What They Said

(Kitty Caxton to Belle Pearson.)

IDALIA, June 28, 18—.

MY DEAREST BELLE, — I received your letter three days ago, and it’s a perfect shame that I have n’t answered it before; but the time is so much occupied with parties and pleasure excursions of various kinds that I really haven’t found a moment to myself until this afternoon.

We are having a perfectly lovely time. Everything is perfectly elegant around the house and inside, and Mrs. Putnam is just as stylish as she can be!

Then, at a little distance from the Putnams lives the Adonis of the place, Mr. Edgar Stuyvesant, and as luck will have it Frank Hendley is visiting him at this very time. Is n’t it funny how things will happen? When Frank bade me such a mournful adieu a month ago, who could have said that we should come to the same place to visit?

Well, it wasn’t of my seeking, at any rate. I can manage to exist without the young gentleman, and I hope he ’ll find it out after a while.

I had quite an adventure coming here. You know that when I started from your house it was so hot that I packed my thick shawl in my trunk, supposing, of course, I would n’t need it before I reached Idalia; but that night it was so cold that I really suffered.

As I had to change cars at four, I did n’t take a sleeping berth, and endeavored to make myself comfortable in the corner of the seat, without much success. At last I dropped asleep, shivering, and waked up when the cars stopped at a station to find to my surprise that some one had spread a heavy shawl over me. It was a gentleman’s gray traveling shawl, evidently; and after a short inspection of the nodding beads around me I decided that no one of them was the owner, and dropped off again. About three o’clock I felt some one taking it up very carefully, and looking I saw a handsome young gentleman —just my ideal, Belle — folding it up. I should have thanked him, but he did n’t perceive that I was awake, and just then the train stopped and every one rushed from their seats, and somehow I lost sight of him.

Perhaps it was quite as well that it happened so, for it never improves my looks to lose my rest, and besides, Belle, the mysterious stranger came straight on to Idalia, and is at present stopping at this very house. What do you think of that? And he’s perfectly splendid, and ever so smart, they say; but please don’t say anything about the adventure of the shawl, for I think our friend Angie is turning languishing eyes in that direction. What she wants him for, I can’t see; he’s not particularly well off, and Angie never is satisfied unless she has everything a little larger and better than any one else. But it’s a clear case of “smite,” and she isn’t smart enough to do anything but purr around all the time in a way that’s perfectly disgusting. I never could see how girls could go on so. It’s “ Oh, Mr. Raymond, are you fond of this?” and “Walter, are you fond of that?” and “Don’t you enjoy Mrs. Browning’s poems? ” (you know how likely she is to enjoy them), without giving any one else a chance to say anything at all. I fancy I understand the duties of a hostess rather better than that.

But the joke of it is to sec the poor fellow escape when he gets a chance! And as that happens whenever Frank or Mr. Stuyvesant comes over, it’s not seldom that we go down with Frank and Frank Seabury for a row on the river or a walk in the shrubbery, while Angie and Marion are singing with Stuyvesant or lounging on the steps.

Oh, we ’re having a delightful time, and you may be sure I shall tell you every single thing that happens. It’s such fun to have these little romances occur in real life. Frank ’s just as hateful as he can be.

Do write soon. I’m positively pining to hear from you. Yours ever,


(Frank Seabury to her Mother.)

IDALIA, July 1, 18—.

DEAR MOTHER, —Well, here we are at last, safe and sound after our journey, and not at all tired, enjoying ourselves every moment of the time.

Angie lives in a large, handsome house standing in a kind of park, with other houses near it, and the grounds are so lovely! I can’t give you any idea of how beautiful they were the first night we were here; and we girls sat out on the steps in the moonlight and talked until Mr. Putnam called down-stairs and said we must come in and go to bed. He is very pleasant; I like him rather better than Mrs. Putnam; but you know I always had a fancy for old gentlemen. The house is furnished very handsomely, and Marion Hallett and I sleep together, while Kitty Caxton rooms with Angie, and the way we girls cut up is a caution. You’d think it was seminary days come back again, and all the teachers struck dumb.

Well, to begin at the beginning: on the first day after breakfast we all went for a drive in Angie’s phaeton; that is, Kitty and I rode in the phaeton, and Marion and Angie rode on horseback. Marion rides well, as she does everything else, and looks very handsome on horseback.

Somebody else perceived that fact,— a gentleman who was loitering along the path in the shrubbery. His name is Stuyvesant, and his mother owns the next house to the Putnams, so that Angie knows him quite well.

He is quite like a hero, — tall and so handsome, — and they made a very pretty picture as he stopped to fix Angie’s saddle, the two girls, both so fair, in their beautiful riding dresses, with this dark stranger, who looks like an Italian prince, stooping before them so gracefully, the variegated colors of the parterre beside them, the green trees waving in the background, and the blue sky stretching overhead. Oh, mother, what art can reproduce the sublime thing it is to be, — to live with every pulse thrilling with glad young life, to be beautiful and gracious and have every one look pleased to see you, as though you brought gladness in your very presence, just as they do at Marion Hallett!

I’m getting very well acquainted with her, and like her much better than I thought I should. There’s considerable twisting and turning done by fashionable people, I imagine, as well as by us who don’t make any pretensions.

No one would ever think, to look at the elegant Miss Hallett as she sweeps into the drawing-room in her handsome black silk, that it has been made over three times, turned upside down, ripped and turned wrong side out, sponged with logwood, and finally made up with black velvet where the silk did n’t hold out. Yet such is the ease, as she confessed to me in a moment of confidence when I was taking down her hack hair for her last night.

