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Bart Ridgeley - A Story of Northern Ohio
by A. G. Riddle
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As her voice went out, hope, and spirit, and strength went with it. She trembled and wept, and tried once again to pray. She clasped her hands; but suffocating darkness seemed to close over her, and she felt lost, utterly and hopelessly lost!

A sense of injustice, of ill-usage, came to her, and she dried her eyes; she was young, and brave, and strong; and must; and would care for herself. She should not perish; day would come some time, and she should get out. She found she was very cold, and must arouse and exert herself. Then came the thought and dread of wild animals; of that awful beast; and she listened, and could hear their stealthy steps in the dry leaves, and she shrunk from meeting the horrid glare of their eyes. Oh, if Barton were only with her, just to drive them away! God would protect him.

There—as she could not help but stare into the black darkness, there surely was the glare of their eyes, that horrid, yellowish-green, glassy glare! and with a shriek she fled—not far, for she fell, and a half swoon brought her a moment's oblivion; when the dead cold night, and the dumb trees came back about her again. With the reaction she arose, and found that she had lost her hood. She felt that a wild beast had torn it from her head; and that she had taken his hot, brute breath.

Weak, hardly with the power of motion, she supported herself by the trunk of a tree. "Father! Father God! a helpless, weak child calls to Thee; show me my sin, let me repent of it; weak and lost, and hopeless; sweet Saviour, with Thy loving sympathy, stay and help my fainting heart. If it be Thy will that I perish, receive my spirit, and let this weak, vain body, unmangled, be given back to my poor grief-stricken parents. God and Saviour, hear me!"

There now came to her ear the voice of running water. It had a sweet sound of companionship and hope, and she made towards it, and soon found herself on the banks of a wild and rapid stream. "Oh, thanks! thanks!" she murmured, "this runs from darkness out to human habitations, somewhere. It will lead out to daylight, and on its banks are human homes, somewhere. Oh, give me strength to follow it, it is so hard to perish here!"

The wind had long been blowing, and had now risen to a tempest, bitter and sharp from the north, and the trees were bending and breaking under its fury. Julia was thoroughly chilled, and her feet were benumbed with cold. She had been aware for some time that snow was sifting over her, and rattling on the dry leaves under her feet. She was dizzy, and almost overcome with sleep; and was conscious of strange visions and queer voices, that seemed to haunt her senses. Could she hold out till morning? She could not fix her wandering mind, even on this question. She occasionally heard her own voice in broken murmurs, but did not understand what she said. It was like the voice of another. She knew her mouth was dry and parched with thirst, but never thought of trying to drink from the stream, whose drowsy voice ran through her wandering consciousness. The impulse to move on remained long after all intelligent power of directing her movements had left her; and blindly and mechanically, she staggered and reeled about for a few or many minutes, until she sank to the earth unable and unwilling to struggle further. Her last act was with pure womanly instinct, to draw her torn and draggled skirts about her limbs and feet. The faces of her father and mother, warm and sweet, were with her for a moment, and she tried to think of her Heavenly Father; and another face was all the time present, full of tenderness and love; and then all faded into oblivion, blank and utter ...

What was it? something whispered, or seemed to whisper in her heart as vague consciousness returned, unutterably sweet; was it the voice of an angel coming to bear her hence? Once again! and now her ear caught—and still again—a voice of earth, clear; and it had power to start her up from under the snow, that was surely weaving and thickening her virgin winding-sheet. God in heaven! once again! Strong, clear and powerful, it pealed through the arches of the forest, overtopping the tempest. It was a voice she knew, and if aught might, it would have called her back from death; as now, from a deadly swoon.

And once again, and nearer, with a cadence of impatience, and almost doubt, a faint answer went back; and then a gleam of light; a broad, wavering circle of glory, and Barton, with his flashing eyes, and eager, flushed face, with his mass of damp curls filled with snow, and dashed back, sprang with a glad cry to her side!

"Barton!" she cried, trying to rise, and throwing out her hands to him.

"Oh, Julia! you are found! you are alive! Thank God! thank God!" Throwing himself on his knees by her, and, clasping her cold hands in his, and, in a paroxysm, pressing them to his lips and heart, and covering them with kisses and with tears.

"God sent you to me! God sent you to me!" murmured the poor, dear grateful girl.

Bart's self-command returned in a moment; he lifted her to her feet, and supported her. "You are nearly frozen, and the snow had already covered you. See what my mother sent to you," filling the top of his flask and placing it to her lips. "It is nothing but old wine." How revivingly it seemed to run through her veins! "I am very thirsty," she said, and he brought her a full draught from the running stream.

"Can you walk? let me carry you. We must get to some shelter."

"I thought you would come. Where is my father?"

"I am alone—may I save you?"

"Oh, Barton!"

"I have not seen your father; they are looking for you, miles away. How under the heavens did you ever find your way here? How you must have suffered! See! here is your hood!" placing it over her tangled and dripping hair. "And let me put this on you." Removing his "wamus," and putting her arms through the sleeves, he tied the lower corners about her little waist, and buttoned the top over her bosom and about her neck. He gave her another draught of wine, and paused for a moment—"I must carry you."

"Oh, I can walk!" said the revived girl, with vivacity.

He lifted his nearly consumed torch, and conducted her to the stream. "We must cross this, and find shelter on the other side." He let himself at once from the abrupt bank, into the cold, swift water, that came to his middle. "I must carry you over;" unhesitatingly she stooped over to him, and was taken with one strong arm fully to himself, while he held his torch with the other. He turned with her then, and plunged across the creek, holding her above its waters. Its deepest part ran next the bank where he entered; fortunately it was not very wide, and he bore her safely to the opposite and lower bank.

The other side was protected from the tempest, which was at its greatest fury, by a high and perpendicular ledge of rocks which the course of the creek followed, but leaving a narrow space of hard land along the base. Under the shelter, Bart turned up stream with his charge, occasionally lifting his torch and inspecting the mossy ledge. Within a few feet of them the snow fell in wreaths and swirls, and sometimes little eddies of wind sifted it over them.

"Somewhere near here, is a place where they made shingles last summer, and there was a shed against the rocks, if we could only find it." Finally they doubled an abrupt angle in the nearly smooth wall, which bent suddenly back from the stream, for many feet, making a semicircle of a little space, and in the back of which Bart discovered the anxiously looked-for shed;—a mere rude cover, on posts driven into the ground.

Under and about it were great quantities of dry shavings, and short bits of wood, the hearts and saps of shingle blocks. To place a pile of these on the margin of the creek, and apply his torch to them, took but a moment; and in an instant a bright, white flame flashed and lit up the little sheltered alcove. Another, and the almost overcome girl was placed on a seat of soft, dry shavings, against the moss-grown rock, under the rude roof, out of the reach of the snow or wind; and another fire was lit of the dry shingle blocks, at her feet, from which her saturated shoes were removed, and to which warmth was soon restored.

Barton now took from a pocket on the outside of the "wamus," a small parcel, and produced some slices of tongue and bread, which the famished girl ate with the relish and eagerness of a hungry child. More wine, now mingled with water, completed her repast; and Bart made further preparations for her comfort and rest. A larger mass of the shavings so adjusted that she could recline upon them, was arranged for her, which made an easy, springy couch; and as she lay wearily back upon them, still others were placed about and over her, until, protected as she was, warmth and comfort came to her.

What a blessed sense of shelter, and safety, and peace, as from heaven, fell upon the rescued girl's heart! And how exquisitely delicious to be carried, and supported, and served by this beautiful and heroic youth, who hovered about her so tenderly, and kneeling at her feet, so gently and sweetly ministered to her! No thought of being compromised, none of impropriety in the atmosphere of absolute purity, came to cloud the stainless mind of the maiden. No memory of the past, no thought of the future, was near her. She was lost, exhausted, and dying, and God sent him to her; and she accepted him as from the hand of God. He had restored, warmed and cheered her. She was under shelter and protection, and now heavy with sleep, and still the storm raged all about and over their heads, and the snow still fell within a few feet of them, while in that little circle warmth and light pulsated, like a tender human heart.

When all was done that occurred to the tender, thoughtful youth, and the eyes of the maiden were dreamily closing: "Have you said your prayers?" asked Bart, who had spoken barely a word since lighting the fires.

"Not of thanks for my deliverance," replied the girl. "Will you say a prayer for us?" in a low, sweet voice.

The youth knelt a little from her.

"Our Father, Whose Presence is Heaven, and Whose Presence is everywhere, let this weary, wandering one feel that Presence in Its sweetest power; let her repose in It; and through all time rest in It. Hush the storm, and make short the hours of darkness, and with the dawn give her back to her home of love. Impress her parents with a sense of her safety. Remember my widowed mother and young brothers. Be with all wanderers, all unsheltered birds, and lambs on bleak hill-sides, and with all helpless, hopeless things."

He ceased.

"You ask nothing for yourself, Barton," in her tenderest voice.

"Have I not been permitted to save you? What remains for me to ask?"

How these words came to her afterwards! She turned, moved a little, as if to make room, and slept.

Barton shall at some time, in his own way, tell of his experiences of that strange night.

It had never come near him—the thought of seeking and saving her for himself—-and when he found her perishing, and bore her over the water, and found shelter, and cheered and restored her, and as he now sat to protect her, the idea that she was or could be more to him, or different from what she had been, never approached him. It had been an inspiration to seek her, and a great possession to find her. It had brought back to him his self-respect, and had perhaps redeemed him, in her eyes, from the scorn and contempt with which she had regarded him, and in his heart he gratefully thanked God for it. Now his path was open and serene, although unwarmed and unlighted with this precious love, and so, in the heart of the forest, in the soul of the night, in the bosom of the tempest, he had brought life and hope and peace and rest to her, and an angel could not have done it with a purer self-abnegation.

