Press enter after choosing selection

My Cousin Julia

My Cousin Julia image
Parent Issue
Day
16
Month
December
Year
1880
Copyright
Public Domain
OCR Text

She was the most singular gilí 1 ever knew; the strangest combinatñon of rattleheadedness, and real sound gense, of cutting sarcasm, and trae kindheartedness so ouriously blended that yoi uever could teil which equality would be uppermost. She had an unconquerable propensity for 'thinking aloud.' as -we called i t, "which meant that whatever occured to her mind would be expnsed by her tongue. She was a studious girl, and had read inany good and useful books, so that she possessed a íund of valuable iuformation, and could lier iailing have been eradiated, we would have been really proud of her; as it was she kept évery one about her in hot water. At the time that my story toegins, she had arrived at that wise but earJy age, which young ladies (and youug gentlemen too) oïten attain, wheu they know about all there is that's wortli knowing, and consider every atteuapt to counselor direct thetn as unwarrautable meddling witli their aSairs. M wise young people, let me give you a truthful statement of the case. Suppose that your little brother aged two vears, had been left to your care. Tliere is a:i open cistern in the back. j yard, and a pasture on the other side óf the barn.'in which several playful colts are galloping about. The little feliow can't see any possible harm in lean ing over the cistern to look at the pretty child reilected there, and strenuously resists every iuterferenee ot jours. He wants to go and see the colts, d no argument of yours can con vince i ■Mm that they are not pretty harmless (crfiaxures. and yourself a medtlling i tyrant who selfishly interferes witÈ liis enjoyinent. Is the responsipility a pleasant one? And yet you dare not for one moment relax the vigilance for which he only I blames you. Julia had long looked upon my i monstrance or attenipt to counsel as selfisli scolding, and when I invitedher tu spr-r.d a few weeks witb us, I believe that her mother was actually glad to resign her to me. For two weeks I congratulated myself upon havingsuch a Iielpful, sensible girl about the bo Trae, she did say sonie very sarcastio things, but 1 did not nmid thein, and i lerhaps I made more allowance for short comiugs, because I liad often heard it remarked, that 1 used to be very much like her. but there were no j hands so willing as her's to perfora) kindly offices for the sick, and she possessed rercarkable skili for one so youngin preparing daiuty dishes for 'íeeble appetites. Such was her propensity for learning everythiug that she aaw any one else do, that, 'Julia can do it,' had becoine a family proverb, whenever any difficult feat was mentionfid, for she received her ful! share of ridir:le, iind many times, less tiiau her ibhare ef credit. 1 fotuid however that lier propensity was likeúy to cause me some mortiflction, for .she would not confine her 'Caustic reinarks to those who were iwilling to overlook them. The exuberant spirits made her more eonspicuous sornetimes than I would have I w ished her to be, and upon one occasion Deaeon Ilodge, who appeared to be üonsiderably interested in her welfare, ventuied to lectu:e her upon this peculiarity. fíe was a widower, and very solemn, and precise in nis conduct. A f ter telling her how much more womanly she would appear if Bhe ■ could check the uuseemly tiow of spirits, and that she did nut know how soon she might be called upon to fill ati important and responsible position in life, he asked with a peculiar pationizing smile,' 'How old ave. you, Miss . Julia 'i' Just then her glance detected the twinkle in ruy husb;md's eyes, for he had already been teasing her &bout the interest which the Deacon manilested, and she replied, 'I ara a great . deal older than you ar-i.' 'What makes yon think soï'asked Uhe Deacon smiling blandly. 'Jíecause I am oíd enough lo mind ■iny own business,' was the proniyt i reply. ThejDeacon was very mucli ofíentl ed, and i was dreadfully uaortitied. Julia,' I said ai ter ie had gonc. how could jou have spoken .so to ;Deaca 'Rodgs. i was bo surpñsed ; and ashamed tbat 1 scarcoly knew what to say.' 8üe buist Lnto tears ■xclaimiiig. 'That's just tbe way ít always goesl Everybody is always teasmgme, and if 1 take my own part the least bit I have to be scoldtd.' 