Oh, I must tell you what a good deed she did for me the second night after our arrival. Angie had invited a little company for us, a dozen couples, perhaps; and remembering how a stranger is always looked at and criticised I went with great thankfulness to my new grenadine, fresh from the hands of the dressmaker, which I had hung up in the most secure corner of the wardrobe. But woe to me! Kitty had been there before me and overturned a bottle from the shelf, containing some mysterious preparation, right on my cherished dress. Not on the underskirt, — that would have been bad enough, —but the overskirt, and the front breadth at that, was covered with white spots of a most dreadful description. I felt ready to cry. You, of all others, dear mother, know how scanty my wardrobe is beside those of the other girls, and to have my only really new dress spoiled at one fell swoop seemed to take away from me all the fortitude I had.

Just at this juncture, in walks Miss Marion. The dress and niv mournful face told the story, and she came to the rescue at once. “ Let’s try ammonia.” And ammonia took out the spots, but failed to bring back the color. We left it to dry by the window until after supper, but all in vain; and I was trying to make up my mind to a muslin, when Marion was struck by a bright idea, and proposed French polish. We put it on, and you never would suspect that there was ever a spot on the dress in the world. Wasn’t it cute of her?

But it is getting late and I must stop. I hope you ’ll write soon and tell me all the home news, for sometimes I feel as though I couldn’t stand it away from you so long.

Give my love to the girls and everybody, and keep a great deal of it yourself. Your loving child,


(Marion Hallett to Fred White.)

IDALIA, July 1, 18—.

DEAR FRED, —You will see from the heading of this letter that I am once more a bird of passage.

Mamma having gone to Saratoga with Sue, I am making a short visit to Angie Putnam, who you will remember was at school with me at Miss Saxon’s in those blissful times when you boarded at cousin Kenneth’s and I used occasionally to be invited there to tea.

Yes, you importunate fellow, I did miss you dreadfully at first. I nearly drove Sue frantic by walking about at all hours of night, and ate so little that mamma began to talk of port-wine and the sea-side.

But I have got through all that, and can eat as much as is expected of any well-bred young lady, and laugh and dance as well as ever.

I have gone to five parties and one German since you left, and have had the attendance of no less a person than Mr. Edgar Stuyvesant on numberless rides and walks.

I hope you know who Mr. Stuyvesant is, Fred. He is the richest and handsomest young gentleman in Idalia, and very fastidious, “ they say.”

But I haven’t paid any attention at all to my Lord Lofty, — do you understand, sir? — none whatever. However, he comes over quite often with Frank Hendley, who is likewise visiting here.

Frank is nearly crazy over that little witch of a Kitty Caxton.

There is a handsome young gentleman by the name of Raymond who is visiting Angie, and who I doubt not would be welcomed by the powers that he as a son-in-law. He, on the contrary, if I mistake not, cherishes a secret but most profound admiration for Frank Seabury, while to complicate matters still further Miss Kitty, from pure mischief, has engaged him in a most desperate flirtation for the Christian purpose of annoying master Frank.

This renders us a terribly disjointed concern; for though we are all very polite, and we would n’t — no,not for worlds — lose our tempers, yet Angie is very apt to propose a walk, where a slight change of partners can be effected, which Miss Kitty, enjoying herself to her heart’s content in the parlor, is equally certain to veto.

Then, of course, Angie subsides into silence, from which it takes my most skillful strategy to rouse her; and as Frank Seabury never talks very much, the burden of the conversation falls on Mr. Stuyvesant and me, with the accompaniment of Kitty’s mellow tones from the deep window-seat, where she and Mr. Raymond are comfortably ensconced.

All this makes Frank Hendley about as pleasant and comfortable a companion as a ybung hedgehog; and I have several times been forced to remonstrate with him privately with regard to his behavior, but all to no purpose. It seems a great pity when they might be so happy that such little jealousies should come up to spoil everything.

Yesterday afternoon we expected to he left to our own devices, for the gentlemen had gone off on a masculine fishing-party and were to return on the seven o’clock train. Mrs. Putnam and Angie had gone out in the carriage to make some calls, and Kitty and I were comfortably settled in the library, when in comes Master Frank. He had broken his fishing-rod early in the afternoon, he explained, and as his chance of sport for the day was over had taken advantage of the afternoon train to return.

Here was a grand chance for reconciliation ! And as I was tolerably certain that both parties were longing for it, I immediately bethought myself of a way to rid them of my undesirable society.

I knew that if I left the room one of them, from pure perverseness, would he sure to follow. So I suggested to Kitty, in my most persuasive manner, that it must be positively delightful on the river this afternoon, and wouldn’t it be fun to go down to the bend after waterlilies.

Kitty assented, and then, before she had time to think, I turned and asked Frank if he wouldn’t go along. And as the reward of my disinterested endeavors I had the pleasure of seeing the young couple walk slowly away from the house together, while I ran up-stairs to get my hat. You can probably imagine how long it took me to find that hat; and when I had discovered it one of the strings was insecure and required fastening. This done, I walked leisurely down to the boat-house, with all possible care not to disturb a possible tête-àtête, and found — Kitty alone! Can you imagine anything more provoking! And when I asked her where Frank was, she replied feelingly that she did n’t know and did n’t care; that tlie gardener had taken the boat down the river, and Frank, after discovering the fact, had with great gallantry decamped.

I was almost out of patience with her, for I was nearly certain that he never would have left her in that unhandsome fashion if she had n’t done something hateful; but I knew it would never do to scold her, so we silently retraced our steps, considerably out of temper, if such an expression can be applied to the lovely and angelic creation that men call woman.

