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beatings of its constant heart sent freshness cause, of course, you couldn't be there unless in great veins of health throughout the air. you deserved to be. And so you feel yourself
“I'm good for so long as you've the mind to possessed of all the virtue incident to those peo. stay, Dr. Aubichon,” cried Ambrose. “It's ple who went to and fro in white robes and with impossible to die here. It's just a day dropped harps of gold.” out of heaven, taking such shape as it fell. A “And what adds to the feeling," she said, thousand years as one day.”
“is, that we lose the count of the days; the “ 'Twouldn't be too long for me if it were," seasons are so confused that we seem to have replied the other.
done with time.” As for Melicent, she looked about her in a “And to have begun eternity ? Yes; but maze. It seemed to be a garden floated off that is one of our errors, because we merely pass from the lost Manoa, becalmed and moored in the hours, merely spend them. We measure this enchanted spot. Sweeter than the valley time; formerly people weighed it. Clocks are of Avilion, more mysterious than the yet un convenient liars; they have taught us to regard found Isla de Arin, so hidden from others that eternity not as a state of being, but as an affair it would seem to have repelled their compass of duration. I don't think men will ever get it needles, and have become unattainable as a through their gross perception, till death refines cloud in heaven, sphered in impenetrable sum- them, that there are no such things as time and
In later years, as her memory went to space.” hover over it, she could hardly believe that it “Listen. Mr. Ambrose, is that a nightinwere any thing but the wildest vision, till one gale ?" spot embowered in its shadows rose and stamp- “A noonday nightingale. An unrecognized ed it ineffaceably on fact. But apart from its species." mystic seclusion, from its air of everlastingness, “It comes so from that covert of shade, it as if it were a thing forgotten by the great pow. seems as if the golden anther of that great white ers of the universe, passed over by destruction bell were singing.” and decay, all its tides and breathings were “And the fragrance were the tune.” balm. In this languishing warmth, this fertil- They listened till the song went wandering izing atmosphere, they might well forget the away into deeper depths of shadow, where it future; the luxuriant riot of stem and root, the should refresh itself in the richest draughts of great flowers that seemed, as they hung in the the honey-wine. shadow, to be radiant with the inexhaustible “Oh the place is haunted,” said Ambrose, life in their hearts, the depth of sky, the won- then. “Doubtless elfinly—but haunted. We drous loveliness on every side, the very ap- are waited on and welcomed by the souls of the proach of so much vitality-from them all Am-fairies who died with Shakspeare. I shall come brose drew a stronger, longer life. And Grand- out here under the midnight, some time, darkly pa Aubichon, who appeared to think that in bathed in odorous dew, and surprise them at bringing Ambrose here he had deployed a won their revels while they think us asleep, and have derful strategic force over nature, and diploma- stepped from their aura of invisibility—and I tized with death, rubbed his hands in an im- shall learn wonderful secrets, secrets that they aginary lavatory every hour, and regarded the whisper among themselves, or that drop, a little sleeping and waking breath of his patient as later, from the lips of listening orchids." entirely an affair of his own workmanship. “For instance
Melicent's presence threw round this airy “For instance, I shall learn that we preserve habitation all the grace of home. Books, and the immortality we have found here only on prints, and tiny treasures of alabaster scattered condition of never seeing the full moon. That themselves about; and shells of curious beauty, this Governess of Floods who hides her sceptre picked up along the shore to which they now and pretends to be a satellite, in her witch-dance and then climbed, vased the torrent of blossoms round the earth, rules the tide of the trees as that daily overflowed the house, the house it- the tide of the seas, and therefore the spells that self buried in splendid trailers, and a deep tan- I may work with a spike of aloe when the sap gle of loose and interlaced greenery.