1 must eonfess that iny patience wae severely tried on more than one occasion. If I am Batisüed that one is rather weak-minded, 1 do not blame lier so mucli, but whe.n 1 know that a girl has good sense, 1 thiuk s)ie ought to use it. I detei minee' neveragain to : alíndelo .Tuliu's failiug; but to w;tit until Boaaething transpired to wnke hersee her own folly. She was more cautious alter that, in speaking directly to a person, byt nevertheless she would indulp ín remarks whicli Bhe wouUi liave been very unwillinji t have overheard on llif subject. We had ;i neighbor who was ti very good woman in her way, hut very puritanical in her ideas, and baviug no cbarity wliatever for the follies and vanities of the world. She utterly denounced all social gathering, and declared that donation parties were no better than dancing parties, beingonly manif estation on the part of church ineuibersi, oí a desire to partake of the f oilies which they had rmounced. There was no tongue like her's in raerciless denunciationa oL the Bhort;oming9 of others, and I confess to having a wholesome iear of hei, lor I vvould as üef have stirred up a nest of liorneta, as to have provoked her ■ rath. I had lived on friendly terina wiiii her for flve years, and one raorning L received a friendly cali from her. I entertaincd her in the parlor, while Julia was in the next room with a young eompanion. Mv cousin had a clear ringing voice, wfaicfa seemed to echo to every part oí' the house, especially when she was saying something that I did not want eehoed. I feared that the good woman would be shocked at Lhe merry laughter of the girls, for I knew that 'sobriety,' was what she consideied as an essential element of a young ladies' beliavior. Jndge of my horror then wlien [ heard Julia exclaim, 'I don't see what makes eousin tliink so much of that queer Mrs. Watson I notice her every time I go to church. Not a sign of a ruffle or any other trimming on hei dress, no vain and wicked flower upon her hat, and such saintly look upon her face. She wears some very sinful looking curlsthough, butl supposs it's because they stubbornly refuse to be oiled out.' I fairly easped for breath, and before I could recovei' myself enough to speak, she continued, 'How would L look with the corners of my mouth drawn this way, and my eyes rolled up prayerfully '?' Mrs. Watson turned white with rage. 'Madam,' she said, 'If you keep such sinful minded creatures about your house, I have no desire ever to cross your threshold again' and she trotted from the room without so much as wishing me goodmoming. I immediately went to the door, and said. 'Julia, Mrs. Watson has just gone trom the liouse without leaving any invitation for either you or me to return her cali. I suspect that she was uot pleased to know that you do not like her style of dress.' 'Did she hear me?' she asked, her face turning scarlet. 'Every word,' I answered. She ran out of the room and I did not see lier again till almost dinner time. 'Well, cousin, give me the scolding, 1 suppose I deserve it, and I want to liave itdone with ; there's one consolation about it, though, when you've talked it over once, you'll drop it, and the rest of our folks always harp on the same thing till they get something iiew.' 'I am not going to seold, Julia,' 1 replied. 'I don't know as it is any of my business, and 1 have enough to do to keep a guard over my own lips, without attending to yours. You are old enough to do this for yourself, and If yon do iiot, it will not be done. She was more caref ul for a long time afte.r ibis, but low she did sufEer froin lis. Watson's tonguel She tried to prejudice all theneighbova againsther, and in some caaes she succeeded, aiid the poorgirl couldgo nowhere without hearing sornething t.hat Mrs. Watson had said about her. She went out to gather berries one day, at the top of a ; avine which bordered the creek. After awnile she heardjsomejone calling in appajent distress. She hastened to the spot, and tound Mrs. Watson lying at the bottom of the ravine with a dislocated ankle. She had gone out upon ! he same errand, and while reachíng tora tempting cluster of berries, the loóse earth gave way beneath her feet, and she w ent rolling down tiie bank, loosening the stones, and breaking Lhrough briars and bushes, until badly scratclied and bruised, she reached the bottom of the ravine, and when Julia íound her she was groaning helplessly with the pain of her injured limb. 'J'ouch me not with your sinful hands, but go instantly for help,' sbe exolaimed, as Julia apiroached. 