Tải bản đầy đủ

Cousin maude


COUSINMAUDE.
byMaryJ.Holmes

ToMorrisW.Smith,
ofNewOrleans,
ThisstoryoflifeamongtheNorthernHillsisrepectfullydedicatedbyhisfriend
TheAuthor



CONTENTS
I.DR.KENNEDY
II.THEJOURNEY
III.THENEWHOME
IV.LITTLELOUIS
V.MRS.JANETBLODGETT
VI.THEMOTHER
VII.PASTANDPRESENT
VIII.JAMESANDJ.C.
IX.THEMILKMAN’SHEIRESS

X.THEENGAGEMENT,REALANDPROSPECTIVE
XI.MAUDGLENDOWER
XII.HOWTHEENGAGEMENTSPROSPERED
XIII.HAMPTON
XIV.THEDARKHOUR
XV.THENEWMISTRESSATLAURELHILL
XVI.THEBLINDGIRL
XVII.NELLIE°SBRIDALNIGHT
XVIII.COUSINMAUDE
XIX.ASECONDBRIDAL


XX.THESEXTON
XXI.HOMEAGAIN

CHAPTERI.
DR.KENNEDY.

“Ifyouplease,marm,themanfromYorkStateiscomin’afoot.Toostingyto
ride,I’llwarrant,”andJanet,thehousekeeper,disappearedfromtheparlor,just
asthesoundofthegatewasheard,andanunusuallyfine-lookingmiddle-aged
manwasseencomingupthebox-linedwalkwhichledtothecottagedoor.
Thepersonthusaddressedwasalady,whoseface,thoughyoungandhandsome,
worealookwhichtoldofearlysorrow.MatildaRemingtonhadbeenahappy,
lovingwife,buttheoldchurchyardinVernoncontainedagrass-growngrave,
whererestedthenobleheartwhichhadwonhergirlishlove.Andshewasa
widownow,afair-haired,blue-eyedwidow,andthestrangerwhohadsoexcited
Janet’swrathbywalkingfromthedepot,adistanceofthreemiles,wouldclaim
herashisbrideerethemorrow’ssunwasmidwayintheheavens.Howthe
engagementhappenedshecouldnotexactlytell,buthappenedithad,andshe
waspledgedtoleavethevine-wreathedcottagewhichHarryhadbuiltforher,
andgowithoneofwhomsheknewcomparativelylittle.
Sixmonthsbeforeourstoryopensshehadspentafewdayswithhimatthe
houseofamutualfriendinanadjoiningState,andsincethattimetheyhad
writtentoeachotherregularly,thecorrespondenceresultingatlastinan
engagement,whichhehadnowcometofulfill.Hehadnevervisitedherbefore
inherownhome,consequentlyshewaswhollyunacquaintedwithhis
dispositionorpeculiarities.Hewasintelligentandrefined,commandingin
appearance,andagreeableinmannerwheneverhechosetobe,andwhenhe
wrotetoherofhishome,whichhesaidwouldbeasecondParadiseweresheits


mistress,whenhespokeofthelittlecurly-headedgirlwhosomuchneededa
mother’scare,andwhen,morethanall,hehintedthathiswasnobeggar’s
fortune,sheyielded;forMatildaRemingtondidnotdisliketheluxurieswhich
moneyalonecanpurchase.Herownfortunewassmall,andastherewasnowno


handsaveherowntoprovide,sheoftenfounditnecessarytoeconomizemore
thanshewishedtodo.ButDr.Kennedywasrich,andifshemarriedhimshe
wouldescapeamultitudeofannoyances,soshemadeherselfbelievethatshe
lovedhim;andwhensheheard,asshemorethanoncedidhear,rumorsofasad,
white-facedwomantowhomthegravewasawelcomerest,shesaidthestory
wasfalse,and,shakingherprettyhead,refusedtobelievethattherewasaughtin
thedoctorofevil.
“Tobesure,hewasnotatalllikeHarry—shecouldneverfindonewhowas—
buthewassotall,sodignified,sogrand,soparticular,thatitseemedalmostlike
stooping,foroneinhispositiontothinkofher,andshelikedhimallthebetter
forhiscondescension.”
Thussheeverreasoned,andwhenJanetsaidthathewascoming,andshe,too,
heardhisstepuponthepiazza,thebrightblushesbrokeoverheryouthfulface,
andcastingahurriedglanceatthemirror,shehastenedouttomeethim.
“Matty,mydear!”hesaid,andhisthinlipstouchedherglowingcheek,butinhis
coldgrayeyethereshonenolove,—nofeeling,—noheart.
Hewastoosupremelyselfishtoesteemanotherhigherthanhimself,andthough
itflatteredhimtoknowthattheyoungcreaturewassogladtomeethim,it
awokenoansweringchord,andhemerelythoughtthatwithhertoministerto
himheshouldpossiblybehappierthanhehadbeenwithherpredecessor.
“Youmustbeverytired,”shesaid,assheledthewayintothecozyparlor.Then,
seatinghimintheeasychairneartotheopenwindow,shecontinued:“How
warmyouare.Whatmadeyouwalkthissultryafternoon?”
“ItisamaximofminenevertoridewhenIcanwalk,”saidhe,“forIdon’t
believeinhumoringthoseomnibusdriversbypayingtheirexorbitantprices.”
“Twoshillingssurelyisnotanexorbitantprice,”trembledonMrs.Remington’s
lips,butshewaspreventedfromsayingsobyhisasking“ifeverythingwerein
readinessforthemorrow.”
“Yes,everything,”shereplied.“Thecottageissold,and—”
“Ah,indeed,sold!”saidhe,interruptingher.“IfImistakenotyoutoldme,when
ImetyouinRome,thatitwasleftbywilltoyou.MayI,asyourtomorrow’s


husband,askhowmuchyoureceivedforit?”Andheunbenthisdignitysofaras
towindhisarmaroundherwaist.
Butthearmwasinvoluntarilywithdrawnwhen,withherusualfrankness,Matty
replied;“Ireceivedathousanddollars,butthereweredebtstobepaid,sothatI
hadonlyfivehundredleft,andthisImadeovertomydaughtertobeusedfor
hereducation.”
Dr.Kennedydidnotsaythathewasdisappointed,andasMattywasnotmuchof
aphysiognomistshedidnotreaditinhisface,andshecontinued:“Janetwill
remainhereawhile,toarrangematters,beforejoiningmeinmynewhome.She
wishedmetoleavemylittlegirltocomewithher,butIcan’tdothat.Imust
havemychildwithme.You’veneverseenher,haveyou?I’llcallheratonce.”
AndsteppingtothedoorshebadeJanetbring“Maude”intotheparlor.
“Maude!”HowDr.Kennedystartedatthementionofanamewhichdroveall
thoughtsofthefivehundreddollarsfromhismind.Therewasfeeling—passion
—everything,now,inhiscoldgrayeye,butquicklyrecoveringhiscomposure,
hesaidcalmly:“Maude,Matty—Maude,isthatyourchild’sname?”
“Why,yes,”sheansweredlaughingly.“Didn’tyouknowitbefore?“
“HowshouldI,”hereplied,“wheninyourlettersyouhavealwayscalledher
‘daughter’?Buthasshenoothername?ShesurelywasnotbaptizedMaude?”
EreMrs.Remingtoncouldspeak,thesoundoflittlepatteringfeetwasheardin
thehallwithout,andinamomentMaudeRemingtonstoodbeforeherstepfatherelect,looking,asthatratherfastidiousgentlemanthought,morelikeawildgipsy
thanthechildofacivilizedmother.Shewasafat,chubbychild,notyetfive
yearsold;black-eyed,black-haired,black-faced,withshort,thickcurls,which,
dampwithperspiration,stoodupalloverherhead,givingherasingular
appearance.Shehadbeenplayinginthebrook,herfavoritecompanion,and
now,withlittlespattersofmudornamentingbothfaceandpantalets,hersunbonnethangingdownherback,andherhandsfullofpebble-stones,shestood
furtivelyeyeingthestranger,whosementalexclamationwas:“Mercy,whata
fright!”
“Maude!”exclaimedthedistressedMrs.Remington,“wherehaveyoubeen?Go
atoncetoJanet,andhaveyourdresschanged;thencomebacktome.”


