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The Last of the Foresters by John Esten Cooke

 

THE LAST OF THE FORESTERS:

OR,

HUMORS ON THE BORDER;

A STORY OF THE

Old Virginia Frontier.

BY

JOHN ESTEN COOKE

AUTHOR OF “THE VIRGINIA COMEDIANS,” “LEATHER STALKING AND SILK,” “ELLIE,” “THE YOUTH OF JEFFERSON,” INC.

1856

 

PREFACE.
THE LAST OF THE FORESTERS.
CHAPTER I. AT APPLE ORCHARD.
CHAPTER II. VERTY AND HIS COMPANIONS.
CHAPTER III. INTRODUCES A LEGAL PORCUPINE.
CHAPTER IV. HOW VERTY THOUGHT, AND PLAYED, AND DREAMED.
CHAPTER V. WINCHESTER.
CHAPTER VI. IN WHICH MR. ROUNDJACKET FLOURISHES HIS RULER.
CHAPTER VII. IN WHICH ROUNDJACKET READS HIS GREAT POEM.
CHAPTER VIII. HOW VERTY SHOT A WHITE PIGEON.
CHAPTER IX. HAWKING WITHOUT A HAWK.
CHAPTER X. VERTY MAKES THE ACQUAINTANCE OF MR. JINKS.
CHAPTER XI. HOW VERTY DISCOVERED IN HIMSELF A GREAT FONDNESS FOR APPLES.
CHAPTER XII. HOW STREPHON TALKED WITH CHLOE IN AN ARBOR.
CHAPTER XIII. VERTY EXPRESSES A DESIRE TO IMITATE MR. JINKS.
CHAPTER XIV. THE THIRTEENTH OF OCTOBER.
CHAPTER XV. THE PEDLAR AND THE NECKLACE.
CHAPTER XVI. MR. ROUNDJACKET MAKES HIMSELF AGREEABLE.
CHAPTER XVII. MR. JINKS AT HOME.
CHAPTER XVIII. HOW MISS LAVINIA DEVELOPED HER THEORIES UPON MATRIMONY.
CHAPTER XIX. ONLY A FEW TEARS.
CHAPTER XX. HOW MISS FANNY SLAMMED THE DOOR IN VERTY'S FACE.
CHAPTER XXI. IN WHICH REDBUD SUPPRESSES HER FEELINGS AND BEHAVES WITH DECORUM.
CHAPTER XXII. HOW MISS SALLIANNA FELL IN LOVE WITH VERTY.
CHAPTER XXIII. THE RESULT.
CHAPTER XXIV. OF THE EFFECT OF VERTY'S VIOLIN-PLAYING UPON MR. RUSHTON.
CHAPTER XXV. A YOUNG GENTLEMAN, JUST FROM WILLIAM AND MARY COLLEGE.
CHAPTER XXVI. THE NECKLACE.
CHAPTER XXVII. PHILOSOPHICAL.
CHAPTER XXVIII. CONSEQUENCES OF MISS SALLIANNA'S PASSION FOR VERTY.
CHAPTER XXIX. INTERCHANGE OF COMPLIMENTS.
CHAPTER XXX. WHAT OCCURRED AT BOUSCH'S TAVERN.
CHAPTER XXXI. MR. JINKS ON HORSE-BACK, GOING TO TAKE REVENGE.
CHAPTER XXXII. AN OLD BIBLE.
CHAPTER XXXIII. FANNY'S VIEWS UPON HERALDRY.
CHAPTER XXXIV. HOW MISS SALLIANNA ALLUDED TO VIPERS, AND FELL INTO HYSTERICS.
CHAPTER XXXV. HOW MISS FANNY MADE MERRY WITH THE PASSION OF MR. VERTY.
CHAPTER XXXVI. RALPH MAKES LOVE TO MISS SALLIANNA.
CHAPTER XXXVII. VERTY STATES HIS PRIVATE OPINION OF MISS SALLIANNA.
CHAPTER XXXVIII. HOW LONGEARS SHOWED HIS GALLANTRY IN FANNY'S SERVICE.
CHAPTER XXXIX. UP THE HILL-SIDE AND UNDER THE CHESTNUTS.
CHAPTER XL. UNDER THE GREENWOOD TREE.
CHAPTER XLI. USE OF COATS IN A STORM.
CHAPTER XLII. HOW MR. JINKS REQUESTED RALPH TO HOLD HIM.
CHAPTER XLIII. VERTY'S HEART GOES AWAY IN A CHARIOT.
CHAPTER XLIV. IN WHICH THE HISTORY RETURNS TO APPLE ORCHARD.
CHAPTER XLV. HOURS IN THE OCTOBER WOODS.
CHAPTER XLVI. THE HAPPY AUTUMN FIELDS.
CHAPTER XLVII. DAYS THAT ARE NO MORE.
CHAPTER XLVIII. THE HARVEST MOON.
CHAPTER XLIX. BACK TO WINCHESTER, WHERE EDITORIAL INIQUITY IS DISCOURSED OF.
CHAPTER L. HOW VERTY DISCOVERED A PORTRAIT, AND WHAT ENSUED.
CHAPTER LI. A CHILD AND A LOGICIAN.
CHAPTER LII. HOW MR. JINKS DETERMINED TO SPARE VERTY.
CHAPTER LIII. PROJECTS OF REVENGE, INVOLVING HISTORICAL DETAILS.
CHAPTER LIV. EXPLOITS OF FODDER.
CHAPTER LV. WOMAN TRAPS LAID BY MR. JINKS.
CHAPTER LVI. TAKES VERTY TO MR. ROUNDJACKET.
CHAPTER LVII. CONTAINS AN EXTRAORDINARY DISCLOSURE.
CHAPTER LVIII. HOW MR. RUSHTON PROVED THAT ALL MEN WERE SELFISH, HIMSELF INCLUDED.
CHAPTER LIX. THE PORTRAIT SMILES.
CHAPTER LX. THE LODGE IN THE HILLS.
CHAPTER LXI. MISTRESS O'CALLIGAN'S WOOERS.
CHAPTER LXII. VERTY MUSES.
CHAPTER LXIII. HOW VERTY AND MISS LAVINIA RAN A-TILT AT EACH OTHER, AND WHO WAS OVERTHROWN.
CHAPTER LXIV. THE ROSE OF GLENGARY.
CHAPTER LXV. PROVIDENCE.
CHAPTER LXVI. THE HOUR AND THE NECKLACE.
CHAPTER LXVII. HOW ST. PATRICK ENCOUNTERED ST. MICHAEL, AND WHAT ENSUED.
CHAPTER LXVIII. THE END OF THE CHAIN.
CHAPTER LXIX. CONCLUSION.

 

PREFACE.

Perhaps this story scarcely needs a Preface, but the child of the writer's invention comes to possess a place in his affections, and he is reluctant to send it forth into the wide world, without something in the nature of a letter of introduction, asking for it a kindly and charitable reception. It would be unjust to apply to this volume the tests which are brought to bear upon an elaborate romance. In his narrative of the adventures of Verty and Redbud, the writer has not endeavored to mount into the regions of tragedy, or chronicle the details of bloodshed on the part of heroes—but rather, to find in a picturesque land and period such traits of life and manners as are calculated to afford innocent entertainment. Written under the beautiful autumn skies of our beloved Virginia, the author would ask for the work only a mind in unison with the mood of the narrative—asking the reader to laugh, if he can, and, above all, to carry with him, if possible, the beautiful autumn sunshine, and the glories of the mountains.

Of the fine old border town, in which many of the scenes of the story are laid, much might be said, if it were here necessary, that Thomas Lord Fairfax, Baron of Cameron, and formerly half-owner of Virginia, sleeps there—that Morgan, the Ney of the Revolution, after all his battles, lies there, too, as though to show how nobles and commoners, lords and frontiersmen, monarchists and republicans, are equal in death—and that the last stones of old Fort Loudoun, built by Lieutenant, afterwards General, Washington, crumble into dust there, disappearing like a thousand other memorials of that noble period, and the giants who illustrated it:—this, and much more, might be said of Winchester, the old heart of the border, which felt every blow, and poured out her blood freely in behalf of the frontier. But of the land in which this old sentinel stands it is impossible to speak in terms of adequate justice. No words can describe the loveliness of its fair fields, and vainly has the present writer tried to catch the spirit of those splendid pictures, which the valley unrolls in autumn days. The morning splendors and magnificent sunsets—the noble river and blue battlements, forever escape him. It is in the midst of these scenes that he has endeavored to place a young hunter—a child of the woods—and to show how his wild nature was impressed by the new life and advancing civilization around him. The process of his mental development is the chief aim of the book.

Of the other personages of the story it is not necessary here to speak—they will relieve the author of that trouble; yet he cannot refrain from asking in advance a friendly consideration for Miss Redbud. He trusts that her simplicity and innocence will gain for her the hearts of all who admire those qualities; and that in consideration of her liking for her friend Verty, that these friends of her own will bestow a portion of their approbation upon the young woodman: pity him when he incurs the displeasure of Mr., Jinks: sympathise with him when he is overwhelmed by the reproaches of Mr. Roundjacket, and rejoice with him when, in accordance with the strictest rules of poetic justice, he is rewarded for his kindness and honesty by the possession of the two things which he coveted the most in the world.

RICHMOND, June, 1856.

THE LAST OF THE FORESTERS.

  “If we shadows have offended,
  Think but this, (and all is mended,)
  That you have but slumbered here
  While these visions did appear;
  And this weak and idle theme
  No more yielding than a dream,
  Gentles, do not reprehend
.”

          MIDSUMMER-NIGHT'S DREAM.

THE LAST OF THE FORESTERS,

CHAPTER I. AT APPLE ORCHARD.

On a bright October morning, when the last century was rapidly going down hill, and all old things began to give way to the new, the sun was shining in upon the breakfast room at Apple Orchard with a joyous splendor, which, perhaps, he had never before displayed in tarrying at that domain, or any other.

But, about Apple Orchard, which we have introduced to the reader in a manner somewhat abrupt and unceremonious. It was one of those old wooden houses, which dot our valleys in Virginia almost at every turn—contented with their absence from the gay flashing world of cities, and raising proudly their moss-covered roofs between the branches of wide spreading oaks, and haughty pines, and locusts, burdening the air with perfume. Apple Orchard had about it an indefinable air of moral happiness and domestic comfort. It seemed full of memories, too; and you would have said that innumerable weddings and christenings had taken place there, time out of mind, leaving their influence on the old homestead, on its very dormer-windows, and porch trellis-work, and clambering vines, and even on the flags before the door, worn by the feet of children and slow grandfathers.

Within, everything was quite as old-fashioned; over the mantel-piece a portrait, ruffled and powdered, hung; in the corner a huge clock ticked; by the window stood a japanned cabinet; and more than one china ornament, in deplorably grotesque taste, spoke of the olden time.

This is all we can say of the abode of Mr. Adam Summers, better known as Squire Summers, except that we may add, that Apple Orchard was situated not very far from Winchester, and thus looked upon the beauty of that lovely valley which poor Virginia exiles sigh for, often, far away from it in other lands.

The sun shines for some time upon the well-ordered room, wherein the breakfast-table is set forth, and in whose wide country fire-place a handful of twigs dispel with the flame which wraps them the cool bracing air of morning; then the door opens, and a lady of some thirty autumns, with long raven curls and severe aspect, enters, sailing in awful state, and heralded by music, from the rattling keys which agitate themselves in the basket on her arm, drowning the rustle of her dress. This is Miss Lavinia, the Squire's cousin, who has continued to live with him since the death of his wife, some years since.

The severe lady is superintending the movements of the brisk negro boy who attends to breakfast, when the Squire himself, a fat, rosy, good-humored old gentleman, in short breeches and ruffles, makes his appearance, rubbing his hands and laughing.

Then, behind him, rosier than her father, dewy like the morning, and angelic generally, behold our little heroine—Miss Redbud Summers.

Redbud—she received this pretty name when she was a baby, and as usually befalls Virginia maidens, never has been able to get rid of it. Redbud is a lovely little creature, whom it is a delight to look upon. She has a profusion of light, curling hair, a fine fresh, tender complexion, deep, mild eyes, and a mouth of that innocent and artless expression which characterizes childhood. She is about sixteen, and has just emerged from short dresses, by particular request and gracious permission from Miss Lavinia, who is major-domo and manager in general. Redbud is, therefore, clad in the morning-dress of young ladies of the period. Her sleeves are ornamented with fluttering ribbons, and her hair is brushed back in the fashion now styled Pompadour, but quite unpowdered. Her ears, for even heroines are possessed of them, are weighed down by heavy golden ear-rings, and a cloud of plain lace runs round her neck, and gently rubs her throat. Pensiveness and laughter chase each other over her fresh little face, like floating clouds;—she is a true child of the South.

The Squire sits down in the large chair, in the corner of the fire-place, and takes Miss Redbud on his knee. Then commences a prattle on the part of the young lady, interrupted by much laughter from the old gentleman; then the Squire swears profanely at indolent Caesar, his spaniel, who, lying on the rug before the fire, stretches his hind feet sleepily, and so makes an assault upon his master's stockings; then breakfast is ready, and grace being devoutly said, they all sit down, and do that justice to the meal which Virginians never omit. Redbud is the soul of the room, however, and even insists upon a romp with the old gentleman, as he goes forth to mount his horse.

The Squire thus disappears toward the barn. Miss Lavinia superintends the household operation of “washing up the tea things,” and Redbud puts on her sun-bonnet, and goes to take a stroll.

CHAPTER II. VERTY AND HIS COMPANIONS.

Redbud is sauntering over the sward, and listening to the wind in the beautiful fallwoods, when, from those woods which stretch toward the West, emerges a figure, which immediately rivets her attention. It is a young man of about eighteen, mounted on a small, shaggy-coated horse, and clad in a wild forest costume, which defines clearly the outline of a person, slender, vigorous, and graceful. Over his brown forehead and smiling face, droops a wide hat, of soft white fur, below which, a mass of dark chestnut hair nearly covers his shoulders with its exuberant and tangled curls. Verty—for this is Verty the son, or adopted son of the old Indian woman, living in the pine hills to the west—Verty carries in one hand a strange weapon, nothing less than a long cedar bow, and a sheaf of arrows; in the other, which also holds his rein, the antlers of a stag, huge and branching in all directions; around him circle two noble deer-hounds. Verty strongly resembles an amiable wild cat; and when he sees Redbud, smiles more than ever.

The girl runs toward him, laughing gaily—

“Oh, Verty!” she says, “indeed I am very glad to see you. Where have you been?”

With which, she gives him her hand.

“At home,” says Verty, with his bright, but dreamy smile; “I've got the antlers for the Squire, at last.”

And Verty throws the rein on the neck of his little horse, who stands perfectly still, and leaps lightly to the ground. He stands for a moment gazing at Redbud with his dreamy and smiling eyes, silent in the sunshine like a shadow, then he pushes back his tangled chestnut curls, and laughs.

“I had a long chase,” he says.

“For the deer?”

“Yes,” says Verty, “and there are his horns. Oh, how bright you look.”

Redbud returns his smile.

“I think I didn't live before I knew you; but that was long years ago,” says Verty, “a very long time ago.”

And leaning for a moment on his bow, the forest boy gazes with his singular dreamy look on Redbud, who smiles.

“Papa has gone out riding,” she says, “but come, let's go in, and put up the antlers.”

Verty assents readily to this, and speaking to his horse in some outlandish tongue, leaves him standing there, and accompanies Redbud toward the house.

“What was that you said?” she asked; “I didn't understand.”

“Because you don't know Delaware,” said Verty, smiling.

“Was it Indian?”

“Yes, indeed. I said to Cloud—that's his name you know—I told him to crouch; that means, in hunter language, keep still.”

“How strange!”

“Is it? But I like the English better, because you don't speak Delaware, my own tongue; you speak English.”

“Oh, yes!” Redbud says.

“I don't complain of your not speaking Delaware,” says Verty, “for how could you, unless ma mere had taught you? She is the only Indian about here.”

“You say ma mere—that means, 'my mother,' don't it?”

“Yes; oh, she knows French, too. You know the Indian and the French—I wonder who the French are!—used to live and fight together.”

“Did they?”

Verty nods, and replies—“In the old days, a long, long time ago.”

Redbud looks down for a moment, as they walk on toward the house, perusing the pebbles. Then she raises her head and says—

“How did you ever come to be the old Indian woman's son, Verty?”

Verty's dreamy eyes fall from the sky, where a circling hawk had attracted his attention, to Redbud's face.

“Anan?” he says.

Redbud greets this exhibition of inattention with a little pout, which is far from unbecoming, and too frank to conceal anything, says, smiling—

“You are not listening to me. Indeed, I think I am worth more attention than that hawk.”

“Oh yes, indeed you are!” cries Verty; “but how can you keep a poor Indian boy from his hunting? How that fellow darts now! Look what bright claws he has! Hey, come a little nearer, and you are mine!”

Verty laughs, and takes an arrow.

Redbud lays her hand upon his arm. Verty looks at the hand, then at her bright face, laughing.

“What's the matter?” he says.

“Don't kill the poor hawk.”

“Poor hawk? poor chickens!” says Verty, smiling. “Who could find fault with me for killing him? Nothing to my deer! You ought to have seen the chase, Redbud; how I ran him; how he doubled and turned; and when I had him at bay, with his eyes glaring, his head drooping, how I plunged my knife into his throat, and made the blood spout out gurgling!”

Verty smiled cheerfully at this recollection of past enjoyment, and added, with his dreamy look—

“But I know what I like better even than hunting. I like to come and see you, and learn my lessons, and listen to your talking and singing, Redbud.”

By this time they had reached the house, and they saw Miss Lavinia sitting at the window. Verty took off his white fur hat, and made the lady a low bow, and said—

“How do you do, Miss Lavinia?”

“Thank you, Verty,” said that lady, solemnly, “very well. What have you there?”

“Some deer horns, ma'am.”

“What for?”

“Oh, the Squire said he wanted them,” Verty replied.

“Hum,” said Miss Lavinia, going on with her occupation of sewing.

Verty made no reply to this latter observation, but busied himself fixing up the antlers in the passage. Having arranged them to his satisfaction, he stated to Redbud that he thought the Squire would like them; and then preferred a request that she would get her Bible, and read some to him. To this, Redbud, with a pleasant look in her kind eyes, gave a delighted assent, and, running up stairs, soon returned, and both having seated themselves, began reading aloud to the boy.

Miss Lavinia watched this proceeding with an elderly smile; but Verty's presence in some way did not seem agreeable to her,

Redbud closed the book, and said:—

“That is beautiful, isn't it, Verty?”

“Yes,” replied the boy, “and I would rather hear it than any other book. I'm coming down every day to make you read for me.”

“Why, you can read,”

“So I can, but I like to hear it,” said Verty; “so I am coming.”

Redbud shook her head with a sorrowful expression.

“I don't think I can,” she said. “I'm so sorry!”

“Don't think you can!”

“No.”

“Not read the Bible to me?” Verty said, smiling.

“I'm going away.”

Verty started.

“Going away!—you going away? Oh no! Redbud, you mus'nt; for you know I can't possibly get along without you, because I like you so much.”

“Hum!” said Miss Lavinia, who seemed to be growing more and more dissatisfied with the interview.

“I must go, though,” Redbud said, sorrowfully, “I can't stay.”

“Go where?” asked the boy. “I'll follow you. Where are you going?”

“Stop, Verty!” here interposed Miss Lavinia, with dignity. “It is not a matter of importance where Redbud is going—and you must not follow her, as you promise. You must not ask her where she is going.”

Verty gazed at Miss Lavinia with profound astonishment, and was about to reply, when a voice was heard at the door, and all turned round.

CHAPTER III. INTRODUCES A LEGAL PORCUPINE.

This was the voice of the Squire. It came just in time to create a diversion.

“Why, there are my antlers!” cried the good-humored Squire. “Look, Rushton! did you ever see finer!”

“Often,” growled a voice in reply; and the Squire and his companion entered.

Mr. Rushton was a rough-looking gentleman of fifty or fifty-five, with a grim expression about the compressed lips, and heavy grey eyebrows, from beneath which rolled two dark piercing eyes. His hair was slowly retreating, and thought or care had furrowed his broad brow from temple to temple. He was clad with the utmost rudeness, and resembled nothing so much as a half-civilized bear.

He nodded curtly to Miss Lavinia, and took no notice whatever of either Redbud or Verty.

“Why, thank for the antlers, Verty!” said the good-humored Squire. “I saw Cloud, and knew you were here, but I had no idea that you had brought me the horns.”

And the Squire extended his hand to Verty, who took it with his old dreamy smile.

“I could have brought a common pair any day,” he said, “but I promised the best, and there they are. Oh, Squire!” said Verty, smiling, “what a chase I had! and what a fight with him! He nearly had me under him once, and the antlers you see there came near ploughing up my breast and letting out my heart's blood! They just grazed—he tried to bite me—but I had him by the horn with my left hand, and before a swallow could flap his wings, my knife was in his throat!”

As Verty spoke, his eyes became brighter, his lips more smiling, and pushing his tangled curls back from his face, he bestowed his amiable glances even upon Miss Lavinia.

Mr. Rushton scowled.

“What do you mean by saying this barbarous fight was pleasant?” he asked.

Verty smiled again:—he seemed to know Mr. Rushton well.

“It is my nature to love it,” he said, “just as white people love books and papers.”

“What do you mean by white people?” growled Mr. Rushton, “you know very well that you are white.”

“I?” said Verty.

“Yes, sir; no affectation: look in that mirror.”

Verty looked.

“What do you see!”

“An Indian!” said Verty, laughing, and raising his shaggy head.

“You see nothing of the sort,” said Mr. Rushton, with asperity; “you see simply a white boy tanned—an Anglo-Saxon turned into mahogany by wind and sun. There, sir! there,” added Mr. Rushton, seeing Verty was about to reply, “don't argue the question with me. I am sick of arguing, and won't indulge you. Take this fine little lady here, and go and make love to her—the Squire and myself have business.”

Then Mr. Rushton scowled upon the company generally, and pushed them out of the room, so to speak, with his eyes; even Miss Lavinia was forced to obey, and disappeared.

Five minutes afterwards, Verty might have been seen taking his way back sadly, on his little animal, toward the hills, while Redbud was undergoing that most disagreeable of all ceremonies, a “lecture,” which lecture was delivered by Miss Lavinia, in her own private apartment, with a solemnity, which caused Redbud to class herself with the greatest criminals which the world had ever produced. Miss Lavinia proved, conclusively, that all persons of the male sex were uninterruptedly engaged in endeavoring to espouse all persons of the female sex, and that the world, generally, was a vale of tears, of scheming and deception. Having elevated and cheered Redbud's spirits, by this profound philosophy, and further enlivened her by declaring that she must leave Apple Orchard on the morrow, Miss Lavinia descended.

She entered the dining-room where the Squire and Mr. Rushton were talking, and took her seat near the window. Mr. Rushton immediately became dumb.

Miss Lavinia said it was a fine day.

Mr. Rushton growled.

Miss Lavinia made one or two additional attempts to direct the conversation on general topics; but the surly guest strangled her incipient attempts with pitiless indifference. Finally, Miss Lavinia sailed out of the room with stately dignity, and disappeared.

Mr. Rushton looked after her, smiling grimly.

“The fact is, Squire,” he said, “that your cousin, Miss Lavinia, is a true woman. Hang it, can't a man come and talk a little business with a neighbor without being intruded upon? Outrageous!”

The Squire seemed to regard his guest's surliness with as little attention as Verty had displayed.

“A true woman in other ways is she, Rushton,” he said, smiling—“I grant you she is a little severe and prim, and fond of taking her dignified portion of every conversation; but she's a faithful and high-toned woman. You have seen too much character in your Courts to judge of the kernel from the husk.”

“The devil take the Courts! I'm sick of 'em,” said Mr. Rushton, with great fervor, “and as to character, there is no character anywhere, or in anybody.” Having enunciated which proposition, Mr. Rushton rose to go.

The Squire rose too, holding him by the button.

“I'd like to argue that point with you,” he said, laughing. “Come now, tell me how—”

“I won't—I refuse—I will not argue.”

“Stay to dinner, then, and I promise not to wrangle.”

“No—I never stay to dinner! A pretty figure my docket would cut, if I staid to your dinners and discussions! You've got the deeds I came to see you about; my business is done; I'm going back.”

“To that beautiful town of Winchester!” laughed the Squire, following his grim guest out.

“Abominable place!” growled Rushton; “and that Roundjacket is positively growing insupportable. I believe that fellow has a mania on the subject of marrying, and he runs me nearly crazy. Then, there's his confounded poem, which he persists in reading to himself nearly aloud.”

“His poem?” asked the Squire.

“Yes, sir! his abominable, trashy, revolting poem, called—'The Rise and Progress of the Certiorari.' The consequence of all which, is—here's my horse; find the martingale, you black cub!—the consequence is, that my office work is not done as it should be, and I shall be compelled to get another clerk in addition to that villain, Roundjacket.”

“Why not exchange with some one?”

“How?”

“Roundjacket going elsewhere—to Hall's, say.”

Mr. Rushton scowled.

“Because he is no common clerk; would not live elsewhere, and because I can't get along without him,” he said. “Hang him, he's the greatest pest in Christendom!”

“I have heard of a young gentleman called Jinks,” the Squire said, with a sly laugh, “what say you to him for number two?”

“Burn Jinks!” cried Mr. Rushton, “he's a jack-a-napes, and if he comes within the reach of my cane, I'll break it over his rascally shoulders! I'd rather have this Indian cub who has just left us.”

“That's all very well; but you can't get him.”

“Can't get him?” asked Rushton, grimly, as he got into the saddle.

“He would never consent to coop himself up in Winchester. True, my little Redbud, who is a great friend of his, has taught him to read, and even to write in a measure, but he's a true Indian, whether such by descent or not. He would die of the confinement. Remember what I said about character just now, and acknowledge the blunder you committed when you took the position that there was no such thing.”

Rushton growled, and bent his brows on the laughing Squire.

“I said,” he replied, grimly, “that there was no character to be found anywhere; and you may take it as you choose, you'll try and extract an argument out of it either way. I don't mean to take part in it. As to this cub of the woods, you say I couldn't make anything of him—see if I don't! You have provoked me into the thing—defied me—and I accept the challenge.”

“What! you will capture Verty, that roving bird?”

“Yes; and make of this roving swallow another bird called a secretary. I suppose you've read some natural history, and know there's such a feathered thing.”

“Yes.”

“Very well,” said Mr. Rushton, kicking his horse, and cramming his cocked hat down on his forehead. “I'll show you how little you know of human nature and character. I'll take this wild Indian boy, brought up in the woods, and as free and careless as a deer, and in six months I'll change him into a canting, crop-eared, whining pen-machine, with quills behind his ears, and a back always bending humbly. I'll take this honest barbarian and make a civilized and enlightened individual out of him—that is to say, I'll change him into a rascal and a hypocrite.”

With which misanthropic words Mr. Rushton nodded in a surly way to the smiling Squire, and took his way down the road toward Winchester.

“Well, well,” said the old gentleman, looking after him, “Rushton seems to be growing rougher than ever;—what a pity that so noble a heart should have such a husk. His was a hard trial, however—we should not be surprised. Rough-headed fellow! he thinks he can do everything with that resolute will of his;—but the idea of chaining to a writing-desk that wild boy, Verty!”

And the old gentleman re-entered the house smiling cheerfully, as was his wont.

CHAPTER IV. HOW VERTY THOUGHT, AND PLAYED, AND DREAMED.

Verty took his weary way westward through the splendid autumn woods, gazing with his dreamy Indian expression on the variegated leaves, listening to the far cries of birds, and speaking at times to Longears and Wolf, his two deer hounds.

Then his head would droop—a dim smile would glimmer upon his lips, and his long, curling hair would fall in disordered masses around his burnt face, almost hiding it from view. At such moments Verty dreamed—the real world had disappeared—perforce of that imagination given him by heaven, he entered calm and happy into the boundless universe of reverie and fancy.

For a time he would go along thus, his arms hanging down, his head bent upon his breast, his body swinging from side to side with every movement of his shaggy little horse. Then he would rouse himself, and perhaps fit an arrow to his bow, and aim at some bird, or some wild turkey disappearing in the glades. Happy birds! the arrow never left the string. Verty's hand would fall—the bow would drop at his side—he would fix his eyes upon the autumn woods, and smile.

He went on thus through the glades of the forest, over the hills, and along the banks of little streams towards the west. The autumn reigned in golden splendor—and not alone in gold: in purple, and azure and crimson, with a wealth of slowly falling leaves which soon would pass away, the poor perished glories of the fair golden year. The wild geese flying South sent their faint carol from the clouds—the swamp sparrow twittered, and the still copse was stirred by the silent croak of some wandering wild turkey, or the far forest made most musical with that sound which the master of Wharncliffe Lodge delighted in, the “belling of the hart.”

Verty drank in these forest sounds, and the full glories of the Autumn, rapturously—while he looked and listened, all his sadness passed away, and his wild Indian nature made him happy there, in the heart of the woods. Ever and anon, however, the events of the morning would occur to him, sweeping over his upraised brow like the shadow of a cloud, and dimming the brightness of his dreamy smiles.

“How red the maples grow!” he said, “they are burning away—and the dogwood! Poor oaks! I'm sorry for you; you are going, and I think you look like kings—going? That was what Redbud said! She was going away—going away!”

And a sigh issued from Verty's lips, which betrayed the importance he attached to Redbud's departure. Then his head drooped; and he murmured—“going away!”

Poor Verty! It does not require any very profound acuteness to divine your condition. You are one more added to the list which Leander heads in the old Grecian fable. Your speech betrays you.

“Wild geese! They are early this year. Ho, there! good companions that you are, come down and let me shoot at you. 'Crake! crake!' that is all you say—away up there in the white clouds, laughing at me, I suppose, and making fun of my bow. Listen! they are answering me from the clouds! I wish I could fly up in the clouds! Travelling, as I live, away off to the south!—leaving us to go and join their fellows. They are wild birds; I've shot many of em'. Hark, Longears! see up there! There they go—'crake! crake! crake!' I can see their long necks stretched out toward the South—they are almost gone—going away from me—like Redbud!”

And Verty sighed piteously.

“I wonder what makes my breast feel as if there was a weight upon it,” he said, “I'll ask ma mere.”

And putting spurs to Cloud, Verty scoured through the pine hills, and in an hour drew near his home.

It was one of those mountain huts which are frequently met with to this day in our Virginian uplands. Embowered in pines, it rather resembled, seen from a distance, the eyrie of some huge eagle, than the abode of human beings, though eagles' eyries are not generally roofed in, with poles and clapboards.

The hut was very small, but not as low pitched as usual, and the place had about it an air of wild comfort, which made it a pleasant object in the otherwise unbroken landscape of pines, and huge rocks, and browling streams which stretched around it. The door was approached by a path which wound up the hill; and a small shed behind a clump of firs was visible—apparently the residence of Cloud.

Verty carefully attended to his horse, and then ascended the hill toward the hut, from whose chimney a delicate smoke ascended.

He was met at the door by an old Indian woman, who seemed to have reached the age of three-score at least. She was clad in the ordinary linsey of the period; and the long hair falling upon her shoulders was scarcely touched with grey. She wore beads and other simple trinkets, and the expression of her countenance was very calm and collected.

Verty approached her with a bright smile, and taking her hand in his own, placed it upon his head; then saying something in the Delaware tongue, he entered the hut.

Within, the mountain dwelling was as wild as without. From the brown beams overhead were suspended strings of onions, tin vessels, bridles, dried venison, and a thousand other things, mingled in inextricable confusion. In the wide fire-place, which was supplied with stones for and-irons, a portion of the lately slaughtered deer was broiling on an impromptu and primitive species of gridiron, which would have disgusted Soyer and astonished Vatel. This had caused the smoke; and as Verty entered, the old woman had been turning the slices. Longears and Wolf were already stretched before the fire, their eyes fixed upon the venison with admiring attention and profound seriousness.

In ten minutes the venison was done, and Verty and his mother ate in silence—Verty not forgetting his dogs, who growled and contended for the pieces, and then slept upon the rude pine floor.

The boy then went to some shelves in the corner, just by the narrow flight of steps which led to the old woman's room above, and taking down a long Indian pipe, filled it with tobacco, and lit it. This having been accomplished, he took his seat on a sort of wicker-work bench, just outside of the door, and began to smoke with all the gravity and seriousness of a Sachem of the Delawares.

In a moment he felt the hand of the old woman on his shoulder.

“Verty has been asleep and dreamed something,” she said, calmly, in the Delaware tongue.

“No, ma mere, Verty has been wide awake,” said the boy, in the same language.

“Then the winds have been talking to him.”

“Hum,” said Verty.

“Something is on my son's mind, and he has tied his heart up—mal!”

“No, no,” said Verty, “I assure you, ma mere, I'm quite happy.”

And having made this declaration, Verty stopped smoking and sighed.

The old woman heard this sigh, slight as it was, with the quick ear of the Indian, and was evidently troubled by it.

“Has Verty seen the dove?” she said.

The young man nodded with a smile.

“Did they laugh?”

“They laughed.”

“Did he come away singing?”

Verty hesitated, then said, with an overshadowed brow—

“No, no, ma mere—I really believe he did not.”

The old woman pressed his hand between her own.

“Speak,” she said, “the dove is not sick?”

Verty sighed.

“No; but she is going away,” he said, “and Miss Lavinia would not tell me where. What a hawk she is—oh! she shall not harm my dove!”

And Verty betook himself to gazing with shadowy eyes upon the sky. The old Indian was silent for some time. Then she said—

“Trust in the Good Spirit, my son. We are not enough for ourselves. We think we are strong and mighty, and can do everything; but a wind blows us away. Listen, there is the wind in the pines, and look how it is scattering the leaves. Men are like leaves—the breath of the Great Spirit is the wind which scatters them.”

And the old Indian woman gazed with much affection on the boy.

“What you say is worthy to be written on bark, mother,” he said, returning her affectionate glance; “the Great Spirit holds everything in the hollow of his hand, and we are nothing. Going away!” added Verty after a pause—“Going away!”

And he sighed.

“What did my son say?” asked the old woman.

“Nothing, ma mere. Ah le bon temp que ce triste jour!” he murmured.

The old woman's head drooped.

“My son does not speak with a straight tongue,” she said; “his words are crooked.”

Non non” said Verty, smiling; “but I am a little unwell, ma mere. All the way coming along, I felt my breast weighed down—my heart was oppressed. Look! even Longears knows I'm not the Verty of the old time.”

Longears, who was standing at the door in a contemplative attitude, fancied that his master called him, and, coming up, licked Verty's hand affectionately.

“Good Longears!” said. Verty, caressing him, “lie down at my feet.”

Longears obeyed with much dignity, and was soon basking in the sunlight before the door.

“Now, ma mere” Verty said, with his habitual smile, “we have been calling for the clouds to come up, and shut out the sun; let us call for the sunlight next. You know I am your Verty, and every day as I grow, I get able to do more for you. I shall, some day, make a number of pistoles—who knows?—and then think how much I could buy for you. Good mother!—happy Verty!”

And taking the old woman's hand, Verty kissed it.

Then, leaning back, he reached through the window, and took down a rude violin, and began to play an old air of the border, accompanying the tune with a low chant, in the Indian fashion.

The old woman looked at him for some moments with great affection, a sad smile lighting up her aged features; then saying in a low tone, as if to herself, “good Verty!” went into the house.

Verty played for some time longer. Tired at last of his violin, he laid it down, and with his eyes fixed upon the sand at his feet, began to dream. As he mused, his large twilight eyes slowly drooped their long lashes, which rested finally on the ruddy cheek.

For some moments, Verty amused himself tracing figures on the sand near Longears' nose, causing that intelligent animal to growl in his sleep, and fight imaginary foes with his paws.

From the window, the old Indian woman watched the young man with great affection, her lips moving, and her eyes, at times, raised toward the sky.

Verty reclined more and more in his wicker seat; the scenes and images of the day were mingled together in his mind, and became a dim wrack of cloud; his tangled hair shaded his face from the sun; and, overcome by weariness, the boy sank back, smiling even in his sleep. As he did so, the long-stemmed Indian pipe fell from his hand across Longears' nose, half covering the letters he had traced with it on the sand.

Those letters were, in rude tracing:

REDBUD.

And to these Verty had added, with melancholy and listless smiles, the further letters:

GOING TO—

Unfortunately he was compelled to leave the remainder of the sentence unwritten.

CHAPTER V. WINCHESTER.

Having followed the Indian boy from Apple Orchard to his lodge in the wilderness, and shown how he passed many of his hours in the hills, it is proper now that we should mount—in a figurative and metaphorical sense—behind Mr. Rushton, and see whither that gentleman also bends his steps. We shall thus arrive at the real theatre of our brief history—we mean at the old town of Winchester,

Every body knows, or ought to know, all about Winchester. It is not a borough of yesterday, where the hum of commerce and the echo of the pioneer's axe mingle together, as in many of our great western cities of the Arabian Nights:—Winchester has recollections about it, and holds to the past—to its Indian combats, and strange experiences of clashing arms, and border revelries, and various scenes of wild frontier life, which live for us now only in the chronicles;—to its memories of Colonel Washington, the noble young soldier, who afterwards became, as we all have heard, so distinguished upon a larger field;—to Thomas Lord Fairfax, Baron of Cameron, who came there often when the deer and the wolves of his vast possessions would permit him—and to Daniel Morgan, who emptied many fair cups on Loudoun-street, and one day passed, with trumpets sounding, going to Quebec; again on his way to debate questions of importance with Tarleton, at the Cowpens—lastly, to crush the Tory rising on Lost River, about the time when “it pleased heaven so to order things, that the large army of Cornwallis should be entrapped and captured at Yorktown, in Virginia,” as the chronicles inform us. All these men of the past has Winchester looked upon, and many more—on strange, wild pictures, and on many histories. For you walk on history there and drink the chronicle:—Washington's old fort is crumbling, but still visible;—Morgan, the strong soldier, sleeps there, after all his storms;—and grim, eccentric Fairfax lies where he fell, on hearing of the Yorktown ending.

When we enter the town with Mr. Rushton, these men are elsewhere, it is true; but none the less present. They are there forever.

The lawyer's office was on Loudoun-street, and cantering briskly along the rough highway past the fort, he soon reached the rack before his door, and dismounted. The rack was crooked and quailed—the house was old and dingy—the very knocker on the door frowned grimly at the wayfarer who paused before it. One would have said that Mr. Rushton's manners, house, and general surrounding, would have repelled the community, and made him a thousand enemies, so grim were they. Not at all. No lawyer in the town was nearly so popular—none had as much business of importance entrusted to them. It had happened in his case as in a thousand others, which every one's experience must have furnished. His neighbors had discovered that his rude and surly manners concealed a powerful intellect and an excellent heart—and even this rudeness had grown interesting from the cynical dry humor not unfrequently mingled with it.

A huge table, littered with old dingy volumes, and with dusty rolls of papers tied with red tape—a tall desk, with a faded and ink-bespattered covering of brown cloth—a lofty set of “pigeon holes,” nearly filled with documents of every description—and a set of chairs and stools in every state of dilapidation:—there was the ante-room of Joseph Rushton, Esq., Attorney-at-Law and Solicitor in Chancery.

No window panes ever had been seen so dirty as those which graced the windows—no rag-carpet so nearly resolved into its component elements, had ever decorated human dwelling—and perhaps no legal den, from the commencement of the world to that time, had ever diffused so unmistakeable an odor of parchment, law-calf, and ancient dust!

The apartment within the first was much smaller, and here Mr. Rushton held his more confidential interviews. Few persons entered it, however; and even Roundjacket would tap at the door before entering, and generally content himself with thrusting his head through the opening, and then retiring. Such was the lawyer's office.

CHAPTER VI. IN WHICH MR. ROUNDJACKET FLOURISHES HIS RULER.

Roundjacket was Mr. Rushton's clerk—his “ancient clerk”—though the gentleman was not old. The reader has heard the lawyer say as much. Behold Mr. Roundjacket now, with his short, crisp hair, his cynical, yet authoritative face, his tight pantaloons, and his spotless shirt bosom—seated on his tall stool, and gesticulating persuasively. He brandishes a ruler in his right hand, his left holds a bundle of manuscript; he recites.

Mr. Rushton's entrance does not attract his attention; he continues to brandish his ruler and to repeat his poem.

Mr. Rushton bestows an irate kick upon the leg of the stool.

“Hey!” says Roundjacket, turning his head.

“You are very busy, I see,” replies Mr. Rushton, with his cynical smile, “don't let me interrupt you. No doubt perusing that great poem of yours, on the 'Certiorari.'“

“Yes,” says Mr. Roundjacket, running his fingers through his hair, and causing it to stand erect, “I pride myself on this passage. Just listen”—

“I'd see your poem sunk first; yes, sir! burned—exterminated. I would see it in Chancery!” cried the lawyer, in the height of his wrath.

Mr. Roundjacket's hand fell.

“No—no!” he said, with a reproachful expression, “you wouldn't be so cruel, Judge!”

“I would!” said Mr. Rushton, with a snap.

“In Chancery?”

“Yes, sir!”

“Mr. Rushton.”

“Sir?”

“Are you in earnest?”

“I am, sir.”

“You distinctly state that you would see my poem consigned to—”

“Chancery, sir.”

“Before you would listen to it?”

“Yes, sir!”

Roundjacket gazed for a moment at the lawyer in a way which expressed volumes. Then slowly rubbing his nose:

“Well, sir, you are more unchristian than I supposed—but go on! Some day you'll write a poem, and I'll handle it without gloves. Don't expect any mercy.”

“When I write any of your versified stuff, called poetry, I give you leave to handle it in any way you choose,” said the Judge, as we may call him, following the example of Mr. Roundjacket. “Poetry is a thing for school-boys and bread and butter Misses, who fancy themselves in love—not for men!”

Roundjacket groaned.

“There you are,” he said, “with your heretical doctrines—doctrines which are astonishing in a man of your sense. You prefer law to poetry—divine poetry!” cried Roundjacket, flourishing his ruler.

“Roundjacket,” said Mr. Rushton.

“Judge?”

“Don't be a ninny.”

“No danger. I'm turning into a bear from association with you.”

“A bear, sir?”

“Yes sir—a bear, sir!”

“Do you consider me a bear, do you?”

“An unmitigated grizzly bear, sir, of the most ferocious and uncivilized description,” replied Roundjacket, with great candor.

“Very well, sir,” replied Mr. Rushton, who seemed to relish these pleasantries of Mr. Roundjacket—“very well, sir, turn into a bear as much as you choose; but, for heaven sake, don't become a poetical bear.”

“There it is again!”

“What, sir?”

“You are finding fault with the harmless amusement of my leisure hours. It's not very interesting here, if your Honor would please to remember. I have no society—none, sir. What can I do but compose?”

“You want company?”

“I want a wife, sir; I acknowledge it freely.”

Mr. Rushton smiled grimly.

“Why don't you get one, then?” he said; “but this is not what I meant. I'm going to give you a companion.”

“A companion?”

“An assistant, sir.”

“Very well,” said Mr. Roundjacket, “I shall then have more time to devote to my epic.”

“Epic, the devil! You'll be obliged to do more than ever.”

“More?”

“Yes—you will have to teach the new comer office duty.”

“Who is he?”

“An Indian.”

“What?”

“The Indian boy Verty—you have seen him, I know.”

Mr. Roundjacket uttered a prolonged whistle.

“There!” cried Mr. Rushton—“you are incredulous, like everybody!”

“Yes, I am!”

“You doubt my ability to capture him?”

“Precisely.”

“Well, sir! we'll see. I have never yet given up what I have once undertaken. Smile as you please, you moon-struck poet; and if you want an incident to put in your trashy law-epic, new nib your pen to introduce a wild Indian. Stop! I'm tired talking! Don't answer me. If any one calls, say I'm gone away, or dead, or anything. Get that old desk ready for the Indian. He will be here on Monday.”

And Mr. Rushton passed into his sanctum, and slammed the door after him.

On the next day the lawyer set out toward the pine hills. On the road he met Verty strolling along disconsolately. A few words passed between them, and they continued their way in company toward the old Indian woman's hut. Mr. Rushton returned to Winchester at twilight.

On Monday morning Verty rode into the town, and dismounted at the door of the law office.

CHAPTER VII. IN WHICH ROUNDJACKET READS HIS GREAT POEM.

Three days after the events which we have just related, or rather after the introduction of the reader to the three localities with which our brief history will concern itself, Mr. Roundjacket was sitting on his high stool in one corner of the office, preparing the papers in a friendly suit in Chancery.

It was about ten o'clock in the morning, and Verty, who rode home every evening, had just come in and had taken his seat at the desk in the corner appropriated to him, beneath the small dingy window, looking out upon the yard. Longears was stretched at his feet.

Verty's face was more dreamy and thoughtful than ever. The dim smile still dwelt upon his lips, and though his countenance had as much of the forest Indian character as ever, there was a languor about the drooping eyelids, with their long lashes, and a stoop in the usually erect neck, which betrayed the existence in the boy's mind of some ever-present sadness. His costume was just what it had always been—moccasins, deerskin leggings, a shaggy forest paletot, and fringed leather gauntlets, which now lay by him near his white fur hat. He had not changed by becoming a lawyer's clerk; but, on the contrary, grown more wild, apparently from the very contrast between his forest appearance and the dingy office.

At times Verty would stretch out his hand, and, taking his cedar bow from a chair, bend it thoughtfully, and utter the low Indian murmur, which has been represented by the letters, “ough” so unsuccessfully; then he would allow the weapon to slide from his nerveless hand—his head would droop—the dim dreamy smile would light up his features for an instant, and he would lean upon the desk and ponder—his countenance half enveloped by the long tangled chestnut hair which still flowed upon his shoulders in wild luxuriance.

Tired of thinking at last, Verty sighed, and took up his pen. For some moments it glided slowly over the law parchment, and the contortions of Verty's face betrayed the terrible effort necessary for him to make in copying. Then his eyes no longer sought the paper to be transcribed—his face lit up for a moment, and his pen moved faster. Finally, he rose erect, and surveyed the sheet, which he had been writing upon, with great interest.

Just beneath the words, “messuages, tenements, water courses, and all that doth thereunto pertain,” Verty had made a charming sketch of a wild-fowl, with expanded wings, falling from the empyrean, with an arrow through his breast.

For some moments, the drawing afforded Verty much gratification: it finally, however, lost its interest, and the boy leaned his head upon his hand, and gazed through the window upon the waving trees which overshadowed the rear of the building.

Then his eyes slowly drooped—the dusky lashes moved tremulously—the head declined—and in five minutes Verty was asleep, resting his forehead on his folded arms.

The office was disturbed, for the next quarter of an hour, by no sound but the rapid scratching of Mr. Roundjacket's pen, which glided over the paper at a tremendous rate, and did terrible execution among plaintiffs, executors, administrators, and assigns.

At the end of that time, Mr. Roundjacket raised his head, uttered a prolonged whistle, and, wiping his pen upon the sleeve of his old office coat, which bore a striking resemblance to the gaberdine of a beggar, addressed himself to speech—

“Now, that was not wanted till to-morrow evening,” he observed, confidentially, to the pigeon-holes; “but, to-morrow evening, I may be paying my addresses to some angelic lady, or be engaged upon my epic. I have done well; it is true philosophy to 'make assurance doubly sure, and to take a bond of fate.' Now for a revisal of that last stanza; and, I think, I'll read it aloud to that young cub, as Rushton calls him. No doubt his forest character, primitive and poetical, will cause him to appreciate its beauties. Hallo!”

Verty replied by a snore.

“What, asleep!” cried Mr. Roundjacket. “Now, you young sluggard! do you mean to say that the atmosphere of this mansion, this temple of Chancery, is not enlivening, sprightly, and anti-slumbrous? Ho, there! do you presume to fall asleep over that beautiful and entertaining conveyance, you young savage! Wake up!”

And Mr. Roundjacket hurled his ruler at Verty's desk, with the accuracy of an experienced hand. The ruler came down with a crash, and aroused the sleeper. Longears also started erect, looked around, and then laid down again.

“Ah!” murmured Verty, who woke like a bird upon the boughs, “what was that, ma mere?”

“There's his outlandish lingo—Delaware or Shawnee, I have no doubt!” said Mr. Roundjacket.

Verty rose erect.

“Was I asleep? he said, smiling.

“I think you were.”

“This place makes me go to sleep,” said the boy. “How dull it is!”

“Dull! do you call this office dull? No, sir, as long as I am here this place is sprightly and even poetical.”

“Anan?” said Verty.

“Which means, in Iroquois or some barbarous language, that you don't understand,” replied Mr. Roundjacket. “Listen, then, young man, I mean that the divine spirit of poesy dwells here—that nothing, therefore, is dull or wearisome about this mansion—that all is lively and inspiring. Trust me, my dear young friend, it was copying that miserable deed which put you to sleep, and I can easily understand how that happened. The said indenture was written by the within.”

And Mr. Roundjacket pointed toward the sanctum of Mr. Rushton.

Verty only smiled.

Mr. Roundjacket descended from his stool, and cast his eyes upon the paper.

“What!” he cried, “you made that picture! How, sir Upon my word, young man, you are in a bad way. The youngster who stops to make designs upon a copy of a deed in a law office, is on the high-road to the gallows. It is an enormity, sir—horrible! dreadful!”

“What the devil are you shouting about there!” cried the voice of Mr. Rushton, angrily. And opening the door between the two rooms, the shaggy-headed gentleman appeared upon the threshold.

Roundjacket turned over the sheet of paper upon which Verty's design had been made; and then turned to reply to the words addressed to him.

“I am using my privilege to correct this youngster,” he replied, with a flourish of his ruler, apparently designed to impress the shaggy head with the idea that he, Mr. Roundjacket, would not permit any infringement of his rights and privileges.

“You are, are you?” said Mr. Rushton.

“Yes, sir,” replied the clerk.

“And what do you find to correct in Mr. Verty?”

“Many things.”

“Specify.”

“With pleasure.”

And Mr. Roundjacket, inserting one thumb into the pocket of his long waistcoat, pointed with the ruler to Verty's costume.

“Do you call that a proper dress for a lawyer's clerk?” he said. “Is the profession to be disgraced by the entrance of a bear, a savage, a wild boy of the woods, who resembles a catamountain? Answer that, sir. Look at those leggins!”

And Mr. Roundjacket indicated the garments which reached to Verty's knees, with the end of his ruler.

“Well,” said Mr. Rush ton, smiling, “I should think you might have them changed without troubling me, Verty.”

The boy raised his head with a smile.

“How would you like a new suit of clothes?”

“I don't want any, sir.”

“But these won't do.”

“Why not, sir?”

“They're too primitive, you cub. Clothes, sir, are the essence of human society, and a man is known by his shell. If you wish to reap those numerous advantages for your mother, you must be re-habited.”

“Anan?” said Verty.

“I mean you must dress like a Christian—get new clothes.”

Verty smiled.

“You are willing, I suppose?”

“Yes, sir.”

“Very well—that does honor to your filial affection, you handsome savage. Roundjacket, take this young man up to O'Brallaghan's to-morrow, and have his measure taken.”

“With pleasure,” said Mr. Roundjacket, who had evidently taken a great liking to Verty; “what sort of clothes?”

Mr. Rushton looked at the subject of the conversation. Verty was gazing through the window and dreaming. A smile passed over the grim features, and a sort of sigh issued from the compressed lips of the lawyer.

“Three suits, Roundjacket,” said Mr. Rushton; “one common, another rich, another as elegant as O'Brallaghan can make. I really believe this boy is going to amuse me.”

“A most remarkable youth,” observed the clerk, “and draws sketches with astonishing ease.”

“Ah?”

“Don't you, young man?”

Verty turned round, and interrogated Mr. Roundjacket with a look. He had evidently not heard the question.

“There, you are dreaming again, sir,” said Mr. Rushton; “this will never do—come, write away. The idleness of this world is revolting!” he growled, returning to his sanctum, and closing the door with a bang.

Roundjacket pointed after him with his ruler.

“An odd fish, young man,” he said, shaking his head; “take care not to make him your model. If you want a proper model to imitate, you need not go far. Modesty, which is my weakness, prevents my saying more.”

And Mr. Roundjacket cleared his throat, and looked dignified.

“It was my purpose, before this interruption,” he said, after a pause of some moments, “to read to you some portions of a work which will, probably, be spoken of extensively by the world.”

And Mr. Roundjacket paused. Verty also was silent.

“All countries,” said the poetical gentleman, with a preparatory flourish of his ruler, “have possessed localities famous in the history of literature:—as Athens, in Greece; the Island of Scio, where Homer first saw the light; and Stratford, where Shakspeare appeared. Now, sir, reasoning from analogy, which is the finest possible way of reasoning, we must conclude that Virginia has such a locality, and I leave you to decide the probable situation of it. It cannot be Williamsburg, the seat of government, for that place is given up to the vanity of life—to balls and horseraces, meetings of the House of Burgesses, and other varieties. Williamsburg, sir, cannot become famous—it is too near the sea. Then there is the thriving village of Richmond, to which they speak of moving the seat of government. I suppose, sir, that no one asserts that Richmond is ever likely to produce any remarkable men. Mark me, sir, that place will never be famous—it is too far from the sea. Now, what is the irresistible conclusion we arrive at from a view of these incontestable facts,” observed Mr. Roundjacket, endeavoring to catch Verty's wandering eye; “why, my young friend, that Winchester here is to be the celebrated locality—that the great poet of Virginia will here arise! Is it not plain, sir?”

“Anan?” said Verty, smiling, and roused from his abstraction by the silence.

“Ah, you are not very well accustomed to these trains of reasoning, I perceive, sir,” said Mr. Roundjacket; “but you will be able to comprehend my meaning. I designed only to say, that this town will probably be mentioned in many books, hereafter, as the residence of some distinguished man. Of course, I do not express any opinion upon that point—I don't know who it will be; but I presume he will follow the poetical calling from the vicinity of the mountains. Those beautiful mountains will make his cheeks flush, sir, at all times. The Shenandoah, more noble than even the Mississippi, will inspire him, and possibly he will turn his attention to humor—possibly, sir, the proceedings in courts of law may attract his attention—justification, and cognovit, and certiorari. Let me read you a small portion of a poem written upon those subjects by a very humble poet—are you listening, Mr. Verty?”

Verty aroused himself, and smiled upon Mr. Roundjacket—a proceeding which seemed to be eminently satisfactory to that gentleman.

With many preparatory, “hems,” therefore, the poet commenced reading.

At the risk of bringing down upon our heads the anathema of antiquaries in general, we are compelled to forbear from making any quotations from the Roundjacket Iliad. It was not quite equal to Homer, and inferior, in many points, to both the Aeniad and the Dunciad;—but not on that account did the poet undervalue it. He read with that deep appreciation which authors in all ages have brought to bear upon their own productions.

Verty preserved a profound and respectful silence, which flattered the poet hugely. He recited with new energy and pleasure—becoming, at times, so enthusiastic, indeed, that a smothered growl from the adjoining apartment bore soothing testimony to his eloquence.

Mr. Roundjacket wound up with a gigantic figure, in which the muse of Chancery was represented as mounted upon a golden car, and dispensing from her outstretched hands all sorts of fruits, and flowers, and blessings on humanity;—and having thus brought his noble poem to a noble termination, the poet, modestly smiling, and ready for applause, rolled up his manuscript, and raised his eyes to the countenance of his silent and admiring listener—that listener who had been so rapt in the glowing images and sonorous couplets, that he had not uttered so much as a word.

Verty was asleep.

CHAPTER VIII. HOW VERTY SHOT A WHITE PIGEON.

Mr. Roundjacket's illusions were all dissipated—the attentive listener was a sleeping listener—his poem, dreadful to think of, had absolutely lulled Verty to slumber.

We may understand the mortification of the great writer; the irritable genus had in him no unfit representative, thus far at least. He caught Verty by the shoulder and shook him.

“Wake up, you young savage!” he cried, “sleeping when I am reading to you; rouse! rouse! or by the immortal gods I'll commit an assault and battery upon your barbarous person! Savage! barbarian! monster!”

Suddenly Mr. Roundjacket heard a hoarse growl, and something like a row of glittering steel knives attracted his attention in the direction of his legs. This phenomenon was caused by the opening of Longears' huge mouth—that intelligent animal having espoused the cause of his master, so rudely assaulted, and prepared for instant battle.

Fortunately, Verty woke up before the combat commenced; and seeing the hound standing in a threatening attitude, he ordered him to lie down. Longears obeyed with great alacrity, and was soon dozing again.

Then commenced, on the part of Mr. Roundjacket, an eloquent and animated remonstrance with Verty on the impropriety of that proceeding which he had just been guilty of. It was unfeeling, and barbarous, and unheard of, the poet observed, and but one thing induced him to pardon it—the wild bringing up of the young man, which naturally rendered him incapable of appreciating a great work of art.

Verty explained that he had been hunting throughout the preceding night—setting traps, and tramping over hill and through dale—and thus he had been overcome by drowsiness. He smiled with great good nature upon Mr. Roundjacket, as he uttered this simple excuse, and so winning was the careless sunshine of his countenance, that honest Roundjacket, uttering an expiring grumble, declared that nothing was more natural than his drowsiness. In future, he said, he would select those seasons when his—Verty's—senses were bright and wide-awake; and he begged the young man not to fear a repetition of what he might have heard—there were fifteen more cantos, all of which he would read, slowly and carefully explaining, as he went along, any difficulties.

Verty received this announcement with great good humor, and then began tracing over his paper, listlessly, the word “Redbud.” That word had been the key-note of his mind throughout the morning—that was the real secret of his abstraction.

Miss Lavinia had informed him on that morning, when she had dismissed him from Apple Orchard, that Redbud was going away for the purpose of being educated; and that he, Verty, would act very incorrectly if he asked any one whither Redbud was going. Thus the boy had been rendered gloomy and sad—he had wandered about Apple Orchard, never daring to ask whither the young girl had gone—and so, in one of his wanderings, had encountered Mr. Rushton, who indeed was seeking him. He had easily yielded to the representations of that gentleman, when he assured him that he ought to apply his mind to something in order to provide for all the wants of his Indian mother—and this scheme was all the more attractive, as the neighborhood of Apple Orchard, to which his steps ever wandered, occasioned him more sadness than he had ever felt before. Redbud was gone—why should he go near the place again? The sunshine had left it—he had better seek new scenes, and try what effect they would have.

Therefore was it that Verty had become a lawyer's clerk; and it was the recollection of these causes of sadness which had made the boy so dull and languid.

Without Redbud, everything seemed dim to him; and he could not ask whither she had flown.

This was his sad predicament.

After receiving the assurance of Roundjacket's pardon, Verty, as we have said, began scrawling over the copy of the deed he was making the name of Redbud. This persevering and thoughtful occupation at last attracted the attention of his companion.

“Redbud!” asked the poet, “who is Redbud, my young friend? I should conjecture that she was a young lady, from the name.—Stay, is there not a Miss Redbud Summers, daughter of the Squire of said name?”

Verty nodded.

“A friend of yours?”

“Yes,” sighed Verty.

Mr. Roundjacket smiled.

“Perhaps you are making love to her?” he said.

“Making love?” asked Verty, “what is that?”

“How!” cried the poet, “you don't mean to say you are ignorant of the nature of that divine sentiment which elevates and ennobles in so remarkable a degree—hem!—all humanity!”

“Anan!” said Verty, with an inquiring look.

Mr. Roundjacket returned this look for some moments, preserving a profound silence.

“My young friend,” he said at last, “how old are you?”

“Eighteen, ma mere says.”

“Who's mommer, pray?”

“Mother.”

“Oh,” said the poet, with some confusion, “the fact is, your pronunciation—but don't let us discuss that. I was going to say, that it is impossible for you to have reached your present period of life without making love to some lady.”

Verty looked bewildered, but smiled.

Mr. Roundjacket was astounded at finding such savage ignorance in his companion;—he revolved in his mind the means of enlightening Verty, in vain.

At last he placed the end of his ruler upon his waistcoat, and said, mysteriously:

“Do you see me?”

“Yes,” replied Verty.

“Well, sir, I made love to a young woman when I was six.”

Verty looked interested.

“At twelve I had already had my heart broken three times,” continued Mr. Roundjacket; “and now, sir, I make it a point to pay my addresses—yes, to proceed to the last word, the 'will you,' namely,—once, at least, a year.”

Verty replied that this was very kind in Mr. Roundjacket, and then rising, stretched himself, and took up his bow.

“I feel very tired,” he said, “I wish I was in the woods.”

And Verty turned his back on Mr. Roundjacket, strolled to the door, and leaning on his bow, gazed languidly out upon the busy street.

He presented a strange appearance there, at the door of the dingy office, in the middle of the busy and thriving town. He seemed to have been translated thither, from the far forest wilds, by the wave of some magician's wand, so little did he appear to be a portion of the scene. Verty looked even wilder than ever, from the contrast, and his long bow, and rugged dress, and drooping hat of fur, would have induced the passers-by to take him for an Indian, but for the curling hair and the un-Indian face.

Verty gazed up into the sky and mused—the full sunlight of the bright October morning falling in a flood upon his wild accoutrements.

By gazing at the blue heavens, over which passed white clouds, ever-changing and of rare loveliness, the forest boy forgot the uncongenial scenes around him, the reality;—and passing perforce of his imagination into the bright realm of cloud-land, was again on the hills, breathing the pure air, and following the deer.

Verty had always loved the clouds; he had dreamed of Redbud often, while gazing on them; and now he smiled, and felt brighter as he looked.

His forest instincts returned, and, bending his bow, he carelessly fitted an arrow upon the leather string. What should he shoot at?

There was a very handsome fish upon a neighboring belfry, which was veering in the wind; and this glittering object seemed to Verty an excellent mark. As he was about to take aim, however, his quick eye caught sight of a far speck in the blue sky; and he lowered his bow again.

Placing one hand above his eyes, he raised his head, and fixed his penetrating gaze upon the white speck, which rapidly increased in size as it drew nearer. It was a bird with white wings, clearly defined against the azure.

Verty selected his best arrow, and placing it on the string, waited until the air-sailer came within striking distance. Then drawing the arrow to its head, he let it fly at the bird, whose ruffled breast presented an excellent mark.

The slender shaft ascended like a flash of light into the air—struck the bird in full flight; and, tumbling headlong, the fowl fell toward Verty, who, with hair thrown back, and outstretched arms, ran to catch it.

It was a white pigeon; the sharp pointed arrow had penetrated and lodged in one of its wings, and it had paused in its onward career, like a bark whose slender mast, overladen with canvas, snaps in a sudden gust.

Verty caught the pigeon, and drew the arrow from its wing, which was all stained with blood.

“Oh, what large eyes you have!” he said, smiling; “you're a handsome pigeon. I will not kill you. I will take you home and cure your wing, and then, if ever I again see Redbud, I will give you to her, my pretty bird.”

Poor Verty sighed, and his eyes drooped as he thought of the girl.

Suddenly, however, a small scroll of yellow paper encircling the pigeon's neck, and concealed before by the ruffled plumage, caught his eye.

“Paper! and writing on it!” he said; “why, this is somebody's pet-pigeon I have shot!”

And tearing off the scroll, Verty read these words, written in a delicate, running-hand:

I am Miss Redbud's pigeon; and Fanny gave me to her!” Verty remained for a moment motionless—his eyes expanded till they resembled two rising moons;—“I am Miss Redbud's pigeon!” Then Redbud was somewhere in the neighborhood of the town—she had not gone far out into the wide, unknown world—this pigeon might direct him;—Verty found a thousand thoughts rushing through his mind, like so many deer in a herd, jostling each other, and entangling their horns.

Surely, it would not be wrong for him to embrace this chance of discovering Redbud's residence—a chance which seemed to have been afforded him by some unseen power. Why should he not keep the bird until its wing was healed, and then observe the direction of its flight? Why not thus find the abode of one in whose society so much of his happiness consisted? Was there any thing wrong in it—would any one blame him?

These were the questions which Verty asked himself, standing in the October sunshine, and holding the wounded pigeon to his breast. And the conclusion was ere long reached. He decided, to his own perfect satisfaction, that he had the full right to do as he wished; and then he re-entered the office.

Mr. Roundjacket was busy at some more law papers, and did not observe the object which he carried. Verty sat down at his desk; betook himself to copying, having rejected the sketch-ornamented sheet; and by evening had done a very fair day's work.

Then he put on his hat, placed the wounded pigeon in his bosom, and, mounting his horse, set forward toward the hills.

“In three days,” he said, “you will be cured, pretty pigeon, and then I will let you go; and it will be hard if I don't follow your flight, and find out where your mistress lives. Oh, me! I must see Redbud—I can't tell why, but I know I must see her!”

And Verty smiled, and went on with a lighter heart than he had possessed for many a day.

CHAPTER IX. HAWKING WITHOUT A HAWK.

Verty nursed the wounded pigeon with the tenderness of a woman and the skill of a physician; so that on the third day, as he had promised himself, the bird was completely “restored to health.” The wing had healed, the eyes grown bright again, every movement of the graceful head and burnished neck showed how impatient the air-sailer was to return to his mistress and his home.

Ma mere” said Verty, standing at the door of the old Indian woman's lodge, “I think this pretty pigeon is well. Now I shall carry it back, and I know I shall find Redbud.”

Verty, it will be seen, had concealed nothing from his mother; indeed, he never concealed anything from anybody. He had told her quite simply that he wanted to see Redbud again; that they wouldn't tell him where she was; and that the pigeon would enable him to find her. The old woman had smiled, and muttered something, and that was all.

Verty now stood with one hand on Cloud's mane, in the early morning, ready to set forth.

The pigeon was perched upon his left hand, secured to Verty's arm by a ribbon tied around one of its feet. This ribbon had been given him by Redbud.

In the other hand he carried his rifle, for some days disused—at his feet lay Longears and Wolf, in vain pleading with down-cast eyes for permission to accompany him.

“What a lovely morning!” said Verty, “and look at Cloud, ma mere!—he seems to know it's fall. Then there's Wolf, who can't understand what I told him about Mr. Rushton's not liking so many dogs—see how sorry he is.”

“The gun makes him so,” said the old woman; “he thinks my boy is going a hunting.”

“Maybe I shall—who knows?” Verty said. “If I see a deer upon my way, good-bye to the law work!”

And bounding lightly into the saddle—a movement which caused the pigeon to open and flutter its wings—Verty smiled on the old woman, placed his hand on his breast, and touched Cloud with his heel.

Cloud shook his head, and set forward cheerfully, Longears galloping by his master's side.

Verty drank in the Autumn loveliness with that delight which he always experienced in the fresh pure hills, with the mountain winds around him. The trees seemed to be growing more and more gorgeous in their coloring, and the cries of wild birds were far more jubilant than ever. As he went on along the narrow bridle path, under the magnificent boughs, his countenance was brighter and more joyous, and he broke once or twice into a song.

Suddenly, while he was humming thus in a low tune, to himself, a still “croak!” attracted his attention, and he stopped abruptly.

“Ah!” he murmured, “that's a good big gobbler, and I'll see about him!”

And Verty cautiously dismounted, and with one foot raised, listened for a repetition of the sound.

It was not long before the turkey's call was again heard from a thick copse on his left.

The young hunter turned, and imprisoning Cloud's nostril in his nervous grasp, looked fixedly into that intelligent animal's eyes. Cloud seemed to understand very well—nodded his head—drew a long breath—and stood like a statue. Verty then placed his foot upon Longears, made a gesture with his hand, and Longears showed himself equally docile. He laid down, and without moving, followed his master with his eyes, and listened.

