least it was June in Edgewood, and she supposed for convenience's sake

they called it June in Boston. Not that it mattered much what the poor

city prisoners called it. How beautiful the river would be at home, with

the trees along the banks in full leaf! How she hungered and thirsted

for the river,--to see it sparkle in the sunlight; to watch the

moonglade stretching from one bank to the other; to hear the soft lap of

the water on the shore, and the distant murmur of the falls at the

bridge! And the Brier Neighborhood would be at its loveliest, for the

wild roses were in blossom by now. And the little house! How sweet it

must look under the shade of the elms, with the Saco rippling at the

back! Was poor Rufus still lying in a darkened room, and was Stephen

nursing him,--disappointed Stephen,--dear, noble old Stephen?


Just then Mrs. Brooks groaned in the next room and called Rose, who went

in to minister to her real needs, or to condole with her fancied ones,

whichever course of action appeared to be the more agreeable at the


Mrs. Brooks desired conversation, it seemed, or at least she desired an

audience for a monologue, for she recognized no antiphonal obligations

on the part of her listeners. The doctors were not doing her a speck of

good, and she was just squandering money in a miserable boarding-house,

when she might be enjoying poor health in her own home; and she didn't

believe her hens were receiving proper care, and she had forgotten to

pull down the shades in the spare room, and the sun would fade the

carpet out all white before she got back, and she didn't believe Dr.

Smith's magnetism was any more use than a cat's foot, nor Dr. Robinson's

electricity any better than a bumblebee's buzz, and she had a great mind

to go home and try Dr. Lord from Bonnie Eagle; and there was a letter

for Rose on the bureau, which had come before supper, but the shiftless,

lazy, worthless landlady had forgotten to send it up till just now.

The letter was from Mite Shapley, but Rose could read only half of it to

Mrs. Brooks,--little beside the news that the Waterman barn, the finest

barn in the whole township, had been struck by lightning and burned to

the ground. Stephen was away at the time, having taken Rufus to

Portland, where an operation on his eyes would shortly be performed at

the hospital, and one of the neighbors was sleeping at the River Farm

and taking care of the cattle; still the house might not have been

saved but for one of Alcestis Crambry's sudden bursts of common sense,

which occurred now quite regularly. He succeeded not only in getting the

horses out of the stalls, but gave the alarm so promptly that the whole

neighborhood was soon on the scene of action. Stephen was the only man,

Mite reminded Rose, who ever had any patience with, or took any pains to

teach, Alcestis, but he never could have expected to be rewarded in this

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