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have left cards on my table, and then if I do not leave cards on their tables they all think I am rude and put on airs because I live in a big house. Forty women called here to-day, and thirty-nine of them said precisely the same thing. I must get out of it."

"What was it?"

"Nothing." Her face lit up with the smile which always made her look so charming, and of which some one had once said: "Mrs. Davison is not a pretty woman, but her smile is an enchantment.'

brated a century ago, and a garden that is historical. Family-trees can be made easily enough; but only Omnipotence can make a real tree, and the first work of the Creator was to plant a garden."

"Oh! well, then, I give in. If there is a garden." For my cousin's love for flowers was a passion. Her name, Hortensia, was an inspiration or a prophecy. She could have made Aaron's rod bud.

"There is one other reason that I have not told you," she added, after a pause. "There always is," I observed, half cynically, for I was not as pleased as I pretended with her flatly notifying me that my advice went for nothing.

'And what did you say to them?” "I gave them the exact equivalent nothing. I must get out. My husband once said that the most dreadful thing on earth was a worldly old woman." "You are neither worldly nor old," I grandfather always said it was one of the protested.

She gazed at me calmly.

"I am getting to be both. I am past forty, and when a woman is past forty she is dependent on two things-her goodness and her intellect. I have lost the one and am in danger of losing the other. I want to go where I can preserve the few remnants I have left. And now," she added, with a sudden return of her vivacity, which was always like a flash of April sunlight even when the clouds were lowest, "I have sent for you this evening to show you the highest proof of my confidence. I wish to ask your advice, and I want you to give the best you have. But I do not want you to think I am going to take it, for I am not." "Well, that is frank at any rate," I said. "We shall, at least, start fair and not be by the way of being deceived."

"Yes, I want it; it will help me to clarify my ideas-to arrive at my own conclusions. I shall know better what I do not want."

She gazed at me serene from under her long eyelashes.

"Flattering, at least! How many houses do you suppose I build on those terms? And now one question before I agree. Why do you want to take a place which is, so to speak, nowhere-that is, as you tell me, several miles from anywhere?"

"Just for that reason I want to get back to first principles, and I understand that the place I have in mind was one of the most beautiful old homes in all New England. It has trees on it that were cele

"My grandfather and the owner of the old place used to be great friends, and my

loveliest spots on earth: 'a pleasant seat,' he called it. I think he had a little love affair there once with the daughter of the house. My grandmother was always rather scornful about it."

II

A WEEK later we landed about mid-day at the little station just outside of the village where my cousin, with her usual prevision, had arranged to have a two-horse sleigh meet us. Unfortunately, the day before a snow of two feet had added to the two feet which already lay on the ground, and the track outside of town had not been broken. The day, however, was one of those perfect winter days which come from time to time in New England when the atmosphere has been cleared, the winds, having done their work, have been laid, and Nature, having arrayed herself in immaculate garments, seems well content to rest and survey her work. The sunshine was like a jewel. The earth sparkled with a myriad myriads of diamonds.

The man to whom my cousin had written, Mr. Silas Freeman, was on the platform to meet us. A tall, lank person with a quiet face, a keen nose, and an indifferent manner. Bundled in a buffalo-robe coat he stood on the platform and gazed at us in a reposeful manner as we descended from the train. We passed him twice without his speaking to us, though his eyes were on us with mild and somewhat humorous curiosity. When, in response to my inquiries,

the station agent had pointed him out, I walked up and asked if he were Mr. Freeman, he answered briefly: "I be. That's my name."

I introduced Mrs. Davison, and he extended his hand in its large fur glove indifferently, while a glance suddenly shot from his quiet eyes, keen, curious, and inspective. She instantly took up the running, and did so with such a knowledge of the conditions, such clearness and resolution, and withal with such tact, that Mr. Freeman's calm face changed from granite to something rather softer, and his eyes began to light up with an expression quite like interest.

under the big elms, or from the stoops of the stores where they stood bundled up in rough furs and comforters, and, turning as we passed, discussed us as if we were freaks of Nature.