Verty crept noiselessly, without treading on a leaf or a twig, to a neighboring thicket, from which the horse and dog were not visible. He then lay down in the bushy top of a fallen pine, and without the assistance of any “call,” such as hunters generally make use of, uttered the low, cautious cry of the wild turkey. This he repeated a number of times, and then remained still.

For ten or fifteen minutes no noise disturbed the stillness of the forest; all was quiet. Then a slight agitation of the leaves was visible at the distance of fifty or sixty yards, and a magnificent gobbler made his appearance, moving his bright head, and darting upon every side glances of curiosity and circumspection.

He was looking for the female who had called him.

Verty cocked his rifle, and uttered the low croak again.

This seemed to remove any fears which the turkey had—he replied to it, and advanced toward Verty's impromptu “blind.” A streak of sunlight through the boughs fell on his burnished neck and brilliant head, and he paused again.

Verty ran his eye along the barrel—covered the turkey bashaw's head, and fired. The ball passed through the fowl's throat, and he fell back with violent flutterings—no longer anything but the memory of a living turkey.

“Very well,” said Verty, smoothing the head of his pigeon, which had been greatly startled by the explosion, “I can shoot better than that—I ought to have hit your eye, Monsieur.”

And going to the spot he took up the turkey, and then returned to Cloud, who, with Longears at his feet, remained perfectly quiet,

Verty tied the turkey to his saddle-bow, and went on laughing. He made his entry into Winchester in this extremely lawyer-like guise; that is to say, in moccasins and leggins, with a rifle in one hand, a pigeon on the wrist of the other, and a turkey dangling at his horse's side. Cloud, in order to complete the picture, was shaggier than ever, and Verty himself had never possessed so many tangled curls. His shoulders were positively covered with them.

Unfortunately Winchester had no artist at the period.

Mr. Roundjacket was standing at the door of the office, and he greeted Verty with a loud laugh.

“You young savage!” he said, “there you are looking like a barbarous backwoodsman, when we are trying our very best to make a respectable lawyer of you.”

Verty smiled, and let Cloud dip his muzzle into the trough of a pump which stood by the door, venerable-looking and iron-handled, like all parish pumps.

“What excuse have you, young man?” said Mr. Roundjacket. “The individual who arrives late at the locality of his daily exercitation will eventually become a candidate for the high and responsible position of public suspension.”

Anan? said Verty, who was not accustomed to paraphrase. Then turning his eyes toward the pigeon, he said:

“Pretty fellow! Oh! will you show me the way? You shall—to see Redbud!”

And Verty, for the first time, seemed to realize the fact, that he could see her again. His countenance became brilliant—his eyes were filled with light—his lips wreathed with smiles.

Mr. Roundjacket was astounded.

“Young man,” he said, sticking his pen behind his ear, “I should be pleased to know what you are thinking about! You are really extravagant, sir—you need the purifying and solidifying influence of the law; believe me—hey! what are you doing there?”

Verty was gnawing off the ribbon from the pigeon's foot, tied too tightly; he could not undo it, and having no knife, used his sharp white teeth for the purpose.

The pigeon sank down toward the horizon—seemed about to disappear—Verty uttered a deep sigh. But no: the bird suddenly pauses, drops from the clouds, and settles upon the roof of a house crowning a grassy hill, which hill was distant from Verty not more than a quarter of a mile.

A smile of delight passed over Verty's countenance. He had found Redbud—she was there!

There was no longer any necessity for such headlong speed—he could go on slowly now—the goal was near, and would not fly as he approached.

Verty drew near the house, which was a tall, wooden structure, embowered in trees, and carefully reconnoitered with true huntsman-like precision. He thought that the place looked like the residence of Redbud—it was so bright, and sunny, and cheerful.

On the roof sat the returned pigeon, cooing, and pluming his wings among his fellows.

CHAPTER X. VERTY MAKES THE ACQUAINTANCE OF MR. JINKS.

Just as Verty was making this latter observation, his smiling eyes fixed on the mansion before him, he heard a voice at his feet, so to speak, which had the effect of bringing him to earth once more, and this voice said, loftily—

“You seem to be interested, sir—handsome house, sir—very handsome house, sir—also the occupants thereof.”

Verty looked, and descried a gentleman of very odd appearance, who was looking at him intently. This gentleman was slender of limb, and tall; his lower extremities were clad in a tight pair of short breeches, beneath which, scarlet stockings plunged themselves into enormous shoes, decorated with huge rosettes; his coat was half-military, half-fop; and a long sword buckled round his waist, knocked against his fantastic grasshopper legs. His hair was frizzled; his countenance, a most extraordinary one; his manner, a mixture of the hero and the bully, of noble dignity and truculent swagger, as if Ancient Pistol had taken the part of Coriolanus, and had not become proficient wholly in his lofty personation.

When this gentleman walked, his long sword bobbed, as we have said, against his legs; when he bowed, his attitude was full of dignity; when he grimaced, he presented an appearance which would have made Punchinello serious, and induced a circus clown to fall into convulsions of despair.

This was the figure which now stood before Verty, and caused that young man to lower his eyes from the roof and the pigeons. Verty looked at the gentleman for a moment, and smiled.

“It is a handsome house,” he said.

“Handsome?” said the tall gentleman, with dignity. “I believe you. That house, sir, is the finest I ever saw.”

“Is it?” said Verty.

“Yes, sir.”

Verty nodded.

“I am a traveller, sir.”

“Are you?”

“I am,” said the military gentleman, solemnly. “I have been everywhere, sir; and even in Philadelphia and Paris there is nothing like that house.”

“Indeed?” Verty said, surveying the remarkable edifice.

“Do you see the portico?” said the gentleman, frowning.

“Yes,” said Verty.

“That, sir, is exactly similar to the Acropolis—Pantheon at Rome.”

“Eh?” said Verty.

“Yes, sir; and then the wings—do you see the wings?”

“Plainly,” said Verty.

“Those, sir, are modeled on the State-House in Paris, and are intended to shelter the youthful damsels, here assembled, as the wings of a hen do the chickens of her bosom—hem! Cause and effect, sir—philosophy and poetry unite to render this edifice the paragon and brag of architectural magnificence.”

Anan?” said Verty.

“I see you speak French.”

“That ain't French.”

“No? Then it's something else. Going up there?”

“Yes,” said Verty.

“Fine turkey that. For the old lady?”

“Who's the old lady?”

“Old Mrs. Scowley—a model of the divine sex, sir.”

“No, it ain't for her,” said Verty, smiling.

“For Miss Sallianna?”

“Who's that?”

“I see, sir, that you are not acquainted with this still more divine specimen of the—hum—I said that once before. Miss Sallianna, sir, is the beautiful sister of the respected Scowley.”

“And who is here besides, if you please?” said Verty.

“A number of charming young ladies, sir. It is a seminary, sir,—an abode of science and accomplishments generally, sir;—the delights of philosophy, sir, take up their chosen dwelling here, and—stop! there's my soul's idol! Jinks will never have another!”

And Mr. Jinks kissed his hand, and grimaced at a young lady who appeared at the gate, with a book in her hand.

This young lady was Redbud.

CHAPTER XI. HOW VERTY DISCOVERED IN HIMSELF A GREAT FONDNESS FOR APPLES.

Verty threw himself from his horse, and ran forward toward Redbud with an expression of so much joy, that even Longears perceived it; and, in the excess of his satisfaction, reared up on Mr. Jinks, claiming his sympathy.

Mr. Jinks brushed his clothes, and protested, frowning. Verty did not hear him, however—he was at the gate with Redbud.

“Oh!” he cried, “how glad I am to see you! What in the world made you come here, Redbud, and stay away from me so long!”

Redbud blushed, and murmured something.

“Never mind,” said Verty; “I'm so glad to see you, that I won't quarrel.”

And he pressed the little hand which he held with such ardor, that Redbud blushed more than ever.

But she had scarcely uttered a word—scarcely smiled on him. What did it mean? Poor Verty's face began to be overclouded.

What did it mean. That is not a very difficult question to us, however much it might have puzzled Verty. It meant that Miss Lavinia had suggested to Redbud the impropriety of remaining on terms of cordiality and friendship with a young gentleman, who, after the fashion of all youths, in all ages of the world, was desperately anxious to become some young lady's husband. It meant that the “lecture” of this great female philosopher had produced its effect,—that Miss Redbud had waked to a consciousness of the fact, that she was a “young lady,” and that her demeanor toward Verty was improper.

Before, she had thought that there was no great impropriety in running to meet the forest boy, with whom she had played for years, and whom she knew so very well. Now this was changed. Cousin Lavinia saw a decided impropriety in her meeting Verty with a bright smile, and giving him her hand, and saying, in her frank, affectionate voice: “Oh! I'm so glad to see you!” Of course, cousin Lavinia knew all about it; and it was very dreadful in her to have been treating Verty with so little ceremony—very, very dreadful. Was she not growing up, and even did she not wear long dresses? Was such conduct in a lady of sixteen proper?

So, innocence listened to worldly wisdom, and pride overturned simplicity; and, in consequence, our friend Verty found himself opposite a young lady who blushed, and exhibited a most unaccountable constraint, and only gave him the tips of her fingers, when he was ready for, and expected, the most enthusiastic greeting.

We must, however, speak of another influence which made Redbud so cool;—and this will, very probably, have occurred to our lady readers, if we have any, as the better explanation. Separation! Yes, the separation which stimulates affection, and bathes the eyes in the languid dews of memory. Strephon is never so devoted as when Chloe has been removed from him—when his glances seek for her in vain on the well-remembered lawn. And Chloe, too, is disconsolate, when she no longer sees the crook of her shepherd, or hears the madrigals he sings. Absence smoothes all rough places; and the friend from whom we are separated, takes the dearest place in the heart of hearts.

Redbud did not discover how much she loved Verty, until she was gone from him, and the fresh music of his laughter was no longer in her ears. Then she found that he held a very different place in her heart from what she had supposed;—or rather, to speak more accurately, she did not reflect in the least upon the matter, but only felt that he was not there near her, and that she was not happy.

This will explain the prim little ladylike air of bashfulness and constraint which Redbud exhibited, when her eyes fell on Verty, and the coolness with which she gave him her hand. The old things had passed away—Verty could be the boy-playmate no more, however much it grieved her. Thus reflected Miss Redbud; and in accordance with this train of reasoning, did she conduct herself upon the occasion of which we speak.

So, to Strephon's request to be informed why she came thither, without telling him, Chloe replied with a blush:

“Oh, I came to school—sir,” she was about to add, but did not.

“To school? Is this a school for young ladies?”

Redbud, with a delicate little inclination of the head, said yes.

“Well,” Verty went on, “I am glad I found you; for, Redbud, you can't tell how I've been feeling, ever since you went away. It seemed to me that there was a big weight resting on my breast.”

Redbud colored, and laughed.

“Sometimes,” said Verty, smiling, “I would try and get it away by drawing in my breath, and ever so long; but I could'nt,” he added, shaking his head; “I don't know what it means.”

Mr. Jinks, who was dusting his rosetted shoes with a white pocket handkerchief, grimaced at this.

“Well, well,” Verty went on, “I begin to feel better now, since I've seen you; and, I think, I'll do better in my office work.”

“Office work?” asked Redbud, beginning to grow more like her former self.

“Oh, yes!” Verty replied; “I'm in Mr. Rushton's office now, and I'm a lawyer's clerk;—that's what they call it, I believe.”

Redbud returned his bright smile. Her eye wandered toward Cloud, who stood perfectly still—the turkey, which had not been removed, yet dangling at his saddle-bow.

Verty followed the young girl's glance, and smiled.

“I know what you are looking at,” he said; “you are looking at that wild turkey, and thinking that I am a poor sort of a lawyer, with such a book to read out of. But I shot him coming along.”

Redbud laughed; her coolness could not last in Verty's presence; his fresh voice, so full of their old happy times, made her a child again.

“And how did you find me'?” she said, in her old tone.

“By your pigeon!”

“My pigeon?

“Yes, indeed; I shot him.”

“You shot him, Verty?”

Verty experienced,—he knew not why,—a feeling of extreme delight, on hearing his name from her lips.

“Yes, I did so, Redbud,” he replied, confidentially, “and I cured him, too. Look at him, up there on the roof, coo-cooing! He was sailing over the town, and I sent an arrow after him, and brought him straight down.”

“Oh, Verty! how cruel!”

“I never would 'a shot him if I had seen the name on his neck.”

“The name—yes—”

“Yours, Redbud. There was a piece of paper, and on it—but here's the paper.”

And Verty took from his bosom the yellow scroll, and placed it in Redbud's hand.

She took it, smiling, and read the words—“I am Miss Redbud's pigeon, and Fanny gave me to her.”

“Oh, yes,” she said, “and I am glad he's come back; poor fellow, I hav'nt seen him for days!”

“I had him,” said Verty.

“At home?”

“Yes.”

“Curing him?”

Verty nodded.

“You know that was what I wanted. I cured him, and then let him go, and followed him, and found you.”

Verty, in an absent way, took Miss Redbud's hand, and was guilty of the bad taste of squeezing it.

The reply and the action seemed to recall Redbud to herself; and she suddenly drew back with a blush.

Verty looked astounded. In the midst of his confusion a martial “hem!” was heard, and Mr. Jinks, who had been carefully adjusting his toilette, drew near the lovers.

“Hem!” said Mr. Jinks, “a very fine day, Miss Redbud. Loveliest of your sex and delight of the world, have I the pleasure of seeing you in that high state of happiness and health which of right should belong to you?”

With this Mr. Jinks bowed and gesticulated, and spread out his arms like a graceful giraffe, and dispensed on every side the most engaging grimaces.

Redbud bowed, with an amused look in her little blushing face; and just as she had got through with this ceremony, another personage was added to the company.

This was an elderly lady of severe aspect, who, clad in black, and with an awfully high cap, which cast a shadow as it came, appeared at the door of the house, and descended like a hawk upon the group.

“Well, Miss Summers!” she said, in a crooked and shrill voice, “talking to gentlemen, I see! Mr. Jinks, against rules, sir—come, Miss, you know my wishes on this subject.”

As she spoke, her eyes fell upon the turkey hanging from Cloud's saddle-bow.

“Young man,” she said to Verty, “what's the price of that turkey?”

Verty was looking at Redbud, and only knew that the awful Mrs. Scowley had addressed him, from Redbud's whispering to him.

Anan?” he said.

“I say, what's the price of that turkey?” continued the old lady; “if you are moderate, I'll buy it. Don't think, though, that I am going to give you a high price. You mountain people,” she added, looking at Verty's wild costume, “can get along with very little money. Come, how much?”

Verty on that occasion did the only artful thing which he ever accomplished—but what will not a lover do?

He went to Cloud, took the fine gobbler from the saddle, and bringing it to Mrs. Scowley, laid it at the feet of that awful matron with a smile.

“You may have him,” said Verty, “I don't want him.”

“Don't want him!”

“No, ma'am—I just shot him so—on my way to my writing.”

“Your writing, sir?” said Mrs. Scowley, gazing at Verty with some astonishment—“what writing?”

“I'm in Mr. Rushton's office, and I write,” Verty replied, “but I don't like it much.”

Mrs. Scowley for a moment endeavored to look Verty out of countenance, but finding that the young man seemed to have no consciousness of the fact, and that he returned her gaze with friendly interest, the ogress uttered a sound between a snort and a cough, and said:—

“Then you did'nt come to sell the turkey?”

“No, indeed, ma'am.”

“For what, then?”

“I came to see Redbud,” replied Verty; “you know, ma'am, that we know each other very well; I thought I'd come.” And Verty smiled.

Mrs. Scowley was completely puzzled—she had never before seen a gentleman of Verty's candor, and could find no words to reply. She thought of saying to our friend that visiting a young lady at school was highly criminal and reprehensible, but a glance at the fat turkey lying on the grass at her feet, caused her to suppress this speech.

As she gazed, her feeling relented more and more—Verty grew still more amiable in her eyes—the turkey evidently weighed more than twenty pounds.

“I'm much obliged to you, young man,” she said, “and I'll take the turkey from you as a friend. Come in and have some apples—there's a bell-mouth tree.”

“Oh yes!” said Verty, “I'm very fond of apples—but Redbud may have some, too?” he added, smiling innocently.

“Hum!” said the ogress.

“Just a few, you know, ma'am,” said Verty, with his bright smile. “I know from the way she looks that she wants some. Don't you, Redbud?”

Poor Redbud's resolutions all melted—Verty's voice did it all—she blushed and nodded, and said yes, she should like very much to have some apples.

“Then you may go,” said the ogress, somewhat mollified, “but don't touch the small trees—I'm keeping them.”

“Not for worlds!” said Verty.

“No, ma'am,” said Redbud.

And they crossed the lawn, and opening the gate of the spacious and well-kept garden, passed in under the apple boughs. As for Mr. Jinks, he accompanied Mrs. Scowley to the house, bowing, grimacing, ambling, and making himself generally agreeable. True, he resembled a grasshopper, standing erect, and going through the steps of a minuet; but there was much elegance in Mr. Jinks' evolutions, and unbounded elasticity of limb. He entered with Mrs. Scowley; and there, for the present, we shall leave him.

CHAPTER XII. HOW STREPHON TALKED WITH CHLOE IN AN ARBOR.

It was a beautiful garden which Verty and Redbud entered, hand in hand;—one of those old pleasure-grounds which, with their grass and flowers, and long-armed trees, laden with fruit or blossoms, afford such a grateful retreat to the weary or the sorrowful. The breath of the world comes not into such places—all its jar and tumult and turmoil, faint, die and disappear upon the flower-enameled threshold; and the cool breath of the bright heavens fans no longer wrinkled foreheads and compressed lips. All care passes from us in these fairy-land retreats; and if we can be happy any where, it is there.

We said that Verty and Redbud entered, hand in hand, and this may serve to show that the young pupil of Miss Lavinia had not profited much by the lessons of her mentor.

In truth, Redbud began to return to her childhood, which she had promised herself to forget; and, as a result of this change of feeling, she became again the friend and playfellow of her childhood's friend, and lost sight, completely, of the “young lady” theory. True, she did not run on, as the phrase is, with Verty, as in the old days—her manner had far more softness in it—she was more quiet and reserved; but still, those constrained, restless looks were gone, and when Verty laughed, the winning smile came to the little face; and the small hand which he had taken was suffered to rest quietly in his own.

They strolled under the trees, and Verty picked up some of the long yellow-rinded apples, which, lay upon the ground under the trees, and offered them to Redbud.

“I didn't want the apples,” he said, smiling, “I wanted to see you, Redbud, for I've not felt right since you went away. Oh, it's been so long—so long!”

“Only a few days,” said Redbud, returning the smile.

“But you know a few days is a very long time, when you want to see anybody very much.”

Redbud returned his frank smile, and said, with a delicious little prim expression:

“Did you want to see me very much, Verty?”

“Yes, indeed; I didn't know how much I liked you,” said the boy, with his ingenuous laugh; “the woods didn't look right, and I was always thinking about you.”

Redbud colored slightly, but this soon disappeared, and she laughed in that low, joyous, musical tone, which characterized her.

“There it is!” said Verty, going through the same ceremony; “that's one thing I missed.”

“What?”

“Your laughing!”

“Indeed!” Redbud said.

“Yes, indeed. I declare, on my word, that I would rather hear you laugh, than listen to the finest mocking-bird in the world.”

“You are very gallant!” said Miss Redbud.

Anan?” said Verty.

“I mean you are very friendly to me, Verty,” said Redbud, with a bright look at his frank face.

“Why, what have I done? I hav'nt done anything for you, for ages. Let me see—can't I do something now? Oh yes, there are some flowers, and I can make a nice wreath!”

And Verty ran and gathered an armful of primroses, marigolds, and golden rods; some late roses, too, and so returned to Redbud.

“Now come to the arbor here—it's just like the Apple Orchard one—come, and I'll make you a crown.”

“Oh! I don't deserve it,” laughed the young girl.

Verty smiled.

“Yes, you do,” he said, “for you are my queen.”

And he went and sat down upon the trellised bench, and began weaving a wreath of the delicate yellow autumn primroses and other flowers.

Redbud sat down and watched him.

Placed thus, they presented a singular contrast, and, together, formed a picture, not wanting in a wild interest—Verty, clothed in his forest costume of fur and beads, his long, profusely-curling hair hanging upon his shoulders, and his swarthy cheeks, round, and reddened with health, presented rather the appearance of an Indian than an Anglo-Saxon—a handsome wild animal rather than a pleasant young man. Redbud's face and dress were in perfect contrast with all this—she was fair, with that delicate rose-color, which resembles the tender flush of sunset, in her cheeks; her hair was brushed back from her forehead, and secured behind with a large bow of scarlet ribbon; her dress was of rich silk, with hanging sleeves; a profusion of yellow lace, and a dozen rosettes affixed to the dress, in front, set off the costume admirably, and gave to the young girl that pretty attractive toute ensemble which corresponded with her real character.

As she followed Verty's movements, the frank little face wore a very pleasant smile, and at times she would pick up and hand to him a leaf or a bud, which attention he rewarded with a smile in return.

At last the wreath was finished, and, rising up, Verty placed it on Redbud's forehead.

“How nicely it fits,” he said; “who would have imagined that my awkward fingers could have done it?”

Redbud sat down with a slight color in her cheek.

“I am very much obliged to you, Verty,” she said; “it was very good in you to make this for me—though I don't deserve it.”

“Indeed you do—you are my queen: and here is the right place for me.”

So saying, Verty smiled, and lay down at the feet of Redbud, leaning on the trellised bench, and looking up into that young lady's eyes.

“You look so pretty!” he said, after a silence of some moments, “so nice and pretty, Redbud!”

“Do I?” said Redbud, smiling and blushing.

“And so good.”

“Oh, no—I am not!”

“Not good?”

“Far from it, Verty.”

“Hum!” said Verty, “I should like to know how! I might be better if you were at Apple Orchard again.”

“Better?”

“Yes, yes—why can't you live at Apple Orchard, where we were so happy?”

Redbud smiled.

“You know I am growing up now,” she said.

“Growing up?”

“Yes; and I must learn my lessons—those lessons which cousin Lavinia can't teach me!”

“What lessons are they?”

“Music, and dancing, and singing, and all.”

Verty reflected.

“Are they better than the Bible?” he said, at length.

Redbud looked shocked, and replied to the young savage:

“Oh no, no!—I hardly think they are important at all; but I suppose every young lady learns them. It is necessary,” added the little maiden, primly.

“Ah, indeed? well, I suppose it is,” Verty replied, thoughtfully; “a real lady could'nt get along without knowing the minuet, and all that. But I'm mighty sorry you had to go. I've lost my teacher by your going.”

Redbud returned his frank look, and said:

“I'm very sorry, Verty; but never mind—you read your Bible, don't you?”

“Yes,” Verty replied, “I promised you; and I read all about Joseph, and Nimrod, who was a hunter, and other people.”

“Don't you ever read in the New Testament?” Redbud said. “I wish you would read in that, too, Verty.”

And Redbud, with all the laughter gone away from her countenance, regarded Verty with her tender, earnest eyes, full of kindness and sincerity.

“I do,” Verty replied, “and I like it better. But I'm very bad. I don't think I'm so good when you are away, Redbud. I don't do what you tell me. The fact is, I believe I'm a wild Indian; but I'll grow better as I grow older.”

“I know you will,” said the kind eyes, plainly, and Verty smiled.

“I'm coming to see you very often here,” he said, smiling, “and I'm going to do my work down at the office—that old lady will let me come to see you, I know.”

Redbud looked dubious.

“I don't know whether cousin Lavinia would think it was right,” she said.

And her head drooped, the long dusky lashes covering her eyes and reposing on her cheek. It was hard for Redbud thus to forbid her boy-playmate, but she felt that she ought to do so.

“Think it right!” cried Verty, rising half up, and resting on his hand, “why, what's the harm?”

“I don't know,” Redbud said, blushing, “but I think you had better ask cousin Lavinia.”

Her head sank again.

Verty remained silent for some moments, then said:

“Well, I will! I'll go this very day, on my way home.”

“That's right, Verty,” replied the young girl, smiling hopefully, “and I think you will get cousin Lavinia to let you come. You know that I want you to.”

Verty smiled, then looking at his companion, said:

“What made you so cold to me when I came at first? I thought you had forgotten me.”

Redbud, conscious of her feelings, blushed and hesitated. Just as she was about to stammer out some disconnected words, however, voices were heard behind the shrubbery, which separated the arbor from a neighboring walk, and this created a diversion.

Verty and Redbud could not help overhearing this conversation.

CHAPTER XIII. VERTY EXPRESSES A DESIRE TO IMITATE MR. JINKS.

The voice which they heard first was that of Mr. Jinks; and that gentleman was apparently engaged in the pleasant occupation of complimenting a lady.

“Fairest of your sex!” said the enthusiastic Mr. Jinks, “how can I express the delight which your presence inspires me with—ahem!”

The sound of a fan coming in contact with a masculine hand was heard, and a mincing voice replied:—

“Oh, you are a great flatterer, Mr. Jinks. You are really too bad. Let us view the beauties of nature.”

“They are not so lovely as those beauties which I have been viewing since I saw you, my dearest Miss Sallianna.”

(“That's old Scowley's sister, he said so,” whispered Verty.)

“Really, you make me blush,” replied the mincing and languishing voice—“you men are dreadful creatures!”

“Dreadful!”

“You take advantage of our simplicity and confidence to make us believe you think very highly of us.”

“Highly! divinest Miss Sallianna! highly is not the word; extravagantly is better! In the presence of your lovely sex we feel our hearts expand; our bosoms—hem!—are enlarged, and we are all your slaves.”

(“Just listen, Redbud!” whispered Verty, laughing.)

“La!” replied the voice, “how gallant you are, Mr. Jinks!”

“No, Madam!” said Mr. Jinks, “I am not gallant!”

“You?”

“Far from it, Madam—I am a bear, a savage, with all the rest of the female sex; but with you—you—hem! that is different!”

(“Don't go, Redbud!—”

“But, Verty—”

“Just a minute, Redbud.”)

“Yes, a savage; I hate the sex—I distrust them!” continued Mr. Jinks, in a gloomy tone; “before seeing you, I had made up my mind to retire forever from the sight of mankind, and live on roots, or something of that description. But you have changed me—you have made me human.”

And Mr. Jinks, to judge from his tone of voice, was looking dignified.

The fair lady uttered a little laugh.

“There it is!” cried Mr. Jinks, “you are always happy—always smiling and seducing—you are the paragon of your sex. If it will be any satisfaction to you, Madam, I will immediately die for you, and give up the ghost.”

Which Mr. Jinks seemed to consider wholly different from the former.

“Heigho!” said the lady, “you are very devoted, sir.”

“I should be, Madam.”

“I am not worthy of so much praise.”

“You are the pearl of your sex, Madam.”

“Oh, no! I am only a simple young girl—but twenty-five last January—and I have no pretensions in comparison with many others. Immured in this quiet retreat, with a small property, and engaged in the opprobrious occupation of cultivating the youthful mind—”

“A noble employment, Madam.”

“Yes, very pleasing; with this, and with a contemplation of the beautiful criterions of nature, I am happy.”

“Fairest of your sex, is this all that is necessary for happiness?” observed Mr. Jinks.

“What more!”

“Is solitude the proper sphere of that divine sex which in all ages of the world—ahem!—has—”

“Oh, sir!”

And the flirting of the fan was heard.

“Should not woman have a companion—a consoler, who—”

The fan was evidently used to hide a number of blushes.

“Should not such a lovely creature as yourself,” continued the enthusiastic Jinks, “choose one to—”

Redbud rose quickly, and said, blushing and laughing:—

“Oh, come, Verty!”

“No, no—listen!” said Verty, “I do believe—”

“No, no, no!” cried Redbud, hurriedly, “it was very wrong—”

“What?—courting.”

“Oh, no! It's mean in us to listen!”

And she went out of the arbor, followed by Verty, who said, “I'm glad courting ain't wrong; I think I should like to court you, Redbud.”

Redbud made no reply to this innocent speech of Mr. Verty, but walked on. The noise which they made in leaving the arbor attracted the attention of the personages whose conversation we have been compelled to overhear; and Mr. Jinks and his companion passed through an opening in the shrubbery, and appeared in full view.

Miss Sallianna was a young lady of thirty-two or three, with long corkscrew curls, a wiry figure—a smile, of the description called “simper,” on her lips, and an elegant mincing carriage of the person as she moved. She carried a fan, which seemed to serve for a number of purposes: to raise artificial breezes, cover imaginary blushes, and flirt itself against the hands or other portions of the persons of gentlemen making complimentary speeches.

She displayed some temporary embarrassment upon seeing Redbud and Verty; and especially stared at that young gentleman.

Mr. Jinks was more self-possessed.

“Ah, my dear sir!” he said, stalking toward Verty, and grimacing, at the same time, at Redbud, “are you there, and with the fairest of her—hem!”

And Mr. Jinks stopped, nearly caught in the meshes of his gallantry.

“Yes, this is me, and I've been talking with Redbud,” said Verty; “is that Miss Sallianna?”

The lady had recovered her simper; and now flirted her fan as gracefully as ever.

“See how your reputation has gone far and wide,” said Mr. Jinks, with a fascinating grimace.

“You know you were talking of her when—how do you do, Miss Sallianna,” said Verty, holding out his hand.

“La!” said the fair one, inserting the points of her fingers into Verty's palm, “and Mr. Jinks was talking of me? What did he say, sir,—I suppose it was in town.”

“No, ma'am,” said Verty, “it was at the gate, when I came to see Redbud—the pigeon showed me the way. He said you were something—but I've forgot.”

“The paragon of beauties and the pearl of loveliness,” suggested Mr. Jinks.

“I don't think it was that,” Verty replied, “but it was something pretty—prettier than what you said just now, when you were courting Miss Sallianna, you know.”

Mr. Jinks cleared his throat—Miss Sallianna blushed.

“Really—” said Mr. Jinks.

“What children!” said the lady, with a patronizing air; “Reddy, do you know your lesson?”

By which question, Miss Sallianna evidently intended to reduce Miss Redbud to her proper position of child.

“Yes, ma'am,” said Redbud “and Mrs. Scowley said I might come in here.”

“With this—young man?”

“Yes, ma'am. He is a very old friend of mine.”

“Indeed!” simpered the lady.

“Are you not, Verty?”

But Verty was intently watching Longears, who was trying to insert his nose between two bars of the garden gate.

Anan?” he said.

“La, what does he mean?” said the lady; “see! he's looking at something.”

Verty was only making friendly signs to Longears to enter the garden. Longears no sooner understood that he was called, than he cleared the fence at one bound, and came up to his master.

Mr. Jinks had not heard his own voice for at least half a minute; so he observed, loftily:

“A handsome dog! a very handsome dog, sir! What did you say his name was? Longears? Yes? Here, Longears!”

And he made friendly signs of invitation to the hound. Longears availed himself of these indications of friendship by rearing up on Mr. Jinks, and leaving a dust-impression of his two paws upon that gentleman's ruffled shirt-bosom.

Verty laughed, and dragged him away.

“Longears,” he said, “I'm surprised at you—and here, too, where you should conduct yourself better than usual!”

Miss Sallianna was about to say something, when a bell was heard to ring.

“Oh!” said Redbud, “there's school. Playtime's over.”

“Over?” said Verty, with an exhibition of decided ill-humor.

“Yes, sir,” said Miss Sallianna, “and my young pupil must now return to her studies. Mr. Jinks—”

And the lady threw a languishing glance on her cavalier.

“You will come soon again, and continue our discussion—of—of—the beauties of nature? We are very lonely here.”

“Will I come?” cried the enthusiastic Jinks; and having thus displayed, by the tone in which his words were uttered, the depth of his devotion, the grasshopper gentleman gallantly pressed the hand held out to him, and, with a lofty look, made his exit out of the garden.

Verty followed. But first he said to Redbud, smiling:

“I'm going to see Miss Lavinia this very day, to ask her to let me come to see you. You know I must come to see you, Redbud. I don't know why, but I must.”

Redbud blushed, and continued to caress Longears, who submitted to this ceremony with great equanimity.

“Come!” said Miss Sallianna, “let us return, Miss Summers.”

“Yes, ma'am,” said Redbud; “good-bye, Verty,” she added, looking at the boy with her kind, smiling eyes, and lowering her voice, “remember what you promised me—to read your Bible.”

And smiling again, Redbud gave him her hand, and then followed Miss Sallianna, who sailed on before—her head resting languidly on one shoulder—her fan arranged primly upon her maiden chin—her eyes raised in contemplation to the sky.

Poor Verty smiled and sighed, and followed Redbud with his eyes, and saw her disappear—the kind, tender eyes fixed on him to the last. He sighed again, as she passed from his sight; and so left the garden. Mr. Jinks was swaggering amiably toward town—Cloud was standing, like a statue, where his master had left him. Verty, leaning one arm on the saddle, murmured:

“Really, Redbud is getting prettier than ever, and I wonder if I am what Mr. Roundjacket calls 'in love' with her?”

Finding himself unable to answer this question, Verty shook his head wisely, got into the saddle, and set forward toward the town, Longears following duly in his wake.

CHAPTER XIV. THE THIRTEENTH OF OCTOBER.

Just as the boy left the surburban residence of Miss Redbud, Mr. Roundjacket, who had been writing at his old dusty desk for an hour, raised his head, hearing a knock at the door.

He thrust the pen he had been using behind his ear, and bade the intruder “come in!”

One of the clients of Mr. Rushton made his appearance, and inquired for that gentleman. Mr. Roundjacket said that Mr. Rushton was “within,” and rose to go and summon him, the visitor meanwhile having seated himself.

Mr. Roundjacket tapped at the door of Mr. Rushton's sanctum, but received no answer. He tapped louder—no reply. Somewhat irate at this, he kicked the door, and at the same moment opened it, preparing himself for the encounter.

An unusual sight awaited him.

Seated at his old circular table, covered with papers and books, Mr. Rushton seemed perfectly ignorant of his presence, as he had not heard the noise of the kick. His head resting upon his hand, the forehead drooping, the eyes half closed, the bosom shaken by piteous sighs, and the whole person full of languor and grief, no one would have recognized the rough, bearish Lawyer Rushton, or believed that there could be anything in common between him and the individual sitting at the table, so bowed down with sorrow.

Before him lay a little book, which he looked at through a mist of tears.

Roundjacket touched him on the shoulder, with a glance of wonder, and said:—

“You are sick, sir!—Mr. Rushton, sir!—there is somebody to see you.”

In truth, the honest fellow could scarcely stammer out these broken words; and when Mr. Rushton, slowly returning to a consciousness of his whereabouts, raised his sorrowful eyes, Roundjacket looked at him with profound commiseration and sympathy.

“You have forgotten,” said Mr. Rushton, in a low, broken voice, his pale lips trembling as he spoke,—“you don't keep account of the days as I do, Roundjacket.”

“The days—I—”

“Yes, yes; it is natural for you to wonder at all this,” said the weary looking man, closing the book, and locking it up in a secret drawer of the table; “let us dismiss the matter. Did you say any one wanted me? Yes, I can attend to business—my mind is quite clear—I am ready—I will see them now, Roundjacket.”

And the head of the lawyer fell upon his arm, his bosom shaken with sobs.

Roundjacket looked at him no longer with so much surprise—he had understood all.

“Yes, yes, sir—I had forgotten,” he muttered, “this is the 13th of October.”

Mr. Rushton groaned.

Roundjacket was silent for a moment, looking at his friend with deep sympathy.

“I don't wonder now at your feelings, sir,” he said, “and I am sorry I intruded on—”

“No, no—you are a good friend,” murmured the lawyer, growing calmer, “you will understand my feelings, and not think them strange. I am nearly over it now; it must come—oh! I am very wretched! Oh! Anne! my child, my child!”

And allowing his head to fall again, the rough, boorish man cried like a child, spite of the most violent efforts to regain his composure and master his emotion.

“Go,” he said, in a low, broken voice, making a movement with his hand, “I was wrong—I cannot see any one to-day—I must be alone.”

Roundjacket hesitated; moved dubiously from, then toward the lawyer; finally he seemed to have made up his mind, and going out he closed the door slowly behind him. As he did so, the key turned in the lock, and a stifled moan died away in the inner chamber.

“Mr. Rushton is unwell, and can't transact business to-day,” said Roundjacket, softly, for he was thinking of the poor afflicted heart “within;” then he added, “you may call to-morrow, sir,”

The visitor went away, wondering at “Judge Rushton” being sick; such a thing had never before occurred in the recollection of the “oldest inhabitant.” Just as he had disappeared, the door re-opened, and Verty made his appearance.

“I'm very sorry, Mr. Roundjacket,” said the boy, “for having run off so this morning, but you see I was after that pigeon. I'll stay till night, though, and work harder, and then it will be right again.”

Instead of a very solemn and severe rebuke, Verty was surprised to hear Mr. Roundjacket say, in a low and thoughtful voice:—

“You need not work any to-day, Verty—you can go home if you like. Mr. Rushton is unwell, and wishes to be quiet.”

“Unwell?” said the boy, “you don't mean sick?”

“Not precisely, but indisposed.”

“I will go and see him,” said the boy, moving towards the door. Mr. Roundjacket interposed with his ruler, managing that instrument pretty much as a marshal does his baton.

“No,” he said, “that is impossible, young man. But you need give yourself no uneasiness—Mr. Rushton is only a little out of sorts. You will find him quite well to-morrow. Return home now. There is your rifle.”

These words were uttered with so much decision, that Verty made no further objection.

“Well,” he said, with his thoughtful smile, “I'm very sorry Mr. Rushton is sick, but I'm glad I can go and hunt some for ma mere. Must I go now, sir?”

“Yes, and come early to-morrow, there's some work; and besides, your measure for the clothes must be taken.”

Verty nodded indifferently, and taking up his rifle, went out, followed by Longears.

CHAPTER XV. THE PEDLAR AND THE NECKLACE.

Verty mounted Cloud again, and set forward toward Apple Orchard. That place very soon rose upon his sight, and riding up to the house Verty encountered the good-humored Squire, who was just coming in from the fields.

“Good morning, Squire,” said the boy, smiling, “may I go and see Redbud, if you please?”

The Squire laughed.

“Redbud? What, at school, yonder?”

“Yes, sir.”

The good-natured old gentleman looked at the boy's frank face, and admired its honest, ingenuous expression.

“I don't see why you should'nt, Verty,” he replied, “if you don't go too often, and keep my little 'Bud from her lessons.”

“Oh! no, sir.”

“Go, go by all means—it will be of service to her to see home faces, and you are something like home to her. Short as the distance is, I can't leave my farm, and we can't have 'Bud with us every week, as I should wish.”

“I've just come from there,” said Verty, “and Redbud is very well, and seems to like the place. There is a man who comes there to see Miss Sallianna, and Redbud most dies laughing at him—I mean, I suppose she does. His name is Mr. Jinks.”

“What! the great Jinks? the soldier, the fop, the coxcomb and swaggerer!” laughed the Squire.

Verty nodded.

“That's the very man, sir,” he said, “and I saw him to-day. I came back, and found Mr. Rushton wanted to be quiet, and Mr. Roundjacket said I might go and hunt some for ma mere

“Go, then, Verty; that is, if you won't stop to dinner.”

“I don't think I can, sir—I should like to see Miss Lavinia, though, if—”

“Out visiting,” said the Squire.

This removed all Verty's scruples; he had virtually done what he promised Redbud, and would now go and see her, because the Squire had a better right to decide than even Miss Lavinia. He, therefore, bowed, with a smiling look, to the old gentleman, and continued his way toward the lodge of his mother.

He had reached the foot of the hill upon which the cabin was situated, when he saw before him, seated on a log by the side of the bridle-path he was following, one of those pedlars of former times, who were accustomed to make the circuit of the countryside with their packs of wares and stuffs—peripatetic merchants, who not unfrequently practised the trade of Autolycus.

This man seemed to be a German; and when he spoke, this impression was at once verified. He informed Verty that he was tired, very hungry, had travelled a long way, and would be obliged to his honor for a little bit of something, just to keep body and soul together till he reached “Wingester.” He had gone toward the house, he said, but a dog there had scared him, and nobody seemed stirring.

Verty very readily assented to this request, and first stabling Cloud, accompanied the German pedlar to the cabin. The old Indian woman was out in the woods gathering some herbs or roots, in the properties of which she was deeply learned; and in her absence, Wolf had mounted guard over the lodge and its contents. The pedlar had approached, intent on begging, and, if possible, larceny; but Wolf had quickly bared a double row of long, sharp teeth, which ceremony he had accompanied with an ominous growl, and this had completely daunted Autolycus, who had retreated with precipitation.

Wolf now made no further objection to his entry, seeing that Verty accompanied him; and the two persons went into the house.

Ma mere's away somewhere,” said Verty; “but we can broil some venison. Wait here: I'll go and get it.”

The boy, humming one of the old border songs, opened a door in the rear of the lodge, and passed into a sort of covered shed, which was used as a store-room by the old woman.

The door closed behind him.

The pedlar looked around; the two hounds were lazily pawing each other in the sun, before the door, and no sound disturbed the silence, but their low whining, as they yawned, or the faint cry of some distant bird.

The pedlar muttered a cautious “goot!” and looked warily around him. Nothing worth stealing was visible, at least nothing small enough to carry away.

His prying eye, however, detected an old chest in the corner, half covered with deer and other skins, and the key of this chest was in the lock.

The pedlar rose cautiously, and listened.

The young man was evidently preparing the venison steaks from the noise he made, an occupation which he accompanied with the low, Indian humming.

The pedlar went on the points of his toes to the chest, carefully turned the key, and opened it. With a quick hand he turned over its contents, looking round cautiously.

After some search, he drew forth a silver spoon, and what seemed to be a necklace of red beads, the two ends of which were brought together by a circular gold plate. Just as the pedlar thrust these objects into his capacious breast-pocket, the door opened, and Verty entered.

But the boy did not observe him—he quickly and cautiously closed the chest, and began examining one of the skins on the lid.

Verty looked up from the steaks in his hand, observed the occupation of the pedlar, and began to laugh, and talk of his hunting.

The pedlar drew a long breath, returned to his pack, and sat down.

As he did so, the old Indian woman came in, and the boy ran to her, and kissed her hand, and placed it on his head. This was Indian fashion.

“Oh, ma mere!” he cried, “I've seen Redbud, and had such a fine time, and I'm so happy! I'm hungry, too; and so is this honest fellow with the pack. There go the steaks!”

And Verty threw them on the gridiron, and burst out laughing.

In a quarter of an hour they were placed on the rude table, and the three persons sat down—Verty laughing, the old woman smiling at him, the pedlar sullen and omnivorous.

After devouring everything on the table, the worthy took his departure with his pack upon his shoulders.

“I don't like that man, but let him go,” said Verty. “Now, ma mere, I'm going out to hunt a bit for you.”

The old woman gazed fondly on him, and this was all Verty needed. He rose, called the dogs, and loaded his gun.

“Good-bye, ma mere” he said, going out; “don't let any more of these pedlar people come here. I feel as if that one who has just gone away, had done me some harm. Come, Longears! come, Wolf!”

And Verty took his way through the forest, still humming his low, Indian song.

CHAPTER XVI. MR. ROUNDJACKET MAKES HIMSELF AGREEABLE.

On the morning after the scenes which we have just related, Mr. Roundjacket was seated on his tall three-legged stool, holding in his left hand the MS. of his poem, and brandishing in his right the favorite instrument of his eloquence, when, chancing to raise his eyes, he saw through the window an approaching carriage, which carriage had evidently conceived the design of drawing up at the door of Mr. Rushton's office.

A single glance showed Mr. Roundjacket that this carriage contained a lady; a second look told him that the lady was Miss Lavinia.

We might very rationally suppose that the great poet, absorbed in the delights of poesy, and thus dead to the outer world, would have continued his recitation, and permitted such real, sublunary things as visitors to pass unheeded. But such a conclusion would not indicate a very profound acquaintance with the character of Mr. Roundjacket—the most chivalric and gallant of cavaliers.

Instead of going on with his poem, he hastily rolled up the manuscript, thrust it into his desk, and hastening to a small cracked mirror, which hung over the fire-place, there commenced arranging his somewhat disordered locks and apparel, with scrupulous care.

As he finished this hasty toilette, the Apple Orchard carriage drew up and stopped at the door, and Mr. Roundjacket rushed forth.

Then any body who would have taken the trouble to look, might have seen a gentleman opening the door of a chariot with profuse bows, and smiles, and graceful contortions; and then a lady accepting the proffered hand with solemn courtesy; and then Mr. Roundjacket might have been observed leading the lady elegantly into the office.

“A delightful morning—a very delightful morning, madam,” said Mr. Roundjacket.

“Yes, sir,” said Miss Lavinia, solemnly.

“And you look in the best of health and spirits, madam.”

“Thank you, sir; I feel very well, and I am glad to think that you are equally blest.”

“Blest!” said Mr. Roundjacket; “since you came, madam, that may be very truly said.”

A ghost of a smile lit, so to speak, upon Miss Lavinia's face, and then flew away. It was very plain that this inveterate man-hater had not closed her ears entirely to the voice of her enemy.

Roundjacket saw the impression he had made, and followed it up by gazing with admiring delight upon his visitor;—whose countenance, as soon as the solemnity was forgotten, did not by any means repel.

“It is a very great happiness,” said the cavalier, seating himself on his stool, and, from habit, brandishing his ruler around Miss Lavinia's head,—“it is a great happiness, madam, when we poor professional slaves have the pleasure to see one of the divine sex—one of the ladies of creation, if I may use the phrase. Lawbooks and papers are—ahem!—very—yes, exceedingly—”

“Dull?” suggested the lady, fanning herself with a measured movement of the hand.

“Oh! worse, worse! These objects, madam, extinguish all poetry, and gallantry, and elevated feeling in our unhappy breasts.”

“Indeed?”

“Yes, my dear madam, and after a while we become so dead to all that is beautiful and charming in existence”—that was from Mr. Roundjacket's poem—“that we are incapable even of appreciating the delightful society of the fairest and most exquisite of the opposite sex.”

Miss Lavinia shook her head with a ghostly smile.

“I'm afraid you are very gallant, Mr. Roundjacket.”

“I, madam? no, no; I am the coldest and most prosaic of men.”

“But your poem?”

“You have heard of that?”

“Yes, indeed, sir.”

“Well, madam, that is but another proof of the fact which I assert.”

“How, indeed?”

“It is on the prosaic and repulsive subject of the Certiorari.”

And Mr. Roundjacket smiled after such a fashion, that it was not difficult to perceive the small amount of sincerity in this declaration.

Miss Lavinia looked puzzled, and fanned herself more solemnly than ever.

“The Certiorari, did you say, sir?” she asked.

“Yes, madam—one of our legal proceedings; and if you are really curious, I will read a portion of my unworthy poem to you—ahem!—”

As Mr. Roundjacket spoke, an overturned chair in the adjoining room indicated that the occupant of the apartment had been disturbed by the noise, and was about to oppose the invasion of his rights.

Roundjacket no sooner heard this, than he restored the poem to his desk, with a sigh, and said:

“But you, no doubt, came on business, madam—I delay you—Mr. Rushton—”

At the same moment the door of Mr. Rushton's room opened, and that gentleman made his appearance, shaggy and irate—a frown upon his brow, and a man-eating expression on his compressed lips.

The sight of Miss Lavinia slightly removed the wrathful expression, and Mr. Rushton contented himself with bestowing a dreadful scowl on Roundjacket, which that gentleman returned, and then counteracted by an amiable smile.

Miss Lavinia greeted the lawyer with grave dignity, and said she had come in, in passing, to consult him about some little matters which she wished him to arrange for her; and trusted that she found him disengaged.

This was said with so much dignity, that Mr. Rushton could not scowl, and so he invited Miss Lavinia to enter his sanctum, politely leading the way.

The lady sailed after him—and the door closed.

No sooner had she disappeared, than Mr. Roundjacket seized his ruler, for a moment abandoned, and proceeded to execute innumerable flourishes toward the adjoining room, for what precise purpose does not very accurately appear. In the middle of this ceremony, however, and just as his reflections were about to shape themselves into words, the front door opened, and Verty made his appearance, joyful and smiling.

In his hand Verty carried his old battered violin; at his heels stalked the grave and dignified Longears.

“Good morning, Mr. Roundjacket,” said Verty, smiling; “how do you do to-day?”

“Moderate, moderate, young man,” said the gentleman addressed; “you seem, however, to be at the summit of human felicity.”

Anan?”

“Don't you know what felicity means, you young savage?”

“No, sir.”

“It means bliss.”

Verty laughed.

“What is that?” he said.

Mr. Roundjacket flourished his ruler, indignantly.

“Astonishing how dull you are occasionally for such a bright fellow,” he said; “but, after the fashion of all ignoramuses, and as you don't know what that is, I declare you to be one after the old fashion. You need illustration. Now, listen.”

Verty sat down tuning his violin, and looking at Mr. Roundjacket, with a smile.

“Felicity and bliss are things which spring from poetry and women; convertible terms, you savage, but often dissevered. Suppose, now, you wrote a great poem, and read it to the lady of your affections, and she said it was better than the Iliad of Homer,—how would you feel, sir?”

“I don't know,” Verty said.

“You would feel happiness, sir.”

“I don't think I would understand her. Who was Iliad, and what was Homer?”

Mr. Roundjacket flourished his ruler, despairingly.

“You'll never write a poem, and you'll never be in love!” he said, with solemn emphasis.

“Oh, you are wrong!” said Verty, laying his violin on the desk, and caressing Longears. “I think I'm in love now, Mr. Roundjacket!”

“What?”

“I'm in love.”

“With whom?”

“Redbud,” said Verty.

Roundjacket looked at the young man.

“Redbud Summers?” he said.

Verty nodded.

Roundjacket's face was suddenly illuminated with a smile; and he looked more intently still at Verty.

“Tell me all about it,” he said, with the interest of a lover himself; “have you had any moonlight, any flowers, music, and that sort of things?”

“Oh, yes! we had the flowers!” said Verty.

“Where?”

“At old Scowley's.”

“Who's he?” asked Mr. Roundjacket, staring.

“What!” cried Verty, “don't you know old Scowley?”

“No.”

“She's Redbud's school-master—I mean school-mistress, of course; and Mr. Jinks goes to see Miss Sallianna.”

Roundjacket muttered: “Really, a very extraordinary young man.”

Then he added, aloud—

“Why do you think you are in love with Redbud?”

“Because you told me all about it; and I think from what—”

Just as Verty was going on to explain, the door of Mr. Rushton's room opened again, and Miss Lavinia came forth.

She nodded to Verty, and asked him how he was.

“I'm very well,” said the young man, “and I hope you are too, Miss Lavinia. I saw your carriage at the door, and knew you were in here. Oh! how tight your hair is curled!” he added, laughing.

Miss Lavinia drew herself up.

“I reckon you are going to see Redbud,” said Verty.

Miss Lavinia looked intently at him.

“Yes,” she said.

“Give my love to her,” said the young man, “and tell her I'm coming to see her very soon—just as quick as I can get off from this dull old place.”

Which words were accompanied by a smile, directed toward Roundjacket. As to Miss Lavinia, she stood aghast at Verty's extraordinary communication, and for some moments could not get words to express her feelings.

Finally she said, solemnly—

“How—have you been—”

“To see Redbud, ma'am?”

“Yes.”

“I've been once,” Verty said, “and I'm going again.”

Miss Lavinia's face assumed a dignified expression of reproof, and she gazed at the young man in silence. This look, however, was far from daunting him, and he returned it with the most fascinating smile.

“The fact is, Miss Lavinia,” he added, “Redbud wants somebody to talk to up there. Old Scowley, you know, is'nt agreeable, at least, I should'nt think she was; and Miss Sallianna is all the time, I reckon, with Mr. Jinks. I did'nt see any scholars with Redbud; but there ARE some there, because you know Redbud's pigeon had a paper round his neck, with some words on it, all about how 'Fanny' had given him to her; and so there's a 'Fanny' somewhere—don't you think so? But I forgot, you don't know about the pigeon—do you?”

Miss Lavinia was completely astounded. “Old Scowley,” “Mr. Jinks,” “pigeon,” “paper round his neck,” and “Fanny,”—all these objects were inextricably mingled in her unfortunate brain, and she could not disentangle them from each other, or discover the least clue to the labyrinth. She, therefore, gazed at Verty with more overwhelming dignity than ever, and not deigning to make any reply to his rhapsody, sailed by with a stiff inclination of the head, toward the door. But Verty was growing gallant under Mr. Roundjacket's teaching. He rose with great good humor, and accompanied Miss Lavinia to her carriage—he upon one side, the gallant head clerk on the other—and politely assisted the lady into her chariot, all the time smiling in a manner which was pleasant to behold.

His last words, as the door closed and the chariot drove off, were—

“Recollect, Miss Lavinia, please don't forget to give my love to Redbud!”

Having impressed this important point upon Miss Lavinia, Verty returned to the office, with the sighing Roundjacket, humming one of his old Indian airs, and caressing Longears.

CHAPTER XVII. MR. JINKS AT HOME.

The young man sat down at his desk, and began to write. But this occupation did not seem to amuse him, and, in a few moments, he threw away the pen he was writing with, and demanded another from Mr. Roundjacket.

That gentleman complied, and made him a new one.

Verty wrote for five minutes with the new one; and then split it deplorably. Mr. Roundjacket heard the noise, and protested against such carelessness.

“Oh,” sighed Verty, “this writing is a terrible thing to-day; I want a holiday.”

“There's no holiday in law, sir.”

“Never?”

“No, never.”

“It's a very slavish thing, then,” Verty said.

“You are not far wrong there, young man,” replied his companion; “but it also has its delights.”

“I have never seen any.”

“You are a savage.”

“I believe I am.”

“Your character is like your costume—barbarous.”

“Yes—Indian,” said Verty; “but I just thought, Mr. Roundjacket, of my new suit. To-day was to be the time for getting it.”

“Very true,” said the clerk, laying down his pen, “and as everything is best done in order, we will go at once.”

Roundjacket opened Mr. Rushton's door, and informed him where he was going, and for what purpose—a piece of information which was received with a growl, and various muttered ejaculations.

Verty had already put on his fur hat.

“The fact is,” said Roundjacket, as they issued forth into the street of the town, followed by Longears, “the old fellow, yonder, is getting dreadfully bearish.”

“Is he, sir?”

“Yes; and every year it increases.”

“I like him, though.”

“You are right, young man—a noble-hearted man is Rushton; but unfortunate, sir,—unfortunate.”

And Mr. Roundjacket shook his head.

“How?”

“That's his secret—not mine,” was the reserved reply.

“Well, I won't ask it, then,” Verty said; “I never care to know anything—there's the tailor's, aint it?”

“Yes, that is the shop of the knight of the shears,” replied the clerk, with elegant paraphrase; “come, let us get on.”

They soon reached the tailor's, which was not far from the office, on the same street; and Mr. O'Brallaghan came forward, scissors in hand, and smiling, like a great ogre, who was going to snip off people's heads, and eat them for his breakfast—only to satisfy his hunger, not from any malevolent feeling toward them. Mr. O'Brallaghan, as his name intimated, was from the Emerald Isle—was six feet high—had a carotty head, an enormous grinning mouth, and talked with the national accent. Indeed, so marked was this accent, that, after mature consideration, we have determined not to report any of this gentleman's remarks—naturally distrustful as we are of our ability to represent the tone in which they were uttered, with any degree of accuracy. We shall not see him frequently, however, and may omit his observations without much impropriety.

Mr. O'Brallaghan surveyed Verty's lythe and well-knit figure, clad in its rude forest costume, with patronizing favor. But when Roundjacket informed him, with hauteur, that “his friend, Mr. Verty,” would give him an order for three suits:—one plain, one handsome, one very rich—the great O'Brallaghan became supple and polite; and evidently regarded Mr. Verty as some young lord, in disguise.

He requested the young man to walk into the inner room, where his artist would take his measure; and this Verty did at once.

Imagine his surprise at finding himself in the presence of—Mr. Jinks!

Mr. Jinks, no longer clad in elegant and martial costume, redolent equally of the ball-room and the battle-field—no longer moving majestically onward with wide-stretched legs, against which his warlike sword made dreadful music—no longer decorated with rosettes, and ruffles, and embroidery; but seated on the counter, in an old dressing-gown, with slipper'd feet and lacklustre eyes, driving his rapid needle through the cloth with savage and intrepid spirit.

Verty did not recognize him immediately; and Mr. Jinks did not observe the new comers either.

An exclamation from the young man, however, attracted his attention, and he started up.

“Mr. O'Brallaghan!” cried the knight of the needle, if we may so far plagiarize upon Roundjacket's paraphrase—“Mr. O'Brallaghan! this is contrary to our contract, sir. It was understood, sir, that I should be private, sir,—and I am invaded here by a route of people, sir, in violation of that understanding, sir!”

The emphasis with which Mr. Jinks uttered the various “sirs,” in this address, was terrible. O'Brallaghan was evidently daunted by them.

“You know I am a great artist in the cutting line, sir,” said Mr. Jinks, with dignity; “and that nobody can do your fine work but me, sir. You know I have the right to mature my conceptions in private, sir,—and that circumstances of another description render this privacy desirable, sir! And yet, sir, you intrude upon me, sir,—you intrude! How do you do, young man?—I recognize you,” added Mr. Jinks, slightly calmed by his victory over O'Brallaghan, who only muttered his sentiments in original Gaelic, and bore the storm without further reply.

“I will, for once, break my rule,” said Mr. Jinks, magnanimously, “and do for this gentleman, who is my friend, what I will do for no other. Henceforth, sir, recollect that I have rights;” and Mr. Jinks frowned; then he added to Verty, “Young man, have the goodness to stand upon that bench.”

O'Brallaghan and Roundjacket retreated to the outer room, where they were, soon after, joined by Verty, who was laughing.

“Well,” muttered the young man, “I will not tell anybody that Mr. Jinks sews, if he don't want it to be known—especially Miss Sallianna. I reckon he is right—women don't like to see men do anything better than them, as Mr. Jinks says.”

And Verty began to admire a plum-colored coat which was lying on the counter.

“I like this,” he said.

O'Brallaghan grew eloquent on the plum-colored coat—asserting that it was a portion of a suit made for one of his most elegant customers, but not sent for. He could, however, dispose of it to Mr. Verty, if he wished to have it—there was time to make another for the aforesaid elegant customer.

Verty tried the coat on, and O'Brallaghan declared, enthusiastically, that it fitted him “bewchously.”

Mr. Roundjacket informed Verty that it would be better to get the suit, if it fitted, inasmuch as O'Brallaghan would probably take double the time he promised to make his proper suit in—an observation which O'Brallaghan repelled with indignation; and so the consequence was, that a quarter of an hour afterwards Roundjacket and Verty issued forth—the appearance of the latter having undergone a remarkable change.

Certainly no one would have recognized Verty at the first glance. He was clad in a complete cavalier's suit—embroidered coat-ruffles and long flapped waistcoat—with knee-breeches, stockings of the same material, and glossy shoes with high red heels, and fluttering rosettes; a cocked hat surmounted his curling hair, and altogether Verty resembled a courtier, and walked like a boy on stilts.

Roundjacket laughed in his sleeve at his companion's contortions, and on their way back stopped at the barber and surgeon's. This professional gentleman clipped Verty's profuse curls, gathered them together carefully behind, and tied them with a handsome bow of scarlet ribbon. Then he powdered the boy's fine glossy hair, and held a mirror before him.

“Oh! I'm a great deal better looking now,” said Verty; “the fact is, Mr. Roundjacket, my hair was too long.”

To this Mr. Roundjacket assented, and they returned, laughing, to the office.

Verty looked over his shoulder, and admired himself with all the innocence of a child or a savage. One thing only was disagreeable to him—the high heels which Mr. O'Brallaghan had supplied him with. Accustomed to his moccasins, the heels were not to be endured; and Verty kicked both of them off against the stone steps with great composure. Having accomplished this feat, he re-entered.

“I'm easier now,” he said.

“About what?”

“The heels.”

Mr. Roundjacket looked down.

“I could'nt walk on 'em, and knocked 'em off,” Verty said.

Mr. Roundjacket uttered a suppressed chuckle; then stopping suddenly, observed with dignity:—

“Young man, that was very wrong in you. Mr. Rushton has made you a present of that costume, and you should not injure it; he will be displeased, sir.”

“I will be nothing of the sort,” said a growling voice; and turning round, the clerk found himself opposite to Mr. Rushton, who was looking at Verty with a grim smile.

“Kick away just as you please, my young savage,” said that gentleman, “and don't mind this stuff from Roundjacket, who don't know civilized from Indian character. Do just as you choose.”

“May I?” said Verty.

“Am I to repeat everything?”

“Well, sir, I choose to have a holiday this morning.”

“Hum!”

“You said I might do as I wanted to, and I want to go and take a ride.”

“Well, go then—much of a lawyer you'll ever make.”

Verty laughed, and turning towards Longears, called him. But Longears hesitated—looking with the most profound astonishment at his master.

“He don't know me!” said the young man, laughing; “I don't think he'll hunt if I wear these, sir.”

But Mr. Rushton had retired, and Verty only heard a door slam.

He rose.

“I'm going to see Redbud, Mr. Roundjacket,” he said, “and I think she'll like my dress—good-bye.”

Roundjacket only replied by flourishing his ruler.

Verty put on his cocked hat, admired himself for an instant in the mirror over the fire-place, and went out humming his eternal Indian song. Five minutes afterwards he was on his way to see Redbud, followed dubiously by Longears, who evidently had not made up his mind on the subject of his master's identity.

In order to explain the reception which Verty met with, it will be necessary to precede him.

CHAPTER XVIII. HOW MISS LAVINIA DEVELOPED HER THEORIES UPON MATRIMONY.

The Apple Orchard carriage, containing the solemn Miss Lavinia, very soon arrived at the abode of old Scowley, as our friend Verty was accustomed to call the respectable preceptress of Miss Redbud; and Miss Lavinia descended and entered with solemn dignity.

Miss Sallianna and herself exchanged elaborate curtseys, and Miss Lavinia sailed into the pleasant sylvan parlor and took her seat reverely.

“Our dear little girls are amusing themselves this morning,” said Miss Sallianna, inclining her head upon one shoulder, and raising her smiling eyes toward the ceiling; “the youthful mind, my dear madam, requires relaxation, and we do not force it.”

Miss Lavinia uttered a dignified “hem,” and passed her handkerchief solemnly over her lips.

“In this abode of the graces and rural sublunaries,” continued Miss Sallianna, gently flirting her fan, “our young friends seem to lead a very happy life.”

“Yes—I suppose so.”

“Indeed, madam, I may say the time passes for them in a golden cadence of salubrious delights,” said Miss Sallianna.

Her visitor inclined her head.

“If we could only exclude completely all thoughts of the opposite sex—”

Miss Lavinia listened with some interest to this peroration. “If we could live far from the vain world of man—”

The solemn head indicated a coincidence of opinion.

“If we could but dedicate ourselves wholly to the care of our little flock, we should be felicitous,” continued Miss Sallianna. “But, alas! they will come to see us, madam, and we cannot exclude the dangerous enemy. I am often obliged to send word that I am not 'at home' to the beaux, and yet that is very cruel. But duty is my guide, and I bow to its bequests.”

With which words, Miss Sallianna fixed her eyes resignedly upon the ceiling, and was silent. If Miss Lavinia had labored under the impression that Miss Sallianna designed to utter any complaints about Redbud, she did not show that such had been her expectation. She only bowed and said, politely, that if her little cousin Redbud was disengaged, she should like to see her.

“Oh yes! she is disengaged,” said Miss Sallianna, with a languishing smile; “the dear child has been roaming over the garden and around the ensuing hills since the first appearance of the radiant orb of Sol, madam. I think such perambulations healthy.”

Miss Lavinia said that she agreed with her.

“Reddy, as I call your lovely little niece—your cousin, eh?—is one of my most cherished pupils, madam; and I discover in her so many charming criterions of excellence, that I am sure she will grow up an object of interest to everybody. There she is out on the lawn. I will call her, madam, and if you would dispense with my society for a short time, I will again return, and we will discuss my favorite subject, the beauties of nature.”

Miss Lavinia having, by a solemn movement of the head, indicated her willingness to languish without her hostess' society for a short period, Miss Sallianna rose, and made her exit from the apartment, with upraised eyes and gently smiling lips.

Five minutes afterwards Redbud ran in, laughing and rosy-cheeked.

“Oh, cousin Lavinia!” she cried, “I'm so glad to see you!”

Miss Lavinia enclosed her young relation in a dignified embrace, and kissed her solemnly.

“I am very glad to see you looking so well, Redbud,” she said, indicating a cricket at her feet, upon which Miss Redbud accordingly seated herself. I have not been able before to come and see you, but Miss Scowley gives me excellent accounts of you.”

“Does she!” laughed Redbud.

“Yes.”

Redbud laughed again.

“What is the cause of your amusement?” said Miss Lavinia.

“Oh, I only meant that she told everybody who came, that everybody was good.”

“Hum!”

“She does,” said Redbud.

“Then you mean that you do not deserve her praise?”

“Oh, I did'nt mean that, cousin Lavinia! I'm very glad she likes me. I want everybody to like me. But it's true.”

“I believe you are good, Redbud,” Miss Lavinia said, calmly.

“I hope so, ma'am.”

“Are you happy here?”

“Oh yes, ma'am—except that I would like to be at home to see you all.”

“Do you miss us?”

“Oh yes, indeed!”

Miss Lavinia cleared her throat, and began to revolve her address to be delivered.

“You do not see us very often, Redbud,” she said,—“I mean myself and your father—but from what I have heard this morning, that young man Verty still visits you.”

Redbud colored, and did not reply.

Miss Lavinia's face assumed an expression of mingled severity and dignity, and she said to the girl:

“Redbud, I am sorry you do not observe the advice I gave you,—of course, I have no right to command you, and you are now growing old enough to act for yourself in these things. You are nearly seventeen, and are growing to be a woman. But I fear you are deficient in resolution, and still encourage the visits of this young man.”

Poor Redbud was silent—she could not deny the accusation.

Miss Lavinia looked at her with grim affection, and said:

“I hope, Redbud, that, in future, you will be more careful. I am sorry to be compelled to say it—but Verty is not a proper person for you to remain upon such intimate and confidential terms with. He has good qualities, and is very sensible and kind-hearted; but he is a mere Indian, and cannot have anything in common with one so much his superior in station, as yourself.”

“Oh, ma'am—!” began Redbud.

“Speak plainly,” said Miss Lavinia; “do not be afraid.”

“I was only going to say that I am not superior to Verty,” Redbud added, with tears in her eyes; “he is so good, and kind, and sincere.”

“You misunderstand me—I did not mean that he was not a proper companion for you, as far as his character went; for, I say again, that his character is perfectly good. But—child that you are!—you cannot comprehend yet that something more is wanting—that Verty is an Indian, and of unknown parentage.”

Poor Redbud struggled to follow Miss Lavinia's meaning.

“I see that I must speak plainly,” said that lady, solemnly, “and I will commence by saying, Redbud, that the whole male sex are always engaged in endeavoring to make an impression on the hearts of the other sex. The object to which every young man, without exception, dedicates his life, is to gain the ascendancy over the heart of some young person of the opposite sex; and they well know that when this ascendancy is gained, breaking it is often more than human power can accomplish. Young girls should carefully avoid all this, and should always remember that the intimacies formed in early life, last, generally, throughout their whole existence.”

