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APPLETONS' NEW HANDY-VOLUME SERIES. 



STJMMEE IDYL. 



BT 

CHRISTIAN REID, \i:k<-«-^ 

ATTTHOB OF "VALEBIE AYLMBB,*' "BONMY KATE," ETC., VTO, 



3AXr^>^^O.xv^ j JOo^vvC.X 



NEW YORK: 
D. APPLETON AND COMPANY, 

72 FIFTH AVENUE. 
1895. 



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HARVARD 

UNIVERSITY 

UBRARY 



OOPTBIOHT BY 

D. APPLETON * COMPANT, 

18T8. 



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OOI^tENTS. 



CHAPTKB r. PA6V 

L "I, TOO, Shepherds^.i^^jI^jkcadia^PWIlt" . 6 

n. "Beyond the Magio Valley lay" . . 18 

in. "My Love she's but a Lassie yet" . .31 

IV. "In Natube's Eyes to look and to bejoice" 43 

V. "LiNOEB, Gentle Time!" ... 64 

VI. "The Mood of Woman who can tell?" . 66 

VII. "Love was in the Nsxt Degbee" . . 76 

VIII. "Sweet is Tbue Love, though given in vain, 

IN vain" . . . . .91 

IX. "Love the Gift is love the Debt" . 98 

X. "Some thebe be that Shadows kiss" . . 106 

XL " Westwabd HO ! " .... 116 

XII. "How should I GREET THEE?" . . .127 

XIII. "If she be NOT faib to me" . . 142 

XIV. "Undeb the Greenwood Bough" . . 166 
XV. "Oh, my Cousin, shallow-heabted" . 167 

XVL "0 Last Regbet, Regbet can die" . . 184 

XVn. "Sweet Innisfallen, fabk thee well!" . 198 



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A SUMMER IDYL. 



CHAPTER I. 

"l, TOO, SHEPHEBDS, IN ABCADIA DWELT." 

" One thing is certain," say& Geoffrey Charl- 
ton, laying down his pen as he speaks ; " there 
mnst be an end of this. K not, there will be an 
end of me ; and I am not ready to be taken off 
by brain-fever quite yet. Foster told me the 
other day that I must leave the city, and I begin 
to think that he is right. The question is, where 
to go ? " 

He leans back in his chair, clasps his hands 
behind his head, and reflects. Scores of flies buzz 
and drone around him, scores more thirstily drink 
the ink from the much-erased and blotted manu- 
script on the table, while a few commit suicide in 
the open inkstand. Against the closed window- 
blinds the sun of July is beating hotly ; from the 
paved street outside a white glare rises ; across the 
way a hand-organ is listlessly giving forth the 



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6 A SUMMER IDYL. 

strains of "Mulligan Guards," and overhead a 
painter of Bohemian tendencies is entertaining a 
company of friends, on whom the heat of the day- 
seems to exercise no sedative effect. 

" This is decidedly not one of those quiet re- 
treats which genius loves ; neither is it a cool 
one," continues Mr. Charlton, presently. " I must 
change my quarters, that is evident. But where 
shall I go? A summer 'resort' would simply 
make an end of me* by slow boredom instead of 
quick work. What I want is novelty of scene, 
health of body, and refreshment of mind. Shall 
I go out to the Plains and join an exploring par- 
ty ? Shall I go to Nova Scotia, and dream away 
a month or two ? Shall I — confound it ! there is 
somebody at the door. Come in ! " 

The door opens, and a young man enters — a 
remarkably handsome young fellow, whose face 
is flushed with heat, and whose brown hair clings 
to his brow in short, damp curls when he takes off 
his hat. 

" What, Sunderland, is it you ? " says Charl- 
ton. "I have not seen you for so long that I 
thought you were out of town." 

"Exactly what I thought of you," answers 
Sunderland, subsiding into a chair, " until I met 
Renshaw this morning, and he told me you were 
still here. Fearfully hot, isn't it? By Jove, 
Charlton, you'll excuse me for saying that you 
look awfully overworked." 



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"I, TOO, SHEPHERDS, IN ARCADIA DWELT." 7 

"I feel awfully overworked,'^ returns Charlton, 
grimly. " Night-work on the Telegraphy and day- 
work for two or three journals and magazines, is 
calculated to tell on a man unless he has the mus- 
cles of a horse and the nerves of an elephant. I 
have neither, and it has told on me. It has come 
to this — that I must go away and rest, or break 
down, and be sent to a hospital with brain-fever.'* 

"I should go away and rest," says Sunder- 
land. *^ It is the pleasanter alternative of the two. 
Where shall you go ? " 

"That is the question I was asking myself 
when you came in, and I have received no satis- 
factory reply. I want to go to some quiet place 
and work on my novel. You are not aware, per- 
haps, that I have a novel in hand destined to 
make me famous." 

"That is your idea of resting, is it?" says 
Sunderland. "You literary men are certainly 
odd ! My dear fellow, have you not learned yet 
that all work and no play makes Jack a very dull 
boy? Take my advice — ^put your novel aside, 
and come with me. I leave the city to-morrow.'* 

"Whither bound?" 

" To Canada, Niagara, and the lakes." 

"What! alone?" 

"No — with the Prestons. They propose to 
make an extensive summer tour, going south fi- 
nally by the Mississippi River." 

" And so you are still in the chains of the fair 



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8 A SUMMER IDYL. 

Gertrude," says Charlton. " I fancied that affab- 
would have become antediluvian by this time. 
Wasn't it two months ago that you made her 
acquaintance ? No, you can't tempt me by any 
such programme as that. I pine for Arcadia, and 
Arcadia does not exist in any region where fash- 
ionable hotels and summer tourists abound." 

" I wonder if I don't know a place that would 
suit you ? " says Sunderland, with the air of one 
whom a bright thought has struck. " I certainly 
know — not exactly a bank where the wild, thyme 
grows, but a country where the whistle of a loco- 
motive has never sounded, where fashionable hotels 
are unkuDwn, and summer tourists rarely wander." 

"Are you in earnest ?" asks Charlton. "Let 
me tell you this is no jesting matter ! If Arcadia 
is to be found, I mean to find it. Once or twice 
in a man's life, I suppose, a rural longing seizes 
him. Such a longing has seized me just now, and 
if you are in earnest " 

" Of course I am in earnest," says Sunderland. 
" What else should I be ? You remember having 
heard me speak of my cousin Flora Tyrrell, I am 
sm-e?" 

" Remember I I should think I did ! " re- 
sponds Charlton, with a sigh which is eloquent of 
past boredom. " But she has been out of date for 
several months ; you don't mean to speak of her 
again, do you? And what possible connection 
has she with Arcadia?" 



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"I, TOO, SHEPHERDS, IN AROADU DWELT." 9 

" Only the slight connection of living in it,** 
says Sunderland, a little stiffly. " You have heard 
of Western North Carolina, haven't you ? But I 
don't suppose you have ever been there." 

"You suppose quite rightly," says Charlton. 
" I have never been there, but I am aware that 
some adventurous travelers have declared the 
country to be picturesque and worth visiting. Is 
that your Arcadia ? " 

"That is my Arcadia. I ought to know it 
well, for every summer of my boyhood was spent 
there; and I inclined to think that a man like 
you, who cares nothing for fashionable gayety, 
might like it exceedingly. Frankly, it bores me 
terribly ; but you are different." 

" I confess I am more likely to be bored by 
men than by Nature," says Charlton, quietly. 
"Will you have a cigar? Now" — ^after he has 
lighted his own — " tell me about this place. Where 
is it ? and how is it reached ? And what has your 
cousin to do with it ? " 

"I have told you that she lives there," an- 
swers Sunderland. " Poor little Flora ! I used 
to be very fond of her ; but, of course, such fan- 
cies fade away as a man grows older. You laugh 
at me, but no doubt you have a goodly number 
of them yourself, Charlton." 

"Perhaps so," says Charlton, in a non-com- 
mittal tone. " But to return to Arcadia — " 

" I wish to heaven you would go there ! " in- 



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10 A SUMMER IDYL. 

terrupts Sunderland, with sudden energy. " You 
might do me a very great favor if you had a 
mind that way." 

" I am not particularly obliging as a general 
rule," says Charlton ; " but, if I go, I should not 
mind doing you a favor — provided it entails no 
trouble. What is it?" 

Sunderland does not answer for a minute. He 
sits and gazes steadily at the floor, his cigar, from 
which faint wreaths of blue smoke curl, held be- 
tween the fingers of his right hand, while with 
his left he caresses gently one of the silken brown 
whiskers, of which he is very proud. Charlton 
leans his head against the back of his chair and 
watches him with a haK-amused smile. He likes 
the young man despite his vanity, his egotism, 
his volatile lightness — likes him because he is al- 
ways an agreeable companion, and thoroughly a 
prince of good-fellows, open-handed, generous- 
hearted, sunny-tempered. It is no new thing for 
people to like Sunderland. They have never done 
anything else since he was bom ; and Sunderland 
himself is well accustomed to win the tenderness of 
women and the friendship of men. He is also well 
accustomed to making use of his fellow-creatures 
whenever it will serve his convenience to do so ; 
and, since it is likely that Charlton may serve his . 
convenience now, he unhesitatingly prepares to 
make use of him. Charlton on his part, fully 
aware of this, placidly waits to hear what favor 



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«I, TOO, SHEPHERDS, IN ARCADIA DWELT." H 

the other has to request. He is not long kept in 
suspense. Sunderland suddenly looks up and 
speaks a little diffidently : 

" You won't mind if I tell you something of 
a story first. It shall not be long. You have 
heard me talk of my cousin, and perhaps you 
don't need for me to teU you that when I left 
Carolina there was a boy and girl love-affair be- 
tween us. Flora was very pretty, and we had, in 
a great measure, grown up together. I was ex- 
ceedingly attached to her, and of course she liked 
m€." Here Prince Charming pauses, strokes his 
whisker still more gently, and sighs. " However, 
I don't think either of us was very hard hit," he 
goes on in the tone of one administering consola- 
tion to himself. " I soon fell in love with some- 
body else, and very likely Flora did the same ; 
but still I don't know that she did, and so I am 
placed in rather an awkward position." 

" Why so ? " asks Charlton, rolling out a cloud 
of smoke, and watching it curl fantastically about 
his head. 

" I should think you could tell why so," replied 
Sunderland. " A man who isn't a puppy doesn't 
like to speak of such matters. You'll think me 
full of conceit, but I put the questiop to yourself. 
Suppose you had taken a fancy to a cousin whom 
you were always with, and talked nonsense, and 
then gone away and fallen in love in earnest, 
should you like to ask the woman you love to 



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12 A SUMMEB IDYL. 

marry you, while you don't know how much your 
cousin still thinks you bound to her, or— or how 
much she may care for you ? " 

" That is the state of the case, is it ? " says Charl- 
ton, trying heroically to repress a smile. " You 
want to ask Miss Preston to marry you, and you 
are afraid the blow may break your cousin's heart. 
Your consideration, my dear boy, does you credit ; 
but, since I am your father confessor for the time 
being, let us hear how much your honor is in- 
volved. Hearts and darts and things of that kind 
can be trifled with, you know ; but a man's hon- 
or " 

"Must stand firm though the heavens fall," 
says Sunderland, with a slightly uneasy laugh. 
" Yes, I know that. Well, honestly, I don't think 
my honor is involved. Many men would not give 
the matter a thought. There is no engagement 
between Flora and myself ; but I would have 
said at the time that we understood each other. 
I am afraid now that we did understand each 
other a great deal too welL How much she has 
changed in the interval since I saw her last, two 
years ago, I cannot tell. She writes occasionally, 
but her letters tell nothing ; they are much more 
full of the children, the horses, and the neighbors, 
than of herself. She always was proud and shy, 
however, so that does not count." 

"What does count, then?" asks Charlton. 
" The presumption is strong, I should think, that 



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"I, TOO, SHEPHERDS, IN ARCADIA DWELT." 13 

she is a reasonable young lady, who like yourself 
has put youthful folly aside." 

" I wish I were sure of that," says Sunderland, 
sincerely ; " but the trouble is that I am not at 
all sure. Flora never was exactly like other girls. 
I thought I would go this summer and see for 
myself how matters stand ; but the Prestons have 
asked me to join them, and — and I can't well re- 
fuse. But I am still fond of Flora — as fond as ever, 
only in a different way — and I would rather cut 
my throat than seem to act badly toward her." 

" A very good frame of mind," says Charlton, 
approvingly. He looks at the young man with a 
smile which this time is neither satirical nor 
amused — only full of pleasant cordiality. " You 
are in a dilemma, certainly," he adds. " How do 
you mean to escape from it ? " 

" I mean to ask you to give me a helping hand," 
answers Sunderland, emboldened by his tone. 
" You'll not refuse, I am sure, Charlton ! If you 
will only set my mind at rest — and you can do so 
without much trouble to yourself — I shall be the 
most grateful beggar in existence ! " 

" You are already the most impudent ! " says 
Charlton. " What have I to do with your affairs, 
amatory or otherwise ? — and how do you propose 
that I should set your mind at rest ?" 

"Haven't you decided to go to Carolina?" 
asks the other. " If you don't find Arcadia be- 
yond the Blue Ridge, let me tell you that you 



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14 A SUMMER IDYL. 

need never look for it. And Flora lives there. 
I'll give you a letter of introduction to my uncle ; 
he has a charming country-place on the French 
Broad in Transylvania. Such a country, Charl- 
ton ! you can't imagine anything more beautiful ! 
Then you can cultivate Flora's acquaintance, and 
let me know if she has any fancy for me yet." 

" I admire your unparalleled coolness ! " says 
Charlton. " Does it ever occur to you that any 
man or woman was put into the world for other 
purposes than to serve your convenience ? I nev- 
er heard such a proposal in my life! That I 
should start out and explore the unknown wilds 
of North Carolina in order to discover whether or 
not your cousin is still in love with you ! " 

" Now, that is all nonsense ! " says Sunderland, 
rather aggrieved. " I did not make any such pro- 
posal. You said — or if you didn't say, you im- 
plied — that you were going to Carolina, and I 
merely remarked that in that case you could do 
me a favor. You asked me what the favor was, 
and I have told you." 

" You have indeed ! But there are one or two 
small facts to be taken into consideration with re- 
gard to it. In the first place, I have not by any 
means decided to go to Carolina. In the second 
place, if I do go, I believe the transmontane part. 
of the State is of rather large area, and it may 
readily come to pass that I do not meet your 
cousin at alL In the thu*d place, am /a fit per- 



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"I, TOO, SHEPHERDS, IN ARCADIA DWELT." 15 

son for the delicate task of sounding a lady's af- 
fections ? " 

"I consider you a very fit person," answers 
Sunderland. "Don't you write of women as if 
you had turned their heads and their hearts inside 
out and knew aU about them ? You must have 
studied the sex exhaustively at some time or 
other, to have reached such a state of certainty. 
Now, why not apply aU this knowledge to the 
case in point ? " 

" Because it is not absolute knowledge at all," 
replies Charlton. " It is partly intuition, partly 
guess-work, and partly one of the tricks of the 
trade. I know women in the abstract, but wom- 
en in the concrete puzzle me as they puzzle every 
other son of Adam. I might put your cousin in 
a novel and analyze her to my own and the reader's 
satisfaction, but in real life the real woman would, 
ten to one, be an enigma to me." 

" I don't think Flora would be an enigma to a 
man of your knowledge of the world," remarks 
Sunderland insinuatingly. "This is not one of 
the women who tear one to pieces with whims 
and vagaries. She was a frank, straightforward, 
proud Httle soul always." 

"And is it probable that a woman like that 
would let a stranger read her heart as if it were 
a book?" 

" Let you — no ! But she is a girl who is sim- 
plicity itself, who has never been in society, and 



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16 . A SUMMER IDYL. 

whose knowledge of the world is bounded by her 
native hills. If you cannot read her as if she were 
a book, you might as well bum your novel, my 
dear fellow." 

" You think my power of observation would 
not be worth much in such a case ? " says Charlton 
with a quiet smile. "You may be right — who 
knows ? I have had doubts myself on that subject 
sometimes ! Perhaps," he adds meditatively, " this 
suggestion of yours may prove a crucial test of my 
ability. After all, if it were not for the trouble of 
the thing, I might be tempted to take it into con- 
sideration — or if this cousin of yours lived any- 
where short of the Mountains of the Moon." 

" Even the Mountains of the Moon are near at 
hand in this age," says Sunderland. " The rail- 
road will take you to the foot of the Blue Ridge. 
After that, you will find yourself in a region where 
the customs and traditions of fifty years ago still 
linger ; where the people are hospitable, and the 
climate is delightful ; where blue mountains and 
flowery valleys — " 

"That will do!" says Charlton. "You are 
becoming flowery, as well as the valleys. I'll take 
it for granted that the country is very fine. Tell 
me where this uncle of yours lives, and if there is 
any comfortable farm-house in his neighborhood 
where I could be lodged decently, and fed on the 
milk and honey of the land." 

" Flora will be able to tell you all about that," 



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"I, TOO, SHEPHERDS, IN ARCADIA DWELT." 17 

replies Sunderland, in an off-hand way. "The 
best thing for you to do will be to go straight to 
my uncle's house. He is the most hospitable old 
fellow in the world, and will make you heartily 
welcome. I'll write and let him know that you 
are coming — then you can look about and decide 
at your leisure what to do." 

"That may be accordmg to your Carolina 
fashion, but I can't say that I particularly like the 
idea of presenting myself as a guest at the door 
of a man I do not know." 

" But you will know him in ten minutes — and 
Flora, and George^ and Minnie, and Oscar, and all 
the rest of them. By Jove ! if it were not for 
Gertrude, I should like to be going with you ! 
But no doubt I should be bored in a week." 

" No doubt whatever, I am inclined to think. 
See ! here is a map — suppose you show me exactly 
where this El Dorado is situated ? " 

" With pleasure ! " answers Sunderland, start- 
ing up. He crosses the floor and bends over the 
map which the other opens. " Here is the route 
you must follow," he says. 



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CHAPTER n. 



It is doubtful if there is a lovelier spot, in all 
that lovely land known as Western North Caro- 
lina, than the valley of the French Broad in 
Transylvania. Those who have only seen the 
river as it makes its impetuous way through the 
mountains below Asheville, can scarcely conceive 
the gentleness of its crystal current, or the pastoral 
beauty of the scenery surrounding it, in this fair 
valley overshadowed by the cloud-capped heights 
of the Blue Ridge and the Balsam Mountains. 
The traveler passing along the turnpikes finds 
himself in a very Arcadia of fertile loveliness. 
Around on every side are great breadths of rus- 
tling cornfields, and sweeps of green meadow-land, 
bordered by hedges over which the sweetbrier and 
wild clematis run, and under which starry flowers 
shine. With many a winding curve, the river 
flows swiftly by, beneath drooping trees and tan- 
gled vines. Here and there on its banks green 
knolls swell, on almost all of which houses stand. 
Beyond the level farms wooded hillsides rise, while 
again beyond these are the mountain-peaks — so 
blue, so soft, so divinely fair — which make the 
background for every picture. 

The sun is setting behind these peaks, and 



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"BEYOND THE MAGIO VALLEY LAY." 19 

striking with his last rays of gold the tallest tree- 
tops, when over a road which leads through an 
immense field of corn — a road so narrow that two 
vehicles could not pass abreast without trampling 
down the green stalks which border it — Flora 
Tyrrell rides, attended by her brother George. 
A light breeze comes to them, stirring the blades 
of com, and blowing back the light locks of Flora's 
hair. Seen thus, in her closely-fitting habit and 
jockey cap, she looks very small, very slight, very 
young. Very pretty, too ; for her delicate features 
are clearly defined, her complexion has a charming 
bloom which comes and goes, her brown hair is 
full of golden gleams, and her eyes are like bits 
of heaven in their blueness. She does not look a 
day over eighteen, but she is in truth twenty, and, 
despite her childlike appearance, has been for 
four years the mistress of her father's house. 
George — ^next in age to herself — ^is a tall, broad- 
shouldered boy of seventeen, with the same frank 
blue eyes shining out of a very tanned and freckled 
face, hair cut so short that he looks like a convict 
or prize-fighter, and some downy, incipient signs 
of a mustache, which fill him with joy and ex- 
ultation. 

These young people have been to pay a visit, 
and are now returning home — ^riding leisurely and 
discussing many topics, domestic and social. 

" There's a fishing-party going up to the Bal- 
sam next week," says George, "and Tom Fan- 



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20 A SUMMER IDYL. 

shaw and I mean to join it. Several gentlemen 
who are staying in Brevard are going, and two or 
tliree more are coming from Caesar's Head. We'll 
carry tents and be gone about a week." 

"What a pleasant thing it is to be a boy ! " 
Flora says, with a sigh of envy. " I should like 
to take a trip of that description, and I think I 
shall try to make up a party for such an excursion 
later in the season, when Harry comes." 

" Perhaps Harry may be here to go with us 
next week," says George. " How jolly that would 
be ! We'd take the dogs, and have some hunting 
as well as fishing. What a shot Harry was ! Do 
you remember that splendid buck he killed the 
last deer-hunt we went on ? He always had such 
good luck." 

" Luck and skill are different things, George, 
though they are often confounded," says Flora, 
with an air of pride — ^which is for Harry's achieve- 
ments. 

" That is all very fine," returns George, " but 
don't you call it luck when the dogs run the deer 
right past a man's stand ? Other people besides 
Harry can shoot, but sometimes they wait all day 
without a chance to pull trigger." 

"That is very true," says Flora. "I suppose 
there is luck in the matter. But then, when you 
get the chance sometimes, do you not miss the 
deer?" 

"Well, yes — sometimes," admits George, a 



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"BEYOND THE MAGIC VALLEY LAY.*' 21 

Kttle shamefacedly. " But Harry was always a 
dead shot. When is he coming, Floy ? Wher- 
ever I go, somebody asks me that. Everybody 
likes Harry, you know." 

" Yes, I know," says Flora, with a half smile 
and a whole sigh. " He had such pleasant man- 
ners, and was so considerate of others — ^that is 
why people like him. I often beg of you, George, 
to be more careful of ycmr manners. But I do not 
know when he is coming. He has not said." 

Talking in this manner, they ride through the 
rich bottom-lands, and finally come to the river 
again, which has made a sweeping bend around 
them. A bridge spans it here, over which they 
cross. On the farther side a hill rises, crowned 
by a gabled house. A sloping lawn surrounds it 
on all sides, bounded by the river in front, and by 
a stone wall and line of beautiful white pines on 
the side where the road runs. There is a gate at 
the end of the bridge, showing that it is all private 
domain. George opens this, and they pass into 
the grounds. A carriage drive winds around the 
hill, and brings them to the front of the building. 
Here Flora dismounts — slipping lightly to the 
ground without assistance — and gathering up her 
habit enters the house, while George takes the 
horses off to the stable. 

A stranger could not forbear pausing on the 
piazza to admire the magnificent prospect which 
the situation commands — doubly magnificent just 



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2t A SUMMER IDYL. 

now from the glory of sunset which fills with 
radiance the whole western sky ; but Flora knows 
the prospect better than she knows her own face, 
and, much as she admires it, she is at this moment 
thinking of other things. As she enters the hall, 
a voice from the right calls out, " Floy ! is that 
you?" 

" Yes, papa," she answers, and, turning, enters 
the sitting-room. It is a pleasant room at all 
times, with that habitable look which the most 
splendid apartment cannot afford to lack, and the 
grace of arrangement which some women know 
how to bestow; but at present it is more than 
merely pleasant — it is lit up with a stream of sun- 
set light which transforms its homely charm into 
enchantment for the time being. There are pict- 
ures on the walls — engravings and photographs 
chiefly, framed in pretty woodland devices, au- 
tumn leaves and acorns, and fir-cones. The glow 
touches and burnishes these ; touches also the 
ivory keys of the open piano, and the hanging 
basket with trailing sprays of ivy in the bay-win- 
dow. The bald spot on the back of Colonel Tyr- 
rell's head comes in for its share of the illu- 
mination, and the open page of a letter he is 
reading. 

" So you have the mail, papa," says Flora, ad- 
vancing. " Is there anything for me ? " 

" I believe there is a magazine for you," her 
father answers, glancing toward the budget on the 



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"BEYOND THE MAGIC VALLEY LAY." 23 

table ; " but there is no letter, if that is what you 
mean." 

Her face falls a little. "Not even from 
Harry?" she inquires, in a tone which hopes 
against certainty. 

"Not even from Harry, for yow/" replies 
Colonel Tyrrell. "But the scamp has conde- 
scended to write to me, if that is any consolation 
to you." 

" Does he say that he is coming ? " she asks, 
with a sparkle in her eyes. * 

" Not by any means," returns her father, dry- 
ly. " Here is what he says. I was just reading 
it when you came in, and I am not sure that I 
have made it out correctly. He writes an abomi- 
nable hand ! " 

"I never find any difficulty in reading it," 
says Flora. She comes forward as she speaks, 
and, leaning on her father's shoulder, reads aloud 
the letter in his hand. This is what Mr. Sunder- 
land has to say : 

*' * My Deab Uncle : I am more sorry than I 
can tell you that there seems no prospect of my 
being able to come to see you this summer. I 
have been promising myself that pleasure all 
spring, and writing of it, as Flora knows; but life 
is made up of disappointments, and I must take 
my share like all the rest of mankind. When a 
man puts his shoulder to the wheel, and goes to 



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24 A SUMMER IDYL. 

work in earnest, he should not look back, you 
know. 

" * In my present position I am not able to af- 
ford a long holiday, though I shall probably leave 
the city for a short time next week, accompany- 
ing a party of very agreeable people — ^Flora will 
remember that I have once or twice spoken of 
the Prestons of New Orleans — to Canada and 
Niagara.' " 

" Ah," says Colonel Tyrrell, " that is putting 
his shoulder to the wheel with a vengeance ! And 
he cannot afford to come out to Transylvania ! 
If that boy does not go to the dogs — What next, 
Floy?" 

" * Though I cannot come to see you,' " Flora 
reads on, " * I shall take the liberty of sending a 
substitute, who will more than fill my place when 
you know him. He is a particular friend of mine, 
and, as such, I am sure you will give him a wel- 
come. His name is Charlton, and he is a literary 
man of note who promises (everybody says) to be 
famous. He is well connected, well received, and 
an uncommonly good fellow. Flora will like 
him, and I commend him specially to her kind 
offices. He has nearly worked himself to death, 
and wants to recuperate. I have told him that 
you will recommend him to some ideal farm- 
house, where he can be as quiet as he pleases, and 
scribble at a novel he has on hand. It would be 
better for his health and spirits, however, if you 



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"BEYOND THE MAGIC VALLEY LAY." 25 

kept him with you, and George took him out 
deer-hunting among the mountains. 

" ' Tell Flora, with my love, that I will write 
to her soon. Kindest regards to all the house- 
hold, and believe me, my dear uncle, 

" ' Your affectionate nephew, 

" * Hknby Sunderland.' " 

" Upon my word, that is cool ! " says Colonel 
Tyrrell, with emphasis, as his daughter's voice 
ceases. "What the deuce do you suppose the 
scamp means? It is all very well to talk of a 
particular friend, and being sure that we will re- 
ceive him kindly ; but does he imagine that I 
want to entertain any Bohemian scribbler that he 
chooses to send here with a letter of introduc- 
tion?" 

"Harry would not send any one whom you 
would object to receive, papa, I am sure," says 
Flora, quietly. However deep the disappoint- 
ment caused by the letter, she bears it bravely 
and makes no sign. " As for his talking about a 
substitute — of course he knows that is nonsense. 
No one could take his place." 

" I am inclined to think that it is a place which 
is better empty than filled," says Colonel Tyrrell, 
in the tone of one thoroughly vexed. " If that 
letter satisfies you^ Floy " — he throws the letter 
in question impatiently on the table — " you are 
more foolish about Harry, and more blinded to 



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26 A SUMMER IDYL. 

his bad conduct, than I gave you credit for be- 
ing." 

" I hope I am not foolish," says Flora, about 
whose eyes there is something suspiciously dewy, 
" but I can't help thinking that you are unreason- 
able, papa, and — and * bad conduct ' is rather a 
harsh term, don't you think ? If Harry does not 
want to come to see us, should we wish him to do 
so, or feel injured because he does not ? " 

Her father glances at her keenly, but her face 
being turned from the light, he cannot see the 
moisture — ^it can scarcely be called tears — ^in her 
eyes. He only sees the slender, black-robed fig- 
ure on a golden background, and the soft masses 
of bright hair falling on the delicate neck. 

"Tou know your own affairs best," he says 
then, " but I think Harry is acting very badly. 
I am glad that you are able to take it so philo- 
sophically. With regard to this man whom he 
chooses to send — " 

"He may prove very pleasant," says Flora, 
eagerly, glad to turn from the subject of Harry's 
misdemeanors. " At least he will be a novelty. 
* A literary man of note — one who promises to be 
famous.' The only thing is that I fear I shall 
feel a little afraid of him ! " She ends with a 
tremulous laugh. 

"It is a very unwarranted step on Harry's 
part, that of sending such a person here," says 
Colonel Tyrrell, gathering up his newspapers and 



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"BEYOND THE MAGIC VALLEY LAY." 27 

walking out on the piazza. He is, as Sunderland 
averred, one of the most hospitable men in exist- 
ence ; but he is chafed with his nephew, and this 
is his way of showing it. If Harry had written 
that Charlton was coming with him, he would not 
have hesitated to kill his last fatted calf to do 
them honor ; but now, feeling deeply annoyed at 
the offending scapegrace, he turns this annoyance 
against the unoffending stranger. 

Flora stands quite still where she had been 
left, in the middle of the floor — ^her graceful 
head slightly bent, while the sunset glow falls ten- 
derly over her. She does not touch Sunderland's 
letter, which lies where her father disdainfully 
threw it on the table, but her wistful glance seeks 
it out, while her lips set themselves together. It 
is only for a minute that she stands in this atti- 
tude. Then she lifts her head with a start, and 
turns toward the door. " You should not try to 
read by a waning light, papa," she says to Colo- 
nel Tyrrell on the piazza. " I will order lamps." 

At supper there is an animated discussion 
over the stranger who is soon to make his appear- 
ance. George is scornful ; a man who writes 
instead of hunting, and who probably knows lit- 
tle or nothing of fishing, is in his eyes a fit sub- 
ject for contempt, Minnie, who at fifteen is al- 
ready taller than Flora, and full of immature co- 
quetry, is frankly curious and speculative. 

"Will he be pleasant, do you think, Floy?** 



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28 A SUMMER IDYL. 

she asks. "And what has he written — do we 
know his books ? " 

" The only books with which you ought to be 
acquainted are those of which you know least — 
that is, your school-books," says her father, se- 
verely, before Flora can reply. " I shall certainly 
send you to school in September ; for, if this 
novel-reading goes on, your mind will entirely 
run to seed." 

Minnie looks extremely injured. "I don't 
have many novels to read," she says. " I hope 
Mr. Charlton will bring his with him, if he has 
written any." 

Oscar and Nellie are the only members of the 
company who regard the coming event with indif- 
ference. All the rest are more or less interested 
in it, as trifling matters do interest people who 
live a monotonous life. Even Mr. Martin, the 
tutor — a pale young man, who laboriously leads 
George, Minnie, and Oscar up the hill of learning, 
and secretly adores Flora — wonders anxiously 
what the " author " will be like. His acquaint- 
ance with that class of men is very limited, and 
they are therefore invested in his eyes with the 
awe and mystery which always attaches to the 
unknown. 

The household has time to subside from this 
little flutter of expectation, and almost to forget 
it, before the author in question arrives. A week 
passes without any sign of him. "Perhaps he 



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"BEYOND THE MAGIC VALLEY LAY." 29 

does not mean to come at all," says Minnie, dis- 
consolately. She is the only person who is anx- 
ious for Mr. Charlton's appearance. Flora pri- 
vately hopes that he may not come, and the boys 
openly express the same desire. Colonel Tyr- 
rell's first annoyance is over, but he still visits 
his vexation with Harry on the head of Harry's 
"particular friend," and wishes that the latter 
would change his mind and turn his steps in 
another direction. 

It may be safely asserted, as a general rule, 
that things usually happen in this life exactly 
contrary to the manner in which we should like 
to arrange them. If the Tyrrell family wished 
to see Mr. Charlton, he would probably disap- 
point them, as his friend Sunderland has already 
done. Since they are almost a unit in not wish- 
ing to see him, he appears when they are least 
expecting him. 

It is in the morning. The day is very warm 
— ^at least as warm as days ever get to be in this 
high, breezy region. Flora is in the pantry, 
weighing out materials for a cake, with the short, 
black cook assisting her, and Nellie standing by, 
a fascinated spectator. On this scene enter 
Minnie, a French exercise in her hand, and live-, 
liest interest on her face. 

"O Floy I " she cries, "I think Mr. Charlton 
is coming at last I I was working at this hate- 
ful thing " — French exercise indicated — " on the 



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30 A SUMMER IDYL. 

piazza, when I heard the sound of wheels, and, 
looking up, I saw a buggy coming round the 
drive. I am sure it is from Brevard, and Mr. 
Charlton mv^t be in it. I saw a gentleman in a 
round hat, and — ^there I do you hear the door- 
bell?" 

The door-bell is unmistakably to be heard, 
and Flora puts down the scales, looking much 
disconcerted. "It may not be Mr. Charlton," 
she says, trying to reassure herself. "Minnie, 
you should not startle one so I It may be any- 
body else. Papa is not at home, Hester," she 
adds, as a housemaid hurries by the open door. 

Breathless anxiety follows for a minute. 
"How many eggs did you say. Miss Flora?" 
asks Caroline, but Flora does not heed the ques- 
tion. She is wondering if it is Mr. Charlton, 
Harry's formidable friend. Nellie goes to the 
door and peeps. Minnie forgets the dignity of 
her fifteen years far enough to do likewise. " He 
is coming in ! " she whispers, looking back at her 
sister. A moment later doubt is over — Hester 
appears with a letter and a card in her hand. The 
letter is addressed, in Sunderland's well-known 
writing, to Colonel Tyrrell ; the card bears the 
name of Geoffrey Charlton. 

