James Lodge.

A week away from time online

. (page 1 of 15)
Online LibraryJames LodgeA week away from time → online text (page 1 of 15)
Font size
QR-code for this ebook


-



A WEEK




BOSTON:
ROBERTS BROTHERS.

1887.



Copyright, 1SS7,
BY ROBERTS BROTHERS.



All rights reserved.



Hnifatrsitn |lrfss :
JOHN WILSON AND SON, CAMBRIDGE.



CONTENTS.



PAGE

PRELUDE i

PROLOGUE ..... 3

FIRST DAY 3 1

EVENING OF FIRST DAY 45

THE ITALIAN LETTER 55

SECOND DAY 75

SECOND DAY (continued ) 85

EVENING OF SECOND DAY 101

THE STORY OF THE NECKLACE .... 103

THIRD DAY 125

EVENING OF THIRD DAY 141

THE LAWYER S STORY 156

FOURTH DAY .- 167

EVENING OF FOURTH DAY 181

THE PALACE OF THE CLOSED WINDOW . . 191

FIFTH DAY 241

IN WAR-TIME; OR, ONLY A WOMAN S SHOE 251

EVENING OF FIFTH DAY 283

SIXTH DAY 291



202 52



iv Contents.

PAGE

EVENING OF SIXTH DAY 295

THE VOICE 295

SEVENTH DAY 311

EVENING OF SEVENTH DAY 325

HAPPINESS 331



PRELUDE.

Not under Olive nor the Tuscan pine

Sat this enchanted circle, as of old

They sat ivho heard Boccaccio s story told ;

Yet are these spirits of a kindred line,

Who in their ozvn Fair Harbor dream, and tell

The matter of their dreaming, wJiile the spell

Of Indian snnsets and sea-breakers bold

Braids the romance wherewith their voices twine.



What mortal could be sick or sorry here !

MATTHEW ARNOLD.

And all ive met was fair and good,

And all was good that Time could bring,
And all the secret of the Spring

Moved in the chambers of the blood.

. . . And in my breast

Spring wakens too, and my regret

Becomes an April violet,
And buds and blossoms like the rest.

TENNYSON.

Ver illud erat. VIRGIL.



PROLOGUE.



FAIR HARBOR.

FAIR HARBOR is one of the few places
now left in the world which most people
know nothing about. You may coiint on
your fingers the men and women who have
ever heard of it ; and if you have the usual
number of fingers, your list will come to an
end first.

You are lucky if your own name find a
place among the few who, led by chance or
by natural selection, have come upon this
singularly pretty and attractive bit of the
very tip end of the heel of Cape Cod} I

1 Thoreau calls Cape Cod " the bared and bended arm
of Massachusetts" and Buzzard s Bay " the shoulder."
Then Fair Harbor should be about the elbow, or " crazy
bone."



4 Prologue.

say come upon advisedly ; for yon may
live all unsuspecting in its near neigli-
borhood, and lo ! one day yon turn a corner,
either from tlie sea or the shore, and you
are there ! You may drive from Falmouth
to Wood s Holl forty times, and never dream
that if you had taken a certain turn doivn
a green lane to your left you would have
come after a little to zvhat would seem to
you enchanted ground, the tiny harbor
lying still and peaceful between ivooded
banks and high pastures and headlands
stretching with graceful curves into the
beautiful bay beyond. Or you migJit sail
forever across from Mattapoisett down Buz
zard s Bay and never steer near enough to
the opening which, once seen, would draw
you to the fairy inlet where tJie voices of
sirens singing to your soul would bid you
stay and be at rest.

The southwestern breezes come fresh and
cool np from Florida, up from the Gulf



Prologue. 5

Stream, soft as a doves wing, bringing
healing and balm to nerves hurt and over
wrought by the " whips of tJie east wind "
and the exciting air of other parts of the
New England coast, hinting of icebergs
while the hot sun biirns. The wonderful
quality of the air differentiates this whole
region, and gives it a positive character of
its own. Its special grace is temperance ;
fierce heat and sharp cold are here alike
unknown.

