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About The illustrated west shore. (Portland, Or.) 1891-1891 | View Entire Issue (April 11, 1891)
THE ILLUSTRATED WEST SHORE.
Her companion, a pale-faced youth, whose well-wrappered form and
occasional cough betokened recent convalescence, simply murmured, " Pretty
" Don't be so prosy, John," was the impatient rejoinder. " Look ! Here
we are, after only a few minutes' ride from the noisy den where we've been
cooped for weeks, waiting for you to recover, you know, dear, and behold !
Here are the purple depths of mystic shades, At abodes for Doric muses ! "
" Bother the Doric muses, Annie. They were a savage lot, the whole
of 'em. You know I never cared for Druid's ' Mystics ' or anything else per
taining to our savage ancestry. Can't you give us a suggestion of something
practical ? See, for instance, if you could grow radishes or even sprout white
beans out here.'
" Your illness has left you in an irrascible state, John. Of course this
road doesn't lead directly to agricultural fields, though, like the mosquitoes,
they're ' on ahead apiece,' and will surely be found whether you look for them
or not, if you go far enough. It is your business to get well, John ; and to
be a successful convalescent you must look for more cheery sights than radish
beds or sprouted beans."
On either hand were grassy steeps, rugged rocks, leafy coverts, rustic
bridges, tinkling waterfalls and stately, sighing evergreens, which are wont to
woo the lover of nature to their sylvan retreats, while below them lay the busy
city with its whir of travel and stir of trade. Above them rose the slopes and
streps of City View park, where nature and art have united their forces to
beautify the landscape, combining the intelligent skill of man with the prodi
gality of opportunity afforded by his father, Water, and mother, Earth.
" Since you have ceased to love me, Annie, there is nothing left in life
that has any chaim for me."
"Who said I'd ceased to love you, John? Or are you losing your
senses? Your manner frets me.''
They were climbing to an overhanging rock, half hidden by a wilderness
of ferns and haiels, among which budding shrubs of the Oregon currant,
Kites SanguiHtum, were already exhibiting their white and scarlet graces.
The young man caught an overhanging bough of a friendly tree and
swung himself to a seat on the rock where tlie shrubbery was thinnest and
sat there panting, while his companion, her cheeks flushed from climbing,
seated herself a moment later by his side.
A chipmunk darted in and out among last years ferns, its keen eyes
twinkling with mingled caution and curiosity. Annie Yale threw the welcome
intruder some crumbs from a lunch basket she had wisely provided in
spite of John's protest, well knowing the power of the convalescent's appetite.
The tiny squirrel advanced cautiously and with graceful motion to secure the
crumbs, and was settling itself for an enjoyable meal, when a Mongolian
pheasant swimied down upon the food and frightened the timid animal from
" That's just the way the world wags," said John Landes, after an interval
of coughing. " It's every fellow for himself and the devil for the hindermost."
Annie Yale laid her hand uon his arm just in time to divert his aim
from the beautiful bird at which he assayed to shy a stone.
" Don't be cruel, John," she said, softly. There were tears in her eyes
and a suspicion of subbing in her throat as she looked at him tenderly.
" All the workl is cruel, was the curt resonse.
11 I wish you wouldn't talk like that, John. The world is as we make it
She pulled down a spray of half-opened currant blossoms and began
pirking the petals to pieces, nervously. - John eyed her a moment in silence.
A song bin! arched its throat and began a thrilling roundelay, joined by the
twittering accomaniment of its mate in the nest over their heads.
It was a glorious April day. Below them lay the Cornell road as if
asleep in the hay quirt of the lazy sunshine. The chipmunk twittered in its
hkling place, and the pheasant, its apietite appeased, flew away with a whir
ring sweep. Ileyond them, where the rod nukes a turn around the hill,
stretched a rude barricade, or railing, guarding the lower edge of the grade,
near the top of which was an ojien phaeton, with a man ami woman, the latter
" How toon are we to have a turnout like that, John?
" Never, Annie. This accursed cough hangs on like grim death hold of
a dead daikie. I'm not only out of work but out of money. It was a cruel
thing fiv me to ak you to come out here from your Massachusetts home to
marry me. You found me, not at I hoied you would, well ami prospering,
with my own hired house ready to receive you, and money in the bank to pay
the first installment on our suburban properly. Instead of that, you met me
at my dingy, hjihrlor hoarding house, flat on my back with the prevailing
epidemic. It was good of you I mean you meant It to be good of you to
come right in and nurse me and bring me back to life; but your good inten
tions missed fire. They flashed in the pan."
