Press enter after choosing selection

Who Made The Proposal?

Who Made The Proposal? image
Parent Issue
Public Domain
OCR Text

Dr. Gibson, having mnde au fessional visit to Mrs. Kellieott, walked down to the gate with her daughter Matty. Matty was 20 years old, and the doctor was 30. Her eyes were brown, and hia were gray. She " had on " a pink calicó dress and a white nmslin apron ; he wore clean, cool-looking linen clothes and a wide Panama hat. The gentleman adiuired the lady's flowers very trmch, especially the white roses - one of which, by the way, she had tucked tinder her ear. She inquired with considerable show of interest about I the Ruggles children, who had the measles. Ho told her gravely all about ' Tommy and Ben, Alice and Kit ; and, j when he had ünished, silence feil upon i them. Matty was leaning on the gate, looking down the village slreet. Slle thought how funny it wae for Mr. Scot-t to paint his new house pea-green with lavender trimmings, amd was about to say so tü Dr. Gibson, when he stopped her. He said the very last thicg she would have expecied to hear. He said : "Matty, I love you, aud want you to marry me I" Tho very look in the bright, brown eyes would havo told him, without a single spoken word, how thoroughly unlooked-for such a proposal had been. Sbe had never, in all the yoars she had known Dr. Gib3on, thought for a moment of the possibility of h.s loving her. She was very sorry, she told him, but she didn't love him one bit, at least in that way. But the tears oame into her her eyes as she saw tho quiet face grow a trifle palo. " I hard ly belie ved you did care for me," he went on, af ter a pause. " But I hoped you might vet leini to" "But - but-" said Matty, with i barrassment, "I thought every one knew I was engaged to ray cousin Torn." " Your cousin Torn I" echoed the doctor. It was impossible to mistake the impression which passed over his face. It was not merely personal regret at the f act she announced, but an impartía] disapproval of the match. He made no comment, however, but direotly said : "Matty, I shall never get over this - I mean that I shall always love you, and, if you need a friend or protector, or - or any one, you'll come to me, won't you ?" She promised and held out her hand to him, He shook it warmly, said ' 'God bless you !" and left her hurrieclly. Matty, still leaning on the wooden gate, watched the retiring figure out of sight. She was very quiet all day, and in the evening propounded this absurd [aestion : lTom, what would you do if I skould jilt you?" Torn stroked his downy upper lip, and looked pensive. "Couldn't say," he replied, af tor some moments of reflection. " You might try and see," "Pfcrhaps I will," she replied more soberly than the occasion seemed to warrant. Torn stared very hard at her, bnt immediately forgot the incident. Ncarly a year passed. One day Mrs. Kellicot's "help"rushed franticaliy into Dr. Gibson's liouse, and breathlessly announced to that gentleman that "Mr. Torn would fee deader'n a door nail loug bef ore he got there, if he didn't jump." Por two seconds, thinking of him as bis rival in Mntty's affections, the doctor had half a mind to consign him to the tender mercies of good, stupid old Dr. Wells; but his better nature prevailed, and he started for Mrs. KeLlicotfc's at the very heels of the servant-gir). When he arrived he found Torn in high fever, and delirious. He pronounced it a severe case of tjphoid fever, and privately added a doubt that he would recover. He sent to his om house for chauges of clothing, propared to devote hirnseli' to the sick man. Matty too, was ivnwearied in her work, and, being neoossarily muoh in Tom's room, oonsequently saw the doctor constantly. He and his patiënt presented a marked contrast to each other. The latter was captious and peevish to anunheard-of degree, and talked almost incessantly of some unknown being narned Kate. On the other hand, Dr. Gibson was so patiënt and gentlr, so strong and helpful, doing so mnoli for Torn, and yet not forgetting one of Jiis accustoined duties, that Matty oponed her eyes in admiring astonishmeni. One morning, as the doctor prepared a sleeping áraiight for somebody, and dictated to Matty a prescription for somebody else, she said with real solicitude : "Dr. Gibson, you will certainly kill yourself if you keep on at this rate ; and 'tis my belief that yon are overworked, and you ought to take a rest." " Do I appear to be at deiith'fl door?" he inquired, etraightening up, and sijuaring his shouldprs, as if proud of his proportions. "No, Matty, he continued solcmnly, though witli a merry twinkle in the honest pyos, "work, as Mrs. Bowers frcquontly remarks, is a paunaky." Matty uuderstood him and colored crimson. At laet Torn was pronouncod out of danger, and now the doctor feit that he must remove bimself and his belongings from Mm. Kellicott's house to his own. Matty, hidden by the honey'suckle-vines over the piazza, watched him go and cried a little. 