THE
W O M A N’S S T O R Y
As Told By
TWENTY AMERICAN WOMEN
 
WITH
PORTRAITS, AND SKETCHES OF THE AUTHORS
BY
LAURA C. HOLLOWAY
Author of " The Ladies of the White House," " An Hour with
Charlotte Bronte," " Adelaid Neilson," " The Hearth-
stone," " Mothers of Great Men and Women,"
" Howard, the Christian Hero," " The
Home in Poetry," etc.
 
 
 
 
 
 
NEW YORK
JOHN B. ALDEN, PUBLISHER
1889
 
 
 
 
 
ELLA WHEELER WILCOX.
 
    ELLA WHEELER might be said to have suddenly appeared upon the poetical horizon in her volume called " Poems of Passion." Though not her first work it was this which caused the public to realize that the far western state of Wisconsin had produced a poetess of surprising power and individuality. That it met with severe criticism from many sources did not blind anyone to the fact that there was unusual force of expression and rhythmic beauty in the verses, whether they approved of them or not, In fact the wonder was, how this young girl had developed such powers of fancy and imagination, and such command of metrical composition, without, apparently any special scholastic cultivation, or even any social environment calculated to favor such a precocious flow of sentiment.
    Born in a prairie village, without influential friends, or any personal knowledge of literary people; unacquainted even with any editor or journalist, this young girl found it impossible to resist the impulse to pour out her youthful, immature thoughts, in rhymed measure. Her first verses, sent to the editor of the New York Mercury were rejected, and with that proverbial insight and inspiration which editors and publishers fancy they possess, she was calmly advised to give up her idea of becoming a poet.
    But she viewed the situation differently, and continued to besiege the editorial sanctum with successive poems, under different nom de plumes, and finally with success. But it was the Waverley Magazine which first introduced her to the public under her own name. Two small volumes, almost juvenile in their character finally struggled into print. These were " Drops of Water " and " Shells," the former mainly devoted to enthusiastic pleas for temperance. Her next book was a great improvement upon these, both in form and sub-
509
 
510 ELLA WHEELER WILCOX
 
ject. Her mind rapidly matured ; and by the time she was eighteen, most of the " Poems of Passion " had been composed if not published.
    It was not long after this volume appeared, in May, 1883, that a very unusual testimonial was offered her in the city of Milwaukee. A " benefit " for her had been arranged by some of the leading citizens of that enterprising place. A member of the United States Senate made a eulogistic address, and at its close he presented to the fair young poetess a fancy basket, containing five hundred dollars in brave gold pieces. Far more satisfactory to her, at that time, than a myrtle crown from Mount Parnassus itself would have been.
    One year later Ella Wheeler was married to Robert Wilcox, a cultivated and estimable gentleman, whose fine taste and critical ear, proved an excellent aid to the exuberant young poetess.
    " Poems of Pleasure " is generally thought to contain the finest poetical work of Mrs. Wilcox. Her prose story " Mal Moulee " has many admirers, as also other short stories and a novel entitled " The Adventures of Miss Volney." Besides the ordinary editions, a volume de lux of " Poems of Passion " has been published. " Maurine " contains, we believe, the first portrait of the authoress added to any of her works.
    Since her marriage Mrs. Wilcox has resided in the eastern states, and for some time has been located in New York City, which will be her permanent home.
 
 
DAVE'S WIFE.
 