Well, after supper, as we sat on the steps and verandas enjoying the sunset, I managed to draw Frank a little aside, and remonstrated with him in the most elder-sisterly fashion I could.

At first my lord was most obdurate and uncomprehending, — didn’t know what I meant, could n’t understand whom I was talking about, etc.; but I persevered, and at last brought the young man to see tlie error of his ways. I talked very plainly, for you remember I have known Frank ever since we were little children, and no one can know better than I what a noble, true-hearted person he is; and I could n’t bear to sit by and see him deliberately making himself unhappy without at least an effort to prevent it.

“ Consider,” said I, “ that such quarrels and jealousies would do very well if you were children and no particular consequences were to result from them; but you are man and woman grown, and the step that you take will seriously affect your after-life. Of course she might feel bound by her position as a guest not to break with you here, but, let me tell you, there are not many girls as high-spirited as Kitty Caxton who would be treated as you have already treated her since you have been here, and ever forgive it.”

“Darned comforting!” rejoined the victim, chewing the end of a straw, despairingly. I wanted to laugh at the involuntary confession from my Lord Francis, who had been so very high and mighty when we first began, but after all it was too pathetic. Frank’s great dark eyes were a trifle misty as he faltered out his troubles, how he had been nearly beside himself with jealousy ever since Raymond had appeared on the scene and eclipsed him so completely.

“ What she can find to admire in him, I don’t see,” remarked Master Frank, with pardonable rancor; “a straight nose and good enough eyes, but I never thought Kitty was such a fool! ”

“I don’t think she is,” I replied; “ but no girl cares to fling herself at a man’s head, if she’s ever so fond of him.”

“ Except your hostess,” remarked Frank, amiably.

“Why, Frank, for shame!” said I; but I could n’t help laughing, for between you and me poor Angie is n’t very deep, and her manœuvres always come to the surface. Well, the result of it was that I consoled Frank to the best of my ability, exhorted him to patience and politeness, and went up-stairs that night resolved to pour out all my vials of wrath upon Miss Kitty.

That was yesterday evening, and I got up at four o’clock this morning to write this long letter to you. I hope you will appreciate the fact and return the compliment accordingly.

I have laid away the Texan flowers that you sent me in a little casket where I keep a few other souvenirs known only to myself,—a faded geranium, a tiny sprig of heliotrope, and the note that some one sent with it.

While I am away from mamma there will be no danger of discovery, so do write often, for I get positively frantic when I don’t hear from you.

I have nothing to comfort me but the memory of that last evening we spent at uncle Huntley’s, sitting together under the elms, with the delicate, mysterious perfume of the grape blossoms floating around us, and the moon casting long shafts of light between the leafy aisles. I came upon a withered cluster of grape blossoms a few days ago, and as I lifted it the fleeting perfume recalled the scene with such vividness that for a moment I fancied I could hear again a beloved voice beside me and feel again your last kiss on my cheek.

Oh, Fred, for my sake at least, if not for your own, take care of yourself. Remember that there is some one waiting and praying at home for this dreadful suspense to be over, and think of her.

Yours forever, MARION.

(Kitty Caxton to Belle Pearson.)

IDALIA, July 6, 18—.

DEAREST BELI.E,I received your letter only last night, and hasten to answer it, for I know how provoking it is to be waiting for worsteds to be matched, and I hope this will suit you.

How sudden the death of Mr. Huntley was! And how nice it will be for Marion to have a fortune, for, although they lived nicely, it never seemed to me that they were particularly well off. She left here very suddenly. When the telegram came for her it was only fifteen minutes before the train started for the West, and you can imagine the bustle that followed, one girl cramming her valise with all the essentials we could think of, another buttoning her shoes, and the elegant Mr. Stuyvesant so excited by all this as actually to run to the stables to order the carriage.

The Adonis is quite as inconsolable as is allowable in a polite young gentleman. If somebody doesn’t have au invitation to take possession of the Stuyvesant mansion after the proper time for mourning has expired, then I lose my guess. Mr. Stuyvesant would n’t for the world violate any of the proprieties of life, but he could n’t by any possibility make allowances for anything beyond them.

I wonder whether Marion will take him. I used to think that Fred White was pretty fond of her, and she of him; but Fred’s off in Texas, and a girl can’t be expected to stand that kind of thing forever. Marrying Mr. Stuyvesant, with his wealth and position, would be a very different thing from waiting four or five years for Fred White to he able to support her, and running the gauntlet every day of her life from Mrs. Hallet and Sue. I feel so sorry for Fred. If there ever was any one that, deserved a good wife it was he, and to have Marion mislead him in this way would be cruelly false. Well, I hope she ’ll think better of it.

We ’re rather a glum party just now besides Mr. Stuyvesant, for Angie has the neuralgia and is horrid cross, — when the gentlemen are not around; Frank Hendley is afflicted with a great depression of spirits, — I ’m sure I don’t see what’s the matter with him; and Frank Seabury always was a little mouse; so that Mr. Raymond and I have to keep up our spirits for all the rest.

And really, Belle, though it’s very nice to be talented, and all that, I begin to think that it’s better to have two grains of wits down handy, where you can rise it, than to have several pounds of the article stowed away somewhere under the rafters.

I like a man who can talk with me sensibly sometimes, and who can pay me a compliment occasionally, or tease me a little, — I wouldn’t even object to quarreling with him once in a while; but Heaven defend me from one where I have to be continually crawling up a mental step-ladder to get at him.