Redbud looked down, and felt a strong disposition to wipe her eyes.

Miss Lavinia proceeded, like an ancient oracle, impassible and infallible.

“Now, I mean, Redbud,” she said, “that while Verty may be, and no doubt is, all that you could wish in a friend, you still ought not to encourage him, and continue your injudicious friendship. Far be it from me to insist upon the necessity of classes in the community, and the impropriety of marrying those who are uncongenial in taste and habit, and—”

“Marrying, ma'am!” exclaimed Redbud—then she stopped.

“Yes, Redbud,” said Miss Lavinia, with dignity, “and nothing will persuade me that this young man has not conceived the design of marrying you. I do not say, mind me, that he is actuated by unworthy motives—I have no right to. I do not believe that this young man has ever reflected that Apple Orchard, a very fine estate, will some day be yours. I only say that, like all youths, he has set his heart upon possessing your hand, and that he is not a proper husband for you.”

Having uttered this downright and unmistakeable opinion, Miss Lavinia raised her head with dignity, and smoothed down her silk dress with solemn grace.

As to poor Redbud, she could only lean her head on her hand, and endeavor to suppress her gathering tears.

“Verty is an Indian, and a young man of obscure birth—wholly uneducated, and, generally speaking, a savage, though a harmless one,” said the lady, returning to the charge. “Now, Redbud, you cannot fail to perceive that it is impossible for you to marry an Indian whom nobody knows anything about. Your family have claims upon you, and these you cannot disregard, and unite yourself to one of an inferior race, who—”

“Oh, cousin Lavinia! cousin Lavinia!” cried Redbud, with a gush of tears, “please don't talk to me anymore about this; you make me feel so badly! Verty never said a word to me about marrying, and it would be foolish. Marry! Oh! you know I am nothing but a child, and you make me very unhappy by talking so.”

Redbud leaned her forehead on her hand, and wiped away the tears running down her cheeks.

“It is not agreeable to me to mention this subject,” Miss Lavinia said, solemnly, smoothing Redbud's disordered hair, “but I consider it my duty, child. You have said truly that you are still very young, and that it is ridiculous to talk about your being married. But, Redbud, the day will come when you will be a woman, and then you will find this intimacy with Verty a stone around your neck. I wish to warn you in time. These early friendships are only productive of suffering, when in course of time they must be dissolved. I wish to ward off this suffering from you!”

“Oh, ma'am!” sobbed Redbud.

“I love you very much.”

“Yes, ma'am.”

“And as I have more experience than you,” said Miss Lavinia, grimly—“more knowledge of the wiles of men, I consider it my duty to direct your conduct.”

“Yes, ma'am,” said Redbud, seeing the wall closing round her inexorably.

“If, then, you would spare Verty suffering, as well as yourself, you will gradually place your relations on a different basis.”

“On—a—dif—ferent—basis,” said Redbud; “Yes, ma'am.”

“It may be done,” said Miss Lavinia; “and do not understand me, child, to counsel an abrupt and violent breaking off of all the ties between yourself and this young man.”

“No, ma'am.”

“You may do it gradually; make your demeanor toward him calmer at every interview—if he must come—do not have so many confidential conversations—never call him 'Verty'”—

“Oh, ma'am!” said Redbud, “but I can't call him Mr. Verty.”

“Don't call him anything,” said the astute enemy of the male sex, “and gradually add 'sir' to the end of your observations. In this manner, Redbud, you may place your relations on an entirely different footing.”

“Yes, ma'am!”

Miss Lavinia looked at the child for some moments with a singular expression of commiseration. Then smoothing the small head again, she said more softly:—

“What I advise is for your own good, Redbud. I only aim at your happiness. Pursue the plan I have indicated, and whenever you can, avoid this young man—as you will both suffer. Men, men,” murmured Miss Lavinia, “they are our masters, and ask nothing better than that delightful tribute to their power—a broken heart.”

“Yes, yes, Redbud,” said the solemn lady, rising, “this advice I have given you is well worthy of your attention. Both you and this young man will undergo cruel suffering if you persist in your present relations. I will say no more. I have done my duty, and I am sure you will not think that I am actuated by old-maidish scruples, and have made a bugbear for myself. I love you, Redbud, as well as I love any one in the world, and all I have said is for your good. Now I must go.”

And Miss Lavinia solemnly enclosed the weeping girl in her arms, and returned to her carriage. Before her sailed Miss Sallianna, smiling and languishing—her eyes upon the sky, and uttering the most elegant compliments. These were received by Miss Lavinia with grave politeness; and finally the two ladies inclined their heads to each other, and the carriage drove off toward Winchester, followed by Redbud's eye. That young lady was standing at the window, refusing to be comforted by her friend Fanny—who had given her the pigeon, it will be remembered—and obstinately bent on proving to herself that she was the most wretched young lady who had ever existed.

Meanwhile Miss Lavinia continued her way, gazing in a dignified attitude from the window of her carriage. Just as she reached the bottom of the hill, what was her horror to perceive a cavalier approach from the opposite direction—an elegant cavalier, mounted on a shaggy horse, and followed by a long-eared hound—in whose richly clad person she recognized the whilom forest boy.

Miss Lavinia held up both her hands, and uttered an exclamation of horror.

As to Verty, he passed rapidly, with a fascinating smile, saying, as he disappeared:—

“I hope you gave my love to Redbud, Miss Lavinia!”

Miss Lavinia could only gasp.

CHAPTER XIX. ONLY A FEW TEARS.

The theories of Miss Lavinia upon life and matrimony had so much truth in them, in spite of the address and peculiarities of the opinions upon which they were based, that Redbud was compelled to acknowledge their justness; and, as a consequence of this acknowledgment, to shape her future demeanor toward the young man in conformity with the advice of her mentor.

Therefore, when Miss Redbud saw Verty approach, clad in his new costume, and radiant with happy expectation, she hastily left the window at which she had been standing, and, in the depths of her chamber, sought for strength and consolation.

Let no one deride the innocent prayer of the child, and say that it was folly, and unworthy of her. The woes of youth are not our woes, and the iron mace which strikes down the stalwart man, falls not more heavily upon his strong shoulders, than does the straw which bears to the earth the weak heart of childhood.

Then, when the man frowns, and clenches his hand against the hostile fate pressing upon him, the child only weeps, and endeavors to avoid the suffering.

Redbud suffered no little. She loved Verty very sincerely as the playmate of her earlier years, and the confidential friend of her happiest hours. The feeling which was ripening in her heart had not yet revealed itself, and she felt that the barrier now raised between herself and the young man was cruel. But, then, suddenly, she would recollect Miss Lavinia's words, recall that warning, that they both would suffer—and so poor Redbud was very unhappy—very much confused—not at all like herself.

We have said very little of this child's character, preferring rather to let the current of our narrative reflect her pure features from its surface, as it flowed on through those old border days which were illustrated and adorned by the soft music of her voice, the kindness of her smile. Perhaps, however, this is a favorable occasion to lay before the reader what was written by a poor pen, in after years, about the child, by one who had loved, and been rendered purer by her. Some one, no matter who, had said to him one day—“Tell me about little Redbud, whom you praise so much”—and he had taken his pen and written—

“How can I? There are some figures that cannot be painted, as there are some melodies which cannot be uttered by the softest wind which ever swept the harp of Aeolus. You can scarcely delineate a star, and the glories of the sunset die away, and live not upon canvas. How difficult, then, the task you have imposed upon me, amigo mio —to seal up in a wicker flask that moonlight; chain down, by words, that flitting and almost imperceptible perfume—to tell you anything about that music which, embodied in a material form, was known as Redbud!

“Observe how I linger on the threshold, and strive to evade what I have promised to perform. What can I say of the little friend who made so many of my hours pure sunshine? She was the most graceful creature I have ever seen, I think, and surely merrier lips and eyes were never seen—eyes very blue and soft—hair golden, and flowing like sunset on her shoulders—a mouth which had a charming archness in it—and withal an innocence and modesty which made one purer. These were the first traits of the child, she was scarcely more, which struck a stranger. But she grew in beauty as you conversed with her. She had the most delightful voice I have ever heard—the kindest and most tender smile; and one could not long be in her company without feeling that good fortune had at last thrown him with one of those pure beings which seem to be sent down to the earth, from time to time, to show us, poor work-a-day mortals, that there are scales of existence, links as it were, between the inhabitants of this world and the angels: for the heavenly goodness, which sent into the circle which I lived in such a pure ray of the dawn, to verify and illumine the pathway of my life—thanks—thanks!

“How beautiful and graceful she was! When she ran along, singing, her fair golden locks rippling back from her pure brow and rosy cheeks, I thought a sunbeam came and went with her. The secret of Redbud's universal popularity—for everybody loved her—was, undoubtedly, that love which she felt for every one around her. There was so much tenderness and kindness in her heart, that it shone in her countenance, and spoke plainly in her eyes. Upon the lips, what a guileless innocence and softness!—in the kind, frank eyes, what all-embracing love for God's creatures everywhere! She would not tread upon a worm; and I recollect to this day, what an agony of tears she fell into upon one occasion, when some boys killed the young of an oriole, and the poor bird sat singing its soul away for grief upon the poplar.

“Redbud had a strong vein of piety in her character; and this crowning grace gave to her an inexpressible charm. Whatever men may say, there are few who do not reverence, and hope to find in those they love, this feeling. The world is a hard school, and men must strike alone everywhere. In the struggle, it is almost impossible to prevent the mind from gathering those bitter experiences which soil it. It is so hard not to hate so tremendous a task, to strangle that harsh and acrid emotion of contempt, which is so apt to subdue us, and make the mind the hue of what it works in, 'like the dyer's hand.' Men feel the necessity of something purer than themselves, on which to lean; and this they find in woman, with the nutriment I have spoken of—the piety of this child. It did not make her grave, but cheerful; and nothing could be imagined more delightful, than her smiles and laughter. Sometimes, it is true, you might perceive upon her brow what resembled the shadow of a cloud floating over the bright autumn fields—and in her eyes a thoughtful dew, which made them swim, veiling their light from you; but this was seldom. As I have spoken of her, such she was—a bright spirit, who seemed to scatter around her joy and laughter, gilding all the world she lived in with the kindness of her smiles.

“Such, amigo mio, was little Redbud when I knew her; and I have spoken of her as well as I could. No one can be more conscious of the insufficiency of my outline than myself. My only excuse is, a want of that faculty of the brain which—uniting memory, that is to say, the heart, with criticism, which is the intellect—is able to embody with the lips, or the pen, such figures as have appeared upon the horizon of life. I can only say that I never went near the child, but I was made better by her sincere voice. I never took her hand in my own, but a nameless influence seemed to enter into my heart, and purify it. And now, amigo, I have written it all, and you may laugh at me for my pains; but that is not a matter of very great importance. Farewell!”

It is rather an anti-climax, after this somewhat practical account of our little heroine, to inform the reader that Redbud was sitting down, crying. Such was, however, the fact; and as conscientious historians we cannot conceal it. Overwhelmed by Miss Lavinia's fatal logic, she had no choice, no course but one to pursue—to avoid Verty, and thus ward off that prospective “suffering;” and so, with a swelling heart and a heated brain, our little heroine could find no better resource than tears, and sobs, and sighs.

CHAPTER XX. HOW MISS FANNY SLAMMED THE DOOR IN VERTY'S FACE.

As Redbud sat thus disconsolate, a footstep in the apartment attracted her attention, and raising her tearful eyes, she saw her friend Fanny, who had run in, laughing, as was her wont. Fanny was a handsome little brunette, about Redbud's age, and full of merriment and glee—perhaps sparkle would be the better word, inasmuch as this young lady always seemed to be upon the verge of laughter—brim full with it, and ready to overflow, like a goblet of Bohemian glass filled with the “foaming draught of eastern France,” if we may be permitted to make so unworthy a comparison. Her merry black eyes were now dancing, and her ebon curls rippled from her smooth dark brow like midnight waves.

“Oh! here's your beau, Reddy!” cried Miss Fanny, clapping her hands; “you pretended not to know him as he came up the hill. Make haste! you never saw such an elegant cavalier as he has made himself!”

Redbud only smiled sadly, and turned away her head.

Miss Fanny attributed this manoeuvre to a feeling very different from the real one; and clapping her hands more joyfully than ever, cried:

“There you are! I believe you are going to pretend he ain't your beau! But you need not, madam. As if I did'nt know all about it—”

“Oh, Fanny!” murmured poor Redbud.

“Come! no secrets from me! That old Miss Lavinia has treated you badly, I know; I don't know how, but she made you cry, and I will not have anything to say to her, if she is your cousin. Forget all about it, Reddy, and make haste down, Verty is waiting for you—and oh! he's so elegant. I never saw a nicer fellow, and you know I always thought he was handsome. I would set my cap at him,” said Miss Fanny, with a womanly air, “if it was'nt for you.”

Redbud only murmured something.

“Come on!” cried Fanny, trying to raise her friend forcibly, “I tell you Verty is waiting, and you are only losing so much talk; they never will let our beaux stay long enough, and as to-day's holiday, you will have a nice chat. My cousin Ralph, you know, is coming to see me to-day, and we can have such a nice walk out on the hill—come on, Reddy! we'll have such a fine time!”

Suddenly Miss Fanny caught sight of the tears in Redbud's eyes, and stopped.

“What! crying yet at that old Miss Lavinia!” she said; “how can you mind her so!”

“Oh! I'm very unhappy!” said poor Redbud, bursting into tears; her self-control had given away at last. “Don't mind me, Fanny, but I can't help it—please don't talk any more about Verty, or walking out, or anything.”

Fanny looked at her friend for a moment, and the deep sadness on Redbud's face banished all her laughter.

“Why not talk about him?” she said, sitting down by Redbud.

“Because I can't see him any more.”

“Can't see him!”

“No—not to-day.”

“Why?”

Redbud wiped her eyes.

“Because—because—oh! I can't tell you, Fanny!—I can't—it's wrong in cousin Lavinia!—I know it is!—I never meant—oh! I am so unhappy!”

And Redbud ended by bursting into a flood of tears, which caused the impulsive and sympathetic Fanny, whose lips had for some moments been twitching nervously, to do the same.

“Don't cry, Fanny—please don't cry!” said Redbud.

“I'm not crying!” said Miss Fanny, shedding floods of tears—“I'm not sorry—I'm mad with Miss Lavinia for making you cry; I hate her!”

“Oh!” sobbed Redbud, “that is very wrong.”

“I don't care.”

“She's my cousin.”

“No matter! She had no business coming here and making you unhappy.”

With which Miss Fanny sniffed, if that very inelegant word may be applied to any action performed by so elegant a young lady.

“Yes! she had no business—the old cat!” continued the impulsive Fanny, “and I feel as if I could scratch her eyes out!—to make you cry!”

“But I won't any more,” said Redbud, beginning afresh.

“And I will stop, too,” said Fanny, becoming hysterical.

After which solemn determination to be calm, and not display any further emotion on any account, the two young ladies, sinking into each other's arms, cried until their white handkerchiefs were completely wetted by their tears.

They had just managed to suppress their emotion somewhat—preparatory to commencing again, doubtless—when the door of the apartment opened, and a servant girl announced to Miss Redbud that a gentleman had come to see her, and was waiting for that purpose at the foot of the stairs.

“Oh! I can't see him,” said Redbud, threatening a new shower.

“You shall!” said Fanny, laughing through her tears.

“Oh, no! no!” said Redbud.

“What shall I tell 'um, Miss,” said the servant?

“Oh, I can't go down—tell Verty that—”

“She'll be down in a minute,” finished Fanny.

“No, no, I must not!”

“You shall!”

“Fanny—!”

“Come, no nonsense, Reddy! there! I hear his voice—oh, me! my goodness gracious!”

These sudden and apparently remarkable exclamations may probably appear mysterious and without reason to the respected readers who do us the honor to peruse our history; but they were in reality not at all extraordinary under the circumstances, and were, indeed, just what might have been expected, on the generally accepted theories of cause and effect.

In a single word, then, the lively Miss Fanny had uttered the emphatic words, “Oh, me!—my goodness gracious!” because she had heard upon the staircase the noise of a masculine footstep, and caught sight of a masculine cocked-hat ascending;—which phenomenon, arguing again upon the theories of cause and effect, plainly indicated that a head was under the chapeau—the head of one of the opposite sex.

Redbud raised her head quickly at her friend's exclamation, and discerned the reason therefor. She understood, at a glance, that Verty had become impatient, waiting in the hall down stairs;—bad heard her voice from the room above; and, following his wont at Apple Orchard, quite innocently bethought himself of saving Redbud the trouble of descending, by ascending to her.

Verty sent his voice before him—a laughing and jubilant voice, which asked for Redbud.

Fanny jumped up and ran to the door, just as the young man placed his foot upon the landing, and stood before the group.

Verty made a low bow, and greeted Miss Fanny with one of the most fascinating smiles which could possibly be imagined. Fanny slammed the door in his face, without the least hesitation.

For a moment, Verty stood motionless and bewildered, vainly striving to make out what this extraordinary occurrence meant. At Apple Orchard, as we have said, the doors had never been slammed in his face. On the contrary, he had ranged freely over the mansion, amusing himself as seemed best to him: taking down a volume here—opening a closet there—strolling into the Squire's room, or Redbud's room, where that young lady was studying—and even into the apartment of the dreadful Miss Lavinia, where sat that solemn lady, engaged in the task of keeping the household wardrobe, stockings, and what not, in good condition. No one had ever told Verty that there was the least impropriety in this proceeding; and now, when he only meant to do what he had done a thousand times before, he had a door banged in his face, as if he were a thief with hostile intentions toward the spoons.

For some moments, therefore, as we have said, the young man stood thunderstruck and motionless. Then, considering the whole affair a joke, he began to laugh; and essayed to open the door.

In vain. Fanny, possibly foreseeing this, had turned the key.

“Redbud!” said Verty.

“Sir?” said a voice; not Redbud's, however.

“Let me in.”

“I shall do nothing of the sort,” replied the voice.

“Why?” said Verty, with ready philosophy; “it's nobody but me.”

“Hum!” said the voice again, in indignant protest against the force of any such reasoning.

“You are not Redbud,” continued the cavalier; “I want to see Redbud.”

“Well, sir,—go down, and Reddy may come and see you,” the voice replied; “as long as you stand there, you will not lay eyes on her—if you stay a week, or a year.”

At this dreadful threat, Verty retreated from the door. The idea of not seeing Redbud for a year was horrible.

“Will you come down, Redbud, if I go?” he asked.

Voices heard in debate.

“Say?” said Verty.

After a pause, the voice which had before spoken, said:

“Yes; go down and wait ten minutes.”

Verty heaved a sigh, and slowly descended to the hall again. As he disappeared, the door opened, and the face of Fanny was seen carefully watching the enemy's retreat. Then the young girl turned to Redbud, and, clapping her hands, cried:

“Did you ever!—what an impudent fellow! But you promised, Reddy! Come, let me fix your hair!”

Redbud sighed, and assented.

CHAPTER XXI. IN WHICH REDBUD SUPPRESSES HER FEELINGS AND BEHAVES WITH DECORUM.

In ten minutes, as she promised, Fanny descended with Redbud,—her arm laced around the slender waist of that young lady, as is the wont with damsels,—and ready to give battle to our friend Verty, upon any additional provocation, with even greater zest than before.

Redbud presented a singular contrast to her companion. Fanny, smiling, and full of glee, seemed only to have become merrier and brighter for her “cry”—like an April landscape after a rain. Redbud, on the contrary, was still sad, and oppressed from the events of the morning; and, indeed, could scarcely return Verty's greeting without emotion.

Resplendent in his elegant plum-colored coat—with stockings, long embroidered waistcoat, and scarlet ribbon tied around his powdered hair, Verty came forward to meet his innamorata, as joyous and careless as ever, and, figuratively speaking, with open arms.

What was his surprise to find that no smile replied to his own. Redbud's face was calm—almost cold; she repelled him even when he held out his hand, and only gave him the tips of her fingers, which, for any warmth or motion in them, might have been wood or marble.

Poor Verty drew back, and colored. Redbud change toward him!—no longer care for him! What could this frigid manner with which she met him, mean;—why this cool and distant bow, in reply to his enthusiastic greeting?

Poor Verty sat down disconsolately, gazing at Redbud. He could not understand. Then his glance questioned Miss Fanny, who sat with a prim and demure affectation of stateliness, on the opposite side of the room. There was no explanation here either.

While Verty was thus gazing silently, and with growing embarrassment, at the two young girls, Redbud, with a beating heart, and trembling lips, played with the tassel of the sofa-cushion, and studied the figure of the carpet.

Fanny came to the rescue of the expiring conversation, and seizing forcibly upon the topic of the weather, inserted that useful wedge into the rapidly closing crack, and waited for Verty to strike the first blow.

Unfortunately, Verty did not hear her; he was gazing at Redbud.

Fanny pouted, and tossed her head. So she was not good enough for the elegant Mr. Verty!—she was not even worth a reply! He might talk himself, then!

Verty did not embrace this tacit permission—he remained silent; and gazing on Redbud, whose color began slowly to rise, as with heaving bosom and down-cast eyes she felt the young man's look—he experienced more and more embarrassment—a sentiment which began to give way to distress.

At last he rose, and going to her side, took her hand.

Redbud slowly drew it away, still without meeting his gaze.

He asked, in a low voice, if she was angry with him.

No—she was not very well to-day; that was all.

And then the long lashes drooped still more with the heavy drops which weighed them down; the cheeks were covered with a deeper crimson; the slender frame became still more agitated. Oh! nothing but those words—“if you would prevent him from suffering”—could bear her through this trying interview: they were enough, however—she would be strong.

And as she came to this determination, Redbud nearly sobbed—the full cup very nearly ran over with its freight of tears. With a beseeching, pleading glance, she appealed to Fanny to come to her assistance.

Such an appeal is never in vain; the free-masonry of the sex has no unworthy members. Fanny forgot in a moment her “miff” with Verty, when she saw that for some reason Redbud was very nearly ready to burst into tears, and wished to have the young man's attention called away from her; she no longer remembered the slight to herself, which had made her toss her head, and vow that she would not open her lips again; she came to the rescue, as women always do, and with the most winning smile, demanded of Mr. Verty whether he would be so kind as to do her a slight favor?

The young man sighed, and moved his head indifferently. Fanny did not choose to see the expression, and positively beaming with smiles, all directed, like a sheaf of arrows, full upon the gentleman, pushed the point of her slipper from the skirt of her dress, and said she would be exceedingly obliged to Mr. Verty, if he would fasten the ribbon which had become loose.

Of course, Verty had to comply. He rose, sighing more than ever, and crossing the room, knelt down to secure the rebellious ribbon.

No sooner had he knelt, than Miss Fanny made a movement which attracted Redbud's attention. Their eyes met, and Fanny saw that her friend was almost exhausted with emotion. The impulsive girl's eyes filled as she looked at Redbud; with a smile, however, and with the rapidity and skill of young ladies at public schools, she spelled something upon her fingers, grazing as she went through the quick motions, the head of Verty, who was bending over the slipper.

Fanny had said, in this sly way: “Say you are sick—indeed you are!—you'll cry!”

Verty rose just as she finished, and Miss Fanny, with negligent ease, thanked him, and looked out of the window. Verty turned again toward Redbud. She was standing up—one hand resting upon the arm of the sofa, from which she had risen, the other placed upon her heart, as if to still its tumultuous beating.

Verty's troubled glance fled to the tender, sorrowful face, and asked why she had risen. Redbud, suppressing her emotion by a powerful effort, said, almost coldly, that she felt unwell, and hoped he would let her go up stairs. Indeed, (with a trembling voice), she was—not well: he must excuse her; if—if—if he would—come again.

And finding her voice failing her, poor Redbud abruptly left the room, and running to her chamber, threw herself on the bed, and burst into a passion of tears.

She had obeyed Miss Lavinia.

Yes! with a throbbing heart, eyes full of tears, a tenderness toward her boy-playmate she had never felt before, she had preserved her calmness. Crying was not wrong she hoped—and that was left her.

So the child cried, and cried, until nature exhausted herself, and rested.

CHAPTER XXII. HOW MISS SALLIANNA FELL IN LOVE WITH VERTY.

Verty stood for a moment gazing at the door through which Redbud had disappeared, unable to speak or move. Astonishment, compassion, love, distress, by turns filled his mind; and standing there, on a fine October morning, the young man, with the clear sunshine streaming on him joyfully, took his first lesson in human distress—a knowledge which all must acquire at some period of their lives, sooner or later. His mixture of emotions may be easily explained. He was astonished at the extraordinary change in Redbud's whole demeanor; he felt deep pity for the sickness which she had pleaded as an excuse for leaving him. Love and distress clasped hands in his agitated heart, as he threw a backward glance over the short interview which they had just held—and all these feelings mingling together, and struggling each for the mastery, made the young man's bosom heave, his forehead cloud over, and his lips shake with deep, melancholy sighs.

Utterly unable to explain the coldness which Redbud had undoubtedly exhibited, he could only suffer in silence.

Then, after some moments' thought, the idea occurred to him that Miss Fanny—the smiling, obliging, the agreeable Miss Fanny—might clear up the mystery, so he turned round toward her; but as he did so, the young girl passed by him with stately dignity, and requesting, in a cold tone, to be excused, as she was going to attend to her friend, Miss Summers, sailed out of the room and disappeared.

Verty looked after her with deeper astonishment than before. Then everybody disliked him—everybody avoided him: no doubt he had been guilty of some terrible fault toward Redbud, and her friend knew it, and would not stay in his presence.

What could that fault be? Not his costume—not the attempt he had made to intrude upon her privacy. Certainly Redbud never would have punished him so cruelly for such trifling things as these, conceding that they were distasteful to her.

What, then, could be the meaning of all this?

Just as he asked himself the question for the sixth time, there appeared at the door of the apartment no less a personage than Miss Sallianna, who, ambling into the room with that portion of the head which we have more than once mentioned, and the lackadaisical smile which was habitual with her, approached Verty, and graciously extended her yellow hand.

The young man took the extended member, and made a bow. Miss Sallianna received it with a still more gracious smile, and asked Mr. Verty to be seated.

He shook his head.

“I must go away, ma'am,” he said, sadly; “Redbud has quarrelled with me, and I cannot stay. Oh! what have I done to cause this!”

And Verty's head sank upon his bosom, and his lips trembled.

Miss Sallianna gazed at him with a curious smile, and after a moment's silence, said:

“Suppose you sit down for a minute, Mr. Verty, and tell me all about this—this—highly intrinsic occurrence. You could not repose your sorrows in a more sympathetic bosom than my own.”

And subsiding gracefully upon the sofa, Miss Sallianna made Verty sit by her, and even gently moved her fan before his face, smiling and simpering.

Perhaps the reader may feel some surprise at the change in Miss Sallianna's demeanor toward the young man, the fact of whose existence she had scarcely noticed on the occasion of their first meeting in the garden. The explanation will be neither lengthy nor difficult. Miss Sallianna was one of those ladies who have so profound an admiration for nature, beauty, love, and everything elevated and ennobling, that they are fond of discussing these topics with the opposite sex—exchanging ideas, and comparing opinions, no doubt for the purpose of arriving at sound conclusions upon these interesting subjects. If, in the course of these conversations, the general discussion became particular and personal—if, in a word, the gentleman was induced to regard the lady as an example of the beauties they were talking about, in nature, love, etc., Miss Sallianna did not complain, and even seemed somewhat pleased thereof. Of course there would have been no profit or entertainment in discussing these recondite subjects with a savage such as Verty had appeared to be upon their former interview, when, with his long, tangled hair, hunter's garb, and old slouched hat, he resembled an inhabitant of the backwoods—what could such a personage know of divine philosophy, or what pleasure could a lady take in his society?—no pleasure, evidently. But now that was all changed. The young gentleman now presented a civilized appearance; he was plainly becoming more cultivated, and his education, Miss Sallianna argued, should not be neglected by his lady acquaintances. Who wonders at such reasoning? Is this the only instance which has ever been known? Do sentimental ladies of an uncertain age always refuse to take charge of the growing hearts of innocent and handsome youths, just becoming initiated in the mysteries of the tender passion? Or do they not most willingly assume the onerous duty of directing the naive instincts of such youthful cavaliers into proper channels and toward worthy objects—even occasionally, from their elevated regard, present themselves as the said “worthy objects” for the youthful affection? Queenly and most lovely dames of uncertain age, and tender instincts, it is not the present chronicler who will so far forget his reputation for gallantry, as to assert that “I should like to marry” is your favorite madrigal.

Therefore let it be distinctly understood and remembered, as a thing necessary and indispensable to the true comprehension of this veracious history, that the beautiful Miss Sallianna was not attracted by Verty's handsome dress, his fashionable coat, rosetted shoes, well powdered hair, or embroidered waistcoat gently rubbing against the spotless frill—that these things did not enter into her mind when she resolved to attach the young man to her suit, and turn his affection and “esteem” toward herself. By no means;—she saw in him only a handsome young fellow, whose education could not prosper under the supervision of such a mere child as Redbud; and thus she found herself called upon to superintend it in her proper person, and for that purpose now designed to commence initiating the youthful cavalier into the science of the heart without delay.

These few words may probably serve to explain the unusual favor with which Miss Sallianna seemed to regard Verty—the empressement with which she gently fanned his agitated brow—the fascinating smile which she threw upon him, a smile which seemed to say, “Come! confide your sorrows to a sympathizing heart.”

Verty, preoccupied with his sad reflections, for some moments remained silent. Miss Sallianna broke the pause by saying—

“You seem to be annoyed by something, Mr. Verty. Need I repeat that in me you will find a friend of philosophic partiality and undue influence to repose your confidential secrets in?”

Verty sighed.

“Oh! that is a bad sign,” said the lady, simpering.

“What, ma'am?” asked Verty, raising his head.

“That sigh.”

“I don't feel very well.”

“In the body or the mind?”

“I suppose it's the mind, ma'am.”

“Don't call me ma'am—I am not so much your senior. True, the various experiences I have extracted from the circumambient universe render me somewhat more thoughtful, but my heart is very young,” said Miss Sallianna, simpering, and slaying Verty with her eyes.

“Yes, ma'am—I mean Miss Sallianna,” he said.

“Ah! that is better. Now let us converse about nature, my friend—”

“If you could tell me why Redbud has—”

Verty stopped. He had an undeveloped idea that the subject of nature and Redbud might not appear to have any connection with each other in the mind of Miss Sallianna.

But that lady smiled.

“About Redbud?” she asked, with a languishing glance.

“Yes—Miss.”

“What of the dear child?—have you fallen out? You men must not mind the follies of such children—and Reddy is a mere child. I should not think she could appreciate you.”

Verty was silent; he did not know exactly what appreciate meant, which may serve as a further proof of what we have said above, in relation to the necessity which Miss Sallianna felt she labored under, as a tender-hearted woman, to educate Verty.

The lady seemed to understand from her companion's countenance, that he did not exactly comprehend the signification of her words; but as this had occurred on other occasions, and with other persons, she felt no surprise at the circumstance, attributing it, as was natural, to her own extreme cultivation and philological proficiency. She therefore smiled, and still gently agitating the fan before Verty, repeated:

“Have you and Redbud fallen out?”

“Yes,” said the young man.

“Concerning what?”

“I don't know—I mean Redbud has quarreled with me.”

“Indeed!”

Verty replied with a sigh.

“Come!” said Miss Sallianna, “make a confidant of me, and confide your feelings to a heart which beats responsive to your own.”

With which words the lady ogled Verty.

CHAPTER XXIII. THE RESULT.

Verty looked at Miss Sallianna, and sighed more deeply than he had ever sighed before. The lady's face was full of the tenderest interest; it seemed to say, that with its possessor all secrets were sacred, and that nothing but the purest friendship, and a desire to serve unhappy personages, influenced her.

Who wonders, therefore, that Verty began to think that it would be a vast relief to him to have a confidant—that his inexperience needed advice and counsel—that the lady who now offered to guide him through the maze in which he was confounded and lost, knew all about the labyrinths, and from the close association with the object of his love, could adapt her counsel to the peculiar circumstances, better than any one else in the wide world? Besides, Verty was a lover, and when did lover yet fail to experience the most vehement desire to pour into the bosom of some sympathizing friend—of either sex—the story of his feelings and his hopes? It is no answer to this, that, in the present instance, the lover was almost ignorant of the fact, that he loved, and had no well-defined hopes of any description. That is nothing to your true Corydon. Not in the least. Will he not discourse with rising and kindling eloquence upon everything connected with his Phillis? Will not the ribbons on her bodice, and the lace around her neck, become the most important and delightful objects of discursive commentary?—the very fluttering rosettes which burn upon her little instep, and the pearls which glitter in her powdered hair, be of more interest than the fall of thrones? So Corydon, the lover, dreams, and dreams—and if you approach him in the forest-glade, he sighs and talks to you, till evening reddens in the west, about Phillis, only Phillis. And as the old Arcady lives still, and did at the time of our history, so Corydons were ready to illustrate it, and our young friend Verty felt the old pastoral desire to talk about his shepherdess, and embrace Miss Sallianna's invitation to confide his sorrows to her respective bosom.

“Come now, my dear Mr. Verty,” repeated that lady, “tell me what all this means—are you in love, can it be—not with Reddy?”

“Yes, ma'am, I believe I am,” said Verty, yielding to his love. “Oh, I know I am. I would die for her whenever she wanted me to—indeed I would.”

“Hum!” said Miss Sallianna.

“You know she is so beautiful and good—she's the best and dearest girl that ever lived, and I was so happy before she treated me coldly this morning! I'll never be happy any more!”

“Cannot you banish her false image?”

“False! she's as true as the stars! Oh, Redbud is not false! she is too good and kind!”

Miss Sallianna shook her head.

“You have too high an opinion of the sex at large, I fear, Mr. Verty,” she said; “some of them are very inconstant; you had better not trust Redbud.”

“Not trust her!”

“Be careful, I mean.”

“How can I!” cried Verty.

“Easily.”

“Be careful? I don't know what you mean, Miss Sallianna; but I suppose what you say is for my good.”

“Oh yes, indeed.”

“But I can't keep still, and watch and listen, and spy out about anybody I love so much as Redbud—for I'm certain now that I love her. Oh, no! I must trust her—trust her in everything! Why should I not? I have known her, Miss Sallianna, for years, and years—we were brought up together, and we have gone hand in hand through the woods, gathering flowers, and down by the run to play, and she has showed me how to read and write, and she gave me a Bible; and everything which I recollect has something in it about Redbud—only Redbud—so beautiful, and kind, and good. Oh, Miss Sallianna, how could I be careful, and watch, and think Redbud's smiles were not here! I could not—I would rather die!”

And Verty's head sank upon his hands which covered the ingenuous blushes of boyhood and first love. In this advanced age of the world, we can pity and laugh at this romantic nonsense—let us be thankful.

Miss Sallianna listened with great equanimity to this outburst, and smiling, and gently fanning Verty, said, when he had ceased speaking:

“Don't agitate yourself, my dear friend. I suspected this. You misunderstand my paternal counsel in suggesting to you a suspicionative exemplification of dear little Reddy. Darling child! she is very good; but remember that we cannot always control our feelings.”

Verty raised his head, inquiringly.

“You do not understand?”

“No, ma'am,” he said; “I mean, Miss—”

“No matter—you'll get into the habit,” said the lady, with a languishing smile; “I meant to observe, my dear friend, that Reddy might be very good, and I suppose she is—and she might have had a great and instructive affection for you at one period; but you know we cannot control our sentiments, and Reddy has probably fancied herself in love with somebody else.”

Verty started, and half rose.

“In love with somebody else?” he cried.

“Yes,” said the lady, smiling.

“Oh, no, no!” murmured the young man, falling again into his seat.

Miss Sallianna nodded.

“Mind now—I do not assert it,” she said; “I only say that these children—I mean young girls at Reddy's age—are very apt to take fancies; and then they get tired of the youths they have known well, and will hardly speak to them. Human nature is of derisive and touching interest, Mr. Verty,” sighed the lady, “you must not expect to find Reddy an exception. She is not perfect.”

“Oh yes, she is!” murmured poor Verty, thinking of Redbud's dreadful change, and yet battling for her to the last with the loyal extravagance of a true lover; “she would not—she could not—deceive me.”

“I do not say she would.”

“But—”

“I know what you are about to observe, sir; but, remember that the heart is not in our power entirely”—here Miss Sallianna sighed, and threw a languishing glance upon Verty. “No doubt Reddy loved you; indeed, at the risk of deeming to flatter you, Mr. Verty—though I never flatter—I must say, that it would have been very extraordinary if Reddy had not fallen in love with you, as you are so smart and handsome. Recollect this is not flattery. I was going on to say, that Reddy must have loved you, but that does not show that she loves you now. We cannot compress our sentiments; and Diana, Mr. Verty, the god of love, throws his darts when we are not looking—ah!”

Which last word of Miss Sallianna's speech represents a sigh she uttered, as, after the manner of Diana, she darted a fatal arrow from her eyes, at Verty. It did not slay him, however, and he only murmured wofully,

“Do you mean Reddy has changed, then, ma'am? Oh, what will become of me—what shall I do!”

Miss Sallianna threw a glance, so much more languishing than the former, upon her companion, that had his heart not been wrapped in Redbud, it certainly would have been pierced.

“Follow her example,” simpered Miss Sallianna, looking down with blushing cheeks, and picking at her fan with an air of girlish innocence. “Could you not do as she has done—and—choose—another object yourself?”

And Miss Sallianna raised her eyes, bashfully, to Verty's face, then cast them with maidenly modesty upon the carpet.

“No, ma'am,” said Verty, thoughtfully, and quite ignorant of the deadly attack designed by the fair lady upon his heart—“I don't think I could change.”

In these simple words the honest Verty answered all.

“Why not?” simpered the lady.

“Because I don't think Redbud is in love with anybody else,” he said; “I know she is not!”

“Why, then, has she treated you so badly?” said Miss Sallianna, gradually forgetting her bashfulness, and reassuming her languishing air and manner—“there must be some laborious circumstance, Mr. Verty.”

Verty pressed his head with his hand, and was silent. All at once a brighter light illumined the fair lady's face, and she addressed herself to speak, first uttering a modest cough—

“Suppose I suggest a plan of finding out, sir,” she said; “we might find easily.”

“Oh, ma'am! how?”

“Will you follow my advice?”

“Yes, ma'am—of course. I mean if it's right. Excuse me, I did not mean—what was your advice, ma'am?” stammered Verty.

The lady smiled, and did not seem at all offended at Verty's qualification.

“It may appear singular to you at first,” Miss Sallianna said; “but my advice is, that you appear to make love—to pay attentions to—somebody else for a short time.”

“Attentions, ma'am?”

“Seem to like some other lady better than Redbud.”

“Oh, but that would not be right.”

“Why?”

“Because I don't.”

Miss Sallianna smiled.

“I don't want you to change at all, Mr. Verty,” she said; “only to take this modus addendi, which is the Greek for way,—to take this way to find out. I would not advise it, of course, if it was wrong, and it is the best thing you could do, indeed.”

Verty strongly combated this plan, but was met at every turn, by Miss Sallianna, with ready logic; and the result, as is almost always the case when men have the temerity to argue with ladies, was a total defeat. Verty was convinced, or talked obtuse upon the subject, and with many misgivings, acquiesced in Miss Sallianna's plan.

That lady then went on in a sly and careful manner—possibly diplomatic would be the polite word—to suggest herself as the most proper object of Verty's experiment. He might make love to her if he wished—she would not be offended. He might even kiss her hand, and kneel to her, and perform any other gallant ceremony he fancied—she would make allowances, and not become angry if he even proceeded so far as to write her billet-doux, and ask her hand in a matrimonial point of view. Miss Sallianna wound up by saying, that it would be an affair of rare and opprobrious interest; and, as a comedy, would be positively deleterious, which was probably a lapsus linguae for “delicious.”

So when Verty rose to take his departure, he was a captive to Miss Sallianna's bow and spear; or more accurately, to her fan and tongue: and had promised to come on the very next day, after school hours, and commence the amusing trial of Reddy's affections. The lady tapped him with her fan, smiled languidly, and rolled up her eyes—Verty bowed, and took his leave of her.

He mounted Cloud, and calling Longears, took his way sadly toward town. Could he not look back and see those tender eyes following him from the lattice of Redbud's room—and blessing him?

CHAPTER XXIV. OF THE EFFECT OF VERTY'S VIOLIN-PLAYING UPON MR. RUSHTON.

The young man had just reached the foot of the hill, upon which the Bower of Nature stood—have we not mentioned before the name which Miss Sallianna had bestowed upon the seminary?—when he heard himself accosted by a laughing and careless voice, and raised his head, to see from whom it proceeded.

The voice, apparently, issued from a gentleman who had drawn rein in the middle of the road, and was gazing at him with great good humor and freedom. Verty returned this gaze, and the result of his inspection was, that the new-comer was a total stranger to him. He was a young man of about nineteen, with handsome features, characterized by an expression of nonchalance and careless good humor; clad in a very rich dress, somewhat foppish, but of irreproachable taste; and the horse he bestrode was an animal as elegant in figure and appointments as his master.

“Hallo, friend!” the new-comer had said, “give you good-day.”

Verty nodded.

“You don't recognize me,” said the young man.

“I believe not,” replied Verty.

“Well, that's all right; and it would be strange if you did,” the young man went on in his careless voice; “we have never met, I think, and, faith! all I recognize about you is my coat.”

“Your coat?”

“Coat, did I say?—worse than that! I recognize my knee-breeches, my stockings, my chapeau, my waistcoat!”

And the new-comer burst into a careless laugh.

Verty shook his head.

“They are mine, sir,” he said.

“You are mistaken.”

Verty returned the careless glance with one which seemed to indicate that he was not very well pleased.

“How?” he said.

“I maintain that you are wearing my clothes, by Jove! Come, let us fight it out;—or no! I've got an engagement, my dear fellow, and we must put it off. Fanny is waiting for me, and would be dying with disappointment if I didn't come.”

With which the young fellow touched his horse, and commenced humming a song.

“Fanny?” said Verty, with a sad smile, “what! up at old Scowley's?”

“The very place! Why, you have caught the very form of words by which I am myself accustomed to speak of that respectable matron.”

“I know Miss Fanny.”

“Do you?”

“Yes.”

“Stop!” said the young man, laughing with his easy nonchalance; “tell me if we are rivals.”

“Anan?” said Verty.

“Are you in love with her? Honor bright now, my dear fellow?”

“No,” said Verty, drawn, he did not know how, toward the laughing young man; “no, not with—Miss Fanny.”

“Ah, ah!—then with whom? Not the lovely Sallianna—the admirer of nature? Faith! you're too good-looking a fellow to throw yourself away on such a simpering old maid. By Jove! my dear friend, and new acquaintance, I like you! Let us be friends. My name's Ralph Ashley—I'm Fanny's cousin. Come! confidence for confidence!”

Verty smiled.

“My name is Verty,” he said; “I havn't any other—I'm an Indian.”

“An Indian!”

“Yes.”

“Is it possible?”

Verty nodded.

“Why, you are an elegant cavalier, or the devil take it! I'm just from Williamsburg—from the college there; and I never saw a finer seigneur than yourself, friend Verty. An Indian!”

“That's all,” said Verty; “the new clothes change me. I got 'em at O'Brallaghan's.”

“O'Brallaghan's? The rascal! to sell my suit! That accounts for all! But I don't complain of you. On the contrary, I'm delighted to make your acquaintance. Have you been up there?—I suppose you have?”

And the young man pointed toward the Bower of Nature.

“Yes,” said Verty.

“Visiting?”

“Yes—Redbud.”

“Pretty little Miss Summers?”

Verty heaved a profound sigh, and said, “Yes.”

The young man shook his head.

“Take care, my dear fellow,” he said, with a wise air, “I saw her in town the other morning, and I consider her dangerous. She would not be dangerous to me; I am an old bird among the charming young damsels of this wicked world, and, consequently, not to be caught by chaff—such chaff as brilliant eyes, and rosy-cheeks, and smiles; but, without being critical, my dear friend, I may be permitted to observe, that you look confiding. Take care—it is the advice of a friend. Come and see me at Bousch's tavern where I am staying, if my visnomy has made a favorable impression—Ah! there's Fanny! I must fly to her—the charming infant.”

And the young man gave a farewell nod to Verty, and went on singing, and making signs to the distant Fanny.

Verty gazed after him for a moment; then heaving another sigh much more profound than any which had yet issued from his lips, went slowly on toward the town—his shoulders drooping, his arms hanging down, his eyes intently engaged in staring vacancy out of countenance. If we are asked how it happened that the merry, joyous Verty, whose face was before all sunshine, now resembled nobody so much as some young and handsome Don Quixote, reflecting on the obduracy of his Toboso Dulcinea, we can only reply, that Verty was in love, and had not prospered lately—that is to say, on that particular day, in his suit; and, in consequence, felt as if the world no longer held any more joy or light for him, forever.

With that bad taste which characterizes the victims of this delusion, he could not consent to supply the place of the chosen object of his love with any other image; and even regarded the classic and romantic Miss Sallianna as wholly unworthy to supplant Redbud in his affections. Youth is proverbially unreasonable and fastidious on these subjects, and Verty, with the true folly of a young man, could not discern in Miss Sallianna those thousand graces and attractions, linguistic, philosophical, historical and scientific, which made her so far superior to the child with whom he had played, and committed the folly of falling in love with. So he went along sighing, with his arms hanging down, as we have said, and his shoulders drooping; and in this melancholy guise, reached the office of Judge Rushton.

He found Mr. Roundjacket still driving away with his pen, only stopping at intervals to flourish his ruler, or to cast an affectionate glance upon the MS. of his great poem, which, gracefully tied with red tape arranged in a magnificent bow, lay by him on the desk.

On Verty's entrance the poet raised his head, and looked at him curiously.

“Well, my fine fellow,” he said, “what luck in your wooing? You look as wo-begone as the individual who drew Priam's curtain at the dead of night. Come! my young savage, why are you so sad?”

Verty sat down, murmuring something.

“Speak out!” said Mr. Roundjacket, wiping his pen.

“I'm not very sad,” Verty replied, looking perfectly disconsolate—“what made you think so, Mr. Roundjacket?”

“Your physiognomy, my young friend. Are you happy with such a face as that?'

“Such a face?”

“Yes; I tell you that you look as if you had just parted with all your hopes—as if some adverse fate had deprived you of the privilege of living in this temple of Thespis and the muses. You could not look more doleful if I had threatened never to read any more of my great poem to you.”

“Couldn't?” said Verty, listlessly.

“No.”

The young man only replied with a sigh.

“There it is—you are groaning. Come; have you quarreled with your mistress?”

Verty colored, and his head sank.

“Please don't ask me, sir,” he said; “I have not been very happy to-day—everything has gone wrong. I had better get to my work, sir,—I may forget it.”

And with a look of profound discouragement, which seemed to be reflected in the sympathizing face of Longears, who had stretched himself at his master's feet and now lay gazing at him, Verty opened the record he had been copying, and began to write.

Roundjacket looked at him for a moment in silence, and then, with an expression of affection and pity, which made his grotesque face absolutely handsome, muttered something to himself, and followed Verty's example.

When Roundjacket commenced writing, he did so with the regularity and accuracy of a machine which is set in motion by the turning of a crank, and goes on until it is stopped. This was the case on the present occasion, and Verty seemed as earnestly engaged in his own particular task. But appearances are deceptive—Indian nature will not take the curb like Anglo-Saxon—and a glance over Verty's shoulders will reveal the species of occupation which he became engaged in after finishing ten lines of the law paper.

He was tracing with melancholy interest a picture upon the sheet beneath his pen; and this was a lovely little design of a young girl, with smiling lips, kind, tender eyes, and cheeks which were round and beautiful with mirth. With a stroke of the pen Verty added the waving hair, brushed back a la Pompadour the foam of lace around the neck, and the golden drop in the little ear. Redbud looked at you from the paper, with her modest eyes and smiles—and for a moment Verty gazed at the creation of his pencil, sighing mournfully.

Then, with a deeper sigh than before, he drew beneath this another sketch—the same head, but very different. The eyes now were cold and half closed—the lips were close together, and seemed almost disdainful—and as the gentle bending forward in the first design was full of pleasant abandon and graceful kindness, so the head in the present sketch had that erect and frigid carriage which indicates displeasure.

Verty covered his eyes with his hand, and leaning down upon the desk, was silent and motionless, except that a stifled sigh would at times issue from his lips, a sad heaving of his breast indicate the nature of his thoughts.

Longears rose, and coming to his master, wagged his tail, and asked, with his mute but intelligent glance, what had happened.

Verty felt the dog lick his hand, and rose from his recumbent posture.

“Yes, yes, Longears,” he murmured, “I can't help showing it—even you know that I am not happy.”

And with listless hands he took up the old violin which lay upon his desk and touched the strings. The sound died away in trembling waves—Roundjacket continued writing.

Verty, without appearing to be conscious of what he was doing, took the bow of the violin, and placing the instrument upon his shoulder, leaned his ear down to it, and drew the hair over the strings. A long, sad monotone floated through the room.

Roundjacket wrote on.

Verty, with his eyes fixed on vacancy, his lips sorrowfully listless, his frame drooping more and more, began to play a low, sad air, which sounded like a sigh.

Roundjacket raised his head, and looked at the musician.

Verty leaned more and more upon his instrument, listening to it as to some one speaking to him, his eyes closed, his bosom heaving, his under lip compressed sorrowfully as he dreamed.

Roundjacket was just about to call upon Verty to cease his savage and outrageous conduct, or Mr. Rushton, who was in the other room, would soon issue forth and revenge such a dreadful violation of law office propriety, when the door of that gentleman's sanctum opened, and he appeared upon the threshold.

But far from bearing any resemblance to the picture of the poet's imagination—instead of standing mute with rage, and annihilating the musician with a horrible scowl from beneath his shaggy and frowning brows, Mr. Rushton presented a perfect picture of softness and emotion. His head bending forward, his eyes half closed and filled with an imperceptible mist, his whole manner quiet, and sad, and subdued, he seemed to hang upon the long-drawn sighing of the violin, and take a mournful pleasure in its utterances.

Verty's hand passed more and more slowly backward and forward—the music became still more affecting, and passing from thoughtfulness to sadness, and from sadness to passionate regret, it died away in a wail.

He felt a hand upon his shoulder, and turned round. Mr. Rushton, with moist eyes and trembling lips, was gazing at him.

“Do not play that any more, young man,” he said, in a low tone, “it distresses me.”

“Distresses you, sir?” said Verty.

“Yes.”

“What? 'Lullaby?'“

“Yes,” muttered the lawyer.

Verty's sad eyes inquired the meaning of so singular a fact, but Mr. Rushton did not indulge this curiosity.

“Enough,” he said, with more calmness, as he turned away, “it is not proper for you to play the violin here in business hours; but above all, never again play that music—I cannot endure the memories it arouses—enough.”

And retiring slowly, Mr. Rushton disappeared, closing the door of his room behind him.

Verty followed him with his eyes until he was no longer visible, then turned toward Mr. Roundjacket for an explanation. That gentleman seemed to understand this mute interrogation, but only shook his head.

Therefore Verty returned to his work, sadly laying aside the two sketches of Redbud, and selecting another sheet to copy the record upon. By the time he had finished one page, Mr. Roundjacket rose from his desk, stretched himself, and announced that office hours were over, and he would seek his surburban cottage, where this gentleman lived in bachelor misery. Verty said he was tired, too; and before long had told Mr. Roundjacket good-bye, and mounted Cloud.

With Longears at his side, soberly walking in imitation of the horse, Verty went along toward his home in the hills, gazing upon the golden west, and thinking still of Redbud.

CHAPTER XXV. A YOUNG GENTLEMAN, JUST FROM WILLIAM AND MARY COLLEGE.

Instead of following Verty, who, like most lovers, is very far from being an amusing personage, let us go back and accompany Mr. Ralph Ashley, on his way to the Bower of Nature, where our young friend Fanny awaits him; and if these scenes and characters also fail to entertain us, we may at least be sure that they are from the book of human nature—a volume whose lightest chapters and most frivolous illustrations are not beneath the attention of the wisest. If this were not true, the present chronicler would never be guilty of the folly of expending his time and ink upon such details as go to make up this true history; it would be lost labor, were not the flower and the blade of grass, the very thistle down upon the breeze, each and all, as wonderful as the grand forests of the splendid tropics. What character or human deed is too small or trivial for study? Never did a great writer utter truer philosophy than when he said:

  “Say not 'a small event!' Why 'small?'
  Costs it more pains than this, ye call
  A 'great event,' shall come to pass,
  Than that? Untwine me from the mass
  Of deeds which make up life, one deed
  Power shall fall short in, or exceed!”

And now after this philosophical dissertation upon human life and actions, we may proceed to narrate the visit of Mr. Ralph Ashley, graduate of Williamsburg, and cousin of Miss Fanny, to the Bower of Nature, and its inmates.

Fanny was at the door when he dismounted, and awaited the young gentleman with some blushes, and a large amount of laughter.

This laughter was probably directed toward the somewhat dandified costume of the young gentleman, and he was not long left in the dark upon this point.

“How d'ye do, my dearest Fanny,” said Mr. Ralph Ashley, hastening forward, and holding out his arms; “let us embrace!”

“Humph!” said Fanny; “indeed you shan't!”

“Shan't what—kiss you?”

“Yes, sir: you shall do nothing of the sort!”

“Wrong!—here goes!”

And before Miss Fanny could make her retreat, Ralph Ashley, Esq., caught that young lady in his arms, and impressed a salute upon her lips, so remarkably enthusiastic, that it resembled the discharge of a pistol. Perhaps we are wrong in saying that it was imprinted on his cousin's lips, inasmuch as Miss Fanny, though incapacitated from releasing herself, could still turn her head, and she always maintained that nothing but her cheek suffered. On this point we cannot be sure, and therefore leave the question undecided.

Of one fact, however, there can be no doubt—namely, that Mr. Ralph Ashley received, almost immediately, a vigorous salute of another description upon the cheek, from Miss Fanny's open hand—a salute which caused his face to assume the most girlish bloom, and his eyes to suddenly fill with tears.

“By Jove! you've got an arm!” said the cavalier, admiringly. “Come, my charming child—why did you treat me so cruelly?”

“Why did you kiss me? Impudence!”

“That's just what young ladies always say,” replied her cavalier, philosophically; “whatever they like, they are sure to call impudent.”

“Like?”

“Yes, like! Do you pretend to say that you are not complimented by a salute from such an elegant gentleman as myself?”

“Oh, of course!” said Miss Fanny, satirically.

“Then the element of natural affection—of consanguinity—has its due weight no doubt, my dearest. I am your cousin.”

“What of that, man?”

“Everything! Don't you know that in this reputable province, called Virginia, blood goes a great way? Cousins are invariably favorites.”

“You are very much mistaken, sir,” said Fanny.

“There it is—you girls always deny it, and always believe it,” said Mr. Ralph, philosophically. “Now, you would die for me.”

“Die, indeed!”

“Would'nt you?”

“Fiddlesticks!”

“That's an impressive observation, and there's no doubt about your meaning, though the original signification, the philological origin of the phrase, is somewhat cloudy. You won't expire for me, then?”

“No!”

“Then live for me, delight of my existence!” said Mr. Ralph Ashley, with a languishing glance, and clasping his hands romantically as he spoke; “live for one, whose heart is wrapped in thee!”

Miss Fanny's sense of the ludicrous was strong, and this pathetic appeal caused her to burst into laughter.

“More ridiculous than ever, as I live!” she cried, “though I thought that was impossible.”

“Did you?”

“Yes.”

Mr. Ashley gently twined a lock around his finger, and assuming a foppish air, replied:

“I don't know whether you thought it impossible for me to become more ridiculous; but you can't help confessing, my own Fanny, that you doubted whether I could grow more fascinating.”

Fanny's lip curled.

“Oh, yes!” she said.

“Come—don't deny what was perfectly plain—it won't do.”

“Deny—?”

“That you were desperately in love with me, and that I was your sweetheart, as the children say.”

And Mr. Ralph gently caressed the downy covering of his chin, and smiled.

“What a conceited thing you are,” said Fanny, laughing; “you are outrageous.”

And having uttered this opinion, Miss Fanny's eyes suddenly fell, and her merry cheek colored. The truth was simply, that Ralph had been a frank, good-humored, gallant boy, and the neighbors had said, that he was Fanny's “sweetheart;” and the remembrance of this former imputation now embarrassed the nearly-grown-up young lady. No one could remain embarrassed in Mr. Ralph's society long however; there was so much careless ease in his demeanor, that it was contagious, and so Fanny in a moment had regained all her self-possession, and returned the languishing glances of her admirer with her habitual expression of satirical humor.

“Yes, perfectly outrageous!” she said; “and college has positively ruined you—you cannot deny it.”

“Ruined me?”

“Wholly.”

“On the contrary, it has greatly improved me, my dearest.”

And Ralph sat down on the trellised portico, stretching out his elegant rosetted shoes, and laughing.

“I am not your dearest,” said Fanny; “that is not my name.”

“You are mistaken! But come, sit by me: I'm just in the mood to talk.”

“No! I don't think I will.”

“Pray do.”

“No,” said Fanny, shaking her head coquettishly, “I'll stand while your lordship discourses.”

“You positively shan't!”

And with these words, the young man grasped Miss Fanny's long streaming hair-ribbon, and gently drew it toward him, laughing.

Fanny cried out. Ralph laughed more than ever.

There was but one alternative left for the young girl. She must either see her elegantly bound up raven locks deprived of their confining ribbon, and so fall in wild disorder, or she must obey the command of the enemy, and sit quietly beside him. True, there was the third course of becoming angry, and raising her head with dignified hauteur. But this course had its objections—it would not do to quarrel with her cousin and former playmate immediately upon his return; and again the movement of the head, which we have indicated, would have been attended by consequences exceedingly disastrous.

Therefore, as Ralph continued to draw toward him gently the scarlet ribbon, with many smiles and admiring glances, Miss Fanny gradually approached the seat, and finally sat down.

“There, sir!” she said, pouting, “I hope you are satisfied!”

“Perfectly; the fact is, my sweet Fanny, I never was anything else but satisfied with you! I always was fascinated with you.”

“That's one of the things which you were taught at college, I suppose.”

“What?”

“Making pretty speeches.”

“No, they didn't teach that, by Jove! Nothing but wretched Latin, Greek and Mathematics—things, evidently, of far less importance than the art you mention.”

“Oh! of course.”

“And the reason is plain. A gentleman never uses the one after he leaves college, and lays them by with the crabbed books that teach them; while the art of compliment is always useful and agreeable—especially agreeable to young ladies of your exceedingly juvenile age—is't not?”

“Very agreeable.”

“I know it is; and when a woman descends to it, and flatters a man—ah! my dear Fanny, there's no hope for him. I am a melancholy instance.”

“You!” laughed Fanny, who had regained her good-humor.

“Yes; you know Williamsburg has many other things to recommend it besides the college.”

“What things?”

“Pretty girls.”

“Oh! indeed.”

“Yes, and I assure you I did not neglect the opportunity of prosecuting my favorite study—the female character. Don't interrupt me—your character is no longer a study to me.”

“I am very glad, sir.”

“I made you out long ago—like the rest of your sex, you are, of course, very nearly angelic, but still have your faults.”

“Thank you, sir.”

“All true—but about Williamsburg—I was, I say, a melancholy sample of the effect produced by a kind and friendly speech from a lady. Observe, that the said speech was perfectly commonplace, and sprung, I'm sure, from the speaker's general amiability; and yet, what must I do, but go and fall in love with her.”

“Oh!” from Fanny.

“Yes—true as truth itself; and, as a consequence, my friends, for the first, and only time, had a good joke against me. They had a tale about my going to his Excellency, the Governor's palace, to look at the great map there—all for the purpose of finding where the country was in which she lived; for, observe, she was only on a visit to Williamsburg—of studying out this boundary, and that—this river to cross, and that place to stop at,—the time it would take to carry my affections over them—and all the thousand details. Of course, this was not true, my darling Fanny, at least—”

“Ralph, you shall stop talking to me like a child!” exclaimed Fanny, who had listened to the details of Mr. Ashley's passion with more and more constraint; “please to remember that I am not a baby, sir.”

Ralph looked at the lovely face, with its rosy-cheeks and flashing eyes, and burst out laughing.

“There, you are as angry as Cleopatra, when the slave brought her bad news—and, by Jove, Fanny, you are twice as lovely. Really! you have improved wonderfully. Your eyes, at this moment, are as brilliant as fire—your lips like carnation—and your face like sunlit gold; recollect, I'm a poet. I'm positively rejoiced at the good luck which made me bring such a lovely expression into your fair countenance.”

Fanny turned her head away.

“Come now, Fanny,” said Ralph, seriously, “I do believe you are going to find fault with my nonsense.”

No reply.

Mr. Ralph Ashley heaved a sigh; and was silent.

“You treat me like a child,” said Fanny, reproachfully; “I am not a child.”

“You certainly are not, my dearest Fanny—you are a charming young lady—the most delicious of your sex.”

And Mr. Ralph Ashley accompanied these words with a glance so ludicrously languishing, that Fanny, unable to command herself, burst into laughter; and the quarrel was all made up, if quarrel it indeed had been.

“You were a child in old times,” said Mr. Ashley, throwing his foot elegantly over his knee; “and, I recollect, had a perfect genius for blindman's-buff; but, of course, at sixteen you have 'put away' all those infantile or 'childish things'—though I am sincerely rejoiced to see that you have not 'become a man.'“

Fanny laughed.

“I wish I was,” she said.

“What?”

“Why a man.”

“Oh! you're very well as you are;—though if you were a 'youth,' I'm sure, Fanny dear, I should be desperately fond of you.”

“Quite likely.”

“Oh, nothing truer; and everybody would say, 'See the handsome friends.' Come now, would'nt we make a lovely couple.”

“Lovely!”

“Suppose we try it.”

“Try what?”

“Being a couple.”

Fanny suddenly caught, from the laughing eye, the young man's meaning, and began to color.

“I see you understand, my own Fanny,” observed Mr. Ralph, “and I expected nothing less from a young lady of your quickness. What say you? It is not necessary for me to say that I'm desperately in love with you.”

“Oh, not at all necessary!” replied Fanny, satirically, but with a blush.

“I see you doubt it.”

“Oh, not at all.”

“Which means, as usual with young ladies, that you don't believe a word of it. Well, only try me. What proof will you have?”

Fanny laughed with the same expression of constraint which we have before observed, and said:

“You have not looked upon the map of Virginia yet for my 'boundaries?'“

Ralph received the hit full in the front.

“By Jove! Fanny,” he exclaimed, “I oughtn't to have told you that.”

“I'm glad you did.”

“Why?”

“Because, of course, I shall not make any efforts to please you—you are already 'engaged!'“

“Engaged! well, you are wrong. Neither my heart nor my hand is engaged. Ah, dear Fanny, you don't know how we poor students carry away with us to college some consuming passion which we feed and nurture;—how we toast the Dulcinea at oyster parties, and, like Corydon, sigh over her miniature. I had yours!”

“My—miniature?” said the lively Fanny, with a roseate blush, “you had nothing of the sort.”

“Your likeness, then.”

“Equally untrue—where is it?”

“Here!” said Mr. Ralph Ashley, laying his hand upon his heart, and ogling Miss Fanny with terrible expression. “Ah, Fanny, darling, don't believe that story I relate about myself—never has any one made any impression on me—for my heart—my love—my thoughts—have always—”

Suddenly the speaker became silent, and rising to his feet, made a courteous and graceful bow. A young lady had just appeared at the door.

CHAPTER XXVI. THE NECKLACE.

This was Redbud.

The poor girl presented a great contrast to the lively Fanny, who, with sparkling eyes and merry lips, and rosy, sunset cheeks, afforded an excellent idea of the joyous Maia, as she trips on gathering her lovely flowers. Poor Redbud! Her head was hanging down, her eyes wandered sadly and thoughtfully toward the distant autumn horizon, and the tender lips wore that expression of soft languor which is so sad a spectacle in the young.

At Mr. Ralph Ashley's bow, she raised her head quickly; and her startled look showed plainly she had not been conscious of the presence of Fanny, or the young man on the portico.

Redbud returned the profound bow of Fanny's cavalier with a delightful little curtsey, and would have retired into the house again. But this Miss Fanny, for reasons best known to herself, was determined to prevent—reasons which a close observer might have possibly guessed, after looking at her blushing cheeks and timid, uneasy eyes. For everybody knows that if there is anything more distasteful and embarrassing to very young ladies than a failure on the part of gallants to recognise their claims to attention, that other more embarrassing circumstance is a too large quantum of the pleasing incense. It is not the present writer, however, who will go so far as to say that their usual habit of running away from the admirer should be taken, as in other feminine manoeuvres, by contraries.

So Fanny duly introduced Mr. Ralph Ashley to Miss Redbud Summers; and then, with a little masonic movement of the head, added, with perfect ease:

“Suppose we all take a walk in the garden—it is a very pretty evening.”

This proposition was enthusiastically seconded by Mr. Ralph Ashley, who had regained his laughing ease again—and though Redbud would fain have been excused, she was obliged to yield, and so in ten minutes they were promenading up and down the old garden, engaged in pleasant conversation—which conversation has, however, nothing to do with this veracious history.

Just as they arrived, in one of their perambulatory excursions around the walks, at a small gate which opened on the hill-side, they discovered approaching them a worthy of the pedlar description, who carried on his broad German shoulders a large pack, which, as the pedlar jogged along, made, pretences continually of an intention to dive forward over his head, but always without carrying this intention into execution. The traveling merchant seemed to be at the moment a victim to that species of low spirits which attacks all his class when trade is dull; and no sooner had he descried the youthful group, than his face lighted up with anticipated business.

He came to the gate at which they stood, and ducking his head, unslung the pack, and without further ceremony opened it.

A tempting array of stuffs and ribbons, pencils, pinchbeck jewels and thimbles, scissors and knives, immediately became visible; with many other things which it is not necessary for us to specify. The pedlar called attention to them by pointing admiringly at each, and recommended them by muttering broken English over them.

With that propensity of young ladies to handle and examine all articles which concern themselves with personal adornment, Fanny and Redbud, though they really wanted nothing, turned over everything in the pack. But little resulted therefrom for the pedlar. He did not succeed in persuading Redbud to buy a beautiful dress pattern, with dahlias and hollyhocks, in their natural size and colors; and was equally unsuccessful with Fanny, who obstinately declined to reduce into her possession a lovely lace cap, such as our dear old grandmamas' portraits show us—though this description may be incorrect, as Fanny always said that the article in question was a night-cap.

Disappointed in this, the pedlar brought out his minor “articles;" and here he was more successful. Mr. Ashley bought sufficiently for his young lady friends at the seminary, he said, and Redbud and Fanny both purchased little things.

Fanny bought the most splendid glass breastpin, which she pretended, with a merry laugh, to admire “to distraction.” Redbud, without knowing very well why, bought a little red coral necklace, which looked bright and new, and rattled merrily as she took it; for some reason the pedlar parted with it for a very small sum, and then somewhat hastily packed up his goods, and ducking his head in thanks, went on his way.

“Look what a very handsome breastpin I have!” said Fanny, as they returned through the garden; “I'm sure nobody would know that it is not a diamond.”

“You are right,” said Mr. Ashley, smiling, “the world is given to judging almost wholly from outward appearances. And what did you purchase, Miss Summers—or Miss Redbud, if you will permit me—”

“Oh, yes, sir,” said Redbud, looking at him with her kind, sad eyes, “you need'nt be ceremonious with me. Besides, you're Fanny's cousin. I bought this necklace—I thought it old-fashioned and pretty.”

