made for the colonel in her young ladyhood. John
wondered where her thoughts were, as she played
over the tripping airs with their rippling accompani-
ment. A portrait of the colonel, stiff and dignified,
hung in the great square room. Her sightless eyes
were turned toward it. He saw her through the
open French window from where he sat on the
piazza, and a suspicious moisture gathered in his
eyes. He rose and sauntered down the path, and
smelled of Miss Katherine's lilies. '' If Donald
had only lived ! " he thought.
" John, dinnah is on the table," called Miss
Katherine from the doorway. *' Come, ma."
The meal over, Gertrude brought a pan of hot
water, and Katherine washed the few pieces of china
and the old silver and glasses herself. *' Gertrude is
so careless," she said.
Half an hour later John strolled toward the old
home, drawn thither by sundry little cords called
heart-strings. He had been there before that week,
and was trying to think of some adequate excuse
for calling again so soon, when a rattling team and
a merry whistle caused him to look behind him.
The two young planters were driving home from
their orchard among the hills.
'' Going our way? " said Richard. '' I 'd ask you
to ride if there was only another seat."
" I am on my way to Mr. Ridgeway's. Thanks."
The Excursion 149
" I guess we can make room for you up here,"
said James Craig, hitching along.
" No, no, sit still. I can stand and enjoy the
ride," said Marshall. Placing one hand on the rear
oi the long wagon-box, he leaped lightly in and
stood, steadying himself by the shoulders of the
two on the high spring seat in front, and they
** We have a go on hand this evening," said Craig.
*' We are to seat this wagon with bundles of fodder
and cushions, and the crowd are to pile in and drive
over to Towanee Gorge. The negroes are having a
big time there."
" Heavens ! What a dolt ! " exclaimed Marshall.
*' They were kind enough to include me in the
party, and it had entirely slipped my memory."
Richard laughed, and the wagon rattled on.
Portia stood on the steps, smiling, enthusiastic.
The elderly gentleman stood near. Mrs. Van Ostade
moved quietly among the guests who were collected
on the piazza, with her arms full of wraps.
'* You would better take this shawl," she said to
Mrs. Clare. "The air seems mild enough now, but
later in the evening it may be quite cool."
" Oh, you thoughtful little woman ! Thank you."
"Do you think she ought to go?" said Miss
" Indeed she ought, and you too," cried Portia.
" Where is your bonnet? I will get it." She disap-
peared in the house.
"Aren't you going, Mrs. Keller?" said Mr.
Betts, drawing on his gloves, alert and ready, with
his umbrella under his arm.
1 50 When the Gates Lift Up their Heads
" No, I think I will leave all this nonsense to the
young folks," she said, glancing at the elderly-
*' What, what ! " said he ; '* it won't do to let them
have all the interesting things to themselves. I
don't believe in growing old. Keep young, I
Mr. and Mrs. Percy came down the long stair-
way. " Why, Miss Milbourn, are you not going
with us ? " they asked in a breath.
" Yes," said Mrs. Clare, '' Miss Van Ostade has
gone for her bonnet."
" I think as I am old, and there will hardly be
room for all in the wagon, perhaps â€” "
" Oh, but the carriage is going," said Portia, re-
turning, '* and I have the use of the Gebbs' buggy;
two can go in that." She caught the dear old lady,
turned her about, and tied the bonnet under her
chin. *' There ! The moon will be up as we come
back, and this is the last moonlight evening this
month. Now you and grandfather and Mrs. Clare
must take the carriage, and Alexander will drive,
and you, Mr. Russell" (to the elderly gentleman),
" will have to go in the wagon with us, â€” unless â€” "
" Can't I drive with you in the Gebbs* buggy?
That will leave two extra places in the wagon."
Instantly there was an outcry on all sides. *' Oh,
no ! " '' What an idea ! "
** We want Miss Van Ostade with us."
Portia felt annoyed, but smiled pleasantly. ** You
see, Mr. Russell, I can stand the rough wagon ride
better than some," she said in a low tone to her
The Excursion 151
Hanford Clark was just coming up one driveway
as the wagon rattled up the other. " Here they
come," shouted Mr. Betts.
" Ah, Mr. Marshall, so you did not forget about
our little excursion," said Portia.
James Craig began arranging the bundles of
fodder passed up to him by a negro boy, and
placing the cushions for the seats. He glanced up
quickly at John and laughed. A serving-maid stood
by with her arms full of rugs.
