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ignorant to be called educated in any sense had to tell ; nobody said any longer, “ Have of the word. I am not at all sure that you seen poor Joe Hale with his one arm ?" masses of this sort of well-informed igno- | The novelty had all worn off, the town rance are desirable material for a nation." went its way as before, and Joe found him

“Oh, you traitor to the republic!” cried self more solitary than ever. Netty.

When he went to the war he left the farm “Yes,” replied Sarah, severely; “my coun- in charge of a faithful laborer who had trymen prevent my thinking so well of my worked on it for years; this man had married, country as I would like to."

and he and his wife and children now occu“Walpole said that better," retorted pied the house in which Joe had lived so Netty. “ Of all things to plagiarize a trea- long with his mother. The house was large, son!"

and there was room enough and to spare Joe Hale's home was in Western New for Joe; but it seemed sadly unlike home; York, in the beautiful Genesee valley. His yet any other place seemed still more unfather had been one of the pioneer settlers like home. Poor Joe did not know what in that region, and the log-cabin in which to do. Joe's oldest brothers and sisters had been “ You'll have to get married, Joe, now, born was still standing, and did good duty and settle down," the neighbors said to him as a wheat barn. The farm was a large and continually. productive one; and the Hales had always “ Married !" Joe would answer, and point taken their position among the well-to-do to his empty coat-sleeve. “ That looks and influential people of the county. But like it, doesn't it!” And an almost bita strange fatality of death seemed to pursue ter sense of deprivation took root in his the family. Joe's father was killed by fall-' | heart. ing from a beam in his own barn; and One night, when he felt especially lonely, Joe's eldest brother was crushed to death by he went upstairs to his room early. He a favorite bull of his. It was never known sat on the edge of the bed and looked about whether the animal did it in play or in rage. the room. It had been his mother's room. Joe's eldest sister had married young and All the furniture stood as she had left it; gone to Iowa to live; the other had died and yet an indefinable air of neglect and when Joe was a little boy, and Joe and his disorder had crept into the room. mother lived alone on the farm for many "I can't live this way," thought Joe; years. Mrs. Hale was a singularly strong, “ that's certain. But I don't suppose any vigorous woman, but she was cut down in woman would marry a fellow with only one a single week by a sharp attack of pneu- I'll have to get a housekeeper;" and monia the very spring before the war broke Joe ran over in his mind the names of all the out. This left Joe all alone in the world, possible candidates he could think of for and when he found the men in his town that office; not one seemed endurable to holding back from enlisting, and buying him, and, with a sigh, he tried to dismiss substitutes, he said, half sadly, half cheerily, the subject from his mind. As he undressed, “ I'm one of the men to go, that's certain. his big wallet fell to the floor, and out of it There's nobody needs me.”

fell Tilly's little pink letter. He picked And now after one short year's fighting, it up carelessly, not seeing, at first, what he had come home a crippled man, to take it was. As he recognized it, he felt a

the old life alone. It was not a cheer- thrill of pleasure. There seemed one link ing outlook; and as he drew near the home- at least between himself and some human stead, and saw again the grand stretches of being. old woods in which he had so often made “ I declare I'll write to that child to-morhis ax ring on the hickory-trees, Joe thought row," he thought. “I wonder if she wouldn't to himself:

like to come up here and stay a spell this “ I don't know what a one-armed man is fall,—she and her mother,—and get away good for, anyhow."

from those rocks. It would be a real change The cordiality with which his neighbors for them,” thought kind-hearted Joe. "I welcomed him back, the eager interest with guess I'll ask them. I reckon they're plain which they all listened to his accounts of people that wouldn't be put out by the way the battles he had been in, lessened this things go here." sense of loneliness for a short time. But And somewhat cheered by this thought, the town was a small, thinly settled one; in Joe fell asleep. In the morning he wrote a few weeks everybody had heard all Joe I his letter and sent it off. It was not quite

arm.

up

so stiffly phrased as Tilly's, but it was by “Well, I'm goin' to answer this letter no means a fair exponent of Joe's off-hand, myself," said Mrs. Bennet resolutely. “I merry, and affectionate nature. It answered aint no hand to letter-write; but I'm goin' the main point, however. It continued the to write this time myself.” correspondence, and it carried Joe's good- “Oh, mother, will you ?" exclaimed Tilly, will.

with great animation. "That's good. I "Well, really !” exclaimed Mrs. Bennet, was dreading it so." after Tilly had read it aloud to her, “ well, “Humph!” said Mrs. Bennet.