Redbud was silent again, her eyes bent quietly upon the walk, the long lashes reposing thus upon the tender little cheeks.

“Old-fashioned and pretty,” said the young man, with a smile, “did you not make a mistake there, Miss Redbud?”

“No, sir—I meant it,” she said, raising her eyes simply to his own. “I think old-fashioned things are very often prettier and more pleasant than new ones. Don't you?”

“I do!” cried Fanny; “I'm sure my great grandmother's diamond breastpin is much handsomer than this horrid thing!”

And the young lady tore the pinchbeck jewel from her neck.

Mr. Ashley laughed.

“There's your consistency,” he said; “just now you thought nothing could be finer.”

Miss Fanny vehemently opposed this view of her character at great length, and with extraordinary subtilty. We regret that the exigencies of our narrative render it impossible for us to follow her—we can only state that the result, as on all such occasions, was the total defeat of the cavalier. Mr. Ralph Ashley several times stated his willingness to subscribe to any views, opinions or conclusions which Miss Fanny desired him to, and finally placed his fingers in his ears.

Fanny greeted this manoeuvre with a sudden blow in the laugher's face, from her bouquet; and Redbud, forgetting her disquietude, laughed gaily at the merry cousins.

So they entered, and met the bevy of young school girls on the portico, with whom Mr. Ralph Ashley, in some manner, became instantaneously popular: perhaps partly on account of the grotesque presents he scattered among them, with his gay, joyous laughter. After thus making himself generally agreeable, he looked at the setting sun, and said he must go. He would, however, soon return, he said, to see his dearest Fanny, the delight of his existence. And having made this pleasant speech, he went away on his elegant horse, laughing, good-humored, and altogether a very pleasing, graceful-looking cavalier, as the red sunset showered upon his rich apparel and his slender charger all its wealth of ruddy, golden light.

And as he went on thus, so gallant, in the bravery of youth and joy, a young lady, sitting on the sun-lit portico, followed him with her eyes; and leaning her fine brow, with its ebon curls, upon her hand, mused with a sigh and a smile. And when the cavalier turned round as the trees swallowed him, and waved his hat, with its fine feather, in the golden light, Miss Fanny murmured—“Really, I think—Ralph—has very much—improved!” Which seemed to be a very afflicting circumstance to Miss Fanny, inasmuch as she uttered a deep sigh.

Meanwhile our little Redbud gazed, too, from the brilliantly-illumined portico, toward the golden ocean in the west. The rich light lingered lovingly upon her golden hair, and tender lips and cheeks, and snowy neck, on which the coral necklace rose and fell with the pulsations of her heart. The kind, mild eyes were fixed upon the sunset sadly, and their blue depths seemed to hold more than one dew-drop, ready to pass the barrier of the long dusky lashes, which closed gradually as the pure white forehead drooped upon her hand.

For a long time the tender heart remained thus still and quiet; then her lips moved faintly, and she murmured—

“Oh, it is wrong—I know it is—I ought not to!”

And two tears fell on the child's hand, and on the necklace, which the fingers held.

CHAPTER XXVII. PHILOSOPHICAL.

We left our friend Verty slowly going onward toward the western hills, under the golden autumn sunset, with drooping head and listless arms, thinking of Redbud and the events of the day, which now was going to its death in royal purple over the far horizon.

One thought, one image only dwelt in the young man's mind, and what that thought was, his tell-tale lips clearly revealed:—“Redbud! Redbud!” they murmured; and the dreamer seemed to be wholly dead to that splendid scene around him, dreaming of his love.

There are those who speak slightingly of boyhood and its feelings, scoffing at the early yearnings of the heart, and finding only food for jest in those innocent and childish raptures and regrets. We do not envy such. That man's heart must be made of doubtful stuff, who jeers at the fresh dreams of youth; or rather, he must have no heart at all—above all, no sweet and affecting recollections. There is something touching in the very idea of this pure and unselfish emotion, which the hardened nature of the grown-up man can never feel again. Men often dream about their childhood, and shed unavailing tears as they gaze in fancy on their own youthful faces, and with the pencil of imagination slowly trace the old forms and images.

Said a writer of our acquaintance, no matter who, since no one read or thought of him:—“The writer of these idle lines finds no difficulty in painting for himself a Titian picture, in which, as in his life-picture, his own figure lies on the canvas. Long ago—a long, long time ago—in fact, when he was a boy, and loved dearly a child like himself, a child who is now a fair and beautiful-browed woman, and who smiles with a dreamy, thoughtful expression, when his face comes to her—long ago, flowers were very bright in the bright May day, by a country brookside. The butter-cups were over all the hills, for children to put under their chins, and pea-blossoms, very much like lady-slippers, swayed prettily in the wind. Beneath the feet of the boy and girl—she was a merry, bright-eyed child! how I love her still!—broke crocuses and violets, and a thousand wild flowers, fresh and full of fairy beauty. The grass was green and soft, and the birds rose through the air on fluttering wings, singing and rejoicing, and the clouds floated over them as only clouds in May can float, quickly, hopefully, with a dash of changeful April in them—not like those of August: for the May cloud is a maiden, a child, full of life and joy, running and playing, and looking playfully back at the winds as they rustle on—not August-like—a thoughtful ripened beauty, large, lazy, and contemplative, whose spring of youth has passed, whose summer has arrived, in all its wealth, and power, and languid splendor. Well, they wandered—the boy and girl—on the bright May day, pleasantly across the hills, and along the brook, which ran merrily over the pebbles as bright as diamonds. That boy has now become a man, and he has vainly sought, in all the glittering pursuits of life, an adequate recompense for the death of those soft hours. Having gone, as all things must go, they left no equivalent in the future. But not, therefore, in sadness does he write this: rather in deep joy, and as though he had said—

  'Give me a golden pen, and let me lean
  On heaped-up flowers—'

“So wholly flooded is his heart with the memory of that young, frank face. She wore a pink dress, he recollects—all children should wear either pink or white—and her hair was in long, bright curls, and her eyes were diamonds, full of light. He thought the birds were envious of her singing, when she carolled clearly in the bright May morning. He wove her a garland of flowers for her hair, and she blushed as she took it from his hands. She had on a small gold ring, and a red bracelet; and since that time he has loved red bracelets more than all barbaric pearls and gold. In those times, the trees were greener than at present, the birds sang more sweetly, and the streams ran far more merrily. They thought so at least, as they sat under a large oak, and he read to her, with shadowy, loving eyes, nearly full of happy tears, old songs, that 'dallied with the innocence of love, like the old age.' And so the evening went into the west, and they returned, and all the night and long days afterward her smile shone on him, brightening his life as it does now.”

Who laughs? Is it at Verty going along with drooping forehead, and deep sighs; or at the unappreciated great poet, whose prose-strains we have recorded? Well, friends, perhaps you have reason. Therefore, let us unite our voices in one great burst of “inextinguishable laughter”—as of the gods on Mount Olympus—raised very high above the world!

Let us rejoice that we have become more rational, and discarded all that folly, and are busying ourselves with rational affairs—Wall-street, and cent per cent. and dividends. Having become men, we have put away childish things, and among them, the encumbrances of a heart. Who would have one? It makes you dream on autumn days, when the fair sunlight streams upon the sails which waft the argosies of commerce to your warehouse;—it almost leads you to believe that stocks are not the one thing to be thought of on this earth—that all the hurrying bustle of existence is of doubtful weight, compared with the treasures of that memory which leads us back to boyhood and its innocent illusions. Let us part with it, if any indeed remains, and so press on, unfettered, in the glorious race for cash. The “golden age" of Arcady is gone so long—the new has come! The crooks wreathed round with flowers are changed into telegraph-posts, and Corydon is on a three-legged stool, busy with ledgers—knitting his brow as he adds up figures. Let us be thankful.

Therefore, as we have arrived at this rational conclusion, and come to regard Verty and his feelings in their proper light, we will not speak further of the foolish words which escaped from his lips, as he went on, in the crimson sunset slowly fading. In time, perhaps, his education will be completed in the school of Rational Philosophy, under that distinguished lady-professor, Miss Sallianna. At present we shall allow him to proceed upon his way toward his lodge in the wilderness, where the old Indian woman awaits him with her deep love and anxious tenderness.

CHAPTER XXVIII. CONSEQUENCES OF MISS SALLIANNA'S PASSION FOR VERTY.

When Verty made his appearance at the office in Winchester, on the morning of the day which followed immediately the events we have just related, Roundjacket received him with a mysterious smile, and with an expression of eye, particularly, which seemed to suggest the most profound secrecy and confidence. Roundjacket did not say anything, but his smile was full of meaning.

Verty, however, failed to comprehend;—even paid no attention to his poetical friend, when that gentleman put his hand in his breast-pocket, and half-drew something therefrom, looking at Verty.

The young man was too much absorbed in gloomy thought to observe these manoeuvres; and, besides, we must not lose sight of the fact, that he was an Indian, and did not understand hints and intimations as well as civilized individuals.

Roundjacket was forced, at last, to clear his throat and speak.

“Hem!” observed the poet.

“Sir?” said Verty, for the tone of Roundjacket's observation was such as to convey the impression that he was about to speak.

“I've got something for you, my dear fellow,” said the poet.

“Have you, sir?”

“Yes; now guess what it is.”

“I don't think I could.”

“What do you imagine it can be?”

Verty shook his head, and leaned upon his desk.

“It has some connection with the subject of numerous conversations we have held,” said Roundjacket, persuasively, waving backward and forward the ruler which he had taken up abstractedly, and as he did so, indulging in a veiled and confidential smile; “now you can guess—can't you?”

“I think not, sir.”

“Why, what have we been talking about lately?”

“Law.”

“No, sir!”

“Havn't we?”

“By no means—that is to say, there is a still more interesting subject, my dear young savage, than even law.”

“Oh, I know now—”

“Ah—!”

“It is poetry.”

“Bah!” observed the poet; “you're out yet. But who knows? Your guess may be correct. It may be poetry.”

“What, sir?”

“This letter for you, from a lady,” said Roundjacket, smiling, and drawing from his pocket an elegantly folded billet.

Verty rose quickly.

“A letter for me, sir!” he said, blushing.

“Yes; not from a great distance though,” Roundjacket replied, with a sly chuckle; “see here; the post-mark is the 'Bower of Nature.'“

Verty extended his hand abruptly, his lips open, his countenance glowing.

“Oh, give it to me, sir!”

Roundjacket chuckled more than ever, and handing it to the young man, said:

“An African of small dimensions brought it this morning, and said no answer was required—doubtless, therefore, it is not a love-letter, the writers of which are well-known to appreciate replies. Hey! what's the matter, my friend?”

This exclamation was called forth by the sudden and extraordinary change in Verty's physiognomy. As we have said, the young man had received the letter with a radiant flush, and a brilliant flash of his fine eye; and thus the reader will easily comprehend, when we inform him, that Verty imagined the letter to be from Redbud. Redbud was his one thought, the only image in his mind, and Roundjacket's words, “post-mark, the Bower of Nature,” had overwhelmed him with the blissful expectation of a note from Redbud, with loving words of explanation in it, recalling him, making him once more happy. He tore open the letter, which was simply directed to “Mr. Verty, at Judge Rushton's office,” and found his dream dispelled. Alas! the name, at the foot of the manuscript, was not “Redbud”—it was “Sallianna!”

And so, when the young man's hopes were overturned, the bright flash of his clear eye was veiled in mist again, and his hand fell, with a gesture of discouragement, which Roundjacket found no difficulty in understanding.

Verty's face drooped upon his hand, and with the other hand, which held the letter, hanging down at the side of his chair, he sighed profoundly. He remained thus, buried in thought, for some time, Roundjacket gazing at him in silence. He was aroused by something pulling at the letter, which turned to be Longears, who was biting Miss Sallianna's epistle in a literary way, and this aroused him. He saw Roundjacket looking at him.

“Ah—ah!” said that gentleman, “it seems, young man, that the letter is not to your taste.”

Verty sighed.

“I hav'nt read it,” he said.

“How then—?”

“It's not from Redbud.”

Roundjacket chuckled.

“I begin to understand now why your face changed so abruptly when you recognized the handwriting, Mr. Verty,” said the poet; gently brandishing the ruler, and directing imaginary orchestras; “you expected a note from your friend, Miss Redbud—horrid habit you have, that of cutting off the Miss—and now you are unhappy.”

“Yes—unhappy,” Verty said, leaning his head on his wrist.

“Who's the letter from?”

“It's marked private and confidential, sir; I ought not to tell you—ought I.”

“No, sir, by no means,” said Roundjacket; “I would'nt listen to it for a bag of doubloons. But you should read it.”

“I will, sir,” Verty said, sighing.

And he spread the letter out before him and read it carefully, with many varying expressions on his face. The last expression of all, however, was grief and pain. As he finished, his head again drooped, and his sorrowful eyes were fixed on vacancy.

“I'll tell you what it is, Verty, my friend,” said Roundjacket, chuckling, “I don't think we make much by keeping you from paying a daily visit to some of your friends. My own opinion is, that you would do more work if you went and had some amusement.”

“And I think so, too,” said a rough voice behind the speaker, whose back was turned to the front door of the office; “it is refreshing to hear you talking sense, instead of nonsense, once in your life, Roundjacket.”

And Mr. Rushton strode in, and looked around him with a scowl.

“Good morning, sir,” said Verty, sadly.

“Good morning, sir?” growled Mr. Rushton, “no, sir! it's a a bad morning, a wretched, diabolical morning, if the sun is pretending to shine.”

“I think the sunshine is very pretty, sir.”

“Yes—I suppose you do—I have no doubt of it—everything is pretty, of course,—Roundjacket!”

“Well?”

“Did you get exhibit 10?”

“I did, sir,” replied Roundjacket, sighting his ruler to see if it was straight. “Have you had your breakfast, sir?”

“Yes, sir; why did you ask?”

“Oh, nothing—you know I thought you uncommonly amiable this morning.”

Mr. Rushton scowled, and the ghost of a smile passed over his rigid lips.

“I am nothing of the sort! I'm a perfect bear!” he growled.

“Not inconsistent with my former observation that you were better than usual,” observed Roundjacket, with an agreeable smile. “I can prove to you quite readily that—”

“You are a ninny—I have no doubt of it—if I would listen to your wretched jabber! Enough! if you talk any more I'll go home again. A fine state of things, truly—that I am to have my mind dissipated when I'm in working trim by the nonsense of a crack-brained poet!”

Roundjacket's indignation at this unfeeling allusion to his great poem was so intense, that for the moment he was completely deprived of utterance.

“And as for you, young man,” said Mr. Rushton, smiling grimly at Verty, “I suppose you are following the ordinary course of foolish young men, and falling in love! Mark me, sir! the man that falls in love makes a confounded fool of himself—you had better at once go and hang yourself. Pretty people you are, with your 'eyes' and 'sighs'—your 'loves' and 'doves'—your moonlight, and flowers and ecstacies! Avoid it, sir! it's like honey-water—it catches the legs of flies like you, and holds you tight. Don't think you can take a slight sip of the wine, sir, and there leave off—no, sir, you don't leave off, you youngsters never do; you guzzle a gallon! The consequence is intellectual drunkenness, and thus you make, as I said before, confounded fools of yourselves! Bah! why am I wasting my time!—a vast deal of influence we people who give good advice possess! Young men will be fools to the end—go and see your sweetheart!”

And with a grim smile, the shaggy lawyer entered his sanctum, and banged the door, just as Roundjacket, still irate about the slur cast upon his poetry, had commenced reading in a loud voice the fine introductory stanzas—his hair sticking up, his eyes rolling, his ruler breaking the skulls of invisible foes. Alas for Roundjacket!—nobody appreciated him, which is perhaps one of the most disagreeable things in nature. Even Verty rose in a minute, and took up his hat and rifle, as was his habit.

Roundjacket rolled up his manuscript with a deep sigh, and restored it to the desk.

“Where are you going, young man?” he said. “But I know—and that is your excuse for such shocking taste as you display. As for the within bear,” and Roundjacket pointed toward Mr. Rushton's apartment, “he is unpardonable!”

“Well, good-bye.”

These latter words were uttered as Verty went out, followed by Longears, and closed the door of the office after him.

He had scarcely heard or understood Mr. Rushton's extraordinary speech: but had comprehended that he was free to go away, and in the troubled state of his mind, this was a great boon. Yes! he would go and suffer again in Redbud's presence—this time he would know whether she really hated him. And then that passage in the letter! The thought tore his heart.

What could the reason for this dislike possibly be? Certainly not his familiar ascent to her room, on the previous day. Could it have been because she did not like him in his fine clothes? Was this latter possible? It might be.

“I'll go to Mr. O'Brallaghan's and get my old suit—he has not sent them yet,” said Verty, aloud; “then I'll go and see Redbud just as she used to see me in old times, at Apple Orchard, when we were—ah!—so happy!”

The “ah” above, represents a very deep sigh, which issued from Verty's breast, as he went along with the dignified Longears at his heels. Longears never left his master, unless he was particularly attracted by a small fight among some of his brethren, or was seized with a desire to thrust his nostrils against some baby playing on the sidewalk, (a ceremony which, we are sorry to say, he accompanied with a sniff,) throwing the juvenile responsibility, thereby, into convulsions, evidenced by yells. With these exceptions, Longears was a well-behaved dog, and followed his master in a most “respectable" manner.

Verty arrived at the fluttering doorway of O'Brallaghan's shop, and encountered the proprietor upon the threshold, who made him a low bow. His errand was soon told, and O'Brallaghan entered into extensive explanations and profuse apologies for the delay in sending home Mr. Verty's suit left with him. It would have received “attinshun” that very morning—it was in the back room. Would Mr. Verty “inter?”

Verty entered accordingly, followed by the stately Longears, who rubbed his nose against O'Brallaghan's stockings as he passed, afterwards shaking his head, as if they were not to his taste.

Verty found himself opposite to Mr. Jinks, who was driving his needle as savagely as ever, and, with a tremendous frown, chaunting the then popular ditty of the “Done-over Tailor.” Whether this was in gloomy satire upon his own occupation we cannot say, but certainly the lover of the divine Miss Sallianna presented an appearance very different from his former one, at the Bower of Nature. His expression was as dignified and lofty as before; but as to costume, the least said about Mr. Jinks the better. We may say, however, that it consisted mainly of a pair of slippers and a nightcap, from the summit of which latter article of clothing drooped a lengthy tassel.

On Verty's entrance, Mr. Jinks started up with a terrific frown; or rather, to more accurately describe the movement which he made, uncoiled his legs, and raised his stooping shoulders.

“How, sir!” he cried, “is my privacy again invaded!”

“I came to get my clothes,” said Verty, preoccupied with his own thoughts, and very indifferent to the hero's ire.

“That's no excuse, sir!”

“Excuse?” said Verty.

“Yes, sir—I said excuse; this is my private apartment, and I have told O'Brallaghan that it should not be invaded, sir!”

These indignant words brought Mr. O'Brallaghan to the door, whereupon Mr. Jinks repeated his former observation, and declared that it was an outrage upon his dignity and his rights.

O'Brallaghan displayed some choler at the tone which Mr. Jinks used, and his Irish blood began to rise. He stated that Mr. Verty had come for his clothes, and should have them. Mr. Jinks replied, that he had'nt said anything about Mr. Verty; but was contending for a principle. Mr. O'Brallaghan replied to this with an observation which was lost in his neck-handkerchief, but judging from as much as was audible, in defiance and contempt of Jinks. Jinks observed, with dignity and severity, that there were customers in the store, who were gazing at Mr. Verty, just as he was about to disrobe. O'Brallaghan muttered thereupon to himself some hostile epithets, and hastily returned to wait upon the customers, leaving Mr. Jinks dodging to avoid the eyes of the new-comers, but still preserving an expression of haughty scorn.

Meanwhile Verty had descried his old forest suit lying upon a shelf, and, laying down his rifle, had nearly indued his limbs therewith. In fifteen minutes he had completed the change in his costume, and stood before Mr. Jinks the same forest-hunter which he had been, before the purchase of the elegant clothes he had just taken off. Instead of rosetted shoes, moccasins; instead of silk and velvet, leather and fur. On his head, his old white hat had taken the place of the fashionable chapeau. Verty finished, by taking off the bow of ribbon which secured his hair behind, and scattering the profuse curls over his shoulders.

“Now,” he sighed, looking in a mirror which hung upon the wall, “I feel more like myself.”

Jinks gazed at him with dignified emotion.

“You return to the woods, sir,” he said; “would that I could make up my mind to follow your example. This man, O'Brallaghan, however—”

And Mr. Jinks completed his sentence by savagely clipping a piece of cloth with the huge shears he held, as though the enemy's neck were between them.

Verty scarcely observed this irate movement.

“I'll leave the clothes here,” he said; “I'm going now—good-bye.”

And taking up his rifle, the young man went out, followed by Longears, who, to the last, bent his head over his shoulder, and gazed upon Mr. Jinks with curiosity and interest.

Jinks, with a savage look at O'Brallaghan, was about to return to his work, when a letter, protruding from the pocket of the coat which Verty had just taken off, attracted his attention, and he pounced upon it without hesitation.

Jinks had recognized the handwriting of Miss Sallianna in the address, and in an instant determined to use no ceremony.

He tore it open, and read, with savage scowls and horrible contortions of the visage, that which follows. Unfortunate Jinks—reading private letters is a hazardous proceeding: and this was what the hero read:

  “BOWER OF NATURE,
  AT THE MATIN HOUR.

  “CHARMING, AND, ALAS!
  TOO DANGEROUS YOUNG MAN:

“Since seeing thee, on yester eve, my feelings have greatly changed in intensity, and I fluctuate beneath an emotion of oblivious delight. Alas! we young, weak women, try in vain to obstruct the gurgling of the bosom; for I perceive that even I am not proof against the arrows of the god Diana. My heart has thrilled, my dearest friend, ever since you departed, yester eve, with a devious and intrinsic sensation of voluminous delight. The feelings cannot be concealed, but must be impressed in words; or, as the great Milton says, in his Bucoliks, the o'er-fraught heart would break! Love, my dear Mr. Verty, is contiguous—you cannot be near the beloved object without catching the contagion, and to this fact I distribute that flame which now flickers with intense conflagration in my bosom. Why, cruel member of the other sex! did you evade the privacy of our innocent and nocturnal retreat, turning the salubrious and maiden emotions of my bosom into agonizing delight and repressible tribulation! Could you not practice upon others the wiles of your intrinsic charms, and spare the weak Sallianna, whose only desire was to contemplate the beauties of nature in her calm retreat, where a small property sufficed for all her mundane necessities? Alas! but yester morn I was cheerful and invigorating—with a large criterion of animal spirits, and a bosom which had never sighed responsible to the flattering vows of beaux. But now!—ask me not how I feel, in thinking of the person who has touched my indurate heart. Need I say that the individual in question has only to demand that heart, to have it detailed to him in all its infantile simplicity and diurnal self-reliance? Do not—do not—diffuse it!

“I have, during the whole period of my mundane pre-existence, always been troubled with beaux and admirers. I have, in vain, endeavored to escape from their fascinating diplomas, but they have followed me, and continued to prosecute me with their adorous intentions. None of them could ever touch my fanciful disposition, which has exalted an intrinsic and lofty beau—idle to itself. I always had to reply, when they got down upon their knees to me, and squeezed my hands, that I could not force my sensations; and though I should ever esteem them as friends, I could not change my condition of maiden meditation and exculpation for the agitation of matrimonial engagements. I need not say that now my feelings have changed, and you, Mr. Verty, have become the idle of my existence. You are yet young, but with a rare and intrinsic power of intellect. In future, you will not pay any more intention to that foolish little Reddy, who is very well in her way, but unworthy of a great and opprobrious intelligence like yours. She is a mere child, as I often tell her, and cannot love.

“Come to your devoted Sallianna immediately, and let us discurse the various harmonies of nature. I have given orders not to admit any of my numerous beaux, especially that odious Mr. Jinks, who is my abomination. I will tell Reddy that your visit is to me, and she will not annoy you, especially as she is in love with a light young man who comes to see Fanny, her cousin, Mr. Ashley.

“Come to one who awaits thee, and who assigns herself

“Your devoted,

“SALLIANNA.”

Jinks frowned a terrible frown, and ground his teeth.

For a moment, he stood gazing with profound contempt upon the letter which he had just read; then seizing his shears, snipped the unfortunate sheet into microscopic fragments, all the while frowning with terrible intensity.

The letter destroyed, Jinks stood for a moment with folded arms, scowling and reflecting.

Suddenly he strode to the other side of the room, kicking off his slippers as he went, and hurling his night-cap at the mirror.

“Yes!” he cried, grinding his teeth, “I'll do it, and without delay—perfidious woman!”

In ten minutes Mr. Jinks had assumed his usual fashionable costume, and buckled on his sword. A savage flirt of his locks completed his toilette, and in all the splendor of his scarlet stockings and embroidered waistcoat, he issued forth.

CHAPTER XXIX. INTERCHANGE OF COMPLIMENTS.

O'Brallaghan, as he passed through the shop, requested to be informed where Mr. Jinks was going.

Jinks stopped, and scowled at Mr. O'Brallaghan, thereby intimating that his, Jinks', private rights were insolently invaded by a coarse interrogatory.

O'Brallaghan observed, that if Mr. Jinks was laboring under the impression that he, O'Brallaghan, was to be frowned down by an individual of his description, he was greatly mistaken. And by way of adding to the force of this observation, Mr. O'Brallaghan corrugated his forehead in imitation of his adversary.

Jinks replied, that he was equally indifferent to the scowls of Mr. O'Brallaghan, and expressed his astonishment and disgust at being annoyed, when he was going out to take some exercise for the benefit of his health.

O'Brallaghan informed Mr. Jinks that the going out had nothing to do with it, and that he, Jinks, knew very well that he, O'Brallaghan, objected to nothing but the tone assumed toward himself by the said Jinks, whose airs were not to be endured, and, in future, would not be, by him. If this was not satisfactory, he, the said Jinks, might take the law of him, or come out and have it decided with shillalies, either of which courses were perfectly agreeable to him, O'Brallaghan.

Whereupon, Jinks expanded his nostril, and said that gentlemen did not use the vulgar Irish weapon indicated.

To which O'Brallaghan replied, that the circumstance in question would not prevent Mr. Jinks' using the weapon.

A pause followed these words, broken in a moment, however, by Mr. Jinks, who stated that Mr. O'Brallaghan was a caitiff.

O'Brallaghan, growing very red in the face, observed that Mr. Jinks owed his paternity to a “gun.”

Jinks, becoming enraged thereupon, drew his sword, and declared his immediate intention of ridding the earth of a scoundrel and a villain.

Which intention, however, was not then carried into execution, owing to the timely arrival of a red-faced, though rather handsome Irish lady of twenty-five or thirty, who, in the broadest Celtic, commanded the peace, and threatened the combatants with a hot flat-iron, which she brandished in her stalwart fist.

O'Brallaghan laid down the stick which he had seized, and ogled the lady, declaring in words that the wish of mistress O'Callighan was law to him, and that further, he had no desire to fight with the individual before him, who had been making use of abusive and threatening language, and had even drawn his skewer.

Jinks stated that he would have no more altercation with an individual of Mr. O'Brallaghan's standing in society—he would not demean himself—and from that moment shook the dust of his, O'Brallaghan's, establishment from his, Jinks', feet. Which declaration was accompanied with a savage kick upon the door.

O'Brallaghan congratulated himself upon the extreme good fortune for himself involved in Mr. Jinks' decision, and hoped he would carefully observe the friendly and considerate advice he now gave him, which was, never to show his nose in the shop again during the period of his mundane existence.

Whereupon Jinks, annihilating his adversary with a terrific frown, stated his intention to implicitly observe the counsel given him, and further, to have revenge.

In which O'Brallaghan cheerfully acquiesced, observing that the importance attached by himself to the threats of Mr. Jinks was exactly commensurate with the terror which would be caused him by the kick of a flea.

And so, with mutual and terrible frowns, this alarming interview terminated: Mr. Jinks grimacing as he departed with awful menace, and getting his grasshopper legs entangled in his sword; Mr. O'Brallaghan remaining behind, though not behind the counter, paying devoted attention to the ruddy and handsome lady with the hot flat-iron, Mistress Judith O'Callighan, who watched the retreating Jinks with tender melancholy.

CHAPTER XXX. WHAT OCCURRED AT BOUSCH'S TAVERN.

Let us follow Mr. Jinks.

That gentleman went on his way, reflecting upon the step which he had just taken, and revolving in his mind the course which he should pursue in future.

The result of his reflections was, that a matrimonial engagement would just answer his purpose, especially with a lady possessing a “small property—” at which words, as they left his muttering lips, Jinks frowned.

It was Miss Sallianna's favorite phrase.

Miss Sallianna!

The tumult which arose in Jinks' breast upon the thought of that young lady's treachery toward himself occurred to him, may, as our brother historians are fond of saying, “be better imagined than described.” Before, Jinks' brows were corrugated into a frown; now, however, two mountain ridges, enclosing a deep valley, extended from the upper portion of the bridge of the Jinks nose to the middle of the Jinks forehead.

The despairing lover resembled an ogre who had not dined for two whole days, and was ready to devour the first comer.

What should he do? Take revenge, or marry the perfidious woman? Jinks did not doubt his ability to perform the latter; and thus he went on his way in doubt and wrath.

At least he would go that very morning and charge her with perfidy; and so having decided upon his course so far, he strode on rapidly.

Mr. Jinks bent his course toward Bousch's tavern, where he proposed to take up his temporary residence.

Since this house has become historical, let us say a word of it. It was one of those old wooden “ordinaries” of Virginia, which are now never seen in towns of any size, crouching only on the road-side or in obscure nooks, where the past lives still. It was a building of large size, though but two stories in height, and even then presented an ancient appearance, with its low eaves, small-paned windows, and stone slab before the door. Behind it was an old garden, and near at hand, two ponderous valves opened upon a large stable-yard full of bustling hostlers.

The neighborhood in which this ancient dwelling stood was not without a certain picturesqueness, thanks to the old, low-eaved houses, dating from the French-Indian wars, and grassy knolls, from which quarries of limestone stood out boldly; above all, because of the limpid stream, which, flowing from the west just by the portico of the old tavern, murmured gaily in the traveller's ear, and leaped toward him as he crossed it, or allowed his weary animal to bathe his nostrils in the cool water. Two or three majestic weeping-willows plunged their broad trunks and vigorous roots into the clear stream, and sighed forever over it, as, passing onward, it ran away from the Bousch hostelry toward its ocean, the Opequon.

This old tavern, which exists still, we believe, a venerable relic of the border past, was, in the year 1777, the abode of a “number of Quakers, together with one druggist and a dancing-master, sent to Winchester under guard, with a request from the Executive of Pennsylvania, directed to the County-Lieutenant of Frederick, to secure them.” The reasons for this arrest and exile may be found in a Congressional report upon the subject, (Anno. 1776,) which states, that well-attested facts “rendered it certain and notorious that those persons were, with much rancour and bitterness, disaffected to the American cause;”—for which reason they were requested to go and remain in durance at Winchester, in Virginia. How they protested at Philadelphia against being taken into custody—protested again at the Pennsylvania line against being carried out of that state—protested again at the Maryland line against being taken into Virginia—and ended by protesting at Winchester against everything in general—it is all written in the Book of the Chronicles of the Valley of Virginia, by Mr. Samuel Kercheval, and also in an interesting Philadelphia publication, “Friends in Exile.” To this day the old sun-dial in the garden of “Bousch's Tavern” has upon it the inscription:

Exul patria causa libertates” with the names of the unfortunate exiles written under it—always provided that the dial itself remains, and the rain, and snow, and sun, have not blotted out the words. That they were there, the present chronicler knows upon good authority. How the exiles passed their time at Winchester, and finally returned, will, some day, be embodied in authentic history.

It was many years after the quaker inroad; in fact the eighteenth century, with all its philosophical, political, and scientific “protests” everywhere, was nearly dead and gone, when another scene occurred at Bousch's tavern, which history knows something of. As that august muse, however, does not bury herself with personal details, we will briefly refer to this occurrence.

It was about mid-day, then, when a carriage, with travelling trunks behind it, and a white, foreign-looking driver and footman on the seat before, drew rein in front of the old hostelry we have described.

The footman descended from his perch, and approaching the door of the carriage, opened it, and respectfully assisted two gentlemen to alight. These gentlemen were dressed with elegant simplicity.

The first had an oval face, which was full of good-humor, and in which an imaginative eye might have discerned an odd resemblance to a pear; the second, who seemed to be his brother, was more sedate, and did not smile.

The gentlemen entered the inn, and asked if dinner could be furnished. The landlord replied that nothing could be easier, and called their attention to a noise which issued from the next room.

The elder gentleman, whose accent had indicated his foreign origin, approached the door which led into the dining-room, followed by his companion.

They looked in.

A long table, covered with a profusion of everything which the most robust appetite could desire, was filled with ploughmen, rough farmers, hunters from the neighboring hills, and a nondescript class, which were neither farmers, ploughmen, nor hunters, but made their living by conveying huge teams from town to town. They were travelling merchants—not wagoners simply, as might have been supposed from their garments full of straw, and the huge whips which lay beside them on the floor. When they chewed their food, these worthies resembled horses masticating ears of corn; when they laughed, they made the windows rattle.

The good-humored traveller shook his head; over the face of his companion passed a disdainful smile, which did not escape the landlord.

As the elder turned round, he observed his servant inscribing their names in the tavern-book. He would have stopped him, but he had already written the names.

He thereupon turned to the landlord.

Could they not have a private room?

Hum!—it was contrary to rule.

They wanted to dine.

Could they not make up their minds to join the company?

The younger traveller could not, and would not—a room.

The landlord assumed a dogged expression, and replied that he made no distinction among his guests. What was good enough for one was good enough for all.

Then, the young traveller said, he would not stay in such a place.

The host replied, that he might go and welcome—the sooner the better—he wanted no lofty foreign gentlemen with their airs, etc.

The two gentlemen bowed with grave politeness, and made a sign to their servants, who came forward, looking with terrible frowns at Boniface.

Prepare the carriage to set out again—they would not dine there.

How Monseigneur would go on in spite of—

Enough—Monseigneur would consult them when it was necessary. Harness the horses again.

The result of which command was, that in ten minutes the two gentlemen were again upon the road.

The landlord watched them, with a frown, as they departed. He then bethought him of the book where the servant had inscribed their names, and opened it. On the page was written:

  “MR. LOUIS PHILLIPPE,
  “MR. MONTPENSIER,
                  PARIS.”

The landlord had driven from his establishment the future king of the French, and his brother, because they wanted a private apartment to dine in.

The common version that the Duke was personally assaulted, and turned out, is a mere fiction—our own account is the proper and true one.

So Bousch's Tavern was only fated to be historical, when Mr. Jinks approached it—that character having not yet been attached to it. Whether the absence of such associations affected the larder in Mr. Jinks' opinion, we cannot say—probably not, however.

Certain is it that Jinks entered with dignity, and accosted the fat, ruddy, German landlord, Mr. Bousch, and proceeding to do what a quarter of a century afterwards a Duke imitated him in, asked for a private chamber. Mr. Bousch seemed to see nothing improper in this request, and even smiled an assent when Jinks, still scowling, requested that a measure of Jamaica rum might be dispatched before him, to his chamber.

Jinks then strolled out to the pathway before the tavern, and looked around him.

Suddenly there came out of the stable yard a young man, mounted on a shaggy horse, which young man was clad in a forest costume, and held a rifle in his hand.

Jinks directed a terrible glance toward him, and started forward.

As the horseman came out of the gateway, he found the road obstructed by Mr. Jinks, whose drawn sword was in his hand.

“Back! rash youth!” cried Jinks, with terrible emphasis, “or this sword shall split thy carcass—back!”

And the speaker flashed the sword so near to Cloud's eyes that he tossed up his head and nearly reared.

Verty had been gazing at the sky, and was scarcely conscious of Mr. Jinks' presence;—but the movement made by Cloud aroused him. He looked at the sword wonderingly.

“Stand back!” cried Jinks, “or thou art dead, young man! Turn your horse into that receptacle of animals again, and go not toward the Bower of Nature!”

“Anan?” said the young man, calmly.

“So you pretend not to understand, do you! Vile caitiff! advance one step at your peril—try to go and complete arrangements for a matrimonial engagement at the Bower of Nature, and thou diest!”

Verty was getting angry.

“Mr. Jinks, you'd better get out of the way,” he said, calmly.

“Never! stand back! Attempt to push your animal toward me, and I slaughter him. Base caitiff! Know that the rival you have yonder is myself! Know that she loves you not, and is now laughing at you, however much she may have made you believe she loved you! She is a wretch!”

Verty thought Mr. Jinks spoke of Redbud—the dominant idea again—and frowned.

“Yes! a perfidious, unfeeling traitoress,” observed Mr. Jinks, grimacing terribly; “and if thou makest a single step toward her, I will spit thee on my sword!”

Verty cocked his rifle, and placing the muzzle thereof on the Jinks' breast, made a silent movement of his head, to the effect, that Mr. Jinks would consult his personal safety by ceasing to obstruct the way.

Jinks no sooner heard the click of the trigger, and saw the murderous muzzle directed towards his breast, than letting his sword fall, he started back with a horrified expression, crying, “murder!” with all the strength of his lungs; and even in his terror and excitement varied this expression by giving the alarm of “fire!”—for what reason, he always declined to explain, even to his most intimate friends.

Verty did not even smile, though he remained for a moment motionless, looking at Mr. Jinks.

Then touching Cloud with his heel, he set forward again, followed by the dignified Longears. As for Longears, we regret to say, that, on the occasion in question, he did not comport himself with that high decorum and stately courtesy which were such distinguishing traits in his elevated character. His mouth slowly opened—his lips curled around his long, white teeth, and his visage was shaken with a nervous tremor, as, looking over his shoulder, he went on in Cloud's footsteps. Longears was laughing—positively laughing—at Mr. Jinks.

That gentleman ceased crying “fire!” and “murder!” as soon as he came to the conclusion that there was no danger from the one or the other. He picked up his sword, looked around him cautiously, and seeing that no one had observed his flight, immediately assumed his habitual air of warlike dignity, and extended his hand—which held the hilt of his undrawn sword—toward Verty. This gesture was so tragic, and replete with such kingly ferocity, that Mr. Jinks was plainly devoting Verty to the infernal gods; and the curses trembling on his lips confirmed this idea.

He was standing in this melo-dramatic attitude, gazing after the Indian, when he felt a hand upon his shoulder, and heard a jovial voice say, “How are you, Jinks, my boy! What's the fun?”

The voice was that of Mr. Ralph Ashley.

CHAPTER XXXI. MR. JINKS ON HORSE-BACK, GOING TO TAKE REVENGE.

Jinks remained silent a moment. Standing face to face, the two personages surveyed each other in silence—the one laughing, joyous, ready for any amusement which would be so obliging as to turn up; the other stately, warlike, and breathing terrible and malignant vengeance.

Ralph laughed.

“I say, old fellow, what's the matter?” he asked; “you look decidedly blood-thirsty.”

“I am, sir!”

“By Jove! I don't doubt it: you resemble Achilles, when he and Agamemnon had their miff. What's the odds?”

“I have been insulted, sir!”

“Insulted?”

“And tricked!”

“Impossible.”

Jinks remained silent for a moment, looking after Verty.

“Yes,” he said, with an awful scowl, “that young man has robbed me of my mistress—”

“Who—Verty?”

“Yes, sir.”

Ralph burst out laughing.

“What are you laughing at?” asked Jinks, with dignity.

“At your falling in love with Redbud Summers.”

“I am not, sir; perhaps in light moments I may have made that youthful damsel a few gallant speeches; but I did not refer to her, sir.”

“To whom, then?”

“To the perfidious Sallianna.”

“Oh!” cried Ralph, restraining his laughter by a powerful effort.

“What surprises you, sir?”

“Nothing.”

“You laugh.”

“Can't help it. The idea of your thinking Verty your rival in the affections of Miss Sallianna! Jinks, my boy, you are blinded with love—open your eyes, and don't think you can see while they are closed. I tell you, Verty is in love with Redbud—I know it, sir. Or, if he is not with Redbud, it's Fanny. No, I don't think it is Fanny,” murmured Ralph, with a thoughtful expression; “I think I'm safe there. A dangerous rival!”

And Ralph smiled at his own thoughts.

“What did you say, sir?” asked Jinks, frowning in the direction of the Bower of Nature.

“Nothing, my boy; but I say, Jinks, what makes you look so fierce? You resemble an ogre—you're not going to eat Mr. Verty?”

“No, sir; but I'm going to call him to account. If he is not my rival, he has stood in my way.”

“How!”

“The perfidious Sallianna has fallen in love with him!”

And Jinks groaned.

Ralph took his arm with a sympathizing expression, and restraining a violent burst of laughter, said:

“Is it possible! But I knew something must have happened to make you so angry.”

“Say furious!”

“Are you furious?”

“Yes, sir!”

“Come, now, I'll bet a pistole to a penny that you are revengeful in your present feelings.

“I am, sir!”

“What can you do?”

“I can defy my enemy.”

“Oh, yes! I really forgot that; I must be present, recollect, at the encounter.”

“You may, sir! I shall spit him upon my sword!”

And Jinks, with a terrible gesture, transfixed imaginary enemies against the atmosphere.

Ralph choked as he gazed at Mr. Jinks, and shaking with pent up laughter:

“Can't you find something, Jinks, for me to do?” he said, “this affair promises to be interesting.”

“You may carry the challenge I propose writing, if you will, sir.”

“If I will! as if I would not do ten times as much for my dear friend Jinks.”

“Thanks, sir.”

“Promise me one thing, however.”

“What is it, sir?”

“To be cool.”

“I am cool—I'll throttle her!”

“Throttle!”

“Yes, sir; annihilate her!”

“Her!”

“Yes, the treacherous Sallianna. She has made me wretched forever—lacerated my existence, and I am furious, sir; I do not deny it.”

“Furious?”

“Yes, sir; furious, and I have reason to be, sir. I am ferocious, sir; I am overwhelmed with rage!”

And Jinks ground his teeth.

“What, at a woman?”

“At a perfidious woman.”

“Fie, Jinks! is it credible that a man of your sense should pay the sex so high a compliment?”

This view seemed to strike Mr. Jinks, and clearing his throat:

“Hum—ah—well,” he said, “the fact is, sir, my feeling is rather one of contempt than anger. But other things have occurred this morning to worry me.”

“What?”

Jinks circumstantially detailed his interview with O'Brallaghan, adding the somewhat imaginary incident of the loss of O'Brallaghan's left ear by a sweep of his, Jinks', sword.

“What! you cut off his ear!” cried Ralph.

“Yes, sir,” replied Mr. Jinks, “close to the caitiff's head!”

“Jinks! I admire you!”

“It was nothing—nothing, sir!”

“Yes it was. It equals the most splendid achievements of antiquity.”

And Ralph chuckled.

“He deserved it, sir,” said Mr. Jinks, with modest dignity.

“Yes—you had your revenge.”

“I will have more.”

“Why, are you not satisfied?”

“No!”

“You will still pursue with your dreadful enmity the unfortunate O'Brallaghan?”

“Yes, sir!”

“Well, I'll assist you.”

“It is my own quarrel. The house of Jinks, sir, can right its own wrongs.”

“No doubt; but remember one circumstance. I myself hate O'Brallaghan with undying enmity.”

“How is that, sir?”

“Can't you guess?”

“No.”

“Why, he had the audacity to sell my plum-colored coat and and the rest of my suit to this Mr. Verty.”

“Oh—yes.”

“Abominable conduct! only because I did not call at the very moment to try on the suit. He would 'make me another,' forsooth, 'in the twinkle of an eye;' and then he began to pour out his disagreeable blarney. Odious fellow!”

And Ralph turned aside his head to laugh.

“Leave him to me,” said Mr. Jinks, arranging his sword with grace and dignity at his side; “if you wish to assist me, however, you may, sir. Let us now enter this tavern, and partake of rum and crackers.”

“By all means—there is just time.”

“How, sir?” asked Mr. Jinks, as they moved toward the tavern.

“I have just ordered my horse.”

“To ride?”

“Yes.”

Jinks sighed.

“I must purchase a steed myself,” he said.

“Yes?” rejoined Ralph.

“Yes. To make my visit to the perfidious Sallianna.”

Ralph laughed.

“I thought you had abandoned her?”

“Never!”

“You wish to go and see her?”

“I will go this day!”

“Good! take half of my horse.”

“Half?”

“Ride behind.”

“Hum!”

“Come, my dear fellow, don't be bashful. He's a beautiful steed—look there, through the window.”

“I see him—but think of the figure we would cut.”

“Two sons of Aymon!” laughed Ralph.

“I understand: of Jupiter Ammon,” said Jinks; “but my legs, sir—my legs?”

“What of 'em?”

“They require stirrups.”

“All fancy—your legs, my dear Jinks, are charming. I consider them the chief ornament you possess.”

“Really, you begin to persuade me,” observed Mr. Jinks, becoming gradually tractable under the effect of the rum which he had been sipping for some minutes, and gazing complacently at his grasshopper continuations in their scarlet stockings.

“Of course,” Ralph replied, “so let us set out at once.”

“Yes, yes! revenge at once!”

And the great Jinks wiped his mouth with the back of his hands;—brought his sword-belt into position, and assuming a manner of mingled dignity and ferocity, issued forth with Ralph.

The latter gentleman, laughing guardedly, mounted into the saddle, and then rode to the spot at which Jinks awaited him.

“Come,” he said, “there's no time to be lost;—recollect, your rival has gone before!”

The thought inspired Mr. Jinks with supernatural activity, and making a leap, he lit, so to speak, behind Ralph, much after the fashion of a monkey falling on the bough of a cocoanut tree.

The leap, however, had been somewhat too vigorous, and Mr. Jinks found one of his grasshopper legs under the animal; while the other extended itself at right-angles, in a horizontal position, to the astonishment of the hostler standing by.

“All right!” cried Ralph, with a roar of laughter.

And setting spur to the terrified animal, he darted from the door, followed by general laughter and applause, with which the clattering of Mr. Jinks' sword, and the cries he uttered, mingled pleasantly. This was the manner in which Jinks set out for revenge.

CHAPTER XXXII. AN OLD BIBLE.

On the morning of the day upon which the events we have just related occurred, little Redbud was sitting at her window, reading by the red light of sunrise.

If anything is beautiful in this world, assuredly it is the fresh, innocent face of a child, flooded with the deep gold of sunrise, and with cheeks still bathed in the delicate rose-bloom of slumber.

Morning and childhood go together, as all things pure, and fresh, and tender do; and in the face of the child, sitting there in the quiet morning, an imaginative mind might have discerned, without difficulty, more than one point of resemblance. The dews sparkling like diamonds on the emerald grasses, were not brighter or fresher than her eyes;—the merry breeze might have been gayer, but had not half as much thoughtful joy and tenderness as her gentle laugh;—the rosy flush of morning, with all its golden splendor, as of fair Aurora rising to her throne, was not more fair than the delicate cheek.

In a single word, Miss Redbud—about whom we always grow extravagant—was a worthy portion of the bright, fresh morning; and the hardest-hearted individual who ever laughed at childhood, and innocence and joy, (and there are some, God help them,) would have thought the place and time more cheerful and inspiring for her presence.

Redbud had been reading from a book which lay upon the window-sill. The idle breeze turned over the leaves carelessly as though, like a child, it were looking for pictures; and the words, “From dear Mamma,” were seen upon the fly-leaf—in the rough uncouth characters of childhood.

This was Redbud's Bible—and she had been reading it; and had raised her happy eyes from the black heavy letters, to the waving variegated trees and the bright sunrise, overwhelming them with its flush of gold. Redbud was clad, as usual, very simply—her hair brushed back, and secured, after the fashion of the time, with a bow of ribbon—her arms bare to the elbow, with heavy falling sleeves—her neck surrounded with a simple line of lace. Around her neck she wore the coral necklace we have seen her purchase.

The girl gazed for some moments at the crimson and yellow trees, on which a murmurous laughter of mocking winds arose, at times, and rustled on, and died away into the psithurisma of Theocritus; and the songs of the oriole and mocking-bird fluttering among the ripe fruit, or waving up into the sky, brought a pleasant smile to her lips. The lark, too, was pouring from the clouds, where he circled and flickered like a ball of light, the glory of his song; and from an old, dead oak, which raised its straight trunk just without the garden, came the quick rattle of the woodpecker's bill, or the scream of that red-winged drummer, as he darted off, playing and screaming, with his fellows.

Beyond the garden all the noble autumn forests waved away in magic splendor—red, and blue, and golden. The oaks were beautiful with their waving leaves—the little alder tree exquisite in its faint saffron—the tall, tapering pines rose from the surrounding foliage like straight spears, which had caught on their summits royal robes of emerald velvet, green at first, but, when the red light fell upon them, turning to imperial purple, as of old, Emperors of Rome!

All these sights and sounds were pleasant things to Redbud, and she gazed and listened to them with a species of tranquil pleasure, which made her tender face very beautiful. At last her eyes returned to her old Bible, and she began to read again from the sacred book.

She turned the leaf, and came to a passage around which faint lines were traced in faded ink;—the words thus marked were those of St. Paul, so sublime in their simplicity, so grand in their quiet majesty:

“Having a desire to depart, and to be with Christ.”

These words had been marked by Redbud's mother, and as the child gazed upon the faded ink, and thought of the dear hand which had rested upon the page, a tender regret betrayed itself in her veiled eyes, and her lips murmured, wistfully, “Mamma.” Her down-cast eyes were veiled by the long lashes; and the child's thoughts went back to the old happy days, when her mother had taught her to pray, joining her infant hands, and telling her about God and all his goodness.

It was not grief which the child felt, as her mental glance thus went backward to the time when her mother was alive;—rather a tender joy, full of pure love, and so far separated from the world, or the things of the world, that her face grew holy, as if a light from heaven streamed upon it. Oh, yes! she needed no one to tell her that her dear mother's desire had been fulfilled—that she was with Christ; and her heart rose in prayer to the Giver of all good, to bless and purify her, and give her power to conquer all her evil thoughts—and passing through the toils and temptations of the world, come finally to that happy land where her dear mother lived and loved—from which she looked upon her child. She prayed to be kept thus pure; for strength to resist her sinful inclinations, ill-temper, discontent and uncharitable thoughts; for power to divorce her thoughts from the world, spite of its sunshine, and bright flowers and attractions—to feel that holy desire to be with the dear Savior who had died for her.

The child rose with a countenance that was sacred for its purity, and hopefulness, and trust. She gazed again upon the brilliant morning land, and listened to the birds, and smiled—for in the sunlight, and the carol of the bright-winged oriole, and every murmur of the merry wind, she felt the presence of a loving and All-merciful Creator, who would bless her, if she loved and obeyed Him.

And so the tender eyes again beamed with the unclouded light of childhood, and the lips were again calm and happy. The child had sought for peace and joy from the great central source, and found it. Everything was now delightful—all the clouds had passed—and a bright smile illumined her fresh face, and made the sunlight envious, as it poured its fresh golden radiance upon her brow and cheek.

Redbud had just closed her Bible, and was about to put it away upon the shelf, when a light step was heard in the room, and a laughing voice cried, “Well, miss!” and two white arms encircled her neck, two red lips imprinted a kiss upon her cheek.

The arms and the lips belonged to Fanny.

CHAPTER XXXIII. FANNY'S VIEWS UPON HERALDRY.

Fanny was overflowing with laughter, and her face was the perfection of glee. Her dark eyes fairly danced, and the profuse black curls which rippled around her face, were never still for a moment.

In her hand Miss Fanny carried a wreath of primroses and other children of the autumn, which spread around them as she came a faint perfume. From the appearance of the young lady's feet, it seemed that she had gathered them herself. Her shoes and ankles, with their white stockings, were saturated with the dews of morning.

After imprinting upon Miss Redbud's cheek the kiss which we have chronicled, Fanny gaily raised the yellow wreath, and deposited it upon the young girl's head.

“There, Redbud!” she cried, “I declare, you look prettier than ever!”

Redbud smiled, with an affectionate glance at her friend.

“Oh!” cried the impulsive Fanny, “there you are, laughing at me, as much as to say that you are not pretty! Affected!”

“Oh, no,” said Redbud.

“Well, I don't say you are.”

“I don't like affectation.”

“Nor I,” said Fanny; “but really, Reddy, I had no idea that yellow was so becoming to you.”

“Why?” asked Redbud, smiling.

“You are blonde, you know.”

“Well.”

“I wonder if blonde don't mean yellow,” said the philosophic Fanny.

“Does it?”

“Yes.”

“What then?”

“Why, of course, I thought yellow primroses would'nt become you;—now they would suit me—I'm so dark.”

“You do not need them.”

“Fie—Miss Flatterer.”

“Oh, no, Fanny, I never flatter.”

“Well, I'm glad you like me, then!” cried Fanny, “for I declare I'm desperately in love with you, Reddy. Just think, now, how much flattered Miss Sallianna would have been if I had carried these flowers to her—you know she loves the 'beauties of nature.'“

And Miss Fanny assumed a languishing air, and inclining her head upon one shoulder, raised her eyes lackadaisically toward the ceiling, in imitation of Miss Sallianna.

“No, Fanny!” said Redbud, “that is not right.”

“What?”

“Mimicking Miss Sallianna.”

“Not right!”

“No, indeed.”

“Well, I suppose it is not, and I have been treating her very badly. Suppose I take your wreath of yellow primroses and carry them to her.”

“Oh, yes—if you want to,” said Redbud, looking regretfully at the wreath, which she had taken from her brow.

Fanny laughed.

“No, I will not,” she said; “I have a good reason.”

“What?”

“The axiom in heraldry.”

“What axiom?”

“Never put color upon color—yellow upon yellow in this instance!”

And Miss Fanny burst into laughter, and fairly shook with glee.

Redbud gave her a little reproachful glance, which showed Fanny the uncharitable nature of her observation.

“Well,” said the owner of the soiled ankles, “I ought not to have said that; but really, she is so ridiculous! She thinks she's the handsomest person in the world, and I do believe she wants to rob us of our beaux.”

Redbud smiled, and lightly colored.

“I mean Verty and Ralph,” Fanny went on, “and I know something is going on. Miss Sallianna is always in love with somebody; it was Mr. Jinks the other day, and now I think it is one of our two visitors.”

“Oh, Fanny!”

“Yes, I do! you need'nt look so incredulous—I believe she would flirt with either of them, and make love to them; which,” added the philosophic Fanny, “is only another phrase for the same thing.”

Redbud remained for a moment confused, and avoiding Fanny's glance. Then her innocent and simple smile returned, and leaning her arm affectionately upon the young girl's shoulder, she said, seriously:

“Fanny, please don't talk in that way. You know Verty is not an ordinary young gentleman—”

“Oh, no—!” cried Fanny, laughing.

“I mean,” Redbud went on, with a slight color in her cheek, “I mean, to amuse himself with compliments and pretty speeches—if Miss Sallianna thinks he is, she is mistaken.”

“Odious old thing!—to be flirting with all the young men who come to see us!” said Fanny.

“No, no,” Redbud went on, “I think you are mistaken. But as you have mentioned Verty, please promise me one thing, Fanny.”

“Promise! certainly, Reddy; just ask me whatever you choose. If it's to cut off my head, or say I think Miss Sallianna pretty, I'll do it—such is my devotion to you!” laughed Fanny.

Redbud smiled.

“Only promise me to amuse Verty, when he comes.”

“Amuse him!”

“Yes.”

“What do you mean.”

“I mean,” Redbud said, sighing, “that I don't think I shall be able to do so.”

“What!”

“Fanny, you cannot understand,” said the young girl, with a slight blush; “I hope, if you are my real friend, as you say, that you will talk with Verty, when he comes, and make his time pass agreeably.”

Redbud's head sank.

Fanny gazed at her for a moment in silence, and with a puzzled expression, said:

“What has happened, Reddy, between you and Verty—anything?”

“Oh, no.”

“You are blushing! Something must have happened.”

“Fanny—” murmured Redbud, and then stopped.

“Have you quarreled? You would'nt explain that scene in the parlor the other day, when I made him tie my shoe. You have quarreled!”

“Oh, no—no!”

“I'm glad to hear it,” cried Fanny, “though I could easily have made it up. I would have gone to Mr. Verty, and told him that he was a wretch, or something of that sort, and made him come and be friends again.”

Redbud smiled, and said:

“We have not quarreled; but I don't think I shall be able to amuse him very much, if he comes this morning, as I think he will. Please promise me—I don't like Verty to be unhappy.”

And the ingenuous face of the young girl was covered with blushes.

“I suppose not!—you and Verty are very good friends!” cried Fanny, looking out of the window, and not observing Redbud's confusion; “but suppose my cavalier comes—what then, madam?”

“Oh, then I absolve you.”

“No, indeed!”

“'No, indeed' what?”

“I won't be absolved.”

“Why?”

“Because I don't know but I prefer Mr. Verty to that conceited cousin of mine.”

“What cousin—not Ralph?”

“Yes; I don't fancy him much.”

“I thought you were great favorites of each other.”

“You are mistaken!” said Fanny, coloring; “I did like him once, but he has come back from college at Williamsburg a perfect coxcomb, the most conceited fop I ever saw.”

“Oh, Fanny!”

“Yes, indeed he has!”

And Miss Fanny blushed.

“I hate him!” she added, with a pout; then bursting into a fit of laughter, this young lady added:

“Oh! he promised to bring his album to-day, and show me all the 'good wishes' his friends wrote in it for him. Won't that be funny! Just think of finding out how those odious young college geese talk and feel toward each other.”

Redbud smiled at Miss Fanny's consistency, and was about to reply, when the bell for prayers rang.

The two young girls rose, and smoothing their hair slowly, descended, arm in arm, and still conversing, to the dining-room, where old Scowley, as Verty called her, and Miss Sallianna, awaited them, in state, with their scholars.

Prayer was succeeded by breakfast; and then—the young damsels having eaten with the most unromantic heartiness—the whole school scattered: some to walk toward “town;” others to stroll by the brook, at the foot of the hill; others again to write letters home.

As Miss Sallianna had informed Verty, that day was a holiday, and young ladies going to school have, in all ages of the world, appreciated the beauties and attractions of this word, and what it represents—recreation, that is to say.

Redbud and Fanny strolled out in the garden with their arms locked as before, and the merry autumn sunshine streaming on them.

They had a thousand things to talk about, and we may be sure that they did not neglect the opportunity. What do not young ladies at school discuss? Scarcely anything escapes, and these criticisms are often very trenchant and severe.

How they criticise the matrimonial alliance between aged Dives with his crutch and money-bags, and the fascinating and artless Miss Sans Avoir, who dedicates her life to making happy the old gentleman!

How gaily do they pull in pieces the beautiful natural curls of Mr. Adonis, who purchased them at the perruquier's; and how they scalp Miss Summer Morning, with her smiles and bright-eyed kindness, in the presence of gentlemen—while behind the scenes she is a mixture of the tigress and the asp! All these social anomalies do young ladies at school talk about—as do those who have left school also.

But Redbud and Fanny did not—they were far too good-natured to take pleasure in such comments, and instead, spent the hours in laughing, playing and reading in the pleasant arbor. Thus the morning drew on, and the lovely autumn day sailed past with all its life and splendor toward the west. Fanny was gazing toward the house, as they thus sat in the arbor, and Redbud was smiling, when a gentleman, clothed in a forest costume, and carrying a rifle, made his appearance at the door of the Bower of Nature.

“Oh, Reddy!” cried Fanny, “there's your friend, Verty; and look what a fright he is!”

CHAPTER XXXIV. HOW MISS SALLIANNA ALLUDED TO VIPERS, AND FELL INTO HYSTERICS.

Verty paused upon the threshold of the mansion to push back his long, curling hair; and with a glance behind him, toward Cloud, meant as a caution to that intelligent animal and to Longears, deposited his rifle against the door.

The young man, as we have said, had once more donned his rude forest costume; and even at the risk of appearing to undervalue the graces and attractions of civilization with the costume, which is a necessary part thereof, we must say that the change was an improvement. Verty's figure, in the dress which he generally wore, was full of picturesqueness and wild interest. He looked like a youthful Leather-stocking; and seemed to be a part of the forest in which he lived, and from which he came.

He had been cramped in the rich clothes; and the consciousness of this feeling, so to speak, had made his manner stiff and unnatural; now, however, he was forest Verty again. His long hair had already become tangled, thanks to the autumn winds, and the gallop to which he had pushed Cloud;—his person assumed its habitual attitude of wild grace; his eye no longer restless and troubled, had recovered its expression of dreamy mobility, and his lips were wreathed with the odd Indian smile, which just allowed the ends of the white teeth to thread them;—Verty was himself again.

He raised his head, and would have caught sight of the young girls in the garden, but for a circumstance which occurred just at that moment.

This circumstance was the appearance of Miss Sallianna—Miss Sallianna arrayed in all her beauties and attractions, including a huge breastpin, a dress of enormous pattern, and a scarf around her delicate waist, azure-hued and diaphanous like the sky, veiled with an imperceptible cloud.

The lady was smiling more than ever; her air was more languishing; her head inclined farther to one side. Such was her ecstacy of “inward contemplation,” to use her favorite phrase, that the weight of thought bent down her yellow eye-lashes and clouded her languishing eyes.

She raised them, however, and glancing at Verty, started.

“Good-morning, ma'am,” said Verty—“Miss, I mean. I got your letter.”

“Good-morning, sir,” said Miss Sallianna, with some stiffness; “where are your clothes?”

Verty stared at Miss Sallianna with great astonishment, and said:

“My clothes?”

“Yes, sir.”

“These are my clothes.”

And Verty touched his breast.

“No, sir!” said Miss Sallianna.

“Not mine?”

“They may be yours, sir; but I do not call them clothes—they are mere covering.”

Anan?” said Verty.

“They are barbarous.”

“How, ma'am?”

Miss Sallianna tossed her head.

“It is not proper!” she said.

“What, ma'am?”

“Coming to see a lady in that plight.”

“This plight?”

“Yes, sir!”

“Not proper?”

“No, sir!”

“Why not?”

“Because, sir, when a gentleman comes to pay his respects to a lady, it is necessary that he should be clad in a manner, consistent with the errand upon which he comes.”

Anan, ma'am'?”

“Goodness gracious!” cried Miss Sallianna, forgetting her attitudes, and vigorously rubbing her nose; “did any body ever?”

“Ever what, ma'am?”

“Ever see a person so hard to understand as you are, sir.”

“I don't understand long words,” said Verty; “and you know I am an Indian.”

“I knew you were, sir.”

Verty shook his head, and smiling dreamily:

“I always will be that,” he said.

“Then, sir, we cannot be friends—”

“Why, ma'am—I mean, Miss?”

“Because, sir, the properties of civilization require a mutual criterion of excellence—hem!”

“Oh yes,” said Verty, very doubtfully, and checking by an effort his eternal exclamation of ignorance; “but I thought you liked me.”

“I do, sir,” said Miss Sallianna, with more mildness—“I thought we should be friends.”

Verty smiled.

“What a funny letter you wrote to me,” he said.

“Funny, sir?” said Miss Sallianna, blushing.

“Very pretty, too.”

“Oh, sir!”

“But I did'nt understand more than half of it,” said Verty with his old dreamy smile.

“Pray why, sir?”

“The words were so long.”

Miss Sallianna looked gratified.

“They were expressive, sir, of the reciprocal sensation which beats in my heart.”

“Yes, ma'am,” said Verty.

“But recollect, sir, that this sentiment is dependent upon exterior circumstances. I positively cannot receive you in that savage dress.”

“Not receive me?”

“No, sir.”

“What's the matter with my poor dress?”

“It's abominable, sir—oderous; and then your hair—”

“My hair?” said Verty, pulling at a curl.

“Yes, sir—it is preposterous, sir. Did any body ever!”

And Miss Sallianna carried her eyes to heaven.

“I don't know,” Verty said; “but it feels better.”

“It may, sir; but you must cut it off if you come again.”

Verty hesitated.

“I thought—” he began.

“Well, sir?”

“I was thinking,” said the young man, feeling a vague idea that he was going wrong—“I thought that you were not so very particular, as you are only a school-mistress, and not one of those fine ladies I have seen riding by in their carriages. They might think some ceremony needed—”

“Not a—very well, sir—a schoolmistress—only—indeed!” said Miss Sallianna, with dignity.

Verty was too little acquainted with the expression of concentrated feeling to understand these words, and smiling,

“Then,” he said, “there was another reason—”

“For what, sir?” said Miss Sallianna, with great dignity.

“For my not being very particular.”

“Please state it, sir.”

“Yes, ma'am.”

The lady sniffed with indignation.

“I meant,” said Verty, “that as you had very few beaux here—I believe you call 'em beaux—I could come so. I know that Mr. Jinks comes, but he is too fierce to be agreeable, and is not very nice, I should think.”

Miss Sallianna darted a glance of scorn at the unlucky Verty, which would have transfixed that gentleman; but unfortunately he did not see it.

“Yes,” he went on, “there is a great deal of difference, Miss Sallianna, between coming to see you, who are only a schoolmistress, and hav'nt much fine company, and the rich ladies;—then you know I thought that the difference between our ages—you being so much older than I. am, about thirty or thirty-five, I suppose—”

The cup was full.

“Mr. Verty,” gasped Miss Sallianna, “you will please to end our interview at once, sir!—this language, sir, is intolerated, sir!—if you wish to insult me, sir, you can remain!—I consider your insinuations, sir, as unworthy of a gentleman. The viper!” cried Miss Sallianna, becoming hysterical, and addressing her observations to the ceiling; “the viper which I warmed in my bosom, and who turns and rents me.”

Which was very ungallant in the viper not to say extraordinary, as it implied that vipers dwelt in houses “to let.”

“Who beguiled himself into this resort of innocence, and attacked my suspicious nature—and now casts reproaches on my station in society and my youth!”

“Oh, ma'am!” cried Verty.

“Don't speak to me, sir!

“No, ma'am.”

“Your very presence is deletrious.”

“Oh, Miss Sallianna!”

“Go sir—go!”

“Yes, ma'am—but are you well enough?”

“Yes, sir!”

“Have a glass of water?”

“No, sir!”

“I'm so sorry I said anything to—”

“There is reason, sir.”

“You don't hate me?”

“No, sir!” said Miss Sallianna, relenting, and growing gradually calmer; “I pity and forgive you.”

“Will you shake hands?”

“Yes, sir—I am forgiving, sir—”

“At your time of life you know, ma'am, we ought'nt to—”

Unfortunate Verty; the storm which was subsiding arose again in all its original strength.

“Leave me!” cried Miss Sallianna, with a tragic gesture.

“Yes, ma'am—but—”

“Mr. Verty?”

“Ma'am!”

“Your presence is opprobrious.”

“Oh, Miss Sallianna!”

“Yes, sir—intolerant.”

“I'm so sorry.”

“Therefore, sir, go and leave me to my thoughts again—go, sir, and make merry with your conjugal companions!”

“Yes, ma'am,” said Verty; “but I did'nt mean to worry you. Please forgive me—”

“Go, sir!”

Verty saw that this tragic gesture indicated a determination which could not be disputed.

He therefore put on his hat, and having now caught sight of Fanny and Redbud, bowed to his companion, and went—into the garden.

Miss Sallianna gasped, and sinking into a chair, fell into violent hysterics, in which numerous allusions were made to vipers. Poor Verty!

