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COPYRIGHTED 
THE EDITOR PUBLISHING CO. 

1900 



HEARTHSIDE SKETCHES 



221 082f> 



TO 

MY LITTLE SON AND DAUGHTER 

Whose quaint appreciation and unflagging interest, 
have been my incitive throughout this work, this little 
book is lovingly dedicated. 



CONTENTS. 



PAGE 

The New Minister . .1 

Jim 19 

The Old Man's Story ... .33 

Baby Violet . . 47 

Little Joe ... .48 

A Dutiful Daughter . . 50 

Autumn . . . . .92 

My Boy ... 93 

Little Blue Eyes . . .93 

Childhood Home . . 94 

Minna's Man ....... 94 

The Nation's I )<>;ul . . 95 

Innisfallen . .... 96 

How Long . . 

Prayer ..... . . 98 

Old Memories ...... 99 

Sunrise ........ 99 

My King ... 100 

Slumber Song . . . . . .101 



vi CONTENTS 

Burns ... 102 

Appreciation .... 102 

A Winter Scene 103 

The Silent Acre 104 

Retrospective . .104 

Monopolistic Monologue ..... 106 

Bethlehem . . . . . . .106 

Meta Vaughan ....... 107 

The Tomb Beside the Hudson . . . . 108 

Sterling Castle . . . . . . .109 



Trjje New Minister. 



THE Churchill First Church had been without a 
pastor a year or more. It was very hard to suit 
everyone in that church, and previous experi- 
ence had taught them the utter futility of ex- 
pecting to keep a man against whom any one member 
could bring the faintest shadow of objection, either per- 
sonal or professional. 

They had been very unfortunate in their previous 
engagements, each of the many who had filled their pul- 
pit failing to give entire satisfaction. For instance: 
The Rev. Mr. Brown was too practical, and dwelt too 
much on personal integrity and holy living, to the neg- 
lect of the doctrines the doctrines were what they hir- 
ed him to expound. Some one ventured to suggest a little 
different course to him, but alas! when he had complied 
with the suggestion, he found he had opened a door to a 
score more of the same sort. Deacon Jones believed in 
free will, and Deacon White in divine sovereignty, and 
the half distracted parson tried to harmonize the dis- 
cordant elements, leaning first a little one way and then 
a little the other, to the utter disgust of first one and 

1 



2 HEARTHSIDE SKETCHES 

then the other wing of the different members, according 
to which side he inclined. And so the last state of the 
man was worse than the first, for the different sections 
-were unanimous upon one thing : A minister should be 
above all things else, rigidly independent. They had 
one weather-vane to their church and that was enough. 
And so Mr. Brown resigned. 

After this came Mr. Darrow. He was everything 
that could be asked eloquent, gracefully uniting theory 
and practice in a fine subtle way that offended no one's 
prejudices, but somebody awoke to the fact that this 
same subtlety of graceful generalizing was undermining 
the foundation of their faith, and heads were shaken, 
wisely, and " 'Twon't do!" was said more and more em- 
phatically, and well, Mr. Darrow had a call from some- 
where about that time and it was accepted ! The 
church determined to be cautious in the selection of Mr. 
Darrow's successor, and each member generally, and the 
1 'leading" members particularly, had a nicely prepared 
code of qualifications including theoretical, practical, 
intellectual, social and domestic qualities they had 
severally resolved he must come up to, in order to ob- 
tain their suffrage. Strangely enough, their ideas on 
these matters didn't perfectly agree, and it was perhaps 
stranger still how many faults and imperfections the 
clergy were possessed of. 

''I'd no idee," said Deacon Harris, "what a miser- 
able lot of workmen the Lord had in his vineyard. It 



HEARTHSIDE SKETCHES 3 

seems a pity that he couldn't had a little of the wisdom 
and good judgment of the Northville Church before he 
give 'era a call." But Deacon Harris was terribly old 
fashioned in his ideas, and not at all keen in scenting out 
blemishes, especially in ministers. Of course an old 
fogy like this could have very little weight in so very in- 
telligent and discriminating a church as the First 
Churchill. After several months of candidating, they 
at last settled upon Mr. Marvin, a man who at least had 
not the faults of his immediate predecessors, for one 
look in his face told you that he was fearless and inde- 
pendent, and would both preach and practice what his 
own conscience believed to be right. "At last," 
thought this perfect people, "we have a workman 
worthy of our hire." And so they gave him a recep- 
tion, and introduced him to the "prominent members, " and 
everything was altogether lovely for six months. Then 
was made the shocking discovery that the Marvin's 
didn't own any silver, to speak of and hadn't any 
"nice dishes," and to crown all, Mr. Marvin absolutely 
refused to discharge an old and tried servant, when he 
knew one or two of the "leading" members desired him 
to, on account of some personal spite they had against 
her. This was the beginning of the end. Mr Marvin's 
antecedents were hunted up, the "specks" magnified in 
a manner that put to blush the most powerful triumph 
of microscopic art, and blazoned abroad with a zeal 
worthy of a better cause. In addition Marvin fraterniz- 



4 HEARTHSIDE SKETCHES 

ed with the wood-sawyer, actually stopping on the street 
to speak with him. Theoretically,the Churchill Church 
believed a minister should visit "the poor, the sick and 
the destitute; " practically, they preferred it should not 
be their minister. And so Mr. Marvin went the way of 
his predecessors. 

For the next year the Churchill Church "candidat- 
ed" to its heart's content, and when at last, with a con- 
siderable degree of unanimity, they decided on Charles 
Armstrong, there were many who felt a secret sense of 
commiseration for the young, untried man, who had de- 
cided to risk his fate where his older and more exper- 
ienced brothers had failed. 

Mr. Armstrong was a single man. This was a new 
feature in the experience of the First Church, and in 
certain quarters a somewhat exhilarating one. After 
the advent of Mr. Armstrong,the Churchill First Church 
congregation soon had a proportion of from twelve to 
fifteen females to one male attendant. A score of young 
ladies who had left the Sunday school because they 
were too old, became seriously impressed with the beauty 
and worth of that institution, and hastened to show 
their faith by their works, when Mr. Armstrong an- 
nounced that he should give the school his constant 
personal attention. 

"Plenty of company, now, Margie," said Deacon 
Harris with an odd smile, as his pretty grand-daughter* 
Margie Dean, slipped her arm through his, the better to 



HEARTHSIDE SKETCHES 5 

guide the almost blind old man through the pleasant 
meadow path that led from the rear of the church to the 
quaint old homestead where these two dwelt alone. 

"Why, yes, grandfather," she replied with inno- 
cent enthusiasm. "All the girls are joining the school 
again I am so glad ! It will be encouraging to the new 
minister, I know he felt disappointed the first time he 
came into the school, he looked so gravely about at the 
empty seats, and asked 'if only children attended this 
school.' " 

"And quite ignored my little woman, did he?" the old 
man asked with a pretence of anger. 

"0 no, indeed! that is, he didn't mind me at all; 
it's not likely he should," she explained eagerly. "I am 
not a very noticeable person, and I don't really think 
Mr. Armstrong has ever seen me yet," she added with a 
faint blush. "I came past Lucy Fuller and Julia Har- 
per when I left the vestry to-day, talking with him at 
the library door, but I don't think any of them saw me." 
Then, with a little laugh : "You are not the only blind 
person in the village, grandfather." 

"I know it, dear, I know it," he said soberly, "but 
I'd rather have a clear conscience and a spirit of humil- 
ity than all their fine things. 'Man judgeth from ap- 
pearance, but God looketh at the heart.' Always re- 
member that, dear, and trust him for the rest." 

"But, grandfather, I was not complaining," she in- 
terrupted. "If people don't see me only when they hap- 



6 HEARTHSIDE SKETCHES 

pen to be alone, or want something of me, it is no reason 
why I should be unhappy. It must be infinitely more 
trouble to them than it is to me." 

Deacon Harris' face brightened, and his tremulous 
hand involuntarily closed over the firm little fingers rest- 
ing on his arm. 

"God bless you forever and ever, little Margie," he 
whispered in a husky voice. Margie smiled brightly up 
into his face, and opened the gate. At each side of the 
path was a row of sweet red and white pinks, and at the 
end of them, under the high, narrow windows, alternate 
dumbs of daffodills and damask roses. All the rest was 
greensward, and this sunny June day, of a soft green, 
shading from dark to golden, as the sunshine sifted here 
and there through the branches of the stately elms. Mar- 
gie picked a handful of pinks as she went slowly up the 
path. Her grandfather had gone on to the house, when 
a murmur of voices struck her ear, and looking up she 
saw Lucy Fuller, Julia Harper and Mr. Armstrong walk- 
ing leisurely along the meadow path, almost opposite the 
house. They had apparently discovered her at the same 
moment, for they looked up and involuntarily lowered 
their voices. Obeying her first impulse, Margie bowed 
to the young ladies, both of whom gave her a cool stare, 
and the very faintest possible inclination of the head as 
they rustled on in their rich silks. A vivid flush over- 
spread the pretty, sensitive face, and the sweet lips 
trembled a moment. Then a voice from within called, 



HEARTHSIDE SKETCHES . T 

'Margie," in such a strange, unnatural tone that every- 
thing else was forgotten, as, in sudden affright, she hur- 
ried into the house. 

"Grandfather!" she called. There was no answer, 
only a faint moan from the kitchen. 

A moment more, and Margie was kneeling on the 
floor, trying to lift the limp, nerveless form of her grand- 
father in her arms. He had been sitting in the doorway 
and had fallen back into the room, his feet still resting 
on the broad grass-fringed doorstone. 

"O grandfather, speak to me!" she cried, breaking 
into tears, and again essaying to lift the insensible form. 

"Let me assist you, Miss Dean," said a strong, quiet 
voice the voice of the new minister at her side, and 
without waiting for her to answer, a pair of muscular 
arms lifted the old man as if he had been an infant. 
Now where shall we put him that he will get the most 
air? Have you a large cool room with a bed in it?" 

Without speaking Margie threw open the door into 
the "north-room," a great shadowy-looking apartment, in 
one corner of which the "spare bed" had stood from time 
immemorial. 

"Just the thing, only a trifle close. Open the 
north window, please, and bring some cold water," he 
said, laying down his burden on the white lavender 
scented bed. 

"O, Mr. Armstrong, is my grandfather going to die?" 
Margie asked sharply, her natural awe of ''the minister," 



8 HEARTHSIDE SKETCHES 

as well as her recent mortification completely swallow- 
ed up in anxiety and alarm. 

"It is nothing more than a faintingfit, I am quite 
sure," he said, in such a quiet, assured tone that Margie 
regained her composure at once, and went quietly and 
deftly at work for his restoration. 

It was time for the afternoon service, however, be- 
fore he was so far recovered as to speak, though he smil- 
ed when his eyes rested on Margie, and pressed the hand 
of the young minister warmly when he took his depar- 
ture, which he did with no small degree of reluctance. 

"I shall see this picture before my eyes all service 
time," he said, looking down at Margie as she knelt, 
very pale and still, by the side of the white haired old 
man, who every now and then passed his hand caress- 
ingly over hers. 

"If if you could come in this evening," she stam- 
mered, feeling her face grow hot. "We are so alone 
here, though I never thought of it when grandfather 
was well." 

"Certainly, Miss Dean," he responded in a hearty 
voice. "I should have come if you had not spoken of 
your need. I shall be very anxious about Father Harris 
until I see him in his accustomed place at church." 
Then he shook hands with her in such a friendly, cor- 
dial way, that her natural diffidence and dread of strang- 
ers quite dissipated, and all the afternoon there was a 
pleasant glow in her heart. 



HEARTHSIDE SKETCHES y 

Twenty-five years before my story opens, Mr. Harris 
had been a deacon of the First Church, as well as one of 
its financial pillars. He had an unbounded faith in 
everybody, and believed all the world as honest as him- 
self. And so, when Henry Fuller came to him, and be- 
sought his name to a note for three thousand dollars, 
he signed it unhesitatingly, and thought no more of it. 
Henry was a rising young man, everybody said, and 
Churchill was rather proud of him, and prophesied that 
he would be the richest man in town in twenty years. 

Three months went by, and the good-hearted deacon 
had nearly forgotten the matter of the note. His son 
and daughter were married, and like the prodigal, in- 
sisted on having the portion that belonged to them. He 
had long before invested five thousand dollars for each. 
It was accordingly withdrawn and handed over to them 
on the day they left home to try their own fortunes in 
the world. 

Another three months went by, when a startling 
rumor ran through Churchill Henry Fuller had failed! 
And the man who held the note for three thousand dol- 
lars came post haste to Churchill to look after his inter- 
ests. But a New York broker named Gripen, held 
everything in his possession. He therefore called at 
once on Mr. Fuller's endorser, and presented his claim. 

"I shall pay it, of course, but you must give me a 
few days," the deacon said with a strange sinking at his 
heart, for he knew the old homestead must be mortgaged 
to raise the money. 



10 HEARTHSIDE SKETCHES 

From the mortgage of the farm dated the decline in 
Deacon Harris' fortunes. And after fifteen years of 
anxiety and struggle, he gave up the farm, though the 
pang it cost him only God and his own heart knew. He 
still retained the old farmhouse with an acre of ground, 
though but a pitiful caricature of what it once had 
been. After a few years his wife died, leaving him 
quite alone. He had long since ceased to be a deacon 
of the First Church, though the familiar title still clung 
to him. Younger and wealthier men, imbued with more 
modern ideas, controlled its affairs now. 

After twenty-one years of absence, Henry Fuller 
came back to Churchill. The prophecy of his youth 
was more than fulfilled, and all Churchill went down on 
its knees before him. If anyone remembered the past, 
they wisely refrained from speaking of it, and Deacon 
Harris in his poverty was conveniently forgotten. It 
was a business transaction, and if the deacon had chosen 
to take the risks, why, it was only his own fault. 

The deacon's children, in the meantime, had chil- 
dren of their own, and were engrossed in their own fam- 
ilies and interests. John could not burden himself with 
an old man who might live to be a great deal of trouble. 
If his father "hadn't been a fool, he would have been 
independent, now." 

Clara's husband had been unfortunate, and with a 
grown-up family of boys and girls, it was as much as he 
could do to live in genteel style. 



HEARTHSIDE SKETCHES 11 

After his wife died, Deacon Harris visited each of 
his children. It did not take him long to learn there 
was no place for him in his children's home, and with a 
strange sense of desolation tugging at his heart, the old 
man prepared to return to his lonely dwelling. Clara 
wept, and "so wished they were able to keep father," 
and the old man slipped quietly out and sat down on the 
doorstep, with his head very low on his breast. 

"Grandfather," said a low, sweet voice, and a soft 
arm was thrown lovingly around his bowed shoulders, "do 
you want me? Can I be any help and comfort to you, 
if I come to Churchill?" 

"You, child!" he exclaimed, grasping the little 
hand in both his own. 

"Why, yes, grandfather, I am almost seventeen, and 
can learn to do anything if I won't be a burden to you. 
May I go do you want me, grandfather?" parting the 
silver hair with her slender fingers, and leaning over to 
look into his face. 

"Want you, little Margie!" he cried, a sudden light 
in his faded eyes. "But they won't let you go to live 
with grandfather, dear." 

"1 shall go, most certainly," she said resolutely. 

And this was how Margie Dean came to be living at 
Churchill at the opening of this story. There had been 
a storm of opposition, but she said quietly and firmly : 
"I shall go if you all disown me in consequence. I 
know it is right." 



12 HEARTHSIDE SKETCHES 

And now we will return to the "north room," and 
look after our patient and his anxious nurse. The sun 
threw a long slant line of p&le gold through each of the 
narrow windows, and the quiet room was tremulous with 
soft light and shade, and odorous with sweet-brier, when 
the minister, retxirning, paused a moment on the 
threshold. How long Mr. Armstrong might have been 
content to stand silently and listen to the sweet voice of 
Margie, as she read in low tones from one of the royal 
singer's triumphant psalms, I know not, for Margie, 
looking suddenly up, discovered his presence, and gave 
him such a glad, welcoming smile that it drove all else 
from his mind. 

When after the long golden twilight hour had pass- 
ed, Charles Armstrong rose to take his departure, he 
felt a vague consciousness that whatever the future 
might hold in store for him, this day would be forever 
sacred in his memory. 

It was known in Churchill that the minister went to 
Deacon Harris' a great deal, but for once this very keen- 
scented people were at fault. The possibility of his 
falling in love with quiet little Margie never once oc- 
curred to them. 

But one day a thunderbolt burst over the village. 
Lucy Fuller was returning from the post office, when she 
met Mr. Armstrong riding in an open carriage with Mar- 
gie Dean beside him, and the careless bow he gave Miss 
Fuller proved how completely absorbed he was in his com- 



13 

panion. I will not attempt to picture the surprise and in- 
dignation that convulsed the First Church of Churchill 
when this appalling news was noised abroad. 