I don’t see what Angie would do with him after she got him; for, although I know but precious little, my stock of brains is considerably larger than hers is. She 'd have to put him in the library, labeled, like the specimens no one knows anything about, “Vir Americanus, species pocticns et scientificus.”

But mamma Putnam would n’t say anything about its being “ obtained with great carte and expense,” would she?

Please give my love to Marion, and tell her we are very dull without her. I hope she will come back, if only for a few days. Tell her Mr. Stuyvesant is perfectly heart-broken. And in about a week more, you may think of rate as taking leave of Idalia and its inhabitants, and going home. Yours most truly,


(Marion to Fred.)

IDALIA,July 12, 18—.

DEAR FRED, - I have just received your last letter, and, late as it is, cannot rest until I have answered your unjust reproaches.

Yes, it is true that I like Frank. I will go farther and tell the truth: I am very fond of Frank, and have come back to Idalia for the express purpose of seeing him. But oh, Fred, how can you be so unreasonable as to think that any girl could fall in love with any one whom she had played with ever since she was in pinafores! How could you be so insane as to suppose that even the evil spirit for flirtation, which I am aware is one of my besetting sins, could ever lead me in ever so slight a way toward Frank Hendley, when I might have you! There! any one who was n’t appeased by such a compliment as that must he insatiable indeed.

After such unjust suspicions as have been entertained against me, I don’t think it’s fair that some one should be told how at sunset, — the time when we promised to think of each other, — when the great, golden orb of day has slowly departed, carrying with it all the plans for work and pleasure that have filled the time; when the rose-colored light slowly dies out of the air and the water, and going seems to leave everything suddenly desolate, — how then I think of some one alone, away out on the Texan prairies, with such unutterable longing that it seems as though I could give all that I ever possessed to be by his side.

And now to accuse me of flirting! But trust me, please, Fred, for beyond you, now that my uncle is dead, I have very few to rely on.

I can’t tell you exactly the position in which I have stood at home; it would seem neither honorable nor filial. It was not because I was ashamed of my lover that I asked for a secret engagement, not exactly because I doubted my own courage, but from a mixture of motives that you may perhaps understand when you are better acquainted with the family.

However that may be, all necessity for concealment now is past. I have enough for both now, Fred; and if you are to marry an heiress, it is necessary that you should get her before the lawyers spend all the money.

Mamma is bent on going to Europe next month, but I won’t start before October at the earliest. Don’t yon think it is your duty to come north before that? We shall be at the Fifth Avenue Hotel in New York, and all letters addressed to that point will reach us. If you can’t trust your betrothed, the only thing that remains to you, poor unfortunate, is to come up and see to her yourself.

Yours most truly,


(Kitty Caxton to Belle Pearson.)

IDALIA, July 13, 18—.

DEAREST BELLE, — I must tell you all that has happened, or burst. I' m so mad! Marion and I have had an awful fuss, — perfectly awful! I’ve said all the mean things to her that I could think of, and the only thing I’m sorry for is that I did n’t slap her in the face.

It came about like this. This morning Angie and I were sitting on the piazza, and the other girls had gone to the post-office. Angie was sewing, and her spool of silk rolled down off the piazza, and into the grass. She went to get it, and I did n't. notice her particularly until she said in a queer way, —

“ Kitty, come here.”

I looked, and she was holding in her hand what seemed to be a piece of tissue paper. I ran down the steps to her side, and saw it was a loose leaf front one of those blotting-books, which had been closed on some manuscript where the ink was so fresh as to leave the impression. It was quite faint, but Angie slowly read: " I like Frank — I am very fond of Frank, and have come back to — [that word we could n’t make out] for the express purpose of seeing her” — We looked at each other.

“It’s Walter Raymond’s writing,” said Angie, and she began to cry.

“ Let me have it,” said I. The moment I looked at it, I recognized Marion Hallett’s bold handwriting, — more like a man’s than a woman’s; but what was the use of saying anything about it? I had never seen Raymond’s writing and Angie had, so how could I say it was n‘t his? But I knew better, for the last word that Angie called her I knew was him.

If Marion Hallett had been there at that moment, I believe I should have annihilated her. Everything that had happened came up before me like a flash. All the walking and singing together, that night before she went away when they sat off by themselves and never spoke to any one else all the evening, and various little attempts she used to make to bring Frank and me together when every one was around and she could n’t have him to herself, all came upon me with such force that for a moment I thought 1 should die. But I did n’t; I was too mad.

“ Here,” said I to Angie, who was still crying, “ give me that paper. We don’t want any one else to see it.”

“No-o-o!” said poor Angie, with a fresh burst of sobs.

44 And no one need know' anything about it if we don’t tell. I had just as soon not have any one know that we had been reading his blotting-book, hadn’t you?”

“ Ye-s-s,” choked Angie.

“ Then let’s cut up-stairs quick, for the girls are coming up the avenue and they ’ll ask what you ’re crying about.”

Once safe in our room, I exhorted my unknowing confederate to dignity and silence. I sympathized with her on the fickleness of man, and assured her that for my part, although I was very much taken with Walter Raymond at first, I found him tiresome on longer acquaintance; but I thought he would do very well for a domestic little thing like Frank Seabury, all ears and no tongue. And so well did I succeed that Angie (partly, no doubt, on the principle which made the grapes sour) was pleased to come to my way of thinking, bathe her swollen eyes, and make herself presentable for lunch. For on this day of all others, Mrs. Putnam had decided to depart from the usual country hours and give a grand dinner party at six o’clock.

