小说搜索     点击排行榜   最新入库
首页 » 英文短篇小说 » My Day Reminiscences of a Long Life » CHAPTER II
选择底色: 选择字号:【大】【中】【小】
CHAPTER II
I had a childless aunt, who annually came up from her home in Hanover to spend part of the summer with my parents and my grandfather. She begged me of my mother for a visit, meant to be a brief one, and as she was greatly loved and respected by her people, I was permitted to return with her.

There were no railroads in Virginia at that time. All journeys were made in private conveyances. The great coach-and-four had disappeared after the Revolution. The carriage and pair, with the goatskin hair trunk strapped on behind, or—in case the journey were long—a light wagon for baggage, were now enough for the migratory Virginian.

He lived at home except for the three summer months, when it was his invariable rule to visit Saratoga, or the White Sulphur, Warm, and Sweet Springs, of Virginia, making a journey to the latter, in something less than a week, now accomplished from New York in eight or nine hours.

The carriage on high springs creaked and rocked like a ship at sea. Fortunately, it was well cushioned and padded within—and furnished at the four corners with broad double straps through which the arms of the passenger could be thrust to steady himself withal. He needed them in the pitching and jolting over the rocks and ruts of dreadful roads. Inside each door were ample pockets for sundry comforts—biscuits, 8sandwiches, apples, restorative medicines and cordials, books and papers. A flight of three or four carpeted steps was folded inside the door. Twenty-five miles were considered "a day's journey," quite enough for any pair of horses. At noon the latter were rested under the shade of trees near some spring or clear brook, the carriage cushions were laid out, and the luncheon! Well, I cannot presume to be greater than the greatest of all our American artists,—he who could mould a hero in bronze and make him live again; and hold us, silent and awed, in the presence of the mysterious and unspeakable grief of a woman in marble! Has he not confessed that although he remembers an early perception of beauty in sky and sea, and field and wood—the memory that has followed him vividly through life is of odors from a baker's oven, and from apples stewing in a German neighbor's kitchen? Hot gingerbread and spiced, sugared apples! I should say so, indeed!

In just such a carriage as I have described, I set forth with my strange aunt and uncle—a little three-and-a-half-year-old! At night we slept in some country tavern, surrounded by whispering aspen trees. A sign in front, swung like a gibbet, promised "Refreshment for man and beast." Invariably the landlord, grizzled, portly, and solemn, was lying at length on a bench in his porch or lounging in a "split-bottom chair" with his feet on the railing. He had seen our coming from afar. He was eager for custom, but he had dignity to maintain. Lifting himself slowly from his bench or chair, he would leisurely come forward, and hesitatingly "reckon" 9he could accommodate us. I was mortally afraid of him! Sinking into one of his deep feather beds, I trembled for my life and wept for my mother.

Finally one night, wearied out with the long journey, we turned into an avenue of cedars and neared our home. My aunt and uncle, on the cushions of the back seat, little dreamed of the dire resolve of the small rebel in front. Like the ants, I had been brought, against my will, to a strange country. I silently determined I would not be a good little girl. I would be as naughty as I could, give all the trouble I could, and force them to send me home again. But with the morning sun came perfect contentment, which soon blossomed into perfect happiness. From my bed I ran out in my bare feet to a lovely veranda shaded by roses. On one of the latticed bars a little wren bobbed his head in greeting, and poured out his silver thread of a song. Gabriella, the great tortoise-shell cat, with high uplifted tail, wooed and won me; and when Milly, black and smiling, captured me, it was to introduce me to an adorable doll and a little rocking-chair.

From that hour until I married I was the happy queen of the household, the one whose highest good was wisely considered and for whose happiness all the rest lived.

The bond between my aunt and her small niece could never be sundered, and as she was greatly loved and trusted, and as many children blessed my own dear mother, I was practically adopted as the only child of my aunt and uncle, Dr. and Mrs. Samuel Pleasants Hargrave.


欢迎访问英文小说网http://novel.tingroom.com

©英文小说网 2005-2010

有任何问题,请给我们留言,管理员邮箱:tinglishi@gmail.com  站长QQ :点击发送消息和我们联系56065533

鲁ICP备05031204号