"The gentleman asked for master," Hester 
says, addressing her young mistress, " and when 
I told him he wasn't at home, he told me to give 
those to Miss Tyrrell." 



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"MY LOVE SHE'S BUT A LASSIE YET." 31 

" I told you it was Mr. Charlton I " says Min- 
nie, triumphantly. 

Flora says nothing ; she merely unfastens the 
large domestic apron which covers the front of 
her dress, and walks out of the pantry. 



CHAPTER m. 

"my love she's but a LASSIE YET." 

It is not too much to say that Mr. Charlton 
has been very pleasantly impressed by all that he 
has seen so far of the home of the Tyrrells. The 
beauty of the situation charms his eye at once — 
especially since it bursts upon him with sudden 
effect from his having approached the house in 
the rear. " This is Arcadia indeed I " he thinks, 
when he sees the outspread beauty of the fertile 
valley, the bright river winding through it, the 
magical distance beyond — ^mountains overtopping 
mountains until the farthest heights melt into 
blue infinity — cloud-shadows shifting and falling 
over the wooded hillsides, a clearness in all the 
tints, a brilliancy in the atmosphere which is al- 
together beyond the power of words to describe. 

He is astonished as well as charmed. It is so 
seldom in life that one's longing for an ideal 
pleasure or happiness of any kind is gratified, 
that one is justified in the incredulity with which 



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82 A SUMMER IDYL. 

one generally regards sucti a gratification when it 
comes. Charlton has told himself more than once 
since he began his journey that he is a fool — ^that 
he will find nothing at his destination to repay 
him for such an expedition. Now, all in a min- 
ute, he feels that he is repaid. Already a subtile 
sense of repose is borne to the weary brain and 
overstrained nerves. Let his work be what it will 
— and he would be the first to tell you that it is 
poor enough — ^his is the true artistic temperament 
which feels beauty of color, form, and tone, in 
every fibre. This bright loveliness thrills him as 
one keenly alive to music is thrilled by the first 
exulting notes from a full orchestra. No matter 
what the people whom he is going to meet may 
be — and he has serious misgivings on that score — 
he has found his place of rest, his sylvan city of 
refuge. 

It has been already said that Hester meets 
him at the door and receives his card. She ushers 
him across a hall, where branching antlers hang, 
into the sitting-room. Left here, he glances round 
critically, as he has already glanced at the outside 
of the house. The uncarpeted floor is stained and 
polished, and there are soft rugs before several of 
the couches and deep easy-chairs. A large, old- 
fashioned centre-table is piled with books and pa- 
pers ; the piano is open, and some exercises in 
scales stand on the music-rack ; in the bay-win- 
dow at the end of the apartment are a low chair 



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"MY LOVE SHE'S BUT A LASSIE YET." 33 

tind a woman's work-basket. Other windows open 
on the piazza outside, green shade droops beyond, 
the murmur of the river comes in, and a gentle 
breeze moves the curtains. Over the mantelpiece 
is a fine engraving from one of Landseer's paint- 
ings ; above the piano a head of St. Cecilia hangs. 
Charlton observes these things. " For once luck 
has befriended me I " he says meditatively to 
himself. 

He is standing by one of the windows when 
Flora enters. He hears the rustling sweep of her 
dress as she crosses the floor, and turns. They 
meet by the centre-table. 

" I am glad to see you, Mr. Charlton," says the 
young lady. " My cousin wrote of you some time 
ago, and we have been expecting you ever since. 
I am sorry papa is not at home just now ; but he 
will return presently." 

"You are exceedingly kind. Miss Tyrrell," 
says Charlton, bowing. First impressions are 
strong, and he is not likely to forget the gracious 
tact of this reception. To tell a man that he has 
been expected is to put him at his ease at once ; 
and this Flora, by the simple instinct of courtesy 
and hospitality, has done. " Your cousin assured 
me that I might venture to hope for a very pleas- 
ant welcome if I presented myself in his name," 
he goes on ; " and I see that he was not mistaken." 

" A friend of Harry's could not fail to be wel- 
come," says Flora. "Pray sit down. Do you 
3 



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34 A SUMMER IDTL. 

come from Aslieville? I fear you must have 
found our roads very rough." 

"On the contrary, much better than I ex- 
pected," answers Charlton. He sits down as he 
speaks in the chair which she indicates, and, while 
he praises the excellence of the roads, looks at 
her, and takes in every detail of her personal ap- 
pearance. He is struck at once by her youth and 
her fair looks — ^though these looks fall far short 
of what many people would consider beauty. He 
notes the sweetness of the lips, the frank candor 
of the eyes, the width of the white brow, the 
graceful arch of the well-poised head ; and he 
knows what all these things, separately and collec- 
tively, signify. He notes, also, the low, sweet 
tone of her voice, and is surprised by the gentle 
repose of her manners. 

She, on her part, looks at him, and thinks that 
Harry's friend is not so alarming after all. What 
she sees is a spare, well-knit man of thirty-two or 
three, with an intellectual but not handsome face, 
out of which quiet hazel eyes meet her own. The 
brows above are very dark and decided ; dark 
also the crisp hair, which has perceptibly thinned 
on the temples, and the heavy mustache and Eng- 
lish whiskers. 

They have been talking commonplaces while 
they scrutinize each other in this manner, and 
Flora sounds the first note of something different 
when she says : " I hope you left Harry well ? 



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«MY LOVE SHE'S BUT A LASSIE YET." 36 

He wrote tliat he was going to Canada with a 
party of friends." 

" When I saw him last he was very well in- 
deed," replied Charlton, "but that was not for 
several days before I left the city. His departure 
antedated mine." 

" We have not seen him since he left Carolina 
two years ago," says Flora quietly, " and there- 
fore we hoped that he would come this summer ; 
but it seems we are not to be gratified. He writes 
that we are to take yon as his substitute, Mr. 
Charlton. How do you like the idea ? " 

Charlton shrugs his shoulders slightly. "It 
would be very pleasant for me," he says, " but I 
cannot think that it would be satisfactory as far 
as Sunderland's friends are concerned. He is one 
of the most agreeable and popular people in the 
world, while I — well, it is not good taste to abuse 
one's self, so I will leave you to discover what I 
am. Miss TyrrelL" 

" I have already discovered that you are very 
modest," says Flora, smiling. 

" I beg your pardon, but I must not let you 
begin our acquaintance with a mistaken idea of 
me. I am not modest at all — sometimes I enter- 
tain an insufferably good opinion of myself ; but 
then I know, and take no credit for knowing, 
what I am not. You are probably aware that 
Sunderland is an exceptionally pleasant person.'* 

" You are very kind to say so." 



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36 A SUMMER IDYL. 

^ " Not in the least. Why is it kind to admit 
excellence which we cannot alter by one jot or. 
tittle? Sunderland is exceptionally pleasant — 
even in the great metropolis, where he is now, 
people feel his charm. I am not surprised, there- 
fore, that I have found such a warm recollection 
of him here in his native country. Even the boy 
who drove me over from Brevard dilated upon 
his prowess in hunting and woodcraft." 

" I fear you will hear a great deal of that from 
my brothers," says Flora. " Harry is their ideal 
of manly excellence." 

"I wonder if he is yours ! " Charlton thinks, 
glancing at the gentle, self-possessed face. 

While he is thinking this, a welcome sound 
comes to Flora's ears — that of her father's step in 
the hall. He has entered from the stables, for she 
hears him put down his whip and riding-gloves. 
A minute later he enters the room, is presented to 
Charlton, and shakes that gentleman cordially by 
the hand. He has felt irritably averse to seeing a 
stranger, but now that the stranger has come it 
would not be possible to make him other than 
heartily welcome. 

" You will stay with us, of course," he says 
after the first salutations are over. " What, not 
prepared ? — your trunk in Brevard ? Send for it, 
then — ^I will send a messenger at once." 

"That is quite unnecessary," says Charlton. 
"I have a buggy at the door." 



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"MY LOVE SHE'S BUT A LASSIE YET." 37 

"But it need not come back," says Colonel 
Tyrrell. " Give the boy a note — that will be suf- 
ficient. Floy, have you writing-materials ? " 

In this way Charlton — not greatly against his 
will — ^finds himself taken prisoner. After dis- 
patching the note, and talking for a short time 
with Colonel Tyrrell, he is conducted to a room 
which was made ready for him several days be- 
fore — a pretty, airy apartment, the windows of 
which command the same view that be admired 
down-stairs ; and having been informed that the 
dinner-hour is two o'clock, he is left here. 

" What a pleasant haven ! " he thinks, looking 
round. A table stands by one of the windows, 
before which is a perfect lace-work of shade — 
green touched with gold. An inviting chintz- 
covered chair is near. It is an ideal place in which 
to rest, or dream, or work. 

At dinner he meets and is introduced to the 
assembled family. His presence overawes the 
junior members somewhat, and there is not as 
much gay talk and laughter as usual among them; 
but the boys incline to a large-minded tolerance 
for his literary labors when they find that he 
knows something of out-door sports, and is not 
averse to learning more. 

" This country is so much a terra incognita to 
the majority of travelers," he says, " that I, who 
have merely wandered hither through the lucky 
accident of knowing Sunderland, must learn as 



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38 A SUMMER IDYL. 

mucli about it as I can, in order to enlighten the 
rest of the world, as far as my efforts are able to 
do so, when I return. I trust that you, sir " — he 
addresses Colonel Tyrrell — "will add to your 
kindness by directing me how best to make a tour 
through it." 

" I shall be very glad to do so," replies Colonel 
Tyrrell. " You had better rest and recruit your 
health for a week or ten days ; and after it is 
thoroughly established, you can make excursions 
to all points of interest in the country around," 

" I am just back from the Balsam," puts in 
George. " We were a party of six, and we had a 
glorious time. The streams up there are so full 
of speckled trout that you can catch 'em by the 
hundreds just for the trouble of throwing your 
line in the water." 

" If I may be pardoned for the ignorance which 
the inquiry displays," says Charlton, " where is 
the Balsam?" 

To answer that question intelligently. Colonel 
Tyrrell proceeds to draw a map of the region on 
the table-cloth with one point of a fork, tracing 
off in a general way the mountain chains which 
surround and the ranges which cross it. Charl- 
ton looks on interestedly, and presently, turning 
to Flora, asks if she has explored it all. 

She shakes her head. " By no means. I know 
our own valley and all surrounding it very well ; 
but I have never been in the remoter parts of the 



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"MY LOVE SHE'S BUT A LASSIE YET." 39 

mountains, among the Balsam or the Cullowhee 
Mountains." 

"But you want to go, Floy — you know you 
do," says Oscar ; " and when I am grown I will 
take you." 

" I hope Miss Tyrrell will not need to wait so 
long for an escort," says Charlton, smiling. 

When he smiles his face lights up very ge- 
nially, though in repose it is rather impassive ; 
and seeing it now in a broad light. Flora perceives 
that it looks worn and pallid. The temples are 
sunken, and there are the dark circles under the 
eyes which a sedentary life and mental toil soon 
bring. Contrasted with the ruddy, sunburned 
faces near, Mr. Charlton, in short, looks decidedly 
out of health. 

After dinner he pauses in the hall and asks 
which of the boys will pilot him out among the 
hills. " I don't care where," he says, " so it is 
out-of-doors." 

" We are going fishing," says Oscar. " If you 
would like to come — ^" 

" Just the thing," says Charlton, taking his hat. 

At sunset the boys return, carrying a fine string 
of fish and full of enthusiasm with regard to their 
companion. 

"He's a first-rate fellow ! " says George. " I 
hadn't any idea that a man who wrote would like 
the things he does. He's a good fisherman, and 



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40 A SUMMER IDYL. 

he says he's a tolerable shot — we are going hunt- 
ing to-morrow." 

" I shouldn't think a writer would care about 
such things as fishing and hunting," observes 
Minnie, scornfully. 

" But you see he is a writer, and he does care," 
replies her brother. " He has hunted moose and 
caribou in Nova Scotia, and caught trout at Cape 
Breton. Do you know where Cape Breton is. 
Miss Minnie? Let me hear you bound it." 

This conversation takes place in the dining- 
room, just before supper. ' It is cut short by 
Hester's ringing the bell ; and the gentlemen, 
who have been talking on the piazza, come in. 
Charlton thinks, as he enters, that the pretty, old- 
fashioned tea-table has an attractive appearance. 
Everything has a quaint, pastoral seeming to his 
metropolitan eyes. The distinctively Southern 
breads, the fish that a few hours ago were placid- 
ly swimming in their native element, the amber 
honey in the honeycomb — all have an Arcadian 
flavor to the man of clubs and cafis. 

After supper the gloaming still holds the 
world in a spell of beauty. Lamps are carried 
into the sitting-room, but only Minnie follows 
them, and sits down by the table to read a novel. 
The trio of gentlemen — ^f or Mr. Martin makes one 
of the family circle — return to the piazza to 
smoke. Though debarred from enjoying this 
luxury, George and Oscar join the group. Flora, 



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"MY LOVE SHE'S BUT A LASSIE YET." 41 

accompanied by Nellie, who is her usual shadow, 
strolls down the lawn to the river-bank. 

The air is fresh and fragrant, filled with the 
odor of many different growing things — that in- 
definable perfume which evening always brings 
out on a water-course. The breadths of cultivated 
land stretch away into softest distance ; near at 
hand the hills are draped in tender shades of pur- 
ple and blue, but farther off the violet peaks stand 
outlined against a sky of pale gold, flecked here 
and there with rosy vapors, out of which Venus 
shines with serene lustre. The sunset illumina- 
tion is over, but this twilight is scarcely less beau- 
tiful. 

" What a lovely evening, Miss Tyrrell ! " says 
a quiet, well-modulated voice at her side. She 
starts and turns. Unheard, Charlton has ap- 
proached over the grass. "Like Paul Pry, let 
me say that ' I hope I don't intrude,' " he adds. 
" But I am not particularly fond of smoking, and 
you seemed to be enjoying the gloaming, so I 
thought I might venture to follow." 

" Certainly," answers Flora, with her gentle 
accent ; but he is a man of quick perceptions, and 
he feels that he has intruded on some mood to 
which his presence is not attuned. It is too late 
for retreat, however, and when she says, " We are 
looking at Venus — ^Nellie and I," he replies : 

" How brilliant she is ! — and that mountain- 
line yonder, how exquisitely it is defined against 



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42 A SUMMER IDTL. 

the sky ! What an enchanted place this seems to 
be altogether ! I suppose it does not strike you 
so, since you live here always ; but to me — ^^ 

" You are mistaken," she says, as he pauses. 
" It strikes me all the more, perhaps, for living 
here. I know these mountains in all their changes, 
and never weary of them. But I am glad that 
you like our country, Mr. Charlton. I hope you 
will stay with us as long as you like it." 

" That might be too long," he answers. " But 
you are very kind. I hope to stay some time." 

" And you will do as you please, I hope," she 
goes on with timid yet charming grace. " I mean 
you will feel at home, and regulate your time and 
occupations without regard to us." 

" You are more than kind," he says, grateful- 
ly ; "but Sunderland told me that you would 
recommend me to some quiet farm-house — " 

" Is not this house quiet enough for you ? " she 
asks. " I fear you are hopelessly taken captive. 
Harry said we must keep you, and papa will never 
agree to let you go." 

Charlton looks resigned to captivity. " I can 
hardly realize my good fortune," he says. "I 
undertook this journey in a spirit of complete in- 
difference, and I had no idea of being so well re- 
warded at the end of it. In a measure, this is not 
all holiday with me. I have come to work as 
well as to rest. But nevertheless I mean to ex- 
plore this El Dorado of yours, Miss Tyrrell. "Will 



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«IN NATURE'S EYES." 43 

you tell me again the names of those places you 
mentioned at dinner? And where are they to be 
found ? " 

" Come to the house, and I will show you on 
the map," says Flora, turning and leading the way 
back over the lawn. They hear Colonel Tyrrell's 
voice talking on the piazza ; through the open 
window of the sitting-room they see the globe- 
like lamps, and Minnie's fair head bent over her 
book. Behind them the tender glow of the sunset 
still lingers over the darkening mountains ; stars 
are gleaming out in the misty sky above ; all 
around is fragrance and stillness — stillness which 
seems filled rather than broken by the soft rush 
of the river, as it flows along the base of the sum- 
mer hills. 



CHAPTER IV. 

"in nature's eyes to look and to rejoice.'* 

Several days pass, and the manuscript of his 
novel lies untouched in Mr. Charlton's trunk. 
" Rest must come before work," that gentleman 
says to himself ; and rest with him means to steep 
his spirit as much as possible in the loveliness of 
Nature. Consequently, his days are spent out-of- 
doors. He goes hunting with George, he goes 
fishing with Oscar, he goes riding with the colo- 
nel, and, above all, he goes walking by himself. 



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44 A SUMMER IDYL. 

He is the least troublesome of visitors, Flora de- 
cides. The others grow used to his presence, and 
the placid current of the household existence flows 
on as if he made no part of it. 

After a while he rouses from the lethargy 
which for a time seems to weigh upon him — the 
reaction from a severe strain of mental toil — and 
in the pure air, the absolute repose, the regular 
life which surrounds him, finds his body recover 
health and his mind regain its tone. Then he ex- 
erts himself to return, at least in a measure, the 
kindness so unobtrusively showered upon him. It is 
not difficult to do this. People like the Tyrrells, 
who live remote from the great centres of culture, 
yet are not without mental and social refinement, 
welcome gladly anything which brings into their 
life a breath of the world far away. No one 
questions Mr. Charlton concerning the famous 
places he has visited, or the famous people he has 
known ; but when he begins to speak of them vol- 
untarily, he finds eager and attentive listeners. 
Flora in especial is always interested, and one 
day, meeting her frank, intelligent eyes, he sud- 
denly remembers that he has not yet advanced a 
step toward executing Sunderland's commission. 
What degree of affection or fancy this gentle 
maiden has for her cousin he does not know. It 
occurs to him that it ought to be easy for him to 
learn ; and he forthwith decides to bring to bear 
on Miss Tyrrell all that worldly knowledge and 



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"IN NATURES EYES." 45 

professional observation of which Sunderland 
spoke. " She is an interesting study," he thinks. 
" If I draw her out, I may make her character of 
use in my novel. It strikes me that Bertha " — 
this is one of his heroines — " is very much of a 
nonentity. If she were di-awn a little more on 
the model of this young chdtelaine^ it might im- 
prove her." 

Opportunities for the study in question are 
not lacking. An hour or two after this reflection, 
Oscar rushes up-stairs, three steps at a time, and 
knocks on Mr. Charlton's door as if an earthquake 
were imminent. 

" What is the matter ? Come in ! " says that 
gentleman, who has just settled himself to his 
neglected work. 

" Mr. Charlton ! " cries Oscar, opening the 
door at once, " don't you want to go to the Falls 
of Conestee ? We are all going, and sister Floy 
told me to ask you — " 

" Certainly, I want to go," answers Mr. Charl- 
ton, rising with alacrity. He has not the faintest 
idea where the Falls of Conestee are, nor what 
they are, nor anything about them ; but he is as 
eager as Oscar for anything which will take him 
out into the open air and among the fair hills. 

When he goes down he finds the family assem- 
bled on the piazza, while a light and convenient 
wagonette stands before the door, together with 
two horses saddled for riding. Flora meets him. 



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46 A SUMMER IDYL. 

" Papa insisted that I should send for yon,*' 
she says ; " but should you really like to go with 
us? Pray do not hesitate to say *No,' if you 
would rather not.'* 

" Why should you imagine that I would rather 
not ? " asks Charlton. " On the contrary, I am 
as anxious as possible to go. But where are you 
bound?" 

She laughs. "Your faith is charming," she 
says. " You are anxious to go, and have not an 
idea where we are bound ! Well, we are going 
to a place which I think will repay you for the 
exertion you are about to make — ^that is, the Falls 
of Conestee. Now, will you ride or drive ?" 

Charlton sees that she wears a habit, and an- 
nounces that he will ride. Colonel Tyrrell is not 
going. Mr. Martin, Gteorge, Oscar, Minnie, and 
Nellie climb into the wagonette and drive merri- 
ly off. Charlton assists his companion to the sad- 
dle, then mounts himself, and they follow. 

The afternoon is perfect — still, golden, and 
beautiful ; and the distant peaks seem clear-cut 
against the sky. All of summer's abounding 
wealth is spread over the lovely valley, while the 
greenness which clothes the land from crested 
hill to level meadow is full of freshness and de- 
light. Shadows quiver, blades of com softly 
rustle, and there is a subdued medley of sweet 
pastoral sounds in the air. 

Crossing the bridge, they ride through the 



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"IN NATURE'S EYES." 47 

cornfields, and along the banks of the swiftly- 
flowing stream, until they reach the foot of that 
mountain which in this land of mountains is only 
known as "Mill Hill." Here cool green woods 
droop, overshadowing hillsides rise, streams ripple 
through mosses and over stones with impetuous 
dash, the verdure is tropical in its luxuriance. 
As they moimt higher — ^f or the well-graded road 
winds in sweeping curves aroimd the mountain — 
distant views open before them. Hill rises behind 
hill, peak beyond peak ; the sapphire mountains 
spread to meet the sky. Their road is now a mere 
shelf along the mountain-side, and before long 
they hear the turbulent dash of water in the gorge 
below. 

" That is the stream from the falls,*' says Flora. 
"Look! you can catch glimpses of the water 
foaming over the rocks." 

Only a glimpse through interlacing greenness 
of curling foam and glancing spray — ^then anoth- 
er glimpse, and yet another, until the road turns 
and leads them away. They have by this time 
reached the top of the hill, and pause near the 
spot where the wagonette has been left empty in 
the shade. Here they dismount, and Charlton 
fastens the horses. This accomplished, Flora 
gathers up her habit and they walk past a small, 
old-fashioned mill, with the sound of rushing 
water momentarily becoming clearer in their ears, 
until they reach a spot from which they command 



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48 A SUMMER IDYL. 

a view of the fall that is filling all the cloistered 
dimness with its voice. Charlton looks around, 
amazed. He expected a pretty, silvery cascade, 
and he is altogether surprised by the flashing 
splendor of the tumultuous waters before him. 
The stream makes its first fall in one clear, beau- 
tiful cataract of about fifty feet, then dashes down 
the gorge in a series of rapids, lashing itself to 
white foam over and around the massive rocks 
that line its course. Two hundred feet below an- 
other stream pours into it, and then, pent in a 
narrow channel, with a declination of forty-five 
or fifty degrees, the united current tumbles, 
whirls, and surges for five hundred feet farther. 

" One must have recourse to Wordsworth, I 
think," says Charlton, at last. Then he repeats 
those lines which describe a form of ecstasy that 
every lover of Nature must have felt : 

" * The sounding cataract 
Haunted me like a passion ; the tall rock, 
The mountain, and the deep and gloomy wood, 
Their colors and their forms, were then to me 
An appetite — a feeling and a love 
That had no need of a remoter charm.* " 

" Thank you," says Flora. " I am glad some 
one has said something worthy of the place." 

" I had no idea that you were bringing me to 
such a place," says Charlton. " It is a haunt for 
the gods I One might expect to see Diana and 
her nymphs — if it were not for the mill." 
( 



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"IN NATUBE^S EYES." 49 

" That is barbarous, is it not ? But to the per- 
son who built it that lovely fall only commended 
itself as an excellent water-power. I. regret to 
say that such barbarism is very common." 

" It would harrow an artist's soul," says Charl- 
ton. " But where are the rest of the party ? I 
see nothing of them." 

Flora points down the gorge. "They are 
there somewhere," she says. " I hope Mr. Martin 
will take care of Nellie. I am always uneasy — 
Ah, yonder they come ! " 

Charlton is not overjoyed to hear this. The 
society of one gentle intelligent companion — one 
who makes no effort herself, and demands no ef- 
fort of him — is pleasant, even in this haunt of the 
gods. But a set of noisy boys and girls are worse 
even than the projecting mill. Mr. Martin comes 
up, breathless with his scramble over the rocks, 
but enthusiastic. He is a devoted naturalist, and 
he has found several rare and beautiful plants. 
He shows them to Flora, who is something of a 
botanist, and they discuss them with so much in- 
terest that Charlton walks away, slightly bored 
and a trifle annoyed. As he proceeds down the 
stream, he finds Minnie in a dark recess, overhung 
by shelving rock, on her hands and knees. Tura- 
ing her pretty flushed face, she sees him and 
rises. 

" Such lovely moss ! " she says, holding it out. 

"May I come with you, Mr. Charlton?" cries 
4 



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50 A SUMMER IDYL, 

Nellie, springing forward, and taking his smile 
for assent. 

Ferns, "which Nature made for pure leaves, 
just to show what she could do in that line," 
abound in almost countless variety. Even Nellie 
has her apron full of them. She generously offers 
Mr. Charlton as many as he wants, and he selects 
one of the delicate maidenhairs to please her. 
They are sitting together on an enormous rock 
overlooking the lower fall ; and as she glances 
up, he thinks how like her flower-like eyes are to 
Flora's. 

"Will you keep it?" she asks gravely. 

" As long as I live," he answers, gallantly, and 
taking out his pocket-book places it between the 
leaves, scribbling the name and date above it. 
Then, since the book and pencil are in his hands, 
he goes on to jot down a few notes of the scene, 
and one or two thoughts that have occurred to 
him. Engrossed in this manner, he does not no- 
tice his companion, further than to answer her 
prattle very much at random. The demoiselle 
feels and resents this neglect. Gathering her col- 
lection of ferns together, she announces her in- 
tention of going to "Floy." Charlton, who is 
writing busily, does not hear her, and so he does 
not interfere when she begins the descent of the 
rock. He is not conscious that she has quitted his 
side until he is roused in a manner that he never 
forgets. Only a child's cry — but the earth open- 



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"IN NATURE'S EYES." 51 

ing at his feet could not startle him more. In- 
stinctively he springs forward, his book and pen- 
cil dropping unheeded from his hands. But Nellie 
is gone. 

Strong man that he is, a f aintness comes over 
Charlton that threatens to unnerve him altogether, 
as he glances round and sees no sign of her. There 
is no use in calling aloud ; the waters drown all 
sound — it was almost miraculous that he heard 
that faint cry a moment back. He swings him- 
self down the rock with headlong speed, and on 
the bank overlooking the stream gazes round with 
a passionate appeal in his glance. 

It seems an age, but it cannot be a minute, be- 
fore he sees that which he seeks — a white, implor- 
ing face, a blue dress, a floating wealth of yellow 
hair. In her fall, Nellie has been caught in the 
forked trunk of a leaning tree ; and, knowing that 
it is her only hope, she clings there, with both 
arms tightly twined around the rough bark and 
her piteous eyes turned upward. The peril of her 
situation is evident at a glance ; but even this to 
the young man is a great relief. The horrible, 
sickening sense of despair is lifted from him. 
There is something to do. 

He proceeds at once to do it. It is no easy 
task to descend to where the child has lodged, but 
he goes down with what care he may ; and after 
securing himself against the danger of slipping by 
bracing one foot against a small sapling that leans 



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52 A SUMMER IDYL. 

out from the face of the precipice, he puts his arm 
around Nellie and bids her cling to him instead 
of to the tree. She needs no second bidding to do 
this, but flings her arms with almost convulsive 
force about his neck. So weighted, it is very dif- 
ficult to climb up again ; but, step by step, hand 
over hand, he mounts slowly, until his head is on 
a level with a bank. Then there comes a terrible 
wrench of his foot, which has caught in the root 
of a tree — a wrench so sharp that it wrings from 
him a groan of agony, and might cause him to fall 
backward if it were not that he has presence of 
mind enough to seize the stem of a young pine 
growing near. 

" Nellie," he says, " do you think you could 
climb the rest of the way by yourself, and then go 
very carefully to where the others are, and ask 
George and Mr. Martin to come here and lend me 
a helping hand ? " 

Before Nellie can answer, a voice, to his infi- 
nite amazement, speaks just above him. " Give 
Nellie to me, Mr. Charlton. I can take her." 

He throws back his head and looks up. On 
the verge of the precipice Flora kneels, her face 
marble-pale, her blue eyes shining with steady 
lustre. As their glances meet, she leans down 
and extends her arms. " Give Nellie to me ! " 
she repeats. 

He has no alternative but to obey. In his pre- 
carious position, it is certainly imperative that he 



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"IN NATURE'S EYES." 53 

should be rid of Nellie in some manner. "Be 
careful ! " he says, as he lifts her ; " you may lose 
your balance." 

"There is no danger," she answers quietly — 
and indeed there seems to be none. Even in the 
midst of his pain, Charlton wonders at her cool- 
ness and self-possession. She steadies herseK ad- 
mirably while she draws Nellie to her. It is only 
when the child is safely by her side that her self- 
control gives way, and she passionately kisses her. 
This is only for a moment, however. Then she 
places Nellie back against the rock, and, returning, 
kneels down again. 

" Now, Mr. Charlton," she says, " let me help 
you. You have hurt yourself, have you not ? " 

" I have twisted my ankle, I think," he an- 
swers. " It hurts very much. But it is impossi- 
ble for you to help me. George or Mr. Martin — " 

" George and Mr. Martin have both gone to 
see about the wagonette," she interrupts. " I can- 
not leave you here while I go or send after them. 
You mitst let me help you. I am strong — ^you 
don't know how strong ! See, here is a stick I 
was using as an alpenstock. If you will take it, 
and give me your hand, I am sure I can assist you. 
Pray give me your hand ! " 

He cannot refuse, though he has little idea that 
she will be able to assist Tiim. But who can esti- 
mate the strength which a brave spirit can put 
into a slender frame ? Fragile as she looks. Flora 



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54 A SUMMER IDYL. 

has the firm muscles of perfect health, together 
with the skill of a mountaineer ; and so, to his 
own astonishment, Charlton finds himself trusting 
more and more to the resolute young hand, until 
it draws him over the edge of the bank, and he 
feels that he is safe. He gives another wrench to 
his foot in his final spring, however, and the pain 
mists all things before him. As he sinks down, 
he hears, as in a dream, the kind voice saying : 

"I am sure you are suffering a great deaL 
Shall I bring you some water ? " 



CHAPTER V. 
"linger, o gentlb time I** 

When Charlton comes to himself again — for 
he loses all knowledge of things around for a 
brief space — ^he is lying on the ground, while a 
tender hand bathes his face with cold water. He 
opens his eyes, and sees first the blue sky far 
above, and then something else which is as blue — 
to wit, a pair of human orbs regarding him. 

" Do you feel better ? " Flora asks. " I fear 
you are in great pain." 

Charlton's first sensation is one of intense 
annoyance. What has ^he done ? Can it be 
possible that he has fainted, like a sick child, 
from the mere pain of a twisted foot? Flora 



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"LINGER, GENTLE TIME!" 65 

sees the color spring to his pale face, but she does 
not understand the cause of it. She takes away 
her hand, and as he rises to a sitting posture, his 
first words are significant of his state of feeling. 

" I am ashamed of myself ! " he says. " What 
possessed me to make such a scene over such a 
mere trifle, I cannot tell ! Pray forgive me, Miss 
Tyrrell." 

" Forgive you ! " repeats Flora. " What 
have you done that I need to forgive ? Are you 
sure you feel better? You cannot tell how 
shocked I was when I saw you lean back and 
turn so white ! I think you must have lost con- 
sciousness for a minute." 

"I — suppose I did," says Charlton. " I 
wrenched my foot again as I sprang over the 
bank, and the pain was really very intense. 
Your application of cold water did me a great 
deal of good. But pray tell me how you chanced 
to be on the bank just when you were most 
needed ? I am not, as a rule, inclined to poeti- 
cal metaphor ; but I could have likened you 
to an angel of rescue when I glanced up and 
saw you." 

" I had been there all the time," she replies, 
quietly. " But I was afraid to speak for fear of 
startling you." 

" All the time ! You4hiean— ? " 

" I mean ever since you went down. No one 
could tell me where Nellie was, and I did not 



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56 A SUMMER IDYL. 

know that she had attached herself to you, so I 
came in search of her. I was in sight when you 
sprang down the rock, and I knew from your 
manner that something was the matter, but 1 
could not make you hear. I hurried on as fast as 
1 could, and reached the top of the bank just 
when you were releasing Nellie. I would not 
have spoken for anything — even if you could 
have heard me. I scarcely dared to breathe in 
my suspense. Oh, Mr. Charlton, don't think me 
ungrateful because I do not know how to thank 
you—" 

" Excuse me, Miss Tyrrell," interrupts Charl- 
ton, "but you must not mention such a word. 
Instead of thanking, you ought to blame me. It 
was all my fault. I was scribbling in my note- 
book and neglecting the child — else she would 
not have fallen. Is not that true, Nellie ? " 

But Nellie is a conscientious young person, 
and she cannot indorse this. She looks up at her 
sister with tears in her eyes. " It was my fault, 
Floy," she says ; " Mr. Charlton was writing, and 
I — I thought I could get down myself. Then 
my foot slipped, and oh ! I thought I was gone. 
All my ferns went, and I fell down the bank till 
the tree stopped me." 

" Never mind," says Charlton, cheerily. " It 
is all right now — at least it ought to be. But 
what is to be done with this foot of mine is a 
serious question. Miss Tyrrell, can you suggest 



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"LINGER, GENTLE TIME!" 57 

anything ? I fear I can never climb over these 
rocks." 

" Not even with the alpenstock and my arm ? " 
asks Flora. " Or had I better go and send for 
Mr. Martin and George ? " 

" If you will allow me, I think I will try the 
alpenstock and your arm," says Charlton. " If I 
can once get on my feet, no doubt it will be easy 
enough to hobble along." 

