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The Sullivan Looking-Glass
by [?]

“Wal, she grew up to be amazin’ handsome. Why, everybody said that she was jest the light and glory of that ‘are old Sullivan place, and worth more’n all the pictur’s and the silver and the jewels, and all there was in the house; and she was jest so innercent and sweet, that you never see nothing to beat it. Wal, your Aunt Lois she got acquainted with Ruth one summer when she was up to Old Town a visitin’ at Parson Lothrop’s. Your Aunt Lois was a gal then, and a pretty good-lookin’ one too; and, somehow or other, she took to Ruth, and Ruth took to her. And when Ruth went home, they used to be a writin’ backwards and forads; and I guess the fact was, Ruth thought about as much of your Aunt Lois as she did o’ anybody. Ye see, your aunt was a kind o’ strong up-and-down woman that always knew certain jest what she did know; and Ruth, she was one o’ them gals that seems sort o’ like a stray lamb or a dove that’s sort o’ lost their way in the world, and wants some one to show ’em where to go next. For, ye see, the fact was, the old Gineral and Madam, they didn’t agree very well. He wa’n’t well pleased that she didn’t have no children; and she was sort o’ jealous o’ him ’cause she got hold o’ some sort of story about how he was to a married somebody else over there in England: so she got sort o’ riled up, jest as wim-men will, the best on ’em; and they was pretty apt to have spats, and one could give t’other as good as they sent; and, by all accounts, they fit putty lively sometimes. And, between the two, Ruth she was sort o’ scared, and fluttered like a dove that didn’t know jest where to settle. Ye see, there she was in; that ‘are great wide house, where they was a feastin’ and a prancin’ and a dancin’, and a goin’ on like Ahashuerus and Herodias and all them old Scripture days. There was acomin’ and goin,’ and there was gret dinners and gret doin’s, but no love; and, you know, the Scriptur’ says, ‘Better is a dinner o’ yarbs, where love is, than a stalled ox, and hatred therewith.’

“Wal, I don’t orter say hatred, arter all. I kind o’ reckon, the old Gineral did the best he could: the fact is, when a woman gits a kink in her head agin a man, the best on us don’t allers do jest the right thing.

“Any way, Ruth, she was sort o’ forlorn, and didn’t seem to take no comfort in the goin’s on. The Gineral he was mighty fond on her, and proud on her; and there wa’n’t nothin’ too good for Ruth. He was free-handed, the Gineral wuz. He dressed her up in silks and satins, and she hed a maid to wait on her, and she hed sets o’ pearl and dimond; and Madam Sullivan she thought all the world on her, and kind o’ worshipped the ground she trod on. And yet Ruth was sort o’ lonesome.

“Ye see, Ruth wa’n’t calculated for grande’r. Some folks ain’t.

“Why, that ‘are summer she spent out to Old Town, she was jest as chirk and chipper as a wren, a wearin’ her little sun-bunnet, and goin’ a huckle-berryin’ and a black-berryin’ and diggin’ sweet-flag, and gettin cowslops and dandelions; and she hed a word for everybody. And everybody liked Ruth, and wished her well. Wal, she was sent for her health; and she got that, and more too: she got a sweetheart.

“Ye see, there was a Cap’n Oliver a visitin’ at the minister’s that summer,–a nice, handsome young man as ever was. He and Ruth and your Aunt Lois, they was together a good deal; and they was a ramblin’ and a ridin’ and a sailin’: and so Ruth and the Capting went the way o’ all the airth, and fell dead in love with each other. Your Aunt Lois she was knowing to it and all about it, ’cause Ruth she was jest one of them that couldn’t take a step without somebody to talk to.