CHAPTER XXXV. HOW MISS FANNY MADE MERRY WITH THE PASSION OF MR. VERTY.

Verty approached the two young girls and took off his hat.

“Good morning, Redbud,” he said, gently.

Redbud blushed slightly, but, carried back to the old days by Verty's forest costume, quickly extended her hand, and forgetting Miss Lavinia's advice, replied, with a delightful mixture of kindness and tenderness:

“I'm very glad to see you, Verty.”

The young man's face became radiant; he completely lost sight of the charge against the young lady made in Miss Sallianna's letter. He was too happy to ever think of it; and would have stared Redbud out of countenance for very joy and satisfaction, had not Miss Fanny, naturally displeased at the neglect with which she had been treated, called attention to herself.

“Hum!” said that young lady, indignantly, “I suppose, Mr. Verty, I am too small to be seen. Pray, acknowledge the fact of my existence, sir.”

Anan?” said Verty, smiling.

Fanny stamped her pretty foot, and burst out laughing.

“It's easy to see what is the matter with you!” she laughed.

“Why, there's nothing,” said Verty.

“Yes, there is.”

“What?”

“You're in love.”

Verty laughed and blushed.

“There!” cried Fanny, “I knew it.”

“I believe I am.”

“Listen to him, Redbud!”

“She knows it,” said Verty.

“Hum! I don't see how anybody can help knowing it.”

“Why?”

“Because it is plain.”

“Ah!”

“Yes, sir; this very moment you showed it.”

“Yes—I believe I did.”

“Odious old thing!”

“Who?”

“Why, Miss Sallianna, sir—I don't care if you are paying your addresses! I say she's an odious old thing!—to be giving herself airs, and setting her cap at all our beaux!”

Verty stared, and then laughed.

“Miss Sallianna!” he cried.

“Yes, sir!”

“I'm in love with her!”

“You've just acknowledged it.”

“Acknowledged it!”

“There! you're going to deny your own words, like the rest of your fine sex—the men.”

“No—I did'nt say I was in love with Miss Sallianna.”

“Did'nt he, Redbud?” asked Fanny, appealing to her friend.

“No,” said Verty, before she could reply; “I said I was in love with Redbud!”

And the ingenuous face of the young man was covered with blushes.

Fanny fairly shook with laughter.

“Oh,” she screamed, “and you think I am going to believe that—when you spend the first half an hour of your visit with Miss Sallianna—talking, I suppose, about the 'beauties of nature!'“

And the young girl clapped her hands.

“I wanted”—commenced Verty—

“Oh, don't tell me what you wanted!” cried Fanny; “you saw in the garden here two nice young girls, if I do say it—”

“You may—!”

“I am not to be led off in that way, sir! I say you saw two agreeable young ladies here evidently not indisposed to talk with visitors, as it's a holiday—and in spite of that, you pass your time in the house with that old Sallianna, cooing and wooing and brewing,” added Miss Fanny, inventing a new meaning for an old word on the spur of the moment, “and after that you expect us to believe you when you say you are not in love with her—though what you see to like in that old thing it would take a thousand million sybils, to say nothing of oracles and Pythonesses, to explain!”

With which exhausting display of erudition, Miss Fanny lay back on her trellised seat, and shook from the point of her slippers to the curls on her forehead with a rush of laughter.

Redbud had recovered from her momentary confusion, and, with a beseeching glance at Fanny, said to Verty:

“How much better you look, Verty, in this dress—indeed you look more homelike.”

“Do I?” said the happy Verty, bending his head over his shoulder to admire the general effect; “well, I feel better.”

“I should think so.”

“The other clothes were like a turkey blind.”

“A turkey blind?”

“Oh, you smile!—but you know, when you are lying in the blind, the pine limbs rub against you.”

“Yes.”

“Then they did'nt suit me.”

“No,” assented Redbud.

I don't dance the minuet—so I did'nt want high-healed shoes—”

Fanny began to laugh again.

“Nor a cocked hat; the fact is, I do not know how to bow.”

“See! Come, Mr. Fisher-for-Compliments!” cried Fanny.

“Oh, I never do!”

“Well, I believe you don't.”

“Does anybody?”

“Yes; that odious cousin of mine—that's who does—the conceited coxcomb!”

“Your cousin!”

“Yes, sir.”

“Who is it?”

“Ralph Ashley.”

“Oh—and he comes to see you—and—Miss Sallianna; she said—”

Verty's head drooped, and a shadow passed over his ingenuous face.

“There, you're thinking of Miss Sallianna again!”

“No—no,” murmured Verty, gazing at Redbud with a melancholy tenderness, and trying to understand whether there could possibly be any foundation for Miss Sallianna's charge, that that young lady was in love with Mr. Ralph Ashley.

“Could it be? Oh, no, no!”

“Could what be?” asked Fanny.

For once Verty was reserved.

“Nothing,” he said.

But still he continued to gaze at Redbud with such sad tenderness, that a deep color came into her cheek, and her eyes were cast down.

She turned away; and then Miss Lavinia's advice came to her mind, and with a sorrowful cloud upon her face, she reproached herself for the kindness of her manner to Verty, in their present interview.

“I think I'll go and gather some flowers, yonder,” she said, smiling faintly, and with a sad, kind look to Verty, in spite of all. “Fanny and yourself can talk until I return, you know—”

“Let me go with you,” said Verty, moving to her side.

Redbud hesitated.

“Come, Redbud!” said Verty, persuasively smiling.

“Oh, no! I think I would like to get the one's I prefer.”

And she moved away.

Verty gazed after her with melancholy tenderness—his face lit up with the old dreamy Indian smile. We need not say that the notable scheme suggested by Miss Sallianna—namely, his making love to some one else to try Redbud—had never crossed the ingenuous mind of the young man. From that pure mirror the obscuring breath soon disappeared. He did not wish to try Redbud—he loved her too much; and now he remained silent gazing after her, and wholly unconscious of the existence of Miss Fanny.

That young lady pouted, and uttered an expressive “hum!”

Verty turned his eyes absently toward her.

“You can go, sir, if you don't like my society—I am not anxious to detain you!” said Miss Fanny, with refreshing candor.

“Go where?” said Verty.

“After Redbud.”

“She don't want me to.”

“Hum!”

And this little exclamation indicated the light in which Fanny regarded the excuse.

Verty continued to gaze toward Redbud, who was gathering flowers.

“How kind and good she is!” he murmured.

And these words were accompanied by a smile of so much tender sincerity, that Fanny relented.

“Yes, she is!” said that young lady; “I'm glad to see that some of your sex, sir, have a little taste. It is not their failing.”

“Anan!” said Verty, smiling.

Fanny laughed; and her good humor began to return completely.

“I know some who are utterly deficient,” she said.

“In what?”

“Taste.”

“Yes.”

And Verty gazed after Redbud.

Fanny burst out laughing; but then remembering her promise to Redbud, to treat Verty well, and amuse him, checked this exhibition of satirical feeling, and said:

“Your taste, Mr. Verty, is such that I ought to quarrel with it—but I'm not going to;—no, not for fifty thousand worlds! If I have any quarreling to do, it will be with some one else!”

“With whom?”

“That coxcomb cousin of mine, Ralph Ashley.”

Verty's countenance became clouded; it was the second time his rival's name had been uttered that morning.

“He is a fop,” said Fanny—“a pure, unadulterated, presumptuous and intolerable fop. As I live, there he is coming up the road! Oh, won't we have fine times—he promised to show me his college album!”

And the impulsive Fanny clapped her hands, and more loudly than ever. Five minutes afterward Mr. Ralph Ashley dismounted at the door of the Bower of Nature.

CHAPTER XXXVI. RALPH MAKES LOVE TO MISS SALLIANNA.

We shall now return to Miss Sallianna, and see what effect the viper tendencies of Mr. Verty had produced upon that young lady.

The hysterics did not last long. Miss Sallianna had a large and useful assortment of feminine weapons of this description, and was proficient in the use of all—from the embarrassed, simpering laugh and maiden blush, with down-cast eyes, raised suddenly, at times, toward the “beloved object,” then abased again—to the more artistic and effective weapons of female influence, tears, sobs, convulsions, hysterics and the rest. In each and all of these accomplishments was Miss Sallianna versed.

The hysterics, therefore, did not last long; the eyes grew serene again very soon; and contenting herself with a few spiteful looks toward the group in the garden, which glances she accompanied with a determined and vigorous rubbing of her antique nose, Miss Sallianna gently raised her fan, and seeing a cavalier approaching from the town, assumed her habitual air of languishing and meditative grace.

This cavalier was our friend Ralph, who, having deposited Mr. Jinks upon the earth before they emerged from the willows in sight of the Bower of Nature, now came on, laughing, and ready for any adventure which should present itself.

Ralph drew up before the house, tied his horse, and entered.

Miss Sallianna rose graciously, smiling.

“Good morning, sir,” said the lady, rolling her eyes toward the ceiling, and leaning her head on her right shoulder, “we have a charming day.”

“Oh, charming! but that is not all, madam,” said Ralph, smiling satirically, as he bent profoundly over the hand given to him.

“Not all, sir?” sighed the lady.

“There is something still more charming.”

“What is that?”

“The dear companion with whom good fortune blesses me.”

This was so very direct, that Miss Sallianna actually blushed.

“Oh, no—” she murmured.

“Yes, yes!”

“You men—”

“Are sincere—”

“Oh, no! such flatterers.”

“Flatterers, madam?” said Ralph, laughing, “that is true of some of us, but not of me; I am so perfectly sincere, and clad in the simplicity of my nature to that degree, that what I say is the pure out-gushing of my heart—ahem!”

The lady smiled, and motioned toward a settee.

“The beauties of nature—”

“Yes, my dear madam.”

“Are—ahem!”

“Yes, yes.”

“So much more beautiful than those of art,” sighed Miss Sallianna, contemplating the ceiling, as though nature had taken up her post there to be gazed at.

“I fully agree with you,” said Ralph, “they are.”

“Oh, yes—they are—I knew you would—you are so—so remarkable—”

“No, no, Miss Sallianna!”

“Yes, you are—for your intrinsic perspicuity, sir—la!”

And Miss Sallianna ogled her visitor.

“This,” said Ralph, with enthusiasm, “is the proudest moment of my life. The beautiful Sallianna—”

“Oh, Mr. Ashley.”'

“Yes, madam!” said Ralph, “torture would not make me change the word.”

“La! Mr. Ashley!”

“The beautiful Miss Sallianna has declared that I am possessed of intrinsic perspicuity! I need nothing more. Now let the fates descend!”

With which heroic words Mr. Ralph Ashley wiped his brow with solemn dignity, and chuckled behind his handkerchief.

“I always admired perspicuity,” said Miss Sallianna, with a languid glance.

“And I, beauty, madam.”

“La! sir.”

“Admiration is a weak word, Miss Sallianna.”

“Opprobrium?” suggested the lady.

“Yes, yes! that is the word! Thank you, Miss Sallianna. I am not as strong in philology as you are. I should have said opprobrium—that is what I have always regarded beauty, such as yours, all my life.”

Miss Sallianna covered her face with her fan. Here was an opportunity to supply the place of the faithless Verty and the odious Jinks. As the thought occurred to her, Miss Sallianna assumed an awful expression of favor and innocent fondness. Ralph shuddered as he caught sight of it.

“Are you fond of ladies, sir?” asked Miss Sallianna, smiling.

“Yes, Miss Sallianna, devotedly,” said Ralph, recovering, in some degree.

“I should think so.”

“Why, madam?”

“From your visits.”

“My visits?”

“Oh, yes—you are very sly!”

“Sly?—I?”

“Yes, sir!”

“Never!”

“I think you have grown fond of—”

“Yourself, madam?”

“La—no. I fear—”

“As I do—”

“That such a thing—”

“Is more than I could presume to do,” said Ralph, laughing.

Miss Sallianna bestowed upon the young gentleman a look from her maiden eyes, which seemed to say that he might presume to grow fond of her, if it had really become necessary to his peace of mind.

“But I meant Fanny,” she said.

“Fanny!”

“Yes, your cousin.”

“A mere baby!” said Ralph, with nonchalance.

“I agree with you.”

“Which I consider a circumstance of great encouragement, Miss Sallianna. The fact is, Fanny is very well in her way, and in course of time will make, no doubt, a very handsome woman. But at present I only call to see her because I have nothing else to do.”

“Indeed?”

“I am just from college.”

“Yes.”

“And consequently very innocent and inexperienced. I am sure you will take charge of my education.”

“La! Mr. Ashley.”

“I mean, Miss Sallianna, the education, not of my mind—that is finished and perfect: Oh, no! not that! The education of my heart!”

Ralph was getting on at headlong speed.

“Do you consent?” he said.

“La—really—indeed—”

“Why not, oh, beautiful lady—”

“How can I ever—so inexperienced—so innocent a person as myself can scarcely—”

And Miss Sallianna fell into a flutter.

“Then Fanny must.”

“Oh, no!” observed Miss Sallianna, with vivacity.

“Why not?” said Ralph.

“She could not—”

“Could not!”

“She is too young, and then besides—”

“Besides, Miss Sallianna?”

“She is already taken up with her affair with Mr. Verty.”

“What!” cried Ralph, beginning to have the tables turned upon him, and to suffer for his quizzing.

“She is evidently in love with Mr. Verty,” said Miss Sallianna, compassionately; “that is, the child fancies that she feels a rare and inexpressive delight in his presence. Such children!”

“Yes, madam!” said Ralph, frowning.

“Especially that silly young man.”

“Verty?”

“Yes; he is very presumptuous, too. Just think that he presumed to—to—make love to me this morning;” and Miss Sallianna's countenance was covered with a maiden blush. “I could scarcely persuade him that his attentions were not agreeable.”

And Miss Sallianna looked dignified and ladylike.

“Fanny in love with him,” said Ralph, reflecting.

“Look through the window,” said Miss Sallianna, smiling.

Ralph obeyed, and beheld Verty and Fanny sitting on a knoll, in the merriest conversation;—that is to say, Fanny was thus talking. Young ladies always begin to converse very loud when visitors arrive—for what reason has not yet been discovered. Verty's absent look in the direction of Fanny's face might very well have been considered the stare of a lover.

“Do you doubt any longer?”

“Oh, no!”

“Then, Mr. Ashley—”

“Yes, madam.”

“In future you will—”

“Care nothing for—”

“The person—”

“Who seems to me the concentration of folly and everything of that description—no, madam! In future I will carefully avoid her!”

And with this ambiguous speech, Mr. Ralph rose, begged Miss Sallianna to excuse him for a short time, and making her a low and devoted bow, took his way into the garden, and toward the spot where Fanny and Verty were sitting.

CHAPTER XXXVII. VERTY STATES HIS PRIVATE OPINION OF MISS SALLIANNA.

Fanny complimented Mr. Ralph Ashley with a very indifferent bow, and went on talking with, or rather to, her companion Verty.

Ralph tried to laugh at this; but not succeeding very well, came suddenly to the very rational conclusion that something unusual was going on in his breast. He had never before failed to utter the most contagious laughter, when he attempted the performance—what could the rather faint sound which now issued from his lips be occasioned by?

Puzzled, and at his philosophy's end, Ralph began to grow dignified; when, luckily, Redbud approached.

The young girl greeted him with one of her kind smiles, and there was so much light and joy in her face, that Ralph's brow cleared up.

They began to converse.

The chapter of accidents, whereof was author that distinguished inventor of fiction, Miss Sallianna, promised to make the present interview exceedingly piquant and fruitful in entertaining misunderstanding; for the reader will observe the situation of the parties. Miss Sallianna had persuaded Verty that Redbud was in love with Ralph; and, in the second place, had assured Ralph, a few moments before, that Fanny was in love with Verty.

Redbud was clinching Verty's doubts by smiling sweetly on Ralph;—Fanny was causing dreadful jealousy and conviction of his misfortune in Ralph, by making herself agreeable to Verty.

The schemes of the great Amazonian General, Sallianna, seemed to be crowned with complete success; and, doubtless, all would have turned out as she desired, but for one of those trivial circumstances which overturn the most carefully matured conceptions of the greatest intellects.

This was the simplicity of our friend Verty; and he unconsciously commenced the overturning operation by saying:

“Redbud, did you find the flowers you wanted?”

The young girl replied:

“Oh, yes!”

“'Beauties of nature,' Miss Sallianna would call 'em, would'nt she?” continued Verty, with a smile.

“Now, Verty!” said Redbud, reproachfully.

“I can't help it,” returned Verty; “I don't like Miss Sallianna.”

“Not like that paragon!” cried Fanny.

“No.”

“Why not, sir?”

“She told me a story.”

“A story, sir!”

“Yes.”

“You ought to be ashamed of yourself to speak so disrespectfully of such a divine creature—with so much maiden innocence and intrinsic simplicity,” observed Miss Fanny, inclining her head upon one shoulder, and rolling her eyes toward the sky.

Ralph began to laugh.

“I would'nt say it if it was'nt true,” Verty said; “but it is.”

“What story did she tell you, sir?” Fanny went on.

“She said that Redbud was in love with him—Ralph Ashley.”

And Verty smiled.

Fanny burst into a roar of laughter; Redbud blushed; Ralph looked with astonishment at the plain-spoken Verty.

“You know that was a story,” said he, simply.

Everybody remained silent for a moment, and then the silence was broken by Ralph, who cried, laughing:

“I'll back you, friend Verty! every word of it!”

“You, sir!” cried Fanny.

“Yes! I wonder if your divine creature—Sallianna by name—did not tell me, ten minutes since, that you—yes, you, Miss Fanny!—were desperately enamored of Mr. Verty!”

The whole party were so overcome by this ludicrous expose of Miss Sallianna's schemes, that a laugh much louder than the first rang through the garden; and when Miss Sallianna was descried sailing in dignified meditation up and down the portico, her fan gently waving, her head inclined to one side, her eyes fixed upon the sky, Mr. Ralph Ashley entered into a neighboring mass of shrubbery, from which came numerous choking sounds, and explosive evidences of overwhelming laughter.

Thus was it that our honest Verty at once cleared up all misunderstanding—and made the horizon cloudless once again. If everybody would only speak as plainly, when misconceptions and mistakes arise, the world would have far more of sunshine in it!

“Just to think!” cried Fanny, “how that odious old tatterdemalion has been going on! Did anybody ever?”

“Anan?” said Verty.

“Sir?” said Fanny.

“What's a tatterdemalion?” asked the young man, smilingly.

“I don't exactly know, sir,” said Fanny; “but I suppose it's a conceited old maid; who talks about the beauties of nature, and tries to make people, who are friends, hate each other.”

With which definition Miss Fanny clenched her handsome little hand, and made a gesture therewith, in the direction of Miss Sallianna, indicative of hostility, and a desire to engage in instant combat.

Ralph laughed, and said:

“You meant to say, my dear child, that the lady in question tried to make a quarrel between people who loved each other—not simply 'were friends'. For you know she tried to make us dislike one another.”

Fanny received this insinuating speech with one of heir expressive “hums!”

“Don't you?” said Ralph.

“What; sir?”

“Love me!”

“Oh, devotedly!”

“Very well; it was not necessary to tell me, and, of course, that pretty curl of the lip is only to keep up appearances. But come now, darling of my heart, and light of my existence! as we hav'nt quarreled, in spite of Miss Sallianna, and still have for each other the most enthusiastic affection, be good enough to forget these things, and turn your attention to material affairs. You promised me a lunch!”

“Lunch!”

“Yes—and I am getting hungry.”

“When did I promise?”

“Yesterday.”

“Oh—now—”

“You remember; very well. It was to be eaten, you will recollect, on the hill, yonder, to the west, to which our steps were to tend.”

“Our picnic! Oh, yes! My goodness gracious! how could I forget it! Come on, Reddie—come and help me to persuade Mrs. Scowley to undo the preserve-jar.”

Redbud laughed.

“May I go!” said Verty.

“Certainly, sir; you are not at liberty to refuse. Who would talk with Reddie!”

“I don't think—” murmured Redbud, hesitating.

“Now!” cried Fanny, “did anybody ever!”

“Ever what!” said Verty.

“Ever see anybody like this Miss Redbud!”

“I don't think they ever did,” replied Verty, smiling.

Which reply caused Miss Fanny and Mr. Ralph to laugh, and Redbud to color slightly; but this soon passed, and the simple, sincere look came back to her tender face.

Redbud could not resist the glowing picture which Fanny drew of the picnic to be; and, with some misgiving, yielded. In a quarter of an hour the young men and the young girls were on their way to the beautiful eminence, swinging the baskets which contained the commissariat stores, and laughing gleefully.

CHAPTER XXXVIII. HOW LONGEARS SHOWED HIS GALLANTRY IN FANNY'S SERVICE.

It was one of those magnificent days of Fall, which dower the world with such a wealth of golden splendor everywhere—but principally in the mountains.

The trees rose like mighty monarchs, clad in royal robes of blue and yellow, emerald and gold, and crimson; the forest kings and little princely alders, ashes and red dogwoods, all were in their glory. Chiefly the emperor tulip-tree, however, shook to the air its noble vestments, and lit up all the hill-side with its beauty. The streams ran merrily in the rich light—the oriole swayed upon the gorgeous boughs and sang away his soul—over all drooped the diaphanous haze of October, like an enchanting dream.

To see the mountains of Virginia in October, and not grow extravagant, is one of those things which rank with the discovery of perpetual motion—an impossibility.

Would you have strength and rude might? The oak is, yonder, battered by a thousand storms, and covered with the rings of forgotten centuries. Splendor? The mountain banners of the crimson dogwood, red maple, yellow hickory and chestnut flout the sky—as though all the nations of the world had met in one great federation underneath the azure dome not built with hands, and clashed together there the variegated banners which once led them to war—now beckoning in with waving silken folds the thousand years of peace! Would you have beauty, and a tender delicacy of outline and fine coloring? Here is that too; for over all,—over the splendid emperors and humble princes, and the red, and blue, and gold, of oak, and hickory, and maple, droops that magical veil whereof we spoke—that delicate witchery, which lies upon the gorgeous picture like a spell, melting the headlands into distant figures, beckoning and smiling, making the colors of the leaves more delicate and tender—turning the autumn mountains into a fairy land of unimagined splendor and delight!

Extravagance is moderation looking upon such a picture.

Such a picture was unrolled before the four individuals who now took their way toward the fine hill to the west of the Bower of Nature, and they enjoyed its beauty, and felt fresher and purer for the sight.

“Isn't it splendid!” cried Fanny.

“Oh, yes!” Redbud said, gazing delightedly at the trees and the sky.

“Talk about the lowland,” said Ralph, with patriotic scorn; “I tell you, my heart's delight, that there is nothing, anywhere below, to compare with this.”

“Not at Richmond?—but permit me first to ask if your observation was addressed to me, sir?” said Miss Fanny, stopping.

“Certainly it was, my own,”

“I am not your own.”

“Aren't you?”

“No, and I never will be!”

“Wait till you are asked!” replied Ralph, laughing triumphantly at this retort.

“Hum!” exclaimed Fanny.

“But you asked about Richmond, did you not, my beauty?”

“Ridiculous!” cried Fanny, laughing; “well, yes, I did.”

“A pretty sort of a place,” Ralph replied; “but not comparable to Winchester.”

“Indeed—I thought differently.”

“That's not to the purpose—you are no judge of cities.”

“Hum! I suppose you are.”

“Of course!”

“A judge of everything?”

“Nearly—among other things, I judge that if you continue to look at me, and don't mind where you are walking, Miss Fanny, your handsome feet will carry you into that stream!”

There was much good sense in these words; and Fanny immediately took the advice which had been proffered—that is to say, she turned her eye away from the bantering lips of her companion, and measured the stream which they were approaching.

It was one of those little mountain-brooks which roll their limpid waters over silver sands; hurl by through whispering ledges, the resort of snipe and woodcock; or, varying this quiet and serene existence with occasional action, dart between abrupt banks over mossy rocks, laughing as they fly onward to the open sunlight.

The spot which the party had reached, united these characteristics mentioned.

A path led to a mossy log, stretched from bank to bank, some feet above the water—a log which had answered the purpose of a bridge for a long time, it seemed; for both ends were buried in the sward and the flowers which decorated it.

Below this, the limpid stream wound over bright sands and pebbles, which glittered in the ripples like diamonds.

“Now!” cried Ralph, “here is a pretty pass! How are these delightful young ladies to get over, Verty?”

“I don't know—I suppose they will walk,” observed Verty, simply.

“Walk!”

“Yes.”

“What! when that very dog there had to balance himself in traversing the log?”

“Who, Longears?”

“Yes, Longears.”

“He's not used to logs,” said Verty, smiling, and shaking his head; “he generally jumps the streams, like Cloud.”

“Oh! you need'nt be afraid,” here interrupted Redbud, smiling, and passing before Fanny quickly; “we can get over easily enough.”

The explanation of which movement was, that Miss Redbud saw the lurking mischief in Mr. Ralph's eyes, and wished at least to protect herself.

“Easy enough!” cried Ralph, moving forward quickly.

“Yes; look!”

And with the assistance of Verty, who held one of her hands, Redbud essayed to pass the bridge.

The moss rendered it slippery, and near the middle she almost fell into the stream; with Verty's aid, however, the passage was safely effected.

“There!” said Redbud, smiling, “you see I was right, Mr. Ashley—was I not?”

“You always are!”

“And me, sir?” said Fanny, approaching the bridge with perfect carelessness.

“You are nearly always wrong, my life's darling,” observed Mr. Ralph.

“You are too bad, Ralph! I'll get angry!”

“At what?”

“At your impertinence!”

“I was not impertinent.”

“You were.”

“I was right.”

“You were not.”

“And the proof is, that you are going to do something wrong now,” said Ralph, laughing.

“What, sir?”

“I mean, you think you are going to?”

“What! for goodness gracious sake!”

“Cross that log!”

“I certainly am going to,” said Fanny, putting her foot upon it.

“You certainly are not.”

“Who will prevent me?”

“I will, my heart's dear,” said Ralph, snatching Miss Fanny up in his arms, and rapidly passing across with his burden; “nothing easier! By Jove, there goes your slipper!”

In fact, just at the middle of the log, the ribbon, binding the slipper to Miss Fanny's ankle, had broken—probably on account of her struggles—and the luckless slipper had fallen into the stream. It was now scudding along like a Lilliputian boat, the huge rosettes of crimson ribbon standing out like sails.

Ralph burst into a roar of laughter, from which he was instantly diverted by a rousing slap upon the cheek, administered by the hand of Fanny, who cried out at his audacity.

“Cousins, you know!—we are cousins, darling; but what a tremendous strength of arm you have!”

“Try it again, sir!” said Miss Fanny, pouting, and pulling down her sleeve, which had mounted to her shoulder in the passage.

“Never!” cried Ralph; “I am fully conscious of my improper conduct. I blush to think of it—that is to say, my left cheek does!”

“Served you right!” said Fanny.

“Uncharitable!”

“Impudent!”

“Unfortunate!”

With which retort, Mr. Ralph Ashley pointed to the slipper-less foot, which was visible beneath Miss Fanny's skirt, and laughed.

Ralph would then have made immediate pursuit of the slipper, but Verty detained him.

The young man called Longears, pointed out the rosetted boat to that intelligent serviteur, and then turned to the company.

In two minutes Longears returned, panting, with the slipper in his dripping mouth, from which it was transferred to the foot of its mistress, with merry laughter for accompaniment.

This little incident was the subject of much amusing comment to the party—in which Miss Fanny took her share. She had soon recovered her good-humor, and now laughed as loudly as the loudest. At one moment she certainly did blush, however—that is to say, when, in ascending the hill—Verty and Redbud being before—Mr. Ralph referred to the delight he had experienced when he “saluted” her in crossing—which he could not help doing, he said, as she was his favorite cousin, and her cheek lay so near his own.

Fanny had blushed at this, and declared it false;—with what truth, we have never been able to discover. The question is scarcely important.

CHAPTER XXXIX. UP THE HILL-SIDE AND UNDER THE CHESTNUTS.

Thus leaving the sedgy stream behind, with all its brilliant ripples, silver sands, and swaying waterflags, which made their merry music for it, as it went along toward the far Potomac,—our joyful party ascended the fine hill which rose beyond, mounting with every step, above the little town of Winchester, which before long looked more like a lark's nest hidden in a field of wheat, than what it was—an honest border town, with many memories.

Verty and Redbud, as we have said, went first.

We have few artists in Virginia—only one great humorist with the pencil. This true history has not yet been submitted to him. Yet we doubt whether ever the fine pencil of Monsignor Andante Strozzi could transfer to canvas, or the engraver's block, the figures of the maiden and the young man.

Beauty, grace, and picturesqueness might be in the design, but the indefinable and subtle poetry—the atmosphere of youth, and joy, and innocence, which seemed to wrap them round, and go with them wherever they moved—could not be reproduced.

Yet in the mere material outline there was much to attract.

Redbud, with her simple little costume, full of grace and elegance—her slender figure, golden hair, and perfect grace of movement, was a pure embodiment of beauty—that all-powerful beauty, which exists alone in woman when she passes from the fairy land of childhood, or toward the real world, pausing with reluctant feet upon the line which separates them.

Her golden hair was secured by a bow of scarlet ribbon, her dress was azure, the little chip hat, with its floating streamer, just fell over her fine brow, and gave a shadowy softness to her tender smile: she looked like some young shepherdness of Arcady, from out the old romances, fresh, and beautiful, and happy. Poor, cold words! If even our friend the Signor, before mentioned, could not do her justice, how can we, with nothing but our pen!

This little pastoral queen leant on the arm of the young Leatherstocking whom we have described so often. Verty's costume, by dint of these outlined descriptions, must be familiar to the reader. He had secured his rifle, which he carried beneath his arm, and his eye dwelt on the autumn forest, with the old dreamy look which we have spoken of. As he thus went on, clad in his wild forest costume, placing his moccasined feet with caution upon the sod, and bending his head forward, as is the wont of hunters, Verty resembled nothing so much as some wild tenant of the American backwoods, taken back to Arcady, and in love with some fair Daphne, who had wiled him from the deer.

All the old doubt and embarrassment had now disappeared from Redbud's face; and Verty, too, was happy.

They went on talking very quietly and pleasantly—the fresh little face of Redbud lit up by her tender smile.

“What are you gazing at?” said the young girl, smiling, as Verty's eye fixed itself upon the blue sky intently; “I don't see anything—do you?”

“Yes,” said Verty, smiling too.

“What?”

“A pigeon.”

“Where?”

“Up yonder!—and I declare! It is yours, Redbud.”

“Mine?”

“Yes—see! he is sweeping nearer—pretty pigeon!”

“Oh—now I see him—but it is a mere speck; what clear sight you have!”

Verty smiled.

“The fact is, I was brought up in the woods,” he said.

“I know; but can you recognize—?”

“Your pigeon, Reddie? oh, yes! It is the one I shot that day, and followed.”

“Yes—”

“And found you by—I'm very much obliged to him,” said Verty, smiling; “there he goes, sweeping back to the Bower of Nature.”

“How prettily he flies,” Redbud said, looking at the bird,—“and now he is gone.”

“I see him yet—another has joined him—there they go—dying, dying, dying in the distance—there! they are gone!”

And Verty turned to his companion.

“I always liked pigeons and doves,” he said, “but doves the best; I never shoot them now.”

“I love them, too.”

“They are so pretty!”

“Oh, yes!” said Redbud; “and they coo so sweetly. Did you never hear them in the woods, Verty—moaning in their nests?”

“Often—very often, Reddie.”

“Then the dove was the bird sent out of the ark, you know.”

“Yes,” said Verty, “and came back with the olive branch. I love to read that.”

“What a long, weary flight the poor bird must have had!”

“And how tired it must have been.”

“But God sustained it.”

“I know,” said Verty; “I wish I had been there when it flew back. How the children—if there were any children—must have smoothed its wings, and petted it, and clapped their hands at the sight of the olive branch!”

The simple Verty laughed, as he thought of the glee of the little ark-children—“if there were any.”

“There are no olives here,” he said, when they had gone a little further; “but just look at that hickory! It's growing as yellow as a buttercup.”

“Yes, and see the maples!”

“Poor fellows!” said Verty.

“Why pity them?

“I always did; see how they are burning away. And the chestnuts—oh! I think we will get some chestnuts: here is a tree—and we are at the top of the hill.”

Verty thereupon let go Redbud's arm, and busied himself in gathering a pile of the chestnuts which had fallen. This ceremony was attentively watched by Longears, who, lying with his front paws stretched out straight, his head bent knowingly on one side, and an expression of thoughtful dignity upon his countenance, seemed to be revelling in the calm delights of a good conscience and a mild digestion.

Fanny and her cavalier came up just as Verty had collected a pile of the chestnuts, and prepared some stones for the purpose of mashing them out.

The party thereupon, with much laughter, betook themselves to the task, talking gaily, and admiring the landscape as they munched—for even young ladies munch—the chestnuts.

One accident only happened, and that was not of an important nature. Longears, full of curiosity, like most intellectual characters, had approached very near Verty as he was mashing the chestnuts upon the stone selected for the purpose, and even in the excess of his interest, had protruded his nose in the vicinity of the young man's left hand, which held the nuts, while he prepared to strike it with the mass of limestone which he held in his right.

It chanced that Verty was talking to Fanny when Longears made this demonstration of curiosity, and did not observe him.

Longears sniffed.

Verty raised his stone.

Longears smelt at the chestnut in his master's grasp, his cold muzzle nearly touching it.

The stone crashed down.

Longears made a terrific spring backwards, and retiring to some distance rubbed his nose vigorously with his paws, looking all the while with dignified reproach at his master.

The nose had not suffered, however, and Longears was soon appeased and in a good humor again. The incident caused a great accession of laughter, and after this the chestnuts having been eaten, the party rose to walk on.

CHAPTER XL. UNDER THE GREENWOOD TREE.

“How, sir.”

“Well, madam.”

“Keep your promise.”

“Please to indicate it.”

“I refer, sir, to your college album.”

“Oh, certainly! here it is, my darling—all ready.”

And Mr. Ralph Ashley, between whom and Miss Fanny this dialogue had taken place, seated himself beneath a magnificent tulip-tree; and with a movement of the head suggested a similar proceeding to the rest.

All being seated, the young man drew from his breast-pocket a small volume, bound in leather, and with a nod to Fanny, said:

“I have changed my mind—I can't read but two or three.”

“Broken your promise, you mean.”

“No, my own;—oh, no.”

“Ralph, you are really too impudent!”

“How, pray?”

“And presumptuous!”

“Why?”

“Because, sir—”

“I call you 'my own' in advance? Eh?”

“Yes, sir!”

Fanny had uttered the words without reflection—intending them as a reply to Mr. Ralph's sentence, the words “in advance,” being omitted therefrom. Everybody saw her mistake at once, and a shout of laughter greeted the reply.

Ralph assumed a close and cautious expression, and said:

“Well—I will be more careful in future. The fact is, that people who are to be married, should be as chary of their endearments, in public, as those who are married.”

General laughter and assent—except from Fanny, who was blushing.

“Nothing is more disagreeable,” continued Ralph, philosophically, “than these public evidences of affection; it is positively shocking to see and hear two married people exchanging their 'dears' and 'dearests,' 'loves' and 'darlings'—especially to bachelors; it is really insulting! Therefore, it is equally in bad taste with those who are to be married;—logically, consequently, and in the third place—and lastly—it is not proper, between myself and you, my Fanny—hum—Miss Fanny!”

This syllogistic discourse was received by Fanny with a mixture of blushes and satirical curls of the lip. “Hum!” more than once issued from her lips; and this expression always signified with the young lady in question—“indeed!”—“really!”—“you think that's mighty fine!”—or some other phrase indicative of scorn and defiance.

On the present occasion, after uttering a number of these “hums!” Fanny embodied her feelings in words, and replied:

“I think, Ralph, you are the most impudent gentleman I have ever known, and you wrong me. I wonder how you got such bad manners; at Williamsburg, I reckon. Hum! If you wait until I marry you—!”

“I shall never repent the delay?” asked Ralph—“is that what you mean? Well, I don't believe I shall. But a truce to jesting, my charming cousin. You spoke of Williamsburg, and my deterioration of manners, did you not?”

“Yes!”

“I can prove that I have not deteriorated.”

“Try, then.”

“No, I would have to read all this book, which is full of compliments, Fanny; that would take all day. Besides, I am too modest.”

“Oh!” laughed Fanny, who had recovered her good humor.

“Let us hear, Mr. Ralph,” said Redbud, smiling.

“Yes—let us see how the odious, college students write and talk,” added Fanny, laughing.

“Well, I'll select one from each branch,” said Ralph: “the friendly, pathetic, poetical, and so forth. Lithe and listen, ladies, all!”

And while the company listened, even down to Longears, who lay at some distance, regarding Ralph with respectful and appreciative attention, as of a critic to whom a MS. is read, and who determines to be as favorable as he can, consistent with his reputation—while they listened, Ralph opened his book and read some verses.

We regret that only a portion of the album of Mr. Ralph Ashley has come down to modern times—the rats having devoured a greater part of it, no doubt attracted by the flavor of the composition, or possibly the paste made use of in the binding. We cannot, therefore, present the reader with many of the beautiful tributes to the character of Ralph, recorded in the album by his admiring friends.

One of these tributes, especially, was—we are informed by vague tradition—perfectly resplendent for its imagery and diction; contesting seriously, we are assured, the palm, with Homer, Virgil and our Milton; though unlike bright Patroclus and the peerless Lycidas, the subject of the eulogy had not suffered change when it was penned. The eulogy in question compared Ralph to Demosthenes, and said that he must go on in his high course, and gripe the palm from Graecia's greatest son; and that from the obscure shades of private life, his devoted Tumles would watch the culmination of his genius, and rejoice to reflect that they had formerly partaken of lambs-wool together in the classic shades of William and Mary; with much more to the same effect.

This is lost; but a few of the tributes, read aloud by Mr. Ralph, are here inserted.

The first was poetic and pathetic:

“MY DEAR ASHLEY:

“Reclining in my apartment this evening, and reflecting upon the pleasing scenes through which we have passed together—alas! never to be renewed, since you are not going to return—those beautiful words of the Swan of Avon occurred to me:

  'To be or not to be—that is the question;
  Whether 'tis better in this world to bear
  The slings and arrows of—'

“I don't remember the rest; but the whole of this handsome soliloquy expresses my sentiments, and the sincerity with which,

“My dear Ashley,

“I am yours,

“——.”

“No names!” cried Ralph; “now for another: Good old Bantam!”

“Oh, Mr. Bantam writes this, does he?” cried Fanny.

“Yes, Miss; for which reason I pass it—no remonstrances!—I am inflexible; here is another:

“DEAR RALPH:

“I need not say how sorry I am to part with you. We have seen a great deal of each other, and I trust that our friendship will continue through after life. The next session will be dull without you—I do not mean to flatter—as you go away. You carry with you the sincere friendship and kindest regards of,

“Dear Ralph, your attached friend,

“————.”

“I like that very much, Mr. Ralph,” said Redbud, smiling.

“You'd like the writer much more, Miss Redbud,” said the young man; “really one of the finest fellows that I ever knew. I want him to pay me a visit—I have no other friend like Alfred.”

“Oh, Alfred's his name, is it!” cried Fanny; “what's the rest? I'll set my cap at him.”

“Alfred Nothing, is his name,” said Ralph, facetiously; “and I approve of your course. You would be Mrs. Nobody, you know; but listen—here is the enthusiastic:

“MY DEAR ASHLEY:

“You are destined for great things—it is yours to scale the heights of song, and snatch the crown from Ossa's lofty brow. Fulfil your destiny, and make your country happy!”

“————.”

“Oh, yes!” said Fanny; “why don't you!”

“I will!”

“Very likely!”

“I'm glad you agree with me; but here is the considerate.”

And turning the leaf, he read—

“I SAY, OLD FELLOW:

“May your course in life be serene and happy; and may your friends be as numerous and devoted as the flies and mosquitos in the Eastern Range.

“Your friend, till death,

“————.”

“The fact is,” said Ralph, in explanation, “that this is probably the finest wish in the book.”

“Were there many flies?” said Fanny,

“Myriads!”

“And mosquitos?”

“Like sands on the seashore, and of a size which it is dreadful to reflect upon even now.”

“Very large?”

“You may judge, my dear Fanny, when I tell you, that one of them flew against a scallop of oysters which the boots was bringing to my apartment, and with a single flap of his wings dashed it from the hand of the boots—it was dreadful; but let us get on: this is the last I will read.”

And checking Miss Fanny's intended outburst at the oyster story, Mr. Ralph read on—

“You ask me, my dear Ashley, to give you some advice, and write down my good wishes, if I have any in your direction. Of course I have, my dear fellow, and here goes. My advice first, then, is, never to drink more than three bottles of wine at one sitting—this is enough; and six bottles is, therefore, according to the most reliable rules of logic—which I hate—too much. You might do it if you had my head; but you havn't, and there's an end of it. Next, if you want to bet at races, ascertain which horse is the general 'favorite,' and as our friend, the ostler, at the Raleigh says—go agin him. Human nature invariably goes wrong; and this a wise man will never forget. Next, if you have the playing mania, never play with anybody but gentlemen. You will thus have the consolation of reflecting that you have been ruined in good company, and, in addition, had your pleasure;—blacklegs ruin a man with a vulgar rapidity which is positively shocking. Next, my dear boy—though this I need'nt tell you—never look at Greek after leaving college, or Moral Philosophy, or Mathematics proper. It interferes with a man's education, which commences when he has recovered from the disadvantages of college. Lastly, my dear fellow, never fall in love with any woman—if you do, you will inevitably repent it. This world would get on quietly without them—as long as it lasted—and I need'nt tell you that the Trojan War, and other interesting events, never would have happened, but for bright eyes, and sighs, and that sort of thing. If you are obliged to marry, because you have an establishment, write the names of your lady acquaintances on scraps of paper, put them in your hat, and draw one forth at random. This admirable plan saves a great deal of trouble, and you will inevitably get a wife who, in all things, will make you miserable.

“Follow this advice, my dear fellow, and you will arrive at the summit of happiness. I trust I shall see you at the Oaks at the occasion of my marriage—you know, to my lovely cousin. She's a charming girl, and we would be delighted to see you.

“Ever, my dear boy,

“Your friend

“and pitcher,

“——————”

“Did anybody—”

“Ever?” asked Ralph, laughing.

“Such inconsistency!” said Fanny.

“Not a bit of it!”

“Not inconsistent!”

“Why, no.”

“Explain why not, if you please, sir! I wonder if—”

“That cloud does not threaten a storm, and whether I am not hungry?” said Ralph, finishing Miss Fanny's sentence, putting the album in his pocket, and attacking the baskets.

“Come, my dear cousin, let us, after partaking of mental food, assault the material! By Jove! what a horn of plenty!”

And Ralph, in the midst of cries exclamatory, and no little laughter, emptied the contents of the basket on the velvet sward, variegated by the sunlight through the boughs, and fit for kings.

The lunch commenced.

CHAPTER XLI. USE OF COATS IN A STORM.

It was a very picturesque group seated that day beneath the golden trees; and the difference in the appearance of each member of the party made the effect more complete.

Redbud, with her mild, tender eyes, and gentle smile and sylvan costume, was the representative of the fine shepherdesses of former time, and wanted but a crook to worthily fill Marlow's ideal; for she had not quite

  “A belt of straw and ivy buds,
  With coral clasps and amber studs,—”

her slender waist was encircled by a crimson ribbon, quite as prettily embroidered as the zone of the old poet's fancy, and against her snowy neck the coral necklace which she wore was clearly outlined, rising and falling tranquilly, like May-buds woven by child-hands into a bright wreath, and launched on the surface of some limpid stream.

And Fanny—gay, mischievous Fanny, with her mad-cap countenance, and midnight eyes, and rippling, raven curls—Fanny looked like a young duchess taking her pleasure, for the sake of contrast, in the woods—far from ancestral halls, and laughing at the follies of the court. Her hair trained back—as Redbud's was—in the fashion called La Pompadour; her red-heeled rosetted shoes—her silken gown—all this was plainly the costume of a courtly maiden. Redbud was the country; Fanny, town.

Between Verty and Ralph, we need not say, the difference was as marked.

The one wild, primitive, picturesque, with the beauty of the woods.

The other richly dressed, with powdered hair and silk stockings.

This was the group which sat and laughed beneath the fine old tulip trees, and gazed with delight upon the splendid landscape, and were happy. Youth was theirs, and that sunshine of the breast which puts a spirit of joy in everything. They thought of the scene long years afterwards, and saw it bathed in the golden hues of memory; and sighed to think that those bright days and the child-faces had departed—faces lit up radiantly with so much tenderness and joy.

Do not all of us? Does the old laughter never ring again through all the brilliant past, so full of bright, and beautiful, and happy figures—figures which illustrated and advanced that past with such a glory as now lives not upon earth? Balder the beautiful is gone, but still Hermoder sees him through the gloom—only the form is dead, the love, and joy, and light of brilliant eyes remains, shrined in their memory. Thus, we would fain believe that no man loses what once made him happy—that for every one a tender figure rises up at times from that horizon, lit with blue and gold, called youth: some loving figure, with soft, tender smiles, and starlike eyes, and arms which beckon slowly to the weary traveller. The memory of the old youthful scenes and figures may be deadened by the inexorable world, but still the germ remains; and this old lost tradition of pure love, and joy, and youth, comes back again to bless us.

The young girls and their companions passed the hours very merrily upon the summit of the tall hill, from which the old border town was visible far below, its chimneys sending upward slender lines of smoke, which rose like blue and golden staves of olden banners, then were flattened, and so melted into air.

Winchester itself had slowly sunk into gloom, for the evening was coming on, and a storm also. The red light streamed from a mass of clouds in the west, which resembled some old feudal castle in flames; and the fiery furzes of the sunset only made the blackness of the mass more palpable.

Then this light gradually disappeared: a murky gloom settled down upon the conflagration, as of dying fires at midnight, and a cool wind from the mountains rose and died away, and rose again, and swept along in gusts, and shook the trees, making them grate and moan.

Verty rose to his feet.

“In five minutes we shall have a storm,” he said. “Come, Redbud—and Miss Fanny.”

Even as he spoke, the far distance pushed a blinding mass toward them, and a dozen heavy drops began to fall.

“We cannot get back!” cried Ralph.

“But we can reach the house at the foot of the hill!” said Fanny.

“No time to lose!”

And so saying, Verty took Redbud's hand, and leaving Fanny to Ralph, hastened down the hill.

Before they had gone twenty steps, the thunder gust burst on them furiously.

The rain was blinding—terrible. It scudded along the hill-side, driven by the wind, with a fury which broke the boughs, snapped the strong rushes, and flooded everything.

Redbud, who was as brave a girl as ever lived, drew her chip hat closer on her brow, and laughed. Fanny laughed for company, but it was rather affected, and the gentlemen did not consider themselves called upon to do likewise.

“Oh, me!” cried Verty, “you'll be drenched, Redbud! I must do something for your shoulders. They are almost bare!”

And before Redbud could prevent him, the young man drew off his fur fringed coat and wrapped it round the girl's shoulders, with a tenderness which brought the color to her cheek.

Redbud in vain remonstrated—Verty was immovable; and to divert her, called her attention to the goings on of Ralph.

This young gentleman had no sooner seen Verty strip off his coat for Redbud, than with devoted gallantry he jerked off his own, and threw it over Miss Fanny; not over her shoulders only, but her head, completely blinding her: the two arms hanging down, indeed, like enormous ears from the young girl's cheeks.

Having achieved this feat, Mr. Ralph hurried on—followed Verty and Redbud over the log, treating Miss Fanny much after the fashion of the morning; and so in ten minutes they reached the house at the foot of the hill, and were sheltered.

Fanny overflowed with panting laughter as she turned and threw the coat back to Ralph.

“There, sir!” she cried, “there is your coat! How very gallant in you! I shall never—no, sir, never forget your devotedness!”

And the young girl wrung the water from her curls, and laughed.

“Nothing more natural, my dear,” said Ralph.

“Than what?”

“My devotedness.”

“How?”

“Can you ask?”

“Yes, sir, I can.”

“Would you have me a heathen?”

“A heathen!”

“Yes, Miss Fanny; the least which would be expected of a gentleman would be more than I have done, under the circumstances, and with the peculiar relationship between us.

“Oh, yes, cousinship!”

“No, madam, intended wedlock.”

“Sir!”

“Come, don't blush so, my heart's delight,” said Ralph, “and if the subject is disagreeable, that is, a reference to it in this public manner, I will say no more.”

“Hum!”—

“There, now—”

“I think that your impudence—”

“Is very reasonable,” said Ralph, filling up the sentence; “but suppose you dry your feet, and yourself generally, as Miss Redbud is doing. That is more profitable than a discussion with me.”

This advice seemed excellent, and Fanny determined to follow it, though she did not yield in the tongue contest without a number of “hums!” which finally, however, died away like the mutterings of the storm without.

The good-humored old woman to whom the humble mansion belonged, had kindled a bundle of twigs in the large fire-place; and before the cheerful blaze the young girls and their cavaliers were soon seated, their wet garments smoking, and the owners of the garments laughing.

The good-humored old dame would have furnished them with a change, but this was declared unnecessary, as the storm seemed already exhausted, and they would, ere long, be able to continue their way.

Indeed, the storm had been one of those quick and violent outbursts of the sky, which seem to empty the clouds instantly almost, as though the pent up waters were shut in by a floodgate, shattered by the thunder and the lightning. Soon, only a few heavy drops continued to fall, and the setting sun, bursting in splendor from the western clouds, poised its red ball of fire upon the horizon, and poured a flood of crimson on the dancing streamlets, the glittering grass, and drenched foliage of the hill-side.

Redbud rose, smiling.

“I think we can go now,” she said, “I am afraid to stay any longer—my clothes are very wet, and I have not health enough to risk losing any.”

With which the girl, with another smile, tied the ribbon of her chip hat under her chin, and looked at Verty.

That gentleman rose.

“I wish my coat had been thicker,” he said, “but I can't help it. Yes, yes, Redbud, indeed we must get back. It would'nt do for you to get sick.”

“And me, sir!” said Fanny.

“You?” said Verty, smiling.

“Yes, sir; I suppose it would do for me?”

“I don't know.”

“Hum!”

“I can tell you, dear,” said Ralph, “and I assure you the thing would not answer under any circumstances. Come, let us follow Miss Redbud.”

They all thanked the smiling old dame, and issuing from the cottage, took their way through the sparkling fields and along the wet paths toward home again. They reached the Bower of Nature just at twilight, and entering through the garden were about to pass in, when they were arrested by a spectacle on the rear portico, which brought a smile to every lip.

Mr. Jinks was on his knees before Miss Sallianna there.

CHAPTER XLII. HOW MR. JINKS REQUESTED RALPH TO HOLD HIM.

Our last view of Mr. Jinks was at Bousch's tavern, when, mounting in a manner peculiar to himself behind Ralph, the warlike gentleman set out to take revenge.

He had ridden thus almost to the Bower of Nature; but on reaching the belt of willows at the foot of the hill, requested to be placed upon the earth, in order to make his toilet, to prepare himself for the coming interview, and for other reasons.

Ralph had laughed, and complied.

Mr. Jinks had seated himself upon a bank by the little stream—the same which we have seen the picnic party cross higher up—upon a log, and then drawing from his pocket a small mirror, he had proceeded to make his toilet.

This ceremony consisted in a scrupulous arrangement of his artificial locks—a cultivation of the warlike and chivalrous expression of countenance—and a general review of the state of his wardrobe.

He soon finished these ceremonies, and then continued his way toward the Bower of Nature.

He arrived just as Ralph had proposed the excursion to the young girls—consequently, some moments after the young fellow's interview with Miss Sallianna—and entered with the air of a conqueror and a master.

History and tradition—from which, with the assistance of imagination, (nothing unusual,) our veritable narrative is drawn—history affords us no information in regard to what occurred at this interview between Mr. Jinks and Miss Sallianna.

That the interview would have been terrific, full of reproaches, drowned in tears, objurgations, and jealous ravings, is certainly no more than the words of Mr. Jinks would have led an impartial listener to believe. But Mr. Jinks was deep—knew women, as he often said, as well as need be—and therefore it is not at all improbable that the jealous ravings and other ceremonies were, upon reflection, omitted by Mr. Jinks, as in themselves unnecessary and a waste of time. The reader may estimate the probabilities, pro and con, for himself.

Whatever doubt exists, however, upon the subject of this interview—its character and complexion—no doubt at all can possibly attach to the picturesque denouement which we have referred to in the last lines of our last chapter.

Mr. Jinks was on his knees before the beautiful Sallianna.

The girls and their companions saw it—distinctly, undoubtedly, without possibility of mistake; finally, hearing the sound of footsteps on the graveled walks, Mr. Jinks turned his head, and saw that they saw him!

It was a grand spectacle which at that moment they beheld: Mr. Jinks erect before his rival and his foes—Mr. Jinks with his hand upon his sword—Mr. Jinks with stern resolve and lofty dignity in his form and mien.

“Sir,” said Mr. Jinks to Ralph, “I am glad to see you—!”

“And I am delighted, my dear Jinks!” returned Ralph.

“A fine day, sir!”

“A glorious day!”

“A heavy storm.”

“Tremendous!”

“Wet?”

“Very!”

And Ralph wrung the water out of his falling cuff.

“I say, though,” said he, “things seem to have been going on very tranquilly here.”

“Sir?”

“Come, old fellow!” don't be ashamed of—”

“What, sir! I ashamed?”

“Of kneeling down—you know.”

And Ralph, smiling confidentially, made significant signs over his shoulder toward Miss Sallianna, who had withdrawn with blushing diffidence to the other end of the portico, and was gently waving her fan as she gazed upon the sunset.

“The fact is, I was arranging her shoe-bow,” said Mr. Jinks.

“Oh!” said Ralph, “gammon,”

“Sir?”

“You were courting her.”

“Courting!”

“Ah—you deny it! Well, let us see!”

And to Mr. Jinks' profound consternation he raised his voice, and said, laughing:

“Tell me, Miss Sallianna, if my friend Jinks has not been courting you?”

“Oh, sir!” cried Miss Sallianna, in a flutter.

“Did you say, no?” continued Ralph, pretending to so understand the lady; “very well, then, I may advise you, my dear Jinks, not to do so.”

“Do what, sir?”

“Court Miss Sallianna.”

“Why not, sir?” cried Mr. Jinks, bristling up.

“Because you would have no chance.”

“No chance, sir!”

Ralph's propensity for mischief got the better of him; and leaning over, he whispered in the warlike gentleman's ear, as he pointed to Miss Sallianna.

“I say, Jinks, don't you understand?—desperately in love—hum—with—hum—Verty here; no doubt of it!”

And Ralph drew back, looking mysterious.

Mr. Jinks cast upon the quiet Verty a glance which would have frozen giants into stone.

“No, sir! all explained!” he said.

“It can't be, my dear fellow,” said Ralph, in a low tone. “Verty has the proofs.”

“Did you speak to me?” said Verty, smiling: he had been talking with Redbud during this conference.

“Yes, I did,” said Ralph. Verty smiled, and said:

“I did not hear what you asked.”

“No wonder,” said Ralph. And turning to Mr. Jinks:

“Observe,” he said, in a low tone, “how Mr. Verty is trying to make Miss Sallianna jealous.”

“Perdition!” said Mr. Jinks.

“Oh, certainly!” replied Ralph, with solemn sympathy; “but here is Mr. Verty waiting patiently to hear what I have to say.”

“Yes,” said Verty, still smiling.

“It is Mr. Jinks who desires to speak,” said Ralph, retiring with a chuckle, and leaving the adversaries face to face.

“Hum—at—yes, sir—I desired to speak, sir!” said Mr. Jinks, with threatening calmness.

“Did you?” said Verty, smiling.

“Yes, sir!”

“I can hear now.”

“It is well that you can, sir! Mark me, sir! Some people cannot hear!”

“Ah?” said Verty, “yes, you mean deaf people!”

“I refer to others, sir!”

“Yes?”

“Nor can they see.”

“Blind people,” suggested Verty.

Mr. Jinks had an impression that Verty was trifling with him; and considering him too good-natured to quarrel, advanced toward him with a threatening gesture.

“I refer to people neither blind nor deaf, who cannot see nor hear insults, sir!” he said.

“I never knew any,” said Verty, wondering at Mr. Jinks.

“You are one, sir!”

“I!”

“Yes!”

“Do you mean I am afraid of anything?”

“I mean, sir, that I have been wronged.”

“I don't care,” said Verty, “you are not good-natured.”

“What do you mean, sir?”

“You are angry.”

“I am, sir!”

“I advise you not to be; you don't look handsome,” said Verty.”

“Sir!” cried Mr. Jinks.

Verty's face assumed an expression of mild inquiry.

“Will you fight?”

“Yes,” said Verty, “but you ought not to fight with that old sword. It's too long, and besides it would frighten old Scowley—”

“Sir!” cried Mr. Jinks, ferociously.

“And I know Miss Sallianna would scream,” said Verty. “I would'nt mind that, though—I would'nt—for I don't like her—she told me a story!”

Mr. Jinks flashed out his sword, and brandished it around his head.

“Oh, me! you've been scrubbing it!” said Verty, laughing.

To describe the terrific rage of Mr. Jinks at this disregard of himself, his threats and weapon, would be utterly impossible.

The great Jinks raved, swore, and executed such ferocious pirouettes upon his grasshopper legs, in the direction of the smiling Verty, that Ralph became alarmed at the consequence of his mischief, and hastened to the rescue.

“No, Jinks!” he cried, “there must be no fighting.”

“No fighting!” cried Mr. Jinks, whose ferocity, as soon as he found himself held back, became tremendous,—“no fighting!”

“No,” said Ralph.

“Release me, sir!”

“Never!” cried Ralph, pinning his arms.

“Hold me, sir! or I will at once inflict condign punishment upon this individual!”

“Certainly,” said Ralph, beginning to laugh. “I will hold you; I thought you said release you!”

“I did, sir!” cried Mr. Jinks, making a very faint effort to get at Verty.

“Which shall I do?”

“I will murder him!” cried Mr. Jinks, struggling with more energy, from the fact that Ralph had grasped him more tightly.

“Jinks! Jinks! you a murderer!”

“I have been wronged!” said the champion, brandishing his sword.

“Oh, no.”

“The respectable Mrs. Scowley has been insulted!”

“You are mistaken!”

“The divine Sallianna has been charged with falsehood!”

“A mere jest.”

“Let me run the villain through!”

And Mr. Jinks made a terrific lunge with his sword at Verty, and requested Mr. Ashley to hold him tight, unless he wished to see the Bower of Nature swimming in “gory blood!”

The colloquy we have faithfully reported, took place in far less time than we have taken to narrate it.

Redbud had hastened forward with terror in her face, Fanny with bewilderment—lastly, Miss Sallianna had rushed up to the spot with a scream; the various personages came together just when Mr. Jinks uttered his awful threat in relation to “gory blood.”

“Oh, Verty!” said Redbud.

Verty smiled.

“Alphonso!” cried Miss Sallianna, with distraction.

Alphonso Jinks made overwhelming efforts to get at his enemy.

“Please don't fight—for my sake, Verty!” murmured Redbud, with pale lips.

“Spare him, Alphonso!” cried Miss Sallianna, with a shake of agony in her voice; “spare his youth, and do not take opprobrious revenge!”

“He has wronged me!” cried Mr. Jinks.

“Pardon him, Alphonso!”

“He has insulted you!”

“I forgive him!” cried Miss Sallianna.

“I will have revenge!”

And Mr. Jinks brandished his sword, and kept at a distance from Verty, making a feint of struggling.

“Jinks,” said Ralph, “you are tiring me out. I shall let you go in another second, if you don't put up that sword, and stop wrestling with me!”

This threat seemed to moderate Mr. Jinks' rage, and he replied:

“This momentary anger is over, sir—I forgive, that young man—Sallianna! beautiful Sallianna! for thy sake!”

But overcome with nerves, and the revulsion produced by this change in affairs, the beautiful Sallianna's head drooped upon one shoulder, her eyes were closed, and her arms were extended towards Mr. Jinks.

Before that gentleman was aware of the fact, Miss Sallianna had been overcome by nerves, and reclined in a faint state upon his bosom.

We need not detail the remaining particulars of the scene whose outline we have traced.

Verty, who had received all Mr. Jinks' threats and gesticulations with great unconcern, applied himself to conversation with Redbud again: and no doubt would have conversed all the evening, but for Ralph. Ralph drew him away, pointing to the damp clothes; and with many smiles, they took their leave.

The last thing the young men observed, was Mr. Jinks supporting Miss Sallianna, who had fainted a second time, and raising his despairing eyes to heaven.

They burst out laughing, and continued their way.

CHAPTER XLIII. VERTY'S HEART GOES AWAY IN A CHARIOT.

Verty remained hard at work all the next day; and such was the natural quickness of the young man's mind, that he seemed to learn something every hour, in spite of the preoccupation which, as the reader may imagine, his affection for our little heroine occasioned.

Roundjacket openly expressed his satisfaction at the result of the day's labor, and hazarded a sly observation that Verty would not, on the next day, remain so long at his desk, or accomplish so much. They could not complain, however, Mr. Roundjacket said; Verty was a scion of the woods, a tamed Indian, and nothing was more natural than his propensity to follow the bent of his mind, when fancy seized him. They must make allowances—he had no doubt, in time, everything would turn out well—yes, Verty would be an honorable member of society, and see the graces and attraction of the noble profession which he had elected for his support.

Verty received these friendly words—which were uttered between many chuckles of a private and dignified character—with dreamy silence; then bowing to Mr. Roundjacket, mounted Cloud, called Longears, and rode home.

On the following morning events happened pretty much as Mr. Roundjacket had predicted.

Verty wrote for some moments—then stopped; then wrote again for one moment—then twirled, bit, and finally threw down his pen.

Roundjacket chuckled, and observed that there was much injustice done him in not elevating him to the dignity of prophet. And then he mildly inquired if Verty would not like to take a ride.

Yes, Verty would like very much to do so. And in five minutes the young man was riding joyfully toward the Bower of Nature.

Sad news awaited him.

Redbud had suffered seriously from her wetting in the storm. First, she had caught a severe cold—this had continued to increase—then this cold had resulted in a fever, which threatened to confine her for a long time.

Poor Verty's head drooped, and he sighed so deeply that Fanny, who communicated this intelligence, felt an emotion of great pity.

Could'nt he see Redbud?

Fanny thought not; he might, however, greet her as she passed through the town. Word had been sent to Apple Orchard of her sickness, and the carriage was no doubt now upon its way to take her thither. There it was now—coming through the willows!

The carriage rolled up to the door; Miss Lavinia descended, and greeting Verty kindly, passed into the house.

In a quarter of an hour the severe lady came forth again, accompanied by the simpering Miss Sallianna, and by poor Redbud, who, wrapped in a shawl, and with red, feverish cheeks, made Verty sigh more deeply than before.

A bright smile from the kind eyes, a gentle pressure of the white, soft hand, now hot with fever, and the young girl was gone from him. The noise of the carriage-wheels died in the distance.

Verty remained for some moments gazing after it; then he rose, and shaking hands with the pitying Fanny, who had lost all her merriment, got slowly into the saddle and returned.

He had expected a day of happiness and laughter with Redbud, basking in the fond light of her eyes, and rambling by her side for happy hours.

He had seen her with fevered cheek and hand, go away from him sick and suffering.

His arms hanging down, his chin resting on his breast, Verty returned slowly to the office, sighing piteously—even Longears seemed to know the suffering of his master, and was still and quiet.

CHAPTER XLIV. IN WHICH THE HISTORY RETURNS TO APPLE ORCHARD.

Having devoted much space in the foregoing pages to those scenes, descriptive, grotesque, and sentimental, which took place at the Bower of Nature and Winchester, it is proper that we should now go back to the domain of Apple Orchard, and the inhabitants of that realm, so long lost sight of in the contemplation of the graces and attractions of Miss Sallianna, and the various planets which hovered in the wake of that great feminine sun of love and beauty. Apple Orchard, so long lost sight of, will not longer suffer itself to be neglected; and, fortunately, the return of our heroine, Redbud, affords an opportunity of passing away, for the time, from other scenes, and going thither in her company.

Redbud's sickness did not last long. The girl had one of those constitutions which, though they seem frail and delicate, yet, like the reed, are able to resist what breaks more robust frames. The wetting she had gotten, on the evening whose events we have chronicled, had not seriously affected her;—a severe cold, and with it some slight fever, had been the result. And this fever expended itself completely, in a few days, and left the girl well again, though quite weak and “poorly,” as say the Africans.

Redbud, like most persons, was not fond of a sick-room; and after sending word, day after day, to our friend Verty—who never failed to call twice at least, morning and evening—that she was better, and better, the girl, one morning, declared to cousin Lavinia that she was well enough to put on her dressing-wrapper, and go down stairs.

After some demur, accompanied by many grave and solemn shakes of the head, Miss Lavinia assented to this view of the case; and accordingly set about arranging the girl's hair, which had become—thanks to the fact that she could not bear it tied up—one mass of curls of the color of gold; and this task having been performed with solemn but affectionate care, the Squire made his appearance, according to appointment, and taking his “baby,” as he called our heroine of sixteen and a half, in his arms, carried her down stairs, and deposited her on a sofa, fronting the open window, looking on the fresh fields and splendid autumn forest.

Redbud lay here gazing with delight upon the landscape, and smiling pleasantly. The autumn hours were going to the west—the trees had grown more golden than on that fine evening, when, with sad mishaps to Fanny, the gay party had wandered over the hills, though not very far away, and seen the thunder-storm suck in the dazzling glories of the bannered trees. Another year, with all its light, and joy, and beauty, slowly waned away, and had itself decently entombed beneath the thick, soft bed of yellow leaves, with nothing to disturb it but the rabbit's tread, or forest cries, or hoof-strokes of the deer. That year had added life and beauty to the face and form of Redbud, making her a woman-child—before she was but a child; and the fine light now in her tender eyes, was a light of thought and mind, the mature radiance of opening intellect, instead of the careless, thoughtless life of childhood. She had become suddenly much older, the Squire said, since going to the Bower of Nature even; and as she lay now on her couch, fronting the dying autumn, the year which whispered faintly even now of its bright coming in the Spring, promised to make her a “young lady!”

And as Redbud lay thus, smiling and thinking, who should run in, with laughing eyes and brilliant countenance, and black curls, rippling like a midnight stream, but our young friend, Miss Fanny.

Fanny, joyous as a lark—and merrier still at seeing Redbud “down stairs” again—overflowing, indeed, with mirth and laughter, like a morn of Spring, and making old Caesar, dozing on the rug, rise up and whine.

Fanny kissed Redbud enthusiastically, which ceremony, as everybody knows, is, with young ladies, exactly equivalent to shaking hands among the men; and often indicates as little real good-feeling slanderous tongues have whispered. No one, however, could have imagined that there was any affectation in Fanny's warm kiss. The very ring of it was enough to prove that the young lady's whole heart was in it, and when she sat down by Redbud and took her white hand, and patted it against her own, the very tenderest light shone in Miss Fanny's dancing eyes, and it was plain that she had not exaggerated the truth, in formerly declaring that she was desperately in love with Redbud. Ah! that fond old school attachment—whether of boy or girl—for the close friend of sunny hours; shall we laugh at it? Are the feelings of our after lives so much more disinterested, pure and elevated?

