Ethelyn's Mistake (Chapter 7, page 1 of 4)


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Chapter 7

Olney was a thriving, busy little town, numbering five hundred
inhabitants or thereabouts. It had its groceries, its dry goods stores,
and its two houses for public worship--the Methodist and
Presbyterian--while every other Sunday a little band of Episcopalians
met for their own service in what was called the Village Hall, where,
during week days, a small, select school was frequently taught by some
Yankee schoolmistress. It had its post office, too; and there was also
talk of a bank after the railroad came that way, and roused the people
to a state of still greater activity. On the whole, it was a pretty
town, though different from Chicopee, where the houses slept so
aristocratically under the shadow of the old elms, which had been
growing there since the day when our national independence was declared.

At home Ethelyn's pride had all been centered in Boston, and she had
sometimes thought a little contemptuously of Chicopee and its
surroundings; but the farther she traveled west the higher Chicopee rose
in her estimation, until she found herself comparing every prairie
village with that rural town among the hills, which seemed to give it
dignity, and made it so greatly superior to the dead levels of which she
was getting so weary. She had admired the rolling prairies at first,
but, tired and jaded with her long journey, nothing looked well to her
now--nothing was like Chicopee--certainly not Olney, where the dwellings
looked so new and the streets were minus sidewalks.

Ethelyn had a good view of it as the train approached it and even caught
a passing glimpse of the white house in the distance which Richard
pointed out as home, his face lighting up with all the pleasure of a
schoolboy as he saw the old familiar waymarks and felt that he was
home at last.

Dropping her veil over her face Ethelyn arose to follow her husband, who
in his eagerness to grasp the hand of the tall, burly young man he had
seen from the window, forgot to carry her shawl and her satchel, which
last being upon the car-rack, she tugged at it with all her strength,
and was about crying with vexation at Richard's thoughtlessness, when
Tim Jones, who while rolling his quid of tobacco in his great mouth, had
watched her furtively, wondering how she and Melind would get along,
gallantly came to her aid, and taking the satchel down kept it upon
his arm.

"Take care of that air step. Better let me help you out. Dick is so
tickled to see Jim that he even forgets his wife, I swan!" Tim said,
offering to assist her from the train; but with a feeling of disgust too
deep to be expressed, Ethelyn declined the offer and turned away from
him to meet the curious gaze of the young man whom Richard presented as
brother James.

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