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Cummins, Maria Susanna, 1827-1866 [1857], Mabel Vaughan. By the author of The lamplighter. (John P. Jewett and Company, Boston) [word count] [eaf533].
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They who have rarest joy, know joy's true measure;
They who most suffer, value sufferings pause;
They who but seldom taste the simplest pleasure,
Kneel oftenest to the Giver and the Cause.
Mrs. Norton.

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Summer, gentle, balmy summer, had found its way even to
the dreary part of the city in which Rosy lived. It came not
in bright streams of sunshine, breezes heavily laden with
sweets, or the music of gaily singing birds. The close, dark
rows of buildings obscured the light, barred out the prospect,
and interrupted the refreshing gales, while the harsh and unharmonious
noises of the street alone fell on the listening ear.
Still Rosy, patiently sitting at her open casement, with a soul
alive to its opportunities and a heart grateful to their source,
saw more of nature's handiwork, and read in it more of God,
than many a dull-eyed, thoughtless traveller who, permitted to
rove amid earth's fairest scenes, shuts his eye to their beauty
and grandeur, and closes his ear to their sacred influence.

The little tufts of grass which had sprung up at the corners
of the opposite archway, had been watched in their growth by
Rosy, ever since the first green blade obtruded between the
uneven pavement and the foundation stones of the wall. The
morning sun, for an hour or more, shone on them with its
cheering beams, the afternoon shower refreshed them with its
gentle moisture, and day by day the sick child gleaned from this
her humble garden plot fresh proofs of the love of Him who
watcheth over all. Within the narrow range of her vision,
early vegetables and summer fruits were disposed in tempting
array, each rivalling the other in its perfection and richness;
and every successive luxury of the season, as it appeared in its

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turn, awakened in Rosy's heart, loving and grateful thoughts
of Him who is the universal and bountiful Provider. The
noble team-horses, whose morning exit from the archway she
hailed with a daily smile of welcome, seldom now returned at
noon or nightfall without a branch of oak, willow, or birch,
waving above their heads, while the glow of contentment and
self-satisfaction which shone in the young teamster's face, no
less than the sprig of lilac which occasionally adorned his hat,
proved that he had been engaged in more cheering labors, and
among more exhilarating scenes, than those which the city

The little tufts of grass were all that poor Rosy knew of
green fields and verdant waysides; the early vegetables and
fruits which she saw, but seldom tasted, furnished her sole experience
of summer's wealth and bounty; and the branches
which waved over the heads of the heated and weary team-horses,
alone afforded proof of the sweet and refreshing repose
which might be found beneath the greenwood shade.

But it was something to know, that somewhere beyond the
city lay the country, as beyond this world the Heaven of her
hopes; and imagination could sun itself in the joys of the one,
as the yearning soul could long and pant for the glory, the
peace, and the final rest of the other.

As she watched the grass grow beneath the archway, in the
sweet dreams of fancy her crippled form strayed among verdant
fields and sat down by rippling streams; as she surveyed
the tempting display in the green-grocer's shop, she tasted, by
means of some inward sense, rich fruits whose names she
scarcely knew; as the gentle breeze waved the green boughs
above the horses' heads, she seemed to hear the soft sighing of
the summer wind as it swept through the arches of a boundless
forest. And when, to crown her satisfaction, the ruddy, laughing
teamster gaily lifted his hat, removed the lilac branch from
its crown, and flung the cluster of purple flowers into the lap
of the pleased, astonished child, Ceres herself, with all her
treasures, was not more richly laden.

But summer, among its precious gifts, has brought no glow

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of health to the cheek, no renewal of strength to the limbs of
the wasted girl. The close confinement of the long winter had
left her more enfeebled than ever; the rough winds of the early
spring had rudely pierced to the seat of her fragile life; and
now, the sudden heat which has succeeded serves only to enervate
still further her sunken and perishing frame. Cheerfully,
serenely, hopefully as ever, the calm blue eyes are searching
with their earnest, steadfast gaze, into the things which are not
but are soon to be;—looking into the depths of that future, no
longer distant, but seemingly close at hand. Like the pilgrim
who, after long wanderings, arrives at last without the walls of
the promised city, and is anxious only for the morning light
which shall admit him within its gates, so she, standing at
Heaven's portal, seems only to await the dawn which shall
usher her in.

