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“ You will be kind enough to give my respects to your mother,” Mr. Ringgan went on, and thanks for her kind offer. I may perhaps--I don't know-avail myself of it. If anything should bring Mrs. Carleton this way we should like to see her. I am glad to see my friends," he said, shaking the young gentleman's hand, as long as I have a house to ask 'em to!"
“That will be for many years, I trust," said Mr. Carleton respectfully, struck with something in the old gentleman's manner.
"I don't know sir!" said Mr. Ringgan, with again the dignified look of trouble ;-—"it may not be !-I wish you good day, sir."
A mind that in a calm angelic mood
"VE had such a delicious day, dear grandpa,”—said little Fleda as they sat at supper
-"you can't think how kind Mr. Carleton has been.”
“ Has he ?-Well dear-I'm glad on't,--he seems a very nice young man.
"He's a smart-lookin' feller," said Cynthy, who was pouring out the tea. “And we have got the greatest quantity of nuts !” Fleda
“enough for all winter. Cynthy and I will have to make ever so many journeys to fetch 'em all; and they are splendid big ones. Don't you say anything to Mr. Didenhover, Cynthy.
“I don't desire to meddle with Mr. Didenhover unless I've got to,” said Cynthy with an expression of considerable disgust. “You needn't give no charges to me.' ”
“But you'll go with me, Cynthy ?"
“I s'pose I'll have to," said Miss Gall dryly, after a short interval of sipping tea and helping herself to sweetmeats.
This lady had a pervading acidity of face and temper, but it was no more. To take her name as standing for a fair setting forth of her character would be highly injurious to a really respectable composition, which the world's neglect (there was no other imaginable cause) had soured a little.
Almost Fleda's first thought on coming home had been about Mr. Jolly. But she knew very well, without asking, that he had not been there; she would not touch the subject.
“I haven't had such a fine day of nutting in a great while, grandpa,” she said again; "and you never saw such a good hand as Mr. Carleton is at whipping the trees.”
“How came he to go with you ?"
“I don't know, I suppose it was to please me, in the first place; but I am sure he enjoyed it himself; and he liked the pie and cheese, too, Cynthy."
" Where did your cousin go ?" “O he went off after the woodcock. I hope he didn't 66 What do you think of those two young men, Fairy ?" “In what way, grandpa ?" “I mean, which of them do you like the best ??? " Mr. Carleton.
“But t’other one's your cousin,” said Mr. Ringgan, bending forward and examining his little granddaughter's face with a curious pleased look, as he often did when expecting an answer from her.
“Yes," said Fleda, “but he isn't so much of a gentle
" How do you know that ?" “I don't think he is,” said Fleda quietly, “But why, Fairy ?" " He doesn't know how to keep his word as well, grand
“Ay, ay ? let's hear about that,” said Mr. Ringgan.
A little reluctantly, for Cynthia was present, Fleda told the story of the robins, and how Mr. Carleton would not let the gun be fired. “Wa’n’t your cousin a little put out by that?”
They were both put out,” said Fleda; “Mr. Carleton was very angry for a minute, and then Mr. Rossitur was angry, but I think he could have been angrier if he had chosen."
Mr. Ringgan laughed, and then seemed in a sort of amused triumph about something.
“ Well dear!” he remarked after a while, you'll never buy wooden nutmegs, I expect." Fleda laughed and hoped not, and asked him why he
But he didn't tell her. “Mr. Ringgan,” said Cynthy, “hadn't I better run up
the hill after supper, and ask Mis' Plumfield to come down and help to-morrow? I s'pose you'll want considerable of a set-out; and if both them young men comes you'll want some more help to entertain 'er than I can give you, it's likely.”
“Do so-do so," said the old gentleman. “Tell her who I expect, and ask her if she can come and help you, and me too."
“O) and I'll go with you, Cynthy," said Fleda. “I'll get aunt Miriam to come, I know."
"I should think you'd be run off your legs already, Flidda,” said Miss Cynthia; “what ails you to want to be going again ?"
But this remonstrance availed nothing. Supper was hurried through, and leaving the table standing Cynthia and Fleda set off to 6 run up the hill.”
They were hardly a few steps from the gate when they heard the clatter of horses' hoofs behind them, and the two young gentlemen came riding hurriedly past, having joined company and taken their horses at Queechy Run. Rossitur did not seem to see his little cousin and her companion; but the doffed cap and low inclination of the other rider as they flew by called up a smile and blush of pleasure to Fleda's face; and the sound of their horses' hoofs had died away in the distance before the light had faded from her cheeks or she was quite at home to Cynthia's observations. She was possessed with the feeling, what a delightful thing it was to have people do things in such a
“That was your cousin, wa’n’t it ?” said Cynthy, when the spell was off.
"No," said Fleda, “ the other one was my cousin."
“ Well--I mean one of them fellers that went by. He's a soldier, ain't he ???
“An officer," said Fleda.
"Well, it does give a man an elegant look to be in the militie, don't it? I should admire to have a cousin like that. It's dreadful becoming to have that what is it they call it ?--to let the beard grow over the mouth. I spose they can't do that without they be in the army, can
“I don't know," said Fleda. “I hope not. I think it is very ugly. “Do you? Oh !-I admire it. It makes a man look so
! Å few hundred yards from Mr. Ringgan's gate the road began to wind up a very long heavy hill. Just at the hill's foot it crossed by a rude bridge the bed of a noisy brook that came roaring down from the higher grounds, turning sundry mill and factory wheels in its way. About half way up the hill one of these was placed, belonging to a mill for sawing boards. The little building stood alone, no other in sight, with a dark background of wood rising behind it on the other side of the brook; the stream itself running smoothly for a small space above the mill, and leaping down madly below, as if it disdained its bed and would clear at a bound every impediment in its way to the sea. When the mill was not going the quantity of water that found its way down the hill was indeed very small, enough only to keep up a pleasant chattering with the stones; but as soon as the stream was allowed to gather all its force and run free its loquacity was such that it would prevent a traveller from suspecting his approach to the mill
, until, very near, the monotonous hum of its saw could be heard. This was a place Fleda dearly loved. The wild sound of the waters, and the lonely keeping of the scene, with the delicious smelí of the new-sawn boards, and the fascination of seeing the great logs of wood walk up to the relentless tireless up-anddown-going steel; as the generations of men in turn present themselves to the course of those sharp events which are the teeth of Time's saw; until all of a sudden the master spirit, the man-regulator of this machinery, would perform some conjuration on lever and wheel,--and at once, as at the touch of an enchanter, the log would be still and the saw stay its work ;-the business of life came to a stand, and the romance of the little brook sprang up again. Fleda never tired of it--never. She would watch the saw play and stop, and go on again; she would have her ears dinned with the hoarse clang of the machinery, and then listen to the laugh of the mill-stream ; she would see with untiring patience one board after another cut and cast aside, and log succeed to log; and never turned weary away from that