“Mattie,” quoth he, “I’m tired of living out there in the barn—I want a respectable house of my own.”
“Yes, Will,” replied Miss Mattie, astonished that he should choose such a subject at such a time.
“Yes,” he continued, “and I want a wife, too. You often said you’d like to do something for me, Mattie; suppose you take the job?”
How much of glancing at a thing in one’s mind as a beautiful improbability will ever make such a cold fact less astonishing? Miss Mattie eyed him with eyes that saw not; speech was stricken from her.
Red caught fright. He sprang forward and took her hand. “Couldn’t you do it, Mattie?” said he. There was a world of pleading in the tone. Miss Mattie looked up, her own honest self; all the little feminine shrinkings left her immediately.
“Ah, but I could, Will!” she said. Lettis came up on the stoop unheard. He stopped, then gingerly turned and made his way back on tip-toe, holding his arms like wings.
“Well, by George!” he murmured, “I’ll come back in a little while, when I’ll be more welcome.”
He spoke to Red in strong reproach that night, in the barn. “You never told me a word, you old sinner!” said he.
“Tell you the honest truth, Let,” replied Red earnestly, looking up from drawing off a boot, “I didn’t know it myself till you told me about it.”
They talked it all over a long time before blowing out the light, but then the little window shut its bright eye, and the only life the mid-night stars saw in Fairfield was Miss Mattie, her elbow on the casement, looking far, far out into the tranquil night, and thinking mistily.
By Stewart Edward White
Mr. White has intermingled the romance of the forests with the romance of a man’s heart, making a story that is big and elemental, while not lacking in sweetness and tenderness. It is an epic of the life of the lumbermen in the great forests of the Northwest, permeated in every line by out-of-door freshness and the glory of the labor of the struggle with nature. It will appeal to everyone who cares for trees, the forests or the open air.
“Mr. White has the power to make you feel the woods as the masters of salt-water fiction make you feel the sea.”—The Boston Herald.
“Of the majesty of the falling forests the book is eloquent, and its place in the history of our literature is secure.”—The Chicago Nevis.
“He has realized to the full the titanic character of the struggle between man and nature in the forest, and has reproduced it in his pages with an enthusiasm and strength of insight worthy of his theme.”—The St. James Gazette.
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