What do you mean, John Landes?" cried Annie, almost fiercely.
If he had been nothing to her ; if there had been no prospect of his
becoming her husband, this high-bred "superfluous woman" of the over
crowded Bay state would have been amused at his petulance. She was no
novice in the care of invalids, having performed the various offices of nurse
and housekeeper for her father since her mother's death ; a sad event that had
kept her a prisoner for ten years subsequently in her father's house as his
ministering angel, while John Landes, the lover of her childhood, was seek
ing his fortune on the Pacific coast ; a fortune which at thirty seemed farther
from his grasp than the ignis Jaluus he had begun to seek at twenty.
There w as silence for a full minute. John toyed aimlessly with the dried
ferns at his feet ; Annie threw the chipmunk a fresh supply of crumbs, and
the birds twittered lovingly among the leaves over their heads.
" Would you like to be rid of me, John? "
There was a tremor in Annie's voice, but she looked him in the eye with
apparent steadiness and awaited his reply. The phaeton on the Cornell road
had turned and was coming down the grade. The horse suddenly took fnght
and became unmanageable. Annie's pale face blanched with terror.
" For God's sake, John!" she said, hoarsely. " It's he! We must
save them ! "
" Blanked if will," was the curt response. " He's given me trouble
" But what of her, John? Surely you are not wholly heartless."
There was a low place in the rude railing toward which the frightened
horse rushed, and the frail phaeton, as the animal jumped, caught heavily upon
the logs, smashing it to pieces, but breaking the horse's fall and lodging the
occupants of the vehicle in a heap on the road side, Annie Vale clambered
hurriedly up the rugged hillside and extricating the horse from his peril among
the broken harness turned him loose upon the grade, where he began to
browse upon the green twigs at the roadside, as if at peace with all the world.
The gentleman who had been thrown from the phaeton arose upon his
elbows and rubbed his eyes in a bewildered way. His companion sat up on
the ground and locked her hands around her knees.
" Are you badly hurt? Are any bones broken ? What frightened your
horse? Can I do anything for you ? " asked Annie, all her questions coming
in a breath, as she shook one and then the other of the victims of the accident.
John Landes came up presently, his cough forgotten and his manner
stem. He began gathering the broken pieces of the phaeton together in
" I wished it had killed him, blanked if I don't ! " he said, under his
Annie watched him furtively, a dull aching at her heart. Was she to be
forever disappointed in John? She could retreat from her contract! could
refuse to marry him if necessary ; and a refusal would certainly be necessary
if he continued to enact the role of a petulant and jealous convalescent.
" It's that blankety-blanked booby that hung around when I was at the
worst, and Twon't countenance him," brooded John.
Annie brought water from the trickling brook by the roadside and bathed
the gentleman's face and gave him a reviving draught.
" Are you better now ?" she asked, tenderly.
" S death ! " muttered John, savagely.
The lady rose to her feet and tried her limbs, delighted to find no bones
" Only a few bruises and scratches, dear," she said, kneeling beside her
companion. " 1 hope and trust you have come off as well."
"John! John Landes!" cried Annie Vale. "Come here! I've a
grand supprise for you. . You were not well enough to hear about it when
I'ncle Jack, my father's brother, came to see us at the bachelors' boarding
house. And, when you got better and I saw you were a trifle jealous, I
thought I'd help you to recover by giving you something to think about beskles
your ailment i so I let you keep on thinking you had a rival Now let me
introduce my uncle, Jackson Yale, Mr. Landes. And this is Aunt Susie, his
John came forward, looking sheepish and awkward, but remembered
instantly to hide his contusion by a cough.
We had a narrow escape, Susie," sakl Uncle Jack, but it's an ill wind
that blows nobody any good. But for this accident we would have missed
our relatives entirely, for we were to have taken the steamer within an hour
for Alaska. I've tried several times to meet your-ahem-Mr. Landes,
Annie, since he's been upon his feet, but I've been studiously avoided or mer
cilessly snubbed-I hardly know which you'd call it.'