    " So Dave has brought his wife home ? "
    Deacon Somers cut a larger chip from the stick he had been whittling down to a very fine point as he answered Deacon Bradlaw's query by the one monosyllable, " Ye-a-s."
    " Got home last night, I hear."
    " Ye-a-s; " and the stick was coming down to a very fine point-now, so assiduously was the deacon devoting all his energies to it.
    Deacon Bradlaw waited a moment, with an expectant air ; then he clasped one knee with both hands, and leaned forward toward his neighbor.
    " Well, what do you think of your boy's choice ? " he asked. " What sort of a woman does she seem to be? Think she'll be a help in the church ? "
    Deacon Somers was silent a moment. Whirling the whittled stick around and around, he squinted at it, with one eye closed, to see if it was perfectly symmetrical. (Deacon Somers had a very mathematical eye, and he liked so have everything " plumb," as he expressed it. He had been known to rise from his knees at a neighbor's house in prayer-meeting time and go across the room and straighten a picture which offended his eye by hanging " askew.") Having convinced himself that the stick was round, the deacon tilted back against the side of the country store where he and his companion were siting, and began picking his teeth with the afore said stick, as he answered Deacon Bradlaw’s question by another, and a seemingly irrelevant one. 
    " Do you remember Dave’s hoss trade ? "
    " No," answered the deacon, surprised at this sudden turn in the conversation, " I can't say I do."
    " Wa-al, just after he came home from college, two years ago, he got dreadfully sot against the bay mare I drove. I’d had her for years, and she was a nice
511
 
512 DAVE’S WIFE.
 
steady-going animal. We had a four-year-old colt too, that I drove with her. Wa-al, Dave he thought it was a shame and a disgrace to drive such a ill-matched span. The young hoss was right up and off, and the bay mare she lagged behind about half a length. The young hoss was a short stepper, and the bay mare went with a long, easy lope. They wasn't a nice matched span, I do confess.
    " Wa'al, Dave he kept a-talkin’ trade to me till I give in. He said he knew of a mighty nice match for the young hoss, and if I would leave it to him he'd make a good trade. So I left it to him, and one day he come drivin’ home in grand style. The old mare was traded off, and a dappled-gray four-year-old was in her place. A pretty creature to look at, but I knew, the minute I sot eyes onto her, that she'd never pull a plough through the stubble-ground, or haul a reaper up that side-hill o' mine.
    " ‘ Isn't she a beauty, father ? ’ said Dave.
    " ‘ Yes,' says I ; ‘ but handsome is as handsome does applies to hosses as well as to folks, I reckon. What can this ’ere mare do, Dave ? ’
    " Dave's face was all aglow. ‘ Do ! ’ says he. ‘ Why, she can trot a mile in two minutes and three-quarters father, and I only give seventy-five dollars to boot, ’twixt her and the old mare. ’
    " Wall you see, I was just struck dumb at that there boy's folly, but I knew ’twa’n’t no use to say a word then. I just waited, and it come out as I expected. The dappled-gray mare took us to church or to town in fine style—passed everything on the road slick as a pin. But she balked on the reaper, and give out entirely on the plough. And I hed to buy another mare for the hoss, and let the dappled mare stand in the stable, except when we put her in the carriage."
    Deacon Somers paused and his glance rested on Deacon Bradlaw's questioning, puzzled face.
    " Well ? " interrogated Deacon Bradlaw.
     " Wa'al, " continued Deacon Somers, " Dave's marriage is off the same piece as his hoss trade. Pretty creature, and can outstrip all the girls round here in playin’ and singin’ and paintin’ and dressin,’ but come to washin’ and bakin’ and steady work—why, we'll hev to get somebody else to do that, and let her sit in the
 
BY ELLA WHEELER WILCOX. 513
 
parlor. Mother ’n’ I both see that at a glance ; and the deacon sighed.
    " I see, I see," mused Deacon Bradlaw, sympathetic-ally. " Too bad! too bad ! Dave knew her at college, I believe? "
    " Yes , they graduated in the same class. She carried off all the honors, and the papers give her a long puff ’bout her ellycution. Dave’s head was completely turned, and he kept runnin’ back and forth to see her, till I thought the best thing for him to do was to marry her and be done with it. But Sarah Jane Graves would have suited mother ’n’ me better. You know Dave and she was pretty thick before he went off to college."
    " She's a powerful homely girl, though," Deacon Bradlaw said ; " and the awkwardest critter I ever see stand in church choir and sing. Seems to be all elbows somehow."
    " Ye-a-s—ye-a-s ; a. good deal like the bay mare Dave was so sot against—awkward, but steady-goin’ and useful—more for use than show. Wa’al, wa’al I must be going home ; all the chores to do, and Dave’s billin’ and cooin’. Good afternoon. Come over and see us."
 
