Amelia Edith Huddleston Barr.

The bow of orange ribbon; a romance of New York online

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" Faith, you are not complimentary ! I flatter my-
self that our Dick is a gentleman'; I do, indeed.
And, as he is yet perfectly in his senses, you might
have trusted him."

" And you, do you go to Boston to-morrow ? "

"The colonel does. At present, I have no such
intention. But I had to have some extraordinary
excuse, and I could invent no other. However, you
may say any thing, if you only say it with an assur-
ance. Madam wished me a pleasant journey. I
felt a little sorry to deceive so fine a lady."
, " When will Eichard return ? "

" Indeed, I think you will have to answer for his
resolves. But he will speak for himself; and, in
in faith, I told him that he had come to a point
where I would be no longer responsible for his ac-


tions. I am thankful to own that I have some con-
science left."

The ride was not a very pleasant one. Katherine
could not help feeling that Mrs. Gordon was distrait
and inconsistent; and, toward its close, she became
very silent. Yet she kissed her kindly, and drawing
her closely for a last word, said, " Do not forget to
wear your wadded cloak and hood. You may have
to take the water; for the councillor is very sus-
picious, let me tell you. Kemember what I say,
the wadded cloak and hood ; and good-by, good-by,
my dear."

" Shall I see you soon ?"

" When we may meet again, I do not pretend to
say: till then, I am entirely yours; and so again

The ride had not occupied an hour; but, when
Katherine got home, Lysbet was making tea. " A
cup will be good for you, mijn kind." And she
smiled tenderly in the face that had been so white
in its woeful anguish, but on which there was now
the gleam of hope. And she perceived that Kather-
ine had received some message, she even divined
that there might be some appointment to keep ; and
she determined not to be too wise and prudent, but
to trust Katherine for this evening with her own

That night there was a meeting at the Town Hall,
and Joris left the house soon after his tea. He was
greatly touched by Katherine's effort to appear
cheerful; and when she followed him to the door,
and, ere he opened it, put her arms round his neck,
and kissed him, murmuring, " My father, mijn
vader ! " he could not restrain his tears.

" Mijn kind, my liefste kind ! " he answered. And
then his soul in his great emotion turned affection-
ately to the supreme fatherhood ; for he whispered
to himself, as he walked slowly and solemnly in the
pleasant evening light: * Gelijk zich een vader out-
fermt over de kinderen!'* Oh, so great must be
Thy pity! My own heart can tell that now."
*" Like as a father pitieth his children."


For an hour or more Katherine sat in the broad
light of the window, folding and unfolding the pieces
of white linen, sewing a stitch or two here, and put-
ting on a button or tape there. Madam passed
quietly to and fro about her home duties, sometimes
stopping to say a few words to her daughter. It was
a little interval of household calm, full of household
work; of love assured without need of words, of
confidence anchored in undoubting souls. When
Lysbet was ready to do so, she began to lay into the
deep drawers of the presses the table-linen which
Katherine had so neatly and carefully examined.
Over a pile of fine damask napkins she stood, with a
perplexed, annoyed face ; and Katherine, detecting
it, at once understood the cause.

" One is wanting of the dozen, mother. At the last
cake-baking, with the dish of cake sent to Joanna it
went. Back it has not come."

" For it you might go, Katherine. I like not that
my sets are broken."

Katherine blushed scarlet. This was the opportu-
nity she wanted. She wondered if her mother sus-
pected the want; but Lysbet's face expressed only a
little worry about the missing damask. Slowly,
though her heart beat almost at her lips, she folded
away her work, and put her needle, and thread, and
thimble, and scissors, each in its proper place in her
house-wife. So deliberate were all. her actions, that
Lysbet's suspicions were almost allayed. Yet she
thought, " If out she wishes to go, leave I have now
given her; and, if not, still the walk will do her some
good." And yet there was in her heart just that
element of doubt, which, whenever it is present,
ought to make us pause and reconsider the words we
are going to speak or write, and the deed we are
going to do.

