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which all extraneous and trifling accom- which claimed and deserved her. Lota plishments were rigorously pared away must be a missionary ! by the terrible Uncle Hardman, who The decision was precipitated by one ruled over every part of the household, of those small events on which Destiny although not belonging to it. Mrs. hinges--the advent of M. Duroc, " from Sawyer's naturally weak and indulgent Paris," who announced to the inbabit. mind was much under his sway, and she ants of B— that he would open classes followed his biddings implicitly. Un- for instruction in the polite art of dancder his supervision Lota was trained to ing. eat the food “convenient for her” in a Most of the girls in school were to standing position, in order that she join. Lota, coming home in a glow of might have humility of mind; the hope and anticipation, made her innoluxuriant spirals of her brown curls cent request that she might do so too. were kept carefully croppel; he even
A horrified council of war was at once presided in person over the shaping of held; the indications of mutiny on the her aprons and frocks to a pattern of part of the poor child were summarily his own devising, the most wonderful put down by Uncle Hardman, who first and fearful that ever disfigured the per- silenced Lota, and then made her cry son of a child. All works of fiction, by insisting that her parents (whom he intimate friends, every thing that savor- never saw) bad uniformly wished her to ed of frivolity and vain amusement, were be a missionary, and that dancing was prohibited, and from earliest childhood a device of Satan to ruin souls. Finalthe jingle of his heavy watch-chain was ly, the child was peremptorily informed to Lota's cars as a knell which rang that in two weeks she would proceed the defeat of all her small plans and to the famous seminary at Middlebrook, wishes.
from which so many sainted sisters have But neither plain food, strict routine, gone forth to foreign lands. nor the lectures modelled like old-fash- The tradition of Lota's whole life had ioned discourses, with many heads and not been without effect. She loved her the most personal of applications, with parents' memory; she was told that which she was from time to time favor- their lot ought to be her choice. The ed, checked or dimmed the sweet luxu- sensitive young conscience responded riant life which bloomed in that grim to what seemed the call of duty. At nursery. Her Indian birthplace rather sixteen little Lota Page accepted the than the New England parentage lit the destiny prepared for her, and started warm glow in Lota's cheek, gave the for Middlebrook with the avowed puralternate fire and dew to her wine-brown pose of fitting for a missionary life. eyes and waved in the undulating grace It was as a dream ; the bustle of preof her light figure. Full of bright, sud- paration; the new clothes to which a den impulse, quick imaginations which lumini dressmaker imparted an air of no repression could chill, a warmth of cheerful woridliness infinitely grievous affection which clung, inevitably, as a to Uncle Hardman when he came to remorning-glory, to the nearest support, flect upon them afterward; the unshe blossomed by the side of her guar- wonted tenderness called forth in dians, a light and beauty in the house “ aunt's ” manner by the prospect of never known before. And one day Mrs. separation ; and, as in a dream, she Sawyer waked up to the fact that here found herself driving up to the door of was her charge, almost a woman grown, Middlebrook Seminary, a guardian on getting prettier every day, and more either side, and a sudden sinking of the necessary to her comfort; and yet it heart within her, the like of which she was a duty to send her away, to give had never experienced before in her her up to the vocation for which she life. was destined ; and to make the new It was early dusk. Lights already charm of her life a sacrifice to the cause glimmered in the windows of the large building, square and bare, with the usu- ed, but had not dared to hope. This al top-heavy cupola and disproportion- young, intelligent being, given so utterate pillars supporting the slight piazza. ly over into her keeping, seemed a GodFrom within came a jingle of pianos. send almost too good to be true. They were admitted, led into a formal
Certainly, there is little good in parlor, and in another minute confront working,” she said, “ without being ed with Miss Usher, the principal of the sure of what you are working for, esschool.
