Amy in Acadia: A Story for Girls by Reed, Helen Leah
images of public domain material from the Google Print project.)
Amy in Acadia
[Illustration: "From a drawer behind the counter she drew a small fan." FRONTISPIECE. _See_ p. 25.]
Amy in Acadia
_A Story for Girls_
By Helen Leah Reed
Author of "The Brenda Books" "Miss Theodora" "Irma and Nap"
With Illustrations by Katharine Pyle
Boston Little, Brown, and Company 1905
_Copyright, 1905_, BY LITTLE, BROWN, AND COMPANY. _All rights reserved_
Published October, 1905
THE UNIVERSITY PRESS, CAMBRIDGE, MASS., U. S. A.
TO CONSTANCE MY NIECE WHO JOURNEYED WITH ME THROUGH ACADIA
I BANISHED 1
II LOST AND FOUND 14
III TOWARD METEGHAN 29
IV YVONNE 43
V NEW PEOPLE 57
VI PIERRE AND POINT À L'ÉGLISE 71
VII DIGBY DAYS 89
VIII TWO ADVENTURES 105
IX OLD PORT ROYAL 119
X EXPLORATIONS 134
XI A TEA PARTY 147
XII IN THE FOG 163
XIII LETTERS AND SOME COMMENTS 178
XIV AN EXCURSION 191
XV WITH PREJUDICE 204
XVI EVANGELINE'S COUNTRY 219
XVII SAFE AGAIN 236
XVIII THE RIGHT AND THE WRONG OF IT 249
XIX A DISCOVERY 263
XX FIRE AND FLAME 279
XXI OLD CHEBUCTO 299
XXII FINDING COUSINS 315
XXIII GOOD-BYE TO HALIFAX 329
List of Illustrations
"From a drawer behind the counter she drew a small fan" _Frontispiece_
"'Madame Bourque,' she cried, 'I asked him to come to see me'" _Page_ 71
"'Hello! hello!' she shouted" " 170
"'Why, what is the matter, child?' she asked affectionately" " 246
"After one ineffectual effort to pry open the lock, the other one had thrown down the scissors" " 282
"Behind Lucian stalked Malachai, flourishing his cane after the fashion of a drum-major" " 320
_Amy in Acadia_
"No, Fritz, I cannot--"
"You _will_ not."
"Well, then I _will_ not ask mother to invite you to go on with us."
Amy spoke decidedly, but Fritz was not ready to give up.
"Oh, Amy, do be reasonable! I cannot say anything more to your mother, for you are in an obstinate mood, evidently determined to persuade yourself that you do not wish us to travel with you."
"That is true; I do not wish you to go on with us."
"But you and I are _such_ friends."
"So we are, and so we shall continue to be. Because we are such friends, I am sure that you will forgive me for being so--"
"No--reasonable. Now just look at the whole thing sensibly. Here we are--mamma and I and two girls."
"What do you call yourself? Aren't you a girl?"
"Don't interrupt; perhaps I should have said two _school_girls. We have come away partly for rest and change, partly for study. So it would only upset all our plans to have you and your friend with us. You'd be dreadfully in the way."
"In the way! I like that. Why, you could rest, or study all day, for all we'd care, and we'd afford you the change that you would certainly need once in a while. Only--if you'll excuse my saying so--who ever heard of any one's resting or studying on a pleasure-trip? Just look at the funny side of it yourself, Amy--and smile--please."
Whereupon, quite against her will, the smile that twitched Amy's lips extended itself into a laugh, in which Fritz Tomkins joined heartily.
"Ah, Amy, that laugh makes me think of old times. So now perhaps you'll condescend to explain why two lonely youths may not visit the historic Acadia in company with you and your mother, not to mention the other members of your party."
Amy made no answer, and Fritz continued:
"Just think what we shall lose! It always benefits me to be with your mother, and you are so full of information, Amy, and you so love to impart what you know, that by the end of the journey I should be a walking guidebook. To go with you would be better than attending a summer school."
"There, Fritz," interrupted Amy, with rising color, "you are getting back at me for what I have said. But we really mean to make this an improving trip."
"So I should judge. Improving only to yourselves."
"Well, then I'll explain, since you find it so hard to understand. You surely know that mamma has been overworking, and yet she does not wish to waste the whole summer. So, after resting a little, she expects to find good sketching-material in Nova Scotia. Then I need more strength before the beginning of my Senior year."
"I'll be a Senior, too, in the autumn," murmured Fritz; but Amy, not heeding the interruption, continued:
"Then there's Priscilla; she has been rather low-spirited since her father died. She is generally in Plymouth in the summer, and this will be a change. Besides, she is to read a little English with me for her Radcliffe examinations."
"_Rest_--and _change_--and _study_, for three of you. Well, I do hope that the other girl is to get some pleasure out of the trip. Didn't you tell me that she comes from Chicago?"
"Oh, Martine finds amusement in everything--even in study. She was at a boarding-school last year on the Hudson, and she made life there so entertaining for herself and her classmates that she had to leave. Her parents then decided to have her visit relatives in Boston this spring. Next year she's to go to Miss Crawdon's. She's especially in mother's care, and I do hope she'll enjoy the summer, for she is worried about her mother, who is ill at some baths in Germany."
"Thus far, Amy, you haven't offered a single reason for your desire to banish us from your side. Neither Taps nor I will stand in the way of your mother's sketches, except to pose for her when she asks. We certainly won't deprive the air of its invigorating qualities; and we might even study--"
"No, Fritz, you'd simply be in the way."
"I won't admit that, Miss Amy Redmond, and if I should ask your mother, she would probably say that you are quite wrong in your opinion. In fact, that's why you won't let me talk with her. However, as you've extorted a promise from me, Taps and I will go as far away from you as we can--in Nova Scotia. We'll travel in the opposite direction from Acadia, for Nova Scotia is large enough to contain us all without a collision. But mark my words, many a time in the next few weeks you'll sigh for a manly arm to pull you out of your difficulties. _Then_ you'll remember me."
"I'm not afraid. Acadia has no dangers. Even the Micmacs are tamed. The French and Indian wars are over."
"That reminds me,--please excuse me for interrupting,--you will find Digby, where you are going to-morrow, very tame compared with Pubnico."
"Yes, Pubnico, a wonderful French village, with Acadians and descendants of the old noblesse, and with many interesting things that you'll miss altogether in your misguided course. Then we shall go to the deserted Loyalist town, Shelburne, which is full of history and haunted houses."
"You seem to have digested a whole guidebook, Fritz. As Shelburne is on the opposite side of the peninsula, I suppose that you really have not intended to travel with us."
"Oh, I had two strings to my bow, and when I heard of the French villages, I decided that to visit them would be the next best thing to do." Then, looking at his watch, "But now I really must say good-bye; it's past my time for meeting Taps."
"Good-bye, Fritz." Amy held out her hand amicably. "You are not angry, are you?"
"No, not angry, only--I may never forgive you. Certainly I shall not forget."
Before Amy could reply, Fritz had wheeled away, and, turning a corner, was soon lost to sight. As Amy walked a few steps along the hotel piazza, suddenly she met her mother face to face.
"Where's Fritz?" asked Mrs. Redmond. "I expected to find him with you."
"Oh, he's gone. It's settled that the boys are not to come with us."
"But, my dear, I hope you have not sent him off. Sometimes you are too abrupt."
"Why, mother, I thought that you did not wish them to come with us."
"I was certainly surprised to see Fritz on the boat last evening. But he is like my own son, and if he has set his heart on going to Digby, we must not keep him away."
"Oh, he's going around on the other coast, he and his friend."
"Did you meet his friend?"
"No, I heard Fritz call him 'Taps'--a perfectly ridiculous name. Do you know anything about him?"
"Only what Fritz told me last evening--that he was a Freshman who had taken a violent fancy to him. Fritz said that he had agreed to travel with the boy this summer from a sense of duty."
"A sense of duty!"
"Yes; 'Taps,' as he calls him, has been trying to shake off some undesirable friends. He gave up a trip to Europe that he might avoid running across them, and Fritz, knowing the circumstances, thought that he could do no less than agree to take some other trip with him. It was only on the spur of the moment that they decided to come with us."
"Fritz was terribly cut up to find that we did not care to have them."
"Naturally--and indeed, Amy, if I had had a chance to talk frankly with him, we could have had them with us part of the time. His friend was a bright, honest-looking lad, hardly more than a schoolboy."
"Oh, mamma, I thought him so dandified!--just the kind to be a nuisance in a party that intends to rough it."
"Do you realize, Amy, that you use much more slang than before you went to college?"
"That's another reason for not having Fritz with us; it is not _my_ college, but _his_, that twists my vocabulary."
"Possibly, but I only hope that he is not offended. Well! well! Why, Priscilla, why, Martine, where have you been?"
As she spoke two young girls came running up the steps, and one of them with a bound flung herself upon Mrs. Redmond's neck.
"Oh, isn't it a perfect morning, so cool and salt-smelling! and it's almost as good as Europe to see a foreign flag floating from the hotel--even if it is only English. And isn't Yarmouth a dear sleepy old town, though it's said to be so American! Some one told me that it was the only place in Nova Scotia where they hustled. My, but I wish they could see Chicago! Then they'd know what 'hustle' means."
"Yes, my dear," gasped Mrs. Redmond; "but would you move your arm--just a little? You almost choke me."
"Please excuse me, but I feel so excited that I must hug somebody, and Priscilla and Amy never let me hug them."
"Why, I'm sure--" began Amy.
"Oh, no, you haven't said a word, that's quite true, and I've never even tried to embrace you, yet I'm perfectly sure that you would hate it, and so Mrs. Redmond--"
"Is the victim," rejoined Amy. "Well, mamma _is_ amiable. Only, while we are travelling, do be careful not to squeeze too tightly; it rumples her stock. Mamma, you'll really have to put on a fresh one before we start out."
During this conversation Priscilla had been silent. She was shorter than Martine, and fairer, and her expression was sad, or querulous,--at first glance it was hard to say which. Yet her half-mourning costume--the black skirt, and the black ribbon at her throat--suggested what was really the case--that Priscilla had had some recent sorrow.
"What have you been doing, Priscilla?" asked Mrs. Redmond, noticing the young girl's silence.
"Doing!" interrupted Martine, before Priscilla could speak. "Only think how silly she's been. This beautiful morning--and in a new place--she has spent writing letters. Isn't she a goose?"
"Oh, Martine!" and Amy shook her head in reproof.
Priscilla colored deeply as she turned apologetically to Mrs. Redmond. "I promised mamma to write as soon as I could. She will get my letter day after to-morrow."
"You were very considerate to write promptly. Your mother will be delighted to hear so soon. But where have _you_ been, Martine?"
"Oh, rambling a little; I just couldn't stay in the house."
"It's strange, Martine," added Amy, "but a while ago, when I took a stroll down the road, I saw a boy and a girl wheeling down a side street together who looked so like you."
"Which, the boy or the girl?"
Disregarding Martine's flippancy, Amy continued: "I realized that it couldn't possibly be you, as you know no one in Yarmouth."
"And didn't bring my wheel with me," added Martine. "So please, Miss Amy Redmond, don't see double, or else before I know it you'll have all my faults magnified to twice their size."
While Martine was speaking, Priscilla looked at her closely. But Martine, if she felt Priscilla's eye upon her, showed no embarrassment. Instead, she burst into a peal of laughter that woke from his slumbers a quiet old gentleman dozing over his newspaper in a piazza chair.
Martine's laughter quickly degenerated into a giggle, and with only an "Excuse me, I can't help it," she rushed into the house.
"There, mother," said Amy, "I fear that Martine will be a greater care to us than we expected. If she hadn't run off I was going to suggest that we all go for a walk, to see what there really is to be seen in the town. We'll have plenty of time before dinner."
"I'll get my hat and bring Martine with me;" and Mrs. Redmond left Priscilla and Amy by themselves.
A little later the four travellers were walking up the broad street, partially shaded with trees, through which they had many glimpses of the blue harbor.
"Isn't it strange," said Priscilla to Amy, "to think that this time yesterday we were half-stifled with Boston heat! They said that it was the hottest day of the season, and it is probably as hot there to-day; and here we are--"
"Ready to shiver," interposed Amy. "You should have brought a coat, Priscilla, for I almost feel an east wind."
"Oh, the air is soft. There's no danger of catching cold. Do you notice all the flowers in these little gardens? It's a pleasant air, like the Shoals, and those hawthorn hedges make me think of England,--at least, what I've read of it, for I've never been there. We must ask Martine."
"You are almost as eloquent as Martine herself." Amy turned toward Priscilla with a smile. "You were so quiet at breakfast, and indeed all the morning, until now, that I feared you were not enjoying the trip."
"Well, to be honest, I felt homesick at first. You see, I have never been away before without any of my family, and then I hadn't got the motion of the boat out of my head. But now I feel perfectly well, and perhaps--" but here Priscilla's voice was not quite steady--"perhaps I shall not be homesick."
Amy drew Priscilla's hand within her arm.
"Of course not. Naturally, you will miss your mother and the children. But you'll go back to them with such red cheeks, and so many interesting things to tell, that you will be glad you had courage to come away. You mustn't be homesick."
"Oh, I won't be," said Priscilla,--"that is, if I can help it; but if I didn't know you much better than Martine, I think that I'd have to go home."
Whereupon Amy, perceiving that Priscilla was not yet herself, strove to divert her by telling her little incidents of early Nova Scotian history. Her device was successful, and by the time they had overtaken Mrs. Redmond and Martine, Priscilla was quite cheerful again.
In their walk they had turned aside from the main street, and had reached a point on the outskirts where elevated land gave them a good view of the water. Mrs. Redmond and Martine had found a large flat rock, on which they seated themselves, and Mrs. Redmond was already at work with her sketchbook before her.
"I'm glad that you've come, Amy,--I mean Miss Redmond," began Martine. "I've been trying to tell your mother about some kind of a queer stone that I heard some people talking about at the breakfast-table to-day, but I haven't it quite clear in my mind, and so I'm waiting for you to help me out."
"Oh, the runic stone?" asked Amy. "There isn't so very much to tell about it, except that it was found more than seventy years ago, and is thought by some people to be a memorial of the Norsemen."
"The Norsemen in Nova Scotia? But why didn't they discover the stone before?"
"It was found by a Dr. Fletcher in a cove on his own property. The inscription was on the under side, and showed signs of great age. There, I believe I have something about it here;" and pulling a small notebook from her pocket, Amy refreshed her memory.
"Yes, it weighed about four hundred and fifty pounds, and some antiquarians have translated the inscription, 'Harki's son addressed the men.' It seems that there was a man named Harki among those Norsemen who sailed along the coast of America in 1007."
"That is certainly worth knowing," said Mrs. Redmond, "and I hope that we can see the stone before we go."
"Well, it's only fair," continued Amy, "to tell you that some learned people do not believe in the Norse theory."
"Perhaps it's like the inscription on the Dighton rock," interposed Priscilla, "that they now think was made by Indians."
"Yes," added Amy, "but the strange thing is that a few years ago a second stone was found about a mile away from the other, and the inscription on it was almost the same."
"Well," exclaimed Martine, "it doesn't matter whether the Norsemen really were here or not, as long as we can imagine that they may have been. I like the romantic part of history, if it gives you something entertaining to think about. It's all the same whether or not it is true."
After which heretical sentiment, Priscilla, Plymouth-born Priscilla, felt herself to be farther away than ever from Martine.
When Priscilla nestled down beside Mrs. Redmond to watch the growth of her sketch, Martine became impatient.
"Let us go back. We've seen everything there is to see in this part of the town, and perhaps I shall have time for a letter or two before dinner."
"I'll go with you," responded Amy. "I have some packing to do."
"Oh, just to rearrange some of my things."
"Very well," said Mrs. Redmond. "Priscilla and I will wait until this sketch is finished, and then we'll return by the electric car."
"Any one would know that you and your mother are from Boston," said Martine, turning to Amy with a laugh. "I have heard my father say that Bostonians are the only people in the world who take the trouble to say 'electric cars.'"
"What do others say?"
"Why, trolley, of course. They'd laugh at you if you said anything else in Chicago."
"You're pretty rapid in Chicago."
"And you are rather--well, rather slow in Boston."
LOST AND FOUND
Amy's face was flushed, her hat slightly askew, and she felt even more uncomfortable than she looked. It was all on account of her lost keys. For ten minutes or more she had been bending over boxes, and poking among all kinds of things in the shed near the wharf, in the vain hope that she might find what she had lost. When she had discovered that the keys were missing, Priscilla volunteered to help her find them.
As the discovery had been made at the very moment when the carriage was at the door to take them for an afternoon drive, Amy insisted that the others should go without her, since it was evidently her duty to search for the missing.
"Let me go with you," Priscilla had urged. "When we find the keys we can go sightseeing by ourselves. It will be just as good fun as driving." Thus Amy and Priscilla made their way by themselves to the wharf, while Mrs. Redmond and Martine were driven in the direction of Milton.
"It wouldn't be so bad if it were only my trunk key," Amy had lamented, "but there's a key of my mother's on the chain, and several keys of little boxes--one or two of which I have with me; the others are at home. I am always losing keys."
"You probably lost them after your trunk had been examined this morning. What a fuss about nothing it was! Why, the inspector didn't even lift the tray from my trunk. But we had all the trouble of unlocking and opening our trunks, and in that way I suppose the keys were lost."
Priscilla spoke with more energy than was usual with her. When they reached the wharf, the dignified Custom-House official and the small boys congregated there and in the neighborhood of the train knew nothing about the keys. The inspector remembered seeing them.
"I noticed your party particularly, and you were swinging your keys by a long silver chain. Well, they may have slipped through a crack somewhere, and so the best thing for you is to get a locksmith to fit a key before you go any farther."
Overhearing this advice, one or two of the boys lounging about offered to guide the young ladies to a locksmith. Thus Amy and Priscilla, not in the best of spirits, with hats askew and shirt-waists somewhat rumpled, came face to face with Fritz Tomkins.
"Oh, ho!" he cried mischievously, as the girls drew near. "What a procession! All you need is a drum and a flag."
Turning her head, Amy saw six little boys walking behind her in Indian file. There wasn't much going on at the wharf, and evidently all had thought that there would be some fun in conducting the American young ladies to the locksmith's.
Fritz himself, seated in the shade at a shop-door, looked aggravatingly comfortable.
"Why, Fritz!" exclaimed Amy, "I thought you were miles and miles away,--at Pubnico."
"Don't, don't show your disappointment too plainly. We thought that we'd better not start before the train was ready. That will not be for an hour yet. In the meantime, is there anything that I can do for you? You look a little like a lady in distress."
"Well, then, appearances are deceitful." Amy had recovered from her astonishment at seeing Fritz.
"I am sure that you are hunting for something."
"Why are you so sure?" Amy was determined not to tell.
"She _is_ looking for something, isn't she, Priscilla?" Fritz had seen more or less of Priscilla in Boston the past winter, and naturally called her by her first name.
Priscilla shook her head,--not in dissent, but to show that she had no intention of disclosing more than Amy herself chose to explain.
"Very well," continued Fritz, "I am a mind reader. I can tell you all about it. You are looking for a bunch of keys."
"How did you know?" For once Amy was off guard.
"Ah! Then it's true."
"Very well, since you know so much, where are the keys?"
Fritz, thrusting his hand in his pocket, drew out a long silver chain, which he swung around his head in a circle before laying it in Amy's hand.
"There, little boys, you--"
"Don't call them little boys, Amy; remember how I felt when I was ten."
"Here, young men." As Fritz spoke the boys drew nearer, and Fritz, drawing from his pocket a handful of silver, laid in each of six palms a bright ten-cent coin with the Queen's head stamped upon it.
"But we didn't do anything," one of the six managed to say.
"No, but you _would_ have helped the young lady find a locksmith, and besides, you brought her to the particular spot where I was sitting, and so you found her keys for her."
This logic was so correct that the six boys, feeling that they had earned the money, rushed off with a shout of "Thank you," to find the quickest way of spending it.
"You might have brought the keys to the hotel," complained Amy. "Then I needn't have had this dusty walk."
"After the summary way in which you banished me this morning I certainly could not put myself in your way again. But I knew that when you came to dress for the afternoon you would miss your keys, and happen _my_ way. Surely you can't object to my being here?"
"Of course not. I am very much obliged to you."
"Besides, I found the keys only this afternoon. They had slipped under a board, and when I saw the end of the chain I recognized it at once. May I walk with you part way up-town? I'm sorry that I can't go all the way. But Taps and I have an errand to do, and it's now within an hour of train time. Remember, you have banished us."
As they walked, Fritz, abandoning frivolity, outlined his plans for the next week. Priscilla listened with great interest. Nova Scotia was indeed a new land to her, and as she had rather suddenly decided to accompany Amy and her mother she had read nothing on the subject of the province in which they were to spend a few weeks.
Fritz had known little more than Priscilla until he had stumbled on some one crossing on the boat the preceding night who had had much to say about the old Fort La Tour and its neighborhood.
"Fort La Tour!" Amy exclaimed. "I shouldn't care to discredit your history, but I am sure that that was on the River St. John across the Bay, in quite the opposite direction from where you are going."
"There, there, my dear Miss Amy Redmond, you are just like other people. Because you know _some_ Acadian history you think that you know it all. There certainly was a Fort La Tour at St. John, but its remains, I hear, are altogether invisible now; whereas the first Fort La Tour can still be seen in outline, at least. There isn't any masonry, I believe, yet you can trace the outline in the grass. You remember, Amy, it was once called Fort Loméron."
"I'm sorry, Fritz, but I don't remember. You must have taken a special course in history lately."
"Yes, this very morning. You see I had time to spare after you sent me into exile, and Taps and I were to have our dinner at a private boarding-house, where I thought we ought to stay, since you didn't care to have us at the hotel. Well, to make a long story short, I found a set of Parkman there, and it seemed wise to refresh my memory before going down to Port La Tour."
"Do tell us what you learned." Amy spoke eagerly. "I'll admit that I've quite forgotten the first Fort La Tour."
"I haven't much time now," said Fritz, "but I'll do what I can to make my knowledge yours,--only you mustn't expect me to be perfectly accurate. This, however, is the way I figure it out. After that old rascal, Argall, attacked Port Royal, in 1613, Biencourt, or Poutrincourt, as he was known after his father's death, wandered for years in the woods with a few followers, sleeping in the open air, and living on roots and nuts like an Indian. In some way or other he managed to get men enough, and material enough, to build a small fort in the Cape Sable region, that he called Fort Loméron,--a rocky and foggy neighborhood. But there was fine fishing and hunting, and he felt that the Fort was a warning to any enemies who might try to take away the rest of what his father had left him. Well, among his followers was young Charles de Saint Étienne de La Tour, who also had come out to Acadia as a boy. When Biencourt died La Tour claimed that Acadia had been left to him by his friend. He tried to get Louis XIII. to help him against the English, and against Sir William Alexander in particular, to whom James I. had granted Acadia. Now young Charles La Tour began to have a hard time because his father Claude had married a Maid of Honor to Queen Henrietta Maria, and had promised Charles I. that he would drive out the French and establish the English in Nova Scotia. But when Claude appeared with his two ships before his son's Fort, he could not persuade him to turn color and become a Baronet of Nova Scotia. The father made great promises in the name of King Charles if the son would surrender, but the son withstood the father, and the latter lost English support because he had not been able to keep his promise; and so he was nothing but a refugee the rest of his life."
"Served him right for deserting his country," murmured Priscilla.
"Well, it's hard to understand just who did what in those days, and why. Some say that Charles La Tour was no better than his father, and that he, too, accepted from the English the title 'Baronet of Nova Scotia.' On account of the conquest of Sir David Kirke, Nova Scotia was English for a while, and then again it was under the control of the French after Claude de Razilly brought out an expedition in 1632. Charles de Menou d'Aunay, by the way, La Tour's great enemy, came with Razilly. But La Tour made haste to put himself right with the King of France, and, after a visit to Paris, came back to Nova Scotia 'Lieutenant-General for the King at Fort Loméron and its dependencies, and Commander at Cape Sable for the Colony of New France.' Doesn't that strike you as quite tremendous, when you think of the rocks and the fogs and the seals, together with the forests, that chiefly made up his domain?"
"It's very interesting," said Priscilla. "What became of La Tour?"
"It's a long story," responded Fritz. "I'm afraid I haven't time to tell it now."
"Oh, I know all about his quarrel with D'Aunay," interposed Amy. "It will come in better when we are at Port Royal--or rather Annapolis. But I had forgotten this Fort near Cape Sable."
"You shouldn't have forgotten it." Fritz's tone deepened in reproach. "For many of La Tour's descendants live near the Fort, and the place itself is called Port La Tour. I am astonished that you should have left it out of your plan of travel. You can't go there now, because that is where Taps and I are bound, and it wouldn't do for us to get in your way--I mean for you to get in our way. Beyond the tip end of Nova Scotia there's Sable Island, that used to be haunted by pirates and privateers. Some of them may be there still, and if Taps and I go there, and if anything happens to us, you may be sorry that you drove us away. Good-bye, Amy; even a Nova Scotia train won't wait for me;" and before the astonished girls could say a word, Fritz, with a touch of his cap, was walking rapidly away from them.
"We haven't offended him?" asked Priscilla, timidly.
"No, indeed. His plans were already made to go among the French villages. In fact, I thought that he had gone this morning. He started off soon after breakfast."
Although Amy spoke thus decidedly, secretly she wished that she had been less summary with Fritz. It was not strange, indeed, that her conscience should prick her a little. When she and Fritz were not yet in their teens they had become acquainted at Rockley, a summer resort on the North Shore where Fritz spent the summers with his uncle. Rockley was Amy's home all the year, and as not many boys or girls of her own age lived near her, she greatly appreciated the companionship of Fritz. The latter, for his part, knew that he was very fortunate in having the friendship of Amy and her mother; for, like Amy, he had neither brothers nor sisters, and although his father was living, his mother had died when he was a baby. His father spent little time with him, as he was fond of exploring new countries, and his travels often kept him away from home two or three years at a time.
Before entering college Fritz had lived with his father's elder brother,--a serious, scholarly man. The uncle made little provision for amusement in his nephew's life, until Mrs. Redmond had shown him that all work and no play would do Fritz more harm than good. Amy and Fritz, on the whole, had been very congenial friends, although the latter could rarely resist an opportunity to tease Amy. Mrs. Redmond often had to act as peacemaker, and Fritz always took her reproofs good-naturedly. No one knew him so well as Mrs. Redmond did. There was no one to whose words he paid quicker attention. He called her his "adopted mother," and naturally it seemed strange to him that she should agree with Amy that he and his friend would be in the way on the Nova Scotia tour. Beneath the jesting tone that he had used with Amy lay something sharper, and Amy, as he finally turned away, realized this.
After the departure of Fritz the girls walked on in silence. Suddenly an exclamation of Priscilla's brought them to a standstill. In the window of a little shop were two cups and saucers of thickish china, decorated in a high-colored rose pattern. The cups were of a quaint, flaring shape, and Priscilla announced that she must have them. There were other curiosities in the window,--a small cannon-ball, two reddish short-stemmed pipes, and many things of Indian make. The shop-keeper proved to be an elderly woman, with a pleasant, soft accent. The cups, she explained, had belonged to an old couple who had lately died, leaving no children. At the auction she had bought a few bits of china.
"I know they are old,--more than a hundred years,--these two cups. I'm sorry I haven't any more, but people from the States are always looking for old things, and there's been a good many here this summer."
Priscilla bought the cups, and Amy inquired about the cannon-ball.
"It was dug up near Fort St. Louis, as some call it, or Fort La Tour, and the pipes too. They say there's many a strange thing buried there under the ground, if people only had the patience to dig."
Amy decided that it was hardly wise to burden herself with the cannon-ball, and she didn't care especially for the pipes.
"There's something else here," said the woman, "if you won't be offended at my showing it. Some Americans--"
"How did you know that we were Americans?" interrupted Amy.
"Oh, as soon as ever a Yankee--there, I beg your pardon--any one from the States opens her mouth--"
"She puts her foot in it," returned Amy, with a smile.
"No, no, I wouldn't say a word against the accent, but I can always tell it. I have a sister married in the States, and her children speak like their father. When they come to visit me I tell them that they are regular Yankees. Not that I have anything against that; I hope I'll live to see Boston some time."
"Have you never been there?" asked Priscilla, in surprise.
"No, Miss; I know that it isn't so far away, but I was born in the Old Country, and when I take a trip, that's where I'd rather go;" and the little woman sighed. "But I'll show you the curiosity I spoke of."
From a drawer behind the counter she drew a small fan, one or two of whose sticks were broken, while the silk was faded and torn.
"I bought that from an old lady who said that her grandmother fanned an officer who was wounded at the Battle of Bunker Hill, while he lay sick in her house after the battle. Perhaps I oughtn't to speak of it," she concluded apologetically.
"Why not? The war's entirely over, and no one has any feeling about it now."
"I suppose not." But the woman's voice carried a question.
"Why, to prove that I have no resentment I'll buy the fan,--even if it did once soothe the brow of a hated Britisher." Amy smiled at Priscilla as she spoke.
The price named came so well within Amy's means that she half doubted the authenticity of the relic. Of her doubts, however, she gave no hint to the talkative little Englishwoman. Instead, by what she afterwards called a genuine inspiration, she asked some question about the French people at Pubnico.
"Oh, they are good enough," said the woman, "and spend plenty of money in Yarmouth; and there's many of the young people working here in our shops and mills, although many French come from Meteghan and up that way."
"Meteghan?" queried Amy.
"Yes, that's a pretty country up North on St Mary's Bay, and all French. If you're going to Digby you'd better stop off."
"But we were going straight through to Digby."
"Yes, most people go straight through, and don't know what they miss. You see, the natives up there are Acadians, and it's kind of foreign like, for they mostly speak only French. My husband and I, we went up there once and stayed at the hotel, for he had an order for some goods that he had to see about himself."
While Mrs. Lufkins was talking the practical Priscilla had taken out her notebook, in which she wrote the name of the station and other things that would help them.
"Do you think that your mother would like to change her plans?"
"Yes, indeed; she will think this just the thing. Probably there will be good material for sketching,--scenery, and odd people, and all that kind of thing. I am sure that she will like it."
"Thank you, Mrs. Lufkins," said Amy, as they turned away from the mistress of the little shop; and then in a particularly cheerful tone she added to Priscilla, "I feel as if I had found a gold-mine. Fritz was so very sure that he was to have a monopoly of the only French in Nova Scotia, that it will be great fun to write him about our French people."
"Then you think you will go there?"
"Certainly; mother will enjoy it, and it will be great fun for the rest of us. Wasn't Mrs. Lufkins entertaining? If she were Yarmouth-born, perhaps she wouldn't speak of us as Yankees. You know the first permanent settlement here was made about 1761, by Cape Codders. In fact, the name's from Yarmouth on the Cape, not from the English Yarmouth directly. I remember the names of two of the first settlers,--Sealed Landers and Eleshama Eldredge. Don't they sound like real old Puritans?"
"But how did they come to be English? Why didn't they stay on our side in the Revolution?" Priscilla's tone contained a whole world of reproach for Sealed and Eleshama.
"Oh, that's a long story. I dare say they were on our side--in their hearts; but they couldn't afford to give up all they had worked for, after coming here as pioneers. Many of the Yarmouth people were thought to be in sympathy with the American privateers that were always prowling about the coast. But the English managed to hold Nova Scotia, and in the War of 1812 the number of American vessels captured by Yarmouth was greater than the number of Yarmouth vessels captured by the Americans."
"When I left home," said Priscilla, "I did not know that there was so much history down here. I thought that we were just coming for change of air."
"Oh, the place is alive with history; only you must let me know if I bore you with too many stories."
"You could never bore me." Priscilla laid her hand affectionately on Amy's. She was an undemonstrative girl, though her likes and dislikes were well known to herself. But for her fondness for Amy she would hardly have made one of this summer party.
Amy rested her hand on her bicycle, waiting to mount.
"I did not think that it would be quite so lonely; but still, you're sure it's perfectly safe?"
"Oh, yes, Miss, and not a long way." There was a trace of accent in the speech of the man who replied to Amy's question. He had just deposited a pouch of mail in the vehicle in which sat Mrs. Redmond, Priscilla, and Martine, and had turned to adjust the harness of his meek-looking horse.
"You are not afraid, are you?" Priscilla's voice was anxious. "I wish that I had brought my bicycle, and could ride with you."
"You _do_ look like a maiden all forlorn,--spruce trees to right of you, spruce trees to left of you. Excuse my smiling;" and Martine's smile lengthened itself into a decided giggle.
"Don't," whispered Priscilla. "The driver will think that you are laughing at him." It always surprised her that Martine should show so little respect for Amy, who was several years her senior.
"Amy," interposed Mrs. Redmond, "do you object to our driving away and leaving you? Doubtless if we tried, we could find some kind of a conveyance to carry you and the bicycle."
"Not till after dinner, Madame." Their driver turned toward Mrs. Redmond, lifting his hat politely,--"Every horse is away now."
"The only thing for Amy to do is to let you hold her on your lap, Priscilla, while I take the bicycle on mine." At which absurd suggestion even Priscilla was forced to laugh; for the vehicle sent down to Meteghan station for her Majesty's mail was as narrow and shallow as any carriage could well be that made even a pretence of holding four persons. But with the deftness that comes with experience the driver had managed to find room not only for his passengers, but for their suit case and bags, for several packages that had come by train, and finally for his great pouch of mail.
"There must be a perfect cavern under the seat," whispered Martine to Mrs. Redmond. "I am sure that we could put Amy there."
But even as she spoke Amy had mounted, and was up the hill ahead before the driver had taken his seat. Yet although Amy had taken the hill so well, she was soon out of breath. The road was soft, and the hill steeper than she had thought, and when a little chubby boy darted directly toward her, she slipped from her wheel and bent down to talk to the little fellow.
To her surprise, at first he did not respond to her "What's your name?" but hung his head shyly. Then it occurred to her that he did not understand, and when she repeated her question in French his "Louis, Mademoiselle," showed that her venture had been right.
"Does every one here speak French, Monsieur?" she asked, as the carriage approached.
"Yes, all," responded the driver, stopping beside her for a moment.
"And no English?"
"Oh, many, though some have no English."
Martine and Priscilla praised the bright eyes of little Louis. Mrs. Redmond handed him an illustrated paper that she had brought from the train, and the driver started up his horse.
"You follow me," he called back to Amy.
"Yes, yes," cried Amy, laughing, knowing that she could soon pass him; but while she loitered to talk with the child, the carriage was soon so far ahead that she could barely discern the fluttering of the long veil that Martine held out to stream in the wind like a flag.
After leaving little Louis, Amy pedalled along leisurely. At first she passed only one or two houses, but each of them offered her something to think of. In front of one, two or three barefooted children were playing hop-scotch, with the limits marked out in lines drawn by a stick on the dusty road. "I should think they'd stub their toes," she thought, as she watched them, "but they're so well-dressed, except their feet, that I suppose they prefer to go without shoes."
In the doorway of a second cottage, set like the other, close to the road, a mother was standing with a baby in her arms, and a tiny little girl clinging to her skirts. These children, like all the others she had seen, had the brightest of black eyes. Beside the door was a well, boarded in, with a bucket beside it.
The woman looked so friendly that Amy stopped for a drink of water, and, making use of her best French, she spent a few minutes talking with the woman.
A fine team of oxen hauling an empty hay wagon, beside which walked a strapping youth in blue jeans and a flapping straw hat, was the next reminder to Amy that she was indeed in a foreign country. After she had returned the cheerful _bonjour_ of two or three bareheaded women whom she met trudging along toward a hayfield, Amy was recalled to herself. Her mother and the others were out of sight. "The driver will think that I am not even following;" and making good speed up a long, gradual hill, she saw the carriage waiting for her some distance ahead.
"This way, this way," shouted Martine. The driver waved his whip toward the left, and when Amy caught up, they had changed their direction, and she could feel the soft fresh breeze blowing in from St. Mary's Bay.
"Did you ever see such a clear blue sky?"
"Oh, yes, Martine,"--Amy was thinking of cloudless days on the North Shore,--"but none bluer, perhaps."
"But it seems so foreign," interposed Priscilla, in a tone that expressed some disapproval of foreign things. "I'm not sure that I like it."
"It seems different from other places, though I can't tell why."
"This child is part of the why. Just look at him." Martine pointed to a little boy of about eight, dressed in black, with deep embroidered ruffles of white falling about his wrists, and a broad ruffled collar on his coat. He wore a hat that was something like a tam-o'-shanter, and something like a mortar-board, and he carried a large slate under his arm.
"He's evidently on his way home from school. See the crowd of children behind him."
As the children drew nearer, some stood still, the better to see the party of strangers. Thus the latter had a chance to note various peculiarities of dress and general appearance. One or two little girls wore sunbonnets, one or two wore hats, and several had on their heads black _couvre-chefs_, that made them look like little old women. The sturdy little boys in blouses were more like other boys, and they indeed were too busy racing and tumbling over one another to pay attention to the travellers.
"Amy," exclaimed Martine, "you should have kept beside us all the way, we have been hearing such wonderful stories. Down there by the bridge there are several descendants of the Baron d'Entremont, and other people whose ancestors came from France hundreds of years ago."
"The Baron d'Entremont!" Amy felt a thrill of pleasure. Surely that was one of the names that Fritz had mentioned in connection with Pubnico, and if she too could come across some of his descendants, how delightful this would be!
The houses were now nearer together than they had been. At the right there was a glimmer of blue water. On the bridge at the foot of the decline Amy dismounted to watch the men loading with lumber a little schooner at the wharf near-by. The carriage drew up before the tiny post-office, where part of the mail was left. A gray-bearded man in the door of a small shop caught Amy's eye. With his broad-brimmed hat, loose trousers, and slippers,--yes, slippers,--he reminded her of pictures she had seen of old Frenchmen. She longed to snap her kodak, to catch him just as he stood there, leaning on his cane. But she did not dare, there was something so very venerable and dignified in his appearance.
Then her eye fell on the name d'Entremont over the shop. Martine and Priscilla joined her. Martine was in great spirits.
"Your mother is writing a post-card in the office. So, while we are waiting, let us go in here and try the d'Entremont brand of ginger ale. They're sure to have some, and one doesn't often have the chance to patronize the descendant of a French nobleman."
Within the dim little shop two or three men were lounging near the counter, who probably said to themselves, "Oh, those foolish Americans!"
But their manner showed no disrespect as they moved aside, and the proprietor made one or two pleasant remarks as he served the trio.
A few minutes later Amy was again on her bicycle, the others had taken their places in the carriage, and the little village was behind them. The large farms that they had seen near Meteghan station gave place to small gardens. The houses were near together, and they were painted in colors that drew many exclamations of approval from Martine. "This is great! I never dreamed that I should see a lavender cottage with green trimmings,--and what a shade of yellow for a house! Oh, Mrs. Redmond, I hope that our water-colors will last the trip. I'm afraid that we'll use them all up, painting the wonders of Meteghan. This is Meteghan, isn't it?"
"Yes, Mees," replied the driver. "It was all Meteghan, from the station, only that was a different name for the other post-office. But there is our church; this is the true village."
"Star of the Sea" was an imposing building, but the journey since leaving Yarmouth had been long, and they were too eager now to reach their destination to give the church more than a passing glance.
Amy's quick eye had noted the swinging sign of the little inn not so very far beyond the church, and, hastening ahead, she was the first to be welcomed by Madame, wife of their driver, who was also proprietor of the small hotel.
Welcomed with ceremonious politeness, they were soon made to feel perfectly at home. When the question was pressed, they all admitted that they were very hungry. In the pleasant rooms to which they were shown, they had barely time to make themselves ready when a loud bell called them to dinner. As the four entered the dining-room, they saw that there were several other guests at the long table. One, a stout man with a fondness for jokes, proved to be the agent for a millinery house in Halifax. There were one or two others who said so little that even Amy could not tell whether they were French or English; two middle-aged ladies near Mrs. Redmond quickly let her know that they were teachers from Connecticut, now for the first time making a tour of the provinces. They had sailed from New York to Halifax for the sake of the sea voyage, and had come down slowly through Windsor, Grand Pré, and Annapolis, and were enthusiastic about all these places.
"But if you can," one of them concluded, "you must have a few days at Little Brook,--Petit Ruisseau, as some call it. It's the centre of everything interesting in Clare; it's really where the first Acadians landed after the expulsion, and only a short distance from Point à l'Église."
Amy listened eagerly. Here evidently was some one who could tell her much that she wished to hear about this new country, and later, when they were all outside on the little piazza at the front, she learned what she wished to know. On consulting her mother, they decided that after a day at Meteghan they would go on to Little Brook, and spend at least two or three days there--if possible at the Hotel Paris, which the teachers recommended.
Missing Priscilla and Martine, Amy found them in the little sitting-room.
"Tell me," whispered Martine, "aren't you disappointed?"
"Disappointed with what?"
"Why, in this house--this room especially; it's so--so unforeign."
Amy glanced around her,--at the bright-flowered carpet; the marble-topped table, on which was displayed a bouquet of wax-flowers under a glass globe; on the two machine-made oak rockers; and then on the pictures.
"Where do you suppose they found that picture of the Queen with such very pink cheeks, and a mouth as small as a pin, and those wax-figure princelings--and those saints? Do you suppose Madame and her children know the names of them all?"
At that moment Madame herself entered the door.
"You like pretty things. Ah, you must see my rugs, if you would care to."
"Yes, indeed," Amy replied politely.
"Then come with me. They are in my room,--the best,--and the American ladies always admire them."
So the two girls followed their landlady upstairs, where she proudly displayed rug after rug of wonderful design and still more wonderful color. Martine dared not say what she thought,--that it seemed a pity that so much time had been put into things that could only dazzle rather than please the average beholder. Amy conscientiously praised those that could be properly praised,--for here and there was a rug of really artistic design,--and Priscilla gave an exclamation of delight as she noticed on the bed a really exquisite spread.
"You like that?" asked Madame. "It is good work, all by hand; only two or tree women can now make them. My old aunt who made that is dead, but--"
"It is like the finest Marseilles, only I never saw so beautiful a pattern. I did not know people could make such things by hand."
"On a loom, surely yes; there are only one or two in Meteghan, but you can see one work, if you wish, at Alexandre Babet's."
"There, that will be something to see! Is it far?" cried Martine.
"Oh, no. You can find it quickly."
"After we are rested," responded Amy. "The sun is still hot. Your rugs and the spread are beautiful."
As the girls sat down on the piazza, Priscilla turned to Amy. "You did not think those rugs really beautiful?"
Amy did not resent this slight touch of reproach, even though Priscilla was so much her junior.
"Yes, and no. Some of them were beautiful even from my point of view. They all were from that of their owner, and since she desired to please us by showing them, it seemed only fair to reward her with a word of praise."
"But if every one praises her she will go on using those terrible aniline colors. They made my head ache just to look at them."
"Oh, Priscilla, you are so precise I'll call you 'Prim' as well as 'Prissie.'"
"_No_ one else calls me 'Prissie,' Martine."
"No one else dares tease you. Probably your little brothers and sisters are frightened to death of you, and then, because you are the oldest, you have always been made to think that you are absolutely perfect."
"There, there, I know just how it is. It's so in our family; I have an elder brother, and he has always been held up as a model, although, between you and me, he's far from perfect. It just keeps me busy, showing him his faults. So, Miss Prissie, if you are too old-maidish I'll have to show you yours."
Priscilla was helpless under Martine's rapid fire of words. In her moments of reflection it surprised her that a girl whom six months before she had not even heard of, should now venture to say things to her that no one in her own family would dare to say.
A little later, Amy and Priscilla and Martine set out to see the loom that made the fine quilts. Priscilla had desired to postpone the visit until next morning. "It would be better to rest now."
"I'm tired resting," protested Martine. "Unless we move on, I will go indoors, and play doleful things on the melodeon. You don't know what I am when I'm melancholy."
Unmoved by Martine, when Amy showed that it was better not to spend the whole afternoon listlessly, Priscilla objected no longer.
The Babet house was a ten minutes' walk up the street. After mistaking one or two houses for the one they were seeking, their third trial brought a tall, long-bearded man to the door who answered to the name of Alexandre Babet.
"We hear that some one here--your wife, perhaps,--makes those beautiful quilts."
"Oh, yes," responded Alexandre, in fair English. "They are good quilts, and we have a loom."
Martine pinched Priscilla's arm. "I'm disappointed; I thought that he'd speak French."
"Come in, come in;" and Alexandre showed them into the neatest of sitting-rooms,--neat, but painfully bare. It was brightened, to be sure, by one or two gay pictures of saints in brilliant-colored garments, and by two or three geraniums in flower on the window. But the wooden floor was unpainted, and on it was only one rug, and there was little furniture besides the high dresser and a long table.
Alexandre went off to summon his wife, and soon she came in from the kitchen, accompanied by another, whom Alexandre introduced as his sister. The girls soon became embarrassed under the piercing gaze of their black eyes. The women wore dark calico gowns with little shawls over their shoulders, and their _couvre-chefs_ were bound closely to their heads. Neither of them understood English, nor spoke it. But Alexandre proved as talkative as any two women. Moreover, he occasionally translated his own words into French, and in the same way made the women understand what the young American girls said--to the great amusement of Amy and Martine. Priscilla sat solemnly through the conversation, as if she found something pathetic in the aspect of the women.
During a moment of silence, when the room seemed rather close and uncomfortable,--for the windows were shut, and the blinds were drawn,--there came a gentle tapping on the door. Madame Babet sprang to her feet.
"No, no, sit still; she can come in." Then turning to the others, Alexandre added, "It is Yvonne, our little one. Come in, Yvonne," he called in a louder tone; "here are Americans."
Upon this the door was pushed open, and a little girl wearing a pink gingham gown and a white sunbonnet, entered slowly, holding one hand outstretched, as if not quite sure of herself. Then, walking directly toward Madame Babet, she slipped to the floor beside her, and laid her head on her lap.
The girls looked from her to Alexandre to read an explanation in his face, and he, understanding, raised his hand to his eyes.
"Blind!" exclaimed Martine, involuntarily. "Poor little thing!"
"She understands English," said the man, warningly; "she does not wish pity."
"I see much," said Yvonne, proudly, "when the light does not glare. I see the American ladies. This one is pretty;" and rising, she made her way carefully to Martine, and laid her hand confidingly in hers.
Martine's color deepened; she felt a great tenderness toward the girl, and she raised the little hand to her lips.
"She is adopted," said Alexandre, "but we know no difference. She calls us her parents. Her mother and father are dead, and she makes her home with us since she was a baby. When I get my gold out she shall sing, oh, so beautifully."
"Your gold out?" queried Amy.
"Ah, yes! Back here on my farm, which looks all rocks, there is much gold underneath. I know not how to get it out, but some day I shall find a miner who knows. See!"