mounts or when it falls. I shall learn that the * The place seems to seize every thing," said poisons that are death-pangs in her gibbous ray Ambrose.“ If you stand still long enough un- are innocuous sweets as she wanes. I shall der that dropping yaguey spray it will knot you learn at what moment of what receding nightand net you in inextricable coils. If I lie here tide to climb the shore's rim yonder, and, defive minutes, letting this dazzle of light soak scending the beach, find my mermaid with perthrough me, I find a foot or a hand fast banded famed locks singing dulcet strains on the reef in the hurrying vines. It must be as healthful outside the dark lagoon. And I shall feel a for the soul as for the body here, Nature seems dim warning that has been read from the mystic so desirous of taking us to herself.”
writing on the sphinx Atropos, a dim warning “It seems to me like those Happy Islands in of the hour in what dark morning prime these Mirza's dream," said Melicent.
phantoms shall cease to stand between me and “Yes, and that is very cheering," he replied, the actual, and the beetle and the glow-worm throwing his clasped hands above his head and begin to stake out my grave." falling back, to luxuriate more entirely, “be- “You will be a great enchanter," said Meli
cent, laughing in order to hide the shudder that The milkman, the walk-sweeper, and the rage would creep coldly over her. “And you will picker, were the only creatures moving in Oscommand the springs of life and know the po- good's neighborhood. The time was propitious tent berry in whose juice the Immortals dip for meditation and resolve, but Osgood's head their spears, that you told me of yesterday, so to was not ready. The still Champagne that he shoot Death with his own shafts."
had drank the night before buzzed in his brain. “You will become a very Poke o' Moonshine, With a glass of it in his hand, under a side gasand will naturally dissolve in these torrefying light, in the drawing-room of his Aunt Formica, sunbeams if you don't seek a roof straightway,” he had proposed marriage to a handsome dashsaid Grandpa Aubichon, rising from his own ing girl, and the handsome dashing girl had acnest and shaking off the deposit of a tropical cepted him. They swallowed the bubbles on hour that had tried to assimilate him with the the “beaker's brim," thinking it was the Cup of granite foundations of the place.
Life they were drinking from. Neither supposed “ Saint Aubichon, in an aureole of flower that the moment was one of exhilaration or endust and powder off moths' wings!" exclaimed thusiasm. Osgood never felt so serious, or so Ambrose. “Of course we are his thralls. Not determined to face the music, as he called it, obeying the saints here, they bring a hurricane which was the short for a philosophical design or an earthquake, or some other day of judg- to march boldly through life, and shoulder its ment, and explode it round about us. At his necessities with a brave spirit and a martial air. service,” he added, rising. “Come, darling, Osgood was intelligent, agreeable, and handthere's a dream in a drowse waiting to chariot some. He had advanced no further into life you through siesta !" And catching Melicent than to give this impression. He knew nolike a lily-stem, he throned her, perfect and pe- thing more of himself than that he was intellitite, upon his arm. “Don't you see how strong gent, handsome, and “plucky.” He had no faI am ?" he said. “I absorb vitality from the ther or mother, but he had an aunt who had leaves."
married Mr. Fornica; this pair, effete in them“Make the most of them," responded Grand- selves, belonged to that mysterious class who pa Aubichon. “Your stock for threescore and are always able to get their relatives places unten must be stored in as many days. Time's der Government. When Osgood was eighteen half up."
they obtained a place in the Sub-Treasury, which “Not a moment more to linger? It's idle yielded him the income of fifteen hundred doltalking; I can't go. I never shall be satiate lars. Aunt Formica expected a great deal from with this sea, this splendor, this drunkenness of him in the way of deportment and dress. The odor. This sweet sunny space has been such exigencies of his position, she observed, combliss, Dr. Aubichon! It has been such rest, pelled him to do as those around him did. Of such quiet.”
course he never laid up any of his salary, but he “One of the seasons when the soul grows,” kept out of debt, and in doing this he fulfilled said Melicent, laying her cheek against his hair the highest duty that came within his province. -hair whose fine soft darkness alone would have His associates were young men who had more attested the owner's organization.
money than he, and who expected him to spend “It has made me so good, too,” he said, as much as they spent. The houses he visited laughingly; and tossing her to his shoulder with were inhabited by people who took it for grantone of his old arts of the athlete. “I can't ed that all who came in contact with them were imagine the possibility of sin. I am sure I am as rich as themselves. The Formica interest an angel!"
