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DO YOU EVER FEED HIM UNCLE JOSH?. Page24.
THANKFUL REST:Q1 XEGW LNGLAND TORY.. There is no road, though rough and steep,Without an end at last,And every rock upon the wayBy patience can be passed.There are few human hearts too hardFor gentleness to win,Somewhere a hidden chink appearsWhere love may enter in.A. S. S."Blessed are the meek, for they shall inheril the earnt."GLASGOW:JOHN S. MARR AND SONS,51 DUNDAS STREET.1881.
CONTENTS.CHAP PAGEI. UNWELCOME NEWS, 5II. THE PARSONAGE, 11III. THE ARRIVAL, ; 16IV. THE NEW HOME, 23V. SUNDAY, 29VI. LOSING HOLD OF THE BRIDLE, 3VII. THE RED HOUSE, 44"VIII. UP THE PEAK, 52IX. A DAY TO BE REMEMBERED, 61X. ON THE LAKE, 73XI, HOPES FULFILLED, 81XII. WEARY DAYS, 91XIII. LUCY FINDS THE KEY, 99XIV. A GREAT CHANGE, 105XV. THE WEDDING, 114XVI. FIVE YEARS AFTER, 122
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THANKFUL REST.CHAPTER I.UNWELCOME NEWS.IT was the prettiest homestead in all the township, every-body said, and it had the prettiest name. It stood a mile orso beyond Pendlepoint on the farther side of the river, fromwhich it was separated by a broad meadow, where in thesummer time the sleek kine stood udder-deep in cowslipsand clover."It was a long, low, comfortable-looking house, hidden bylovely creeping plants, and sheltered at the back by the old elmtrees in the paddock, and at the front by the apple trees in theorchard. Perhaps it was because it had such a snug, cosy,restful look about it that it had been queerly christenedThankful Rest. The land adjoining the homestead was richand fertile, and brought in every year a crop worth a goodlycompetence to its possessors. The family at Thankful Restconsisted of two people-Joshua Strong and his sister Hep-zibah. You are to make their acquaintance immediately, buta remark made once by old Reuben Waters, their next neigh-bour, may perhaps give you an idea of their characters betterthan any long description of mine.
6 UNWELCOME NEWS."For crankiness and nearness, and unneighbourly sourness,give me Josh Strong and his sister Hepsy. They can't beequalled, I bet, in all Connecticut."You will be able to judge, by-and-bye, of the correctnessof Reuben's estimate. On a lovely August afternoon MissHepzibah Strong was ironing in the kitchen at ThankfulRest. I wish you could have seen that kitchen; your eyeswould have ached with its painful cleanliness. The stoneflags were as cool and clean as water and hands could makethem; the stove shone like burnished silver; the dresserand the table, at which Miss Hepzibah was at work, werewhite as snow, and the array of tins on the wall was perfectlydazzling with brightness. The wide diamond-paned case-ment stood open to admit what little air happened to beabroad that sultry afternoon. How pleasant it was, to besure, to look out upon the flower-laden garden; upon thesunny orchard, rich and golden with its precious harvest;upon the silver thread of the river winding through the greenmeadow beyond, and to see and feel all the loveliness withwhich God had clothed the world. But Miss Hepzibah hadno eyes for any of the beauties I have mentioned, she wasintent upon her work, and hung on the clothes-horse pieceafter piece of stiff, spotless linen, which, as she could boast,could not be equalled in the township. Miss Hepzibah her-self was not a pretty picture. She was a woman of thirty-five or thereabouts, with a thin, brown, hard-looking face,sharp twinkling grey eyes, and a long, grim, resolute mouth.She wore a short skirt of dark material, a lilac calico jacket,
UNWELCOME NEWS. 7and a huge white apron. On ordinary occasions her headwas adorned by a cap of fearful workmanship and dimen-sions, but in the heat of her work she had thrown it off, andher scanty brown hair was fastened tightly back in a cuebehind.Just as the old eight-day clock in the lobby solemnlystruck four, there was a loud knock at the back door, andthe post-messenger from Pendlepoint strode into the kitchen,holding in his hand a black-edged letter."Bad news for ye, Miss Hepsy, I doubt," he said. "It'llbe from your sister in Newhaven, I reckon."Miss Hepzibah took the black-edged letter coolly in herhand, eyed it stolidly for a second, and then laid it on thetable. "Sit down a minute, Ebenezer, an' I'll bring ye aglass of cider," she said.And Ebenezer saw her depart to the larder nothing loth.But if he thought Miss Hepsy meant to open the letter andconfide its contents to him he was mistaken, for she pushedit aside and went on with her ironing. So after being brieflyrested and refreshed, he went his way, bidding her a surlygood-afternoon. Still the letter lay untouched upon the tabletill the last collar was hung on the horse, the irons set on theflags to cool, and the blanket folded in the dresser. ThenMiss Hepsy broke the seal, and read without change of ex-pression what ought to have been a sorrowful intimation toher, the news of the death of her younger and only sister,who had married and been left a widow in Newhaven. ButS before Miss Hepsy had read to the end, her expression did
8 UNWELCOME NEWS.change, and she exclaimed, "Wal, if this ain't about the hum-bugginest fix. Hetty's boy and gal got to come here, nowhereelse to go. Wonder what Josh '11 say."Miss Hepsy sat down, and, crossing her long hands on herlap, remained deep in thought till the old clock struck again,five this time. Then she sprang to her feet, whisked theletter into the table drawer, and fetching out baking-boardand flour-basin, proceeded to make dough for a supper cake.It was barely ready when her brother came in at six, and helooked slightly surprised to see no signs of the supper on thetable."I've had a letter from Newhaven, Josh," Miss Hepsysaid abruptly. "Hetty's dead, you won't be surprised tohear, I suppose. It's from her minister, and he says you'vegot to come up right away and see about things, an' fetchback the boy and gal with you. They've got nowhere elseto go, he says, an' we're their nearest kinsfolk. I got thinkin'it over, and forgot my work like a fool."Joshua Strong's grim face grew grimmer, if possible, as helistened to his sister's words. He reached out his hand forthe letter she had taken from the drawer, and slowly spelt itto the end."There ain't anything for it but grin and bear it, Hepsy,"he said. "Tho' I don't see what business folks has marryin'an' dyin' an' leavin' their children to poor folks to keep.It'll be a mighty difference to expense havin' other twomouths to feed an' backs to clothe.""An' what I'm to make of two fine gentry children, as
UNWELCOME NEWS. 9Hetty's are sure to be, round all the time, I don't know,"said Miss Hepsy, whisking off a griddle cake with unneces-sary vigour. "I declare Hetty might have had more sensethan think we could do with 'em. I'm rare upset about it,I can tell ye.""It doesn't say what she died o'," said Joshua medita-tively, twirling the letter in his brown fingers."Died o'," repeated Miss Hepsy tartly. "Why, of pinin'arter that husband o' her'n. What's her fine scholar done forher now, I wonder? Left her a lone widder to die off andleave penniless children to other folks to keep. But I'llwarrant they'll work for their meat at Thankful Rest. I'llhave no stuck-up idle notions here.""How am I to get to Newhaven jes' now, I'd like toknow," said Joshua, "and all that corn waitin' to be stacked?It's clean beyond me."Miss Hepsy thought a moment. "I have it. Miss Gold-thwaite was here to-day, an' she said the parson was goin'to Newhaven to-morrow to stay a day or two. We'll gethim to see to things an' bring the children down. I'll goto Pendlepoint whenever, I've got my supper, an' ask him.Here, ask the grace quick an' let's be hurryin'," she said, andbefore the few mumbled words had fallen from Joshua'sS lips, Miss Hepsy was well through with her first cup oftea.At that moment, in a darkened chamber in a quiet citystreet, two orphan children clung to each other weeping,wondering fearfully to see so white, and cold, and still, the
10 UNWELCOME NEWS.sweet face which had been wont to smile upon them as onlya mother can.They wept, but the days were at hand when they wouldrealise more bitterly than now what they had lost, and howutterly they were left alone.
CHAPTER II.THE PARSONAGE.IN the pleasant front parlour of the parsonage at Pendlepoint,the Rev. Frank Goldthwaite and his sister were lingeringover their tea-table. He was a young man, tall and broad-shouldered, with an open kindly face, and grave thoughtfuleyes, which yet at times could sparkle with merriment asbright as that which so often shone in his sister's blue orbs.A bright, winsome, lovable maiden was Carrie Goldthwaite,the very joy of her brother's heart, and the apple of everyeye in the township. The brother and sister were deeplyattached to each other, the fact that they were separatedfrom their father's happy home in New York drawing themthe more closely together. They had been talking of Mr." Goldthwaite's projected visit on the morrow, and he hadat last succeeded in repeating faithfully all the commissionshis sister wished him to execute, when the swinging of thegarden gate, and a firm tread on the gravel, made MissGoldthwaite rise and peep behind the curtain."It's Miss Hepsy, Frank," she said with a very broad smile;"something very important must it be which brings her here.I don't think she has been to the parsonage since the daywe came."The next moment Miss Goldthwaite's " help " ushered inMiss Hepsy Strong, attired in a shawl of brilliant hues and
12 THE PARSONAGE.a marvellous bonnet. She dropped a curtsey to the parson,and sat down on the extreme edge of the chair Miss Gold-thwaite offered her, declining, at the same time, her offer of acup of tea. Evidently, Miss Hepsy was not used to companymanners."I've made bold to come down to-night, sir," she said,fixing her keen eyes on Mr. Goldthwaite's pleasant face,"knowin' you was goin' to Newhaven to-morrow, to ask ifyou would do Josh and me a kindness.""If I can, Miss Strong," returned the minister courteously,"be sure I shall be very glad to do so.""You've heard tell, I reckon," said Miss Hepsy, "on oursister Hetty as married the schoolmaster in Newhaven."Mr. Goldthwaite nodded." Well, she's dead," continued Miss Hepsy with a business-like stolidity inexplicable to Carrie Goldthwaite's warmheart, "an' she's left two children, which Josh an' me'llhev to take, I reckon, seein' their parents is both dead.now.We'd a letter to-day from the minister there, Mr. Penn hecalls hisself, I think." a" Yes, I know him," put in Mr. Goldthwaite." He wants Josh to come up right away, which he can'tpossibly do an' the corn not in the barn yet. A tay's worthso many dollars jes' now, an' can't be throw'd away. Now,sir, will ye be so kind as to see to things at Hetty's, an'fetch the children with you when ye come back? It'll bea great favour to Josh and me."The minister concealed what he thought, and answered
THE PARSONAGE. 13courteously that he should do his best. Then Miss Hepsyrose and shook out her green skirts." The address is Fifteenth Street, sir, an' Hetty's name wasHurst. I reckon ye'll find it easy enough. That's all, I'll begoin' now. No, thanks, Miss Goldthwaite, I can't sit down;it's 'most milking time, and if Keziah's left to do it herself,there's no saying what might happen. So, good evenin' an'thank ye, sir," and before the brother and sister recoveredfrom their amazement, Miss Hepsy had whisked out of theroom, and the next minute her firm, man-like tread brokeupon their ears again. Mr. Goldthwaite looked at hissister with a comical smile, which was answered by a pealof laughter from her sweet lips."I can't help it indeed, Frank," she said, "I am so sorryfor the poor children, bereft of both parents. Their motherwas a refined, gentle creature, too, I have been told, of adifferent mould from Miss Hepsy. The calmness, though, toask you to do all this simply because Joshua is too hard tospare a day's labour! Are you doing altogether right,Frank, I wonder, in taking it off his hands ?""I could not refuse it, Carrie," returned the minister."Like you I am sorry for the poor little orphans; their lifewill not be all sunshine, I fear, at Thankful Rest."Miss Goldthwaite sighed, and from the open windowwatched in silence Miss Hepsy's brilliant figure crossing theriver -by the bridge a hundred yards beyond the parsonagegate."I think, Frank, that among all your parishioners, there
14 THE PARSONAGE.is not a more unhappy pair than Joshua Strong and hissister. I wish they could be made to see how differentlyGod meant them to spend their lives. It saddens me to seetheir hardness and sourness."" Perhaps these little children may do them good, dear,"returned the minister gravely. " It would not be the first.time God has used the influence of little children to do whatno other.power on earth could. We will pray it may be so.""Yes," returned Carrie Goldthwaite, and the shade deep-ened on her sweet face as she added again, "Poor little things,it will be a sore change from the tender care of a mother.We must do what we can, Frank, to make their home atThankful Rest as happy as possible. We had such a happyone ourselves, I feel an intense pity for those who have not.There is Judge Keane on horseback at the gate. He wantseither you or me to go out and speak to him."The minister rose, and both stepped out to the verandah,and down the steps to the garden. The judge had alighted,and fastening his bridle to the gate-post, came up the pathto meet them. He was an old man, with white hair andbeard, but his fine figure was as erect and stately as ithad been a quarter of a century before. He shook handscordially with the minister, touched Carrie Goldthwaite'sbrow with his lips, and then said, in a brisk cheerful voice," My wife-heard you were going to Newhaven for a coupleof days, and sent me down to say she would expect you,Miss," he nodded to Carrie, "at the Red House to-morrowto stay till he comes back; I may say yes, I suppose."
