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   Chapter 13 A HOWL.

A Summer in Leslie Goldthwaite's Life. By A. D. T. Whitney Characters: 31039

Updated: 2017-12-01 00:02

The tableaux had to be put off. Frank Scherman was obliged to go down to Boston, unexpectedly, to attend to business, and nothing could be done without him. The young girls felt all the reaction that comes with the sudden interruption of eager plans. A stagnation seemed to succeed to their excitement and energy. They were thrown back into a vacuum.

"There is nothing on earth to do, or to think about," said Florrie Arnall dolefully.

"Just as much as there was last week," replied Josie Scherman, common-sense-ically. Frank was only her brother, and that made a difference. "There's Giant's Cairn as big as ever, and Feather-Cap, and Minster Rock, and the Spires. And there's plenty to do. Tableaux aren't everything. There's your 'howl,' Sin Saxon. That hasn't come off yet."

"'It isn't the fall that hurts,-it's the fetch-up,' as the Irishman observed," said Sin Saxon, with a yawn. "It wasn't that I doted particularly on the tableaux, but 'the waters wild went o'er my child, and I was left lamenting.' It was what I happened to be after at the moment. When I get ready for a go, I do hate to take off my bonnet and sit down at home."

"But the 'howl,' Sin! What's to become of that?"

"Ain't I howling all I can?"

And this was all Sin Saxon would say about it. The girls meant to keep her in mind, and to have their frolic,-the half of them in the most imaginative ignorance as to what it might prove to be; but somehow their leader herself seemed to have lost her enthusiasm or her intention.

Leslie Goldthwaite felt neither disappointment nor impatience. She had got a permanent interest. It is good always to have something to fall back upon. The tableaux would come by and by; meanwhile, there was plenty of time for their "bees," and for the Cliff.

They had long mornings in the pines, and cool, quiet afternoons in Miss Craydocke's pretty room. It was wonderful the cleverness the Josselyns had come to with little frocks. One a skirt, and the other a body,-they made nothing of finishing the whole at a sitting. "It's only seeing the end from the beginning," Martha said, when Leslie uttered her astonishment. "We know the way, right through; and no way seems long when you've traveled it often." To be sure, Prissy Hoskins's delaines and calicoes didn't need to be contrived after Demorest's fashion-plates.

Then they had their holiday, taking the things over to the Cliff, and trying them all on Prissy, very much as if they had been a party of children, and she a paper doll. Her rosy little face and willful curls came out of each prettier than the last, precisely as a paper dolly's does, and when at the end of all they got her into a bright violet print and a white bib-apron, it was well they were the last, for they couldn't have had the heart to take her out of them. Leslie had made for her a small hoop from the upper half of one of her own, and laced a little cover upon it, of striped seersucker, of which there was a petticoat also to wear above. These, clear, clean, and stiffened, came from Miss Craydocke's stores. She never traveled without her charity-trunk, wherein, put at once in perfect readiness for different use the moment they passed beyond her own, she kept all spare material that waited for such call. Breadths of old dresses, ripped and sponged and pressed, or starched, ironed, and folded; flannel petticoats shrunken short; stockings "cut down" in the old, thrifty, grandmother fashion; underclothing strongly patched (as she said, "the Lord's mark put upon it, since it had pleased Him to give her the means to do without patches"); odds and ends of bonnet-ribbons, dipped in spirits and rolled tightly upon blocks, from which they unrolled nearly as good as new,-all these things, and more, religiously made the most of for whomsoever they might first benefit, went about with her in this, the biggest of her boxes, which, give out from it as she might, she never seemed, she said, to get quite to the bottom of.

Under the rounded skirts, below the short, plain trousers, Prissy's ankles and feet were made shapely with white stockings and new, stout boots. (Aunt Hoskins believed in "white stockin's, or go athout. Bilin' an' bleachin' an' comin' out new; none o' yer aggravations 'v everlastin' dirt-color.") And one thing more, the prettiest of all. A great net of golden-brown silk that Leslie had begged Mrs. Linceford, who liked netting, to make, gathered into strong, large meshes the unruly wealth of hair brushed back in rippling lines from Prissy's temples, and showing so its brighter, natural color from underneath, where the outside had grown sun-faded.

"I'm just like Cinderella,-with four godmothers!" cried the child; and she danced up and down, as Leslie let her go from under her hands.

