" Yes ; and their long soft hair, with the smell of roses in
it too," said Felipa dreamily. But the hair was Christine's.
" I shall love them for ever, and they will love me for
ever," continued the child. "DroUo too." She patted the
dc^'s head as she spoke, ^nd then concluded to kiss him on
his little inch of forehead ; next she offered him all her
medicines and lotions in turn, and he smelled at them grim-
ly. " He likes to know what I am taking," she explained.
I went on : " You love them, Felipa, and they are fond
of you. They will always remember you, no doubt."
" Remember V cried Felipa, starting up from her cush-
ions like a Jack-in-a-box. "They are not going away?
" But of course they must go some time, for — ^
But Felipa was gone. Before I could divine her intent
she had flung herself out of her chair down on the floor,
and was crawling on her hands and knees toward the out-
er room. I ran after her, but she reached the door before
me, and, dragging her bandaged foot behind her, drew her-
self toward Christine. " You are not going away ! You
are not ! you are not !" she sobbed, clinging to her skirts.
Christine was reading tranquilly ; Edward stood at the
outer door mending his fishing-tackle. The coolness be-
tween them remained, unwarmed by so much as a breath.
" Run away, child ; you disturb me," said Christine, turning
over a leaf. She did not even look at the pathetic little
bundle at her feet. Pathetic little bundles must be taught
some time what ingratitude deserves.
" How can she run, lame as she is ? " said Edward from
"You are not going away, are you? Tell me you are
not," sobbed Felipa in a passion of tears, beating on the
floor with one hand, and with the other clinging to Chris-
" I am not going," said Edward. •* Do not sob so, you
poor little thing ! "
She crawled to him, and he took her up in his arms and
soothed her into stillness again ; then he carried her out on
the barren for a breath of fresh air.
" It is a most extraordinary thing how that child confounds
you two/' I said. " It is a case of color-blindness, as it were
— supposing you two were colors."
" Which we are not," replied Christine carelessly. " Do
not stray off into mysticism, Catherine."
" It is not mysticism ; it is a study of character — "
" Where there is no character," replied my friend.
I gave it up, but I said to myself : " Fate, in the next
world make me one of those long, lithe, light-haired women,
will you ? I want to see how it feels."
Felipa's foot was well again, and spring had come. Soon
we must leave our lodge on the edge of the pine-barren, our
outlook over the salt-marsh, with the river sweeping up twice a
day, bringing in the briny odors of the ocean ; soon we should
see no more the eagles far above us or hear the night-cry of
the great owls, and we must go without the little fairy flowers
of the barren, so smaU that a hundred of them scarcely made
a tangible bouquet, yet what beauty I what sweetness ! In
my portfolio were sketches and studies of the salt-marsh, and
in my heart were hopes. Somebody sa}^ somewhere : " Hope
is more than a blessing ; it is a duty and a virtue." But I fail
to appreciate preserved hope — hope put up in cans and served
out in seasons of depression. I like it fresh from the tree.
And so when I hope it ts hope, and not that well-dried, monot-
onous cheerfulness which makes one long to throw the per-
sistent smilers out of the window. Felipa danced no more
on the barrens ; her illness had toned her down ; she seemed
content to sit at our feet while we talked, looking up dreamily
into our faces, but no longer eagerly endeavoring to compre-
hend. We were there ; that was enough.
" She is growing like a reed," I said ; " her illness has left
" -Minded," suggested Christine.
At this moment Felipa stroked the lady's white hand ten-
deiiy and laid her brown cheek against it.
" Do you not feel reproached ? " I said.
** Why ? Must we give our love to whoever loves us ? A
fine parcel of paupers we should all be, wasting our inheri-
tance in pitiful small change ! Shall I give a thousand beg-
gars a half hour's happiness, or shall I make one soul rich
his whole life long ? "
" The latter," remarked Edward, who had come up unob-
They gazed at each other unflinchingly. They had come
to open battle during those last days, and I knew that the end
was near. Their words had been cold as ice, cutting as steel,
and I said to myself, " At any moment." There would be a
deadly struggle, and then Christine would yield. Even I com-
prehended something of what that yielding would be.
" Why do they hate each other so ? " Felipa said to me
" Do they hate each other? "
" Yes, for I feel it here," she answered, touching her breast
with a dramatic little gesture.