The widow Hope moves about her little domain with the
same measured, dragging step as ever, presides at her narrow
counter, and displays her humble wares with the same mechanical,
half-vacant air, and betrays in her demeanor a rigid, unaltered
apathy of grief and disappointment. Now and then,
however, her dull eye is fixed upon her child with a deep,
searching glance of maternal anxiety and dread, and as she
turns away and engages in some household task, a deep-drawn
sigh, or half-uttered groan, gives evidence that the poor heart's
capacity for suffering is not exhausted yet.

Nor is the remembrance of past happiness effaced beyond
recall. The softness of the summer air, the sight of Rosy's
lilac branch, the well-known perfume of its flowers,—all serve
to awaken within her the recollection of days gone by. She
lifts the broken-handled mug which contains the fragrant blossoms,
and, as she inhales their familiar breath, a vision rises
before her of her childhood's home,—the green and sloping
meadow which stretched before the door, the old stone step,
worn smooth by childish feet, the lilac bushes which graced it
on either side, and the robins which yearly built their nests
and sang there. She hears her brothers and sisters at their
play, her mother's step within the house, her father's voice

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outside, and the voice of Rosy's father whispering in her ear.
It might be sad to muse on joys forever flown, but, if so, it was
a pleasing sadness, for again and again she bends her care-worn
head over the rustic nosegay, reads in it a record of her
girlhood, and turns away to muse upon the page.

“O Rose!” exclaimed she, as her thoughts, after straying
awhile amid the past, led her back to the stern reality of the
present, “O Rose! how I wish you could go up to the old
farm, if it were only for a week; your uncle Jonas would be
glad to have you come, I know, and the very sight of the place
would do you good!” And as the poor mother reflected on
the impossibility of carrying this wish into effect, she drew the
deepest sigh that had escaped her yet.

Rose sighed, too—a soft, low, scarcely audible sigh. If the
poor child had a selfish wish on earth, it was to visit the old

The same bright morning which bore witness to the widow's
heart-sick despondency, and the hopelessness of Rose's earthly
longings, found the fashionable world of New York elated and
eager in the prospect of a festive occasion, which promised to
be as brilliant and successful as it was exciting and novel. It
was the day of Fan Broadhead's marriage with the Colonel,
and after the nuptial ceremony at Grace church, the bridal
party were to proceed to the bridegroom's country residence, a
few miles up the Hudson, where a grand reception of guests
was to be held in the open air; the beautiful grounds belonging
to the estate having been decorated and prepared in a style
rarely attempted in our fickle and unpropitious climate. Everything,
therefore, depended on the weather; and if sunshine and
gentle breezes could have been propitiated or bribed, a more
perfect day could not have cheered the hearts of the numerous
aspirants after pleasure. Hair-dressers and ladies-maids were
called into requisition at day-break; spring bonnets, whose exquisite
array of buds and flowers had been carefully secreted
until now, bloomed out of their various band-boxes; the flounces
of rich silks rustled and rattled as if asserting their rival merits;
and white-gloved coachmen, mounted on the boxes of

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freshlyvarnished carriages, surveyed their own stately equipages with
pride, and bestowed disparaging glances on those of their masters'

And now, one after another, these showy establishments,
decked like their occupants in all the panoply of pride, rolled
in various directions from street to street, and finally swept up
the wide avenue leading from the city, bearing with them the
beauty, the wealth, and the fashion of the metropolis.

“Mabel, what in the world can have become of Donald?”
exclaimed Mrs. Leroy, in an agony of impatience;—a state of
mind which was not improved by a sudden rent in her delicate
glove, the consequence of an angry twitch on the part of the
irritated lady.

“I can not imagine,” replied Mabel, outwardly more calm
than her sister, but betraying scarcely less annoyance, as she
glanced at a clock on the mantle-piece, and then looked anxiously
down the street.

“We shall be too late,” said Louise, in a reproachful tone;
“every body has driven by. I wish I had gone by myself.
Donald is always behind the time.”

Mabel made no reply, but continued gazing from the window,
not a little chafed at the selfishness of her sister's complaints.

