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"a Model Martha."

"a Model Martha." image
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Martha Griswold had been a momber of her Unele Harry Griswold's family ever since sho could remember. Indeed, sho had been its most happy mumbcr, for, being of a healthy, cheerful nature, she did not morbidly brood over dependence, but thankf ully took tho goods the gods provkted, whioh, in her case, her uncle being wealthy, was measure iull to overllowing. Such a calm, steady ray of light in the house was sho that every one oounted the hoiirs when she was absent. Her aunt had often remarked to her husband that she hoped Martha would reinain single, for she did not know what in tlu; world they oould do without her. It looked now as if this would be the result, for Martha had been engaged to Gerald Allison for seven years, and for his love she had, much to the ire of her nule, dotlined m;iny brilliant offers. Gerald AJlison was a poor clerk, who had long looked fonvardtoan advancement in Iiis saiary, but each year name round with the oid, yot ever poiguant disappointment of boing wnablo to oö'or a suitable home to the woman who he had chosen from all the world as his. It eamo to be an old story that Gerald should come and go, though her aunt and unolo had little liking for him, as is often the case of the prosperous, to those less successful. To Martha's aunt and uncle the idea that she and Geruid would overy niarry was utterly preposterous. and her unole had once said to her, in the heat of argument: "This tardy lover of yours will keep all others away, and at last leave you hiniself." " I would as soou believe that you, who have been a fathcr to me, would turn me out of doors, in a pitiless storm," she answered, in her low, soft tones; but t'aith spo!8 in them. Martha lacked beauty, yet she possessed a gracious charm of mannerthat ■won more enduring aü'ection. She had a pure, fair complexion, large blue eves, olear and true asa child's, and a weaïth of blonde hair, which she disposed of in braids that ia glossy softuess crowned her head. She was below the medium height and given to embonpoint. Gerald was her entire contrast in appearance and temperament, being tall, dark and remarkably handsome, given to extravagant flights of fancy, and frequent fits of depression. Although they were contrasts in ths, yet they were one in all noble and ambitiousthoughts, in all generous airas for improvement. It was Christmas cvc, and the snow came down in soft flakes like white doves, as Gerald, covered with a mantle of the same, presentcd himsolf at the hall door, returning right merrily Martha' s Christmas greoting, as light of heart as a boy. But as she stood there, so daintily fine in beautiful raiment, her face trustfully tender, it struck him and not for the first time, that he was wronging her. How could sueh as she combat the wolf at the door? And when in the parlor, he sighed, drearily eontrasting its splendor with the poor comforts lie could give lier. Martha. hearing the sigh, said cheerily, though the tear-drops, those little messengers of soitow, tromblcd and glistened at the end of her long lashes: " Is it to watt another year, love?" " O, Martha!11 he cried, seizing both of her hands, "I have been blindly selfish; but, my darliug, I must not saoritice you; you are not made for the drudgery of a poor man's lot," and he dropDed his head in his hands iu utter hopelessness. " I cannot ask you to wait for me any longer," he continued, a break iu his voice, which is so touching iu a strong man. At first the quick blood of een3itivo feeling had criinsoned Martha' s face; but her faith was so strong in him that she could not doubt, and Tier hoart, so wornanlv tender, was filled with compassion for him. She put a soothinw hand upon his head, which he took and pressed upon his eyelids, and she feit tears upon it. "Could we she said and faltered; and he, looking up, she could uot meet his glance. "Could we not what? Can it be, love, that you are willing to leave all these gew-gaws, and share a ernst with me?" When he road her candid answer in her sweot face, he feit blessed boyoml deserving that she should thna lovt; him above all earthly things. "You are, just throwin vourself a way, Martha, hor uncle saui; -'you will alwajs bc as yooi' as a church mouse. Gerald has a ('me poëtica 1 nature, as you say. Wit will that oarn hira a way iu the world? l'd givo a. good tleal more for the old-faahionod word 'spunk.1 You are youug and romaatio, . but I teil you that it will be no playday with you; you will earu your name of Martha before you have been marriedayear; and when the cold winds blow and penury pinches, 3-011 will regret the warm nest you have let t." "No, unció, I fear uothing; we have temrierate wants, and with diligence we will succeed. The poor are inoro contented than the rich, and in that, at least, we can have a mine of riches." "Contentment never made thu kettlo boil, nor furnishcd. tlie rneat for the boiling; but its a rare tidbit for poetical souls to starre upan. These words, öomewhat impati.'utly spoküü, ended a long diicussion between Martha aad hei