"You're just like-a little heathen!" screamed Aunt Hoskins. "Where's yer thanks?" Her own thanks spoke themselves, partly in an hysterical sort of chuckle and sniffle, that stopped each other short, and the rebuke with them. "But there! she don't know no better! 'T ain't fer every day, you needn't think. It's for company to-day, an' fer Sundays, an' to go to Portsmouth."

"Don't spoil it for her, Miss Hoskins. Children hate to think it isn't for every day," said Leslie Goldthwaite.

But the child-antidote to that was also ready.

"I don't care," cried Prissy. "To-day's a great, long day, and Sunday's for ever and ever, and Portsmouth'll be always."

"Can't yer stop ter kerchy, and say-Lud-o'-light 'n' massy, I donno what to tell ye ter say!" And Miss Hoskins sniffled and gurgled again, and gave it up.

"She has thanked us, I think," said Miss Craydocke, in her simple way, "when she called us Godmothers!" The word came home to her good heart. God had given her, the lonely woman, the larger motherhood. "Brothers, and sisters, and mothers!" She thought how Christ traced out the relationships, and claimed them even to himself!

"Now, for once, you're to be done up. That's general order number two," Miss Craydocke said to the Josselyn girls, as they all first met together again after the Cliff party. "We've worked together till we're friends. And so there's not a word to be said. We owe you time that we've taken, and more that we mean to take before you go. I'll tell you what for, when it's necessary."

It was a nicer matter to get the Josselyns to be helped than to help. It was not easy for them to bring forth their breadths and their linings, and their braids that were to be pieced, and their trimmings that were to be turned, and to lay bare to other eyes all their little economies of contrivance; but Miss Craydocke managed it by simple straightforwardness,-by not behaving as if there were anything to be glossed over or ignored. Instead of hushing up about economies, she brought them forward, and gave them a most cheery and comfortable, not to say dignified air. It was all ordinary matter of course,-the way everybody did, or ought to do. This was the freshest end of this breadth, and should go down; this other had a darn that might be cut across, and a straight piecing made, for which the slope of the skirt would allow,-she should do it so; that hem might be taken off altogether and a new one turned; this was a very nice trimming, and plenty of it, and the wrong side was brighter than the right; she knew a way of joining worsted braid that never showed,-you might have a dozen pieces in the binding of a skirt and not be noticed. This little blue frock had no trimming; they would finish that at home. No, the prettiest thing in the world for it would be pipings of black silk, and Miss Craydocke had some bits just right for covering cord, thick as a board, big enough for nothing else; and out they came, as did many another thing, without remark, from her bags and baskets. She had hooks and eyes, and button-fasteners, when these gave out; she used from her own cotton-spools and skeins of silk; she had tailors' twist for buttonholes, and large black cord for the pipings; and these were but working implements, like scissors and thimble,-taken for granted, without count. There was nothing on the surface for the most shrinking delicacy to rub against; but there was a kindness that went down into the hearts of the two young girls continually.

For an hour or two at least each day they sat together so, for the being together. The work was "taken up." Dakie Thayne read stories to them sometimes: Miss Craydocke had something always to produce and to summon them to sit and hear; some sketch of strange adventure, or a ghost marvel, or a bright, spicy magazine essay; or, knowing where to find sympathizers and helpers, Dakie would rush in upon them uncalled, with some discovery, or want, or beautiful thing to show of his own. They were quite a little coterie by themselves. It shaped itself to this more and more.

Leslie did not neglect her own party. She drove and walked with Mrs. Linceford, and was ready for anything the Haddens really wanted of her; but Mrs. Linceford napped and lounged a good deal, and could spare her then; and Jeannie and Elinor seemed somehow to feel the want of her less than they had done,-Elinor unconsciously drawn away by new attraction, Jeannie rather of a purpose.

I am afraid I cannot call it anything else but a little loss of caste which seemed coming to Leslie Goldthwaite just now, through these new intimacies of hers. "Something always gets crowded out." This, too,-her popularity among the first,-might have to be, perhaps, one of the somethings.

Now and then she felt it so,-perceived the shade of difference toward her in the tone and manner of these young girls. I cannot say that it did not hurt her a little. She had self-love, of course; yet, for all, she was loyal to the more generous love,-to the truer self-respect. If she could not have both, she would keep the best. There came to be a little pride in her own demeanor,-a waiting to be sought again.