THE PARSONAGE. 15"Yes, and thank you, Judge Keane," said Miss Goldthwaitewith a little grateful smile. " Even with Abbie's companyit is very dull when Frank is away. Won't you come in ?"The judge shook his head, and turned to the gate again."Not to-night, my dear; good-night and good-bye, Frank.""Have you no commissions, judge Z" asked the minister."I shall have plenty of time at my disposal, my own businessis very little."" No, I think not," returned the judge; " but, let me see."Miss Goldthwaite moved to the gate, and laid her handcaressingly on Beauty's glossy neck."I only envy you one thing, Judge Keane," she said,"and this is it. What a beauty she is!" The judgelaughed, and his eyes lingered on the slim, girlish figurein its dainty muslin garb, and on the sweet uncloudedface, which was a true index to the happy heart within."Beauty shall be yours by-and-bye," he laughed, and aswift wave of colour swept across her face, and she hid it inthe animal's glossy mane. "Safe journey, Frank. Come tothe Red House for your sister when you want her. Steady,Beauty." He sprang to the saddle, and held out his handto Carrie."I'm glad you've said yes, my dear," he whisperedwith a mischievous twinkle in his grey eyes, "or a certainyoung man would have thought nothing of coming to take youby main force. Shall I tell him of that sweet blush? Or"-But Miss Goldthwaite had fled, and Beauty flew off likean arrow.
CHAPTER III.THE ARRIVAL.ON Friday morning, Miss Hepsy received a brief note fromMr. Goldthwaite, stating that he had attended the funeralof Mrs. Hurst, paid the little she owed in Newhaven, andwould be at Pendlepoint by the noon cars that day, whenhe requested Miss Hepsy to be in waiting at the depot tomeet her nephew and niece.Now, Friday was Miss Hepsy's cleaning day. Althoughordinary eyes would have been puzzled to point out whatspot in that shining domain required more than the touchof a duster, the house was upturned from ceiling to base-ment, and received such sweeping and dusting and polishing,such scouring and scrubbing, that it was a marvel MissHepsy was not exhausted at the end of it. She had justturned out the parlour chairs into the lobby, and was busywith broom and dust-pan, sweeping up invisible dirt, whenEbenezer brought her Mr. Goldthwaite's letter. So much didit upset her, that he had to depart without his glass of cider,for she took no more notice of him than if he had been oneof the pillars at the door. It was eleven o'clock almost, itwould take her every moment to dress and be at the depotin time; so she had to set the chairs back into the half-sweptroom, replacing her working garb by the green dress andthe plaid shawl, take her blue umbrella and trudge off,
THE ARRIVAL. 17leaving the management of the dinner to Keziah. Herframe of mind as she did so augured ill for the welcome ofher sister's children.The cars were half an hour late, and Miss Hepsy strodeup and down the platform in a ferment of wrath and impati-ence, thinking of the dinner under awkward Keziah's super-vision; of the sweeping and dusting and baking all to bedone in the afternoon; of the bother two strange childrenwere sure to be; of a hundred and one things, which broughther temper up to fever heat by the time the train puffed intothe depot. From the window of a first-class compartmenttwo faces looked out eagerly, but failed to recognise in MissHepsy the sister of the dear dead mother they had so latelylost. Miss Hepsy saw Mr. Goldthwaite step out first,followed by a tall, handsome looking boy, well dressed andrefined looking, who, in his turn, assisted with care andtenderness a slight, delicate looking girl, who bore such astrong resemblance to her dead mother, that her aunt hadno difficulty in recognising her. She stamped forward,nodded to Mr. Goldthwaite, and held out a hand in turn toeach of the children."I'm tired to death waitin' on these pesky cars," she said,addressing herself to Mr. Goldthwaite. "I hope they'vebehaved themselves, sir, an' not bothered ye. Bless me,children, don't stare at me so, I'm your Aunt Hepzibah; youlook as if you had never seen a woman afore.""There is a trunk, Miss Hepsy," said Mr. Goldthwaite,unable to help an amused smile playing about his mouth.2
18 THE ARRIVAL."You will need to send a cart for it. They have been verygood children, indeed, and instead of bothering, have greatlyhelped to make my journey enjoyable."" I'm glad to hear it, I'm sure," said Miss Hepsy lookingvery much as if she was not glad at all. " Well, I guesswe'd better be movin'. What's your name, boy ?" she said,turning to the lad with an abruptness which made himstart."My name is Tom, Aunt," he answered promptly; "this isLucy."" Miss Hetty might have called one of ye after her ownkin. Well, good-day, Mr. Goldthwaite, I guess Josh '11 walkdown to the parsonage at night an' pay up. Come along.""Good-bye, Tom, good-bye, Lucy, in the meantime," saidthe minister kindly. "We shall see each other often Ifancy."" 0 sir, I hope so," said Lucy, speaking for the first time."You have been so kind to us when we had nobody else."Her dark eyes suddenly overflowed, and she turned awayto follow her aunt; while Tom, whistling to vent somestrong feeling, went on in front.Miss Hepsy walked as if for a wager, and never openedher mouth once, until they stood upon the threshold atThankful Rest. "Now, look here, this is yer home," shesaid; then, fixing grim eyes alternately on their faces,"an' I hope ye'll behave, an' show yer gratitude for it.That's all; I bet Keziah's burned the soup," with whichMiss Hepsy burst into the kitchen ready to extinguish the
THE ARRIVAL. 19unfortunate "help " if everything was not up to the mark.The brother and sister lingered a moment on the threshold,feeling new and strange and sad, their welcome had beenso disappointing."Lucy," said Tom Hurst suddenly, "do you believethat woman's mamma's sister ? I don't.""Of course she is," returned Lucy. "And you must notcall her that woman, Tom; she is our aunt, you know, andwe must behave she says."Tom made a wry face. "I don't feel like behaving any,"he said. "But I say, Lucy, isn't this a prime place?" Lucy'seyes beamed as they looked round the pretty peacefulhomestead, with its laden orchard, wealth of flowers, andglorious summer beauty. But she did not answer."We'd better go in, I suppose, though we weren't asked,"said Tom. " I wonder if it's near dinner-time; I'm famished."He pushed open the door, and, followed by Lucy, entered thewide-bricked kitchen. A sudden change had taken placein Aunt Hepsy's appearance. In the twinkling of an eyeshe had donned her working garb again, and was paringpotatoes at the table. Fortunately the dinner had pro-gressed satisfactorily during her absence."Come in and sit down," she said, pointing to the settle atthe fire. " Ye'll be hungry I reckon, but it'll soon be dinner-time; I don't approve of eating 'tween meals. I guess younever did any of this kind o' work, Lucy.""No, Aunt Hepsy," returned Lucy timidly. "I've seenHannah do it, that was our girl."
20 THE ARRIVAL."Humph, ye won't be long here before ye can pare pota-toes as well as Hannah. You'll be willin' to learn, I hope."" I shall do my best, Aunt Hepsy," returned the girlmeekly."Mamma never pared potatoes, Aunt Hepsy," said Tomboldly." No, I know she didn't, boy," said Miss Hepsy severely."Your mother was as useless as a bit o' Sunday china; Ihope you won't be like her, Lucy.""I hope she will, Aunt 'Hepsy," spoke up Tom again."Mamma was perfectly splendid everybody said.""You'd better go outside, boy," said Miss Hepsy wrathfully,"till you learn to speak respectfully to your aunt. I knowwhat your mother was. She was my own sister, I hope."Tom caught up his cap and fled, nothing loth; his auntirritated him, and made him forget himself."How old are you, child?" said Miss Hepsy, turning toLucy after a moment's silence."I am fourteen past, Aunt Hepsy; Tom is twelve."Miss Hepsy dropped her paring knife and stared."Land sakes, child, you don't look more'n nine, and thatgreat boy looks years older'n you. What have ye fed on ?"Lucy smiled faintly. " I have not been very strong thissummer, Aunt Hepsy; and I was so anxious about mammabeing so poorly. I couldn't sleep at nights, nor eat anythinghardly. I suppose that's what made me thin." Miss Hepsysniffed."Have any of ye been to school ?" was her next question.
THE ARRIVAL. 21"No, Aunt Hepsy. Papa taught us till he died, and thenmamma kept up our lessons as well as she could. Tom is agood scholar, and oh, such a beautiful painter!""Painter " echoed Miss Hepsy. "What ? Fence railsand gates."Lucy looked very much shocked. "Oh no; he drawslandscapes and things, and went to the Art School as longas mamma could afford it. Then he practised at home.IIe means to be a great painter some day, like the ones heread about."" Humph," said Miss Hepsy contemptuously. "I guess hisuncle '11 find him work in painting the farm an' the gatesafresh this fall. It'll save a man. Now then, there's themtaters on. Come upstairs an' I'll show you your room."Lucy rose, and obediently followed her aunt along thewide flagged passage and up the polished oak steps to atiny little chamber in the attic flat. It was poorly fur-nished, but scrupulously clean; and from the window Lucy'sdelighted eyes caught a glimpse of the broad green meadow,the shining water of the river, and beyond, the houses ofthe town nestling in the shadow of the giant slopes of PendlePeak." Your brother's room is on t'other side o' the landing,"-explained Miss Hepsy, "an' I'll 'spec you to keep 'em bothas clean's a new pin. I'm mighty partickler, mind, an'can't abide untidiness. An' if yer mother's brought ye upto think yersel' a lady, the sooner ye get rid o' that notionthe better, 'cos ye'll have to work here, we don't keep no
22 THE ARRIVAL.idle hands. Git off your hat an' cape now, an' come downas fast's ye like, an' help set the table for dinner."Miss Hepsy then whisked out of the room, and clattereddown the stairs in haste.Lucy moved to the window recess, and stood looking uponthe peace and beauty without, until her eyes were brimmingwith tears. Then she knelt down by the side of the bed,sobbing pitifully, "Mamma, mamma, come back, O dearmamma, we have nobody on earth but you."
CHAPTER IV.THE NEW HOME.MEANWHILE Tom had gone on an exploring expedition. Heinvestigated every outhouse and shed, frightened the geeseand turkeys into fits by rushing through their paddockshouting at the pitch of his voice, caught the superannuated"mule by the tail, and made her fly off like a four-year old,made friends with the savage watch-dog on the chain, coaxedthe pigeons to fly to him, and finally went off to the fields insearch of his uncle. On the road outside the farmyard gate,he met a team, driven by a big uncouth-looking man, dressedin coarse trousers, a red shirt, and a battered straw hat."You'll be one of the men, I guess," said Tom, stopping infront of him. " Can you tell me where my Uncle Joshua is?"The man grinned. "Air you Hetty's boy, youngster? ""I'm Mrs. Hurst's son," corrected Tom proudly. "Whoare you ?""If I'm not yer Uncle Josh, I reckon he ain't to hometerday," returned the man. "Hi! up, Sally, you and me'sain't fit company, I guess, for a city gent.""If you are Uncle Joshua, I beg your pardon I'm sure,"said Tom with his usual frankness. "Won't you shakehands, Uncle Joshua?" Uncle Joshua took the thin delicatehand in his own brown palm, and looked at it curiously."Jes' as Hepsy said, Hetty's boy's more for ornament than
24 THE NEW HOME.use. Well, youngster, now yer here ye'll work for yer breadI hope. We're poor folks here, an' can't keep idle hands.Ye'll hev to learn to mind a team like this.""I wouldn't mind if I'd a better horse, Uncle Josh," saidTom walking alongside of his uncle, and eyeing the hungry-looking steed critically. "See his ribs. Don't you feed himever, Uncle Josh ?"The man's face flushed angrily, " Shut up, younker," hesaid savagely. "Don't speak about things ye know nothingabout." Tom walked on a minute or two in silence, but inno way disconcerted." This is a very nice place, Uncle Josh," he said. " Mammaoften told us about it, but it's prettier than I thought itwould be.""The place 'll do, I reckon," admitted Uncle Josh. "Butfarmin' ain't what it was. It's a hard job gettin' meatan' drink out o'd now-a-days.""Mamma told us you were rich," said Tom in surprise," But you can't be because, because "--"Wal ?." said Uncle Josh, with a slow, stupid smile."Because your horses are all thin, and you wear theseclothes, and Aunt Hepsy doesn't dress like a lady. Richpeople don't live so.""You're a- fool, youngster. Just yer mother over again.You don't know, I suppose, that to save money folks mustlive cheap, an' not be all outside show. Ye'll learn bettermaybe afore ye've been long at Thankful Rest. Hi, Sally IWhoa, lass."
THE NEW HOME. 25The thin, wretched-looking horse stood still, thankful tobe released from the heavy waggon, and Tom watched allhis uncle's movements with much interest. He followedhim from the yard to the stable, saw him give the five horsesa scanty feed of corn and a pail of water."We'll go and hev a bite o' dinner now," he said; then,"Your sister'll be indoors, I guess." Tom nodded, and thetwo proceeded to the house. Lucy was downstairs by thistime, awkwardly placing knives, forks, and plates on thetable under Miss Hepsy's directions. A glad smile crept toher eyes at sight of Tom; it seemed ages since he had goneout. She looked timidly at her uncle as he shook handswith her, remarking she was a pale-faced thing, and needed.work and exercise to make her spry. Then the companysat down, and Tom, if Lucy did not, did ample justice toMiss Hepsy's cookery. It was an unsociable, uncomfortablemeal. Aunt and uncle ate, as they did everything else, as iffor a wager, and were finished before Lucy had touchedher meat and potatoes." Look spry, child," said her aunt, beginning to clear away-almost immediately. "You'll ha' to learn to eat to somepurpose. Time don't last for ever."Lucy pushed back her unfinished plateful and rose."Not dainty enough for ye, is it not?" was the next remark."Ye'll eat it by-and-bye, maybe.""I'm not hungry, Aunt Hepsy," she said with quiveringlips, and Tom bit his to keep back angry words surging tothem.
