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TABITIA MALLAXE'S STRATEGY.
amid opposition and difficulties. Thus, Tabitha Mallane resolved that he when he left Hillside the last time, the should come to Busyville in his summer definite understanding with both father vacation, and, for the first time in his and mother was, that Paul and Eirene life, find his home, in its aspect, nearer were affianced, but that, in considera- at least to what he wished it to be. tion of the fact that he was not estab- She resolved on many other things, of lished in his profession, and the more which we shall presently be made troublesome fact that his mother would aware. If women had spent one tenth bitterly oppose it, the engagement was of the time and intellect in helping to be kept secret for a year. Then, each other, which they have devoted to Paul declared he would be indepen- outwitting and destroying each other, dent, and able to declare it to the what a different world this would be ! whole world.
If the same talent for management and “ Only a year! Only one little year, diplomacy, which they so often use to my darling!” said Paul, “ and then, no bring about positive and fatal results more hard work and loneliness. I shall in trivial affairs, they had applied to carry you from both, and you will be noble ends, how much less cause there
would be to bemoan the triviality and personal slavery of woman--a trivial
ity and slavery for which wornan herGouty old uncles and grumpy old self is as responsible as man. aunts do sometimes die in season to In the early Spring days, Eirene besatisfy their anxiously-waiting relatives. gan to notice most unusual indications At least, old Comfort Bard died just in about the white house across the street. the nick of time to please her niece It was thronged with workmen within Tabitha. In midwinter Aunt Comfort and without. In due time, the boxy passed away, and, before the coming of parlor and a more boxy bed-room, and Spring, her share of the Bard home- the yellow sitting-room, were thrown stead, and a very considerable legacy, into one drawing-room, with graceful had passed into the eager hands of sliding-doors; the kitchen was enlarged Tabitha Mallane. Long before that into a dining-room, and a new and hour, as she moved about her house- remote kitchen was commenced to be hold, or as she sat before the smoulder- built in the rear of all. The little old ing fire, while John Mallane slept, she outlooks were lengthened into long had laid her plans and decided what French windows opening into a veranshe would do with it. Once she could da, which extended entirely around have had but one thought concerning the house. This transformation was it. She would simply have given it to sufficiently wonderful; but when a John Mallane, with the words, “ Here, strange man came and began to metafather; put it into the business, and se- morphose the garden, the wonder was cure the interest for the children." But complete. Nobody outside of her own her anxiety for the children together heart knew what & pang it cost Tabiwas absorbed and forgotten in her pas- tha Mallane to give up her garden. It sion concerning one. Paul had already was hard enough to relinquish the yelentered an old and noted law-office in low sitting-room, and the old cradle in Boston as the junior partner. It already which all her babies had been rocked; had its “solid man," its learned man, but it was harder still to give up that and was glad to add, as a special orna- dear plot of ground, with its straight ment, a young and eloquent advocate. beds of beets, peas, and lettuce, whereAll Busyville declared this to be a great in she had so long gathered her own opening for Paul Mallane, though it fresh vegetables; wherein, when nohastened to add, “He's one of the body was looking, she had so often lucky ones. He always gets what he turned up, with her own hands, from wants."
