In the High Valley - Katy Karr Chronicles (Beloved Children's Books Collection) - Susan Coolidge - ebook

In the High Valley - Katy Karr Chronicles (Beloved Children's Books Collection) ebook

Susan Coolidge



In the High Valley – Belongs to What Katy Did series and narrates the story of the cousins from Britain, Lionel and Imogen, on a visit to their American counterparts. Clover, Katy Carr's sister, is now happily married. She is at her wits end with Imogen's prejudices and Katy makes a comeback. "Curly Locks" – is an additional short story which shows Dr. Carr, the father of Katy and Clover, with one of his little patients. Susan Coolidge, pen name of Sarah Chauncey Woolsey (1835–1905), was an American children's author who is best known for her Katy Carr Series. The fictional Carr family of this series was modeled after Woolsey's own family and the protagonist Katy Carr was inspired by Woolsey herself; while the brothers and sisters "Little Carrs" were modeled on her four younger siblings.

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Susan Coolidge

In the High Valley - Katy Karr Chronicles (Beloved Children's Books Collection)

Adventures of Katy, Clover and the Rest of the Carr Family

Published by


- Advanced Digital Solutions & High-Quality eBook Formatting -
2017 OK Publishing
ISBN 978-80-7583-426-3

Table of Contents

In the High Valley
Dr. Carr in “Curly Locks”
Susan Coolidge (Biography)

In the High Valley

Table of Contents
Chapter I. Along the North Devon Coast
Chapter II. Miss Opdyke From New York
Chapter III. The Last of Devon and the First of America
Chapter IV. In the High Valley
Chapter V. Arrival
Chapter VI. Unexpected
Chapter VII. Thorns and Roses
Chapter VIII. Unconditional Surrender
Chapter IX. The Echoes in the East Canyon
Chapter X. A Double Knot
“‘I suppose we shall never see the ocean from where we are to live,’ said Imogen.”

Chapter I. Along the North Devon Coast

Table of Contents

It was a morning of late May, and the sunshine, though rather watery, after the fashion of South-of-England suns, was real sunshine still, and glinted and glittered bravely on the dew-soaked fields about Copplestone Grange.

This was an ancient house of red brick, dating back to the last half of the sixteenth century, and still bearing testimony in its sturdy bulk to the honest and durable work put upon it by its builders. Not a joist had bent, not a girder started in the long course of its two hundred and odd years of life. The brick-work of its twisted chimney-stacks was intact, and the stone carving over its doorways and window frames; only the immense growth of the ivy on its side walls attested to its age. It takes longer to build ivy five feet thick than many castles, and though new masonry by trick and artifice may be made to look like old, there is no secret known to man by which a plant or tree can be induced to simulate an antiquity which does not rightfully belong to it. Innumerable sparrows and tomtits had built in the thick mats of the old ivy, and their cries and twitters blended in shrill and happy chorus as they flew in and out of their nests.

The Grange had been a place of importance, in Queen Elizabeth’s time, as the home of an old Devon family which was finally run out and extinguished. It was now little more than a superior sort of farm-house. The broad acres of meadow and pleasaunce and woodland which had given it consequence in former days had been gradually parted with, as misfortunes and losses came to its original owners. The woods had been felled, the pleasure grounds now made part of other people’s farms, and the once wide domain had contracted, until the ancient house stood with only a few acres about it, and wore something the air of an old-time belle who has been forcibly divested of her ample farthingale and hooped-petticoat, and made to wear the scant kirtle of a village maid.

Orchards of pear and apple flanked the building to east and west. Behind was a field or two crowning a little upland where sedate cows fed demurely; and in front, toward the south, which was the side of entrance, lay a narrow walled garden, with box-bordered beds full of early flowers, mimulus, sweet-peas, mignonette, stock gillies, and blush and damask roses, carefully tended and making a blaze of color on the face of the bright morning. The whole front of the house was draped with a luxuriant vine of Gloire de Dijon, whose long, pink-yellow buds and cream-flushed cups sent wafts of delicate sweetness with every puff of wind.

Seventy years before the May morning of which we write, Copplestone Grange had fallen at public sale to Edward Young, a well-to-do banker of Bideford. He was a descendant in direct line of that valiant Young who, together with his fellow-seaman Prowse, undertook the dangerous task of steering down and igniting the seven fire-ships which sent the Spanish armada “lumbering off” to sea, and saved England for Queen Elizabeth and the Protestant succession.