" Nonsense I - Go and play with your doll, child." For I
had made her a respectable, orderly doll to take the place of
the ungainly fetich out on the barren.
Felipa g^ve me a look and walked away. A moment
afterward she brought the doll out of the house before my
very eyes, and, going down to the end of the dock, deliber-
ately threw it into the water ; the tide was flowing out, and
away went my toy-woman out of sight, out to sea.
" Well ! " I said to myself. " What next ? "
I had not told Felipa we were going ; I thought it best to
let it take her by surprise. I had various sniall articles of
finery ready as farewell gifts, which should act as sponges to
absorb her tears. But Fate took the whole matter out of my
hands. This is how it happened : One evening in the jas-
mine arbor, in the fragrant darkness of the warm spring night,
the end came ; Christine was won. She glided in like a wraith,
and I, divining at once what had happened, followed her into
her little room, where I found her lying on her bed, her hands
clasped on her breast, her eyes open and veiled in soft shad-
ows, her white robe drenched with dew. I kissed her fondly
— I never, could help loving her then or now — and next I went
out to find Edward. He had been kind to me all my poor gray
life ; should I not go to him now ? He was still in the arbor,
and I sat down by his side quietly ; I knew that the words
would come in time. They came ; what a flood ! English
was not enough for him. He poured forth his love in the
rich*voweled Spanish tongue also; it has sounded doubly
sweet to me ever since.
" Have you felt the wool of the beaver?
Or swan's down ever ?
Or have smelt the bud o' the brier ?
Or the nard in the fire ?
Or ha' tasted the bag o' the bee ?
Oh so white, oh so soft, oh so sweet is she ! "
said the young lover ; and I, listening there in the dark fra-
grant night, with the dew heavy upon me, felt glad that the old
simple-hearted love was not entirely gone from our tired me-
It was late when we returned to the house. After reach-
ing my room I found that I had left my cloak in the arbor.
It was a strong fabric ; the dew could not hurt it, but it could
hurt my sketching materials and various trifles in the vnde in-
side pockets — objets de luxe to me, souvenirs of happy times,
little artistic properties that I hang on the walls of my poor
studio when in the city. I went softly out into the darloiess
again and sought the arbor ; groping on the ground I found,
not the cloak, but — Felipa! She was crouched under the
foliage, face downward ; she would not move or answer.
"What is the matter, child?" I said, but she would not
speak. I tried to draw her from her lair, but she tangled her-
self stubbornly still farther among the thorny vines, and I
could not move her. I touched her neck; it was cold.
Frightened, I ran back to the house for a candle.
** Go away," she said in a low hoarse voice when I flashed
the light over her. " I know all, and I am going to die. I
have eaten the poison things in your box, and jyst now a
snake came on my neck and I let him. He has bitti^'^me,
and I am glad. Go away ; I am going to die."
I looked around ; there was my color-case rifled and emp-
ty, and the other articles were scattered on the ground.
" Good Heavens, child ! " I cried, " what have you eaten ? '*
" Enough," replied Felipa gloomily. " I knew they were
poisons ; you told me so. And I let the snake stay."
By this time the household, aroused by my hurried exit
with the candle, came toward the arbor. The moment Ed-
ward appeared Felipa rolled herself up like a hedgehog again
and refused to speak. But the old grandmother knelt down
and drew the little crouching figure into her arms with gentle
tenderness, smoothing its hair and murmuring loving words
in her soft dialect.
" What is it ? " said Edward ; but even then his eyes were
devouring Christine, who stood in the dark vine-wreathed
doorway like a picture in a frame. I explained.
Christine smiled. "Jealousy," she said in a low voice.
*' I am not surprised."
But at the first sound of her voice Felipa had started up,
and, wrenching herself free from old Dominga's arms, threw
herself at Christine's feet. " Look at me so," she cried — *' me
too ; do not look at him. He has forgotten poor Felipa ; he
does not love her any more. But you do not forget, senora ;
you love vatr—you love me. Say you do, or I shall die ! "
We were all shocked by the pallor and the wild, hungry
look of her uplifted face. Edward bent down and tried to
lift her in his arms ; but when she saw him a sudden fierce-
ness came into her eyes ; they shot out yellow light and seemed
to narrow to a point of flame. Before we knew it she had
turned, seized something, and plunged it into his encircling
arm. It was my little Venetian dagger.