the moist mould, new potatoes for dinner. Through all her weary house- care-worn woman in a wrapper in the keeping, child-nursing years, it had yellow sitting-room at home. given her her one pastime—this gar- “Why, mother! what brought you den; it was the one bond between her here?” said Paul, in a really hearty and nature. It had been such a pleas- tone, as, taking in her appearance, he at ure in the summer evenings, with her once saw that she really looked well, and children about her, to weed these beds that he need not be ashamed of her. -to water her sturdy sweet-williams “You, Paul!" auswered his mother, and hollyhocks, and watch them grow. in a cheerful voice, so different from her But Paul detested them all, and they Busyville tone. “ Sit down, and I will must be annihilated. Thus the plots tell you all about it." were rolled even with the ground, cov- He felt at once as if he were in the ered with turf, and trimmed with nar- Busyville sitting-room, now he was told row earth-borders, for verbenas, migno- to sit down and to listen; but he did as nette, and other delicate flowers. Rus- he was bidden. Then, even the handtic seats were placed under the old some gray travelling suit and the becherry and apricot trees, and garden coming bonnet could not keep Mrs. vases for trailing plants were set out in Tabitha from bending forward with a the grass, the crowning marvel to the little swaying motion, as if she were eyes of the factory folk. The last sac- still rocking the cradle and talking to rifice laid on the altar of modern Paul across it. “style” and maternal love and schem- "I'll sit down, mother, if you'll sit ing, was the white paint of the house up,” said Paul, laughing; “but don't, itself. All the old mansions and home- I beg of you, rock the cradle at me in steads of Busyville had been painted Cambridge.” white, with bright, blinking green “No; I'll do just as you want me blinds-Tabitha Mallane's delight. But, to," said Mrs. Mallane, straightening. ever since Paul had read Dickens' “I've come to surprise and to please “Notes,” the vivid brightness of red, you, and I'm going to do it. Of course, white, and green had been an offence in you know about Aunt Comfort's legahis sight. Thus the painters ascended cy; but you don't know what I've done their ladders, and the white went under with it. You'll never be annoyed again a pale tea-color, with heavy cappings with the old sitting-room and the oak of dark wood. When all was complet- paper, nor with the shabbiness of your ed, certainly no accusation could be home, Paul. You have no idea how brought against the house and its gar- much feeling I had about it when I den. The only trouble with it now could not help it. I knew how hard it was, that it was not in harmony with was, going in the society you do, and its surroundings. It should have stood being invited to such places, never to isolated, amid its own wide grounds. be able to return such hospitality, beIt looked out of place on a narrow cause you were ashamed of your fathstreet, opposite the ugly factories, and er's house. You won't know it when Seth Goodlove's little unpainted, un- you see it. I haven't trusted to my sheltered domicile.
own taste in any respect-for you know While these changes were proceeding I like the old things best, because I've toward completion, Paul was surprised, had them all my life—but I sent for the one morning, by the announcement, at architect who built Squire Arnott's his Cambridge quarters, that a lady house, which you like so well, and for wished to see him. He was still more the man who laid out his grounds, and surprised when, on entering his parlor, they have left nothing as it was before. he was confronted by his mother. He It's handsomer than you can think. did not recognize her at the first Father says that it's altogether too glance; she looked so different, in her handsome for us, and that I'm crazy, or ladylike gray travelling suit, from the I wouldn't strike out from the old, plain way, and use up so much money, most bewitching manners.
She was instead of putting it in the business. most effusive, if not “gushing,” to Mrs. It's for you, Paul. I was determined Mallane. She was " so charmed, so dethat once, before you really set up for lighted, to meet Mrs. Mallane ! Oh, yourself, you could come to a home into how much you look like your son!” which you would not be ashamed to she exclaimed. “I have heard Mr. Malask any friend you have. There's Mr. lane speak so often of his mother, I feel Prescott, who did so much to introduce as if I had known you always.' And you into the law-office-you're under you will come out to Marlboro ? Oh, obligation to him; and Miss Prescott, do! Drive out in the early evening, and Miss Maynard, or any one you and we will take tea on the lawn. It please. I shall be ready for them be- will be so lovely! Please say you will. fore August. And I've come down to I shall be so disappointed if you don't.” have you select the furniture and car- There was something in Tabitha Malpets with me; you shall have them just lane which responded to all this. It as you like, Paul.”
was from his mother that Paul had inPaul was a good deal astonished, but herited his love for fine equipages and did not look so supremely delighted as stately houses, for the éclat and parahis mother hoped that he would. phernalia of wealth and place. To be
His first thought was of Eirene. sure, circumstances had held it sup“ This new splendor will only shut her pressed in her nature; but, in spite of out more completely-poor little girl!” many years of drudging and of stockhe said to himself. “I've wanted it ing-darning, it was there. With its bad enough. Strange I couldn't have first opportunity, the dormant passion it till it can be of no use to me! Still, sprang alert into life. It pleased her I would like to show the Prescotts that that her callers came in an elegant carI have no reason to be ashamed of my riage, with liveried servants. But, with home, as I know they think I have. It all this conscious pleasure, there was no would have been a good deal kinder to vulgar betrayal of it. As sbe received have given me the money to have begun her visitors, she looked not at all out housekeeping withEirene and I.” of place, nor did she feel that she was.