was large. When he went to Washington with “I am sure somebody else is. Honey, come his aunt, he went the rounds of the senators' down, or I shall think you are going up for houses and hotels in the way of calls, dinners, good.”
and parties. When he went to Boston with her “I can't go up for bad, Grandpa Aubichon.” he began his visits at the right hand of Beacon “Yes you could, if you left us behind.” Street, and branched into the streets behind it,
“Ah, wherever I go, I shall yet have her. where as good blood abides, though it has not My rose can never close its petals !"
the same advantage of the air of the Common. And so the three disappeared under the dense Wherever he went expense was involved, in the forest screen of shadow and coolness.
way of gloves, bouquets, cards, fees to errand boys, exchange of civilities in lunches, cigars,
ale, brandy, sherry, stage, hack, and car fare, OSGOOD'S PREDICAMENT.
which he bore like a hero. SGOOD took a cane-bottomed chair whose Lily Tree, the girl whom he proposed to mar
of boot-soles, cane and umbrella ferules, and It sailed through society all a-taut with convenstudied his predicament. He commenced this tion, and was comme il faut from stem to stern. necessary study early in the morning in his Lily and Osgood had always known each other. room, which was in a boarding-house situated They passed through the season of hoop and in this metropolis. The early carts were tak- ball, dancing-school, tableaux, and charades to ing their way down town through a blue haze, gether; sympathized in each other's embryonic which in the country prefigured a golden day. I flirtations; and were such fast friends that no one ever dreamed of any danger to them from of the watch in his pocket; it associated itself love. But as the wagon that goes from the pow. in his mind with the sound and motion of railder-mill in safety innumerable times at last car- road-cars. He felt himself traveling hundreds ries the keg which explodes it, so Osgood and of miles away, listening all the while to a Lily at last touched the divine spark which threw rhythmic sound, which said, “Many a mile, them out of their old world into one they had many a mile.” Why should he not go “ many not anticipated.
a mile, many a mile,” in reality? He went out This was part of Osgood's predicament. immediately and bought a valise. After that What made him do as he had done? his demeanor was settled and tranquil. He Why had Lily accepted him ?
then wrote three notes—to his chief, his Aunt She would never, he argued, consent to go Formica, and Lily. The first was a note of out of the area which bounded her ideas, and resignation ; the second conveyed the informawhich comprised a small portion of New York, tion to his aunt that he was sick of his place, Boston, Washington, and the tour of Europe, had thrown it up, and was going out of town for which meant a week in London, six months in a change of air. He regretted, when he began Paris, and ten days in Rome. Unless he de- his note to Lily, that he had not sent her some scended from the Sub-Treasury, and sought some flowers. A momentary impulse to go and see business, such as making varnish, glue, buttons, her stayed his hand; but he remembered that soap, sarsaparilla, or sewing machines, could he she must be at Mrs. Perche's “sit-down supper” marry? What shrewdness had he in the place that evening, and resumed writing. He begged of capital to bring to bear on the requirements her to enjoy herself, and not miss him while he of these Yankee callings? How he worried over was away. He did not know what to write bethe prospect which looked so pleasant the night sides, but put in a few chaotic expressions which before! Champagne, flowers, light, and per- might or might not mean a great deal. fume were gone from it. He pitied himself in While he put a few necessary articles in the his helplessness. The thought of Lily deprived valise he wondered where he should go, never of her delicate evening dresses, her diurnal bou dropping the thought that he must go somequets, caramels, and her pecunious caprices, was where. The remainder of his wardrobe, includnot pleasant. He could not see her in any lighting the brilliant dressing-gown, he packed in a that made her so agreeable as in the light that trunk and locked it. he must certainly cause her to lose.