    When Dave Somers and his bride walked up the church aisle, the next Sunday morning, over Parson Elliott’s congregation there passed that indefinable flutter which can only be compared to a breeze suddenly stirring the leaves of a poplar grove. Every eye was was turned upon the handsome, strong-limbed young man, and the fair, delicate girl at his side, who bore the curious glances of all these strangers with quiet, well-bred composure.
    After service people lingered in the aisle for an introduction, in the manner of country village churches, where Sunday is the day for quiet sociability and the interchange of civilities. And after the respective friends of the family had scattered to their several homes, Dave's wife was the one universal topic of discussion over the Sunday dinner.
    " A. mighty pretty girl," " A face like a rose." "Too cute for anything," " Stylish as a fashion plate,"' " A regular little daisy," were a few of the comments
 
514 DAVE’S WIFE
 
passed by the young men of the congregation. To these remarks the ladies supplemented their critical observations after the manner of women : " Her nose isn't pretty ; " " Her mouth is too large ; " " Her face was powdered—I saw it ; " " Her hat was horrid ; " " I don't like to see so much agony in a small place." But Sarah Jane Graves said : " She is lovely. I would give the world to be as pretty as she is. No wonder Dave loved her." And she choked down a lump in her throat as she said it.
    All the neighboring people called on Dave's wife during the next month, and, with one or two exceptions, introduced the conversation by the question, " Well, how do you like Somerville ? " To the monotony of this query Dave’s wife varied her replies as much as was possible without contradicting herself.  " I am quite delighted with the fertility of my mind," she laughingly remarked to Dave at the expiration of the first month.  " To at least fifteen people who have asked me that one unvaried question I have invented at least ten different phrases in which to express my satisfaction with Somerville.  " I have said :  ‘ Very much, thank you ;’ ‘ Oh, I am highly pleasedm ; ’  ‘ Far better than I anticipated even ; ’ ‘ I find it very pleasant ; ’  ‘ It has made a very agreeable impression upon me ; ’ and oh, ever so many more changes I have rung on that one idea, Dave ! " and the young wife laughed merrily. But under the laugh Dave seemed to hear a minor strain. His face grew grave.
    " I fear I did wrong to bring you here among these people," he said.  " They are so unlike you—so commonplace. I fear you are homesick already, Madge."
    " No, no; indeed you are wrong, Dave ; indeed I am happy here, and like your friends," Madge protested, with tender earnestness.
    But as the months went by it was plain to all eyes that Dave's wife was not happy, that she did not assimilate with her surroundings. She made no intimate friendships ;  she sat silent at the sewing society, and would not take an interest in the neighborhood gossip, which formed the main topic of conversation at these meetings. She would not take a class at Sunday-school, claiming that she was not fitted to explain
 
BY ELLA WHEELER WILCOX. 515
 
the Gospel to any unfolding, inquiring mind, as she was not at all sure that she understood it herself.
    Dark insinuations were afloat that Dave’s wife was an " unbeliever," or at least a Unitarian, and her fashionable style of dress marked her as " worldlyminded " at all events. Deacon Bradlaw and Deacon Somers held many an interview on the shady side of the village store, and " Dave's wife " always came up for discussion, sooner or later, during those interviews.
    " She's settin’ a bad example to all of Somerville," Deacon Bradlaw declared. " My gal Arminda’s getting’ just as fussy and proud as a young peacock about her clothes ; nothin’ suits her now unless it looks stylish and cityfied. And I see there’s a deal more extravagance in dress among all the women-folks since Dave’s wife came with her high heels and her bustles and her trimmins. You ought to labor with her, Brother Somers."
    Brother Somers sighed. " I do labor with her," he said, " but the poor thing don't know what to do. Her guardian—she was an orphan, you know—give her the little money she had left after her schoolin’, to buy her weddin’ fixin’s. She’d no idee what plain folks she was a comin’ among. So she got her outfit accordin’ to the way she'd been brought up. Lord ! she's got things enough to last her ten years, and all trimmed to kill, and all fittin’ her like a duck’s foot in the mud ; and what can she do but wear ’em. now she’s got ’em, she says ; and I can’t tell her to throw ‘em away and buy new. ’Twouldn’t be economy. She’s been with us nigh onto a year now, and she’s never asked Dave for a cent’s worth of any thin."
    " But she’s no worker ; anybody can see that. And you’ve hed to keep a girl half the time since she’s been with you," Deacon Bradlaw added, somewhat nettled that his neighbor made any excuses for Dave’s wife, whose fair face and fine clothes and quiet reserve had inspired him with an angry resentment from the first.
    " Ye-a-s, ye-a-s, that's true," Deacon Somers confessed.  " She's no worker. Lord !  the way she tried to make cheese ;  and the cookin’ she did !
 
