THE season has been opening very rapidly within the last ten days, and now I am sure it is thoroughly opened. Hammocks and lounging-chairs and moving figures occupy the piazzas of the cottages and the hotels. Instead of spending so much time gazing outward at Minot's Light, we now sit a good deal at the other side of our tent, and look through our glasses at the gayety which we can see, but not hear. I fear that we do not now think so much of the grandness of the ocean as we did formerly, albeit that grandeur is more striking than ever, now that it contrasts so forcibly with the superficialness of mere human beings. It is very evident that those fine men and women yonder did not come to look at the sea, or at this magnificent rocky coast, but to ogle each other. At least, this is the way it seems to us who are outside spectators.

As I write these words there is a sound of treble and baritone talk below the cliff on the side of which our tent stands. Small shrieks and giggles come up to me, and manly laughter; and at this moment I am aware that the top of our habitation has been seen, for a girl's voice cries out:--

"Oh, what is that up there?"

"A tent, I should say," responds masculine knowledge.

"A tent! I thought so. Oh, how lovely! Can't we act up there any way? I suppose some horrid men live there, though. Marion, just see, that wave wet my new boots. They'll never look fit to be seen again! Is n't there any way to get up to that tent? Are they hunting and fishing up there, or what? No, sir, thank you, I'll carry my parasol myself. What do those men do up there, any way ? Do you think it would be proper to call on them, just to peep at them, you know? How do we get up there? How the sun does glare on the water! Marion, if I looked as well in colored glasses as you do, I'd wear them all the time. Why doesn't somebody tell me if I can call on those men in that tent? Men always have the best places; I should think they might have a good time."

The speaker was evidently a very sprightly young lady; one of that kind who always has a male attendant, and who appears to be made up on a plan which does not require brains. I imagine that she has a pretty face, also, for there is an indescribable something in her shallow voice which hints that she is accustomed to being called a beauty.

I put down my pen and paper, and drew a little nearer the edge, that I might give myself up entirely to the occupation of listening and watching.

There was a group of half a dozen gay umbrellas stationary on the dry sand directly opposite. These probably belonged to some rare people who were enjoying the sea and the air. I could catch only glimpses of something fluttering nearer the hill.

"Somebody told me they were not men in the tent," said another feminine tone, not quite so full of conscious power of captivation as had been that of the first speaker.

"Oh, how funny that is! Not men? What are they, then?"


"Oh, that is too droll! Isn't that too droll, Mr. Lord? Just think! Did I give you my novel, Mr. Lord? Thanks; no. I don't want it now. Is n't that an exquisite ultramarine tint out there by the ledge? I wish I could have a new frock like that, only just three quarters of a shade lighter. Marion would n't a frock just three quarters of a shade lighter than that water there be just too lovely for anything?"

I did not hear Marion's reply, but I heard a man's voice beg this beautiful young lady to have some mercy on the poor men, and not get such a gown as she had just mentioned.

"You're too awful killing now," he said. "You'd be a regular mermaid then."

A high laugh came ringing up to me, followed by these words:--

"Marion, do you hear what Mr. Lord says? He's calling me a mermaid. I'm sure I don't know what he will say next."

It certainly seemed impossible to prophesy what would be said next by this party. I ran the risk of falling over the edge, in my anxiety to see these creatures. It was not often that beings so exquisite came along the beach so far in this direction. All the fashion and style that visited these shores set the other way. Our tent was pitched in the midst of the fishermen and humble population generally. We in this hamlet stood afar off, and gazed with dazzled eyes at the glitter of carriages over the road; at the fine beings who sailed past the cliff in boats that turned up the water so daintily. What creatures those must be who could talk and laugh constantly; who were never obliged to go out to lobster-pots, or to "skun" perch; who were never under the necessity of standing over a hot stove and making fish-chowder for a large family of hungry children!

"I sh'd jist like to see um do it for one day," said Maria Jane Yates to me, as we conversed upon this subject once upon a time." I 'd jest like to see their faces the color of a biled lobster, and their hands all hacked up 'cause the knife slipped when they were skunning perch. I guess then they'd look 'bout the same's the rest of us. Marsh, he thinks there never was nothin' so beautiful as them girls that come flightin' along over the rocks, a-yellin' out like mad if their feet slip, or a roller comes and spatters um. I tell him, jest let um do what we do, and then see!"

