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Title: Collected Stories
Author: Sylvanus Cobb Jr.
* A Project Gutenberg Australia eBook *
eBook No.: 1100441.txt
Language: English
Date first posted: May 2011
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------------------------------------------------------------------------

Title: Collected Stories
Author: Sylvanus Cobb Jr.

======================================

CONTENTS:

BADGE OF OFFICE. Published in The Maitland Mercury and Hunter River
General Advertiser, Tuesday, 23 May, 1893.

THE BOTTOMLESS JUG. Published in the Kilmore Free Press (Vic.), Thursday
27 January, 1887.

A SEASON OF HORROR. THE STORY OF A BRAVE WOMAN. Published in the Kilmore
Free Press (Vic.), Thursday 15 December, 1887.

THE GREEN-EYED MONSTER. Published in the Kilmore Free Press (Vic.),
Thursday, 19 December, 1889.

THE PARSON'S EXPERIMENT. Published in the Kilmore Free Press (Vic.),
Thursday, 27 February, 1890.

PHIL'S DARLING. Published in the Bathurst Free Press and Mining Journal,
Saturday 3 October, 1891.

======================================


BADGE OF OFFICE.

Published in The Maitland Mercury and Hunter River General Advertiser,
Tuesday, 23 May, 1893.

Sylvanus Cobb, Jr., the author of countless tales of romance and
adventure, was a printer by trade, and on one occasion especially his
printer's stick served him a good turn. At seventeen years of age he had
entered the navy, where his duties were arduous and monotonous. He was
serving on the sloop-of-war Fairfield, when it was cruising along the
African coast, and one day, desperately tired of his duties, he stood
leaning against a gun, his old composing stick in his hand.

"What's that?" asked an abrupt voice, and turning with a start, young
Cobb saw that the captain was watching him.

"It's a printer's stick, sir," was the reply.

"Are you a printer?"

"That's my profession, sir."

"Do you know anything about proof-reading? Could you take a manuscript,
and punctuate and arrange it, so that a printer would know just how to
put it in type?"

"I could once, sir, and I think I have not forgotten."

"What are you doing now?"

"I am on duty here, in charge of your cabin, sir, and of the ship's
time."

"Yes I know. Mr. Dodd," he called to the officer of the deck, "will you
have this man relieved? As soon as you are at liberty," he added,
addressing the young man, "report to me in my cabin."

The youth did so, and was given a mass of notes referring to various
voyages and travels in foreign lands, to be sorted and arranged for the
printer. This work occupied him during the entire voyage. Thus he had
found thanks to his printer's stick, the easiest berth on board the
ship.


________________________________________________________________


THE BOTTOMLESS JUG.

BY

SYLVANUS COBB, JUN.

Published in the Kilmore Free Press (Vic.), Thursday 27 January, 1887.


I saw it hanging up in the kitchen of a thrifty, healthful, sturdy farm
in Oxford County, Maine--a bottomless jug! The host saw that the curious
thing had caught my eye, and he smiled.

'You are wondering what that jug is hanging up there for, with its
bottom knocked out!' he said. 'My wife, perhaps, could tell you the
story better than I can; but she is bashful, and I ain't, so I'll tell
it.

'My father, as you are probably aware, owned this farm before me. He
lived to a good old age, worked hard all his life, never squandered
money, was a shrewd, careful trader, and a good calculator; and, as men
were accounted in his day and generation, he was a temperate man. I was
the youngest boy; and when the old man was ready to go--and he knew
it--the other boys agreed that, since I had stayed at home and taken
care of the old folks, the farm should be mine. And to me it was willed.
I had been married then three years.

'Well, father died--mother had gone three years before--and left the
farm to me, with a mortgage on it of two thousand dollars! I'd never
thought so much of it before; but I thought of it now. I said to
Molly--my wife--'Molly,' says I; 'look here! Here's father had this farm
in its first strength of soil, with all its magnificent timbers; and his
six boys, as they grew up, equal to so many men, to help him; and he has
worked hard--worked early and late--and yet look at it! A mortgage of
two thousand dollars! What can I do? And I went to that old jug--it had
its bottom in then--and took a good stiff drink of old Medford rum from
it.

'I noticed a curious look on the face of my wife just then, and I asked
her what she thought of it; for I supposed, of course, she was thinking
of what I'd been talking about! And so she was. Says she:

'Charles, I've thought of this a good deal; and I have thought of a way
in which I believe we can clear that mortgage off before five more years
are ended.'

'Says I, 'Molly, tell me how you'll do it.'

'She thought for a little while, and then she said, with a funny
twinkling in her blue eyes, says she, 'Charles, you must promise me
this, and promise me solemnly and sacredly. Promise me that you will
never again bring home for the purpose of drinking for a beverage at any
one time more spirit of any kind than you can bring in that old jug--the
jug that your father has used ever since I knew him, and which you have
used since he was done with it.'

'Well, I knew that father used once in a while, especially in haying
time, and in the winter when we were at work in the woods, to get an old
gallon jug filled, so I thought she meant that I should never buy more
than two quarts at a time. I thought it over, and after a little while
told her I would agree to it. 'Now mind,' said she, 'you are
never--never--to bring home for a common beverage more spirit than you
can bring in that identical jug.' And I gave her the promise.

'And before I went to bed that night I took the last pull at that jug.
As I was turning it out for a sort of a night-cap Molly looked up, and
says she, 'Charley, have you got a drop left? I told her there was just
about a drop. We'd have to get it filled on the morrow. And then she
said, if I had no objection, she would drink that last drop with me. I
never shall forget how she brought it out--'That LAST DROP!' However, I
tipped the old jug bottom up, and got about a great spoon-full, and
Molly said that was enough. She took the tumbler and poured a few drops
of hot water into it, and a bit of sugar, and then she tinkled her glass
against mine, just as she'd seen us boys do when we'd been drinking good
luck, and says she, 'Here's to the old brown jug!'

'Sakes alive! I thought to myself that poor Molly had been drinking more
of the rum than was good for her; and I tell you, it kind o' cut me to
the heart. I forgot all about how many times she'd seen me when my
tongue was thicker than it ought to be, and my legs not quite so steady
as good legs should be; but I said nothing. I drank the sentiment--'To
the old brown jug!' and let it go.

'Well, I went just after that and did my chores, and then went to bed;
and the last thing I said before leaving the kitchen--this very room
where we now sit--'We'll have the old brown jug filled to-morrow.' An
then I went off to bed. And I have remembered ever since that I went to
bed that night, as I had done hundreds of times before, with a buzzing
in my head that a healthy man ought not to have. I didn't think of it
then, nor had I ever thought of it before; but I've thought of it a good
many times since, and have thought of it with wonder and awe.