Flora hands him the stick, and then assists 
him. He gains his feet — or rather, to speak with 
entire correctness, he gains one foot, and stands 
leaning on that and the stick with an almost ludi- 
crous expression of mingled pain and uncertainty 
on his face. 

" Now take my arm," says Flora. " Oh, you 
must ; it is impossible that you can walk by your- 
self. And you know there is a great deal of 
climbing to be done. Nellie, keep close to me. 
One accident should be enough for you." 

It boots not to tell in what slow and toilsome 
fashion these three make their way back to the 
neighborhood of the upper fall. "The sun's 
bright lances " have long since left the cloistral 
greenness around, but they pause now and then 
to admire the splendor and tumult of the flashing 
waters. It is also necessary for Charlton to rest, 
since every movement of his foot causes him keen 
suffering. All journeys end after a time, how- 
ever, and so does this one. Near the mill they 



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58 A SUMMER IDYL. 

are met by Minnie and Oscar, and Flora dis- 
patches the latter at once to have the wagonette 
brought as near as possible. " You must go home 
in that," she says to Charlton. 

He cannot deny that this is necessary, and 
does not like to acknowledge how much he feels 
averse to it. " I suppose it will be best," he says, 
" but I have been counting on a very pleasant ride 
back with you." 

" You mean that you prefer riding ? " she asks. 

" I don't care whether I ride or drive, so far 
as the mere question of locomotion is concerned," 
he replies. " What I cared for was your society." 

She looks honestly surprised, but neither blush- 
es nor laughs. " If you are in earnest," she says, 
" such a moderate desire can be easily gratified. 
I will go in the wagonette too. Minnie will like 
to ride, I am sure." 

" Miss Tyrrell, you are too good ! I am really 
ashamed of my selfishness," Charlton begins, for 
he did not anticipate this. 

But she stops him. " I like driving very well," 
she says. " If you want me with you, I shall be 
very glad to go." 

" What a girl ! " thinks Charlton. " One might 
suppose that she or I, or both of us, were octo- 
genarians ! Sunderland was right. There is no 
material for a coquette here. Some men think 
that spice necessary to a woman's charm. I am 
not sure that I do." 



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"LINGER, GENTLE TIME!'» 59 

Miss Tyrrell is as good as her word. She re- 
signs her horse to Minnie, who gladly mounts him. 
George takes Charlton's horse, and so they turn 
their faces homeward. The party in the wagon- 
ette find the drive delightful. Soft fresh winds, 
laden with balm, come to them from remote dis- 
tance — winds which feel as if they might waft 
away all care and trouble from human hearts. 
Summer's enchanted dust is spread over the land ; 
there are low-lying streaks of light in the golden 
west ; the mountains are wrapped in violet haze ; 
the great bending sky is infinitely pure and ten- 
der ; trees arch overhead, unseen water rushes by. 
When they reach the valley the fields spread out 
far and faint, and all the sweet growing things on 
the banks of the river exhale their perfume on the 
evening atmosphere. 

Charlton feels as if this might go on forever. 
The closing twilight, the darkening landscape, the 
melody of flowing water — all seem to him charged 
with a meaning and a sentiment which a poet 
might put into language, but a poet alone. He is 
inclined to be silent, and Flora, feeling his mood, 
says little. Mr. Martin and Nellie chatter in front, 
but these two have the back seat and the lovely 
quiet of Nature to themselves. One, at least, is 
sorry when they begin to near home, and the 
lights from the house gleam out with cheerful 
effect on the twilight. He turns to his companion : 

" Will you let me thank you for the pleasure 



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60 A SUMMER IDYL. 

of this af tenioon ? " he says. " It has been great- 
er than you, I fancy, can imagine. In a measure, 
that which is familiar loses its charm to us." 

" Not to me," says Flora. " I believe I told 
you once before that I admire this country all the 
more for knowing it so well. It is an old friend ; 
and who loves an old friend less for knowing every 
line in his face ? " 

" Every one is not so loyal as yourself," says 
Charlton, smiling at the soft pathos of her tone. 
" Some people tire of their old friends. After all, 
it is not well to be too constant." 

" Are you in earnest ? " she says. " It seems 
to me that is a very lowering philosophy." 

" What would you have ? " asks Charlton. 
"The world is lowering. But this is not the 
world — ^this is Arcadia," he goes on, laughing. 
"I forgot for a moment where I was. But I 
shall never forget the Falls of Conestee," he adds, 
in another tone. 

" I fear your foot will remind you of them for 
some time," she says. 

She proves altogether right. Mr. Charlton's 
foot has been very badly sprained, and makes an 
invalid of him for several days. Flora prescribes 
arnica for the injury, but Colonel Tyrrell insists 
that the best treatment is unlimited use of cold 
water ; and since Charlton yields his foot up for 
experiments as cheerfully as if he had no personal 
interest in its welfare, the result is a mixture of 



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"LINGER, GENTLE TIME!'' 61 

remedies. Part of the time the suffering member 
is bandaged with arnica ; at other times it is 
bared and extended over a large tub, while Colo- 
nel Tyrrell pours a stream of cold water upon it 
from a height of four or five feet. 

There are to Charlton, however, many com- 
pensations for his enforced invalidism and the 
hydropathic treatment which it involves. He is 
not a man who is easily pleased by women ; but 
day by day he is more attracted by Flora, and 
he seizes every opportunity to study her charac- 
ter, to elicit her opinions, to draw out the expres- 
sion of her tastes. They are pleasant days to 
him. His work, it must be confessed, is wholly 
neglected. He does not even write any letters, 
and is absolutely indifferent whether or not he 
receives any. Minnie, with the acuteness of her 
years, remarks this. 

" Mr. Charlton is the only person who takes 
no interest in the mail," she says one day while 
that important budget is being distributed. 

Mr. Charlton, who is lying back in a deep 
chair, with his injured foot extended over an ot- 
toman, looks at her with a smile. 

" Allow me to observe, mademoiselle," he says, 
" that you would find nothing remarkable in that 
fact if you could only put yourself in the position 
of a man to whom the mail cannot possibly bring 
anything save annoyance." 



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62 A SUMMER IDYL. 

Minnie's eyes expand. " Can it bring nothing 
else to you ? " she asks, point-blank. 

" Not anything else at all. You read Tenny- 
son, I know. Do you suppose the lotos-eaters 
would have cared much for the arrival of let- 
ters ? I am a lotos-eater just now." 

" Mr. Charlton, here are some letters for you ! ". 
cries Nellie, quitting her father's side and darting 
forward. 

" Evil fortune has found me out ! " says Charl- 
ton, with a heart-felt sigh. Still it is impossible 
to refrain from glancing at the missives placed in 
his unwilling hand. One bears the printed ad- 
dress of a publishing-house, another comes from 
the office of the Telegraphy a third from the edi- 
tor of a magazine to which he is usually a con- 
stant contributor ; on the fourth he recognizes, 
with something almost akin to dismay, the writ- 
ing of Sunderland. Minnie recognizes it, too, 
and impetuously announces the fact. 

" Why, that is from Harry ! " she says— when, 
catching her sister's eye with reproof in it, she 
stops and blushes. 

" I believe it is," responds Charlton, Then he 
pockets all four of the letters and quietly unfolds 
a newspaper which has also come to him. 

He does not read these epistles — ^none of 
which are particularly agreeable — until he is 
alone. The business letters make it imperative 
for him to go to work, and he sighs as he glances 



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"UNGER, GENTLE TIME!" 63 

over them. Sunderland's letter he opens last, 
and finds that this is what it says : 

" Montreal, August lOih, 

" My Dear Charlton : What, in the name of 
all that is remarkable, has come over you ? What 
■ spell of silence has taken possession of you ? I 
should be inclined to think that you had failed to 
reach Arcadia after all, if it were not that a let- 
ter from Flora lies before me, in which she men- 
tions your arrival, and says, with a moderation I 
am sure you will appreciate, that you ^ promise to 
be a very agreeable person.' I entertain no doubt 
but that you have by this time fulfilled that 
promise to her entire satisfaction, and are there- 
fore able to throw some light on the problem 
which is puzzling me more than ever just now, 
and which I trusted you would elucidate. 

" You know what I mean. Paper and ink are 
unsafe things to trust ; accidents sometimes oc- 
cur in the best-regulated correspondence, and 
therefore prudence becomes a man, though he 
were a second Damon writing to another Pythias. 
But do you, or do you not, mean to help me ? I 
am in a position at present which it will not be 
possible for me to maintain much longer. You 
understand, of course, how one is carried on by 
the force of circumstances — sometimes farther 
than one wishes or intends to go. As a man of 
honor, I must do one of two things^-declare my- 



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64 A SUMMER IDYL. 

self, or leave the party with which I am traveling. 
Now, as I told you before, I do not wish to de- 
clare myself as much as my feelings are involved, 
until I am sure that no one else possesses, or im- 
agines herself to possess, any claim upon me. I 
am writing more plainly than I like, but I must 
make things clear to you. Tell me what you 
think, and write at once to Quebec. We go there 
in a few days, and shall probably remain several 
weeks. My line of conduct depends altogether 
on what you say, for I trust implicitly to your 
powers of observation. 

" How do you like Transylvania ? Fine place, 
isn't it ? I have never seen scenery that pleased 
me as well anywhere else. Somehow there's a 
softness and a boldness together, that — well, I am 
not trained to analyze feelings, so I leave you to 
define exactly what sentiments are inspired by the 
combination. Have you brought down a deer 
yet ? Flora ought to take you to the Conestee. 
I wonder if she remembers one day when she and 
I were there. By Jove ! when I think of these 
things, I hardly know what to do. Write, Charl- 
ton, for Heaven's sake, and tell me something, I 
could sooner blow out my brains than return my 
uncle's kindness by acting shabbily to Flora. 

" There is no use in writing of anything else. 
Ton know all these places better than I do. Bum 
this letter, and answer it without delay. 

" Yours, H. S." 



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"LINGER, GENTLE TIMEI»' 65 

Charlton proceeds at once to obey the direc- 
tion contained in the latter part of this missive. 
He twists it up meditatively, strikes a match, sets 
it on fire, and throws it on the hearth, watching 
the flames consume it and leave only a little pile 
of white feathery ashes. " I'll take care that no 
accidents occur here ! " he says, speaking aloud. 
" Consummate young puppy ! " he adds, after a 
moment. " And yet there's a train of chivalry in 
his character that almost redeems the puppyism. 
There are not many men who would trouble 
themselves so much about a scruple of honor, and 
the aching of a girl's heart more or less. But 
then she is no ordinary girl," he goes on, limping 
to his writing-table and sitting down. "Even 
Sunderland feels that, I suppose. I fear — ^I great- 
ly fear that she cares for him I She is like her 
native hills — steadfast, beautiful, strong, and yet 
tender. And Zam appointed to sound the depths 
of that fine, reticent nature ! The thing is absurd 
and impossible. Yet, if I do not at least attempt 
to do so, what will be the result? Sunderland 
will marry that girl after whom he is dangling, 
and this proud, gentle creature may suffer as such 
women only know how to suffer. A malediction 
on all lovers and love affairs ! When one has 
none on one's own account, it seems that fate 
malignantly appoints one's neighbors to trouble 
one ! I will do what I can. And now it is a 
fixed fact that I must go to work. My days of 
5 



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66 A SUMMER IDYL. 

idleness are over. That essay must be finished 
by to-morrow evening, if I have to sit up all night 
to do it." 



CHAPTER VI. 

"the mood of woman who can tell?" 

Notwithstanding the unfinished condition 
of that essay on social ethics, which is already 
overdue in the pages of the magazine to which 
Mr. Charlton lends the force of his genius, he is 
to be seen, as the afternoon gradually declines 
into evening, limping down the lawn by Flora's 
side. 

From his window, he saw Colonel Tyrrell 
drive off with Minnie and Nellie, George canter 
away with his sworn comrade Tom Fanshaw, 
and Mr. Martin, accompanied by Oscar, go out 
among the hills, on fishing and botany plainly in- 
tent. Finally, when the sun slopes low toward 
the western mountains, the much-erased sheets of 
the manuscript are pushed aside, and the essayist 
takes his way down to the lower regions of the 
house. He finds Flora without difficulty, and 
suggests a walk. 

"I am the good boy who deserves a sugar- 
plum," he says, as she hesitates. "You don't 
know how hard I have been working during all 



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"THE MOOD OF WOMAN WHO CAN TELL?" 67 

this long, warm afternoon. Now it is nearly seven 
o'clock, and I feel that I have earned a brief rest." 

" I am sure that you have," she says. " But 
do you think you ought to walk ? Papa spoke of 
asking you to drive with him, but he was obliged 
to go to Brevard on business, and Minnie wanted 
to do some shopping." 

" I should have been obliged to decline going 
with him if he had asked me. I have work that 
I must finish at once. But you know the twilight 
is ^ labor's brief armistice,' and will you not go 
with me down to the river to enjoy it ? " 

" I suppose I cannot refuse," she says. And 
so it is they take their way down the hill — Charl- 
ton with the stick which serves him as a partial 
crutch. Flora with her hat hanging on her arm. 
As they cross the lawn their shadows stretch 
gigantically long behind them ; but when they 
reach the river bank, the region of sunlight is all 
above. Here is a green. Undine light, a grassy 
bank, tangled vines, emerald-tinted water sweep- 
ing softly by under the drooping boughs of trees. 

" Don't you think we had better stop here ? " 
asks Flora. " I am afraid you ought not to walk 
any farther." 

Charlton assenting, they sit down on the slop- 
ing bank. There are cushions of moss around the 
great spreading roots of the trees, and Flora be- 
gins to fill her hat with them. " They are pretty 
for the hanging baskets," she says. There is 



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68 A SUMMER IDYL. 

much grace, together with thorough unconscious- 
ness, in her attitude. An artist, coming upon the 
little scene, might throw a flowering spray over 
her delicate head, and draw her for her fair Ro- 
man namesake, the sweet goddess of flowers and 
spring. So her companion thinks, watching her 
and wondering how he shall introduce the subject 
uppermost in his thoughts. Chance befriends 
him — Flora herself begins to speak of Sunderland. 

"Mosses always remind me of Harry," she 
says. " He knew that I was fond of them, and 
he always brought me beautiful varieties from the 
mountains. He never went hunting that he did 
not come back laden with them." 

" If you were fond of mosses, he must have 
been very fond of you," says Charlton, with in- 
tent to surprise, if possible, some emotion in her 
face or voice. " When I first knew him he talked 
of you continually. You have no idea how well 
I was acquainted with you before I ever saw you." 

" Were you ? " she says, simply. " It was good 
of Harry to find time to speak of me in the whirl 
of his new life. I fancy, however, that must have 
beon when he first entered upon it." 

Charlton cannot deny this. " Of course other 
interests claimed his attention after a while," he 
remarks. " But a man may be careless and yet 
loyal. One cannot always talk even of that which 
lies next his heart." 

" Of course I know that Harry is always loyal," 



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"THE MOOD OF WOMAN WHO CAN TELL?" 69 

says Flora, with a very charming air of pride. " I 
do not fear that he will forget us ; we formed too 
close and intimate a part of his life for many years 
for such a thing as that to be. But we are not 
necessary to him any longer. He has passed away 
from us to another life and other interests. I 
realize that clearly ; and I have no doubt it is 
best so." 

The quiet voice utters these words without a 
single tremor, the candid eyes meet Charlton's 
gaze with a composure which he cannot believe 
to be feigned. He confesses to himself that he is 
puzzled. If she cares for her cousin as he has 
imagined her to do, her powers of dissimulation 
are marvelous for one of her years. 

" Why should you think so ? " he asks, in reply 
to her last words. "May not his best happiness 
lie here ? I am not sure that the great maelstrom 
of the world improves such a nature as his — a na- 
ture warm in its affections, true in its instincts, 
yet easily swayed by outside influences." 

" Perhaps you are right," she says ; " but you 
see it is too late to think of that now. Harry will 
never again be content here. How do I know it ? 
Oh, by everything — ^by instinct, by the tone of 
his letters, by my knowledge of his character 
He may be very much attached to us still — I feel 
no doubt of that — ^but a gulf of change lies be- 
tween our life and his. And I think that such a 
gulf is harder to span than any other. People 



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70 A SUMMER IDYL. 

who begin by disliking each other may learn to 
love ; natures may alter and characters assimilate ; 
but when a whole world of change lies between — 
of joys, sorrows, tastes, and pursuits — those things 
divide hopelessly all who are not bound together 
by close and enduring ties." 

" And do you not consider Sunderland bound 
to you by any such tie ? " asks Charlton — almost 
forgetting how strange the question is in his anx- 
iety to hear it answered. 

" Certainly not," she answers, calmly. " How 
could he be?" 

Surely this is frankness that might satisfy any 
man ; but Chai'lton is not satisfied even yet. 

" Forgive me if I am presumptuous," he says, 
" but I have understood — ^that is, I have fancied 
— that you were, in a manner, engaged to him." 

" What have you seen or heard to make you 
fancy such a thing ? " she asks. " I am sure that 
Harry did not tell you so." 

" No— not exactly," replies Charlton, conscious 
that he has gone as far as it is possible to venture; 
"but I imagined something of the kind." 

"You made a great mistake, then," she says, 
" and I am glad that you have mentioned it, in 
order that I may set you right— for Harry's sake. 
Do you think he would stay where he is, if such 
a thing were so ? But it is not so. Pray under- 
stand that. We are, and always have been, like 
brother and sister — ^no more than that. There is 



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«*THE MOOD OF WOMAN WHO CAN TELL?" 71 

no engagement, nor shadow of engagement, be- 
tween us." 

" So far so good," thinks Charlton to himself ; 
Sunderland is evidently not bound in honor — at 
least not in any tangible manner. But the other 
and subtiler question is yet unanswered. Is the 
heart of this frank, tender maiden in his posses- 
sion, or is it not ? How to arrive at the solution 
of this enigma puzzles our acute novelist. While 
he is considering it. Flora speaks again : 

"Now that this point is made clear, Mr. Charl- 
ton, I hope you will not hesitate to talk to me of 
Harry more freely than you have done heretofore. 
T have felt that there was a reserve and constraint 
in all that you said of him, but I did not know 
how to end it. Fortunately it has ended itself. 
You know that I am only his sister, and that I 
feel a sister's interest in everything concerning 
him." 

"Why should you think that I have shown 
any reserve or constraint in speaking of him ? " 
asks Charlton. 

"Because," she answers, "Harry is in love, 
and you have said nothing to me about it. Whom 
is he in love with ? — Miss Preston ? " 

"You cannot expect me to know," answers 
Charlton, more utterly at a loss what to say than 
he ever remembers to have been in his life be- 
fore, but with the certainty growing stronger that 
Sunderland's vanity has misled him, and that 



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72 A SUMYER IDYL. 

this girl indeed thinks of him as a brother, and 
no more. 

" I am sure you do ! '* she says. " Harry's let- 
ters to me of late have been singularly unsatisfac- 
tory. You will tell me all about him, however, 
will you not ? And who is the lady ? There al- 
ways was *a lady in the case' with Harry from 
early boyhood. He was always one of the most 
susceptible of human beings. I suppose people 
of his temperament always are." 

" While people of yours are always constant," 
says Charlton, regarding her curiously. 

A flush comes to her cheeks. "Never mind 
what I am," she replies. "No doubt you were 
right the other day when you said this was a 
world of change, and he who is wise changes with 
it. K I am not wise in that manner, I shall prob- 
ably suffer for my folly, sooner or later. Yet" — 
she pauses suddenly, and her eyes turn to where 
the beautiful masses of sunset clouds are marshal- 
ing in great pageant — "it seems to me that I 
would rather suffer and be faithful, than win 
peace by fickleness." 

"Don't say that!" exclaims Charlton, with 
an earnestness which surprises himself. "You 
don't know how necessary it is in t'-iis world to 
forget. Characters change, as you said a moment 
ago, and feelings change with them. There is 
nothing, believe me, for which we should be more 
grateful than that they do." 



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"THE MOOD OF WOMAN WHO CAN TELL?" 73 

She does not answer. He cannot tell whether 
or not she heeds him. The large full eyes, blue 
as woodland violets, still rest on the rose and 
aquamarine splendor of the western sky. As 
Charlton's gaze follows hers, he catches a familiar 
gleam shining with faint lustre out of the bed of 
glory which the sun has left. There, 

" Bent like Diana's bow and silver bright, 
Half lost in rosy haze, a crescent hangs." 

He points it out to Flora, and then they are silent, 
watching the sunset illumination slowly fade — 
leaving only a delicate flush above the line of dis- 
tant mountains — and the tender dusk steal softly 
over the land. The river, bright with the sunset's 
parting gleam, murmurs at their feet ; the fresh 
cool air is full of fragrance. The sound of wheels 
rolling over the bridge suddenly breaks the still- 
ness. Flora starts, gathers her mosses, and rises. 
" It is growing late," she says, " and there b papa. 
We must go." 

" No doubt you are right," says Charlton re- 
gretfully ; " but it seems a pity — everything is so 
lovely, and we are so comfortable here ! " 

She smiles, standing slim and straight beside 
him as he still lies on the grass. "It is very 
pleasant, but pleasant things must end," she says. 
" We will come down here again, if you like, and 
you can tell me all about Harry's love affair." 

" Upon my word. Miss Tyrrell, you take too 



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74 A SUMMER IDYL. 

much for granted. It is a fault of your sex— did 
you know that ? Women have a great habit of 
leaping to conclusions — which are sometimes right, 
and sometimes very wrong." 

" I have not leaped to my conclusion ; I have 
arrived at it by slow degrees, and I defy you to 
say that I am wrong." 

" I shall not commit myself," he says, rising. 
" Meanwhile I am going to write to Harry. Have 
you any message ? " 

"Yes — my love, and tell him to write me an 
account of everything. K he does not, I shall 
be angry with him, and jealous of you ; for JTwas 
formerly his confidante." 

" I beg you to believe that I do not fill that 
honorable but onerous position. It is a matter of 
mere accident that I know anything whatever 
of his affairs. I have no doubt, if he has any- 
thing to tell, he will gladly unbosom himself to 
you — secure of the sympathy which he has no 
possible chance of obtaining from me." 

They mount the hill, cross the lawn, and enter 
the house. Tea is soon ready, and after this in- 
formal meal the gentlemen, as usual, go out on 
the piazza to smoke. The windows of the draw- 
ing-room are open, and Flora sing^, by her father's 
request, some of the sweet old Scotch and Irish 
ballads whidi are the only songs she knows. It 
has been many a day since Charlton has heai*d any 
of these, and he listens with pleasure. Somehow 



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"THE MOOD OF WOMAN WHO CAN TELL?'» 75 

the pathos of Burns and the grace of Moore suit 
the idyllic life in which he finds himself. Then 
Flora's voice, though untrained, is singularly sweet, 
and she sings with taste and feeling. As the clear 
notes ring out, " There's not in the wide world a 
valley so sweet," Charlton feels that he can echo 
the sentiment from the bottom of his heart. 

When he retires to his room, he draws a sheet 
of paper to him, and answers Sunderland's appeal 
before proceeding to the manuscript on which he 
will probably toil until the early summer dawn 
breaks in the purple east. His letter is brief — 
containing only these few lines : 

"Throw yourself at Miss Preston's feet as 
soon as you please. Miss Tyrrell does not con- 
sider you bound to her in the least. I am inclined 
to think that she cares for you 'as a cousin, 
cousinly,' and not a whit more. She suspects that 
you are engaged in some affair of the heart, and de- 
sires me to give you her love and say that she will 
be glad to have a full account of it from you. Do 
not imagine that I betrayed you. She divined the 
important fact by the pure force of feminine intui- 
tion. I owe you many thanks for the pleasant place 
in which I find myself, and for the kindness with 
which I am treated — ^mainly because I am distin- 
guished by your friendship. I will write more at 
length soon. Am pressed for time now, and remain, 
"Yours, Geoffeey Chaelton." 



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76 A SUMMER IDYL. 

CHAPTER Vn. 

"love was in the next degree.*' 

A WEEK or ten days elapse. Then before 
Colonel Tyrrell's door there is a bastle such as 
always accompanies setting forth on a journey. 
The wagonette stands there, drawn by the fine 
bay horses that are their master's special pride. 
Pixie and Dixie, two beautiful deer-hounds, are 
bounding about as if they knew that an " outing " 
was before them. Colonel Tyrrell's saddle-horse 
is held by a servant near by. Nellie, in a state of 
glee almost equal to that of the dogs, hovers to 
and fro on the piazza. Her little heart is full to 
overflowing with happiness. She is going — she^ 
Nellie — on a journey to Caesar's Head ! 

Presently the others appear on the piazza — • 
Colonel Tyrrell smoking, Charlton ten degrees 
more sunburned than when he reached Transyl- 
vania. Minnie follows them. Then Flora ap- 
pear, shakes hands with Mr. Martin and Oscar, 
who are *o be left behind, and is assisted by 
Charlton into the wagonette. He is to drive, and 
she shares the front seat with him, Minnie and 
Nellie occupying the one behind. Colonel Tyrrell 
mounts his horse ; a small negro boy darts away 
to open the gate ; they roll gayly out, across the 
bridge with the translucent water flowing under- 



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**LOVE WAS IN THE NEXT DEGREE." 77 

neath — ^water full of lovely opal tints — ^and into 
the valley beyond. The air is buoyant with the 
freshness of early morning, the shadows are long, 
the colors of the mountains are exquisite. 

As they drive along the valley, the music of 
the river in their ears, the glad morning light on 
the hills, a shifting picture before their eyes of 
green and gold, swift motion and exquisite repose, 
cool shadows and glancing brightness, with the 
steadfast grandeur of mountains in the back- 
ground. Flora feels that it is like a JBenedicite. 
Her face is like one, Charlton thinks. The sweet 
flickering color comes and goes on her cheeks, her 
eyes are the color of the distant heights where 
they lie faint and far against the sky, her delicate 
lips stir unconsciously into soft smiles. 

Their road lies over Mill Hill, with the great 
panorama spread before them to the farthest verge 
of the horizon, crest upon crest, peak behind peak, 
graceful lines blending, splendid forms towering. 
The symmetrical point of Pisgah is a landmark as 
it stands out clearly defined, and wearing its most 
heavenly tint in the lucid atmosphere. On they 
go, mounting higher and yet higher — ^green shade 
arching over, misty depths of verdure far below, 
waters dashing, flowers shining, ferns and mosses 
in profusion. Presently they enter a pass, hemmed 
in by mighty hills. It is a region of enchanted 
loneliness, of dazzling lights and solemn shadow. 
Great heights tower above, overhung with mas- 



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78 A SUMMER IDYL. 

sive rocks, to which veils of softest moss and tan- 
gled vines cling ; dark gorges lie below, full of 
green, misty gloom — gloom which no lance of sun- 
light pierces ; far in the depths is to be heard the 
rush of falling water. The way grows wilder and 
steeper. Looking up at the great mountain which 
dominates the pass, they see a shimmer of sun- 
light among the twigs and stems and sprays of 
foliage, and the overhanging rocks are full of 
wonderful tints ; but their way is in shadow — 
shadow delightful in its beauty and refreshment. 
"This is Jones's Gap," says Flora. "It leads 
over the Blue Ridge, down to South Carolina." 

" Do we follow it long ? " asks Charlton. 

" No ; we turn off very soon now, and ascend 
the mountain to which we are bound. Here is 
the place — to the right, over that bridge, Mr. 
Charlton." 

Over the bridge they pass, and begin the as- 
cent of the mountain. The road is very winding, 
their progress is very slow, and the day would 
prove very warm but for the forest shade which 
is over them, and the pure freshness of the air. 
All around is the untouched luxuriance of virgin 
Nature. " Where is the view, Floy ? " asks Nel- 
lie, anxiously. 

" We shall soon come to it," answers Flora. 
" We are near the summit. Ah, there is a 
glimpse ! " Minnie utters a cry of delight. Is 
it the ocean — that marvelous blue plain stretch- 



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"LOVE WAS IN THE NEXT DEGREE." 79 

big to infinite distance, of which they catch a 
gleam through interlacing foliage ? 

" Draw up yonder — where you see those rocks," 
says Flora, pointing forward. " We must go out 
on the Head. It is not a good time of day for 
the view, hut still — " 

" Of course we must go," says Minnie. She 
is out of the wagonette almost before it is drawn 
up. The rest descend more soberly ; the horses 
are left in the shade. On this side the mountain 
shelves down in an abrupt precipice to the plain be- 
low. The jutting rock formation which, viewed 
from the side, makes a rude outline of a human 
head — and in another place, even more marked, 
of a lion's — ^is the point from which the eye sweeps 
over a limitless view. 

On their right the great chain of the Blue 
Ridge stretches westward, but in every other di- 
rection lies a boundless plain, over which hangs a 
magical blue light, deepening into distance till 
land and sky blend in glimmering mist. 

" Are you disappointed ? " asks Flora, turning 
to Charlton. "I feared you might be — I have 
said so much." 

" You have not said nearly enough," he an- 
swers. "I had not imagined anything half so 
beautiful. What an ocean-like effect ! " 

" Floy, there's a gentleman coming round the 
rock behind us," whispers Nellie. 

Flora turns ; then she smiles, and utters an 



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80 A SUMMER IDYL. 

exclamation. The face which Nellie espied, glanc- 
ing round a large bowlder, is familiar to her. " Is 
that you, Mr. Brandon ? " she says, in her sweet, 
cordial voice. Then she holds out her hand. 
" How do you do ? — ^and where do you come 
from?" 

At this Mr. Brandon's entire figure appears. 
He lifts his hat, showing a frank, open face. His 
eyes light up. He, too, smiles. 

"This is a most unexpected pleasure, Miss 
Flora," he says. " I was down in the cave with 
a book and a cigar, when I heard voices above, 
and thought I would come up and see who they 
were. Why, Nellie, have you forgotten me ? Is 
that Minnie?" 

" Is it you, Mr. Frank ? " says Minnie, turning 
round from her contemplation of the view. 

There are hand-shakings, greetings, inquiries. 
Charlton walks away. This interruption is like a 
jarring discord in music to him. He goes to the 
extreme verge of the rocks, and stands there, look- 
ing out into space. Below birds are wheeling like 
tiny specks ; over the boundless expanse of coun- 
try soft cloud-shadows lie ; the breeze is pure and 
fresh enough to have come from the courts of 
Paradise. The great rugged cliffs of the moun- 
tain are feathered over with the forest-growth 
which in these regions springs everywhere. 

Presently they turn and go back to the wagon- 
ette, drive a quarter of a mile farther, and draw 



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"LOVE WAS IN THE NEXT DEGREE." 81 

up before the long piazza of the hotel, where 
Colonel Tyrrell is seated — one of a group of 
gentlemen who are smoking at their ease. 

At dinner, to Charlton's disgust, Mr. Brandon 
asserts his rights of old friendship by taking a 
seat at Flora's side and talking to her with great 
animation. Every other one of his speeches is 
prefaced with " Do you remember ? " — a, form of 
address naturally disgusting to a new friend, 
since it indicates many memories in common. 
Flora is kind and courteous, but she does not en- 
courage these reminiscences. The reason of this 
soon appears. 

"We were here together once before," says 
Mr. Brandon, with the best possible intention of 
making himself agreeable. "Two years ago, I 
believe it was. I remember that Harry was with 
us, and I have not seen him since. What a de- 
lightful time we had ! I was thinking of it as I 
lay down in the cave just before I heard your 
voice above. Odd, wasn't it ? " 

" Yes, it was a singular coincidence," answers 
Flora. She speaks quietly, but Charlton — who by 
this time has learned to know every trick of her 
face and tone of her voice — feels that the subject 
is distasteful to her. He finds himself wondering 
why this should be. Having decided that she cares 
nothing for Harry, he has of late given little 
thought to that gentleman ; but now Frank Bran- 
don's careless words bring back a sense of doubt. 
6 



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82 A SUMMER IDYL. 

How pleasantly the days go by, those who 
have spent such days of golden summer need 
not be told. It is like an idyl — and one of Na- 
ture's own telling — only to sit on the rocks, in the 
mellow sunshine, and watch the great white bil- 
lowy clouds sailing athwart the sky, their soft 
shadows falling over the far-stretching land, over 
plantations that look like gardens, over hills like 
mounds, over distant towns with steeples shining, 
over wooded mountain-sides on which the blue 
haze of distance lies. On one of the crag-like 
points which command this view Flora sits one 
morning, with Charlton on a rock at her feet. 
They have been talking idly. Now and then si- 
lence settles over them. It does so now. Sev- 
eral minutes elapse before either speaks again. 
Finally voices float to them, and Charlton, stir- 
ring slightly, frowns. 

V " Some people are coming," he remarks. 
" What a bore ! Perhaps they want to propose 
an expedition. Something was said at breakfast 
about Table Rock." 

" I shall not go," says Flora. " I am tired of 
expeditions for the present. Especially I am 
tired of making one of a large party. Now, as 
we went to Conestee — " 

" Ah, Conestee ! " says Charlton, smiling. " I 
shall never forget it. Not even the beautiful 
falls of the Saluda and Little River have eclipsed 
the recollection of it." 



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"LOVE WAS IN THE NEXT DEGREE." 83 

"Recollection often flatters and magnifies," 
says Flora, shaking her head, but smiling, too. 
" You must not go back to Conestee, else you might 
be disappointed. If one has a pleasant memory, 
I think it is best not to endanger it by bringing it 
in contact with reality again.** 

"I wonder where you learned such philoso- 
phy ? " says Charlton. " By all means bring recol- 
lection as often as possible in contact with reali- 
ties, and, if they won't stand the test, let them 
go ! Don't live in a world of shadows. It is the 
worst thing that can befall any one." 

"You talk of letting memories go, as if, in 
that case, one would not have to let a great deal 
of one's self go with them," says Flora, almost 
resentfully. 

" Even in that case it is best for them to go. 
They are not healthy food," Charlton answers. 

