"I am sure I would much prefer it to be as it is, or if there was an Edward we would be certain to have a great case on hand immediately, and somebody's little warm heart get broken before it was done with," and, Marion smiled mischievously at her younger sister.

"It is very singular that you are so agreeable to Cap tain Singleton, and yet speak so slightingly of the at-

tractiveness of mankind in general/' said Fannie, as she saw with pleasure the blood rise to Marion's tem ples, as it always did, whenever the name of the gallant Confederate officer was mentioned in her presence.

Fannie went on to her mother's room to impart to her the important news she had learned from Jim.

"I guess they went directly to Mrs. Bliss's. Did Jim say, Fannie ?" asked her mother.

"Yes'em, and Jim says they are going to move over to their home next Monday, so by next Thursday we may call to see them; don't you think so, mother?" she asked, anxiously.

"Yes, I think you may call by that time. It does not take long for energetic, willing hands to right up a house, especially such a small one as theirs," replied her mother. Then she added, sympathetically:

"Poor things, how changed everything will be, and how lonely for a long time they will feel in a land of strangers. We must be kind to them, and endeavor to make them forget, as far as possible, their lost home and friends. It must be a great comfort to have their old friend and neighbor to welcome them to their new home."

"I think the Meltons are a good deal above the Bliss family in education and social standing," remarked Marion.

"Mother, if father can spare Monk, don't you think it will be a good idea to send him over there on Monday to help them," asked Fannie, who was always quick to enter into the spirit of her mother's benevolent schemes.

"Yes, I think it a very nice plan of yours, and one I

know your father will heartily indorse/' her mother re plied.

"I am so anxious to see that Evelyn, I cannot wait very patiently until next Thursday," said Fannie.

"My darling baby girl, you must cultivate a more patient and quiet manner. You really distress me by your impatience and impetuosity," her mother replied, fondly, as she smoothed back the shining hair from Fannie's temples. Then she added:

"I will tell you how you may employ some of the energy you are letting run to waste in impatience. Hoard it all up until next Saturday, then cook some of those nice light rolls and strawberry jam puffs that you make so nicely, and send them over to our new neighbors on Monday morning. As they will not have much time for cooking on that day, such things will come in very nicely. We can add a dish of butter also. I think I heard your father say that he had offered Mr. Melton the use of some cows until he buys cattle of his own," and Mrs. Montgomery rose and went into the dining-room, where supper was already spread.

In a few moments they were all assembled at the evening meal, and the arrival of their new neighbors was the chief topic of conversation.

"Jim volunteered his opinion of our new neighbors to me to-day when he delivered Mr. Melton's message of thanks," observed the elder Doctor, "and that is, he thinks them very nice ladies. Now I think Jim's opin ion on such matters worth a good deal, though I did not tell him so."

"If they were Southern people, I would be willing

to bank a great deal on Jim as authority in such mat ters, but I won't know whether he is so discriminating as to Northern 'quality' and f po' buckra/ " laughed LaiHe.

"Well, the girl must be good and beautiful, for Jim says she is like me and looks like me," Fannie re marked, with an affectation of demureness that was quite foreign to her.

CHAPTER VIII.

THE REFUGE.

"Who ever loved, that loved not at first sight?"

—"As You Like It."

TIME passed swiftly, and Monday morning came, fair and cooler than it was the day before, which had threat ened rain so much that the Meltons did not visit, as they had planned to do ; the new clearing in the wilder ness.

On this morning "The Refuge" presented a busy scene, the object being to get the place habitable before night, Mrs. Bliss, Mrs. Melton, Evelyn and "Aunt Judy," the wife of "Uncle July," kept busy, dusting, unpacking, sweeping, and setting things to rights gen erally. The men were occupied with putting up bed steads, making shelves, putting up the stove in the tiny kitchen, and making substitutes for furniture.

At nine o'clock Monk, the Doctor's boy, came over with a basket and a note from his mistress, saying that if he could be of any service to them, she would be pleased if they would keep him until they were through the day's work. The basket contained the dainty jam-puffs and light rolls of Fannie's manufacture, and a large dish of beautiful yellow butter.

Their neighbors had all been very kind in sending in something to assist in fitting up the place. A good deal had been sent in the way of cooked food, milk or butter. One old lady had sent them a pair of chickens, saying that, "the poor things won't know how to get up in the morning if they don't have a rooster to crow for them."

As Mrs. Bliss and Evelyn stood for a moment on the porch, the latter said:

"This sunny little porch I shall wreathe with roses and honeysuckles, as yours is, '. Mrs. Bliss/' and the vivid imagination ran ahead of the present two or three years, and saw the fragrant clusters of crimson and white roses hanging in beauty over the porch.

"Yes, flowers grow so fast in a new-ground garden, but it will be some time before roses will climb so high as this; better plant morning glories and white and red Indian creepers while you are waiting on the roses. But, Evelyn, we must go and get your little room ready to sleep in to-night. You will be tired enough to sleep well by then, I think." And that busy woman went, followed by Evelyn, into the shed room that opened from the large front room that was to be her mother's. The large room across the hallway was to be both parlor and spare room. A pretty matting covered the rough floor, and bright shades hung before the win dows, pictures and prints hid the unceiled walls. Every thing about the little cottage was rough and primitive, but hope and love covered many deficiencies.

In Evelyn's room also a great transformation was going on. A large drygoods box, surmounted by a mir-

ror and covered with a bright chintz, formed a substi tute for a dresser. On it were placed many pretty or naments, gifts from friends of bygone days. Evelyn handled them lovingly as she placed them there. A little three-cornered shelf served as a washstand, and the bed was draped in white to match the curtains at the windows. A bright rug on the floor completed the furnishings of this simple apartment. Evelyn sur veyed the fresh looking little room with great satisfac tion, as she exclaimed:

"It does look very neat, don't you think, Mrs. Bliss? But, oh, I wonder what Marguerite would say if she could look into such a rough little room and know it was mine," and a far-away look came into her dark eyes as she reverted in memory to the home she had left, that was positively elegant compared to this.

"But I will not think of such things. I am very happy, and grateful to God, and to everyone for the kindness which has been shown to us since we have been down here," she said, looking brightly at the kind-hearted friend who stood regarding her with sympa thetic eyes.

"Well, Evelyn, let's go and see what the rest of 'em have been doing in the kitchen," and when we get that all fixed up, I'll go on home and see after my little flock for the night," said Mrs. Bliss, as she led the way to the small room that was now to serve both as kitchen and dining-room.

Mr. Melton was already planning that when his crop was laid by in the summer he would build them a nice large dining-room.

When Mrs. Bliss and Evelyn reached the kitchen they found everybody as busy as bees in a field of clover. The stove had been put up and the table set ready for the evening meal. The unused dishes had been washed and put away in a cupboard constructed from a drygoods box, and the groceries had been trans ferred to a little closet built in the wall of the kitchen.

Mrs. Bliss took a seat in one of the splint-bottomed chairs, which she had brought over with a good many others as a contribution to the housekeeping department. She watched with satisfaction the progress that was being made in the kitchen.

"I am glad to see you resting," said Evelyn, "far I think it is the first time you have sat down to-day, Mrs. Bliss."

"Oh, no; I've sat down several times to nurse the baby," she replied.

Mrs. Melton seemed suddenly to have resumed all of her lost energy, and Evelyn was rendered doubly happy by the pleasant and cheerful expression on her parents' faces.

Aunt Judy was looking very sorrowful, and exclaimed:

"I'm sho' ready ter drop in my tracks, fur Mis' Mel ton has kep' me runnin' all day so fas' tel' I couldn't reford ter eat my dinner wid no satisfaction ter my-sel'," so they dismissed her at sunset and she sat down to rest before starting home.

"Our neighbors have been so kind and thoughtful of us in sending cooked food, that there is quite enough left from dinner to make a nice supper, so I will make the tea, mother, and let you rest," said Evelyn.

Mrs. Bliss was now ready to leave for home as a wagon came rattling up to the door for her, and they all repaired to the front porch to bid her good-bye and to thank her again for all her kindness to them since their arrival in Louisiana; and, indeed, before, for it was through her thoughtfulness that the tables of yellow pine and the oaken chairs had been made. There were many little conveniences that but for her would never have entered the mind of Mr. Melton.

Aunt Judy's humble cabin was situated on the other side of the Bliss farm. It was quite a long distance to walk, so she was offered a seat in the wagon, which she gladly accepted, as it gave her an opportunity of resting. It was not often since the war that this calmly moving personage had done such a day's work; and, as she had felt it incumbent on her to talk as fast as she had worked, she was as much fatigued mentally as she was physically, that is, if the word mentally can be applied to one who possesses so small a share of mind.

Mrs. Bliss now bade them good-bye, and left with many pressing invitations to them to visit her at an early day, which they promised to do.

When Monk was dismissed, a little later, he had won golden opinions from them all. He had been so quick, so prompt to please, and did not intrude his con versation on them, but was as quiet as one could wish a servant to be.

When all were gone, and they were seated around the cozy tea-table, how homelike it seemed to be thus together once more "under their own vine and fig tree."

"We have the home, and the vine and the fig tree will soon be here, for I am going to help you, father, to get a lot of young trees to plant right away."

"It is the vine and fig tree of a pretty large imagina tion that we are sitting under, then," laughed Mr. Mel ton. "But, really, Evelyn, that's a capital plan of yours, and we shall carry it into execution this very week. John told me last week that this is the time to plant fig trees, and remarked that I could not make a better investment of my time than to plant dozens of them, as they make the finest feed for both hogs and chickens, besides being so delicious to eat. You have seen what nice preserves they make, as you tried Mrs. Bliss's, I think, didn't you?" asked her father.

"Yes, father; and those perfectly delicious dried confections she makes, with the addition of a little powdered sugar, excel any bonbons I ever tasted," she answered, enthusiastically.

Evelyn had the day before told her father of what Doctor Lambert had said of the state of her mother's lungs. Mrs. Melton did not have any just appreciation of the danger through which she had passed; and it was a long time before her husband and daughter thought it safe to tell her what Doctor Lambert had told Evelyn regarding her health before she left New England.

"Nothing could have happened, father, that would have rendered me so perfectly contented with our South ern move as the knowledge that it is the means used to restore to health a life so precious to us," said Evelyn, in concluding her recital of her mother's illness, and

the doctor's statement in regard to her mother's remain ing in New England another winter.

As she looked from one to the other of the faces she loved best, and heard their loved voices in familiar con versation, a mingled feeling of satisfaction and grati tude came over her, known only to those who have heen homeless, for even a brief period, as they had been.

The remainder of the week was spent as Evelyn had decided it should be, in planting the cuttings that she had brought from their Maine garden, and assisting her father in planting a small enclosure in fruit trees. Many of their neighbors had given them young trees of apples, pears, plums, peaches and figs. Of the latter fruit there were several varieties, and Evelyn was es pecially interested in them, as she had never seen them growing. They also planted for shade trees china, mul berry, catalpa, and the lovely sensitive mimosa, and crape myrtle or lagistraemia.

"Father, these flowers will be full of surprise at their change of climate, will they not?" asked Evelyn, as they busily planted the tiny shrubs that had travelled from one extreme of the United States to the other.

"Well, I don't know," said the prosaic farmer, "but I hope they will be pleased enough at the change to grow well and reward my industrious little gardener for all her toil in their behalf."

"How will we ever rid the garden of all these pine stumps?" asked Evelyn; "but perhaps Mr. Bliss can tell us of some plan, for they have none in their flower garden," she added more cheerfully.

"Mrs. Bliss says the Montgomerys have the most

beautiful home around here. Have you ever been there, father?" she continued.

"Yes; it is the prettiest place I have seen since I came to Louisiana. But let's go indoors now, for the sun gets too hot to be pleasant by eleven o'clock/' as he wiped the perspiration from his face.

Thursday morning Evelyn received a note from Fan nie Montgomery saying that she, her sister and brother would call that evening at half past seven o'clock, if agreeable to Miss Melton, and as she wrote in reply that it was very agreeable they made their preparations to go. Fannie was all impatience for the hour to arrive.

"I wrote them that we would call at half past seven, Laurie; we don't want them to think we are trying to appear at all fashionable, do we ?" said she; a sentiment in which her brother promptly concurred.

"How will seven do to start from here?" asked Lau rie, as he looked at his watch.

"That will be about right," responded Marion.

Fannie went up to her brother and gave him a crit ical inspection.

"I shouldn't wonder if Doctor Montgomery makes a Trig 5 impression on that Yankee girl," she said, as she looked proudly at her handsome brother. He did, in deed, look an ideal specimen of manhood—tall and straight as an Indian, with fine gray eyes, clear cut features and a decidedly fine mustache.

"I guess I' might make -conquests of all my lady friends if they would look at me through your partial glasses, my little sister," said Laurie, as he kissed her affectionately.

"Now, Fancy, I wish you would be very decorous in your manners to-night, for these people are entire strangers to us, and we must not be over officious in our kindness to them," he added seriously.

They went out to the gate where Monk was holding Forrest, Laurie's beautiful iron gray, who was to do duty this evening as buggy horse. After a short drive in the bright moonlight they drew rein in front of the Melton clearing.

Mr. Melton met them on the little porch and invited them into the room that served as parlor and sitting-room. The wide hearth was bright with the blazing pine knot fire, and on a little table was a prettily shaded lamp.

After presenting them to his wife, who impressed them quite favorably as a quiet, ladylike woman, he went off to tell Evelyn of the arrival of the young people who were destined in the near future to become her warmest and most confidential friends. He soon returned with his daughter, and introduced her to Laurie and his sisters.

She was dressed very simply in white; her only orna ment being a black velvet "dog collar" held together by a small diamond pin, the gift of Marguerite Willing-ham.

"She is a lovely girl," was the mental verdict of the brother and sisters, as she gracefully and with perfect self-possession went through the process of an introduc tion to them. She was usually pale, when she was not blushing, which, as she afterward told Fannie, she had a silly habit of doing.

no Under the Magnolias.

Her soft brown eyes and dainty red mouth con trasted with a profusion of rich dark hair piled high on the shapely head, while coquettish tendrils curled naturally around the white temples. Her expression, too, seemed ever varying; now glad with the light of youth, or swept by a touch of melancholy that rendered her, if possible, more charming than she was before. She was small and graceful, and was a good talker, but seemed to prefer listening to others to talking herself.

The evening was a pleasant one to all. Each felt that electric touch of sympathy that comes to us all on meeting a stranger who afterwards becomes a dear friend. It is as true as it is indefinable, that subtile influence that touches souls who are near of kin in sym pathy.

Evelyn played and sang for them some of the new eongs that had not yet reached these remote hills and valleys, and they in turn sang some of their well ren dered trios. The doctor's voice was strong and well controlled, and seemed to fill the room with sound, yet it accorded well with Fannie's clear, bird-like soprano.

