some hard things against Elder Crane's mine, and then I was much confused prayers.

I always thought that it was and ashamed. But always, in going more her corsets than the length of tlie out of meeting, he used to bow to me prayers.

in passing, and say, 'Good morning, “ I never fainted; for up in the new Mercy’; and then I saw that his eyes State I had run wild in the woods, and, were a clear, dark blue, and I thought though I was a frail thing to look at they were very honest, tender ones. I had a deal of strength in me. But my They said that Semantha Lee had been thoughts rambled a great deal too often; setting her cap at bim a good while, and sometimes I doubted if I was as and I wondered if he liked her. near God in Elder Crane's church as “This was all the acquaintance we I used to be lying on my bed in the had for two years and more. There chamber of the log-house, and saying was not much chance for young peomy prayers to the bright star that looked ple to meet in those days, especially down so friendly. I asked mother where they were strictly brought up, about it one day, and she said that as I was ; for father and mother were surely God was about us everywhere; both very pious, and at that time but she added that the church was the church-members thought it was sinappointed means of grace, and that I ful to join in the profane amusements must follow Elder Crane closely, and of the world. So when an invitation try to make my heart feel the words. came for me to a husking-frolic, or a I did try, but there was so much about paring-bee, or a dance, I was not althe Israelites in the house of bondage, lowed to go. I was shy, as I told you, and Moses, and the sacrifices, that, do but I had a girl's natural longing for what I would, I always lost myself in company; and many were the bitter the Red Sea, and the chosen people tears I shed up in my garret because I entered the Promised Land without could not go with the rest. Mother

At such times, when my thoughts used to look at me as if she pitied me, went wandering, my eyes followed and once she ventured to speak up in them, and most frequently they went favor of my going; but father said right over to Mr. Jacob Allen's pew. sternly that these sports were the I could not well help it, indeed, for his means Satan used to win away souls was a wall pew, directly opposite ours. from God, — and father was a good Mr. Allen seldom came to meeting, be- deal set in his way, and mother gave ing old and rheumatic, but his wife and up to him, as she always did. girls came, and his son, Ephraim.

“ Once or twice Ephraim Allen came “At first I noticed Ephraim Allen to our house, but somehow my shyness just as I did the cobwebs upon the came over me when I heard his voice walls, and the yellow streaks in the at the door, and I hid myself in the wainscoting; afterward I began to see pantry, and pretended to be very busy what a fine figure he had, - a whole turning the cheeses; and so I was, for head above his companions, — and how I turned them over and over again, till broad-shouldered and erect and man- mother came and said I must n't waste ly he was; the narrow-backed, short- any more butter. Ephraim stayed and waisted coat that made the rest look so stayed, and kept talking about the oxpinched and uncomfortable sat grace- bow he had come to see about a great fully and easily upon him. He had a deal longer than I thought there was wide, white forehead, — though I did any need of; and I could not get cournot notice this for a long time, - and age enough to go out, though I was short curly hair, that looked very black sore ashamed and vexed at my foolish beside the fair skin. Then his cheeks shyness. were as bright as a rose, and his eyes “So the whole two years slipped away, but I seldom got so far as his eyes, be- and good morning was all we had ever cause by some chance they always met said to each other. About this time I


began to notice that Deacon Lee got remembered what the Apostle Paul in the way of looking at me in meeting, says of the ornaments that women and his face was very sober, as if some- ought to wear. thing displeased him. Semantha, too, “But in talking of Semantha, I have would push past me in going in and forgotten Deacon Lee's queer behavout, and did n't speak to me as she ior. He would look at me a while, and always used to do before she went then at Ephraim Allen. It was so cudown to Boston to make that long rious, I began to fear that he was devisit among her relations.

