morning meal in great apparent content. Having finished, and washed his

dishes with much more thoroughness than is common to unsuperintended

man, and having given Rufus the second call to breakfast with the vigor

and acrimony that usually marks that unpleasant performance, he strode

to a high point on the river-bank and, shading his eyes with his hand,

gazed steadily down stream.

Patches of green fodder and blossoming potatoes melted into soft fields

that had been lately mown, and there were glimpses of tasseling corn

rising high to catch the sun. Far, far down on the opposite bank of the

river was the hint of a brown roof, and the tip of a chimney that sent a

slender wisp of smoke into the clear air. Beyond this, and farther back

from the water, the trees apparently hid a cluster of other chimneys,

for thin spirals of smoke ascended here and there. The little brown roof

could never have revealed itself to any but a lover's eye; and that

discerned something even smaller, something like a pinkish speck, that

moved hither and thither on a piece of greensward that sloped to the


"She's up!" Stephen exclaimed under his breath, his eyes shining, his

lips smiling. His voice had a note of hushed exaltation about it, as if

"she," whoever she might be, had, in condescending to rise, conferred a

priceless boon upon a waiting universe. If she were indeed a "up" (so

his tone implied), then the day, somewhat falsely heralded by the

sunrise, had really begun, and the human race might pursue its appointed

tasks, inspired and uplifted by the consciousness of her existence. It

might properly be grateful for the fact of her birth; that she had grown

to woman's estate; and, above all, that, in common with the sun, the

lark, the morning-glory, and other beautiful things of the early day,

she was up and about her lovely, cheery, heart-warming business.

[Illustration: "SHE'S UP!"]

The handful of chimneys and the smoke spirals rising here and there

among the trees on the river-bank belonged to what was known as the

Brier Neighborhood. There were only a few houses in all, scattered along

a side road leading from the river up to Liberty Centre. There were no

great signs of thrift or prosperity, but the Wiley cottage, the only one

near the water, was neat and well cared for, and Nature had done her

best to conceal man's indolence, poverty, or neglect.

Bushes of sweetbrier grew in fragrant little forests as tall as the

fences. Clumps of wild roses sprang up at every turn, and over all the

stone walls, as well as on every heap of rocks by the wayside, prickly

blackberry vines ran and clambered and clung, yielding fruit and thorns

impartially to the neighborhood children.

The pinkish speck that Stephen Waterman had spied from his side of the

river was Rose Wiley of the Brier Neighborhood on the Edgewood side. As

there was another of her name on Brigadier Hill, the Edgewood minister

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