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SUPPOSE,” said Major Hardeservice a mirror and tossing her bright curls vainly,
one day to his wife, when their daughter “that Nellie will marry a rich man.” Eleanor, seven years old, was looking into "Oh, yes, indeed," said little Mrs. Hardeservice with a touch of pride. “Nellie will be erectness to the Major's figure over two thouvery handsome, like you, Frank — straight and sand miles away from New York. Mrs. Hardetall and fair.”
service was in as much of a flutter as if she Major Hardeservice had been straight and herself were that night to make a pretty courfair, and he was still handsome, with a firm and tesy to full-fledged society. Bess, now fourteen, almost dashing carriage; but several years of was in an ecstatic dream in which magnificent service on the frontier under a burning sun, gowns, and wonderful music, and oppressively where in summer the hot air, from whatever fragrant flowers set her head in a wild whirl. direction it blew, came over a dazzling white The sentry who paced out the dark night near plain, had turned a fair complexion to a per- the Major's quarters wondered at the lateness manent red. The Major's uniform, too, mea- of the hour when the last light in the officer's sured several inches more around the belt than house went out. when, as a slender lieutenant, he had assisted After this came long letters of afternoon Miss Elizabeth Marwin to change her name. teas, receptions, dinner-parties, cotillons, and No doubt if a blush could have vied with his countless other entertainments, so that Bess lay high color, his wife would have seen that the awake at night and pictured dukes and royal Major was pleased, for he was proud of his good princes kneeling before Nell, while glittering looks, and Eleanor might have inherited her palaces and fairy gardens danced before her father's vanity
eyes. She was a little disappointed when she - But Bess," said the big soldier, pulling a received a photograph on the back of which little dark-eyed creature up to his broad knee, was written, “To my dearest Bess, from her and pressing a heavy mustache against the soft sister in her coming-out gown." Bess had excheek, “ will marry for love, dear. And she 'll pected to see a crown on the grand lady's head, make a good wife for a fortuneless soldier like whereas she was dressed very simply in white. me. She is like her mother."
But she was a very beautiful woman, and Mrs. The hot winds of the desert, and the blind- Hardeservice looked at the picture many times ing glitter of snow on crusted fields, had not that day. spoiled the delicacy of Mrs. Hardeservice's Bess had gone to bed when Mrs. Hardecheek, and her blush was evident enough. It service, looking at the Major as she spoke to was such a pretty blush that the Major height- him of Eleanor, saw that he was dozing. His ened it with his lips, and then went stalking
out hand was clenched around a newspaper so that so heavily that the weight of his boots on the the edges had split. She went up to him with board walk could be heard until he reached tears in her eyes, and threw her arms around the parade-ground.
his neck. In this way it came about that the family “ Frank,” she said, half sobbing, “I want always thought and spoke of Eleanor as the her." future wise of some man whose fortune could The Major sprang to his feet. His arm shot be measured only by the beauty of his wife. out, his finger pointing steadily. That such a man would be worthy there never “I can march it in thirteen hours !” he cried, was any doubt.
and then rubbed his eyes. “Nell, dear,” he But this was almost twenty years before the added with a short laugh, as if he were ashamed, summer when Colonel and Mrs. Hardeservice “ I have been fighting Indians again." He and the Misses Hardeservice were spending looked regretful to find himself in post instead the summer at Bar Harbor.
of in the field. She was crying softly to herself The pretty Eleanor, when she was fifteen when she went up-stairs. years old (she did not deny three months later Eleanor was twenty, and her father was a that she was sixteen), had been sent East to her colonel, when his horse, carrying him over the Aunt Helen to receive in New York the social plain at a hard gallop, plunged a leg into a education befitting a rich man's wife. At that prairie-dog's hole. The heavy Colonel was time she was as vain and as coquettish as any carried home white and limp, and Cæsar, the young girl who is pretty and fully aware of her horse, was shot to end his suffering. The Colobeauty.
nel lay in bed for three months, and then went When little Bess, out on the withered stretches on the retired list. The family moved East, and of Colorado, read her sister's letters about New after living in New York for a few months found York, she thought Eleanor a very fine lady, for a quiet little home in Mount Vernon, where Bess's big eyes had seen as yet only forts, and the Colonel read the military publications, and soldiers, and army officers who petted her, and army and navy notes in the newspapersand big, square houses as hideous as dull-red paint fretted. could make them.