'Gertainly, Mis. Watson,' replied the girl, 'I will gladly render you any asriistance in my power. I don't think tbere's a nest of yellow rattlesnakes near here. I haven't seen any, and you mustn't imagine there's a den of them under tbat roekabove youjustbecause it looks suspicious. You didn't jar it in your fail.did you? Here is a stout cudgel that I will leave within your reach, and I think vou will be able to defend yourself if they come one at a time.' And taking the woman's pail froni which she had spilied the berries, she rilled it with water from the creek and placed it near her saying, "I shall not be gone more than half an hour. It is a mile to the nearest house, you know, but I will walk fast; you might get thhsty, however, if lever should set in from your sprained ankle.' She had scarcely disappeared among the bushes when a hysterical cry of 'J-u-u-1-i-a,' caused her to retrace her steps. She round Mrs. Watson pale and trenibling with excitetnent, but unable to move from the spot. 'Corue quickly,' she said, 'I do believe 1 hear one of those dreadíul reptiles crawliug through the lea ves over Ihereby thatrock. Get a good stout club and go and see.' ' Ko, Mrs. Watson, I would rather not,' said Julia, 'snakes may be very íiuch like people, and if I should give liim a playíul rap ou tbe head, he might i unk ttaat 1 was iu earnest, and in spite oí alí the apologïzing that I could do, he might go hito his den and prejudice lis frieiids against me, and if they hhouM come and üudyou in my company, they could eonsider you no better. llegard for your safety compels me to decline to uieddle. There is a v, heelbarrow i little way down the ra Lne, léít theve by some workmen, but ould be oí no uae for me to bring it. You could not get upon it alone, Knd you would not allow my wicked hands to touch you." 'I don't know how I can help myself ,' said Lhe wc man, look ing timidly toward t he rocK. 'Don z üe gone long ; 1 dread to have you leave me.' Julia rkfl swiftly away and ?oon returned with tlie wheelbarrow, andtlie injured woman was obliged to askher aasistaüce in gettiug npun it. She was [y seated, however, and Julia unlertook the task of wheeling her out iftheravine. Following tlie descent it was easy enöugh, but at'ter awhile íhey carne to a place where it was up luil business. For a wliile she tugged I tbe wheelbarrow energctically, but ut lengtli she suddenly stopped, and with the perspiration streaniing down lier face, and iiand3 blistering with the unusual labor, she exclaimed : 'Mrs. Watsun, I feel that I am too vvieked to wlieel such a just and righteous woman aa yuu. Hy conscience nis bten awakening to the fact for sorae time.' 'You are a KÏnd-hearted creatuie, Julia, and sincn you begin to realize your own unwoitliiness, there is hope for you. i begin to teel willing to allow you to remove niy shoe; my ankle ïa üvvolleu painiully.' Julia removed the shoe and ran back tu the creeck, brought water and bathed the injured limb, bound lier handkerchief around it. and then resunied her task, although she was coinpelled to rest every few moments. After aw'hile she stopped, trembling with exhaustion, and holding np her bruised and blistered hands, said, 'Mrs. Watson, what have you ever done for me that I should do this for you ? Do 1 owe it to you in the return for the forgiving spirit which you have manifested toward me ?' 111 take it all back, Julia,' said Mrs. Watson, coaxingly. 'Tliat won't undo what you have done, and my strength is completely exhausted,' replied Julia. 'I acknolwedge that I have made too little allowance for your youth, and the natural gayety of your spirits, said the woman. ril go for help,' replied Juüa. 'But what if a herd oí unruly cattle should pass this way ? I could neither run nor flght. Take me upas far as the road, and then stay with me until some one comes along, and I'll teil all the neighbors that 1 have misjudged you, and am sorry for what 1 have done.' 