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The sunny South. (Atlanta, Ga.) 1875-1907, February 24, 1877, Image 1

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N V / ^u^^^^IgBgauiliu !aiUc«. ^Mmsnm. ' v "'5'g^piJHERI' V ^V'.V****' srt ‘A .f > ~-° £ 't ■ . ,^V r-.^• .. f *sy - "* '■ .f' 'v/"' ’ < - JOHN H. SEA LS,' m*H«KTolt. ATLANTA. GA. SATURDAY, FEBRUARY 21. 1877. 'rT7~PA/T< J* 3 PEi{ ANNUM I rLJlMo, 1 IN ADVANCE. NO. 1)0. (For the Sunny Soutji.) DRIFTING. !Y FLOY JAY. Moiain” and evening—early and late I’ve watched for many a day The far, far South horizon. Where my magical island lay. V as it really a distant island f Or only a gleam of light; A sun-lit beach, or a cloud mayhap, •I nst drifting away from my sight t II. So to-day I spread my snowy sails. And nty boat sailed oil from shore; The little bay widened out to sea. And the harbor I'll see no moro.j One bonnie barque that eiiled with nit For a while in the morning light Is llyiug back o’er the darkening wave And is veiled by the coming night. III. I never have heeded alwarning Called over the waves to me; My eyes were fixed on the distant isle That has faded into the sea. But awhile ago, I had sailed so near To the lonely and beautiful land, I could hear the beat of the eager wave As they broke on the gleaming sand. IV. 1 could see the green and waving trees I could tancy their welcoming sigh. Hut the wind of the ocean swept me on And the light faded out of the skv; All the golden glory vanished. And each tinge ol the crimson light; While over the ocean gathers The shade of a eiouaed night. There is nothing I hear, save the nninr.i. Of the waves in their ceaseless beat; Nothing I see. save the purple mist. Where the sea and the ocean meet. And now, alone and startled, I ttirn and call in vain. For over the blue waves, dark and dee; No answer comes again. : nerr * mu star to gviide me, Ami the ocean is deep and wide; I will fold my hands and rest content; I \till drift along with the tide. Heir of Eliiotston; —on.— WHAT TURNED THE S( ALE. liY S. M. A. C. * Tilings do happen in this world by tie strang est sequence. We would be fairly appalled did ' we see the odd possibilities that lie in our trivialest actions. Certainly Miss Martha Pin- rose's supper would seem about the unlikeliest : thing possible to iuiluence in any way the des- j tinies of some people with whom she had almost I no sort of connection; but so it was. Miss I’inrose is a maiden lady of by no means , uncertain years—for the good, kindly soul. Lav- j ing known very little of the charm and glow of • youth in her laborious springtime, makes no | regretful concealment of her cheery age—the j chief milliner of a rather quiet provincial town; j a city but for lack of people, the capital and j trading point of a rich region, where a great j national staple absorbs all productive energy, i Consequently, the town—Windham is its name— is not vexed with the hum of machinery, or the steady din that, comes up when a thousand di verse industries keep the trade-pulse beating at fever heat; still, there are streets upon streets— solid, conservative, even handsome; a moribund river-front; a depot, that has sapped the life of the water-way, yet itself seems scarce half- animate; banks and warehouses, for handling the staple, and lines of shops and stores where, for a due consideration, you may supply all rea sonable human needs, although it is a common declaration of the gay young bagmen from the wide world beyond, and ladies in search of the latest impossible style, that “Windham is the poorest town. You never can hud anything in jt.” All this, however, has nothing to do with Miss I’inrose, who lives and thrives, the picture of placid content, save upon those rare occasions when something goes wrong with her liver. Generally, this is a superbly equable organ, troubling its owner, spite of work, late hours and irregular meals, almost as little as that ad mirable muscle which has attended to her circu lation for so many years without ever obtruding itself otherwise upon her attention, yet for one or two things the model liver indulges a ca pricious dislike, and always resents their in fliction with its direly-ready weapons of nausea, headache, etc. Miss Pinrose is, I think, freer than most of us from original sin, yet for one of these, to her, forbidden things, she had a relish amounting almost to affection. That one is I write it in a whisper—fried cabbage; and now you can guess how it was that one December morning, after making a hearty meal thereof, at eleven, r. m., she found herself acquainting Dr. Warner with all the effects—her symptoms, you know—while concerning the cause she said less than nothing, for the old lady was equally proud of her digestion and of her prudent diet, and of all people. Dr. Warner was the last she would choose to let know her laches; for, besides standing more than head of his profession in Windham, Dr. Warner was one of the chiefest men of the good town. How he attained such eminence without the stimulus of a wife, or why, having attained it. he did not forthwith provide