The nights were yet chilly, though the first
blooms were on the trees, and the wadded cloak
and hood were not so far out of season as to cause
remark. As she came down-stairs, the clock struck
seven. There was yet an hour, and she durst not
wait so long at the bottom of the garden while it was


early in the evening. When her work was done,
Lysbet frequently walked down it : she had a moth-
erly interest in the budding fruit-trees and the grow-
ing flowers. And a singular reluctance to leave
home assailed Katherine. If she had known that it
was to be forever, her soul could not have more sen-
sibly taken its farewell of all the dear, familiar
objects of her daily life. About her mother this
feeling culminated. She found her cap a little out
of place ; and her fingers lingered in the lace, and
stroked fondly her hair and pink cheeks, until
Lysbet felt almost embarrassed by the tender, but
unusual show of affection.

" Now then, go, my Katherine. To Joanna give
my dear love. Tell her that very good were the
cheesecakes and the krullers, and that to-morrow I
will come over and see the new carpet they have

And while she spoke she was retying Katherine's
hood, and admiring as she did so the fair, sweet face-
in its quiltings of crimson satin, and the small,
dimpled chin resting upon the fine bow she tied
under it. Then she followed her to the door, and
watched her down the road until she saw her meet
Dominie Van Linden, and stand a moment holding
his hand. " A message I am going for my mother,"
she said, as she firmly refused his escort. "Then
with madam, your mother, I will sit until you re-
turn," he replied cheerfully; and Katherine
answered, "That will be a great pleasure to her,

A little farther she walked ; but suddenly remem-
bering that the dominie's visit would keep her
mother in the house, and being made restless by the
gathering of the night shadows, she turned quickly,,
and taking the very road up which Hyde had come
the night Neil Semple challenged him, she entered
the garden by a small gate at its foot, which was
intended for the gardener's use. The lilacs had not
much foliage, but in the dim light her dark, slim,
figure was undistinguishable behind them. Long-
ingly and anxiously she looked up and down the


water-way. A mist was gathering over it ; and there
were no boats in the channel except two pleasure-
shallops, already tacking to their proper piers. "The
Dauntless " had been out of sight for hours. There
was not the splash of an oar, and no other river
sound at that point, but the low, peculiar " wish-h-h "
of the turning tide.

In the pettiest character there are unfathomable
depths ; and Katherine's, though yet undeveloped,
was full of noble aspirations and singularly sensi-
tive. As she stood there alone, watching and wait-
ing in the dim light, she had a strange consciousness
of some mysterious life ante-dating this life ; and of
a long-forgotten voice filling the ear-chambers of
that spiritual body which was the celestial inhabi-
tant of her natural body. "Bichard, Richard," she
murmured ; and she never doubted but that he heard

All her senses were keenly on the alert. Suddenly
there was the sound of oars, and the measure was
that of steady, powerful strokes. She turned her
face southward, and watched. Like a flash a boat
shot out of the shadow, a long, swift boat, that
came like a Fate, rapidly and without hesitation, to
her very feet. Richard quickly left it, and with a
few strokes it was carried back into the dimness of
the central channel. Then he turned to the lilac-

"Katherine! "

It was but a whisper, but she heard it. He opened
his arms, and she flew to their shelter like a bird to
her mate.

" My love, my wife, my beautiful wife! My true,
good heart! Now, at last, my own: nothing shall
part us again, Katherine, never again. I have come
for you come at all risks for you. Only five min-
utes the boat can wait. Are you ready ? "

"I know not, Richard. My'father my mother"

" My husband ! Say that also, beloved. Am I not
first ? If you will not go with me, here I shall stay ;
and, as I am still on duty, death and dishonor will be
the end. O Katherine, shall I die again for you?


Will you break my sword in disgrace over my head ?
Faith, darling, I know that you would rather die for

" If one word I could send them ! They suspect
me not. They think you are gone. It will kill my

" You shall write to them on the ship. There are a
dozen fishing-boats near it. We will send the letter
by one of them. They will get it early in the morn-
ing. Sweet Kate, come. Here is the boat. 'The
Dauntless' lies down the bay, and we have a long
pull. My wife, do you need more persuasion ? "

He released her from his embrace with the words,
and stood holding her hands, and looking into her
face. No woman is insensible to a certain kind of
authority; and there was fascination as well as
power in Hyde's words and manner, emphasized by
the splendor of his uniform, and the air of command
that seemed to be a part of it.

" It is for you to decide, Katherine. The boat is
here. Even I must obey or disobey orders. Will
you not go with me, your husband, to love and life
and honor; or shall I stay with you, for disgrace
and death ? For from you I will not part again."