At the time our story opens, Fair Harbor
had, as I have said, few acquaintances, and
so, few lovers. These few, however, made
up for their rarity by an intensity of affec
tion which somehow always assumed a very
personal form, and this little fragment of
the world became to them a beloved strong
hold, intrenched in which they pointed their
guns at the rest of mankind, demanded their
sympathy or their life, and were themselves
ready to die in defence of their citadel.



6 Prologue.

Margaret Temple passed a good deal of
her time in this defensive attitiide toiuards
the Philistines, who did not know or did not
care for her "pays de predilection . 1 She
was one of tJie rare people w/io really
love Natiire among the thousands of fake
worshippers who wrong tier by lip ser
vice while their hearts are far from her.
Hers was no fitful homage, rendered at
one season and denied at another. She
walked through the days and years, doing
loving and reverent service at the shrine of
her Alma Mater, and her lamp burned as
constantly and brightly in storm as in sun
shine. "It is poor love , she used to say,
" which cannot bear a frown or a stern
look from the object of its affection, and
which depends upon smiles and soft words
for its loyalty

She had discovered Fair Harbor ivhile
staying in its neighborhood one summer,
after having been in Europe for several



Prologue.



years. Her husband, for whose health they
remained abroad, had died there, and tier
only brother went to Algiers to meet her
and bring her home. The brother and sis
ter, although quite different, were very near
to each other, and had a true and inti
mate sympathy, which consanguinity by no
means always implies, but which when it
does exist in this special relationship is apt
to be of very beautiful and perfect quality.
Margaret s hiLsband had been much older
than herself (she was very young when she
married}, and their union was rather that
of father and daughter. He became a con
formed invalid soon after t/ieir marriage,
and her ivhole time and care had been con
centrated upon him. Her grief at his death
was as genuine as was everything about her,
and for some years she lived very quietly,
and saw only her own people and intimate
friends. But she was still young ; she had
absolute health and wonderful vitality, and



8 Prologue.

a freshness of sympathy and interest in peo
ple and things which made her life full and
rich, and of much meaning to herself and
others.

She was a handsome creature, tall and
beautifully made, with a firm, elastic step,
and bounding, joyful movements, as if only
to be alive were a delight. Wlicn sJie was a
young girl she used to say that she never
opened Jier eyes in the morning without
thanking God for another day, and when
she thanked Him on her knees for her
" creation, preservation, and all the bless
ings of this life , 1 it ivas with a profound
gladness that she had been born into the
world. The fairies ivJw presided at her
birth knew very well what they were doing
when they gave her this supremely fortu
nate nature ; knciu that it was better tJiau
genius or gold ; something which neither
moth nor rust could corrupt ; which thieves
might covet, but could not steal. Not the



Prologue. 9

tender est sympathy for the sorrows and sins
of otliers, nor a true humility with regard
to herself ; not the untruth or unkindness,
which, like all of us, she sometimes encoun
tered, coiild kill out the cheerful, hopeful,
buoyant heart of her ; and she still thanked
God for her creation, and blessed Him for
every day that He made, and said, " Let us
rejoice and be glad in it!" Besides this
dower of Nature, she had pre-eminently a
good temper, as distinguished from good
nature, or good-humor ; and if you have
read the Rev. James Freeman Clarke s ser
mon on " The Education of the Temper"
you will know what I mean ; and if you
have not, you had better do so.

