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Ail Independent Family Newspaper,
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YOU are the torment of my life, Beth
Smith. What under the sun, moon
and stars are you forever poking about
my kitchen for ?" and the speaker, a
pleasaut-faced serving-woman, looked
up from the pumpkin she was sifting,
with an expression of countenaace
which quite belled the severity of her
" You mean Miss Caroline's kitch
en," said Beth with a grin, as he seated
himself by the pine table, which he had
been heard to say was whiter and shini
er than Deacon Brown's bald head, and
a considerable more wholesome look
ing. " I rather think you know, Huldah,
why I stick round in this ere way," he
continued ; "and it you really want me
to tell you the story over again, I am
just as ready now as I've been any time
these last twenty years."
" Oh, get out 1" replied Huldah, mak
ing an unnecessary racket with her
sieve agalnBt the side of her milk pan.
" Throw an armful of wood into that
oven, if you want to do something. I
ain't got no time to listen to stories. ' '
Seth grinned again, and without stop
ping to reply, though his great mouth
was eloquent with words,which Huldah
might have seen, had she looked at him,
were only postponed arose and did as
he was bid. Mechanically and abstract
edly, he threw piece after piece of the dry,
split wood into the oven, until Huldah,
alarmed at the blaze which shot from its
mouth, thrust him quickly to one side,
'and with a long poker, separated the
" Well, I should like to know, Seth
Smith." she exclaimed, as she finished,
"what you wor doing? Ask a man to
help you, and if he don't set the house
a-fire, '(ain't his fault."
You're more scared thau hurt, Hul
dah," Beth replied cooly. " What shall
I do now stir the pumpkin for you ?"
" No, you won't do anything of the
sort," his companion answered. " If
there's one thing that I hate above
another, it's to have a man fussing
about my cooking."
" I made my own pie last Thanksgiv
ing," said Seth,with unintended pathos.
" More shame for you," replied Hul
dah. " There wasn't anybody to blame
but yourself if you did, for you know
that I'd come over and made 'em for
you. All that I wanted Mas an invita
tion." " Why, I've In vlted you hundreds of
times to come and stay," said Seth, in
that same pathetic manner.
" Well, suppose you have," was the
irritated response. " I should like to
know how you think Miss Caroline
would get along without me? I've
been in this kitchen a good many years,
.Seth Smith, and the folks that I served
are all gone now, 'cept Miss Caroline,
and I wouldn't give her the slip for
a hundred men, no, not for a thousand!
80 you can put that in your pipe and
smoke it quick as you're a mind to."
" That's the kind of tobacco I've been
smoking ever since I can remember,
Huldah," said Seth with a comical grin,
but in a minor key for all that ; " but
I've kinder thought' inebby what you
wouldn't do for a regiment, you might
sometime see your way to do for the
man you know you love. Huldah
whenever you may say and"
"Rake them coals again, Sethi"
-broke in Huldah, with a well-feigned
interest in the oven. "At this rate I
don't believe I shall get any baking
-done to day 1"
"I tried, lately," Seth began again,
quite ignoring the Interruption, " to try
NEW BLOOMFIELt), IJ-A.., TUESDA-Y,
and put down this feeling that there
couldn't nothing come on, but I might
as well try to make myself over into a
handsome man, Huldah, as to stop
thinking of you."
"Well, there wor a time Seth," said
Huldah, as she stirred the sugar and
the spice into the golden pumpkin, and
taking on a more con tldential tone,"that
I were willing to own up that I was
" When was that, Huldah V" inquired
Seth, with a sigh, though ills eyes were
dancing with fun.
" Wheu you got home from the war,
and had to go on crutches then for a
spell," cried Huldah. " Then it seemed
to hie it wor my duty to take care of
you ; and I remember well the day I'd
made up my mind to say so. I was
looking up the road expecting to see you
come hlppity-hopping down aa-you had
been doing, wheu lo and behold I there
you wor as fine as a fiddle, without any
crutches at all, and walking almost as
spry as you do this minute."
"I give 'em up before I really ought
to, Huldah," said Seth, " because I
thought you hated the sight of 'em ; and
now I And when it is too late, that they
were my best friends. They're up iu
garret now, and I'll get 'em out if you
"Don't be a fool!" Bald Huldah,
with a snap. "Ijustwauted to get it
into that thick head of yourn, that if
you needed me you'd have me in spite
of anybody in the created world. Stir
up them coals again !"
Once more Seth did as he was told,
and as he raked the glowing embers, the
door opened, and Miss Caroline, the
mistress of this great house, and sole
heiress of one of the richest estates in
Massachusetts, walked into the kitchen.