Frank and Raymond, who had been playing croquet with the girls, came in to lunch, and I felt obliged to be rather attentive to Raymond to cover up Angie’s deficiencies in that direction, ami I don’t suppose that roas particularly polite to Frank. After they had gone, I went up-stairs again, and presently Marion came in. I felt that the moment had arrived. She began very mildly by saying bow fond she was of her friends, and how anxious she was to help them out of trouble, and that sometimes she was afraid she might be thought to be meddling with what did not concern her. Then she began to talk about Frank; what a noble fellow he was, so true-hearted and faithful. She could n’t bear to have his heart thrown away by one that didn’t know the worth of it.

Then I turned on her, and said that if his heart was thrown away, I guessed there was some one else that would be precious glad to get the leavings. She said she did n’t know what I could possibly mean; that it. was evident to every one that he would be devoted to me if I would only let him.

“ As devoted as you would let him,” I said.

“ Kitty Caxton,” said she, “ what on earth do you mean? ”

“ What do I mean! That I know a little more of your plans than you think I do. You’ve played a pretty smart game, getting people to think you were going to take Ed Stuyvesant, just to cover your designs in another direction.”

“Kitty, how dare you say that!” And her eyes began to flash. “How dare you so misconstrue simple civilities to Mr. Stuyvesant after the way in which you have trifled with Raymond! Poor Frank! this is a worthy reward for all his devotion. To be accepted only to be dropped for the next fancy ! ”

“Poor Frank! Why don’t you spend a little of your pity on Fred White, that you’ve sent down to Texas to work out his life for you, so that you can have full swing here? It’s so convenient to keep a lot of fellows in a row, like a string of dried apples, ready to pick off the one that looks the most promising.

I used to think you were a little more honorable than the rest of the family, Marion Hallett, but I’ve come to the conclusion that you ’re the very worst. But you have n’t fooled so many as you may think, for all the people at home know about Stuyvesant, and of course Jennie White will tell Fred.”

“ I don’t believe that they ever heard the name of Stuyvesant.”

“ Belle wrote about it in her last letter,” I replied. (Don’t you breathe a word of how you came to hear, miss.) “ You seem to judge other people by yourself. It isn’t every one that can stoop to such low manœuvres for a miserable fellow like Frank Hendley. If I was once teased into something like a half engagement with him, thank goodness, I’ve come to my senses, and resign him to you with pleasure. Here’s the ring he gave me; you 'd better wear it; it would be of a piece with your other performances. But after you’ve got Frank and Stuyvesant safely landed, and on the string along with Ainslie and White and the little lawyer at home, you’d better look about before you decide. Perhaps you can find another young man to wheedle and coax and cajole until he thinks you are the most perfect creature in the universe. Of all the meanest, despicable girls I ever saw, I think you are the worst.”

With that I flung Frank’s ring across the room and ran out. I listened downstairs for some time, and I should think it was nearly half an hour before I heard her come out and go slowly down the hall to her own room and go in, locking the door after her.

Well, after this scene, just imagine me having to dress for dinner and make conversation to a silent young man through eight courses. I think I ought to have the credit of being a pretty good actress, for I would defy any one to have told from my manner anything of the exciting times I had been having upstairs.

It’s all over now, I thank my stars, the company gone, and Angie has been sleeping off her troubles for two hours. I was so nervous and excited that I thought I would write to you and see if I could n’t get it off my mind; but I don’t seem to succeed, so I must put out my light and go to bed.

Yours in tribulation, KITTY.

P. S. I forgot to tell you, I found Frank’s ring lying in my jewelry box.

(Frank Seabury to her Mother.)

IDALIA, July 15, 18—.

DEAREST MOTHER, — This letter is to be strictly private, devoted to your eyes alone, and I shall only permit you to extract such bits for the public as have no connection with what I have to reveal.

In the first place, as Marion leaves in two days for New York, it was deemed advisable that we should celebrate by joining with our friends in a picnic at the Glen, a lovely, romantic spot a few miles above here, where the river tumbles over the rocks in cascades, and after winding among green hills and peaeeful meadows turns suddenly into one of the wildest bits of scenery that can well he imagined.

Frank Hendley and Marion, Mr. Stuyvesant and Kitty, drove Up in single carriages, while the large carriage brought Mrs. Putnam, Walter Raymond, Angie, and me. We had a delightful drive, but I have seen enough beautiful scenery to keep me talking for a week when I get home, so I won’t stop to describe it here. And when we arrived at the Glen, of course no one felt exactly in his right mind until we had eaten our dinner. This took some time, for it was quite elaborate, and we could n’t find dry, level ground for the whole party, so that part of us were encamped on the hill-side, wedged in behind rocks and bushes, and it was a long time before all were served. You should have seen Walter Raymond going around with an ice - cream freezer in his hand and a white apron tied about his waist; and Frank Hendley making a flying leap from a rock above us and landing in the centre of the group with a basket of strawberries.

Mr. Stuyvesant and Kitty had eaten in another group and were straying about long before we had finished. We were just going down the hill, when we heard screams and shouts below, and looking down saw Kitty sitting in a little boat that had grounded on a rock at the verge of the rapids. Frank Hendley succeeded in getting to the rock and rescuing the dripping damsel, but of course both the rescuer and the rescued were in no condition to enjoy “a stroll in the green grass,” and were accordingly sent home post-haste, Mr. Stuyvesant engaging to take charge of Frank’s lady, as Frank had relieved him of his.

