In the High Valley
by Susan Coolidge
ALONG THE NORTH
CHAPTER II. MISS
OPDYKE FROM NEW
CHAPTER III. THE
LAST OF DEVON
AND THE FIRST OF
CHAPTER IV. IN
THE HIGH VALLEY.
CHAPTER IX. THE
ECHOES IN THE
CHAPTER X. A
IN THE HIGH VALLEY.
[Illustration: 'I suppose we shall never see the ocean from where
we are to live,' said Imogen.PAGE 15.]
IN THE HIGH VALLEY.
THE FIFTH AND LAST VOLUME
THE KATY DID SERIES.
THE NEW YEAR'S BARGAIN, WHAT KATY DID, WHAT KATY DID
SCHOOL, WHAT KATY DID NEXT, MISCHIEF'S THANKSGIVING,
CROSS PATCH, A GUERNSEY LILY, NINE LITTLE GOSLINGS,
A LITTLE COUNTRY GIRL, A ROUND DOZEN, CLOVER,
EYEBRIGHT, JUST SIXTEEN, ETC.
BY ROBERTS BROTHERS.
JOHN WILSON AND SON, CAMBRIDGE, U.S.A.
IN THE HIGH VALLEY.
CHAPTER I. ALONG THE NORTH DEVON
IT was a morning of late May, and the sunshine, though rather
watery, after the fashion of South-of-England suns, was real sunshine
still, and glinted and glittered bravely on the dew-soaked fields about
This was an ancient house of red brick, dating back to the last half
of the sixteenth century, and still bearing testimony in its sturdy
bulk to the honest and durable work put upon it by its builders. Not a
joist had bent, not a girder started in the long course of its two
hundred and odd years of life. The brick-work of its twisted
chimney-stacks was intact, and the stone carving over its doorways and
window frames; only the immense growth of the ivy on its side walls
attested to its age. It takes longer to build ivy five feet thick than
many castles, and though new masonry by trick and artifice may be made
to look like old, there is no secret known to man by which a plant or
tree can be induced to simulate an antiquity which does not rightfully
belong to it. Innumerable sparrows and tomtits had built in the thick
mats of the old ivy, and their cries and twitters blended in shrill and
happy chorus as they flew in and out of their nests.
The Grange had been a place of importance, in Queen Elizabeth's
time, as the home of an old Devon family which was finally run out and
extinguished. It was now little more than a superior sort of
farm-house. The broad acres of meadow and pleasaunce and woodland which
had given it consequence in former days had been gradually parted with,
as misfortunes and losses came to its original owners. The woods had
been felled, the pleasure grounds now made part of other people's
farms, and the once wide domain had contracted, until the ancient house
stood with only a few acres about it, and wore something the air of an
old-time belle who has been forcibly divested of her ample farthingale
and hooped-petticoat, and made to wear the scant kirtle of a village
Orchards of pear and apple flanked the building to east and west.
Behind was a field or two crowning a little upland where sedate cows
fed demurely; and in front, toward the south, which was the side of
entrance, lay a narrow walled garden, with box-bordered beds full of
early flowers, mimulus, sweet-peas, mignonette, stock gillies, and
blush and damask roses, carefully tended and making a blaze of color on
the face of the bright morning. The whole front of the house was draped
with a luxuriant vine of Gloire de Dijon, whose long, pink-yellow buds
and cream-flushed cups sent wafts of delicate sweetness with every puff
Seventy years before the May morning of which we write, Copplestone
Grange had fallen at public sale to Edward Young, a well-to-do banker
of Bideford. He was a descendant in direct line of that valiant Young
who, together with his fellow-seaman Prowse, undertook the dangerous
task of steering down and igniting the seven fire-ships which sent the
Spanish armada lumbering off to sea, and saved England for Queen
Elizabeth and the Protestant succession.
Edward Young lived twenty years in peace and honor to enjoy his
purchase, and his oldest son James now reigned in his stead, having
reared within the old walls a numerous brood of sons and daughters, now
scattered over the surface of the world in general, after the sturdy
British fashion, till only three or four remained at home, waiting
their turn to fly.
One of these now stood at the gate. It was Imogen Young, oldest but
one of the four daughters. She was evidently waiting for some one, and
waiting rather impatiently.
We shall certainly be late, she said aloud, and it's quite too
bad of Lion. Then, glancing at the little silver watch in her belt,
she began to call, Lion! Lionel! Oh, Lion! do make haste! It's gone
twenty past, and we shall never be there in time.
Coming, shouted a voice from an upper window; I'm just washing my
hands. Coming in a jiffy, Moggy.
Jiffy! murmured Imogen. How very American Lion has got to be.
He's always 'guessing' and 'calculating' and 'reckoning.' It seems as
if he did it on purpose to startle and annoy me. I suppose one has got
to get used to it if you're over there, but really it's beastly bad
form, and I shall keep on telling Lion so.
She was not a pretty girl, but neither was she an ill-looking one.
Neither tall nor very slender, her vigorous little figure had still a
certain charm of trim erectness and youthful grace, though Imogen was
twenty-four, and considered herself very staid and grown-up. A fresh,
rosy skin, beautiful hair of a warm, chestnut color, with a natural
wave in it, and clear, honest, blue eyes, went far to atone for a thick
nose, a wide mouth, and front teeth which projected slightly and seemed
a size too large for the face to which they belonged. Her dress did
nothing to assist her looks. It was woollen, of an unbecoming shade of
yellowish gray; it fitted badly, and the complicated loops and hitches
of the skirt bespoke a fashion some time since passed by among those
who were particular as to such matters. The effect was not assisted by
a pork-pie hat of black straw trimmed with green feathers, a pink
ribbon from which depended a silver locket, a belt of deep magenta-red,
yellow gloves, and an umbrella bright navy-blue in tint. She had over
her arm a purplish water-proof, and her thick, solid boots could defy
the mud of her native shire.
Lion! Lion! she called again; and this time a tall young fellow
responded, running rapidly down the path to join her. He was two years
her junior, vigorous, alert, and boyish, with a fresh skin, and tawny,
waving hair like her own.
How long you have been! she cried reproachfully.
Grieved to have kept you, Miss, was the reply. You see, things
went contrairy-like. The grease got all over me when I was cleaning the
guns, and cold water wouldn't take it off, and that old Saunders took
his time about bringing the can of hot, till at last I rushed down and
fetched it up myself from the copper. You should have seen cook's face!
'Fancy, Master Lionel,' says she, 'coming yourself for 'ot water!' I
tell you, Moggy, Saunders is past his usefulness. He's a regular
There's another American expression. Saunders is a most respectable
man, I'm sure, and has been in the family thirty-one years. Of course
he has a good deal to do just now, with the packing and all. Now, Lion,
we shall have to walk smartly if we're to get there at half-after.
All right. Here goes for a spin, then.
The brother and sister walked rapidly on down the winding road, in
the half-shadow of the bordering hedges. Real Devonshire hedge-rows
they were, than which are none lovelier in England, rising eight and
ten feet overhead on either side, and topped with delicate, flickering
birch and ash boughs blowing in the fresh wind. Below were thick
growths of hawthorn, white and pink, and wild white roses in full
flower interspersed with maple tips as red as blood, the whole
interlaced and held together with thick withes and tangles of ivy,
briony, and travellers' joy. Beneath them the ground was strewn with
flowers,violets, and king-cups, poppies, red campions, and blue
iris,while tall spikes of rose-colored foxgloves rose from among
ranks of massed ferns, brake, hart's-tongue, and maiden's-hair, with
here and there a splendid growth of Osmund Royal. To sight and smell,
the hedge-rows were equally delightful.
Copplestone Grange stood three miles west of Bideford, and the house
to which the Youngs were going was close above Clovelly, so that a
distance of some seven miles separated them. To walk this twice for the
sake of lunching with a friend would seem to most young Americans too
formidable a task to be at all worth while, but to our sturdy English
pair it presented no difficulties. On they went, lightly and steadily,
Imogen's elastic steps keeping pace easily with her brother's longer
tread. There was a good deal of up and down hill to get over with, and
whenever they topped a rise, green downs ending in wooded cliffs could
be seen to the left, and beyond and below an expanse of white-flecked
shimmering sea. A salt wind from the channel blew in their faces, full
of coolness and refreshment, and there was no dust.
I suppose we shall never see the ocean from where we are to live,
said Imogen, with a sigh.
Well, hardly, considering it's about fifteen-hundred miles away.
Fifteen hundred! oh, Lion, you are surely exaggerating. Why, the
whole of England is not so large as that, from Land's End to John
I should say not, nothing like it. Why Moggy, you've no idea how
small our 'right little, tight little island' really is. You could set
it down plump in some of the States, New York, for instance, and there
would be quite a tidy fringe of territory left all round it. Of course,
morally, we are the standard of size for all the world, but
geographically, phew!our size is little, though our hearts are
I think it's vulgar to be so big,not that I believe half you say,
Lion. You've been over in America so long, and grown such a Yankee,
that you swallow everything they choose to tell you. I've always heard
about American brag
My dear, there's no need to brag when the facts are there, staring
you in the face. It's just a matter of feet and inches,any one can do
the measurement who has a tape-line. Wait till you see it. And as for
its being vulgar to be big, why is the 'right little, tight little'
always stretching out her long arms to rope in new territory, in that
case, I should like to know? It would be much eleganter to keep herself
Oh, don't talk that sort of rot; I hate to hear you.
I must when you talk that kind ofwell, let us say 'rubbish.'
'Rot' is one of our choice terms which hasn't got over to the States
yet. You're as opiniated and 'narrer' as the little island itself. What
do you know about America, any way? Did you ever see an American in
your life, child?
Yes, several. I saw Buffalo Bill last year, and lots of Indians and
cow-boys whom he had fetched over. And I saw ProfessorProfessorwhat
was his name? I forget, but he lectured on phrenology; and then there
was Mrs. Geoff Templestowe.
Oh Mrs. Geoffshe's a different sort. Buffalo Bill and his show
can hardly be treated as specimens of American society, and neither can
your bump-man. But she's a fair sample of the nice kind; and you liked
her, now didn't you? you know you did.
Well, yes, I did, admitted Imogen, rather grudgingly. She was
really quite nice, and good-form, and all that, and Isabel said she was
far and away the best sister-in-law yet, and the Squire took such a
fancy to her that it was quite remarkable. But she cannot be used as an
argument, for she's not the least like the American girls in the books.
She must have had unusual advantages. And after all,nice as she was,
she wasn't English. There was a difference somehow,you felt it though
you couldn't say exactly what it was.
No, thank goodnessshe isn't; that's just the beauty of it. Why
should all the world be just alike? And what books do you mean, and
what girls? There are all kinds on the other side, I can tell you. Wait
till you get over to the High Valley and you'll see.
This sort of discussion had become habitual of late between the
brother and sister. Three years before, Lionel had gone out to
Colorado, to look about and see how ranching suited him, as he
phrased it, and had decided that it suited him exactly. He had served a
sort of apprenticeship to Geoffrey Templestowe, the son of an old
Devonshire neighbor, who had settled in a place called High Valley,
and, together with two partners, had built up a flourishing and
lucrative cattle business, owning a large tract of grazing territory
and great herds. One of the partners was now transferred to New Mexico,
where the firm owned land also, and Mr. Young had advanced money to buy
Lionel, who was now competent to begin for himself, a share in the
business. He was now going out to remain permanently, and Imogen was
going also, to keep his house and make a home for him till he should be
ready to marry and settle down.
All over the world there are good English sisters doing this sort of
thing. In Australia and New Zealand they are to be found, in Canada,
and India, and the Transvaal,wherever English boys are sent to
advance their fortunes. Had her destination been Canada or Australia,
Imogen would have found no difficulty in adjusting her ideas to it, but
the United States were a terra incognita. Knowing absolutely
nothing about them, she had constructed out of a fertile fancy and a
few facts an altogether imaginary America, not at all like the real
one; peopled by strange folk quite un-English in their ideas and ways,
and very hard to understand and live with. In vain did Lionel protest
and explain; his remonstrances were treated as proofs of the degeneracy
and blindness induced by life in The States, and to all his appeals
she opposed that calm, obstinate disbelief which is the weapon of a
limited intellect and experience, and is harder to deal with than the
most passionate convictions.
Unknown to herself a little sting of underlying jealousy tinctured
these opinions. For many years Isabel Templestowe had been her favorite
friend, the person she most admired and looked up to. They had been at
school together,Isabel always taking the lead in everything, Imogen
following and imitating. The Templestowes were better born than the
Youngs, they took a higher place in the county; it was a distinction as
well as a tender pleasure to be intimate in the house. Once or twice
Isabel had gone to her married sister in London for a taste of the
season. No such chance had ever fallen to Imogen's lot, but it was
next best to get letters, and hear from Isabel of all that she had seen
and done; thus sharing the joys at second-hand, as it were.
Isabel had other intimates, some of whom were more to her than
Imogen could be, but they lived at a distance and Imogen close at hand.
Propinquity plays a large part in friendship as well as love. Imogen
had no other intimate, but she knew too little of Isabel's other
interests to be made uncomfortable about them, and was quite happy in
her position as nearest and closest confidante until, four years
before, Geoffrey Templestowe came home for a visit, bringing with him
his American wife, whose name before her marriage had been Clover Carr,
and whom some of you who read this will recognize as an old friend.
Young, sweet, pretty, very happy, and horribly well-dressed, as
poor Imogen in her secret soul admitted, Clover easily and quickly won
the liking of her people-in-law. All the outlying sons and daughters
who were within reach came home to make her acquaintance, and all were
charmed with her. The Squire petted and made much of his new daughter
and could not say enough in her praise. Mrs. Templestowe averred that
she was as good as she was pretty, and as sensible as if she had been
born and brought up in England; and, worst of all, Isabel, for the time
of their stay, was perfectly absorbed in Geoff and Clover, and though
kind and affectionate when they met, had little or no time to spend on
Imogen. She and Clover were of nearly the same age, each had a thousand
interesting things to tell the other, both were devoted to
Geoffrey,it was natural, inevitable, that they should draw together.
Imogen confessed to herself that it was only right that they should do
so, but it hurt all the same, and it was still a sore spot in her heart
that Isabel should love Clover so much, and that they should write such
long letters to each other. She was a conscientious girl, and she
fought against the feeling and tried hard to forget it, but there it
was all the same.
But while I have been explaining, the rapid feet of the two walkers
had taken them past the Hoops Inn, and to the opening of a rough shady
lane which made a short cut to the grounds of Stowe Manor, as the
Templestowes' place was called.
They entered by a private gate, opened by Imogen with a key which
she carried, and found themselves on the slope of a hill overhung with
magnificent old beeches. Farther down, the slope became steeper and
narrowed to form the sharp chine which cut the cliff seaward to the
water's edge. The Manor-house stood on a natural plateau at the head of
the ravine, whose steep green sides made a frame for the beautiful
picture it commanded of Lundy Island, rising in bold outlines over
seventeen miles of blue, tossing sea.
The brother and sister paused a moment to look for the hundredth
time at this exquisite glimpse. Then they ran lightly down over the
grass to where an intersecting gravel-path led to the door. It stood
hospitably open, affording a view of the entrance hall.
Such a beautiful old hall! built in the time of the Tudors, with a
great carven fireplace, mullioned windows in deep square bays, and a
ceiling carved with fans, shields, and roses. Bow-pots stood on the
sills, full of rose-leaves and spices, huge antlers and trophies of
weapons adorned the walls, and the polished floor, almost black with
age, shone like a looking-glass.
Beyond opened a drawing-room, low-ceiled and equally quaint in
build. The furniture seemed as old as the house. There was nothing with
a modern air about it, except some Indian curiosities, a water-color or
two, the photographs of the family, and the fresh flowers in the vases.
But the sun shone in, there was a great sense of peace and stillness,
and beside a little wood-fire, which burned gently and did not hiss or
crackle as it might have done elsewhere, sat a lovely old lady, whose
fresh and peaceful and kindly face seemed the centre from which all the
home look and comfort streamed. She was knitting a long silk stocking,
a volume of Mudie's lay on her knee, and a skye terrier, blue, fuzzy,
and sleepy, had curled himself luxuriously in the folds of her dress.
This was Mrs. Templestowe, Geoff's mother and Clover's
mother-in-law. She jumped up almost as lightly as a girl to welcome the
Take your hat off, my dear, she said to Imogen, or would you
rather run up to Isabel's room? She was here just now, but her father
called her off to consult about something in the hot-house. He won't
keep her longAh, there she is now, as a figure flashed by the
window; I knew she would be here directly.
Another second and Isabel hurried in, a tall, slender girl with
thick, fair hair, blue eyes with dark lashes, and a look of breeding
and distinction. Her dress, very simple in cut, suited her, and had
that undefinable air of being just right which a good London tailor
knows how to give. She wore no ornaments, but Imogen, who had felt
rather well-dressed when she left home, suddenly hated her gown and
hat, realized that her belt and ribbon did not agree, and wished for
the dozenth time that she had the knack at getting the right thing
which Isabel possessed.
Her clothes grow prettier all the time, and mine get uglier, she
reflected. The Squire says she got points from Mrs. Geoff, and that
the Americans know how to dress if they don't know anything else; but
that's nonsense, of course,Isabel always did know how; she didn't
need any one to teach her.
Pretty soon they were all seated at luncheon, a hearty and
substantial meal, as befitted the needs of people who had just taken a
seven-mile walk. A great round of cold beef stood at one end of the
table, a chicken-pie at the other, and there were early peas and
potatoes, a huge cherry-tart, a junket equally large, strawberries,
and various cakes and pastries, meant to be eaten with a smother of
that delicacy peculiar to Devonshire, clotted cream. Every body was
very hungry, and not much was said till the first rage of appetite was
Ah! said the Squire, as he filled his glass with amber-hued
cider,you don't get anything so good as this to drink over in
Indeed we do, sir. Wait till you taste our lemonade made with
Lemonade? phoo! Poor stuff I call it, cold and thin. I hope Geoff
has some better tipple than that to cheer him in the High Valley.
Iced water, suggested Lionel, mischievously.
Don't talk to me about iced water. It's worse than lemonade. It's
the perpetual use of ice which makes the Americans so nervous, I am
But, papa, are they so nervous? Clover certainly isn't.
Ah! my little Clover,no, she wasn't nervous. She was nothing that
she ought not to be. I call her as sweet a lass as any country need
want to see. But Clover's no example; there aren't many like her, I
Well, Squire, she's not the only one of the sort over there. Her
sister, who married Mr. Page, our other partner, you know, is quite as
pretty as she is, and as nice, too, though in a different way. And
there's the oldest onethe wife of the naval officer, I'm not sure but
you would like her the best of the three. She's a ripper in
looks,tall, you know, with lots of go and energy, and yet as sweet
and womanly as can be; you'd like her very much, you'd like all of
How is the unmarried one?Joan, I think they call her, asked Mrs.
Oh! said Lionel, rather confused, I don't know so much about her.
She's only once been out to the valley since I was there. She seems a
nice girl, and certainly she's mighty pretty.
Lion's blushing, remarked Imogen. He always does blush when he
speaks of that Miss Carr.
Rot! muttered Lionel, with a wrathful look at his sister. I do
nothing of the kind. But, Squire, when are you coming over to see for
yourself how we look and behave? I think you and the Madam would enjoy
a summer in the High Valley very much, and it would be no end of larks
to have you. Isabel would like it of all things.
Oh, I know I should. I would start to-morrow, if I could. I'm
coming across to make Clover and Imogen a long visit the first moment
that papa and mamma can spare me.
That will be a long time to wait, I fear, said her mother, sadly.
Since Mr. Matthewson married and carried off poor Helen's children,
the house has seemed so silent that except for you it would hardly be
worth while to get up in the morning. We can't spare you at present,
I know, mamma, and I shall never go till you can. The perfect thing
would be that we should all go together.
Yes, if it were not for that dreadful voyage.
Oh, the voyage is nothing, broke in the irrepressible Lionel, you
just take some little pills; I forget the name of them, but they make
you safe not to be sick, and then you're across before you know it. The
ships are very comfortable,electric bells, Welsh rabbits at bed-time,
and all that, you know.
Fancy mamma with a Welsh rabbit at bed-time!mamma, who cannot
even row down to Gallantry on the smoothest day without being upset!
You must bait your hook with something else, Lionel, if you hope to
How would a trefoil of clover-leaves answer? with a smile,she,
Geoff, and the boy.
Ah, that dear baby. I wish I could see the little fellow. He
is so pretty in his picture, sighed Mrs. Templestowe. That bait would
land me if anything could, Lion. By the way, there are some little
parcels for them, which I thought perhaps you would make room for,
Yes, indeed, I'll carry anything with pleasure. Now I'm afraid we
must be going. Mother wants me to step down to Clovelly with a message
for the landlady of the New Inn, and I've set my heart upon walking
once more to Gallantry Bower. Can't you come with us, Isabel? It would
be so nice if you could, and it's my last chance.
Of course I will. I'll be ready in five minutes, if you really
can't stay any longer.
The three friends were soon on their way, under a low-hung sky,
which looked near and threatening. The beautiful morning was fled.
We had better cut down into the Hobby grounds and get under the
trees, for I think it's going to be wet, said Imogen.
The suggestion proved a wise one, for before they emerged from the
shelter of the woods it was raining smartly, and the girls were glad of
their water-proofs and umbrellas. Lionel, with hands in pockets, strode
on, disdaining what he was pleased to call a little local shower.
You should see how it pours in Colorado, he remarked. That's
worth calling rain! Immense! Noah would feel perfectly at home in it!
The tax of threepence each person, by which strangers are
ingeniously made to contribute to the local charities, was not
exacted of them at the New Road Gate, on the strength of their being
residents, and personal friends of the owners of Clovelly Court. A few
steps farther brought them to the top of a zig-zag path, sloping
sharply downward at an angle of some sixty-five degrees, paved with
broad stones, and flanked on either side by houses, no two of which
occupied the same level, and which seemed to realize their precarious
footing, and hug the rift in which they were planted as limpets hug a
This was the so-called Clovelly Street, and surely a more
extraordinary thing in the way of a street does not exist in the known
world. The little village is built on the sides of a crack in a
tremendous cliff; the street is merely the bottom of the crack, into
which the ingenuity of man has fitted a few stones, set slant-wise,
with intersecting ridges on which the foot can catch as it goes
slipping hopelessly down. Even to practised walkers the descent is
difficult, especially when the stones are wet. The party from Stowe
were familiar with the path, and had trodden it many times, but even
they picked their steps, and went delicately like King Agag, holding
up umbrellas in one hand, and with the other catching at garden palings
and the edges of door-steps to save themselves from pitching headlong,
while beside them little boys and girls with the agility of long
practice, went down merrily almost at a run, their heavy, flat-bottomed
shoes making a clap-clap-clapping noise as they descended, like the
strokes of a mallet on wood.
Looking up and above the quaint tenements that bordered the
street, other houses equally quaint could be seen on either side
rising above each other to the top of the cliff, in whose midst the
crack which held the village is set. How it ever entered into the mind
of man to utilize such a place for such a purpose it was hard to
conceive. The eccentricity of level was endless, gardens topped roofs,
gooseberry-bushes and plum-trees seemed growing out of chimneys, tall
trees rose apparently from ridge-poles, and here and there against the
sky appeared extraordinary wooden figures of colossal size, Mermaids
and Britannias and Belle Savages, figure-heads of forgotten ships which
old sea-captains out of commission had set up in their gardens to
remind them of perils past. The weather-beaten little houses looked
centuries old, and all had such an air of having been washed
accidentally into their places by a great tidal wave that the vines and
flowers which overhung them affected the new-comer with a sense of
Down went the three, slipping and sliding, catching on and
recovering themselves, till they came to a small, low-browed building
dating back for a couple of centuries or so, which was the New Inn.
Old and new have a local meaning of their own in Clovelly which
does not exactly apply anywhere else.
Up two little steps they passed into a narrow entry, with a parlor
on one side and on the other a comfortable sort of housekeeper's room,
where a fire was blazing in a grate with wide hobs. Both rooms as well
as the entry were hung with plates, dishes, platters, and bowls, set
thickly on the walls in groups of tens and scores and double-scores, as
suited their shape and color. The same ceramic decoration ran upstairs
and pervaded the rooms above more or less; a more modern brick-building
on the opposite side of the street which was the annex of the Inn,
was equally full; hundreds and hundreds of plates and saucers and cups,
English and Delft ware chiefly, and blue and white in color. It had
been the landlady's hobby for years past to form this collection of
china, and it was now for sale to any one who might care to buy.
Isabel and Lionel ran to and fro examining the great wall of
China, as he termed it, while Imogen did her mother's errand to the
landlady. Then they started again to mount the hill, which was an
easier task than going down, passing on the way two or three parties of
tourists holding on to each other, and shrieking and exclaiming; and
being passed by a minute donkey with two sole-leather trunks slung on
one side of him, and on the other a mountainous heap of hand-bags and
valises. This is the only creature with four legs, bigger than a dog,
that ever gets down the Clovelly street; and why he does not lose his
balance, topple backward, and go rolling continuously down till he
falls into the sea below, nobody can imagine. But the valiant little
animal kept steadily on, assisted by his owner, who followed and
assiduously whacked him with a stout stick, and he reached the top much
sooner than any of his biped following. One cannot have too many legs
in Clovelly,a centipede would find himself at an uncommon advantage.
At the top of the street is the Yellery Gate through which our
party passed into lovely park grounds topping a line of fine cliffs
which lead to Gallantry Bower. This is the name given to an enormous
headland which falls into the sea with a sheer descent of nearly four
hundred feet, and forms the western boundary of the Clovelly roadstead.
The path was charmingly laid out with belts of woodland and clumps
of flowering shrubs. Here and there was a seat or a rustic
summer-house, commanding views of the sea, now a deep intense blue, for
the rain had ceased as suddenly as it came, and broad yellow rays were
streaming over the wet grass and trees, whose green was dazzling in its
freshness. Imogen drew in a long breath of the salt wind, and looked
wistfully about her at the vivid turf, the delicate shimmer of blowing
leaves, and the tossing ocean, as if trying to photograph each detail
in her memory.
I shall see nothing so beautiful over there, she said. Dear old
Devonshire, there's nothing like it.
Colorado is even better than 'dear old Devonshire,' declared her
brother; wait till you see Pike's Peak. Wait till I drive you through
the North Cheyenne Canyon.
But Imogen shook her head incredulously.
Pike's Peak! she answered, with an air of scorn. The name is
enough; I never want to see it.
Well, you girls are good walkers, it must be confessed; said
Lionel, as they emerged on the crossing of the Bideford road where they
must separate. Isabel looks as fresh as paint, and Moggy hasn't turned
a hair. I don't think Mrs. Geoff could stand such a walk, or any of her
Oh, no, indeed; Clover would feel half-killed if she were asked to
undertake a sixteen-mile walk. I remember, when she was here, we just
went down to the pier at Clovelly for a row on the Bay and back through
the Hobby, six miles in all, perhaps, and she was quite done up, poor
dear, and had to go on to the sofa. I can't think why American girls
are not better walkers,though there was that Miss Appleton we
met at Zermatt, who went up the Matterhorn and didn't make much of it.
Good-by, Imogen; I shall come over before you start and fetch mamma's
CHAPTER II. MISS OPDYKE FROM NEW
THE next week was a busy one. Packing had begun; and what with Mrs.
Young's motherly desire to provide her children with every possible
convenience for their new home, and Imogen's rooted conviction that
nothing could be found in Colorado worth buying, and that it was
essential to carry out all the tapes and sewing-silk and buttons and
shoe-thread and shoes and stationery and court-plaster and cotton cloth
and medicines that she and Lionel could possibly require during the
next five years,it promised to be a long job.
In vain did Lionel remonstrate, and assure his sister that every one
of these things could be had equally well at St. Helen's, where some of
them went almost every day, and that extra baggage cost so much on the
Pacific railways that the price of such commodities would be nearly
doubled before she got them safely to the High Valley.
Now what can be the use of taking two pounds of pins, for example?
he protested. Pins are as plenty as blackberries in America. And all
those spools of thread too!
Reels of cotton, do you mean? I wish you would speak English, at
least while we are in England. I shouldn't dare go without plenty of
such things. American cotton isn't as good as ours; I've always been
Well, it's good enough, as you'll find. And do make a place for
something pretty; a few nice tea-cups for instance, and some things to
hold flowers, and some curtain stuffs for the windows, and photographs.
Geoff and Mrs. Geoff have made their house awfully nice, I can tell
you. Americans think a deal of that sort of thing. All this
haberdashery and hardware is ridiculous, and you'll be sorry enough
that you didn't listen to me before you are through with it.
Mother has packed some cups already, I believe, and I'll take that
white Minton jar if you like, but really I shouldn't think delicate
things like that would be at all suitable in a new place like Colorado,
where people must rough it as we are going to do. You are so infatuated
about America, Lion, that I can't trust your opinion at all.
I've been there, and you haven't, was all that Lionel urged in
answer. It seemed an incontrovertible argument, but Imogen made no
attempt to overthrow it. She only packed on according to her own ideas,
It lacked only five days of their setting out when she and her
brother walked into Bideford one afternoon for some last errands. It
was June now, and the south of England was at its freshest and fairest.
The meadows along the margin of the Torridge wore their richest green,
the hill slopes above them were a bloom of soft color. Each court yard
and garden shimmered with the gold of laburnums or the purple and white
of clustering clematis; and the scent of flowers came with every puff
As they passed up the side street, a carriage with three strange
ladies in it drove by them. It stopped at the door of the New Inn,as
quaint in build and even older than the New Inn of Clovelly. The ladies
got out, and one of them, to Imogen's great surprise, came forward and
extended her hand to Lionel.