'lhe morning after, Tom and Matty Hat on the piazza ; ho reading, or preteudiug to read, while she se wed dilinii tly. Neither uttered a word foj more than half an hour. Presently Matty shook out the muslin cap sbe was making, and iaid it ou her work-box, put her little silver thimblo aside, and dropped her hands, one over the othor, into her lap. Then she looked up. Torn was staring straight at her. She colorad violently, and so, for that matter, did he. " Tom," she began, " don't be angry. Oh, do forgivo me !" She paused, trying to think how ehe could teil him softly ; but she went on bluhtly, "I want to end our engagement." "So do do I," rejoined he, with difficulty suppressing a whistle. Then both burst into a hearty laugh. "Yousee, Mat," said Torn, when ho could speak, "I love sorae one else." Matty appeaïed to be taken quite by suroriSe at this declaration. "But I couldn't help il, indeed I couldn't. She is - " "She is a young lady whose name is Kate, and her eyes are the blackest, and her cheeks the reddest, and she sings ' Under the Stars ' with guitar-accompaniment," rattled Matty all in a breath. It was Tora's turn to stare. "Where did you fiud all this out?" he asked. "My dear little bird, etc. I think I'll go and write to my future cousin ;" and off sbe ran, glad to escape the questions which she feared he mlght propbund. ' ' But you haven't told me - " he called after her. "And never shall," she returned, whisking into her own room. In lesa than an hour she had reconciled her mother to Fate's decree, and written to Mis3 Kate Spencer, and persuaded Tom to write also, and had done niuch toward informing the whole village of her altered prospects. In due time Tom waa married, Matty officiating as flrst bridesmaid. Matty, after the excitement of Tom's wedding, bethought herself what she should do. There were her summer dresses to be made up, her music scholars to attend to, the aewing-circle and the fiowers ; but these occupied neither all her time nor thoüghts. There ought to have been Dr. Gibson, too, she couid not help thinking ; but that gentleman, instead of falling at her feet as soon as he heard sho w8 irse, paid her no mors altöntion than before. She waited for him, iu growing wonder and worry, an eternity - two weelis - and f hen took measures to bring him to him to his senses. Siie employcd only rocognized and ladylike menns, however. Sho began by flirting a little with different gentlemen. There was Will EIBff. This young gentleman had offered himself to our heroine, on an averago, four times a year, ever sincc she was 15; She had ïnvariably refuaed him. deoidedly and eniphatieally : but they were the best of frieiids in the world. She now told him in so rnany words, that she could accept all the attention he would offer her during the next week, taking care to reruember that this singular declaration proceeded not frora any special rogard for him, but was mado in pursuance of some occult design on her part. Furthwith the pair embarked upon what seemed to be the stormiost flirtation Skinnersville ever saw. In the long morning they drove or rode together ; they dined at Mrs. Killicott's, and immediately after sallied forth on some other excursión. Bot.b. ei-e eXcellent equeEtrianss aud Matty gloried in galloping over hill and dale, on one of Will's handsome horses. (Will, by-theby, was the son of a rich man.) Then they drank an early tea on the veranda and spent the evening at the piano or in reading. At the hour of 9, Matty always sent WU1 home, without a particle of cere-mony or regret at his departure. In short, what appeared to Skinnersville as a serious courtship was, in reality, a pure business matter, and so understood between the two parties to it. , . This state of affairs contmued tor a week or so, during which time the doctor ignored Matty's existence, except as she was the daughter of his dear friend, Mrs. Killicott. And all the time the girl was raging inwardly at her quandam suitor. 