When the picnic broke up, and Walter and Mr. Stuyvesanthad gone to arrange the carriages, Marion drew me a little aside and said, ‘‘Frank, I want you to do something for me, —the greatest favor that any one could possibly confer upon me just now, — and I’ll never forget it, the longest day I live! ”

“ What is it? ” said I.

“ Ride home with Mr. Stuyvesant and let me have your place in the carriage.”

“ But how can I, when everything is all arranged? ”

‘‘That’s easy enough. Admire his horse and say you wish you could ride after it, and I’ll manage the rest.”

“ But I never could have the face. What will he think of me, when it has all been settled the other way? ”

“ Oh, no man sees anything very criminal in admiring himself or his horse,” said Marion, with a smile; “ and if he comes in to spend the evening and you will entertain him, you have no idea, Frank, what an abyss of misery you may save me from. ”

What could I do after that but promise? So I went down to the carriages, feeling like a deep and desperate politician, and proceeded to admire Mr. Stuyvesant’s horse. It is a fine creature, only I should never have thought of telling him so.

” You ought to ride after him fully to appreciate Selim,” said Marion, drawing on her gloves.

“Oh, how I wish I could!” I exclaimed.

“ If Mr. Stuyvesant will excuse me, I will exchange places with you,” said Marion, “as my head aches badly, and the motion of the carriage is much easier.” So of course Mr. Stuyvesant had to take me, and I devoted myself to his entertainment most assiduously, both during the ride and during the interval when he was waiting in the parlor to learn how Kitty was.

Just imagine me, if you can, mother, selected to help in deep and dangerous plots, and tremble at the result of sending your daughter into society !

After Stuyvesant had gone we went up-stairs together, and as I stopped at my door Marion turned and took me in her arms, and kissed me passionately. Then she said, “I’m coining into your room soon, if I may, for I have something to tell you.”

Then we separated, and I went in to see Kitty for a moment. I found her rather excited, but very amiable, — a decided contrast, I must say, to what she has been for the last two days, — and she asked if she could see Marion.

“ Marion has gone to bed with a headache, my dear,” said Mrs. Putnam, with a look at us girls to keep us quiet; “ and you really must take this powder that the doctor left, and go to sleep, or you will be ill. You shall see Marion in the morning. ”

So Kitty submitted, kissed us all round, told us we were every one of us perfect angels, and then resigned herself to the soothing effects of the medicine.

In a few minutes Marion knocked at my door; for since her return, in honor to her altered position as an heiress, another and more elegant room has been assigned to lier. So you must imagine Marion sitting in lier white dressinggown by the window, the moonbeams lighting up her golden hair and deepening the mysterious shadows of her dark eyes, with your daughter on a hassock beside her, listening intently to Marion’s story.

“ To begin with,” said she, “ I have no need to tell you that I am so different from mamma and Sue that on many subjects we cannot possibly comprehend each other’s motives, or appreciate them. This has made me very much alone when I have been at home, and sometimes I have been very unhappy. My uncle Huntley used often to invite me to his house, and there I met Fred White. About six months ago I promised to be his wife; but I asked him to let our engagement, remain a secret for the present, and he consented. It was n't altogether because I was too cowardly to face my mother and Sue, but I knew that the storm of ridicule would come upon him, too, — and—well, it seems horrible to say such things of one’s own family, but I knew that we should be far apart and something might happen, where no explanations could be made, to keep us apart forever. If there was nothing to sever, then there could be no attempt, I thought.”

“ I think you were wise,” I said.

“I’m afraid not. I told my uncle, and though he poohed at the idea of such a long engagement, he promised to keep my secret, and, I think, was the means of getting Fred’s appointment, He was always kind to me. But now, when we might be so happy together, conies tlie worst trouble of all. Fred is very jealous, — I can’t say that my previous career has been such as to make him anything else, — and has even been so crazy as to be concerned about my friendship for poor Frank Hendley, who he knows is engaged to Kitty; so I have been continually in terror, either of attracting mamma’s suspicions by avoiding attentions, or of rousing Fred’s ire by accepting them. I had a long talk with Kitty yesterday, at first about Frank; but she grew very angry, accused me of drawing Frank away, and told me that every one knew I had been fiirting with Stuyvesant, that he had proposed to me, and a great deal more that it makes me sick to think of. Now, have I treated Mr. Stuyvesant in any other way than the merest courtesy demanded? ”

“ Certainly not,” said I.

“But if Fred hears the story, told as Kitty told it, it seems to me that. I should die, Frank.”

“Let us hope for the best,” said I. “If Kitty was angry when she said it, perhaps she exaggerated the report, and it will be very easy to contradict it. You are going away so soon, too.”

“ Yes, but Mr. Stuyvesant and his mother intend to make the grand tour with mamma, and I don’t know what would happen to me off there by myself.”

“ Kitty wants to see you in the morning,” said I. “ She asked for you tonight, but Mrs. Putnam wished lier to go to sleep.”

“ I hope she and Frank are at peace once more. It seems as though there must be some strange fatality about me that makes every one unhappy with whom I have to do. I warn you beforehand, Frank, what will come of being my friend,”

“ And I am so little afraid of your warning that I am going to invite you to sleep with me to-night. Come, let me take down your hair. You know you won’t sleep if you go off by yourself.”