Mr. Young,it is Mr. Young, isn't it? You've quite forgotten me, I
fear,Mrs. Page. We met at St. Helen's two years ago when I stopped to
see my son. Let me introduce you to my daughter, the Comtesse de
Conflans, and Miss Opdyke, of New York.
Lionel could do no less than stop, shake hands, and present his
sister, whereupon Mrs. Page urged them both to come in for a few
minutes and have a cup of tea.
We are here only till the evening-train, she explained,just to
see Westward Ho and get a glimpse of the Amyas Leigh country. And I
want to ask any quantity of questions about Clarence and his wife.
What! you are going out to the High Valley next week, and your sister
too? Oh, that makes it absolutely impossible for me to let you off. You
really must come in. There are so many messages I should like to send,
and a cup of tea will be a nice rest for Miss Young after her long
It isn't long at all, protested Imogen; but Mrs. Page could not be
gainsaid, and led the way upstairs to a sitting-room with a bay window
overlooking the windings of the Torridge, which was crammed with quaint
carved furniture of all sorts. There were buffets, cabinets,
secretaries, delightful old claw-footed tables and sofas, and chairs
whose backs and arms were a mass of griffins and heraldic emblems. Old
oak was the specialty of the landlady of this New Inn, it seemed, as
blue china was of the other. For years she had attended sales and poked
about in farmhouses and attics, till little by little she had
accumulated an astonishing collection. Many of the pieces were genuine
antiques, but some had been constructed under her own eye from wood
equally venerable,pew-ends and fragments of rood-screens purchased
from a dismantled and ruined church. The effect was both picturesque
Mrs. Page seated her guests in two wide, high-backed chairs, rang
for tea, and began to question Lionel about affairs in the High Valley,
while Imogen, still under the influence of surprise at finding herself
calling on these strangers, glanced curiously at the younger ladies of
the party. The Comtesse de Conflans was still young, and evidently had
been very pretty, but she had a worn, dissatisfied air, and did not
look happy. Imogen learned afterward that her marriage, which was
considered a triumph and a grand affair when it took place, had not
turned out very well. Count Ernest de Conflans was rather a black sheep
in some respects, had a strong taste for baccarat and rouge et noir, and spent so much of his bride's money at these amusements during the
first year of their life together, that her friends became alarmed, and
their interference had brought about a sort of amicable separation.
Count Ernest lived in Washington, receiving a specified sum out of his
wife's income, and she was travelling indefinitely in Europe with her
mother. It was no wonder that she did not look satisfied and content.
Miss Opdyke, of New York was quite different and more attractive,
Imogen thought. She had never seen any one in the least like her.
Rather tall, with a long slender throat, a waist of fabulous smallness,
and hands which, in their gants de Suède, did not seem more than
two inches wide, she gave the impression of being as fragile in make
and as delicately fibred as an exotic flower. She had pretty, arch,
gray eyes, a skin as white as a magnolia blossom, and a fluff of
wonderful pale hairartlessly looped and pinned to look as if it had
blown by accident into its placewhich yet exactly suited the face it
framed. She was restlessly vivacious, her mobile mouth twitched with a
hidden amusement every other moment; when she smiled she revealed
pearly teeth and a dimple; and she smiled often. Her dress, apparently
simple, was a wonder of fit and cut,a skirt of dark fawn-brown, a
blouse of ivory-white silk, elaborately tucked and shirred, a cape of
glossy brown fur whose high collar set off her pale vivid face, and a
picture hat with a wreath of plumes. Imogen, whose preconceived
notion of an American girl included diamond ear-rings sported morning,
noon, and night, observed with surprise that she wore no ornaments
except one slender bangle. She had in her hand a great bunch of yellow
roses, which exactly toned in with the ivory and brown of her dress,
and she played with these and smelled them, as she sat on a high
black-oak settle, and, consciously or unconsciously, made a picture of
She seemed as much surprised and entertained at Imogen as Imogen
could possibly be at her.
I suppose you run up to London often, was her first remark.
N-o, not often. In fact, Imogen had been in London only once in
the whole course of her life.
Dear me!don't you? Why, how can you exist without it? I shouldn't
think there would be anything to do here that was in the least
amusing,not a thing. How do you spend your time?
I?I don't know, I'm sure. There's always plenty to do.
To do, yes; but in the way of amusement, I mean. Do you have many
balls? Is there any gayety going on? Where do you find your men?
No, we don't have balls often, but we have lawn parties, and
tennis, and once a year there's a school feast.
Oh, yes, I know,children in gingham frocks and pinafores, eating
buns and drinking milk-and-hot-water out of mugs. Rapturous fun it must
be,but I think one might get tired of it in time. As for lawn
parties, I tried one in Fulham the other day, and I don't want to go to
any more in England, thank you. They never introduced a soul to us, the
band played out of tune, it was as dull as ditch-water,just dreary,
ill-dressed people wandering in and out, and trying to look as if five
sour strawberries on a plate, and a thimbleful of ice cream were bliss
and high life and all the rest of it. The only thing really nice was
the roses; those were delicious. Lady Mary Ponsonby gave me
three,to make up for not presenting any one to me, I suppose.
Do you still keep up the old fashion of introductions in America?
said Imogen with calm superiority. It's quite gone out with us. We
take it for granted that well-bred people will talk to their neighbors
at parties, and enjoy themselves well enough for the moment, and then
they needn't be hampered with knowing them afterward. It saves a lot of
complications not having to remember names, or bow to people.
Yes, I know that's the theory, but I call it a custom introduced
for the suppression of strangers. Of course, if you know all the people
present, or who they are, it doesn't matter in the least; but if you
don't, it makes it a ghastly mockery to try to enjoy yourself at a
party. But do tell me some more about Bideford. I'm so curious about
English country life. I've seen only London so far. Is it ever warm
Warm? vaguely, what do you mean?
I mean warm. Perhaps the word is not known over here, or
doesn't mean the same thing. England seems to me just one degree better
than Nova Zembla. The sun is a mere imitation sun. He looks yellow,
like a real one, when you see him,which isn't often,but he doesn't
burn a bit. I've had the shivers steadily ever since we landed. She
pulled her fur cape closer about her ears as she spoke.
Why, what can you want different from this? asked Imogen,
surprised. It's a lovely day. We haven't had a drop of rain since last
That is quite true, and remarkable as true; but somehow I don't
feel any warmer than I did when it rained. Ah, here comes the tea. Let
me pour it, Mrs. Page. I make awfully good tea. Such nice, thick cream!
but, oh, dear!here is more of that awful bread.
It was a stout household loaf, of the sort invariable in
south-county England, substantial, crusty, and tough, with a nubbin
on top, and in consistency something between pine wood and sole
leather. Miss Opdyke, after filling her cups, proceeded to cut the loaf
in slices, protesting as she did so that it creaked in the chewing,
The muscular strength that it gave to her jaw
Would last her the rest of her life.
Why, what sort of bread do you have in America? demanded Imogen,
astonished and offended by the frankness of these strictures. This is
the sort every one eats here. I'm sure it's excellent. What is there
about it that you don't like?
Oh, everything. Wait till you taste our American bread, and you'll
understand,or rather, our breads, for we have dozens of kinds, each
more delicious than the last. Wait till you eat corn-bread and
I've always been told that the American food was dreadfully messy,
observed Imogen, nettled into reprisals; pepper on eggs, and all that
sort of thing,very messy and nasty, indeed.
Well, we have deviated from the English method as to the
eating of eggs, I admit. I know it's correct to chip the shell, and eat
all the white at one end by itself, with a little salt, and then all
the yellow in the middle, and last of all the white at the other end by
itself; but there are bold spirits among us who venture to stir and
mix. Fools rush in, you know; they will do it, even where
Britons fear to tread.
We stopped at Northam to see Sir Amyas Leigh's house, Mrs. Page
was saying to Lionel. It's really very interesting to visit the spots
where celebrated people have lived. There is a sad lack of such places
in America. We are such a new country. Lilly and Miss Opdyke walked up
to the hill where Mrs. Leigh stood to see the Spanish ship come
in,quite fascinating, they said it was.
You must be sure to stay long enough in Boston to see the house
where Silas Lapham lived, put in the wicked Miss Opdyke. One cannot
see too much of places associated with famous people.
I don't remember any such name in American history, said honest
Imogen,'Silas Lapham,' who was he?
A man in a novel, and Amyas Leigh is a man in another novel,
whispered Miss Opdyke. Mrs. Page isn't quite sure about him, but she
doesn't like to confess as frankly as you do. She has forgotten, and
fancies that he really lived in Queen Elizabeth's time; and the
coachman was so solemnly sure that he did that it's not much wonder. I
bought an old silver patch-box in a jeweller's shop on the High Street,
and I'm going to tell my sister that it belonged to Ayacanora.
What an odd idea.
We are full of odd ideas over in America, you know.
Tell me something about the States, said Imogen. My brother is
quite mad over Colorado, but he doesn't know much about the rest of it.
I suppose the country about New York isn't very wild, is it?
Not very, returned Miss Opdyke, with a twinkle. The buffalo are
rarely seen now, and only two men were scalped by the Indians outside
the walls of the city last year.
Fancy! And how do you pass your time? Is it a gay place?
Very. We pass our time doing all sorts of things. There's the Corn
Dance and the Green Currant Dance and the Water Melon pow wow, of
course, and beside these, which date back to the early days of the
colony, we have the more modern amusements, German opera and Italian
opera and the theatre and subscription concerts. Then we have balls
nearly every night in the season and dinner-parties and luncheons and
lectures and musical parties, and we study a good deal and 'slum' a
little. Last winter I belonged to a Greek class and a fencing class,
and a quartette club, and two private dancing classes, and a girls'
working club, and an amateur theatrical society. We gave two private
concerts for charities, you know, and acted the Antigone for the
benefit of the Influenza Hospital. Oh, there is a plenty to pass one's
time in New York, I can assure you. And when other amusements fail, we
can go outside the walls, with a guard of trappers, of course, and try
our hand at converting the natives.
What tribe of Indians is it that you have near you?
The Tammanies,a very trying tribe, I assure you. It seems
impossible to make any impression on them or teach them anything.
Fancy! Did you ever have any adventures yourself with these
Indians? asked Imogen, deeply excited over this veracious resumé of
life in modern New York.
Oh, dear, yesfrequently.
Do tell me some of yours. This is so very interesting. Lionel never
has said a word about theTallamies, did you call them?
Tammanies. Perhaps not; Colorado is so far off, you know. They have
Piutes there,a different tribe entirely, and much less deleterious to
How sad. But about the adventures?
Oh, yeswell, I'll tell you of one; in fact it is the only really
exciting experience I ever had with the New York Indians. It was two
years ago; I had just come out, and it was my birthday, and papa said I
might ride his new mustang, by way of a celebration. So we started, my
brother and I, for a long country gallop.
We were just on the other side of Central Park, barely out of the
city, you see, when a sudden blood-curdling yell filled the air. We
were horror-struck, for we knew at once what it must be,the war-cry
of the savages. We turned of course and galloped for our lives, but the
Indians were between us and the gates. We could see their terrible
faces streaked with war-paint, and the tomahawks at their girdles, and
we felt that all hope was over. I caught hold of papa's lasso, which
was looped round the saddle, and cocked my revolving rifleall the New
York girls wear revolving rifles strapped round their waists,
continued Miss Opdyke, coolly, interrogating Imogen with her eyes as
she spoke for signs of disbelief, but finding noneand I resolved to
sell my life and scalp as dearly as possible. Just then, when all
seemed lost, we heard a shout which sounded like music to our ears. A
company of mounted Rangers were galloping out from the city. They had
seen our peril from one of the watch-towers, and had hurried to our
How fortunate! said Imogen, drawing a long breath. Well, go
ondo go on.
There is little more to tell, said Miss Opdyke, controlling with
difficulty her inclination to laugh. The Head Ranger attacked the
Tammany chief, whose name was Day Vidbehill,a queer name, isn't
it?and slew him after a bloody conflict. He gave me his brush, I mean
his scalp-lock, afterward, and it now adorns Here her amusement
became ungovernable, and she went into fits of laughter, which Imogen's
astonished look only served to increase.
Oh! she cried, between her paroxysms, you believed it all! it is
too absurd, but you really believed it! I thought till just now that
you were only pretending, to amuse me.
Wasn't it true, then? said Imogen, her tardy wits waking slowly up
to the conclusion.
True! why, my dear child, New York is the third city of the world
in size,not quite so large as London, but approaching it. It is a
great, brilliant, gay place, where everything under the sun can be
bought and seen and done. Did you really think we had Indians and
buffaloes close by us?
And haven't you?
Dear me, no. There never was a buffalo within a thousand miles of
us, and not an Indian has come within shooting distance for half a
century, unless he came by train to take part in a show. You mustn't be
so easily taken in. People will impose upon you no end over in America,
unless you are on your guard. What has your brother been about, not to
explain things better?
Well, he has tried, said Imogen, candidly, but I didn't
half believe what he said, because it was so different from the things
in the books. And then he is so in love with America that it seemed as
if he must be exaggerating. He did say that the cities were just like
our cities, only more so, and that though the West wasn't like England
at all, it was very interesting to live in; but I didn't half listen to
him, it sounded so impossible.
Live and learn. You'll have a great many surprises when you get
across, but some of them will be pleasant ones, and I think you'll like
it. Good-by, as Imogen rose to go; I hope we shall meet again some
time, and then you will tell me how you like Colorado, and the Piutes,
andwaffles. I hope to live yet to see you stirring an egg in a glass
with pepper and a 'messy' lump of butter in true Western fashion. It's
awfully good, I've always been told. Do forgive me for hoaxing you. I
never thought you could believe me, and when I found that you
did, it was irresistible to go on.
I can't make out at all about Americans, said Imogen, plaintively,
as after an effusive farewell from Mrs. Page and a languid bow from
Madame de Conflans they were at last suffered to escape into the
street. There seem to be so many different kinds. Mrs. Page and her
daughter are not a bit like each other, and Miss Opdyke is quite
different from either of them, and none of the three resembles Mrs.
Geoffrey Templestowe in the least.
And neither does Buffalo Bill and your phrenological lecturer.
Courage, Moggy. I told you America was a sizable place. You'll begin to
take in and understand the meaning of the variety show after you once
get over there.
It was queer, but do you know I couldn't help rather liking that
girl; confessed Imogen later to Isabel Templestowe. She was odd, of
course, and not a bit English, but you couldn't say she was bad form,
and she was so remarkably quick and bright. It seemed as if she had
seen all sorts of things and tried her hand on almost everything, and
wasn't a bit afraid to say what she thought, or to praise and find
fault. I told you what she said about English bread, and she was just
as rude about our vegetables; she said they were only flavored with hot
water. What do you suppose she meant?
I believe they cook them quite differently in America. Geoff likes
their way, and found a great deal of fault when he was at home with the
cauliflower and the Brussels sprouts. He declared that they had no
taste, and that mint in green-peas killed the flavor. Clover was too
polite to say anything, but I could see that she thought the same.
Mamma was quite put about with Geoff's new notions.
I must say that it seems rather impertinent and forth-putting for a
new nation like that to be setting up opinions of its own, and finding
fault with the good old English customs, said Imogen, petulantly.
Well, I don't know, replied Isabel; we have made some changes
ourselves. John of Gaunt or Harry Hotspur might find fault with us for
the same reason, giving up the 'good old customs' of rushes on the
floor, for instance, and flagons of ale for breakfast. There were the
stocks and the pillory too, and hanging for theft, and the torture of
prisoners. Those were all in use more or less when the Pilgrims went to
America, and I'm sure we're all glad that they were given up. The world
must move, and I suppose it's but natural that the new nations should
give it its impulse.
England is good enough for me, replied the practical Imogen. I
don't want to be instructed by new countries. It's like a child in a
pinafore trying to teach its grandmother how to do things. Now, dear
Isabel, let me hear about your mother's parcels.
Mrs. Templestowe had wisely put her gifts into small compass. There
were two dainty little frocks for her grandson, and a jacket of her own
knitting, two pairs of knickerbocker stockings for Geoff, and for
Clover a bit of old silver which had belonged to a Templestowe in the
time of the Tudors,a double-handled porringer with a coat of arms
engraved on its somewhat dented sides. Clover, like most Americans, had
a passion for the antique; so this present was sure to please.
And you are really off to-morrow, said Isabel at the gate. How I
wish I were going too.
And how I wish I were not going at all, but staying on with you,
responded Imogen. Mother says if Lionel isn't married by the end of
three years she'll send Beatrice out to take my place. She'll be turned
twenty then, and would like to come. Isabel, you'll be married before I
get back, I know you will.
It's most improbable. Girls don't marry in England half so easily
as in America. It will be you who will marry, and settle over there
Never! cried Imogen.
Then the two friends exchanged a last kiss and parted.
My love to Clover, Isabel called back.
Always Clover, thought Imogen; but she smiled, and answered,
CHAPTER III. THE LAST OF DEVON AND
THE FIRST OF AMERICA.
WITH the morrow came the parting from home. Farewell is never an
easy word to say when seas are to separate those who love each other,
but the Young family uttered it bravely and resolutely. Lionel, who was
impatient to get to work and to his beloved High Valley, was more than
ready to go. His face, among the sober ones, looked aggressively
Cheer up, mother, he said, consolingly. You'll be coming over in
a year or two with the Pater, and Moggy and I will give you such a good
time as you never had in your lives. We'll all go up to Estes Park and
camp out for a month. I can see you now coming down the trail on a
burro,what fun it will be.
Who knows? said Mrs. Young, with a smile that was half a sigh. She
and her husband had sent a good many sons and daughters out into the
world to seek their fortunes, and so far not one of them had come back.
To be sure, all were doing well in their several ways,Cyril in India,
where he had an excellent appointment, and the second boy in the army;
two were in the navy, and Tom and Giles in Van Diemen's Land, where
they were making a very good thing out of a sheep ranch. There was no
reason why Lionel should not be equally lucky with his cattle in
Colorado; there were younger children to be considered; it was all in
the day's work, the natural thing. Large families must separate,
parents could not expect to keep their grown boys and girls with them
always. So they dismissed the two who were now going forth cheerfully,
uncomplainingly, and with their blessing, but all the same it was not
pleasant; and Mrs. Young shed some quiet tears in the privacy of her
own room, and her husband looked very serious as he strode down the
Southampton docks after saying good-by to his children on board the
Imogen had never been on a great sea-going vessel before, and it
struck her as being very crowded and confused as well as bewilderingly
big. She stood clutching her bags and bundles nervously and feeling
homesick and astray while farewells and greetings went on about her,
and the people who were going and those who were to stay behind seemed
mixed in an inextricable tangle on the decks. Then a bell rang, and
gradually the groups separated; those who were not going formed
themselves into a black mass on the pier; there was a great fluttering
of handkerchiefs, a plunge of the screw, and the steamer was off.
Lionel, who had been seeing to the baggage, now appeared, and took
Imogen down to her stateroom, advising her to get out all her warm
things and make ready for a rough night.
There's quite a sea on outside, he remarked. We're in for a
rolling if not for a pitching.
Lion! cried Imogen, indignantly. Do you mean to say that you
suppose I'm going to be sick,I, a Devonshire girl born and bred, who
have lived by the sea all my life? Never!
Time will show, was the oracular response. Get the rugs out, any
way, and your brushes and combs and things, and advise Miss
What-d'-you-call-her to do the same.
Miss What-d'-you-call-her was Imogen's room-mate, a perfectly
unknown girl, who had been to her imagination one of the chief
bug-bears of the voyage. She was curled up on the sofa in a tumbled
little heap when they entered the stateroom, had evidently been crying,
and did not look at all formidable, being no older than Imogen, very
small and shy, a soft, dark-eyed appealing creature, half English, half
Belgic by extraction, and going out, it appeared, to join a lover who
for three years had been in California making ready for her. He was to
meet her in New York, with a clergyman in his pocket, so to speak, and
as soon as the marriage ceremony was performed, they were to set out
for their ranch in the San Gabriel Valley, to raise grapes, dry
raisins, and live happily all the days of their lives afterward, like
the prince and princess of a fairy tale.
These confidences were not made immediately or all at once, but
gradually, as the two girls became acquainted, and mutual suffering
endeared them to each other. For, in spite of Imogen's Devonshire
bringing up, the English Channel proved too much for her, and she had
to endure two pretty bad days before, promoted from gruel to dry toast,
and from dry toast to beef-tea, she was able to be helped on deck, and
seated, well wrapped up, in a reclining chair to inhale the cold, salty
wind which was the best and only medicine for her particular kind of
The chair next hers was occupied by a pretty, dark-eyed, and very
lady-like woman, with whom Lionel had apparently made an acquaintance;
for he said, as he tucked Imogen's rugs about her, Here's my sister at
last, you see; which off-hand introduction the lady acknowledged with
a pleasant smile, saying she was glad to see Miss Young able to be up.
Her manner was so unaffected and cordial that Imogen's stiffness melted
under its influence, and before she knew it they were talking quite
like old acquaintances.
Imogen was struck by the sweet voice of the stranger, with its
well-bred modulations, and also by the good taste and perfection of all
her little appointments, from the down pillow at top of her chair to
the fur-trimmed shoes on a pair of particularly pretty feet at the
other end. She set her down in her own mind as a London dame of
fashion,perhaps a countess, or a Lady Something-or-other, who was
going out to see America.
Your brother tells me this is your first voyage, said the lady.
Yes. He has been out before, but none of us were with him. It's all
perfectly strange to mewith a sigh.
Why do you sigh? Don't you expect to like it?
Why no, not like it exactly. Of course I'm glad to be with
Lionel and of use to him, but I didn't come away from home for
Pleasure must come to you, then, said the lady, with a smile. And
really I don't see why it shouldn't. In the first place you are acting
the part of a good sister; and you know the adage about duty performed
making rainbows in the soul. And then Colorado is a beautiful State,
with the finest of mountain views, a wonderful climate, and such wild
flowers as grow nowhere else. I have some friends living there who are
quite infatuated about it. They say there is no place so delightful in
That is just the way with my brother. It's really absurd the way he
talks about it. You would think it was better than England!
It is sure to be very different; but all the same, you will like
it, I think.
I hope sodoubtfully.
Just then came an interruption in the shape of a tall girl of
fifteen or sixteen, with a sweet, childish face who came running down
the deck accompanied by a maid, and seized the strange lady's hand.
Mamma, she began, the first officer says that if you are willing
he will take me across to the bows to see the rainbows on the foam. May
I go? He says Anne can go too.
Yes, certainly, if Mr. Graves will take charge of you. But first
speak to this young lady, who is the sister of Mr. Young, who was so
kind about playing ship-coil with you yesterday, and tell her you are
glad she is able to be on deck. Then you can go, Amy.
Amy turned a pair of beautiful, long-lashed, gray eyes on Imogen.
I'm glad you're better, Miss Young. Mamma and I were sorry you were
so sick, she said, with a frank politeness that was charming. It must
be very disagreeable.
Haven't you been sick, then? said Imogen, holding fast the little
hand that was put in hers.
No, I'm never sick now. I was, though, the first time we
came over, and I behaved awfully. Do you recollect, mamma?
Only too well, said her mother, laughing. You were like a caged
bird, beating yourself against the bars in desperation.
Amy lingered a moment, while a dimple played in her pink cheek as if
she were moved by some amusing remembrance.
Ah, there's Mr. Graves, she said. I must go. I'll come back
presently and tell you about the rainbows, mamma.
I suppose most of these people on board are Americans, said Imogen
after a little pause. It's always easy to tell them, don't you think?
Not always. Yes, I suppose a good many of them areor call
What do you mean by 'call themselves so'? That girl is one, I am
sure, indicating a pretty, stylish young person, who was talking
rather too loudly for good taste with the ship's doctor.
Yes, I imagine she is.
And those people over there, pointing to a large, red-bearded man
who lay back in a sea-chair reading a novel, by the side of a fat wife
who read another, while their little boy raced up and down the deck
quite unheeded, and amused himself by pulling the rugs off the knees of
the sicker passengers. They are Americans, I know! Did you ever see
such creatures? The idea of letting that child make a nuisance of
himself like that! No one but an American would allow it. I've always
heard that children in the States do exactly as they please, and the
grown people never interfere with them in the least.
General rules are dangerous things, said her neighbor, with an odd
little smile. Now, as it happens, I know all about those people. They
call themselves Americans because they have lived in Buffalo for ten
years and are naturalized; but he was born in Scotland and she in
Wales, and the child doesn't belong exactly to any country, for he
happened to be born at sea. You see you can't always tell.
Do you mean, then, that they are English, after all? cried Imogen,
disconcerted and surprised.
Oh, no. Every body is an American who has taken the oath of
allegiance. Those Polish Jews over there are Americans, and that
Italian couple also, and the big party of Germans who are sitting
between the boats. The Germans have a large shop in New York, and go
out every year to buy goods and tell their relations how superior the
United States are to Breslau. They are all Americans, though you would
scarcely suppose it to look at them. America is like a pudding,plums
from one part of the world, and spice from another, and flour and sugar
and flavoring from somewhere else, but all known by the name of
How very, very odd. Somehow I never thought of it before in that
light. Are there no real Americans, then? Are they all foreigners who
have been naturalized?
Oh, no. It is not so bad as that. There are a great many 'real
Americans.' I am one, for example.
You! There was such a world of unfeigned surprise in Imogen's tone
that it was impossible for her new friend not to laugh.
I. Did you not know it? What did you take me for?
Why, English of course, like myself. You are exactly like an
I suppose you mean it for a compliment; thank you, therefore. I
like England very much, so I don't mind being taken for an English
Of course you don't, said Imogen, staring. It's the height of an
American's ambition, I've always heard, to be thought English.
There you are mistaken. There are a few foolish people who feel so
no doubt, and all of us would be glad to copy what is best and nicest
in English ways and manners, but a really good American likes his own
country best of all, and would rather seem to belong to it than any
And I was thinking how different your daughter is from the American
girls! said Imogen, continuing her own train of thought; and how her
manners were so pretty, and did such credit to us, and would
surprise people over there! How very odd. I shall never get to
understand the Americans. They're so different from each other as well
as from us. There were some ladies from New York at Bideford the other
day,a Mrs. Page and a Comtesse de Something-or-other, her daughter,
and a Miss Opdyke from New York. She was very pretty and really
quite nice, though rather queer, but all three were as unlike each
other as they could be. Do you know them in America?
Not Miss Opdyke; but I have met Mrs. Page once in Europe a good
while since. It was before her daughter was married. She is a relative
of my sister-in-law, Mrs. Worthington.
Do you mean the Mrs. Worthington whose husband is in the navy? Why,
that's Mrs. Geoffrey Templestowe's sister!
Do you know Clover Templestowe, then? said the lady, surprised in
her turn. That is really curious. Was it in England that you met?
Yes, and we are on our way to her neighborhood now. My brother has
bought a share in Geoff's business, and we are going to live near them
at High Valley.
I do call this an extraordinary coincidence. Amy, come here and
listen. This young lady is on her way to Colorado, to live close to
Aunt Clover; what do you think of that for a surprise? I don't wonder
that you open your eyes so wide. Isn't it just like a story-book that
she should have come and sat down in the next chair to ours?
It's so funny that I can't believe it, till I take time to think,
said Amy, perching herself on the arm of her mother's seat. Just
think, you'll see Elsie and her baby, and Aunt Clover's baby, and Uncle
Geoff and Phil, and all of them. It's the beautifulest place out there
that you ever saw. There are whole droves of horses, and you ride all
the while, and when you're not riding you can pick flowers and play
with the babies. Oh, I wish I were going with you; it would be such
But aren't you coming? said Imogen, much taken by the frankness of
the little American maid. Coax mamma to fetch you out this summer, and
come and make me a visit. We're going to have a little cabin of our
own, and I'd be delighted to have you. Is it far from where you live?
Well, it's what you would call 'a goodish bit' in England, replied
Mrs. Ashe,two thousand miles or so, nearly three days' journey. Amy
would be charmed to come, I am sure, but I am afraid the distance will
stand in her way. One doesn't 'step out' to Colorado every summer, but
perhaps we may be there some day, and then we shall certainly hope to
This encounter with Mrs. Ashe, who was, in a way, part of the family
with whom Imogen expected to be most intimately associated in America,
made the remainder of the voyage very pleasant. They sat together for
hours every day, talking, and reading, and gradually Imogen waked up to
the fact that American life and society was a much more complex and
less easily understood affair than she had imagined.
The weather was favorable when the first rough days were past, and
after they rounded the curve of the wide sea hemisphere and began to
near the American coast it became beautiful, with high-arching skies
and very bright sunsets. Accustomed to the low-hung grays and
struggling sunbeams of southern England, Imogen could not get used to
these novelties. Her surprise over the dazzle of the day and the clear,
vivid blue of the heavens was a continual amusement and joy to Mrs.
Ashe, who took a patriotic pride in her own climate, and, as it were,
made herself responsible for it.
Then came the eventful morning, when, rousing to the first glow of
dawn, they found the screw motionless, and the steamer lying off a
green island, with a big barrack-building on it, over which waved the
American flag. The health officer made his visit, and before long they
were steaming up the wide bay of New York, between green, flowery
shores, under the colossal Liberty, whose outstretched arm seemed to
point to the dim rich mass of roofs and towers and spires of the city
which lay beyond. Then they neared the landing-stage, where a black
mass of people stood waiting them, and Amy gave a cry of delight as she
saw a gold-banded cap among them, and recognized her Uncle Ned.