We sprang forward ; our dresses were spotted with the
fast-flowing blood ; but Edward did not relax his hold on the
writhing, wild little body he held until it lay exhausted in his
arms. '* I am glad I did it," said the child, looking up into
his face with her inflexible eyes. " Put me down — put me
down, I say, by the gracious sefiiora, that I may die with the
trailing of her white robe over me." And the old grand-
mother with trembling hands received her aRd laid her down
mutely at Christine's feet.
Ah, well I Felipa did not die. The poisons racked but
did not kill her^ and the snake must have spared the little thin
brown neck so despairingly offered to him. We went away ;
there was nothing for us to do but to go away as quickly as
possible and leave her to her kind. To the silent old grand-
father I said : ** It will pass ; she is but a child."
" She is nearly twelve, senora. Her mother was married
** But she loved them both alike, Bartolo. It is nothing ;
she does not know."
" You are right, lady ; she does not know," replied the old
man slowly ; " but / know. It was two loves, and the strong-
er thrust the knife."
To him that hath, we are told.
Shall be given. Yes, by the Cross !
To the rich man Fate sends gold,
To the poor man loss on loss.
Thomas Bailby Aldrich.
Two houses, a saw-mill, and a tide-water marsh, with a
railroad-track crossing it from northeast to southwest; on
the other side the sea. One of the houses was near the
drawbridge, and there the keeper lived, old Mr. Vickery.
Not at all despised was old Mr. Vickery on account of his
lowly occupation: the Vickerys had always lived on Vickery
Island, and, although they were poor- now, they had once
been rich, and their name was still as well known as the sun
in Port Wilbarger, and all Wilbarger district. Fine sea-island
cotton was theirs once, and black hands to sow and gather
it ; salt-air made the old house pleasant. The air was still
there, but not the cotton or the hands ; and, when a keeper
was wanted for the drawbridge of the new railroad, what
more natural than that one should be selected who lived on
the spot rather than a resident of Port Wilbarger, two miles
The other house was on Wilbarger Island, at the edge of
. the town, and, in itself uninteresting and unimportant, was
yet accepted, like the plain member of a handsome family,
because of its associations ; for here lived Mrs. Manning and
her daughter Marion.
The saw-mill was on the one point of solid mainland
which ran down into the water cleanly and boldly, without
any fringe of marsh ; the river-channd was narrow here, and
a row-boat brought the saw-miller across to the Manning
cottage opposite three times each day. His name was
Cranch, Ambrose Cranch, but everybody called him " Bro."
He took his meals at the cottage, and had taken them there
for years. New-comers at Wilbarger, and those persons who
never have anything straight in their minds, supposed he was
a relative; but he was not— only a friend. Mrs. Manning
was a widow, fat, inefficient, and amiable. Her daughter
Marion was a slender, erect young person of twenty-five
years of age, with straight eyebrows, g^ay eyes, a clearly cut,
delicate profile, and the calmness of perfect but unobtrusive
health. She was often spoken of as an unmoved sort of girl,
and certainly there were few surface-ripples ; but there is a
proverb about still waters which sometimes came to the minds
of those who noticed physiognomy when they looked at her,
although it is but fair to add that those who noticed anything
in particular were rare in Wilbarger, where people were either
too indolent or too good-natured to make those conscientious
studies of their neighbors which are demanded by the code
of morals prevailing on the coast farther north.
Port Wilbarger was a very small seaport, situated on the
inland side of a narrow island ; the coastwise steamers going
north and south touched there, coming in around the water-
comer, passing the Old Town, the mile-long foot-bridge, and
stopping at the New Town for a few moments ; then back-
ing around with floundering and splashing, and going away
again. The small inside steamers, which came down from
the last city in the line of sea-cities south of New York by
an anomalous route advertised as " strictly inland all the way,"
also touched there, as if to take a free breath before plunging
again into the narrow, grassy channels, and turning curves
by the process of climbing the bank with the bow and letting
the stem swing round, while men with poles pushed off again.
