« AnteriorContinuar »
KITTY'S ACCOUNT OF HERSELF.
I am a social gypsy; born of them, bred among them, made love to by them. We lived like vagabonds on the face of the earth, taking no care for the morrow; feasting one day, starving the next; but we broke no laws except those of custom and comfort. The men were honest, the women were good, and a universal tie of kindness and charity bound them together. It was a merry life that we led in this Bohemia of ours, and as free from care as the life of the birds in the woods. If one of us wanted a shilling, a coat or a loaf of bread, there were neighbors ready for us; and toward myself the goodness was such as I should be wicked to forget. It was not a life of inward, if of outward, vulgarity. We adored pictures, and music, and beautiful things, and often went without food to get a taste of them. Yet as I grew to be a woman I hated the life. I longed for softness and refinement, as other women long for finery and admiration. Perhaps it was because I came of gentle blood-so they told me—and the instinct of respectability was too strong for me. I felt like an alien, and I determined to elevate myself, some day or other, at any cost. I used to sit at home-a very Cinderella among the ashes-thinking, thinking; scheming, scheming. I had no gifts; that was the worst of it. I could act passably, but not well enough to go on the stage. I could sing and play a little, but had no musical instinct in me; I could not draw a line to save my life. My only natural gift seemed the art of acquiring popularity—I ought to say affection. People always liked me better than anybody else. It was as if wherever I went I exercised a magnetic influence, and this often without any volition of my own. If we were dunned by some hardhearted grocer or butcher I went to him and talked him into waiting for his money a little longer. There was a poor old Pole in our little colony, a teacher of languages, who would go without bread to buy me sweetmeats. If Mrs. Cornfield's pupils brought little gifts of flowers or fruit they were always presented to me. When one of them, Laura Norman, asked me to stay at
her father's house in the country, and I went, of course old Dr. Norman, who was a widower of forty-five, fell in love with me; and his son, a youth of nineteen, fell in love with me, too, and I had no more sought their love than I had sought the love of the others at home. In an ill-advised moment I consented to become Dr. Norman's wife, and if Myra had not offered me a home with her I should have married him; whether for good or evil I know not-I fancy for evil. You know how entirely Myra leaned upon me and looked up to me. I believe she would have given me the half of her fortune in her generous, impulsive affection; and we were as happy together as two women can be, when the only tie that binds them together is that of helplessness on one side and capability on the other. Myra is a mere child, as you know, and it was not likely that we should have much in common. Then I came to know you, and just when I have grown fonder of you than of all these lovers of mine-I must go. To lose the others pained me chiefly on their account; but to lose you who have been my companion, my teacher, my ideal, is like going into a strange land, where I should be of no more account than thousands of forlorn emigrants. "It is very hard," Kitty said sorrowfully; so hard that it leads me to doubt whether things are always ordered for the best,' and she broke into a vehement, indignant sob.-Kitty.
EGGLESTON, EDWARD, an American novelist, clergyman, and journalist, born at Vevay, Ind., December 10, 1837. Delicate health prevented him from acquiring a collegiate education, but he studied the classics and became familiar with standard literature between his spells of illness. He entered the Methodist ministry, and at nineteen rode a "Hoosier circuit." He held pastorates at St. Paul, St. Peter, Stillwater, and Winona, Minn., and acted as agent of the American Bible Society. In 1870 he came East and engaged in editorial and literary work for a few years. In 1874 he became pastor of the Church of Christian Endeavor, a church without a creed, in Brooklyn; and in 1879 his health again failing, he resigned his charge and removed to Lake George, N. Y., and began the preparation of a work entitled A History of Life in the United States. His style is entertaining narrative, the scenes of which are laid mostly in Indiana and Minnesota in the pioneer period. His books have been widely read. He was successively editor of the Little Corporal magazine and The Sunday-School Teacher in Chicago, and of the Independent and the Hearth and Home in New York. Among his works are The Hoosier Schoolmaster (1871); The End of the World (1872); The Mystery of Metropolisville (1873); The
Circuit Rider (1874); The Schoolmaster's Stories (1875); Roxy (1878); The Hoosier Schoolboy (1883), a series of Biographies of famous American Ind. ians; a Sunday-School Manual: a Guide to SundaySchool Work; First Book of American History; The Graysons (1887); Household History of the United States (1888); The Faith Doctor (1891), and Duffels (1893).
It happened that upon the very next Sunday Russell Bigelow was to preach. Far and wide over the West had travelled the fame of this great preacher, who, though born in Vermont, was wholly Western in his impassioned manner. Even Patty declared her intention of going, much to the Captain's regret. The meeting was not to be held at Wheeler's, but in the woods, and she could go for this time without entering the house of her father's foe. She had no other motive than a vague hope of hearing something that would divert her; life had grown so heavy that she craved excitement of any kind. She would take a back seat and hear the famous Methodist for herself. But Patty put on all of her gold and costly apparel. She was determined that nobody should suspect her of any intention of "joining the church." Her mood was one of curiosity on the surface, and of proud hatred and quiet defiance below.
No religious meeting is ever so delightful as a meeting held in the forest; no forest is so satisfying as a forest of beech; the wide-spreading boughs-drooping when they start from the trunk, but well sustained at the last stretch out regularly and with a steady horizontalness; the last year's leaves form a carpet like a cushion, while the dense foliage shuts out the sun. this meeting in the beech-woods Patty chose to walk, since it was less than a mile away. As she passed through a little cove, she saw a man lying flat on his face in prayer. It was the preacher. Awe-stricken, Patty hurried on to the meeting. She had fully in
tended to take a seat in the rear of the congregation, but being a little confused and absent-minded she did not observe at first where the stand had been erected, and that she was entering the congregation at the side nearest to the pulpit. When she discovered her mistake it was too late to withdraw, the aisle beyond her was already full of standing people; there was nothing for her but to take the only vacant seat in sight. This put her in the very midst of the members, and in this position she was quite conspicuous; even strangers from other settlements saw with astonishment a wcman elegantly dressed, for that time, sitting in the very midst of the devout sisters-for the men and women sat apart. All around Patty there was not a single "artificial," or piece of jewelry. Indeed, most of the women wore calico sun-bonnets. The Hissawachee people who knew her were astounded to see Patty at meeting at all. They remembered her treatment of Morton, and they looked upon Captain Lumsden as Gog and Magog incarnated in one. This sense of the conspicuousness of her position was painful to Patty, but she presently forgot herself in listening to the singing. There never was such a chorus as a backwoods Methodist congregation, and here among the trees they sang hymn after hymn, now with the tenderest pathos, now with triumphant joy, now with solemn earnestness. They sang "Children of the Heavenly King," and "Come let us anew," and "Blow ye the trumpet, blow," and "Arise, my soul, arise," and "How happy every child of grace!" While they were singing this last, the celebrated preacher entered the pulpit, and there ran through the audience a movement of wonder, almost of disappointment. His clothes were of that sort of cheap cotton cloth known as "blue drilling," and did not fit him. He was rather short, and inexpressibly awkward. His hair hung unkempt over the best portion of his face-the broad, projecting forehead. His eyebrows were overhanging; his nose, cheek-bones, and chin large. His mouth was wide and with a sorrowful depression at the corners, his nostrils thin, his eyes keen, and his face perfectly mobile. He took for his text the words of Eleazer to Laban-"Seeking a