As we drove along, plunging and creeping through the snow-drifts, Mr. Freeman began to unbend. "This road ain't broke, but somebody's been along here. Guess it's Miss Hewitt."

"Who is Miss Hewitt?"

"She's one o' Doct' Hewitt's girls-she's one of the good women-looks after them 's ain't got anybody else to look after 'em." We crept around the hill toward the river.

"Ah! 'twas Miss Hewitt," observed the driver to himself. "She's been to dig out

"No, he hadn't brought the sleigh, 's he didn't know 's she'd come, seein' 's the weather w'z so unlikely." "But didn't I write you I was coming?" F'lissy." He was gazing down across the demanded Mrs. Davison. white field at a small "shackelty" old cabin

"Waal, yes. But you city folks some- which lay half buried in snow, with a few times writes more 'n you come."

Mrs. Davison cast her eye in my direction.

"You see there he knows them." She turned back to Freeman. "But I am not one of the 'city folks.' I was brought up in the country."

Mr. Freeman blinked with something between incredulity and mild interest.

"Well, you'll know better next time," continued my cousin. "Now remember, the next time I write I am coming, if I do not, you look in the papers and see what I died of."

Whether it was the words or the laugh that went with them and changed them from a complaint to a jest, Mr. Freeman's solemnity relaxed, and he drawled, "All ri-ight."

scraggy apple trees about it.

When at length, after a somewhat strenuous struggle through snow-drifts up to our horses' backs, we stood on the portico of the old mansion, though the snow was four feet deep I could not but admit that the original owner knew a "pleasant seat" when he saw it. Colonel Hamilton, when he established himself on that point overlooking the winding river and facing the south, plainly knew his business.

The remains of a terraced lawn sloped in gracious curves around the hill in front, where still stood some of the grand elms which, even a century before, had awakened the enthusiasm of the owner's visitor. Beyond, on one side, came down to the river's margin a forest of pines which some good fortune, in shape of a life-long litiga

"And now, can't we get the sleigh right tion, had spared from the lumberman's axe, away?" demanded Mrs. Davison.

and which stood like an army guarding the

"Guess so. But th' road beyond th' old mansion and its demesnes, and screen

village ain't broken."

"Well, can't we break it?"

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ing them from the encroachments of modern, pushing life.

On the other side, the hill ran down again to the water's edge, the slope covered with apple trees which now stood waist deep in snow.

Behind, huddled close to the house, were a number of out-buildings in a state of advanced dilapidation, and yet behind these the hill rose nobly a straight slant of nearly half a mile, its crest, where once the avenue had wound, crowned with a fine row of elms and maples, a buttress and defence against

the double storm of the north wind and the casual tourist.

Moreover, the original architect had known his business, or, at least, had known enough to give the owner excellent ideas, for the house was a perfect example of the Colonial architecture which seems to have blown across the country a century and a half ago like the breath of a classical spring, leaving in its path the traces of a classical genius which had its inspiration on the historic shores of the Egean and the Mediterranean. From foundation to peaked roof with its balustrade, in form and proportion, through every detail of pillar and moulding and cornice, it was altogether charming and perfect.

I became suddenly aware that my cousin's eyes had been on my face for some time. She had been enjoying my surprise and delight. "Well, what do you think of it?" "It is charming-altogether charming." "I thought you would like it." "Like it! Why, it is a work of genius. That architect, whoever he was

"Helped to clarify the ideas of the

owner."

"Helped to clarify! This is the work of a man of genius, I say."

comes up and potters around-I al'ays heard she had a rose-bush."

"Oh! She has a new home? Why on earth doesn't she go there?" questioned Mrs. Davison.