It was the channel of this inside route which the railroad-
drawbridge crossed in the midst of a broad, sea-green prairie
below the town. As there was but one locomotive, and, when
it had gone down the road in the morning, nothing could
cross again until it came back at night, one would suppose
that the keeper might have left the bridge turned for the
steamers all day. But no : the superintendent was a man
of spirit, and conducted his railroad . on the principle of
what it should be rather than what it was. He had a hand-
car of his own, and came rolling along the track at all hours,
sitting with dignity in an arm-chair while two red-shirted ne-
groes worked at the crank. There were several drawbridges
on his route, and it was his pleasure that they should all be
exactly in place, save when a steamer was actually passing
through ; he would not even allow the keepers to turn the .
bridges a moment before it was necessary, and timed himself
sometimes so as to pass over on his hand-car when the bow
of the incoming boat was not ten yards distant.
But, even with its steamers, its raihx)ad, and railroad su-
perintendent of the spirit above described. Port Wilbarger
was but a sleepy, half-alive littletown. Over toward the sea
it had a lighthouse and a broad, hard,, silver-white beach,
which would have made the fortune . of a Northern village ;
but when a Northern visitor once exclaimed, enthusiastically,
"Why, I understand that you can walk for twenty miles
down that beach I" a Wilbai^r citizen looked at him slowly,
and answered, " Yes, you can — ^if you want to." There was,
in fact, a kind of cold, creeping east wind, which did not rise
high enough to stir the tops of the trees to and fro, but
which, nevertheless, counted for a good deal over on that
Mrs. Manning was poor; but everybody was poor at
Wilbarger, and nobody minded it much. Marion was the
housekeeper and house-provider, and everything went on like
clock-work. Marion was like her father, it was said ; but
nobody remembered him very clearly. He was a Northerner,
who had come southward seeking h^th, and finding none.
But he found Miss Forsythe instead, and married her. How
it happened that Ambrose Cranch, not a relative but a non-
descript, should be living in a household presided over by
Forsythe blood, was as follows : First, he had put out years
before a fire in Mrs. Manning's kitchen which would other-
wise have burned the wooden house to the ground ; that be-
gan the acquaintance. Second, learning that her small prop-
erty was in danger of being swept away entirely, owing to
unpaid taxes and mismanagement, he made a journey to the
capital of the State in her behalf, and succeeded after much
trouble in saving a part of it for her. It was pure kindness
on his part in a time of general distress, and from another
man would have been called remarkable ; but nothing could
. be called remarkable in Ambrose Cranch : he had never been
of any consequence in Wilbarger or his life. Mrs. Manning
liked him, and, after a while, asked him to come and take his
meals at the cottage : the saw-mill was directly opposite, and
it would be neighborly. Ambrose, who had always eaten his
dinners at the old Wilbarger Hotel, in the dark, crooked din-
ing-room, which had an jur of mystery not borne out by any-
thing, unless it might be its soups, gladly accepted, and trans-
ferred his life to the mainland point and the cottage opposite,
with the row-boat as a ferry between. He was so inoffensive
and willing, ahd so skillful with his hands, that he was soon
as much a part of the household as old Dinah herself ; he
mended and repaired, praised the good dishes, watered the
flowers, and was an excellent listener. It would be amusing
to know how much the fact of being, or securing, a good
listener has to do with our lives. Mrs. Manning, fond of
reminiscence and long narratives which were apt to run off at
random, so that, whereas you began with the Browns, you
ended with something about the Smiths, and never heard the
Brown story at all, actually retained Ambrose Cranch at her
table for eleven years because he listened well. But she did
not realize it; neither did he. A simpler, more unplotting
soul never existed than that in the saw-miller's body. A
word now as to that body : it had a good deal to do -with its
owner's life, and our story. (O lnx)thers and sisters, if Justice
holds the balance, how handsome some of us are going to be
in the next life !) Ambrose Cranch was tall and thin, what is
called rawboned; all his joints were laige and prominent,
from his knuckles to his ankles. He had large, long feet and
hands, and large, long ears; his feet shambled when he
walked, his arms dangled from the shoulders like the arms of
a wooden doll, and he had a long, sinewed throat, which no
cravat or collar could hide, though he wore them up to his
ears. Not that he did so wear them, however : he had no
idea that his throat was ugly ; he never thought about it at
all. He had a long face, small, mild blue eyes, thin, lank
brown hair, a laige mouth, and long, narrow nose ; he was, also,
the most awkward man in the world. Was there no redeem-
ing point? Hardly. His fingers were nicely finished at the
ends, and sometimes he had rather a sweet smile. But in the
contemplation of his joints, shoulders, elbows, wrists, and
knuckles, even the student of anatomy hardly got as far as
his finger-ends ; and as to the smile, nobody saw it but the
Mannings, who did not care about it. In origin he was, as
before mentioned, a nondescript, having com? from the up-
country, where Southern ways shade off into mountain rough-
ness ; which again gives place to the river-people, and they,
farther on, to the floosiers and Buckeyes, who are felicitously
designated by the expressive title of "Western Yankees."
