windows, too, framing the apple-orchard and the elms. She had chosen the
furniture, but how differently it looked now that it was actually in
place! The tiny shed had piles of split wood, with great boxes of
kindlings and shavings, all in readiness for the bride, who would do her
own cooking. Who but Stephen would have made the very wood ready for a
woman's home-coming; and why had he done so much in May, when they were
not to be married until August? Then the door of the bedroom was
stealthily opened, and here Rose sat down and cried for joy and shame
and hope and fear. The very flowered paper she had refused as too
expensive! How lovely it looked with the white chamber set! She brought
in her simple wedding outfit of blankets, bed-linen, and counterpanes,
and folded them softly in the closet; and then for the rest of the
morning she went from room to room, doing all that could remain
undiscovered, even to laying a fire in the new kitchen stove.
This was the plan. Stephen must pass the house on his way from the River
Farm to the bridge, where he was to join the river-drivers on Monday
morning. She would be out of bed by the earliest peep of dawn, put on
Stephen's favorite pink calico, leave a note for her grandmother, run
like a hare down her side of the river and up Stephen's, steal into the
house, open blinds and windows, light the fire, and set the kettle
boiling. Then with a sharp knife she would cut down two rows of corn,
and thus make a green pathway from the front kitchen steps to the road.
Next, the false and insulting "To Let" sign would be forcibly tweaked
from the tree and thrown into the grass. She would then lay the table in
the kitchen, and make ready the nicest breakfast that two people ever
sat down to. And oh, would two people sit down to it; or would one go
off in a rage and the other die of grief and disappointment?
Then, having done all, she would wait and palpitate, and palpitate and
wait, until Stephen came. Surely no property-owner in the universe could
drive along a road, observe his corn leveled to the earth, his sign
removed, his house open, and smoke issuing from his chimney, without
going in to surprise the rogue and villain who could be guilty of such
And when he came in?
Oh, she had all day Sunday in which to forecast, with mingled dread and
gladness and suspense, that all-important, all-decisive first moment!
All day Sunday to frame and unframe penitent speeches. All day Sunday!
Would it ever be Monday? If so, what would Tuesday bring? Would the sun
rise on happy Mrs. Stephen Waterman of Pleasant River, or on miserable
Miss Rose Wiley of the Brier Neighborhood?
THE DREAM ROOM
Long ago, when Stephen was a boy of fourteen or fifteen, he had gone
with his father to a distant town to spend the night. After an early
breakfast next morning his father had driven off for a business
interview, and left the boy to walk about during his absence. HeDownload<<BackPagesMainNext>>