'Well I got up next morning and did up my work at the barn, then came in
and ate breakfast, but not with such an appetite as a farmer ought to
have, and I could think even then that my appetite had begun to fail me.
However, I ate breakfast, and then went out and hitched up the old mare;
for, to tell the plain truth I was feeling the need of a glass of
spirits, and I hadn't a drop in the house. I was in a hurry to get to
the village. I got hitched up and then came in for the jug. I went for
it to the old cupboard, and took it out, and---

'Did you ever break through the thin ice, on a nipping cold day, and
find yourself, in an instant, over your head in the freezing water?
Because that was the way I felt at that moment. The jug was there, but
the bottom was gone. Molly had been and taken a sharp chisel and a
hammer; and with a skill that might have done credit to a
master-workman, she had clipped the bottom clean out of the jug, without
even cracking the edges or the side! I looked at the jug and then I
looked at Molly. And then she burst out. She spoke--Oh! I never had
heard anything like it!--No, nor have ever heard anything like it since.
She said:

'Charles! There's where the mortgage on this farm came from! It was
brought home in that jug--two quarts at a time! And there's where all
the debt has been! And there's where your white, clear skin, and your
clear, pretty eyes, are going! And in that jug, my husband, your
appetite is going! Oh! let the bottom stay out for ever! Let it be as it
is, dear heart! and remember your promise to me.'

'And then she threw her arms around my neck, and burst into tears. She
couldn't speak more.

'And there was no need. My eyes were opened, as though by magic. In a
single minute the whole scene passed before me. I saw all the mortgages
on all the farms in our neighbourhood; and I thought where the money had
gone. The very last mortgage father had ever made had been to pay a bill
held against him by a man who had filled his jug for years! Yes--I saw
it all, as it passed before me--a flitting picture of
rum!--rum!--rum!--debt!--debt!--debt!--and in the end---Death! And I
returned my Molly's kiss, and, said I:

'Molly, my own! I'll keep the promise! I will--so help me heaven!'

'And I have kept it. In less than five years, as Molly had said, the
mortgage was cleared off; my appetite came back to me; and now we've got
a few thousand dollars out at interest. There hangs the old jug, just as
we hung it up on that day; and from that time there hasn't a drop of
spirit been brought into this house, for a beverage, which that
bottomless jug wouldn't have held!

'Dear old jug! We mean to keep it; and to hand it down to our children
for the lesson it can give them--a lesson of life--of a life happy,
peaceful, prosperous, and blessed!'

And as he ceased speaking, his wife, with an arm drawn tenderly around
the neck of her youngest boy, murmured a fervent:

'AMEN!'

________________________________________________________________



A SEASON OF HORROR. THE STORY OF A BRAVE WOMAN.

BY

SYLVANUS COBB, JR.


Published in the Kilmore Free Press (Vic.), Thursday 15 December, 1887.




One evening, at a social gathering, the conversation turned upon the
subject of insanity, and especially of its treatment.

Two of our number had recently been privileged to visit the State Insane
Asylum at Worcester, and were loud in their praises of its management.
For more than half an hour the conversation went on, and I noticed that
our hostess listened with an absorbing interest, occasionally closing
her eyes and clasping her hands tightly in her depth and intensity of
feeling; but not a word did she speak until a gentleman present had
remarked, or had given it as his opinion, that since the death of Dr.
Samuel B. Woodward there had been no superintendent at the Worcester
Asylum equal to him.

Then it was that our hostess--Mrs Agnes Appleton--spoke. Her dark brown
eyes shone with an unusual lustre; her lips were compressed; and I could
see plainly that she was feeling deeply. Something in her manner--a half
uttered exclamation like a repressed sigh--had attracted the attention
of those who sat near her, and when she saw them looking at her she
said:

'My friends, the subject under discussion and the mention of the name of
Doctor Woodward recalls to my mind the most terrible experience I ever
knew--a season of horror so frightful and so stunning that it is a
wonder my nervous system was not shattered and wrecked for life.'

Of course after that she must tell the story, which she was perfectly
willing to do; and in a very short space of time her guests were
assembled around her, ready for the entertainment.

Mrs. Appleton was now a woman past the middle age, small and compact of
frame, with one of the most winning and interesting faces I ever saw. It
was not what you would at first glance call beautiful, nor even
handsome; but it was good and true and pure, with the sweetest little
mouth and the most captivating eyes that can be imagined. Her husband
was a heavy contractor, and wealthy. She had five living children; two
daughters married, and moved to a short distance from her; with another
daughter, younger, and two sons, younger still, at home.

As soon as the last chair had been put in place, and the last auditor
had found a comfortable position, she recommenced her story, which was
in substance as follows:

'At the time of which I am about to speak I was seven-and-twenty years
of age. The anniversary of my birthday occurred on Wednesday, the fifth
of June; and on the evening of that day Charles, my husband, and I rode
into Worcester for the purpose of attending a concert, given by a
company travelling. We were living in an adjoining town at the time,
eight miles distant.

'Of the concert I will only say it was excellent. I had heard better
singing, but not often, nor much of it.

'We left the hall at half-past ten o'clock, with a moon very near its
full to light us home; and as the heavens were entirely cloudless, we
had light in plenty.

'Nothing unusual occurred during the drive until we arrived at the
outskirts of our village; and there, where a small water-course lay
under the road, with a row of willows on either hand, we were hailed by
a man who staggered directly out before our horse, thereby coming very
near to upsetting us; and if my husband had not been holding a tight
rain, the horse would certainly have thrown us out. As it was, however,
Charles quickly brought the animal to a stand, and then turned his
attention to the intruder.

'I am free to confess that I screamed aloud in a great fright, for I had
felt sure that we had been attacked by a highwayman; and a larger and
stronger man than he was at our horse's head I thought I had never
seen.'

'Hush!' said Charles, giving me a gentle nudge. 'Its only poor Allan
McDougald.'

'And so it proved. As soon as the horse had been brought to a stand, the
strange man asked if we could direct him home; and I then saw plainly
enough who he was. Charles asked me to hold the reins a moment while he
got out. The man had laid hold upon the bridge, and did not seem
inclined to let it go. In fact, he was so badly intoxicated that he
stood on his feet with difficulty. However, Charles got him away from
the horse's head, and led him to a grassy spot by the roadside and sat
him down; but he would not stay down. He wanted to go home.

'Finally, my husband told me if I would drive home he would take care of
the unfortunate. He thought he could lead him to his own dwelling
without much trouble. And so it was done. I drove on, reaching home
safely, there our groom was ready to take the team; and half-an-hour
later Charles rejoined me in our comfortable sitting-room. He had been
obliged to use considerable strategy, and some force, to get old
McDougald to his home, but he had succeeded, and had delivered him into
his wife's tender, loving care.

