“Very well,” was the rejoinder, “in that case you may go, but I shall expect to see you again very soon. You will die of home-sickness.”
A lovely June day was drawing to a close, as a stage coach drew up at the one hotel in the little village of Waveland.
“Here at last, mum,” said the driver, stepping forward to assist a lady to alight. “It’s been a tedious ride for a delicate looking lady like you.”
She was delicate looking, and very pretty, with an air of refinement that betokened good birth and careful culture.
“Yes,” she said, “it has been a weary day’s journey, and I shall be glad to rest.”
She went into the little homespun sitting-room, and laid aside her bonnet and shawl, then went to the window, and looked out in an absent way. The high, pure brow, and calm, thoughtful eyes, remind us of one we have met before, and the slender, nervous hands, locked after her old fashion when troubled, prove that it is none other than our young friend, Clemence Graystone.
“Jerushy! ain’t she style?”
Her reverie came abruptly to an end, and with a momentary feeling of annoyance, she retreated from the window, as this exclamation startled her into the knowledge that half of the inhabitants of the little village were already out and gazing at her.
“What can I do for you, Miss?” asked the obsequious landlord, a moment after. It was evident that guests beneath his hospitable roof were “like angel’s visits, few and far between.”
“Supper and a room.”
“Yes, certainly, certainly, in no time. Here, Cary Elizy, Elizabeth Angeline, Victory Valery, where on earth air they? Neither of them three girls is never on hand when they’re wanted.”
There was a shuffle, a scampering, and much suppressed giggling, then a frowsy head peered in at the doorway.
“This lady wants something to eat, and a good cup of tea, directly.”
“Yes,” drawled a voice, “she shall have it if it takes a limb. Here, girls, spin around, I tell you, and git the young woman suthin to eat.”
Meanwhile, Clemence surveyed the little room to which she had been conducted, guiltless of carpeting, and with only one chair and a washstand, beside a huge, old fashioned bedstead, and plump feather bed covered with patchwork. But everything was clean and inviting, and only too thankful for the opportunity, Clemence smoothed her hair, and bathed her aching temples, preparatory to partaking of that “good cup of tea,” which her host had ordered, and which she hoped would drive away her headache.
But, alas! for human anticipations. The good, wholesome country fare which she had expected, proved to be only the refuse of what was considered unsaleable in market. In place of the steaming biscuit, golden butter, and delicious cream she had promised herself, there were huge slices of clammy bread, a plate of old-fashioned short-cake, yellow with saleratus; butter, that to say the least of it, was not inodorous, and a compound of skim milk and lukewarm water, dignified by the name of tea. Leaving it almost untasted, Clemence sought her couch, and was soon buried in profound slumber.