Edward Young lived twenty years in peace and honor to enjoy his purchase, and his oldest son James now reigned in his stead, having reared within the old walls a numerous brood of sons and daughters, now scattered over the surface of the world in general, after the sturdy British fashion, till only three or four remained at home, waiting their turn to fly.

One of these now stood at the gate. It was Imogen Young, oldest but one of the four daughters. She was evidently waiting for some one, and waiting rather impatiently.

“We shall certainly be late,” she said aloud, “and it’s quite too bad of Lion.” Then, glancing at the little silver watch in her belt, she began to call, “Lion! Lionel! Oh, Lion! do make haste! It’s gone twenty past, and we shall never be there in time.”

“Coming,” shouted a voice from an upper window; “I’m just washing my hands. Coming in a jiffy, Moggy.”

“Jiffy!” murmured Imogen. “How very American Lion has got to be. He’s always ‘guessing’ and ‘calculating’ and ‘reckoning.’ It seems as if he did it on purpose to startle and annoy me. I suppose one has got to get used to it if you’re over there, but really it’s beastly bad form, and I shall keep on telling Lion so.”

She was not a pretty girl, but neither was she an ill-looking one. Neither tall nor very slender, her vigorous little figure had still a certain charm of trim erectness and youthful grace, though Imogen was twenty-four, and considered herself very staid and grown-up. A fresh, rosy skin, beautiful hair of a warm, chestnut color, with a natural wave in it, and clear, honest, blue eyes, went far to atone for a thick nose, a wide mouth, and front teeth which projected slightly and seemed a size too large for the face to which they belonged. Her dress did nothing to assist her looks. It was woollen, of an unbecoming shade of yellowish gray; it fitted badly, and the complicated loops and hitches of the skirt bespoke a fashion some time since passed by among those who were particular as to such matters. The effect was not assisted by a pork-pie hat of black straw trimmed with green feathers, a pink ribbon from which depended a silver locket, a belt of deep magenta-red, yellow gloves, and an umbrella bright navy-blue in tint. She had over her arm a purplish water-proof, and her thick, solid boots could defy the mud of her native shire.

“Lion! Lion!” she called again; and this time a tall young fellow responded, running rapidly down the path to join her. He was two years her junior, vigorous, alert, and boyish, with a fresh skin, and tawny, waving hair like her own.

“How long you have been!” she cried reproachfully.

“Grieved to have kept you, Miss,” was the reply. “You see, things went contrairy-like. The grease got all over me when I was cleaning the guns, and cold water wouldn’t take it off, and that old Saunders took his time about bringing the can of hot, till at last I rushed down and fetched it up myself from the copper. You should have seen cook’s face! ‘Fancy, Master Lionel,’ says she, ‘coming yourself for ‘ot water!’ I tell you, Moggy, Saunders is past his usefulness. He’s a regular duffer—a gump.”

“There’s another American expression. Saunders is a most respectable man, I’m sure, and has been in the family thirty-one years. Of course he has a good deal to do just now, with the packing and all. Now, Lion, we shall have to walk smartly if we’re to get there at half-after.”

“All right. Here goes for a spin, then.”

The brother and sister walked rapidly on down the winding road, in the half-shadow of the bordering hedges. Real Devonshire hedge-rows they were, than which are none lovelier in England, rising eight and ten feet overhead on either side, and topped with delicate, flickering birch and ash boughs blowing in the fresh wind. Below were thick growths of hawthorn, white and pink, and wild white roses in full flower interspersed with maple tips as red as blood, the whole interlaced and held together with thick withes and tangles of ivy, briony, and travellers’ joy. Beneath them the ground was strewn with flowers,—violets, and king-cups, poppies, red campions, and blue iris,—while tall spikes of rose-colored foxgloves rose from among ranks of massed ferns, brake, hart’s-tongue, and maiden’s-hair, with here and there a splendid growth of Osmund Royal. To sight and smell, the hedge-rows were equally delightful.