NothingloathtojoinJanet,whosecompanywaspreferabletothatofthe
stranger,Maudelefttheroom,whileDr.Kennedy,turningtoMrs.Remington,
said:“Sheisnotatalllikeyou,mydear.”
“No,”answeredthelady;“sheislikeherfatherineverything;thesameeyes,the
samehair,and—”
Shewasgoingontosaymore,whentheexpressionofDr.Kennedy’sface
stoppedher,andshebegantowonderifshehaddispleasedhim.Dr.Kennedy
couldtalkforhoursof“thelateMrs.Kennedy,”accompanyinghiswordswith
long-drawnsighs,andenumeratinghermanyvirtues,allofwhichheexpectedto
beimproveduponbyhersuccessor;buthecouldnotbeartohearthenameof
HarryRemingtonspokenbyonewhowastobehiswife,andheatoncechanged
thesubjectofMaude’slookstohername,whichhelearnedwasreallyMatilda.
ShehadbeencalledMaude,Mattysaid,afteronewhowasonceaverydear
friendbothofherselfandherhusband.
“ThenwewillcallherMatilda,”saidhe,“asitisamaximofminenevertospoil
childrenbygivingthempetnames.”
“ButyoucallyourdaughterNellie,”suggestedthelittlewidow,andinhersoft,
blueeyethereshoneamischievoustwinkle,asifshefanciedshehadbeatenhim
withhisownargument.
Butifshethoughttoconvincethatmostunreasonableman,shewasmistaken.
Whathedidwasnocriterionforothers,unlesshechosethatitshouldbeso,and
heanswered,“ThatissisterKelsey’sidea,andassheisveryfondofNellieIdo
notinterfere.But,seriously,Matty,darling,”—andhedrewhertohisside,with
anuncommonshowoffondness,—”IcannotcallyourdaughterMaude;Idonot
likethename,anditisamaximofmine,thatifapersondislikesaname,‘tisan
easymattertodisliketheonewhobearsit.”
HadMrs.Remingtoncaredlessforhimthanshedid,shemighthavewondered
howmanymoredisagreeablemaximshehadinstore.Butloveisblind,ornearly
so;andwhen,asiftomakeamendsforhisremarks,hecaressedherwithan
unusualdegreeoftenderness,theimpulsivewomanfeltthatshewouldcallher
daughteranythingwhichsuitedhim.Accordingly,whenatlastMaudereturned
totheparlor,withherdresschanged,hercurlsarranged,andherdimpledcheeks
shiningwiththesudsinwhichtheyhadbeenwashed,shewaspreparedtosay


Matildaorwhateverelsepleasedhiscapriciousfancy.
“Littlegirl,”hesaid,extendinghishandtowardher,“littlegirl,comehere.I
wishtotalkwithyou.”
Butthelittlegirlhungback,andwhentiermotherinsisteduponhergoingtothe
gentleman,askingifshedidnotlikehim,sheanswereddecidedly,“No,Idon’t
likehim,andheshan’tbemypa,either!”
“Maude,daughter!”exclaimedMrs.Remington,whileDr.Kennedy,turning
slightlypale,thought“wretch!”butsaid,“Matilda,comehere,won’tyou?”
“IaintMatilda,”sheanswered.“Iwon’tbeMatilda—I’mMaude,”andherlarge
blackeyesflasheddefiantlyuponhim.
ItwasinvainthatDr.KennedycoaxedandMrs.Remingtonthreatened.Maude
hadtakenadisliketothestranger,andashepersistedincallingherMatilda,she
persistedinrefusingtoanswer,untilatlast,hearingJanetpassthroughthehall,
sheranouttoher,sureoffindingcomfortandsympathythere.
“IamafraidIhavesufferedMaudetohaveherownwaytoomuch,andforthe
futureImustbemorestrictwithher,”saidMrs.Remingtonapologetically;while
thedoctorreplied,“Ithink,myself,alittlewholesomedisciplinewouldnotbe
amiss.‘Tisamaximofmine,sparetherodandspoilthechild;but,ofcourse,I
shallnotinterfereinthematter.”
Thislasthesaidbecausehesawashadowflitoverthefairfaceofthewidow,
who,likemostindulgentmothers,didnotwhollybelieveinSolomon.Thesight
ofJanetinthehallsuggestedafreshsubjecttothedoctor’smind,and,after
coughingalittle,hesaid,“DidIunderstandthatyourdomesticwasintendingto
joinyouatLaurelHill?”
“Yes,”returnedMrs.Remington,“JanetcametolivewithmymotherwhenI
wasalittlegirlnolargerthanMaude.Sincemymarriageshehaslivedwithme,
andIwouldnotpartwithherforanything.”
“Butdoyounotthinktwokindsofservantsareapttomaketrouble,particularly
ifoneisblackandtheotherwhite?”andinthespeaker’sfacetherewasan
expressionwhichpuzzledMrs.Remington,whocouldscarcerefrainfromcrying
atthethoughtsofpartingwithJanet,andwhobegantohaveaforetasteofthe