She might have been thirty and even
more, but she looked about twenty-three
or four with her fresh, almost childish
complexion, light brown hair and beau
tiful gray eyes, with her long, dark,
sweeping lashes. She was a little above
medium height, aud in face and figure
was the very personification of grace
and delicacy. Caroline Wyndham could
never be called pretty, but she was as
handsome and as proud a woman as
ever walked the earth.
" So Seth is tormenting you again, is
he Huldah ?" the lady inquired laugh
ingly. " You were so quiet down here,
that I didn't known but that you had
forgotten all about Thanksgiving prepa
" Now, Mis Caroline," said Huldah,
annoyed as much as she could be with
the mistress she was fond of.
"I've been talking kinder of serious
to Huldah," Seth broke iu. "But I
can't see that it has amounted to any
thing." " Keep it up," Miss Caroline replied.
" there is nothing in this world tells
like determination t It is very strange,
that Huldah holds out so long against
becoming Mrs. Smith ;" aud now the
lady brought a spoon and tasted of the
cook's pumpkin mixture, which was
almost ready to be poured into the pie
plates. " A little more sugar, Huldah,"
she continued, and then, with another
laughing glance at the awkward lover,
who stood with his back against the
kitchen door, added : " Why, Seth, I
should have given in with half as much
coaxing as Huldah has had."
" There are some folks you know,
Miss Caroline, who are too proud to
beg," said Seth, with a quick look at
the lady; " but I'm glad I ain't asham
ed to hang on to what I want. Huldah
has been telling me that if I'd beeu
obliged to go on crutches a little while
longer, she'd had to give in." Miss
Caroline turned away, and looked out
of the window, but not before Seth had
seen the color fade out of her face, and a
little shiver creep over her supple fig
ure. " I was down to Boston yesterday,
Miss Caroline," Seth continued careless
ly. " Well, I suppose Boston is as well as
usual," the lady replied, with a poor at
tempt at facetlousness.
" Lively as ever," Stth responded.
"I run up to the West End to see how
Colonel Lovell was getting along. I al
ways like to call on him whenever I
get a chance."
If MIbs Caroline imagined that Seth
was going to volunteer any more infor
mation she was certainly disappointed.
After a pause of a few seconds, she re
marked, with apparently very little
Interest In what she was talking about :
" I suppose the Colonel Is still Improv
ing V At least I've been told he was
doing very well."
" Oh ; they are all fools," Beth replied,
angrily. " The Colonel cau walk rouud
the room a little on crutches, and that's
something he never expected to do.
Just think, twelve years, Miss Caroline,
without walking a step. I tell ynu that
last Bull Bun gave him a dose."
" Isn't that better r" the lady Inquired
crossly, the blood coming back to her
face in a great surge. Some emotion
must manifest itself, aud, as sometimes
happens, in cases where there has had
to be a great repression, auger Is the first
to come forward.
" That's better as far as it goes," said
Beth, " but the Colonel's health Is very
bad, and the doctor says if lie don't
have somethiug to rouse him from the
awful fix he's got Into he's a goner. He
looks fearful, Miss Caroline. His eyes
are as big as saucers, and he's pale as a
" Well, we have all got to be ghosts
sometime," the young lady answered,
after a pause, aud with an assumptliw
of heartlessness which was utterly for
eign to her nature.
" I Bhall be obliged to you, Seth," she
continued a moment after, " If you will
ask John to saddle Nero. I will be
ready in ten minutes."
" You've done it, Seth Smith," said
Huldah, in rage, as her mistress walk
ed out of the kitchen and closed the
door. " Going to ride Nero. I don't
believe the Old Harry himself has got a
horse in his stable that'll come up to
Nero for viciousness. If you'd only
held your tongue she'd helped me to
make some cake, and been as peaceable
as you please. Now she's all worked
" I'm glad of it," said Seth. " It's
time somebody was worked up, and if
you could see the Colonel you'd think
" Yes," said Seth'of course he did.
'Tlsu't likely an honest, square-minded
man like Colonel Lovell would expect
a woman -to stick to an engagement
with a cripple for life, is it V But I'm
just as sure as if I'd heard him say so,
that he never thought Miss Caroline
would take him at his word. She thinks
he wanted to get rid of her, so there's a
pair of idiots together."
Seth went out to the stable saddled
Nero, and brought him round to the
front of the house. Miss Caroline had a
spot on each cheek, as she walked down
the hawthorn-hedged path to the gate
where Seth waited.