As for Eleanor, she had grown a wonderfully On the night when Miss Eleanor was “to beautiful woman, and her triumphs were many. come out," there was an additional military She was then tall and slender, with shoulders
which marked her spirit and pride. She held to their plan of enjoying themselves very quietly them up and back, and when she shrugged them and simply, it was not surprising that Eleanor it was like the gesture of a woman who ruled should find at Bar Harbor friends who were a people. Her throat and neck were marvel- unwilling to allow her to keep in the social ously beautiful. They were soft, and yet there background. But when it was proved after arwas strength in them. Her head was firmly gument, pleadings, and protestations that she poised, and the hues of her hair were radiant. was determined in her resolve, herardent friends When she was pleased her eyes, and lips, did not force their admiration to the point of and every curve of her features, smiled. When driving themselves into sympathetic retirement. she was indifferent her face was like white Her father, valiant soldier that he was, stood marble.
before Eleanor. Her friends began to know Her winters were spent in New York with him. They had not seen his like before. His her aunt, and though no one doubted that she candor, his freshness, his freedom from conwas, as the newspapers spoke of her, a “reign- ventional restraint, and his fine, open self-reing belle,” she did not get married. Not that liance, nourished and ripened on frontier posts, she had no opportunities. There were hints caught the spirits of all who met him. It was without end in the publications that balance then that the Colonel became a lion. He the accounts of society's ledgers. The smart danced, he told stories of Western life, he promyoung men who dawdled on the outer circles enaded the long verandas, débutantes leaning of her admirers could tell who was going to on his arm. Colonel Hardeservice was the cenmarry her. Sometimes they let slip the secret; tral figure of Bar Harbor, and in defending his sometimes they declared that they could not daughter from her admirers and suitors he gave betray honorable confidences. There were back to society not only Miss Hardeservice, but mothers of daughters who frowned when de- her father. sirable men followed in the haughty Miss The Colonel saw at first glance wherein EleaHardeservice's train. There were mothers of nor had been at fault. It was not true that there light-headed young men, possessed of ample were no men who were her equals. There were fortunes, who trembled at the same time. And many—too many. Only an old campaigner yet Miss Hardeservice did not get married. could pick from the flower of this army the There was only one family that did not won- most gallant and worthy captain. So while the der at this. The Colonel was a little worried, Colonel conducted armies of young pedestrifor he was poor, but his serenity of mind never ans up Newport Mountain, led dashing cav. deserted him about his elder daughter's judg- alry troops in buckboards over the island of ment. Mrs. Hardeservice was content to have Mount Desert, and watched social maneuvers her daughter, if only during the summers, and with a critical eye, he searched carefully for his Bess loyally scoffed at every man who offered chief aide. In the flush of his victories he went his name and fortune to her sister. Bess saw beyond military operations. He planned a naa little of Eleanor's world. She stayed in it for val invasion of the dark-hued island which lay one winter. She was not abashed, but after before his hotel. Seated in a fickle canoe manthat she chose to remain at home, and while aged by a young woman whose color was as her sister danced gaily or impassively in the fresh as the sea air,- the Colonel had never social whirl, got her name in the society” col- touched an oar or a paddle in his life,-- he saw umns daily, and gracefully repulsed young men his fleet ground on the shore of the invaded who swore that they would shoot themselves land, and, standing up in his treacherous craft, if she did not marry them, Bess read the “Army gaily waved his straw hat and proclaimed the and Navy Journal” to her soldier father while island a province of Mount Desert. he indulged in stolen naps, unmindful of social Those were joyous days for the Colonel. strife or Indian wars.
The eyes of the fashionable world were upon When Miss Hardeservice confessed to the him. But he did not allow himself to forget Colonel one day, as her fingers played with his his duty to Eleanor. His keen eye was always gray locks, that she was weary of it all, and on the alert. The man whom he sought he begged him to take her to Bar Harbor on a soon found. At the same time he made a disfamily trip, where they could amuse one an- covery which caused him, a father whose whole other, the Colonel, as he always did to every thoughts were devoted to the interest of his proposal of hers, cheerfully consented. He daughter, no little mental turmoil. went to his desk, looked at his slender surplus There were two men toward whom the Coloin bank, wrinkled his brows a little, and made nel's attention was drawn. He liked them both, one more plunge into his account.
and their admiration for him was shown in It was at Bar Harbor that Colonel Harde- many ways. They were both wholly unlike the service began and brilliantly closed his last Colonel and wholly unlike each other. What campaign. While the family adhered strictly made it hard for the Colonel to do his duty was