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“Dear Miss Alice,” said Ellen, caressing her, “I'll do it without that; I'll study any thing you please.”
“Dear Ellen, I believe you would. But I should like to know it for my own sake; we'll study it together; we shall
; get along nicely, I have no doubt; we can learn to read it, at least, and that is the main point.”
“But how shall we know what to call the words ?" said Ellen, doubtfully.
“That is a grave question,” said Alice, smiling. “I am afraid we should hit upon a style of pronunciation that a Frenchman would make nothing of. I have it !” she exclaimed, clapping her hands,—“where there's a will there's a way,-it always happens so. Ellen, I have an old friend upon the mountain who will give us exactly what we want, unless I am greatly mistaken. We'll
go and see her; that is the very thing !-my old friend Mrs. Vawse.”
“ Mrs. Vawse !" repeated Ellen; not the grandmother of that Nancy Vawse ?”
“The very same. Her name is not Vawse; the country people call it so, and I being one of the country people have fallen into the way of it; but her real name is Vosier. She was born a Swiss, and brought up in a wealthy French family, as the personal attendant of a young lady to whom she became exceedingly attached. This lady finally married an American gentleman; and so great was Mrs. Vawse's love to her, that she left country and family to follow her here. In a few years her mistress died; she married; and since that time she has been tossed from trouble to trouble; perfect sea of troubles ;-till now she is left like a wreck upon this mountain top. A fine wreck she is !
I go to see her very often, and next time I will call for you, and we will propose our French plan; nothing will please her better, I know. By the way, Ellen, are you as well versed in the other common branches of education as you are in your mother tongue?"
“ What do you mean, Miss Alice ?"
“ Yes, ma'am; I believe so; I am sure I have studied it till I am sick of it.”
“ Can you give me the boundaries of Great Thibet or Peru ??
“I had rather not try,” she said, “I am not sure. I can't remember those queer countries in Asia and South America half so well as Europe and North America."
“Do you know any thing about the surface of the country in Italy or France; the character and condition of the people; what kind of climate they have, and what
grows there most freely ?"
“Why no, ma'am,” said Ellen ; “ nobody ever taught me that."
“Would you like to go over the Atlas again, talking about all these matters, as well as the mere outlines of the countries you have studied before ?" :
“Oh yes, dearly !” exclaimed Ellen.
“Well, I think we may let Margery have the tea-things. But here is Captain's cake.”
“O may I give him his supper ?” said Ellen.
“Certainly. You must carve it for him; you know I told you he is very particular. Give him some of the egg, too- he likes that. Now where is the Captain ?"
Not far off; for scarcely had Alice opened the door and called him once or twice, when with a queer little note of answer, he came hurriedly trotting in.
“He generally has his supper in the outer kitchen,” said Alice, but I grant him leave to have it here to-night as a particular honor to him and you.”
“How handsome he is ! and how large !” said Ellen.
“Yes, he is very handsome, and more than that he is very sensible, for a cat. Do you see how prettily his paws are marked ? Jack used to say he had white gloves on."
“And white boots too,” said Ellen. “No, only one leg is white; pussy's boots aren't mates. Is he good-natured ?
“Very-if you don't meddle with him.”
“I don't call that being good-natured,” said Ellen laughing.
« Nor I; but truth obliges me to say the Captain does not permit any body to take liberties with him. He is a character, Captain Parry. Come out on the lawn, Ellen, and we will let Margery clear away.”
“What a pleasant face Margery has," said Ellen, as the door closed behind them; “and what a pleasant way she
has of speaking, I like to hear her,—the words come out SÖ cleår, and I don't know how, but not like other people.' “You have a quick ear, Ellen; you are very right.
: Margery had lived too long in England before she came here to lose her trick of speech afterwards., But Thomas speaks as thick as a Yankee, and always did.”
“Then Margery is English ?" said Ellen. (
To be sure. She came over with us twelve years ago for the pure love of my father and mother; and I believe now she looks upon John and me as her own children. I think she could scarcely love us more if we were so in truth. Thomas-you haven't seen Thomas yet, have you
?" No." “He is an excellent good man in his way, and as faithful as the day is long; but he isn't equal to his wife. Perhaps I am partial; Margery came to America for the love of us, and Thomas came for the love of Margery; there's a difference.”
“But, Miss Alice !-" “What, Miss Ellen ?" “You said Margery came over with you?” “Yes; is that what makes you look so astonished ?" “But then you are English, too ?” “Well, what of that? you won't love me the less, will you?"
“Oh, no,” said Ellen; "my own mother came from Scotland, aunt Fortune says."
“I am English born, Ellen, but you may count me half American if you like, for I have spent rather more than half my life here. Come this way, Ellen, and I'll show you my garden. It is some distance off, but as near as a spot could be found fit for it."
They quitted the house by a little steep path leading down the mountain, which in two or three minutes brought them to a clear bit of ground. It was not large, but lying very prettily among the trees, with an open view to the east and southeast. On the extreme edge and at the lower end of it was fixed a rude bench, well sheltered by the towering forest trees. Here Alice and Ellen sat down.
It was near sunset; the air cool and sweet; the evening light
upon field and sky. “How fair it is !” said Alice musingly; “how fair and lovely! Look at those long shadows of the mountains,
Ellen; and how bright the light is on the får hills. It won't be so long. A little while more, and our Indian summer will be over; and then the clouds, the frost, and the wind, and the snow. Well, let them come.'
“I wish they wouldn't, I am sure,” said Ellen. “I am sorry enough they are coming."
“Why ?-all seasons have their pleasures. I am not sorry at all; I like the cold very much.” «T
guess you wouldn't, Miss Alice, if you had to wash every morning where I do."
“Why, where is that ?"
“The spout of water, ma'am, just down a little way from the kitchen door. The water comes in a little long, very long, trough from a spring at the back of the pig-field, and at the end of the trough, where it pours out, is the spout.
" Have you no conveniences for washing in your room ?"
“Not a sign of such a thing, ma'am. I have washed at the spout ever since I have been here," said Ellen, laughing in spite of her vexation.
« And do the pigs share the water with you ?"
“The pigs? O no, ma'am ; the trough is raised up from the ground on little heaps of stones; they can't get at the water,---unless they drink at the spring, and I don't think they do that, so many big stones stand around it.”
Well, Ellen, I must say that is rather uncomfortable, even without any danger of four-footed society."
“It isn't so bad just now," said Ellen, "in this warm weather, but in that cold time we had a week or two back, do you remember, Miss Alice ?—just before the Indian summer began ?-oh, how disagreeable it was! Early in the morning, you know,—the sun scarcely up, and the cold wind blowing my hair and my clothes all about; and then that board before the spout, that I have to stand on, is always kept wet by the spattering of the water, and it's muddy besides and very slippery,-there's a kind of green stuff comes upon it; and I can't stoop down for fear of muddying myself; I have to tuck my clothes round me and bend over as well as I can, and fetch up a little water to my face in the hollow of my hand, and of course I have to do that a
great many times before I get enough. : I can't help laughing," said Ellen,“ but it isn't a laughing matter for all that." “So you wash your
hands and have no pitcher but a long wooden trough ?-Poor child! I am sorry for you; I think you must have some other
way of managing before the snow comes.
“The water is bitter cold already,” said Ellen, “it's the coldest water I ever saw. Mamma gave me a nice dressingbox before I came away, but I found very soon this was a queer place for a dressing-box to come to. 'Why, Miss Alice, if I take out my brush or comb I haven't any table to lay them on but one that's too high, and my poor dressing-box has to stay on the floor. And I haven't a sign of a bureau, all my things are tumbling about in my trunk.”
“I think if I were in your place I would not permit that at any rate,” said Alice; “if my things were confined to my trunk I would have them keep good order there at least."
“Well, so they do," said Ellen, "pretty good order; I didn't mean 'tumbling about exactly.”
“Always try to say what you mean exactly."
“But now, Ellen, love, do you know I must send you away? Do you see the sunlight has quitted those distant hills? and it will be quite gone soon.
You must hasten home.”
Ellen made no answer. Alice had taken her on her lap again, and she was nestling there with her friend's arms wrapped around her. Both were quite still for a minute.
“Next week, if nothing happens, we will begin to be busy with our books. You shall come to me Tuesday and Fri.
and all the other days you must study as hard as you can at home, for I am very particular, I forewarn you.'
“But suppose aunt Fortune should not let me come ?" said Ellen without stirring.
“O she will. You need not speak about it; I'll come down and ask her myself, and nobody ever refuses me any thing."
“I shouldn't think they would,” said Ellen.
“Then don't you set the first example,” said Alice laughingly. “I ask you to be cheerful and happy and grow wiser and better every day.”
“Dear Miss Alice !-How can I promise that ?"