Queechy, Volume II
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Queechy, Volume II


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The Project Gutenberg eBook, Queechy, Volume II, by Elizabeth WetherellThis eBook is for the use of anyone anywhere at no cost and with almost no restrictions whatsoever. You may copy it,give it away or re-use it under the terms of the Project Gutenberg License included with this eBook or online atwww.gutenberg.orgTitle: Queechy, Volume IIAuthor: Elizabeth WetherellRelease Date: June 26, 2006 [eBook #18691]Language: English***START OF THE PROJECT GUTENBERG EBOOK QUEECHY, VOLUME II***Susan Warner (1819-1885), Queechy (1852), Tauchnitz edition 1854Produced by Daniel FROMONTtome 2COLLECTIONOFBRITISH AUTHORSTAUCHNITZ EDITION.VOL. 312QUEECHY. BY ELIZABETH WETHERELL .IN TWO VOLUMES.VOL. II.TAUCHNITZ EDITIONby the same author,THE WIDE WIDE WORLD 1 vol.THE HILLS OF THE SHATEMUC 2 vols.SAY AND SEAL 2 vols.THE OLD HELMET 2 vols.QUEECHY.BYELIZABETH WETHERELLAUTHOR OF "THE WIDE, WIDE WORLD."IN TWO VOLUMES.AUTHOR'S EDITION.IN TWO VOLUMESVOL. IILEIPZIGBERNHARD TAUCHNITZ1854CONTENTSOF VOLUME II.Chapter I. The Brook's old Song, and the newII. Flighty and unsatisfactoryIII. Disclosures by Mr. SkillcornIV. Mr. Olmney's cause arguedV. Sometimes inconvenient, "from the loop-hole of retreat, to peep at such a world"VI. Fleda's white MuslinVII. How the Fairy engaged two EnglishmenVIII. Fleda forgets herselfIX. The Roses and the GentlemenX. "An unseen enemy round the corner"XI. The Fairy at her work againXII. A Night of uncertain lengthXIII. ...



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The Project Gutenberg eBook, Queechy, Volume II, by Elizabeth Wetherell
This eBook is for the use of anyone anywhere at no cost and with almost no restrictions whatsoever. You may copy it, give it away or re-use it under the terms of the Project Gutenberg License included with this eBook or online at www.gutenberg.org
Title: Queechy, Volume II
Author: Elizabeth Wetherell
Release Date: June 26, 2006 [eBook #18691]
Language: English
Susan Warner (1819-1885), Queechy (1852), Tauchnitz edition 1854
Produced by Daniel FROMONT
tome 2
VOL. 312
by the same author,
SAY AND SEAL 2 vols.
Chapter I. The Brook's old Song, and the new
II. Flighty and unsatisfactory
III. Disclosures by Mr. Skillcorn
IV. Mr. Olmney's cause argued
V. Sometimes inconvenient, "from the loop-hole of retreat, to peep at such a world"
VI. Fleda's white Muslin
VII. How the Fairy engaged two Englishmen
VIII. Fleda forgets herself
IX. The Roses and the Gentlemen
X. "An unseen enemy round the corner"
XI. The Fairy at her work again
XII. A Night of uncertain length
XIII. A Thorn enters
XIV. Dealings with the Press
XV. Ends with soft music
XVI. How Fleda was watched by blue eyes
XVII. What pleasant people one meets in Society
XVIII. How much trouble one may have about a note
XIX. Aromatic vinegar
XX. The fur-cloak on a journey
XXI. Quarrenton to Queechy
XXII. Montepoole becomes a point of interest
XXIII. The house on "the hill" once more
XXIV. The first one that left Queechy
XXV. The last Sunset there
XXVI. Fleda alone on an Isthmus
XXVII. The Gothic chapel before breakfast
"He that has light within his own clear breast, May sit i' th' centre and enjoy bright day." MILTON.
