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Capturing A Wife

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l'aul Cheney sat at hls desk in the school room of a rural district, whcre he had been teaching (to use a well-worn adage) the young idea how to shoot. His present task ;i that of writinga letter toachum in iiis cily home. " No doubt (he wrote) you imagine T am dwelling la a sort of rural Arcadia, and just as lar M physieal nature goes, I aui, lor there can be nothing more green than the bilis, nothing more clear, cool or limpid, or musical than the brooks that evenwhere ribbon the valleys. Paradiso itself could not produce more life-giving brcezes, and yct tuy lile is a burden, because the girls (and they are greatly the majority of niy papila) are euch wtde-awake uiischief-loving, tormenting beauties as wcre never before giveu to one person to manage. They will have their own way, couipletely deiuor alize the school ; they tease, coax, and wheedle me out of niy most important rules, and when endurance ceases to be a virtue, cast upon me such reproaehful flanees and put up such pouting, pretty lips, that a fellow is tempted to seize his lint and vamose the ranch, as they say out West. Uut in spite of' my ooasplainu, don't imagine me subjugated. I have at last issued positive cominands for the wtudents not to range oft during study hours, as bas been the practice. A sort of' Gypsy encampment is localed near an isolated nook among the bilis. Among the tribo is an oíd fortune teller, and of course the pretty heads of my f'emale -cholars are completely turned, and 1 have not only laid down the law against visiting the camp, but fixed a penalty thereto. Now I know you will raise your hands in holy horror wben I teil you that after exhausting every other form of punishment, froui the dunce cap to writinglengthy couipositions (the bitter abhorrence of every feminine heart ! ) and all to no purpose, 1 have in this instance, resorted to the oldfashioned one, the ferrule. And so help me fite, I will carry it out to the bitterend, and make every little hand smart whoM . owner disobeys, or iay name is not Paul (Jheney." The school house where our hero presided was situated tome distance from the village where he boarded, and the walk, though pleasant, was lonely aud passed a graveyard. And of late weird tales had been told of ghosts who walk there by moonlight, aud in one or two insiam when the school-master had been belal ¦! he had observed an object clothed in white flit at a distance before him, and in his very path. Though a trifle startled, he had no doubt that it was a riddle that time would unravel. Therefore, upon the night when he had rcmaint.d wnting to the city friend, a- he liurried homeward to be in time for supper, he gave the matter no thought, and had reached the boundary of the graveyard wheu he was confronted by the white-robed apparition, approaching him with extended anus. The supgestions natural to its appearance were the reverse of pleasant, yet he never dreámed the gliding visitant was other than earthly, and quickened his jiace to meet it, hut to his astonishnient it disappeared as quickly and entirely as if it were swallowed by the earth. Not a little startled and puzzled, he hastcned home, but kept his own counsel. The next morning he proceeded to school more early than usual and spent some time in reconnoitering the walk oft he ghost, ;iml evidently to his satisfaction, for the broad suiile that ülutuinated his face as he entered the school-rootii, appeared to assure the pupil that their teacher was in ths best humor, and they would accordingly receive many indulgences. At recess a number of pretty heada were in close contultation, and Öue Salmon, a comely black-eyed beauty said with a pout : " wam't it mean for Mr. Cheney to threaten to whipany one who went up to the (Jvpsy encaiupuient? Just as if he dared to do it I " "I would like to sec him ferirule my band," chimed in May Ellis. " Or mine, cither!" cxclaimed Kitty Dalton. "What'sthe use of being puch cowardly ninnius, girls? Ijet's go in spite of him." " I will pay for aDy girl who will go with me to-day to have her fortune told," laughed Sue Salmón, nierrily. "Will you? Then we will aligo, oven if we have to submit to the punishment," toewend iMay. It was decided to run the risk, and accordingly when school closed at noon they marhed ofl' bodily to learu theu the mystcry of the future. " It must be half-past one o'clock at least," exclaimed one of the nuruber, as