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The winter was a rather solitary one, and the house very still. I used to hear Mrs. Craigie go down to breakfast at nine or ten in the morning and go up to bed at eleven at night. During the day she seldom left the parlor, where she sat reading the newspapers and the magazines, —occasionally a volume of Voltaire. She read also the English Annuals, of which she had a large collection. Occasionally, the sound of voices announced a visitor; and she sometimes enlivened the long evenings with a half-forgotten tune upon an old piano-forte.

During the following summer the fine old elms in front of the house were attacked by canker-worms, which, after having devoured the leaves, came spinning down in myriads. Mrs. Craigie used to sit by the open windows and let them crawl over her white turban unmolested. She would have nothing done to protect the trees from these worms; she used to say, “ Why, sir, they are our fellow-worms; they have as good a right to live as we have.”

It was certainly a strange chance which threw the young poet, on his return from Europe, into the curiously cosmopolitan atmosphere of Mrs. Craigie's mind. The sale catalogue of her books lies before me, a mass of perhaps five hundred odd volumes of worthy or worthless literature: Goethe's ‘Werther’ beside the American ‘Frugal ’

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Andrew Craigie (3)
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