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Why! I guess there a'n't more than a dozen or so!" said he. I would fain have turned back; but in that case we must either have repassed all that had gone on, or have travelled at their snail's pace, so I said nothing, but cried a little behind my veil. By and by, we absolutely saw the last one, and this being once ascertained, I took my proper seat, and set about behaving like a lady once more, though my nerves were more in a flutter than is becoming in a back-woodswoman. I tried to laugh off the whole affair, and declared that it would be pleasant to look back upon, as a novelty in our woodland experience.
"But what saith the sensible proverb, about not exulting till you get out of the wood? I forget, but I commend its practical bearing none the less. We had scarcely a mile yet to go when we encountered an apparition yet more appalling than a saw-log an immense herd of unruly cattle, driven by two or three men on horseback. No sooner did I become sensible of the approach of this tremendous looking cortège, the drivers
cracking their whips and shouting wildly to preserve command of their riotous charge, than my newly-built fabric of fortitude crumbled into very dust, and I shrieked and cried like a naughty baby. We had none the less to go through the whole drove, and as they went stumbling and plunging by, their feet were often on a level with the top of our sleigh, as they trod on the crusts of the high banks at the side of the road; and although Mr. Sibthorpe, and our Phaeton stood up, and kept them from absolutely trampling on us, yet their too close neighbourhood, and their fierce threatening aspect, finished the disgrace of your poor friend. I remember nothing more until I found myself stretched on the floor in Mrs. C-'s parlour, with half the household engaged in recalling my scattered wits. Tell it not, after all my boasting; but make all the charitable allowance you can. * * *
"We returned by the common road, you may be sure. My high aspirings were completely humbled; yet I did not the less enjoy the exquisite moonlight by which we
came home, but, in spite of past terrors, sang and laughed, and could, but for very shame, have screamed like a child, in ecstasy at the heavenly splendour of the scene.
"Do not imagine I set Charlotte such a bad example as that of these riotous spirits that I describe to you. She, dear child! was enjoying the ride in her own way; lying fast asleep in her father's lap, all the way home.
"Write oftener. I thirst for letters. If you had ever spent a winter in the country, with frozen lakes lying between you and the busy world, you would need no urging, I am
"Once more with pen in hand, dearest Catherine; and O how glad and how thankful to find myself so well and SO
happy! I could have written you a week ago, but Mr. Sibthorpe, who is indeed a sad fidget, as I tell him every day, locked up pen, ink, and paper most despotically, leaving me to grumble like Baron Trenck, or any other important prisoner. To-day the interdict is taken off, and I must spur up my lagging thoughts, or I shall not have said forth half my say before I shall be reduced to my dormouse condition again. I dare not begin with any other subject than the boy, lest the writing materials should be locked up for another month; but I shall leave all particulars to your imagination, or to Mr. Sibthorpe's indefatigable pen. I see in the new-comer only a very hungry citizen, who bids fair to be robust enough not to discredit his birthplace, and who already claims the rule of the house- rather prematurely, as I think. He is well cared for by a stout dame who has had abundant experience; and I interfere very little with her management, being rather occupied in stealing lessons, against the time when I may very likely be obliged to take the sole care
of him. The spring has opened charmingly. The early bulbs are all fully blown, and a beautiful perennial, here called the Ohio blue-bell, a far larger plant than the one we know by that name; and the flowering currant, a climbing shrub, already strung with golden clove-scented wreaths; looking, at a little distance, like a miniature laburSome of our neighbours have fruit trees in blossom, and currants already formed in distinct clusters. We must wait a year. or two for ours. The wheat has already taken the hue of the richest emerald the most beautiful green, indeed, that it is possible to conceive; and the grass is beginning to emulate it in spots where that has been improved by cultivation. Wild grass does not spring so early, except in moist situations. The cows have been picking a little on the marshes for a week or two past, but the pastures near us are still rather brown. The trees do not yet begin to wear the least tinge of green; which rather disappoints me, as I had always supposed they kept pace with the grass. The fallows are silvered