Quaint courtships

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TheProjectGutenbergEBookofQuaintCourtships,byHowells&Alden, Editors Copyrightlawsarechangingallovertheworld Besuretocheckthecopyright lawsforyourcountrybeforedownloadingorredistributingthisoranyother ProjectGutenbergeBook ThisheadershouldbethefirstthingseenwhenviewingthisProjectGutenberg file Pleasedonotremoveit Donotchangeoredittheheaderwithoutwritten permission Pleasereadthe“legalsmallprint,”andotherinformationabouttheeBookand ProjectGutenbergatthebottomofthisfile Includedisimportantinformation aboutyourspecificrightsandrestrictionsinhowthefilemaybeused Youcan alsofindoutabouthowtomakeadonationtoProjectGutenberg,andhowtoget involved **WelcomeToTheWorldofFreePlainVanillaElectronicTexts** **eBooksReadableByBothHumansandByComputers,Since1971** *****TheseeBooksWerePreparedByThousandsofVolunteers!***** Title:QuaintCourtships Author:Howells&Alden,Editors ReleaseDate:December,2005[EBook#9490][Yes,wearemorethanoneyear aheadofschedule][ThisfilewasfirstpostedonOctober5,2003] Edition:10 Language:English Charactersetencoding:ISO-8859-1 ***STARTOFTHEPROJECTGUTENBERGEBOOKQUAINT COURTSHIPS*** ProducedbyStanGoodmanandtheDistributedProofreaders QUAINTCOURTSHIPS Harper’sNovelettes EDITEDBYWILLIAMDEANHOWELLSANDHENRYMILLSALDEN 1906 MARGARETDELAND ANENCORE NORMANDUNCAN AROMANCEOFWHOOPINGHARBOR MARYE WILKINSFREEMAN HYACINTHUS SEWELLFORD JANE’SGRAYEYES HERMANWHITAKER ASTIFFCONDITION MAYHARRIS INTHEINTERESTSOFCHRISTOPHER FRANCISWILLINGWHARTON THEWRONGDOOR “What!” “Readon,”groanedMrs Bloodgood “Hesaysthefishing’sexcellent.” “Ishouldsayso!Andthat’swhathe’scaught!LeahBloodgood,whatdidyou everlethimgoawayforwithoutabody-guard?Thatpoordear,innocent,kindheartedman,togoandfallamong—amongthieveslikethat!” “He’sjustabsent-mindedenoughtogoanddoithimself Idon’tsupposewe oughttoblamethem Readon.” “‘NextWednesdaymorning,atteno’clock,’”moanedlittleMarilla,glibnessall gone “‘Itwouldbemostembarrassingtodosointheseclothes,asIamsureyou willsee,dearsister Kindlyseethatmybestwhitetieisincluded Iwouldnot wishtobeunbecominglyattiredonsojoyousanoccasion Sheisawidowwith fivechil—’” “Mercy!don’tfaintaway!Where’syourfans?Didn’tItellyoutherewere breakersahead?Idon’twonderyou’reallbrokenup!Giveittome;I’llreadthe rest M—m—m,‘joyousoccasion’—‘fivechildren’—‘sheisawidowwithfive children,allofthemmostlovablelittlecreatures Youknowmyfondnessfor children Ihavebeengreatlybenefitedbymysojourninthislovelyspot I cannotthankyoutoowarmlyforrecommendingit Ifindthefish—’” “LeahBloodgood,thatwilldo!Don’treadanotherword Don’tfanme,don’t askmehowIfeelnow Letmegetmybreath,andthenwewillgooverandopen theparsonagewindows That,Isuppose,isthefirstthingtodo It’ssomethingto bethankfulforthatit’sagood-sizedparsonage.” “Bethankful,then—I’mnot I’mnotanythingbutincensedclearthrough After I’dtakeneveryprecautionthatwaseverthoughtof,andsomethatweren’tever, tokeepthatmanoutofmischief!Ithoughtofalltheabsent-mindedthingshe mightdo,butIneverthoughtofthis,no,Inever!Andwewantedhimtomarry Corneliasomuch,Marilla!Corneliawouldhavemadehimsuchabeautiful wife!” “Beautiful!”sighedMarilla,hopelessly