The Best Short Stories -
Mark Twain ,
Louisa May Alcott ,
Laura E. Richards ,
T.S. Arthur ,
Herman Melville ,
George Ade ,
Kate Chopin ,
Harriet Beecher Stowe ,
Edith Wharton ,
Nathaniel Hawthorne ,
Ahmet Ünal ÇAM
The Celebrated Jumping Frog of Calaveras County
by Mark Twain
In compliance with the request of a friend of mine, who wrote
me from the East, I called on good-natured, garrulous old Simon
Wheeler, and inquired after my friend's friend, Leonidas W. Smiley,
as requested to do, and I hereunto append the result. I have a
lurking suspicion that Leonidas W. Smiley is a myth; and that my
friend never knew such a personage; and that he only conjectured
that if I asked old Wheeler about him, it would remind him of his
infamous Jim Smiley, and he would go to work and bore me to death
with some exasperating reminiscence of him as long and as tedious
as it should be useless to me. If that was the design, it
I found Simon Wheeler dozing comfortably by the barroom stove
of the dilapidated tavern in the decayed mining camp of Angel's,
and I noticed that he was fat and bald-headed, and had an
expression of winning gentleness and simplicity upon his tranquil
countenance. He roused up, and gave me good-day. I told him a
friend had commissioned me to make some inquiries about a cherished
companion of his boyhood named Leonidas W. Smiley--Rev. Leonidas W.
Smiley, a young minister of the Gospel, who he had heard was at one
time a resident of Angel's Camp. I added that if Mr. Wheeler could
tell me anything about this Rev. Leonidas W. Smiley, I would feel
under many obligations to him.
Simon Wheeler backed me into a corner and blockaded me there
with his chair, and then sat down and reeled off the monotonous
narrative which follows this paragraph. He never smiled, he never
frowned, he never changed his voice from the gentle-flowing key to
which he tuned his initial sentence, he never betrayed the
slightest suspicion of enthusiasm; but all through the interminable
narrative there ran a vein of impressive earnestness and sincerity,
which showed me plainly that, so far from his imagining that there
was anything ridiculous or funny about his story, he regarded it as
a really important matter, and admired its two heroes as men of
transcendent genius in finesse. I let him go on in his own way, and
never interrupted him once.
"Rev. Leonidas W. H'm, Reverend Le--well, there was a feller
here once by the name of Jim Smiley, in the winter of '49--or may
be it was the spring of '50--I don't recollect exactly, somehow,
though what makes me think it was one or the other is because I
remember the big flume warn't finished when he first came to the
camp; but any way, he was the curiousest man about always betting
on anything that turned up you ever see, if he could get anybody to
bet on the other side; and if he couldn't he'd change sides. Any
way that suited the other man would suit him--any way just so's he
got a bet, he was satisfied. But still he was lucky, uncommon
lucky; he most always come out winner. He was always ready and
laying for a chance; there couldn't be no solit'ry thing mentioned
but that feller'd offer to bet on it, and take any side you please,
as I was just telling you. If there was a horse-race, you'd find
him flush or you'd find him busted at the end of it; if there was a
dog-fight, he'd bet on it; if there was a cat-fight, he'd bet on
it; if there was a chicken-fight, he'd bet on it; why, if there was
two birds setting on a fence, he would bet you which one would fly
first; or if there was a camp-meeting, he would be there reg'lar to
bet on Parson Walker, which he judged to be the best exhorter about
here, and he was, too, and a good man. If he even see a
straddle-bug start to go anywheres, he would bet you how long it
would take him to get to--to wherever he was going to, and if you
took him up, he would foller that straddle-bug to Mexico but what
he would find out where he was bound for and how long he was on the
road.Thish-yer Smiley had a mare. An illustration for the great
short story The
Celebrated Jumping Frog of Calaveras County by the author Mark
Lots of the boys here has seen that Smiley and can tell you
about him. Why, it never made no difference to him--he'd bet on any
thing--the dangest feller. Parson Walker's wife laid very sick
once, for a good while, and it seemed as if they warn't going to
save her; but one morning he come in, and Smiley up and asked him
how she was, and he said she was considerable better--thank the
Lord for his inf'nit' mercy--and coming on so smart that with the
blessing of Prov'dence she'd get well yet; and Smiley, before he
thought, says, Well, I'll risk two-and-a-half she don't
Thish-yer Smiley had a mare--the boys called her the
fifteen-minute nag, but that was only in fun, you know, because, of
course, she was faster than that--and he used to win money on that
horse, for all she was so slow and always had the asthma, or the
distemper, or the consumption, or something of that kind. They used
to give her two or three hundred yards start, and then pass her
under way; but always at the fag-end of the race she'd get excited
and desperate-like, and come cavorting and straddling up, and
scattering her legs around limber, sometimes in the air, and
sometimes out to one side amongst the fences, and kicking up
m-o-r-e dust and raising m-o-r-e racket with her coughing and
sneezing and blowing her nose--and always fetch up at the stand
just about a neck ahead, as near as you could cipher it down.
