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HILDEGARDES



HARVEST




BY- LAURA- E RICHARDS



EDDC1TIOH IIBB.




THE LIBRARY

OF

THE UNIVERSITY
OF CALIFORNIA

Education

GIFT OF

Louise Farrow Barr



HILDEGARDE'S HARVEST.



EDUCATION LIBBi



" Queen Hildegarde " Series.

By Laura E* Richards,



HILDEGARDE'S HARVEST.

Thej^/jfA volume of the Hildegarde Series. Illustrated with
eight full-page cuts. Square i6mo, cloth, $1.25.

A new volume in the " Hildegarde" series, some of the best
and most deservedly popular books for girls issued in recent
years. This new volume is fully equal to its predecessors in
point of interest, and is sure to renew the popularity of the
entire series.

HILDEGARDE'S NEIGHBORS.

Fourth volume. Illustrated from original designs. Illus-
trated by L. J. Bridgman. Square i6mo, cloth, $1.25.

HILDEGARDE'S HOME.

Third volume. Illustrated with original designs by Merrill.
Square i6mo, cloth, $1.25.

HILDEGARDE'S HOLIDAY.

Second volume. Illustrated with full-page plates by Cope-
land. Square i6mo, cloth, $1.25.

QUEEN HILDEGARDE.

First volume. Illustrated from original designs by Garrett
(292 pp.). Square i6mo, cloth, $1.25.

"We would like to see the sensible, heroine-loving girl in
her early teens who would not like this book. Not to Tike it
would simply argue a screw loose somewhere." Boston Post.



THE HILDEGARDE SERIES.

as above. 5 vols., square i6mo, put up in a neat box, $6.25.

*** Next to Miss Alcott's famous " LITTLE WOMEN " series
they easily rank, and no books that have appeared in recent
times may be more safely put into the hands of a bright, intelli-
gent girl than these five "Queen Hildegarde " books.



Estcs & Lauriat, Publishers, Boston*




HILDEGARDE DANCED THE VIRGINIA REEL WITH THE
COLONEL."



EDUC.-



HlLDEGARDE'S HARVEST



BY

LAURA E. RICHARDS

AUTHOR OF "CAPTAIN JANUARY," " HlLDEGARDE'S NEIGHBOURS,"
"QUEEN HILDEGARDE," ETC.



CUustratrt



BOSTON
DANA ESTES & COMPANY

PUBLISHERS



Copyright, 1897,
BY ESTES AND LAUKIAT,



Education



Colonial

Electrotyped and Printed by C. H. Simonds & Co.
Boston, Mass., U.S.A.



CONTENTS.



CHAPTER



317



PAGE



I. THE MORNING MAIL ...

II. THE CHRISTMAS DRAWER . 21

III. AUNT EMILY . .41

IV. GREETINGS . . . 59
V. AT THE EXCHANGE . 73

VI. MORE GREETINGS . 96

VII. MERRY WEATHER SIGNS . - 117

VIII. CHRISTMASING . 137

IX. AN EVENING HOUR . 162

X. DIE EDLE MUSICA ... .176

XI. THE BOYS .... .196

XII. JIMMY'S POND . . 217

XIII. MERRY CHRISTMAS . 238

XIV. BELLEROPHON . . 257
XV. AT LAST . 279



LIST OF ILLUSTRATIONS.



PAGE
" HlLDEGARDE DANCED THE VIRGINIA REEL WITH

THE COLONEL " Frontispiece

BELL'S LETTER 14

"MRS. DELANSING SCRUTINISED HER AS SHE CAME

THROUGH THE LONG ROOM " . . . .50
" ' HlLDEGARDE GRAHAME, IN THE NAME OF ALL

THAT'S WONDERFUL ! '" 91

" ' CONSIDER THE BEAUTY OF YOUR OFFSPRING ' " . 140

DlE EDLE MUSICA 177

ON JIMMY'S POND 223

" A LITTLE FIGURE . . . STOOD OUT CLEAR AGAINST

THE DARK FIRS " . 274



HILDEGAKDE'S HARVEST.