Copplestone Grange stood three miles west of Bideford, and the house to which the Youngs were going was close above Clovelly, so that a distance of some seven miles separated them. To walk this twice for the sake of lunching with a friend would seem to most young Americans too formidable a task to be at all worth while, but to our sturdy English pair it presented no difficulties. On they went, lightly and steadily, Imogen’s elastic steps keeping pace easily with her brother’s longer tread. There was a good deal of up and down hill to get over with, and whenever they topped a rise, green downs ending in wooded cliffs could be seen to the left, and beyond and below an expanse of white-flecked shimmering sea. A salt wind from the channel blew in their faces, full of coolness and refreshment, and there was no dust.

“I suppose we shall never see the ocean from where we are to live,” said Imogen, with a sigh.

“Well, hardly, considering it’s about fifteen-hundred miles away.”

“Fifteen hundred! oh, Lion, you are surely exaggerating. Why, the whole of England is not so large as that, from Land’s End to John O’Groat’s House.”

“I should say not, nothing like it. Why Moggy, you’ve no idea how small our ‘right little, tight little island’ really is. You could set it down plump in some of the States, New York, for instance, and there would be quite a tidy fringe of territory left all round it. Of course, morally, we are the standard of size for all the world, but geographically, phew!—our size is little, though our hearts are great.”

“I think it’s vulgar to be so big,—not that I believe half you say, Lion. You’ve been over in America so long, and grown such a Yankee, that you swallow everything they choose to tell you. I’ve always heard about American brag—”

“My dear, there’s no need to brag when the facts are there, staring you in the face. It’s just a matter of feet and inches,—any one can do the measurement who has a tape-line. Wait till you see it. And as for its being vulgar to be big, why is the ‘right little, tight little’ always stretching out her long arms to rope in new territory, in that case, I should like to know? It would be much eleganter to keep herself to home—”

“Oh, don’t talk that sort of rot; I hate to hear you.”

“I must when you talk that kind of—well, let us say ‘rubbish.’ ‘Rot’ is one of our choice terms which hasn’t got over to the States yet. You’re as opiniated and ‘narrer’ as the little island itself. What do you know about America, any way? Did you ever see an American in your life, child?”

“Yes, several. I saw Buffalo Bill last year, and lots of Indians and cow-boys whom he had fetched over. And I saw Professor—Professor—what was his name? I forget, but he lectured on phrenology; and then there was Mrs. Geoff Templestowe.”

“Oh Mrs. Geoff—she’s a different sort. Buffalo Bill and his show can hardly be treated as specimens of American society, and neither can your bump-man. But she’s a fair sample of the nice kind; and you liked her, now didn’t you? you know you did.”

“Well, yes, I did,” admitted Imogen, rather grudgingly. “She was really quite nice, and good-form, and all that, and Isabel said she was far and away the best sister-in-law yet, and the Squire took such a fancy to her that it was quite remarkable. But she cannot be used as an argument, for she’s not the least like the American girls in the books. She must have had unusual advantages. And after all,—nice as she was, she wasn’t English. There was a difference somehow,—you felt it though you couldn’t say exactly what it was.”

“No, thank goodness—she isn’t; that’s just the beauty of it. Why should all the world be just alike? And what books do you mean, and what girls? There are all kinds on the other side, I can tell you. Wait till you get over to the High Valley and you’ll see.”

This sort of discussion had become habitual of late between the brother and sister. Three years before, Lionel had gone out to Colorado, to “look about and see how ranching suited him,” as he phrased it, and had decided that it suited him exactly. He had served a sort of apprenticeship to Geoffrey Templestowe, the son of an old Devonshire neighbor, who had settled in a place called High Valley, and, together with two partners, had built up a flourishing and lucrative cattle business, owning a large tract of grazing territory and great herds. One of the partners was now transferred to New Mexico, where the firm owned land also, and Mr. Young had advanced money to buy Lionel, who was now competent to begin for himself, a share in the business. He was now going out to remain permanently, and Imogen was going also, to keep his house and make a home for him till he should be ready to marry and settle down.

All over the world there are good English sisters doing this sort of thing. In Australia and New Zealand they are to be found, in Canada, and India, and the Transvaal,—wherever English boys are sent to advance their fortunes. Had her destination been Canada or Australia, Imogen would have found no difficulty in adjusting her ideas to it, but the United States were a terra incognita. Knowing absolutely nothing about them, she had constructed out of a fertile fancy and a few facts an altogether imaginary America, not at all like the real one; peopled by strange folk quite un-English in their ideas and ways, and very hard to understand and live with. In vain did Lionel protest and explain; his remonstrances were treated as proofs of the degeneracy and blindness induced by life in “The States,” and to all his appeals she opposed that calm, obstinate disbelief which is the weapon of a limited intellect and experience, and is harder to deal with than the most passionate convictions.

