right smaht. Mist' John, he know ol' Cl'issy's
" Oh, don't trouble, please don't."
** Yas, Miss Po'tia; I 'members right well Mar's
Gen'l he uset tu say, dar ain' no use libbin' 'daout
She had grown so animated and happy in her
bustle of preparation that Portia had not the heart
to stop her, and in an incredibly short space of time
her little pine table held as tempting a breakfast as
two hungry mortals could wish, — corn bread, eggs
and bacon, crisp, sweet, and sputtering hot, and cold
chicken and coffee.
** Had your breakfast, Joe?" said John, perceiv-
ing the odor with the pleasure of a healthy
" Yas, sah ; mammy she ol' an' crupple, but I 'low
she wo'th mo' 'n I is now," said Joe, weakly.
** You 're all right, Joe. You pull yourself together
and get out of here, and things will look brighter.
Mammy CFissy's Buryin' Clo'es 251
Don't fret about your mule ; I '11 see that you get
work as soon as you are able ; and if those young
fellows are in a hurry for their money, I '11 loan you
a bit until you are ready to earn it. All you have
to do is to haul yourself together, and we '11 have
work enough to keep you and those precious mules
busy all the fall and winter too."
" Mist' John, oh, Mist' John, come right 'long an'
eat yo' co'n bread while hit hot fo' melt de but-
tah. Co'n bread col' ain' no good nohow," called
Mammy Clarissa from the foot of the ladder.
" Yes, mammy, yes, I come with the greatest
alacrity. Good-bye, Joe, mind what I tell you, and
don't get down-hearted. — Why, mammy, this is
like the times I remember when you used to cook
me a meal all my own, when I used to pay for some
fun by being sent off without my dinner."
" Sholy, honey, sholy. Yo' ain' tasted yo' ol*
mammy's cookin' fo' nigh on tu fifteen yeah. Ga-
br'ella done fotch dis buttah, an' I done rose de
chicken an' aigs my own se'f, an' buy dis bacon
wid de dollah yo' gib me turrer day. Draw up yo'
cheer. Miss Po'tia, an' eat. Dis mighty po' far' fo'
yo', I reckon, but rid'n' 'fo' breakfus' makes young
folks like yo' is hungry 'nuff tu tu'n co'n bread 'n'
bacon intu bes' kin' o' high-tone victuals."
" I wonder what that old woman has on her
mind," said Portia, as they strolled back to their
horses through the wildwood tangle. '' She says
the Lord has laid on her the curse of living."
*' Oh, her head is stuffed full of superstitions,
They all are, the negroes."
252 When the Gates Lift Up their Heads
" She has some strange ideas about death. Did
you see those things laid out on the bed? She
says they are her burying clothes, but that the Lord
is not going to allow her to wear them. Poor old
thing ! she did n't seem to wish to talk to me about it.
I tried to find out what she meant, but she changed
the subject and began to cook our breakfast."
" Perhaps she thinks some one has ' tricked ' her,
as they say. They always lay their misfortunes to
some such thing." He led Brown Betty out from
the shade where he had tied her and lifted Portia
deliberately into the saddle.
"You need not do that; I can spring up as I
"But it is my privilege now, is it not?"
"It is sometimes; but John-;-" she stopped
"What is the 'but'?"
" I told you. Your happiness frightens me. It
is beautiful, but how can it last? Even now I must
begin asking hard things of you. I must ask you
not to ride home with me, or not any further than
the turn in the road, there by the dogwood-trees."
"Where you sang to nie the very next morning
after our first meeting? I will turn back at that
place, and why? "
" My face will tell tales." She flushed crimson
at the thought of riding up the walk with him,
under the scrutiny of her assembled household.
"They will all be out there on the piazza, wonder-
ing where on earth I have been."
