"Why, wife," said the Doctor, pushing up his spectacles on his forehead and looking up from his completed sermon, "our little Dolly is really a grown-up young lady."

"Well, of course, what should she be?" rejoined Mrs. Cushing, with the decisive air which becomes the feminine partner on strictly feminine ground; "she's taller than I am, and she's a handsome girl, too."

"I don't think," said the Doctor, assuming a confidential tone, "that there's a girl in our meeting-house to be compared with her—there really is not."

"There is no great fault to be found with Dolly's looks," said Mrs. Cushing as she turned a stocking she had been darning. "Dolly always was pretty."

"Well, what do you think Higgins has been saying to me about her?" continued the Doctor.

"Some nonsense I suppose," said Mrs. Cushing, "something he might as well have left unsaid, for all the good it will do."

"Now, my dear, Higgins is going to make one of the leading ministers of the State. He has a bright, strong, clear mind; he is a thorough scholar and a fine speaker, and I have had a letter from the church in Northboro' about settling him there."

"All very well. I'm sure I'm glad of it, with all my heart," said Mrs. Cushing; "but if he has any thoughts of our Dolly the sooner he gets them out of his head the better for him. Dolly has felt very kindly to him, as she does to everybody; she has been interested in him simply and only as a friend; but any suggestion of particular interest on his part would exceedingly annoy her. You had better speak very decidedly to him to this effect. You can say that I understand my daughter's mind, and that it will be very painful to her to have anything more said on the subject."

"Well, really, I'm sorry for Higgins," said the Doctor, "he's such a good-hearted worthy fellow, and I believe he's very deep in love."

"Perhaps," said Mrs. Cushing decidedly; "but our Dolly can't marry every good-hearted worthy fellow that comes in her way, if he is in love; and I'm sure I'm in no hurry to give her away,—she is the light and music of the house."

"So she is," said the Doctor; "I couldn't do without her; but I pity poor Higgins."

"Oh, you may spare your pity; he won't break his heart. Never fear. Men never die of that. There'll be girls enough in his parish, and he'll be married six months after he gets a place—ministers always are."

The Doctor made some few corrections in the end of his sermon without contradicting this unceremonious statement of his wife's.

"But," continued Mrs. Cushing, "the thing is a trial to Dolly; I think it would be quite as well if she shouldn't see any more of him for the present, and I have just got a letter from Deborah urging me to let her go to Boston for a visit. Mother says she is getting old, now, and that she shall never see Dolly unless the child comes to her. Here's the letter."

The Doctor took it, and we, looking over his shoulder, see the large, sharp, decided style of writing characteristic of Miss Debby Kittery:

"Dear Sister:

"Mother wants you to let us have Dolly to make a good, long visit. Mother is getting old now, and says she hasn't seen Dolly since she has grown up, and thinks we old folks will be the better for a little young life about us. You remember Cousin Jane Davies, that married John Dunbar and went over to England? Well, brother Israel Kittery has taken a fancy to her youngest son during his late visit to England, and is going to bring him to Boston and turn over his business to him and make him his heir. We are expecting them now by every ship, and have invited them to spend the Christmas Holidays with us. I understand this young Alfred Dunbar is a bright, quick-witted young slip, just graduated from Oxford, and one that finds favor in all eyes. He will help make it lively for Dolly, and if anything should come of it why it will be all the better. So if you will have Dolly ready to leave I will be up to visit you in December and bring her home with me. Mother sends a great deal of love,—her rheumatism has gone to her right arm now, which is about all the variety she is treated to; but she is always serene, as usual, and sends no end of loving messages.

"Your affectionate sister,


"P. S.—Don't worry about Dolly's dress. My pink brocade will cut over for her, and it is nearly as good as new. I'll bring it when I come."

On reading this letter the Doctor fell into a deep muse.

"Well, what do you think?" asked his wife.

"What? Who? I?" said the Doctor, with difficulty collecting himself from his reverie.

"Yes, you," answered his wife incisively, with just the kind of a tone to wake one out of a nap.

The fact was that the good Doctor had a little habit of departing unceremoniously into some celestial region of thought in the midst of conversation, and the notion of Dolly's going to Boston had aroused quite a train of ideas connected with certain doctrinal discussions now going on there in relation to the Socinian controversy, so that his wife's voice came to him from afar off, as one hears in a dream.

To Mrs. Cushing, whose specific work lay here, and now, in the matters of this present world, this little peculiarity of her husband was at times a trifle annoying; so she added, "I do wish you would attend to what we were talking about. Don't you think it would be just the best thing in the world for Dolly to make this visit to Boston?"

"Oh, certainly I do—by all means," he said eagerly, with the air of a man just waked up who wants to show he hasn't been asleep. "Yes, Dolly had better go."

The Doctor mused for another moment, and then added, in a sort of soliloquy: "Boston is a city of sacred associations; it is consecrated ground; the graves of our fathers, of the saints and the martyrs are there. I shall like little Dolly to visit them."

This was not precisely the point of view in which the visit was contemplated in the mind of his wife; but the enthusiasm was a sincere one. Boston, to all New England, was the Jerusalem—the city of sacred and religious memories; they took pleasure in her stones, and favored the dust thereof.

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