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stow away her books very nicely. “ It only wants a little brushing out," said Ellen, " and it will do very well.” The other door, in the other corner, admitted her to a large light closet, perfectly empty. “Now if there were only some hooks or pegs here," thought Ellen,“ to hang up dresses on --but why shouldn't I drive some nails?-I will! I will ! 0, that'll be fine !"
Unfastening her door in a hurry, she ran down stairs, and her heart beating, between pleasure and the excitement of daring so far without her aunt's knowledge, she ran out and crossed the chip-yard to the barn, where she had some hope of finding Mr. Van Brunt. By the time she got to the little cow-house door a great noise of knocking or pounding in the barn made her sure he was there, and she went on to the lower barn-floor. There he was, he and the two farm boys (who, by the by, were grown men), all three threshing wheat. Ellen stopped at the door, and for a minute forgot what she had come for in the pleasure of looking at them. The clean floor was strewn with grain, upon which the heavy flails came down one after another, with quick regular beat, -one two-three-one-two-three-keeping perfect time. The pleasant sound could be heard afar off; though, indeed, where Ellen stood it was rather too loud to be pleasant. Her little voice had no chance of being heard ; she stood still and waited. Presently Johnny who was opposite caught a sight of her, and without stopping his work, said to his leader, “Somebody there for you, Mr. Van Brunt." That gentleman's fail ceased its motion, then he threw it down, and went to the door to help Ellen up the high step.
'Well,” said he, “have you come out to see what's going on ?"
“ No," said Ellen, “I've been looking,—but Mr. Van Brunt could you be so good as to let me have a hammer and half-a-dozen nails ?"
“A hammer and half-a-dozen nails;—come this way,” said he.
They went out of the barnyard and across the chip-yard to an outhouse below the garden and not far from the spout, called the poultry-house; though it was quite as much the property of the hogs, who had a regular sleeping apartment there, where corn was always fed out to the fatting ones.
Opening a kind of granary store-room, where the corn for this purpose was stored, År. Van Brunt took down from a shelf a large hammer and a box of nails, and asked Ellen what size she wanted.
“You do! do you think your little arms can manage that big hammer?" “I don't know; I
guess so; I'll try.” “ Where do you want 'em driv ?"
Up in a closet in my room,” said Ellen, speaking as softly as if she had feared her aunt was at the corner; “I want 'em to hang up dresses and things."
Mr. Van Brunt half smiled, and put up the hammer and nails on the shelf again.
“Now I'll tell you what we'll do," said he ;—“ manage them big things; “I'll put 'em up for you to-night
' when I come in to supper.”
“ But I'm afraid she won't let you,” said Ellen doubtfully.
· Never you mind about that,” said he, “I'll fix it. May. be we won't ask her."
“O thank you!” said Ellen joyfully, her face recovering its full sunshine in answer to his smile; and clapping her hands she ran back to the house, while mote slowly Mr. Van Brunt returned to the threshers. Ellen seized dust-pan and brush and ran up to her room; and setting about the business with right good will, she soon had her closets in beautiful order. The books, writing-desk, and work-box were then bestowed very carefully in the one; in the other her coats and dresses neatly folded up in a pile on the floor, waiting till the nails should be driven. Then the remainder of her things were gathered up from the floor and neatly arranged in the trunk again. Having done all this, Ellen's satisfaction was unbounded. By this time dinner was ready. As soon after dinner as she could escape, from Miss Fortune's calls upon her, Ellen stole up to her room and her books, and began work in earnest. The whole afternoon was spent over sums and verbs and maps and pages of history. A little
before tea, as Ellen was setting the table, Mr. Van Brunt came into the kitchen with a bag on his back.
“What have you got there, Mr. Van Brunt ?" said Miss Fortune.
“ A bag of seed corn."
to-morrow." “Thank you, ma'am,—rather go myself, if it's all the same to you. You needn't be scared, I've left my shoes at the door. Miss Ellen, I believe I'vegot to go through your room.”
Ellen was glad to run before to hide her laughter. When they reached her room Mr. Van Brunt produced a hammer out of the bag, and taking a handful of nails from his pocket, put up a fine row of them along her closet wall; then while she hung up her dresses he went on to the garret, and Ellen heard him hammering there too. Presently he came down and they returned to the kitchen.