" Johu wasn't anywhere round," said
Beth, apologizing quite humbly, for do
ing the lady a kindness; "and so I
brought the horse round myself. Bhall
I give you a mount, Miss Caroline ?"
" Yes ; thank you, Seth," she replied,
springing at once to the saddle, and
while her companion held the snorting
and impatient Nero, Miss Caroline,drew
on and buttoned her gauntlet gloves.
" I don't know but this beast frill be
the death of you, sometime, Miss Caro
line!" Seth remarked as he stepped
out of the way of the dangerous hoofs.
"Oh, well," the lady replied, "if he
is, there's one good thing, there won't
be any one to care very much about
This was said with childish petulence,
but the tender look in, the deep gray
eyes, aud round the lips which would
tremble In spite of all efforts, touched
her companion to the heart.
" Seth," she broke out again, before
he could collect his wits to reply, "you
are always talking to me or at me, which
means the same thing, only it is more
disagreeable, about Colonel Lovell, and
as if I were iu some way responsible for
all that has happened to him. Now, I
want to tell you one thiug, and I hope
you will remember it sufficiently to spare
me iu the future, and it is this I am no
more to blame for Colonel Lovell'sbelng
alone and unhappy, either in the past or
in the present time, than I am for the
wounds which have made him an inva
lid all these years. If he had allowed
me, I should have been with him, not as
a duty, but because I couldn't be any.
where else, in comfort ; but I could not
force myself upon Colonel Lovell, Seth.
You have heard of course that he broke
the engagement. I have given every
body to understand this, because I could
OCTOBER 4, 1881.
not allow my friends to suppose that I
would be mean enough to desert him in
his great affliction. Blnce his cruel let
ter, Seth, by means of which be broke
his promise, and mine, he has never
sent me a mefgige or written me aline.
Now, do you think ynu understand the
case enough, Beth, to stop speaking of
Colonel Lovell to me V"
TbeBe last words rang out In such a
wall of anguish, that Beth's eyes filled
with tears. Miss Caroline gave him no
time to reply, for she took up her reins,
and Nero aud his rider were oft' like (he
wind. It wasn't but a few minutes be
fore she came galloping back over the
meadows aud through the orchard, and
so 011 to the kitchen door.
"Where's Beth V" she asked of Hul
dah, reining in Nero with great difficul
' He didn't come iu again after be
took the horse round," Huldah replied,
and before she could say any more, Nero
was wheeled around and bounded off
in the direction of Beth's cottage, a
quarter of a mile up the hill.
All that day Miss Caroline, was rest
less aud nervous. She was obliged to
return without finding Beth, and so she
wandered up and down the great house
without any apparent motive, except to
kill time, aud when Huldah asked her
if she wouldn't help her with the cake,
she replied that there was cake enough
in the bouse, and half an hour after
wards she entered the kitchen, with her
cooking apron on, to try a new rule.
That evenening, wheu Seth came
round, Miss Caroline sent for him to
come to the library.
" I never thought this morning, Befh,
to tell you," she began, with averted
face, "that what I said at that time
was in the strictest confidence. I rode
back to try to And you, for I began to be
worried five minutes after I left you."
" I hope you don't think I would do
anything to hurt you Miss Caroline?"
" I don't think you would Intend to,
Beth," the lady explained, " but I didn't
know but your desire to do me a service
might render you indiscreet. You un
derstand now, Beth, that your lips are
always to be sealed in regard to that fool
" Yes Miss Caroline," Seth respond
ed. " I'll never speak another word
about It as long as I live, unless you
give me leave," and here the interview
Seth made desperate lave to Huldah,
the remainder of the evening, every
once In a while bursting out into the
most unexpected fits of laughter, and
these spasms were so contagious that
Huldah found herself joining in, with
out any idea of what she wai laughing
" Say, Huldah," Seth remarked, just
as he was leaving, "I want you to
promise me one thing."
" I'll see," said Huldah.
"I want you to give me your sacred
word of honor that If Colonel Lovell
and Miss Caroline ever get married,
you'll marry me the same day."
" Lor yes 1" Huldah laughed, "and
I'll do better than that, Beth. I'll prom
ise to be your wife the day Colonel Lov
ell steps his foot into this house, or the
day Miss Caroline steps foot in bis."
" All right," said Seth, " but suppose
he Is brought in, instead of stepping
" I don't care a hang how he comes,"
Huldah replied, " but that day shall see
you and me one, and I'm safe In prom
ising it, too, Seth Smith."
