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CHAPTER V.

But you will come out and see us concluded that it would not pay, besoon ?" she said.

cause his property wasn't of much acHe nodded and smiled as she drove count, and he couldn't exactly make up

his mind who to leave it to. It was all clear to her now. Colonel Men came to Richard who wanted Seabray shot Meech, and Chinny knew some legal application to warm up a it. This was the power he held over man's benevolence-or subdue his avathe Colonel. Mary knew nothing about rice—or excite filial affection—or thrill it. But how to keep the knowledge of a torpid conscience. As they could not this secret from her, and foil Chinny, get what they wanted, Richard could puzzled Miss Plumb until she reached not get what he wanted—money. The the leafy precincts of Plumb's Wood. disappointed men generally left the

office, with the cutting remark that they “thought common law was common

sense." RICHARD walked back to New Bolton, But no one paid him for advice. So that morning, in an unpleasant state of

Richard found his pocket-book growing mind. There was one being in all the light. world that he had not been true to- Having plenty of leisure, he wrote to one who looked to him, and depended his friends, and, among others, Miss on his strength for support. That being Plumb and Doctor Blodgett. This was was Richard French himself.

unfortunate, because the Doctor was He was weak enough to suppose that very jealous. He had heard too much Miss Plumb might be in love with him of Richard already from Miss Plumb. —that she would take his jesting as a They were talking about him when the serious proposal. For this reason he tri-weekly U. S. Mail rode up to the had intimated that he was engaged to door on a pony's back, and the carrier some one at the East. The more he delivered the letters. thought of this the worse it seemed to “He seems so devoted to Mary,” said him. He was afraid that Mary Seabray Miss Plumb, looking over at the Docwould hear of it, and think he had been tor. guilty of double-dealing.

“He's a fool! that's all about him," For this reason he called on her that the Doctor replied. evening, to make an explanation. But Please be careful; for I am retained all his fears and doubts disappeared in as counsel in his defence." the presence of her effulgent beauty. “ You ?” said the Doctor, looking at

It is a marvel how any man restrains her sharply. himself from offering his hand to the

“ Yes." first really beautiful woman who will Well, I must say you have a poor have him. Therefore, it is no marvel client, and poor cause--totally indefenthat Richard was so in love with Mary. sible. He has no business to be devoted He was very happy in her presence, and to Mary Seabray-nor any one else,” in a wilderness of doubts and fears when said he, directing the last words emalone. At such times trifles grew into phatically at his listener. mountains; while Mary spent most of Why, if you really think so, Doctor, her waking, and all of her sleeping- I had better write Mary." hours, in a vast Switzerland of these " You had better write her at once, on mountains—the haunting giant thereof some good, honest fool's-cap paper, in being Chinny.

a large round hand. It seems as if Meantime, Richard did not find much every girl became crazy the moment the business, though people were kindly boarding-school door is shut behind disposed. Old Bob was very friendly. her, and especially mad on the subject He had “some idea of havin' his will of lawyers. They'll snap at one of these drawed,” he said ; but he afterwards legal cubs quicker than a pike will snap

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at a silver spoon. These young sprigs “I'll go down and wring his neck," are just boobies enough to be flattered said the Colonel. “He's nothing but a by it, too; and the next thing they little fly-up-the-creek; and he don't know, there's a family to support, and care a fig for you-he's incapable of it the generous juices, that might have hasn't the taste to appreciate you ;” ripened them into fully-developed men, and the Colonel would not listen to any become dried up; they turn prematurely explanation, but hurried down to the gray, sallow-faced, husky-voiced, and hotel, with his heart full of wrath. narrow-minded. They are picked too “What seems to be the matter, Cogreen. They spoil, like wind-fall ap- lonel ?” asked Chinny, going up to ples, put into the cellar early, becoming him. wrinkled and worthless. A good law- “I'm going to cashier Mr. French," yer, who is, also, a thoroughly-ripened, said the Colonel. plump, mellow-hearted man, is hard to "I don't understand what you're find."

drivin' at," Chinny replied. “ Shall I tell her what you say ? ” “Well, I do,” said the Colonel, writasked Miss Plumb.