“ When really, I call that the handsomest kind of a was your age, I'd ha' jumped at the letter; don't you, 'Lisha ? Of course we chance of getting letters from most anyshouldn't think of going, but I think it was body, ef I'd ha' been cooped up 's you uncommon good of him to ask us; don't are on a narrow strip o' what's neither land you, 'Lisha

nor water, But you needn't answer Mr. Tilly said nothing.

Hale's letter if you don't want to.

I can “Ye-es," replied Captain 'Lisha, slowly, make out to write something that 'll pass as if he were not sure whether he intended muster for a letter, I reckon; and I think to say yes or no. "Ye-es, it's a very hand- the man's real friendly." some invitation, certain ; nobody can dis- “All right, mother," said Tilly. “I'm pute that; but it seems queer he should real glad you're going to write the letter. want to invite folks he don't know anything You might tell him that I was twenty-six about. It's bounden queer, I think. Let years old last August, and see what he says me see the letter.” Captain 'Lisha straight- to that when he writes. You'll find I was ened his spectacles on his nose, and read right. I know he thinks I'm a little girl," the letter through very slowly. Then he and Tilly laughed out a merry and misfolded it and laid it on the table, and brought chievous laugh. down his hand hard on it, and said again : What Mrs. Bennet wrote they never knew; “It's bounden queer.”

to neither Captain 'Lisha nor Tilly would she Tilly said nothing.

read her letter. "What's the matter with you ?” said her “Seems to me this is a mighty thick mother, a little sharply. “What's your no- letter, wife," said Captain 'Lisha when he tion about it.”

took it from her hands to carry it to the Tilly laughed an odd little laugh. office. “What you been sayin'?

“He's got the idea I'm a little girl," she “Oh, not much," replied Mrs. Bennet. said. “I see it just as plain as anything. It's on that thick paper o’yours; I just That's what makes him write 's he does." thanked him for his invitation and told

“No such a thing, Tilly,” said Mrs. Ben- him how much we'd like to come; but net, in an excited tone. “ What makes you we couldn't think on't—and a few more think so ? I'm sure I don't see it."

things." It was an instinct rather than a specific The “ few more things” were the gist interpretation of any one sentence which of the letter. After the opening generalities had made Tilly so sure; she could hardly of courtesy, which Mrs. Bennet managed justify it to her mother, though it was clear much better than Tilly had in her little enough to herself; so she replied, meekly: came the following extraordinary “I don't know."

paragraph: Mrs. Bennet snatched the letter, and exclaimed: “ I'll read it again! It's the silli- “ Tilly,—we always call her Tilly for short, but her est notion I ever heard of. I don't see what name is Matilda, same as she signed your letter,put it into your head, Matilda Bennet!” she's got it into her head that you thought she was Tilly said nothing. On a second reading words about this; I don't see anything in your

a little girl, from her letter. Now, we've had some of the letter, Mrs. Bennet was more vehe- letter to make it out of, and if you wouldn't think ment than ever.

it too much trouble, I'd take it very kindly of you " It's no such thing!" she exclaimed.

you'd write and say what's the truth about it. “Do you think so, 'Lisha ? Do you see

'Taint often I care which end of a quarrel I come

out of, so long 's I know I'm right; but there aint anything in it?"

any knowing who is right in this one, unless by "I don't know," answered Captain 'Lisha, what you say ; and Tilly and me we've had a good slowly as before. “It's bounden queer ; it's many words

about it, first and last. Tilly's twenty. a handsome invitation, but it's bounden

six, going on twenty-seven; birthday was last

August; so she and me are more like sisters than queer;" and that was all that could be got anything else. She's a good girl, if I am her out of Captain 'Lisha.