This unforeseen delay and disappointment were the result
of a discovery made by Mabel's coachman, as she alighted at
the hotel where she had, according to agreement, called for
Mrs. Leroy. One of the wheels of the new barouche, a recent
birth-day gift from her father, was imperfectly adjusted, and
Donald declared it impossible to take the anticipated drive until
the difficulty was remedied. He was suffered to depart, therefore,
for this purpose, upon the assurance that he should be
absent half an hour only, at the most.

The time was long past, however, and still he did not return.
Mrs. Leroy's childish and fretful impatience increased every
moment; and Mabel, in addition to her own share of vexation,
found herself the victim of Louise's uncontrollable ill temper
and unsparing invective. She should not have suffered Donald

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out of her sight for a moment on such an important occasion,
faithless creature that he was. Or, at least, why did she not
tell him to bring the close carriage instead of the barouche?
he could have made the exchange in half the time that he had
kept them waiting—it would have been better to go in that
stifled thing than not to go at all. It was no more than fair
that Mabel should abide by her own poor management, but it
was hard—yes, she must say it was a little too hard—that
she also should be the sufferer by such folly. And angrily
calling to Lydia to bring her a fresh pair of gloves, and harshly
repulsing Murray, who accidentally trod on one end of her lace
mantilla, she threw herself into a seat in a despairing attitude,
and pouted and sulked for some minutes like a spoiled child.

“Hark!” exclaimed she at length. “Isn't that Mr. Earle's
voice? Yes, it certainly is; he was to call here for young
Van Rosberg, and Van Rosberg is gone. He was invited to
act as groomsman, and went early with the bridal party.” And
the next moment her light figure disappeared through the door
which opened into the hall, and Mabel lost her final words,
which were to the effect that there would probably then be a
vacant seat in Mr. Earle's carriage. “How fortunate if it
were so!”

A moment after, a waiter appeared at the drawing-room door,
to say that Mrs. Leroy had gone to Riverside with Mrs. Earle,
and hoped Miss Vaughan would be in season to overtake them
on the road.

Characteristic as this manœuvre was in Mrs. Leroy, Mabel's
feelings were deeply hurt at the selfishness and unsisterly
effrontery which it evinced. “I can not go now, at any
rate,” thought she. “Louise knew very well that I should
give it up altogether if she deserted me in this way.” And no
longer anxious for the arrival of the carriage, she deliberately
removed her bonnet and sat down to meditate on her disappointment.

Unconsciously to herself, she had looked forward to this festivity
with an interest never before awakened by any similar
occasion. Not because the bride and bridegroom were at the

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height of fashion; not because all the world would be present to
do them honor; nor because it would be for her a new opportunity
to achieve conquests and triumphs: such motives and reflections
had given no glow to her anticipations, and now added no
sting to her disappointment. The simple thought of her heart
had been, “Dudley is the bridegroom's nephew; Dudley will
be there. I shall read my triumph in his presence, and achieve
in his approving smile the only conquest that I crave.”

Perhaps, too, though she knew it not, her secret soul looked
to him to exorcise with his eye, his voice, his smile, the spirits
of disquiet and self-questioning which had for the last few days
warred constantly with her peace; perhaps she trusted to his
magnetic influence to hush the voice of warning, make a treaty
with her conscience, and reconcile her to herself.

How aggravating, then, the loss of this opportunity, the only
one she could possibly expect before starting on her journey,
it being Dudley's well-known purpose to accompany the bridal
party to Albany, where other festivities awaited them, and join
the excursionists on their arrival at that city, which was to be
the first point on their route.

Whatever hopes she might have based on this long-anticipated
occasion, she now found them suddenly annihilated, and
herself oppressed with a painful sense of loneliness, injustice,
and injury. She would have given vent to her feelings in a
burst of tears, but for the presence of her sister's children, who,
while they acted as a restraint upon her, evinced at the same
time a childlike sympathy in her disappointment, which touched
and soothed her sensitive nature.

“Has mother gone without you, auntie?” exclaimed Alick;
“that's real mean!” while Murray, climbing into a chair,
stretched his head out of the window and made, every instant,
eager but, as it proved, false reports of the arrival of the carriage.

“Never mind, Murray, I sha'n't go now,” said Mabel, after
nearly an hour had elapsed; “it is too late.”

