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Patten, William / The Junior Classics β€” Volume 6 Old-Fashioned Tales
Mrs.
Thoresby took possession; had praised the tableaux, as "quite
creditable, really, considering the resources we had," and was
following a slight lead into a long talk, of information and advice on
her part, about Dixville Notch. The general thought he should go
there, after a day or two at Outledge.

Just here came up Dakie Thayne. The actors, in costume, were gradually
mingling among the audience, and Barbara Frietchie, in white hair,
from which there was not time to remove the powder, plain cap and
kerchief, and brown woolen gown, with her silken flag yet in her hand,
came with him. This boy, who "was always everywhere," made no
hesitation, but walked straight up to the central group, taking Leslie
by the hand. Close to the general, he waited courteously for a long
sentence of Mrs. Thoresby's to be ended, and then said, simply,--"Uncle
James, this is my friend Miss Leslie Goldthwaite. My brother, Dr.
Ingleside--why, where is Noll?"

Dr. Oliver Ingleside had stepped out of the circle in the last half of
the long sentence. The Sister of Mercy--no longer in costume, however--had
come down the little flight of steps that led from the stage to the
floor. At their foot the young army surgeon was shaking hands with
Susan Josselyn. These two had had the chess-practice together--and
other practice--down there among the Southern hospitals.

Mrs. Thoresby's face was very like some fabric subjected to chemical
experiment, from which one color and aspect has been suddenly and
utterly discharged to make room for something different and new.
Between the first and last there waits a blank. With this blank full
upon her, she stood there for one brief, unprecedented instant in her
life, a figure without presence or effect. I have seen a daguerreotype
in which were cap, hair, and collar, quite correct,--what should have
been a face rubbed out. Mrs. Thoresby rubbed herself out, and so
performed her involuntary tableau.

"Of course I might have guessed. I wonder it never occurred to me,"
Mrs. Linceford was replying, presently, to her vacuous inquiry. "The
name seemed familiar, too; only he called himself 'Dakie.' I remember
perfectly now. Old Jacob Thayne, the Chicago millionaire. He married
pretty little Mrs. Ingleside, the Illinois Representative's widow,
that first winter I was in Washington. Why, Dakie must be a dollar
prince!"

He was just Dakie Thayne, though, for all that. He and Leslie and
Cousin Delight,--the Josselyns and the Inglesides,--dear Miss
Craydocke, hurrying up to congratulate,--Marmaduke Wharne looking on
without a shade of cynicism in the gladness of his face, and Sin Saxon
and Frank Scherman flitting up in the pauses of dance and promenade,--well,
after all, these were the central group that night. The pivot of the
little solar system was changed; but the chief planets made but slight
account of that; they just felt that it had grown very warm and
bright.

"O Chicken Little!" Mrs. Linceford cried to Leslie Goldthwaite, giving
her a small shake with her good-night kiss at her door. "How did you
know the sky was going to fall? And how have you led us all this chase
to cheat Fox Lox at last?"

But that wasn't the way Chicken Little looked at it. She didn't care
much for the bit of dramatic _dιnouement_ that had come about by
accident,--like a story, Elinor said,--or the touch of poetic justice
that tickled Mrs. Linceford's world-instructed sense of fun. Dakie
Thayne wasn't a sum that needed proving. It was very nice that this
famous general should be his uncle,--but not at all strange: they were
just the sort of people he _must_ belong to. And it was nicest of all
that Dr. Ingleside and Susan Josselyn should have known each other,--"in
the glory of their lives," she phrased it to herself, with a little
flash of girl-enthusiasm and a vague suggestion of romance.

"Why didn't you tell us?" Mrs. Linceford said to Dakie Thayne next
morning. "Everybody would have--" She stopped. She could not tell this
boy to his frank face that everybody would have thought more and made
more of him because his uncle had got brave stars on his shoulders,
and his father had died leaving two millions or so of dollars.

"I know they would have," said Dakie Thayne. "That was just it. What
is the use of telling things? I'll wait till I've done something that
tells itself."