The little Anglo-Belgian had been more or less ill all the way over,
and looked pale and wan, though still very pretty, as she stood with
the rest, gazing at the crowd of faces, all of whose eyes were turned
toward the steamer. Imogen, who had helped her to dress, remained
protectingly by her side.
What shall you do if he doesn't happen to be there? she asked,
smitten with a sudden fear. Something might detain him, you know.
IIam not sure, turning pale. Oh, yes, I am, rallying. He
have aunt in Howbokken. I go there and wait. But he not fail; he will
be here. Then her eyes suddenly lit up, and she exclaimed with a
little shriek of joy, He are here! That is he standing by the
big timber. My Karl! my Karl! He are here!
There indeed he was, foremost in the throng, a tall, brown, handsome
fellow, with a nice, strong face, and such a look of love and
expectation in his eyes that prosaic Imogen suddenly felt that it might
be worth while, after all, to cross half the world to meet a look and a
husband like that,a fact which she had disbelieved till now,
demurring also in her private mind as to the propriety of such a thing.
It was pretty to see the tender happiness in the girl's face, and the
answering expression of her lover's. It seemed to put poetry and pathos
into an otherwise commonplace scene. The gang-plank was lowered, a
crowd of people surged ashore, to be met by a corresponding surge from
the on-lookers, and in the midst of it Lieutenant Worthington leaped
aboard and hastened to where his sister stood waiting him.
You're coming up to Newport with me at five-thirty, were his first
words. Katy's all ready, and means to sit up till the boat gets in at
two-thirty, keeping a little supper hot and hot for you. The Torpedo
Station is in its glory just now, and there's going to be a great
explosion on Thursday, which Amy will enjoy.
How lovely! cried Amy, clinging to her uncle's arm. I love
explosions. Why didn't Tanta come too?I'm in such a hurry to see
Then Mr. Worthington asked to be introduced to Imogen and Lionel,
and explained that acting on a request from Geoffrey Templestowe, he
had taken rooms for them at a hotel, and secured their tickets and
sleeping sections in the limited train for the next day.
And I told them to save two seats for Rip Van Winkle to-night till
you got there, he added. If you're not too tired I advise you to go.
Jefferson is an experience which you ought not to miss, and you may
never have another chance.
How awfully kind your brother is, said the surprised Imogen to
Mrs. Ashe; all this trouble, and he never saw either of us before!
It's very good of him.
Oh, that's nothing. That's the way American men do. They are
perfect dears, there's no doubt as to that, and they don't consider
anything a trouble which helps along a friend or a friend's friend.
It's a matter of course over here.
Well, I don't consider it a matter of course at all. I think it
extraordinary, and it was so very nice in Geoff to send word to Lion.
Then they parted. Meanwhile the little room-mate had been having a
private conference with her young man. She now joined Imogen.
Karl says we shall be married directly, in a church, in half an
hour, she told her. And oh, won't you and Mr. Young come to be with
us? It is so sad not to have one friend when one is married.
It was impossible to refuse this request; so it happened that the
very first thing Imogen did in America was to attend a wedding. It took
place in an old church, pretty far down town; and she always afterward
carried in her mind the picture of it, dim and sombre in coloring, with
the afternoon sun pouring in through a rich rose window and throwing
blue and red reflections on the little group of five at the altar,
while from outside came the din of wheels and the unceasing tread of
busy feet. The service was soon over, the signatures were made, and the
little bride went down the chancel on her husband's arm, with her face
appropriately turned to the west, and with such a look of secure and
unfearing happiness upon it as was good to see. It was an unusual and
typical scene with which to begin life in a new country, and Imogen
liked to think afterward that she had been there.
Then followed a long drive up town over rough ill-laid pavements,
through dirty streets, varied by dirtier streets, and farther up, by
those that were less dirty. Imogen had never seen anything so shabby as
the poorest of the buildings that they passed, and certainly never
anything quite so fine as the best of them. Squalor and splendor
jostled each other side by side; everywhere there was the same endless
throng of hurrying people, and everywhere the same abundance of flowers
for sale, in pots, in baskets, in bunches, making the whole air of the
streets sweet. Then they came to the hotel, and were shown to their
rooms,high up, airy, and nicely furnished, though Imogen was at first
disposed to cavil at the absence of bed-curtains.
It looks so bare, she complained. At home such a thing would be
considered very odd, very odd indeed. Fancy a bed without curtains!
After you've spent one hot night in America you'll be glad enough
to fancy it, replied her brother. Stuffy old things. It's only in
cold weather that one could endure them over here.
The first few hours on shore after a voyage have a delightfulness
all their own. It is so pleasant to bathe and dress without having to
hold on and guard against lurches and tips. Imogen went about her
toilet well-pleased; and her pleasure was presently increased when she
found on her dressing-table a beautiful bunch of summer roses, with
Mrs. Geoffrey Templestowe's love and welcome on a card lying beside
it. Thoughtful Clover had written to Ned Worthington to see to this
little attention, and the pleasure it gave went even farther than she
I declare, said Imogen, sitting down with the flowers before her,
I never knew anybody so kind as they all are. I don't feel half so
home-sick as I expected. I must write mamma about these roses. Of
course Mrs. Geoff does it for Isabel's sake; but all the same it is
awfully nice of her, and I shall try not to forget it.
Then, when, after finishing her dressing, she drew the blinds up and
looked from the windows, she gave a cry of sheer pleasure, for there
beneath was spread out a beautiful wide distance of Park with feathery
trees and belts of shrubs, behind which the sun was making ready to set
in a crimson sky. There was a balcony outside the windows, and Imogen
pulled a chair out on it to enjoy the view. Carriages were rolling in
at the Park gates, looking exactly like the equipages one sees in
London, with fat coachmen, glossy horses, and jingling silvered
harness. Girls and young men were cantering along the bridle-paths, and
throngs of well-dressed people filled the walks. Beyond was a fairy
lake, where gondolas shot to and fro; a band was playing; from still
farther away came a peal of chimes from a church tower.
And this is New York! thought Imogen. Then her thoughts reverted
to Miss Opdyke and her tale of the Tammany Indians, and she flushed
with sudden vexation.
What an idiot she must have considered me! she reflected.
But her insular prejudices revived in full force as a knock was
heard, and a colored boy, entering with a tinkling pitcher, inquired,
Did you ring for ice-water, lady?
No! said Imogen sharply; I never drink iced water. I rang for hot
water, but I got it more than an hour ago.
Beg pardon, lady.
Why on earth does he call me 'lady'? she murmuredso tiresome
Then Lionel came for her, and they went down to dinner,a wonderful
repast, with soups and fishes and vegetables quite unknown to her; a
bewildering succession of meats and entrées, strawberries such as she
had supposed did not grow outside of England, raspberries and currants
such as England never knew, and wonderful blackberries, of great size
and sweetness, bursting with purple juice. There were ices too, served
in the shapes of apples, pears, and stalks of asparagus, which dazzled
her country eyes not a little, while the whole was a terror and
astonishment to her thrifty English mind.
Lionel, don't keep on ordering things so, she protested. We are
eating our heads off as it is, I am sure.
My dear young friend, you are come to the Land of Fat Things, he
replied. Dinner costs just the same, once you sit down to it, whether
you have a biscuit and a glass of water, or all these things.
I call it a sinful waste, then, she retorted. But all the same,
since it is so, I'll take another ice.
'First endure, then pity, then embrace,' quoted her brother.
That's right, Moggy; pitch in, spoil the Egyptians. It doesn't hurt
them, and it will do you lots of good.
From the dinner-table they went straight to the theatre, having
decided to follow Lieut. Worthington's advice and see Rip Van Winkle.
And then they straightway fell under the spell of a magician who has
enchanted many thousands before them, and for the space of two hours
forgot themselves, their hopes and fears and expectations, while they
followed the fortunes of the idle, lovable, unpractical Rip, up the
mountain to his sleep of years, and down again, white-haired and
tottering, to find himself forgotten by his kin and a stranger in his
own home. People about them were weeping on relays of
pocket-handkerchiefs, hanging them up one by one as they became soaked,
and beginning on others. Imogen had but one handkerchief, but she cried
with that till she had to borrow Lionel's; and he, though he professed
to be very stoical, could not quite command his voice as he tried to
chaff her in a whisper on her emotions, and begged her to dry up and
remember that it was only a play after all, and that presently
Jefferson would discard his white hair and wrinkles, go home to a good
supper, and make a jolly end to the evening.
It was almost too exciting for a first night on shore, and if Imogen
had not been so tired, and if her uncurtained bed had not proved so
deliciously comfortable, she would scarcely have slept as she did till
half-past seven the next morning, so that they had to scramble through
breakfast not to lose their train. Once started in the Limited, with
a library and a lady's-maid, a bath and a bed at her disposal, and just
beyond a daintily appointed dinner-table adorned with fresh
flowers,all at forty miles an hour,she had leisure to review her
situation and be astonished. Bustling cities shot past them,or seemed
to shoot,beautifully kept country-seats, shabby suburbs where goats
and pigs mounted guard over shanties and cabbage-beds, great tracts of
wild forest, factory towns black with smoke, rivers winding between
blue hill ridges, prairie-like expanses so overgrown with wild-flowers
that they looked all pink or all blue,everything by turns and nothing
long. It seemed the sequence of the unexpected, a succession of rapidly
changing surprises, for which it was impossible to prepare beforehand.
I shall never learn to understand it, thought poor perplexed
CHAPTER IV. IN THE HIGH VALLEY.
MEANWHILE, as the Limited bore the young English travellers on
their western way, a good deal of preparation was going on for their
benefit in that special nook of the Rocky mountains toward which their
course was directed. It was one of those clear-cut, jewel-like mornings
which seem peculiar to Colorado, with dazzling gold sunshine, a
cloudless sky of deep sapphire blue, and air which had touched the
mountain snows somewhere in its nightly blowing, and still carried on
its wings the cool pure zest of the contact.
Hours were generally early in the High Valley, but to-day they were
a little earlier than usual, for every one had a sense of much to be
done. Clover Templestowe did not always get up to administer to her
husband and brother-in-law their stirrup-cup of coffee; but this
morning she was prompt at her post, and after watching them ride up the
valley, and standing for a moment at the open door for a breath of the
scented wind, she seated herself at her sewing-machine. A steady
whirring hum presently filled the room, rising to the floor above and
quickening the movements there. Elsie, running rapidly downstairs half
an hour later, found her sister with quite a pile of little
cheese-cloth squares and oblongs folded on the table near her.
Dear me! are those the Youngs' curtains you are doing? she asked.
I fully meant to get down early and finish my half. That wretched
little Phillida elected to wake up and demand ''tories' from one
o'clock till a quarter past two. 'Hence these tears.' I overslept
myself without knowing it.
Phillida was Elsie's little girl, two years and a half old now, and
Dr. Carr's namesake.
How bad of her! said Clover, smiling. I wish children could be
born with a sense of the fitness of times and seasons. Jeffy is pretty
good as to sleeping, but he is dreadful about eating. Half the time he
doesn't want anything at dinner; and then at half-past three, or a
quarter to eight, or ten minutes after twelve, or some such uncanonical
hour, he is so ragingly hungry that he can scarcely wait till I fetch
him something. He is so tiresome about his bath too. Fancy a young
semi-Britain objecting to 'tub.' I've circumvented him to-day, however,
for Geoff has promised to wash him while you and I go up to set the new
house in order. Baby is always good with Geoff.
So he is, remarked Elsie as she moved about giving little tidying
touches here and there to books and furniture. I never knew a father
and child who suited each other so perfectly. Phil flirts with Clarence
and he is very proud of her notice, but I think they are mutually
rather shy; and he always touches her as though she were a bit of
eggshell china, that he was afraid of breaking.
The room in which the sisters were talking bore little resemblance
to the bare ranch-parlor of old days. It had been enlarged by a
semi-circular bay window toward the mountain view, which made it half
as long again as it then was; and its ceiling had been raised two feet
on the occasion of Clarence's marriage, when great improvements had
been undertaken to fit the hut for the occupation of two families.
The solid redwood beams which supported the floor above had been left
bare, and lightly oiled to bring out the pale russet-orange color of
the wood. The spaces between the beams were rough-plastered; and on the
decoration of this plaster, while in a soft state, a good deal of time
had been expended by Geoffrey Templestowe, who had developed a turn for
household art, and seemed to enjoy lying for hours on his back on a
staging, clad in pajamas and indenting the plaster with rosettes and
sunken half-rounds, using a croquet ball and a butter stamp
alternately, the whole being subsequently finished by a coat of dull
gold paint. He and Clover had themselves hung the walls with its pale
orange-brown paper; a herder with a turn for carpentry had laid the new
floor of narrow redwood boards. Clover had stained the striped pattern
along its edges. In that remote spot, where trained and regular
assistance could be had only at great trouble and expense, it was
desirable that every one should utilize whatever faculty or
accomplishment he or she possessed, and the result was certainly good.
The big, homelike room, with its well-chosen colors and look of taste
and individuality, left nothing to be desired in the way of comfort,
and was far prettier and more original than if ordered cut-and-dried
from some artist in effects, to whom its doing would have been simply a
job and not an enjoyment.
Clover's wedding presents had furnished part of the rugs and
etchings and bits of china which ornamented the room, but Elsie's, who
had married into a present-giving connection, as her sister Johnnie
called it, did even more. Each sister was supposed to own a private
sitting-room, made out of the little sleeping-chambers of what Clarence
Page stigmatized as the beggarly bachelor days, which were thrown
together two in one on either side the common room. Clover and Elsie
had taken pains and pleasure in making these pretty and different from
each other, but as a matter of fact the private parlors were not
private at all; for the two families were such very good friends that
they generally preferred to be together. And the rooms were chiefly of
use when the house was full of guests, as in the summer it sometimes
was, when Johnnie had a girl or two staying with her, or a young man
with a tendency toward corners, or when Dr. Carr wanted to escape from
his young people and analyze flowers at leisure or read his newspaper
in peace and quiet.
The big room in the middle was used by both families as a dining and
sitting place. Behind it another had been added, which served as a sort
of mixed library, office, dispensary, and storage-room, and over the
four, extending to the very edge of the wide verandas which flanked the
house on three sides, were six large bedrooms. Of these each family
owned three, and they had an equal right as well to the spare rooms in
the building which had once been the kitchen. One of these, called
Phil's room, was kept as a matter of course for the use of that young
gentleman, who, while nominally studying law in an office at St.
Helen's, contrived to get out to the Valley very frequently. The
interests of the party were so identical that the matter of ownership
seldom came up, and signified little. The sisters divided the
house-keeping between them amicably, one supplementing the other; the
improvements were paid for out of a common purse; their guests, being
equally near and dear, belonged equally to all. It was an ideal
arrangement, which one quick tongue or jealous or hasty temper would
have brought to speedy conclusion, but which had now lasted to the
satisfaction of all parties concerned for nearly four years.
That Clarence and Elsie should fancy each other had been a secret
though unconfessed dream of Clover's ever since her own engagement,
when Clarence had endeared himself by his manly behavior and real
unselfishness under trying circumstances. But these dreams are rarely
gratified, and she was not at all prepared to have hers come true with
such unexpected ease and rapidity. It happened on this wise. Six months
after her marriage, when she and Geoff and Clarence, working together,
had just got the hut into a state to receive visitors, Mr. and Mrs.
Dayton, who had never forgotten or lost their interest in their pretty
fellow-traveller of two years before, hearing from Mrs. Ashe how
desirous Clover was of a visit from her father and sisters, wrote and
asked the Carrs to go out with them in car 47 as far as Denver, and be
picked up and brought back two months later when the Daytons returned
from Alaska. The girls were wild to go, it seemed an opportunity too
good to be lost; so the invitation was accepted, and, as sometimes
happens, the kindness shown had an unlooked-for return. Mr. Dayton was
seized with a sudden ill turn on the journey, of a sort to which he was
subject, and Dr. Carr was able not only to help him at the moment, but
to suggest a regimen and treatment which was of permanent benefit to
him. Doctor and patient grew very fond of each other, and every year
since, when car 47 started on its western course, urgent invitations
came for any or all of them to take advantage of it and go out to see
Clover; whereby that hospitable housekeeper gained many visits which
otherwise she would never have had, Colorado journeys being expensive
But this is anticipating. No visit, they all agreed, ever compared
with that first one, when they were so charmed to meet, and everything
was new and surprising and delightful. The girls were enchanted with
the Valley, the climate, the wild fresh life, the riding, the flowers,
with Clover's little home made pretty and convenient by such simple
means, while Dr. Carr revelled in the splendid air, which seemed to
lift the burden of years from his shoulders.
And presently began the excitement of watching Clarence Page's rapid
and successful wooing of Elsie. No grass grew under his feet this time,
you may be sure. He fell in love the very first evening, deeply and
heartily, and he lost no opportunity of letting Elsie know his
sentiments. There was no rival in his way at the High Valley or
elsewhere, and the result seemed to follow as a matter of course. They
were engaged when the party went back to Burnet, and married the
following spring, Mr. Dayton fitting up 47 with all manner of
sentimental and delightful appointments, and sending the bride and
bridegroom out in it,as a wedding present, he said, but in truth the
car was a repository of wedding presents, for all the rugs and
portières and silken curtains and brass plaques and pretty pottery with
which it was adorned, and the flower-stands and Japanese kakemonos,
were to disembark at St. Helen's and help to decorate Elsie's new home.
All went as was planned, and Clarence's life from that day to this had
been, as Clover mischievously told him, one pæan of thanksgiving to her
for refusing him and opening the way to real happiness. Elsie suited
him to perfection. Everything she said and did and suggested was
exactly to his mind, and as for looks, Clover was dear and nice as
could be, of course, and pretty,well, yes, people would undoubtedly
consider her a pretty little woman; but as for any comparison between
the two sisters, it was quite out of the question! Elsie had so
decidedly the advantage in every point, including that most important
point of all, that she preferred him to Geoff Templestowe and loved him
as heartily as he loved her. Happiness and satisfied affection had a
wonderfully softening influence on Clarence, but it was equally droll
and delightful to Clover to see how absolutely Elsie ruled, how the
least indication of her least finger availed to mould Clarence to her
will,Clarence, who had never yielded easily to any one else in the
whole course of his life!
So the double life flowed smoothly on in the High Valley, but not
quite so happily at Burnet, where Dr. Carr, bereft of four out of his
six children, was left to the companionship of the steady Dorry, and
what he was pleased to call a highly precarious tenure of Miss
Joanna. Miss Joanna was a good deal more attractive than her father
desired her to be. He took gloomy views of the situation, was disposed
to snub any young man who seemed to be casting glances toward his last
remaining treasure, and finally announced that when Fate dealt her last
and final blow and carried off Johnnie, he should give up the practice
of medicine in Burnet, and retire to the High Valley to live as
physician in ordinary to the community for the rest of his days. This
prospect was so alluring to the married daughters that they turned at
once into the veriest match-makers and were disposed to many Johnnie
off immediately,it didn't much matter to whom, so long as they could
get possession of their father. Johnnie resented these manoeuvres
highly, and obstinately refused to remove the impediment, declaring
that self-sacrifice was all very well, but she couldn't and wouldn't
see that it was her duty to go off and be content with a dull anybody,
merely for the sake of giving papa up to that greedy Clover and Elsie,
who had everything in the world already and yet were not content. She
liked to be at the head of the Burnet house and rule with a rod of
iron, and make Dorry mind his p's and q's; it was much
better fun than marrying any one, and there she was determined to stay,
whatever they might say or do. So matters stood at the present time,
and though Clover and Elsie still cherished little private plans of
their own, nothing, so far, seemed likely to come of them.
Elsie had time to set the room in beautiful order, and Clover had
nearly finished her hemming, before the sound of hoofs announced the
return of the two husbands from their early ride. They came cantering
down the side pass, with appetites sharpened by exercise, and quite
ready for the breakfast which Choo Loo presently brought in from the
new cooking-cabin, set a little one side out of sight, in the shelter
of the grove. Choo Loo was still a fixture in the valley. He and his
methods were a puzzle and somewhat of a distress to the order-loving
Clover, who distrusted not a little the ways and means of his
mysteriously conducted kitchen; but servants were so hard to come by at
the High Valley, and Choo Loo was so steady and faithful and his viands
on the whole so good, that she judged it wise to ask no questions and
not look too closely into affairs but just take the goods the gods
provided, and be thankful that she had any cook at all. Choo Loo was an
amiable heathen also, and very pleased to serve ladies, who appreciated
his attempts at decoration, for he had an eye for effect and loved to
make things pretty. Clover understood this and never forgot to notice
and praise, which gratified Choo Loo, who had found his bachelor
employers in the old days somewhat dull and unobservant in this
Missie like? he asked this morning, indicating the wreath of wild
cranberry vine round the dish of chicken. Then he set a mound of white
raspberries in the middle of the table, starred with gold-hearted brown
coreopsis, and asked again, Missie like dat? pleased at Clover's
answering nod and smile. Noiselessly he came and went in his white-shod
feet, fetching in one dish after another, and when all was done, making
a sort of dual salaam to the two ladies, and remarking Allee yeady
now, after which he departed, his pigtail swinging from side to side
and his blue cotton garments flapping in the wind as he walked across
to the cook-house.
Delicious breaths of roses and mignonette floated in as the party
gathered about the breakfast table. They came from the flower-beds just
outside, which Clover sedulously tended, watered, and defended from the
roving cattle, which showed a provoking preference for heliotropes over
penstamens whenever they had a chance to get at them. Cows were a great
trial, she considered; and yet after all they were the object of their
lives in the Valley, their raison d'être, and must be put up
Do you suppose the Youngs have landed yet? asked Elsie as she
qualified her husband's coffee with a dash of thick cream.
They should have got in last night if the steamer made her usual
time. I dare say we shall find a telegram at St. Helen's to-morrow if
we go in, answered her brother-in-law.
Yes, or possibly Phil will ride out and fetch it. He is always glad
of an excuse to come. I wonder what sort of girl Miss Young is. You and
Clover never have said much about her.
There isn't much to say. She's just an ordinary sort of girl,nice
enough and all that, not pretty.
Oh, Geoff, that's not quite fair. She's rather pretty, that is, she
would be if she were not stiff and shy and so very badly dressed. I
didn't get on very much with her at Clovelly, but I dare say we shall
like her here; and when she limbers out and becomes used to our ways,
she'll make a nice neighbor.
Dear me, I hope so, remarked Elsie. It's really quite important
what sort of a girl Miss Young turns out to be. A stiff person whom you
had to see every day would be horrid and spoil everything. The only
thing we need, the only possible improvement to the High Valley, would
be a few more nice people, just two or three, with pretty little
houses, you know, dotted here and there in the side canyons, whom we
could ride up to visit, and who would come down to see us, and dine and
play whist and dance Virginia reels and 'Sally Waters' on Christmas
Eve. That would be quite perfect. But I suppose it won't happen till
nobody knows how long.
I suppose so, too, said Geoff in a tone of well-simulated
sympathy. Poor Elsie, spoiling for people! Don't set your heart on
them. High Valley isn't at all a likely spot to make a neighborhood
A neighborhood! I should think not! A neighborhood would be horrid.
But if two or three people wanted to come,really nice ones, you know,
perfect charmers,surely you and Clare wouldn't have the heart to
refuse to sell them building lots?
We are exactly a whist quartet now, said Clarence, patting his
wife's shoulder. Cheer up, dear. You shall have your perfect charmers
when they apply; but meantime changes are risky, and I am quite
content with things as they are, and am ready to dance Sally Waters
with you at any time with pleasure. Might I have the honor now, for
Indeed, no! Clover and I have to work like beavers on the Youngs'
house. And, Clare, we are quite a complete party in ourselves,
as you say; but there are the children to be considered. Geoffy and
Phillida will want to play whist one of these days, and where is
their quartet to come from?
[Illustration: Down they came, hand in hand, chattering as they
We shall have to consider that point when they are a little nearer
the whist age. Here they come now. I hear the nursery door slam. They
don't look particularly dejected about their future prospects, I must
Four pairs of eyes turned expectantly toward the staircase, down
which there presently came the dearest little pair of children that can
be imagined. Clover's boy of three was as big as most people's boys of
five, a splendid sturdy little Englishman in build, but with his
mother's lovely eyes and skin. Phillida, whose real name was Philippa,
was of a more delicate and slender make, with dark brown eyes and a
mane of ruddy gold which repeated something of the tawny tints of her
father's hair and beard. Down they came hand in hand, little Phil
holding tightly to the polished baluster, chattering as they went, like
two wood-thrushes. Neither of them had ever known any other child
playmates, and they were devoted to each other and quite happy
together. Little Geoff from the first had adopted a protecting attitude
toward his smaller cousin, and had borne himself like a gallant little
knight in the one adventure of their lives, when a stray coyote,
wandering near the house, showed his teeth to the two babies, whose
nurse had left them alone for a moment, and Geoff, only two then, had
caught up a bit of a stick and thrown himself in front of Phillida with
such a rush and shout that the beast turned and fled, before Roxy and
the collies could come to the rescue. The dogs chased the coyote up the
ravine down which he had come, and he showed himself no more; but
Clover was so proud of her boy's prowess that she never forgot the
exploit, and it passed into the family annals for all time.
One wonderful stroke of good-luck had befallen the young mothers in
their mountain solitude, and that was the possession of Roxy and her
mother Euphane. They were sister and niece to good old Debby, who for
so many years had presided over Dr. Carr's kitchen; and when they
arrived one day in Burnet fresh from the Isle of Man, and announced
that they had come out for good to better their fortunes, Debby had at
once devoted them to the service of Clover and Elsie. They proved the
greatest possible comfort and help to the High Valley household. The
place did not seem lonely to them, used as they were to a still
lonelier cabin at the top of a steep moor up which few people ever
came. The Colorado wages seemed riches, the liberal comfortable living
luxury to them, and they rooted and established themselves, just as
Debby had done, into a position of trusted and affectionate
helpfulness, which seemed likely to endure. Euphane was housemaid, Roxy
nurse; it already seemed as though life could never have gone on
without them, and Clover was disposed to emulate Dr. Carr in objecting
to followers, and in resenting any admiring looks cast by herders at
Roxy's rosy English cheeks and pretty blue eyes.
Little Geoff ran to his father's knee, as a matter of course, on
arriving at the bottom of the stairs, while Phillida climbed her
mother's, equally as a matter of course. Safely established there, she
began at once to flirt with Clarence, making wide coquettish eyes at
him, smiling, and hiding her face to peep out and smile again. He
seized one of her dimpled hands and kissed it. She instantly pulled it
away, and hid her face again.
Fair Phillida flouts me, he said. Doesn't baby like papa a bit?
Ah, well, he is going to cry, then.
He buried his face in his napkin and sobbed ostentatiously.
Phillida, not at all impressed, tugged bravely at the corner of the
handkerchief; but when the sobs continued and grew louder, she began to
look troubled, and leaning forward suddenly, threw her arms round her
father's neck and laid her rose-leaf lips on his forehead. He caught
her up rapturously and tossed her high in air, kissing her every time
she came down.
You angel! you little angel! you little dear! he cried, with a
positive dew of pleasure in his eyes. Elsie, what have we ever done to
deserve such a darling?
I really don't know what you have done, remarked Elsie, coolly;
but I have done a good deal. I always was meritorious in my way, and
deserve the best that is going, even Phillida. She is none too good for
me. Come back, baby, to your exemplary parent.
She rose to recapture the child; but Clarence threw a strong arm
about her, still holding Phillida on his shoulder, and the three went
waltzing merrily down the room, the little one from her perch accenting
the dance time with a series of small shouts. Little Geoff looked up
soberly, with his mouth full of raspberries, and remarked, Aunty, I
didn't ever know that people danced at breakfast.
No more did I, said Elsie, trying in vain to get away from her
No more does any one outside this extraordinary valley of ours,
laughed Geoff. Now, partner, if you have finished your fandango, allow
me to remind you that there are a hundred and forty head of cattle
waiting to be branded in the upper valley, and that Manuel is to meet
us there at ten o'clock.
And we have the breakfast things to wash, and a whole world to do
at the Youngs', declared Elsie, releasing herself with a final twirl.
Now, Clare dear, order Marigold and Summer-Savory, please, to be
brought down in half an hour, and tell old José that we want him to
help and scrub. No, young man, not another turn. These sports are
unseemly on such a busy day as this. 'Dost thou not suspect my place?
dost thou not suspect my years?' as the immortal W. would say. I am
twenty-five,nearly twenty-six,and am not to be whisked about thus.
Everybody went everywhere on horseback in the High Valley, and the
gingham riding-skirts and wide-brimmed hats hung always on the antlers,
ready to hand, beside water-proofs and top-coats. Before long the
sisters were on their way, their saddle-pockets full of little stores,
baskets strapped behind them, and the newly made curtains piled on
their laps. The distance was about a mile to the house which Lionel
Young and his sister were to inhabit.
It stood in a charming situation on the slope of one of the side
canyons, facing the high range and backed by a hillside clothed with
pines. In build it was very much such a cabin as the original hut had
been,six rooms, all on one floor, the sixth being a kitchen. It was
newly completed, and sawdust and fresh shavings were littered freely
about the place. Clover's first act was to light a fire in the wide
chimney for burning these up.
It looks bare enough, she remarked, sweeping away industriously.
But it will be quite easy to make it pleasant if Imogen Young has any
faculty at that sort of thing. I'm sure it's a great deal more
promising than the Hut was before Clarence and Geoff and I took hold of
it. See, Elsie,this room is done. I think Miss Young will choose it
for her bedroom, as it is rather the largest; so you might tack up the
dotted curtains here while I sweep the other rooms. And that
convolvulus chintz is to cover her dress-pegs.