26 THE NEW HOME."May I go out for a little, Aunt Hepsy?" Lucy asked." When you've wiped them dishes you may," replied AuntHepsy. "I lost two good hours goin' to that plaguy depotfor you, so the least ye can do is to help me through. Josh,find summat for the boy to do; 'tain't no use hevin' him'round idle lookin' for mischief.""Come along to the barn, then, What's-yer-name," saidUncle Josh, picking up his hat and sauntering to the door."Don't be too hard on that little 'un, Hepsy, she don't lookover strong.""Mind yer own business will ye, Josh Strong," was MissHepsy's smart rejoinder. "I guess I'm able to mind mine."Under Miss Hepsy's directions Lucy succeeded in washingup the dishes without disaster, and was then requested tocome to the far parlour and receive a lesson in sweeping anddusting. Then baking came on, and with one thing andanother, Miss Hepsy managed to keep the child withindoors and on her feet till past four o'clock. She was faint-ing with fatigue, but would not complain, and Miss Hepsywas too busy to observe the pallor on her face."May I sit down for a minute, please?" she said-at last, afterbringing a huge can of flour from the larder. "I am afraid Iam going to faint, Aunt Hepsy," and she looked like enough itas she sank wearily on the settle, and let her white lids droopover her tired eyes. Miss Hepsy was more than annoyed."A delicate child above all humbugs," she muttered as shesprinkled a few drops of spring water on the girl's face, andheld her smelling salts to her nostrils.
THE NEW HOME. 27"Ye'd better go out an' get a mouthful of fresh air, Isuppose," she said ungraciously when Lucy rose at last,with a faint touch of returning colour in her cheeks.And Lucy gladly went upstairs for her hat, and crept outinto the beautiful sunshine. The garden gate was locked,but she managed to turn the key, and went slowly, in amaze of delight, along the trim paths, past beds of roses,hollyhocks, pansies, and sweet-scented gilly-flowers. Theorchard beyond looked tempting indeed, where the sun-beams glistened through the bending boughs of apple, plum,and cherry trees, on the soft carpet of grass beneath.She managed to unfasten the gate there too, and choosinga wide-spreading apple tree, from which she could see themeadow and the river, flung herself on the grass beneathit. There she fell asleep and Tom found her an hour after.His fine face looked worried and discontented, and he flunghimself beside her, saying gloomily-" How on earth I'm tolive here, Lucy Hurst, I don't know.""What is it, Tom?" inquired she,forgetting her own troublesin sympathy for him." 0 Uncle Josh, that's all. He hasn't any patience withme, and makes me speak up impertinently to him. Andthe things they say about mamma are perfectly shameful.I won't bear it, now, I won't."His sister's gentle hand touched his lips to stem thepassionate words. "You remember, Tom," she said softly,"what mamma said to us. We were to endure all suchlittle trials, remembering that it is God who sends them.
28 THE NEW HOME.Think how grieved she would be if she could hear usgrumbling so soon.""I don't care, I can't help it," said the boy recklessly."It isn't anything for you to be good, Lucy; you are justlike mamma-a kind of saint, I think. For me it is just along battle all day. If a fellow conquered in the end itwould not matter, but as it is-O Lucy, Lucy! why didmamma die? It was so easy to be happy and good whenwe had her to love and help us. I wish I was dead too."Poor, proud, passionate Tom His sister could only puther gentle arm about his neck, and cry too, her heart sosorely re-echoed the painful longing in his voice.So the first day at Thankful Rest did not promise verybrightly for Tom and Lucy Hurst.
CHAPTER V.SUNDAY.SATURDAY was the busiest day in the week at ThankfulRest. There was churning to be done, extra cooking forSunday, mending and darning, and the weekly polishing ofevery bit of brass, and copper, and tin in the establishment.Lucy rubbed at them till her arms ached without bringingthem to the required height of brightness, and was at lastsent off to pick the few remaining gooseberries for a tart.That was a piece of work much more to her liking, and shelingered so long out in the sunshine that Aunt Hepsy cameat last, and scolded her long and shrilly, which took all theenjoyment away. Tom received his lessons from Uncle Joshoutside, and, judging from his face when he came in atdinner-time, he had not found them particularly agreeable.Tom Hurst was a dainty youth in fact, and shrank fromsoiling his fingers with the tasks allotted to him; and seeingthat grim Uncle Josh had not spared him, the forenoon hadbeen one long battle, for, try as he might, Tom could notkeep a bridle on his tongue."I guess I'll hev a pesky deal o' trouble with that young'un, Hepsy," his uncle said that night when the children hadgone to bed. "He doesn't take to farm work, an' he's that
30 SUNDAY.peart I dursn't speak to him. Queer thing if we've got tokeep the young upstart in idleness.""Idleness " quoth Miss Hepsy wrathfully. "I'd take arope's end to him if he didn't keep a civil tongue in his head.The gal's bad enough; though she never speaks back shelooks at me that proud-like wi' them great eyes o' her'n, Ifeel as if I'd like to shake her. There'll never be a day'speace now they've come.""Tell ye what tho', Hepsy," said Josh. "I'm gwine topay off Brahm, an' make Tom do his work. He ain't thatmuch younger, an' he looks strong enough! Couldn't youdo without Keziah, and that would square expenses ?""I'll see how the child turns out in a week or so. She'sa pinin' thing-doesn't eat enough to keep a mouse alive.""It's a thankless thing, any way ye like to take it, Hepsy,hevin' other folks' youngsters round. I don't see why weshould be bothered with 'em," with which remark UncleJosh went to bed.Lucy awoke next morning--remembering it was Sunday-with a feeling of gladness that they might, perhaps, chanceto see their friend Mr. Goldthwaite at church. The Strongswere regular as clockwork in their half-day attendance atthe meeting-house. The morning was devoted to feedingcattle, pigs, and poultry, and tidying up the house, and afterdinner the premises were left in charge of Brahm and Keziah,and the master and mistress turned their footsteps towardsPendlepoint. The meeting-house was almost close to theparsonage, and was a pretty, primitive structure, with no
SUNDAY. 31attempt at display or decoration, and yet so pleasant andhomelike inside that Lucy felt a sense of rest as her eyeswandered round it. Tom nudged her and whispered, "Nicelittle chapel, Lucy," at which Miss Hepsy held up a warningfinger and shook her head. Tom blushed and laughed, AuntHepsy looked so intensely comical. Then she became veryred in the face, and, opening her hymn-book, kept her eyeson its pages till Mr. Goldthwaite came in. His eyes travelledstraight to the Strongs' pew, and Lucy thought she saw akindly gleam of recognition in his eyes. Carrie was at theharmonium. She, too, looked once or twice in their direc-tioh, and both children found her face so sweet and pleasantthat they could not lift their eyes off it. The chapel wasfull, and the singing of the hymn was so hearty and so sweet,that Lucy felt her eyes dim, she could not tell why. But itseemed to remind her of her mother. Mr. Goldthwaitepreached only half-an-hour, and his sermon was so beautifuland comforting, and so easily understood, that Lucy thoughtSunday would recompense her for all the troubles of theweek. Tom's eyes never left Mr. Goldthwaite's earnest face,and I believe that the memory of his words remained withthe boy for weeks after. He had never heard a sermon inhis life he had understood and felt like this one. Uncle Joshsnored peacefully in the corner, and Aunt Hepsy noddedoccasionally over her Bible-the minister's message did noteven reach their ears. When the service was over and theyreached the church porch, they found Miss Goldthwaitestanding there. She had a nod and a smile for every one,
32 SUNDAY.but her particular mission was with Tom and Lucy. Sheshook hands with the uncle and aunt, and then bent hersweet eyes on the children's faces."These be Hetty's children, Miss Goldthwaite," said MissHepsy. "Lucy and Tom.""Yes, I know," nodded Miss Goldthwaite. "I came roundto see them. I want them to take tea with me to-day atmy brother's special request."Miss Hepsy did not look delighted. "They'll jes' botherye, Miss Goldthwaite; an', besides, 'tain't no use visitin' onSundays-I don't like it.""It's hardly visiting, Miss Hepsy," said the young lady inthe same pleasant voice. "And when they are at Pendle-point you may as well let them. We will bring them safelyhome. Come now, Miss Hepsy, you know nobody everrefuses me anything.""Let them bide, Hepsy," said Uncle Josh, rememberingwhat trouble and expense the minister had spared him, andnot wishing to appear so unmindful of it. "I guess theywon't come to no harm at the parson's."So Miss Hepsy was forced to grant a reluctant consent,and Miss Carrie bore off the happy children in triumph. Atthe parsonage gate Mr. Goldthwaite joined them, and gavethem both a; hearty welcome. Even shy Lucy was at herease immediately with Miss Carrie, for who could resist thatbright caressing manner and those beaming, loving eyes.She carried Lucy off to her own pretty room to take off herhat, and kept her there talking and showing her the beauti-
SUNDAY. 33ful view from the window till Mr. Goldthwaite had to callto them to come to tea. What a pleasant meal it was! andhow the little company enjoyed themselves! Then, when itwas over, Mr. Goldthwaite took Tom to the garden, anddrew him on to talk of himself, of his hopes and ambitions,and sympathised so heartily and cheerfully with him thatTom began to think it was worth while coming to ThankfulRest, if for nothing else than this pleasant hour at the parson-age. Meanwhile Carrie had opened the piano, and sang lowand softly one or two hymns; and when she looked round,wonderingwhy Lucy had moved from her side, she saw heron the sofa with her face hidden. She rose, and sitting downbeside her, put her arm about her, and whispered gently-"My poor child, what is it ? ""Mamma, Miss Goldthwaite," sobbed Lucy. "She usedalways to sing to us on Sunday evenings just so, and itmakes me feel dreadful to think she never will any more.""Yes, Lucy, I understand," said Carrie, and the very soundof her voice soothed the child's troubled heart. "But youknow who has promised to comfort the mourning heart ifwe will but ask Him ?"A quick smile broke through Lucy's tears. "If it werenot for that, Miss Goldthwaite," she said simply, "I shouldhave died when mamma did.""And just think, dear," went on the sweet voice, "of theglad time coming when we shall all meet, please God, in ahappier world than this. We shall not remember these sadhours then, shall we, Lucy? I know, my dear, how lonely3
34 SUNDAY,and sad and strange you feel here now, but God can makeus happy anywhere.""Yes, Miss Carrie, I know it," returned the child simplyand earnestly; "only I am so troubled sometimes aboutTom. Mamma was often troubled about him too. He is sopassionate and quick and proud. Oh! I don't know how heis to get on with Uncle Joshua and Aunt Hepsy.""We will hope for the best," said Miss Carrie hopefully;"and by-and-bye, perhaps, a way may be opened up for himto get his heart's desire. Would you like to see my pets,Lucy ? I have chickens, and pigeons, and dogs, and kittens,and all sorts of things. Frank says the yard is a menagerie.""Yes, I would like it very much. There are some prettychickens and kittens at Aunt Hepsy's, but she won't let mepet them."In the delight of examining Miss Goldthwaite's menageriesadder thoughts flew, and the evening sped on golden wings.The time came at last for the two to bid a regretful good-byeto the parsonage and turn their faces homewards. Theminister and his sister accompanied them half across themeadow, and bade them good-night, with many promises offuture meetings. Tom and Lucy walked on in silence tillthey reached the paddock, and then the lad said abruptly," It will not be so hard to live here, Lucy, if we can see themsometimes. I don't believe there's another minister like Mr.Goldthwaite in the state; nor another minister's sister either."Lucy smiled, her heart re-echoing her brother's words." I have not felt so happy since mamma died," she said
SUNDAY. 35softly. "0 Tom, is it not true what she used to say-'ThatGod gives us something to be grateful for everywhere ?'""Yes," said Tom soberly; and the next moment AuntHepsy's tall figure appeared at the kitchen-door, and hershrill voice broke the pleasant Sabbath calm."Here, come in you two. Air you going to stand thereall night? It's most nine o'clock-time you were in bed. Iguess you won't go visitin' on Sunday any more."
