“Now, Marm Lucy,” said Farmer Hartley, “let’s see you give a jump like that. ’Tain’t so long, seems to me, sence ye used to be as spry as a hoppergrass.”
Dame Hartley laughed, and climbed leisurely down from the cart. “Never mind, Jacob!” she said; “I’m spry enough yet to take care of you, if I can’t jump as well as I used.”
“This missy’s trunk?” continued the farmer. “Let me see! What’s missy’s name now? Huldy, ain’t it! Little Huldy! ’Pears to me that’s what they used to call ye when ye was here before.”
“My name is Hildegardis Graham!” said
Hilda in her most icy manner,—what Madge
Everton used to call her Empress-of-Russia-in-the-ice-palace
“Huldy Gardies!” repeated Farmer Hartley. “Well, that’s a comical name now! Sounds like Hurdy-gurdys, doosn’t it? Where did Mis’ Graham pick up a name like that, I wonder? But I reckon Huldy’ll do for me, ’thout the Gardies, whatever they be.”
“Come, father,” said Dame Hartley, “the child’s tired now, an’ I guess she wants to go upstairs. If you’ll take the trunk, we’ll follow ye.”
The stalwart farmer swung the heavy trunk up on his shoulder as lightly as if it were a small satchel, and led the way into the house and up the steep, narrow staircase.
THE PRISONER OF DESPAIR.
As she followed in angry silence, Hilda had a glimpse through a half-open door of a cosey sitting-room; while another door, standing fully open at the other end of the little hall, showed, by a blaze of scarlet tiger-lilies and yellow marigolds, where the garden lay. And now the farmer opened a door and set down the trunk with a heavy thump; and Dame Hartley, taking the girl’s hand, led her forward, saying: “Here, my dear, here is your own little room,—the same that your dear mamma slept in when she was here! And I hope you’ll be happy in it, Hilda dear, and get all the good we wish for you while you’re here!” Hilda bowed slightly, feeling unable to speak; and the good woman continued: “You must be hungry as well as tired, travelling since morning. It’s near our dinner-time. Or shall I bring ye up something now,—a cup o’ tea and a cooky, eh? Or would you like solid victuals better?”
“Thank you!” said Hilda. “I am not at all hungry; I could not possibly eat anything. My head aches badly!” she added, nervously forestalling her hostess’s protestations. “Perhaps a cup of tea later, thank you! I should like to rest now. And I shall not want any dinner.”
“Oh! you’ll feel better, dear, when you have rested a bit,” said Dame Hartley, smoothing the girl’s fair hair with a motherly touch, and not seeming to notice her angry shrinking away. “It’s the best thing you can do, to lie down and take a good nap; then you’ll wake up fresh as a lark, and ready to enjoy yourself. Good-by, dearie! I’ll bring up your tea in an hour or so.” And with a parting nod and smile, the good woman departed, leaving Hilda, like the heroine of a three-volume novel, “alone with her despair.”