What fun a house is! observed Elsie a moment or two later, between
her hammer strokes. People who can get a carpenter or upholsterer to
help them at any minute really lose a great deal of pleasure. I always
adored baby-houses when I was little, and this is the same thing grown
I don't know, replied Clover, abstractedly, as she threw a last
dustpanful of chips into the fire. It is good fun, certainly;
but out here one has so much of it that sometimes it comes under the
suspicion of being hard work. Now, when José has the kitchen windows
washed it will all be pretty decent. We can't undertake much beyond
making the first day or two more comfortable. Miss Young will prefer to
make her own plans and arrangements; and I don't fancy she's the sort
of girl who will enjoy being too much helped.
Somehow I don't get quite an agreeable idea of Miss Young from what
you and Geoffrey say of her. I do hope she isn't going to make herself
Oh, I'm sure she won't do that; but there is a wide distance
between not being disagreeable and being agreeable. I didn't mean to
give you an unpleasant impression of her. In fact, my recollections
about her are rather indistinct. We didn't see a great deal of her when
we were at Clovelly, or perhaps it was that Isabel and I were out so
much and there was so much coming and going.
But are not she and Isabel very intimate?
I think so; but they are not a bit alike. Isabel is delightful. I
wish it were she who was coming out. You would love her. Now, my child,
we must begin on the kitchen tins.
It was an all-day piece of work which they had undertaken, and they
had ordered dinner late accordingly, and provided themselves with a
basket of sandwiches. By half-past five all was fairly in order,the
windows washed, the curtains up, kitchen utensils and china unpacked
and arranged, and the somewhat scanty supply of furniture placed to the
There! Robinson Crusoe would consider himself in clover; and even
Miss Young can exist for a couple of days, I should think, said Elsie,
standing back to note the effect of the last curtain. Lionel will have
to go in to St. Helen's and get a lot of things out before it will be
really comfortable, though. There come the boys now to ride home with
us. No, there is only one horse. Why, it is Phil!
Phil indeed it was, but such a different Phil from the delicate boy
whom Clover had taken out to Colorado six years before. He was now a
broad-shouldered, muscular, athletic young fellow, full of life and
energy, and showing no trace of the illness which at that time seemed
so menacing. He gave a shout when he caught sight of his sisters, and
pushed his broncho to a gallop, waving a handful of envelopes high in
This despatch came last night for Geoff, he explained,
dismounting, and there were a lot of letters besides, so I thought I'd
better bring them out. I left the newspapers and the rest at the house,
and fetched your share on. Euphane told me where you two were. So this
is where the young Youngs are going to live, is it?
He stepped in at the door and took a critical survey of the
interior, while Clover and Elsie examined their letters.
This telegram is for Geoff, explained Clover. The Youngs are
here, and she read:
Safely landed. We reach Denver Thursday morning,
So they will get here on Thursday afternoon. It's lucky we came up
to-day. My letters are from Johnnie and Cecy Slack. Johnnie says
She was interrupted by a joyful shriek from Clover, who had torn
open her letter and was eagerly reading it.
Oh, Elsie, Elsie, what do you think is going to happen? The most
enchanting thing! Rose Red is coming out here in August! She and Mr.
Browne and Röslein! Was there ever anything so nice in this world! Just
hear what she says:
BOSTON, June 30.
MY DUCKY-DADDLES AND MY DEAR ELSIE GIRL,I have
something so wonderful to tell that I can scarcely
find words in which to tell it. A kind Providence
and the A. T. and S. F. R. R. have just decided
that Deniston must go to New Mexico early in
August. This would not have been at all delightful
under ordinary circumstances, for it would only
have meant perspiration on his part and widowhood
on mine, but most fortunately, some angels with a
private car of their own have turned up, and have
asked all three of us to go out with them as far
as Santa Fé. What do you think of that? It is
not the Daytons, who seem only to exist to carry
you to and fro from Burnet to Colorado free of
expense, this time, but another batch of angels
who have to do with the road,name of Hopkinson.
I never set eyes on them, but they appear to my
imagination equipped with the largest kind of
wings, and nimbuses round their heads as big as
I have always longed to get out somehow to your
Enchanted Valley, and see all your mysterious
husbands and babies, and find out for myself what
the charm is that makes you so wonderfully
contented there, so far from West Cedar Street and
the other centres of light and culture, but I
never supposed I could come unless I walked. But
now I am coming! I do hope none of you have the
small-pox, or pleuro-pneumonia, or the
foot-and-mouth disease (whatever that is), or
any other of the ills to which men and cattle are
subject, and which will stand in the way of the
visit. Deniston, of course, will be forced to go
right through to Santa Fé, but Röslein and I are
at your service if you like to have us. We don't
care for scenery, we don't want to see Mexico or
the Pacific coast, or the buried cities of Central
America, or the Zuñi corn dance,if there is such
a thing,or any alkaline plains, or pueblos, or
buttes, or buffalo wallows; we only want to see
you, individually and collectively, and the High
Valley. May we come and stay a fortnight? Deniston
thinks he shall be gone at least as long as that.
We expect to leave Boston on the 31st of July. You
will know what time we ought to get to St.
Helen's,I don't, and I don't care, so only we
get there and find you at the station. Oh, my dear
Clovy, isn't it fun?
I have seen several of our old school-set lately,
Esther Dearborn for one. She is Mrs. Joseph P.
Allen now, as you know, and has come to live at
Chestnut Hill, quite close by. I had never seen
her since her marriage, nearly five years since,
till the other day, when she asked me out to
lunch, and introduced me to Mr. Joseph P., who
seems a very nice man, and alsonow don't faint
utterly, but you will! to their seven children! He
had two of his own when they married, and they
have had two pairs of twins since, and a
singleton, as they say in whist. Such a houseful
you never did see; but the twins are lovely, and
Esther looks very fat and happy and well-to-do,
and says she doesn't mind it a bit, and sees more
clearly every day that the thing she was born for
was to take the charge of a large family. Her
Joseph P. is very well off, too. I should judge
that they could have cranberry sauce every day
and never feel the difference, which an old
cousin of my mother's, whom I dimly remember as a
part of my childhood, used to regard as
representing the high-water mark of wealth.
Mary Strothers has been in town lately, too. She
has only one child, a little girl, which seems
miserably few compared with Esther, but on the
other hand she has never been without neuralgia in
the face for one moment since she went to live in
the Hoosac Tunnel, she told me, so there are
compensations. She seems happy for all that, poor
dear Mary. Ellen Gray never has married at all,
you know. She goes into good works instead, girls'
Friendlies and all sorts of usefulnesses. I do
admire her so much, she is a standing reproach and
example to me. Wish I were a better boy, as your
brother Dorry said in his journal.
Mother is well and my father, but the house seems
empty and lonely now. We can never get used to
dear grandmamma's loss, and Sylvia is gone too.
She and Tom sailed for Europe in April, and it
makes a great difference having them away, even
for a summer. My brother-in-law is such a nice
fellow, I hope you will know him some day.
And all this time I have forgotten to tell you the
chief news of all, which is that I have seen Katy.
Deniston and I spent Sunday before last with her
at the Torpedo station. She has a cosey, funny
little house, one of a row of five or six, built
on the spine, so to speak, of a narrow, steep
island, with a beautiful view of Newport just
across the water. It was a superb day, all
shimmery blue and gold, and we spent most of our
time sitting in a shady corner of the piazza, and
talking of the old times and of all of you. I
didn't know then of this enchanting Western plan,
or we should have had a great deal more to talk
about. The dear Katy looks very well and handsome,
and was perfectly dear, as she always is, and she
says the Newport climate suits her to perfection.
Your brother-in-law is a stunner! I asked Katy if
she wasn't going out to see you soon, and she said
not till Ned went to sea next spring, then she
should go for a long visit.
Write at once if we may come. I won't begin on the
subject of Röslein, whom you will never know, she
has grown so. She goes about saying rapturously,
I shall see little Geoff! I shall see Phillida! I
shall see Aunt Clovy! Perhaps I shall ride on a
horse! You'll never have the heart to disappoint
her. My milk teeth are chattering with fright at
the idea of so much railroad, as one of her books
says, but for all that we are coming, if you let
us. Do let us!
YOUR OWN ROSE RED.
Let them! I should think so, cried Clover, with a little skip of
rapture. Dear, dear Rose! Elsie, the nicest sort of things do happen
out here, don't they?
CHAPTER V. ARRIVAL.
THE train from Denver was nearing St. Helen's,and Imogen Young
looked eagerly from the window for a first sight of the place. Their
journey had been exhaustingly hot during its last stages, the alkaline
dust most trying, and they had had a brief experience of a sand-storm
on the plains, which gave her a new idea as to what wind and grit can
accomplish in the way of discomfort. She was very tired, and quite
disposed to be critical and unenthusiastic; still she had been
compelled to admit that the run down from Denver lay over an
The town on its plateau was shining in full sunshine, as it had done
when Clover landed there six years before, but its outlines had greatly
changed with the increase of buildings. The mountain range opposite was
darkly blue from the shadows of a heavy thunder gust which was slowly
rolling away southward. The plains between were of tawny yellow, but
the belts of mesa above showed the richest green, except where the
lines of alfalfa and grain were broken by white patches of mentzelia
and poppies. It was wonderfully beautiful, but the town itself looked
so much larger than Imogen had expected that she exclaimed with
Why, Lion, it's a city! You said you were bringing me out to live
in the wilderness. What made you tell such stories? It looks bigger
It looks larger than it did when I came away, replied her brother.
Two, three, six,eight fine new houses on Monument Avenue, by Jove,
and any number off there toward the north. You've no idea how these
Western places sprout and thrive, Moggy. This isn't twenty years old
I can't believe it. You are imposing on me. And why on earth did
you let me bring out all those pins and things? There seem to be any
number of shops.
I let you! Oh, I say, that is good! Why, Moggy, don't you remember
how I remonstrated straight through your packing. Never a bit would you
listen to me, and here is the result, pulling out a baggage memorandum
as he spoke, and reading aloud in a lugubrious tone, Extra weight of
trunks, thirteen dollars, fifty-two cents.
Thirteen fifty, cried Imogen with a gasp. My gracious! why,
that's nearly three pounds! Lion! Lion! you ought to have made
I'm sure I did all I could in that way. But cheer up! You'll want
your pins yet. You mustn't confound this place with High Valley. That's
sixteen miles off and hasn't a shop.
The discussion was brought to end by the stopping of the train. In
another moment Geoff Templestowe appeared at the door.
Hallo, Lion! glad to see you. Imogen, shaking hands warmly, how
are you? Welcome to Colorado. I'm afraid you've had a bad journey in
It has been beastly. Poor Moggy's dead beat, I'm afraid.
Neither of us could sleep a wink last night for the dust and sand.
Well, it's all well that ends well. We'll cool her off in the valley.
How is everything going on there? Mrs. Templestowe all right, and Mrs.
Page, and the children? I declare, stretching himself, it's a
blessing to get a breath of good air again. There's nothing in the
world that can compare with Colorado.
A light carryall was waiting near the station, whose top was little
more than a fringed awning. Into this Geoffrey helped Imogen, and
proceeded to settle her wraps and bags in various seat boxes and
pockets with which the carriage was cleverly fitted up. It was truly a
carry-all and came and went continually between the valley and St.
Now, he remarked as he stuffed in the last parcel, we will just
stop long enough to get the mail and some iced tea, which I ordered as
I came down, and then be off. You'll find a cold chicken in that
basket, Lion. Clover was sure you'd need something, and there's no time
for a regular meal if we are to get in before dark.
Iced tea! what a queer idea! said Imogen.
I forgot that you were not used to it. We drink it a great deal
here in summer. Would you rather have some hot? I didn't fancy that you
would care for it, the day is so warm; but we'll wait and have it made,
if you prefer.
Oh, no. I won't delay you, said Imogen, rather grudgingly. She was
disposed to resent the iced tea as an American innovation, but when she
tried it she found herself, to her own surprise, liking it very much.
Only, why do they call it tea, she meditated. It's a great deal more
like punchall lemon and things. But she had to own that it was
The sun was blazing on the plain; but after they began to wind up
the pass a cool, strong wind blew in their faces and the day seemed
suddenly delightful. The unfamiliar flowers and shrubs, the strange
rock forms and colors, the occasional mountain glimpses, interested
Imogen so much that for a time she forgot her fatigue. Then an
irresistible drowsiness seized her; the talk going on between Geoffrey
Templestowe and her brother, about cows and feed and the prospect of
the autumn sales, became an indistinguishable hum, and she went off
into a series of sleeps broken by brief wakings, when the carryall
bumped, or swayed heavily from side to side on the steep inclines. From
one of the soundest of these naps she was roused by her brother shaking
her arm and calling,
Moggy, wake, wake up! We are here.
With a sharp thump of heart-beat she started into full consciousness
to find the horses drawing up before a deep vine-hung porch, on which
stood a group of figures which seemed to her confused senses a large
party. There was Elsie in a fresh white dress with pale green ribbons,
Clarence Page, Phil Carr, little Philippa in her nurse's arms, small
Geoff with his two collies at his side, and foremost of all, ready to
help her down, hospitable little Clover, in lilac muslin, with a rose
in her belt and a face of welcome.
How the Americans do love dress! was Imogen's instant thought,an
ungracious one, and quite unwarranted by the circumstances. Clover and
Elsie kept themselves neat and pretty from habit and instinct, but the
muslin gowns were neither new nor fashionable, they had only the merit
of being fresh and becoming to their wearers.
You poor child, how tired you must be! cried Clover, as she
assisted Imogen out of the carriage. This is my sister, Mrs. Page.
Please take her directly to her room, Elsie, while I order up some hot
water. She'll be glad of that first of all. Lion, I won't take time to
welcome you now. The boys must care for you while I see after your
A big sponging-bath full of fresh water stood ready in the room to
which Imogen was conducted; the white bed was invitingly turned down;
there were fresh flowers on the dressing-table, and a heap of soft
cushions on a roomy divan which filled the deep recess of a range of
low windows. The gay-flowered paper on the walls ran up to the peak of
the ceiling, giving a tent-like effect. Most of the furnishings were
home-made. The divan was nothing more or less than a big packing-box
nicely stuffed and upholstered; the dressing-table, a construction of
pine boards covered and frilled with cretonne. Clover had plaited the
chintz round the looking-glass and on the edges of the book-shelves,
while the picture-frames, the corner-brackets, and the impromptu
washstand owed their existence to Geoff's cleverness with tools. But
the whole effect was pretty and tasteful, and Imogen, as she went on
with her dressing, looked about her with a somewhat reluctant
admiration, which was slightly tinctured with dismay.
I suppose they got all these things out from the East, she
reflected. I couldn't undertake them in our little cabin, I'm sure.
It's very nice, and really in very good taste, but it must have cost a
great deal. The Americans don't think of that, however; and I've
always heard they have a great knack at doing up their houses and
making a good show.
Go straight to bed if you feel like it. Don't think of coming down.
We will send you up some dinner, Clover had urged; but Imogen, tired
as she was, elected to go down.
I really mustn't give in to a little fatigue, she thought. I have
the honor of England to sustain over here. So she heroically put on
her heavy tweed travelling-dress again, and descended the stairs, to
find a bright little fire of pine-wood and cones snapping and blazing
on the hearth, and the whole party gathered about it, waiting for her
What an extraordinary climate! she exclaimed in a tone of
astonishment. Melting with heat at three, and here at a quarter past
seven you are sitting round a fire! It really feels comfortable, too!
The changes are very sharp, said Geoff, rising to give her
his chair. Such a daily drop in temperature would make a sensation in
our good old Devonshire, would it not? You see it comes from the high
elevation. We are nearly eight thousand feet above the sea-level here;
that is about twice as high as the top of the highest mountain in the
Fancy! I had no idea of it. Lionel did say something about the
elevation, but I didn't clearly attend. She glanced about the room,
which was looking its best, with the pink light of the shaded candles
falling on the white-spread table, and the flickering fire making
golden glows and gleams on the ceiling. How did you get all
these pretty things out here? she suddenly demanded.
Some came in wagons, and some just 'growed,' explained Clover,
merrily. We will let you into our secrets gradually. Ah, here comes
dinner at last, and I am sure we shall all be glad of it.
Choo Loo now entered with the soup-tureen, a startling vision to
Imogen, who had never seen a Chinaman before in her life.
How very extraordinary! she murmured in an aside to Lionel. He
looks like an absolute heathen. Are such things usual here?
Very usual, I should say. Lots of them about. That fellow has a
Joss in his cabin, and very likely a prayer-wheel; but he's a capital
cook. I wish we could have the luck to happen on his brother or nephew
I don't, then, replied his scandalized sister. I can't feel that
it is right to employ such people in a Christian country. The Americans
have such lax notions!
Hold up a bit! What do you know about their notions? Nothing at
Come to dinner, said Clover's pleasant voice. Geoff, Miss Young
will sit next to you. Put a cushion behind her back, Clarence.
Dinner over, Imogen concluded that she had upheld the honor of
England quite as long as was desirable, or in fact possible, and gladly
accepted permission to go at once to bed. She was fairly tired out.
She woke wonderfully restored by nine hours' solid sleep in that
elastic and life-giving atmosphere, and went downstairs to find every
one scattered to their different tasks and avocations, except Elsie,
who was waiting to pour her coffee. Clover and Lionel were gone to the
new house, she explained, and they were to follow them as soon as
Imogen had breakfasted.
Elsie's manner lacked its usual warmth and ease. She had taken no
fancy at all to the stiff, awkward little English woman, in whom her
quick wits detected the lurking tendency to cavil and criticise, and
was discouraging accordingly. Oddly enough, Imogen liked this offish
manner of Elsie's. She set it down to a proper sense of decorum and
retenue. So different from the usual American gush and making
believe to be at ease always with everybody, she thought; and she made
herself as agreeable as possible to Elsie, whom she considered much
prettier than Clover, and in every way more desirable. These
impressions were doubtless tinctured by the underlying jealousy from
which she had so long suffered, and which still influenced her, though
Isabel Templestowe was now far away, and there was no one at hand to be
The two rode amicably up the valley together.
There, that's your new home, said Elsie, when they came in sight
of the just finished cabin. Didn't Lionel choose a pretty site for it?
And you have a most beautiful view.
Well, Moggy, cried her brother, hurrying out to help her dismount,
here you are at last. Mrs. Templestowe and I have made you a fire and
done all sorts of things. How do you like the look of it? It's a decent
little place, isn't it? We must get Mrs. Templestowe to put us up to
some of her nice little dodges about furniture and so on, such as they
have at the other house. She and Mrs. Page have made it all tidy for
us, and put up lots of nice little curtains and things. They must have
worked awfully hard, too. Wasn't it good of them?
Very, said Imogen, rather stiffly. I'm sure we're much obliged to
you, Mrs. Templestowe. I fear you have given yourself a great deal of
The words were polite enough, but the tone was distinctly repellent.
Oh, no, said Clover, lightly. It was only fun to come up and
arrange a little beforehand. We were very glad to do it. Now, Elsie,
you and I will ride down, and leave these new housekeepers to discuss
their plans in peace. Dinner at six to-night, Lionel; and please send
old José down if you need anything. Don't stay too long or get too
tired, Miss Young. We shall have lunch about one; but if you are doing
anything and don't want to leave so early, you'll find some sardines
and jam and a tin of biscuits in that cupboard by the fire.
She and Elsie rode away accordingly. When they were out of hearing,
I wonder why that girl dislikes me so.
Dislikes you! Clover, what do you mean? Nobody ever disliked you in
your life, or ever could.
Yes, she does, persisted Clover. She has got some sort of queer
twist in her mind regarding me, and I can't think what it is. It
doesn't really matter, and very likely she'll get over it presently;
but I'm sorry about it. It would be so pleasant all to be good friends
together up here, where there are so few of us.
Her tone was a little pathetic. Clover was used to being liked.
Little wretch! cried Elsie, with flashing eyes. If I really
thought that she dared not to like you, I'dI'd, well, what would I
do?import a grisly bear to eat her, or some such thing! I suppose an
Indian could be found who for a consideration would undertake to scalp
Miss Imogen Young, and if she doesn't behave herself he shall be
found. But you're all mistaken, Clovy; you must be. She's only stiff
and dull and horribly English, and very tired after her journey. She'll
be all right in a day or two. If she isn't, I shall 'go for' her
Well, perhaps it is that. It was easier and pleasanter to imagine
Imogen tired than to admit that she was absolutely unfriendly.
After all, she added, it's for Miss Young's sake that I should
regret it if it were so, much more than for my own. I have Geoff and
you and Clare,and papa and Johnnie coming, and dear Rose Red,all of
you are at my back; but she, poor thing, has no one but Lionel to stand
up for her. I am on my own ground, drawing up her figure with a pretty
movement of pride, and she is a stranger in a strange land. So we
won't mind if she is stiff, Elsie dear, and just be as nice as we can
be to her, for it must be horrid to be so far away from home and one's
own people. We cannot be too patient and considerate under such
Meanwhile the moment they were out of sight Lionel had turned upon
his sister sharply, and angrily.
Moggy, what on earth do you mean by speaking so to Mrs.
Speaking how? What did I say? retorted Imogen.
You didn't say anything out of the common, but your manner
was most disagreeable. If she hadn't been the best-tempered woman in
the world she would have resented it on the spot. Here she, and all of
them, have been doing all they can to make ready for us, giving us such
a warm welcome too, treating us as if we were their own kith and kin,
and you return it by putting on airs as if she were intruding and
interfering in our affairs. I never was so ashamed of a member of my
own family before in my life.
I can't imagine what you mean, protested Imogen, not quite
truthfully. And you've no call to speak to me so, Lionel, and tell me
I am rude, just because I don't gush and go about making cordial
speeches like these Americans of yours. I'm sure I said everything that
was proper to Mrs. Templestowe.
Your words were proper enough, but your manner was eminently
improper. Now, Moggy, changing his tone, listen to me. Let us look
the thing squarely in the face. You've come out here with me, and it's
awfully good of you and I sha'n't ever forget it; but here we are,
settled for years to come in this little valley, with the Templestowes
and Pages for our only neighbors. They can be excellent friends, as
I've found, and they are prepared to be equally friendly to you; but if
you're going to start with a little grudge against Mrs. Geoff,who's
the best little woman going, by Jove, and the kindest,you'll set the
whole family against us, and we might as well pack up our traps at once
and go back to England. Now I put it to you reasonably; is it worth
while to upset all our plans and all my hopes,and for what? Mrs.
Templestowe can't have done anything to set you against her?
Lion, cried Imogen, bursting into tears, don't! I'm sure I didn't
mean to be rude. Mrs. Geoff never did anything to displease me, and
certainly I haven't a grudge against her. But I'm very tired, so please
don't s-c-o-ld me; I've got no one out here but you.
Lionel melted at once. He had never seen his sister cry before, and
felt that he must have been harsh and unkind.
I'm a brute, he exclaimed. There, Moggy, there, deardon't cry.
Of course you're tired; I ought to have thought of it before.
He petted and consoled her, and Imogen, who was really spent and
weary, found the process so agreeable that she prolonged her tears a
little. At last she suffered herself to be comforted, dried her eyes,
grew cheerful, and the two proceeded to make an investigation of the
premises, deciding what should go there and what here, and what it was
requisite to get from St. Helen's. Imogen had to own that the ladies of
the Valley had been both thoughtful and helpful.
I'll thank them again this evening and do it better, she said; and
Lionel patted her back, and told her she really was quite a little
brick when she wasn't a big goose,a brotherly compliment which was
more gratifying than it sounded.
It was decided that he should go into St. Helen's next day to order
out stores and what Lionel called a few sticks that were essential,
and procure a servant.
Then we can move in the next day, said Imogen. I feel in such a
hurry to begin house-keeping, Lionel, you can't think. One is always a
stranger in the land till one has a place of one's own. Geoff and his
wife are very kind and polite, but it's much better we should start for
ourselves as soon as possible. Besides, there are other people coming
to stay; Mrs. Page said so.
Yes, but not for quite a bit yet, I fancy. All the same, you are
right, Moggy; and we'll set up our own shebang as soon as it can be
managed. You'll feel twice as much at home when you have a house of
your own. I'll get the mattresses and tables and chairs out by
Saturday, and fetch the slavey out with me if I can find one.
No Chinese need apply, said Imogen. Get me a Christian servant,
whatever you do, Lion. I can't bear that creature with the pig-tail.
I'll do my possible, said her brother, in a doubtful tone; but
you'll come to pig-tails yet and be thankful for them, or I miss my
Imogen remembered her promise. She was studiously polite and
grateful that evening, and exerted herself to talk and undo the
unpleasant impression of the morning. The little party round the
dinner-table waxed merry, especially when Imogen, under the effect of
her gracious resolves, attempted to adapt her conversation to her
company and gratify her hosts by using American expressions.
People absquatulate from St. Helen's toward autumn, don't they?
she remarked. Then when some one laughed she added, You say
'absquatulate' over here, don't you?
Well, I don't know. I never did hear any one say it except as a
joke, replied Elsie.
And again: Mother would be astonished, Lion, wouldn't she, if she
knew that a Chinese can make English puddings as well as the cooks at
home. She'd be all struck of a heap.
And later: It really was dreadful. The train was broken all to
bits, and nearly every one on board was hurt,catawampously chawed up
in fact, as you Americans would say. Why, what are you all laughing at?
Don't you say it?
Never, except in the comic newspapers and dime novels, said
Geoffrey Templestowe when he recovered from his amusement, while
Lionel, utterly overcome with his sister's vocabulary, choked and
strangled, and finally found voice to say,
Go on, Moggy. You're doing beautifully. Nothing like acquiring the
native dialect to make a favorable impression in a new country. Oh,
wherever did she learn 'catawampus'? I shall die of it.
CHAPTER VI. UNEXPECTED.
IMOGEN'S race-prejudices experienced a weakening after Lionel's
return from St. Helen's with the only slavey attainable, in the shape
of an untidy, middle-aged Irish woman, with red hair, and a hot little
spark of temper glowing in either eye. Putting this unpromising female
in possession of the fresh, clean kitchen of the cabin was a trial, but
it had to be done; and the young mistress, with all the ardor of
inexperience, bent herself to the task of reformation and improvement,
and teaching Katty Maloneywho was old enough to be her mothera
great many desirable things which she herself did not very well
understand. It was thankless work and resulted as such experiments
usually do. Katty gave warning at the end of a week, affirming that she
wasn't going to be hectored and driven round by a bit of a miss, who
didn't well know what she wanted; and that the Valley was that lonesome
anyhow that she'd not remain in it; no, not if the Saints themselves
came down from glory and kivered up every fut of soil with shining
gold, and she a-starving in the mud,that she wouldn't!
Imogen saw her go with small regret. She had no idea how difficult
it might be to find a successor, and it was not till three incompetents
of the same nationality had been lured out by the promise of high
wages, only to decide that the place was too lonely for them and
incontinently depart, that she realized how hard was the problem of
help in such a place. It was her first trial at independent
housekeeping, and with her English ideas she had counted on neatness,
respectfulness of manner, and a certain amount of training as a matter
of course in a servant. One has to learn one's way in a new country by
the hardest, and perhaps, the least hard part of Imogen's lesson were
the intervals when she and Lionel did the work themselves, with only
old José to scrub and wash up; then at least they could be quiet and at
peace, without daily controversies. Later, relief and comfort came to
them in the shape of a gentle Mongolian named Ah Lee, procured through
the good offices of Choo Loo, whom Imogen was only too thankful to
accept, pig-tail and all, for his gentleness of manner, general
neatness and capacity, and the good taste which he gave to his dishes.
In fact, she confessed one day to Lionel, privately in a moment of
confidence, that rather than lose him, she would herself carve a joss
stick and nail it up in the kitchen; which concession proves the
liberalizing and widening effect of necessity upon the human mind. But
this is anticipating.
The cabin was a pleasant place enough when once fairly set in order.
There was an abundance of sunshine, fire-wood was plenty, and so small
a space was easily kept tidy. Imogen, when she reviewed her resources,
realized how wise Lionel had been in recommending her to bring more
ornamental things and fewer articles of mere use, such as tapes and
buttons. Buttons and tapes were easy enough to come by; but things to
make the house pretty were difficult to obtain and cost a great deal.
She made the most of her few possessions, and supplied what was lacking
with wild flowers, which could be had in any quantity for the picking.
Lionel had hunted a good deal during his first Colorado years, and
possessed quite a good supply of fox, wolf, and bear skins. These did
duty for rugs on the floor. Elk and buffalo horns fastened on the walls
served as pegs on which to hang whips and hats. Some gay Mexican pots
adorned the chimney-piece; it all looked pretty enough and quite
comfortable. Imogen would fain have tried her hand at home-made devices
of the sort in which the ladies at the lower house excelled, but
somehow her attempts turned out failures. She lacked lightness of touch
and originality of fancy, and the results were apt to be what Elsie
privately stigmatized as wapses of red flannel and burlaps without
form or comeliness, at which Lionel jeered, while visitors discreetly
averted their eyes lest they should be forced to express an opinion
Imogen's views as to the character and capacities of American women
underwent many modifications during that first summer in the Valley. It
seemed to her that Mrs. Templestowe and her sister were equal to any
emergency however sudden and unexpected. She was filled with daily
wonder over their knowledge of practical details, and their
extraordinary handiness. If a herder met with an accident they seemed
to know just what to do. If Choo Loo was taken with a cramp or some odd
Chinese disease without a name, and laid aside for a day or two, Clover
not only nursed him but went into the kitchen as a matter of course,
and extemporized a meal which was sufficiently satisfactory for all
concerned. If a guest arrived unexpectedly they were not put out; if
some article of daily supply failed, they seemed always able to devise
a substitute; and through all and every contingency they managed to
look pretty and bright and gracious, and make sunshine in the shadiest
Slowly, for Imogen's mind was not of the quick working order, she
took all this in, and her respect for America and Americans rose
accordingly. She was forced to own that whatever the rest of womankind
in this extraordinary new country might be, these particular specimens
were of a sort which any land, even England, might be justly proud to
And with all they do, they contrive to look so nice, she said to
herself. I can't understand how they manage it. Their gowns fit so
well, and they always seem to have just the right kind of thing to put
on. It is really wonderful, and it certainly isn't because they think a
great deal about it. Before I came over I always imagined that American
women spent their time in reading fashion magazines and talking over
their clothes. Mrs. Geoff and Mrs. Page certainly don't do that. I
don't often hear them speak about dresses, or see them at work at them;
and both of them know a great deal more about a house than I do, or any
other English girl I ever saw. Mrs. Geoff, and Mrs. Page too, can make
all sorts of things,cakes and puddings and muffins and even bread;
and they read a good deal as well. The Americans are certainly a
cleverer people than I supposed.