41 Why don't heask me at once sgain?" she quehed, mentally ; "lam sure he loves, and any one might see that I love him ; but I can't, and I "Buppose I shall be an oldmaid." But the doctor was not to blame. A man of the world would have seen through Matty's stratsgem, but ho did not ; ho imagined that she was either trying to drown her di?appointment at losing Tom, or had really decidod to uaarry the enatnored Will. The truth occurred to Matty at last. She could hardly believo such stupidity existed in the mind of man ; but she dotermined to try what modest and ing behavior would effect, bo she dismissed Will, and became, to all outward íesemblances, a little nun. Still no advanco on the dootor's part. He came and went constantly to the house, however. Matty gave up all hope, finally, of over comiDg to a botter understanding with him, when sometlüng happened. Dr. Gibson "droppod in one morniug, when Mrs. Killioott sat sewing on the pleasant veranda in the cool, refreshing breeze. "Yon musn't come hero, sao called, as he lied his horse to the hitching-post. "Mywork requires my undivided at tention ; besides, you'll step on the ruffles. You may go and help Matty, if you like." That young woman was raatong pies in the 'kitohen. She saw the doctor coming round the corner of the house, gave a hurried glauco at the bright bottom of a tin pan she was holding, found herself presentable, and greeted him composedly. She vas very glad to see him, she said. Wouldn't he come in. No, he wouldn't comn in, the day was bo benntifal. He would just stand on t' e little brick pavement ander the window, and lean over the sill. So there he stood ander the gi-epcvine trellis, with a little golden sanshine falling over his hair and shoulders. Matty observed that he looked thoroaghly unloverlike, and conoladed that he d'idn't intend to propos e. Sho also noticed a rip in his coat, and wondered who would mend it for hioi. Someway the talk veered round from the weather to woman's rights. Matty, oa this, spoke up. She didn't at all beliove in the secouA hand influence which reached the ballot box throughthe agency of hnsbands and brothers. " " Whon I vote," ehe said "I want to march to the polls and pu in mv own vote my own self." ' ' What a pretty spectacle yoa 3 make Matty, with that rolling-pin in you hand, and - " ' ' I'm not at all sure that I want to vote," ehe interrupted. " But I jus would like to make some laws, that' all." " Wel!, you might petitiou the Legis lature," suggeeted tie doctor, graveiy "Oh, they're not legal laws ; only social customs and usages. I'll tcll you just what I mean." She laid the rolling-pin aside, with an einphatie bang, placed her floury arms akimbo, looked very f aruest and determiued, and quite regardiess of the fact that she and Dr. Gibson were in love with each other. ' ' Now, at a party, when a lady sits nlone in a stüff chair all the evening, not dancing, simply bccause she hasn't any partner, and oan't ask any one, oh, you know, Lr. Gibuon, you know - " " How it is myself ? " interpolated he. " How it was at Mrs. Gampbell's the other night. If I had been Anna Kadcliffe, or Dora Collard, I'd have asked some of you men to dance with me." "Then you think women should have the privilege of asking for whatever they wish? " he retorted, with half a smüe. She answered that she thought just that. " Well, Matty, I quite agree with you. I not only think they should have this right in such a case you mention, but also in more serious affairs. For instance, women might, with perfect gropriety, make proposals of marriage.' Now, such an idea had nevor entered Matty 's f oolish little head, and she siezed the sugar-box with great embarrassrnent. The doctor went on, with much gravity " I am aware that it would fee a very unconventional proceeding, and I am afraid that no woman will ever be wise enough to take the initiative ; and yet I an persuaded that in many inetances it would be the most natural and bcautiful tbing she could do." He was looking uncon&ciously up at the blue sky shining through tho fllagree work of vine-leaves above hiin. It was evident he was thinking in the abstract only, but a faltering little "Dr. Gibson" ïocalled liim to the concrete. And there stood Matty smiling, blusliing, dimpling, ready to extinguislí herself in herorown ginghatn apron. " Dr. Gibson, I like you ever so much !" shefaltered, bravely, but broathlessly. The doctor jumped through an open wiudow, and made his proposal over again.-


Old News
Michigan Argus