Sarah Orne Jewett.

Betty Leicester online

. (page 1 of 13)
Online LibrarySarah Orne JewettBetty Leicester → online text (page 1 of 13)
Font size
QR-code for this ebook


NY PUBLIC LIBRARY THE BRANCH LIBRARIES



3 3333 08119 0163



W <-*' " u 'r*^

>o4177



BETTY LEICESTER




rue



STORIES AND TALES. 7 vols. Illustrated.

THE LETTERS OF SARAH ORNE JEWETT. illus-
trated.

THE TORY LOVER. Illustrated.

THE QUEEN'S TWIN AND OTHER STORIES.

THE COUNTRY OF THE POINTED FIRS.

DEEPHAVEN.

Holiday Edition. With 52 illustrations. Attractively bound.

OLD FRIENDS AND NEW.

COUNTRY BY-WAYS.

THE MATE OF THE DAYLIGHT, AND FRIENDS
ASHORE.

A COUNTRY DOCTOR. A Novel.

A MARSH ISLAND. A Novel.

A WHITE HERON AND OTHER STORIES.

THE KING OF FOLLY ISLAND, AND OTHER PEO-
PLE.

STRANGERS AND WAYFARERS.

A NATIVE OF WINBY, AND OTHER TALES.

THE LIFE OF NANCY.

TALES OF NEW ENGLAND.

THE SAME. In Riverside Aldine Series In Riverside
School Library.

PLAY-DAYS. Stories for Girls.

BETTY LEICESTER. A Story for Girls.

BETTY LEICESTER'S CHRISTMAS. Illustrated.

HOUGHTON MIFFLIN COMPANY
BOSTON AND NEW YotK



BETTY LEICESTER



A STORY FOR GIRLS



BY

SARAH ORNE JEWETT




j >







BOSTON AND ^3W \ ORK

j i j ^

HOUGHTON iVIJ^FLTN COMPANY



COPYRIGHT, iSSp, BY SARAH ORNE JEWETT
COPYRIGHT, 1917, BY MARY R. JEWETT



ALL RIGHTS RESERVED



THE NEW YORK

PUBLIC LIBRARY



A8TOH,
TH-DEN



. !

. I

::.-...' v VV :': : ::

* r



* *

!



WITH LOVE TO

M. 45. .

ONE OF THE FIRST OF BETTY'S FRIENDS





, - - -

% '

t *u .

" ,

, '






I * '

. k tie <



CONTENTS.



PAGE

1. As FAR AS RlV'-vRPORT .... 1

II. THF PACKET BOAT 17

III. A BIT OF COLOR 28

IV. TIDESHEAD 40

V. AT BECKY'S HOUSE 50

VI. THE GARDEN TEA 60

VII. THE Sm BOOKS 72

VIII. A CHAPTER OF LETTERS . . . .93

IX. BETTY'S REFLECTIONS .... 108

X. UP-COUNTRY . . . . , . .137

XI. THE Two FRIENDS 158

XII. BETTY AT HOME 171

XIII. A GREAT EXCITEMENT .... 185

XIV. THE OuT-(#-pptJh; CLUS .,..,... .209

> ->* >*

XV. THE STARJET coMiW IN 1 , 1 ; , ., : ;'.;" . 221

XVI. DOWN THE RITCER, ,,,,., k , ' ' . 239

XVII. GOING AWAY :V: ;^ J '. ;. *:',' . - 276



, .

> I ,



. .'

< ,



'




I W

r i
t t



C '



BETTY LEICESTER,



AS FAR AS RIVERPORT.