'Alas, poor Bessie McDougald. Hers was a sad fate; Allan, her husband,
was one of the handsomest men I ever knew, and one of the strongest. He
was over six feet tall, and muscular in proportion. He was Scottish
born, and Scottish at heart.

He was a currier by trade, and for years the principle part of his work
had been the shiving, or, as most people call it, skiving of leather.

'In doing this, the workman bends forward over an inclined beam or
table, with his head thrown as far downwards as to cause a rush of blood
in that direction; and for a man so tall as he was, the position was
more than uncomfortable.

'It became at length alarming, and the doctors told him he must stop it,
and let others perform that part of the labor.

'But the mischief had been done. He was not yet insane; but there was a
decided tendency to mental aberration. He had been for many years
addicted to drink, having periodical spells of drinking hard, and at
such times, when under the influence of liquor, his reason left him, and
he was becoming dangerous.

'During one of these fits he had been taken into the Lunatic Asylum, and
Doctor Woodward had kept him until he became perfectly sober, and had
then talked kindly and plainly to him of his habit. He said to him:

'McDougald, just so sure as you continue this habit of drink will you,
in a fit of mania, one of these days, commit a murder. I see plainly
that your insane instinct leads you in that dangerous direction.'

'The man came home, and for nearly two years did not drink a drop. The
first he drank after that was about a month previous to the evening of
which I have spoken. But on that occasion his friends had taken him at
once in hand, and had succeeded in getting him sober on the third day.
This was the second fall; and our experience of the evening was the
first intimation we had of it.

'Poor Bessie!' said my husband, as we were preparing for retiring.
'Allan is the craziest I ever saw him. He says he shall certainly kill
somebody before long. I asked him,' Charles went on, 'what he meant, why
he should wish to kill anybody? He looked me in the eye with a
frightened expression; then put his lips to my ear, and told me, in a
whisper, that somebody was bewitching him--little demons--imps of the
Evil One, he said, were the cause of his drinking. Then with a curious
nod and a wink, he said he should certainly find them. He said if they
were his own children, he'd kill them.'

'And did you leave him alone with Bessie and his children? I cried, in
great alarm.'

'He told me to have no fear. He had left two of his fellow workmen with
him; and they would take care of him; and they could easily call more
help, should it be needed.'

'That, you will remember, was Wednesday evening. When my husband came
home the next day to dinner, I asked him if he had heard from Allen
McDougald. He said, yes, he had called there, and had seen his wife. She
had told him that Allen had brandy hidden somewhere, under lock and key,
and had drank several times that morning before the fact had been
discovered. The two men who had remained with him on the previous
evening arrived at the house to take care of him just as he--my
husband--was coming away.'

'That was on Thursday. On Friday morning, after breakfast, as Charles
was ready to leave me, he said he did not expect that he should be home
to dinner. Business called him to Worcester, and he might not get
through so as to be at home before late in the afternoon.

'Be a good little girl, and don't let anybody harm you,' he said, as we
gave our parting kisses, and he was gone.

'I remember what a thrill of pain shot through my heart as the thought
came to me: 'Suppose he should come home and find some of us dead.'

'But I put away the foolish fancy and sang at my work.

'I had got the breakfast things cleared away; dishes washed and put up;
and then sat down to my sewing. I was altering over a new dress, trying
to make a new one out of it. We weren't quite so well off in money
matters in those days, as we became later, and I always tried to do my
share towards saving.

'My children were sitting around me--three of them--two occupying their
little chairs, while the third--the youngest--sat on the carpet at my
feet.

'They were all my children then, and all girls. Mary, the oldest, was
six; Stella, was four, and my little Edna, on the carpet, was only two.

'We had no night-latch to the outer door. We had talked of putting on
one, but had never got around to it. Sometimes when alone with the
children, I would turn the key in the lock, but for a long
time--certainly for more than a year--no such thing as a tramp had been
seen in our neighbourhood. That it was a quiet place, and we had little
occasion for alarm.

'Well, as I have said, I sat at my sewing--it may have been an hour
after my husband had left me--when I heard the front outer door open,
and directly afterwards a heavy footfall on the floor of the hall; I
thought it, at the moment, the heaviest step I had ever heard. I was on
the point of rising--I had laid aside my work--when the door of the
sitting room--I was sitting at the front window nearest the door, and
not two yards distant from it--the door was opened, and Allan McDougald
came in, turning, as he crossed the threshold, and carefully closing the
door behind him. Then he turned and faced me.'

At this point the narrator paused, and pressed both hands over her
heart, shuddering from tip to toe. She gained her breath after a little
time, and went on:

'The first thing I saw in the man's face, it was that of a demon
incarnate. His eyes were wild and staring, with, I fancied, a startled,
frightened look; his lips were bloodless, with little flecks of froth
standing on them. The next thing I saw was in his right hand a large,
long sharp-bladed carving knife!'

'You can imagine my feelings better than I can describe them. All I can
say is, such horror I had never conceived of!

'Agnes Appleton,' he said, fiercely, 'I have sworn that if I could find
the children that have put the demons into me I would kill them. I am
full of them! The man that our Saviour found possessed hadn't half so
many as have possessed me; and your three little imps have done it.
Don't you make any noise, don't you interfere, because if you do I must
kill you first. You may look at them once more--just once. Come?'

'And with that he made a motion towards my Mary--my eldest--and I knew
that he meant every word he had said. Both Mary and Stella were clinging
to me with piteous cries. The little cherub on the carpet did not
understand.

'Had I been alone, and had the maniac's aim been my own life, I should
not have saved it. My strength would not have endured. But what cannot a
mother do for her little ones? The sight of my children, and the
thought--the presence--of the mortal danger, gave me a strength that was
wonderful, I felt strong in limb, and strong at heart.

'Not more than a month previous to that that time my husband and I had
spent an evening in company with Doctor Woodward; and he had related
numerous instances of his dealing with raving maniacs; and one of them
had been a case almost exactly like my own at that moment; and I
remembered how he had conquered. To be sure, he had had help at hand
when he had gained his first and most important point, which I had not;
but if I could by any means delay the man's fell purpose, something
might occur to help me. It could not be that the Lord would forsake me
in my great need.

'At all events my heart was uplifted; and I prayed to him earnestly.'

'Allan,' said I, calling him by his Christian name, and speaking with a
calmness that so electrified me that it gave me new strength, 'let us
not spill their blood on this new carpet.' I then hushed the children
and got them quiet. Then I looked up into the maniac's strong eyes, and
found a shade of speculation in them.

'Where will you go then?' he asked me.

