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"I think not. I believe he has never been on the river much,” replied Richard.

"Did he know any one here before he came?" she asked.

"I don't think he did. But it seems to me that you are much interested in him."

"Deeply, I assure you," she replied, as if a great weight had been taken from her mind. "You cannot think how very interesting such inquiries are to me. I intend to ask the Doctor twenty times more questions about you; nothing shall escape me. And he is so graphic in his descriptions! Just imagine how he will embellish and enlarge on the original.”

66 Peppered with a slight flavor of jealousy," said Richard.

"Not so slight, either," she replied. "I hope he will not be splenetic," said Richard; "for such men are terrible. My respect for your ability is so great that I want to retain you in my defence."

"Very well, I will act," said she. "You are not engaged, then-on the other side?"

"Not by any means. I am the champion of youth and innocence. Consider me as engaged for yourself, exclusively."

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But, then, you may be jesting," said Richard.

"Here's my pledge of honor," said she, pulling off her driving-glove, and holding out her hand, with a roguish twinkle in her eyes.

"It's good enough to put into marble, too, isn't it?" said Richard, looking down at it as he would have looked at a beautiful flower.

"You do not accept me as counsel," said she, with a deprecating pout, as she put on her glove again.


Well," he replied, hesitating, "I don't think you fully understand the case. Suppose he should tell an absurd story about me: what would you do?" "Deny it, of course, in regular lawyer style."

"So much greater the necessity for denying it. A falsehood dies easily; the truth is what gives you lawyers the most trouble."

"But he might say that I am engaged."

"Oh, yes; he might, of course," said Miss Plumb, biting her lip.

"Well, I assure you, he might,” said Richard, with emphasis.

Miss Plumb looked at him steadily, in silence.

"He may even be so absurd as to say that I ran away from a wife down east."

"That," said she, "I shall deny, in the first place; and, in the second place, if he proves it to be true, I shall show that you did it out of motives of pure benevolence; because you were not able to support her."

"I congratulate myself on having secured an advocate who is so ingenious; and I wish all men in the world could have such good luck. By-the-way," he said, after hesitating a little-for this was the question he had come so far to ask—“can you tell me what Colonel Seabray has ever done, that Chinny should have such an influence over him?"

"I cannot," she replied.

"I wanted to know," said Richard, "because I overheard a conversation between them last night. Chinny said, in retorting to some cutting remark of the Colonel's, that he, Chinny, wouldn't throw stones if he lived in a glass-house, and had all his property mortgaged, and a scar on his arm."

"What a rascal he is!" said Miss Plumb, grasping the lines tightly, and stopping the horse. "I congratulate you that this fellow has no mortgage on your property."

"Do you think he would annoy me, if he had?" asked Richard, with illconcealed chagrin.

"I think he would destroy you," said she, "if he had the power."

"I expect," said Richard, jumping out into the grass, "that my breakfast

"But it might have some foundation," must be ready. A pleasant journey, my

he replied.

dear counsellor."

"But you will come out and see us soon?" she said.

concluded that it would not pay, because his property wasn't of much ac

He nodded and smiled as she drove count, and he couldn't exactly make up off. his mind who to leave it to.

It was all clear to her now. Colonel Seabray shot Meech, and Chinny knew it. This was the power he held over the Colonel. Mary knew nothing about it. But how to keep the knowledge of this secret from her, and foil Chinny, puzzled Miss Plumb until she reached the leafy precincts of Plumb's Wood.


RICHARD walked back to New Bolton, that morning, in an unpleasant state of mind. There was one being in all the world that he had not been true toone who looked to him, and depended on his strength for support. That being was Richard French himself.

He was weak enough to suppose that Miss Plumb might be in love with him -that she would take his jesting as a serious proposal. For this reason he had intimated that he was engaged to some one at the East. The more he thought of this the worse it seemed to him. He was afraid that Mary Seabray would hear of it, and think he had been guilty of double-dealing.

For this reason he called on her that evening, to make an explanation. But all his fears and doubts disappeared in the presence of her effulgent beauty.

