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"With all my heart, Mark. He seems to me like a good Providence who has come to our help at this juncture."
"Jaggs?" repeated his puzzled partner.
I had not spent many days in The Little Lover's door-yard before realizing that there was something in the wind. If an inoffensive person fancies sitting in the shade of a sycamore with her horse grazing quietly beside her, who should say her nay? If, at her approach, a—feathered—person steals away to the top of the highest, most distant oak within sight and, silent and motionless, keeps his eye on her till she departs; if, as she innocently glances up at the trees, she discovers a second—feathered—person's head extended cautiously from behind a trunk, its eyes fixed on hers; or if, as she passes along a—sycamore—street, a person comes to a window and cranes his neck to look at her, and instantly leaves the premises; then surely, as the world wags, she is quite justified in having a mind of her own in the matter. Still more, when it comes to finding chips under a window—who could do aught but infer that a carpenter lived within? Not I. And so it came about that I discovered that one of the apartments in the back of the wren sycamore had been rented by a pair of well-meaning but suspicious California woodpeckers, first cousins of the eastern red-heads.
The thought served as a challenge. Isabella did not wish to be known — but she should no longer escape. It was absurd, it was monstrous. If she concealed so much and knew so much one must prise her open with the first tool that came to hand — the imagination. One must fix one’s mind upon her at that very moment. One must fasten her down there. One must refuse to be put off any longer with sayings and doings such as the moment brought forth — with dinners and visits and polite conversations. One must put oneself in her shoes. If one took the phrase literally, it was easy to see the shoes in which she stood, down in the lower garden, at this moment. They were very narrow and long and fashionable — they were made of the softest and most flexible leather. Like everything she wore, they were exquisite. And she would be standing under the high hedge in the lower part of the garden, raising the scissors that were tied to her waist to cut some dead flower, some overgrown branch. The sun would beat down on her face, into her eyes; but no, at the critical moment a veil of cloud covered the sun, making the expression of her eyes doubtful — was it mocking or tender, brilliant or dull? One could only see the indeterminate outline of her rather faded, fine face looking at the sky. She was thinking, perhaps, that she must order a new net for the strawberries; that she must send flowers to Johnson’s widow; that it was time she drove over to see the Hippesleys in their new house. Those were the things she talked about at dinner certainly. But one was tired of the things that she talked about at dinner. It was her profounder state of being that one wanted to catch and turn to words, the state that is to the mind what breathing is to the body, what one calls happiness or unhappiness. At the mention of those words it became obvious, surely, that she must be happy. She was rich; she was distinguished; she had many friends; she travelled — she bought rugs in Turkey and blue pots in Persia. Avenues of pleasure radiated this way and that from where she stood with her scissors raised to cut the trembling branches while the lacy clouds veiled her face.
Rose clasped her hands together in self-support, one hand held fast by the other, as if that slender grasp had been something worth clinging to. “Oh! what can I say?” she cried; “I—told you; what more can I say?”
‘I remember him acutely; he could not look at me without a pang of reprobation, and he could not feel the pang without betraying it. He was to me a man of a great historical interest, but the interest was not returned.’
I first heard the voices of the young on June 16; nearly three weeks later, July 6, the birds were still in the nest. On that morning, when I went out to mount Billy, I was shocked to find the body of one of the old woodpeckers on the saddle. I thought it had been shot, but found it had been picked up in the prune orchard. That afternoon its mate was brought in from the same place. Probably both birds had eaten poisoned raisins left out for the gophers. The dead birds were thrown out under the orange-trees near the house, and not many hours afterward, when I looked out of the window, two turkey vultures were sitting on the ground, one of them with a pathetic little black wing in his bill. The great black birds seemed horrible to me,—ugly, revolting creatures. I went outside to see what they would do, and after craning their long red necks at me and stalking around nervously a few moments they flew off.
So deeply interested was John Westley in the Travis family and their unusual home, tucked away on the side of the mountain, to all appearances miles away from anyone or anything (though Jerry had pointed out to him the trail down the hillside that led to Miller's Notch and the school and the little church and was a mile shorter than going by the road), that he forgot completely the alarm that must be upsetting the entire management of the Wayside Hotel over the disappearance of a distinguished guest. Indeed, at the very moment that he stepped across the threshold into the sunlit living room of the Travis cottage, a worried hotel manager was summoning by telegraph some of the most expert guides of the state for a thorough search of the neighborhood, and, at the same time, a New York newspaperman, at the Wayside for a vacation, was clicking off to his city editor, from the town telegraph station, the most lurid details of the tragedy.
"Gracious, Miss P.! how can you? I've been here six months. and never so much as touched the little toad with a poker.""More shame for you, ma'am," responded Miss P.; and, with the natural perversity of a Yankee, followed up the blow by kissing "the toad," with ardor. His face was providentially as clean and shiny as if his mamma had just polished it up with a corner of her apron and a drop from the tea-kettle spout, like old Aunt Chloe, This rash act, and the anti-slavery lecture that followed, while one hand stirred gruel for sick America, and the other hugged baby Africa, did not produce the cheering result which I fondly expected; for my comrade henceforth regarded me as a dangerous fanatic, and my protegé nearly came to his death by insisting on swarming up stairs to my room, on all occasions, and being walked on like a little black spider.