'I told him, into the next room, beyond the hall; and I rose and led the
way. He followed me at once. We reached the hall; I crossed it, and
opened the door of a sort of lumber room, where there was a carpenter's
bench, a chest of tools, and various things of the kind. It was to be a
parlor, when finished; but up to that time my husband had used it for
his work-room. I looked to see if he had followed. Yes--he was close
behind me. I pointed to a lot of shavings scattered near the bench and
said to him--O! my strength still served me, but I could feel my heart
aching--I said:

'There, Allan if you will gather up those shaving into a pile, they will
hide the work so that nobody shall know it.'

'Would he do it? Yes! He appeared to have no suspicion. It was as Dr.
Woodward had said. In his one insane intent he was ready to grasp and
accept everything that promised him help. I waited until he had stooped
to the shavings; and then, with all the speed I could command, I ran
from the room; there was a bolt on the outside of the door, put there to
protect the rest of the house when the windows of that room were not
secure. This I slipped; then on into the sitting-room, where I caught up
my little Edna, and bade the others to follow me. Then out at the front
door, into--the arms of my husband! I only saw him, and that he had
other men with him, and--that was the last.

'When I came to myself I was on the sofa in the sitting-room, with my
husband and my children by me. I had been only half an hour unconscious,
and my joy on finding my loved one safe uplifted me at once. For a few
days I felt the results of the terrible shock; and there are times when
I fancy I feel them still.

'My husband had been on his way to the railway station, when a little
son of Allan McDougald overtook him, and told him that papa had gone to
his house, or had gone that way, with a big knife in his hand. He turned
and sped homeward as swiftly as possible, overtaking the maniac's fellow
workmen--three of them--in quest of him. He--McDougald--had just broken
open the door which I had bolted when they entered the hall, and it
required the use of the club, freely used on the hands that held the
knife, before they secured him.

'So you will see, but for the information--the instruction--I had
received from Dr. Woodward, I should doubtless have been made
childless--and O! how horribly! The memory horrifies me even to the
present time. As for for Allan McDougald, he lived six years after that;
and I believe another drop of spirits did not pass his lips.'

________________________________________________________________

THE GREEN-EYED MONSTER.

BY

SYLVANUS COBB, JUN.


Published in the Kilmore Free Press (Vic.), Thursday, 19 December, 1889.



Mr. John Nettleby had been married just five years, and during that time
he had enjoyed a great life of domestic bliss, for he had found a very
good wife in Susan Perkins.

She was a neat, tidy, bustling woman, full of spirit and affection and
very fond of her husband.

While she had been Susan Perkins, John looked in vain for a blemish in
her character or disposition, but when she became Mrs. Susan Nettleby,
she began to betray a symptom which John had never before noticed.
Simply, she was very apt to be jealous.

To be sure, before marriage, Susan had suffered some half dozen crying
spells because her lover had been very attentive to other feminines; but
then he was pleased with that, for it proved how fondly Susan loved him,
and, he thought, how fearful she was of losing him. "But," he said to
himself, "after we are married, then she'll be sure of me, and such
little things won't be noticed."

But he was mistaken.

It happened very unfortunately for John that he was a handsome man, and
very fond of company, and living in the very town where he was born and
brought up, it was impossible for him to move along the pathway, even of
married life, without some friendly familiarity with the good-natured
females of his acquaintance. If he stopped in the street to converse
even a minute with one of his feminine schoolmates, and Mrs. Nettleby
could find it out, she was sure to catechise him closely, and it most
generally wound up with a sardonic laugh on John's part, and a real good
cry on Susan's.

John argued and argued in vain, for his protestations were not believed
and matters became worse instead of better.

One evening, Mabel Brown called and took tea with Susan, and remained
until quite late.

Mabel was a pretty, laughter-loving girl, and John had, unfortunately
for him, often spoken of her beauty and gentleness.

The clock struck ten before Mabel arose to depart. John went to the
door, and found that great, black clouds had spread themselves all over
the heavens, and that, consequently, it was very dark.

Of course he could not think of such a thing as allowing Mabel to go
home alone, and he offered to accompany her. He met his wife's fierce,
admonitory look, but he took little heed of it.

Mabel joked and laughed in high glee at the idea and even after she and
her escort had reached the street, Mrs. Nettleby could hear her tongue
running 'like a mill clipper,' as she termed it.

Mr. Brown's house was not a great distance off, and John meant to hurry
right home; but when he reached the place, he found the old gentleman
up, and he was asked to walk in.

"Guess not."

"Who's hot?" cried Mr. Brown, from the sitting room. "Ah--it is you, is
it?" he added, hurrying into the hall. "Just the man I wanted to see.
Come in a moment."

"But----"

"No buts, now, Nettleby, but come in, for I have business."

So John went in, and Mabel sat down close by.

Now John Nettleby was a house-painter by trade, and Brown wanted his
house painted as soon as possible. John agreed to do it the next week,
if the weather was favourable, and the next thing was to ascertain the
amount of materials.

"I'm going to town to-morrow," said Brown, "and must get my paints, and
how much must I have? I had intended to call in and see you in the
morning, but this will save me all that trouble."

So Mr. Brown made an estimate of something near the amount of surface he
had to paint, and then Nettleby estimated the amount of white lead, oil
and other matters that would be wanted.

All this took up time--over half an hour--and when John reached his
house, he was thinking of the profitable job he had just undertaken. But
his thoughts were turned into another channel before long. He found his
wife waiting for him.

"Well," she uttered in tones something like the snapping of a frosty
nail, "you've done it now, haven't you?"

"Eh?" returned John.

"Done what?"

"Done what? And you don't know what you've done! Oh, John Nettleby,
you'll kill me! You are breaking my heart by inches."

"For mercy's sake, Susan, tell me what has happened now? What have I
done?"

"What? Oh, wretch, wretch! Where have you been this last hour?"

"At Mr. Brown's."

"Oh, and you don't blush to tell it! Misery! Misery!"

"Why, Susan Nettleby, what has possessed you? I've been doing some
business with Mr. Brown."

"Can you look me in the face and tell me that?"

"Why, it's so. I've engaged to paint his house."

"You have! You've engaged to paint Mr. Brown's house?"

"I have."

"And you'll be near your dear Mabel, now!"

"Oh, you're jealous, are you! You think I am in love now, with Mabel
Brown?"

"I know it, sir, I know it! Oh! oh! oh!"

"There--I'd be a fool and done with it. Here have I been married to you
five years, and you have never seen one thing in me out of the way. Yet
you will be jealous at every little thing, and make misery for us both.
Why will you do so?"

"Why will I? And isn't your spending an hour with Mabel Brown at this
time of night something to be jealous of. I'd like to know?"