As they sang Evelyn wondered vaguely why it was that his voice should thrill her so strangely. She had heard many fine masculine voices before; then, why should this stranger's voice affect her more than others ?

As she looked at the strong, handsome singer she could not keep from associating him in some way with the womanly idea of a hero.

The Refuge. m

When the song was finished, Laurie turned his flushed face to her and said:

"I suppose, Miss Melton, you are fond of music, are you not? My sister Marion is planning to monopolize a good deal of your time practicing duets with her. She has never succeeded in persuading Fannie to stay in the house long enough to learn to play with her/'

"Yes, indeed; I love music better than anything else, I believe," Evelyn responded, "and will take great pleasure in practicing with Miss Montgomery. If she loves music as well as I do, we shall become very musical this winter."

"Well, please don't plan to practice all winter; for I am hoping that you love to ride as well as I do, so that I shall have company in future instead of going alone so often, as I do. Marion does not love horses and will never ride with me, and Laurie is nearly always gone, so please tell me that you love to ride better than anything, next to music," said Fannie, coaxingly, to Evelyn.

"Yes, Miss Fannie, I think that if I could ride as well as Mrs. Bliss says you can, I should like it ex tremely well, and will join you in that delightful pas time as soon as I get a horse to ride," she answered with warmth enough in her tone to please even Fannie.

"Oh, I will teach you, and we shall begin imme diately, and I can lend you my pony, which is very gentle, and I can ride one of father's or Laurie's horses that are not so gentle," said Fannie, eagerly, delighted at the prospect of the fun in the enterprise.

"I hope you and Miss Melton will constitute me an

assistant teacher in the riding lessons. I think I will make an admirable preceptor. At least, I may act as escort, may I not?" and they all laughed at Laurie, who added gravely:

"Seriously, though, Miss Melton, let me advise you to beware of horses that Fannie may think gentle, but take her assertions to that effect 'cum grano salis/ as she is such a fearless rider that she is not a safe judge of what you should ride; don't forget, please."

"Miss Melton, I am so much pleased at the thought of the fun we are going to have, I love you already, and think we are going to be good friends. I always know when I first meet anyone whether or not I am going to love them; do you ?" Fannie asked, naively.

"Yes, I am constituted similarly myself, Miss Fan nie," replied Evelyn.

"Then," said Laurie, "you and Fannie believe in love at first sight."

"No, not exactly," responded Evelyn, answering the ]ook of mischief in the gray eyes with a slight rise of color. "But what do you think of it, Doctor Montgom ery ? Do you think it possible for anyone to fall in love on first acquaintance?"

"I do not suppose one could really be in love with a person whom he had met but once, but I do think that there is in the heart an emotion, I may say, a feeling of receptivity, that might quickly, on further acquaint ance, ripen into a desperate case of real love," Laurie answered earnestly, though there might be seen mis chief lurking in his eyes.

"Well, I know that I shall fall in love at first sight,"

said Fannie; "that is, if I ever meet anyone whom I can love," she added, reflectively.

"None of us doubt that of you, Fairy. At least, you will think that you are desperately in love," said Lau rie, laughing at the indignant protest he saw in his sister's eyes.

"Yes, Laurie thinks, Miss Melton, that I am too young to think of love, even; that it is only people who have arrived at the discreet age of twenty-six who can speak with wisdom on such lofty topics/' Fannie responded, with as much scorn as her soft voice could attain.

The evening passed pleasantly, and when Laurie looked at his watch and announced eleven o'clock, they were surprised that the hours had passed so swiftly.

"Miss Melton," said Marion on leaving, "it is just a pleasant short walk from here to 'The Magnolias/ and I hope for a return of our call at an early date."

"I will come over in a few days and drive you over there to show you the way, if you will return with me," proposed Fannie, with her usual promptitude for say ing and doing nice things.

"Yes; thank you, I shall be very much pleased to go with you," replied Evelyn.

"Oh, I have an idea; mother is coming in a few days to call on Mrs. Melton, and I will drive her over and take you back with me to spend the evening with Mai and me, while the mothers are getting acquainted with each other," Fannie exclaimed, with the air of one hav ing solved a difficult problem.

"You are presupposing to a certainty, then, that I

shall be absent, as my name does not appear on the pro gramme for pleasure on that sunny afternoon," said Laurie, with mock plaintiveness in his tone.

"Oh, I beg most humble pardon for inadvertently leaving you out of my programme, dear brother; you are so seldom at home in the afternoon that I did just 'presuppose' you would not be there on that occasion," added Fannie.

"Well, Fancy, I shall make a very decided effort to be present on that evening when Miss Melton comes," and Laurie bowed "one of his fetching bows," as Fan nie afterward described it at home.

After a merry drive in the. brilliant moonlight that flooded all the scene with almost daylight radiance, the visiting party arrived at home, a home that never looked lovelier than it did to-night. It was always beautiful in the moonlight, and Marion often quoted Scott's lines,

"If you would view fair magnolias aright, You must view it by the pale moonlight."

After reaching home they went to mother and father's room to bid them good-night, and tell them how much pleased they were with their new friend, whom Fannie described as "perfectly beautiful, mother."

"I am afraid to trust my extravagant little daughter's opinion on the subject of people's appearance, so will wait until I see the young lady myself before I make up my mind to regard her as 'perfectly beautiful,' " said her mother playfully, as she received their good-night kisses. The Montgomery children, one and all, had

never outgrown the habit of going to father and mother for a good-night kiss.

By the time the girls were ready for bed a pet mockingbird in a mimosa tree near their window broke forth with his usual midnight serenade, and made the echoes vocal with his trills of melody. It was not till the last echo died away on the moonlit stillness that sleep came to the eyes of the sisters.

CHAPTER IX.

MAKING NEW FRIENDS.

"Merry it is in the good green-wood, When the mavis and merle are singing, When the deer sweeps by, and the hounds are in cry, And the hunter's horn is ringing."—Scott.

EVERY Sunday there were new callers at The Refuge. The busy farmers of the country settlement did not have time for visits of pleasure during the weekdays, but Sunday evening there could surely be no harm in riding over to see a neighbor. They had been very kind, and had liberally shared their vegetables with their Northern neighbor. Sweet potatoes and fresh pork had also been generously sent in, so that at the close of a month's residence at Brierwood, Mrs. Melton declared that she had not felt the need of a garden at all.

In the hunts for deer, which were taken every Sat urday, Mr. Melton was always included, and many were the fine pieces of fat venison that he carried back with him on his return home. One day the hunting party captured a spotted fawn of great beauty, which by unanimous consent was turned over to Mr. Melton to carry over to his daughter. The deer in the country

were so numerous as to be a real nuisance to the farmers.

Hynda, as Evelyn called her little pet, proved to be a charming companion, as lovely and as graceful as her mistress could desire.

One day as she and her deer were standing under some trees in front of the Melton homestead, Doctor Laurie Montgomery rode up, and as he dismounted he noted with admiration the pretty picture they made as they stood in the shade of the vine-embowered oak tree. The fawn scampered away at the approach of the horse and rider, who came forward and shook hands with Evelyn, remarking gaily, as he looked at the departing fawn:

"I hope Hynda will not meet with the fate that befell her unfortunate namesake."

"I trust not; for Hynda always had my deepest sympathy in her sad history. I dare not say how many tears I 'have shed over her and the brave Gheber who won her love," responded Evelyn. Then she asked, "Doctor Montgomery, will you tell me what kind of vine this is, twined so beautifully about this oak?"

"That is one of our more fragrant and early bloom ing vines, flowering generally in March, but often in February. The flowers are trumpet-shaped and of a lovely golden hue. It is the yellow jessamine, or, as the botanists call it, Gelseminum sempervirens. Did you never see it before, Miss Melton?"

"No; I have never seen a flower like your description of this. I am so glad the workmen left it growing here; I am surprised they did not cut it down, and

think they displayed some taste in leaving these trees as well as the vine."

"It will, ere many months pass, be loaded with its lovely wreaths of flowers, fairly fit to twine around the forms of beautiful shepherdesses leading forth their lawns to pasture," and his admiring glances brought the quick blood to Evelyn's face, as the soft eyes wan dered to where Hynda was gambolling in graceful curves.

"I do hope my little pet will not meet with any mis fortune. I am really learning to love her dearly," said Evelyn.

"Well, I would advise you in time not to bestow too much of your heart on her, as she will very probably prove ungrateful and leave you next Spring," said the doctor, as he followed the look of affection she gave her little favorite.

"Perhaps if you divide your heart among several dependents in the shape of other pets it will prevent a too painful concentration on Hynda, and to .provide against that, I think Fannie has selected two kittens, and I have two charming little dogs for you to pet, and thus preclude the possibility of your becoming too fond of Hynda," said Laurie, his eyes shining with mischief. "But, by the way, I had almost forgotten to tell you that Fannie sent me over to say that she and mother would call this afternoon, and that Fanny would take no excuse from you for not returning with her to spend the afternoon with us.

"I would advise you not to carry Hynda with you, as my dogs might conceive a desire in their cruel hearts to see her run—just to try her mettle, you know."

"No, indeed, I will not trust her where there are any great ugly canines; but tell Miss Fannie I shall be ready to return with her if your mother will excuse my absence, and ascribe it to your sister's management and not to mine," said Evelyn.

"She will be sure to place the blame on shoulders that will wear it lightly," Laurie said, laughing.

"I think Miss Fannie such a lovely girl, so kind and thoughtful of others. I believe we are going to be good friends, don't you ?" asked Evelyn.

"Yes, I am sure we are," he replied, looking with ad miration into her sweet face.

"Oh, I meant it only to apply to your sister."

Feigning a very dejected air he replied in mock humility:

"I am very sorry that I am so absolutely excluded from your friendship," but seeing that she was con fused and blushing, he came to her relief by asking:

"When are you and Fannie to begin riding les sons ?"

"When father buys me a pony."

"Tell him to empower me to select one for you. I think I know of one that will just suit you," he said, kindly.

"Oh, thank you; but it will be putting you to too much trouble for one who is almost a stranger to you," said Evelyn, shyly.

"We will not be 'almost strangers' long," he said, gently; then bidding her farewell, he mounted his horse and rode away with a very sweet face pictured upon his heart. He left his fair companion feeling that

she had committed a treachery to her womanliness in the blushes that would come over her face whenever she met those handsome eyes fixed upon her; whether they were shining with mischief or earnestly sincere.

That afternoon found the girls having a "lovely time/' as Fannie described it. Notwithstanding Lau rie's earnest desire to be with them, he was called away just before Evelyn came, and like the faithful physician that he always was, he went to serve duty before pleas ure.

Fannie and Marion had prepared parched pinders, sugarcane and wild plums. "All de trash on de planta-shun ter mek dat chile sick, Baby, an' yo gwine ter do it, fiho," grumbled Mauma Sylvie. Yet she kindly volun teered the information to Fannie, "Dere's some late watermillions under de bed in Misstis' room, an' some mighty sweet bullaces whut Monk foun' in de hedge by de little branch, an' brung home fur you chillun."

"Oh, thank you, Mauma, you dear old thing. You are so good to me," and Fannie bounded away to get the aforementioned trash. It is safe to say that Evelyn thoroughly enjoyed the "trash," and when they parted that afternoon they were far advanced on the road to friendship.

At sunset they drove back to The Kefuge, and Mrs. Montgomery returned home with Fannie, who, before she left, made an engagement to come for them as soon as the cane grinding began, to spend the day and drink cane juice. They could then see the whole pro cess of sugar and syrup making.

In the pleasant autumn days that followed Mr.

Melton found plenty of work to occupy his time in clearing land, building fences and outhouses. He ven tured on employing negro help by the day, and found them faithful, efficient workers employed in this way. Mr. Bliss was of much service to him, by giving advice in these things, and many were the visits exchanged between these friends. It was his good friend who showed him how to select his land in which to plant his cane; and in the matter of stocking his farm, he furnished the cattle, hogs, sheep, goats, and even a farm horse, which he told Mr. Melton he need not pay for until he got sufficiently ahead to feel able to do so. There's nothing like owning a stanch, true friend who will always be the "friend in need." Such are, indeed, hard to find in this selfish, workaday world of ours.

The last days of November came and the weather grew so chilly as to warrant a belief that there would be heavy frost after the next rain, so the doctor gave orders for Uncle July to begin grinding cane. The grinding season was always interesting, even to those who were accustomed to it. There was an air of ex citement about the usually quiet place that was de lightfully novel. Every pickaninny you met had a stalk of cane between his glittering ivories and a look of perfect content in his dusky eyes. Monk, who "fed the mill," kept the world around him resonant with gay songs, plantation ditties, or sometimes subsiding into the most funereal dirges. Uncle July kept the crowd of small blacks in continual dread by threaten ing to knock down "ebery niggar on de place wid one

uv dese pineknots," of which there was plentiful sup ply kept on hand by Aleck, the driver of the ox-team.

As soon as the grinding was well begun Fannie, true to her promise, drove over to The Eefuge and brought Evelyn and her mother home with her; Mr. Melton promised to join them later in the day.

It was one of those days of Indian Summer which lasts often until late in December in this part of the South. It was the first time that Mrs. Melton had seen The Magnolias, and she was struck by the beauty of the place; situated on a commanding eminence, with a well wooded lawn, several acres in extent, and a beau tiful flower garden in front. The latter was now bright with late blooming roses and banks of brilliant chrysanthemums.

Scattered among the giant oaks on the lawn were a large number of magnolias, cedars, and mock orange trees, while smaller spaces were filled by golden ar-borvitae and gardenias. Surrounding the whole was a thick hedge of casino and cherokee; the former now glowing with its scarlet berries.

As they drove up, Evelyn exclaimed:

"Why, Miss Fannie, I think you ought to have called your home The Evergreens. I have never seen so many beautiful evergreens before."

"Ah, you should have been here last May when

" 'Faint was the air with the odorous breath of mag nolia blossoms'

then you would have conceded that it was properly named."

"There are so many of those grand trees here. I had no idea they grew to such magnificent size until 1 saw those down on the bayou, where Mr. Bliss took us driving a few days ago. They were as large as for est oaks/' said Evelyn.

Marion, who had seen them as they drove up, now came running out to meet them, and greeted Mrs. Melton with a cordial shake of the hand and Evelyn with a warm kiss. As they ascended the broad, white walk a mockingbird swinging aloft on a cedar spray that hung over them, "shook from his little throat such floods of delirious music" that they all stopped involun tarily to listen to the exquisite songster, as he gave utterance to his ever changing notes, from triumphant songs to the low, soft cadences, that filled the soul with melancholy.

"Oh, how lovely, how exquisite! I never heard any thing so beautiful before in my life. Is it a mocking bird ? Do let's remain out here a while longer; perhaps he will sing again," said Evelyn, clasping her hands in ecstasy.