From a drawer in the dresser he brought out two pieces of quartz, which he asked the girls to look at carefully. "It is gold underneath, sans doute, and, Mees, if you know a miner in Boston to study this, he could have some of my gold when it is dug out, but as for me I know not how to get it out, and poor Yvonne cannot have her music."
Gradually the girls gathered that Yvonne had a voice "sweeter than an angel's," and that Alexandre had set his heart on giving her a musical education. His plans soared far beyond the Western continent. He would send her to Paris, to Italy, and she should astonish the world. The most of this conversation or monologue took place in the little field back of the house that Alexandre dignified as "my farm." The soil was poor and rocky, and evidently he had hard work to raise the few patches of vegetables needed for his family. There was a tiny orchard,--it had not been an Acadian farm without that. The trees were knotty and scrubby, and Amy was not surprised that the prospect of a gold-mine offered even more than the usual attractions to the visionary Alexandre. But Amy, though she knew nothing of mineralogy, thought it most unlikely that a gold-mine lay hidden beneath the stony surface in which Alexandre had dug a deep, deep hole with a vague idea that it was a shaft. Indeed, Amy felt quite sure that even a mineralogist--for such was the meaning of his "miner"--would give him little encouragement. Yet as she looked at the slender figure of Yvonne walking ahead with Martine, she felt deep sympathy with his ambition.
Evidently Yvonne, in spite of her infirmity, was the pride of the little household. Her print gown of a delicate pink cambric was spotlessly neat, and her white sunbonnet had been laundered with the greatest care. Though much shorter and slighter than Martine, the latter was surprised to find that the little Acadienne was hardly a year younger, and that it was true, as Alexandre said, that she ought soon to have the chance to study--if--and here was the question--if her voice was what he pictured it.
"Miss Amy," murmured Priscilla, half impatiently, "I thought that we came to see the loom."
"Indeed we did, but these people have been so interesting that we have spent too much time out here." Then turning toward their host, who had fallen back, she asked him to show them the loom.
"Ah, yes, with the greatest pleasure,--the loom, and the beautiful quilts that my wife makes, and the lace of Yvonne. The mine did almost make me forget, but we shall go in quick."
When they were again in the house he led them up a steep flight of stairs to an unfinished room, with great rafters overhead and two small windows admitting little light.
There at the loom sat his silent wife, and beside her stood the equally silent sister. So it fell on Alexandre to explain the workings of the great wooden frame. While he was talking, however, the attention of all the girls flagged a little. Amy had never been interested in machinery, and made no pretence of understanding it. Priscilla was impressed by the quaintness of the scene, but she was weary from her two or three days of travelling, and her mind wandered while the voluble Frenchman was talking; and Martine, fully occupied with Yvonne, paid little heed to any one else. Nevertheless they were all sufficiently impressed with the skill with which the rather dull-looking wife of Alexandre managed warp and woof, and produced, even as they were looking at her, a fragment of pattern.
While Alexandre was in the midst of one of his speeches Priscilla whispered to Amy, and Amy, as if at her suggestion, turned to Alexandre.
"We cannot stay much longer," she said politely, "and we are delighted to have seen this loom, so that we can understand how these quilts are made. It's really quite wonderful, your wife is so clever;" and she paused for a moment to watch the busy fingers now flying in and out among the threads. "But we came particularly to see some of the quilts."
"Oh, yes, Mees, certainly, we will show you quick;" then with an eye to business,--"perhaps you will want to buy."
"Yes," said Amy, "perhaps we may. Come, Priscilla; come, Martine."
The two women followed the girls downstairs, and when they were again in the little front room, from a wooden chest in the corner they brought out a large quilt of much more beautiful design than any they had seen.
"I must have that," cried Martine in delight; "it is just what I want."
Then, when a second was shown, she was equally enthusiastic, and then a third was laid on top of the pile.
"The money from the quilts is saved for Yvonne," Alexandre whispered to Amy, and the latter did not protest when four of the quilts were laid aside for Martine. Amy also chose one for herself, but Priscilla, although she praised them, expressed no inclination to buy. Only when some narrow hand-made lace was brought out from the chest did she become enthusiastic, or as nearly enthusiastic as was possible for Priscilla, and Yvonne blushed under her praise.
"It is an old art," the little blind girl explained; "it was my grandmother taught me, and her grandmother taught her, and so on back to the days of old France."
"But how can she do it? She is blind!" exclaimed Amy.
"Oh, not all blind, and not always! She can see a little, though everything is dim, and the lace it is knitted,--not pillow lace, like some,--and she can make her fingers go, oh, so quickly! Ah, she has much talent, the little Yvonne, and you must hear her sing."
So Yvonne sang to them standing there in the middle of the room, without notes and unaccompanied, and the plaintiveness of the tone and the richness of the voice drew tears from the eyes of the three American girls, while father and mother and aunt were lost in admiration as they gazed at the slender figure in the pale pink gown.
Hardly had she finished when Martine, jumping up, impulsively threw her arms about Yvonne's neck.
"You must go back with me to the hotel. You must sing to me again. There is a melodeon in the parlor, and I will accompany you. Please, Mr. Babet, can she go back with us?"
"It is an honor for Yvonne," he replied politely; "I will ask her mother."
"Oh, let me; I will make her say 'Yes'"; and in a few words of rapid French Martine asked that Yvonne might go to the hotel as her guest, to stay to tea. The mother at once assented, and both of the silent women were in a flutter of excitement as they accompanied Yvonne to her bedroom to make some additions to her dress.
"Ah," said Alexandre, "she has never been inside the hotel; it will seem very grand to her."
Then Yvonne, kissing them all,--the mother, the aunt, and finally the tall father,--turned her back to the cottage, and with beaming face leaned on Martine's arm as Amy led the way.
A little distance down the road they saw a man standing by a gate.
"Good-day, little one," he called; "where are you going?"
"To the hotel, Uncle Placide."
"How happens it?"
"These American ladies have asked me. I am to have tea."
"Ah, well, she is a dear little one, and you are good to her."
The whole party had now halted in front of the gate, and these words seemed to be particularly addressed to Amy; for, standing directly in front of her, Placide lifted his hat. "Won't you enter?" he asked pleasantly.
"But, uncle," remonstrated Yvonne, "we have no time; we go to the hotel."
"Oh, but there is much time; I have been in the States, and I like to talk to the strangers, so enter my garden at least, ladies, to taste of my cherries."
There was nothing to do but enter the garden. At the mention of cherries Yvonne indeed had seemed more willing to halt on her way to the hotel, and the others, as Placide thrust upon them liberal handfuls of his great crimson cherries, did not regret the delay.
"You are from Boston," he said, after Amy had mentioned her home. "Ah, I worked in Boston, that is, in Lowell, which was the same, and then I came home when I had saved enough to buy a house. It is not so gay here as in Lowell, but it is happier, and I can make a pleasanter living. I never did like the mill, but the pay was good."
"What do you do now, Mr. Placide?" asked Amy.
"Oh, I fish. The sea is good to us Acadians; it is better than the factory. One gets health here as well as fish, and fish enough to keep the house fed. So, with my potatoes and my cherries, I am rich." Then, with an afterthought,--"But I hope sometime that little Yvonne can go to Boston, where there is much music. She could study and be great singer, for the voice it needs teaching. I know that, because I have been in the States where people study so much."
The girls found it hard to leave Placide, for he was even more fluent than Alexandre, and his years in the States had given him a certain amount of information about things American, and he was evidently fond of displaying what he knew. But at last they managed to say good-bye, and continued their way down the road.
"I am tired," sighed Priscilla, as the four stood at the door of the little hotel.
"Then let us sit here on the piazza. Would this suit you, Yvonne?"
Yvonne turned toward Amy with a smile. "I like whatever the other ladies like; it is all good for me."
"Oh, yes," added Martine, "it will be great fun to sit here and watch the passers-by. Things are rushing this afternoon; two persons are entering that shop across the way, and I can count three ox-carts and two buggies in sight. Where do you suppose the buggies are going?"
"Perhaps half a mile up the road; perhaps to Yarmouth. You know there is a continuous street along St. Mary's Bay, about forty miles from Yarmouth to Weymouth."
"One street forty miles long!" Amy's statement roused Priscilla from her lethargy.
"The young lady says true," interposed Madame, their landlady, who had stepped out on the piazza. "Forty miles, and all Acadians! Is it not marvellous that they have grown to be so much, when the English treated them so cruelly, long, long ago?"
"Ah, yes, Evangeline," responded Martine, politely.
"Evangeline never came back," said the literal Priscilla.
"That is true," assented the landlady. "But there is more than Evangeline to tell about. Little Yvonne here knows many tales."
Yvonne sighed softly. "Ah, yes, very many. But Evangeline lived not in Meteghan. Her country was Grand Pré, far north. You will go there, without doubt?"
"Yes, Yvonne, we shall spend a week there."
"There are not so many stories about Meteghan, for no one lived here until after the exile."
"I remember one," interposed Amy; "the story of Aubrey, who was lost in the woods. At least, some writers say that he was lost in the Meteghan woods, others that it all happened near Digby."
"Tell us the story, Amy, and we can decide for ourselves where it was."
"How like Martine!" thought Priscilla, "as if a girl could decide where to place an historic event!"
"After all," continued Amy, "it's only a little story, but it tells of something that happened on that first expedition to St. Mary's Bay, when De Monts brought his vessels here in 1604, and Champlain named this stretch of water, as he named so many other places. One member of the expedition was Aubrey, a priest, with an intelligent love of nature. A small party went off from the vessel to look for ore along the shores of St. Mary's Bay. The priest was one of the number, but when the boat was ready to return he could not be found. He had left his sword in the woods, and had gone back to look for it. For four days the others searched for him without success, and suspicion fell on one or two Huguenots in the party, in whose company he was last seen. With one of them he had had some rather violent discussions on religious matters. To the credit of all, however, no harm was done to the Huguenots in spite of the suspicion. After sailing without Aubrey, the party went farther north, and it was nearly three weeks before they returned to the neighborhood where he had disappeared."
"Did they find him?" asked Martine, somewhat impatiently. Amy was to learn that Martine's temperament led her always to desire the climax almost before she had heard the story itself.
"Yes, they found him; for when they were some distance from shore they saw something that looked like a flag waving. A boat was sent out, and to the delight of those who went in it, they saw that the flag was a handkerchief tied to a hat on a stick, that the missing Aubrey was holding to attract their attention. Looking for his sword, the good priest had missed his way, and for seventeen days he had wandered in the woods, living on berries and roots."
"How delighted he must have been to see his friends!"
"Not more delighted than they to see him; for had he not been found, the consequences for the suspected Huguenots might have been serious."
"It is Yvonne's turn to tell us a story," said Martine, "but we all need to rest before tea, and I want to tell your mother about the quilts. If she disapproves of my buying so many--"
"I suppose that you will send them back;" Amy's tone contradicted her words.
"Oh, no; I will not send them back. But I do wonder what I shall do with them."
Yvonne and Martine went indoors, and Amy and Priscilla soon followed. Amy prepared her mother for Yvonne by telling her all that they had learned about the little girl.
"I won't discourage Martine's altruism," said Mrs. Redmond. "Her impulsiveness in the past has sometimes led her into trouble, but Martine herself will be benefited by having this warm interest in another. As to the quilts, though we cannot carry them about with us, they can be easily expressed home, and the duty will not be large."
After tea the whole party sat in the little parlor, to listen to Yvonne. Her first two or three songs were without accompaniment. They were plaintive songs with French words, and unfamiliar to the Americans who were listening. But a chance question revealed the fact that Yvonne was also familiar with much music that Amy knew well. Thereupon Martine suggested that if Amy would improvise some accompaniments Yvonne might be heard to even better advantage. So Amy, seated there at the melodeon, played, and Yvonne continued to sing, and some of the music was rendered with a dramatic power that surprised all who listened.
"Ah, she will be great some day," said the landlady, listening enraptured to the bird-like tones. "How it had pleased her poor mother to know that she was to be a singer!"
While Yvonne sang, various plans were rushing through Martine's busy brain. "Yvonne shall have a parlor organ, Yvonne shall have teachers, Yvonne shall have her eyes examined by a good oculist. Evidently she is not blind,--not really blind."
While she was thinking and planning, her eyes never left the face of the little French girl, held there by the wonderfully happy expression which lit it. Yvonne's wide, brown eyes, her half-parted lips, the little brown tendrils curling around her forehead, all combined to make a picture that impressed itself strongly on all in the room. Moreover, the gentle and unassuming manner of the young singer, as she received the praise showered on her, completely won the hearts of all. Or perhaps it would be more nearly true to say that if Priscilla's heart was not completely won, she at least had begun to see some reason in Martine's infatuation.
"Is it not wonderful?" asked Martine of Mrs. Redmond.
"She certainly sings remarkably well--for a little girl."
Martine looked up quickly at Mrs. Redmond. Was the latter able to find some flaw in what she herself considered altogether perfect? She had no time just then to question her, for Yvonne herself might overhear the reply, and besides, the young girl was about to sing again, and Martine could not spare a note.
When at last the tall figure of Alexandre Babet appeared in the doorway, they knew that the music must end, and with a protracted farewell from Martine, Yvonne and her adopted father started for home before nine o'clock.
"Yvonne did not seem as much overcome by the grandeur of the hotel as Alexandre prophesied," remarked Amy, as the girls went upstairs.
"Yvonne would never be overpowered by anything," responded Martine; "I don't believe she'd be surprised by the Auditorium."
Whereat both Amy and Priscilla laughed loudly. "To compare small things with great," said Priscilla, "of course she wouldn't be impressed by this hotel. Why, it's smaller than a summer boarding-house."
"I wonder what Alexandre meant?" mused Martine.
"Oh, it was only his way of trying to make you think that you were doing Yvonne a great favor by asking her here," responded Amy.
"Yes, the French way of pretending that things are what they are not," added Priscilla, as if the word "French" comprised the very essence of deceit.
"Take care," retorted Martine. "I never dared tell you before, but I had a French great-great-grandmother."
Although Priscilla made no reply to this, her inward comment was, "That accounts for many things that have made me wonder."
At breakfast the next morning, before Martine had come down to the table, Amy asked her mother what she really thought of Yvonne's singing.
"I do not profess to be a judge of that kind of thing, but the child seems to have a fine natural voice, as well as a musical nature. Yet, like all other singers, she must have her tones properly placed, and she is still too young to profit by expensive musical instruction. It is my own opinion that it would be better for her to sing little for the next few years. Some of the things that she sang last evening were beyond her, and there is danger of her forcing her voice, and so injuring it."
"Have you said this to Martine?"
"No, for Martine is the type of girl who profits most by finding out things for herself. She will learn gradually that everything cannot be done at once for Yvonne."
"I don't like to."
"It seems strange. They may not care to have us visit them."
"We can only try. If they turn us away why, that is the worst we need expect." So, drawing Priscilla's arm within hers, Amy led her up the narrow flagged walk toward the Convent School.
A sister wearing a glazed bonnet with a long veil was trimming rosebushes in the garden bed close to the house.
"Yes, surely, we are glad to have visitors. The school itself is closed now, for the girls have their holidays, but you can see all there is. Excuse me for a moment and I will be with you."
In a short time she had joined them in the little hallway to which they had been admitted by another sister.
"Would the ladies care to see the chapel?"
"Ladies" had a pleasant sound to Priscilla, and she put aside her prejudice against entering churches not of her own faith.
The chapel was simply a large room suitably fitted with altar and seats. It had no color, but everything was daintily white, with here and there a touch of gold.
The neat dormitory, the pleasant schoolroom, and the spotless cleanliness of the whole house appealed to Priscilla, and to her surprise she found herself asking the sister questions about her work.
"We are Sisters of Charity, and our headquarters are in Halifax," the good sister said gently. "The school is but a little part of our work. We go in and out among the sick and the troubled. The Acadians are good to their own, and no one need suffer here; but some will make mistakes, and some suffer through the fault of others, and often the priest and the sisters alone can set things right."
Soon they had seen all that there was to see, and when the sister, looking at the clock, regretted that she must leave them to visit a sick woman, both girls asked if they might not walk with her.
"With pleasure," she replied. "Indeed, I would take you to the house where I am going, were it not that this woman is too sick to see visitors."
"We should like to see another Acadian house," said Amy; "we have visited only that of Alexandre Babet, and that was so plain."
"Ah, you have been at Alexandre Babet's. Then you have seen the little Yvonne. Is she not charming?"
"Yes, charming and talented. We have heard her sing."
"Yvonne sings sweetly. We have taught her some music here, but nature has done the most for her, and she is so patient about her eyes."
"Do you think that she will be blind?" asked Amy, anxiously.
"Oh, no, not wholly blind, though it is largely a question of doctors. This came to her through an illness a few years ago. She did not have the right care. They did not understand. But there is always hope, and I think that she is no worse this year or two."
"We have a friend who has taken a great fancy to Yvonne. She preferred to go up to Alexandre Babet's this morning rather than to come sightseeing with us."
"Yvonne wins the heart of all so quickly, and her good father and mother, though adopted, would do everything for her if they could. Poor Alexandre looks for a gold-mine."
"Yes, we know," and Amy smiled; "but I am glad to know that there is hope for Yvonne's eyes."
"Ah, yes, there is hope. Poor child! She has had a strange history."
At that moment two small girls crossed their path. They looked like little old women, with their shawls and _couvre-chefs_. The sister laid her hand on the shoulder of one of them.
"Where are you going?"
The girls hung their heads shamefaced, and would not meet the sister's gaze.
"Ah, you know; go home and get your hats."
The children ran off without looking back, and the sister turned with a smile to Amy and Priscilla.
"You see they are foolish. When they are at school I tell them they must wear hats every day; but in holidays they will put on _couvre-chefs_. It is an old fashion that I think not good. When they are married--ah! it is too bad--at once they put on the _couvre-chef_, the very girls that I took such trouble with. It takes long to get the Acadians away from the old fashions. But they are good people."
"We should like to see more of them," said Amy. "We should like to see another Acadian house. That of Alexandre Babet did not seem typical."
"Then I should be glad to take you to see one. Why, here we are, just opposite the house of Madame Doucet, who speaks some English, and with her daughter you would see two excellent Acadians. Would you care to call there? I will introduce you, though I must go on farther."
Priscilla looked up in protest, but when Amy expressed pleasure at the prospect of making the visit, she said nothing in opposition. The sister, saying a word or two more in praise of Madame Doucet, and leading them across the street, knocked briskly on the door of a small pink cottage.
This was one of the brightest of the brightly painted dwellings that Amy had noticed when on her wheel the day before,--a pink with pale-green trimmings. When the sister had introduced them to the heavy-browed young woman who came to the door, she left them, to go farther on her errand of mercy.
The young woman, after welcoming the girls heartily, led them to the kitchen in the rear, into which the bright morning sunshine was pouring, while a tiny canary in its cage sang cheerfully.
In the rocking-chair near a window sat an elderly woman, whom the daughter introduced as her mother. She was stouter and stronger looking than Madame Babet, and although she could hardly be called of ruddy complexion, she was far less sallow. Her face showed signs of age, but her hair had hardly begun to turn gray, and she welcomed the two girls so cordially that they were at once at their ease.
Amy, while the daughter exchanged a few words with her mother, glanced around the room. Its floor was partially covered with a square of oilcloth, and the most conspicuous article of furniture was the large, highly polished range, on which were several bright pans and kettles of tin. There were religious pictures on the wall, and one or two rocking-chairs. Evidently it was sitting-room as well as kitchen. A set of shelves in the corner laden with dishes attracted Amy's attention. Madame Doucet, observing Amy's interest, for she had stepped toward the shelves, said to her kindly,--
"Ah, go close, eef you please; you may touch them."
Amy gave an exclamation of delight as she took down a pitcher of copper lustre shining like burnished gold.
"How beautiful! I wish I had one like it."
"Ah, that is not to sell; it is family what you call it?"
"Heirloom," suggested Priscilla.
"But yes, that is so, for my grandmère had it long ago. She was daughter to an exile."
Amy handled the pitcher carefully as she set it back on the shelf. Few of the other dishes were china, though one delicate cup and saucer Amy pronounced older even than the pitcher.
When Priscilla complimented the two women on their English, they beamed with pride, and explained that they had made a great effort to learn it while living in Yarmouth, where the older woman's husband had worked in a mill.
"But we see not many English, so we have not much chance to practise. That how the sister send you here."
"As a language-lesson," murmured Amy; and even Priscilla smiled in spite of herself.
The younger woman was talkative. She took them into her neat bedroom, with its floor in two colors,--a yellow geometrical design painted on a brown ground,--and showed them with especial pride her dressing-table, the frame of which she had fashioned with her own hands and draped with white muslin. From the window she pointed out her little garden, with its vegetable patch and tiny strawberry-bed, which she worked herself.
"I sell some every year," she said. "That helps keep house. We don't need much, we Acadians; we very lazy."
"You don't seem lazy to me," remarked Amy; "certainly you are hard-working."
"P'raps lazy is not the word--no, it is content. We Acadians are too content with what we have. We want not too much, and so we make not money as the Americans."
With some difficulty Amy brought to a close the visit to the cheerful mother and daughter. She on her part, and they on theirs, had so many questions to ask and to answer.
On their way back to the hotel they stopped for a moment at the graveyard in front of the great brick church.
"Let us not go in," urged Priscilla.
"It may not be open," returned Amy, "though this Stella Maris interests me because our landlady told me that the whole parish helped build it. All saved and saved, and gave what they could, and the men, when they came home tired from fishing, would go some distance where the bricks were and haul them to the building. But if you don't care to go into the church, do spend a few minutes in the churchyard,--I have a weakness for studying old gravestones;" and as she spoke Amy's mind went back to a day long ago when she and Brenda and Nora and Julia had poked among the stones in that old burying-ground overlooking Marblehead Harbor. This thought reminded her of Fritz, who had teased her that day in his boyish way, and strangely enough these memories took such possession of her that she could not put her mind on this little churchyard of the Acadians.
Moreover there was less of interest here than she had expected. Inscriptions were few, and these were modern and practical. There was something pathetic in the general tangle of grass and shrubbery, and in the plain little wooden crosses that marked the majority of the graves.
As they approached the hotel a shout greeted them,--"Amy, Amy, Prissie, Prissie! Where have you been?"
"How silly Martine is!" Priscilla had barely time to say, when Martine herself rushed out of a little building near the house.
"Oh, do come in, Yvonne is with me; I've been buying her a hat."
"Yes, do come and see. There's a man here from Halifax,--a drummer, I suppose,--and he has the loveliest fall styles. I would get one for myself if I knew how to carry it."
"An autumn hat in July! Will you make poor Yvonne wear it now?"
When they entered the room where the millinery was displayed, they saw Yvonne standing in rapt admiration before the long double row of hats that the milliner's man had taken out of his boxes. In her hand she held a large shaggy felt, trimmed with rosettes of velvet. The little girl was fingering it lovingly.
"I have never had a hat," she explained, "only hoods and sunbonnets, but my new friend, she desires that I have one for the winter, and it will indeed be a pleasure. I could never wear a _couvre-chef_ like an old woman. I do not see these plain, but they feel so soft."
"Put it on, Yvonne, you look so sweet."
So Yvonne put it on, and after trying one or two others, Martine still preferred the first one. Accordingly it was packed in a large box, and Martine carried it to the hotel, where Yvonne was to stay until Mrs. Redmond and her party should start for Little Brook.
The afternoon was warm. Mrs. Redmond went down to the edge of the Bay to finish a sketch that she had begun in the morning. Amy and Priscilla sat on the piazza, lazily watching the passers-by, and commiserating the men mowing grass in the meadow across the road that lay between them and the sea.
Martine roamed about the house with Yvonne clinging closely to her, and at last sat down for an hour in the parlor, to hear Yvonne sing some of her plaintive songs.
After their early tea Alexandre came to claim Yvonne, and the two girls fell on each other's necks in a farewell embrace. Though they were less demonstrative in their expression, Amy and Mrs. Redmond, and Priscilla too, felt some emotion at parting with their new friend.
"It isn't a real good-bye," whispered Martine to Yvonne; "I know that Mrs. Redmond will help me carry out those plans I spoke of. So _au revoir_."
From Meteghan to Little Brook they were to drive eight miles,--at least, all but Amy were to drive, while she, as before, was to wheel beside the carriage.
"You will stay in Little Brook a week," said the two Connecticut teachers, bidding them good-bye. "Don't forget the Hotel Paris. It's smaller than this," they added, smiling, "but you will find it entertaining in every way."
"We can't stay a week," Mrs. Redmond had replied; "already we need our trunks."
"And our letters," added Priscilla.
"Yes, they are waiting for us in Digby. You see this side trip to Clare was as unexpected as it has been pleasant."
But the farewells were at last all said, and with only one backward glance at the landlady and her children, the teachers, and the commercial traveller, the four turned their faces toward Petit Ruisseau,
... "'when brightly the sunset Lighted the village street.'"
sang Amy as they rode along. "Don't you remember that in 'Evangeline,' Priscilla?" she asked, for she was riding close to the carriage.
"It sounds familiar. We must find time to read Longfellow while we are at Little Brook."
"Yes, indeed; but now--"
Amy did not finish the sentence, for the driver started up his horse, and to show that she did not intend to be outridden she increased her own speed, and soon was out of hearing of the others. It was a beautiful evening. The gaily painted houses of Meteghan, and even those that were dazzling white, all suggested the toy dwellings of the Christmas shops. Amy greatly enjoyed the scene as she pedalled along. A girl standing in one doorway, knitting busily, called out a cheerful salutation, which Amy returned.
At one corner was a little shop, where a few men in blue jeans had gathered to talk after their day's work. Soon Meteghan was far behind, and Amy had passed the great white church of Saulnierville. As she was still some distance ahead of the carriage, she dismounted to speak to a group of children playing some kind of a dancing game, to which they sang an accompaniment. Making an effort to understand the words that they sang to the merry air, she discovered that their French was unlike hers.
A little farther on she noticed a boy walking along with the help of a crutch. Her first glance made her think of Fritz, whom a slight accident had once obliged to limp about in this same way. Something in the boy's face when she looked at him a second time rather startled her. He certainly resembled Fritz.
"I wonder if he is really lame, or if this crutch means only that he has had some slight accident." This was her thought.
Dismounting, she turned back to the little boy.
"How far is it to Little Brook?"
"Oh, not very far on a wheel."
"A mile?" again ventured Amy.
"About a mile--perhaps."
Amy looked back. The carriage was so far behind that it was hardly worth while for her to hurry on toward the Hotel Paris. Moreover, if she knew just where the house was, she would not care to reach it ahead of her mother and the others; so she walked along with the boy.
Although less talkative than some of the older Acadians whom she had met, he was not at all shy, this little Pierre, who, after telling her his name, confidently asked her hers.
"You speak good English," Amy said in compliment.
"Yes, Mademoiselle, we are taught English in school; we must learn it, we Acadians. One often meets the English." The last was said with a condescending air, amusing enough in one who was born a subject of the Queen of England. "But you," continued Pierre, "are not English. You are American,--is it not so?"
"Yes, Americans from the United States."
"Ah! they are strange, the Americans; you are going, perhaps, to the Hotel Paris?"
"Yes, but how did you know?"
"Because it is the only place where Americans stay. So late, you would be going somewhere. It is a good house, but Madame who keeps it has had a death there to-day."
This piece of news disturbed Amy.
"A death! I must tell my mother. She is behind, in the carriage."
"You need not wait for it. It will soon overtake you if you walk with me," said Pierre, sadly, glancing down at his crutch.
When, however, the carriage did overtake the two, they were not far from the Hotel Paris. Mrs. Redmond heard what Pierre had to say about the death of the landlady's sister, and when she learned that it was the result of an accident received some years before, she felt less concern than at first about approaching the house.
"It is unlikely, however, that Madame will wish us to stay there."
"Oh, she is not so," interposed Pierre; "she will always take money when it comes to her."
"But I do not like to stay where there is a death," interrupted Martine.
Priscilla made no comment. But Mrs. Redmond was undisturbed. It was now almost dark, and to return to Meteghan would mean a tiresome and probably cold ride. Pierre asserted that there was no other house where they could stay in Little Brook, and it was doubtful if there was any room at Church Point.
"We must at least see Madame Bourque at the hotel. A message was sent her last night, asking her to reserve rooms for us, and perhaps she can help us out of our difficulty," said Mrs. Redmond.
To the great surprise of all, the Hotel Paris, when they reached it, proved to be but a small dwelling-house, larger than its neighbors, but even smaller than the inn at Meteghan, for which "hotel" seemed a misnomer. As the four sat in the little parlor, Madame Bourque, a dignified and even elegant appearing woman, in her black gown and black _couvre-chef_, tried to make them feel comfortable.
"Ah, but the death, it makes no difference," she said, after assuring Mrs. Redmond that the rooms were in readiness. "It is my sister who has been long sick, and was glad to go. Indeed I am sorry that you heard of it, for the funeral will be before you wake in the morning, and had I thought it would disturb Madame, why, we might indeed have had it to-day."
"Business before pleasure," whispered Martine to Amy, who was trying valiantly to keep from smiling,--a difficult task, indeed, for any of the four.
As they seemed to have no choice in the matter, the girls agreed with Mrs. Redmond that they could hardly do better than take possession of the large, pleasant rooms that Madame Bourque showed them.
In the early morning, a gray morning, before the others were awake, Amy looked from the window. A sad little procession was setting out from the door. The plain deal coffin was in an open wagon. Behind it were a dozen shabby carriages, with mourners, men and women. They were to drive to the churchyard at Point à l'Église, three miles away. She did not waken the others, but she watched the little procession until it was out of sight.
[Illustration: "'Madame Bourque,' she cried, 'I asked him to come to see me.'"]
PIERRE AND POINT À L'ÉGLISE
"Ah, why should she wish to see you, the American young lady? You have much conceit, Pierre."
The words were French, the voice was Madame Bourque's, and Amy, quickly translating what she overheard, perceived that Madame Bourque was throwing obstacles in the way of the little boy's seeing her.
"Madame Bourque," she cried, stepping out into the hall, "I asked him to come to see me. It is as he says."
"Oh, then excuse me, Mademoiselle. I did not understand. I did not know that you had seen Pierre."
"Ah, yes, he helped me find my way last evening. He may come in, may he not?"
"Ah, surely, since you wish it. Pierre talks much, and I have known those whom he tired. But enter, Pierre, since you have been invited."
Then Pierre followed Amy into the little sitting-room, where Priscilla and Martine were already seated near an open fire; for the gray and damp early morning had introduced a foggy day, and at present sightseeing was out of the question. Priscilla had been writing letters, Amy had been reading a history of the Acadians, and Martine, before Pierre's arrival, had been looking through "Evangeline."
"Pierre," Amy asked, not knowing just what to say to the old-fashioned boy, "do you care for 'Evangeline'?"
"Surely, yes," he replied, his face lighting up. "Your Longfellow has sympathy for the Acadians. A lady who stayed here last summer lent me his poems, but best I understand the 'Evangeline.'
"'Fair was she to behold, that maiden of seventeen summers. Black were her eyes as the berry that grows on the thorn by the wayside, Black, yet how softly they gleamed beneath the brown shade of her tresses!'"
Pierre recited with much expression.
"Ah," he continued, "I can say much of that beautiful poem, and indeed it makes me weep to think how they were treated, those poor Acadians, my ancestors. The English were most cruel."
"Amy," half-whispered Martine, "my history is a little rusty, so please tell me if the Acadians were driven out from Little Brook."
"No, my dear, Little Brook was founded by some who made their way back from exile. Pierre," she added in a louder tone, "you are so interested in your people, can you tell us about those who founded Little Brook?"
"Yes, Pierre can tell you all the story," interposed Madame Bourque, who had entered the room to put wood on the fire. "He knows it all from his grandmother, and he remembers."
Pierre, thus commended, flushed even more deeply than he had when Amy made her request; but he remained silent until she spoke again.
"Perhaps it is not everything that you would wish to hear," he said, "that I shall tell; but my grandmother told me that it was all forest in Clare when the Acadians were driven from their homes by the cruel English. There were no farms here then, and so Petit Ruisseau has no sad memories of poor people driven from their homes. But you know that Acadians from Annapolis and Grand Pré and other places farther north were carried off to the English settlements that are now the States, and were treated like beggars; for they had no money, and spoke but a strange tongue. Fathers were separated from children, and brothers and sisters were not often in the same ship. But all were strong in their hearts, and determined to come back to their beautiful Acadia. Some began to come back before the Peace, and walked all the way--hundreds and hundreds of miles--from Boston and New York, until they reached the coast of the Bay. When the war was over, and there was a great Peace, many, many more came, and walked all the way around from New Brunswick to Nova Scotia to find their homes again."
"But I thought that all their houses were burned and that they had no homes to return to."
"That is true; but some knew not this, and even those who had seen the fires from the ships did not believe that everything of theirs was destroyed. So they were very sad when they could find no signs of their old homes, and saw that everything belonged to the English settlers. It was a great crime, sending them away, oh, so many; I am proud my great-great-grandparents were exiles and my great-grandmother was born in Salem; so perhaps I am half Yankee; that's why I speak some English."
At that moment Madame Bourque took part in the conversation. "Ah, it is terrible to think of their sufferings, people of such worth,--it is the crime of history. Just think of Belliveau; you tell about him, Pierre."
"Oh, he was very brave, and the first exile to land in Clare. He and his wife came across the bay in a little boat, bringing their baby too, and they landed safely on the shore that you can see from the window. They had a terrible passage--and to think to-day that some people fear to cross the bay to St. John, even in a steamboat! At first they did have nothing, but they cut wood, and soon other Acadians joined them who had walked all the way around on land."
"Pierre," interposed Amy, "you describe things very well; what do you intend to be when you grow up?"
A shadow crossed Pierre's face. "I should like to be a sailor, and then a great captain, but I am not strong enough, and I shall never grow big; so I think I may be a teacher, and that is why I take trouble to speak and write English."
"You should be here," interrupted Madame Bourque, whose mind still dwelt on the Acadians, "on the fifteenth of August; that is the day of the return from exile that all the people in Clare celebrate."
"We shall hardly be in this part of the country then, Madame Bourque," responded Amy, "but we shall try to know all we can about the early Acadians before we leave Little Brook. But, Pierre," added Amy, "you haven't told us all that you know, have you? Haven't you some stories that your mother or grandmother has told you?"
"One about the cane I like much."
"Then tell it to us."
"Well, there was one of our family, a great-grand-uncle, I think, who lived down near Cape Sable before the exile; one time he was very kind to a shipwrecked captain and took him into his house and gave him clothes and food; then when my relative was driven from home they took him to Boston, and he had to wander about, begging his bread, for he could not speak English. And then he and his three sons with him were put in jail; then the captain whom he had been kind to heard that these Frenchmen were in jail, and, remembering the kindness he had had, went to visit the prisoners. How surprised he was to find his old acquaintance who had helped him after the shipwreck! My relative was glad to see him too. Then the captain went to the governor and told him about the kind Frenchman who was in jail, and the governor said to bring him before him and perhaps he would pardon him. As my relative had no clothes fit to wear before the governor, the captain bought him a beautiful suit and a cane with a large head. Then the governor, when he saw my grandfather, pardoned him and his three sons, and they stayed in Boston several years, until the Peace, when they all came back to Nova Scotia. I know this story is true, because I have seen the cane, which one of my cousins owns in Pubnico."
"Do you think that is true?" whispered Priscilla to Martine.
"Oh, true enough; it certainly is not very exciting. It has been handed down so long that the point is evidently lost."
Pierre, once started, continued to tell many stories of the hardships borne by the early Acadians, beside which the tale of Evangeline seemed almost cheerful.
"Now, Priscilla," said Martine, when Pierre paused, "you must admit that the English don't show themselves in a very good light compared with the Acadians. Did you ever hear of such cruelty?"
"There must have been some cause for it," rejoined Priscilla, stoutly; "we have heard only one side thus far. Perhaps the Acadians themselves were a little in the wrong."
"They certainly were not perfect," interposed Amy, taking part in the discussion, "as you will admit when you have read their history more carefully. We have not time to go into things more fully now, and I have thought that Grand Pré would be the best place for our study of the causes leading to the exile. It's putting the cart before the horse to talk too much of the effects before we know the causes."
Had Pierre exactly understood Amy he might have entered into a discussion with her, but for the moment he had run to the front door to admit Madame Bourque's little daughters, whom he had seen entering the yard. When he was again in the room Madame Bourque once more joined the group.
"How does it happen, Madame Bourque," asked Martine, mischievously, "that your hotel is the Hotel Paris? You should have named it 'Acadia' or 'Evangeline,' or something like that."
"Ah," responded Madame Bourque, "it is that my husband is a Frenchman, from Paris, and I like my children not to forget that. Some day, when they grow up, they shall go to Paris."
"Have Acadians any real love for France?" asked Amy. "It is certainly a long, long time since their ancestors left it."
"Yes, indeed," replied Madame Bourque, "just as the Englishman always loves England, or the Irishman Ireland; they are still strangers in a strange land, though they must call the English Queen their queen," she concluded sentimentally. "Some Acadians go back to France to study, and some French boys come out to the college at Church Point, and one of them--ah, it is so romantic!--married an Acadienne a few years ago."
"Oh, tell us about it," exclaimed Martine; "I love anything romantic."
"Well, then," said Madame Bourque, "there was such a pretty girl at Church Point in the convent, and this youth was sent by his parents to study at the College of St. Anne. He fell in love with the pretty girl and would marry her, and oh, his father and mother they felt so bad, for they thought Acadians were something like Indians; and so they hurried out to Nova Scotia, and when they saw the girl they fell in love with her too, and knew she was no savage, and say their son can marry her. But the girl would not leave her people, and as the son would not give up the girl, the parents decided to come to Acadia to live, for he was an only son and they were rich. So they have bought much land up beyond Weymouth, and they call it New France. They have a great mill where they cut timber, and a railroad of their own twenty miles long, by which they send it to the sea, and good houses and electric lights--all on account of a pretty Acadienne."
"That's just the kind of story I like," cried Martine. "I suppose history is just as true, but someway I have more interest in things that are happening to-day."
Madame Bourque now left the room to make arrangements for the early dinner. She had foretold that the fog would lift before noon, and accordingly Priscilla, looking out the window, was not surprised to catch a fleeting glimpse of the sun through an opening in the veil of mist.
"We'll take your word that the sun will shine," exclaimed Amy, "and I'll run upstairs and ask mamma if she will drive this afternoon. I imagine that the most there is to be seen is at Church Point, and the sooner we go there the better."
Madame Bourque, when asked, promised to have two carriages ready early in the afternoon, for Amy had not only invited Pierre to dinner, but intended to take him to drive with her.
"Mamma," said Amy, as she gave her mother an account of the morning, "you will find Madame Bourque very amusing. She evidently believes the Acadians to be the salt of the earth; but though I sympathize with their sufferings, I do not believe they were quite the superior beings that she paints them."
"It might be unkind," replied Mrs. Redmond, "to suggest that this is part of her stock in trade; the more remarkable she can represent the old Acadians to have been, the more interested will her guests be in the places associated with them. They were a good, honest people."
"But they were peasants, were they not, mamma? You would think to hear her talk that they were very near nobility."
"Oh, among the Acadians of to-day are doubtless many descendants of men of good family in France. Indeed, some of them can claim for ancestors Charles de la Tour and Baron D'Entremont; but the peasant blood is in the ascendant, and the strain of nobility must be very slight."
At the dinner-table Pierre won Mrs. Redmond's heart by the gentleness of his manner, and she told Martine that Amy's protégé would be a close rival of hers.
"No, indeed," replied Martine; "no one can rival Yvonne. Just think of her voice and her little curls and her pink cheeks."
"I'll admit that Pierre lacks these characteristics, though all in all they would hardly enhance his value. From what Amy says, however, I should judge that Pierre, even if he has neither curls nor pink cheeks, has a voice that is very effective when he uses it in telling stories."
Fearing that Pierre might overhear these personalities, Mrs. Redmond changed the conversation. "Amy," she said in a somewhat louder voice, "where do you suppose Fritz is now?"
"Oh, if Pubnico is as fascinatingly French as he expected it to be, he is probably there still. I doubt if he will be better entertained than we have been."
"I almost wish he were with us," rejoined Mrs. Redmond, "for he is always a fund of entertainment in himself; I have thought of him many times this dull morning, and I hope that we shall find a letter from him awaiting us at Digby."
If Amy agreed with her mother, she did not so express herself at this moment; yet if the truth were known, it must be said that more than once since their parting at Yarmouth she had regretted that she had not at least given Fritz a chance to join their party.
When the carriages came to the door in the afternoon Amy recognized them as having formed part of the funeral procession; they were shabby, with hard seats, and the horses, as well as the vehicles, looked as if they had seen better days. It was arranged that Amy and Pierre should go in the small carriage, as Madame Bourque's husband assured them that the horse was perfectly safe for a lady to drive. "Ah, he could not run away!"
"I should think not," said Amy. "If he manages to carry us even the three miles to Church Point I shall be surprised; he seems so dispirited that I imagine the funeral has made more impression on him than on Madame Bourque herself."
Mrs. Redmond, Priscilla, and Martine were in the second carriage, and Madame Bourque was the driver.
Amy noticed in gardens and windows fewer hollyhocks, oleanders, and other bright flowers than she had seen at Meteghan. The houses, too, were painted in less bright colors, and the village street had a less stirring appearance.
Pierre was a good cicerone; he pointed out near the edge of the sea the spot where the first of the returning exiles had landed. He also showed Amy a little one-story house on a slight elevation, said to be the oldest in the town, and to date but little later than the landing.
"It is hard," he said in his precise way, "to imagine that it was all forest here in those first years, since now there is hardly a tree in sight except the fruit trees in the orchards. The first comers had large grants of land from the government; thus the English tried to make up for the wrong they had done."
"But the farms are very small now," ventured Amy. "The yards are so close together."
"Ah, yes, that is it; each father had many children and divided his land among his sons, and as every one wanted his house to be on the village street, they have kept it up, cutting it up into long narrow strips, some of them running back one or two miles; and away at the end of the strips there are still forests that are worth money."
Some time before they reached Church Point, the lighthouse and the college buildings were seen in imposing outline in the distance.
Their horse justified Amy's forebodings, and when they overtook Madame Bourque and her party the latter were standing near a monument before the large building that Pierre had said was the College of St. Anne. Amy, though undisturbed by Martine's gibes at the slowness of her steed, was glad enough to get out of the carriage. Both horses were left in charge of a boy whom Madame Bourque knew, while the sight-seers started to walk to the shrines of the Acadians--for by this term did Madame Bourque describe the burying-ground and site of the early houses.
"It is not a long walk," the voluble Frenchwoman had explained, "unless you go out to the lighthouse, for which we have not time to-day."
Priscilla lingered behind the others to copy the inscription on the monument. It was in honor of the Abbé Sigogne, to whom the Acadians of Clare owe more than to any other one person.
Priscilla, reading the inscription, wondered why she had never before heard of this man, who evidently had been so much to his own people. Acadia is not far from Massachusetts, and yet already she realized that this was a corner of the world of which she knew far too little. Amy, however, could tell her what she wished to know, and she hurried on to join the others, who were now far ahead.
"Amy," she cried, overtaking her friend, "tell me something about the Abbé Sigogne; I am ashamed to say that I never heard of him before."
Pierre glanced at the American girl with an expression of absolute amazement at her ignorance.
"There is so much to tell," said Amy, "that it would be too long a story for the time that we have now; yet as we walk along I can give you a little idea of his work. He was a French priest of good family, who barely escaped losing his head during the French Revolution. After fleeing from France he lived a few years in England. When he heard that the poor Acadians of Clare were without a clergyman, he decided to go to them, and from that time he made their lot his. This was in 1799, about thirty years after their return from exile, and though they had cleared the forest and built houses, they had made little progress in other ways; they were without schools and almost without religion, but the good Abbé built them a church, established schools, and made frequent visits to all the little settlements along St. Mary's Bay, often travelling along the coast in a small, open boat. He taught them many things besides religion. He made them firm in their allegiance to Great Britain, and when he died, in 1844, he was bitterly mourned by all who knew him, whether English or French."
When Amy and Priscilla and Pierre caught up with the others, they were in a large field, looking at a spot of ground on which Madame Bourque said had stood the very first house at Point à l'Église, built after the exile. Near by was a little old graveyard, where the first generation of returning exiles had been buried. Only a few graves were marked, and these with rough stones without inscriptions. A rude arch of whalebone formed the entrance to this little enclosure. It was not very far from the point of land on which stood the lighthouse, near which, along the edge of the sea, a file of black-coated priests was walking. Though they were indistinctly seen in the distance, their large caps and flapping surtouts gave them a picturesque appearance.
A strange structure like a shrine of open slats decorated with spruce boughs attracted Martine's attention, and she insisted on making a sketch of it.
"It is a repository," explained Pierre, politely, "where the priest stands, as a station for the procession, on festival days."
When they returned to the College of St. Anne, Madame Bourque grew more and more eloquent.
"Is it not wonderful," she said, "that all this great building is restored since the fire of two years ago? You will come inside, ladies, and see how pleasant the rooms are."
"I will stay outside," replied Priscilla, "and watch the horses," she concluded rather lamely.
"Nonsense," began Amy, but looking at Priscilla, she saw that the young girl was in earnest, and so insisted no further.
"Amy," whispered Priscilla, as her friend drew near her, "I was sorry afterwards that I went into the convent yesterday, and so I would much rather not go into a priest's house."
"I had no idea that you would be so narrow," rejoined Amy.
"I don't mean to be narrow," responded Priscilla, "but I really don't feel like going inside."
So Priscilla sat down on the grass near the monument and all the others went inside the main building of the College of St. Anne. Not very long afterwards Mrs. Redmond came out again, with her sketch-book in her hand. "I thought it a good time now to make a sketch of the church. I have seen many other schools like this one, for, after all, it's only a boys' boarding-school. The girls enjoy practising their French with the Eudist Father, who is taking them about, and it will probably be some time before they are ready to leave. I think you make a mistake, Priscilla, in not joining them."
"It isn't a very old building," said Priscilla, implying that this was sufficient reason for her staying away from the party.
"It is certainly not very old," rejoined Mrs. Redmond; "the college has been established less than ten years. It is a great thing to have founded it here in the midst of the Acadians, and it has made the boys of Clare much more ambitious."
"What good is a college education to them?" asked Priscilla; "fishing and farming seem to be their chief occupations."
"This is really only a preparatory school," replied Mrs. Redmond, "and the boys who are going into the Church or into the professions enter other colleges in Canada or in France. The Father told us with pride of the high standing of some of the graduates in their work in other colleges."
"If I do not care for the college," said Priscilla, "I love this church of Abbé Sigogne's; it makes me think of a New England meeting-house, with its white walls and steeple."
Mrs. Redmond's sketch was hardly finished when the others came out from the college. Madame Bourque was in her most talkative mood, as she led them across the road into the white church. This time Priscilla went with them and looked with some interest at the paintings on the wall, and the sacred emblems, and the tablet inscribed to the memory of Abbé Sigogne.
