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merry fur-trading times, when “grandfather” was a factor, a superintendent, a clerk, a hunter; even a voyageur had his importance, now that there were no more voyageurs. Those were gay days, they said; they should never look upon their like again: unless, indeed, the past should come back—a possibility which did not seem so unlikely on the island as it does elsewhere, since the people were plainly retrograding, and who knows but that they might some time even catch up with the past : North of the piers there was only one street, which ran along the water's edge. On the land side first came the fort garden, where successive companies of soldiers had vainly fought the climate in an agricultural way, red-coats of England and blue-coats of the United States, with much the same results of partially ripened vegetables, nipped fruits, and pallid flowers; for the island summer was beautiful, but too short for lusciousness. Hardy plants grew well, but there was always a persistent preference for those that were not hardy—hike delicate beauties who are loved and cherished tenderly, while the strong brown maids go by unnoticed. The officers' wives made catsup of the green tomatoes, and loved their weakling flowers for far-away home's sake; and as the Indians brought in canoe-loads of fine full-jacketed potatoes from their little farms on the mainland, the officers could afford to let the soldiers do fancy-work in the government fields if it pleased the exiled ladies. Beyond the army garden was the old Agency house. The Agency itself had long been removed farther westward, following the retreating, dwindling tribes of the red men farther toward the Rocky Mountains: but the old house remained. On its door a brass plate was still fixed, bearing the words, “United States Agency.” But it was now the home of a plain, unimportant citizen, William Douglas. Anne ran up the path toward the front door, thinking of the children and the supper. She climbed the uneven snowcovered steps, turned the latch, and entered the dark hall. There was a line of light under the left-hand door, and taking off her fur-lined overshoes, she went in. The room was large: its three windows were protected by shutters, and thick curtains of red hue, faded but cheery; a great fire of logs was burning on the

hearth, lighting up every corner with its flame and glow, and making the poor furniture splendid. In its radiance the curtains were damask, the old carpet a Persian-hued luxury, and the preparations for cooking an Arabian Nights’ display. Three little boys ran forward to meet their sister; a girl, who was basking in the glow of the flame, looked up languidly. They were odd children, with black eyes, coal-black hair, dark skins, and bold eagle outlines. The eldest, the girl, was small—a strange little creature, with braids of black hair hanging down behind almost to her ankles, half-closed black eyes, little hands and feet, a low soft voice, and the grace of a young panther. The boys were larger, handsome little fellows of wild aspect. In fact, all four were of mixed blood, their mother having been a beautiful French quarterbreed, and their father—William Douglas. “Annet, Annet, can't we have fried potatoes for supper, and bacon ''' “Annet, Annet, can't we have coffee ?” “It is a biting night, isn't it 7” said Tita, coming to her sister's side and stroking her cold hands gently. “I really think, Annet, that you ought to have something substantielle. You see I think of you; whereas those howling piggish bears think only of themselves.” All this she delivered in a soft, even voice, while Anne removed the remainder of her wrappings. “I have thought of something better still,” said William Douglas's eldest daughter, kissing her little sister fondly, and then stepping out of the last covering, and lifting the heap from the floor—“ batter cakes'.” The boys gave a shout of delight, and danced up and down on the hearth: Tita went back to her corner and sat down, clasping her little brown hands around her ankles, like the embalmed monkeys of the Nile. Her corner was made by an old secretary and the side of the great chimney : this space she had lined and carpeted with furs, and here she sat curled up with her book or her bead-work all through the long winter, refusing to leave the house unless absolutely ordered out by Anne, who filled the place of mother to these motherless little ones. Tita was well satisfied with the prospect of the batter cakes; she would probably eat two if Anne browned them well, and they were light and tender. But as for

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sort : when they had been unbearably troublesome she stole into their room at night in her little white night-gown, with all her long thick black hair loose, combed over her face, and hanging down around her nearly to her feet. This was a ghostly visitation which the boys could not endure, for she left a lamp in the hall outside, so that they could dimly see her, "and then she stood and swayed toward them slowly, backward and forward, without a sound, all the time coming nearer and nearer, until they shrieked aloud in terror, and Anne, hurrying to the rescue, found only three frightened little fellows cowering together in their broad bed, and the hairy ghost gone. “How can you do such things, Tita ?” she said. “It is the only way by which I can keep the little devils in order,” replied Tita. “Do not use such words, dear.” “Mother did,” said the younger sister, in her soft calm voice. This was true, and Tita knew that Anne never impugned the memory of that mother. “Who volunteers to help ?” said Anne, lighting a candle in an iron candlestick, and opening a door. ‘‘I,’” said Louis. ‘‘I,’” said Gabriel. “Me too,” said little André. They followed her, hopping along together, with arms interlinked, while her candle shed a light on the bare walls and floors of the rooms through which they passed, a series of little apartments, empty and desolate, at the end of which was the kitchen, inhabited in the daytime by an Irish woman, a soldier's wife, who came in the morning before breakfast, and went home at dusk, the only servant William Douglas's fast-thinning purse could afford. Anne might have had her kitchen nearer what Miss Lois called the “keeping-room”; any one of the five in the series would have answered the purpose as well as the one she had chosen. But she had a dream of furnishing them all some day according to a plan of her own, and it would have troubled her greatly to have used her proposed china closet, pantry, store-room, preserve closet, or fruit-room for culinary purposes. How often had she gone over the whole in her mind, settling the position of every shelf, and deliberating over the pattern Vol. LXIL–No. 367.-3