drearyhomesicknesswhichwastowearherlifeaway.
“Ican’tdowithoutJanet,”shesaid;“sheknowsallmyways,andItrustherwith
everything.”
“Theveryreasonwhysheshouldnotgo,”returnedthedoctor.”Sheandold
Hannahwouldquarrelatonce.YouwouldtakesideswithJanet,IwithHannah,
andthatmightproduceafeelingwhichoughtnevertoexistbetweenmanand
wife.No,mydear,listentomeinthismatter,andletJanetremaininVernon.
OldHannahhasbeeninmyfamilyalongtime.Shewasformerlyaslave,and
belongedtomyuncle,wholivedinVirginia,andwho,athisdeath,gaveherto
me.OfcourseIsetherfree,forIpridemyselfonbeingamanofhumanity,and
sincethattimeshehaslivedwithus,superintendingthehouseholdentirelysince
Mrs.Kennedy’sdeath.Sheisverypeculiar,andwouldneversufferJanetto
dictate,asIamsure,fromwhatyousay,shewoulddo.So,mydear,tryand
thinkallisforthebest.Youneednottellhersheisnottocome,foritisamaxim
ofminetoavoidallunnecessaryscenes,andyoucaneasilywriteitinaletter.”
PoorMrs.Remington!sheknewintuitivelythatthematterwasdecided,andwas
shenottobeforgivenifatthatmomentshethoughtofthegrass-growngrave
whoseoccupanthadinlifebeenonlytoohappygrantingherslightestwish?But
Harrywasgone,andthemanwithwhomshenowhadtodealwasanexacting,
tyrannicalmaster,towhosewillherownmusteverbesubservient.This,
however,shedidnotthenunderstand.SheknewhewasnotatalllikeHarry,but
shefanciedthatthedifferenceconsistedinhisbeingsomucholder,graver,and
wiserthanherhusbandhadbeen,andsowithasighsheyieldedthepoint,
thinkingthatJanetwouldbethegreatersuffererofthetwo.
Thateveningseveralofheracquaintancescalledtoseethebridegroom-elect,
whom,inMrs.Remington’shearing,theypronouncedveryfinelookingand
quiteagreeableinmanner;complimentswhichtendedinameasuretosootheher
irritatedfeelingsandquiettherapidbeatingsofherheart,whichforhoursafter
sheretiredtorestwouldoccasionallywhispertoherthatthepathshewasabout
totreadwasfarfrombeingstrewnwithflowers.
“Helovesme,Iknow,”shethought,“thoughhismannerofshowingitisso
differentfromHarry;butIshallbecomeaccustomedtothatafterawhile,andbe
very,veryhappy.”Andcomfortedwiththisassuranceshefellasleep,encircling
withinherarmsthelittleMaude,whosenamehadawakenedbittermemoriesin


theheartofhimwhoinanadjoiningchamberbattledwiththoughtsofthedark
past,whichnowontheeveofhissecondmarriagepassedinsadreviewbefore
hismind.
Memoriestherewereofagentle,pale-facedwoman,who,whenherblueeyes
weredimwithcomingdeath,hadshudderinglyturnedawayfromhim,asifhis
presencebroughthermoreofpainthanjoy.Memories,too,therewereof
another—apeerlesslybeautifulcreaturewho,erehehadsoughtthewhite-faced
womanforhiswife,hadtrampledonhisaffectionsandspurnedasauselessgift
hisofferedlove.Hehatedhernow,hethought;andthelittleblack-hairedchild,
sleepingsosweetlyinitsmother’sarms,washatefulinhissight,becauseitbore
thatwoman’sname.One,two,three—soundedtheclock,andthenhefell
asleep,dreamingthatunderneaththewillowswhichgrewinthechurchyard,far
offonLaurelHill,thereweretwogravesinsteadofone;thatinthehouseacross
thecommontherewasasoundofriotingandmirth,unusualinthatsilent
mansion.Forshewasthere,thewomanwhomhehadsomadlyloved,and
wherevershewentcrowdsgatheredaboutherasintheoldentime.
“MaudeGlendower,whyareyouhere?”heattemptedtosay,whenaclear,
silveryvoicearousedhimfromhissleep,andstartingup,helistenedhalfin
anger,halfindisappointment,tothesongwhichlittleMaudeRemingtonsangas
shesatintheopendoorawaitingthereturnofhermother,whohadgoneforthe
lasttimetoseethesunshinefallonHarry’sgrave.

CHAPTERII.
THEJOURNEY.

Mrs.Kennedylookedcharminginhertravelingdressofbrown,andthehappy
husbandlikenedhertoaQuakeress,ashekissedherblushing.cheekandcalled
herhis“littlewife.”Hehadpassedthroughtheceremonyremarkablywell,
standingveryerect,makingtheresponsesvery,loud,andsqueezingvery
becominglythesoftwhitehandonwhosethirdfingerheplacedthewedding
ring—averysmallone,bytheway.Itwasovernow,andmanyofthebridal
guestsweregone;theminister,too,hadgone,andjoggingleisurelyalongupon
hissorrelhorsehadascertainedthesizeofhisfee,feelingalittledisappointed


thatitwasnotlarger—fivedollarsseemedsosmall,whenhefullyexpected
twentyfromoneofDr.Kennedy’sreputedwealth.
Janethadseenthateverythingwasdoneforthecomfortofthetravelers,and
thenoutbehindthesmokehousehadscoldedherselfsoundlyforcrying,when
sheoughttoappearbrave,andencourageheryoungmistress.Nottheslightest
hinthadshereceivedthatshewasnottofollowtheminafew,weeks,andwhen
atpartinglittleMaudeclungtoherskirts,beseechinghertogo,shecomforted
thechildbytellingherwhatshewouldbringherintheautumn,whenshecame.
Halfadozendolls,asmanypoundsofcandy,adancingjack,andamewing
kittenwerepromised,andthenthefaithfulcreatureturnedtotheweepingbride,
whoclaspedherhardoldhandconvulsively,forsheknewitwasalonggood-by.
UntilthecarriagedisappearedfromviewdidMrs.Kennedylookbackthrough
blindingtearstothespotwhereJanetstood,wipinghereyeswithacornerofher
stifflystarchedwhiteapron,andholdinguponefoottokeepherfromsoilingher
cleanbluecottonstockings,for,inaccordancewithasuperstitionpeculiartoher
race,shehadthrownafterthetravelersashoe,bywayofinsuringthemgood
luck.
ForonceinhislifeDr.Kennedytriedtobeverykindandattentivetohisbride,
who,naturallyhopefulandinclinedtolookuponthebrighterside,driedher
tearssoonafterenteringthecars,andbegantofancyshewasveryhappyinher
newpositionasthewifeofDr.Kennedy.Theseatinfrontofthemwasturned
backandoccupiedbyMaude,whobusiedherselfawhileinwatchingthefence
andthetrees,whichshesaidwere“runningsofasttowardJanetandhome!”
ThenherdarkeyeswouldscancuriouslythefacesofDr.Kennedyandher
mother,restinguponthelatterwithapuzzledexpression,asifshecouldnot
exactlyunderstandit.ThedoctorpersistedincallingherMatilda,andasshe
resolutelypersistedinrefusingtoanswertothatname,itseemedquite
improbablethattheywouldevertalkmuchtogether.Occasionally,itistrue,he
madehersomeadvances,byplayfullyofferingherhishand,butshewouldnot
touchit,andafteratime,standingupontheseatandturninground,shefound
moreagreeablesocietyinthecompanyoftwoboyswhosatdirectlybehindher.
Theywereevidentlytwelveorthirteenyearsofage,andinpersonalappearance
somewhatalike,savethatthefaceofthebrown-hairedboywasmoreopen,
ingenuous,andpleasingthanthatofhiscompanion,whosehairandeyeswere
blackasnight.AjoltofthecarscausedMaudetolayherchubbyhanduponthe
shoulderoftheelderboy,who,beingveryfondofchildren,caughtitwithinhis