516 DAVE’S WIFE
 
Mother hed to throw the cheese curd into the pig’s swill, and the bread and cake she made followed it. More waste from that experiment of hers than we’ve hed in years ; and she was flour from head to foot, and all of a perspiration, and sick in bed from cryin’ over her failures into the bargain. The poor thing did try her very best. But it was like the dappled mare tryin’ to haul the plough-she couldn’t do it, wa’n’t built for it."
    When Deacon Somers reached home his brow was clouded. His good wife saw it, and questioned him as to the cause. He shook his head.
    " I’m troubled about church matters, mother," he said. " The debt fur that new steeple and altar, and all the rest of the expense we’ve been to the last two years, wears on me night an’ day. And Deacon Bradlaw he’s gettin’ mad at some of the trustees, and says he’ll never put another dollar into the church till they come forward and head a paper with fifty dollars apiece subscription. I know ’em, all too well to think they’ll ever do that, and Deacon Bradlaw he’s a reg’lar mule. So the first we know our church’ll be in a stew that will send half its members over to the rival church that’s started up at Jonesville, with one o’ them sensation preachers that draws a crowd like a circus," and Deacon Somers sighed.
    " Isn't there something that can be done to raise the money ? " asked Mother Somers, anxiously.   "  Can’t we get up entertainments ? "
    " That’s old, and ’taint strawberry season," sighed the deacon. " We couldn't charge more'n fifteen or twenty cents at the door, and that wouldn’t bring in much for one entertainment, and nobody would turn out to a second. There don’t seem to be no ingenuity among the young folks here ’bout getting’ up anything entertainin’. Our strawberry festival was just a dead failure—barely paid expenses."
    Dave's wife, sitting with her pale face, which had grown very thin and wan of late, bent over a bit of sewing, suddenly looked up. Her listless expression gave place to one of animated interest. " Father Somers," she began, timidly, " do you suppose—do you think—I could get up a reading ? "
    " A what ? " and Deacon Somers turned a surprised
 
BY ELLA WHEELER WIOCOX. 517
 
and puzzled face upon his daughter-in-law. It was so new for her to betray any interest in anything.
    " A reading. You know I took the prize for elocution when I graduated. I know ever so many things I could recite, and it might draw a crowd just from its being something new. We could charge twenty-five cents ad-mission, and it would give the impression of something good, at least. After they had heard me once they could decide for themselves if I am worth bearing again."
    Deacon Somers looked upon the glowing face and animated mien of Dave's wife with increasing wonder. Was this the listless girl he had seen a few moments before ?
    " ’Pon my soul," he ejaculated, " I don't know but it might draw a crowd, just from curiosity. Everybody would go to see Dave’s wife. Not that I hev much of a opinion of readin’s ; never heard any but once, and then I went to sleep. But it might draw, seenin’ it’s you. You can try it if you want to."
    Dave's wife did try it. It was announced before service Sunday morning that Mrs. David Somers would give a reading in the church edifice on Thursday evening : admission, twenty-five cents. Proceeds to be applied to-ward the church debt.
    Again there was a breezy stir in the congregation, and scores of eyes were turned upon Dave's wife, who sat in her silent white composure, with her dark eyes lifted to the face of the clergyman.
    But Sarah Jane Graves could not help noticing as she had not before the marked change in the young wife’s face since the day she entered that church a bride.
    " How she is fading ! I wonder if she is unhappy ? " she thought.
    Thursday night came fair and clear. As Deacon Somers had predicted, the announcement that Dave's wife was to give a reading had drawn a house ; the church was literally packed. Dave’s wife rose before her audience with no words of apology or introduction, and
began the recitation of the old, hackneyed, yet ever beautiful
 