Poor Margie ! how her gentle, sensitive heart was 
wounded at every turn, by cold looks and contemptuous 
smiles and vague hints which she did not understand, 
till some more spiteful than others, openly taunted her 
with scheming to entangle the minister, and ruin and 
drag him down by a mesalliance. 

It was Lucy Fuller and Julia Harper who said this, 
and Margie's soft brown eyes held a pained and startled 
look, as she passed on homeward, those cruel sentences 
ringing in her ears. How chilly it had grown! she 
shivered. She was dragging him down. It seemed 
strange that she had never thought of it before. She 
thought of the bright future, upon whose threshold he 
had but just stepped, and her heart gave a quick throb 
of mingled pain and bliss. A choking sob forced itself 
through the whitened lips, but there was a new light in 
the brown eyes, and the glow of a great resolve made 
the pure, pale face softly luminous. 

Margie was only eighteen, but at that moment her 
life looked to her as desolate its bloom and sweetness as 
nearly vanished as the dead summer over whose bier 
the gaily-colored autumn leaves were already slowly 
drifting. 

That night the Rev. Charles Armstrong retired in a 
very un-Christian temper. He was vexed with himself, 



14 HEARTHSIDE SKETCHES 

with the First Church, and last, but not least, with 
Margie Dean. 

"Who cares what the members of the church say, 
I'd like to know. I'm sure I don't, and Margie wouldn't 
if she loved me half as well as I love her. And to think 
how firm and determined she was ! She would never be 
a 'millstone about my neck' what nonsense! As if she 
were not fit for a queen this moment ! How pure and 
brave she looked when she said : 'Because I love you, 
I am firm. lean sacrifice my love, but not your future.' 
"My future ! Well I shall resign, and I'll do it to- 
morrow!" But he did not, he stayed and fretted him- 
self ill, and was in turn jellied and dressing- gowned, and 
slippered by all the young ladies in the village save 
one; and with the perversity of human nature, this ex- 
ception was the only one from whom he desired these 
favors. But though Deacon Harris came to see him, no 
word or token came from Margie. 

Mr. Armstrong grew in favor with the First Church. 
At last, after repeated failures, they had found a min- 
ister after their own heart. They had not enjoyed such 
a season of prosperity for years. The pastor of such a 
flourishing society should have been happy. And yet, 
I am afraid he was not nay I am sure that the only 
thing that kept him from forsaking his admiring flock, 
was that once a week he saw Margie. For Margie was 
always at church, though (and it made him very angry) 
very little notice or attention was vouchsafed her. 



HEARTHSIDE SKETCHES 15 

Church aristocracy is the most cool, the most exclusive 
thing in the world. 

But one Sunday there came a radical change. A 
stranger occupied a seat in Deacon Harris' pew, holding 
the hymn book with Margie, and when service was over, 
both people and pastor were much exercised by seeing 
him hand her into an elegant carriage, drawn by a span 
of beautiful, black thoroughbreds, with silken manes 
tossing from proudly arching necks. 

While the people wondered, the pastor remembered 
the look of half sadness, half exultation, that crossed 
the faintly flushed face of Margie Dean as she went 
down the aisle and out at the church door. 

There is always someone in every country town, 
who contrives to get at everyone's affairs, and with the 
most commendable enterprise (worthy a higher calling) 
proceeds to enlighten their slower brethren. Tom 
David represented this class in Churchill, and before the 
carriage was fairly out of the yard he had informed 
several that "that was the chap who had come after the 
Deacon and Miss Margie, and they were going to leave 
Churchill that very week. The stranger lived in the 
West and he was rich shouldn't wonder if he was go- 
ing to marry Margie." 

The minister heard every word of the foregoing as 
he came down the church steps. 

The short winter twilight was fading out in the 
west, when Charles Armstrong crossed with long, nerv- 



16 HEARTHSIDE SKETCHES 

ous strides the meadow, beyond which stood the Harris 
homestead. There was a glow of yellow light against 
the high windows, and coming nearer, his eyes rested 
upon the sweet face of Margie his Margie ! gazing 
dreamily into the glowing fireplace, her pure face bathed 
in its rosy light. In that moment, all the pent-up love 
he had been trying to trample out, sprang up within him, 
a very giant that would not be stayed. 

Another moment and Margie's startled and blush- 
ing face was held against his breast, his arms folding 
her in an eager clasp. 

"Margie, I w r ill not give you up," he cried breath- 
lessly. "O Margie! you will not leave me you will not 
go away with this stranger?" 

"If you mean Mr. Grant, both grandfather and my- 
self have promised to go with him to his western home 
as soon as necessary arrangements can be made," she 
responded quietly. Charles Armstrong stood aside now, 
his arms folded, his face white and grave. 

"Margie," he said, "I will not censure you, but I pray 
you may never know the pain you are giving me. I 
hope he may make you as happy as I had hoped to do 
I cannot say more." 

His strong voice faltered, as he turned away, but 
Margie sprang to his side, her eyes shining, her face 
radiant. 

"O Charles! What do you what can you mean?" 
she cried. "As if he as if anybody could ever take 



HEARTHSIDE SKETCHES 17 

your place! And Mr. Grant has a wife and three 
children." 

''Margie my darling!" was the rapturous cry. 

Well, the whole story came out after Deacon Hariss 
and Margie had been gone a few days. And this was 
the story: More than twenty-one years before when 
James Grant was a struggling merchant, there came a 
period of financial depression. He had no wealthy 
friends to aid him, and with sinking heart he saw one 
after another going down about him, and the way be- 
fore him growing darker every day. At length there 
came a crisis a day when hope died utterly out of his 
heart. Deacon Harris, then one of the wealthiest men 
in Churchill came into his office on business, and some- 
how succeeded in getting the whole story of his troubles 
from him, as well as the sum necessary to carry him 
over the chasm upon whose brink he had been standing. 

"We can't have this, James," the Deacon said, 
smilingly, as he quietly wrote out a check for the sum 
needed. 

The loan had been promptly paid within a .year 
'The debt of gratitude has been gathering interest ever 
since," James Grant said. It was by the merest chance 
he had heard of his benefactor's reverses, as he had been 
in business in Colorado for nearly twenty years. As 
soon as he had heard, he started for the East, and the 
result of this visit was the removal of the Deacon and 
Margie to his beautiful western home. 



18 HEAJRTHSIDE SKETCHES 

Churchill talked of nothing else for a month, but at 
the end of that time, it suffered a more startling sen- 
sation at least that portion of it composing the First 
Church. Its eloquent young minister, who, it flattered 
itself was being trained and moulded to exactly meet all 
its wishes, very unexpectedly resigned. 

Grief, astonishment and indignation succeeded each 
other in their hearts. But the measure of their tribu- 
lation was not yet full. Three days afterward Tom 
David came home from the city in a state of sublime 
beatitude, having in his hands a paper in which figured 
the following item : 

"Married, in Greenburg, Col., by the Rev. Robert 
Graves, at the home of James Grant, Esq., Rev. Charles 
Armstrong, of Churchill, New York, to Miss Marjorie 
Dean, of Greenburg." 

The pastorate of the First Church is still vacant. 
Best of references required, and the preference given to 
married applicants. 



Jim. 



Jini might have been twenty or he might have been 
seventy, so completely was his face masked by its coat- 
ing of kindred clay, and so effectually was his form dis- 
guised by the nondescript garments hung upon it. 

Jim must have had a surname., and without doubt 
"James" was the title bestowed upon him by the happy 
mother when they "named the baby." Had she lived, 
she might perhaps have called him "Jamie," for mother- 
hood strikes gentle chords in even the roughest breast. 
But she left him in his baby days; and those upon 
whom his care thereafter fell scorned all sentimentality, 
and dubbed him Jim. His surname? Yes, he must have 
had one, at least so the census taker told him at 
the same time he undertook to convince him that he 
must also have an age. 

Jim listened attentively to his eloquence, but only 
answered doggedly : "Jim is my name, I can't tell you 
no more." And he walked away, leaving "the census 
man" to estimate. 

Each Saturday night Jim's old roan horse might be 
seen hitched outside the village tavern, while his mas- 

19 



20 HEARTHSIDE SKETCHES 

ter sat within, cheering himself with what comfort 
there could be found in its staple article whiskey. It 
was an established fact that Jim could absorb more 
liquor than any two men in the village, but no amount 
of drink could loosen his tongue. He never treated, and 
never accepted a treat. He ordered his whiskey, drank 
it, paid for it, and then shuffling out to the horse, 
mounted and rode away in the darkness, to his home on 
the mountain. 

Imagine a small clear spot surrounded on all 
sides by massive forest giants covered with many 
hued foliage, and intersected with countless thickets of 
underbrush, standing so closely together that their 
boughs interlace in a dense canopy, through which the 
sun never breaks, and where shadows deepen to black- 
ness, while the soughing of the boughs above seems a 
fitting requiem for lost souls, and you have a vague idea 
of Jim's abiding place; a lonely spot for even a forest 
to hold. 

The low hut was enclosed with slabs, from which 
the bark had never been stripped, and a whole in 
each side served for windows, with one in the roof for a 
chimney. The door was unhinged and lay on the floor 
inside. When it was clear, Jim left it down all night; 
but when it rained he stood it up before the opening. 
The floor was of clay, and a rude stool, a bedstead and 
some cooking utensils comprised the furniture. At the 
end of the hut was a shed, which eeemed to have been 



HEARTHSIDE SKETCHES 21 

intended for a part of the house. It had evidently 
never been finished, for some of the frame glared 
naked, unmarked by a nail. . A rude mass of boughs 
formed the roof, and in it Old Roan dreamed when off 
duty. 

This was Jim's home. Not a cheerful spot certainly 
or one calculated to invite the weary traveler. It was a 
wild spot, but Jim's was a wild nature; and long years 
of habit had ripened in his heart a feeling something 
like love for it. For Jim had a heart; and once that 
heart had loved something better than Old Roan and 
the gloomy hut. 

Several miles farther on the other side of the moun- 
tain lay a village called Glassville. This was Jim's na- 
tive place. Here he passed his neglected orphaned 
babyhood, his lonely childhood, and in fullness of time 
reached man's estate. His manhood was the "ripe 
fruit' ' of his childhood gloomy and reserved. He lived 
by himself, worked faithfully for his daily bread, made 
no friends, but certainly had no enemies. Thus he lived 
till his twenty-seventh year, and then by that daring in- 
consistency which belongs to natures like his, he fell in 
love with Nancy Harke, the belle of the rude village. 
Poor Jim! He hated himself for his folly; but he 
hugged it closer to him every day. The mad thought 
of trying to win her, or even daring to tell his love, 
never entered his head. He fought his passion silently 
and manfully, till at last, like all smothered fires, it 



22 HEARTHSIDE SKETCHES 

broke out one day, and he told her all, and in despair 
begged her to kill him for his presumption. But she did 
nothing of the kind. She turned first white and then 
red, and instead of plunging a dagger into his breast, 
she laid her pretty brown head upon it and whispered : 
"I won't, Jim because I love you." 

Poor Jim ! He was petrified. He could not think. 
He felt her warm light form nestling on his breast, but 
he dared not press it closer, fer fear the dream would 
fade away. But Nancy was more accustomed to such 
things, and slipping her plump arm around his neck, 
she put her red lips close to his face and said: "Don't 
look so, Jim. Ain't you glad?" 

Then the full glory of his joy came to Jim. He 
clasped her tight in his strong arms. He kissed her 
with the hunger of a lifelong fast, and then he bowed 
his head over her and wept the first tears he had shed 
since babyhood. From that time he was a changed man. 
The freshness which his youth had never known was 
showered over him. He laughed, he danced, he sang. 
His very presence seemed to scatter sunshine. Nancy 
consented to an early marriage. Jim selected the little 
clearing, and began the little house for his bride. Many 
offers of help were made, but he declined them all; no 
hand but his should hew a log for the house that was to 
shelter her head, and his axe rang sharp and fast, and 
the hut approached completion. 

The main part was done, and he had begun the lit- 



HEARTHSIDE SKETCHES 23 

tie shed, which he, unknown to her, had added, so 1 
that she could have a kitchen, and a best room, and in 
the first he would have room to keep a pile of dry sea- 
soned wood for her, so that she should never have her 
eyes spoiled with smoke. 

He laughed as he worked on this, for it was a lux- 
ury unheard of in the village; but Nancy was a woman 
unequalled in the world, and four rooms would not be 
too good for her. The frame was up, and the clap- 
boards had begun to make a show ; one more week and 
it would be done. And then? Jim's heart almost 
choked him ! and he whistled loud to swallow a sob. 
He worked hard all that day, and when the sun sank 
behind the tall oaks, even his happiness could not dis- 
guise the fact that he was very tired; but he whistled- 
gayly as he picked up his coat and began his long walk.- 
It was dark when he reached the village. As usual he- 
went at once to Nancy's home. The door stood open, 
but no Nancy met him, and all within was dark. He 
hesitated on the threshold, and a sob came from the 
gloom. A chill crept over him. Could it be that she 
was dead? He reeled and clutched the door. It swung 
back with a bang, and a thick voice asked: "Who's 
there!" It was her mother. 

"It is I, Jim. For Heaven's sake, don't say she's 
dead!" 

A burst of sobs was her reply, and groping his Way 
to her, Jim grasped her shoulder and pleaded : 



24 HEARTHSIDE SKETCHES 

"Speak Mis' Harks, or ye'll kill me. Say she ain't 
dead." 

"Better dead! better dead! Jim, she's gone and 
disgraced us all!" 

"How dare you!" cried he; "and you her 
mother!" 

"And the more sorrow to me. You didn't know it, 
Jim, but that city chap has been hanging round for 
more than two weeks. I told her she had too much talk 
with him, but she wouldn't take heed. This morning 
she went off, and at dark little Jack ^immons came in 
and told us how he met her on the mountain road with 
that city fellow; and she called out to him and said, 
'Tell them I'm gone forever, Jack!' and then the man 
took her in his arms and kissed her. Jim ! O Jim! 
What shall we do? And you so good to her!" 

The echo gave back her words ; she was alone. 
Without a word, without a moan, Jim left the house. 
He looked around in the bright starlight. All was 
strange. He saw nothing and he heard nothing but that 
wagon and the words : 

"The man took her in his arms and kissed her." 

Her dog sprang up and put his nose in his hand. 
He pushed him aside, and then, with his hands out- 
stretched as if groping in the dark, he walked away 
toward the dark shadows of the mountains. On, on he 
he walked, and in the gray dawn he sat in the door of 
his desolate house, bowed and grizzled as though by 



HEARTHSIDE SKETCHES 25 

years. All day he sat motionless, and at evening he 
heard the voices of his friends, who had come to seek 
him. He arose, placed the unhung door before the door- 
way, and put his back agiinst it. In vain they pleaded 
with him. He was immovable. He bade them go and 
leave him to himself, and at last they did so. No news 
was heard from Nancy, and for awhile a surreptitious 
watch was kept on Jim ; but as he declined to either ac- 
cept or resent any attention offered him, he was finally 
abandoned to his fate. Years passed by. Jim never re- 
turned to his native village. He worked faithfully, but 
he took none of the comforts that his toil could buy. 
The hut grew dilapidated, and the clapboards fell off. 
He let them lie; even the door was never screwed to its 
hinges, which lay in the mould by the doorway. 

Jim allowed himself but one indulgence; that was 
whiskey. As years passed by he grew fonder of it, and 
often on their return from town through dark and rain, 
it was Old Roan's instinct, and not Jim's hand, that 
guided her over the rough road. 

One stormy night Jim unhitched Old Roan from 
the post and started for home. It was very dark, and 
soon began to rain hard. Jim was nearly drunk when 
he started, but the cold rain beating in his face cooled 
his brain, and by the time he reached the hut he was 
sober. He put Old Roan into the shed, and then cold 
and wet, he crawled into his scarcely less miserable shel- 
ter. For the first time in all those years he felt a chill 



26 HEARTHSIDE SKETCHES 

of loneliness creep over him. The rain dripped from his 
wet clothes. He shivered, and put up the door, but the 
chill struck deeper, and groping his way to the door, he 
gathered an armful of sticks. He took them in and 
soon a bright fire blazed in the chimney-place. It 
warmed Jim's limbs and dried his clothes, but it froze 
his heart. He tried to shake it off. He took down a 
loaf of bread and cut a slice. The whiskey jug stood 
on the table, but he turned from it with loathing. He 
tried to eat the bread, but it choked him. In vain he 
fought the feeling. The heaped-up desolation of all 
those years had broken the ice at last, and when Jim 
stretched his form on the clay before the dancing flames, 
tears glistened on his grizzled beard. He slept at last 
slept and dreamed of the by-gone days, till he heard a 
voice cry : "Jim! Jim!" 

He started up. The fire was burning low, and the 
storm raged harder. The past and present were so 
blended that nothing seemed real. He looked around, 
and his eyes drooped heavily, when again the cry came: 

"Jim! Jim! For the love of Heaven hear me !" 

There could be no mistake this time; the cry was 
real, and it was a woman's voice. 