And he had a little small bull-pup. An illustration for the
great short story The Celebrated Jumping Frog of Calaveras County
by the author Mark TwainAnd he had a little small bull-pup, that to
look at him you'd think he warn't worth a cent but to set around
and look ornery and lay for a chance to steal something. But as
soon as money was up on him he was a different dog; his under-jaw'd
begin to stick out like the fo'-castle of a steamboat, and his
teeth would uncover and shine like the furnaces. And a dog might
tackle him and bully-rag him, and bite him, and throw him over his
shoulder two or three times, and Andrew Jackson--which was the name
of the pup--Andrew Jackson would never let on but what he was
satisfied, and hadn't expected nothing else--and the bets being
doubled and doubled on the other side all the time, till the money
was all up; and then all of a sudden he would grab that other dog
jest by the j'int of his hind leg and freeze to it--not chaw, you
understand, but only just grip and hang on till they throwed up the
sponge, if it was a year. Smiley always come out winner on that
pup, till he harnessed a dog once that didn't have no hind legs,
because they'd been sawed off in a circular saw, and when the thing
had gone along far enough, and the money was all up, and he come to
make a snatch for his pet holt, he see in a minute how he'd been
imposed on, and how the other dog had him in the door, so to speak,
and he 'peared surprised, and then he looked sorter
discouraged-like, and didn't try no more to win the fight, and so
he got shucked out bad. He gave Smiley a look, as much as to say
his heart was broke, and it was his fault, for putting up a dog
that hadn't no hind legs for him to take holt of, which was his
main dependence in a fight, and then he limped off a piece and laid
down and died. It was a good pup, was that Andrew Jackson, and
would have made a name for hisself if he'd lived, for the stuff was
in him and he had genius--I know it, because he hadn't no
opportunities to speak of, and it don't stand to reason that a dog
could make such a fight as he could under them circumstances if he
hadn't no talent. It always makes me feel sorry when I think of
that last fight of his'n, and the way it turned out.
Well, thish-yer Smiley had rat-tarriers, and chicken cocks,
and tom-cats and all of them kind of things, till you couldn't
rest, and you couldn't fetch nothing for him to bet on but he'd
match you. He ketched a frog one day, and took him home, and said
he cal'lated to educate him; and so he never done nothing for three
months but set in his back yard and learn that frog to jump. And
you bet you he did learn him, too. He'd give him a little punch
behind, and the next minute you'd see that frog whirling in the air
like a doughnut--see him turn one summerset, or may be a couple, if
he got a good start, and come down flat-footed and all right, like
An illustration of a frog summersetting for the great short
Celebrated Jumping Frog of Calaveras County by the author Mark
He got him up so in the matter of ketching flies, and kep' him
in practice so constant, that he'd nail a fly every time as fur as
he could see him. Smiley said all a frog wanted was education, and
he could do 'most anything--and I believe him. Why, I've seen him
set Dan'l Webster down here on this floor--Dan'l Webster was the
name of the frog--and sing out, "Flies, Dan'l, flies!" and
quicker'n you could wink he'd spring straight up and snake a fly
off'n the counter there, and flop down on the floor ag'in as solid
as a gob of mud, and fall to scratching the side of his head with
his hind foot as indifferent as if he hadn't no idea he'd been
doin' any more'n any frog might do. You never see a frog so modest
and straightfor'ard as he was, for all he was so gifted. And when
it come to fair and square jumping on a dead level, he could get
over more ground at one straddle than any animal of his breed you
ever see. Jumping on a dead level was his strong suit, you
understand; and when it come to that, Smiley would ante up money on
him as long as he had a red. Smiley was monstrous proud of his
frog, and well he might be, for fellers that had traveled and been
everywheres, all said he laid over any frog that ever they
Smiley kep' the beast in a little lattice box. An
illustration for the great short story The Celebrated Jumping Frog
of Calaveras County by the author Mark TwainWell, Smiley kep' the
beast in a little lattice box, and he used to fetch him downtown
sometimes and lay for a bet. One day a feller--a stranger in the
camp, he was--come acrost him with his box, and says:
"What might be that you've got in the box?"