There was a pretty general break-up at Outledge during the week
following. The tableaux were the _finale_ of the season's gayety,--of
this particular little episode, at least, which grew out of the
association together of these personages of our story. There might
come a later set, and later doings; but this last week of August sent
the mere summer-birds fluttering. Madam Routh must be back in New
York, to prepare for the reopening of her school; Mrs. Linceford had
letters from her husband, proposing to meet her by the first, in
N----, and so the Haddens would be off; the Thoresbys had stayed as
long as they cared to in any one place where there seemed no special
inducement; General Ingleside was going through the mountains to
Dixville Notch. Rose Ingleside,--bright and charming as her name,--just
a fit flower to put beside our Ladies' Delight,--finding out, at once,
as all girls and women did, her sweetness, and leaning more and more
to the rare and delicate sphere of her quiet attraction,--Oliver and
Dakie Thayne,--these were his family party; but there came to be
question about Leslie and Delight. Would not they make six? And since
Mrs. Linceford and her sisters must go, it seemed so exactly the thing
for them to fall into; otherwise Miss Goldthwaite's journey hither
would hardly seem to have been worth while. Early September was so
lovely among the hills; opportunities for a party to Dixville Notch
would not come every day; in short, Dakie had set his heart upon it,
Rose begged, the general was as pressing as true politeness would
allow, and it was settled.

"Only" Sin Saxon said, suddenly, on being told, "I should like if you
would tell me, General Ingleside, the precise military expression
synonymous with 'taking the wind out of one's sails.' Because that's
just what you've done for me."

"My dear Miss Saxon! In what way?"

"Invited my party,--some of them,--and taken my road. That's all. I
spoke first, though I didn't speak out loud. See here!" And she
produced a letter from her mother, received that morning. "Observe the
date, if you please,--August 24. 'Your letter reached me yesterday'
And it had travelled round, as usual, two days in papa's pocket,
beside. I always allow for that. 'I quite approve your plan; provided,
as you say, the party be properly matronized, I--h'm--h'm!--That
refers to little explanations of my own. Well, all is, I was going to
do this very thing,--with enlargements. And now Miss Craydocke and I
may collapse."

"Why? when with you and your enlargements we might make the most
admirable combination? At least, the Dixville road is open to all."

"Very kind of you to say so,--the first part, I mean,--if you could
possibly have helped it. But there are insurmountable obstacles on that
Dixville road--to us. There's a lion in the way. Don't you see we should
be like the little ragged boys running after the soldier-company? We
couldn't think of putting ourselves in that 'bony light,' especially
before the eyes of Mrs.--Grundy." This last, as Mrs. Thoresby swept
impressively along the piazza in full dinner costume.

"Unless you go first, and we run after you," suggested the general.

"All the same. You talked Dixville to her the very first evening, you
know. No, nobody can have an original Dixville idea any more. And I've
been asking them,--the Josselyns, and Mr. Wharne and all, and was just
coming to the Goldthwaites; and now I've got them on my hands, and I
don't know where in the world to take them. That comes of keeping an
inspiration to ripen. Well, it's a lesson of wisdom! Only, as Effie
says about her housekeeping, the two dearest things in living are
butter and experience!"

Amidst laughter and banter and repartee, they came to it, of course;
the most delightful combination and joint arrangement. Two wagons, the
general's and Dr. Ingleside's two saddle-horses, Frank Scherman's
little mountain mare, that climbed like a cat, and was sure-footed as
a chamois,--these with a side-saddle for the use of a lady sometimes
upon the last, make up the general equipment of the expedition.

All Mrs. Grundy knew was that they were wonderfully merry and excited
together, until this plan came out as the upshot.

The Josselyns had not quite consented at once, though their faces were
bright with a most thankful appreciation of the kindness that offered
them such a pleasure; nay, that entreated their companionship as a
thing so genuinely coveted to make its own pleasure complete. Somehow,
when the whole plan developed, there was a little sudden shrinking on
Sue's part, perhaps on similar grounds to Sin Saxon's perception of
insurmountable obstacles; but she was shyer than Sin of putting forth
her objections, and the general zeal and delight, and Martha's longing
look, unconscious of cause why not, carried the day.

There had never been a blither setting off from the Giant's Cairn. All
the remaining guests were gathered to see them go. There was not a
mote in the blue air between Outledge and the crest of Washington. All
the subtile strength of the hills--ores and sweet waters and resinous
perfumes and breath of healing leaf and root distilled to absolute
purity in the clear ether that only sweeps from such bare, thunder-scoured
summits--made up the exhilarant draught in which they drank the
mountain-joy and received afar off its baptism of delight.