“I want you to introduce me to the She felt as perfectly at home in her Prescotts, Paul,” said Mrs. Mallane. “I heavy black silk, as if Aunt Comfort would like to go with you to Marlboro had never owned it or worn it, or as if Hill."
she herself had never dug new potatoes “I will bring Dick to see you," an- for dinner. She looked pleased, but swered Paul. “But you are my moth- not honored, nor did she consider herer, and a stranger,” he added, in an self to be. What if she did not have imperial tone. “Miss Prescott must call all the modern airs and graces ? She upon you before you visit Marlboro Hill.” had a son; and, while she had him,
After expressing her approbation of and he was both airy, graceful, and talhis handsome rooms, Mrs. Mallane pro- ented, she was well aware that she posed to return to the city and begin would never be treated as a secondary her momentous shopping. Paul, nam- personage, at least by marriageable ing an hour when he would join her young ladies. proceeded to escort her to the cars. On Paul drove his mother out to Marltheir way they met Dick Prescott, who boro in fine state. They took tea on was duly presented to Paul's mother. the lawn, and it was all “so lovely!" He addressed her with marked defer- as Bella Prescott continually exclaimed. ence, adding that he would do himself Afterwards Dick and Paul sauntered the honor to call with his sister. They off to smoke their cigars, and the two came, the next afternoon, in the stately ladies were left together. Then, as Prescott barouche, Miss Isabella bring. Tabitha Mallane looked across its green ing with her her daintiest costume and spaces and down its broad avenues, she
made her first real estimate of Marlboro “Dear child, you little know the Hill. It was one of the most beautiful feeling of a mother's heart," answered and stately of those suburban homes Mrs. Tabitha, in her most pathetic which make the environs of Boston so quaver. “It goes straight to mine to charming. But it was not the red sun- hear you say so. Being the mother of set through the green of immemorial my Grace, gives me a mother's feeling elms, flushing the stone of the old an- for every other young girl. Yes, I see cestral house with the bloom of vivid how it is: with every thing else in the rose, which attracted her attention. world, you haven't a mother. You must What she saw was the solidity, the see some sad hours, my child." age, the wealth, and vast respectability “Oh, very sad! It would be very reflected in its walls. She saw also, as different if I had a sister; but I haven't distinctly as Eirene beheld her mother's even a sister." new gown and her father's new horse, “Well, my dear, you must come and Paul driving up this avenue of elms be- visit Grace. She has no sister either, hind a pair of stately bays—her Paul near her own age. I'm sure you'd take coming home in the evening sunlightto each other directly. She knows the master of Marlboro Hill! She nothing of the world of society, and looked across the lawn, with its foun- you know all about it; so you'd be tains and flowers, to the park, where fresh to each other, and I could be some tame deer were grazing beside a mother to both. How I wish you could mimic lake; and, as she looked, she be persuaded to visit us !” wondered how, for so many years, she
“Oh, I don't need any persuading; had thought Squire Blane's squatty it would delight me to come! I can't house a fine mansion, his tucked-up tell you, Mrs. Mallane, how I long to garden“
“grounds,” or his daughter go to some quiet spot this summer! Tilly, a match for Paul !
We've been to the White Hills, to NiIt was a long, long look which she agara, Saratoga, and everywhere, and had given to Marlboro with her exact- I'm tired of all. I'd like to go and see ing eyes. Meanwhile, Isabella Prescott something that I never saw before. I've had been taking in Mrs. Mallane with a been thinking of asking Dick to take much smaller but quite as keen a pair. board in some retired farm-house, where
“I don't think that I made allowance I shouldn't have to make four toilettes enough for the boy,” said Mrs. Tabitha a-day in hot weather. You've no idea to herself, “ when he came home and what a bore it is, Mrs. Mallane." felt so dissatisfied with all he saw there, Mrs. Tabitha was sure she did not, as compared with what he had seen here; the outline of her old summer sacque but then, I couldn't have any idea of and down-at-the-heel slippers ran bethe contrast as I see it now.”—“I am fore her mental eyes. Then she gave a thinking what a happy girl you are, to little sigh, for she thought that, if this be the free mistress of such a beautiful guest came, she must relinquish them. home," she said to Bella.
