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Forty Years

Forty Years image
Parent Issue
Day
16
Month
April
Year
1880
Copyright
Public Domain
OCR Text

" It wnn't do," ?aid old Tibbets, shakitiR his hi'ad turiously. " I always have luitcil thcxe Partridges, and you shan't uiarry Fanny." "A inan'a affections," - began Horatio. " Nonsense !" cried old Tibbets. "You tülk likt a boarding school girl. You are i. : ij", I kunw ; but 1 give you warniux, it . ui persist, ['11 take that elever littlu Toi'iinn into partnership instead of you, aad you may beg or starre, :s you picase, tbr the sake of a red haiivd girl liko Fanny Partridge." " " " Off trotted old Tibbets as bc uttered these last words. " Give up Fanny Partridge ? Never !" a,] Horatio. Mcanwhile Mrs. Partridge and Fanny hard at it - Fanny in tuar.s; Mrs. Partridge in a f'ury. " I'd rather see you in your grave, Fanny," cried Mrs. Partridge. Old Tilbet's son 1 VVhy diuu't you oboose a cliimney .-wcep ! It was Tibbets that cheatud yiur pa's brotherout of' that piece ofpropeity. A biggtT rascal nover walked. No, :mny ; you walk over my dead body bef'ore you go to church with him." Fannie was seventecn and very submissve. Horatio, tuough five-and-twenty, ubmissive likewise. Parental authority prevailcd. Uoe raetting was allowed, in which the two tnight bid good-bye to each other. Fanny wept. Horatio held her ïands in both of his, and kissed them ondly. " They may yield in time," said Horair, or iiiii('tiiing uiay happen to alter hing. Be true lo me for a little while. hhall never love ány one but you." " My heart is broken," said Fanny, beeiving it sincerely. " But I shall be true to you all my life." Theo. be kiiaod lr. He never forgot ïow bard it was to take his-lips from hers, aml their arms eacircled cacli other. and it was a wonder the two yotmg lovers did not die Ihen and there. Oíd Tibbet rewarded bis son by making lim partner in the prosperous firm of Tibets & Co. forthwith, while Mamma Parridge hurried Fanny away to the uorth of banoe. Horatio did not forget easily. It had een a cherished plan of his to marry Fanny. He had a mind that was prone to dwe unon detaiL All his fancies about the future had been perfectly finished pictures. It was hard to believe tbat the üttlo round tea-table would never be set witb painted china; tbat Fanny, as 51 rs. Tibbets, would not sit beside liim in tho third pew from the front on Sunday mornings ; that he would not go with her to choose the color for the drawing room furoiture ; that they would not have their portraits painted, to hang one on cach side of the mantelpiece. Fanny was his practical or general idea ; that they niight have walked together forever in the moonlight was, perhaps, strongest witb her. Bul, had he been the most perfect hero of romance she could not have placed hini on a higher pedestal. The match certainly would have been a happy one had fate willed it to be a match at all. They loved eaoh othcr too well to hoek comfort in new lovers. lloratio became very steady, and shunned ladies' sooiety ; and Fanny, after refusing an English Baronet and a Germán Baron, declined going into society any more, and Hettlcd down with hermotherin a little town on the continent, where four or five English families dweiling there exchanged whist parties, and there were no young English people whatever. There, at thirty, she was still living ; andthen it was that there caine to the place an Englinh traveler who called upon her. He was a friend ot' Mr. lloratio Tibbets, and had been conimissioned to hand her a small parcel, and he was to teil Mr. Tibbets how she looked and was; and that he wan very well.qnite bald for his years.and unmarried. Then the traveler went away. The gift was a dainty work box, worth a good deal of unmey, and in the little box where the thimble lay was also a ring. lts motto was " Dinna forget." " Dinna forget." Fanoy never showed this gift to her mothèr, but ghe wore the ring against her beurt under her dregg. New hope crept intu her soul ; and when a year after, a good-looking, wealthy widower offered his hand, with a genuine love in the bargain, she refused it without hesitaron. Forget? Never I He had nut forgotten. But more years passed, ten of them at least, and the old faniily feuddwelt in the bosorus of the two old people. At last, at the age of eighty, Mrs. Partridge died ; and Fanny, all alone in what had always remained a etrange land, feit uiiserably desolate. Youth had departed - friends were few. It had been her mothur's wish to remain in France ; now her heart dictated a return home. The first morning paper that she opened there told her of the death of Mr. Tibbets, aged ninety. , The paper dropped from l'anny s band, and she sat quite motionless for more than twenty minutes. Then she began to cry very softly; and took the ring from her pocket and looked at it. "üinna forget," she sobbed. "I am sure he has not forgotten." And she began to wonder what he looked like now. He must have altered. Perhaps hu was portly, like his father. Well, she was rather stout herself. One could nut be a sleuder youth forever; and he had profecbty a