She had no time to- consider how much truth there
was in this desperate statement. The boat was
waiting. Richard was wooing her consent with
kisses and entreaties. Her own soul urged her, not
only by the joy of his presence, but by the memory
of the anguish she had endured that day in the ter-
ror of his desertion. From the first moment she
had hesitated ; therefore, from the first moment she
had yielded. She clung to her husband's arm, she
lifted her face to his, she said softly, but clearly, " I
will go with you, Richard. With you I will go.
Where to, I care not at all."

They stepped into the boat, and Hyde said,
"Oars." Not a word was spoken. He held her
within his left arm, close to his side, and partially
covered with his military cloak. It was the boat
belonging to the commander of " The Dauntless,"
and the six sailors manning it sent the light craft


flying like an arrow down the bay. All the past was
behiud her. She had done what was irrevocable.
For joy or for sorrow, her place was evermore at her
husband's side. Richard understood the decision
she was coming to ; knew that every doubt and fear
had vanished when her hand stole into his hand,
when she slightly lifted her face, and whispered,
" Richard."

They were practically alone upon the misty river ;
and Richard answered the tender call with sweet,
impassioned kisses ; with low, lover-like, encourag-
ing words; with a silence that thrilled with such
soft beat and subsidence of the spirit's wing, as

"When it feels, in cloud-girt wayfaring,
The breath of kindred plumes against itsfeet."



"Good people, how they wrangle!

The manners that they never mend,
The characters they mangle!

They eat and drink, and scheme and plod,
And go to church on Sunday ;, .
And many are afraid of God,
And some of Mrs. Grundy."

"The waste and solitary space that girdles round our daily life."

DURING that same hour Joris was in the town
council. There had been a stormy and prolonged
session on the Quartering Act. " To little purpose
have we compelled the revocation of the Stamp
Act," he cried, " if the Quartering Act upon us is to
be forced. We want not English soldiers here. In
our homes why should we quarter them ? "

All the way home he was asking himself the que-
tion; and, when he found Dominie Van Lindens
talking to Lysbet, he gladly discussed it over again


with him. Lysbet sat beside them, knitting and
listening. Until after nine o'clock, Joris did not
notice the absence of his daughter. "She went to
Joanna's," said Lysbet calmly. No fear had yet en-
tered her heart. Perhaps she had a vague suspicion
that Katherine might also go to Mrs. Gordon's, and
she was inclined to avoid any notice of the lateness
of the hour. If it were even ten o'clock when she
returned, Lysbet intended to make no remarks.
But ten o'clock came, and the dominie went, and
Joris suddenly became anxious about Katherine.

His first anger fell upon Bram. " He ought to
have been at home. Then he could have gone for
his sister. He is not attentive enough to Katherine ;
and very fond is he of hanging about Miriam Co-
hen's doorstep."

"What say you, Joris, about Miriam Cohen ? "

" I spoke in my temper."

He would not explain his words, and Lysbet would
not worry him about Katherine. " To Joanna's she
went, and Batavius is in Boston. Very well, then,
she has stayed with her sister."

Still, in her own heart there was a certain uneasi-
ness. Katherine had never remained all night be-
fore without sending some message, or on a previ-
ous understanding to that effect. But the absence
of Batavius, and the late hour at which she went,
might account for the omission, especially as Lysbet
remembered that Joanna's servant had been sick,
and might be unfit to come. She was determined
to excuse Katherine, and she refused to acknowl-
edge the dumb doubt and fear that crouched at her
own heart.

In the morning Joris rose very early and went
into the garden. Generally this service to nature
calmed and cheered him ; but he came to breakfast
from it, silent and cross. And Lysbet was still dis-
inclined to open a conversation about Katherine.
She had enough to do to combat her own feeling on
the subject; and she was sensible that Joris, in the
absence of any definite object for his anger, blamed
her for permitting Katherine so much liberty.


11 Where, then, is Bram ? " he asked testily. " When
I was a young man, it was the garden or the store
for me before this hour. Too much you indulge the
children, Lysbet."

" Brain was late to bed. He was on the watch last
night at the pole. You know, councillor, who in
that kind of business has encouraged him."

" Every night the watch is not for him."

" Oh, then, but the bad habit is made! "

"Well, well: tell him to Joanna's to go the first
thing, and to send home Katherine. I like her not
in the house of Batavius."

"Joanna is her sister, Joris."