"But I haven't been with Mabel. It's her father that I have been talking
with. And I've been engaging work, to earn money to feed and clothe
you."

"Oh, that's right. Twist away. You feed and clothe me? I'd like to know
what I do? Oh, I knew you'd stop with her when you went away. I knew it!
I saw the love in your eye."

Argument was useless now. John swore that he cared nothing for Mabel
Brown, while Susan declared that he did.

"Very well," said the poor man, after he had been told for the twentieth
time that he loved Mabel better than he did his own wife, "very well,
Susan, let it go so. If there is a man in the world who could stand and
hear such stuff from your lips as I have heard tonight, and then love
you after it, I should like to see him."

At this, Mrs. Nettleby burst into a furious flood of tears and her
husband went off to bed.

It was several days before this storm passed over, and even after John
had commenced to paint Mr. Brown's house, his wife would often pass and
repass the premises, to see if her husband was steady at his work. Once
she saw Mabel out, holding his brush for him while he mixed some paint,
and on that evening the domestic wind changed, and a squall passed over.

It was some weeks after this that the cap sheaf was put upon Mrs.
Nettleby's jealousy. One noon her husband threw off his working clothes,
and put on a nicer suit. She asked him where he was going, and he
replied that he had some business to attend to. He went away, and she,
with her jealousy beginning to move within her, commenced to wonder
where he had gone. Of course all her conjectures took the darkest sides
and shades of human probabilities, and soon she had made up her mind
that there was something in the wind.

About five o'clock, Mrs. Mason, a female friend, called in on a short
visit. Various matters were talked over, and at length the visitor said:

"By the way, Mrs. Nettleby, who was that woman I saw your husband with
this afternoon?"

Susan's eyes snapped in a moment, and her soul was in arms.

"Woman?" she uttered.

"Yes. I saw him coming up from the railway station with a female leaning
on his arm."

"Do you mean that, Mrs. Mason? Did you see my husband with a woman on
his arm?"

"I did--not over an hour since."

"Oh, the wretch! the wretch!"

"But it may have been a friend, Susan, or perhaps some----"

"Yes--it was a friend. Ah! Mrs. Mason, you don't know how I suffer. You
don't----"

"Is it possible, my dear Mrs. Nettleby, that you husband is unfaithful?"

"Doesn't this look like it?"

"But I never would have believed that of John Nettleby," the woman said,
seriously. "This female may have been----"

"Ah! Mrs. Mason, you don't know anything about that man, now, if he had
been going on any honourable business he would have told me."

"But perhaps he did not think of it."

"Yes, he did. Oh, the wretch! He came home, and dressed up, and when I
asked him where he was going he would not tell me. Oh, I cannot live
so!"

Mrs. Mason made her escape as soon as possible, but there was a smile
upon her face as she stood in the hall, and before she left she said,
quietly:

"I fear, Susan, that you will make your husband unfaithful, if he is not
so now. Were I to accuse my husband of impropriety without knowing of
what I spoke, or were I to betray a jealousy of his movements, I am sure
I should drive all his love away, and then it would be no wonder if he
should seek for that comfort in the companionship of others which he
could not find at home."

"But your husband ain't my husband, Mrs. Mason."

This was said rather severely, and, without answering, the visitor left.

From the time until her husband returned, Mrs. Nettleby suffered much,
but she formed a new resolution for this time. She was resolved that she
would not catch her husband in the very midst of his faithlessness. So
she made up her mind that she would not say anything of what she had
heard until she could find out some clew to his villainy--some direct
proof of his wickedness. It was hard for her to bridle her tongue, but
she did it.

At the usual supper hour John came. He was all smiles and joy. Mrs N.
came near giving way to her passion. Oh, the villain! See the smile on
his face, and the joy on his false, black heart. Even in his own house
and before his own wife, he hesitates not to show the ecstacy he feels
in his guilty love!

After supper Mr. Nettleby arose and put on his hat. It was almost
sundown, and what could be his business out again?

"I shall be back soon, my love," he said, smiling with real kindness and
joy.

"Oh, you will--eh?" the wife uttered, in a tone than which none could be
more contemptuous.

"I shall most assuredly," he replied, moving to her side and attempting
to kiss her.

But she pushed him off with indignation.

"Put not your polluted lips to mine, sir!"

"Susan!"

"Away, touch me not!"

Mr. Nettleby gazed a moment into his wife's face, and then, without
another word, he turned from the apartment. As soon as he had gone the
wife hurried away to her dressing room, and threw on her bonnet and
shawl as quickly as possible, and in a few moments more she was in the
street. She looked down towards the centre of the village, and she saw
her husband making his way down with quick steps, and, with steps of her
own, fully as quick, she followed him.

At length she saw him enter the hotel, and then she walked more slowly.
She followed him fully determined now to discover all. She entered the
hotel.

The sun was just sinking when she reached the broad hall into which she
had seen her husband enter, and, having assured herself that she was not
seen by him, she made her way on to the kitchen, where were one or two
females with whom she was acquainted. She found the landlady herself
there, and as soon as she could command herself, she called her to one
side.

"Mrs. Varnum--excuse me--but my husband is in this house."

"He is," replied the landlady.

"And--and--there's a female with him?"

"He brought a lady with him this afternoon."

"He did.--Yes, I know it. Where is that woman's room?"

"Do you wish to see her?"

"I wish to see my husband, madam."

For a single moment a flush of anger appeared on Mrs. Varnum's face, but
she soon drove it away, and a faint, pitying smile took its place.

"You will find the lady's room at number fifteen, just at the head of
the stairs," she said, and then returned to her work.

Mrs. Nettleby started off in quest of her vile partner. Number fifteen
was easily found, and, as she stopped near the door, she heard voices.
She listened, and one of them was a female voice, the other, her
husband's. Her fire was up now, and, having given her teeth one good
gritting, and her hands a good clenching, she threw open the door and
stalked into the room. Mercy--what a sight. There, upon a board sofa,
sat her own husband, and by his side--close to him--sat a woman.

There was not light enough in the apartment to enable Mrs. Nettleby to
distinguish countenances plainly, but she knew that the woman was
handsome.

"And so you have business, Mr. Nettleby!" the mad wife hissed out, with
doubly-refined and extra-concentrated venom. "This is your business, is
it?"

"Susan!" uttered Mr. Nettleby, at first seeming to doubt whether or not
his wife could be in earnest.

"Don't call me Susan, you poor, mean, dirty, sneaking, despicable,
rascally, contemptible wretch you! Now you'll plead innocence again,
won't you? You'll be like a babe, I s'pose. Oh, yes! 'Tisn't likely
butter would melt in your mouth! Oh, you nasty, low, miserable,
creeping, rotten-hearted villain!"