mother; and I'd have liked first-rate to bring her

out to your place if we could have fetched it about; was not. Joe's own set of boys and girls but we couldn't nohow. It's a lonesome place

were heads of households now, and for the here for a girl. “ Yours with respect,

next younger set, Joe was too old. Young “MARTHA BENNET.

girls did not please him; partly, perhaps, “P. S. If you should ever be traveling in these because he saw, or fancied, that they shrank a parts, which I don't suppose is any ways likely, we little from his armless sleeve. By imperceptishould be glad to see you in our house; and a room ready for you, and welcome, if you could get along Aoat in Joe's mind, akin to thoughts which

ble degrees,vague thoughts began to form and with the water."

floated in Mrs. Bennet's before she wrote When Joe first read Mrs. Bennet's letter, her letter; not tangible enough to be stated, he said “Whew !" then he read the letter over, or to be matter of distinct consciousness, and said again louder than before,

never going farther in words than “who “Whew! Didn't I put my foot in it that knows;" but all the while drawing Joe time. I don't wonder the girl got her mother slowly, surely toward Provincetown. He to write for her!

—She must have thought had thought that he would take a journey me monstrous impudent to write her to to Iowa before the winter set in, and see his come out here visiting,—a woman-ás old aunt and his cousins and his married sister as I am, pretty nearly. By jingoes, I don't there; but gradually he fell into the way of know what to do now. -I'd like to see thinking about a journey to the east first. what sort of a girl she is, anyhow. I don't Now, to suppose from all this that Joe had care !—that letter of hers did sound just like a romantic sentiment toward the unknown a child's letter ! I expect she's a real innocent Matilda Bennet would be quite wrong. He kind of a woman, and that's the kind I like." had nothing of the kind. He had merely a

At last out of the honesty of his nature vague but growing impulse to go and see, came the solution of the dilemma; he told as he phrased it, “what she was like.” As the exact truth, and it had a gracious and week after week passed and he received no civil sound even in Joe's unvarnished speech. reply to his letter, this impulse increased.

“I did wonder if it wasn't a little girl," he He had thought Mrs. Bennet would write wrote, “because she spoke so honest about again; she seemed to Joe to wield rather a the red yarn and about the light-house, and glib pen; he had promised he should have most of the grown up women I know aint an active correspondence “ with the old quite so honest spoken. But the lady at the lady," as he always called her in his own hospital who wrote for me first-Miss mind; but no letter came. Mrs. Bennet Larned-said she didn't think it was a little builded better than she knew, when she left girl; and of course she could tell better than Joe to himself so many weeks. His letter I could, being a woman herself.”

had given her great satisfaction. She read Then Joe said that he should like to come it aloud to Tilly and to her husband, and to Provincetown, but his business never took consoled herself by her partial defeat in her him that way, and then he re-iterated his argument with Tilly by saying: “Well, he invitation to them to come to see him. only says he wondered; and the lady told

“Since I made so bold as to ask you the him it wasn't a child, and he knew she knew first time, you'll forgive my asking you over best; that aint really making up his mind; again. I do really wish you could see your I don't call it so by a long shot;” and there way to come,” he said. “It's very pretty the quarrel rested. Tilly was content, and here in the fall

, our apples are just begin- if the whole truth were known, a little more ning to be ripe, and there aint any such than content, that “the soldier,” as she apples anywhere ever I've been as in the always called their unknown correspondent, Genesee valley."

knew now that she was “grown up.” Tilly Then Joe added his “ best respects” to had built no air-castles. She often thought Mrs. Bennet's daughter, and closed his she wished she could see the soldier," but letter.

she had no more expectation of seeing him “I vow, I believe I'd rather be there than than of seeing General McClellan. Tilly here," he thought to himself again and again. was, as her mother had said, a good girl

. If there had been in the circle of Joe's She loved her melodeon; and she still spent acquaintance now one even moderately two hours a day at her practicing. She had attractive marriageable woman, Joe would for several weeks now played in church, and have drifted into falling in love with her, as that gave her a new stimulus to practice. inevitably as an apple falls off its stem when For the rest, she helped her mother, she its days of ripening are numbered; but there sewed for the soldiers, and still knitted at twilight on the rocks, stockings—of gray Tilly was hard at work trying to fasten yarn, now—to be sent to hospitals.

her clothes on the line. They never waited One night, late in October, when the for quiet weather before hanging out their stage drove up to the Provincetown Hotel, clothes at the light-house. It was of no the loungers on the piazza were surprised to use. Tilly's back was toward the wharf where see alighting from it, a one-armed man, in Joe had landed. Her sleeves were rolled a heavy army overcoat.