“ I have n’t for the last two nights,” she said, with a heavy sigh. “ Night before last I wrote to Fred, and worried about his angry letter until morning; and last night, what Kitty had told me haunted me like the ghost of a murdered man. If I could only cry,” — with a great, tearless sob, — “ but I can’t. I felt while Kitty was talking as though her words were slowly turning me to stone, and I should sit there, without power to escape from the torture, forever and ever. And then, having to go down to dinner and talk to a grinning idiot in a white tie, while my heart was breaking! I was so afraid Fred would get tired of me, — find out how little there really was of all that he fancied in me. And now ’ ’ —

She began to cry at last. If any one had told me that I should see Marion care so much for any one, I should never have believed them. Marion, with all her wit and brilliancy, completely a slave to some one’s jealous suspicions, while Kitty Caxton, with not half her powers, rides over her lover’s heart rough-shod.

“ You don’t know how hard it has been,” said poor Marion, ‘‘ whenever I’ve gone to a party and come home with Fred, to have Sue immediately report the fact, and mamma look at me through her glasses in that sharp way that 1 felt was looking down into my very soul, and say, ' You must manage better next time, Marion.’ And then, when next time I had to tell Fred he must n’t talk to me, he would look so surprised and hurt, and half suspicious, too, for he has n’t any idea of what mamma is, and I’m sure I have n’t the heart to tell him! ”

“I have,” said I; ‘‘and I’ll do it, too, if it’s necessary.”

“ It won’t do any good now.” She began to cry again, and of course that relieved her. Then I coaxed her to sleep with me, and after an hour’s soothing and petting had the satisfaction of knowing from her regular breathing that she had fallen asleep. I lay for some time revolving wild plans for smothering Mrs. Hallett and Sue, half resolved to write to Fred myself, and at last dropped asleep, too.

Marion went in to see Kitty in the morning, and they had a long talk together, but I don’t know anything about it, except that they are good friends again. Kitty came down-stairs in the afternoon, and was uncommonly entertaining and agreeable. Walter Raymond remarked to me that after this he should always believe in the improving effects of immersion.

But, dear me, what will the post-office department say to such a letter! They ’ll suspect you of writing for the papers and having your rejected manuscripts returned, and I’ll stop, to spare your character as much as possible.

Yours lovingly, FRANK.

(Kitty Caxton to Belle Pearson.)

IDALIA, July 15, 18—.

DEAREST BEXLE, — I can’t rest until I write and tell you that if ever there was an angel on earth, it. is Marion Hallett! We’ve made it all up now, and I feel awfully ashamed of myself whenever I think how I treated her. And if you want to bring me to my knees before you in tears of gratitude, just please mention to every one that you can (and bring it in handy, you know) that, although Edgar Stuyvesant has been very attentive to her, quite adores her in fact, she does n’t seem to value his attentions at all, nor care a picayune for him; and that’s the real truth this time, and I know it, but I can’t tell you just yet, though I think that if you ’re a good girl you ’ll probably be invited to be bridesmaid to somebody before very long; but mind, don't you tell!

And now I think I must tell you how Frank and I made up. We were at a picnic at the Glen, a place where tlie river is very swift on account of the rapids below. You know that I am pretty strong in my arms and have rowed a good deal, and as I have been on the water so much by myself I thought there was no harm in pulling out to an enticing little island and racing to shore with one of the gentlemen.

Well, I got out there first, and waited some time for him to come (I found afterward his boat leaked so that he did n’t dare to use it), and I thought I would row around the island and start back. But as I got around the point, the current took the boat with such fury that 1 could n’t make any headway against it, and carried me down to the edge of the rapids, where, as luck would have it, we lodged against a big rock, and there we stayed, the boat tilted up on the side, threatening to turn over at any moment, and I half in ihe water, banging on for dear life, waiting for whatever should happen next. The first thing I knew, Frank Hendley was hauling me up on the rock and proceeding to tie a rope around mo. There was barely room enough for two, and after I had nearly tumbled off once and he had caught me, he asked me to take hold of him while he tied the rope. I thought of Marion Hallett and the quarrel and all the mean things I had said about him. I felt I had rather die than have him help me out, and said valiantly, “ I won’t! ”

Frank looked at me a moment in astonishment, as if I must be taking leave of my senses, and then said sternly, “ Do as I tell you, you little goose.”

What was I to do? There we were perched up together on a little point of rock, for all tlie world like two drenched rats. I never supposed that a rescue could possibly be so unromantic. But I took hold.

I hardly know how we got on shore, but I know that Frank must have kept me from the rocks at the risk of his own life, for he is horribly bruised, and so lame and sore that be can hardly get about to-day.

Of course they made a great outcry over us, and as we had to go home, and no one wanted to ride with two such dripping creatures, they bundled us up and sent us off together.

We rode along for some time very comfortably, for you can’t snub a fellow that has just saved your life, yon know, even if he has been making a fool of himself; and as the horse struck along stretch of level ground, Frank asked me if I knew wliat I said when we were on the rock, and I responded that I did, perfectly. Then he asked me wliat on earth made me say it, and I told him I’d sooner die than live. Then he asked me, if I felt that way, how did I suppose be felt; and I told him he had better go and get Marion to comfort him; and be said he’d rather go to some other place,—very improper indeed, — and asked me what had become of my ring. I told him that I had taken it off.

“ To have room for Raymond’s, I suppose! ” said Frank, savagely.

“ I thought Marion liad the best right to it,” said I.

“ What the deuce do you mean about Marion ?”

I was pretty well wrought up by this time, and was getting very chilly besides, and in spite of my best efforts I began to crv. And then 1 don’t, know exactly what I said. Frank said that I told him I loved him better than any one else in the world, but I don’t believe it.