The driver's eyes blinked. "Guess she didn't like the com'ny. That's what th' call the poor-house." His eyes blinked again, this time with satisfaction at my cousin's ignorance. "They might's well ha' let her stay on up here. She wa’nt flighty enough to do any harm, and she'd ha' taken as good care of the house as anyone. But they wouldn't." His tone expressed such entire acquiescence that Mrs. Davison asked, "Who would not?"

"Oh, them others. They had the right, and they wouldn't; so she's lived down there ever since I knew her. All the others 're dead now-he's sort o' 'the last leaf on the tree.""

The quotation seemed suddenly to lift him up to a new level.

My cousin's face had grown softer and softer while he was speaking.

"Poor old thing! Could I help her?" "Waal, I guess you could if you wanted to."

"I do. Couldn't you give her something

"His name was Hamilton. He built it for me?" and owned it."

As we came out of the house and plunged around to the long-closed front door to take another look at the beautiful façade, my cousin gave an exclamation.

"Why, here is a rose, all wrapped up and protected." She was bending over it as if it had been a baby in its cradle, a new tone in her voice. "It is the only sign of care about the whole place. I wonder what kind it is?"

"I guess that's F'lissy Good'in's rosebush," said Mr. Freeman, who had followed us in our tour of inspection, now with an inscrutable look of reserve, now with one of humorous indulgence.

"Who is F'lissy Goodwin?" asked Mrs. Davison, still bending over the twist of

straw.

"She's one of 'em-she's the one as lives down the road a piece in that little old house under the hill you saw."

"Does anyone live in that house!" "Waal, if you call it livin'. She stays there anyway. She wouldn't go to the new home-preferred to stay right here, and

"I guess I could, but you'd better get somebody else to do it. She'd want to know where it come from, and I d'n' know 's she'd take it if she knew it come from you as is buyin' the place."

But you need not tell her
You might give it to her

"Oh! I see. it came from me. as from yourself?"

It was the one mistake she made. His face hardened.

"Waal, no, I couldn't do that." My cousin saw her error and apologized. He said nothing, but he softened..

"Miss Hewitt might do it. She's the one as hunts 'em up and helps 'em." "Well, then I will get her to do it for me. She will know how."

"She knows how to do a good many things," observed Mr. Freeman quietly.

III

AFTER this I knew that nothing would keep my cousin from buying the place if she could get it, and so in truth it turned out. After some negotiating, in which

every edge was made to cut by the sellers, the deal was closed and the Hamilton place with all its "improvements, easements, appurtenances and hereditaments," became hers and her heirs' forever. No child with a new toy was ever more delighted.

I received one evening an imperative message: "Pray come immediately," and on my arrival I knew at once that my cousin had gotten the place. Her eyes were dancing and all of her old spirit appeared to have come back. The flush of youth was on her cheeks. I found the big library table covered with photographs of the place and house, inside and out, and if there was a spot not covered by a photograph it held a book on gardening. “Well, I have it.”

"Or them," I observed quietly. "Them?" with a puzzled look. "Never mind! I know it's an insult, though I do not know just how. Well, I have sent for you. I want

"My advice?"

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She took from the table a small volume bound in red, and opened it.

"Here is an old letter written by my grandfather a hundred years ago, giving his impressions of the place when he visited it:

"Here I am in the province of Maine, where I arrived a few days ago, expecting to find myself in a foreign land. Imagine my surprise when I discovered that the place and the people are more like those among whom I was brought up in my youth than in any other part of New England which I have visited. Of course, I

am speaking of its appearance in the summer, for this is July, and it might be early June.

"You don't want all this-he gives simply a description of the distinction in classes which he was surprised to find here-'many of the families having their coats of arms and other relics of the gentry-class.' Ah! here it is. Here is the description:

"I was invited to Colonel H.'s and he sent down for me his barge manned by a half dozen sturdy fellows, just as might have been sent from Shirley or Rosewell or Brandon; and on my arrival I found the Colonel awaiting me on the great rock which dispenses with any need for a pier, except a float and a few wooden steps.

