« AnteriorContinuar »
Mr. Weston's health was very dependent upon exercise in the open air. He knew that it was Amy's knowledge of this, more than her attachment to her favorite horse, that induced her choice; he felt the delicacy of her making it appear a favor to herself. Poverty had already opened to him some hitherto unknown' springs of happiness. He sighed, but there was a better feeling than usual that moved him.
“Do as you please, dear," he said; and he turned away to hide a tear, as he consented.
Ruth was a very efficient help to Amy, in her new mode of life. Although her labors were doubled, she never complained, and never seemed oppressed by them. Hers was always a service of love; the wages she received, she considered a simple equivalent for her labor. Before she engaged herself to Miss Weston, she had inquired her character with the greatest particularity, expecting her to do the same with' regard to herself; for, she said, “ It must be a poor rule that did not work both ways." Amy was her idol her beau ideal of excellence. She could not bear to see her work so hard as she now did. It was a real source of vexation to her. Neither could she be reconciled to seeing her deny herself so many of the luxuries to which she had hitherto been accustomed.
“I don't wish any fire in my room," said Amy to her, one morning, when she was stealing in very softly, to make it before she was up; “and if I did, I should not allow you, Ruth, to make it; you have too much work to do already.”
“Now, ma'am, it's really ridiculous for you not to have a fire. It's no trouble to make it.”
“But we cannot afford it, Ruth."
“Why, ma'am, you ought to have a fire. It don't cost but a trifle; and I'm sure, it's bad enough to be poor, without going without every thing you want into the bargain."
Amy smiled at Ruth's logic.
“I find it very easy, Ruth, to do without a fire; and if I cannot afford it, I must do without it, or do wrong; and that you would not have me do, I am sure.”
Ruth flounced out of the room with a look of the most decided dissatisfaction.
Before Amy came down to breakfast, Ruth bounced
up stairs again, and burst into her room. Her abrupt manner and her glowing face startled Amy.
“What's the matter, Ruth ? "
Miss Amy, that you won't make such a fuss about as you did about the fire ;” and she handed her a letter from Edward.
Ruth's natural delicacy forbade her even casting one look at Amy, before she left her to herself.
Who can dare to describe the state of feeling of a true and tender-hearted being like Amy, while reading a letter from her lover, from whom she had heard no tidings for a year? There are pictures called “The reading the Love-letter." The trembling anxiety, the untold joy, the quiet peace, which follow in bright and quick succession, each telling their story on the face as they pass,
who can paint ? — who can describe ? And if we may not successfully paint, and cannot do justice to that which is seen, can we hope to unveil that which is not seen? Love-letters, if they are real love-letters, ought not to be shown to any stranger; so our readers must not hope to see Amy's. It was only to be read, by those who saw her that day. in her light, elastic step, her glowing cheek, her cheerful voice, and, most of all, in the “harvest of her quiet eye,” that seemed to shed love and joy upon every one on whom it rested.
“I have a letter from Edward,” she said, when she met her father at breakfast. 66 He is very well, and very successful, and hopes to
return in a year from next April. This is a little sooner than he at first feared he should be able to. He desires his respects to you, father, and his love to you, Ruth.”
Ruth was standing still, with the coffee-pot in her hand, to listen to what Amy said.
“ Thank him a thousand times, ma'am. They say love is a present for a mighty king;' and I'm sure, I set enough by Mr. Edward's, though I'm neither king nor queen, nor never want to be.” Saying this, Ruth left the room.
“I am very glad," said Mr. Weston, “ that Edward is doing so well. In some respects, Amy, I have always liked this connection with him. Next to belonging to one of our first families, I think having no family at all is to be desired. Don't you think so, my dear?”
“What, sir?” said Amy. Her thoughts had wandered far over the Pacific Ocean.
Her father repeated his remark. father, that I am such a sturdy republican, that I should care more for what the family were than who they were.
“All wrong, my dear; when Mr. Selmar finds that I am a poor man, and have no money to give you when you are married, he will be very
“Glad of it,” interrupted Amy, playfully.
66 I fear,
“ He will like us both much better, father ; depend upon it."
“ Romance! foolish romance, my dear; however, as Ruth would say, Beggars must not be choosers; I have nothing to say against the match
I dare say, by and by, gentlemen in the first classes will be glad to marry their daughters to grocers, and tinkers, and cobblers; I am sick of this new order of things.”
“If, my dear father, cobblers and tinkers should be well-educated men, surely we ought to rejoice; and if they are not, why should you suppose that well-educated women will fancy them for husbands?"
“Yes they will, just to show their independence; young ladies now will fancy any thing out of the common way.
The good old times are gone forever. If a young man were to make his proposals, now, first to the father, the young lady, forsooth, would reject him on that very account, though all the wisest and best men I have ever known consider this only a proper respect for age and authority; the young people marry, now-adays, only to please themselves.”
Amy hoped that her father's charge against the young was deserved, but she forbore to