"I can't think what has come over Les'," said Jeannie Hadden, one night, on the piazza, to a knot of girls. She spoke in a tone at once apologetic and annoyed. "She was always up to anything at home. I thought she meant to lead us all off here. She might have done almost what she pleased."

"Everybody likes Leslie," said Elinor.

"Why, yes, we all do," put in Mattie Shannon. "Only she will take up queer people, you see. And-well, they're nice enough, I suppose; only there's never room enough for everybody."

"I thought we were all to be nowhere when she first came. There was something about her,-I don't know what,-not wonderful, but taking. 'Put her where you pleased, she was the central point of the picture,' Frank said." This came from Josie Scherman.

"And she's just dropped all, to run after goodness knows what and whom! I can't see through her!" rejoined Jeannie, with a sort of finality in her accent that seemed to imply, "I wash my hands of her, and won't be supposed accountable."

"Knew ye not," broke in a gentle voice, "that she must be about her Master's business?" It was scarcely addressed to them. Miss Craydocke just breathed audibly the thought she could not help.

There came a downfall of silence upon the group.

When they took breath again,-"Oh, if she's religious!" Mattie Shannon just said, as of a thing yet farther off and more finally done with. And then their talk waited under a restraint again.

"I supposed we were all religious,-Sundays, at least," broke forth Sin Saxon suddenly, who, strangely, had not spoken before. "I don't know, though. Last Saturday night we danced the German till half past twelve, and we talked charades instead of going to church, till I felt-as if I'd sat all the morning with my feet over a register, reading a novel, when I'd ought to have been doing a German exercise or something. If she's religious every day, she's seven times better than we are, that's all. I think-she's got a knot to her thread!"

Nobody dared send Leslie Goldthwaite quite to Coventry after this.

Sin Saxon found herself in the position of many another leader,-obliged to make some demonstration to satisfy the aroused expectations of her followers. Her heart was no longer thoroughly in it; but she had promised them a "howl," and a howl they were determined upon, either with or against her.

Opportunity arose just now also. Madam Routh went off on a party to the Notch, with some New York friends, taking with her one or two of the younger pupils, for whom she felt most constant responsibility. The elder girls were domesticated and acquainted now at Outledge; there were several matronly ladies with whom the whole party was sufficiently associated in daily intercourse for all the air of chaperonage that might be needed; and one assistant pupil, whom, to be sure, the young ladies themselves counted as a most convenient nonentity, was left in nominal charge.

Now or never, the girls declared with one voice it must be. All they knew about it-the most of them-was that it was some sort of an out-of-hours frolic, such as boarding-school ne'er-do-weels delight in; and it was to plague Miss Craydocke, against whom, by this time, they had none of them really any manner of spite; neither had they any longer the idea of forcing her to evacuate; but they had got wound up on that key at the beginning, and nobody thought of changing it. Nobody but Sin Saxon. She had begun, perhaps, to have a little feeling that she would change it, if she could.

Nevertheless, with such show of heartiness as she found possible, she assented to their demand, and the time was fixed. Her merry, mischievous temperament asserted itself as she went on, until she really grew into the mood for it once more, from the pure fun of the thing.

It took two days to get ready. After the German on Thursday night, the howl was announced to come off in Number Thirteen, West Wing. This, of course, was the boudoir; but nobody but the initiated knew that. It was supposed to be Maud Walcott's room. The assistant pupil made faint remonstrances against she knew not what, and was politely told so; moreover, she was pressingly invited to render herself with the other guests at the little piazza door, precisely at eleven. The matronly ladies, always amused, sometimes a little annoyed and scandalized, at Sin Saxon's escapades, asked her, one and another, at different times, what it was all to be, and if she really thought she had better, and among themselves expressed tolerably grave doubts about proprieties, and wished Madam Routh would return. The vague mystery and excitement of the howl kept all the house gently agog for this Tuesday and Wednesday intervening. Sin Saxon gave out odd hints here and there in confidence.

It was to be a "spread;" and the "grub" (Sin was a boarding-school girl, you know, and had brothers in college) was all to be stolen. There was an uncommon clearance of cakes and doughnuts, and pie and cheese, from each meal, at this time. Cup-custards, even, disappeared,-cups and all. A cold supper, laid at nine on Wednesday evening, for some expected travelers, turned out a more meagre provision on the arrival of the guests than the good host of the Giant's Cairn had ever been known to make. At bedtime Sin Saxon presented herself in Miss Craydocke's room.

"There's something heavy on my conscience," she said, with a disquiet air. "I'm really worried; and it's too late to help it now."