Jim sprang up and lifted aside the door, and there 
in the darkness, drenched by the pitiless storm, crouched 
a woman. Her long brown hair hung dripping over her 
slight form, which was protected by a thin shawl. She 
did not look up when Jim opened the door, but 



HEARTHSIDE SKETCHES 27 

crouched lower ; and without a word he stooped down, 
and lifting her in his arms, bore her to the fire. The 
fagots shot up a fitful light. She raised her head. It 
was Nancy ! Not a quiver shook Jim's frame; not a 
sound escaped his lips. Replaced her on the only seat, 
walked to the other side of the hearth, and folding his 
arms, looked steadily into the fire. The poor dripping 
wretch watched him with eager eyes. He seemed like 
a man of stone; and clasping her hands over her breast, 
she cried : 

"Jim! Jim! don't you know me?" 

'Yes, Nancy, I know ye." But his eyes never left 
the fire. 

She staggered to him and fell at his feet. 

".Jim ! for the love of the good God, have mercy on 
me! I daren't ask you to forgive me, but don't drive 
me out in the cold storm again. I know I don't de- 
serve it, Jim, but have mercy on me as you would on a 
hurt dog!" 

Jim's face worked fearfully. He lifted her up. 

"Don't Nancy. It's all right. I know'd you'd 
come back sometime. It has been a good while to wait, 
but old Jim's here to take care of ye yet. Come, dry 
your clothes and I'll get you something to eat." 

He put her seat close to the fire, and taking the loaf, 
cut a slice for her. She ate eagerly. Jim threw more 
wood on the fire and she hovered over it . The fire dried 
her clothes, but its warmth could not thaw the chill that 



28 HEARTHSIDE SKETCHES 

froze her. The pitiless storm had done its work. Her 
teeth chattered, but her cheeks and eyes burned with 
unnatural brilliancy. 

Jim filled an old can with water and put it on the 
coals. It was soon hot. He mixed it with some w r hiskey 
and gave it to her. She drank it. It seemed to warm 
her chilled blood ; her teeth stopped chattering, and her 
head drooped on her breast. Jim took hie only blanket 
and spread it before the fire. 

"I reckon I won't want it to-night, Nancy. You 
lay down on it and I'll keep up a fire." 

The tired woman obeyed, and soon she was in a deep 
sleep. The wind shook the door, Jim got up and put a 
log against it and then returned to his seat and watched 
the blaze with a face as stolid as the logs he threw on, 
till the grey dawn crept through the chinks of the hut. 
Nancy still slept heavily. Old Roan neighed. Jim fed her. 
Still Nancy slept on, and Jim sat down before the fire. 

The sun rose brightly. The clouds broke away, and 
the storm was over. Jim let the fire go out and stared at 
the blackened logs. Noon came; still Nancy slept, and 
still he watched, and when the sun went down he was 
still at his post. All this time Nancy had not moved, 
but as the twilight deepened she grew restless and 
moaned. Jim went to her. Her lips were parched. He 
moistened them with water, and taking off his coat made 
a pillow of it for her. She seemed to sleep soundly 
again. It grew dark and he lighted a fire suddenly he 



HEARTHSIDE SKETCHES 29 

heard a voice call, "Jim." He looked aiound. Nancy 
was awake, and her eyes, like two burning stars, were 
fixed on him. 

"Well, Nancy." 

"Come here, Jim." 

Her voice was husky. Jim bent over her and saw 
that the flush of firs had died away and a gray pallor 
was creeping over her. He felt a cold ice-like grip at 
his heart but he uttered no word. 

"Bend closer, Jim, I'm going fast." 

A great gulp of agony burst from him. "No, no, 
Nancy, you mustn't. Think how long I've waited for 
ye! Ye mustn't go so soon." 

A smile passed over Nancy's face, and then she 
gasped. In a moment she rallied. "Jim, I must tell 
you how sorry I am. I was very bad but " 

Her voice failed. 

"No.no, Nancy!" cried he. "Don't talk of that; it's 
past. I don't hold grudges. Stay with me now. Don't 
leave old Jim." 

She struggled and whispered : 

"Take me in your arms, Jim." 

The brawny arms were put tenderly about her and 
the pale face nestled close to the weather-beaten grizzled 
one. 

"Jim, say you forgive me." 

"I always did that, Nancy. I was such a rough 
fellow, you see ; but don't talk of that. 0, Nancy, don't 
leave me." 



30 HEARTHSIDE SKETCHES 

The eyes were fast growing heavy. One more strug- 
gle for words. 

"Kiss me, Jim." 

He kissed the cold lips. 

"God bless you ! Good-bye." 

And with the dark story of her life untold, and that 
disjointed prayer for forgiveness the only atonement for 
the blight she had put upon his life, Nancy's spirit went 
to its Maker. 

A ghastly film gathered over her eyes, and the wax- 
en pallor of death spread over her face, but the features 
were quiet and peaceful, and in the flickering moon- 
beams that came in through the half-open door the lips 
seemed to smile. Despite its pallor, the face was more 
life-like than the ashen gray one that bent over it. He 
knew she was dead, but he drew her head closer and 
whispered close to her ear : 

"Nancy ! Nancy, speak once more, only once to Jim." 

He looked eagerly into her face, as if he thought the 
pale lips would answer the appeal ; and then the voice of 
nature's agony burst forth in a cry, half shriek, half 
groan. He laid the body on the ground, and throwing 
himself beside it, he dug his nails into the hard clay, and 
great, choking fearful sobs broke from him. Ah, Jim! 
could those who jeer at you see you now, they would 
stand with bowed heads before the unveiled majesty of 
a heart their puny natures could not fathom. 

Poor Jim ! Poor old Jim ! 



HEARTHSIDE SKETCHES 31 

Hours passed and stillJira lay on the ground. His 
obs ceased, but his fingers still dug the clay. His nails 
were torn and his blood mingled with the earth, but he 
did not feel it. The fire died out, and only the moon- 
light fell over the groveling man and the dead woman. 
Presently Jim arose. At first he staggered and grasped 
at the empty air. He stood still a moment, and then, 
keeping his back to the white, dead face, he went to the 
place where he kept his tools. He took down his spade 
and went out of the hut. The moon was sinking low 
and the tall trees were casting ghostly shadows. Jim 
went to the tree beneath which he used to eat his dinners 
in those long past days when he was building the hut. 
Here he dug Nancy's grave. The black hole frowned 
blacker in the deepening gloom. Jim laid his spade on 
the mound and returned to the dwelling. He stood by 
Nancy and gazed long on her face. This time no moan or 
sigh escaped him. An owl hooted above his head. The 
sound aroused him. He knelt beside the corpse. His face 
trembled, and he laid his cheek beside hers and moaned 
as a mother might over her child. He kissed her cheek, 
brow and lips, and then he rolled the blanket about her, 
and lifting her in his arms carried her out to the waiting 
grave. He laid her in, threw down the earth, and 
heaped up the mound, and then with a quick motion cast 
the spade far from him in the darkness. The moon had 
sunk behind the treetops and black darkness was fast 
settling over all. 

Jim went back to the hut. Old Roan heard his 



32 HEARTHSIDE SKETCHES 

step and whinnied. Jiro went into his stall. Roan 
rubbed his nose against him, but he got no answering 
caress. Jim put the little corn there was in his manger, 
took off his halter, and went out leaving the door open. 
He stopped a moment before the hut door, and then 
walked slowly back to Nancy's grave. He threw him- 
self down upon it, and buried his face in his hands. 

Saturday came round, and Jim was missed at the 
tavern. The men said: 

"It's queer." 

The next Saturday, and still no Jim, and curiosity, 
if not anxiety, prompted a party to go to the hut to 
learn the cause of his absence. They found the hut de- 
serted, and poor Old Roan wandering about with a very 
disconsolate expression of countenance. They searched 
the hut and shed, but found no trace of Jim. They 
were cracking many jokes over his probable fate, when 
a cry from one of the party, who had been exploring the 
woods, stopped them. They hastened to him, and 
found him at the grave. They stood around it with 
pale faces and hushed breath. Prone upon the grave 
with arms out-stretched above it, as if in protection, 
lay Jim. We have said the place was not a cheerful one. 
Now it seemed a very charnel house to these men, and, 
after hurriedly scooping out a shallow grave beside 
Nancy's, they laid all that was mortal of great-hearted 
Jim, within it, and then very silently and quickly re- 
tired from the spot, and Nancy and Jim, slept on un- 
troubled. 



The Old MQQ'S Story. 



MEN talk about looking backward and for- 
ward over life, but it must be lonesome 
business, especially when the forwards 
don't throw much light on the backwards. 
"Well, I'm an old man a very old man, come to 
think on it but bless you, I shall be a young one again 
before I've half got that lesson by heart. 

Somehow the years don't run away from me. The 
very youngest of them keep me company down hill most 
sociable. I see myself quite plain, a great hulking lad, 
seventeen years old, sitting in the old place at the vil- 
lage academy. 

There's a new teacher coming "a young woman to 
make you toe the equator," says the trustees; and I've 
got a pocketful of dried pease to fire at the stove-pipe, 
and Jim Hart, who sets next to me, has got the Falls of 
Niagara to construct out of stones and half a bottle of 
ink before she comes. 

When she does, and walks across the room and faces 
us from behind her table, I've got one pea left, but some- 
how I don't fire it, and Jim, he mops up the Horseshoe 
Fall with the sleeve of his jacket. 

33 



34 HEARTHSIDE SKETCHES 

Nellie Lawton we know her name don't look a 
day older than sixteen, and the color is a-coming and 
a-going in her face, and the spring air from the open 
window is a-blowing her soft hair. She tries to steady 
herself by one hand resting on the table, but the trem- 
ble all gets into her voice when she speaks. 

"I hope we may have a pleasant school together; 
if you wish it half as much as I, we may, indeed." 

She has more to say, but it don't come out, on ac- 
count of the tremble. Jim winks at me. 

"Easy time ahead small cat, afraid of mice." 

They don't turn out easy times for the poor little 
teacher. Every morning she comes to her desk with an 
eager look in her eyes, and every night she goes away, 
sorry and tired. 

The old apple tree that got pretty much thinned out 
under the last master, sprouts out surprising this sum- 
mer, and wickedness sprouts out of us boys just as fast. 

When things are at their worst she says she must 
speak to Squire Hart, but she bears and bears beyond be- 
lief. 

Well, one day I've cut Algebra and up stream fish- 
ing. Afterwards I hear how one of the worst lads 
climbed into a tree near Miss Nellie's window, and threw 
a kitten clean through it, crash on her table, and how 
she took up the scared thing, and stood up and blazed 
out words that stuck like needles into every boy in the 
room. 



HEARTHSIDE SKETCHES 35 

Well, I'm on one side of the log bridge fishing. On 
a sudden I hear a sobbing, and peeking under, I see our 
teacher's pretty head dropped into her hands. The 
worst boy couldn't stand such a sight as that, and though 
there's a big cat-fish tugging at my line, I don't haul 
him in, but just cut it and slip back to school, only 
stopping to pick a bunch of apple blossoms. She is 
fond of them, and I lay it on her table. 

It's recess, but I manage to get the boys around me, 
and tell them how the little schoolma'am looked, sob- 
bing at the bridge. We are sitting quiet at our desks 
when she comes in, pale and sad. She sees the flowers; 
she gives a quick glance around the room, and comes 
right down into the middle of us boys, a happy light 
shining in her eyes, a bright color trembling on her 
face like no flowers you ever saw. Then she speaks the 
words our ugliness has kept back so long. 

"Boys, I want you to be my good helpful brothers. 
A sister can teach many things, not in books, to her 
brothers. I do want to make order right to you. I 
want to make goodness and pureness of heart seem so 
beautiful to you that you will strive for them with all 
your might." 

Ah, it's a great thing for a gentle woman to put her 
hand on a boy's arm and call him brother. There was 
not a boy of us that didn't feel as if virtue came to him 
from it. 

It would be hard to make you understand the many 



36 HEARTHSIDE SKETCHES 

kinds of learning we got from Nellie Lawton. But for 
her, I'd never seen anything but griddle cakes in a buck- 
wheat field a-blossom, and there wasn't a boy in Hunts- 
ville who used to see more than cider and apple 
dumplings in an apple orchard in June. 

And Nellie, well, some folks call it flighty to set 
such store by common things, but I take it as special 
kind in the Lord, seeing she had no home folks, to 
make His outdoors more a home to her than their chim- 
ney corner is to most folks. I'd like to know what to 
make of that queer sense that begins where the other 
five leave off. After all, it may be just the extra lov- 
ing heart she had. You can't be friends with a butter- 
cup, and on comfortable terms with the Hrds without 
having a tender feeling for them. 

She took walks with us out of school, and we got 
to have a fellow feeling for all creeping and flying things. 
She put hearts into our eyes and eyes into our fingers. 
But, I could go on heaping up words, when one touch of 
her hand would tell it all. 

So two years pass by, and school is out, never to 
keep any more in the old way. Nellie and I have been 
up to the pond for w r ater lilies. The sun is up quite a 
piece when we get to them, and when we leave off pick- 
ing, there's the moon like a round ball of silver, laying 
on the water, and the dark pads are rocking the half 
shut lilies like a tender mother. 

We take our own time coming home. I take it 



HEARTHSIDE SKETCHES 37 

there's no better sight in the world than walking 
through sloping meadows, with the moon at your back, 
and the first star in the west nearer on a line with your 
feet than the little village down below. The sky so red 
under the star, and such a pale yellow over it, and sweet 
elderblow scents stealing after you from corners of 
fences. Ah, do you wonder that we take our time for 
it? Besides, it was Nellie and her scholar lad who 
scrambled up this path, but I come down a full grown 
man, because there's a kind little hand in mine, and 
somewhere in the world there's a home for me to make 
for a good woman. 

You wouldn't have guessed it, but up there on that 
big rock in the upper meadow,where we stopped to braid 
the stems of the lilies, Nellie promised to be my wife. 

That general home feeling in Nellie makes it easy to 
start for the West, and our pockets being low and our 
hearts high, we don't stop until we get where land's 
about nothing and muscle everything. 

There's a long summer before us to build our house 
in and get settled. I get Nellie comfortably fixed at an 
old settler's and one fine morning I take her to see the 
first log of our new house laid. 

''Five miles away from the nearest neighbor, dear," 
I say, a bit down-hearted for her, but she laughs merri- 

iy- 

N > chance for you to run away from school here, 
Henry." 



38 HEARTHSIDE SKETCHES 

It's a different thing, taking your bride into a 
ready made house so fine and big that you get acquainted 
with your own children before you do with some of its 
crannies, from what it is to lay the foundation yourself, 
your wife drawing you down, hammer in hand, to kiss 
the corner beam in your little home. 

It goes up steady and cheery, and by the time the 
first smoke puffe> out of the chimney Nellie's garden looks 
like a prairie full of flowers squeezed into a back yard. 

With woman's work indoors and man's out, and love 
to make light of both, we never stopped to think of be- 
ing lonely till our first child comes to show us that the 
world was nothing like full. Another in good time tells 
the same story, but we planned for them when we built 
the five good rooms, and Nellie her arms never seemed 
over-full. 

Work opens the way to more work. There's new 
ground to be broken for crops, draining to be done, tim- 
ber cut, outbuildings built, beginnings in the way of 
stock looked to. 

I suppose a city man, coming home from work, don't 
have to look at his own door-plate, though there are a 
dozen more houses beside his after the same pattern; but 
when a man comes out of the woods on a winter's night, 
and under all heaven sees just one roof and a light from 
one window making a track to him across the snow, 
what does home mean then? 

Our first boy and third child was six weeks old that 



HEARTHSIDE SKETCHES 39 

night. (No longer the sweet confusion of times and ten- 
ses in the old man's story. What year was this that it 
should be dropped from the companionship of its fel- 
lows?) 

Nellie would meet me here, she said, at the garden 
gate, at sundown, to show me how strong and well she 
was. 

I brought the cows in from pasture earlier than 
usual, not to keep her waiting at the gate. 

But she wasn't there, and that kind of pleased me 
to think of Nellie's not being where she said she would. 
I leaned on the gate a minute. 

The air was warm and still, but there wasn't a win- 
dow open, which didn't look like Nellie. Her patch of 
flowers looked wilted, and I picked one to show her 
but I didn't trouble her with it. 

Our time for such joys as flowers stand for in life 
was gone by. I didn't turn to stone when I opened the 
door , yet there was my wife my wife crouched in the 
corner like a wild thing, and the baby at her breast was 
purple. 

"Nellie! ' I said. She was moaning and rocking 
herself, and then I saw the baby was not dead, but that 
she was pressing out its life in the arms God gives a 
mother to cradle her babes. 

I laid hold of her wrists. If the boy's life had de- 
pended on it I couldn't have hurt her. I held her and 
looked into her eyes. That was as long as most men 



40 HEARTHSIDE SKETCHES 

would care to live the length of that look. She shud- 
dered more and more ; her arms fell, and the child slip- 
ped into mine. Then I remembered that I was a father. 
Sometime in heaven or on earth my Nellie would ask 
me about our child. 