ing a note. “ There, sir ; now I want “ Tell her any thing you please," re- a boy to carry this up." plied the Doctor. “I guess the truth “ Tain't a challenge, is it?" asked won't hurt her much. Tell her to come Chinny. out here and fish. That's the best thing "Read it," replied the Colonel, handshe can do to take the boarding-school ing it to him. and Chicago nonsense out of her head.” Chinny read : “I will warn her of her danger," said

"MR. RICHARD FRENCH: Your presMiss Plumb; and she wrote a long let

ence at my house, hereafter, will be very ter, containing the substance of what the Doctor had said, with a highly disagreeable to my daughter Mary, and colored account of the ride and conver

particularly so to

“ Your obedient servant, sation on the prairie. She closed by

"A. SEABRAT." advising Mary, by all means, not to arouse Chinny's jealousy, and, if she “Look a-here, Colonel ! ” said Chincould do so, to show him a little more ny, "wait a little while ; for I've had a attention. Miss Plumb thought that is gad toughenin' in the ashes, a week or Chinny got jealous, he might precipi- two, for this French. Jest let me send tate matters, and defeat all her plans. it up ahead o'your letter;" and he hur

Her letter affected Mary seriously. ried out of the office. On reading it, the tears came, in spite Richard was wearing away the afterof her efforts to suppress them; then she doon, pacing his office, when he saw a crumpled the letter in her hand; then man approaching, whom he recognized straightened it out, and re-read it slow- as Duke, a coarse fellow, who hung ly, and declared, throwing it down, that about New Bolton, and furnished affithere was no such thing as true friend- davits, for such as wanted them, in pership; furthermore, and generally, that fecting titles to their lands. He was a there was no woman alive who would heavy, sullen-looking man, with coarse, not rob her best friend of a lover, if she black hair on the backs of his big hands, could: then she fairly cried; and in this and his normal condition was a soggy condition the Colonel found her. state of quarrelsome drunkenness. He

“ What's the matter ?” he asked. was an old settler, and claimed special

She didn't know, exactly; "every privileges on that account, as old setthing, almost."

tlers sometimes do, it is said. "Is it any thing about Chinny ?" “I understand you don't like my “ Not much."

style,” said Duke, as he came stagger“ About French ?"

ing through the door-way, and dropped “ Yes; a great deal.”

himself heavily into a chair.

“I must give you the credit of having That would be the right man in the a good understanding on that point," right place. You will oblige me by said Richard; “for I do not like your vacating that chair. I believe these are style."

unencumbered personal property;" and, “ That's a pity, and I'm sorry about taking a chair in each hand, Richard it; for you must be a judge of style," walked out of the office, and smashed he replied, lurching heavily in his chair. them to pieces on a tree, leaving Duke “ Ain't I an old settler ? Didn't I make stupidly staring out of the window. the affidavits that this town is laid out About half-way to the hotel he met a on, and never got any pay for it, either? boy with the Colonel's note. I've swore to more land than you ever Richard looked surprised, and turned see, my frien'. My affidavits would very pale when he read it; then hurried shingle Tophet more'n a mile, if ever on to the hotel. you could find a hole in 'em to put “Let me have an Indian pony, landyour shingle-nails through—which you lord,” said he; " and I want to know couldn't. They are tight enough to what you'll charge for horse, saddle, hold water, my frien?—they are. Never and bridle, if I never return them." any lawyer could get the pint of his “If you pay in cats and dogs and diamon’-pinted pen through 'em, either. corner-lots, I charge two hundred and I guess that's pretty tight, ain't it? I fifty dollars, and don't want to sell," he do a land-office business, when I set replied ; " but if it's cash down, I'll down to it."

throw off two hundred, seein' it's you." “Well, I hope you will never sit down “Bring him out." to it in my office,” said Richard.

“ You ain't goin' off fur to-night, I “ Your'n! Now, that is good,” said hope ? " Duke. “It's my office,” he continued,

“ Yes." spitting on the floor, by way of taking

" But it'll rain." possession, and standing up to shake " It looks like it,” replied Richard. his fist. “I've bought this land, my “But I tell you it'll blow, and thunfrien’; and I give you notice to quit, der, and lighten like everlastin' blazes, which I can put in writing, if you out on the prairie to-night." want."