She shrugs her shoulders lightly, and, without 
answering otherwise, takes her straw hat, which 
lies beside her, and begins to tie it on. " Those 
voices are coming nearer," she says, " and I don't 
think I am in the mood for society. You said 
the other day that you would like to see the view 
from the other side of the mountain — the side 
overlooking Jones's Gap. Should you like to go 
now ? " 

" Very much, indeed," he replies, rising with 
alacrity. 

" You must walk a mile — a very long mile." 



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84: A SUMMER IDYL. 

" Do you think I shall mind that, if you do 
not?" 

" Your ankle may suffer, however." 

"My ankle is almost entirely well. It only 
gives a twinge now and then, and I am sure it is 
quite equal to your long mile." 

" Then we will go." 

She rises-^or at least attempts to do so. But 
her dress is caught by a stone, she turns to release 
it, and her foot slips. In another instant she 
might have gone over the precipice, down to a 
death too awful to contemplate, if Charlton's arm 
had not encircled and drawn her back. It is only 
an instant — but an instant that he never forgets. 
Some moments contain within themselves the 
principle of eternity. This is one of them. Her 
slight figure clinging to him, her soft hair blow- 
ing across his lips — ^these things thrill him sud- 
denly with a consciousness which is like a revela- 
tion. It is new and yet old, familiar and yet 
unknown before. Man of the world as he is, and 
well trained in self-control, he cannot utter a 
word. It is Flora who, drawing away, speaks. 

"Thank you very much. That was exceed- 
ingly awkward of me, and one cannot afford to 
be awkward on such a pinnacle as this." 

" You came very near falling into the chasm," 
he says, a little hoarsely. 

She turns her head, and looking down into the 
chasm, shudders. "If I had," she says, "how 



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"LOVE WAS IN THE NEXT DEGREE." 85 

terrible it would have been — for me and also for 
you ! I should have been killed, and you would 
have been haunted by the horror of having wit- 
nessed such a thing. I am glad you caught me." 

Then, without saying anything more, they 
turn and scramble back over the rocks to the top 
of the mountain. Skirting around the large bowl- 
ders which cover the Head, they avoid the party 
gathered there, but do not avoid certain scraps of 
their conversation. 

"Floy and Mr. Charlton ought to be here 
somewhere," says Minnie's voice. 

" Perhaps they are down in the cave, engaged 
in the amusement for which it is famous," sug- 
gests Mr. Brandon. 

" Do you mean flirting ? " inquires a lively 
young lady. " I should not suspect either of them 
of knowing anything about such an amusement." 

" They don't ! " says Minnie, a little indig- 
nantly. "At least, I know nothing about Mr. 
Charlton— only I should think he was too old for 
anything of that kind — but I do know that Floy 
never flirted in her life." 

" It is never too late to begin, my dear," says 
the young lady, with a laugh. 

" They certainly seem uncommonly partial to 
each other's society," remarks Mr. Brandon. 

The two involuntary listeners, who thus ex- 
emplify the old proverb by hearing no good of 
themselves, look at each other as they pass out of 



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Se A SUMMER IDYL. 

the sound of the voices. Charlton is doubtful 
what Flora may think, but she only smiles. 

" How do you fancy the imputation of being 
too old to flirt?" she asks. "You must excuse 
Minnie. In the eyes of fifteen, thirty-flvi^j^ the 
border of middle life." 

" She is quite right," says Charlton ; " I am 
too old to flirt — too old in mind if not in years. 
In my youngest days, however, I was not partial 
to the anmsement. I had always a sense of austere, 
and no doubt uncharitable, contempt for men who 
make it the business of their lives. But then I 
was never a society man, and so, perhaps, I could 
not estimate their temptations. When I was young 
society did not recognize me. Of late it has been 
graciously pleased to acknowledge my existence, 
after a certain patronizing fashion, but I cannot 
say that its favors have been very gratefully re- 
ceived. Hence I am like yourself — I never flirted 
in my life. We stand on that much common 
ground, at all events." 

" Why are you sure that I never flirted ? Min- 
nie does not know." 

" I know. There is fitness in all things." 

" But not consistency in all characters." 

"No, not at all— only in some. But wh«r* 
are we going ? Yonder is the hotel, and I thought 
we were to see the view from— or is it over ? — 
Jones's Gap ! " j^ 

" We turn by the spring. Are you thirsty ? 



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"LOVE WAS IN THE NEXT DEGREE." 87 

The water here is so cool that it tempts one to 
drink merely for the sake of drinking." 

They approach the spring, which is very large, 
limpid, and beautiful. "There is nothing but 
this <mt> of which to drink," says Flora, taking 
up a huntsman's horn which is lying near, left by 
some thirsty and forgetful hunter. 

She kneels down on the gray rocks — a graceful, 
unconscious figure, over which the flickering 
shadows fall. All things fresh and Arcadian 
seem to meet in her. To Charlton she appears 
like an incarnation of the sylvan sweetness which 
surrounds him. It is the Flora of mythology who 
is kneeling there, with Diana's horn in her hand 
— fair, tender, wild, the music of the streams in 
her voice, the blueness of the skies in her eyes. 
Are his eyes enchanted? It may be ; but some- 
times such enchantment is not only better, but 
also wiser, than all the wisdom of earth. 

After he has drunk from the horn, which she 
holds to him full of liquid crystal, they leave the 
spring behind and enter the forest. There is a 
road for some distance, then a path, and finally 
merely a trail which eyes inexperienced in wood- 
craft would not observe. Flora sees and follows 
it without difficulty. Charjlton loiters by her side 
— for they do not overheat themselves by fast 
walking — and thinks that he has never before 
been^ near the perfection of existence. Their 
way is level, for this is the summit of the moun- 



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88 A SUMMER IDYL. 

tain over which they are passing, and the f ore4St 
around them is as still and green as if no human 
presence had ever entered it. 

" It looks as if it was enchanted, does it not ?" 
says Flora. " Everything is so wild and beauti- 
ful ! " 

"It is a wonderful country," says Charlton, 
*' and you are wonderfully devoted to it." 

" Of course I am," she says. " How could I 
be anything else ? Would not you be devoted to 
it if it were your native country ? " 

" I think I might become so — ^if I staid here 
long enough — even without that advantage," he 
replies. 

" I have never been out of it but once," says 
Flora. " Then I was sent away — down to the low 
country — to school, and thought I should die of 
homesickness. I pined for the great blue hills till 
they were forced to bring me back. Of course I 
should not be so foolish now. I should try to 
content myself wherever I was forced to live. 
But my heart — ah, I know that it would always 
* flee as a bird to the mountains.' " 

" It is a very tender and constant heart," says 
Charlton. 

Talking in this way, they proceed in their walk. 
It ends after a time as all things do — even the 
long and loosely-reckoned miles which are a pecu- 
liarity of this country. The two pedestrians sud- 
denly emerge out of the shadow of the woods 



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"LOVE WAS IN THE NEXT DEGREE." 89 

and find themselves on the verge of the moun- 
tain. It slopes down on a precipice almost as 
abrupt as that on the other side ; but here the 
wonderful forest covers every rood of ground, 
and the eye rests on that sea of green, melting 
gradually into blue, to which the traveler in these 
virgin solitudes soon grows accustomed. 

Flora advances to the edge of the precipice, 
and, passing one arm around a tree, sinks down 
on its moss-covered roots. " Look ! " she says to 
her companion. " Is it not grand ? " 

Certainly it is. Far below lies the narrow 
pass, extending miles in length ; on each side of 
where they stand, the mountains stretch away to 
dim distance. The grandeur, the silence, the 
wildness of the scene is beyond all expression. 
The glory of towering heights, the shifting beau- 
ty of lights and shades and tints, the lucid sky, 
the floating clouds, the great presence of absolute 
solitude — there are no words in which to speak 
fitly of these things. 

There is a long silence before Charltpn speaks 
Then he says : " I am glad that you brought me 
here. This is the most impressive view that I 
have seen yet, and altogether unlike any other. 
What superb heights ! and how we are girt by 
them ! '' 

" They are magnificent," says Flora, gazing at 
them lovingly. "But do you not feel in such 



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90 A SUMMER IDYL. 

scenes as if you could not admire sufficiently all 
that there is to admire ? " 

" Yes ; every one is conscious of such a feel- 
ing, I suppose. It springs from the poverty of 
our emotions. More is given than we can appre- 
ciate or enjoy, even with our utmost effort." 

"But why is it so?" 

"Ah, who can tell? It is the same old note 
of disappointment which enters into every chord 
of human pleasure. One grows to expect it after 
a while. Nothing is perfect. We are vexed 
either by the poverty or the aspiration of our 
souls." 

" Perhaps it is as well," says Flora. " No doubt 
it is good for us to possess the unsatisfied ideals 
that vex us. There must of necessity always be 
some things which we * cannot compass in our 
speech ' — nor in our lives." 

"That sounds a trifle obscure. I am afraid 
you are inclined to bef mystical," he says, turning 
his glance from the mountains to her face. 

She laughs as her eyes meet his. " What will 
you tell me next ? " she asks. " A short time ago 
I was inclined to be morbid — and now mystical. 
What an odd — and not particularly admirable — 
patchwork my character seems to be ! " 

" You know better than that," he says. " It 
is not your character which is in fault ; it is I who 
blundered in reading it, who indeed have lost the 
power of reading it. And I wonder" — here he 



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"SWEET IS TRUE LOVE." 91 

pauses for a moment — " if you know why I have 
lost it." 

" No," she answers, simply. " I should think 
that if you chose to read it, nothing would be 
easier than for you to do so." 

" Nothing probably would be easier," he says, 
quietly, " if I did not love you." 



CHAPTER VIIL 

** SWEET IS TBUE LOVE, THOUGH GIVEN IN VAIN, 
IN VAIN." 

After this declaration there follows a minute 
of silence. Flora is so much astonished, so thor- 
oughly disconcerted, that she almost doubts the 
evidence of her ears. It cannot be that Charlton 
has really said that he loves her ! She must have 
misunderstood, have made a« mistake. The blood 
which rushed to her face subsides, the sense of 
confusion leaves her ; she turns and looks at her 
companion. 

" I do not understand," she says. 

Charlton on his part is perfectly quiet and 
cool. He had no intention of making such a con- 
fession two minutes before he did make it, but he 
has no idea of receding from it now that it has 
been made. Though he has never had very much 
to do with women, he is one of the least shy of 



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92 A SUMMER IDYL. 

men, and his self-command in all emergencies is a 
proverb with his friends. The hazel eyes meet 
the blue ones steadily. He smiles. 

" Shall I make you understand ? " he says. " I 
wonder if it is worth while. Rather — ^I know it 
is not worth while so far as I am concerned, and 
perhaps you wonder why I do not shrink from 
useless pain and mortification. But then, luckily, 
self-love has never been with me a very trouble- 
some sentiment. Few men would tell a woman 
whom they know to be thoroughly indifferent to 
them that they loved her. Their vanity would be 
naturally averse to that which is called a * rejec- 
tion.' But my vanity does not trouble me on 
such a score. In fact, I am not foolish enough to 
make any proposal which you would be forced to 
reject. I simply tell you, as something which 
concerns and may probably interest you a little, 
that I have learned to love you." 

" But — why tell me ? " asks Flora. She is so 
much surprised that the question rises involuntari- 
ly to her lips. 

" I scarcely know why I have told you," Charl- 
ton answers^, " unless it be that it is an impulse to 
tell you the truth. It seems the natural and 
straightforward thing to do. You are so simple, 
so direct, yourself. Therefore I am sure you will 
hear me reasonably and kindly. It may be a mis- 
fortune, it is certainly not a fault, to love you." 

" A fault ! " repeats Flora. " It is certainly 



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"SWEET IS TRUE LOVE." 93 

not a fault," she says, very gently, " but it may 
be — do you not think ? — a mistake. Why should 
you love me ? You know very little of me, and 
that little is commonplace in the extreme. I could 
never have imagined that you would care for me 
— ^you who have seen so much of the world." 

" It is impossible for me to explain why I care 
for you," says Charlton. "Who can analyze 
love ? As you say, I have seen a great deal of 
the world, and I have come in contact with many 
women — some of them beautiful, a few of them 
clever. But I never met any woman before who 
was to me so sympathetic as yourself. My idea 
has been that, when a woman entered a man's life, 
she entered it to disturb it ; and, valuing above 
everything the calm necessary for the intellectual 
life, I have consequently avoided women. But, 
wherever you are, there is serenity. You are al- 
ways harmonious, you are gentle, you are tender, 
and yet you are strong. Do I vex you by speak- 
ing in this manner ? " (as she shrinks a little and 
a flush comes to her face). "I did not mean to 
do so. I thought we might discuss the matter 
quietly, but if it troubles you — ^" 

"It does not trouble me," says Flora, more 
and more surprised, "but I am sorry that you 
overrate me so much. I cannot understand it. 
Why should you have conceived such an idea of 
me?" 

" Why, indeed, if it is not a true one ? I have 



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94 A SUMMER IDYL. 

been studying you attentively and dispassionately 
for weeks ; why should I have imagined you to 
be all of these things if you are none of them ? 
Nothing in my life has ever surprised me more 
than to find myself in love with you. The knowl- 
edge has come to me very gradually. I did not 
grasp it — or at least I did not realize it in its com- 
pleteness — until an hour ago." 

" In that case," says Flora, " what has come so 
quickly may pass as soon." 

"You misunderstand me if you think it has 
come quickly. So far from that, I could go back 
to our first meeting and trace its steady growth 
to the present time. But such a retrospection 
would not interest you. One must be moderate 
even in egotism. I am not presumptuous enough 
to fancy that you give me a thought beyond kind- 
ly friendship now. But may I try to win some- 
thing more from you — in time ? " 

If he does not speak eagerly and passionately 
— as Flora has perhaps imagined that lovers al- 
ways speak — there is at least no room to doubt 
that he is in earnest. As she hesitates — not know- 
ing in what words to frame her reply — ^he goes on : 

" Don't mistake me — don't think that I desire 
any pledge of encouragement. I only ask leave 
to try to win your heart. Probably I shall fail — 
I have a suspicion that Nature did not fit me to 
win a woman's fancy — but I should like to try. 
May I do so?" 



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"SWEET IS TRUE LOVE." 95 

Over the last words his voice falls. It is gen- 
tle — it is almost beseeching. Flora is inexpressi- 
bly touched. All this to her! It seems incredi- 
ble. What glamour has come over Charlton's 
sight ? 

" Why do you think of me in this way ? " she 
asks. " You must forgive me if I say that it is 
very foolish. I am not what you imagine — ^not at 
all. As for this which you bestow on me, it is a 
very great gift — ^nothing on earth is more great 
or precious ; but I am sorry, very sorry, that you 
give it to me. You should keep it for some one 
else, who could value it and make it the crowning 
jewel of her life." 

" I would rather give it to you for a plaything 
— ^if you have no other use for it," says Charlton. 
"Nobody is ever likely to value or make it a 
crowning jewel, I fear. Don't look grieved ! 
There is no reason why you should. If I have a 
mind to give you something for which I expect 
no return, whose affair is it but my own ? I shall 
be sorry that I said anything about it if you let it 
annoy you in any way." 

"You must think me very selfish if you- im- 
agine that I could possibly not be grieved," says 
Flora, with a cadence of indignation in her voice. 
" I have liked you so much, and now — " 

" I hope you don't mean to stop liking me ? " 
he says, smiling. " Why should you be distressed 
by what is no fault of yours ? Why should you 



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96 A SUMMER IDYL. 

change in your feeling toward me, or let a cloud 
come between us ? I have told you frankly what 
I feel toward you, but this binds you to nothing. 
You are only asked to receive — not to give. In 
time, perhaps — " 

But here she interrupts hira. " I must not let 
you count on what can never be," she says. 
" Time can work no change. As I like you now, 
I shall like you always ; but I can never love 
you." 

"Are you sure of that?" says Charlton. He 
asks the question with a wistf ulness which touches 
her afresh. He is startled by the positive form of 
her declaration. She is not a woman to talk at 
random, he knows. In love a man continually 
advances from one discovery to another: Charlton 
at this moment discovers how much he hoped. 

" I am sure of it," she answers. Her eyes turn 
away from his face to the steadfast mountains. 
She looks at the outlines of their splendid crests 
with a shadow of doubt and trouble in her glance. 
Charlton feels it, and speaks with what she feels 
to be great gentleness. " I cannot tell you how 
sorry I am to have pained you in this manner. 
Do not think of it any more. Let us fancy that 
we have been amusing ourselves with the rehear- 
sal of a little comedy, and now we will go back to 
our pleasant friendship. I have only one thing to 
ask — don't let my folly bring any constraint be- 
tween us. I shall not forgive myself if it does. 



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"SWEET IS TRUE LOVE." 97 

Tou cannot tell how much I value your kindness 
— and I shall not misinterpret it." 

"It is you who are kind — very kind !" cries 
the girL Then she turns to him suddenly. Her 
eyes expand, a glow of resolution comes into her 
face. " I can make only one return for all that 
you give me," she says ; "but that return I will 
make. I can tell you more than I have told any 
one else — about myself." 

" Not unless you are sure that you will not re- 
gret having done so," says Charlton, quickly. 
" You can tell me nothing of yourself that will not 
interest me, nothing I shall not be glad to hear ; 
but you must not do so from any mistaken idea 
of owing me an explanation. There is not the 
least necessity for anything of that kind." 

"I think there is," says Flora. "Am I to 
make no return for all that you give me ? You 
say that you only ask me to receive ; but surely 
that is an ungracious rdlCy to receive so much, 
and make not even an acknowledgment. I would 
rather tell you everything ; but you must promise 
not to repeat it." 

" Is it possible you think that I could — ^ 

" No, I don't think you could ; but still I will 
feel more safe if you promise." 

" I do promise, then, to hold all that you may 

choose to tell me absolutely sacred; but I beg 

you again not to tell me anything that you are 

likely to regret afterward. At all events, don't 

7 

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98 A SUMMER IDYL. 

speak hastily. Wait till to-morrow. In the 
mean time think a little — ^will you not ? — of what 
I have said. I put myself in your hands. I am 
your friend or your lover, as you choose. All 
that I ask is permission to try and win your heart. 
I hope — I think — that I might make you happy if 
you could learn to love me ; and I am sure that 
you would make me much more than happy." 

"You cannot tell," says Flora. "I am not 
half that you think me. You would soon find 
that out. But, nevertheless, I must thank you 
for thinking so well of me," she adds. 

" Never mind thanking me for that," he says. 
** Perhaps I would not think so well of you if I 
could help it." 

At this Flora smiles, as he intended that she 
should. And then they rise. The idea occurs 
to both of them that it is time to start homeward. 
So they bid adieu to the solemn beauty of the 
great pass, the unchanging grandeur of the moun- 
tains, dappled softly with cloud-shadows, and 
turn away. 



CHAPTER IX. 



The evenings at Caesar's Head are very pleas- 
ant. After sunset the air grows so chilly that 
fires are often necessary for comfort ; and no one 



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"LOVE THE GIFT IS LOVE THE DEBT." 99 

cap deny their cheerful, picturesque effect. Vis- 
itors are coming and going constantly. This 
evening the house is crowded to its utmost capa- 
city. A party of tourists from Asheville arrive in 
time to see the sunset from the Head, and talk of 
it rapturously at supper. They are so full of en- 
thusiasm, so overflowing with admiration of the 
country through which they have passed, that the 
mountaineers present incline to them kindly, and 
volunteer a great deal of information. Mr. Bran- 
don advises them strongly to go to the Balsam 
Mountains. " I took a stray artist who had wan- 
dered to this region up there last summer," he 
says, "and I thought the fellow would lose his 
senses. * Great Heaven ! ' he exclaimed — only he 
was more emphatic — * that such a paradise should 
be unknown ! ' " 

" This is your country, then ? — you live here ? " 
says a dark-eyed young lady — ^with something of 
French vivacity in her manner — turning to him. 

"Yes, it is my country, and I wouldn't ex- 
change it for any other in the world ! " returns 
the young Carolinian, proudly. " When it comes 
to be known, it will be such a resort for America 
as Switzerland is for Europe." 

One of the gentlemen of the party is mean- 
while talking to Colonel Tyrrell. " We came by 
Flat Rock," he says, " but we have been advised 
to return through Transylvania. There is said to 
be some beautiful scenery in that country.^ 



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100 A SUMMER IDYL. 

" We must not fail to see the valley of the 
French Broad," says the young lady, turning 
round. "If I am not mistaken, that charming 
Mr. Sunderland, who advised us to come here, 
said that he used to live there." 

There is a minute's silence ; then Colonel Tyr- 
rell says, " If you mean my nephew, Harry Sun- 
derland, he certainly used to live there." 

" Of course I mean Harry Sunderland," says 
the young lady, "is he your nephew? How 
glad I am to meet you ! I have heard him talk so 
often of his uncle who lives on the French Broad ! 
Are you that uncle ? How delightful ! I am 
Miss Dupont, from New Orleans. We came up 
to AsheviUe from the Warm Springs. Gertrude 
Preston is my most intiijaate friend. Your nephew 
is engaged to her, is he not ? " 

"If so, I am not aware of the fact," says 
Colonel Tyrrell, a little stiffly. 

"Suppose we retreat?" says Charlton in a 
low voice to Flora. 

She assents, and they quietly leave the table ; 
not so quietly but that Miss Dupont's dark eyes 
follow them. " Ciel!^'* she says, "what a sweet 
face that girl has ! Your daughter. Colonel Tyr- 
rell ? Oh ! I beg pardon ; but pray introduce 
me." 

This introduction does not take place very 
soon. When Miss Dupont and her party leave 
the supper-room. Flora is not to be found. Charl- 



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"LOVE TOE GIFT IS LOVE THE DEBT." 101 

ton has also disappeared, as Mr. Brandon remarks. 
" What do you think, now f " he says to Minnie. 
" It is either a case of flirtation, or something very 
serious. Take care that you don't lose your sis- 
ter ; though, by Jove ! it will be too bad if she 
throw herself away on that fellow ! I always 
thought she would marry Sunderland, or I should 
have asked her to marry nie long ago." 

"She wouldn't have dreamed of doing it," 
says Minnie, uncivilly. " As for Harry, I don't 
know what Miss Dupont means by talking of his 
being engaged to anybody. We should certainly 
have heard of it, if he was." 

" That might not follow," says Mr. Brandon. 
" But I'll go and find out all about it." 

Meanwhile, when Charlton says to Flora, 
"Come out and avoid those people. Let us go 
over to the knoll and see the moon rise," she 
wraps a shawl around her, and they go out to the 
knoll in front of the house, whence they look 
eastward. In daylight the view is beautiful. The 
blue plain stretches away southward and west- 
ward, but in the east and north mountains on 
mountains rise, cloud-girt, azure-robed, melting 
into lovely distance. 

Just now all the landscape is veiled in obscu- 
rity, except that along the crests of the far heights 
there is an alabaster glow which shows that the 
moon is behind them. " She will soon be here," 
says Charlton ; and they sit down to wait for her 



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102 A SUMMER IDYL. 

coming. She does not long delay. First the edge 
of her disk appears ; then by degrees the whole 
silver shield rises into the cloudless hyacinth sky. 
The world is bathed in mystic beauty ; dark out- 
lines and silvery mist make up the scene, but 
nothing could be fairer. 

"I remember that we saw this same moon 
when she was a mere thread of silver," says Charl- 
ton. " Do you remember ? It was down on the 
river bank one evening." 

"Yes, I remember," answers Flora. "You 
asked me — or I asked you — about Harry. How- 
ever it was, we talked of him. I knew then 
that he was in love, but I did not suspect that 
he would be engaged without telling his old 
friends." 

"I do not believe that he is engaged," says 
Charlton. " He certainly was not when I saw or 
when I heard from him last. Gossip generally 
outstrips fact. Don't trouble yourself about it. 
If it is true he will certainly tell you." 

" But there is no doubt that he is in love with 
Miss Preston, I suppose ? " 

"He fancies that he is," says Charlton, who 
has no very high opinion of Harry's stability. 

" What is she like ? " asks Flora. " You have 
never said anything about her, and Harry has mere- 
ly mentioned her name." 

" I never saw her but once — at a concert with 
Sunderland. She is a handsome brunette, with a 



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"LOVE THE GIFT IS LOVE THE DEBT." 103 

marked air of style, but no great degree of intel- 
lect in her face." 

There is silence for a few minutes ; then Flora 
says in a low voice : " Do not be vexed with me if 
I tell you now, instead of to-morrow, what I spoke 
of this morning. I have thought it all over, and 
it is best. You say that you only ask permission 
to try and win my heart. But I must make you 
understand that I should be wrong if I gave you 
this permission ; and I can only make you under- 
stand this by telling you frankly that I gave my 
heart away long ago, before I ever saw you." 

Charlton's own heart gives a great throb, and 
then seems to stand still for a moment. " I feared 
it ! " he says to himself. Somehow he knows that 
he has felt a foreboding of this all along. 

Flora goes on quickly — perhaps she does not 
wish any reply. " No one was to blame," she says, 
" and I do not think that any one suffered except 
myself ; and one's own pain does not matter. 
That can be borne easily enough. But to cause 
pain to others — ^it seems to me that I should never 
forgive myself if I did that knowingly, or even 
carelessly. It was not Harry's fault — ^I never 
thought so for a moment — " 

" Harry ! " says Charlton. He is thunder- 
struck. "Do you mean," he says, breathlessly, 
" that it is Sunderland for whom you care ? Good 
Heavens ! what have I — " 

" Done ? " he would have added, but stops him- 



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104 A SUMMER IDYL. 

self in time. Even in the midst of his surprise 
and bewilderment, he feels instinctively that he 
must not let her suspect in what manner Sunder- 
land has spoken of her to him, nor what a mission 
was laid on him when he came to Transylvania. 

The half darkness conceals the blush which 
rises to Flora's face ; yet she speaks bravely. 

" Yes, it is Harry. I learned to care for him 
so long ago — or I never learned, it seemed to be a 
natural instinct with me — ^that I do not think I 
shall ever be able to put it away from me. At least 
I shall never be able to care for any one else in the 
same manner." 

"But on that evening of which I spoke a min- 
ute ago, you told me that Sunderland was not 
your lover," says Charlton. 

"He never was," she answers, simply, "but I 
thought at one time that he might be. It was 
natural; I cannot blame myself. He was very 
fond of me, and I was too young to draw distinc- 
tions. I was never so happy as here on this 
mountain two years ago ; but he went away — and 
never came back. So it was all a mistake." 

The proud, tender voice ends abruptly, and 
silence falls. For what can Charlton say ? Can 
he tell her that it was not a mistake, and that 
Sunderland, nevertheless, has forgotten her ? He 
feels that such a revelation can serve no good 
purpose. What has he done? Might he have 
brought happiness to this constant heart, and has 



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"LOVE THE GIFT IS LOVE THE DEBT." 105 

he ignorantly and presumptuously turned it away ? 
Is it too late even yet ? As if she read his thoughts, 
Flora speaks. 

" That is all," she says. " I have given you 
confession for confession, and we will never speak 
of the subject again. I am very, very sorry that 
you should care for me, but I hope it will prove a 
fancy which will soon pass away. In order that 
it may do so, I have told you what no one else 
ever heard from me." 

"I shall never forget your kindness or your 
confidence," he says in a low voice. " If I could 
serve your happiness in any way, believe me I 
should not think of myself." 

" But you cannot ! " she says, quickly. " Re- 
member, you have given me your faith. You can 
never repeat to any one what I have told you." 

" I could cut out my heart sooner than repeat 
one word of it," he says — so earnestly that her 
fears are set at rest. "But you are mistaken 
when you talk of my love for you being a fancy 
that may soon pass away. It is a passion which 
will endure. But there is no reason why you 
should be sorry for this. I am not. It is no 
little thing to love a woman who is worth remem- 
bering. And then I have your friendship. That 
is very much." 

" I am glad you think so," says Flora. She is 
much relieved by this quietude. It is something 
new in her experience of love affairs, but more 



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106 A SUMMER IDYL. 

agreeable than any amount of passion or pleading. 
Silence falls again. They hear the wind sighing 
softly among the trees at their feet ; for the forest 
here, as everywhere, clothes the precipitous moun- 
tain. From the hotel behind, gay tones and 
laughter float out on the night. Life is full of 
such contrasts. As two voices suddenly rise in 
song, Charlton says : " Don't let me keep you any 
longer. The night-air is very chilly." 



CHAPTER X. 

"some there be that shadows kiss." 

Afteb he has parted with Flora at the door of 
the hotel, Charlton takes his way to the Head, 
lighting a cigar as he goes. He has much to con- 
sider, and he feels that he can best command his 
thoughts in the unbroken solitude of Nature. He 
finds the point altogether deserted. The brilliant 
moonlight brings out boldly every escarpment of 
the cliff, and near its verge he throws himself care- 
lessly down. Lying there with the pure fresh air 
around him, the hyacinth heaven above, and the 
vague, far-reaching world, flooded with silver mist, 
below, he gives himself up to reflections which are 
by no means pleasant. 

Not reflections on his own failure. This is 



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"SOME THERE BE THAT SHADOWS KISS." 107 

something which he puts aside, with the calmness 
of one to whom life has brought many disappoint- 
ments. People grow accustomed to all things — 
even to failure — after a while, and Charlton's ex- 
perience is rather more of failure than success. 
Once before he had set his heart on a woman, and 
she gave him much the same answer which Flora 
has given to-night — an answer less gentle but not 
less decided. In many ways and at many different 
times he has learned that to him do not fall the 
prizes reserved for the curled darlings of fortune. 
This, therefore, is only another example of that 
fact. He accepts it, and turns his attention to the 
other aspect of the matter — ^that which concerns 
Flora. 

He sees now the error into which he has led 
Sunderland, but he does not perceive with any- 
thing like equal clearness how this error is to be 
corrected, or what possible good can result from 
its correction. Flora has learned from others 
besides himself — ^has been warned, indeed, by 
her own instinct — of Sunderland's inconstancy. 
Would she be likely, under these circumstances, 
to accept the latter if he were to offer himself ? 
Charlton feels that he knows enough of her char- 
acter to answer this question in the negative. But 
if in the first instance he had read more correctly 
the riddle which he was set to solve, would mat- 
ters have been different then? Perhaps — only 
perhaps — so. Sunderland might have relinquished 



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108 A SUMMER roYL. 

his suit with Miss Preston and returned to Tran- 
sylvania ; but Charlton is very doubtf uL 

" At all events, I am glad that I did not know 
the truth when I wrote to him!" he mutters. 
And with this decision jealousy has little or 
nothing to do. lie feels keenly how deeply Flora 
would have been wronged if a sense of honor 
alone had brought her cousin back to her. His 
blood stirs hotly at the mere imagination of such 
a thing. If he had not grown to love her — ^if she 
was merely to him the graceful, tender girl who 
had pleased his taste and awakened his interest 
when they first met — ^he would still regard this as 
a desecration. Now he feels that he could sooner 
leap over the verge on which he stands than suffer 
Sunderland to suspect what place he carelessly 
won in the loyal heart that has not learned the 
lesson of facile forgetting. 

So much for the past. With regard to the 
future, he marks out a programme for himself 
very decidedly and clearly. He will trouble Flora 
by no further allusion to the confession so untow- 
ardly made to-day ; and he will shorten his stay 
in Transylvania as much as possible, so that in a 
few weeks at furthest he can turn his back on 
Arcadia, leaving forever behind the fair pastoral 
region in which for a little while he has forgotten 
the roar and strife of the world beyond these 
blue mountains. 

While he reflects in this manner, and Flora, 



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"SOME THERE BE THAT SHADOWS KISS." 109 

sitting at her chamber window, watches with half- 
absent eyes the great sea of silver mist stretching 
away to infinite distance, Miss Dupont is engaged 
in writing a letter to her friend Miss Preston. 
After relating how she chances to be in the moun- 
tains of Western Carolina, she touches lightly on 
the attractions of Caesar's Head, and finally sums 
up in this manner : 

" Fancy whom I have just had the pleasure of 
meeting ! No other persons than the uncle and 
cousin of your admirer and special subject, Harry 
Sunderland. The uncle is the ordinary old gentle- 
man ; the cousin is lovely, in a fair gentle style 
that has no chic or sparkle in it, but is attractive, 
nevertheless. Mr. Charlton, the writer, is here in 
her train, and seems to engross all her attention. 
A communicative young gentleman who was intro- 
duced to me this evening — Brandon, I think, by 
name — ^told me that Mr. Charlton's devotion is 
moat markedy and that Miss Tyrrell seems to 
respond to it very kindly. I should like to make 
the acquaintance of a man who writes essays ; but 
after having spent some time with Miss Tyrrell 
watching the moon rise, he brought her back to 
the hotel and strolled off alone — unable, I suppose, 
to endure any other society after hers. Probably 
I shall see him to-morrow and be able to tell in 
what degree an essayist is like other people." 

Much more than this the letter contains — 
especially some inquiries into Miss Preston's rela- 



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110 A SUMMER roYL. 

tions with the aforesaid Harry Sunderland — ^but 
the above extract is all that need be given to the 
public. After the epistle is finished, signed, sealed, 
and directed, Miss Dupont calmly consigns her- 
self to her couch and sleeps the sleep of innocence. 

The next morning this young lady has an op- 
portunity to learn how much an essayist is like 
other people. Charlton is presented to her, and 
does not make a very pleasant impression. He is 
never discourteous, but on occasions he can be 
distinctly disagreeable. This is one of the occa- 
sions, for few things interest him less than the 
empty chatter of a society woman. He escapes 
as soon as possible, pleading an engagement to 
join a hunting party who are going down to Buck 
Forest in search of deer. 

Later in the day the Dupont party leave Cae- 
sar's Head. Colonel Tyrrell regrets courteously 
that he is not at home, so that he might entertain 
them. "We can at least look at your place in 
passing," says Adele, graciously. " I have heard 
Mr. Sunderland talk so often of its beautiful 
situation." 