Martine, it must be admitted, found something amusing even in this church, for inside the gallery where the choir boys sat were many pictures of little boats, and even of full-rigged ships scratched in deeply with a penknife, presumably by the fingers of mischievous young singers.
Pierre, who happened to be with Martine when she made this discovery, did not laugh with her, but shaking his head solemnly, said, "Ah, those pictures show what really fills the heart of the Acadian boy."
Madame Bourque was disappointed that her party of Americans did not care to visit the girls' school near by, but the hour was late, and the tired-looking horses were not likely to make speed on the way home.
"We have really seen so much," said Mrs. Redmond, "that we shall need to think it all over before seeing more, and you have been so good a guide that in our one visit to Church Point we have learned as much as most persons do in two."
"We have learned a great deal," murmured Priscilla to Amy, "but I always feel that Madame Bourque paints the Acadians as much more remarkable than they are. But I should like to have seen Father Sigogne baptizing Indian pappooses; they say that he used to wipe their faces with his gown to find a spot where he could kiss them."
"Yes, and Madame Bourque says that there are people still living who can remember great crowds of Indians filing through the woods to Church Point that they might receive Abbé Sigogne's blessing on St Anne's Day."
On the way back to Little Brook Amy had a good chance to talk with little Pierre about his hopes and ambitions. She found that he was extremely fond of reading, and it was almost impossible for him to get books such as a boy loves to read. About half a mile from Madame Bourque's, Pierre pointed out a small cottage which he said was his home.
"My mother will be there now," he said, "and I hope you will come in with me to see her. She does not speak so very good English," he added apologetically, "but she can understand it."
Though Madame Robichaud greeted Amy warmly and thanked her for her kindness to Pierre, there was something pathetic in her manner and appearance. She was a tall, thin woman, with a delicate, pale face that was made all the paler by her plain black gown and the _couvre-chef_ that covered her hair. Her husband, Pierre explained, was lost at sea when Pierre was five years old, and since that time she had supported them both wholly by her own labor.
Madame Robichaud showed Amy with great pride some drawings nailed to the wall that Pierre himself had made,--simple drawings of ships and houses that showed draughtsmanship rather than imagination. These suggested to Amy that Pierre had a talent that might be cultivated to greater advantage than his ambition for school-teaching.
She and Pierre parted reluctantly, and Madame Robichaud promised that the little boy should be at the hotel in the morning before Amy left Little Brook.
All the travellers slept soundly that night despite the huge feather-beds that Madame Bourque had provided, as she thought, for their comfort.
In the morning they wrote their names in her visitors' book, on whose pages were inscribed the names of a number of Americans, some of them fairly well known, who at one time or another had been guests at the Hotel Paris. Pierre arrived very soon after breakfast with a great bunch of hollyhocks or _passe-rose_ for Amy. He had evidently taken a great fancy to his new friend.
"She is more beautiful even than my school-teacher," he had said to Madame Bourque; a compliment which the latter repeated as of especial value, because hitherto Pierre had considered his teacher the model of womanly perfection.
"Martine," said Mrs. Redmond, before the carriage arrived, "have you written to Yvonne?"
"Oh, no; I meant to, but now I'll wait till we reach Digby."
"I fear that Yvonne will be disappointed. She probably expected a letter to-day."
"I know it; I am ashamed of myself."
Martine's tone was penitent, but no one who knew Martine ever expected her to do promptly what she had promised. It was always a little easier to put off things to another day. Priscilla looked at her scornfully, as if to say "How fickle!"
When at last they were ready to start, all felt sad at parting with Madame Bourque and her family, for in two days they had come to seem almost like old friends. The two little Bourque girls, as the carriage drove off, looked with astonishment at the dollar bill that Mrs. Redmond had put in the hands of the elder to divide with her younger sister.
Pierre walked on a little way with Amy before she mounted her wheel, and on saying good-bye at last he knew that the American lady would really send him the books that she had promised.
Their train to Digby was not the famous "Flying Bluenose," but a local that made no pretence of hurrying; it instead gave them ample opportunity to study the scenery from the windows.
When at last they reached Digby, they were warm and dust-covered, and glad enough, too, when they found carriages waiting for them at the station.
"It's nothing but a summer resort, this Digby that we have heard so much about," complained Martine, as they drove along the main street. "Just look at those boys in golf suits, and that crowd carrying shawls and wraps as if bound for a sailboat. Why, the town doesn't even look English. It makes me think of Blue Harbor in Maine, where we spent one summer."
"I noticed a great deal of Philadelphia accent while we were waiting for our trunks at the station."
"Oh, don't mention it," replied Martine; "Philadelphians flock everywhere, and they are so cliquey that they just spoil a place for me, though I'll admit that they know a good thing when they see it."
"Be careful, Martine," cautioned Amy; "no more slang than you can help on this trip."
"'On this trip!' If that isn't slang I'd like to know what is."
"No matter now; here's the hotel; mail first and rooms afterwards."
In an instant Amy had hurried to the hotel office, returning to the others with a bundle of letters, which she gave to Priscilla to distribute while she went ahead with her mother to look at the rooms they had engaged. The hotel was like most small summer hotels, and in spite of their pleasant remembrance of Clare, Mrs. Redmond and the girls had to admit that it was more comfortable than the little French houses.
"'Pubnico!' why, of course;" here Amy stopped as she held the letter in her hand, turning it over once or twice as people will before opening a letter.
"Of course; don't hesitate to tell us that it's from Fritz. It would be very strange indeed if he had not written," cried Martine, mischievously.
"'Pubnico,'" said Priscilla, as if the word had just penetrated her brain; "why, there were two letters with that postmark, were there not?"
"Oh, no, only one," replied Amy, promptly, "and, as Martine surmises, it was from Fritz."
But while Amy was speaking Priscilla looked sharply at Martine, and Martine, as if uncomfortable under her gaze, suddenly left the room.
After dinner, as they all sat on the piazza, "Amy," said Mrs. Redmond, "you haven't told us yet how Fritz is enjoying his journey."
"Oh, he thinks he has found the only French in Nova Scotia. He describes their dress and their houses and their great fat oxen, and speaks of the misfortunes of the exiled Acadians as if he were an original discoverer. How foolish he will feel when he finds that what he has seen is old news to us, for his description reads just like a description of Clare."
"Only I'll warrant that he didn't find any Madame Bourque," and Priscilla smiled.
"No, nor an Yvonne," added Martine.
"Not to speak of Pierre," concluded Amy.
"My letter from home," said Priscilla, "mentions that this was the hottest week of the season. Just think, only yesterday we were half frozen driving home in the fog from Church Point."
After breakfast, on their second morning at Digby, Mrs. Redmond and the girls walked the whole length of the tree-lined main street. As Martine had surmised, they had indeed arrived at a regulation summer resort. The holiday spirit prevailed on all sides; every one was going somewhere, or had just been somewhere, on pleasure bent.
In spite of her professed prejudice against Philadelphians, Martine almost fell into the arms of a former schoolmate from the Quaker City, who rushed out to greet her from the garden of a small hotel near the top of the hill.
"Isn't the view fine, and the air just perfect? I'm so glad you're here; there's something to do every hour of the day, and we shall be so glad to have you join us, you and your friends." And she glanced dubiously at Priscilla's mourning dress and serious face.
"Thank you, but I can't make plans just now. There are four in our party; the other two have walked ahead. We arrived only on Saturday, and yesterday was so rainy that we stayed indoors until evening, when we all went to church. Until we really have our bearings I don't think that I can make any plans. But you must come to see us. There, I haven't introduced you to Priscilla; you must excuse me. Priscilla, the Rose of Plymouth, let me introduce you to Peggy Pratt from the quiet city of Philadelphia."
"You are the same old Martine," cried Peggy, as they turned away, while Priscilla, reddening, added as the two walked on, "Oh, Martine, how silly you can be!"
Amy was delighted with everything that they saw in the course of that morning walk, from the beautiful view of the Basin, surrounded by hills that looked mountains, to the little fish-houses, the quintessence of neatness, in front of which quantities of cod were drying. As to the Basin, when she said she felt as though she had seen it before, Mrs. Redmond reminded her that it resembled closely the harbor of Santiago, with which she was familiar through pictures.
"Ah, yes," rejoined Amy, "and that little opening into the Bay of Fundy that they call 'The Gut' is like the passage where Hobson tried to sink the Merrimac."
"It isn't such a very little passage; somebody told me that it is nearly a mile wide; it was there that the ships of De Monts entered the Basin in 1604, when they discovered Acadia," Mrs. Redmond added.
"Sixteen hundred and four!" cried Martine. "Oh, dear, we're going backwards in our history. It was seventeen hundred and something when the Acadians were expelled, and I shall never be able to remember earlier dates."
"At present we may put dates aside. For a day or two we can merely enjoy ourselves."
"I hope we are coming to some English history," said Priscilla; "I am tired of the French. I always supposed Nova Scotia was a British province, but this whole week we have heard very little about the English."
"I tell you what we'll do, Priscilla," cried Amy; "while mamma and Martine sit here to make a sketch of something or other, you and I can set out in search of some English history. Undoubtedly there's an historic house or two to discover. That's the kind of thing I never let escape me."
At first it seemed as if Amy's search would be unsuccessful. One person after another whom she asked said that there were no historic houses in Digby.
"There's an old shop over across the way," one added, "the frame of which, they say, was brought out from England; I'll point it out to you, though it doesn't look very old."
This last statement was true enough, for the old house had been reshingled and reclapboarded and repainted, so that it retained hardly a vestige of antiquity in its appearance. To compensate Amy for her disappointment, the obliging native made a suggestion that in the end proved valuable.
"What you ought to do is to see Mrs. Sally Tatem; her house isn't much to look at, but it's old enough, and she knows more about the history of Digby than any one else here."
"Where does she live?"
"Oh, just a little way up that street and round the next corner and up the hill and you will see a little cottage at the end of the lane; just knock at the door, and if she's at home she'll be very obliging."
So Amy and Priscilla went "up the street and round the next corner and up the hill," and at "the end of the lane" they saw a small white cottage almost covered with vines. Amy's knock brought to the door a little old lady with silvery hair and a tiny ruffled cap, wearing a gray gown and, most important of all, a pleasant smile. The hesitation that Amy had felt in explaining the object of their visit disappeared under the old lady's greeting.
"Dear child, come right in; I'll tell you all the Digby history I know; but it isn't so very much."
As Amy sat down in the little sitting-room, she could not help looking about, and she was quick to recognize that the two chairs were Chippendale.
"They were brought by my grandfather," said Mrs. Tatem, noting the direction of Amy's glance. "He was a captain in the Queen's Rangers; you know many Americans were on the King's side in the Revolution."
A look of surprise crossed Priscilla's face, but she did not venture to raise a question.
"Yes," responded Amy, "I know about the Loyalists."
"Well, my grandfather was a farmer in Westchester County, rich and prosperous, but he would not take arms against the King. A friend and neighbor of his was tarred and feathered, and he was in some danger himself. So he went into the war, and when it was over he couldn't stay in New York. With other Loyalists he came down here. Of course it was very hard for him to have all his property taken away, but his wife was brave and she was willing to suffer."
"Who sent them away?" asked Priscilla, eagerly.
"Why, the Yankees,--the Americans, I mean," said Mrs. Tatem.
"The Patriots," whispered Priscilla.
"Yes, yes," interposed Amy.
"But," continued Priscilla, "I didn't know that there were two sides to the story." And as she said this the old lady smiled.
"We have no bitterness now. I ought not to have said 'Yankees.' I have many friends in the States, but it was hard for my mother and aunts to have to grow up in the wilderness. I used to hear my aunt talk. She was an older daughter."
"But how did they live here in those days?"
"Oh, the King gave a large grant of land and provisions for three years and some building material. Many who came to settle would not stay, and it was harder for those who did remain. There was no church even, for a long time, until good Mr. Viets came; he did everything for the white settlers, and even held a school for the Blacks."
"Oh, yes; you see many people brought their slaves with them."
"No, New Yorkers. Many Northern people had slaves in those days. I know that my grandfather had two, but when he died he left them their freedom in his will. Out at the Joggins' there are still living many descendants of these slaves, and of the Black Pioneers, a regiment of Blacks that fought on the English side in the war."
"What you've told us is almost as romantic as the French Revolution," said Priscilla.
"Maybe so," replied the old lady, hesitatingly, "though things probably did not seem romantic to the first settlers here; but perhaps it's just as well that our lot was cast in this healthy climate. I hear there's a great deal of sickness in New York, and it's a great big city where people care only for money. I'm sorry our young people go off so much to the States; they could all make a comfortable living if they would only stay at home."
Amy could not refrain from admiring the china and all the daintiness of the little house, plain and unpretending though it was. But the most interesting thing of all was the old lady with her charming manner and fund of history.
"I've heard my mother say," she remarked before they went, "that the first name of Digby was Conway, and it was only after Admiral Digby had been here that it was named in his honor."
"Why didn't the French settle Digby?" asked Priscilla; "they seem to be everywhere else in Nova Scotia."
"Probably because there are no marshes; they were attracted by the dyke lands at Annapolis and Grand Pré."
The girls bade good-bye to Mrs. Tatem with real regret. Before she returned to the hotel Amy wandered by herself in a little old churchyard where lay many of the first settlers, and as she looked at the weather-beaten stones she saw that many of those who lay buried there were natives of New York or its neighborhood; closing her eyes for a moment to shut out the present, she pictured to herself what life in the wilderness must have been to these refugees who had suffered everything in a losing cause.
That afternoon Martine's friend, Peggy, from Philadelphia, invited them all to join a sailing party; though at first disinclined to go, Amy at last accepted the invitation. It was a delightful afternoon, with wind and sea in their favor, and the charm of the surrounding scenery was increased by a delicate mist that hovered over the North Mountain, as a reminder of the Bay of Fundy outside.
For some reason this sail around Digby reminded Amy of some of her excursions in Marblehead Harbor, especially of a certain day on the "Balloon," and this in spite of the fact that the "Mary Jane" in no way compared in equipment with Philip's yacht. No picture of Marblehead could of course be complete unless Fritz were in it, and almost to her annoyance Amy now found Fritz occupying a large corner of her mind. Nevertheless, she was interested in all that was going on around her, and once or twice lent a hand to the skipper, when a sudden change of wind occasioned a quick shifting of the sails. Then the Bluenose skipper complimented the Yankee girl on her skill in handling the ropes, and Martine and Priscilla and Peggy expressed their astonishment that she should know so much about a boat.
For almost the first time since their departure from Boston Priscilla was now in good spirits; she had overcome her original homesickness, and her letters from Plymouth had been so cheerful that she was almost ready to find enjoyment in the new scenes and faces. Between her and Martine there was less intimacy than between her and Amy. Mrs. Redmond was sorry to see that, for some reason, Priscilla lacked confidence in Martine. This was to be accounted for, perhaps, by the fact that the two girls were so unlike in temperament and education. Though reserved in speech, Priscilla was uncompromisingly accurate in statement; Martine, on the other hand, while apparently unreserved, occasionally lacked frankness. No one could accuse her of being untruthful, and yet her exaggerations and her occasional concealments were a constant annoyance to the literal Priscilla.
On the second day of their stay at Digby, Martine had written a long letter to Yvonne, and at the same time had sent her a roll of new music, which she had happened to find in a Digby shop.
"If I knew just how long we should be here, I really think I would send for Yvonne to spend a week with us."
"We shall not be here a week," rejoined Mrs. Redmond, "and I am afraid that Yvonne would rather handicap us if we tried to have her travel farther."
On their last morning at Digby, Amy and Martine had a parting walk around the wharf. The wharf had been a source of much amusement to Martine, and she had sketched it at high tide when it looked just like any other wharf, and at low tide when it rose high above the water, its sides covered with seaweed and barnacles. Indeed the vagaries of the Bay of Fundy tides were an endless amusement to the party, exposing, as they did, long, long stretches of reddish mud, and apparently casting up all kinds of craft high and dry on the land.
"Now, around by the fish-houses," cried Martine; "how I shall miss the cod which we meet here at every turn! Fish flakes, in my mind, will always be the emblem of Digby. Priscilla says that she has seen more on Cape Cod, but I can hardly believe her. It's strange that no one has given us a Digby chicken since we came here. Any one would suppose that the Digby chicken is the only fish that grows here; yet really and truly we haven't seen one, have we, since our arrival? For it's the cod that's everywhere, and it's funny to think that they send so much codfish to the West Indies. People there must be thirsty enough without having cod sent to tantalize them."
On their way back to the hotel they did an errand in a corner shop. The clerk addressed them in rather broken English, and in answer to Amy's question said that he was a descendant of an Acadian exile. He told them one or two anecdotes, and when he had to turn to other customers Amy waited until they were served, hoping to hear more from him.
"That negro," he explained, as a tall Black went out of the shop, "is a descendant of one of the slaves of the Revolution."
"Was that other man a negro, too, who went out with him?"
"Oh, no, he's an Indian from the Bear River Reservation. If you go that way, you must be sure to visit it."
"I hope that we are going there, for I hear that Bear River is a beautiful place. Though I am not particularly anxious to see the Micmac on his native heath, it certainly is interesting to have met representatives of the four race elements in this little shop," said Amy, as they turned away.
"Four race elements?" asked Martine, not quite understanding her.
"Yes, of Nova Scotia Loyalists, Acadians, Indians, and negroes. To be sure Pre-Loyalists would be more representative than negroes--but the former did not settle Digby."
"Let's go up on Cannon Hill for a last look. Your mother just loves it. We have made some fine sketches of those crooked apple-trees and that old house."
"And the cannon? They are certainly unlike any others you will come across."
"I have photographed the cannon," replied Martine, with dignity, "and if I had time, I might sketch them."
"I love it here," cried Martine, as they stood on the hill. "One gets such a splendid view of the entrance to the Basin,--I can't bring myself to say Gut. When I stand here, I just close my eyes, and then fancy how these steep shores must have looked to the Frenchmen, Champlain and the others, who came sailing in through the passage that June morning so long ago. Then when I open my eyes I can actually see them out there--and if I were a poet, like you, Amy, I would write something worth while."
"I a poet! what nonsense! What put that into your head?"
"As if I didn't know all about you, Miss Amy Redmond," and Martine quoted a line or two of verse that brought the color to Amy's cheeks.
"That isn't poetry," she said with a smile. "But you are in a mood that shows me we ought to go home."
"Oh dear," sighed Priscilla three hours later, as she strapped her valise, "I believe I'd rather stay in one place all summer than move so often. I shall miss the pier and the barnacles. When we came in from the boat at low tide the other day, it seemed like one of the caverns of fairyland--so dark and mysterious."
"Yes, and you'll miss the codfish, too. Amy and I have been going through the missing agony this morning. But I have a fish story that will please you, Puritan Prissie. Though curing codfish is a leading occupation here six days of the week, on Sunday that man is fined who even sticks a pitchfork into a helpless cod--except,--and here I am afraid that this covers a quantity,--that if there has been a week of wet weather, if Sunday is sunny, then the gentle codfish may be turned over. This is merely a humane provision for the comfort of the cod, who otherwise would become unduly weary lying so long on one side."
"We shall become unduly weary waiting for you," cried Amy, who had entered the room during the latter part of Martine's speech. "I hope that you are both ready, for it is almost train time."
"All aboard then," cried Martine. "If my hat is on straight, nothing need delay us. Let me help you with your valise, Priscilla. My luggage has gone on."
When they reached the station Mrs. Redmond and her party found that after all they had some time to spare. At five minutes past the hour they took their seats. "Standard time, Halifax time, hotel time, local time," hummed Martine. "I wonder which we're starting by."
Presently the conductor walked along the station platform to the little waiting-room, and from the open window they heard him speak to some one inside.
"Have you made up your minds yet, ladies, about going?" he asked in a polite tone.
"Oh, gracious, yes," exclaimed a shrill voice. "We were waiting for the bell;" and two elderly women hurried toward the train with their knitting in their hands. Amy had noticed them busily knitting there, in a corner, when she passed. It seemed, by the conductor's subsequent explanation, that knowing they were uncertain whether to go by that train or the next, he had patiently waited for them to decide.
Bear River was one of the places where Mrs. Redmond had planned to stay. After a short railroad journey that included a passage over some wonderful bridges, beyond which was a great extent of water, and after a drive of five or six miles, they found themselves gazing down at picturesque Bear River. The beautiful town sloped to a broad stream, its white houses and spires half hidden by trees.
"It reminds me of Switzerland," cried Martine.
"It's a dream," exclaimed Priscilla.
"I don't believe Fritz has seen anything more beautiful," added Amy.
"It deserves a more beautiful name," said Mrs. Redmond.
"But, really, mamma, it's named for Imbert, the explorer, and the name doesn't seem so bad when we think of that."
Their day in Bear River proved to be a gala day of the town. They had arrived at the height of the Cherry Carnival, and games and boat-races and other festivities had been arranged as part of the celebration. The girls were up very early that first morning, and soon after breakfast Martine was out with her camera, taking snapshots in every direction. A fat old squaw in a red jersey pretended to be afraid of the kodak, and turned her head; but there was a grin on her face as she looked around, which Martine quickly caught. Another squaw, also fat, with a little pappoose in her arms and another clinging to her skirts, begged Martine to take her.
"Where you live?" asked Martine, as if talking to a child.
"Up there," pointing vaguely in the distance.
"Reservation; you come see."
Martine was interested.
"Is it far?"
"What's your name?" asked Martine.
"Marie Brown. You find my house."
Though the name didn't seem to fit the Indian, Martine was glad that it was one that she could remember; for all in a moment she had made up her mind to visit the Reservation.
During the morning, while she watched the sports and chatted with the bystanders and ate dozens and dozens of the famous Bear River cherries, Martine said nothing to the others of her intention of visiting the Reservation. It would be easy enough to borrow Amy's bicycle and say that she did not care to drive with the others.
Everything happened as she planned.
"Bear River is so hilly," said Mrs. Redmond, "that you will hardly wheel very far. But yet it's a quiet little place, and there is no risk in your doing some sight-seeing by yourself."
Martine soon found herself on a road leading toward the Micmac Reservation; she had asked her way once or twice, and felt lonely as houses and shops were left behind; but though she was going in the direction of the Reservation, she saw nothing to remind her of Indians.
"Where are the wigwams? Surely with so many Indians around there must be wigwams somewhere."
Martine looked about anxiously at trees, bushes, and at one or two small wooden houses. She had been riding for half an hour, and she felt that she had not taken the wrong way. There was nothing to do but to inquire at one of the little houses. As she approached it, she realized that it was an Indian dwelling; three pappooses were playing in front of it, and a tall, thin squaw, in a purple calico gown, came out to the door as she entered the gate.
"Marie Brown," said the woman; "oh, that far away. Too far for you; you better go home; it's late."
Martine knew that this was intended as advice, not as discourtesy, but Martine was not fond of advice, and she decided that if she could not see Marie Brown she would visit the chapel, of which she had heard some one speak at dinner that day.
When she asked the way, the woman drew her one side to an open space behind the house, where, on a hill that did not look too remote, she saw a small, square building with a cross on top for a steeple; so after a little conversation with the squaw about her people and their way of living, Martine pushed on toward the hill. She soon found that she must leave her bicycle behind, as there was no good road and the path was steep, and finding a spot that was screened by bushes, she left her wheel there; so on she went on foot until she had come to the enclosure, in the centre of which stood the Micmac Chapel.
Seen at close range, it looked like a toy church, built plainly of wood, absolutely simple and bare on the outside. Martine raised herself on a ledge of wood so that she could look in through the windows. There was something almost pathetic in the tawdry attempts at decoration--the little altar draped with old lace curtains and gold lace and some faded flowers. On top there was a silver cross within a white canopy, and a small altar with a canopy in the corner. Walking around the graveyard, Martine noticed that there were French names on almost all the stones.
Suddenly she was disturbed by the barking of a dog, and, following the direction of the sound, she saw a house on a hill high above the chapel. The dog was running up and down in front of the house, and barking loudly, as if he detected the presence of a stranger near the church. Martine remembered that the Indian woman in the cabin below had spoken of the chief's house near the church, but this did not reassure her. Perhaps the chief, himself, would object to the presence of a young American girl, and she began to wonder how she should make her peace with him if he should interfere; she was less afraid of the possible chief, however, than of the very real dog, whose barking still continued. To leave the enclosure by the way she had come would bring her out in full view of the creature. To avoid this, therefore, with some difficulty she climbed a fence at the other side, believing that she was going straight in the direction of the bicycle. But alas for her miscalculations! She was in a tangled thicket of shrubbery; she tore her dress and scratched her ankles, and she could not get back to the bicycle nor even find the cabin from which she had been directed to the chapel.
When at last she reached the broad road, she sat down disconsolately by the side of a fence.
"Why was I so foolish as to borrow Amy's bicycle?" Had it been her own wheel, so reckless was Martine's disposition, she would have left it behind without a qualm. Yet though it was quite possible for her to buy a new one for Amy, it did not seem quite right to return to the hotel without it. While she was pondering, without seeing any way out of the difficulty, she heard a shrill voice crying,--
"Hi, lady, hi!"
Turning about, she saw the tall, thin Indian woman in the purple gown walking down the hill and guiding the bicycle beside her.
"Why, how did you know I was here?" asked Martine, after she had thanked her profusely.
"Oh, I could see the way you start from the chapel, and I thought you not find your wheel, so I thought I bring him."
Martine, thanking the woman warmly, gave her all the silver that she happened to have in her purse,--not a very large sum from her point of view, but magnificent from that of the Indian.
The squaw then walked with her down the hill and into the village, saying that young ladies should not go so far alone. As they walked, Martine asked several questions about Indian life, and was told that, in the summer, many were away selling baskets or fishing; they would be coming back soon, she said, and even as she spoke Martine looked toward the river on which two canoes were gliding, each containing two or three Indians and their numerous belongings.
"They are coming back for St. Anne's Day," said the woman; "great time then at the chapel."
They had not gone very far together when, turning a corner, the two came suddenly on Priscilla and Amy.
"Oh, Martine," cried the latter, "where have you been? We have had our tea, and mother is so worried about you."
"I hope it was a good tea and that you saved me some," rejoined Martine; "for now that you mention it, though I hadn't thought of it before, I realize that I'm half starved."
"But where have you been?"
"Oh, I've been a kind of babe in the woods, only there weren't any berries for me to feed on, and all that I have to show for my adventure are these tears in my gown."
"Good-bye, ladies," said the Indian woman, while Martine was talking, "and I thank you much," she concluded, holding out her hand to Martine.
In a moment she had disappeared.
"Is that another protégée?" asked Priscilla, a little sharply.
Martine did not answer. She had already plunged into a lively account of her afternoon, omitting nothing, not even her own carelessness in relation to the bicycle.
At the hotel Mrs. Redmond spoke to Martine more seriously about the danger in expeditions by herself. "I had no idea that you thought of doing anything beyond wheeling around the town," she said; "and if you had met any real mishap, it would have been very hard for Amy and me, in whose care your father and mother put you."
So Martine promised that in the future she would be less thoughtless. "Although to be honest," she added, "my thoughts are so apt to come afterwards that it is almost dangerous to promise anything."
That evening, in the little hotel parlor, when Martine narrated her adventure, an old gentleman who was a permanent boarder there told her many anecdotes of the Micmacs.
"In the early days, as you know, they were very friendly to the French. They were early baptized and became Roman Catholics, and as they began to be civilized, they liked to be known by French names, and many married with the French. The Canadian Government is very good to them, and provides for them on reservations or encourages them to own land for themselves. The children all go to school, some in reservation schools, and some attend the ordinary day schools with white children. While some of them still prefer to live by hunting, fishing, and Indian handicrafts, others work in mills and on railroads; and, on the whole, they compare well with the lower class of white citizens, for they _are_ citizens with certain voting rights."
"I thought they'd be more picturesque and like real savages," said Martine. "I was so disappointed. There's something attractive in the name 'Micmac,' and I supposed that at least they'd live in wigwams."
"Considering the way in which you rushed in among them," interposed Mrs. Redmond, "I should think you would be glad that you met only tame Indians to-day."
"Very tame," rejoined Martine. "Only a tall, thin Indian woman in a purple calico gown."
"There are certainly not many of the original red men left in Nova Scotia," said Mr. Dolph, the gentleman who had been talking to them. "There are some collections of their legends that are interesting to read, and the names of many Nova Scotia places are of Indian origin."
"Oh, yes," said Amy; "I came across some lines to-day that I copied," and she began to recite:
"'The memory of the Red Man, How can it pass away? While their names of music linger, On each mount and stream and bay? While Musquodoboit's waters Roll sparkling to the main, While falls the laughing sunbeam On Chegoggin's fields of grain?'"
The next morning, when they were ready to leave Bear River, Amy decided to wheel rather than drive to the station. It was hardly five miles, over a main road, and she felt that she needed exercise.
"Keep us in sight, Amy."
"Oh, yes, if I don't pass you," she replied.
But Amy at first lagged behind,--there were so many lovely points of view, and she stopped several times to enjoy them to the utmost. What a curious effect, to look down on the river, or rather to look down from a hill, and see a ship apparently moored among trees! Of course the explanation was that the beautiful Bear River lay in a narrow valley, surrounded by hills that descended sharply to its very margin, with trees so close together on its banks as to produce the strange effect that Amy had noted.
The carriage was out of sight when Amy finally pushed on. Shortly she realized that pedalling required great effort. At first she ascribed her difficulty to the hills, but a slight grating of the wheel made her look at her tires, and, to her dismay, she found a small puncture. What should she do? She glanced at her watch, and was surprised to see how much time she had lost. One or two wagons had already passed her on their way to the train, and she regretted that she had not called for help. It might have been ignominious--it certainly would have been more discreet--to make her appearance at the station carried in a wagon rather than to lose her train altogether, as now appeared probable. She stopped a boy whom she met walking toward her.
"How far is it to the station?" she asked.
"Only a little way," he replied, after the fashion of boys, and she pushed on hopefully. She heard wheels in the distance, and made up her mind to humiliate herself to the extent of asking the new-comer to assist her; but when the vehicle came in sight it proved to be a narrow, one-seated buggy, and its three passengers seemed more than enough for it. A little farther on she heard an ominous whistle. The train was nearing the station. She felt indignant.
"Why should this particular train be on time on this particular day? Nova Scotia trains are not noted for hurrying."
Now she was walking and dragging her bicycle along. She met a number of persons who evidently had left the train at the Bear River station and were walking up to their homes. Then she heard the engine whistle again as the signal for starting on, and she knew that it was useless to go down to the station itself. She stood still for a moment, half paralyzed. Of course there was no special danger; her mother and the others might go on to Annapolis without her, and she could return to Bear River for the night; but it was all very mortifying. Then a sudden thought came to her; in fact, it had occurred to her when she first discovered the punctured wheel.
"If Fritz were with me, he would have found some way of mending the puncture; in fact, one man is almost necessary on an excursion." That was what Fritz himself had said to her.
She recalled his very words, and the remark with which he had ended,--"Then you'll remember me."
But there was no time for reflection now. The train was coming slowly along the bridges; Amy could see the smoke from the engine. Between her and the track lay an open space--a slight decline from the point where she stood on the road--covered with long grass and bushes. A quick impulse urged her on; at the worst she could only fail; Nova Scotia conductors were very obliging, and there was more than half a chance that she might succeed. She lifted her bicycle across her arm, managed to climb over the low fence, and was pushing her way down the hill as the train drew near. A man, probably the conductor, was standing on the platform of a car; she waved her hand violently. The train seemed to move more slowly; a man thrust his head out of the engine cab; he, too, had seen her. She was now not far from the track; the train stood still; the conductor leaped down from his post, plunged into the shrubbery, relieved her of her wheel, and she followed him without a word; then one or two passengers pulled her on board the train, the signal was given, and the engine started on.
"Lucky it wasn't a flying express," said one of the passengers.
"I guess they wouldn't do that in the States," said another.
Red-faced and crestfallen, Amy found herself a moment later in the bosom of her family.
"A punctured tire," she began.
"Yes, yes; don't try to talk."
Amy sat still.
Martine fanned her.
Priscilla brought her a glass of water.
Her mother asked for no explanation.
The passengers stared at her; the majority as if amused, though. One or two talked as if they thought their rights had been infringed.
"We were sorry," Mrs. Redmond said later, "to go without you, but it was better for you to be left than for the rest of us to lose the train; we knew you could go back to Bear River, and we could have telegraphed you what to do; we knew you would be equal to the occasion."
"So I was."
"Well, we hardly expected you to stop a train."
"Oh, the train stopped me."
"'All's well that ends well'"
Later in the day Martine came over to sit beside Amy.
"I'm afraid, Amy, that I may have punctured your tire yesterday; the road to the chapel was so very stony."
"Tires are bound to be punctured," replied Amy, "and if this hadn't happened when it did, I shouldn't have had the fun of stopping a train."
OLD PORT ROYAL
At Annapolis, the old Port Royal, Amy and her party were to stay longer than at any other place. They had engaged rooms at a pleasant house where there were no other boarders, and when they had unpacked their trunks, began to feel as if they were really away for the summer.
"We have a fine view of the river," said Mrs. Redmond to Martine the morning after their arrival, as they looked from the windows of her room, which was at the rear of the house.
"River!" sniffed Martine; "I see nothing but red mud and green marshes; I wonder where the water is."
"You won't ask that question at high tide; you'll find water enough to float a small vessel," she replied, "and if you look a little beyond our immediate neighborhood, you can see the whole Basin, and far, far away there in the distance, I suppose, that land is Digby. I am going out to sketch immediately after breakfast; I've seen several photographs of the old fort, and I have special reasons for wishing to make a sketch of it; and you, Martine, will get plenty of inspiration for your water-colors."
Amy was in her element at Annapolis. She had already given some time to the history of the old town, and anticipated great pleasure in retracing the steps of the brave Frenchmen who had made it famous.
"More French history!" Priscilla exclaimed, when Amy began to talk about De Monts and Poutrincourt; "when shall we hear about the English?" and Priscilla, with a wry face, continued, "I'm so tired of the French."
"All in good time," responded Amy; "but now we must take things in due order and not skip about as we did. Let us go with the others into the port to-day, and while they are sketching I'll talk a little about its history."
So it was that, while Mrs. Redmond and Martine were making sketches of the sally-port and old officers' quarters, Amy, seated near them, played the part of historian and guide.
"This fort, you know, is from Vauban's plans, with four bastions and connecting curtains."
"Do you suppose there's a moat?" interrupted Priscilla; "it looks as if there should be one here."
"There used to be a wet ditch in the eighteenth century, and I suppose that was much the same thing, though it's dry now."
"Oh, I can tell you something more entertaining than that," interposed Martine. "They used to have logs on the top of the parapet ready to roll down on the heads of assailants. But tell me, Amy, I've forgotten; did Champlain build this fort?"
"My dear Martine, where is your history? Vauban and Champlain; oh, no. Champlain's fort is six miles down the river, opposite Goat Island."
"Then who first built this fort?"
"Probably D'Aunay first planned it, and it was improved by Brouillan and Subercase. You must remember that it has suffered twenty attacks and ten regular sieges. There's little good in talking about it until you know the history of the times better."
"Oh, dear," murmured Martine, "of course I knew this was to be an improving trip, and yet I do think it's hard to have to learn history in the summer."
"I'm afraid there's no escape for it," said Amy; "the fog is rolling in, and this afternoon I will tell you once for all certain things that will give you great interest in Annapolis during your stay here."
So, undisturbed by further historical information during the morning, Martine, under Mrs. Redmond's direction, completed her sketch of the officers' quarters within the fort,--a quaint old building, with its thirty-six chimneys and thirty-six fireplaces, every one of which had probably been needed in the long and cold winters of old Acadia.
As Amy had prophesied, the afternoon was foggy, and she felt little compunction in insisting that Martine as well as Priscilla should join her before her open fire while she talked to them of Port Royal history.
"Although some French," she said, "may have visited Acadia as early as 1504, our starting point is 1604, when De Monts, who was a nobleman of the Court of Henry Fourth, and Champlain, and Poutrincourt, and Pontgravé came out on a voyage of exploration. Poutrincourt seems to have been the one most anxious to make a permanent settlement here. Champlain was the geographer and map-maker of the expedition, and was also on the search for ores. The grant of the land known as Acadia had been given by Henry Fourth to De Monts. He, as well as Pontgravé had been on a previous expedition to the New World. At first they were delighted with Acadia. They saw fine opportunities for fur-trading as well as for a permanent settlement. But after visiting the shores of the Annapolis Basin, they made a mistake by going farther south to the St. Croix River, and they spent their first winter on an island some distance from its mouth. This proved a bad thing, for the climate was severe and many of the colonists died; so when the weather permitted they went back to the neighborhood of Port Royal and set up their houses and built a small fort on Goat Island.
"They found the Indians everywhere very friendly, especially the old chief, Membertou, who was said to be nearly one hundred years old.
"When their buildings were finished, De Monts sailed back for France, knowing that he could be spared until after the harvests were gathered. Pontgravé was left in charge of the colony in his absence, assisted by Champlain and Champdore. When the spring of 1606 came and De Monts had not returned, the colonists were alarmed. They needed the supplies that he had promised to bring them, and they were afraid that something had happened to him. So, late in July, Pontgravé started off to see if he could not find some fishing-vessel to take them all back to France.
"In the meantime, De Monts in France had had trouble in getting people to interest themselves in the Port Royal Colony. But Poutrincourt, who had returned with him, proved his best friend, and helped in fitting out a vessel called the 'Jonas,' and promised to return to Acadia with De Monts, and take his family with him, to establish a permanent colony.
"With them came Lescarbot, an advocate of Paris, who afterwards wrote a full account of his residence in Acadia, from which we learn many interesting details that, but for him, we would not know. Pontgravé fell in with a shallop from De Monts' vessel and all returned to Port Royal. De Monts wasn't perfectly satisfied with Port Royal for a permanent settlement, and he persuaded Poutrincourt to make a journey farther south to find a better place; but this expedition ended badly, and Poutrincourt returned, convinced that he could be better off at Port Royal than anywhere else in the New World.
"Unluckily, the merchants in France who had supplied money for this trading colony sent word that they had decided to give it up. Without money with which to trade, the colony could not prosper, and so the majority of the colonists decided to go back to France. Poutrincourt, however, was determined to come back, and he took home with him specimens of grain grown in Acadia, and various animal, vegetable, and mineral products, to show the King what could be raised in Acadia. The King encouraged him to go back, and ratified the grant of land that De Monts had given him.
"So Poutrincourt returned to Acadia, and it is greatly to the credit of the Indians he had left in charge that all the buildings were unharmed. A new crop of grain, planted by the Indians, was growing finely, and Membertou and savages welcomed him very cordially.
"The King had given him a grant of money to be used for the Church and he brought with him a Jesuit priest, who baptized the savages by wholesale.
"In the summer of 1610, Poutrincourt sent his son, Biencourt, back to France to report the conversion of the savages and the general prosperity of the colony. Things in France were not going to be very favorable now for Poutrincourt. When Biencourt arrived in Paris, it was not long after the assassination of Henry Fourth. The Jesuits were now anxious to get control of Acadia, and, to make a long story short, Madame De Guercheville obtained a grant from the King of the very land that De Monts had granted to Poutrincourt; Biencourt had to take certain Jesuits back with him to Acadia; and there was much dissension in the little colony. But what really proved its downfall was an attack made in 1613 by the Virginian Argall, who killed and captured many of the inhabitants and burnt all the buildings to the ground. Poutrincourt made no effort to re-establish Port Royal, but Biencourt, his son, remained in the woods, living, with a few companions, the life of an Indian."
"Oh, yes, it was he, was it not," said Priscilla, "who was the friend of Charles La Tour down at Fort St. Louis?"
"The very man," replied Amy. "I often think that if Biencourt had left a record of his wanderings we should have something very interesting. He and his father made a good fight for New France, but circumstances were too strong for them."
"Thank you," said Priscilla. "I understand better than I did before how the French happened to settle Port Royal."
"Why," asked Martine, "did that Virginian--Argall, I think you called him--wish to interfere with the French? Jamestown had been settled only six years when he came up here and attacked Port Royal, and there wasn't any Plymouth, then, Priscilla."
"He had no real right to interfere, but the English, even then, claimed the whole coast of North America, basing their claims on the discoveries of the Cabots; Argall himself, however, is considered little more than a pirate, and no Englishman justifies his destruction of the prosperous and peaceful colony at Port Royal.
"The next settlement here was under the auspices of Sir William Alexander, a friend of James the First. You remember that he made La Tour a Baronet of Nova Scotia. He had great plans, and his colony was near Goat Island. I am told that some people here in Annapolis still speak about the Scotch fort, some trace of which is yet to be seen.
"War between France and England finally put an end to Sir William Alexander's colony, and it was Charles La Tour who did more than any one else to make Acadia of some importance to France. He claimed that Biencourt, Poutrincourt's son, when he died in 1623, had left all his claims to Acadia to him, including the position of Governor."
"Amy," said Martine, yawning slightly, "this is all very interesting, but unless I have time to digest it I shall forget it entirely. Let us put history aside until another day and see if we cannot find something more amusing."
"I'm going downstairs for a moment," said Priscilla; "I have an idea the mail has come."
In a moment she returned with a handful of letters.
"Boston, Plymouth, two from Shelburne--where's that? I suppose that I may look at the postmarks?"
"Give, give," cried Martine, and Priscilla put a couple in her hand.
"Only one for me," said Amy, "and it's from Fritz; he's at Shelburne. Did you have one too, mamma?"
"No," replied Mrs. Redmond, who had just entered the room.
"Oh, I thought there were two Shelburne postmarks."
Priscilla noticed Martine's heightened color, and an idea that had come to her at Yarmouth now returned. As it was a matter in which she had no real right to meddle, she said nothing.
"What does Fritz say?" asked Mrs. Redmond, turning to Amy.
"That he's having the time of his life, that he and Taps have found the best fishing in the world, and like Nova Scotia so much that they may bring a party of their own here next summer. What he writes about the French of Pubnico sounds exactly like Meteghan and Church Point, so I'll skip all that; Shelburne seems more romantic, and I almost wish it had lain in our path. He says it has one of the finest harbors he ever saw, but I will read you a little in his own words.
"'Shelburne, my dear Amy, is like the ghost of a city, to one who has imagination. It was planned to be the chief city of Nova Scotia, and there is something rather tragic in looking at the broad streets that were meant for a larger city. Hardly one of the fine old houses remains. They say that twelve thousand Loyalists came here just after the Revolution, and most of them were rich and influential. The frames of large houses were brought and set up here; people tried to live as they would in a great city, with servants and every luxury. With such a great harbor they expected to have a great seaport; but the trouble was, there was nothing in the country back of them. There was no farming land, and no farmers to supply produce for the ships in the harbor to carry away in exchange for other goods. After a while people found they had used up the money they had brought with them from New York and other places. Then those who could left Shelburne. Some went away leaving their houses fully furnished, and they never came back. They went to Halifax, to Annapolis, or even back to New York and Boston after the bitter feeling over the war had gone down.
"'If you were here, Amy, you'd find plenty of material for poems in Shelburne, especially on moonlight nights like last night, when Taps and I wandered up and down the broad streets, trying to imagine what Shelburne must have been in the days of its greatness. I hope that you and the others are enjoying yourselves as much as you expected to, without me or any other masculine disturber of the peace. I haven't a doubt that your mother thinks we've been pretty badly treated. She always was an unusually sensible woman, and we'd have been useful to carry your bags, if nothing more; however, mark my words, before your journey is over you will sigh for me more than once, and the day will come when you'll really need me.'"
"He thinks enough of himself, doesn't he?" said Martine.
"Oh, he's not really conceited," replied Amy, "and I dare say that he would liven us up a little; but on the whole things are best as they are."
"Aren't you quieter than usual, Martine?" asked Amy that evening.
"Well, I had a letter from papa to-day," she said, "and he says that mamma is really very ill, and that they may have to stay abroad all summer. I have just written him about Yvonne; but of course it will be some time before I can get an answer."
"What do you want him to do?" asked Amy,--"to let you adopt her? She's almost as tall as you are."
"Well, I'm not sure what I want, but I know that if Yvonne should have her voice cultivated she'd be a great prima donna, and what a feather in my cap to have been her discoverer!"
"I fear that your father would need more than your opinion to enable him to decide a matter like that. In fact, only an expert musician could make a safe prophecy about Yvonne."
"Well, at least, I hope that he will consent to letting her go to Boston to study next winter. We could find a doctor to help her eyesight."
"Why not ask your father to invest in Alexander's gold mine?" asked Amy, with a smile; "then he could do everything for Yvonne himself."
"That isn't the point. I've really taken a great fancy to Yvonne, and I want to have her near me. Have you written to Pierre yet?"
"Oh, yes; I went out this morning and bought him a copy of Longfellow. He had never owned one himself, and was anxious to have it. I have asked him to write us so that we shall get the letter at Grand Pré."
"It's time Priscilla had a protégée," said Martine, "though she doesn't seem the kind of person to adopt anything very warmly except her own opinions."
This was a rather sharp remark for Martine to make, and it convinced Amy of something that she had tried to doubt--that the two girls were really rather far apart, "and both such charming girls," she said to herself.
Martine's letters with the Pubnico and Shelburne postmarks had given Priscilla considerable concern. Though not a meddler, she yet saw Martine's lack of frankness about those letters. Priscilla knew that neither was in the handwriting of Fritz Tomkins, and she was sure that they were written by the Freshman with him whom she knew only by the name of "Taps." She was now quite convinced, also, that it really was Martine whom Amy had seen wheeling through the streets of Yarmouth with this same youth. That it was no concern of hers she realized perfectly; and yet, she wondered if it might not be her duty to tell Mrs. Redmond what she knew. Priscilla was over-conscientious; she was always more ready to disclose her own faults than to conceal them,--to disclose, at least, faults that she herself recognized. She did not altogether realize that a certain form of censoriousness was growing upon her; that she was too much inclined to measure all people by her own standard.
Thus many little things that Martine did quite innocently and naturally seemed to Priscilla bits of affectation. Martine's hand was ever in her pocket. When it was a question of buying books or fruit or some other little thing for the traveller, Martine always managed to pay for it, and Priscilla thought that her readiness to do this came from a desire to display the size of her allowance. Priscilla herself, on the other hand, had to be careful about little expenses, and while their present trip called for no great expenditure, she hated to be obliged so often to thank Martine for small luxuries. Then, too, Martine had an extravagant way of talking that disturbed the serious Priscilla. She could not say that she had ever found Martine in a real untruth. Still, Martine's way was not her way, and instead of drawing nearer together as the journey progressed, the two girls were farther apart.
Martine, on her part, thought Priscilla rather old-fashioned, but accounted for the seriousness of her dress and her manner by the fact that she was still in mourning for her father, who had died of fever contracted in Cuba at the beginning of the late war.
