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White Hood and Blue Cap: A Christmas Bough with Two Branches


page 54


It was Christmas eve. The day had been excessively hot; and Jim Trevanna was sitting by the open door of Austin's hut, placidly smoking his pipe, and silently regarding “Miss Mary.” Ned looked at him curiously for some time. Then he said—

“Jim; have you got eyes to see with?”

“Yes,” said Jim, amazedly.

“And have you got a tongue in your stupid old head?”

“I don't know—that is—yes; of course I have.”

“Well, you see, Balaam's ass had eyes, so as he could see the angel of the Lord. And though, I reckon, such as he can't do much in the way of speechifying, he could talk to some account when it were required. Blest if I don't think you're a precious sight stupider than that ass.”

And thereupon he thrust his hat upon his head, and went down to the Maori Hen. Jim turned to Mary with the most innocent look in his honest eyes; and, said he, “Whatever is the matter with Ned?—What does he mean, Miss Mary?”

Mary blushed a little, and laughed a little—a silvery, rippling laugh. Then she said, very softly—

“Jim, what made you plead guilty when you were innocent?”

“Because I love you, Miss Mary,” bashfully responded he.

She pouted—“Are you never going to say more than that?”

“I don't know,” he answered.

“Then I must know for you, you good old fellow. Jim, dear, you can go to the Priest whenever you like.”

And the White Hood nestled in his bosom.