The mile of distance between what Clarence called the Hut and the
Hutlet counted for little, and a daily intercourse went on, trending
chiefly, it must be owned, from the Hut to the Hutlet. Clover was
unwearied in small helps and kindnesses. If Imogen were cookless, old
José was sure to appear with a loaf of freshly baked bread, or a basket
of graham gems; or Geoff with a creel of trout and an urgent invitation
to lunch or dinner or both. New books made their appearance from below,
newspapers and magazines; and if ever the day came when Imogen felt
hopelessly faint-hearted, lonely, and over-worked, she was sure to see
the flutter of skirts, and her pretty, cordial neighbors would come
riding up the trail to cheer her, and to propose something pleasant or
helpful. Sometimes Elsie would have her baby on her knee, trusting to
Summer Savory's sure-footed steadiness; sometimes little Geoff would
be riding beside his mother on a minute burro. Always it seemed
as though they brought the sun with them; and she learned to watch for
their coming on dull days, as if they were in the secret of her moods
and knew just when they were most wanted. But they came so often that
these coincidences were not so wonderful, after all.
Imogen did appreciate all this kindness, and was grateful, and,
after her manner, responsive; still the process of what Elsie termed
limbering out Miss Young went on but slowly. The English stock,
firm-set and sturdily rooted, does not limber readily, and a bent
toward prejudice is never easily shaken. Compelled to admit that Clover
was worth liking, compelled to own her good nature and friendliness,
Imogen yet could not be cordially at ease with her. Always an inward
stiffness made itself apparent when they were together, and always
Clover was aware of the fact. It made no difference in her acts of
good-will, but it made some difference in the pleasure with which she
did them,though on no account would she have confessed it, especially
to Elsie, who was so comically ready to fire up and offer battle if she
suspected any one of undervaluing her sister. So the month of July
It was on the morning of the last day, when the long summer had
reached its height of ripeness and completeness, and all things seemed
making themselves ready for Rose Red, who was expected in three days
more, that Clover, sitting with her work on the shaded western piazza,
saw the unwonted spectacle of a carriage slowly mounting the steep road
up the Valley. It was so unusual to see any wheeled vehicle there,
except their own carryall, that it caused a universal excitement. Elsie
ran to the window overhead with Phillida in her arms; little Geoff
stood on the porch staring out of a pair of astonished eyes, and Clover
came forward to meet the new arrivals with an unmistakable look of
surprise in her face. The gentleman who was driving and the lady beside
him were quite unknown to her; but from the back part of the carriage a
head extended itself,an elderly head, with a bang of oddly frizzled
gray hair and a pair of watery blue eyes, all surmounted by an
eccentric shade hat, and all beaming and twittering with recognition
and excitement. It took Clover a moment to disentangle her ideas; then
she perceived that it was Mrs. Watson, who, when she and Phil first
came out to Colorado, years before, came with them, and for a time had
been one of the chief trials and perplexities of their life there.
Well, my dear, and I don't wonder that you look astonished, for no
one would suppose that after all I went through with I should ever
again This is my daughter, and her husband, you know, and of course
their coming made it seem quiteWe are staying in the Ute Valley; only
five miles over, they said it was, but such miles! I'd rather ride ten
on a level, any day, as I told Ellen, andwell, they said you were
living up here; and though the road was pretty rough, it was possible
toAnd if ever there was a man who could drive a buggy up to the moon,
as Ellen declares, Henry is thebut really I was hardly prepared
forbut any way we started, and here we are! What a wild sort of place
it is that you are living in, my dear Miss Carrnot that I ought to
call you Miss Carr, forI got your cards, of course, and I was told
then thatAnd your sister marrying the other young man and coming out
to live here too! that must be veryOh, dear me! is that little boy
yours? Well, I never!
I am very glad to see you, I am sure, said Clover, taking the
first opportunity of a break in the torrent of words, and Mrs.
Phillips too,this is Mrs. Phillips, is it not? Let me help you out,
Mrs. Watson, and Geoffy dear, run round to the other door and ask
Euphane to send somebody to take the horses.
Thank you, said Mrs. Phillips. Let me introduce my husband, Mrs.
Templestowe. We are at the hotel in the Ute Valley for three days, and
my mother wished so much to drive over and see you that we have brought
her. What a beautiful place your valley is!
Mrs. Phillips, tall, large-featured, dark and rather angular, with a
pleasant, resolute face, and clear-cut, rather incisive way of
speaking, offered as complete a contrast to her pale, pudgy, incoherent
little mother as could well be imagined. Clover's instant thought was,
Now I know what Mr. Watson must have been like. Mr. Phillips
was also tall, with a keen, Roman-nosed face, and eye-glasses. Both had
the look of people who knew what was what and had seen the world,just
the sort of persons, it would seem, to whom a parent like Mrs. Watson
would be a great trial; and it was the more to their credit that they
never seemed in the least impatient, and were evidently devoted to her
comfort in all ways. If she fretted them, as she undoubtedly must, they
gave no sign of it, and were outwardly all affectionate consideration.
Why, where is your little boy gone? I wanted to see him, said Mrs.
Watson, as soon as she was safely out of the carriage. He was here
just this moment, and thenI must say you have got a beautiful
situation; and if mountains were all that one needed to satisfybut I
recollect how you used to go on about them at St. Helen'sTake care,
Ellen, your skirt is caught! Ah, that's right! Miss Carr is always
sobut I mustn't call her that, I know, only I neverAnd now, my
dear, I must have a kiss, after climbing up all this way; and there
were gopher holesat least, a man we met said they were that, and I
really thoughtTell me how you are, and all aboutThat's right,
Henry, take out the wraps; you never can tell howOf course Miss
Carr's people are allI keep calling you Miss Carr; I really can't
help it. What a beautiful view!
Clover now led the way in-doors. The central room, large, cool, and
flower-scented, was a surprise to the Eastern guests, who were not
prepared to find anything so pretty and tasteful in so remote a spot.
This is really charming! said Mr. Phillips, glancing from
fireplace to wall, and from wall to window; while his wife exclaimed
with delight over the Mariposa lilies which filled a glass bowl on the
table, and the tall sheaves of scarlet penstamens on either side the
hearth. Mrs. Watson blinked about curiously, actually silent for a
moment, before her surprise took the form of words.
Why, how pretty it looks, doesn't it, Ellen? and so large and
spacious, and so manyI'm all the more surprised because when we were
together before, you wouldn't go to the Shoshone House, you remember,
because it was so expensive, and of course IWell, circumstances do
alter; and it is a world of changes, as Dr. Billings said in one of his
sermons last spring. And I'm sure I'm glad, only I wasn't prepared
toEllen! Ellen! look at that etching! It's exactly the same as yours,
which Jane Phillips gave you and Henry for your tin wedding. It was
very expensive, I know, for I was with her when she got it, and soat
Doll's it was; and his things naturallybut I really think the frame
of this is the handsomest! Now, my dear Miss Carr, where did you
It was one of our gifts, said Clover, smiling. There is a
double supply of wedding presents in this house, Mrs. Watson, for my
sister's are here as well as our own. So we are rather rich in
pretty things, as you see, but not in anything else, except cows; of
those we have any number. Now, if you will all excuse me for a moment,
I will go up and tell Mrs. Page that you are here.
Up she went, deliberately till she was out of sight, and then at a
swift, light run the rest of the way.
Elsie dear, she cried, bursting into the nursery, who do you
think is here? Mrs. Watson, our old woman of the Sea, you know. She has
her son-in-law and daughter with her, and they look like rather nice
people, strange to say. They have driven over from the Ute Valley, and
of course they must have some lunch; but as it happens it is the worst
day of the whole year for them to choose, for I have sent Choo Loo into
St. Helen's to look up a Chinese cook for Imogen Young, and I meant to
starve you all on poached eggs and raspberries for lunch. I can't leave
them of course, but will you just run down, my darling duck, and see
what can be done, and tell Euphane? There are cans of soup, of course,
and sardines, and all that, but I fear the bread supply is rather
short. I'll take Phillida. She's as neat as a new pin, happily. Ah,
here's Geoffy. Come and have your hair brushed, boy.
She went down with one child in her arms and the other holding her
hand,a pretty little picture for those below.
My sister will come presently, she explained. This is her little
girl. And here is my son, Mrs. Watson.
Dear me,I had no idea he was such a big child, said that lady.
Five years old, is he, or six?only three! Oh, yes, what am I
thinking about; of course heWell, my little man, and how do you like
living up here in this lonesome place?
Very much, replied little Geoff, backing away from the questioner,
as she aimlessly reached out after him.
He has never lived anywhere else, Clover explained; so he cannot
make comparisons. Ignorance is bliss, we are told, Mrs. Watson.
Euphane, staid and respectable in her spotless apron, now entered
with the lunch-cloth, and Clover convoyed her guests upstairs to
refresh themselves with cold water after the dust of the drive. By the
time they returned the table was set, and presently Elsie appeared,
cool and fresh in her pretty pink and white gingham with a knot of
rose-colored ribbon in her wavy hair, her cheeks deepened to just the
becoming tint, the very picture of a dainty, well-cared-for little
lady. No one would have suspected that during the last half-hour she
had stirred and baked a pan of brown gems, mixed a cream mayonnaise
for the lettuce, set a glass dish of junket to form, and skimmed two
pans of cream, beside getting out the soup and sweets for Euphane, and
trimming the dishes of fruit with kinnikinick and coreopsis. The little
feast seemed to have got itself ready in some mysterious manner,
without trouble to any one, which is the last added grace of any feast.
It is perfectly charming here, said Mrs. Phillips, more and more
impressed. I have seen nothing at all like this at the West.
[Illustration: No one would have suspected that she had skimmed two
pans of creamPAGE 166.]
There isn't any other place exactly like our valley, I really
think. Of course there are other natural parks among the ranges of the
Rockies, but ours always seems to me quite by itself. You see we lie so
as to catch the sun, and it makes a great difference even in the
winter. We have done very little to the Valley, beyond just making
Very comfortable indeed, I should say.
And so you married the other young man, my dear? Mrs. Watson was
remarking to Elsie. I remember he used to come in very often to call
on your sister, and it was easy enough to see,people in
boarding-houses will notice such things of course, and we all used to
thinkBut thereof course she knew all the time, and it is easy to
make mistakes, and I dare say it's all for the best as it is. You look
very young indeed to be married. I wonder that your father could make
up his mind to let you.
I am not young at all, I'm nearly twenty-six, replied Elsie, who
always resented remarks about her youth. There are three younger than
I am in the family, and they are all grown up.
Oh, my dear, but you don't look it! You don't seem a day over
twenty. Ellen was nearly as old as you are before she ever met Henry,
and they were engaged nearly twoBut she never did look as young as
most of the girls she used to go with, and I suppose that's the reason
that now they are all got on a little, she seems younger thanWell,
well! we never thought while I was with your sister at St. Helen's,
helping to take care of your poor brother, you know, how it would all
turn out. There was a young man who used to bring roses,I forget his
name,and one day Mrs. Gibson saidHer husband had weak lungs and
they came out to Colorado on that account, but I believe heThey were
talking of building a house, and I meant to askBut there, I forgot;
one does grow so forgetful if one travels much and sees a good many
people; but as I was sayinghe got well, I think.
Who, Mr. Gibson? asked Elsie, quite bewildered.
Oh, no! not Mr. Gibson, of course. He died, and Mrs. Gibson married
again. Some man she met out at St. Helen's, I believe it was, and I
heard that her children didn't like it; but he was rich, I believe and
of courseRiches have wings,you know that proverb of course,but it
makes a good deal of difference whether they fly toward you or away
Indeed it does, said Elsie, much amused. But you asked me if
somebody got well. Who was it?
Why, your brother of course. He didn't die, did he?
Oh dear, no! He is living at St. Helen's now, and perfectly well
Well, that must be a great comfort to you all. I never did think
that he was as ill as your sister fancied he was. Girls will get
anxious, and when people haven't had a great deal of experience
theyHe used to laugh a great deal too, and when people do that it
seems to me that their lungsBut of course it was only natural at her
age. I used to cheer her up all I could and sayThe air is splendid
there, of course, and the sun somehow never seems to heat you up as it
does at the East, though it is hot, but I think when people have
weak chests they'd betterDr. Hope doesn't think so, I know, but after
all there are a great many doctors beside Dr. Hope, andEllen quite
agrees with me What was I saying.
Elsie wondered on what fragment of the medley she would fix. She was
destined never to know, for just then came the trample of hoofs and the
Boys rode up to the door.
She went out on the porch to meet them and break the news of the
That old thing! cried Clarence, with unflattering emphasis. Oh,
thunder! I thought we were safe from that sort of bore up here. I shall
just cut down to the back and take a bite in the barn.
Indeed you will do nothing of the sort. Do you suppose I came up to
this place, where company only arrives twice a year or so, to be that
lonesome thing a cowboy's bride, that you might slip away and take
bites in barns? No sirnot at all. You will please go upstairs, make
yourself fit to be seen, and come down and be as polite as possible. Do
you hear, Clare?
She hooked one white finger in his buttonhole, and stood looking in
his face with a saucy gaze. Clarence yielded at once. His small despot
knew very well how to rule him and to put down such short-lived
attempts at insubordination as he occasionally indulged in.
All right, Elsie, I'll go if I must. They're not to stay the night,
Heaven forbid! No indeed, they are going back to the Ute Valley.
He vanished, and presently re-appeared to conduct himself with the
utmost decorum. He did not even fidget when referred to pointedly as
the other young man, by Mrs. Watson, with an accompaniment of nods
and blinks and wreathed smiles which was, to say the least, suggestive.
Geoff's manners could be trusted under all circumstances, and the
little meal passed off charmingly.
Good-by, said Mrs. Watson, after she was safely seated in the
carriage, as Clover sedulously tucked her wraps about her. It's really
been a treat to see you. We shall talk of it often, and I know Ellen
will sayOh, thank you, Miss Carr, you always were the kindestYes, I
know it isn't Miss Carr, and I ought to remember, but somehow
Good-by, Mrs. Page. Somehowit's very pretty up here certainly, and
you have every comfort I'm sure, and you seemBut it will be getting
dark before long, and I don't like the idea of leaving you young things
up here all by yourselves. Don't you ever feel a little afraid in the
evenings? I suppose there are not any wild animalsthough I remember
But there, I mustn't say anything to discourage you, since you are
here, and have got to stay.
Yes, we have to stay, said Clover, as she shook hands with Mr.
Phillips, and happily it is just what we all like best to do. She
watched the carriage for a moment or two as it bumped down the road,
its brake grinding sharply against the wheels, then she turned to the
others with a look of comically real relief.
It seems like a bad dream! I had forgotten how Phil and I used to
feel when Mrs. Watson went on like that, and she always did go on like
that. How did we stand her?
Ellen seems nice, remarked Elsie,Poor Ellen!
Geoff, added Clarence, vindictively, this must not happen again.
You and I must go to work below and shave off the hill and make it
twice as steep! It will never do to have the High Valley made easy of
access to old ladies from Boston who
Who call you 'the other young man,' put in naughty Elsie. Never
mind, Clare. I share your feelings, but I don't think there is any
risk. There is only one of her, and I am quite certain, from the scared
look with which she alluded to our 'wild beasts,' that she never
proposes to come again.
CHAPTER VII. THORNS AND ROSES.
GEOFF, said Clover as they sat at dinner two days later, couldn't
we start early when we go in to-morrow to meet Rose, and have the
morning at St. Helen's? There are quite a lot of little errands to be
done, and it's a long time since we saw Poppy or the Hopes.
Just as early as you like, replied her husband. It's a free day,
and I am quite at your service.
So they breakfasted at a quarter before six, and by a quarter past
were on their way to St. Helen's, passing, as Clover remarked, through
three zones of temperature; for it was crisply cold when they set out,
temperately cool at the lower end of the Ute Pass, and blazing hot on
the sandy plain.
We certainly do get a lot of climate for our money out here,
They reached the town a little before ten, and went first of all to
see Mrs. Marsh, for whom Clover had brought a basket of fresh eggs. She
never entered that house without being sharply carried back to former
days, and made to feel that the intervening time was dreamy and unreal,
so absolutely unchanged was it. There was the rickety piazza on which
she and Phil had so often sat, the bare, unhomelike parlor, the
rocking-chairs swinging all at once, timed as it were to an
accompaniment of coughs; but the occupants were not the same. Many sets
of invalids had succeeded each other at Mrs. Marsh's since those old
days; still the general effect was precisely similar.
Mrs. Marsh, who only was unchanged, gave them a warm welcome.
Grateful little Clover never had forgotten the many kindnesses shown to
her and Phil, and requited them in every way that was in her power.
More than once when Mrs. Marsh was poorly or overtired, she had carried
her off to the High Valley for a rest; and she never failed to pay her
a visit whenever she spent a day at St. Helen's.
Their next call was at the Hopes'. They found Mrs. Hope darning
stockings on the back piazza which commanded a view of the mountain
range. She always claimed the entire credit of Clover's match,
declaring that if she had not matronized her out to the Valley and
introduced her and Geoff to each other, they would never have met. Her
droll airs of proprietorship over their happiness were infinitely
amusing to Clover.
I think we should have got at each other somehow, even if
you had not been in existence, she told her friend; marriages are
made in Heaven, as we all know. Nobody could have prevented ours.
My dear, that is just where you are mistaken. Nothing is easier
than to prevent marriages. A mere straw will do it. Look at the
countless old maids all over the world; and probably nearly every one
of them came within half an inch of perfect happiness, and just missed
it. No, depend upon it, there is nothing like a wise, judicious,
discriminating friend at such junctures, to help matters along. You may
thank me that Geoff isn't at this moment wedded to some stiff-necked
British maiden, and you eating your head off in single-blessedness at
Rubbish! said Clover. Neither of us is capable of it; but Mrs.
Hope stuck to her convictions.
She was delighted to see them, as she always was, and no less the
bottle of beautiful cream, the basket full of fresh lettuces, and the
bunch of Mariposa lilies which they had brought. Clover never went into
St. Helen's empty-handed.
Here they took luncheon No. 1,consisting of sponge-cake and
claret-cup, partaken of while gazing across at Cheyenne Mountain, which
was at one of its most beautiful moments, all aerial blue streaked with
sharp sunshine at the summit. It was the one defect of the High Valley,
Clover thought, that it gave no glimpse of Cheyenne.
Luncheon No. 2 came a little later, with Marian Chase, whom every
one still called Poppy from preference and long habit. She was
perfectly well now, but she and her family had grown so fond of St.
Helen's that there was no longer any talk of their going back to the
East. She had just had some beautiful California plums sent her by an
admirer, and insisted on Clover's eating them with an accompaniment of
biscuits and natural soda water.
I want you and Alice Perham to come out next week for two nights,
said Clover, while engaged in this agreeable occupation. My friend
Mrs. Browne arrives to-day, and she is by far the greatest treat we
have ever had to offer to any one since we lived in the Valley. You
will delight in her, I know. Could you come on Monday in the stage to
the Ute Hotel, if we sent the carryall over to meet you?
Why, of course. I never have any engagements when a chance comes
for going to the dear Valley; and Alice has none, I am pretty sure. It
will be perfectly delightful! Clover, you are an angel,'the Angel of
the Penstamen' I mean to call you, glancing at the great sheaf of
purple and white flowers which Clover had brought. It's a very good
name. As for Elsie, she is 'Our Lady of Raspberries;' I never saw such
beauties as she fetched in week before last.
Some very multifarious shopping for the two households followed, and
by that time it was two o'clock and they were quite ready for luncheon
No. 3,soup and sandwiches, procured at a restaurant. They were just
coming away when an open carriage passed them, silk-lined, with a crest
on the panel, jingling curb-chains, and silver-plated harnesses, all
after the latest modern fashion, and drawn by a pair of fine gray
horses. Inside was a young man, who returned a stiff bow to Clover's
salutation, and a gorgeously gowned young lady with rather a handsome
Mr. and Mrs. Thurber Wade, I declare, observed Geoffrey. I heard
that they were expected.
Yes, Mrs. Wade is so pleased to have them come for the summer. We
must go and call some day, Geoff, when I happen to have on my best
bonnet. Do you think we ought to ask them out to the Valley?
That's just as you please. I don't mind if he doesn't. What fine
horses. Aren't you conscious of a little qualm of regret, Clover?
What for? I don't know what you mean. Don't be absurd, was all the
reply he received, or in fact deserved.
And now it was time to go to the train. The minutes seemed long
while they waited, but presently came the well-known shriek and rumble,
and there was Rose herself, dimpled and smiling at the window, looking
not a whit older than on the day of Katy's wedding seven years before.
There was little Rose too, but she was by no means so unchanged as her
mother, and certainly no longer little, surprisingly tall on the
contrary, with her golden hair grown brown and braided in a pig-tail,
actually a pig-tail. She had the same bloom and serenity, however, and
the same sedate, investigating look in her eyes. There was Mr. Browne
too, but he was a brief joy, for there was only time to shake hands and
exchange dates and promises of return, before the train started and
bore him away toward Pueblo.
Now, said Rose, who seemed quite unquenched by her three days of
travel, don't let's utter one word till we are in the carriage, and
then don't let's stop one moment for two weeks.
In the first place, she began, as the carryall, mounting the hill,
turned into Monument Avenue, where numbers of new houses had been built
of late years, Queen Anne cottages in brick and stone, timber, and
concrete, with here and there a more ambitious villa of pink granite,
all surrounded with lawns and rosaries and vine-hung verandas and
tinkling fountains. In the first place I wish to learn where all these
people and houses come from. I was told that you lived in a lodge in
the wilderness, but though I see plenty of lodges the wilderness seems
wanting. Is this really an infant settlement?
It really is. That is, it hasn't come of age yet, being not quite
twenty-one years old. Oh, you've no notion about our Western towns,
Rose. They're born and grown up all in a minute, like Hercules
strangling the snakes in his cradle. I don't at all wonder that you are
'Surprised' doesn't express it. 'Flabbergasted,' though low, comes
nearer my meaning. I have been breathless ever since we left Albany.
First there was that enormous Chicago which knocked me all of a heap,
then Denver, then that enchanting ride over the Divide, and now this!
Never did I see such flowers or such colored rocks, and never did any
one breathe such air. It sweeps all the dust and fatigue out of one in
a minute. Boston seems quite small and dull in comparison, doesn't it,
It isn't so big, but I love it the most, replied that small person
from the front seat, where she sat soberly taking all things in.
Mamma, Uncle Geoff says I may drive when we get to the foot of a long
hill we are just coming to. You won't be afraid, will you?
N-o; not if Uncle Geoff will keep his eye on the reins and stand
ready to seize them if the horses begin to run. Rose just expresses my
feelings, she continued; but this is as beautiful as it is big. What
is the name of that enchanting mountain over there,Cheyenne? Why,
yes,that is the one that you used to write about in your letters when
you first came out, I remember. It never made much impression on
me,mountains never seem high in letters, somehow, but now I don't
wonder. It's the loveliest thing I ever saw.
Clover was much pleased at Rose's appreciation of her favorite
mountain, and also with the intelligent way in which she noted
everything they passed. Her eyes were as quick as her tongue;
chattering all the time, she yet missed nothing of interest. The
poppy-strewn plain, the green levels of the mesa delighted her; so did
the wide stretches of blue distance, and she screamed with joy at the
orange and red pinnacles in Odin's Garden.
It is a land of wonders, she declared. When I think how all my
life I have been content to amble across the Common, and down Winter
Street to Hovey's, and now and then by way of adventure take the car to
the Back Bay, and that I felt all the while as if I were getting the
cream and pick of everything, I am astonished at my own stupidity.
Rose, are you not glad I did not let you catch whooping cough from
Margaret Lyon? you were bent on doing it, you remember. If I had given
you your way we should not be here now.
Rose only smiled in reply. She was used to her little mother's
vagaries and treated them in general with an indulgent inattention.
The sun was quite gone from the ravines, but still lingered on the
snow-powdered peaks above, when the carriage climbed the last steep
zigzag and drew up before the Hut, whose upper windows glinted with
the waning light. Rose looked about her and drew a long breath of
surprise and pleasure.
It isn't a bit like what I thought it would be, she said; but
it's heaps and heaps more beautiful. I simply put it at the head of all
the places I ever saw. Then Elsie came running on to the porch, and
Rose jumped out into her arms.
I thank the goodness and the grace
That on my birth has smiled,
And brought me to this blessed place
A happy Boston child!
she cried, hugging Elsie rapturously. You dear thing! how well you
look! and how perfect it all is up here! And this is Mr. Page, whom I
have known all about ever since the Hillsover days! and this is dear
little Geoff! Clover, his eyes are exactly like yours! And where is
your baby, Elsie?
Little wretch! she would go to sleep. I told her you were
coming, and I did all I could, short of pinching, to keep her
awake,sang, and repeated verses, and danced her up and down, but it
was all of no use. She would put her knuckles in her eyes, and whimper
and fret, and at last I had to give in. Babies are perfectly
unmanageable when they are sleepy.
Most of us are. It's just as well. I can't half take it in as it
is. It is much better to keep something for to-morrow. The drive was
perfect, and the Valley is twice as beautiful as I expected it to be.
And now I want to go into the house.
Elsie had devoted her day to setting forth the Hut to advantage. She
and Roxy had been to the very top of the East Canyon for flowers, and
returned loaded with spoil. Bunches of coreopsis and vermilion-tipped
painter's-brush adorned the chimney-piece; tall spikes of yucca rose
from an Indian jar in one corner of the room, and a splendid sheaf of
yellow columbines from another; fresh kinnikinick was looped and
wreathed about the pictures; and on the dining-table stood, most
beautiful and fragile of all, a bowlful of Mariposa lilies, their
delicate, lilac-streaked bells poised on stems so slender that the
fairy shapes seemed to float in air, supported at their own sweet will.
There were roses, too, and fragrant little knots of heliotrope and
mignonette. With these Rose was familiar; the wild flowers were all new
She ran from vase to vase in a rapture. They could scarcely get her
upstairs to take off her things. Such a bright evening followed! Clover
declared that she had not laughed so much in all the seven years since
they parted. Rose seemed to fit at once and perfectly into the life of
the place, while at the same time she brought the breath of her own
more varied and different life to freshen and widen it. They all agreed
that they had never had a visitor who gave so much and enjoyed so much.
She and Geoffrey made friends at once, greatly to Clover's delight, and
Clarence took to her in a manner astonishing to his wife, for he was
apt to eschew strangers, and escape them when he could.
They all woke in the morning to a sense of holiday.
Boys, said Elsie at breakfast, this isn't at all a common,
every-day day, and I don't want to do every-day things in it. I want
something new and unusual to happen. Can't you abjure those wretched
beasts of yours for once, and come with us to that sweet little canyon
at the far end of the Ute, where we went the summer after I was
married? We want to show it to Rose, and the weather is simply
Yes, if you'll give us half an hour or so to ride up and speak to
All right. It will take at least as long as that to get ready.
So Choo Loo hastily broiled chickens and filled bottles with coffee
and cream; and by half-past nine they were off, children and all, some
on horseback, and some in the carryall with the baskets, to Elsie's
sweet little canyon, over which Pike's Peak rose in lonely majesty
like a sentinel at an outpost, and where flowers grew so thickly that,
as Rose wrote her husband, it was harder to find the in-betweens than
the blossoms. They came back, tired, hungry, and happy, just at
nightfall; so it was not till the second day that Rose met the Youngs,
about whom her curiosity was considerably excited. It seemed so odd,
she said, to have only neighbors, and it made them of so much
They had been asked to dinner to meet Rose, which was a very formal
and festive invitation for the High Valley, though the dinner must
perforce be much as usual, and the party was inevitably the same.
Imogen felt that it was an occasion, and wishing to do credit to it,
she unpacked a gown which had not seen the light before since her
arrival, and which had done duty as a dinner dress for two or three
years at Bideford. It was of light blue mousselaine-de-laine, made with
a half-high top and elbow sleeves, and trimmed with cheap lace. A
necklace of round coral beads adorned her throat, and a comb of the
same material her hair, which was done up in a series of wonderful
loops filleted with narrow blue ribbons. She carried a pink fan.
Lionel, who liked bright colors, was charmed at the effect; and
altogether she set out in good spirits for the walk down the Pass,
though she was prepared to be afraid of Rose, of whose brilliancy she
had heard a little too much to make the idea of meeting her quite
The party had just gathered in the sitting-room as they entered.
Clover and Elsie were in pretty cotton dresses, as usual, and Rose,
following their lead, had put on what at home she would have considered
a morning gown, of linen lawn, white, with tiny bunches of
forget-me-nots scattered over it, and a jabot of lace and blue ribbon.
