Real Folks
by Mrs. A. D. T. Whitney
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They could not have had a place at Westover, and a horse and buggy for Kenneth to go back and forth with; nor even a house in one of the best streets of Z——; and down at East Square everything was very modern and pretentious, based upon the calculation of rising values and a rush of population.

But here was this new neighborhood of—well, yes,—"model houses;" a blessed Christian speculation for a class not easily or often reached by any speculations save those that grind and consume their little regular means, by forcing upon them the lawless and arbitrary prices of the day, touching them at every point in their living, but not governing correspondingly their income, as even the hod-carrier's and railroad navvy's daily pay is reached and ruled to meet the proportion of the time.

They would be plain, simple, little-cultured people that would live there: the very "betwixt and betweens" that Rosamond had used to think so hardly fated. Would she go and live among them, in one of these little new, primitive homes, planted down in the pasture-land, on the outskirts? Would she—the pretty, graceful, elegant Rosamond—live semi-detached with old Miss Arabel Waite?

That was just exactly the very thing she would do; the thing she did not even let Kenneth think of first, and ask her, but that, when they had fully agreed that they would begin life somehow, in some right way together, according to their means, she herself had questioned him if they might not do.

And so the houses were hurried in the building; for old Miss Arabel must have hers before the winter; (it seems strange how often the change comes when one could not have waited any longer for it;) and Kenneth had mill building, and surveying, and planning, in East Square, and Mr. Roger Marchbanks' great gray-stone mansion going up on West Hill, to keep him busy; work enough for any talented young fellow, fresh from the School of Technology, who had got fair hold of a beginning, to settle down among and grasp the "next things" that were pretty sure to follow along after the first.

Dorris has all Ruth's music scholars, and more; for there has never been anybody to replace Miss Robbyns, and there are many young girls in Z——, and down here in East Square, who want good teaching and cannot go away to get it. She has also the organ-playing in the new church.

She keeps her morning hours and her Saturdays to help Rosamond; for they are "cooeperating" here, in the new home; what was the use, else, of having cooeperated in the old? Rosamond cannot bear to have any coarse, profane fingers laid upon her little household gods,—her wedding-tins and her feather dusters,—while the first gloss and freshness are on, at any rate; and with her dainty handling, the gloss is likely to last a long while.

Such neighbors, too, as the Waites and Waterses are! How they helped in the fitting up, running in in odd half hours from their own nailing and placing, which they said could wait awhile, since they weren't brides; and such real old times visiting as they have already between the houses; coming and taking right hold, with wiping up dinner plates as likely as not, if that is the thing in hand; picking up what is there, as easily as "the girls" used to help work out some last new pattern of crochet, or try over music, or sort worsteds for gorgeous affghans for the next great fair!

Miss Arabel is apt to come in after dinner, and have a dab at the plates; she knows she interrupts nothing then; and she "has never been used to sitting talking, with gloves on and a parasol in her lap." And now she has given up trying to make impossible biases, she has such a quantity of time!

It was the matter of receiving visits from her friends who did sit with their parasols in their laps, or who only expected to see the house, or look over wedding presents, that would be the greatest hindrance, Rosamond realized at once; that is, if she would let it; so she did just the funniest thing, perhaps, that ever a bride did do: she set her door wide open from her pretty parlor, with its books and flowers and pictures and window-draperies of hanging vines, into the plain, cozy little kitchen, with its tin pans and bright new buckets and its Shaker chairs; and when she was busy there, asked her girl-friends right in, as she had used to take them up into her bedroom, if she were doing anything pretty or had something to show.

And they liked it, for the moment, at any rate; they could not help it; they thought it was lovely; a kind of bewitching little play at keeping house; though some of them went away and wondered, and said that Rosamond Holabird had quite changed all her way of living and her position; it was very splendid and strong-minded, they supposed; but they never should have thought it of her, and of course she could not keep it up.

"And the neighborhood!" was the cry. "The rabble she has got, and is going to have, round her! All planks and sand, and tubs of mortar, now; you have to half break your neck in getting up there; and when it is settled it will be—such a frowze of common people! Why the foreman of our factory has engaged a house, and Mrs. Haslam, who actually used to do up laces for mamma, has got another!"

That is what is said—in some instances—over on West Hill, when the elegant visitors came home from calling at the Horseshoe. Meanwhile, what Rosamond does is something like this, which she happened to do one bright afternoon a very little while ago.

