Tempest and Sunshine (Chapter 8, page 2 of 9)


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Chapter 8

There was a strange history connected with Helen Ashton, or Nellie, as she
was more familiarly called, but of this we will speak hereafter. She was
formerly a member of the young ladies' school in New Haven, where she had
become acquainted with Robert Stanton, who was in college. An intimacy
sprang up between them which at last ripened into an agreement. Stanton's
home was near Geneva, and when he left college he suddenly discovered that
the Geneva Seminary was superior to any other, and with but little trouble
he persuaded Nellie to go there to school.

She had now been an inmate of the seminary in that place little more than
a year, during which time Robert had pursued the study of law in Judge
Fulton's office. He had always possessed a great desire to visit Kentucky,
and had finally concluded to do so, determining if he liked it to make it
his permanent residence. He was to return the next autumn for Nellie, who
was to remain in school until that time.

As they stood together that evening conversing about Kentucky, Nellie
said, "I have an old schoolmate in Frankfort. It is Kate Wilmot. Do you
remember having seen her in New Haven?"

"Is she very beautiful?" asked Robert.

"Oh, yes, exceedingly so. She turned half the students' heads," answered
Nellie.

"Yes, I remember her perfectly well," said Frederic Raymond, who was
standing near, "and so does Bob, but he wants to pretend he does not. By
the way, Miss Ashton," continued he, "are you not afraid that Kate's
marvelous beauty will endanger your claim upon Robert's heart, when he
shall be near her constantly, and can only think of your blue eyes as
'over the hills and far away?'"

Helen blushed, but did not answer, and Stanton said, "Never fear for me,
Fred, but rather keep your own heart safely locked away, for fear some of
those dark-eyed Kentucky girls will, ere you are aware, rifle you of it."

"I shall do no such thing," returned Frederic. "I am going there for the
express purpose of losing my heart, and the first Kentucky girl which
pleases me shall be my wife, any way."

"Whether she likes you or not?" asked Nellie.

"Yes, whether she likes me or not," answered Frederic, "I shall marry her
first, and make her like me afterward."

So saying he sauntered off to another part of the room, little thinking
that what he had spoken in jest would afterward prove true. At a late hour
the company began to disperse, Miss Warner keeping a watchful eye upon her
pupils, lest some lawless collegiate should relieve her from the trouble
of seeing them safely home. This perpendicular maiden had lived forty
years on this mundane sphere without ever having had an offer, and she had
come to think of gentlemen as a race of intruding bipeds which the world
would be much better without. However, if there were any of the species
which she could tolerate, it was Judge Fulton and Robert Stanton. The
former she liked, because everybody liked him, and said he was a "nice
man, and what everybody said must be true." Her partiality for the latter
arose from the fact that he had several times complimented her fine figure
and dignified manners; so when he that night asked the privilege of
walking home with Nellie, she raised no very strong opposition, but
yielded the point by merely saying something about "child's play." She,
however, kept near enough to them to hear every word of their
conversation; but they consoled themselves by thinking that the wide-open
ears could not penetrate the recesses of their well-filled letters which
they saw in the future.

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