These toilettes seemed unduly simple to Imogen, who said within
herself, complacently, There is one thing the Americans don't seem to
understand, and that is the difference between common dressing and a
regular dinner dress,preening herself the while in the sky-blue
mousselaine-de-laine, and quite unconscious that Rose was inwardly
remarking, My! where did she get that gown? I never saw
anything like it. It must have been made for Mrs. Noah, some years
before the ark. And her hair! just the ark style, too, and calculated
to frighten the animals into good behavior and obedience during the bad
weather. Well, I put it at the head of all the extraordinary things I
It is just as well, on the whole, that people are not able to read
each other's thoughts in society.
You've only just come to America, I hear, said Rose, taking a
chair near Imogen. Do you begin to feel at home yet?
Oh, pretty well for that. I don't fancy that one ever gets to be
quite at home anywhere out of their own country. It's very different
over here from England, of course.
Yes, but some parts of America are more different than some other
parts. You haven't seen much of us as yet.
No, but all the parts I have seen seemed very much alike.
The High Valley and New York, for example.
Oh, I wasn't thinking of New York. I mean the plains and mountains
and the Western towns. We didn't stop at any of them, of course; but
seen from the railway they all look pretty much the same,wooden
houses, you know, and all that.
What astonished us most was the distance, said Rose. Of course we
all learned from our maps, when we were at school, just how far it is
across the continent; but I never realized it in the least till I saw
it. It seemed so wonderful to go on day after day and never get to the
Only about half-way to the end, put in Clover. That question of
distance is a great surprise; and if it perplexes you, Rose, it isn't
wonderful that it should perplex foreigners. Do you recollect that
Englishman, Geoff, whom we met at the table d'hôte at Llanberis,
when we were in Wales, and who accounted for the Charleston earthquake
by saying that he supposed it had something to do with those hot
springs close by.
What hot springs did he mean?
I am sure you would never guess unless I told you. The hot springs
in the Yellowstone Park, to be sure,simply those, and nothing more!
And when I explained that Charleston and the Yellowstone were about as
distant from each other as Siberia and the place we were in, he only
stared and remarked, 'Oh, I think you must be mistaken.'
And are they so far apart, then? asked Imogen, innocently.
Oh, Moggy, Moggy! what were your geography teachers thinking
about? cried her brother. It seems sometimes as if America were
entirely left out of the maps used in English schools.
Lionel, said his sister, how can you say such things? It isn't so
at all; but of course we learned more about the important countries.
Imogen spoke quite artlessly; she had no intention of being rude.
Great Scott! muttered Clarence under his breath, while Rose
flashed a look at Clover.
Of course, she said, sweetly, Burmah and Afghanistan and New
Zealand and the Congo States would naturally interest you
more,large heathen populations to Christianize and exterminate. There
is nothing like fire and sword to establish a bond.
Oh, I didn't mean that. Of course America is much larger than those
'Plenty of us such as we are' quoted the wicked Rose.
And pretty good what there is of us, added Clover, glad of the
appearance of dinner just then to create a diversion.
That's quite a dreadful little person, remarked Rose, as they
stood at the doorway two hours later, watching the guests walk up the
trail under the light of a glorious full moon. Her mind is just one
inch across. You keep falling off the edge and hurting yourself. It's
sad that she should be your only neighbor. I don't seem to like her a
bit, and I predict that you will yet have some dreadful sort of a row
with her, Clovy.
Indeed we shall not; nothing of the kind. She's really a good
little thing at bottom; this angularity and stiffness that you object
to is chiefly manner. Wait till she has been here long enough to learn
the ways and wake up, and you will like her.
I'll wait, said Rose, dryly. How much time should you say would
be necessary, Clover? A hundred years? I should think it would take at
least as long as that.
Lionel's a dear fellow. We are all very fond of him.
I can understand your being fond of him easily enough.
Imogen! what a name for just that kind of girl. 'Image' it ought to be.
What a figure of fun she was in that awful blue gown!
The two weeks of Rose's visit sped only too rapidly. There was so
much that they wanted to show her, and there were so many people whom
they wanted her to see, and so many people who, as soon as they saw
her, became urgent that she should do this and that with them, that
life soon became a tangle of impossibilities. Rose was one of those
charmers that cannot be hid. She had been a belle all her days, and she
would be so till she died of old age, as Elsie told her. Her friends of
the High Valley gloried in her success; but all the time they had a
private longing to keep her more to themselves, as one retires with two
or three to enjoy a choice dainty of which there is not enough to go
round in a larger company. They took her to the Cheyenne Canyons and
the top of Pike's Peak; they carried her over the Marshall Pass and to
many smaller places less known to fame, but no less charming in their
way. Invitations poured in from St. Helen's, to lunch, to dinner, to
afternoon teas; but of these Rose would none. She could lunch and dine
in Boston, she declared, but she might never come to Colorado again,
and what she thirsted for was canyons, and not less than one a day
would content her insatiable appetite for them.
But though she would not go to St. Helen's, St. Helen's in a measure
came to her. Marian Chase and Alice made their promised visit; Dr. and
Mrs. Hope came out more than once, and Phil continually; while smart
Bostonians whom Clover had never heard of turned up at Canyon Creek and
the Ute Valley and drove over to call, having heard that Mrs. Deniston
Browne was staying there. The High Valley became used to the roll of
wheels and the tramp of horses' feet, and for the moment seemed a
sociable, accessible sort of place to which it was a matter of course
that people should repair. It was oddly different from the customary
order of things, but the change was enlivening, and everybody enjoyed
it with one exception.
This exception was Imogen Young. She was urged to join some of the
excursions made by her friends below, but on one excuse or another she
refused. She felt shy and left out where all the rest were so
well-acquainted and so thoroughly at ease, and preferred to remain at
home; but all the same, to have the others so gay and busy gave her a
sense of loneliness and separation which was painful to bear. Clover
tried more than once to persuade her out of her solitary mood; but she
was too much occupied herself and too absorbed to take much time for
coaxing a reluctant guest, and the others dispensed with her company
quite easily; in fact, they were too busy to notice her absence much or
ask questions. So the fortnight, which passed so quickly and
brilliantly at the Hut, and was always afterward alluded to as that
delightful time when Rose was here, was anything but delightful at the
Hutlet, where poor Imogen sat homesick and forlorn, feeling left
alone on one side of all the pleasant things, scarcely realizing that
it was her own choice and doing, and wishing herself back in
Lion seems quite taken up with these new people and that
Mrs. Browne, she reflected. He's always going off with them to one
place or another. I might as well be back in Bideford for all the use I
am to him. This was unjust, for Lionel was anxious and worried over
his sister's depressed looks and indisposition to share in the
pleasures that were going on; but Imogen just then saw things through a
gloomy medium, and not quite as they were. She felt dull and
heavy-hearted, and did not seem able to rouse herself from her
lassitude and weariness.
Out of the whole party no one was so perfectly pleased with her
surroundings as the smaller Rose. Everything seemed to suit the little
maid exactly. She made a delightful playfellow for the babies, telling
them fairy stories by the dozen, and teaching them new games, and
washing and dressing Phillida with all the gravity and decorum of an
old nurse. They followed her about like two little dogs, and never left
her side for a moment if they could possibly help it. All was fish that
came to her happy little net, whether it was playing with little Geoff,
going on excursions with the elders, scrambling up the steep
side-canyons under Phil's escort in search of flowers and curiosities,
or riding sober old Marigold to the Upper Valley as she was sometimes
allowed to do. The only cloud in her perfect satisfaction was that she
must some day go away.
It won't be very pleasant when I get back to Boston, and don't have
anything to do but just walk down Pinckney Street with Mary Anne to
school, and slide a little bit on the Common when the snow comes and
there aren't any big boys about, will it, mamma? she said,
disconsolately. I sha'n't feel as if that were a great deal, I think.
I am afraid the High Valley is a poor preparation for West Cedar
Street, laughed Rose. It will seem a limited career to both of
us at first. But cheer up, Poppet; I'm going to put you into a
dancing-class this winter, and very likely at Christmas-time papa will
treat us both to a Moral Drayma. There are consolations, even in
That 'even in Boston' is the greatest compliment the High Valley
ever received, said Clover, who happened to be within hearing. Such a
moment will never come to it again.
And now the last day came, as last days will. Mr. Browne returned
from Mexico, with forty-eight hours to spare for enjoyment, which
interval they employed in showing him the two things that Rose loved
most,namely, the High Valley from top to bottom, and the North
Cheyenne Canyon. The last luncheon was taken at Mrs. Hope's, who had
collected a few choice spirits in honor of the occasion, and then they
all took the Roses to the train, and sent them off loaded with fruit
Miss Young was extraordinarily queer and dismal last night, said
Rose to Clover as they stood a little aside from the rest on the
platform. I can't quite see what ails her. She looks thinner than when
we came, and doesn't seem to know how to smile; depend upon it she's
going to be ill, or something. I wish you had a pleasanter
neighbor,especially as she's likely to be the only one for some time
Poor thing. I've neglected her of late, replied Clover,
penitently. I must make up for it now that you are going away. Really,
I couldn't take my time for her while you were here, Rosy.
And I certainly couldn't let you. I should have resented it highly
if you had. Oh dear,there's that whistle. We really have got to go. I
hoped to the last that something might happen to keep us another day.
Oh dear Clover,I wish we lived nearer each other. This country of
ours is a great deal too wide.
Geoff, said Clover, as they slowly climbed the hill, I never felt
before that the High Valley was too far away from people, but somehow I
do to-night. It is quite terrible to have Rose go, and to feel that I
may not see her again for years.
Did you want to go with her?
And leave you? No, dearest. But I am quite sure that there are no
distances in Heaven, and when we get there we shall find that we all
are to live next door to each other. It will be part of the happiness.
Perhaps so. Meanwhile I am thankful that my happiness lives close
to me now. I don't have to wait till Heaven for that, which is the
reason perhaps that for some years past Earth has seemed so very
satisfactory to me.
Geoff, what an uncommonly nice way you have of putting things,
said Clover, nestling her head comfortably on his arm. On the whole I
don't think the High Valley is so very far away.
CHAPTER VIII. UNCONDITIONAL
HAVE you seen Imogen Young to-day? was Clover's first question on
No. Lionel was in for a moment at noon, and said she was preserving
raspberries; so, as I had a good deal to do, I did not go up. Why?
Oh, nothing in particular. I only wanted to know. Well, here we
are, left to ourselves with not a Rose to our name. How we shall
miss them! There's a letter from Johnnie for you by way of
But the letter did not prove in the least consoling, for it was to
break to them a piece of disappointing news.
The Daytons have given up their Western trip, wrote Johnnie. Mrs.
Dayton's father is very ill at Elberon; she has gone to him, and there
is almost no chance of their getting away at all this summer. It really
is a dreadful disappointment, for we had set our hearts on our visit,
and papa had made all his arrangements to be absent for six
weeks,which you know is a thing not easily done, or undone. Then
Debby and Richard had been promised a holiday, and Dorry was going in a
yacht with some friends to the Thousand Islands. It all seemed so
nicely settled, and here comes this blow to unsettle it. Well, Dieu
dispose,there is nothing for it but resignation, and unpacking
our hopes and ideas and putting them back again in their usual shelves
and corners. We must make what we can of the situation, and of course,
it isn't anything so very hard to have to pass the summer in Burnet
with papa; still I was that wild with disappointment at the first, that
I actually went the length of suggesting that we should go all the
same, and pay our own travelling expenses! You can judge from
this how desperate my state of mind must have been! Papa, as you may
naturally suppose, promptly vetoed the proposal as impossible, and no
doubt he was right. I am growing gradually resigned to Fate now, but
all the same I cannot yet think of the blessed Valley and all of you,
andand the happy time we are not going to have, without
feeling quite like 'weeping a little weep.' How I wish that we
possessed a superfluous income!
Now, said Elsie, and her voice too sounded as if a little weep
were not far off, isn't that too bad? No papa this year, and no
Johnnie. I suppose we are spoiled, but the fact is, I have grown to
count on the Daytons and their car as confidently as though they were
the early and the latter rain. Her arch little face looked quite long
So have I, said Clover. It doesn't bear talking about, does it?
She had been conscious of late of a great longing after her father.
She had counted confidently on his visit, and the sense of
disappointment was bitter. She put away her bonnet and folded her
gloves with a very sober face. A sort of disenchantment seemed to have
fallen on the Valley since the coming of this bad news and the
departure of Rose.
This will never do, she told herself at last, after standing some
moments at the window looking across at the peak through a blur of
tears,I must brace up and comfort Elsie. But Elsie was not
to be comforted all at once, and the wheels of that evening drave
Next morning, as soon as her usual tasks were despatched, Clover
ordered Marigold saddled and started for the Youngs'. Rose's last
remarks had made her uneasy about Imogen, and she remembered with
compunction how little she had seen of her for a fortnight past.
No one but Sholto, Lionel's great deerhound, came out to meet her as
she dismounted at the door. His bark of welcome brought Ah Lee from the
back of the house.
Missee not velly well, me thinkee, he observed.
Is Missy ill? Where is Mr. Young, then?
He go two hours ago to Uppey Valley. Missee not sick then.
Is she in her room? asked Clover. Tie Marigold in the shade,
please, and I will go in and see her.
The bed-room door was closed, and Clover tapped twice before she
heard a languid Come in. Imogen was lying on the bed in her
morning-dress, with flushed cheeks and tumbled hair. She looked at
Clover with a sort of perplexed surprise.
My poor child, what is the matter? Have you a bad headache?
Yes, I think so, rather bad. I kept up till Lion had had his
breakfast, and then everything seemed to go round, and I had to come
and lie down. So stupid of me! impatiently; but I thought perhaps it
would pass off after a little.
And has it? asked Clover, pulling off her gloves and taking
Imogen's hand. It was chilly rather than hot, but the pulse seemed weak
and quick. Clover began to feel anxious, but did her best to hide it
under a cheerful demeanor lest she should startle Imogen.
Were you quite well yesterday? she asked.
Yes,that is, I wasn't ill. I had no headache then, but I think I
haven't been quite right for some time back, and I tried to do some
raspberries and felt very tired. I dare say it's only getting
acclimated. I'm really very strong. Nothing ever was the matter with me
Now, said Clover, brightly, I'll tell you what you are going to
do; and that is to put on your wrapper, make yourself comfortable, and
take a long sleep. I have come to spend the day, and I will give Lion
his luncheon and see to everything if only you will lie still. A good
rest would make you feel better, I am sure.
Perhaps so, said Imogen, doubtfully. She was too miserable to
object, and with a docility foreign to her character submitted to be
undressed, to have her hair brushed and knotted up, and a bandage of
cold water and eau de cologne laid on her forehead. This passive
compliance was so unlike her that Clover felt her anxieties increase.
Matters must be serious, she reflected, when Imogen Young agrees
meekly to any proposal from anybody.
She settled her comfortably, shook up the pillows, darkened the
window, threw a light shawl over her, and sat beside the bed fanning
gently till Imogen fell into a troubled sleep. Then she stole softly
away and busied herself in washing the breakfast things and putting the
rooms to rights. The young mistress of the house had evidently felt
unequal to her usual tasks, and everything was left standing just as it
Clover was recalled by a cry from the bedroom, and hurried back to
find Imogen sitting up, looking confused and startled.
What is it? Is anything the matter? she demanded. Then, before
Clover could reply, she came to herself and understood.
Oh, it is you, she said. What a comfort! I thought you were gone
No, indeed, I have no idea of going away. I was just in the other
room, straightening things out a little. It was settled that I was to
stay to lunch and keep Lionel company, you remember.
Ah, yes. It is very good of you, but I'm afraid there isn't much
for luncheon, sinking back on her pillows again. Ah Lee will know. I
don't seem able to think clearly of anything. She sighed, and
presently was asleep again, or seemed to be so, and Clover went back to
So it went all day,broken slumbers, confused wakings, increasing
fever, and occasional moments of bewilderment. Clover was sure that it
was a serious illness, and sent Lionel down with a note to say that
either Geoff or Clarence must go in at once and bring out Dr. Hope,
that she herself was a fixture at the other house for the night at
least, and would like a number of things sent up, of which she inclosed
a list. This note threw the family into a wild dismay. Life in the High
Valley was only meant for well people, as Elsie had once admitted.
Illness at once made the disadvantages of so lonely and inaccessible a
place apparent,with the doctor sixteen miles distant, and no
medicines or other appliances of a sick-room to be had short of St.
Dr. Hope reached them late in the evening. He pronounced that Imogen
had an attack of mountain fever, a milder sort of typhoid not
uncommon in the higher elevations of Colorado. He hoped it would be a
light case, gave full directions, and promised to send out medicines
and to come again in three days. Then he departed, and Clover, as she
watched him ride down the trail, felt as a shipwrecked mariner might,
left alone on a desert island,astray and helpless, and quite at a
loss as to what first to do.
There were too many things to be done, however, to allow of her long
indulging this feeling, and presently her wits cleared and she was able
to confront the task before her with accustomed sense and steadiness.
Imogen could not be left alone, that was evident; and it was equally
evident that she herself was the person who must stay with her. Elsie
could not be spared from her baby, and Geoffrey, beside being more
especially interested in the Youngs, would be far more amenable and
less refractory than Clarence at a curtailment of his domestic
privileges. So, pluckily and reasonably, she buckled to the work so
plainly set for her, established herself and her belongings in the
spare chamber, gathered the reins of the household and the sick-room
into her hands, and began upon what she knew might prove to be a long,
hard bout of patience and vigilance, resolved to do her best each day
as it came and let the next day take care of itself, minding nothing,
no fatigue or homesickness or difficulty, if only Imogen could be
properly cared for and get well.
After the first day or two matters fell into regular grooves. The
attack proved a light one, as the doctor had hoped. Imogen was never
actually in danger, but there was a good deal of weakness and
depression, occasional wandering of mind, and always the low,
underlying fever, not easily detected save by the clinical thermometer.
In her semi-delirious moments she would ramble about Bideford and the
people there, or hold Clover's hand tight, calling her Isabel, and
imploring her not to like Mrs. Geoff better than she liked her. It
was the first glimpse that Clover had ever caught of this unhappy tinge
of jealousy in Imogen's mind; it grieved her, but it also explained
some things that had been perplexing, and she grew very pitiful and
tender over the poor girl, away from home among strangers, and so ill
The most curious thing about it all was the extraordinary preference
which the patient showed for Clover above all her other nurses. If
Euphane came to sit beside her, or Elsie, or even Lionel, while Clover
took a rest, Imogen was manifestly uneasy and unhappy. She never
said that she missed Clover, but lay watching the door with a
strained, expectant look, which melted into relief as soon as Clover
appeared. Then she would feebly move her fingers to lay hold of
Clover's hand, and holding it fast, would fall asleep satisfied and
content. It seemed as if the sense of comfort which Clover's appearance
that first morning had given continued when she was not quite herself,
and influenced her.
It's queer how much better she likes you than any of the rest of
us, Lionel said one day. Clover felt oddly pleased at this remark. It
was a new experience to be preferred by Imogen Young, and she could not
but be gratified.
Though very likely, she told herself, she will stiffen up again
when she gets well; so I must be prepared for it, and not mind when it
Meanwhile Imogen could not have been better cared for anywhere than
she was in the High Valley. Clover had a natural aptitude for nursing.
She knew by instinct what a sick person would like and dislike, what
would refresh and what weary, what must be remembered and what avoided.
Her inventive faculties also came into full play under the pressure of
the little daily emergencies, when exactly the thing wanted was sure
not to be at hand. It was quite wonderful how she devised substitutes
for all sorts of deficiencies. Elsie, amazed at her cleverness,
declared herself sure that if Dr. Hope were to say that a roc's egg was
needful for Imogen's recovery, Clover would reply, as a matter of
course, Certainly,I will send it up directly, and thereupon proceed
to concoct one out of materials already in the house, which would
answer as well as the original article and do Imogen just as much good.
She cooked the nicest little sick-room messes, giving them variety by
cunningly devised flavors, and she originated cooling drinks out of
sago and arrowroot and tamarinds and fruit juices and ice, which Imogen
would take when she refused everything else. Her lightness of touch and
bright, equable calmness were unfailing. Dr. Hope said she would make
the fortune of any ordinary hospital, and that she was so evidently cut
out for a nurse that it seemed a clear subversion of the plans of
Providence that she should ever have married,a speech for which the
doctor got little thanks from anybody, for Clover declared that she
hated hospitals and sick folks, and never wanted to nurse anybody but
the people she loved best, and then only when she couldn't help
herself; while Geoffrey treated the facetious physician to the blackest
of frowns, and privately confided to Elsie that the doctor, good fellow
that he was, deserved a kicking, and he shouldn't mind being the one to
By the end of a fortnight the fever was conquered, and then began
the slow process of building up exhausted strength, and fanning the dim
spark of life once again into a generous flame. This is apt to be the
most trying part of an illness to those who nurse; the excitement of
anxiety and danger being past, the space between convalescence and
complete recovery seems very wide, and hard to bridge over. Clover
found it so. Imogen's strength came back slowly; all her old vigor and
decision seemed lost; she was listless and despondent, and needed to be
coaxed and encouraged and cheered as much as does an ailing child.
She did not stiffen, however, as Clover had feared she might do;
on the contrary, her dependence upon her favorite nurse seemed to
increase, and on the days when she was most languid and hopeless she
clung most to her. There was a wistful look in her eyes as they
followed Clover in her comings and goings, and a new, tender tone in
her voice when she spoke to her; but she said little, and after she was
able to sit up just lay back in her chair and gazed at the mountains in
a dreamy fashion for hours together.
This will never do, Lionel declared. We must hearten her up
somehow, which he proceeded to do, after the blundering fashion of the
ordinary man, by a series of thrilling anecdotes about cattle and their
vagaries, refractory cows who turned upon their herders and horned
them, and wild steers who chased mounted men, overtook and gored them;
how Felipe was stampeded and Pepe just escaped with his life. The
result of this heartening, process was that Imogen, in her weak
state, conceived a horror of ranch work, and passed the hours of his
absence in a subdued agony of apprehension concerning him. He was very
surprised and contrite when scolded by Clover.
What shall I talk to her about, then? he demanded ruefully. I
can't bear to see her sit so dull and silent. Poor Moggy! and cattle
are the only subjects of conversation that we have up here.
Talk about yourself and herself and the funny things that happened
when you were little, and pet her all you can; but pray don't allude to
horned animals of any kind. She's so quiet only because she is weak.
Presently we shall see her brighten.
And so they did. With the first breath of autumn, full of cool
sparkle and exhilaration, Imogen began to rally. Color stole back to
her lips, vigor to her movements; each day she could do a little and a
little more. Her first coming out to dinner was treated as a grand
event. She was placed in a cushioned chair and served like a queen.
Lionel was in raptures at seeing her in her old place, at the head of
the table, better than new, as he asserted; and certainly Imogen had
never in her life been so pretty. They had cut her long hair during the
illness because it was falling out so fast; the short rings round her
face were very becoming, the sunburn of the summer had worn off and her
complexion was delicately fair. Clover had dressed her in a loose
jacket of pale-pink flannel which Elsie had fitted and made for her; it
was trimmed with soft frills of lace, and knots of ribbon, and Geoff
had brought up a half-opened tea rose which exactly matched it.
I shall carry you home with me when I go, she told Imogen as she
helped her undress. You must come down and make us a good long visit.
I can't and won't have you left alone up here, to keep the house and
sit for hours every day imagining that Lionel is being gored by wild
When you go? repeated Imogen, in a dismayed tone; but yes, of
course you must gowhat was I thinking of?
Not while you need me, said Clover, soothingly. But you are
nearly well now, and will soon be able to do everything for yourself.
I am absolutely silly, said Imogen, with her eyes full of tears.
What extraordinary things fevers are! I declare, I am as bad as any
child. It is absurd, but the mere idea of having to give you up makes
me quite cold and miserable.
But you won't have to give me up; we are going to be neighbors
still, and see each other every day. And you won't be ill again, you
know. You are acclimated now, Dr. Hope says.
YesI hope so; I am sure I hope so. And yet, do you know, I almost
think I would go through the fever all over again for the sake of
having you take care of me!
Why, my dear child, what a thing to say! It's the greatest
compliment I ever had in my life, but yet
It's no compliment at all. I should never think of paying you
compliments. I couldn't.
That is sad for me. Compliments are nice things, I think.
Imogen suddenly knelt down and put her arms on Clover's lap as she
sat by the window.
I want to tell you something, she said in a broken voice. I was
so unjust when I came over,so rude and unkind in my thoughts. You
will hardly believe it, but I didn't like you!
I can believe it without any particular difficulty. Everybody can't
like me, you know.
Everybody ought to. You are simply the best, dearest, truest person
I ever knew. Oh, I can't half say what you are, but I know! You have
heaped coals of fire on my head. Perhaps that's the reason my hair has
fallen off so, with a mirthless laugh. I used to feel them burn and
burn, on those nights when I lay all scorching up with fever, and you
sat beside me so cool and sweet and patient. And there is more still. I
was jealous because I fancied that Isabel liked you better than she did
me. Did you ever suspect that?
Never till you were ill. Some little things that you muttered when
you were not quite yourself put the idea into my head.
I can't think why I was so idiotic about it. Of course she liked
you best,who wouldn't? How horrid it was in me to feel so! I used to
try hard not to, but it was of no use; I kept on all the same.
But you're not jealous now, I hope?
No, indeed, shaking her head. The feeling seems all burnt out of
me. If I am ever jealous again it will be just the other way, for fear
you will care for her and not at all for me.
I do believe you are making me a declaration of attachment! cried
Clover, amazed beyond expression at this outburst, but inexpressibly
pleased. The stiff, reserved Imogen seemed transformed. Her face glowed
with emotion, her words came in a torrent. She was altogether different
from her usual self.
Attachment! If I were not attached to you I should be the most
ungrateful wretch going. Here you have stayed away from home all these
weeks, and worked like a servant making me all those lovely
lemon-squashes and things, and letting your own affairs go to wrack and
ruin, and you never seemed to remember that you had any affairs,
or that there was such a thing as getting tired,never seemed to
remember anything except to take care of me. You are an angelthere is
nobody like you. I don't believe any one else in the world would have
done what you did for a stranger who had no claim upon you.
That is absurd, said Clover, frightened at the probable effect of
all this excitement on her patient, and trying to treat the matter
lightly. You exaggerate things dreadfully. We all have a claim on each
other, especially here in the Valley where there are so few of us. If I
had been ill you would have turned to and helped to nurse me as I did
you, I am sure.
I shouldn't have known how.
You would have learned how just as I did. Emergencies are wonderful
teachers. Now, dear Imogen, you must get to bed. If you excite
yourself like this you will have a bad night and be put back.
Oh, I'll sleep. I promise you that I will sleep if only you will
let me say just one more thing. I won't go on any more about the things
you have done, though it's all true,and I don't exaggerate in the
least, for all that you say I do; but never mind that, only please tell
me that you forgive me. I can't rest till you say that.
For what,for not liking me at first; for being jealous of Isabel?
Both were natural enough, I think. Isabel was your dearest friend; and
I was a new-comer, an interloper. I never meant to come between you, I
am sure; but I daresay that I seemed to do so, and I can understand it
all easily. There is no question of forgiving between us, dear, only of
forgetting. We are friends now, and we will both love Isabel; and I
will love you if you will let me, and you shall love me.
How good you are! exclaimed Imogen, as Clover bent over for a
good-night kiss. She put her arms round Clover's neck and held her
tight for a moment.
Yes, indeed, she sighed. I don't deserve it after my bad
behavior, but I shall be only too glad if I may be your friend. I don't
believe any other girl in the world has two so good as you and Isabel.
Don't lie awake to think over our perfections, said Clover, as she
withdrew with the candle. Go to sleep, and remember that you are
coming down to the Hut with me for a visit, whenever I go.
Dr. Hope, however, negatived this suggestion decidedly. He was an
autocrat with his sick people, and no one dared dispute his decisions.
What your young woman needs is to get away from the Valley for a
while into lower air; and what you need is to have her go, and forget
that you have been nursing her, he told Clover. There is a look of
tension about you both which is not the correct thing. She'll improve
much faster at St. Helen's than here, and besides, I want her under my
eye for a while. Mary shall send up an invitation to-morrow, and mind
that you make her accept it.
So the next day came the most cordial of notes from Mrs. Hope,
asking Imogen to spend a fortnight with her.
Dr. Hope wishes to consider you his patient a little longer, she
wrote, and says the lower level will do you good; and I want you as
much as he does for other reasons. St. Helen's is rather empty just
now, in this betwixt-and-between season, and a visitor will be a real
God-send to me. I am so afraid that you will be disobliging, and say
'No,' that I have made the doctor put it in the form of a prescription;
and please tell Clover that we count upon her to see that you begin to
take the remedy without delay.
And sure enough, on the doctor's prescription paper, with the
regular appeal to Jupiter which heads all prescriptions, a formula was
enclosed setting forth with due professional precision that Miss Imogen
Young was to be put in a carryall, well shaken on the way down, and
taken in fourteen daily doses in the town of St. Helen's. Immediate.
How very good of them! said Imogen. Everybody is so wonderfully
good to me! I think America must be the kindest country in the world!
She made no difficulty about accepting the invitation, and resigned
herself to the will of her friends with a docility that was astonishing
to everybody except Clover, who was in the secret of her new-born
resolves. They packed her things at once, and Lionel drove her down to
St. Helen's the very day after the reception of Mrs. Hope's note.
Imogen parted from the sisters with a warm embrace, but she clung
longest to Clover.