She and Dorris had just made and baked a charming little tea-cake, which was set on a fringed napkin in a round white china dish, and put away in the fresh, oak-grained kitchen pantry, where not a crumb or a slop had ever yet been allowed to rest long enough to defile or give a flavor of staleness; out of which everything is tidily used up while it is nice, and into which little delicate new-made bits like this, for next meals, are always going.

The tea-table itself,—with its three plates, and its new silver, and the pretty, thin, shallow cups and saucers, that an Irish girl would break a half-dozen of every week,—was laid with exquisite preciseness; the square white napkins at top and bottom over the crimson cloth, spread to the exactness of a line, and every knife and fork at fair right angles; the loaf was upon the white carved trencher, and nothing to be done when Kenneth should come in, but to draw the tea, and bring the brown cake forth.

Rosamond will not leave all these little doings to break up the pleasant time of his return; she will have her leisure then, let her be as busy as she may while he is away.

There was an hour or more after all was done; even after the Panjandrums had made their state call, leaving their barouche at the heel of the Horseshoe, and filling up all Rosamond's little vestibule with their flounces, as they came in and went out.

The Panjandrums were new people at West Hill; very new and very grand, as only new things and new people can be, turned out in the latest style pushed to the last agony. Mrs. Panjandrum's dress was all in two shades of brown, to the tips of her feathers, and the toes of her boots, and the frill of her parasol; and her carriage was all in two shades of brown, likewise; cushions, and tassels, and panels; the horses themselves were cream-color, with dark manes and tails. Next year, perhaps, everything will be in pansy-colors,—black and violet and gold; and then she will probably have black horses with gilded harness and royal purple tails.

It was very good of the Panjandrums, doubtless, to come down to the Horseshoe at all; I am willing to give them all the credit of really admiring Rosamond, and caring to see her in her little new home; but there are two other things to be considered also: the novel kind of home Rosamond had chosen to set up, and the human weakness of curiosity concerning all experiments, and friends in all new lights; also the fact of that other establishment shortly to branch out of the Holabird connection. The family could not quite go under water, even with people of the Panjandrum persuasion, while there was such a pair of prospective corks to float them as Mr. and Mrs. Dakie Thayne.

The Panjandrum carriage had scarcely bowled away, when a little buggy and a sorrel pony came up the road, and somebody alighted with a brisk spring, slipped the rein with a loose knot through the fence-rail at the corner, and came up one side of the two-plank foot-walk that ran around the Horseshoe; somebody who had come home unexpectedly, to take his little wife to ride. Kenneth Kincaid had business over at the new district of "Clarendon Park."

Drives, and livery-stable bills, were no part of the items allowed for, in the programme of these young people's living; therefore Rosamond put on her gray hat, with its soft little dove's breast, and took her bright-striped shawl upon her arm, and let Kenneth lift her into the buggy—for which there was no manner of need except that they both liked it,—with very much the feeling as if she were going off on a lovely bridal trip. They had had no bridal trip, you see; they did not really want one; and this little impromptu drive was such a treat!

Now the wonders of nature and the human mind show—if I must go so far to find an argument for the statement I am making—that into a single point of time or particle of matter may be gathered the relations of a solar system or the experiences of a life; that a universe may be compressed into an atom, or a molecule expanded into a macrocosm; therefore I expect nobody to sneer at my Rosamond as childishly nappy in her simple honeymoon, or at me for making extravagant and unsupported assertions, when I say that this hour and a half, and these four miles out to Clarendon Park and back,—the lifting and the tucking in, and the setting off, the sitting side by side in the ripe October air and the golden twilight, the noting together every pretty turn, every flash of autumn color in the woods, every change in the cloud-groupings overhead, every glimpse of busy, bright-eyed squirrels up and down the walls, every cozy, homely group of barnyard creatures at the farmsteads, the change, the pleasure, the thought of home and always-togetherness,—all this made the little treat of a country ride as much to them, holding all that any wandering up and down the whole world in their new companionship could hold,—as a going to Europe, or a journey to mountains and falls and sea-sides and cities, in a skimming of the States. You cannot have more than there is; and you do not care, for more than just what stands for and emphasizes the essential beauty, the living gladness, that no place gives, but that hearts carry about into places and baptize them with, so that ever afterward a tender charm hangs round them, because "we saw it then."