own,andinthiswaymadeheracquaintance.Tohimshewasvery
communicative,andinashorttimehelearnedthat“hernamewasMaude
Remington,thattheprettyladyinbrownwashermother,andthatthenaughty
manwasnotherfather,andneverwouldbe,forJanetsaidso.”
Thisatonceawakenedaninterestintheboys,andformorethananhourthey
pettedandplayedwiththelittlegirl,who,thoughverygracioustoboth,still
manifestedsomuchpreferenceforthebrown-haired,thattheotherlaughingly
askedherwhichshelikedthebest.
“Ilikeyouandyou,”wasMaude’schildlikeanswer,asshepointedafingerat
each.
“But,”persistedherquestioner,“youlikemycousinthebest.Willyoutellme
why?”
Maudehesitatedamoment,thenlayingahandoneithersideofthespeaker’s
face,andlookingintentlyintohiseyes,sheanswered,“Youdon’tlookasifyou
meantforcertain,andhedoes!”
HadMaudeRemingtonbeentwentyinsteadoffive,shecouldnotbetterhave
definedthedifferencebetweenthosetwoyounglads,andinafteryearsshehad
sadcauseforrememberingwordswhichseemedalmostprophetic.AtAlbany
they,partedcompany,forthoughtheboyslivedinRochestertheywereto
remaininthecitythroughthenight,andDr.Kennedyhaddecidedtogoon.By
doingsohewouldreachhomenearthecloseofthenextday,besidesavinga
largehotelbill,andthislastwaswithhimaveryweightyreason.Buthedidnot
saysotohiswife;neitherdidhetellherthathehadleftordersforhiscarriageto
beinCanadaiguaonthearrivalofthenoontrain,buthesaid“hewasinhasteto
showhertohisdaughter—that‘twasamaximofhistosaveasmuchtimeas
possible,andthatunlessshewereveryanxioustosleep,hewouldrathertravel
allnight.”Sothepoor,wearywoman,whoseheadwasachingterribly,smiled
faintlyuponhimasshesaid,“Goon,ofcourse,”andnibbledatthehard
seedcakesandhardercrackerswhichhebroughther,therenotbeingtimefor
supperinAlbany.
Itwasalong,tediousride,andthoughastrongarmwasthrownaroundher,and
herheadwaspilloweduponthebosomofherhusband,whoreallytriedtomake
herascomfortableaspossible,Mrs.Kennedycouldscarcelyrefrainfromtears


asshethoughthowdifferentwasthisbridaltourfromwhatshehadanticipated.
ShehadfullyexpectedtopassbydaylightthroughtheEmpireState,andshehad
thoughtwithhowmuchdelighthereyewouldrestuponthegrassymeadows,the
fertileplains,thewindingMohawk,thedrone-likeboatsonthecanal,the
beautifulCayuga,andthesilverywatersofamedinsong;but,incontrasttoall
this,shewasshutupinadingycar,whoseonedimlampsentforthasicklyray
andsickliersmell,whilewithoutallwasgloomy,dark,anddrear.Nowonder,
then,thatwhentowardmorningMaude,whomissedhersoft,nicebed,beganto
cryforJanetandforhome,themothertooburstforthintearsandchokingsobs,
whichcouldnotbecontrolled.
“Hush,Matty—don’t,”andthedisturbeddoctorshookherverygently;“itwill
soonbedaylight,and‘tisamax—”Herehestopped,forhehadnomaximsuited
tothatoccasion;and,inamostunenviableframeofmind,hefrownedatthe
cryingMaude,andtriedtosoothehisweepingwife,untilatlast,asthefaceof
thelatterwascovered,andtheformergrewmorenoisyandunmanageable,he
administeredafatherlyrebukeintheshapeofaboxedear,whichhadnoother
effectthantheelicitingfromthechildtheoutcry,“Letmebe,olddoctor,you!”
if,indeed,weexceptthelongscratchmadeuponhishandbythelittlesharpnail
ofhisstepdaughter.
AtthatmomentMattyliftedupherhead,butasMaudewasnotale-bearer,and
thedoctorhardlydaredtotellherthathehadthusearlytakenuponhimselfthe
governmentofherchild,sheneverknewexactlywhatitwaswhichmade
Maude’searsoredorherliegelord’sfacesodark.
ItwasnearlynoonwhentheyarrivedatCanandaigua,wherethefirstobject
whichcaughtMrs.Kennedy’seyewasanold-fashionedcarryall,whichher
husbandhonoredwiththeappellationofcarriage,saidcarriagebeingdrawnby
twofarm-horses,whichlookedasifoatsandcornweretothemluxuries
unknown.
“Imusthaveacupoftea,”saidMrs.Kennedy,asshesawtheblackman,John,
arrangingthebaggageupontherackofthecarryall,andheardherhusbandbid
himhurry,astherewasnotimetolose.“Imusthaveacupoftea,myheadis
achingdreadfully,”andherwhitelipsquivered,whilethetearsrolleddownher
cheeks.
“Certainly,certainly,”answeredthedoctor,whowasinunusuallygoodspirits,


havingjustheardfromanacquaintancewhomhechancedtomeetthatalawsuit
whichhadlongbeenpendingwasdecidedinhisfavor,andthatthehouseandlot
ofawidowwouldprobablycomeintohispossession.“Certainly,twocupsif
youlike;Ishouldhaveproposeditmyself,onlyIknewoldHannahwouldhave
dinnerinreadinessforus,and‘tisamaximofmine,thatfastingprovokesan
appetite.”
“Hangdisnigger,ifheainta-maxin’hersoquick!”mutteredthedarkey,
showinghisteethfromeartoear;and,coaxingMaudeawayfromhermother,he
tookhertoarestaurant,whereheliterallycrammedherwithginger-bread,
raisins,andcandy,biddinghereatallshewantedatonce,foritwouldbealong
time,maybe,ereshe’dhaveanotherchance!
“Ifyouplease,sar,”hesaid,whenatlasthehadreturnedtohismaster,“ifyou
please,MissNelliesayhowyoumustfotchhersomethin’,andtheoldwoman
spec’sapresentinhonorofde‘casion.”
Dr.Kennedythoughtofthelawsuit,andsofaropenedbothheartandpurseasto
buyforNellieapaperofpeanutsandforHannahatencentcalicoapron,after
whichhepronouncedhimselfinreadinesstogo,andinafewmomentsMrs.
Kennedywasonherwaytohernewhome.
Theroadledoverrockyhills,remindinghersomuchofVernonandits
surroundingcountrythatafeelingofreststoleoverher,andshefellintoaquiet
sleep,fromwhichshedidnotawakenuntilthecarriagestoppedsuddenlyand
herhusbandwhisperedinherear,“Wake,Matty,wake;wearehomeatlast.”

CHAPTERIII.
THENEWHOME.

