Page images
[blocks in formation]

Was yet a stranger to our homestead hearth , When through the moonlit garden walks in

gladness, We children sped with merry sounds of mirth.

But we are changed, and though we yet may

wander Through the same walks, amid the selfsame

flowers, We only sigh, or weep and sadly ponder On the lost lustre of those trustsul hours.


Look where the breeze my lilac bush is bending
Beneath the window, while its fragrant breath,
Even as it blessed my birth, and bridal morn,
Lends its rare perfume to the night of death.
My bridal morn-alas! the painful fading,
Of all the hopes that crowned my brow and

heart, Alas for love, life's toils and trials aiding, Love that should last-till death your souls do

part. Mother, I thought a higher, holier meaning, Was in that vow, a deep, eternal power; I've learned man's love can die; change past

redeeming, And fade and wither, like an organge flower.


say old chap, you don't seem to have got over your admiration for that pretty face.

If you think every one of the boys are not watching what's going on you are mistaken," and Jim passed along leaving Andrew wild with rage. Then had he allowed his eyes to travel over to Nellie Hunt often that even dull Jim Willis had noted and was commenting upon it all over the hall. With a determined compression of the lips he again sought Nell's merry, black eyes, and together they waltzed and flirted.

To be sure, he could no more avoid looking for the face and form of Nellie Hunt than he could have refrained from drinking water if he were athirst and near a fountain. The evening was nearly over, and he fancied as he moved across in change of a quadrille and met the hands of the girl who had cruelly treated him that the liquid blue eyes looked up into his own scowling black ones with a sort of pleading sorrow in

their glances. But he never spoke, and she turned away her head, hiding

Where is he now, who should be here beside

me? Perhaps his smile lights up the merry dance; Has he no thought for one pale weary brow, That never more will flush beneath his glance?



He'll come tomorrow, when no smile will wel

come, When heart can frame not, lips give forth a

greeting; Yet will their very silence stir and waken, Memories within of our first happy meeting.

And when he bends to kiss the brow and lips, So deeply hushed in strange, mysterious death,



the quiver of her lip, with a merry shamed remorse to ask his smile to her next partner.

panion if she was all right. As the party broke up Andrew "Oh yes," replied a soft voice stood near the door, buttoning from out the furs around her neck. his coat, and Ben Johnson came “Have you enjoyed yourself?" to him with, so Andrew fancied, the conventional question would a sort of an angry look in his do as well as anything to make

“I say, Andrew, we've got to talk, and he was considerably take Mrs. Foster and her sick surprised to hear only a low daughter back home in the bob almost inaudible affirmative from sled, and we want to know which the merry-tongued girl he had so of the boys or girls you will take assiduously flirted with all the back in your cutter, for we must evening get one in there if possible."

"What is the matter, Nell? Are "Send Nell along then," he you cold?” and as he put out his answered indifferently, “it makes hand to touch the hand of his but little difference to me," and companion, she shrank with he went out to untie his horse, evident distrust or dislike, and for little he cared to ride home made no reply to his question. with anyone, especially one whom "What on earth is the matter, he would have to entertain. Let Nell. I don't know what has Nell come,

she could talk for come over you. Here, let me see both of them, and he could your face; there's something the attend to his spirited horse with- matter, and I am going to know out any interference.

what it is. Turn around, I tell He had hard work to hold his you, and let me see."

Here he horse; the air was keen, and the took the law into his own hands, animal knew home

at the and turned the face full toward end of his nose. So he said noth- himself, drawing


the ing to Nell as she stepped into mufflers as he spoke. the sleigh; indeed he was obliged, “Good heavens!” he exclaimed albeit not unwillingly, to let her in anguished surprise, "it's Nellie arrange her own wraps, so restive -Nellie

He could not was Billy.

speak her married name, it would With low spoken words of quiet choke him." command, he kept the horse “Yes,” said the girl proudly, from taking the bit between his “it's Nell.” teeth, but the evident danger they "What are you doing here? were in of a tip out into the snow How dare you do such a thing? quieted his volatile companion, Do you think I am as cold as this and there was complete silence in snow out here? Do you think the small sleigh.

because I am or try to be a good At last, however, the horse was man, that I have no heart in

my controlled, and he turned in bosom, no fire in my soul? What




do you do such a thing as this the thought of you, next to that for?"

of my angel mother, has been my "Ben Johnson insisted on my

of hope and joy. You coming here, and I foolishly con- know that we missionaries cannot sented. How could I suppose it permit ourselves to dream would make any difference

to home and long for friends, and I you?" with a proud toss of her have been too much interested in head.

my work to give many thoughts “Ben insisted on your coming anywhere but in my work; but here? Woman, are you mad or when the word came to me that I am I? What is it? I think I am was released, then my heart flew the victim of some bitter, practi- | home, and oh, Nellie, I cannot cal joke."

tell you with what longing I dwelt The girl made no reply, and sat upon our first meeting and the as cold and still as the icicles words of welcome you

would hanging from the tree tops.

speak. Do not mind, now, I feel See here, Nellie, you must better, but you will let me speak explain this thing. I don't under- just for tonight of this, and then stand it, and I am almost wild I will bury it forever.

I did not with pain. Have pity on me,

ask you to love me before I went and tell me what it means.

away, for I knew it would not be The girl thought he referred to right; but oh, Nellie, I surely his disappointment in finding thought you did, and that I herself there in place of the other should find you here on my return, Nell, whom he evidently expected, and-2" and she grew colder and prouder The girl was crying bitterly. than ever.