Deacon ranged. But at last I found out what Lee had a brother living in Boston it meant. who was said to be a very rich man. “One day as I was coming out of Father was at his house once when meeting, and Ephraim had just said, he went down to sell the butter and 'Good morning,' I looked around and wool, — as he did every winter, - and there was Deacon Lee close beside us, he said we could not imagine how watching us with a severe expression beautiful it was, - carpets on all the in his face. “Young man,' said he, floors, and even in the entry, which and the tone was so awful that I tremmother thought must make a deal of bled all over, — young man, I have work with people coming in and out, noticed for some time past your atespecially in wet weather. But then tempts to attract the attention of this father said the Lees had negro servants young woman, who, I am grieved to to do the work, and that Mrs. Lee and say,' — turning to me, — does not reher daughters had nothing to do but ceive this notice as she ought. Instead sit in the parlor all day long. When of assuming an expression of severe Semantha came back after her long reproof, she blushes from time to time, visit, she brought a great many fine and casts down her eyes, and I cannot things that her cousins had given her. discover from her face that this ungodShe used to come into meeting, her ly conduct is displeasing to her.' high-heeled slippers clattering, and "I was so overwhelmed by this rebuke her clocked stockings showing clear that I could not look up or speak, and down to the peaked toe; she wore a in a minute more I should have cried in pink crape gown, and over that a white good earnest. It was Ephraim's voice muslin cape that came just down to that stopped me. 'I am sure I beg the waist in the back, and crossed over Mercy's pardon and yours, Deacon, if in front, and was pinned to her gown

I have done anything improper. I supat the corners; it was bound around pose I looked at her because my eye with blue lutestring, and her bonnet could n't find a pleasanter resting-place. had a blue bow on it. It was a Nava- You won't pretend that Elder Crane is rino bonnet, and cost an extravagant handsome enough to make it a pleasure price, seeing that it could n't be done to look at him.'

“I was astonished, and Deacon Lee “ None of us had ever seen such fine looked horrified, but Ephraim's face things before ; and when Semantha glowed all over with smiles. came in, Elder Crane might as well “Ephraim Allen,' said the Deacon have sat down, for everybody looked sternly, “if you were a professor, I at Semantha. I thought it was well should present you to the church for that her bonnet hid her face ; for if irreverence. As it is, I have done my she was like me, it must have been duty'; — and with that he went away. crimson. I am sure I should have “ Most of the people had left the meetdied of mortification to have been so ing-house by this time, but a good many stared at.

of them were turning back to look at me “ Mother said she feared it was sinful where I stood near Deacon Lee and for a deacon's daughter to make such Ephraim Allen. . I suppose they did n't a display, and wondered if Semantha know what it could mean; for in those


And so

days we always walked soberly home dark, unregenerate state, if he cared from service, not profaning the holy so much more for me than for Elder day by common talk. And this was the Crane's sermons. reason that I was surprised and fright- “ You won't care to have an old ened when Ephraim, instead of going woman tell any more of her love-story. away by himself, walked down the steps Now-a-days these things are all written with me, and along the road at my side. in novels, and I should think the bloom It was a good two miles home, and I of a girl's delicacy must be long gone had happened to come alone that day, before she hears such words said to father being laid up with a cut in his berself. Then it was different. I had foot, and mother staying at home to never dreamed of anything so beaunurse him.

tiful. “ The path was a beautiful one, lead- “ The woods were very still all around ing through deep, still woods, now com- us, only once in a while a bird would ing out into the edge of a clearing, and sing out, and then the silence fall again now running along a brookside where all the sweeter for the song. When the there were flowers nodding over the woods opened we caught glimpses of water, and bird's-nests in the thick the green grain-fields and orchards in grass on the bank; I thought some- blossom. A chipmonk darted across the times that the walk did me as much path, and, scampering up into a beechgood as going to church, particularly if tree, clung to the great brown bole, and I came alone, and stopped now and looked down at us, perking his head then to read my Bible by the way. so mischievously that I could not help

“So we walked along, Ephraim and I;. thinking he knew our secret. and presently we passed a great clump on and on. I 've often thought that of witch-hazel bushes that were in all walk was like the life we lived together, their bridal white, and Ephraim picked and a prophecy of it, - bright, and full a bunch of the flowers, and gave them of songs and flowers and sweetness, to me. He had not spoken a word since leading sometimes through shady places, we started, but now he said, “ Are you but never losing sight of God's sweet very much put out with Deacon Lee, heaven, never missing the warm winds Mercy ?'

