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Oh, no; I think there is no need of accident; and I am going to see. I it. I do not suppose I shall go very hope it is not serious, but I fear he has often. There is so little in common been thrown from his horse. I want between us; and yet she is very charm- you to wait quietly here, and not to ing. I should like to have you see er. look out the window. I will come back Oh! there she is now, bidding her hus- soon, and tell you about it, and let you band good-bye. Do look, Mark! Isn't know if you can do any thing." Then she girlish ? How well Mr. Oxford he kissed her, drew down the frontlooks on horseback !"
curtains, and went quickly out. Mr. Linden leaned forward to watch Miss Linden had not said one word, the little group at his neighbor's gate. but the color had all left her face, for
“It is a pretty picture,” he said. she knew by his paleness that some
The young wife stood with her baby thing very sad had occurred. She in her arms—the little girl holding her obeyed him, however, for that was her hand, and blowing kisses to the tall habit, and went on wiping the eggfather, who leaned from his horse to shell cups with trembling fingers, but pull her curls. It was indeed a sweet made no step towards the window or domestic picture; and as the old bach- the open door. elor and his sister watched it, each gave It was well she did not. Even Dena little half-sigh, and then glanced has- nis, rough and strong as he was, shudtily at the other. Their glances met, dered at the ghastly wreck of manly and deepened into a loving smile, that beauty and vigor which three men were said plainly enough, “ We are happy slowly bearing towards the little cottoo, though in our quieter, duller way." tage, on a litter. hastily made with an
After breakfast, Mr. Linden sat read- old gate, overspread with their coats. ing the paper, while his sister washed Mr. Linden despatched Dennis in his the rare old china and silver in a dainty buggy for the doctor, much fearing, little cedarn tub, with brazen hoops. however, that no life lingered in that This was one of her regular duties, and bleeding, motionless form; then hurryone she loved, for every piece had been ing on before the bearers, he walked her mother's, and was dear from old unceremoniously into that house where childish associations.
he had hoped he “should not be expectAs the clock struck nine, Dennis came ed to call.” Through empty hall and to the door; but instead of saying, parlor he pushed forward, finding the “ The buggy is ready, sir,” as he had little wife at last in the nursery beyond, said at that hour every morning for ten kneeling beside a bath-tub, in which years past (except when winter changed her plump merry boy was having a
to “sleigh"), he only said, glorious game of splash-dash, which "Mr. Linden, sir!” and as his master she evidently enjoyed as well. looked up, made mysterious little How Mr. Linden accounted for his beckoning motion, which Miss Hope did intrusion, or in what words he tried to not see. Every thing in that household prepare her for the coming shock, he moved on with such clock-like regulari- never knew; but he did it in some way, ty, however, that she noted the man's and to his amazed relief, she neither speech, and wondered, as her brother screamed nor fainted. After the first left the room, if the horse could be sick, bewildered, agonized pressing of her or if Dennis had discovered signs of hands over her white face, she was quite thieving in the orchard.
calm; met the men at the door, led the Presently Mt. Linden returned, and way to the nearest bed-room, and, when coming to her side, turned her gently, the doctor came, obeyed all his orders so that she could not see the window, bravely in silence. Mr. Oxford was not and said, in a very quiet tone,
dead, and therefore she could quell “Don't be alarmed, sister ; but Dennis every weakness, that she might be helpis afraid Mr. Oxford has met with some ful in his service. She seemed to have
no other thought, and begged the doc- and again reached the shelter of his own tor not to send her away.
sitting-room, breathless but safe. His “ Certainly not,” he replied. “You sister, meanwhile, had soothed the little are doing nobly, and I want you here. girl with kind words and seed-cakes, If only some one could take the chil- and was holding her in her lap, when dren, so that your attention would not her brother entered, much flushed, and be divided, we shall do well, I hope. deposited baby, blanket, clothes, and Your husband is only stunned, and these all, in the middle of the floor, with a wounds are not as serious as they look." great gasp of relief.
The little girl had flung herself into “ There's the other one,” he said, with the cradle, and was sobbing violently, a sort of groaning laugh. “You'll have hiding her face in the pillow; but the your hands full, Hope. You've got to boy, happily unaware of trouble, was dress it. I'll send Jane to help you, and still splashing merrily in his tub.