CHAPTER VI.LOSING HOLD OF THE BRIDLE.IT had rained all day, and not all that day only, but the bestpart of the one before. Not a soft, gentle summer rain, buta fierce wild storm, which beat the poor flowers to the earth,spoiled the fruit, and overflowed the river till half the meadowlay under water. There was plenty of work in the barn forUncle Josh and the men, and plenty in the house for AuntHepsy and the girls. The scullery was full of wet clotheswaiting on a dry day. That of itself, not to speak of thedamage to the orchard, was sufficient to make Aunt Hepsya very disagreeable person to live with while the storm lasted.Her tongue went from early morning till afternoon, scoldingalternately at Lucy and Keziah. The latter was a stolidbeing, on whom her mistress' talking, made no impression;but it made Lucy nervous and awkward, and her work wasvery badly done indeed. At three o'clock Aunt Hepsy senther to wash her face, and gave her a long side of a sheet to hem.So Lucy was sitting on the settle, with a very grave andsorrowful looking face, when Tom came in at four. His unclehad no need of him just then, and had sent him to the houseto be out ofthe way. Keziah was feeding the calves, and AuntHepsy upstairs dressing, if that word can be appropriatelyapplied to the slight change her toilet underwent in the after-
LOSING HOLD OF THE BRIDLE. 37noon. Tom sat down at the table in the window, and, lean-ing his arms upon it, looked out gloomily on the desolategarden, over which the chill, wet mist hung like a pall.Neither spoke for several minutes."How do you get on now, Lucy ?" asked Tom at length."How sober you look. Has she been worrying you ?""I daresay I am very stupid," said Lucy low and quietly;"but when Aunt Hepsy talks so loud I don't know what Iam doing."Miss Hepsy entered at that moment, fortunately withouthaving heard Lucy's patient speech.. "Don't lean your wet,dirty arms on the table, boy," said she with a sharp glance atTom. "If you must be in, sit on your cheer like a Christian."Tom immediately sat up like a poker."What's yer uncle doin'?" was her next question."He's oiling waggon wheels," answered Tom, "andsent me in."Miss Hepsy took out a very ugly piece of knitting fromthe dresser-drawer, and sat down opposite Lucy. "It's apity boys ain't learned to sew and knit," she said grimly."It would save a deal of women's time doin' it for 'em. Ithink I'll teach you, Tom.""No, thank you, Aunt Hepsy.""You're much too smart with your tongue, young 'un,"said Miss Hepsy severely, and then relapsed into stolidsilence. The click of her knitting needles, the ticking of theclock, and the rain beating on the panes, were the only"sounds to be heard in the house. Tom drew a half sheet of
38 LOSING HOLD OF THE BRIDLE.paper and a pencil from his pocket, laid it on the table, andkept his attention there for a few minutes. Lucy venturedto cast her eyes in his direction, and he held up the paper toher. A smile ran all over her face and finally ended in alaugh. Aunt Hepsy looked round suspiciously to see Tomstuffing something into his pocket."What were you laughing at, Lucy?" Lucy lookeddistressed and answered nothing."What's that you're stuffing into your pocket, Tom," shesaid, turning her eagle eyes again on Tom."A bit paper, aunt, that's all.""People don't laugh at common bits o' paper, nor gostuffin' 'em into pockets like that. Hand it over.""I'd rather not, Aunt Hepsy," said the boy."I rather you would," was her dry retort. "Out with it.""It's mine, Aunt Hepsy, and you wouldn't care to see it.""How many more times am I to say out with it?" she saidangrily. "I'll let you feel the weight of my hand if youdon't look sharp.""It's mine, Aunt Hepsy. I won't let you see it," he saiddoggedly.Miss Hepsy's face grew very red, and she flung her knit-ting on the rug and strode up to him. " Gimme that paper.""Well, there 'tis, I hope you like it. I wish I'd made ituglier," cried he angrily, and flung the paper on the table.Aunt Hepsy smoothed it out very deliberately, and heldit up to the light. It was a picture of herself, cleverly done,but highly exaggerated, and the word Scold printed beneath
LOSING HOLD OF THE BRIDLE. 39it. Slowly the red faded from her face and was replaced bya kind of purple hue. She lifted her hand and brought itwith full force on Tom's cheek. He sprang to his feetquivering with rage, and pain, and humiliation. His fiercetemper was up, and Lucy trembled for what was to follow."Next time you make a fool o' me, boy," said Aunt Hepsywith a slow smile, "perhaps ye'll get summat ye'll like evenless than that."Then the boy's anger found vent in words. "If youweren't a woman I'd knock you down. I hate you, and Iwish I'd died before I came to this horrid place. It's worsethan being a beggar living with such people. You touch meagain, and I'll give it you though you are a woman."Aunt Hepsy took him by the shoulders and pushed himbefore her out to the yard. " Ye'll be cool, I guess, afore Ilet ye in again," she said briefly, and then came back to Lucy.She was weeping with her face hidden and her work lyingon the settle beside her."Nice brother that of your'n," said Aunt Hepsy. "If heain't growin' up to be hanged, my name ain't Hepsy Strong.Here, go on with your seam, an' don't be foolin' there."Lucy silently obeyed, but Aunt Hepsy could not controlher thoughts, and they went pitifully out into the rain afterTom. He stood a minute or two in a dazed way, and thenhurried from the yard, through the garden and the orchardto the meadow. In one little moment the victory overtemper he had won and kept for weeks was gone; and inthe shame and sorrow which followed, only one person could
40 LOSING HOLD OF THE BRIDLE.help him, and that was Mr. Goldthwaite. There had beenmany quiet talks with him since the first Sunday evening,and his lessons had sank deep into the boy's heart, and hehad indeed been earnestly trying to make the best of the lifeand work which had no interest or sweetness for him. Ashe sped through the long, wet grass, heedless of the rainpelting on his uncovered head, he felt more wretched thanhe had ever done in his life before. He had to wade ankle-deep to the bridge, and fortunately did not encounter a livingsoul all the way to the parsonage. Miss Goldthwaite wassewing in the parlour window, and looked up in amazementto see a drenched, bareheaded boy coming up the garden path."Why, Tom, it can't be you, is it ?" she exclaimed whenshe opened the door. "What is it? Nobody ill at ThankfulRest, I hope.""No," said Tom. "It's only me; I want to see Mr. Gold-thwaite.""He has just gone out, but will not be many minutes,"said Miss Goldthwaite, more amazed than ever. "Come inand get dried, and take tea with me; I was just thinking tohave it alone."Looking at Miss Goldthwaite in her dainty grey dress andspotless lace collar and blue ribbons, Tom began to realisethat he had done a foolish thing coming to the parsonage tobother her with his soaking garments. He would have runoff, but Miss Carrie prevented him by pulling him into thelobby and closing the door. Then she made him come tothe kitchen and remove his boots and jacket. "I have not
LOSING HOLD OF THE BRIDLE. 41a coat to fit, so you'll need to sit in a shawl," laughed she,and the sound was so infectious that, miserable though hewas, Tom laughed too. Miss Carrie knew perfectly therewas a reason for his coming, and that it would come out by-and-bye without asking. So it did. They had finished tea,and Tom was sitting on a stool at the fire just opposite MissGoldthwaite. There had been silence for a little while."I had a frightful row with Aunt Hepsy this afternoon,Miss Goldthwaite.""I am very sorry to hear it," answered she very gravely."What was it about ?"Then the whole story came out, and then Miss Carriefolded up her work, and bent her sweet eyes on the boy'sdowncast, sorrowful face. "I am not going to lecture you,Tom," she said soberly. " But I am sorry my brave soldiershould have been such a coward to-day."Tom flung up his head a little proudly. "I am not acoward, Miss Goldthwaite.""Yes, Tom; you remember how Jesus stood all the buffet-ing and cruelty of his persecutors, when He could so easilyhave smitten them all to death if He had willed. Compareyour petty trials with His, and think how weak you havebeen."Tom was silent. "When my temper is up, Miss Gold-thwaite," he said at length, "I don't care for anything oranybody, except to get it out somehow. I was keeping sostraight, too; I hadn't once answered back to Uncle Josh orAunt Hepsy for weeks. It's no use trying to be good."
42 LOSING HOLD OF THE BRIDLE."No use ? Why, Tom, if everybody gave up at the firststumble, what would become of the world do you think?Our life, you know, is nothing but falling and rising again,and will be till we reach the land where all these trialsare over. Keep up a brave heart. Begin again, and keepa double watch over self.""I feel as if it would be easy enough to do it when I'mtalking to you or Mr. Goldthwaite, but at home it isdifferent. I shall never be able to get on with them thoughI live a hundred years. And, 0 Miss Goldthwaite, you don'tknow how I want to go on drawing and painting. I feel asif I could die sometimes because I can't.""When the time comes, dear; and it will come sooner,perhaps, than you think," said Miss Carrie hopefully. "Youwill prize it all the more because of this sharp discipline.Do your duty like a man, and, believe me, God will rewardyou for it one day.""I will try, Miss Goldthwaite," said Tom with a new greatearnestness of face and voice."Now," said Miss Carrie then, with a quick, bright smile,"I'm going to send you home. I don't mean to tell mybrother anything about your visit. Our talk is to be asecret. He would be. so grieved that you have come to griefagain through that tongue of yours. And I hope it will bea long time before its master loses hold of the bridle again."She went with him to the kitchen and helped him to dress,and then opened the door for him. "Now, Tom, you are togo home and tell your aunt you are sorry for what happened
LOSING HOLD OF THE BRIDLE. 43this afternoon, because you should not have spoken as youdid. And remember, Tom, that a soldier's first duty isobedience." And without giving him a chance to demur,she nodded good-bye and ran into the house. It was rainingheavily still, but that Tom did not mind, he was wonderinghow to frame his apology to his aunt, and how she wouldreceive it. It was dark when he reached Thankful Rest,and the kitchen door was barred. He knocked twice, andwas answered at last by Aunt Hepsy, who looked visiblyrelieved. Feeling that if he waited till he was in the lighthis courage would flee, he said hurriedly-"I've been to the parsonage, Aunt Hepsy, and I want totell you I'm sorry I drew the picture and spoke to you as Idid. If you'll forgive me this time I won't be so rudeagain."Aunt Hepsy looked slightly amazed. "Land sakes, boy,I am thankful to see ye home again, ye've gev Lucy a feveralmost. See an' don't do it again, that's all." And that wasall Tom ever heard about the afternoon's explosion.
CHAPTER VII.THE.RED HOUSE.JUDGE KEANE'S place was a mile out of Pendlepoint. Itwas in the opposite direction from Thankful Rest, andstood within its own extensive grounds, at the base of thepeak. The house was built a little way up the slope, andcommanded a magnificent view of the great plain and theriver, whose silver thread was visible long after all otherobjects receded from view. You have made the acquaint-ance of the judge already, let us accompany Mr. Goldthwaiteand his sister to the Red House on a mild October evening,and make friends with the rest of the family. When theminister and his sister were ushered into Mrs. Keane's draw-ing-room, its only occupants were that lady and her twodaughters, Alice and Minnie. The former was a tall statelyyoung lady, like her father, stiff and reserved to strangers,but much liked by her friends, among whom Carrie Gold-thwaite was the chief. Minnie Keane was a bright-eyed,,curly-haired maiden of fifteen, wild as an antelope, and asfull of fun and frolic as any one of her pet kittens. Theirmother was an invalid, seldom able to leave her couch; nota fretful invalid, you must understand, but a -sweet, gentle,unselfish woman, who bore her pain and weakness without
THE RED HOUSE. 45a murmur, so that those she loved might be spared pain onher account. Mr. Goldthwaite often said that Mrs. Keane'slife was the best sermon he had ever come across, and Ithink he was right. The brother and sister received a warmwelcome. Miss Keane and Carrie withdrew to the widewindow for a private chat, while Mr. Goldthwaite remainedby Mrs. Keane's sofa. He was an especial favourite of hers.Minnie disappeared, and ere long, Judge Keane and hissecond son George appeared in the drawing-room. It is notnecessary for me to describe Mr. George Keane, except tosay that he was his father's right hand, and the greatestcomfort of his mother's life; and that is saying a great deal,isn't it? When he came in Alice found something to do ather mother's couch, and her seat in the window did not longremain unoccupied. There was quite a hum of conversationin the room, and then when candles were brought in, andthe curtains drawn, Miss Keane said with a smile,"We have not had our pilgrimage up the peak this fall.If we don't have it soon it will be too late.""Frank and I were talking of it yesterday," said CarrieGoldthwaite. "The days are so pleasant, why not have itthis week or beginning of next ?""Well," said Judge Keane, "settle the day when you areat it; I was beginning to think our annual excursion was tobe forgotten this fall.""This is Thursday, and to-morrow is my class day atPendlepoint," said Miss Keane. " Saturday won't suit you,Mr. Goldthwaite ?"
46 THE RED HOUSE."Monday would be better," admitted Frank." Then Monday be it," said the judge. "We will start attwelve, and luncheon at the summit at one.""And, O papa, mayn't the big waggon go?" pleaded Minnie."I want to take Mopsy and Ted and Silver Tail.""And all the live stock on the place, little one," laughedher father. "What do you say, Mr. Goldthwaite, Minniethinks the kittens would enjoy the view immensely? "" The suggestion about the big waggon is opportune," saidMr. George Keane. "Last year some of the ladies wouldnot have objected to a seat in it before we reached the top.""Some of the gentlemen, too," said Alice Keane with asly smile. "I propose the big waggon for faint-heartedclimbers, and the little one for rugs and provisions.""I am going to make a petition, Judge Keane," said CarrieGoldthwaite. "I havy two little friends who would enjoythe excursion as much as any of us, and they have not muchenjoyment in their lives. I mean those orphan children atThankful Rest. Will you let them come ?""With all my heart, no need to ask, my dear," said thejudge heartily, "and we will do our best to make themenjoy themselves.""Thank you, Judge Keane," said Carrie, and her facewore the expression the old man liked particularly to seethere."I see them in church regularly," said Miss Keane. "Thegirl is a remarkably pretty child. Robert was quite charmedwith her face when he was here a fortnight ago. I believe
THE RED HOUSE. 47he was thinking what a study she was for a picture insteadof listening to you, Mr. Goldthwaite."" I scarcely think it, Miss Keane," answered Frank smiling."At least he took me to task severely afterwards about aremark in my sermon which he did not approve.""Orphans, did you say, Carrie?" asked Mrs. Keane gently."Was their mother Deacon Strong's youngest daughterHetty?""The same, Mrs. Keane," answered Carrie. "And shemust have been very different from her brother and sister,for the children have been evidently trained by a refinedand cultured mind. Lucy is a perfect lady, child thoughshe is.""I feel very much interested," said Mrs. Keane. "I knewtheir mother slightly, and liked her much. Could you notbring the children to see me some day ?""I shall try, Mrs..Keane, but it is not an easy task begginga favour from Miss Hepsy, and she seems determined tokeep them at home. I have to take Lucy by main forcewhen I want her at the parsonage.""I hope they'll come anyway," put in Minnie, "becauseI never have anybody to speak too. One grows tired, evenof the peak, when there's nobody but grown up people togo on to. That's why I want Mopsy and Ted and SilverTail. It wouldn't be so lonesome. But they can stay athome if Lucy comes.""Poor Minnie," said her father, laughing with the rest atthe child's aggrieved tone. "We must do all we can to per-
48 THE RED HOUSE.suade them, then, to spare you the necessity of frighteningthe cats out of their wits.""I'll go up to Thankful Rest to-morrow and extract per-mission from Miss Hepsy," said Carrie, "though I am notvery hopeful of the result. Come, Frank, we must be off, itis nearly eight.""You will let us know on Sunday, then, if they can come,"said Miss Keane; and with cordial good-nights the friendsparted.Early next afternoon Miss Goldthwaite walked up toThankful Rest on her mission to Miss Hepsy. That ladywas making preserves, for which Lucy had been kept sinceearly morning paring and coring apples, and stoning plums.As Miss Goldthwaite passed the kitchen window, she caughta glimpse of a slight figure almost lost in a huge apron, anda very white weary looking face bent over the basket of fruit.Aunt Hepsy was grimly stirring a panful of plums over thestove, and did not look particularly overjoyed to see MissGoldthwaite, but Lucy did."Always busy, Miss Hepsy," said Carrie briskly, notchoosing to mind the snappy greeting she received. "Ideclare I always feel a lazy good-for-nothing creature whenI come to Thankful Rest. Here, Lucy, child, sit down andlet me do your work while I am here, you look tired."The quiet eyes raised themselves in loving gratitude tothe sweet face, and she was not slow to avail herself ofthe chance of a moment's rest. Miss Hepsy sniffed, butmade no audible demur.
