At twilight, she stole out of the back door of the house, and walked down to a little brook which ran near by. As she stood leaning against a young maple tree she heard steps, and without looking up, knew that the Elder was coming. She did not move nor speak. He waited some minutes in silence. Then he said “Oh, Draxy! I never once thought o’ painin’ you! I thought you’d like it. Hymns are made to be sung, dear; and that one o’ yours is so beautiful!” He spoke as gently as her father might, and in a voice she hardly knew. Draxy made no reply. The Elder had never seen her like this. Her lips quivered, and he saw tears in her eyes.
“Oh, Draxy, do look up at me—just once! You don’t know how hard it is for a man to think he’s hurt anybody—like you!” stammered the poor Elder, ending his sentence quite differently from what he had intended.
Draxy smiled through her tears, and looking up, said: “But I am not hurt, Mr. Kinney; I don’t know what I am crying for, sir;” and her eyes fell again.
The Elder looked down upon her in silence. Moments passed. “Oh, if I could make her look up at me again!” he thought. His unspoken wish stirred her veins; slowly she lifted her eyes; they were calm now, and unutterably loving. They were more than the Elder could bear.”
“Oh, Draxy, Draxy!” exclaimed he, stretching out both his arms towards her.
“My heart grows weaker and more
With looking on the thing so dear
Which lies so far, and yet so near!”
Slowly, very slowly, like a little child learning to walk, with her eyes full of tears, but her mouth smiling, Draxy moved towards the Elder. He did not stir, partly because he could not, but partly because he would not lose one instant of the deliciousness of seeing her, feeling her come.
When they went back to the house, Reuben was sitting in the porch. The Elder took his hand and said:
“Mr. Miller, I meant to have asked you first; but God didn’t give me time.”
“You’ve’s good’s asked me a good while back, Elder; an’ I take it you haint ever had much doubt what my answer’d be.” Then, as Draxy knelt down by his chair and laid her head on his shoulder, he added more solemnly,—
“But I’d jest like once to say to ye, Elder, that if ever I get to heaven, I wouldn’t ask anythin’ more o’ the Lord than to let me see Draxy ‘n’ you a comin’ in together, an’ lookin’ as you looked jest now when ye come in’t that gate!”
The Elder’s Wife.
Sequel to “Draxy Miller’s Dowry.”
Draxy and the Elder were married in the little village church, on the first Sunday in September.
“O Draxy! let it be on a communion Sunday,” the Elder had said, with an expression on his face which Draxy could not quite fathom; “I can’t tell you what it ’ud be to me to promise myself over again to the blessed Saviour, the same hour I promise to you, darling, I’m so afraid of loving Him less. I don’t see how I can remember anything about heaven, after I’ve got you, Draxy,” and tears stood in the Elder’s eyes.