Itwasalarge,square,woodenbuilding,builtintheoldentime,withawidehall
inthecenter,atinyporticoinfront,andalongpiazzaintherear.Inallthetown
therewasnotsodelightfulalocation,foritcommandedaviewofthecountry
formanymilesaround,whilefromthechamberwindowswasplainlydiscernible
thesparklingHoneoye,whosewaterssleptsocalmly‘midthehillswhichlayto


thesouthward.Onthegrassylawninfronttallforesttreesweregrowing,almost
concealingthehousefromview,whiletheirlongbranchessomettogetherasto
formabeautifularchoverthegraveledwalkwhichleadtothefrontdoor.Itwas,
indeed,apleasantspot,andMatty,asshepassedthroughtheirongate,couldnot
accountforthefeelingofdesolationsettlingdownuponher.
“Maybeit’sbecausetherearenoflowershere—noroses,”shethought,asshe
lookedaroundinvainforherfavorites,thinkingthewhilehowherfirstwork
shouldbetotrainahoneysuckleoverthedoorandplantarosebushunderneath
thewindow.
PoorMatty!Dr.Kennedyhadnoloveforflowers,andtheonlyrosebushheever
noticedwastheonewhichJohnhadplantedathismistress’grave,andeventhis
would,perchance,havebeenunseen,ifhehadnotscratchedhishand
unmercifullyuponitasheonedayshookthestonetoseeifitwerefirmlyplaced
inthegrounderehepaidthemanforputtingitthere!Itwasamaximofthe
doctor’snevertohaveanythingnotstrictlyforuse,consequentlyhishouse,both
outsideandin,wasdestituteofeverykindofornament;andthebride,asshe
followedhimthroughtheemptyhallintothesilentparlor,whosebarewalls,
fadedcarpet,anduncurtainedwindowsseemedsouninviting,feltachill
creepingoverherspirits,andsinkingintothefirsthardchairshecameto,she
might,perhaps,havecriedhadnotJohn,whofollowedclosebehindher,satchel
onarm,whisperedencouraginglyinherear,“Neveryoumind,missus,your
chamberisaheapsightbrighterthanthis,‘caseItendedtothatmyself.”
Mrs.Kennedysmiledgratefullyuponhim,feelingsurethatbeneathhisblack
exteriortherebeatakindandsympathizingheart,andthatinhimshehadanally
andafriend.
“WhereisNellie?”saidthedoctor.“CallNellie,John,andtellyourmotherwe
arehere.”
Johnlefttheroom,andamomentafteralittletinycreaturecametrippingtothe
door,whereshestoppedsuddenly,andthrowingbackhercurls,gazedcuriously
firstatMrs.KennedyandthenatMaude,whoselargeblackeyesfastened
themselvesuponherwithagazequiteascuriousandeagerasherown.Shewas
morethanayearolderthanMaude,butmuchsmallerinsize,andherface
seemedtohavebeenfashionedafterabeautifulwaxendoll,sobrilliantwasher
complexionandsoregularherfeatures.Shewasnaturallyaffectionateand


amiable,too,whensufferedtohaveherownway.Neitherwassheatallinclined
tobetimid,andwhenherfather,takingherhandinhis,badeherspeaktoher
newmother,shewentunhesitatinglytothelady,andclimbingintoherlap,sat
thereveryquietlysolongasMrs.Kennedypermittedhertoplaywithherrings,
pullhercollar,andtakeoutherside-combs,forshehadlaidasideherbonnet;
butwhenatlastherlittlesharpeyesferretedoutawatch,whichsheinsisted
uponhaving“alltoherself,”alibertywhichMrs.Kennedyrefusedtogrant,she
begantopout,and,slidingfromhernewmother’slap,walkeduptoMaude,
whoseacquaintanceshemadebyaskingifshehadapinksilkdress.“No,butI
guessJanetwillbringmeone,”answeredMaude,whoseeyesneverforan
instantleftthefaceofherstepsister.
Shewasanenthusiasticadmirerofbeauty,andNelliehadmadeanimpression
uponheratonce;so,whenthelattersaid,“Whatmakesyoulookatmeso
funny?”sheanswered,“Becauseyouaresopretty.”Thismadeaplaceforherat
onceintheheartofthevainlittleNellie,whoaskedhertogoupstairsandsee
thepinksilkdresswhich“AuntKelseyhadgivenher.”
AstheylefttheroomMrs.Kennedysaidtoherhusband,“Yourdaughterisvery
beautiful.”
Dr.Kennedylikedtohavepeoplesaythatofhischild,forheknewshewas
muchlikehimself,andhestrokedhisbrownbeardcomplacently,ashereplied:
“Yes,Nellieisratherpretty,and,consideringallthings,isaswell-behaveda
childasoneoftenfinds.Sheseldomgetsintoapassionordoesanythingrude,”
andheglancedatthelongscratchuponhishand;butashiswifeknewnothing
ofsaidscratch,therebukewaswhollylost,andhecontinued:“Iwasanxious
thatsheshouldbeaboy,foritisamaximofminethattheoldestchildinevery
familyoughttobeason,andsoIsaid,repeatedly,tothelateMrs.Kennedy,
who,thoughamostexcellentwomaninmostmatters,wasinothers
unaccountablysetinherway.IsupposeIsaidsomeharshthingswhenIheardit
wasadaughter,butitcan’tbehelpednow,”andwithaslightlyinjuredairthe
husbandof“thelateMrs.Kennedy”begantopaceupanddowntheroom,while
thepresentMrs.Kennedypuzzledherratherweakbraintoknow“whatinthe
worldhemeant.”
MeantimebetweenJohnandhismothertherewasahurriedconversation,the
formerinquiringnaturallyafterthelooksofhernewmistress.


“Prettyasapink,”answeredJohn,“andneatasafiddle,withthesweetestlittle
babyways;butItellyouwhat‘tis,”andJohn’svoicefelltoawhisper:“he’ll
maximherintoheavenaheapsightquicker’nhedidt’otherone;‘caseyousee
shehaintsomuch—whatyoucallhim—somuchgoofftoherasMissKatyhad,
andshecan’tbarhisgrindingways.They’llscrushhertoonct—seeifthey
don’t.ButIknowsonething,thisyernigger‘tendstodohisduty,andholdup
themlittlecheese-curdhandsofher’n,jestassomeofthemScripterfolksheld
upMoseswiththebulrushes.”
“Andwhatoftheyoungone?”askedHannah,whohadbeenquiteindignantat
thethoughtsofanotherchildinthefamily,“whatoftheyoungone?”
“Brightasadollar!”answeredJohn.“Knowsmore’nadozenofNellie,andwell
shemight,forsheainthalfaswhite,andasMasterKennedysays,it’samaxim
ofmine,theblackerthehidethebetterthesense!”
BythistimeHannahhadwashedthedoughfromherhands,andtakingtheroast
chickenfromtheovenshedonnedacleanapronandstartedtoseethestranger
forherself.Althoughatolerablygoodwoman,Hannah’sfacewasnotvery
prepossessing,andMrs.Kennedyintuitivelyfeltthat‘twouldbelongbeforeher
formerdomestic’splacewasmadegoodbytheindolentAfrican.Itistrueher
obeisancewasverylow,andhergreetingkindlyenough,buttherewasabouther
aninquisitive,andatthesametime,ratherpatronizingairwhichMrs.Kennedy
didnotlike,andshewasgladwhensheatlastlefttheparlor,tellingthem,asshe
didso,that“dinnerwasdoneready.”
Notwithstandingthatthehouseitselfwassolarge,thediningroomwasasmall,
dark,cheerlessapartment,andthoughshewasbeginningtofeelthewantof
food,Mrs.Kennedycouldscarcelyforcedownamouthful,forthehomesick
feelingatherheart;afeelingwhichwhisperedtoherthatthehometowhichshe
hadcomewasnotlikethatwhichshehadleft.Dinnerbeingover,sheasked
permissiontoretiretoherchamber,sayingsheneededrest,andshouldfeel
betteraftershehadslept.Nellievolunteeredtoleadtheway,andastheyleftthe
diningroomoldHannah,whowasnotoriouslylazy,mutteredaloud:“Apuny,
sicklything.Greathelpshe’llbetome;butIshan’tstaytowaitonmore’nforty
more.”
Dr.KennedyhadhisownprivatereasonforwishingtoconciliateHannah.When
hesetherfreehemadeherbelieveitwasherdutytoworkforhimfornothing,