Ithadbeenthedearpetplantheyhad nursedincommonwithalltheparish EverybodybuttheministerandCornelia hadsharedinit “Andfivechildren!MarillaMerritt,thinkoffivechildrenrompingoverour parsonage,knockingallthecornersoff!” “I’mthinking,”mournedMarilla,gustily Shefeltadismalsuspicionthatthis wasgoingtodaunther Butherhabitoffacingthingscametothefront “Wednesday’sonlyfourdaysoff,”shesaid,withafineassumptionofbriskness “Idon’tsupposehesaidanythingaboutaweddingtour,didhe?” “No Butevenifhetookonehe’dprobablyforgetandstopoffhere Sowecan’t countonthat What’sdonehasgottobedoneinfourdays Whathasgottobe done,Marilla?” “Everything Wemuststartthisminute,LeahBloodgood!Thehousemustbe airedandpaintedandpapered,andwindow-glassset—there’snoend!Andallin fourdays!Wecan’tletourministerbringhiswifeandfivechildrenhometoa shabbyhouse CorneliaOppmustgoroundandgetmoneyfornewdining-room chairs,andthereoughttobemorebedswithafamilylikethat Dishes,too Corneliaoughttostartatonce She’sthebestsolicitorwehave.” “There’sanotherthing,”brokeoutMrs Bloodgood;“theministermusthave somenewshirts Heoughttohaveawholetrousseau Hehasn’tboardedwith me,andIdoneallhismending,withoutmyknowingwhatheoughttohave,now thathe’sgoingtogoandgetmarried Wecan’tlethimbeshabby,either.” “Then,ofcourse,thereoughttobealotofcookedfoodinthehouse,andsupper allreadyforthemwhentheycome Oh,Iguesswe’llfindplentytodo!Iguess wecan’tstoptogroanmuch But,oh,howdifferentwe’dallfeelifitwas Cornelia!” “Different!I’dgive‘emmydining-roomchairsandmycellarstairs!I’dmake shirtsandsitupallnighttocook!It’s—it’swicked,Marilla,that’swhatitis.” “Iknowitis,butheisn’t,”championedMarilla “He’sjustagoodmangone wrong It’shisguardianangelthat’stoblame—aguardianangelhasnobusiness tobenapping.” Atbest,itwasprettylateinthedaytooverhaulaparsonagethathadbeenclosed solongandsinkinggentlyintomilddecay Thelittleparishwokewitha dismayedstartandwenttowork,toawoman Operationswerebegunwithinan amazinglybrieftime;cleanersandrepairerswerehurriedtotheparsonage,and thewomenoftheparishweretoldoffintorelaystoassistthem “SomebodygotoMrs HigginbothamTaylor’sandgetahighchair,”directed MarillaMerritt “I’lllendmytea-chairforthenext-to-the-baby,anyway,tillthey cangetsomethingbetter Wedon’twantourminister’schildrensittingroundon dictionariesandencyclopaedias.” Theministerhadcometothem,alonebachelor,withkind,absenteyesandthe facultyofmakinghimselfbeloved Forsixyearstheyhadtakencareofhimand lovedhim—watchedoverhisoutgoingsandhisincomingsandforgivenallhis absent-mindednesses TheyhadpickedoutCorneliaOppforhim,andaddeditto theirprayerslikeanearnestcodicil—“OLord,bringCorneliaOppandthe ministertogether Amen.” CorneliaOppherselflivedonhersweet,unselfish,singlelife,andprayed, “Lord,blesstheminister,”unsuspectingly Shewasasmuchbelovedamong themallastheminister Theywereproudofherslender,beautifulfigureandher sereneface,andofhermanycapabilities Whattheministerlacked,Cornelia had;Cornelialackednothing MarillaMerrittandCorneliaOppwereappointedreceivingcommittee,tobeat theparsonagewhentheministerandhiswifeandfivechildrenarrived A bountifulsupperwastobeinreadiness,preparedbyallthegoodwomen impartially Thedutyofthereceivingcommitteewasmerely,asMrs Leah Bloodgoodsaid,“tosmile,andtellpleasantlittlelies—‘Suchadelightful surprise,—sogladtowelcome,etc.’ “CorneliaandMarillaMerrittarejusttheones,”shesaid,succinctly “Ishould say:‘Youawfulman,you!Can’twetrustyououtofoursights?’AndIsuppose thatwouldn’tbethebestwaytowelcome‘em.” TheministerhadsentabriefnoticeofhisexpectedarrivalhomeonWednesday evening,and,unlessheforgotandwentsomewhereelse,therewasgoodreason toexpecthimthen Everythingwashurriedintoreadiness Atthelastmoment someonesentinadolltomaketheminister’schildrenfeelmoreathome Cornelialaughedandsetthelittlethingonthesofa,stifflyerectandendlessly smiling “Looksnice,doesn’tit?”sighedtiredlittleMarilla,returningfromalastround ofthetidyrooms “Idon’tseeanythingelselefttodo,unless—Isthatdust?” “No,it’sbloom,”hastenedCornelia,covertlywipingitoff “Youpoor,tired thing,don’tlookatanythingelse!Justgohomeandrestalittlebitbeforeyou changeyourdress Mine’sallchanged,andIcanstayhereandmountguard I canbepractisingmylies!” “I’vegotminebyheart,”laughedMarilla,“Icouldsay‘sodelighted’ifhe broughttwowivesandtenchildren!” “Don’t!”Cornelia’ssweetvoicesoundedalittlesevere “We’vesaidenough aboutthepoorman It’sfouro’clock Ifyou’regoing—” “Iam CorneliaOpp,turnthatchildbackto!Shemakesmenervoussittingthere onthatsofastaringatme!Willyouseeher!” “Shedoeslookalittleoutofplace,”Corneliaadmitted,butsheleftthestifflittle figureundisturbed Aftertheotherwomanhadgoneshesatdownbesideiton thesofa,andsmoothedabsentlyitsgaudylittledress Cornelia’sfacewasgently pensive,shecouldscarcelyhavetoldwhy Nottheminister,butthetrimly appointedhousewithitsindefinableatmosphereofahomewithlittlechildrenin itwaswhatshewasthinkingofwithoutconsciouseffortofherown Thesmiling dollbesideher,thehighchairthatshecouldseethroughaninnerdoor,andthe foolishlittlegiltmugthatsomeonehaddonatedtotheminister’sbabyestone— theyallcontributedtothegentlepensivenessonCornelia’ssweetface Shewas butastepbythirty,andawomanatthirtyhasnotsettleddownresignedlyintoa lonelyoldage Letalittlechildcometiltingby,oralittlechild’sfoolish belongingsintrudethemselvesuponhervision,andold,oddlongingscreepout ofsecretcranniesandhaunther,willy-nilly Itisthelatentmotherhoodwithin herthathasbeendenieditsown Itwasthesecretofthesoftwistfulnessin Cornelia’seyes Soshesatuntiltheministercamehome Itwasthesoundofhis bigsteponthewalkthatrousedherandsentthecolorintoherfaceandmadeit perilouslybeautiful Corneliawasfrightened WherewasMarillaMerritt?Whyhadtheycomeso soon?Mustshemeetthemalone?Shehurriedtothedoor,herperturbedmind gropingblindlyforthe“lies”shehadmisplacedwhileshesatanddreamed Theministerwasstridingupthewalkalone!Hedidnotevenlookbackatthe villagehackthatwasturningawaywithhiswifeandfivechildren!Helooked insteadatthebeautifulvisionthatstoodintheparsonagedoorway,glimpsesof homebehindit,welcomeandcomfortinit Theministerwasinneedof welcomeandcomfort Hislonelinesshadbeenaccentuatedcruellybythebitof happinesshehadcaughtabriefglimpseofandleftbehindhim Perhapsthe lonelinesswasinhisface “Welcomehome,”Corneliasaid,inthedoorway Sheputasideherastonishment