“Oh, here it is, really,” shouted Murray, “I see Donald
driving like any thing! Oh, what a splendid barouche!” and

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Alick, convinced that this time his brother's announcement was
to be relied upon, ran to the window and confirmed the joyful
fact, by joining in Murray's panegyric upon the gay and beautiful

“Are n't you going, after all?” inquired he, in a disappointed
tone, observing that Mabel was standing behind him, gazing
moodily and vacantly into the street, and making no movement
to resume her bonnet.

“No, Alick.”

The boy hung down his head, as if a veto had been put upon
some favorite scheme of his own, but Murray, conceiving a
new idea, cried out, eagerly, “Then, auntie, take me to ride.
Oh, do, take me a little way in the new barouche.”

“Very well,” said Mabel, indifferently; “ask Lydia for your
hat,—get yours, too, Alick,” and pleased at the delight exhibited
by Murray, she tried to assume a gay tone, as she said,—
“We will go and have a good time by ourselves.”

Alick's face brightened, as Mabel seemed thus to promise
herself a compensation for being excluded from the wedding
festival, and by the time they gained the carriage, the boys, at
least, were both in high spirits.

Donald, comprehending at once the consequences of his long
delay, had a tedious story to relate in reference to its cause;
but Mabel, scarcely hearing his explanation, and caring little
for the trivial details which had resulted, as she deemed, so
disastrously, accepted his apology in silence, and bade him
drive on, purposely choosing a direction opposite to that leading
to Riverside.

They had proceeded but a little distance down Broadway,
however, when, seized with a new idea, she suddenly altered
her purpose, and requested the coachman to turn and drive
home. Alick looked at her inquiringly; Murray began to
whimper; but her smile re-assured them. “Only for a moment,
darling,” said she, in a soothing tone, to Murray; “I shall not
get out of the carriage, I wish to speak to Cecilia. Ring the
bell, Donald,” said she, as they stopped before her father's
door; and as the footman appeared and ran down the steps to

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take her orders, she exclaimed, to the astonishment of her
hearers, “ask Cecilia to bring my warm Scotch shawl and a
pillow—two pillows, Robert,” continued she, as he turned to
fulfil her directions.

The smiling Cecilia soon appeared with the articles, which
were deposited in the carriage.

“Are we going to be gone all night?” asked Murray, in
some alarm, while Alick's face contained a volume of questions.

But Mabel only smiled in reply.

“Turn here,” said she, at length, to Donald, as they reached
the entrance of a narrow street.

“Oh! I know, I know!” shouted the usually quiet Alick, as
he observed that they were taking the direction leading to the
widow Hope's, “you are going to take Rosy out to drive.”

Mabel nodded in assent.

Murray sprang up and down on the carriage seat, and clapped
his hands in an extasy of delight.

Alick scanned his aunt's face pensively, admiringly. Mabel
almost forgot her recent and bitter disappointment, in the
thought of the pleasure she was about to impart.

But who shall paint the rapture of surprise, excitement, and
delight, which reigned in the widow's home, when the prancing
horses were reined in before the door, when the object of their
coming was announced, and the thoughtful preparations for the
little invalid's comfort placed the incredible fact beyond a doubt.
Tears streamed down the cheeks of the happy, grateful child,
and the undemonstrative mother so far forgot her wonted reserve
as to lay her hand on Mabel's shoulder and exclaim,
“Bless your heart, she was just longing to have a peep at the
country! Why, it will be like taking her to paradise!”

A few moments more, and Rose, supported by pillows, and
with Mabel's shawl across her lap, was rolling down Broadway,
in the easy, luxurious carriage, her thin, pale face, and slight,
attenuated figure, forming a striking contrast to the rich beauty
and graceful proportions of Mabel, who was leaning forward,
re-arranging the cushions at her feet, and gently inquiring

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whether the motion of the carriage fatigued her. Rose's eyes
wandered up and down the street, taking in at a glance a
thousand interesting objects, while Alick and Murray, as they
watched her from the opposite seat, directed her attention now
to one thing and now to another, betraying in their animated
faces how deeply they enjoyed and participated in her pleasure.