“Our village is a bustling little “Yes, Marlboro is beautiful, I sup- place," she said, “but a rural country pose; every body says so. But it don't lies all around it. In half an hour I look to me as it does to other people, can take you to a perfection of a farmbecause I have always lived here, per- house-the one in which I was born. haps. Then, I get so tired looking It has been in our family a hundred after it, and so lonesome. Dear Mrs. years." Mallane, what is any home without a “ How I should delight to see it, and mother ?” murmured the maiden, with Grace ! Do tell me about her, Mrs. two bright tears twinkling in her little Mallane ! Does she look like you í eyes. “ Dick is good to me-every Oh, I'm sure we should be like sisters ! body's kind; but oh! if you could How I want to see her! How sweet in know how I want a mother!"
you to invite me! and how lovely it
will be to go! It's so different being a drooping head and a fair, sad face. with one's friends, from being with Yet, an instant after, a sensation of people in whom one takes no interest.” pleasure and triumph rose in him, as he
“Yes, I think so," said Mrs. Mallane, looked and saw Isabella Prescott neseven if your friends can give you tled close to his mother's side. She less than strangers. Of course, you
made quite a pretty picture, sitting know, Miss Prescott, that we are quiet there under the sunset trees. Then, country people, and live in a very plain there was satisfaction as well as wonway-not at all in your style. You will der in seeing his mother looking quite find every thing simple and homely. the lady of Marlboro, with her stately You must come prepared for that. But head and lustrous silk. If she had you say you want something different always looked like this, Paul felt cerfrom any thing you've had before. You tain that he never could have rebelled will find it with us, and a daughter's against her as he had done in the past. welcome; but remember, we live in a Half an hour later, wbile Paul and very plain way.” And, as she uttered his mother were riding toward the city, these words, Mrs. Tabitha felt an in- each silent with their own thoughts, ward satisfaction in the thought that, Isabella Prescott still sat under the after so much depreciation, when she trees entertaining her brother. did come, Miss Prescott would be as- “If you could only have seen it, tonished to find every thing so much Dick-the old lady's look! She took finer than she had expected.
an inventory of the entire place, before Dick and Paul appearing at this she spoke a word. Then, she said I juncture, Bella called out, “Dear Dick, must be a happy girl to have such a Mrs. Mallane has invited me to visit home. I made just the reply she wanther, and I'm going. I shall see Grace, ed me to : I said, I would be happy if and the farm-house that has been in the I only had a mother! Then, of course, family a hundred years. Won't it be she offered to be my mother, with the lovely ?"
society of her daughter Grace. It grew "Altogether lovely—that is, it would very affecting. Don't you see, Dick, it be, if Mrs. Mallane had invited me too. was just like a story-book. Yes, of one I don't want to be left out."
thing I may say I am certain : that the “And we wouldn't leave you out for lady from the country has set her heart the world,” said delighted Mrs. Tabi- and mind on becoming my mother-tha, "if you think you could find any in-law !” pleasure with us. I left Paul to decide "Well, if her son hadn't piqued your that; he is so well acquainted with vanity so awfully, she would have made your tastes. If you like fishing, there it out." are shoals in our river, and trout in the “ That's your opinion, is it, Dick ?" brooks, not six miles away.”
“It is. But, as matters are, what “I doat on fishing, and so does Dick. under heaven is going to take you up How sweet, how kind you are, Mrs. to that furnace in the country for a Mallane!” exclaimed Bella, in her most visit? I saw you had some game on guileless and gushing tone, leaning hand, and thought I wouldn't spoil it; toward Mrs. Tabitha as if she were but now, I'd like to know what it's all going to embrace her on the spot. about. Mallane has gone and made an Paul, looking on, said to himself, ass of himself—engaged himself to that “ This is the best-played game that I girl. He as good as owned it to me. ever saw, if it is a game. What's the So you had better let him alone. I deceit of the devil to that of an artful have other designs for you." woman? A little of this kindness of “ You have? Well, I'll inquire what mother's had better have been bestowed they are, when I've carried out my own. somewhere else, in my opinion.” And As for leaving Paul Mallane alone. he felt bitter, as he saw, in the distance, that's just what I don't intend to do."