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How He Won His Wife

How He Won His Wife image
Parent Issue
Day
5
Month
January
Year
1883
Copyright
Public Domain
OCR Text

Auo-ust is nearing lts close and going out in tcars. Such mists and waterylooking cloudfl! Such drippings and droppino-s and miserable, forlorn lntle Showorsi It requires a cherry spint to bear up under the wholesome gloom. but rain nevcr depresses Dr. John Miles; it rather exhilarates him, like fine wifie. To-day, as he rides along throngu the black mud, he is whistling in boyish fashion some endless tune that falls in musieaUy with the slush, slush of his horse's f eet. Now and then it is temporarily -stopped by an intrusive drop of rain, or violently interrupted by a great dab of native soil; but even these seal his lips only for a time, for with alaugh he wipes them oft, and resumes his merrv note aarain. His is a joyous nature. Just as ne brushed away that last drop of rain, does he throw off all the lightei wornes of life. Some who knew him think his heart is only a surface- all eurrent and no depth. We sonietimes flnd that the deepest and most dangerous pools lie iust below the lightest, swiftest eurrent. But what is all this expanso of water iust ahead of him? He has been in Texas only five years, but he knows what it means. The Blanco river is upi The continued rains gathering slowly day by day, in the many gprings that feed its head, have suddenly rushed together in ono mad, bounding torrent, and pouring through the river bed have widened and deepened it all along its course, tearing up trees and rocks in its way, until what in the morning had been a harmless, fordable little stream is now a dangerous, roaring river. cd men generally are- but looking aoross the swift, foaming waters, whert; swimming is well uigh impossiWe, he admita that his prospects for reaching the furthcr shore are very, very uncertain. He looks down at his horse. Brown Uick has good blood iu his veins, aml the doctor always trusts good blood in man or beast. He pats lnm on the neck. 'Oíd fellow, can you do it?' The horse whinnies back, and his master takes courage. He and Dick have been through many dangers togethor, and have always come out safe on the 'other sido,' so why not this time? To retrace Ins steps anti nna sneuur in somo friendly farm-house is to become weather-bound porhaps for days, aud imprative duties eall home. Patients are waiting for him; an appointment with another physician has been made for the following morning; and then- and tlien, too- when Jeannie Cameron looked up at him last evening, and asked him to eome to her 'little musicale to-morrow night.'hc had promised that he would, and he had never yot faneu to Keep nis woni. Ho remembered just how soft and luminous hor brown eyos were when, with that little touch of imperiousness inhervoice, she had added: 'Now, do not fail to como, sir.l Her eyes would always plead even when lier voice comnianded, and how he had answered back in his jesting way: 'Foul or fair, I will be there.' He wonders why he did not teil her then how dear those brown eyes were to him; why he'did not take heart 'to speak out what was in him, clear anc stroug.1 He has loved her faithfullyal . these years. and vet in his humility has nnn. Jaa1 +ía +iill linv en lint. t.liOti. he thinks, she must have guessed itover and over again - must havo feit the te:iderness and passion that lay alwaps just back of his light words. Well he will teil her to-night. This decides him. He wil1 try the -iver. He promised her to be there, and he once told her that to bo falso to your word was to be cowardly. He remembers, too, last but bitter thought, that his rival, handsome Joe Dudley, will be there, and with the thought there spring into his eyes such n fiery gleam of passionate resentment that the laughing gray orbs become in their fiorce displeasure almost unrecognizablo. It is a glimpse of the still life of the son I . 