"Don't cry, Nellie; I had no "There is nothing to explain; I idea I would make you feel so want to be taken home, if you sorry

troubles; it is will be so kind; that is all, sir." cowardly for to speak of

But it was not all for Andrew. them; but Nellie, say Nellie, With almost a cowardly feeling at would it be wrong for you to kiss his heart, he said in low pas- me? Just once, just for old time's sionate tones:

sake?” “Will you hate me if I tell you "Why should it be wrong?" that I love you; oh don't speak whispered the girl. He had to I know how mean and low it is force his horse to walk, for he for me to tell you this when I could not hear the low tones. have got you here, helpless; but “Tell me what you said, dear, my heart is

stronger than my I could not hear." reason for just this minute, and I "Why is it wrong? What have must say this to you.

You can

you done or what have I done to forget it as soon as you wish.

make it wrong?" I want you to know, though, that “Nellie, you make me wonder

for iny






"I am


But you


to say



is not little "But Nellie, how is it?" crazy. If I were a wicked man I

sure I don't know how should be tempted to take advan- it is that you have got Nellie and tage of what seems

to me me so mixed up. Its Nell that's like encouragement, and I would married to Ben, and didn't you take liberties with you that no

know it? And did you think that one but an engaged lover has a I was married? And

was tha right to take. You must know what caused you pain, my poor, what a kiss from your lips would poor dear?" (with the motherly mean to me--it makes me dizzy softness that is always a part of to think of it," and the young some women). "You were under man drove his horse slowly along, a terrible mistake sure. trying to master himself, and to should call Nell and her account for the strange actions of

Nellie. I wondered why it was this girl he had always thought you kept calling me Nellie. We so pure and womanly. He was, always distinguished ourselves as he said, fairly dizzy with exactly the other way. It is emotions.

because you have been away so “Nellie, do you mean

long you have forgotten. But that you would let me kiss you, you should not forget even and take all the responsibility of small a thing as my name, dear." such an act upon yourself? What "Sweetheart, there is only one do you suppose Ben would say?"

Nellie, one Nell, indeed or one “Ben! Ben who?"

woman in the world for me just The strange, wild duplicity of now, and that is, my Nell." this once lovely and truthful girl was appalling. With a sudden heat of righteous anger he hissed SCRAPS FROM MY JOURNAL. out:

On the 21st of October "Ben Johnson, your husband, resumed our journey towards the to whom you owe all the duty of land of Mexico. We were joined a true wife."

by others at Deming, and our "Andrew, I think it is you that camp now numbered 19 adults and are crazy. I am not married, 12 children, 7 wagons

and 2 and Ben Johnson has no more to carriages, which made quite do with me than Ben Nobody." respectable appearance. Drove

The words were not half out of twenty miles that day. her mouth, and certainly were 22nd, a lovely morning. I was but half comprehended by the deeply impressed with our | man at her side, before he had roundings and the prayer offered • his arms around her (goodness before breaking camp.

To me it knows where the reins were), and is grand and solemn to bow the upon her red lips he was raining head and bend the knee in prayer kisses long and sweet.

beneath the broad, blue dome of



[ocr errors]


heaven, with nothing intervening limbs, and let their minds expand between the supplicant and the and drink in the beauties of throne of God, above, the freedom nature and draw nearer to nature's of the heavens; beneath, around, God than they can do in the the freedom of the plain and crowded, bustling cities. mountain.

On the 25th we passed the town On the 23rd we crossed the line of Diaz and the much-dreaded into Mexico. The road for the custom houses, but we had no last two days has been splendid, trouble there. Were treated in a and even, gradual ascent, and very gentlemanly way by the looking ahead has the appearance officials, but had to wait until of leading up into the heavens. Monday for papers to be made

Our first camp on Mexican soil out and signed, so drove back to was in a very pretty, pleasant the river to camp. Sunday mornplace. We met and passed the ing two or three of us walked first guard at Palomas, where we back to Diaz and attended Sunday secured and enjoyed a nice bath school, which we found in excelin a large pool fitted up for lent condition. Met several old bathing and free to travelers. friends; stayed all night in Diaz, Upon the whole our first impress and returned

to camp Monday sions of Mexico are quite favor- morning just as they were rolling able and pleasant. Palomas is a out. Were delayed by the papers fine site for a town.

not being ready, so we had to lake lies a short distance from make a night drive, which is not the town, formed from a number very pleasant, as the weather is of springs near by. This after

quite cold. noon we passed another guard, 28th. A lovely morning and who detained us so long we could lovely mountain scenery. Passed only make a short drive, and the last guard house today at camped on the Boca Grande River. Coralitos; visited Mexican

24th, I came on ahead of the weaving room and the store of an wagons and climbed upon the

American company. side of the mountain, which gave 29th. We are told that today we me a fine view of the surrounding will reach Juarez, so of course the country. Such

always imagination is busy and all eyes cause a feeling of sorrow to come eager for the first sight. Passed over me for those who spend their through Casas Grandes, where a days in crowded towns and cities.

company of Mexican soldiers were A few of the millions who thus stationed. It caused live should be scattered abroad pleasant feeling to come over me in such places, to build up and to see their flag waving in the make homes for themselves, where breeze, and to know that it they can breathe the pure air of to be ours, too, instead of the stars heaven, stretch their cramped and stripes; and their uniform.

A pretty






« PreviousContinue »