for himself that desirable article, I can not undertake to say. Everybody set bim down a continued bachelor, and if any pretty caps were set to himward, it was rather from the in stinct that leads the sportsman to tire at the bird known to be beyond range, than with n hope of h gging the game, whom, nevertheless, the handsome house, horses and bank-stock there unto appertaining made tantalizingly eligible. His age was—well, such that lie bad ceased to mention it; for the rest, he was not handsome. If he had not been a successful man, I doubt if tha‘ most elastic of epithets, “ fine-looking,” would ever have been tilted to him. Most peo- ! pie had called him “gawky ” and “shambling” while he was working bis way up by sheer force \of worth and mother-wit, spite of rusty coats ?arrd polite sneers; hut somehow, of late, they An Illustration of the Winter through which we have just passed. This fellow thinks it was right cold. had grown more appreciative, or less critical— which, I do not know. Certainly he tens rather tall and slender, with a good head, a strong fore head beginning to bo somewhat lined and fur rowed, and eyes that seemed to bold deep shad ows of the suffering they so often looked upon. Beyond that, his face was lost in a torrent of red-brown beard. As to his character, it was such as made him friends of the staunchest, and enemies of the heartiest, and to my thinking, greater praise no man need want. To the ob servant professional insight that reads our poor humanity as one reads a thrice-solved riddle, he added the greater art of seeming to see always only so much us was consistent with the most delicate discretion; consequently, he was half- worshipped by his patients, and whole-envied by his professional brethren. Miss l’inrose felt a sort of proprietary interest in him. She had known Lloyd Warner as a boy, and always prophesied great things of him; yet since he ; had reached so near the ladder’s top, a sort of i odd awe tinged her old-time friendliness. I j doubt if he would have been called on to set j right the obstinate liver only he chanced to pass j that way, and stopped for a word of cordial greeting, whereupon the old lady left her shop ] to her pretty assistant, and whisking the doctor into the back room, whence, through the wide i glass doors, she could still keep eyes of watch- j fulness ou “that provoking child,” began, as I said, to detail her symptoms, which he seemed j to think it necessary she should state at great ! length; for this was one of those soft, dark, rainy days that always seem to me the only tit j weather for holiday preparation, when custom ers were likely to be few; and he knew that ! young 'Mason, j at the jeweler’s, next door, was | breakmg his heart for the sight ol Miss Alice, I who regarded him with such favor as was gall and wormwood to the elderly Pinrose, and never I lacked a pretext for running into the establish- j meDt whereof he was so distinguished an orna- ; ment. Half an hour was not much to pay for a 1 good deed, and Dr. Warner had a genuine love ] for love, albeit the world said he had never I been a lover. Ifo was just smiling behind his ! beard over bis successful strategy, when the shop-door opened and shut in a lady-like but decided way, that was just matched by the light, firm step that came along the lloor, and the voice which culled: “Miss Martha! Alice! where is everybody? I’ve a grout mind to help myself and walk off without more ado.” Miss Pinrose caught the situation at a glance, and the seeming equability with which she went to attend to lo r customer was a tribute equally to her own self-con'rol and Dr. Warner’s influ ence. That gentleman must have been in an idle mood, for thus left to himself, instead of writing out the necessary prescription, or im proving the time with the latest medical pam phlet his pocket was never without he was re- prehensibly attentive to the scene in the shop, of which, himself unseen, he had a most excel lent view. I oauno' blame him very much, for in color, figure and character, Florida Rich mond was a most attractive study, especially when, as in this c.vse, the soft, gray-misty day gave her tints the pearl-freshness of earliest youth, the dark, close-fitting water-proof show ed to perfection the lithe grace of outline, and some unusual satisfaction broke up in all man ner of lights and shadows through the gray, black-fringed eyes, and gave little undertones of gladness to the clear, thoroughbred voice. Like much the larger half of human affairs, Miss Richmond's happiness on this occasion was merely the sum of aggregated trifies. It began, I think, with the pretty pearl-gray silk at home, lucking hut a touch or two of completion, and was swelled by a little parcel the express had just brought her; a pair of handsome, heavy bracelets, tHe birth-day gift of an old maid cousin; and took a very definite solidity from so unromantieally ^real a thing as a publisher’s letter with a moderate Ireight of greenbacks, and got its crown of supreme satisfaction trow tiie sheet of heavily-embossed satin paper that requested her presence