Perhaps it was because she realized that her prejudices were a little unreasonable, that Priscilla hesitated about speaking to Amy or Mrs. Redmond regarding the suspicious postmarks.
The long "historical disquisition," as Martine called it, that Amy had given them on their first day at Annapolis, was not immediately followed by another. Their mornings were spent in sketching in the neighborhood, and their afternoons in driving. One day they crossed the Grandville Ferry and went down to the old fort near Goat Island. But though they all professed to see slight traces of the earthworks, it required imagination rather than eyesight to discern even a slight trace of Poutrincourt's fort.
"It's one of the ironies of history," said Amy, "that tradition should speak of this as a Scotch fort, for the Scotch were here so short a time before the French were again in power."
"What became of the Scotch?" asked Priscilla.
"It is supposed that most of them went back home, and that the few who stayed intermarried with the conquering French. Sir William Alexander and his Baronets of Nova Scotia made little impression on Acadia."
"Amy," said Martine, "of all the people you've told us about the most interesting to me is young Biencourt, wandering about in the woods and living like an Indian; I even dreamt about him the other night. How did he happen to escape when Argall destroyed the fort?"
"Oh, he and some of his companions were up there where Annapolis now is, working in their grain fields; you know they had a mill up there, and rich fields of grain. The fort itself was not in a good location,--at least for farming. It is said that Argall and the other Virginians were not aware of the existence of the mill and the fields, and when they had destroyed the fort, thought that there was nothing left for the French."
"You may be pretty sure," said Martine, "they wouldn't have let anything escape if they'd known; the English are always greedy."
"They are not a bit worse than the French," retorted Priscilla. "Just think how cruel the French were during the Reign of Terror."
"Oh, that's an entirely different kind of thing; the French are never half as anxious to grab other people's land as the English are."
"There, there," interposed Amy, "I'll have to be a Board of International Arbitration; in other words, let us have peace. There's one thing," she continued, "I feel as if young Biencourt kept alive the love of the French for Port Royal. Charles La Tour was himself only a boy like Biencourt when he first came to the New World. The King had certainly given Poutrincourt rights in Acadia, and he had passed them on to his son. Poutrincourt was killed at the Siege of Marye in 1610, scarcely three years before Argall's destruction of Port Royal."
"How very gay your attire, Martine! Do you think of paying afternoon visits?"
"No, my dear Amy, I do not, because I know no one to visit; but I'm tired of cloth skirts and a shirt-waist, and I thought I would like to see how it would feel to wear something decent."
Martine's gown was a pale blue voile, made up over a bright blue lining, with a delicate white insertion on the waist; her hat, a blue chip, trimmed with white flowers, and she carried a parasol to match.
"Is your gown quite suitable for a walk on a dusty road?"
"Perhaps it isn't," responded Martine, "but sometimes one must live up to her feelings, and this is how I feel to-day,--like wearing my very best; besides, this is nothing remarkable, this dress, but it happens to be the best I have with me."
"Very well," and Amy sighed; "it's no use to argue with you, and as soon as Priscilla comes downstairs we'll set off."
When Priscilla appeared, she, like Amy, had a short cloth skirt and shirt-waist, but she made no comment on the elegance of Martine's appearance.
There was one thing rather incongruous in Martine's aspect,--she carried a small shovel, which looked as if it had never been used; such, indeed, was the case, and as she brandished it she said cheerfully, "I hope we shall go somewhere where we can dig. I hear there's any amount of hidden treasure around Annapolis, and I am anxious to get some of it for myself."
The girls walked a good while before they saw anything likely to reward an amateur antiquarian. Then, in a field quite outside the town, Martine's sharp eyes saw something that interested her. In a moment she was over the fence, with the others following.
"There," she said excitedly, "you see these very old, gnarled apple-trees and this clump of willows; I'm perfectly sure that this used to be an Acadian farm."
"That's a safe guess," rejoined Amy, "for all the land about here was once in the hands of the Acadians."
"Yes, but I think from this little mound and that hollow beside it that there was a house on this very spot. I noticed what Dr. Gray said when he was talking to your mother last evening, and that was what decided me to do some digging for myself."
"In a blue voile dress," responded Amy, in a tone of disapproval. "Ah, Martine, you are so absurd!"
Even while Amy was speaking Martine had begun to dig,--aimlessly, of course, although in a few minutes she had made a fairly large hole. When her shovel struck something hard she was delighted, but, digging deeper, she brought up only a piece of broken brick. Undiscouraged, she dug one side of the first hole, and presently she held out to Amy what at first puzzled them both. It looked like a mere bit of rusty iron, but later they decided that it was probably part of an old lock.
"Which I shall label 'Exhibit No. 1' in my museum of curiosities," said Martine.
"Let me see what I can do," cried Amy; "you must be tired."
So Martine surrendered her shovel, and in a quarter of an hour Amy brought up an old bottle, not at all remarkable in shape, but very valuable from Martine's point of view, because it was undoubtedly an Acadian trophy.
Priscilla contented herself with some slips from an ancient willow-tree.
"It is not the best time of year for making cuttings," she said, "but these French willows cling to life as closely as the proverbial cat. I heard of a man who had a walking-stick cut from a willow-tree. It looked as hard and dry as a bone, but one day he happened to stick it in the ground near a spring and forgot all about it. Some time afterwards, when he passed, the walking-stick was sending out little shoots, and in time it became a full-fledged willow-tree."
"That's a very good story," commented Martine, "and as we know you never tell anything but the exact truth, Priscilla, neither Amy nor I would think of doubting it."
As the trio were walking back toward town they met Mrs. Redmond, driving.
"Come," she cried, "which two of you will drive with me? You slipped off this afternoon without my realizing that you were going away, and now I want company."
"I would rather stroll along," replied Amy, "but I am sure that Martine and Priscilla would enjoy the drive. Martine is turning antiquarian, and if your driver can take you to some old grave or Indian mound, she will be delighted to use her shovel."
"I don't know what I can promise in the way of graves and mounds, but if Martine comes with me I can offer her a lovely view."
"If you please, Mrs. Redmond," said Priscilla, "I would rather walk back home than drive."
Although Amy tried to make her change her mind, Priscilla was firm, and the discussion ended by Amy's getting into the carriage with Martine and Mrs. Redmond.
As she walked along the main street, where the houses were still rather far apart, Priscilla noticed a little graveyard in a corner of a garden. As the gate was open, she felt at liberty to walk inside. The stones at which she glanced were of marble, and the inscriptions were well cut. The names on two or three of them were French, and the men who bore them had evidently been officers in the English army. This interested her, and when she saw a girl of about her own age standing at the door of a cottage near by, she felt emboldened to speak to her.
"They were not really French," said the girl, in answer to her question, "but of Huguenot family, who fought for the King in the Revolution. I've heard my mother say that one of them was a cousin of her grandmother's, and they all came here together at the close of the war."
Priscilla was delighted. Here, perhaps, was a person who would tell her something about the Loyalists of the Revolution.
"Were your people Loyalists?" she asked.
"Why, of course," was the reply, as if anything else were unsupposable.
"Oh, I'm so glad!" responded Priscilla. "I've been waiting to hear more about the Loyalists."
"You are an American?" questioned the girl. "Americans are not apt to care about Loyalists; they seem to think only about the Acadians; but my ancestors were all Loyalists, and if you will just come into the house my mother would love to talk to you."
So Priscilla followed her new acquaintance indoors. Outside, the house looked small, but within she found many rooms opening one into another, none of them very large, and all of them with low ceilings.
"My mother's great-grandfather built this house when he first came from New York. He was an officer in the Loyal American Regiment. There is his commission; we framed it to hang on the wall."
"By His Excellency Sir Henry Clinton, K. B., General and Commander-in-Chief of all His Majesty's Forces within the Colonies lying on the Atlantic Ocean, from Nova Scotia to West Florida inclusive, etc., etc., etc.
"By Virtue of the Power and Authority in Me vested, I DO hereby constitute and appoint You to be Captain of a Company in the Loyal American Regiment commanded by Colonel Beverly Robinson."
Priscilla read the whole commission in which the duties of the newly made captain were defined, to the very end where the signature of Sir Henry Clinton still stood out clearly.
While the new acquaintance went to call her mother, Priscilla looked around the pleasant sitting-room. There was a high, old-fashioned bookcase filled with books, many of them in dingy calf bindings. The young girl returned while she was looking at them, expressing her regret that her mother was not at home.
"My grandfather brought many of these books from New York," she said; "he was a nephew of the rector of Trinity Church, and was himself a graduate of King's College, New York."
"I don't see how they had the courage to give up everything and come down here so far away. Even if they did not like the new government, I should think they would rather have stayed where most of their friends and relatives were."
"Oh, it wasn't always a matter of choice," rejoined Eunice, for this, Priscilla discovered, was her new friend's name; "some had to come, because they had been too active in the King's cause and the other side would not forgive them. Even after the Peace many were in danger of imprisonment; and then a great many had had all their property confiscated, and thought it would be easier to start over again down here than to live in poverty among their old friends and neighbors."
Priscilla looked in amazement at Eunice. She expressed herself so much more carefully than most girls of her age.
"Martine would call her quaint," thought Priscilla, looking at her, "and if she knows as much about other things as she does about history, she must be a wonder."
"I wish my mother were here," said Eunice, politely. "She gets quite worked up when she talks about the Loyalists."
"I should think she would," responded Priscilla. "They certainly had a hard time."
"She thinks that we have been cut off from things that really are our own, and now, when we have so little money that I can't even afford to go away to college, she feels more and more indignant at the injustice of it all."
Priscilla did not know exactly what to say. In her mind there was a struggle between her feeling of patriotism and her sense of justice. As Eunice had put it, it did not seem fair that the Loyalists should have lost everything, simply because they had had the courage to hold out for the King. But a phrase came into her mind that she had often heard, and for the moment it seemed the only sentiment that she could express.
"After all," she said gently, "I suppose it was the 'fortune of war' that your people suffered so much."
"Oh, yes," responded Eunice, "that is what I often say to my mother; and then I tell her too, that in one hundred and twenty-five years the family probably would have lost all the property they had before the Revolution."
Finding that the subject was getting a little beyond her, Priscilla ventured a more general remark.
"There must be many interesting historical incidents connected with Annapolis; I mean, incidents that are not French," she concluded hastily. "I am just a little tired, myself, of the Acadians."
"I don't know of many very entertaining things," responded Eunice, "but I remember one story that might amuse you. During the Revolution, the people of Annapolis were awfully afraid of attacks from Privateers. You see, after the Acadians were driven out a large colony from New England came down here. They received grants of land from the government, and were very prosperous when the war began. Many were on the side of the Yankees, but in the end England was able to hold Nova Scotia. However, the small privateering vessels were constantly coming into Nova Scotia ports, and even Annapolis wasn't perfectly safe. One night two rebel schooners came up to the mouth of the river; they had about eighty men, and landed them safely, because the sentry at the fort was asleep. They entered the houses and stirred people up immensely; they seemed more bent on making mischief than in doing any real violence. There were not many citizens here in the town then, but one of them, looking from the window when he heard a noise in the street, saw two of the rebels disputing over something they had stolen; when they saw him at the window, they dashed into his house, and a minute or two afterwards another Annapolis man, only half dressed, rushed excitedly into the room to tell his friend that the Yankees were plundering the town; this was unnecessary information, because, as I have said, two rebels were already in the house. He discovered them with their bayonets pointed at him just as he had finished telling his story, and he was so surprised that he fell backward over a cradle, with his feet in the air. His comical appearance made the rebels laugh so, that he afterwards said that this saved his life, for before they had recovered he had jumped to his feet and run away. But later he and all the other able-bodied citizens were shut up in the fort, while the men from the schooners went through the houses and carried away everything movable. They allowed the ladies to keep their shoes, though they first removed the silver buckles. The schooners disappeared in the morning, when the report was spread around that the militia of the county were gathering and coming to Annapolis. That, I believe, was the only attack on Annapolis during the Revolution. It happened two or three years before the arrival of the refugees, and the accounts of it that have been handed down always represented it as a very comical affair."
"Did you say 'Yankees'?" asked Priscilla. "Did you mean--"
"Oh, I meant schooners from New England; I've heard they were from Cape Cod," replied Eunice.
"It was pretty small business," said Priscilla, almost apologetically. "I don't believe that the men on the schooners were either soldiers or sailors. I am sure that Washington wouldn't have approved if he had known."
"You don't think that all on your side were good, do you," asked Eunice, "and that all on ours were bad?"
Priscilla hardly knew what to reply. She was getting again into deep water, for she saw that although the war was long over, Eunice was still a strong partisan. So, as a kind of peace-offering, she asked Eunice if she would not walk back home with her.
"I should like to have you meet my friends whom I am travelling with," she said. "We are going to stay in Annapolis a week or more. Mrs. Redmond is making some beautiful sketches, and her daughter Amy is just dear; she is older than Martine and I, but she never makes us feel the difference in our ages, and she knows more than almost anybody I ever saw."
"I should love to walk back with you," said Eunice, "though I cannot stay very long. What is Martine like?" she asked abruptly.
"Oh, Martine,--well, Martine is different. She always sees the funny side of things, and she doesn't care what anything costs if she happens to want it. She's perfectly devoted to the French, and I'm so terribly tired of her Acadians that I want to find out what the English did in Annapolis."
"I will be glad to do what I can to help you," responded Eunice, "only you mustn't be too touchy about things; for you see we're still all English down here."
As Priscilla walked back to the boarding-house she congratulated herself on her new friend; for although she had known Eunice so short a time, she already regarded her as much more than an ordinary acquaintance.
"I can always tell," she said to herself, "whether any one is going to wear well. Mother says that that is the only test for real friends, and I can see that Eunice and I are likely to be more than acquaintances. I feel as if I had known her a long time. Now it wasn't so with Martine, and even though we have been together so much this summer, some way I don't feel perfectly comfortable with her. I'd like to be fair, but still--"
Yes, Priscilla meant to be fair, but still--what was the trouble? It is to be feared that she had not yet learned the real meaning of tolerance. Martine's point of view was often so unlike hers that Priscilla did not make enough effort to put herself in her friend's place. While believing herself just, she certainly permitted herself to be biassed little in her judgments. Nor did she realize that Martine herself often spoke in an exaggerated tone, chiefly for the purpose of seeing to what extent she could impose on Priscilla; for Martine, discovering Priscilla's attitude toward her, liked to say things to surprise her,--"Puritan Prissie," as she called her at these times.
It would not be quite true, perhaps, to say that Priscilla distrusted Martine's interest in Yvonne, although she had a strong conviction that it was merely impulse that had led her to promise so much.
"For the day that we spent at Meteghan, Yvonne was like a new plaything to her. Had Martine been with Yvonne a week, it would have been the same; she would have lavished things on her, and would have been ready to promise her anything. But 'out of sight, out of mind;' I believe that that is always the way with her. I am not even sure that she is as fond of Mrs. Redmond and Amy as she seems to be."
Poor Priscilla! she was really borrowing trouble needlessly, and yet in more senses than one it was real trouble to her, because she was never sure just how she ought to respond to the more flippant remarks made by Martine. They were often so witty that she could not help laughing, even when she felt the greatest need of preserving her own dignity.
Another grievance was Martine's way of addressing Amy. Priscilla herself had begun by trying to say "Miss Redmond;" occasionally she slipped into "Amy," but more usually "Miss Amy" was her form of address. Martine had laughed loudly at this, and one day she said, "It is what I call too servile. Amy is not greatly our superior, but still I'd rather call her Miss Redmond. I notice that Fritz Tomkins in some of his letters says 'Miss Amy Redmond.' I wonder if that would do for us?"
"Oh, Amy--that is, Miss Redmond--explained that it was just his way of making fun of her when he says 'Miss Amy Redmond.'"
"Probably, but when I can't think of anything else I will say that, though generally Amy is good enough for me, and here she is, looking as sweet as a rose." Whereupon, without the slightest regard for the dignity with which Priscilla would have liked to hedge Amy, Martine had thrown herself upon the older girl's neck, to the destruction of something less ideal than her dignity; to wit, the freshness of her muslin stock.
Thinking of this scene, Priscilla sighed. "Eunice would never do or say anything silly." This goes to show that she did indeed regard Eunice as a kindred spirit.
A TEA PARTY
"Prissie, Prissie," said Martine, in a teasing tone, "you are altogether too enthusiastic; I don't believe in these perfect people, and your little Tory must be rather a prig, from what you say."
When Martine called her "Prissie," Priscilla knew that she meant mischief, and though in her inmost heart she admitted that Martine's teasing carried no real sting, she never stood this teasing with very good grace.
"She isn't a Tory," she replied rather sharply; "there are no Tories in these days, and Eunice Airton is not a prig."
But Martine only laughed; perhaps she retained too firmly in her mind the remembrance of Priscilla's indifference to Yvonne and was now trying to pay her back. Priscilla had just given an enthusiastic account of her new acquaintance, and Mrs. Redmond and Amy had listened with great attention. Mrs. Redmond, indeed, was pleased that Priscilla had found something really to interest her. Although away from home not quite two weeks, Priscilla had begun to show the good effects of the trip in round and rosier cheeks, and in a slightly more animated manner. Yet it had seemed to Mrs. Redmond that she was not quite as pleased with things in general as the other two girls. She was sorry too to note the growing antagonism between Martine and Priscilla, though its cause was hard to discover. At first Martine's teasing had proceeded from the merest love of fun, and she thought that Priscilla took it all too seriously. Amy had already cautioned her that she could soon disarm Martine, by receiving everything she said as if said in pure fun. But Priscilla was sensitive, and she was just conscious enough of certain little foibles of her own to realize that sometimes Martine was laughing at her.
"Even if Eunice were a Tory, I shouldn't care," she continued. "I never heard any one talk as well as she does."
"Ah, that's just it, my dear Miss Prissie Prunes," retorted Martine; "I'll warrant that she's just as prim and precise as--"
Martine did not finish the sentence, but Priscilla realized well that she meant to say "as prim and precise as you are."
The day after this conversation Mrs. Airton called on Mrs. Redmond and the girls. Martine was not at home, but the others were pleased with the delicate little woman, in rather faded black, who was particularly cordial and anxious to have them see Annapolis at its best.
As she talked, it was easy to understand how Eunice came by her precise manner and language, for there was a certain bookishness in her choice of words, and correctness of expression, that, although not really subject to criticism, might become tiresome. Mrs. Airton had heard more or less about Mrs. Redmond and her party from Dr. Gray, to whose family Mrs. Redmond had brought an introduction.
"Now I hope," she said, toward the end of her visit, "that you will give us the pleasure of spending to-morrow afternoon with us and staying to tea. I suppose 'tea' has gone out of fashion in the States, but it's just the height of the strawberry season now, and perhaps you'll accept high tea in place of a late dinner."
"We shall be delighted to accept your invitation," Mrs. Redmond replied, "and as for tea, why, we never have late dinner at home in summer. We shall enjoy your hospitality."
Now it happened, unfortunately, that on the morning of Wednesday, the day for which Mrs. Airton had invited them, Martine and Priscilla had their first falling out. Like most fallings out, it began in a very trivial way. Among Martine's belongings was an elaborate toilet set of silver-mounted brushes and boxes; she had had the good sense not to carry them in her travelling bag, but at Annapolis, where they were to stay longer than at some places, she had unpacked them all from her trunk, and they were spread out in elaborate array on her bureau. Amy had planned an excursion for the morning to Granville across the Granville Ferry to a certain picturesque spot on the other side. When she and Priscilla were ready to start, they knocked at Martine's door, thinking that she too would be ready. To their surprise, they found her in a loose dressing-sack, busily engaged in polishing her silver.
"There, I forgot all about going with you," cried Martine; "the damp air has blackened my brushes so that I just thought the best thing was to sit down and polish them."
"Oh, dear," rejoined Priscilla, "we are late as it is; for if we miss this ferry-boat, we'll have to wait so long for another that we won't have any time on the other side."
"I can't help it," retorted Martine; "you can go without me if you like, though I'll drop what I'm doing and hurry to get dressed; but if you do not want to wait, it's all the same to me."
"Of course we'll wait," said Amy, gently. "I particularly wish you to be with us, Martine, and though it will shorten our time a little, we must make the best of it now."
Priscilla looked at her watch. "We ought to take this next ferry-boat, and if we wait for Martine we shall lose it. Cleaning silver seems such a waste of time when we're travelling."
Priscilla's manner rather than her actual words irritated Martine.
"I am the best judge of what wastes my own time," she said with unwonted sharpness, "and as a matter of fact, I'd rather stay here than go with you."
Amy, looking at her earnestly, realized that this was not the time for further argument.
"Very well," she rejoined. "Priscilla, let us go on. Martine is certainly the best judge of what she ought to do."
"I know I shouldn't have criticised Martine," apologized Priscilla, as they walked along; "but it seems so silly to me that she should carry a valuable set of silver like that on a trip of this kind. I spoke before I thought."
"Martine has always been greatly indulged," said Amy. "At least, I've been told that she sets no value on money, and so what would seem a little extravagant to us does not seem so to her."
"Well, good taste is good taste," rejoined Priscilla, "and if I had ten times as much money as I have, I'd never carry jewelry about with me travelling, nor expensive toilet-sets."
Amy did not reply to this. Her own view was much the same as that of Priscilla, but she realized that it was not for her to criticise either girl.
The trip to Granville proved less satisfactory than she had hoped. The town itself, though small, was attractively situated, and she identified one or two historical spots that she had hoped to see; but she missed the particular road for which she was looking, and on account of their engagement at Mrs. Airton's, she had to hurry back to Annapolis without accomplishing what she had set out to do. The mid-day sun was very hot, and she and Priscilla reached the house dusty and tired, to find Martine looking tantalizingly cool and comfortable, seated on a rustic bench under a tree in the orchard, busily working at a water-color sketch.
After their early dinner, Mrs. Redmond took Amy aside and said rather anxiously:
"I wish you could persuade Martine to go with us this afternoon."
"Go with us?" returned Amy. "Why, of course. Mrs. Airton expects her."
"I don't quite understand it, but she says that she does not care to go, and in fact she has engaged a horse for a ride."
"On horseback! Who is going with her?"
"No one. She says that it's perfectly safe for her to go alone, and though I tried to dissuade her, I can see that she is determined to have her own way."
"I suppose that's what they mean by Martine's being difficult to manage. Thus far I had thought her remarkably amiable."
"There's one thing about it," rejoined Mrs. Redmond, "it may be better to let her have her way this time than to have her take it without our permission. I have learned that the horse she is to have is perfectly safe,--so safe in fact, that I fear she'll find it rather a bore,--and she says that she'll only go over the road where we drove the other afternoon, every step of which she knows; but I must say that I regret her discourtesy to Mrs. Airton, for her refusal of her invitation must seem very strange. Why do you suppose she is unwilling to go?"
"I'm afraid it's because she and Priscilla had a little disagreement this morning. It was so slight that I wouldn't have attached any importance to it, but apparently Martine has taken it more to heart."
When Priscilla learned of Martine's change of plan, she made no comment, believing in her inmost heart that Martine had taken this way to show her real distaste to those whom she called Priscilla's "Tory friends." When Mrs. Redmond and the other girls reached Mrs. Airton's early in the afternoon, they found their friend Mrs. Gray there, and one or two young girls of the neighborhood. For a while they sat in the low-studded sitting-room where Priscilla had looked at the commission signed by Sir Henry Clinton. Their conversation did not concern itself entirely with the past, but there were many questions about the present, of Nova Scotia in general and Annapolis in particular, that the Americans were anxious to ask and the others glad to answer.
Later, however, they got back to the subject in which Priscilla was especially interested,--the Loyalist refugees and the hard times they experienced. Eunice had shown her, among other things, her great-great-grandfather's silver breastplate, with his monogram and a crown finely engraved upon it, and one or two of his letters, the paper yellow with age and the ink faded.
"Since you are interested in such things," said Mrs. Airton, "perhaps you would like to see some other letters. You might show her, Eunice, that one that we have that is a copy of the one that my great-grand-aunt Hester wrote to Sir Guy Carlton, when she was trying to arrange to leave New York. You know, my dear," she continued in explanation, "in those days people almost always made copies of their letters, and we have a good many that are really very interesting. I believe this letter contained a request from Hester and her sister, Anne, whose husbands had both been killed toward the close of the war."
So Amy, taking up the paper, read without difficulty the clear, round handwriting:
"'The Memorial of Hester Danforth, widow of Benjamin Danforth, late captain of the Prince of Wales' American Regiment and Anne Dutton, widow of Josiah Dutton, Lt. in said Regt. Humbly sheweth That your Memorialist, Hester Danforth has two sons, one fourteen and the other twelve years old, and Anne Dutton three children, oldest son fourteen, youngest son seven and her daughter ten years old--That as they purpose to go to Nova Scotia with their children--
They wish to go on the ship with Dr. Peter Brown, who is about going with a company of refugees to St. Johns River.
That they may be indulged with drawing the land's Government may allow them in that quarter and with the company that goes under the direction of Dr. Brown or such other company of refugees as may appear to your Memorialists more eligible.
That they may be indulged with the liberty of taking with each of them a man and woman servant and allowances of provisions, clothing, etc. as to your Excellency may seem meet.
That, should your Excellency graciously order six months advance upon their pensions to be paid previous to their sailing, it will be very thankfully received as indeed their circumstances are such as they cannot go with reasonable Comfort and Decency without it.
As your Memorialists sufferings have been very long and great--They humbly ask as many Favours and Indulgences as to your Excellency shall appear anyways reasonable and fit, and as in duty bound they will ever pray etc.
HESTER DANFORTH ANNE DUTTON
NEW YORK, _June 2, 1783_.'"
"I always think that an interesting letter," said Mrs. Airton, "because both of those ladies who signed it were brought up in the greatest luxury; their father had one of the large estates on the Hudson and their mother was of English birth and an heiress; but the family saved not a single shred of their fortune and it is rather touching to read behind the lines of this letter and to see that both these young women, for they were under thirty-five, had for some time been suffering for the necessities of life."
"'The fortune of war,'" commented Priscilla, in the very words that she had used on her first visit to Eunice.
"I hope," added Amy, "that they found life comfortable after they came here."
"Ah," said Mrs. Airton, shaking her head, "at first life here could hardly be called comfortable. Imagine twenty-five hundred people crowded into this little town, which had not rooms for one tenth the number. Often a whole family had to content itself with one room, and delicately reared women and children had to spend at least a part of that first winter in tents. Several hundred, it is said, were herded together in the church. Of course, after a few months they began to distribute themselves through the country. Sometimes they had great trouble in taking possession of the land granted them, because it was already in the possession of the New Englanders who had settled on the farms of the Acadians twenty years before. Usually these pre-Loyalist settlers had a rightful title to the land they claimed; then the refugees had to apply for other lands. Many of these refugees were professional men or merchants from New York City, and they found it hard in middle life to become farmers; but, as you say, my dear, it was the fortune of war, and in time they adapted themselves to the new conditions. In the course of a few years some went back to New York, others sailed over to St. John, where, from the beginning, city life prevailed, and those who stayed here in Nova Scotia seemed to be contented with their lot; although I for one feel very bitter when I think of all that my family in its various branches lost. I feel it the more because I'm able to do so little for my children, and they are reaching an age when a little money would mean so much."
"Ah, yes, mamma," interposed Eunice, "but if the money had stayed in the family after the Revolution it might all have been lost before this, and besides, Balfour and I do not care half as much for wealth as--" and here she stopped, for at this point Mrs. Gray interrupted her.
"Indeed, I think it a greater privilege to have grown up in Annapolis than to have lived in the finest city of the United States. Why, I can assure you, Mrs. Redmond," turning to the latter, "that few places of its size have had so many distinguished residents. When the fort was garrisoned, it was quite like an English town, and I've heard my grandmother speak of the parties that were given here when she was young; not to mention the Duke of Kent, who was here before her day, there have been such men in the garrison as Sir Colin Campbell, afterwards Lord Clyde, while Sir Fenwick Williams, the defender of Kars, was a native of the town, and surely no literary man in America has a wider reputation than Judge Haliburton, whose house was just down there beyond the hotel. I often think of the lines by Oliver Goldsmith, who lived here,--a grand-nephew, my dear," laying her hand on Amy's, "of the great English poet, who himself wrote 'The Rising Village,' describing Annapolis."
"Oh, can't you recite a part of it?" asked Amy. She had already discovered a vein of sentimentality in Mrs. Gray, and she was right in judging that the request would please her.
"I'm sorry to say," replied Mrs. Gray, "that my memory is not what it used to be, and the only lines I recall do not touch on the social so much as the natural charms of Annapolis."
"Oh, but please do say them." This time it was Priscilla, and Mrs. Gray began:--
"'Here the broad marsh extends its open plain, Until its limits touch the distant main; There verdant meads along the uplands spring, And grateful odours to the breezes fling. Here crops of grain in rich luxuriance rise, And wave their golden riches to the skies; There smiling orchards interrupt the scene, Or gardens, bounded by some hedge of green; The farmer's cottage bosomed 'mong the trees, Whose spreading branches shelter from the breeze; The winding stream that turns the busy mill, Whose clacking echoes o'er the distant hill; The neat, white church, beside whose walls are spread, The grass-clad hillocks of the sacred dead.'"
"It sounds like 'The Deserted Village,'" said Priscilla, politely; "that was one of the poems that we studied at school last year; you recite this beautifully."
"Ah, well, I'm aware that the first Oliver Goldsmith's poem is greater poetry, but here in Annapolis people were very fond of Oliver the younger, and if ever you've time to read the whole poem, you will find that he thoroughly appreciated Acadia."
But all the hours of that pleasant afternoon were not spent in historical conversation. Priscilla and Eunice, arm in arm, wandered out in the pleasant orchard, and, swinging together in the hammock, talked about all kinds of things, more frivolous than serious, such as girls care to talk about. In appearance the two girls were not unlike, though Eunice was a little the taller, despite the fact that she was a few months younger; her eyes were the same gray-blue and her hair the same pale brown as Priscilla's; not quite fair enough to be called golden, and hardly dark enough to be called brown.
"It is strange," Amy had said to her mother, after Eunice had first called on them, "that Eunice Airton reminds me of some one I have known; I cannot say just who, but it is one of those resemblances that worry one; you feel as if you must decide whom it is she resembles, yet try as I can I cannot think."
While the girls were in the orchard, Eunice pointed out to Priscilla the various additions that had been made to the house. Little ells and rooms had been added, some of them only one story high, and the original house, built by her Loyalist ancestor, was the very smallest part of the present dwelling.
"I thought it strange," said Priscilla, "when you said that this house was built just after the Revolution, that it should have been so large, but now I understand."
"Oh, there's been an ell added for nearly every generation. To tell you the truth," she concluded, "although my mother speaks so despondingly now, the family have seen better days, even in Annapolis. My grandfather Balfour was a very successful lawyer, and in spite of the Revolution"--here she smiled--"we might have been rich to-day if he had not sunk his money in unlucky speculation."
"Balfour?" queried Priscilla. "Where have I heard that name?"
"Oh, the name itself is not so very uncommon. There must be many of the name somewhere, although our family was the only one down here."
A little later the girls were looking over some of the old books on the bookshelves; they were chiefly history and poetry. There was Robertson's "Charles Fifth," a fine set of Pope's Complete Works, and Dodsley's "Miscellany," with the gilding on its calf binding not yet quite worn off. Priscilla looked at these books with less interest than Amy showed for them; she was not as ardent a lover of things ancient, although her respect for Eunice increased when the young girl told her that she had read nearly every book in the house.
"We have long winter evenings," she said, "and fewer amusements, I suppose, than you have in the cities; and really I would rather read than do anything else."
"But these books are so very old-fashioned, and Pope's poetry, don't you find it pretty dull? I didn't care so very much for 'The Rape of the Lock,' though some people call it amusing."
"I prefer Tennyson," replied Eunice, in a judicial tone, "but I feel there are certain things one must read some time, and mother says that I might as well read them now, while I have the books. Some time," and here she sighed, "we may have to break up our home, and that might mean packing away all our books; so it's well to 'make hay while the sun shines,'" she concluded with a bright smile that was in marked contrast with the sigh of a moment before.
In the meantime Amy, in looking over some of the books, gave an exclamation of surprise; she had opened a large Bible, on the fly-leaf of which was written "Audrey Balfour, Her book."
"There is something very familiar in that name," she cried, "Audrey Balfour, and yet for the moment I can't recall any one to whom it belongs."
"It's a family name," said Eunice, "and I've always wished that it had been given to me, for there has always been an Audrey in the family for each generation until now."
At last supper was announced, and if any of the party had lacked appetite, the sight of the long table, with its delicate china and old-fashioned silver and glass, would have been an inspiration. The silver spoons, to be sure, were very, very thin, and the cups and saucers were not without cracks, and here and there showed other imperfections; but these things only emphasized the fact that silver and china were really old; and the large silver dish, heaped with great strawberries, was of a style that Mrs. Redmond said would make it almost worth its weight in gold to a collector.
"I am so sorry," said Mrs. Airton, politely, "that Miss Martine is not with you. I have seen her passing two or three times, and she is a particularly attractive girl."
"She is indeed very attractive," responded Mrs. Redmond, "and on this account we regret her occasional wilfulness; she had planned a ride to the Bay Shore and we could not induce her to give it up. But she wished me to thank you for her invitation, and she said that if she possibly could, she would be here in time for tea; but it seems now as if she has been unable to carry out this part of her plan."
"Oh, if she really goes to the shore," interposed Mrs. Gray, "I am sure she will hardly be back in Annapolis before dark. It's a long ride, and I only hope she doesn't find the road too hard."
"Martine is a good horsewoman; her father told us that we might trust her on any horse, and had I not known this, I should have hesitated to let her go."
"She did not go alone, I hope," said Mrs. Airton, anxiously.
"Oh, no; she consented rather reluctantly to an escort, and from the stable they sent a Mr. Frazer, an elderly man, who promised to look after her."
"Mr. Frazer!" Eunice laughed as she uttered the name. "Well, if he's on his own horse and if Miss Martine keeps beside him, she'll certainly have a slow, safe ride."
IN THE FOG
In the meantime, where was Martine? When Mr. Frazer and his staid sorrel steed appeared in front of the hotel, Martine had smiled inwardly.
"His horse certainly looks safe, and the man himself,--well, he may be a good guide, as they say, and perhaps he can tell me about everything we see in passing; but if he proves a bore, as I am perfectly sure he will, I'll contrive some way to rid myself of his company."
It was a perfect afternoon for a ride, mild and windless, with just enough sun to relieve the landscape of the monotony by creating artistic effects of light and shade. Martine was in great spirits, for, like most persons from the inland cities, she loved the sea even more deeply than those who dwell beside it.
"The Annapolis basin is tame," she had said the day before. "I am tired of the still, blue water and the red mud and the marshes and the meadows, and I long for a breath of the real ocean."
"We're some distance still from the ocean," Amy had rejoined. "The nearest to it is the Bay of Fundy."
"Well, from all I've heard, the Bay of Fundy is fiercer than the ocean itself, and I must see it; for I've been tracing our route on the map, and it seems to me that we've left out the Bay of Fundy altogether; we are curving away from it all the time."
"Perhaps we can have a picnic on the Bay Shore before we leave."
"Oh, no, my dear Miss Amy Redmond; we won't have many days, and 'a bird in the hand is worth two in the bush.' Just as soon as I can manage it, I'm going to the Bay Shore myself."
So Martine had "managed it" by giving up the afternoon at Mrs. Airton's, and now, as she rode along toward the North Mountain, she had a certain feeling of triumph.
At first she and her guide kept very close together. He felt it incumbent on him to give her as much information as he could about the country and its history. Even when his tale concerned the Loyalists, Martine did not assume the air of indifference that was always hers when Priscilla touched on the same subject.
"It's a pity," said Mr. Frazer, "that there is nothing to be seen now of all the wonders that old General Ruggles did in his time. He had one of the largest grants of land hereabouts, away up over the top of a mountain, and though he was past seventy when the war ended, he set to work clearing forests and laying out his grounds like a young man. He imported all kinds of trees from Massachusetts, and his place was a model for the whole county. He found a deep gulch on his land that was sheltered from the winds and yet sunny, and there he planted some rare trees,--black walnut and peach and other things that generally grow only in the far south."
"Was he an English general?" asked Martine, listlessly.
"Oh, I've heard," replied Mr. Frazer, "that though he was bred a lawyer in Massachusetts, he became a colonel in the wars that the Americans fought against the French, and was high in command at Ticonderoga and Crown Point; it was in that war that he got his title of Brigadier General, and so he might be called an American officer."
"Then what was he doing down here in Nova Scotia?"
"Oh, when the Revolutionary troubles began he wasn't in favor of breaking off from the mother country; he was a Chief Justice of Common Pleas, and he wrote and spoke against separation. So at last he and his family had to give up everything and take refuge with the British in Boston. He doesn't seem to have been a fighter against his countrymen, but he preferred exile to sacrificing his principles. I've always been interested in the old general," added Mr. Frazer, apologetically, "though I don't just know why, for he was dead long before my father even was born. But I've read a lot about him, and people here still tell many stories of him, and altogether he seems something like those heroes we hear of, working so energetically to keep his spirits up."
"Yes," said Martine, "I agree with you that it does seem rather heroic, only it's a pity that he was on the wrong side." Then, lest Mr. Frazer should be inclined to argue with her, she quickly changed the subject.
"This road over the mountain is pleasanter than I thought it would be; I mean, everything looks so cultivated and prosperous."
"Oh, there isn't a better section anywhere than this," he replied. "The orchards and farms all pay well; why, there's a place up beyond," he continued, "that they call Paradise; and if it wasn't for winter, which I suppose they don't have in heaven, I should say that the name just fitted."
Mr. Frazer was so pleased with his own wit that he chuckled softly, and so far forgot himself as to urge his horse forward.
"Let's stop here," cried Martine, "for a moment; I never saw so many beehives."
"I don't know," replied Mr. Frazer, timidly, "as it's hardly safe; sometimes, when they're swarming, they are apt to sting if you go too near them."
But Martine was already off her horse and over the low fence, and Mr. Frazer could only follow her example. The farm was situated at the junction of two roads. Martine had taken the precaution to tether her horse to a hitching-post, but Mr. Frazer, trusting too implicitly to the sedateness of his steed, had left it unfettered to nibble the grass by the roadside. The hives that had attracted Martine's attention proved as harmless as she had prophesied, so she wandered on toward an old-fashioned garden, blazing with mid-summer blossoms. Now Jill, the sorrel that Mr. Frazer had ridden so proudly, proved less reliable than might have been expected from the character of its owner; for, in the course of its nibbling, it wandered down the road, passing back of the farm, and Mr. Frazer was so intent upon telling Martine all that he knew about bees and flowers that he quite forgot to keep his eye on his horse. Thus it happened that the animal found itself near some hives whose occupants were changing habitations. Then, at the very moment when Mr. Frazer bethought him of Jill, to his horror and great surprise he saw her starting on a run down this back road. He did not wait to explain matters to Martine; he knew by the cloud of bees in the distance that the horse had undoubtedly been stung. "Wait until I come back," he shouted, as he started in pursuit of his horse.
Martine smiled as he leaped over a fence, his coat tails flying in the air.
"Unseemly haste," she murmured, "for so dignified a person. I wonder how long he can keep it up."
For five or ten minutes Martine continued to wait in the old-fashioned garden; then she looked at her watch. It was later than she supposed; the sun was less bright, and a slight chill in the air warned her of approaching fog.
"I didn't promise to wait," she said to herself, "and after all the bother of arranging it I can't be cheated out of my sight of the Bay. It's a straight road and perfectly safe, and my horse hasn't shown a sign of a trick; so in five minutes, if my guide hasn't returned, I shall go on alone."
At the end of five minutes Mr. Frazer had not appeared, and Martine, remounting her horse, resumed her way toward the Bay Shore. She set off at a speed that would have quite shaken the breath out of Mr. Frazer, and she was really surprised to discover how much life her animal had. Thus it happened that in spite of the delay she really had a glimpse of the Bay of Fundy before the fog had hidden it. It is true that already there was a thin veil of mist floating about her and permitting her to see rather dimly the rocky shore, and the scattered hamlet that lay at her feet.
Martine felt most uncomfortable. Her situation was certainly lonely, and she would gladly have borne the rather tiresome conversation of her late guide for the sake of his protection. But though she waited as long as she dared, he did not appear; nor did she meet him as she turned about toward Annapolis.
Toward Annapolis--but where was Annapolis? For all at once she seemed to be riding through a cloud, and she recalled a day when she and a party of friends had thought themselves lost on one of the highest of the White Mountains, pushing their way vaguely through the cloud that enshrouded them. Of one thing, however, she now felt sure. When she reached the crossroads and the farm where the beehives were, she would have no difficulty in continuing her way.
But, alas for all calculations! how it happened she never knew, but soon she realized that she was on a road quite different from the one by which she had travelled to the shore. In the fog she had turned somewhere, and the new road was lonely in the extreme. There were no houses near; at least, she judged there were not, for the road itself was rough, more like a forest road, and both sides seemed to be lined with trees. For a short time she went on cautiously; then a line of verse came into her mind that she had heard Amy quote only the day before,--
"'When once a man hath misséd the right way, The farther he doth go, the farther doth he stray.'"
So she brought herself to a full stop and, slipping from her horse, stood beside him, gently stroking his side.
"Good old fellow," she said gently, "if I'd leave you to yourself, I dare say you'd carry me home safely. Perhaps in a few minutes we can turn round and make a fresh start; but now I want to think."
So she stood for five minutes or more, and among the many thoughts that flew across her brain was one that, if shaped into words, would have been: "I wish that I had gone with the others to Mrs. Airton's." But she could not remain inactive.
"Whatever happens, I won't be lost on the mountain," cried Martine, emphatically. "It's always better to go on than to stand still, and especially as the fog is so thick that I'm likely to be drenched to the skin if I stay here much longer."
At this moment the surrounding stillness was broken by a sound; she listened intently, and in a very short time realized that what she heard was really the noise of approaching wheels. She drew her horse close to the side of the road; a vehicle of some kind was near her.
"Hello, hello," she shouted, picturing herself at the moment as a stranded mariner on a shipwrecked vessel. The vehicle was close upon her; the driver drew up his horse; Martine approached him.
"What on earth--" he began.
"Yes, on earth," responded Martine. "I shouldn't like to be at sea, lost in the fog."
"So you're lost, are you?" replied the driver of the wagon, in a brisk, cheerful voice. "Well, there's one thing, you needn't stay lost."
Martine looked at the speaker, who had now jumped down from his seat and was standing beside her. He was a tall youth, with reddish brown hair and a frank, pleasant face, and she judged that he was two or three years her senior.
"It's fortunate," he said, "that we happened to have an order for some groceries up beyond at the Jones farm. I don't come this way once a month, and there is very little passing any day; so if you had waited for some one to rescue you, you would have had to wait a long time."
Martine was not sure that she liked the word "rescue." All her life she had prided herself on her independence, and it irritated her to realize that she had put herself in a position that obliged her to depend on a stranger.
[Illustration: "'Hello! hello!' she shouted."]
"Perhaps I shouldn't have said 'lost,'" she responded; "I've only just missed my way a little, and if the fog should lift I could easily find my way back to my friends."
"If the fog should lift!" The boy laughed heartily. "Are you acquainted with the habits of fogs? Or perhaps it behaves differently in the States; but in this part of the world, when it sets in late in the afternoon, it generally stays all night. But come," he continued more gently, "you'll catch cold if you stay here much longer. I'm on my way to Annapolis myself, and I'll very gladly take you there. Come," he continued, holding out his hand; "you'd better get into the wagon here, and I have a rope by which we can lead the horse behind."
"Oh, no," said Martine; "I can ride just as well. I don't mind the fog, if you will let me follow your wagon."
"Nonsense!" protested the boy; "you can't go fast enough to keep warm, and your horse might make a misstep; and besides," he concluded, "I have a sister about your age and I know what's best for girls. Come, jump in."
To her own great surprise Martine found herself obeying the strange youth; perhaps, after all, she felt that there would be more comfort for her in his covered wagon than in picking her way through the fog, over the rough road. When she was seated, he handed her a carriage robe which he bade her wrap around her; then he tied his rope to the horse's bridle, saying as he did so:
"I know this animal well, and he'll follow us like a tame cat."
Then he took his seat beside Martine and they drove along slowly. After a turn or two they came to the place that Martine called "the beehive farm." Already she had related the story of Mr. Frazer's adventure, and her acquaintance had laughed heartily at her account of the good man's flight after the recreant Jill.
"I didn't suppose even a swarm of bees could put any speed into Jill, but Frazer himself is so conscientious that I wonder that he isn't sitting here on the fence waiting for your return."
As they talked Martine wondered and wondered who her rescuer could be. Both his language and his subjects of conversation were not what she would have expected from a grocer's boy, for that was what he called himself once or twice, and in the back of the wagon there was a large kerosene can, with one or two empty boxes, as well as some packages that certainly looked like groceries. But she did not waste much time in speculating, because she found so many things to ask that she had never thought to ask any one else before.
"Didn't realize that the first mill on the Continent was built at Annapolis?"--said her companion, "and you from Chicago, where people are supposed to think and dream about flour and grain? I am surprised. And you didn't know that Membertou, that old Indian, is reckoned the first convert made in America? Dear me, where have you been brought up?"
"Oh, I'm learning," responded Martine. "I'd never heard about the Acadians until we came down here. But now I think they're just great; don't you?"
"I should hardly call them great," returned the other, with a smile, "although there's any amount of interesting history connected with them; but I've always taken more interest myself in the early days of Port Royal than in the exile of the Acadians. I wish they'd change the name of Goat Island back to Biencourtville, for that's what it's called on Lescarbot's map."
"Oh," replied Martine, not knowing what else to say.
She knew nothing about Lescarbot and less about his map, but she didn't wish to display her ignorance.
"I remember Biencourt," she added meekly; "he had a very hard time, hadn't he?"
The face of the other brightened.
"Oh, I'm glad you remember him; he's my idea of a hero. I believe if he had lived Port Royal would have fared much better. Charles La Tour was not at all the same kind of man. But Madame La Tour, ah, she was the right sort! Perhaps you know her story."
"No," replied Martine, meekly, "I do not, but probably Amy does."
"Who is this paragon, this 'Amy'? You've spoken of her several times; she seems to know everything."
"I really think she does," replied Martine--"know almost everything. But I wish you could tell me about Madame La Tour."
"There won't be time now, but I could lend you a book, if you stay here longer. She doesn't exactly belong to Annapolis; it was the fort at the mouth of the St. John that she defended. But here we are fairly in the town, and you can consider yourself saved," he concluded with a smile.
"Why, there's Mrs. Airton's house!" exclaimed Martine in surprise; "I didn't know you were coming this way."
The boy looked at her curiously.
"Do you know Mrs. Airton?"
"Well, not exactly, for I was out when she called, but she was kind enough to ask me to tea to-day, only I thought I'd like to ride instead. I thought that perhaps I'd be back in time for tea."
