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- Capitola The Madcap - 5/61 -


learn something by suffering. I have been trying all night and day to school my heart to submission, and I hope I have succeeded, Traverse. Bless me and bid me good-by."

"The Lord forever bless and keep you, my own dear angel, Clara!" burst from the lips of Traverse. "The Lord abundantly bless you!"

"And you," said Clara.

"Good-by!--good-by!"

"Good-by!"

And thus they parted.

Clara was hurried away and put into the carriage by her guardian.

Ah, no one but the Lord knew how much it had-cost that poor girl to maintain her fortitude during that trying scene. She had controlled herself for the sake of her friends. But now, when she found herself in the carriage, her long strained nerves gave way--she sank exhausted and prostrated into the corner of her seat, in the utter collapse of woe!

But leaving the travelers to pursue their journey, we must go back to Traverse.

Almost broken-hearted, Traverse returned to Willow Heights to convey the sad tidings of his disappointment to his mother's ear.

Marah Rocke was so overwhelmed with grief at the news that she was for several hours incapable of action.

The arrival of the house agent was the first event that recalled her to her senses.

She aroused herself to action, and, assisted by Traverse, set to work to pack up her own and his wardrobe and other personal effects.

And the next morning Marah Rocke was re-established in her cottage.

And the next week, having equally divided their little capital, the mother and son parted--Traverse, by her express desire, keeping to his original plan, set out for the far West.

CHAPTER II.

OLD HURRICANE STORMS.

"At this sir knight flamed up with ire! His great chest heaved! his eyes flashed fire. The crimson that suffused his face To deepest purple now gave place."

Who can describe the frenzy of Old Hurricane upon discovering the fraud that had been practised upon him by Black Donald?

It was told him the next morning in his tent, at his breakfast table, in the presence of his assembled family, by the Rev Mr. Goodwin.

Upon first hearing it, he was incapable of anything but blank staring, until it seemed as though his eyes must start from their sockets!

Then his passion, "not loud but deep," found utterance only in emphatic thumps of his walking stick upon the ground!

Then, as the huge emotion worked upward, it broke out in grunts, groans and inarticulate exclamations!

Finally it burst forth as follows:

"Ugh! ugh! ugh! Fool! dolt! blockhead! Brute that I've been! I wish somebody would punch my wooden head! I didn't think the demon himself could have deceived me so! Ugh! Nobody but the demon could have done it! and he is the demon! The very demon himself! He does not disguise--he transforms himself! Ugh! ugh! ugh! that I should have been such a donkey!"

"Sir, compose yourself! We are all liable to suffer deception," said Mr. Goodwin.

"Sir," broke forth Old Hurricane, in fury, "that wretch has eaten at my table! Has drunk wine with me!! Has slept in my bed!!! Ugh! ugh!! ugh!!!"

"Believing him to be what he seemed, sir, you extended to him the rights of hospitality; you have nothing to blame yourself with!"

"Demmy, sir, I did more than that! I've coddled him up with negusses! I've pampered him up with possets and put him to sleep in my own bed! Yes, sir--and more! Look there at Mrs. Condiment, sir! The way in which she worshiped that villain was a sight to behold!" said Old Hurricane, jumping up and stamping around the tent in fury.

"Oh, Mr. Goodwin, sir, how could I help it when I thought he was such a precious saint?" whimpered the old lady.

"Yes, sir! when 'his reverence' would be tired with delivering a long-winded mid-day discourse, Mrs. Condiment, sir, would take him into her own tent--make him lie down on her own sacred cot, and set my niece to bathing his head with cologne and her maid to fanning him, while she herself prepared an iced sherry cobbler for his reverence! Aren't you ashamed of yourself, Mrs. Condiment, mum!" said Old Hurricane, suddenly stopping before the poor old woman, in angry scorn.

"Indeed, I'm sure if I'd known it was Black Donald, I'd no more have suffered him inside of my tent than I would Satan!"