** Forget? Of course he did," said Richard.
*' Jim and I picked him up down the road and
brought him on by main force. Hello, Mr. Clark,
glad to see you."
'' I was on my way here in spite of Mr. Button,"
''Now we are ready, aren't we, Mr. Craig? " said
Portia. She ran back into the house for something
and was detained by Maggie.
" See here," said Dick aside to Mrs. Barry, '' Jim
and I have a scheme. You hustle them all in, â€”
the carriage load is made up, â€” and contrive so
that Mr. Russell sits with Miss Keller. He 's manoeu-
vring to be left behind to drive in the Gebbs' buggy
with Miss Van Ostade, Mr. Betts says. We'll do it
before he knows what 's happened, and start before
she gets back."
" Good," exclaimed Mrs. Barry with keen relish,
*' but who will go with her? "
" Oh, leave her to Mr. Marshall. He won't
object, I '11 warrant. Hello ! All aboard for Towanee
Gorge," he shouted, gathering up the reins. ''Jim,
where are you ? " Craig gravely helped Mrs. Barry
152 When the Gates Lift Up their Heads
in, then came Mr. and Mrs. Percy. " Get Mr.
Russell to follow you," said Mrs. Barry as they
'* Come, Mr. Russell," said Mr. Percy. "We
need another gentleman next."
*' Now Miss Keller," said Craig.
'* Where is Miss Van Ostade? " said Mr. Russell,
*' She '11 be here immediately," cried Mrs. Barry,
hilariously. " Get in here on this seat with Miss
Keller, and Portia can sit on the other side. There
is room to sit three on a seat, is n't there, Mr.
*' Certainly, certainly ! Here, Mr. Russell, that 's
not fair, to monopolize all the ladies. I ought to
have that seat, or Mr. Clark there."
John, conversing with Mrs. Van Ostade, looked
on, only half comprehending the badinage.
"No," said Hanford, "you and Mr. Russell
decide that between you. I '11 sit at the end with
" That 's right, Mr. Russell, climb in, or Mr. Craig
will be ahead of you," said Mrs. Barry.
" There, Jim ! You '11 have to content yourself
with me once more," said Dick. "You're no
match for Mr. Russell."
" Right you are," said Craig. " All aboard."
"Ay, ay," cried Mr. Betts.
" We 're off," said Dick, waving his whip.
"Why, but Mr. Marshall and Miss Van Ostade
are neither of them in," said Miss Keller.
" I '11 go for her," said the elderly gentleman,
rising. The horses sprang forward at a quiet
The Excursion 153
little fillip from the whip, and he sat down again
quicker than he got up. " Oh, beg pardon," said
"How now! We are not starting," said Mr.
Russell, discomfited. " There she is now," he beck-
" Oh, nev^er mind, we shall have to go slower
than the carriage, the wagon jolts so, sha'n't we,
Mr. Button ? " said Mrs. Barry, complacently. " The
carriage has started, and the buggy is coming for
Mr. Russell made one more attempt to stem the
tide against him. " But Miss Van Ostade may not
like it. I think she is beckoning us to wait."
** No, she is signalling us to go on," said Craig,
and they went. As they drove out of one gate,
Mr. Gebb's small darky boy entered by the other,
driving a little gray mare hitched to a buckboard.
** Is that the buggy? " said Portia, dismayed.
" Yas 'm," said the impassive youngster.
" I ought to have seen it before I engaged it.
Why did they start in such a hurry? There would
have beefi room for us in the wagon. This was
only intended as a contingency, so to speak."
" Why, what 's the matter with it? " said Marshall,
walking around the rude outfit, and pulling a little
here and there at the straps of the old harness.
" It's a mighty good sort of a contingency, that's
what I think. Shall we start?"
*' I suppose we must, if we make this little gray
thing keep up with that team of Mr. Button's."
He stepped back and took her wraps, and seeing
a thick traveller's rug on the piazza, he arranged it
1 54 When the Gates Lift Up their Heads
over her side of the seat for her comfort. She
watched him doubtfully.
'' That is Mr. Russell's. He must have intended
taking it. Perhaps that is what they were stopping
at the gate for."
" We will take it to him, then," said John, laugh-
ing. Portia sprang lightly in, and he followed, with
a delight in the situation not easily disguised.
THE GIRL AT THE GERMAN BRIDGE
" ^^"^ OOD-BYE, Mrs. Keller. Take good care of
mamma," called Portia, as they drove off,
tilting up and down with the easy sway of the long
buckboard as it passed over uneven places in the
road. " This is fun. It makes me think of the days
when I played see-sav/."