athiscomingalone,andansweredtheneedinhisface Herhandswereoutina graciousgreeting Totheministerhowgooditwas! “Theytoldmetocomerighthere,”hesaid,“orIshouldhavegonetoMrs Bloodgood’sasusual Idon’tquiteunderstand—” “Nevermindunderstanding,”Corneliasmiled,leadingthewayintothepretty parlor,“anyway,tillyougetintoacomfortablerocker It’ssomucheasierto understandinarocking-chair!I—well,IthinkIneedone,too!Yousee,we expected—wedidn’texpectyoualone.” “No?”hispuzzledgazetakinginallthekindlittleappointmentsoftheroom, andcomingtoastopatthesmilingdoll Thetwoofthemsatandstaredateach other “Wethoughtyouwouldbring—wegotallreadyforyourwifeandthechildren,” Corneliawassaying Thedollstaredon,buttheministerlookedup “Mywifeandthechildren?”herepeatedafterher “Idon’tthinkIknowwhat youmean,MissCornelia Imustbedreaming—No,wait;pleasedon’ttellme whatitallmeansjustyet!Givemealittletimetoenjoythedream.”But Corneliawenton “YouwroteMrs Bloodgoodaboutyourmarriage,”shesaid Sweetvoicescanbe severe “Ithurriedusalittle,butwehavetriedtogeteverythinginreadiness If thereisanotherbedneededforthechil—” “IwroteMrs Bloodgoodaboutmymarriage?”hesaid,slowly;thenas understandingdawneduponhimthepuzzledlinesinhisfaceloosenedinto laughterthatwouldout Heleanedbackinhisrockerandgavehimselfuptoit helplessly AshelplesslyCorneliajoinedin Thedollonthesofasmiledon—no more,noless “Willyouex—excuseme?”helaughed “No,”laughedshe “ButIcan’thelpit,andyou’rel-laughingyourself.” “No!” Hegottohisfeetandcaughtherhands “Let’skeepon,”hepleaded,unministerially “I’mhavingabeautifultime Aren’tyou?Iwishyou’dsayyes,MissCornelia!” “Yes,”shesmiled,“butwecan’tsitherelaughingalltherestoftheafternoon MarillaMerrittwillbehere—” “Oh,MarillaMerritt—”Hesighed Theministerwasyoung,too “Andshewillwanttoknow—things,”hintedCornelia,mildly Shedrewthe smilingdollintoherlapandsmootheditsdressabsently Theministerretreated tohisrockeragain “IthinkIwouldrathertellyou,”hesaid,quietly “Ididmarrymyoldfriendthis morning,butImarriedhertoanotherman Itwasamistake—allamistake.” “Thenyououghtnottohavemarriedher,oughtyou?”commentedCornelia, demurely Overthedoll’slittlefoolishheadhereyesweredancing Marilla Merrittmightnotseethatitwasfunny,Mrs Bloodgoodmightn’t,butitwas Unless—unlessitwaspathetic SuddenlyCorneliafeltthatitwas Theministerwasnolongerlaughing Hesatintherockerstrangelyquiet PerhapshedidnotrealizethathiseyeswereonCornelia’sbeautifulface; perhapshethoughthewaslookingatthedoll Heknewwhathewasthinkingof Theutterlonelinessbehindhimandaheadofhimappalledhiminitscontrastto this Thiswomansittingoppositehimwiththefaceofthewomanthataman wouldlikealwaysnearhim,thislittlehomewiththetwooftheminitalone— theministerknewwhatitwashewanted Hewantedittogorighton—neverto end Heknewthathehadalwayswantedit Allthesoulofthemanroseupto claimit Andbecausetherewasneedofhurry,becauseMarillaMerrittwas coming,heheldouthishandstoCorneliaandthefoolish,unastonisheddoll “Come,”hesaid,pleadingly,andofcoursethedollcouldnothavegonealone Hedroppeditgentlybackintoitsplaceonthesofa MarillaMerritthadbeenunwarrantablydelayed Shecameinflushedand panting,butindomitablysmiling Hersharpglancesoughtforawifeandfive children “Suchadelightfulsurprise!”shepanted,holdingoutherhandtotheminister “Wearesogladtowelcome—Why!