So I left her and worked over him till I saw his 
little fingers fumbling in a feeble way, and the purple 
dying out of his face. Then I was free to go to her. I 
got hold of her wild hands, and held her to my heart, 
thinking the old place would seem homelike,but it mad- 
dened her into strength to fling me aside. 

I can't tell it not that part my true Nellie was 
the gentlest woman that ever lived, and the demon of 
insanity is not strong enough to put anything more than 
terror and wildness into a pure, sweet soul like hers. 

It's queer when a man's mind gets hold of bad news 
how it passes along inch by inch to his heart. My wife 
crazed, a six week's old baby, and two little women, the 
oldest just turned five. I believed the whole of it with 
my head, and less than half of it with my heart. That 
was an awful night,though after I'd given the little things 
bread and milk and heard their little prayers, and put 
such comforts as my poor girl might need in her reach, 
and got settled, with baby wrapped up in my arms at 
her door, and when along toward morning her breath 
came steady to my ears like music, it wasn't so bad. 

There was no one in those parts who'd work for 
Jove or hire under the same roof with a "mad woman." 



HEARTHSIDE SKETCHES 41 

When it got noised about folks fought shy of us. They 
didn't find it convenient to pass by often, but that I didn't 
mind as long as we could keep together. I doubt if you 
understand what the keeping together meant the wo- 
man's work to be learned and the man's work to be for- 
gotten, or the most of it, all but looking after the cattle 
and fodder, and enough vegetables to make us sure of a 
meal. 

Sometimes I took my boy out on one arm while I 
hoed the garden. It's surprising how I slipped into wo- 
man's ways. Sometimes I've thought I tried to do too 
much, but it's curious the feeling I had. 

You know when a friend dies there's a deal of com- 
fort in doing what he figured to do with us; and there 
was Nellie's awful eyes full of questions that her tongue 
could not speak in the natural way. 

"Myramust learn to cipher soon, and Olive ought 
to know her letters, " she had said before her mind went 
on its dark journey. So I set rayself of nights to mak- 
ing copies and figures, with a little woman on each 
knee. Poor work I made of it to, with my heart in the 
room where she sat days and nights sometimes, with her 
hands clasped, and her mind a journeying in foreign coun- 
tries that I'd have given worlds to have had a guide-book 
to. 

But I kept braced up to the work by thinking to 
myself how proud I'd be when she came back, to show 
our little scholars, and how the old smile that used to 



42 HEARTHS1DE SKETCHES 

follow me like a streak of sunshine would bless me 
again. 

For I never altogether gave up hope, not at her 
worst not even when I turned eick binding up her poor 
hands that she had bruised against the wall when the 
terrors came on. 

Between her room, that I had to keep locked mostly, 
and the general living room where, after the trouble 
came, I got into the way of working and eating and 
sleeping, there was a thin boarding, papered as neat as 
we could do it at building time. 

You see I fixed her bed close to it on one side, and 
my cot as close on mine nothing between us, looking at 
it one way, but a board, but there's other longitudes 
and latitudes than the school books tell of, and I used to 
lie awake trying to draw some line that would touch us 
two. Yes, I've laid there with baby's soft breath a com- 
ing and going in one ear, and his mother's voice singing 
low and talking wild in the other, till I've gone almost 
mad, and crawled away from boy's side, and out un- 
der the stars, fighting for the next breath. 

Our little house always had room for our joy, but 
it choked me in my grief, and I used to rush out for a 
great breath of air, and find somehow, the sky too low, 
and the stars too thick, and the prairies too cramped. 
Walking up and down the fields so, fighting my trouble, 
I used to conjure up ways of calling her back. 

The old flute that she liked and the boys made fun 



HEARTHSIDE SKETCHES 43 

of I remembered that one night, and I said: "Oh! if 
I could make it speak in the old way in Nellie's ear. Who 
knows ." I found it wrapped up in an old lace kerchief 
of hers. If you'll believe it, I laid down with it in my 
hand and slept like a baby. Somehow I could sleep 
with a hope in my hand. 

The day after I was in a fever to try it. I took it 
out to the potato patch, and between hoeing and tooting 
nigh forgot boy's dinner. There wasn't a human being 
right or left to call me a fool for sitting down right in 
the melons and potatoes, puffing and blowing at "Annie 
Laurie" and "Sweet Home" and "Land o' the Leal." 
Bit by bit they came back to me, or I went back to them, 
for I Deemed to grow down to a boy again, and which 
was her voice and which the flute's, I couldn't have told. 
I made sure the sounds shouldn't reach her until the 
time came. 

The day worried by. I wasn't as patient as I should 
have been, tucking up the children that night, and hear- 
ing their prattle, on account of such a hope and fear 
tugging at my heart. 

At last I was free. I had the flute in my hand. I 
crept round the house, through the grass, to her open win- 
dow, that faced toward the moon. It spread over the floor 
like a silver matting, and at the other end she was sit- 
ting, her white hands folded in her lap a-journeying. 

The wind wouldn't come at first, not a breath, not 
a sound. Then ] grew strong ; that flute played "Home, 



44 HEARTHSIDE SKETCHES 

Sweet Home," as if it was calling. us both back to each 
other again. I hadn't touched it for years, but I played 
as happier lovers never play to their sweethearts. 

She turned her head toward the sound. She got up 
and walked slow down the room on the road home, I 
thought. At last one hand resting against the wall, her 
lips parted. I seemed to hear the song on them. Where 
the flute got breath from to play on and on, I don't know, 
for I was getting ready to meet her at the journey's end. 

Not that there was much getting ready to be done; 
her place had been kept empty and clean swept against 
her coming, always. She came quite close the flute 
went on, faint, but on till quicker than a thought, she 
struck it from my mouth, with that moaning sound that 
hurt me so, and that beating motion of the arms as if 
to put the world between us. 

From that hour I lost heart. The whole night went 
by while 1 crouched under her window in the wet grass, 
with just one dull wish to see her asleep, so I 
could cover her up like the children, and give her, unbe- 
known, one pitying kiss. 

Nothing new happened that winter, except that the 
boy took sick, and I had hard work to bring him out. 

The little girls were comforts only a man who has 
tried his poor best to be a mother knows the sadness of 
such comfort. Besides their little studies, I took up a 
new one for myself. I sent for big medical books about 
madness. I pored over them nights. I got the ideas of 



HEARTHSIDE SKETCHES 45 

the wisest men in the world on all forms of madness. I 
weighed and considered them, and changed Nellie's food 
and treatment according. 

Yon see I'd settled long before never to send her to 
an asylum. What love couldn't do love ready to take 
lessons of science, and square its ways according love 
such as mine couldn't do, nothing could. 

When spring came, whether owing to my book- 
knowledge or not, she changed. The spells of terror 
came on seldom : a wishful look grew in her eyes that 
was harder yet to see. She walked about gentle and 
melancholy, as if she was stepping on graves. As soon 
as the days got warm enough I spent much of the time 
keeping watch on her while she crept through the woods 
by herself, picking her dress full of leaves and flowers, 
then throwing them all out and beginning over 
again. At other times she was so bent on something, 
she would walk over a bed of violets without seeing 
them, and lead me a tramp of miles, sometimes calling 
in her sweet voice: "Henry! Henry!" 

The first time I heard it I sprang from behind the 
stump where I was watching her, but it wasn't me 
she wanted, that was clear. And I thought the name 
was just a memory come back to her, and was thankful 
only for the sound of it again. 

Well the year ended at last. Just such warm, 
long days, just such sundowns, with the light slanting 
across the fields as when Nellie left me a year ago. The 



46 HEARTHSIDE SKETCHES 

time set me thinking. Was there one thing I hadn't 
tried! That look into a woman's heart, got in caring 
for the boy, put me on the track of the one thing I'd 
neglected. You see, with little Myra's help I had man- 
aged to keep him mostly out of her sight. Now what 
if she should come upon her baby suddenly? I wrapped 
him in a blanket he was weakly for a fourteen months 
baby and carried him a short ways into the woods, and 
laid him on the moss between the forked roots of an old 
stump. He was a patient boy always, with her eyes, 
and they looked up to me grave and wise as if they 
knew. Then I brought my dear out quickly from the 
house, as though for her afternoon walk, and left her 
not far from the stump, while I hid, as usu.il near by. 

It was her flower day. She caught up her skirt, 
and threw in ever fern and leaf and bit of mossy bark 
in her way. I thought the boy was asleep, but pretty 
soon he gave a little cry. Nellie stopped and turned her 
head that way, but the thought of the flute lay like a 
stone on my heart. At the next little cry she dropped 
her skirtful of flowers and her wishful eyes devoured 
every leaf and shadow till they fell upon her baby. 

Her face at that minute is a memory for an old man 
to take to heaven with him the hunger all gone out of 
it, her eyes a feasting on that bit of ground. She 
went on tiptoe toward it, flushing like a girl, the moth- 
erhood deepening in her eyes, her mouth getting ready 
for kisses and lullabies, her arms yearning out to him. 



HEARTHSIDE SKETCHES 47 

She stooped for him. I had no fear when I saw how 
lightly and tenderly she handled him ; how she bared her 
breast and laid his little face against it, and how their 
eyes seemed to feed each on each. 

The Lord forgive me, but a wicked pain smote my 
heart in seeing how the mother-love was stronger than 
the wife-love. Just as I had planned to bring her home 
to my breast, she had taken the boy to hers. But it 
couldn't last alongside of such joy, and when I saw her 
moving softly toward the house, the blessed sun splinter- 
ing on her through the tree?, I turned my face to the 
sweet leaf-mould and thanked Heaven. 



BABY VIOLET. 

Sweet little messenger of love, 

Thou, pure, pale blossom from above. 
To earth worn hearts and vision lent, 

Bearing a promise, Heaven sent. 

Within thy gentle, tender eyes, 

Earth saw the light of Paradise, 

Celestial flowers, incense rare, 

Still clings unto thy petals fair. 

Among us this fair flow'ret dwells, 

And through her childish grace dispels 

Each cloud that shadows face or mood, 
With winning arts of babyhood. 



Little Joe. 



IS small body was crooked, but his large soul 
was straight an arrangement much to be pre- 
ferred to a crooked soul in a straight body. 
His poor warped body made your heart ache 
with sympathy, but the pure soul shining out of his pale 
face and pain-dimmed eyes, made you long to be like 
him. His was a beautiful face, with peace written all 
over it. The soul never uttered a word of complaint ; 
but you could not help feeling it was greatly cramped 
for room. 

It made the best of the crooked house in which it liv- 
ed, but that it sometimes longed to move out you could 
discover when you saw that peculiar look of longing in 
little Joe's eyes deepen and his face glow as he read : 
"For we know that if our earthly house of this taber- 
nacle were dissolved, we have a building of God, a house 
not made with hands eternal in the heavens." 

From his mother he inherited his beautiful face and 
gentle spirit. His crooked back was caused by his 
father, though little Joe would never admit it. Crazed 
by drink the father came home one night, and when lit- 

48 



HEARTHSIDE SKETCHES 49 

tie Joe ran to meet him ; a cruel kick lay the little fellow 
limp and moaning at his mother's feet. 

The wife never forgave him, but after the first few 
weeks of suffering, whatever of pain little Joe felt he 
kept to himself, and his gentlest look and brightest smile, 
he kept for his father. He seemed to realize that his 
father's mental suffering was almost greater than the 
thoroughly repentent man could bear. 

Little Joe's body never grew after that, but his soul 
developed fast. His love for flowers, sunshine and mus- 
ic \vas intense. 

It was wonderful how the little fellow's soul expand- 
ed in the next few years; and to those who watched him 
closely, it became evident that he must soon move out of 
that distorted body. As his limbs grew weaker, and he 
came nearer to eternity, his face grew brighter. 

But one thing troubled him, and that was, who was to 
blame for his crooked back. For awhile this worried him 
until he remembered that eternity would reveal all the 
mysteries of this life; then he contentedly dismissed the 
problem. 

It was a bright June day when little Joe moved out of 
his crooked house into one of the Father's many man- 
sions. The cheeks of the watchers were wet with tears, 
but little Joe's face was radiant with the "light of 
Heaven." 



(\ Dutiful Daughter. 



IF the little stream which babbled and wound its shin- 
ing way under the crazy planks of the little foot- 
bridge at the bottom of the Kenreath meadow had 

been endowed with speech, it might have whispered 
some very pretty secrets to the green rushes that bent 
over its margin and to the bright pebbles lying at its 
bottom during the sunny month of June 18 . 

For every day somehow, pretty Darrie Morrison 
and John Kenreath met down by the little foot-bridge, 
with only the stream and the clouds, the grass and the 
flowers to hear and see. 

That blissful time, when prudence goes to sleep 
when the eyes are blind to all but one face, and ears 
deaf to all but one voice, had come to the pretty daugh- 
ter of the Morrisons' and to the penniless young 
proprietor of the barren acres of Kenreath. 

Kind Aunt Mary Morrison, living her simple life as 
usual, and dozing gently over her embroidery or lace- 
work, never for one instant suspected the truth. 

She was glad to see Darrie so gay and happy glad 
she did not tire of life with her at the quiet priory cot- 

50 



HEARTHSIDE SKETCHES 51 

tage, but she never suspected why Darrie's eyes were so 
bright or why her sweet voice was so merry. She would 
remonstrate gently sometimes when the girl came flying 
in from one of the lonely rambles she was so fond of 
taking, with her curls flying and her hat left behind her 
very likely, and remind her that she was grown up now, 
and must not run about as she had done during her va- 
cation visits from school. To Aunt Mary the foot-bridge 
was just so many old boards, mossgrown and worm- 
eaten, and not at all the glorified medium of commun- 
ion which it was to this heedless couple. 

True, both stream and bridge were within sight of 
the cottage windows, but the trees of the grounds were 
tall and thick, and had she looked ever so earnestly in 
that magic direction she would never have seen the meet- 
ing between her pretty niece and the handsome young 
owner of the surrounding meadow. 

So the weeks went on until one day a letter came 
from Squire Morrison, Aant Mary's brother, and Darrie's 
father. Aunt Mary read it with a cloud upon her usu- 
ally placid face a cloud that was still upon it when 
presently Darrie came into the room, singing softly and 
swinging her straw hat by its band from her arm as she 
fastened a bunch of red rosebuds in the bosom of her white 
gown. But she stopped at the grave look that met her 
from her aunt's soft brown eyes, and the blitheness 
died from her face. 

"Why Auntie, what are you looking so solemn 
abou t ? Is anything wrong ? ' ' 



52 HEARTHSIDE SKETCHES 

"Yes, my dear that is, no." Aunt Mary hastily 
thrust the squire's imwelcbme epistle into her pocket 
and blushed faintly. "It is nothing, love ; but I want 
to talk to you, Darrie." 

"What is it, Auntie? I want to go out." 

"Are you going to walk this morning?" Aunt 
Mary asked. 

"Not now presently. It is not time yet." 

"Time? "echoed her aunt. "Time for what, dear?" 

"Nothing that is, I mean I usually go later." 
The brightest, prettiest of blushes spread over the face 
of the girl while she made this innocent explanation ; 
but Aunt Mary, fond and anxious, did not notice it. 
"What do you want to talk to me about Aunt Mary 
anything very special." 

"I have a letter from your father, Darrie. He is 
coming here." 

"Oh!" and a blank look of discomfiture and dis- 
may succeeded the blush. "How horrid ! What is he 
going to do that for?" 

"My dear," her aunt remonstrated with shocked 
gentleness "your- own father!" Darrie tossed her 
childish golden head defiantty. 

"Well, I sometimes wish he were somebody else's, 
although, of course it sounds very awful to say so. And 
is he really coming here?" 

"So he says. He tells me to expect him sometime 
to-morrow." 



HEARTHSIDE SKETCHES 53 

"Oh, my goodness!" Squire Morrison's daughter 
cried ruefully, "and what is he coming for, Auntie?" 

"To to^sce you of course, my dear," Aunt Mary 
replied hesitatingly. "You will be glad to see him, 
dear?" 

"Oh, yes, of course," Darrie conceded promptly 
"if he is in a more Christian temper than when I saw 
him last. He was dreadfully cross when I said goodbye 
to him, and wouldn't kiss me. But I suppose he feels 
better now." 

"Yes, yes, love," her aunt replied hastily. "What 
made him so cross, dear?" she asked, saying of all 
others the very thing she did not want to say. 

"Oh, you know!" and wilful Dnrrie tossed her 
saucy head, and stamped her small shoe very hard upon 
the floor. "That that horrid wretch !" 

"My darling child ! "remonstrated her aunt, looking 
shocked. 

"Well, but he is, Aunt Mary," said Darrie obstin- 
ately. "He's ugly, and bald, and fat, and red and vulgar, 
and I hate him !" viciously. "He is rich, and he made 
friends with papa, and he came to Morrison." 

"Yes?" Aunt Mary looked down at the golden 
head, which had sunk down upon her knees and stroked 
it tenderly. "And then, Darrie?" 