It was beautiful to see the Josselyns so girlish and gay; it was
lovely to look at old Miss Craydocke, with her little tremors of
pleasure, and the sudden glistenings in her eyes; Sin Saxon's pretty
face was clear and noble, with its pure impulse of kindliness, and her
fun was like a sparkle upon deep waters. Dakie Thayne rushed about in
a sort of general satisfaction which would not let him be quiet
anywhere. Outsiders looked with a kind of new, half-jealous respect on
these privileged few who had so suddenly become the "General's party."
Sin Saxon whispered to Leslie Goldthwaite,--"It's neither his nor
mine, honeysuckle; it's yours,--Henny-penny and all the rest of it, as
Mrs. Linceford said." Leslie was glad with the crowning gladness of
her bright summer.

"That girl has played her cards well," Mrs. Thoresby said of her, a
little below her voice, as she saw the general himself making her
especially comfortable with Cousin Delight in a back seat.

"Particularly, my dear madam," said Marmaduke Wharne, coming close and
speaking with clear emphasis, "as she could not possibly have known
that she had a trump in her hand!"

* * * * *

To tell of all that week's journeying, and of Dixville Notch,--the
adventure, the brightness, the beauty, and the glory,--the sympathy of
abounding enjoyment, the waking of new life that it was to some of
them,--the interchange of thought, the cementing of friendships,--would
be to begin another story, possibly a yet longer one. Leslie's summer,
according to the calendar, is already ended. Much in this world must
pause unfinished, or come to abrupt conclusion. People "die suddenly
at last," after the most tedious illnesses. "Married and lived happy
ever after," is the inclusive summary that winds up many an old tale
whose time of action only runs through hours. If in this summer-time
with Leslie Goldthwaite your thoughts have broadened somewhat with
hers, some questions for you have been partly answered; if it has
appeared to you how a life enriches itself by drawing toward and going
forth into the life of others through seeing how this began with her,
it is no unfinished tale that I leave with you.

A little picture I will give you farther on, a hint of something
farther yet, and say good by.

Some of them came back to Outledge, and stayed far into the still rich
September. Delight and Leslie sat before the Green Cottage one
morning, in the heart of a golden haze and a gorgeous bloom. All
around the feet of the great hills lay the garlands of early-ripened
autumn. You see nothing like it in the lowlands;--nothing like the
fire of the maples, the carbuncle-splendor of the oaks, the flash of
scarlet sumachs and creepers, the illumination of every kind of little
leaf, in its own way, upon which the frost-touch comes down from those
tremendous heights that stand rimy in each morning's sun, trying on
white caps that by and by they shall pull down heavily over their
brows, till they cloak all their shoulders also in the like sculptured
folds, to stand and wait, blind, awful chrysalides, through the long
winter of their death and silence.

Delight and Leslie had got letters from the Josselyns and Dakie Thayne.
There was news in them such as thrills always the half-comprehending
sympathies of girlhood. Leslie's vague suggestion of romance had
become fulfilment. Dakie Thayne was wild with rejoicing that dear old
Noll was to marry Sue. "She had always made him think of Noll, and his
ways and likings, ever since that day of the game of chess that by his
means came to grief. It was awful slang, but he could not help it: it
was just the very jolliest go!"

Susan Josselyn's quiet letter said,--"That kindness which kept us on
and made it beautiful for us, strangers, at Outledge, has brought to
me, by God's providence, this great happiness of my life."

After a long pause of trying to take it in, Leslie looked up. "What a
summer this has been! So full,--so much has happened! I feel as if I
had been living such a great deal!"

"You have been living in others' lives. You have had a great deal to
do with what has happened."

"O Cousin Delight! I have only been _among_ it! I could not _do_
--except such a very little."

"There is a working from us beyond our own. But if our working runs
with that--? You have done more than you will ever know, little one."
Delight Goldthwaite spoke very tenderly. Her own life, somehow, had
been closely touched, through that which had grown and gathered about
Leslie. "It depends on that abiding. 'In me, and I in you; so shall ye
bear much fruit.'"

She stopped. She would not say more. Leslie thought her talking rather
wide of the first suggestion; but this child would never know, as
Delight had said, what a centre, in her simple, loving way, she had
been for the working of a purpose beyond her thought.

Sin Saxon came across the lawn, crowned with gold and scarlet,
trailing creepers twined about her shoulders, and flames of beauty in
her full hands. "Miss Craydocke says she praised God with every leaf
she took. I'm afraid I forgot to--for the little ones. But I was so
greedy and so busy, getting them all for her. Come, Miss Craydocke;
we've got no end of pressing to do, to save half of them!"

"She can't do enough for her. O Cousin Delight, the leaves _are_
glorified, after all! Asenath never was so charming; and she is more
beautiful than ever!"

Delight's glance took in also another face than Asenath's, grown into
something in these months that no training or taking thought could
have done for it. "Yes," she said, in the same still way in which she
had spoken before, "that comes, too,--as God wills. All things shall
be added."