He sat near her, at the foot of an old hemlock, waiting for the dawn. The forest and night and storm thus held in their arms these two young, strong, brave, sweet, and rich natures, so tender, and so estranged, till the morning light brightened and flashed up in the serene sky, and sent a new day over the snow-wreathed earth. The tempest subsided, the snow ceased, the wind sunk to whispers, and the young morning was rosy in the east.

Barton had kept the fire burning near Julia, and when the new light became decided, approached her, and not without some anxiety: "Miss Markham—Miss Markham—Miss Markham!" raising his voice at each repetition. She did not hear. "Julia!" in a low voice, bending over her. Her eyes opened to the rude roof over her, and she started, turned to him, flushed, and smiled: "Oh, we are still here in the woods! Is it day?"

"Yes; how do you feel? Can you walk?" cheerily.

"Oh yes, I haven't suffered much!" rising from the woody coverings, which she gayly shook from her.

"Excuse me, while you make your toilet in this extensive dressing-room, and I will look about. I will not go far, or be gone long." Going still further up the stream, he found the end of the ledge of rocks, with a steepish hill sloping down to the creek, down which, under the snow, appeared to wind a road, which crossed the creek when the water was low. He turned into this road, and went up to the top of the hill, from which he could see an opening in the otherwise unbroken woods, and a little farther on he was gladdened with the sight of a smoke, rising like a cloud-column, above the trees.

He hastened back to find Julia equipped, and busy placing new fuel to the crackling fire. "There is a cabin not more than half a mile away, and the snow is not more than two or three inches deep; we can easily reach it," he said, brightly.

"Oh, Barton!" said the girl, with a deep rich voice, coming to him, "how can we ever—how can my father and mother ever—how can I repay"—and her voice broke and faltered with emotion, and tears fell from her wondrous eyes.

"Perhaps," said Bart, off his guard, "perhaps you may be willing to forget the past!"

"The past—forget the past?"

"Pardon me, it was unfortunate! Let us go."

"Barton!"

"Not a word now," said Bart, gayly. "I am the doctor, you are terribly shaken up, and not yourself. I shall not let you say a word of thanks. Why, we are not out of the woods yet!"—this last laughingly. "When you are all your old self, and in your pleasant home, everything of this night and morning will come to you."

"What do you mean, Mr. Ridgeley?" a little coolly.

"Nothing," in a sad, low voice. They had gained the road. "See," said he, "here is somebody's road, from some place to somewhere; we will follow it up to the some place. There! I hear an axe. I hope he is cutting wood; and there—you can see the smoke of his cabin.

'I knew by the smoke that so gracefully curled.'

Oh, I hope he will have a rousing fire."

Julia walked rapidly and silently by his side, hardly hearing his last words; she was thinking why he would not permit her to thank him—and that it would all be recalled in her home—finally, his meaning came to her. He would seek and save her from death, and even from the memory of an unconsidered word, which might possibly be misconstrued; and she clung more closely to the arm which had borne her over the flood.

"I am hurrying you, I fear."

"No, not a bit. Oh, now I can see the cabin; and there is the man, right by the side of it."

"It must be Wilder's," said Bart. "He moved into the woods here somewhere."

As they approached, the chopper stopped abruptly, and gazed on them in blank wonder. The dishevelled girl, with hanging hair, and red "wamus," and the wild, haggard-looking, coatless youth, with belt and hatchet, were as strange apparitions, coming up out of the interminable woods, as could well meet the gaze of a rustic wood-chopper of an early morning.

"Can you give this young lady shelter and food?" asked Bart, gravely.

"I guess so," said the man; "been out all night?" and he hurried them into a warm and cheerful room, bright with a blazing fire, where was a comely, busy matron, who turned to them in speechless surprise.

"This is Judge Markham's daughter," said Bart, as Julia sank into a chair, strongly inclined to break down completely; "she got lost, last night, near her father's, and wandered all night alone, and I found her just beyond the creek, not more than two hours ago. I must place her in your hands, my good woman."

"Poor, precious thing!" cried the woman, kneeling and pulling off her shoes, and placing her chilled feet to the fire. "What a blessed mercy you did not perish, you darling."

"I should, if it had not been for him," now giving way. Mrs. Wilder stepped a moment into the other of the two rooms, into which the lower floor of the cabin was divided, and spoke to some one in it; and giving Julia a bowl of hot milk and tea, led her to the inner apartment.

"Take care of him;" were her words, as she left, nodding her head towards Barton.

"How far is it to Markham's?" asked Bart.

"'Bout seven mile round, an' five 'cross."

"Have you a horse?"

"Fust rate!"

"Saddle him, and go to Markham's at once. The father and mother of this girl are frantic: a thousand men are hunting for her; you'll be paid."

"I don't want no pay," said Wilder, hurrying out. Five minutes later, sitting on his saddle, he received a slip of paper from Bart.

"Who shall I say?" said Wilder, not without curiosity on his own account.

"That will tell the Judge all he'll want to know. He will hear my name as soon as he will care to."

Wilder dashed off down the forest-road by which Bart and Julia had approached his house.

Bart went listlessly into the house. His energy and excitement had suddenly died out, with the exigency which called them forth; his mental glow and physical effort, both wonderful and long-continued to an intense strain, left him, and in the reaction he almost collapsed. Mrs. Wilder offered him one of her husband's coats. He was not cold. She placed a smoking breakfast before him. He loathed its sight and fragrance, and drank a little milk.

She knew he was a hero; so young and so handsome, yet a mere boy; his sad, grave face had a wonderful beauty to her, and his manners were so high, and like a gentleman born. She asked him some questions about his finding Julia, and he answered dreamily, and in few words, and seemed hardly to know what he said.

"Is Miss Markham asleep?—is she quiet?"

Mrs. Wilder stepped to the inner room. "She is," she answered; "nothing seems to ail her but weariness and exhaustion. She will not suffer from it."

"Is she alone?"

"She is in bed with my daughter Rose."

"May I just look at her one moment?"

"Certainly."

One look from the door at the sweetly-sleeping face, and without a word he hurried from the house. He had felt a great heart-throb when he came upon her in the woods, and now, when all was over, and no further call for action or invention was on him, the strong, wild rush of the old love for a moment overwhelmed him. It would assert itself, and was his momentary master. But presently he turned away, with an unspoken and final adieu.

Two hours later the Judge, on his smoking steed, dashed up to the cabin, followed by the Doctor and two or three others. As he touched the ground, Julia, with a cry of joy, sprang into his arms.

She had murmured in her sleep, awoke, and would get up and dress. She laughed, and said funny little things at her looks and dress, and examined the "wamus" with great interest, with a blush put it on, and tied it coquettishly about her waist, then seemed to think, and took it off gravely. Next she ran eagerly out to the other room, and asked for Bart, and looked grave, and wondered, when Mrs. Wilder told her he had gone, and she wondered that Mrs. Wilder would let him go.

She kissed that good woman when she first got up, and was already in love with sweet, shy, tall, comely Rose, who was seventeen, and had made fast friends with Ann and George, the younger ones. Then she ran out into the melting snow and bright soft air. How serene it all was, and how tall and silent stood the trees, in the bright sun! How calm and innocent it all was, and looked as if nothing dreadful had ever happened in it, and a robin came and sang from an old tree, near by.

And she talked, and wondered about her mother and father, and, by little bits, told much of what happened the night before; and wondered—this time to herself—why Bart went off; and she looked sad over it.

Mrs. Wilder looked at her, and listened to her, and in her woman's heart she pondered of these two, and wished she had kept Bart; she was sad and sorry for them, and most for him, for she saw his soul die in his eyes as he turned from Julia's sleeping face.

Then came the tramp of horses, and Julia sprang out, and into her father's arms.

One hour after came Julia's mother and Nell, in the light carriage; and kisses, and tears, and little laughy sobs, and words that ran out with little freshets of tears, and unanswered questions, and unasked answers, broken and incoherent; yet all were happy, and all thankful and grateful to their Father in Heaven; and blessings and thanks—many of them unsaid—to the absent one.

And so the lost one was restored, and soon they started back.



CHAPTER XXVIII.

AT JUDGE MARKHAM'S.

When Mrs. Markham at last realized that Julia was lost, she hastily arrayed herself and went out with the others to search for her, calmly, hopefully, and persistently. She went, and clambered, and looked, and called, and when she could look and go no further, as woman may, she waited, and watched, and prayed, and the night grew cold, and the wind and snow came, and as trumpets were blown and guns discharged, and fires lighted in the woods, and torches flashed and lanterns gleamed through the trees, she still watched, and hoped, and prayed.

When at last the storm and exhaustion drove men in, she was very calm and pale, said little, and went about with chilled tears in her eyes.

Judge Markham was a strong, brave, sagacious man, and struggled and fought to the last, but finally in silence he rejoined his silent wife. At about three in the morning, and while the storm was at its height, she turned from the blank window where she stood, with a softened look in her eyes, from which full tides were now for the first time falling; and approaching her husband, who man-like, when nothing more could be done by courage and strength, sat with his face downward on his arms, resting on the table, and breathing great dry gasps, and sobs of agony.

"Edward," said she, stooping over him, "it comes to me somehow that Julia is safe; that she has somewhere found shelter, and we shall find her."

And now she murmured, and whispered, and talked, as the impression seemed to deepen in her own heart, and she knelt, and once more a fervent prayer of hope and faith went up. The man came and knelt by her, and joined in her prayer, and grew calm.

"Julia," said he, "we have at least God, and with Him is all."