I will take this one and amuse her in “I will take them to my sister," cried the meanwhile. Will you come and see Mr. Linden, impulsively. “She shall
“She shall my chickens, Totty ?” he added. keep them till you are able to send for The child put out her hands at once, them, and you need not be troubled and away he went with her, leaving about them.”
poor Miss Linden quite dismayed at “Oh, thank you, if you only will," her share of the new responsibilities. said the poor little wife; “ then I can She had never dressed a baby in her life. give all my mind to him.”
To be sure, she had dressed a good Rejoiced at the opportunity of being many dolls for fancy fairs, but their of service, Mr. Linden immediately clothes could be sewed on, and they snatched up the eldest child, and, de- were not screaming and struggling like spite its kicking and struggling, in two this little Beeseeker. She felt actually minutes had run across the road and weak with a sense of her own ignoup the slope to his own house, and put rance; and for one minute sat motionthe terrified little maid into the lap of less, despairing. But most women have his astonished sister.
a great fund of latent heroism, and she Merely stammering out, “He isn't drew on hers now: sat resolutely down dead, but she can't leave him; and now upon the floor, took the baby in her I'm going to get the other out of the arms, and tried to soothe him by gentle tub,” he ran off again, leaving Miss words, cuddling and patting and kissHope trying to understand, and the ing him, as women naturally do. But little prisoner still sobbing and kicking, the child would not be soothed in that under a strong impression that she was way; so she got up and walked about stolen forever from her mother.
the room with him rather a task for Regaining the nursery, Mr. Linden the little woman, for he weighed twenty found that the well-meaning but awk- pounds at least. After she had tried ward servant had taken the baby out him, in desperation, with all the movof his bath, and endeavored to dress able articles on the side-board, he was him; but her ignorance and the child's pleased to fancy the silver hand-bell, wrath were such that she had given up and although it was freshly brightened the attempt, and put on his little night and one of the apples of her housekeepgown again. Hastily wrapping him ing eye, she resigned it to his chubby and his clothes in a blanket, she deliv- hands, and welcomed the sound of its ered him to his new friend, and ran incessant ringing, in exchange for his away to her kitchen, to be as far as cries, which now suddenly ceased. How possible from her insensible master. thankful was Miss Linden to sink into
Holding the little screamer tightly in a chair, breathless, and in a violent perhis inexperienced armis not without a spiration with her unusual exertions. keen sense of his comical appearance- In the blessedness of the rest, she incau. Mr. Linden made another rapid flight, tiously closed her eyes for a moment
when, whack ! came the sharp edge of ful mood, when Mr. Linden came in the bell against her forehead, for Master with his charge. Baby was sturdy in all his motions, and “Upon my word, Hope," he said, was apparently going through the dumb- you have worked a miracle. You bell exercise, though the adjective hard- must have a real faculty for tending ly applied to his jingling toy.
babies." At this moment Jane came in ; Miss This pleased Hope so much that she Hope gave her aching head a hasty rub bardly winced when the baby pulled o (trusting it might not swell and turn handful of feathers out of the little blue), and said, in a voice of assumed brush; and Jane took the opportunity cheerfulness,
to pick up the now despised bell from Now, Jane, we've got this dear little the corner where it had been hurled by boy to take care of, for poor Mrs. Ox- his majesty, give it a sly polish with ford's husband is almost killed, and she her apron, and replace it on the sidecan't leave him. Let us see if we can't board in such a way that the deep dent dress him before Mr. Linden comes in it had received should not show. again."
“I must go now," added Mr. Linden, Jane was not fond of children, and “I think the children will not trouble disliked being called from her work; you much. Nanny was delighted with but she never wished to acknowledge the chickens. You'll want to wash her ignorance on any subject; so she re- hands, though, for I let her feed the plied,
cow with apples. I shall be at home Suttinly we can, marm-as neat as by four, I think. Good-by.” a pin. Here's his little cambric shirt, And the two women were left with and the petticoats, and the ruffled dress, their new visitors. and the socks and shoes. Oh, yes; I've “I'm thinking gentlemen don't know dressed children afore now."
