Work: A Story of Experience
XVI. Mustered In
CHRISTIE'S return was a very happy one, and could not well be otherwise with a
mother, sister, and lover to welcome her back. Her meeting with Letty was indescribably
tender, and the days that followed were pretty equally divided between her and her
brother, in nursing the one and loving the other. There was no cloud now in Christie's
sky, and all the world seemed in bloom. But even while she enjoyed every hour of life,
and begrudged the time given to sleep, she felt as if the dream was too beautiful to last,
and often said:
"Something will happen: such perfect happiness is not possible in this world."
"Then let us make the most of it," David would reply, wisely bent on getting his honey
while he could, and not borrowing trouble for the morrow.
So Christie turned a deaf ear to her "prophetic soul," and gave herself up to the blissful
holiday that had come at last. Even while March winds were howling outside, she
blissfully "poked in the dirt" with David in the green-house, put up the curly lock as often
as she liked, and told him she loved him a dozen times a day, not in words, but in silent
ways, that touched him to the heart, and made his future look so bright he hardly dared
believe in it.
A happier man it would have been difficult to find just then; all his burdens seemed to
have fallen off, and his spirits rose again with an elasticity which surprised even those
who knew him best. Christie often stopped to watch and wonder if the blithe young man
who went whistling and singing about the house, often stopping to kiss somebody, to
joke, or to exclaim with a beaming face like a child at a party: "Isn't every thing
beautiful?" could be the sober, steady David, who used to plod to and fro with his
shoulders a little bent, and the absent look in his eyes that told of thoughts above or
beyond the daily task.
It was good to see his mother rejoice over him with an exceeding great joy; it was better
still to see Letty's eyes follow him with unspeakable love and gratitude in their soft
depths; but it was best of all to see Christie marvel and exult over the discoveries she
made: for, though she had known David for a year, she had never seen the real man till
"Davy, you are a humbug," she said one day when they were making up a bridal order in
"I told you so, but you wouldn't believe it," he answered, using long stemmed rose-buds
with as prodigal a hand as if the wedding was to be his own.
"I thought I was going to marry a quiet, studious, steady-going man; and here I find
myself engaged to a romantic youth who flies about in the most undignified manner,
embraces people behind doors, sings opera airs,--very much out of tune by the way,--and
conducts himself more like an infatuated Claude Melnotte, than a respectable gentleman