And Kenneth and Rosamond Kincaid had all these bright associations, these beautiful glamours, these glad reminders, laid up for years to come, in a four miles space that they might ride or walk over, re-living it all, in the returning Octobers of many other years. I say they had a bridal tour that day, and that the four miles were as good as four thousand. Such little bits of signs may stand for such high, great, blessed things!

"How lovely stillness and separateness are!" said Rosamond as they sat in the buggy, stopping to enjoy a glimpse of the river on one side, and a flame of burning bushes on the other, against the dark face of a piece of woods that held the curve of road in which they stood, in sheltered quiet. "How pretty a house would be, up on that knoll. Do you know things puzzle me a little, Kenneth? I have almost come to a certain conclusion lately, that people are not meant to live apart, but that it is really everybody's duty to live in a town, or a village, or in some gathering of human beings together. Life tends to that, and all the needs and uses of it; and yet,—it is so sweet in a place like this,—and however kind and social you may be, it seems once in a while such an escape! Do you believe in beautiful country places, and in having a little piece of creation all to yourself, if you can get it, or if not what do you suppose all creation is made for?"

"Perhaps just that which you have said, Rose." Rosamond has now, what her mother hinted once, somebody to call her "Rose," with a happy and beautiful privilege. "Perhaps to escape into. Not for one, here and there, selfishly, all the time; but for the whole, with fair share and opportunity. Creation is made very big, you see, and men and women are made without wings, and with very limited hands and feet. Also with limited lives; that makes the time-question, and the hurry. There is a suggestion,—at any rate, a necessity,—in that. It brings them within certain spaces, always. In spite of all the artificial lengthening of railroads and telegraphs, there must still be centres for daily living, intercourse, and need. People tend to towns; they cannot establish themselves in isolated independence. Yet packing and stifling are a cruelty and a sin. I do not believe there ought to be any human being so poor as to be forced to such crowding. The very way we are going to live at the Horseshoe, seems to me an individual solution of the problem. It ought to come to pass that our towns should be built—and if built already, wrongly, thinned out,—on this principle. People are coming to learn a little of this, and are opening parks and squares in the great cities, finding that there must be room for bodies and souls to reach out and breathe. If they could only take hold of some of their swarming-places, where disease and vice are festering, and pull down every second house and turn it into a garden space, I believe they would do more for reform and salvation than all their separate institutions for dealing with misery after it is let grow, can ever effect."

"O, why can't they?" cried Rose. "There is money enough, somewhere. Why can't they do it, instead of letting the cities grow horrid, and then running away from it themselves, and buying acres and acres around their country places, for fear somebody should come too near, and the country should begin to grow horrid too?"

"Because the growing and the crowding and the striving of the city make so much of the money, little wife! Because to keep everybody fairly comfortable as the world goes along, there could not be so many separate piles laid up; it would have to be used more as it comes, and it could not come so fast. If nobody cared to be very rich, and all were willing to live simply and help one another, in little 'horseshoe neighborhoods,' there wouldn't be so much that looks like grand achievement in the world perhaps; but I think maybe the very angels might show themselves out of the unseen, and bring the glory of heaven into it!"

Kenneth's color came, and his eyes glowed, as he spoke these words that burst into eloquence with the intensity of his meaning; and Rosamond's face was holy-pale, and her look large, as she listened; and they were silent for a minute or so, as the pony, of his own accord, trotted deliberately on.

"But then, the beauty, and the leisure, and all that grows out of them to separate minds, and what the world gets through the refinement of it! You see the puzzle comes back. Must we never, in this life, gather round us the utmost that the world is capable of furnishing? Must we never, out of this big creation, have the piece to ourselves, each one as he would choose?"

"I think the Lord would show us a way out of that," said Kenneth. "I think He would make His world turn out right, and all come to good and sufficient use, if we did not put it in a snarl. Perhaps we can hardly guess what we might grow to all together,—'the whole body, fitly joined by that which every joint supplieth, increasing and building itself up in love.' And about the quietness, and the separateness,—we don't want to live in that, Rose; we only want it sometimes, to make us fitter to live. When the disciples began to talk about building tabernacles on the mountain of the vision, Christ led them straight down among the multitude, where there was a devil to be cast out. It is the same thing in the old story of the creation. God worked six days, and rested one."

