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- Self-Raised - 6/128 -


"Father, yes! I promise you to do so. I will be at pains to put my business in such train as will enable me to visit you for a week or two."

"Thanks, Ishmael! And now, do you know I think the first dinner bell rang some time ago and it is time to dress?"

And Herman Brudenell arose, and after pressing Ishmael's hand, left the library.

The interview furnished Ishmael with too much food for thought to admit of his moving for some time. He sat by the table in a brown study, reflecting upon all that he had heard, until he was suddenly startled by the pealing out of the second bell. Then he sprang up, hurried to his chamber, hastily arranged his toilet, and went down into the dining room, where he found all the family already assembled and waiting for him.

CHAPTER IV.

BEE.

And coldly from that noble heart, In all its glowing youth, His lore had turned and spurned apart Its tenderness and truth-- Let him alone to live, or die-- Alone!--Yet, who is she? Some guardian angel from the sky, To bless and aid him?--Bee! _--Anon._

Ishmael received many other invitations. One morning, while he was seated at the table in his office, Walter Middleton entered, saying:

"Ishmael, leave reading over those stupid documents and listen to me. I am going to Saratoga for a month. Come with me; it will do you good."

"Thank you all the same, Walter; but I cannot leave the city now," said Ishmael.

"Nonsense! there is but little doing; and now, if ever, you should take some recreation."

"But I am busy with getting up some troublesome cases for the next term."

"And that's worse than nonsense! Leave the cases alone until the court sits; take some rest and recreation and you will find it pay well in renewed vigor of body and mind. I that tell you so am an M. D., you know."

"I thank you, Dr. Middleton, and when I find myself growing weak I will follow your prescription," smiled Ishmael, rising and beginning to tie up his documents.

"And that's a signal for my dismissal, I suppose. Off to the City Hall again this morning?" inquired Walter.

"Yes; to keep an appointment," replied Ishmael. And the friends separated.

Later in the day, when the young attorney had returned and was spending his leisure hour in going on with the book-packing, Judge Merlin entered and threw himself into a chair and for some moments watched the packer.

"What is that you are doing now, Ishmael? Oh, I see; doctoring a sick book!"

"Well, I dislike to see a fine volume that has served us faithfully and seen hard usage perish for the want of a moment's attention; it is but that which is required when we have the mucilage at hand," he said, smiling and pointing to the bottle and brush, and then deposited the book in its packing-case.

"But that is not what I come to talk to you about. Have you found a proper room for an office yet?"

"Yes; I have a suite of rooms on the first floor of a house on Louisiana Avenue. The front room I shall use for a public office, the middle one for a private office, and the back one, which opens upon a pleasant porch and a garden, for a bedchamber; for I shall lodge there and board with the family," replied Ishmael.

"That seems to be a pleasant arrangement. But, Ishmael, take my advice and engage a clerk immediately;--you will want one before long, anyhow--and put him in your rooms to watch your business, and do you take a holiday. Come down to Tanglewood for a month. You need the change. After the wilderness of houses and men you want the world of trees and birds. At least I do, and I judge you by myself."

Ishmael smiled, thanked his kind friend cordially, and then, in terms as courteous as he could devise, declined the invitation, giving the same reasons for doing so that he had already given first to Mr. Brudenell and next to Walter Middleton.

"Well, Ishmael, I will not urge you, for I know by past experience when you have once made up your mind to a course of conduct you deem right, nothing on earth will turn you aside from it. But see here! why do you go through all that drudgery? Why not order Powers to pack those books?"

"Powers is a pearl in his own way; but he cannot pack books; and besides, he has no respect for them."

"No feeling, you mean! he would not dress their wounds before putting them to bed in those boxes!"

"No."

"Well, 'a wilfu' mon maun ha' his way,'" said the judge, taking up the evening paper and burying himself in its perusal. That same night, while Ishmael, having finished his day's work, was refreshing himself by strolling through the garden, inhaling the fragrance of flowers, listening to the gleeful chirp of the joyous little insects, and watching the light of the stars, he heard an advancing step behind him, and presently his arm was taken by Mr. Middleton, who, walking on with him, said:

"What are you going to do with yourself, Ishmael?"

"Put myself to work like a beaver!"

"Humph! that will be nothing new for you. But I came out here to induce you to reconsider that resolution. I wish to persuade you to join us at Beacon House. That high promontory stretching far out to sea and exposed to all the sea breezes will be the very place to recruit your health at. Come, what say you?"

Ishmael's eyes grew moist as he grasped Mr. Middleton's hand and said:

"Three invitations of this sort I have already had--this is the fourth. My friends are too kind. I know not how I have won such friendship or deserved such kindness. But I cannot avail myself of the pleasant quarters they offer me. I cannot, at present, leave Washington, except at such a sacrifice of professional duties as they would not wish me to make. Mr. Middleton, I thank you heartily all the same."

"Well, Ishmael, I am sorry to lose your company; but not sorry for the cause of the loss. The pressure of business that confines you to the city during the recess argues much for your popularity and success. But, my dear boy, pray consider my invitation as a standing one, and promise me to avail yourself of it the first day you can do so."

"Thank you; that I will gladly do, Mr. Middleton."

"And when you come, remain with us as long as you can without neglecting your duty."

"Indeed I will."

At that moment a light rustle through the bushes was heard and Bee joined them, saying:

"Papa, if I were to tell you the dew is falling heavily and the grass is wet, and it is not good for you or Ishmael to be out here, you might not heed me. But when I say that uncle has gone with General Tourneysee to a political pow-wow, and mamma and myself are quite alone and would like to amuse ourselves with a game of whist, perhaps you will come in and be our partners."

"Why, certainly, Busy Bee; for if anyone in this world deserves play after work it is you," replied Mr. Middleton.

"Right face! forward! march!" then said Bee; and she led her captives out of the night air and into the house.

Early the next morning Ishmael was surprised by a fifth invitation to a country house. It was contained in a letter from Reuben Gray, which was as follows:

"Woodside,--Monday Morning. "My Deer Ishmael:--Hannah and me, we hav bin a havin of a talk about you. You see the judge he wrote to me a spell back, a orderin of me to have the house got reddy for him comin home. And he menshunned, permiskuously like, as you was not lookin that well as you orter. But Hannah and me, we thort as how is was all along o that botheration law business as you was upset on your helth. And as how you'd get better when the Court riz. But now the Court is riz, and pears like you aint no ways better from all accounts. And tell you how we knowed. See Hannah and me, we got a letter from Mrs. Whaley as keeps the 'Farmers.' Well she rote to Hannah and me to send her up some chickins and duks and eggs and butter and other fresh frutes and vegetubbles, which she sez as they doo ask sich onlawful prices for em in the city markits as she cant conshuenshusly giv it. So she wants Hannah and me to soopli her. And mabee we may and mabee we maynt; but that's nyther here nur there. Wot Hannah and me wants to say is this--as how Mrs. Whaley she met you in the street incerdentul. And she sez as how she newer saw no wun look no wusser


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