When the morning came, five hundred anxious and determined men, oppressed with sad forebodings, had gathered from all that region for the search.

Persistently they adhered to the idea that the missing girl was in the lower woods.

A regular organized search by men and boys, in a continuous line, was resolved upon. Marshals were appointed, signals agreed upon, and appliances and restoratives provided; and the men were hastening to their places. A little knot near the Judge's house were still discussing the matter, as in doubt about the expediency of further search in that locality.

George was in this group, and had, as directed, given Barton's opinion. Judge Markham, who was giving some last directions joined these men, and listened while Uncle Jonah, in a few words, explained Bart's theory—that the girl would turn back from the chopping to the old road, and if there confused, would be likely to go into the woods, and directly away from her home.

"And where is Bart?" asked the Judge.

"He started at about nine last night, with two big bundles of hickory," said George, "to look for her, and had not returned half an hour ago."

"Where did he go?" asked the Judge eagerly.

"Into the woods."

"And has not returned?"

"No."

"Your girl is safe," said Uncle Jonah. "The boy has found her, I'll bet my soul!"

While the Judge stood, struck and a little startled, by this information, and Jonah's positive assurance, a man on a foaming steed came plunging down the hill, just south of the house, and pulling up, called out, "Where is Judge Markham?"

"I am he."

"Oh! Good-morning, Judge! This is for you. Your girl is safe."

The Judge eagerly took the paper, gazed at it, and at the man, speechless.

"She's at my house, Judge, safe and sound."

And then the group of men gave a shout; a cheer; and then another, and another—and the men forming in the near-line heard it and took it up, and repeated it, and it ran and rang miles away; and all knew that the lost one was found, and safe.

No man who has not felt the lifting up of such an awful pressure, can estimate the rush of escaped feeling and emotion that follows it; and none who have not witnessed its sudden effect upon a crowd of eager, joyous men, shouting, cheering, crying, weeping, scrambling and laughing, can comprehend it, and none can describe it. All hurried eagerly back to the Judge's, gathered about the happy, wondering Wilder, and patted and caressed his smoking horse.

Mrs. Markham knew it, and with radiant face and eyes came out with her grateful husband, when the bright sky again rang with the cheers of the assembled multitude. After quiet came, the Judge read to them the paper he had received from Wilder:

"JUDGE MARKHAM:

"Your daughter was found this morning, on the banks of the creek, a mile from Wilder's, overcome and much exhausted. She rallied, got into Wilder's, and appears strong and well. Wilder will take you to her."

"Whose name is to it, Judge?"

"There is none—who gave it to you?"

"The young man who found the young lady, and he didn't give his name, said the Judge would hear it as soon as he would want to," was the answer; "he didn't talk much."

"It was Barton Ridgeley," said Jonah. And the name of Barton went up with new cheers, and louder than any.

Soon away went the Judge, on a splendid chestnut, with the Doctor, and two or three others, on horseback, followed by Mrs. Markham and Nell Roberts in a carriage. The sun mounted up, the snow melted away, and so did the crowd. Some returned home, and many gathered in little knots to talk up the exciting event. The absurdest speculations were indulged in, as to how Bart found Julia, and what would come out of it. There was an obvious element of romance in the affair that appealed to the sensibilities of the rudest. And then, would Bart come back with Julia?

As the day advanced, the neighboring women and children gathered at Judge Markham's, all glad and happy, and a little teary over the exciting incidents, and all impatient for the return of Julia.

At a little past two the party returned—the Judge, Mrs. Markham, Julia, and Nell, in the carriage—Julia on the front seat with her father, a little pale, but with sparkling eyes, radiant, and never so lovely. As the carriage drove up, a noisy welcome saluted her. As she arose to alight, and again as she was about to enter the house, her mother observed her cast her eyes eagerly over the crowd, as if in search of some face, and she knew by her look that she did not find it. What a gathering about her, and kissing and clinging and crying of women and girls! Then followed, "ohs!" and "ahs!" and "wonders!" and "did you evers!" and "never in my born days!" "and did Barton really find you?" and "where is he?" etc.

Every one noticed that he did not come with them, and wondered, and demanded to know where he was, and doubted if he had had anything to do with it, after all.

The Judge told them, that by some means not yet explained, Barton had found her, overcome, chilled, exhausted and in a swoon, and had carried and conducted her out to Wilder's; that when she was restored, he sent Wilder off with the news, and then went home, and that the Doctor and Roberts had gone around to his mother's to see him. Beyond doubt he had saved his daughter's life. He spoke with an honest, manly warmth, and the people were satisfied, and lingeringly and reluctantly dispersed to talk and wonder over the affair, and especially the part Barton had performed.

Toward sunset, Julia, in her luxurious chamber and night-robes, seemed anxious and restless. Her mother was with her, and tried to soothe her. Her father entered with a cheery face.

"Roberts has just returned," he said. "Barton got home in the morning, very much exhausted, of course. He seems not to have told his mother much, and went to his room, and had not been out. His mother would not permit him to be disturbed, and said he would be out all right in the morning."

"Did the Doctor see him?" asked Julia.

"I suppose not; I will go and bring him around in the morning myself," said the Judge.

"Thank you, Papa; I would so like to see him, and I want to know how he found me," said Julia.

"I wonder he did not tell you," said the Judge.

"He hardly spoke," said Julia, "unless compelled to, and told me I was too broken down to say anything. I tried to thank him, and he said I was not myself, and stopped me."



CHAPTER XXIX.

AFTER.

Toward noon of the next day, the Judge drove up to his own gate, alone, and not a little troubled. His wife and daughter were evidently expecting him. They seemed disappointed.

"Wouldn't he come?" asked his wife.

"He was not there to come."

"Not there!" from both.

"No; he went off in the stage last night to Jefferson."

"Went off! Why, father!"

"Well, it seems that he had arranged to leave on Tuesday, and sent his trunk out to Hiccox's, but didn't go; and all day Wednesday he wandered about, his mother said, seeming reluctant to start. At evening she said he appeared much depressed, and said he would not go until the next evening."

"Thank God!" said the ladies.

"George," continued the Judge, "who had been down to the Post-office, heard that you were lost, and hurried home, and told him all he had heard. His mother said when he heard it he asked a good many questions, and said, 'I know now why I stayed,' and that in five minutes he was off to the woods."

"Father, there was a special Providence in it all."

"And did Providence send him off last night?"

"Perhaps so."

"Did his mother tell how he came to think Julia had crossed the old road?"

"He didn't tell his mother much about it. She said he was more cheerful and lighter hearted than he had been for a year, but did not seem inclined to talk much; ate a very little breakfast, and went to bed, saying that he hoped she would not let anybody disturb him. He did not come down again until five, and then told her he should leave that evening. She tried to dissuade him, but he said he must go—that he was not wanted here any more—that he felt it was better for him to go at once. She said that she spoke to him of us, of Julia, saying that she thought he ought to remain and let us see him, if we wished. He answered that he had better go then, and that they would understand it. He said they might perhaps call and say some things to her; if they did, she should say to them that he could understand what their feelings might be, and appreciated them; that it was not necessary to say anything to him; that he wished all the past to be forgotten, and that nothing might be said or done to recall it; he had left Newbury forever as a home.

"I told her that I wanted to provide for his studies, and to start him in business—of course in as delicate a way as possible. She rather started up at that, and said she hoped I would never in any way make any offer of help to him. I asked who went with him to meet the stage, and his mother replied that he went alone—walked down just at dark, and wouldn't permit either of the boys to go with him."

"Why Edward! how strange this is!"

"It isn't strange to me at all," remarked Julia, in a low, depressed voice.

"Father, I've a little story to tell you. I should have told it last night, and then you would have better understood some things that have occurred. It was nothing that happened between us yesterday morning. I have told you every word and thing of that."

Then she recited to the astonished Judge the incidents of her adventure in the woods with Bart and the wolverine.

"And I," said the Judge, "have also a little incident to relate," and he told of the occurrence on the river with which this tale began.

"Oh, father!" exclaimed Julia, "could you leave him, away there, weary and alone?"

"I did not mean to do that; I stopped, and lingered and looked back, and waited and thought he would ask or call to me," said the humiliated Judge: "and now he has repaid me by saving your life."

"Father! father, dear!" going and laying her arm around his neck, and her cheek against his, "You are my own dear papa, and could never purposely harm a living thing. It was all to be, I suppose. Mamma, do you remember the night of Snow's ball, when you playfully complained of his inattention to you? and he said he would atone for all offences,—

'In that blissful never, When the Sundays come together, And the sun and glorious weather, Wrapped the earth in spring forever?'

and he has."

"I remember, but I could not recall the words."

"I can repeat the very words of the beautiful prayer that he made in the woods," said the young girl.

"And which I seemed to hear," said her mother.

"And that 'blissful never' came, mother, and all its good was for me—for us."

"Not wholly, I trust. This young man's mind and nature are their own law. His mother said he was lighter-hearted and more like himself than for a long time. He has suffered much. He mourned more for his brother than most could. He had lost his own self-respect somehow, and now he has regained it, and will come to take right views of things, and a blissful ever may come for him."

"And he wanted all the past forgotten," said the girl.

"Of all that happened between you before he has only remembered what you said to him," said her mother. "And you possibly remember what he said to you."

"I remember his generosity and bravery, mother," replied Julia.

The Judge remained thoughtful. Turning to his wife, "Would you have me follow him to Jefferson?"

"No. He went away in part to avoid us; he will be sensitive, and I would not go to him at present. Write to him; write what you really feel, a warm and manly letter like your own true self. I am not certain, though, how he will receive it."

A silence followed which was broken by Julia.

"Father, do you know this Mr. Wade with whom Barton has gone to study?"