Both the gentleman and his companion seemed thunderstruck, but the
Xantippe gave them little opportunity to think, for as soon as she could
gain breath she turned to the woman.

"And you," she uttered while her teeth gritted like two rocks, "you are
in fine business aren't you? I would like to know what you think of
yourself, you low, sunken, degraded creature! How will you ever dare to
show your face by daylight again? But you hain't got no shame, you poor,
miserable, degraded, dirty thing!"

"Susan," spoke the woman, in a tone of pain and surprise--"Susan, is
this you!"

Mrs. Nettleby started back aghast, and a deadly pallor overspread her
face. Then she bent forward and gazed eagerly into the face of her who
had spoken. A few moments she stood thus, and then, with a low deep
groan of shame, she tottered forward, and sank down upon her knees, with
her face hidden in the woman's lap.

"Oh, Susan! Susan!"

"Forgive me! Forgive me! Oh, my mother, I did not know it was you!"

"But you knew it was your husband, my child. You knew him."

"Oh--I did not--I--I--Oh, forgive me!"

"And have you no faith in your husband's honor?--no confidence in his
love!"

But Susan began to cry, and her mother clasped her to her bosom and
kissed her, and for the present the matter was passed over.

Susan had not seen her mother before for four long years. The very next
year after she was married her parents moved, and she had not seen them
since.

Before long the door was opened again, and when Susan looked up she saw
a tall, stout, manly form, and when she heard his voice she knew it was
her father. She arose and uttered a low cry of joy, and was, on the next
moment, clasped to his loving bosom.

Shortly after this the party started for John's dwelling.

It was some time before Susan could be herself, but even then she could
not be wholly happy, and through the whole long evening she suffered
much grief.

"Ah, John, you could not keep the secret after all, eh?" said Mr.
Perkins, toward the latter part of the evening.

"What secret, father?" asked Susan, without reflection.

"Why, when I sent the telegraphic despatch to John this forenoon I just
hinted to him not to let you know it, but to meet us at the station. He
met us there, and as I had imperative business at the upper mills, I
told him to take your mother to the hotel and let her stop there until I
came, and then we would take you by surprise. But he could not hold it,
it seems."

"Ah," interposed the mother, as she saw her daughter's face mantling
with shame, "Susy found us out. She mistrusted there was something in
the wind."

Poor Susan! she now saw she had wronged her husband, and she saw, too,
why he had been so happy when he came home to supper. She resolved in
her heart if she could ever get over this she would never be jealous
again.

It was a week after that, and Susan and her mother sat alone together in
the same little sitting-room of the former. Her beloved visitors were to
return on the next day.

"And now, my child," said her mother in continuation of a subject
already broached, "what have you ever seen in John to give you cause for
jealousy?"

"Why----"

"Ah, Susan, none of that. Speak promptly. If, by one single act of his
life he has given you just cause to distrust his faith, you have not
forgotten it. Now, tell me has ever he done so?"

"No, mother, he has not."

"And, yet, you see how you would have ruined him."

"But he has been cold, mother; and he almost treated me with neglect, at
times."

"And why should he not? Why, Susan, if I should--or, rather, if I had at
your age, spoken but once to my husband as you admit you had spoken to
John before he ever showed any neglect, he would have spurned me from
him at once. Oh, my child, if you would ruin your husband let him see
that your confidence is lost in him. If you should drive him from you,
let him see that you are jealous of him."

"I see it all, mother--I see it, and I will do so no more."

On the evening of the next day, John Nettleby and his wife were left
alone with their two little children. The little ones were put to bed.

At last Susan tremulously said--"John, we will never be unhappy again."

Her voice trembled, and the tears started down her cheeks, and she
buried her face in his bosom.

The husband knew what she meant, but he could only wind his arms about
her, and draw her more closely to him.

And the husband's hopes were blessed, for Susan courted the green-eyed
monster no more.


________________________________________________________________

THE PARSON'S EXPERIMENT.

BY

SYLVANUS COBB, JR.


Published in the Kilmore Free Press (Vic.), Thursday, 27 February, 1890.



The small parish at Fallowdale had been for some time without a pastor.
The members were nearly all farmers, and they had not much money to
bestow upon the support of a clergyman; yet they were willing to pay for
anything that could promise them any due return of good. In course of
time it happened that the Rev. Abraham Surely visited Fallowdale, and as
a Sabbath passed during his sojourn, he held a meeting in a small
church. The people were pleased with his preaching, and some of them
proposed inviting him to remain with them and take charge of their
spiritual welfare.

Upon the merits of this proposition there was a long discussion. Parson
Surely had signified his willingness to take a permanent residence at
Fallowdale, but the members of the parish could not so readily agree to
hire him.

'I don't see the use of hiring a parson,' said Mr. Sharp, an old farmer
of the place. 'He can do us no good. If we've got any money to spare,
we'd better lay it up for something else. A parson can't learn me
anything.'

To this it was answered that stated religious meetings would be of great
benefit to the younger people, and also a source of real social good to
all.

'I don't know 'bout that,' said Sharp, after he had heard the arguments
against him. Sharp was one of the wealthiest men in the parish, and
consequently one of the most influential. 'I've hearn tell,' he
continued, 'of a parson that could pray for rain, and have it come at
any time. Now if we could hit upon such a parson as that, I would go in
for hiring him.'

This opened a new idea to the unsophisticated minds of Fallowdale. The
farmers often suffered from long droughts, and, after arguing awhile
longer, they agreed to hire Parson Surely upon the condition that he
should give them rain whenever they wished for it, and, on the other
hand, that he would also give them fair weather when required. Deacons
Smith and Townsend were deputised to make this arrangement known to the
parson, and the people remained in the church while their messengers
went upon their errand.

When the deacons returned, Mr. Surely accompanied them. He smiled as he
entered the church, and, with a grateful bow, saluted the people there
assembled.

'Well, my friends,' he said, as he ascended the platform in front of the
desk, 'I have heard your request to me, and, strange as it may appear, I
have come to accept your proposal; but I can do it only on one
condition, and that is, that your request for a change of weather must
be unanimous.'

This appeared very reasonable, since every member of the parish had a
deep interest in the farming business, and ere long it was arranged that
Mr. Surely should become the pastor of Fallowdale, and that he should
give the people rain whenever they asked for it.

When Mr. Surely returned to his lodgings, his wife was utterly astounded
upon learning the nature of the contract her husband had entered into;
but the pastor only smiled, and bade her wait for the result.

'But you know you cannot make it rain,' persisted Mrs. Surely; 'and you
know, too, that the farmers here will be wanting rain very often when
there is none for them. You will be disgraced.'

'I will teach them a lesson,' quietly returned the pastor.

