Read CHAPTER XIII - HIS COMING of Mary Cary "Frequently Martha", free online book, by Kate Langley Bosher, on

If I could get out on the roof and shake hands with the stars, or dance with the man in the moon, I might be able to write it down; but everything in me is bubbling and singing so, I can’t keep still to write. But I’m bound to put down that he’s come. He’s come!

He came day before yesterday morning about ten o’clock. I was in the school-room, and Mrs. Blamire opened the door and looked in. “Mary Cary can go to the parlor,” she said. “Some one wishes to see her.”

I got up and went out, not dreaming who it was, as I was only looking for a letter; and there, standing by a window with his back to me, was a man, and in a minute I knew.

I couldn’t move, and I couldn’t speak, and Lot’s wife wasn’t any stiller than I was.

But he heard me come in, and turned, and, oh! it is so strange how right at once you know some things. And the thing I knew was it was all true. That he’d never known about me until he got my letter. For a minute he just looked at me. We didn’t either of us say a word, and then he came toward me and held out his hands.

“Mary Cary,” he said. And the first thing I knew I was crying fit to break my heart, with my arms around his neck, and he holding me tight in his. His eyes were wet, too. They were. I saw them. He kissed me about fifty timesthough maybe not more than twentyand I had such a strange feeling I didn’t know whether I was in my body or not. It was the first time that any one who was really truly my own had ever come to see me since I’d been an Orphan, and every bit of sense I ever had rolled away like the Red Sea waters. Rolled right away.

I don’t remember what happened next. Everything is a jumble of so many kinds of joys that I’ve been crazy all day. But I wasn’t too crazy to see the look on his face, I mean on my Uncle Dr. Parke Alden’s face, when he saw Miss Katherine coming across the front yard. We were standing by the window, and as he saw her he looked again, as if he didn’t see good, and then his face got as white as whitewash. He took out his handkerchief and wiped his lips and his forehead that were real perspiring, and I almost danced for joy, for I knew in his secret, secret heart she was his sweetheart still. But I didn’t move even a toe. I just said:

“That’s Miss Katherine Trent. She’s the trained nurse here. Did you know her when she lived in Yorkburg?”

And he said yes, he knew her. Just that, and nothing else. But I knew, and for fear I’d tell him I knew, I flew out of the room like I was having a fit, and met Miss Katherine coming in the front door.

“Miss Katherine,” I said, “there’s a friend of yours in the parlor who wants to see you. Will you go in?”

She walked in, just as natural, humming a little tune, and I walked behind her, for I wanted to see it. I will never be as ready for glory as I was that minute. I could have folded my hands and sailed up, but I didn’t sail. It’s well I didn’t, for they didn’t meet at all like I expected, and I was so surprised I just said, “Well, sir!” and sat right down on the floor and looked up at them.

They didn’t see me. They didn’t see anything but each other; but if they’d had the smallpox they couldn’t have kept farther apart, just bowing formal, and not even offering to shake hands.

My, I was set on! I didn’t think they’d meet that way; but Miss Becky Cole, who’s kinder crazy, says God Almighty don’t know what a woman is going to do or when she’s going to do it. Miss Katherine proved it. She didn’t fool me, though, with all her quietness and coolness. I knew her heart was beating as hard as mine, and I jumped up and said:

“I think you all have been waiting long enough to make up, and it’s no use wasting any more time.” And I flew out, slamming the door tight, and shut them in.

I don’t know what happened after I shut that door. But, oh, he’s grand! He is thirty-six, and big and splendid. He and Miss Katherine are in the parlor now. Miss Jones says everybody in Yorkburg knows he’s here, and all talking. All!

I’ve been so excited since the first day he came that I’ve had little sense. But my natural little is coming back, and I’m trying not to talk too much. Of course, I had to say a good deal, because everybody had to know how it happened that Doctor Alden came back to Yorkburg so suddenly after thirteen years’ being away. And why he hadn’t been before, and what he came for and when he was going away, and if he were going to take me with him.

And then everybody remembered how he and Miss Katherine used to be sweethearts when they were young. I tell you, the talking that’s been going on in Yorkburg in the last few days would fill a barrel of books. By the end of the week a whole lot more will be known about Uncle Parke than he knows about himself. If Yorkburg had a coat of arms it ought to be a question-mark.

They’ve had time to talk over everything that ever happened since Adam and Eve left Paradise, in the long walks they take, and in the evenings when he calls, which he does as regular as night comes. And now I’m waiting for the news. I’ll have to be so surprised. And I guess I will be. Love does very surprising things.

Miss Katherine knew where Uncle Parke was all the time. She knew who I was, too; that is, she found out after she nursed me at the hospital. But what that fuss was about I don’t know. Nothing much, I reckon; but the more you love a person the madder you can get with them. And from foolishness they’ve wasted years and years of together-ness.

But it’s all explained now, and I don’t think there’s going to be any more nonsense. They are going to be married as sure as my name isn’t in a bank-book; and if signs are anything, it’s going to be soon.

Miss Bray is better, though she looks pretty bad still. She’s been awfully excited about Uncle Parke’s coming, and she says she hears he’s very distinguished and real rich. Isn’t it strange how quick some people hear about riches? I don’t know anything of his having any. He hasn’t mentioned money to me; but oh, I feel so safe with him! He’s so strong and quiet and easy in his manners, and he’s been so splendid and beautiful to me. He don’t use many words. Just makes you understand.

I wonder what a man says to a lady when he wants her to marry him? I know Dr. Parke Alden isn’t the kind to get down on his knees. If he were, Miss Katherine would certainly tell him to get up and say what he had to say standing, or sitting, if it took long. But I’ll never know what he said. They’re not the kind to tell; but they can’t hide Love. It’s just like the sun. It can’t help shining.

Land of Nippon, I’m excited! I believe he’s said it!

The reason I think so is, I saw them late yesterday evening coming in from a long walk down the Calverton road, where there’s a beautiful place for courters. When they got to the gate they stopped and talked and talked. Then he walked to the door with her, still holding his hat in his hand, and though it was dark I could feel something different. I was so nervous you would have thought I was the one.

I was over by the lilacs; but they didn’t see me. I didn’t like to move. It might have been ruinous, so I held my breath and waited.

When they got to the door they stopped again, and presently he held out his hand to say good-bye. The way he did it, the way he looked at her made me just know, and I got right down on my knees under the lilac-bush, and when he’d gone I sang, “Praise God, from whom all blessings flow.” Sang it loud.

I didn’t care who heard. I wasn’t telling why I was thankful. Just telling I was. Oh, Mary Martha Cary, to think of her being your really, truly Aunt! The very next thing to a mother!