"Then he asked me to marry him," was the stilled 
answer. 

"After knowing you so short a time!" cried the 
artled lady. 



54 HEARTHSIDE SKETCHES 

"He had seen me but twice." 

"And he had the impertinence what was your 
father thinking of, child?" 

"My father!" Darrie laughed, sprang to her feet, 
and drew up her little figure. 

"He did not think it impertinent, Aunt Mary. He 
was angry because I said 'no' more angry than I have 
ever seen him. He told me I should marry Mr. Joseph 
Parkinson, and, when I said I would not marry a man 
almost as old as himself, and who was so coarse and vul- 
gar, he laughed, and said Parkinson was a great deal too 
good for me, and that I should marry him whether I 
liked or not. But I won't" suddenly bursting into a 
tempest of tears. "I'd sooner die than marry that 
dreadful man, and if he dares to come here after me, 
I shall tell him so. " 

A silence followed this emphatic declaration, and 
Aunt Mary's soft hand stroked her child's tumbled gol- 
den hair gently, while her eyes were bent with a troubled 
look upon the squire's letter. 

Her brother's account of Mr. Joseph Parkinson was 
quite different, and in her perplexity she wondered 
which description was the true one. In Aunt Mary's 
proud eyes the man did not exist who could be quite 
good enough for her Darrie. She asked presently, 
with her hand still upon the girl's head : 

"Did you say he was so ugly, dear?" 

"Ugly?" echoed Darrie, turning around witn an as- 



HEARTHSIDE SKETCHES 55 

tonished stare; "Oh no, Auntie? He is very handsome, 
I think. He has such beautiful eyes." 

"Mr. Parkinson?" queried her aunt with dubious 
wonder. 

"Mr. Parkinson!" The little lady sprang to her 
feet with crimson cheeks. 

"Oh, I I didn't know you meant Mr. Parkinson; 
Oh yes, he is awful, Aunty dreadful !" 

"Well, darling, you must forget all about it now," 
her aunt said consolingly. "I must go and see about 
getting your father's rooms ready." 

Wilful Darrie, making her way along the paths of 
the cottage grounds towards the point where the little 
foot-bridge spanned the stream, was very angry and very 
rebellious. 

The squire's letter was an ugly break into the se- 
cret world in which she had been dreaming for some 
weeks past, and it had brought an ugly shadow stalking 
grimly behind a shadow with the red face, loud voice 
and the obtrusive money bags of Joseph Parkinson. 

"I declare, I have a great mind to tell him," said 
Darrie wrathfully. 

She said it just as she reached the foot-bridge, and 
might possibly have carried out her threat but for the alto- 
gether unexpected absence of "him." Darrie's blue eyes 
scanned the broad green meadow keenly, and peered 
across it to where the solid chimneys of old Kenreath 
House rose against the sky beyond it; but no, there was 



56 HEARTHSIDE SKETCHES 

no sign anywhere of the tall figure in the shabby coat. 
He had absolutely failed to come. What next? The 
very craziest plank on the foot-bridge creaked and groaned 
as a small shoe was brought down upon it with great ve- 
hemence in a decidedly exasperated stamp. 

"There, on this, of all mornings, he hasn't come!" 
she cried, aggrieved, and feeling intensely ill-used. "It 
is too bad, and I know he expected me to come because 
he made me promise. I declare, I've a good mind to go 
right back and never come any more!" 

Here Dairie took another indignantly wrathful sur- 
vey of the meadow with exactly the same result as before, 
and soliloquized again : 

"Well, I don't believe he would stay away on pur- 
pose, after all. I'm sure he wouldn't. Perhaps he is 
bothered, poor fellow ; he looked troubled yesterday. Some 
tiresome person wants to be paid or something, I sup- 
pose. I shan't be able to come to-morrow and papa 
might see him, and then he would make such a scene 
I know he would ! ' ' 

This last consideration was conclusive. 

The dainty little figure in the white gown, with the 
red roses glowing on its breast, crossed the foot-bridge 
and tripped through the great meadow towards the gate 
which led out into the lane. "I'll just walk a little way, 
.and perhaps I shall meet him coming," Darrie said to 
herself. But she walked more than a little way, reached 
the gate in fact, without doing anything of the kind, 



HEARTHSIDE SKETCHES 57 

and at that point she stopped, hesitating, peering half- 
curiously, half-shyly through the wooden bars. There 
came a little stretch of lane, and then, on the opposite 
side, the white gates of Kenreath, open as they mostly 
were, and beyond them the old house itself, a very pic- 
turesque, irregular erection of soft grays and dull reds, 
strong and sturdy, looking quite capable of sheltering a 
long line of Kenreaths yet. 

''What a dear old place it looks," Darrie murmured 
softly, a faint little sigh heaving her red roses "ever so 
much nicer than Morrison! Oh, my!" as two great 
raindrops falling upon the little hand grasping the bar 
of the gate, caused the little lady to look up with a sud- 
denly scared face. A great sullen-looking black cloud 
hid the blue; the sun had gone in, the large raindrops 
fell thicker and faster, accompanied by a loud clap of 
approaching thunder. 

This was awful. Darrie had plenty of courage, but 
she had also a mortal dread of thunder and lightning. 
She gave one frightened glance over the great meadow, 
another at the sky, and still another through the bars of 
the gate. There was but one thing to do, that was cer- 
tain the cottage was so far away and Kenreath so near. 

In another moment Darrie had opened the gate, sped 
across the lane, and was running up the path as fast as 
her feet would carry her. 

Now it chanced that John Kenreath was more 
weatherwise than Darrie, and having anticipated the 



58 HEARTHSIDE SKETCHES 

coming thunder storm, had made up his mind that it 
would be useless to betake himself to the bridge, think- 
ing there would certainly be no chance of seeing his gol- 
den-haired divinity that day. 

Having nothing in particular to do he did not go 
out, but was standing by the wide window in the great 
hall, looking dolorously out upon the drenched landscape 
when a rapid patter of flying footsteps sounded up the 
path, and he turned his head toward the open hall door 
as the little white figure, panting and breathless dashed 
in. 

John made two strides forward and took two little 
wet hands tightly in his own. 

"Miss Darrie!" he ejaculated. 

"Yes," Darrie panted, clinging to his hands, and 
shivering as another clap of thunder rolled over the 
roof. "I didn't notice the storm coming up, and I had 
walked down to the gate in the meadow when it began 
to rain. And it was so far home, and so near here, I 
thought you wouldn't mind if I came in here, perhaps. 
Lightning frightens me, and I am so wet." 

John cast a rueful look at her clinging white gown. 
"You will take cold," he said hastily. "You must come 
to the fire there's one in the kitchen, I suppose. And 
he hurried her down the crooked passage into the great 
farm kitchen where a huge fire flared from the wide 
hearth. 

Mrs. Jenners, with her sleeves rolled up above her 



HEARTHSIDE SKETCHES 59 

round elbows as she moulded cakes at a spotless deal 
table, dropped her rolling pin and stared in astonish- 
ment at the little figure in the wet white gown, with 
raindrops glittering upon its golden hair. John, eager 
and excited, pulled a great arni-chair before the blazing 
fire, and placed Darrie in it. Then turning quickly to 
the amazed housekeeper, he said : 

"This lady has been caught in the storm, Mrs. Jen- 
ners. See to her, will you? Don't let her take cold, 
and make her comfortable, mind." And then, stooping 
to whisper in Darrie's ear that he would come back soon, 
he went out, to pace up and down the hall in a pleasant 
maze of bewildered excitement, and wonder if he were 
not dreaming. 

Mrs. Jenners came out and called him before he 
had time to make up his mind on this point, and he 
went back to the kitchen to find Darrie, with a scarlet 
wrap folded over her white dress, and her little stock- 
inged feet stretched out upon the fender, where a pair 
of absurdly small shoes were placed to dry. She looked 
very comfortable and perfectly at home, and she gave 
him the shyest, sweetest smile as he came up to her 
great chair. 

"Don't I look very comfortable?" she asked him. 

"I'm afraid you don't feel so," John said. 

Only he himself knew how often, in sweet, vague, 
impossible presumptions dreams, he had had visions of 
her sitting thus at hie fireside. Now she was there in re- 



60 HEARTHSIDE SKETCHES 

ality, her blue eyes smiling up into his, and he felt more 
hopelessly put asunder from her than ever before. 

For John Kenreath had never breathed a word of 
love to Squire Morrison's daughter. Of course she 
knew he adored her, he thought, and if, knowing it, it 
still pleased her to be gracious to him during these 
cloudless summer days, why, it was very well. No one 
would suffer but himself, when all was over. For John 
was afraid to read or believe in the story which her 
voice and eyes had told him, almost as plainly as his 
had told her. 

Both were embarrassed by this novel condition of 
affairs, though both found it vaguely delightful, and 
perhaps this was the reason why their talk took a very 
practical turn. 

It lasted until Mrs. Jenners after taking the last 
batch of cake from the oven, left the room, and then 
Darrie leaning back cosily in the great chair, said : 

"What a dear old place! I don't wonder you are 
fond of it." 

"Do you like it?" John asked surprised. "I thought 
you would find it dreadfully shabby and old." 

"Shabby!" Darrie echoed. "I'm afraid you don't 
know my tastes very well, do you? Why I think it such 
a dear comfortable old place." 

"After t'ae cottage?" John echoed. 

"Yes, even after the cottage," Darrie laughed, "but 
I was thinking of it as compared with Morrison. 



HEARTHSIDE SKETCHES 61 

"But Morrison is nothing like my poor old place, I 
should think," John said; "is it?" 

'Indeed, it is not" and the slim shoulders undor 
the scarlet wrap gave a very decided shrug. "Morrison 
is very gloomy and dark and lonely. Oh, I mean it 
really ! Morrison is dreadful. It frightens me with its 
great gloomy corridors, and darkened mouldy rooms." 

'You don't like Morrison then?" 

"I hate it!" said Darrie vigorously. 

"And you would not like to live there, I suppose?" 

"Live there!" cried this degenerate daughter of the 
Morrisons. "Why, I wouldn't live there for the whole 
world ! I told papa so." 

"You would say the same of Kenreath before long, 
I'm afraid," the master of Kenreath said, bending for- 
ward eagerly for her reply. 

"I don't know. I might not perhaps," said Dar- 
rie shyly. 

It was decidedly a dangerous moment, and perhaps 
it was quite as well that the excellent Mrs. Jenners came 
in just then. Darrie sank back among her cushions, 
and John rose and walked over to the window. 

Mrs. Jenners had stirred the fire and bustled out 
again fully five minutes before John turned from the 
window and came back to the little figure in the great 
chair by the fire. 

"The storm is over now, Miss Darrie," he said 
quietly. "You will be glad to get home as soon as you 



62 HEARTHSIDE SKETCHES 

can, I know. I will send Mrs. Jenners to you," and 
with that he walked out. 

He was standing by the road wagon with his 
hand upon Black Prince's inane, when Darrie came out 
with Mrs. Jenners in attendance, the scarlet wrap still 
over her shoulders, and from beneath the wide brim of 
her hat, showing a rather pale face Without a word, 
John lifted her into the wagon, took his own place and 
drove off. And not one syllable, as they clattered 
smartly along between the dripping hedgerows, did these 
two say. 

The gates of the cottage were reached, and John 
pulled Black Prince up, and getting out himself, gently 
lifted Darrie down. Then she held out to him a hand 
that trembled just a little; but instead of taking it, he 
pointed to a bunch of roses in the bosom of her dress. 
They were faded now drooping, as if the storm had 
beaten down upon them. 

"Will you give me those?" he asked her. 

Without a word she held them out to him. 

John took them and her hand with them, and for 
the first time bent and kissed it. He had never dared 
do as much as that before. Then he got into the wagon 
again, and Black Prince, startled by a sharper cut from 
the wip than he had ever received before, went clatter- 
ing down the lane back to Kenreath ; while Darrie with 
the hand he had kissed held softly against her cheek, 
was flying up the soaked gravel walk to the house. 



HEARTHSIDE SKETCHES 63 

The door was open, and she ran into the hall, paus- 
ing there for an instant. She wanted to get away and 
be quiet by herself somewhere, but she must see Aunt 
Mary and explain to her first, and, not giving herself 
time to think, she hurried across to the room door and 
pushed it open. Inside, she stood motionless and mute, 
the color dying from her cheeks a fair little statue of 
amazement and dismay. 

Aunt Mary was there, but she did not make her heart 
beat violently and guiltily with such suffocating force. 
No; there, looming large beside her aunt's black gown, 
was her father's tall figure, with its handsome lined 
face; and behind him oh, a thousand times worse 
than all; was the red, common face, with its ugly leer- 
ing smile, of Mr. Joseph Parkinson! 

-.r ***** 

"I call the whole thing abominable, David shame- 
ful ! I knew you never cared for that poor child I 
knew that when I took her off your hands but I did not 
think you would ever etoop to sacrifice her in such a 
manner. How you can call yourself a father at all, I 
don't know!" Aunt Mary cried, winding up with ex- 
treme emphasis and indignation. 

Miss Morrison was very angry, but then the squire 
was very provoking,and gentle Aunt Mary was doing bat- 
tle for her darling Darrie, in defence of whom she would 
have faced without a qualm a dozen loud-voiced, reckless 
squires of Morrison. So, although she trembled a lit- 



64 HEA.RTHSIDE SKETCHES 

tie, she stood her ground bravely and flashed at her 
graceless brother as fierce and implacable a look as she 
could send from her kind brown eyes. 

But the squire, although taken aback at the timid 
lady's defiance was still not one whit abashed. Indeed, 
he smiled upon her in a bland and patronizing way. 

"My dear sister, if only you would be kind enough 
to listen" 

"I don't wish to listen!" 

"You would then understand " 

''That for your own selfish ends you wish to sacrifice 
your daughter !" struck in his sister, utterly declining 
to let the squire finish. "I understand that perfectly 
now." 

"What do you mean by 'sacrifice'?" the squire said 
testily. 

"Trying to make her marry that man that vulgar, 
ill-bred, pompous creature, who is unfit to be in her 
company. There, it is of no use talking to me about it ! 
I have heard quite enough, and I understand perfectly 
that you wish to sell your daughter to the highest bid- 
der," Aunt Mary retorted angrily. 

"Not so, not so, my dear sister," answered the 
squire. "You think I wish this marriage for my own 
sake? But my chief object is Darrie. You know my 
position. She owes too much to you already a 
great deal too much," repeated the squire virtu- 
ously, "not a doubt of it. Well, what then? Surely 



HEARTHSIDE SKETCHES 65 

it's only natural that I should wish to see her well mar- 
ried. It would be a weight off my mind," added the 
squire, heaving a sigh. 

"A man -like that!'' said his sister. 

"A man with a half million, Mary, a cool half 
million." 

"And old enough to be her father," pursued his 
sister, with gathering wrath, "and more vulgar than a 
plow b'^y." 

"Well y-e-s." And the squire flushed and winced 
under her steady gaze. "Of course I don't pretend that 
Parkinson is in all ways what might have been wished," 
he said. "He is not a Morrison, of course; he is not 
exactly an Adonis; and, as I have heard you remark, 
his manners are well are rather coarse ! And, after 
all, gentlemen are rare nowadays very rare!" The 
squire heaved a retrospective sigh, thinking possibly of 
the days when gentlemen were not so* painfully rare. 
A pause ensued. During the past week the squire and 
his sister had held more than one conversation upon the 
same subject, and always in pretty much the same 
terms. Mr. Parkinson was not in favor at the cottage, 
although he came there every day, obstinately prosecut- 
ing his suit of the squire's daughter. 

His coarse voice and ways, and his insulting admir- 
ation had not aroused one whit more indignation and 
repulsion in the breast of gentle, refined Aunt Mary than 
in that of poor, little, shamed, wrathful, helpless, Darrie. 



66 HEARTHSIDE SKETCHES 

He was a horrid man and she wouldn't, couldn't, 
shouldn't marry him! This was all she said, trembling 
before the fierce look in her father's eyes, and at the 
harsh, dictatorial sound of his voice. 

"Look here, Mary," the squire said growlingly 
to his sister, "what ails the girl? Most girls in her 
position wouldn't make such an everlasting struggle 
about taking a half million, you know. There must be 
some reason for it." 

"She hates the man," said Aunt Mary, adding con- 
clusively, "and I don't wonder!" 

"She's welcome to hate him to her heart's content, 
so long as she marries him," Darrie's affectionate pa- 
rent retorted. "The question is, has she picked up any 
love-rubbish down here?" 

"Certainly not!" said his sister promptly, in bliss- 
ful unconsciousness of the foot-bridge. 

"And a very good thing, too, for marry Joseph 
Parkinson she shall, and the sooner she makes up her 
mind to it the better ! He can't spend much more of his 
time fooling about here!" 

"Darrie will never marry that man, do and say 
what you will!" cried his sister indignantly. 

"She will do it, and pretty quickly too, or I'll know 
the reason why !" said the squire very fiercely indeed, 
and growling out a strong word or two with great em- 
phasis. 

