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I see her," the old doctor went on, with a eyes were closed, and he seemed to be dozing; somewhat patronizing air, “ I 'll try to explain but Jesse's movements aroused him. matters; but it is a very delicate undertaking, “Ah! is that you, Wesley ? Where is your sir — very delicate.”
Miss Mildred ? ' “No," said Underwood; "there will be no "She comin', suh; she comin' right now." need for explanations. My sister will go for · Very well, very well. You must make Miss Bascom, and whatever explanations may yourself at home here," he said to Francis be necessary she will make at the proper time.” Underwood, who had followed Jesse. “I am
“ An admirable arrangement,” said Dr. By- somewhat dilapidated myself, but my daughter num with a grunt of satisfaction—"an admi- will entertain you. Wesley, I believe I will go rable arrangement indeed. Well, my boy, you to my room. Lend me your arm.” must do the best you can, and I know that “ Allow me to assist you," said Underwood; will be all that is necessary. I am sorry for and so between the two the old man was carBascom, very sorry, and I'm sorrier for his ried to the room that had been his own when daughter. I'll call again to-night.”
the house was his. It happened to be UnderAs Dr. Bynum drove down the avenue, Un- wood's room, but that made no difference. It derwood was much gratified to see Jesse com- belonged once more to the Judge in his dising through the gate. The negro appeared to ordered fancy, and thither he went. be much perplexed. He took off his hat as he After a while Miss Sophie came bringing approached Underwood, and made a display Mildred. Just how she had explained matof politeness somewhat unusual, although he ters to the poor girl no one ever knew, but it was always polite.
must have been in some specially sympathetic “Is you seed Marse Judge Bascom ?” he way, for when Francis Underwood assisted the inquired.
ladies from the carriage Miss Bascom appeared “Yes," said Underwood. “Heis in the house to be the less agitated of the two. yonder, resting himself. You seem frightened; “The Judge is as comfortable as possible,” what is the trouble ?”
Underwood said cheerily. "Jesse is with him, “Well, suh, I ain't had no sech worriment and I think he is asleep. His nervousness has sence de Sherman army come 'long. I dunner passed away." what got inter Marse Judge Bascom. He been “Oh, do you think he is seriously ill ?" exgwine on des like yuther folks, settin' 'roun' en claimed Mildred, clasping her hands together. talkin' 'long wid hisse'f, en den all of er sudden "Certainly not, just now," said Francis he break out en shave en dress hisse'f, en go Underwood. “ The doctor has been here, and visitin' whar he ain't never been visitin' befo'. he has gone away apparently satisfied. Sister, I done year 'im say p'intedly dat he ain't never do you take charge of Miss Bascom, and show gwine come yer les'n de Place b’long ter ’im. her how to be at home here.”' Do he look downhearted, suh?"
And so Judge Bascom and his beautiful "No," said Underwood, “I can't say that daughter were installed at the old Place. Milhe does. He seems to be very well satisfied. dred, under the circumstances, would rather He has called several times for Wesley. I have been elsewhere, but she was practically have heard you called Jesse, but perhaps the under orders. It was necessary to the well-beJudge knows you as Wesley. There are several ing of her father, so the doctor said, that he negroes
around here who answer to different should remain where he was; it was necessary names."
that he should be humored in the belief that “ No, suh,” said Jesse, scratching his head. he was the owner of the old Place. It is only “I ain't never been call Wesley sence I been fair to say that Miss Sophie Underwood and bornded inter de worl'. Dey was er nigger her brother were more willing and anxious to name Wesley what use ter go 'long wid Marse enter into this scheme than Mildred appeared Judge Bascom en wait on 'im when I wuz er to be. She failed to comprehend the situation little boy, but Wesley done been dead too until after she had talked with her father, and long ago ter talk about. I dunner what make then she was in despair. Judge Bascom was folks's min' drop back dat away. Look like the representative of everything substantial dey er sorter fumblin' 'roun' tryin' fer ter ketch and enduring in his daughter's experience, holt er sump'n ne'r what done been pulled up and when she realized that his mind had been out'n reach.”
