taking high honors in his class, and is one of
the most promising fellows at Antioch College. He will yet become
man of mark, and Mrs. Legrange may well be proud of her prot‚g‚.
Give her my regards, please; and a thousand kisses to Dolce, whom I
thank most humbly for her kind message to her poor old Karlo. I hope
to see her again in my little vacation next summer. Remember me,
too, most kindly to your husband, upon whose coming to Greenfield I
am depending a good deal, as I do not suffer, like you, from too
much society; and I shall be glad to associate with one man who does
not chew tobacco, or sit in the house with his hat on.

And now, dear Dora, good-night, and good-by for a little while.

Always your affectionate cousin,




Back to Full Books