You will let me come for a night or two when I return, before I
settle again at home, won't you? she said. I shall be half-starved to
see you, and a mile is a goodish bit to get over when you're not
Why, of course, said Clover, delighted. We shall count on it, and
Lion has promised to stay with us all the time you are away.
I do think that girl has experienced a change of heart, remarked
Elsie, as they turned to go in-doors. She seems really fond of you,
and almost fond of me. It is no wonder, I am sure, so far as you are
concerned, after all you have done for her. I never supposed she could
look so pretty or come so near being agreeable as she does now.
Evidently mountain-fever is what the English emigrant of the higher
classes needs to thaw him out and attune him to American ways. It's a
pity they can't all be inoculated with it on landing.
Now, Clovy,my dear, sweet old Clovy,what fun it is to have you
at home again! she went on, giving her sister a rapturous embrace. I
wouldn't mention it so long as you had to be away, but I have missed
you horribly. 'There's no luck about the house' when you are not in it.
We have all been out of sorts,Geoff quite down in the mouth, little
Geoff not at all contented with me as a mother; even Euphane has worn a
long face and exhibited a tendency to revert to the Isle of Man, which
she never showed so long as you were to the fore. As for me, I have
felt like a person with one lung, or half a head,all broken up, and
unlike myself. Oh, dear! how good it is to get you back, and be able to
consult you and look at you! Come upstairs at once, and unpack your
things, and we will play that you have never been away, and that the
last month is nothing but a disagreeable dream from which we have waked
It is delightful to get back, admitted Clover; still the
month has had its nice side, too. Imogen is so sweet and grateful and
demonstrative that it would astonish you. She is like a different girl.
I really think she has grown to love me.
I should say that nothing was more probable. But don't let's talk
of Imogen now. I want you all to myself.
The day had an ending as happy as unexpected. This was the letter
that Lionel Young brought back that evening from Johnnie at Burnet:
DEAREST SISTERS,What do you think has happened?
Something as enchanting as it is surprising! I
wrote you about Dorry's having the grippe; but I
would not tell you what a serious affair it was,
because you were all so anxious and occupied about
Miss Young that I did not like to add to your
worries more than I could help. He was pretty ill
for nearly a week; and though on the mend now, he
is much weakened and run down, and papa, I can
see, considers him still in a poor way. There is
no chance of his being able to go back to the
works for a couple of months yet, and we were
casting about as to the best way of giving him a
change of air, when, last night, came a note from
Mr. Dayton to say that he has to take a business
run to Salt Lake, with a couple of his directors,
and there are two places in car 47 at our service
if any of us still care to make the trip to
Colorado, late as it is. We had to answer at once,
and we took only ten minutes to make up our minds.
Dorry and I are to start for Chicago to-morrow,
and will be with you on Thursday if all goes
well,and for a good long visit, as the company
have given Dorry a two months' vacation. We shall
come back like common folks at our own charges,
which is an unusual extravagance for the Carr
family; but papa says sickness is a valid reason
for spending money, while mere pleasure isn't. He
thinks the journey will be the very thing for
Dorry. It has all come so suddenly that I am quite
bewildered in my mind. I don't at all like going
away and leaving papa alone; but he is quite
decided about it, and there is just the bare
chance that Katy may run out for a week or two, so
I am going to put my scruples in my pocket, and
take the good the gods provide, prepared to be
very happy. How perfectly charming it will be to
see you all! Somehow I never pined for you and the
valley so much as I have of late. It was really an
awful blow when the August plan came to nothing,
but Fate is making amends. Thursday! only think of
it! You will just have time to put towels in our
rooms and fill the pitchers before we are there. I
speak for the west corner one in the guest cabin,
which I had last year. Our dear love to you all.
Your affectionate JOHNNIE.
P.S. Please tell Mr. Young how happy we are that
his sister is recovering.
This is too delicious! said Elsie, when she had finished reading
this letter. Dorry, who never has been here, and John, and for
October, when we so rarely have anybody! I think it is a sort of
'reward of merit' for you, Clover, for taking such good care of Imogen
It's a most delightful one if it is. I half wish now that we hadn't
asked Lion to stay while his sister is gone. He's a dear good fellow,
but it would be nicer to have the others quite to ourselves, don't you
Clover dear, said Elsie, looking very wise and significant, did
it never occur to you that there might be a little something like a
sentiment or tenderness between John and Lionel? Are you sure that she
would be so thoroughly pleased if we sent him off and kept her to
Certainly not. I never thought of such a thing.
You never do think of such things. I am much sharper about
them than you are, and I have observed a tendency on the part of Miss
John to send messages to that young man in her letters, and always in
postscripts. Mark that, postscripts! There is something very
suspicious in postscripts, and he invariably blushes immensely when I
You are a great deal too sharp, responded Clover, laughing. You
see through millstones that don't exist. It would be very nice if it
were so, but it isn't. I don't believe a word about your postscripts
and blushes; you've imagined it all.
Some people are born stupid in these directions, retorted Elsie.
I'll bet you Phillida's back-hair against the first tooth that Geoffy
loses that I am right.
CHAPTER IX. THE ECHOES IN THE EAST
LIONEL certainly did redden when Johnnie's message was delivered to
him. The quick-eyed Elsie noted it and darted a look at Clover, but
Clover only shook her head slightly in return. Each sister adhered to
her own opinion.
They were very desirous that the High Valley should make a favorable
impression on Dorry, for it was his first visit to them. The others had
all been there except Katy, and she had seen Cheyenne and St. Helen's,
but to Dorry everything west of the Mississippi was absolutely new. He
was a very busy person in these days, and quite the success of the Carr
family in a moneyed point of view. The turn for mechanics which he
exhibited in boyhood had continued, and determined his career.
Electrical science had attracted his attention in its earlier,
half-developed stages; he had made a careful study of it, and qualified
himself for the important position which he held under the company,
which was fast revolutionizing the lighting and street-car system of
Burnet, now growing to be a large manufacturing centre. This was doing
well for a young fellow not quite twenty-five, and his family were very
proud of him. He was too valuable to his employers to be easily spared,
and except for the enforced leisure of the grippe it might probably
have been years before he felt free to make his sisters in Colorado a
visit, in which case nothing would have happened that did happen.
Dear, steady old Sobersides! said Elsie, as she spread a fresh
cover over the shelf which did duty for a bureau in the Bachelors'
Room; I wonder what he will think of it all. I'm afraid he will be
scandalized at our scrambling ways, and our having no regular church,
and consider us a set of half-heathen Bohemians.
I don't believe it. Dorry has too much good sense, and has seen too
much of the world among business men to be easily shocked. And our
little Sunday service is very nice, I think; Geoff reads so
reverently,and for sermons, we have our pick of the best there are.
I know, and I like them dearly myself; but I seem to feel that
Dorry will miss the pulpit and sitting in a regular pew. He's rather
that sort of person, don't you think?
You are too much inclined to laugh at Dorry, said Clover,
reprovingly, and he doesn't deserve it of you. He's a thoroughly good,
sensible fellow, and has excellent abilities, papa says,not
brilliant, but very sound. I don't like to have you speak so of him.
Why, Clovymy little Clovy, I almost believe you are scolding me!
Let me look at you,yes, there's quite a frown on your forehead, and
your mouth has the firm look of grandpapa Carr's daguerreotype. I'll be
good,really I will. Don't fire again,I've 'come down' like the coon
in the anecdote. Dorry's a dear, and you are another, and I'm ever so
glad he's coming; but really, it's not in human nature not to laugh at
the one solemn person in a frivolous family like ours, now is it?
See that you behave yourself, then, and I'll not scold you any
more, replied Clover, magisterially, and ignoring the last question.
She marred the effect of her lecture by kissing Elsie as she spoke; but
it was hard to resist the temptation, Elsie was so droll and coaxing,
and so very pretty.
They expected to find Dorry still something of an invalid, and made
preparations accordingly; but there was no sign of debility in his jump
from the carriage or his run up the steps to greet them. He was a
little thinner than usual, but otherwise seemed quite himself.
It's the air, explained Johnnie, this blessed Western air! He was
forlorn when we left Burnet, and so tired when we got to
Chicago; but after that he improved with every mile, and when we
reached Denver this morning he seemed fresher than when we started. I
do think Colorado air the true elixir of life.
It is quite true, what she says. I feel like a different man
already, added Dorry. Clover, you look a little pulled down yourself.
Was it nursing Miss What's-her-name?
I'm all right. Another day or two will quite rest me. I came home
only day before yesterday, you see. How delicious it is to have you
both here! Dorry dear, you must have some beef-tea directly,Euphane
has a little basin of it ready,and dinner will be in about an hour.
Beef-tea! What for? I don't need anything of the sort, I assure
you. Roast mutton, which I seem to smell in the distance, is much more
in my line. I want to look about and see your house. What do you call
that snow-peak over there? This is a beautiful place of yours, I
Papa would open his eyes if he could see him, remarked Johnnie,
confidentially, when she got her sisters to herself a little later.
It's like a miracle the way he has come up. He was so dragged and
miserable and so very cross only three days ago. Now, you dear
things, let me look at you both. Are you quite well? How are the
brothers-in-law? Where are the babies, and what have you done with Miss
The brothers-in-law are all right. They will be back presently.
There is a round-up to-day, which was the reason we sent Isadore in
with the carriage; no one else could be spared. The babies are having
their supper,you will see them anon,and Imogen has gone for a
fortnight to St. Helen's.
Oh! Johnnie turned aside and began to take down her hair. Mr.
Young is with her, I suppose.
No, indeed, he is here, and staying with us. You will see him at
Oh! said Johnnie again. There was a difference between these two
ohs, which Elsie's quick ear detected.
Please unlock that valise, went on Johnnie, and take out the
dress on top. This I have on is too dreadfully dusty to be endured.
Joanna Carr had grown up very pretty; many people considered her the
handsomest of the four sisters. Taller than any of them except Katy,
and of quite a different build, large, vigorous, and finely formed, she
had a very white skin, hair of pale bronze-brown, and beautiful velvety
dark eyes with thick curling lashes. She had a turn for dress too, and
all colors suited her. The woollen gown of cream-yellow which she now
put on seemed exactly what was needed to throw up the tints of her hair
and complexion; but she would look equally well on the morrow in blue.
With quick accustomed fingers she whisked her pretty locks into a
series of artlessly artful loops, with little blowing rings about the
forehead, and stuck a bow in here and a pin there, talking all the
time, and finally caught little Phillida up in her strong young arms,
and ran downstairs just in time to greet the boys as they dismounted at
the door, and shake hands demurely with Lionel Young, who came with
them. All three had raced down from the very top of the Upper Valley at
breakneck speed, to be in time to welcome the travellers.
There is always one moment, big with fate, when processes begin to
take place; when the first fine needle of crystallization forms in the
transparent fluid; when the impulse of the jellying principle begins to
work on the fruit-juice, and the frost principle to inform the water
atoms. These fateful moments are not always perceptible to our dull
apprehensions, but none the less do they exist; and they are apt to
take us by surprise, because we have not detected the fine gradual
chain of preparation which has made ready for them.
I think one of these fateful moments occurred that evening, as
Lionel Young held Joanna Carr's hand, and his straight-forward English
eyes poured an ardent beam of welcome into hers. They had seen a good
deal of each other two years before, but neither was prepared to be
quite so glad to meet again. They did not pause to analyze or classify
their feelings,people rarely do when they really feel; but from that
night their attitude toward each other was changed, and the change
became more apparent with every day that followed.
As these days went on, bright, golden days, cloudless, and full of
the zest and snap of the nearing cold, Dorry grew stronger and
stronger. So well did he feel that after the first week or so he began
to allude to himself as quite recovered, and to show an ominous desire
to get back to his work; but this suggestion was promptly scouted by
everybody, especially by John, who said she had come for six weeks at
least, and six weeks at least she should stay,and as much longer as
she could; and that Dorry as her escort must stay too, no matter
how well he might feel.
Besides, she argued, there's all your life before you in which to
dig away at dynamos and things, and you may never be in Colorado again.
You wouldn't have the heart to disappoint Clover and Elsie and hurry
back, when there's no real necessity. They are so pleased to have a
visit from you.
Oh, I'll stay! I'll certainly stay, said Dorry. You shall have
your visit out, John; only, when a fellow feels as perfectly well as I
do, it seems ridiculous for him to be sitting round with his hands
folded, taking a mountain cure which he doesn't need.
Autumn is the busiest season for cattlemen everywhere, which made it
the more singular that Lionel Young should manage to find so much time
for sitting and riding with Johnnie, or taking her to walk up the
steepest and loneliest canyons. They were together in one way or
another half the day at least; and during the other half Johnnie's face
wore always a pre-occupied look, and was dreamily happy and silent.
Even Clover began to perceive that something unusual was in the air,
something that seemed a great deal too good to be true. She and Elsie
held conferences in private, during which they hugged each other, and
whispered that If! whenever!if ever!Papa would surely come out and
live in the Valley. He never could resist three of his girls all
at once. But they resolved not to say one word to Johnnie, or even
look as if they suspected anything, lest it should have a
It never does to poke your finger into a bird's nest, observed
Elsie, with a sapient shake of the head. The eggs always addle if you
do, or the young birds refuse to hatch out; and of course in the case
of turtle-doves it would be all the more so. 'Lay low, Bre'r Fox,' and
wait for what happens. It all promises delightfully, only I don't see
exactly, supposing this ever comes to anything, how Imogen Young is to
be disposed of.
We won't cross that bridge till we come to it, said Clover; but
all the same she did cross it in her thoughts many times. It is not in
human nature to keep off these mental bridges.
At the end of the fortnight Imogen returned in very good looks and
spirits; and further beautified by a pretty autumn dress of dark blue,
which Mrs. Hope had persuaded her to order, and over the making of
which she herself had personally presided. It fitted well, and set off
to admiration the delicate pink and white of Imogen's skin, while the
new warmth of affection which had come into her manner was equally
Why didn't you say what a pretty girl Miss Young was? demanded
Dorry the very first evening.
I don't know, I'm sure. She looks better than she did before she
was ill, and she's very nice and all that, but we never thought of her
being exactly pretty.
I can't think why; she is certainly much better-looking than that
Miss Chase who was here the other day. I should call her decidedly
handsome; and she seems easy to get on with too.
Isn't it odd? remarked Elsie, as she retailed this conversation to
Clover. Imogen never seemed to me so very easy to get on with, and
Dorry never before seemed to find it particularly easy to get on with
any girl. I suppose they happen to suit, but it is very queer that they
should. People are always surprising you in that way.
What with John's recently developed tendency to disappear into
canyons with Lionel Young, with the boys necessarily so occupied, and
their own many little tasks and home duties, there had been moments
during the fortnight when Clover and Elsie had found Dorry rather heavy
on their hands. He was not much of a reader except in a professional
way, and still less of a horseman; so the two principal amusements of
the Valley counted for little with him, and they feared he would feel
dull, or fancy himself neglected. With the return of Imogen these
apprehensions were laid at rest. Dorry, if left alone, promptly took
the trail in the direction of the Hutlet, returning hours afterward
looking beaming and contented, to casually mention by way of
explanation that he had been reading aloud to Miss Young, or that he
and Miss Young had been taking a walk.
It's remarkably convenient, Elsie remarked one evening; but it's
just as remarkably queer. What can they find to say to each other do
If Dorry had not been Dorry, besides being her brother, she would
probably have arrived at a conclusion about the matter much sooner than
she did. Quick people are too apt to imagine that slow people have
nothing to say, or do not know how to say it when they have; while all
the time, for slow and quick alike, there is the old, old story for
each to tell in his own way, which makes the most halting lips
momentarily eloquent, and which both to speaker and listener seems
forever new, fresh, wonderful, and inexhaustibly interesting.
In a retired place like the High Valley intimacies flourish with
wonderful facility and quickness. A month in such a place counts for
more than half a year amid the confusions and interruptions of the
city. Dorry had been struck by Imogen that first evening. He had never
got on very well with girls, or known much about them; there was a
delightful novelty in his present sensations. There was not a word as
to the need of getting back to business after she dawned on his
horizon. Quite the contrary. Two weeks, three, four went by; the
original limit set for the visit was passed, the end of his holiday
drew near, and still he stayed on contentedly, and every day devoted
himself more and more to Imogen Young.
She, on her part, was puzzled and fluttered, but not unhappy. She
was quite alive to Dorry's merits; he was her first admirer, and it was
a new and agreeable feature of life to have one, like other girls, as
she told herself. Lionel was too much absorbed in his own affairs to
notice or interfere; so the time went on, and the double entanglement
wound itself naturally and happily to its inevitable conclusion.
It was in the beautiful little ravine to the east, which Clover had
named Penstamen Canyon, from the quantity of those flowers which grew
there, that Dorry made his final declaration. There were no penstamens
in the valley now, no yuccas or columbines, only a few belated autumn
crocuses and the scarlet berried mats of kinnikinick remained; but the
day was as golden-bright as though it were still September.
We have known each other only four weeks, said Dorry, going
straight to the point in his usual direct fashion; and if I were going
to stay on I should think I had no right, perhaps, to speak so
soon,for your sake, mind, not for my own; I could not be surer about
my feelings for you if we had been acquainted for years. But I have to
go away before long, back to my home and my work, and I really cannot
go without speaking. I must know if there is any chance for me.
I like you very much, said Imogen, demurely.
Do you? Then perhaps one day you might get to like me better still.
I'd do all that a man could to make you happy if you would, and I think
you'd like Burnet to live in. It's a big place, you know, with all the
modern improvements,not like this, which, pretty as it is, would be
rather lonely in the winters, I should think. There are lots of nice
people in Burnet, and there's Johnnie, whom you already know, and my
father,you'd be sure to like my father.
Oh, don't go on in this way, as if it were only for the advantages
of the change that I should consent. It would be for quite different
reasons, if I did. Then, after a short pause, she added, I wonder
what they will say at Bideford.
It was an indirect yes, but Dorry understood that it was yes.
Then you'll think of it? You don't refuse me? Imogen, you make me
Dorry did look happy; and as bliss is beautifying, he looked
handsome as well. His strong, well-knit figure showed to advantage in
the rough climbing-suit which he wore; his eyes sparkled and beamed as
he looked at Imogen.
May I talk with Lionel about it? he asked, persuasively. He
represents your father over here, you know.
Yes, I suppose so. She blushed a little, but looked frankly up at
Dorry. Poor Lion! it's hard lines for him, and I feel guilty at the
idea of deserting him so soon; but I know your sisters will be good to
him, and I can't help being glad that you care for me. Only there's one
thing I must say to you, Theodore [no one since he was baptized had
ever called Dorry 'Theodore' till now!], for I don't want you to fancy
me nicer than I really am. I was horribly stiff and prejudiced when I
first came out. I thought everything American was inferior and
mistaken, and all the English ways were best; and I was nasty,yes,
really very nasty to your sisters, especially dear Clover. I have
learned her worth now, and I love her and America, and I shall love it
all the better for your sake; but all the same, I shall probably
disappoint you sometimes, and be stiff and impracticable and provoking,
and you will need to have patience with me: it's the price you must pay
if you marry an English wife,this particular English wife, at least.
It's a price that I'll gladly pay, cried Dorry, holding her hand
tight. Not that I believe a word you say; but you are the dearest,
truest, honestest girl in the world, and I love you all the better for
being so modest about yourself. For me, I'm just a plain, sober sort of
fellow. I never was bright like the others, and there's nothing in the
least 'subtle' or hard to understand about me; but I don't believe I
shall make the worse husband for that. It's only in French novels that
dark, inscrutable characters are good for daily use.
Indeed, I don't want an inscrutable husband. I like you much better
as you are. Then, after a happy pause, Isabel Templestoweshe's
Geoff's sister, you know, and my most intimate friend at
homepredicted that I should marry over here, but I never supposed I
should. It didn't seem likely that any one would want me, for I'm not
pretty or interesting, like your sisters, you know.
Oh, I say! cried Dorry, haven't I been telling you that you
interest me more than any one in the world ever did before? I never saw
a girl whom I considered could hold a candle to you,certainly not one
of my own sisters. You don't think your people at home will make any
objections, do you?
No, indeed; they'll be very pleased to have me settled, I should
think. There are a good many of us at home, you know.
Meanwhile, a little farther up the same canyon, but screened from
observation by a projecting shoulder of rock, another equally
satisfactory conversation was going on between another pair of lovers.
Johnnie and Lionel had strolled up there about an hour before Dorry and
Imogen arrived. They had no idea that any one else was in the ravine.
I think I knew two years ago that I cared more for you than any one
else, Lionel was saying.
Did you? Perhaps the faintest suspicion of such a thing occurred to
I used to keep thinking about you at odd minutes all day, when I
was working over the cattle and everything, and I always thought
steadily about you at night when I was falling asleep.
Very strange, certainly.
And the moment you came and I saw you again, it flashed upon me
what it meant; and I perceived that I had been desperately in love with
you all along without knowing it.
Don't tease me, darling Johnnie,no, Joan; I like that better than
Johnnie. It makes me think of Joan d'Arc. I shall call you that, may
How can I help it? You have a big will of your own, as I always
knew. Only don't connect me with the ark unless you spell it, and don't
call me Jonah.
Never! He was the prophet of evil, and you are the good genius of
I'm not sure whether I am or not. It plunges you into all sorts of
embarrassments to think of marrying me. Neither of us has any money.
You'll have to work hard for years before you can afford a wife,and
then there's your sister to be considered.
I know. Poor Moggy! But she came out for my sake. She will probably
be only too glad to get home again wheneverother arrangements are
possible. Will you wait a while for me, my sweet?
I don't mind if I do.
How long will you wait?
Shall we say ten years?
Ten years! By Jove, no! We'll say no such thing! But eighteen
months,we'll fix it at eighteen months, or two years at farthest. I
can surely fetch it in two years.
Very well, then; I'll wait two years with pleasure.
I don't ask you to wait with pleasure! That's carrying it a
little too far!
I don't seem able to please you, whatever I say, remarked Johnnie,
pretending to pout.
Please me, darling Joan! You please me down to the ground, and you
always did! But if you'll wait two years,not with pleasure, but with
patience and resignation,I'll buckle to with a will and earn my
happiness. Your father won't be averse, will he?
Poor papa! Yes, he is very averse to having his girls marry,
but he's somewhat hardened to it. I'm the last of the four, you know,
and I think he would give his blessing to you rather than any one else,
because you would bring me out here to live near the others. Perhaps he
will come too. It is the dream of Clover's and Elsie's lives that he
That would be quite perfect for us all.
You say that to please me, I know, but you will say it with all
your heart if ever it happens, for my father is the sweetest man in the
world, and the wisest and most reasonable. You will love him dearly. He
has been father and mother and all to us children. And there's my
sister Katy,you will love her too.
I have seen her once, you remember.
Yes; but you can't find Katy out at once,there is too much of
her. Oh, I've ever so many nice relations to give you. There's Ned
Worthington; he's a dear,and Cousin Helen. Did I ever tell you about
her? She's a terrible invalid, you know, almost always confined to her
bed or sofa, and yet she has been one of the great influences of our
lives,a sort of guardian angel, always helping and brightening and
cheering us all, and starting us in right directions. Oh, you must know
her. I can't think how you ever will, for of course she can never come
to Colorado; but somehow it shall be managed. Now tell me about your
people. How many are there of you?
Eleven, and I scarcely remember my oldest brother, he went away
from home so long ago. Jim was my chum,he's no end of a good fellow.
He's in New Zealand now. And Beatricethat's the next girl to
Imogenis awfully nice too, and there are one or two jolly ones among
the smaller kids. Oh, you'll like them all, especially my mother. We'll
go over some day and make them a visit.
That will be nice; but we shall have to wait till we grow rich
before we can take such a long journey. Lion, do you think by-and-by we
could manage to build another house, or move your cabin farther down
the Valley? I want to live nearer Clover and Elsie. You'll have to be
away a good deal, of course, as the other boys are, and a mile is 'a
goodish bit,' as Imogen would say. It would make all the difference in
the world if I had the sisters close at hand to 'put my lips to when so
Why, of course we will. Geoff built the Hutlet, you know; I didn't
put any money into it. I chose the position becausewell, the view was
good, and I didn't know how Moggy would hit it off with the rest, you
understand. I thought she might do better a little farther away; but
with you it's quite different of course. I dare say the Hutlet could be
moved; I'll talk to Geoff about it.
I don't care how simple it is, so long as it is near the others,
went on Johnnie. It's easy enough to make a simple house pretty and
nice. I am so glad that your house is in this valley, Lion.
A little pause ensued.
What was that? asked Johnnie, suddenly.
That sound? It seemed to come from down the canyon. Such a very odd
echo, if it was an echo!
What kind of a sound? I heard nothing.
Voices, I should say, if it were not quite impossible that it could
be voices,very low and hushed, as if a ghost were confabulating with
another ghost about a quarter of a mile away.
Oh, that must be just a fancy, protested Lionel. There isn't a
living soul within a mile of us.
[Illustration: Voices, I should say, if it were not quite
impossible that it could be voices,very low and hushed.PAGE 260.]
And at the same moment Dorry, a couple of hundred feet distant, was
remarking to Imogen:
These canyons do have the most extraordinary echoes. There's the
strangest cooing and sibilating going on above.
Wood pigeons, most probably; there are heaps of them hereabout.
Presently the pair from above, slowly climbing down the ravine
hand-in-hand, came upon the pair below, just rising from their seat to
go home. There was a mutual consternation in the four countenances
comical to behold.
You here! cried Imogen.
And you here! retorted Lionel. Why, we never suspected it.
What brought you up?and Carr, too, I declare!
Whyohit's a pretty place, stammered Imogen. TheodoreMr.
Carr, I meanNow, Lionel, what are you laughing at?
Nothing, said her brother, composing his features as best he
could; only it's such a very odd coincidence, you know.
Very odd indeed, remarked Dorry, gravely. The four looked at one
another solemnly and questioningly, and thenit was impossible to help
itall four laughed.
By Jove! cried Lionel, between his paroxysms, I do believe we
have all come up here on the same errand!
I dare say we have, remarked Dorry; there were some extremely
queer echoes that came down to us from above.
Not a bit queerer, I assure you, than some which floated up to us
from below, retorted Johnnie, recovering her powers of speech.
We thought it was doves.
And we were sure it was ghosts,affectionate ghosts, you know, on
excellent terms with each other.
Young, I want a word with you, said Dorry, drawing Lionel aside.
And I want a word with you.
And I want several words with you, cried Johnnie, brightly,
putting her arm through Imogen's. She looked searchingly at her.
I'm going to be your sister, she said; I've promised Lionel. Are
you going to be mine?
Yes,I've promised Theodore
Theodore! cried Johnnie, with a world of admiration in her voice.
Oh, you mean Dorry. We never call him that, you know.
Yes, I know, but I prefer Theodore. Dorry seems a childish sort of
name for a grown man. Do you mean to say that you are coming out to the
Valley to live?
Yes, by-and-by, and you will come to Burnet; we shall just change
places. Isn't it nice and queer?
It is a sort of double-barrelled International Alliance, declared
Lionel. Now let us go down and astonish the others.
The others were astonished indeed. They were prepared for
Johnnie's confession, but had so little thought of Dorry's that for
some time he and Imogen stood by unheeded, waiting their turn at
Why, Dorry, cried Elsie at last, why are you standing on one side
like that with Miss Young? You don't look as surprised as you ought.
Did you hear the news before we did? Imogen dear,it isn't such good
news for you as for us.
Oh, yes, indeed it is. I am quite as happy in it as you can be.
Ladies and gentlemen, cried Lionel, who was in topping spirits and
could not be restrained, this shrinking pair also have a tale to tell.
It is a case of 'change partners all round and down the middle.' Let me
introduce to you Mr. and Mrs. Theo
Lion, you wretched boy, stop! interrupted Johnnie. That's not at
all the right way to do it. Let me introduce them. Friends and
countrymen, allow the echoes of the Upper East Canyon to present to
your favorable consideration the echoes of the Lower East Canyon. We've
all been sitting up there, 'unbeknownst,' within a few feet of each
other, and none of us could account for the mysterious noises that we
heard, till we all started to come home, and met each other on the way
What kind of noises? demanded Elsie, in a suffocated voice.
Oh, cooings and gurglings and soft murmurs of conversation and
whisperings. It was very unaccountable indeed, very!
Dorry, said Elsie, next day when she chanced to be alone with him,
Would you mind if I asked you rather an impertinent question? You
needn't answer if you don't want to; but what was it that first put it
into your head to fall in love with Imogen Young? I'm very glad that
you did, you understand. She will make you a capital wife, and I'm
going to be very fond of her,but still, I should just like to know.
I don't know that I could tell you if I tried, replied her
brother. How can a man explain that sort of thing? I fell in love
because I was destined to fall in love, I suppose. I liked her at the
start, and thought her pretty, and all that; and she seemed kind of
lonely and left out among you all. And then she's a quiet sort of girl,
you know, not so ready at talk as most, or so quick to pick at a fellow
or trip him up. I've always been the slow one in our family, you see,
and by way of a change it's rather refreshing to be with a woman who
isn't so much brighter than I am. The rest of you jump at an idea and
off it again while I'm gathering my wits together to see that there
is an idea. Imogen doesn't do that, and it rather suits me that she
shouldn't. You're all delightful, and I'm very fond of you, I'm sure;
but for a wife I think I like some one more like myself.
Of all the droll explanations that I ever heard, that is quite the
drollest, said Elsie to her husband afterward. The idea of a man's
falling in love with a woman because she's duller than his own sisters!
Nobody but Dorry would ever have thought of it.
CHAPTER X. A DOUBLE KNOT.