seized by a vagaiy she received a tremendous “Well,” said Underwood, “the Judge is in shock. But the rough edges of the situation, the house. See if he wants anything; and if he so to speak, were smoothed and turned by asks about his daughter, tell him she will be Miss Sophie, who assumed motherly charge of here directly."
the young girl. Miss Sophie's methods were When Jesse went into the house he found so sympathetic and so womanly, and she gave the Judge lying on a lounge in the hall. His to the situation such a matter-of-fact interpre
tation, that the grief and dismay of the young look right. Pap used to say he 'd never be girl were not as overwhelming as they other happy ontel the Bascoms come back inter wise would have been.
Well, he's dead, ain't he?" inquired Mrs. Bass in a tone that showed she had the best of
the argument. NATURALLY all the facts that have just been “Yessum," said Mr. Grissom, shifting about set down here were soon known to the inhabi- in his chair and crossing his legs, as if anxious tants of Hillsborough. Naturally, too, someto dispose of an unpleasant subject-"yessum, thing more than the facts were also known and pap 's done dead.” To this statement, after talked about. There was the good old doctor a somewhat embarrassing silence, he added : ready to shake his head and look mysterious, Pap took an' died a long time ago." and there were the negroes ready to give out Yes,” said Mrs. Bass in a gentler tone, an exaggerated version of the occurrences that “and I 'll warrant you that when he died he followed Judge Bascom's visit to his old home. was n't pestered about whether the Bascoms
“ Well," said Major Jimmy Bass to his wife, owned the old Place or not. Did he make any with something like a snort, “ ef the old Judge complaints ?” is gone there an' took holt of things, like they "No 'm," replied Mr. Grissom, in a remisay, it 's bekaze he's out'n his mind. I wonder niscent way, “ I can't say that he did. He jest what in the round world could 'a' possessed did n't bother about 'em. Hit looked like they him?"
jest natchally slipped outer his mind." “I 'spec'he 's done drapt back into his “Why, certainly,” said Mrs. Bass, with a dolt-age,” said farmer Joe-Bob Grissom, who little shake of her head; “they slipped outer had gone to the major's for the purpose of dis- your pa’s mind, and now they say the old Judge cussing the matter. “An' yit, they do say that has slipped out of his own mind.” he's got a clean title to every bit of the prop'ty “Well, we need n't boast of it, Sarah,” reef you take into account all that talk about his marked the major with a feeble attempt at severwife's brother an' sech like."
ity. “Nobody knows the day when some of us “Well,"remarked the major grimly, “ Sarah may be twisted around. We'veno room to brag.” there ain't got no brother, an' I reckon I 'm “No, we ain't," said his wife, bridling up. sorter pretected from them kind of gwines-on.” “I've trembled for you a many a day when
“Why, tooby shore you are," said his wife, you thought I was thinking about something who was the Sarah referred to; “but I ain't else a many a day.” so mighty certain that I would n't be better off “Now you know mighty well, Sarah, that if I had a brother to follow you around where no good-natured man like me ain't a-gwine to the wimmen folks can't go. You've flung up an' lose their mind, jest dry so," said the away a many a bright dollar that he might major earnestly. “They've got to have some have picked up."
mighty big trouble.” “Who, Sarah ?" inquired the major, winc- Yes," said Mrs. Bass, grimly, “and they ing a little.
have to have mind too, I reckon. Nobody My brother," returned Mrs. Bass.
that never had a horse ever lost one." Why, you have n't got a brother, Sarah,” The major nodded his head at Joe-Bob Grissaid Major Bass.