His speech was up to her shoulders, and her arms shone not that of a military man, and his reticence white in the sun. She had twisted a red as to his plans and purposes was baffling. silk handkerchief of her father's tight round

* Been in the war, eh?” said one, nod- her head; a few straggling curls of dark hair ding toward the empty sleeve.

blew out from under this; her cheeks were “Yes,” said Joe, curtly.

scarlet, and her brown eyes flashed in her “Discharged, I suppose."

contest with the wind. Nobody ever called “Yes,” said Joe. “They don't have Tilly pretty; but she had a healthy, honest much use for men in my fix.”

face, and at this moment she was pretty; "Got leisure to look round ye, a little, no-not pretty; picturesque, which is far now, then," said the first speaker.

better than pretty, though Joe did not “Yes," said Joe.

know that, and in his simplicity only wonThey could not make anything out of dered how a woman could look so handhim, and the street speculated no little be- some, blowing about in such a gale. fore it went to sleep that night, as to what Tilly 'saw a stranger walking up to the that “ army feller " was after. If anybody light-house door; but she did not pause in had said that the “army feller” had come her work. Strangers came every day. Joe's all the way to Provincetown solely to see left side was farthest away from Tilly. She what “Tilly Bennet was like,” the town did not see the loose, hanging sleeve; and would have given utterance to one ejacula- the blue of the army coat did not attract her tion of astonishment, and wondered what notice, so she went on with her clothes withon earth there was in Tilly Bennet, to bring out giving a second thought to the man who a man all that distance.

had disappeared in the big door of the lightBut Joe did not think so the next morn- house. Somebody to see her father, no ing, when, having hired a man to take him doubt, or to see the light! over to the light-house, he landed on the When Tilly went into the kitchen and rocks at noon, just as Tilly was hanging out saw the stranger sitting by the table talking clothes. The clothes-line was fastened to iron familiarly with her mother, she was somestanchions in the light-house itself, and in what surprised, but was passing through the high cliffs to the back of it; a gale was blow- room with her big clothes-basket, when her ing; in fact, it had been so high, that the mother, with an air of unconcealable triboatman had demurred at first about taking

umph, said: Joe across, as he was not used to the sea. “ Tilly, you couldn't guess who this is.”

“Go ahead,” said Joe. “If you can stand Tilly halted, basket in hand, and turned it, I can."

her scarlet cheeks and bright brown eyes But, if the truth were told, Joe was pretty

full toward Joe. white about the lips, and not very steady on “No, I haven't the least idea,” she said, the legs when he stepped ashore.

and as she said it she looked so pretty, “A half hour longer 'd have made you that Joe, absurd as it might seem, fell in sicker 'n death," said the man, eying him. love with her on the spot.

“That's so," said Joe, with a desperate The words, “I haven't the least idea,” had qualm. “ Dry land for me, thank you.” hardly left her lips, when her eyes fell on the

“How long do ye want to stay?" said empty sleeve; and, although in no letter the boatman.

had it ever been said that Joe had lost an Joe looked up at the light-house-then at arm, this sight suggested him to her mind. the tossing white-capped waves.