THE next few days in the High Valley were too full of excitement and
discussions to be quite comfortable for anybody. Imogen was seized with
compunctions at leaving Lionel without a housekeeper, and proposed to
Dorry that their wedding should be deferred till the others were ready
to be married also,a suggestion to which Dorry would not listen for a
moment. There were long business-talks between the ranch partners as to
hows and whens, letters to be written, and innumerable confabulations
between the three sisters, in which Imogen took part, for she counted
as a fourth sister now. Clover and Elsie listened and planned and
advised, and found their chief difficulty to consist in hiding and
keeping in the background their unfeigned and flattering joy over the
whole arrangement. It made matters so delightfully easy all round to
have Imogen engaged to Dorry, and it was so much to their own
individual advantage to exchange her for Johnnie that they really dared
not express their delight too openly.
The great question with all was how papa would take the
announcement, and whether he could be induced to carry out his half
promise of leaving Burnet and coming to live with them in the Valley.
They waited anxiously for his reply to the letters. It came by
telegraph two days before they had dared to hope for it, and was as
God bless you all four! Genesis xliii. 14.
This Biblical addition nearly broke John's heart. Her sisters had to
comfort her with all manner of hopeful auguries and promises.
He'll be glad enough over it in time, they told her. Think what
it would have been if you had been going to marry a Californian, or a
man with an orange plantation in Florida. He'll see that it's all for
the best as soon as he gets out here, and he must come. Johnnie,
you must never let him off. Don't take 'no' for an answer. It is so
important to us all that he should consent.
They primed her with persuasive messages and arguments, and both
Clover and Elsie wrote him a long letter on the subject. On the very
eve of the departure came a second telegram. Telegrams were not
every-day things in the High Valley, the nearest wire being at the
Ute Hotel five miles away; and the arrival of the messenger on
horseback created a momentary panic.
This telegram was also from Dr. Carr. It was addressed to Johnnie,
Following just received: Miss Inches died to-day
of pneumonia. No particulars.
It was a great shock to poor Johnnie. She and Mamma Marian, as she
still called her god-mother, had been warm friends always; they
corresponded regularly; Johnnie had made her several long visits at
Inches Mills, and she had written to her among the first with the news
of her engagement.
She never got it. She never will know about Lionel, she kept
repeating mournfully. And now I can never tell her about any of my
plans, and she would have been so pleased and interested. She always
cared so much for what I cared about, and I hoped she would come out
here for a long visit some day, and see you all. Oh dear, oh dear! what
a sad ending to our happy time!
Not an ending, only an interruption, put in the comforting Clover.
But John for a time could not be consoled, and the party broke up under
a cloud, literal as well as metaphorical, for the first snow-storm was
drifting over the plain as they drove down the pass, the melting flakes
instantly drunk up by the sand; all the soft blue of distance had
vanished, and a gray mist wrapped the mountain tops. The High Valley
was in temporary eclipse, its brightness and sparkle put by for the
But nothing could long eclipse the sunshine of such youthful hearts
and hopes. Before long John's letters grew cheerful again, and
presently she wrote to announce a wonderful piece of news.
Something very strange has happened, she began. I am an heiress!
It is just like the girls in books! Yesterday came a letter from a firm
of lawyers in Boston with a long document enclosed. It was an extract
from Mamma Marian's will; and only think,she has left me a legacy of
thirty thousand dollars! Dear thing! and she never knew about my
engagement either, or how wonderfully it was going to help in our
plans. She just did it because she loved me. 'To Joanna Inches Carr, my
namesake and child by affection,' the will says; and I think it pleases
me as much as having the money. That frightens me a little, it seems so
much. At first I did not like to take it, and felt as if I might be
robbing some one else; but papa says that she had no very near
relations, and that I need not hesitate. Oh, my darling Clover, is it
not wonderful? Now Lion and I need not wait two years, unless he
prefers it, and can just go on and make our plans happily to suit
ourselves and all of you,and I shall love to think that we owe it all
to dear Mamma Marian; only it will be a sore spot always that she never
got the letter telling of our engagement. It came just after she died,
and they returned it to me.
Ned has his orders at last. He goes to sea in April, and Katy
writes to papa that she will come and spend a year with him if he
likes, while Ned is away. But papa won't be here. He has quite decided,
I think, to leave Burnet and make his home for the future with us in
the High Valley. Three different physicians have already offered to buy
out his practice, and it is arranged that Dorry shall rent the old
house of him, and the furniture too, except the books and a few special
things which papa wishes to keep. He is going to write to you about the
building of what he is pleased to call 'a separate shanty;' but please
don't let the shanty be really separate; he must be in with all of us
somehow, or we shall never be satisfied. Did Lionel decide to move the
Hutlet? Of course Katy will spend her year in the Valley instead of
Burnet. I am beginning to get my little trousseau together, and have
set up a 'wedding bureau' to put the things in; but it is no fun at all
without any sisters at home to help and sympathize. I am the only one
who has had to get ready to be married all by herself. If Katy were not
coming in two months I should be quite desperate. The chief thing on my
mind is how to arrange about the two weddings with the family so
scattered as it is.
This difficulty was settled by Clover a little later. Both the
weddings she proposed should take place in the Valley.
It is a case of Mahomet and mountain, she wrote. Look at it
dispassionately. You and papa and Katy and Dorry have got to come out
here any way,the rest of us are here; and it is clearly
impossible that all of us should go on to Burnet to see you
married,though if you persist some of us will, inconvenient and
expensive as it would be. But just consider what a picturesque and
romantic place the Valley is for a wedding, with the added advantage
that you would be absolutely the first people who were ever married in
it since the creation of the world! I won't say what may happen in the
remote future, for Rose Red writes that she is going to change its name
and call it henceforward 'The Ararat Valley,' not only because it
contains 'a few souls, that is eight,' but also because all the
creatures who go into it seem to enter pell-mell and come out two by
two in pairs. You will inaugurate the long procession at all events! Do
please think seriously of this, dear John. 'Consider, cow, consider,'
and write me that you consent.
We are building papa the most charming little bungalow ever
seen,a big library and two bedrooms, one for himself and one to
spare. It is just off the southwest corner, and a little covered way
connects it with our piazza; for we are quite decided that he is to
take his meals with us and not have the bother of independent
housekeeping. Then if you decide to put your bungalow on the
other side of his, as we hope you will, we shall all be close together.
Lion will do nothing about the building till you come. You are to stay
on indefinitely with us, and oversee the whole thing yourself from the
driving of the first nail. We will all help, and won't it be fun?
There is something very stately and comforting in the idea of a
'resident physician.' Elsie declares that now Phillida may have croup
or any other infant disease she likes, and I sha'n't lie awake at night
to wonder what we should do in case Geoffey was thrown from the burro
and broke a bone. I am not sure but we may yet attain to the dignity of
a 'resident pastor' as well, for Geoff has decided not to move the
Hutlet, but leave it as it is, putting in a little simple furniture,
and offer it from time to time to some invalid clergyman who needs
Colorado air and would be glad to spend a few months in the Valley. Who
knows but it may grow some day into a little church? Then indeed we
should have a small world of our own, with the learned professions all
represented; for of course Phil by that time will be qualified to do
our law for us, in case we quarrel and require writs and replevins or
habeas corpuses, or any last wills and testaments drawn up.
I have begun on new curtains for Katy's room already, and Elsie and
I have all manner of beautiful projects for the weddings. Now Johnnie
darling, write at once and say that you agree to this plan. It really
does seem a perfect one for everybody. The time must of course depend
on when Dorry can get his leave, but we will be all ready whenever it
Clover's arguments were unanswerable, and every one gradually gave
in to the plan which she had so much at heart. Dorry got a fortnight's
holiday, beginning on the 15th of June; so the twentieth was fixed as
the day for the double wedding, and the preparations went merrily on.
Early in May Katy arrived in Burnet; and after that Johnnie had no need
to complain of being unsistered, for Katy was a host in herself, and
gave all her time to helping everybody. She sewed and finished, she
packed and advised, she assisted to box her father's books, and went
with Dorry to choose the new papers and rugs which were to make the old
house freshly bright for Imogen; she exclaimed and rejoiced over each
wedding present that arrived, and supplied that sweet atmosphere of
mutual interest and sympathy which is the vital breath of a family
occasion. All was ready in time; the old home was in exact and perfect
order for its new mistress, the good-bys were said, and on the morning
of the fifteenth the party started for Colorado.
Quite a little group waited for them on the platform of the St.
Helen's station three days later. Lionel had of course come in to meet
his bride, and Imogen her bridegroom; and Geoff had come, and Clover,
to meet her father and Katy, and Phil was also in waiting. It was truly
a wonderful moment when the train drew up, and Johnnie, all beautiful
in smiles and dimples, encountered Lionel; while Dorry jumped out to
greet Imogen, who was in blooming health again, and very pleased to see
We have brought the two carryalls, Clover explained. Geoff got a
new one the other day, that the means of transportation may keep pace
with the increase of population, as he says. I think, Geoff, we will
put the brides and bridegrooms together in the new one. Then the
'echoes' from the back seat can mix with the 'echoes' from the front
seat; and it will be as good as the East Canyon, and they will all feel
So it was arranged, and the party started.
Katy, cried Clover, looking at her sister with eyes that seemed to
drink her in, I had forgotten quite how dear you are! It seems to me
that you have grown handsome, my child; or is it only that you are a
I am afraid the latter, replied Katy, with a laugh. No one but
Ned was ever so deluded as to call me handsome.
Where is Ned? It is such a shame that he can't be here,the
only one of the family missing!
He is on his way to China, said Katy, with a little suppressed
sigh. Yes, it is too bad; but it can't be helped. Naval orders are
like time and tide, and wait for no man, and most of all for no woman.
She paused a moment, and changed the subject abruptly. Did I tell
you, she asked, that after I broke up at Newport I went to Rose for a
Johnnie wrote that you were to go.
It was such a bright week! Boston was beautiful, as it always is in
spring, with the Public Garden a blaze of flowers, and all the pretty
country about so green and sweet! Rose was most delightful; and I saw
ever so many of the old Hillsover girls, and even had a glimpse of Mrs.
That must have been rather a bad joy.
No, not exactly. I was rather glad, on the whole, to meet her
again. She isn't as bad as we made her out. School-girls are almost
always unjust to their teachers.
Oh, come, now, said Clover, making a little face. This is a happy
occasion, certainly, and I am in a benignant frame of mind, but really
I can't stand having you so horridly charitable. 'There is no virtue,
madam, in a mush of concession.' Mrs. Nipson was an unpleasant old
thing,so there! Let us talk of something else. Tell me about your
visit to Cousin Helen.
Oh, that was a sweet visit all through. I stayed ten days, and she
was better than usual, it seemed to me. Did I write about little
She is just nineteen, and it was her first dance. Such a pretty
creature, and so pleased and excited about it! and Cousin Helen was
equally so. She gave Helen her dress complete, down to the satin shoes,
and the fan and the long gloves, and a turquoise necklace, and
turquoise pins for her hair. You never saw anything so charming as the
way in which she enjoyed it. You would have supposed that Helen was her
own child, as she lay on the sofa, with such bright beaming eyes, while
the pretty thing turned round and round to exhibit her finery.
There certainly never was any one like Cousin Helen. She is
embodied sympathy, said Clover. Now, Katy, I want you to look. We are
just turning into our own road.
It was a radiant afternoon, with long, soft shadows alternating with
golden sunshine, and the High Valley was at its very best as they
slowly climbed the zigzag pass. With every turn and winding Katy's
pleasure grew; and when they rounded the last curve, and came in sight
of the little group of buildings, with their picturesque background of
forest and the splendid peak soaring above, she exclaimed with
What a perfect situation! Clover, you never said enough about it!
Surely the half was not told me, as the Queen of Sheba remarked! Oh,
and there is Elsie on the porch, and that thing in white beside her is
Phillida! I never dreamed she could be so large! How glad I am that I
didn't die of measles when I was little, as dear Rose Red used to say.
Katy's coming was the crowning pleasure of the occasion to all, but
most of all to Clover. To have her most intimate sister in her own
home, and be able to see her every day and all day long, and consult
and advise and lay before her the hopes and intentions and desires of
her heart, which she could never so fully share with any one else,
except Geoff, was a delight which never lost its zest, and of which
Clover never grew weary.
To settle Dr. Carr in his new quarters was another pleasure, in
which they all took equal part. When his books and microscopes were
unpacked, and the Burnet belongings arranged pretty much in their old
order, the rooms looked wonderfully homelike, even to him. The children
soon learned to adore him, as children always had done; the only
trouble was that they fought for the possession of his knee, and would
never willingly have left him a moment for himself. His leisure had to
be protected by a series of nursery laws and penances, or he would
never have had any; but he said he liked the children better than the
leisure. He was born to be a grandfather; nobody told stories like him,
or knew so well how to please and pacify and hit the taste of little
But all this, of course, came subsequently to the double wedding,
which took place two days after the arrival of the home-party. The
morning of the twentieth was unusually fine, even for Colorado,fair,
cloudless, and golden bright, as if ordered for the occasion,without
a cloud on the sky from dawn to sunset. The ceremony was performed by a
clergyman from Portland, who with his invalid wife were settled in the
Hutlet for the summer, very glad of the pleasant little home offered
them, and to escape from the crowd and confusion of Mrs. Marsh's
boarding-house, where Geoff had found them. Two or three particular
friends drove out from St. Helen's; but with that exception the whole
wedding was valley-made, as Elsie declared, including delicious
raspberry ice-cream, and an enormous cake, over which she and Clover
had expended much time and thought, and which, decorated with
emblematical designs in icing and wreathed with yucca-blossoms, stood
in the middle of the table.
The ceremony took place at noon precisely, when, as Phil facetiously
observed, the shadows of the high contracting parties could never be
less. There was little that was formal about it, but much that was
reverent and sweet and full of true feeling. Imogen and Johnnie had
both agreed to wear white muslin dresses, very much such dresses as
they were all accustomed to wear on afternoons; but Imogen had on her
head her mother's wedding-veil, which had been sent out from England,
and John wore Katy's, for luck, as she said. Both carried a big
bouquet of Mariposa lilies, and the house was filled with the
characteristic wild-flowers of the region most skilfully and
effectively grouped and arranged.
A hospitably hearty luncheon followed the ceremony, of which all
partook; then Imogen went away to put on her pretty travelling-suit of
pale brown, and the carry-all came round to take Mr. and Mrs. Theodore
Carr to St. Helen's, which was the first stage on their journey of
The whole party stood on the porch to see them go. Imogen's last
word and embrace were for Clover.
We are sisters now, she whispered. I belong to you just as much
as Isabel does, and I am so glad that I do! Dear Clover, you have been
more good to me than I can say, and I shall never forget it.
Nonsense about being good! You are my Dorry's wife now, and our own
dear sister. There is no question about goodness,only to love one
She kissed Imogen warmly, and helped her into the carriage. Dorry
sprang after her; the wheels revolved; and Phil, seizing a horseshoe
which hung ready to hand on the wall of the house, flung it after the
It's more appropriate than any other sort of old shoe for this
Place of Hoofs, he observed. Well, the Carr family are certainly
pretty well disposed of now. I am 'the last ungathered rose on my
ancestral tree.' I wonder who will tear me from my stem!
You can afford to hang on a while longer, remarked Elsie. I don't
consider you fairly expanded yet, by any means. You'll be twice as well
worth gathering a few years from now.
Oh, very fine!years indeed! Why, I shall be a seedy old bachelor!
That would never do! And Amy Ashe, whom I have had in my eye ever since
she was in pinafores, will be married to some other fellow!
Don't set your heart on Amy, said Katy. She's not seventeen yet;
and I don't think her mother has any idea of having her made into Ashes
of Roses so early!
There's no harm in having a girl in one's eye, retorted Phil,
disconsolately. I declare, you all look so contented and so satisfied
with yourselves and one another, that it's enough to madden a fellow,
left out, as I am, in the cold! I shall go back to St. Helen's with Dr.
and Mrs. Hope.
The others, left to themselves in their happy loneliness, gathered
together in the big room after the last guest had gone. Geoff touched a
match to the ready-laid fire; Clover wheeled an armchair forward for
her father, and sat down beside him with her arm on his knee; John and
Lionel took possession of a big sofa.
Now let us enjoy ourselves, said Clover. The world is shut out,
we are shut in; there are none to molest and make us afraid; and,
please Heaven, there is a whole, long, happy year before us! I never
did suppose anything so perfectly perfect could happen to us all as
this. Now, papa,dear papa,just say that you like it as much as we
Elsie perched herself on the arm of her father's chair; Katy stood
behind, stroking his hair. Dr. Carr held out his hand to Johnnie, who
ran across the room, knelt down, caught it in both hers, and fondly
laid her cheek upon it.
I like it quite as much as you do, he said. Where my girls
are is the place for me; and I am going to be the most contented old
gentleman in America for the rest of my days.
SUSAN COOLIDGE'S POPULAR STORY BOOKS.
SUSAN COOLIDGE has always possessed the affection
of her young readers, for it seems as if she had
the happy instinct of planning stories that each
girl would like to act out in reality.The
Not even Miss Alcott apprehends child nature with
finer sympathy, or pictures its nobler traits with
more skill.Boston Daily Advertiser.
=THE NEW YEAR'S BARGAIN.= A Christmas Story for
Children. With Illustrations by ADDIE LEDYARD.
=WHAT KATY DID.= A Story. With Illustrations by
ADDIE LEDYARD. 16mo. $1.25.
=WHAT KATY DID AT SCHOOL.= Being more about What
Katy Did. With Illustrations. 16mo. $1.25.
=MISCHIEF'S THANKSGIVING=, and other Stories. With
Illustrations by ADDIE LEDYARD. 16mo. $1.25.
=NINE LITTLE GOSLINGS=. With Illustrations by J.
A. MITCHELL. 16mo. $1.25.
=EYEBRIGHT.= A Story. With Illustrations. 16mo.
=CROSS PATCH.= With Illustrations. 16mo. $1.25.
=A ROUND DOZEN.= With Illustrations. 16mo. $1.25.
=A LITTLE COUNTRY GIRL.= With Illustrations. 16mo.
=WHAT KATY DID NEXT.= With Illustrations. 16mo.
=CLOVER.= A Sequel to the Katy Books. With
Illustrations by JESSIE MCDERMOTT. 16mo. $1.25.
=JUST SIXTEEN=. With Illustrations. 16mo. $1.25.
=IN THE HIGH VALLEY=. With Illustrations. 16mo.
=A GUERNSEY LILY=; or, How the Feud was Healed. A
Story of the Channel Islands. Profusely
Illustrated. 16mo. $1.25.
=THE BARBERRY BUSH=, and Seven Other Stories about
Girls for Girls. With Illustrations by JESSIE
MCDERMOTT. 16mo. $1.25.
=NOT QUITE EIGHTEEN=. A volume of Stories. With
illustrations by JESSIE MCDERMOTT. 16mo. $1.25.
* * * * *
Sold by all Booksellers. Mailed, post-paid, on receipt of price,
by the Publishers.
ROBERTS BROTHERS, BOSTON
Messrs. Roberts Brothers' Publications.
OLD ROUGH THE MISER.
By LILY F. WESSELHOEFT, author of Sparrow the Tramp, Flipwing the
Spy, The Winds, the Woods, and the Wanderer. With twenty-one
illustrations by J. F. Goodridge. Square 16mo, cloth, $1.25.
[Illustration: OLD ROUGH THE MISER.]
Mrs. Wesselhoeft's Fable Stories are proving themselves more and
more acceptable to the children. Old Rough is a decided acquisition
to the series.
Sold by all Booksellers. Mailed, post-paid, by the publishers,
ROBERTS BROTHERS, BOSTON
Messrs. Roberts Brothers' Publications.
IN MY NURSERY.
A BOOK OF RHYMES
LAURA E. RICHARDS.
[Illustration: The baby he may be a soldier.]
What a beautiful book! How fine are the
illustrations! How pure and sweet are these
rhymes! Grandpa bought the book, and Dot was
delighted with her present. So is mamma. She says
the stories are as good as she could make them
herself. If you want just the daintiest book of
the season, get this. Don't be put off with
something common. This beats Mother Goose and
all the old nursery books all to pieces. It
contains a great deal of sense, just a little
nonsense, and sparkles with fun, which all the
household will relish. This is better than forty
dolls, because the dolls usually can't talk, but
this can.Illustrated Christian Weekly.
This is a charming collection of nursery ballads,
full of lively nonsense and quaint conceits, such
as appeal to childish imaginations. The merry
rhymes and grotesque illustrations make each other
doubly effective. No better book since Mother
Goose than this for reading to children, who will
cry, Again, again, and will never tire of its
felicitous jingles. It is dedicated to My mother,
Julia Ward Howe.Boston Woman's Journal.
The rhymes and jingles in this little volume are
very genuine products, for they have every sign of
being what many nursery rhymes are not, songs
which have stood the critical test of a house full
of children of different ages and varying
temperaments and been approved. Mrs. Richards has
a natural gift of striking the whimsical without
rising above the comprehension of young people,
nor on the other hand, falling into the strained
or the commonplace.New York Times.
It is like getting a new and greatly enlarged
sequel to dear old Mother Goose to take up Mrs.
Laura E. Richards's pretty book. She knows how to
be funny without being silly; her rhymes are
lively and jingle merrily on the ear; the odd
fancies and quaint imagery are just of the sort to
entertain very young children. In My Nursery may
be heartily commended as an almost inexhaustible
store house of amusement for little girls and
boys.The Boston Beacon.
One handsome small quarto volume, bound in cloth. Price, $1.25.
Sold everywhere. Mailed, postpaid, by the publishers,
ROBERTS BROTHERS, BOSTON
THE LITTLE SISTER OF WILIFRED.
A Story. By Miss A. G. Plympton, author of Dear
Daughter Dorothy and Betty, a Butterfly.
Illustrated by the author. Small 4to. Cloth. Price
The author of Dear Daughter Dorothy needs no
passport to favor. That bewitching little story
which she not only wrote but illustrated must have
given the name of A. G. Plympton a notable place
among the writers of children's stories. Followed
by Betty, a Butterfly and now by The Little
Sister of Wilifred, we have a most interesting
trio with which to adorn a child's
Sold by all booksellers; mailed, post-paid, by the publishers,
ROBERTS BROTHERS, BOSTON
SUSAN COOLIDGE'S POPULAR BOOKS.
A GUERNSEY LILY;
HOW THE FEUD WAS HEALED.
=A Story for Girls and Boys.=
Author of What Katy Did, Clover, In the High Valley, etc.
* * * * *
NEW EDITION. Square 16mo. Illustrated. Price, $1.25.
* * * * *
ROBERTS BROTHERS, BOSTON.
Messrs. Roberts Brothers' Publications.
A LOST HERO.
BY ELIZABETH STUART PHELPS WARD AND HERBERT D.
WARD. With 30 illustrations by Frank T. Merrill.
Small quarto. Cloth. Price, $1.50.
The lost hero was a poor old negro who saved the
Columbia express from destruction at the time of
the Charleston earthquake, and vanished from human
ken after his brave deed was accomplished,
swallowed up, probably, in some yawning crevice of
the envious earth. The story is written with that
simplicity which is the perfection of art, and its
subtle pathos is given full and eloquent
expression. But noble as the book is, viewed as a
literary performance, it owes not a little of its
peculiar attractiveness to the illustrations with
which it is now adorned after drawings by Frank T.
ROBERTS BROTHERS, PUBLISHERS,
Messrs. Roberts Brothers' Publications.
By the author of Dear Daughter Dorothy.
BETTY, A BUTTERFLY.
By A. G. PLYMPTON.
With illustrations by the author.
=Square 12mo. Cloth. Price, $1.00.=
[Illustration: AM I NOT FINE?]
* * * * *
Sold by all Booksellers. Mailed by the Publishers on receipt of
ROBERTS BROTHERS, BOSTON.
MRS. WESSELHOEFT'S STORIES.
THE WINDS, THE WOODS, AND THE WANDERER.
A Fable for Children. By LILY F. WESSELHOEFT,
author of Sparrow, The Tramp, and Flipwing, the
Spy. With illustrations. 16mo, cloth. Price,
* * * * *
ROBERTS BROTHERS, PUBLISHERS, BOSTON.
Roberts Brothers' Juvenile Books.
DEAR DAUGHTER DOROTHY.
BY MISS A. G. PLYMPTON.
With seven illustrations by the author. Small 4to. Cloth
[Illustration: DEAR DAUGHTER DOROTHY.]
The child is father of the man.so Wordsworth
sang; and here is a jolly story of a little girl
who was her father's mother in a very real way.
There were hard lines for him, and she was
fruitful of devices to help him along, even having
an auction of the pretty things that had been
given her from time to time, and realizing a neat
little sum. Then her father was accused of
peculation; and she, sweetly ignorant of the ways
of justice, went to the judge and labored with
him, to no effect, though he was wondrous kind.
Then in court she gave just the wrong evidence,
because it showed how poor her father was, and so
established a presumption of his great necessity
and desperation. But the Deus ex machinathe
wicked partnerarrived at the right moment, and
owned up, and the good father was cleared, and
little Daughter Dorothy was made glad. But this
meagre summary gives but a poor idea of the ins
and outs of this charming story, and no idea of
the happy way in which it is told.Christian
ROBERTS BROTHERS, Boston.
By the Author of Jolly Good Times.
THEIR CANOE TRIP.
By MARY P. W. SMITH,
AUTHOR OF THE BROWNS.
A story founded on the actual experiences of two Roxbury boys,
during canoe trip on the Concord, Merrimac, Piscataquog, and other
16mo. Cloth. Price, $1.25.
ROBERTS BROTHERS, BOSTON.
=A Story of a Prince with a Court in His Box.= By ELEANOR
PUTNAM and ARLO BATES. Illustrated by Frank Myrick.
Prince Vance is an Entertaining Fairy Story of the wildest and
most fantastic adventures and of amusing and original impossibilities,
which, however, carry with them a stern puritan moral. This allegiance
of unfettered imagination and straightforward, wholesome, moral
teaching is unusual, and gives the little book a special value.
Small 4to. Cloth gilt. Price, $1.50.
ROBERTS BROTHERS, BOSTON.
FLIPWING, THE SPY.
=A Story for Children.=
BY LILY F. WESSELHOEFT,
Author of Sparrow, the Tramp, The Winds, the Woods, and
the Wanderer, etc.
The story represents the action of certain animals, the characters
of which are depicted in accordance with their natures and the
exigencies of the story. The object is to cultivate the love of animal
nature, which most children feel, and especially for such creatures as
bats, toads and others, which children are often improperly taught to
regard with disgust. The human characters introduced talk and act
naturally, and the book will be found very entertaining to young
16mo. Cloth. Price. $1.25.
ROBERTS BROTHERS, BOSTON.
Uniform with The Joyous Story of Toto.
TOTO'S MERRY WINTER.
BY LAURA E. RICHARDS.
With Illustrations. 16mo. Price, $1.25.
ROBERTS BROTHERS, Publishers, BOSTON.
[Illustration: THERE WAS AN OLD DERRY DOWN DERRY, ETC.]
By EDWARD LEAR.
A BOOK OF NONSENSE,
NONSENSE SONGS, STORIES, ETC.
MORE NONSENSE PICTURES, RHYMES, ETC.
LAUGHABLE LYRICS, ETC.
With all the original illustrations. In one square 16mo volume.
Handsome cloth. Price, $2.00.
* * * * *
ROBERTS BROTHERS, Publishers.
SUSAN COOLIDGE'S POPULAR BOOKS.
NOT QUITE EIGHTEEN.
By SUSAN COOLIDGE, author of What Katy Did, The
Barberry Bush, A Guernsey Lily, etc. 16mo.
Cloth. Illustrated. Price, $1.25
* * * * *
ROBERTS BROTHERS. PUBLISHERS, BOSTON, MASS.
Messrs. Roberts Brothers' Publications.
NELLY'S SILVER MINE.
BY H. H.
With Illustrations. 16mo, cloth. Price $1.50.
The sketches of life, especially of its odd and
out-of-the-way aspects, by H. H. always possess so
vivid a reality that they appear more like the
actual scenes than any copy by pencil or
photograph. They form a series of living pictures,
radiant with sunlight and fresh as morning dew. In
this new story the fruits of her fine genius are
of Colorado growth, and though without the antique
flavor of her recollections of Rome and Venice,
are as delicious to the taste as they are tempting
to the eye, and afford a natural feast of
exquisite quality.N. Y. Tribune.
This charming little book, written for children's
entertainment and instruction, is equally
delightful to the fathers and mothers. It is life
in New England, and the racy history of a long
railway journey to the wilds of Colorado. The
children are neither imps nor angels, but just
such children as are found in every happy home.
The pictures are so graphically drawn that we feel
well acquainted with Rob and Nelly, have travelled
with them and climbed mountains and found silver
mines, and know all about the rude life made
beautiful by a happy family, and can say of Nelly,
with their German neighbor, Mr. Kleesman, 'Ach
well, she haf better than any silver mine in her
own self.'Chicago Inter-Ocean.
In 'Nelly's Silver Mine' Mrs. Helen Hunt Jackson
has given us a true classic for the nursery and
the school-room, but its readers will not be
confined to any locality. Its vivid portraiture of
Colorado life and its truth to child-nature give
it a charm which the most experienced cannot fail
to feel. It will stand by the side of Miss
Edgeworth and Mrs. Barbauld in all the years to
come.Mrs. Caroline H. Dall.
We heartily commend the book for its healthy
spirit, its lively narrative, and its freedom from
most of the faults of books for
* * * * *
Our publications are to be had of all Booksellers. When not to be
found, send directly to
ROBERTS BROTHERS, BOSTON.