He rang the bell, and when the waiter came Something practical must be done.
up asked for the landlady, Mrs. Semmes. The Naturally he looked into his pocket-book. waiter thought that it was not too late to see her There was eighteen dollars in it-all the money in her own parlor, and lingered, with his hand he had. It was the last day in the month, on his chin and his eyes on the valise. however, and he was entitled to draw one hun- “Jem," said Osgood, “I have left some boots dred and twenty-five dollars. He shut his pock- in the closet, and some shirts in the drawers, et-book and looked into his closet. He found which are at your service.” there several pairs of patent-leather boots and a The alacrity with which Jem changed his atbrilliant dressing-gown. “Pooh!” he said, pee- titude and expression struck Osgood with a vishly, and shut the door. He then examined his sense of pain. “How horribly selfish servants bureau : in its drawers were many socks, shirts, are !" he thought, taking his way down stairs. cravats, four sets of studs and sleeve-buttons, Mrs. Semmes hoped there was no trouble, and and five scarf-pins. He rattled the studs and asked him to be seated. He looked at her buttons thoughtfully; but nothing came of it, earnestly; she was the only one to say farewell and he closed the drawers. His eye then fell on to. Never had he looked Mrs. Semmes in the a dress-coat which he had worn for the first time face before ; he had only seen the hand into the evening before. He resolved to take the which he had placed the price of his board. coat back to Wiedenfeldt, his tailor. This re- “I came to tell you, Mrs. Semmes, that I am solve was the nucleus probably of his future un about to leave town for the present. Will you dertakings. He finished dressing and left the allow my trunk to remain here? If I do not house. Before reaching Wiedenfeldt he pur- return in a year and a day, break it open.” chased and drank a bottle of Congress Water. Mrs. Semmes promised to keep the trunk; He also stopped at a favorite restaurant and took some money due her; wondered at his gomade an excellent breakfast, and came away ing away at that time of year, and asked him with a “Relampagos”-a small cigar of superior his destination. flavor-and three daily papers. His interview “I think I shall go to Canada,” he answerwith Wiedenfeldt was satisfactory; the coat was ed, vaguely. taken back, and when he had settled the matter * There must be snow there, by the ache felt as if a beginning had been made in a new counts." and right direction.
“Where shall I go?" he was about to say, That afternoon he drew his pay, and walked but checked himself. up town. The moment he entered his room his "If you were going East," she continued, predicament fell upon him again, and his spirits “ you would find the ground bare enough, espesunk. He sat on the edge of his bed, so quiet cially in the neighborhood of the sea : the seain his misery that he began to hear the ticking winds melt the snow almost as soon as it falls." “I think I will go East,” he said, musingly. " Thee has come to us from strange parts, I He sat so long without saying any thing, star- reckon, from thy looks." ing straight before him, that Mrs. Semmes be- “Yes,” he answered; absently; “I needed gan to feel fidgety. She recalled him to the change." present by walking to the window. He started, "There has been no change here since the bade her good-by, and retired.
Indians went away. If thee will look across the He tossed about all night in a feverish sleep, road thee can see the ground is strewed with the tormented with dreams which transformed Lily bits of shells from their feasts." into a small child which he was compelled to He went to the window, and again remarked carry in his arms, or furnished his Aunt Formi- to himself, “ This is the place for me.” ca with a long spear, with which she pursued “Could you," he asked, going toward her, him, and was forever on the point of overtaking “let me stay with you a while ?" him.