"Joanna is nothing at all in this world but the
wife of Batavius. Send for Katherine home. I like
her best to be with her mother."

As he spoke, Bram came to the table, looking a
little heavy and sleepy. Joris rose without more
words, and in a few moments the door shut sharply
behind him. " What is the matter with my father ? "

"Cross he is." By this time Lysbet was also
cross ; and she continued, " No wonder at it. Kath-
erine has stayed at Joanna's all night, and late to
breakfast were you. Yet ever since you were a little
koy, you have heard your father say one thing,
' Late to breakfast, hurried at dinner, behind at
supper;' and I also have noticed, .that, when the
comfort of the breakfast is spoiled, then all the day
its bad influence is felt."

In the meantime Joris reached his store in that
mood w r hich apprehends trouble, and finds out an-
noyances that under other circumstances would not
have any attention. The store was in its normal
condition, but he was angry at the want of order in
it. The mail was no later than usual, but he com-
plained of its delay. He was threatening a general
reform in every thing and everybody, when a man
came to the door, and looked up at the name above

"Joris Van Heemskirk is the name, sir;" and
Joris went forward, and asked a little curtly, " What,
then, can I do for you ? "


" I am Martin Hudde the fisherman."

" Well, then ? "

"If you are Joris Yan Heemskirk, I have a letter
for you. I got it from ' The Dauntless ' last night,
when I was fishing in the bay."

Without a word Joris took the letter, turned into
his office, and shut the door; and Hudde muttered
as he left, " I am glad that I got a crown with it,
for here I have not got a ' thank you.' "

It was Katherine's writing; and Joris held the
folded paper in his hand, and looked stupidly at it.
The truth was forcing itself into his mind, and the
slow-coming conviction was a real physical agony
to him. He put his hand on the desk to steady ,
himself; and Nature, in great drops of sweat, made-
an effort to relieve the oppression and stupor which
followed the blow. In a few minutes be opened and
laid it before him. Through a mist he made out
these words,

My Father and my Mother, I have gone with ray husband. I
married Richard when he was ill, and to-night he came for me.
When I left home, I knew not I was to go. Only five minutes I
had. In God's name, this is the truth. Always, at the end of the
world, I shall love you. Forgive ine, forgive me, mijn fader*
mijn moeder.

Your child,


He tore the letter into fragments; but the next
moment he picked them up, folded them in a piece
of paper, and put them in his pocket. Then he went
to Mrs. Gordon's. She had anticipated the visit,
and was, in a measure, prepared for it. With a smile
and outstretched hands, she rose from her chocolate
to meet him. "You see, I am a terrible sluggard,
councillor," she laughed ; " but the colonel left early
for Boston this morning, and I cried myself into
another sleep. And will you have a cup of choco-
late ? I am sure you are too polite to refuse me."

" Madam, I came not on courtesy, but for my
daughter. Where is my Katherine ? "

"Truth, sir, I believe her to be where every woman


wishes, with her husband. I am sure I wish the
colonel was with me."

" Her husband ! Who, then ? "

"Indeed, councillor, that is a question easily an-
swered, my nephew, Capt. Hyde, at your service.
You perceive, sir, we are now connections; and I
assure you I have the highest sense imaginable of
the honor."

" When were they married ? "

"In faith, I have forgotten the precise date. It
was in last October; I know it was, because I had
just received my winter manteau, my blue velvet
one, with the fur bands."

" Who married them ? "

"Oh, indeed! It was the governor's chaplain,
the Kev. Mr. Somers, a relative of my Lord Somers,
a most estimable and respectable person, I assure
you. Col. Gordon, and Capt. Earle, and myself,
were the witnesses. The governor gave the license ;
and, in consideration of Dick's health, the ceremony
was performed in his room. All was perfectly cor-
rect and regular, I "

" It is not the truth. Pardon, madam : full of
trouble am I. And it was all irregular, and very
wicked, and very cruel. If regular and right it had
been, then in secret it had not taken place."

"Admit, councillor, that then it had not taken
place at all ; or, at least, Eichard w'buld have had to
wait until Katherine was of age."

"So; and that would have been right. Until
then, if love had lasted, I would have said, 'Their
love is stronger than my dislike ; ' and I would have
been content."