"He has one of the pleasantest seats which I have found in all my travels-a house which, though not large, would have done justice to any place in Maryland or Virginia, and which possesses every mark of good taste and refinement. It fronts to the south and is bathed in sunlight the whole day long.

"The garden immediately caught my attention, and I think I might say I never saw more beautiful flowers, which surprised me, for I had an idea that this region produced little besides rocks and Puritanical narrowness: of which more anon. The garden lies at the back of the house, beginning on a level, with formal borders and grass-walks where the turf is kept as beautiful as any that I ever saw in England, and where there is every variety of flower which Adam and Eve could have known in their garden. In the first place, roses-rosesroses!

Then all the rest: Rush-leaved daffodils, the jonquilles-"narcissi," the Colonel's sister calls them; phlox of every hue; hollyhocks, peonies, gillies—almost all that you have. Then the shrubbery!— lilacs, syringas, meadowsweet, spiræa, and I do not know how many more. I could not get over the feeling that they had all been brought from home. Indeed, I saw a fat robin sitting in a lilac bush that I am sure I saw at home two months ago, and when I bowed to him he nodded to me, so I know he is the same. On the land-side the garden slopes away suddenly into an untilled stretch of field where the wild flowers grow in unrivalled profusion. This the Colonel's sister calls her "wild garden." A field of daisies looked as if it were covered

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with snow. An old fellow with a face wrinkled and very like a winter apple, told me that one "Sir William Pepperil brought them over, and that is the reason you don't find 'em anywhere else but here." I did not tell him of my friend the robin.

"By the way, the Colonel's sister is a very charming young lady-dark hair, gray eyes with black lashes, a mouth which I think her best feature, and a demure air. She is so fond of her garden that I call her "Hortensia"."

"What's that?"

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WITH the first opening of spring my cousin was at work on her "restoration." She had the good sense to select as her head workman-for she would have no contractor either in or out of the house-a local carpenter-an excellent man. But even with this foresight it must be said that her effort at restoration was not received with entire approbation by her new neighbors. The gossip that was brought to her and there was no little of it-informed her that they considered her incoming as an intrusion, and regarded her with some suspicion and a little disdain. Some of them set out evidently to make it very clear to her that they did not propose to let her

interfere in any way with their habits and customs. They were "as good as she was," and they meant her to know it.

In time, however, as she pushed on with her work, always good-natured and always determined, she began to make her way with them. Silas Freeman stood her in good stead, for he became her fast friend.

"She is rather citified," he agreed, "but she can't help that, and she beant a bit airified."

I was present on an occasion when one of the first evidences of her gradual breaking into the charmed circle came. The work on the house was progressing rapidly. Rotted pediments, broken window frames, unsound cornices, lost spindles, being replaced by their exact counterparts; each bit that needed renewal or repair being restored with absolute fidelity under her keen eyes. And all the time she was rummaging around through the country picking up old furniture and articles that dated back and belonged to the time when her grandfather had visited the place. No child ever enjoyed fitting up a baby-house more keenly than she enjoyed fitting up this.

It was really beginning to show the effect of her tact and zeal. She had actually gotten two or three rooms finished and furnished, and had moved in, "the better to see, my dear,'" she said to me. "Besides, I know very well that the only way to get workmen out of a house is to live them out. I mean to spend this summer here."

Outside, too, the work was progressing favorably, though the frost was scarcely out of the ground. The rickety buildings were all removed from her cherished ground "where once the garden smiled," and she was only awaiting a favorable season to lay out her garden and put in her seeds and slips, which were already being gotten ready.

It was one of those Sunday afternoons in April when Spring announces that she has come to pay you a visit, and leaves her visiting card in bluebirds and dandelions. The bluebirds had been glancing about the lawn all day, making dashes of vivid color against the spruces, and even a few robins had been flitting around, surveying the land and spying out choice places. Dandelions were beginning to gleam in favored spots, and a few green tufts were peeping up where jonquils had, through all discourage

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