'Foul or fair, he must be there - m terrible earnest now. Commending hiinself to a Higher Power he cheers his anxious steed and boldly plunges in. The strong current beats theni back like huo-e powerful arms; the uprooted trees and broken branches rush past them in mad baste; the 'other side' seems to recede as they near it. Oh, it is a tiercé struggle; but at last they are almost there! But a yards length and they willreach it! Justherc, obeying a boyish impulse, he stoops and kisses Brown Uick on the neck. Brave horse and brave rider! They well deserve to triumph over wind and rain. But that moment of inattention is for the rider a fatal one. As he rafees Jus head he receives a severe blow, which sends him entirelv off his horse, dashing him almost senseless into the bank. A loosenod stump just abovo him liad bccn wrenched suddenly away andwhirled against him. With a desperate clutch of expiring vitality he grasps the roots of an ola tree against which he has been thrown, and dríigs himself around to its further side. Thero he íights manfully with terrible faintness that is rapidly overpowering him. Ín his íorehead is a deep gash. The horse struggles to the shore, seos his rnaster's unconsckras face, and whinnies long and pitifully. 41 Cameron Hill looks strangely beautiful in the palé, placid moonlight. The i L . r, rt4-rvmA t-liü olí ít; iitirv 1 ai 11 iliv aijXJ J Jjf uní iíi'v UIA.J. ■-■ .■- ■ j with tho promise oí more. Just outside tho parlor door, on the southern gallory, Jeannle is listening in a happy absorbed way, to Joe Dudley. ïhis man, with his haudsome face and smooth tongne has ever attracted her. There is about him a certain halfdeveloped tendency to deoeption-, from which she, in her iine resistance to draw insincerity, instinctively withdraws. A wornan weakly accessable to the least touch of tho real, the earnest, the true, flattory puts lier on the dofensive, and hardens her into a statue of contempt. S, thpsii two souls. while often meetina; havo never touched Butto-nighthc is, for the moment, carrfed out of himself by the forcc of real passion, and is woo ing with all the tender simplieity of bnunblest, true love. She is following him surely, surely, across the bordera of that misty, dream enshrouded land of unreality and delusion, led on hy tlui niajric of his voiee. Across the borcfors into the licart of the heantif ui, mystical country, vftiin she i.s called Ijack by the sound of a name - iust a dear, commonplaee name, uttered in tones of carlesB inquiiy, but it Btartles her gpell-bound soul from_ its enchantment, and wakes her heart into ayeryraptureof life. Joe Dudleycan win her mimi ; he can almost absorb her intellectua] being into hia vn ; but the nier.' sy Hables of John Miles's hoinely, old-fashiouod name .sets ovcry ,ulsc a tkrobbing. She starts up and rogsintothe parlor. . 'Wlmt are you all aajing ? Is the Blanco dB ? Whcre is Dr. Miles ? VS by lon't you teil me What you are all sayinr P1 , Some one answers her that it is probable that the doctor has attempted to cross- he is so reckless of danger-and as he has not rcturned yet, anxiety is feit for his safety. With the mircserve of a great fear and i eat lovo, she excitedly demands: Why did you not teil ine this bef ore Whv don't some of you go and sce? Do vou intend to let hira die? He may bo 'drowning now. Oh, won't some of you go and help hifn?' ,.'.,. The pretly voice grows so pitiful here and the da'rk cycs beconies so full o entreaty that evevy man feels ready to serve her, even to the death of lus owi hoijes . ■'l will gö and And liim and save hi lifo too, if you will give me my reward, Joe Dudley v,-hispers inherear, and she Jiinkins only ot the kindly lace mai uay bc alveady set in the rigid outlines )f death, imptusively answers: 'Yes, yes, I will give you anything- sverythfcg, if you will only go now and juicklv, and save the life of that brave man!' My poor, pretty Jeannie! Yovi ilo not know that you have unthinkinglybound yourself by a fatal promise which only a generous woer will let you take back again! Lying against the rough side of the old tree, protected from the water by its spreading roots, they iind John Miles. Theïiorso is pathetically licking his master's face. Thev carry hini homo, and through the long fever that follows, Joe Dudley nurses him with all the faithful devotion of a friend. With returning conciousness Dr. Miles notices this and puzzles oer it. One day, when he is almost well, he gratefufly acknowledges the kindness. Joe Dudley laughs. 'You need not thank me; I am only payin" off a debt. I promised to save your fífe, if it cotild be done, and I have been successful; that is all- except that in six months Jeannie Cameron will be my wife.' The sick man starts up, tlushingpainfully. 'Who says so? Does Jeannie Cameron say so?' 