The farming plan succeeded beyond Fleda's hopes thanks not more to her wisdom than to the nice tact with which the wisdom was brought into play. The one was eked out with Seth Plumfield's; the other was all her own. Seth was indefatigably kind and faithful. After his own day's work was done, he used to walk down to see Fleda, go with her often to view the particular field or work just then in question, and give her the best counsel dictated by great sagacity and great experience. It was given, too, with equal frankness and intelligence, so that Fleda knew the steps she took, and could maintain them against the. prejudice or the ignorance of her subordinates. But Fleda's delicate handling stood her yet more in stead than her strength. Earl Douglass was sometimes unmanageable, and held out in favour of an old custom or a prevailing opinion in spite of all the weight of testimony and light of discovery that could be brought to bear upon him. Fleda would let the thing go. But seizing her opportunity another time, she would ask him to try the experiment on a piece of the ground, so pleasantly and skilfully, that Earl could do nothing but shut his mouth and obey, like an animal fairly stroked into good humour. And as Fleda always forgot to remind him that she had been right and he wrong, he forgot it too, and presently took to the new way kindly. In other matters he could be depended on, and the seed-time and harvest prospered well. There was hope of making a good payment to Dr. Gregory in the course of a few months.
As the spring came forward, Fleda took care that her garden should both gardens, indeed. There she and Philetus had the game in their own hands, and beautifully it was managed. Hugh had full occupation at the mill. Many a dollar this summer was earned by the loads of fine fruits and vegetables which Philetus carried to Montepoole; and accident opened a new source of revenue. When the courtyard was in the full blaze of its beauty, one day an admiring passer-by modestly inquired if a few of those exquisite flowers might be had for money. They were given him most cheerfully that time; but the demand returned, accompanied by the offer, and Fleda obliged herself not to decline it. A trial it was, to cut her roses and jessamines for anything but her own or her friends' pleasure, but, according to custom, she bore it without hesitation. The place became a resort for all the flower-lovers who happened to be staying at the Pool; and rose-leaves were changed into silver pennies as fast as in a fairy-tale.
But the delicate mainspring that kept all this machinery in order suffered from too severe a strain. There was too much running, too much considering, too much watchfulness. In the garden, pulling peas, and seeing that Philetus weeded the carrots right in the field or the wood-yard, consulting and arranging, or maybe debating, with Earl Douglass, who acquired by degrees an unwonted and concentrated respect for womankind in her proper person; breakfast waiting for her often before she came in; in the house, her old housewifery concerns, her share in Barby's cares or difficulties, her sweet countenancing and cheering of her aunt, her dinner, her work; then when evening came, budding her roses, or tying her carnations, or weeding, or raking the ground between them (where Philetus could do nothing), or training her multiflora and sweet-brier branches; and then often, after all, walking up to the mill to give Hugh a little earlier a home smile, and make his way down pleasant. No wonder if the energies which owed much of their strength to love's nerving, should at last give out, and Fleda's evening be passed in wearied slumbers. No wonder if many a day was given
up to the forced quietude of a headache, the more grievous to Fleda, because she knew that her aunt and Hugh always found the day dark that was not lightened by her sun-beam. How brightly it shone out the moment the cloud of pain was removed, winning the shadow from their faces and a smile to their lips, though solitude always saw her own settle into a gravity as fixed as it was soft.
"You have been doing too much, Fleda," said Mrs. Rossitur, one morning when she came in from the garden.
"I didn't know it would take me so long," said Fleda, drawing a long breath: "but I couldn't help it. I had those celery plants to prick out and then I was helping Philetus to plant another patch of corn."
"He might have done that without help, I should think."
"But it must be put in to-day, and he had other things to do."
"And then you were at your flowers?"
"Oh, well! budding a few roses that's only play. It was time they were done. But I am tired; and I am going up to see Hugh it will rest me and him too."
The gardening frock and gloves were exchanged for those of ordinary wear, and Fleda set off slowly to go up to the saw- mill.
She stopped a moment when she came upon the bridge, to look off to the right where the waters of the little run came hurrying along through a narrow wooded chasm in the hill, murmuring to her of the time when a little child's feet had paused there, and a child's heart danced to its music. The freshness of its song was unchanged, the glad rush of its waters was as joyous as ever, but the spirits were quieted that used to answer it with sweeter freshness and lighter joyousness. Its faint echo of the old-time laugh was blended now in Fleda's ear with a gentle wail for the rushing days and swifter-fleeing delights of human life; gentle, faint, but clear she could hear it very well. Taking up her walk again, with a step yet slower, and a brow yet more quiet, she went on till she came in sight of the little mill; and presently, above the noise of the brook, could hear the saw going. To her childish ears what a signal of pleasure that had always been! and now she sighed, and stopping at a little distance, looked for Hugh. He was there; she saw him in a moment going forward to stop the machinery, the piece of timber in hand having walked its utmost length up to the saw; she saw him throwing aside the new-cut board, and adjusting what was left till it was ready for another march up to head-quarters. When it stopped the second time, Fleda went forward. Hugh must have been busy in his own thoughts, for he did not see her until he had again adjusted the log, and set the noisy works in motion. She stood still. Several huge timbers lay close by, ready for the saw; and on one of them where he had been sitting, Fleda saw his Bible lying open. As her eye went from it to him, it struck her heart with a pang that he looked tired, and that there was a something of delicacy, even of fragility, in the air of face and figure both.