of the cups. The Irish woman had left some gleams of fire on the hearth, and the boys immediately set themselves to work burying potatoes in the ashes, with the hot hearth-stone beneath. “For of course you are going to cook in the sitting-room, Annet,” they said. “We made all ready for you there; and, besides, this fire is out.” “You could easily have kept it up,” said the sister, smiling. “However, as it is Christmas-eve, I will let you have your way.” The boys alertly loaded themselves with the articles she gave them, and went hopping back into the sitting-room. They scorned to walk on Christmas-eve; the thing was to hop, and yet carry every dish steadily. They arranged the table, still in a sort of dancing step, and sang together in their shrill childish voices a tune of their own, without any words but “Ho! ho! ho!” Tita, in her corner, kept watch over the proceedings, and inhaled the aroma of the coffee with indolent anticipation. The tin pot stood on the hearth near her, surrounded by coals; it was a battered old coffee-pot, grimy as a camp-kettle, but dear to all the household, and their principal comforter when the weather was bitter, provisions scarce, or the boys especially troublesome. For the boys said they did not enjoy being especially troublesome; they could not help it any more than they could help having the measles or the whoopingcough. They needed coffee, therefore, for the conflict, when they felt it coming on, as much as any of the household. Poor Anne's cooking utensils were few and old; it was hard to make batter cakes over an open fire without the proper hanging griddle. But she attempted it, nevertheless, and at length, with scarlet cheeks, placed a plateful of them, brown, light, and smoking, upon the table. “Now, Louis, run out for the potatoes; and, Tita, call father.” This one thing Tita would do; she aspired to be her father's favorite. She went out with her noiseless step, and presently returned leading in the tall, bent, gray-haired father, her small brown hand holding his tightly, her dark eyes fixed upon him with a persistent steadiness, as if determined to isolate all his attention upon herself. William Douglas was never thoroughly at ease with his youngest daughter; she had this habit of watching him silently, which made him uncomfortable. The boys he understood, and made allowances for their wildness; but this girl, with her soft still ways, perplexed and troubled him. She seemed to embody, as it were, his own mistakes, and he never looked at her little pale face and diminutive figure without a vague feeling that she was a spirit dwelling on earth in elfish form, with a half-developed contradictory nature, to remind him of his past weakness. Standing at the head of the table, tall and straight, with her nobly poised head and clear Saxon eyes, his other daughter awaited him, and met his gaze with a bright smile; he always came back to her with a sense of comfort. But Tita jealously brought his attention to herself again by pulling his hand, and leading him to his chair, taking her own place close beside him. He was a tall man, and her head did not reach his elbow, but she ruled him. The father now asked a blessing; he always hesitated on his way through it, once or twice, as though he had forgotten what to say, but took up the thread again after an instant's pause, and went on. When he came to the end, and said “Amen,” he always sat down with a relieved air. If you had asked him what he had said, he could not have told you unless you started him at the beginning, when the old formula would have rolled off his lips in the same vague, mechanical way. The meal proceeded in comparative quiet; the boys no longer hummed and shuffled their feet; they were engaged with the cakes. Tita refrained from remarks save once, when Gabriel having dropped buttered crumbs upon her dress, she succinctly threatened him with dismemberment. Douglas gazed at her helplessly, and sighed. “She will be a woman soon,” he said to his eldest daughter, when, an hour or two later, she joined him in his own apartment, and drew from its hiding-place her large sewing-basket, filled with Christmas presents. “Oh no, father, she is but a child,” answered Anne, cheerfully. “As she grows older these little faults will vanish.” “How old is she 7" said Douglas. “Just thirteen.” The father played a bar of Mendelssohn noiselessly on the arm of his chair with his long thin fingers; he was thinking that he had married Tita's mother when