—haveyoushownthemtotheirrooms, Cornelia?” “They—theydidn’tcome,”murmuredCornelia,retreatingtoherunfailingally onthesofa Inthestressofthemoment—forCorneliawasnotreadyforMarilla Merritt—ithadseemedtoherthatthetimefor“lies”hadcome Shehadeven beckonedtothenearestone Buttheghostsofministers’wivesthathadbeenand thatweretobehadriseninawarningcloudaboutherandsavedher “Didn’tcome!”shrilledMarillaMerrittinherastonishment “Hiswifeand childrendidn’tcome!Doyouknowwhatyouaresaying,Cornelia?Youdon’t mean—ThenIdon’twonderyoulookflustered—”Shecaughtherselfup hurriedly,butherthoughtsranonunchecked Ofallthingsthatever!Could absent-mindednessgofurtherthanthis—tomarryawifeandforgettobringher homewithhim?—andfivechildren! MarillaMerrittturnedsharplyupontheminister “Whereisyourwife?”shedemanded,thefrayedendsofherpatiencetrailing fromhertone TheministercrossedtheroomtoCorneliaandthedoll Helaid hisbigwhitehandgentlyonCornelia’ssmallwhiteone Therewasprotective tendernessinthegestureandthetouch “Ifoundherherewaitingforme,”theministersaid THEEND EndofProjectGutenberg’sQuaintCourtships,byHowells&Alden,Editors ***ENDOFTHEPROJECTGUTENBERGEBOOKQUAINTCOURTSHIPS *** Thisfileshouldbenamed8qcrt10.txtor8qcrt10.zipCorrectedEDITIONSof oureBooksgetanewNUMBER,8qcrt11.txtVERSIONSbasedonseparate sourcesgetnewLETTER,8qcrt10a.txt ProducedbyStanGoodmanandtheDistributedProofreaders ProjectGutenbergeBooksareoftencreatedfromseveralprintededitions,allof whichareconfirmedasPublicDomainintheUSunlessacopyrightnoticeis included Thus,weusuallydonotkeepeBooksincompliancewithany particularpaperedition WearenowtryingtoreleasealloureBooksoneyearinadvanceoftheofficial releasedates,leavingtimeforbetterediting Pleasebeencouragedtotellus aboutanyerrororcorrections,evenyearsaftertheofficialpublicationdate Pleasenoteneitherthislistingnoritscontentsarefinaltilmidnightofthelast dayofthemonthofanysuchannouncement Theofficialreleasedateofall ProjectGutenbergeBooksisatMidnight,CentralTime,ofthelastdayofthe statedmonth Apreliminaryversionmayoftenbepostedforsuggestion, commentandeditingbythosewhowishtodoso MostpeoplestartatourWebsitesat:http://gutenberg.netorhttp://promo.net/pg TheseWebsitesincludeaward-winninginformationaboutProjectGutenberg, includinghowtodonate,howtohelpproduceourneweBooks,andhowto subscribetoouremailnewsletter(free!) 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Charactersetencoding:ISO-8859-1 ***STARTOFTHEPROJECTGUTENBERGEBOOK QUAINT COURTSHIPS *** ProducedbyStanGoodmanandtheDistributedProofreaders QUAINT COURTSHIPS Harper’sNovelettes EDITEDBYWILLIAMDEANHOWELLSANDHENRYMILLSALDEN... **eBooksReadableByBothHumansandByComputers,Since1971** *****TheseeBooksWerePreparedByThousandsofVolunteers!***** Title: Quaint Courtships Author:Howells&Alden,Editors ReleaseDate:December,2005[EBook#9490][Yes,wearemorethanoneyear...TheProjectGutenbergEBookof Quaint Courtships, byHowells&Alden, Editors Copyrightlawsarechangingallovertheworld Besuretocheckthecopyright
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