"What's all that knocking ?" said Miss Fortune. " I've been driving some nails," said Mr. Van Brunt coolly. “ Up in the garret ?" “Yes, and in Miss Ellen's closet; she said she wanted
“ You should ha’ spoke to me about it,” said Miss Fortune to Ellen. There was displeasure enough in her face; but she said no more, and the matter blew over much better than Ellen had feared.
Ellen steadily pursued her plan of studying, in spite of some discouragements. A letter written about ten days after gave
her mother an account of her endeavours and of her success. It was a de spairing account. Ellen complained that she wanted help to understand, and lacked time to study; that her aunt kept her busy, and, she believed, took pleasure in breaking her off from
her books; and she bitterly said her mother must expect to find an ignorant little daughter when she came home. It ended with, “O, if I could just see you, and kiss you, and put my arms round you, mamma, I'd be willing to die!"
This letter was despatched the next morning by Mr. Van Brunt; and Ellen waited and watched with great anxiety for his return from Thirlwall in the afternoon.
An ant dropped into the water; a wood-pigeon took pity of her and threw ber a little bough.-L'ESTRANGE.
JHE afternoon was already half spent when Mr. Van
Brunt's ox-cart was seen returning. by the little gate that opened on the chip-yard; and with her heart beating anxiously she watched the slow-coming oxen ;-how slowly they came ! At last they turned out of the lane and drew the cart up the ascent; and stopping beneath the apple-tree Mr. Van Brunt leisurely got down, and flinging back his whip came to the gate. But the little face that met him there, quivering with hope and fear, made his own quite sober.
"I'm really very sorry, Miss Ellen," he began.
That was enough. Ellen waited to hear no more, but turned
away, the cold chill of disappointment coming over her heart. She had borne the former delays pretty well, but this was one too many, and she felt sick. She went round to the front stoop, where scarcely ever any body came, and sitting down on the steps wept sadly and despairingly.
It might have been half an hour or more after, that the kitchen door slowly opened and Ellen came in. Wishing her aunt should not see her swollen eyes, she was going quietly through to her own room when Miss Fortune called her. Ellen stopped. Miss Fortune was sitting before the fire with an open letter lying in her lap and another in her hand. The latter she held out to Ellen, saying “Here, child, come and take this."
“What is it?" said Ellen, slowly coming towards her.
“ Don't you see what it is ?" said Miss Fortune, still holding it out.
“ But who is it from ?" said Ellen. “ Your mother.”
“A letter from mamma, and not to me!” said Ellen with changing colour. She took it quick from her aunt's hand. But her colour changed more as her eye
the first words, “My dear Ellen,” and turning the paper she saw upon the back, “Miss Ellen Montgomery." Her next look was to her aunt's face, with her eye fired and her cheek paled with anger, and when she spoke her voice was not the
“This is my letter,” she said trembling ;—" who opened it ?"
Miss Fortune's conscience must have troubled her a little, for her eye wavered uneasily. Only for a second though.
“Who opened it?" she answered; “I opened it. should like to know who has a better right. And I shall open every one that comes to serve you for looking so;that you may depend upon."
The look and the words and the injury together, fairly put Ellen beside herself. She dashed the letter to the ground, and livid and trembling with various feelings—rage was not the only one,—she ran from her aunt's presence. She did not shed any tears now; she could not; they were absolutely burnt up by passion. She walked her room with trembling steps, clasping and wringing her hands now and then, wildly thinking what could she do to get out of this dreadful state of things, and unable to see any thing but misery before her. She walked, for she could not sit down; but presently she felt that she could not breathe the air of the house; and taking her bonnet she went down, passed through the kitchen and went out. Miss Fortune asked where she was going, and bade her stay within doors, but Ellen paid no attention to her.
She stood still a moment outside the little gate. She might have stood long to look. The mellow light of an Indian-summer afternoon lay upon the meadow and the old barn and chip-yard; there was beauty in them all under its smile. Not a breath was stirring. The rays of the sun struggled through the blue haze, which hung upon the hills and softened every distant object; and the silence of nature all around was absolute, made more noticeable by the far