uncle. The wedding day had been appointed; and as Gerald 'ownod a little fann about ten miles f rom the city, Martha' 8 food seusesuorgosted that it vvould be etter to be oontfoilable farmers than poor city folks, for the farm would be a sure dependance. Sleepin" or resting, tiieir oropa would lt; jrowing. "What a wise iittlc woman," said Gerald, half in earpest, half in jet. lie eoiild not onduro the thoughtof Martba drudjring on a farm; but, in spite of pro'cstations," he at feil intf) Manha1! plan, liannily, saying, "Of all avocations, it !s the one 1 should ehooso ior nvsell', but 1 fear for you. "üut I p.m perfeotly healthy, au 1 have a strong heart for any fatë with you; and then I have expected to niarry a poor niim for the last sovon yoars, and I have not boon idleut have Vavor ed to ronder rnyselí a c.., tent, practioal housekeeper. Do iiut be frighteuod," she acide d, laughing at his look of wonderraent, "but 1 wish to impress upon yon the fact that we shall need no PhiilU to break our harmony - and thedishes." Soou aftor this conversatiou, Gor.ald took a ride to the farm and inspeoted the Jiouse. Upon opening the door, he was oppressed by a nioldy smell, and found it little üt to lx; the habitation of man. But patience workod its reward when, at last, cleaned, papered and painted, it presented an agreeablo aspect. But Gerald was troubled in spirit for ha had expended his small means, and not a pieoe of funiiture had he bought; and Martha, seeing a cloud upon his brow, coaxed from him his dilemma. "Oh!" she cried merrily. "Auntio has given me a store of oast-away furniture. There are piles of it in the attic." He looked forlora enough. Had he brought her to such extremity as this? "Come and sèe our treasures," she aaid, and r-oguishly tantalized him witli the sight of a misshapen mass of f urnituro whioh she declared triumphantly to be all her own. "Ah!" she said, "you have vet to learn, love, the magie of paint, glueand varnish."1 Then, more gravely, she extolled an old kitohen range that lay there, and displayetl its different merits, until he went away half comforted. But at night he had the nightmare and dreamed that the furniture took human shape and battled with him. The wedding cermouy was perf ormed at the house of Mar th a's unole, who lookod like an astrologor foretelling her doom, and the aunts and all the cousins sighed most lugubriously over tear-wet handkerchiefs. But, as a bit of comfort amidst this general wretchednéss, Martha' s unole put three hundred dollars iuto her hand at parting. "For pin money, my dear," he had said: but she thought, "It shall be for a rainy day." Gerald and Martha were glad to escape into the open air, as they started to the i farm, "upon their wedding tour," as i Martha humorously callea it. The winds blew bleak aud the oarriage jolted over a rough road, and Gerald feared for Martha' s disoomfort but one look at that dear, unrullled face, and h8 faint heart took courage. "Through storm and tide, we shall'reaoh' a snnnv shore at last, love," he whispered; and lovo and hope cast their halo of glory around them. The day befo re his.marriage, Gerald had taken to the farm the furniture whioh Martha had selected from the i debris, as useful to them, whioh ed of a kitchen range, a parlor stovo, a dmm, tvvo dozen chairs, three otd ; lounges, three arni-ohairs, two rockiugchairs, a kitcheu and a parlor table, threo beadsteads, scveral wash-stands, ■ half-worn mats, and many bright pieces of carpeting. Gerald put up the stoves, and with stove polish and hard labor diti justioe to them; for, from rusty, unsightly tbings, they beeame as brlght and as fine as now; and in a man ! fashion, he put things to rights as ' muoh as possible; but how scant and dilapidated looked the appointments! He thdught sadly that it was a forlorn I place to nsher a bride into. But what a bright-faiíed brido ontered his door with him, not at all cast down, but blooming with health and hope! A bright fire soon crackled in the kitchen" range, and its cheery warmth soemed to say "Welcome home." Martha, divested of bridal array, set about makjns preparations for their simple repast? 'Oh, my dear!" said Gerald, repining, "H is a shame for you to do such Riud of work." l "Wby a shamomy husband? Indeed, it would be a shame for me to keep help, whou I am so strong and well, without an ache or pain. Be not cast down, for my lot la one I have chosen, and I prophesy that it will be a happv one." What premonitions of ill could prevail against such a smilling faced prophetess, strong and brave at heart as any warrior? What wonder that the little misty doubt-clouds were frightened away, and that they set themselves down to their unostentatious meal like happy-hearted children for there was a g-uost oalled love at their table who is often a stranger to more sumptuous repasts. "Shall I do, or do you miss Phillis?" inquired Martha, lookins: demurely across the table at her husband. Gerald laughed, and vet doclared it was a shame. "But Gerald! I do not intend that my housework shall engross my whole time. I shall so plan it that I may have time for things iust as essential. Let us not be in such a race after