"Yes; I have met him several times and like him very much. He was our senator, and made that awful speech against slavery last winter. He is a frank, manly, straightforward man."

"How old is he?"

"Thirty-five, perhaps; why?"

"Nothing. Is he married?"

"He is an old bachelor; but I heard some one joking him about a young lady, to whom it is said he is engaged. Why do you inquire about him?"

"Oh! I wanted to know something of the man with whom he is. I met Mr. Ranney a year ago, you know."

That night the fair girl remained long in a serious and thoughtful attitude.

* * * * *

In the afternoon of the next day, the ladies drove to Mrs. Ridgeley's. The elders embraced cordially. One was thinking of the boy who had died, and of him who had gone so sadly away; the other of her agony at a supposed loss, and her great joy at the recovery. Julia took one of Mrs. Ridgeley's thin, toil-hardened hands in her two, rosy and dimpled, and kissed it, and shed tears over it. Then they sat down, and Mrs. Markham, in her woman's direct natural way, poured out the gratitude they both felt; Julia, with simple frankness, told the happenings of the night, and both were surprised to learn that Bart had told her so little.

Mrs. Ridgeley described his going out, and coming back next morning, and going again at evening. It was his way, his mother said. She was proud of Barton, and wondered that this sweet girl should not love him, and actually pitied her that she did not. She would not betray his weakness; but when she came to speak of his final going, the forlorn figure of the depressed boy walking out into the darkness, alone, came before her, and she wept. Then Julia knelt by her, and again taking her hand, said "Let me love you, while he is gone; I want to care for all that are dear to him;" and the poor mother thought that it was in part as a recompense for not loving Barton. There was another thing that Julia came to say, and opening her satchel, she pointed to something red and coarse, and putting her hand on it, she said, "This was Bart's. He took it off himself, and put it on me; and went cold and exposed. I did not think to restore it, and I want very much to keep it—may I?" The poor mother raised her eyes to the warm face of the girl, yet saw nothing. "Yes." And the pleased child replaced it and closed her satchel.

Then Mrs. Markham said their friends and neighbors were coming in on the Tuesday evening following, to congratulate them, and would Mrs. Ridgeley let them send for her? The gathering would be informal and neighborly. But Mrs. Ridgeley begged to be excused. Julia wanted to see the boys, and they came in from the garden—Ed shy, quiet and reserved; George, dashing, sparkling and bashful. Julia went up and shook them by their brown hands, and acted as if she would kiss George if he did look very much like Bart. She talked with them in her frank girl's way, and took them captive, and then mother and daughter drove away.

* * * * *

The gathering at the Judge's was spontaneous almost, and cordial. The whole family were popular individually, and the young girls especially gathered about Julia, who was a real heroine and had been rescued by a brave, handsome young man;—the affair was so romantic!

They wondered why Bart should go away; and wouldn't he be there that night? They seemed to assume that everything would be a matter of course, only he behaved very badly in going off when he must know he was most wanted. Of course he would come back, and Julia would forgive him; and something they hinted of this. Kate and Ann, and sweet Pearly Burnett, who had just come home from school, and was entitled to rank next after Julia, with Nell and Kate, were very gushing on the subject.

Others took Bart to account. His sudden and mysterious flight was very much against him, and his reputation was at a sudden ebb. Why did he go? Then Greer's name was mentioned, and Brown, and New Orleans; and it was talked over that night at Markham's with ominous mystery, and one wouldn't wonder if Bart had not gone to Jefferson, at all—that was a dodge; and another said that at Painesville he stopped and went west to Cleveland; or to Fairport, and took a steamer; and Greer went off about the same time.

Julia caught these whispers and pondered them, and the Judge looked grave over them.

In the morning Julia asked him what it all meant. She remembered that he had spoken of Bart in connection with Greer, when he came home from the Cole trial, which made her uneasy; she now wanted to know what it meant.

The Judge replied that there was a rumor that Bart was an associate of Greer, and engaged with him. "In what?" He didn't know; he was a supposed agent of Brown's, and a company. "What were they doing?" Nobody knew; but it was grossly unlawful and immoral. "Did anybody believe this of Bart?" He didn't know; things looked suspicious. "Do you suspect Bart of anything wrong?" He did not; but people talked and men must be prudent. "Be prudent, when his name is assailed, and he absent, and no brother to defend him?" "Why did he go?" asked the Judge, "and where did he go?"

"Father!"

"I don't suspect anything wrong of him, and yet the temptation to this thing might be great."

Julia asked no more.

The next morning she said that she had long promised Sarah King to pay her a visit, and she thought she would go for two or three days. Sarah had just been to Pittsburg, and had seen Miss Walters, and she wanted so much to hear from her. This announcement quite settled it. She had recently taken the possession of herself, in a certain sweet determined way, and was inclined to act on her own judgment, or caprice. She would go down in the stage; she could go alone—and she went.

The morning after, the elegant and leisurely Mr. Greer, at the Prentiss House, Ravenna, received a dainty little note, saying that Miss Markham was at Mr. King's, and would be glad to see him at his early leisure. He pulled his whiskers down, and his collar up, and called. He found Miss Markham in the parlor, who received him graciously.

What commands had she for him?

"Mr. Greer, I want to ask you a question, if you will permit me."

Anything he would answer cheerfully.

"You know Barton Ridgeley?"

"Yes, without being much acquainted with him. I like him."

"Have you now, or have you ever had any business connection with him?"

"I have not, and I never had."

"Will you say this in writing?"

"Cheerfully, if you wish it."

"I do."

Greer sat down to the desk in the library adjoining.

"Address my father, please."

He wrote and handed her the following:

"Hon. E. MARKHAM:

"Dear Sir,—I am asked if I have now, or have ever had any business relations of any kind with Barton Ridgeley. I have not, and never had, directly or indirectly, on my own, or on account of others.

"Very respectfully,

"THOS. J. GREER.

"RAVENNA, April 1838."

"May I know why you wish this?" a little gravely; "you've heard something said about something and somebody, by other somebodys or nobodys, perhaps."

"I have. Mr. Ridgeley is away. You have heard of our obligations to him, and I have taken it upon myself to ask you."

"You are a noble girl, Miss Markham. A man might go through fire for you;" enthusiastically.

"Thank you."

"And now I hope your little heart is at rest."

"It was quite at rest before. I am much obliged, Mr. Greer; and it may not be in my power to make other returns."

"Good morning, Miss Markham."

"Good morning, Mr. Greer."

In the afternoon, as the Judge was in his office, a little springy step came clipping in. "Good afternoon! Papa Judge," and two wonderful arms went about his neck, and two lips to his own.

"Why Julia! you back! How is Sarah?"

"Splendid!"

"Your friend Miss Walters?"

"Oh, she is well. See here, Papa Judge," holding out the Greer note.

The Judge looked at and read it over in amazement.

"Where under the heavens did you get this?"

"Mr. Greer wrote it for me."

"Mr. Greer wrote it for you? I am amazed! no man could have dared to ask him for it! What put this into your head?"

"You almost suspected Bart"—with decidedly damp eyes—"and others did quite, and while in Ravenna I wrote a note to Mr. Greer, who called, and I asked the direct question, and he answered. I asked him to write it and he did, and paid me a handsome compliment besides. Papa Judge, when you want a thing done send me."

"Well, my noble girl, you deserve a compliment. A girl that can do that can, of course, have a man go through night and storm and flood for her," said the Judge with enthusiasm.

"Mr. Greer said a man should go through fire," said Julia, as if a little hurt.

"And so he may," said the Judge, improving.

"That is for you," said Julia, more gravely, and gave him the note.



CHAPTER XXX.

JEFFERSON.

Bart has come well nigh breaking down on my hands two or three times. I find him unmanageable. He is pitched too high and tuned too nicely for common life; and I am only too glad to get him off out of Newbury, to care much how he went. To say, however, that he went off cheerful and happy, would do the poor fellow injustice. He did his best to show himself that it was all right. But something arose and whispered that it was all wrong. Of course Julia and her love were not for him, and yet in his heart a cry for her would make itself heard.

Didn't he go voluntarily, because he would? Who was to blame? Yet he despised himself as a huge baby, because there was a half conscious feeling of self-pity, a consciousness of injustice, of being beaten. Then he was lame from, over-exertion, and his heart was sore, and he had to leave his mother and Ed and George. Would it have been better to remain a day or two and meet Julia? He felt that he would certainly break down in her presence, and he had started, and shut her forever out. If she did not stay shut out it would be her own fault. And that was logical.

He got into the stage, and had the front seat, with wide soft cushions, to himself, and drawing his large camlet cloak about him, he would rest and sleep.

Not a bit of it. On the back seat was an old lady and a young one with her; and a man on the middle seat. At Parkers, where they changed horses, they had heard all about it, and had it all delightfully jumbled up. Barton Markham had rescued Miss Ridgeley from a gang of wolves, which had driven her into the Chagrin River, which froze over, etc., but it had all ended happily, and the wedding-day was fixed.

Miss Ridgeley was a lovely girl, but poor; and Bart was a hero, whom the ladies would be glad to see.

The old lady asked Bart if he knew the parties.

"Yes." And he straightened out the tangle of names.

"Was Julia a beauty?"

"Decidedly."

"And Bart?"

Well, he didn't think much of Bart and didn't want to speak of him. He thought the performance no great shakes, etc. The ladies were offended.

"No matter, Julia would marry him?"

"She would never think of it."

At Hiccox's somebody recognized Bart and told the old lady who he was.

"Oh, dear!" He wished he had walked to Jefferson and had a good mind to get out.

