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THE CHIMNEY CORNER.

JACK PLAYNE’S STORY.

( Concluded.)

And what a sick headache had she the next day ? Rash got his breakfast and came over after my sister Eliza to stay with his mother, and that’s how he told me all about the talk. She had a blind sick stupid headache all day. She got up when the sun went down, and she didn’t really feel like herself for a day or two. And I conceived her hair was never so black and glossy again as it had

been. . , . p faster,went over §M*sayed*with her ¥ Hay br'twb.■ But how Rash did work; never slighted the least thing—faithful, early and late. I tell you one don’t get such ’prentice work often ! And such work holds out for ever in more senses thah

one., f y s \ * ;■ y v v * . When Rash, was’eighteem and pretty near out of his time, Squire Porter came home. He’d been travelling in Europe several years, buying worlds of pictures, books, I 'and curious things generally, and the next thing was to fit up his house. I had a job, of course'; Igjff iiThis library he wanted extra work .f/dk!ov%s for his bobks, Gothic carving, and what not; and of course it needed an extra good hand. j “ I’ve just the hand for fancy carving like that,” says_l, J‘_and if you’ll trust him with it, he’ll go at it like training day.” | “Who is it?” says the squirb.. “ Mind I don’t want it blotched, and I ain’t afraid of my money.” “NoV/aoibit ’jof?dt,’’T.says’iir “ It’s

young Horatio Hennings, son of the Widow Hennings, who lives in the cottage by the big willow.” !/I lXJDear, dear;.’? i says ! /the squire, “ I know his folks, and it must have cost her a struggle to consent to have her boy learn a mechanic’s trade.” . So then I just sot down and told the squire the whole story, how the bojy wouldn’t be kept back, though he wasn?t.unmindful of his book,..and that he had|§fic|i.ia hankeringafter*the tools, that ne’cf stolen his chance, if he hadn’t been allowed; and what excellent work he turned off and all about it. And the squire listened and laughed, anfdjsays'hS': \ ' j ' / “.Send If m in. % don’tJknow .him, nor him me; but take care he don’t spoil it all.” i Just as I expected, the job was just to Rash’s _,mind,. ~ He , got .up ..them alebles iff-first irate Style,-‘‘arid threw in a lot of fancy carving. There was ati alcove for the “ English classics,” as the squire called ’em, and Rash built it out of the best oak,_ and .carved a wreath of oak leaves’ahd itcbfns bvef arched cornice. The one for Greek and Latin, he ornamented with laurel leaves, and the big one for the histories had k centre piece of armor and banners and shields and whaTndt But the one for American authors, he carved the finest thing you ever saw. Over the top was a bunch of water lilies, magnolias, and golden .rods, f and drooping; /down; the sides were ' vines of the “trailing arbutus,” he called it, but for all the

world our own Mayflower. Why, the library was just -* a ■’picture before anyj thing went into it 1 It’s years ago, ana folks haven’t done wondering at it yet I’d'npt: baye: done it.for; i;q,oqo dols/ When all was done, and the chips all

swept out, the squire invited a party to see his improvement. Not a large party, but some choice friends from Boston and New York, and some acquaintances he’d made in travelling; and an Englishman who had written books himself, who, was stopping with him. And the best of all waf, he invited Rash and his mother, too. He ■ did, now, really! . j ■ Rash, he went to Boston, and bought her a new black silk, a good one, and a dress cap (widow’s cap, they called it)J and a new suit of clothes for himself {He’d had good‘wages for overwork a good while). It was a wonderful bright moonlight night, and as I sat by my door, smok J ing, I saw them pass. Mrs Hennings had on her new black, silk, opened from the neck to the waist in front, and some fine, old, yellow lace in the neck, festooned with her little black pin, and her earrings on, and her widow’s cap and her net shawl, and her new laycock kid gloves in her hands. Shapely handsftoOj-ifrshe did work; gnd in one of ’-em a fine, old Japanese fan; which her grandfather had brought home in some of his voyages. And Rash ! He’d. grown to be a tall lad —almost a young man, and really out of his time, now, with rosy cheeks and black curly hair, and just a shade on his upper lip. And his clothes fitted him as well as if they were wet and clung to him. I - tell you, as he stepped along with his mother, Rash looked “ good enough to eat.” So Eliza said.

The Squire invited him to the house, and took ’em all into the wonderful library, to have coffee, or ices or something. Whatever it was, it was a mere excuse to get them there. Then he began to show his alcoves, and explain them ; and when they’.d- seen all the taste and judgment he’d shown in picking out his flowers and leaves and vines to match the kind of books, and every body had admired ft—the English author in particular, was specially struck—the Squire brought in Rash, and introduced him and his mother to; everybody. And he got one order fromi a New Yorkman on the spot; and the Englishman said to him, that “ one who could house books soToyally, must do it for the love of them, as well as for the love of his work.” And he said something Kapt/didin’t tell (hut Tiisj inbther did) i ’most forgot, about its; being a wonderful country, where even; its artisans had the manners of gentlemen. At least it was either artist; or artisans. I don’t know which. 1 As Rash handed his mother a cup of tea, he said in a low voice, “ Now,| isit-itf better to be a first-class carpenter than such a poor professor as I should have made ? ” I

“ I don’t think you’d have failed at anything,” she answered. I But the Squire heard her, and laughed. , “ I don’t know about that, says he y “ many a good mechanic is spoiled toj make a poor professional man._ It’s: far better to be sure the work is our own work, and it’s the best of its kind, than to be notional about kind of work ; and, bye-the-by, Horatio, here s a bit of spending money for you, and-

I’ll come round to-morrow and get a receipt in full.”

So ended this royal evening. Next day the Squire called round and proposed that Rash should go to New York and study with an artist friend of his, who was also an architect, for a year. Didn’t he jump at this chance ! As for the envelope, it had a cheque for i,ooodols. ; the work was done dog cheap at that; I’d not done it for twice that, if I could have done it at all. So now, Rash’s fortune was made. He made lots of money with his designs and carvings, and now he’s married to the Squire’s daughter, and lives in Fifth avenue ? Not a bit of it. He came back and married Utile Bessie Playne, my pet, and has a pretty place at Yonkers, and the widow lives there too.

I guess they get on pretty well. Both women think that Rash is perfection, which is the main thing. Sometimes I go up there for a day, but the widow, she has so much to say about the governor and senator, and blood and gentility, that I’m mostly glad to get home and stretch my legs by the fireplace, and smoke my clay pipe. She has a great deal to say about the genius in blood ; though I don’t doubt genius helped Rash, and I guess it was as much grit as genius; However, I don’t know much about it

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Permanent link to this item

http://paperspast.natlib.govt.nz/newspapers/AG18801120.2.19

Bibliographic details

THE CHIMNEY CORNER., Ashburton Guardian, Volume 2, Issue 197, 20 November 1880

Word Count
1,360

THE CHIMNEY CORNER. Ashburton Guardian, Volume 2, Issue 197, 20 November 1880

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