A Daughter of the Land eBook

Gene Stratton Porter
This eBook from the Gutenberg Project consists of approximately 484 pages of information about A Daughter of the Land.

Then Kate thought of Him.  She capitalized him in her thought, for after nineteen years of Bates men Robert Gray would seem a deified creature to their women.  She reviewed the scene at the crossing log, while her face flushed with pleasure.  If she had remained at home and had gone after the blackberries, as it was sure as fate that she would have done, then she would have met him first, and he would have courted her instead of Nancy Ellen.  Suddenly Kate shook herself savagely and sat straight.  “Why, you big fool!” she said.  “Nancy Ellen went to the berry patch in a pink dress, wearing a sunbonnet to match, and carrying a blue bowl.  Think of the picture she made!  But if I had gone, I’d have been in a ragged old dirt-coloured gingham, Father’s boots, and his old straw hat jammed down to my ears; I’d have been hot and in a surly temper, rebelling because I had the berries to pick.  He would have taken one look at me, jumped the fence, and run to Lang’s for dear life.  Better cut that idea right out!”

So Kate “cut that idea out” at once, but the operation was painful, because when one turns mental surgeon and operates on the ugly spots in one’s disposition, there is no anaesthetic, nor is the work done with skilful hands, so the wounds are numerous and leave ugly scars; but Kate was ruthless.  She resolved never to think of that brook scene again.  In life, as she had lived it, she would not have profited by having been first at the berry patch.  Yet she had a right to think of Robert Gray’s face, grave in concern for her, his offers to help, the influence he would have in her favour with Nancy Ellen.  Of course if he was forced to postpone his wedding he would not be pleased; but it was impossible that the fears which were tormenting Nancy Ellen would materialize into action on his part.  No sane man loved a woman as beautiful as her sister and cast her aside because of a few months’ enforced waiting, the cause of which he so very well knew; but it would make both of them unhappy and change their beautiful plans, after he even had found and purchased the house.  Still Nancy Ellen said that her father was making it a point of honour that a Bates should teach the school, because he had signed the contract for Kate to take the place Nancy Ellen had intended to fill, and then changed her plans.  He had sworn that a Bates should teach the school.  Well, Hiram had taken the county examination, as all pupils of the past ten years had when they finished the country schools.  It was a test required to prove whether they had done their work well.  Hiram held a certificate for a year, given him by the County Superintendent, when he passed the examinations.  He had never used it.  He could teach; he was Nancy Ellen’s twin.  School did not begin until the first of November.  He could hire help with his corn if he could not finish alone.  He could arise earlier than usual and do his feeding and milking; he could clean the stables, haul wood

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A Daughter of the Land from Project Gutenberg. Public domain.
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