"Demmy, mum, you had Satan there as well! Who but Satan could have tempted you all to disregard me, your lawful lord and master, as you every one of you did for that wretch's sake! Hang it, parson, I wasn't the master of my own house, nor head of my own family! Precious Father Gray was! Black Donald was! Oh, you shall hear!" cried Old Hurricane, in a frenzy.

"Pray, sir, be patient and do not blame the women for being no wiser than you were yourself," said Mr. Goodwin.

"Tah! tah! tah! One act of folly is a contingency to which any man may for once in his life be liable; but folly is the women's normal condition! You shall hear! You shall hear! Hang it, sir, everybody had to give way to Father Gray! Everything was for Father Gray! Precious Father Gray! Excellent Father Gray! Saintly Father Gray! It was Father Gray here and Father Gray there, and Father Gray everywhere and always! He ate with us all day and slept with us all night! The coolest cot in the dryest nook of the tent at night--the shadiest seat at the table by day--were always for his reverence! The nicest tit-bits of the choicest dishes--the middle slices of the fish, the breast of the young ducks, and the wings of the chickens, the mealiest potatoes, the juiciest tomatoes, the tenderest roasting ear, the most delicate custard, and freshest fruit always for his reverence! I had to put up with the necks of poultry, and the tails of fishes, watery potatoes, specked apples and scorched custards-- and if I dared to touch anything better before his precious reverence had eaten and was filled, Mrs. Condiment there--would look as sour as if she had bitten an unripe lemon--and Cap would tread on my gouty toe! Mrs. Condiment, mum, I don't know how you can look me in the face!" said Old Hurricane, savagely. A very unnecessary reproach, since poor Mrs. Condiment had not ventured to look any one in the face since the discovery of the fraud of which she, as well as others, had been an innocent victim.

"Come, come, my dear major, there is no harm done to you or your family; therefore, take patience!" said Mr. Goodwin.

"Demmy, sir, I beg you pardon, parson, I won't take patience! You don't know! Hang it, man, at last they got me to give up one-half of my own blessed bed to his precious reverence--the best half which the fellow always took right out of the middle, leaving me to sleep on both sides of him, if I could! Think of it--me, Ira Warfield-- sleeping between the sheets--night after night--with Black Donald! Ugh! ugh! ugh! Oh, for some lethean draught that I might drink and forget! Sir, I won't be patient! Patience would be a sin! Mrs. Condiment, mum, I desire that you will send in your account and supply yourself with a new situation! You and I cannot agree any longer. You'll be putting me to bed with Beelzebub next!" exclaimed Old Hurricane, besides himself with indignation.

Mrs. Condiment sighed and wiped her eyes under her spectacles.

The worthy minister, now seriously alarmed, came to him and said:

"My dear, dear major, do not be unjust--consider. She is an old faithful domestic, who has been in your service forty years--whom you could not live without! I say it under advisement--whom you could not live without!"

"Hang it, sir, nor live with! Think of her helping to free the prisoners! Actually taking Black Donald--precious Father Gray!--into their cell and leaving them together to hatch their--beg you pardon- -horrid plots!"

"But, sir, instead of punishing the innocent victim of his deception, let us be merciful and thank the Lord, that since those men were delivered from prison, they were freed without bloodshed; for remember that neither the warden nor any of his men, nor any one else has been personally injured,"

"Hang it, sir, I wish they had cut all our throats to teach us more discretion!" broke forth Old Hurricane.

"I am afraid that the lesson so taught would have come too late to be useful!" smiled the pastor.

"Well, it hasn't come too late now! Mrs. Condiment, mum, mind what I tell you! As soon as we return to Hurricane Hall, send in your accounts and seek a new home! I am not going to suffer myself to be set at naught any longer!" exclaimed Old Hurricane, bringing down his cane with an emphatic thump.

The sorely troubled minister was again about to interfere, when, as the worm if trodden upon, will turn, Mrs. Condiment herself spoke


Capitola The Madcap - 5/61

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