" How can I help being happy when your face
tells tales of your heart, and I know that the story
Mammy Cl'issy's Buryin' Clo'es 253
is mine? I am not proof against it even if all the
" Our love is sacred. I cannot have them prying
into it. After a while I may get used to it. The
feeling is so new now, I cannot let any one look into
John rode close to her, and touching the hand
hanging down by her side said, " Is it a sweet feel-
ing, Portia? "
She lifted her eyes to his and gave him a look he
never forgot. "Ask your own heart, John; you
will find the answer there."
'* One would think that answer should satisfy me,
but I will ask it over, only to hear you say it again."
Portia was right. All had breakfasted, and most
of the guests were lounging about the piazza, dis-
cussing the weather and indulging in badinage.
Marguerite sat on the edge of the fountain dabbling
in the water with Juliet, and talking with Mr. Held,
who had returned in the early morning from a trip
over the mountains. All eyes were fixed on Portia
as she rode up the drive. Mr. Russell came for-
ward, alert, with beaming face, to assist her from the
" We have missed you this morning," he said.
" What a dear horse ! " said Marguerite, petting
Betty's neck, and feeding her a rose from the bunch
at her belt.
" Indeed she is ! You must try her some time,"
said Portia. "Thank you, Mr. Russell. Where is
Andy? Here, Andy, take the horse, and tell Alex-
ander I wish to see him in about half an hour. We
are glad to see you back again, Mr. Held. Have
2 54 When the Gates Lift Up their Heads
you just come? Have you breakfasted? You see,
I ran away this morning."
**Was your trip successful?"
"Come and look over my sketches. You shall
judge for yourself."
" How delightful ! I must say a word to the
cook first, however ; one cannot ignore meals even
for art. Artists themselves are hungry sometimes, I
" Never, Miss Van Ostade, never."
"Never?" cried Mrs. Barry. "You were not
here at breakfast, Miss Van Ostade, or he would not
dare say that. He said he had been starved for a
week, and ate as if he had been, too."
** I can't imagine what is keeping John," said Mar-
guerite; "he was to be here early this morning."
" Then he surely will," said Portia, guiltily. " Let
us all go in and look at Mr. Held's sketches. They
are charming. You will not miss him when you see
" He promised to send me a horse, and to ride
with me. Never mind ; I would much rather look
at your sketches, Mr. Held, and I shall tell him so,
" Thanks, I will try to believe what you say."
" We have been dying to have those boxes
opened," said Miss Keller, coming down the steps
with the young man from New Jersey. " Mr. Held,
" Happy to make your acquaintance, sir. Then
we will open them immediately. I am always ready
to save life."
Mammy Cl'issy's Buryin' Clo'es 255
" Especially when you can charm at the same
time, Mr. Held?" said Marguerite.
'* I must inquire after Mrs. Marshall," said Portia
" Oh, she is well. She almost always is. She
did not come down this morning, but she means to
drive after a while, I think."
" I hope she will not find it dull here."
"No, aunty never is dull. Sometimes she pre-
tends to be. She should rest now at any rate, for
she was going all the time in New York."
** I am sure she never could be dull with you
always with her ; I need not have asked," said Portia,
with a smile. '' I shall be back in a moment, Mr.
Held," and she left them, hurrying to the kitchen.
** Surre, Miss Porrtia, an' it's an awful leddy yees
have up shtairs now. The Frinch gurril is comin'
into me kitchen ivrry blessed minute wid a new
notion in her head, an' now it 's ' 'Ave yees any ice in
this howl iv a place?' an' now it's ' Th' eggs is too
harrd, an' th' eggs is too saft,' an' it's mesilf '11 in-
vite 'er to cook 'em hersilf next."
"You mustn't mind, Maggie; no doubt she is
** An' it 's tired she must be wid thinkin' up new
things fer wantin'."
"Well, you know it won't do to talk about our
guests, so we will say nothing, and you must do the
best you can."
" There 's a load o' things come down from Ashe-
ville. Miss Porrtia, an' herr 's the bill o' thim."
