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down. Miss Craydocke, why don't you go down among the freedmen? You have n't half a sphere up here. Nothing but Hobbs's Location, and the little Hoskinses."
“ I can't organize and execute. Letitia can. It's her gift. I can't do great things. I can'only just carry round my little cup of cold water."
“But it gets so dreadfully joggled in such a place as this! Don't we girls disturb you, Miss Craydocke? I should think you 'd be quieter in the other wing, or up stairs.”
“ Young folks are apt to think that old folks ought to go a story higher. But we ’re content, and they must put up with us, until the proprietor orders
“Well, good by. But if ever you do smell smoke in the night, you 'll draw your bolt the first thing, won't you?” • This evening, - upon which we have offered you your pass, reader, Miss Craydocke is sitting with her mosquito bar up, and her candle alight, finishing some pretty thing that daylight has not been long enough for. A flag basket at her feet holds strips and rolls of delicate birch-bark, carefully split into filmy thinness, and heaps of star-mosses, cup-mosses, and those thick and crisp with clustering brown spires, as well as sheets of lichen silvery and pale green; and on the lap-board across her knees lies her work, — a graceful cross in perspective, put on card-board in birch shaded from faint buff to bistre, dashed with the detached lines that seem to have quilted the tree-teguments together. Around the foot of the cross rises a mound of lovely moss-work in relief, with feathery filaments creeping up and wreathing about the shaft and thwart-beam. Miss Craydocke is just dotting in some bits of slender coral-headed stems among little brown mushrooms and chalices, as there comes a sudden, imperative knocking at the door of communication, or defence, between her and Sin Saxon.
“You must just open this time, if you please! I've got my arms full, and I could n't come round.”.
Miss Craydocke slipped her lap-board — work and all — under her bureau, upon the floor, for safety; and then, with her quaint, queer expression, in which curiosity, pluckiness, and a foretaste of amusement mingled so as to drive out annoyance, pushed back her bolt, and presented herself to the demand of her visitor, much as an undaunted man might fling open his door at the call of a mob.
Sin Saxon stood there, in the light of the good lady's candle, making a pretty picture against the dim background of the unlighted room beyond. Her fair hair was tossed, and her cheeks flushed; her blue eyes bright with sauciness and fun. In her hands, or across her arms, rather, she held some huge, uncouth thing, that was not to the last degree dainty-smelling, either; something conglomerated rudely upon a great crooked log or branch, which, glanced at closer, proved to be a fragment of gray old pine. Sticks and roots and bark, straw and grass and locks of dirty sheep's-wool, made up its bulk and its untidiness; and this thing Sin held out with glee, declaring she had brought a real treasure to add to Miss Craydocke's collection.
“Such a chance !” she said, coming in. “One might n't have another in a dozen years. I have just given Jimmy Wigley a quarter for it, and he 'd just all but broken his neck to get it. It's a real crow's nest. Corvinus something-else-us, I suppose. Where will you have it? I'm going to nail it up for you myself. Won't it make a nice contrast to the hummingbird's ? Over the bed, shall I ? But then, if it should drop down on your nose, you know! I think the corner over the fireplace will be best. Yes, we 'll have it right up perpendicular, in the angle. The branch twists a little, you see, and the nest will run out with its odds and ends like an old banner. Might I push up the washstand to get on to ?”
“Suppose you lay it in the fireplace ? It will just rest nicely across those evergreen boughs, and — be in the current of ventilation outward.”
“Well, that 's an idea, to be sure. — Miss Craydocke !” — Sin Saxon says this in a sudden interjectional way, as if it were with some quite fresh idea,
“I'm certain you play chess !” “ You 're mistaken. I don't.”
“You would, then, by intuition. Your counter-moves are — 50 — triumphant. Why, it 's really an ornament !" With a little stress and strain that made her words interjectional, she had got it into place, thrusting one
end up the throat of the chimney, and lodging the crotch that held the nest upon the stems of fresh pine that lay across the andirons; and the “ odds and ends,” in safe position, and suggesting neither harm nor unsuitableness, looked unique and curious, and not so ugly.
“It's really an ornament !” repeated Sin, shaking the dust off her dress. “As you expected, of course," replied Miss Craydocke.
“ Well, I was n't -- not to say — confident. I was afraid it might n't be much but scientific. But now — if you don't forget and light a fire under it some day, Miss Craydocke!”
“ I sha' n't forget; and I 'm very much obliged, really. Perhaps by and by I shall put it in a rough box and send it to a nephew of mine, with some other things, for his collection."