A few years ago, when Jefferson had become famous throughout the United States as the residence of two men, a stranger, who met Senator Wade, "old Ben," somewhere East, asked him what were the special advantages of Jefferson. "Political," was the dry response.

Those privileges were not apparent to Bart, as he looked over the little mud-beleaguered town of two or three hundred inhabitants, with its two taverns, Court House, two or three churches, and half a dozen stores and shops, and the high, narrow wooden sidewalks, mere foot bridges, rising high above the quaggy, tenacious mud, that would otherwise have forbidden all communication. The town was built on a low level plain, every part of which, to Bart's eye, seemed a foot or two lower and more depressed than every other.

In fact, his two days and two nights wallow in the mud, from Newbury to Jefferson, had a rather depressing effect on a mind a little below par when he started; and he was inclined to depressing views.

Bart was not one to be easily beaten, or stay beaten, unless when he abandoned the field; and the battle at Jefferson was to be fought out. Lord! how far away were Newbury and all the events of three days ago. There was one that was not inclined to vacate, but Bart was resolute. It was dark, and he would shut his eyes and push straight forward till light came.

This, then, was the place where Henry had lived, and which he had learned to like. He would like it too. He inquired the way, and soon stood in front of a one-story wooden building, painted white, lettered "Wade & Ranney, Attorneys at Law." The door was a little ajar and Bart pushed it open and entered a largeish, dingy, soiled room, filled with book-cases, tables and chairs, with a generally crumpled and disarranged appearance; in the rear of which was its counterpart. A slender, white-haired, very young looking man, and another of large and heavy mould occupied the front room, while in the rear sat a third, with his feet on the table. Bart looked around and bowing to each: "I see Mr. Ranney is not in;" and with another glance around, "I presume Mr. Wade is not?"

"No. Both would be in during the evening."

"I am Bart Ridgeley," he said. "You may remember my brother Henry?"

"How are you, Bart? We know you, but did not at first recognize you," said white-hair frankly. "My name is Case,—this is Ransom, and there is Kennedy. We all knew your brother and liked him."

Bart shook hands with, and looked at, each. Case had small but marked features—was too light, but his eyes redeemed his face; and his features improved on acquaintance. Ransom was twenty-seven or twenty-eight, of heavy build, dark, and with a quick, sharp eye, and jerky positive way. Kennedy was sandy—hair, face, eyebrows and skin, with good eyes.

"I think we shall like you, Bart," said Case, who had examined him.

"I hope you will; it must be very pleasant to be liked," said Bart vivaciously. "I've never tried it much."

"There is one thing I observe," continued Case, "that won't suit Ransom—that way of taking off your hat when you came in."

"Oh!" said Bart, laughing, "I'm imitative, with a tendency to improve; and shall doubtless find good models."

"Don't mind Case," said Ransom; "he's of no account. Just come in?"

"Yes."

"How do you like our town?"

"Very well. There seems to be a little confusion of dry land and sea."

"You see, Mr. Ridgeley," said Case, "that the dry land and sea never were separated here. The man that had the job failed, and nobody else would ever undertake it. I think, Mr. Ridgeley," after a pause, "I had better tell who and what we are, as we shall be together for some time. This is Ransom—B. Ransom. His temperament is intellectual—I may say, brainy. That B. stands for brains emphatically, being the whole of them. He is rather a matter of fact than a conclusion of law, and were you to apply a rule of law to him, although matter of fact, he would be found to be immaterial, and might be wholly rejected as surplusage. He's rather scriptural, also, and takes mostly to the prophets, Jonadab, Meshac, and those revered worthies. He's highly moral, and goes for light reading to the elder Scriptures, drawing largely upon Tamar and Rachel and Leah, and the pure young daughters of Lot. Ruth is too tame for him. He was the inventor of our 'moral reform' sidewalks, on which, as you see, no young man can walk beside a maiden. The effect on morals is salubrious."

"Case! Case!" protested Ransom.

"As for law, he goes into a law book as a mite goes through a cheese, head on, and with about—"

"Case! Case! Case!" broke in Ransom again, "hold up your infernal gabble."

"I know the importance of first impressions," said Case, with gravity, "and I want you should start favorably; and if you don't come up to my eulogium, something will be pardoned to the partiality of friendship."

"Yes, yes! partiality of friendship!" said Ransom, excitedly; and turning to Bart, "he is a Case, as you see; but if a man should go into Court with such a Case, he would be non-suited; he isn't even prima facie."

"Good!" exclaimed Kennedy.

"Ransom, you are inspired; flattery does you good."

"Go on!" said Case; "don't interrupt him, he'll never get such another start."

"He's a poetic cuss," continued Ransom, "and writes verses for the Painesville papers, and signs them "C.," though I've never been able to see anything in them. He's strong on Byron, and though he's—he's—" and he stopped in excessive excitement.

"There you're out, Ransom," said Case, "and that is by far the ablest as well as the longest speech you ever made. If you had let me go on and fully open out your excellencies, you might have completed the last sentence. Now, Kennedy here—" resumed Case.

"Spare me!" said Kennedy, laughing; "give Ridgeley a chance to find out my strong points, if you please."

"Now, Case," said Ransom, reflectively, "Case is not a bad fellow, considering that he is good for nothing, and a smart fellow for one who knows nothing, and you will like him. He's a little stiffish, and devotes himself mostly to young ladies."

"Thank you," said Case.

Bart was amused at these free sketches, especially as none but good feeling prevailed, and remarked, "that it was fortunate for him that no acquaintance of his was present, who could do him justice."

He walked up to the large and well-filled book-cases, and mused about. "My brother wrote and told me so much of all this that I thought I was familiar with it," he said at last.

"He used to sit in that corner, by the table, with his back to the window," said Kennedy, pointing to a place in the back room, which Bart approached. "He was usually the first here in the morning and the last to go at night, and then often took a book with him."

"We liked him very much," said Ransom, "and we forwarded to you a set of resolutions on hearing of his death."

"I received them," replied Bart, "and if I did not acknowledge it, I owe you an apology."

"You did, to Ranney," said Case.

The memory of his brother, who had read and worked, talked and laughed, mused and hoped in that little nook, came up very fresh to Barton.

Case proposed that they take a stroll, or a "string" as he called it, about the village, and as they walked in single file on the narrow sidewalks, the idea of "string" seemed to be realized. They went into the Court House and up into the court-room, and down into the Recorder's office, filled with books, and introduced Bart to Ben Graylord, the Recorder, who showed him a record-book written by his brother, every page of which sparkled with the beauty of the writing. Then they went to the clerk's office of Col. Hendry, with its stuffed pigeon-holes, and books, and into the sheriff's office, and to divers other places.

Jefferson was about eleven or twelve miles from the lake, south of Ashtabula. It was selected as the county seat, and at once became the residence of the county officers, and of many wealthy and influential citizens, but never became a place of much business, while Ashtabula and Conneaut were already busy towns. Each lay at the mouth of a considerable creek, whose names they respectively bore, and which formed harbors for the lake commerce, and were both visited daily by the steamers that run up and down Lake Erie. These facts were communicated to Bart, as they walked about, and the residences of Mr. Giddings, Judge Warren, Colonel Hendry, Mr. St. John, and others, were pointed out to him.



CHAPTER XXXI.

OLD BEN.

That evening, Case and Bart went in rather late to supper at the Jefferson House, and Case pointed out B.P. Wade sitting at the head of one of the tables. Bart studied him closely.

He was then about thirty-five or thirty-six years of age; of a fine, athletic, compact and vigorous frame, straight, round, and of full average height, with an upward cast of the head and face that made him look taller than he was. He had a remarkably fine head and a striking face—a high, narrow, retreating forehead, a little compressed at the temples, aquiline nose, firm, goodish mouth, and prominent chin, with a deep dark eye, and strongly marked brow, not handsome, but a strong, firm, noticeable face, which, with his frank, manly, decided manner and carriage, would at once arrest the eye of a stranger, as it did that of Bart, who knew that he saw a remarkable man. The head was turned, so that the light fell upon the face, giving it strong light and shadow in the Rembrandt style; and Bart studied and contemplated it at great advantage.

He tried to reproduce the recent scene in the Ohio Senate, in which Wade performed so conspicuous a part. It was in the worst of the bad days of Northern subserviency to slavery, which now seem almost phantasmagorical; when, at the command of the Kentucky State Commissioners, the grovelling majority of the Ohio Legislature prostrated the State abjectly in the dust beneath its feet, it was demanded that no man of African blood should be permitted to remain in the State unless some responsible white man should become bail for his good conduct, and that he should never become a public charge.

The bill was about to be put on its final passage in the Senate, by a majority made up of men so revoltingly servile, that even such infamy failed to preserve their names. "Tin Pan" had decreed that a vote should be taken before adjournment for the night, and the debate ran into the deep hours. Gregg Powers, a tall, dark-haired, black-eyed, black-browed young senator, from Akron, had just pronounced a fervent, indignant, sarcastic and bitter phillipic against it, when, after midnight, Wade arose, with angry brow and flashing eye. Argument and logic were out of place; appeals to honor could not be comprehended by men shameless by nature, abject by instinct, and infamous by habit, and who cared nothing for the fame of their common State. Wade, at white heat, turned on them a mingled torrent of sarcasm, scorn, contempt, irony, scoffing, and derision, hot, seething, hissing, blistering, and consuming. He then turned to the haughty and insolent Commissioners of slavery, who were present, that the abasement of the State might lack no mark or brand, and with an air haughtier and prouder than their own, defied them. He declared himself their mortal foe, and cast the gauntlet contemptuously into their faces. He told them they would meet him again in the coming bitter days, and with prodigious force, predicted the extirpation of slavery. Nobody called him to order; nobody interrupted him; and when he closed his awful phillipic, nobody tried to reply. The vote was taken, and the bill passed into a law. And as Bart called up the scene, and looked at the man taking his tea, and conversing carelessly, he thought that a life would be a cheap price for such an opportunity and effort.