Miss Craydocke looked at her with a kind anxiety.

"It's never too late to try to help a mistake. And you, Miss Saxon,-you can always do what you choose."

She was afraid for her,-the good lady,-that her heedlessness might compromise herself and others in some untoward scrape. She didn't like these rumors of the howl,-the last thing she thought of being her own rest and comfort, which were to be purposely invaded.

"I've let the chance go by," said Sin Saxon desperately. "It's of no use now." And she rocked herself back and forth in the Shaker chair of which she had taken possession.

"My dear," said Miss Craydocke, "if you would only explain to me,-perhaps"-

"You might!" cried Sin, jumping up, and making a rush at the good woman, seizing her by both hands. "They'd never suspect you. It's that cold roast chicken in the pantry. I can't get over it, that I didn't take that!"

Sin was incorrigible. Miss Craydocke shook her head, taking care to turn it aside at the same moment; for she felt her lips twitch and her eyes twinkle, in spite of herself.

"I won't take this till the time comes," said Sin, laying her hand on the back of the Shaker chair. "But it's confiscated for to-morrow night, and I shall come for it. And, Miss Craydocke, if you do manage about the chicken,-I hate to trouble you to go downstairs, but I dare say you want matches, or a drink of water, or something, and another time I'll wait upon you with pleasure,-here's the door, made for the emergency, and I on the other side of it dissolved in tears of gratitude!"

And so, for the time, Sin Saxon disappeared.

The next afternoon, Jimmy Wigley brought a big basket of raspberries to the little piazza door. A pitcher of cream vanished from the tea-table just before the gong was struck. Nobody supposed the cat had got it. The people of the house understood pretty well what was going on, and who was at the bottom of it all; but Madam Routh's party was large, and the life of the place; they would wink hard and long before complaining at anything that might be done in the west wing.

Sin Saxon opened her door upon Miss Craydocke when she was dressed for the German, and about to go downstairs. "I'll trust you," she said, "about the rocking-chair. You'll want it, perhaps, till bedtime, and then you'll just put it in here. I shouldn't like to disturb you by coming for it late. And please step in a minute now, won't you?"

She took her through the boudoir. There lay the "spread" upon a long table, contrived by the contribution of one ordinary little one from each sleeping-chamber, and covered by a pair of clean sheets, which swept the floor along the sides. About it were ranged chairs. Two pyramids of candles, built up ingeniously by the grouping of bedroom tins upon hidden supports, vine-sprays and mosses serving gracefully for concealment and decoration, stood, one on each side, half way between the ends and centre. Cake-plates were garnished with wreathed oak-leaves, and in the midst a great white Indian basket held the red, piled-up berries, fresh and fragrant.

"That's the little bit of righteousness to save the city. That's paid for," said Sin Saxon. "Jimmy Wigley's gone home with more scrip than he ever got at once before; and if your chicken-heartedness hadn't taken the wrong direction, Miss Craydocke, I should be perfectly at ease in my mind."

"It's very pretty," said Miss Craydocke; "but do you think Madam Routh would quite approve? And why couldn't you have had it openly in the dining-room? And what do you call it a 'howl' for?" Miss Craydocke's questions came softly and hesitatingly, as her doubts came. The little festival was charming-but for the way and place.

"Oh, Miss Craydocke! Well, you're not wicked, and you can't be supposed to know; but you must take my word for it, that, if it was tamed down, the game wouldn't be worth the candle. And the howl? You just wait and see!"

The invited guests were told to come to the little piazza door. The girls asked all their partners in the German, and the matronly ladies were asked, as a good many respectable people are civilly invited where their declining is counted upon. Leslie Goldthwaite, and the Haddens, and Mrs. Linceford, and the Thoresbys were all asked, and might come if they chose. Their stay would be another matter. And so the evening and the German went on.

Till eleven, when they broke up; and the entertainers in a body rushed merrily and noisily along the passages to Number Thirteen, West Wing, rousing from their first naps many quietly disposed, delicate people, who kept early hours, and a few babies whose nurses and mammas would bear them anything but gratefully in mind through the midnight hours to come.