" You must do more than look at it in pass- 
ing," said Flora. "You must go in and see the 
view of the valley from the front." 

" We should enjoy it more if you were there 
to point out all its beauties to us," says one of the 
gentlemen, gallantly. 

But it is doubtful whether Flora is sorry that 



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"SOME THERE BE THAT SHADOWS KISS." HI 

she will not be there. Miss Dupont and herself own 
little in common ; and there is something in the 
fact that the former belongs to that world which 
has separated Sunderland so widely from his old 
friends that makes Flora, despite her utmost ef- 
forts to the contrary, regard her with a sentiment 
approaching to dislike. She is vexed with herself 
for feeling in this manner ; but to feel differently 
is quite out of her power. It is a relief when the 
last compliments are exchanged, the Dupont party 
gone, and she is at liberty to take a book and go 
out on the rocks. 

She finds without difficulty a nook where she 
is not likely to be disturbed — a craggy point of 
the great precipice, like that on which she was en- 
throned the day before, with Charlton lying at 
her feet. The immense expanse of the wide and 
beautiful prospect seems to sink on the spirit with 
a charm which can never be forgotten. Yet at 
present she is scarcely conscious of it in any ac- 
tive sense. Her mind is full of other thoughts. 
Her hands are lightly folded over the book in her 
lap ; her eyes gaze at the remote limit of the 
scene, where land and sky blend in ocean-like 
mist ; her lips are closed with a tense expression, 
significant of pain. She is 

" . . . . telling her memories over 
As you tell your beads," 

and not gathering a great deal of profit or pleas- 
ure' therefrom. 



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112 A SUMMER roYL. 

How well she remembers those summer days 
two years ago, which she spent here with Sunder- 
land ! — ^how every sight and sound recalls his 
frank, handsome face ! She can almost fancy 
that all the lapse of intermediate time is a dream, 
and that she will start suddenly to hear his voice 
ringing over the mountain-side in the hunters' 
chorus from "Der Freischtltz," which he liked 
so niuch and sang so well. Yet she knows that 
the pleasant music of that voice is far away — 
sounding, perhaps, under the tamarac trees of dis- 
tant Canada, or on the blue waters of the great 
lakes. The green Carolina heights, the semi- 
tropical magnificence of the wild Carolina for- 
ests, have not heard its cadence in many days ; 
and the tender, pathetic eyes, sweeping wistfully 
the verge of the horizon, look in vain for the 
presence that comes not. 

But Flora's thoughts are not altogether, nor 
chiefly, retrospective. Do what she will, Charl- 
ton's words sound in her ears, and she finds her- 
self questioning constantly whether she was right 
or wrong in answering them as she did last night. 
Need she have told to this stranger the secret of 
her heart — ^the secret which even to herself she 
scarcely ever put in words before? She could 
not tell another person, she can scarcely intelligi- 
bly set before herself why she did so. In truth 
an overmastering sense of the hardness and cru- 
elty of life came to her — a sudden sad realization 



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"SOME THERE BE THAT SHADOWS KISS." 113 

of how many precious things are wasted, love for 
which no one cares, faith that is betrayed, hope 
that sickens unto slow death. Her own misplaced 
affection was nothing — so she would have said ; 
but for Charlton to set his heart on her and suffer 
through her — that seemed more than she could 
bear ! Most women would not have thought it 
necessary to say more than simply, " I do not love 
you," but the impulse of candor made Flora add 
why she did not love. 

Now, thinking it all over, she cannot be sorry 
that she yielded to that impulse. To feel that 
one's feet are planted on the truth is always — in 
little or great affairs — a sustaining consciousness. 
Let the worst come, we can face it fairly then, 
with unstained rectitude and conscience at rest. 
There is no room for misapprehension, for doubt, 
for self-reproach, when all mists of concealment 
have been swept away. " He has given me a great 
deal," Flora says to herself, thinking of Charlton. 
" The truth is none too much to give him in re- 
turn." Besides this, she has an intuitive con- 
sciousness that the man to whom she spoke that 
truth can be trusted to the uttermost extremity. 
He makes no pretensions whatever, he is the last 
person in the world to profess that he would go 
to the stake sooner than betray a trust deliber- 
ately given to him, but nevertheless she feels that 
this is so. Under his quiet manner she has read 
his character with perfect accuracy. She knows 
8 



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114 A SUMMER IDYL. 

that her secret is safe ; and in the first glance of 
his eyes, the first tones of his voice when they met 
this morning, she saw that her friend was still her 
friend — that he spoke truly when he said that he 
had little of that vanity which makes most men 
resent as a giievous insult, as well as a grievous 
wrong, such an answer as she had given. 

It is late in the afternoon of the next day be- 
fore the hunting party return. They are flushed 
with success, and bear its spoils. Charlton brings 
to Flora a pair of antlers taken from the head of 
a stag. " It was the first deer I have been lucky 
enough to get a shot at," he says. " I wish you 
could have seen him as he paused for a moment 
opposite my stand ! I almost hated to pull the 
trigger. What an excellent thing callousness is, 
is it not?" 

"I am not sure of that," says Flora. "It 
would spare us some pain, no doubt ; but would 
you not rather suffer more pain than to care as 
little for the pain of others as some people do ? " 

"But there is a kind of sentimentality that 
one falls into if one is not careful. Stags, for in- 
stance, were made to be shot ; yet I felt almost 
like a murderer when that creatiu-e leaped up with 
his death-wound." 

" Poor fellow ! " says Flora, smiling, yet laying 
her hand gently on the branching antlers. " These 
shall be hung in the hall at home," she goes on. 
"Thank you for bringing them to me." 



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"SOME TEERE BE THAT SHADOWS KISS." 115 

" I wish it was the tuft of feathers from the 
breast of the golden eagle, which is valued so 
highly in the Tyrol," he answers. "Then you 
might wear it in your hat as a souvenir of a sum- 
mer which I shall mark with white in the history 
of my life. It might serve to remind you of me 
after I am gone." 

" I shall not need anything to remind me of 
you," she says, lifting her eyes frankly. " I never 
forget a friend. We, too, will mark with white 
the pleasant summer days you have spent with 
us." 

" How I shall think of you in the winter," he 
says, quickly, " and try to picture the valley and 
the mountains covered with snow and wrapped in 
mist ! I entertain serious fears, indeed, that my 
life for some time to come will be set to the re- 
frain of * My heart's in the Highlands wherever I 
go.'" 

" Then you must come back to the Highlands 
as soon as possible," says Flora ; and she does not 
consider how little this is likely, till her com- 
panion's silence, and a subtile shade falling over 
his face, tells her so. 

The next day they bid adieu to Caesar's Head, 
look their last on the beauty of its fair prospect, 
feel for the last time the breeze which seems to 
come from no nearer distance than the curling 
waves of the vast Atlantic, drink to their return 
in the clear, sparkling water of the Cold Spring, 



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116 A SUMMER IDYL. 

shake hands for the last time with their genial 
host, and turn their horses' heads toward the Tran- 
sylvania valley. 



CHAPTER XL 

^'westward no!" 

Never did this fairest of all valleys seem more 
beautiful than as they saw its pastoral loveliness 
spread before them in the westering light and long 
shadows of late afternoon, its frame of graceful 
mountains wearing their purest tints in the trans- 
parent atmosphere, and the bright river winding 
through the green breadths of its fertile lowlands. 

" After all, we have seen nothing so beautiful 
as this ! " says Charlton, turning to Flora. " It 
would be impossible for the soft and the bold to 
be mingled more admirably than they are mingled 
here. Absolutely the scene is so perfect that 
there is nothing left to desire." 

"/think so," replies Flora, with a tender light 
in her eyes, " but I have always feared that I was 
partial through affection. Yet many other people 
have said that the Transylvania valley is the 
loveliest in the mountains." 

" I am sure it must be," says Charlton ; " but 
I mean to improve my knowledge of other valleys, 
and so be able to speak with more authority. Did I 
tell you that I am pledged to go with Mr. Bran- 



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"WESTWARD HO!" 117 

don to the west — ^through all the country over 
which we have journeyed on the map ? " 

" Oh, Mr. Charlton," cries Minnie, before Flora 
can speak, " is it possible you are really going to 
leave us and go so far as that ? " 

^^ I am desolated, as a Frenchman would say, 
at the thought of leaving you," says Charlton, 
smiling ; " but I am also glad of an opportunity 
to make the tour under the conduct of such a com- 
petent guide as I am sure Mr. Brandon will prove." 

" I, too, am sorry to lose you even for a time," 
says Flora, " but I am glad that you are going. 
I want you to see as much as possible of the coun- 
try. Then some time, perhaps, you may write a 
story of your travels that will tell people how 
beautiful it is." 

" I am afraid I shall not be able to do that," 
he answers. " The country has won my heart so 
completely that I should scarcely know how to at- 
tempt describing it. A man cannot paint when a 
glamour is over his eyes." 

He wonders, while he speaks, if it is this gla- 
mour which makes the valley into which they 
have now fairly descended seem so lovely to him. 
The crystal river, with many a swirl and rapid, 
flows swiftly by under its vine-draped trees, hast- 
ening from its far birthplace among the peaks of 
the great Balsam, and gathering strength with 
every mile, to thunder a little later through its 
splendid gorge down to Tennessee. On each side 



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118 A SUMMER IDYL. 

stretch the cultivated lands bearing their rich har- 
vest. Over the wide fields of rustling com the 
sunlight rests like a mantle of gold, and streams 
in serene glory on the eastern hills, while deep 
shadows steal over 4he land from the western 
heights. There is a fragrance of sweetbrier and 
clematis on the air. Freshness and repose are in 
every sight and sound. It is like an enchanted 
land into which pain and care might never enter. 

When they reach home they are welcomed vo- 
ciferously by all the household. The airy house 
seems to receive them kindly. " It is worth while 
going away if only to come back," says Minnie. 
Charlton feels the charm of return as strongly as 
any one — perhaps, indeed, more strongly, since to 
the others this is their home from which, in the 
natural course of events, they need fear no exile, 
while to him it is only a place of brief sojourn, 
which he must soon leave behind, probably never 
to see again. He cannot restrain a slight sigh as 
he enters the pleasant chamber that has grown to 
have so familiar an aspect to his eyes. Just now 
the sunset radiance is filling it with light ; the net- 
work of shade outside the windows is shot with 
gold ; the river is murmuring below ; soft green 
hills are scarce a stone's-throw away ; westward 
the violet peaks stand, height upon height and 
range behind range, against a sky ablaze with 
glory. 

**And I must leave it all! The sooner the 



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"WESTWARD HO!" 119 

better," he thinks. " What a fool I have been to 
suffer myself to take root so deeply ! As if a life 
could be all a summer holiday, or as if such a 
haven of Arcadia is likely to be found more than 
once in one's journey through it ! " 

The charm of Arcadia is soon to be broken in 
more ways than one. Charlton discovers this at 
the tea-table, when Colonel Tyrrell tells his daugh- 
ter that he has found among his letters one from 
an old friend, saying that he will be in Brevard 
the next day with a large party. " We must go 
over and bring them here," that hospitable gen- 
tleman goes on. "The ladies may stay several 
days. They talk of remaining in Transylvania 
while the gentlemen of the party go west to Hay- 
wood and Jackson." 

" I hope the ladies are not very formidable," 
says Flora. "If they are like Miss Dupont, I 
don't know how they can be amused." 

"Take 'em in the woods, Floy, and have a 
gypsy supper," suggests Nellie, to whom this is 
the ne plus vltra of enjoyment. 

After tea. Flora is sent to the piano by her 
father. Contrary to his usual habit, Charlton fol- 
lows her into the room, and draws a chair near 
the instrument. He does not say so, but he feels 
that this is a farewell to the idyllic life he has 
been leading. To-morrow evening those people 
who are coming will be here ; the next evening 
he will be gone, and when he returns it will only 



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120 A SUMMER IDYL. 

be to say farewell and go — not to return. Hence 
he declines to-night to join the smokers on the 
piazza, and, sitting in the half-shaded room, lis- 
tens, with a sense of mingled pain and pleasure, 
to the sweet voice that sings the plaintive Irish 
melodies Colonel Tyrrell chiefly likes. 

After this they go out on the lawn — for the 
summer night is full of fresh, cool sweetness — 
and while the river sings its mystical refrain to 
the silent earth, and the dew brings out innumer- 
able odors that are never perceived by day, they 
talk and watch the moon rise in silvery majesty 
over the eastern hills. 

Charlton has himself well in hand, and Flora 
does not suspect that under his self-control a fire 
is burning which would startle her if she knew of 
its existence. He knows it, and, conscious that 
every hour of this a,ssociation is to be paid for — 
and paid heavily — ^in future pain, he is in a meas- 
ure anxious to end it. " The calm necessary for 
the intellectual life " had, as he said himself, al- 
ways seemed to him the most desirable thing in 
existence ; and he is perfectly aware that, if he 
tarries here much longer, that calm will be hope- 
lessly gone, to be recovered — who can say when ? 

Reasonably, therefore, he should not be sorry 
when it is time to say good-night ; yet, to Flora's 
surprise, he does not content himself with the 
simple salutation, but takes her hand and holds it 
f of a moment. 



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"WESTWARD HO!" 121 

**This is the end," he says, "of all our pleas- 
ant evenings. I am very sorry, and yet you must 
let me thank you for them. I can never forget 
all your kindness. I shall remember it as long 
as I remember you — and how long that will be, 
God only knows. I fear I shall never forget 
you." 

He certainly did not mean to say anything 
like this when he began to speak ; but the tongue 
is at best an unruly member, and just now it has 
spoken out of the fullness of his heart. Flora 
does not draw away her hand ; she only looks at 
him with something very gentle and pathetic in 
her eyes. 

" Why do you talk of this being our last even- 
ing?" she asks, ignoring the latter part of his 
speech. " You are going away, it is true, but you 
will come back, and we shall be as good friends 
as ever, shall we not ? You will not forsake us, 
you will not go away, Mr. Charlton, because — ^be- 
cause I have been unfortunate enough to give you 
a little pain?" 

It is difficult to express the sweetness and en- 
treaty in these last words. The delicate face is 
lifted, the frank eyes meet his with no shadow of 
self -consciousness in their depths. She knows the 
world so little, she does not for a moment imagine 
that she should not ask the man whom she has re- 
jected to stay on the familiar footing of a friend. 
But Chailton does not misinterpret her. He^ is 



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122 A SUMMER IDYL. 

aware that no impulse of coquetry, no tendresse 
for himself, prompted those simple, kindly words. 
It was out of the fullness of her heart also that 
Flora spoke. 

" I shall come back — yes," he answers ; " but 
it will be only to say good-by. You must not 
blame yourself for my departure. I am not churl- 
ish enough, nor rich enough in such gifts, to re- 
fuse your friendship because I cannot win your 
love. On the contrary, I prize it very highly — 
more highly than you can imagine. But my holi- 
day is nearly ended. I must go — I should go in 
any event. I shall never forget my summer in 
Transylvania, however, and you are right in think- 
ing that we shall always be very good friends." 

The courage with which he bears himself, the 
determination to spare her any possible self-re- 
proach, touches Flora. " You are very kind," she 
says, in a low voice. " I shall never forget how 
kind — how considerate." 

" Floy, ai-e you still on the piazza ? " says Colo- 
nel Tyrrell's voice in the halL " You had better 
come in, my dear. It is growing late." 

"Yes, papa," answers Flora. "Good-night," 
she says to Charlton ; and, with his clasp still 
lingering on her hand, she passes into the hall, 
kisses her father, and goes up-stairs. 

The next day the party of tourists are brought 
by Colonel Tyrrell and Flora from Brevard, and 
the day after that a party of gentlemen, of whom 



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"WESTWARD HO!" 123 

Charlton is one, take their departure for the re- 
mote west. 

To follow their line of march, and record all 
the adventures, hardships, and pleasures which fill 
the next six days, would require the pen of Defoe 
at least, and would fill a volume in itself. At the 
end of that time the majority of the party return, 
unaccompanied by Charlton or George. Their 
absence is explained by the two following epistles: 

" FrankliN) Septcniber IQth, 
" My Dear Colonel Tyrrell : Taking ad- 
vantage of the kind permission you gave me at 
parting to keep Bayard as long as I like, I have 
decided to accompany Brandon still farther. To- 
morrow we start for Cherokee. It is difficult — 
indeed impossible — to give any idea of the wild 
magnificence of the scenery here ; but you may 
tell Miss Tyrrell that I have seen nothing which 
charms me so much as Transylvania. The valley 
of the Nantahala is beautiful, and the gorge of 
the same imspeakably grand ; but man has done 
much to spoil it, while man has only adorned 
Transylvania. I cannot tell when I shall return 
—probably not for ten days. With warmest re- 
gards to all the household, believe me 
" Most truly yours, 

"Geoffrey Charlton.'* 

Epistle No. 2 was indited at the same time 
and from the same place : 



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124 A SUMMER IDYL. 

" Dear Papa : We got here last night, tired 
out, I can tell you. We've had splendid luck in 
hunting, though, and I like roughing it first-rate. 
I shouldn't mind being a hunter all the time, ex- 
cept in winter. We've had some of the moun- 
taineers with us all the time, and such tales as 
they tell ! — you never heard the like ! Tell 
Oscar to tell Tom Fanshaw when he sees him 
that he'll be sorry to the last day of his life he 
didn't come on this trip, and that when I get back 
I'll open his eyes for him with some of the tough- 
est bear-stories he ever heard. 

"Mr. Charlton isn't going back with the 
others. Since I came with him, I suppose of 
course you'll wish me to go on with him. The 
horses hold out first-rate, and we haven't had but 
one rainy day since we started. Then we were 
out on the mountains, and it soaked us through. 

" Brandon says he can't tell exactly when we 
can get back — it depends on the roads and the 
horses, and a hundred other things. There's no 
use in writing when the mails are so uncertain ; 
so you may expect us when you see us. Love to 
everybody, and tell Floy this isn't half so pretty 
a country as ours. 

" Your affectionate son, 

" George Tyrrell." 

"That scamp knew perfectly well that he 
ought to have come back," says Colonel Tyrrell, 



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"WESTWAKD HOt" 125 

handing this characteristic missive to his daugh- 
ter, whose eye has by this time traveled to the 
end of the page filled with Charlton's clear black 
writing. " But there's a good deal of sagacity in 
his pretending to take for granted that what he 
wanted to do was the proper thing to do." 

" Perhaps he honestly thought that he ought 
to remain with Mr. Charlton," says Flora, smiling. 
" It is quite true that he went with him." 

" What a thing it is to be a boy ! " says Min- 
nie, enviously. " How I wish I was in George's 
place I " 

The day after the return of the hunters the 
party of visitors leave, and then blankness and 
dullness settle heavily on the Tyrrell household. 
There is no mode of escaping or throwing off the 
sense of ennui which envelops them like a cloud. 
Minnie is bored to the point of desperation, and 
makes the air resound with her lamentations and 
regrets — ^lamentations that she must live in Tran- 
sylvania, regrets that she is not a boy instead of 
" a horrid stupid girL" 

" I was not aware before that you had such a 
good idea of your own character," says her father, 
overhearing the last remark. 

Even Flora feels that life at present lacks 
some zest. " How soon one can become demoral- 
ized ! " she says. " It seems scarcely worth while 
to have cakes and ale when their loss leaves such 
a flatness behind them." 



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126 A SUMMER IDYL. 

There are other cakes and ale in store for the 
Tyrrells at this moment, however — little as they 
suspect it. Several days have dragged their clow 
course by, and Minnie rises each morning, saying, 
" I wonder if Mr. Charlton and George will come 
to-day ! " Instead of Charlton and Gleorge, there 
comes a letter from Sunderland, addressed to 
Colonel Tyrrell, and this is what it contains : 

" Richmond, September IZth, 
" Mt Deab Uncle : You will probably think 
me very much a will-o'-the-wisp when you glance 
at the top of this page, since my last letter to 
Flora was written from the lakes. We left there 
almost immediately after that epistle was dis- 
patched, and traveled down through the Western 
cities to the mountains of Virginia. There I left 
the Prestons, and came here yesterday. Constant 
travel has slightly knocked me up, and I am lying 
over a day or two in order to rest and see some 
old friends. Then I shall come on directly to 
Transylvania. You would scarcely believe it, 
perhaps — I have been such a thorough prodigal — 
but I am homesick for a glimpse of its blue hills. 
Tell Flora so, with my dearest love. I suppose, 
from what I hear, that I shall still find Charlton 
with you. I hope my coming won't prove incon- 
venient. If you can stow me away in a corner, I 
will excuse the killing of a fatted calf. 
" Yours, with affection, 

"Henry Sundebland." 



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«HOW SHOULD I GREET THEE?" 127 

The rejoicing which takes place on receipt of 
this inteUigence is tumultuous. ** Harry is com- 
ing ! " cry Minnie, Oscar, and Nellie, in chorus. 
The news is carried to the servants, whose sable 
faces glow with delight. Let his faults be what 
they may, Sunderland is one of Nature's princes 
— generous-hearted, open-handed, winning love 
and fealty from high and low. Only Flora looks 
a little disturbed and pale, and Colonel Tyn*eU 
tries ineffectually to mask his pleasure by saying : 

"What does the boy mean by writing non- 
sense about hoping his coming will not prove in- 
convenient ? Does he think such a thing likely ? " 



CHAPTER Xn. 

"how should I GREET THEE?" 

Sunderland is coming ! This is to Flora 
something so unexpected as to be almost over- 
whelming. Two months ago she would have re- 
ceived such an announcement as the best thing 
that could possibly be heard ; but in the interval 
things have changed so much with her — she her- 
self has seemed to change so much — that it is 
now confusing in the extreme, and, if she were 
honest with herself, she might add unwelcome. 

But she is not honest with herself. She will 



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128 A SUMMER IDYL. 

not admit for an instant that Harry's appearance 
could possibly be unwelcome to her. She tries, 
indeed, to assure herself that she is, that she must 
be, glad that he is coming. Yet she knows in her 
heart that she is not glad, and she knows why 
she is not glad. Two months ago she longed to 
see him, because her trust in him had not been 
shaken— or, if shaken, it had not been shattered. 
The certainty of his love, in which for a time she 
had rested content, had been disturbed by vague 
fears and doubts, but these fears and doubts only 
made her long the more for the presence that 
would end them. Since that time everything 
has been altered. She has learned beyond doubt 
that he loves, she has even heard it confidently 
asserted that he is engaged to, another woman. 
For herself, she has been forced by these things 
to face the secret of her own heart, and she has 
even gone so far as to acknowledge that secret to 
Charlton. And now Harry is coming — Harry, 
whom she almost feels as if she could fly to the 
ends of the earth to avoid ! He is coming, and 
she must meet him ; she must be in all things ex- 
actly what she was of old ; she must receive his 
confidences, and let him suspect nothing. 

Meanwhile Sunderland makes no long tarrying 
— at Richmond or elsewhere — ^but follows his let- 
ter with rapidity, and arrives in Transylvania the 
second day after it. His reception almost amounts 
to an ovation. His prolonged absence, his care- 



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"HOW SHOULD I GREET THEE?" 129 

lessness, his faults of all kinds, are forgotten. 
He has come. That is enough for his loyal sub- 
jects. 

It is enough, at least, for Colonel Tyrrell, for 
Minnie and Oscar and Nellie. Even Flora finds 
her strife of thought — her painful doubt and 
hesitation — ^partially swept away and forgotten. 
Sunderland is so entirely the Harry whom they 
all remember, the world has changed him so lit- 
tle, that the strange constraint with which we 
often face, after long absence, a once familiar 
friend, and feel that time has dug a gulf of 
change between us, is impossible with him. It 
has already been said that, with all her gentleness. 
Flora is not weak. She has braced herself for 
this meeting, and there is no betraying flush on 
her cheek, and no betraying tremor in her voice — 
only the old frank gladness in her eyes, the old 
frank affection in her tone. 

"Harry, dear Harry, how good of you to 
come ! — how glad I am to see you again ! " she 
says, when she finds both her hands in the eager 
clasp of his. 

" Good of me to come ! " repeats Harry, with 
a laugh. " It is very good of yow, Floy, to put 
the matter in that light. You don't know how 
glad I am to be back I There is no place in the 
world so dear to me as this — and none so pretty." 

" Listen, papa, how he is trying to flatter us ! " 

" Flatter you I " says Sunderland. " I should 
9 



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130 A SUMMER IDYL. 

as soon think of trying to paint the lily or gild 
refined gold." 

Indeed, there can be no doubt that the young 
man is sincerely glad to be again among the fa- 
miliar scenes of his boyhood. His is a nature 
volatile and impressionable in the extreme — a fact 
which constitutes half the secret of his popularity. 
He is so honest — for the moment — in the pleasant 
sentiments which he expresses, that people feel 
this honesty (as a mere sham never can be felt), 
and yield at once to its charm. Men who are 
very strong in their individuality rarely win so 
much personal regard as those who, like Sunder- 
land, are quick to receive impressions and equally 
facile in losing them ; to whom the moment is 
all-sufficient, and the interest of the moment su- 
preme; who accommodate themselves to others, 
and swim lightly on the current of events. 

So, for a little time, Flora's uncertainty is set 
at rest. She listens to Harry's gay voice telling 
all the wonderful things that have befallen him, 
and is almost inclined to ask herself if she is 
awake or dreaming. Is it " Yesterday come back, 
with its old things, and not To-day ? " They are 
gathered in the familiar sitting-room, with the 
murmur of the river coming in on the soft breeze 
that stirs the green leaves outside the windows 
and the curtains within. Harry's handsome face 
is before her ; she hears the ring of pleasure in 
her father's voice as he asks question after ques- 



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"HOW SHOULD I GREET THEE?" 131 

tion. Is it because she has changed, that these 
things, which have not changed, strike her with a 
sense of incongruity ? She is so little accustomed 
to self -analysis, that the question puzzles her, and 
while she is debating it Harry is saying : 

"You have all altered wonderfully little. 
Minnie has become a young lady — or something 
very near one — and Oscar and Nellie are two or 
three sizes larger, but that is all. No doubt 
George is almost a man. And, by-the-by, what 
have you done with Charlton? When I came 
in, something was said about his having * gone 
west.' What does that mean — Cherokee or Cali- 
fornia?" 

" Cherokee in this instance," answers his un- 
cle. " George has gone with him, and Brandon 
— you remember Frank Brandon ? " 

" I should think so indeed." 

" They left here with a large party ; but, in- 
stead of returning with them, went on to Chero- 
kee — and elsewhere. Mr. Charlton is anxious to - 
acquire as much information as possible about the 
country." 

" He must like it. He has been here nearly 
two months, hasn't he ? " 

"He came the last of July," says Minnie, 
" and this is the middle of September. Yes — it's 
nearly two months. Floy, should you think it 
had been so long ? " 

" We have found him a very agreeable per- 



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132 A SUMMER IDYL. 

son," says Colonel Tyrrell, "and we are much 
obliged to you for introducing him, Harry." 

"He's a capital fellow in his way," replies 
Harry, " and I thought it likely his way might 
suit you better than it would some other people. 
You have certainly suited hiniy or he would never 
have staid so long. What has been the princi- 
pal attraction ? " 

He looks at Flora as he speaks, and Flora an- 
swers with a smile : " You have been so long out 
of Transylvania that you don't remember how 
many attractions it has. After you have renewed 
your acquaintance with them, you may not be so 
much surprised that Mr. Charlton has lingered." 

" Do you think I am surprised ? On the con- 
trary, I know that Charlton has good taste ; and 
nobody with good taste could fail to like Transyl- 
vania. If you think I have forgotten a single 
one of its attractions, I will prove to you that 
you are mistaken." 

" Harry, we've got two of the prettiest colts 
you ever saw," cries Oscar. " Don't you want to 
come and look at 'em ? " 

"Not just now," answers Harry. "We'll 
stroll out after dinner while I smoke a cigar." 

After dinner they stroll out. Colonel Tyrrell 
accompanying them, and Sunderland shows such 
lively interest in, and recollection of, everything 
about the place, whether animate or inanimatei 
that the elder gentleman's heart warms. 



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"HOW SHOULD I GREET THEE?" 133 

Having made the tour of the home premises, 
he suggests that they take horses and go out on 
the plantation. But this Sunderland declines. 
" Another afternoon I shall like nothing better," 
he says, "but to-day you must excuse me. I 
have scarcely seen Flora yet, and I am anxious to 
renew our acquaintance." 

So it happens that, half an hour later, the door 
of Flora's chamber opens, and a curled, shining 
head appears in the aperture. It is the head of 
Nellie, and it is Nellie's voice that speaks. 

" Floy," she cries, " Harry says will you take 
a walk or a ride ? He says whichever you please 
will suit him — and the horses are in the stable." 

" Are they ? " says Flora. " Tell HaiTy, then, 
I will ride with him at five o'clock." 

She sighs a little after the eager messenger 
has departed. Of course this is one of the things 
to be expected — one of the things which she must 
necessarily endure — ^but, nevertheless, she shrinks 
from it. No sense of indignation occurs to her, 
as it might to another woman. She does not say 
to herself that Sunderland might have remained 
at Miss Preston's feet, and not come back to 
amuse himself again with playing at cousinly 
love. On the contrary, she thinks that it is she, 
and she only, who mistook that cousinly love foF 
anything deeper. No doubt Sunderland hjas come 
to tell them of his engagement, and he treats her 
now as he treated her always — like a favorite sis- 
ter. 



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134 A SUMMER IDYL. 

At five o'clock she comes down in her habit, 
to find the horses before the door, and Sunderland 
idling in the hall. 

"May I say how charming you look?" he 
says, coming up to her. "I always thought a 
habit the most becoming dress a woman could 
wear, and you are so graceful, so dainty. By 
Jove ! how is it a man can ever be blind enough 
to admire an Amazon ? " 

" I thought you admired Amazons very much," 
says Flora. 

"One has fits of abnormal bad taste occa- 
sionally, but it would not be just to hold one 
accountable for them." 

*• Perhaps not," she answers, with gentle sar- 
casm, "if it were possible to discover what are 
your normal tastes." 

" You think me so fickle ? " 

"In some things — ^yes. But they are not 
very essential things," she says, looking up with 
a sudden, sweet smile. " I should never think of 
doubting your constancy where important mat- 
ters are concerned." 

" I must make you define what are important 
matters, before I can accept that in the light of 
an amende^'* he says, gayly. 

Then they go out to the horses and mount. 
" How like old times this is ! " says Sunderland, 
as they ride across the bridge. " But I suppose 
they scarcely seem old times to you. I have al- 



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"HOW SHOULD I GREET THEE?" 135 

ways observed that when time passes monotonous- 
ly it also passes quickly." 

"I don't know," answers Flora. "In some 
points of view it seems a long time since you 
were here last. Because life is quiet, it does not 
follow that it is monotonous." 

"But life with you is full of regular occu- 
pation, and nothing helps the flight of time 
more than that. While I — ah ! how long it 
seems since I rode by your side along this lovely 
valley ! Was it always so pretty ? It seems to 
me it has grown more beautiful since I went 
away." 

"It has not changed in the least," answers 
Flora. "How could it?" As she speaks, her 
eyes are tenderly limpid. Let what will have 
come between them, Harry is Harry still. The 
breath of the world may have passed over him, 
but his heai-t is still loyal to the friends and the 
scenes of his youth. This thought sets her more 
at ease than she has felt yet. She looks at him 
with a smile. " How could it ? " she says. "But 
I am glad that you have not changed, Hany — ^I 
mean I am glad that you can still find something 
to admire here." 

" Something to admire ! " says Harry. " By 
Jove ! I find everything to admire. I have seen 
nothing so charming since I went away. And 
you seem to suit it so well, Flora. What a fool I 
have been to stay away so long ! " ^ 



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136 A SUMMER IDYL. 

" I won't quarrel with that sentiment, since it 
has hrought you back at last," says Flora. 

Talking in this manner, they follow a road 
which skirts the great cornfields and leads them 
into the woods. O wild and beautiful forests, 
what words can describe your glory when the 
serene splendor of September has come upon you 
like a benediction ? Some one has said very truly 
that " we admire the beauty of other lands, we 
feel that of our own ; " and all in a moment, as 
it were, Sunderland realizes this. To his inmost 
heart he feels the chord of nativity thrill. He is 
no stranger here. There is scarcely a ravine 
among these hills, or a path over them, which he 
does not know as Rob Roy knew his native heath. 

" What a fool I have been ! " he says again 
with emphasis. " Floy, I wonder if you forgive 
me for my folly? I am half inclined to think 
you don't. You are gentle and sweet and cordial, 
but not what you used to be." 

Flora does not blush at this. Some things are 
too deep for blushing. She only looks at him 
with her frank blue eyes, and answers quietly : " If 
I don't remember all that I used to be, Harry, 
you should not blame me. Two years make a 
chasm in one's life. But you must not think I 
have anything to forgive with regard to your 
having staid. Why should I have? I felt all 
the time — ^and told papa — that it was very natu- 
ral" 



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"HOW SHOULD I GREET THEE?" 137 

" That was kind of you ; but if you had want- 
ed to see me, perhaps you would not have been so 
reasonable." 

"Perhaps not," says Flora. She smiles a lit- 
tle — a smile he does not comprehend. " Whether I 
wanted to see you or not," she goes on, " I am glad 
that you are here, and that ought to satisfy you." 

" It ought, certainly ; but I suppose I am un- 
Jreasonable. I should like you to make the assur- 
ance a little warmer — if you could conveniently 
do so." 

" I am afraid you have been badly spoiled. I 
shall not think of making it warmer. Here we 
are on the top of the hill. See ! This used to be 
one of your favorite views." 

It is a charming view, and Sunderland admires 
it as much as his companion could possibly desire. 
"Broad extended, far beneath," lies the fertile 
valley — ^an Arcadia of peaceful loveliness — with 
its swelling background of wooded hills and azure 
peaks. 