"Yes," responded Fanny, "it is a mockingbird. I wonder you did not hear them sing while you stayed with Mrs. Bliss. They have a good many of them now. Mai, suppose you go in with Mrs. Melton to mother, and then you can come back, and we girls will stay out here a while longer."

Marion complied with the request, and soon returned to them in the garden, where they were comfortably seated under a spreading magnolia tree.

"We have a great many song birds, but none who

sing so gloriously as the mockies; they are the prinia donnas of the Southern opera. There are the cat birds and the gay little orioles, and the dainty humming birds, who do not sing really, but only hum, as they suck the honey from the flowers as the bees," Fannie explained to Evelyn, as they were waiting for Marion.

"Do you think we will have any mockingbirds at our place?" asked Evelyn.

"No, I am sorry to say, you will not; at least, not for some time. They are not so aggressive as to like the novelty of emigration. I never heard a mockingbird sing in the forest in my life. It is singular, but true," said Fannie.

"Yes, you know, Fan, Mrs. Bliss despaired of their ever coming to their place; but I think they have been nesting there for several years, and I guess she hast songs enough now to please her," said Marion, as she continued, "See, girls, what I found as I came down the gardenia walk," and she held up a lovely cape jas mine bud, its rich, creamy petals just unfolding suf ficiently to emit a faint, delightful odor.

"Allow me to present this, my favorite flower, to you, Miss Melton," and she turned to Evelyn and gave her the gardenia.

"Girls, let's drop the miss if we are going to be good friends, and not be so punctiliously formal," said Fannie. "I do hate formality."

There was unanimous consent to the proposition, and time passed happily amid the flowers until Mr. Melton's arrival, when they went in with him. Marion passed on to the dining-room to set the table—a bit of work

in which the Montgomery girls excelled. They always set the table when there was company at The Mag nolias.

When she had completed the arrangement of the table it looked quite pretty with its spotless napery and taste fully arranged flowers. The silver glistened just a? it did before the war, but the cut glass and china were sadly reduced in number, as they were not able these days to replace such things but with plain ware.

"Will father and Laurie come in time for dinner, mother?" asked Marion, as she came in from her task.

"Yes; one or both of them will return by one o'clock, and I ordered Silvy to keep the dinner waiting until then," answered her mother.

In a few moments the elder Doctor did return, and they had dinner immediately, as he said he did not know when Laurie would come.

The girls had spent so much of the morning in the bright November sunshine they had gathered keen ap petites, as well as fresh roses in their cheeks, Evelyn declared that she never had such an appetite before.

The menu was duly talked over, and Northern and Southern cookery compared and discussed. There was one dish on the table that all who ever ate of, united in pronouncing incomparably fine, and that was Mauma Silvy's venison "pompeyhead."

"This is a dish, Evelyn, I know you will like, as all aesthetic people do/'- said Fannie, as she generously helped them to freshly sliced peaches and rich yeHow cream; "we have them from May to November, unless a late frost comes and kills them in the Spring."

"Well, Miss Fannie, I like them very much', though I am not the least bit aesthetic," laughingly remarked Mr. Melton.

"I think," responded the Doctor, "it is a favorite dish wherever it is known."

After dinner the two old gentlemen repaired to the hall to indulge in a good smoke, while the Doctor told Mr. Melton what he knew of tobacco culture, and prom ised him some choice seed and further instruction re garding the planting.

The girls were in loose wrappers, discussing novels and poetry during the hours of the afternoon siesta. At three o'clock the clatter of horse's hoofs were heard, and Fannie, who had run to the window to see who it was, announced:

"It is Laurie, and we must get up and dress so as to be ready to go down to the sugar mill by the time he has had his dinner. He will want to go down right away, I know/' said she, as she dressed quickly so as to have time to assist her friend if she needed help.

It had been an easy matter to drop the prefix that Fannie found so burdensome. To warm-hearted,, loving girlhood, but little preliminaries are necessary to form true and hearty friendships which last often through life.

When they had finished their toilettes they went down to find Laurie, whom they met in the hall below, just coming in search of them. He came forward with a bright flush of pleasure on his face and warmly greeted his new friend.

"Laurie, we are en route for the sugar mill, will you join us?" asked Marion.

"With a great deal of pleasure/' answered her brother, as he took his place by Evelyn, and led the way to the sugar mill.

"I do noi expect you will like Fannie's 'delightful drink/ Miss Melton. It tastes decidedly sloppy to me," said Laurie, as he cast a sly glance at Fannie.

"You need not judge a girl's tastes by yours, I am sure," retorted she; "you do not like green plums and salt, and I'll wager anything Evelyn likes them; if she doesn't she's that much less a girl than I thought she was."

"Yes, I will save my claim to femininity by declar ing my devotion to green plums, green apples, and everything that is green and sour," said Evelyn, laugh ing; "but mother is so much afraid that I will make myself ill that I rarely indulge in the luxury of eating these things."

Laurie noted with pleasure the intimate manner the girls had assumed toward each other.

When they reached the well they went around to where Monk was feeding the long stalks of cane to the twc revolving cylinders that crushed them. The juice fell below into a large trough covered with coarse sack ing to prevent the dust and trash from falling into it. From the trough it was transferred to the evapo rator and there boiled into syrup.

They found Mr. Melton and the elder Doctor down there busily discussing sugar raising as an industry. The Doctor understood the culture of cane and also the

great disappointment likely to ensue if a person counted too confidently on making a fortune raising cane in North Louisiana, without the means of irrigation at his command.

After they had watched the grinding for some time, Laurie took a glass, and holding it under the stream of jtice until it was full, brought it to Evelyn and in sisted on her taking the first draught. She drank slowly, as if to criticise the taste; Fannie waited impa tiently for her verdict. After drinking the entire glass she pronounced it "very fine."

"Ah, if it was only a cold day, so that it would taste as if it was iced, you would think it nice, indeed," said Fannie gaily.

"Let's go," said Marion, "for I always get nervous for fear Monk will get his fingers caught in the mill, and have his arm crushed to pieces."

"You should not he so hysterical, Sis. I am sure it would give me a heautiful job of amputation to per form, and I would allow you young ladies to assist me," said the young Doctor, laughing merrily.

"Did anyone ever happen to such an accident down here?" quickly asked, Evelyn.

"Oh, no; but then it is quite possible if one were to become careless, as people are very likely to do, with constant familiarity in the use of anything/' said Marion, as, calling to the boy for the hundredth 1 time, she admonished him to "be very careful." They then went around to the furnace over whose glowing fires the evaporator was boiling the juice into syrup. They examined it from the first compartment, where

was poured the green, foamy juice, to where the clear amber syrup fell into a receiver below.

"How very nice it does look/' exclaimed Evelyn; "and does the sugar come from that honeylike syrup?"

"Yes," replied Laurie, "the sugar settles on the bot tom of the vat, and from there it is put in loose bar rels, whence the molasses drips out, leaving the sugar dry and fit for use. But you must not confound this primitive mode of making sugar with the processes of the great centrifugal mills of Southern Louisiana, where sugar is made an article of commerce. We only make a very good article of brown sugar that is better in coffee than the whiter brands of commercial sugars, though a great many people do not know it."

"We are under obligations, Doctor Montgomery, for jour learned dissertation on sugar making," said Fan nie, with a mock curtsey to her brother.

"It was in answer to my question," said Evelyn, "and I certainly appreciate the 'dissertation/ as you call it, Fannie. I think I will like that syrup without having to learn," she added.

"Well, you shall take some of it home with you to try," said Laurie.

"Evelyn, stay all night with us, and we will come down here and have a fine candyboil after supper, with the last syrup in the evaporator. It will be so much fun; do, please stay, Evelyn," said Fannie, with her usual enthusiasm.

"Yes, Evelyn, it will give us much pleasure," chimed in Mt'ricn.

"Can you resist so much pleading, Miss Evelyn? It

would add a great deal to our happiness if you will con sent to remain with us for the night/' said Laurie, smiling down on her. It was the first time he had called her by her given name, and it made the pink tint deepen on the delicate face.

Fannie had put her arm around Evelyn, and looked coaxingly into her face for an answer to her importu nate appeal.

"I will be very much pleased to accede to your kind invitations if mother will consent to part with me for the night/' Evelyn answered.

"Oh, I will persuade her," said Fannie.

"I think you will succeed if anyone can," responded Evelyn, laughing.

"Let's go right away, and see what Mrs. Melton will say to my plan, and then I will get the goobers ready," Fannie proposed, energetically.

"Will you Indies let me do the eating while you do the shelling?" asked Laurie.

"N"o, indeed; you may assist in the shelling, though, if you will promise to be real good and not eat a single one of the parched goobers/' Marion replied, laughing.

Before they reached the sitting-room Fannie met them with the delightful news that Mrs. Melton had consented, on condition that Fannie bring her some of the candy, and also that she bring Evelyn home early in the morning; "all of which I promised gladly," she said, with satisfaction beaming on her expressive face.

"Now, you all may amuse yourselves while I go and parch the goobers and gather the pecans, or rather, I

mean, get them out/' she added, as she went on to the kitchen.

"Let us have some music; I want to hear Evelyn play and sing again," said Marion, as she led the way to the large, airy parlor.

"And I wish to hear her sing that song again, she sang the evening of our first call," said Laurie.

"What song was it, Doctor Montgomery? I think I sang several songs that evening," said Evelyn.

"I do not remember the name, but it was something about 'silver threads among the gold,'" answered Lau rie, as he opened the piano.

"Oh, yes; you mean that little song by Kexford. I sing it often for father; he admires it very much. But/ really, I feel ashamed to sing after hearing Fannie's birdlike trills," she said, as she took her place on the stool.

"You will sing that song of Moore's for me again, too, won't you? I don't suppose that Mai will care for an old song. I think girls never do, do they, Mar ion?" asked the Doctor.

"That depends to a great extent, I believe, on the frame of mind one is in," replied Marion.

"I love the songs of the real poets, even when they grow old, better than a great many of the vapid songs with which the world is flooded to-day. I would not give 'Annie Laurie' and some of Byron, Moore and Burns's songs for all the modern trash," he said, de cidedly.

"Yet you called for a new song first thing," said Evelyn, looking up into his face with smiling eyes.

"Now, don't be so sweeping in your denunciations, Laurie; you may be crushing young hope in the breasts of Evelyn and myself. You do not know but that we both may have some cherished manuscript song hidden away to present to a more appreciative audience than you promise to be," said Marion.

"Yes; and wouldn't it be a pity to stifle genius in such ruthless style?" Evelyn remarked, laughingly.

Laurie begged pardon if he had unconsciously ad ministered anaesthesia to a struggling muse.

After the songs were sung, Evelyn became interested in the pictures that hung on the walls. She had ex amined several when she came to a fine looking young soldier dressed in the uniform of a Confederate cap tain. It was a striking picture, and although the face bore a family resemblance to Laurie, yet they were very unlike, too.

"That is the picture of my brother James, who served in Longstreet's corps during the civil war. He was wounded by a bullet from the enemy's guard in a volunteered effort to reconnoitre the Federal position, and three weeks afterward died in the hospital. The photograph from which this picture was enlarged was taken just before the battle of Chickamauga," ex plained Marion, while her voice trembled with emotion.

"Don't you think he resembles Laurie, Evelyn?"

"Yes, and no; there is more likeness to his father than to Doctor Laurie," she replied, as she glanced at the young man standing so quietly beside her.

The next picture was an oil portrait of a very beau tiful girl, scarcely grown. She was in evening costume

of sheer muslin and lace. The dimpled shoulders and arms were perfect, and as one arm was upraised to draw aside the lace portiere, the slender, graceful figure showed to perfection against the dark background. Evelyn was thrilled with admiration as she looked into the large, clear, brown eyes of Mary Montgomery. It was one of those pictures to which you feel assured there is an interesting story attached.

Evelyn stood with clasped hands before the picture as if enamored of the lovely face. After remaining silent for some time, she exclaimed:

"Is she not perfectly beautiful? That look of sad ness in the exquisite eyes only adds to their beauty," she added, in a low, hushed voice.

"Isn't it sad that one so young and lovely should have to die? How wonderfully strange to us seem the decrees of God sometimes," said Laurie, reverently.

Here Fannie came in like a refreshing breeze and announced in her characteristic manner that Mr. and Mrs. Melton were ready to leave, and wished them to walk a part of the way home with them.

"I -told them that we would go, for it is such a charming evening for a walk, and I want to try our fortunes with half ripe persimmons. I am so anxious to see Evelyn try to perform that extraordinary feat. There will be plenty of time when we come back to shell the goobers, now that I have parched them."

The proposition met with general assent, and in a few moments they were ready to set out.

There was a thick cluster of persimmon tress just

midway between The Refuge and the Montgomery residence, a pleasant distance to walk.

It was a perfect evening. The soft tints of the November Indian summer lay over the fields and woodland. The rich glow of autumn coloring was on the trees in the hedges, and made a vivid contrast out lined against the dark background of pines beyond. The last rays of the setting sun were lingering tenderly on the summits of these Aeolian harps of the dim for est as if in reluctant farewell.

The merry party now reached the trees, laden with sweet, yellow fruit. It is a mistaken idea that a frost is necessary to the perfect ripening of this delicious Southern fruit, as the best quality of persimmons ripens in September, when the weather is still at summer heat.

"Fannie, I'm afraid your very juvenile plan of try ing fortunes will prove a failure this time, as I think the persimmons are all ripe, and, therefore, perfectly sweet," remarked her brother, as turning to Evelyn he added: "Miss Melton, please take my advice and do not let Fannie persuade you into tasting those disagree able, acrid things, that is, if she should find any that are unripe."

"Evelyn, you surely will not miss the 'golding op portunity/ as Uncle July says, of learning for certain whether or not that fellow in Maine loves you," urged Fannie.

She had declared that if you could eat a half ripe persimmon without making a wry face it was proof positive as Holy Writ that the fellow for whom it was named loved you devotedly.

"If you persist in trying them I shall watch the process, as I am very much interested in the result/' said Laurie to Evelyn, as she took one from Fannie and began eating a part of it. She made such an igno minious failure as to call forth peals of laughter from them all.

"Mr. Melton, did you like persimmons when you first ate them ?" asked Fannie.

"Yes, Miss Fannie, I thought them very nice. I think if they were dried they would taste very much like dates/' he replied.

"They belong to that family of fruit," said Fannie.

"Have you ever tried one that was not perfectly ripe?" she asked, as she offered him one that was not quite ripe, but looked perfectly so.

"Why, Fan!" exclaimed Marion, "aren't you ashamed to offer Mr. Melton a green persimmon?"