Unknown to herself a little sting of underlying jealousy tinctured these opinions. For many years Isabel Templestowe had been her favorite friend, the person she most admired and looked up to. They had been at school together,—Isabel always taking the lead in everything, Imogen following and imitating. The Templestowes were better born than the Youngs, they took a higher place in the county; it was a distinction as well as a tender pleasure to be intimate in the house. Once or twice Isabel had gone to her married sister in London for a taste of the “season.” No such chance had ever fallen to Imogen’s lot, but it was next best to get letters, and hear from Isabel of all that she had seen and done; thus sharing the joys at second-hand, as it were.

Isabel had other intimates, some of whom were more to her than Imogen could be, but they lived at a distance and Imogen close at hand. Propinquity plays a large part in friendship as well as love. Imogen had no other intimate, but she knew too little of Isabel’s other interests to be made uncomfortable about them, and was quite happy in her position as nearest and closest confidante until, four years before, Geoffrey Templestowe came home for a visit, bringing with him his American wife, whose name before her marriage had been Clover Carr, and whom some of you who read this will recognize as an old friend.

Young, sweet, pretty, very happy, and “horribly well-dressed,” as poor Imogen in her secret soul admitted, Clover easily and quickly won the liking of her “people-in-law.” All the outlying sons and daughters who were within reach came home to make her acquaintance, and all were charmed with her. The Squire petted and made much of his new daughter and could not say enough in her praise. Mrs. Templestowe averred that she was as good as she was pretty, and as “sensible” as if she had been born and brought up in England; and, worst of all, Isabel, for the time of their stay, was perfectly absorbed in Geoff and Clover, and though kind and affectionate when they met, had little or no time to spend on Imogen. She and Clover were of nearly the same age, each had a thousand interesting things to tell the other, both were devoted to Geoffrey,—it was natural, inevitable, that they should draw together. Imogen confessed to herself that it was only right that they should do so, but it hurt all the same, and it was still a sore spot in her heart that Isabel should love Clover so much, and that they should write such long letters to each other. She was a conscientious girl, and she fought against the feeling and tried hard to forget it, but there it was all the same.

But while I have been explaining, the rapid feet of the two walkers had taken them past the Hoops Inn, and to the opening of a rough shady lane which made a short cut to the grounds of Stowe Manor, as the Templestowes’ place was called.

They entered by a private gate, opened by Imogen with a key which she carried, and found themselves on the slope of a hill overhung with magnificent old beeches. Farther down, the slope became steeper and narrowed to form the sharp “chine” which cut the cliff seaward to the water’s edge. The Manor-house stood on a natural plateau at the head of the ravine, whose steep green sides made a frame for the beautiful picture it commanded of Lundy Island, rising in bold outlines over seventeen miles of blue, tossing sea.

The brother and sister paused a moment to look for the hundredth time at this exquisite glimpse. Then they ran lightly down over the grass to where an intersecting gravel-path led to the door. It stood hospitably open, affording a view of the entrance hall.

Such a beautiful old hall! built in the time of the Tudors, with a great carven fireplace, mullioned windows in deep square bays, and a ceiling carved with fans, shields, and roses. “Bow-pots” stood on the sills, full of rose-leaves and spices, huge antlers and trophies of weapons adorned the walls, and the polished floor, almost black with age, shone like a looking-glass.

Beyond opened a drawing-room, low-ceiled and equally quaint in build. The furniture seemed as old as the house. There was nothing with a modern air about it, except some Indian curiosities, a water-color or two, the photographs of the family, and the fresh flowers in the vases. But the sun shone in, there was a great sense of peace and stillness, and beside a little wood-fire, which burned gently and did not hiss or crackle as it might have done elsewhere, sat a lovely old lady, whose fresh and peaceful and kindly face seemed the centre from which all the home look and comfort streamed. She was knitting a long silk stocking, a volume of Mudie’s lay on her knee, and a skye terrier, blue, fuzzy, and sleepy, had curled himself luxuriously in the folds of her dress.