"Well," said Rose, drawing a deep breath, "I am glad we have begun at the Horseshoe! It was a great escape for me, Kenneth. I am such a worldly girl in my heart. I should have liked so much to have everything elegant and artistic about me."

"I think you do. I think you always will. Not because of the worldliness in you, though; but the other-worldliness, the sense of real beauty and truth. And I am glad that we have begun at all! It was a greater escape for me. I was in danger of all sorts of hardness and unbelief. I had begun to despise and hate things, because they did not work rightly just around me. And then I fell in, just in time, with some real, true people; and then you came, with the 'little piece of your world,' and then I came here, and saw what your world was, and how you were making it, Rose! How a little community of sweet and generous fellowship was crystallizing here among all sorts—outward sorts—of people; a little community of the kingdom; and how you and yours had done it."

"O, Kenneth! I was the worst little atom in the whole crystal! I only got into my place because everybody else did, and there was nothing else left for me to do."

"You see I shall never believe that," said Kenneth, quietly. "There is no flaw in the crystal. You were all polarized alike. And besides, can't I see daily just how your nature draws and points?"

"Well, never mind," said Rose. "Only some particles are natural magnets, I believe, and some get magnetized by contact. Now that we have hit upon this metaphor, isn't it funny that our little social experiment should have taken the shape of a horseshoe?"

"The most sociable, because the most magnetic, shape it could take. You will see the power it will develop. There's a great deal in merely taking form according to fundamental principles. Witness the getting round a fireside. Isn't that a horseshoe? And could half as much sympathy be evolved from a straight line?"

"I believe in firesides," said Rose.

"And in women who can organize and inform them," said Kenneth. "First, firesides; then neighborhoods; that is the way the world's life works out; and women have their hands at the heart of it. They can do so much more there than by making the laws! When the life is right, the laws will make themselves, or be no longer needed. They are such mere outside patchwork,—makeshifts till a better time!"

"Wrong living must make wrong laws, whoever does the voting," said Rosamond, sagely.

"False social standards make false commercial ones; inflated pretensions demand inflated currency; selfish, untrue domestic living eventuates in greedy speculations and business shams; and all in the intriguing for corrupt legislation, to help out partial interests. It isn't by multiplying the voting power, but by purifying it, that the end is to be reached."

"That is so sententious, Kenneth, that I shall have to take it home and ravel it out gradually in my mind in little shreds. In the mean while, dear, suppose we stop in the village, and get some little brown-ware cups for top-overs. You never ate any of my top-overs? Well, when you do, you'll say that all the world ought to be brought up on top-overs."

Rosamond was very particular about her little brown-ware cups. They had to be real stone,—brown outside, and gray-blue in; and they must be of a special size and depth. When they were found, and done up in a long parcel, one within another, in stout paper, she carried it herself to the chaise, and would scarcely let Kenneth hold it while she got in; after which, she laid it carefully across her lap, instead of putting it behind upon the cushion.

'You see they were rather dear; but they are the only kind worth while. Those little yellow things would soak and crack, and never look comfortable in the kitchen-closet. I give you very fair warning, I shall always want the best of things but then I shall take very fierce and jealous care of them,—like this.'

And she laid her little nicely-gloved hand across her homely parcel, guardingly.

How nice it was to go buying little homely things together! Again, it was as good and pleasant,—and meant ever so much more,—than if it had been ordering china with a monogram in Dresden, or glass in Prague, with a coat-of-arms engraved.

When they drove up to the Horseshoe, Dakie Thayne and Ruth met them. They had been getting "spiritual ferns" and sumach leaves with Dorris; "the dearest little tips," Ruth said, "of scarlet and carbuncle, just like jets of fire."

And now they would go back to tea, and eat up the brown cake?

"Real Westover summum-bonum cake?" Dakie wanted to know. "Well, he couldn't stand against that. Come, Ruthie!" And Ruthie came.

"What do you think Rosamond says?" said Kenneth, at the tea-table, over the cake. "That everybody ought to live in a city or a village, or, at least, a Horseshoe. She thinks nobody has a right to stick his elbows out, in this world. She's in a great hurry to be packed as closely as possible here."

"I wish the houses were all finished, and our neighbors in; that is what I said," said Rosamond. "I should like to begin to know about them, and feel settled; and to see flowers in their windows, and lights at night."

"And you always hated so a 'little crowd!'" said Ruth.

"It isn't a crowd when they don't crowd," said Rosamond. "I can't bear little miserable jostles."