they wrrc lmtening back from their visit to tbe Gyjwy camp, lialf' repentant and anxious to know what would Le the rcsult of thoir breaking the law. "I wish we hadn't gone," s!ghed Kitty ruefdHy. " lt was all your fault, Sue." "1 know ir," roturned the young lady, with a merry laugh ; " and I am ready not ouly to take my sharc of punishment, but yours as well." " lt ia all very well totalk," said May, " lut you are sure you will get off with the liiihtest penalty, and that you can do anything you picase with Paul Cheuey." " ('au I ? Woll, then I'll shield you for you disobedience. So cheer up and be brave, llere we are, and school has comDliïlccd." They marohed in and took tbeirseats, and lit'ted tbeir guilty eyes to encounter the indignantly flashingones of their much abusM teacher. Of all the scholarsSue was the MBttiest, moot lovable, and most trying. the laughed his most serious and j,ut reproof' tu scorn, and when she found he was n nlly wouuded, her great black eyes would flash up to him through tears and appeal to be forgiven. And somehow his voice always tuned itself lower whe he addressed lier, and in spite of hiuiselfshe nianaged to throw upon hiin the solving of all ber most difticult problems. She would come opto him with such a pretty, pleading pout, with " My head aches ho," and protest she could not do her algebra unassisted ; or " Migbt I not be excused froai writing that dreadt'ul compositioD for jut this once, picase?" And promised todo anything else hé wïshed ; aud she lookcd so winsome, prettv and bright when he yielded, thatshe uaually carriea the day. So, when the master, in a hard, cold voiee oommanded the young ladies who were late d school to leave tbeir seats and take places bal ore his desk, to his surprise Sue said soniethitig in a whisper to ber companions, and canil! gracelully and quickly furward alon', and leasing her whiio arms upon his desk as fur support to her treubling limbs, eaid : " Mr. ('heney, we have been to sec the (Jypsies, but I alone am to blanie, and am ready to lakethe punishment you think the rest liave, merind toget her with whatismy just due." " Oh ! you wish to make youreelf a sort of BOapegoat i'or jour companions? " he questioned, with a rlushcd face. "Yes, sr, lt yon picase," murinurcd Sue. '¦ Well, ii' I don't alease ? L lliink that you have sins enough of your own to an swer fr, wtthouf shouldering those oí others." "But rcally and truly," pleaded she, with tears in her glorious eyes, "I am alone to blame. 'J'hey would not have gone but for me. and you will make me perfectly Wretched il' you theui, when the Faalt was all mine," and shesobbed audibly. " I sbould lie sorry to do that," he answered. " lt is enough that you make every day of my lile wretched without my retaliating, nnd if you will answer for the good liehaAior ot' your eompanions in future, it sball be a-s you desire. " "I will," promised Sue, but she grew deadly )ale to the lips as he extended his hand to receive hen. The iHXt muiucnt her little palm lay in his great broad one, above which the tuier was pateed for the blow ; and though their hands were bidden behind the desk. the btom could be distinctly hjaard, "Ooe, two, three, four - one foreach truant," .said the teacher, looking down into the eyes of Sue with an expression none but she couid interpret. The next instant the face of Sue was buried in her handkerohief, and her cheeks crimoned as witli .-hatne. Then she ?poke in a pup_prewd voice to the teacher, and he had to bend low to hear her. " Who is the roapegoat now ?" shequestioned, and the dimples bttrayed that ber era o t ion was laughter, and if lier eyes were filled with tears they were not isorrowful ones. " Xover mind," was answered by the teacher, as he bit his uioutaebe to bidé a simio, You may tuke your seat now." " What a enerous soul," munuured Sue, as she laid her head upon the desk. " I knew he wouldn't strike me. His broad hand entirely covered mine and received every blow. llow the giils would laugh if they knew it. But I won't teil. Thatshall be our little secret." Tha rtuiainder of theafternoon thestudied very diligently ar.d recited cleverly, though thtre was a very saucy light burning in her brown cyes that argued ill for gome one. When school closed for the day, the girls flocked around her with mauy expressions of sympathy. " It was f o good and noble in you, Sue, to take all the blame and the puni.