much about children,” remarked Jane, And then, with much coaxing and in a low voice. “It's my opinion the twisting, and constant dodging of the work may go, if we've them two to ever-ringing bell, all these articles were mind all day; and your flowers, too, at last put on, and Jane turned in tri- Miss. I don't see, for my part, why umph to pick up the shawl, when, as that great Irish girl couldn't have kep' she shook it, there fell out a dainty one on 'em at least." little knitted shirt of white wool, which “For shame, Jane," said her mistress, mistress and maid saw at a glance ought while little Nanny stared with very to have been put on first of all. Miss wide, wise eyes, from one to the other. Linden sighed with dismay, and Jane “Mr. Linden brought them away, so proposed letting him go without it; but, that the house should be perfectly still ;
Oh, no; he would get cold. There and it is very little for us to do, when is nothing to be done but undress him, they are in such trouble. You may and go through the whole performance wash the little girl's hands, and then go again."
to your work. I can amuse them both Unfortunately the child was by this for the present.” She spoke with contime tired of the bell, and another tour siderable spirit and dignity, all the more of the room had to be made before he because she was conscious of a certain chose a little fancy dust-brush of scarlet sinking of her inmost heart, and a disfeathers, as his next plaything. It had position to count the hours which must been a present to Miss Linden, but she pass before her brother's return. surrendered it bravely, rejoicing that it Jane's tempers never lasted long, and was at least less dangerous to the fea- she held out her hand with what she tures and knuckles of herself and Jane. meant for a coaxing smile; but Nanny
The second dressing was at last com- knew well enough that this was not one pleted; and very proud were both the of her natural allies; and, stamping her nurses of his tidy appearance and peace- foot, said obstinately,
“I don't like you, and you s'ant wash “Fweddy cwoss," returned the child, my hands.” Remonstrances were vain. sagely, coz his tooties comin'."
“ Take the baby, then, Jane, and I " It's my belief he's hungry," said will take her up to my room.”
Jane, coming down from her chamber The baby, however, was equally un- work. willing to go, and clung, screaming, to “Of course he is, poor lamb!” cchoed his perplexed protectress. This was Miss Linden. Why didn't I think of flattering, but very inconvenient. At that? What do you suppose they feed last a compromise was effected. Miss him with ? I remember Mrs. Oxford Hope, with the baby in her arms, went said something about Bermuda arrowinto the kitchen, Nanny holding fast by root yesterday; but I didn't feel particher dress, and making faces at Jane, ularly interested then, and don't rewho furnished her with a basin of wa- member what it was. I didn't suppose ter and a towel, in a chair, and allowed it would be my concern so soon,” she the perverse little maid to wash and added, with a nervous little laugh. dry her own hands. During this per- “But we haven't any in the house, if I formance the baby was attracted by the did know how to prepare it. Do you glittering tins, arranged on a shelf over suppose sago would do, Jane ?" the sink, and flinging the now much- "I never heard as 'twas good for crushed brush into a pan of dish-water, babies, ma'am," replied Jane, who was would not be pacified till two large in an unsympathizing mood. covers and a colander had been present- "Nanny, what does baby eat," said ed to him. He then allowed himself to poor Miss Linden, in despair. be carried back to the dining-room, and “Bwed and butter, and cwacker and placed upon the floor with his shining milk, and wice and tato and cooky," toys, from which he speedily evoked a responded the child, fluently. crashing din. Miss Hope, glad of a Miss Hope caught at the first sugtemporary rest for her aching arms, sat gestion with eagerness. down to recover breath and smooth her “ Bread and milk ! Certainly; why, crushed collar and cuffs, enduring the of course! And I might have known impromptu cymbals as best she could. it; the poor little abused darling, so
Little Nanny had spied a family of he should. Quick, Jane, bring me a kittens in the kitchen corner, in a big cup of the morning's milk and a slice basket, and made herself very happy of bread.” with them for nearly half an hour. Of Jane obeyed in silence, The little their bliss we cannot so confidently tes- fellow's cries abated, as he saw the dish tify. Jane took the opportunity to and spoon approaching, and his nurse despatch some of her morning work; felt quite happy when he opened his but the lull did not last very long. mouth wide for the first mouthful; but Master Baby, who was in the habit of no sooner had he tasted it, than he consuming a large cup of bread and sputtered it out again, and struck out milk after his bath, now became rest- so suddenly with both hands and feet, less and cross. Even banging both tin in an inexplicable fit of rage, that the covers against the colander no longer dish was knocked violently from his soothed him; and from fretting he soon amazed nurse's hands, and its whole passed to indignant screams and sobs. contents went streaming over her fresh In vain Miss Linden carried him about wrapper on to the carpet. and offered him every object within her “Oh dear, oh dear,” cried the disreach; he pushed at her with both tressed lady, “what can be the matter hands, wailing for “Ma-ma, mā-ā-mā,"
now?" till she thought she should certainly go Nanny ran to pick up the broken crazy.
cup, and sipped the drops that remained “What makes him cry só, Nanny ?” in it. she asked, at length.