Two persons sat at a small breakfast-table
near an open window, high up in Young's Ho-
tel in Boston. It was a pleasant June morn-
ing, just after eight o'clock, and they could see
the white clouds blowing over ; but the gray
walls of the Court House were just opposite,
so that one cannot say much of their view
of the world. The room was pleasanter than
most hotel rooms, aisd the persons at breakfast
were a girl of fifteen, named Beity Leicester,
and her father. Their, friends ^thought them
both good-looking, but it ought; to be revealed

* *, > O c *

in this story just what ;3uit, of, [email protected] looks they
had, since character makes the expression of
people's faces. But this we can say, to begin



2 BETTY LEICESTER.

with : they had eyes very much alike, very
kind and frank and pleasant, and they had a
good fresh color, as if they spent much time
out of -doors. In fact, they were just off the
sea, having come in only two days before on
the Catalonia from Liverpool ; and the Cata-
lonia, though very comfortable, had made a
slower voyage than some steamers do in com-



ing across.



They had nearly finished breakfast, but
Betty was buttering one more nice bit of toast
to finish her marmalade, while Mr. Leicester
helped himself to more strawberries. They
both looked a little grave, as if something im-
portant were to be done when breakfast was
over ; and if you had sat in the third place
by the table, and, instead of looking out of
the window, had looked to right and left into
the bedrooms that opened at either hand, you
would 'g^ss* *tHe /reasW- * . ifii 'JBetty's room, on
her tab Je-j w*efe *her "uistteY 'and her umbrella
and her tra^eimg-lSg 5SS>ide a basket, these
last being labeled '^M'iss'E. Leicester, Tides-

i, j ***: \- ""' : -4.

head; aim 1 lie']Qra: opposite was a corre-
sponding array," excepting *that the labels read,
" T. Leicester, Windsor Hotel, Montreal."



AS FAR AS RIVERPORT. 3

So for once the girl and her father were going
in different directions.

" Papa, dear," said Betty, " how long will it
be before you can tell about coming back from
Alaska?"

"Perhaps I shall know in a month," said
Mr. Leicester; "but you understand that it
will not be like a journey through civilized
countries, and there are likely to be many hin-
drances and delays. Beside, you must count
upon our finding everything enormously inter-
esting. I shall try hard not to forget how
interesting a waiting young somebody called
Betty is ! "

Betty made an attempt to smile, but she be-
gan to feel very dismal. " The aunts will ask
me, you know, papa dear," she said. " I am
sure that Aunt Barbara felt a little grumpy
about your not coming now."

" Dear Aunt Barbara ! " said Mr. Leicester
seriously ; " I wish that I could have managed
it, but I will stay long enough to make up,
when I get back from the North."

" Your birthday is the first of September ;
thirty-nine this year, you poor old thing ! Oh
if we could only have the day in Tideshead,



4 BETTY LEICESTER.

it would be such fun ! ' Betty looked more
cheerful again with this hope taking possession
of her mind.

" You are always insisting upon my having
a new birthday ! ' said Mr. Leicester, deter-
mined upon being cheerful too. " You will
soon be calling me your grandfather. I mean
to expect a gold-headed cane for my present
this year. Now we must be getting ready for
the station, dear child. I am sure that we
shall miss each other, but I will do things for
you and you will do things for me, won't you,
Betsey ? ' and he kissed her affectionately,
while Betty clung fast to him with both arms
tight round his neck. Somehow she never had
felt so badly at saying good-by.

" And you will be very good to the old
aunts ? Remember how fond they have always
been of your dear mamma and of me, and
how ready they are to give you all their love.
I think you can grow to be a very great com-
fort to them and a new pleasure. They must
really need you to play with."

There was a loud knock at the door ; the
porter came in and carried away a high-heaped
armful from Betty's room. " Carriage is ready



FAR AS RIVERPORT. b

at the door, sir," he said. " Plenty of time,
sir ; " and then went hurrying away again to
summon somebody else. Betty's eyes were full
of tears when she came out of her room and
met papa, who was just looking at his watch
in the little parlor.

" Say ' God bless you, Betty,' ' she managed
to ask.

" God bless you, Betty, my dear Betty ! '
Mr. Leicester said gravely. " God bless you,
dear, and make you a blessing."