This was Mrs. Templestowe, Geoff’s mother and Clover’s mother-in-law. She jumped up almost as lightly as a girl to welcome the visitors.

“Take your hat off, my dear,” she said to Imogen, “or would you rather run up to Isabel’s room? She was here just now, but her father called her off to consult about something in the hot-house. He won’t keep her long— Ah, there she is now,” as a figure flashed by the window; “I knew she would be here directly.”

Another second and Isabel hurried in, a tall, slender girl with thick, fair hair, blue eyes with dark lashes, and a look of breeding and distinction. Her dress, very simple in cut, suited her, and had that undefinable air of being just right which a good London tailor knows how to give. She wore no ornaments, but Imogen, who had felt rather well-dressed when she left home, suddenly hated her gown and hat, realized that her belt and ribbon did not agree, and wished for the dozenth time that she had the knack at getting the right thing which Isabel possessed.

“Her clothes grow prettier all the time, and mine get uglier,” she reflected. “The Squire says she got points from Mrs. Geoff, and that the Americans know how to dress if they don’t know anything else; but that’s nonsense, of course,—Isabel always did know how; she didn’t need any one to teach her.”

Pretty soon they were all seated at luncheon, a hearty and substantial meal, as befitted the needs of people who had just taken a seven-mile walk. A great round of cold beef stood at one end of the table, a chicken-pie at the other, and there were early peas and potatoes, a huge cherry-tart, a “junket” equally large, strawberries, and various cakes and pastries, meant to be eaten with a smother of that delicacy peculiar to Devonshire, clotted cream. Every body was very hungry, and not much was said till the first rage of appetite was satisfied.

“Ah!” said the Squire, as he filled his glass with amber-hued cider,—“you don’t get anything so good as this to drink over in America, Lionel.”

“Indeed we do, sir. Wait till you taste our lemonade made with natural soda-water.”

“Lemonade? phoo! Poor stuff I call it, cold and thin. I hope Geoff has some better tipple than that to cheer him in the High Valley.”

“Iced water,” suggested Lionel, mischievously.

“Don’t talk to me about iced water. It’s worse than lemonade. It’s the perpetual use of ice which makes the Americans so nervous, I am convinced.”

“But, papa, are they so nervous? Clover certainly isn’t.”

“Ah! my little Clover,—no, she wasn’t nervous. She was nothing that she ought not to be. I call her as sweet a lass as any country need want to see. But Clover’s no example; there aren’t many like her, I fancy,—eh, Lion?”

“Well, Squire, she’s not the only one of the sort over there. Her sister, who married Mr. Page, our other partner, you know, is quite as pretty as she is, and as nice, too, though in a different way. And there’s the oldest one—the wife of the naval officer, I’m not sure but you would like her the best of the three. She’s a ripper in looks,—tall, you know, with lots of go and energy, and yet as sweet and womanly as can be; you’d like her very much, you’d like all of them.”

“How is the unmarried one?—Joan, I think they call her,” asked Mrs. Templestowe.

“Oh!” said Lionel, rather confused, “I don’t know so much about her. She’s only once been out to the valley since I was there. She seems a nice girl, and certainly she’s mighty pretty.”

“Lion’s blushing,” remarked Imogen. “He always does blush when he speaks of that Miss Carr.”

“Rot!” muttered Lionel, with a wrathful look at his sister. “I do nothing of the kind. But, Squire, when are you coming over to see for yourself how we look and behave? I think you and the Madam would enjoy a summer in the High Valley very much, and it would be no end of larks to have you. Isabel would like it of all things.”

“Oh, I know I should. I would start to-morrow, if I could. I’m coming across to make Clover and Imogen a long visit the first moment that papa and mamma can spare me.”

“That will be a long time to wait, I fear,” said her mother, sadly. “Since Mr. Matthewson married and carried off poor Helen’s children, the house has seemed so silent that except for you it would hardly be worth while to get up in the morning. We can’t spare you at present, dear child.”

“I know, mamma, and I shall never go till you can. The perfect thing would be that we should all go together.”

“Yes, if it were not for that dreadful voyage.”

“Oh, the voyage is nothing,” broke in the irrepressible Lionel, “you just take some little pills; I forget the name of them, but they make you safe not to be sick, and then you’re across before you know it. The ships are very comfortable,—electric bells, Welsh rabbits at bed-time, and all that, you know.”