" Oh, I am glad. Hav^e they sent the fruit? Yes,
here it is. That is one thing off my mind. Bring
256 When the Gates Lift Up their Heads
that Dresden bowl, Maggie, the bkie one." Portia
began hastily unloading good things from the
hamper which made weekly trips between Patter-
son and Asheville to keep the house supplied with
necessary articles. Semi-occasionally a similar ham-
per was sent on from New York.
" You may put away these as I take them out,
Maggie ; wait until I can check them off. That is
Portia's rapid movements soon restored order to
the old kitchen. The hamper was carried out,
and she began arranging some of the fresh fruit in
the dainty Dresden bowl.
" Call Lucy ; I wish her to take these to Mrs.
Marshall's room. Bring me some roses, — no, —
just the buds, Maggie, those are too full-blown.
Now, isn't it pretty?"
" It 's yersilf makes ivry thing purrty wid the
touch av yer ban's," said Maggie, warmly.
"Ah, Maggie, that's blarney. Don't you re-
member how I spoiled the cake for you yesterday,
putting on the frosting? Here, Lucy, take this
bowl of fruit to Mrs. Marshall's room. Say Miss
Van Ostade sent it, and don't stay; just hand it in
and go away."
The dish did not look quite so pretty when it
reached Mrs. Marshall, for one or two of the
great ripe cherries had found their way into Lucy's
capacious mouth, but it was enough to win gracious
thanks from the recipient later, when she entered
the room while all were occupied in looking over
" This waterfall is charming," said Portia. '' Where
Mammy Cl'issy's Buryin' Clo'es 257
did you find such a wonderful spot? Is it near
''It Is only about four miles from Patterson, six
from here, I should think."
" So near? We must visit it."
" Let us all go and make a day of it," sug-
gested Mrs. Barry.
"How do you get there," said Mr. Ridgeway;
" by carriage? "
" It can be reached in that way — I had my trap,
you know — but on horseback is much the better
way. It might be a little rough for ladles, but they
have done it."
" Of course we can," cried Marguerite. " I
mean to go there if I have to go all by myself.
Were you ever there, Aunt Isabel?"
" Long ago. But my jaunting days are over.
You must find some one else to chaperone you on
" Not at all necessary, Aunt Isabel. I will go
without one. I am an American girl."
" I will undertake that duty with pleasure, and I
warrant Mrs. Marshall it will be well done," said
"We shall all be glad to chaperone Miss
McLourie," said Mr. Russell.
" Oh, that would never do. Some one must stay
here to chaperone Aunt Isabel."
" Marguerite ! "
" You know it is my duty to look after you,
"When shall we go?" said Mr. Held.
"The sooner the better," said Mr. Vedder.
258 When the Gates Lift Up their Heads
" Rightaway — if possible, to-morrow," exclaimed
" Would n't the day after be better? " said Portia.
** We must have a lunch, you know."
''That is right, day after to-morrow," cried
Marguerite ; then, in an aside to her guardian,
" Where can John be? He was going to send the
horses this morning."
John was at that moment prowling over the new
building, taking note of the work, and dreaming of
his future. Crossing the road to the station later
he saw Lord Chesterfield leave his parlors in fault-
less attire, with a neat black case in his hand. He
had regular customers at the new boarding-house.
The world was looking up for him in these days.
*' Why, Chas, you look quite aristocratic. Where
are you bound for?"
" De new bo'din'-haouse, sah. I has a right smaht
heap o' customers daoun yandah. Da 's de ol'
genTman wi' de fine long mustaches, — he keep
he's face shave mighty clean an' young lookin', an'
da 's de light young gen'l'man come turrer day, an*
Mist' Held, he done come back 'gin, — I 'low he
wan' see me 'long baouts dis time."