It is a marvel how any man restrains himself from offering his hand to the first really beautiful woman who will have him. Therefore, it is no marvel that Richard was so in love with Mary. He was very happy in her presence, and in a wilderness of doubts and fears when alone. At such times trifles grew into mountains; while Mary spent most of her waking, and all of her sleepinghours, in a vast Switzerland of these mountains-the haunting giant thereof being Chinny.

Meantime, Richard did not find much business, though people were kindly disposed. Old Bob was very friendly. He had some idea of havin' his will drawed," he said; but he afterwards

Men came to Richard who wanted some legal application to warm up a man's benevolence-or subdue his avarice-or excite filial affection-or thrill a torpid conscience. As they could not get what they wanted, Richard could not get what he wanted-money. The disappointed men generally left the office, with the cutting remark that they thought common law was common sense."

But no one paid him for advice. So Richard found his pocket-book growing light.

Having plenty of leisure, he wrote to his friends, and, among others, Miss Plumb and Doctor Blodgett. This was unfortunate, because the Doctor was very jealous. He had heard too much of Richard already from Miss Plumb. They were talking about him when the tri-weekly U. S. Mail rode up to the door on a pony's back, and the carrier delivered the letters.

"He seems so devoted to Mary," said Miss Plumb, looking over at the Doctor.

"He's a fool! that's all about him," the Doctor replied.

"Please be careful; for I am retained as counsel in his defence." "You?" said the Doctor, looking at her sharply.


"Well, I must say you have a poor client, and poor cause--totally indefensible. He has no business to be devoted to Mary Seabray-nor any one else," said he, directing the last words emphatically at his listener.

"Why, if you really think so, Doctor, I had better write Mary."

"You had better write her at once, on some good, honest fool's-cap paper, in a large round hand. It seems as if every girl became crazy the moment the boarding-school door is shut behind her, and especially mad on the subject of lawyers. They'll snap at one of these legal cubs quicker than a pike will snap

at a silver spoon. These young sprigs are just boobies enough to be flattered by it, too; and the next thing they know, there's a family to support, and the generous juices, that might have ripened them into fully-developed men, become dried up; they turn prematurely gray, sallow-faced, husky-voiced, and narrow-minded. They are picked too green. They spoil, like wind-fall apples, put into the cellar early, becoming wrinkled and worthless. A good lawyer, who is, also, a thoroughly-ripened, plump, mellow-hearted man, is hard to find."

"Shall I tell her what you say?" asked Miss Plumb.

"Tell her any thing you please," replied the Doctor. "I guess the truth won't hurt her much. Tell her to come out here and fish. That's the best thing she can do to take the boarding-school and Chicago nonsense out of her head."

"I will warn her of her danger," said Miss Plumb; and she wrote a long letter, containing the substance of what

"I'll go down and wring his neck," said the Colonel. "He's nothing but a little fly-up-the-creek; and he don't care a fig for you-he's incapable of it -hasn't the taste to appreciate you;" and the Colonel would not listen to any explanation, but hurried down to the hotel, with his heart full of wrath.

"What seems to be the matter, Colonel?" asked Chinny, going up to him.

"I'm going to cashier Mr. French," said the Colonel.

"I don't understand what you're drivin' at," Chinny replied.

"Well, I do," said the Colonel, writing a note. "There, sir; now I want a boy to carry this up."

"Tain't a challenge, is it?" asked Chinny.

"Read it," replied the Colonel, handing it to him.

Chinny read:

"MR. RICHARD FRENCH: Your presence at my house, hereafter, will be very

the Doctor had said, with a highly disagreeable to my daughter Mary, and

colored account of the ride and conversation on the prairie. She closed by advising Mary, by all means, not to arouse Chinny's jealousy, and, if she could do so, to show him a little more attention. Miss Plumb thought that if Chinny got jealous, he might precipitate matters, and defeat all her plans.

