The farmer paused, and Hildegarde drew a long breath, “Oh!” she cried, “what a delightful story, Farmer Hartley! And you don’t believe it? I do, every word of it! I am sure it is true!”
“Wal, ye see,” said the farmer, meditatively; “Ef’ t was true, what become o’ the necklace? That’s what I say. Father believed it, sure enough, and he thought he hed that necklace, as sure as you think you hev that bunnit in yer hand. But ’twarn’t never found, hide nor hair of it.”
“Might he not have sold it?” Hilda suggested.
Farmer Hartley shook his head, “No,” he said, “he warn’t that kind. Besides, he thought to the day of his death that he hed it, sure enough. ‘Thar’s the princess’s necklace!’ he’d say; ’don’t ye forgit that, Wealthy! Along with the di’monds, ye know.’ And then he’d laugh like he was fit to bust. Why, when he was act’lly dyin’, so fur gone ’t he couldn’ speak plain, he called me to him, an’ made signs he wanted to tell me somethin’. I stooped down clost, an’ he whispered somethin’; but all I could hear was ‘di’monds,’ and ‘dig,’ and then in a minute ’twas all over. Poor old Father! He’d been a good skipper, an’ a good man all his days.”
He was silent for a time, while Hilda pondered over the story, which she could not make up her mind to disbelieve altogether.
“Wal! wal! and here we are at the old farm agin!” said the farmer presently, as old Nancy turned in at the yellow gate. “Here I’ve been talkin’ the everlastin’ way home, ain’t I? You must herry and git into the house, Huldy, for I d’ ‘no’ how the machine’s managed to run without ye all this time. I sha’n’t take ye out agin ef I find anythin’s wrong.”
A PARTY OF PLEASURE.
On a certain lovely afternoon the three happiest people in the world (so they styled themselves, and they ought to know) were gathered together in a certain spot, which was next to the prettiest spot in the world.
“You should have had the prettiest, Pink,” said Hilda, “but we could not get your chair down into the glen, you know. My poor, dear Pink, you have never seen the glen, have you?”
“No,” answered Pink Chirk, cheerily. “But I have heard so much about it, I really feel as if I had seen it, almost. And indeed I don’t think it can be much lovelier than this place.”
However that might be, the place they had chosen was certainly pretty enough to satisfy any one. Not far from Mrs. Chirk’s cottage was a little pine-grove, easy of access, and with trees far enough apart to allow the wheeled chair to pass between them. And in the grove, just in a little open space where two or three trees had been cut away, was a great black rock, with ferns growing in all its cracks and crannies, and a tiny birch-tree waving like a green and white plume on its top. And at the foot of