"Well, I shall try it, Miss Fannie, just for curiosity's sake," he said, accepting the unripe fruit. "I have heard John Bliss tell some funny stories on the Taoys in blue' when they would first investigate the persim mon trees in Dixieland. Ugh! It isn't a bit nice, Miss Fannie, and I warn you girls that it will take a hard lover to stand this test of his loyalty," he said, laughing, as he tried in vain to get rid of the tongue-tied taste.

Mrs. Melton even tried one, saying that she could eat green apples, but after an effort she declared that these things were beyond her powers.

Peal after peal of merry, musical laughter filled the hollow with gay echoes, as the fortune-trying party

hastened to gather some of the wrinkled, perfectly ripe fruit, to get the disagreeable taste from their mouths.

The growing twilight admonished them that it was time for them to separate.

Marion had gathered some leaves and made a basket, which she filled with fruit to take home to mother. As soon as they reached the house she went in search of her mother to present her offering.

"We did not forget you, mother dear; just see what a lovely basket I made of autumn leaves," said she, pointing to the crimson maple, and yellow and brown spotted sweet gum leaves of which it was constructed.

"Thank you, dear, the basket is quite a work of art, and the fruit very acceptable," said her mother, look ing fondly at her eldest daughter. By this time the rest came up, and Mrs. Montgomery, turning to Fan nie, said:

"You will have to initiate Miss Melton into the mysteries of gathering sweet gum, parsley haws and winter huckleberries. They are very abundant this year. I noticed some very full bushes as we came home last Sunday."

"Oh, yes, indeed, mother, Evelyn shall be quite a Southern girl in a few months. I assure you I will spare neither time nor pains to teach her all I know," said Fannie, enthusiastically.

"Well, if Miss Melton follows you over hills and dells, by rippling brooks and through grassy meads, I promise her those correspondents up North will sigh long for those promised letters," put in Laurie.

"Never fear, Fannie, I shall write all the letters I

wish to write in these long evenings we are having now, and on rainy days, that is, if you have any of those kind of days here in the sunny South. I am beginning to think that Longfellow did not have Louisiana in mind when he wrote his 'Rainy Day/ " Evelyn remarked gaily-

"Yes, we have rainy days in November, sometimes, but not often; just commend me to a January in Louisiana for bad weather," said Laurie. Fannie now brought in the pinders, and also some pecans, say ing, "We can work on them until supper is ready and finish afterward. Suppose we shell the pinders first, so that Monk can pound them while we are at sup per, and we can pick the pecans afterward."

After they made everything ready they repaired to the sugar mill with buttered dishes and the large kitchen spoon to stir in the pulverized goobers and pecan "goodies."

They found Uncle July just ready for them to make their candy.

It was a novel sight to Evelyn, who had spent so much of her life in the school room. How the pine knot fires glowed in the furnace, casting a ruddy light over the dusky faces of the negroes, who stood grouped around watching the candy makers. Over these on lookers Uncle July was very strict, ordering them to "stan' back, you niggers, you," and adding sotto voce, "or I'll knock you' brains out wid er pine knot."

No autocrat of all the Eussias ever ruled with more despotic sway than did this old ex-slave over those who were under his control, yet he was a typical negro of the

old South, and talked as if he was regretful that the old regime had ever been changed. He looked back, as did the Hebrews of old, whenever they fell into a difficulty., to the leeks, the onions, the garlics, of their sore bondage in Egypt. How like the human race of all ages! Thinking the past, however bad, better than the present, and the future better than either.

"Uncle July, when are you going to have the holy dance at Green Grove again? This young lady is a Yankee, and never saw a black folks' meeting in all her life, and I want to take her over there the next time you have the holy dance, if you will let me know when it comes off. And do, Uncle July, pick out a nice, moonlight night," said Fannie.

"Well, Miss Fannie, I 'spose dey'll hoF de dance w'en de nex' meetin' ov de confearunce, ef de Lawd remits us ter meet ergin. Howsumdever, I'll funnish you de news in time to fotch de Yankee folks ober dere ef dey wants ter cum," he answered, politely. He seemed rather proud of their thinking the holy dance a sight worth seeing.

The candy was now brought to a most successful finish—luckily with no burnt fingers. Laurie gave Monk a fair share of it to divide among the negroes. He was then sent up to the house with several dishes for the white folks, as he designated his masters and mistresses. Before leaving he gave instructions to "Unker July" to keep an eye on the candy he left behind him.

The young people followed the candy to the house, and spent the remainder of the evening in pulling

and eating candy and in merry conversation. At ten o'clock they were summoned to the sitting-room for prayer—a custom the Doctor never omitted when he was at home.

How sweetly that old familiar hymn, "The Day Is Past and Gone" sounded to Evelyn, as the clear femi nine voices, blending in perfect accord with the strong masculine tones rose on the still evening air. Then followed the reading of a portion of the Scripture and an appropriate prayer. Shortly afterward the good night kisses were given, in which Evelyn was affection ately included by Mrs. Montgomery, even the old Doctor gallantly affirming that he liked to be kissed by the little girls. Marion unselfishly gave her place to Evelyn, as Fannie seemed so anxious to have her friend share her room for the night.

"Now, Evelyn, you will be lulled to sleep by the mockingbird's sweet song, if he carries out his usual nocturnal programme of singing in the mimosa tree," Fannie said, as they were retiring to their chambers, and they were not disappointed.

By twelve o'clock the place was wrapped in stillness, unbroken save by the distant hooting of the owls down in tlie swamp, calling each to his fellow, "Watchman, what of the night?"

CHAPTER X.

DADDY MACK.

"Sweet peace conduct his sweet soul,

To the bosom of good old Abraham."—Kiflg Richard. Act 2nd.

ONE morning as the girls, Evelyn having spent the night before with them, were busy sewing and keeping tip a merry accompaniment of bright conversation and laughter, Mrs. Montgomery entered the room. She was carrying a waiter on which was arranged a breakfast for someone.

"Fannie, I wish you would take this breakfast down to Daddy Mack's cabin, and inquire what is the matter with him. The old man has not been up this morning, Silvy tells me, and I fear he is sick, as he is strictly punctual to come to his meals/'

"Certainly, dearest mamma, with the greatest of pleasure. Wouldn't you like to go, too, Evelyn?"

"Yes, indeed, I would enjoy a walk very much; but who is Daddy Mack, Fannie?" she inquired with in terest as she and Fannie bonneted themselves pre paratory to their walk.

"He is one of our old negro men—the one who served brother as body servant in the army, and, of course, we

all think a great deal of him and treat him as we would no other one on the place except Mauma Silvy," Fan nie replied.

"You know, Fannie, I cannot get accustomed to the free way the darkies have of talking on any and all occasions. Mother says that she just cannot stand their slothful ways in her kitchen. They are so filthy and roguish too; at least those she has tried," added Evelyn, apologetically, as she remembered how much the Mont-gomerys loved their old cook and always kept negroes about them.

Fannie's face flushed in momentary anger as she re plied in a tone as sarcastic as she could command:

"Oh, of course, New England housekeepers are sup posed to keep perfect kitchens and immaculate dish cloths, while we lazy Southerners prefer ease of body and mind to perfection of cleanliness in the culinary department."

Evelyn laughed merrily as she said:

"I beg pardon, my dearest friend, for ruffling that sweet temper of yours by my thoughtlessly unkind re marks. I think we are quite even now and we will kiss and make up, won't we, dear?" to which proposi tion Fannie agreed with gracious good humor.

By this time they had arrived at the cabin of the old negro, and walking in at the open door they found him lying in bed.

"Why, Daddy, are you sick ? Mother sent me to find out what is the matter with you, and also sent you some breakfast as she said she was sure you must be ill or you would have come up to the house this morning," Fan-

nie kindly inquired, as she gave him the breakfast she had brought him.

"Yas, Baby, honey, I is sick, an' mighty sick, too. I never went to the house 'cause I wasn't able ter git there, an' I doan' wan' no brekfus, needer, honey, but I'll jes' drink my coffee," and the old man raised him self up painfully and took the coffee, while Fannie set the untouched breakfast in the cupboard in the corner of the room.

"Daddy, I hope you can eat after a while. Mother sent you some nice broiled chicken and buttered bis cuits, and you like that kind of eating, don't you ?"

"I doan' know, chile. I feels lak I'll never wan' much more vittels in disher werisome wull, but I'm sho' 'bleeged ter you chillun fur bringin' me my coffee," he replied, as he drank the cup of coffee with feverish avidity.

"Silvy sho' meks good coffee; 'pears lak it teks me back ter the time wen we uster git gennywine coffee fum the Yanks. I means wen we wuz in the army, chillen. I sho' is sick, Baby," and he handed the cup to Fannie, and then laid down again, "an' I wanster see the oder chillen an' marster an' mistiss once mo', an' Silvy, too; 'pears lak she been good ter the ole man, too. The wah is mos' ober wid me, an' I is gwine ter do lak my so'jer boy done afor me; I'se jes' gwine ter drap out an' go ter answer the rollcall up yawnder, honey," and a happy light came into the eyes of the old man as his simple faith caught a gleam from the shining portals now left ajar for him.

Fannie and Evelyn were much impressed by the old

fellow's tones and manner as he bade them good-bye for the last time.

"Oh, Daddy! you must not talk of going away; we can't get along without you. I will go for father and Laurie, they can make you well; they always do, you know. Come, Evelyn, we will go and tell them right away."

"Good-bye, Daddy, do get well quick," and Fannie held out her hand to him, while her eyes were brim ming with tears.

"Good-bye, Baby, an' Gawd bless you evermo'," he uttered fervently; and the girls went out in the bright sunshine.

"Does he not look dreadfully ill? I fear he is very bad, though he does not complain of any pain," Evelyn said as they walked away.

"Yes, I think he is very ill, Evelyn. Oh, how sad it must be to have to be shut up in a sick room. How de lightful it is to be well and strong," and Fannie threw back her shoulders and took in a deep inspiration of the fresh morning air.

"You seem to exemplify the theory that living is happiness. It is certainly a pleasure just to see your enjoyment of life," responded her friend, looking with admiration into the beaming face that but a few mo ments before had been clouded with genuine grief, for the long lashes were still wet with tears.

"You constantly make me think of Scott's oft-quoted lines:

" 'As variable as the shade,

By the light quivering aspen made.'"

"Evelyn, do you think I am too frivolous or show too much levity of character?" and Fannie's soft voice grew more musical and deeply serious as she looked squarely into the eyes of her companion.

"No, indeed! I really think that you are the sweet est and the best friend I have on earth," Evelyn re plied, as she put an arm around Fannie.

"Fannie, if anyone had told me before I left New England that in two months I should love a Southern girl as I love you, I would have exclaimed, 'impossi ble,' " and Evelyn looked earnestly into the blue eyes.

"It makes me very happy to hear you say that, Evelyn. I think I could not bear you to think other wise, for I love you very dearly, my best friend," re sponded Fannie, warmly.

They had now arrived at the back gate, where they were treated to a noisy greeting from Laurie's hounds, of which there were four at The Magnolias.

"These are the dogs that the Doctor warned me against allowing Hynda to come in contact with, I guess," remarked Evelyn.

"Yes, these are his dogs, and he is quite fond of them, and tells the girls that his theory is, love me, love my dogs,'" Fannie said, laughing at Evelyn's evident de sire to escape their affectionate licking of her hands.

"I think it would take a big heart to love all these great, ugly dogs," replied Evelyn. "Do you ever go hunting with your brother, Fannie?" she added.

"Yes, sometimes; but I have never killed a deer yet, though I came very near doing so once upon a time. If you would like to go, I will ask Laurie to arrange for

us to accompany him on the very next drive they make, and perhaps we will have the pleasure of seeing him kill one. Would you like to shoot a deer yourself, Eve lyn?" Fannie asked, wit"h a twinkle of mischief in her eyes.

"I do not think I could shoot one of the beautiful, timid creatures, but I should like to see them run. I devoutly hope, however, that I shall not be in at the death," Evelyn responded, fervently.

"Well, we will go then. I will ask Laurie to take us to his stand, and we will be almost sure to see a deer run, if we do not kill one."

Evelyn flushed a little, as it occurred to her that it might not be agreeable to Doctor Montgomery to be bothered with girls on his hunting expeditions; and thinking thus, she said:

"Never mind, Fannie, I do not wish to tax your brother's obligingness too heavily, so do not mention it, please, dearie."

"You need not trouble yourself, Miss Modesty, on that point. I shall be very sure that it is perfectly agreeable to the Doctor, before I prefer my request to be allowed to go with him, I promise you. Will that satisfy you?" and having reached the kitchen door, she handed the waiter to Mauma Silvy.

"Mauma, did you know that poor old Daddy Mack is real bad sick?"

"No, chile, I diden' know ez de ole fellah wuz sick. I tole Mistiss dis mornin' when he wuzen' heah fur his brekfus' ez he mus' be sick, 'cause de ole man wuz sholy ructious 'bout gitten' his vittuls on time. I wuz feared

dis mornin' ez he had de rheumatiz wut he caught up in Yirginny wen he wuz afollin' 'roun' wid my po' boy in de wah times. I knows he's got nutten' wrong wid his vittuls, 'cause I'se cooked fur him all de time. He am' had no inimy ter trick 'im ez I knows on, honey/' and Mauma Silvy went to her table muttering some thing about a snake head being pounded up and put into people's food to trick them; while Fannie and Evelyn held a hurried consultation in the yard, as to whether they should go in the kitchen and pop some corn, or return to Marion and the sewing. Fannie cast the deciding vote in favor of the cornpopping, and then ran into the house to tell her mother of Daddy's illness.

Evelyn went into the large, clean kitchen where Mauma Silvy held sway. The old woman was bustling around as usual, busy getting on her dinner. Her dress of cotton stripes was protected by a big checked apron, while her gay bandana, most properly tied, made a bright bit of coloring on the domestic canvas.

Fannie returned in a few moments and told them that father and mother had gone to see after Daddy Mack.

"Now we will pop the corn, Evelyn. I told Mai we would be back directly to help her sew and talk; espe cially the latter," and Fannie chattered away as they shelled the corn.

"Evelyn, did you ever hear Mauma tell how poor Frank was conjured to death?"

"No, I never heard it. Ask her to tell it, please, Fan nie/'

Fannie turned to the old cook and asked in her most

coaxing tone, for she knew her aversion to talking too much to strangers.

"Mauma, won't you please tell Evelyn and me how old Bill and Jake tricked Frank, long time ago. This young lady says she never knew anyone who was con jured to death, as you say Frank was," and Fannie paused a moment, then added: "She says that she will not believe that anybody has such power over others, and I just want you to tell her about it all. She says that God will not give them the power to conjure people."

"No, honey, de Lawd doan' gib em de power, 'cause dey doan' git it fum de Lawd, dey gits it fum de debul. De Lawd doan' hab nutten ter do wid sich bizness ez dat is.