wealth, that we curse with care an4 overwork onr present, for wealth is, more often than otherwise, purchased at the price of happinoss, health, and eonscience. and we can ill spare these from our life. Let us be diligent, and yet not forget the mental and spiritual noeds, nor vet crowd out those cheerful rocreations and diversions that keep the hoart young and the phvsical beiug healthv." "Yes," replied Gerald, his e ves dreamy and far seeing; "we will fashion a lifc of our own, not for any prototype; we will seek for a eompetence; and with prudence, which s another name for Martha. at the helm, can we not reafh it, without beiug too tired to feel life's beauties and benodictions?" Martha, within her heaits of hearts, said Amen. Gerald and Martha aroso bofoi-e the sun. They workod with enery, aocoinpHshinz moro in the sevéral hours I that they devoted to labor than those who droned lazily the whole length of tíre day; they worked with heart, for thero was the well-earneil rewaid of re-t awaïung hem, ana whicli their oonsciencB permitted them t take. "We shall not be broken down before our time, miserable, discontented gold heap;!r.s; but v,o will gat her the noney-laden noweirs :is we pass along, with mSrtoh lo Rwoüten the bitternoss of old age," said Gerald lo Martha. "But how mich timo tlicy waste," said out: noighlKH' to auotlmr, as they sat busy over their patchwork. " I am sure that thoy only luivi' what i time there ís. and they havo. a knack of gottinj' more comfort out of it than most 'lólks, 1 can tt-11 you. I have known vvomeu to buv yards of oalico, aud toar to pieces to m:iko juilts; aml ; f that is not an abominable waste of time I do not know what s." " God has giveu us so muoh time," said another daughter, taking up the therae; " and he who spends it the most wisely ís the bost off, I wot." So Martha made sorae converts; and a few seeds dropped by the wayside sometiiues gi-ow deltoious fruitage, whlch may be scattercd world-widc. The sumuner was waning when one day Martha' s aunt said to her husband, with touü and droop of njouth most sorrowful, "Ljt us go and sec poor Martha;" and fchey set out, fully prep&red to condolc with hor, Uncle Geralil, on generoua thought intent, having ülled his purse. But when they reached the gate, thure stood Martha as joyoua as auy gir), not the faintest suggestion of loneliness about her; and tïorald was bandaomer than ever, ïor happinesa nat well upon liim. They' just badu ffood-aay to a famous Judge, who, with his intelligent wife, had been gpendtng several davi with them; so Martha had not been anguishing in obsourity, as her uncle and aunt liad imagined; but friends had sought ihem oat. and cominj onne had come again. Unclo Geralil and wife paased a mo4 eharming d:i-. Mari ha' s aunt declared the house a perfect gem. "Indeed, I did not thtnk to find yon so well situated," the said, ertaoing some sui-priso. " But there hangs a tale" (thinking of the rejuvenatod fumlture) said Gerald, laughirg heartily. At parting, Martha said: "Do oome out and stay with us awhilo and get reoruitod; you look so worn out and weary, auntio." " Come of ten and bring the ckiklren,1 ' addod Gerald. Tliey gave glad assent, for their hard pride was all swept away; and those who came to pity went away almost pitying theinselves. Gerald and Martha sought out the best and easiest methods for doing their work and systematized t. They nevor used up their vitalitv by long-continued, exhaustive labor; and wheroas many of their neighbors aroso in the morning with too little strength or animation to do a good day's work, they retained the vigor, zest and ready accompli.shnient ofyouth. Martha. althougli sho providod nourishing food for the faniily, yot did not waste her proeious time in making pastry or rieh dishes to tempt the appetite beyond lts neods, and thereby she saved to herself many priceless hours. Although with ideas far beyond their neighbors, yet they did not obtrude them. Still, if called npon, they were not afraid to expresa their opinions against the popular one, which was that all time not spent in work was squauderod, and that money and good cheer were the chief end oí man. "Lifo thus spent," said Martha. " is little highor than that of the brute, and will pass in weary repining.s; wheroas, if spent as God intends that it should be, from the midst of labor a pravor of thanksgiving will flow from our hearts unoeasingly." Martha was always glad to give adwe to the inoxporienoed housewife, to lift a load from the weary sister; for many said to her, "I do not see how you manage." Yet this wise and skilltul matron did not become egotistioal in her superior knowleiigc. but said that she was blessed by nature with strength and health, and that by températe habits and prudonce she had proserved the samo. "And that," sho said, " is the charm that brings happiness." " When time filled the house with rosy boys and girls, she and Gerald wero not all nerves and irritability, but even amongst their grandchildron were hale and hearty, and able to enjoy with fresh hearts youthful pleasures; and Marl ha in hor boautiful old ago


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