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NOTE.

Whatever credit may be due to the bits of poetry in these volumes, it is not due to the writer of the rest. She has them only by gift-not the gift of nature.

QUE ECHY.

CHAPTER I.

A single cloud on a sunny day

When all the rest of heaven is clear,
A frown upon the atmosphere,

That hath no business to appear,
When skies are blue and earth is gay.

BYRON.

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" COM TOME, dear grandpa !-the old mare and the wagon are

at the gate-all ready." "Well, dear!” — responded a cheerful hearty voice, “they must wait a bit; I haven't got my hat yet.

“O I'll get that.”

And the little speaker, a girl of some ten or eleven years old, dashed past the old gentleman and running along the narrow passage which led to his room soon returned with the hat in her hand.

Yes, dear, but that ain't all. I must put on my greatcoat-and I must look and see if I can find any money

“O yes---for the post-office. It's a beautiful day, grandpa. Cynthy !_won't you come and help grandpa on with his great-coat?“And I'll go out and keep watch of the old mare till you're ready."

A needless caution. For the old mare, though spirited enough for her years, had seen some fourteen or fifteen of them and was in no sort of danger of running away. She stood in what was called the back meadow, just without the little paling fence that enclosed a small courtyard round the house. Around this courtyard rich pasture-fields lay

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on every side, the high road cutting through themi not more than a hundred or two feet from the house.

The little girl planted herself on the outside of the paling and setting her back to it eyed the old mare with great contentment; for besides other grounds for security as to her quiet behaviour, one of the men employed about the farm, who had harnessed the equipage, was at the moment busied in putting some clean straw in the bottom of the vehicle.

Watkins," said the child presently to this person, “ here is a strap that is just ready to come unbuckled.”

“ What do you know about straps and buckles ?" said the man rather grumly. But he came round however to see what she meant, and while he drew the one and fastened the other took special good care not to let Fleda know that her watchful eyes had probably saved the whole riding party from ruins as the loosing of the strap would of necessity have brought on a trial of the old mare's nerves which not all her philosophy could have been expected to meet. Fleda was satisfied to see the buckle made fast, and that Watkins, roused by her hint or by the cause of it, afterwards took a somewhat careful look over the whole establishment. In high glee then she climbed to her seat in the little wagon, and her grandfather coming out coated and hatted with some difficulty mounted to his place beside her.

“I think Watkins might have taken the trouble to wash the wagon, without hurting himself," said Fleda; "it is all speckled with mud since last time."

· Ha’n’t he washed it !" said the old gentleman in a tone of displeasure.

Watkins !”_ 66 Well." “Why didn't you wash the wagon as I told you?” 6 I did.” " It's all over slosh.”

“ That's Mr. Didenhover's work—he had it out day 'fore yesterday; and if you want it cleaned, Mr. Ringgan, you must speak to him about it. Mr. Didenhover may file his own doings; it's more than I'm a going to."

The old gentleman made no answer, except to acquaint the mare with the fact of his being in readiness to set out.

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A shade of annoyance and displeasure for a moment was upon his face; but the gate opening from the meadow upon the high road had hardly swung back upon its hinges after letting them out when he recovered the calm sweetness of demeanour that was habitual with him, and seemed as well as his little granddaughter to have given care the go-by for the time. Fleda had before this found out another fault in the harness, or rather in Mr. Didenhover, which like a wise little child she kept to herself. A broken place which her grandfather had ordered to be properly mended was still tied up with the piece of rope which had offended her eyes the last time they had driven out. But she said not a word of it, because “ it would only worry grandpa for nothing;" and forgetting it almost immediately she moved on with him in a state of joyous happiness that no mudstained wagon nor untidy rope-bound harness could stir for an instant. Her spirit was like a clear still-running stream which quietly and surely deposits every defiling and obscuring admixture it may receive from its contact with the grosser elements around; the stream might for a moment be clouded; but a little while, and it would run as clear as ever. Neither Fleda nor her grandfather cared a jot for the want of elegancies which one despised, and the other if she had ever known had well nigh forgotten. What mattered it to her that the little old green wagon was rusty and worn, or that years and service had robbed the old mare of all the jauntiness she had ever possessed, so long as the sun shone and the birds sang? And Mr. Ringgan, in any imaginary comparison, might be pardoned for thinking that he was the proud man, and that his poor little equipage carried such a treasure as many a coach and four went without.

“Where are we going first, grandpa ? to the post office ?" - Just there!"

“How pleasant it is to go there always, isn't it, grandpa? You have the paper to get, and I—I don't very often get a letter, but I have always the hope of getting one; and that's something. Maybe I'll have one to-day, grandpa ??? 66 We'll see.

It's time those cousins of yours wrote to

you."

O they don't write to me-it's only Aunt Lucy; I never

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