"How good it will be to see Rosamond here, at the head of her court; at the top of the Horseshoe," said Dakie Thayne. "She will be quite the 'Queen of the County.'"

"Don't!" said Rosamond. "I've a very weak spot in my head. You can't tell the mischief you might do. No, I won't be queen!"

"Any more than you can help," said Dakie.

"She'll be Rosa Mundi, wherever she is," said Ruth affectionately.

"I think that is just grand of Kenneth and Rosamond," said Dakie Thayne, as he and Ruth were walking home up West Hill in the moonlight, afterward. "What do you think you and I ought to do, one of these days, Ruthie? It sets me to considering. There are more Horseshoes to make, I suppose, if the world is to jog on."

"You have a great deal to consider about," said Ruth, thoughtfully. "It was quite easy for Kenneth and Rosamond to see what they ought to do. But you might make a great many Horseshoes,—or something!"

"What do you mean by that second person plural, eh? Are you shirking your responsibilities, or are you addressing your imaginary Boffinses? Come, Ruthie, I can't have that! Say 'we,' and I'll face the responsibilities and talk it all out; but I won't have anything to do with 'you!'"

"Won't you?" said Ruth, with piteous demureness. "How can I say 'we,' then?"

"You little cat! How you can scratch!"

"There are such great things to be done in the world Dakie," Ruth said seriously, when they had got over that with a laugh that lifted her nicely by the "we" question. "I can't help thinking of it."

"O," said Dakie, with significant satisfaction. "We're getting on better. Well?"

"Do you know what Hazel Ripwinkley is doing? And what Luclarion Grapp has done? Do you know how they are going among poor people, in dreadful places,—really living among them, Luclarion is,—and finding out, and helping, and showing how? I thought of that to-night, when they talked about living in cities and villages. Luclarion has gone away down to the very bottom of it. And somehow, one can't feel satisfied with only reaching half-way, when one knows—and might!"

"Do you mean, Ruthie, that you and I might go and live in such places? Do you think I could take you there?"

"I don't know, Dakie," Ruth answered, forgetting in her earnestness, to blush or hesitate for what he said;—"but I feel as if we ought to reach down, somehow,—away down! Because that, you see, is the most. And to do only a little, in an easy way, when we are made so strong to do; wouldn't it be a waste of power, and a missing of the meaning? Isn't it the 'much' that is required of us, Dakie?"

They were under the tall hedge of the Holabird "parcel of ground," on the Westover slope, and close to the home gates. Dakie Thayne put his arm round Ruth as she said that, and drew her to him.

"We will go and be neighbors somewhere, Ruthie. And we will make as big a Horseshoe as we can."



And Desire?

Do you think I have passed her over lightly in her troubles? Or do you think I am making her out to have herself passed over them lightly?

Do you think it is hardly to be believed that she should have turned round from these shocks and pains that bore down so heavily and all at once upon her, and taken kindly to the living with old Uncle Titus and Rachel Froke in the Greenley Street house, and going down to Luclarion Grapp's to help wash little children's faces, and teach them how to have innocent good times? Do you think there is little making up in all that for her, while Rosamond Kincaid is happy in her new home, and Ruth and Dakie Thayne are looking out together over the world,—which can be nowhere wholly sad to them, since they are to go down into it together,—and planning how to make long arms with their wealth, to reach the largest neighborhood they can? In the first place, do you know how full the world is, all around you, of things that are missed by those who say nothing, but go on living somehow without them? Do you know how large a part of life, even young life, is made of the days that have never been lived? Do you guess how many girls, like Desire, come near something that they think they might have had, and then see it drift by just beyond their reach, to fall easily into some other hand that seems hardly put out to grasp it?

And do you see, or feel, or guess how life goes on, incompleteness and all, and things settle themselves one way, if not another, simply because the world does not stop, but keeps turning, and tossing off days and nights like time-bubbles just the same?

Do you ever imagine how different this winter's parties are from last, or this summer's visit or journey from those of the summer gone,—to many a maiden who has her wardrobe made up all the same, and takes her German or her music lessons, and goes in and out, and has her ticket to the Symphony Concerts, and is no different to look at, unless perhaps with a little of the first color-freshness gone out of her face,—while secretly it seems to her as if the sweet early symphony of her life were all played out, and had ended in a discord?