" Curfew shall not ring to-night."
 
518 DAVE’S WIFE.
 
It was new to most of the audience, and certainly the manner of its delivery was new to them. They forgot themselves, they forgot their surroudings, they forgot that it was Dave’s wife who stood before them. They were alone in the belfry tower clinging with bleeding hands to the brazen tongue of the bell as it swung to and fro above the deaf old janitor’s head. When the recitation was finished two or three of the audience found themselves on their feet. How they came there they never knew, and they sat down with a shamefaced expression.
    Sarah Jane Graves was in tears, and one or two others wiped their eyes furtively, and then the old church walls rang with cheers. So soon as they subsided Dave’s wife arose, and, with a sudden change of expression and voice began to give a recital of " An Evening at the Quarters." It was in negro dialect, and introduced one or two snatch-es of song and a violin air. To the astonishment of her audience Dave’s wife picked up a violin at the appropriate time, and played the air through in perfect time and tune ; and then the house resounded to another round of cheers, and the entire audience was convulsed with laughter. Everything which followed, grave or gay, pathetic or absurd, was met with nods of approval, or the clapping of hands and the drummin of feet. Somerville had never known such an entertainment before. The receipts for the evening proved to be over forty dollars.
    During the next three months Dave’s wife gave two more readings, the proceeds of which paid half the church debt, and this so encouraged the members that old grudges and quarrels were forgotten, and Deacon Bradlaw and the elders made up the remaining half, and Somerville church was free from debt.
    Yet Deacon Bradlaw was beard to say that while he was glad and grateful for all that Dave's wife had done, he did not in his heart approve of turning the house of God into a " theatre." " She performed exactly like them women whose pictures are in the store winders in town," he said, " a-makin’ everybody laugh or cry with their monkey-shines. I don't think it a proper way to go on in the house of God. Never would hev 
 
BY ELLA WHEELER WILCOX 519
 
given my consent to it ef I’d known what sort of entertainment it was to be."
" Dave’s wife ever been a actress ?" he asked Deacon Somers when they next met.
" Actress ? No. What put that into your head ? answered Deacon Somers, with some spirit.
" Oh, nothin’, nothin’ ; only her readin’s seemed a powerful sight like a theatre I went to once. Didn’t know she’d been on the stage ; it’s getting’ fashi’nable nowadays. Anyway, she’s missed her callin’. Wait a minute, neighbor; don’t hurry off so. I want to talk church matters."
    " Can't," responded Deacon Somers, whipping up his horse. " Dave's wife is sick in bed, and I came to the store to git a few things for her—bitters, and some nourishin’ things to eat. She’s sort o’ run down with the exertion she made in them readin’s. She used to be just drippin’ with perspiration when she got home." 

    Dave’s wife was ailing for months, unable to do more than sit in her room and paint an hour or two each day. The house was filled with her paintings. They ornament-ed brackets, and stood in corners, and peeped from the folds of fans, and smiled from Dave’s china coffee-cup.