" Papa dear, I was n't really crying. You
know that you 're coming back within three
months, and we shall be writing letters all the
time, and Tideshead is n't like a strange place."
" Dear me, no ! you '11 never wish to come
away from Tideshead ; give it my love, and
4 call every bush my cousin,' answered Mr.
Leicester gayly as they went down in the ele-
vator. The trying moment of the real good-
by was over, and the excitement and interest
of Betty's journey had begun. She liked the
elevator boy and had time to find a bit of
money for him, that being the best way to rec-
ognize his politeness and patience. "Thank
you ; good-by," she said pleasantly as she put



6 BETTY LEICESTER.

it into his hand. She was hoarding the min-
utes that were left, and tried to remember the
things that she wished to say to papa as thej
drove to the Eastern Station ; but the minutes
flew by, and presently Mr. Leicester was left
on the platform alone, while the cars moved
away with his girl. She waved her hand and
papa lifted his hat once more, though he had
already lost sight of her, and so they parted.
The girl thought it was very hard. She won-
dered all over again if she could n't possibly
have gone on the long journey to the far
North which she had heard discussed so often
and with such enthusiasm. It seemed wrong
and unnatural that she and her father should
not always be together everywhere.

It was very comfortable in the train, and
the tide was high among the great marshes.
The car was not very full at first, but at one
or two stations there were crowds of people,
and Betty soon had a seat-mate, a good-natured
looking, stout woman, who was inclined to be
very sociable. She was a little out of breath
and much excited.

" Would you like to sit next the window ? '
inquired Betty.



AS FAB AS E1VERPORT. 7

" No, lem me set where I be," replied the
anxious traveler. " 'T is as well one place as
another. I feel terrible unsartin' on the cars.
I don't expect you do ? '

" Not very," said Betty. " I have never had
anything happen."

" You b'en on 'em before, then ? '

"Oh, yes, indeed," said Betty.

" Ever b'en in Boston ? perhaps you come
from that way ? '

" I came from there this morning, but I am
on my way from London to Tideshead." Some-
how this announcement sounded ostentatious,
and Betty, being modest, regretted it.

" W hat London do you refer to ? ' asked
the woman, and, having been answered, said,
" Oh, bless ye ! when it comes to seafarin' I 'm
right to home, I tell you. I did n't know but
you 'd had to come from some o' them Lon-
dons out West ; all the way by cars. I 've got
a sister that lives to London, lowy ; she comes
East every three or four year ; passes two days
an' two nights, I believe 't is, on the cars:
makes nothin' of it. I ain't been no great ol
a traveler. Creation 's real queer, ain't it ! '

Betty's fellow-traveler was looking earnestly



8 BETTY LEICESTER.

at the green fields, and seemed to express
everything she felt of wonder and interest by
her last remark, to which Betty answered
"yes," with a great shake of laughter- and
hoped that there would be still more to say.

" Have you been to sea a good deal? " she
asked.

" Lor' yes, dear. Father owned two thirds
o' the ship I was born on, and bought into an-
other when she got old, an' I was married off o'
her ; the Sea Queen, Dexter, master, she was.
Then I sailed 'long o' my husband till the
child'n begun to come an' I found there was
some advantages in bringin' up a family on
shore, so I settled down for a spell ; but just
as I got round to leavin' and goin' back, my
husband got tired o' the sea and shippin' all
run down, so home he come, and you would n't
know us now from shorefolks. Pretty good
sailor, be ye ? " (looking at Betty sharply).

" Yes, I love the sea," said Betty.

" I want to know," said her new friend ad-
miringly, and then took a long breath and got
out of her gloves.

" Your father a shipmaster ? ' she contin-
ued.



AS FAR AS R1VERPORT. 9

41 No," said Betty humbly.

" What trade does he follow ? '

" He has written some books ; he is a nat-
uralist ; but papa can do almost anything,"
replied Betty proudly.

" I want to know," said the traveler again.
* "Well, I don't realize just what naturalists
hold to ; there 's too many sects a-goin' nowa-
days for me. I was brought up good old-fash-
ioned Methodist, but this very mornin' in the
depot I was speakin' with a stranger that said
she was a Calvin-Advent, and they was increas-
in' fast. She did 'pear as well as anybody ; a
nice appearin' woman. "Well, there 's room for
all."