But city sights and sounds were comparatively familiar to
Rosy, and although the drive was enlarging her knowledge
and experience, nothing as yet had served to arouse emotions
altogether unprecedented and novel. As they approached the
battery, however, and through the arches of its lofty elms she
caught sight of the deep blue waters of the bay, the white sails
glistening in the sun, and the green islands beyond, her large
eyes dilated, her little form seemed to expand and elevate
itself, her breast heaved, she clasped her thin transparent hands,
and uttered a long-drawn exclamation of wonder, reverence,
and awe. Mabel and the boys gazed in silent satisfaction at
the rapt and excited child, as, lost in the contemplation of this
panorama of ocean, earth, and sky, she manifested in her face
and gestures an extasy of delight such as words would have
been powerless to express.

With parted lips and straining eyes she continued to gaze,
as if every other sense was absorbed in that of sight, and not
until some overshadowing buildings shut out the bewildering
prospect, did she relapse into her wonted composure. As the
carriage paused a moment at the ferry, while awaiting the boat
which should transport it to the opposite shore, the child slowly
turned her head, met Mabel's sympathetic glance, drew a long
breath, and, with a smile of holy joy, sought the hand of her
friend and pressed it with grateful fervor. Still she spoke not
a word, as if fearful to break the spell that was upon her, but
with patient though trembling expectation, waited until the
revelation of beauty and enchantment should again burst upon
her sight.

A moment more and they were launched upon the transparent
waters of the bay, where, with nothing to interrupt the
vision or disturb the harmony of the scene, the eye might rove

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at will in all directions, and sweep to the very verge of the
distant horizon. With her head bent forward, the light breeze
stirring the hair on her blue-veined temples, and her cheek
tinged with the faint flush which pleasure and excitement had
called up, the invalid girl seemed borne into a new creation
and animated by a new life. As if some earth-born mortal
had strayed beyond its native sphere, and stood with bounding
pulse on the threshold of a higher existence, so this suffering
child, emerging from the darkness, seclusion, and obscurity in
which her life had hitherto been shrouded, seemed to rejoice,
expand, and glow, as if in the presence of Deity.

Nor were her emotions unshared by her companions. Mabel's
heart beat high with unselfish joy, as she beheld the
light which sparkled in Rose's eye, and the rapture which shone
in her beaming features; while Alick forgot his wonted interest
in the shipping of the harbor, to follow her earnest gaze as it
peered now into the azure depths of sky, then watched the
motion of the rolling waves, and finally rested with serene
repose on the luxurious verdure of the shore. Even Murray
now and then threw himself on the carriage floor at her feet,
looked up, and reading her pleasure in her face, exclaimed,
“Rosy likes it, don't you Rosy?” to which Rose responded
with a smile so expressive that the little questioner comprehended
its meaning and was satisfied.

Nor were these the only friends destined to sympathize in
her enjoyment this day. Scarcely had they gained the streets
of New York's sister city, when a familiar rumble greeted
Rose's ear, and coming towards them from the opposite direction,
she saw the well-known cart horses which she had that
morning hailed as they came through the arch-way. Never
had the brazen knobs of the harness glittered as now in the
afternoon sunlight, never had the cart seemed of so deep a
blue, never had the young teamster's face worn so astonished
an expression, so joyous and cheering a glow, as that with
which he now saw and recognized his little invalid neighbor.
With one glance of his quick eye, he took in the whole establishment,
the spirited horses, their showy accoutrements, the

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beautiful carriage, its pleasure-bound occupants, and Rose
preeminent in their midst. It was too much for his equanimity.
As he passed, he laughed, cracked his long whip, took off his
hat, swung it round his head three times, and then gracefully
kissed his hand to her in tokon of congratulation.

This gay and exultant salutation exerted a corresponding
effect upon the spirits of the little party. The boys became
quite excited in view of it; and Rose, to whose satisfaction this
little incident had imparted additional zest, leaned out of the
carriage and waved her hand in triumphal glee.

“He knows you! he is looking back after you! he is glad
you are taking a ride!” cried the voices of Alick and Murray,
while Mabel herself could not resist turning round for another
glimpse of the honest face, which evinced such an evident participation
in Rose's joy.

Truly this was a great day for Rose,—the one gala day of
her life. Not only nature, but the heart of man, seemed to
rejoice and sympathize in the occasion. Even Donald, that
proud, handsome Donald, who presided on the box, manifested
a certain tenderness for her infirmities, drove gently over the
pavement, and avoided every rough spot in the road, as if to
spare her any unnecessary jolting or fatigue.