    One day Dave proposed to his wife that she should go to her old home—the home of her guardian—and make a visit.
    " We’ve been married fifteen months now," he said, and you’ve never been away. I think a change will do you good. You seem to be running down every day."
    So she went. After an absence of ten days she wrote to Dave to send her paintings to her by express. She had need of them ; would explain when she returned. Dave packed them carefully, and sent them with a sigh.
    Poor Dave ! He had come to realize that his marriage was a great mistake. To be sure, he loved Madge yet, but the romance of his youthful attachment had all passed away in the dull commonplace routine of his domestic life, where Madge had proved such an inefficient help-meet.
    He had been blindly in love with his divinity; elated with the fact that he had won her away from two or 
 
520 DAVE’S WIFE.
 
three other suitors. Madge was a brilliant scholar and a belle, and with the blind faith of young love, Dave had believed, that she would excel in domestic duties as in intellectual pursuits. Her ignominious failures, her utter uselessness, and his mother’s constant and indisputable references to her inefficiency about the farm-work, had presented her to his eyes in a new light. The brilliant girl who was the pride of the college, and the helpless, thriftless wife whose husband was regarded with pity by a sympathetic neighborhood, were two distinct individ-uals, as were also the young elocutionist carrying off the honors of her class, and the tired, tearful woman weeping over her soggy bread and melted butter.
    The success in her readings had revived his old pride in her for a time. But her consequent illness and listless-ness had discouraged him.
    Mrs. Somers saw the express package, and inquired what it was. Dave told her, remarking at the same time that he did not know what she intended to make of them.
    " Maybe she's going to give ’em away to those who will appreciate ’em," suggested his mother. " I am sure we’ve no room for such rubbish. But her time’s no more’n a settin’ hen’s and she might as well spend it in that way as any other. She can't do nothin' that amounts to anything."
    " I think her readings amounted to a good deal," Dave responded, glad that he could once speak authoritatively of his wife’s usefulness.
    " Oh, yes ; for that emergency. But its steady work that tells. Lor’ pity you and father ef I couldn’t do nothin’ but give readings ! Wonder where your meals would come from. Your marriage and your horse trade were ’bout off one piece, Dave. Your wife’s pretty in the parlor or on the floor readin’, and your mare looks nice and drives nice in the buggy. But they can’t work."
    Dave’s wife came home at the expiration of a month, looking fresher and feeling stronger, she said. And she did not bring her paintings.
    Deacon Somers came into Dave’s room the night after her return, to talk about a certain piece of land 
 
BY ELLA WHEELER WILCOX. 521
 
that was for sale. It " cornered on " to the deacon’s farm, and a stream of water ran across it. 

    " It will be worth a mint of money to me," he said for I can turn that field into a pasture, and all my stock will water itself. But the man who’s sellin’ wants a hundred and fifty dollars down. He’s goin’ West, and must have that amount this week. I don’t see the way clear to pay it, for expenses have been a good deal of late, takin’ doctors’ bills and hired help and all into consideration, and my ready money has run low.  Do you think of any-body that’ll be likely to lend us that amount for three months, Dave ? "

    But before Dave could reply, Dave’s wife spoke.
    " Father Somers," she said, " I can let you have the money—not as a loan, but as a gift. I have been of so little use to you, and have made you so much expense, I shall be very, very happy if you will let me do this for you." And rising up, she came and laid a little silken purse in Deacon Somers’s hands.
    " But where did you get it, child ? " asked the wondering deacon, looking from the plethoric little purse to her face, which had flushed a rosy red.
    " I sold my paintings," Dave’s wife answered. " A gen-tleman happened to see a little thing I painted, and he said he knew where I could dispose of any quantity of such work. And, sure enough, I sold every one of those things I painted when I was sick, for good prices. And I decorated some plates for a lady, who paid me well for it. So I have one hundred and seventy-five dollars in that purse, which you are more than welcome to." 

    Deacon Somers removed his spectacles and mopped them with his silk handkerchief. " I can't do it, my child," he said ; " it wouldn’t be right. You must keep your own money."