'I say so!' theother answers, triumphantly; 'and that is sufficient for all purposes. In six months that lady will be my wife or prove false to her word, and you know, as well as I, that she will never do that.' John Miles rises to his feet now. ■Dmllcy, I believe you are playiug me false! I will see Jeannie Cameron tonight and ask her to be my wife. If she lores r.w as 1 have reason to belicve she does - no power on earth shall teep her from my arms. You are deCeitml lo the heart's core, and my pure, proud girl never promised to be your wifc unless you niaddened her into ie. Leave me! I ara vveak, but if you wero to teil me any more falsehoods I might be tempted to strike you!' Dudley is physieally no coward, but his puny morarnature falters before the grand, heroic soul shining out of the siek man's eyes. He laughs uneasily and goes out of the room. He has so falsilied everything to Jeannie and so worked upon her exaggerated strainod sense of honor that the careless, lieedlesely spoken words - 'Yes, yes, I will give you anything, everything'have been eonstrued into a solemn, plighted troth. from which there is no withdrawal. Although wickedly false hirnself, he estimates at its full value the line, sensitive nature of the girl, and feels secure accordingiy. That night Jeannie, in a big ehair by the window, is st aftled out of a troubled rêverie by what she thinks is a ghostly visitant. Don't be frighteriod; it is only I,' a familiar, well-loved voice calis out, and she goes forward gladly to meet and welcome Dr. Miles. He notes that these few weeks have changed her, too. She is thinner and paler, and has a restless, uneasy manner, as if she were always, tnentally, warding off a blow. He watches her with anxiety, and feels that she is troubled and unhappy. In a little while he tells her what he has come to say. She listens to him nervously, and the troubled look deepens. Wheu iie flnishes, she struggles feebly with herself, and then, looking at liim through tear-dimmed eyes, opens her poor, depresscd, heavy-raden heart and tells hiniall. How hc loves her! She w.as dear to him before, but nevcr so madly loved, so fondly worshipped as now, when he scc.s for the first time into the very depth of her pure soul ! So spotless it is, and so free from guile, that he almost hesitates to take it unto his unworthy self. But when he rises to prove to her that her promiso to Joe Dudley is no promiso to Joe Dudley is no promise at all, but only the mean advantage of a base, ungenerous man, he iinds her immovable. She loves him, but she cannot marry him. His own worde: 'To be false to your words is to be cowardly,' have haunted her of late, and now rise up to keep them apart. She knows he loves her dearly, but vvill he respect her as highly if she breaks her word, even thougfa it be for him? He is still vainly pleading, when Dudley1 s dark face appears at the door. With a malignant scowl. as he looks at John Miles, he says, in a threatening voice: "Jennie Cameron, you belong to me. You ean't marry that man." GVirt Tiano nt io-Vit nf liim. and i1,a.nds looking helplessly from one to the other. Was ever a woman so torribly tried? Love, happiness, rest on one side; on the other, her sacred, plighted word, and misery - dull, hopeless niisery. 'Jeannie,' Dr. Miles' voice is husky from emotion, 'will you be my wife?' He holds out his hand to her. 8he turns despairingly toJoe Dudley. 'Won't you give me back my promise? I cannot love you. You would nothave an unwilling bride?' The obstinate gleam only deepens in Dudlev's eyes as he crosses over and talies her rudely by the hand. 'I would have you now if 1 'had to drag you to the altar.' You have promi.sed to marry me, and by all the power above you shall?' ïhere Hashes into John Miles' face a look that comes into gray cyes only whén there is something desperate to be done. Going toward the trembling girl, who is mutely accepting him with her beautiful, soft eyes, lie says, firmly but tenderly, too: 'Jennnie, darling, you are mine whether you will orno, so there is nothingelseforhie to do but to steal you from yourself. I don't like to do it, but 1 see 1 will havo to run away with my wife and get lier consent Before either can guasa what he ís oing to ('id he takes Eer lovingly in bis onns and camee her, weak as he is, to the carriage that is in waiting, and which he lias brought in anticipation of this vcry scène. A few minutes drive brings them to the old parsonage, where slic is -absolved from the promiscs and respousibililies (jf Jeannie Cameron by becomingMrs. John Milos. Joe Dudley, helplesa wit'n rage, remaina standing where thoy left luni. As ho realices fchewhole truth he mutters a ■ and rushes bom the house. lt is hard to teil which gets the most petting- Brown Dick or his master Imt it remains au unangwerablefactthat ire both terribly Bpoiled.

Article

Subjects
Old News
Ann Arbor Democrat