"You were right in that," rejoined her companion, pulling up his horse. "I'm sure they're not through tea yet; I can leave you and take your horse on to the stable. Here, jump out."
But Martine hesitated, and for the moment she was annoyed at her rescuer. If Priscilla or Amy should look from a window, how mortifying it would be to be seen driving in a grocer's cart with a riderless steed tagging on behind.
"No, thank you," she said; "I would rather go on to my boarding-house; please drive on."
She never knew whether her new acquaintance would have heeded her request or not, for hardly had she spoken when from a side door Eunice Airton and Priscilla rushed toward the wagon.
"Where's Martine?" cried Priscilla, excitedly; "we recognized the horse."
"Oh, Balfour," began Eunice, "what--"
Without further ado Martine jumped down from the seat. The girls had approached the wagon from the rear, and at first had not seen her. Her sudden appearance surprised them. By this time Amy had reached the group.
"What happened?" and she looked on Martine for an explanation.
"Nothing, nothing," replied Martine, "only I was caught in the fog."
Amy laid her hand on Martine's arm.
"Your clothes are damp; you may take cold."
"Come into the house," added Eunice; "we are not yet through tea."
Martine saw that protest could not avail. As a matter of fact, she was not only cold but hungry, and the prospect of something to eat was one that she could not resist.
"You said that you might come to tea," remarked Amy, "and so Mrs. Airton will not be altogether surprised."
Had any one but Amy said this, Martine would have suspected her of sarcasm; but even if Amy would inwardly smile at her ignominious return, Martine could bear ridicule from her better than from any one else.
When Martine had replaced her waist with a drier one belonging to Eunice, Eunice led her to the dining-room, where the others had resumed their seats. Mrs. Redmond and Mrs. Airton made little comment on her misadventure, and never did hot biscuit, and strawberries, and chocolate, and cookies seem more appetizing to Martine than they did on this occasion. Later, when Amy and Priscilla were helping Eunice clear the table, Mrs. Airton sat down beside Martine.
"I am glad it was Balfour who found you," she said, "though I am sorry that he could not come in to tea with you. It is his night at the store, and he usually waits for his tea until late in the evening."
"Balfour?" asked Martine; "who is Balfour? Of course I know he drove me home, but who is he?"
"Balfour," replied Mrs. Airton, "why, Balfour is my son and Eunice's brother."
"Ah," cried Martine, "I did not realize that; now I understand."
But what she understood she did not then explain.
Not long after tea Mr. Frazer rushed excitedly into Mrs. Airton's sitting-room.
"I'm so glad the young lady's safe," he cried, "though indeed I thought she'd wait for me; but the sorrel led me a long chase, and when I got back to the farm she wasn't there. But I never thought of her going to the Bay Shore with the fog rolling in so thick, and when I found she wasn't at the house, I went back again to the farm, thinking she'd taken a wrong turn somewhere. At last I met some one who had seen her driving with Balfour; then I knew she was safe. So I must apologize again for the behavior of my sorrel, though it was all the fault of the bees."
Martine forgave the sorrel as readily as she forgave Mr. Frazer, for her adventure had ended so pleasantly that there was no occasion for blaming any one.
LETTERS AND SOME COMMENTS
"Do you realize that we have only a day or two longer in Annapolis?" asked Amy, one soft afternoon in July, as she sat with Martine and Priscilla within the walls of the old fort.
Mrs. Redmond, seated some distance from them, was sketching a bit of far-off shore that came within her range of view. Martine had her hands folded idly in her lap, though the sketching-block and materials that lay beside her showed that at least she had made some pretence of work that day.
"Yes, I realize it all too well," she responded. "I wish we could stay here all summer."
"It has been so much pleasanter since we knew the Airtons that we shall find it very hard to go," added Priscilla.
"Of course we might stay here the rest of the summer," replied Amy, "only, since we had a definite route planned out it would be a pity not to follow it."
"The other places may be very stupid," murmured Martine.
"Not Grand Pré," rejoined Priscilla. "You'll probably enjoy that far better than Annapolis; you seem to forget that it is full of memories of the expelled Acadians."
"Oh, yes, the Acadians; but do you know they don't seem half so important to me as they did when we were in Clare. I've really grown tremendously interested in those first Frenchmen, who had such an unlucky time here at Port Royal. Annapolis has memories enough for me."
"What a fickle creature you are, Martine! Surely you haven't forgotten Yvonne."
"No, no," and Martine sprang to her feet. "I'm only waiting for a letter from my father and then you shall know what is going to happen to Yvonne. Why, I've written her three times since I left Meteghan; I thought you knew that, Amy."
"Yes, but don't excite yourself unduly, child; only, when you expressed your indifference to Acadians I wondered whom you included. Nothing would make me forget little Pierre. Here's a letter that I received from him to-day."
Amy drew from her pocket a half-sheet of paper and read its contents to her friends:--
"'MY DEAR MADEMOISELLE, AMY REDMOND,--It gives me great pleasure to think that you and your beautiful mother and the charming young ladies like so well our historic Annapolis. I once it visited with my uncle, to view the fort that was built in the days of the greatness of Acadia; it was sad to me to know that now it belongs to the cruel English, who drove my ancestors from their happy homes. When I am a learned man, I shall teach history in a great school, and I will write books to make all know the truth; but now I am only a little boy, and I thank you for your letter and the book you sent me that will ever keep your lovely face fresh in my mind. So with her best duty from my mother, I subscribe myself,
"'Your humble friend, "'PIERRE ROBICHAUD.
"'P. S. Please write soon again.'"
Martine and Priscilla smiled at the quaint letter, with its curious mingling of pride and humility and its touch of French gallantry.
"Pierre seems quite sure of his own future,"--and Amy replaced the sheet in her pocket. "With his aim so firmly in view, it's quite probable that he'll attain his ambition."
"'Best duty,'" observed Priscilla, "isn't that a strange expression?"
"It certainly isn't French; he has picked it up from some of the 'cruel' English."
"He probably had an old-fashioned school-teacher at some time. I hope that we'll see both Pierre and Yvonne before we return home; but now we must keep our minds on Annapolis. I'm so afraid that you haven't got all you might of its history."
"Oh, my dear Amy, Priscilla is just brimful of the Loyalists and their sufferings; you ought to hear some of the stories that she has gathered up. Show her your note-book, Priscilla."
Priscilla reddened and shook her head, while Martine continued:
"And as for me, I'm so charged with historical associations that I feel as if I'd give them out in electric sparks if any one should rub me the right way. Of course I know that this is not the original French fort, but when one is dreaming, she needn't be so very particular about facts; so if I shut my eyes, here on this very spot," and Martine suited the action to the word, "I can see Poutrincourt and Lescarbot and all the others who were here that long winter when De Monts had gone back to France, leaving Pontgravé in charge. I just imagine that the old barracks over there is the great hall where they used to have their feasts, and I can see them all marching in with the fifteen gentlemen at the head who sat at Poutrincourt's table, the Grand Master strutting in front, with his staff of office in his hand and his napkin over his shoulder. L'Ordre de Bon Temps--that was a capital idea of Lescarbot's, to keep them all in good spirits and make each man think himself of supreme importance for a day."
"Tell me about it," said Priscilla. "If I ever knew, I believe I've forgotten what it was."
"That's it, my dear; you have been so very full of the much less important English history of Annapolis that you've overlooked the more romantic French." Then pointing toward the Basin, Martine chanted:
"'Sing on, wild sea, your sad refrain, For all the gallant sons of France Whose songs and sufferings enhance The romance of the western main.'"
"Well, if this is a wild sea I wonder what you'd call the Bay of Fundy," said Amy, laughing.
"Oh, dear! You are so very practical; but I can't argue with you now, for I must make Priscilla understand just what 'The Order of the Good Time' was. During the long winter Lescarbot suggested that each of the fifteen gentlemen of greatest importance in the settlement should be appointed caterer for a day at a time; so they took turns, and each one tried to outdo the others in providing as many delicacies as possible. The steward of the day was called the Grand Master, and fish and game were so abundant here that often the table was supplied with food that the King of France might have envied. In order to keep up their dignity, they all observed a very formal ceremony, entering the hall at each meal just as I told you a little while ago. At the close of the day, after grace, the Grand Master removed his collar and placed it on the neck of the one who was to do duty the next day, while they drank each other's health in wine and recited appropriate verses. No wonder the Indians thought it great sport to watch the white men dine, for they crowded the hall at every meal, and Membertou, their Chief, was often at the Governor's table."
"I hope the other Indians had something to eat."
"Oh, yes indeed; they were always well fed by the French, and well treated; so that from the very beginning the French and Indians were on the very friendliest terms."
"You must have done a deal of reading, Martine, you know your subject so well," said Amy, quizzically.
"Oh, I haven't read so much," she began.
"No, it's all Balfour Airton," interposed Priscilla. "He talks like a book, and he's discovered that he can make Martine listen to him."
"Any one would like to listen to him," rejoined Martine, "and I'm glad to say that though he is of English descent, he doesn't consider the English absolutely perfect."
"There, there," said Amy, throwing oil on the waters, "our acquaintance with the Airtons has certainly added to the pleasure of us all. Balfour seems a plucky fellow, for it can't be particularly pleasant to him to serve as a grocer's clerk in the summer holidays."
"But he needs the money."
"Oh, yes, Martine; but I know boys who would remain idle rather than do work that they thought a little beneath them."
"To tell you the truth," added Priscilla, "I'm afraid that the Airtons have very little money indeed. Eunice says that there's a mortgage on their house, and that they may have to give it up before long. Balfour has offered to stay out of college and look for work in Halifax, but his mother will not listen to this; she wishes him to be a lawyer like his grandfather."
"He has a scholarship at college, and he earns more or less money all the year, so that really his education costs his family nothing."
"I fear our conversation is too personal," interrupted Amy, "though it has certainly been a pleasure to meet two people so free from self-consciousness as Eunice and Balfour. That reminds me," concluded Amy, "that I had a letter to-day from my friend Brenda, Mrs. Weston. She is surprised that we find so much to interest us in Nova Scotia. She made a trip this way one summer with her parents, but they travelled rather hurriedly through the province and made their longest stay at Halifax."
"Oh, Halifax," interrupted Martine. "Nothing but English; only fancy," with a true English accent, and she raised her hand toward her eye as if holding a monocle. "If there's anything in the world I dislike, it's the real English. Excuse me, Priscilla; I did not mean to hurt your feelings."
"My feelings? Why, I'm no more English than you are, Martine. You won't deny that you have some English blood in your veins?"
"Unluckily, I can't deny it; but I'm glad that they named me Martine; that at least is un-English."
"It certainly is a queer name."
"Not queer at all, Priscilla. My grandfather was Martin, and Martine is the French feminine for it. If I'd been a boy, I would have been named Martin. Unluckily I wasn't, and so Martine was the best that could be done. My elder brother had been named for my father; Lucian, you know, is his name. I never heard any one else call 'Martine' a queer name;" and the Chicago girl turned away petulantly.
Noting again the signs of a coming storm, already too frequent on this trip, Amy hastened to change the subject.
"I don't know why I should have so many letters in my pocket to-day, but since I brought my mail with me, let me read you a little from Brenda's letter; you know her, Priscilla?"
"Oh, Brenda,--Mrs. Weston," cried Martine, eagerly, all trace of annoyance disappearing from her face and voice. "I've never talked with her, but I've seen her several times; I think she's just fine. She isn't a bit prim and stiff like most Bostonians. Why, she has as much style as a Chicago girl."
"My dear," interposed Amy, "remember that Priscilla and I are from the neighborhood of Boston."
"Oh, yes, but you don't set up for style--there, I don't mean that, of course; I only mean--"
But Martine was getting herself into deep water, and her floundering amused Amy, although she maintained a grave face, as she said:
"Style is not confined to dress; other things are considered just as important by the true critic. However, I'm glad that you admire Brenda, for you'll be the more interested in her letter.
"'Your account of what you have seen in Nova Scotia is perfectly fascinating. But you haven't told me how you like those funny little brown fish that they call Digby chickens, that have a flavor made up of smoked ham and salt cod; you can fancy how surprised I was when I ordered them, for I thought they'd be real chickens. We didn't see any French in Nova Scotia; I can't imagine where you found them. Are they the real thing? or do they speak with a Stratford atte Bow accent?
"'How different this summer is from last, when we were all so worried about Arthur and the Spanish War,--at least, I was. It is just a year since I was so very ill, and now I am perfectly happy. I feel quite ridiculous when they ask me to chaperone parties of girls who are older than I until I remember that I am really an old married woman and quite settled.
"'It is all I can do to prevent Arthur's going to the Philippines; he really has the war fever, and I wonder what will come of it all. Next month he is to make an address at some reunion of Spanish War Veterans; doesn't it seem absurd to call him a veteran? Tim McSorley is at Manila. Maggie is down here at Rockley with us this summer, and you haven't an idea how useful she is. My mother says that the way she does things is recommendation enough for the Mansion School, and that if Julia needed to earn money she would make a small fortune training girls.
"'I had a letter yesterday from Happy Hill,--you know that's the name of the farm where she has the girls this summer. They are nearly all new girls, who do not interest me as much as the others who were there my year. Norah is with Julia this summer; but there, I'm telling you things that are no news to you, and in fact I have very little news of any kind to write; but I hope you'll give my love to your mother and Priscilla, and Miss Stratford and I only hope that you are as strict with them as you can be some times, when you want people to get all the information they can out of a trip.
"'Oh, that reminds me. I hear that Fritz Tomkins is in Nova Scotia; you do not mention him in your letter, but you must be delighted to have him with you. Of course four women can get along perfectly well, but if anything should happen, it is so much better to have a man in your party; and Fritz is so like a brother that I'm sure you can make him very useful. With love to all,
"'Sincerely, "'BRENDA WESTON.'"
Amy had read the whole letter aloud without realizing how personal it was, for her original intention had been only to read that part relating to Nova Scotia.
"That sounds just like Brenda," she said to the girls, "and I'm glad that she's so happy, for last summer was a miserable one for her."
"It was for all of us," murmured Priscilla.
And then Amy suddenly realized that the Spanish War was a subject too sore for her to touch on in Priscilla's presence.
"Come," she said, "one last look at old Port Royal. We shall have several farewell calls to pay to-day and to-morrow, and we may not have time to return to the Fort."
"Amy," said Martine, "I know I'm very stupid, but I'd really like to know where Port Royal ends and Fort Anne begins. Some one told me that this is really Fort Anne, but you always speak of it as Port Royal; so just to gratify my curiosity I'm willing to listen to a little more history."
"Then I'll give you as much, or rather as little, as I can to make you understand some of the happenings at this Fort in the early days. I am sorry that I cannot go at all into details about the many sieges and expeditions against the Fort in the seventeenth century. The quarrels of D'Aunay and Charles de La Tour form a most exciting series of episodes, and you must read them at length in Parkman or some other history. Although theirs was not warfare between French and English, La Tour was a Huguenot, and in a general way the English were on his side. In fact, he once came down to Boston and interested Winthrop and others in his cause. In the end I suppose La Tour may be considered to have been the conqueror; at least, he survived D'Aunay, and later married for his second wife D'Aunay's widow. Port Royal was captured by Cromwell's fleet in 1654, and a few years later, in the reign of Charles II, was given back to France. In 1690, when England and France were again at war, De Menneval, the governor of the Fort, had to surrender to Sir William Phipps, and the account of this expedition you will surely read sometime, for Phipps was a New Englander and his career most interesting."
"The New Englanders seem to have had a special spite against Acadia," said Martine; "so it isn't strange, Priscilla, that you have inherited part of it."
"Oh, no, I haven't; only if I must choose I naturally prefer what is English to what is French."
"After all that Phipps thought he had accomplished," continued Amy, "Acadia was again handed back to France; but I will pass over other attacks to remind you of what you have doubtless read many times in your school histories, that, when the Treaty of Utrecht settled the wars between Queen Anne and Louis XIV, Acadia was given to the English. Since that time the fort has been Fort Anne and the town Annapolis."
"It's no wonder," said Martine, "that the Acadians hardly knew whom to obey, when they'd been handed over from one side to another so often."
"This does account for much of the misunderstanding that finally led to their deportation. They trusted too implicitly in the French King, and for a long time vainly hoped that he would conquer the English and make them again his subjects."
Hardly had Amy finished when a boyish voice was heard crying, "Good-morning, good-morning. Is it really true that you're starting North to-day?"
"No, not to-day; we have still a day or two left before we set out for Grand Pré; we are going over to see your mother this afternoon."
"I'm glad of that," responded Balfour, "for I'm to have a day off, or rather an afternoon, and I wanted to be sure of your plans."
Balfour did not explain that he had asked for this special holiday in order to have some time with his new friends.
"You won't spend the whole afternoon with my mother," he began awkwardly,--"at least, not all of you,--and so I thought that perhaps some of you would go for a drive with me."
"I am going to stay with Eunice," said Priscilla; "it will be our last day together."
Martine said nothing.
Then Balfour turned to Amy:
"Would not you and Miss Martine drive with me? I can take you to one or two out-of-the-way places that you probably haven't visited."
"Surely," responded Amy, "that will be delightful. I can go, and with pleasure. As for Martine, she must speak for herself."
Amy had no doubt as to Martine's desire, so that it was hardly necessary for her to await a reply.
"Why, of course," replied Martine; "there's nothing I'd like so well."
Balfour, when the three started on their afternoon expedition, was in a particularly happy frame of mind.
"There's one advantage in working all summer--a half holiday seems ten times more valuable now than usually. Not that I'm working hard this summer, only my days are not my own, and I can seldom make plans; besides, I do begrudge the time that I have to take from study."
"Then you will probably think to-day wasted."
"No, indeed; besides, we are going to study nature, and--"
"A little French history," interposed Martine. "Did you not say that you would take us to an old battleground?"
"Yes, I hope to, for my steed is not like Jill. We can depend on getting somewhere with Lion, whereas Jill--"
"Mr. Frazer would say that she went fast enough the day he rode her in my company."
"It's a great thing for a horse to know when to stop, as well as when to go on. Whoa, Lion! There, we can leave him standing while we go up that little hill. It's said to be the site of an ancient French church. It may interest you."
Amy and Martine loudly praised the beauty of the scenery as they stood on the elevated land above the narrow, winding river.
"They say that a church stood here in the earliest French days, with a set of silver bells that rang out most musically over the water. Then, when the church fell to pieces, the bells sank into the earth, and are hidden somewhere underground,--and any one who likes may dig for them."
Martine began to prod in the earth with her parasol.
"Come, my dear, we won't have time to-day, and you need a crowbar rather than that tiny stick. If you found them they would be rather too clumsy to carry home;" and Amy laid her hand on Martine's arm.
"I'd rather look for Apostle spoons," replied Martine. "I heard of a woman who dug up two in her garden, and when she saw how dirty they were, threw them into a kettle of lye that she happened to have boiling for soap, or something of that kind. She almost lost her head when the ugly lead things came out looking like gold, for they were silver washed with gilt. If she found such things, why not I, for it's a true story, isn't it?" turning to Balfour.
"Oh, yes, fairly true, and there's always a chance of finding something by digging long enough. But I would never waste my time digging, except with hoe and spade, for fruit and vegetables. There's good money," he concluded, "in strawberries here in Nova Scotia. In Annapolis I know a man who has several acres, and in good seasons he gets two thousand boxes a day."
"Strawberries! Aren't apples the prize crop here?"
"Yes, and more certain than anything else. A man can get $300 an acre from a good orchard. If money were the only thing I'd rather be a farmer than a lawyer down here."
"That's better than some gold mines," said Amy, as they turned and walked down the hill to the carriage.
"When I was a small shaver," continued Balfour, "and had plenty of time to spare, I used to walk there along the top of the dykes of Annapolis. From the base of seven or eight feet it narrows to hardly a foot at the top, and I can tell you that it was ticklish work keeping a footing."
"Why didn't I know of that before?" cried Martine. "I certainly should have tried it. I love to walk on railroad tracks, and dyke-walking must be almost the same."
"You can't try anything of that kind while you are in my care," interposed Amy. "The river is probably deeper than it looks, and if you should go too near the edge--"
"Oh, I can swim, my dear Miss Amy Redmond, though, to put your careful soul at ease, I'll promise not to go near the water. All the same, I wish that I were an Indian, at this very moment gliding down from Minas to Digby. Didn't you tell me that this was one of their favorite routes?" and she turned to Balfour for a reply.
"Why, yes," he replied, "from any point outside Minas they used to glide over to French Cross, then by a portage of four miles to Aylesford, and they would be borne on by the current down the Annapolis River, sometimes as far even as Digby."
"French Cross?" asked Amy. "What have I heard of French Cross?"
"Perhaps of the awful winter there that some of the Acadians passed through, just after the deportation."
"Tell me about it," cried Martine, eagerly. "I never heard of it."
"Well, after the Acadians had been put aboard the ships at Grand Pré, some friendly Micmacs hurried down secretly to warn the French at the eastern end of Annapolis. When they heard the news, about sixty Acadians decided on flight, and with a Micmac guide began to make their way north. They hoped to reach a point on the shore where the English would not see them, from which they could cross over to New Brunswick, and then get the protection of the French at Quebec. But when they reached Aylesford they did not dare try to cross. Their food was poor, sickness broke out among them, many died, and were buried in the soft Aylesford sand. The others went on to French Cross, but still did not dare cross the Bay. During the bitter cold of December, while they were suffering everything, they saw the last of the transports pass down the Bay, carrying their countrymen to the southern colonies. Many died during the winter, and when spring came the friendly Indians made birch-bark canoes for the remainder, who then crossed in safety to the New Brunswick shore."
"Man's inhumanity to man," sighed Amy, sentimentally.
"What wretches the English were!" exclaimed Martine, more energetically.
"Remember, please, that I am English;" and Balfour raised his hand in remonstrance. "Besides, the persecutors of the Acadians were not English, but your fellow New Englanders, who took the whole matter on themselves, without asking leave of any one else."
"But I am no New Englander," objected Martine.
"Oh, it's all the same. Some of your ancestors were from New England undoubtedly, unless you are different from most Chicagoans. But if you repudiate New England, you cannot object to my arousing your sympathies for some of those exiled Loyalists who suffered quite as much as the over-pitied Acadians."
"It's a shame Priscilla is not here," murmured Martine.
Now Balfour was not likely to speak idly, and in a moment he had begun his recital.
"The old lady who told this story to my mother was visiting Annapolis from Fredericton, and her mother, the daughter of an officer in a New Jersey regiment, experienced all the hardships that she described. The vessels with these New Jersey officers and soldiers and their families went up the St. John River in early October, and landed at a place called St. Ann's, that later became Fredericton, the capital of the Province. It was a wet, cold season, and the people had no shelter but tents, that they tried to cover with spruce boughs. Their floor was the ground, and when snow fell in early November the old lady's mother said that her family tried to shut it out by putting their one rug against the opening. Often a part of the family had to sit up all night to keep the others from freezing. When everything else failed they would heat boards at the fire, and hold them over the children to give them needed warmth."
"A likely story!" and Martine smiled.
"Indeed, it is perfectly true," rejoined Balfour, gravely. "Many men and women died of exposure and lack of food that terrible winter. Their graves were dug with pickaxe and shovel, in the hard ground not far from the tents. Like the Acadians at French Cross, they had no clergyman to pay the last rites. They had been used to comfortable and pleasant homes, and many of them had had wealth; so it was doubly hard to have to live in Indian fashion on fish, and moose, and berries. In the spring they made maple sugar, and killed pigeons. There was great rejoicing when the first vessels came with corn and rye. They were in constant fear of the Indians, and it was long before they could live even half decently."
"I have always sympathized with the Loyalists," said Amy, quietly.
"Oh, well, it's all over now," returned Balfour, bitterly. "But it must have been hard for many of them to remember that their houses and lands, and even their personal property, had been passed over to people who to them seemed to have no shadow of right to it."
"Do you care now?" asked Martine, gently.
"Oh, no;" but Balfour's tone belied his words. "My family did not suffer so much as some, though we had to start here in Annapolis with little besides the land that the King granted."
"Back to the soil is a good thing sometimes."
"Oh, yes, and Nova Scotia was very hospitable to the poor Loyalists; but still--to tell the truth, sometimes I wish that I had grown up on the other side of the line. There seems to be more chance in many ways;" and Balfour sighed.
Amy looked at Balfour in surprise. He was evidently considerably her junior, yet he talked like one much older.
"I should like to see him and Fritz together," she thought. "I believe that Fritz would appear five years younger, for he always persists in talking like an overgrown boy."
"There," concluded Balfour, "I have said too much. On the whole, I am contented, and the Province offers more than many corners of the world to an ambitious young man, so enough said. Now, just see, I was so absorbed in harrowing your feelings over the Loyalists that I have taken a wrong turn, and we are now so far from the battleground that we'll have to give it up this afternoon."
"'All roads are alike to me,'" hummed Amy, while Martine added, "But the scenery here is lovely. Just see how the North Mountain stands out, with that little fringe of mist hanging about the top, and I've never seen so many fine orchards. Oh, I wouldn't have missed this particular drive for anything;" and her flushed cheeks and beaming eyes showed that she had meant what she said.
"The drive has been full of pictures, too," added Martine. "I've seen a great many things even that you have not spoken of, and whenever I look over there toward the woods I fancy I see an Indian creeping along; not an unfriendly savage, but one with a smile on his face, hoping perhaps to be asked by Lescarbot to stay to dinner at the Fort."
"Yes," rejoined Balfour, "one of those jolly fellows who objected to the wording of the Lord's Prayer in asking for bread, saying that bread alone wouldn't do for him, as he needed moose, and fish besides."
"Yes, and some of the French dishes that they favored him with occasionally."
"Well, I have heard many things that make me believe that the Indians of Acadia were jokers. Some of the stories would shock you, I am afraid;" and Balfour hesitated.
"Oh, we are not so easily shocked. Tell us, do."
"Very likely you've heard this particular thing. But it is said that one of the men in that first expedition of the French undertook to make a dictionary, and when he tried to get some of the natives to give him the Micmac for various sacred names, the Indian gave him words that were just the contrary,--almost profane, in fact,--so that the Frenchman made himself very ridiculous when he tried to make use of his new vocabulary."
"Which shows," said Martine, "that the Micmac Indian was not such a serious and solemn creature as those that used to appear in our school histories bewailing the advance of the white man. I always thought I'd like to meet one of them."
"Yes, just for the pleasure of sticking a pin in him. He would never have had spirit enough to turn his tomahawk against me. But these Micmacs knew how to enjoy life. The dictionary maker was probably a prim, conceited fellow, who deserved to be laughed at. Of course, in a general way," she concluded hastily, "I am always on the side of the French, and I love to remember that the old Fort once belonged to them."
"'When from Port Royal's rude-built walls Gleamed o'er the hills afar, The golden lilies on the shield Of Henry of Navarre.
"'A gay and gallant company, Those voyagers of old, Whose life in the Acadian Fort Lescarbot's verse has told,'"
recited Balfour, as they turned into St. George's Street, "and here we are in sight of Fort Anne, and it pleases my soul that the flag floating above is the flag of Great Britain."
"We won't quarrel about that now," said Martine, "for you have given us the very pleasantest afternoon we've had."
"Yes," added Amy, "it has certainly been delightful, and so it is all the harder to remember that this is probably our last excursion around Annapolis,--at least, for the present."
"You are very good to appreciate our old town so, and I hope that you will find Wolfville almost as attractive. I am sorry enough, however, that you are going away. We shall miss you all;" and though emphasizing "all," Balfour looked directly at Martine as he spoke. "My sister has grown so fond of Miss Priscilla that she has forgotten her inborn hatred for New Englanders, and I hope you'll understand that we all appreciate your interest in Acadian history. I only trust I haven't bored you and Miss Martine by my facts and reminiscences. I fear that I've been almost garrulous."
"Oh, no, indeed, far from that;" and Martine's emphasis showed how deeply she meant what she said.
At this moment they had reached their own door and the last good-byes had to be said.
"I cannot come again this evening," Balfour explained, "but I'll see you for a moment at the train."
Then, thrusting his hand into his pocket, with an exclamation he drew out a small object that he held toward Martine. "I had almost forgotten, but if you would take this," he cried, "for your collection, I would be so pleased. It's in a better condition than most things they dig up;" and as Martine took it, she saw that it was a small trowel, remarkably bright, yet of a curious shape.
"Another Acadian relic. How kind you are!"
"This fork is for you, Miss Redmond. Even if you have not a collection, it will interest you. The trowel," Balfour continued, "was almost as bright as this when it was dug up, it had been buried so deep, and the fork is of an odd shape. Of course they haven't any great value," he concluded, "only they are genuine relics, as I know, for I dug them up myself. I might have brought you a gridiron with a long handle and four feet, but you would have found some difficulty in carrying it about, and the little spade can be carried in your travelling-bag for use in mending a broken dyke, or shaping bricks, if you happen to wish to mend or build on the way. That at least was its original use, and the fork--well, you can find many uses for it;" and he turned from Martine to Amy.
Both girls found it hard to bid good-bye to Balfour. In spite of the shortness of their acquaintance he was already an old friend, one whose friendship they particularly valued.
"How sensible he is," sighed Martine, as they went indoors, "and to think that he's only a year older than Taps!"
"A year older than--who?" asked Amy, thinking that she must have misunderstood. "What did you say?"
"Oh, nothing--really nothing," replied Martine, hastily, with a heightened color. "I was only thinking that Balfour Airton seems so very much older than most boys of his age, and he knows so much more than most students." Martine's words were hurried and nervous, and Amy decided that she was more disturbed than she had expected her to be at parting with her Annapolis friends.
But if Amy only suspected Martine's feelings, she had no difficulty in deciding how Priscilla felt. She and Eunice had formed a most romantic attachment for each other, and made no effort to hide the tears that fell freely as they bade good-bye at the station. At the final parting each threw her arms around the other's neck, and the bystanders tried not to laugh when Eunice in her emotion knocked off Priscilla's hat and entangled the cord of her eyeglasses in Priscilla's belt. But the bystanders, if amused, were sympathetic, consisting as they did chiefly of Dr. and Mrs. Gray, Balfour, and Mrs. Airton, and one or two other friends whom the travellers had met during their weeks in Annapolis.
"Your tears, my dear Eunice," said Dr. Gray, "exactly express the feelings of all the rest of us; and while we wish you, Mrs. Redmond, a safe journey, it is perhaps not too selfish to hope that you and the young ladies may look back to Annapolis as the brightest spot on the map of your travels."
"Indeed, we shall," said Mrs. Redmond, cordially, "and--"
"All aboard!" called the conductor; "Good-bye," shouted Balfour; "Write soon," sighed Eunice.
"Come back next summer," cried Dr. Gray.
"Perhaps sooner," responded Amy, and with a puff and a shriek the "Flying Bluenose" glided off toward the real land of Evangeline.
"Priscilla," said Amy, as they finished breakfast on their first morning at Wolfville, "you are no longer homesick."
"Did I say I was homesick?"
"Perhaps not in words, though you have looked it a great many times. But I noticed a change during our last week in Annapolis; you have seemed perfectly cheerful ever since."
"Oh, I'm sorry," responded the over-conscientious Priscilla, "if I seemed less than cheerful before; it was really very wrong in me, for you and your mother have been so kind, and Martine is so very--" here she hesitated for a moment--"so very lively."
Amy smiled at Priscilla's earnestness.
"To most persons you would have seemed perfectly cheerful, but little things have shown me that your heart was not wholly with us."
"That was only because I had never before been altogether away from my family. But if there has been any change lately, it has been on account of Eunice. She seems to me the most sensible person I have ever known, and I hope that she can carry out her plan of going to college. If papa had lived I could have done something for her, but now I can't make any promises for the future, because mamma says that we shall have to be very careful about spending for a few years."
"I'm glad, however," responded Amy, "that you have this interest in Eunice, even if you cannot do all that you would like to do for her; it is rather curious that each of us should have found a protégé in the course of our travels; Yvonne, Pierre, and Eunice, each one so unlike the others, and yet all of them rather interesting."
"Martine, of course, can accomplish the most," and Priscilla sighed. "I imagine that her father and mother never say 'no' to her."
"Money isn't everything," replied Amy, "and you and I can do more or less for Eunice and Pierre in spite of the fact that time and thought are the most we can give. I have often noticed that the person who has a real interest in the welfare of some one else can really accomplish things in better ways than by spending money."
"Balfour wouldn't let any one spend much money on Eunice; he is so very independent, and wishes always to stand on his own feet. I never saw any one just like him."
"I agree with you, Priscilla, and I feel that we owe much to him for all he did for us in Annapolis; besides, he has given mother one or two letters to people in Wolfville, so that I fancy we shall be somewhat indebted to him here."
A few moments later Amy, in her little bedroom, reread a letter received from Fritz that morning. Its tone was so cheerful that it ought to have had an exhilarating effect on her; on the contrary, she was now less happy than before she received it. Fritz and his friend had already reached Chester on the east coast, and he wrote most enthusiastically of the charms of this little watering-place. Not one word of regret did he utter now over his separation from Mrs. Redmond's party. His time was apparently fully occupied with boating and driving excursions and other pleasures of the conventional summer resort. One sentence only, at the end, suggested that he had not forgotten what he had previously said to Amy.
"I am surprised that you have travelled so comfortably, with not a single accident to interfere with your pleasure; but if anything disagreeable should happen, then perhaps you will wish that you had some stronger person to help you out of your difficulty."
With a sigh Amy laid the letter in her bureau drawer, and as she did so her eye fell on an envelope addressed to Martine. Evidently she had picked it up with her own letters when she had brought them upstairs. The envelope was empty and hardly worth returning, but as she took it to drop into the waste basket, she looked, as one will, at the postmark. To her surprise, it was the same, "Chester," as on her own letter from Fritz. Then her mind flew back to the morning at Yarmouth, when she thought she had seen Martine wheeling down the side street with an unknown youth. The inference was now plain--in some way Martine had made the acquaintance of Fritz's friend, and was keeping up a correspondence with him. There was nothing very wrong in this in itself, except that it implied on Martine's part a certain amount of deception. "Taps," as Fritz called him, might have been a perfectly desirable friend for all the girls, and Fritz himself might have introduced him to Martine. She had had no opportunity to meet him on the boat. Yet even had he been an old friend of hers, there seemed to be no reason why she should not speak frankly about him. The discovery of this envelope reconciled Amy completely to Fritz's banishment. It was just as well that he and his friend had been sent off by themselves.
As to Martine, Amy decided that at present it was hardly well to speak to her of the letter, or even mention it to Mrs. Redmond. But for the rest of the day she was less cordial than usual toward Martine, and the young girl felt the change.
When Amy returned to the piazza, where she had left the others, she found only her mother and Martine. In a moment Priscilla joined them, looking bright and happy, and with unusual color in her fair cheeks.
"I've been down the street," she said, "and the town is so attractive that you must all come with me on an exploring tour; I can't tell why, but I feel more at home here than in most places. Wolfville seems less English than Annapolis; in fact, it is more like one of our own New England towns."
"That, I dare say," rejoined Mrs. Redmond, "is partly because it is a college town, but more likely because it was settled by Americans. I have an idea that hardly a Loyalist came here after the Revolution."
"Settled by Americans?" cried Martine. "Wasn't this all French country through here?"
"Yes--once--my dear. You remember, however, that after the French were deported, their lands were granted to colonists from New England. Those who came to this part of Nova Scotia were chiefly from Connecticut, and Wolfville is named for a well-known family of these colonists, named De Wolfe."
"Then this isn't Grand Pré?"
"Oh, no; there is still a Grand Pré two or three miles to the west, with relics and memories without end, of Evangeline and Basil."
"Let us go there, then, as soon as we can," cried Martine.
"Not yet, my dear. We would better first see something nearer at hand; Mr. Knight, Balfour's friend, has offered to drive us to Grand Pré this afternoon, and if this suits you all, I will send him a reply at once."
The three girls, agreeing that they should enjoy the afternoon drive, fell in with Mrs. Redmond's suggestion for a morning walk.
"I have been advised," said Mrs. Redmond, "to take a road behind the college, leading to the top of the ridge, where we can get a fine view of the Gaspereau Valley."
Though it was a steep hill, the view from the summit repaid them by its surpassing beauty. The deep valley, bordered with trees of varying shades of green, the blue river flowing between, and toward its mouths winding in and out among the marshes, formed a scene long to be remembered.
"If we could see to the very mouth," said Mrs. Redmond, "and bring our imagination into full play, we could picture the poor Acadians gathered in forlorn groups waiting to be dragged away to the English transports. Their pleasant homes were found all along the sides of this valley, as well as at Grand Pré. Undoubtedly it is Longfellow's poem that has given the latter place its greater prominence."
Some distance along the ridge the four Americans continued to walk, until they reached a point from which they had a wider view; then for the first time their eyes fell on the clear waters of Minas Basin. On its farther shore rose a high, red bluff.
"Bluff," at least, was what Martine called it, but Priscilla, repeating her words, exclaimed:
"No, no, it's a mountain; it must be."
Mrs. Redmond smiled at the emphasis that each girl threw into her words.
"My dear children," she exclaimed, "I should think that you'd at once know Blomidon; surely you must often have seen it pictured. Blomidon, you remember, was the home of Glooscap, the deity of the Micmacs, and Minas Basin was his beaver pond. Poets and painters have been inspired by Blomidon, and I imagine, Martine, that you and I will even make some attempt to reproduce its beauty."
"Ah," sighed Martine, "but we could never give the effect of that light and shade on the side of the mountain, for it really is a mountain, as Priscilla says; and there's something quite wonderful in that deep red that stands out so between the sky and the water."
"From Grand Pré we'll have an even better view, I'm told, of Blomidon. You are so fond of jewels, Martine, that you'll be tempted to cross the Basin to hunt for amethysts."
"That reminds me," said Amy, "of something I read the other day; when De Monts visited the Basin, he called Blomidon, 'Cap d'Or.' Among the amethysts that he found on an island near by was one of extraordinary size, which he took back to France and presented to the King and Queen, who had it set among the crown jewels."
"We cannot linger here much longer," said Mrs. Redmond; "if we take this lower road, it will probably bring us into the business section, and then we can walk back home, along the main street."
When they had done their errands and were perhaps half-way home, Mrs. Redmond, who was ahead, looked back for a moment.
"Here, Amy, is something especially for you."
Amy hurried on and found herself at the entrance of a little graveyard.
"Oh, mamma, you are laughing at me."
There was a suspicious smile on Mrs. Redmond's lips as she said:
"Every one, my dear child, knows your _penchant_ for old graveyards, and this one is so bright and cheerful that you might have missed it had I not called your attention to it."
Following Mrs. Redmond and Amy, the others entered the enclosure. It was, as Mrs. Redmond had said, "bright and cheerful," with neatly kept walks, and a little fountain playing in the centre. Evidently it was no longer a place of burial. Many of the stones were more than a hundred years old, and marked the resting-place of the first Connecticut settlers.
"How far away they were," said Amy, "from their real home. After all, in spite of the rich dyke-lands given them here, I wonder if many of them did not regret the homes they had left."
"That reminds me," said Priscilla, "of some lines I copied from a poem the other day; Eunice had the book," and she turned over the leaves of her note-book.
"Read them, please," said Mrs. Redmond. So Priscilla began rather timidly, "The poem is 'The Resettlement of Acadia,' but I copied only parts of it," and then she read with expression:
"'But the simple Norman peasant-folk shall till the land no more, For the vessels from Connecticut have anchored by the shore, And many a sturdy Puritan, his mind with Scripture stored, Rejoices he has found at last "the garden of the Lord."
* * * * *
They come as Puritans, but who shall say their hearts are blind To the subtle charms of nature, and the love of humankind?
* * * * *
And tears fall fast from many an eye, long time unused to weep, For o'er the fields lay whitening the bones of cow and sheep.'"
"I know that you'll think me frightfully stupid," was Martine's comment, as Priscilla finished reading. "That is delightful poetry, but it isn't clear in my mind who the Connecticut Puritans were. Were they exiles, too, like the Acadians and the Loyalists?"
"Only by their own will. But you are not stupid in failing to understand about the resettling of Acadia. Many Nova Scotians know very little about it. After the French had been deported in 1755, this fertile Province would have been of little service to England without inhabitants. The simplest way to repeople the land was to attract colonists from the older colonies. So Governor Lawrence sent a proclamation to Massachusetts, Rhode Island, and Connecticut, stating the terms on which the Government would grant land to settlers. As a result three separate groups of settlers were formed. The Massachusetts families came to Annapolis; the Rhode Islanders to the country North of Grand Pré, where there is now a Newport; and the Connecticut settlers, as Priscilla has just read, to Grand Pré. These people were of the highest character. Many of them had considerable property of their own, and they came down here in the spirit that took so many sturdy New Englanders West a generation or two ago."
"Thank you, Mrs. Redmond; I am glad to know that they didn't drive the French out."
"Oh, no, many of them had undoubtedly seen the fertility of Nova Scotia during the long French and Indian Wars, in which they had fought; the richness of the country was pretty well understood. But they themselves had nothing to do with deporting the Acadians. Dr. Gray explained all this at Annapolis. But come, girls! You can copy these inscriptions some other day, Priscilla. We must rest a little now, if we expect to enjoy the afternoon."
When Mr. Knight called for them that afternoon the girls were surprised at his appearance. Mrs. Redmond had forgotten to say that he was an extremely young man, whose youth seemed all the greater because he tried to assume the manners and aspect of a much older person. He had been graduated from Acadia College a few years before, the youngest of his class by more than a year. He was now a teacher in the neighboring school that fitted boys for Acadia, and on this account perhaps felt the need of maintaining a dignity of demeanor that should make them forget his youth.
His friendship for Balfour and his sincere admiration of the whole Airton family ought to have saved him from Martine's ridicule. But from the moment that her eye took in the details of his costume,--his high-standing collar, his round-headed walking-stick, his monocle, and his hair neatly parted in the middle (though this was hardly a detail of costume), she was convulsed with laughter. The carriage that Mr. Knight had brought was two-seated, but each seat was wide enough for three, and the pair of horses looked capable of travelling many miles without fatigue.
Martine and Priscilla begged for the front seat with the driver, and Mr. Knight, accordingly, sat on the back seat with Amy and Mrs. Redmond.
The party was soon outside the more closely built streets, on a broad road that for the time offered little outlook. Mr. Knight, with the evident intention of doing his full duty by Balfour's friend kept up a monologue whose steady current afforded great amusement to Martine.
"Talk of babbling brooks," she murmured; "did you ever hear anything like it?" and she gave Priscilla's arm a gentle pinch that made her squirm.
"He's taking any amount of trouble to make history clear," rejoined Priscilla, who, as usual, was not ready to accept Martine's point of view.
"Yes, but he's beginning at the wrong end. We know all about Champlain, and De Monts, and the Scotch Fort, and all that; what we want is how the Acadians were treated at Grand Pré, and where--"
"Oh, he'll get there."
"Yes, if we give him time. But I am going to make him change the subject." So, leaning back, Martine turned to Mr. Knight, "You are a great friend of Mr. Airton's, I believe."
"Oh, yes, indeed; that is--but of course you know--well, Mr. Airton is--ah, not exactly a contemporary of mine--that is, he is--I am older."
Mr. Knight, as he spoke, grew rather red in the face. There seemed to be no excuse for his embarrassment, except the one that Mrs. Redmond gave later, that he regarded Martine's question and her way of putting it much in the light of a question from an _enfant terrible_.
Realizing, however, that he had not said just the right thing, the poor young man next began to stammer in his effort to explain himself.
"Balfour certainly is a great friend of mine, and one of the finest boys I know."
This ought to have been sufficient to please even the critical Martine, and had Mr. Knight not used the word "boy" she might have been quite content. As it was, this word happened to irritate her, and she responded in a tone that disturbed Amy:
"Oh, did you say that Mr. Airton is younger than you? Isn't he considerably taller?"
If Mr. Knight's face had been red before, it now became almost a deep, deep crimson. Amy, rejoicing that her mother's seat was so far from Martine's that she had not heard this remark, resolved at the earliest opportunity to have a word alone with Martine.
The opportunity, however, did not come for some time, and meanwhile Mr. Knight talked enthusiastically of the apple crops of Cornwallis, and of the fortune that any man might gather who would deal intelligently with the Gravenstein.
"The Cornwallis Valley," he said, "is one of the finest farming regions in the world. You will see what I mean when you go to the Look-off, as you will while you are here. But now--"
"Oh, is this an old French church?" asked Martine, excitedly, as they approached an ancient wooden structure half hidden by Lombardy poplars.
If Mr. Knight heard her, he did not reply, but he jumped to the ground, even before the driver had fairly pulled up his horses, and then, when the carriage came to a full stop, offered to assist Mrs. Redmond to the ground.
"This," he began, "is sometimes incorrectly called an Acadian church."
"Does he mean to snub me?" whispered Martine to Priscilla.
"Yet it is merely an old Scotch church," continued Mr. Knight, "built about a hundred years ago. A service is held here two or three times a year, but the building receives no great care, and, as you can see, even some of its windows have been broken by mischievous boys."
"Such as Balfour Airton?" suggested Martine. But Mr. Knight took no notice of her flippant criticism of his previous remark about Balfour.
"It is like a New England meeting-house," said Amy, with a tinge of disappointment, as they looked inside the old building, noting its high pews, and sounding-board, and unadorned walls. Then, as she saw Martine standing apart from the others, she remembered the words that she had meant to say to her. So, drawing near, she took the young girl's hand in hers. Martine looked up at her with a smile.
"I know that you have a scolding tucked away somewhere, but I just won't let you give it to me. It won't do me the least little bit of good, and you wouldn't waste even a scolding, would you?"
"Oh, Martine, you are incorrigible; you surely realize that you need at least a reproof. Mother would give it to you if she had heard."
"Mrs. Redmond is too sensible to overhear disagreeable things."
"Very well, Martine; but tell me honestly, wouldn't you prefer to sit with mamma? She always has a soothing effect on you."
"That would bring me beside Mr. Knight. No, thanks. Surely, Amy, you realize how ridiculous he is, talking in that patronizing way of Balfour, who is a whole head taller than he."
"You forget, my dear child, that if he were not a great friend of Balfour's we should not have had the pleasure of his escort this afternoon. He is certainly most kind in taking all this trouble."
"I'll admit that he is very kind, though I dare say that we could have found our way around without him. But he is ridiculous, isn't he, with his walking-stick, and his English accent in an out-of-the-way place like this?"
"As Wolfville has always been his home, Mr. Knight probably feels that he has the right to a walking-stick or an English accent. If he had a French accent you would perhaps make greater allowances for him. But for the sake of peace, if you don't object, I'll have Priscilla change places with you. If you overhear anything you dislike, you may vent your anger on me. I do not wish Priscilla to be a victim."
"A victim! She doesn't realize that she is a victim now. Just look at her. She is hanging on every word that Mr. Knight utters--and it's all on account of his English accent."
"I will admit that what he is saying is perfectly true."