pecially in this particular work. There Small, slight, plain, with quiet gray is a language to be learned; and a diffieyes, and hair whose mingled brown and cultone like Hindostanee, Arabic, or Chisilver threads were quietly banded away nese takes time. If you leave the choice from the thin face, there was nothing in to me, I unhesitatingly pronounce for either voice or aspect to explain the Chinese. The Chinese Mission is in remarkable influence this woman had need of reënforcement; a vast work realways exercised over her pupils. But mains to be done in that great empire; those small gray eyes were full of a and I am fortunate enough to command latent power; they could flash with the services of a competent teacher, the generous indignation or more generous Reverend Mr. Garth, who is home on a sympathy. And the flexible thin lips three years' furlough on account of his bore the lines of a will whose tempered healti)." strength had been tested against hun- “Admirable! my dear madam, addreds of plastic youthful natures, and mirable!” responded Uncle Hardman. rarely failed in the contest. There was “Admirable," more gently Mrs. Sawyer. kindness in the face; the voice was soft; Lota said nothing. but for all that Lota, as she looked at “One question more," went on Miss Miss Usher, felt herself more than ever Usher. “Is Miss Page engaged to be in the grasp of destiny.
married ?" “I am glad to see you, my dear Certainly not, madam; certainly child," was her greeting. "I love all not. Our effort has been to keep her my girls; but dearest of all to me are from such things; and I trust the idea those who, like you, come with the no- has never entered her head !” blest purpose in the world in view. “ But," said Miss Usher, with some What particular field bave you in con- surprise, “you know a young girl cantemplation ? "
not go alone to a foreign country to “I-I don't quite know," faltered teach the gospel ! I asked the question Lota ; but Uncle Hardman spared her merely because some of my pupils come the trouble of further explanation. to me with their minds already led to a With a majestic sweep of his hand he special field in connection with a speinterposed :
cial laborer. For the others the Lord “An object, madam, is indeed the opens the way when the right time first requisite for successful labor; but comes." that object need not be specific. “ What can she mean,” thought poor Charlotte has devoted herself to a great Lota; she dared not ask. A kiss from
We place her in your hands to Mrs. Sawyer, a majestic blessing from be moulded and made fit for it. As Mr. Hardman,—they are gone, and she wax in the hand of the potter” (this is on her way up four long fights mixed metaphor seemed to give the old of stairs, to the room which is to repgentleman especial pleasure; he repeat- resent for two years all her ideas of
as wax in the hands of the home. potter, she comes to you. Take her; It was the home of three other girls direct her energies, indicate her duty, as well. The beds, bureaus, chairs, pegs suggest her path.”
for dresses were in such close neighborMiss Usher's eyes glowed with satis- hood that Lota's mind reverted with faction. This was what she had wish- sudden respect to the ample corner
among the tombs at home of which she “I'll tell you what,” remarked Miss had hitherto been occupant.
Russell a week later, as she and Lota A girl was in the window, sitting with walked the long piazza in recreationboth elbows on the sill in an attitude time, their arms about each other's of the deepest dejection. For some waists; “ you're not one bit like what I time after Miss Usher had departed she thought you were going to be.” kept silence, eyeing Lota furtively from 6. Am I not? how ?" time to time, as she moved about, un- “Why, you see, we had all heard packing and arranging her possessions. about you.-Miss Usher told some of the At last she broke out suddenly with the girls,--and how you were the child of question, “ Ain't you homesick ?" a missionary, and from your cradle had
“Homesick ? No. I don't think I am." been fetched up for the work-your
“Oh dear,” said the girl, “I should pap made of old missionary heralds think you'd be. I feel dreadfully. How boiled to a pulp, or something like that. can you help it ?”
And of course I pictured you a meek “But how can I help it if I'm not ?.". mouse like Rose Gray, or else a grim asked Lota, laughing.
creature like Miss Paul, and thought Dear,” said the girl," I think you're your talk would be all about the direal hard-hearted ;” and she gave vent mensions of the Great Wall of China, to a series of sniffs, supposed to embody or the philosophy of-what's his name emotion.