“Fancy mamma with a Welsh rabbit at bed-time!—mamma, who cannot even row down to Gallantry on the smoothest day without being upset! You must bait your hook with something else, Lionel, if you hope to catch her.”

“How would a trefoil of clover-leaves answer?” with a smile,—“she, Geoff, and the boy.”

“Ah, that dear baby. I wish I could see the little fellow. He is so pretty in his picture,” sighed Mrs. Templestowe. “That bait would land me if anything could, Lion. By the way, there are some little parcels for them, which I thought perhaps you would make room for, Imogen.”

“Yes, indeed, I’ll carry anything with pleasure. Now I’m afraid we must be going. Mother wants me to step down to Clovelly with a message for the landlady of the New Inn, and I’ve set my heart upon walking once more to Gallantry Bower. Can’t you come with us, Isabel? It would be so nice if you could, and it’s my last chance.”

“Of course I will. I’ll be ready in five minutes, if you really can’t stay any longer.”

The three friends were soon on their way, under a low-hung sky, which looked near and threatening. The beautiful morning was fled.

“We had better cut down into the Hobby grounds and get under the trees, for I think it’s going to be wet,” said Imogen.

The suggestion proved a wise one, for before they emerged from the shelter of the woods it was raining smartly, and the girls were glad of their water-proofs and umbrellas. Lionel, with hands in pockets, strode on, disdaining what he was pleased to call “a little local shower.”

“You should see how it pours in Colorado,” he remarked. “That’s worth calling rain! Immense! Noah would feel perfectly at home in it!”

The tax of threepence each person, by which strangers are ingeniously made to contribute to the “local charities,” was not exacted of them at the New Road Gate, on the strength of their being residents, and personal friends of the owners of Clovelly Court. A few steps farther brought them to the top of a zig-zag path, sloping sharply downward at an angle of some sixty-five degrees, paved with broad stones, and flanked on either side by houses, no two of which occupied the same level, and which seemed to realize their precarious footing, and hug the rift in which they were planted as limpets hug a rock.

This was the so-called “Clovelly Street,” and surely a more extraordinary thing in the way of a street does not exist in the known world. The little village is built on the sides of a crack in a tremendous cliff; the “street” is merely the bottom of the crack, into which the ingenuity of man has fitted a few stones, set slant-wise, with intersecting ridges on which the foot can catch as it goes slipping hopelessly down. Even to practised walkers the descent is difficult, especially when the stones are wet. The party from Stowe were familiar with the path, and had trodden it many times, but even they picked their steps, and went “delicately” like King Agag, holding up umbrellas in one hand, and with the other catching at garden palings and the edges of door-steps to save themselves from pitching headlong, while beside them little boys and girls with the agility of long practice, went down merrily almost at a run, their heavy, flat-bottomed shoes making a clap-clap-clapping noise as they descended, like the strokes of a mallet on wood.

Looking up and above the quaint tenements that bordered the “street,” other houses equally quaint could be seen on either side rising above each other to the top of the cliff, in whose midst the crack which held the village is set. How it ever entered into the mind of man to utilize such a place for such a purpose it was hard to conceive. The eccentricity of level was endless, gardens topped roofs, gooseberry-bushes and plum-trees seemed growing out of chimneys, tall trees rose apparently from ridge-poles, and here and there against the sky appeared extraordinary wooden figures of colossal size, Mermaids and Britannias and Belle Savages, figure-heads of forgotten ships which old sea-captains out of commission had set up in their gardens to remind them of perils past. The weather-beaten little houses looked centuries old, and all had such an air of having been washed accidentally into their places by a great tidal wave that the vines and flowers which overhung them affected the new-comer with a sense of surprise.

Down went the three, slipping and sliding, catching on and recovering themselves, till they came to a small, low-browed building dating back for a couple of centuries or so, which was the “New Inn.” “Old” and “new” have a local meaning of their own in Clovelly which does not exactly apply anywhere else.