And Smiley says, sorter indifferent-like, "It might be a
parrot, or it might be a canary, maybe, but it ain't--it's only
just a frog."
And the feller took it, and looked at it careful, and turned
it round this way and that, and says, "H'm--so 'tis. Well, what's
he good for?"
"Well," Smiley says, easy and careless, "he's good enough for
one thing, I should judge--he can outjump any frog in Calaveras
The feller took the box again, and took another long,
particular look, and give it back to Smiley, and says, very
deliberate, "Well," he says, "I don't see no p'ints about that frog
that's any better'n any other frog."
"Maybe you don't," Smiley says. "Maybe you understand frogs
and maybe you don't understand 'em; maybe you've had experience,
and maybe you ain't only a amature, as it were. Anyways, I've got
my opinion and I'll risk forty dollars that he can outjump any frog
in Calaveras County."
And the feller studied a minute, and then says, kinder sad
like, "Well, I'm only a stranger here, and I ain't got no frog; but
if I had a frog, I'd bet you."
And then Smiley says, "That's all right--that's all right--if
you'll hold my box a minute, I'll go and get you a frog." And so
the feller took the box, and put up his forty dollars along with
Smiley's, and set down to wait.
So he set there a good while thinking and thinking to
his-self, and then he got the frog out and prized his mouth open
and took a teaspoon and filled him full of quail shot--filled! him
pretty near up to his chin--and set him on the floor. Smiley he
went to the swamp and slopped around in the mud for a long time,
and finally he ketched a frog, and fetched him in, and give him to
this feller, and says:
"Now, if you're ready, set him alongside of Dan'l, with his
forepaws just even with Dan'l's, and I'll give the word." Then he
says, "One--two--three--git!" and him and the feller touched up the
frogs from behind, and the new frog hopped off lively, but Dan'l
give a heave, and hysted up his shoulders--so--like a Frenchman,
but it warn't no use--he couldn't budge; he was planted as solid as
a church, and he couldn't no more stir than if he was anchored out.
Smiley was a good deal surprised, and he was disgusted too, but he
didn't have no idea what the matter was, of course.
The feller took the money and started away; and when he was
going out at the door, he sorter jerked his thumb over his
shoulder--so--at Dan'l, and says again, very deliberate, "Well," he
says, "I don't see no p'ints about that frog that's any better'n
any other frog."
An illustration for the great short story The
Celebrated Jumping Frog of Calaveras County by the author Mark
TwainSmiley he stood scratching his head and looking down at Dan'l
a long time, and at last says, "I do wonder what in the nation that
frog throwed off for--I wonder if there ain't something the matter
with him--he 'pears to look mighty baggy, somehow." And he ketched
Dan'l up by the nap of the neck, and hefted him, and says, "Why
blame my cats if he don't weigh five pounds!" and turned him upside
down and he belched out a double handful of shot. And then he see
how it was, and he was the maddest man--he set the frog down and
took out after that feller, but he never ketched him. And----
(Here Simon Wheeler heard his name called from the front yard,
and got up to see what was wanted.) And turning to me as he moved
away, he said: "Just set where you are, stranger, and rest easy--I
ain't going to be gone a second."