she was hardly three years older. Anne was absorbed in her presents. “See, father, will not this be nice for André ! And this for Gabriel : And I have made such a pretty doll for Tita.” “Will she care for it, dear 2" “Of course she will. Did I not play with my own dear doll until I was fourteen years old—yes, almost fifteen o’” said the girl, with a little laugh and blush. “And you are now—” “I am over sixteen.” “A great age,” said Douglas, smoothing her thick brown hair fondly, as she sat near him, bending over her sewing. The younger children were asleep up stairs in two old bedrooms with rattling dormer windows, and the father and elder daughter were in a small room opposite the sitting-room, called the study, although nothing was ever studied there, save the dreams of his own life, by the vague, irresolute, imaginative soul that dwelt therein, in a thin body of its own, much the worse for wear. William Douglas was a New England man of the brooding type, sent by force of circumstances into the ranks of United States army surgeons. He had married Anne's mother, who had passionately loved him, against the wishes of her family, and had brought the disinherited young bride out to this far Western island, where she had died, happy to the last—one of those rare natures to whom love is all in all, and the whole world well lost for its dear and holy sake. Grief over her death brought out all at once the latent doubts, hesitations, and strange perplexities of William Douglas's peculiar mind—perplexities which might have lain dormant in a happier life. He resigned his position as army surgeon, and refused even practice in the village. Medical science was not exact, he said; there was much pretense and presumption in it; he would no longer countenance deception, or play a part. He was then made postmaster, and dealt out letters through some seasons, until at last his mistakes roused the attention of the new officers at the fort; for the villagers, good, easy-tempered people, would never have complained of such trifles as a forgotten mail-bag or two under the coun. ter. Superseded, he then attended nominally to the highways; but as the military authorities had for years done all that was to be done on the smooth roads, three in number, including the steep fort hill, the position was a sinecure, and the superintendent took long walks across the island, studying the flora of the Northern woods, watching the birds, noticing the clouds and the winds, staying out late to experiment with the flash of the two light-houses from their different distances, and then coming home to his lonely house, where the baby Anne was tenderly cared for by Miss Lois Hinsdale, who superintended the nurse all day, watched her charge to bed, and then came over early in the morning before she woke. Miss Lois adored the baby; and she watched the lonely father from a distance, imagining all his sadness. It was the poetry of her life. Who, therefore, can picture her feelings when, at the end of three years, it was suddenly brought to her knowledge that Douglas was soon to marry again, and that his choice was Angélique Lafontaine, a French quarter-breed girl! Angélique was amiable, and good in her way; she was also very beautiful. But Miss Lois could have borne it better if she had been homely. The New England woman wept bitter, bitter tears that night. A god had come down and showed himself flesh; an ideal was shattered. How long had she dwelt upon the beautiful love of Dr. Douglas and his young wife, taking it as a perfect example of rare, sweet happiness which she herself had missed, of which she herself was not worthy How many times had she gone up to the little military burial-ground on the height, and laid flowers from her garden on the mound, whose stone bore only the inscription, “Alida, wife of William Douglas, aged twenty-two years.” Miss Lois had wished to have a text engraved under this brief line, and a date; but Dr. Douglas gently refused a text, and regarding a date he said: “Time is nothing. Those who love her will remember the date, and strangers need not know. But I should like the chance visitor to note that she was only twenty-two, and, as he stands there, think of her with kindly regret, as we all think of the early dead, though why, Miss Lois, why, I can not tell, since in going hence early surely the dead-lose nothing, for God would not allow any injustice, I think—yes, I have about decided in my own mind that He does not allow it.” Miss Lois, startled, looked at him questioningly. He was then a man of thirty

four, tall, slight, still noticeable for the peculiar refined delicacy of face and manner which had first won the interest of sweet, impulsive Alida Claussen. “I trust, doctor, that you accept the doctrines of Holy Scripture on all such subjects,” said Miss Lois. Then she felt immediately that she should have said “of the Church”; for she was a comparatively new Episcopalian, having been trained a New England Congregationalist of the severest hue. Dr. Douglas came back to practical life again in the troubled gaze of the New England woman's eyes. “Miss Lois,” he said, turning the subject, “Alida loved and trusted you; will you sometimes think of her little daughter to And then Miss Lois, the quick tears coming, forgot all about orthodoxy, gladly promised to watch over the baby, and kept her word. But now her life was shaken, and all her romantic beliefs disturbed and shattered, by this overwhelming intelligence. She was wildly, furiously jealous, wildly, furiously angry—jealous for Alida’s sake, for the baby's, for her own. It is easy to be humble when a greater is preferred; but when an inferior is lifted high above our heads, how can we bear it And Miss Lois was most jealous of all for Douglas himself—that such a man should so stoop. She hardly knew herself that night as she harshly pulled down the curtains, pushed a stool half across the room, slammed the door, and purposely knocked over the fire-irons. Lois Hinsdale had never since her birth given way to rage before (nor known the solace of it), and she was now forty-one years old. All her life afterward she remembered that night as something akin to a witch's revel on the Brocken, a horrible wild reign of passion which she trembled to recall, and for which she did penance many times in tears. “It shows the devil there is in us all,” she said to herself, and she never passed the fire-irons for a long time afterward without an unpleasant consciousness. The limited circle of island society suggested that Miss Lois had been hunting the loon with a hand-net—a Northern way of phrasing the wearing of the willow; but if the New England woman loved William Douglas, she was not conscious of it, but merged the feeling in her love for his child, and for the memory of Alida. True, she was seven years older than he

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