Up two little steps they passed into a narrow entry, with a parlor on one side and on the other a comfortable sort of housekeeper’s room, where a fire was blazing in a grate with wide hobs. Both rooms as well as the entry were hung with plates, dishes, platters, and bowls, set thickly on the walls in groups of tens and scores and double-scores, as suited their shape and color. The same ceramic decoration ran upstairs and pervaded the rooms above more or less; a more modern brick-building on the opposite side of the street which was the “annex” of the Inn, was equally full; hundreds and hundreds of plates and saucers and cups, English and Delft ware chiefly, and blue and white in color. It had been the landlady’s hobby for years past to form this collection of china, and it was now for sale to any one who might care to buy.

Isabel and Lionel ran to and fro examining “the great wall of China,” as he termed it, while Imogen did her mother’s errand to the landlady. Then they started again to mount the hill, which was an easier task than going down, passing on the way two or three parties of tourists holding on to each other, and shrieking and exclaiming; and being passed by a minute donkey with two sole-leather trunks slung on one side of him, and on the other a mountainous heap of hand-bags and valises. This is the only creature with four legs, bigger than a dog, that ever gets down the Clovelly street; and why he does not lose his balance, topple backward, and go rolling continuously down till he falls into the sea below, nobody can imagine. But the valiant little animal kept steadily on, assisted by his owner, who followed and assiduously whacked him with a stout stick, and he reached the top much sooner than any of his biped following. One cannot have too many legs in Clovelly,—a centipede would find himself at an uncommon advantage.

At the top of the street is the “Yellery Gate” through which our party passed into lovely park grounds topping a line of fine cliffs which lead to “Gallantry Bower.” This is the name given to an enormous headland which falls into the sea with a sheer descent of nearly four hundred feet, and forms the western boundary of the Clovelly roadstead.

The path was charmingly laid out with belts of woodland and clumps of flowering shrubs. Here and there was a seat or a rustic summer-house, commanding views of the sea, now a deep intense blue, for the rain had ceased as suddenly as it came, and broad yellow rays were streaming over the wet grass and trees, whose green was dazzling in its freshness. Imogen drew in a long breath of the salt wind, and looked wistfully about her at the vivid turf, the delicate shimmer of blowing leaves, and the tossing ocean, as if trying to photograph each detail in her memory.

“I shall see nothing so beautiful over there,” she said. “Dear old Devonshire, there’s nothing like it.”

“Colorado is even better than ‘dear old Devonshire,’” declared her brother; “wait till you see Pike’s Peak. Wait till I drive you through the North Cheyenne Canyon.”

But Imogen shook her head incredulously.

“Pike’s Peak!” she answered, with an air of scorn. “The name is enough; I never want to see it.”

“Well, you girls are good walkers, it must be confessed;” said Lionel, as they emerged on the crossing of the Bideford road where they must separate. “Isabel looks as fresh as paint, and Moggy hasn’t turned a hair. I don’t think Mrs. Geoff could stand such a walk, or any of her family.”

“Oh, no, indeed; Clover would feel half-killed if she were asked to undertake a sixteen-mile walk. I remember, when she was here, we just went down to the pier at Clovelly for a row on the Bay and back through the Hobby, six miles in all, perhaps, and she was quite done up, poor dear, and had to go on to the sofa. I can’t think why American girls are not better walkers,—though there was that Miss Appleton we met at Zermatt, who went up the Matterhorn and didn’t make much of it. Good-by, Imogen; I shall come over before you start and fetch mamma’s parcels.”

Chapter II. Miss Opdyke From New York

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The next week was a busy one. Packing had begun; and what with Mrs. Young’s motherly desire to provide her children with every possible convenience for their new home, and Imogen’s rooted conviction that nothing could be found in Colorado worth buying, and that it was essential to carry out all the tapes and sewing-silk and buttons and shoe-thread and shoes and stationery and court-plaster and cotton cloth and medicines that she and Lionel could possibly require during the next five years,—it promised to be a long job.

In vain did Lionel remonstrate, and assure his sister that every one of these things could be had equally well at St. Helen’s, where some of them went almost every day, and that extra baggage cost so much on the Pacific railways that the price of such commodities would be nearly doubled before she got them safely to the High Valley.

“Now what can be the use of taking two pounds of pins, for example?” he protested. “Pins are as plenty as blackberries in America. And all those spools of thread too!”

“Reels of cotton, do you mean? I wish you would speak English, at least while we are in England. I shouldn’t dare go without plenty of such things. American cotton isn’t as good as ours; I’ve always been told that.”