“I sban't hinder it." “I'd like to see your deed,” said Rich- “ But it may hender you," said the ard.

landlord. “ You see, there ain't nothin' “Here you are," he replied, pulling for lightnin' to strike out on these them out, with a plug of tobacco. cussed bare prairies; and it'll jest be “Kingman to Chinny-Chinny to Duke; high fun for it to find you out there on value received-two witnesses-duly ac- a horse. The streaks of lightnin' 'll go knowledged, and all right for that. In for you from twenty miles 'round. I the next place, before you leave, I'd like was out, one time, before I knew much to have you pay me this little mortgage about prairie-storms; and I thought they on your books. It's mine, this mortgage was orderin' things along pretty fast; so is. I bought it off of my frien Chinny; I stopped, and I hadn't more'n just and if you can't pay, why, I'll have slipped off my horse, when a big streak to take the books. It'll save you the come along, and knocked him more'n trouble of movin' 'em, if I do; so you forty rod. I tell you, it smelt brimsave something, don't you? Now, what stunny 'round there fur a minit or two! do

you think of my style, my frien'?" and wben I come to look in the grass and he went down, heavily, into his for my nag, there wasn't enough of him chair again.

left to bait a fox-trap." “I can think of nothing that would By this time he had buckled on the improve you or your style,” said Rich- saddle; and Richard rode up to the ard, “except a halter, unless your friend house, where he stuffed the pockets with Chinny had his neck in the same noose. such clothing as he could get into them.

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Five minutes after he was out on the with incense from wild flowers, with prairie, leaning against a strong wind. sunshine, and dripping leaves, and birds

A black wall stretched across the west songs, than this morning in Plumb's ern horizon, while overhead, along the Wood ? Surely, here, too, was a daughedges of the clouds, were long, grayish ter born of Chaos and old Night. wind-rows, writhing and changing, as A silvery haze lay like a fairy island the storm rolled swiftly along. The pony on the lake; and above the misty pilwas wiser than his master. He sniffed lar that hung over the waterfall, some the moist air, looking with wild eyes small white gulls, with long, tapering at the ominous sky, and would have wings, were wbirling and diving in the wheeled about, had not Richard reso- first rays of the morning-sun. lutely urged him on. The thunder in- The cottage-door was open, and the creased, and the wind rose to a gale. boat gone; but out of the silvery haze

“Now, let us be friends to-night,” floated a song, that lingered in the coves said Richard, patting the pony's neck. and around the wooded points, as it The little horse lowered his head, as if has lingered and echoed in Richard's he understood what was wanted of memory so many times since : him; and, striking into a strong, steady,

“Or music pours on mortals all-night gait, moved out to the storm

Its beautiful disdain," like a soldier to battle. It was a solid said he slowly, as his eyes filled with wall of water now, or seemed so in the tears. Then came the sound of oars, gloom. Sometimes the thunder ap- keeping time, and the singer sang on peared to crack the black walls from till her boat grazed the shore. heaven to earth, and the blinding white- “Did you drop from the clouds ?" heat of the fire beyond shone through she asked, with a pitying, perplexed the zigzag fissures. Then sheets of flame look at his forlorn appearance. blazed overhead, and the great waste, “Out of the clouds into the sunshine," with its frothy pools, and tangled he replied. swaths of dripping grass, leaped up “ You were overtaken by the storm, with dazzling distinctness, and sank and lost your way?” into the abyss again.