But, by your leave, I did not think that a continuation of the
history of the enterprising vagabond Jim Smiley would be likely to
afford me much information concerning the Rev. Leonidas W. Smiley,
and so I started away.
At the door I met the sociable Wheeler returning, and he
buttonholed me and recommenced:
"Well, thish-yer Smiley had a yaller, one-eyed cow that didn't
have no tail, only jest a short stump like a bannanner,
However, lacking both time and inclination, I did not wait to
hear about the afflicted cow, but took my leave.
End of story
About the author
Born November 30, 1835 in Florida, Mark Twain “came in with
the comet” and as he predicted he went “out with the comet” passing
away on April 21, 1910, the day after Halley’s Comet returned. His
real name was Samuel Longhorne Clemens, and he took his pen name
from his days as a riverboat pilot on the Mississippi River where
the cry “mark twain” signaled the depth of water -- about 12 feet
was required for the safe passage of riverboats.
Mark Twain was a talented writer, speaker and humorist whose
own personality shined through his work. As his writing grew in
popularity, he became a public figure and iconic American whose
work represents some of the best in the genre of Realism. As the
young country grew in size but not in a cultural manner to the
liking of the European gentry, it became fashionable to criticize
"the ugly American.” Twain famously travelled abroad and disarmed
his audience with his wit and humor with pronouncements like the
following: “In Paris they simply stared when I spoke to them in
French; I never did succeed in making those idiots understand their
Mark Twain quote bourbonTwain grew up in Hannibal, Missouri
and would later use that location as the setting for two of his
most famous works, Huckleberry Finn and Tom Sawyer. He started his
career as a typesetter at a newspaper, worked as a printer, a
riverboat pilot, and then turned to gold mining. When he failed to
strike it rich, he turned to journalism and it was during that time
that he wrote the short story that would launch his career, The
Celebrated Jumping Frog of Calaveras County -- a story that
captivated me when read out loud by one of my teachers in
elementary school. Children may also enjoy reading Mark Twain: A
While Twain’s career as a writer enriched him, his turn as a
gentleman investor did much to impoverish him. He lost a great deal
of his writing profits and much of his wife’s inheritance on
different investments, the costliest was his backing of a promising
typesetting machine. The machine had great potential but it failed
in the market due to frequent breakdowns. Twain recovered
financially with the help of a benefactor from Standard Oil, Henry
Huttleson Rogers. Rogers guided Twain successfully through
bankruptcy and even had Twain transfer his copyrights to his wife
to keep his royalties from his creditors. Further success from book
sales and lectures restored his financial health and in the end all
his creditors were paid.
Mark Twain is also well remembered for his witty quotations, a
small sampling follows:
Mark Twain quote artsyMany a small thing has been made large
by the right kind of advertising.
Few things are harder to put up with than the annoyance of a
Good breeding consists of concealing how much we think of
ourselves and how little we think of the other person.
All you need in this life is ignorance and confidence; then
success is sure.
Man is the Only Animal that Blushes. Or needs to.
It takes your enemy and your friend, working together, to hurt
you: the one to slander you, and the other to get the news to
When I was younger, I could remember anything, whether it had
happened or not.
Suppose you were an idiot and suppose you were a member of
Congress. But I repeat myself.
It is curious that physical courage should be so common in the
world and moral courage so rare.
It is better to keep your mouth closed and let people think
you are a fool than to open it and remove all doubt.
If you pick up a starving dog and make him prosperous, he will
not bite you. This is the principal difference between a dog and a
I was gratified to be able to answer promptly. I said I don't
I thoroughly disapprove of duels. If a man should challenge
me, I would take him kindly and forgivingly by the hand and lead
him to a quiet place and kill him.
I have never let my schooling interfere with my
I didn't attend the funeral, but I sent a nice letter saying
that I approved of it.
Get your facts first, and then you can distort them as much as
Fiction is obliged to stick to possibilities. Truth
Education: that which reveals to the wise, and conceals from
the stupid, the vast limits of their knowledge.
