THE FIRST AND LAST LETTER. 17
second to Queen Victory, and ride a horseback and in a car-
riage-and-four, and have everybody a-coming at her bidding."
"Maybe she wfll, Mr. Pipkin; but I'll tell you how it
seems to me. It seems as if that chfld was never going to
leave this cabin—not as long as it stands, or we live in it.
There, now, you know just what's in my mind. It's pre¬
Just then Mr. Potter entered with his little boys, who had
been permitted to accompany him to the vfllage, where he
had been to dispose of some of his corn and obtain groceries
in exchange, he being now the fortunate possessor of a horse
and wagon, which he had purchased with money forced upon
him by Mr. Lancaster, before his departure. He held in his
hand a letter for James, which proved to be from his master,
the first he had received, and this was sent back from ship¬
board by a passing vessel, for passages in those days vrere not
made in eight or ten days. The letter was brief, but eloquent
with solicitude and love for the little waif thrown so strangely
upon a western prairie.
This letter proved to be the last as well as the first.
Whether the voyage was never completed, and the master
perished by fire or shipwreck, or what event or calamity had
caused that long, long dreary silence, could only be guessed.
The year set for his absence passed, and another followed on,
and poor old James' eyes were blurred and strained with
constant watching for an arrival which never took place. We
have called the silence long and dreary; it was so only lo the
anxious, home-sick servitor. No more chfldren came to the
Potters; and their affections became so fondly fixed upon the
beautiful little creature who brightened their cabin, that they
dreaded nothing so much as that looked-for parent who should
snatch their treasure from them.
"The boys wouldn't know nothing what to do without that
chfld, especially Amos, who just dotes on her; and as for
Peter, she believed he'd just be broke down. He was so fond
of gn-1 babies; his whole heart was sot on that child," mused
the good woman a thousand times, as her eyes followed the
She made just such check-aprons and woolen gowns for
the dainty Miss Edith as she would have done for a daughter