THE RED HOUSE. 49"What splendid fruit, Miss Hepsy," said the visitor aftera moment's silence; "I have seen none like it in Pendlepointthis fall.""It's well enough," said Miss Hepsy, a little mollified."Your folks all well, Miss Goldthwaite ?"" Thank you, yes; and papa and mamma are coming fromNew York next week, if the weather keeps fine. I canhardly sleep or eat for joy, Miss Hepsy, and Frank is almostas bad.""You be like children about your father and mother yet,"said Miss Hepsy brusquely. "I reckon you'd better notmarry in Pendlepoint, or there be an end to your goin' homeany more."Carrie laughed."I don't see why it should come to an end then, MissHepsy," she said. "Even married people get a holidaysometimes.""I guess they don't see many o' them," replied MissHepsy. "I think you're a fool to marry anyway, MissGoldthwaite, when the parson thinks such a heap of you."Carrie laughed again more amused than ever."Talking of holidays, Miss Hepsy," she said, " I want youto give this patient little maiden one, and Tom too.""Not if I know it," answered Miss Hepsy promptly." Oh yes you will," said Miss Goldthwaite serenely. "Weare to have a picnic up the peak on Monday, in JudgeKeane's waggon. I've set my heart on Lucy and Tom, andhalf a day is nothing."4
50 THE RED HOUSE."It makes 'em idle and restless for days, Miss Goldthwaite,"said Aunt Hepsy, with grim decision, "an' I ain't agoin' tohave it, so let it a be."Miss Goldthwaite held her peace a moment, and then wentstraight up to Aunt Hepsy; and, to Lucy's amazement, laidher two hands on her shoulders and looked into her face withlaughing eyes-"Do you know you are the most disagreeablewoman in the township, Miss Hepsy, and that there isn'tanother would be so cross with me as you are. I'll come upand pare apples for two whole days if you'll let me haveLucy and Tom. Look me in the face and refuse me if youdare."Miss Hepsy actually smiled. " I never saw sech a cretur,"she said. "Ye'd move the very peak wi' them eyes o' your'n.I'm real sorry for Mr. George Keane anyway. Well, haveyer own way, and go off home. Yer only hinderin' mywork, and I hain't a minute to lose.""Thank you, Miss Hepsy," said Carrie, with a very eloquentglance of her irresistible eyes. " Now, Lucy," said she then,turning to the child, "come down to the parsonage on Mon-day morning at eleven, you and Tom, and we will go up tothe Red House together. Good-bye, dear, the fresh air up thepeak will brighten that white face I hope. Don't forget now.""Forget! O Miss Carrie," was all she said, but her eyeswere very dim as she returned her kiss. Lucy had beenfeeling peculiarly sad and downhearted, and Miss Gold-thwaite had come and brought with her the sunshine whichseemed to follow her everywhere.
THE RED HOUSE. 51Then Carrie bade Miss Hepsy good-bye, and went away.Looking about her as she went through the garden, she espiedTom painting waggon wheels in the yard. A few steps tookher to the boy's side, and he looked up with a glad smile ofsurprise."Busy too, Tom," she said pleasantly. "I don't think thisplace should be called Thankful Rest. Nobody seems to takea rest here. How do you like this work ? ""Don't ask me, Miss Goldthwaite," said the lad. "Youremember you told me to make the best of it, but it isn'teasy.""It will grow easy by-and-bye," she said, and laid her handa moment on his arm, and her beautiful eyes grew grave andearnest. "Does my soldier find his Captain able to help evenin dark hours ?""Yes, Miss Goldthwaite." That was all, but it was saidso simply and earnestly that Carrie's heart grew glad." We are to have a picnic up the peak on Monday in JudgeKeane's waggon," said she after a moment. "Your aunt haspromised to let you and Lucy come. Will you like it2 ""Like it Up the peak! 0 Miss Goldthwaite," said theboy, looking away to the towering hill beyond, "I havewished I could go every day since I came. How good youare to Lucy and me!"" She will tell you when to be ready. In the meantime Imust go," said Miss Goldthwaite with her pleasant smile." Good-bye, and success to the waggon painting."
CHAPTER VIII.UP THE PEAK.TOM and Lucy Hurst peered anxiously out of their chamberwindows at six o'clock on Monday morning to see a clear,calm, beautiful sky, with a faint roseate flush in the east,where, by-and-bye, the sun would come up brilliantly. AuntHepsy was as cross as two sticks, and Uncle Josh morose andtaciturn; but even these things failed to damp their spirits,and at a quarter to eleven they set off-a very happy pair-across the meadow to the parsonage. Both looked well.Lucy's mourning, though simple and inexpensive, waswonderfully becoming, and some fine delicate lace, whichhad been her mother's, relieved the sombre black dress nicely.Hiss Goldthwaite was very proud of her friends, and toldthem so when she greeted them. They were just in time,and the four set off, Tom in front with Miss Goldthwaite,and Lucy walking with the minister. She was shy andquiet, but somehow nobody could be long afraid of Mr. Gold-thwaite. He possessed his sister's charm of manner, and drewLucy on to talk in spite of herself. At the Red House therewas a great bustle. The big waggon was at the front door,and the little one at the back, into which the cook was stow-ing all sorts of eatables. Minnie Keane, in a state of greatexcitement, was flying about with a tiny kitten in each arm,
UP THE PEAK. 63the mother following at her heels mewing piteously for herchildren to be left in safety. Minnie dropped the kittenswhen she saw the party from the parsonage coming roundthe avenue, and ran to meet them. Miss Goldthwaite madethe introductions, and then she and Mr. Goldthwaite passedinto the house, leaving the children beside the waggon. Therewas but a moment's shyness, and then the irrepressibleMinnie's tongue began to go freely."You look nice, Lucy," she said frankly. "I guess we'llhave a good time to-day. There always is a good time whenpapa takes us anywhere.""This is a nice horse," said Tom, feeling he must saysomething. "What's his name ?""Oh, that's Billy. He's very old, and rather cross. Youshould see papa's Beauty. Come to the stable and I'll showyou her."She drew Lucy's arm within her own and darted off, Tomfollowing. Minnie was quite at home in the stable, andfamiliar with every animal in it. Beauty pricked up herears and whinnied at the touch of Minnie's caressing fingers."You ask Miss Goldthwaite about Beauty," she said. "Shethinks there isn't another horse like her in the world. Don'tyou love horses, Lucy?""Yes, I love all animals," replied Lucy. "I saw some nicelittle kittens round there.""Yes, I've three. We'd better go round now, I think,perhaps they'll want to be going. I'm glad it's a fine day,aren't you, Tom ?"
54 UP THE PEAK." I think I am. I looked out at six this morning to see ifit was. It'll be glorious up the peak."As the three came round to the front door again, MissKeane appeared on the threshold. She looked very tall andstately and awe-inspiring with her trailing dress and eye-glass. Yet her smile as she shook hands with the childrenwas so pleasant that Lucy forgot to be afraid of her."My mother would like to see you, Tom and Lucy," shesaid. "Will you come upstairs, she is not able to leave theroom, you know? Minnie, I wish you would look round forpapa. It is just twelve-we should be going."Minnie scampered off, and Tom and Lucy followed MissKeane up the broad staircase into the drawing-room, thebeauty of which held them spellbound for a few minutes.On a couch near the fire lay a lady, with grey hair and apale, thin, worn face, which wore such an expression of peaceand happiness that Lucy felt her heart go out to her at once.Mr. and Miss Goldthwaite and Mr. George Keane were therealso. Mrs. Keane held out both her hands, and the two cameshyly forward-Tom blushing a little to be among so manystrangers."I am glad to see you, my dears," she said very heartily."Kiss me, Lucy. I knew your mother, dear. You remindme of her very much."The ready tears sprang to Lucy's eyes. Kindness alwaysmoved her thus, and she took a stool close to the couch,while Tom's eyes wandered round the room, lingeringhungrily on the exquisite water-colours on the walls. It was
UP THE PEAR. 55long since he had such an opportunity. At Thankful Restthe art collection consisted of a few family portraits, ludicrousalike in execution and in colouring. A smile and a glancepassed from Mr. Goldthwaite to his sister as they noted howspeedily the boy became absorbed."These are my brother Robert's drawings,"said Miss Keane,touching his arm and beckoning him to come nearer. "Youare fond of painting, I think ?""Yes, ma'am," answered Tom, his face flushing a little." And these are so beautiful, I could not help looking at them."" If you will come up to the Red House some other day, Ishall show you all my brother's sketch-books and odd draw-ings," said Miss Keane. "I am very fond of the work myself,and might perhaps be able to help you a little, you know,and I think you would make a clever pupil, what do yousay?"The eyes behind the glasses beamed so kindly at himthat Tom forgot that his first impression of her had beenunpleasant, and a warm flush of gratitude answered herbetter than his words. They were few and sad enough." There is nothing I should like so much in the world,ma'am, and I thank you very much; but I can't come, myuncle and aunt would not let me.""I must see about that," said Miss Keane promptly; andat that moment, Judge Keane's stately figure appeared inthe doorway."Are you going to sit there all day, you young folk," hecalled out hastily. "Oh, here you are, little ones; glad to see
56 UP THE PEAK.you, my lad;" and he gave Tom's hand a warm grasp, andtouched Lucy's white face with his forefinger."Want some roses there, doesn't she, wife?" he said."There'll be a glorious air up the peak to-day; it will bringthem there, if anything will."" I wish you could have come, dear Mrs. Keane," whis-pered Carrie as she bent a moment over the couch beforethey passed out; "you used to be the very sunshine of usall."" I think of you, dear, and am happy in my own way athome," she replied with her sweet smile; "take care ofyourself, and of this pale little maiden. Lucy, dear, good-bye. Come and see me again.""Indeed, I will, if I can, ma'am," replied Lucy earnestly,and then they all went away. Minnie was already in thebig waggon waiting impatiently for the start."You will go inside, too, little one, I suppose," said thejudge to Lucy, and with one swing of his strong arms placedher beside Minnie. "The rest of us will walk a piece, Ifancy. As this is supposed to be a climbing expedition,we must make some show, at least, to begin with."There was a general laugh, and Tom and Lucy thoughtthere could not be so pleasant an old gentleman as JudgeKeane anywhere.Miss Keane elected Tom for her cavalier, and made himfeel very important, indeed, by treating him as if he wasquite a man, and they got into a very interesting talk aboutthe great painters and their work. She was astonished to
UP THE PEAK. 57find what a thorough knowledge the boy had of the subject,and how well he could talk on what interested him most."Robert must see this young artist," was her mentalcomment. The judge followed behind with Mr. Goldthwaite,while Mr. George Keane and Miss Goldthwaite brought upthe rear, walking very slowly, and talking very earnestly.Nobody took any notice of them whatever, evidently beingof opinion that they were quite capable of amusing eachother. The waggon path, winding gradually up the moun-tain side, was rough and stony, and even Billy's cautiousfeet stumbled sometimes; and the two girls were jolted sothat they laughed till they cried."I think we'd better get out, don't you, Lucy?" criedMinnie at last, "else there'll be none of us left to see thetop of the peak. I never was so sore in my life. Isn't it funthough ?""Yes, and the sun is so bright, and everybody so kind,and everything so pleasant, I don't know what to do," saidLucy with softening eyes.Minnie looked at her curiously."I say, don't you have any good times at your home,Lucy?" she asked soberly." Sometimes, not very often," answered Lucy reluctantly." I don't think your aunt is a very nice woman anyway,"said Minnie with her usual candour. " She looked at meso one day in church, 'cause I laughed right out at a funnylittle dog with a stumpy tail running in and right up toMr. Goldthwaite. Wouldn't you have laughed too?"