We begin, most of us, much as we are to go on. Real or mistaken, the experiences of eighteen initiate the lesson that those of two and three score after years are needed to unfold and complete. What is left of us is continually turning round, perforce, to take up with what is left of the world, and make the best of it.

Thus much for what does happen, for what we have to put up with, for the mere philosophy of endurance, and the possibility of things being endured. We do live out our years, and get and bear it all. And the scars do not show much outside; nay, even we ourselves can lay a finger on the place, after a little time, without a cringe.

Desire Ledwith did what she had to do; there was a way made for her, and there was still life left.

But there is a better reading of the riddle. There is never a "Might-have-been" that touches with a sting, but reveals also to us an inner glimpse of the wide and beautiful "May Be." It is all there; somebody else has it now while we wait; but the years of God are full of satisfying, each soul shall have its turn; it is His good pleasure to give us the kingdom. There is so much room, there are such thronging possibilities, there is such endless hope!

To feel this, one must feel, however dimly, the inner realm, out of which the shadows of this life come and pass, to interpret to us the laid up reality.

"The real world is the inside world."

Desire Ledwith blessed Uncle Oldways in her heart for giving her that word.

It comforted her for her father. If his life here had been hard, toilsome, mistaken even; if it had never come to that it might have come to; if she, his own child, had somehow missed the reality of him here, and he of her,—was he not passed now into the within? Might she not find him there; might they not silently and spiritually, without sign, but needing no sign, begin to understand each other now? Was not the real family just beginning to be born into the real home?

Ah, that word real! How deep we have to go to find the root of it! It is fast by the throne of God; in the midst.

Hazel Ripwinkley talked about "real folks." She sifted, and she found out instinctively the true livers, the genuine neahburs, nigh-dwellers; they who abide alongside in spirit, who shall find each other in the everlasting neighborhood, when the veil falls.

But there, behind,—how little, in our petty outside vexations or gladnesses, we stop to think of or perceive it!—is the actual, even the present, inhabiting; there is the kingdom, the continuing city, the real heaven and earth in which we already live and labor, and build up our homes and lay up our treasure and the loving Christ, and the living Father, and the innumerable company of angels, and the unseen compassing about of friends gone in there, and they on this earth who truly belong to us inwardly, however we and they may be bodily separated,—are the Real Folks!

What matters a little pain, outside? Go in, and rest from it!

There is where the joy is, that we read outwardly, spelling by parts imperfectly, in our own and others' mortal experience; there is the content of homes, the beauty of love, the delight of friendship,—not shut in to any one or two, but making the common air that all souls breathe. No one heart can be happy, that all hearts may not have a share of it. Rosamond and Kenneth, Dakie and Ruth, cannot live out obviously any sweetness of living, cannot sing any notes of the endless, beautiful score, that Desire Ledwith, and Luclarion Grapp, and Rachel Froke, and Hapsie Craydocke, and old Miss Arabel Waite, do not just as truly get the blessed grace and understanding of; do not catch and feel the perfect and abounding harmony of. Since why? No lip can sound more than its own few syllables of music; no life show more than its own few accidents and incidents and groupings; the vast melody, the rich, eternal satisfying, are behind; and the signs are for us all!

You may not think this, or see it so, in your first tussle and set-to with the disappointing and eluding things that seem the real and only,—missing which you miss all. This chapter may be less to you—less for you, perhaps—than for your elders; the story may have ended, as to that you care for, some pages back; but for all that, this is certain; and Desire Ledwith has begun to find it, for she is one of those true, grand spirits to whom personal loss or frustration are most painful as they seem to betoken something wrong or failed in the general scheme and justice. This terrible "why should it be?" once answered,—once able to say to themselves quietly, "It is all right; the beauty and the joy are there; the song is sung, though we are of the listeners; the miracle-play is played, though but a few take literal part, and many of us look on, with the play, like the song, moving through our souls only, or our souls moving in the vital sphere of it, where the stage is wide enough for all;"—once come to this, they have entered already into that which is behind, and nothing of all that goes forth thence into the earth to make its sunshine can be shut off from them forever.

Desire is learning to be glad, thinking of Kenneth and Rosamond, that this fair marriage should have been. It is so just and exactly best; Rosamond's sweet graciousness is so precisely what Kenneth's sterner way needed to have shine upon it; her finding and making of all manner of pleasantness will be so good against his sharp discernment of the wrong; they will so beautifully temper and sustain each other!