Betty was forced to smile, and tried to hide
her face by looking out of the window. Just
then the conductor kindly appeared, and so she
pulled her face straight again.

"Ain't got no brothers an' sisters?" asked
the funny old soul.

" No," said Betty. " Papa and I are all
alone."

" Mother ain't livin' ? " and the kind homely
face turned quickly toward her.

** She died when I was a baby."



BETTY LEICESTER.

" My sakes, how you talk ! You don't fee-
to miss her, but she would have set everything
by you." (There was something truly affec-
tionate in the way this was said.) " All my
child'n are married off," she continued. " The
house seems too big now. I do' know but
what, if you don't like where you 're goin', I
will take ye in, long 's you feel to stop."

"Oh, thank you," said Betty gratefully.
r I 'm sure I should have a good time. I 'm
going to stay with my grand-aunts this sum-
mer. My father has gone to Alaska."

"Oh, I do feel to hope it's by sea!' ex-
claimed the listener.

The cars rattled along and the country grew
greener and greener. Betty remembered it
very well, although she had not seen it for four
years, so long it was since she had been in
Tideshead before. After seeing the stone-
walled and thatched or tiled roofs of foreign
countries, the wooden buildings of New Eng'
land had a fragile look as if the wind and rain
would soon spoil and scatter them. The vil-
lages and everything but some of the very
oldest farms looked so new and so temporary
that Betty Leicester was much surprised s



AS FAR AS RIVERPORT. 11

knowing well that she was going through some
of the very oldest New England towns. She
had a delightful sense of getting home again,
which would have pleased her loyal father, and
indeed Betty herself believed that she could not
be proud enough of her native land. Papa al-
ways said the faults of a young country were
so much better than the faults of an old one.
However, when the train crossed a bridge near
a certain harbor on the way and the young
traveler saw an English flag flying on a ship,
it looked very pleasant and familiar.

The morning was growing hot, and the
good seafarer in the seat beside our friend
seemed to grow very uncomfortable. Her
dress was too thick, and she was trying to
hold on her bonnet with her chin, though it
slipped back farther and farther. Somehow
a great many women in the car looked very
warm and wretched in thick woolen gowns
and unsteady bonnets. Nobody looked as if
she were out on a pleasant holiday except one
neighbor, a brisk little person with a canary
bird and an Indian basket, out of which she
now and then let a kitten's head appear, long
enough to be patted and then tucked back



again.



12 BETTY LEICESTER.

Betty's companion caught sight of this smil-
ing neighbor after a time and expressed her-
self as surprised that anybody should take
the trouble to cart a kitten from town to
town, when there were two to every empty
saucer already. Betty laughed and supposed
that she did n't like cats, and was answered
gruffly that they were well enough in their
place. It was one of our friend's griefs that
she never was sure of being long enough in
one place to keep a kitten of her own, but the
pleasant thought came that she was almost
sure to find some at Aunt Barbara's where she
was going.

It was not time to feel hungry, but Betty
caught sight of a paper box which the waiter
had brought to the carriage just as she was
leaving the hotel. She was having a hot and
dusty search under the car-seat for the sailor
woman's purse, which had suddenly gone over-
board from the upper deck of her wide lap,
but it was found at last, and Betty produced
the luncheon-box too and opened it. Her new
Hend looked on with deep interest. " I 'm
)nly goin 's far as Newburyport," she explained
sagerly, " so I 'm not provided."



AS FAR AS EIVERPORT. 13

" Papa knew that I should be hungry by
noon," said Betty. " We always try not to
get too hungry when we are traveling because
one gets so much more tired. I always carry
some chocolate in my bag."

" I expect you 've had sights of experience.
You ain't be'n kep' short, that 's plain. They
ain't many young gals looks so rugged. Eu-
joy good health, dear, don't ye?' which Betty
answered with enthusiasm.