of its inspiration and its hope. " This made me feel very much “But before this a dark time was to ashamed again, but I said I hoped I knew better than to bear anger against “We must have been a good while anybody; and then — quite excited and going home, for when we came in sight eager

I said I wanted him to forgive of the house there was mother standing me if I had looked his way more than in the door, shading her eyes with her was proper, and not think I meant hand, and watching for us, and all at to be forward or unmaidenly. And once I remembered that she must have Ephraim made reply that he would never been anxious; there were bears in those believe any ill of me, no, not if all the woods, and the next winter one was deacons in the world were to testify to killed in the very path where we walked. it; and he said that he owed Deacon “When mother saw us coming, she Lee thanks for so bringing us together, smiled, and came down to the road to for he should never have had the cour- meet us, and shook hands with Ephraim age to come to me, though he longed in such a friendly way that my heart for a sight of my face every day, and danced ; I had been thinking what if was constant at church, never missing father and mother should not approve a Sunday, so that he might see me. of him. All this he said in such an earnest, sin- “Father was friendly too, and while cere manner, and his voice was so they sat in the fore-room, and talked, gentle that I could not rebuke him, mother made some of her cream bisthough I feared that his heart was in a cuits for tea. Now I knew by this that


ed to go.

Ephraim would find favor in her eyes, was exacting, and I thought him cold and because in our house all unnecessary

unkind. And so there gradually grew labor was forbidden on the Sabbath, up a coldness between us; and yet the and no small thing could have tempted coldness was all on my side. Ephraim mother to break over this rule. When was always gentle, even when I was petI went to call them to supper, I knew

tisb and cross. For so I was. It was that Ephraim had been speaking to partly 'physical. I was not well that father, and that he was kindly disposed winter. I did not sleep, or when I did towards Ephraim. Father named me in by fits and starts, I woke frightened asking the blessing, and Ephraim also, and crying. Now, my doctor would call speaking of him so tenderly that it it nervous sensitiveness; but then peobrought the tears to my eyes.

ple did not give fine names to their * All the rest of that summer is very humors, and mother only looked sorry, dear to remember. When I think over and said she was afraid I was growing my life, much of it seems misty and far ill-tempered. away ; but that summer is as distinct to “ While things were in this state, my mind as it was when its roses had Ephraim's mother invited me to come but just faded, just as sweet and won- and spend a week with them. I did n't derful in its sunshine, its blue skies, feel acquainted, and I was shy about its fresh-blowing winds, its birds and going; but Ephraim urged it, and mothflowers, as it seemed to me then, - only er advised it, and so at last I consentnow I know what it was that so glorified it.

“I was a good deal mortified that “ Ephraim had a much greater flow of I had nothing nice to wear.

My best spirits than I had. I was grave beyond gown' had been in use two winters, and my years. But I caught the love of there were only three breadths in the fun from him, and mother and father skirt, and Semantha Lee said that nowondered at the change in me. I think body in Boston thought of making up a girl always changes when she is en- less than four. But mother's wise coungaged. A whole world of feeling that sel reconciled me. She said that the has slept is now awakened. Even shals Allens knew we had no money to low women bloom out for a brief time, spend on fine clothes, and would only and sparkle and shine wonderfully. To expect me to be clean and neat and be sure they fade full soon oftentimes, well-behaved. and only the dry leaves are left of all “ Ephraim, too, praised me boldly to the charm and fragrance.

