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some love was like a spring a-wellin' up. That 'minded me of Prissy's love bubblin' and sparklin' like the spring down by the big ledge, where we used to make our play-house when the bluets were in blossom. Then when you told about a deep well with a star shinin' in it, I thought of sister Liddy's love. Only I had never called it love before; just called it 'doin' things,' such as I expected. But I see now, doin' is the deepist kind of lovin.' But the best was, when you said that some folkses love might be deep and honist but mistaken; and they'd likely act ha'sh and cruel, thinkin' all the time it was for your good. Then maybe you would git all r'iled up and forgit the years of lovin' that has gone before and git to hatin' and perhaps dyin' afore you know it. That made me think of-ofsomeone else. But I can see now, it was her way of lovin'. I sha'n't hate her no more, never. I am so glad."
After another short pause, Ploomy added, "O, Mis' Norris, your words are wonderful to me; like after a long spell, everything dryin' up, you lay in the hot night pantin' for your breath, and all at once, feel a cool wind liftin' the heavy hair off'n your for'ed, like your mother's hand use to, and you go to sleep, listenin' to
The eyes of the young wife brimmed with sudden tears. Ploomy, drawing the sweet face nearer to her own, caressed with shy fingers the sunny curls on Sally's forehead. "I have never seen a minister's wife like you before," she said, with the dearest smile. "Why, you are just like other girls, only nicer of course. must have thought you was all born with hair smooth and shiny, shiny, and linin collars on." The girl ended with a genuine giggle and was rewarded. by an approving pat and a ripple of laughter.
"Now you see, Mis' Ploomy," still laughed the little woman, "I am not a regular born, parson's wife. My
hair will curl and I abhor linen collars. The minister business I have to learn from a to z. Really those fine thoughts that proved angel wings to you, were none of them mine. They were stolen from Mr. Norris' sermons. And I have it all to confess to him before I sleep tonight."
"They was all true thoughts," asserted Ploomy, the inner light deepening in her eyes, "and seein' you stole our Elder's heart, he shouldn't be put out if you steal more good and true, of his'n."
"I will remember that, Little Girl, when I make my confession," said Sally, laughing again merrily, then,— "But how your 'Elder' loves these mountains, his work, and his people; the brawny-armed, sooty-faced miners and all! A few may be slow of speech, and like their valleys, narrow and confined in their ideas, but they are honest thinkers and their valleys are on a high level. These last words are his, Deary. I repeat them whenever I need bracing. But between you and me, Ploomy, I don't like these mountains. They have sulked behind a dismal haze ever since I came, which is a very impolite way to treat a bride, to say the least. Your people are, no doubt, excellent, so are butternuts, and I've only my two small fists to smite with. Charley has the advantage, for he can lay them on the anvil Sundays and make sparks fly. O Sally Norris, what an unguarded speech!"
While she had been talking, Sally had slipped from her uncomfortable, straight backed chair, to the velvety "drawn in" rug, flaunting its gay medley of bright colors in front of Ploomy's rocking-chair. While reclining there, and tracing with her dainty finger around the intricate scrolls and amazing roses, she was chatting idly and busily on, but keeping an ear alert, to catch the first blast of the long delayed dinner-horn. "Now you see," she exclaimed, while lifting her bonny face, and
shaking that dainty finger to Ploomy. "You see, Ploomy, Mr. Norris, even for me, would not leave his work here and his people, as he loves to call them; yet he did ask me to leave the dearest, sunniest home and come to him."
"What made you listen to him? What made you come?" Ploomy questioned with eager interest.
"Oh, perhaps I admired him the more, for not betraying his manhood; for not letting anything beguile him from his chosen work. He would not make an idol of me, so I am proud to be his wife. Proud," with a brave tilt of the curly head, "to find that I have it within me, to endure things, (even desperate homesickness, just now,) for one whom I love. Can you understand that, Girlie?"
"Yis, oh yis, Mis' Norris; the more my Alic had to bear, the more I wanted to stand by him. But Mother said I couldn't never be his wife; she'd see me laid in the grave-yard first, 'side of Prissy." Ploomy's reply had been hurried, and shrill with emotion. After an abrupt pause, she resumed in an even and decided tone, "But, Mis' Norris, as I said to you, I won't never hold it no more against my mother, for you've made me see so plain, it's her way of lovin' me, and a sufferin' way too; like a wild anamile when somethin's threatenin' its young-ones."
"But, who is Alic?" asked Mrs. Norris, a new note of sympathetic interest in her voice.
"He was Father's bound boy, took when he was ten year old, to work for his keep an' schoolin' and threehundred dollars when he got to be one-an'-twenty." Plomy's voice was trailing off again, and Sally deplored asking that last, unfortunate question.
past. When Alic spoke about it to Father, he was glad, and said Alic was like his own boy. With Mother 'twas dif'runt. She liked Alic, she said; but, she said, she couldn't stummick them Stinsons.' They was good, respectable folks, Father kept tellin' her. Though they did have a big family, always comin', and piles of docter's bills. Mother tried to be happy, because I was, and we had got my chist most full, when something happened among his family; 'somethin he couldn't be blamed for, more'n the angels in heaven. Then mother up and talked to Alic and me. But I won't think of them cruel words no
"The next mornin' Father found a writin' left on Alic's chist when he'd gone and went off in the night. I can say it by heart. It reads like this, 'Dear Uncle Siah, I thank you for bein' a father to me, and for the prayers I have heard you putting up for me in the old barn chamber, many a time, when you didn't know I was nigh. I shall never forget
Red Barn Farm. I would like to say more, but I am forbid, and I have promised. Give my three hundred dollars to Father, to help on the mortgage. Good bye. Alic.''