" Shave them up well and don't waste your
** Naw sah, naw ! I don' waste no money."
1 No, Chas never wasted money, except on his own
' precious person. His ruling passion, and the great
stimulus of life was the accumulation of dollars and
cents, as much as if he were a full-blooded white
man and the son of a Wall Street broker. Just
now he was bent on marrying Gabriella Gunn,
Mammy Cl'issy's Buryin' Clo'es 259
because she was industrious and saving, as well as
good-looking; but still his affections were divided
between her and a chambermaid in Asheville,
whose complexion was seven times darker than mid-
night, w^ho had laid by the magnificent sum of three
hundred dollars with which she was trying to tempt
this dashing young cavalier. Now as he walked,
he weighed in his mind the advantages of each. If
he took the one of midnight skin, he might buy him
a fine cart, like the one Mist' John rode about in.
He would not walk in the dust and heat; but
would drive to and from his little jobs, an enviable
spectacle in the eyes of his brethren. Louisa Ann
and he might have a fine little place near the new
hotel, where she could add to their pile by doing
chamber work. Surel}' the plan was good, — but
as he took his solitary way, swinging his case, and
mopping his brow with a strongly perfumed silk-
handkerchief, he saw walking easily along before
him, with her basket poised on her head, her arms
akimbo, and her lithe body erect under the load,
" Miss Gunn," and all the persistence of his most
persistent nature was roused to conquer her with /
his oft repeated assurances of undivided love.
'* Mawnin', Miss Gunn, mawnin' ! " he said, with
his most flattering smile. Gabriella was inclined to
be affable this morning, and beamed on him with
eyes and teeth bewitchingly. They paused in the
road to pass the time of day, and make elaborate
inquiries into each other's state of health. This
seemed a most propitious time, so, as they walked
on together, Chas drew insinuatingly near, and
passed his arm about her waist.
26o When the Gates Lift Up their Heads
** Laws naow, quit yo' foolin'," she said, with a
laugh. '* Haow yo' s'pose I gwine tote yo' an' dis-
yer co'n meal up de hill? Kyan' yo' tote yo' own
ahm 'daout hitchin' hit on tu me? Quit! Yo'
baoun' tu upset dis-yer basket."
'' Yo' haish ! Did n' I tol' yo' I ain gwine put
up wid yo' foolin' no longer? Yo' like tu craze me
wid yo' goin's on. I reckon I '11 be tuk sick 'fo'
long, I been so trouble' in my min*."
*' Likely yo' is trouble' in yo' min'." She shrieked
with laughter, setting down her basket, that she
might shake herself in her merriment. " I see yo'
mighty trouble' in yo' min' studyin' haow yo' gwine
git 'long wid Gabr'ella Gunn one day, an' dat fine
young lady in Asheville nex'."
*' Dey ain' no gal in Asheville kin stan' 'long-
side Gabr'ella Gunn."
" Naw, likely not. I hyeared yo' co'tin', yandah
in Asheville. I done hyeared yo' co'tin' Louisa Ann
Williams, ol' Bija's gal. She tu pu'ty tu stan' 'long-
side whar I stan'. I 's seed her heap o' times."
'* Look a-heah, Gabr'ella, I been so hu'ted in my
min' wid yo' foolin' I jes* tryin' tu like nudder gal,
but I sw'ar I kyan' du hit nohaow, I 's dat fool gone
on yo', Gabr'ella, an' heah yo' smile one day, an'
chide de nex'."
" Yandah comes Mist' Ridgeway's cahiage. Is
yo' seed ol' missus? Nance say as haow she
come back 'gin. Nance say as haow Alexandah
wife, she say Alek, he mos' knock aout de las' toof
in he's haid, he so s'prised, an' he's teef knock to-
gedder like he see a ghos', dat time she come 'long-
side de cahiage like she step aout'n de grabe."