By trying we can easily learn to endure adversity -- another
man's I mean.
An Englishman is a person who does things because they have
been done before. An American is a person who does things because
they haven't been done before.
Mark Twain quoteAlways acknowledge a fault. This will throw
those in authority off their guard and give you an opportunity to
Always do right. This will gratify some people and astonish
A banker is a fellow who lends you his umbrella when the sun
is shining, but wants it back the minute it begins to rain.
A lie can travel halfway around the world while the truth is
putting on its shoes.
And as Ernest Hemingway wisely observed:
"All modern American literature comes from one book by Mark
Twain called Huckleberry Finn.""
End of story
by Louisa May Alcott
I. HOW THEY WALKED INTO LENNOX'S LIFE.
"COME out for a drive, Harry?"
"Have a game of billiards?"
"Go and call on the Fairchilds?"
"Having an unfortunate prejudice against country girls, I
"What will you do then?"
"Nothing, thank you."
And settling himself more luxuriously upon the couch, Lennox
closed his eyes, and appeared to slumber tranquilly. Kate shook her
head, and stood regarding her brother, despondently, till a sudden
idea made her turn toward the window, exclaiming abruptly,
"Scarlet stockings, Harry!"
"Where?" and, as if the words were a spell to break the
deepest day-dream, Lennox hurried to the window, with an unusual
expression of interest in his listless face.
"I thought that would succeed! She isn't there, but I've got
you up, and you are not to go down again," laughed Kate, taking
possession of the sofa.
"Not a bad manoeuvre. I don't mind; it's about time for the
one interesting event of the day to occur, so I'll watch for
myself, thank you," and Lennox took the easy chair by the window
with a shrug and a yawn.
"I'm glad any thing does interest you," said Kate, petulantly,
"though I don't think it amounts to much, for, though you perch
yourself at the window every day to see that girl pass, you don't
care enough about it to ask her name."
"I've been waiting to be told."
"It's Belle Morgan, the Doctor's daughter, and my dearest
"Then, of course, she is a blue-belle?"
"Don't try to be witty or sarcastic with her, for she will
beat you at that."
"Not a dumb-belle then?"
"Quite the reverse; she talks a good deal, and very well too,
when she likes."
"She is very pretty; has anybody the right to call her 'Ma
"Many would be glad to do so, but she won't have any thing to
say to them."
"A Canterbury belle in every sense of the word then?"
"She might be, for all Canterbury loves her, but she isn't
fashionable, and has more friends among the poor than among the
"Ah, I see, a diving-bell, who knows how to go down into a sea
of troubles, and bring up the pearls worth having."
"I'll tell her that, it will please her. You are really waking
up, Harry," and Kate smiled approvingly upon him.
"This page of 'Belle's Life' is rather amusing, so read away,"
said Lennox, glancing up the street, as if he awaited the
appearance of the next edition with pleasure.
"There isn't much to tell; she is a nice, bright, energetic,
warm-hearted dear; the pride of the Doctor's heart, and a favorite
with every one, though she is odd.
"Does and says what she likes, is very blunt and honest, has
ideas and principles of her own, goes to parties in high dresses,
won't dance round dances, and wears red stockings, though Mrs.
Plantagenet says it's fast."
"Rather a jolly little person, I fancy. Why haven't we met her
at some of the tea-fights and muffin-worries we've been to
"It may make you angry, but it will do you good, so I'll tell.
She didn't care enough about seeing the distinguished stranger to
come; that's the truth."
"Sensible girl, to spare herself hours of mortal dulness,
gossip, and dyspepsia," was the placid reply.
"She has seen you, though, at church and dawdling about town,
and she called you 'Sir Charles Coldstream' on the spot. How does
that suit?" asked Kate, maliciously.
"Not bad, I rather like that. Wish she'd call some day, and
stir us up."
"She won't; I asked her, but she said she was very busy, and
told Jessy Tudor, she wasn't fond of peacocks."
"I don't exactly see the connection."
"Stupid boy! she meant you, of course."
"Oh, I'm peacocks, am I?"