"And absolutely necessary, Martine, to our understanding properly this land of Evangeline."
"But he needn't talk so conceitedly, as if he were the only one in the world who knows that there was no real Basil, nor Gabriel, and that Evangeline herself was somebody else. Why, even in Chicago, where we are farther away from Acadia than you are in Massachusetts, we know that. But just listen,"--and as Martine and Amy stood there in silence a few feet from the willows, they heard Mr. Knight's rather shrill voice saying:
"I am aware that you Americans have mapped out almost every inch of Grand Pré, and that you can point out the site of Basil's smithy, and Gabriel's house, and the old church, although as a matter of fact only the last is at all certain. It is quite natural that you should accept your Longfellow as real history, but--"
Here Martine could restrain herself no longer. Stepping forward she faced Mr. Knight, who stopped talking in his surprise at her sudden appearance from the background; and in a clear voice she began to recite:
"'with a summons sonorous Sounded the bell from its tower, and over the meadows a drum beat. Thronged erelong was the church with men. Without, in the churchyard, Waited the women. They stood by the graves, and hung on the headstones Garlands of autumn-leaves and evergreens fresh from the forest. Then came the guard from the ships, and marching proudly among them Entered the sacred portal. With loud and dissonant clangor Echoed the sound of their brazen drums from ceiling and casement.'
Isn't that history," she asked gravely, "as well as Longfellow?"
"Why, yes, in a general way," responded Mr. Knight, with an amused smile. "As to details, why, I am not quite so sure, though I can assure you I have no intention of questioning Mr. Longfellow's accuracy. Far from it. His picture of the deportation is wonderfully complete."
"Yet you were criticising him."
"Oh, no, only the tendency of some tourists to connect everything in the neighborhood of Grand Pré with something mentioned by Longfellow."
"But if it makes the place more interesting," began Martine.
"Oh, certainly, that is one of the uses of poetry, and really, Miss Stratford, I intended no criticism of 'Evangeline,' only--" and again that smile of amusement--"you will pardon me when I say that these are not Evangeline's willows, as some call them, except in the poetic sense."
"They are very picturesque," said Amy, in an effort to turn the conversation. "Until I came to Nova Scotia I had never thought of willows as so strong and sturdy. In fact, I had in mind only the weeping variety."
The line of willows, a dozen or so beside the rail fence, with two or three cows grazing in their shade, formed a picture so tempting that Priscilla turned her camera upon it, and with a wave of her hand pointed to something beyond. In a minute or two Mrs. Redmond and Amy were beside her, with Mr. Knight and Martine but a step behind.
"Shall you object if we call this Evangeline's well?" asked Martine, with a touch of scorn in her voice.
"Ah, call it what you please, Miss Stratford. It is certainly an old French well. Evangeline may have drunk from it."
"Is it quite safe to drink from an old well?"
"Oh, mamma, you are not usually so anxious."
"I can assure you, Mrs. Redmond, that this is pure water. The wall was built a few years ago, and you will find the water deliciously cold. This well, by the way, is probably near the site of the priest's house;" and involuntarily he glanced toward Martine.
"Oh," she rejoined, as if in answer to his glance, "I thought that there was no priest--except in the poem."
"Ah, surely there had been a priest, though not Father Felician; and indeed at the time of the deportation the priest was away from Grand Pré, a prisoner at Halifax, and so he could not exhort the people. But these are mere matters of detail. Undoubtedly we are now standing very near the site of the church."
"I wonder if the bells are hidden in the earth like those we heard of at Annapolis," and Amy turned to Martine with a smile, hoping to divert her from quizzing Mr. Knight.
"Ah, the bells!" exclaimed the offending young man. "There is a story--if you should care for it."
"By all means," replied Mrs. Redmond; and under the embarrassing gaze of four pairs of eyes Mr. Knight told his tale.
"It isn't a remarkable story in any way, only they say that when the Acadians saw that they were prisoners, some of them managed to take down the bell and wall it up in one of the vaults under the church, while the church treasure was put in the other. Years afterwards, in the days of the English settlers, a strange vessel was seen in the Basin one night. People who passed this way thought they heard queer noises during the night, and in the morning the ground near the site of the old church was disturbed. Some people said that in the night they had heard a bell ringing. That night there came a terrible storm, and soon bits of wreckage drifted in that must have come from the strange vessel. In this way every one believed that the theft had been avenged--if the strangers stole the bell and the treasure. It is only fair to say," continued Mr. Knight, "that some believe that the bell was taken by returning Acadians who wished to set it up in an Acadian chapel on the Gaspé coast. At any rate, there are people still living who have heard their parents say that at certain times they can hear the distant ringing of this Grand Pré bell."
"How weird!" cried Martine. "Are there any more stories like that? I love them."
"Oh, there are some others connected with buried treasures, but an evil fate was usually supposed to attend those who grew suddenly rich by unearthing Acadian treasure; and there are tales of ghostly fires on St. John's eve; and other stories used to trouble me very much when I was small and had to pass lonely places in the night."
"Oho," thought Martine, though she said nothing, "then it is as I thought; he is easily scared."
"At the time of the deportation," said Mr. Knight, as they took their places again in the carriage, "the water came much nearer the village. Since the days of the Acadians thousands of acres of dyke-lands have been reclaimed. When the Connecticut settlers came they found many dykes broken, through which the sea was rolling in, and they might have had a hard time repairing them if they had not found a few Acadians still left in the country, who had managed to escape the English and were lurking in the neighborhood of their old homes."
"That reminds me," said Priscilla; "who were the Acadians, that is, where did they come from in the first place? I have never thought of this before."
"Why, Priscilla, they were--" then Amy stopped, not feeling quite sure of her ground.
"Oh, they were French, from--" and Martine could get no farther.
"Of course they were French, but why did they know so much about dykes and such things?"
When no one else seemed inclined to answer the question, Mr. Knight undertook to reply.
"The Acadians of Grand Pré, like the Acadians of Annapolis, were nearly all descended from a group of peasants from Rochelle, Pictou, and Saintonge, who came out with D'Aunay and Razilly about 1630. They came from a region of marshes, and they brought with them the art of building dykes. The _aboiteaux_ that they built were marvels, and before you go we must try to show you one of the dykes at low tide, when all the wonderful method of building will be displayed. Pierre Terriau, by the way, was the name of the first Acadian to settle in the Grand Pré region. He came to the shores of the Habitant in 1671. Others soon joined him. The people at Minas were so shut off from Port Royal that they grew very independent. Indeed, this desire to escape the close observation of those at the Fort was what sent Acadians from Port Royal to this new region. In time there were three parishes in Minas,--St. Joseph, St. Charles, and Grand Pré,--and the people were like one great family, constantly inter-marrying, and always ready to help one another.
"'Neither locks had they to their doors, nor bars to their windows; But their dwellings were open as day and the hearts of the owners; There the richest was poor, and the poorest lived in abundance,'
as your Longfellow says;" and Martine, had she been inclined, might have taken this as an apology for the disrespect she had imagined cast on her poet a little earlier.
But there was no time now to discuss either Longfellow or the Acadians. Before the party stretched the broad dyke-lands, where already many farmers were cutting hay, while here and there were mammoth haystacks.
Priscilla snapped her camera at a hay wagon with a larger load than any she had ever seen, drawn by two of the heaviest, sleekest oxen; Amy made a few notes in her diary; Mrs. Redmond sighed for her palette and sketch-book; and Martine exclaimed loudly on the richness of color, the vivid green of the marshes, the unclouded blue of the sky, and the richer blue of the water, with a glimpse here and there of reddish shores, and above all Blomidon, the magnificent, showing up in the distance, like a veritable giant.
"Have you seen all that you care to see at Grand Pré?" asked Mr. Knight, politely, with a "Here, driver, draw up for a last look at Blomidon before we turn toward Avonport."
"How dark it looks now!" exclaimed Amy, pointing to the promontory.
"That is because the sun no longer shines on it," replied Mr. Knight "Listen to one of our poets:
"'This is that black bastion, based in surge, Pregnant with agate and with amethyst, Whose foot the tides of storied Minas scourge, Whose top austere withdraws into its mist.
* * * * *
"'Yonder, across these reeling fields of foam, Came the sad threat of the avenging ships. What profit now to know if just the doom, Though harsh. The streaming eyes, the praying lips, The shadow of inextinguishable pain, The poet's deathless music, these remain.'"
"Have we seen all that we can see?" interrupted Martine, untouched by the poetical tribute to her Acadians. She was determined to show no appreciation of anything said by Mr. Knight.
"Have we seen all that we can see?" repeated Martine, adding with some sharpness, "I thought that there would be much more."
"Well, I am sure--" and Mr. Knight hesitated, "I am sorry--but there isn't so very much--you know all the Acadian houses were burnt, and it's just a modern village--the old Covenanter Church is perhaps the oldest thing--and you've seen the old well and the willows and the things that we point out to Americans."
"There it is!" thought Martine, "that same patronizing tone when he speaks of Americans."
"Oh, there is one thing," continued the unhappy young man, conscious now, as at all times, of Martine's disapproval, "I should have shown you the little ridge near the station where Colonel Noble and one of his soldiers were buried, after that terrible fight in 1747. You remember the French had only seven killed to the one hundred English who were slaughtered."
"That was a cowardly attack," said Amy, warmly.
"But it was the real French, and not the Acadians, who were responsible," interposed Martine.
"Yet the Acadians helped--at least as guides."
"This pleasant country has certainly witnessed a great deal of tragedy." Mrs. Redmond's voice was that of the peacemaker.
"Yet through it all Blomidon has remained there calm and placid." Up to this time Priscilla had had little to say.
"But Glooscap, the deity of the Micmacs," responded Mrs. Redmond,--"you remember that after the white men came to Minas, displeased with their teachings, he fled away, and has never been seen since.
"'You can see yourself Five Islands Glooscap flung at him that day, When from Blomidon to Sharp he tore the Beaver's dam away. Cleared the channel, and the waters thundered out into the Bay. Here he left us--see the orchards, red and gold in every tree! All the land from Gaspereau to Portapique and Cheverie, All the garden lands of Minas and a passage out to sea.'"
"Why, mamma, I never heard you quote poetry--at such length."
"Perhaps you thought that I couldn't, but this is a Canadian poet, and later you must read more of the myths grouped around Glooscap."
"Oh, I know that Blomidon was his home, and Minas his beaver-pond, and Spencer Island used to be his kettle that he tipped upside down when he deserted Acadia, and two rocks there in the Bay were once his dogs that he turned to stone at the same time. He never was cruel, never grew old, and was never to die, and so I suppose that the Indians are looking constantly for him to come back and restore their own to them."
"As to that," said the serious Mr. Knight, "the Indians in Nova Scotia are much better off than in the days of Glooscap. They may sit side by side with white children in almost all the schools of the country. Many of them live on land of their own, and raise live stock--though unluckily they prefer ponies to heifers, and in every way the government is fitting them for the full responsibilities of citizenship."
"Oh, dear," sighed Martine, laying her hand on Amy's and leaning forward so that those on the back seat might not hear. "What a regular schoolmaster he is! He is more improving even than you, Miss Amy Redmond. But listen--how much more appreciative is our dear Priscilla."
In spite of herself Amy could but smile as Priscilla's gentle voice came to her. "Thank you, Mr. Knight; the present condition of the Indians interests me very much, and I have made a note of what you have said to report at one of our Indian Aid Association meetings when I return home," whereat the driver of their vehicle laughed, chuckled, and shook his head.
"I'd like to show her some specimen Micmacs," he said to Martine, "that come round here oftener than once in a while, and have some distance to travel before they are fully fitted for the responsibilities of citizenship."
"Now, ladies, a last look at Blomidon," cried Mr. Knight, as the carriage took a sharp turn, and then, after one long, backward look, they pressed on and drove westward toward Avonport.
"Dear Prissie," said Martine, when at last they stood on the broad beach, "you have been a very good girl to-day." Priscilla, reddening at her words, made no reply.
"Yes, you have been very good," continued Martine, "and when Mr. Knight recalls this afternoon he will remember with pleasure the close attention that you have given to his every word."
"Oh, Martine, how absurd you are; I never heard you talk so pompously before."
"This is the effect of a few hours spent with an eloquent guide, philosopher, and friend. Poor Amy is under the spell now; he seems to be teaching her geology."
Looking in the direction of the spot where they had left Mrs. Redmond and Amy, Priscilla saw that Mr. Knight was pointing at the stones with his walking-stick, as if they were diagrams on a blackboard.
"He is probably explaining the rock formation," said Priscilla, solemnly. "My guidebook says that the region has great geological interest."
"Then let us go off by ourselves somewhere, for if he gets the chance he will try to teach us all he knows, and really, I could not stand any more instruction to-day. Come, Prissie."
At first Priscilla hesitated.
"Do come; we'll have such a good chance to study those rocks and crags by ourselves."
"I'd rather wait for the others, but still--"
"That's a good girl;" and, half dragging Priscilla by the arm, Martine set off rapidly toward the bold cliffs that promised them more entertainment than they had had that afternoon.
"There are sure to be shells," said Martine, "and perhaps curious seaweeds in some of the little pools. The tide is so high that undoubtedly there are many strange things washed up here."
Martine was correct in her surmises, and for half an hour the two felt like explorers as they picked their way from stone to stone, filling their hands with trophies.
"Isn't it fun?" cried Martine. "I feel as if we were quite alone in the world. We can just enjoy ourselves without thinking of history or geology, or anything else."
"I wonder if the others will be worried," said Priscilla, who herself was not quite sure that she enjoyed this sensation of being quite alone in the world, with nobody near but Martine.
"Of course they won't be worried. We shall be back before they even miss us. Besides, I'd like to worry Mr. Knight."
Priscilla looked at her watch. "I think that we ought to return now; we have been gone more than half an hour."
"Oh, not yet--but listen; some one is calling. It is Mr. Knight. 'Young ladies, young ladies,'" and Martine mimicked the tones that now were borne quite clearly to their ears. "I just won't have him find us, and lead us back as if we were two children who had done something that we shouldn't; let us hide behind these rocks until he passes."
Somewhat against her will Priscilla allowed herself to be led into a rocky nook where a jutting ledge hid them effectually from any passer-by.
So Mr. Knight, walking along the cliffs above them, even had he peered down to the lower level, could hardly have seen them. His "Young ladies, young ladies, we're starting home now," grew feebler and feebler, and when Martine had assured herself that he was really a safe distance away, she came out from her hiding-place with a cry of "Danger past."
"We mustn't stay here too long," remonstrated Priscilla; "Mrs. Redmond will be worried."
"I am perfectly willing to go now," replied Martine, "since Mr. Knight won't lead me by the nose. We had a hard climb to this grotto, but it will be much easier going down."
Hardly had Martine spoken when Priscilla, who was a few steps ahead of her, turned back with a cry of alarm.
"Look, Martine; what shall we do?"
Stepping up beside her friend, Martine too exclaimed in surprise.
"Do you suppose it will come any higher? I have heard of the rapid rise of the tide, but this has just rushed in."
Even in that first quick glance both girls realized that they were in a critical position. In going up to the "grotto," as Martine called it, they had taken no notice of tide-water marks, such as both of them might have observed. The rocky arms by which they had ascended were now covered by water, and an incoming wave dashed over Priscilla's feet as they stood there, uncertain what to do.
"Will it come all the way in? We shall be drenched if it does."
"No," said Martine, turning about and inspecting the nook where they had been standing when they heard Mr. Knight's voice.
"You can see that if the last high tide had come in lately as far as that little hollow, there would be some water there now. Instead, it is perfectly dry. You can prove that for yourself."
"Yes, yes, you are right; by standing back here we can at least keep dry, but oh, dear, when shall we get out?"
"Probably not until Mr. Knight rescues us," replied Martine, cheerfully, "and even he will hardly come to our relief until low tide, which is probably some hours away."
Whatever the real danger, Priscilla and Martine saw at once that they were in a very disagreeable predicament. The little niche in which alone they could have a dry footing on three sides had steep walls, whose height at the lowest was surely twenty feet. Martine scanned the sides carefully, but the stone surface was perfectly smooth. Nowhere was there a projection that offered the least foothold. It was in no way possible for either girl to climb to the top. Toward them flowed the advancing tide. It had entirely cut them off from the path by which they had reached the grotto, and though it might not be dangerously deep at every point of the beach and rocks that it now covered, neither girl had courage to venture into the water.
Martine indeed had proposed to wade as far as it seemed safe, and then, if necessary, swim to some point where she might get a footing.
"No, no," Priscilla had remonstrated, "you might in some way miss the others, and if you had to wait around for some time in your wet clothes you would be really worse off than you are now--and besides, I should hate to be left here all alone."
"It might be a waste of energy," replied Martine, "for surely the tide cannot come up to this little hollow; so it is only a question of time when we shall get out of this. But it does seem to me that so unusually clever a person as that Mr. Knight thinks himself might have found us before this."
"You aren't quite fair, Martine, for he certainly was just above us here, calling with all his might. I dare say that he even looked over the edge. You hid yourself so completely, and made me hide too, so that when he looked he could not see us. He must think that we went in exactly the opposite direction, and he and the others are probably a mile away now, searching for us."
"I do not care how much bother Mr. Knight has, but I do regret putting Mrs. Redmond and Amy to such trouble. Why did you come with me, Priscilla? If you had refused we shouldn't have got into this scrape."
"Oh, Martine, when you fairly dragged me here! Surely you are unjust."
Martine knew that she was unjust but like many persons who realize their own foolishness, she experienced a certain relief for the present in blaming some one else.
"It will be hours," she grumbled, "before the tide will be low enough to let us out for it is still coming in, and we shall be kept here for some time after it turns."
"If we get out before dark I shall be thankful. It will be terribly disagreeable to find ourselves alone here in the dark."
"Oh, it won't be as bad as that!" Martine's voice became suddenly cheerful. Self-reproach had taken hold of her. What if Priscilla should really suffer from this escapade? As if in answer to her thoughts, Priscilla coughed once or twice.
"There it is," thought Martine; "Priscilla is away for her health, and I may undo all the good of the summer. It will be a great disappointment to Mrs. Redmond, as well as to Priscilla's mother. They both expected so much from this trip." Which reflections showed that Martine was certainly not a villain of the deepest dye. Had she been hardened in perversity she could not so soon have reached a state of repentance.
But repentance without works avails little, and when Priscilla coughed for a fourth time Martine became quite feverish with anxiety.
Two large clouds in the distance seemed to her to indicate a coming storm. Wretched enough would their condition be if they should be caught by a heavy rain while they were in this exposed position.
Time passes slowly when one has nothing to do, and although the fact that their situation was equally disagreeable to both should have drawn Martine and Priscilla closely together, they now found even less than usual to talk about. Yet strangely enough, without blaming the other each was heaping mental reproaches on herself,--Martine saw her own folly in running away from the others, and Priscilla was conscious that she had been too easily led.
"We might help time pass by reciting poetry," said Martine.
"Or discussing history," rejoined Priscilla.
"This might be a good time to settle the respective merits of the Loyalists and the Acadians."
"With the tide coming in so fast I should hardly dare get into a discussion; there'd be no one to help pull us in if we fell out. But listen, isn't that some one calling?"
"I believe it is, although the sound doesn't come from above. Don't you hear it?"
"Yes, I do; it's some one calling 'halloo, halloo.' Perhaps--"
"Yes, it may be some one searching for us."
Any doubts that Martine may have had were soon removed by the sight of a small dory gliding into their field of vision some distance below them. There were two men in the dory, both hatless and in their shirt-sleeves. In an instant both girls were on their feet, waving their handkerchiefs. In the same instant the men in the boat caught sight of them, and one of them lifted his oar and flourished it two or three times in the air.
"How will they get here?" asked Martine.
"Oh, probably the water isn't very deep; they can push up part way, and then wade."
"If they can wade, we might have ventured."
"It would not have been safe for us. See, they are pushing the boat up all the way."
The water, indeed, was deep enough to let the boat come up into the hollow--now filled with water--between the two arms of rock, whereby the two girls had climbed to their present position. While the boat was still some distance away Priscilla and Martine had recognized the immaculate Mr. Knight as the man who was steering. Mr. Knight, however, was immaculate no longer; he was hatless and coatless, his hair somewhat tumbled, and his face very red from the unwonted exertion.
From the moment of recognizing him until the moment when the side of the boat grazed the ledge was a very short time indeed.
"We thought we'd find you somewhere near here; at least, we hoped so," said Mr. Knight, looking from one girl to the other as if to decide which was the real culprit. "But how in the world did you get here?"
"Walked," replied Martine, laconically; "hadn't time to swim."
"But if you walked why didn't I see you when I looked an hour or two ago? I remember standing above this particular place and calling. Perhaps you weren't here then."
Martine said nothing. If it should be necessary to confess she could attend to this later. At present she had enough to think about.
"Is Mrs. Redmond worried?" asked Priscilla, anxiously.
"Yes and no," replied Mr. Knight, "though she'll be glad enough to see you."
"Must we go in the boat?" Priscilla spoke as if she dreaded the experiment, and she added, "It looks so very wobbly."
"Oh, that boat, she's as steady as a setting hen," exclaimed Mr. Knight's companion. "Just you look out, though, and don't wet your feet."
"I'll go first, Priscilla, and if I survive, why, then you can follow."
But before Martine had attempted to take her place Mr. Knight turned to Priscilla, "Of course, if you would rather not go in the dory we could wait here until the tide ebbs. I could stay with you while Mr. Sands rows back to report to Mrs. Redmond. But the boat is perfectly safe, I can assure you."
"Of course it is perfectly safe," exclaimed Martine, angrily; "I never heard such a silly idea." But whether she meant to apply "silly" to Priscilla's timidity or to Mr. Knight's suggestion she did not deign to explain, and the young man, after one curious glance in her direction, did not address her again.
It was but the work of a minute or two to get the girls aboard the dory, and soon they were at a landing-place from which they could reach Mrs. Redmond and Amy.
"You ain't the first people that's got caught in that way on the rocks," said Mr. Sands as they rowed along, "only generally it's some romantic couple that rather likes to stay there till the tide goes out. But your ma was afraid that if you was there you might try to wade, and so catch your death of cold, and besides, she wasn't sure you were anywhere, as long as Mr. Knight couldn't find you; so when they all seemed so concerned the only thing was to haul out the dory, though it wouldn't have hurt you a mite if you'd had to stay."
"I would as soon have stayed," said Martine, coldly; "it was a good view, and I rather enjoyed sitting there in that little grotto."
"Grotto," Mr. Sands laughed loudly, and Martine fancied that a smile flickered at the corners of Mr. Knight's lips. "Grotto," repeated Mr. Sands. "Well, I never heard that name used before in these parts. I thought a grotto was foreign, but you've said something now that I won't forget. Here, Mr. Knight, you help the young ladies out, while I steady the boat," and in a second the two girls were running up the beach, where Mrs. Redmond and Amy greeted them with open arms.
It was now after sunset, and all were hungry and cold. In aspect they were wholly unlike the party that had set out from Wolfville that afternoon. All seemed quiet and subdued,--Martine and Priscilla, because they had really been more fatigued by their little adventure than at the time they had realized; Mrs. Redmond and Amy, because they had been most anxious at the prolonged absence of the girls, and Mr. Knight--well, perhaps inwardly he was blaming "those Americans" for giving him much more trouble than was his due. Whatever his thoughts, however, he made no criticism, and any perturbation that he may have felt was shown only by his silence.
What was most to the point, however, the horses and the driver were in good spirits, and set out for Wolfville at a fine rate. While the others had been looking and waiting, man and beast had had food and drink, and this accounted for their energy.
"Grotto," cried Mr. Sands, as the party drove away, "well, that does beat all."
Once on the way back to Wolfville they stopped before a house, after Mr. Knight had had a word with the driver. Then the young man, excusing himself, went within, returning soon with a small package. This he opened after he had resumed his seat, and distributed to each of the party a bread and butter sandwich and two or three cookies. "I might have brought more," he explained, "but it would be a pity to take away all your appetite for your supper at Wolfville."
The sandwiches and the cakes seemed to promote conversation, and in the remaining half hour the party was as bright and cheerful as a party of young persons ought to be after a summer excursion. When they reached the house Mr. Knight declined the invitation that Mrs. Redmond gave him to stay to tea, though he promised to call on her the next day.
"While we are in Wolfville," said Mrs. Redmond, as he turned away, "we may not be able to show you how thoroughly we enjoyed the delightful afternoon you have given us, but if you come to Boston we will do our best to make a return."
"I can assure you that the pleasure has been altogether on my side," responded Mr. Knight.
"And I can assure you," added Martine, who had now fully recovered her spirits, "that Priscilla was an unwilling accomplice of mine this afternoon, and that you were very good to rescue me as well as her--everything considered."
"Oh, but I can assure you," began Mr. Knight, "that I didn't mean--that is, I--" and here realizing that the more he tried to say the more he might blunder, the poor young man backed down the steps with a polite bow and a single "good-night."
"Priscilla," said Amy, that evening, as she handed the former her mail, "here's a funny little package for you, half open at one end, and a letter directed in the same handwriting. Excuse my noticing that the letter is post-marked 'Meteghan.'"
"Why shouldn't you?" responded Priscilla. "We all have acquired the habit of looking at one another's post-marks."
"Open the parcel," cried Amy; "I'm curious to see what it is." Priscilla glanced at Martine, who was deep in a letter from one of her boarding-school friends. Then she cut the string, and, loosening the paper, handed the package to Amy while she glanced over the Meteghan letter.
"Why, it looks like Yvonne's lace," cried Amy, and at the word "Yvonne" Martine joined the group.
"Why, it is Yvonne's lace," she exclaimed. "How did you get it?"
"I sent for some," replied Priscilla. "I thought that it might help her if I should buy it. I could not buy much, but it has pleased her to sell it. Read her letter."
Tears came into Martine's eyes as she read the simple letter of thanks that seemed to come straight from the heart of the little French girl. "She remembers us all, though she doesn't spell the names just right, and she sends the best love of Uncle Alexandre, Uncle Placide, and aunts Mathilde and Marie. Well, we must have made an impression." Then, after glancing at the letter a second time, Martine continued: "But you are a brick, Priscilla. How did you happen to think of sending for the lace? I had forgotten all about it, though I was anxious to help Yvonne."
"She writes a good letter, considering that she sees so dimly;" and Amy called Martine's attention to the clear, round hand. "The convent sisters have certainly done a great deal for the child."
When all had admired the strip of lace, Priscilla folded it up neatly and laid it with her letters. She was relieved that Martine had not taken offence at her writing for it. Though Priscilla had not intended this to be a silent reproof to Martine, it had somewhat this effect, for too frequently in Martine's life "out of sight" meant "out of mind," and though she had no desire to break the promises that she had made so freely when in Meteghan, still, but for Priscilla's reminder she might have been long in keeping them. At the same time it is but fair to say that already without Priscilla's knowledge she had taken steps toward carrying out the larger plan that she had conceived regarding Yvonne's future.
"Mamma," said Amy, after she had shown Mrs. Redmond Yvonne's letter, "I have just had a letter from Julia."
"Ah, that is delightful," said Mrs. Redmond. "I am always so pleased to hear from Julia."
Julia Bourne, the cousin of Amy's friend Brenda,--Mrs. Weston--was little older than Amy or the other girls in Brenda's group. Julia, on being graduated from Radcliffe, had decided to spend most of her time and a fair share of her income on a Domestic Science School for girls.
The experiment carried on in the Mansion, a stately West End house belonging to her former teacher, Miss South, during its two years of existence, had proved most successful. The work at the Mansion had been in the nature of social settlement work, and Amy, with little money to give, had been glad to enroll herself as a voluntary teacher.
But for the Nova Scotia trip Amy would have been one of Julia's assistants this very summer at Happy Hill. Often, indeed, in the course of her travels she had thought of the work going on there, and had indulged in a little self-reproach that she should be spending her own holidays in idleness. Most persons, even those inclined to be critical, would have said that Amy had really enough work on her hands in the five or six hours of tutoring that she tried to give Priscilla every week.
Yet even granting that her time was not sufficiently occupied, there is a kind of idleness that in the end is more beneficial to the individual than any amount of work. Although Amy had not been in danger, perhaps, of breaking down during the past season, still, Mrs. Redmond realized that she had been working up to the limit of her strength, and she had planned the Nova Scotia trip in such a way that Amy should be unable to withstand going. That Amy would need all her strength for her senior year at Wellesley had been Mrs. Redmond's strongest plea. Every day of this summer had been a proof to Amy of her mother's wisdom.
"Of course we miss you [wrote Julia], and I am glad to say that no one else can exactly take your place. But I honestly believe that in a certain way you can do almost as much good in Acadia as here; for it will be a great thing to inspire Priscilla with more confidence in herself, and tone down Martine a little.
"Here at Happy Hill we have two or three of the girls who were at the Mansion its first year. We have been able, I am glad to say, to imbue them with some sense of responsibility. Each of them in turn is called housekeeper for a week, and although things are not really altogether in her hands, the effect on her is really the same, and we older people merely act as a check to prevent matters from going too far out of line.
"It is very amusing to see these older girls take charge of the younger, and instruct them in all the details of country life. They have some gardening to do, and they make butter and cheese, and each one is shown how to drive, and is permitted at intervals to drive down to the village. Then they have open-air gymnastics in addition to the very considerable amount of exercise that goes with their housework, and they have just enough study from books every day to prevent their growing altogether rusty.
"Mr. and Mrs. Elton--it doesn't seem quite natural yet to speak of Miss South as Mrs. Elton--are now, I suppose, in Norway. They sent the girls a box of unmounted photographs last week, showing the most picturesque scenery in Greece and Italy, where they were in the early spring. Nora is to be with me part of the summer, and Anstiss Rowe, as perhaps you know, is giving all her time to Happy Hill. Brenda undoubtedly keeps you informed about affairs at Rockley. She is perfectly happy, and altogether different from the Brenda of a year ago.
"When your Acadia days are over, I hope that you will have a week to spare for Happy Hill before Wellesley opens again. With my best regards to your mother and the girls,
When Amy had finished this letter Mrs. Redmond glanced through it.
"I should like to go up to Happy Hill for at least a week," said Amy.
"It is altogether probable that you can. We shall be at home by the first of September. Why, what has become of Martine?"
Amy looked toward the chair where Martine had been sitting a few minutes before. It was certainly empty.
"I'll run up to her room;" and, suiting her action to her word, in a moment Amy was knocking at Martine's door.
In answer to a feeble "Come in" she entered, only to find Martine lying face downward on the bed.
"Why, what is the matter, child?" she asked, affectionately stroking Martine's hair.
"Oh, nothing," came in muffled tones from the prostrate Martine, "only this has been such a long day."
"You are tired," responded Amy, "and probably you were more excited than you realized when you and Priscilla were lost."
"We weren't lost"--Martine threw considerable spirit into her voice,--"I knew just where we were."
"But we did not--" Amy, though amused, tried not to show her amusement--"we were rather alarmed, so really my mother and I ought to be the persons to collapse. Come, Martine, even if you are tired, you must cheer up, and go to bed."
[Illustration: "'Why, what is the matter, child?' she asked affectionately."]
"It isn't because I'm tired," and Martine's tears flowed afresh, "but I thought that to-night there would be a letter from my mother. There must be a mail in, and I have counted up the time from New York. There ought to be a letter to-night. I am sure that she's worse."
"Nonsense, child. Probably she does not feel quite well enough to write, and your father has overlooked the mail. You know how apt men are to forget."
So Amy tried to pacify Martine, and at last succeeded in getting her to look at things more cheerfully. She had never before seen Martine in low spirits, and she felt quite sure that fatigue, even more than disappointment, had caused the tears.
"I will admit," she said, "that this has been a trying day, beginning with--"
"Beginning with Mr. Knight,"--and now Martine was smiling. "Wasn't he funny, with his 'you Americans,' as if we were some strange species?"
"But in the end don't you think that Mr. Knight did pretty well? I think that he more than redeemed himself by his kindness."
"Well, as he is a friend of Balfour Airton's I suppose that I ought not to criticise him. There, don't shake your head, Amy. Yes, I do think that he was very kind--in the end. But the day has been fearfully long. We ought not to have taken that walk this morning."
When at last Martine went to bed Amy sat beside her until she fell asleep. There was a strange mingling of childishness and womanliness in this little Chicagoan to which Amy could not accustom herself. Her worldly wisdom and grown-up air of womanliness were quite as hard to understand as the extreme childishness in which she sometimes indulged. The more equable Priscilla was much easier to comprehend, and yet Amy was not altogether sure that Priscilla, under stress of circumstances, would be the easier to manage.
THE RIGHT AND THE WRONG OF IT
"For my own part," said Martine, "I am just as firmly on the side of the Acadians as ever. They may have been stupid about the oath, and probably they were too easily influenced by Le Loutre, but they had been handed from England to France and from France to England so often that I don't see how they could consider themselves English when really they were French."
"You must have had Irish ancestors as well as French," said Amy, with a laugh. "Your remark sounds almost like a bull."
"Well, I mean to take the bull by the horns," replied Martine; "you can blame any one else for the deportation, but not the poor Acadians. They certainly did not in the least know who they were. But I am glad," she concluded, "that you have taken so much trouble to explain it all to me, Miss Amy Redmond, for I have never before understood why the English were so cruel."
"It is surely a fact"--Amy spoke decidedly--"that the English Government would have preferred to keep the Acadians their subjects. They needed them to supply provisions, and to man their garrisons. With their knowledge of woodcraft, and of the Indians, the Acadians would have been invaluable on the English side."
"But you couldn't expect them to fight against the French, who were their own flesh and blood!" and Martine cast a glance of reproach at her friend.
"That, of course, was the chief point in the dispute. The Acadians claimed to be neutrals, when really they were sending their produce to Louisbourg, or to the French in other places, to help them continue their war with the English. Yet they expected the protection of the English when in trouble, and they always had it, although their only tax was the tithe that they spent for the support of their own church."
Amy and Martine were sitting on the broad sands of Evangeline's beach, looking toward Blomidon, and waiting for Priscilla, who had strolled some distance away. They had driven over from Wolfville in the omnibus, and were to have an hour or two at the edge of the Basin before they need return. In the midst of the discussion Priscilla rejoined them.
"More Acadians!" she cried with a smile. "Let me ask you a favor--"
"To say no more about them?"
"No, not that. When we leave the neighborhood of Wolfville we shall think of other things; so, once for all I, for one, should be glad to have the whole story straightened out. We know what happened after the expulsion, for we've been at Clare, and we know about the earliest French; we heard all that at Annapolis. But now, my dear Miss Amy Redmond, you have been looking into this thing thoroughly, and if--"
"Yes," urged Martine, "if you'll please tell us what happened in the years between, it will save our reading, and you will make it much clearer to us than any book."
"Down with your flattery," rejoined Amy; "yet as there's no time like the present, I will tell the story briefly. We might as well pass over the various transfers of Acadia from France to England, and from England to France, before 1710. But the conquest of Annapolis by General Nicholson in that year gave Acadia finally to England. The change of Government was confirmed by the treaty of Utrecht in 1713, and all Acadians who did not wish to be subject to England were given time to leave. Those who remained were required to take an oath of fidelity to King George, and England on her part agreed to let them exercise their own religion under their own priests. In spite of these arrangements many of these simple-minded Acadians still considered themselves subjects of the King of France, even up to the time of the expulsion. Perhaps the priests encouraged them in this and delayed their taking the oath of allegiance. By 1730, however, nearly all had signed the oath, and if war had not broken out later between France and England there might have been no further trouble. But when it was found that many of the Acadians, instead of remaining neutral, were joining with French and Indians in attacks on the English, Lord Cornwallis, the Governor at Halifax, required them to take the oath again. This was necessary because a new generation had grown up who had been encouraged by the priests and politicians in enmity to England. Most of them would not take the new oath, because it required them to defend Acadia against the enemies of England, and this, they said, would oblige them to fight against the French, their kinsmen. In 1751 there was a large immigration of Acadians to Île St. Jean, then in the hands of the French. These exiles suffered much, but they were encouraged to hope that when France reconquered Acadia they could go back to their deserted homes.
"Cornwallis continued firm, and at last the Acadians were informed that all who would not take the oath must leave Nova Scotia. In the very beginning deputies from the Acadian villages had gone to Halifax to say that it would be impossible to take the oath and ask permission to dispose of their farms and leave the country."
"Why didn't they go? It would have been so much better in the end."
"It is hard to say, Martine. Friends of the Acadians claim that the English put all kinds of obstacles in their way, first refusing them transportation in English vessels, then preventing their buying rigging at Louisbourg for vessels of their own. But, as I have said, more than a thousand did eventually pass over to the Île St. Jean, and some of these took part in the defence of Beauséjour."
"Well, they were surely very conscientious," said Martine, "for they knew that by taking the oath and becoming British subjects they could live in comfort on their farms. It was very brave in them to choose poverty and exile."
"It might seem braver, if behind it all they had not had the feeling that the time was near when the French would drive the British from Nova Scotia and so restore them to their own."
"It was all that Le Loutre, I suppose," commented Priscilla; "he was responsible for so much."
"Whether he was really as bad as some represent him would be hard to say; but this missionary to the Micmacs had great influence, and it was all used against the English. We pity the Acadians, but we ought to pity the innocent English settlers on the outskirts of Halifax, and at other places, who were tortured and murdered by the Indians whom Le Loutre and other French had stirred up. Now, to keep to our story without making it too long, the Acadians dallied and dallied. They did not take the oath of allegiance, and they did not seem to be preparing to leave the country. At last Lieutenant-Governor Lawrence gave them only a short time to decide.
"Well, the French and Indian War continued, and the English were generally more successful than the French. At last Beauséjour was captured, chiefly by the help of a body of troops commanded by Colonel Winslow. These men were New Englanders,--sturdy, conscientious men from country towns, a large number of whom had been farmers and small tradesmen.
"Beauséjour fell the middle of June, and it may interest you, Priscilla, to know that Le Loutre, rather than fall into the hands of the English, fled to Quebec, where he was coldly received. Later he went to France, and died in obscurity.
"In July, 1755, a memorial was sent to Lieutenant-Governor Lawrence, signed by twenty-five leading Acadians, on the subject of the oath, and requesting the return of their guns that the Government had obliged them to give up on account of their sympathy with the French. When Governor Lawrence sent for the signers to come to Halifax, fifteen appeared before them. He pointed out the insincerity of their memorial, and when he desired them to sign the oath they flatly refused. Finally, on the twenty-eighth of July, these deputies and others from Annapolis appeared before the Governor and Council, and although warned that the consequences would be serious, they declined to take any oath differing from that taken under Governor Phillips; that is, they were unwilling to bear arms for the English against the French."
"That, I must say, seems noble to me, since they knew what risks they were running," cried Martine.
"That is to an extent a matter of opinion. But their refusal decided Governor Lawrence what to do. He immediately wrote to Colonel Monckton that enough transports had been ordered up the Bay for the Acadians, and that he must remove them. He was told that all the property of the Acadians was now forfeited to the Crown, and that they would be allowed to take on board ship only their money and their household goods."
"It is a wonder he left them anything," said Martine, sarcastically.
"He wasn't absolutely heartless, and he gave careful directions for provisioning the transports for their long journey."
"I am sorry that it was a New Englander who had to carry out these cruel orders," said Priscilla.
"Yes, it fell on Lieutenant-Colonel Winslow, and a detachment of those New England troops that had fought at Beauséjour to attend to the deportation at Grand Pré. It was Tuesday, the second of September, when he ordered all the male inhabitants from ten years upwards to assemble on the following Friday in the church at Grand Pré, to hear what his Majesty had to say to them. Then--but really I think one gets the story better from Longfellow. It is from this point that we have our sympathies so deeply touched, and we are willing to forget that the simple-minded Acadians had brought much of their trouble on themselves."
"It doesn't make their sufferings less, even if they were to blame," interposed Martine.
"That is true. They may have been less peaceable and amiable than they have been represented by the poet, and their homes and their ways of living may have been less--less--"
"Æsthetic," suggested Priscilla, with a smile.
"Well, æsthetic, then. But all this does not alter the fact that they deserved the greatest pity. Many of them, indeed, honestly believed that they were still the subjects of Louis XV, and that to take the oath required by the English would be a great crime."
"What they needed was a really good and disinterested man to advise them; some one like Paul Mascarene, who was partly French, and yet could get the English point of view," said Priscilla. "Some way I can't feel that the English were altogether disinterested--although," she concluded hastily, "I am more on the English side than the French,--and I am very sorry that it was a man of Plymouth descent who carried away the Acadians from Grand Pré."
This, in view of Priscilla's previous prejudice against the Acadians, was really a very liberal statement, as the others realized.
"It should console you, then, to remember that Colonel Winslow was simply a soldier acting under orders, and we have no reason to think that he used needless cruelty. 'It hurts me to hear their weeping and wailing,' he said in his journal, and this shows that he had a tender heart."
"But I can't see why families were separated, and why all these Acadians couldn't have been sent up to Upper Canada to the other French;" and Martine sighed deeply.
"You forget that France and England were still at war, and to have put so many able-bodied men at the service of France would indeed have been madness. Governor Lawrence explained all this in letters to the governors of the different colonies to whom he sent the Acadians. They were sent to as many different colonies as possible, and broken up into small groups, so that they could not unite in any plan for return."
"I suppose that Governor Lawrence thought it better for them to become public charges,--people who had always been perfectly independent."
"Oh, well, there is a bright side. Many of them never lost hope for a minute, and even those who went to the French West Indies soon began to plan to get back to Acadia. In the end, after the Peace, they began to take the oath, and receive their new grants of land, and since then England has had no more devoted subjects--as we saw for ourselves in Clare."
"All the same," said Martine, "this must be a haunted region around here, and I can tell you I should hate to walk through Grand Pré alone after dark, or even drive through."
"Speaking of haunted regions," said Priscilla, "though I don't know why I think of him just now, what do you suppose has happened to Mr. Knight? No one has seen him since our adventure."
"_We_ haven't seen him," responded Amy, "but I sincerely hope that he is in the land of the living. I must have forgotten to tell you that mamma had a letter from him the day after our drive, telling us that he had been suddenly called to New Brunswick, and expressing his regret that probably he should not see us again."
"That must have been a great relief to him," murmured Martine, "that call to New Brunswick. Otherwise he might have had to see us again."
"Oh, he expressed great regret at having to go without doing so."
"That was kind in him, even if it wasn't quite sincere. It is my own opinion that he went away on purpose. He couldn't bear to see us again when he remembered how his hair was tumbled--not a sign of the parting--and his cuffs wet. But _we_ remember, don't we, and I hardly blame him for running away."
"Martine, my dear child, you are very absurd. No man could possibly be so vain."
"Especially, my dear Miss Amy Redmond, one whose business is the instruction of youth," rejoined Martine, flippantly.
"I had a letter from Eunice this morning," interposed Priscilla, "and she said that Balfour had had a letter from Mr. Knight, who thanked him for the introduction he had given him to us. She said that he had written about our trip to Grand Pré, and was surprised to find Americans so much interested in Acadian history."
"That is all very well. People always write that way after a letter of introduction; they feel that they must. You cannot persuade me that Mr. Knight had any other reason for running to New Brunswick except to avoid us."
"Perhaps he wished to escape our thanks for the rescue."
"Rescue!" Martine's tone was scornful enough. "We weren't in the least little bit of danger."
"We weren't exactly comfortable," responded Priscilla. "I was thankful enough, I can tell you, when Mr. Knight and the dory came in sight. Why, we might have had to stay there for hours."
"Oh, no; there would have been some way. The tide goes out as rapidly as it flows in."
"Well, leaving out individuals, who certainly have been very kind to us," interposed Amy, "considering that in their hearts many of them think of us as 'those Yankees,' Wolfville has been fairly worth while."
"Yes," replied Martine, "though I haven't been able to paint Blomidon, I have captured the Grand Pré willows. The subject may be trite, but I've managed to give it a touch of individuality by adding a tree or two and lopping off a branch or so, here and there, and this will set some persons guessing as to what my view is."
"But the artistic reputation of the party is kept up by your mother's sketches. That one of the marshes is simply perfect. No one who had not seen the colors could believe that nature up here in the north is so brilliant. The water is so blue,--and she has caught it exactly,--and the bright red of the shore at low tide, and the vivid green of the dyke grass, varied here and there with clumps of yellow--"
"Stop, stop; you make me fairly dizzy."
"But it's a true picture, isn't it? and your mother has reproduced it to perfection, and if she doesn't sell it before Christmas I shall get papa to buy it for me."
So the three friends sat and chatted on this their last afternoon in Evangeline's land, half regretting that the time was near when they must bid good-bye to Acadia.
Though they had not tried to do all the things possible for the tourist, they had gone to the Look-off, the highest part of the Blomidon ridge, and from this spot had had a magnificent view of the Annapolis and Cornwallis valleys, and the six rivers flowing into Minas, and the hundreds of fertile farms and the picturesque seaports lying almost at their feet; and they had made also several side trips.
Priscilla had slaked her thirst for information by setting down in her note-books many facts about the productiveness of the region, and declared that in future if she should meet a boy anxious to become a farmer she would send him to Nova Scotia rather than to the unknown West.
"Ah, but there's no government land for him to take up here, and farms don't go for a song. Every inch is cultivated," rejoined Amy.
Thus at last, when Amy with her mother and her friends were ready to leave Wolfville and Grand Pré and their neighborhood, their minds were filled not only with the history of Acadia and the memories of the past, but with pictures of the present that seemed likely to be lasting.
Mrs. Redmond, moreover, in balancing her accounts,--not a reckoning of money, but of something more precious--counted as the greatest gain the improvement in health made by Priscilla and the improvement in disposition made by Martine.
Priscilla's gain was easily recognized. Even she herself could see it when she looked in the glass, and she was daily growing more and more conscious of it. But Martine's gain,--perhaps she herself did not realize it. Perhaps she had not known in the beginning how much she needed improving. Yet Mrs. Redmond, realizing it, had observed with pleasure that Martine was not nearly as self-willed, was not nearly as ready to ridicule the foibles of others as at the beginning of the trip. Just as the angles of Priscilla's disposition were rounding off to a certain degree, so Martine was much less likely than formerly to fly off in a tangent. Although it could hardly be said that the two girls understood each other perfectly, it was yet the fact that wishes collided far less often than in the past. When Priscilla yielded, she did so with a smaller show of helpless resignation than had been her wont, and Martine no longer thought it clever to laugh at every suggestion made by Priscilla.
As to Amy, her mother saw with pleasure that to her the summer had been one of real refreshment. If she had been absolutely idle she could not have been half as happy as now, with the sense of responsibility that was hers in having the care, or at least the partial care, of Martine and Priscilla; moreover the trip itself, opening as it did to her a country of which previously she had known so little, was in every way a delight to her. It had shown to her a world of history and poetry with which she had not been familiar, even though she had known something about it, and this in itself was worth much to her.
"I almost wish," said Amy to her mother, as their train was speeding away from Wolfville, "that we were going direct to Halifax."