    " But I have no use for it," cried Dave's wife. " I intended to spend it all in Christmas gifts for the family, but this is better. I have everything I need. All I ask or desire is to be of some use—and to have you all love me," she added, softly.
    " A hundred and seventy-five dollars for that trash ! Well, the world is full of fools ! " Mrs Somers ejaculated when she was told of what had occurred. But she looked at Dave’s wife with an expression of surprised 
 
522 DAVE’S WIFE
 
interest after that, as if it was just dawning upon her that one might be of use in the world who could neither cook nor make cheese.
    Deacon Somers's farm boasted a fine stone quarry, and he was very busily at work every spare moment, quarry-ing stone for the foundation of a new barn he was to build. One day Dave drove to town, ten miles distant, with a load of grain for market. It was September, and the market had risen during the last few days. All the neigh-boring farmers had turned out and hurried their grain away, Deacon Somers remained at home, quarrying stone. Mrs. Somers rang the great bell at noon-time, but he did not come. Then she grew alarmed.
    " Some one must go up to the quarry and see if anything has happened," she said. And Dave’s wife was off like a young deer before the words were out of her mouth.
    It did not seem three minutes before she stood at the door again, with white lips, her dark eyes large with fright.  " Father is wedged in under a great bowlder," she said. " You and the girl must go to him. Take the camphor and ammonia ;  it may sustain his strength until I can bring relief. I am going to ride the dappled mare to the village, and rouse the whole neighborhood."
    " We have no saddle," gasped Mrs. Somers and the mare will break your neck."
    " I can ride anything," Dave’s wife answered as she sped away.  " It was taught me with other useless accom-plishments."
    A moment later she shot by the door, and down the street toward the village. She had bridled the mare and buckled on a blanket and surcingle. She sat like a young Indian princess, her face white, her eyes large and dark, looking straight ahead, and urging the mare to her highest speed. Faster, faster she went, until the woods and fields seemed flying pictures shooting through the air. Half-way to the village, which was more than two miles distant, she met Tom Burgus, the blacksmith. She reined up the mare so suddenly she almost sat her down on her haunches.
    " Deacon Somers has fallen under a bowlder in his 
 
BY ELLA WHEELER WILCOX. 523
 
quarry," she cried.  " Go to him—quick !  Dave is away." Then she rode on.
    At the village she roused half a dozen men, and to the strongest and most muscular she said : " Take this mare and put her to her highest speed. Tom Burgus is already there. You two can lift the bowlder, perhaps. I will ride with Dr. Evans." 

    The man mounted the mare, and was off like a great bird swooping close to the earth.  He swept away and out of sight.

    When Dr. Evans reined his reeking horse at the quarry, Tom Burgus and Jack Smith, who had ridden the mare from the village, were proppin up the bowlder trying to remove the deacon's inanimate form. The doctor and Dave’s wife sprang to their assistance.  In another mo-ment he was free from his perilous position, and Dr. Evans was applying restoratives.  " He will live," he said ;  " but in five minutes more, if help had not come, he would have been a dead man.  It is very fortunate you had a swift horse in the stable, and a rider who could keep her seat," and he glanced around at Dave’s wife just in time to see her fall in a limp heap.
    Deacon Somers was quite restored to his usual health the following morning.  " Dave’s wife and the dappled mare saved my life," he said to Deacon Bradlaw, who came to call.  " So the boy didn’t make so poor a bargain either time, neighbor, as I once thought."
    The deacon recovered, rapidly, and just as rapidly Dave’s wife lost strength and color.  She faded before their eyes like some frail plant, and at last one day with a tired sigh she drifted out into the Great Unknown ;  and with her went the bud of another life, destined never to blossom on earth.
    After they came home from the churchyard where they had left her to sleep, Dave found the dappled mare cast in her stall ;  her halter strap had become a noose about her slender throat.  She was quite Dead.
    Over the low mound where " Dave’s wife " sleeps the marble mockery of a tall monument smiles in irony at those who pause to read the flattering inscription, 
 
524 DAVE’S WIFE.
 
It is so easy to praise the dead !  And the memorial window sacred to her memory in Somerville church—a proposition of Deacon Bradlaw's—flushes in crimson shame while suns rise and set. 

    And a sturdy farm-horse pulls the plough through Dave’s stubble field, and Sarah Jane drives the work in his kitchen.

 Courtesy of John M. Freiermuth.