CHAPTER I.

THE MORNING MAIL.

HILDEGARDE was walking home from the
village, whither she had gone to get the mail.
She usually rode the three miles on her bicycle,
but she had met a tack on the road the day
before, and must now wait a day or two till
the injured tire could be mended.

Save for missing the sensation of flying,
which she found one of the most delightful
things in the world, she was hardly sorry to
have the walk. One could not see so much
from the wheel, unless one rode slowly; and
Hildegarde could not ride slowly, the joy of
flying was too great. It was good to look at



10 HILDEGARDE'S HARVEST.

everything as she went along, to recognise the
knots on the trees, and stop for a friendly word
with any young sapling that looked as if it
needed encouragement. Also, the leaves had
fallen, and what could be pleasanter than to
walk through them, stirring them up, and hear-
ing the crisp, clean crackle of them under her
feet? Also, and this was the most potent
reason, after all, she could read her letters as
she walked, and she had good letters to-day.

The first that she opened was addressed in
a round, childish hand to " Mis' Hilda," the
" Grahame " being added in a different hand.
The letter itself was written in pencil, and read
as follows :

"MY DEER,

" I hop you are well. I am well. Aunt Wealthy is well.
Martha is well. Dokta jonSon is well; these are all the
peple that is well. Germya has the roomatiks so bad he
sase he thinks he is gon this time for sure. I don't think
he is gon, he has had them wers before. Aunt Wealthy gave
me a bantim cock and hens, his nam is Goliath of Gath, and
there nams is Buty and Topknot. The children has gon
away from Joyus Gard; they were all well and they went
home to scool. I miss them ; I go to scool, but I don't lik it,



THE MORNING MAIL. 11

but I am gone to have tee with Mista Peny pakr tonite, Aunt
Wealthy sade I mite. He has made a new hous and it is nise.
" So goodbi from

" BENNY."

Hildegarde laughed a good deal over this
letter, and then wiped away a tear or two that
certainly had no business in her happy eyes.

" Dear little Benny ! " she said. " Dear little
boy ! But when is the precious lamb going to
learn to spell ? This is really dreadful ! I
suppose ' Germya ' is Jeremiah, though it looks
more like some new kind of porridge. And
Mr. Pennypacker with a new house! This is
astonishing ! I must see what Cousin Wealthy
says about it."

The next letter, bearing the same postmark,
of Bywood, and written in a delicate and tremu-
lous hand, was from Miss Bond herself. It
told Hildegarde in detail the news that Benny
had outlined ; described the happy departure
of the children, who had spent their convales-
cence at the pleasant summer home, all rosy-
cheeked, and shouting over the joy they had
had. Then she went on to dilate on the won-



12 HILDEGARDE'S HARVEST.

derful qualities of her adopted son Benny,
who, it appeared, was making progress in every
branch of education.

"I may be prejudiced, my dear," the good
old lady wrote, "but I am bound to say that
Martha agrees with me in thinking him a most
remarkable child."

Miss Bond further told of the event of the
neighbourhood, the building of Mr. Galusha
Pennypacker's new house. The neighbourhood
of so many little children, his friendship with
Benny, "but more than all, his remembrance of
you, my dear Hildegarde," had, it appeared,
wrought a marvellous change in the old hermit.
The kindly neighbours had met him half-way in
his advances, and were full of good-will and
helpfulness ; and when, by good fortune, his
miserable old shanty had burned down one
summer night, the whole neighbourhood had
turned out and built him a snug cottage which
would keep him comfortable for the rest of his
days.

" Mr. Pennypacker came here yesterday to invite Benny to
drink tea with him (I employ the current expression, my



THE MORNING MAIL. 13

dear, though of course the child drinks nothing but milk at
his tender age; I have always considered tea a beverage for
the aged, or those who are not robust), and in the course of
conversation, he begged me most earnestly to convey to you
the assurance that, in his opinion, the comfort which sur-
rounds his later days is owing entirely to you. His actual
expression, though not refined, was forcible, and Martha
thinks you would like to hear it:

" ' I was a-livin' a hog's life, an' I should ha' died a hog's
death if it hadn't been for that gal.'

" I trust your dear mother will not think it coarse to have
repeated these words. There is something in the very men-
tion of swine that is repugnant to ears polite, but Martha was
of the opinion that you would prefer to have the message
in his own words. And I am bound to say that Galusha
Pennypacker, though undoubtedly an eccentric, is a thoroughly
well-intentioned person."

" Dear Cousin Wealthy ! " said Hildegarde, as
she folded the delicate sheet and put it back
into its pearl-gray envelope with the silver seal.
" It must have cost her an effort to repeat
Mr. Penny packer's words. Poor old man ! I
am glad he is comfortable. I must send him
a little box at Christmas, some little things
to trim up his new house and prettify it.
Oh ! and now, Bell, now for your letter ! I
have kept it for the last, my dear, as if it



14 HILDEGARDE'S HARVEST.

were raisins or chocolate, only it is better than
either."

The fat square envelope that she now opened
contained several sheets of paper, closely cov-
ered, every page filled from top to bottom with
a small, firm handwriting, but no line of cross-
ing. The Merryweathers were not allowed to
cross their letters, under penalty of being con-
demned to write entirely on postal cards. Let
us peep over Hildegarde's shoulder, and see
what Bell has to say.

" DEAREST HILDEGARDE :

" It is two full weeks since I have written, and I am
ashamed ; but it is simply because they have been full weeks,
very full! There is so much to tell you, I hardly know
where to begin. A week ago to-night our play came off,
' The Mouse Trap.' It went beautifully, not a hitch any-
where, though we had only had five rehearsals. I was Willis,
as I told you. I wore my ulster without the cape, and really
looked quite masculine, I think. I had a curly, dark-brown
wig (my hair tucked down my neck, it didn't show at
all !) and the prettiest little moustache ! Marion Wilson was
Amy, and she screamed most delightfully. In fact, they all
screamed in such a natural and heartfelt way, that some of
the ladies in the audience seemed to feel quite uncomfortable,
and I am sure I saw Madame Mirabelle tuck her skirts close




BELL S LETTER.



THE MORNING MAIL. 15

around her feet, and put her feet up on the bench in front of
her. Well, we all did our best, though Clarice Hamrrfond
was the best ; she is a born actress ! and the audience was
very cordial, and we were called before the curtain five times ;
and altogether it was a great success. I enclose a flower from
a bouquet that was thrown at me. It was a beauty, and it
struck me right on the head. I thought it was for Clarice,
and was going to hand it to her, but somebody in the audi-
ence cried out, < Why don't you speak for yourself, Willis ? '
and everybody laughed, and they said it was really for me, so
I kept it, and was pleased and proud. I have pressed two or
three flowers in my blue-print book, with the pictures of the
play. I am going to send you some as soon as I can print
some more. The girls snatched all the first batch, so that I
have not a single one left.

" Let me see ! What comes next ? Oh, next you must hear
about my surprise party. I was in my room one evening,
grinding hard at my Greek (do you think your mother would
object to grinding ? ' It is such old, respectable college slang,
mamma allows it once in a while), when I heard whispering
and giggling in the hall outside. I don't mind telling you,
my dear, that my heart sank, for I had a good lot of Pindar
to do, and there is no sense in shirking one's lessons. But I
went to the door with as good a grace as I could, and there
was our dear Gerty, and Clara Lyndon, and three or four
other girls from Miss Russell's school. They said they had
double permission, from Miss Russell at that end, and Mrs.
Tower at this, to come and give me a surprise party ; and here
they were, and they were coming in whether I liked it or not.



16 HILDEGARDE'S HARVEST.

Of course I did like it after the first minute, for they were all
so dear and jolly. They had borrowed chairs as they came
along through the hall, and one had her pocket full of spoons,
and another had a basket, oh, but I am getting on too
fast. Well, Gerty and I sat on the bed, and the others on the
chairs, and we chattered away, and I heard all the school news.
Then presently Mabel Norton opened a basket, and took out
oh, Hilda! the most beautiful, beautiful rose-bush, simply
covered with blossoms. It was for me, with a card from
Miss Russell and the whole school ; and when I asked what
it all meant, why, it seems that this was the anniversary of
the day last year when I pulled a little girl out of the river,
down near the mill-dam. It was the simplest thing in the
world to do, for any one who was strong and knew how to
tread water ; but these dear people had remembered the date,
and had done this lovely thing to well, Hilda, I didn't
cry that evening, but somehow I want to now, when I come
to tell you about it. You will understand ! It is so lovely to
have such dear, kind friends, that I cannot help it. Well,
then out of another basket came a most wonderful cream
tart, with my initials on it in caramel, and a whole lot,
dozens and dozens, of the little sponge-cakes that I am so
fond of. They cannot make them anywhere in the world, I
think, except at Miss Russell's, and dear good Miss Gary, the
housekeeper, remembered that I was fond of them. Oh, and
a huge box of marshmallows ; and we all knew what that
meant. Marshmallows are the what shall I say ? the un-
official emblem of Miss Russell's school; and soon two or
three were toasting over the gas on hat-pins, and I was cut-



THE MOKNING MAIL. IT

ting the tart, and Gerty was handing round the sponge-
cakes, and we were all as happy as possible. I ran and
asked the girls along the hall to come in, and as many of
them did come as could get in the 4 door, and the rest sat
in a semicircle on the floor in the hall, and we sang every-
thing we could think of. All of a sudden we heard a knock-
ing at the window. I ran and looked out, and there was
something hanging and bobbing against the glass. I opened
the window, and drew in a basket, full of all kinds of things,
oranges and bananas and candy, with a card, Compliments
of the Third Floor ! ' So of course I was running up to
thank them, and say how sorry we were that there was not
room for them, when I almost ran plump into Mrs. Tower,
who was coming along the entry, very stately and superb.
She had heard all about it, and she came to say that, if we
liked, we might dance for half an hour in the parlour. You
can imagine no, you cannot, for you never were at college !
the wild rush down those stairs. We called the third floor
(they are mostly freshmen), and they came careering down like
a herd of ponies ; and the first floor came out of their studies
when they heard the music, and we had the wildest, merriest,
most enchanting dance for just half an hour. Then it was
hurry-scurry off, for Miss Russell's girls were on the very edge
of their time allowance, and had to run most of the way
home (it is only a very little way, and one of the maids had
come with them, and waited for them). And we all thanked
Mrs. Tower as prettily as we knew how, and she said pleasant
things, and then some of the girls helped me to take back
the chairs and straighten things up generally. So the great



18 HILDEGARDE'S HARVEST.

frolic was over, and most delightful it was ; but, my dear, I
had to get up at five o'clock to finish my Greek next morning,
and the ground floor was not much better off with its phi-
losophy. And now there are no more gaieties, for the exam-
inations are on,' and we must buckle to our work in good
earnest. I don't expect to have much trouble, as I have kept
up pretty well ; but there is enough for any one to do, no
matter how well up she is. So this is the last letter you will
have, my dear, before the happy day that brings us all out
to the beloved Pumpkin House. Oh, what a glorious time
we shall have, all together once more ! Roger is still out
West, but hopes to get back -for the last part of the holidays,
at least; and Phil's and Jerry's vacation begins two days
before Gerty's and mine. Altogether, the prospect is en-
chanting, and one of the very best parts of it is the seeing
you again, dear Hilda. Only three weeks more! Gerty
paints a star on her screen for every day that is gone. Funny
little Gerty ! Give my love to your mother, please, and be-
lieve me always, dear Hilda,

" Your affectionate

" ISABEL MERRYWEATHER."

Hildegarde gave a half-sigh, as she finished
this letter, and walked N on in silence, thinking
many things. Bell's life seemed very free and
full and joyous; it suited her exactly, the strong,
sensible, merry girl ; and oh, how much she was
learning ! This letter said little about studies,



THE MORNING MAIL. 19

but Hildegarde knew from former ones how
much faithful work was going on, and how
firm a foundation of scholarship and thorough-
ness her friend was laying.

" Whereas I," she said aloud, " am as igno-
rant as a hedge-sparrow."

As she spoke, a sparrow hopped upon a twig
close by her, and cocked his bright eye at her
expressively.

" I beg your pardon ! " said Hildegarde, hum-
bly. " No doubt you are right, and I am
a hundred times more ignorant. I could not
even imagine how to build a nest ; but neither
can you crack a nut ask Mr. Emerson !
or play the piano."

The sparrow chirped defiance, flirted his tail
saucily, and was gone.

" And all girls cannot be students ! " said Hil-
degarde, stopping to address a young maple that
looked strong-minded. " Everybody cannot go
to college ; there must be some who are to be
just girls, plain girls, and stay at home.
As for a girl going to college when there is
only herself to to help make a home



20 HILDEGARDE'S HARVEST.

why, she might as well be Nero, and done
with it."

She nodded at the maple-tree, as if she had
settled it entirely, and walked on more quickly ;
the cloud it was a slight one, but still a cloud
vanished from her brow, leaving it clear and
sunny.

" The place one is in," she said, " is the place
to be happy in. Of course I do miss them all ;
of course I do ! but if ever any girl ought
to be thankful on her knees all day long for
blessings and happinesses, Hildegarde Grahame,
why, you know who she is, and that she does
not spell her name Tompkins."



CHAPTER II.

THE CHRISTMAS DRAWER.

CHRISTMAS was coming. Christmas was only
three weeks off. Oh, how the time was flying !
" How shall I ever get ready ? " cried Hilde-
garde, quickening her pace as she spoke, as if
the holiday season were chasing her along the
road.

" One is always busy, of course ; but it does
seem as if I were going to be about five times
as busy as I ever was before. Naturally ! there
are so many more people that I want to make
presents for. Last Christmas, there was Mam-
mina, and Col. Ferrers and Hugh, and the box
to send to Jack, dear Jack ! and Auntie, and
Mrs. Lankton and the children, and, well, of
course, Cousin Wealthy and Benny, and all the
dear people at Bywood, why, there were a
good many, after all, weren't there ? But now
I have all my Merryweathers hi addition, you



22 HILDEGARDE'S HARVEST.

see. Of course I needn't give anything to the
boys, or to any of them, for that matter,
but I do want to, so very much ; if only there
were a little more time ! I will go up this min-
ute, if Mammina does not want me, and look
over my drawer. I really haven't looked at it
thoroughly, that is for three days ! Hilda
Grahame, what a goose you are ! "

By this time she had arrived at Braeside, the
pretty house where she and her mother passed
their happy, quiet life. Running lightly up the
steps, and into the house, the girl peeped into
the sitting-room and parlour, and finding both
empty, went on up the stairs. She paused to
listen at her mother's door ; there was no sound
from within, and Hildegarde hoped that her
mother was sleeping off the headache, which
had made the morning heavy for her. Kiss-
ing her hand to the door, she went on to her
own room, which always greeted her as a friend,
no matter how many times a day she entered it.
She looked round at books and pictures with a
little sigh of contentment, and sank down for
a moment in the low rocking-chair. "Just to



THE CHRISTMAS DRAWER. 23

breathe, you know ! " she said. " One must
breathe to live." Involuntarily her hand moved
towards the low table close by, on which lay a
tempting pile of books. Just one chapter of
" The Fortunes of Nigel," while she was get-
ting her breath ?

" No," she said, replying to herself with sever-
ity, " nothing of the kind. You can rest just
as well while you are looking over the drawer.
I am surprised, or rather, I wish I were sur-
prised at you, Hilda Grahame. You are a hard
case ! "

Exchanging a glance of mutual sympathy
and understanding with Sir Walter Scott, who
looked down on her benignly from the wall,
Hildegarde now drew her chair up beside a tall
chest of drawers, and proceeded to open the
lowest drawer, which was as deep and wide as
the whole of some modern bureaus. It was
half filled with small objects, which she now
took out one by one, looking them over care-
fully before laying them back. First came a
small table-cover of heavy buff linen, beautifully
embroidered with nasturtiums in the brilliant



24 HILDEGARDE'S HARVEST.

natural colors. It was really a thing of beauty,
and the girl looked at it first with natural pride,
then went over it carefully, examining the work-
manship of each bud and blossom.

" It will pass muster ! " she said, finally. " It
is well done, if I do say it ; the Beloved Per-
fecter will be satisfied, I think."

This was for her mother, of course ; and she
laid it back, rolled smoothly round a pasteboard
tube, and covered with white tissue paper, be-
fore she went on to another article. Next came
a shawl, like an elaborate collection of snow-
flakes that had flitted together, yet kept their
exquisite shapes of star and wheel and triangle.
Cousin Wealthy would be pleased with this !
Hildegarde felt the same pleasant assurance of
success. " There ought to be a bit of pearl-
coloured satin ribbon somewhere ! Oh, here it
is ! A bit of ribbon gives a finish that nothing
else can. There ! now that is ready, and that
makes two. Now, Benny, my blessed lamb,
where are you?"

She drew out a truly splendid scrap-book,
bound in heavy cardboard, and marked " Benny's



THE CHRISTMAS DRAWER. 25

Book/' with many flourishes and curlicues.
Within were pictures of every imaginable kind,
the coloured ones on white, the black and white
on scarlet cardboard. Under every picture was
a legend in Hildegarde's hand, in prose or verse.
For example, under a fine portrait of an impos-
ing black cat was written :

" Is this Benny's pillow-cat ?
No ! it is not half so fat !
No ! it is not half so fair,
So it mews in sad despair,
Feeling that it has not any
Chance for to belong to Benny."

Hildegarde had spent many loving hours over
this book ; her verses were not remarkable, but
Benny would like them none the less for that,
she thought, and she laid the book back with
a contented mind. Then there was a noble
apron for Martha, with more pockets than any
one else in the world could use ; and a pin-
cushion for Mrs. Brett, and a carved tobacco-
stopper for Jeremiah. Beside the tobacco-stopper
lay a pipe, also carved neatly, and Hildegarde
took this up with a sigh. " I don't like to part



26 HILDEGARDE'S HARVEST.

with it ! " she said. " Papa brought it from
Berne, all those years ago, and I am so used to
it ; but after all, I am not likely to smoke a
pipe, even if I have succumbed to the bicycle,
and I do want to send some little thing to dear
Mr. Hartley. Dear old soul ! how I should like
to see him and Marm Lucy ! We really must
make a pilgrimage to Hartley's Glen next sum-
mer, if it is a possible thing. Marm Lucy will
like this little blue jug, I know. We have the
same taste in blue jugs, and she will not care
a bit about its only costing fifteen cents. Ah !
if everything one wanted to buy cost fifteen
cents, one would not be so distracted ; but I
do want to get ' Robin Hood ' for Hugh, and
where am I to get the three dollars, I ask
you?"

She addressed William the Silent ; the hero
drew her attention, in his quiet way, to his
own sober dress and simple ruff, and seemed to
think that Hugh would be just as well off with-
out the record of a ruffling knave who wore
Lincoln green, and was not particular how he
came by it.



THE CHRISTMAS DRAWER. 27

" Ah ! but that is all you know, dear sir ! "
said Hildegarde. " We all have our limitations,
and if you had only known Robin, you would
see how right I am."

And then Hildegarde fell a-dreaming, and
imagined a tea-party that she might give, to
which should come William of Orange and
Robin Hood, Alan Breck Stuart and Jim
Hawkins.

" And who else ? let me see ! Hugh, of
course, and Jack, if he were here, and the


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