Cousin Maude (Chapter 3, page 1 of 9)


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Chapter 3

It was a large, square, wooden building, built in the olden time,
with a wide hall in the center, a tiny portico in front, and a long
piazza in the rear. In all the town there was not so delightful a
location, for it commanded a view of the country for many miles
around, while from the chamber windows was plainly discernible the
sparkling Honeoye, whose waters slept so calmly 'mid the hills which
lay to the southward.

On the grassy lawn in front tall forest trees were growing, almost concealing the house from view, while their long branches so met together as to form a beautiful arch over the
graveled walk which lead to the front door. It was, indeed, a
pleasant spot, and Matty, as she passed through the iron gate, could
not account for the feeling of desolation settling down upon her.

"Maybe it's because there are no flowers here--no roses," she
thought, as she looked around in vain for her favorites, thinking
the while how her first work should be to train a honeysuckle over
the door and plant a rose bush underneath the window.

Poor Matty! Dr. Kennedy had no love for flowers, and the only rose
bush he ever noticed was the one which John had planted at his
mistress' grave, and even this would, perchance, have been unseen,
if he had not scratched his hand unmercifully upon it as he one day
shook the stone to see if it were firmly placed in the ground ere he
paid the man for putting it there!

It was a maxim of the doctor's never to have anything not strictly for use, consequently his house,
both outside and in, was destitute of every kind of ornament; and
the bride, as she followed him through the empty hall into the
silent parlor, whose bare walls, faded carpet, and uncurtained
windows seemed so uninviting, felt a chill creeping over her
spirits, and sinking into the first hard chair she came to, she
might, perhaps, have cried had not John, who followed close behind
her, satchel on arm, whispered encouragingly in her ear, "Never you
mind, missus, your chamber is a heap sight brighter than this, 'case
I tended to that myself."

Mrs. Kennedy smiled gratefully upon him, feeling sure that beneath
his black exterior there beat a kind and sympathizing heart, and
that in him she had an ally and a friend.

"Where is Nellie?" said the doctor. "Call Nellie, John, and tell
your mother we are here."

John left the room, and a moment after a little tiny creature came
tripping to the door, where she stopped suddenly, and throwing back
her curls, gazed curiously first at Mrs. Kennedy and then at Maude,
whose large black eyes fastened themselves upon her with a gaze
quite as curious and eager as her own. She was more than a year
older than Maude, but much smaller in size, and her face seemed to
have been fashioned after a beautiful waxen doll, so brilliant was
her complexion and so regular her features. She was naturally
affectionate and amiable, too, when suffered to have her own way.

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