som, as much as to say that it was only a very “ More 's the pity,” exclaimed the major's able man who could afford to have such a wife. "I ought to have had one - a great sprightly wife. The mute suggestion, however,
“ big double-j'inted chap. But you need n't tell was lost on Grissom, who was accustomed to me about the old Judge,” she went on. “He taking life seriously. tried to out-Yankee the Yankees up yonder in “I hear a mighty heap of talk," he said, Atlanty, and now he 's a-trying to out-Yankee “but I ain't never been so mighty certain an' them down here. Lord! You need n't tell me shore that the old Judge is lost his mind. There a thing about old Judge Bascom. Show me 'd be lots of fun ef it should happen to be that a man that's been wrapped up with the Radi- he had the papers all made out in his pocket, cals, and I 'll show you a man that ain't got an' I 've hearn some hints thataway.” no better sense than to try to chousel some- “Well,” said the more practical Mrs. Bass, body. I'd just as lieve see Underwood have “he ain't got no papers. The minute I laid the Bascom Place as the old Judge-every eyes on him after he come back here, I says bit and grain."
to Mr. Bass there, · Mr. Bass,' says I, “the old “Well, I had n't," said the major, emphati- Judge has gone wrong in his upper story.' Ah, cally.
you can't fool me. I know a thing when I see “No, ner me nuther,” said Mr. Joe-Bob it, more especially if I look at it close. I've Grissom. “ Hit may be right, but hit don't seen folks that had to rub the silver off a thrip
to tell whether it was passable or not. I might uation was one of the doctor's prescriptions, as be fooled about the silver in a thrip, but you Miss Sophie said. Those around were to wear a can't fool me about a grown man.”
cheerful air, and the Judge was to be humored in “Nobody ain't tryin' to fool you, Sarah,” the belief that he was once more the proprietor said the major, with some show of spirit. of the Bascom Place. He seemed to respond to
“Well, I reckon not,” exclaimed Mrs. Bass, this treatment in the most natural way. The old somewhat contemptuously. “I'd like to see instinct of hospitality rose in him and had its anybody try to fool me right here in my own way. He grew garrulous indeed, and sat on house and right before my face.”
the piazza, or walked up and down and talked “ There ain't no tellin'," said Mr. Joe-Bobby the hour. He was full of plans and projects, Grissom, in his matter-of-fact way, ignoring and some of them were so suggestive that everything that had been said "there ain't Francis Underwood made a note of them for no tellin' whether the old Judge is got the further consideration. The Judge was the genial papers or not. ’T would be hard on Frank host, and while his daughter was full of grief Underwood an' his sister, an' they ain't no bet- and humiliation at the position in which she ter folks than them. They don't make no fuss was placed, he appeared to draw new life and about it, an' they don't hang out no signs, but inspiration from his surroundings. He took a when you come to a narrer place in the roade great fancy to Miss Sophie: her observations, where you can't go forrerd nor back'ards, an' which were practical in the extreme, and often nuther can you turn 'roun', you may jest count unflattering, were highly relished by him. The on them Underwoods. They 'll git you out ef Judge himself was a good talker, and he gave you can be got out, an' before you can say Miss Sophie an opportunity to vent some of thanky-do, they 'll be away off yonder helpin' her pet opinions, the most of which were very some yuther poor creetur.”
pronounced. “Well,” said Major Bass, with an air of in- As for Mildred, in spite of her grief and anxdependence, “I'm at the fust of it. It may iety, she found her surroundings vastly more be jest as you say, Joe-Bob; but ef so, I 've pleasant than she had at first imagined they never knowed it.
could be. Some instinct or prepossession made “ Hit 's jest like I tell you,” said Joe-Bob, her feel at home in the old house, and as she grew emphatically.
more cheerful and more contented she grew "Well, the Lord love us!” exclaimed Mrs. more beautiful and more engaging. At least Bass, “ I hope it's so — I do from the bottom this was the opinion of Francis Underwood. of my heart. It would be a mighty queer “ Brother," said Miss Sophie one day when world if it did n't have some tender spots in it, they were together, “ you are in love." but you need n't be afraid that they 'll ever get “ I don't know whether to say yes or no," as thick as the measles. I reckon you must he replied. “What is it to be in love ?” be renting land on the old Bascom Place,” “How should I know?” exclaimed Miss Soshe went on, eying Mr. Grissom somewhat phie, reddening a little. “I see you mooning sharply.
round, and moping. Something has come “Yessum,” said Joe-Bob, moving about un- over you, and if it is n't love, what is it?" easily in his chair. “Yessum, I do.”