“Goodness, Miss Craydocke! They won't express it. They 'll think it's an infernal machine, or a murder! But it's disposed of for the present, any way. The truth was, you know, twenty-five cents is a kind of a cup of cold water to Jimmy Wigley, and then there was the fun of bringing it in, and I did n't know anybody but you to offer it to; I 'm so glad you like it ; the girls thought you would n't. Perhaps I can get you another, or something else as curious, some day, - a moose's horns, or a bear-skin ; there 's no knowing. But now — apropos of the nest — I 've a crow to pick with you. You gave me horrible dreams all night, the last time I came to see you. I don't know whether it was your little freedmen's meal-bags, or Miss Letitia's organizing and executive genius, or the cup of cold water you spoke of, or — it's just occurred to me - the fuss I had over my waterfall that day, trying to make it into a melon; but I had the most extraordinary time endeavoring to pay you a visit. Down South it was, and there you were, organizing and executing, after all, on the most tremendous scale, some kind of freedmen's institution. You were explaining to me and showing me all sorts of things, in such enormous bulk and extent and number! First I was to see your stables, where the cows were kept. A trillion of cows !- that was what you told me. And on the way we went down among such wood-piles !— whole forests cut up into kindlings and built into solid walls that reached up till the sky looked like a thread of blue sewing-silk between. And presently we came to a kind of opening and turned off to see the laundry (Mrs. Lisphin had just brought home my things at bedtime); and there was a place to do the world's washing in, or bleach out all the Ethiopians ! Tubs like the hold of the Great Eastern, and spouts coming into them like the Staubbach ! Clothes-lines like a parade-ground of telegraphs, fields like prairies, snowpatched, as far as you could see, with things laid out to whiten! And suddenly we came to what was like a pond of milk, with crowds of negro women stirring it with long poles ; and all at once something came roaring behind and you called to me to jump aside, – that the hot water was let on to make the starch ; and down it rushed, a cataract like Niagara, in clouds of steam! And then – well, it changed to something else, I suppose; but it was after that fashion all night long, and the last I remember, I was trying to climb up the Cairn with a cup of cold water set on atilt at the crown of my head, which I was to get to the sky-parlor without spilling a drop!”
“ Nobody's brain but yours would have put it together like that,” said Miss Craydocke, laughing till she had to feel for her pocket-handkerchief to wipe away the tears.
“ Don't cry, Miss Craydocke,” said Sin Saxon, changing suddenly to the most touching tone and expression of regretful concern. “I did n't mean to distress you. I don't think anything is really the matter with my brain !”
“But I 'll tell you what it is,” she went on presently, in her old manner, “I am in a dreadful way with that waterfall, and I wish you 'd lend me one of your caps, or advise me what to do. It's an awful thing when the fashion alters, just as you 've got used to the last one. You can't go back, and you don't dare to go forward. I wish hair was like noses, born in a shape, without giving you any responsibility. But we do have to finish ourselves, and that 's just what makes us restless."
“ You have n't come to the worst yet,” said Miss Craydocke, significantly.
“ What do you mean? What is the worst? Will it come all at once, or will it be broken to me?"
“It will be broken, and that's the worst. One of these years you 'll find a little thin spot coming, may be, and spreading, over your forehead or on the top of your head ; and it 'll be the fashion to comb the hair just so as to show it off, and make it worse ; and for a while that 'll be your thorn in the flesh. And then you 'll begin to wonder why the color is n't so bright as it used to be, but looks dingy, all you can do to it; and again, after a while, some day, in a strong light, you 'll see there are white threads in it, and the rest is fading ; and so by degrees, and the degrees all separate pains, you 'll have to come to it and give up the crown of your youth, and take to scraps of lace and muslin, or a front, as I did a dozen years ago."
Sin Saxon had no sauciness to give back for that; it made her feel all at once that this old Miss Craydocke had really been a girl too, with golden hair like her own, perhaps, -and not so very far in the past either but that a like space in her own future could picture itself to her mind; and something, quite different in her mood from ordinary, made her say, with even an unconscious touch of reverence in her voice, _“I wonder if I shall bear it, when it comes, as well as you !”
“ There's a recompense,” said Miss Craydocke. “You 'll have got it all then. You 'll know there 's never a fifty or a sixty years that does n't hold the tens and the twenties.”
“I've found out something,” said Sin Saxon, as she came back to the girls again. “A picked-up dinner argues a fresh one some time. You can't have cold roast mutton unless it has once been hot!” And never a word more would she say to explain herself.
Author of " Faith Gartney's Girlhood.”
CUPPOSE for a moment that, until this year, there had never been a
May-flower at all, and imagine how it would seem to come suddenly upon a long trail of them, which, when pulled up, would fill both hands with a luxuriance of bloom sweetening every wind that blew. How people would crowd from far and near to gain a single glimpse of the wonder-blossoms for whose sake other flowers would seem poor and common! And it was with these feelings, doubtless, that the first finders long ago regarded their new treasure ; for May-flowers, strange as it may appear, did not always blossom upon the earth. To be sure, they have been with us so long that probably not even the very oldest person you know could say in what year they came ; but if the little brook that runs through the edge of the woods would only stop laughing until it could speak, I am sure it might tell of a time when its banks were not flushed with the sweet pink clusters. And so could I, for I learned the whole story one day in the pine-woods, where I had