Cousin Maude (Chapter 1, page 1 of 6)

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Chapter 1

"If you please, marm, the man from York State is comin' afoot. Too
stingy to ride, I'll warrant," and Janet, the housekeeper,
disappeared from the parlor, just as the sound of the gate was
heard, and an unusually fine-looking middle-aged man was seen coming
up the box-lined walk which led to the cottage door.

The person thus addressed was a lady, whose face, though young and
handsome, wore a look which told of early sorrow. Matilda Remington
had been a happy, loving wife, but the old churchyard in Vernon
contained a grass-grown grave, where rested the noble heart which
had won her girlish love. And she was a widow now, a fair-haired,
blue-eyed widow, and the stranger who had so excited Janet's wrath
by walking from the depot, a distance of three miles, would claim
her as his bride ere the morrow's sun was midway in the heavens. How
the engagement happened she could not exactly tell, but happened it
had, and she was pledged to leave the vine-wreathed cottage which
Harry had built for her, and go with one of whom she knew
comparatively little.

Six months before our story opens she had spent a few days with him
at the house of a mutual friend in an adjoining State, and since
that time they had written to each other regularly, the
correspondence resulting at last in an engagement, which he had now
come to fulfill. He had never visited her before in her own home,
consequently she was wholly unacquainted with his disposition or
peculiarities. He was intelligent and refined, commanding in
appearance, and agreeable in manner whenever he chose to be, and
when he wrote to her of his home, which he said would be a second
Paradise were she its mistress, when he spoke of the little curly-
headed girl who so much needed a mother's care, and when, more than
all, he hinted that his was no beggar's fortune, she yielded; for
Matilda Remington did not dislike the luxuries which money alone can
purchase. Her own fortune was small, and as there was now no hand
save her own to provide, she often found it necessary to economize
more than she wished to do. But Dr. Kennedy was rich, and if she
married him she would escape a multitude of annoyances, so she made
herself believe that she loved him; and when she heard, as she more
than once did hear, rumors of a sad, white-faced woman to whom the
grave was a welcome rest, she said the story was false, and, shaking
her pretty head, refused to believe that there was aught in the
doctor of evil.

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