-you know who I mean—the great Chi“Now, Alice Gibbs, don't be a goose,” nese philosopher, and that sort of thing." exclaimed a bright voice at the door. “ Good gracious! I don't wonder you “ The idea of going on in that way to were frightened. Well ? " Miss Page before she has got her bonnet Well, you are just the greatest dar
I should think you would be ling in school, with your lovely brown ashamed. It is Miss Page, isn't it?” eyes, and all. And the idea of your and with a smile the new-comer held going on a mission to be eaten alive is out a hand.
the most burning shame that ever was.” And you ? "
And half crying, Miss Russell showered “ I'm room-mate No. 2,
my name her friend with kisses. is Hattie Russell. This disconsolate “Don't, Hattie, please," pleaded Lota. young person is Miss Alice Gibbs of « The Chinese don't eat people; and Bloomsburg, room-mate No. 1, who, I it is a great thing to be able to go and am afraid, hasn't had the manners to teach them what is good. I haven't any introduce herself."
father and mother, you know; and it “ And how about No. 3?" asked seems only right that my life should be Lota, quite at her ease again.
spent as theirs was; " and the brown “ Oh! her name is Gray,” replied eyes dilated for a moment with enthuroom-mate No. 2, with a queer twist to siasm. her mouth. “Rose Gray. She will be “Fiddlestick!” pursued the irrepressyour intimate among us, I suppose; but ible Hattie. “Somebody else put that
I I hope we shall be good friends for all idea into your head; it isn't a bit nathat.”
tural for a young thing like you. You “ But what makes you suppose so ?” may say you like it, if you want to; but
“Oh! she's one of your kind, you I shan't believe you. And there's one know. She is going to Ceylon, and is thing I know you won't like; and I engaged to James Fairbanks, the mis- wouldn't put up with it myself if I was sionary. He's had two wives already, twenty missionaries; and that's having and is coming home in the Spring for a young man come here and try me on, Rose."
and decide if I suit his plans, and then “Oh!" said Lota. A shadow seemed marry me as a matter of course and conto fall on her. She remembered Miss venience. I never could stand that ; Usher's words. It was all a puzzle. and as for you, you are.ten thousand
times too pretty and sweet. You ought was no more alluded to, time passed to be fallen in love with and courted quickly and cheerfully. The atmosphere like other girls. And it's a burning of school was far more home-like than shame you can't.”
that of any home she had ever nown. “What do you mean?" gasped poor Only twice during eighteen months did Lota.
she visit B-, and she returned from each “ Why, don't you know? They send visit with a sense of relief and pleasure. the young men who are going to be missionaries, up here to find their wives. Oh, it's such fun! And yet so The bell had just rung for tea one dreaciful! Then they sit at table, and evening, when up-stairs, two steps at a Miss Usher points at this one or that time, her cheeks blazing, her eyes full with her fork and describes their quali- of angry tears, rushed Hattie Russell; fications—how they speak Coptic, or and arresting Lota at the door, dragPersian, or what not. And the poor ged her back into the room, sauk down young men color so, and wriggle in their upon the bed, and began to sob and cry chairs. One time it was perfectly aw- as if her heart was breaking. ful! A man came who wanted a wise “What's the matter, darling ? what to go to Bengal. And there was Miss is it? do tell me,” importuned Lota'; Tibbitts, who spoke Hindosantce very but for a moment only gulps and gasps well; and just because she had red hair replied; then, and was homely as a hedge fence he “It's a shame, it's a shame," cried the wouldn't have her, and went away; and impetuous girl, springing up and catchin the end Mis Tibbitts married Mr. ing her friend by the neck; “but any Smith, who had had four wives before, way you shan't go down upprepared. and went to South Africa ; so, of course, He's come, Lota!" her Hindosantee wasn't of the least use “ Who?" in the world. Miss Usher was just as “Mr. Ware, the missionary who is gomad as could be about it. But what on ing to Shanghai in August; the man earth is the matter, darling ?” for Lota Miss Usher told us about the other day, had sunk upon a bench, and was giving don't you remember? I felt it in my way to a passion of tears.
bones then! I declare I did! and when Oh, I can't, I never can,” she sob. I found out who it was in the parlor, I bed. Why did they never tell me thought I should have dropped. The about these dreadful things! I never door was open, and I listened with all can sit there and be pointed at with a my might as I went through the hall—I fork ! Oh!” And between laughter defy any one to help it—and Miss Usher and crying she became half hysterical, was saying, “I am sorry Miss Page will while the repentant Hattie tried in vain not be able to finish her term ; but as to soothe her.