" I have seen nothing like it since I went away," 
says Sunderland — " nothing so wild, so beautiful, 
so fresh 1 Floy, I am half -minded never to go 
away again." 

Flora laughs — a low, sad little laugh, though 
Sunderland's ear is not quick enough to catch its 
sadness. "You will think differently a month — 
perhaps even a week — ^hence," she says, turning 
her horse's head. 



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138 A SUMMER IDYL. 

He turns his horse also, with a quick, impa^ 
tient movement, and rides up to her side. " Such 
speeches are not like you," he says, " and I con- 
sider them very unkind. I must know why you 
have hegun to think so poorly of me — to consider 
me so hopelessly fickle ? Has Charlton been giv- 
ing you his idea of my character? " 

She looks at him with eyes half indignant, 
half reproachf uL " How little you know me, 
Harry ! " she says. " How little you could ever 
have known me, to ask such a thing! Do you 
think I would listen while any one — any one 
in the world — spoke ill of you ? But I have not 
been tried, for Mr. Charlton has never said any- 
thing that was not good. I am sure that he is 
one of your best friends." 

After this they converse amicably enough for 
some time, as they ride along with low red sun- 
shine streaming through the brown boles of the 
trees, and their shadows stretching gigantically in 
front. They pause on the crest of a hill to watch 
the sun go down in glory — dipping behind the 
distant mountains, and leaving islands and conti- 
nents of purest amethyst in a sea of dazzling gold, 
while over the sky above light feathery clouds of 
rose color, soft as an angel's plumage, float. Then 
they turn thek horses' heads homeward, and it is 
then that Flora musters courage to say: "You 
have not mentioned Miss Preston yet, Harry. 
Don't you mean to tell me anything about her?" 



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"HOW SHOULD I GREET THEE?" 139 

Harry is surprised, and shows as much hy 
changing color — a sign of confusion into which, 
" as a man of the world," he dislikes exceedingly 
to be betrayed. " What do you know about Miss 
Preston ? " he asks. 

" Nothing very much," she answers. " Only 
that you are said to be engaged to her ; and when 
matters reach such a serious point as that, I think 
your old friends ought to know something 
of it." 

" How in the name of all that is wonderful 
did any gossip of that description reach here ? " 

"I met a Miss Dupont at Caesar's Head, who 
knows Miss Preston very well. She told me that 
the affair was considered settled." 

" Confound her ! " says Harry, ungallantly. 
"She is a thorough-paced mischief-maker, and 
wrote any amount of gossip about you from 
Caesar's Head." 

" Gossip about me ! " says Flora, amazed. 
" To whom, pray ? " 

" To Miss Preston, who gave me the benefit 
of it." 

" But what did she find to say of me ? " 

"Only that Charlton was 'most devoted' — 
and much more in that order." 

" She must certainly have drawn on her imagi- 
nation for the devotion," says Flora, quietly, 
" since to the best of my recollection she did not 
see me with Mr. Charlton at all." 



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140 A SUMMER IDYL. 

" But she was aware that you went out with 
him to see a moonrise. In short, you were brought 
in guilty of a flirtation of the deepest dye, and 
therefore I expect you to be lenient to me when I 
confess my mild peccadilloes." 

Flora remembers that moonrise — and all that 
was said then — so well that she cannot restrain a 
laugh which is compounded of various emotions, 
and which is more nervous than mirthful. 

" Don't talk more nonsense than you can help, 
Harry," she says; "but tell me, are you en- 
gaged?" 

" I will be obliging, and answer frankly — ^I am 
not. Since it is not the fashion for men to say 
what is untrue on that subject, I hope you will 
believe me." 

"Believe you ! I should think so, indeed. 
But I suppose you will be engaged — some time." 

" I think it very likely — ^some time, as you say. 
But not to Miss Preston." 

"Harry!" 

" So you don't believe me ! Well, I can't help 
it. A man can tell no more than the truth, if he 
is a truthful person." 

They are riding down hill now, and their road 
leads between high banks, with such dense shade 
arching overhead that, although the colors of sun- 
set still bum in the sky, their way is almost in 
twilight. Flora cannot see her companion's face, 
to judge whether or not he was in earnest; hence 



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HOW SHOULD I GREET THEE?" 141 

there is a strong spice of doubt in her tone when 
she answers : 

"I hope you are truthful, but it was not always 
a virtue of yours. And how can you deny that 
you are — ^that you have been — in love with Miss 
Preston?" 

" Confine your accusations to one tense, sweet 
cousin. I am not in love with Miss Preston now, 
whatever I may have been." 

" And yet — O Harry ! — ^you say that you are 
not fickle ! " 

" I do say it, and I mean to prove it — but not 
just now. Here we are at the foot of the hiU; let 
OS have a canter." 

The horses are willing enough, and they sweep 
at a rapid pace through the rich bottom lands, 
surrounded by taU, rustUng com, with wafts of 
fragrance from the river-side borne to them on the 
fresh breeze, and golden stars beginning to gleam 
faintly in the violet sky above. They reach the 
bridge, cross it, and, still at a canter, ride up to 
the door of the house. Then, as Sunderland 
swings himself to the ground in order to lift his 
companion from her saddle, NeUie rushes out and 
proclaims at the top of her voice : 

"O Floy, George and Mr. Charlton have 
come ! " 



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142 A SUMMER IDYL. 

CHAPTER Xm. 

"if she be not faib to me." 

"And so," says Charlton, calmly, "you are off 
with the new love, and on with the old — is that 
it?" 

The time is the day after Charlton's arrival ; 
the hour is approaching noon ; the place is Colo- 
nel Tyrrell's lawn. The two young men are ly- 
ing on the warm, dry grass, with flickering shade 
falling over them. As they glance upward, they 
see one of the most charming sights in the world 
— depths of green foliage with sunlight striking 
through it, and patches of sky showing beyond. 
On these September days the sky is blue as the 
heart of a sapphire, and the far mountains look as 
if they were carved in lapis-lazuli. The river 
flowing over its rocky bed does no more than fill 
the silence with a soft, reposeful murmur. Sun- 
derland, supporting himself on his elbow, looks at 
his companion, and thinks that he is provokingly 
calm ; yet if the truth were known, Charlton is 
not very much in unison with his smToundings, 
He is angry, disgusted, contemptuous ; but none 
of these things appear on the surface. He only 
regards Sunderland through half-closed eyes as he 
utters the words recorded above. 

"I suppose that is about the sum of it," the 



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"IF SHE BE NOT FAIR TO ME." 143 

young man answers. " I might do worse than be 
on with the old love, however; you've seen enough 
of Flora to grant that, I'm sure." 

" I begin to think that you are a consummate 
young puppy to imagine that you can be on or oflf 
with women exactly when you like," says Charl- 
ton. 

" You ought to know me better than that," 
Sunderland replies, flushing, but keeping his tem- 
per. "Nothing was farther from my thoughts 
than to imagine that I could be on or off with 
them as I liked. There's Gertrude Preston — by- 
the-by, I haven't told you about her yet." 

" No. I imagine, however, that she grew tired 
of you, or vice versa^ 

" It would be putting it more correctly to say 
that we grew tired of each other. I had been 
drawn into offering myself before I received your 
letter setting my mind at rest about Flora, but of 
course it was a great relief to me. Gertrude ac- 
cepted me — ^I never had much doubt about that — 
and we were engaged for several weeks. Now," 
says Mr. Sunderland, with an air of profound re- 
flection, " it is a very disenchanting kind of thing 
to be engaged to a woman — almost worse than be- 
ing married to her. With regard to marriage, 
there's something in a man's nature which makes 
him resign himself to the inevitable. But one has 
no sense of that kind about an engagement. You 
begin to feel grave doubts as to whether or not 



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144 A SUMMER myii. 

you have acted wisely, and you look at the lady 
far more coolly and critically than you ever did 
before. It is unnecessary to remark, perhaps, that 
not very many women can stand being looked at 
in that manner. Gertrude certainly could not. 
Before a fortnight had passed, my most active 
sensation when with her was a sense of boredom, 
I suppose I was not so devoted as I should have 
been, in consequence. She grew tired of me also. 
A rich Kentuckian whom we met at the lakes came 
in opportunely to cut the knot of our difficulty. 
She flirted with him. I ventured to express dis- 
approval ; she grew angry. I declined to recede 
from my position, whereupon she gave me my 
congL I retired with a sense of great relief. 
And there ends the story." 

Vexed as he is, Charlton cannot restrain a 
smile as he looks at the unruffled face of the 
speaker. " What a thorough epicurean you are ! " 
he says. " Do you mean to go through life chas- 
ing every object that attracts your fancy, and 
tiring of it as soon as it is in your possession ? " 

" I consider that the fault is in the object or 
objects, not in me," returns Sunderland, placidly. 
" You are mistaken in thinking there is no con- 
stancy in my nature. I am like a man who left a 
star to follow an ignis fatuus. Now I have come 
back to my star." 

" Meaning your cousin, I presume ? " 

"Meaning my cousin, of course. You don't 



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"IT SHE BE NOT FAIR TO ME." 145 

understand women very well, Charlton ; so I 
think you must have been mistaken when you de- 
cided that she did not care for me, save * as a 
cousin, cousinly.' I am certain that she cared 
for me in a different fashion two years ago ; and 
women like Flora don't change readily." 

" I suppose, then, that you intend to reward 
her supposed constancy by the offer of your heart 
and hand — ^f or a week ? " 

" Don't be sarcastic, my dear fellow. K Flora 
accepts me, you may be sure I shall be constant 
to herP 

" Why should I be sure of it ? You haven't 
been constant to other women." 

" They were not women who deserved, desired, 
or expected constancy. But Flora is different. 
How gentle yet how true she is ! " says the young 
man, with his voice softening a little. " By Jove, 
Charlton, you may laugh if you like, but I have 
come to my senses at last, and I see now that my 
best chance in life is here ; and I mean to win it 
if I can." 

He rises as he speaks and goes away toward 
the river, leaving Charlton still lying on the grass. 
" Laugh ! " repeats that gentleman. " ' He laughs 
best who laughs last ; ' and I'm not likely to do 
that. After all, it may be for the best. She de- 
serves a better fate, but che sard^ sard^ 

Fortifying himself with this bit of philosophy, 
be remains for several minutes in unmolested 
10 



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146 A SUMMER IDYL. 

quiet, until a shadow falls over him ; and, remov- 
ing his gaze from the depths of green and gold 
overhead^ he finds that Sunderland has returned 
and is standing by his side. 

"Charlton," he says, in an insinuating tone, 
" you've been here two months now, and you ought 
to have learned a good deal about Flora. What do 
you think of the chances for me ? " 

"Unless I am mistaken," answers Charlton, 
" you expressed a very poor opinion of my judg- 
ment with regard to women, a few minutes ago." 

" It may be better than I fancied." 

" Accordingly as it suits you or not. Thanks ; 
but in the present case I have no opinion to offer." 

" Look here," says Sunderland — ^and his voice 
has suddenly become grave — "are you in love 
with her yourself ? " 

" Do you fancy that, because you are giddy, 
the world turns round ? " 

" That's no answer at all — and, by Jove ! I be- 
lieve that you are in love with her ! " 

Charlton deliberately raises himself from the 
grass, picks up his straw hat, and says, with a 
sigh : " If you are determined to discuss the sub- 
ject, you can at least come out of earshot range 
of the house. There is no saying how much of a 
nuisance a man in your position may make him- 
self, but at least he need not be overheard. Let 
us go down to the river." 

So down the gentle slope of the lawn they 



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"IF SHE BE NOT FAIR TO ME." 147 

stroll to where the river flows idly by under its 
drooping shade. 

"Now," says Charlton, as he finds himself 
with his companion in the same green dell where 
he sat with Flora one evening and felt sure that 
she cared nothing for her cousin in the way that 
cousin imagined, "you asked me a question a 
minute ago which you had no right to ask, but 
which I shall answer nevertheless. You asked if 
I am in love with your cousin. I answer candidly 
— yes." 

Sunderland, notwithstanding his suspicions, is 
so much astonished by this reply, that he does not 
even say " By Jove ! " but only stares. 

" Are you in earnest ? " he asks, after a min- 
ute. " I did not really think that a man of the 
world like you would fall in love with a girl like 
Flora. I thought you might have flirted, but in 
love — " 

" Do I look like a man who flirts ? " asks Charl- 
ton, with contemptuous severity. " And you ought 
.. to know Miss Tyrrell better than to associate such 
an idea with her, when I tell you that I asked her 
to marry me three weeks ago." 

Harry's familiar expletive comes to his aid 
now. He says " By Jove ! " with emphasis. 

" I tell you thiJis," Charlton goes on with the 
utmost coolness, " in order that you may not mis- 
interpret anything that you may observe in your 
cousin's manner to me. I also feel that I owe 



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148 A SUMMER IDYL. 

you a slight explanation. I came here charged, 
as you know, with a very difficult and delicate 
mission. I was commissioned to sound Miss Tyr- 
rell's heart and let you know how much of a place 
you had won therein. I performed this task to 
the best of my ability, and gave you what I hon- 
estly believed to be the result." 

" Yes," says Harry, " but — you'll excuse me — 
did not your own desires color that result ? In 
other words, didn't you think what you hoped f*^ 
" At that time I hoped nothing. My interest 
in your cousin was no deeper than friendly ad- 
miration. When I learned that she was fancy- 
free, however, my own fancy grew, until it ended 
as I have told you." 

" And she rejected you ? " 

" Yes — very kindly, but decidedly." 

" By Jove ! " remarks Harry once more. 

Then there is silence for several minutes. The 

younger man is amazed by what he has heard, 

and there can be no doubt that Flora rises in his 

opinion by the fact that she has brought to her 

feet the impassive Charlton — and rejected him. 

It is a triumph which Harry appreciates more 

than she was able to do. He knows that since 

the young writer has become noted, more than 

one fashionable woman with 21, penchant for " clever 

men " has endeavored to throw her toils over him, 

and failed signally. Consequently, Charlton has 

won for himself in certain drawing-rooms the 



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"IF SHE BE NOT FAIR TO ME." 149 

reputation of a well-bred bear. And this bear 
Flora has the distinction of having tamed. Sun- 
derland — like most men — feels justified In his 
choice when he finds that it is also the choice of 
another man. He feels sure that Flora could hcve 
had but one reason for rejecting Charlton, and 
that reason must have been a partiality for him- 
self. Charlton reads his thoughts and smiles a 
little. "The comedy will soon be ended," he 
thinks, " but I shall leave before the closing scene 
of clasped hands and tender vows." 

Meanwhile there is some important matter 
afoot in the household this morning — at least as 
far as the younger members are concerned. Min- 
nie and the boys seclude themselves in a mysteri- 
ous manner, while Nellie flits to and fro with a 
face of grave importance. The cause of this 
transpires at dinner, when every one finds in his 
or her napkin a three-cornered note. These mis- 
sives are all alike, and contain the following, in 
Minnie's large, straggling writing : 

"You are invited to attend a gypsy supper, 
which will be given this afternoon at Glen Flora, 
at 5 p. M. punctually." 

There is a general laugh, and Charlton asks 
where Glen Flora may be situated, and by whom 
it was so felicitously named. 

" By Harry," answers Miss TyrrelL "It is a 



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150 A SUMMER IDYL. 

lovely glen where we used to go for all festivities 
of this kind when we were children." 

" And will you all come ? " asks Nellie, anx- 
iously addressing the company. 

"I, for one, will certainly do myself that 
honor," answers Charlton. 

Flora, Sunderland, and Mr. Martin, respond to 
the same effect. Only Colonel Tyrrell excuses 
himself from attending, and mildly expresses a 
hope that he may have some tea at his usual hour, 
and in his usual manner. 

The earlier hours of the afternoon pass as usual. 
Flora escapes to the sanctuary of her own chamber 
— ostensibly for siesta. Charlton goes to his room 
and turns the key — ostensibly for writing. Colo- 
nel Tyrrell lies on the lounge in the hall, and 
snores virtuously. Sunderland, left to his own 
devices, wanders about aimlessly, drums a little 
on the piano, and dips into one or two magazines. 
Minnie is busily employed in sending well-laden 
messengers to Glen Flora, whither she herself goes 
at four o'clock. At half -past four the invited 
guests assemble in the hall. Flora comes down 
in a pretty blue muslin that is very becoming, 
with a broad-brimmed straw hat shading her face. 
She smiles and says, " It is time to start, since we 
were requested to be punctual." 

How it chances — ^whether from accident or not 
— Charlton does not know, but he finds himseK by 
her side as they pass out of the house, and he ha^ 



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"IF SHE BE NOT FAIR TO ME." 151 

no opportunity to rectify the mistake, if mistake 
it is, by falling back. Perhaps he has little desire 
to do so. Flora shows by a certain gentle eager- 
ness of manner that she is not ill-pleased with his 
companionship, and there is a charm in hers which 
he appreciates as much as ever. The flower-like 
eyes, the quick sympathy, the wistful, tender voice 
will be Sunderland's for life ; so the man who 
must soon say farewell to them forever feels that 
he may, without harming any one, enjoy them for 
a little while. He strolls by her side, therefore, 
along the river bank, which they follow for some 
distance. Then the path turns abruptly and leads 
them among the hills. Long lances of sunlight 
stream into the green stillness of the f orestv All 
manner of sweet resinous odors greet them. 
Through the winding gorge which they enter, a 
tumultuous stream comes in white, foaming rap- 
ids. Presently they pass around the jutting 
shoulder of a great hill, and then a pretty sight 
is before them. 

The gorge has expanded into a lovely glen, 
overhung on all sides but one by steep, precipitous 
hills, the sides of which are a mass of verdure, a 
riotous tangle of vines and flowers. At the base 
of the steepest of these heights, a spring gushes 
up from among gray rocks — the head of the stream 
which takes its way, through the gorge. Large 
masses of rock are scattered in every direction, 
cushioned with moss, draped with ferns. On one 



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152 A SUMMER IDYL. 

of these — a smooth, flat bowlder — ^the table is set. 
At a little distance a bright fire bums, over which 
a kettle is suspended. Minnie and Oscar are hov- 
ering around this, busily engaged making tea ; 
George, at a little distance, is cutting lemons for 
lemonade ; Jack is pounding the lemons prepara- 
tory to their being cut ; while Nellie is assisting 
(and hindering) both parties as much as possible. 
The smoke mounts upward among the green 
boughs, a pretty pale-blue thread; the crystal 
water flashes like 

" a Naiad's silvery feet, 
In quick and coy retreat," 

as it ripples by ; the amber sunshine streams on 
the hillsides, lighting up the rich foliage and mas- 
sive rocks, while the glen rests in cool green 
shadow. The whole scene is charming and pict- 
uresque in the extreme. 

" So this is Glen Flora ! " says Charlton. 
" What a lovely place ! Why have you never 
brought me here before ? " 

"There have been so many places to show 
you," Flora answers, "that I never thought of 
this. Well, Minnie, I hope we are not too early ? '* 

" Oh no," replies Minnie ; " tea will be ready 
in a few minutes. Nellie, bring some more twigs 
to the fire. This kettle is not boiling as it ought.'* 

" Let us sit down and wait for the kettle to 
boil," says Flora. 



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"IF SHE BE NOT FAIR TO ME." 153 

So they sit down on a rock, and for ten min- 
utes longer Charlton enjoys his bit of pleasure un- 
disturbed, looks in the fair face that is not fair 
for him, and listens to the sweet voice that will 
never utter the words he wishes to hear. Then 
Sunderland appears round the comer of the hill, 
and the pleasure is over. He comes up and throws 
himself down on the ferns at Flora's feet. Charl- 
ton rises, feeling that his hour is over, says a few 
words, and then walks away, leaving the cousins 
together. 

One of them, at least, is grateful for this con- 
sideration. Harry looks up in the blue eyes above 
him and says : " How pleasant this is, Floy ! Do 
you feel it as well as I ? Are you glad that we 
are here again — together ? " 

His voice drops over the last words into a ten- 
der key. With the best intentions possible, he is 
not averse to practising on his cousin the art 
which a two years' training in flirtation has given 
him — the great art of implying in tone and look 
infinitely more than is expressed in words. He 
learaed this lesson very quickly, and is now re- 
garded as an adept in the science. There can be 
no doubt, however, that at present he has made a 
grave mistake. Flora, who is ready to renew the 
frank kindness, the cousinly familiarity of their 
old association, draws back from such glances and 
cadences as these. She understands them — ^the 
dullest woman alive must have understood them — 



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154 A SUMMER IDYL. 

and it seems to her that their meaning is very 
plain ; that Harry wishes to amuse himself by 
flirting with her — ^feeling, no doubt, that this 
amusement is better than none. A quick throb 
of indignation, a quick sensation of wounded pride, 
passes over her ; but she is self-possessed enough 
to keep all traces of such emotions out of her tone 
as she answers : 

" Of course I am glad that you are back again ; 
but I should think that all this would be very dull 
and uninteresting to you. A gypsy supper must 
seem like tea after champagne to one who has 
known gayer festivities." 

" The gayer festivities have bored me a hun- 
dred times — which no gypsy supper ever did," 
says Harry. " If you knew how happy it makes 
me to be here with you now, you would not say 
such unkind things." 

"I did not mean to be unkind. It did not 
seem to me a very terrible accusation that pas- 
toral pleasures might have lost their savor to 
you." 

** How could they — when all the best happiness 
of my life is connected with them ? " 

" The best happiness of your life ! " She 
laughs. " My dear Harry, do you know for two 
days together what is the happiness of your 
life?" 

" Flora ! " says Harry. He is so much sur- 
prised, that he scarcely remembers that he has a 



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"IF SHE BE NOT FAIR TO ME." 155 

right to be indignant. "What do you mean? 
By Jove, I never heard anything — ^" 

" Supper's ready — come to supper, Floy ! '* 
cries Nellie, darting forward. 

Flora rises at once — by no means ill pleased 
with the interruption — and, accompanied by Har- 
ry, goes to the rock which serves as a table, where 
the rest are gathered. Charlton is the only lag- 
gard ; but before Minnie has finished pouring out 
the cups of tea, he appears with two or three 
flowers in his hand. 

" I saw these on the hill yonder," he says to 
Flora, " and remembering that you said they were 
rare, and that you wanted a specimen, I got them 
for you." 

" Thank you," she says, receiving them with a 
grateful glance. "It was veiy kind of you to 
remember what I said, and to climb that steep hill. 
They are beautiful." 

"They are the tribute of the glen to its god- 
dess," says Harry, gallantly. 

" I like better to think that they are the fruit 
of Mr. Charlton's kindness," says Flora, looking 
at that gentleman. 

And he, meeting the frank sweet eyes, thinks 
again how fair she is, how gracious, how tender— 
and how far beyond his reach ! 



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156 A SUMMER IDYL. 

CHAPTER XIV. 

"under the greenwood bough." 

The gypsy supper is a great success, if suc- 
cess be gauged by the appetites of the company. 
Sandwiches and cold chicken, jellies and cakes, 
disappear with rapidity. Minnie's tea is pro- 
nounced excellent, and George's lemonade is com- 
mended. A bottle of claret is opened, and various 
toasts are proposed. There is some mock speech- 
making and much merriment — the last, probably, 
in undue proportion. When hearts are light and 
spirits high, when summer skies are fair and sum- 
mer woods green, who can wonder at the laugh 
which is quick to follow the poorest jest ? ^ 

" ' Oh, a life in the woods is the life for me, 
And that is the life for a man I 
Let others boast of their home on the sea. 
But match me the woods if you can ! ' " 

sings George, who is slightly exhilarated by the 
claret. "Mr. Charlton, do you like this better 
than roughing among the Balsams ? " 

" Do you ? " inquires Charlton. 

"Not I," answers the young fellow gayly. 
" Bear-meat and venison are better than all your 
dainties. Miss Minnie." 

" I'm sure you needn't sneer at my dainties," 



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"UNDER THE GREENWOOD COUGH." 157 

says Minnie. "You have done fuU justice to 
them." 

Presently the last rays of sunlight disappear 
from the crest of tlie hills, and then the little party 
agree that it is time to think of preparing to go 
home. Flora rises and walks to the spring. She 
has not been here before since Harry went away, 
and it seems to her as if all the changes which the 
intermediate time has wrought are mirrored in the 
crystal water at her feet — water in which she saw 
her face last when it was two years younger. She 
bends and looks at it now, a little wistfully ; and 
as she does so, another face suddenly appears, re- 
flected beside her own. The last time that she 
bent over the water in this way, it was Harry's 
that she saw — now it is Charlton's ! The acci- 
dent startles her, as trivial things of the kind often 
do startle those least inclined to regard them. 
She turns quickly. 

"How did you come here?" she asks. "I 
heard no step. You — you surprised me very 
much." 

" I beg pardon," says Charlton — who sees, to 
his surprise, that she is seriously moved — " I did 
not think of surprising you. I approached, and 
seeing you looking into the water, I looked also 
involuntarily. I ought to have remembered that 
you could not hear my step on this soft turf, and 
would therefore be startled at seeing my face." 

" Pray excuse me — ^I should not have spoken 



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158 A SUMMER IDYL. 

SO hastily," she says, blushing. " I am not often 
nervous, but — I was nervous just then." 

" And I was to blame. Don't think of it any 
more. I came to ask you if you can climb that 
hill to see the sunset. I am sure there must be a 
fine view from the top." 

" I — don't think I can," she answers hesitating- 
ly. A sense of constraint with Charlton comes 
over her — ^why, she scarcely knows. Perhaps the 
cause is in a look she catches on Sunderland's face 
— a look of restrained yet significant intelligence ; 
or perhaps it comes from that accidental refiection 
in the spring. It is difficult to say how the feel- 
ing originates, but it certainly exists, as she says : 
" The ascent is very steep, and I believe I am tired." 

" I thought it might be too steep for you," 
Charlton says, "but JT shall try it. Judging from 
these clouds floating above, the sunset must be 
gorgeous." 

He goes off without saying anything more, 
and Flora thinks again — as she has thought before 
— that his tact and consideration are perfect. 
Then she accuses herself of having been brusque 
and unkind for no reason whatever, and so sits 
down depressed and despondent. She sees Charl- 
ton, Mr. Martin, and the rest begin the ascent of 
the hill. Sunderland does not accompany them. 
He saunters, instead, up to her, 

" You must be surely out of practice, Floy, 
to consider that hill too steep for climbing," he 



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"UNDER THE GREENWOOD BOUGH." 159 

says. "I am sure you used to climb it like a 
deer." 

" No, I am not out of practice,** answers Flora ; 
" but I don't feel like the exertion — that is all." 

" Neither do I — since you don't," he says, with 
a well-satisfied air, seating himself on the rocks 
by her side. 

At this moment it chances that Charlton turns 
his head and glances down into the glen. He did 
not turn to look at Flora, but she feels as if he did. 
It suddenly occurs to her that he will think she 
staid to be with Sunderland, and the thought 
sends the blood in warm tide to her face. " Pray 
go, Harry ! " she says, in an almost imploring 
tone. " I cannot bear to think that you are de- 
priving yourself of the sunset to stay with me." 

" But suppose I would rather stay with you ? " 
says Harry, composedly. " You credit me with 
more taste for sunsets than I possess." 

" You said yesterday that you admired them 
exceedingly." 

" So I do when you are with me. You don't 
surely need to be reminded of those lines in your 
favorite song : 

" * We feel how the blest charms of Nature improve 
When we see them reflected in eyes that we love.' " 

" I wish you would not talk in that way ! " 
says Flora, with impatience. " It is nonsense— 
and I don't like nonsense I " 



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160 A SUMMER IDYL. 

" Then youVe changed amazingly," says Harry. 
" But what I said was not nonsense at all. That 
is your mistake." 

" Oh, well, I don't care to argue about it. Go, 
like a good boy, and look at the sunset." 

" I'll go if you will come, or if you seriously 
want to be rid of me ; but, honestly, I don't care 
a fig for the sunset." 

"I don't think you have improved in taste 
since you went away," says Flora, who has decided 
that to follow with Harry will be (in Charlton's 
eyes) exactly the same as if she remained at the 
spring with him. Of course none of this consid- 
eration would be necessary but for the memory 
of her unfortunate confession at Caesar's Head — 
unfortunate, because she fancies that Charlton in- 
terprets all her actions now in the light of it. 

" You are mistaken again," says Harry, in an- 
swer to her last speech. " My taste is neither 
worse nor better than it was when I went away. 
I should have taken your society in preference to 
a sunset then, just as I take it now." 

"Your memory of things before you went 
away is better than mine," says Flora — not quite 
sincerely, it is to be feared. " See the sunset ra- 
diance on those clouds yonder ! Is it not beau- 
tiful?" 

" Very fine ! " says Harry, glancing carelessly 
at the refulgent masses of cumulous vapor. " But 
I wonder if you mean what you say ? I wonder 



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"UNDER THE GREENWOOD BOUGH." 161 

if my memory is better than youi's of some things 
that occurred before I went away ? " 

" Very likely it is," says Flora, . outwardly 
calm in exact proportion to her inward disturb- 
ance — a rare and happy faculty which some tem- 
peraments possess. 

"Turn your head," says Harry, "and you will 
see on the beech behind you the record of some- 
thing which I at least have never forgotten. Do 
you mean that you have done so?" 

Flora does not turn her head, but she knows 
what he means. On the silvery beech-bark are 
carved the initials of their names, encircled by a 
true-lover's knot. How well she remembers the 
last day they were here together, when, with eyes 
filled with tears, she watched him carve it ! There 
was nothing explicitly said — ^but how well they 
understood each other ! " The tree will be our 
witness," Harry had said. And now they are 
once more here together, with the silent yet elo- 
quent tree flinging its rustling depths of shade 
over them. And Flora looks at him and says, 
"That was childish folly. Why do you speak 
of it?" 

" Childish folly ! " he repeats. " By Jove ! 
we were rather mature children. You were eigh- 
teen and I was twenty-two. If that is not old 
enough for one to know one's own mind — ^" 

He stops suddenly, for she extends her hand 
and lays it on his arm. " Hush, Harry ! " she 
11 



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162 A SUMMER IDYL. 

Bays. " This is folly which has not childishness 
to excuse it. You did not know your own mind 
then any more than you know it now. Don't 
think I mean to say anything harsh. No doubt 
you will be stable enough some day ; but the 
time for it has not come yet. That is all." 

" That is not all ! " says Harry, who is rousing 
out of his usual sunny-tempered calm to absolute 
indignation. " You must not think that I am to 
be set down like a schoolboy in that fashion. I 
don't mean to defend my conduct — I know I have 
acted like a fickle fool — ^but a man is often forced 
to learn what is true by testing what is false. I 
have learned. I was certain of that before I saw 
you — I am more certain now. I would not try to 
bind you by a promise before I went away, be- 
cause I was not sure of myself. Now I am sure, 
and now — with our beech-tree for witness again — 
I beg, Flora, dear Flora, for your promise. Your 
promise, do I say ? I beg for yourself ! " 

" O Harry ! " says Flora. For a moment it is 
all that she can say. She turns away her face, 
that he may not see the tears which gather so 
thickly in her eyes that she cannot distinguish a 
feature of the landscape. A little while ago they 
would have been tears of joy — now they are 
tears of a strange, sad regret that this, which 
might once have meant happiness, has been de- 
layed too late. Harry, who has very confident 
anticipations of what her answer will be, is great- 



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"UNDER THE GREENWOOD BOUGH." 163 

ly astonished when, with something like a sob, 
she says, " You might have spared me this." 

" What is there in it that I might have spared 
you ? " he asks. " Surely you knew it long ago. 
I loved you with all my heart when I went away, 
and held myself as much bound to you as if we 
had exchanged vows as betrothed lovers." 

" Harry ! " she says again — ^but the tone of 
her voice is changed now. She turns and looks 
at him. Tears are still hanging on her lashes, 
but in the dewy eyes there is a startled gleam. 
" Harry," she says, gravely, " I don't think you 
know what you are saying. It is impossible that 
you could have felt yourself in any manner bound 
to me when you went away." 

" By Heaven, I did ! " cries Harry. "And I 
considered that in the same manner you were 
bound to me." 

" I think not," answers Flora, calmly. " I am 
glad to think that we were not bound in the least. 
I have done you the justice to remember that al- 
ways, Harry ; and you do yourself injustice when 
you try to make me believe differently." 

" I suppose you are thinking of Miss Preston," 
says Harry, feeling, with a sudden thrill of recol- 
lection, that he has overshot his mark and said a 
little too much. 

" Yes, of Miss Preston," Flora answers. " I 
should not like to believe that you felt yourself 
in any manner bound to me when you were in 



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164 A SUMMER IDYL. 

love with — ^perhaps engaged to— her. It would 
not have been treating either of us very fairly, do 
you think ? But I am sure you could not have 
done such a thing. It is only because you are 
here — in the midst of scenes which revive old 
fancies — that you imagine anything of the kind." 

" I am not so volatile as you suppose," says 
Harry, injured and obstinate. " I did feel myself 
bound to you, and I should not have made a fool 
of myself with Gertrude Preston if I had not been 
assui*ed of your indifference to — old fancies." 

" My indifference ! " says Flora, with a gasp. 
" How could you possibly be assured of that ? " 

Harry hesitates. He is confused at the unex- 
pected turn which the conversation has taken, and 
for the life of him he cannot decide whether it is 
better to be reticent or candid. But he is awai'e 
that Flora regards his last assertion incredulous- 
ly, and he is anxious to make her understand with 
what high-minded virtue he has acted. 

" If you must know," he answers, finally, " I 
told Charlton, when he came here, to discover if 
possible how you felt toward me ; and he wrote 
positively that he was sure you only cared for me 
as a — " 

He breaks off abruptly, for Flora's face tells 
him what a blunder he has made. Never has he 
seen it wear such a look before. The blue eyes 
expand, and flash on him a glance in which amaze- 
ment, indignation, and scorn are mingled. Then 



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"UNDER THE GREENWOOD BOUGH." 165 
» 
she rises, before he can say one word to detain 
her, and walks away. 