'Ay--that you cannot be so good as your word; and when you have taught
it to them they will turn you off.'

'We shall see,' was Mr Surely's reply as he took up a book and commenced
reading.

This was a signal for his wife to desist from further conversation on
the subject, and she at once obeyed.

Time flew on, and at length the hot days of midsummer were at hand. For
three weeks it had not rained, and the young corn was beginning to curl
up beneath the effects of the drought. In this extremity the people
bethought themselves of the promise of their pastor, and some of them
hastened to his dwelling.

'Certainly,' returned Mr. Surely. 'If you will call a meeting of the
members of the parish, I will be with you this evening.'

With this the applicants were perfectly satisfied, and forthwith, they
hastened to call the flock together.

'Now you'll see the hour of your disgrace,' said Mrs. Surely after the
visitors had gone. 'Oh, I am very sorry you ever undertook to deceive
them so.'

'I did not deceive them.'

'Yes, you surely did.'

'We shall see,' responded the pastor.

'So we shall see,' added the lady.

The hour for the meeting came around, and Parson Surely met his people
at the church. They were all there--most of them anxious, and the
remainder curious.

'Now, my friends,' said the pastor, arising upon the platform, I have
come to hear your request. What is it?'

'Ay--rain--rain,' repeated half a dozen voices.

'Very well. Now, when will you have it?'

'This very night. Let it rain all night long,' said Sharp, to which
several others immediately assented.

'No, no, not to-night,' cried Deacon Smith. 'I have six or seven tons of
well-made hay in the field, and I would not have it wet for anything.'

'So do I have hay out,' added Mr Peck. 'We won't have it rain to-night.'

'Then let it be to-morrow.'

'It will take me all day to-morrow to get my hay in,' said Smith.

Thus the objections came up for the two succeeding days, and at length,
by way of compromise, Mr. Sharp proposed that they should have rain in
just four days. 'For,' said he, 'by that time all the hay which is now
cut can be got in, and we need not cut any----'

'Stop, stop,' uttered Mrs. Sharp, pulling her worthy husband smartly by
the sleeve. 'That is the day we set to go to Snowhill. It musn't rain
then!'

This was law for Mr. Sharp, so he proposed that the rain should come in
one week, and then resumed his seat. But this would not do. Many of the
people would not have it put off so long. 'If we can't have rain before
then we'd better not have it at all,' said they.

In short, the meeting resulted in just no conclusion at all, for the
good people found it utterly impossible to agree upon a time when it
should rain.

'Until you can make up your mind upon this point,' said the pastor, as
he was about leaving the church, 'we must all trust in the Lord.' And
after this the people followed him from the place.

Both Deacon Smith and Mr. Peck got their hay safely in, but on the very
day Mr. Sharp and his wife were to start for Snowhill it began to rain
in right good earnest. Sharp lost his visit, but he met the
disappointment with good grace, for his crops smiled at the rain.

Ere another month had rolled by another meeting was called for a
petition for rain, but this time the result was the same as before. Some
wanted the rain immediately--some in one, some in two, and some in three
days, while others wanted it put off longer. So Mr. Surely had not yet
occasion to call for rain.

One year rolled by, and up to that time the people of Fallowdale had
never once been able to agree upon the exact kind of weather they would
have, and the result was that they began to open their eyes to the fact
that this world would be a strange place if its inhabitants could govern
it. While they had been longing for a power they did not possess they
had not seen its absurdity, but now that they had, in good faith, tried
to apply that power, under the belief that it was theirs, they saw
clearly that they were getting beyond their sphere. They say that
Nature's laws were safer in the hands of Nature's God than in the hands
of Nature's children.

On the last Sabbath in the first year of Mr. Surely's settlement at
Fallowdale he offered to give up his connection with the parish, but the
people would not listen to it. They had become attached to him and the
meeting, and they wished him to stay.

'But I can no longer rest under our former contract with regard to the
weather,' said the pastor.

'Nor do we wish you to,' returned Sharp. 'Only preach to us and teach us
and our children how to live, and help us be social and happy.'

'And,' added the pastor, with a tear of pride in his eye as he looked
for an instant into the face of his now happy wife, 'all things above
our proper sphere we will leave with God, for He doeth all things well.'

________________________________________________________________

PHIL'S DARLING.

A Serio Comic Sketch.

BY SYLVANUS COBB, JR.

Published in the Bathurst Free Press and Mining Journal, Saturday 3
October, 1891.


Philip Rushwood came down to Greyland, in the early spring time, and
hired two rooms of Aunt Betty Warren, and engaged board with her. Phil
was an artist, and a good one. He was in his thirtieth year, but he did
not look it. He was a bright-faced, cheery, fun-loving fellow, and would
pass for a handsome man. His father had left him a moderate fortune; so
his work was a matter of pleasure and satisfaction rather than of
necessity.

He had hired the only two rooms Aunt Betty had to spare, one for a
studio and reading room, and the other for a sleeping room. The old lady
must keep one apartment--a nice one--for a spare room, in which to put a
chance visitor; and herself and niece occupied the remainder of the
dormitory of the small cottage.

Aunt Betty Warren was a maiden lady, just three-score years of age; as
bright and smart as a cricket; and she was far from being a homely
woman. In her youth she must have been pretty, though never burdened
with brains; and some of the prettiness of her youth remained with her.
Her heart was tender and impressionable. Since the full blooming of her
womanhood she had fallen in love a dozen times, and had fancied people
in love with her; but, alas, not one had remained loyal.

There was one other member of the family besides the servant. We speak
of a niece. She was Lizzie Warren, child of a younger brother of Aunt
Betty, and now an orphan. She was twenty years of age; a lithe,
graceful, golden-haired, blue-eyed girl, who, Phil declared off hand,
came nearer to his ideal of the goddess Electra than any other girl he
had even seen.

Lizzie taught the primary school in the village, and played the organ in
church on Sundays; and ere long after the advent of Phil Rushwood she
began to learn to paint.

Philip was a good musician, and possessed an excellent tenor voice.
Naturally, as he attended church every Sabbath, he took his place in the
choir, and he was, without question, the best singer there.

The love that grew and strengthened between Philip and Lizzie was deep,
fervent and quiet, and very enjoyable. They did not talk of it, but they
lived it, and each knew and felt the love of the other long before a
word had been spoken.

Phil, in his great-hearted, generous, outspoken way, made much of Aunt
Betty. She was good to him; did everything for him she could do; and he
really loved her. His mother had not been dead a great many years, and
in some respects Aunt Betty seemed to fill her place.

One day, in a funny mood, Phil called her his Old Darling. It pleased
her immensely. Pretty soon she began to take extra pains with her false
curls, and she dyed her silvery looks that escaped from beneath the
borders of her lace cap.