And Aunt Mary, much shocked and offended, swept 



HEARTHSIDE SKETCHES 67 

out of the room without vouchsafing any replj'. She 
waited in the hall for a moment or two, lingering out- 
side Darrie's door, unwilling yet to meet her child's 
eyes ; but Darrie's ears were sharp, and they heard 
the soft sweep of her aunt's silken train. She 
came out hastily, raising her blue eyes eagerly to the 
gentle face. Very pale she looked and very pretty, in 
her white gown, and with her lovely, golden hair rip- 
pling over her shoulders. She clasped her two cold 
hands round Aunt Mary's arm. 

"Well, Aunt?" 

"My darling!" and she drew the forlorn little fig- 
ure to her heart, fondly caressing the golden bead. 
"It is always the same, Darrie. Your father will listen 
to nothing I can say. You must not mind it, dear; it 
will all come right," urged Aunt Mary tenderly, striv- 
ing to believe it herself. 

"He says I must marry Mr. Parkinson?" queried 
Darrie quietly. 

"My dearest, you must not mind what he says," 
said her aunt helplessly. 

"I don't," drawing herself away and raising her 
head proudly. 

"Listen to me, Auntie. You are afraid that I shall 
give in. You need not be. I would never marry him. 
I hate, detest, and abominate him!" cried Darrie, sud- 
denly losing all her dignity in a shower of angry tears. 
Then Darrie raised her wet face and began to laugh 
heartily. 



68 HEARTHSIDE SKETCHES 

"What geese we are, Auntie, don't look so miserable, 
darling! I can't very well be married against my will, 
can I? And I can't and won't marry that man Parkin- 
son. And now I shall go out before that horrible man 
comes!" And with that Darrie'gave Aunt Mary a lov- 
ing embrace, and putting on her hat ran out into the 
sunshine of the garden. 

Perhaps it was by accident, perhaps because she 
wanted to be quite out of her unwelcome suitor's way, 
that her feet strayed in the direction of the foot-bridge. 
They had not done so since the day of the thunder storm, 
when John had failed to keep tryst. She had not seen 
him since poor John ! not once. 

Her feet were almost on the bridge before she re- 
membered where she was; and she started and blushed, 
and looked round tremulously, afraid just then to see 
the handsome face and eager dark eyes. But she need 
not have feared; no one was in sight in all the broad ex- 
panse of green meadow. She was glad of that, so glad 
in fact, that she sank down on the thick grass that bor- 
dered the stream and began to cry. 

How long she lay there, with her flushed face bur- 
ied in the cool green, she did not know; but after her 
burst of tears was over she heard a step beside her, 
some one lifted her to her feet, and she sprang back with 
a wrathful little cry of repugnance. It was not John, 
as she had fancied, but Joseph Parkinson. 

Whatever kind of a look it was she flashed upon him 



HEARTHSIDE SKETCHES 69 

from indignant blue eyes, it had no effect upon him. 
He leaned his head back and chuckled as he looked at 
her. 

"Thought I should find you, Miss Darrie told the 
squire I'd do it. You've led me a fine dance, though." 

'What did you follow me for?" Darrie demanded, 
eyeing him disgustedly. 

"T wanted to find you, of course. You don't think 
I came to this dead alive hole to talk to the old lady, do 
you?" 

"I wish you would speak of aunt respectfully, if 
you must speak at all," she retorted. 

'Well then, we'll call her dear aunt anything to 
please you, I'm sure. You looked like a what do you 
call it? Water-nymph down there among the grass 
by Jove, you did ! Could hardly make up my mind 
to disturb you." 

"And how dare you follow me about, Mr. Parkin- 
son?" 

"Dare!" Parkinson chuckled, and advanced a little 
nearer to the small, scornful figure, with angry blue 
eyes and erect golden head. "Come now, Miss Darrie, 
don't you think we've had enough of airs and graces 
for the present? What good does it do, you know? 
If I had meant to take your 'No' I shouldn't have come 
here after you. But I don't mean to take it. Now don't 
you think you may as well say 'Yes' without any more 
shilly-shallying?" 



70 HEARTHSIDE SKETCHES 

His burly figure was close at her shoulder, but Darrie 
was silent, too intensely angry to utter a syllable ; the 
beating of her heart seemed to suffocate her. Mr. Park- 
inson misconstrued her quietness it appeared. He bent 
his head closer to hers : 

"Come now, Miss Darrie, you'll have to say it in the 
end, you know, and you may as well do it first as last. 
Or don't say it if } T ou'd rather not; give me a kiss in- 
stead, just to mean it's all right, and I'll drive you over 
to Greyburn to-morrow and buy you the best diamond 
ring to be bought there for money 1 will, by Jove!" 

Growing bolder as she still stood mute, he put his 
arm around her waist and would have kissed her in an- 
other moment, despite her scream and sudden struggle, 
but for something unexpected which occurred just then. 

There was a rapid rush across the stream which 
made the little foot-bridge rock; Darrie gave a louder 
scream than before, and Joseph Parkinson sprawled help- 
lessly upon the ground. 

It was a very tragic scene indeed ; Darrie, as white 
as her dress, clung hold of John Kenreath's arm with 
both hands, rightly judging from his pale, fierce face 
and clinched fist that he might commit another assault if 
he saw auy reason. And yet she felt inclined to laugh, 
for the prostrate foe, struggling and floundering among 
the bushes, did look ridiculous. 

But as he got up on his feet he looked meeker than 
might have been expected. He glared at John over 



HEARTHSIDE SKETCHES 71 

Darrie's golden head not half so savagly as John glared 
at him. 

"Who are you?" he said with a growl, wincing as 
he rubbed his bumped forehead. "How dare you knock 
a gentleman down, sir?" 

"I never knocked a gentleman down yet, but you're 
about the worst cad I ever tried my hand on!" John 
said, his face reddening. "Dare! How dare you insult 
a woman, you coward?" 

"It's no insult for a man to kiss his promised wife," 
the man said, chuckling, as he backed away. "I'd ad- 
vise you to keep your fists in your pocket, you bluster- 
ing young fool, unless you want to be run in for assault. 
All right, Miss Darrie, I shall tell the equire you said 
'yes'." And with that he moved off among the trees; 
he was not sorry to get out of the reach of that brawny 
young fellow with the white face and fierce dark eyes, 
to whom Darrie was still clinging in desperate fright. 
But the little hands dropped as Mr. Parkinson disap- 
peared, and she drew back, holding the hand rail of the 
foot-bridge and trembling violently; but her face was 
not so pale as poor John's. That parting Parthian shaft 
had literally stricken him dumb, and he could only look 
down in speechless misery at the little trembling white 
figure. 

"I'm sure you hurt him dreadfully," said Darrie, 
with a nervous laugh. 

"I wish I had broken his neck!" John retorted, vi- 



72 HEARTHSIDE SKETCHES 

ciously. "To see you insulted by such a man as that! I 
but " breaking off and drawing a deep breath "I 
was forgetting. I ought to beg your pardon for my in- 
terference." 

"Why?" asked Darrie innocently. 

"I did not know he had the right." 

"Oh !" breathed Darrie softly, looking down and 
plaiting a fold of her white skirt industriously. "You 
see, he is very rich, and and " 

"And your father means to sell you to him, I sup- 
pose?" John said in a choked voice. 

"Yes," came the faltered out answer "that is, my 
father says I must marry him. You see, I am so poor." 

"And so must have a rich husband, even though he 
is older than your father !" John said bitterly. "But 
I beg your pardon, Miss Morrison, I have no right to 
speak so. Only well, I would rather see you lying at 
the bottom of the stream there dead, and myself beside 
you, that's all." 

A silence ensued, a silence broken only by the rustle 
of the trees and the purling of the stream; then Darrie 
started and shivered a little, moving one step forward. 

"Good-bye, Mr. Kenreath," she faltered, looking 
shyly up into his dark moody face. 

"Good-bye!" said John coldly. 

He would not look at her and would not touch the 
trembling fingers that she held out to him. She was so 
near him that he might with one movement have drawn 



HEARTHSIDE SKETCHES 73 

her into his arms and held her to his heart. But he 
did not. He had nothing more to do, except watch 
Squire Morrison's daughter go, he thought. But, being 
a woman, Darrie did not go. 

"I shall often think, when I am gone away, of the 
stream, and the foot-bridge, and the forget-me-nots," 
she faltered wistfully. "The forget-me-nots will soon 
grow again now, won't they? I must have picked them 
nearly all." 

"Good-bye," again faltered Darrie faintly. She 
held out her little shaking hand to him for the second 
time, and now John couldn't pretend that he didn't see 
it, and in common politeness he couldn't refuse to touch 
it. So he took it, and it lay quivering in his strong 
clasp. 

"Good-bye, Miss Morrison." 

"Good-bye," whispered Darrie, more faintly still, 
and glanced up, half wonderingly, as he let her finger 

go- 

So far so good. The couple might have got over 
this highly decorous parting with all desirable dignity 
and coolness, but for that unlucky glance. But the blue 
eyes brimmed up as they met the dark ones, and poor 
little Darrie burst into tears, stretching out two little 
shaking hands imploringly; and John, forgetting all 
about the Mr. Parkinson, and caring nothing for the 
squire, caught the slender figure in his arms, and hid 
the sweet face against his broad breast. 



74 HEARTHSIDE SKETCHES 

"There there, don't cry, my darling anything 
but that! We had better be dead than parted, hadn't 
we? It doesn't matter what anyone says. Never mind 
the squire or that fellow either. He shall never touch 
you again. He shall never take you away from me now. 
.I'll break his blessed neck if he so much as looks at 
you! Don't sob so, sweetheart, it only means that you 
and I are never going to say good-bye to one another, 
you know, that's all." 

However, John said a good deal more, and Darrie 
let her sunny head rest against his broad breast with 
no great display of reluctance, and managed to answer 
very satisfactorily without saying anything at all. Per- 
haps it was an hour, perhaps only five minutes after, 
when John lifted the blushing little face toward his 
own, and looked down at it. 

"My darling," he said, lingering fondly over every 
syllable "my darling Darrie, what are we going to do 
now, sweetheart?" 

"I don't know," murmured Darrie contentedly, ruf- 
fling her golden head against the shabby coat. "What?" 

"Ah, that's what I wish I knew ! What shall I do, 
Darrie? I wish I knew what I had best do, for your 
sake." 

"Perhaps you wish that we had said good-bye, af- 
ter all," she suggested demurely, glancing up from un- 
der her long lashes shyly into her lover's dark, adoring 
eyes, "do you?" 



HEARTHSIDE SKETCHES 75 

John laughed, and answered her satisfactorily, if 
not verbally, but, despite his intense happiness, he was 
feeling very much perplexed. Beyond the blissful pres- 
ent, there loomed up the threatening figure of Squire 
Morrison. Not that John minded for himself anything 
the squire might do or leave undone, but he did mind 
for her. 

"lam so poor, you see, dear," he explained, ten- 
derly drawing a curl of her golden hair through his fin- 
gers, "that even if there were no man with a half million 
in the way confound him, I could hardly expect your 
father to give you to me. Could I?" 

"Oh, no!" Darrie shook her head decisively. There 
was no doubt at all about that. 

"And so if I go to the squire and tell him," John 
was beginning, when she checked him by a little scream. 

"Oh, no that would never do you mustn't do 
that! He would just swear at you awfully, and take me 
away to-morrow to Morrison. Oh no, John; you 
mustn't say a word to him about me not a single 
word!" 

"Then what can I do, darling?" John asked, watch- 
ing the sweet, earnest, frightened face. "Shall we tell 
Aunt Mary?" But no Darrie shook her head at that 
too. 

*'I I don't think that would be best, John dear," 
she said. "I think something else would be better per- 
haps." 



76 HEARTHSIDE SKETCHES 

"But what!" John queried anxiously. 

"Well," Darrie faltered, blushing rose red all over 
her pretty face ; "you you might run away with me, 
you know." 

"My dearest!" John cried in eager excitement, 
and clasping her hands tightly. "Do you really mean 
you will do that, Darrie? It's the only thing for us ! I 
have felt that all this time; but I did not dare ask you 
to do it. Oh, sweetheart, you shall never repent trust- 
ing me so, never! And now, what shall we do?" 

What they were to do did not transpire, audibly at 
any rate, but there was a good deal of whispering by the 
old foot-bridge, a little laughter, and a large amount of 
nonsense which was to this pair the finest wisdom in 
the world no doubt ; and there might have been more 
but for Aunt Mary's voice, calling out, to know where 
the truant was. 

Time had flown, for it was sundown and growing 
cool under the tall trees. Darrie sprang out of her 
lover's arms and turned pale as her aunt's silk train 
gleamed through the shrubbery. 

"It is auntie!" she said hurriedly. "She mustn't 
see you. Yes, yes I'll remember every word, and I'll 
come I promise I will. Good-bye, John, and I'll do 
everything you tell me. Oh ! here she is ! Do make 
haste!" 

And indeed there was hardly time for the hasty kiss 
with which they parted, for John had hardly disap- 



HEARTHSIDE SKETCHES 77 

peared in the shadow of a convenient hedge, before 
Aunt Mary appeared in sight. 

"Oh, there you are, Darrie!" she cried in a relieved 
voice. "I really thought I should not find you. We 
were anxious about you. Where have you been?" 

"Here, dear Aunt," said Darrie meekly. "What 
do you want me for?" 

"Your father wants to see you," said her aunt, 
kindly. 

"Oh?" Darrie stopped and gave a little gasp. 
"Where is Mr. Parkinson, Auntie?" 

"He has gone. Your father is dreadfully cross 
about something, Darrie." 

doubt of that," and Darrie, with more desper- 
ation than courage, ran into the house, across the hall, 
and pushed open her father's door. 

Only the squire was in the room ; and very fierce 
and terrible he looked, as the little white figure with 
bright eyes and flushed cheeks came forward and stood 
beside his chair. 

"Do you want me, papa?" she said meekly. 

' Y3sl do, Miss! What's this you've been up to, eh?" 

"Up to?" It was really no wonder she flushed 
painfully. "What do you mean, papa?" she faltered. 

"Mean?" shouted the squire. "How dare you let 
some scoundrel of a ploughboy knock down my friend, 
Mr. Joseph Parkinson? Do you know he's got a black 
eye, Miss, and won't be able to show for a week?" 



78 HEARTHSIDE SKETCHES 

"How dare he insult me, papa?" cried Darrie, rais- 
ing her head proudly. 

Her father stared and laughed. 

"Insult, indeed! What shall we hear next, I won- 
der! Some fine notions you've picked up, young 
lady! If the man who's to be your husband in a 
month isn't to kiss you if he chooses, who is, I'd like to 
know? Who's the young scoundrel that knocked him 
down, ehr" 

"Mr. Kenreath!" 

"And who is Mr. Kenreath?" 

"A gentleman!" Raid Darrie loftily. 

"Gentleman, indeed! Fine gentleman to make a 
man look as though he had been in a prize-fight, by 
Jove ! But. I know who he is. I asked your aunt, and 
the sooner he minds his own business the better for him ! 
Pretty insolence, upon my word, to go knocking down a 
man worth half a million and blackening his eye. What 
next?" Darrie was stealing away in the direction of the 
door when he suddenly called her back. 

"Come now, where are you off too? Didn't I say I 
wanted to speak to you?" 

"I thought you had finished, papa." 

"I haven't begun. Come back here and listen to 
what I say, will you?" 

The squire stretched out his hand, grasped her lit- 
tle wrist in his grim fingers, and looked at her narrowly. 
But the blue eyes of his daughter looked steadily and 



HEARTHSIDE SKETCHES 79 

clearly back to him. She guessed what he was going to 
say, and knew what she would say in answer. 

"Look here, Darrie," said he. "When I say a 
thing I mean it. You know that, don't you?" 

"Yes, papa," with charming deference. 

'Very well. And you know what I came down here 
for, don't you?' 

"Yes, papa." 

"And what Mr. Parkinson came for?" 

"Yes, papa/' 

"Very well, then. Now listen to me. I don't want 
any more nonsense over it, and he don't want any more 
nonsense over it. Consequently, you'll be married in 
lees than a month !" 

"Very well, papa," said Darrie meekly; so meekly 
indeed that the squire stared in astonishment. 

"Oh, you have made up your mind to it, have 
you?" 

"I I think so, papa." 

"And a very good thing too. About the most sen- 
sible thing you ever did in your life!" her father said 
approvingly. You'll have all you wish for, and what 
more can you want?" 

"Nothing," Darrie said softly. 

"Just so of course not," assented the squire. 
"And a very good husband into the bargain, mind 
that!" 

"Oh, yes, papa." 



80 HEARTHSIDE SKETCHES 

"H'm ! I'm glad you think so." Despite his en- 
deavors to carry affairs off [coolly, the squire was much 
taken aback by his daughter's entire change of front, 
and for a moment he looked at her suspiciously. "I'm 
glad you think so, " he repeated. "You've more sense 
than your Aunt Mary, and know which side your bread 
is buttered. And you'll be a good wife to him mind 
that too!" 