"Sam an' Jake diden' keep no cump'ny wid de Lawd nor his people, I kin tell you, chillun. But dey sholy tricked my po' boy, an dis wuz how it cum 'bout. Dey tuk a grudge 'gin Frank 'bout Dixie. Dixie wuz a likely gull, a putty yaller gull ez ever you seed; you 'members her, I know, Baby, an' Frank, he wanted her hisself, an' she wuz dey niece, you know, ma'am," said Mauma, turning to Evelyn, "an' dey wuzn't willin' fur 'im ter hab 'er, yit dey could'en fin' no fault wid him, 'cepen 'cause he wuz too black, dey 'lowed," here the old woman's voice assumed a tone of deepest scorn.

"Well, it jes' rocked on, an' Frank, po' boy, woulden' give up Dixie, 'cause he sot sich sto' by her, but I begin ter notus dat he look weak an' begin ter cough all night, an' soon he wuz havin' night sweats. I went ter Mars-ter an' tole 'im ter look atter Frank ef he diden' wan'

ter lose a likely han' offen de place ez ever toted a hoe er follered a plow, an' he says:

" 'I'll fix 'im sum med'cin', Silvy, right away/ But Lawd, Lawd, nutten in de way uv med'cin' could hoi' back de debul fum his wuk on my po' chile. He jes' got down ter his lowly bed, an' he nuver riz up no mo'.

"One day he says: 'Mammy, come heah an' jes' lissen ter my breas' an' you kin heah a snake twistin' an' turnin' jes ez plain ez daylight;' an' chillen," said old Mauma, in a plaintive tone, "I heahed it jes' ez plain ez you kin heah de win' ablowin' in de tree tops ober de dairy. An' sometimes he'd call me ter lissen ter de groun' puppies er barkin' an' growlin' in his breas'. I sho' could heah 'em clean cross de room—true, honey, true ez gospil, an' jues' 'fo' he died he sez ter Arwildly —dat's his sister, ma'am, whut wuz stannin' by:

"'Arwildy, doan' you see dat white cloud wat's cumin* ter tek me home ? An' deres er angul wat meks it plain ter me ez it wuz Bill an' ole Jake wut tricked me an' put me in disher fix. I fought so all de time, an' now de angul has showed it ter me so plain.' But Arwildy said she coulden' see nutten, but she made de repearunce ter him ez she could, jes' fur ter please him; 'cause she hated ter disappoint de po' fellah. An' now, Miss Eberlyn, how kin I he'p 'bleevin' in de wuds ov de dyin'* ? De Lawd 'veafed ter him jes' what wuz de mat ter wid him afo' he lef dis wull," and after this expres sion of her implicit faith- in the words of the dying, she bustled out to the dairy. When she returned Evelyn asked:

"Didn't your master attend Frank in his last illness,

and did he hear those strange noises, too, Mauma Silvy?"

"Yes, ma'am, de boss beared 'em, but he jes' sez: 'Silvy, dat's de cave'ns in Frank's lungs w'ere de win' plays wen it goes in an' out;' but, law, chile, I ain't got no white head on my shoulders, an' I 'bleeves wat I 'bleeves, an' I can't he'p it ter save my life fum de grave."

The girls now took their dish of snowy popcorn and went into the house to eat and discuss the strange belief of the negroes in witch doctors and necromancy in gen eral.

Evelyn was filled with amazement at the superstition of the woman who had spent her whole life with people of culture and refinement—a woman who Fannie had told her could read very well. She had been taught by the mistress, who had made every effort to eradicate from her mind the superstitions that have such an en during hold upon the African peoples.

When Laurie came in some time later, Fannie and Marion both left the room to attend to some domestic duties, leaving to him the task of entertaining their fair guest—a task he was more than willing to undertake, and the conversation turned naturally on her experience of the morning.

She told him of her surprise at finding so much super stition among a people of whose intelligence she had read such overrated descriptions.

"You will be more distressed than you are at present when you have witnessed the holy dance at Green Grove Church, which you and Fannie are planning to do. I

would try to dissuade you from going, but think, per haps, the sooner your eyes are opened to the real condi tion of the negro socially, morally and religiously, the better you will understand the position the people among whom you live should occupy toward them. But I warn you, now, do not let the pendulum swing too far in reaction, as it is so apt to do, and begin to think the black race unworthy of our prayers and our assist ance," said the young Doctor, in a tone so serious that Evelyn was very much impressed.

Fannie now came running in quite gaily with the an nouncement:

"Monk says that Uncle July sent a message by him for us to be ready for the holy dance next Sunday night. Laurie, you will go with us, won't you ?" she pleaded.

"I shall certainly not consent for you to go unless I can accompany you, and hope there will nothing arise to prevent my going, but as man can only propose and not dispose, I may not be able to go with you at that time, so prepare for a disappointment, Fairy, in case I cannot go." Then he turned to Evelyn and watched the sweet face that would blush so beautifully under his direct gaze.

"Well, Evelyn, hold yourself in readiness for that great occasion. I am so anxious to hear your opinion of it all," Fannie exclaimed, gleefully, as she waltzed about the room.

"I shall be ready, Fannie, though I assure you I shall not weep if I am not allowed to go," she replied, as she looked with an amused expression into the eyes fixed inquiringly upon her.

"Did I speak too dictatorially ?" asked Laurie, quickly.

"Oh, no, not at all; no more than you had a right to speak/' she responded, smiling.

"Laurie, did you go to see Daddy Mack this morn ing?" Fannie inquired.

"Yes, and found him very ill, indeed. I doubt if he survives the night, poor old fellow. It makes me feel very sad to think of his leaving us. He is one of my earliest recollections in life, and has seemed as one of the fixtures that must remain unchanged," and a shade of sadness came into the fine eyes, that made them more attractive than ever, Evelyn thought.

"I shall not go there again, then, for I don't think I could bear to see anybody die; could you, Evelyn ?"

Laurie watched her to see the effect of Fannie's rather abrupt question. The soft eyes grew moist, as she answered gently:

"I have witnessed several deaths; it depends, I think, on the way one meets death, whether or not we should dread to witness it. We can scarcely hope to pass a life time without being called upon to stand by the bedside of the dying at some time or other. I once stood by the deathbed of a schoolmate, who seemed so happily filled with the glory of the life on which she was enter ing, that we were thrilled with a new idea of the transi tion of the soul. Since then I have not dreaded death for myself, as I did before," she answered, as a light shone in her eyes her friends had never seen there be fore.

Fannie never forgot the expression she read in

Laurie's eyes as they were fixed for a moment on Eve lyn's face.

The next morning the soul of Daddy Mack passed into the hands of its Creator. His master, mistress and Laurie watched beside his bed all night, and just as the day was breaking his emancipated spirit left its rude structure to enter into its reward for service well done, and there was an empty cabin and many sad hearts on the Montgomery plantation.

Fannie rode over in the afternoon to The Kefuge, to invite the Melton family to the funeral.

"There is to be a grand torchlight procession from the cabin to the graveyard, where I took you walking once, Evelyn, you remember. It will be very impressive. I have attended a great many of them. The negroes love a funeral as well as we white people like to attend a wedding," and Fannie thought she was speaking ad visedly.

Mrs. Melton promised her they would attend the funeral, and also that she and Mr. Melton would join the party in the visit to Green Grove Church the next Sunday night.

"I think you will be very much interested in the sol emn funeral services of the black people. They do a great deal of loud wailing and mournful einging; then the flashing lights, through the dark woods, altogether makes one think of a description in a fairy tale."

"Yes, I know it will be very interesting to us," said Evelyn.

"At what time shall we come to the rendezvous, Fan-

nie ? I refer to the meeting for next Sunday evening," inquired Evelyn.

"About seven-thirty. The negroes never begin early, and we do not wish to wait," replied Fannie.

"We will be there on time and will come to the fun eral to-night. Be sure and let me know if Doctor Montgomery cannot go with us, so that we will not take the trip uselessly/' Evelyn begged, as Fannie got on her pony and rode away.

U 0h, of course, dear girl, bye bye," and she waved her hand in farewell and whistled to Gypsy, who let out his speed and they were soon at The Magnolias.

CHAPTEE XI.

THE HOLY DANCE.

"The time is out of joint: O cursed spite, That ever I was born to set it right! Nay, come, let's go together."—Hamlet, Act 2nd.

As soon as the war was over, the colored people, with out exception, withdrew from the fellowship of the whites, where they had always worshipped and com muned. They now built churches of their own, or dained ministers, and mingled religion and politics to an alarming extent.

Brierwood, though so remote from the towns, was not a whit behind the negroes of the more thickly settled districts.

Every negro church had its "Union League," and every colored person belonged to it. At these league meetings, usually carried on under the guise of religion, the excitable negroes were harangued by carpet-bag gers, those low adventurers who had been sent South by the Government to see that the negro was allowed full exercise of his right in the ballot—which right was first

of all to elect the carpet-bagger to a position of trust, where he swindled and stole from the oppressed and improverished people, to his heart's content.

In this he was joined by those equally hated rene gades, the Southern scalawag. They always had a fol lowing of the most malicious and dangerous negroes of the community, who could be persuaded by their lead ers into any adventure that promised them power over their former owners.

The carpet-bagger grew eloquent on the duty the negro owed to him, who had risked his life (?) to free him from his awful slavery. It is quite safe to say, that not many of that ilk ever got in reach of the firing line; but the ignorant negro did not know this and be lieved all he was told concerning their liberators from the North. Alas for his trust in such friends! He learned to his cost, their unworthiness, in the years that followed, when his implicit faith in their promise of "forty acres and a mule" turned into Dead Sea fruit, and his hopes became a glittering mirage of the desert. But he knew no better then, and it led him into very grave errors, paid for, in many instances, with his life or heavy corporeal punishment.

When the white people of Louisiana drove out the carpet-bag government, and the negroes' hopes of domi nation in that State passed away as dreams of the night, they found some compensation in their religious meet ings where they still held undisputed control of every thing.

Here they gradually introduced relics of voodooism, unearthed from somewhere in the dim past; brought

probably from the jungles of Africa, whence their fore fathers had been sold into slavery. These barbaric ceremonies they mingled with their worship at Green-grove Church.

The holy dance being one of their favorite cere monies, was always observed once a month, on Sunday evening.

The years of excitement through which these people had passed, intoxicated with their newly acquired free dom, had rendered them unfit for the quiet form of wor ship to which they had been accustomed under the old regime.

It is a sad commentary on the aptitude of the in ferior races to relapse into barbarism, and demonstrates beyond a doubt, the necessity for Anglo-Saxon guidance and control of them in religion as in state government.

To anyone who has known the negro from his youth up, these assertions will sound like a truism, but there are those who, knowing him only at a distance, may be inclined to sneer at such sentiments. To them I would say these ideas are advanced by one who is in deepest sympathy with this ignorant and superstitious race. Deriving as I did, in my helpless infancy, my sustenance from the white milk that flowed from my black mammy's breast; lulled to sleep each night by the songs that made sweetest melody to my infant ears; cradled in her love for many years—can I ever forget her race, or fail to aid them all I may ?

Sunday evening, at the appointed time, Laurie and his sisters met the Meltons at the rendezvous, which was a few hundred yards distant from the negro church.

Just as they came up the strains of an old familiar hymn rose on the still, evening air:

"How firm a foundation, ye saints ob de Lawd."

"Doesn't that sound fine?" Evelyn half whispered.

"Yes," replied Laurie, as he found a place by her side, "most negroes have strong, melodious voices, and considerable ear for music."

He, with Evelyn, now took the lead, followed by the others. They walked up to the church, a low, plank building that Doctor Montgomery had assisted the negroes in building on a corner of his plantation.

The black people in attendance had heard that Doctor Laurie was to bring the Yankees over to the church that night, so there was an air of expectancy among them on this particular evening.

When they reached the steps, the congregation were engaged in prayer. The voice was that of Uncle July and his usual importunate plea was ascending to a throne of grace for "de po' freed man who put sich big trus' in de Lawd ob our faders."

"That," whispered Laurie, "is one of Uncle July's pet phrases."

When the prayer was closed they entered the church. There was a hush over the audience as they walked in. Monk, who was one of the ushers, agreeable to the orders he had received before he left home, seated them near the entrance. One of the deacons now arose and coming to Laurie inquired "ef de ladies and de gemmens wouldn't prefer seats nearer de pulpit ?"

"No, thank you, Jim/' the young Doctor replied, "you know that I may be called out at any time, and I wish to sit where I will not disturb the audience in case I have to leave."

"That's true, suh, true ez gospil; it does look ez ef they allus picks out the time ter git sick when you comes ter washup wid us. I think, suh, the deble has a ban' in it," answered James Monroe, with great satisfaction in his tone.

The singing was now continued in a "catch," the execution being really very fine, as without the slight est hesitation each part was carried from lip to lip, in strains of gladsome exultation,

"Rocky my soul in the bosom ob Abraham, Rocky my soul in the bosom of Abraham, Oh! rocky my soul. Oh! rocky my soul."

This chorus was repeated several times after each stanza of the catching song.

After the song, the deacon before mentioned, called on Doctor Laurence Montgomery to lead them in prayer ; he responded in a brief but fervent petition. After the prayer Uncle July arose and announced with quite an air of authority:

"Brudder Ananias Bradley will now rise ter de 'casion an' esplain ter dis congergation de meanin' an' export ob de holy dance ez practussed by Gawd's people in de ancien' times afore de flood drownded all de habitations on de face ob de yearth."

The reverend gentleman, a very thickset, black negro,

with pronounced African features, yet withal a pleasant faced, harmless looking man, now occupied the pulpit.

He opened the Bible and read, with some difficulty, the sixth chapter of second Samuel, from which he took his text, "And David danced before the Lord with all his might." From this text he proceeded to show how ac ceptable to God was this holy dance of the king of Israel, and very earnestly did he strive to prove that the rite of the holy dance was in consonance with the teaching of the Scriptures. To the colored portion of his audience he proved beyond a peradventure that the institution was a holy ordinance of the Lord God of Israel. They were now, therefore, prepared to enter into the observance of that ritual with heart and soul, and all their physical powers.

Brudder Ananias now gave out the hymn of the oc casion, calling out in a loud, clear tone:

"Everybody what wishes ter tek part in King David's holy dance befo' de Lord, I means all members of chu'ches of the same faith an' order, will now come for ward an' jine the ban' while the sinners will tek a back seat nex' ter the wall."

There was some scrambling among the sinners as they retired to the wall, but the saints observed the ut most decorum, as with solemn faces they lined up in the central aisle. As soon as the magic circle was complete the singing leader began in a clear, strong voice:

"Keep inching keep inching keep inchin' along, Keep movin', Jceep movin', Tceep movin' along, keep movin'."

The strain was recitative, in perfect march time, as they began to move slowly around the central aisle.