Next Aunt Betty wanted to learn to paint, and she asked Phil--she called
him Philip, as he had asked her to--she asked him to teach her. It
struck him comically; but he saw that the old lady was in earnest and
very eager, and he would not have hurt her feelings for the world. So he
gave her lessons. He first drew for her a house and an old well curb and
a tree; then he mixed the colors for her, and gave it to her to paint.

"There, you dear old soul, do you paint that, and let us see what you
will make of it. I can tell in just what direction you will require
instruction." And he patted her on the shoulder, where-at she blushed
like a school-girl.

One evening, when Phil had been two months an inmate of Betty's cottage,
he took a letter from the post-office informing him of the dangerous
sickness of his best and dearest male friend--a brother artist, who had
been in Europe with him, and who had shared his studio for years. Jack
Atterby was sick; perhaps dying; and he asked to see Phil Rushwood once
more before the end came.

Philip left his studio in Aunt Betty's charge. He thought it would
please her. And he said to her, "You will let your niece work at my
easel, and with my implements, as much as she pleases."

And he said to Lizzie that she should make herself perfectly at home in
his sanctum while he was gone, and not be afraid of using up his oils
and pigments.

He went; where he found Jack Atterby dying; but he was conscious, and
recognised his dear old Phil; and his last hours were happier because
Philip was with him.

After Jack was gone, and his mortal remains had been laid away, Phil
felt peculiarly sad and lonesome. He wanted a friend to take Jack's
place. The death of his chum had left a great void in his life. His
thoughts went to Lizzie Warren. He was confident she loved him. As for
himself, he loved her with his whole heart. He had loved her since the
first hour he spent with her. He felt it was time he should settle down,
and make a home of his own. If Lizzie would share it with him, it might
be an Elysium. Very nearly an hour he gave to serious, concentrated
thought on the subject, in the privacy of his own chamber; at the end of
which time his mind was made up--his resolve taken; and, before he went
to his rest, he sat down and wrote.

He offered to Lizzie Warren his hand and all that he possessed. His
heart was already hers, and could never be another's. Might he call her
his darling--his wife?

"You need not answer me by post, as I cannot tell you where your answer
would find me," he wrote in conclusion. "I shall leave day after
to-morrow, and shall not return to the city before joining you. A still,
small voice seems to whisper in my ear, HOPE. And in that hope I must
find comfort until your own lips can speak."

When he had folded the important missive, and placed it in a government
envelope and carefully sealed it, he bethought him how he should
superscribe it. Thinking the dear one's true name was Elizabeth, he
thought it would be hardly proper--it would appear too much of a
liberty--for him to use the familiar abbreviation--Lizzie. So, after due
deliberation, he wrote, "MISS ELIZABETH WARREN, Greyland," and on the
following morning he consigned it to the post.

Ah! if he could have known! But he did not. He did not even dream. The
only Miss Elizabeth Warren in Greyland--or, for that matter, anywhere in
that section of country--was Aunt Betty. And Aunt Betty took the letter
from the office; she opened it; she read it; and, strange as it may
appear, she was not surprised.

"The darling!" she cried, pressing the sheet to her withered lips. "I
knew he loved me; but I did not quite look for this."

That evening, when Lizzie came home from her school, she wondered what
could have possessed her dear aunt.

"Aunt, what is it? What has happened? Do you expect company that you are
so finely dressed? Will you not tell me?"

The old lady tittered and giggled, and almost danced. She was like one
electrified. But not a word of explanation would she give.

"Wait! wait! Miss Curiosity, and you'll find out." That was all.

And so it went on for three mortal days. On Saturday evening the
stage-coach stopped at the front garden gate, and Philip Rushwood
alighted, and came in with his gripsack in his hand. It was not yet
dark; the sun had not quite gone from sight, though it was dipping below
the horizon.

Phil dropped his bag in the hall, and turned to extend his hand to
Lizzie, who had came to welcome him. He had expected--he knew not what;
but, certainly, not the quiet, lady-like, utterly unconscious greeting
which she gave him. His heart sank to zero. O! how he had deceived
himself! evidently, she cared for him not a particle.

But a greeting was coming. In the centre of the cozy little drawing-room
stood Aunt Betty, her brown ringlets shimmering with an extra gloss, and
dressed in her best silk. Something in the old lady's appearance, and in
the look she gave him, so surprised Phil that his speech was for the
moment suspended, and in that moment she exclaimed:

"Philip! my own! Oh! let me hear your sweet lips call me darling once
again! You now I am yours! O, my Philip!"

And she would have thrown her arms around his neck, but he put out his
hands, with an impulsive movement, and turned, with a sacred look on his
face, to the niece.

"Miss Warren, what does she mean?"

"Philip! Philip! do not cast me off?" The old woman caught his hand, and
held it fast. "O, Philip! how can you?"

"Aunt Betty! My dear, dear old friend! What do you mean? I do not
understand."

"O! you naughty, naughty man! Didn't you write me a letter full of love?
Behold that!" And she showed him the letter.

Phil looked at it; then looked at the old woman; and then looked at the
young.

"Is your name Elizabeth?" to Aunt Betty.

"Yes! It is!"

"And yours?" to the niece.

"I am plain Lizzie, so christened at the font."

"Oh, what a horrible mistake!" and with a groan the poor man sank into a
chair, and sat for a little time with his head in his hands. By and by
he looked up.

"Aunt Betty, I don't know how I am ever to make amends to you for the
pain I have unwittingly given. The most I can do is to explain and then
leave you. That letter I wrote to your niece. I thought her name was
Elizabeth, that the Lizzie was a familiar abbreviation, But you can
hardly claim the came of Lizzie also. I certainly use that name in the
body of the letter. You understand the mistake now, I am sure; and I am
sure that you will forgive me when you have had time to think of it. For
the present I will leave you. I will seek quarters at the tavern, and in
the----"

"O! no, no! Don't do that! I--I--am--Let me go off by myself and think."

She had reached the door, and there stopped. Presently she turned and
came back.

"Lizzie! don't you never, so long as you live, speak one word of this
ridiculous affair. Will you promise?"

"Yes, aunt, with all my heart."

"Then listen to me: I am an old fool! But don't you two call me so. You
won't, will you?"

They both solemnly promised.

"There, Lizzie--there's your letter. It's yours now."

And with that the old lady was gone.

And we will simply add, by the time the Sabbath day had departed, with
its quiet, its rest, and its religious lessons, Aunt Betty had regained
her wonted spirits, and none could have suspected, on looking at her,
the wonderful ordeal through which she had passed.

As for Lizzie, she had read her letter, and Phil found all the joys and
comforts he had promised himself in a happy home, with his darling to
share it with him.



THE END



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