Not far. Only to where one of the surround- 
ing hills shelves down in an abrupt cliff, and 
where there is an escarpment that she knows well 
— a flowery ledge on which she formerly loved to 
climb and sit. She bends her face down on this, 
and bursts into such passionate tears of anger, and 
grief, and mortification, as have never come from 
her eyes before. It seems almost more than she 
can bear ! That Harry should have cared for 
her so little as to send a stranger to pry into the 
most sacred secret of her heart ; and that this 
stranger should have been Charlton, to whom she 
confessed everything ! There are no words to 
describe the resentment, the sense of having been 
deceived and outraged, which possesses her ! 

" Flora," says Harry, coming to her side full 
of the deepest concern, " what have I done or said 
that you should treat me like this ? I can explain 
everything. If you will only listen — " 

" Listen ! " she says, drawing back from the 
touch of his hand. "I have heard more than 
enough already — ^far more than I can ever forget. 
Go, Harry. There is nothing to be explained. I 
see it all. You fancied your honor was bound to 
me, and you wanted to be set free. Ah, if you 
had only trusted me, if you had only written one 
word, if you had only spared me an indignity I 
can never forget or forgive — As it is, there is 



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166 A SUMMER IDYL. 

nothing to be said. Pray go, and leave me 
alone." 

" Go and leave you angry with me, like this ! 
That is asking too much. Flora, on my honor, I 
never thought such things as you fancy. I wanted 
to know the truth, and — ^" 

" And you had not courage enough to ask me 
for it ! " she says, turning her face around with 
an absolute blaze of scorn and indignation in her 
eyes. 

" How could I ask you for it ? There are 
some things a man cannot ask." 

" Then he should be ashamed to send another 
man — ^like a spy — ^to discover them." 

" Flora ! " says Harry. He is amazed to the 
degree of absolute consternation. In his wildest 
dreams he never imagined such capabilities of 
passion in his gentle cousin as she is now display- 
ing. " What a fool I was to say anything about 
the matter ! " he thinks. 

But this thought — ^like many wise and witty 
ones — comes too late to be of service. Flora 
takes her hat, and ties it on with trembling hands. 
Then she says, " I am going home." 

" Of course, I shall come with you," he an- 
swers. 

" No," she says ; " I beg that you will not. I 
prefer to go alone." 

" Are you so angry with me ? " he asks. " Floy, 
this is not like you," he goes on, taking one of 



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"on, MY COUSIN, SHALLOW- HEARTED." 167 

the smaU, tremulous hands. " In aH our quarrels 
you never refused to forgive me when I begged 
— as I do now — for pardon." 

She draws her hand from his clasp and darts 
away, leaving the glen now as she left it two 
years before — in tears. 

Harry does not wait to be assailed by the 
questions of the party descending the hiU. He 
follows Flora — keeping her figure in sight until 
she reaches the familiar river-path. Then he 
turns into a pine hollow, throws himself at length 
on the carpet of dry and fragrant needles, lights 
a cigar, and proceeds to meditate. 



CHAPTER XV. 

"oh, my cousin, shallow-heabted.'' 

Flora is not seen again that evening. When 
the others reach the house, they are informed that 
she has retired to her room with a severe head- 
ache. This is felt on all sides to be singular, 
since she is seldom a victim of this common fem- 
inine malady ; but only Charlton suspects of 
what cause the headache may be an effect. In- 
deed, his suspicion is resolved into a certainty by 
Sunderland's absence. After the merriment of 
the afternoon, general lassitude is the order of the 
evening, and most of the party are assembled on 



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168 A SUMMER IDYL. 

the piazza in the broad, lustrous moonlight when 
that young gentleman is finally seen slowly ap- 
proaching the house. 

"Well, Harry," says Colonel Tyrrell, as he 
drops into a chair, without uttering a word, " we 
began to think that you had turned gypsy in ear- 
nest. Where have you been all this time ? " 

" Smoking on the river-bank," answers Harry. 
" It is very pleasant there just now. The current 
is so clear and placid, I was half -minded to go in 
for a swim." 

" Just the thing ! " says George eagerly. 
"We'll try it at bedtime — and sleep like tops 
afterward." 

" Some of us will sleep like tops without it," 
says Minnie with a yawn. "Harry, what gave 
Floy a headache ? We left her in the glen with 
you, and the first thing we are told when we come 
home is that she has gone to her room with a head- 
ache." 

" I am sorry to hear it," answers Harry ; " but 
I am unable to imagine what could have given 
her a headache — unless it was some of George's 
jokes." 

" I don't think they were heavy enough for 
that," says George, good-naturedly. " But what 
made you both disappear so fast when you saw ub 
coming ? " 

"Because we wanted a quiet walk," replies 
Harry, who has as little regard for veracity — ^when 



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"OH, MY COUSIN, SHALLOW-HEARTED." 169 

veracity does not answer liis purpose — as any- 
other man. 

Soon after, the boys go away for a swim, in- 
viting Harry to accompany them. He declines. 
" It would be pleasant," he says, " if it were not 
for the exertion required ; but I feel too indolent 
for that." So he remains, lying idly back in his 
chair, and bearing no part in the conversation 
which the other gentlemen sustain. This conver- 
sation is not very absorbing in its nature, and pres- 
ently Mr. Martin follows the boys. At ten o'clock 
Colonel Tyrrell, according to his usual custom, re- 
tires ; and then Sunderland speaks : 

" I don't suppose you are inclined to go to your 
virtuous slumbers at such an hour as this, Charl- 
ton. Come, let us stroll down to the river. I've 
a few words to say to you." 

" I may as well light another cigar, then," says 
Charlton with a slight sigh. 

The cigar is lighted, and they take their way, 
in the balmy white moonlight, toward the bridge. 
On it they pause. The river flows below with 
glancing light on every ripple ; the trees droop 
motionless with glistening leaves ; the wide-spread- 
ing fields, the hills, the mountains, all stand dis- 
tinct — yet glorified — in the silver radiance. The 
beauty of the night makes Charlton recollect much 
such another. " A month ago I was on CcBsar's 
Head," he thinks ; and as he thinks it, his com- 
panion's tones break on the soft stillness. 



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170 A SUMMER IDYL. 

"I made an awful blunder this afternoon, 
Charlton. I wonder if you can imagine what it 
was ? " 

"Not much difficulty about that," Charlton 
answers. " You offered your hand and your heart, 
and anything else you had about you, to your 
cousin — too precipitately." 

" What do you mean by too precipitately ? " 

"You know what I mean. You have been 
away two years, and you have been in love with 
another woman. You ought to have effaced those 
facts from her memoiy before you fired a declara- 
tion like a broadside at her." 

" I did not think of firing a declaration like a 
broadside," says Sunderland, slightly piqued. " I 
only spoke of the past. It was almost impossible 
to avoid doing so in that glen." 

" There was no harm in doing so," remarks 
the Mentor, rolling out a cloud of smoke. 

" It would seem not ; but harm came of it, as 
you shall hear." Then he relates with sufficient 
accuracy all that occurred in the glen, not omitting 
the crowning blunder when he told Flora that he 
had commissioned Charlton to report how much 
she cared for him. 

At this Charlton takes his cigar from his 
mouth and looks at the speaker with amazement. 
" By Heaven, Sunderland ! " he says ; " you don't 
seriously mean that you told her that ? " 

" Yes, I do ! " answers Sunderland. " Of 



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"OH, MY COUSIN, SHALLOW-HEARTED." 171 

course it was a blunder, and one which, if I had 
been cooler, I should never have committed ; but 
it came altogether from my eagerness to explain 
my entanglement with Gertrude Preston." 

"I could not have conceived that you were 
such a fool ! " says Charlton, relieving his feelings 
by flinging his cigar into the river. 

Sunderland does not resent this plain speaking. 
On the contrary, he agrees that he was a fool, and 
says as much with despondent humility. Then 
he describes the manner in which Flora received 
the information, and Charlton feels that she must 
have been moved in no ordinary manner to display 
so much passion and indignation. 

"To think that, after all these years, you 
should know your cousin no better than that ! " 
he says. " Why, I — I, in two months — ^have 
learned to understand her better." 

"You've had nothing to do but study her," 
says Sunderland impatiently, "and you are an 
observer of character by trade. But I ought to 
have known better on general principles. I con- 
fess that." 

" It is rather late to confess it," says the other, 
grimly. " Unless I am very much mistaken, you 
have done more mischief than you can readily 
mend." 

"Do you think so?" asks Sunderland. I 
don't believe Flora wiU bear malice — she never 
did." 



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172 A SUMMER IDYL. 

" Bear malice — stuff ! Who is talking of bear- 
ing malice ? She'll forgive you, no doubt ; but 
she will not forget such a wound to her heart, or 
such an insult to her pride. And you must needs 
draw me into the matter — as if it was not enough 
that I undertook such a fool's errand simply to 
oblige you ! " 

" It doesn't matter about you," says Sunder- 
land, indifferently. " If she has refused you, 
there's no reason to care what she thinks of you, 
I'm sure." 

" That is your idea, is it ? But to my mmd 
there is something in the world besides love-mak- 
ing ; and I should have liked to keep Flora Tyr- 
rell as my friend." 

" And do you honestly think she'll resent the 
matter so very much ? " 

" I am convinced that she will. What your 
chances may be with her after this, I don't pretend 
to say ; but unless she is very unlike other women, 
she will never forgive me." 

And this is not merely an utterance of the 
moment, but remains an opinion firmly fixed in 
Charlton's mind. After he has at length got rid 
of Harry, and faces the matter coolly in the soli- 
tude of his own chamber, it is more than ever the 
conclusion to which his reflections point. He 
knows enough of Flora to understand how deeply 
she is wounded, how slow she will be to condone 
such an offense ; but he also fancies that he knows 



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"OH, MY COUSIN, SHALLOW-HEARTED." 173 

enough of women in the abstract to predicate 
with certainty that she will finally pardon the man 
she loves, and will visit all the strength of her 
indignation on the man she does not love — the 
man who (she may possibly fancy) gave the ad- 
vice that kept Harry away, in order that the field 
might be clear for his own suit. 

The next morning astonishment fills the house- 
hold that Flora does not appear at breakfast. 
Minnie takes her place, and answers all inquiries 
by saying that " Floy does not feel well enough 
to come down. She is feverish and has a sore 
throat." 

" Just what I expected ! " says Colonel Tyr- 
rell, while Charlton and Sunderland exchange a 
quick glance. " Now, don't let me hear of any 
more gypsying nonsense ! There is no possible 
reason why supper should be better, eaten on the 
ground than on a table." 

The day wears away in rather dull fashion. 
Minnie informs every one that " Floy has a dread- 
ful headache," so all sounds are subdued ; and as 
Charlton sits in his own room writing, he could 
almost fancy that the house is deserted or under 
a spell. Usually the boys laugh and whistle and 
bound up and down-stairs, Nellie's voice is heard, 
Minnie sings, the notes of the piano sound. Now 
an occasional careful footstep is all that is heard. 
In the afternoon — ^Flora being still reported 
"feverish" — George goes over to Brevard and 



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174 A SUMMER IDYL. 

returns with a doctor. This gentleman speaks 
lightly of the malady. "Some cold — a slight 
fever — nervous system disordered," is the amount 
of his diagnosb. He prescribes accordingly, and 
departs. 

Flora's indisposition — which is very real, 
though not very severe — continues for several 
days. By this time September is well advanced, 
and although summer gives no sign of drawing 
her reign to an end, Charlton feels that he must 
go. Already he has delayed his departure far be- 
yond his original intention, and now he tells him- 
self that he only waits to see Flora once more, to 
touch her hand, to look into her eyes, to say if 
possible one word in his defense, and then to make 
the wrench of departure. At least he tells him- 
self this, until a day comes when something sug- 
gests that perhaps it would be better if he went 
without such leave-taking ; and the result of the 
thought is that Nellie brings to the side of the 
couch on which Flora lies, pale and languid, the 
following note : 

" My Dear Miss Tyrrell : 

" It becomes daily more necessary that I should 
tear myself away from this pleasant resting-place, 
and go back to the world and to work. I should 
like to have the satisfaction of bidding you a per- 
sonal farewell. But it has lately struck me that 
perhaps you had rather be spared such a last tax 



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"OH, MY COUSIN, SHALLOW-nEARTED." 175 

upon your kindness. If this is the case, may I 
beg you to say so frankly ? I hope you know me 
well enough to be aware that I could not misin- 
terpret anything you might say or do, but that, 
with best wishes for your speedy recovery, I am 
always Faithfully yours, 

" Geoffeet Chablton." 

The answer to this is short but satisfactory : 

" Deab Mb. Chablton : 

" I shall be truly sorry if you leave before I 
am well enough to see you. I hope to come down 
to-morrow. Yours sincerely, 

" Floba Tybbell." 

Flora is as good as her word, and comes down 
the next day. She looks frail and white, and 
more as if she had passed through a long illness 
than a trilling indisposition. On some tempera- 
ments the sickness of a day or an hour leaves such 
traces as these ; but they are generally tempera- 
ments that rally as quickly as they fail. There is 
an undefinable change of expression on Flora's 
face that makes Charlton realize that her sickness 
has been more of the mind than the body. The 
eyes — which seem to have grown larger — are also 
graver, the tender lips are more firm, the gentle 
manner a shade more reserved. It is only to Sun- 
derland and himself that this reserve is percepti- 



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176 A SUMMER IDYL. 

ble ; and to them it is so delicately marked that 
men of duller perceptions would not observe it. 

They observe it, however, and each wonders 
how much the other is conscious of it. The fam- 
ily are assembled in the sitting-room after break- 
fast, and Flora says with a smile : 

"I have been in solitary confinement long 
enough to feel that it is agreeable to enter society 
once more. If I were sufficiently strong, I would 
make a speech of thanks for all the kind attentions 
I have received. As it is, you must all be good 
enough to believe that I am very grateful for your 
birds and fish and other pleasant things." 

" We tried to get all we could for you," says 
Oscar, constituting himself spokesman for the 
party. " Harry shot the birds." 

" And they were excellent," says Flora, look- 
ing at Harry. 

" I am glad you liked them," he answers a lit- 
tle diffidently. " I find that I am out of practice 
as a sportsman, but I tried a gun in your behalf." 

" We must get up a deer-hunt, Harry," says 
George. "Fanshaw was speaking to me about 
it yesterday. What a pity that Mr. Charlton is 
going away so soon I " 

"Are you going soon, Mr. Charlton?" Flora 
asks. 

" I have made my arrangements to leave to- 
morrow," he answers, " and this time I think that 
I shall certainly go." 



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"OH, MY COUSIN, SHALLOW-HEARTED." 177 

" If you'U wait a week longer, Charlton, I'll go 
with you," says Harry. "After all, you know 
there is no need for haste." 

"Not the least need as far as you are con- 
cerned," answers Charlton. " I can best judge of 
the necessity in my own case, however." 

" I was not aware that you were thinking of 
leaving so soon, Harry," says Colonel Tyrrell, 
with his brow clouding. 

"Oh," says Harry, "I only came for a glimpse 
of you all. Having had that, I might as well take 
flight again." 

" Harry is bored, papa," says Minnie. " That 
is what is the matter." 

" In that case, perhaps the best thing that he 
can do will be to go," says Colonel TyrreU, rising 
and walking away. 

" It is rather a dangerous business that of at- 
tempting to interpret what you don't understand, 
Minette," says Harry, quietly. " Now, Flora, this 
is not very interesting. Can we do or say any- 
thing to amuse you ? Should you like some read- 
ing?" 

" Very much," answers Flora, who just now 
prefers anything to conversation. 

" What will you read ? " asks Charlton. 

" * The Earthly Paradise,' I suppose," answers 
Sunderland, going to the table and taking up a 
volume of that poem. 

He returns to his seat, opens the book, and be- 
12 



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178 A SUMMER IDYL, 

gins to read in his pleasant, well-modulated voice. 
By degrees the circle diminishes — as, perhaps, he 
intended that it should. The boys soon depart, 
Nellie slips away, and presently Minnie is sum- 
moned to some housekeeping duty. Only Charl- 
ton is left, and he does not long play the part of 
Monsieur de Trap, He waits until Sunderland 
finishes the story which he is reading ; then he 
rises to excuse himself, and leaves the room. 

" By Jove ! how glad I am that they are 
gone ! " says Harry, closing the book at once. 
"Now, Floy, you must be very good to me in 
order to atone for all the anxiety that I have en- 
dured during these last four or five days." 

The tug of war comes now. Flora knows it, 
but she does not shrink. Perhaps she has pre- 
pared herself for this. At least the grave blue 
eyes meet Sunderland's very calmly as she says : 
" Why have you been enduring anxiety ? I do 
not understand for what I have to atone." 

" You do not have to atone for anything," he 
answers. " If there is atonement to be made, it 
falls on me. And I am ready to make any that 
will cause you to forget my folly, and will give 
me your trust again. Floy, I am going to tell my 
whole story to you — everything that has occurred 
since I went away. Will you listen ? " 

" Yes," she answers, gently, " I will listen to 
anything you wish to tell me." 

So, bending a little closer, he begins to tell his 



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«0n, MY COUSIN, SHALLOW-HEARTED." 179 

story. That he tells it well — making the very 
best of it in every way, without tangibly trans- 
gressing truth in any particular — ^it is impossible 
to deny. By a few strokes he sketches himself 
with a great deal of skill, conveying the impres- 
sion that his fancy alone wandered, while his 
heart remained true, making his listener realize 
the flattered vanity, the superficial admiration, 
which he regarded for a little while as his love 
for Miss Preston. Then he touches on the deli- 
cate ground of his commission to Charlton ; tells, 
with suitable reservation, how it was given and 
how executed ; describes the rapid cooling of his 
passion for the woman to whom he was engaged, 
and then — half unconsciously — ^betrays that it was 
Miss Dupont's letter which turned his thoughts 
again to Flora by suggesting a vague jealousy of 
Charlton, a vague doubt that the latter may have 
been mistaken in his assurance of her indifference. 
" I determined to come and see for myself how 
matters stood," says Harry, " and every hour that 
brought me nearer to you seemed to bring my 
heart back to its true allegiance. I begin to feel 
like a man who had been crazy and was sane 
again — ^who had been drunk and was sober. The 
thought of you was like pure mountain air — ^it 
brought rest and refreshment. When I saw you 
— ^ah, Floy, I can't tell you what I felt when I saw 
you ! For one thing, I felt I had been an ineffa- 
ble fool ! Dear, tell me that I have not lost 



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180 A SUMMER IDYL. 

everything by my delay — ^that I have not come 
too late ! " 

He holds out his hands eagerly, the handsome 
face looks imploringly into her own. That he is 
altogether in earnest it is impossible to doubt. 
Flora does not doubt it. She reads him better 
than he has read himself, and with a sweet, sad 
smile she says : 

" No, you did not come too late. I am glad 
now that you did not come earlier. All might 
have been different then, and we might have 
made a worse mistake than our childish folly two 
years ago. Dear Harry, don't you see that what 
you feel for me is only the result of old associa- 
tion ? It is not strong, nor stable, nor independent 
of other things ; it is a mere fancy which will pass 
as it has returned — when you go away." 

" Flora ! " cries Harry, unable to credit the 
testimony of his own ears. He seizes her hands, 
and holds them in a vise-like grasp. " It is im- 
possible that you can mean this," he says ; " it is 
impossible that you can expect me to receive it as 
final. Flora, you forget that this is no affair of a 
day or an hour ; you forget that I have loved you 
all my life, and that the associations of which you 
speak are more to me than anything else in the 
world except yourself. You must understand one 
thing distinctly : my life is in your hands. If 
you turn me adrift, I shall feel as if I have been 
cut loose from every anchor — every hope and good 



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"OH, MY COUSIN, SHALLOW-HEARTED." 181 

mtention. There is not one of them which is not 
and has not always been associated with you." 

"And will not be associated with some one 
else in the time to come," says Flora, quietly. 
" Ah, Harry ! why do you not know yourself bet- 
ter ? A little while hence you will feel how right 
I am in what I say to-day. You are fond of me ; 
yes, I know it ; and just now you fancy that you 
are in love with me. But that is a mistake. If I 
were foolish enough to let you bind yourself, do 
you know what would follow? You would go 
away, and in a little while some one else would 
come into your life ; you would fall in love with 
her, you would be bound by your honor to me, 
and then — and then— either you would keep your 
faith at a cost I shall never exact, or you would 
do something which would lower you more in 
your own respect than sending a stranger to dis- 
cover how much your cousin cared for you." 

" Floy ! " he says, in a half -suffocated voice, 
" you have not forgiven me for that yet I If I 
could only make you understand — ^" 

" I think I understand perfectly," Flora inter- 
rupts. "Forgive you? Yes, I am reasonable 
enough to forgive you now, though I think you 
were wrong. Some things a man should discover 
for himself. If you had come, or even if you had 
written frankly, I would have showed you that I 
was only your cousin." 

" But you were not always only my cousin," 



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182 A SUMMER IDYL. 

he says, quickly. " Two years ago — ah, Flora ! 
if you forget, I cannot." 

" Forgetf ulness is a good thing," she says, 
very quietly. "If you remember those foolish 
times, it is because you have come back, after 
long absence, to a place fraught with their asso- 
ciations." 

" I remembered them before I came back — ^I 
never forgot them." . (For a moment he honestly 
imagines that he never did.) " Floy," he goes on, 
with a beseeching passion in his voice that thrills 
the girl, " if I could only win your trust again, I 
am sure all would be right. You could not send 
me away. For the sake of the dear old times — • 
foolish though you may call them — ^you would try 
to love me a little, and I would try to make that 
little much." 

She is shaken to the very centre of her soul — 
that is evident from her pale face — ^but she is im- 
movable in her resolution. " Harry ! " she cries, 
like one driven to bay, " I cannot ! Don't say 
anything more ! You mean it now, but I know 
you better than you know yourself. I know that 
the end would be worse than it has been already. 
One or both of us would be wretched for life, if I 
yielded to you. Harry, my cousin, my brother, 
my dear, dear companion, it almost breaks my 
heart to give you even the shortest pain. For- 
give me, forgive me — ^but it must be so ! " 

There is no faltering in voice or look. Tears 



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"OH, MY COUSIN, SHALLOW-HEARTED." 183 

fill her eyes, and she clasps her hands as she leans 
toward him ; but a rock could sooner fly from its 
base than any words alter her resolve. He sees, 
feels, realizes this. It is borne to him with a sud- 
den flash of intense consciousness that he has lost 
his opportunity, and lost it finally. It was his a 
little while ago— his to play with, to hold lightly, 
to depreciate in the security of possession. Now 
it has been snatched out of his grasp, and placed 
beyond his reach forever. To say that in his eyes 
it has increased tenfold in value by this process, 
is only to state something familiar to all who ob- 
serve human nature. The possibilities that we 
have lost seem more rich than any we have 
grasped ; the jewel we never wore shines bright- 
est; the happiness we never tasted seems sweetest. 
That which might have been and yet is not — that 
which we cast heedlessly by, little knowing its 
true value — ^it is that which seems to us most sad 
among all the sad things of which life is full. No 
one has touched this strain better than Robert 
Browning in some of his minor poems, and two 
lines from one of these poems comes to Harry's 
mind as he sits, gazing almost despairingly into 
his cousin's eyes : 

" Tliis could but have happened once, 
And we missed it, lost it forever." 

" It is my fault," he says, suddenly breaking 
the silence- " I see it all. I have been a fool, 



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184 A SUMMER IDYL. 

and one must pay the penalty of folly. I have 
lost the best chance of my life, and I have only 
myself to blame. If I had come sooner — Well, 
other kingdoms than that of Heaven are lost by 
laggards, I see. Flora, my sweet cousin, I think 
I might keep straight with your hand to guide 
me ; but since it is not to be — ^" 

He stops abruptly, takes her into his arms, 
kisses once, twice, thrice, the white brow where 
the fair hair is parted, then puts her back in the 
chair and leaves the room. 



CHAPTER XVI. 

"O LAST BEGBET, REGEET CAN DIE." 

Before an hour has- passed, Charlton learns 
all that has happened. " You know so much of 
the story, that it would be a pity not to give you 
the end," Harry calmly observes. " I have told 
Flora everything, and she has forgiven me — and 
declined to have anything more to do with me. 
So I think I shall pack my trunk and leave with 
you to-morrow." 

" Are you in earnest ? " asks Charlton, skepti 
cally. He felt so sure that the matter would end 
with the approved reconciliation scene, that he is 
as much surprised by Flora's decision as Sunder- 
land could possibly have been. " You have made 



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"0 LAST REGRET, REGRET CAN DIE." 185 

another blunder," he says, impatiently, "or you 
have misunderstood your cousin. Something is 
certainly wrong." 

" Everything is wrong," answers Harry, " but 
as for making a blunder — I flatter myself I am 
not the person to do that kind of thing twice. 
And as for misunderstanding Flora — ^you could 
as soon misunderstand a man when he knocks you 
down." 

" There is some mistake in the matter," Charl- 
ton thinks — ^but is wise enough not to say. " Harry 
must have blundered again. It is impossible that 
her pride can be so much stronger than her love." 
Then he asks aloud : " Are you serious in thinking 
of going with me to-morrow ? " 

" Perfectly serious. Why should I stay here ? 
I hope I can bear disappointment like a man, but 
I am not philosopher enough to live face to face 
with it. I hardly know what I shall say to my 
uncle by way of excuse." 

"I have found in my journey through life," 
remarks Charlton, "that the truth is generally 
the best and the safest thing to say. Your uncle 
will have cause to be offended if you go away 
with merely an ordinary excuse ; but, if you teP 
him the truth, you will find him, I am sure, reason- 
able and kind. Every man has a fellow-feeling 
for a man in such a position as yours." 

" By Jove, so I will ! " says Sunderland — and 
leaves the room. 



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186 A SUMMER IDYL. 

Colonel Tyrrell was as kind and reasonable as 
Charlton had predicted, but more deeply disap- 
pointed than can be readily expressed. The plan 
which had failed was one on which he had for 
many years set his heart and counted confidently. 
He feels sure that for the failure his nephew is 
solely to blame ; but to strike a man who is al- 
ready down by saying as much is more than he 
can do. " I am sorry, Harry," he says, " very 
sorry ; but Flora of course knows best. I don't 
deny that I have always hoped that you two 
might marry. Perhaps it's not best to build hopes 
that depend on others for their fulfillment. I shall 
not try to detain you if you feel that you must 
go. But you have always a son's place in my 
heart and my house ; remember that." 

" There is nothing I could not sooner forget," 
says Harry ; and then their hands meet in that 
grasp which expresses so much. 

Flora, meanwhile, has gone to her room, and 
does not appear again until late in the afternoon. 
Then she comes down, and is met by her father, 
who asks if she does not think a drive will do her 
good. " I don't propose a ride," he says, " be- 
cause, in the first place, I hardly think you are 
strong enough for it, and, in the second place, the 
saddle-horses are all gone. Harry and George 
have taken two, and Minnie and Oscar the others. 
If you care to drive, I'll order the carriage." 

"No, papa, the wagonette," she interposes. 



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"0 LAST REGRET, REGRET CAN DIE." 187 

" That is open, and one wants as much of this 
delightful air as one can get." 

The wagonette is accordingly ordered. Charl- 
ton and Nellie are invited to accompany them, 
and presently they are bowling through the val- 
ley, with the soft, fresh breeze coming from the 
far-off azure heights. 

The charm of the winsome valley, the magical 
expanse of receding heights, the reposeful green- 
ness of meadow and field and hill, all seem inten- 
sified to Charlton by the fact of his approaching 
departure. He is as little inclined to sentimental- 
ism as a man can be, but he has found something 
here which he knows he is not likely to find soon, 
if ever, again ; and the knowledge gives a pang 
to his parting which the mere beauty of Nature 
would be unable to cause. 

" How strange that I have been here only twe 
months ! " he says after a while, partly addressing 
Colonel Tyrrell, partly speaking to himself. " I 
feel as if it had been a much longer time. I have 
grown to regard these scenes with the familiar 
affection of an old friend." 

" We shall expect you to say a good word for 
the country when you go out into the world," 
says Colonel Tyrrell, touching up his horses. " It 
needs to be better known." 

" I shall say all that I can," Charlton answers, 
"but that may not be much. I am not one of the 
people whose deepest impressions crystallize read- 



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188 A SUMMER roYL. 

ily into descriptive phrases. I like the spirit of 
those lines of Moore's which you sometimes sing. 
Miss Tyrrell : 

" * Sweet Innisf alien, fare thee well ! 
May calm and sunshine long be thine ; 
How fair thou art let others tcll, 
While but to feel how fair be mine.' " 

" It is SO much to be able to feel,'' says Flora, 
smiling, " that it might seem unreasonable to ask 
for more ; but I am sure you could describe it if 
you chose." 

" Few things are more difficult than to describe 
with truth and simplicity," he says. " We should 
all be artists if we could paint the common world 
which lies around us a^ it is. Besides " — uncon- 
sciously his voice sinks a little, so as to be audible 
only to Flora — " how could I describe the charm 
which this summer has had for me by putting it 
in type for indifferent eyes to read ? " 

Flora is spared reply, for at this moment Col- 
onel Tyrrell draws up the horses. " Floy," he 
says, " I am going down into the meadow where 
those men are at work. You and Mr. Charlton 
can extend your drive, and come back for me in 
half an hour or so. There's a fine view from the 
top of that hill over yonder, and a good road leads 
up to it." 

The hill chances to be the one where Flora 
and Harry paused to see the sunset on the first 
evening after the arrival of the latter. Miss 



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"0 LAST REGRET, REGRET CAN DIE." 189 

Tyrrell looks at it with a slightly troubled expres- 
sion, but she only says, " Yes, papa," as her father 
hands the reins to Charlton, and steps down. 

They drive on for a minute before that gentle- 
man speaks. Then he says : " Where shall we go ? 
I see you don't fancy the idea of that hill, and 1 
don't care a fig for the view." 

" What a close observer you are ! " says Flora, 
flushing. " I did not fancy the idea of going to 
the hill at first, but — it does not matter. Drive 
on, please." 

" But why, if you feel the least disinclination 
toward doing so ? " 

" Why ? " — she hesitates. " Well, if you must 
know, because I don't choose to yield to the dis- 
inclination. You told me once that I was morbid, 
and I fear you were right ; so I have determined 
to conquer such weakness." 

" I think I said only that you were inclined to 
be morbid ; and I retract that now. It was pre- 
sumption in me ever to have said such a thing." 

" It was quite a true thing, I am sure. Turn 
here to the right — into the woods." 

Into the woods, full of dreamy, slanting sun- 
shine and bosky depths of shadow, the road leads 
them. 

When they reach the summit of the hill and 
pause for the view, Nellie insists upon being set 
down, in order that she may search for ferns, 
which is one of her favorite pursuits. While she 



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190 A SUMMER IDYL. 

is engaged in this manner, Charlton looks at Flora. 
"I wonder," he says in a low voice, "if I may- 
venture to speak to you of something which has 
annoyed you very much — something in which, 
unfortunately, my name bore a share ? I should 
not think of doing so if I were not going away so 
soon, and if this were not probably my last oppor- 
tunity to set myself right in your estimation." 

She starts a little when he speaks first, but 
soon recovers herself, and looks at him without 
any change of color, with the same grave, gentle 
regard which puzzled Sunderland earlier in the 
day. 

" You may speak, if you care to do so," she 
answers, " but it is not necessary. I understand 
everything, and I have no right to blame you — 
farther than to think that you should have told 
me frankly upon what errand you came here." 

" I did not come upon any errand," he says, 
quickly. " It is you who misconceive the impor- 
tance of all that passed between Sunderland and 
myself. You know, I hope, that nothing would 
induce me to deceive you ; you also know that I 
have no possible reason for endeavoring to repre- 
sent your cousin's conduct in a better light — " 

"Stop a moment," she says, in a low voice. 
"You have reason! You remember — ah, I am 
sure of it — the folly I uttered to you at Caesar's 
Head, and you think that it might be better for 
me to be deceived than to be unhappy. But I " 



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"0 LAST REGRET, REGRET CAN DIE." 191 

— she pauses an instant — " do not tliink so. I am 
glad to have learned the truth, though I cannot 
thank y(m for it. I am glad — yes, glad even; to 
know that Harry could send a stranger to learn 
what place he still held in my heart, and could 
hope to hear that he held none. It is hard ; but, 
since it is true, it is best to know it." 

"It is natural that you should feel in this 
way," says Charlton. "But it is not altogether 
just. Harry, as you are aware, is very volatile 
and impressionable ; for a little time he fancied 
himself in love with another woman, but I am in- 
clined to believe you possess his true allegiance." 

" I am sure that you are mistaken," she says, 
quietly. " A mingling of many different motives 
brought Harry back, and, once here, the spell of 
old association did the rest. I am glad that he 
came, and that I have had an opportunity to end 
everything. If he had not done so, he would 
have felt all his life that he had failed to act as a 
man of honor should." 

"And do you not think that he will feel it 
now?" 

" I thmk not— I hope not. Why should he ? " 

"For the simple reason that, if he had been 
two months earlier, everything would have been 
different." 

" I am not certain of that." She speaks slow- 
ly, gazing not at her companion, but at the far 
blue mountains. "I have thought of a great 



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192 A SUMMER IDYL. 

many things during the days that I have been 
sick, and very much alone. I have seemed to see 
a great deal that I never saw before. My own 
folly is one of the things. I fancied myself so 
constant, I was determined not to change. I had 
an ideal to which I clung — ^an ideal of the Harry 
who went away two years ago — and I did not 
recognize how much the reality must necessarily 
differ from that. Do you remember saying once 
that it is well to bring memories as often as possi- 
ble in contact with realities, and, if they will not 
stand the test, to let them go ? I have done that, 
and — ^have let my memory go." 