"Oh, yes, papa, always! I promise you I will." 

"And you won't show any temper and tantrums 
when you see him again, eh?." 

'Oh, no, papa!" 

"Well, there's a good girl," said her mollified 
father, releasing her wrist and patting her cheek. "You 
see how well we get on the moment you begin to be 
sensible. And, although of course he isn't a Morrison, 
still you'll never be sorry for changing your name, 
you'll find. And you'll be happy enough, no fear of 
that!" 

"No, papa," Darrie assented softly. "I'm not 
afraid of that." 

"Of course you're not. You're a sensible girl, and 
a very good girl, too. There, give me a kiss, Darrie, 
and then run away. I want to get off to bed. Good 
night, my dear." 

* * * * # # 

The next day was very quiet at the cottage. Joseph 
Parkinson did not appear there ; presumably he was nurs- 



HEARTHSIDE SKETCHES 81 

ing his injured eye in seclusion, and Dame had such a 
bad headache she was unable to come down stairs. It 
was not much, she said, in answer to kind Aunt Mary's 
anxious inquiries it \vould soon be better. No she 
must not think of sending for a doctor certainly not. 
She would be quite well to-morrow. And with that 
gentle Aunt Mary was fain to be contented. Indeed, 
Aunt Mary was more anxious and puzzled than ever she 
had been in her gentle life before, for the squire had not 
failed to recount to her his wilful daughter's submis- 
sion. 

"Wanted a little managing, my dear Mary," the 
squire said patronizingly "that is all ! All women are 
alike in that way. I knew the wilful chit would give 
in pretty quickly when she found that I wouldn't stand 
any nonsense. Miss Darrie will give me no more trouble, 
you'll find. She shall be Mrs. Joseph Parkinson before 
the month's out." 

But the squire proved wrong. 

The next day was not so tranquil at the cottage 
quite the reverse, in point of fact. 

Darrie did not come down to breakfast; and when 
Aunt Mary went up stairs to investigate the reason 
thereof, she found the pretty maiden bower of pink and 
white empty, and only the orthodox note pinned upon 
the pillow where her pretty golden head had lain. 

Her aunt had no need to read the few faltering lines 
which danced and swam before her startled eyes, and 



82 HEARTHSIDE SKETCHES 

she dared not be bearer of Darrie's penitent missive her- 
self, but entrusted it to Rogers, and it was upon being 
made acquainted with its contents that the squire ut- 
tered such dreadful imprecations and flung his boot at 
the head of that faithful servitor. 

"Oh, dear how dreadful! I never was so shocked 
in my life!" Aunt Mary sobbed. 

"I'll horsewhip that scoundrel within an inch of 
his life, and put that young hussy in a straight jacket!" 
shouted the squire. 

"What for?" cried Aunt Mary, wheeling round 
sharply upon her wrathful brother. "You have only 
yourself to blame for it. How dared you attempt to 
make that poor child marry that abominable Parkinson? 
John Kenreath is at least a gentleman. And I would 
have done it myself!" cried the indignant lady, forget- 
ting she was very angry with both delinquents. "And, 
if you are going to try to bring that poor child back, be 
pleased to understand, sir, you'll do it with no sort of 
assistance from me!" and with that the good lady swept 
out of the room, very pale and trembling with anger, to 
burst into sobs as soon as the door was closed, and her 
dear child's letter pressed to her quivering lips. 

Half an hour later the squire, breathing vows of 
vengeance, took his seat in the carriage at the Agates of 
the cottage, and red with fury and groaning, and curs- 
ing in a breath, was jolting over the stony roads in pur- 
suit of his runaway daughter. 



HEARTHSIDE SKETCHES 83 

Now had the squire been a little wiser he might 
have saved himself that uncomfortable journey over the 
jolting road to Greyburn. 

He was too late to do anything but exasperate him- 
self and vent his wrath upon the coachman both of 
which he did plentifully. 

Just about the time the squire started on his hasty 
journey, at a certain church in a quiet street in Grey- 
burn, a young couple took their stand before the altar 
rails a golden haired slip of a girl, who trembled a great 
deal, and a dark-eyed tall young fellow, who trembled 
not at all. 

It was all over in a few minutes and the young 
husband and wife walked out into the sunshine again. 

John Kenreath and Darrie had run away in the least 
romantic fashion in the world. There had been no rope 
ladders, no jumping out of windows at midnight, in 
this particular elopement. 

John had arranged all on the previous day, and 
Darrie had stolen down stairs just before the servants 
were up, joining her lover a little way down the lane, 
and they had driven quietly away behind the flying 
heels of Black Prince. And now it was all over, and 
the squire might just as well have stopped at home. 

The young pair stood very quietly side by side in 
the sunny street fora moment, hardly realizing it all as 
yet. It was a very tremulous face Darrie raissd to 
meet John's, clinging tightly to his arm as she spoke. 



84 HEARTHSIDE SKETCHES 

"Are we quite safe, John? Are you sure?" she 
whispered eagerly. 

"Safe? Of course we are. Why do you forget 
this already?" He touched the band of gold on the 
little white hand. "Doesn't that say you belong to 
me, sweetheart." 

"I belonged to you without that," she said simply. 
"But I mean, John dear,if papa came, you know." 

"He can't take you from me, darling. You're mine 
now." John said quietly. 

"You are sure?" Darrie queried wistfulty. "Quite 
sure." 

They were silent again ; both hearts were beating 
in quick time, and words did not come easily. 

John drew the little hand within his arm closer. 
"Let us go now, dearest," he said gently. 

"Where are we going now, John?" 

"Back to the hotel, dear. We will drive home to 
Kenreath then if you wish, dear." 

"I hope papa won't get here before we start, said 
Darrie," glancing nervously about. 

John laughed. "No fear of that, darling. He may 
not know it yet, and if he does he will know it is too 
late to stop us. Darrie, I wonder if. in the future, you 
will ever be sorry for this?" 

"Sorry?" Darrie echoed, with wide-open eyes. 
"What for?" 

"For running away with me." 



HEARTHSIDE SKETCHES 85 

"Why, it was I who asked you!" she cried inno- 
cently. "You know I did!" 

"Yes, yes ; but it was my fault. You have married 
a very poor man, my dear?" 

"I ought to know it," Darrie responded, with a 
quaint little air of resignation. "You have told me often 
enough that you are poor." 

"And you are not frightened at the prospect of 
living at poor old Kenreath, are you?" 

"Of course I'm not! Oh, John " and, blissfully 
regardless of passers-by, Darrie clasped both hands 
around her husband's arm, stopping to look up in his 
face "don't you know that I was afraid of nothing in 
the world but their taking me away from you?" 

They walked on slowly and gravely, too strange in 
their new position to talk in a commonplace fashion 
yet. 

They were turning into the main street of Grey- 
burn, when an gy carriage came dashing along, the 
horseScovered with flecks of foam. Darrie recognized it 
by a startled scream. The maddened beasts, utterly 
beyond the frightened coachman's control, swerved 
aside, the carriage gave a lunge sideways and threw the 
limp form of the luckless squire within a dozen paces of 
his daughter's feet. 

****** 

"Does he seem any better, dear?" Darrie asked 
wistfully of her husband. 



86 HEARTHSIDE SKETCHES 

"Much the same, I think, darling. But he's get- 
ting on all right." 

The place was the wide ball at Kenreath. The 
speakers, the young roaster and mistress of that abode, 
and the subject of their conversation was Squire Morri- 
son. Darrie looked a little anxious, and John looked a 
good deal amused. He had just come down stairs, and 
things in the vicinity of the testy squire were lively 
enough to be laughable. 

It was two weeks since the runaway wedding, and 
ever since then the squire had lain, bruised and sorely 
shaken, in the big front room at Kenreath. So short- 
tempered and restless a patient surely was never seen, 
or heard, for the squire, when awake, was audible from 
garret to cellar. 

The squire had not the least notion of where he 
was. Had he known the truth, he might possibly have 
killed himself in the endeavor to express his feelings 
properly. He had been brought to Kenreath a couple 
of hours after the accident, and still insensible. 

Mrs. Jenners was the best of nurses, and into her 
hands he had been confided ; for penitent Darrie began 
to cry at the mere mention of leaving him in the hands 
of strangers. So the squire lay upstairs, utterly uncon- 
scious that outside his door Darrie would stand, cling- 
ing to her husband's hand, and listen gladly, and yet 
half afraid, to the sound of his loud rasping voice. 

Gentle Aunt Mary had come to Darrie as soon as 



HEARTHSIDE SKETCHES 87 

the news reached her, and she had kissed and forgiven 
her child. And she did not pity her hapless brother so 
much as she might have done, and utterly refused to 
see him until he should know the state of the case. 
What he would probably say and do when he did know 
made Aunt Mary tremble. 

But as the second week drew to a close the squire 
grew better, and now John had just announced that "he 
was getting on all right." 

"You're quite sure, dear?" Darrie asked. 
"Quite sure, darling," John returned cheerfully, 
looking down upon the dainty little figure very proudly 
and fondly. 

"It's all my fault, you see, dear," Darrie said 
heaving a little sigh. "But for me he'd never have 
done it, poor dear." 

"It wouldn't have happened if he had kept bis hair 
on," said John irreverently. "Why, darling, you're 
not sorry already that you belong to me, are you?" 

"Oh, John dear, how can you think so' I was only 
afraid he'd die, you know." 

"Die!" John laughed. "Not he ! If you had seen 
him fling his medicine at the doctor just now, as I did, 
you wouldn't think there was much chance of his 
dying." 

"Have you seen him?" 

"Oh, yes! We had quite a conversation. 

"Oh," cried Darrie; "what did he say?" 



88 HEARTHSIDE SKETCHES 

"Nothing what should he? He doesn't know me 
from Adam. He has been asking me all sorts of ques- 
tions, and I don't think I ever told quite so many fibs 
in my life. I don't think he entertains a very bad 
opinion of me," said John, his eyes twinkling. "He 
expressed himself much indebted for my hospitality. 
I'm going up to have another chat with him presently. 
He asked me. Don't look so doleful, darling. He'll 
give us his blessing yet." 

And John proved right, for, in his headstrong, im- 
pulsive way, the hot tempered squire took a great liking 
to his handsome, dark-eyed young host. No one could 
lift and turn him as John's strong arms did, and nobody 
cared so little when he lost his temper. He got quite 
confidential, and one day started on the very subject 
John wanted him to talk about. 

"A confoundedly stiff bout I've had of it," said the 
squire, "and all for that little chit of a girl!" 

"I beg your pardon, sir?" said John politely. 

"My daughter, sir," said the squire. "The little 
disobedient, runaway hussy! Eloped under my nose, sir 
ran off with some confounded young clodhopper of a 
fellow. And she the last of the Morrisons too! I sup- 
pose you've heard about it, and know it was trying to 
<satch them I came to grief, don't you?" 

Oh, yes ! John had heard about it. And he sug- 
gested, with due modesty, that John Kenreath was not 
exactly a clodhopper. 



HEARTHSIDE SKETCHES 89 

'Don't tell me, sir," said the squire, frowning. 
"Poor as Job, isn't he?" 

"Poor enough," John admitted. 

"Of course he is, the scamp. And he ran away 
with my daughter. If ever I meet that young scoundrel, 
sir, I'll knock him down!" 

"Just so, sir I would," said John. 

"I will," declared the squire. 

"If you can, I suppose, sir," John suggested coolly. 

"Can? We'll see about that. And I'll box my 
daughter's ears, I promise you." 

"Wasn't there another side to the question, sir?" 
John said quietly. "Your daughter didn't run off with 
her lover for nothing, did she? They did about the only 
thing they could do, in my opinion. And after all, sir, 
you can't be sorry your daughter is happy with the man 
she chose rather than miserable with the man you chose 
for her." 

"Parkinson was a queer customer for a girl, I ad- 
mit. Poor little Darrie ! Perhaps I was rather too 
rough with her. Only a little blue-eyed slip of a girl 
after all. As pretty a girl as one would wish to see. 
Never saw her, I suppose, did you? ' 

Yes, John had seen her. 

"Oh, what did you think of her? Deucedly pretty 
girl, isn't she?" said the squire, almost gently. 

"Very. You'd better forgive her, sir," said John, 
coming a little nearer, and looking down at the hand- 



90 HEARTHSIDE SKETCHES 

some lined face. "I know that is, I daresay she is 
miserable over it." 

"Serve her right!" said the squire. "So you 
thought her pretty, did you? You and she wouldn't 
have made a bad pair," looking up approvingly at the 
young roan's broad shoulders and handsome face. "You 
remind me of what I was once. Now, if it had been you 
that she had taken a fancy to, I won't say I wouldn't 
have forgiven her." 

"Although I had run away with her, sir?" 

"Well, sir, let me tell you, a man isn't worth much 
who won't, in some instances, run away with his sweet- 
heart," said the squire, veering round with startling 
abruptness. "By Jove, in my young days, I should have 
liked to see the father that would have stood in my way ! ' ' 

"Then you'd really forgive her, sir, if that were the 
state of the case, would you?" said John. 

"Yes, I would, sir," said the squire decisively, and 
closed his eyes as if for a nap. 

John opened the door and slipped out quietly. Out- 
side Darrie was standing. John put his arm around 
her and drew her to the door. "Come in here, darling ! " 

"Oh, no!" She shrank back. "Not yet, John 
dear, please. I don't know what he would say to me." 

"Ask him if he really means he will forgive you," 
John said, and pushing open the door, he drew her in. 

The squire lay with his eyes closed, and the lines 
and wrinkles showing very plainly upon his worn face. 



HEARTHSIDE SKETCHES 91 

"Oh, John, how dreadfully he looks!" Darrie 
whispered. 

"Yes, of course. He's been too ill to look very 
flourishing, you know. Don't cry. You'll make him 
think you're sorry for what you have done." 

Darrie would doubtless have repudiated thischarge, 
but just then the squire opened his eyes. Her face was 
not far from his own and he gazed as if petrified. 
John quietly put his arm around his wife's waist, and 
drew her to his side. 

"What's this?" gasped the squire. "Darrie?" 

"Yes, papa," eaid Darrie meekly. 

"And who's that? Who may you be by this time, 
sir?" cried he frowning fiercely. 

"John Kenreath, sir," answered John promptly. 
"You said you would forgive us, } T OU know." 

"And you will, won't you, father dear?" Darrie be- 
sought eagerly. "I couldn't help it, I I loved him so 
much, you see." 

"Well, I'll be blessed!" Paid the squire. 

Somewhere in his rough breast the squire had a 
heart, and it was softened now as his daughter's arms 
were clasped round his neck, while she rained down 
tears and kisses upon his pale face. 

So he kissed her too, and, as she drew back to her 
husband's side, he did not survey them so implacably 
after all. 

"Aren't you ashamed of yourself, young man !" he de- 
manded. 



92 HEARTHSIDE SKETCHES 

' 'Not I, sir. 'A man isn't worth much who won't in 
some instances run off with his sweetheart,' you know. 
All I can say is that I'm uncommonly glad I ran off 
with mine." 

''And you, young lady?" said the squire, his eyes 
twinkling. 

"Not a bit ashamed, papa," said Darrie stoutly, 
laying her golden head softly against her husband's 
sleeve. "I'd do it again to-morrow if John asked me. r ' 

"And expect me to forgive you. eh? Just as you 
do now?" 

"But you have forgiven us, you know, father dear," 
said Darrie smilingly. 



AUTUMN. 

There's a beautiful spirit breathing now 

Its mellow richness on the clustered leaves, 

As Autumn with her sparsely silvered brow 
Gathers the rich profusion of her sheaves. 

Waves of bright color flood the earth around, 
Pouring new glory on the autumn fields. 

The waning year's full fruitage strews the ground. 

And "Old Jack Frost," his chilling scepter wields. 

They who with grateful hearts go forth to look 

On duties well performed, and days well spent, 

Shall find and read, as in an open book, 

The language of a new and sweet content. 



HEARTHSIDE SKETCHES 93 



MY BOY. 

Don't send my boy where your girl can't go, 

For boy or girl, sin is sin you know, 

And my baby-boy's hands are as soft and white, 

And his soul is as pure as your girl's to-night. 

Don't open the way to haunts of sin, 

Gilded without, but most foul within, 

Like towering monuments of shame, 

Reproaching their owner's lust for gain. 

Don't teach him that men are licensed free, 

To reject their claim to chivalry. 

Teach him to be manly, gentle, kind, 

With a heart of gold, 

And a courage bold, 

That is born of a clean and pure mind. 



LITTLE BL UE EYES. 

Litte maid with golden hair, 

Eyes so blue and face so fair, ' 

What will all thy future bring? 

What of joy, and grief, and pain. 

May life's cares rest light on thee, 

May God's love encompass thee, 

May He keep thee pure as now, 

Innocent thy heart and brow. 

Bless thee, bless thee little one, 
The joy, the light within my home. 