andthoughshesoonlearnedbetter,andoftenthreatenedtoleave,hehadalways
managedtokeepher,for,onthewhole,shelikedherplace,anddidnotcareto
changeitforonewherehertaskwouldbemuchharder.Butifthenewwife
provedtobesickly,matterswouldbedifferent,andsoshefretted,aswehave
seen,whilethedoctorcomfortedherwiththeassurancethatMrs.Kennedywas
onlytired—thatshewasnaturallywellandstrong,andwouldundoubtedlybeof
greatassistancewhenthenoveltyofherpositionhadwornaway.
WhilethisconversationwastakingplaceMrs.Kennedywasexaminingher
chamberandthinkingmanypleasantthingsofJohn,whosehandiworkwashere
soplainlyvisible.Allthesmallerandmorefancifulpiecesoffurniturewhichthe
houseaffordedhadbeenbroughttothisroom,whosewindowslookedoutupon
thelakeandthebluehillsbeyond.Acleanwhitetowelconcealedthemarred
conditionofthewashstand,whilethebed,whichwasmadeuphighandround,
especiallyinthemiddle,lookedveryinvitingwithitssnowyspread.Alarge
stuffedrockingchair,morecomfortablethanhandsome,occupiedthecenterof
theroom,whilebetterfarthanall,thetable,themantel,andthewindowswere
filledwithflowers,whichJohnhadbeggedfromtheneighboringgardens,and
whichseemedtosmileawelcomeuponthewearywoman,who,withacryof
delight,bentdownandkissedthemthroughhertears.
“Didthesecomefromyourgarden?”sheaskedofNellie,who,childlike,
answered,“Wehaintanyflowers.Pawon’tletJohnplantany.HetoldAunt
Kelseythelandhadbetterbeusedforpotatoes,andAuntKelseysaidhewastoo
stingytolive.”
“WhoisAuntKelsey?”askedMrs.Kennedy,apainfulsuspicionfasteningitself
uponherthatthelady’sopinionmightbecorrect.
“Sheispa’ssisterCharlotte,”answeredNellie,“andlivesinRochester,inagreat
bighouse,withthehandsomestthings;butshedon’tcomehereoften,it’sso
heathenish,shesays.”
HerespyingJohn,whowasgoingwiththeoxentothemeadow,sheranaway,
followedbyMaude,betweenwhomandherselftherewasforthepresentamost
amicableunderstanding.ThusleftaloneMrs.Kennedyhadtimeforthought,
whichcrowdeduponhersofastthat,atlastthrowingherselfuponthebed,she
weptbitterly,halfwishingshehadnevercometoLaurelHill,butwasstillat
homeinherownpleasantcottage.Thenhopewhisperedtoherofabrighterday,


whenthingswouldnotseemtoherastheynowdid.Shewouldfixupthe
desolateoldhouse,shethought;thebarewindowswhichnowsostaredherin
thefaceshouldbeshadedwithprettymuslincurtains,andshewouldloopthem
backwithribbons.Thecarpet,too,ontheparlorfloorshouldbeexchangedfora
betterone,andwhenherpianoandmarbletablecame,theonlyarticlesof
furnitureshehadnotsold,itwouldnotseemsocheerlessandsocold.
Comfortedwiththesethoughts,shefellasleep,restingquietlyuntil,justasthe
sunhadsetanditwasgrowingdarkwithintheroom,Maudecamerushingin,
herdressallwet,herfaceflushed,andhereyesredwithtears.SheandNellie
hadquarreled—nay,actuallyfought;NellietellingMaudeshewasblackerthana
nigger,andpushingherintothebrook,whileMaude,inreturn,hadpulledouta
handfuloftheyounglady’shair,forwhichherstepfatherhadshakenhersoundly
andsenthertohermother,whomshebegged“togohome,andnotstayinthat
oldhousewherethefolkswereuglyandtheroomsnotabitpretty.”
Mrs.Kennedy’sheartwasalreadyfull,anddrawingMaudetoherside,thetwo
homesickchildrenmingledtheirtearstogether,untilaheavyfootstepuponthe
stairsannouncedtheapproachofDr.Kennedy.Notaworddidhesayofhislate
adventurewithMaude,andhismannerwasverykindtowardhiswearywife,
who,withhishanduponherachingforehead,andhisvoiceinherear,tellingher
howsorryhewasthatshewassick,forgotthatshehadbeenunhappy.
“Whateverelsehemaydo,”shethought,“hecertainlylovesme,”andaftera
fashionhedidperhapsloveher.Shewasaprettylittlecreature,andherplayful,
coquettishwayshadpleasedhimatfirstsight.Heneededawife,andwhentheir
mutualfriend,whoknewnothingofhimsavethathewasamanofintegrityand
wealth,suggestedMattyRemington,hetoothoughtfavorablyofthematter,and
yieldingtothefascinationofhersoftblueeyeshehadwonherforhiswife,
pityingher,itmaybe,ashesatbyherinthegatheringtwilight,andhalfguessed
thatshewashomesick.Andwhenhesawhowconfidinglysheclungtohim,he
wasconsciousofahalf-formedresolutiontobetoherwhatahusbandoughtto
be.ButDr.Kennedy’sresolveswerelikethemorningdew,andasthedayswore
onhispeculiarities,oneafteranother,werediscoveredbyhiswife,who,
womanlike,triedtothinkthathewasrightandshewaswrong.
Induetimemostofthevillagerscalleduponher,andthoughtheywereboth
intelligentandrefined,shedidnotfeelaltogetherateaseintheirpresence,for
thefancyshehadthattheyregardedherasonewhoforsomereasonwasentitled


totheirpity.Andinthisshewascorrect.Theydidpityher,fortheyremembered
anothergentlewoman,whosebrownhairhadturnedgray,andwhoseblueeyes
hadwaxeddimbeneaththewitheringinfluenceofhimshecalledherhusband.
Shewasdead,andwhentheysawtheyoung,light-heartedMatty,theydidnot
understandhowshecouldeverhavebeeninducedtotakethatwoman’splace
andwedamanofthirty-eight,andtheyblamedhersomewhat,untilthey
reflectedthatsheknewnothingofhim,andthatherfancywasprobably
captivatedbyhisdignifiedbearing,hismanlyfigure,andhandsomeface.But
thesealonetheyknewcouldnotmakeherhappy,andereshehadbeensixweeks
awifetheywerenotsurprisedthatherfacebegantowearawearylook,asifthe
burdenoflifewerehardtobear.
Asfarasshecouldshebeautifiedthehome,purchasingwithherownmeans
severallittlearticleswhichthedoctorcalleduseless,thoughheneverfailedto
appropriatetohimselftheeasychairwhichshehadboughtforthesittingroom,
andwhichwhenshewastiredrestedhersomuch.Onthesubjectofcurtainshe
wasparticularlyobstinate.“Therewereblinds,”hesaid,“and‘twasamaximof
hisnevertospendhismoneyforanythingunnecessary.”
Still,whenMattyboughtthemherselffortheparlor,whenherpianowas
unboxedandoccupiedacornerwhichhadlongbeendestituteoffurniture,and
whenhermarbletablestoodbetweenthewindows,withafreshbouquetof
flowerswhichJohnhadbrought,heexclaimedinvoluntarily,“Hownicethisis!”
addingthenextmoment,lesthiswifeshouldbetoomuchpleased,“butvastly
foolish!”
Inaccordancewithherhusband’ssuggestionMrs.KennedywrotetoJanet,
breakingtoherasgentlyaspossiblethefactthatshewasnottocome,butsaying
nothingdefiniteconcerninghernewhomeorherownhappinessasasecond
wife.Severalweekswentby,andthenananswercame.
“Ifyouhadofwantedme,”wroteJanet,“Ishouldofcome,butbein’youdidn’t,
I’vewenttolivewithMr.Blodgett,whopeddlesmilk,andraisesbutterand
cheese,andwhotheysayisworthadealofmoney,andwellhemaybe,forhe’s
savedthisfortyyears.”
Thenfollowedadetailedaccountofherhouseholdmatters,occupyinginall
threepagesoffoolscap,towhichwaspinnedabitofpaper,containingthe
following:


