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again, brisk and alert as ever; but after seeming to rack his brains in search of any actual or possible money-lender was obliged to confess that it was in vain; he could not think of one.
"But I'll tell you what, Mr. Ringgan," he concluded, * I'll turn it over in my mind to-night and see if I can think of any thing that'll do, and if I can I'll let you know. If we hadn't such a nether millstone to deal with, it would be easy enough to work it somehow.”
So they set forth homewards again.
“ Cheer up, dear!” said the old gentleman heartily, laying one hand on his little granddaughter's lap," it will be arranged somehow. Don't you worry your little head with business. God will take care of us.
Yes, grandpa !” said the little girl, looking up with an instant sense of relief at these words; and then looking down again immediately to burst into tears.
Have you seen but a bright lily grow,
Before rude hands have touch'd it?
HERE a ray of light can enter the future, a child's
hope can find a waya way that nothing less airy and spiritual can travel. By the time they reached their own door Fleda's spirits were at par again.
“I am very glad we have got home, aren't you, grandpa?” she said as she jumped down; “I'm so hungry. I guess we are both of us ready for supper, don't you think so ?”
She hurried up stairs to take off her wrappings and then came down to the kitchen, where standing on the broad hearth and warming herself at the blaze, with all the old associations of comfort settling upon her heart, it occurred to her that foundations so established could not be shaken. The blazing fire seemed to welcome her home and bid her dismiss fear; the kettle singing on its accustomed hook looked as if quietly ridiculing the idea that they could be parted company; her grandfather was in his cushioned chair at the corner of the hearth, reading the newspaper, as she had seen him a thousand times; just in the same position, with that collected air of grave enjoyment, one leg crossed over the other, settled back in his chair but upright, and scanning the columns with an intent but most un-careful face. A face it was that always had a rare union of fineness and placidness. The table stood spread in the usual place, warmth and comfort filled every corner of the room, and Fleda began to feel as if she had been in an uncomfortable dream, which was very absurd, but from which she was very glad she had awoke.
“What have you got in this pitcher, Cynthy ?" said she. “Muffins !-0 let me bake them, will you? I'll bake
“Now Flidda,” said Cynthy, “just you be quiet. There ain't no place where you can bake 'em. I'm just going to clap 'em in the reflector—that's the shortest way I can take to do 'em. You keep yourself out o’muss.
"They won't be muffins if you bake 'em in the reflector, Cynthy; they aren't half so good. Ah, do let me! I won't make a bit of muss."
“ Where'll you do 'em ?"
“In grandpa's room—if you'll just clean off the top of the stove for me-now do, Cynthy! I'll do 'em beautifully, and you won't have a bit of trouble.--Come!"
“It'll make an awful smoke, Flidda; you'll fill your grandpa's room with the smoke, and he won't like that, I guess.
“O he won't mind it,” said Fleda. “Will you, grandpa ?"
“What, dear?”—said Mr. Ringgan, looking up at her from his paper with a relaxing face which indeed promised to take nothing amiss that she might do. “Will you mind if I fill your room with smoke ?"
No, dear!” said he, the strong heartiness of his acquiescence almost reaching a laugh ---No, dear !---fill it with anything you like !"
There was nothing more to be said; and while Fleda in triumph put on an apron and made her preparations, Cynthy on her part, and with a very good grace, went to get ready the stove; which being a wood stove, made of sheet iron, with a smooth even top, afforded in Fleda's opinion the very best possible field for muffins to come to their perfection. Now Fleda cared little in comparison for the eating part of the business; her delight was by the help of her own skill and the stove-top to bring the muffins to this state of perfection; her greatest pleasure in them was over when they were baked.
A little while had passed, Mr. Ringgan was still busy with his newspaper, Miss Cynthia Gall going in and out on various errands, Fleda shut up in the distant room with the muffins and the smoke; when there came a knock at the door, and Mr. Ringgan's " Come in !"--was followed by the
entrance of two strangers, young, well-dressed, and comely. They wore the usual badges of seekers after game, but their guns were left outside.
The old gentleman's look of grave expectancy told his want of enlightening.
“I fear you do not remember me, Mr. Ringgan,” said the foremost of the two coming up to him,-“my name is Rossitur-Charlton Rossitura cousin of
a cousin of your little granddaughter. I have only”
“0 I know you now!” said Mr. Ringgan, rising and grasping his hand heartily,—“you are very welcome, sir. How do you do? I recollect you perfectly, but you took me by surprise. How do you do, sir ? Sit down-sit
And the old gentleman had extended his frank welcome to the second of his visitors almost before the first had time to utter,
My friend Mr. Carleton." "I
couldn't imagine what was coming upon me," said Mr. Ringgan cheerfully, “for you weren't anywhere very near my thoughts; and I don't often see much of the gay world that is passing by me. You have grown since I saw you last, Mr. Rossitur. You are studying at West Point, I believe."
"No sir; I was studying there, but I had the pleasure of bringing that to an end last June.”
“Ah!-Well, what are you now? not a cadet any lon- . ger, I suppose.
“No sir-we hatch out of that shell lieutenants." “Hum.-And do you intend to remain in the army ?"
Certainly sir, that is my purpose and hope.' “ Your mother would not like that, I should judge. I
I do not understand how she ever made up her mind to let you become that thing which hatches out into a lieutenant. Gentle creatures she and her sister both were.—How was it Mr. Rossitur ? were you a wild young gentleman that wanted training ?"
56 I have had it sir, whether I wanted it or no."
" Hum!-How is he, Mr. Carleton ?-sober enough to command men ???
* I have not seen him tried, sir," said this gentleman smi
ling ; " but from the inconsistency of the orders he issues to his dogs I doubt it exceedingly.”
Why Carleton would have no orders issued to them at all, I believe,” said young Rossitur ; "he has been saying "hush' to me all day.”
The old gentleman laughed in a way that indicated intelligence with one of the speakers --which, appeared not.
“So you've been following the dogs to-day," said he. 6 Been successful ???
“Not a bit of it,said Rossitur, 66 Whether we got on the wrong grounds, or didn't get on the right ones, or the dogs didn't mind their business, or there was nothing to fire at, I don't know; but we lost our patience and got nothing in exchange.
Speak for yourself,” said the other. “I assure you I was sensible of no ground of impatience while going over such a superb country as this."
" It is a fine country,” said Mr. Ringgan,---- all this tract; and I ought to know it, for I have hunted every mile of it for many a mile around. There used to be more game than partridges in these hills when I was a young man ;-bears and wolves, and deer, and now and then a panther, to say nothing of rattlesnakes."
“That last-mentioned is an irregular sort of game, is it not ?" said Mr. Carleton smiling.
“Well, game is what you choose to make it,” said the old gentleman. “I have seen worse days' sport than I saw once when we were out after rattlesnakes and nothing else. There was a cave sir, down under a mountain a few miles to the south of this, right at the foot of a bluff some four or Ave hundred feet sheer down,-it was known to be a resort of those creatures; and a party of us went out,-it's many years ago now,--to see if we couldn't destroy the nest exterminate the whole horde. We had one dog with us, a little dog, a kind of spaniel; a little white and yellow fel. low,--and he did the work! Well, sir,--how many of those vermin do you guess that little creature made a finish of that day?-of large and small, sir, there were two hundred and twelve."
“He must have been a gallant little fellow." s6 You never saw a creature, sir, take to a sport better;