“ It is all told, and no suggar," sho
“ Hush, “ Mary
said, scornfully. “Mamma mates it ing softly and singing low, “Hush, my nicer than you."
babe, lie still and slumber.” It had not Jane wiped up the milk, and the baby been on her lips, or in her mind for was crying more hopelessly than ever. many years; but it came unbidden now,
“I might have known," sighed poor and surprised her as much as did the Inexperience. “Never mind my dress tears that had gathered in her eyes, as now, Jane; warm some more as soon as she watched the helpless little one she possible, and sweeten it well. I'm sorry held. for the cup; it was my sister Lizzie's. For half an hour she sat dreamily She drank out of it for twenty years, rocking and singing. Jane peeped in and never cracked it. But it's of no twice, and could hardly believe her eyes use mourning. Oh baby, baby, hush !"
At last Nanny closed her and once more rising, she began to pace book with a sudden clap, and, forgetup and down, singing "Little Jack ting her caution, yawned aloud. The Horner,” which was one of the few charm was broken. With a violent nursery-rhymes she could recall from start the sleeping cherub was transthe long-ago time when she had tended formed into an injured, sobbing boy, Mark. Before her breath was quite and rocking and trotting, singing and gone, the new breakfast was ready. It patting, had all to be recommenced, proved acceptable, and was eagerly taxing Miss Hope's strength and paeaten. The wailings ceased, the tears tience to their very extent. dried on the plump cheeks, and Miss my babe," was useless now. Linden experienced real delight in min- had a little lamb,” was received with istering to the child's comfort at last. yells of impatience.
“ Jack Horner," Hardly was the final drop sipped, when “Sleep, baby, sleep,” “Gayly the Trouthe bold blue eyes began to grow heavy, badour,” “Baa-baa black sheep," and and the curly head to nestle towards her “ Araby's Daughter” were all essayed shoulder,
without any apparent soothing cffect; “He is sleepy, Jane !" she cried, in a but suddenly, in the midst of the “Last happy undertone. “Pull down the cur- Rose of Summer," baby's cries changed tains, give Nanny that book of Natural to a little accompaniment of cooing History, and shut the door softly." and crooning, the eyelids fellrose
“ The child may tear it, Miss,” remon- struggled—and fell again, the cooing strated Jane, jealous for “Mr. Mark's” tapered off softly into silence, and my property.
lord again slumbered, this time so “I will take care of that; this dear soundly that Miss Hope ventured to lay little creature must not be roused,” said him on the sofa, behind a barricade of the mistress, decidedly, feeling all & chairs, draw a long delicious breath, mother's sense of the supreme impor- and stretch her cramped arms freely. tance of “baby's nap” over all other Having darkened the room still more, considerations. Jane sniffed, obeyed, picked up the rejected toys, and arand retired. Nanny, well trained to the ranged the disordered furniture, she above-named doctrine, was as still as a stepped to the door to look after Nanny, mouse over her book. And now slowly who had gone out to play after waking the pink lids dropped over the dreamy her brother. A melancholy sight met eyes, gently the little fingers unclasped the lady's eyes. Six stately stalks of their hold on the porringer, softly the pure white Japan lilies, which she and weary head sank down upon the waiting Mark had watched through days of arm, and again Miss Linden experienced slowly-opening buds, had been rudely almost a mother's tender joy as the rosy uprooted, and were replanted in a large little tyrant subsided trustfully into un- mound of gravel, which had heaped up consciousness upon her breast. With a on the lower door-stone. Round the sigh of mental satisfaction and physical base of the pile were set the tops of a relief, she leaned back in her chair, rock- dozen of Mark's choicest balsams and