These remarks of Maria Jane occurred to me afresh, as I stood listening and watching in front of our tent. I found myself rather viciously wishing that this particular girl might have to "bile lobsters" and fry fish. How pleasant it would be to see her do it! Marsh Yates's wife was really at times a magnificent-looking woman. Was Marsh Yates aware of that fact ? He had once or twice showed some signs of appreciation of his wife's personal attractions, if he had no sense of her energetic powers.

While I was thinking thus, I saw something fluttering and gay just coming in sight up the path. I immediately seated myself in a casual way in a camp-chair at the door of the tent, within which Carlos was slumbering upon the bed.

There she was, the speaker whose words had come up to me so plainly. I should have known her anywhere. She had a perfectly featured face of pink and white; her eyes were of that deep, opaque blue which is sometimes seen in chinaware. You could only look at them, but not into them, any more than you could gaze into the surface of the blue ware I suppose she must have been dressed in that way which is precisely the thing for the seaside. She impressed me as being dress a suit hands novel, in the centre of a kind of flutter of goods. The man following her wore of white flannel, and he had in his a large furled fan, a Franklin Square and some kind of a light feminine wrap. His trousers were very wide, and flopped a good deal as he walked. He had a lovely little mustache, and was altogether sweet to look at.

I sat stolidly in the door of my castle and gazed at them. The girl sidled and glided along until she was within a few feet of me. I knew that she had come out of curiosity to see how we were living there, and what we looked like, much as I would go to a menagerie. I was not going to help her.

This kind of being, so far as I have noticed, usually begins every sentence with an "Oh!" When she had come as near as possible, and I still maintained my immobility, I fancied she became a trifle embarrassed.

"Oh!" she said," I am sure I beg your pardon, but I'm so thirsty! Would it be troubling you too much to ask you for a glass of water?"

I did not reply, but I rose to get the water, and she immediately sank down in my chair, and stared persistently about her.

At this point Carlos roused, and asked who was there.

"It's a--person who wants water," I said, and glanced at my caller. Her rose and white face became a trifle more rosy. The ineffable superciliousness of her manner was less marked; she stopped staring so boldly. If she had had a particle of anything save silliness and effrontery in her face, I would not have called her a person.

Cap'n Asel had come prying about here for curiosity, and Randy Rankin had made the trip from the Two-mile that she might see two women who lived in a tent. But neither of them had roused my indignation as did this pretty girl who had seated herself to look about her.

Max, who had been reposing in the shade of the tent, now came lazily forward and examined the ankles of the gentleman, who was patiently waiting until his companion should be ready to leave.

"Oh, what a noble, noble dog!" cried the girl, edging away from him. "He's a thoroughbred, is n't he? "


"What would you sell him for?" she asked.

"He is not for sale."

"Oh, I'm sure I beg your pardon," and she took the glass, but did not immediately drink." Oh, Mr. Lord, that dog is handsomer than yours. Oh, what a black mask he has! Don't you think he is handsomer than yours?"

"Since you say so," said Mr. Lord.

The girl smiled at him; then drank about a teaspoonful of the water, and held out the glass to me, saying:--

"Oh, thank you so much ' How you must enjoy yourselves living so sort of free!"

"We just take lots of comfort," suddenly spoke up Carlos, who was now so far awake that she was sitting on the side of the bed; I was even afraid that she was swinging her feet. There was a spark in her eye that did not bode well for our visitor, who apparently had not yet examined us enough, for she continued sitting.

"Is that your young man?" asked Carlos in the same blunt way, pointing to the waiting figure outside.

The girl suddenly rose to her feet. Carlos rose also. The girl stepped back quickly. Maria Jane Yates appeared behind our caller. Maria Jane had a small basket of new potatoes which she had raised herself.

Marsh had been too tired to plant or hoe them; he would, however, probably be able to eat some of them.

"They're some o' my own plantin' and diggin'," she said in her hearty way, "'n' I've brought ye some for dinner. The land sake! Have ye got company?"

"Oh, thank you so much for the water!" said the girl. "So sorry to have troubled you. "

She sidled away so rapidly that she came too near the edge of the cliff. The gentleman was occupied with the dog, and did not notice. The loose earth gave way beneath one exquisite foot. A shriek with some genuineness in it came from the small mouth. Maria Jane was in just that position where she could put forth a hand and seize the girl by one arm. She did so. Her vigorous hand twitched this lovely being away from danger, and then let go of her so suddenly that the rescued one swayed violently before she regained her equilibrium.

"The land sake!" cried Maria again "You'd a spiled all them good close if you'd gone down there."

The young lady and her escort walked away without bestowing any thanks.

"I hope they ain't no friends o' yourn," said Mrs. Yates apologetically." But I can't bear them sort."


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