Her letter affected Mary seriously. On reading it, the tears came, in spite of her efforts to suppress them; then she crumpled the letter in her hand; then straightened it out, and re-read it slowly, and declared, throwing it down, that there was no such thing as true friendship; furthermore, and generally, that there was no woman alive who would not rob her best friend of a lover, if she could then she fairly cried; and in this condition the Colonel found her.

"What's the matter?" he asked. She didn't know, exactly; 'every thing, almost."

"Is it any thing about Chinny?” "Not much."

"About French ?"

"Yes; a great deal.”

particularly so to


"Your obedient servant,


"Look a-here, Colonel!" said Chin"wait a little while; for I've had a gad toughenin' in the ashes, a week or two, for this French. Jest let me send it up ahead o' your letter;" and he hurried out of the office.

Richard was wearing away the afternoon, pacing his office, when he saw a man approaching, whom he recognized as Duke, a coarse fellow, who hung about New Bolton, and furnished affidavits, for such as wanted them, in perfecting titles to their lands. He was a heavy, sullen-looking man, with coarse, black hair on the backs of his big hands, and his normal condition was a soggy state of quarrelsome drunkenness. He was an old settler, and claimed special privileges on that account, as old settlers sometimes do, it is said.

"I understand you don't like my style," said Duke, as he came staggering through the door-way, and dropped himself heavily into a chair.

"I must give you the credit of having a good understanding on that point," said Richard; "for I do not like your style."

"That's a pity, and I'm sorry about it; for you must be a judge of style," he replied, lurching heavily in his chair. "Ain't I an old settler? Didn't I make the affidavits that this town is laid out on, and never got any pay for it, either? I've swore to more land than you ever see, my frien'. My affidavits would shingle Tophet more'n a mile, if ever you could find a hole in 'em to put your shingle-nails through-which you couldn't. They are tight enough to hold water, my frien'-they are. Never any lawyer could get the pint of his diamon'-pinted pen through 'em, either. I guess that's pretty tight, ain't it? I do a land-office business, when I set down to it."

"Well, I hope you will never sit down to it in my office," said Richard.

"Your'n! Now, that is good," said Duke. "It's my office," he continued, spitting on the floor, by way of taking possession, and standing up to shake his fist. "I've bought this land, my frien'; and I give you notice to quit, which I can put in writing, if you want."

"I'd like to see your deed," said Richard.

"Here you are," he replied, pulling them out, with a plug of tobacco. "Kingman to Chinny-Chinny to Duke; value received-two witnesses-duly acknowledged, and all right for that. In the next place, before you leave, I'd like to have you pay me this little mortgage on your books. It's mine, this mortgage is. I bought it off of my frien' Chinny; and if you can't pay, why, I'll have to take the books. It'll save you the trouble of movin' 'em, if I do; so you save something, don't you? Now, what do you think of my style, my frien'?” and he went down, heavily, into his chair again.

"I can think of nothing that would improve you or your style," said Richard, "except a halter, unless your friend Chinny had his neck in the same noose.

That would be the right man in the right place. You will oblige me by vacating that chair. I believe these are unencumbered personal property;" and, taking a chair in each hand, Richard walked out of the office, and smashed them to pieces on a tree, leaving Duke stupidly staring out of the window.

About half-way to the hotel he met a boy with the Colonel's note.

Richard looked surprised, and turned very pale when he read it; then hurried on to the hotel.

"Let me have an Indian pony, landlord," said he; "and I want to know what you'll charge for horse, saddle, and bridle, if I never return them.”

"If you pay in cats and dogs and corner-lots, I charge two hundred and fifty dollars, and don't want to sell," he replied; "but if it's cash down, I'll throw off two hundred, seein' it's you." "Bring him out."

"You ain't goin' off fur to-night, I hope?"


"But it'll rain."

"It looks like it," replied Richard. "But I tell you it'll blow, and thunder, and lighten like everlastin' blazes, out on the prairie to-night."

"I shan't hinder it."