He had inherited the saw-mill from an uncle, who had tried
to make something of it, failed, and died. Ambrose, being a
patient man, and one of smallest possible personal expendi-
ture, managed to live, and even to save a little money— but
only a little. He had been there twelve years, and was now
thirty-eight years old. All this the whole town of Wilbarger
knew, or might have known ; it was no secret. But the saw-
mill had a secret of its own, besides. Up stairs, in the back
part, was a small room with a lock on the door, and windows
with red cloth nailed over them in place of glass. Here Am-
brose spent many moments of his day, and all of his even-
226 * BROr
ings, quite alone. His red lights shone across the marsh, and
could be seen from Vickery Island and the drawbridge ; but
they were not visible on the Wilbarger side, and attracted,
therefore, no attention. However, it is doubtful whether they
would have attracted attention anyway. Wilbarger people
did not throw away their somewhat rarely excited interest
upon Ambrose Cranch, who represented to them the flattest
commonplace. They knew when his logs came, they knew
the quantity and quality of his boards, they saw him super-
intending the loading of the schooner that bore them away,
and that was all. Even the two negroes who worked in the
mill — one bright, young, and yellow ; the other old, slow, and
black — felt no curiosity about the locked room and Cranch's
absences ; it was but a part of his way.
What was in this room, then ? Nothing finished as yet,
save dreams. Cranch had that strong and singular bias of
mind which makes, whether successful or unsuccessful, the
It was a part of his unconsequence in every way that all
persons called him " Bro "^ven his neg^o helpers at the
mill. When he first came to live with Mrs. Manning, she
had tried hard to speak of him as " Mr. Cranch," and had
taught her daughter to use the title ; but, as time wore on,
she had dropped into Bro again, and so !iad Marion. But,
now that Marion was twenty-five and her own mistress, she
had taken up the custom of calling him " Ambrose," the only
person in the whole of Wilbarger who used, or indeed knew,
the name. This she did, not on his account at all, but on her
own ; she disliked nicknames, and did not consider it digni-
fied to use them. Cranch enjoyed her " Ambrose " greatly,
and felt an inward pride every time she spoke it ; but he said
There was a seminary at Wilbarger — a forlorn, ill-sup-
ported institution, under the charge of the Episcopal Church
of the diocese. But the Episcopal Church of the diocese
was, for the time being, extremely poor, and its missions and
schools were founded more in a spirit oiF hope than in any
certainty of support ; with much the same faith, indeed, which
its young deacons show when they enter (as they all do at the
earliest possible moment) into the responsibilities of matri-
mony. But in this seminary was, by chance, an excellent
though melanchdy-minded teacher — a Miss Droug^, equally
given to tears and arithmetic. Miss Droug^ was an adept at
figures, and, taking a fancy to Marion Manning, she taught
her all she knew up to trigonometry, with chess problems and
some astronomy thrown in. Marion had no especial liking
for mathematics in the beginning, but her clear mind had fol-
lowed her ardent teacher willingly : at twenty-five she was
a skilled arithmetician, passably well educated in ordinary
branches, well read in strictly old-fashioned literature, and
not very pious, because she had never liked the reverend gen-
tleman in charge of the seminary and the small church — a
thin man who called himself " a worm," and always ate all
the best bits of meat, pressing, meanwhile, with great cor-
diality, the pale, watery sweet-potatoes upon the hungry
schoolgirls. She was also exceedingly contemptuous in man-