'How can I do any more after m y strength is exhausted?' said Julia. Mrs. Watson began to cry. " 'Walt till 1 am vested a Httle, and l'll try again,' sald Julia. For another half hour she toüed paini'ully at her task, and then the uwner of the wheelbarrow came aJong in search of nis property, and took the injured woman. Julia accompanied her and assisted in dressing the sprained limb, and made her as coinfortable as possible before she lef t. Mrs. Watson was as good as her word. She told every one who came to see her while she was confined to the house of Julia's kindness, and her efforts to rescue, imtil my cousin becanie quite a heroïne. The lesson did Julia more good than all the lectures that she had ever received. Her troublesome propensity had received a check, but the habit of a lifetime is hard to subdue ; and at intervals it would return, so that she was obliged to have one more lesson. We were to have a grand festival, the affair of the season, in fact, and I confess that I feit a sort of motherly satisfaction when I learned that mv cousin had receivedan invitationfrom Judge Weaver's son, the niost gentlemanly and exemplary young man in ;own. He was not twenty years of age, jut he occupied a responsible positiou in his father's office, and he never smoked cigars, drank beer, nor played bilhaids. He was scrupulously neat in his dres8, and a model youngman inevery lespeet, and there was not a mother in town who could not have been pleaseil to soe her sons and daughters in his co m pan y . Julia endeavored to conceal her pleasure at the event, by assuming a light indifferent tone whenever his name was mentioned. 1 took special pains to assist in her preparations and I really feit proud of che blooming country girl, when slie .stood bef ore me for a final survey. Slie had dark luzuriant hair, dark yes, clear complexion, rosy cheeks and ven teeth, with a rounded graceful orm. At the last momeiu she ran into the arden to get a rosebud to twine nong her curls. "VVhile she was gone, [r. Weaver came. He had scarcely taken a seat. in the arlor before 1 heará her quick spingng step in the family sitting-room,md lthough I could not distinguish a ord from any one else, that clear nging voice came distinctly eahoed irough the intervening walls - ■ 'Happy ? who wouldn't be with such dear little duck of a fellow as that ? ; will be so nice to walk into the room onscious of being the envy of every rl in town. I shall be as proud of ïim as he is of ihat delicate little musache ! lt took me some time to dede whether it was a living reality or ie shadow of a fly's wings which ïanced to light upon his nose. He's oung yet, and there's time for develpment, however.' (she was 16.) The young man's face flushed with minful embarassment, then suddenly aled with anger; at that moment ulia opened the door. He rose with a ow bow, saying: 'Miss Horth, I will return for you when time has so f ar improved my personal appearance that I need not fuar your ridicule,' and left the house alone. A crimson flood swept over Julia' fuce, then she turned alrnost as whites as her dress, and stood looking at me in helplessconsternation. Foi a moment her face alternately flushed and paled, Uien she burst into tears. 'What is thematier, Julia? you are not going to be ucolded,' I said. Scolded! I would be willing to be scülded if it would do any good. I wish he'd fall into that ravine and break his ankle," she said with a hysterical laugh, while the tears rulled clown her face. 'Oh, dear! I can't bear it ! How the girls will laugh at me,' said she, with a f resh burst of tears. 'Can't you keep f rom telling it ?' I asked. 'Telling it! You know I'd die flrst,' she exclaimed indignantly. You may be Bure that lie wont,' I replied, 'and if it is possible for y au to keep it to yourself, they will not know il.' I really feit sorry f or her, f or I never tw any one so deeply humiliated, but ifter a wliile I said, 'Julia, íf you had ried as hard to break yourseli of this labit, as your friends have, do you Lbink that this would have happened P" 'I never could see any harra in it till ]canie here. I thought they were mean 0 scold at me,' she answered. This lesson was elïectual, and she not only conquered the habit, but was willing to listen to the advice of friends. Four years afterward she visited na again, and she found employment in a village school a few miles away. One evening just as school was closed, a yoimg gentleman drove up to the door with an elegant carriage, saying: 'Miss Ilorth, if my personal appearance is sufficiently improved, 1 would be glad of your company as f ar as your cousin's residence. 'If four years has been long enough time to enable yoïi to overlook my thoughtless folly, I shall be pleased to accept a seat in your carriage,' wa the reply, and thus they were recon ciled. What will be the reeult, I leav t4m to teil.

Article

Subjects
Old News
Ann Arbor Democrat