"But it may hender you," said the landlord. "You see, there ain't nothin' for lightnin' to strike out on these cussed bare prairies; and it'll jest be high fun for it to find you out there on a horse. The streaks of lightnin' 'll go for you from twenty miles 'round. I was out, one time, before I knew much about prairie-storms; and I thought they was orderin' things along pretty fast; SO I stopped, and I hadn't more'n just slipped off my horse, when a big streak come along, and knocked him more'n forty rod. I tell you, it smelt brimstunny 'round there fur a minit or two! and when I come to look in the grass for my nag, there wasn't enough of him left to bait a fox-trap."

By this time he had buckled on the saddle; and Richard rode up to the house, where he stuffed the pockets with such clothing as he could get into them.

Five minutes after he was out on the prairie, leaning against a strong wind.

A black wall stretched across the western horizon, while overhead, along the edges of the clouds, were long, grayish wind-rows, writhing and changing, as the storm rolled swiftly along. The pony was wiser than his master. He sniffed the moist air, looking with wild eyes at the ominous sky, and would have wheeled about, had not Richard resolutely urged him on. The thunder increased, and the wind rose to a gale.

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Now, let us be friends to-night," said Richard, patting the pony's neck. The little horse lowered his head, as if he understood what was wanted of him; and, striking into a strong, steady, all-night gait, moved out to the storm like a soldier to battle. It was a solid wall of water now, or seemed so in the gloom. Sometimes the thunder appeared to crack the black walls from heaven to earth, and the blinding whiteheat of the fire beyond shone through the zigzag fissures. Then sheets of flame blazed overhead, and the great waste, with its frothy pools, and tangled swaths of dripping grass, leaped up with dazzling distinctness, and sank into the abyss again.

"Where does all this water come from?" said Richard, dropping the reins on the pony's neck. "It must be Globe City, travelling down overland, to find its founders," he continued. Then he broke into shouts of laughter, thinking of the Doctor's encounter with Chinny. He was silent again for miles, till, from the regular tramp, tramp, of his pony, he knew that he must be on a beaten trail.

"Into each life some rain must fall," said the bareheaded horseman, grimly, as he rode, at last, out of the rosy east toward Plumb's Wood. He pulled up his pony, to watch a fawn that came shyly out and looked at him with great, wondering eyes. Prairie-chickens whirred over his head, leaving their cover, now that the storm had passed, and was muttering low down and far away in the eastern horizon.

with incense from wild flowers, with sunshine, and dripping leaves, and birds' songs, than this morning in Plumb's Wood? Surely, here, too, was a daughter born of Chaos and old Night.

A silvery haze lay like a fairy island on the lake; and above the misty pillar that hung over the waterfall, some small white gulls, with long, tapering wings, were whirling and diving in the first rays of the morning-sun.

The cottage-door was open, and the boat gone; but out of the silvery haze floated a song, that lingered in the coves and around the wooded points, as it has lingered and echoed in Richard's memory so many times since :

"Or music pours on mortals

Its beautiful disdain,"

said he slowly, as his eyes filled with tears. Then came the sound of oars, keeping time, and the singer sang on till her boat grazed the shore.

"Did you drop from the clouds?” she asked, with a pitying, perplexed look at his forlorn appearance.

"Out of the clouds into the sunshine," he replied.

"You were overtaken by the storm, and lost your way?"

"Swallowed by it and thrown out, like Jonah," he replied. "Where is the Doctor?"

"Hunting with father; but he will return to-day. You need breakfast and rest."

"How good and womanly she looks," said Richard, as his eyes followed her into the house. Her sympathy had touched his heart. At any other time he would have believed that to love this young Eve, and live with her there in the sylvan paradise, was the right thing to do.

The very birds seemed to believe it, and peered down from the leafy brackets and knotty cornices of Plumb's great front-room, and chirped approval. The sandpiper nodded "yes," as it ran along the margin of the lake.

Richard tried in vain to eat the delicate broiled fish-so fresh and flakyand was glad to get into the little chamWere the first days in Eden sweeter, ber overlooking the lake, and find his

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