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Love On A Farm

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'Are you my Aunt Dorcas ?' Mrs. Torrance had been entertaining a quilting bee that afternooD, and she had got the frame out of the way, the dishes washed up, and the apartment generally "tidied," when there carne a meek tap at the door, and there in the yellow April twilight stood a small figure in a gray traveling shawl, and holding a bag. 'Sakes alive!' said Mrs. Torrance, 'Who be you?' 'I am Emily,' said the girl. 'Please let me in, for I am tired and cold. I've walked all the way from the station, and I've had nothing to eat since noon.' 'Well, I never!' said Mrs. Torrance. 'You're the city school-ma'am, ain't you, as went out to live with Cousin Shadrach? And he's dead and the money has all gone to the Widow and Orphan Fund? You didn't make much by that move, did you ? And you've come back to us now, tliough we wa3n't stylish enough for you before. Well, come in, come in.' And Mrs. Torrance who was ossentially a kind-hearted woman, albeit she could not represa the sneer that rose to her lips, moved the low rocker to the fire and flung another log on the ancurons. Cousin Shadrach had been the family Apple of Discord ever since they could remember. He was rich, he was cccentric, he was crabbed. He had shuttbe door in the face ef all his relations, until, toward the last, sick and feeble, he had signifled his desire that Emily Alden should come and take care of him. And Emily had gone. There had been a spice of jealousy in the family as regarded Emily, f or a long time. Emily had been looked upon as 'proud' and 'stuck up,' because, instead of entering a factory, or learning the dressmaker's trade, she had elected to be a teacher. She had never visited Job Torrance's family until now - now that Cousin Shadrach had willed his money to the widows and orphans - her own mother was dead, and her stepf ather, a pompous old Wholesale grocer, objected to step-children, so that there seemed to be no other haven of refugs lef t to her. Who could blame Mrs. Torrance for a momentary feeling of triumph, when Emily Alden came thus to her doorstone in the tvrilight of that October day. But she helped her off with her thiugs, made a cup of tea for her, and flnally escorted her to a iittle room under the roof-tree, where the floor was covered with a home-made rag carpet, and the bed was decorated with a rainbow "Job's troubles" quilt, and you could look out of the widow into a greening meadow, where a whip-poorwill plainted its melancholy refrain. 'I hope you wlll sleep well,' said Mrs. Torrance. "We have our breakfast at five.' And then she went away. Early as was the breakfast hour, Emilywas awakeat least an hour before it. As if the tumultuous glee of the robbins and blue-birds in the old orchard would permit anyone to sleep! And as she lay with her cheek against the pillow, watching the rosy dawn-light creeping up the wall, she beard the sound of voices in the meadow below her casement. 'What is she like, mother,' said Jod, Jr., who was milking. 'Oh, she looks well enough,' Mrs. Torrance carelessly responded. 'Little and dark, with big shady eyes and a real Torrance mouth. Doesn't take a great deal, and is dressed shabby, as one might expect.' 'Poor thing !' said Job, pityingly. 'Well,' said Mrs. Torranee, sharply, 'I can't say but what I think she deserves all she's got. Them Aldens always were as proud as Lucifer.' 'Tou'll keep her, mother, of course.' 'I suppose so,' said Mrs. Torrance. 'I don't suppose she's got anywhere else to go." There was no more delicious dozing for Emily now. She rose hurriedly, dressed herself and carne down stairs. 'Aunt Dorcas,' she said, as she encountered that lady frying ham and eggs over the kitchen lire, 'what is there in this neighborhood for a woman todo?' 'Eb. ?' said Mrs. Torrance in surprise. 'To earn my living, I mean!' exclaimed Emily. 'Is the district school supplied with a teacher ?' Mrs. Torrance nodded as she placed ihe slice of frizzling ham on a blueedged plate, and arranged the eggs in golden spheres above. 'Is there a f actory hereabouts ?' pursued Emily. 'Used to be,' said Mrs. Torrance, bat they failed, and it's been shut up for ten months.' 'Do you know anyone who wants a girl?' pursued the city consin. Mrs. Torrance set the cofiee-pot on the table, blew the hom for Job, and then responded to her niece's query by a counter-question. 'Why don't you stay hereP' 'Because,' said Emily with spirit, 'I want to earn my own living.' 