Mammy Cl'issy's Buryin' Clo'es 261
** I seed her git off'n de kyar las' ebenin', but I
'low she nuvah knowed who I war. I nuvah let on
like I seed 'er. I spec' she hate de berry sight o'
we-all, sence she kyan' call we her cattle, an' set de
ovahseah on us like she uset tu no mo'. I kin
'membah right well dat time I peek t'roo de shed
doah, an' I seed her stannin' dar an' de ovahseah,
an' ol' Kate cryin' in de kitchin. OF Kate she
say, * Run 'nd peek, chile, quick; I 'low dey '11 kill
Cl'issy,' an' I peek, an' dar lie Cl'issy, an' ol' missus
lookin' on, an' de ovahseah lay on de lash like he
nuvah gwine leab a speck o' skin on her back."
Chas paused to look after the carriage as it rolled
past, then continued, " I seed mo' 'n dat tu, oncet.
Dat time Mars'r war in Wash'nton, an* missus she
run de place. She run hit right ha'd tu w'en she
run hit, a smilin' one day, an' a lickin' de nex'."
They had come to the turn where their roads lay
in different directions, and now they proceeded to
take as elaborate a leave of one another as if they
were not to meet again for months.
THE BLIND WOMAN'S VISIT
MA," said Miss Katherine, a few days after
Mrs. Marshall's arrival, '' ought we not to
call on John's mothah? Shall we go to-day?"
The old lady turned her sightless eyes on her
daughter a moment, but said nothing. *' I know,
ma, we can't do like we used tue, but ouh family is
as good as hers, if we ah poor, and the ride will do
you good. We have n't made a call together foh
"It is n't that there is any question of family be-
tween us ; there never was ; but you know I can't see
her now, and I don't care to have her pitying me,
— but there, Katherine, you are right, we would
better go." She was silent a moment, lost in thought,
then spoke again. *' Mrs. Marshall never was one
to look up to any one else, but- as far as family
goes, she might have looked up to your father."
Katherine sat in a low chair with her lap full of
roses, arranging them in a row of vases before her,
and snipping off the thorns and imperfect ones as
she talked. They were seated in the shade of vines,
in one corner of the broad piazza that ran jft-ound
three sides of the house. Mrs. Wells swayed slowly
back and forth in a rocker and fanned herself with
a palm-leaf fan.
The Blind Woman's Visit 263
" Of coa'se I know pa's family was of the very
best in this country, where there is no real aristoc-
racy, and so was youas, mothah, foh that mattah,
but there it is, she is as rich as evah they were,
while we, — where ah we? How comes it that the
wall used us-all up, and left her as rich as evah, o'
** It's no North Carolina property she 's living on
now, daughter. I reckon there in Cuba, while we
were losing, they were making hand over fist.
Her father was never one to lose a good chance,
and she has the thrift of the whole family condensed
in one for saving. I well remember when the Gen-
eral was all taken up with his political duties, she
managed that place better than ever he did, — she
got more out of the niggers than ever he did, for
" I always thought the Yankees were the ones for
making money, — she 's no Yankee."
" No, but she 's from one of those rich old Spanish
families, and I 'm thinking there never was a na-
tion that cared more for gold. The old General was
free-handed and open-hearted, but she was close both
ways, and yet she was lavish too, in a way." Mrs.
Wells swayed thoughtfully a moment in her rocker,
and Miss Katherine snipped at her roses ; then her
mother resumed the thread of her talk. " She
would do some big, generous thing when she felt
like it, but she knew how to hold her own as well
as any one I ever saw ; but then, we were always
good friends. Yes, of course we must call, and
that right soon."
" I think there's someone coming. I see dust ris-
264 When the Gates Lift Up their Heads
ing ovah the rise in the road, — suah enough, it's
John and Miss McLourie ! "
The young people were upon them before Miss
Katherine could shake the rose-leaves from her lap.
Some one else was with them. It was the artist.
As they drew rein before the long piazza, he it was
who assisted Marguerite from the saddle. Happy
little Marguerite ! she needed only the glow which
the exercise brought into her cheeks to make her
" Do go on with your flowers," said Marguerite
after the introductions were over. *' You don't know
how pretty you looked seated among these vines
with your lap full of roses. Did n't she, John? Let
me help you."