In the spring of 188- Margaret went to
Fair Harbor to pass a few weeks alone.
She wrote to her brother Ralph (who had
been living in New York lately, and was a
flourishing stockbroker], and tried to per
suade him to take a spring vacation and



i o Prologue.



join her ; but Jie said tilings were very
lively just then, and made merry allusions
to bulls and bears, the fauna of Wall
Street, he called them, which must have a
prior claim over the flora of the Cape,
and, in fine, he could not come. Margaret
meant to go across the water in June for
the summer months, and Ralph promised
to be with her at Fair Harbor when she
returned in the autumn. So Margaret
went to Fair Harbor alone, and, truth to
say, did n t mind it in the least. She knew
most of the towns in Barnstable County by
heart, and the farmers and retired sea-cap
tains and their families who lived in them
liked her as well as she liked them, and
welcomed her to their houses as their hon
ored guest and good friend. TJiey hardly
understood her enthusiasm for the places
they had known all their lives, and felt
towards her very much as the White Moun
tain stage-driver did to the New York



Prologue. 1 1

tourist. " O no / I dorit mind stoppin a
bit while yoit, stare around. I dare say if
I was doivii to York I should ivant to go
gawpin about same as you do up here ! "
Or like the Roman lady who said to the en
thusiastic American, raving over the beau
ties of the Campagna, " But what you
artists and l fores fieri find to admire in
this gloomy, hateful, malarial old spot is
what we Italians cannot understand. Come
out to my villa to-morrow, and I will show
you lovely gardens and fountains and ter
races. There, indeed, it is beautiful!"

However, the good people on the Cape
admired Margaret so much tliat they began
to suspect there must be advantages in their
surroundings to which they had hitherto
been blind.

It was blossoming-time for the apple-
trees and lilacs ; the beach-plum all along
the roadsides made white patches like soft



1 2 Prologue.

snow-falls, and here and there formed
hedges which looked like banks of snow
in the distance, and as one came near, it
smelt sweet as honey, with branches all
chisters of delicate flowers like hawthorn.
The birds welcomed Margaret with new
songs that sounded all the sweeter for being
old ones, and told her they had learned
them for her sake. Song-sparrows, blue
birds, yellow-throated warblers, greeted her
as they flew from bough to bough; slie
heard the quivering note and plaintive cry
of the plover, and every now and then a
friendly family of quails would cross the
road in front of Jier in a leisurely manner,
enjoying the immunity of life which a few
months would endanger.

She was stopping at an old farm-house
in the lane that led down to the Harbor,
with Captain Nye and his wife, old friends
of hers, to whom her coming was always a
festival. They had lost their only daughter



Prologue. 1 3

many years ago, and they fancied that Mar
garet looked like her. " She has our An
nie s eyes, mother, she surely do" the old
captain had said the Jirst time tJiey ever
saw Margaret, his own eyes full of tears.
" She favors Annie greatly, and brings her
right back to me, though V is many a long
year since we laid her in tJie churchyard
yonder" the mother answered. " She d V
been just about Mis Temple s age now.
Dear ! dear ! But the L ord knows best"
" And blessed be His name !" said the old
man reverently.

So there was nothing possible to be done
which the worthy couple did not do for
Margaret" s comfort and satisfaction. Cap
tain Nye was joint-owner of an oyster-bed
in a little fresh-water river which ran into
the bay near by ; and " even the most be
nighted Bostonian knows" said Margaret,
" that there are no oysters like Cape oysters ;
and tJie beauty of tJicm is, that, unlike ordt-



1 4 Prologue.



nary bivalves, they need no R in the month
to make tJiem eatable. TJicy are just tJie
nicest oysters in the world all the year
round," a proposition which she stated so
sturdily that no one ever thought of dis
puting it. As to sea trout, they were a
drug in her market. " They swim to my
door , she declared, " and implore me to cat
them? Certainly they came to her often,
from up tJie Day, generally in baskets,
smothered in moss and mayflowers, with
cards attached, bearing, not the names of
the Jish, but of their captors, laying them-
selves and their spoils at her feet.

One evening she was walking slowly back
to the house from the wharf, where she had
just left her row-boat. She had been row
ing about the little harbor in the sunset^
exploring the pretty coves she had explored
so often, or floating with oars at rest, feast
ing on the glory of color in sky and sea,
dreaming dreams with half-shut eyes,



Prologue. 1 5

the young May moon smiled at her over
her right shoulder (she held a good deal to
that] , and one by one the stars shone.