"I don't wish to be rude, but I really do think you are vain
of your good looks, elegant accomplishments, and the impression you
make wherever you go. When it's worth while you exert yourself, and
are altogether fascinating, but the 'I come -- see -- and --
conquer' air you put on, spoils it all for sensible people."
"It strikes me that Miss Morgan has slightly infected you with
her oddity as far as bluntness goes. Fire away, it's rather amusing
to be abused when one is dying of ennui."
"That's grateful and complimentary to me, when I have devoted
myself to you ever since you came. But every thing bores you, and
the only sign of interest you've shown is in those absurd red hose.
I should like to know what the charm is," said Kate, sharply.
"Impossible to say; accept the fact calmly as I do, and be
grateful that there is one glimpse of color, life, and spirit in
this aristocratic tomb of a town."
"You are not obliged to stay in it!" fiercely.
"Begging your pardon, my dove, but I am. I promised to give
you my enlivening society for a month, and a Lennox keeps his word,
even at the cost of his life."
"I'm sorry I asked such a sacrifice; but I innocently thought
that after being away for five long years, you might care to see
your orphan sister," and the dove produced her handkerchief with a
"Now, my dear creature, don't be melodramatic, I beg of you,"
cried her brother, imploringly. "I wished to come, I pined to
embrace you, and I give you my word, I don't blame you for the
stupidity of this confounded place."
"It never was so gay as since you came, for every one has
tried to make it pleasant for you," cried Kate, ruffled at his
indifference to the hospitable efforts of herself and friends. "But
you don't care for any of our simple amusements, because you are
spoilt by the flattery, gayety, and nonsense of foreign society. If
I didn't know it was half affectation, I should be in despair, you
are so blase and absurd. It's always the way with men, if one
happens to be handsome, accomplished, and talented, he puts on as
many airs, and is as vain as any silly girl."
"Don't you think if you took breath, you'd get on faster, my
dear?" asked the imperturbable gentleman, as Kate paused with a
"I know it's useless for me to talk, as you don't care a straw
what I say, but it's true, and some day you'll wish you had done
something worth doing all these years. I was so proud of you, so
fond of you, that I can't help being disappointed, to find you with
no more ambition than to kill time comfortably, no interest in any
thing but your own pleasures, and only energy enough to amuse
yourself with a pair of scarlet stockings."
Pathetic as poor Kate's face and voice were, it was impossible
to help laughing at the comical conclusion of her lament. Lennox
tried to hide the smile on his lips by affecting to curl his
moustache with care, and to gaze pensively out as if touched by her
appeal. But he wasn't, oh, bless you, no! she was only his sister,
and, though she might have talked with the wisdom of Solomon, and
the eloquence of Demosthenes, it wouldn't have done a particle of
good. Sisters do very well to work for one, to pet one, and play
confidante when one's love affairs need feminine wit to conduct
them, but when they begin to reprove, or criticise or moralize, it
won't do, and can't be allowed, of course. Lennox never snubbed
anybody, but blandly extinguished them by a polite acquiescence in
all their affirmations, for the time being, and then went on in his
own way as if nothing had been said.
"I dare say you are right; I'll go and think over your very
sensible advice," and, as if roused to unwonted exertion by the
stings of an accusing conscience, he left the room abruptly.
"I do believe I've made an impression at last! He's actually
gone out to think over what I've said. Dear Harry, I was sure he
had a heart, if one only knew how to get at it!" and with a sigh of
satisfaction Kate went to the window to behold the "dear Harry"
going briskly down the street after a pair of scarlet stockings. A
spark of anger kindled in her eyes as she watched him, and when he
vanished, she still stood knitting her brows in deep thought, for a
grand idea was dawning upon her.
It was a dull town; no one could deny that, for everybody was
so intensely proper and well-born, that nobody dared to be jolly.
All the houses were square, aristocratic mansions with
Revolutionary elms in front and spacious coach-houses behind. The
knockers had a supercilious perk to their bronze or brass noses,
the dandelions on the lawns had a highly connected air, and the
very pigs were evidently descended from "our first families."
