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- From Jest to Earnest - 1/79 -


The Works of E. P. ROE

FROM JEST TO EARNEST

DEDICATION.

This book is dedicated in fraternal affection to the friend of my youth and maturer years--the REV. A. MOSS MERWIN, who, with every avenue of earthly ambition open to him at home, and with every motive urged upon him to remain at home, has been for years, and is now, a faithful missionary in a foreign land.

CONTENTS

CHAPTER I. A PRACTICAL JOKE

CHAPTER II. THE VICTIM

CHAPTER III. PUZZLED AND INTERESTED

CHAPTER IV. A LITTLE PAGAN

CHAPTER V. PLAIN TALK

CHAPTER VI. A SLEIGH-RIDE AND SOMETHING MORE

CHAPTER VII. ANOTHER SPELL THAN BEAUTY'S

CHAPTER VIII. FINDING ONE'S LEVEL

CHAPTER IX. "THE OTHER SET"

CHAPTER X. HUMAN NATURE

CHAPTER XI. A POSSIBLE TRAGEDY

CHAPTER XII. MISS MARSDEN ASKS SOMBRE QUESTIONS

CHAPTER XIII. A LOVER QUENCHED

CHAPTER XIV. LOTTIE A MYSTERIOUS PROBLEM

CHAPTER XV. HEMSTEAD SEES "OUR SET"

CHAPTER XVI. HOW WOMAN MAKES OR MARS

CHAPTER XVII. MIDNIGHT VIGILS

CHAPTER XVIII. HEMSTEAD'S HEAVY GUN AND ITS RECOIL

CHAPTER XIX. THE PREACHER TAUGHT BY THE PAGAN

CHAPTER XX. THE DAWNING LIGHT

CHAPTER XXI. MISUNDERSTOOD

CHAPTER XXII. "YOU MUST WAIT AND SEE"

CHAPTER XXIII. A RATIONALIST OF THE OLD SCHOOL

CHAPTER XXIV. THE TERROR OF A GREAT FEAR

CHAPTER XXV. A TRUE KNIGHT

CHAPTER XXVI. ON A CRUMBLING ICE-FLOE

CHAPTER XXVII. THE MEETING AND GREETING

CHAPTER XXVIII. THE TRIAL OF LOVE

CHAPTER XXIX. HEMSTEAD'S ADVICE, AND LOTTIE'S COLORS

CHAPTER XXX. AROUND THE YULE-LOG

CHAPTER XXXI. UNDER THE MISTLETOE

CHAPTER XXXII. THE CHRISTMAS SUNDAY

CHAPTER XXXIII. THE END OF THE "JEST"

CHAPTER XXXIV. LOYAL

CHAPTER XXXV. MR. DIMMERLY CONCLUDES TO "MEDDLE"

CHAPTER XXXVI. A NIGHT IN THE SNOW

CHAPTER XXXVII. IN EARNEST

FROM JEST TO EARNEST.

CHAPTER I.

A PRACTICAL JOKE.

On a cloudy December morning a gentleman, two ladies, and a boy stepped down from the express train at a station just above the Highlands on the Hudson. A double sleigh, overflowing with luxurious robes, stood near, and a portly coachman with difficulty restrained his spirited horses while the little party arranged themselves for a winter ride. Both the ladies were young, and the gentleman's anxious and almost tender solicitude for one of them seemed hardly warranted by her blooming cheeks and sprightly movements. A close observer might soon suspect that his assiduous attentions were caused by a malady of his own rather than by indisposition on her part.

The other young lady received but scant politeness, though seemingly in greater need of it. But the words of Scripture applied to her beautiful companion, "Whosoever hath, to him shall be given, and he shall have more abundance." She had been surfeited all her life with attention, and though she would certainly have felt its absence, as she would the loss of wealth, life-long familiarity with both led her to place no special value upon them.

Therefore during the half-hour's ride her spirits rose with the rapid motion, and even the leaden sky and winter's bleakness could not prevent the shifting landscape from being a source of pleasure to her city eyes, while the devotion of her admirer or lover was received as a matter of course.

The frosty air brought color into her companion's usually pale face, but not of an attractive kind, for the north-east wind that deepened the vermilion in the beauty's cheek could only tinge that of the other with a ghastly blue. The delicate creature shivered and sighed.

"I wish we were there."

"Really, Bel, I sometimes think your veins are filled with water instead of blood. It's not cold to-day, is it, Mr. De Forrest?"

"Well, all I can say with certainty," he replied, "is that I have been in a glow for the last two hours. I thought it was chilly before that."

"You are near to 'glory' then," cried the boy saucily, from his perch on the driver's box.

"Of course I am," said Mr. De Forrest in a low tone, and leaning towards the maiden.

"You are both nearer being silly," she replied, pettishly. "Dan, behave yourself, and speak when you are spoken to."

The boy announced his independence of sisterly control by beginning to whistle, and the young lady addressed as "Bel" remarked, "Mr. De Forrest is no judge of the weather under the circumstances. He doubtless regards the day as bright and serene. But he was evidently a correct judge up to the time he joined you, Lottie."

"He joined you as much as he did me."

"O, pardon me; yes, I believe I was present."

"I hope I have failed in no act of politeness, Miss Bel," said De Forrest, a little stiffly.

"I have no complaints to make. Indeed, I have fared well, considering that one is sometimes worse than a crowd."

"Nonsense!" said Lottie, petulantly; and the young man tried not to appear annoyed.

The sleigh now dashed in between rustic gate-posts composed of rough pillars of granite; and proceeding along an avenue that sometimes skirted a wooded ravine, and again wound through picturesque groupings of evergreens, they soon reached a mansion of considerable size, which bore evidence of greater age than is usual with the homes in our new world.


From Jest to Earnest - 1/79

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