If he said anything like this, it certainly had a terrible effect of the son; for, having mounted rapidly to the tree-top, he clove the blue with his scarlet wings as though he were flying from death. I lost sight of him over a corn-field. One fact pleased me: the father retuned to his partner under the briers, for he is not of the lower sort who forget the mother when the children are reared. They hold faithfully together during the ever more silent, ever more shadowy autumn days; his warming breast is close to hers through frozen winter nights; and if they both live to see another May she is still all the world to him, and woe to any brilliant vagabond who should warble a wanton love-song under her holy windows.
Georgiana returned the last of August. The nest morning she was at her window, looking across into my yard. I was obliged to pass that way, and welcomed her gayly, expressing my thanks for the letter.
“I had to come back, you see,” she said, with calm simplicity. I lingered awkwardly, stripping upward the stalks of some weeds.
“Very few Kentucky birds are migratory,” I replied at length, with desperate brilliancy and an overwhelming grimace.
“I shall go back some time—to say,” she said, and turned away with a parting faintest smile.
I that West Point brother giving trouble? If so, the sooner a war breaks out and he gets killed, the better. One thing is certain: if, for the next month, fruit and flowers will give Georgiana any pleasure, she shall have a good deal of pleasure. She is so changed! But why need I take on about it?
They have been cleaning out a drain under the streets along the Town Fork of Elkhorn, and several people are down with fever.
New-Year’s night again, and bitter cold.
When I forced myself away from my fire before dark, and ran down to the stable to see about feeding and bedding the horses and cows, every beast had its head drawn in towards its shoulders, and looked at me with the dismal air of saying, “Who is tempering the wind now?” The dogs in the kennel, with their noses between their hind-legs, were shivering under their blankets and straw like a nest of chilled young birds. The fowls on the roost were mere white and blue puffs of feathers. Nature alone has the making of her creatures; why doesn’t she make them comfortable?
After supper old Jack and Dilsy came in, and standing against the wall with their arms folded, told me more of what happened after I got sick. That was about the middle of September, and it is only two weeks since I became well enough to go in and out through all sorts of weather.