* * * * *

My hint is of a Western home, just outside the leaping growth and
ceaseless stir of a great Western city; a large, low, cosy mansion,
with a certain Old-World mellowness and rest in its aspect,--looking
forth, even, as it does on one side, upon the illimitable sunset-ward
sweep of the magnificent promise of the New; on the other, it catches
a glimpse, beyond and beside the town, of the calm blue of a
fresh-water ocean.

The place is "Ingleside"; the general will call it by no other than
the family name,--the sweet Scottish synonym for Home-corner. And
here, while I have been writing and you reading these pages, he has
had them all with him; Oliver and Susan, on their bridal journey,
which waited for summertime to come again, though they have been six
months married; Rose, of course, and Dakie Thayne, home in vacation
from a great school where he is studying hard, hoping for West Point
by and by; Leslie Goldthwaite, who is Dakie's inspiration still; and
our Flower, our Pansie, our Delight,--golden-eyed Lady of innumerable
sweet names.

The sweetest and truest of all, says the brave soldier and high-souled
gentleman, is that which he has persuaded her to wear for life,--Delight
Ingleside.




A CASE OF COINCIDENCE

By Rose Terry Cooke


She was a queer old lady, was Grandmother Grant; she was not a bit
like other grandmothers; she was short and fat and rosy as a winter
apple, with a great deal of snow-white hair set up in a big puff on
top of her head, and eyes as black as huckleberries, always puckered
up with smiles or laughter.

She never would wear a cap.

"I can't be bothered with 'em!" she said: and when Amelia Rutledge,
who was determined her grandma should, as she said, "look half-way
decent," made her two beautiful little mob caps, soft and fluffy, and
each with a big satin bow, one lavender and one white, put on to show
where the front was, Grandma never put them on right; the bow was over
one ear or behind, or the cap itself was awry, and in the end she
pulled them off and stuck them on a china jar in the parlor, or a tin
canister on the kitchen shelf, and left them there till flies and dust
ruined them.

"Amelia's as obstinate as a pig!" said the old lady: "she would have
me wear 'em, and I wouldn't!"

That was all, but it was enough; not a grandchild ever made her
another cap. Moreover Grandmother Grant always dressed in one fashion;
she had a calico dress for morning and a black silk for the afternoon,
made with an old-fashioned surplice waist, with a thick plaited ruff
about her throat; she sometimes tied a large white apron on, but only
when she went into the kitchen; and she wore a pocket as big as three
of yours, Matilda, tied on underneath and reached through a slit in
her gown. Therein she kept her keys, her smelling-bottle, her
pocket-book, her handkerchief and her spectacles, a bit of flagroot
and some liquorice stick. I mean when I say this, that all these
things belonged in her pocket, and she meant to keep them there; but
it was one peculiarity of the dear old lady, that she always lost her
necessary conveniences, and lost them every day.

"Maria!" she would call out to her daughter in the next room, "have
you seen my spectacles?"

"No, mother; when did you have them?"

"Five minutes ago, darning Harry's stockings; but never mind, there's
another pair in the basket."

In half an hour when Gerty came into her room for something she
needed, Grandmother would say:

"Gerty, do look on the floor and see if my specs lie anywhere around."

Gerty couldn't find them, and then Grandma would say:

"Probably they dropped out on the grass under the window, you can see
when you go down; but give me my gold pair out of my upper drawer."

And when Mrs. Maria went to call her mother down to dinner she would
find her hunting all about the room, turning her cushions over,
peering into the wood-basket, shaking out the silk quilt, and say
"What is it you want, mother?"

"My specs, dear. I can't find one pair."

"But there are three on your head now!" and Grandma would sit down and
laugh till she shook all over, as if it were the best joke in the
world to push your spectacles up over the short white curls on your
forehead, one pair after another, and forget all about them.

She mislaid her handkerchief still oftener. Gerty would sometimes pick
up six of these useful articles in one day where the old lady dropped
them as she went about the house; but the most troublesome of all her
habits was a way she had of putting her pocket-book in some queer
place every night, or if ever she left home in the day-time, and then
utterly forgetting where she had secreted it from the burglars or
thieves she had all her life expected.

The house she lived in was her own, but Doctor White who had married
her daughter Maria, rented it of her, and the rent paid her board; she
had a thousand dollars a year beside, half of which she reserved for
her dress and her charities, keeping the other half for her Christmas
gifts to her children and grandchildren.



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