The luncheon looked very inviting and Betty
offered a share most hospitably, and in spite
of its only being a quarter before eleven when
the feast began, the chicken sandwiches en-
tirely disappeared. There were only four, and
half a dozen small sponge-cakes which proved
to be somewhat dry and unattractive.

" I only laid in a light breakfast," apolo-
gized Betty's guest. "I'm obliged to you,
I 'm sure, but then I wa' n't nigh so hungry
as when I got adrift once, in an open boat,
for two days and a night, and they give me
up"-

But at this moment the train man shouted
* Newburyport," as if there were not a min-
ute to be lost, and the good soul gathered



14 BETTY LEICESTER.

her possessions in a great hurry, dropping
her purse again twice, and letting fall bits of
broken sentences with it from which Betty
could gather only " The fog come in," and
" coast o' France," and then, as they said good-
by, " 't was so divertin' ridin' along that I
took no note of stoppin'." After they had
parted affectionately, she stood for a min-
ute or two at the door of the still moving
train, nodding and bobbing her kind old head
at her young fellow-passenger whenever they
caught each other's eye. Betty was sorry to
lose this new friend so soon, and felt more
lonely than ever. She wished that they had
known each other's names, and especially that
there had been time to hear the whole of the
boat story.

Now that there was no one else in the car
seat it seemed to be a good time to look over
some things in the pretty London traveling
bag, which had been pushed under its owner's
feet until then. Betty found a small bit of
chocolate for herself by way of dessert to the
early luncheon, and made an entry in a tidy
little account book which she meant to keep
carefully until she should be with papa again.



AS FAR AS RIVERPORT. 15

It was a very interesting bag, with a dressing-
case fitted into it and a writing case, all fur-
nished with glass and ivory and silver fittings
and yet very plain, and nice, and convenient.
Betty's dear friend, Mrs. Duncan, had given it
to her that very spring, before she thought of
coining to America, and on the voyage it had
been worth its weight in gold. Out of long
experience the young traveler had learned not
to burden herself with too many things, but all
her belongings had some pleasant associations :
her button-hook was bought in Amsterdam,
and a queer little silver box for buttons came
from a village very far north in Norway, while
a useful jackknife had been found in Spain,
although it bore J. Crookes of Sheffield's name
on the haft. Somehow the traveling bag it-
self brought up Mrs. Duncan's dear face, and
Betty's eyes glistened with tears for one mo-
ment. The Duncan girls were her best f riends^
and she had had lessons with them for many
months at a time in the last few years, so they
had the strong bond in friendship of having
worked as well as played together. But Mrs.
Duncan had been very motherly and dear to
our friend, and just now seemed nearer and



16 BETTY LEICESTER.

more helpful than ever. The train whistled
along and the homesick feeling soon passed,
though Betty remembered that Mrs. Duncan
had said once that wherever you may put twc
persons one is always hostess and the other
always guest, either from circumstances alone
or from their different natures, and they must
be careful about their duties to each other.
Betty had not quite understood this when she
heard it said, though the words had stayed in
her mind. Now the meaning flashed clearly
into her thought, and she was pleased to think
that she had just now been the one who knew
most about traveling. She wished so much
ihat she could have been of more use to the
old lady, but after all she seemed to have a
good little journey, and Betty hoped that she
could remember all about this droll companion
when she was writing, at her own journey's
end, to papa.



II.

THE PACKET BOAT.

THE day was one of the best days in June,
with warm sunshine and a cool breeze from
the east, for when Betty Leicester stepped
from a hot car to the station platform in
Riverport the air had a delicious sea-flavor.
She wondered for a moment what this flavor
was like, and then thought of a salt oyster.
She was hungry and tired, the journey had
been longer than she expected, and, as she
made her way slowly through the crowded
station and was pushed about by people who
were hurrying out of or into the train, she felt
unusually disturbed and lonely. Betty had
traveled far and wide for a girl of fifteen, but
she had seldom been alone, and was used to
taking care of other people. Papa himself
was very apt to forget important minor details,
and she had learned out of her loving young
heart to remember them, and was not without"



18 BETTY LEICESTER.

high ambitions to make their journeys as com-
fortable as possible. Still, she and her father
had almost always been together, and Betty
wondered if it had not after all been foolish
to make a certain decision which involved not
seeing him again until a great many weeks
had gone by.