1.words (Set thou an ungodly man to be ruler over him and let Satan
2.“It’s your absolute likeness?” he asked.>
I did not make the acquaintance of Thackeray’s books all at once, or even in rapid succession, and he at no time possessed the whole empire of my catholic, not to say, fickle, affections, during the years I was compassing a full knowledge and sense of his greatness, and burning incense at his shrine. But there was a moment when he so outshone and overtopped all other divinities in my worship that I was effectively his alone, as I have been the helpless and, as it were, hypnotized devotee of three or four others of the very great. From his art there flowed into me a literary quality which tinged my whole mental substance, and made it impossible for me to say, or wish to say, anything without giving it the literary color. That is, while he dominated my love and fancy, if I had been so fortunate as to have a simple concept of anything in life, I must have tried to give the expression of it some turn or tint that would remind the reader of books even before it reminded him of men.
The vicar’s lips twitched, and a twinkle came into his eye. “Well then, I will say the same! I am sure you have regretted your hastiness by this time, and it will be a lesson to you in the future. For Arthur’s sake, as well as your own, we will say no more on the subject. It would be a pity if his visit were spoiled. Just one thing, Peggy, to show you that, after all, grown-up people are wiser than young ones, and that it is just as well to refer to them now and then, in matters of difficulty. Has it ever occurred to you that the mail went up to London by the very train in which you yourself travelled, and that by giving your parcel to the guard it could still have been put in the bag? Did that thought never occur to your wise little brain?”
“Come forward, Mr. Forester,” said the magistrate, as our hero made a sudden pause of astonishment; “come forward, sir!” Forester advanced with calm intrepidity. “You are better dressed than when I had the honour of seeing you here some time ago, sir. Are you a printer still, or a gentleman? Your dress certainly bespeaks a change in your condition.” “I am sure I should hardly know Mr. Forester again, he has grown such a beau — comparatively speaking, I mean,” said Mackenzie. “But certainly, M. Pasgrave, you must have made some mistake; I don’t know how to believe my senses! Is this the young gentleman to whom you alluded? do you know him —?” “Give me leave, Mr. Mackenzie,” interrupted the justice: “I shall examine this young incognito myself. I think I know how to come at the truth. Will you do me the favour, sir, to inform me whether you recollect any thing of a ten-guinea bank-note which you gave or paid, some time in last October, to this gentleman?” pointing to M. Pasgrave. “I do,” replied Forester, in a distinct, unembarrassed voice, “perfectly well remember giving M. Pasgrave a ten-guinea bank-note.” “Ah, monsieur, je ne suis pas un ingrat. Ne pensez pas que —” “Oh, M. Pasgrave,” interrupted Mackenzie, “this is no time for compliments and fine speeches: for God’s sake, let us get to the bottom of this affair without further ceremony!” “Sir,” said the banker’s clerk, “all we want to know is the number of your note, and the firm of the house. Was your note one of Sir William Forbes’s, or of the Bank of Scotland?” Forester was silent. “I do not recollect,” said he, after some pause. “You don’t recollect, sir,” said the justice, “is something like an evasive answer. You must have a vast number of bank-notes then, we must presume, if you cannot recollect to what bank your ten-guinea note belonged.” Forester did not understand this logic; but he simply repeated his assertion. “Pray, sir,” said the tailor, who could no longer restrain his impatience —“Pray, sir,” said the magistrate, in a solemn manner, “be silent. I shall find out the truth. So, Mr. Forester, you cannot possibly recollect the house of your note? You will tell us next, I dare say, that you cannot possibly recollect how you came by it.” “Sir,” said Forester, “if it is necessary, I can readily tell you how I came by it.” “It is very necessary, sir, for your own credit.” “I received it from Dr. Campbell.” “Dr. Campbell!” repeated the magistrate, changing his tone. “And I have some idea that the doctor gave me a list of the numbers of that and four other notes, with which I fortunately have not parted.” “Some idea means nothing in a court of justice, sir; if you have any such paper, you can do us the favour to produce it.” Now this list was locked up in the trunk, of which the key was dropped into the brewing-vat. Richardson, the clerk, had returned the key to him; but, such is the force of habit, he had not cured himself of the foolish trick of twirling it upon his thumb; and about two months ago he dropped it in one of his walks to Arthur’s Seat. He long searched for it amongst the rocky fragments, but at last gave it up — he little imagined of how much consequence it might be to him. Dr. Campbell had once refused to break open the lock, and he felt very unwilling to apply to him in his present circumstances. However, he wrote a few lines to Henry Campbell; but, as soon as he had written them, his pride again revolted from the thoughts of supplicating the assistance of his friend in such a disgraceful situation. “If you don’t choose to write,” said the officious malevolence of Archibald, “I can, however, speak; I’ll desire Dr. Campbell to open your trunk, and search for the paper.” He left the room before Forester could make any further opposition.
"Me either," she said; "I don't mean he's a book. He's a boy. Nicholas Moor—that does a little writin' himself? I guess you will see him. He'll[Pg 23] be bringin' some of his writing up to show you. He took some to the new school principal, I heard, and to the invalid that was here from the city. He seems to be sort of lonesome, though he has got a good position. He's interested in celluloid and he rings the Catholic bell. Nicholas must be near thirty, but he hasn't even showed any signs."
"We was talking there, ma'am, when Bob, what had followed me unknown,trotted in. When the cat ketched sight of 'im sniffing about, therewas such a spitting and swearing as you never 'eard; and blowed," saidMr. Beale amusedly, "blowed if the old cat didn't give one jump, andmove in quick time up the chimney, where 'e now remains, paying no'eed to the missis' attempts to get him down again."Sensation, as they say in the reports.