Clover by Susan Coolidge


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Page 1

V. CAR FORTY-SEVEN

VI. ST. HELEN'S

VII. MAKING ACQUAINTANCE

VIII. HIGH VALLEY

IX. OVER A PASS

X. NO. 13 PIUTE STREET

XI. THE LAST OF THE CLOVER-LEAVES





CHAPTER I.

A TALK ON THE DOORSTEPS.


It was one of those afternoons in late April which are as mild and balmy
as any June day. The air was full of the chirps and twitters of
nest-building birds, and of sweet indefinable odors from half-developed
leaf-buds and cherry and pear blossoms. The wisterias overhead were
thickly starred with pointed pearl-colored sacs, growing purpler with each
hour, which would be flowers before long; the hedges were quickening into
life, the long pensile willow-boughs and the honey-locusts hung in a mist
of fine green against the sky, and delicious smells came with every puff
of wind from the bed of white violets under the parlor windows.

Katy and Clover Carr, sitting with their sewing on the door-steps, drew in
with every breath the sense of spring. Who does not know the
delightfulness of that first sitting out of doors after a long winter's
confinement? It seems like flinging the gauntlet down to the powers of
cold. Hope and renovation are in the air. Life has conquered Death, and to
the happy hearts in love with life there is joy in the victory. The two
sisters talked busily as they sewed, but all the time an only
half-conscious rapture informed their senses,--the sympathy of that which
is immortal in human souls with the resurrection of natural things, which
is the sure pledge of immortality.

It was nearly a year since Katy had come back from that too brief journey
to Europe with Mrs. Ashe and Amy, about which some of you have read, and
many things of interest to the Carr family had happened during the
interval. The "Natchitoches" had duly arrived in New York in October, and
presently afterward Burnet was convulsed by the appearance of a tall young
fellow in naval uniform, and the announcement of Katy's engagement to
Lieutenant Worthington.

It was a piece of news which interested everybody in the little town, for
Dr. Carr was a universal friend and favorite. For a time he had been the
only physician in the place; and though with the gradual growth of
population two or three younger men had appeared to dispute the ground
with him, they were forced for the most part to content themselves with
doctoring the new arrivals, and with such fragments and leavings of
practice as Dr. Carr chose to intrust to them. None of the old established
families would consent to call in any one else if they could possibly get
the "old" doctor.

A skilful practitioner, who is at the same time a wise adviser, a helpful
friend, and an agreeable man, must necessarily command a wide influence.
Dr. Carr was "by all odds and far away," as our English cousins would
express it, the most popular person in Burnet, wanted for all pleasant
occasions, and doubly wanted for all painful ones.

So the news of Katy's engagement was made a matter of personal concern by
a great many people, and caused a general stir, partly because she was her
father's daughter, and partly because she was herself; for Katy had won
many friends by her own merit. So long as Ned Worthington stayed, a sort
of tide of congratulation and sympathy seemed to sweep through the house
all day long. Tea-roses and chrysanthemums, and baskets of pears and the
beautiful Burnet grapes flooded the premises, and the door-bell rang so
often that Clover threatened to leave the door open, with a card
attached,--"Walk straight in. _He_ is in the parlor!"

Everybody wanted to see and know Katy's lover, and to have him as a guest.
Ten tea-drinkings a week would scarcely have contented Katy's
well-wishers, had the limitations of mortal weeks permitted such a thing;
and not a can of oysters would have been left in the place if Lieutenant
Worthington's leave had lasted three days longer. Clover and Elsie loudly
complained that they themselves never had a chance to see him; for
whenever he was not driving or walking with Katy, or having long

calls on old ladies whose feelings would be dreadfully hurt if he went
away without their seeing him.

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Books | Photos | Paul Mutton | Sun 19th Aug 2018, 4:29