“Why, it isn't Mr. Hale, is it?" she said, “Always," he said, laughing, “if it's going turning still redder. to heave like that not more than an hour, or “ It is, though,” said Joe, rising and may be half an hour," he added, seriously; coming toward her, offering her his one hand. “it isn't going to blow any worse, is it?" “You and your mother wouldn't come to

“Oh no," said the man," it'll quiet down see me, and so I came to see you." before long," and he prepared to make his Tilly's hand having been all the morning boat fast.

in hot soap-suds, was red and swollen and puckered, but it looked beautiful to Joe; so Mrs. Bennet, with hospitable fervor, had did Tilly's awkward little laugh, as she said, insisted that Joe should not go back to the half drawing back her hand :

town, but should stay with them ; " that is,” “ I've been washing; that's what makes she added, “ if you think you can sleep with my hands look so."

the water swash, swash, swashing in your There was something in the infantile and ears. 'Twas years before I ever could learn superfluous honesty of this remark which re- to sleep here; and there's times now when minded Joe instantly of the sentence in Tilly's I don't sleep for whole nights together.” letter: “We had the red worsted in the house. Joe thought he could sleep in spite of the That is the reason the stockings were that water, and with the greatest alacrity sent color," and he smiled at the memory. His his boatman back to town for his valise. smile was such a cordial one that Tilly did " After all," said the citizens, on hearing not misinterpret it, and his · spontaneous this, " after all he was only some relation of reply, as he took her hand in his, was wor- the Bennets.” thy of a courtier.

But when day after day passed, and he “I often saw my mother's hands look did not return, the town began again to like this, Miss Bennet

. She always did a speculate as to his purposes. Some fishergreat part of the washing."

men going or coming, had seen him walkTilly stood still looking ill at ease; and ing on the rocks with Tilly; and very soon Joe stood still, also looking ill at ease. a rumor took to itself wings and went up There seemed to be nothing now to say. and down the town, that the one-armed Mrs. Bennet cut the Gordian knot, as she soldier was “courting Tilly Bennet.” had cut one or two already.

The seclusion of the light-house had its ad“Go along, Tilly,” she said. “Get off vantages now,-very little could the Provyour washing duds; it's near dinner time.” incetown gossips know of what went on

Tilly was glad to escape to her own among those distant rocks. Very safe were Joe room. Once safe in refuge she sank into and Tilly in the nooks which they explored chair with a most bewildered face and tried in the long bright afternoons. How strangely to collect her thoughts. She seemed like changed seemed the lonely spot to Tilly! one in a dream. “ The soldier" had come. Each rod of the wave-washed beach was How her heart ached over the thought of transformed as she paced it with Joe by her that armless sleeve!

side. No word of love-making did Joe “ He never said anything about his arm say—not because it was not warm and being gone," thought Tilly. “It's too ready in his heart, but he was afraid. bad. How blue his eyes are! I never “Of course she can't care anything about saw such blue eyes!” in a laugh of inno- me, all of a sudden so," said sensible Joe. cent wonder and excitement. Her thoughts “She haint been a-longing and a-longing so ran away with her that when her for somebody 's I have.” mother called her through the door, “ Din- So at the end of a week he went away, ner's ready, Tilly," poor Tilly was not half merely saying to Tilly and Mrs. Bennet as dressed, and kept them waiting ten minutes he bade them good-bye, that he would or more, which drew down upon her from write

But Tilly's heart had not her father a rebuke that it hurt her sorely been so idle as Joe thought, and she was to have “the soldier" hear. But “the not surprised one day, a few weeks later, soldier” was too happy to be disturbed by when she read in a letter of Joe's that he small things. Since his mother's death Joe didn't know whether she knew it or not but had not seen anything so homelike, so he had come to the conclusion that she was familiar, as this dinner in Mrs. Bennet's little just about the nicest girl in all the country, kitchen. He made friends with Captain and if she thought she could take up with a 'Lisha at once; the old man could not ask fellow that hadn't but one arm, he was hers questions enough about the war, and Joe to command for the rest of her life. answered them all with a patience which Tilly had a happy little cry over the was perhaps more commendable than his letter before she showed it to her mother. accuracy. Tilly sat by, listening in eager “Do you think you can like him, Tilly ?" silence; not a word escaped her; when asked Mrs. Bennet, anxiously. her eyes met Joe's she colored and looked “Yes," said Tilly, “I do like him; and away.

he's real good." "I don't care if she is twenty-six,” thought And when they told Captain 'Lisha he Joe, “she is just like a child."

said, vehemently, that nothing short of go

very soon.

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