They gained two minutes, perhaps, upon their guests, who had, some of them, to look up wraps, and to come round by the front hall and piazzas. In these two minutes, by Sin Saxon's order, they seated themselves comfortably at table. They had plenty of room; but they spread their robes gracefully,-they had all dressed in their very prettiest to-night,-and they quite filled up the space. Bright colors, and soft, rich textures floating and mingling together, were like a rainbow encircling the feast. The candles had been touched with kerosene, and matches lay ready. The lighting-up had been done in an instant. And then Sin Saxon went to the door, and drew back the chintz curtains from across the upper half, which was of glass. A group of the guests, young men, were already there, beneath the elms outside. But how should she see them, looking from the bright light into the tree-shadows? She went quietly back, and took her place at the head, leaving the door fast bolted.

There came a knock. Sin Saxon took no heed, but smilingly addressed herself to offering dainties right and left. Some of the girls stared, and one or two half rose to go and give admittance.

"Keep your seats," said Sin, in her most lady-like way and tone, with the unchanged smile upon her face. "That's the howl!"

They began to perceive the joke outside. They began to knock vociferously. They took up their cue with a readiness, and made plenty of noise, not doubting, as yet, that they should be admitted at last. Some of the ladies came round, gave a glance, saw how things were going, and retreated,-except a few, parties from other houses who had escorts among the gentlemen, and who waited a little to see how the frolic would end, or at least to reclaim their attendants.

Well, it was very unpardonable,-outrageous, the scandalized neighbors were beginning already to say in their rooms. Even Sin Saxon had a little excitement in her eye beyond the fun, as she still maintained the most graceful order within, and the exchange of courtesies went on around the board, and the tumult increased without. They tree-toaded, they cat-called, they shouted, they cheered, they howled, they even hissed. Sin Saxon sat motionless an instant when it came to that, and gave a glance toward the lights. A word from her would put them out, and end the whole. She held her coup in reserve, however, knowing her resource, and sat, as it were, with her finger on the spring, determined to carry through coolly what she had begun.

Dakie Thayne had gone away with the Linceford party when they crossed to the Green Cottage. Afterward, he came out again and stood in the open road. Some ladies, boarders at Blashford's, up above, came slowly away from the uproar, homeward. One or two young men detached themselves from the group on the piazza, and followed to see them safe, as it belonged to them to do. The rest sat themselves down, at this moment, upon the steps and platform, and struck up, with one accord, "We won't go home till morning." In the midst of this, a part broke off and took up, discordantly, the refrain, "Polly, put the kettle on, we'll all have tea;" others complicated the confusion further with, "Cruel, cruel Polly Hopkins, treat me so,-oh, treat me so!" till they fell, at last, into an indistinguishable jumble and clamor, from which extricated themselves now and again and prevailed, the choruses of "Upidee," and "Bum-bum-bye," with an occasional drum-beat of emphasis given upon the door.

"Don't go back there, James," Dakie Thayne heard a voice from the retiring party say as they passed him; "it's disgraceful!"

"The house won't hold Sin Saxon after this," said another. "They were out in the upper hall, half a dozen of them, just now, ringing their bells and calling for Mr. Biscombe."

"The poor man don't know who to side with. He don't want to lose the whole west wing. After all, there must be young people in the house, and if it weren't one thing it would be another. It's only a few fidgets that complain. They'll hush up and go off presently, and the whole thing will be a joke over the breakfast-table to-morrow morning, after everybody's had a little sleep."

The singing died partially away just then, and some growling, less noisy, but more in earnest, began.

"They don't mean to let us in! I say, this is getting rather rough!"

"It's only to smash a pane of glass above the bolt and let ourselves in. Why shouldn't we? We're invited." The latent mob-element was very near developing itself in these young gentlemen, high-bred, but irate.

At this moment, a wagon came whirling down the road around the ledges. Dakie Thayne caught sight of the two white leaders, recognized them, and flew across to the hotel. "Stop!" cried he. At the same instant a figure moved hastily away from behind Miss Craydocke's blinds. It was a mercy that the wagon had driven around to the front hall door.

A mercy in one way; but the misfortune was that the supper-party within knew nothing of it. A musical, lady-like laugh, quite in contrast to the demonstrative utterances outside, had just broken forth, in response to one of Sin Saxon's brightest speeches, when through the adjoining apartment came suddenly upon them the unlooked-for apparition of "the spinster." Miss Craydocke went straight across to the beleaguered door, drew the bolt, and threw it back. "Gently, young gentlemen! Draw up the piazza chairs, if you please, and sit down," said she. "Mr. Lowe, Mr. Brookhouse, here are plates; will you be kind enough to serve your friends?"