There is a minute's silence. Charlton looks at 
her doubtfully. He distrusts the serenity of her 
face, the calmness of her tone. These things 
baffled and deceived him once before, and he fan- 
cies they are baffling and deceiving him now. He 
is aware that women often cloak an aching heart 
under such an exterior as this ; and he knows that 
Flora Tyrrell is just the woman to do it. But she 
is not a woman to utter for any purpose or under 
any provocation that which is not true. Knowing 
this, he is constrained to believe her ; and yet he 
doubts if she is not deceiving herself. 

" Do you not think that you may be acting 
hastily?" he says, at length. "You are disap- 
pointed, no doubt, in Harry — disappointed as we 
are almost certain to be when, after long absence, 
we see one whom .we have invested meanwhile 



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"0 LAST REGRET, REGRET CAN DIE." 193 

with all the illusions of love. But do you realize 
all that your decision means ? You must forgive 
me if I am presumptuous, but I fear that you are 
trifling with your happiness, in that ignorance of 
life which is so common to youth. It is only af- 
ter a time that we learn how life means for the 
most of us — compromise. That which we would 
have we cannot reach ; so that which we can ob- 
tain we take, and are as contented as our neigh- 
bors. We find that our gold is mixed with base 
metal, and we close our eyes to the unpleasant 
fact. It is only when we are very young and in- 
tolerant that we cast it aside, saying that we will 
have pure gold or none." 

" And the meaning of this is that you think I 
ought to marry my cousin ? " 

He starts, and the blood comes to his cheek in 
a dark glow. "It is impossible for me to say 
that," he answers. " I only fear your falling into 
a mistake which, recognized too late, may sadden 
your life." 

" You are very kind," she says, gently ; " you 
have been so from the first. But do not fear for 
me. I am making no mistake. I fancied myself 
very constant, but one changes despite one's self ; 
and so I find that I have changed. During these 
two years Harry and I have drifted farther apart 
than I ever fancied was possible. If we were 
foolish enough to think of spending our lives to- 
gether, I should not suit him any more than he 
13 

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194 A SUMMER IDYL. 

would suit me. It is sad to realize this — but it is 
true." 

She speaks quietly, but with the same air of 
fixed decision that was so remarkable in her inter- 
view with Sunderland. She has plainly taken a 
resolution which nothing can shake. Her eyes fill 
with tears. It is, as she says, sad to realize that 
all is over, that the rude hand of change has 
touched her boy-lover and herself, that so many 
fair hopes will perish without any fruition ; but 
since it is and must be so, she faces it without 
faltering. Charlton, regarding her keenly, makes 
only one last effort. 

" Do you not think," he says, " that you might 
take time — time to test yourself and him ? " 

" Why, that is exactly what has been done," 
she says. " Time has tested both of us. I should 
be foolish and weak if I desired any further test. 
What, Nellie, have you finished ? Ah, those are 
lovely ferns I Now ask Mr. Charlton to lift you 
up, and let us go down for papa." 

Colonel Tyrrell joins them at the meadow, and 
they drive home in the lovely evening glow. They 
find Sunderland, together with Minnie and the 
boys, on the piazza. He comes forward and as- 
sists Flora from the wagonette. "I hope you 
have enjoyed your drive," he says. " I was sorry, 
when I came back and found you gone, that I had 
taken your horse. You might have preferred to 
ride." 



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"0 LAST BEGRET, REGRET CAN DIE," 195 

" No— I was not strong enough," Flora an- 
swers. She is surprised and relieved by his man- 
ner, and slips past him into the house with a 
lighter heart. She does not know that Harry is 
modeling his conduct on that of Charlton. He 
would be afraid to flinch — to play the part of dis- 
consolate lover — ^before a man who has borne a 
misfortune similar to his own with so much phil- 
osophical composure. 

At supper, however. Flora is startled to hear 
that he means to leave the next day. She looks 
at him with wistful, astonished eyes. " O Har- 
ry," she says, " are you really going so soon ? " 

" Yes," answers Harry, with commendable 
lightness, "I am really going. Have you any 
commissions that I can execute ? I have a very 
good taste in feminine attire, though you have' 
never tested it. I think I might even be trusted 
to buy a silk dress. Silvery-blue would suit you. 
Flora." 

"But it would not suit Transylvania," saya 
Flora, with a tremulous smile. " One needs use- 
ful and substantial things here." 

After tea is over, the party as usual distribute 
themselves between the piazza and the sitting- 
room. Harry, still manfully preserving his non- 
chalant demeanor, strolls into the latter apartment 
and asks Flora to sing. "Those charming old 
Irish and Scotch songs — ^the Irish especially — that 
you are so fond of, I don't hear any one else sing 



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196 A SUMMER IDYL. 

in these days," he says. " Sing * Silent, O Moyle, 
be the sound of thy waters ! ' " 

Flora cannot refuse ; yet, as she sits down to the 
piano, she is peculiarly averse to singing this song. 
It is not only heart-breaking in its pathos, but it 
is connected with her past life more closely, per- 
haps, than any other. She has sung it for Harry 
a hundred times, and sung it to herself a hundred 
times more when thinking of him ; for, despite 
its sadness, it somehow rose involuntarily to her 
lips on such occasions. Now to sing it on the eve 
of his departure, when he may be going away 
never to return — this, she feels, will be hard. 
Yet she tries to do it. The first verse she accom- 
plishes, but over the second she breaks down, and 
leans forward on the instrument with her tears 
dropping thick and fast on the ivory keys. 

For a minute Harry is astonished and con- 
cerned. Then a flash of hope comes to him. He 
thinks he understands what this emotion means. 
They chance to be alone in the room. He starts 
forward, and in a moment his arm is round the 
drooping girl's figure. 

" Floy, my darling I " he says, eagerly, " you 
can't be so hard-hearted after all — you can't mean 
for me to go ! Think how happy we have been, 
think how happy we may be. Say but one word, 
give but one sign of forgiveness, and I will stay." 

It is a minute before Flora can control her 
voice sufficiently to speak. Then she says : " You 



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"0 LAST REGRET, REGRET CAN DIE." 197 

are mistaken ; what troubles me is not that. It 
is — oh ! it is that everything is changed — and 
changed so inevitably. We have separated so 
far ; and I fear we must — ^must separate farther." 

" That is very likely if we part," says Harry ; 
"but, Flora, you ought to feel, as I do, that we 
should not part. Dear, trust me again — once 
again — that is all I ask." 

" O Harry, it is useless to talk like this," says 
Flora, still struggling with her sobs. " It is not 
that I don't trust you, but — everything is changed. 
That is what seems so sad. We can't— do what 
we will, we canH bring back the past ; and the 
present is so — so mournful ! " 

" We could bring back the past — at least all 
in the past that was best worth having — if you 
would listen to me," says Harry — " if you would 
trust me, if you would love me. O Flora, why 
don't you see that it is the best chance of our 
lives you are thrusting away ? " 

" No," says Flora. His passionate earnestness 
restores her to her ordinary composure. She 
draws back from him, but lays one hand on his 
shoulder, and looks at him with tear-misted ej^es. 
" You are wrong," she says, " but I am sure you 
are sincere, and it breaks my heart to deny you 
what you want — even though you will not want 
it long. But it is best so — ^believe me, it is best 
so. Some day-^-before long, I hope — ^you will 
feel it, and then you will come back, will you not ? 



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198 A SUMMER IDYL. 

Then we will put all this folly away, and we shall 
be brother and sister as we were long ago— O 
Harry, shall we not ? " 

" Yes," answers Harry, touched and overcome ; 
" we shall be what you like. Perhaps you are 
right — perhaps it is best. I am unstable and not 
worthy of you ; but I shall always love you, 
Flora, and I shall never forget all that you have 
been to me from first to last. God bless you, dear, 
for your sweetness, your tenderness, your faith." 

"And God bless you, Harry, and give you 
some one to love in earnest," she says. Then, as 
a step approaches the window, she turns and 
passes swiftly from the room. 



CHAPTER XVn. 

" SWEET INNISFALLEN, FABE THEE WELL I " 

"In order to make the day's journey with 
comfort to ourselves and our horses, we must 
start early to-morrow morning," Harry says to 
Charlton when they part at night. 

"What do you mean by early?" the other 
asks. 

" I mean eight o'clock, sharp." 
" Oh, very well ; that is not terrible." 
It may not be terrible, but it is nevertheless 
more than Harry — without that stringent sense 



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"SWEET INNIS? ALLEN, FARE THEE WELL!" 199 

of necessity which taking a raikoad train entails 
— can prevail upon himself to do. As a matter 
of convenience to the travelers, breakfast is served 
half an hour earlier than usual, and Charlton is 
ready for it. Not so his companion. That young 
gentleman appears just as the clock is striking 
eight, and is greeted with a shout of derision by 
the younger members of the family. 

"Not but that you are quite right to take 
your nap out, Harry," says George ; " for if you 
get off by nine o'clock, you will be lucky. I am 
just from the stables. Morgan has cast a shoe, 
and been sent to the blacksmith." 

" The deuce he has ! " says Harry. " Well, 
my prophetic soul warned me of something of 
that kind. I felt that there was no good in tear- 
ing myself out of bed earlier than usual. Thanks, 
Uncle George ; I'll take a chop. By Jove ! when 
shall I see such mutton again ? " 

"Harry's regrets are very sentimental," says 
Minnie. 

" They are sincere, at all events," says Harry. 
" Let me tell you there are worse things in the 
world to regret than juicy, tender, mountain mut- 
ton." 

After breakfast, George proposes that they 
shall go and see after Morgan ; so Harry, light- 
ing a cigar, strolls stableward with him. Charl- 
ton declines to accompany them, and postpones 
hu cigar until later. He says to Flora, as they 



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200 A SUMMER IDYL. 

stand in the hall together, " Will you walk down 
to the river with me ? I should like to look at it 
for the last time." 

" I hope not for the last time," she says. " If 
you really like Transylvania so much, you will 
surely come back." 

" I am certain you do not doubt how much I 
* really like ' Transylvania," he says ; " but com- 
ing back is another question. Nothing is more 
marked in life than the difficulty which attends 
any attempt to repeat a pleasure. Ah, what a 
morning ! — ^what a scene ! And I must turn my 
back on all this loveliness." 

They have emerged from the house, and de- 
scend to the lawn as he speaks. Fair and far the 
level valley spreads before them ; the mountains 
are draped in sparkling haze ; a dewy brightness 
lies over the scene ; the green hills and shadowy 
woods wear the indefinable freshness of early 
morning ; the bright river is full of glancing 
lights and wavering shadows. They walk down 
the lawn, and pause on its brink. 

" * Men may come, and men may go ; but it 
goes on forever,' " says Charlton. " What pleas- 
ant days I have spent here ! Miss Tyn-ell, you 
must let me thank you for them once more." 

" Why should you thank me ? " she asks, sim- 
ply. " You have given me as much or more pleas- 
ure than you can possibly have received. And 
if, at any future time, you should care to come 



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••SWEET INNISFALLEN, FARE THEE WELL!" 201 

back, we shall be veiy glad to see you. I cannot 
say more than that — we have so little to offer." 

" Beware of false humility ! " he says, smiling. 
" You know — or ought to know — ^that you have 
everything to offer. I know it, at least. Yet 
I do not think I shall come back." 

She does not say anything, but she looks at 
him with so much wistful distress in her glance — 
a glance which says, " Is it 7" who have made you 
form this resolution ? " — ^that he feels impelled to 
answer it by an explanation. 

" Don't think that I say so because I have not 
succeeded in winning your heart. This is some- 
thing which cannot be helped, and which leaves 
no bitter memory whatever. Do you know that 
I pay you a high compliment in saying so ? Do 
you know that there are few women whom a man 
can love, by whom he could be rejected, and yet 
around whom he could find pleasure in lingering 
as I have lingered here ? There are still fewer 
' who could pass through such an ordeal without 
waking some angry or disgusted chord of feeling. 
But I was thinking last night as I smoked my 
final cigar — not a bad time for meditation, let me 
assure you — how entirely you have done this. I 
shall carry away a recollection of you which is 
without a flaw. Even my love for you has seemed 
altogether above the passion which often bears 
that name. I shall look back upon this summer 
as on a time set apart in my life — an idyl in the 



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202 A SUMMER IDYL. 

midst of jarring prose ; and hence I should be 
loath to come back and spoil its memory by bring- 
ing reality, with I know not how much change 
involved, to bear upon it." 

" But that — that is morbid ! " cries Flora, with 
a cadence of triumph in her quivering voice. 
" The very thing against which you warned me, 
and now you are guilty of it yourself I Is that 
the way philosophers practise their precepts ? " 

" Very often, I fear. But since this is our last 
t^te-d't^te, and since I am confessing everything, 
let me say that this which I have mentioned is 
not my only reason for saying I shall not return. 
To go away to-day is not only a wrench, but I 
shall have a sharp fight for many days to come 
with longing and regret. Now, when a man 
reaches my age, he knows that such things are 
not trifles. They unsettle one's life, distract one's 
mind, and very seriously interfere with one's 
power of working. Honestly, I can't afford to be 
wretched ; so, when I have fought my fight, and 
won peace back — as I shall do, after a fashion — I 
shall not endanger it by returning here. A re- 
lapse is said to be worse than the original dis- 
ease." 

Flora scarcely knows whether to laugh or to 
cry at the coolness and unmistakable sincerity of 
this speech. A duller woman might take its re- 
straint as the token of a shallow sentiment, but 
she is not likely to fall into such an error. She 



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"SWEET INNISFALLE!^, FARE THEE WELL!" 203 

not. only remembers the familiar proverb that 
" Still waters run deep," but, with the quick in- 
stinct of a sympathetic nature, she feels that it is 
no schoolboy passion which Charlton talks of 
conquering. His quietness, instead of deceiving, 
touches her more deeply than any vehemence 
could do. No woman likes a man the less for 
being master of himself, even where she is con- 
cerned. 

" I suppose it is strange, and not according to 
precedent, that you should tell me all this," she 
says, after a while. " I scarcely know how to an- 
swer you. I only know that I am sorry — very 
sorry — ^if we are not to meet again." 

" We may meet accidentally," he says, trying 
to speak lightly. "Don't fancy for a moment 
that I should not be delighted at such an acci- 
dent. I only meant that I should not come back 
here — like a moth to the light which has singed 
it." 

" Then you are not likely to meet me. My 
life lies here." 

" But it will not lie here always." 

" I think most probably that it will." 

He glances at her. " Then you are quite de- 
termined with regard to Harry. You will give 
him no hope ? " 

" I thought I answered that question yester- 
day afternoon." 

" In that case," he says, quickly, " I am forced 



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204 A SUMMER IDYL. 

to ask you once more if there is any hope for me ? 
No doubt it is folly, but at leaet I shall know the 
worst, and I cannot torment myself hereafter by 
thinking : ^ If I had spoken again I might have 
won at least a chance.' " 

"What do you mean by a chance ? " she asks, 
in a low tone. 

" I mean time and opportunity in which to en- 
deavor to win your heart," he answers, a thrill of 
sudden hope passing through him and sending a 
glow to his eyes and the blood to his cheek. " I 
know you do not love me now — " 

"No," she says, as he breaks off. "I like 
you very much indeed, but I do not love you. 
At least " — she hesitates — " that is what I think. 
Perhaps I do not know what love really is." 

" You would know it if you felt it," he says. 
" I did not expect any other answer. It would 
not be natural or characteristic for you to turn to 
me now. Your mind and your heart have been 
full of other things. But if you can give me the 
slightest hope — " 

" I am afraid to give you that," she says, after 
a pause which he feels to be very long. " I fear 
misleading you ; I fear giving you further pain. 
I am not certain of myself. After all, it may be 
safest for you to forget all about me — as you 
spoke of doing." 

" And as I never shall do ! " he says, with a 
passionate impetuosity that astonishes her. " Don't 



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"SWEET INNISFALLEN, FARE THEE WELL!" 205 

yon feel that ? Don't yon know that yon have 
twined yonrself for good or for ill about my life ? 
I say for ill only in case I can neither win you 
nor forget you. But, if you will give me a shred of 
hope, I will come back and try my fate once more." 

Silence falls. Many a woman, who has been 
in Flora's position, will understand the conflict of 
doubt which made her uncertain what to answer. 
It is a more common state of mind than people 
think. When this issue comes — an issue involv- 
ing the whole course and meaning of life — a 
woman is not always provided with fitting Yes 
or No. Her heart is often an enigma even to 
herself ; her wishes are chaos. Flora looks in 
troubled silence at the emerald current flowing 
swiftly by undei* the drooping trees. What shall 
we say ? How can she be truthful and yet not 
imply too much ? At last she says, slowly : 

"You should not ask this of me. It is im- 
possible for me to give you hope. I should never 
forgive myself if I did so — only to disappoint 
you at last. Perhaps it is best to part as you 
meant to do. Put me out of your mind — or, 
rather, out of your heart ; but pray do not for- 
get that I shall always remember how kind, how 
considerate, how unselfish a friend you have been." 

He looks at her with a keen scrutiny of which 
she is conscious, yet which she feels no inclination 
to resent. He knows as much of her as she knows 
of herself — and is welcome to make what he can 



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206 A SUMMER IDYL. 

of the nnknown remamder. This is what she 
thinks, and, while she thinks it, Charlton is bring- 
ing to bear upon her all the force of observation 
and intuition which he possesses by nature, or has 
acquired through art. He knows that on the re- 
sult of this observation everything depends now. 
He must decide for himself — and that speedily — 
whether or not this woman is ever likely to learn 
to love him. No need to waste time and passion, 
hope and endeavor, if she is not likely to learn 
that lesson. On the contrary, if she is, the best 
chance of both their lives lies now in his grasp. 
The responsibility, the doubt, the sense of all that 
is involved, make his heart for a moment abso- 
lutely seem to stand still. The indications by 
which he must judge are so slight ; and, if he mis- 
takes, the mistake can be made but once. 

Upon this hesitation, a voice from the house 
breaks sharply. "Mr. Charlton," shouts George, 
" is your trunk ready to be taken down ? " 

"Quite ready," Charlton answers. Then he 
turns to Flora with sudden resolution. After all, 
the chance, however vague, is worth a trial. An 
instinct comes to him that this is his best hope in 
life, and he is not the man to let that which is 
best slip from his grasp for lack of earnest hold- 
ing. 

"I have decided," he says. "I shall come 
back. You are bound to nothing — you have not 
uttered one word or given one hope for which you 



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"SWEET INNISFALLEN, FARE THEE WELL I" 207 

can hereafter, in any event, reproach yourself — 
but I shall come back. Are you sorry to hear 
that?" 

" Sorry — ^no I How could I be ? " she answers. 
Her voice quivers, something like relief comes 
over her. She is not to lose her friend. That is 
the first thought which occurs to her. 

" Remember you are not bound to anything — 
not even to listen, if you don't feel inclined," he 
says. " The risk is mine — and mine alone. But 
I am willing to take it. He who dives for a pearl 
cannot be sure of finding it ; but he dives nev- 
ertheless. So I shall dive and hope to find my 
pearl. If I fail — ^well, even in that there will be 
consolation. 

" ' 'Tis somewhat to have known, albeit in vain, 
One woman in this sorrowful bad earth, 
Whose very loss can yet bequeath to pain 
New faith in worth.* " 

" Oh, how you overrate me ! " she cries, with 
a thrill in her voice. "What an unintentional 
hypocrite I have been to make you think so much 
better of me than I deserve ! " 

" A very unconscious hypocrite indeed ! " he 
says, smiling. " Now I fear that we must go back 
to the house. I see that the wagonette has come 
round to the door. I have only one more request 
to make — ^may I write to you ? " 

She hesitates only a second before saying : 



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208 A SUMMER IDYL. 

" Yes — if yon have time to do so.'' 

" Ah, I shall find time," he says. " Don't you 
fancy that you are likely to escape on that score. 
You will receive a letter once a week — ^will that 
be too often ? And in answering them — ^you 
will answer them, will you not ? — pray tell me 
everything about yourself and all the household. 
No detail will be too trivial to interest me — not 
even Nellie's and Oscar's escapades. You can't 
tell how often I shall think of this idyllic, pastoral 
life, or how welcome any breath of it will be on 
the feverish and tumultuous existence to which I 
am going." 

" I may write now and then if you really de- 
sire it," says Flora, "but once a week is over- 
whelming. I should have nothing to say." 

" I did not mean to ask that you would write 
once a week. Write when you feel inclined, and 
only then. Meanwhile — 

"Charlton," shouts Sunderland, *^ everything 
is ready. Come on ! " 

That voice seems to bring Flora back to her- 
self. " 0," she says, clasping her hands, "remem- 
ber I have not promised anything — not anything 
at all — and pray don't hope too much ! " 

" I have very little hope," Charlton answers, 
" but a great deal of resolve. Don't trouble your- 
self. I remember that you have not promised — " 

" Charlton ! " shouts Harry from the piazza. 

"It is I who am detaining you," says Flora, 



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"SWEET INNISFALLEN, FARE THEE WELL!" 209 

turning hurriedly. "Come — we must go back. 
Ah, how dreary parting is ! " 

Harry regards them suspiciously when they 
reach the piazza, but is forced to admit that their 
manner is very unlike that of people who have 
been interrupted in the exchange of tender vows 
or passionate farewells. Charlton goes at once 
to tighten a strap on his trunk ; Flora turns to her 
cousin. 

" Dear Harry," she says, " pray do not let it 
be two years again before you come back. Tou 
cannot tell how we shall long to see you.'' 

The true tender voice touches Harry's warm 
heart. " It shall not be two years again, Floy " 
he says. " I promise you that. And when I come 
back I mean to make you forget everything disa- 
greeable connected with me, and remember only 
the pleasant things." 

" I have done that already," she says. " I re- 
member nothing which you need wish me to for- 
get. God bless you, Harry — good-by." 

He kisses her as a brother might, then wrings 
his uncle's hand. "I'll come back before long, 
uncle George," he says, "and I can never forget 
your kindness — ^never as long as I live ! " 

The other adieux are quickly made, after which 
it is Charlton's turn. He shakes hands with Colo- 
nel Tyrrell warmly, thanks the latter for his invi- 
tation to return, and says that he may avail him- 
14 



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210 A SUMMER IDYL. 

self of it for a short time next summer. Then he 
bids the rest a cordial farewell and comes to Flora 
last. He holds her hand tightly for a minute, and 
is strongly tempted to kiss it ; but too many eyes 
are looking on — ^he restrains the impulse, and only 
takes one long intent gaze into the blue depths of 
her eyes. " Good-by ! '' he says. " I shall not 
forget. Remember that you have promised to 
write to me." 

The next minute the wagonette is driving ofl^ 
hats are waving, last words are uttered. The 
gate is opened and shut with a clang ; the wheels 
roll out. Mechanically Flora sits down on the 
steps where she is standing. All is over. They 
are gone. 

The road to Brevard, and thence to Asheville, 
leads away from the river ; but Charlton turns as 
they pass out of the gate for one last glimpse of 
the valley. He never forgets the picture which 
this last glance leaves on his mind. The far blue 
heights seem steeped in soft repose; dappling 
cloud-shadows are lightly falling over the wooded 
sides of the nearer hills ; the great sweep of fields 
and meadows, and the winding foliage that fringes 
the river, with the golden sunshine of Septem- 
ber lying over all, are almost magical in their fair- 
ness. 

"-ES5 in Arcadia ego!^'* he says to himself. 
"To-morrow how far I shall be away ! Shall I 



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"SWEET INNISFALLEN, FARE THEE WELL!" 211 

ever return ? Who can say ? But summer will 

come again, and then ^" 

Yes, summer will come again, and then, per- 
haps, on some green hillside, or by the banks of 
the beautiful French Broad, the idyl may be told 
of which all that is written here may stand only 
as a preface. 



THE END. 



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^ANY INVENTIONS. By Rudyard Kipling. 
Containing fourteen stories, several of which are now 
published for the first time, and two poems. i2mo, 
427 pages. Cloth, $1.50. 

" The reader turas from its pages widi the conviction that the authof 
has no superior to-day in animated narrative and virility xA style. He re- 
mains master of a power in which none of his contemi>oiaries approach him 
— 4the aibility to select out of countless details the few vital ones which create 
the finbhed picture. He knows how, with a phrase or a word, to make 
you see his characters as he sees them, to make you feel the full meaning 
of a dramatic situation." — New York Tribune. 

*'*Many Inventions' will confirm Mr. Kipling's reputation. . . . We 
would cite with pleasure sentences from almost every page, and extract 
incidents from almost every story. But to what end? Here Ls the com- 
pletest book that Mr. Kipling has vet given us in workmanship, the 
weightiest and most humane in breadth of view." — Pall Mall Gazette. 

*' Mr. Kipling's powers as a story-teller are evidently not diminishing. 
We advise everybody to buy * Many Inventions,' and to profit by some oi 
the best entertainment that modem fiction has to offer." — Netu York Sun. 

" ' Many Inventions ' wUl be welcomed wherever the English language 
is spoken. . . . £very one of the stories bears the imprint of a master who 
conjures up incident as if by magic, and who portrays character, scenery, 
and feeling with an ease which is only exceeded by the boldness of force.' 
—Boston Globe. 

"The book will get and hold the closest attention of the reader." 
— ^ merican Bookseller. 

" Mr. Rudyard Kipling's place in the world of letters is unique. He 
sits (^uite aloof and alone, Uie incomparable and inimitable master of the 
exquisitely fine art of short-story writing. Mr. Robert Louis Stevenson has 
perhaps written several tales which match the run of Mr. Kipling's work, 
out the best of Mr. Kipling's tales are matchless, and his latest collection, 
'Many Inventions,' contains several such." — Philadelphia Press. 

"Of late essays in fiction the work of Kipling can be compared to 
onlv three — Blackmore's 'Loma Doone,' Stevenson's marvelous sketdi 
of Villon in the ' New Arabian Nights,' and Thomas Hardy's * Tess of the 
D'Urbervilles.' ... It is probably owing to this extreme care that * Many 
Inventions ' is undoubtedly Mr. Kipling s best hoo\i."— Chicago Post. 

" Mr. Kipling's style is too well known to Amorican readers to require 
introduction, but it can scarcely be amiss to say there is not a story in this 
collection that does not more than repay a perusal uf them all." — Baltimor* 
A merican. 

" As a writer of short stories Rudyard Kii>Iing is a genius. He has had 
imitators, but they have not been successful in dimmine the luster of his 
achievements by contrast. . _. . ^ Many Inventions ' is the tide. And they 
are inventions— entirely original in incident, ^ingenious in plot, and startling 
by their boldness and force. — Rochester Herald. 



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STANDARD FRENCH FICTION. 

piCCIOLA, By X. B. Saintine. With 130 Illustrations 
•* by J. F. GUELDRY. 8vo. Cloth, gilt, $1.50. 

" Saindne's ' Picciola/ the pathetic tale of the prisoner who raised a 
flower between die cracks of the flagging of his dungeon, has passed defi- 
nitely into the list of classic books. ... It has never been more beauti> 
fully housed than in this edition, with its fine typography, binding, and 
sympathetic \^vAtak\xoas." —Philadelphia Telegraph. 

** * Picciola ' is an exquisite thing, and deserves such a setting as is 
here given it." — Hartford Courant. 

" The binding is both unique and tasteful, and the book commends 
itself strongly as one that should meet with general favor in the season 
of gift-makiug."-r-^<7x/<»M Saturday Evening Gazette. 

AM A TTIC PHILOSOPHER IN PARIS; or, A 
■^^ Peep at the World from a Garret, Being the Journal of a 
Happy Man. By Emile Souvestre. With numerous 
Illustrations. 8vo. Cloth, gilt top, $1.50. 

" A suitable holiday gift for a fiieud who appreciates refined literature." 
— Boston Times. 

"It possesses a charming simplicity of style that makes it extremely 
fascinating, while the moral lesson it conveys commends itself to every 
heart The work has now become a French classic. It is beautifully 
gotten up and illustrated, and is a delight to the eye as well as to the mind 
and heart" — Chicago Herald. 

" The influence of the book is wholly good. The volume is a par- 
ticularly handsome one." — Philadelphia Pelegraph. 

" It is a classic. It has found an appropriate reliquary. Faithfully 
translated, charmingly illustrated by \^a^ Claude with full-page picttues, 
vignettes in the text, and head and tail pieces, printed in graceful type on 
handsome paper, and bound with an art worthy of Matthews, in half-cloth, 
ornamented on the cover, it is an exemplary book, fit to be ' a treasure for 
aye.' " — New York Times, 

ZHE STORY OF COLETTE. A new large-paper 
edition. With 36 Illustrations. 8vo. Cloth, $1.50. . 

*• There is not a line in this little idyl that is not as sweet and fresh as a 
June morning." — Boston Commercial Bulletin. 

" One of the gems of the season. . . . It is the story of the life of young 
womanhood in France, dramatically told, with the light and shaae and 
coloring of the genuine artist and is utteriy firee fi-om Uiat which mars too 
many French novels. In its literary finish it is well-nigh peifect, indicat- 
ing the hand of the master." — Boston Traveller, 

" The binding is txq\xv&\tc.**— Rochester Union and Advertiser, 



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JDENEFITS FORGO T, By Wolcott Balestier, au- 
-^ thor of ♦' Reffey," " A Common Story," etc i2mo. Cloth, 
$1.50. 

" A credit to American literature and a monument to the memory of 
the author." — Boston Beacon. 

** The author places his reader at the very pulse of the human machine 
when that machine is throbbing most tumultuously." — Loudon Chronicle, 

" Mr. Balestier has done some excellent literary work, but we have no 
hesitation in pronouncing this, his latest work, by far his best" — Boston 
Advertiser, 

T\UFFELS. By Edward Eggleston, author of " The 
-^^ Faith Doctor," "Roxy," "The Hoosier Schoohnaster," 
etc. i2mo. Cloth, $1.25. 

" A collection of stories each of which is thoroughly characteristic of 
Dr. Eggleston at his best." — Baltimore A merican. 

" Destined to become very popular. The stories are of infinite variety. 
All are pleasing;, even fascinating, studies of the character, lives, and man- 
ners of the periods with which they deal." — Philadeiphui Item, 

n^HE FAITH DOCTOR. By Edward Eggleston, 
-* author of "The Hoosier Schoolmaster," "The Circuit 
Rider,*' etc. i2mo. Cloth, $1.50. 

" Ooe of the novels of the decade." — Rochester Union and Advertiser. 

" The author of ' The Hooner Schoolmaster ' has enhanced his reputa- 
ti >n by this beautiful and touching study of the character of a girl to love 
wViom proved a liberal education to both of her admirers." — London 
A thenautn. 

" Much skill is shown by the author in making these * fads ' the basis 
of a novel of great interest. . . . One who tries to keep in the current of 
good novel-riding must certainly find time to read ' The Faith Doctor.' " 
— Buffalo Commercial, 

r^APT'N' DA VY'S HONE YMOON. A Manx Yam. 
^ By Hall Caine, author of " The Deemster," " The Scape- 
Goat," etc. i2mo. Paper, 50 cents ; cloth, $1.00. 

" A rollicking story of Manx life, well told. ... Mr Caine has really 
written no book superior in character-drawing and dramatic force than this 
iitde comedy." — Boston Beacon. 

" It is pleasant to meet the author of 'The Deemster' in a brightly 
humorous little story like this. ... It shows the same observation of Manx 
character and much of the same artisdc skill." — Philadelphia Times, 



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INLINE VERE, By Louis Couperus. Translated 
•^-' from the Dutch by J. T. Grein. With an Introduc- 
tion by Edmund Gosse. Holland Fiction Series. 
i2mo. Cloth, $i.oo. 

" The established authorities in art and literature retain their exclusive 

Elace in dictionaries and hand-books lon^ after the claim of tiieir juniors to 
e observed with attention has been practically conceded at home. For this 
reason, partly, and partly also because the mental life of HoUand receives 
little attention in this country, no account has yet been taken of the revolu- 
tion in Dutch taste which has occupied the last six or seven years. I believe 
that the present occasion is the first on which it has been brought to the 
notice of any English-speaking public . . . 'Eline Vere' is an admirable 
performance." — Edmund Gosse, in Introduction, 

" Most careful in its details of description, most picturesque in its color- 
ing." — Boston Post, 

"A vivacious and skillful performance, giving an evidently faithfu^ 
picture of society, and evincing.pie art of a true story-teller."— /'Ati^d'^^ Am 
Tekgrapk. 

** Those who associate Dutch characters and Dutch thought with ideas 
of the purely phlegmatic, will read with astonishment and pleasure Uie oft- 
times stirring and passionate sentences of this novel." — Public Opinion, 

•*The dinoHment is tragical, thrilling, and picturesque."— i^«w York 
World. 

** If modem Dutch literature has other books as jfood as this to offer, we 
hope that they will soon find a translator."— CA*rtf^<? Evetting JoumoL 



A PURITAN PAGAN. By Juuen Gordon, author 
■^^ of "A Diplomat's Diary," etc. i2mo. Cloth, $i.oo. 

" Mrs. Van Rensselaer Cruger grows stronger as she writes. . . . The 
lines in her story are boldly and vigorously etched."— AVw York Times. 

** The author's recent books have made for her a secure place in current 
literature, where she can stand fast. . . . Her latest production, ' A Puritan 
Pagan,' is an eminently clever story, in the best sense of the word clever." 
^Philadelphia Telegraph. 

** Has already made its marie as a popular story, and will have an abun- 
dance of readers. ... It contains some useful lessons that will repay the 
thoughtful study of persons of both sexes."- ^*w York youmal of Cotn^ 
tnerce. 

** This brilliant novel will without doubt add to the repute of the writer 
who chooses to be known as Julien Gordon. . .^ . The ethical purpose d 
the author is kept fully in evidence through a series of intensely interesting 
aitusi^ons." -"Boston Beacon. 

" It is obvious that the author is thoroughly at home in illustrating the 
manner and the sentiment of the best society of both America and Europe." 
— Chicago Times. 



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