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   Chapter 45 NEW PLANS.

The End of the World: A Love Story By Edward Eggleston Characters: 7056

Updated: 2017-12-01 00:02


Except Abigail Anderson and one other person, everybody in the little world of Clark township approved mightily the justice and disinterestedness of Andrew. He had righted himself and Julia at a stroke, and people dearly love to have justice dealt out when it is not at their own expense. Samuel, who cherished in secret a great love for his daughter, was more than pleased that affairs had turned out in this way. But there was one beside Abigail who was not wholly satisfied. August spent half the night in protesting in vain against Andrew's transfer of the river-farm to him. But Andrew said he had a right to give away his own if he chose. And there was no turning him. For if August refused a share in it, he would give it to Julia, and if she refused it, he would find somebody who would accept it.

The next day after the settlement at Samuel Anderson's, August came to claim his wife. Mrs. Abigail had now employed a "help" in Cynthy Ann's place, and Julia could be spared. August had refused all invitations to take up his temporary residence with Julia's parents. The house had unpleasant associations in his mind, and he wanted to relieve Julia at once and forever from a despotism to which she could not offer any effectual resistance. Mrs. Anderson had eagerly loaded the wagon with feather-beds and other bridal property, and sent it over to the castle, that Julia might appear to leave with her blessing. She kissed Julia tenderly, and hoped she'd have a happy life, and told her that if her husband should ever lose his property or treat her badly--such things may happen, you know--then she would always find a home with her mother. Julia thanked her for the offer of a refuge to which she never meant to flee under any circumstances. And yet one never turns away from one's home without regret, and Julia looked back with tears in her eyes at the chattering swifts whose nests were in the parlor chimney, and at the pee-wee chirping on the gate-post. The place had entered into her life. It looked lonesome now, but within a year afterward Norman suddenly married Betsey Malcolm. Betsey's child had died soon after its birth, and Mrs. Anderson set herself to manage both Norman and his wife, who took up their abode with her. Nothing but a reign of terror could have made either of them of any account, but Mrs. Anderson furnished them this in any desirable quantity. They were never of much worth, even under her management, but she kept them in bounds, so that Norman ceased to get drunk more than five or six times a year, and Betsey flirted but little and at her peril.

Once the old house was out of sight, there were no shadows on Julia's face as she looked forward toward the new life. She walked in a still happiness by August as they went down through Shady Hollow. August had intended to show her a letter that he had from the mud-clerk, describing the bringing of Humphreys back to Paducah and his execution by a mob. But there was something so repelling in the gusto with which the story was told, and the story was so awful in itself, that he could not bear to interrupt the peaceful happiness of this hour by saying anything about it.

August proposed to Julia that they should take a path through the meadow of the river-farm--their own farm now--and see the foundation of the little cottage Andrew had begun for them. And so in happiness they walked on through the meadow-path to the place on which their home was to stand. But, alas! there was not a stick of timber left. Every particle

of the material had been removed. It seemed that some great disappointment threatened them at the moment of their happiness. They hurried on in silent foreboding to the castle, but there the mystery was explained.

"I told you not to tempt me too far," said Andrew. "See! I have concluded to build an addition to the castle and let you civilize me. We will live together and I will reform. This lonely life is not healthy, and now that I have children, why should I not let them live here with me?"

Julia looked happy. I have no authentic information in regard to the exact words which she made use of to express her joy, but from what is known of girls of her age in general, it is safe to infer that she exclaimed, "Oh! I'm so glad!"

While Andrew stood there smiling, with Julia near him, August having gone to the assistance of the carpenters in a matter demanding a little more ingenuity than they possessed, Jonas came up and drew the Philosopher aside. Julia could not hear what was said, but she saw Andrew's brow contract.

"I'll shoot as sure as they come!" he said with passion. "I won't have my niece or August insulted in my house by a parcel of vagabonds."

"O Uncle Andrew! is it a shiveree?" asked Julia.

"Yes."

"Well, don't shoot. It'll be so funny to have a shiveree."

"But it is an insult to you and to August and to me. This is meant especially to be an expression of their feeling toward August as a German, though really their envy of his good fortune has much to do with it. It is a second edition of the riot of last spring, in which Gottlieb came so near to being killed. Now, I mean to do my country service by leaving one or two less of them alive if they come here to-night." For Andrew was full of that destructive energy so characteristic of the Western and Southern people.

"Oh! no, don't shoot. Can't you think of some other way?" pleaded Julia.

"Well, yes, I could get the sheriff to come and bag a few of them."

"And that will make trouble for many years. Let me see. Can't we do this?" And Julia rapidly unfolded to Andrew and Jonas her plan of operations against the enemy.

"Number one!" said Jonas. "They'll fall into that air amby-scade as sure as shootin'. That plan is military and Christian and civilized and human and angelical and tancy-crumptious. It ort to meet the 'proval of the American Fish-hawk with all his pinions and talents. I'll help to execute it, and beat the rascals or lay my bones a-bleachin' on the desert sands of Shady Holler."

"Well," said Andrew to Julia, "I knew, if I took you under my roof, you'd make a Christian of me in spite of myself. And I am a sort of savage, that's a fact."

Jonas hurried home and sent Cynthy over to the castle, and there was much work going on that afternoon. Andrew said that the castle was being made ready for its first siege. As night came on, Julia was in a perfect glee. Reddened by standing over the stove, with sleeves above her elbows and her black hair falling down upon her shoulders, she was such a picture that August stopped and stood in the door a minute to look at her as he came in to supper.

"Why, Jule, how glorious you look!" he said. "I've a great mind to fall in love with you, mein Liebchen!"

"And I have fallen in love with you, C?sar Augustus!" And well she might, for surely, as he stood in the door with his well-knit frame, his fine German forehead, his pure, refined mouth, and his clear, honest, amiable blue eyes, he was a man to fall in love with.

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