So Miss Fanny chatted on with Redbud, telling her a thousand things, which, fortunately, have nothing to do with our present chronicle—else would the unfortunate chronicler find his pen laughed at for its tardy movement. Fanny's rapid flow of laughing and picturesque words, could no more be kept up with by a sublunary instrument of record, than the shadow of a darting bird can be caught by the eager hand of the child grasping at it as it flits by on the sward.

And in the middle of this flow of words, and just when Fanny makes a veiled allusion to an elderly “thing,” and the propensity of the person in question, to rob more juvenile young ladies of their beaux—enter Miss Lavinia—who asks what thing Miss Fanny speaks of, with a smile upon the austere countenance.

Fanny declines explaining, but blushes instead, and asks Miss Lavinia where she got that darling shawl, which is really a perfect love of a thing; and so, with smiles from Redbud, the conversation continues until dinner-time, when the Squire makes his appearance, and after kissing Miss Redbud, affects to take Miss Fanny by the elbows and bump her head against the ceiling, baby-fashion. In this attempt, we need not say, the worthy gentleman fails, from the fact, that young ladies of seventeen, are, for some reason, heavier than babies, and are kissed with much more ease, and far less trouble, standing on their feet, than chucked toward the ceiling for that purpose.

Having dined and chatted pleasantly, and told a number of amusing tales for Miss Redbud's edification—and against the silent protest and remonstrance of said Miss Lavinia—the Squire declares that he must go and see to his threshing; and, accordingly, after swearing at Caesar, goes away; and is heard greeting somebody as he departs.

This somebody turns out to be Verty; and the young man's face blushes with delight at sight of Redbud, whom he runs to, and devours with his glances. Redbud blushes slightly; but this passes soon, and the kind eyes beam on him softly—no confusion in them now—and the small hand is not drawn away from him, but remains in his own.

And Fanny—amiable Fanny—knowing all about it, smiles; and Miss Lavinia, staidest of her sex, suspecting something of it, looks grave and dignified, but does not frown; and Verty, with perfect forgetfulness of the presence of these persons, and much carelessness in regard to their opinions, gazes upon Redbud with his dreamy smile, and talks to her.

So the day passes onward, and the shades of evening take away the merry voices—the bright sunset shining on them as they go. They must come again without waiting for her to return their visit—says Redbud smiling—and the happy laughter which replies to her, makes Apple Orchard chuckle through its farthest chambers, and the portraits on the wall—bright now in vagrant gleams of crimson sundown—utter a low, well-bred cachinnation, such as is befitting in the solemn, dignified old cavaliers and ladies, looking from their laces, and hair-powder, and stiff ruffs, upon their little grandchild.

So the merry voices become faint, and the bright sunset slowly wanes away, a rosy flush upon the splendid sky, dragging another day of work or idleness, despair or joy, into oblivion!

Redbud lies and gazes at the noble woods, bathed in that rosy flush and smiles. Then her eyes turn toward a portrait settling into shadow, but lit up with one bright beam—and the dear mother's eyes shine on her with a tender light, and bless her. And she clasps her hands, and her lips murmur something, and her eyes turn to the western sky again. And evening slowly goes away, leaving the beautiful pure face with evident regret, but lighting up the kind blue eyes, and golden hair, and delicate cheek, with a last vagrant gleam.

So the dim cheerful night came down—the day was dead.

CHAPTER XLV. HOURS IN THE OCTOBER WOODS.

In a week Redbud was going about again: slowly, it is true, and taking care not to fatigue herself, but still she was no longer confined to the house.

She rose one morning, and came down with a face full of happy expectation.

That day had been appointed for a holiday in the woods, and Fanny, Verty and Ralph were coming. Soon they came.

Ralph was resplendent in a new suit of silk, which he had procured after numerous directions from our friend Mr. O'Brallaghan; Verty resembled the young forest emperor, which it was his wont to resemble, at least in costume;—and Fanny was clad in the finest and most coquettish little dress conceivable. After mature deliberation, we are inclined to believe that her conquest of Ralph was on this day completed and perfected:—the conduct of that gentleman for some days afterwards having been very suspicious. We need only say, that he sat at his window, gazing moonward—wrote sonnets in a very melancholy strain, and lost much of his ardor and vivacity. These symptoms are sufficient for a diagnosis when one is familiar with the disease, and they were exhibited by Mr. Ralph, on the occasion mentioned. But we anticipate.

The gay party went out in the grove, and wandering about in the brilliant October sunlight, gathered primroses and other autumn flowers, which, making into bunches, they topped with fine slender, palm-like golden rods:—and so, passing on, came to the old glen behind, and just beneath the acclivity which made the western horizon of Apple Orchard.

“Look what a lovely tulip tree!” said Fanny, laughing, “and here is the old lime-kiln—look!”

Ralph smiled.

“I am looking,”—he said.

“You are not!”

“Yes—at you.”

“I asked you to look at the old kiln—”

“I prefer your charming face, my heart's treasure.”

Redbud laughed, and turning her white, tender face, to the dreamy, Verty said:

“Are they not affectionate, Verty?”

Verty smiled.

“I like that,” he said.

“So do I—but Mr. Ralph is so—”

What, Miss Redbud?” said Ralph, laughing, “eh?”

“Oh, I did'nt know—”

“I heard you?”

“Yes, sir.”

“Well, at least I did. I don't see why I should not be affectionate to Fanny—”

“Humph!” from Fanny.

“She is my dearest cousin—is Miss Fanny Temple; and we have been in love with each other for the last twenty years, more or less!”

Fanny burst into laughter.

“Twenty years!” she cried.

“Well?” said Ralph.

“I'm only seventeen, sir.”

“Seventeen?”

“Yes, sir.”

“Seventeen—three from seventeen,” said Ralph, thoughtfully calculating on his fingers, “ah! yes! you are right—you have been in love with me but fourteen years. Yes! yes! you have reason to say, as you did, that it was not twenty years—quite.”

After which speech, which was delivered in an innocent tone, Mr. Ralph scratched his chin.

Fanny stood for a moment horrified at the meaning given to her exclamation—then colored—then cried “Humph!”—then burst into laughter. The party joined in it.

“Well, well,” said the bright girl, whose dancing eyes were full of pleasure, “don't let us get to flirting to-day.”

“Flirting?” said Ralph.

“Yes.”

“I never flirt.”

“No, never!”

“There, you are getting ironical—you fly off from—”

“The subject, I suppose—like that flying squirrel yonder—look!”

Indeed, a mottled little animal, of the description mentioned, had darted from the tulip toward a large oak, and falling as he flew—which we believe characterizes the flight of this squirrel—had lit upon the oak near the root, and run rapidly up the trunk.

“Did you ever!” cried Fanny.

“I don't recollect,” said Ralph.

“Why how can he fly?”

“Wings,” suggested Verty,

“But they are so small, and he's so heavy.”

“He starts high up,” said Verty, “and makes a strong jump when he flies. That's the way he does.”

“How curious,” said Redbud.

“Yes,” cried Fanny, “and see! there's a striped ground squirrel, and listen to that crow,—caw! caw!”

With which Fanny twists her lips into astonishing shapes, and imitates the crow in a manner which the youngest of living crows would have laughed to scorn.

Redbud gathered some beautiful flowers, and with the assistance of Verty made a little wreath, which she tied with a ribbon. Stealing behind Fanny, she placed this on her head.

“Oh, me?” cried Miss Fanny.

“Yes, for you,” said Ralph.

“From Redbud? Oh! thank you. But I'll make you one. Come, sir,”—to Ralph,—“help me.”

“To get flowers?”

“Yes.”

“Willingly.”

“There is a bunch of primroses.”

“Shall I get it?” said Ralph.

“Yes, sir.”

“I think you had better,” said Ralph.

“Well, sir!”

“Now, Fanny—don't get angry—I will—”

“No, you shan't!”

“Indeed I will!”

The result of this contention, as to who should gather the primroses, was, that Fanny and Ralph, stooping at the same moment, struck their faces together, and cried out—the young lady at least.

Fanny blushed very much as she rose—Ralph was triumphant.

“I've got them, however, sir,” she said, holding the flowers.

“And I had a disagreeable accident,” said Ralph, laughing, and pretending to rub his head.

“Disagreeable, sir!” cried Fanny, without reflecting.

“Yes!” said Ralph—“why not?”

Fanny found herself involved again in an awkward explanation—the fact being, that Ralph's lips had, by pure accident, of course, touched her brow.

It would, therefore, have only complicated matters for Fanny to have explained why the accident ought not to be “disagreeable,” as Ralph declared it to be. The general reply, however, which we have endeavored, on various occasions, to represent by the word “Humph!” issued from the young girl's lips; and busying herself with the wreath, she passed on, followed by the laughing company.

From the forest, they went to the mossy glen, as we may call it, though that was not its name; and Verty enlivened the company with a description of a flock of young partridges which had there started up once, and running between his feet, disappeared before his very eyes. Redbud, too, recollected the nice cherries they had eaten from the trees—as nice as the oxhearts near the house—in the Spring; and Fanny did too, and told some very amusing stories of beaux being compelled to climb and throw down boughs laden with their red bunches.

In this pleasant way they strolled along the brook which stole by in sun and shadow, over mossy rocks, and under bulrushes, where the minnows haunted—which brook, tradition (and the maps) call to-day by the name of one member of that party; and so, passing over the slip of meadow, where Verty declared the hares were accustomed to gambol by moonlight, once more came again toward the locust-grove of “dear old Apple Orchard,”—(Fanny's phrase,)—and entered in again, and threw down their treasures of bright flowers and bird's-nests—for they had taken some old ones from the trees—and laughed, sang, and were happy.

“Why! what a day!” cried Ralph; “if we only had a kite now!”

“A kite!” cried Fanny.

“Yes.”

“An elegant college gentleman—”

“Oh—suspend the college gentleman, if I may use the paraphrase,” said Mr. Ralph; “why can't you permit a man to return again, my heart's delight, to his far youth.”

Far youth.”

“Ages ago—but in spite of that, I tell you I want to see a fine kite sailing up there.”

“Make it, then!”

“By Jove! I will, if Miss Redbud will supply—”

“The materials? Certainly, in one moment, Mr. Ralph,” said Redbud, smiling softly; “how nice it will be!”

“Twine, scissors, paper,” said Ralph; “we'll have it done immediately.”

Redbud went, and soon returned with the materials; and the whole laughing party began to work upon the kite.

Such was their dispatch, that, in an hour it was ready, taken to the meadow, and there, with the united assistance of gentlemen and ladies, launched into the sky.

CHAPTER XLVI. THE HAPPY AUTUMN FIELDS.

The rolling ground beyond the meadow, where the oaks rustled, was the point of departure of the kite—the post from which it sailed forth on its aerial voyage.

The whole affair was a success, and never did merrier hearts watch a kite.

It was beautifully made—of beautiful paper, all red, and blue and yellow—and the young girls had completely surrounded it with figures of silver paper, and decorated it, from head to foot, with flowers.

Thus, when it ascended slowly into the cerulean heavens, as said the poetical Ralph, its long, flower-decorated streamers rippling in the wind, it was greeted with loud cries of joy and admiration—thunders of applause and enthusiastic encouragement to “go on!” from Ralph, who had grown very young again—from Fanny, even more exaggerated cries.

That young lady seemed to be on the point of flying after it—the breeze seemed about to bear her away, and she clapped her hands and followed the high sailing paper-bird with such delight, that Ralph suggested she should be sent up as a messenger.

“No,” said Fanny, growing a little calmer, but laughing still, “I'm afraid I should grow dizzy.”

And looking at the kite, which soared far up, and seemed to be peeping from side to side, around the small white clouds, Fanny laughed more than ever.

But why should we waste our time in saying that the gay party were pleased with everything, and laughed out loudly for that reason?

Perhaps a merrier company never made the golden days of autumn ring with laughter, either at Apple Orchard, where hill and meadow echoed to the joyous carol, or in any other place. Sitting beneath the oaks, and looking to the old house buried in its beautiful golden trees, the girls sang with their pure, melodious voices, songs which made the fresh, yet dreamy autumn dearer still, and wrapped the hearts of those who listened in a smiling, calm delight. Give youth only skies and pure fresh breezes, and the ready laughter shows how happy these things, simple as they are, can make it. It wants no present beyond this; for has it not what is greater still, the radiant and rosy future, with its splendid tints of joy and rapture?

Youth! youth! Erect in the beautiful frail skiff, he dares the tide, gazing with glorious brow upon the palace in the cloud, which hovers overhead, a fairy spectacle of dreamland—real still to him! Beautiful youth! As he stands thus with his outstretched arms, the light upon his noble face, and the young lips illumined by their tender smile, who can help loving him, and feeling that more of the light of Heaven lingers on his countenance, than on the man's? Youth! youth! beautiful youth!—who, at times, does not look back to it with joyful wonder, long for it with passionate regret—for its inexperience and weakness!—its illusions and romance!—its fond trust, and April smiles and tears! Who does not long to laugh again, and, leaning over the bark's side, play with the foaming waves again, as in the old days! Beautiful youth! sailing for Beulah, the land of flowers, and landing there in dreams—how can we look upon your radiant brow and eyes, without such regret as nothing taking root in this world can console us for completely! Ah! after all, there is no philosophy like ignorance—there is no joy like youth and innocence!

The shouts and laughter ringing through the merry fields, on the fine autumn morning, may have led us into this discourse upon youth: the very air was full of laughter, and when Fanny let the kite string go by accident, the rapture grew intense.

Verty and Redbud sitting quietly, at the distance of some paces, under the oaks, looked on, laughing and talking.

“How bright Fanny is,” said Redbud, laughing—“Look! I think she is lovely; and then she is as good as she can be.”

“I like her,” said Verty, tenderly, “because she likes you, Redbud. I like Ralph, too—don't you?”

“Oh, yes—I think he is very pleasant and agreeable; he has just come from college, and Fanny says, has greatly improved—though,” whispered Redbud, bending toward Verty, and smiling, “she says, when he is present, that he has not improved; just the opposite.”

Verty sighed.

The delicate little face of Redbud was turned toward him inquiringly.

“Verty, you sighed,” she said.

“Did I?” said Verty.

“Yes.”

Verty sighed again.

“Tell me what troubles you,” said Redbud, softly.

“Nothing—nothing,” replied Verty; “I was only thinking about college, you know.”

“About college?”

“Yes.”

And Verty repeated the sigh.

“Tell me your thoughts,” said Redbud, earnestly.

“I was only thinking,” returned her companion, “that there was no chance of my ever going to college, and I should like to know how I am to be a learned man without having an education.”

Redbud sighed too.

“But perhaps,” she said, “you might make yourself learned without going to college.”

Verty shook his head.

“You are not so ignorant as you think,” Redbud said, softly. “I know many persons as old as you are, who—who—are not half as—intelligent.”

Verty repeated the shake of his head.

“I may know as much as the next one about hunting,” he said; “and ma mere says that none of her tribe had as much knowledge of the habits of the deer. Yes! yes! that is something—to know all about life in the autumn woods, the grand life which, some day, will be told about in great poetry, or ought to be. But what good is there in only knowing how to follow the deer, or watch for the turkeys, or kill bears, as I used to before the neighborhood was filled up? I want to be a learned man. I don't think anybody would, or ought to, marry me,” added Verty, sighing.

Redbud laughed, and colored.

“Perhaps you can go to college, though,” she said.

“I'm afraid not,” said Verty; “but I won't complain. Why should I? Besides, I would have to leave you all here, and I never could make up my mind to that.”

(“Let it go, Ralph!” from Fanny.

To which the individual addressed, replies:

“Oh, certainly, by all means, darling of my heart!”)

Redbud smiled.

“I think we are very happy here,” she said; “there cannot be anything in the Lowlands prettier than the mountains—”

“Oh! I know there is not!” exclaimed Verty, with the enthusiasm of the true mountaineer.

“Besides,” said Redbud, taking advantage of this return to brighter thoughts, “I don't think learning is so important, Verty. It often makes us forget simple things, and think we are better than the rest of the world—”

“Yes,” said Verty.

“That is wrong, you know. I think that it would be dearly bought, if we lost charity by getting it,” said the girl, earnestly.

Verty looked thoughtful, and leaning his head on his hand, said:

“I don't know but I prefer the mountains, then. Redbud, I think if I saw a great deal of you, you would make me good—”

“Oh! I'm afraid—”

“I'd read my Bible, and think about God,” Verty said.

“Don't you now, Verty?”

“Yes; I read.”

“But don't you think?”

Verty shook his head.

“I can't remember it often,” he replied. “I know I ought.”

Redbud looked at him with her soft, kind eyes, and said:

“But you pray?”

“Sometimes.”

“Not every night?”

“No.”

Redbud looked pained;

“Oh! you ought to,” she said.

“I know I ought, and I'm going to,” said the young man; “the fact is, Redbud, we have a great deal to be thankful for.”

“Oh, indeed we have!” said Redbud; earnestly—“all this beautiful world: the sunshine, the singing of the birds, the health of our dear friends and relatives; and everything—”

“Yes, yes,” said Verty, “I ought to be thankful more than anybody else.”

“Why?”

“You know I'm an Indian.”

Redbud looked dubious.

“At least ma mere is my mother,” said Verty; “and if I am not an Indian, I don't know what I am. You know,” he added, “I can't be like a deer in the woods, that nobody knows anything about.”

Redbud smiled; then, after a moment's thought, said:

“I don't think you are an Indian, Verty.”

And as she spoke, the young girl absently passed the coral necklace, we have spoken of, backward and forward between her lips.

Verty pondered.

“I don't know,” he said, at last; “but I know it was very good in God to give me such a kind mother as ma mere; and such friends as you all. I'm afraid I am not good myself.”

Redbud passed the necklace through her fingers thoughtfully.

“That is pretty,” said Verty, looking at it. “I think I have seen it somewhere before.”

Redbud replied with a smile:

“Yes, I generally wear it; but I was thinking how strange your life was, Verty.”

And she looked kindly and softly with her frank eyes at the young man, who was playing with the beads of the necklace.

“Yes,” he replied, “and that is just why I ought to be thankful. If I was somebody's son, you know, everybody would know me—but I aint, and yet, everybody is kind. I often try to be thankful, and I believe I am,” he added; “but then I'm often sinful. The other day, I believe I would have shot Mr. Jinks—that was very wrong; yes, I know that was very wrong.”

And Verty shook his head sadly.

“Then I am angry sometimes,” he said, “though not often.”

“Not very often, I know,” said Redbud, softly; “you are very sweet tempered and amiable.”

“Do you think so, Redbud?”

“Yes, indeed,” smiled Redbud.

“I'm glad you think so; I thought I was not enough; but I have been talking about myself too much, which, Miss Lavinia says, is wrong. But, indeed, Redbud, I'll try and be good in future—look! there is Fanny quarreling with Ralph!”

They rose, and approached the parties indicated, who were, however, not more quarrelsome than usual: Fanny was only struggling with Ralph for the string of the kite. The contention ended in mutual laughter; and as a horn at that moment sounded for the servants to stop work for dinner, the party determined to return to Apple Orchard.

The kite was tied to a root, and they returned homeward.

CHAPTER XLVII. DAYS THAT ARE NO MORE.

“Oh!” cried Fanny, as they were again walking upon the smooth meadow, in the afternoon, “I think we ought to go and get some apples!”

“And so do I,” said Ralph.

“Of course, I expected you to agree with me, sir.”

“Naturally; I always do.”

This observation was remotely satirical, and Miss Fanny resented it.

“You are the most contentious person I ever knew,” she said.

“Am I?” asked Ralph.

“Yes, sir.”

“That is fortunate.”

“Why?”

“Because, difference of opinion is the soul of conversation, and as you never disagree with anybody, we could not converse. Observe how the syllogism comes out?”

“Fine logician!”

“Lovely damsel!”

“Mr. College-Graduate!”

“Miss School-Girl!”

“School-girl!”

“College-graduate!”

And after this exchange of compliments, the parties walked on, mutually pleased with each other.

Redbud and Verty followed them, and they soon arrived at the old orchard.

Behind the party followed Longears, whose presence, throughout the day, we have very improperly neglected to mention; but as that inquisitive animal was, during the whole morning, roaming, at his own wild will, the neighboring fields—prying into the holes of various wild animals, and exchanging silent commentaries with the Apple Orchard dogs—this omission will not appear very heinous.

Longears had now regaled himself with a comfortable dinner, the last bone of which he had licked—and having thus, like a regular and respectable citizen, taken care of the material, was busily engaged again in the intellectual pursuit of his enemies, the squirrels, butterflies and bees, at which he barked and dashed at times with great vigor and enthusiasm.

“Look at him,” said Redbud; “why does he dislike the butterflies?”

“Only fun,” said Verty; “he often does that. Here, Longears!”

Longears approached, and Verty pointed to the ground. Longears laid down.

“Stay there!” said Verty.

And smiling, he walked on.

Redbud laughed, and turning round made signs to the dog to follow them. Longears, however, only moved his head uneasily, and wagged his tail with eloquent remonstrance.

“Let him come, Verty,” said the girl.

Verty smiled, and made a movement of the hand, which, from the distance of a hundred yards, raised Longears three feet into the air. Returning from this elevation to the earth again, he darted off over the fields after the bees and swallows.

The young men and their companions smiled, and strolled on. They reached the old orchard, and ran about among the trees picking up apples—now the little soft yellow crab apples—then the huge, round, ruddy pippins—next the golden-coat bell apples, oblong and mellow, which had dropped from pure ripeness from the autumn boughs.

Verty had often climbed into the old trees, and filled his cap with the speckled eggs of black-birds, or found upon the fence here, embowered in the foliage, the slight nests of doves, each with its two eggs, white and transparent almost; and the recollection made him smile.

They gathered a number of the apples, and then strolled on, and eat a moment with the pleasant overseer's wife.

A number of little curly-headed boys had been rolling like apples on the grass as they approached; fat-armed and chubby-legged, and making devoted advances to Longears, who, descending from his dignity, rolled with them in the sunshine. These now approached, and the young girls patted their heads, and Mr. Ralph gave them some paternal advice, and the good housewife, spinning in her cane-bottom chair with straight tall back, smiled pleasantly, and curtsied.

The baby (there always was a baby at the overseer's) soon made his appearance, as babies will do everywhere; and then the unfortunate young curly-heads of riper age were forced to return once more to the grass and play with Longears—they were forgotten.

To describe the goings on of the two young ladies with that baby is wholly out of the question. They quarreled for it, chucked it in their arms, examined its toes with critical attention, and conversed with it in barbarous baby language, which was enough, Ralph said, to drive a man distracted. They asked it various questions—were delighted with its replies—called its attention to the chickens—and evidently labored under the impression that it understood. They addressed the baby uniformly in the neuter gender, and requested to know whether it was not their darling. To all which the baby replied with thoughtful stares, only occasionally condescending to laugh. The feet having been examined again—there is much in babies' feet—the party smiled and went away, calling after baby to the last.

“Now, that's all affectation,” said Ralph; “you young ladies—”

“You're a barbarian, sir!” replied Fanny, with great candor.

“I know I am.”

“I'm glad you do.”

“But,” continued Ralph, “tell me now, really, do you young girls admire babies?”

“Certainly I do—”

“And I,” said Redbud.

“They're the sweetest, dearest things in all the world,” continued Fanny, “and the man who don't like babies—”

“Is a monster, eh?”

“Far worse, sir!”

And Fanny laughed.

“That is pleasant to know,” said Ralph; “then I'm a monster.”

Having arrived at which highly encouraging conclusion, the young man whistled.

“I say,” he said, suddenly, “I wanted to ask—”

“Well, sir?” said Fanny.

“Before we leave the subject—”

“What subject?”

“Babies.”

“Well, ask on.”

“I wish to know whether babies talk.”

“Certainly!”

“Really, now?”

“Yes.”

“And you understand them?”

I do,” said Fanny.

“What does 'um, um,' mean? I heard that baby say 'um, um,' distinctly.”

Fanny burst out laughing.

“Oh, I know!” she said, “when I gave him an apple.”

“Yes.”

“It meant, 'that is a very nice apple, and I would like to have some.'“

“Did it?”

“Of course.”

“Suppose, then, it had been a crab-apple, and the baby had still said 'um, um,' what would it then have meant?”

“Plainly this: 'that is not a nice apple, and I would not like to have any.'“

“That is perfectly satisfactory,” said Ralph;"'um, um,' expresses either the desire to possess a sweet apple, or the objection to a sour one. I have heard of delicate shades of language before, but this is the sublimity thereof.”

And Ralph laughed.

“I never saw such a person,” said Fanny, pouting.

“By the bye,” said Ralph.

“Well, sir?”

“What was there so interesting in the toes?”

“They were lovely.”

“Anything else?”

“Beautiful.”

“That all? Come, now, tell me the charm in those feet which you young ladies designated, I remember, as 'teensy,' and expressed your desire to 'tiss.' Shocking perversion of the king's English—and in honor of nothing but two dirty little feet!” said Ralph.

The storm which was visited upon Ralph's unhappy head for this barbarous criticism was dreadful. Fanny declared, in express terms, that he was a monster, an ogre, and with a stone in his breast instead of a heart. To which Mr. Ralph replied, that the best writers of ancient and modern times had nowhere designated as a monster the man who was not in raptures at the sight of babies;—whereupon Miss Fanny declared her disregard of writers in general, and her preference for babies—at which stage of the discussion Ralph began to whistle.

Why not catch the laughter of those youthful lips, and tell how the young men and maidens amused themselves that fine autumn day? Everything innocent and fresh is beautiful—and there are eyes which shine more brightly than the sun, voices which make a softer music than the breezes of October in the laughing trees. Redbud's face and voice had this innocence and joy in it—there was pleasure in the very sound of it; and such a delicate kind of light in the soft eyes, that as they went, the young men felt more pure, and bowed to her, as something better than themselves—of higher nature.

The light of Fanny's eyes was more brilliant; but Redbud's were of such softness that you forgot all else in gazing at them—lost your heart, looking into their lucid depths of liquid light.

One heart was irremediably lost long since, and, gone away into the possession of the young lady. This was Verty's; and as they went along he gazed so tenderly at the young girl, that more than once she blushed, and suffered the long lashes to fall down upon her rosy cheek.

Fanny was talking with Ralph;—for these young gentlemen had made the simple and admirable arrangement, without in the least consulting the ladies, that Verty should always entertain and be entertained by Redbud, Ralph quarrel with, and be quarreled with, by Fanny.

Each, on the present occasion, was carrying out his portion of the contract; that is to say, Verty and Redbud were quietly smiling at each other; Ralph and Fanny were exchanging repartees.

They came thus to the knoll which they had stopped upon in the forenoon.

The fine kite—tied to a root, as we have said—was hovering far up among the clouds, swaying and fluttering its streamers in the wind: the various colors of the paper, and the flowers almost wholly indiscernible, so high had it ascended.

“Look!” said Fanny, “there it is up among the swallows, which are flying around it as if they never saw a kite before.”

“Female swallows, doubtless,” observed Ralph, carelessly.

“Female? Pray, why?”

“Because they have so much curiosity; see, you have made me utter what is not common with me.”

“What, sir?”

“A bad witticism.”

Fanny laughed, and replied, gazing at the kite:

“Your witticisms are, of course, always, fine—no doubt very classic; now I will send up a messenger on the string. Redbud, have you a piece of paper?”

Redbud drew the paper from her apron pocket, and gave it to Fanny, with a smile.

Fanny tore the yellow scrap into a circle, and in the centre of this circle made a hole as large as her finger.

“Now, Mr. Ralph, please untie the string from the root.”

“With pleasure,” said the young man; “for you, my heart's delight, I would—”

“Come, come, sir! you make an oration upon every occasion!”

With many remonstrances at being thus unceremoniously suppressed, Mr. Ralph knelt down, and untied the string.

“Does it pull strongly, Mr. Ralph?” said Redbud, smiling.

“Oh, yes! you know it was nearly as tall as myself—just try.”

“The messenger first!” cried Fanny.

And she slipped it over the string.

“Now, Miss Redbud, just try!” said Ralph.

Redbud wrapped the string around her hand, and Ralph let it go.

“How do you like it!” he said.

“Oh!” cried Redbud, “it is so strong!—there must be a great wind in the clouds!—Oh!” added the girl, laughing, “it is cutting my hand in two!”

And she caught the string with her left hand to relieve the afflicted member.

“Give it to me!” cried Fanny.

“Yes, give it to her; she has the arm of an Amazon,” said Ralph, enthusiastically.

“Humph!”

And having entered this, her standing protest, Fanny laughed, and unwound the string from Redbud's hand, on whose white surface two crimson circles were visible.

“I can hold it!” cried the young girl, “easily!”

And to display her indifference, Fanny knelt on one knee to pick up her gloves.

The consequence of this movement was, that the heavy kite, struck, doubtless, at the moment by a gust of wind, jerked the lady with the Amazonian arm so violently, that, unable to retain her position, she fell upon her left hand, then upon her face, and was dragged a pace or two by the heavy weight.

“By Jove!” cried Ralph, running to her, “did anybody—”

“Oh, take care!” exclaimed Redbud, hastening to her friend's assistance.

“It is nothing!” Fanny said; “I can hold it.”

And to prove this, she let go the string, which was cutting her hand in two.

The poor kite! loosed from the sustaining hand, from the earth, which, so to speak, held it up—it sees its hopes of elevation in the world all dashed with disappointment and obscured. It is doomed!

But no! A new friend comes to its rescue—deserted by the lords and ladies of creation, the lesser creature takes it under his protection.

Longears is the rescuer. Longears has watched the messenger we have mentioned with deep interest, as it lays upon the string and flutters; Longears imagines that it is a bee of the species called yellow-jacket challenging him to combat. Consequently, Longears no sooner sees the string dart from Fanny's hand, than believing the enemy about to escape him, he springs toward it and catches it in his mouth.

Longears catches a tartar; but too brave to yield without a struggle, rolls upon the ground, grinding the yellow enemy, and the string beneath his teeth.

His evolutions on the grass wrap the string around his feet and neck; Longears is taken prisoner, and finds himself dragged violently over the ground.

Brave and resolute before a common enemy, Longears fears this unknown adversary. Overcome with superstitious awe, he howls; endeavoring to howl again, he finds his windpipe grasped by his enemy. The howl turns into a wheeze. His eyes start from his head; his jaws open; he rolls on the grass; leaps in the air; puts forth the strength of a giant, but in vain.

It is at this juncture that Verty runs up and severs the string with his hunting-knive; whereat Longears, finding himself released, rubs his nose vigorously with his paws, sneezes, and lies down with an unconscious air, as if nothing had happened. He is saved.

The kite, however, is sacrified. Justly punished for wounding Redbud's hand, throwing Miss Fanny on her face, and periling the life of Longears, the unfortunate kite struggles a moment in the clouds, staggers from side to side, like a drunken man, and then caught by a sudden gust, sweeps like a streaming comet down into the autumn forest, and is gone.

Fanny is wiping her hands, which are somewhat soiled; the rest of the company are laughing merrily at the disappearance of the kite; Longears is gravely and seriously contemplating the yellow enemy with whom he has struggled so violently, and whose conqueror he believes himself to be.

This was the incident so frequently spoken of by Mr. Ralph Ashley afterwards, as the Bucolic of the kite.

CHAPTER XLVIII. THE HARVEST MOON.

The day was nearly gone now, dying over fir-clad hills; but yet, before it went, poured a last flood of rich, red light, such as only the mountains and the valley boast, upon the beautiful sloping meadow, stretching its green and dewy sea in front of Apple Orchard.

As the sun went away in royal splendor, bounding over the rim of evening, like a red-striped tiger—on the eastern horizon a light rose gradually, as though a great conflagration raged there. Then the trees were kindled; then the broad, yellow moon—call it the harvest moon!—soared slowly up, dragging its captive stars, and mixing its fresh radiance with the waning glories of the crimson west.

And as the happy party—grouped upon the grassy knoll, like some party of shepherds and shepherdesses, in the old days of Arcady—gazed on the beautiful spectacle, the voices of the negroes coming from their work were heard, driving their slow teams in, and sending on the air the clear melodious songs, which, rude and ludicrous as they seem, have yet so marvellous an effect, borne on the airs of night.

Those evening songs and sounds! Not long ago, one says, I stood, just at sunset, on the summit of a pretty knoll, and, looking eastward, saw the harvesters cutting into the tall, brown-headed, rippling wheat. I heard the merry whistle of the whirling scythes; I heard their songs—they were so sweet! And why are these harvest melodies so soft-sounding, and so grateful to the ear? Simply because they discourse of the long buried past; and, like some magical spell, arouse from its sleep all the beauteous and gay splendor of those hours. As the clear, measured sound floated to my ear, I heard also, again, the vanished music of happy childhood—that elysian time which cannot last for any of us. I do not know what the song was—whether some slow, sad negro melody, or loud-sounding hymn, such as the forests ring with at camp-meetings; but I know what the murmuring and dying sound brought to me again, living, splendid, instinct with a thoughtful but perfect joy. Fairyland never, with its silver-twisted, trumpet-flower-like bugles, rolled such a merry-mournful music to the friendly stars! I love to have the old days back again—back, with their very tints, and atmosphere, and sounds and odors—now no more the same. Thus I love to hear the young girl's low, merry song, floating from the window of a country-house, half-broken by the cicala, the swallow's twitter, or the rustling leaves;—I love to hear the joyous ripple of the harpsichord, bringing back, with some old music, times when that merry music stamped the hours, and took possession of them—in the heart—forever more! I love a ringing horn, even the stage-horn—now, alas! no more a sound of real life, only memory!—the thousand murmurs of a country evening; the far, clear cry of wild-geese from the clouds; the tinkling bells of cattle; every sound which brings again a glimpse of the far-glimmering plains of youth. And that is why, standing on this round knoll, beneath the merrily-rustling cherry-trees, and listening to the murmurous song, I heard my boyhood speak to me, and felt again the old breath on my brow. The sun died away across the old swaying woods; the rattling hone upon the scythe; the measured sweep; the mellow music—all were gone away. The day was done, and the long twilight came—twilight, which mixes the crimson of the darkling west, the yellow moonlight in the azure east, and the red glimmering starlight overhead, into one magic light. And so we went home merrily, with pleasant thoughts and talk; such pleasant thoughts I wish to all. Thus wrote one who ever delighted in the rural evenings and their sounds;—and thus listened the young persons, whose conversation, light and trivial though it seem, we have not thought it a loss of time to chronicle, from morn till eve.

They gazed with quiet pleasure upon the lovely landscape, and listened to the negroes as they sang their old, rude, touching madrigals, shouting, at times, to the horses of their teams, and not seldom sending on the air the loud rejoiceful outburst of their laughter.

The moonlight slept upon the wains piled up with yellow sheaves—and plainly revealed the little monkey-like black, seated on the summit of the foremost; and this young gentleman had managed to procure a banjo, and was playing.

As he played he sang; and, as he sang, kept time—not with the head alone, and foot, but with his whole body, arms, and legs and shoulders—all agitated with the ecstacy of mirth, as—singing “coony up the holler,” and executing it with grand effect moreover—the merry minstrel went upon his way. Various diminutive individuals of a similar description, were observed in the road behind, executing an impromptu “break down,” to the inspiring melody; and so the great piled-up wagon came on in the moonlight, creaking in unison with the music, and strewing on the road its long trail of golden wheat.

The moon soared higher, bidding defiance now to sunset, which it drove completely from the field; and in the window of Apple Orchard a light began to twinkle; and Redbud rose. She should not stay out, she said, as she had been sick; and so they took their way, as says our friend, “in pleasant talk,” across the emerald meadow to the cheerful home.

The low of cattle went with them, and all the birds of night waked up and sang.

The beautiful moon—the very moon of all the harvest-homes since the earth was made—shone on them as they went; and by the time they had reached the portico of the old comfortable mansion, evening had cast such shadows, far and near, that only the outlines of the forms were seen, as they passed in through the deep shadow.

They did not see that Verty's hand held little Redbud's; and that he looked her with a tenderness which could not be mistaken. But Redbud saw it, and a flush passed over her delicate cheek, on which the maiden moon looked down and smiled.

So the day ended.

CHAPTER XLIX. BACK TO WINCHESTER, WHERE EDITORIAL INIQUITY IS DISCOURSED OF.

Busy with the various fortunes of our other personages, we have not been able of late to give much attention to the noble poet, Roundjacket, with whose ambition and great thoughts, this history has heretofore somewhat concerned itself.

Following the old, fine chivalric mansion, “Place aux dames!” we have necessarily been compelled to elbow the cavaliers from the stage, and pass by in silence, without listening to them. Now, however, when we have written our pastoral canto, and duly spoken of the sayings and doings of Miss Redbud and Miss Fanny—used our best efforts to place upon record what they amused themselves with, laughed at, and took pleasure in, under the golden trees of the beautiful woods, and in the happy autumn fields—now we are at liberty to return to our good old border town, and those other personages of the history, whose merits have not been adequately recognized.

When Verty entered Winchester, on the morning after the events, or rather idle country scenes, which we have related, he was smiling and joyous; and the very clatter of Cloud's hoofs made Longears merry.

Verty dismounted, and turned the knob of the office-door.

In opening, it struck against the back of Mr. Roundjacket, who, pacing hastily up and down the apartment, seemed to be laboring under much excitement.

In his left hand, Roundjacket carried a small brown newspaper, with heavy straggling type, and much dilapidated from its contact with the equestrian mail-bag, which it had evidently issued from only a short time before. In his right hand, the poet held a ruler, which described eccentric circles in the air, and threatened imaginary foes with torture and extermination.

The poet's hair stood up; his breath came and went; his coat-skirts moved from side to side, with indignation; and he evidently regarded something in the paper with a mixture of horror and despair.

Verty paused for a moment on the threshold; then took off his hat and went in.

Round jacket turned round.

Verty gazed at him for a moment in silence; then smiling:

“What is the matter, sir?” he said.

“Matter, sir!” cried Roundjacket—“everything is the matter, sir!”

Verty shook his head, as much as to say, that this was a dreadful state of things, and echoed the word “everything!”

“Yes, sir! everything!—folly is the matter!—crime is the matter!—statutory misdemeanor is the matter!”

And Roundjacket, overcome with indignation, struck the newspaper a savage blow with his ruler.

“I am the victim, sir, of editorial iniquity, and typographical abomination!”

“Anan?” said Verty.

“I am a victim, sir!”

“Yes, you look angry.”

“I am!”

Verty shook his head.

“That is not right,” he replied; “Redbud says it is wrong to be angry—”

“Redbud!”

“Yes, sir.”

“Consign Miss Redbud—!”

“Oh, no!” said Verty, “don't do that.”

“I have a right to be angry,” continued Roundjacket, flourishing his ruler; “it would be out of the question for me to be anything else.”

“How, sir?”

“Do you see that?”

And Roundjacket held up the paper, flourishing his ruler at it in a threatening way.

“The paper, sir?” said Verty.

“Yes!”

“What of it?”

“Abomination!”

“Oh, sir.”

“Yes! utter abomination!”

“I don't understand, sir.”

“Mark me!” said Roundjacket.

“Yes, sir.”

“That is the 'Virginia Gazette.'“

“Is it, sir?”

“Published at Williamsburg.”

“I think I've heard of it, sir.”

“Williamsburg, the centre of civilization, cultivation, and the other ations!” cried Roundjacket, flourishing his ruler savagely, and smiling with bitter scorn.

“Ah!” said Verty, finding that he was expected to say something.

“Yes! the Capital of Virginia, forsooth!”

“Has Williamsburg made you angry, sir?”

“Yes!”

“But the 'Gazette'—?”

“Is the immediate cause.”

Verty sat down.

“I'm sorry, sir,” he said, smiling; “but I don't understand. I never read the newspapers. Nothing but the Bible—because Redbud wants me to: I hope to like it after awhile though.”

“I trust you will never throw away your time on this thing!” cried Roundjacket, running the end of his ruler through the paper; “can you believe, sir, that the first canto of my great poem has been murdered in its columns—yes, murdered!”

“Killed, do you mean, sir?”

“I do—I mean that the illiterate editor of this disgraceful sheet has assassinated the offspring of my imagination!”

“That was very wrong, sir.”

“Wrong? It was infamous? What should be done with such a man!” cried Roundjacket.

“Arrest him?” suggested Verty.

“It is not a statutable offence.”

“What, sir?”

“Neglecting to send sheets to correct.”

“Anan?” said Verty, who did not understand.

“I mean that I have not had an opportunity to correct the printed verses, sir; and that I complain of.”

Verty nodded.

“Mark me,” said Roundjacket; “the publisher, editor, or reviewer who does not send sheets to the author for correction, will inevitably perish, in the end, from the tortures of remorse!”

“Ah?” said Verty.

“Yes, sir! the pangs of a guilty conscience will not suffer him to sleep; and death only will end his miserable existence.”

Which certainly had the air of an undoubted truth.

“See!” said Mr. Roundjacket, relapsing into the pathetic—“see how my unfortunate offspring has been mangled—maimed—a statutory offence—mayhem!—see Bacon's Abridgment, page ——; but I wander. See,” continued Roundjacket, “that is all that is left of the original.”

“Yes, sir,” said Verty.

“The very first line is unrecognizable.”

And Roundjacket put his handkerchief to his eyes and sniffled.

Verty tried not to smile.

“It's very unfortunate, sir,” he said; “but perhaps the paper—I mean yours—was not written plain.”

“Written plain!” cried Roundjacket, suppressing his feelings.

“Yes, sir—the manuscript, I believe, it is called.”

“Well, no—it was not written plain—of course not.”

Verty looked surprised, spite of his own suggestion.

“I thought you wrote as plain as print, Mr. Roundjacket.”

“I do.”

“Why then—?”

“Not do so in the present instance, do you mean?”

“Yes, sir.”

“Young man,” said Roundjacket, solemnly, “it is easy to see that you are shockingly ignorant of the proprieties of life—or you never would have suggested such a thing.”

“What thing, sir?”

“Plain writing in an author.”

“Oh!” said Verty.

“Mark me,” continued Roundjacket, with affecting gravity, “the unmistakable evidence of greatness is not the brilliant eye, the fine forehead, or the firm-set lip; neither is the 'lion port' or noble carriage—it is far more simple, sir. It lies wholly in the hand-writing.”

“Possible, sir?”

“Yes; highly probable even. No great man ever yet wrote legibly, and I hold that such a thing is conclusive evidence of a narrowness of intellect. Great men uniformly use a species of scrawl which people have to study, sir, before they can understand. Like the Oracles of Delphos, the manuscript is mysterious because it is profound. My own belief, sir, is, that Homer's manuscript—if he had one, which I doubt—resembled a sheet of paper over which a fly with inked feet has crawled;—and you may imagine, sir, the respect, and, I may add, the labor, of the old Greek type-setters in publishing the first edition of the Iliad.”

This dissertation had the effect of diverting Mr. Roundjacket's mind temporarily from his affliction; but his grief soon returned in full force again.

“To think it!” he cried, flourishing his ruler, and ready to weep,—“to think that after taking all the trouble to disguise my clear running hand, and write as became an author of my standing—in hieroglyphics—to think that this should be the result of all my trouble.”

Roundjacket sniffed.

“Don't be sorry,” said Verty.

“I cannot refrain, sir,” said Roundjacket, in a tone of acute agony; “it is more than I can bear. See here, sir, again: 'High Jove! great father!' is changed into 'By Jove, I'd rather!' and so on. Sir, it is more than humanity can bear; I feel that I shall sink under it. I shall be in bed to-morrow, sir—after all my trouble—'By Jove!'“

With this despairing exclamation Roundjacket let his head fall, overcome with grief, upon his desk, requesting not to be spoken to, after the wont of great unfortunates.

Verty seemed to feel great respect for this overwhelming grief; at least he did not utter any commonplace consolations. He also leaned upon his desk, and his idle hands traced idle lines upon the paper before him.

His dreamy eyes, full of quiet pleasure, fixed themselves upon the far distance—he was thinking of Redbud.

He finally aroused himself, however, and began to work. Half an hour, an hour, another hour passed—Verty was breaking himself into the traces; he had finished his work.

He rose, and going to Mr. Rushton's door, knocked and opened it. The lawyer was not there; Verty looked round—his companion was absorbed in writing.

Verty sat down in the lawyer's arm-chair.

CHAPTER L. HOW VERTY DISCOVERED A PORTRAIT, AND WHAT ENSUED.

For some time the young man remained motionless and silent, thinking of Redbud, and smiling with the old proverbial delight of lovers, as the memory of her bright sweet face, and kind eyes, came to his thoughts.

There was now no longer any doubt, assuredly, that he was what was called “in love” with Redbud; Verty said as much to himself, and we need not add that when this circumstance occurs, the individual who comes to such conclusion, is no longer his own master, or the master of his heart, which is gone from him.

For as it is observable that persons often imagine themselves affected with material ailments when there is no good ground for such a supposition; so, on the other hand, is it true that those who labor under the disease of love are the last to know their own condition. As Verty, therefore, came to the conclusion that he must be “in love” with Redbud, we may form a tolerably correct idea of the actual fact.

Why should he not love her? Redbud was so kind, so tender; her large liquid eyes were instinct with such deep truth and goodness; in her fresh, frank face there was such radiant joy, and purity, and love! Surely, a mortal sin to do otherwise than love her! And Verty congratulated himself on exemption from this sad sin of omission.

He sat thus, looking with his dreamy smile through the window, across which the shadows of the autumn trees flitted and played. Listlessly he took up a pen, nibbed the feather with his old odd smile, and began to scrawl absently on the sheet of paper lying before him.

The words he wrote there thus unconsciously, were some which he had heard Redbud utter with her soft, kind voice, which dwelt in his memory.

“Trust in God.”

This Verty wrote, scarcely knowing he did so; then he threw down the pen, and reclining in the old lawyer's study chair, fell into one of those Indian reveries which the dreamy forests seem to have taught the red men.

As the young man thus reclined in the old walnut chair, clad in his forest costume, with his profuse tangled curls, and smiling lips, and half-closed eyes, bathed in the vagrant gleams of golden sunlight, even Monsignor might have thought the picture not unworthy of his pencil. But he could not have reproduced the wild, fine picture; for in Verty's face was that dim and dreamy smile which neither pencil nor words can describe on paper or canvas.

At last he roused himself, and waked to the real life around him—though his thoughtful eyes were still overshadowed.

He looked around.

He had never been alone in Mr. Rushton's sanctum before, and naturally regarded the objects before him with curiosity.

There was an old press, covered with dust and cobwebs, on the top of which huge volumes of Justinian's Institutes frowned at the ceiling; a row of shelves which were crammed with law books; an old faded carpet covered with ink-splotches on his right hand, splotches evidently produced by the lawyer's habit of shaking the superfluous ink from his pen before he placed it upon the paper; a dilapidated chair or two; the rough walnut desk at which he sat, covered with papers, open law volumes, and red tape; and finally, a tall mantel-piece, on which stood a half-emptied ink bottle—which mantel-piece rose over a wide fire-place, surrounded with a low iron fender, on which a dislocated pair of tongs were exposed in grim resignation to the evils of old age.

There was little to interest Verty in all this—or in the old iron-bound trunks in the corners.

But his eye suddenly falls on a curtain, in the recess farthest from the door—the edge of a curtain; for the object which this curtain conceals, is not visible from the chair in which he sits.

Verty rises, and goes into the recess, and looks.

The curtain falls over a picture—Verty raises it, and stands in admiration before the portrait, which it covered.

“What a lovely child!” he exclaims. “I have never seen a prettier little girl in all my life! What beautiful hair she has!”

And Verty, with the curtain in his left hand, blows away the dust from the canvas.

The portrait is indeed exquisite. The picture represents a child of two or three years of age, of rare and surpassing beauty. Over its white brow hang long yellow ringlets—the eyes dance and play—the ripe, ruddy lips, resembling cherries, are wreathed with the careless laughter of infancy. The child wears a little blue frock which permits two round, fat arms to be seen; and one of the hands grasps a doll, drawn to the life. There is so much freshness and reality about the picture, that Verty exclaims a second time, “What a lovely little girl!”

Thus absorbed in the picture, he does not hear a growling voice in the adjoining room—is not conscious of the heavy step advancing toward the room he occupies—does not even hear the door open as the new comer enters.

“Who can she be!” murmurs the young man; “not Mr. Rushton's little daughter—I never heard that he was married, or had any children. Pretty little thing!”

And Verty smiled.

Suddenly a heavy hand was laid upon his shoulder, and a gruff, stern voice said:

“What are you doing, sir?”

Verty turned quickly; Mr. Rushton stood before him—gloomy, forbidding, with a heavy frown upon his brow.

“What are you prying into?” repeated the lawyer, angrily; “are you not aware, sir, that this is my private apartment? What has induced you to presume in such a manner?”

Verty was almost terrified by the sternness of these cold words, and looked down. Then conscious of the innocence of his action, raised his eyes, and said:

“I came in to give you the copy of the deed, sir,—and saw the curtain—and thought I would—”

“Pry into my secrets,” said Mr. Rushton; “very well, sir!”

“I did not mean to pry,” said Verty, proudly; “I did not think there was any harm in such a little thing. I hope, sir, you will not think I meant anything wrong,” added Verty—“indeed I did not; and I only thought this was some common picture, with a curtain over it to keep off the dust.”

But the lawyer, with a sudden change of manner, had turned his eyes to the portrait; and did not seem to hear the exclamation.

“I hope you will not think hard of me, Mr. Rushton,” said Verty; “you have been very good to me, and I would not do anything to offend you or give you pain.”

No answer was vouchsafed to this speech either. The rough lawyer, with more and more change in his expression, was gazing at the fresh portrait, the curtain of which Verty had thrown over one of the upper corners of the frame.

Verty followed the look of Mr. Rushton; and gazed upon the picture.

“It is very lovely,” he said, softly; “I never saw a sweeter face.”

The lawyer's breast heaved.

“And what ringlets—I believe they call 'em,” continued Verty, absorbed in contemplating the portrait;—“I love the pretty little thing already, sir.”

Mr. Rushton sat down in the chair, which Verty had abandoned, and covered his face.

“Did you know her?—but oh, I forgot!—how wrong in me!” murmured Verty; “I did not think that she might be—Mr. Rushton—forgive my—”

The lawyer, with his face still covered, motioned toward the door.

“Must I go, sir?”

“Yes—go,” came from the lips which uttered a groan—a groan of such anguish, that Verty almost groaned in unison.

And murmuring “Anna! Anna!” the lawyer shook.

The young man went toward the door. As he opened it, he heard an exclamation behind him.

He turned his head.

“What's this!” cried the lawyer, in a tone between a growl and a sob.

“What, sir?”

“This paper.”

“Sir?”

“This paper with—with—'Trust in God' on it; did you write it?”

“I—I—must—yes—I suppose I did, sir,” stammered Verty, almost alarmed by the tone of his interlocutor.

“What did you mean?”

“Nothing, sir!”

“You had the boldness to write this canting—hypocritical—”

“Oh, Mr. Rushton!”

“You wrote it?”

“Yes, sir; and it is right, though I did'nt mean to write it—or know it.”

“Very grand!”

“Sir?”

“You bring your wretched—”

“Oh, I did'nt know I wrote it even, sir! But indeed that is not right, sir. All of us ought to trust in God, however great our afflictions are, sir.”

“Go!” cried the lawyer, rising with a furious gesture—“away, sir! Preach not to me—you may be right—but take your sermons elsewhere. Look there, sir! at that portrait!—look at me now, a broken man—think that—but this is folly! Leave me to myself!”

And strangling a passionate sob, the lawyer sank again into his chair, covering his face.

CHAPTER LI. A CHILD AND A LOGICIAN.

To describe the astonishment of Verty, as he hastily went out and closed the door, would be impossible. His face passed from red to pale, his eyes were full of bewilderment—he sat down, scarcely knowing what he did,

Roundjacket sat writing at his desk, and either had not heard, or pretended that he had not, any portion of the passionate colloquy.

Verty could do nothing all day, for thinking of the astonishing scene he had passed through. Why should there be anything offensive in raising the curtain of a portrait? Why should so good a man as Mr. Rushton, address such insulting and harsh words to him for such a trifling thing? How was it possible that the simple words, 'Trust in God,' had been the occasion of such anger, nay, almost fury?

The longer Verty pondered, the less he understood; or at least he understood no better than before, which amounted precisely to no understanding at all.

He got through his day after a very poor fashion; and, going along under the evening skies, cudgelled his brains, for the thousandth time, for some explanation of this extraordinary circumstance. In vain! the explanation never came; and finding himself near Apple Orchard, the young man determined to banish the subject, and go in and see Redbud.

The young girl had been imprudent in remaining out so late, on the preceding evening, and her cold had returned, with slight fever, which, however, gave her little inconvenience.

She lay upon the sofa, near the open window, with a shawl over her feet, and, when Verty entered, half-rose, only giving him her hand tenderly.

Verty sat down, and they began, to talk in the old, friendly way; and, as the evening deepened, to laugh and mention old things which they both remembered—uniting thus in the dim twilight all the golden threads which bind the present to the past—gossamer, which are not visible by the glaring daylight, but are seen when the soft twilight descends on the earth.

Redbud even, at Verty's request, essayed one of the old Scottish songs which he was fond of; and the gentle carol filled the evening with its joy and musical delight. This was rather dangerous in Verty—surely he was quite enough in love already! Why should he rivet the fetters, insist upon a new set of shackles, and a heavier chain!

Verty told Redbud of the singular circumstance of the morning, and demanded an explanation. Her wonder was as great as his own, however; and she remained silently gazing at the sunset, and pondering. A shake of the head betrayed her want of success in this attempt to unravel the mystery, especially the lawyer's indignation at the words written by Verty.

They passed from this to quite a grave discussion upon the truth of the maxim in question, which Redbud and her companion, we may imagine, did not differ upon. The girl had just said—“For you know, Verty, everything is for the best, and we should not murmur,”—when a gruff voice at the door replied:

“Pardon me, Miss Redbud—that is a pretty maxim—nothing more, however.”

And Mr. Rushton, cold and impassable, came in with the jovial Squire.

“So busy talking, young people, that you could not even look out the window when I approach with visitors, eh?” cried the Squire, chuckling Miss Redbud under the chin, and driving the breath out of Verty's body by a friendly slap upon that gentleman's back. “Well, here we are, and there's Lavinia—bless her heart—with an expression which indicates protestation at the loudness of my voice, ha! ha!”

And the Squire laughed in a way which shook the windows.

Miss Lavinia smiled in a solemn manner, and busied herself about tea.

Redbud turned to Mr. Rushton, who had seated himself with an expression of grim reserve, and, smiling, said:

“I did not hear you—exactly what you said—as you came in, you know, Mr. Rushton—”

“I said that your maxim, 'All is for the best,' is a pretty maxim, and no more,” replied the lawyer, regarding Verty with an air of rough indifference, as though he tad totally forgotten the scene of the morning.

“I'm sure you are wrong, sir,” Redbud said.

“Very likely—to be taught by a child!” grumbled the lawyer.

Redbud caught the words.

“I know I ought not to dispute with you, sir,” she said; “but what I said is in the Bible, and you know that cannot contain what is not true.”

“Hum!” said Mr. Rushton. “That was an unhappy age—and the philosophy of Voltaire and Rousseau had produced its effect even on the strongest minds.”

“God does all for the best, and He is a merciful and loving Being,” said Redbud. “Even if we suffer here, in this world, every affliction, we know that there is a blessed recompense in the other world.”

“Humph!—how?” said the skeptic.

“By faith?”

“What is faith?” he said, looking carelessly at the girl.

“I don't know that I can define it better than belief and trust in God,” said Redbud.

These were the words which Verty had written on the paper.

The glance of the lawyer fell upon the young man's face, and from it passed to the innocent countenance of Redbud. She had evidently uttered the words without the least thought of the similarity.

“Humph,” said the lawyer, frowning, “that is very fine, Miss; but suppose we cannot see anything to give us a very lively—faith, as you call it.”

“Oh, but you may, sir!”

“How?”

“Everywhere there are evidences of God's goodness and mercy. You cannot doubt that.”

A shadow passed over the rough face.

“I do doubt it,” was on his lips, but he could not, rude as he was, utter such a sentence in presence of the pure, childlike girl.

“Humph,” he said, with his habitual growl, “suppose a man is made utterly wretched in this world—”

“Yes, sir.”

“And without any fault of his own suffers horribly,” continued the lawyer, sternly.

“We are all faulty, sir.”

“I mean—did anybody ever hear such reasoning! Excuse me, but I am a little out of sorts,” he growled, apologetically—“I mean that you may suppose a man to suffer some peculiar torture—torture, you understand—which he has not deserved. I suppose that has happened; how can such a man have your faith, and love, and trust, and all that—if we must talk theology!” growled the bearish speaker.

“But, Mr. Rushton,” said Redbud, “is not heaven worth all the world and its affections?”

“Yes—your heaven is.”

My heaven—?”

“Yes, yes—heaven!” cried the lawyer, impatiently—“everybody's heaven that chooses. But you were about to say—”

“This, sir: that if heaven is so far above earth, and those who are received there by God, enjoy eternal happiness—”

“Very well!”

“That this inestimable gift is cheaply bought by suffering in this world;—that the giver of this great good has a right to try even to what may seem a cruel extent, the faith and love of those for whom he decrees this eternal bliss. Is not that rational, sir?”

“Yes, and theological—what, however, is one to do if the said love and faith sink and disappear—are drowned in tears, or burnt up in the fires of anguish and despair.”

“Pray, sir,” said Redbud, softly.

The lawyer growled.

“To whom? To a Being whom we have no faith in—whom such a man has no faith in, I mean to say—to the hand that struck—which we can only think of as armed with an avenging sword, or an all-consuming firebrand! Pray to one who stands before us as a Nemesis of wrath and terror, hating and ready to crush us?—humph!”

And the lawyer wiped his brow.

“Can't we think of the Creator differently,” said Redbud, earnestly.

“How?”

“As the Being who came down upon the earth, and suffered, and wept tears of blood, was buffeted and crowned with thorns, and crucified like a common, degraded slave—all because he loved us, and would not see us perish? Oh! Mr. Rushton, if there are men who shrink from the terrible God—who cannot love that phase of the Almighty, why should they not turn to the Saviour, who, God as he was, came down and suffered an ignominious death, because he loved them—so dearly loved them!”

Mr. Rushton was silent for a moment; then he said, coldly:

“I did not intend to talk upon these subjects—I only intended to say, that trusting in Providence, as the phrase is, sounds very grand; and has only the disadvantage of not being very easy. Come, Miss Redbud, suppose we converse on the subject of flowers, or something that is more light and cheerful.”

“Yes, sir, I will; but I don't think anything is more cheerful than Christianity, and I love to talk about it. I know what you say about the difficulty of trusting wholly in God, is true; it is very hard. But oh! Mr. Rushton, believe me, that such trust will not be in vain; even in this world Our Father often shows us that he pities our sufferings, and His hand heals the wound, or turns aside the blow. Oh, yes, sir! even in this world the clouds are swept away, and the sun shines again; and the heart which has trusted in God finds that its trust was not in vain in the Lord. Oh! I'm sure of it, sir!—I feel it—I know that it is true!”

And Redbud, buried in thought, looked through the window—silent, after these words which we have recorded.

The lawyer only looked strangely at her—muttered his “humph,” and turned away. Verty alone saw the spasm which he had seen in the morning pass across the rugged brow.

While this colloquy had been going on, the Squire had gone into his apartment to wash his hands; and now issuing forth, requested an explanation of the argument he had heard going on. This explanation was refused with great bearishness by the lawyer, and Redbud said they had only been talking about Providence.

The Squire said that was a good subject; and then going to his escritoire took out some papers, placed them on the mantel-piece, and informed Mr. Rushton that those were the documents he desired.

The lawyer greeted this information with his customary growl, and taking them, thrust them into his pocket. He then made a movement to go; but the Squire persuaded him to stay and have a cup of tea. Verty acquiesced in his suggestion that he should spend the evening, with the utmost readiness—ma mere would not think it hard if he remained an hour, he said.

And so the cheerful meal was cheerfully spread, and the twigs in the fire-place crackled, and diffused their brief, mild warmth through the cool evening air, and Caesar yawned upon the rug, and all went merrily.

The old time-piece overhead ticked soberly, and the soft face of Redbud's mother looked down from its frame upon them; and the room was full of cheerfulness and light.

And still the old clock ticked and ticked, and carried all the world toward eternity; the fire-light crackled, and the voices laughed;—the portrait looked serenely down, and smiled.

CHAPTER LII. HOW MR. JINKS DETERMINED TO SPARE VERTY.

Ralph stretched himself.

Mr. Jinks sipped his rum, and ruminated.

Ralph was smiling; Mr. Jinks scowling, and evidently busy with great thoughts, which caused his brows to corrugate into hostile frowns.

It was the room of Mr. Jinks, in Bousch's tavern, which saw the companions seated thus opposite to each other—the time, after breakfast; the aim of the parties, discussion upon any or every topic.

Mr. Jinks was clad in his habitual costume: half dandy, half militaire; and when he moved, his great sword rattled against his grasshopper legs in a way terrifying to hear.

Ralph, richly dressed as usual, and reclining in his chair, smiled lazily, and looked at the scowling Mr. Jinks. The apartment in which the worthies were seated was one possessing the advantages of dormer windows, and an extensive prospect over the roofs of Winchester; the furniture was rough; and in the corner a simple couch stood, whereon Mr. Jinks reposed himself at night.

While the various events which we have lately adverted to have been occurring, Mr. Jinks has not forgotten that triple and grand revenge he swore.

Mr. Jinks has un-christian feelings against three persons, for three reasons:

First, against Verty: the cause being that gentleman's defiance and disregard of himself on various occasions; also his rivalry in love.

Second, against Miss Sallianna: beautiful and perfidious; the cause: slights put on his youthful love.

Third, against O'Brallaghan; the cause: impudence on various occasions, and slanderous reports relating to cabbaged cloth since the period of their dissolving all connection with each other.

Mr. Jinks has revolved, in the depths of his gloomy soul, these darling projects, and has, perforce of his grand faculty of invention, determined upon his course in two out of the three affairs.

Verty annoys him, however. Mr. Jinks has ceased to think of a brutal, ignoble contest with vulgar fists or weapons ever since the muzzle of Verty's rifle invaded his ruffles on the morning of his woes. He would have a revenge worthy of himself—certain, complete, and above all, quite safe. Mr. Jinks would wile the affections of Miss Redbud from him, fixing the said affections on himself; but that is not possible, since the young lady in question has gone home, and Apple Orchard is too far to walk. Still Mr. Jinks does not despair of doing something; and this something is what he seeks and ruminates upon, as the mixed rum and water glides down his throat.

Ralph yawns, laughs, and kicks his heels.

Then he rises; goes to the mantel-piece and gets a pipe; and begins to smoke—lazier than ever.

Mr. Jinks sets down his cup, and murmurs.

“Hey!” cries Ralph, sending out a cloud of smoke, “what are you groaning about, my dear fellow?”

“I want money,” says Mr. Jinks.

“For what?”

“To buy a horse.”

“A horse?”

Mr. Jinks nods.

“What do you want with a horse?”

“Revenge,” replies Mr. Jinks.

Ralph begins to laugh.

“Oh, yes,” he says, “we spoke of that; against Sallianna. I'll assist you, my boy. The fact is, I have caught the infection of a friend's sentiments on Sallianna the divine. I have a cousin who abominates her. I'll assist you!”

“No; that affair is arranged,” says Mr. Jinks, with gloomy pleasure; “that will give me no trouble. That young man Verty is the enemy I allude to. I want revenge.”

And Mr. Jinks rattled his sword.

Ralph looked with a mischievous expression at his friend.

“But I say,” he observed, “how would a horse come in there? Do you want to run a-tilt against Sir Verty, eh? That is characteristic of you, Jinks!”

“No,” says Mr. Jinks, “I have other designs.”

“What are they?”

“You are reliable!”

“Reliable! I should say I was! Come, make me your confidant.”

Mr. Jinks complies with this request, and details his plans against Verty and Redbud's happiness. He would ride to Apple Orchard, and win his rival's sweetheart's affections; then laugh “triumphantly with glee.” That is Mr. Jinks' idea.

Ralph thinks it not feasible, and suggests a total abandonment of revengeful feelings toward Verty.

“Suppose I sent him a cartel, then,” says Mr. Jinks, after a pause.

“A cartel?”

“Yes; something like this.”

And taking a preparatory gulp of the rum, Mr. Jinks continues:

“Suppose I write these words to him: 'A. Jinks, Esq., presents his compliments to ——Verty, Esq., and requests to be informed at what hour Mr. Verty will attend in front of Bousch's tavern, for the purpose of having himself exterminated and killed? How would that do?”

Ralph chokes down a laugh, and, pretending to regard Mr. Jinks with deep admiration, says:

“An excellent plan—very excellent.”

“You think so?” says his companion, dubiously.

“Yes, yes; you should, however, be prepared for one thing.”

“What is that?”

“Mr. Verty's reply.”

“What would that be, sir? He is not a rash young man, I believe?”

“No—just the contrary. His reply would be courteous and cool.”

“Ah?”

“He would write under your letter, demanding at what hour you should kill him—'ten,' or 'twelve,' or 'four in the afternoon'—at which time he would come and proceed to bloodshed.”

“Bloodshed?”

“Yes; he's a real Indian devil, although he looks mild, my clear fellow. If you are going to send the cartel, you might as well do so at once.”

“No—no—I will think of it,” replies Mr. Jinks; “I will spare him a little longer. There is no necessity for hurry. A plenty of time!”

And Mr. Jinks clears his throat, and for the present abandons thoughts of revenge on Verty.

Ralph sees the change of sentiment, and laughs.

“Well,” he says, “there is something else on your mind, Jinks, my boy; what is it? No more revenge?”

“Yes!”

“Against whom, you epitome of Italian hatred.”

Mr. Jinks frowns, and says:

“Against O'Brallaghan!”

“No!” cries Ralph.

“Yes, sir.”

“I, myself, hate that man!”

“Then we can assist each other.”

“Yes—yes.”

“We can make it nice, and good, and fine,” says Mr. Jinks, smacking his lips over the rum, as if he was imbibing liquid vengeance, and was pleased with the flavor.

“No!” cries Ralph again.

“Yes!” says Mr. Jinks.

“Revenge, nice and good?”

“Supreme!”

“How?”

“Listen!”

“Stop a moment, my dear fellow,” said Ralph; “don't be hasty.”

And, rising, Ralph went to the door, opened it, and looked out cautiously, after which, he closed it, and turned the key in the lock; then he went to the fire-place, and looked up the chimney with a solemn air of precaution, which was very striking. Then he returned and took his seat, and with various gurglings of a mysterious nature in his throat, said:

“You have a communication to make, Jinks?”

“I have, sir.”

“In relation to revenge.”

“Yes.”

“Then go on, old fellow; the time is propitious—I am listening.”

And Ralph looked attentively at Mr. Jinks.

CHAPTER LIII. PROJECTS OF REVENGE, INVOLVING HISTORICAL DETAILS.

The companions looked at each other and shook their heads; Mr. Jinks threateningly, Ralph doubtfully. That gentleman seemed to be dubious of his friend's ability to prepare a revenge suitable to the deserts of O'Brallaghan, who had sold his favorite coat.

Mr. Jinks, however, looked like a man certain of victory.

“Revenge, sir,” said Mr. Jinks, “is of two descriptions. There is the straight-forward, simple, vulgar hitting at a man, or caning him; and the quiet, artistic arrangement of a drama, which comes out right, sir, without fuss, or other exterior effusion.”