However, he confessed that he had been very foolish and unreasonable, and when I told him that if I did n’t die from my drenching I should certainly get up and sing a duet with Mr. Raymond to-morrow morning, he responded with great amiability and elegance that he didn’t care a darn, and altogether was reduced to such a degree of subjection that I feared for his health.

Oh, well, I think you ’ll have to imagine the rest. I really can’t tell you every single thing we said, but everything is all right now between Frank and me, and Marion really was trying to get us to make up when I talked so to her. Was n’t it a shame! If Fred White does n’t think she’s an angel, he ought to be hung and quartered! Marion wants me to come and stay with her after she comes back from New York, so you ’ll soon see the bad penny returning; and then, my dear, I have such perfect loach to tell! Till then, good-by. From yours ever, KITTY CAXTON.

(Angie Putnam to Belle Pearson.)

IDALIA, September 1, 18—.

MY DEAREST BELLE, - I was very much surprised to learn from your letter of the double wedding that is so soon to take place, especially after what happened during the girls' visit here this summer. But between you and me, Marion would have liked very well to have stood in my shoes if she could only have managed it; and it’s my opinion that when she. saw it was impossible to win Edgar’s affections, she was so mad that she made up her mind to be married to whomever she could lay hands on. It was pretty smart of her to keep Fred White on hand for so long! I remember how he used to beau her as long ago as when we were at school together, and afterward, when we had come out, at Mr. Huntley’s. But Marion’s is such an odd style, — not a bit feminine, you know; and I think that has made her more anxious to secure what she could. In spite of all people have said about her success in society, I don’t think any one admires her after they get to know her.

I am sure there’s at least one person who doesn’t, and that’s Edgar Stuyvesant, because I asked him.

Of course you are curious to know how our engagement came about, for really, after all, it happened very unexpectedly. You know that we have been intimate for a long time, and Edgar was always the most devoted escort that I had, but I never dreamed of anything more until our summer visitors arrived.

I think it was the sight of the other gentlemen’s attentions, especially Raymond’s, that brought him to see that I was the one most necessary to his happiness. Anyhow, just a little while after the girls went away, he proposed. The poor fellow was dreadfully gloomy all the time until then, and I hadn’t the least idea what was the matter! I suppose he had heard the report about Raymond’s being engaged to me that you spoke of, and feared to try his fate. I don’t see how you could have got the idea that Raymond had proposed to me from any thing that I ever told you, for I’ve always been as careful not to reveal any such little secrets as I have not to consider that a gentleman ever meant anything until he really proposed. Anything but this undisguised seokinc for attention which some girls display ! It makes me blush for them!

Now, of course I would n’t say anything against Kitty Caxton for all the world, but she made mamma and me fairly ashamed to have her act so with Raymond! I was positively delighted when I discovered that he liked Frank Seabury, for I thought it served Kitty just right. It was only the fit punishment for such unwomanliness; but it cut her up awfully when she found it out. She hardly spoke a word to any one after it until that picnic when Frank Hendley rescued her from the water, and then she was ready to make up to him with all the sweetness she had lavished on Raymond. How a girl can transfer her affections in that way, I can’t see. But then, Kitty always was a flirt.

I think she is so foolish to be married in white satin; it’s very trying to any but the most delicate complexions. It’s odd that we should all three fix on the same material.

Do persuade Marion out of having Frank Seabury for bridesmaid, if you can. She’s a little dowdy; not a particle of style about her, and never will have, and I know when it comes to the last minute all you girls will be dreadfully ashamed of her. The least thing shows so at a wedding. We have taken pains to see to everything, even the minutest details.

I am so sorry that you can’t be here to attend our nuptials, but of course if you promised the girls first, and to be bridesmaid, too, you could n’t disappoint them.

I wish you could see my engagement ring, —a lovely thing, eight diamonds in the cluster and a large one in the centre. Have you seen that cluster at Tiffany’s that every one admires so? Well, it’s a great deal handsomer than that, and much more expensive. Edgar had it made express for the occasion from a new design, so that there are no others like it.

We are to have waiters and cooks from Delmonico’s come down to prepare the refreshments, so that I know everything will be recherché. It’s such a comfort to know that everything will go off just right without your worrying about it. Then, too, my trousseau, which is ordered direct from Paris, wdll be done without any trouble on my part; the only thing is to foot the bill, and papa is used to that, already.

How I pity Kitty and Marion who are running hither and thither to do their shopping and see to their dress-making, while I, with all my work done for me, am having such delightful times with Edgar! Such lovely rides as we have after his black horse Selim! Such delicious evenings in the parlor singing together, and if every other amusement is exhausted we can always talk. I really think he is a born poet, and if circumstances had only conspired as they do over some people, that the whole world would have acknowledged it. He certainly has said more sweet things to me just to-day than that Raymond did during all the time he stayed here; and he is considered quite a poet, you know. I often tell Edgar that if he would only print all the pretty things he says, he would be renowned from Maine to Georgia; but he says his greatest honor is to lay them at my feet. Is n’t that just as sweet as it can be!

Well, Belle, I hope some day you will be as happy as I am. Give my love to the girls, and say I hope we shall meet in Paris. Probably this is the last time I shall write to you and bear my present name, but believe me, I shall always be as true a friend to you as I was. when ANGIE PUTNAM.

P. S. Be sure you don’t breathe a word of what I have told you about Kitty and Marion, for of course they would be dreadfully angry. I’m sure I bope they may be happy, but I don’t see how girls who do such things can hope to be respected as wives.

And don’t forget to write me just what you heard about Raymond and me, and who told you. I think it must have come originally from something that the girls have told. I should just like to know what they said ! A. P.

Mary A. King.