As she walked up the lane to the farm
house, a handsome red IrisJi setter came
bounding across the fields, and ran towards
her with miich leaping and wagging of the
tail and other marks of recognition* " Why,
Erin ! Where did you come from, Erin, and
what are you doing here alone ? " Mar
garet looked over the fields to the large
white house at the head of the Harbor,
where she knew the dog belonged, and saw
that the wide, dark-green blinds were closed,
and the whole house wore an empty, de
serted air. Erin evidently knew all about
it ; but as he did not tell, they went on to
gether to Captain Nyes, where Mrs. Nye
stood waiting on the porch step.

" There, Mis Temple, I was just telling
the Cap n he \i better go and look for you.
Them quahog cakes is just hot and done to



1 6 Prologue.

a tiirn ; and, says I, Mis Temple s fell
a-dreamin out in her boat, and you d bet
ter go and look her up, for she docs like
quahog cakes first-rater

" 77m/ / do, Mrs. Nye. I ll come in
tJiis mimite ; and pray ask the Captain to
come and cat his supper with me this even
ing. I suppose it s of no use to ask you ?

" Why, bless you, no ! " exclaimed Jlfrs.
Nye. "And if I did, who in mercy s
name s going to mind the cakes ? You
don t suppose I d trust em to D rushy- Ann,
do you ? She d burn em to a cinder, or
else serve cm raw as raw. But I ll tell
father, and it II please him clear round.
Come along, Erin ; you ve come for your
supper too, I guess!"

Margaret found the table covered with
good tilings, of which the quaJwg cakes
were the final expression and fiowcr ; and
presently in came the Captain, his weather-
beaten face and Jiands sliining with soap



Prologue. 1 7

and water, his best wig on (Jie had one of a
rusty brown for every day, and a lustrous
black one for Sunday), and a big, white,
starched shirt-collar, the points of which
stuck into his eyes at intervals ^and made
him wink. Erin, too, considered himself
invited, and stretched himself contentedly at
Margaret s feet, asking no questions.

Captain Nye and Margaret were great
cronies. She declared there was not one
of her male friends from whom she got
more solid information and soitndcr phi
losophy than from old " Cap n Bishy" as
he was called round about.

" / noticed that the White House was
closed, as I came along. What has hap
pened there since last year ? v

" You may well ask replied the Captain.
" That house is an eyesore to me whenever
I look at it ; and it used to be so lively,
what with the human beins and the dumb
critturs. Well, I sometimes tell mother she



1 8 Prologue.

and I have lived too long. We are aboiit
the only things that seem to stand by and
not go off out o Fair Harbor one way or
another .

" Tell me about the Sandersons, and why
they left the place"

" Well, you see old Squire Sanderson
died just after you was here last fall, and
poor Mis Sanderson she almost died her
self, grievin after him. Their .only son s
away at sea. He s captain of a merchant-
vessel, you know, and^s mostly away, and
they W buried their otlier children on and
off, all but Mary Ann, and she s married
and lives over to New Bedford, married
lawyer Doane, a likely young fclloiu. Mary
Ann came to stop with her mother zv/icn
the Sqiiire died, and secin her so broken
down and lonesome, she just insisted on
takin her back to Bedford. You see V is
quiet here in the winter, and no mistake,
and there s a good deal <? stir to Bedford ;



Prologue. 1 9

so the old lady went, and she s there now,
and she s got Mary Anns baby to pet and
play ivith, and I guess she s considerable
consoled. The White House and the barn
and all the critturs and fixiris are to let,
and I do wish some clever folks would
come and take em. I promised I d look
after the place and the live-stock until
somethin turned up ; and Erin here, he s
mostly with us, always at meal-times and
at nigJit, though he lies in the sun in front
of the White House daytimes, and seems
to be waitin for somebody. It was kind o
cute his knowin you, was nt it ? I dont
suppose now" said the Captain, looking at
Margaret, " I don t sitppose "

" / m not at all sure I would n t , said
Margaret. " Can one get into the house
to see it?"