"Was that all?" asked Mrs. Norris, very softly. "Have you never heard from him since?"
"Nobuddy has," sighed Ploomy, "But I could have stood it all, and not give up and die, like I am doin'' she still continued, "for Alic wouldn't never forgit me, and I could be waitin'; and I dreamed such a comfortin' dream about Prissy. I saw her standin' by the old spring, her white feet shinin' among the bluets, and she was laughin' and holdin' up a drippin' cup of water to me, when white veil, like a thin mountain shower, only brighter, come sweepin' between us. I know now she is somewhere among flowers and sparklin' waters. But with mother There I have ben all the
"I was eight year old," Ploomy rallying, continued, "when Alic first come. We all growed up together like one fam'ly, and did'nt see no dif'runce; I didn't till he was twenty, dif'runt.
time pityin' myself to death and layin' it all on her, and most hatin' her because I thought she was hatin' Alic and me. All the time she is lovin' and protectin' me the best she knows how; like an anamile that don't sense but one kind of lovin',-the fear kind. My eyes is opened now, and Mother'll see dif'runt, give her time. Kittens is wiser than folks. They cuddle down together, patient and lovin', and let one 'nuther's eyes alone."
"Thank you, Ploomy, that counts one for kittens. The minister will enjoy that too.”
The little wife, still half reclining upon the rug, moved closer closer and throwing her arm across the girl's across the girl's lap laid her head upon it. Ploomy's face flushed with pleasure, and again her light fingers touched and toyed with those rings of sunny hair.
"Oh, what a day o' happenin's," she breathed, scarcely above a whisper; then aloud, "why this mornin' I didn't have nothin' else to do, or think on but dyin'. I know, of course, I can't never git well again, for Mother keps saying so; and she's always did all the plannin'. But I heard Prissy's mother tellin' her that I ain't a mite like Prissy was, and if she was her, she'd have Dr. Colby come right up and see me. Mother told her that I was jest like my aunt Ploomy, and old Dr. Richardson had always ben the family doctor, and she didn't be
lieve in changin'. My aunt Ploomy died."
After a moment's silent struggle with herself, the girl went on, a strain of holy purpose livening her tones, "But I ain't goin' to feel bound to put my hull mind on dyin' as I have ben doin'. I'd mostly forgot about lovin' and that's no way to die happy, is it? I'm goin' right to lovin', spesh'ly them that's makin' mistakes and don't sense it." Now bending low until a tear fell among the bright curls, she said, “You told me, Mis' Norris, that you was no kind of a minister's wife. You have ben to me like Prissy at the spring; and I'm drinkin', oh! how I'm drinkin', at the cup you've ben holdin' to my lips."
Sally, now half-kneeling before Ploomy, took her wasted hands in her own saying softly, "Listen, Little One, I am learning of you, here at your blessed feet. Learning to separate souls from their mistakes; learning how mean and ill-natured self-pity is. For instance, blaming my natural homesickness to your noble old mountains, who seem just now to be having troubles of their own; and to Charley's dear people, who are far too wise to accept me at my own valuation. But, do we hear men's voices? Is that your mother's step in the kitchen? Why have we not heard the dinner-horn blow?"
(To be continued)
the indifference that time has wrought
Will softly pass, when I behold afar-
Mr. Vinal is a contributor of verse to many magazines besides the Granite Monthly, the list including The Atlantic Monthly, Pearson's, The Smart Set, The Bookman, The Sonnet, Poetry, Contemporary Verse, The Lyric, The Lyric West, The Liberator, etc. His first volume of verse, "White April," will be brought out by the Yale University Press in the spring in their Yale Series of Younger Poets.
Readers of the Granite Monthly who were asked by the editor to indicate their individual choices for the prize awards made these interesting suggestions: "Snow Trail," by Bernice Lesbia Kenyon; "Au Soleil," by Walter B. Wolfe; "Spring," by Martha S. Baker; "The Angel of the Hidden Face," by Helen L. Newman;
"My Baby," by George A. Foster; "Memory," by Cora S. Day; "Home," by W. B. France; "The Blind," by Edwin Carlile Litsey; "Roses," by Frances Parkinson Keyes; "Aftermath," by Alice D. O. Greenwood; "A Christmas Wish," by George Henry Hubbard; "O Little Breeze," by George I. Putnam; "Nothing Common or Unclean," by Claribel Weeks Avery; "Day Time," by Mary E. Hough; "In Violet Time," by L. Adelaide Sherman; "Sonnet," by Louise Patterson Guyol; "Camilla Sings," by Shirley Harvey.
As we have said before the 1921 competition was of a character which gave real pleasure to the management of the Granite Monthly and which so impressed Mr. More with the value of his gift in creating and increasing interest in poetry that he has kindly offered to renew the award for the present year, 1922. By the terms of his gift this year, $50 will be awarded in January, 1923, to the author of the best poem not in free verse and written by a subscriber to the Granite Monthly which is printed in that magazine during 1922.
MY SONG THAT WAS A SWORD Ry Hazel Hall
My song that was a sword is still.
Like a scabbard I have made
A covering with my will
To sheathe its blade.
It had a flashing tongue of steel