As they began to dance, or march it should more properly be called, Monk went around the church and put out all the lights except one dimly flickering candle in a distant corner of the church. The singing con tinued to grow slower and more monotone until it sub sided into a rhythmic droning that was accentuated with every third footfall and made a unison of strange un earthly sounds. The dim, funereal light, the steady tramp, tramp, tramp of multitudinous feet, the weird sepulchral moaning of many voices in the solemn meas ure of the march, filled Evelyn with a sense of awe. She clasped her hands tightly together—a trick of hers when strongly excited. She was of a nervous, highly wrought organism, and it was at high tension when a woman among the dancers passing just in front of them, lifted her arms aloft, and, uttering a fearful scream, fell rigid and apparently lifeless, full length on the floor.

Evelyn was frightened and looked quickly up at the Doctor, expecting him to go at once to the assistance of the woman, but his face was calm, almost smiling. He knew that 'Kier Jane did not need medical aid, so left events to take their usual course.

Uncle July on hearing the disturbance came around and waving his hand toward the door, ordered in a peremptory manner: "B'ar 'Eier Jane out, b'ar 'er out," which order was promptly obeyed as six strong arms raised the woman and bore her out to the cooler air where her overstrained nerves might recuperate.

The dancers were not the least bit affected by the "b'arrin out" of 'Eier Jane, but kept up the march until three other members fell prostrate simultaneously and "Sister Hester" kept up such vigorous shouting, re fusing to be "hilt" as she announced in loud tones, "I don't wan' Brudder Jemes ter hoi' me, an' I don't wan' Brudder Aleck ter hoi' me, but I wants Brudder Ben ter hoi' me now." And as several members of the "ban," were required to hold the "sperrit stricken" ones, the leader struck up the lively measure:

"My po' soul a-hangin' over hell, an' de anguls a-loolcen at me"

which was joined in by all present but the exhausted shouters.

Laurie decided that it was a very opportune moment for them to leave unnoticed, and whispering to the others his intention, they quietly left the church. Hear ing the voices of some of the bearing out party at one side of the church, Laurie took Evelyn around to where a torch was burning brightly. There they found 'Eier Jane quite restored to her former smiling condition.

"Well, 'Rier Jane, how do you feel by this time?'' Laurie asked pleasantly.

"I jes' feels all right, sah; 'peared lak de Sperritt jes' tuk holt er me an' I couldn't move ban' nur foot. I wuz de same ez dead, 'peared lak; but I sho' wuz happy, sah. De win' fum hebben blowed plum fru my soul, an' I couldenter been no happier ef I'd been stan-nin' on de walls uv de New Jerus'lem. Soon ez de night win' struck me I got up spry ez er lizard an' ez

supple as er kitten, after dat/' answered Maria Jane cheerily.

"You had this young lady quite frightened. She thought you were dead sure enough, and even I thought you had gone so far that you would need some medica tion before you were restored to your senses," Laurie said.

"Oh, no, sah, de Sperrit ministers hits own physic," said Maria Jane, looking sideways at the young lady from Yankeedom as if she were a curiosity. She evi dently expected Evelyn to bear some marks that would distinguish her from Southern women. She saw only a delicate, lovely face, whiter than usual and with a look of trouble on it that was quite foreign to it.

"Well, I b'leeves I'll go an' jine de ban' ag'in," and so saying the Amazonian looking negress turned to go into the church, whence still proceeded the loud and spirited singing.

Laurie and Evelyn now joined the remainder of the party who were waiting at the steps for them. They walked silently down to the big road that passed in front of the church. When they got out of hearing of the negroes, Mr. Melton remarked to his companions:

"Well, I never in my life saw anything to equal this. It is the strangest sight I ever saw, and I can't think how they ever got up such a thing."

"Why, didn't Brudder Ananias explain it so plainly that *he who runs may read'?" said Laurie, jestingly. Then he added, seriously:

"They could not tell you themselves; they do not mean anything by it, only something to make a dem-

onstration of their strong emotions, that must have some outlet. It is, I suppose, one of the relics of their ancient barbarism they have brought to light and min gled with their worship. They are the most emotional race under heaven, and that mixed with their supersti tious ignorance, leads them into many singular incon gruities in their religion."

They had now come to the parting of the ways, and if the warm pressure that Laurie gave the trembling hand of his companion, was lingeringly tender, it was because he felt a deeper sense of the power she was be ginning to exercise over his strong, manly nature.

Evelyn had not joined in the conversation during the short walk to the big road. She was thinking deeply of the exciting experience through which she had passed —more exciting than anything she had ever witnessed before in her life.

That her lot had been cast among a people of such highly wrought superstition and moral degradation as these, gave her a feeling of responsibility she could not at first define. By degrees the thought took shape in her mind. She felt that she must do something to arrest their downward progress into actual heathenism. Perhaps it was for this very purpose God had ordered her life among these poor deluded creatures; and from this night there began a conflict in her soul that had been so peaceful and happy hitherto. As they walked on home she maintained a rigid silence, which was un broken by any one of the party for some time. At length Mr. Melton said, slowly:

"If I were as rich as some of your Northern friends,

Evie, I would establish a school here for these niggers that would teach them some sense; at least, I would give them the benefit of the experiment/' he said, and then, as if dismissing a subject that it was useless to follow further, he added, "I suppose, though, it will all come right in time, the schools and the training for them."

Evelyn sighed, but said nothing. She was thinking, but the most profound thought brought no solution of the problem to her troubled brain and heart. At last she resolved she would tell Doctor Montgomery (the junior member of the firm she had in mind). She had so often heard him express himself as being distressed at the condition of the negroes, and to whom he was always kind and just. He knew how to manage them; to make them love as well as obey and respect him. To him, in thought and purpose, she turned for advice, and the resolve gave her comfort.

What a source of pleasure it is to poor, weak hu manity to divide even a fancied responsibility with a friend in whom they trust.

Evelyn was not the weak girl one might fancy she was. To look at the gentle, dovelike eyes, and the ever changing flush that came so quickly to the delicate face, you might conclude that she was not strong of character, even among the weaker sex. She dismissed nothing lightly, and the constantly recurring thought that haunted her was the idea that perhaps she was called by an Allwise Providence to devote her life to the work of evangelizing the poor, ignorant negroes among whom her lot was now cast. These troublous thoughts helped to rob her cheek of its bloom, and her

step of its girlish elasticity, in the months that fol lowed. She put it off for a time, but it would return, and in stronger force each time. After the Green-grove meeting and Daddy Mack's funeral, she was never happy, though she performed her duties, both social and domestic, as faithfully as ever.

Meanwhile, the promise of Mr. and Mrs. Bliss to aid her in securing the neighborhood school was not forgotten. Mr. Melton had been given the promise of almost every one of the patrons to give to Evelyn the school for the white children in the months of June, July and August; those months being chosen because the poorer boys in the settlement worked on the farms, and could not be spared from their work at any other season of the year. But in addition, there had been an effort, partly successful, to make up a subscription school to begin the first of March. Evelyn felt deeply the kindness of the big-hearted people in thus giving this school to a stranger, when it had been eagerly sought for by many of their own people. But the posi tion of teacher for the black children of the ward was given to a most incompetent negro, who knew little more than his dusky pupils, and who seemed to lay greater stress on unmerciful thrashings, with roasted chinquapin switches, than in the quality of the instruc tion he administered to the poor pickaninnies entrusted to his care.

It would be an easy matter to turn over the white school to another equally willing to do the work, and it would be an equally easy matter to get the position of teacher of the school for the black children, where

efficiency meant so much. But could she make the sacrifice of all she held dear ? It meant complete ostra cism for her, from all the friends she had been so suc cessful in winning for herself in the community.

CHAPTER XII.

COMPLICATIONS.

"If you will see a pageant truly played, Between the pale complexion of true love, And the red glow of scorn and proud disdain, Go hence a little, and I shall conduct you, If you will mark it."—"As You Like It."

A FEW days after the visit to Greengrove Church, Fannie rode over to see Evelyn and carry some plants for her flower garden. She took great interest in the cultivation of the little enclosure, and often lent valua ble assistance in planning and planting, as well as in furnishing shrubs from the old-fashioned garden at The Magnolias.

She found her friend busy at work. The face under the broadbrimmed hat was flushed with the unwonted exertion and was looking very lovely, Fannie thought.

"How is our garden progressing?" she asked gaily, as she jumped from her pony and throwing down the reins, left him to graze on the lawn.

"Oh, finely, I think. I planted all the magnolias Monk brought me and also the roses and gardenias you were so kind as to send. Monk dug the holes and I set

in the shrubs, and I helieve they will live nicely, for we watered them as we set them out," Evelyn replied as she met her friend in the walk.

"Evelyn, I have come over as hearer of an invitation from the combined Montgomery family to your father, mother and dear little self, to dine with us on Christ mas day. We have planned to have you remain for the night, if you will consent to do so, as we are to have all the young people of the neighborhood to a little entertainment in the evening. I think we will have a gay time; and Evelyn, I shall have the exquisite pleas ure of presenting to you some more of my admirers. I do hope you will open a heavy crossfire from the bat tery of those dovelike eyes, and slaughter some of them. It will be quite a favor, I do assure you. Now say, will you come? Don't say no, please," and Fannie paused after her rush of words long enough to get breath.

"I will say yes, and will be much pleased to accept your kind invitation. I am sure it will be equally agreeable to father and mother," replied Evelyn quiet ly, as she and Fannie went in search of Mrs. Melton. They found her busy in the kitchen and Fannie pro ceeded immediately to tell the errand that had brought her to The Eefuge. Mrs. Melton, after thanking Fan nie, referred the matter to her daughter.

"Oh, then," said Fannie, "I shall consider the matter settled, as Evelyn's acceptance is conditional on yours and Mr. Melton's, so we shall expect you on Christmas day."

When they returned to the porch they found Mr. Melton and old Mr. Green, a farmer who lived several

mil^s away, busily discussing matters in general. The former introduced his wife and daughter with whom the farmer shook hands cordially, then turning to Fan nie he remarked pleasantly:

"I know this gyurl and have knowed her ever sence she was knee-high to a duck. You gyurls is quite thick, hain't you? Better not git too thick, you mought fall out an' then the fat ud be in the fire."

Fannie assured him there was not any danger of a rupture between herself and Evelyn. The old man then turned to Mrs. Melton with the inquiry:

"Has Mis' Vincent an' her daughters ben over to see you yit? Me an' maw wuz jest a-wonderin' yistiddy if they'd ever ben to see you," and the question having been answered in the affirmative, the old man went on talking:

"I wuz jest a-thinking ez I rode along over here, Mr. Melton, as there's a good, useful family spiled by the' bein' no man on the place. Yes, suh—jest spiled by selfishness, kase the's no man on the place ter boss 'em. I tell you, Mr. Melton, the wimming is got ter be bossed or they'll git that selfish a man can't stay on the place with 'em. I don't know of no better way ter take the contrairiness an' selfishness outen a woman than ter give her a man ter boss her. When a lot er wimming live by theyselves for two or three years they jest gits ter thinking they kin boss their neighbors an' that don't suit me not a little bit, Mr. Melton/'

They all laughed heartily at the seriousness of the old man who seemed really to believe that his feminine neighbors did try to boss him and who had been so

deeply interested in his subject as to give them no time for a reply to his question as to how they were pleased with the Vincents.

Mrs. Melton now replied:

"We were very much pleased with them, Mr. Green," to which he answered:

"Oh, yes, yes, you'll like 'em. I tell maw they hain't ter blame. They's natchully good wimming, they jest hain't ben bossed in so long they can't he'p it—they can't; hit's jest the natur' of the wimming, Mrs. Mel ton," and the keen, blue eyes beamed with satisfaction at his clear cut definition of the relative position of the sexes.

Fannie now rose to go and Evelyn accompanied her to the gate, while Mr. Green continued his conversation by asking his host:

"An' how does you folks like our preacher, an' does you think he's soun' on doctrine, Mr. Melton?"

"Well, he did not preach on doctrine the day I heard him, only a sermon on the beautiful subject of love to God and man, and I was much pleased with him," an swered Mr. Melton.

"Well, well, he does fine sometimes, jest fine. One day las' summer, fur instance, I wuz feelin' sorter po'ly, an' wuz lazyin' roun' mos' of the day an' I got er holt of a little book some er the chillun had lef there an' I commence er readin' hit. 'Twas 'bout Samson— Strong man Samson, you knaw, an' I couldn't under stand hit all, yit strange enough nex' day, bein' confer ence at our church the preacher tuk that very same thing fur his text an' he made hit jest ez plain; all

'bout Samson a-slewin' the Philistines with the jaw bone of a horse, an' all 'bout the res'er the things in the book. I jest thought hit wuz the fines' sermont I mos' ever beared. I wishes you could er beared hit. Oh, you'll like him an' no doubt, an' you'll like his lady, too, Mrs. Melton.

"Married wimming ginerally takes ter one another, an' the widders they takes after the men," and the old man laughed so heartily, and his eyes twinkled so merrily at his own joke that his hearers had to laugh from sheer sympathy in his mirth. He now took his leave, promising to bring "maw" with him the next time he came.

Fannie had bidden adieu to her friend and ridden away full of happiness in thinking of the near approach of Christmas, with all its pleasant gatherings and simple country merrymaking.

The weather was extremely pleasant, and even up to Christmas day there was no need of a fire after the early morning. The garden was full of roses and chrysanthe mums unhurt by the few early frosts that had fallen. The young Doctor was not at home Christmas morning when the Meltons arrived, and no one knew just where he was.

Fannie took Evelyn into the dining-room, and there they found Marion putting the finishing touches to the table now radiant with tea roses and pink and white chrysanthemums, interspersed here and there with sprays of arbor vita? and shining mock orange leaves.

"Have you been to the kitchen yet, girls ?"asked Marion. "I head Mauma say that she intended to

'catch Miss Ebelyn's Christmas gif,' so I thought, per haps, you had given her that exquisite pleasure already."

"No, we came in search of you. I can't find out where Laurie is. I asked Jim, and he remarked mysteriously, 'he's tennen ter some er his own business, I reckin, ma'am,' and Monk is not to be found, either, so I sup pose I will just have to bide my time until Laurie chooses to return. If Monk were here to saddle the horses for us, Evelyn and I would ride away and stay all day," said Fannie, for once really vexed with Laurie.

"Humph! You needn't be angry, Baby, with the rest of us because you are vexed with Laurie," said Marion, "and I dare say he has a good excuse for his absence. I am sure he would not willingly miss being here to see Evelyn." Then she added, "Let us go to the parlor and practise those anthems we are going to sing this evening. We will get along badly, though, without Laurie's voice in some of them. But we can press papa into service/ said Marion as, taking Evelyn's hand, she led the way to the parlor, now decorated with holly and bright flowers. They showed Evelyn where was hung a large branch of mistletoe. Fannie said she didn't guess any body would be kissed under it, though.