" Oh, yes, to be sure. I ve got the keys in
charge, and the whole concern, and I II take
you all over the place any time .



2O Prologue.

" To-morrow morning, then" said Mar
garet.

And the next day they did go all over the
place; and Margaret (whose principle it
was, when you like a thing and want it, take
it if yon can get it) then and there bought
the ho2isc and farm and all the belongings,
wagons and farm horses, four good cows
(natives crossed with Jersey), and beehives
on a settle in the apple-orchard; a vege
table garden behind the house, with a border
of twigs for sweet peas to climb on, and
plenty of sweet-smelling herbs ; in front
of the house a flower-garden, zvith paths
divided by high rows of box, where grew
guelder roses and calycanthus and Persian
lilacs, and all manner of old-fashioned
shrubs and flowers. There was a grove
of trees on one side, walking down to the
water s edge, and the path along the high
bank was bordered with sumac h and bar
berry bushes, and whortleberry and bay-



Prologue. 2 1

berry and sweet-fern, growing thick and
fast, and giving promise of rich color for
the autumn-tide* There were broad, green
fields for the cows pleasure-grounds, and
JiigJi pasture lands where sJiccp migJit
browse ; and the grassy lawn beyond the
garden led straight down to the little beach,
and to the wharf for boats.

Afterwards, when Captain Nyc was talk
ing it over with his wife, he said: " As we
were walkin up to the White House, Mis
Temple says to me, says she, Cap n, I do
hope there // be three kinds of flowers in
that garden, three special kinds that I
love, and used to have in a garden of my
own when I was a little girl. In fact , says
she, if those flowers ainl there, I dont
know as I shall take the place" I was kind
o" nervous when she spoke like tliat, for I
did want her to buy ; and I was afraid it
was some o 1 them rare things she meant,
that they have in gardens, Mis May s



2 2 Prologue.

got some, you know, over to Wood s Holl.
High-breds, I believe they call em. But
there, wJiat do you think, mother? She
went into the garden and looked about for
a while, and then she said, qiiite joyful-like,
Oh, here they are, Cap n, every one ! And
she stooped down and made tier a little
boquay, and put em into her dress, and
she kissed em, and I believe to mercy site
cried over em some. And what do yoit
think tJiey were ? Jiist ladies dcligJits,
the little old-fashioned kind, yoii know,
and striped grass, and stars of Bethlehem"
she called em."

" Well, well , said Mrs. Nye, " / ve given
up calculatin on city folks. They seem to
go jiist contrary to what you d expect.
They dont care for the things you d figure
t/iey d set by ; and then they just go crazy
over some little unsignified thing that seem-
in ly ain t of no acco^mt. I do believe Mis
Temple thinks more of a glass o new milk



Prologue. 2 3

and a fresh churniri o butter tlian she
does of the best pies and plum-cake and jell
that I can set before her. And my last
putting iip of grape and quince jell was
just splendid, if I do say it"

" / shall depend upon yoii for oysters,
Captain , 1 said Margaret. " But quahog
cakes ! What shall I do for them ? "

" Sakes alive!" cried Mrs. Nye, "Til
be bound your city cook // make em much
better than me ; but you ve only to say the
word any time, and I II come over and show
her, if she cant."