And after this masterly distinction, Mr. Jinks raised his head, and regarded Ralph with pride and complacency.

“Yes” said the young man; “what you say is very true, my boy; go on—go on.”

“Genius is shown, sir, in the manner of doing it—”

“Yes.”

“Of working on the materials around you.”

“True; that is the test of genius; you are right. Now explain your idea.”

“Well, sir,” said Mr. Jinks, “that is easy. In this town, wherein we reside—I refer to Winchester—there are two prominent classes, besides the English-Virginia people.”

“Are there?”

“Yes, sir.”

“Tell me—you mean—”

“The natives of the Emerald Isle, and those from the land of sour krout,” said Mr. Jinks, with elegant paraphrase.

“You mean Dutch and Irish?”

“Yes, sir.”

“Very well; I understand that. Let me repeat: in the town of Winchester there are two classes, besides the natives—Dutch and Irish. Is that right? I never was very quick.”

“Just right.”

“Well, tell me about them, and how your revenge is concerned with them. Tell me all about them. Dutch and Irish!—I know nothing of them.”

“I will, sir,—I will tell you,” said Mr. Jinks, gulping down one-fourth of his glass of rum; “and, I think, by the time I have developed my idea, you will agree with me that the revenge I have chalked out, sir, is worthy of an inventive talent higher than my own.”

“No, no,” said Ralph, in a tone of remonstrance, “you know there could be none.”

“Yes,” said Mr. Jinks, modestly, “I know myself, sir—I have very little merits, but there are those who are superior to me in that point.”

Which seemed to mean that the quality of invention was the sole failing in Mr. Jinks' intellect—all his other mental gifts being undoubtedly superior to similar gifts in humanity at large.

“Well, we won't interchange compliments, my dear fellow,” replied Ralph, puffing at his pipe; “go on and explain about the Dutch and Irish—I repeat, that I absolutely know nothing of them.”

Mr. Jinks sipped his rum, and after a moment's silence, commenced.

“You must know,” he said, “that for some reason which I cannot explain, there is a quarrel between these people which has lasted a very long time, and it runs to a great height—”

“Indeed!”

“Yes; and on certain days there is a feeling which can only be characterized by the assertion that the opposite parties desire to suffuse the streets and public places with each other's gory blood!”

“No, no!” said Ralph; “is it possible!”

“Yes, sir, it is more—it is true,” said Mr. Jinks, with dignity. “I myself have been present on such occasions; and the amount of national feeling displayed is—is—worse than mouldy cloth,” observed Mr. Jinks, at a loss for a simile, and driven, as he, however, very seldom was, to his profession for an illustration.

“I wonder at that,” said Ralph; “as bad as mouldy cloth? I never would have thought it!”

“Nevertheless it's true—dooms true,” said Mr. Jinks; “and there are particular days when the rage of the parties comes up in one opprobrious concentrated mass!”

This phrase was borrowed from Miss Sallianna. Mr. Jinks, like other great men, was not above borrowing without giving the proper credit.

“On St. Patrick's day,” he continued, “the Dutch turn out in a body—”

“One moment, my dear fellow; I don't like to interrupt you, but this St. Patrick you speak of—he was the great saint of Ireland, was he not?”

“Good—continue; on St. Patrick's day—”

“The Dutch assemble and parade a figure—you understand, either of wood or a man—a figure representing St. Patrick—”

“Possible!”

“Yes; and round his neck they place a string of Irish potatoes, like a necklace—”

“A necklace! what an idea. Not pearls or corals—potatoes!” And Ralph laughed with an expression of innocent surprise, which was only adopted on great occasions.

“Yes,” said Mr. Jinks, “of potatoes; and you may imagine what a sight it is—the saint dressed up in that way.”

“Really! it must be side-splitting.”

“It is productive of much gory sport,” said Mr. Jinks.

“Ah!” said Ralph, “I should think so. Gory is the very word.”

“Besides this they have another figure—”

“The Dutch have?”

“Yes.”

“What is it?”

“It is a woman, sir—”

“No—no,” said Ralph.

“It is, sir,” replied Mr. Jinks, with resolute adherence to his original declaration,—“it is Saint Patrick's wife, Sheeley—”

“Oh, no!” cried Ralph.

“Yes; and she is supplied with a huge apron full of—what do you think?”

“Indulgences?” said Ralph.

“No, sir!”

“What then?”

“Potatoes again.”

“Potatoes! Sheeley with her apron full of—”

“Excellent Irish potatoes.”

“Would anybody have imagined such a desecration!”

“They do it, sir; and having thus laughed at the Irish, the Dutch go parading through the streets; and in consequence—”

“The Irish—?”

“Yes—”

“Make bloody noses and cracked crowns, and pass them current, too?” asked Ralph, quoting from Shakspeare.

“Yes, exactly,” said Mr. Jinks; “and the day on which this takes place—Saint Patrick's day—is generally submerged in gore!”

Ralph remained for a moment overcome with horror at this dreadful picture.

“Jinks,” he said, at last.

“Sir?” said Mr. Jinks.

“I fear you are too military and bloody for me. My nerves will not stand these awful pictures!”

And Ralph shuddered; or perhaps chuckled.

“That is only half of the subject,” Mr. Jinks said, displaying much gratification at the deep impression produced upon the feelings of his companion; “the Irish, on St. Michael's day—the patron saint of the Dutch, you know—”

“Yes.”

“The Irish take their revenge.”

And at the word revenge, Mr. Jinks' brows were corrugated into a dreadful frown.

Ralph looked curious.

“How?” he said; “I should think the Dutch had exhausted the power and capacity of invention. St. Patrick, with a necklace of potatoes, and his wife Sheeley, with an apron full of the same vegetables, is surely enough for one day—”

“Yes, for St. Patrick's day, but not for St. Michael's,” said Mr. Jinks, with a faint attempt at a witticism.

“Good!” cried Ralph; “you are a wit, Jinks; but proceed! On St. Michael's day—the patron saint of the Dutch—”

“On that day, sir, the Irish retort upon the Dutch by parading an image—wooden or alive—of St. Michael—”

“No!”

“An image,” continued Mr. Jinks, not heeding this interruption, “which resembles St. Michael—that is, a hogshead.”

“Yes,” laughed Ralph, “I understand how a Dutch saint—”

“Is fat; that is natural, sir. They dress him in six pair of pantaloons, which I have heretofore, I am ashamed to say, fabricated,”—Mr. Jinks frowned here,—“then they hang around his neck a rope of sour krout—”

“No, no!” cried Ralph.

“And so parade him,” continued Mr. Jinks.

Ralph remained silent again, as though overwhelmed by this picture.

“The consequence is, that the Irish feel themselves insulted,” Mr. Jinks went on, “and they attack the Dutch, and then the whole street—”

“Is suffused in gory blood, is it not?” said Ralph, inquiringly.

“It is, sir,” said Mr. Jinks; “and I have known the six pair of pantaloons, made by my own hands, to be torn to tatters.”

“Possible!”

“Yes, sir!” said Mr. Jinks, irate at the recollection of those old scenes—he had been compelled to mend the torn pantaloons more than once—“yes, sir, and the wretches have proceeded even to shooting and cutting, which is worthy of them, sir! On some days, the Dutch and the Irish parade their images together, and then St. Patrick and St. Michael are brought face to face; and you may understand how disgraceful a mob they have—a mob, sir, which, as a military man, I long to mow with iron cannons!”

And after this dreadful simile, Mr. Jinks remained silent, Ralph also held his peace for some moments; then he said:

“But your revenge; how is that connected, my dear fellow, with the contentions of Dutch and Irish?”

Mr. Jinks frowned.

“Thus, sir,” he said; “I will explain.” “Do; I understand you to say that these customs of the two parties were the materials upon which your genius would work. How can you—”

“Listen, sir,” said Mr. Jinks.

“I'm all ears,” returned Ralph.

“Three days from this time,” said Mr. Jinks, “these people have determined to have a great parade, and each of them, the Dutch and Irish, to exhibit the images of the Saints—”

“Yes—ah?” said Ralph.

“It is fixed for the time I mention; and now, sir, a few words will explain how, without damage to myself, or endangering my person—considerations which I have no right to neglect—my revenge on the hound, O'Brallaghan, will come out right! Listen, while I tell about it; then, sir, judge if the revenge is likely to be nice and good!”

And Mr. Jinks scowled, and gulped down some rum. He then paused a moment, stared the fire-place out of countenance, and scowled again. He then opened his lips to speak.

But just as he uttered the first words of his explanation, a knock was heard at the door, which arrested him.

Ralph rose and opened it.

A negro handed him a note, with the information, that the bearer thereof was waiting below, and would like to see him.

Ralph opened the letter, and found some money therein, which, with the signature, explained all.

“Jinks, my boy,” he said, laughing, “we must defer your explanation; come and go down. The Governor has sent me a note, and Tom is waiting. Let us descend.”

Mr. Jinks acquiesced.

They accordingly went down stairs, and issued forth.

At the door of the tavern was standing a negro, who, at sight of Ralph, respectfully removed his cap with one hand, while the other arm leaned on the neck of a donkey about three feet high, which had borne the stalwart fellow, as such animals only can.

The negro gave Mr. Ralph a message, in addition to the letter, of no consequence to our history, and received one in return.

He then bowed again, and was going to mount and ride away, when Ralph said, “Stop, Tom!”

Tom accordingly stopped.

CHAPTER LIV. EXPLOITS OF FODDER.

Ralph looked from the donkey to Mr. Jinks, and from Mr. Jinks to the donkey; then he laughed.

“I say, my dear fellow,” he observed, “you wanted a horse, did'nt you?”

“I did, sir,” said Mr. Jinks.

“What do you say to a donkey?”

Mr. Jinks appeared thoughtful, and gazing at the sky, as though the clouds interested him, replied:

“I have no objection to the animal, sir. It was in former times, I am assured, the animal used by kings, and even emperors. Far be it from me, therefore, to feel any pride—or look down on the donkey.”

“You'll have to,” said Ralph.

“Have to what, sir?”

“Look down on Fodder here—we call him Fodder at the farm, because the rascal won't eat thistles.”

“Fodder, sir?” said Mr. Jinks, gazing along the road, as though in search of some wagon, laden with cornstalks.

“The donkey!”

“Ah?—yes—true—the donkey! Really, a very handsome animal,” said Mr. Jinks, appearing to be aware of the existence of Fodder for the first time.

“I asked you how you would like a donkey, instead of a horse, meaning, in fact, to ask if Fodder would, for the time, answer your warlike and gallant purposes? If so, my dear fellow, I'll lend him to you—Tom can go back to the farm in the wagon—it comes and goes every day.”

Tom looked at Mr. Jinks' legs, scratched his head, and grinning from ear to ear, added the assurance that he was rather pleased to get rid of Fodder, who was too small for a man of his weight.

Mr. Jinks received these propositions and assurances, at first, with a shake of the head: he really could not deprive, etc.; then he looked dubious; then he regarded Fodder with admiration and affection; then he assented to Ralph's arrangement, and put his arm affectionately around Fodder's neck.

“I love that animal already!” cried the enthusiastic Mr. Jinks.

Ralph turned aside to laugh.

“That is highly honorable, Jinks, my boy,” he said; “there's no trait of character more characteristic of a great and exalted intellect, than kindness to animals.”

“You flatter me, sir.”

“Never—I never flatter. Now, Tom,” continued Ralph to the negro,” return homeward, and inform my dear old Governor that, next week, I shall return, temporarily, to make preparations for my marriage. Further, relate to him the fate of Fodder—go, sir.”

And throwing Tom, who grinned and laughed, a piece of silver, Ralph turned again to Jinks.

“Do you like Fodder?” he said.

“I consider him the paragon of donkeys,” returned Mr. Jinks.

And, hugging the donkey's neck—“Eh, Fodder?” said Jinks.

Fodder turned a sleepy looking eye, which was covered with the broad, square leather of the wagon-bridle, toward Mr. Jinks, and regarded that gentleman with manifest curiosity. Then shaking his head, lowered it again, remonstrating with his huge ears against the assaults of the flies.

“He likes you already! he admires and respects you, Jinks!” cried Ralph, bursting into a roar of laughter; “a ride! a ride! mount, sir!”

“Is he vicious?” asked Mr. Jinks.

“Hum! he has been known to—to—do dreadful things!” said Ralph, choking.

Mr. Jinks drew back.

“But he won't hurt you—just try.”

“Hum! I'd rather test his character first,” said Mr. Jinks; “of course I'm not afraid; it would be unnecessary for me to prove that, sir—I wear a sword—”

“Oh, yes?”

“But dangerous accidents have frequently resulted from—”

“Donkeys? you are right. But suppose I mount with you!” said Ralph, who had fallen into one of his mischievous moods.

“Hum! sir—will he carry double, do you think?”

“Carry double! He'd carry a thousand—Fodder would! Just get into the saddle, and I'll put my handkerchief on his back, and mount behind—I'll guide him. Come!”

And Ralph, with a suppressed chuckle, pushed Mr. Jinks toward the saddle.

Mr. Jinks looked round—cleared his throat—glanced at the expression of the donkey's eyes—and endeavored to discover from the movement of his ears if he was vicious. Fodder seemed to be peaceful—Mr. Jinks got into the saddle, his grasshopper legs reaching nearly to the ground.

“Now!” cried Ralph, vaulting behind him, “now for a ride!”

And seizing the reins, before Mr. Jinks could even get his feet into the stirrups, the young man kicked the donkey vigorously, and set off at a gallop.

Mr. Jinks leaned forward in the saddle with loud cries, balancing himself by the pummel, and holding on to the mane. Fodder was frightened by the cries, and ran like a race-horse, kicking up his heels, and indeed rendered Ralph's position somewhat perilous. But that gentleman was experienced, from earliest infancy, in riding bareback, and held on. He also held Mr. Jinks on.

The great swordsman continued to utter loud cries, and to remonstrate piteously. Only the clatter of his sword, and Ralph's shouts of laughter, answered him.

Still on! and in five minutes Fodder was opposite the store of O'Brallaghan.

A brilliant idea suddenly struck Ralph; with the rapidity and presence of mind of a great general, he put it into execution.

Fodder found one rein loosened—the other drawn violently round; the consequence was, that from a straight course, he suddenly came to adopt a circular one. Mr. Jinks had just saved himself by wrapping his legs, so to speak, around the donkey's person, when Ralph's design was accomplished.

Fodder, obeying the pull upon the rein, sweeped down upon O'Brallaghan's shop, and in the midst of the cries of babies, the barking of dogs, and the shrill screams of elderly ladies, entered the broad door of the clothes-warehouse, and thrust his nose into Mr. O'Brallaghan's face, just as that gentleman was cutting out the sixth pair of pantaloons for himself, in which he was to personate St. Michael.

O'Brallaghan staggered back—Ralph burst into a roar of laughter, and sliding from Fodder, ignominiously retreated, leaving Mr. Jinks and O'Brallaghan face to face.

The scene which then ensued is dreadful to even reflect upon, after the lapse of so many years. Fodder backed into the street immediately, but he had accomplished the insult to O'Brallaghan. That gentleman ran out furiously, shears in hand, and with these instruments it seemed to be his intention to sever the epiglottis of Mr. Jinks, or at least his ears.

But, as on a former occasion, when Mr. Jinks threatened to rid the earth of a scoundrel and a villain, the execution of this scheme was prevented by the interposition of a third party; so on the present occasion did the neighbors interfere and quiet the combatants.

Ralph perfected the reconciliation by declaring that Fodder was the most vicious and dangerous of animals, and that no one could rationally wonder at his conduct on this occasion.

O'Brallaghan thereupon observed that he despised Mr. Jinks too much to touch him, and would forgive him; and so he elbowed his way through the crowd of gossips and re-entered his shop, scowling at, and being scowled at by, the severe Mr. Jinks.

Ralph also embraced the opportunity to slip through the crowd, and hasten round a corner; having achieved which movement, he leaned against a pump, and laughed until two babies playing on the side-walk nearly choked themselves with marbles as they gazed at him. Then chuckling to himself, the young-worthy returned toward the tavern, leaving Mr. Jinks to his fate.

CHAPTER LV. WOMAN TRAPS LAID BY MR. JINKS.

No sooner had O'Brallaghan retreated into his store, than Mr. Jinks cast after him defiant words and gestures, calling on the crowd to take notice that O'Brallaghan had ignominiously yielded ground, and declined his, Mr. Jinks', proposition to have a combat.

If any wonder is felt at Mr. Jinks' bravery, we may dispel it, probably, by explaining that Mr. O'Brallaghan had two or three months before been bound over in a large sum to keep the peace of the commonwealth against the inhabitants of the said commonwealth, and especially that portion of them who dwelt in the borough of Winchester; which fact Mr. Jinks was well acquainted with, and shaped his conduct by. If there was anything which O'Brallaghan preferred to a personal encounter with fists or shillelahs, that object was money; and Mr. Jinks knew that O'Brallaghan would not touch him.

Therefore Mr. Jinks sent words of defiance and menace after the retreating individual, and said to the crowd, with dignified calmness:

“My friends, I call you to bear witness that I have offered to give this—this—person,” said Mr. Jinks, “the amplest satisfaction in my power for the unfortunate conduct of my animal, which I have just purchased at a large sum, and have not exactly learned to manage yet. We have not come to understand each other—myself and Fodder—just yet; and in passing with a young man whom I kindly permitted to mount behind me, the animal ran into the shop of this—individual. If he wants satisfaction!” continued Mr. Jinks, frowning, and laying his hand upon his sword, “he can have it, sir! yes, sir! I am ready, sir!—now and always, sir!”

These words were ostensibly addressed to Mr. O'Brallaghan, who was, in contempt of Mr. Jinks, busily engaged at his work again; but, in reality, the whole harangue of Mr. Jinks was intended for the ears of a person in the crowd, who, holding a hot “iron” in her hand, had run up, like the rest, when the occurrence first took place.

This person, who was of the opposite sex, and upon whom Mr. Jinks evidently desired to produce an impression, gazed at the cavalier with tender melancholy in her ruddy face, and especially regarded the legs of Mr. Jinks with unconcealed admiration.

It was Mistress O'Calligan, the handsome ruddy lady, whom we have met with once before, on that day when Mr. Jinks, remembering O'Brallaghan's incapacity to fight, challenged that gentleman to mortal combat.

Between this lady and Mr. Jinks, on the present occasion, glances passed more than once; and when—O'Brallaghan not appearing—Mr. Jinks rode away from the shop of the dastard, in dignified disgust, he directed the steps of Fodder, cautiously and gently, around the corner, and stopped before the door of Mistress O'Calligan's lodging.

The lamented O'Calligan was gone to that bourne which we all know of, and his widow now supported herself and the two round, dirty-faced young gentlemen who had choked themselves in their astonishment at Ralph, by taking in washing and ironing, to which she added, occasionally, the occupation and mystery of undergarment construction.

Thanks to these toils, Mistress O'Calligan, who was yet young and handsome, and strong and healthy, had amassed a very snug little sum of money, which she had invested in a garden, numerous pigs, chickens, and other things; and, in the neighborhood, this lady was regarded as one destined to thrive in the world; and eventually bring to the successor of the lamented O'Calligan, not only her fair self, and good-humored smile included, but also no contemptible portion of this world's goods.

O'Brallaghan's ambition was to succeed the lamented. He had long made unsuccessful court to the lady—in vain. He suspected, not without justice, that the graceful and military Mr. Jinks had made an impression on the lady's heart, and hated Mr. Jinks accordingly.

It was before the low, comfortable cottage of Mistress O'Calligan, therefore, that Mr. Jinks stopped. And tying Fodder to the pump, he pushed aside the under-tunics which depended from lines, and were fluttering in the wind, and so made his entrance into the dwelling.

Mistress O'Calligan pretended to be greatly surprised and fluttered on Mr. Jinks' entrance; and laid down the iron she was trying, by putting her finger in her mouth, and then applying it to the under surface.

She then smiled; and declared she never was in such a taking; and to prove this, sat down and panted, and screamed good-humoredly to the youthful O'Calligans, not to go near that pretty horse; and then asked Mr. Jinks if he would'nt take something.

Mr. Jinks said, with great dignity, that he thought he would.

Thereupon, Mistress O'Calligan produced a flat bottle of poteen, and pouring a portion for her own fair self, into a cup, said that this was a wicked world, and handed the flask to Mr. Jinks.

That gentleman took a tolerably large draught; and then setting down the bottle, scowled.

This terrified Mistress O'Calligan; and she said so.

Mr. Jinks explained that he was angry,—in a towering rage; and added, that nothing but the presence of Mistress O'Calligan had prevented him from exterminating O'Brallaghan, who was a wretched creature, beneath the contempt, etc.

Whereto the lady replied, Really, to think it; but that these feelings was wrong; and she were only too happy if her presence had prevented bloodshed. She thought that Mr. Jinks was flattering her—with more of the same description.

Thus commenced this interview, which the loving and flattered Mistress O'Calligan wrongly supposed to be intended as one of courtship, on the part of Mr. Jinks. She was greatly mistaken. If ever proceeding was calm, deliberate, and prompted by revengeful and diabolical intentions, the proceeding of Mr. Jinks, on the present occasion, was of that description.

But none of this appeared upon the countenance of our friend. Mr. Jinks was himself—he was gallant, impressive; and warming with the rum, entered into details of his private feelings.

He had ever admired and venerated—he said—the character of the beautiful and fascinating Judith O'Calligan, who had alone, and by her unassisted merits, removed from his character that tendency toward contempt and undervaluation of women, which, he was mortified to say, he had been induced to feel from an early disappointment in love.

Mistress O'Calligan here looked very much flurried, and ejaculated, Lor!

Mr. Jinks proceeded to say, that the lady need not feel any concern for him now; that the early disappointment spoken of, had, it was true, cast a shadow on his life, which, he imagined, nothing but the gory blood of his successful rival could remove; that still he, Mr. Jinks, had had the rare, good fortune of meeting with a divine charmer who caused him to forget his past sorrows, and again indulge in hopes of domestic felicity and paternal happiness by the larean altars of a happy home. That the visions of romance had never pictured such a person; that the lady whom he spoke of, was well known to the lady whom he addressed; and, indeed, to be more explicit, was not ten thousand miles from them at the moment in question.

This was so very broad, that the “lady” in question blushed the color of the red bricks in her fire-place, and declared that Mr. Jinks was the dreadfulest creature, and he need'nt expect to persuade her that he liked her—no, he need'nt.

Mr. Jinks repelled the accusation of being a dreadful creature, and said, that however terrifying his name might be to his enemies among the men, that no woman had ever yet had cause to be afraid of him, or to complain of him.

After which, Mr. Jinks frowned, and took a gulp of the poteen.

Mistress O'Calligan thought that Mr. Jinks was very wrong to be talking in such a meaning way to her—and the lamented O'Calligan not dead two years. That she knew what it was to bestow her affections on an object, which object did not return them—and never, never could be brought to trust the future of those blessed dears a-playing on the side-walk to a gay deceiver.

After which observation, Mistress O'Calligan took up a corner of her apron, and made a feint to cry; but not being encouraged by any consternation, agitation, or objection of any description on the part of her companion, changed her mind, and smiled.

Mr. Jinks said that if the paragon of her sex, the lovely Judith, meant to say that he was a gay deceiver, the assertion in question involved a mistake of a cruel and opprobrious character. So far from being a deceiver, he had himself been uniformly deceived; and that in the present instance, it was much more probable that he would suffer, because the lovely charmer before him cared nothing for him.

Which accusation threw the lovely charmer into a flutter, and caused her to deny the truth of Mr. Jinks' charge; and in addition, to assert that there existed no proof of the fact that she did'nt care much more for Mr. Jinks than he did for her—and whether he said she did'nt, or did'nt say she did'nt, still that this did'nt change the fact: and so he was mistaken.

Whereupon Mr. Jinks, imbibing more poteen, replied that assertions, though in themselves worthy of high respect when they issued from so lovely and fascinating a source, could still not stand in opposition to facts.

Mistress O'Calligan asked what facts.

Which caused Mr. Jinks to explain. He meant, that the test of affection was doing one a service; that the loving individual would perform what the beloved wished; and that here the beautiful Judith was deficient.

To which the beautiful Judith, with a preparatory caution to the young O'Calligans, replied by saying, that she had never been tried; and if that was all the foundation for such a charge, the best way to prove its falseness was to immediately test her friendship.

At this Mr. Jinks brightened up, and leaning over toward the ruddy-faced Judith, whispered for some minutes. The whispers brought to the lady's face a variety of expressions: consternation, alarm, doubt, objection, refusal. Refusal remained paramount.

Mr. Jinks imbibed more poteen, and observed, with dignity, that he had been perfectly well aware, before making his communication, that the protestations of the lady opposite to whom he sat were like those of ladies in general, calculated to mislead and deceive. He would therefore not annoy her further, but seek some other—

Incipient tears from the lady, who thought Mr. Jinks cruel, unreasonable, and too bad.

Mr. Jinks was rational, and had asked a very inconsiderable favor; his beautiful acquaintance, Miss Sallianna, would not hesitate a moment to oblige him, and he would therefore respectfully take his departure—for some time, he was afraid, if not forever.

Mr. Jinks had played his game with much skill, and great knowledge of the lady whom he addressed. He brought out his trump, so to speak, when he mentioned Miss Sallianna, and alluded to his intention never to return, perhaps.

The lady could not resist. The moment had arrived when she was to decide whether she should supply the youthful O'Calligans with a noble father and protector, or suffer them still to inhabit the dangerous side-walk in infant helplessness, and exposed to every enemy.

Therefore the fair Mistress O'Calligan found her resolution evaporate—her objections removed—she consented to comply with Mr. Jinks' request, because the object of her affections made it—yes, the object of her affections for many a long day, through every accusation of cabbaged cloth, and other things brought by his enemies—the object of her ambition, the destined recipient of the garden, and the chickens, and the pigs, when fate removed her!

And having uttered this speech with great agitation, and numerous gasps, Mistress O'Calligan yielded to her nerves, and reposed upon Mr. Jinks' breast.

Fifteen minutes afterwards Mr. Jinks was going back to Bousch's tavern, mounted on Fodder, and grimacing.

“She'll do it, sir! she'll do it!” said Mr. Jinks; “we'll see. Look out for gory blood, sir!”

And that was all.

CHAPTER LVI. TAKES VERTY TO MR. ROUNDJACKET.

As Mr. Jinks went along, thus absorbed in his dreams of vengeance, he chanced to raise his head; which movement made him aware of the fact that a gentleman with whom he was well acquainted rode in the same direction with himself—that is to say, toward Bousch's tavern.

This was Verty, who, absorbed as completely by his own thoughts as was Mr. Jinks, did not see that gentleman until Cloud very nearly walked over the diminutive Fodder.

Mr. Jinks laid his hand on his sword, and frowned; for it was one of the maxims of this great militaire, that one is never more apt to escape an attack than when he appears to hold himself in readiness, and seems prepared for either event.

Verty did not consider himself bound, however, to engage in a combat at the moment; and so with grave politeness, bowed and passed on his way.

They arrived at the tavern nearly at the same moment.

Ralph was sitting on the porch, inhaling the fresh October air, gazing at the bright waves of the little stream which sparkled by beneath the willows; and at times varying these amusements by endeavoring to smoke from a pipe which had gone out, He looked the picture of indolent enjoyment.

Within a few feet of him sat the ruddy, full-faced landlord, as idle as himself.

At sight of Mr. Jinks and Verty, Ralph rose, with a smile, and came toward them.

“Ah! my dear Jinks,” he said, after bowing to Verty familiarly, “how did you get out of that scrape? I regret that business of a private and important nature forced me to leave you, and go round the corner. How did it result?”

“Triumphantly, sir!” said Mr. Jinks, dismounting, and, with great dignity, entrusting Fodder to a stable-boy, lounging near; “that hound, O'Brallaghan, knew his place, sir, and did not presume to complain—”

“Of Fodder?”

“Of anything, sir.”

“The fact is, it would have been ridiculous. What had he to complain of, I should like to be informed. So he retreated?”

“He did, sir,” said Mr. Jinks, with dignity, “amid the hisses of the assembled crowd.”

“Just as I suspected; it would take a bold fellow to force such a Don Quixote and Dapple, as yourself and Fodder!”

“Yes; although I regretted,” said Mr. Jinks, with great dignity, “the accident which occurred when we set out, I rejoice at having had an occasion to inform that Irish conspirator and St. Michael-hater, that I held him in opprobrious contempt.”

And Mr. Jinks glanced at the landlord.

“He was making the breeches for St. Michael, whom he is to represent,” said Mr. Jinks, “day after to-morrow; and I have not done with him—the Irish villain!”

Mr. Jinks looked again, significantly, at the host.

That gentleman had not lost a word of the conversation, and his sleepy eyes now opened. He beckoned to Mr. Jinks. A smile illumined the countenance of the worthy—the landlord was a German;—the plot against Irish O'Brallaghan was gaining strength.

The landlord rose, and, with a significant look, entered the house, followed by Mr. Jinks, who turned his head, as he disappeared, to cast a triumphant look upon Ralph.

No sooner had he passed from sight, than Ralph turned to Verty, who had sat quietly upon Cloud, during this colloquy, and burst into laughter.

“That is the greatest character I have ever known, Verty,” he said; “and I have been amusing myself with him all the morning.”

Verty was thinking, and without paying much attention to Ralph, smiled, and said:

“Anan?—yes—”

“I believe you are dreaming.”

“Oh, no—only thinking,” said Verty, smiling; “I can't get out of the habit, and I really don't think I heard you. But I can't stop. Here's a note Redbud asked me to give you—for Fanny. She said you might be going up to old Scowley's—”

“Might be! I rather think I am! Ah, Miss Redbud, you are a mischievous one. But why take the trouble to say that of the divine sex? They're all dangerous, scheming and satirical.”

“Anan?” said Verty, smiling, as he tossed Ralph the note.

“Don't mind me,” said Ralph; “I was just talking, as usual, at random, and slandering the sex. But what are you sitting there for, my dear Verty? Get down and come in. I'm dying of weariness.”

Verty shook his head.

“I must go and see Mr. Roundjacket,” he said.

“What! is he sick?”

“Yes.”

“Much?”

Verty smiled.

“I think not,” he said; “but I don't know—I havn't much time; good-bye.”

And touching Cloud with the spur, Verty went on. Ralph looked after him for a moment, twirled the note in his fingers, read the superscription,—“To Miss Fanny Temple,”—and then, laughing carelessly, lounged into the house, intent on making a third in the councils of those great captains, Mr. Jinks and the landlord.

We shall accompany Verty, who rode on quietly, and soon issued from the town—that is to say, the more bustling portion of it; for Winchester, at that time, consisted of but two streets, and even these were mere roads, as they approached the suburbs.

Roundjacket's house was a handsome little cottage, embowered in trees, on the far western outskirts of the town. Here the poet lived in bachelor freedom, and with a degree of comfort which might have induced any other man to be satisfied with his condition. We know, from his own assertion, that Roundjacket was not;—he had an excellent little house, a beautiful garden, every comfort which an ample “estate” could bring him, but he had no wife. That was the one thing needful.

Verty dismounted, and admiring the beautiful sward, the well tended flowers, and the graceful appendages of the mansion—from the bronze knocker, with Minerva's head upon it, to the slight and comfortable wicker smoking-chairs upon the porch—opened the little gate, and knocked.

An old negro woman, who superintended, with the assistance of her equally aged husband, this bachelor paradise, appeared at the door; and hearing Verty's request of audience, was going to prefer it to Mr. Roundjacket.

This was rendered unnecessary, however, by the gentleman himself. He called from the comfortable sitting-room to Verty, and the visitor entered.

CHAPTER LVII. CONTAINS AN EXTRAORDINARY DISCLOSURE.

Roundjacket was clad in a handsome dressing-gown, and was heading, or essaying to read—for he had the rheumatism in his right shoulder—a roll of manuscript. Beside him lay a ruler, which he grasped, and made a movement of hospitable reception with, as Verty came in.

“Welcome, welcome, my young friend,” said Roundjacket; “you see me laid up, sir”

“You're not much sick, I hope, sir?” said Verty, taking the arm-chair, which his host indicated.

“I am, sir—you are mistaken.”

“I am very sorry.”

“I thank you for your sympathy,” said Roundjacket, running his fingers through his straight hair; “I think, sir I mentioned, the other day, that I expected to be laid up.”

“Mentioned?”

“On the occasion, sir—”

“Oh, the paper!” said Verty, smiling; “you don't mean—”

“I mean everything,” said Roundjacket; “I predicted, on that occasion, that I expected to be laid up, and I am, sir.”

This was adroit in Roundjacket. It was one of those skillful equivocations, by means of which a man saves his character for consistency and judgment, without forfeiting his character for truth.

“Well, it was very bad,” said Verty.

“Bad is not the word—abominable is the word—disgraceful is the word!” cried Roundjacket, flourishing his ruler, and suddenly dropping it as a twinge shot through his shoulder.

“Yes,” assented Verty; “but talking about it will make you worse, sir. Mr. Rushton asked me to come and see how you were this morning.”

“Rushton is thanked,” said Mr. Roundjacket,—“Rushton, my young friend, has his good points—so have I, sir. I nursed him through a seven month's fever—a perfect bear, sir; but he always is that. Tell him that my arm—that I am nearly well, sir, and that nothing but my incapacity to write, from—from—the state of my—feelings,” proceeded Roundjacket, “should keep me at home. Observe, my young sir, that this is no apology. Rushton and myself understand each other. If I wish to go, I go—or stay away, I stay away. But I like the old trap, sir, from habit, and rather like the bear himself, upon the whole.”

With this Mr. Roundjacket attempted to flourish his ruler, from habit, and groaned.

“What's the matter, sir?” said Verty.

“I felt badly at the moment,” said Roundjacket; “the fact is, I always do feel badly when I'm confined thus. I have been trying to wile away the time with the manuscript of my poem, sir—but it won't do. An author, sir—mark me—never takes any pleasure in reading his own writings.”

“Ah?” said Verty.

“No, sir; the only proper course for authors is to marry.”

“Indeed, sir?”

“Yes: and why, sir?” asked Mr. Roundjacket, evidently with the intention of answering his own question.

“I don't know,” replied Verty.

“Because, then, sir, the author may read his work to his wife, which is a circumstance productive of great pleasure on both sides, you perceive.”

“It might be, but I think it might'nt, sir?” Verty said.

“How, might'nt be?”

“It might be very bad writing—not interesting—such as ought to be burned, you know,” said Verty.

“Hum!” replied Roundjacket, “there's something in that.”

“If I was to write—but I could'nt—I don't think I would read it to my wife—if I had a wife,” added Verty.

And he sighed.

“A wife! you!” cried Mr. Roundjacket.

“Is there anything wrong in my wishing to marry?”

“Hum!—yes, sir; there is a certain amount of irrationality in any body desiring such a thing—not in you especially.”

“Oh, Mr. Roundjacket, you advised me only a few weeks ago to be always courting somebody—courting was the word; I recollect it.”

“Hum!” repeated Roundjacket; “did I?”

“Yes, sir.”

“Well, sir, I suppose a man has a right to amend.”

“Anan, sir?”

“I say that a man has a right to file an amended and supplemental bill, stating new facts; but you don't understand. Perhaps, sir, I was right, and perhaps I was wrong in that advice.”

“But, Mr. Roundjacket,” said Verty, sighing, “do you think I ought not to marry because I am an Indian?”

This question of ethics evidently puzzled the poet.

“An Indian—hum—an Indian?” he said; “but are you an Indian, my young friend?”

“You know ma mere is, and I am her son.”

Roundjacket shook his head.

“You are a Saxon, not an Aboriginal,” he said; “and to tell you the truth, your origin has been the great puzzle of my life, sir.”

“Has it?”

“It has, indeed.”

Verty looked thoughtful, and his dreamy gaze was fixed upon vacancy.

“It has troubled me a good deal lately,” he said, “and I have been thinking about it very often—since I came to live in Winchester, you know. As long as I was in the woods, it did not come into my thoughts much; the deer, and turkeys, and bears never asked,” added Verty, with a smile. “The travellers who stopped for a draught of water or a slice of venison at ma mere's, never seemed to think anything about it, or to like me the worse for not knowing where I came from. It's only since I came into society here, sir, that I am troubled. It troubles me very much,” added Verty, his head drooping.

“Zounds!” cried Roundjacket, betrayed by his feelings into an oath, “don't let it, Verty! You're a fine, honest fellow, whether you're an Indian or not; and if I had a daughter—which,” added Mr. Roundjacket, “I'm glad to say I have not—you should have her for the asking. Who cares! you're a gentleman, every inch of you!”

“Am I?” said Verty; “I'm glad to hear that. I thought I was'nt. And so, sir, you don't think there's any objection to my marrying?”

“Hum!—the subject of marrying again!”

“Yes, sir,” Verty replied, smiling; “I thought I'd marry Redbud.”

“Who? that little Redbud!”

“Yes, sir,” said Verty, “I think I'm in love with her.”

Roundjacket stood amazed at such extraordinary simplicity.

“Sir,” he said, “whether you are an Indian by blood or not, you certainly are by nature. Extraordinary! who ever heard of a civilized individual using such language!”

“But you know I am not civilized, sir.”

Roundjacket shook his head.

“There's the objection,” he said; “it is absolutely necessary that a man who becomes the husband of a young lady should be civilized. But let us dismiss this subject—Redbud! Excuse me, Mr. Verty, but you are a very extraordinary young man;—to have you for—well, well. Don't allude to that again.”

“To what, sir?”

“To Redbud.”

“Why, sir?”

“Because I have nothing to do with it. I can only give you my general ideas on the subject of marriage. If you apply them, that is your affair. A pretty thing on an oath of discovery,” murmured the poetical lawyer.

Verty had not heard the last words; he was reflecting. Roundjacket watched him with a strange, wistful look, which had much kindness and feeling in it.

“But why not marry?” said Verty, at last; “it seems to me sir, that people ought to marry; I think I could find a great many good reasons for it.”

“Could you; how many?”

“A hundred, I suppose.”

“And I could find a thousand against it,” said Roundjacket. “Mark me, sir—except under certain circumstances, a man is not the same individual after marrying—he deteriorates.”

“Anan?” said Verty.

“I mean, that in most cases it is for the worse—the change of condition.

“How, sir?”

“Observe the married man,” replied Roundjacket, philosophically—“see his brow laden with cares, his important look, his solemn deportment. None of the lightness and carelessness of the bachelor.”

Verty nodded, as much as to say that there was a great deal of truth in this much.

“Then observe the glance,” continued Roundjacket, “if I may be permitted to use a colloquialism which is coming into use—there is not that brilliant cut of the eye, which you see in us young fellows—it is all gone, sir!”

Verty smiled.

“The married man frequently delegates his soul to his better half,” continued Roundjacket, rising with his subject; “all his independence is gone. He can't live the life of a jolly bachelor, with pipe and slippers, jovial friends and nocturnal suppers. The pipe is put out, sir—the slippers run down—and the joyous laughter of his good companions becomes only the recollection of dead merriment. He progresses, sir—does the married man—from bad to worse; he lives in a state of hen-pecked, snubbed, unnatural apprehension; he shrinks from his shadow; trembles at every sound; and, in the majority of cases, ends his miserable existence, sir, by hanging himself to the bed-post!”

Having drawn this awful picture of the perils of matrimony, Mr. Roundjacket paused and smiled. Verty looked puzzled.

“You seem to think it is very dreadful,” said Verty; “are you afraid of women, sir?”

“No, I am not, sir! But I might very rationally be.”

“Anan?”

“Yes, sir, very reasonably; the fact is, you cannot be a lady's man, and have any friends, without being talked about.”

Verty nodded, with a simple look, which struck Mr. Roundjacket forcibly.

“Only utter a polite speech, and smile, and wrap a lady's shawl around her shoulders—flirt her fan, or caress her poodle—and, in public estimation, you are gone,” observed the poet; “the community roll their eyes, shake their heads, and declare that it is very obvious—that you are so far gone, as not even to pretend to conceal it. Shocking, sir!”

And Roundjacket chuckled.

“It's very wrong,” said Verty, shaking his head; “I wonder they do it.”

“Therefore, keep away from the ladies, my young friend,” added Roundjacket, with an elderly air—“that is the safest way. Get some snug bachelor retreat like this, and be happy with your pipe. Imitate me, in dressing-gown and slippers. So shall you be happy!”

Roundjacket chuckled again, and contemplated the cornice.

At the same moment a carriage was heard to stop before the door, and the poet's eyes descended.

“I wonder who comes to see me,” he said, “really now, in a chariot.”

Verty, from his position, could see through the window.

“Why, it's the Apple Orchard chariot!” he said, “and there is Miss Lavinia!”

At this announcement, Mr. Roundjacket's face assumed an expression of dastardly guilt, and he avoided Verty's eye.

“Lavinia!” he murmured.

At the same moment a diminutive footman gave a rousing stroke with the knocker, and delivered into the hands of the old woman, who opened the door, a glass dish of delicacies such as are affected by sick persons.

With this came a message from the lady in the carriage, to the effect, that her respects were presented to Mr. Roundjacket, whose sickness she had heard of. Would he like the jelly?—she was passing—would be every day. Please to send word if he was better.

While this message was being delivered, Roundjacket resembled an individual caught in the act of felonious appropriation of his neighbors' ewes. He did not look at Verty, but, with; a bad assumption of nonchalance, bade the boy thank his mistress, and say that Mr. Roundjacket would present his respects, in person, at Apple Orchard, on the morrow. Would she excuse his not coming out?

This message was carried to the chariot, which soon afterwards drove away.

Verty gazed after it.

“I say, Mr. Roundjacket,” he observed, at length, “how funny it is for Miss Lavinia to come to see you!”

“Hum!—hum!—we are—hum—ah—! The fact is, my dear Verty!” cried Mr. Roundjacket, rising, and limping through a pas seul, in spite of his rheumatism—“the fact is, I have been acting the most miserable and deceptive way to you for the last hour. Yes, my dear boy! I am ashamed of myself! Carried away by the pride of opinion, and that fondness which bachelor's have for boasting, I have been deceiving you! But it never shall be said that Robert Roundjacket refused the amplest reparation. My reparation, my good Verty, is taking you into my confidence. The fact is—yes, the fact really is—as aforesaid, or rather as not aforesaid, myself and the pleasing Miss Lavinia are to be married before very long! Don't reply, sir! I know my guilt—but you might have known I was jesting. You must have suspected, from my frequent visits to Apple Orchard—hum—hum—well, well, sir; it's out now, and I've made a clean breast of it, and you're not to speak of it! I am tired of bachelordom, sir, and am going to change!”

With these words, Mr. Roundjacket executed a pirouette upon his rheumatic leg, which caused him to fall back in his chair, making the most extraordinary faces, which we can compare to nothing but the contortions of a child who bites a crab-apple by mistake.

The twinge soon spent its force, however; and then Mr. Roundjacket and Verty resumed their colloquy—after which, Verty rose and took his leave, smiling and laughing to himself, at times.

He had reason. Miss Lavinia, who had denounced wife-hunters, was about to espouse Mr. Roundjacket, who had declared matrimony the most miserable of mortal conditions; all which is calculated to raise our opinion of the consistency of human nature in a most wonderful degree.

CHAPTER LVIII. HOW MR. RUSHTON PROVED THAT ALL MEN WERE SELFISH, HIMSELF INCLUDED.

Leaving Mr. Roundjacket contemplating the ceiling, and reflecting upon the various questions connected with bachelorship and matrimony, Verty returned to the office, and reported to Mr. Rushton that the poet was rapidly improving, and would probably be at his post on the morrow.

This intelligence was received with a growl, which had become, however, so familiar an expression of feeling to the young man, that he did not regard it.

“Well, sir,” said Mr. Rushton, “what news is there about town?”

“News, sir? I heard none.”

“Did'nt you pass along the streets?”

“Yes, sir.”

“And you met nobody?”

“Oh, yes; I met Ralph, and Mr. Jinks, and others.”

“Jinks! I'll score that Jinks yet!” said Mr. Rushton; “he is an impertinent jackanapes, and deserves to be put in the stocks.”

“I don't like him much,” said Verty, smiling, “I think he is very foolish.”

“Hum! I have no doubt of it: he had the audacity to come here once and ask an opinion of me without offering the least fee.”

“An opinion, sir?”

“Yes, sir; have you been thus long in the profession, or in contact with the profession,” added Mr. Rushton, correcting himself, “without learning what an opinion is?”

“Oh, sir—I think I understand now—it is—”

“A very gratifying circumstance that you do,” said Mr. Rushton, with the air of a good-natured grizzly bear. “Well, sir, that fellow, I say, had the audacity to consult me upon a legal point—whether the tailor O'Brallaghan, being bound over to keep the peace, could attack him without forfeiting his recognizances—that villain Jinks, I say, had the outrageous audacity to ask my opinion on this point, and then when I gave it, to rise and say that it was a fine morning, and so strut out, without another word. A villain, sir! the man who consults a lawyer without the preparatory retainer, is a wretch too deep-dyed to reform!”

Having thus disposed of Jinks, Mr. Rushton snorted.

“I don't like him,” Verty said, “he does not seem to be sincere, and I think he is not a gentleman. But, I forget, sir; you asked me if there was any news. I did hear some people talking at the corners of the street as I passed.

“About what?”

“The turn out of the Dutch and Irish people the day after tomorrow, sir.”

“Hum!” growled Mr. Rushton, “we'll see about that! The authorities of Winchester are performing their duty after a pretty fashion, truly—to permit these villainous plots to be hatched tinder their very noses. What did you hear, sir?”

“They were whispering almost, sir, and if I had'nt been a hunter I could'nt have heard. They were saying that there would be knives as well as shillalies,” said Verty.

“Hum! indeed! This must be looked to! Will we! The wretches. We are in a fine way when the public peace is to be sacrificed to the whim of some outlandish wretches.”

“Anan?” said Verty.

“Sir?” asked Mr. Rushton.

“I do not know exactly what outlandish means,” Verty replied, with a smile.

A grim smile came to the lips of the lawyer also.

“It means a variety of things,” he said, looking at Verty; “some people would say that you, sir, were outlandish.”

“Me!” said Verty.

“Yes, you; where are those costumes which I presented to you?”

“My clothes, sir—from the tailor's?”

“Yes, sir.”

Verty shook his head.

“I did'nt feel easy in them, sir,” he said; “you know I am an Indian—or if I am not, at least I am a hunter. They cramped me.”

Mr. Rushton looked at the young man for some moments in silence.

“You are a myth,” he said, grimly smiling, “a dream—a chimera. You came from no source, and are going nowhere. But I trifle. If I am permitted, sir, I shall institute proper inquiries as to your origin, which has occasioned so much thought. The press of business I have labored under during the last month has not permitted me. Wretched life. I'm sick of it—and go to it like a horse to the traces.”

“Don't you like law, sir?”

“No—I hate it.”

“Why, sir?”

“'Why!'“ cried Mr. Rushton, “there you are with your annoying questions! I hate it because it lowers still more my opinion of this miserable humanity. I see everywhere rascality, and fraud, and lies; and because there is danger of becoming the color of the stuff I work in, 'like the dyer's hand.' I hate it,” growled Mr. Rushton.

“But you must see many noble things, sir, too,—a great deal of goodness, you know.”

“Well, sir, so I do. I don't deny it. There are some men who are not entirely corrupt,—some who do not cheat systematically, and lie by the compass and the rule. But these are the exceptions. This life and humanity are foul sin from the beginning. Trust no one, young man—not even me; I may turn out a rogue. I am no better than the rest of the wretches!”

“Oh, Mr. Rushton!”

“There you are with your exclamations!”

“Oh, I'm sure, sir—”

“Be sure of nothing; let us end this jabber. How is your mother?” said Mr. Rushton, abruptly.

“She's very well, sir.”

“A good woman.”

“Oh, indeed she is, sir—I love her dearly.”

“Hum! there's no harm in that, though much selfishness, I do not doubt—all humanity is narrow and selfish. There are some things I procured for her.”

And Mr. Rushton pointed to a large bundle lying on the chair.

“For ma mere!” said Verty.

“Yes; I suppose that, in your outlandish lingo, means mother. Yes, for her; the winter is coming on, and she will need something warm to wrap her—poor creature—from the cold.”

“Oh, how kind you are, Mr. Rushton!”

“Nonsense; I suppose I am at liberty to spend my own money.”

Verty looked at the lawyer with a grateful smile, and said:

“I don't think that what you said about everybody's being selfish and bad is true, sir. You are very good and kind.”

“Flummery!” observed the cynic, “I had a selfish motive: I wished to appear generous—I wished to be praised—I wished to attach you to my service, in order to employ you, when the time came, in some rascally scheme.”

“Oh, Mr. Rushton!”

“Yes, sir; you know not why I present that winter wardrobe to your mother,” said the lawyer, triumphantly; “you don't even know that it is my present!”

“How, sir?”

“May I not stop it from your salary, I should like to know, sir?”

And Mr. Rushton scowled at Verty.

“Oh!” said the young man.

“I may do anything—I may have laid a plot to have you arrested for receiving stolen goods,” said the shaggy cynic, revelling in the creations of his invention; “I may have wrapped up an infernal machine, sir, in that bundle, which, when you open it, will explode like a cannon, and carry ruin and destruction to everything around!”

This terrific picture caused Verty to open his eyes, and look with astonishment at his interlocutor.

“I may have bought them in to spite that young villain at the store. I heard him,” said Mr. Rushton, vindictively—“yes, distinctly heard him whisper, 'There's old Rushton again, come to growl, and not buy anything.' The villain! but I disappointed him; and when he said, “Shall they be sent to your office, sir?” in his odious obsequious voice, I replied, 'No, sir! I am not a dandy or fine gentleman, nor a woman;—you, sir, may be accustomed to have your bundles sent—I carry mine myself.' And so, sir, I took the bundle on my shoulder and brought it away, to the astonishment of that young villain, who, I predict, will eventually come to the gallows!”

And the lawyer, having grown tired of talking, abruptly went into his sanctum, and slammed the door.

Verty gazed after him for some moments with a puzzled expression—then smiled—then shook his head; then glanced at the bundle. It was heavy enough for two porters, and Verty opened his eyes at the thought of Mr. Rushton's having appeared in public, in the town of Winchester, with such a mass upon his back.

“He's very good, though,” said Verty; “I don't know why he's so kind to me. How ma mere will like them—I know they are what she wants.”

And Verty betook himself to his work, only stopping to partake of his dinner of cold venison and biscuits. By the afternoon, he had done a very good task; and then mounting Cloud, with the bundle before him, he took his way homeward, via Apple Orchard.

CHAPTER LIX. THE PORTRAIT SMILES.

Our fine Virginia autumn not only dowers the world with beautiful forests, and fresh breezes, and a thousand lovely aspects of the beautiful world—fine golden sunsets, musical dawns, and gorgeous noontides full of languid glory;—it also has its direct influence on the mind.

Would you dream? Go to the autumn woods; the life there is one golden round of fancies, such as come alone beneath waning forests, where the glories of the flower-crowned summer have yielded to a spell more powerful, objects more enthralling—because those objects have the charm of a maiden slowly passing, with a loveliness a thousand times increased, and sublimated, to the holy skies.

Would you have active life? That is there too—the deer, and sound of bugles rattling through the trees, and rousing echoes which go flashing through the hills, and filling the whole universe with jubilant laughter. Every mood has something offered for its entertainment in the grand autumns of our Blue-Ridge dominated land: chiefly the thoughtful, however, the serene and happy.

You dream there, under the boughs all gold, and blue, and crimson. Little things which obscured the eternal landscape, pass away, and the great stars, above the world, come out and flood the mind with a far other light than that which flowed from earthly tapers and rushlights. The heart is purer for such hours of thought; and as the splendid autumn marches on with pensive smiles, you see a glory in his waning cheek which neither the tender Spring, nor the rich, glittering Summer ever approached—an expression of hope and resignation which is greater than strength and victory. Ah, me! if we could always look, like autumn, on the coming storms and freezing snows, and see the light and warmth beyond the veil!

Verty went on beneath the autumn skies, and through the woods, the rustle of whose leaves was music to his forest-trained ear; and so arrived at Apple Orchard as the sun was setting brightly behind the pines, which he kindled gloriously.

Redbud was seated at the window; and the kind eyes and lips brightened, as the form of the young man became visible.

Verty dismounted and entered.

“I am very glad to see you!” said Redbud, smiling, and holding out her small hand; “what a sweet evening for your ride home.”

Redbud was clad with her usual grace and simplicity. Her beautiful golden hair was brushed back from the pure, white forehead; her throat was enveloped in a circlet of diaphanous lace, and beneath this, as she breathed, the red beads of the coral necklace were visible, rising and falling with the pulsations of her heart. Redbud could not have very readily explained the reason for her fancy in wearing the necklace constantly. It was one of those caprices which every one experiences at times;—and so, although the girl had quite a magazine of such ornaments, she persisted in wearing the old necklace bought from the pedlar. Perhaps the word Providence may explain the matter.

To the girl's observation, that he had a fine evening for his ride homeward, Verty replied—Yes, that he had; that he could not go by, however, without coming to see her.

And as he uttered these words, the simple and tender glances of the two young persons encountered each other; and they both smiled.

“You know you are not very well,” added Verty; “and I could'nt sleep well if I did not know how you were, Redbud.”

The girl thanked him with another smile, and said:

“I believe I am nearly well now; the cold I caught the other day has entirely left me. I almost think I might take a stroll, if the sun was not so low.”

“It is half an hour high—that is, it will not get cool until then,” Verty said.

“Do you think I would catch cold?” asked the girl, smiling.

“I don't know,” Verty said.

“Well, I do not think I will, and you shall wrap me in your coat, if I do,” she said, laughing.

In ten minutes, Redbud and Verty were strolling through the grove, and admiring the sunset.

“How pretty it is,” she said, gazing with pensive pleasure on the clouds; “and the old grove here is so still.”

“Yes,” Verty said, “I like the old grove very much. Do you see that locust? It was just at the foot of it, that we found the hare's form, when Dick mowed the grass. You recollect?”

“Oh, yes,” Redbud replied; “and I remember what dear little creatures they were—not bigger than an apple, and with such frightened eyes. We put them back, you know, Verty—that is, I made you,” she added, laughing.

Verty laughed too.

“They were funny little creatures,” he said; “and they would have died—you know we never could have got the right things for them to eat—yes! there, in the long grass! How Molly Cotton jumped away.”

They walked on.

“Here, by the filbert bush, we used to bury the apples to get mellow,” Verty said; “nice, yellow, soft things they were, when we dug them up, with a smell of the earth about 'em! They were not like the June apples we used to get in the garden, where they dropped among the corn—their striped, red sides all covered with dust!”

“I liked the June apples the best,” Redbud said, “but I think October is finer than June.”

“Oh, yes. Redbud, I am going to get some filberts—will you have some?”

“If you please.”

So Verty went to the bushes, and brought his hat full of them, and cracked them on a stone—the sun lighting up his long, tangled curls, and making brighter his bright smile.

Redbud stooped down, and gathered the kernels as they jumped from the shell, laughing and happy.

They had returned to their childhood again—bright and tender childhood, which dowers our after life with so many tender, mournful, happy memorials;—whose breezes fan our weary brows so often as we go on over the thorny path, once a path of flowers. They were once more children, and they wandered thus through the beautiful forest, collecting their memories, laughing here, sighing there—and giving an association or a word to every feature of the little landscape.

“How many things I remember,” Verty said, thoughtfully, and smiling; “there, where Milo, the good dog, was buried, and a shot fired over him—there, where we treed the squirrel—and over yonder, by the run, which I used to think flowed by from fairy land—I remember so many things!”

“Yes—I do too,” replied the girl, thoughtfully, bending her head.

“How singular it is that an Indian boy like me should have been brought up here,” Verty said, buried in thought; “I think my life is stranger than what they call a romance.”

Redbud made no reply.

Ma mere would never tell me anything about myself,” the young man went on, wistfully, “and I can't know anything except from her. I must be a Dacotah or a Delaware.”

Redbud remained thoughtful for some moments, then raising her head, said:

“I do not believe you are an Indian, Verty. There is some mystery about you which I think the old Indian woman should tell. She certainly is not your mother,” said Redbud, with a little smiling air of dogmatism.

“I don't know,” Verty replied, “but I wish I did know. I used to be proud of being an Indian, but since I have grown up, and read how wicked they were, I wish I was not.

“You are not.”

“Well, I think so, too,” he replied; “I am not a bit like ma mere, who has long, straight black hair, and a face the color of that maple—dear ma mere!—while I have light hair, always getting rolled up. My face is different, too—I mean the color—I am sun-burned, but I remember when my face was very white.”

And Verty smiled.

“I would ask her all about it,” Redbud said.

“I think I will,” was the reply; “but she don't seem to like it, Redbud—it seems to worry her.”

“But it is important to you, Verty.”

“Yes, indeed it is.”

“Ask her this evening.”

“Do you advise me?”

“Yes. I think you ought to; indeed I do.”

“Well, I will,” Verty said; “and I know when ma mere understands that I am not happy as long as she does not tell me everything, she will speak to me.”

“I think so, too,” said Redbud; “and now, Verty, there is one thing more—trust in God, you know, is everything. He will do all for the best.”

“Oh, yes,” the young man said, as they turned toward Apple Orchard house again, “I am getting to do that—and I pray now, Redbud,” he added, looking toward the sky, “I pray to the Great Spirit, as we call him—”

Redbud looked greatly delighted, and said:

“That is better than all; I do not see how any one can live without praying.”

“I used to,” Verty replied.

“It was so wrong.”

“Yes, yes.”

“And Verty gazed at the sunset with his dreamy, yet kindling eyes.

“If there is a Great Spirit, we ought to talk to him,” he said, “and tell him what we want, and ask him to make us good; I think so at least—”

“Indeed we should.”

“Then,” continued Verty, “if that is true, we ought to think whether there is or is not such a spirit. There may be people in towns who don't believe there is—but I am obliged to. Look at the sun, Redbud—the beautiful sun going away like a great torch dying out;—and look at the clouds, as red as if a thousand deer had come to their death, and poured their blood out in a river! Look at the woods here, every color of the bow in the cloud, and the streams, and rocks, and all! There must be a Great Spirit who loves men, or he never would have made the world so beautiful.”

Verty paused, and they went on slowly.

“We love him because he first loved us,” said Redbud, thoughtfully.

“Yes, and what a love it must have been. Oh me!” said the young man, “I sometimes think of it until my heart is melted to water, and my eyes begin to feel heavy. What love it was!—and if we do not love in return, what punishment is great enough for such a crime!”

And Verty's face was raised with a dreamy, reverent look toward the sky. Youth, manhood, age—if they but thought of it!—but youth is a dream—manhood the waking—age the return to slumber. Busy, arranging the drapery of their couches, whether of royal purple or of beggar's rags, they cannot find the time to think of other things—even to listen to the grim breakers, with their awful voices roaring on the lee!

So, under the autumn skies, the young man and the maiden drew near home. Apple Orchard smiled on them as they came, and the bluff Squire, seated upon the portico, and reading that “Virginia Gazette” maligned by Roundjacket, gave them welcome with a hearty, laughing greeting.

The Squire declared that Redbud's cheeks were beginning to be tolerably red again; that she had been pretending sickness only—and then, with a vituperative epithet addressed to Caesar, the old gentleman re-commenced reading.

Redbud and Verty entered; and then the young man held out his hand.

“Are you going?” said the girl.

“Yes,” he said, smiling, “unless you will sing me something. Oh, yes! let me go away with music in my ears. Sing 'Dulce Domum' for me, Redbud.”

The young girl assented, with a smile; and sitting down at the harpsichord, sang the fine old ditty in her soft, tender voice, which was the very echo of joy and kindness. The gentle carol floated on the evening air, and seemed to make the autumn twilight brighter, everything more lovely—and Verty listened with a look more dreamy than before.

Then, as she sung, his eye was turned to the picture on the wall, which looked down with its loving eyes upon them.

Redbud ceased, and turned and saw the object of his regard.

“Mamma,” she said, in a low, thoughtful voice,—“I love to think of her.”

And rising, she stood beside Verty, who was still looking at the portrait.

“She must have been very good,” he murmured; “I think her face is full of kindness.”

Redbud gazed softly at the portrait, and, as she mused, the dews of love and memory suffused her tender eyes, and she turned away.

“I love the face,” said Verty, softly; “and I think she must have been a kind, good mother, Redbud. I thought just now that she was listening to you as you sang.”

And Verty gazed at the young girl, with a tenderness which filled her eyes with delight.

“She will bless you out of Heaven,” he continued, timidly; “for you are so beautiful and good—so very beautiful!”

And a slight tremor passed over the young man's frame as he spoke.

Redbud did not reply; a deep blush suffused her face, and she murmured something. Then the young head drooped, and the face turned away.

The last ray of sunlight gleamed upon her hair and pure white forehead, and then fled away—the day was ended.

Verty saw it, and held out his hand.

“We have had a happy evening, at least I have,” he said, in a low voice; “the autumn is so beautiful, and you are so kind and good.”

She did not speak; but a faint wistful smile came to her lips as she placed her hand softly in his own.

“Look! the picture is smiling on you now!” said Verty; “you are just alike—both so beautiful!”

“Oh!” murmured Redbud, blushing; “like mamma?”

“Yes,” said Verty, “and I saw the lips smile when I spoke.”

They stood thus hand in hand—the tender mother-eyes upon them: then he turned and went away, looking back tenderly to the last.

Had the dim canvas smiled upon them, as they stood there hand in hand—a blessing on them from the far other world?

CHAPTER LX. THE LODGE IN THE HILLS.

Sitting by the crackling twigs which drove away the cool airs of the autumn night with their inspiring warmth, the young man, whose early fortunes we have thus far endeavored to narrate, leaned his head upon his hand, and mused and dreamed.

Overhead the shadows played upon the rafters; around him, the firelight lit up the wild and uncouth interior, with its sleeping hounds, and guns, and fishing-rods, and chests; on the opposite side of the fire-place, the old Indian woman was indulging, like Verty, in a reverie.

From time to time, Longears or Wolf would stir in their sleep, and growl, engaged in dreaming of some forest adventure which concerned itself with deer or other game; or the far cry of the whip-poor-will would echo through the forest; or the laughter of the owl suddenly come floating on, borne on the chill autumn wind.

This, with the crackle of the twigs, was all which disturbed the silence of the solitary lodge.

The silence lasted for half an hour, at the end of which time Verty changed his position, and sighed. Then looking at the old woman with great affection, the young man said:

“I was thinking who I was; and I wanted to ask you, ma mere —tell me.”

The old woman looked startled at this address, but concealing her emotion with the marvellous skill of her people, replied in her guttural accent—

“My son wants to know something?”

“Yes, ma mere, that is it. I want to know if I really am your son.”

The old woman turned her eyes from Verty.

“The fawn knows the deer, and the bear's cub knows his fellows,” continued Verty, gazing into the fire; “but they laugh at me. I don't know my tribe.”

“Our tribe is the Delaware,” said the old Indian woman evasively—“ they came from the great woods like a river.”

“Like a river? Yes, they know their source. But where did I spring from, ma mere?”

“Where was my son born?”

“Yes, tell me everything,” said Verty; “tell me if I am your son. Do not tell me that you love me as a son, or that I love you as my mother. I know that—but am I a Delaware?”

“Why does my son ask?”

“Because a bird of the air whispered to me—'You are not a Delaware, nor a Tuscarora, nor a Dacotah; you are a pale face.' Did the bird lie!”

The old woman did not answer.

Ma mere,” said Verty, tenderly taking the old woman's hand and sitting at her feet, “the Great Spirit has made me honest and open—I cannot conceal anything. I cannot pry and search. I might find out this from some other person—who knows? But I will not try. Come! speak with a straight tongue. Am I the son of a brave; am I a Delaware; or am I what my face makes me out—a Long-knife?”

“Ough! ough! ough!” groaned the old woman; “he wants to go, away from the nest where he was warmed, and nursed, and brought up. The Great Spirit has put evil into his heart—it is cold.”

“No, no,” said Verty, earnestly—“my heart is red, not white; every drop of my life-blood is yours, ma mere; you have loved me, cherished me: when my muscles were soft and hot with fever, you laid my head upon your bosom, and rocked me to sleep as softly as the topmost bough of the oak rocks the oriole; you loved me always. My heart shall run out of my breast and soak the ground, before it turns white; yet, I love you, and you love me. But, ma mere, I have grown well nigh to manhood; the bird's song is changed, and the dove has flown to me—the dove yonder at Apple Orchard—”

“Ough!” groaned the old woman, rocking to and fro; “she is black! She has made you bad!”

“No, no! she is white—she is good. She told me about the Great Spirit, and makes me pure.”

“Ough! ough!”

“She is as pure as the bow in the cloud,” continued Verty; “and I did not mean that the dove was the bird who whispered, that I was no Delaware. No—my own heart says, 'know—find out.'“

“And why should the heart say 'know?'“ said the old woman, still rocking about, and looking at Verty with anxious affection. “Why should my son seek to find?”

“Because the winds are changed and sing new songs; the leaves whisper, as I pass, with a new voice; and even the clouds are not what they were to me when I ran after the shadows floating along the hills, and across the hollows. I have changed, ma mere, and the streams talk no more with the same tongue. I hear the flags and water-lilies muttering as I pass, and the world opens on me with a new, strange light. They talked to me once; now they laugh at me as I pass. Hear the trees, yonder! Don't you hear them? They are saying, 'The Delaware paleface! look at him! look at him!'“

And crouching, with dreamy eyes, Verty for a moment listened to the strange sob of the pines, swaying in the chill winds of the autumn night.

“I am not what I was!” he continued; the world is open now, and I must be a part of it. The bear and deer speak to me with tongues I do not understand. Ma mere! ma mere! I must know whether I am a Delaware or pale face!—whether one or the other, I am still yours—yours always! Speak! speak with a straight tongue to your child!”

“Ough! ough! ough!” groaned the old woman, looking at him wistfully, and plainly struggling with herself—hesitating between two courses.

“Speak!” said Verty, with a glow in his eye, which made him resemble a young leopard of the wild—“speak, ma mere!—I am no longer a child! I go into a new land now, and how shall it be? As a red face, or a long knife—which am I? Speak, ma mere—say if I am a Delaware, whose place is the woods, or a white, whose life must take him from the deer forever!”

The struggle was ended; Verty could not have uttered words more fatal to his discovering anything. He raised an insuperable barrier to any revelations—if, indeed, there existed any mystery—by his alternative. Was he a Delaware, and thus doomed to live in the forest with his old Indian mother—or was he a white, in which case, he would leave her? Pride, cunning, above all, deep and pure affection, sealed the old woman's lips, if she had thought of opening them. She looked for sometime at Verty, then, taking his head between her hands, she said, with eyes full of tears:

“You are my own dear son—my young, beautiful hawk of the woods—who said you were not a true Delaware!”

And the old woman bent down, and with a look of profound affection, pressed her lips to Verty's forehead.

The young man's face assumed an expression of mingled gloom and doubt, and he sighed. Then he was an Indian—a Delaware—the son of the Indian woman—he was not a paleface. All the talk about it was thrown away; he was born in the woods—would live and die in the woods!

For a moment the image of Redbud rose before him, and he sighed. He knew not why, but he wished that he was not an Indian—he wished that his blood had been that of the whites.

His sad face drooped; then his eyes ware raised, and he saw the old woman weeping.

The sight removed from Verty's mind all personal considerations, and he leaned his head upon her knee, and pressed her hand to his lips.