Stately dinner-parties, decorous dances, moral picnics, and much
tea-pot gossiping were the social resources of the place. Of
course, the young people flirted, for that diversion is apparently
irradicable even in the "best society," but it was done with a
propriety which was edifying to behold.
One can easily imagine that such a starched state of things
would not be particularly attractive to a travelled young gentleman
like Lennox, who, as Kate very truly said, had been spoilt by the
flattery, luxury, and gayety of foreign society. He did his best,
but by the end of the first week ennui claimed him for its own, and
passive endurance was all that was left him. From perfect despair
he was rescued by the scarlet stockings, which went tripping by one
day as he stood at the window, planning some means of escape.
A brisk, blithe-faced girl passed in a grey walking suit with
a distracting pair of high-heeled boots and glimpses of scarlet at
the ankle. Modest, perfectly so, I assure you, were the glimpses,
but the feet were so decidedly pretty that one forgot to look at
the face appertaining thereunto. It wasn't a remarkably lovely
face, but it was a happy, wholesome one, with all sorts of good
little dimples in cheek and chin, sunshiny twinkles in the black
eyes, and a decided, yet lovable look about the mouth that was
quite satisfactory. A busy, bustling little body she seemed to be,
for sack-pockets and muff were full of bundles, and the trim boots
tripped briskly over the ground, as if the girl's heart were as
light as her heels. Somehow this active, pleasant figure seemed to
wake up the whole street, and leave a streak of sunshine behind it,
for every one nodded as it passed, and the primmest faces relaxed
into smiles, which lingered when the girl had gone.
"Uncommonly pretty feet -- she walks well, which American
girls seldom do -- all waddle or prance -- nice face, but the boots
are French, and it does my heart good to see 'em."
Lennox made these observations to himself as the young lady
approached, nodded to Kate at another window, gave a quick but
comprehensive glance at himself and trotted round the corner,
leaving the impression on his mind that a whiff of fresh spring air
had blown through the street in spite of the December snow. He
didn't trouble himself to ask who it was, but fell into the way of
lounging in the bay-window at about three P. M., and watching the
grey and scarlet figure pass with its blooming cheeks, bright eyes,
and elastic step. Having nothing else to do, he took to petting
this new whim, and quite depended on the daily stirring-up which
the sight of the energetic damsel gave him. Kate saw it all, but
took no notice till the day of the little tiff above recorded;
after that she was as soft as a summer sea, and by some clever
stroke had Belle Morgan to tea that very week.
Lennox was one of the best tempered fellows in the world, but
the "peacocks" did rather nettle him because there was some truth
in the insinuation; so he took care to put on no airs or try to be
fascinating in the presence of Miss Belle. In truth he soon forgot
himself entirely, and enjoyed her oddities with a relish, after the
prim proprieties of the other young ladies who had simpered and
sighed before him. For the first time in his life, the "Crusher,"
as his male friends called him, got crushed; for Belle, with the
subtle skill of a quick-witted, keen-sighted girl, soon saw and
condemned the elegant affectations which others called foreign
polish. A look, a word, a gesture from a pretty woman is often more
eloquent and impressive than moral essays or semi-occasional
twinges of conscience, and in the presence of one satirical little
person, Sir Charles Coldstream soon ceased to deserve the
Belle seemed to get over her hurry and to find time for
occasional relaxation, but one never knew in what mood he might
find her, for the weathercock was not more changeable than she.
Lennox liked that, and found the muffin-worries quite endurable
with this sauce piquante to relieve their insipidity. Presently he
discovered that he was suffering for exercise, and formed the
wholesome habit of promenading the town about three P. M.; Kate
said, to follow the scarlet stockings.
II. WHERE THEY LED HIM.
"WHITHER away, Miss Morgan?" asked Lennox, as he overtook her
one bitter cold day.
"I'm taking my constitutional."
"So am I."
"With a difference," and Belle glanced at the blue-nosed,
muffled-up gentleman strolling along beside her with an occasional
shiver and shrug.
"After a winter in the south of France one don't find arctic
weather like this easy to bear," he said, with a disgusted