« ПретходнаНастави »
along the path, and the sunlight now and again broke through the trees and rested on the two fair faces.
Finally Sarah stopped so abruptly that the stately Deborah, being close upon her, barely escaped a tumble.
"Are we near, Sally?”
“The clearing is but just beyond,” answered Sarah. “Arrange thy petticoats, Mistress Deborah, put thy flower bonnet upon thy shapely head, and prepare thy thoughts for the divine service."
Thereupon each maiden shook down the crisp, ruffled skirts of lawn, and brought to light each a bonnet gay with flowers. Sarah’s had red roses, Deborah's yellow.
“Sally, art not abashed to go unbidden to a strange church ? I know not what to say. Tell me the preacher's name again, I do forget.”
Sarah raised her clear voice and the wood echoed with her words. “ Roe-canst hear ? Daniel Roe and his five-"
“Sally, I command thee hush! They will hear. Thou wilt disgrace us with thy pranks."
“Go preach to the woods, Debbie, and I will go to the meeting-house," Sarah answered, starting her horse.
Deborah followed, and another turn brought them into the clearing.
It was a desolate little place, this clearing of only two months' settlement. Three log houses were built near the furthermost edge, and in the center a little log meeting-house, in the door of which a man was standing as they rode up.
Deborah summoned her courage. "Art Mr. Roe?" she asked. “I am Daniel Roe, the Methodist preacher,” he answered.
“And I,” said Deborah, "am Mistress Deborah Wisner- this my sister, Mistress Sarah. We are the daughters of Moses Wisner.
Thou must know of our father who lives at the clearing beyond here near the Presbyterian Corners, where he is an elder in the church. He has allowed us to attend thy church this Sabbath.”
While she was speaking a perplexed look came over the preacher's face. He seemed at a loss what to say as he gazed up at them.
“It would give me great pleasure, my sisters, to have you with us, but I hardly know how—”
Deborah drew herself up proudly. “I beg thee to remember,
Mr. Roe, that I am not thy sister, and as we seem not to be welcome, Sarah, let us return."
“Oh, I pray thee sir," broke in Sarah, “mind not my sister's speech. 'Twas but a hasty outburst. We did not know it was not allowed us to worship with thee and thy church."
The preacher turned toward her bright, earnest face. “I thank thee, my child, for thy words. Surely it is right for thee to worship with us; I was but puzzled by your finery,” and he glanced again at the haughty Deborah. “According to the rules of my church I can not let you enter with the gay flowers in your bonnets. If you desire to come in, you must first cut them out."
“Enough,” cried Deborah. “I tell thee, Sarah, let us go.”
“But I am not going, Deborah, I shall remain for the meeting. 'Tis but a trifling service to cut away my roses.”
Deborah stared. “Then shall I do better on my homeward way. To such nonsense will I never stoop," and she whipped up her plodding horse and rode away into the forest, Sarah's troubled eyes watching her.
“Do not worry nor blame, my child,” said the preacher. “Here is my son, Austin. Mistress Wisner, Austin. He will lead thy horse across the field to our dwelling, and there thou shalt cut away thy blossoms.”
Sarah looked down and saw that a young man had come out of the meeting-house, and was standing near the preacher. She had forgotten the five sons, and this was one of them. She thanked the preacher, and rode away across the field, Austin Roe leading her horse. He answered her questions about the new settlement, and the Connecticut section from which his family had moved; and she told him in turn about the preacher's refusal to let them in with flowers in their bonnets, and how her sister Deborah had gone back home, and then they came to the little log house.
“My mother is already at the meeting, therefore tell me of what thou hast need,” he said, leading the way into the livingroom.
“Surely a pair of scissors will suffice for a cutting process," she said gaily. The scissors brought, he watched the brown curls nodding saucily over the bright bonnet in her lap, and the nimble fingers clipping the blossoms loose.
“Oh, 'tis a pity to spoil the pretty thing,” he said.
"No, no, just quite sensible. 'Tis of no account to wear flowers."
"If I made the Discipline it should not be so," and he sighed so woefully that Sarah laughed outright.
"There, 'tis the last one," she said, giving a final snip; whereupon the last red rose flew off the bonnet and landed at the young fellow's feet. Quickly he seized upon it, and looked at her boldly.
""Tis my prize, Mistress Wisner, is't not?" he pleaded. "For shame, Mr. Roe, what says thy Discipline ?-and thou the minister's son." He laughed gaily.