In three minutes she had filled and passed outward half a dozen saucers of fruit, and sent a basket of cake among them. Then she drew a seat for herself, and began to eat raspberries. It was all done so quickly-they were so either taken by surprise-that nobody, inside or out, gain-said or delayed her by a word.

It was hardly done when a knock sounded at the door upon the passage. "Young ladies!" a voice called,-Madam Routh's.

She and her friends had driven down from the Notch by sunset and moonlight. Nobody had said anything to her of the disturbance when she came in: her arrival had rather stopped the complaints that had begun; for people are not malignant, after all, as a general thing, and there is a curious propensity in human nature which cools off indignation even at the greatest crimes, just as the culprit is likely to suffer. We are apt to check the foot just as we might have planted it upon the noxious creature, and to let off great state criminals on parole. Madam Routh had seen the bright light and the gathering about the west wing. She had caught some sounds of the commotion. She made her way at once to look after her charge.

Sin Saxon was not a pupil now, and there was no condign punishment actually to fear; but her heart stood still a second, for all that, and she realized that she had been on the verge of an "awful scrape." It was bad enough now, as Madam Routh stood there gravely silent. She could not approve. She was amazed to see Miss Craydocke present, countenancing and matronizing. But Miss Craydocke was present, and it altered the whole face of affairs. Her eye took in, too, the modification of the room,-quite an elegant little private parlor as it had been made. The young men were gathered decorously about the doorway and upon the platform, one or two only politely assisting within. They had taken this cue as readily as the other; indeed, they were by no means aware that this was not the issue intended from the beginning, long as the joke had been allowed to go on, and their good-humor and courtesy had been instantly restored. Miss Craydocke, by one master-stroke of generous presence of mind, had achieved an instantaneous change in the position, and given an absolutely new complexion to the performance.

"It is late, young ladies," was all Madam Routh's remark at length.

"They gave up their German early on purpose; it was a little surprise they planned," Miss Craydocke said, as she moved to meet her.

And then Madam Routh, with wise, considerate dignity, took her cue. She even came forward to the table and accepted a little fruit; stayed five minutes perhaps, and then, without a spoken word, her movement to go broke up, with unmistakable intent, the party. Fifteen minutes after, all was quiet in the west wing.

But Sin Saxon, when the doors closed at either hand, and the girls alone were left around the fragments of their feast, rushed impetuously across toward Miss Craydocke, and went down beside her on her knees.

"Oh, you dear, magnificent old Christian!" she cried out, and laid her head down on her lap, with little sobs, half laughter and half tears.

"There, there!"-and Miss Craydocke softly patted her golden hair, and spoke as she would soothe a fretted and excited child.

Next morning, at breakfast, Sin Saxon was as beautifully ruffled, ratted, and crimped, as gay, as bewitching, and defiant as ever, seated next Madam Routh, assiduously devoted to her in the little attentions of the meal, in high spirits and favor; even saucily alluding, across the table, to "our howl, Miss Craydocke!"

Public opinion was carried by storm; the benison of sleep had laid wrath. Nobody knew that, an hour before, she had been in Madam Routh's room, making a clean breast of the whole transaction, and disclosing the truth of Miss Craydocke's magnanimous and tactful interposition, confessing that without this she had been at her wits' ends how to put a stop to it, and promising, like a sorry child, to behave better, and never do so any more.

Two hours later she came meekly to Miss Craydocke's room, where the "bee" was gathered,-for mere companionship to-day, with chess and fancy-work,-her flourishes all laid aside, her very hair brushed close to her pretty head, and a plain gingham dress on.

"Miss Craydocke!" she said, with an air she could not divest of a little comicality, but with an earnestness behind it shining through her eyes, "I'm good; I'm converted. I want some tow-cloth to sew on immediately." And she sat down, folding her hands, waiting.

Miss Craydocke laughed. "I don't know. I'm afraid I haven't anything to be done just now, unless I cut out some very coarse, heavy homespun."

"I'd be glad if you would. Beggars mustn't be choosers; but if they might, I should say it was the very thing. Sackcloth, you know; and then, perhaps, the ashes might be excused. I'm in solemn earnest, though. I'm reformed. You've done it; and you," she added, turning round short on Leslie Goldthwaite,-"you've been at it a long time, unbeknownst to yourself; and you, ma'am,-you finished it last night. It's been like the casting out of the devils in Scripture. They always give a howl, you know, and go out of 'em!"

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