you say, there is six months' voyage to The shock was not lasting. Miss study in—and just then somebody shut Usher had the gift of inspiring enthu- the docr. Oh, Lota! if you go away siasm, and her nature was of that rich, from me to China I shall die." strong sort which both commands and The bell rang a second time. “Hark," attracts. Fanatically zealous on
we must go. Don't look point, she hai the powerful common so pale, Lota dear;
cheeks-or sense of a man and the genuine tender- no! do look pale, look as ugly as you ness of a woman on all others. Lota can, and perhaps he won't want you?; learned to love her dearly, and applied but, oh dear! no man with eyes in his herself to study with an energy born head could help wanting you, you darof the new influence. Without exactly ling you !” This last burst was whislearning to “construe tea-pots," as Hat- pered at the very door of the diningtie called it, she made fair progress in Chinese ; and as the “coming man Every body was seated as they enter
ed, one white and trembling, the other sued her hospitations: "Is yours quite Alushed and eager. A suppressed excite- agreeable, Dr. Ware ?” ment could be felt in the air ; every one Which was it? Was ever riddle so guessed the object of the visit; and horribly interesting before? Absorbed, every eye, with more or less directness, her large eyes fixed upon the two, Lota was fixed on the visitor-all but Lota's. had almost forgotten her own connection She could not look up; and a vision of with the scene, when a gesture recalled the hand of destiny, armed with a fork, her. Slight and rapid as it was, it sufcame between her and the food upon ficed to bring both pairs of gray eyes her plate! As if spell-bound, she sat upon her, one with the cool scrutiny with burning cheeks and ice-cold hands. which bespoke a deliberate object, the Such twitches came into the points of other with a sudden glance of compasher fingers. At last she could endure it sion and interest, which like lightning no longer; with some wild idea of flightflashed conviction upon her soul. She she raised her eyes, but an astonishing knew her fate! Pale and trembling, she vision at the head of the table arrested sat almost unconscious till the rustle of them, and whereas she had not dared to a general uprising showed the ending look before, she now could not for her of the meal, and then, dragged up-stairs life look away.
by the indignant and sympathizing Two men were at table, one on either Hattie, she found herself at last free to side of Miss Usher-two young men, expend her excitement in tears. each apparently about twenty-four; both Poor Lota! this was the beginning of gray-eyed and light-haired, and yet as woes. That evening, in private confercuriously unlike as June is to Novem- ence, and with many congratulations, ber, or a funeral psalm to a merry mad- Miss Usher broke the news of her good rigal.
fortune. “Mr. Ware, my dear, the genFrom the thin, weary face of one, tleman who drank tea with us, is to sail with its drained eyes and pinched, set for Shanghai in August. His character lips, Lota's eyes turned upon the other. and references are unexceptionable; he It was a face which suggested the very has been most thoroughly trained ; in fulness and content of life, hearty, manly fact, I havë rarely seen a young man life. Life danced in the wavy brown who pleased me so much ; his whole hair; life brimmed the eyes with sun- soul seems in his workI confess I am shine; but it was not careless, unreason- sorry to have you lose the rest of your ing life. Strength and sweetness clasp- course with Dr. Garth ; but Mr. Ware ed hands in the expression; it was a knows the language, and you will have face which a child, a dog, would have every opportunity of study during the turned to without hesitation, and which voyage, which is a long one." a woman's instinct could not be long in But, Miss Usher,” faltered Lota, apreading. With a sudden glow of heart, palled by the finality of her tone, “I Lota felt that her future was by many don't know Mr. Ware. Surely you don't degrees less burdensome than she had mean that I must go with him, unless feared--if only—but how much lay fold- when we meet he likes me and I like ed in that “if."
him?" Her senses seemed sharpened for the “Oh no, dear child; of course, of moment. From the very end of the course; but you are sure to like him ; long room, amid the clatter of fifty graduated at the head of his class ! full forks and spoons, she caught Miss Ush- of energy and right-mindedness; there'll er's voice distinctly : “Shall I give you be no difficulty of that sort. You noanother cup, Mr. Ware ?"
ticed him at tea, did you not ? ” Oh dear! How her heart sank; it “ There were two gentlemen at tea, I was the wrong one. One moment later,
tbink.” and the suspense was renewed; for, “Oh yes," indifferently. “Mr. Ware turning to the other, Miss Usher pur- brought his cousin with him; a young