“Did the child make his mother weep,” he said; “did his idle words bring rain to her eyes, and make her heart heavy? But he is her child still, and all the world is nothing to him.”

Verty rose, and taking the old, withered hand, placed it respectfully on his breast.

“Never again, ma mere” he said, “will the wind talk to me, or the birds whisper. I will not listen. Have I made your eyes dark? Let it pass away—I am your son—I love you—more than all the whole wide world.”

And Verty sat down, and gazed tenderly at the old woman, whose face had assumed an expression of extraordinary delight.

“Listen,” said Verty, taking down his old violin, with a smile, “I will play one of the old tunes, which blow like a wind from my childhood—happy childhood.”

And the young man gazed for a moment, silent and motionless, into the fire. Then he raised his old, battered instrument, and began to play one of the wild madrigals of the border.

The music aroused Longears, who sat up, so to speak, upon his forepaws, and with his head bent upon one side, gazed with dignified and solemn interest at his master.

The young man smiled, and continued playing; and as the rude border music floated from the instrument, the Verty of old days came back, and he was once again the forest hunter.

The old woman gazed at him with thoughtful affection, and returned his smile. He went on playing, and the long hours of the autumn night went by like birds into the cloudland of the past.

When the forest boy ceased playing, it was nearly midnight, and the brands were flickering and dying.

Waked by the silence, Longears, who had gone to sleep again, rose up, and came and licked his master's hand, and whined. Verty caressed his head, and laying down his violin, looked at the old Indian woman with affectionate smiles, and murmured:

“We are happy still, ma mere!”

CHAPTER LXI. MISTRESS O'CALLIGAN'S WOOERS.

It will be remembered that Mr. Jinks had summed up the probable results of his deep laid schemes that morning when he returned from Mistress O'Calligan's, in the strong and emphatic word-picture, “there will be gory blood, sir!”

Now, while these words, strictly construed, are, perhaps, ambiguous, from a certain redundancy in the arrangement, still, there is little difficulty in determining what Mr. Jinks meant. Death and destruction dwelt in his imagination, and held there a riotous carnival; and to such a pitch of delight was our friend elevated by the triumphant anticipation of revenge upon O'Brallaghan, that he stalked about during the remaining portion of the day, talking to himself in the heroic vein, and presenting the appearance of an imperial grasshopper, arrived at the summit of felicity.

But Mr. Jinks was not idle; no one knew better than himself that vigilance was the price paid for success; and to vigilance our conspirator added cunning—in which noble trait he was by no means deficient.

We have seen how, on returning from the heroic attack upon the peace-bound O'Brallaghan, Mr. Jinks threw out a series of observations which attracted the attention of the landlord at the tavern; and we have further seen these two gentlemen retire together into the hostelry, with significant looks and mutterings. Of the exact nature of that interview we cannot speak, having nowhere discovered any memoranda to guide us, in the authentic documents from which this history is compiled.

But results define causes; and from after events it is not improbable that Mr. Jinks made an eloquent and stirring oration, addressed after the manner of all great orators to the prejudices of the auditor, and indicative of Mr. Jinks' intention to overwhelm, with defeat and destruction, the anti-Germanic league and pageant, on St. Michael's day.

That day was very near, as we have seen; but twenty-four hours remained for the conspirators to act in; and Mr. Jinks determined not to lose the opportunity to perfect and render satisfactory his bloody revenge.

Many things conspired to put him in high spirits, and arouse that heroic confidence felt by all great men in undertaking arduous affairs. The landlord had been so much pleased with Mr. Jinks' patriotic ardor in the German cause, that he generously hinted at an entire obliteration of any little score chalked up against the name of Jinks for board and lodging at the hostelry; this was one of the circumstances which inspirited Mr. Jinks. Another was the possession of a steed—a donkey, it is true, but a donkey out of a thousand, nee pluribus impar, and not unworthy of a knight in a great and exciting contest.

Thus it happened that when, upon the following morning, Mr. Jinks arose, assumed his garments, and descended, his face was radiant with anticipated triumph, his sword clattered against his slender legs with martial significance, and his brows were corrugated into a frown, which indicated ruin to all those opposed to him.

Mounted upon Fodder, who was sleek and in high spirits, owing to a good night's rest and a plentiful supply of his favorite provender, Mr. Jinks remained for a moment irresolute before the door of the hostelry, revolving in his mind various and conflicting thoughts of love and war.

Should he go on his handsome animal, and enact the little drama, which he had arranged in his mind, with Miss Sallianna at the Bower of Nature? Should he, on this morning, advance to victory and revenge in that direction? Or should he go and challenge his enemy, Verty, and make his name glorious forever?

These conflicting ideas chased themselves through Mr. Jinks' mind, and rendered him irresolute.

He was interrupted in the midst of them by a voice, laughing and sonorous, which cried from the direction of the gateway:

“Hey, there! What now, Jinks'? What thoughts occupy your mind, my dear fellow?”

And Ralph came out from the yard of the tavern, mounted upon his handsome animal, as fresh and bright-looking as himself.

“I was reflecting, sir,” said Mr. Jinks, “I have much to occupy me to-day.”

“Ah? Well, set about it—set about it! Don't you know that the great element of success in life, from killing a mosquito to winning an empress, is to strike at once, and at the right moment? Go on, Jinks, my boy, and luck to you!”

“Thanks, sir,” replied Mr. Jinks—“I hope I shall have luck.”

“Of course, because you have genius! What is luck?” cried Ralph, bending down to smooth the glossy neck of his animal, and laughing gaily,—“why, nothing but a word! Luck, sir, is nothing—genius everything. Luck throws her old shoe after, as says the proverb; but genius catches it, and conquers. Come, you are good at everything, let us have a race!”

“No, I thank you,” said Mr. Jinks, drawing back; “I have business, sir—important business, sir!”

“Have you?” said Ralph, restraining his desire to lay the lash of his whip over Fodder's back, and so inaugurate a new Iliad of woes for Mr. Jinks. “Then go on in your course, my dear fellow. I am going to see a young lady, who really is beginning to annoy me.”

And the mercurial young fellow passed from laughter to smiles, and even to something suspiciously resembling a sigh.

“Farewell, my dear Jinks,” he added, becoming gay again; “fortune favors the brave, recollect. I wish I could believe it,” he added, laughing.

And touching his horse, Ralph set forward toward the Bower of Nature, and consequently toward Miss Fanny.

“There goes a young man who is in love,” said Mr. Jinks, with philosophic dignity; “regularly caught by a pair of black eyes. Boy!” added Mr. Jinks, after the manner of Coriolanus, “he don't know 'em as I do. He's looking out for happiness—I for revenge!”

And Mr. Jinks scowled at a stable-boy until the terrified urchin hung his head in awe, respect, and admiration. The great militaire was not superior to humanity, and even this triumph elated him. He set forth, therefore, on Fodder, feeling like a conqueror.

If this veracious history were a narrative of the life and adventures of Mr. Jinks alone, we might follow the great conspirator in his various movements on this eventful day. We might show how he perambulated the town of Winchester on his noble steed, like a second Don Quixote, mounted for the nonce upon the courser of Sancho Panza, while Rosinante recovered from his bruises. Though the illustration might fail if carried further, inasmuch as Mr. Jinks encountered no windmills, and indeed met with no adventures worth relating, still we might speak of his prying inquisition into every movement of the hostile Irish—detail his smiling visits, in the character of spy, to numerous domicils, and relate at length the manner in which he procured the information which the noble knight desired. All this we might do; but is it necessary? Not always does the great historic muse fill up the flaws of story, leaving rather much to the imagination. And in the present instance, we might justly be accused of undue partiality. We are not sure that some of our kind readers might not go further still, and declare in general terms, that none of Mr. Jinks' adventures were worth telling—Mr. Jinks himself being a personage wholly unworthy of attention.

To critics of this last description, we would say in deprecation of their strictures—Friends, the world is made up of a number of odd personages, as the animal kingdom is of singular, and not wholly pleasant creatures. Just as the scarabaeus and the ugly insect are as much a part of animated nature as the golden-winged butterfly, and humming-bird, and noble eagle, so are the classes, represented partly by our friend, as human as the greatest and the best. As the naturalist, with laborious care, defines the characteristics of the ugly insect, buzzing, and stinging, and preying on the weaker, so must the writer give a portion of his attention to the microscopic bully, braggart, and boasting coward of the human species. In the one case, it is science—in the other, art.

But still we shall not give too much space to Mr. Jinks, and shall proceed to detail very briefly the result of his explorations.

The great conspirator had, by the hour of eventide, procured all the information he wished. That information led Mr. Jinks to believe that, on the following day, the opposing races would turn out in numbers, far exceeding those on any previous occasion. They would have a grand pageant:—St. Patrick would meet St. Michael in deadly conflict, and the result would undoubtedly overwhelm one of the combatants with defeat, elevating the other to the summit of joy and victory.

It was Mr. Jinks' object to ensure the success of the worthy St. Michael, and prostrate the great St. Patrick in the dust. But this was not all. Mr. Jinks further desired to procure an adequate revenge upon his friend O'Brallaghan. To overwhelm with defeat and dismay the party to which his enemy belonged, was not enough—any common man could invent so plain a course as that. It was Mr. Jinks' boast, privately, and to himself be it understood, that he would arrange the details of an original and refined revenge—a revenge which should, in equal degree, break down the strength and spirit of his enemy, and elevate the inventor to the niche of a great creative genius.

By the hour of nine that night all was arranged; and, after laboring for an hour or more at some mysterious employment, in the secresy of his apartment, Mr. Jinks descended, and ordered Fodder to be saddled.

Under his arm he carried a bundle of some size; and this bundle was placed carefully before him on the animal.

This done, Mr. Jinks went forth cautiously into the night.

Let us follow him.

He proceeds carefully toward the western portion of the town; then suddenly turns a corner, and goes northward; then changes his course, and takes his way eastward. This is to throw enemies off the track.

Half an hour's ride brings him in the neighborhood of Mistress O'Calligan's.

What does he hear? A voice singing;—the voice of no less a personage than Mr. O'Brallaghan.

The conspirator retraces his steps for some distance—dismounts—ties Fodder to a tree-trunk; and then, with his bundle under his arm, creeps along in the shadow toward the cabin.

At Mrs. O'Calligan's door, sitting upon the railing, he perceives the portly figure of Mr. O'Brallaghan, who is singing a song of his own composition; not the ditty which has come down to modern times connected with this gentleman's name—but another and more original madrigal. The popular ditty, we have every reason to believe, was afterwards written by Mr. Jinks, in derision and contempt of Mr. O'Brallaghan.

Mr. Jinks creeps up; diabolical and gloomy thoughts agitate his soul; and when a night-cap appears at an opening in the shutter, and a fluttering voice exclaims, “Oh, now—really! Mr. O'Brallaghan,” the hidden spectator trembles with jealousy and rage.

A colloquy then ensues between the manly singer and the maiden, which we need not repeat. It is enough to say, that Mr. O'Brallaghan expresses disapprobation at the coldness of the lady.

The lady replies, that she respects and esteems Mr. O'Brallaghan, but never, never can be his, owing to the fact that she is another's.

Mr. Jinks starts with joy, and shakes his fist—from the protecting shadow—triumphantly at the poor defeated wooer.

The wooer, in turn, grows cold and defiant; he upbraids the lady; he charges her with entertaining a passion for the rascal and coward Jinks.

This causes the lady to repel the insulting accusation with hauteur.

Mr. O'Brallaghan thinks, and says, thereupon, that she is a cruel and unnatural woman, and unworthy of affection or respect.

Mistress O'Calligan wishes, in reply, to know if Mr. O'Brallaghan means to call her a woman.

Mr. O'Brallaghan replies that he does, and that if Mr. Jinks were present, he would exterminate that gentleman, as some small exhibition of the state of his feelings at being thus insulted by the worst and most hard-hearted of her sex.

After which, Mr. O'Brallaghan clenches his hands with threatening vehemence, and brushing by the concealed Jinks, who makes himself as small as possible, disappears, muttering vengeance.

Mr. Jinks is happy, radiant, triumphant, and as he watches the retreating wooer, his frame shakes with sombre merriment. Then he turns toward the window, and laughs with cautious dignity.

The lady, who is just closing the window, starts and utters an exclamation of affright. This, however, is disregarded by Mr. Jinks, who draws near, and stands beneath the window.

Mistress O'Calligan considers it necessary to state that she is in such a taking, and to ask who could have thought it. Mr. Jinks does not directly reply to this question, but, reaching up, hands in the bundle, and commences a whispered conversation. The lady is doubtful, fearful—Mr. Jinks grows more eloquent. Finally, the lady melts, and when Mr. Jinks clasps, rapturously, the red hand hanging out, he has triumphed.

In fifteen minutes he is on his way back to the tavern, chuckling, shaking, and triumphant.

All is prepared.

CHAPTER LXII. VERTY MUSES.

Let us now leave the good old town of Winchester, and go into the hills, where the brilliant autumn morning reigns, splendid and vigorous.

In the hills! Happy is the man who knows what those words mean; for only the mountain-born can understand them. Happy, then, let us say, are the mountain-born! We will not underrate the glories of the lowland and the Atlantic shore, or close our eyes to the wealth of the sea. The man is blind who does not catch the subtle charm of the wild waves glittering in the sun, or brooded over by the sullen storm; but “nigh gravel blind” is that other, whose eyes are not open to the grand beauty of the mountains. Let us not rhapsodize, or with this little bit of yellow ore, venture to speak of the great piles of grandeur from whose heart it was dug up. There is that about the mountains, with their roaring diapason of the noble pines, their rugged summits and far dying tints, purple, and gold, and azure, which no painter could express, had the genius of Titian and Watteau, and the atmosphere of Poussin, to speak over its creations. No! let them speak for themselves as all great things must—happy is he, who, by right of birth, can understand their noble voices!

But there is the other and lesser mountain life—the life of the hills. Autumn loves these especially, and happy, too, are they who know the charm of the breezy hills! The hills where autumn pours her ruddy sunshine upon lordly pines—rather call them palms!—shooting their slender swaying trunks into the golden sea of morning, and, far up above, waving their emerald plumes in the laughing wind;—where the sward is fresh and dewy in the shivering delicious hunter's morning!—where the arrow-wood and dogwood cluster crimson berries, and the maple, alder tree and tulip, burn away—setting the dewy copse on fire with splendor! Yes, autumn loves the hills, and pours her brawling brooks, swarming with leaves, through thousands of hollows, any one of which might make a master-piece on canvas. Some day we shall have them—who knows?—and even the great mountain-ranges shall be mastered by the coming man.

We do not know the name of the “hollow” through which Verty came on the bright morning of the day following the events we have just related. But autumn had never dowered any spot more grandly. All the trees were bright and dewy in the sunrise—birds were singing—and the thousand variegated colors of the fall swept on from end to end of it, swallowing the little stream, and breaking against the sky like a gay fringe.

Verty knew all this, and though he did not look at it, he saw it, and his lips moved.

Cloud pricked up his ears, and the hound gazed at his master inquiringly. But Verty was musing; his large, dreamy eyes were fixed with unalterable attention upon vacancy, and his drooping shoulders, whereon lay the tangled mass of his chestnut hair, swayed regularly as he moved. It only mingled with his musings—the bright scene—and grew a part of them; he scarcely saw it.

“Yes,” he murmured, “yes, I think I am a Delaware!—a white? to dream it! am I mad? The wild night-wind must have whispered to me while I slept, and gone away laughing at me. I, the savage, the simple savage, to think this was so! And yet—yes, yes—I did think so! Redbud said it was thus—Redbud!”

And the young man for a time was silent.

“I wonder what Redbud thinks of me?” he murmured again, with his old dreamy smile. “Can she find anything to like in me? What am I? Poor, poor Verty—you are very weak, and the stream here is laughing at you. You are a poor forest boy—there can be nothing in you for Redbud to like. Oh! if she could! But we are friends, I know—about the other, why think? what is it? Love!—what is love? It must be something strange—or why do I feel as if to be friends was not enough? Love!”

And Verty's head drooped.

“Love, love!” he murmured. “Oh, yes! I know what it means! They laugh at it—but they ought not to. It is heaven in the heart—sunshine in the breast. Oh, I feel that what I mean by love is purer than the whole wide world besides! Yes, yes—because I would die for her! I would give my life to save her any suffering—her hand on my forehead would be dearer and sweeter than the cool spring in the hills after a weary, day-long hunt, when I come to it with hot cheeks and burnt-up throat! Oh, yes! I may be an Indian, and be different—but this is all to me—this feeling, as if I must go to her, and kneel down and tell her that my life is gone from me when I am not near her—that I walk and live like a man dreaming, when she does not smile on me and speak to me!”

Verty's head drooped, and his cheeks reddened with the ingenuous blush of boyhood. Then he raised his head, and murmured, with a smile, which made his face beautiful—so full of light and joy was it.

“Yes—I think I am in love with Redbud—and she does not think it wrong, I am sure—oh, I don't think she will think it wrong in me, and turn against me, only because I love her!”

Having arrived at this conclusion, Verty went along smiling, and admiring the splendid tints of the foliage—drinking in the fresh, breezy air of morning, and occasionally listening for the cries of game—of deer, and turkey, pheasants, and the rest. He heard with his quick ear many of these sounds: the still croak of the turkey, the drumming of the pheasant; more than once saw disappear on a distant hill, like a flying shadow, the fallow deer, which he had so often chased and shot. But on that morning he could not leave his path to follow the wild deer, or slay the lesser game, of which the copses were full. Mastered by a greater passion even than hunting, Verty drew near Apple Orchard—making signs with his head to the deer to go on their way, and wholly oblivious of pheasants.

He reached Apple Orchard just as the sun soared redly up above the distant forest; and the old homestead waked up with it. Morning always smiled on Apple Orchard, and the brilliant flush seemed, there, more brilliant still; while all the happy breezes flying over it seemed to regret their destiny which led them far away to other clouds.

Verty always stopped for a moment on his way to and from Winchester, to bid the inmates good morning; and these hours had come to be the bright sunny spots in days otherwise full of no little languor. For when was Daymon merry and light-hearted, separated from his love? It is still the bright moment of meeting which swallows up all other thoughts—around which the musing heart clusters all its joy and hope—which is looked forward to and dreamed over, with longing, dreamy, yet excited happiness. And this is the reason why the most fatal blow which the young heart can suffer is a sudden warning that there must be no more meetings. No more! when it dreams of and clings to that thought of meeting, as the life and vital blood of to-morrow!—when the heart is liquid—the eyes moist with tenderness—the warp of thought woven of golden thread—at such a moment for the blow of the wave to fall, and drown the precious argosy with all its freight of love, and hope, and memory—this is the supreme agony of youth, the last and most refined of tortures.

Verty lived in the thought of meeting Redbud—his days were full of her; but the hours he passed at Apple Orchard were the brightest. The noonday culminated at dawn and sunset!

As he approached the pleasant homestead now, his eyes lighted up, and his face beamed with smiles. Redbud was standing in the porch waiting for him.

She was clad with her usual simplicity, and smiled gently as he approached. Verty threw the bundle upon Cloud's mane, and came to her.

They scarcely interchanged a word, but the hand of the girl was imprisoned in his own; and the tenderness which had been slowly gathering for months into love, pure, and deep, and strong, flushed his ingenuous face, and made his eyes swim in tears.

It was well that Verty was interrupted as he essayed to speak; for we cannot tell what he would have said. He did not speak; for just as he opened his lips, a gruff voice behind him uttered the words:

“Well, sir! where is your business?”

CHAPTER LXIII. HOW VERTY AND MISS LAVINIA RAN A-TILT AT EACH OTHER, AND WHO WAS OVERTHROWN.

The young man turned round: the gruff voice belonged to Judge Rushton.

That gentleman had left his horse at the outer gate, and approached the house on foot. Absorbed by his own thoughts, Verty had not seen him—as indeed neither had Redbud—and the gruff voice gave the young man the first intimation of his presence.

“Well,” repeated the lawyer, leaning on his knotty stick, and scowling at the two young people from beneath his shaggy eyebrows, “what are you standing there staring at me for? Am I a wild beast, a rhinoceros, or a monster of any description, that you can't speak? I asked you why you were not in town at your work?”

Verty pointed to the horizon.

“The day has only begun,” he said.

“Well, sir—”

“And I stopped for only one minute, Mr. Rushton,” added Verty.”

“One minute! Do you know, sir, that life is made up of minutes?”

“Yes, sir,” said Verty.

“Well, if you know that, why do you trifle away your minutes? Don't reply to me, young man,” continued the shaggy bear, “I have no desire to argue with you—I hate and despise arguing, and will not indulge you. But remember this, Life is the struggle of a man to pay the debt he owes to Duty. If he forgets his work, or neglects it, for paltry gratifications of the senses or the feelings, he is disgraced—he is a coward in the ranks—a deserter from the regiment—he is an absconding debtor, sir, and will be proceeded against as such—remember that, sir! A pretty thing for you here, when you have your duty to your mother to perform, to be thus dallying and cooing with this baby—ough!”

And the lawyer scowled at Redbud with terrible emphasis.

Redbud knew Mr. Rushton well,—and smiled. She was rather grateful to him for having interrupted an interview which her woman-instinct told had commenced critically; and though Redbud could not, perhaps, have told any one what she feared, still this instinct spoke powerfully to her.

It was with a smile, therefore, that Redbud held out her hand to Mr. Rushton, and said:

“Please don't scold Verty—he won't stay long, and he just stopped to ask how we all were.”

“Humph!” replied the lawyer, his scowling brow relaxing somewhat as he felt the soft, warm little hand in his own,—“humph! that's the way it always is. He only stopped to say good morning to 'all;'—I suspect his curiosity was chiefly on the subject of a single member of the family.”

And a grim smile corrugated—so to speak—the rugged countenance.

Redbud blushed slightly, and said:

“Verty likes us all very much, and—”

“Not a doubt of it!” said the lawyer, “and no doubt 'we all' like Verty! Come, you foolish children, don't be bothering me with your nonsense. And you, Mr. Verty—you need'nt be so foolish as to consider everything I say so harsh as you seem to. You'll go next and tell somebody that old Rushton is an ill-natured huncks, without conscience or proper feeling; that he grumbled with you for stopping a moment to greet your friends. If you say any such thing,” added Mr. Rushton, scowling at the young man, “you will be guilty of as base a slander—yes, sir! as base a slander, sir!—as imagination could invent!”

And with a growl, the speaker turned from Verty, and said, roughly, to Redbud:

“Where's your father?”'

“Here I am,” said the bluff and good-humored voice of the Squire, from the door; “you are early—much obliged to you.” And the Squire and lawyer shook hands. Mr. Rushton's hand fell coldly to his side, and regarding the Squire for a moment with what seemed an expression of contemptuous anger, he said, frowning, until his shaggy, grey eye-brows met together almost:

“Early! I suppose I am to take up the whole forenoon—the most valuable part of the day—jogging over the country to examine title-deeds and accounts? Humph! if you expect anything of the sort, you are mistaken. No, sir! I started from Winchester at day-break, without my breakfast, and here I am.”

The jovial Squire laughed, and turning from Verty, with whom he had shaken hands, said to the lawyer:

“Breakfast?—is it possible? Well, Rushton, for once I will be magnanimous—magnificent, generous and liberal—”

“What!” growled the lawyer.

“You shall have some breakfast here!” finished the Squire, laughing heartily; and the merry old fellow caught Miss Redbud up from the porch, deposited a matutinal salute upon her lips, and kicking at old Caesar as he passed, by way of friendly greeting, led the way into the breakfast room.

Verty made a movement to depart, inasmuch as he had breakfasted; but the vigilant eye of the lawyer detected this suspicious manoeuvre; and the young man found himself suddenly commanded to remain, by the formula “Wait!” uttered with a growl which might have done honor to a lion.

Verty was not displeased at this interference with his movements, and, obedient to a sign, followed the lawyer into the breakfast-room.

Everything was delightfully comfortable and cheerful there.

And ere long, at the head of the table sat Miss Lavinia, silent and dignified; at the foot, the Squire, rubbing his hands, heaping plates with the savory broil before him, and talking with his mouth full; at the sides, Mr. Rushton, Redbud and Verty, who sedulously suppressed the fact that he had already breakfasted, for obvious reasons, doubtless quite plain to the reader.

The sun streamed in upon the happy group, and seemed to smile with positive delight at sight of Redbud's happy face, surrounded by its waving mass of curls—and soft blue eyes, which were the perfection of tenderness and joy.

He smiled on Verty, too, the jovial sun, and illumined the young man's handsome, dreamy face, and profuse locks, and uncouth hunter costume, with a gush of light which made him like a picture of some antique master, thrown upon canvas in a golden mood, to live forever. All the figures and objects in the room were gay in the bright sunlight, too—the shaggy head of Mr. Rushton, and the jovial, ruddy face of the Squire, and Miss Lavinia's dignified and stately figure, solemn and imposing, flanked by the silver jug and urn—and on the old ticking clock, and antique furniture, and smiling portraits, and recumbent Caesar, did it shine, merry and laughing, taking its pastime ere it went away to other lands, like a great, cheerful simple soul, smiling at nature and all human life.

And the talk of all was like the sunshine. The old Squire was king of the breakfast table, and broke many a jesting shaft at one and all, not even sparing the stately Miss Lavinia, and the rugged bear who scowled across the table.

“Good bread for once,” said the Squire, slashing into the smoking loaf; astonishing how dull those negroes are—not to be able to learn such a simple thing as baking.”

“Simple!” muttered the lawyer, “it is not simple! If you recollected something of chemistry, you would acknowledge that baking bread was no slight achievement.”

“Come, growl again,” said his host, laughing; “come, now, indulge your habit, and say the bread is sour.”

“It is!”

“What!—sour!”

“Yes.”

The Squire stands aghast—or rather sits, laboring under that sentiment.

“It is the best bread we have had for six months,” he says, at length, “and as sweet as a nut.”

“You have no taste,” says Mr. Rushton.

“No taste?”

“None: and the fact that it is the best you have had for six months is not material testimony. You may have had lead every morning—humph!”

And Mr. Rushton continues his breakfast.

The Squire laughs.

“There you are—in a bad humor,” he says.

“I am not.”

“Come! say that the broil is bad!”

“It is burnt to a cinder.”

“Burnt? Why it's underdone!”

“Well, sir—every man to his taste—you may have yours; leave me mine.”

“Oh, certainly; I see you are determined to like nothing. You'll say next that Lavinia's butter is not sweet.”

The lawyer growls.

“I have no desire to offend Miss Lavinia,” he says, solemnly; “but I'll take my oath that there's garlic in it—yes, sir, garlic!”

The Squire bursts into a roar of laughter.

“Good!” he cries—“you are in a cheerful and contented mood. You drop in just when Lavinia has perfected her butter, and made it as fresh as a nosegay; and when the cook has sent up bread as sweet as a kernel, to say nothing of the broil, done to a turn—you come when this highly desirable state of things has been arrived at, and presume to say that this is done, that is burnt, the other is tainted with garlic! Admire your own judgment!”

And the Squire laughs jovially at his discomfited and growling opponent.

“True, Lavinia has had lately much to distract her attention,” says the jest-hunting Squire; “but her things were never better in spite of—. Well we won't touch upon that subject!”

And the mischievous Squire laughs heartily at Miss Lavinia's stately and reproving expression.

“What's that?” says Mr. Rushton; “what subject?”

“Oh, nothing—nothing.”

“What does he mean, madam?” asks Mr. Rushton, of the lady.

Miss Lavinia colors slightly, and looks more stately than ever.

“Nothing, sir,” she says, with dignity.

“'Nothing!' nobody ever means anything!”

“Oh, never,” says the Squire, and then he adds, mischievously,—“by-the-by, Rushton, how is my friend, Mr. Roundjacket?”

“As villainous as ever,” says the lawyer; “my opinion of Mr. Roundjacket, sir, is, that he is a villain!”

Miss Lavinia colors to the temples—the Squire nearly bursts with pent-up laughter.

“What has he done? A villain did you say?” he asks.

“Yes, sir!—a wretch!”

“Possible?”

“Yes—it is possible: and if you knew as much of human nature as I do, you would never feel surprised at any man's turning out a villain and a wretch! I am a wretch myself, sir!”

And scowling at the Squire, Mr. Rushton goes on with his breakfast.

The Squire utters various inarticulate sounds which seem to indicate the stoppage of a bone in his throat. Nevertheless he soon recovers his powers of speech, and says:

“But how is Roundjacket so bad?”

“He has taken to writing poetry.”

“That's an old charge.”

“No, sir—he has grown far worse, lately. He is writing an epic—an epic!”

And the lawyer looked inexpressibly disgusted.

“I should think a gentleman might compose an epic poem without rendering himself amenable to insult, sir,” says Miss Lavinia, with freezing hauteur.

“You are mistaken,” says Mr. Rushton; “your sex, madam, know nothing of business. The lawyer who takes to writing poetry, must necessarily neglect the legal business entrusted to him, and for which he is paid. Now, madam,” added Mr. Rushton, triumphantly, “I defy you, or any other man—individual, I mean—to say that the person who takes money without giving an equivalent, is not a villain and a wretch!”

Miss Lavinia colors, and mutters inarticulately.

“Such a man,” said Mr. Rushton, with dreadful solemnity, “is already on his way to the gallows; he has already commenced the downward course of crime. From this, he proceeds to breach of promise—I mean any promise, not of marriage only, madam—then to forging, then to larceny, and finally to burglary and murder. There, madam, that is what I mean—I defy you to deny the truth of what I say!”

The Squire could endure the pressure upon his larynx no longer, and exploded like a bomb-shell; or if not in so terrible a manner, at least nearly as loudly.

No one can tell what the awful sentiments of Mr. Rushton, on the subject of Roundjacket would have led to, had not the Squire come to the rescue.

“Well, well,” he said, still laughing, “it is plain, my dear Rushton, that for once in your life you are not well posted up on the 'facts of your case,' and you are getting worse and worse in your argument, to say nothing of the prejudice of the jury. Come, let us dismiss the subject. I don't think Mr. Roundjacket, however, will turn out a murderer, which would be a horrible blow to me, as I knew his worthy father well, and often visited him at 'Flowery Lane,' over yonder. But the discussion is unprofitable—hey! what do you think, Verty, and you, Miss Redbud?”

Verty raises his head and smiles.

“I am very fond of Mr. Roundjacket,” he says.

“Fond of him?”

“Yes, sir: he likes me too, I think,” Verty says.

“How does he show it, my boy?”

“He gives me advice, sir.”

“What! and you like him for that?”

“Oh, yes, sir.”

“Well, perhaps the nature of the advice may modify my surprise at your gratitude, Verty.”

Anan, sir?”

“What advice does he give you?”

Verty laughs.

“Must I tell, sir? I don't know if—”

And Verty blushes slightly, looking at Miss Lavinia and Redbud.

“Come, speak out!” laughs the Squire. “He advises you—”

“Not to get married.”

And Verty blushes.

We need not say that the wicked old Squire greets this reply of Verty with a laugh sufficient to shake the windows.

“Not to get married!” he cries.

“Yes, sir,” Verty replies, blushing ingenuously.

“And you like Mr. Roundjacket, you say, because he advises you not to get—”

“No, oh! no, sir!” interrupts Verty, with sudden energy, “oh! no, sir, I did not mean that!”

And the young man, embarrassed by his own vehemence, and the eyes directed toward his face, hangs his head and blushes. Yes, the bold, simple, honest Verty, blushes, and looks ashamed, and feels as if he is guilty of some dreadful crime. Do. not the best of us, under the same circumstances?—that is to say, if we have the good fortune to be young and innocent.

The Squire looks at Verty and laughs; then at Miss Lavinia.

“So, it seems,” he says, “that Mr. Roundjacket counsels a bachelor life, eh? Good! he is a worthy professor, but an indifferent practitioner. The rascal! Did you ever hear of such a thing, Lavinia? I declare, if I were a lady, I should decline to recognize, among my acquaintances, the upholder of such doctrines—especially when he poisons the ears of boys like Verty with them!”

And the Squire continues to laugh.

“Perhaps,” says Miss Lavinia, with stately dignity, and glancing at Verty as she speaks,—“perhaps the—hem—circumstances which induced Mr. Roundjacket to give the advice, might have been—been—peculiar.”

And Miss Lavinia smooths down her black silk with dignity.

“Peculiar?”

“Yes,” says the lady, glancing this time at Redbud.

“How was it, Verty?” the Squire says, turning to the young man.

Verty, conscious of his secret, blushes and stammers; for how can he tell the Squire that Mr. Roundjacket and himself were discussing the propriety of his marrying Redbud? He is no longer the open, frank, and fearless Verty of old days—he has become a dissembler, for he is in love.

“I don't know—oh, sir—I could'nt—Mr. Roundjacket—”

The Squire laughs.

“There's some secret here,” he says; “out with it, Verty, or it will choke you. Come, Rushton, you are an adept—cross-examine the witness.”

Mr. Rushton growls.

“You won't—then I will.”

“Perhaps the time, and the subject of conversation, might aid you,” says Miss Lavinia, who is nettled at Verty, and thus is guily of what she is afterwards ashamed of.

“A good idea,” says the Squire; “and I am pleased to see, Lavinia, that you take so much interest in Verty and Mr. Roundjacket.”

Miss Lavinia blushes, and looks solemn and stiff.

“Hum!” continues the Squire. “Oyez! the court is opened! First witness, Mr. Verty! Where, sir, did this conversation occur?”

Verty smiles and colors.

“At Mr. Roundjacket's, sir,” he replies.

“The hour, as near as you can recollect.”

“In the forenoon, sir.”

“Were there any circumstances which tend to fix the hour, and the day, in your mind?”

“Yes, sir.”

“What were they?”

“I recollect that Miss Lavinia called to see Mr. Roundjacket that day, sir; and as she generally comes into town on Tuesday or Wednesday, soon after breakfast it must have been—”

Verty is interrupted by a chair pushed back from the table. It is Miss Lavinia, who, rising, with a freezing “excuse me,” sails from the room.

The Squire bursts into a roar of laughter, and leaving the table, follows her, and is heard making numerous apologies for his wickedness in the next room. He returns with the mischievious smile, and says:

“There, Verty! you are a splendid fellow, but you committed a blunder.”

And laughing, the Squire adds:

“Will you come and see the titles, Rushton?”

The lawyer growls, rises, and bidding Verty remain until he comes out, follows the Squire.

CHAPTER LXIV. THE ROSE OF GLENGARY.

Redbud rose, smiling, and with the gentle simplicity of one child to another, said:

“Oh! you ought not to have said that about cousin Lavinia, Verty—ought you?”

Verty looked guilty.

“I don't think I ought,” he said.

“You know she is very sensitive about this.”

“Anan?” Verty said, smiling.

Redbud looked gently at the young man, and replied:

“I mean, she does not like any one to speak of it?”

“Why?” said Verty.

“Because—because—engaged people are so funny!”

And Redbud's silver laughter followed the words.

“Are they?” Verty said.

“Yes, indeed.”

Verty nodded.

“Next time I will be more thoughtful,” he said; “but I think I ought to have answered honestly.”

Redbud shook her curls with a charming little expression of affected displeasure.

“Oh, no! no!”

“Not answer?”

“Certainly not, sir—fie! in the cause of ladies!”

Verty laughed.

“I understand,” he said, “you are thinking of the books about the knights—the old Froissart, yonder, in four volumes. But you know there were'nt any courts in those days, and knights were not obliged to answer.”

Redbud, training up a drooping vine, replied, laughing:

“Oh, no—I was only jesting. Don't mind my nonsense. Look at that pretty morning-glory.”

Verty looked at Redbud, as if she were the object in question.

“You will hurt your hand,” he said,—“those thorns on the briar are so sharp; take care!”

And Verty grasped the vine, and, no doubt, accidentally, Redbud's hand with it.

“Now I have it,” he said; and suddenly seeing the double meaning of his words, the young man added, with a blush and a smile, “it is all I want in the world.”

“What? the—oh!”

And Miss Redbud, suddenly aware of Mr. Verty's meaning, finds her voice rather unsafe, and her cheeks covered with blushes. But with the tact of a grown woman, she applies herself to the defeat of her knight; and, turning away, says, as easily as possible:

“Oh, yes—the thorn; it is a pretty vine; take care, or it will hurt your hand.”

Verty feels astounded at his own boldness, but says, with his dreamy Indian smile:

“Oh, no, I don't want the thorn—the rose!—the rose!”

Redbud understands that this is only a paraphrase—after the Indian fashion—for her own name, and blushes again.

“We—were—speaking of cousin Lavinia,” she says, hesitatingly.

Verty sighs.

“Yes,” he returns.

Redbud smiles.

“And I was scolding you for replying to papa's question,” she adds.

Verty sighs again, and says:

“I believe you were right; I don't think I could have told them what we were talking about.”

“Why?” asks the young girl.

“We were talking about you,” says Verty, gazing at Redbud tenderly; “and you will think me very foolish,” adds Verty, with a tremor in his voice; “but I was asking Mr. Roundjacket if he thought you could—love—me—O, Redbud—”

Verty is interrupted by the appearance of Miss Lavinia.

Redbud turns away, blushing, and overwhelmed with confusion.

Miss Lavinia comes to the young man, and holds out her hand.

“I did not mean to hurt your feelings, just now, Verty,” she says, “pardon me if I made you feel badly. I was somewhat nettled, I believe.”

And having achieved this speech, Miss Lavinia stiffens again into imposing dignity, sails away into the house, and disappears, leaving Verty overwhelmed with surprise.

He feels a hand laid upon his arm;—a blushing face looks frankly and kindly into his own.

“Don't let us talk any more in that way, Verty, please,” says the young girl, with the most beautiful frankness and ingenuousness; “we are friends and playmates, you know; and we ought not to act toward each other as if we were grown gentleman and lady. Please do not; it will make us feel badly, I am sure. I am only Redbud, you know, and you are Verty, my friend and playmate. Shall I sing you one of our old songs?”

The soft, pure voice sounded in his ears like some fine melody of olden poets—her frank, kind eyes, as she looked at him, soothed and quieted him. Again, she was the little laughing star of his childhood, as when they wandered about over the fields—little children—that period so recent, yet which seemed so far away, because the opening heart lives long in a brief space of time. Again, she was to him little Redbud, he to her was the boy-playmate Verty. She had done all by a word—a look; a kind, frank smile, a single glance of confiding eyes. He loved her more than ever—yes, a thousand times more strongly, and was calm.

He followed her to the harpsichord, and watched her in every movement, with quiet happiness; he seemed to be under the influence of a charm.

“I think I will try and sing the 'Rose of Glengary,'“ she said, smiling; “you know, Verty, it is one of the old songs you loved so much, and it will make us think of old times—in childhood, you know; though that is not such old, old time—at least for me,” added Redbud, with a smile, more soft and confiding than before. “Shall I sing it? Well, give me the book—the brown-backed one.”

The old volume—such as we find to-day in ancient country-houses—was opened, and Redbud commenced singing. The girl sang the sweet ditty with much expression; and her kind, touching voice filled the old homestead with a tender melody, such as the autumn time would utter, could its spirit become vocal. The clear, tender carol made the place fairy-land for Verty long years afterwards, and always he seemed to hear her singing when he visited the room. Redbud sang afterwards more than one of those old ditties—“Jock o' Hazeldean,” and “Flowers of the Forest,” and many others—ditties which, for us to-day, seem like so many utterances of the fine old days in the far past.

For, who does not hear them floating above those sweet fields of the olden time—those bright Hesperian gardens, where, for us at least, the fruits are all golden, and the airs all happy?

Beautiful, sad ditties of the brilliant past! not he who writes would have you lost from memory, for all the modern world of music. Kind madrigals! which have an aroma of the former day in all your cadences and dear old fashioned trills—from whose dim ghosts now, in the faded volumes stored away in garrets and on upper shelves, we gather what you were in the old immemorial years! Soft melodies of another age, that sound still in the present with such moving sweetness, one heart at least knows what a golden treasure you clasp, and listens thankfully when you deign to issue out from silence; for he finds in you alone—in your gracious cadences, your gay or stately voices—what he seeks; the life, and joy, and splendor of the antique day sacred to love and memory!

And Verty felt the nameless charm of the good old songs, warbled by the young girl's sympathetic voice; and more than once his wild-wood nature stirred within him, and his eyes grew moist. And when she ceased, and the soft carol went away to the realm of silence, and was heard no more, the young man was a child again; and Redbud's hand was in his own, and all his heart was still.

The girl rose, with a smile, and said that they had had quite enough of the harpsichord and singing—the day was too beautiful to spend within doors. And so she ran gaily to the door, and as she reached it, uttered a gay exclamation. Ralph and Fanny were seen approaching from the gate.

CHAPTER LXV. PROVIDENCE.

Ralph was mounted, as usual, upon his fine sorrel, and Fanny rode a little milk-white pony, which the young man had procured for her. We need not say that Miss Fanny looked handsome and coquettish, or Mr. Ralph merry and good-humored. Laughter was Fanny's by undoubted right, unless her companion could contest the palm.

Miss Fanny's first movement, after dismounting, was to clasp Miss Redbud to her bosom with enthusiastic affection, as is the habit with young ladies upon public occasions; and then the fair equestrian recognized Verty's existence by a fascinating smile, which caused the unfortunate Ralph to gaze and sigh.

“Oh, Redbud!” cried Miss Fanny, laughing, and shaking gaily her ebon curls, “you can't think what a delightful ride I've had—with Ralph, you know, who has'nt been half as disagreeable as usual—”

“Come,” interposed Ralph, “that's too bad!”

“Not for you, sir!”

“Even for me.”

“Well, then, I'll say you are more agreeable than usual.”

“That is better, though some might doubt whether that was possible.”

“Ralph, you are a conceited, fine gentleman, and positively dreadful.”

“Ah, you dread me!”

“No, sir!”

“Well, that is not fair—for I am afraid of you. The fact is, Miss Redbud,” continued Ralph, turning to the young girl, “I have fallen deeply in love with Fanny, lately—”

“Oh, sir!” said Redbud, demurely.

“But I have not told you the best of the joke.”

“What is that?”

“She's in love with me.”

And Ralph directed a languishing glance toward Fanny, who cried out:

“Impudence! to say that I am in love with you. It's too bad, Ralph, for you to be talking so!” added Fanny, pouting and coloring, “and I'll thank you not to talk so any more.”

“Why not?”

“I'll be offended.”

“That will make you lovely.”

“Mr. Ashley!”

“Miss Temple!”

And striking an attitude, Mr. Ashley waited for Fanny's communication.

Redbud smiled, and turning to Fanny, said:

“Come, now, don't quarrel—and come in and take off your things.”

“Oh, I can't,” cried the volatile Fanny, laughing—“Ralph and myself just called by; we are past our time now. That horrid old Miss Sallianna will scold me, though she does talk about the beauties of nature—I wonder if she considers her front curls included!”

And Miss Fanny tossed her own, and laughed in defiance of the absent Sallianna.

At the same moment the Squire came out with Mr. Rushton, and called to Redbud. The young girl ran to him.

“Would you like a ride, little one?” said the Squire, “Miss Lavinia and myself are going to town.”

“Oh, yes, sir!”

“But your visitors—”

“Fanny says she cannot stay.”

Fanny ran up to speak for herself; and while Redbud hastened to her room to prepare for the ride, this young lady commenced a triangular duel with the Squire and Mr. Ralph, which caused a grim smile to light upon Mr. Rushton's face, for an instant, so to speak.

The carriage then drove up with its old greys, and Miss Lavinia and Redbud entered. Before rode the Squire and Mr. Rushton; behind, Ralph and Fanny.

As for Verty, he kept by the carriage, and talked with Redbud and Miss Lavinia, who seemed to have grown very good-humored and friendly.

Redbud had not ridden out since her return to Apple Orchard, and the fresh, beautiful day made her cheeks bright and her eyes brilliant. The grass, the trees, the singing birds, and merry breezes, spoke to her in their clear, happy voices, and her eye dwelt fondly on every object, so old, and familiar, and dear.

Is it wonderful that not seldom her glance encountered Verty's, and they exchanged smiles? His face was the face of her boy playmate—it was very old and familiar; who can say that it was not more—that it was not dear?

And so they passed the old gate, with all its apple trees, and the spot where the great tree stood, through whose heart was bored the aperture for the cider press beam—and through the slope beyond, leaving the overseer's house, babies and all, behind, and issued forth into the highway leading to the ancient borough of Winchester.

And gazing on the happy autumn fields, our little heroine smiled brightly, and felt very thankful in her heart to Him who dowered her life with all that beauty, and joy, and happiness; and ever and anon her hand would be raised absently toward her neck, where it played with the old coral necklace taken from the drawer in which it had been laid—by accident, we should say, if there were any accident. And so they approached the town.

CHAPTER LXVI. THE HOUR AND THE NECKLACE.

As they entered the town, something strange seemed to be going on; the place was evidently in commotion. A great thrill seemed to run through the population, who were gathered at the doors and windows—such of them as did not throng the streets; and as the hoofs of the horses struck upon the beaten way, a drum suddenly was heard thundering indignantly through the narrow streets.

The crowd rushed toward it—hurried, muttering, armed with nondescript weapons, as though the Indians were come down from the mountain fastnesses once more; and then, as the cortege from Apple Orchard passed beyond the old fort, the meaning of all the commotion was visible.

Marching slowly along in confused masses, a large portion of the Irish population came toward the fort, and from their appearance, these men seemed ripe for commotion.

They were armed with clubs, heavy canes, bludgeons, and old rusty swords; and these weapons were flourished in the air in a way which seemed to indicate the desire to inflict death and destruction on some hostile party which did not appear.

But the most singular portion of the pageant was undoubtedly the personage borne aloft by the shouting crowd. This was the Dutch St. Michael himself—portly, redfaced, with a necklace of sour krout, clad, as had been said by Mr. Jinks, in six pairs of pantaloons, and resembling a hogshead.

St. Michael was borne aloft on a species of platform, supported on the shoulders of a dozen men; and when the saint raised the huge beer glass from his knee, and buried his white beard in it, the swaying crowd set up a shout which shook the houses.

This was the Irish defiance of the Dutch: the Emerald Isle against the Low Countries—St. Patrick against St. Michael. The figure of St. Michael was paraded in defiance of the Dutch—the thundering drum and echoing shouts were all so many ironical and triumphant defiances.

The shouting crowd came on, tramping heavily, brandishing their clubs, and eager for the fray.

Miss Lavinia becomes terrified; the ladies of the party, by an unanimous vote, decide that they will draw up to one side by Mr. Rushton's office, and permit the crowd to pass. Mr. Rushton desires to advance upon the peacebreakers, and engage in single combat with St. Michael and all his supporters.

The Squire dissuades him—and growling contemptuously, the lawyer does not further oppose the desire of the ladies.

Then from Mr. Rushton's office comes hastily our friend Mr. Roundjacket—smiling, flourishing his ruler, and pointing, with well-bred amusement, to the crowd. The crowd look sidewise at Mr. Roundjacket, who returns them amiable smiles, and brandishes his ruler in pleasant recognition of Hibernian friends and clients in the assemblage.

Roundjacket thinks the ladies need not be alarmed. Still, as there will probably be a fight soon, they had better get out and come in.

Roundjacket is the public character when he speaks thus—he is flourishing his ruler. It is only when Miss Lavinia has descended that he ogles that lady. Suddenly, however, he resumes his noble and lofty carriage, and waves the ruler at his friend, St. Michael—tailor and client—by name, O'Brallaghan.

The crowd passes on, with thundering drums and defiant shouts; and our party, from Apple Orchard, having affixed their horses to the wall, near at hand, gaze on the masquerade from Mr. Rushton's office.

We have given but a few words to the strange pageant which swept on through the main street of the old border town; and this because any accurate description is almost wholly impossible. Let the reader endeavor to imagine Pandemonium broke loose, with all its burly inmates, and thundering voices, and outre forms, and, perhaps, the general idea in his mind may convey to him some impression of the rout which swept by with its shouts and mad defiances.

Some were clad in coat and pantaloons only; others had forgotten the coat, and exposed brawny and hirsute torsos to the October sun, and swelling muscles worthy of Athletes.

Others, again, were almost sans-culottes, only a remnant being left, which made the deficiency more tantalizingly painful to the eye.

Let the reader, then, imagine this spectacle of torn garments, tattered hats, and brandished clubs—not forgetting the tatterdemalion negro children, who ran after the crowd in the last state of dilapidation, and he will have some slight idea of the masquerade, over which rode, in supreme majesty, the trunk-nosed Mr. O'Brallaghan.

We need not repeat the observations of the ladies; or detail their exclamations, fears, and general behavior. Like all members of the fair sex, they made a virtue of necessity, and assumed the most winning expressions of timidity and reliance on their cavaliers; and even Miss Lavinia reposed upon a settee, and exclaimed that it was dreadful—very dreadful and terrifying.

Thereat, Mr. Roundjacket rose into the hero, and alluded to the crowd with dignified amusement; and when Miss Lavinia said, in a low voice, that other lives were precious to her besides her own—evidently referring to Mr. Roundjacket—that gentleman brandished his ruler, and declared that life was far less valuable than her smiles.

In another part of the room Ralph and Fanny laughed and jested—opposite them. Mr. Rushton indignantly shook his fist in the direction of the crowd, and vituperated the Hibernian nation, in a manner shocking to hear.

Verty was leaning on the mantel-piece, as quietly as if there was nothing to attract his attention. He had pushed Cloud through the mass with the unimpressed carriage of the Indian hunter; and his dreamy eyes were far away—he listened to other sounds than shouts, perhaps to a maiden singing.

The little singer—we refer to Miss Redbud—had been much terrified by the crowd, and felt weak, owing to the recent sickness. She looked round for a seat, and saw none.

The door leading into the inner sanctum of Mr. Rushton then attracted her attention, and seeing a comfortable chair within, she entered, and sat down.

Redbud uttered a sigh of weariness and relief, and then gazed around her.

The curtain was drawn back from the picture—the child's face was visible.

She went to it, and was lost in contemplation of the bright, pretty face; when, as had happened with Verty, she felt a hand upon her shoulder, and started.

Mr. Rushton stood beside her.

“Well, Miss!” he said, roughly, “what are you doing?”

“Oh, sir!” Redbud replied, “I am sorry I offended you—but I saw this pretty picture, and just come to look at it.”

“Humph!” growled the lawyer, “nothing can be kept private here.”

And, with a softened expression, he gazed at the picture.

“It is very pretty,” said Redbud, gently; “who was she, sir?”

The lawyer was silent; he seemed afraid to trust his voice. At last he said:

“My child.”

And his voice was so pathetic, that Redbud felt the tears come to her eyes.

“Pardon me for making you grieve, Mr. Rushton,” she said, softly, “it was very thoughtless in me. But will you let me speak? She is in heaven, you know; the dear Savior said himself, that the kingdom of heaven was full of such.”

The lawyer's head bent down, and a hoarse sigh, which resembled the growl of a lion, shook his bosom.

Redbud's eyes filled with tears.

“Oh, do not grieve, sir,” she said, in a tremulous voice, “trust in God, and believe that He is merciful and good.”

The poor stricken heart brimmed with its bitter and corroding agony; and, raising his head, the lawyer said, coldly:

“Enough? this may be very well for you, who have never suffered—it is the idle wind to me! Trust in God? Away! the words are fatuitous!—ough!” and wiping his moist brow, he added, coldly, “What a fool I am, to be listening to a child!”

Redbud, with her head bent down, made no reply.

Her hand played, absently, with the coral necklace; without thinking, she drew it with her hand.

The time had come.

The old necklace, worn by use, parted asunder, and fell upon the floor. The lawyer, with his cold courtesy, picked it up.

As he did so,—as his eye dwelt upon it, a strange expression flitted across his rugged features.

With a movement, as rapid as thought, he seized the gold clasp with his left hand, and turned the inner side up.

His eye was glued to it for a moment, his brow grew as pale as death, and sinking into the old chair, he murmured hoarsely:

“Where did you get this?”

Redbud started, and almost sobbing, could not reply.

He caught her by the wrist, with sudden vehemence, and holding the necklace before her, said:

“Look!”

Upon the inside of the gold plate were traced, in almost illegible lines, the letters, “A.R.”

“It was my child's!” he said, hoarsely; “where did you get it?”

Redbud, with a tremor which she could not restrain, told how she had purchased the necklace from a pedlar; she knew no more; did not know his name—but recollected that he was a German, from his accent.

The lawyer fell into his chair, and was silent: his strong frame from time to time trembled—his bosom heaved.

At last he raised his face, which seemed to have sunken away in the last few moments, and still holding the necklace tightly, motioned Redbud toward the door.

“We—will—speak further of this,” he said, his voice charged with tears; and with a slow movement of his head up and down, he again desired Redbud to leave him.

She went out:—the last she saw was Mr. Rushton clasping the necklace to his lips, and sobbing bitterly,

In the outer room they laughed and jested gaily.

CHAPTER LXVII. HOW ST. PATRICK ENCOUNTERED ST. MICHAEL, AND WHAT ENSUED.

As Redbud entered the outer room, the talkers suddenly became silent, and ran to the windows.

The procession has returned:—the pageant has retraced its steps:—the swaying, shouting, battle-breathing rout has made the northern end of the town hideous, and comes back to make the portion already passed over still more hideous.

Hitherto the revellers have had a clear sweep—an unobstructed highway. They have gone on in power and glory, conquering where there was no enemy, defying where there was no adversary.

But this all changes suddenly, and a great shout roars up from a hundred mouths.

Another drum is heard; mutterings from the southern end of the town respond.

The followers of the maligned and desecrated Michael are in battle array—the Dutch are out to protect their saint, and meet the Irish world in arms.

They come on in a tumultuous mass: they sway, they bend, they leap, they shout. The other half of Pandemonium has turned out, and surrounding ears are deafened by the demoniac chorus.

In costume they are not dissimilar to their enemies—in rotundity they are superior, however, if not in brawn. Every other warrior holds his pipe between his teeth, and all brandish nondescript weapons, like their enemies, the Irish.

And as the great crowd draws near, the crowning peculiarity of the pageant is revealed to wondering eyes.

The Dutch will have their defiant masquerade no less than their enemies: the Irish parade St. Michael in derision: their's be it to show the world an effigy of St. Patrick.

Borne, like St. Michael, on a platform raised above the universal head, in proud pre-eminence behold the great St. Patrick, and his wife Sheeley!

St. Patrick is tall and gaunt, from his contest with the serpents of the emerald isle. He wears a flowing robe, which nevertheless permits his slender, manly legs to come out and be visible. He boasts a shovel hat, adorned with a gigantic sprig of shamrock: he sits upon the chest in which, if historical tradition truly speaks, the great boa constrictor of Killarney was shut up and sunk into the waters of the lake. Around his neck is a string of Irish potatoes—in his hand a shillelah.

Beside him sits his wife Sheeley, rotund and ruddy, with a coronet of potatoes, a necklace of potatoes, a breastpin of potatoes—and lastly, an apron full of potatoes. She herself resembled indeed a gigantic potatoe, and philologians might have conjectured that her very name was no more than a corruption of the adjective mealy.

The noble saint and his wife came on thus far above the roaring crowd, and as they draw nearer, lo! the saint and Sheeley are revealed.

The saint is personated by the heroic Mr. Jinks—his wife is represented by Mistress O'Calligan!

This is the grand revenge of Mr. Jinks—this is the sweet morsel which he has rolled beneath his tongue for days—this is the refinement of torture he has mixed for the love-sick O'Brallaghan, who personates the opposing Michael.

As the adversaries see their opponents, they roar—as they catch sight of their patron saints thus raised aloft derisively, they thunder. The glove is thrown, the die is cast—in an instant they are met in deadly battle.

Would that our acquaintance with the historic muse were sufficiently intimate to enable us to invoke her aid on this occasion. But she is far away, thinking of treaties and protocols, and “eventualities” far in the orient, brooding o'er lost Sebastopol.

The reader therefore must be content with hasty words.

The first item of the battle worthy to be described, is the downward movement of the noble saints from their high position.

Once in the melee, clutching at their enemies, the combatants become oblivious of saintly affairs. The shoulders of the platform bearers bend—the platforms tumble—St. Patrick grapples with St. Michael, who smashes his pewter beer-pot down upon the shamrock.

The shamrock rises—wild and overwhelmed with terror, recreant to Ireland, and quailing before Michael, who has stumbled over Sheeley.

Mr. Jinks retreats through the press before O'Brallaghan, who pursues him with horrible ferocity, breathing vengeance, and on fire with rage.

O'Brallaghan grasps Jinks' robe—the robe is torn from his back, and O'Brallaghan falls backwards: then rises, still overwhelmed with rage.

Jinks suddenly sees a chance of escape—he has intrusted Fodder to a boy, who rides now in the middle of the press.

He tears the urchin from the saddle, seizes a club, and leaping upon Fodder's back, brandishes his weapon, and cheers on his men to victory.

But accidents will happen even to heroes. Mr. Jinks is not a great rider—it is his sole weak point. Fodder receiving a blow behind, starts forward—then stops, kicking up violently.

The forward movement causes the shoulders of Mr. Jinks to fly down on the animal's back, the legs of Mr. Jinks to rise into the air. The backward movement of the donkey's heels interposes at this moment to knock Mr. Jinks back to his former position.

But his feet are out of the stirrups, he cannot keep his seat; and suddenly he feels a hand upon his leg—his enemy glares on him; he is whirled down to the earth, and O'Brallaghan has caught his prey.

The stormy combat, with its cries, and shouts, and blows, and imprecations, closes over them, and all seems lost for Jinks.

Not so. When fate seems to lower darkest, sunlight comes. O'Brallaghan has brought his stalwart fist down on Mr. Jinks' nose but once, has scarcely caused the “gory blood” of that gentleman to spout forth from the natural orifices, when a vigorous female hand is laid upon his collar, and he turns.

It is Mistress O'Calligan Sheeley come to the rescue of her husband.

O'Brallaghan is pulled from Jinks—that hero rises, and attempts to flee.

He rushes into the arms of another lady, who, in passing near the crowd, has been caught up like a leaf and buried in the combat—Miss Sallianna.

But fate is again adverse, though impartial. Mr. Jinks and O'Brallaghan are felled simultaneously by mighty blows, and the rout closes over them.

As they fall, a swaying motion in the crowd is felt—the authorities have arrived—the worn-out combatants draw off, sullenly, and the dead and wounded only are left upon the field.

The crowd retires—they have had their fight, and broken numerous heads. They have vindicated the honor of their Saints—to-morrow they are friends and neighbors again.

One beautiful and touching scene is left for aftertimes—one picture which even the historic muse might have paused near, and admired.

Two lovely dames contend for the privilege of holding a bloody warrior's head, whose nose is injured.

It is Mr. Jinks, Miss Judith, and Miss Sallianna.

CHAPTER LXVIII. THE END OF THE CHAIN.

We are conscious that the description of the great battle just given is but a poor and lame delineation, and we can only plead defective powers in that department of art—the treatment of battle-pieces.

We cannot describe the appearance of the battle-field after the combat, any more than the contest.

Wounded and crack-crowned, groaning and muttering heroes dragging themselves away—this is the resume which we find it in our power alone to give.

One hero only seems to be seriously injured.

He is a man of forty-five or fifty, with a heavy black beard, thick sensual lips, and dog-like face. He is clad roughly; and the few words which he utters prove that he is a German.

The fight has taken place opposite Mr. Rushton's office, and thither this man is borne.

Mr. Rushton growls, and demands how he had the audacity to break the peace. The man mutters. Mr. Rushton observes that he will have him placed in the stocks, and then sent to jail. The German groans.

Suddenly Mr. Rushton feels a hand upon his arm. He turns round: it is Redbud.

“That is the man who sold me the necklace, sir!” she says, in a hesitating voice. “I recognize him—it is the pedlar.”

Mr. Rushton starts, and catches the pedlar by the arm.

“Come!” he commences.

The pedlar rises without assistance, sullenly, prepared for the stocks.

“Where did you get this necklace? Speak!”

The lawyer's eyes awe the man, and he stammers. Mr. Rushton grasps him by the collar, and glares at him ferociously.

“Where?”

In five minutes he has made the pedlar speak—he bought the necklace from the mother of the young man standing at the door.

“From the Indian woman?”

“Yes, from her.”

Mr. Rushton turns pale, and falls into a chair.

Verty hastens to him.

The lawyer rises, and gazes at him with pale lips, passes his hand over his brow with nervous, trembling haste. He holds the necklace up before Verty there, and says, in a husky voice—

“Where did your mother get this?”

Verty gazes at the necklace, and shakes his head.

“I don't know, sir—I don't know that it is her's—I think I have seen it though—yes, yes, long, long ago—somewhere!”

And the young hunter's head droops, thoughtfully—his dreamy eyes seem to wander over other years.

Then he raises his head and says, abruptly:

“I had a strange thought, sir! I thought I saw myself—only I was a little child—playing with that necklace somewhere in a garden—oh, how strange! There were walks with box, and tulip beds, and in the middle, a fountain—strange! I thought I saw Indians, too—and heard a noise—why, I am dreaming!”

The lawyer looks at Verty with wild eyes, which, slowly, very slowly, fill with a strange light, which makes the surrounding personages keep silent—so singular is this rapt expression.

A thought is rising on the troubled and agitated mind of the lawyer, like a moon soaring above the horizon. He trembles, and does not take his eyes for a moment from the young man's face.

“A fountain—Indians?” he mutters, almost inarticulately.

“Yes, yes!” says Verty, with dreamy eyes, and crouching, so to speak, Indian fashion, until his tangled chestnut curls half cover his cheeks—“yes, yes!—there again!—why it is magic—there! I see it all—I remember it! I must have seen it! Redbud!” he said, turning to the young girl with a frightened air, “am I dreaming?”

Redbud would have spoken. Mr. Rushton, with a sign, bade her be silent. He looked at the young man with the same strange look, and said in a low tone:

“Must have seen what?”

“Why, this!” said Verty, half extending his arm, and pointing toward a far imaginary horizon, on which his dreamy eyes were fixed—“this! don't you see it? My tribe! my Delawares—there in the woods! They attack the house, and carry off the child in the garden playing with the necklace. His nurse is killed—poor thing! her blood is on the fountain! Now they go into the great woods with the child, and an Indian woman takes him and will not let them kill him—he is so pretty with his long curls like the sunshine: you might take him for a girl! The Indian woman holds before him a bit of looking-glass, stolen from the house! Look! they will have his life—oh!”

And crouching, with an exclamation of terror, Verty shuddered.

“Give me my rifle!” he cried; “they are coming there! Back!”

And the young man rose erect, with flashing eyes.

“The woman flies in the night,” he continues, becoming calm again; “they pursue her—she escapes with the boy—they come to a deserted lodge—a lodge! a lodge! Why, it is our lodge in the hills! It's ma mere! and I was that child! Am I mad?”

And Verty raised his head, and looked round him with terror.

His eye fell upon Mr. Rushton, who, breathing heavily, his looks riveted to his face, his lips trembling, seemed to control some overwhelming emotion by a powerful effort.

The lawyer rose, and laid his hand upon Verty's shoulder—it trembled.

“You are—dreaming—,” he gasped. Suddenly, a brilliant flash darted from his eye. With a movement, as rapid as thought, he tore the clothes from the young man's left shoulder, so as to leave it bare to the armpit.

Exactly on the rounding of the shoulder, which was white, and wholly free from the copper-tinge of the Indian blood, the company descried a burn, apparently inflicted in infancy.

The dazzled eyes of the lawyer almost closed—he fell into the old leather chair, and sobbing, “my son! my son Arthur!” would have fainted.

He was revived promptly, and the wondering auditors gathered around him, listening, while he spoke—the shaggy head, leaning on the shoulder of Verty, who knelt at his feet, and looked up in his eyes with joy and wonder.

Yes! there could be no earthly doubt that the strange words uttered by the boy, were so many broken and yet brilliant memories shining from the dim past: that this was his son—the original of the portrait. The now harsh and sombre lawyer, when a young and happy man, had married a French lady, and lived on the border; and his little son had, after the French fashion, received, for middle name, his mother's name, Anne—and this had become his pet designation. His likeness had been painted by a wandering artist, and soon after, a band of Delawares had attacked the homestead and carried him away to the wilderness, and there had remained little doubt, in his father's mind, that the child had been treated as the Indians were accustomed to treat such captives—mercilessly slain. The picture of him was the only treasure left to the poor broken heart, when heaven had taken his wife from him, soon afterwards—and in the gloom and misanthropy these tortures inflicted upon him, this alone had been his light and solace. Retaining for the boy his old pet name of Anne, he had cried in presence of the picture, and been hardened in spite of all, against Providence. In the blind convulsions of his passionate regret, he had even uttered blasphemy, and scouted anything like trust in God; and here now was that merciful God leading his child back to him, and pardoning all his sin of unbelief, and enmity, and hatred; and saying to him, in words of marvellous sweetness and goodness, “Poor soured spirit, henceforth worship and trust in me!”

Yes! his son Arthur, so long wept and mourned, had come to him again—was there before him, kneeling at his feet!

And with his arms around the boy, the rugged man bent down and wept, and uttered in his heart a prayer for pardon.

And we may be sure that the man's joy was not unshared by those around—those kind, friendly eyes, which looked upon the father and son, and rejoiced in their happiness. The very sunshine grew more bright, it seemed; and when the picture was brought forth, and set in his light, he shone full on it, and seemed to laugh and bless the group with his kind light—even the little laughing child.

CHAPTER LXIX. CONCLUSION.

Our chronicle is ended, and we cannot detain the reader longer, listening to those honest kindly voices, which have, perhaps, spoken quite as much as he is willing to give ear to. Let us hope, that in consideration of their kindness and simplicity, he may pardon what appeared frivolous—seeing that humanity beat under all, and kindness—like the gentle word of the poet—is always gain.

The history is therefore done, and all ends here upon the bourne of comedy. Redbud, with all her purity and tenderness—Verty, with his forest instincts and simplicity—the lawyer, and poet, and the rest, must go again into silence, from which they came. They are gone away now, and their voices sound no more; their eyes beam no longer; all their merry quips and sighs, their griefs and laughter, die away—the comedy is ended. Do not think harshly of the poor writer, who regrets to part with them—who feels that he must miss their silent company in the long hours of the coming autumn nights. Poor puppets of the imagination! some may say, what's all this mock regret? No, no! not only of the imagination: of the heart as well!

This said, all is said; but, perhaps, a few words of the after fate of Verty, and the rest, may not be inappropriate.

The two kind hearts which loved each other so—Verty and Redbud—were married in due course of time: and Ralph and Fanny too. Miss Lavinia and the poet of chancery—Mistress O'Calligan and the knight of the shears—Miss Sallianna and the unfortunate Jinks—all these pairs, ere long, were united. Mr. Jinks perfected his revenge upon Miss Sallianna, as he thought, by marrying her—but, we believe, the result of his revenge was misery. Mistress O'Calligan accepted the hand of Mr. O'Brallaghan, upon hearing of this base desertion; and so, the desires of all were accomplished—for weal or woe.

Be sure, ma mere lived, with Verty and Redbud all her days thereafter; and our honest Verty often mounted Cloud, and went away, on bright October mornings, to the hills, and visited the old hunting lodge: and smoothing, thoughtfully, the ancient head of Longears, pondered on that strange, wild dream of the far past, which slowly developed itself under the hand of Him, the Author and Life, indeed, who brought the light!

And one day, standing there beside the old hunting lodge, with Redbud, Verty, as we still would call him, pointed to the skies, and pressing, with his encircling arm, the young form, said, simply:

“How good and merciful He was—to give me all this happiness—and you!”

THE END.

 
 
 

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