Beck Center English Dept. University Libraries Emory University
Emory Women Writers Resource Project Collections:
Emory Women Writers Resource Project

My Queen, an electronic edition

by Sandette [Walsh, Marie A.]

date: 1878
source publisher: G. W. Carleton & Co., Publishers; S. Low, Son & Co.
collection: Genre Fiction

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CHAPTER XXIII.
SISTER DINLEY'S SURPRISE.

LET us turn away from these dismal pictures and visit the only person in this story seemingly destined to be comfortable.

Comfortable is a more comprehensive word than happiness--more adapted to this sublunary sphere; and thrice-blessed are they who mistake com- | | 242 fort for happiness, and, enjoying the good they possess, sigh not for that beyond.

Sister Dinly had everything to made her comfortable in this life, and she began to think that she was a fortunate woman. Self-satisfaction is the most comfortable of sensations, giving to everything and everybody a good-humored look.

Sister Dinly, successful in her overtures for eternal exaltation, felt very self-satisfied, therefore very comfortable, both in regard to this world and the next. Accordingly, she overflowed with kindness, and Elsie thought her one of the nicest of people. Her experience in matrimonial auguries enabled her to detect the love passages between Elsie and Stanly. Her sympathies were immediately enlisted, and many an undisturbed meeting the young lovers owed to the old lady.

Sister Dinly began to think of Brother Dinly; what could he do, poor man, how could he live without her? It was unkind to leave him so long. However much it grieved her to part from her husband for eternity, still her husband for time must be thought about a little; he who had no one but his one wife to take care of him. So, one bright morning, Sister Dinly took the stage for her home. She felt in the sweetest of moods at her success in eternal matters. She had not written to her husband; for she wished to give him a surprise. Now surprises are, of all terrestrial things, the most contrary; and this truth Sister Dinly was doomed to learn.

It was dusk when she reached her home; and the bright warm light that streamed through the sitting-room windows gave a cosy look to the cottage.

"I am so glad he is home," said Sister Dinly to | | 243 herself. "Poor fellow, he little thinks I am so near; now I will just take a peep at him through the window. There, Jim, don't drive up any nearer, I want to give him a surprise. Poor, lonely man."

Sister Dinly opened the gate, approached the window, and saw--oh! it was a picture, but not of a lonely widower. The table, set for two, was graced with a fine ham, a dish of eggs, potatoes, and biscuits smoking hot.

A bright fire glowed in the grate; over it sputtered the tea-kettle; standing on one hob the tea-pot emitted a fragrant vapor; before it the cat purred; while in the arm-chair rested her husband, but not alone; on his knee sat a plump, fair-haired girl--the very one Sister Dinly hired as housekeeper before her departure. Now this astounding vision ought to have delighted Sister Dinly, who had labored so long to marry her husband to another.

But who can understand a woman? Instead of being delighted, Sister Dinly was enraged. In a fury she burst open the door. At the apparition of Sister Dinly, the girl jumped up, stepped on the cat's tail, thus calling forth vehement feline screams; but the girl, instead of running away, clung to Brother Dinly's arm. This gentleman sprang to his feet in such trepidation that he broke his pipe and upset the tea-pot. However, he also held on to the partner of his fright. Moreover, he was the first to recover the use of speech.

"My-dear Sara, how you have surprised us! And we intended to give you a nice little surprise."

"I think you've done it; though about its littleness or niceness, I don't see it. What does it mean, sir?"

| | 244

"Why! my dear, it means that I have done what you have wanted me to do all these years. I have taken another wife."

"Without my permission, you wretch!"

"I thought it would please you."

"It pleases you, anyhow."

"Well, yes, dear, Jane is such a nice, pretty little girl, and she is so fond of me. Come now, Sara, say you are glad, let us all kiss and make friends. Jane will be such a help to you."

"Nothing of the kind, sir; and as for that minx, she ain't your wife at all. You can't humbug me."

"But she is, my dear; we went up to town last week and were married."

"That's a likely story: why didn't you come to see me?"

"Why, they told me you had gone to York; and besides, we wanted to surprise you: we thought you would be so delighted."

"Delighted! You didn't think no such thing; but she ain't your wife, I tell you, nor won't be till I choose to give her to you; and you may wait a precious long while for that, I can tell you."

"No, dear, you need not give yourself that trouble. I explained everything, and it is all right. Bishop Simpson told me so before I tried it."

"Brother Simpson!" shrieked Sister Dinly. "Brother Simpson, did you say? What did he tell you?"

"That you were at York, and that my marriage with Jane would be all right. Come, let us go to supper; it will all get cold."

"If you think I am going to sit down to table with | | 245 a No. 2 that I didn't choose, you are very much mistaken." Sister Dinly said this spitefully, but in a lower key; the name of Simpson acted as a sedative. What if her husband knew?

"Never mind her, Jane," said Brother Dinly, embracing his No. 2. "Never mind her; it will all blow over, I expect. If it don't, you shall have a cottage to yourself; I'm rich enough."

The twain sat down to supper. Sister Sara sat by the fire, bolt upright, glowering furiously. But hunger is a great tyrant. Sister Sara began to cast longing looks at the table. Jane, who was a good-hearted girl, saw them, and quietly prepared an appetizing supper, which she placed upon a tray, and the tray on a small table, wheeling the latter to where Sister Sara sat by the fire-side. Then she quietly took Sister Sara's furs, shawl, and bonnet, and put them away. Somewhat mollified by this attention, Sister Dinly ate her supper.

So ended the surprise. Sister Dinly, however, was by no means pacified, and poor Jane often wished she wasn't Mrs. Dinly No. 2.

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