And now they gradually left the city behind them, and
struck out into the open country. Green fields and smiling
gardens met them at every turn; sweeping elms overarched the
roads and refreshed them with their shade; birds flitted among
the branches, and flowering shrubs rejoiced the senses with
their perfume. Here and there, at intervals, might be seen
the neat Dutch farm-houses, each of which seemed in turn,
to Rose, the counterpart of her mother's early home, while,
occasionally, as they gained some slight elevation, there burst
upon them in one comprehensive view the wide range of rolling
meadows, green orchards, and sunny slopes, which mark
the scenery of Long Island; while in the distance, the eye
might discern, at intervals, the blue waters of the sea.

At sight of the rural homesteads, the cattle peacefully grazing,
or reposing in the shade, and innumerable other objects

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with which frequent descriptions had rendered Rose partially
familiar, her enthusiastic and artless delight would find vent in
words; and Mabel's heart was deeply touched as the child recounted,
in simple phrase, the oft-repeated tale of her mother's
happy life at the old farm, the revisiting of which blessed spot
had ever constituted the day-dream of her city-bred children.

“You must go there, Rose!” exclaimed Mabel, eagerly, as
she observed the child's intense and ill-concealed longing; “you
must go there with your mother one of these days, and see the
good old place.”

Rose only replied, however, by shaking her head with an air
of sad and pensive resignation and Mabel forbore to urge the
point, for they had now gained the height of a hill up which
the horses had long been toiling, and were greeted by one of
those lovely and extensive views, the sight of which effectually
sealed Rose's lips, while a hush of holy awe crept over the
little face, the working of which, nevertheless, revealed unutterable
things. Who shall tell how much she discerned which
is shut from the eye of sense, how much she heard which
is whispered only to the ear of the spirit?

The happiness of Alick and Murray was only secondary on
this occasion to that of Rose. Like her, they were privileged
beyond their wont, and evinced their satisfaction, the one in
the eagerness of his observations and questions, and the other
in the laughter, shouts, and unchecked glee of childhood.
Now and then, at some shady point in the road, or some pleasant
opening in the prospect, the horses were drawn up for a
few moments, and the boys were suffered to alight, to challenge
each other to a run, or to pluck the wild flowers by the roadside,
with which they playfully showered their indulgent aunt
and her happy little companion.

Occasionally Mabel's thoughts would wander to the gay
scene at Riverside; a slight pang of envy would pierce her
heart as she mused upon the happy throng assembled there,
and she would anxiously ask herself, “Am I missed amid the
crowd?” But a look at Rose's enraptured face, or the shouts
of the joyous boys, were sufficient to chase away every

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obtruding regret, and satisfy her with the reflection, “They surely
could not spare me here.”

But time is a tyrant, and though Mabel had left her watch
at home, the slowly descending sun began to give notice of the
day's decline. In spite of innumerable pauses and delays,
they had more than half completed the circuit appointed for
their afternoon's excursion, and were already homeward bound.
Alick and Murray were somewhat weary with unusual exercise,
and a quiet, placid sense of enjoyment had crept over
the little party to the exclusion of conversation and merriment.
The road, following the undulations of the bay, now and then
swept close to the shore, on whose pebbly margin the light
waves broke with a soft and pleasant murmur, and all nature
wore that air of repose which marks the close of a summer's
day. Reclining on her cushions, with her head gently resting
on Mabel's shoulder, Rose lay watching the light, airy clouds,
which, gradually forming into masses of greater volume and
richer coloring, hung suspended above the western horizon.
So soft and soothing was the scene, so still and motionless the
figure of the child, who was revolving in new wonder the miracle
of creation, that Mabel believed and hoped she had fallen
asleep, and forbore to disturb her by a word. As a sudden
turn in the road, however, brought them in full view of the
city, Rose raised her head, and, like one abruptly awakened
from a pleasant dream, gazed long and fixedly at the huge assemblage
of buildings, amid which her young life had hitherto
been imprisoned.

Mabel divined her thoughts. “New York is but a poor
place compared with the country, is it, Rosy?” asked she.

Rose smiled and shook her head.

