water; and on the other a sturdy pine tree, well rooted against wind and
storm. And the sturdy pine yearned for the wild rose; and the rose, so
far as it knew, yearned for nothing at all, certainly not for rugged
pine trees standing tall and grim in rocky soil. If, in its present
stage of development, it gravitated toward anything in particular, it
would have been a well-dressed white birch growing on an irreproachable
And the river, now deep, now shallow, now smooth, now tumultuous, now
sparkling in sunshine, now gloomy under clouds, rolled on to the
engulfing sea. It could not stop to concern itself with the petty
comedies and tragedies that were being enacted along its shores, else it
would never have reached its destination. Only last night, under a full
moon, there had been pairs of lovers leaning over the rails of all the
bridges along its course; but that was a common sight, like that of the
ardent couples sitting on its shady banks these summer days, looking
only into each other's eyes, but exclaiming about the beauty of the
water. Lovers would come and go, sometimes reappearing with successive
installments of loves in a way wholly mysterious to the river. Meantime
it had its own work to do and must be about it, for the side jams were
to be broken and the boom "let out" at the Edgewood bridge.
It was just seven o'clock that same morning when Rose Wiley smoothed the
last wrinkle from her dimity counterpane, picked up a shred of corn-husk
from the spotless floor under the bed, slapped a mosquito on the
window-sill, removed all signs of murder with a moist towel, and before
running down to breakfast cast a frowning look at her pincushion.
Almira, otherwise "Mite," Shapley had been in her room the afternoon
before and disturbed with her careless hand the pattern of Rose's pins.
They were kept religiously in the form of a Maltese cross; and if, while
she was extricating one from her clothing, there had been an alarm of
fire, Rose would have stuck the pin in its appointed place in the
design, at the risk of losing her life.
Entering the kitchen with her light step, she brought the morning
sunshine with her. The old people had already engaged in differences of
opinion, but they commonly suspended open warfare in her presence. There
were the usual last things to be done for breakfast, offices that
belonged to her as her grandmother's assistant. She took yesterday's
soda biscuits out of the steamer where they were warming and softening;
brought an apple pie and a plate of seed cakes from the pantry; settled
the coffee with a piece of dried fish skin and an egg shell; and
transferred some fried potatoes from the spider to a covered dish.
"Did you remember the meat, grandpa? We're all out," she said, as she
began buttoning a stiff collar around his reluctant neck.
"Remember? Land, yes! I wish't I ever could forgit anything! The butcherDownload<<BackPagesMainNext>>