The cars moved away and the young trav-
eler went to the ticket-office to ask about the
Tideshead train. The ticket-agent looked at
her with a smile.

" Train 's gone half an hour ago ! ' he said,
as if he were telling Betty some good news.
" There '11 be another one at eight o'clock to-
morrow morning, and the express goes, same
as to-day, at half past one. I suppose you
want to go to Tideshead town ; this road only
goes to the junction and then there 's a stage,
you know." He looked at Betty doubtfully
and as if he expected an instant decision on
her part as to what she meant to do next.

" 1 knew that there was a stage," she an-
swered, feeling a little alarmed, but hoping
that she did not show it. " The time-table
isaid there was a train to meet this "

"Oh, that train is an express now and



TEE PACKET BOAT. 19

does n't stop. Everything 's got to be sacri-
ficed to speed."

The ticket-agent had turned his back and
was looking over some papers and grumbling
to himself, so that Betty could no longer hear
what he was pleased to say. As she left the
window an elderly man, whose face was very
familiar, was standing in the doorway.

" Well, ma'am, you an' I 'pear to have got
left. Tideshead, you said, if I rightly under-
stood ? "

" Perhaps there is somebody who would
drive us there," said Betty. She never had
been called ma'am before, and it was most
surprising. " It is n't a great many miles, is
it?"

" No, no ! " said the new acquaintance. " I
was in considerable of a hurry to get home,
but 't is n't so bad as you think. We can go
right up on the packet, up river, you know ;
get there by supper-time ; the wind 's hauling
round into the east a little. I understood }'ou
to speak about getting to Tideshead ? '

" Yes," said Betty, gratefully.

"Got a trunk, I expect. Well, I '11 go out
and look round for Asa Chick and his han'ca*t,



20 BETTY LEICESTER.

and we '11 make for the wharf as quick as we
can. You may step this way."

Betty " stepped ' gladly, and Asa Chick
and the handcart soon led the way riverward
through the pleasant old-fashioned streets of
Riverport. Her new friend pointed out one
or two landmarks as they hurried along, for 5
strange to say, although a sea-captain, he was
not sure whether the tide turned at half past
two or at half past three. When they came to
the river-side, however, the packet-boat was
still made fast to the pier, and nothing showed
signs of her immediate departure.

" It is always a good thing to be in time,"
said the captain, who found himself much too
warm and nearly out of breath. " Now, we Ve
got a good hour to wait. Like to go right
aboard, my dear ? '

Betty paid Asa Chick, and then turned to
see the packet. It was a queer, heavy-looking
craft, with a short, thick mast and high,
pointed lateen-sail, half unfurled and dropping
in heavy pocket-like loops. There was a dark
low cabin and a long deck ; a very old man
and a fat, yellow dog seemed to be the whole
ship's company. The old man was smoking a



THE PACKET BOAT, 21

pipe and took no notice of anything, but the
dog rose slowly to his feet and came wagging
his tail and looking up at the new passenger.

" I do' know but 1 11 coast round up into the
town a little," said the captain. " 'T ain't no
use asking old Mr. Plunkett there any ques-
tions, he 's deef as a ha'dick."

"Will my trunk be safe?" asked Betty;
to which the captain answered that he would
put it right aboard for her. It was not a very
heavy trunk, but the captain managed it beau-
tifully, and put Betty's hand-bag and wrap
into the dark cabin. Old Plunkett nodded as
he saw this done, and the captain said again
that Betty might feel perfectly safe about
everything ; but, for all that, she refused to
take a walk in order to see what was going on
in the town, as she was kindly invited to do.


1 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 11 12 13

Online LibrarySarah Orne JewettBetty Leicester → online text (page 1 of 13)