at Mrs. Peyton’s ('luist- mas-Eve ball. How the Richmonds kept up appearances was a mystery that their dear five hundred friends wasted much time in attempting to solve. They were bom to fortune—at least their grandfather left one—but their father had been a hearty, free-handed soul, who mado all comers royally welcome, and denied no living thing, lrom him self to his poorest squatter neighbor, a wish that Lis time or bis money could gratify. It goes without telling that he died with Ins affairs at sixes and sevens; so much so, indeed, that everybody counted on an insolvent estate, and his children’* disappearance into some waste new country, for all agreed they would never stand to come down where they’d been used to to going with the first. In this, everybody was severely disappointed. John Richmond, it was soou decided, was not much lus father’s son, but a thorough man of business, who would pay his father’s debts and make none of his own. Besides himself, there were Florida and a widowed sister with twin babies, a helpless family, every one said, even if John’s pride— there at least, he was Richmond to the core— would not keep them from trying to be other wise. Mrs. Wayne, the widow, was helpless; one of those shallow, selfish natures which take as of right all service from all people, and regard the good fortune of others as a personal grievance; but Florida would have drowned herself sooner than he thus a millstone about the neck of her struggling brother. She hud a quick and grace ful fancy, and eyes that saw under the surface things, and so the bulky envelopes so stealthily posted sometimes proved merchantable wares, and were returned to her in the shape of cur rency of the commonwealth. Only sometimes; often the mail brought her back missives so weighty that the postmaster was excusable for thinking it must be a mighty task to read some of Miss Richmond’s letters, let alone the answer ing of them. Beyond a doubt, such packages are heavy to their size. Hope, living, is lighter than thistledown;dead or frozen, it is a lump of granite. Miss Richmond had her cairn of theso stones, hut she was careful to keep the fact from all the world, and equally careful to spend her earnings as unremarkably as though they were product of the Richmond acres instead of the Richmond brain. And the spending took a wider range than her own personal needs. Thence came a hundred minor household mat ters, frocks and toys, and bonbons for the babies, and oftenest of all, novelties in mourning (?) which alone could dry Mrs. Wayne’s tears over “•John's stingy ways;” for Mrs. Wayne ranked economy as the very first of those virtues whose practice is desirable—in other people, and held crape and bombazine the only fit and lady-like expression of grief. To wear a bonnet years out of style would be disrespect to her dead she never could be guilty’ of—so there papa gave her a hundred dollars where now she hadn’t ten— and John had all the land yet. What if there were debts; the little she wanted could make no difference, and she would have it — yes she would—she had as much right as any of them. And if Florida made her own dresses and wore them threadbare, she didn’t make her do it. Florida never cared how she looked, while clothes were—well, she did like to look decent. If Mr. Wayne had only lived, she needn’t be there to trouble them—she wished she had stayed with her children in the home he left her. She would, if she had even dreamed how things would he, etc., etc., etc. You can imagine the scenes. John did not mind them. He had a temper of steel, and the man’s resource of all outdoors for escape; hut Florida shrank from their humi liating pain, and was ready to buy their ab sence at cost of all she made. As John Richmond’s friend. Dr. Warner knew a little and guessed more of all this, and it was with sympathetic ears he heard Florida say; “Y’es, I am going to Mrs. Peyton’s, and of course I want to be very much comme ilfaut, as it will be the affair of the holidays.” Then, with a glance at her little heap of purchases: “Y’ou might have ordered all theso for my especial benefit; they r are so exactly what I wanted—and when I get them on I’ll almost feel myself one of the young ladies that Franky sings about, mado of “ 1 Ribbon and lace, And a kiss in the face.’ ! And now let me pay you and he off’, f owe you twelve dollars, I think.” “Yes,” said Miss l’inrose, “without Mrs. Wayne’s bill. That’s eight more -hut never mind about it to-day,” seeing a-change in the girl’s face at her words. “But I do mind,” Florida said; “I did not. ' know she had made one, or I would have named it. But 1 won’t take these to-day.” handing , back a pair of handsome gloves: “I have some that will do” -a sort of hardness over the word —“that will leave me two and a half of the twenty dollars I gave you.” Miss I’inrose fingered her property irreso lutely. “ You’d better take them. The money makes no difference with me,” she said, at last. Florida smiled, hut shook her head obsti nately. “It makes the greatest possible one to me. Keep my parcels, please, till I can go down to Seabury’s; and if -John comes for me, tell him ; I’ll be here in five minutes;” and with that van- 1 ished through the shop door. Dr. Warner cause out of hiding and accosted his patient: “ You had a queer customer, Miss Martha. 