"Evelyn, what do you think of mine and Mai's decora tive ability?" asked Fannie. She was beginning to re cover from her pique already.

"I think of it as I do of all the work of your deft fingers, Fairy; and I know that Marion's taste is equally good," answered Evelyn, glad to see the sunshine back

in Fannie's face, all the brighter now for its momentary obscuration by the flitting clouds.

"I am going to call father in to help us sing," said Fannie, as she left the room.

She could not find him in the house, but seeing him and Mr. Melton in the orchard looking at some fruit trees, she set out to go to them. While searching for them she caught a glimpse of Laurie at the back gate, and went bounding like a fawn to see him. When she reached the gate, she found Monk busily grooming a little black pony she had never seen before.

"Hello! Fancy, you are just the one I wanted to see, and you are just in time," said her brother, as he saw her eyes opening wide with astonishment.

"Oh, Laurie! Whose beautiful little pony is that ?" she exclaimed.

"Do you think it is pretty?" he asked, well pleased with her admiration.

"It is just a fairy pony. Who is it for?" she ques tioned again.

"Guess," said he, with a look of mischief in the grey eyes, though his face wore an unwonted flush.

"Is it for Evelyn, Laurie?" she asked, in a low tone, while the color deepened on his face as he replied:

"Yes, it is for Evelyn," and the voice lingered ten derly on the soft name. "Do you think she will accept it as a Christmas gift from your brother?" he asked.

"I do hope she will, and I think she will. Let me go and bring her out here; I'll have Monk to saddle Gyp for me and we will all take a ride, and now it will be delightful, won't it, Laurie ?" And she ran toward the.

house when Laurie called after her: "Kemember, Fan nie, I am to ride with your friend."

"Yes, of course, dear/' and running to the house, she appeared in the parlor, trying vainly to look uncon cerned, as she bade Evelyn come and get ready for a ride, for Laurie and the horses were waiting for them at the back gate.

"Why, Fannie, what is the matter? You look pre cisely as if you might have encountered Santa Glaus, or some other wonderful personage while you were out. Here Evelyn and I have been waiting for you to come with father to help us sing, and now you come just like a tornado, and have forgotten the songs," said Marion, mildly reproachful. She was used to Fannie's whirling temperament.

"Well, father and Mr. Melton were in the orchard, discussing fruit trees ; and I found Laurie out there just in the notion for a ride, so here we are, off for a gallop through the pine forest," said Fannie, hurrying Evelyn to the back gate, where Laurie was awaiting them.

"Fannie, I never saw you so excited before," said Evelyn, with considerable curiosity as to what had made her friend all excitement.

They were soon at the gate, where stood the ponies, all ready for mounting, and Laurie standing with gloves on and whip in hand, waiting for them.

As they came up the Doctor shook hands with Evelyn, with a merry Christmas greeting, and, handing her the reins of the little Attakapas pony, said:

"Miss Melton, please accept as a Christmas gift this small token of my respect and esteem. It is not an ex-

pensive horse, but one that will, I think, match well with Fannie's gallant steed in your rides together," he said, simply, and the manner of presentation was so quiet and brotherly that it made acceptance easy and natural.

"I thank you very much, Doctor Montgomery, for your kind thoughtfulness of me, and accept this lovely little pony in the same spirit of true friendship in which you offer it/' she said, as she went up to the little horse and patted him gently on his shoulder.

"Isn't he lovely, Fannie? I know I shall love him. I guess Hynda's nose will be out of joint, for a while at least. Isn't he graceful? I think he must be a Shet land pony; isn't he, Doctor Montgomery ?" she asked, as she completed her survey of the new pony.

"No; he is, in the local vernacular, a Tuckapaw; but, really, he is of the Attakapas breed of Indian ponies," replied Laurie, as he looked with undisguised admira tion into the pleased, smiling face.

He now assisted Fannie on her pony and then, turning to Evelyn, performed the same office for her, while Fannie looked on full of admiration for both steed and rider, declaring that she was unable to decide which was the prettier of the two, the horse or its rider.

"Well, if you do not wish the point decided for you, you must not constitute me judge," said Laurie, gal lantly.

"Evelyn, we have forgotten to ask the pony's name, haven't we ?" suggested Fannie, who, in her love of horse flesh, could think of nothing but the new horse.

"Eeally, I do not know his name. The Cagen from

whom I purchased him, said a good deal about 'un beau cheval,' and 'petit/ and 'joli/ and bestowed a good many such epithets on him which I did not understand, not being well versed in Cagen French pronunciation," answered Laurie, as they rode away. Fannie took the lead and galloped ahead, leaving Laurie to ride beside Evelyn.

"You are not a bit afraid of him, are you ?"

"Oh, no! Not if you think him gentle enough for me; and I know that you would not have given him to me if you did not know he is quite safe for even a poor rider like myself," and she looked up at him with an ex pression of confidence that thrilled him with happiness.

Fannie often rode back to see what had become of them, and wondered why anyone could wish to ride so slowly.

That ride was a never forgotten event to Laurie Mont gomery. His manner assumed, unconsciously, a ten derly possessive air, that told in language plainer than words the complete devotion of his heart to Evelyn Melton. He did not yet dare to put into words what he now knew he felt. It was too sweet, this tacit under standing that existed, during and after that ride, that he was her lover, though not yet an accepted one. He would wait a while longer until he was more sure of an affirmative answer to his suit, and thus procrastination added another victim to his long roll of names.

During the ride Laurie taught Evelyn how to put her pony through all his gaits, and he really beat Gyp at some of them.

They reached home in time for the three o'clock din-

nor, with such appetites as only a canter through the bracing air of the pine woods can give one.

The kind, genial old Doctor knew just how to enter tain his guests, and not one among the crowd who met around the abundant board that day laughed oftener or more heartily than did the New Englander.

Evelyn, too, seemed very happy, and laughed merrily at the elder Doctor's jokes and amusing anecdotes, of which he seemed to possess an inexhaustible fund.

After dinner was over Evelyn invited everyone out to see her pony, and the admiration which he excited satisfied even Laurie.

It was a merry party that met at The Magnolias that evening. They drank eggnog and munched cake; they sang anthems; they promenaded the long galleries, and walked under the rustling magnolias, through whose shining green foliage sifted the silvery moonbeams.

How lovely Evelyn looked in her simple white cassi-mere, without any adornment save the flowers Laurie had sent her, his admiring eyes told her sufficiently. To her was afforded the first opportunty of seeing Doctor Laurie among other young men, of whom there were about a dozen present; and the contrast between them justified her verdict.

Captain Singleton had not yet arrived, and, of course, Marion was much disappointed, though her guests did not suspect it beneath her smiling exterior, as she strove to make them pass a pleasant evening.

Fannie had half a dozen admirers, who were "old regulars," as she called them. They were living in the hope that some day she would drop her gay badinage

and listen seriously to their oft-repeated declarations of undying affection. A few bright girls, who were a "little fast," got under the mistletoe by accident and were promptly kissed on the spot.

"How singular it seems that in the short space of two months people can become such friends, and even more than friends. I do not know how we managed to exist before you came. Now you form so large a share in all our social pleasures," Doctor Laurie remarked to Evelyn, as they promenaded the white sanded walks under the magnolias that Christmas evening. The latter, with a fleecy fascinator wrapped about her pretty Head, looked like a vision of whiteness, as she stood with her com panion at a point where the moonlight fell with a flood of brightness over her. From this point they had a full view of the blazing planets that marked the constella tion of Orion, as he showed full length in the eastern sky.

"How beautiful those great stars look in your South ern sky/' Then, as if suddenly remembering his last remark, she added softly, "I hope it does not mean that you will all tire of me as quickly as I have sprung into popularity."

He was just about to make reply, when a couple who had been "star gazing" too, came up and precluded the possibility of further remarks of a private nature.

At twelve o'clock the merrymakers dispersed to their several homes, all agreeing that they had had a "splen did time."

Evelyn remained with the Montgomery girls for the

night, for "convenience' sake," as Fannie put it, to satisfy any scruples her friend might conjure up as to the propriety of accepting her frequent invitations to spend the night with them.

Pleasantly passed the winter months, and by the middle of February the trees began to show signs of an early Spring.

On the fourteenth of February Mr. Blis* came over, and, during the conversation, mentioned that he was having some corn planted.

"Isn't it very early to begin corn planting, even in Louisiana, John?" asked Mr. Melton, in surprise.

"Not for old land, like the piece I'm planting. I would not advise you to begin, in fact, I would advise you to wait, by all means, until the first of April," answered friend Bliss.

"I have been invited to so many log rollings lately that I have not had time to do much work at home. I don't do much 'rolling,' but I go to help in the fun and to be sociable."

"That's right, Mr. Melton; that's right. Better, keep on the good side of the log rollers. You will have a great many logs to roll yourself in a year or two," laughed Mr. Bliss.

"Yes, yes; that is so; but I had not thought of it in that way, John," said Mr. Melton, with sincerity. Then he added:

"I guess, John, I will have to ask. advice of you very often in making my crop."

"Well, I am sure, sir, I'll be always willing to do all in my power to help you," Mr. Bliss answered heartily.

The farmers then parted, Mr. Bliss going home and Mr. Melton to his garden, which had been planted on Southern orthodox lines; shallots in the autumn; Eng lish peas in the "old twelve days/' while Spring greens, or salad, lettuce, radishes and Irish potatoes were planted on the.time honored St. Valentine's Day. Agri culture so far south was entirely new to Mr. Melton, yet he was succeeding well.

In that section there was no finer garden that year than was his. He had much advice given him on various matters, as advice is generally pretty freely given every where. But he went on in his busy, quiet way, always doing, or planning to do, something to improve the little home that was growing in interest to him every day.

He loved to ride out in the pine woods to look after his cattle; or down to the bayou swamp to feed the little "bunch" of hogs he had put in there. It required only a few ears of corn once a week to keep them gentle.

He and his wife seemed perfectly satisfied with their new home and surroundings; for what it lacked in pres ent comfort, hope held out in prospect for the near future.

The farmer's industry and good management had al ready put him in possession of a field of arable land, on which he hoped to make fine crops of peas, corn, cane and sweet potatoes. His small stock of sheep, cattle, hogs and goats were thriving finely. Even as late as January the dry cattle on the range were fat enough to kill, and had not cost their owners a cent in feed; even their salt was furnished them by the natural licks along the bayou.

Evelyn spent a great deal of time in her small flower garden, which had been graced with a picket fence, to keep Hynda from eating all the flowers that her mistress had so carefully planted. The graceful little creature often came into the house and lay down at the feet of her mistress, who had to keep strict watch to prevent her making an exit through the front door into the for bidden Eden of young flowering shrubs.

Fannie had brought cuttings of Teas, Noisettes and a root of the rare Marechal Neil, that she had layered for Evelyn in the fall, while the old Doctor had promised to bud for her a Cloth of Gold from his own pet vine, which he had trained to the pillars of the gallery. In the blooming season this magnificent rose was the ad miration of all beholders, its flowers depending in golden splendor from the white columns.

"Evelyn, I think you will have no mean rival of our flower garden in a few years/' said Fannie, as they stood with flushed faces, surveying their morning's work.

"Indeed, I shall not think of comparing this youthful f:-pot with that grand old garden. It will take at least a quarter of a century to make this anything like that. But I shall be modest in my ambition just now, and try to think only of a profusion of pretty annuals and a few roses. I will leave the evergreens to come with time," she said, in answer to Fannie's over-sanguine expression.

"There is one kind of flower I have never seen success fully cultivated in our gardens, and that is the lovely white azalea that grows in our swamps. Don't you re member? I showed you the bushes when we were down on the ^branch' one day not long ago ?" Fannie remarked.

"Yes, I remember them; are they the flowers that Doctor Montgomery brought me last week ? They were a most lovely pink, but he said they were azaleas," an swered Evelyn.

"Yes; but there are two varieties of them in the swamp here. The early-blooming pink, which blossoms in February or March, and the pure white, which does not bloom until May or June," Fannie replied.

"Did -you notice that my beautiful yellow jessamine is in full bloom, out yonder on the lawn?" inquired Evelyn.

"No; I had not seen it. It is strange that I didn't, for I almost always find the flowers, no matter where they are hidden. I think, Evelyn, I love the wild flowers better than the cultivated varieties. I do not know why, unless it is because they seem to come more directly from God, for us to love and admire. Even the common dog wood, as they stand in their snowy dresses in the green woods, call forth more love from me than the choicest roses that bloom in our gardens," mused Fannie, in one of those reflective moods that came over her sometimes.

She now said she must go, and was passing through the gate with Evelyn, when Hynda came bounding to wards them with the peculiar grace and lightness of her race.

"Oh! Isn't she a beauty now ? I have had two like her, and they both left me and never returned," said Fannie, wistfully, as she patted Hynda's shining coat. "Laurie used often to repeat those lines of Hynda's sad-fated namesake:

" 7 never had a dear gazelle,

To glad me with its soft dark eye, But when it came to Icnow me well, And love me, it was sure to die'

—or run away—he always added."

"That is the reason he advised me so strenuously not to hestow too much affection on Hynda, I guess/' said Evelyn.

"Evelyn, please go home with me. You have not heen over in a long time. Marion told me to tell you that she would not be at home much longer, and says that you should come very often now," and Fannie's blue eyes grew moist.

It was a great temptation that Fannie had proposed to her friend. She always had such pleasant evenings with them. The duets they played, the songs they sang together, the sympathetic companionship, were all very dear to her. Then there were the quiet games of chess with Laurie, when Fannie and Marion considerately left them alone. But she resolutely put aside the bright vision. Would not Laurie—oh, no, she knew he would not—but would not others say the visits were intended for him? Would not it be unmaidenly in her to visit so often at the home of a young man with whose name people had already begun to couple hers? Mrs. Bliss had told her that some people were saying it was a "match." These and other thoughts flashed rapidly through her mind, as, kindly excusing herself to her warm-hearted friend, she helped her catch Gyp, who

was feeding on the lawn. Then bidding farewell, Fannie was soon lost to view by a turn in the road.

It was not strange that people had begun to link the names of Evelyn and Doctor Montgomery, as the latter was a frequent visitor at the Eefuge, and Evelyn was almost as often at Doctor Montgomery's.

Mr. and Mrs. Melton were well pleased with the trend of events. They found no fault with the young Doctor. He was a man to whom any parent might be willing to give his daughter in marriage.

The next day after Fannie's last call, Mr. Bliss came over and, in speaking of Evelyn's school, said, jokingly:

"I don't think Doctor Laurie is going to let us have our schoolmarm—if he is allowed to have his way in the matter."

Mr. Melton flushed at this first direct allusion to his daughter and the Doctor.