He came to meet her, and welcomed her with a smile, that coming upon this feeling set Fleda's heart a-quivering. Hugh's smile was always one of very great sweetness, though never unshadowed; there was often something ethereal in its pure gentleness. This time it seemed even sweeter than usual; but though not sadder, perhaps less sad, Fleda could hardly command herself to reply to it. She could not at the moment speak; her eye glanced at his open book.
"Yes, it rests me," he said, answering her.
"Rests you, dear Hugh!"
He smiled again. "Here is somebody else that wants resting, I am afraid," said he, placing her gently on the log; and before she had found anything to say, he went off again to his machinery. Fleda sat looking at him, and trying to clear her bosom of its thick breathing.
"What has brought you up here through the hot sun?" said he, coming back after he had stopped the saw, and sitting down beside her.
Fleda's lip moved nervously, and her eye shunned meeting his. Softly pushing back the wet hair from his temples, she said
"I had one of my fits of doing nothing at home I didn't feel very bright, and thought perhaps you didn't so, on the principle that two negatives make an affirmative "
"I feel bright," said Hugh, gently.
Fleda's eye came down to his, which was steady and clear as the reflection of the sky in Deepwater lake and then hers fell lower.
"Why don't you, dear Fleda?"
"I believe I am a little tired," Fleda said, trying, but in vain, to command herself and look up "and there are states of body when anything almost is enough to depress one."
"And what depresses you now?" said he, very steadily and quietly.
"Oh I was feeling a little down about things in general," said Fleda, in a choked voice, trying to throw off her load with a long breath; "it's because I am tired, I suppose "
"I felt so too, a little while ago," said Hugh. "But I have concluded to give all that up, Fleda."
Fleda looked at him. Her eyes were swimming full, but his were clear and gentle as ever, only glistening a little in sympathy with hers.
"I thought all was going wrong with us," he went on. "But I found it was only I that was wrong; and since that, I have been quite happy, Fleda."
Fleda could not speak to him; his words made her pain worse.
"I told you this rested me," said he, reaching across her for his book; "and now I am never weary long. Shall I rest you with it? What have you been troubling yourself about to-day?"
She did not answer while he was turning over the leaves, and he then said,
"Do you remember this, Fleda 'Truly God is good to Israel, even to them that are of a clean heart.' "
Fleda bent her head down upon her hands.
"I was moody and restless the other day," said Hugh; "desponding of everything; and I came upon this psalm; and it made me ashamed of myself. I had been disbelieving it; and because I could not see how things were going to work good, I thought they were going to work evil. I thought we were wearing out our lives alone here in a wearisome way, and I forgot that it
must be the very straightest way that we could get home. I am sure we shall not want anything that will do us good; and the rest I am willing to want and so are you, Fleda?"
Fleda squeezed his hand that was all. For a minute he was silent, and then went on, without any change of tone.
"I had a notion, awhile ago, that I should like if it were possible for me to go to college; but I am quite satisfied now. I have good time and opportunity to furnish myself with a better kind of knowledge, that I shall want where college learning wouldn't be of much use to me; and I can do it, I dare say, better here in this mill, than if we had stayed in New York, and I had lived in our favourite library."
"But, dear Hugh," said Fleda, who did not like this speech in any sense of it; "the two things do not clash! The better man, the better Christian always, other things being equal. The more precious kind of knowledge should not make one undervalue the less?"
"No," he said; but the extreme quietness and simplicity of his reply smote Fleda's fears; it answered her words and waved her thought. She dared not press him further. She sat looking over the road with an aching heart.