“I have thought of a fine plan for you,” continued Mabel,
“and one that I am sure you will like. You and your mother,
Rose, must go up to the old farm and stay until you get strong
and well. There you can see plenty of woods, and fields, and
wild flowers, and watch the sun set every night. It is not a
long journey,” added she, with animation, her interest in the
scheme increasing as she observed the ray of pleasure and

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hope which had overspread Rose's face at the suggestion, “it
will only take one day. I will see that it is no expense to you,
and Jack will stay at home and take care of the house and
shop. We will talk it over with your mother this very evening.”

The glow of delight which had been called up in Rose's
countenance, as Mabel first named this welcome proposal, gave
place to an expression of pain and anxiety as the pronounced
the concluding phrases of the plan. Tears started into her
eyes, and she made haste to lay her hand on Mabel's arm, and
check the glowing anticipations she was indulging of her little
friend's happiness and possible restoration to health, in the
broken words, “Dear Miss Mabel! you are very good, but
don't mention it to mother,—please don't; I can't go,—indeed
I can't!”

“But why not, Rose? you feel strong enough for the journey?
you will go if your mother consents?”

“Yes,—no,—please don't ask her,—indeed I had far
rather stay in New York.”

Mabel looked puzzled and disappointed; she could not
understand the child's eagerness to deny herself so great a

“Miss Mabel,” added Rose, after a little hesitation, seeing
that Mabel still awaited an explanation, “you wouldn't think
anybody needed me here, a poor sick girl that has been a care
and a trouble all my life, but I could not be happy to go away
and leave my dear Jack. Miss Mabel, he is a rough boy, perhaps,
but he is never rough to me. Lyddy says he has learned
wicked words, but he uses good words to me; they tell me he
loves bad company, but I know that he loves his little Rose.
He has sat up all night to bathe my aching head,—he has
carried me in his arms all day. He would miss me from my
little room; the bad boys would whistle round the corner, and
there would be no little voice to say, `Oh, Jack! stay with

Innocent, artless Rose! Little did she think that every word
of her simple apology pierced like an arrow to the heart of

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Mabel; little did she comprehend the sudden sting of conscience
which caused the quick blush to flood the face, the eyes to
droop, and the hand to be nervously withdrawn from her fond
and affectionate clasp. She thought she had offended her
friend, and continued in urgent tones, “indeed—indeed, I am
very thankful, and you are too good; I do not deserve it; but
you are not vexed with me?” And laying her hand on Mabel's
arm, and fixing her large eyes full and searchingly upon
her, she added, in a touching, pleading tone, “O, dear Miss
Mabel, have you a brother, and do you love him as I love

The look, the question seemed empowered with authority to
probe Mabel's very heart. Shrinking from their scrutiny, she
sought to evade the one and respond to the other by hiding her
face in the folds of Rosy's shawl, as she drew her to her in a
close embrace; and Rose believed herself understood and was

And now they have bid farewell to the blue waters of the
bay, the verdant islands, the sky still glowing with the lingering
rays of crimson light, and once more are dashing through the
city thoroughfares, crowded with vehicles and ringing with bewildering
sounds. Many an eye follows them with loving and
grateful interest, as they sweep down the narrow street, where,
at her humble door, the widow Hope watches for the return of
her child. All the neighborhood has missed her, has learned
her whereabouts, and is sympathizing in her joy. The mother
greets her with an eager smile; the old woman over the way
hobbles to the door, doubting her very eyes, and adjusting her
spectacles to be sure that she sees aright. The little deaf and
dumb boy stands braced against the side of the house, transfixed
in mute astonishment; and, as the restive horses, panting for
their stable, require the restraining hand of Donald, the brisk,
young teamster makes his appearance from beneath the arch-way,
hastens to the carriage, lifts Rose gently in his arms, bears
her into the house, and places her in her arm-chair. She looks
up, smiles at Mabel and the boys, receives answering smiles in
return, and the carriage whirls rapidly away.

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Many a noble steed has that day returned to the city heated,
dusty, and jaded. But how many of their gay and fashionable
owners have been engaged in a like labor of love? Certain it
is, that in after years, and amid other scenes, memory could
recall no festive occasion in the annals of the New York belle
so blessed in its simple pleasures, so hallowed in its lasting
results, as that which constituted to little Rose Hope the one
bright spot on this side Heaven.

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Cummins, Maria Susanna, 1827-1866 [1857], Mabel Vaughan. By the author of The lamplighter. (John P. Jewett and Company, Boston) [word count] [eaf533].
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