“Did thee come to the Marsh End station At 8 o'clock A.m. he might have been seen by this morning?" a detective at the Twenty-seventh Street dépôt. “ Yes; my valise is there." A few minutes after he was going through the “ Thy parents are rich ?” tunnel; and, emerging from that, he considered “I have none." himself fairly divided from New York. At the "Thee has been well cared for, though." first station beyond the State-line of Massachu- “ I have not left home because of any–" setts he consulted a map, and concluded to stop Misfortune, he was about to say, but that did at the junction of the Old Colony Railroad. not seem to be the right word; so he tried to There he changed the route, and in the evening think of something else to say. She saw bis reached a town which seemed waiting to go embarrassment, and said, quickly, somewhere else, where he passed the night. “I never have harbored a stranger; but if
The next morning he started on his travels Peter likes, he may take thee.” again toward Cape Cod. Five miles beyond a Osgood thanked her so pleasantly that she large village, in a flat, sterile, gloomy region, he determined he should stay. She asked him his alighted with his baggage, and said, “This is name, his age, his place of residence, his busithe place for me. The train went on, and the ness, and his intentions. Except in regard to dépôt-master went into his little den without the latter, his answer proved satisfactory; and noticing Osgood. Several tall school-girls, who when Peter returned at noon from the distant had come to watch for the train, strolled down shore with a load of sea-weed, she introduced a cross-road, and he was alone. He went to the Osgood as if he were an old acquaintance of end of the platform and surveyed the country. whom Peter was in a state of lamentable ignoHe stood on the edge of a wide plateau along rance. He pushed his hat on the back of his which ran the railroad track. Beyond that a head, shook hands with Osgood, and said, road deviated through dismal fields, by unpaint-“ Maria, will thee give me my dinner?" taking ed houses, large barns, and straggling orchards. no further notice of Osgood till she had placed Below the plateau a wide marsh extended, in- it on the table. It consisted of stewed beans, tersected by crooked creeks, which gnawed into boiled beef, apple-pie, and cheese. Osgood ate the black earth like worms. A rim of sea bor-half a pie, and established himself in Peter's dered the tongue of the marsh, but it was too good graces. far off to add life to the scene. The sedge, giv- “ Thee will learn that Maria's pie-crust beats ing up all hope of being moistened by the salt all,” he said. waves, had died in great circles, which looked “Thee is ready to consent," said his wife, like mats of gray hair on some pre-Adamite " to keep young Osgood a while ?” monster's buried head.
“I don't know yet," answered Peter. Osgood determined to pursue the windings of But after dinner he harnessed his horse and the road. He plowed the sand for two miles, went to the dépôt for Osgood's valise, which he and at a sudden turn of the road came upon a carried up stairs and deposited in the spare room. house, with a number of barns and sheds at- He then invited Osgood to take a look at the tached to it. A dog with a stiff tail ran out premises. He wished to make his own investifrom a shed and barked at him, and a pale-faced gations in regard to Osgood without Maria's inwoman in a muslin cap appeared at a window tervention. They lingered by the pig-sty, and of the house. He knocked at the door: she while Peter scratched the pigs with a cord-wood opened it.
stick, exchanged views of men and things. Peter “Will thee come in?" she asked.
saw the capabilities of Osgood's character, and He entered, following her as he would have easily divined the manner of life he had led. followed a ghost. She moved a chair from the He knew him to be selfish from ignorance, and wall without the least noise, and he dropped because he had early formed the habits which upon it. As he looked at her his identity seemed impose self-indulgence. Something in the young slipping away—seemed to be slipping into an man's bearing won his heart—a certain impetuatmosphere connected with her and her sur- ous simplicity and frankness which made him roundings. She brought him some water which long to be of service to a nature unlike his own. she dipped from a pail near by, and held the Osgood found Peter genial, shrewd, and sad. cocoa-nut dipper which contained it to his lips. Such a man he had never met. It seemed to him that Peter could set him straight in his own in a snuff-colored suit, and Maria in a series of estimation; there was no nonsense about the old brown articles—dress, shawl, and bonnet. They man, and yet he could see deep feeling in his started in good spirits in an open wagon, with dark, cavernous eyes. The feeling which had an improvised seat for Peter in front. Beyond oppressed him passed away, and another took a belt of pine woods stood the meeting-house, its place which contained restoration, and faith and a mile beyond the meeting-house lay the in the future. He got into Peter's way by at- town, before a vast bay. Osgood drove alone tempting to help fodder the cattle and “slick up" into the town, and spent several hours there. the barn. When the work was done, and while He visited the shops to find some trifle for MaPeter fastened the barn-doors with an ox-bow, ria, and then went through the town down to Osgood looked about him. It was a March aft- the shore. How happy he grew in the pure wind ernoon ; no wind blew, and no sun shone; but and the gay morning light! The gulls rode the gray round of the sky, which neither woods over the foaming wave-crests and dipped into por hills hid from his sight, rolled over him in their green walls, and hawks swooped between soft commotion. The reddish, barren fields the steadfast sky and heaving deep. The sea stretched in their flatness beyond his vision, and traveled round and round before his eyes with the narrow roads of yellow sand ran to nowhere. a mad joy, and tempted him to plunge into it. The world of God, he thought, he saw for the He wrote his name in the heavy sand with a first time; and, away from the world of men, broken shell, and the water filtered out the letfelt himself a man.
