« ΠροηγούμενηΣυνέχεια »
shaking, for running through the standing hay or corn after a butterfly of more than usual beauty, by many of the fat old farmers.
Old Mr. Temple was loved and respected by all, and especially by his old housekeeper, who looked up to him as perfection, and to the young master as one who would prove quite worthy to tread in his grandfather's footsteps.
Now that I have partly introduced you to my dramatis personce,
I must ask you to pass over a few years, and then we shall come a little nearer to the time when my story first opens. .
Jack and I had scarcely been separated for any length of time until at seventeen he left us to begin his College career, and I cannot tell you what a blank seemed to have come over my life, when I with his grandfather went to wave him farewell from the little village station. Jack, although buoyed up by all sorts of ambitious desires for the future, looked very sad as the engine gave the final whistle and bore him away from his two dearest friends.
How well he had worked I need hardly say during the past two years, and how with honours he had won a scholarship to the delight of his grandfather's old heart.
To-day we are expecting him home for the long vacation ; in two hours he will be here telling us all that has passed during the last few months, although each week has brought me a letter telling of the experiences of each day.
I go up the stairs two steps at a time, a peculiar way of mine when feeling particularly happy, and ring my bell with an impatient pull for my
maid. Celeste is quite acquainted with my excitement of expectation, and with the usual tact of her country-women, has laid my prettiest gown on the bed.
“Come! you must be quick, Celeste, or I never shall be ready” I exclaim impatiently.
At last, Celeste's clever fingers have tied the last string of my pure white dress and given a final twist to the rare old lace round my neck, and after an admiring glance at her own handy work, announces that I am now perfection.
I bid her go; and then stand for a minute in front of the cheval glass and wonder if Jack will appreciate the care I have taken to appear lovely in his eyes; and yet I do not know that I am really in love with this pet of ours, but have always been accustomed to look for his admiration and to think of his pleasure.
Along the corridor I run and tap gently at mother's door, for she has one of her bad headaches to-day and is trying to rest it off. Father has been more troublesome than usual; storming at the servants, bullying mother, and lecturing me; and yet mother is always sweet tempered ; each harsh word is answered by one doubly gentle, each impatient movement anxiously watched by her loving eyes; but instead of causing regret, her goodness seems to redouble father's anger; he storms more than ever, and after shutting the door with undue violence departs, as he supposes, in righteous wrath to his own especial sanctum where none of us dare intrude.
“Come in, my darling,” is mother's answer to my tap for admission, and on entering I see her sitting in her own especial chair by the window which overlooks that part of the garden called “ The Wilderness" and on to the distant hills behind which the sun sets in glorious splendour every night.
Mother's little room is like herself, everything seems to harmonize, there is no colour that does not agree with the surrounding shades, even the very light appears gentle and subdued, and a feeling always comes over me when I am here that I am breathing a more refined atmosphere which seems to alter my very being.
Here with mother I forget the petty jealousies of every day life, the trifles which make the sum of our happiness; here I cease to feel indignation against father's tyranny; in fact, as Jack used to say when we were children “It always seemed Sunday in there.”
How many times in after life did I look back with vain longing for one of those hours of rest spent in mother's sanctum. “How nice Celeste has made you look my darling, and how pleased we shall both be to see our favourite ; I am sure the sound of his voice will quite cure my headache, which is nearly well.” “I hopeit will” I reply, at the same time kissing her dear patient face, and I shall go and wait at the gate mother and bring Jack to you directly he comes.
It is a glorious afternoon in midsummer, the earth seems laden with all the bright sights and sounds of busy insect life, here are butterflies enjoying their short, bright existence, and there humming over the beds of many
coloured flowers are the busy little bees, getting in their store of honey for the coming winter.
How slowly the time seems to
you are waiting for any one, the minutes seem doubly as long, and yet I never care to do anything even if I could settle down to one occupation, for fear of missing the expected one just as he may come in sight.
After my patience is nearly exhausted, round the corner of the road comes such a tall young man, that cannot be our Jack, for this young fellow is quite six feet; and yet another look shows that it is he, but oh! so altered; his moustache, about which he has broken the tenth commandment so often, quite hides his upper lip, and the chin looks suspiciously blue.
I don't know whether to go and meet him, but during my deliberation Jack has caught sight of me, and after a short run on his part, his arms