"I shall not wear it in my cap," and he put it in his pocket. "Thou dost not need the roses after all," he added, looking at her admiringly as she stood ready with the plain little bonnet on her curls. "The Discipline knew best, I ween."
"Art ready?" said Sarah, abruptly.
He swung her up on the old horse and they set out again. The freshly broken earth was rough and the horse stumbled frequently. Austin Roe had a bolder tongue than when they went over the field before.
"I fear me, Mistress Wisner, the ground is much too uneven for thy comfort."
"No, no, 'tis but the awkward step of the farm horse. used to many a jolt."
He looked at her eagerly. "I have a pony brought by myself from Connecticut. Wouldst thou have it, Mistress Wisner? "Twould suit thy weight rarely."
"I beg thee, sir, to remember that the Sabbath is not a fit day for horse trading."
Austin Roe bit his lips impatiently and turned again to the horse; and the demure little Sarah saw only the back of his shapely head for the remainder of the journey.
The preacher met them at the door again and Sarah Wisner went in to her first Methodist Love-feast. She put off her coquetry as she had her flowers, and it was a serious little maiden who drank in the gentle words of Daniel Roe that morning.
"Thou dost transform our meeting-house with thy sweetness, my child, and thou art always welcome," said the preacher as he bade her good-by, and Austin Roe echoed his father's words in his face as he rode into the forest with Sarah.
As they wound along through the golden green and the shadows, he looked at her shyly, remembering the lesson of the pony. Then gently he said, “I shall ride often through these woods if thou wilt let me."
And Sarah's look was clear and sunny as she answerered, “And thou shalt find a welcome if it please thee to ride all the way through."
Another June, Sarah Wisner rode through the forest in her bridal gown, and the preacher married her to Austin Roe in the little log meeting-house.
“Debbie, thou canst not help thyself, now. Thou art sister to one Methodist at least," and as the color deepene in Deborah's cheeks, Sarah whispered to the preacher, “I'll wager, my father, that such relationship will not long suffice her."
LILLIAN PRESTON HULL.
• I've loved, I've loved," she said with content
As she gazed at the red, red rose.
For perhaps she had loved, -who knows?
“I've lost, I've lost,” she said all forlorn,
And a tear dropped on the red rose.
CLARA MYERS KNOWLTON.
* PLEASE DO NOT DISTURB"
“Studying. Please do not disturb."
Just as well to go away;
Not at home to you to-day.
And you'd find it very stupid,
Heartless things are noun and verb;
ELLEN GRAY BARBOUR.
In the old family Bible, bound in calfskin, the date of my birth is thus recorded, “Elizabeth Catherine Deyer, born Febru
ary the tenth, year of our Lord 1832.” That is the My Own way it stands, written in a large, bold, masculine Kingdom hand, and a little farther down the page, in my
mother's exquisitely fine writing, the additional sentence, “February the twentieth. Baby was christened to-day Elizabeth Catherine, Elizabeth for my esteemed and beloved mother and Catherine for Mr. Deyer's maternal parent. We pray that our child may inherit the virtues and graces of both of these most estimable gentlewomen."
Here were plain facts before my eyes and still I took them and colored them with my own fancy and there I read that Elizabeth Catherine Deyer was born a Princess Royal, and with this fancy I played for many years. Often I would spend long, rainy winter afternoons robed in a red shawl with a chain of pearls twined in my hair,-a cousin had been to Rome and had brought me the beads, which henceforth became my most cherished treasure,-a peacock fan in my hand, sitting in state in the library holding my court. I well remember how horribly mortified I was if any one intruded and saw me; for it broke the charm, and I would snatch the pearls out of my hair, drop the fan and wrap the shawl about me, as if I felt chilly. Perhaps you will call this deception, but to be laughed at hurt me, and no one would have understood had I tried to explain.
Let me beg you to give your children names. The combination of mine may now sound old-fashioned; but such a wealth as they have been! For instance, one day I was the haughty Tudor Queen of England signing the death warrant of the poor Queen of Scots, or again I was Saint Elizabeth, but here I lost faith, for so completely did I merge my existence into that of the real saint that when my imaginary husband accosted me and brutally demanded what was in my basket and I answered, “roses,” the roses failing to materialize I was indignant. Wasn't the Lord just as anxious that I should tell the truth as my far away namesake? Then why didn't he perform a miracle for me and save me from telling a lie? Then taking my second name I was Katharine of France, Catherine de Medici, Katharine of Aragou, just as my mood suggested.
I had no brothers or sisters, and I lived in the old Deyer homestead with my grandfather, grandmother, and my own