*' Help me look pretty? Indeed you can do that
very easily, — sit right beside me." The two gentle-
men laughed. Marguerite laughed too, but did as
she was bid.
" Come here, child," said Mrs. Wells. " You
know I cannot see you, and I wish to know if you
are like your mother. I used to know your beauti-
" Miss McLourie is a young lady, ma, she is not a
Marguerite obediently went over, and knelt down
by her chair, while the old lady lightly touched her
hair, her cheeks and forehead, and chin, and throat
" Yes," she said at last, " you are like your mother,
and I have looked into your eyes when you were a
little dimpled baby, and held you in my arms in your
long white dresses. You were such a peaceful baby."
The Blind Woman's Visit 265
'* What a change you have undergone, Mar-
guerite," said John, teasingly.
'* No wonder ! if you had held me I would have
screamed and kicked." As she turned to pout at
John, she caught the look of open-eyed admiration
on the face of the artist, which he was unconscious
of showing, it being merely the scientific admiration
to which he thought his art entitled him.
Marguerite comprehended, and a gleam of resent-
ment flashed into her eyes, as she thought, " I '11
teach him to look at me as if I were some old ruin,
or something to put in one of his old pictures," but
she only turned toward Miss Katherine with a smile.
** We are all going on an excursion to the love-
liest place ; Mr. Held found it. And we want you
to join us. Miss Van Ostade sent us, or rather was
coming herself, and we said we would bring it — the
invitation — for her."
" As well as for ourselves," said John.
" Of course, and you will go, will you not?"
Katherine looked at her mother, and the blind
woman, divining as if she could see, responded to
the look. " Yes, Katherine, Gertrude can do all I
wish. Of course she will go, it will do her good."
"But motheh — "
*' Don't stop to think of any * buts.' "
"No, don't," said John.
" How long must I be away ? "
" Only two days ; one to go, one night there and
one day to return."
*' Oh, neveh ! " Katherine was appalled. " Why, I
have n't been away from ma foh ten yeahs." She
rose in a flutter and brushed the lose-leaves frorp
266 When the Gates Lift Up their Heads
her dress. ** I cannot. Theah 's only Gertrude
heah, and Gabe, — but he's no good."
Mr. Held eyed her critically. *' She would make a
fine study," he thought, " and the old lady too, just
as they are."
" Where do you go? " asked the mother.
** It 's up at a place they call Hibbard's Lodge.
I know the man who built it. He lives in Washing-
ton, and goes up there once a year. The rest of the
time an old man and his wife keep the place and
make what they can from the few travellers who
come that way. The only trouble is, you have to
take what provision you need along with you, for
the old couple never keep much on hand, — but
it 's all very neat, and well kept."
" Is that the way you did?" asked Marguerite,
'* No, I lived on scenery and paint."
" Well, what word shall we take to Miss Van
Ostade? " said John.
" Come," said Marguerite, drawing Katherine
after her, ** don't say no, until wc talk it all over.
Let us go in here while they visit."
Katherine yielded to the gentle pull, and so once
more the little witch had her way, and in five min-
utes had made a resting-place for herself in Miss
Katherine's heart. They returned the best of old
friends, because, as Marguerite explained to Kath-
erine, ** You see, your mother knew my mother,
even before she was married, and held me in her
arms when I was a tiny little baby, so it seems we
have always been friends, does it not?" A fact
which the child had learned for the first time a few
The Blind Woman's Visit 267
moments before as she knelt by the bHnd woman's
chair; but how should Katherine know it, had it not
been told over and over again by Aunt Isabel, and so
she loved them both the better for the thought, and
no harm was done by the innocent deception, which,
to do Marguerite justice, was not intended as such.
^' Yes, John, she will go," said Marguerite, trium-
phantly, '* and now we must settle about time and