Page:Female Prose Writers of America.djvu/35

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“I remember who I danced that with,” he said, “Sophy Drury. The ball was held in the school room at Feeding fields. She is tight built, and cheeks as red as a rose (past and present were confounded in brother Wilcox’s imagination). I went home with Sophy—it was as light as day, and near upon day—them was pleasant times!” concluded the old man, but without one sigh of regret, and with a gleam of light from his twinkling gray eye.

“There have been no such pleasant times since, brother Wilcox, has there?” asked B——, with assumed or real sympathy.

“I can’t say that, it has been all along pleasant. I have had what others call crosses, but I don’t look at them that way—what’s the use?”

The old man’s philosophy struck me. There was no record of a cross in his round jolly face. “Were you married,” I asked, “when you joined the Shakers?”

“Oh, yes; I married at twenty—it’s never too soon nor too late to do right, you know, and it was right for me to marry according to the light I had then. May be you think it was a cross to part from my wife—all men don’t take it so-but I own I should; I liked Eunice. She is a peaceable woman, and we lived in unity, but it was rather hard times, and we felt a call to join the brethren, and so we walked out of the world together, and took our two children with us. In the society she was the first woman handy in all cases.”

“And she is still with you?”

“No. Our girl took a notion and went off, and got married, and my wife went after her—that’s natural for mothers, you know. I went after Eunice, and tried to persuade her to come back, and she felt so; but it’s hard rooting out mother-love; it’s planted deep, and spreads wide; so I left her to nature, and troubled myself no more about it, for what was the use? My son, too, took a liking to a young English girl that was one of our sisters—may be you have seen her?” We had all seen her and admired her fresh English beauty, and deplored her fate. “Well, she was a picture, and speaking after the manner of men, as good as she was handsome. They went of together; I could not much blame them,