** I call it an improvement on the old plan ; the
board being hung at both ends instead of in the
middle, we can both tilt up and down in the centre.
It 's more sociable."
'* Oh, dear ! The wagon is so far ahead it will be
out of sight. Do you know the way? I don't."
*' I do, unless the hills have changed places since
I was a boy."
Portia drew in a deep breath and looked quietly
about her. She loved the mountain air, sweet with
the scent of growing things, and the glowing colors
in the sky, where the sun seemed sinking into a
seething furnace. " Without coming to the moun-
tains and living among them, one never could know
how beautiful the world is," she said.
*' I have been where the mountains are much
grander, in Switzerland, and among the Rockies ;
but I must say these North Carolina hills have a
fascination peculiarly their own."
They were both silent a few minutes, â€” she calmly
happy in these moments of relief from care, and he
1 56 When the Gates Lift Up their Heads
intoxicated with a delight he dared not show. At
last he broke in upon her quiet reflection.
** It is the strangest thing â€” I always think of
some one I saw only for a moment over in Germany,
when I look at you, â€” it seems as if you must be
"That is odd. Was she a German?"
** I don't know."
** If you had said in Holland I would think you
might have seen a descendant of some possible
Dutch ancestor of mine."
" No, it was in Germany near the Danish bound-
ary. I saw her only a moment, and never since,
but I always connect you with the incident."
** Oh ! I wonder â€” " she leaned forward and
looked at him with a new light in her eyes. " Please
'* What do you wonder? Tell me that first."
*' No, I interrupted you, and I can't wait. Was
it in Schleswig? "
''Were you ever there?" She laughed. "See
here ! I want to know if you ever saw me
" No," she replied, " I have n't even a vague im-
pression that I ever saw you before or any one like
you, until that day in old Clarissa's cabin."
" But you have been abroad? "
" Yes, nearly two years. But please tell me what
you were going to."
" But look at me squarely first and tell me if
you ever saw me before."
" I have looked at you squarely, and now I tell
you roundly I will not answer any more questions
The Girl at the German Bridge 157
until you go on with what you were going to say
when I interrupted you."
They turned a curve and came in sight of the
wagon rattHng merrily on before. They were
greeted by a waving of handkerchiefs, and Portia
answered with a gay call.
*' Let us keep this far behind them," said John.
" It will be pleasanter."
*' I would rather. Sometimes I long to be alone.
To-night I was tired, and really felt glad they
started on as they did."
" And you were not allowed the privilege of
being alone, after all. What a pity I could not
have known ! "
" You know very well I did n't mean that, but if
you won't go on and tell me about the girl you saw
in Germany, I will say I did."
" No, please. I will tell you anything rather,
only I don't believe you would say it even if you
** Perhaps not, but this I will say, you are cruel
to keep me in suspense."
" After all, there is little to tell. I was sketching
a quaint old bridge, and bit of river and rock, when
a party came toward me from the other side, riding
rapidly, and the foremost had passed on, when the
horse of one of the ladies began plunging and rear-
ing. He took fright at my umbrella and canvas, or
possibly at me. I thought for an instant they would
both go over the side of the bridge, but in a moment
she had regained the mastery and they dashed on.
That is all, but this is the strange part. When I first
saw you, that whole scene at the bridge away off
158 When the Gates Lift Up their Heads
there In Germany flashed into my mind, even the
color of her dress and her horse, and the appear-
ance of the two gentlemen of the party who seemed
to be her particular escort, all came back to me as
if it had occurred yesterday; yet they came and
were gone before I could collect my traps and my
"Why, this is like a bit from a novel. I was
almost sure you were going to tell that very incident.
I have always wondered who the artist was. You
were so quick to get your things out of the way,
and I never should have gotten control of that horse
if you had not caught his bridle and led him by.
After the excitement was over I remember feeling
that I had not even thanked you."
*'I don't remember touching the bridle. Perhaps,
after all, your young man was not I, nor my young
'' What was the color of her habit? "
*' So was mine, and what had she on her head?"
*' Nothing. I always wondered why she rode
" Then surely it was I. My horse was badly
trained and very nerv^ous. He had acted badly once
before, and my hat, one of these horrid high ones, fell
off, and he put his foot through it and wore it for an
anklet until I could stop him. I wonder my neck
was not broken."