streak of grey in his dark hair. Nothing could alter his eyes, however. Or, il' he were altogether altered, she would love him still. Wby not, since it was the h.nt that loved, and not flesh and blood? And she inanaged so that the news would reach him in a few days' time that she was there. He liad heard it, as she had meant he should. Fie was all alone, and very lonely. He had been an obedient son, and an affectionate ono, and had loved the testy rild man dearly. But npw he thought that it would harm no one if he should try to realizo his youthful dreams. He sihed and looked out of the window; walked to the fire-place, and stood there unrelenting ; brightening up, and began to make one of' his old fancy pioturos of Fanny at the other side of the fire. "She'U be older, of course," he said. " Thin - ïirrliaps Trafilo and worn ; pale, too. No mntti'r; it 's Fanny, and she'll be beautii'ul to uir.' And lic wroto her a letter on (ho spot, in which, however, he only told her he wus coming to see her. An elderly lady was walking in a green lane near Honsey, with two children, and a poodle, which was her own, the children her landlady's. She was a very stout lady with fmir chins and a red face, and no waist whatever. As she walked there came up the lañe a weazen o!d gentleman, with a large green umbrella undor his arm. His nose and chin met. His head was as smooth as an egg, exeept just at the nap of tbe neck, where six hairs (-till cluug. His ears stood out on each side of his face, large, yellow, and with frosty pinches on thoui. lic hail watory blue eyes, and a wart on his forehead. Just the kind of an old man the stout lady hated. For lus part he disliked fat woinen. " A frowsy old creature," hu thouht; and just then poodle and children all tied together with blue ribbon, tangled tlicmselves about his legs and uearly over.sot him. Come uere.iuy dears, don trun agmnst th gentleman in tli:it way," said tlic f'at ludv in a taint voiue. 'l'eopl! shiiuld teaeh tlicir grandchildren and their doga better tnanners," said the oíd gentleoiau to.stily. " My Ki'tinduliildrua ?" panted the oíd Indy, "wh;it itnpcrtinence ! I beg you'll not kick tliat dog, sir. Cruelty to animáis iti forbiddcn by Ww, thank henvi-n I" '' If' this dog in muil, a lie soems to be, I' 11 liave him shot, " saijj the oíd gentleman. "Come hore, Fido, darling," oried thc elderly lady. " My dears.run houie to your ma." And just thcn out stepped the landlady. To her the oíd gentleman addressed hiuiself. " I beg pardon ma'am. Can you tell me in which oí these houses I can find a lady of the name of Partridge- Miss Fanny Partridge?" " Why, is the house, sir," naid the landlady ; "and here's Miss Partridge herself." " Will you hand her this V" said the old gentleman, lookiug eagerly around in seareh of Misa Partridge, and never thinking of the stout lady. " Here ma'am," said the landlady, presenting the eard tothat individual. Thai, sir, is Miss Partridge." The name upoQ the eard was " Florutio Tibbets. " That hideous little old maB, like a weazcl,with a green cotton umlwlla, and no hair, Horatio? That overgiown woman, like a lobster, Fauuy ? Neither would believe it, but it was true - as true as age is, md time, and chaDgu, and all the rest of' it, They Bat on tbe horse-hair sofa in the parlor, and tried to talk ; and as they dij so, they discovered that Fanny and Horatio, who loved cach other, were both dead - as though the sods were over their poor hearts ! Had they martied yoars before, probably they would still have been dear to eaeh other, still pleaeant to look upon in the blinduess of affection ; but meeting us btrangers they repulsed each other. " If' he should presume upon our old affection," thought Fanny, "such a very disagreeable old man !" " If she should expeot me to remember the past,this dreadful mountain of Üesh !" thought Iloratio, and then he told her bfl was glad to see her so welt and " hoped they would be oeighbors." Sbe " thought that unlikoly ;" the place did not agrce with her. Each dodged the past, not guessing how very glad the other was to dodge rt also, and they parted forevor, politely hoping to meet very poon. That oight two pillows were wet with tears. Fanny wcpt for the youthful luvor of whose death she seemed to have heard that day, and Horatio for a lost Fanny, now only a memory. But there was no thought of any present liking, of any new flashing up of theoldflatae. They did not even with to meet again. There was a certain horror in that meetings not to bc forgotten. They never met more ; but when Fanny died, years after, the ring with its motto o " Dinna forget " - the ring which no power could have placed on her finger- hung bj its ribbon over her heart, and Horatio ha( buried with him a lock of her hair severet from Fanny's head in that long ago, when it was golden. Eeach heait was young and true; bu forty years of comfortable, well-to do life had been very cruel to their bodies - to their voices - to their manners. Do you suppose that somewhere beyonc the stars they bave met and are lover again? I hope so ; fnr in their own wsy they suffered greatly here for no faults o their own. __