He held up his hands, white and muscular, Whereupon Mrs. Bass smiled, and her smile and looked at them. Then he took off his hat was more significant than anything she could and tousled his hair in an effort to smooth it have said. It was disconcerting indeed, and with his fingers. it was not long before Mr. Joe-Bob Grissom “It is something," he said after a while, “but made some excuse for depriving Major Jimmy I don't know what. Is love such an everyday and Mrs. Sarah Bass of his company.
affair that it can be called by name as soon as As he was passing the Bascom Place on his it arrives ? " way home he saw lights in the house and heard “Don't be absurd, brother,” said Miss voices on the piazza.
Sophie, with a gesture of protest. “You talk
. “Ef it warn't for that blamed dog," he as if you were trying to take a census of the thought, “I'd go up there an' see what they affair.” er talkin' about so mighty peart."
“ No," said he; “I am trying to get a special report. I saw Dr. Bynum looking at you over his spectacles yesterday."
Miss Sophie tried to show that this suggesBut Mr. Grissom's curiosity would not have tion was an irritating one, but she failed, and been satisfied. Judge Bascom was sitting in then fell to laughing. a large rocking chair, enjoying the pleasant “I never knew I was so full of humor beevening air, and the others were sitting near, fore,” said Francis Underwood, by way of talking on the most ordinary topics. This sit- comment.
“And I never knew you could be so fool- desired. Everything seemed to be arranged ish — to me," said Miss Sophie, still laughing. in his mind beforehand. “What is Dr. Bynum to me?”
Everything, that is to say, except his rela“Not having his spectacles to look over, tions with Mildred Bascom. There was not how do I know ?”
the slightest detail of his various enterprises, “But,” persisted Miss Sophie, "you need no from the simplest to the most complicated, spectacles to look at Mildred. I have seen with which he was not thoroughly familiar, you looking at her through your fingers.” but this young girl, simple and unaffected as
“And what was she doing?” inquired Un- she was, puzzled him sorely. She presented to derwood, coloring in the most surprising way. Francis Underwood's mind the old problem “Oh," said Miss Sophie, "she was pretend
‘ ing not to notice it; but I can sit with my back to you both and tell by the tone of her voice when this and that thing is going on.”
“ This, then, is courtship," said Underwood.
“Why, brother, how provoking you are !" exclaimed Miss Sophie. “It is nothing of the sort. It is child's play; it is the way the youngsters do at school. I feel as if I never knew you before; you are full of surprises.”
“I surprise myself,” he said, with something like a sigh, "and that is the trouble; I don't want to be too surprising."
“But in war,” said his sister, “the successful general cannot be too full of surprises."
“In war!” he cried. “Why, I was in hopes the war was over."
“I was thinking about the old saying," she explained — “the old saying that all is fair in love and war."
“Well,” said Francis Underwood, "it would be hard to say whether you and Dr. Bynum are engaged in war or not. You are both very sly, but I have seen a good deal of skirmishing going on. Will it end in a serious engagement, with casualties on both sides ? The doctor is something of a surgeon, and he can attend to his own wounds, but who is going to look after yours ? ”
“How can you go on so!” cried Miss Sophie, that is always new, and that has as many laughing. “ Are we to have an epidemic of phases as there are stars in the sky. Here, bedelusions ?”
fore his eyes, was a combination for which “Yes, and illusions too,” said her brother. there was no warrant in his experience - the “The atmosphere seems to be full of them. wit and tenderness of Rosalind, blended with Everything is in a tangle."
the self-sacrificing devotion of Cordelia. Here And yet it was not long after this conver- was a combination — a complication of a sation that Miss Sophie observed her brother nature to attract the young man's attention. and Mildred Bascom sauntering together under Problem, puzzle, what you will, it was a very the great cedars, and she concluded that he attractive one for him, and he lost no favorawas trying to untangle the tangle.