"That _is_ a concession," responded Mrs. Redmond, with a smile, "for if you had been less anxious to see Windsor we should have passed on without stopping there. Perhaps even yet it is not too late to change our plans."
"Oh, no; I am just as anxious as ever to visit King's College, and Martine and Priscilla, if not enthusiastic, still feel pleased at the prospect of seeing one more town before we reach Halifax. I've had to use some persuasion to get them to take this point of view, and it would be very foolish indeed for me to be the one to change plans now."
A moment later Martine and Priscilla, who had been looking from the window on the opposite side of the car, returned to their seats.
"Would you care to give up Windsor now?" asked Mrs. Redmond.
"No, indeed; since I realized that Windsor is the old Piziquid of the Acadians I have been crazy to see it, for I read a story the other day whose scene was laid there; and besides, I've heard that Windsor has one of the queerest harbors in the world, with water in it hardly two or three hours a day, and only red mud the rest of the time."
"That's nothing very new," interrupted Priscilla; "we've seen enough of that kind of thing already in Nova Scotia."
"Oh, but the difference is that the harbor of Windsor is so large that they say it is very amusing to see so many great vessels stranded in it I'm quite reconciled now to spending a day or two there; it's only Priscilla who objects, Mrs. Redmond."
"I don't really object" responded Priscilla, "but I'm afraid we won't have all the time we need at Halifax."
"After all, we shall not be limited in our stay there. Unless those letters that I expect insist on my return at once I shall be quite willing to stay away until after the first of September."
"Who is it then, besides Priscilla, who wishes to cut Windsor?"
"No one but me, Martine," returned Amy; "and this is only because I have a little feeling that I can't explain that we might better go through directly to Halifax. It's the kind of feeling that leads people sometimes to give up a particular train from fear that some accident will befall it."
"Ugh!" and Martine held up her hands in protest. "I never knew before, Miss Amy Redmond, that you could be superstitious, for that's what 'having feelings' amounts to."
"Well, at least I'm strong-minded enough to disregard these premonitions. In my heart of hearts I believe that we shall not only escape from Windsor alive, but enjoy our stay there thoroughly."
Not so very long after leaving Wolfville the travellers were within sight of Windsor. They had passed through beautiful farming regions with occasional glimpses of river and marsh; and there across a stretch of yellowish water they caught sight of the town which the Indians had so correctly named Piziquid, "the meeting of the waters." This first glimpse showed a town built up on the sides of leafy hills and stretching down to the water, bordered with many wharves, at which lay three-masted schooners and craft of every size.
Their rooms had been engaged at one of the smaller hotels. It was delightfully situated on a side street, and within seemed pleasant and homelike. Already their bags had been taken to the rooms assigned them, and Martine and Priscilla lingered a moment to speak to the landlady's little daughter, a child of five or six, who was playing in the hall.
"How red her cheeks are! I must kiss her;" and Martine bent down to suit the action to the word. But the little girl was coquettish, and, slipping away, stood at some distance, staring at the strange young ladies. Priscilla looked sharply at the child.
"I wouldn't kiss her," she remonstrated. "Her cheeks are flushed; they are almost feverish. I believe she's not well."
"Nonsense," rejoined Martine, with a laugh. "Every one down here has red cheeks;" and she took a few steps forward in pursuit of the child.
Priscilla laid her hand on her arm "No, no, she looks just as my little sister did after she had scarlet fever; promise me you won't kiss her."
"I don't see why you should care," said Martine; "but you seem so in earnest that for once I'll do what you wish."
At this moment Mrs. Redmond approached the girls, in company with the landlady, who had been showing her her room. She, too, looked keenly at the little child.
"Is this your little girl?" she asked her companion.
"Yes, my only child."
"Is she,--is she quite well?"
The woman hesitated for a moment.
"She has been sick, but she's almost well," she replied.
"What was the matter with her?" asked Mrs. Redmond, pleasantly.
"She has had scarlet fever, but--"
"Girls," said Mrs. Redmond, "have your bags brought from your rooms."
Then she turned to the landlady.
"I can understand now why you can offer us a choice of so many rooms; the fever, I suppose, drove your guests away. I'm sorry, but we, too, must look farther."
In a few moments the four had called a carriage and were on their way to seek a new abode. Martine saw the ridiculous side of the whole affair and made the others laugh at her account of the way Priscilla had saved her from the fatal kiss.
"It is no laughing matter," protested Mrs. Redmond; "the child was evidently in that condition when the disease is particularly contagious, even though she herself is not especially ill. I shall have to watch you all very carefully, and shall be thankful enough if you do not suffer from this exposure."
"There, Amy," cried Priscilla, "the worst is over; your premonitions are justified, and another time we won't laugh at your superstition. Though you hadn't scarlet fever in mind, this was the danger which we were to pass through."
"I hope that the worst really is over, but it is rather curious that this particular incident should have happened here after what I said."
Under the guidance of their driver the party soon found a boarding-place in a large wooden house, attractively situated on a hill.
On the morning after their arrival Mrs. Redmond advised the girls to make the most of their time.
"I'm told that we can visit the college and return in time to take the afternoon train for Halifax, but perhaps it will be as well to do things a little more at our leisure and go on to-morrow."
"Oh, far better," said Martine; "it would be so tiresome to go on to-day; besides--" and here she stopped as if she had almost disclosed something that she should not speak about.
Soon after breakfast Martine and Amy strolled off to the grass-grown ramparts of Fort Edward, the defence that had been built by the English against the French when Acadia came into their possession. An old blockhouse was the most interesting thing to be seen from the Fort; interesting at least from the historical point of view.
"What makes Windsor seem so very new?" asked Martine. "Every one speaks of it as such an old town, and it seems to be full of new brick buildings that look as if they'd been finished hardly a week."
"It's the fire," replied Amy. "The greater part of Windsor was destroyed by fire a year or two ago. It used to be much prettier, they say, with its old wooden buildings and tree-lined streets. The trees and the old-fashioned dwellings have all been swept away,--at least in this part of the city. When we go to King's College this afternoon we shall see what is left of the older section."
"Martine," said Mrs. Redmond, when the two returned, "I'm sorry to have to reprove you."
"If any one is to reprove me you are the one, Mrs. Redmond, whom I should prefer to administer the reproof; but what is the trouble now? Am I in danger of catching anything new?"
"No, my child, but see!"
Mrs. Redmond held up before Martine a small chamois bag.
"Oh, dear, did I really leave it lying about?"
"Yes, Martine, and had any one else found it you might have been put to considerable trouble to recover your rings."
Taking the little bag from Mrs. Redmond's hands, Martine emptied its contents on a table. There they were,--not only the four beautiful rings, but the diamond star that her father had given her the preceding Christmas. Ever since Priscilla had expressed her contempt for those who wore expensive jewelry while travelling, Martine had carried her rings in the little bag in which she kept the star and one or two other valuable pins.
"It seems to me," said Mrs. Redmond, "that it would have been wiser to leave these valuable things in Boston."
"But I always have them with me, and nothing has ever happened."
Mrs. Redmond hesitated as to what she should say. Although she was Martine's temporary guardian, she believed that it was not her place to instruct the young girl on points that would naturally come within the observation of her parents. If they had established no rules regarding the times when she should or should not wear jewelry, it was hardly the duty of another to interfere. Yet she saw that a word or two now might prevent further complications while she and Martine were travelling together.
"It is true," she said, "that people must judge for themselves when they shall and when they shall not wear jewels. But your rings, I can see, are all valuable, especially the emerald, and it is so easy to mislay such things when dressing, or when leaving a boarding-house, that if I were you I would put them safely away."
Though she did not express it, her real thought was that in travelling there is seldom an occasion when a young girl needs to wear jewelry.
"Thank you, Mrs. Redmond," said Martine, pleasantly. "I am truly sorry that I brought these things with me, although at home I always wear my rings without thinking about them. The diamond star I thought might be worn if we were invited to a party or a reception while away, but I see now that it would not be the thing for me to wear it at all this summer. In fact, when papa gave it to me he said that he did not expect me to wear it often until I was eighteen, but I thought I would like to have it with me, and it seemed safe enough in this bag."
"Yes, when you wear the bag around your neck; but if you leave it carelessly lying about, you'll have only yourself to blame if you lose it."
"Thank you, Mrs. Redmond," responded Martine; "after this I will see that it is put away."
Martine had received Mrs. Redmond's words so well that the latter was more than ever impressed with the young girl's amiability, and she wondered that between her and Priscilla there could still exist any antagonism.
There was no evidence, however, of anything but good feeling when the four set out for their drive to King's College. Amy had told them that they were to drive also near the grounds of the old home of that Judge Haliburton whose other home they had seen at Annapolis, explaining:
"Some persons call him 'the father of Canadian literature,' because his 'Sam Slick' and his history were almost the first books written in Canada to attract the attention of people outside."
King's College, in a certain way, offered rather less than the girls had expected, though its chief college building was an imposing structure, with great columns in front. The grounds were extensive, and the gently rolling lawns suggested an English landscape.
"King's is an old college for this part of the world," said Mrs. Redmond, "and though I cannot remember all I have heard about it, various old forms and ceremonies are kept up here, I believe, and commencement is always very interesting."
"It isn't as old as Harvard, is it?" asked Martine.
"What a question!" interposed Priscilla. "No college is as old as Harvard--at least, in this country. Just see how small this is, too!"
"Yet you ought to be especially interested in King's College, Priscilla," said Mrs. Redmond, gently, "for it was founded by exiled Loyalists almost immediately after the Revolution. Indeed, plans for the college were made in New York even before the close of the war, when it was seen that large numbers of educated men and women would probably have to bring up their children in a new country, where it would take time to establish even ordinary day schools."
"After the Revolution! That seems young compared with Harvard. But come, let us see what there is in this ancient-looking library. The driver says it's the only building open to visitors now," said Amy, who had been leading the way.
There were some entertaining books and portraits in the old library, and after lingering over them a little while, the girls prepared to return to the town. They took a last look at the old college before the carriage drove away.
"Its surroundings are beautiful," exclaimed Amy, "but it doesn't compare with Wellesley;" and before her eyes rose a picture of the College Beautiful, with its lake, its hills and groves, and its many fine buildings.
"I'm very glad, however," she added, "that we came here, for I have got a certain impression from King's College that is quite worth having."
"So say we all of us," added Martine. And thus in an amiable frame of mind the party returned to their boarding-house, pleased with their sightseeing. Although none of the girls would admit that they were tired, Mrs. Redmond suggested that all go to bed early.
"I'll agree," responded Martine, "if you'll come up first to my room."
Martine's room was large and pleasant, and even for so short a stay she had thought it worth while to give it a few homelike touches. Photographs of her parents and of one or two of her friends in ornamental frames were on the mantelpiece, and over the mantelpiece itself she had draped a soft foreign scarf. Her silver toilet articles occupied the top of the bureau; for in spite of Priscilla's disapproval, or perhaps because of it, she now carried these things in her suit case. Slight though these little touches were, Martine had contrived to relieve the room of its purely boarding-house aspect.
The house itself was plain, and both inside and out had a certain aspect of flimsiness. This had been accounted for by some one who had told Mrs. Redmond that it had been put up very hastily, immediately after the recent fire. It had been built for a boarding-house and pretended to be nothing else. It was airy and clean, but neither its landlady nor the other boarders attracted the travellers sufficiently to incline them to stay downstairs in the general sitting-room; so the three girls and Mrs. Redmond sat and chatted in Martine's room, enjoying the box of chocolates that she had opened for their especial pleasure.
"They ought to be good," she said, when Mrs. Redmond praised them. "They came from Halifax;" and she glanced mischievously at Priscilla.
"From Halifax?" repeated Amy. "I suppose that's where most shopkeepers in Windsor get their goods."
"Halifax by way of Windsor."
"No, no," retorted Martine, "not by way of Windsor at all; they came to me by mail. You know I went down to the post-office the last moment before we left Wolfville."
The others made no comment, but Priscilla and Amy exchanged glances, and Priscilla's seemed to say:
"I told you so."
Before, however, anything could be said, Martine rushed to her bureau.
"I received a letter, too, at the same time," she cried, "and except for these chocolates I never should have thought of it again."
Lifting the cover of the candy box, she took from it a large square envelope, which for safe keeping, perhaps, she had placed under the lace paper that lined it.
"What next?" thought Amy. "If the letter is from either Fritz or Taps, I wonder if she'll venture to read it."
Then Martine, with the utmost unconcern, opened the envelope, saying as she did so:
"It's from Mrs. Blair; you know she's a cousin of mamma's, and she often gives me good advice; I suppose this letter is full of it. That's one reason I left it to read on the train. I knew it would keep till then; and, after all, I entirely forgot it."
"Mrs. Blair would feel complimented," interposed Amy.
"Oh, she knows me; I never hide my feelings."
"Do you ever try?"
"Yes, my dear Mrs. Redmond; I've never dared let you know just how much I care for you."
Thus effectually silenced, Mrs. Redmond waited for Martine to read her letter.
"You ought to like Mrs. Blair," said Amy, for Martine still held the opened envelope in her hand without attempting to read its contents.
"Because she has style, Martine, and you generally put that before everything else; but read your letter, I would like to hear where they are, for I am always interested in Edith's doings."
"Yes, yes," yet Martine did not take the letter from the envelope; "but people need something besides style. I get so out of patience with Mrs. Blair when she and mamma are together. She always has the air of disapproving of mamma for having married a western man. She makes me think of the New Yorker who said to a Chicago woman, 'How can you bear to live so far away?' 'Away? From what?' asked the other. And the New Yorker couldn't say a word."
"But that isn't like Mrs. Blair, for she always has a word ready for everything. Do read your letter, Martine," continued Amy.
So Martine glanced hastily over the pages, making comments as she read.
"Oh, it's a kind of duty letter. She wants me to think it a great privilege that you have allowed me to travel with you this summer. She seems to have an especially high regard for you, Priscilla. I won't flatter you by reading what she says. Oh, yes, and she wants to give me some bad news. She has seen mamma at Carlsbad and thinks her looking very miserable. Well, that's about all, except that she wishes Edith cared more for Europe."
"Yes," interposed Amy, "Edith was very anxious to go West this summer with Philip and Pamela; they're having a fine trip over the Canadian Rockies."
Martine evidently was not listening to Amy. Her face wore an expression of great bewilderment, and then, with an exclamation of surprise she thrust the letter into Amy's hand:
"Read it," she cried; "isn't it extraordinary?" and she pointed to the signature. "'Audrey Balfour Blair!' Did you know that was her name?"
"Why, I'm not sure," responded Amy. "I never had a letter from Mrs. Blair."
"Nor I," responded Martine, "though Edith often writes to me."
"That's why Balfour and Audrey seem so familiar to me," added Priscilla, whose family were on rather intimate terms with Mrs. Blair.
"I never heard even mamma speak of Mrs. Blair by her first name," continued Martine. "Of course I must have known that it was Audrey, but I had never noticed the Balfour before."
"Well, if Balfour is a family name of Mrs. Blair's it must be of your mother's also; or at least it probably is."
"In that case," said Martine, "then Balfour and I may be cousins."
"I wish that Eunice and I were cousins." Priscilla's wistful tone was in contrast to the brighter one in which Martine had spoken.
"What's in a name?" continued the latter. "I dare say it's only the merest happening that these names are alike."
"I was going to suggest," commented Mrs. Redmond, "that it might be wiser not to build your hopes too high, although I'll admit that there may be some connection between the two families."
"What pleases me the most," said Martine, "is to think of Mrs. Blair's disgust when she hears that her family names belong also to people in Nova Scotia."
"And one of them a grocer's clerk," added Amy, whereupon Martine colored deeply.
"Balfour's just as good as Philip Blair, and he won't have to leave college without taking his degree." Then, as if ashamed of her petulance, she added: "To find out how things really are I suppose that after this I'll have to take an interest in genealogy. Mrs. Blair belongs to the Colonial Dames and offered to have mamma's name put through, and I think she would have consented to this if I hadn't laughed so at the idea. I dare say the Dames are different from the Daughters. I hope so at any rate, for the Daughters are always waving their ancestors in one another's faces, especially at their meetings, which I am told are like real battles."
"Oh, no," protested Mrs. Redmond, "not always. I've been at some that were very pleasant."
"Well, before long," concluded Martine, "you'll find me climbing family trees in a way that will make you dizzy; in fact, I feel a little giddy, as the English say, at the very prospect of having--Eunice for a cousin. Indeed, I believe I'll not sleep a wink to-night in my effort to settle the question."
FIRE AND FLAME
Long after the others had left her Martine sat alone. She was restless and wide-awake, and any one looking at her would have seen that her face was far less cheerful than usual. Her thoughts, indeed, were disturbed, and one or two tears fell as she held her mother's portrait before her and looked earnestly into the deep blue eyes.
The portrait was a miniature, painted in the days when her mother was almost as young in appearance as Martine herself, though in fact she had been married for several years. The young girl especially valued it because she could remember perfectly when her mother had been very like the lady in the picture, and also because this miniature had not been copied. It was too valuable a thing for Martine to carry with her when travelling.
Mrs. Blair's letter, with its mention of her mother's poor health, had stirred her deeply. She had concealed her feelings in the presence of Mrs. Redmond and the girls; or rather, for the moment she had been more impressed by the suggestion that came to her, through Mrs. Blair's signature, of a connection between her family and the Airtons. Now, however, she began to dwell on the significance of the news from Carlsbad, and the conclusion was hard to set aside that her mother's condition was even worse than her father's brief letters had given her to understand. Putting away the miniature with a sigh, she drew the last two letters from the portfolio, reading and re-reading them in a vain effort to decide whether her father had written briefly merely to conceal his feelings.
"It's strange that men always write so little in a letter. Though papa would always rather telegraph than write, still, when he does write, I _do_ think that he might say something. Now if it were mamma, why, she would tell me everything;" and upon this, with the knowledge that it might be long before her mother could write to her, Martine burst into tears. As she tossed the letters aside Martine threw herself on her bed, and then--
How long she had lain there she did not know, although rising with a start, she realized that she had fallen asleep, and almost as quickly she perceived a strong smell of smoke in the room.
Opening her door, she turned toward the ell where Mrs. Redmond and the two girls had their rooms. The smell of smoke was stronger there, and in the darkness some one brushed against her, crying, "The house must be on fire." With a leap Martine reached the top floor where her friends were. Mrs. Redmond's door opened to her knock, and then she rapped loudly on the door of the room that Amy and Priscilla occupied together.
"Fire, fire!" she called, and in a moment Mrs. Redmond's voice was added to hers.
"Open the door, Amy; don't wait to dress. Come, come, don't you understand? The house is on fire."
"Yes, yes, we are dressing."
"Unlock the door; I can help bring out some of your things."
The hall was thick with smoke. Mrs. Redmond and Martine knew that the fire was near. Amy's voice was heard from the room--or was it Amy?--speaking almost in terror, "I cannot open the door; I have mislaid the key."
"Why did you take it from the lock? Oh, Amy!"
Mrs. Redmond uttered no further reproof now. It was a time for action. "Martine," she cried, "we must go for help." But Martine made no reply. Already she was far on her way downstairs. All the people in the house were now evidently aware of the fire. Doors were slamming, and she heard steps and voices ahead of her. In spite of her difficulty in making her way through the thick smoke, Martine soon found herself near the broad front door. Here two or three men were standing.
"Please help me quickly," cried Martine, breathlessly; "my friends are in a room in the wing, and cannot open the door. Come, I will show you."
Leading the way, Martine was soon at Amy's door again. She could see no one, for there were no lights in the hall, but she recognized Mrs. Redmond's voice.
"I found a pair of large scissors in my valise; perhaps with them the lock can be pried open."
One of the men who had come with Martine was already pounding on the panels of the door to learn where it could most easily be broken in. After one ineffectual effort to pry open the lock, the other one had thrown down the scissors that Mrs. Redmond had handed him. Both of these things had occupied seconds rather than minutes,--seconds that seemed hours to Martine and Mrs. Redmond,--and then, before further violence had been done to the door, there was a click, a turn of the lock, and Amy and Priscilla stood before the four others. Their appearance showed that they had indeed dressed hastily, but they made no apologies as they hurried on.
When they reached the street Mrs. Redmond drew a breath of relief. "Oh, Amy," she cried, "how could you be so careless?"
"I took the key from the door absent-mindedly, and had set my travelling-bag on it. I'm thankful enough that I found it, for the door might have been hard to break in."
"Look, look!" cried Priscilla, excitedly. "We are out none too soon."
As she spoke flames were bursting from the wing of the house that they had so lately left, and men and women were pouring in and out of the main building, removing furniture, pictures, and clothes.
"Let me count you," cried Mrs. Redmond. "I am not sure--"
"It's Martine, mamma,--she is not with us. Where did she go?"
[Illustration: "After one ineffectual effort to pry open the lock, the other one had thrown down the scissors."]
"Perhaps she has gone back to her room for her things. She had left everything behind when she came to rouse us."
"Impossible! She would not be so foolish. The fire is close to her room. Here are the engines. Why were they so long in coming?"
"Where is Martine? We must find her."
"No, no, Amy," and Mrs. Redmond laid her hand on her daughter's arm.
"But, mother, if she had not called us--"
"Yes, if she had not called us we might be in there now. She did not think of herself, and now she has gone to her room for some of her things."
"Her diamond perhaps;" and then, as if ashamed of her words, Priscilla added, "But I can help Amy, Mrs. Redmond. You cannot hurry as we must."
As Mrs. Redmond watched Amy and Priscilla running into the house she wished she had gone with them. Uncertainty was harder to bear than any effort she might have made. Her suspense, however, was not long, for to her relief she heard Amy's voice.
"Here's Martine, mamma. We had barely time to reach her. Look, look!"
This latter exclamation was called forth by the rapid spread of the flames. It was a beautiful sight--beautiful yet terrible to those who so lately had been within the walls that now seemed to be melting in the heat. Yet even as they gazed Martine began to laugh hysterically. "You look so--so queer--Priss--Prissie," she cried, and again she laughed. The light from the fire enabled them to see one another plainly, and as the others glanced at Priscilla they saw a black streak across her forehead that altogether changed her expression.
"It's a case where the pot can't call the kettle black," rejoined Amy; "your own complexion is not milk-white at the present moment, Martine."
"You are the only one who has her hair properly arranged, Miss Amy. Even your mother has a hasty coiffure, and no collar. Oh, Mrs. Redmond!" and again Martine laughed nervously.
"It matters less how we look than how we feel. I wish that you, like Priscilla, had brought your coat, though I fear there is only one hat among us."
"What a noise the engine makes! Can't we get away soon?"
"I hope so. If we only had a man with us we could send him off for a carriage. Even Fritz would be useful now."
From her mother's tone Amy could not judge whether or not she was in earnest, though in truth the same thought had come to her.
"After all," cried Martine, holding up her watch, "it is not half-past eleven. I had begun to think that to-morrow had come. The flames are not so bright. I believe that the fire is dying down. It started in so well that I almost hoped that we'd see the house in ashes."
"But nearly all the furniture has been saved, and the house is probably insured, and--"
"You are shivering, Martine. Come, we must make our way through the crowd. Even if we have to walk down to the large hotel near the station, that will be better than staying here."
So they made their way through the crowd. Heaps of household goods and pieces of furniture were scattered over the lawn, and even on the sidewalk in front. The engine was still hissing, flames were still darting from back and sides of the house that had so lately sheltered them.
Hardly had the four reached the street when a man's voice called, "Stop, ladies, for a moment." As they halted, the man, whose outline they could barely distinguish, overtook them. "You are the American ladies whose doors I tried to break open a little while ago. I would have helped you further, but I had to return immediately to my sister, who has been ill, and who is now in a neighbor's house. I have been anxious about you, for you are strangers. Have you plans, or will you permit me to make a suggestion?"
"We shall be only too happy to hear your suggestion, Mr.--"
"Taunton," quickly rejoined the stranger, as Mrs. Redmond paused, adding, "I would suggest that you come with me to the house where I have taken my sister, and I may say that I have been asked to bring you back with me. The house is large, and you can all get a good night's rest."
It is needless to say that Mr. Taunton's invitation was gratefully accepted, and soon the four found themselves in a warm room, where a hospitable little hostess bustled about, offering them tea, and bread and butter, though after all it wasn't a meal-time.
"She's very good," murmured Martine to Amy, "not to mention how queer we look. For my own part, I haven't dared look a mirror in the face, though there are two in the room. How much has happened in the last hour!--for it is only a little more than an hour since we knew of the fire; that is, since I smelled smoke."
"I hope that it wasn't long enough for you and Priscilla to catch cold. We shall never forget how chilly the air of an August midnight can be."
"Oh, I am all right," responded Martine. And then, as if to disprove her own words, she sneezed violently.
"Why did you go back to your room, Martine? It was a dangerous thing to do. You brought nothing out with you but that little bag."
"Oh, I had barely time to get that. The room was so hot and smoky that I quite lost my head, yet I got what I especially went for;" and she opened the little bag and drew from it a small velvet case.
"Your diamond!" cried Amy. "Ah, Martine, how foolish to have had it with you!"
"No, Amy, not my diamond pin;" and snapping a spring she disclosed the miniature of her mother.
"That is more to me than ten diamond pins. I had barely time to snatch it from the bureau and pick up this bag."
"Then you left the pin behind!"
"No, child, no; it is safely hung around my neck. But one of my rings was on the cushion, and it will delight Priscilla's heart to know that I did not save a single brush or silver-topped bottle. It will be rather hard for papa, for he'll have to replace them all next Christmas. But I do wish that I had my hat and my suit case. Until we overtake our trunks at Halifax we can't make ourselves perfectly respectable."
"But still," rejoined Amy, "I am thankful that we have a place where we can sleep to-night--and mamma is beckoning us, so let us follow."
It was nine o'clock, and the sun was streaming brightly through their windows before Mrs. Redmond and the girls left their rooms next morning. All but Priscilla had slept well, but the latter had tossed about all night, with her thoughts dwelling more on Martine even than on the exciting events of the fire. Clearly Martine had acted very generously in the efforts she had made to awaken the others. She had had ample time to save all her own possessions, yet quite neglectful of herself, her one thought had been for others. If Priscilla was sometimes harsh in her criticisms, she at least wished to be fair. After her night of confused thoughts, it was not strange, perhaps, that Priscilla awoke heavy-eyed and dull, thus causing Mrs. Redmond to wonder whether this one experience might not undo all the good accomplished during their weeks in Acadia.
Martine was still inclined to sneeze, but she laughed when caught in the act.
"It sounds like hay fever, doesn't it? I have never had a fashionable ailment before, and if it is hay fever, why, I am in the part of the world where patients are often sent, and my recovery will be rapid."
After breakfast Mr. Taunton, their new acquaintance, offered to help Mrs. Redmond in any way that she might suggest. "You may wish your luggage or your tickets attended to--or, or your shopping," he concluded. "My sister and I saved both our trunks, and she is resting so comfortably this morning that I can put myself at your service."
"I do not wonder that you speak of shopping. We could hardly go even as far as the station without buying a few necessary things. If we could have a carriage in about an hour we could do some errands. We are going to Halifax by the afternoon train."
"You have lost more than most of the other boarders, in proportion to what you had in the house," continued Mr. Taunton. "Our late landlady is the heaviest loser, but she is a cheerful little body, and consoles herself with the thought that she is well insured."
"Don't forget to pay our board bill, mamma; it just occurred to me that we left so unexpectedly that we forgot even to mention it to her," interrupted Amy.
Mr. Taunton laughed heartily at her suggestion, and then began an earnest plea for his own city, St. John, in contrast with Halifax.
"If you can visit but one, St. John is the better worth seeing. We come to Nova Scotia occasionally to rest, but St. John is wide-awake, and its churches and public buildings will compare favorably with any in the United States. Then you have heard of our wonderful reversible falls, that flow with the tide one way and with the river the other, and the beautiful Kennebecasis--"
"You would make a good tourist agent," interrupted their amiable hostess, Mrs. Andrews, entering the room at this moment. "But if I should begin to paint the charms of the Citadel, and old St. Paul's, and the Northwest Arm, and--"
Mr. Taunton laughed. "It's a feud as old as the hills, this rivalry between St. John and Halifax, and a stranger can settle the matter for himself only by seeing both places; but if you must give up either, I honestly believe that you can best spare Halifax."
Before Mrs. Andrews could protest, a violent ringing of the doorbell called her from the room. A second later she returned to the sitting-room, followed by two young men.
In an instant half a dozen tongues were loudly exclaiming, "Why, Fritz, how in the world did you find us?" Mrs. Redmond held the hand of one of the new-comers while she looked affectionately up into his face; Amy, drawing back a little, appeared far from displeased at this sudden appearance; and Martine,--Priscilla could hardly believe her eyes,--yes, Martine had certainly thrown her arms around the neck of Fritz's companion, who was no other than the Freshman "Taps," of whom Priscilla had had a passing glimpse on the Yarmouth boat.
While Priscilla gasped in amazement Mrs. Redmond and Amy could not conceal their surprise at Martine's demonstrativeness. But they had not to wait long for the explanation, which Martine herself saw was due them.
"There, there, Lucian, don't be too affectionate until I explain--"
"Explain what?" asked the so-called "Taps."
"Wait, listen;" and slipping her arm through that of Fritz's friend, Martine turned with a bow toward Mrs. Redmond.
"Let me introduce to you and Amy and Priscilla, as well as to the rest of the company, my brother, Lucian Stratford, otherwise 'Taps.' There, Lucian, don't say a word. Let me explain how it was. Of course at first we didn't mean to make any secret of it, but Lucian and I thought it would be fun to see whether you could tell whether we were brother and sister, and he made Fritz--I mean Mr. Tomkins--promise not to tell you. It seemed rather funny that you hadn't heard. Then when Amy was so sniffy--excuse me, Amy--about having boys in the party, why, I had to promise not to tell. It was hard at first, but I got interested in keeping it up when I found that Priscilla was so suspicious."
Priscilla, coloring, looked more and more uncomfortable, Mrs. Redmond was slowly grasping the situation, and only Amy appeared to be angry.
"It's like you, Fritz," she exclaimed, "to go out of your way to play a practical joke on me, but I did expect something better from Martine."
Martine's face grew serious.
"I can't see that the joke affects you, particularly, Miss Amy Redmond!" rejoined Fritz. "To be sure, you have had various accidents that might not have happened had we been with you to protect you, but as to knowing that 'Taps' was Martine Stratford's brother, why, you could have found that out for yourself, or at any rate I should have told you only too gladly had you given me a chance. But when you banished me so completely--"
"Come, come, children, no quarrelling. We won't banish you again, Fritz, and if you feel like going on with us we shall be only too happy to have your company. Your coming now is certainly most opportune. You can do so much to help us; we have shopping--But first let me introduce you to Mr. Taunton, who has been so kind to us, and to Mrs. Andrews, our hostess, and to the others."
After the introductions Fritz explained why they had come to Windsor.
"Halifax may be slow, but it is reached by telegraph, and the daily papers contain some news, so when I saw the headlines 'Fire at Windsor,' I naturally read the whole thing, for, according to the schedule which Lucian had from his sister, you were due here yesterday, or the day before, and we had even thought of running up to meet you."
"Though we decided it would be better sport to take you by surprise at Halifax," interposed Lucian.
"Yes, and when we read that some American ladies had barely escaped with their clothes--"
"Not all of their clothes," murmured Martine.
"We thought," continued Fritz, "that we'd risk it by rushing up here."
"So we bolted our breakfast," interposed Taps, "and made the 'Yankee' and--"
"We poked among the ruins," added Fritz," and when we didn't find any remains, we asked a few questions of some others who were poking there."
"And here we are," concluded Taps, "and from this on I'm going to keep my eye on Martine. You didn't set the fire, did you, sister?"
"There, Lucian, if you tease like that you'll be banished."
"No more banishment for either of us," cried Fritz, boldly. "You've all had accidents enough to show you the need of adequate protection."
"Perhaps you could have prevented the fire," said Amy, with some sarcasm.
"I could have prevented your staying at any house but the most fire-proof hotel in the town, and that I believe is still standing."
"What did you save?" asked Lucian, in an effort to turn the conversation.
"Oh, my mother's picture," said Martine, softly. And then, as if afraid of seeming sentimental, "But I lost an emerald ring and all my silver brushes, and a pair of slippers, and one of my gloves, and a dozen postage stamps."
"Stop, stop, Martine."
"Well, I saved my best stock, and Mrs. Redmond saved her umbrella, and we--"
"Are all clothed and in our right minds, excepting you, Martine, who seem in danger of losing yours," interrupted Amy. "I believe that carriage at the door is the one that Mr. Taunton telephoned for; so, if we are going to Halifax to-day, it is surely time to start on our shopping expedition."
Acting on this suggestion, Priscilla and Martine helped Amy gather together their few remaining possessions, while Mrs. Redmond discussed her plans with Fritz.
When at last the moment came for the few words of farewell, Mrs. Redmond and the girls felt that in bidding good-bye to Mrs. Andrews and the Tauntons they were parting with friends whom they had known for weeks instead of hours.
Mrs. Redmond and the girls drove to the station, where Fritz and Lucian met them after a brisk walk down town.
"Fritz," said Amy, as the two stood together in the hotel sitting-room, "I have a confession to make."
"Open confession is good for the soul, so out with it at once, fair lady."
"It is simply this: I am really glad that you are here to take charge of things. Even in travelling mamma, you know, hates to attend to practical details. Now of course we have got on very well, barring one or two little things."
"Fires and such." There was a mischievous twinkle in Fritz's eye.
"Oh, well, even that might have been worse; so now, until we reach Halifax, I do wish that you would take charge of everything."
"With pleasure," responded Fritz. "Especially will I see that you do not mislay your keys. But you look tired, Amy. Come, sit down."
Whereupon Amy sank wearily upon a sofa, only too glad that for the present her responsibility was shifted to some one else.
There was a funny side, however, to the zeal displayed by Fritz and Lucian. They insisted, with an emphasis that no one dared oppose, that the girls and Mrs. Redmond should rest quietly while they went out to shop.
"My dear boys," Mrs. Redmond had protested, "there is hardly a thing that we shall really need before we reach Halifax. In the parlor cars we shall be unnoticed and perfectly comfortable, and after we have opened our trunks we can tell what we most require."
"Oh, Mrs. Redmond, there must be some errands for us to do. Can't you trust us?"
Lucian's face was so expressive of disappointment that Mrs. Redmond was glad that she had made out a small list.
"Of course there are some things--and we are ever so much obliged to you and Fritz for your willingness to do errands."
"You see," continued Lucian, confidentially, and dropping his voice that his sister might not overhear him, "I didn't ask Martine what she needed. That would have started her off to suggest no end of things,--you know what girls are. I can tell pretty well what she ought to have, so we'll just slip off before she can say anything."
Fritz had condescended to accept a few suggestions from Amy, and the two boys rushed off in high spirits. An hour later, when they returned, their arms filled with packages, followed by a grinning hotel boy who was dragging a large parcel, Mrs. Redmond lifted her hands in amazement.
"Two hats!" she exclaimed, in still greater surprise as they undid the strings of the larger package, "but only one was really needed. Martine left hers behind, but Amy--"
"Now, Mrs. Redmond," said Fritz, "perhaps you didn't observe Amy's. Why, some one must have turned the hose on it; the flowers were all bedraggled, and the ribbon--Mrs. Redmond, surely you must have noticed its condition. But these are so pretty that I couldn't let Lucian be the only one to buy a hat."
"It's certainly very thoughtful in you, Fritz, but still my list--"
"Oh, we've got everything that was on the list, only these little extras were just to amuse ourselves."
"Six stocks! you extravagant boy!" Martine, arriving on the scene, had opened one of her brother's parcels.
"Six stocks!" he repeated. "Why, that's only one and a half apiece!"
"And gloves; well, we could have waited until we reached Halifax. They are probably better there. I wish I had thought to speak of shirt waists," continued Martine. "This is hardly respectable."
"Oh, I thought of that, too," replied Lucian; "at least, I remembered you hadn't a coat, so I supposed some sort of a wrap would do. Coats have to be kind of tailor-made and fitted, don't they?" While he spoke Lucian was undoing the largest package, from which he drew out a Scotch shawl of brown and yellow plaid.
"There, that's the thing!" he exclaimed with pride. "It looks as if it had come straight from Edinburgh. You can throw it over your shoulders instead of a coat."
"Oh, Lucian," cried Martine, "you can't expect me to wrap myself up like that, especially on a warm August afternoon!"
"Why shouldn't it be all right travelling?" asked Lucian, with less elation. "You wouldn't have to think about the fit."
But when he saw that all the others were laughing at him, he walked off toward the window, murmuring what sounded like "There's no pleasing some people."
"Come back, come back," cried Martine, as he turned away; "the shawl will be very useful if we go yachting at Halifax, and no one but you would have thought of these delicious boxes of chocolates. We all thank you very, very much; see, there's a box for you and Priscilla, Amy, as well as for me."
Lucian's face brightened under his sister's praise, while Amy and Priscilla thanked him for their chocolates.
"You were dreadfully worried, weren't you, Prissie," said Martine, mischievously, "over the chocolates that I offered you last evening? But though Lucian was the giver in that case, perhaps you will enjoy these better, knowing where they came from."
"Shall I put this magazine in your bag?" asked Priscilla, hoping thus to divert Martine from further teasing.
"Certainly," replied Martine. "Let Lucian help you with the catch. It is hard to open."
"The magazines are Fritz's contribution," explained Lucian, as he worked with the spring of Martine's bag. "There's one for each of the party. But hello, what's this? Did you think of digging a grave, or anything of that kind, sister, when you brought this along? It's a strange thing to have saved from a fire;" and before Martine could protest Lucian had withdrawn his hand from the bag in which he had been fumbling, and before the gaze of the whole party held up a queerly shaped little trowel.
"I didn't ask you to meddle with things in my bag," cried Martine, excitedly, after the manner of sisters.
"Well, what's the matter with the little spade?" asked Lucian, looking from one to the other.
No one replied as Amy snatched it from his hand. In fact, Amy was the only one to recognize it as the Acadian relic that Balfour Airton had given to Martine.
So slightly had the travellers really suffered from the fire that they soon recovered from the effects of that exciting night, yet they were glad enough to reach Halifax and open their trunks.
"It seems better than luck that we sent these trunks ahead to Halifax. If they had been burned--"
"We should have had great fun shopping, my dear Miss Amy Redmond," responded Martine; "as it is, we shall just have to pretend that we need things when we see any startling bargains in the shop-windows."
"If you should try to replace what you have lost you could keep yourself busy for a day or two," rejoined Amy.
"No, thank you. The things that I lost I can wait for until Christmas. I have bought some inexpensive brushes, plain enough for Priscilla to approve; but at Christmas--well, perhaps I can persuade papa to get tortoise-shell, or something more elaborate than the simple silver set that melted away at Windsor."
In this way Martine always turned aside the sympathy that the others tried to offer her for her losses.
Fritz and Lucian had taken the travellers to the small Halifax hotel, where they themselves had been staying for two or three days before their sudden flight to Windsor. It was a cheerful, homelike place, and in its little garden the girls spent more or less time resting after the exertions of their later days in Acadia.
The fire and the events immediately following it had seemed to bring Martine and Priscilla more closely together,--at least, for the time their lack of sympathy was less plainly evident.
One day the two were sitting in the garden.
"I almost wish we had been a week longer in Acadia," Priscilla said.
"Why, we are in Acadia still!" rejoined Martine. "Don't speak of Acadia as so far away."
"Oh," responded Priscilla, "perhaps all Nova Scotia is Acadia; but really, when we use the word we mean where the French settled. Halifax is thoroughly English. On that account I do prefer it, though Acadia was certainly interesting."
"Thanks!" said Martine, "but I am going to prove that Halifax also was settled by the French. Amy laughed at me yesterday when I tried to prove my case. But listen; it was Amy herself who told me that no one had thought seriously of making a settlement here until D'Anville's fleet took refuge here after their defeat near Louisbourg. The ships were safe enough, but the men died by hundreds, and were buried on the beach. Well, after they had gone away, some sort of a petition was sent from Boston to England, asking that a settlement and fortifications be established to prevent the French from coming into Chebucto again and interfering with New England ships. The English thought this a good plan, because the Acadians at Annapolis and other places would be kept down if there was a strong town on the coast. So, you see, if it hadn't been for the French, Halifax might never have been settled. Have I proved my case?"
Priscilla shook her head. She could not quite tell whether Martine was in fun or in earnest.
"It seems to me that if Massachusetts men suggested the plan to England, you could just as easily say that Boston men settled Halifax."
"That's just what 'Taps'--I beg his pardon--Lucian said when I explained my theory to him. But then, he can't be expected to share my feelings about the Acadians,--at least, not yet,--although on the whole he is pretty sensible, isn't he?"
Priscilla found it difficult to answer this question directly, so, to conceal her embarrassment, she propounded another question.
"Why do they call your brother 'Taps'?" she asked abruptly.
"For no reason whatever, that I could ever see. But you know how boys insist on nicknaming one another. Mamma just hates it; and, if you notice, I always say 'Lucian.'"
"'Lucian' is such a good name," said Priscilla.
"Yes, and don't you think that Lucian himself is a dear?"
"I like him very much," responded Priscilla, simply. She would hardly have applied Martine's term to him, but she had found Lucian helpful and entertaining during their three or four days in Halifax.
"I believe," continued Martine, "that I might have told you something about Lucian before, except that I thought you might be prejudiced."
"Yes, a month ago you were much narrower-minded than you are now, and of course you and Amy had heard that Fritz Tomkins had charge of a Freshman who had been in rather bad company last year; and so if you had heard that it was Lucian before you had seen him, why, you might have had the queerest notions about him."
"You have the funniest way of putting things;" and Priscilla smiled again.
"Well, really," continued Martine, "there was nothing wrong with Lucian, only he is rather too good natured, and papa might as well give him a smaller allowance. But I heard Fritz Tomkins telling Mrs. Redmond that Lucian had kept a very good standing last year, but he wanted to break off with one or two men who were not going just the right way, and they wanted him to go to Paris and Vienna, and the only way was to plan some other kind of a trip. But there's really no harm in Lucian."
"Oh, no," said Priscilla, "I am sure of that; he has such a good face. It is curious that, with his blond hair and blue eyes, he still reminds me of you, and you are almost a brunette."
As Priscilla paused for a moment, the latch of the iron gate clicked sharply, and as a step sounded on the flagged walk, Martine rose quickly to her feet.
"Why, Mr. Knight!" she exclaimed, and in a moment Priscilla, too, was welcoming the new-comer.
"But we thought you in New Brunswick!"
"So I was a day or two ago. Certain business has brought me now to Halifax, and it is rather singular that we should be staying at the same hotel. I saw your names on the book this morning, and wondered if I should see you before my departure."
Mr. Knight's manner was so unaffected that Martine at once reproached herself inwardly for having imagined that he had run away from Wolfville to escape Mrs. Redmond's party.
"I am to be here only a day or two," he continued, "but if there's anything I can do--"
"In the way of rescuing," interrupted Martine.
"Oh, please," he protested, "don't mention that; it was so slight."
"You know," continued Priscilla, "we've been rescued once more,--at least I have been, for really it was Martine who was the rescuer." And then, when the young man seemed mystified by their words, the two had to tell him the story of the Windsor fire, of which, it seemed, he had not heard.
After Mr. Knight had congratulated them on their escape and condoled with them on their losses, he said:
"In case I have no other chance, I must tell you that my chief regret in leaving Wolfville so unexpectedly was the fact that I had no chance to show you through Acadia College, or tell you much about it. I know that that was one of the things Balfour had in mind when he wrote to me that I should present Acadia College in the best possible light."
"Oh, indeed," responded Martine, with a slight touch of impatience, "we have heard quantities about it,--that it offers the same advantages to women as to men; that a great many distinguished college men in the 'States,' as you say down here, were graduates of Acadia; that it has a lovely situation, and plenty of time to grow," she concluded suddenly, for, after all, though truce had been declared, Martine could not resist the opportunity of teasing Mr. Knight.
"I saw Balfour Airton," continued Mr. Knight, apparently undisturbed, "when at Annapolis the other day, and he is to be one of the distinguished graduates of Acadia."
"Did he say so?" Martine did not try to conceal her genuine surprise.
"Oh, no; Balfour thinks of nothing now but hard work, and he's likely to have his share of it the next few years."
A little later Mr. Knight excused himself for leaving the two, on the plea of letters to write, and during the two remaining days of his stay they saw little of him.
"He's afraid that he may have to rescue us again," Martine confided to Amy, though secretly she was a little piqued by his indifference. Fritz and Lucian, however, pronounced Mr. Knight a brick, and spent one afternoon with him in a long tramp to a place called Herring Cove, the description of which filled the girls with envy.
During their whole stay in Halifax, however, the boys went off on few excursions by themselves.
"You have been left too long to your own devices," Fritz would say, solemnly shaking his head, "and the punishment for your rash deeds is that you are now to be forever in our care and protection. Until you are safely back in Boston I hardly dare let you out of my sight, for fear of fire and flood."
"Do you consider this sail-boat especially safe just because you are in it?" asked Priscilla. "If my mother could behold us now she would think us in the greatest danger. In spite of spending all her summers at the edge of the sea, she is always afraid of a sail-boat."
"But I would rather run some risk than miss this sail around the Northwest Arm. In fact I wouldn't have missed it for the world;" and Amy glanced gratefully in Fritz's direction, for it was he who had planned this particular excursion, and had gained Mrs. Redmond's rather reluctant consent. "This narrow arm of the sea is so picturesque," she continued, "with its wooded shores, and the harbor is so interesting with its islands and its shipping."
"Just like any harbor," cried Martine.
"Oh, I don't know. One has a sense of its greatness here. No wonder even the Micmacs called it Chebucto, which I believe is a word of theirs for 'Great harbor.'"
"Please, Amy, this is a pleasure trip with no instruction. You mustn't tell us the size of the dry dock, nor the number of guns mounted on George's Island or on York Redoubt, or on any other of the harbor fortifications."
"Nor the time of day," retorted Amy, looking at her watch, "though all the same, Captain Fritz, it is time to turn about, for I absolutely promised that we'd be at home by five o'clock."
"Your word is law," responded Fritz.
"Tell me a little history," urged Lucian; but Amy refused to do anything but enjoy the sail, and Martine, looking at her closely, wondered if she had taken her words as criticism.
"There's one bit of harbor history that I shall speak of," said Lucian, as they turned homeward. "No, Martine, you needn't try to stop me. Everybody remembers Captain Lawrence and his 'don't give up the ship.' Well, do you know that he died here in Halifax? The 'Shannon' brought the 'Chesapeake' as a prize into this very harbor where we are now sailing. It was the first Sunday in June, 1813, and the town was in the greatest excitement. The news of their coming went quickly through the town, and every one who could get hold of a small boat pushed out to see the ships. The men were swabbing the decks, and the scuppers ran red with blood."