Bath walked off still laughing, and
Miss Caroline, as she sat before the li
brary fire, felt more alone than ever.
Within the past five years, her father,
mother and Bister, had been taken away
by death, and to-night, of all nights
since these terrible events, she seemed
to herself most wretched and lonely.
The next day but one was Thanksgiv
ing, and Miss Caroline nerved herself to
meet this holiday with all the courage
and philosophy she could bring to her
aid. There used to be great feasting
and merriment in the Wyndham man
sion on such occasions, but the . mis
tress of this beautiful home could not
bring herself yet to open its doors for
the old-fashioned hospitalities.
" I was in hopes you wouldn't cry to
day," said Huldah, Thanksgiving morn
ing, as her mistress entered the dining
room. " Goodness me I my muffins are
as light as feathers, and the coffee is un
usually good, and seems to me this last
ham we cut beats the rest all boiler !
Now I'm going to broil a nice bit of
tenderloin. Bay, don't cry there's a
dearie I" and Huldah patted Miss Caro
line's shoulder, and wept herself as she
tried to comfort her mistress. " You've
got a heap to be thankful for, Miss Caro
line, after all," Huldah said, with a lit
tle protest in her voice.
" Yes, I know it," said Miss Caroline,
wiping her eyes. "I have muffins and
bam, to be thankful for, and a little
more money and land than my neigh
bors," she added bitterly, and then "I
don't mean that I bavn't anything,
Huldah ; for as long as I have you, I
can't be quite desolate."
" Good gracious I" exclaimed Huldah.
" I've got a lump in my throat as big
as a loaf of bread I" and, as she left the
dining-room, "You know Miss Caro
line, that when I get to sniffling there
ain't no stopping me.
Miss Caroline went to church that
morning, and as she walked up the
aisle to the Wyndham pew, there were
no traces of tears on her face, anil her
bearing was as queenly as If, as many
thought, her wealth and position entire
ly satisfied her. After the service was
over, she greeted her friends and ac
quaintances kindly, and then got into
her carriage and was driven home.
" Perhaps it would have been better,"
she moaned to herself, in her great lone
liness, " to have taken somebody home
to dinner with me. But how could I
make them happy, with this heavy
heart of mine?"
When the carriage stopped at the
front gate, Beth was ou band to open the
," Good sermon, Miss Caroline?" he
" I don't know Beth," she answered,
" for I believe I didn't hear a word of
" That's a pretty way to go to church!"
her companion laughed and added care
lessly, " Say, Miss Caroline," you've got
company to dinner to-day."
"Only one," Beth continued " and
he's making himself easy before the
library fire. You needn't be in a hur
ry, if you've got any fixing up to do."
Just here, Seth dodged round the cor
ner of the house, and when Miss Caro
line called upon him to come back, be
didn't reply and the lady walked into
the house like one in a dream. Very
slowly and deliberately she removed
her things, and then stepped into the
parlor, which room communicated with
the library. The folding doors were
partly opened, and the first, thing that
met the lady's longing eye, were a pair
of crutches, standing In au angle of the
mantle. A little further, and there, In
her favorite lolling chair, reclined the
man whom all these long years she bad
so faithfully loved. Her step was as a
fawn's, but Colonel Lovell heard it, and
was prepared for ber coming. Stepping
behind his chair, Miss Caroline," placed
a tender band on each side of his cheeks
and kissing his forehead, said, Boftly.be
tween a sob and a laugh.
"My dear, I thank God you have
Kneeling beside bim with ber fair
bead on his breast, and his loving arms
around ber the Colonel said : " Beth
brought me to dine with you. Did you
know it, my darling ?"
"And you shall never, never go
away," Miss Caroline replied, " until
you take me with you."
Just here, there was a knock on the
door, and Seth and Huldah entered arm
" I just come up," said Seth with his
usual promptitude, "to tell you that
Huldah and me was going to be spliced
this afternoon, and to ask you If the
parson mightn't kill two birds with one
Mis Caroline lifted a blushing, laugh,
ing face to her lover's uut replied quite
clearly : " It seems to me that would be
an excellent plan."
" Is it not a shame ?" the Colonel be
gan, but a little hand was placed over
his mouth, and the sentence was never
" Well, Beth has come it over me this
time, awful," said Huldah ; "but I gave
my word, and I can't go back on it."
"You were wiser than I Beth," said
Miss Caroline ; "I shall be grateful to
you as long as I live."
" And I' said the Colonel.
That evening there were two weddings
in the Wyndham niansioiv
Did the Colonel get well ?
Of course he did.