“JoellookedovermywritingandsaidI’dleftouttheverythingIwantedtotell
themost.Wearemarried,meandJoel,andIonlyhopeyouareashappywith
thatdoctorasIamwithmyman.”
ThisannouncementcrushedatoncethefainthopewhichMrs.Kennedyhad
secretlyentertained,ofeventuallyhavingJanettosupplytheplaceofHannah,
whowasnotoriouslylazy,andneverunderanycircumstancesdidanythingshe
possiblycouldavoid.Dr.Kennedydidnottellhiswifethatheexpectedherto
makeiteasyforHannah,soshewouldnotleavethem;buthetoldherhow
industriousthelateMrs.Kennedyhadbeen,andhintedthatatruewomanwas
notabovekitchenwork.TheconsequenceofthiswasthatMatty,whoreally
wishedtopleasehim,becameintimeaverydrudge,doingthingswhichshe
oncethoughtshecouldnotdo,andthenwithoutamurmurministeringtoher
exactinghusbandwhenhecamehomefromvisitingapatient,anddeclared
himself“tiredtodeath.”Verystillhesatwhileherwearylittlefeetranforthe
cooldrink—thedailypaper—orthemorningmail;andveryhappyhelooked
whenhersnowyfingerscombedhishairorbrushedhisthreadbarecoat;andif,
perchance,shesighedamidherlaboroflove,hisearwasdeaf,andhedidnot
hear,neitherdidheseehowwhiteandthinshegrewasdaybydaywentby.
Herpianowasnowseldomtouched,forthedoctordidnotcareformusic;stillhe
wasgladthatshecouldplay,for“SisterKelsey,”whowastohimakindof
terror,wouldinsistthatNellieshouldtakemusiclessons,and,ashiswifewas
whollycompetenttogivethem,hewouldbesparedaverygreatexpense.“Save,
save,save,”seemedtobehismotto,andwhenatchurchtheplatewaspassedto
himhegavehisdimealovingpincherepartingcompanywithit;andyetnone
readtheservicelouderordefendedhisfavoriteliturgymorezealouslythan
himself.Insomethingshewasapatternman,andwhenoncehisservantJohn
announcedhisintentionofwithdrawingfromtheEpiscopaliansandjoining
himselftotheMethodists,whoheldtheirmeetingsintheschoolhouse,hewas
greatlyshocked,andlaboredlongwiththedegeneratesonofEthiopia,who
wouldrendertohimnoreasonforhismostunaccountabletaste,thoughhedidto
Matty,whenshequestionedhimofhischoice.
“Yousee,missus,”saidhe,“Iwasn’tallusaherrytic,butwasasgooda
‘PiscopalasSt.Georgeeverhad.That’swhenIlivedinVirginny,andwashired
outtoMarsterMorton,whohadaschoolforboys,andwholarntmehowtoread
alittle.AfterI’darn’taheapofmoneyforMarsterKennedyhewantedtogoto
theLegislatur’,andassomeon‘emwouldn’tvoteforhimwhileheowneda


nigger,hesetmefree,andsentformetocomehome.‘Twashardpartin’wid
demboysandMarsterMorton,Itellyou,butIkinderwantedtoseemother,who
hadbeenhereagoodwhile,andwho,likeafool,wasa-workin’an’isa-workin’
fornothin’.”
“Fornothing!”exclaimedMrs.Kennedy,asuspicionofthereasonwhyJanet
wasrefusedcrossinghermind.
“Yes,marm,fornothin’,”answeredJohn,“butIaintgreenenoughforthat,and
‘fusedoutright.Thenmarster,whogotbeat‘lectionday,threatenedtosendme
back,butIknewhecouldn’tdoit,andsoheagreedtopayeightdollarsamonth.
Icouldgetmoresomewharelse,butI’dratherstaywithmother,andsoI
stayed.”
“Butthathasnothingtodowiththechurch,”suggestedMrs.Kennedy,andJohn
replied:
“I’mcomin’tothep’intnow.IlivewithMarsterKennedy,andwentwithhimto
church,andwhenIseehowhecarriedonweekdays,andhowpeartlikeheread
upSabba’days,sayin’theLord’sPrarand‘Postle’sCreed,Ibegantothinkthar’s
somethin’rotteninDenmark,astheboysusetosayinVirginny;sowhen
mother,whoalluswasa-roarin’Methodis’,askedmetogowidhertomeetin’,I
went,andwasneversomortifiedinmylife,forartertheelderhad‘xorteda
spellatthetopofhisvoice,hesotdownandsaidtherewasroomforothers.I
couldn’tseehowthatwas,bein’hetookupthewholechair,andwhileIwas
wonderin’whathemeant,asI’malivin’nigger,upgotmarmandspokeapiece
rightinmeetin’!Ineverwassoshamed,andIkep’pullin’athergowndtomake
hersetdown,buttheharderIpulledtheloudershehollered,tillatlastshe
blowedherbreathallaway,anddownshesot.”
“Anddidanyoftherestspeakpieces?”askedMrs.Kennedy,convulsedwith
laughteratJohn’svividdescription.
“Blessyourheart,”heanswered,withaknowinglook,“‘twarn’tapieceshewas
speaking—shewastellin’her‘sperience;butitsoundedsoliketheboysat
schoolthatIwasdeceived,forI’dneverseensuchworkbefore.ButI’vegotsoI
likeitnow,andIbelievethar’smore‘sistencydowninthatschoolhousethan
tharisin—Iwon’tsaythe‘Piscopalchurch,‘casethar’sheapsofshinin’lights
thar,butifyouwon’tbemad,I’llsaymorethantharisinMarsterKennedy,who