'Well, you can earn it here, can't you ? I was calculating to hire a girl this spring; and if you'll work honestly for it, ril give you the $6 a month I was going to pay hired help.' Emily's pale face brightened. 'I should like that.' said she. And then Job came in, tall, handsome and flushed, his curls yet wet from the spring into which he had djpped them, and a sprig of trailing arbutus pinned onto his coat, and spoke a frank welcome to the young girl whom he had never seen before. 'So Cousin Shadrach Seely is dead,' he said. 'Yeg,' said Emily, quietly. 'Did you like him 'i' 'No,' confessed the girl. 'He was cross and surly, and had no sympathy with anybody. But I tried to be kind to him, and he kissed me once before he died, and said I had been a nood girl.' 'And tben went and left his money to the Rei uge for Widows and Orphans!, said Mrs. Torrance. 'That'a Cousin Shadrach all over. He had a right to do as he pleased with his money,' said Emily, a faint glow rising to her cheeks. Well, it's all over and gone. There's no use talking about it now.' And she sighed softly to think how many of life's hard angles might have been avoided in the future, ïf only Cousin Shadrach had been less interested in widows aird orphans. At the end of a month Mrs. Torrance was forced to acknowledge that Emily had well earned her $6 a month and board. The girl had about her that wonderful magnetic power which philosophers dub "exeoutive ability," and New England housekeepers cali "faculty." She was a natural cook - she did things without seeming to take any trouble at all. 'I don't understand it,' said Mrs. Torracce. 'A little dark, slim thing that was brought up to sit with lier hanás folded.' And one sultry day in July, when Job and Emily came in from strawberrying, with crimson Qnger3, laughing faces, and baskets heaped high with the fragrant fruit, Mrs. Torrance startea in the solitude of her dairy, where she was nanking "cottage cheese." 'I declare!' she cried; 'I wonder Inever thought of that before. Oh, dear! oh, dear! 1 never can consent to it in the world.' Jeb came to her that same evening. 'Mother,' aaid be, 'Emily has promised to be my wife.' Mrs. Torrance burat into tears. 'You're only 26 years old, Job,' she faltered. 'Just two years older than when father married you, mother. Now - don't turn your face away ; but teil me plainly, have you any fault to ünd with my choico?' 'No - no,' confessed Mrs. Torrance. 'Did you think I could possibly win a sweeter girl than Emily Alden?' 'No, I doa't suppose you could,' ansvvered the elect; 'but it's natura!, Job, lo feel a little jealous, when you 3ee some one else taking the flrst place in your child's heart.' But when Job brought Emily in to receive her kis3 of greeting, Mrs. Torrent had sufficiently conquered herself to bid her new daughter welcome. 'Tüough I s'posed, Emily,' said she, a little bitterly, 'that ycu looked higher than a farmer once.' 'I never looked higher than one of nature's noblemen' said Emily, with a smile that fairly won the old lady's heart. That same evening, as they all sat together in the orange twilight, with the scent of tall, white lilies in the air, Emily suddenly broke the silence. 'Job,' said she, 'would you like to be rich?' 'Well, yes,' said Job, Td like money enough to keep my wife in luxury,' 'Would you, Aunt Dorcas,' said Emily, turning to Mrs. Torrance. 'Of course I should,' said the matrou, vigorously plying her knitting needies; 'but I don't ever expect it. 'But you are rich,' said Emily, with a little tremor in her voice. 'Job is rich - we are all rich together, with Cousin Shadrach Seely's money. 'But,' eried Mrs. Torrance, I thought he left it all to the widows and orphans.' 'Nol all,' said Emily. 'It's a secret, but I may teil you now. Half was left to the Kefuge- the other $30,000 is mine, to be paid over to me on the day on which I marry a man who. ignorant of Cousin Shadrach's bequest, has loved me loyally and well. Ifc was the old man's whim, and I have respected it. Oh! Aunt Dorcas, I came to you because in roy loneliness and bewilderment I knew not where else to go - but I little dreamed that I was entering directly into the kingdom of a noble heart.' It was true. Shadrach Seely, eccentric in life, had been equally eccentric in his death - and when Mr. Mustybill, the lawyer, paid over the legacy, he said, chuckling: 'It is all right! it's exacüy as my poor cliënt would have it! I congratúlate you, Mrs. Job Torrance!' And Mrs. Torrance, the eider, has a higher opinión than ever of her daughter-in-law's attractions, now that they are in a background of gold.


Old News
Ann Arbor Democrat