"Don't, Lucian," cried Martine.
"Oh, but this is history, and the kind you should remember. The 'Shannon' had set out from Halifax but a short time before, and when the two ships met in Boston Harbor they fought a fierce duel. The 'Shannon' had less than a hundred in killed and wounded, and the 'Chesapeake' nearly two hundred, all in about twenty minutes; so no wonder it's called one of the bloodiest fights on record. The ships must have been a sight to the quiet Haligonians. Then," continued Lucian, "Captain Lawrence and Lieutenant Ludlow were buried with high honors in the old English burying-ground here, and there was a great procession from the King's Wharf, with the coffins covered with our flags, and six British post captains bearing the pall."
"You'll have to visit the grave, Amy," said Martine, mischievously.
"Can't be done. An American brig with a flag of truce came for the bodies in August, and they were carried back to their native country."
"How in the world did you remember so much?" asked Martine. "I never realized before that you took an interest in history."
"This is the result," retorted Lucian, "of travelling with an intelligent companion," and he pointed to Fritz.
"No, I didn't do it; don't blame me," rejoined Fritz. "He ran across a history yesterday, or book of annals, or something of that kind, and naturally the mention of the 'Chesapeake' and the 'Shannon' interested him."
"Enough said--in excuse," replied Martine, while Priscilla added, "I wonder if we shall visit Melville Island before we go. You know that is where they kept the American prisoners during that war. I had a great-grand uncle who was taken prisoner, and I've always remembered that he was at Melville Island, Halifax. My mother has his diary."
"Why, that is interesting," said Amy. "Perhaps it may sound like wishing ill to my forebears, but I'd even be willing to have had a relative or two imprisoned here, just for the sake of having a closer association with Halifax."
"That's a very silly remark, Miss Amy Redmond," cried Fritz, disapprovingly.
"Yes," added Martine; "I might as well wish that some of my French ancestors had been among the exiled Acadians, so that I could take a deeper interest in Clare. Not that I need a deeper interest--but that reminds me," and she turned to her brother. "It's strange, Lucian, that I hadn't thought to tell you before, but I believe I've found some new relations in Nova Scotia; at least, I hope so. Do you know whether we had any Tories in our family?"
"Tories! I should hope not," and Lucian's voice rang with patriotism.
"Oh, they are all dead now, so don't excite yourself. But two things equal to the same thing are sometimes equal to each other. We are certainly cousins of Mrs. Blair's. You'll admit that?"
"Yes, worse luck to it," grumbled Lucian. "She is such a--such a--"
"You mean so conventional," interposed Martine, sedately; "but that's very proper for a Bostonian. Well, Mrs. Blair's name is Audrey Balfour Blair."
"Why not?" asked Lucian.
"Well, we met a girl this summer whose grandmother's name was Audrey Balfour, and what I want to know is--are we related to her?"
"To the grandmother?" exclaimed Lucian. "How in the world should I know? and if we are, what's the difference? Probably the old lady's dead by this time. Most grandmothers are."
"Oh, Lucian, do be serious."
"You'd better be serious yourself--say, look out for the boom, or you'll lose your head as well as your temper."
"I haven't lost my temper. There, I'm glad we're putting in for shore now, if Lucian is going to be so disagreeable."
Thus the conversation drifted from Audrey Balfour, and for the present Martine's question was unanswered.
This afternoon was only one of several that they spent on the water, and when the conditions were favorable, sometimes Amy, sometimes Martine, had a chance to show her skill as skipper, while the boys approved or made suggestions, and Mrs. Redmond and Priscilla sat back, trying not to show the timidity that they felt.
On shore as well as at sea they found much to occupy them, and as conditions for picture-taking happened for the time to be particularly favorable, each one added largely to her own collection of photographs. Each of the girls had a camera with her; but at first Priscilla had been the only one really zealous for photography.
When they visited the Citadel Lucian and Fritz had managed to intimidate them by telling them of the fearful fate that might be theirs should their cameras be seen in its neighborhood; so the cameras were hidden until the girls were far from what Martine called "the sacred precincts," until, indeed, the sight of a redcoat on Barrington Street, standing where the sun illuminated his whole figure, caused her to shout in delight:
"There, my camera, quick, Lucian. Here's my chance to catch one of those crazy little caps. How do they manage to make them stay on one ear? Quick, before he moves, or sees us," and then the click of a spring showed that she had accomplished her aim.
* * * * *
One dull afternoon Amy and Priscilla, wandering about, found their way into the Parliament building, and after admiring the stately old portraits in the rooms of the historical society, spent an hour or two over some of the old books and papers in the archives. This was especially gratifying to Priscilla, because she was thus able to satisfy her curiosity about the exiled Loyalists. Their sufferings seemed all the more real when written out in detail in these old manuscript volumes, and as she read, she sighed. The sigh was not wholly for the miseries of the past. That very morning she had received a letter from Eunice that had set her thinking.
"I am so glad [wrote Eunice] that you like Halifax. But it there--in the capital of our Province? Sometimes it seems as if I should never go anywhere, though Balfour says that he will send me to college, that I can depend on that. But that will be only to Acadia, and I shall have to wait so long, until he has a law practice--and when will that be? Besides, he thinks now that he may have to stay out of college a year, if not give it up altogether. It's the mortgage on the house. There's some kind of trouble about it, and Balfour is determined not to let it go. It would just break mother's heart. But I oughtn't to make this a complaining letter, when one of the pleasantest things this summer--or any summer--has been my acquaintance with you,--and the others, too, of course, though I didn't know them so well. Please give them my love, but the most for yourself.
"Your affectionate "EUNICE."
Now Eunice was really so fond of Priscilla that nothing was farther from her thoughts than to make her friend unhappy. Yet such was Priscilla's sympathy for her Annapolis friend that the remembrance of the letter made her feel sad, even as she sat with Amy in the old library.
"If papa had only lived," she thought, "I could have asked him to do something, but now,--why, Eunice herself would be surprised to know how little pocket money I have. Not that Eunice wants anything, but it would be so delightful to pay off that mortgage, and then make sure that Balfour could get through college, and then see him put Eunice through college, and then perhaps she could come up and take post-graduate work with me at Radcliffe." Then, amused at the rapidity with which her thoughts were running away with her, for Priscilla had not yet passed her own finals for college, she laughed aloud. Unexpectedly the clouds had been chased away.
"Priscilla," said Amy, "I am delighted to hear you laugh. You have been altogether too quiet to-day. Surely you are not homesick again."
"Oh, no, not homesick, only thinking."
"Tell me then, so that I may laugh too,--unless it's a secret."
"Oh, no, it's hardly worth mentioning; besides, it has ended in a foolish wish--if only I had money like Martine!"
"Martine cares little for money," responded Amy, with some sharpness. This was not the first time that she had thought Priscilla too ready to criticise Martine.
"I know that. She is surely very generous, only it would be so easy to do things for others if one had as much money as she has."
"I know what you think, Priscilla; but still Martine's way of spending money is not altogether extravagance. She has had more in her hands than most girls we know, and rich Chicagoans are fonder of spending than hoarding. It's in the air. Martine does not care for money in itself, but for what money buys."
"But she surely throws it around without getting full value."
"That's a matter of temperament."
"Yes," but Priscilla's voice sounded as if she were not sure of this. To herself, indeed, she was saying, "It is strange that Martine has not talked of making plans for Yvonne. Ah, if I had as much in my power I certainly wouldn't let Eunice worry about mortgages and going to college and all that kind of thing."
"Priscilla, Priscilla, wake up," cried Amy, a moment later. "Look at the citadel. It's hard to realize that this is the greatest fortress in America, and that only a few generations ago it was nothing but a stockade, a defence against the Indians."
"A few generations ago!" repeated Priscilla. "Why, it must be--"
"A bare hundred and fifty years, my dear child, since the English ships with their two or three thousand settlers came sailing into the harbor."
"A bare hundred and fifty years," echoed Priscilla, "and yet that is rather a long time, and Halifax isn't a large city yet."
Before Amy could reply she felt her arm seized from behind. Turning about, she found herself face to face with Martine, who held a letter in her disengaged hand. Priscilla, not hearing the steps, had walked on a little before she discovered that Amy was not with her. But a moment later she too faced about, and, as her eye fell on Martine, she could not help seeing that the latter was holding her finger on her lips with a warning glance at Amy, as if between the two there was some secret understanding.
In the end it had been much better for Priscilla if she had at once retraced her steps. Instead, while Amy still had her back to her, while Martine stood with her finger on her lips, Priscilla, with a rapid step that was almost a stride, walked farther away from them. Turning first one corner and then another, she indulged herself in her unreasonable annoyance with Amy and Martine. For a minute or two she continued to walk briskly, wondering all the time if the others would catch up with her. At length, when her curiosity overcame her pride, she did turn around, only to discover that her friends were nowhere in sight.
"I shouldn't think Amy would have acted so," she said to herself. "Of course I can't expect much from Martine, but Amy is different."
Yet if any one else had put the question to Priscilla she would have found it hard to say wherein Martine was at fault. It was only that in that fleeting glance she had gained the impression that the two were trying to hold some secret from her.
Priscilla had not walked very far when another turn brought her in front of a small wooden building that reminded her at once of a child's toy.
"Is it a school, or a church?" she wondered, and she glanced up at the little steeple.
"Hello, Miss Denman;" and Priscilla, lowering her gaze from the steeple, saw in front of her Martine's brother, Lucian Stratford.
"I didn't expect to see you here by yourself," continued Lucian. "I thought that you girls were off somewhere together."
"We were," replied Priscilla, "but I just thought I would--do a little sightseeing alone."
"Well, I don't blame you," rejoined Lucian; "it's sometimes so hard to get Martine to take an interest in things. It used to be just so in Europe. We could never depend on her, so I don't blame you for keeping by yourself."
Priscilla made no reply. She really had no explanation.
"This is a funny little church, isn't it?" continued Lucian. "Fritz and I were over here the other day. Some one had told him about it. It's a little Dutch church, and almost as old as the city itself. It was built for the Lutherans, for in the beginning there were a lot of German settlers here in Halifax."
"Thank you," said Priscilla. "You are as good as a guide-book; one never expects a boy to take an interest in such things."
"I can't say that I do generally, only you remember that foggy afternoon when you girls were all so busy writing letters? Well, Fritz and I got tired of staying indoors browsing over books, so we started out. We went down to the great dry dock--though I don't suppose that you girls would care for that,--and we had a chance to go into old St. Paul's,--that's about as old as the city too, and makes you think of one of the queer, dingy London churches. It has any number of interesting tablets and memorials, and we planned to take you girls there before we go, and then walking about we just chanced on this little toy building. But I've got a suggestion for to-day," concluded Lucian. "You see, it's Saturday, and one of the market days, so if you'd like to go, I'd be happy to take you down there. What do you say?"
"Why, yes, of course I'd like it. You are very kind to think of it." Priscilla remembered that Amy had spoken of going to the market, and for a moment she regretted her absence.
Lucian Stratford, however, proved a surprisingly agreeable guide, and even before they had reached the Green Market Priscilla was quite ashamed of the little prejudice that she had once held against him.
"It's an old custom," Lucian explained, as the two stood in the middle of the street, "for the country people to drive in with their produce."
The market was in Post Office Square, and almost every foot of space was occupied by some man or woman with something to sell. Indians, negroes, country people--it was a motley crowd and well worth seeing. The Indians for the most part sat on the sidewalk, bent over their wares, though here and there one or two leaned back against a building.
"We saw Indians like these at Bear River," said Priscilla, "only a little better dressed,--perhaps because it was a holiday. But these baskets are the best I've seen this summer."
Baskets and sweet grass were the stock in trade of these Indians, and some of the baskets were of odd designs and really artistic shapes.
"Do you really like them?" asked Lucian, and almost in the next breath he had laid three or four of the prettiest in Priscilla's arms.
"For Martine?" asked Priscilla.
"No, no, for you,--if you'll take them. There, let me carry them. I did not mean to load you down. Only I thought I might see something else."
"Oh, nothing more now, thank you. You are very kind, but these are really almost too much, and I can carry them myself--"
An old negro at this moment crossed their path, swinging a cane. They realized his nearness only when a sudden flourish of the stick sent Priscilla's baskets flying into the street. The negro, apologizing profusely, hastened to help Lucian collect the baskets, and Priscilla was pleased that Lucian showed no anger at the man's carelessness. Instead, he began an animated conversation with the old fellow, and returned to Priscilla's side smiling broadly.
"The old man has been praising his son's wife's vegetables so warmly that we'll just have to go over there to see them. She is the fat darkey sitting in that cart yonder, and I hope we'll get off without buying her out."
The next moment Lucian was laughing and chaffering with the old negro's son's wife, and Priscilla gasped as she saw him pointing out turnips, carrots, and even summer squashes. She did not know him well enough to protest, and she only wondered how he meant to get the things home.
"They're all mine," he called to Priscilla, as she waited for him a short distance from the cart. Then he leaned over toward the old man and said something, and the negro hobbled off, smiling. In a moment he returned with a large pail, into which his son's wife heaped Lucian's purchases.
"There," said Lucian, as he returned to Priscilla's side, "won't Mrs. Redmond and the others stare when they behold this load?" and he lifted the pail that Priscilla might the more readily admire its contents.
"But you don't intend to carry it through the streets?" There was a question in Priscilla's tone. Lucian glanced at her curiously. He had just been thinking how companionable she was, and now this Plymouth girl was going to show herself as narrow and conventional as others.
"I needn't carry it," he responded. "Perhaps Sambo here--is your name Sambo?"
"No, sir, my name's Mr. Malachai Robertson."
"Oh, excuse me, Sambo--I mean, Mr. Malachai Robertson--could you find me a good smart boy to carry this pail?"
Malachai looked at his stick--symbol of dignity--then at the young man, but at the same time he probably reflected that a fair fee was in sight; so he straightened himself up, reached over toward the pail, and with an "I'll carry it, sah," fell into line behind Lucian and Priscilla. Before the two, however, were quite ready to turn homeward, they lingered to watch the shoppers patronizing the Green Market, and buying supplies of vegetables and fruit.
"I only wish that Mrs. Redmond had come. It will be too bad if she misses it altogether--and Amy; the sun has come out so bright that she ought to be here to photograph some of these groups of colored people."
"Oh, the chance is that you will all be here in Halifax next Wednesday morning. The Market is here twice a week," responded Lucian. "Just now I suppose we ought to be turning home, as they are horribly prompt about meals at The Mayflower."
As the two walked up Hollis Street Priscilla noticed that some whom they met looked at them curiously. But only after she herself had thrown a backward glance over her shoulder did she realize the cause, for straight behind Lucian stalked Malachai, flourishing his cane after the fashion of a drum-major with his baton, while with the other hand he supported on his shoulder the pail of vegetables, balancing it with such a nicety that the carrots and squash and the large bunch of radishes kept their place on the top, though to the casual observer they seemed on the point of falling to the ground.
[Illustration: "Behind Lucian stalked Malachai, flourishing his cane after the fashion of a drum-major."]
Had Priscilla been able to see herself she would have discovered that she, too, added to the gaiety of the group, for her baskets were even more brilliant in coloring than the vegetables, and as she had to carry them in her arms they made a rather startling display. Lucian had offered to take her load, but she had waved him away.
"No, a boy always finds it much harder to manage clumsy packages. These are not heavy; it's merely that they look awkward."
So Lucian had contented himself with buying three or four bouquets of the brightest flowers,--dahlias and garden asters chiefly,--and with both hands thus filled he made the procession more brilliant.
When they reached the house none of their party happened to be in sight, so, at Lucian's suggestions, Priscilla left her baskets on the sitting-room table while she went upstairs to find Mrs. Redmond. Amy's room adjoined her mother's, and as Priscilla stood there at Mrs. Redmond's half-open door the sound of voices in the inner room floated out to her. For a moment she stood there listening, quite unconscious that she was eavesdropping, until a sentence in Martine's clear voice came to her.
"She certainly is a terrible trial, narrow minded and priggish, and I don't wonder, Amy, that you dislike her."
When Priscilla grasped this sentence in its entirety she turned about instantly.
"Did you find them? Are they coming down?" asked Lucian, cheerfully, as she rejoined him.
"I--I didn't; that is, I'm not sure," stammered Priscilla. "If you don't mind, I'll leave the baskets here. Perhaps you would give them to the others;" and before Lucian could stop her she had run upstairs again.
At the dinner-table Lucian looked anxiously at Priscilla. When she thought that no one was observing her, he caught her wiping away a surreptitious drop of moisture. What could be the matter? Lucian racked his brains to decide if by any mischance he had in word or act offended Priscilla; but his conscience reassured him. He could not recall anything that might have annoyed her. On the contrary, up to the moment of their return to the house they had got along swimmingly--the latter phrase was his way of putting it.
"There's no accounting for girls," he said to himself. "I've known Martine to get dreadfully excited about nothing; but Priscilla Denman seemed such a sensible girl that I don't quite understand what the trouble is."
Before dinner had ended, however, Lucian decided that whatever it was that had disturbed Priscilla she did not blame him; for she turned to him with the utmost friendliness when he made some allusion to their morning walk, and between them they soon had the others at table laughing at their account of Malachai and the Green Market.
"I hope you paid the old man well for his trouble," said Martine; "for it probably was a great favor on his part to walk up Hollis Street toting a pail."
"Probably he paid him too well," rejoined Fritz, "unless he has changed his habits within the week. On our way from Yarmouth I tried to make Lucian see how demoralizing it would be to the natives to introduce the habit of tipping here."
"Oh, but one ought to pay for benefits received," said Lucian, "and I really do try to be prudent."
When dinner was over Lucian noticed that, as they left the room, Priscilla seemed to be trying to avoid Martine. She hardly replied to some question that the latter addressed her, and he saw other evidences that Priscilla did not care to speak to her.
After dinner Martine ran up to her brother.
"Oh, Lucian," she cried, "here's the most exciting letter from papa! I can't tell you all that's in it now, for it must be kept secret a little longer. But aren't you glad that mamma is better? I know you had a letter from her this morning. To think they'll be home in September! Oh, Lucian, I'd like to hug you, I'm so happy!"
"Please, please, not now," begged Lucian; "we couldn't explain to people that I'm your brother;" and he pointed to several passers-by on the sidewalk just outside the garden.
"Then sit here with me in this little arbor. I have several questions, and this is the first good chance I've had. Did you ever hear the name 'Balfour' in our family--in mother's family, I mean?"
Lucian shook his head. "'Balfour'?" he repeated. "I've certainly heard the name somewhere--lately, too, I should think."
"Yes, of course, dear stupid. Balfour Airton; that's the nice boy we met at Annapolis. Mr. Knight's friend, you know, the one we've talked about."
"Oh, yes, of course; do you mean to ask if he is in our family? Strange I never heard of it."
"There, listen, Lucian; this is what I mean. Mrs. Blair is mother's cousin, and her name, you know, is Audrey Balfour Blair."
"Has she a first name, and one so frivolous as 'Audrey'? How did that happen?"
"That's just what I wish to know. I thought that perhaps you would remember whether her name was Balfour before her marriage."
For a few minutes Lucian seemed lost in reflection, then looking up he exclaimed,--
"Yes, Martine, I am sure; Mrs. Blair's name was _not_ 'Balfour,' it was 'Tuck.' I once met a brother of hers. He was visiting Chicago. But, I'll tell you what--I am pretty sure that her grandmother was a Balfour. That's where the relationship to mamma comes in. You know that _her_ grandmother was a Balfour, and that's what makes them cousins; their grandmothers were sisters."
"Why, Lucian," cried Martine, jumping to her feet in her excitement, "that's just what I wanted to know. I don't care anything about Mrs. Blair's grandmother, but if there's a Balfour in mamma's family, don't you see how splendid it would be?"
"Can't say that I do," responded Lucian; "but if it pleases you, it's probably all right." Lucian had often said confidentially to his friends that the ways of girls were past finding out, and he did not except his sister from the general rule.
"Oh, but can't you see, Lucian, that if I could prove that Balfour Airton is a cousin to Mrs. Blair, and if mamma is a cousin of Mrs. Blair's, which--"
"Which she is, without doubt," said Lucian.
"Why, then, don't you see--"
"Oh, yes, I see," cried Lucian. "Why, then, you would be cousin to Balfour Airton and his sister. Well, perhaps there's no harm in that, if it pleases you; but what is there in it for me? I might not like either of your prodigies, and so I am not ready to be made a cousin to people I have never seen."
Yet a good-humored twinkle in Lucian's eye seemed to say, "If I would I could tell you something that would please you mightily--and perhaps I will."
Now Martine, understanding her brother pretty well, saw that he was really more sympathetic than he professed to be, so she wisely decided to wait until he was quite reedy to tell her what she wished to know; and to change the subject she pulled a letter from her pocket.
"If you hadn't had a letter from mamma by the same mail I would show this to you," she said. "It's the most delightful letter papa has ever written me, though I won't tell why--at least not just now," and she waved the closely written sheet rather tantalizingly before him.
"Oh, ho, child, you cannot tease me at this late day; and besides, I know why you try. Put your letter away, little sister; I can wait until you choose to read it to me. But I know what you want, and I am willing to gratify your curiosity. Yes, there was an Audrey Balfour in mother's family; but you may be less interested in her when I tell you about her. She was a Tory."
Lucian uttered the last word with all the scorn of one who has studied American history built on the most thoroughgoing anti-British basis.
"Oh, that's nothing," responded Martine; "at least, Priscilla would call it nothing. Each of us likes both Acadians and Tories, though I am supposed to care only for Acadians, and Priscilla for Tories. But how do you happen to know about this Audrey Balfour?"
"Through the Colonial Dames, my dear. You see, mamma had to have some papers filled out last spring. It was while you were at school, and she asked me to get a genealogist to copy certain things for her. Well, I found that mother's great-grandfather was a Tory, who was driven from his home and went to England or to Canada to live. One or two of his elder children were married before the Revolution, and their husbands were on the patriot side. One of these was Audrey, who was the grandmother of Mrs. Blair; another was our great-grandmother Edmonds. She was Martha Balfour."
"I see," interrupted Martine. "Our great-grandmother! Then it isn't so strange that I didn't remember the Balfour in our family; it is so far away. I think it's just wonderful that you remember it."
"Oh, it only happened so because I had had to have it looked up. I had the whole line typewritten for my own benefit, and I looked at it several times this year. I noticed the Tory Thomas and Audrey especially, and I wondered if they would effect my eligibility to a patriotic society that I am anxious to join. But I believe that I am all right because I am the loyal descendant of a Tory ancestor."
"Dear me!" cried Martine, when Lucian had finished this long speech. "You really sound quite learned! I believe that college has done you some good after all."
"After all! If you look up my record you'll find that I took all the history last year that Harvard allows a Freshman, and it's because I have a bent that way that I can remember these things."
"Well, Lucian, you've proved yourself a brick. I hope Priscilla won't object to this. Sometimes she is a little jealous--but there, don't repeat it--perhaps jealous is not just the word; but somehow, she doesn't always approve of me."
"She's fighting rather shy of you to-day," responded Lucian, "and I can't help wondering what you've been up to. Miss Denman doesn't seem to me an unreasonable girl. She and I had a fine time to-day at the market. I'm afraid that you have been teasing her, Martine."
But Martine continued to insist that her conscience was quite clear, so far as Priscilla was concerned, and that Lucian must imagine any traces of ill-feeling.
Nevertheless, she could but observe that Priscilla seemed to be avoiding her; for, in the afternoon, when Amy and Fritz went off on their bicycles for a spin through the Park, Priscilla declined Martine's invitation to go with her and Lucian to the Public Gardens to hear the band play.
"I have letters to write," she said, "and--well, on the whole, I really can't go."
"Very well," rejoined Martine, rather shortly, as she left Priscilla's room to report to Lucian that her invitation had been so scorned.
"You must have done something to offend her; think it over carefully, Martine, and then confess," urged Lucian. Priscilla had made so good an impression on him that he was unable to consider her wholly in the wrong.
GOOD-BYE TO HALIFAX
Lucian's well-meant advice shared the fate of most advice volunteered by brothers. Martine, unconscious of offence, had no intention of apologizing to Priscilla for things she had not done. Instead, she began to feel annoyed with the latter for her unfairness; for certainly, Priscilla, in giving Lucian the impression that he had received, must have been unfair.
"But if she has been unfair," said Martine, "she can just wait for my news. It's too bad, for when I first read papa's letter it seemed as if I could hardly wait to go downstairs to tell the others."
Now Martine, though impulsive, was not naturally vindictive, and it would have been almost impossible for her to keep her secret from Amy and Priscilla had she not, immediately after reading her letter, confided its contents to Mrs. Redmond. Somebody knew; and in the course of two or three hours that they all passed together on Saturday evening, Martine more than once changed her seat to have a whispered word or two with Amy's mother.
On Sunday they all set out for the Garrison Church. "We make almost as imposing an array as the troops themselves," said Amy.
"Perhaps we might if we were stretched out in single file. Since the boys joined us we are really a regiment; but Halifax people are so used to seeing strangers that I am afraid that they won't take any special notice of us," responded Martine.
"I should hope they wouldn't. How well we should have to behave if we felt that all eyes were upon us," replied Amy.
After service they pushed their way through the crowd waiting outside the churchyard to see the troops form in line.
"It doesn't seem quite the thing on Sunday, does it?" murmured Priscilla to Amy; whereat Martine, laughing loudly, cried:
"But surely it is better for the soldiers to turn out to church in a body than to sit in their barracks moping."
"Soldiers moping!" and Fritz laughed.
"Perhaps it isn't the soldiers, but the people crowding to stare at them, who take away the Sunday feeling," continued Priscilla.
"That's just what we are doing ourselves," retorted Martine, "and I don't feel very wicked."
"Come, come, children, don't quarrel," cried Lucian. "You are both probably right, and both probably wrong."
Neither girl replied, for the troops in their brilliant uniforms were beginning their homeward march to the inspiring music of a fine band.
As they walked homeward Martine, slipping her arm through Amy's, drew her one side.
"Tell me," she said, "and please don't let the others hear or they will laugh--is Halifax the capital of Canada?"
"No, my dear, it--"
"There, I thought it couldn't be; I knew it must be Montreal. But I asked Priscilla why that old gray building was called Government House, and she said because Halifax was the capital. I never expect Priscilla to make a mistake;" and there was a slight touch of sarcasm in Martine's tone.
"She was not wholly wrong," rejoined Amy, "for Halifax is the capital of Nova Scotia. Canada itself is composed of several provinces, of which Nova Scotia is one. The provinces are united under a general government with Ottawa the capital--not Montreal--as you suggested. All the provinces send representatives to the Parliament that assembles every year at Ottawa."
"Oh, I see--like our States and Washington."
"Yes, the general plan of government is much the same, and each province has its own Parliament. Priscilla and I were in the Parliament building here the other day. It is really a State House."
"I've noticed the Parliament building, but what is the Government House?"
"Oh, that is the residence of the Governor of Nova Scotia. His real title is Lieutenant-Governor, because all Canada has a Governor-General, who lives at Ottawa."
Both girls had been so interested in this little conversation that unconsciously they had lagged, and the others were now far ahead of them.
"Martine," said Amy, "as we have a few minutes alone now, do let me influence you to make up with Priscilla--not that any little misunderstanding is wholly your fault, but it is so much harder for Priscilla to give in than it is for you."
"But honestly, I haven't said or done a thing to offend her,--at least, not a thing that I know of, though of course for a day or two I have seen that she was trying to be particularly stiff with me."
"Well, then I wouldn't notice her stiffness. Just act as if you were the best friends in the world, and things will soon straighten themselves out."
"That certainly would be the most agreeable way, and to please you, Miss Amy Redmond, I will follow your advice. Besides, I have something very exciting to tell you and Priscilla, and I really cannot wait longer than this afternoon."
"Hurry, young ladies, hurry, hurry!"
It was Lucian calling to them. He had turned to meet them.
"What kept you so long, Martine? What have you been doing?"
"Nothing, only talking."
"Oh, that accounts for it. When once Martine begins to talk in earnest, she takes no heed of time."
Martine replied lightly to her brother's badinage, and the three reached the house in great spirits. With Amy's caution before her Martine avoided collision with Priscilla during the dinner hour. After dinner, while they were all sitting together in the little arbor,--Mrs. Redmond as well as the girls,--Martine drew a letter from her pocket.
"Listen," she cried; "I have something to read you--no, I can tell it better in my own words, although it is nearly all in papa's letter. So listen, Amy; it's for you,--and it's for you, Priscilla, as well as for me."
"And for me, too?" asked Lucian, trying to throw great expression into his voice.
"No, no, of course not. Mrs. Redmond knows, and she thinks it fine, so listen. In the first place, papa feels much obliged to every one for keeping me contented. You know I tried to make a fuss when they wouldn't take me to Europe, and he says that it's a splendid thing for me to get so interested in history. This is what he says:--
"'When you get back to Chicago you'll find that there's a lot of history there that is worth studying--not entirely about the great fire, and part of the history of Illinois is French.' I never knew that before," interpolated Martine. Then she continued to read, "'Your mother and I think that you owe much to the young ladies who are with you, as well as to Mrs. Redmond, to whom I am also writing this mail. We are much gratified by what you write about the various young people in whom you are interested. Although I cannot promise, without knowing more about her, to launch your special protégée, Yvonne, on a prima donna's career, it seems right that you should be helped to do something for her, so I am enclosing a check for three hundred dollars.'"
Amy started; Priscilla gazed in astonishment.
"'This,'" Martine continued to read, "'is to be divided into three parts. Your third is for Yvonne; a second third is for Miss Amy to use as she sees fit for the little French boy--I forget his name; and though you haven't said so, I am sure that Miss Priscilla hasn't been behind her friends in adopting somebody. Perhaps I ought to have sent more, but it will do for a beginning, and I shall be glad to hear that the money does some good.'"
"There's more about mamma's getting better and coming home soon, that I needn't read. But isn't it splendid? You can't think how hard it was for me to keep it to myself a whole day."
Upon this there was a small Babel for a second or two, until, after a moment of silence, Priscilla, in words that showed some slight hesitation, spoke,--
"I must thank you, Martine, as much as your father. You must have made him think very pleasantly of us all. But I wonder if I ought to keep the money?"
"No, my dear Puritan Prissie, you mustn't keep it. It's for you to give away as quickly as you can to your protégée, and we all know who that is."
"Yes," added Mrs. Redmond; "you need have no hesitation in using it for Eunice. Mr. Stratford has written me fully on the subject. He says that this summer has cost him so much less than Martine's vacations usually cost, that his gift is only a part of what he has saved."
"He hasn't heard yet about the Windsor fire," murmured Martine, "or he might feel differently, though the silver and the jewelry will be a Christmas matter," she concluded hastily. "Shall I send all the money at once to Yvonne, Mrs. Redmond?"
"Oh, no, my dear; we must talk things over and make careful plans for Yvonne and Pierre. A little money will go a good way with both of them."
"Oh, of course, Mrs. Redmond, whatever you say will be the thing. That isn't slang is it, Miss Amy Redmond? There's a pained expression at the corners of your mouth; but never mind, you can't deny that I've improved this summer--to beat the band;" and with this shot Martine, darting forward, laid her hand on Amy's arm.
"As an impartial judge I can say that you all have improved this summer,--at least, speaking for the three girls," said Mrs. Redmond. "Although I haven't commented on it, it has pleased me greatly to observe the rounding off of several sharp corners."
"'Speaking for the three girls,'" quoted Fritz,--"but where do we two come in? Didn't we banish ourselves when we were bid, and keep out of sight, until we heard that you had been almost destroyed by fire? Our improvement has been quite remarkable, though I don't see any one paying premiums to us; and if we had protégés whom we wished to protect we'd have to go deep into our own pockets for the wherewithal."
"Yes," added Lucian, "I was thinking of that myself. It's a good thing that we haven't found any one to be interested in."
"Oh, but you have, Lucian; at least, I have found some one for you. Don't you remember our new cousins, the Airtons? How stupid! I haven't told any one else." And hereupon, without further delay, Martine plunged into an account of the discovery that she thought that she had made--that Eunice Airton and her brother were cousins in the third or fourth degree to her and Lucian.
"I feel as if we ought to wait until we can make sure, but Lucian says that he can put his hand on the papers when he returns to Cambridge--and at any rate mamma will know. I'm awfully sorry, Prissie dear, that they are not your cousins too; but perhaps we can find a link somewhere back among the Mayflowers--just large enough to join you and Eunice."
Priscilla, not knowing what to reply to Martine's fun, wisely chose the golden mean of silence. If Martine had not said "Prissie" she might have thought her wholly in earnest.
"But oh, dear," reflected Priscilla, "I do wish that Eunice had turned out to be my cousin instead of Martine's. It doesn't seem fair that she should have everything." This thought, however, had hardly shaped itself, when Priscilla put it far from her. Martine had certainly been generous, and Priscilla, if narrow in some ways, meant never to be unjust.
Martine, however, had other things than Priscilla's attitude on her mind.
"So you see, Lucian," she concluded, "there is some one for you to help,--not that Balfour Airton wishes any one to do anything for him,--but if he's a cousin, you'd naturally want to help him save his time for study in the summer holidays."
"I study so diligently myself in the summer," commented Lucian, "that I'd be a fine one to lay down the law to my new cousin! No, poor fellow, if I have anything to do with him, I'll certainly not advise him to lay himself out on summer study."
"Oh, Lucian! If I didn't know that you'd take an interest in Balfour, I'd try to persuade you; but just think how Mrs. Blair will feel!"
"Mrs. Blair! What in the world has she to do with--anything?" concluded Amy, vaguely.
"Why, if Eunice and Balfour are our cousins, then they are her cousins, and as she doesn't like people who work, it will be great fun to tell her about Balfour, for probably he'll get through college much better than Philip did--"
"My dear Martine, did Mrs. Blair ever harm you?"
"No, except to say that what a pity it is that I am not at all like Edith."
"There! Eunice Airton reminds me of Edith; that's the resemblance that puzzled me;" and Amy seemed pleased with her discovery.
"Oh, if they're at all alike, I won't object to this Eunice as a cousin, for Edith isn't half bad, and--"
Lucian's speech was cut short by the appearance on the scene of the little buttons of the hotel, who happened to know Lucian rather better than the rest of the party.
"If you please, sir," he said, "here's a telegram for one of the ladies, and I don't know which is which, though her name--it seems to be Mrs. Redmond," and he handed an envelope to Lucian.
In an instant Mrs. Redmond had read the despatch, while Amy asked anxiously, "Is it anything serious, mamma?"
"No, no, my child, far from it. I told you there was a probability that certain business would call me home a little earlier than we had planned. Well, the summons has come, and I ought to start to-morrow."
"Oh, I am so glad!" exclaimed Priscilla, with an expression of real delight.
"Why, I thought that you were enjoying yourself."
"Yes, Mrs. Redmond, so I am, but I shall be so happy to see mamma again, and the children. I had a letter from the twins yesterday, and they miss me dreadfully."
"Shall we go home through Clare? Shall we have a chance to see Yvonne?"
"And Pierre?" added Amy.
"And Eunice? Of course we could stay over one train at Wolfville," pleaded Priscilla.
"My dear children," remonstrated Mrs. Redmond, "I fear that you did not understand me. I must be in Boston as quickly as possible, and that means that we must take the direct boat from Halifax."
"All of us? Then Lucian and I will return to New England with hardly a glimpse of the real Acadia."
"I have no control over your movements. You and Lucian must do whatever seems best for yourselves."
"Whatever you advise is best," interposed Lucian, gallantly, "but I am pretty sure that Fritz will agree with me that it would be much pleasanter for us if you would permit us to return with you."
"Not only pleasanter, but much safer for some of the members of your party;" and Fritz assumed an air of importance.
"Yes," added Lucian, "there's my sister. Suppose she should accidentally fall overboard, or--"
"Or suppose Amy should lose her keys," interrupted Fritz, "or--"
"There, there, if the girls never suffer greater mishaps than those that have come to them this summer, they will do very well. We call this a pretty successful trip."
"And really," added Martine, "nothing that has happened was anybody's fault. Those things were simply adventures, and besides, I might easily have had scarlet fever; so congratulate me on my escape. Even a trip through Acadia would have been just a little dull without some mishaps."
When Mrs. Redmond had left the young people to themselves, they separated into two groups, Martine and Priscilla and Lucian in one, and Amy and Fritz in another.
"Now, Priscilla," cried Martine, "since we are friends again, perhaps you will not object to telling me why you were annoyed with me yesterday. Even Lucian noticed it."
Priscilla, coloring at this abrupt question, glanced shyly at Lucian.
"Oh, you needn't mind Lucian," said Martine, noting the direction of her glance. "He doesn't count."
Thus Priscilla, feeling less afraid of Lucian's criticism than of his sister's reckless tongue, admitted that her feelings had been hurt by the glimpse that she had had of Martine with her finger on her lips.
"I always have hated secrets," she admitted, "especially when it seems as if some one is trying to keep something from me. I thought that if you and Amy didn't wish me to know anything,--I mean, if there was anything that you didn't wish me to know,--why I wouldn't intrude; but I realize now how foolish I was, especially as the secret was something pleasant for me."
"After all, I didn't tell it to Amy then, so you might as well have stayed with us."
"Oh, no, she mightn't, for then Miss Denman and I wouldn't have had that visit to the Green Market. You, by the way, will miss it, because you won't be here next Market Day," interposed Lucian.
"It certainly was great fun, especially Mr. Malachai Robertson," added Priscilla, with a smile, "and I have learned one thing--not to indulge myself in any little jealous feelings, particularly on this trip."
"On this trip;" and Martine shook her finger at her friend. "To think that Puritan Prissie should break forth into slang!" But the only effect of her ridicule was to make Priscilla smile too, and open her heart a little wider.
"I haven't quite finished my confession," she continued. "You know yesterday morning, when your brother and I came home from the Green Market, I overheard you talking to Amy about some one who was 'narrow-minded and conventional,' and you didn't wonder she disliked her, and I thought it was me," concluded poor Priscilla, with an apparent disregard of grammar.
"Of course we didn't mean you," responded Martine, "although at this moment I don't quite--oh, yes, I do remember. It was Miss Belloc, one of Amy's classmates. Amy was telling me of some priggish things that Miss Belloc had said, and I did use those very words yesterday. But if you had listened longer you would have heard Amy say, 'not that I disliked Miss Belloc, but her narrow views.' Then you would have known that we didn't mean you."
"Oh, I know that you didn't, and I realize now that I have been very unfair."
"Oh, no, only a little unfair," rejoined Martine, "but 'least said, soonest mended,' and the most important thing is that now we are both going to be perfectly fair after this."
Meanwhile Amy and Fritz were discussing various practical matters.
"Your mother and I have been talking over this letter of Mr. Stratford's, and we both agree that you probably will not disagree with us--in other words, we think it would be wiser for you girls not to send money to your protégé Pierre, or to Yvonne, or Eunice, until after we have reached Boston." Fritz had assumed a manner of unwonted dignity, and with difficulty Amy refrained from laughing at him.
"Delay will give Martine time to find out if it is best to put part of the money in the hands of some one to spend for Yvonne in Clare, or whether it would be better to have her come to Boston to have her eyes treated. Then, after you have talked with one or two teachers, you can judge whether Pierre is too young to have a course of manual training. You don't know what you want yourself yet."
"Yes, really, Miss Amy Redmond, I think that the poor little beggar ought to have some fun with his hundred dollars, instead of being ground down to more education. Then, as to Eunice Airton and her brother, why, if they really are cousins of Martine's, Priscilla Denman needn't have them on her mind any longer. Mr. Stratford will come down with something handsome, so they might have this hundred as an instalment to get some fun with at once."
"You don't know Balfour Airton. I shouldn't be surprised if he should insist on his sister's returning Martine's present."
"Then the sooner Martine proves her cousinship the better. The money can wait until that is accomplished. Now a word especially for you, Miss Amy Redmond. Please admit that Lucian and I are very magnanimous in making so few reflections upon our banishment. Also admit, please, that you would have had a much better time if we had been with you."
"We couldn't have had a better time," averred Amy, stoutly. "We've enjoyed every minute of it, and I shall return to college a new person. Why, I've gained ten pounds in these few weeks."
"Ah, Amy," sighed Fritz, "you are as practical and unsentimental as ever you were at Rockley. Yet you love old graveyards, and can write poetry. Here I would have saved you from fire and flood, could have kept your keys in my care, and still you say that by yourselves you have had a better time than if we had been with you!"
"Oh, no, I didn't say that, only that we have had so pleasant a time that it couldn't have been better."
Here Amy stopped. She saw that she had involved herself in a contradiction; so with Fritz's laughing voice ringing in her ears she hastened indoors to talk over with Mrs. Redmond the various arrangements for their departure from Acadia.
HELEN LEAH REED'S "BRENDA" BOOKS
BRENDA, HER SCHOOL AND HER CLUB
Illustrated by Jessie Willcox Smith. 12mo. $1.50.
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BRENDA'S SUMMER AT ROCKLEY
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A charming picture of vacation life along the famous North Shore of Massachusetts.
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BRENDA'S COUSIN AT RADCLIFFE
Illustrated by Alice Barber Stephens. 12mo. $1.50.
A remarkably real and fascinating story of a college girl's career, excelling in interest Miss Reed's first "Brenda" book. The _Providence News_ says of it: "No better college story has been written." The author is a graduate of Radcliffe College which she describes.
Illustrated. 12mo. $1.50.
"The fourth and last of the 'Brenda' books," says _The Bookman_, "deals with social settlement work, under conditions with which the author is familiar." The _Boston Transcript_ adds: "This book is by far the best of the series."
LITTLE, BROWN, & COMPANY, _Publishers_ 254 WASHINGTON ST., BOSTON, MASSACHUSETTS
_A Story for Younger Girls_
IRMA AND NAP
By HELEN LEAH REED
Author of "Amy in Acadia," The "Brenda" Books, etc.
Illustrated by Clara E. Atwood. 12mo. $1.25
A brightly written story about children from eleven to thirteen years of age, who live in a suburban town, and attend a public grammar school. The book is full of incident of school and home life.
The story deals with real life, and is told in the simple and natural style which characterized Miss Reed's popular "Brenda" stories.--_Washington Post._
There are little people in this sweetly written story with whom all will feel at once that they have been long acquainted, so real do they seem, as well as their plans, their play, and their school and home and everyday life.--_Boston Courier._
Her children are real; her style also is natural and pleasing.--_The Outlook_, New York.
Miss Reed's children are perfectly natural and act as real girls would under the same circumstances. Nap is a lively little dog, who takes an important part in the development of the story.--_Christian Register_, Boston.
A clever story, not a bit preachy, but with much influence for right living in evidence throughout.--_Chicago Evening Post._
LITTLE, BROWN, AND COMPANY 254 WASHINGTON STREET, BOSTON
ANNA CHAPIN RAY'S
Miss Ray's work draws instant comparison with the best of Miss Alcott's: first, because she has the same genuine sympathy with boy and girl life; secondly, because she creates real characters, individual and natural, like the young people one knows, actually working out the same kind of problems; and, finally, because her style of writing is equally unaffected and straightforward.--_Christian Register_, Boston.
TEDDY: HER BOOK. A Story of Sweet Sixteen
Illustrated by Vesper L. George. 12mo. $1.50.
This bewitching story of "Sweet Sixteen," with its earnestness, impetuosity, merry pranks, and unconscious love for her hero, has the same spring-like charm.--_Kate Sanborn._
PHEBE: HER PROFESSION. A Sequel to "Teddy: Her Book"
Illustrated by Frank T. Merrill. 12mo. $1.50.
This is one of the few books written for young people in which there is to be found the same vigor and grace that one demands in a good story for older people.--_Worcester Spy._
TEDDY: HER DAUGHTER
A Sequel to "Teddy: Her Book," and "Phebe: Her Profession"
Illustrated by J. B. Graff. 12mo. $1.50.
It is a human story, all the characters breathing life and activity.--_Buffalo Times._
Illustrated by Ellen Bernard Thompson. 12mo. $1.50.
Nathalie is the sort of a young girl whom other girls like to read about.--_Hartford Courant._
URSULA'S FRESHMAN. A Sequel to "Nathalie's Chum"
Illustrated by Harriet Roosevelt Richards. 12mo. $1.50.
The best of a series already the best of its kind.--_Boston Herald._
NATHALIE'S SISTER. A Sequel to "Ursula's Freshman"
Illustrated by Alice Barber Stephens. 12mo. $1.50.
Peggy, the heroine, is a most original little lady who says and does all sorts of interesting things. She has pluck and spirit, and a temper, but she is very lovable, and girls will find her delightful to read about.--_Louisville Evening Post._
New Illustrated Editions of Miss Alcott's Famous Stories
THE LITTLE WOMEN SERIES
By LOUISA M. ALCOTT. Illustrated Edition. With eighty-four full-page plates from drawings especially made for this edition by Reginald B. Birch, Alice Barber Stephens, Jessie Willcox Smith, and Harriet Roosevelt Richards. 8 vols. Crown 8vo. Decorated cloth, gilt, in box, $16.00.
Separately as follows:
1. LITTLE MEN: Life at Plumfield with Jo's Boys With 15 full-page illustrations by Reginald B. Birch. $2.00.
2. LITTLE WOMEN: or Meg, Jo, Beth, and Amy With 15 full-page illustrations by Alice Barber Stephens. $2.00.
3. AN OLD-FASHIONED GIRL With 12 full-page pictures by Jessie Willcox Smith. $2.00.
4. JO'S BOYS, and How They Turned Out A Sequel to "Little Men." With 10 full-page plates by Ellen Wetherald Ahrens. $2.00.
5. EIGHT COUSINS; or, the Aunt-Hill With 8 full-page pictures by Harriet Roosevelt Richards.
6. ROSE IN BLOOM A Sequel to "Eight Cousins." With 8 full-page pictures by Harriet Roosevelt Richards. $2.00.
7. UNDER THE LILACS With 8 original full-page pictures by Alice Barber Stephens. $2.00.
8. JACK AND JILL With 8 full-page pictures from drawings by Harriet Roosevelt Richards. $2.00.
The artists selected to illustrate have caught the spirit of the originals and contributed a series of strikingly beautiful and faithful pictures of the author's characters and scenes.--_Boston Herald._
Alice Barber Stephens, who is very near the head of American illustrators, has shown wonderful ability in delineating the characters and costumes for "Little Women," They are almost startlingly realistic.--_Worcester Spy._
Miss Alcott's books have never before had such an attractive typographical dress as the present. They are printed in large type on heavy paper, artistically bound, and illustrated with many full-page drawings.--_Philadelphia Press_.
LITTLE, BROWN, & COMPANY _Publishers_, 254 WASHINGTON STREET, BOSTON, MASS.
Obsolete and alternate spellings were retained. Punctuation was standardized. Regional dialect was retained, e.g. 'tree' instead of 'three' 'hat' changed to 'that' ... think that she is no worse ... 'yo'd' changed to 'you'd' ... if you'd had to stay ...