1 did not know there was a woman whose princi ples had an inflexible cash basis.” “ Y ou have a heap co learn about women, well as you think you know them,” oracularly re torted Miss i’inrose. “ Especially this particular woman. I shall wait and see if she really will ‘be back in five minutes.’ Ill wager not.” “ She may; Seabury’s is so near. Have you heard she is soon to marry Elliot Fane V ’ “Why, no! I thought he was Miss Bertha Con way’s property. ” » “They 7 say he can hardly make up his mind between the two; and if he calls on one to-day, the other will see him to-morrow.” “That’s nobly impartial, I must say. But here’s Miss Florida, and the live minutes are ;• iOV.CUS L..UUIS *'i' ‘ - • ■■■ i UlOM indescribable parcels, the sign manual ol Christ ine- and the toy shop, whose wrappers seem ut terly inadequate to contain the bursting jollity of their contents. “.So you are Iiriss Kringle, eh ? Wonder if the old gentleman knows what a desirable alias he has in these parts? ” Dr. Warner said, offer ing to take her burden. “I wish I were Kriss Kringle. He doesn’t care for expenses.” “ Y'on dd not, either, from the looks of this,” picking up the empty purse, that had dropped and fallen open in the transfer. - “ Let me see. I surely haven’t lost my 1 luck money.’ No”—touching a tiny 'inner clasp— “ here it is, all,safe—the dime that black mam my put in my baby hands to ‘keep witches of’en de chile. 1 I keep it for seed.” Dr. Warner smiled and put the purse in his pocket. “I’ll take care of it for you until planting time,” he said; “and now, by your leave, I'll help you in the buggy. John shouldn’t risk you behind those brown devils. See ! he can't hold them still with both hands.” Then as he wrapped the robes about her: " I know Kriss Kringle never forgets a good boy, and what shall I get from, him Christmas day in the morning?” “ Something you don’t want, I hope,” Florida said, laughiDg a little at the doctor's unwonted liveliness; “for you are one of the spoiled chil dren now, and further indulgence might be fa tal.” He held her hand in a lingering good-bye clasp that the “brown devils.” had no mind to further tolerate, so took their Leads and dashed away at such a rate that in less time than I write of it she was whirled from sight. Marvelous to tell, he thought of her for at least two hours thereafter, and even went home to his late din ner with a sort of spring-time consciousness j about him; while she, whirling through the soft j electric air beside her taciturn brother, forgot i the sight and speech of him ere ten minutes j went by. It is a case wholly without parallel, I and one that I know must severely tax credulity; I but the fact is, Miss Richmond was using this | hour of freedom from her sister’s tongue to do j the steady thinking imperatively required of any wise woman by a clearly impending crisis. When the rich man of the country-side, Mr. Elliot, of Eliiotston, lay dying, people won dered no little as to whether he would leave all that money— quite enough for a dozen—to his grandson, and felt proportionally indignant when the will proved that he had done it; for that document, ignoring equally churches, charities and poor kinsmen, gave and bequeath ed all whereof its maker was seized and pos sessed to his beloved and only grandson, Elliot Fane, upon condition (here the anger was swal lowed in marvel) that the said Fane shall at no time within the ten years next succeeding testa tor's demise absent himself for a space of above two weeks from the house of Eliiotston and further, that within three years from said event he shall show, to the satisfaction of the herein after named executors, that he is duly joined in honorable wedlock; failure of conditions to work forfeiture to the next of kin. When they came to think it over, all agreed that it wasn't so strange atter all. Elliot Fane’s was a roving nature—a little wild, too and a home and wife that you must stay with are just the ballast needed to steady sneh a craft; be sides. the old man had family pride, and wanted to make sure that his own blood should keep his money. Conditions to the contrary, the heir was a lucky fellow, and then the interest centred upon whither he would perforce a-woo- ing go. It couldn't be far; that was insured by j the limited leave of absence from Elliotstofi, and straightway most neighboring damsels of bis own walk and way of life became, as was due their own modesty in presence of a man to whom marriage was a necessity, so consciously unobservant of him that the poor fellow, whilom the pet of all womankind, was fain publicly to declare that he would enjoy his freedom to its latest limit, and that even then he might give up bis fortune instead. That part of the young sybarite’s speech found few believers. His want | of backbone was too conspicuous for that. They ! did believe, though, ere many months were(