my face, and pretended to think that “ And so autumn came, and winter, nothing could be so becoming as my and with the winter the frolics which faded hood. It was yellow silk, and Ephraim was so fond of, and which he was made out of a turban that mother persisted stoutly were as innocent as had worn when she was a girl. church-going. But father was so dis- “ After I was in the sleigh with turbed when I spoke of going that I gave Ephraim, all my unhappiness and anxiit up at once, and told Ephraim that, as ety fled, and I enjoyed every bit of the long as I lived at home, I could n't feel ride. It was a lonely road, and part right to disobey father. So at first of the way it went through the woods Ephraim stayed contentedly with me, where the lately fallen snow lay in but by and by the old love stirred. A pure white sheets that were written bit of dance-music would start his color, all over with the tracks of birds, and and set his feet in motion, and it was rabbits and other wild animals; and plain to see where his heart was. I the stillness of the great woods was was sorely grieved at this ; nay, I was so deep and solemn that our love-talk more than grieved. I wanted him all to was silenced, and we rode on singing myself. I could not bear that he should hymns. Then out of the woods, and need anything but me. Ephraim said I sweeping down into a hollow where

for us.

I was

pleasant farms were nestled snugly to- certainly rather a hard person to get gether, and so up to Ephraim's door. along with. Mr. Jacob Allen was a forehanded farm- “One day she would remark that I er, and the house was by far the best would be quite good-looking if my nose in town.

was n't such a pug. And another day “When we drove up to the door, Ma- that it was a pity I had red hair, for ry Allen was at the window, watching really my other features were not so

She ran out to the sleigh, and bad ; and she said that my gown was when Ephraim told her here was her just like one she had hung up in the sister Mercy, she laughed, and shook garret; and so in this way she picked hands, - women did not kiss each oth- me to pieces, until it seemed as if she er then, - and said she was glad I was could n't find a good thing in me. But come to stay a week. So my meeting this was not as bad as the way in which her was not at all dreadful.

she talked to me about Semantha. “ While Ephraim went around to put · Nobody was so handsome or so up the horse, Mary took me into the good or so smart as Semantha; and fore-room, where there was a fire, and Deacon Lee was the most forehanded helped me with my things, and was as man in town. As a great secret, she sociable as if she had known me all told me that Ephraim and Semantha her life.

were once as good as engaged, and * The room was a great deal nicer she did n't doubt, if anything should than anything I had ever seen. happen to break up the match between almost afraid to step on the carpet at Ephraim and me, that Ephraim would first; but then I remembered that it go back to Semantha. must have been meant to be stepped “I was terribly angry at this, and I on, or it would n't have been laid on felt my lips stiffen, and it was as much the floor.

as I could do to say, What could hap“Pretty soon Mrs. Allen and Pru- pen to break our engagement? Ephradence came in. Mrs. Allen was a very im is solemnly promised to me, and it notable woman, and when she had told is just the same in God's sight as if we me how she made her cheese, and that were married.' she put down her butter in cedar fir- “ Prudence looked at me a minute, kins, - she seemed to think that pine and then said she had no idea I had ones were not fit for a Christian to use, such a temper. She had heard that I and that my mother must be a terribly talked of uniting with the church, but shistless person to put up with them, after what she had seen, she should n't she said she must go and see to the pies think —' And here she stopped, and that were baking. I don't think she it was as much what was not said as was still five minutes at a time while I what she did say that vexed me so. I was there, but just driving about the was heartily thankful that she was only house from morning till night. And a half-sister to Ephraim, for I began to yet there were her two girls to help fear I should hate her. her, and mother and I did the work “With all this Mary did not seem to for eight, and took in spinning all the dare to be her own pleasant self, and year round.

even Ephraim acted as if he was n't "I think Prudence did n't like house- quite at his ease. I began to be sadly work. She was very intimate with Se- homesick. I almost hated the sight of mantha Lee ; and what Semantha said the carpet on the floor, and the highand did and wore was pretty much all her curtained bedstead, and the tall chimtalk. All that week she was at work ney-glass, and I longed for the love and on old gowns, altering them to be like peace of my humble home. Semantha's. Prudence did n't seem to “I had been at Mrs. Allen's three fancy me at the very first; and though I days, when Semantha Lee came over to don't want to speak evil of her, she was spend the day. She came in the mornVOL. XX. - NO. 122.


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