58 UP THE PEAK."I don't know," said Lucy, "if it was very funny, Idaresay I would.""How pretty you are," said Minnie after a while; "mysister Alice says so, I guess she knows." Lucy blushed, notbeing accustomed to such plain speaking "I think MissGoldthwaite perfectly elegant," went on the young critic;" she is going to marry my brother George, do you know ?"" Is she ?" asked Lucy, much interested."Yes, and papa and mamma are crazed about her. Every-body is. Isn't she just splendid ?""There is nobody like her," answered Lucy. Minnie couldnever know what she had been and was to her." Lovers are stupid, don't you think?" asked Minnie again."They always go away by themselves, and things; you justwatch George and Carrie to-day. It is a great trial tome."" What is?" asked Mr. George Keane, pausing at the sideof the waggon. Minnie laughed outright, so did Lucy."It's a secret," replied she in a very dignified way. " 0Miss Goldthwaite, are you coming into the waggon?"" Yes; will you make room for me, Lucy?"Lucy moved farther up the cushion, and Mr. GeorgeKeane very carefully assisted Miss Goldthwaite to her place." 0 Carrie, succumbed already," cried Miss Keane. "No,thank you, I mean to climb to the top. Somebody mustsustain the credit of our sex.""I know it's safe in your hands, Alice," said Carrie serenely,"Lucy, dear, you look happy; do you enjoy it ?'
UP THE PEAK. 59The sparkle in Lucy's eyes answered her better than anywords.The road was becoming rougher and steeper, and Billy'sprogress slower and slower, and the summit of the peakdrawing nearer and nearer. Miss Keane and Tom had gotahead of the waggon, and were the first to reach the top.At last Billy, with a great pull, brought the waggon to thelevel ground, and then stood still. They all alighted, and,forming a little circle, stood drinking in the beauty of thescene. Wondering how Tom would be affected, Miss Keaneturned to speak to him, but he had gone; and looking round,she saw him standing by a huge boulder, but his face wasturned away, and understanding why he felt it best to bealone for a few minutes, she did not venture to disturb him.It was a panorama of wonderful beauty. They seemed tostand up among the clouds, the air was so pure and cool andbracing. Far beneath, the houses of the town looked like atiny ant nest, enveloped in a filmy haze. The great plainstretched around for miles and miles, dotted here and thereby many a pretty homestead, and intersected by the wind-ing river, glinting and glistening in the sun as it hurried onand on to join the far-off sea. Far across the plain the smokeof distant cities obscured the horizon, but none of its noiseor bustle was borne on the breeze to this lonely mountainpeak. A great silence fell upon the little company, andsome bright eyes grew dim as they looked upon the beautyof the world the great Creator made."Just say a few words of prayer, Frank," said the judge
60 UP THE PEAK.at length, in a soft voice; "it will do us all good, I think."Mr. Goldthwaite took of his hat reverently,-" Our Father, we thank Thee for this day. We thankThee for sparing us all to come here again, and for thesunshine, and the beauty, and the gladness of the earth.Help us more and more to feel the power and majesty ofThy hand, and the great love of Thy infinite heart. Bewith every one of us to-day, blessing us, as only Thou canstbless, and help us to live to Thy glory, for Jesus' sake.Amen."" Amen," repeated Judge Keane. "Now we can begin theday with a better heart than ever."
CHAPTER IX.A DAY TO BE REMEMBERED.IT was great fun unpacking the baskets, and Tom madehimself very useful to the ladies; so much so, that MissGoldthwaite felt constrained to whisper one word of praisein his ear, which sent a glow to his heart. Surely never wasmeal so enjoyed as that lunch on the summit of PendlePeak; and they lingered so long over it, that Judge Keanepassed a great many jokes on the gigantic appetites, andprofessed great concern about the small quantity of provisionsleft for tea. When plates and forks and knives werestowed in the waggon again, the party broke up in twos andthrees, and went off exploring. Lucy was tired, and saidshe would remain beside the goods and chattels, whereuponthe judge declared he would keep her company. Mr. Georgeand Miss Goldthwaite went off together to search for ferns,they said; while Mr. Goldthwaite, Miss Keane, Minnie, andTom went to the ravine on the other side of the peakto find some rare specimens of wild flowers Miss Keanewas anxious to secure for her collection. The judge wasto whistle at four o'clock, if they had not then returned,and promised to have tea ready, which was considered agreat joke. Lucy sat on the smooth green turf, leaning
62 A DAY TO BE REMEMBERED.against a boulder, feasting her eyes on the beauty, of whichshe thought her eyes could never tire. The judge lay onthe grass with half-closed eyes, looking at the girl's sweetface, wondering why it looked older and sadder and morewomanly than it ought. It was a good while before eitherspoke."Would you mind telling me, Judge Keane, please," saidLucy timidly, " where Newhaven lies from here, and howfar it is?"The judge raised himself on his elbow, put on his goldeye-glass, and looked along the plain. "There, straight asthe crow flies, little one," he said, pointing west. " It is aboutthirty miles in a direct line from where we sit-by railabout fifty, I think."" It is a long way," she said, and a little sigh followed it,as if she wished it nearer."You lived in Newhaven, I think, didn't you?" asked thejudge."Yes, sir, till mamma died; it is not a nice place, but Ilove it dearly."Aye, for a quiet grave there held the loved father andmother who had once made for her a happy home.The judge did not speak, he did not know what to sayjust then, and Lucy did not seem to expect an answer. Heshut his eyes again, and there was a long silence. Thinkinghe slept, Lucy rose, and, gently laying a rug over him, slippedaway. He opened his eyes directly and watched her. Sheonly moved a few yards from him, and knelt down with her
A DAY TO BE REMEMBERED. 63face to the west. He heard a few faltering words, followedby a sob-" 0 dear papa and mamma, I wonder if you cansee Tom and me to-day, and know how happy we are. Godbless the dear friends who have made us so, for Christ'ssake. Amen."The judge's lips twitched beneath his moustache, andwhen Lucy rose again, he drew the rug up over his face,not wishing her to see he had heard that little prayer. Buthe never forgot it. Two hours did not take long to slipaway, and then the judge sat up and looked at Lucy with acomical smile." It is ten minutes to four, little one, and there isn't asign of the wanderers. Suppose you and I make tea, doyou think we could manage it between us ?""Oh yes, sir, I know how to build a fire, and make tea too,and there are sticks in the waggon. May I try ?""Of course, and I'll help to the best of my limitedability."Lucy went to the waggon and got out sticks and thekettle, while the judge made an amateur stove between fourstones. Lucy then laid the fire, and in a minute there wasquite a cheerful little blaze. Water was the next thing, andthe judge remembered there used to be a tiny spring a fewyards down the slope, which was found without any diffi-culty; and he brought back the kettle filled, and placed iton the fire. He had so many odd remarks to make abouthis new occupation, that Lucy was kept laughing prettynearly all the time. It was getting on for five o'clock
64 A DAY TO BE REMEMBERED.before four heads appeared at the edge of the slope. Mr.Goldthwaite, Miss Keane, Minnie, and Tom arrived ladenwith flowers and ferns, and reported themselves exhausted,and thankful to see that tea was ready. George and Carriehad not been seen since they departed at two o'clock." You made tea all by yourself, Lucy," said Miss Keane,laying her kind hand on Lucy's sunny head. " Clever littlemaiden, how are we to thank you ?""Judge Keane helped me, Miss Alice," replied Lucy blush-ing and smiling."Helped! I should think I did," said the judge tragically;"she sat on the waggon like a queen, and commanded melike a slave. She looks meek and mild enough, but don'ttrust her.""Papa, how much nonsense do you talk in a day?" shesaid. " I wish the other two would turn up, I'm famished.""Are we to wait on them, papa ?" inquired Minnie pite-ously. "I guess they don't want any tea, lovers never wantanything to eat. Mayn't we have it now ?""Yes," said Miss Keane; " Lucy, dear, may I trouble youfor the teapot; papa, hand the sugar, and make yourselfuseful."" What a real nice boy your brother Tom is," said MinnieKeane, dropping down by Lucy's side. "We had a splendidtime down there, while Alice and Mr. Goldthwaite talkedout of books. Aren't you very fond of him ?"" Of Tom ? Of course I am," answered Lucy; "you knowI have nobody but him, and he has nobody but me."
A DAY TO BE REMEMBERED. 65"Lucy, your tea is delightful," said Mr. Goldthwaite fromthe other side of the tablecloth. "I don't know when Ienjoyed anything so well.""Hunger is good sauce," said the judge; "here are thetruants." Mr. George Keane and Miss Goldthwaite appearednow, apparently very much astonished to find themselvesbehind time. The judge made room for Carrie beside him,and after looking blankly at her for a few minutes, saidsolemnly, "I thought I heard you say you wanted ferns;but I must have been mistaken, or possibly they haven'tcome up in the glen this year. Some tea here, Alice. MissGoldthwaite, may I help you to a piece of cake?" Thetruants joined in the laugh against themselves, and the restof the meal was passed in a perfect babel of talking."What shall we do now, papa?" said Alice when they hadfinished. " We won't be going home for a little while."The judge looked at his watch. " Twenty minutes pastfive, we shall start at six. Well, I propose that eachmember of the company composes, within the space of tenminutes, four lines of verse descriptive of the scenery.I brought pencils and paper, and the best writer shall havemy gold pencil-case to him or herself."There was a general exclamation, and each one declaredit impossible to perform such a feat."Try," said the judge briefly, and passed round thepencils and the sheets of paper. Then he laid his watch onthe cloth, and gave the signal. You would have laughedat the utter stillness then, and at the perplexity on each5
66 A DAY TO BE REMEMBERED.face. Slowly the hands moved round, till the ten minuteswere up, and the judge cried halt."You read then, judge," said Mr. Goldthwaite; "beginwith your own."" Well, here I am," said the judge with a very comicalsmile, and he read slowly and distinctly:-" It seems to me that if you go,Enjoyment for to seek,You'll find out all you want and moreUp here on Pendle Peak."A shout of laughter greeted this effusion, and the judgepretended to be highly offended."I object to the 'for' in the second line," said Mr. Gold-thwaite."Do you think I don't know it has no business there ? "said the judge. "But I couldn't get it to rhyme, so I wasobliged to put in something. It is not bad for a.n old fellowwho never made two lines rhyme before in his life. Comethen, Frank, pass up yours."" To read a page from Nature's book,In this deep solitude,Uplifts the heart in purer aims,And leads us nearer God.""True, Frank," said the judge solemnly. " You havebeaten me hollow anyway. Now, Carrie.""Mine is very poor indeed, Judge Keane," said Carrie, asshe passed up her slip. " Like yours it is my first attempt."
A DAY TO BE REMEMBERED. 67" The beauty of the hills,So calm, so free, so bright,Can dim my eyes with tears,And fill me with delight.""Very good" was the verdict, and then Miss Keanereluctantly gave up her paper." How still it is No rude discordFalls on the ear ;We feel all earthly thoughts and aimsMust vanish here."That also was pronounced very good, and Judge Keanefeared he would have some difficulty in adjudicating theprize. Mr. George Keane's was the next." I never wrote a poem, but sinceYou will not be refused,I do declare I don't know how,And beg to be excused.""You have no chance anyway, George," said his father,laughing with the rest. " It has not the remotest referenceto the subject in hand. Well, Lucy.""Mine last, please," pleaded Lucy.So the judge took the paper from Minnie's hand and read," Papa, you know I can't make verse,And it was very badOf you to make us play at this,I tell you I'm real mad."There was another shout at Minnie's performance, and
68 A DAY TO BE REMEMBERED.then Lucy timidly slipped her paper into the judge's hand,and drew back behind Minnie. The judge read very slowlythis time, and every beautiful word was distinctly heard." The calm, still brightness on the hills,The beauty on the plain,Fill all my heart with strange sweet joy,That is akin to pain." We stand upon a stepping-stoneUp to the better land,I seem to see the glory there,And feel my Father's hand." And hovering near me seem to beThe loved ones gone before,One day we'll mount God's stepping-stones,And weep earth's tears no more."There was a moment's surprised silence. All eyes wereturned to Lucy, who shrank farther back with a very dis-tressed face."The prize is yours, Lucy," said Judge Keane at length."Who would have thought this shy little maiden was thepoet of the company?"There were many other remarks made which seemed todistress Lucy so much, that they held their peace at length,and the judge remembered Tom's contribution had not beencalled for."You thought you were to escape, young man," said he,as he received the paper from Tom's reluctant hand. "Per-
A'DAY TO BE REMEMBERED, 69haps the last may be best yet, who knows ? Well I never,ha! ha!"He held up the paper, and lo, a sketch of the circle ofanxious faces, with paper and pencil before them, and everyexpression true to the life. It was wonderfully well done,and created much amusement as it was handed round thecompany." The pencil-case is Lucy's," said the judge. "But I thinkyou deserve a special prize, my lad. Will you let me keepthis, Robert must see it ? ""Yes sir, of course," answered Tom. "When I felt apencil in my hand I had to draw. I always feel so.""True artist, eh Carrie?" whispered the judge, and shenodded assent. She had not yet recovered from the surpriseLucy had given her."The sun is thinking of setting," said the judge then."We must be preparing to depart."There was a general move, and Miss Keane and Miss Gold-thwaite proceeded to clear the table."Let sit here and see the sun set, and have a talk, Lucy,"said Minnie, drawing Lucy a little apart. " What a perfectlyelegant poem that was you wrote. It's 'most as good asWhittier's George reads to mamma sometimes. I guessyou'll grow up to be a Mrs. Whittier.""Oh no," said Lucy, laughing a little, " Miss Keane's wasjust as good, I think, only I wrote more. How funny yourswas.""I should think so. Mopsy, or Ted, or Silver Tail could do
70 A DAY TO BE REMEMBERED.just as well, I believe. Tom, won't you draw me a picture ofmy very own to keep? I wish you'd come up and do thekittens, won't you? I ask Robert every time he comes, buthe just teases me.""I'll draw a kitten for you if you like," answered Tomreadily, " but I can't promise to come up and do it."Before very long Billy was harnessed again, and after bid-ding a reluctant good-bye to the peak for another year, thedescent was begun. Lucy walked part of the way with Mr.George Keane's arm to help her along, and Miss Goldthwaitebeckoned Tom to her side."I haven't seen much of you to-day, Tom," she saidpleasantly. "Have you had a nice day ?""I shall never forget it, Miss Goldthwaite," answeredTom very gravely.And though after years brought many happy excursionsup the peak, never was one so exquisitely enjoyed as thishad been. The sun had dropped behind the hill when thetired party reached the Red House, and a big moon wascoming up serenely in the opal sky. Mr. and Miss Gold-thwaite paused at the avenue gate, saying they would notcome any farther, so the good-nights were said there andthe company separated."Good-night, my little poetess," whispered the judge as helifted Lucy from the waggon. " Go on writing, my dear; wewill hear of you yet." And he kissed her as he set her tothe ground, and added softly, " You have done an old mangood to-day, though you did not know it."