Nature had been generous to Wade, and given him a fine, well-balanced, strong, clear intellect, of a manly, direct, and bold cast, as well of mind as temperament. He was not destitute of learning in his profession, but rather despised culture, and had a certain indolence of intellect, that arose in part from undervaluing books, and although later a great reader, he was never a learned man. His manners were rude though kind; he had wonderful personal popularity, and was the freest possible from cant, pretence, or any sort of demagogueism. He was as incapable of a mean thought as of uttering the slightest approach to an untruth, or practising a possible insincerity. He was a favorite with the young lawyers and students, who imitated his rude manner and strong language; was a dangerous advocate, and had much influence with courts. In all these early years he was known as Frank Wade; "Ben" and "old Ben" came to him years after at Washington.

When he left the supper room Case found an opportunity to introduce Bart to him. Wade received him very cordially, and spoke with great kindness of his brother Henry, and remarked that Bart did not much resemble him.

"So I am generally told," said Bart; "and I fear that I am less like him in intellect than in person."

"You may possibly not lose by that. Most persons would think you better looking, and you may have as good a mind—that we will find out for ourselves."

Bart felt that this was kind. Wade then remarked that they would find time on Monday to overhaul his law. Later, Bart met Ranney, who, he thought, received him coolly.

The next day the young men went to church. Nothing in the way of heresy found foothold at Jefferson. It was wholly orthodox; although it was suspected that Wade and Ranney had notions of their own in religion; or rather the impression was that they had no religion of any kind. Not to have the one and true, was to have none according to the Jefferson platform.

Monday was an anxious day for Bart. He would now be put to a real test. He knew he had studied hard, but he remembered the air with which Henry and Ranney waived him off. Then he was so poor, and was so anxious to get through, and be admitted in September, that he was a little nervous when the lawyers found leisure in the afternoon to "overhaul his law," as Wade had expressed it.

Ranney had no idea of letting him off on definitions and general rules, and he plunged at once into special pleading, as presented by Chitty, in his chapter on Replications. No severer test could have been applied, and the young men thought it a little rough. Bart answered the questions with some care, and gave the reason of the rules clearly. Ranney then proposed a case of a certain special plea, and asked Bart how he would reply. Bart enumerated all the various replies that might be made, and the method of setting each forth. Ranney then asked him to state an instance of new assignment, in a replication; and when Bart had stated its purpose and given an instance, he said he thought that a good pleader would always so state his case in his declaration as to render a new assignment unnecessary, perhaps impossible. He was then asked what defects in pleading would be cured by a general verdict? and gave the rules quite luminously.

Ranney then asked him what books he had read; and Bart named several. "What others?" and he named as many more. "Is that all?" laughing.

"Oh!" said Bart, "I remember what you and Henry said about my reading, and really I have dipped into a good many besides."

"Well, Ranney," said Wade, "what can we do for this young man? I think he will pass now, better than one in a hundred."

"I think so too; still, I think we can help him, or help him to help himself." And he finally named a work on commercial law, a book on medical jurisprudence, and a review of Kent. At leisure moments, he would have him practise in drawing bills in Chancery, declarations, pleas, etc.

Bart certainly might be pleased with this result, and it evidently advanced him very much in the estimation of all who had listened to his examination, although he felt that the work imposed upon him was rather slender, and just what he should do with the spare time this labor would leave him he would not then determine.

He liked his new position with these ambitious young men, engaged in intellectual pursuits, with whom he was to associate and live, and upon whom he felt that he had made a favorable impression. It did not occur to him that there might be society, save with these and his books; nor would it have occurred to him to enquire, or to seek entrance into it, if it existed; with a sort of intellectual hunger he rushed upon his books with a feeling that he had recently been dissipated, and misapplied his time and energies.



CHAPTER XXXII.

THE LETTERS.

Tuesday evening's mail brought him two letters, post-marked Newbury. The sight of them came with a sort of a heart-blow. They were not wholly expected, and he felt that there might still be a little struggle for him, although he was certain that this must be the last.

The well-known hand of Judge Markham addressed one of them. The writing of the other he did not recognize; only after he had lost its envelope, he remembered that it very much resembled the hand that wrote the Greer warning. He put the letters into an inside pocket, and tried to go on with his book; like a very young man he fancied that he was observed. So he took his hat and went to the room he occupied with Case. He pulled open the unknown, knew the hand, ran down and turned over to the second page, and found "Julia" at the bottom, and below, the words "with the profoundest gratitude." It ran:

"NEWBURY, April 8, 1838.

"BARTON RIDGELEY:

"Dear Sir,—Is it characteristic of a brave and generous man to confer the greatest obligations upon another, and not permit that other the common privilege of expressing gratitude? Were I a man, I would follow and weary you with a vain effort to utter the thanks I owe you. But I can only say a few cold words on paper at the risk of being misunderstood." ("Um-m, I don't see what danger she could apprehend on that score," said Bart quite sharply.) "When I had wandered beyond the help of my father and friends, into danger, and, I think, to certain death, you were inspired with the heart, skill and strength, to find and save me. Next to God, who led you, I owe my life to you. When this is said, I cannot say more. I know of no earthly good that you do not deserve; I can think of no gift of Heaven, that I do not ask of It for you.

"You will not be offended that I should most anxiously insist that some little benefit should in some way come to you, from my father; and you will certainly, when you first return to Newbury, give me an opportunity to say to you how much I owe you, and how heavy the obligation rests upon me. You promised me this and will fulfil it. My mother, who sees this note, wants you to realize her profound sense of your service to us, enhanced if possible by the noble and manly way in which you rendered it. She was always your discerning and discriminating friend."

"Discriminating,"—Bart did not like that, but no matter. That was all.

"A very pretty letter, my lady Julia," said Bart with a long breath. "Quite warm. I confess I don't care much for your gratitude—but very pretty and condescending. And it is kind to advise me that whatever may have been your estimate of me, your sweet lady mother 'discerned' differently. What you mean by discriminating is a very pretty little woman mystery, that I shall never know."

"And now for my Lord Judge:"

"NEWBURY, April 8, 1838.

"BARTON RIDGELEY, ESQ.:

"My Dear Sir,—I was disappointed at not finding you at Wilder's, where your noble exertions had placed my daughter. I was more disappointed on calling at your mother's the following morning, hoping to carry you to my house. If anything in my conduct in the past contributed to these disappointments, I regret it." ("Very manly, Judge Markham," remarked Bart. "Don't feel uneasy, I should have acted all the same.") "You saved to us, and to herself, our daughter, and can better understand our feelings for this great benefit than I can express them." ("All right Judge, I would not try it further, if I were you.") "Whoever confers such a benefaction, also confers the right upon the receiver, not only to express gratitude by words, but by acts, which shall avail in some substantial way." ("Rather logical, Judge!") "I shall insist that you permit me to place at your disposal means to launch you in your profession in a way commensurate with your talents and deservings." ("Um-m-m.") "I trust you will soon return to Newbury, or permit me to see you in Jefferson, and when the past may" ("I don't care about wading the Chagrin, Judge, and helping your daughter out of the woods was no more than leading out any other man's daughter, and I don't want to hear more of either. Just let me alone.") "be atoned for. I need not say that my wife unites with me in gratitude, and a hearty wish to be permitted to aid you; nor how anxious we are to learn the details of your finding our daughter, all of which is a profound mystery to us.

"Sincerely yours,

"EDWARD MARKHAM."

There was a postscript to the Judge's, instead of Julia's, and Bart looked at it two or three times with indifference, and walked up and down the room with a sore, angry feeling that he did not care to understand the source of, nor yet to control. "Very pretty letters! very well said! Why did they care to say anything to me? When I came away they might have known—but then, who and what am I? Why the devil shouldn't they snub me one day and pat me on the head the next? And I ought to be glad to be kicked, and glad to be thanked for being kicked—only I'm not—-though I don't know why! Well, this is the last of it; in my own good time—or somebody's time, good or bad—I will walk in upon my Lord Judge, my discriminating Lady the Mother, and the Lady Julia, and hear them say their pieces without danger of misapprehension." And his eye fell again on the Judge's postscript. Reads:

"Before I called at your mother's on that morning, I set apart the chestnut 'Silver-tail,' well caparisoned, as your property. I thought it a fitting way in which one gentleman might indicate his appreciation of another. I knew you would appreciate him; I hoped he would be useful to you. He is your property, whether you will or no, and will be held subject to your order, and the fact that he is yours will not diminish the care he will receive. May I know your pleasure in reference to him?

"E.M."

This found the weak place, or one of the weak places, in Bart's nature. The harshness and bitterness of his feelings melted out of his heart, and left him to answer his letters in a spirit quite changed from that which had just possessed him.

To Julia he wrote:

"JEFFERSON, April 11, 1838.

"Miss JULIA MARKHAM:

"Yours has just reached me. I am so little used to expressions of kindness that yours seem to mock me like irony. You did not choose to become involved in discomfort and danger, nor were you left to elect who should aid you, and I can endure the reflection that you might prefer to thank some other.

"If your sense of obligation is unpleasant, there is one consideration that may diminish it. A man of spirit, whose folly had placed him in the position I occupied towards you, would have eagerly sought an opportunity to render you any service, and would have done his poor best in your behalf. When it was accomplished he would not have been covetous of thanks, and might hope that it would be taken as some recompense for the past, and only ask to forget and be forgotten. No matter; so little that is pleasant has happened to me, that you surely can permit me to enjoy the full luxury of having saved you without having that diminished by the receipt of anything, in any form, from anybody, by reason of it. It is in your power to explain one thing to your father; by which he will see that I must be left to my own exertions so far as he is concerned. I do believe that your gracious mother was my one friend, who looked kindly upon my many faults, and who will rejoice if I ever escape from them.

