Half a Century eBook

This eBook from the Gutenberg Project consists of approximately 352 pages of information about Half a Century.

With the other girls, I became interested in hair-dressing.  I had read “The Children of the Abbey,” and Amanda’s romantic adventures enchanted me; but she was quite outside my life.  Now I made a nearer acquaintance with her.  She changed her residence; so had I. She had brown ringlets; I too should have them.  So one Friday night, my hair was put up in papers, and next morning, I let loose an amazing shower of curls.

The next thing to do was to go off alone, and sit reading in a romantic spot.  Of course I did not expect to meet Lord Mortimer!  Miss Fitzallen never had any such expectations.  I was simply going out to read and admire the beauties of nature.  When I had seated myself, in proper attitude, on the gnarled root of an old tree, overhanging a lovely ravine, I proceeded to the reading part of the play, and must of course be too much absorbed to hear the approaching footsteps, to which I listened with bated breath.  So I did not look up when they stopped at my side, or until a pleasant voice said: 

“Why you look quite romantic, my dear.”

Then I saw Miss Olever, the head teacher, familiarly called “Sissy Jane.”  In that real and beautiful presence Miss Fitzallen retired to her old place, and oh, the mortification she left behind her!  I looked up, a detected criminal, into the face of her who had brought to me this humiliation, and took her for a model.  My folly did not prevent our being sincere friends during all her earnest and beautiful life.

She passed on, and I got back to the Bee-hive, when I disposed of my curls, and never again played heroine.



Measured by the calendar, my boarding-school life was six weeks; but measured by its pleasant memories, it was as many years.  Mother wrote for me to come home; and in going I saw, by sunlight, the scene of our adventure that dark night going out.  It was a lovely valley, walled in by steep, wooded hills.  Two ravines joined, bringing each its contribution of running water, and pouring it into the larger stream of the larger valley—­a veritable “meeting of the waters”—­in all of nature’s work, beautiful exceedingly.

The house, which stood in the center of a large, green meadow, through which the road ran, was built in two parts, of hewn logs, with one great stone chimney on the outside, protected by an overshot in the roof, but that one in which the log-heap burned that night was inside.  One end had been an Indian fort when Gen. Braddock tried to reach Fort Pitt by that road.  The other end and stone barn had been built by its present proprietor.  A log mill, the oldest in Allegheny county, stood below the barn, and to it the French soldiers had come for meal from Fort Duquesne.  The stream crossed by the bridge was the mill-race, and the waterfall made by the waste-gate.  It was the homestead of a soldier of the Revolution, one of Washington’s lieutenants—­the old man we had seen.  The woman was his second wife.  They had a numerous family, and an unpronounceable name.

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Half a Century from Project Gutenberg. Public domain.
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