“Swallowed by it and thrown out, “ Where does all this water come like Jonah,” he replied. " Where is the from ?” said Richard, dropping the Doctor ?" reins on the pony's neck. “It must be “Hunting with father; but he will Globe City, travelling down overland, return to-day. You need breakfast and to find its founders,” he continued. rest." Then he broke into shouts of laughter, “How good and womanly she looks," thinking of the Doctor's encounter with said Richard, as his eyes followed her Chinny. He was silent again for miles, into the house. Her sympathy had till, from the regular tramp, tramp, of touched his heart. At any other time his pony, he knew that he must be on a he would have believed that to love this beaten trail.

young Eve, and live with her there in “Into each life some rain must fall,” the sylvan paradise, was the right thing said the bareheaded horseman, grimly, to do. as he rode, at last, out of the rosy east The very birds seemed to believe it, toward Plumb's Wood. He pulled up and peered down from the leafy brackhis pony, to watch a fawn that came ets and knotty cornices of Plumb's great shyly out and looked at him with greatfront-room, and chirped approval. The wondering eyes. Prairie-chickens whir- sandpiper nodded “yes," as it ran red over his head, leaving their cover, along the margin of the lake. now that the storm had passed, and was Richard tried in vain to eat the delimuttering low down and far away in cate broiled fish—so fresh and flakythe eastern horizon.

and was glad to get into the little chamWere the first days in Eden sweeter, ber overlooking the lake, and find his

CHAPTER VI.

me,

silent friend, the bed, stretching out its ed himself on a grassy mound in the soft white arms for him.

shade of an oak. When he went down-stairs, at noon, Miss Plumb sat under the trees, with an open book before her. “What are you reading ?” he asked.

NEW BOLTON waked up, the morning “ Bryant's Poems,” she replied. “ A book to be bound in bark,” said

after Richard's departure, conscious that

it had lost a lawyer, but congratulating Richard, “ fragrant bark, too, and tied up with wild grasses.

It is of the

itself on having gained a land-office :

Land-Office of Chinny & Co. woods, woody. I never knew," he continued, "the real worth of Bryant until Co. unknown, but senior member of the I took him to the haunts of Nature with firm present, with his feet on the win

His beauties, like the virtues of a dow-sill. Some disrespectful village-boy wife, shine in the shady places of life.” thought he sat in that way to let his

Richard talked thus to keep off the brains settle, his head being considerone unpleasant subject that oppressed ably lower than his heels. The fact is, his thoughts. But Miss Plumb was not however, he was spreading himself out to be trifled with,

as much as possible, that he might en“I'm surprised,” said she, abruptly, joy, to his utmost capacity, his recent “ that you brought me no letters from acquisition. Without this, the triumph New Bolton."

over Richard would have been incomRichard was leaning on his hand, so plete. as to conceal his face, and he said noth- But Mr. Chinny did not waste himing in reply.

self in idleness; he was preparing his “ You called on Mary, I suppose, be- mind for another victory of still greater fore you left ? "

importance. He had cunningly chosen Richard shook his head.

the time for his last attack, when the " Matters seem to have reached a garrison was weakened by desertion. climax," said Miss Plumb. “I want to From the left breast-pocket of his be frank with you,” she added, after black broadcloth coat, Mr. Chiuny some hesitation ; “ for I think I could pulled a pair of kid-gloves. He untell you something you would like to doubtedly looked on these as evidences hear."

of his wealth and standing, and comRichard instantly turned his face, and menced putting them on.

But they looked at her inquiringly.

hung back, and ould not have been “But I ought to know," said Miss more obstinate if they had been made Plumb, “just what your relations are up of mule-skin. Finally, after these with the New Bolton people, and why were subdued, except the ugly wrinkles, you came here this morning."

that would rise up on the back, and “I believe," he replied, " that such an could not be made to lie down, but beexplanation is due; but you cannot came inflamed, and seemed to swell the imagine how hard it is for me to make more he rubbed them, he attacked his it. Let me begin at the beginning——" collar. This was a vicious case. There then Richard suddenly colored deeply, seemed to be some latent, aggravating and rose to his feet.

ce, located in his left ear, that atDoctor Blodgett and Plumb had just tracted the front of his collar, in spite returned from hunting, and stood close of all his efforts, until he took out the to them. The Doctor's looks were de- pins; and then the attraction was sudcidedly menacing, and his jealousy was denly transferred to his right ear. Havincreased by Richard's confusion. He ing overcome this last difficulty, by sevshook hands coldly, and treated Rich- eral spiteful jerks, and taken a few ard so much like an intruder, that he cloves in his mouth, for sweetness, he strolled off to the waterfall, and stretch- walked to Colonel Seabray's house, and

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