"When in Newbury hereafter I shall feel at liberty to call at your father's house.

"With the sincerest wishes for your welfare, I remain

"Your obedient servant,

"A.B.E."

To the Judge:

"Hon. EDWARD MARKHAM:

"Dear Sir,—I am in receipt of yours. It was, perhaps, necessary for you to say some words to me. I may not judge of what would be fitting; I feel that you have said more than was required. I had a boy's sincere liking for you; but when I failed to secure the good-will of anybody, it is certain that there were radical defects in my character, and you but entertained the common feeling towards me. It was an honest, hearty dislike, which I have accepted—as I accept other things—without complaint or appeal. There is one near you who can explain how impossible it is that I can become an object of your interest or care. I am poor; let me remain so; I like it. Let me alone to buffet and be buffetted. The atmosphere in which I live is cold and thin, and exercise is needful for me. I have not deserved well of the world, and the world has not been over kind to forget it. Leave me to wage the war with it in my own way. It was God's pleasure to remove from me those upon whom I had natural claims, and I do not murmur, nor do I allude to it only as an indication that I am to go on alone.

"I am aware that I do not meet you in the spirit which prompts your generous and manly kindness—no matter. Think that it proceeds from something ignoble in my nature, and be glad that you may in no way be involved in any failure that awaits me.

"I am sure Mrs. Markham has always been most kind to me, and if on the miserable night when I left my own mother I could have stolen to her somewhere, and have touched her robe with my lips, it would have been most grateful to me. We shall meet probably again, and I am sure our intercourse may be that at least of pleasant acquaintances.

"With the sincerest respect,

"A.B.E.

"P.S.—Your postscript takes me at disadvantage. What can I say? Its kindness is most unkind. The horse is a mount fit for a Prince. I wish he might be found useful to Miss Markham; if she will accept him, I would be glad that he might be devoted to her service. More than this I cannot say.

"B."

I am inclined to follow these letters back to Newbury. It took a round week for a letter and its answer to pass between Newbury and Jefferson both ways. Somehow, it so happened that Julia, on the third day after mailing hers to Bart, was at the Post-office every day, on the arrival of the Northern mail, with the air of an unconcerned young woman who did not expect anything. On the seventh, two letters in a hand she knew were handed her by the clerk, who looked at the time as if he thought these were the letters, but said nothing.

On her way home she opened one of them and read it, and paused, and read, and studied as if the hand was illegible, and looked grave and hurt, and as if tears would start, and then calm and proud. "When she got home she silently handed the other to her father, and her own to her mother; then she went to her room. An hour later she came back, took her letter, and going into her father's office, laid it open before him, receiving his in return. This she read with a sad face; once or twice a moisture came into her eyes in spite of her, and then she sat and said nothing; and her mother came in and read her husband's letter also.

"Mother," said Julia, "are all young men really like this proud, haughty, sensitive fellow? and yet he is so unhappy! Was father at all like him?"

"I don't know. You must remember that few at his age have been placed in such trying positions, and had he been less, or more, or different, we might have been without cause for gratitude to him."

"Well, he graciously permits us to know that he may at least once again approach 'Your father's house!'"

"Julia! Could he have done it before?"

"Could he not, mother, when he saved my life?"

"Julia, was this poor youth more than human?"

"Mother, I have sometimes felt that he was, and that somehow more was to be required of him than of common men."

The Judge sat in silence, with an expression that indicated that his reflections were not wholly cheerful. The frank words that this youth had always liked him, and that the Judge had cause for dislike, so generous, were like so many stabs.

"Papa Judge," said Julia, suddenly springing to her father's side, "may I have him?"

"Have him! Who?"

"Why, Silver-tail, of course," laughing. "There is nobody else I can have;" rather gravely.

"Will you accept him?"

"Of course I will, and ride him too. I've always coveted him. My old 'Twilight' has almost subsided into night, and is just fit for Nell and Pearly. They may ride her; and when this prince wants his charger, as he will, he must come to me for him—don't you see?"

An hour later a splendid dark chestnut, with silver mane and tail, round-limbed, with a high dainty head, small ears, and big nostrils, with a human eye, spirited and docile, was brought round, caparisoned for a lady, and Julia stood by him with his bridle in her hand, caressing and petting him, while waiting for something ere she mounted. "Your name shall not be 'Silver-tail' any longer; you are 'Prince'"—whispering something in his ear. "Do you hear, Prince? You shall be my good friend, and serve me until your own true lord and master comes for you. Do you hope it will be soon?" Prince slightly shook his head, as if the wish was not his, at any rate. "Well, soon or late, you naughty Prince, he alone shall take you from my hand. Do you hear?" and being mounted, she galloped away.



CHAPTER XXXIII.

AT WILDER'S.

April brightened out into May, and over all the beautiful fields, and woods, and hills of Newbury, came bright warm tints of the deepening season; and under the urgency of Julia, her mother and herself made their contemplated visit of thanks to the Wilders, who could at least be benefitted by their kindness to Julia, bearing a good many nice new things for Mrs. Wilder and Rose, and the two younger children. Julia, in her warmth, found everything about the neat log house and its surroundings quite attractive. The fields were new, but grass was fresh about the house, and shrubs and plants had been put out.

She had taken a strong liking to Rose, a tall, sweet, shy girl of seventeen, who had received her into her bed, and who now, in her bashful way, was more glad to see her than she could express. The house, in a lovely place, was sheltered by the near forest, and everything about it was as unlike what Julia remembered as could well be. It seemed to have changed its locality, and the one outside door opened on the opposite side. She went all about and around it; and out to the margin of the woods, gray and purple, and tenderest green, with bursting buds and foliage.

Her mother found Mrs. Wilder a comely, intelligent woman, who was immensely obliged by her visit, and thankful for her generous presents of dresses for herself, and Rose, and the children.

After dinner, Julia went with Rose out by the road into the woods, through which, a month ago, Bart had conducted her. She recognized nothing in the surroundings. How bright and sweet, with sun and flowers, the woods were, with great maple trees opening out their swollen buds into little points of leaves, like baby-fists into chubby fingers and thumbs. On they went down to the creek which flowed the other way. Julia remembered that they came up it to find the road, and they now turned down its bank. How sweet, and soft, and bright it looked, flecked with sunbeams, and giving out little gurgles of water-laughs, as if it recognized her—"Oh! it is you, is it, this bright day? Where is the handsome youth you clung to, on a winter morning, we know of? I know you!"—with its little ripples.

They soon came to where the rock cropped out from the sloping ground and formed a ledge along the margin of the diminished stream, and soon reached the little cove; there was the rude shelter which had covered Julia, and under it the couch of shavings on which she had rested, a little scattered and just as she had left it; and, near its foot, the still fresh brands that almost seemed to smoke. How strong and real it all came to the sensibilities of the girl! Nothing had been there but the tender silent fingers of nature. Yes, as she sat down on her old bed, and glanced up, she saw a bright-eyed Phoebe-bird who had built just over her head, and now was on her nest, while her mate poured out the cheery clang of his love song, on a limb near by. The little half circle of ground, walled in by the high mossy rocks, opened southerly, and received the full glow of the afternoon sun, while in front of it ran the laughing, gleeful creek. It was very bright, but to Julia very, very lonely. In a few words she pointed out to the sympathizing Bose the few localities, and mentioned the incidents of that awful morning, and then she turned very gravely and thoughtfully back.

Rose very, very much wanted to ask about Barton; her woman's instincts told her that here was a something sweet and yet mysterious, that made everything so dear to this beautiful and now pensive girl by her side. His name had not been mentioned, and Julia had only referred to him, as "he did this;" "he sat by that tree." At last Rose ventured: "Where is he—this Mr. Ridgeley? Mother said he went away."

"Yes; I never saw him after you took me into your bed, Rose," said Julia.

"He saw you after that, Miss Markham."

"What do you mean, Rose?"

"I am sure you would like to know," said Rose. "I know I would. Mother said that after father had gone, and after we were asleep, he asked her if he might just look upon you for a moment; and she opened the door, and he stood in it, looked towards you for a second, and then turned and went out without a single word, seeming very much agitated." Rose's voice was a little agitated too. Though she felt the arm that was twined tenderly about her waist, she did not dare to look in the face so near her own. "Mother says," she continued, "that he was very handsome and very pale. I suppose he is very poor, but—"

"But what, Rose?"

"I am sure," she said, hesitatingly, "that will make no difference."

Julia only answered with a little caress.

"When he comes back," said simple Rose, who was certain that it would all come right, "he will want to come and see that lovely little place, and you will want to come with him; I would like to see him."

"When he comes back," said Julia, brightly, "you shall see him, little Rose; you are a dear, good girl, and if you are ever in peril, I am sure some brave, handsome man will come to you."

Rose hoped he would.

The older women had talked matters over also in their grave, prudent woman's way, and both learned from the brightness in Julia's face and eyes, that the ramble in the woods had been pleasant. On their way home Julia described it all to her mother.

They drove around by way of Mrs. Ridgeley's, and found her busy and cheerful. She had a letter from Bart full of cheerful encouragement, and the Colonel had returned, and would remain in Newbury for the present.

Julia caught George and this time actually kissed the blushing, half-angry, yet really pleased boy.

