Brown, Hallie Q.
|AUNT MAC -- A Life in Three Chapters|
Several years have elapsed since the closing events of chapter one. We find ourselves standing in a large grove where tall symmetrical trees nod and wave to each passing breeze. Nicely-kept paths intersect each other, winding here and there and leading to the neat cottages that stand in orderly rows on either side of the campus. Before us, some distance back, a large brick building--a central one flanked on each side by a wing--raises itself even beyond the tallest forest tree.
A wide carriage drive rolls from the road to the building and the whole is surrounded by a white, paling fence with its neat stiles and wicket gates. The dew trembles on every leaflet and blade of grass; the day king mounts higher and higher, while the feathery songsters warble their most tuneful lays. What an enchanted spot is this! Can
Mrs. McDonald, did we say? How strangely that sounds. Scarcely one in a score knew that she had any other name save Aunt Mac. She was everybody's Aunt Mac, from the hoary-headed man to the prattling babe. But the pleasant sitting-room is before us now, and the low rocking chair in which she used to sit and knit. How the needle would click and fly. The stockings and mittens piled on each other, came as if by magic. Everywhere and always could be heard her firm elastic step going on some errand of mercy, to relieve some heavy heart by her deeds of kindness and by that sweet happy face over which no shade of sorrow ever seemed to pass. All the little ones for miles around knew and loved her. She had a kind word for Willie and a caress for Jennie, and when in the height of their childish sports her laugh would ring out and mingle with theirs in innocent glee. And such a laugh! I wish you might have heard it! It was like the rippling of some happy stream, so cheery its sound and so full of hearty good will. She was the very providence, too, of the whole neighborhood. Her clear head and peace-loving spirit has helped overcome many straits and brought about numerous reconciliations. She--our dear Aunt Mac--loved us all and wished there were more to love. A great expansive heart was hers beneath that stately black, or the folds of that plainer Quaker dress. We can see her today, those soft brown eyes with more beauty in them than time could touch, those eyes that had both smiles and tears within the faintest call of every one she loved. Her charity was even more beautiful than her patience or kindness. There was no hut so mean, or its occupants so poor, that had not a claim upon her. It was at such doors that her faded and tremulous hands tapped the oftener for admission.
From her capacious pocket and basket that dear hand