"You haven't taken enough of my medicine," said Hugh, smiling. "Listen, Fleda 'All the paths of the Lord are mercy and truth unto such as keep his covenant and his testimonies.' "
But that made Fleda cry again.
" 'All his paths,' Fleda; then, whatever may happen to you, and whatever may happen to me, or to any of us, I can trust him. I am willing any one should have the world, if I may have what Abraham had 'fear not; I am thy shield and thy exceeding great reward;' and I believe I shall, Fleda; for it is not the hungry that he has threatened to send empty away."
Fleda could say nothing, and Hugh just then said no more. For a little while, near and busy as thoughts might be, tongues were silent. Fleda was crying quietly, the utmost she could do being to keep it quiet; Hugh, more quietly, was considering again the strong pillars on which he had laid his hope, and trying their strength and beauty, till all other things were to him as the mist rolling off from he valley is to the man planted on a watch-tower.
His meditations were interrupted by the tramp of horse; and a party of riders, male and female, came past them up the hill. Hugh looked on as they went by; Fleda's head was not raised.
"There are some people enjoying themselves," said Hugh. "After all, dear Fleda, we should be very sorry to change places with those gay riders. I would not, for a thousand worlds, give my hope and treasure for all other they can possibly have in possession or prospect."
"No, indeed!" said Fleda, energetically, and trying to rouse herself, "and, besides that, Hugh, we have, as it is, a great deal more to enjoy than most other people. We are so happy "
In each other, she was going to say, but the words choked her.
"Those people looked very hard at us, or at one of us," said Hugh. "It must have been you, I think, Fleda."
"They are welcome," said Fleda; "they couldn't have made much out of the back of my sun-bonnet."
"Well, dear Fleda, I must content myself with little more than looking at you now, for Mr. Winegar is in a hurry for his timber to be sawn, and I must set this noisy concern a-going again."
Fleda sat and watched him, with rising and falling hopes and fears, forcing her lips to a smile when he came near her, and hiding her tears at other times; till the shadows stretching well to the east of the meridian, admonished her she had been there long enough; and she left him still going backward and forward tending the saw.
As she went down the hill, she pressed involuntarily her hands upon her heart, for the dull heavy pain there. But that was no plaster for it; and when she got to the bridge the soft singing of the little brook was just enough to shake her spirits from the doubtful poise they had kept. Giving one hasty glance along the road and up the hill, to make sure that no one was near, she sat down on a stone in the edge of the woods, and indulged in such weeping as her gentle eyes rarely knew; for the habit of patience so cultivated for others' sake constantly rewarded her own life with its sweet fruits. But deep and bitter in proportion was the flow of the fountain once broken up. She struggled to remind herself that "Providence runneth not on broken wheels;" she struggled to repeat to herself what she did not doubt, that, "allthe ways of the Lord are mercy and truth" to his people; in vain. The slight check for a moment to the torrent of grief but gave it greater head to sweep over the barrier; and the self-reproach that blamed its violence and needlessness only made the flood more bitter. Nature fought against patience for awhile; but when the loaded heart had partly relieved itself, patience came in again, and she rose up to go home. It startled her exceedingly to find Mr. Olmney standing before her, and looking so sorrowful that Fleda's eyes could not bear it.
"My dear Miss Ringgan! forgive me I hope you will forgive me but I could not leave you in such distress. I knew that in you it could only be from some very serious cause of grief."
"I cannot say it is from anything new, Mr. Olmney except to my apprehensions."
"You are allwell?" he said, inquiringly, after they had walked a few steps in silence.
"Well? yes, Sir," said Fleda, hesitatingly; "but I do not think that Hugh looks very well."
The trembling of her voice told him her thought. But he remained silent.
"You have noticed it?" she said, hastily looking up.
"I think you have told me he always was delicate?"
"And you have noticed him looking so, lately, Mr. Olmney!"
"I have thought so but you say he always was that. If you will permit me to say so, I have thought the same of you, Miss Fleda."
Fleda was silent: her heart ached again.
"We would gladly save each other from every threatening trouble," said Mr. Olmney again, after a pause; "but it ought to content us that we do not know how. Hugh is in good hands, my dear Miss Ringgan."
"I know it, Sir," said Fleda, unable quite to keep back her tears; "and I know very well this thread of our life will not bear the strain always and I know that the strands must, in all probability, part unevenly and I know it is in the power of no blind fate but that "