The next day Mrs. Ridgeley visited the graves of her husband and son, on her way from her friend Mrs. Punderson's, and was touched by the evidences of a watchful care that marked them. At the head of Henry's grave was planted a beautiful rose tree, full of buds, and a few wild flowers lay withered among the green grass springing so freshly over him. The mother wondered what hand performed this pious act. Like Bart, she supposed that some gentle maiden thus evinced her tenderness for his memory, and was very anxious to know who she was.



CHAPTER XXXIV.

ROUGH SKETCHES.

The sun drank up the waters out of Jefferson, and the almanac brought the day for the May term of the Court for Ashtabula county; came the Judge, the juries and unfortunate parties; came also some twenty lawyers, from the various points of North-eastern Ohio. It was to be a great time for our young students. Bart had seen the Court once or twice at Chardon, and had heard the advocates in the famous case of Ohio vs. Joe Smith, the Mormon Prophet, for conspiring to murder Newell, and came to know some of them by name and sight. The same judge presided on that trial as in the present court—Judge Humphrey. Bart was much interested of course in the proceedings, and observed them attentively from the opening proclamation, the calling and swearing of the grand jury, calling of the calendar of cases, etc. Much more interested was he in Case's graphic sketches of the members of the bar, who hit them off, well or ill, with a few words.

"That elderly man, shortish, with the soft, autumn-like face, is Elisha Whittlesey, sixteen years in Congress; where he never made a speech, but where he ranks with the most useful members: sober colors that wear. He was a good lawyer, and comes back to practice. The old men will employ him, and wonder why they get beaten."

"That brisk, cheery, neat man by his side is Norton—lively, smirky and smiling—you see the hair leaves the top of his head, to lay the fact bare that there is not much there; and just why that snubby little nose should perk itself up, I can't tell, unless to find out whether there really is anything above it. He has quite a reputation with juries, and a tendency to bore, sometimes in very dry places, for water, and usually furnishes his own moisture. When he isn't damp he is funny. They both live in Canfield."

"Who is that fine-looking, fine-featured, florid man?"

"That is Crowell, from Warren. Mark him and see how studied are all his motions. He tears up that paper with an air and grace only reached by long and intense practice and study. He is a little unpopular, but is a man of ability, and is often effective with a jury. The trouble is, his shadow is immense, and falls all about him on every thing, and he sees every thing through it."

"That young, dark-eyed handsome man is Labe Sherman, admitted last year. He and Ranney are the two young men of the democracy; but there is enough of Ranney to make two of him. He is a fine advocate."

"Look at that tall, rather over-dressed, youngish man."

"The one with weak, washed-out gray eyes?"

"Yes."

"Does he know anything?"

"Not a devilish thing. His strong point, where he concentrates in force, is his collar and stock; from that he radiates into shirt bosom, and fades off into coat and pants. Law! He don't know the difference between a bill in Chancery and the Pope's Bull. Here's another knowledge-cuss. He's from Warren—McKnight. His great effort is to keep himself in—to hold himself from mischief, and working general ruin. He knows perfectly well that if he should let himself loose in a case, in open court, the other side would stand no chance at all; and his sense of right prevents his putting forth his real power. It would be equal to a denial of justice to the other side."

"An instance where the severity of the law is tempered and modified by equity," remarked Bart.

"Exactly."

"Who is that man on the left of Bowen, and beyond, with that splendid head and face, and eyes like Juno, if a man can have such eyes?"

"That is Dave Tod, son of old Judge Tod, of Warren. Two things are in his way: he is a democrat, and lazy as thunder; otherwise he would be among the first—and it will do to keep him in mind anyway. There is some sort of a future for him."

"Here's another minister of the law in the temple of justice—that man with the cape on. He always wears it, and the boys irreverently call him Cape Cod—Ward of Connaught. He puts a paper into the clerk's office and calls it commencing a suit. He puts in another and calls it a declaration. If anybody makes himself a party, and offers to go to trial with him, and nobody objects, he has a trial of something, at some time, and if he gets a verdict or gets licked it is equally incomprehensible to him, and to everybody else.

"There are Hitchcock and Perkins, of Painesville, whom you know. What great wide staring eyes Hitchcock has: but they look into things. And see how elegantly Perkins is dressed. I'd like to hear Frank Wade on that costume—but Perkins is a good lawyer, for all that. Look at that stout, broad, club-faced man—that's old Dick Matoon. You see the lower part of his face was made for larger upper works; and after puckering and drawing the under lip in all he can, he speaks in a grain whistle through an opening still left, around under one ear. He knows no more law than does necessity; but is cunning, and acts upon his one rule, 'that it is always safe to continue.'

"Here is a man you must get acquainted with; this dark swarthy man with the black eyes, black curling hair, and cast-iron face, sour and austere. That is Ned Wade, Frank's younger brother, and one of the pleasantest and best-hearted men alive. He has more book than Frank, and quite as much talent, and will hammer his way towards the front."

"Who is that little, old, hump-backed, wry-necked chap hoisting his face up as if trying to look into a basket on his shoulder?"

"That? That is the immortal Brainard, of Unionville. He is the Atlas who has sustained the whole world of the law-on his back until he has grown hump-backed; and that attitude is the only way in which he can look into the law on his back, as you remark.

"And there is Steve Mathews, mostly legs. His face begins with his chin, and runs right up over the top of his head; that head has no more brains inside than hair out. You see that little knob there in front? Well, that was originally intended for a bump, and, as you see, just succeeded in becoming a wart. Ranney suggested to him at the last term that the books were all against his straddling about the bar, as he always does."

"That smallish man with the prominent chin and retreating forehead, is Horace Wilder, one of the best men at the bar. You see he is pleasant and amiable. He is a good lawyer, and give him a case which involves a question of morals and he develops immense power."

"Who is that dark, singular-looking young man, with full beard and open throat? Is he a lawyer?"

"That," said Case, sadly, "is Sartliff, the most brilliant intellect our region has produced; full of learning, full of genius and strange new thoughts! He is a lawyer, and should equal Daniel Webster."

"What is the matter with him?"

"God only knows! men call him crazy. If he is, the rest of us never had intellect enough to become crazy. Look at his dress; he wears a kind of frock, tied with a hay rope, and is barefoot, I presume. Some strange new or old idea has taken possession of him to get back to nature. If he keeps on he will become crazy. I must introduce you; he and you will like one another."

"Because I am crazy, too?" laughing.

"Because you have some out-of-the-way notions, Bart, and I want you should hear him. He will make you feel as if you were in the visible presence of the forces of nature. He knew your brother well and liked him."

"Where does he live?"

"Nowhere! He remains in the open air when he can, day and night; drinks water and eats roots and herbs; sometimes a little plain bread—never meat. He was formerly vigorous, as you see, he is now thin and drooping."

"Has he had any unusual history, any heart agony?"

"None that I ever heard of; nor was he particularly poetic or imaginative. He does not attempt any business now; but goes and comes with lawyers, the most of whom now avoid him. He has brothers, able and accomplished men, and whom he usually avoids. He commenced business with Giddings, with a brilliant opening, ten years ago."

The calendar was finished, a jury sworn in a case, and the court adjourned.

How closely the young men watched the proceedings of the court, all the trials and points made, and the rulings, and how stripped of mystery seemed the mere practice, as at that time in Ohio it really was. Wise men had taken the best of the old common law practice, and with the aid of judicious legislation and intelligent courts, had got about the best it was capable of.

Bart managed to make himself useful and do himself some good on one occasion. Ranney had taken a position in a case, on a trial of some importance, on which the court was apparently against him. Bart had just gone over with it, in a text-book, and in a moment brought it in, with the case referred to, and received, as men often do, more credit than he was entitled to, Ranney carried his point, and could afford to be generous.



CHAPTER XXXV.

SARTLIFF.

Bart had been introduced to Sartliff, who was an object of universal curiosity, even where he was best known, and coming out of the court-room one delicious afternoon, he asked the young students to walk away from the squabbles of men to more quiet and cleaner scenes. They took their way out of the town towards a beech forest, whose tender, orange-tinted, green young leaves were just shaping out, and relieving the hard skeleton lines of trunks and naked limbs. Passing the rude and rotting fences, by which rank herbage, young elders and briars were springing up:

"See," said Sartliff, "how kindly nature comes to cover over the faults and failures of men. These rotting unsightly 'improvements,' as we call them, will soon be covered over and hidden with beautiful foliage."

"With weeds, and nettles, and elders," said Case, contemptuously.

"Weeds and nettles!" repeated Sartliff; "and why weeds and nettles? Was there ever such arrogance! Man in his boundless conceit and ignorance, after having ruined his powers, snuffs and picks about, and finds the use of a few insignificant things, which he pronounces good; all the rest he pushes off in a mass as weeds and nettles. Thus the great bulk of the universe is to him useless or hurtful, because he will not, or cannot, learn its secrets. These unknown things are standing reproaches to his ignorance and sloth."

"Poisons, for instance, might become sanitary," said Case.

"If man lived in accord with nature," said Sartliff, "she would not harm him. It is a baby's notion that everything is made to eat, and that all must go into the mouth. Men should have got beyond this universal alimentiveness, ere this. Find the uses of things, and poisons and nettles fall into their places in harmony, and are no longer poisons and nettles."

"And accidents would help us on, instead of off," suggested Case.

"They help as often one way as the other now," replied Sartliff. "But there are really no accidents; everything is produced by law."

"There must be two or three systems then," suggested Case. "Things collide, while each obeys its law. Your systems clash."

"Not a bit. This is apparent only; man acts abnormally under evil influences; he will not observe law; he turns upon nature and says he will subvert her laws, and compel her to obey his. Of course confusion, disorder, and death are the consequences, and always will be, till he puts himself in harmony with her."

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