hashisselftothankformybein’aMethodis’.”
WhateverMrs.Kennedymighthavethoughtshecouldnothelplaughingheartily
atJohn,whowasnowadecidedMethodist,andadornedhisprofessionfarmore
thanhisselfish,hard-heartedmaster.Hispromiseofholdinguphismistress’
handshadbeenmostfaithfullykept,and,withoutanydisparagementtoJanet,
Mrs.Kennedyfeltthatthelossofherformerservantwasinagreatmeasure
madeuptoherinthekindnegro,who,asthemonthswentbyandherfacegrew
thinnereachday,purchasedwithhisownmoneymanyalittledelicacywhichhe
hopedwouldtempthercapriciousappetite.Maude,too,wasafavoritewith
John,bothonaccountofhercolor,whichhegreatlyadmired,andbecause,poor,
ignorantcreaturethoughhewas,hesawinherthegermofthenoblegirlwhoin
thecomingyearswastobearuncomplaininglyaburdenofcarefromwhichthe
selfishNelliewouldunhesitatinglyturnaway.
TowardMaudethedoctorhadevermanifestedafeelingofaversion,both
becauseofhernameandbecauseshehadcompelledhimtoyieldwhenhismind
wasfullymadeuptodootherwise.Shehadresolutelyrefusedtobecalled
Matilda,andasitwasnecessaryforhimsometimestoaddressher,hecalledher
first,“Yougirl,”then“Mat,”andfinallyarrivedat“Maude,”speakingitalways
spitefully,asifprovokedthathehadonceinhislifebeenconquered.Withthe
managementofherheseldominterfered,forthatscratchhadgivenhimatimely
lesson,andashedidnotliketobeunnecessarilytroubled,heleftbothMaude
andNellietohiswife,whosufferedthelattertodonearlyasshepleased,and
thusescapedmanyoftheannoyancestowhichstepmothersareusuallysubject.
AlthoughexceedinglyselfishNelliewasaffectionateinherdisposition,and
whenMaudedidnotcrossherpaththetwowereonthebestofterms.
Disturbancestherewere,however—quarrelsandfights,inthelatterofwhich
Maude,beingthestrongerofthetwo,alwayscameoffvictor;butthesedidnot
lastlong,andhadherhusbandbeentoherwhatheoughtMrs.Kennedy’slife
wouldnothavebeenasdrearyasitwas.Hemeantwellenough,perhaps,buthe
didnotunderstandawoman,muchlessknowhowtotreather,andasthewinter
monthswentbyMatty’sheartwouldhavefaintedwithinherbutforahope
whichwhisperedtoher,“Hewilllovemebetterwhennextsummercomes.”

CHAPTERIV.


LITTLELOUIS.

ItisjustoneyearsincethesummermorningwhenMattyKennedytookupon
herselfasecondtimethedutiesofawife,andnowsheliesinadarkenedroom,
herfacewhiteasthewintersnow,andherbreathscarcelyperceptibletothe
touch,asitcomesfaintlyfromherpartedlips.Indignifiedsilencethedoctorsits
by,countingherfeeblepulse,whileanexpressionofprideandalmostperfect
happinessbreaksoverhisfaceasheglancestowardthecradlewhichHannah
hasbroughtfromthegarret,andwherenowsleptthechildborntohimthatday.
Hisoft-repeatedmaximthatifthefirstwerenotaboythesecondoughttobe,
hadprevailedatlast,andDombeyhadason.Itwasapunything,butthefather
saiditlookedasNelliedidwhenshefirstrestedthere,andNellie,holdingback
herbreathandpushingasidehercurls,bentdowntoseethered-facedinfant.
“Iwasneverasuglyasthat,andIdon’tlovehimabit!”sheexclaimed,turning
awayindisgust;whileMaudeapproachedontip-toe,andkneelingbythecradle
sidekissedtheunconscioussleeper,whisperingasshedidso,“Iloveyou,poor
littlebrother.”
DarlingMaude—blessedMaude—inallyourafterlifeyouprovedthetruthof
thoselowspokenwords,“Iloveyou,poorlittlebrother.”
FormanydaysdidMrs.Kennedyhoverbetweenlifeanddeath,neveraskingfor
herbaby,andseldomnoticingherhusband,who,whiledeclaringtherewasno
danger,stilldeemeditnecessary,incaseanythingshouldhappen,tosendforhis
sister,Mrs.Kelsey,whohadnotvisitedhimsincehislastmarriage.Shewasa
proud,fashionablewoman,whosawnothingattractiveinthedesolateoldhouse,
andwhohadconceivedanideathatherbrother’ssecondwifewasasortof
nobodywhomhehadpickedupamongtheNewEnglandhills.Butthenewsof
herillnesssoftenedherfeelingsinameasure,andshestartedforLaurelHill,
thinkingthatifMattydiedshehopedacertaindashing,brilliantwoman,called
MaudeGlendower,mightgothere,andgovernthetyrannicaldoctor,evenashe
hadgovernedothers.
Itwaslateintheafternoonwhenshereachedherbrother’shouse,fromwhich
Nelliecamerunningouttomeether,accompaniedbyMaude.Fromthelatterthe
ladyatfirstturneddisdainfullyaway,buterelongstoleanotherlookatthe


brown-facedgirl,aboutwhomtherewassomethingveryattractive.
“Curtains,asIlive!”sheexclaimed,assheenteredtheparlor.“Apiano,and
marbletable,too.Wheredidthesecomefrom?”
“Theyarema’s,andshe’sgotababyupstairs,”answeredMaude,andthelady’s
handrestedforaninstantonthelittlecurlyhead,forstrangeasitmayseem,she
esteemedmorehighlyawomanwhoownedapianoandhandsometablethan
shedidonewhoseworldlypossessionsweremorelimited.
Aftermakingsomechangesinherdress,shewentuptothesick-room,andas
Mattywasasleep,shehadampletimetoexamineherface,andalsotoinspect
theroom,whichshowedinsomeonearefinedanddelicatetaste.
“ShemustbemoreofaladythanIsupposed,”shethought,andwhenatlasther
sister-in-lawawokeshegreetedherkindly,andduringhervisit,whichlasted
nearlytwoweeks,sheexertedherselftobeagreeable,succeedingsofarthat
Mattypartedfromheratlastwithgenuineregret.
“Poorthing—she’llneverseeanotherwinter,”wasMrs.Kelsey’smental
comment,asshebadetheinvalidgood-by;butinthisshewasmistaken,forwith
thefallingoftheleafMattybegantoimprove,andthoughsheneverfully
regainedherhealth,shewasableagaintobeaboutthehouse,doingfarmore
thansheoughttohavedone,butneverutteringawordofcomplaint,however
heavywastheburdenimposeduponher.
WithMaudeandherbaby,whoborethenameofLouis,shefoundhergreatest
comfort.Hewasasweet,playfulchild,andsureneverbeforewasfatherso
foolishlyproudofhissonaswasDr.Kennedyofhis.Forhourswouldhesit
watchinghimwhileheslept,andbuildingcastlesofthefuture,when“Louis
Kennedy,onlysonofDr.Kennedy,”shouldbehonoredamongmen.Towardthe
mother,too,whohadbornehimsuchaprodigyhebecamealittlemore
indulgent,occasionallysufferingherwishestoprevailoverhismaxims,andon
threeseveraloccasionsgivingheradollartospendasshepleased.Surelysuch
generositydidnotdeservesosevereapunishmentaswasinstorefortheproud
father.
Louishadamostbeautifulface,andinhissoft,browneyestherewasa“look
liketheangels,”asMaudeoncesaidtohermother,whoseldomspokeofhim
withoutasigh,foronhermindaterriblefearwasfasteningitself.Although


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