A DAY TO BE REMEMBERED. 71It was a very quiet walk home by the river-side to theparsonage, but the thoughts were all pleasant ones. Mr.Goldthwaite had not spoken much to Lucy all day, but hehad watched her, how closely she did not know. He heldher hand at parting, and looked straight into her beautifuleyes, his own very grave and earnest." God bless you, Lucy, good-night."She wondered a little at the oddness of his manner."My soldier has shown to advantage to-day," said MissCarrie, smiling as she shook hands with Tom. "I have beenvery proud of him.""Lucy," said Tom, as they turned into the paddock atThankful Rest. "Do you know what I'm going to do whenI'm a man?"" Be a great painter," answered Lucy promptly."What else ?""Anything else ?" inquired she in much surprise."I'm going to marry Miss Goldthwaite."Lucy laughed outright."You can't, Tom, she's going to marry Mr. George Keane,Minnie told me.""Is she? Well, Mr. George Keane is a very good fellow,"said Tom in a tone which would have infinitely amusedthat gentleman had he heard it. "But he isn't half goodenough for her. O Lucy, hasn't this been a day ?""Yes," answered Lucy, and she turned full eyes up to thequiet sky, "I think papa and mamma must see us, and beglad we have been happy."
72 A DAY TO BE REMEMBERED."I feel so, too," answered Tom with the sudden beautifulearnestness which had often come to him of late. " Kiss me,Lucy, there are only you and me."She laid her arm about his neck, and kissed him as hewished, then the two went very soberly into the house.
CHAPTER X.ON THE LAKE.ON the first morning of November the summit of the peakwas draped in white, and a slight sprinkling of snow sparkledon the plain. Frost was hard enough to freeze the duck-pond and the horse-trough. Winter had begun. It wasvery cold; Lucy shivered over her dressing every morningin her little attic chamber, and had just to work to get warm,as Aunt Hepsy permitted no sitting over the stove. Tomhad to turn out of doors at six every morning, and feed ascore of cattle before breakfast, and woe betide him if thework was not done up to Uncle Josh's mark, Uncle Joshhad a vocabulary of his own, from which he selected manyan epithet to bestow on Tom. Sometimes yet the quicktemper would fly up, and there would be a war of words; butthe lad's strong striving was beginning to bear its fruit, andhe found it daily easier to keep hold of the bridle, as MissGoldthwaite termed it. Keziah had been dismissed also,and Lucy's burden was sometimes more than she could bear.Miss Hepsy refused to see what others saw, that the girlwas overwrought; and her feelings had been blunted so
74 ON THE LAKE.long, that only a very sharp shock would bring them intouse again. And the time had not come yet. For morehighly favoured young folks than Tom and Lucy Hurst,these frosty days brought innumerable enjoyments in theirtrain. Skating and sleighing by daylight and moonlight,evening parties, and all sorts of frolics. There were gaytimes at the Red House, especially when in Christmas weekMr. Robert Keane came home, bringing with him two school-boy cousins from Philadelphia. Miss Alice Keane called atThankful Rest on her pony, one morning, to ask Tomand Lucy to a Christmas-eve gathering. The invitationwas curtly declined by Miss Hepsy, and she was dismissedwith such scant courtesy, that she departed very indignantindeed." What a woman that is at Thankful Rest," she said toMiss Goldthwaite, when she called at the parsonage. "Ialmost forgot myself, Carrie, and nearly gave her a few rudewords. I am truly sorry for these poor children.""Well you may be," answered Carrie with a sigh, know-ing better than Alice what their life was.Only one half holiday was vouchsafed to them at MissGoldthwaite's earnest entreaty, and they took tea at theparsonage, after which the party went up to the RedHouse pond to see the skating there. They were verywarmly welcomed; Minnie, especially, being quite overjoyedto see Lucy again."Do you skate, Tom ?" asked Miss Keane, coming upbreathless after a long run down the lake.
ON THE LAKE. 75"Yes, Miss Keane, but I have no skates, they were left athome-in Newhaven, I mean.""Here, Minnie, my pet, run to the house and bring out acouple of pairs. You will find them in George's room, Ithink; and tell Robert I want him on the lake."Minnie ran off obediently. Pretty soon Mr. George Keaneand the two cousins appeared round the bend, and MissKeane introduced the latter to Tom. They did not takelong to become acquainted, and were soon talking quitefamiliarly. They stood waiting till Minnie returned, herbrother with her, carrying the skates. He was a tall, slightyoung man, rather like Miss Keane, and his face looked atrifle stern at first, as hers did, but that wore off when yougot to know him."This is Tom Hurst I told you of, Robert," said MissKeane, and Tom shook hands with him reverentially, re-membering he was the great painter all America was talk-ing of."I'm glad to see you," said Mr. Robert Keane frankly."Let us get on our skates, and you and I will take a runtogether. I haven't been on the ice this season."Tom sat down and quickly put on his skates, and the pairset off, keeping close together. Miss Keane turned to Mr.Goldthwaite with a smile, "Robert is interested already. Iwant him to do something for Tom, and I think he will."" He will not regret it," answered Mr. Goldthwaite. " Theyare all off now but we two, Miss Keane; come, we must notbe behind."
76 ON THE LAKE."My sister tells me you would like to be a painter, Tom,"said Mr. Robert Keane, when they had gone a hundred yardsin silence."Yes, sir," answered Tom, wishing to say a great dealmore, but unable to utter more than two words."What would you say to go back to Philadelphia, and letme look after your training?""0 Mr. Keane!" Tom stood still on the ice and liftedincredulous eyes to his companion's face. There was asmile there, but the eyes were sincere enough."I see you would like it. Don't stand, we can talk whilewe go. Well, my boy, there is a great deal of hard work,patient plodding, uninteresting study to be gone through,and as many failures and tumbles as days in the year, beforeyou reach even the first step of the ladder. Do you thinkyou could go through it ?""I would go through anything, Mr. Keane, and toil fortwenty years, if need be, only to be allowed to work at it.Do you know, it is life to me even to think of it."Robert Keane glanced curiously at the lad. His face waskindling with emotion, and his eyes shone like stars."All right, my boy, you're the right stuff I see. Leave itwith me, I'll fix it right enough. And you'll go to Phila-delphia as sure as my name's Keane. No need to thank me.Let your future success be my reward, if I need any. Letus try a race back; you're a splendid skater."They turned, and sped along the ice at lightning speed,and Tom came in a dozen yards in front at the farther side.
ON THE LAKE. 77"Ahead of me," laughed Mr. Keane. "Is that an omen ofthe future, Tom ? "Miss Goldthwaite noted the boy's flushed, happy face andbright eyes, and concluded Mr. Robert Keane must havewrought the change. She turned to remark upon it to Alice,when a hand touched her arm, and Tom's voice said eagerly,"Will you skate with me, Miss Goldthwaite, I want to speakto you ?" She nodded smilingly, and gave him her hand."0 Miss Goldthwaite," said Tom in a great burst of happi-ness, "Mr. Robert Keane says he will take me to Philadelphiawith him, and help me to be a painter.""I guessed he would," said Carrie. "I am very glad of it,Tom. Do you remember what I said about this joy comingin God's good time ?""I have not forgotten, Miss Goldthwaite."She stopped on the ice, and laid her slim hand a momenton his shoulder. "My soldier will remember his Captainstill, I hope, in these happier days, and work for Him withdouble energy because they are happier."The moonlight showed trembling drops in the boy's earnesteyes as he answered reverently-" I will never forget howgood He has been to me, Miss Goldthwaite, when I so littledeserved it.""That is right, my boy, I am not afraid of you," she saidheartily. "Here we are round the bend. How lovely thatmoonlight shines through these gloomy pines. Let us goright to the end before we turn."They set off again along the smooth sheet of ice, and as
78 ON THE LAKE.they neared the farther end of the lake Miss Goldthwaiteturned aside to explore an opening between the trees. Amoment more and Tom heard a crash, followed by a faintscream. He looked round, to see the edge of Miss Gold-thwaite's fur cloak disappearing through a huge fissure inthe ice. He had presence of mind to utter one wild, despair-ing cry, which re-echoed far off in the lonely pine wood, andthen he plunged after her, and caught her dress. Superhumanstrength seemed to come to him in that moment of desperateperil, and he managed to keep hold of her with one hand, andwith the other cling to the broken edge of ice. It seemedhours before the ring of skates and the sound of voices an-nounced help at hand, and his numbed fingers relaxed theirhold of the ice just as Robert Keane and his brother's strongarms bent down to rescue them. He still had hold of MissGoldthwaite, and two minutes sufficed to extricate them both.They were unconscious, and Carrie's sweet face was so deathlywhite that a mighty fear took hold of all present. AliceKeane knelt down and laid her hand to her heart. "ThankGod," she uttered tremulously, and it was fervently re-echoedby every lip. They were borne to the Red House with greatspeed, and restoratives being applied, both,rallied in a veryshort time. Miss Goldthwaite's first question was for Tom,as his had been for her, and she whispered to them faintlythat he had saved her life at the risk of his own. When Tomlooked round, after a while, it was to find the judge and Mr.George Keane standing by his bed."God bless you, my lad," said the old man huskily. "You
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ON THE LAKE. 79have saved our pretty flower. All Pendlepoint will thankyou for this."And Mr. George bent over him, his honest grey eyes dimwith tears-" I owe my wife's life to you, Tom, my boy. Aslong as I live I shall never forget this."A message was despatched to Thankful Rest reporting theaccident, and saying the children would remain till next day,at least, at the Red House. Mr. Goldthwaite also remained.His words of thanks to Tom were few: he was too deeplymoved to speak, but Tom was quick to understand. Nextmorning Miss Goldthwaite was able to appear at the break-fast table, looking a little paler than usual, but apparentlynot much the worse of her ducking. Doctor Gair forbadeTom to get up till noon, so Carrie herself took up his break-fast-tray. He looked surprised and greatly relieved to seeher, and tried to make light of what he had done."It was nothing," he said. "He would do fifty times moregladly for her.""We are bound more closely together now," she said. "Iowe my life to you." And, bending over him, she kissed him,and slipped away, leaving him very happy indeed.In the evening he came down to the drawing-room, wherehe was treated as a hero. Everybody made so much of himthat he began to feel uncomfortable, and took refuge at lastwith Mr. Robert Keane, who good-naturedly showed him thesketch-book he had filled in Europe, and explained every-thing to him, as if he found pleasure in it. And he didfind pleasure, for Tom was an enthusiastic listener.
80 ON THE LAKE.NP inquiry had come from Thankful Rest, which hadastonished Mrs. Keane very much. She thought they wouldbe sure to feel anxious about Tom's recovery. She did notknow Joshua Strong and his sister. The following morningDoctor Gair said Tom might go home as soon as he liked, soMiss Alice drove him and Lucy to Thankful Rest in thecourse of the forenoon. Miss Hepsy was plucking chickensfor the market, and tossed up her head when her nephewand niece appeared before her."I wonder you'd come back at all after livin' so long amonggentle folk. It'll be a long time, I reckon, afore ye get thechance to jump through the ice after Miss Goldthwaite or anyother miss. Here, Lucy, get off yer hat, and lend a hand wi'them chickens. You'll find plenty wood in the shed, boy,waitin' to be chopped, if yer uncle hain't anything else forye to do. Off ye go."The contrast between the happy circle they had left andtheir own home was so painful that Lucy's tears fell fast asshe went to do her aunt's bidding. And Tom departed tothe wood-shed with a very downcast and rebellious heart.j'
CHAPTER XI.IOPES FULFILLED.ON the afternoon of the following day Mr. Goldthwaite cameto Thankful Rest, accompanied by Mr. Robert Keane. Lucyopened the door to them, and seeing a stranger with theparson, her aunt shouted to her to show them into the sitting-room. It was a chill and gloomy place, though painfullyclean and tidy, utterly destitute of comfort. Lucy shut thedoor upon them, and went back to tell her aunt that thestranger was Mr. Robert Keane."What's their business here, I'd like to know? " she saidas she whisked off her white apron and smoothed her hairbeneath her cap.Lucy knew, but discreetly held her peace.Miss Hepsy stalked across the passage and into the sitting-room, her looks asking as plainly as any words what theywanted."This is Mr. Robert Keane, Miss Strong," said the minister.'He wants to see you and your brother, I think, on a littlebusiness."Miss Hepsy elevated her eyebrows, and shook hands withMr. Keane in silence.6
82 HOPES FULFILLED."Josh is in the barn. I s'pose I'd better send for him,"she said.And Mr. Keane answered courteously-" If you please."She opened the door and called to Lucy to run to the barnfor her uncle." Yes, Aunt Hepsy," answered Lucy, her sweet, clear tonescontrasting strongly with her aunt's unpleasant voice."Miss Goldthwaite's all right again, eh?" she asked, sittingdown near the door."I am thankful to say my sister is none the worse of heradventure," answered Mr. Goldthwaite. " But for Tom'sbravery the consequences might have been more serious.""H'm, I told him it would be a precious long time aforehe got on the ice again to be laid up, botherin' strange folks,an' I guess I'll keep my word.""You must not be so hard on him, Miss Strong," said theminister. "He is a very fine lad, and tries very hard toplease you, I know."Aunt Hepsy remained silent."What a pretty place you have, Miss Strong," said Mr.Keane's pleasant, well-modulated voice. "The peak showssplendidly from this window.""The place aren't no great thing, sir," said Miss Hepsy."Here's Josh." She opened the door, and Uncle Josh ap-peared on the threshold in his working garb, grimy anddust-stained, as he had come from repairing the mill. Hepulled his hair to the minister, and bowed awkwardly toMr. Keane.