"Well, John, I don't know; you can never tell for cer tain what they are going to do. There is a very nice young man up in Boston, who seems to like Evelyn very much, and, by the way, she had a letter from him last night, saying he would be down here the first of March to hunt and fish in these wild wood's for a week or two. He asked her to recommend him a boarding place, and she referred him to you as a fine place for good 'grub,' and nice quarters generally. So you had better tell 'Liza about it, as the f wimming,' as old Mr. Green would say, don't like surprises. You always take all the boarders that come along, don't you, John?" asked Mr. Melton.

"Yes; it's all right about the board," said Mr. Bliss.

"The young man is a graduate of Yale, and quite rich; worth half a million at the least. I don't know how things will turn out. I would never bet on how a wo man will decide in such matters, not even if she is my own daughter," said Mr. Melton, reflectively; "but don't mention what I have told you, John."

"Of course not. But if that young fellow proves to be a successful rival of Laurie Montgomery, I shan't promise you that 'Liza will love him," said Mr. Bliss, as he and Mr. Melton parted.

That night, when Mr. Bliss was alone with his wife, he told her of his grave fears on Laurie's account.

"I am sure Doctor Laurie loves Evelyn; but I'm not sure that she would refuse a handsome, well educated young man, with a half million cash, for even our young Doctor," he said, doubtfully.

"If she loves the Doctor she will. I don't believe Evelyn is a girl who would sell herself at any price; but, of course, she may love Mr. Willingham. There is one thing I do believe, and that is if Evelyn don't love him, she will soon let him know it. She is not a flirt, and I don't think money will cut any figure in the game with her," responded Mrs. Bliss, with emphasis.

While this conversation was going on at the Bliss homestead, Laurie Montgomery and Evelyn were quietly chatting on indifferent subjects in the sitting-room at The Refuge.

Evelyn had seemed to him to be uncommonly serious of late, and often had looked as if she" were about to speak to him of something that appeared to weigh heavily on her mind, and then, as suddenly, would break

off and change the subject. But to-night there was r look of determination on her face. A grave, serious look that her companion could not understand. He had seen that look of grave concern on her face several times lately, and it troubled him. She did not leave him to guess the cause, but, looking earnestly into his eyes, she said, with considerable emotion:

"Doctor Montgomery, I wish to speak to you on a sub ject that has given me a great deal of trouble ever since the night of the meeting at Greengrove Church."

The strong, handsome face flushed and darkened visibly; he had feared that something would grow out of Evelyn's extreme excitement on that evening, and now he felt intuitively that strength, as well as tact and caution, were necessary to restrain a nature he knew was strong, though so gentle. He understood women better than most young men. Brought up as an intimate com panion of his noble mother and lovely cousin; constantly with his sisters from their infancy, he had exceptional opportunities to learn that sex. He controlled himself and spoke as gently as a woman might.

"If there is anything in which I can assist you, I will be more than pleased for you to tell me all about it. You surely know that I would do anything in my power to serve you, even though it be only to offer my sympathy," looking into the face that had grown so dear to him.

"I have been trying for two months to tell you what has been in my mind, but have always failed to do so. I have been thinking that something must be done to elevate and better the mental and moral condition of these poor, ignorant and superstitious negroes, or they

will relapse into barbarism. They have begun already a retrograde movement, and, if left to themselves, as they seem to wish, there will not many years elapse before they are really savage in their worship," said Evelyn, with deep earnestness.

"I feel as deeply as yon can possibly feel on that sub ject," he replied; "and have often planned some good things that might be done for the coming generation, but I have always lacked the means to carry them into execution, and being too proud to beg of the North for the means to help my own people, I have never been able to put any of my phil-African plans into practice." And the proud face looked haughtier and harder than Evelyn had ever seen it, as he continued:

"There has been much money spent injudiciously in the South since the emancipation of the negro, that, put into proper hands, might have been productive of much good. I do not doubt that in time these things will ad just themselves; but now these problems are puzzling older and wiser heads, perhaps, than ours, young and inexperienced as we are."

"I have thought so much about it, and the question is vexing me still. It comes to me in the form of a taunt from the devil himself in words like these: 'You are not willing to teach them yourself. You live among them, and yourself scorn such a degraded race, and are not willing to sacrifice social position and loss of friends to go among them as Jesus would have you do, as a professed follower of Him,' until I have sometimes felt that I would give up every hope in life to escape the re-

preaches of my conscience/' said the poor girl, with intense emotion, her face as colorless as marble.

"I am very grateful to you for the confidence you have placed in me, and trust I shall not disappoint you in arriving at a solution of this difficult problem. But you must promise me that you will never again think of such a chimera as turning teacher of the negroes yourself. I would rather die than see you immolate yourself upon such an altar as that. Believe me, your honor and dignity of character are dearer to me than life." The young man was deeply moved as he bent nearer the trembling girl and almost whispered:

"Evelyn "

Here the door opened unceremoniously, and Mr. Mel ton came into the room with several letters in his hand, and the passionate speech was cut short ere the words were spoken and answered that would, perhaps, have saved them so much misunderstanding in the days that followed; but Kismet had intervened, and, ere they met again, the veil of mistrust and jealousy had fallen between them.

When Mr. Melton so unceremoniously entered the room, the Doctor had sprung to his feet and listened in a vague way to his apologies for so doing. "Did not know that Evelyn had any company at all; but would Doctor Laurie take his seat again; he thought there was a letter from one of Evelyn's Northern friends saying what day he would arrive in the Brierwood neighbor hood."

"I will be glad, Doctor, if you will help us entertain young Willingham in such a way as would give him a

good impression of the country, and I know that you, better than anyone else here, know how to do that sort of thing/' said Mr. Melton, as he grew eloquent in dilating on his wish that the South might be seen by this Bostonian in its best dress of hospitality.

Evelyn's face was a study, and baffled Laurie's keen est glances, as she opened and read, at her father's re quest, the letter to herself from Mr. Willingham. She said, as she folded it, calmly:

"Yes; Mr. Willingham will reach here some time in the afternoon of to-morrow, I suppose."

Why had not Evelyn told even Fannie of this? She was evidently expecting him, and yet had kept it a profound secret from them all. Laurie rose to go, as he said, haughtily:

"I will certainly exert myself to render Mr. Willing-ham's stay in the country as pleasant as possible. Where will he make his headquarters while in the neighbor hood?"

"He will spend the greater portion of his time with Mr. Bliss," replied Evelyn.

"Miss Evelyn, I will see you again on the subject we were discussing this evening," and, without even taking the little hand in farewell, as he had always done, giv ing it a warm pressure, while his eyes spoke a tender good-bye, he bowed himself out and soon Evelyn heard the rapid footfalls of iron hoofs as Forrest's feet struck the earth in a fast gallop down the road, and she shivered.

When he reached the sitting-room at home he found his mother and sisters awaiting him. They instantly

noted the dark cloud on his usually bright face, and that made Fannie think of something that, strange to say, she had entirely forgotten to tell them.

"Laurie, I have forgotten to tell you what I heard yesterday from Mrs. Bliss—that a young man, a Mr. Willingham, is coming to see Evelyn. Will be here in a few days, and is a lover of Evelyn's, or a friend, per haps. He is a graduate of Yale, and is very wealthy and handsome, too. Of course, he is a lover of hers, or he would not come so far to see her/' Fannie talked fast, pretending that she did not see the pallor on Laurie's face, or that she had not noticed the utterly commentless silence that he kept during the remainder of the evening, and he retired earlier than usual. After he had kissed them good-night and was shut up in his room, Fannie exclaimed, petulantly:

"I do wish Mr. Willingham had never thought of coming down here to see Evelyn. I am afraid she prefers him to Laurie, and I would just hate a Yankee that could be a successful rival of my darling Laurie's, wouldn't you, mother?"

"No, my love; I trust I shall never hate anyone, and if the young woman's heart and hand can be purchased with gold, she is not worthy of my son; and if, on the other hand, she loves his rival, I think the quicker Laurie knows it the better it will be for him. He is a man of strong character, and will bear it as a Christian and a gentleman," responded Laurie's mother, but Fannie heard the sigh that would come.

"Well, I believe that Evelyn will prefer Laurie to anyone else, and I shall continue to have that opinion

until I see differently/' said Fannie, half indignantly. "Oh, dear," sighed poor, bright, loving, little Fan nie ; "the world will get crosswise and all out of shape generally. Mamma, dear, I've got the blues, so I'll sit in your lap and let you pet me into a good humor," as she threw her arms around that loving mother's neck and half reclined in her lap.

CHAPTEE XIII.

A CONFESSION.

"Out, damned spot! out, I say!—One; Two:

Why then 'tis time to do't: Hell is murky!—

Fie, my lord, fie! a soldier, aud afeard!—

What need we fear who knows it, when none can call our

power to account, Yet who would have thought the old man to have had so much

blood in him!"—"Macbeth."

THE next morning, when Laurie Montgomery awakened, it was to find a dark curtain of cloud drawn across the sunny skies of yesterday, and a dull mist of rain falling. As he opened the hlinds and looked out, his first thought was that not more suddenly had a veil of darkness fallen across his own sky, which he now, by unreasoning jealousy and illogical argument, re duced to the blackness of despair. It would he im possible to describe the conflicting emotions that filled his mind, as he again reviewed, hy the light of day, the new page that he had just turned in the book of his life's history.

Why had Evelyn kept so carefully from him this visit of her Northern suitor ? It was singular, strangely singular, that she had not even told Fannie of his coming. As he looked back over their intercourse from

A Confession.

the beginning, and lingered tenderly over every soft look or gently spoken sentence that he had fondly hoped meant so much more than mere friendship for him, he was plunged in deeper gloom.

He could scarcely believe that Evelyn was one of those naturally coquettish girls, who, all unwittingly, draw a man on to love her, and when too late, wake up to find that they have been the cause of wreck to a man's happiness. What, though, if it were true that this Northern lover, and not himself, held the key to Evelyn's affections ? He asked the question, then strove to evade it, as we will do when called upon to face an issue, that, if answered in the affirmative, will entail great suffering upon us. That Evelyn knew he loved her he could not doubt, even without the addition of that last, half uttered, passionate declaration.

After vainly seeking for a solution to the vexing problem amid past experience, he summoned pride, that bulwark of jealousy, to his aid, and soon afterward went down to breakfast calm and collected.

No one seemed to have much desire for conversation that dull, rainy morning. Laurie drank his coffee, ate a few bites of bread, and left, saying:

"Very probably I shall not return until to-morrow, mother. I have a patient over the bayou who is very ill with pneumonia." Then, kissing them affection ately, he donned his mackintosh and went out in the mud and the rain, which was increasing in violence every moment.

As Laurie rode on through the incessant rain, his mind reverted to the past and the mysterious disap-

pearance of Lieutenant Barclay. He thought bitterly of the murdered man; of the brilliant qualities of mind and person that made him so attractive to every one, and, above all, of the blighted life of his beloved cousin. There came into his mind as he pondered the old Greek aphorism, "The mill of the gods grinds slow, but fine," a proverb which has its parallel in that text of Holy Writ, "Vengeance is mine, I will repay, saith the Lord," and the idea comforted him.

While he rode forward, the sky grew darker and the rain poured in torrents so that he could scarcely see a dozen yards away, or hear the tramp of a horse, as a man riding rapidly from the opposite direction nar rowly escaped coming in collision with him.

"Hello!" shouted half-witted Jack Tillman, as he reined his horse so shortly that he settled on his haunches, as he whirled out of the way of the Doctor's heavier horse. Laurie checked his steed as he ex changed salutation with the man.

"You's the very man I'm huntin' fur, Doc, an' I'm sho' glad I won't have ter ride no furder in this devilish rain. Hit sho' hain't agree'ble ridin', but I reckin you'll be willin' ter go with me, seein' hits your business ter go wen you's sent fur, though the' hain't no perticilar pay in hit, as I knows on," yelled Jack, as the rain poured faster.

"Where do you wish me to go?" demanded the Doc tor.

"Jest er matter ov five mile out ter the cabin, so ef you'll go jes' mosy 'long atter me, 'cause wen folks is a dyin' they's gin'ruly in a sort ov hurry fur er doctor,"

and the man struck out through the forest at a gallop, Laurie keeping beside him.

After riding for several hours through a drenching rain, the lowliest shelter looks inviting, and Laurie ex perienced a feeling of relief as they emerged from the dense thicket of pines, through which they had ridden for the last quarter of a mile, into a small clearing with a log cabin in the centre. They dismounted in front, and Jack remarked, sullenly:

"Gimme your creeter an' I'll put 'im under a shed roun' yander, so's your saddle c'n drip off a leetle afore you gets ready ter start off. As fur me, I'm sho' gwine ter git in the lof an' sleep sum whilst you an' him is talkin', fur he nuver lemme sleep er wink las' night. The' hain't no time fur lickin' spoons wid me now, I c'n tell you, Doc," and he led the horses away to a shed at the back of the cabin.

Laurie knocked loudly at the door; waited a moment, and knocked again; this time he received the courteous answer:

"What in the name of the devil are you making such a racket for, boy. Why don't you come in without so much infernal noise? If I was only myself once more I would teach you how to disturb me so, you true son of Pluto/'

Laurie replied by pushing open the heavy door and entering the squalid apartment. Everything in the open log cabin betokened misery and the direst poverty. The only pleasing feature was the bright pine fire which burned on the wide hearth.

On the rough, dirty bed in the centre of the room,

lay a man of middle age. He was apparently in the last stage of some direful disease, for his face was wan and pinched, while his large eyes gleamed with preter natural brilliancy, and his thin lips were drawn tightly over a set of very white teeth. Every movement of his attenuated body caused a moan of pain, which he vainly endeavored to suppress as evidencing unmanly weakness.

Laurie took off his dripping raincoat and hat, and hung them on the wall, then, going to the bedside of the sick man, he inquired in a gentle tone:

"What seems to be the trouble with you, my friend ?"

"Don't you dare to call me 'friend/ for I won't stand it. You will wish to call for a gun when you have listened to the story which I have to tell you; however, I owe you an apology for my unintentional rudeness in answering your knock at the door. I was quite certain that it was my Sancho Panza, whom I sent after you hours and hours ago, but who takes advantage of my illness to do just as he pleases. In fact, I often feel tempted to end his life with this faithful friend of mine," and the thin hand went to the back of his pil low and grasped a Colt's revolver; " but I know that he is the only nurse, valet, friend, or by whatever name you choose to designate him, that I have on earth, and thus I am rendered helpless," and he moaned as the nerveless hand fell on the dirty coverlet.

A violent fit of coughing followed this outburst of temper, and the Doctor quickly prepared a soothing potion and insisted on his swallowing it. He did so with an oath, and waved his hand toward the only chair which the room contained, as he continued: