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“ Thy servant did descend into the midst of the battle.”
As if it had been an indifferent thing to her, so did Mrs. Hopper scrutinize every word and letter; pointing out an undotted i, and a t uncrossed, with a cool decision that they must be rectified.
Wal, wal,' said Mr. Stryker-' that's all easy enough, though nobody'd ever find it out, after all. The rest suits ye, don't it? pretty clever notion of a ship, aint it? haven't made a better lookin' stone this some time.
He was a likely boy though, so it's just as well.'
Fetch your bill!' said Mrs. Hopper, turning almost fiercely upon him.
• Save us and bless us !' said the old man. Why I don't know as it's made out, and’• Make it out then,' said Mrs. Hopper.
• How long d'you s'pose me and this lady’s agoin' to stand here waitin' on your slow motions ?
Your goods and chattels is too heavy to be run off with afore you get back.'
Mr. Stryker turned towards the house, muttering a little to himself, and Mrs. Hopper's hands came together again with that quick clasp. She stood looking at the stone.
Thy servant,”' Rosalie said, in a voice so low that it claimed none but willing attention. « Those sweet words !'
Belonged to him if they ever did to anybody,' said his mother shortly, as if to get her words out while she could. He didn't serve two masters--but he served one.'
'If any man serve me, him shall my Father honour,' said Rosalie, in the same tone.
Mrs. Hopper moved her head as if she would have spoken, but no words came—only again her hands were pressed together, but this time with a joyful difference; and like a flash her look sought Rosalie's face, and again went back.
• Here's your bill, missis,' said the old stone-cutter returning. Made out pretty consider'ble quick, too.'
Let's have it,' said Mrs. Hopper, with her former abrupt tone. "Now neighbour Stryker, you set this all right the way I told you, and then you take it into the house and kiver it
you let a living soul set eyes on to it, and then when I send I'll send the money. But if person sees the one, there's no tellin' when you'll see the t'other. Goodnight t'ye.'
And with rapid steps she followed the little path till they had turned the hill and the hut was out of sight, and then went forward to the high road at a more reasonable rate; but with her face set in stern composure, and in perfect silence.
• How thankful I am you could put those words there!' Rosalie said at length, the long breath seeming to bear witness to sorrowful thoughts in her mind as well. How thankful ! how glad!'
Yes—I'm thankful too-I s'pose,' said Mrs. Hopper, in a kind of choking voice. “I'd like to have 'em go on my own!'
And again she quickened her pace, nor changed it till through the gathering twilight they saw the gleam from their own kitchen windows.
Bless you, Miss Clyde !' she said then, laying her hand on Rosalie's arm, and speaking so low that but for their earnest strength her words would scarce have been heard. “Bless you a thousand times for going with me !—and more'n all for not talkin' to me, nor plaguin' me with questions. And for sayin' just the right words — I'd forgot all about 'em.'
And with a firm and steady step she opened the kitchen door, and inquired 'why upon earth they hadn't got supper ready ?'
SOFTLY THE EVENING CAME.
Softly the evening came. The sun from the western horizon,
MEANWHILE Rosalie's own causes of trouble began to press more heavily. Thornton's letters had now ceased to come at all, — whether because the camping-out life took more of his time or more of his thought, his sister could only guess. Even one of those short half sheets which were in themselves so unsatisfying would have been most welcome, but none came; and the papers gave her none but general tidings. Sometimes she could almost have resolved to go and learn for herself ; but there was Hulda—how could she be either taken or left?
It was near the close of a September afternoon when she stood at the window turning over this question in her mind. Not at the window which faced the dell, but one on another side of her room, which looked askance as it were towards the road and the open country. Everything was very still, only for a little peal of laughter which came every now and then from some unseen place; though the voice itself was well known, and said that Hulda's fountain of pleasure knew nor drought nor hindrance. Save this and a few fall crickets the silence had no break.
The leaves were beginning to make their bright changes,
and the beautiful gay tints infringed very perceptibly upon the summer green. Rosalie wondered to herself if changes were once again creeping over her life,—if what had so long been was to be no more. And yet—for the mind loves even surface sparkles on the water rather than its cold depths— she could hardly take up the thought in a sorrowful way. Sober it was, as the long shadows that stretched across the fields; but fair streaks of sunlight lay between, and in them the fall tints looked bright and hopeful: there was even comfort in the thought of such beauty-working cold nights of frost. And when the sun had set, and twilight had taken her place, then arose the rich after-glow,—as in verification of the promise, “ At evening time it shall be light.” “ I form the light and create darkness. I make
peace and create evil. I, the Lord, do all these things.” And the quietness of full assent fell on Rosalie's heart.
The glow was brightening now, steadily ; as cloud after cloud caught the signal and lit its own fire, or hung out its colours of gold or purple or the ashes of sunburnt roses. And spread over the western sky the purest rose-colour came flushing up, a fair back-ground to the floating clouds. On earth the glow rather pervaded than fell on anything, it was like looking through a golden atmosphere.
Afar off on the road, where one of its windings stretched away into the distance, there came slowly along a large covered wagon. The glow was about it and over it-it moved through that yellow light — but itself loomed up brown and dark as before. Slowly it came on,- the two brown horses upon a quiet walk, the driver using no means to urge them. It seemed to Rosalie as if darkness fell as they moved on—as if the glow faded because they came. As if the clouds could not keep their bright tinges with that wagon beneath ; and as it came on at the same slow pace and halted before their gate, she knew it was the answer to
THE ANSWER TO HOPES AND FEARS.
Mrs. Hopper's hopes and fears for her son's return. А startled bird flew twittering past the window, touching Rosalie with its own undefined fear, and hastily she turned away and opened the kitchen door.
She paused on the threshold however, for in the dancing light of the newly made-up fire Mrs. Hopper sat alone, and for a wonder doing nothing. The room was scrupulously put up, the very fire laid with neatness and precision, and every chair in its place; and the mistress sat in the chimney corner with an air of nervous listlessness which became her strangely. At the noise of the door latch she looked up, and instantly rose ; standing still then for one moment with her hand pressed to her side, she merely said,
"I felt it, Miss Rosalie :'-and then throwing up one of the kitchen windows which looked towards the barn and outhouses, she called in a voice that went through the still evening air without the ringing effect of an ordinary loud call,
Jabin! Mr. Mearns !' then shut the window and came and stood on the hearth again, without speaking or looking at Rosalie who had not stirred from her first position.
But when there was heard a low knock at the door, Mrs. Hopper turned and said,
Don't stop—you can't help me. Go round the house and keep 'em quiet.' And went forward to open the door.
Rosalie closed hers, and passing swiftly to the front of the house glided out in the soft cool twilight, and went round as she had been directed. There was no one to be seen at first; and then hearing Hulda's merry laugh in the direction of the barn she crossed the bit of meadow that lay between, passing the two men as she went, and found Martha and Jerusha and Hulda playing with bundles of straw and each other upon the threshing floor. Here the men had been at work apparently, for the fanning-mill stood out and