HOPES FULFILLED. 83"Sit down, Josh," said Miss Hepsy, but Josh preferred tostand. There was just a moment's constrained silence."I have called to see you, Mr. Strong," said Robert Keane,plunging into the subject without further delay,-about yournephew Tom. He is very anxious to become a painter Ifind. Would you have any objections to me putting him inthe way of life to which his desire and talent point him ""Has the ungrateful little brat been carrying his grumb-ling among you folks," said Miss Hepsy wrathfully."Be quiet, Hepsy," said Joshua Strong imperatively."I don't quite understand you, sir," he said to Mr. Keane,"I can't afford to send the boy anywhere to learn anything,if ye mean that. He'll never do no good on a farm for sartin,but he kin work for his livin' here, an' that's all I kin dofor 'im.""I am a painter myself," said Mr. Keane, guessing theywere unaware of the fact, and now wishing to state hisintentions as briefly and plainly as possible, "and fromwhat I have seen of your nephew I believe his talent for artto be very great indeed. What I mean is this: give himup to me; I will take him back to Philadelphia, and takeentire care of his training. It will not cost you a farthing,Mr. Strong. Do you understand ?""We're poor folks, but we don't take charity even forHetty's children," said Miss Hepsy pointedly. "We'venever been offered it afore."Mr. Keane might have waxed angry at the impertinentremark. He was only inwardly amused. "It is not charity
84 HOPES FULFILLED.Miss Strong," he said good-humouredly. "I expect Tomwill be able to repay anything he may cost me. I hope youwill not stand in the lad's way. He is a born artist, andwill never do good in any other sphere. Come, Mr. Strong,say yes, and let us shake hands over the bargain."It was proof of the rare delicacy of Robert Keane's naturethat he put the matter in the light of a favour to himself.Mr. Goldthwaite admired and honoured his friend at thatmoment more than he had ever done before.Aunt Hepsy preserved a rigid and unbending silence.Uncle Josh stood twirling his thumbs reflectively. It wasto cost him nothing, and he would be rid of the bother thehot-headed youngster was to him. But for his sister hewould have granted a ready assent."Wal, Hepsy ?" he said in an inquiring tone."You're the master, Josh, I reckon. Do as ye please.It's all one to me," and to their amazement she flounced outof the room and banged the door behind her."I'm much obleeged to you, Mr. Keane," said Josh, findinghis tongue in a marvellously short time. "I've no objections;as I said afore, he's an idle, peart young 'un; no good atfarm work. I hope ye'll be able to make a better job o' himthan I've done.""I am not afraid," said Mr. Robert Keane. "And I amobliged to you for granting my request. Can I seeTom ?""I reckon you may," said Uncle Josh slowly. "Wal, I'llbe off to that plaguv mill. Good day to you. My respects
HOPES FULFILLED. 85to Miss Goldthwaite, parson." Once more Uncle Josh pulledhis forelock, and shambled out of the room."It doesn't cause them much concern anyway," said Mr.Keane when the door closed. "They are a bright pair; Ishould be afraid of that woman myself. How that mite-ofa girl stands it, I don't know."Before Mr. Goldthwaite had time to answer, the dooropened, and a very eager, excited-looking boy appeared onthe threshold."Well, Tom, my boy," said Mr. Keane, holding out hishand, "the bargain's sealed. You belong to me now.""Has Uncle Josh-has Aunt Hepsy said I might?" hesaid breathlessly. " Oh, it is too good to be true !""True enough," said Mr. Keane, laughing at the lad'smanner. "Assure him of it, Mr. Goldthwaite."Mr. Goldthwaite laid his hand on the lad's shoulder, andbent his grave eyes on his beaming face. "I congratulateyou," he said heartily. "And I hope that by-and-bye allPendlepoint will be proud of the name of Tom Hurst."Tom drew his hand across his eyes. " I can't help it, sir,"he said apologetically. "But if you knew how much I'vewished for this and dreamed of it. Oh, I feel I can neverbe grateful enough to you, Mr. Keane!""Nonsense," said Mr. Keane. " Well, we must be going.Show us the way out, will you, Tom? Your aunt has de-serted us. I don't leave for a fortnight yet. I shall see youagain in a day or two."Aunt Hepsy, however, had not altogether forgotten the
8 HOPES FULFILLED.duties of hospitality, and now reappeared and asked themto stay to tea. Her face had cleared a little, and she seemedto regret her previous rudeness. Her invitation, however,was courteously declined."You're here I see, Tom," she said severely. " Well, Ihope you're properly grateful to Mr. Keane for doing somuch for you. An' I hope ye'll mend yer ways, an' be abetter boy than ye've been.""I am very grateful, Aunt Hepsy," said Tom very quietly."And I will try to be what you say."Something in his face and eyes touched even Aunt Hepsy,and it came upon her very suddenly to wonder if she hadnot treated him a little unjustly. "He's a biddable cretur,too," she said to Mr. Keane. "An' p'raps he'll take morekindly to your kind o' life than ours. I don't think mucho' them useless ways o' livin' myself, but there's dif-ferences.""Some day perhaps, Miss Strong, when Tom comes backa great man," laughed Mr. Keane, as he shook hands withher and Tom, "you'll admit you've changed your mind. Ifyou do I'll come along and have a good laugh at you."A smile actually appeared on Miss Hepsy's face. " He's areal pleasant-spoken gentleman, Mr. Robert Keane," saidAunt Hepsy, as she shut the door. "Well, Tom, I hope ye'llget yer fill o' paintin' now."Tom's eyes beamed, but he made no verbal reply. Lucyfollowed him to the door as he passed out to the barn again."0 Tom, I am so glad," she whispered joyfully, and Tom'' I
HOPES FULFILLED. 87answered by tossing his cap in the air and trying to boundup after it."Glad? I don't know whether I'm on my head or myheels, Lucy," he said. " It's the happiest day of my life."Lucy kept the smile upon her face, not wishing to damphis joy, but her heart was very sore. For what did Tom'sdeparture mean for her ? It meant parting from all she hadon earth; it meant a life of utter loneliness and lovelessness,save for the dear outside friends she could see so seldom. Itwas Lucy's nature ever to unselfishly bury her own troublesand try to join in the happiness of others."A fortnight only," she said to herself as she went backto her work. "What will become of me ?"The days sped fleetly for her, but slowly for Tom, whowas eager to be gone. Mr. Robert Keane paid frequentvisits to Thankful Rest, and all arrangements were satis-factorily made. Lucy went about, saying little, and pre-serving her sweet serenity to the last. She busied herselfwith Tom's small wardrobe, adding a touch here and thereto make it complete ; and wept bitter tears over her workas many another sister has done before and since. It wasnot till the last night that a thought of her came to cloudTom's sky. They were sitting together at the stove in thefading twilight, Lucy's face very grave and sad."I say Lucy, though," Tom said, "how awfully lonely itwill be for you when I'm gone. Why, whatever will you"do?"S"Think of you, and look for your letters," she said, her
88 HOPES FULFILLED.lips quivering. "You will not forget me altogether,Tom."A pang of remorse shot through Tom's heart. He cameto her side and threw one arm round her, remembering howhis mother's last charge had been to take care of Lucy; andhow poorly he had done it after all. Lucy had taken careof him instead."Lucy, I'm a perfectly horrid boy," he said in a queer,quick way. "Don't you hate me ?""Hate you ? O Tom, I've nobody but you."Her sunny head drooped a moment against his arm, andher tears fell without restraint. "I didn't mean to, Tom,"she said at last, looking up with a faint smile, "but Icouldn't help it. I feel dreadful to think of you goingaway.""When I'm a man, Lucy," he said manfully, "what aperfectly stunning little home you and I shall have together.It won't be so long-why, I'm thirteen.""Only about ten or twelve years," said Lucy, able to laughnow. "I shall be grey-haired.""You, why you'll be the same as you are at fifty. Youare like mamma, she never grew any older looking. Youmust write often, mind, Lucy, and tell me all about every-thing and everybody."Lucy promised, and, feeling very sad again, rose to light thelamp in case she should break down. Aunt Hepsy was wonder-fullykind that night-shecould be kind sometimes if she liked-and, altogether, the evening passed pleasantly. Tom went to
HOPES FULFILLED. 80bed early, as they were to start by the morning train. Lucyfollowed almost immediately. About half-an-hour afterwardsAunt Hepsy went upstairs to put a forgotten article intoTom's trunk, and was arrested by sounds in Lucy's room.The door was a little ajar, and Aunt Hepsy peered in. Lucywas undressed and sitting at the window, her arms on thedressing-table, and her whole frame shaking with sobs. Onceor twice Aunt Hepsy heard the word "Mamma." The passionof grief and longing in the girl's voice made something comein Aunt Hepsy's throat, and she slipped noiselessly down-stairs."I don't feel easy in my mind, Josh," she said when shere-entered the kitchen. "I'm feared we've been rayther hardon Hetty's children. She never did us any harm.""Did I say she did, Hepsy ?" asked Uncle Josh, serenelypuffing away at his pipe. " You was allus the worst at herand at the children. Ye put upon that Lucy in a perfectlyawful way.""Shut up," said Miss Hepsy in a tone which admitted ofno further remark, and the subject dropped.There was a great bustle in the morning, and before Lucyhad time to think about anything Tom had kissed her for thelast time, and the waggon drove away. He waved his hand-kerchief to her till they were out of sight, and then she wentback to the house sad and pale and cheerless."I guess you needn't fly round much to-day, Lucy," saidAunt IHepsy with unusual thoughtfulness. "Ye don't look
90 HOPES FULFILLED.very spry, and feel down a bit. Never mind, he ain't awayfor ever.""Thank you, Aunt Hepsy," said Lucy gently. " I'd ratherwork, if you please. It takes up my mind better. Let mewash these dishes."Aunt Hepsy surmised the tears were kept for the loneli-ness of her own chamber. She was right. Only to hermother's God did Lucy Hurst pour out all her grief, and fromHim sought the help and comfort none can give so well as He.1
CHAPTER XII.WEARY DAYS.THE unusual softening of heart and manner visible in AuntHepsy at the time of Tom's departure disappeared before thelapse of many days. You see, she had gone on in the old,sour, cross-grained way so long, she felt most at home in it.She did not feel unkindly towards gentle, patient Lucy; buther manner was so ungracious, and her words so sharp, youwill not wonder that Lucy could not read beneath the surface.She was very quiet, very sober, and very listless; striving,too, to do her duties as well as aforetime, but lacking physicalstrength. Tom's letters, frequent and full of hope and happi-ness, were the chief solace of the girl's lonely life. Mr. andMiss Goldthwaite came sometimes yet to Thankful Rest, butthese were family visits, and Lucy had few opportunities ofquiet talk with her friends. Many invitations had come fromthe Red House, but to each and all Aunt Hepsy returned aperemptory refusal."I'm not going to have her learn to fly round for ever atfolks' houses. She has plenty to do at home, and she'll doit, you take my word for it. Tell Judge Keane's folks I'mmighty obliged to them, but Lucy can't come. Let that be anend of it." So she said to Miss Goldthwaite one day; and
92 WEARY DAYS.she carried the message, slightly modified, to Mrs. Keane. Sothe days and weeks slipped away, till winter had to hidehis diminished head before the harbingers of spring. In theclosing days of March the ice broke up on the river, and allnature seemed to spring to life again. Green blades and tinyblossoms began to peep above ground, and the birds sang theirsongs of gladness on the budding boughs. It was a busy timeat Thankful Rest both indoors and out. In the first weekof April began that awful revolution, Miss Hepsy Strong'sspring cleaning. It was her boast that she could accomplishin one week what other housewives could accomplish onlyin three. For every half idle hour Lucy had enjoyed duringthe winter she had to atone now, for Aunt Hepsy kept hersweeping, and scouring, and dusting, and trotting upstairsand down, till the girl's strength almost failed her. She didnot complain, however, and Aunt Hepsy was too muchabsorbed to see that her powers were overtaxed. The clean-ing was triumphantly concluded on Saturday night, and Lucycrept away early to bed, but was unable to sleep from fatigue.She came downstairs next morning so wan and white thatAunt Hepsy feared she was going to turn sick on her hands.But Lucy said she was well enough, and would go to churchas usual. Thinking she looked really ill, Miss Goldthwaltecame round to the porch after the service."Lucy, what is it, child? your face is quite white. Do youfeel well enough ?"Lucy smiled a little, and, slipping her hand through MissGoldthwaite's arm, walked with her down the path.