ble opportunity of studying it. There were many such walks, and the old So the pleasant days came and went. If Judge, sitting on the piazza in bright weather, there were any love passages between the would watch the handsome pair, apparently young people, only the stately cedars or the with a contented air. There was something restless poplars were in the secret, and these about this busy and practical young man that told it only to the vagrant west winds that filled Mildred's imagination. His individuality crept over the hills when the silence of night was prominent enough to be tantalizing. It fell over all things. was of the dominant variety. In him the instinct of control and command, so pleasing to the feminine mind, was thoroughly developed, Those were pleasant days and nights at and he disposed of his affairs with a prompt- the old Bascom Place, in spite of the malady ness and decisiveness that left nothing to be with which the Judge was afflicted. They
were particularly pleasant when he seemed to He was indeed at home. He had come to be brighter and stronger. But one day, when the end of his long and tiresome journey. He he seemed to be at his best, the beginning of smiled as he lay sleeping, and his rest was the end came. He was sitting on the piazza, pleasant; for there was that in his dead face, talking with his daughter and with Francis white and pinched as it was, that bore witness Underwood. Some reference was made to the to the infinite gentleness and mercy of Christ, Place, when the old Judge suddenly rose from who is the Lord. his chair, and, shaking his thin white hand at It was an event that touched the hearts of the young man, cried out:
his old neighbors and their children, and they “I tell you it is mine! The Place always spoke to one another freely and feelingly about has been mine and it always will be mine." the virtues of the old Judge, the beautiful life
He tottered forward and would have fallen, he had lived, the distinction he had won, and but Underwood caught him and placed him the mark he had made on his generation. in his chair. The old man's nerves had lost Some, who were old enough to remember, their tension, his eyes their brightness. He told of his charities in the days when proscould only murmur indistinctly, “Mine, mine, perity sat at his board; and in discussing mine.” He seemed suddenly to have shrunk these things the people gradually came to and shriveled away. His head fell to one side, realize the fact that Judge Bascom, in spite his face was deadly pale, his lips were blue, of his misfortunes, had shed luster on his State and his thin hands clutched convulsively at and on the village in which he was born, and his clothes and at the chair. Mildred was at that his renown was based on a character so his side instantly, but he seemed to be beyond perfect, and on results so just and beneficent, the reach of her voice and beyond the limits that all could share in it. of her grief, which was distressful to behold. His old neighbors, watching by him as he He tried indeed to stroke the beautiful hair lay smiling in his dreamless sleep, shortened that fell loosely over him as his daughter the long hours of the night with pleasant remseized him in her despairing arms, but it was iniscences of the dead. Those who sat near in a vague and wandering way.
the door could see, in an adjoining room, MilJudge Bascom's condition was so alarming dred Bascom sitting at Miss Sophie Underthat Francis Underwood lifted him in his wood's feet, her arms around the older woman's arms and placed him on the nearest bed, waist. It was a brief and fleeting panorama, where he lay gazing at the ceiling, sometimes as indeed life itself is, but the two, brought smiling and at other times frowning and cry- together by grief and sympathy, often sat thus ing, “ Mine, mine, mine!”
in the years that followed. For Mildred BasHe sank slowly but surely. At the last he com became the mistress of the Bascom Place; smiled and whispered “ Home," and so passed and although she has changed her name, the away.
old name still clings to Underwood's domain.
ONEhese shore waiting for the light to be
Stilling his moans to let his watchers sleep,
He cannot haste with eager eyes to see And one who cared not for the glorious sight, Its coming ; whether it be dull or fair,
But for the joy to come with that first ray, This day that dawns,- he knows not; it may be Ran to his casement to greet there the light It brings him suffering keener still to bear. That ushered in for him his wedding-day.
Ah, God! how great the gift that thou hast But to the One who gives both sea and shore, given, Who from the darkness light and gladness When those who only know the night is past frees,
Send to thee, in thy far-off, silent heaven, Rises the sweetest hymn forevermore
The gladdest thanks that day has dawned Not from the lips of such glad souls as these. at last!
Alice Wellington Rollins.