" Ah, sir, there was more to the question than
that ! My nephew's chances for life were very indif-
ferent, and he desired to shield Katherine's name
with his own "

" Christus ! What say you, madam ? Had Kath-
arine no father? "

"Oh, be not so warm, councillor! A husband's
name is a far bigger shield than a father's. I assure
you that the world forgives a married woman what


it would not forgive an angel. And I must tell you,
also, that Dick's very life depended on the content-
ment which he felt in his success. It is the part of
humanity to consider that."

" Twice over deceived I have been then "

" In short, sir, there was no help for it. Dick re-
ceived a most unexpected favor of a year's furlough
two clays ago. It was important for his wounded
lung that he should go at once to a warm climate.
' The Dauntless ' was on the point of sailing for the
West Indies. To have bestowed our confidence on
you, would have delayed or detained our patient, or
sent him away without his wife. It was my fault
that Katherine had only five minutes given her. Oh,
sir, I know my own sex! And, if you will take
time to reflect, I am sure that you will be reason-

"Without his wife! His wife! Without my con-
sent ? No, she is not his wife."

"Sir, you must excuse me if I do not honor your
intelligence or your courtesy. I have said ' she is
his loife.' It is past a doubt that they are mar-

" I know not, I know not O my Katherine, my
Katherine! "

" I pray you, sit down, councillor. You look faint
and ill ; and in faith I am very sorry, that, to make
two people happy, others must be made so wretched."
She rose and filled a glass with wine, and offered it
to Joris, who was the very image of mental suffer-
ing, all the fine color gone out of his face, and his
large blue eyes swimming in unshed tears.

" Drink, sir. Upon my word, you are vastly foolish
to grieve so. I protest to you that Katherine is
happy ; and grieving will not restore your loss."

" For that reason I grieve, madam. Nothing can
give me back my child."

"Come, sir, every one has his calamity; and,
upon my word, you are very fortunate to have one
no greater than the marriage of your daughter to
an agreeable man, of honorable profession and
noble family."


" Five minutes only. How could the child think ?
To take her away thus, was cruel. Many things a
woman needs when she journeys."

"Oh, indeed, Katherine was well considered! I
myself packed a trunk for her with every conceiva-
ble necessity, as well as gowns and manteaus of the
finest material and the most elegant fashion. If
Dick had been permitted, he would have robbed the
Province for her. I assure you that I had to lock
my trunks to preserve a change of gowns for my-
self. When the colonel returns, he will satisfy you
that Katherine has done tolerably wel] in her mar-
riage with our nephew. And, indeed, I must beg
you to excuse me further. I have been in a hurry
of affairs and emotions for two days; and I am
troubled with the vapors this morning, and feel my-
self very indifferently."

Then Joris understood that he had been politely
dismissed. But there was no unkindness in the act.
He glanced at the effusive little lady, and saw that
she was on the point of crying, and very likely in the
first pangs of a nervous headache ; and, without fur-
ther words, he left her.

The interview had given Joris very little comfort.
At first, his great terror had been that Katherine had
fled without any religious sanction ; but no sooner
was this fear dissipated, than he became conscious,
in all its force, of his own personal-loss and sense of
grievance. From Mrs. Gordon's lodgings he went
to those of Dominie Yan Linden. He felt sure of
his personal sympathy; and he knew that the dom-
inie would be the best person -to investigate the cir-
cumstances of the marriage, and authenticate their

Then Joris went home. On his road he met Bram,
full of the first terror of his sister's disappearance.
He told him all that was necessary, and sent him
back to the store. " And see you keep a modest
face, and make no great matter of it," he said. " Be
not troubled nor elated. It belongs to you to be
very prudent ; for your sister's goodxiame is in your
care, and this is a sorrow outsiders may not ffieddle


with. Also, at once go back to Joanna's, and tell
her the same thing. I will not have Katherine made
a wonder to gaping women."

Lysbet was still a little on the defensive ; but, when
she saw Joris coming home, her heart turned sick
with fear. She was beating eggs for her cake-mak-
ing, and she went on with the occupation ; merely
looking up to say, "Thee, Joris; dinner will not be
ready for two hours ! Art thou sick ? "

" Katherine she has gone! "

" Gone? And where, then ? "

" With that Englishman ; in * The Dauntless ' they

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Online LibraryAmelia Edith Huddleston BarrThe bow of orange ribbon; a romance of New York → online text (page 12 of 20)