-hmetit," exclaimed May. "And huw ridiculous he looked pounding the little hand of a lady," added Kitty. " I am sure he must think very little of hiujsclf, and as for me, I hate him." "Sodo I," said Annie Miller, "and would sit up all night to lind time to despise hitn." " Don't be fools ! " interrupted Sue, with a flash of anger. " I think he was very kind and generous to let us off as easy as D ilid, fjr we were wrong and he was right." ' I thought it belonged to a gentlemnn's code of honor never to strike a woman ? " answered May, with a snee. " The trutb is," replied Sue, " he fixed the penalty so severe and unrelenting that he supposed no one would disobey, and when be was torced to fulfill the law he pui.ished one girl in place of four, and as it was ueither of you, I think you ought to be satisfied. Supj)ose we let the subject drop." "So be it. But if he reniains at the school house late, again tonight, shan't we liamit him ? " " Ye.s, " said Sue, "and it is my turn to be the ghost too. There is jolly fun in that." Meanwhile l'aul Cheney was again writing to his city chuni, and in conclusión he saiil : " I have had a hard day. The girls were unuuully provoking, and the knuckles of my left hand are very niuch swollen, from an injury received while punishing one of theao. You need not be surprisod to hear that I havo given up teaching. The Plainville Academy is proving too niuch for me, and 1 may on most any day drop in upon you." The letter finished, ho stgrted for his boarding place, but as he approached the grave-yard there flittcd before him a whiterobed ghoat, which disappeared, as he neared it, with a mysterious facility. But nothiiiL' ilaiintod, be pressed rapidly onward to an inmenso hollow tree, and forced hisway into itsdepths. Therc wasa smothered cry of alarm, the removing of a sheet, and Sue Salmón stood panting in the arms of l'aul Uheney. " So, I have at lastcajitured the ghost," be eaid langhingly. "O, please let mego. See, you have frightened the girl, and they have all run away. 80 please let me go." " I do not please just now, Miss Susie, I have a long arouut to setlle with this particular ghost." ''Then seUle it quickly, and let mego," she said, impatii.ntly stamping her little foot. " Well, let me see. How niany nights have I been haunted on my way home ? " "This s my first night," asserted Sue. "All the girls look it by turns." "Ah! didthey?" And you are generous enough to again be their scapegoat, and take their puuishment along with your own?" " Yes, yes ; only please let me go." "And there were four of you," and stooping down to her flushod face bo left luur kis.sos burning there. " I will never forgive you," she exclaimed, struggling from hint, and, standing a littlc apart, began twisting her long, loosened hair, and coiling it at the back of lier pretty head. " I shall be sorry forthat, vcry sorry, 8usie dear. As I told you to-day, you niake my life miserable, yet I love you wiih all my soul." "And I hate you," she replied passionately. "Are you going, Susie," questioned he, " and without a single kind word?" " Yes I " she snapped out, " and give me that sheet. I am sure I don't know what mother will say, because it is so torn." " One little word, "hecsntinued, " before you go. We may not have another opportunity to see each other alone, as I shall loave this place next week." " Going away ? " she asked, with a little quiver in her voice, and stayiug her steps. " The term will soon be out, and I .-hall not teaoh longer - least of all those who hate me, and refuse to be guided by me." She drew neurer to his side, with downcast eyew, and giving him her hand said softly : " Forgive me, Mr. Cheney, I have been very unkind and rebelliou. 'J'o-day you bruir-ed your own hand to save mine. I saw how red and swolleti it was, and that was ihe most severo puuishmentyüu could have n flicted on me." "A bruisüd hand is nothing to a bruised heart," he replied. " I did not know that I was iujuring so important an organ," " When you say you hate me darling - " " I - I did not mean 1 hated you. I am very grateful, and - and so sorry you are going away." "Thenifyou love me," he whispered, twiuing au arm about her, " bid me stay." "Then - stay - stay, only - " " Only what, Susie ?" " I am done being scapegoat for any mortal or ghost either." "That is right, and henceforth reeeive only rewards." What she might have said in responi-e he never knew, as her lips were for the moment effectually soaled. A few months later Paul Cheney's city friend was not surprised at his return, tliounh he was at his bringing back a bride, l lie chief of his toruientors.