ters; then he paved it in pebbles with the word He looked so kindly upon Maria when he en- Strength. tered the house that she delayed the stream of Peter and Maria were waiting for him when the tea-kettle which she held over the tea-pot he returned to the meeting-house with the wagto admire him. The supper was the dinner-on. cold, with an addition of warm biscuits; and “Thee has been sky-larking,” she said. again Osgood ate himself into Peter's good “After something for you," he answered, putgraces.
ting in her hand a handsome work-basket. The evening was passed in silence. Peter “Has thee so much money that thee must smoked, Maria mended, and Osgood reflected. waste it on me, Osgood ?” A violent storm arose in the night, which lasted But she was pleased with the gift. They rode three days. They were improved by Maria and home amicably. Peter, as a favor, allowed Os. Peter in overhauling garden-seeds in the garret, good to drive, while he imparted to Maria sun. and in setting up a leach-tub in the wood-house. dry bits of information gained at the meeting. Osgood assisted. When he was alone with Ma- Mackerel” went in and out at Osgood's ears ria she talked to him of the boy who was lost at without gaining his attention, till he caught at sea, and of the girl who died in childhood ; with something Peter said about the Bonita. He listthe hungry eyes of a bereaved mother she looked .ened. Three vessels were about to sail from upon him, and his heart was touched with a the town on a mackerel voyage, and the Bonita new tenderness. When he was alone with Pe- was one of them. He comprehended that Peter ter the old man sounded the depths of the young owned half the Bonita, and a plan struck him. man's soul with wise, pathetic, quaint speech; He inquired into the subject, and obtained its he went over the ground of his own life, which history. That evening he proposed going on a had been passed on the spot where he now was, mackerel voyage, which proposal so fired Peter with the exception of several mackerel voyages, that he declared he had a mind to go too; but and one in a merchant vessel to some of the Maria quenched his enthusiasm by going over southern ports of Europe. But when together the programme of work that must be done at Peter and Maria never talked with Osgood on home. She made no opposition to Osgood's gopersonal matters. Between them a marital si- ing, but set before him in plain terms the hardlence was kept, which was more expressive than ships of such a voyage. He was not to be dethe conjugal volubility which ordinarily exists; terred, and Peter gave his consent, promising it proved that they had passed through profound him a small share of the profits. er experiences.
Osgood wrote to his Aunt Formica that night, When the storm ceased Peter went to the assuring her that he already felt much better, station for his Boston newspaper, which he read and that he was about to enter into a new busito Maria, who took it afterward and read it over ness, of which she should hear more. He also to herself. Brother Quakers, Peter's neighbors, wrote Lily Tree a minute, lengthy epistle. He who lived out of sight, dropped in from time to described his situation with Peter and Maria; time to exchange a word with Maria, or hold told her how much board he paid-two dollars talks outside with Peter, with one foot in the and fifty cents a week-and how well he had rut and the other on the wagon-step. The pres- learned to do chores. He fed the pigs every ent subject of interest, Osgood discovered, was day; he wished that she could see how well they the approaching Quarterly Meeting, and the thrived on the diet lately introduced by Peter mackerel fishery. Peter asked him to accom- and himself-a dry mash of boiled potatoes and pany himself and Maria to the town where the meal, with an occasional horse-shoe thrown in meeting was to be. They breakfasted at sun- as a relish. Would she, he wondered, have enrise, when the day arrived, in full dress-Peter joyed the day that he, Maria, and Peter made