" That s a bargain" said Margaret. "/
know I shall never have such good things,
or like my housekeeping as well as yours ;
but I want to ask some of my friends to
come to me in the aiitiimn, and I must have
a big house to hold them"

TJie next morning, before Margaret went
back to town, she walked across the fields to



24 Prolog^le.



view Jier new possessions. TJie day was
f-iir, and as delicate-tinted as any opal,
suck a day as comes far oftener to our Neiv
England coast in spring tJian its maligners
would kave the world believe. Margarefs

CJ

mood was in accord witk the time; and
as ske walked along, her handsome head
thrown back, her dark eyes deivy and sweet,
her pulses beating time to the song in her
heart, her hands full of wild Jlowers, she
made a charming picture. " For spring
still makes spring in the mind" says Emer
son, who knew tlie secret of eternal youth.
A soft breeze blew from the water, bowing
the tall grass and chasing the shadozvs it
made as it ran JiitJier and yon among the
fields, and sending great whiff s of perfume
from the lilac hedge over the stone wall.
The roadside was gay with spring coloring.
Red columbines and blue violets ; wild gera
nium and the golden-hearted strazvberry
blossom; Solomons seal and anemones, and



Prologue. 2 5

that most delicate and gracefullest of vines,
the blackberry ; the purple-pink fringed po
ly gala ; the cassandra, or leather- leaf, hold
ing its white racemes on one side, they
were all here at Margaret s feet, and sJie
took tribute from them all. She crossed a
piece of white-sanded beach, and walked up
the bank through the little wood at whose

o

edges the shad-blossom and dogwood were
in white bloom. There were maple-trees
among the pines, clothed in tender shades
of red and pale green, waving graceful
tassels in the breeze; and oaks trying to
make up for lost time, and bud and boiir-
geon witli the rest. " How much red there
is in the springtime ! " said Margaret.
She had the habit, common to those who
live alone a good deal, of talking to herself.
" Why do people speak as if green were its
only wear? Charles d Or leans knew better

when he said,

Un premier jour du mois de Mai,
De tanne et de vert perdu?



2 6 Prologue.

I never could quite get the right English
word for lanne, by the bye, tan-color
does 11 V just express it" SJic sat down ou
the soft moss, sprinkled with partridge-
berry and wintergreen, and murmitrcd,

" The green grass is bowing,
The morning wind is in it ;
Tis a tune worth thy knowing,
Though it change every minute.
Tis a tune of the Spring,
Every year sings it over?

" Every year sings sings " And Mar
garet fell into a gentle slumber, and dreamed
that she was at home in Boston, and that
her sister and brother-in-law were laugh
ing at her terribly for her purchase of the
Sanderson estate, and she was getting very
angry and very miserable; and then she
dreamed that some one stood beside her, and
a voice she had not heard for years said
earnestly, " It is well ; and better than yoii
know remains behind"



Prologue. 2 7

A slight noise in the underbrush wak
ened Margaret, and Erin was by her side,
looking at her a little anxiously, until slie
spoke to hint and told him she had not lost
her path nor fallen by the way. " / have
only had a dream, Erin" she said. So
they went on to the White House, Erin
marching soberly, with a dignified manner,
for lie knew he was her natural guide
about his old home, and felt the responsi
bility of the situation.

" As from some blissful neighborhood
A notice faintly understood,
I see the end and know the good?

"Like an sEolian harp that wakes
No certain air, but overtakes
Far thought with music that it makes.

" Such seemed the whisper at my side.
What is V thou know st, sweet voice ? / cried.
1 A hidden hope] the voice replied?



// was October with the heart of May.

E. S. PHELPS.

And round us all the thicket rang,
To many a flute of Arcady.

TENNYSON.

// may be that the gulfs shall wash us down,
It may be we shall touch the Happy Isles.

TENNYSON.



FIRST DAY.

" Now, please don t begin with a prejudice,
Ralph ! "

" My dear Margaret," said Ralph gravely, " I
am surprised at you ! I thought you knew
Latin. If I am to have any prejudices at all
(and pray don t attempt to deprive me of them,
they are among the few things I have to be
proud of), I must begin with them. One can
not end with a prejudice. For the word is
formed of two Latin ones, fre, signifying "


1 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 11 12 13 14 15

Online LibraryJames LodgeA week away from time → online text (page 1 of 15)