Desire is so generous, so glad of the truth, that she can stand aside, and let this better thing be, and say to herself that it is better.

Is not this that she is growing to inwardly, more blessed than any marriage or giving in marriage? Is it not a partaking of the heavenly Marriage Supper?

"We two might have grumbled at the world until we grumbled at each other."

She even said that, calmly and plainly, to herself.

And then that manna was fed to her afresh of which she had been given first to eat so long a while ago; that thought of "the Lamb in the midst of the Throne" came back to her. Of the Tenderness deep within the Almightiness that holds all earth and heaven and time and circumstance in its grasp. Her little, young, ignorant human heart begins to rest in that great warmth and gentleness; begins to be glad to wait there for what shall arise out of it, moving the Almightiness for her,—even on purpose for her,—in the by-and-by; she begins to be sure; of what, she knows not,—but of a great, blessed, beautiful something, that just because she is at all, shall be for her; that she shall have a part, somehow, even in the showing of His good; that into the beautiful miracle-play she shall be called, and a new song be given her, also, to sing in the grand, long, perfect oratorio; she begins to pray quietly, that, "loving the Lord, always above all things, she may obtain His promises, which exceed all that she can desire."

And waiting, resting, believing, she begins also to work. This beginning is even as an ending and forehaving, to any human soul.

I will tell you how she woke one morning; of a little poem that wrote itself along her chamber wall.

It was a square, pleasant old room, with a window in an angle toward the east. A great, old-fashioned mirror hung opposite, between the windows that looked out north-westwardly; the morning and the evening light came in upon her. Beside the solid, quaint old furnishings of a long past time, there were also around her the things she had been used to at home; her own little old rocking-chair, her desk and table, and her toilet and mantel ornaments and things of use. A pair of candle-branches with dropping lustres,—that she had marveled at and delighted in as a child, and had begged for herself when they fell into disuse in the drawing-room,—stood upon the chimney along which the first sun-rays glanced. Just in those days of the year, they struck in so as to shine level through the clear prisms, and break into a hundred little rainbows.

She opened her eyes, this fair October morning, and lay and looked at the little scattered glories.

All around the room, on walls, curtains, ceiling,—falling like bright soft jewels upon table and floor, touching everything with a magic splendor,—were globes and shafts of colored light. Softly blended from glowing red to tenderly fervid blue, they lay in various forms and fragments, as the beam refracted or the objects caught them.

Just on the edge of the deep, opposite window-frame, clung one vivid, separate flash of perfect azure, all alone, and farthest off of all.

Desire wondered, at first glance, how it should happen till she saw, against a closet-door ajar, a gibbous sphere of red and golden flame. Yards apart the points were, and a shadow lay between; but the one sure sunbeam knew no distance, and there was no radiant line of the spectrum lost.

Desire remembered her old comparison of complementary colors: "to see blue, and to live red," she had said, complaining.

But now she thought,—"Foreshortening! In so many things, that is all,—if we could only see as the Sun sees!"

One bit of our living, by itself, all one deep, burning, bleeding color, maybe; but the globe is white,—the blue is somewhere. And, lo! a soft, still motion; a little of the flame-tint has dropped off; it has leaped to join itself to the blue; it gives itself over; and they are beautiful together,—they fulfill each other; yet, in the changing never a thread falls quite away into the dark. Why, it is like love joining itself to love again!

As God's sun climbs the horizon, His steadfast, gracious purpose, striking into earthly conditions, seems to break, and scatter, and divide. Half our heart is here, half there; our need and ache are severed from their help and answer; the tender blue waits far off for the eager, asking red; yet just as surely as His light shines on, and our life moves under it, so surely, across whatever gulf, the beauty shall all be one again; so surely does it even now move all together, perfect and close always under His eye, who never sends a half ray anywhere.

* * * * *

She read her little poem,—sent to her; she read it through. She rose up glad and strong; her room was full of glorious sunshine now; the broken bits of color were all taken up in one full pouring of the day.

She went down with the light of it in her heart, and all about her.

Uncle Oldways met her at the foot of the wide staircase. "Good-day, child!" he said to her in his quaint fashion. "Why it is good day! Your face shines."

"You have given me a beautiful east window, uncle," said Desire, "and the morning has come in!"

And from the second step, where she still stood, she bent forward a little, put her hands softly upon his shoulders, and for the first time, kissed his cheek.


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