94 HEARTHSIDE SKETCHES 



CHILDHOOD'S HOME. 

'Tis a small brown cottage neatly trellis 'd 
Stands out in my memory sweetly clear, 
With a wealth of vine and bloom embellish'd, 
And its lattic'd windows in front and rear. 

As seen in fancy the quaint old roof-tree, 
Still ring-s with the shouts of our merry band, 
Our hearts attuned to its rustic beauty, 
Our lives touched to glory by nature's wand. 



MAMA'S MAN. 

Little man with willing feet, 

Truthful eyes and red lips sweet, 

Eager, helpful, wee, brown hands, 
Cheerfully meeting all demands. 

Waiting, wishing, time so slow, 

Would make haste, and faster go; 

So anxious is he to grow 

Big like papa dear, you know. 

I will work, mama, for you, 

Earn such lots of money, too, 

I will help you all I can, 

I'll be always mama's man. 

Heaven bless thee,mother's man, 
Mould thy life on Christlike plan, 

Pure and steadfast as you go, 
God's own image here below. 



95 



THE NATION'S DEAD. 

The Nation's Dead. On every hand the sacred mounds arise 

Silently speaking to passers-by of leal hearts' sacrifice ; 
We do them honor each May-day with flowers and music 

sweet, 

And quiet churchyard walks resound with the tread of 
martial feet. 

Our country called and loyal sons responded to her need, 
Men staunch and true, valiant ones, able and willing to 

lead. 
Onward to death marched our "Boys in Blue" amid shot and 

shell. 
Knightly in deed and true in heart, facing the foe they fell. 

Many a well-loved son went forth, only a boy in years, 
O mother-hearts that bade God-speed amid thy falling 

tears, 
And daily watched with anxious thought for news from far 

away, 

Pray ing and waiting, a woman's part, this silent struggle 
alway. 

Some lie asleep in unknown graves, in a fair Southern land, 
But angel forms keep watch and ward o'er every soldier 

band; 
And "God's Recording Angel" keeps the record pure and 

bright, 

How fell the brave in that dread time of battle for the 
right. 



96 HEARTHSIDE SKETCHES 

Honor our "Boys in Blue," and remember the "Boys in 
Gray," 

Who just as freely gave their lives in every sad affray; 
Forget their loyalty to those who threatened freedom's laws, 

The soldier paid the ransom for the leaders of the cause. 

A grateful country claims them now the "Gray" hath don- 
ned the "Blue," 
The call, "To Arms!" won quick response from Southern 

hearts and true, 

America need fear no foe, while we united stand 
No North, no South, no East, no West, One God, one 
Flag, one Land. 

Soon may the white-winged "Dove of Peace" rest upon 

folded wing, 
And from the ashes of the Past, new light and impulse 

spring, 

Until/the "Dark Phantom of War" in every land shall cease, 
And man's emancipation come through Earth's united 
Peace. 



INNISFALLEN. 

Bright gleams beneath the setting sun 
A burnished sheet of molten gold, 

As Lake Killarney rippling on 

Its magic beauties doth unfold. 

Above Killarney's silent bed, 

Fair Innisfallen rears her crest; 

While o'er all, Fiman's Abbey dread, 
Bares to the blast its rugged breast. 



HEARTHSIDE SKETCHES 97 

Standing with grim undaunted face, 

Its crumbling ruins guarding well 
The mystic lore of ancient race 

Here old historic legends dwell. 

Fast sentineled by moss-grown rock, 
Withstanding nature's mighty sway, 

Bearing her changing mood and shock, 
As none but grand old ruins may. 

Fair Innisf alien, sacred Isle, 

St. Fiman's Abbey, gray and hoary; 

Thy stately oaks stand guard the while 
The sun-god bows his head before thee. 



NOTE. 

Innisfallen is the most historic and beautiful of the Kil- 
larney Islands. At St. Fiman's Abbey, founded more than 
three hundred years ago, were compiled the famous "An- 
nals of Innisfallen," begun in the eleventh century and 
chronicling the world's history from the beginning, and that 
of Ireland from 430 A. D., down to the thirteenth century. 

To the lover of the beautiful, it offers an exquisite com- 
bination of pebbly beach, grassy slope, and shady groves of 
majestic oaks, through which the sunlight filters upon the 
velvet sward, while the smooth waters of the lake in which 
it seems to float, mirror and multiply its charms. 



98 HEARTHSIDE SKETCHES 



HOW LONG. 

My mother, how long must the silence keep 
Your pure soul from mine in the last long sleep? 
The way is so long, and the journey, dear, 
Hath taken full many a weary year. 
Yet, perchance the meeting may sweeter be, 
For the long, long silence 'twixt thee and me. 

I dream thou art near me. My glad eyes trace 
The lineaments fair of thy well lov'd face ; 
Thou dost clasp me close in my dreams of thee, 
How I long for the arms that enfolded me. 
For the tender touch of lips that smile above, 
For thy sweet whispered words of mother-love. 



PRAYER. 

Prayer, the sweet unspoken longings of the soul, 
Beyond all mortal ken to fathom or control. 
Prayer, the awful cry of anguish and despair, 
From sin-soiled lips so long unused to prayer; 
But ever heard and registered above, 
By Him whose every attribute is love. 
Prayer, the soft lisp of innocence at night, 
From pure child lips and souls so white- 
God keep them safe from sin and stain, 
Keep each and all who name thy name. 



HEARTHSIDE SKETCHES 99 



OLD MEMORIES. 

Three pairs of blue eyes, brighter I ween, 
Than cloudless blue of summer skies; 
Soft, sunny hair of a golden sheen, 
Sweet faces so charming and wise. 

Bird-like voices in silvery notes, 
Caroling happy childish glee, 
Sweetly pealing from baby throats, 
Recalling life's spring-time to me. 

I, silent, listen, and softly sigh, 
As recollections, ever dear, 
Now pass in succession swiftly by, 
And old memories bring a tear. 



SUNRISE. 

Morn on the mountain like a summer bird. 

Lifts her bright wing toward the rising sun. 
Still life awakes, the noise of day is heard, 

Time chronicles another day begun. 
'Round lofty pinnacles with shifting glance, 

To share the brunt and battle of the day, 
The "Sun God," now marshalls his trusty lance, 

Massing with martial tread their bright array, 
They gather midway round the rugged height, 

Like battle hosts swift gathered through the night. 



100 HEARTHSIDE SKETCHES 



MY KING. 

God created me a woman, 

With a nature just as true 
As the blue eternal ocean 

As the sky that is over you. 
Love came and it seemed too mighty 

For my troubled heart to hold; 
It seemed in its sacred glory, 

Like a glimpse through the Gate of Gold. 
Like life in the perennial Eden , 

Created, formed anew 
This dream of flawless manhood 

That is realized in you. 
And you are mine until your Maker calls you 

Your soul and your body, Sweet! 
Your breath and the whole of your being, 

From your kingly head to your feet 
Your eyes and the light that is in them 

Your lips with their maddening wine 
Your arms with their passionate clasp, my king- 

Your body and soul are mine. 
No power, whatsoever, 

No will but God's alone, 
Can take you from my keeping: 

You are His and mine alone. 
I know not where, if ever 

I know not when or how 
Death's hands may try the fetters 

That bind us here and now; 



HEARTHSIDE SKETCHES 101 

But some day when God beckons, 

Where rise his fronded palms, 
My soul shall cross the river 

And lay you in his arms. 
Forever and forever, beyond the Silent Sea, 

You will rest in the Arms Eternal, 
And still belong to me. 



SLUMBER SONG. 

Rock-a-bye, my baby dear, 

Tender blue eyes, shining clear, 

White lids droop, we'll rock-a-bye 
Into Sleep-land, you and I. 

Hush my baby, darling rest, 

Cuddled in your white, wee nest. 

Hush my baby, hush ! and sleep, 

Mother's eyes will safe watch keep, 

Mother's love, the moments through, 
Shall be bending over you 

Bylow baby, sleep and rest, 
Sheltered in your tiny nest. 

Sleep, my baby, have no fear, 

Never harm shall reach you, dear, 

Never touch or breath so small 
On your little faoe shall fall. 

Sleep my baby sweet, and rest, 

Safe within the dear home nest. 



102 HEARTHSIDE SKETCHES 



BURNS. 

No modern poet's lilting lays 

Picture to us those "bonnie braes", 
Where "Afton Water's" limpid flow 

Steals through the heather soft and slow. 
Fair mother earth's bright jewels rare, 

Were garnered in his tender care. 
To nature's heart he closely clung, 

Frae simple themes his lyrics sung. 

No later songsters' happy strain 

Stirs hidden chords of tender pain, 
For he who knew the hearts of men 

Hath passed beyond our mortal ken. 
Yearning for days of "Auld Lang Syne", 

That shadowy, long vanished time ; 
Old Scotia's loyal heart still mourns 

Her bonnie bard, puir Robbie Burns. 



APPRECIATION. 

And so she slept while the neighbors came 

To the saddened house that day, 
In softened tones they named her name, 

In a kind and tender way, 
And not even one but through her tears, 

Spoke gently some loving word, 
She'd thoughtlessly kept within for years 

But the dead she never heard. 



HEARTHSIDE SKETCHES 103 

Then they brought her flowers, rich and rare 

Breathing their sweetest perfume, 
And wreaths of roses everywhere 

Made bright the darkened room. 
I thought of her life its sorrow spent, 

And the great, glad joy, if she 
Could see the tokens of love they sent 

But the dead she could not see. 



A WINTER SCENE. 

Circling dizzily to and fro, 

Merrily gliding and glancing: 

O'er old earth falls the gleaming snow, 

Each winsome flake madly dancing. 

Covering o'er with mantle white, 
All the dark, unsightly places, 
Robing nature in vesture bright, 
Brightening sad hearts and faces. 

Each withered stock and leafless tree, 

Outlines a vision of delight 

Each tiny knoll, the shrubbery, 

Lies sparkling 'neath God's clear sunlight. 

The rarest gems cannot exceed, 
The wealth of splendor we behold, 
When from their cloudy pinions freed. 
Fall crystal beauties manifold. 



104 HEARTHSIDE SKETCHES 



THE SILENT ACRE. 

Within God's Silent Acre, 

Our quiet lov'd ones sleep, 
While o'er each holy grassy mound 

The Angles watch doth keep. 
To and fro as the ages go, 

As a shepherd guardeth his sheep, 
Softly singing to tireless ears 

The beautiful song of sleep. 

For old and young this slumber song, 

Tenderly, lovingly sweet, 
Beguiles the hours, as leaves and flowers, 

Its soft, soothing notes repeat. 
And God who loveth his own the best, 

Folds them unto his loving breast. 
Sleep God's children and take your rest, 

Sleep, oh weary ones, sleep. 



RETROSPECTIVE. 

Beside the warm hearth's cheerful glow, 
I sit sad and alone When lo ! 

I dream that faith and hope are mine, 
I live again the old, glad time, 

When life was sweet, and love sublime. 



HEARTHSIDE SKETCHES 105 

The dream grows brighter. Again I see 

Her dazzling face upturned to me, 
Breathing fond vows of fealty, 

Soft, clinging arms enfolding me, 
Only a dream it cannot be ! 

One lingering glance from lovelit eyes, 

The fairy picture fades and dies, 
And life's realities loom through, 

While hazy mists obscure the view 
That my dream fancy mirrored true. 



Let us corner up the sunbeams, 

Lying all around our path ; 
Get a trust on wheat and roses, 

Give the poor the thorns and chaff. 
Let us find our chief est pleasure 

Hoarding bounties of the day, 
So the poor will have scant measure 

And two prices have to pay. 

Yes, we'll reservoir the rivers, 

And we'll levy on the lakes, 
And we'll lay a trifling poll-tax 

On each poor man that partakes ; 
We'll brand his number on him, 

That he'll carry all through life, 
We'll apprentice all his children, 

Get a mortgage on his wife. 



106 HEARTHSIDE SKETCHES 

We will capture e'en the wind-god, 

And confine him in a cave, 
Then through our patent process, 

We the atmosphere will save. 
Thus we'll squeeze our poorer brother 

When he tries his lungs to fill, 
Put a meter on his wind-pipe, 

And present our little bill. 

We will syndicate the starlight 

And monopolize the moon, 
Claim royalty on rest days, 

A proprietary noon, 
For right of way through ocean's spray 

We'll charge just what it's worth, 
We'll drive our stakes around the lakes; 

In short, \ve'll own the earth. 



BETHLEHEM. 

As Shepherds watched their flocks by night, 

An angel host with garment bright, 

Proclaimed a Saviour unto men, 

The Holy Babe of Bethlehem. 

A multitude of angels sang, 

Glad praises o'er the hillside rang. 

The Christ, our Lord, is born this night, 

Behold through him celestial light 

Shines out upon the rugged way 

Trod by earth's weary day by day. 

Glad tidings of great joy we bring, 

The great redemption song we sing. 



HEARTHSIDE SKETCHES 107 

Peace and good will on earth shall reign. 
Ring out ye hills the glad refrain, 
Ring doom to selfishness and greed, 
Sweet sympathy to others' need. 
Ring ye God's proffered Fatherhood, 
Enjoins to all men brotherhood. 
Adown the vanished years of time, 
Has come the echo of that chime; 
And Christ, our Lord, anew is born 
To loving hearts each Christmas morn. 



MET A VAUGHAN. 

The meeting of the waters, the Shannon broad and fair 

Have each their melody of love, of sorrow and of care. 

They fill my heart with rapture, with memory and song, 
For love will ever call me to the valley of the Laun. 

The valley of the Laun, the valley fresh and green, 
The valley of 'he Laun where first the flowers are seen, 
The valley and the river gliding swiftly on, 
The valley and my darling, sweet Meta Vaughan. 

'Twas as a boy I loved her, she was all in all to me, 

Yes, Meta was my star of hope, my little bride to be. 
For her I'll toil for wealth and fame, the world I'll wander 

lone, 

And when the storms have crossed my path, will claim 
her as mv own. 



108 HEARTHSIDE SKETCHES 

Misfortunes come and go like clouds that float above, 
But what have I to fear if I've the light of love ; 

With Meta, darling, waiting, my troubles all are gone, 
Life is but a dream of hope, for thee, Meta Vaughan. 

CHOKUS. 

The pride of the valley, the flower of the Latin, 
My own little Colleen, sweet Meta Vaughan, 

A bright light of glory ever beyond, 

The love of the Shamroch, and sweet Meta Vaughan. 



THE TOMB BESIDE THE HUDSON. 

I must tell you of a river, 

Winding downward on its way, 
From the hills that rise in grandeur, 

Stretching northward far away. 

Tree crowned hills like giant soldiers, 

Guarding well the fertile fields ; 
Laden with the choicest fruitage, 

Nature in profusion yields. 

Far above the grand old river, 

With its treasures all their own, 
Eocky palisades, and highlands, 

Walls of grim, unyielding stone. 

Standing guard throughout the ages, 

Sentineled above our dead, 
Resting now across the river, 

In his massive marble bed. 



HEARTHSIDE SKETCHES 109 

While below as if in homage, 

Wave and river's solemn chant 
Breathes a requiem thanksgiving 

For the soldier hero, Grant. 



STERLING CASTLE. 

Crowning the craggy, rugged height, 
Old Sterling Castle greets the sight. 
Its stately battlements rear high 
Their grim, gray turrents toward the sky. 
Below it lies the battle plain, 
Here Scottish blood in a crimson flood, 
Bathed the dead heroes slain. 
Here Bruce led Scotia's bravest on, 
At Bannockburn his cause was won. 
Here vVallace led his gallant van, 
In fiercest conflicts known to man. 
Both James the II first saw the light, 
And James the V from this fortress site; 
And years agone its dungeon dread, 
Echoed the sound of Rob Roy's tread. 
'Twas here Black Douglass felt the dart 
Of the cruel dagger in his heart. 
Here knight of joust and tournament, 
On daring deeds or valor bent, 
Wended their way with laughing jest 
To stirring scenes of wild contest. 
To-day its moss-grown walls of stone, 
With shrub and creeper overgrown, 



110 HEARTHSIDE SKETCHES 

Ee-echo to the martial tread 

Of Highland sentries overhead. 

The battle-plain its war-like scenes, 

Seem but a fancy known in dreams; 

Valley and river winding down, 

Lie smiling 'neath old Sterling's frown. 

NOTE. 

Sterling Castle is connected with the most important 
historical events of Scotland prior to her union with Eng- 
land. It stands upon a rocky height 220 feet above the 
plain, overlooking twelve battle fields. Here, at Bannock- 
burn, Bruce gained the independence of Scotland; it was 
the scene of Wallace's fierce contests, and a favorite spot 
for the joust and tournament. In this Castle James II and 
James V were born. Rob Roy was confined in its dungeons 
and here James II stabbed the Earl of Douglass. These 
grand historical associations add greatly to the charm of 
the place, yet it would be interesting without them, so 
charmingly picturesque is the landscape, with its rivers and 
mountains. 

A Highland regiment is now quartered within its walls. 




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