" Thank Heaven ! " said John to himself.
*' Oh, I wish I had not told you how I came to be
riding bareheaded in a pleasure party. I should
have kept that for a mystery."
The Girl at the German Bridge 159
" It Is a mystery without that. To meet as we did
in that instant, and then here, in this out-of-the-way
place again, coUided as it were, over poor old
Mammy Cl'issy, it would seem as if we were fated
to â€” "
"Become acquainted? " she asked, forestalling a
more serious conclusion.
" Yes, become acquainted."
'* Maybe, but I am not the least bit of a fatalist."
" Decreed by Providence, then?"
" I think things just happen sometimes. I don't
believe in attributing every strange thing to occult
influence, like saying it is fate, or Providence, you
know, that brings about such odd meetings as ours.
" Some say there is no such thing as chance."
" I know, but perhaps some are mistaken," she
said with a merry glance in his face.
" I hope not," he said gravely.
*' Do you think Providence plans every single
thing that takes place in this world ? "
He laughed. *' ' There 's a divinity that shapes
our ends, rough-hew them how we will.' Aunt
Mary taught me to believe that."
" Oh, dear ! How little we know of what our
futures are to bring ! Mine is so different from â€”
I presume our plans are nothing but dreams, after
" Perhaps you formed your plans too early in life
to have them definite." She was silent, and he
wondered what they might have been.
They drove dow^n a sharp declivity, and through
a small stream that made a pleasant sound in their
i6o When the Gates Lift Up their Heads
ears. The sun was set, and the air had grown cooler.
He unfolded her wrap and placed it about her with
a gentle thoughtfulness that pleased her. They
heard the wagon in the distance rumbling; on.
" Shall we hurry a little? " he asked.
*' If we are nearly there, no. If not, I suppose we
'* I '11 let the little nag take her time, then."
** I only meant â€” it 's pleasanter here than crowded
in that little cabin with a lot of negroes. Do those
who have been born and brought up among them
feel that repugnance to them? Is it a natural feel-
ing? I can be kind to them and like them well
enough, and I do truly want to see them improve
and become good educated citizens, and all that, and
I always feel like taking their part, but I can't bear
to have them touch me, poor souls."
" Oh, I don't know. It's a matter of custom, I
guess. I never felt any of it. Take old Clarissa
now. I used to cuddle up in her arms and go to
sleep, I remember it well ; and as for the piccanin-
nies, they were regular little playmates, and no end
" How strange ! How could you ? " Portia
"You Northern people never really did the South-
erners justice in a way. When it comes right down
to plain facts, we like the colored people better than
you do. Why, I actually loved that old mammy."
** And there I could n't bear to touch her," said
Portia, humbly. *' I fear you are right. Of course,
we thought slavery horrible, but at heart we were n't
much kinder, only a little more just, don't you think?
The Girl at the German Bridge i6i
I 'm not used to them yet. There 's Lucyleese, the
maid who brought out the cushions, almost as white
as I am, she wanted to dress my hair the other day,
when I was tired, and I could not let her. I am sure
for myself it is innate repugnance. It can't be educa-
tion, because I have tried to overcome it, and all my
education has been against allowing such a feeling."
*' Why should you try to overcome it ? "
" Because I think it wrong."
" Please explain. You are worlds higher up in
the scale of creation, why should you try to place
them on a level with yourself ? "
" Perhaps if our standards were other than human
ones, some of the blackest of these might rank much
higher than I."
Marshall laughed, and leaning forward, stole a
quick glance at her face as he touched the horse
with the whip. "You have n't told me yet why you
fight against your own nature," he said. " I recog-
nize a difference, but I accept it. I no more try to
look upon them as other than they are than I would
imbue this horse with my attributes, and try to con-
verse with him. To me a horse is a horse, and a
negro is a negro, and not a white man."
She turned on him a look of horror. " Why,
Mr. Marshall, you believe them human beings with
souls like ours, do you not, undying ?"
" Certainly ; but are all souls the same kind or
quality? They are black human beings; we are
white ones. There are fundamental differences.
Can you expect to overcome a repugnance that
the finer, more sensitive nature must feel toward
a coarser one ? "
1 62 When the Gates Lift Up their Heads
Portia looked away, speaking slowly. '' What
you say seems true, but it does not make me feel
right. You see, I feel, after all, that only evil
should excite repugnance in one human being
toward another, not mere differences in color. The
reason should be more than skin deep, â€” should lie
in the heart." Marshall did not answer imme-
diately, and she resumed : " For instance, old
Clarissa, just before you came in, was showing me
trinkets she had kept with such care because you
had given them to her, and telling me about her
'Young Mars'r;' and when you entered at that
moment, how her old face lighted up ! Can you
ever forget that expression? Of what quality is her
soul, do you think? Her look at you condemned
me. It was heavenly."
" Do you expect me to solve the problem by
answering all those questions? " said John, laughing.
** I 'm afraid we are getting into deep waters."
*'What shall we do, sink or swim?" she asked
with a responsive laugh.
"Why, swim, of course. We always do."
They relapsed into silence, each thinking his own
thoughts. John vaguely wondered who were her
companions when he saw her first. Had he set her
thinking of some love affair? If she would only
speak, and give him a clew to her thoughts, â€” but
no, when she did speak it was only of the present.
" How dark it is cfrowincr ! How wild it is here !
Are these the same roads you used to ride over
when you were a boy?"
" The very same, but they were in better repair
The Girl at the German Bridge 163
" People seem to have lost heart here. They all
seem so dispirited."
" No wonder ! VVe were so badly used by you
Northerners a few years ago."
'' You say we. You spent over half your life in
the North with us. Do you count yourself one of
" Certainly I do. My father lost his life in the
Southern army ; how could I help it? " He straight-
ened himself, lifting his head proudly. In the
gathering dusk she ventured to look more intently
at him, and thought him handsome at that moment.
" Do you wonder I fear your mother's coming
when I see how deeply you feel about the past? "
*' Ah, but it is past," he answered with a quick
smile. *' The old animosities are dead and should
be buried along with the brave fellows who fought
so desperately on both sides. At least, we of the
younger generation, who have never fought, should
not revive them."
" Yes, you are right. Yet ever since I have lived
here I have felt the past hanging over me like a
cloud. I have been happy, but it seems to confront
me everywhere I turn."
" I see it also, but clouds are never stable. It is
only the shadow of the old troubles, â€” the flying
edge of the storm that has passed over. Coming
from the North, where all is thrift and enterprise,
you may feel the depressed state of affairs more
than they do."
** Now you say they, not we. I guess when it
comes to the present, you do not feel so much one
of them, after all."
1 64 When the Gates Lift Up their Heads
" In sympathy I am, in feeling not. They need
stirring up down here."
"They need something to look forward to.
There is nothing so utterly hopeless as hopeless-
ness. There is a sweet old blind lady I have met.
She seems really to enjoy life more than her
daughter, for she has all the past in which she lives,
while the daughter has more of the hopeless future
before her with its loneliness."
" I am there now. They were my father's dearest
friends. Will you go with me sometime and sing
for Mrs. Wells? Everything done for the mother
gives Miss Katherine pleasure. They are really
very charming." ^
" I would love to do it." The deep bay of
a hound near by startled her. '* I wish men
would n't hunt with hounds. It is cruel," she said
" This is some hound hunting on his own account,
*' What a weird place we have come to ! There,
where the shadows are black among the under-
growth, I seem to see figures moving. See, is that
"Some burnt stump, no doubt. It is a weird
place. Are you timid? There is nothing to fear.
I have been here hundreds of times."
" I 'm not afraid. I am enjoying the strangeness
of it all. I love to be in wild places and imagine
" Imagine your dreadful things quickly, then, while
the opportunity lasts. We are almost there." She
laughed merrily. " How can 3^ou, and laugh like
The Girl at the German Bridge 165
that? Tell me the horrible things you are imagining,
so I may laugh too."
'' Where does this interminable road end? "
" Does it seem so long? You are cruel. It is
very short. It cuts across the gorge here, and there
is a horse trail leading to the cabin which is more
interesting. It winds along skirting the stream. I
have two saddle-horses now, very good ones, I
think. Miss Katherine and I tried them this after-
noon. Will you ride with me here sometime? "
** Oh, Mr. Marshall," she said, drawing in a deep
breath, " I have been longing for a ride over these
hills ever^since we have been here."
*' Then we will go," he said gladly. Just then
lights gleamed out ahead of them, and they came
upon the wagon and carriage in a small level space,
where the rest of the party were waiting them.
"WEN DE GATES LIFT UP DEIR HMDS"
ELLO ! So you 're not lost," said Dick
Button. " We are to leave the horses
here in charge of Alexander and foot it a few rods