Love conquers pride; or, Where peace dwelt


Transcriber’s Notes:

The Table of Contents was created by the transcriber and placed in the public domain.

Additional Transcriber’s Notes are at the end.


Chapter I. A Pretty Factory Girl.

Chapter II. Love All His Own.

Chapter III. A Jealous Rage.

Chapter IV. The Bird Flies.

Chapter V. The Lover Reappears.

Chapter VI. A Happy Excursion.

Chapter VII. Acquiring a Stepfather.

Chapter VIII. Secret Visits.

Chapter IX. The Secret Divulged.

Chapter X. A Heartsick Fugitive.

Chapter XI. Sheltering Arms.

Chapter XII. Beginning Over Again.

Chapter XIII. In a Boarding House.

Chapter XIV. A Second Marriage.

Chapter XV. Startling News.

Chapter XVI. The Sad Return.

Chapter XVII. A Dramatic Meeting.

Chapter XVIII. A False Smile.

Chapter XIX. A Poisoned Life.

Chapter XX. An Evening of Suspense.

Chapter XXI. A Return Call.

Chapter XXII. A Beautiful Child.

Chapter XXIII. A Daring Move.

Chapter XXIV. Old Lovers Face to Face.

Chapter XXV. An Old Story.

Chapter XXVI. The Enemy at Work.

Chapter XXVII. “A Married Flirt.”

Chapter XXVIII. The Blackmailer Baffled.

Chapter XXIX. Caught in a Trap.

Chapter XXX. A Supposed Suicide.

Chapter XXXI. An Amazed Husband.

Chapter XXXII. The Revelation.

Chapter XXXIII. Noble Forgiveness.

Chapter XXXIV. Imaginary Deceit.

Chapter XXXV. Generous Deeds.

Chapter XXXVI. Plans For the Future.

Chapter XXXVII. The Storm Breaks.

Chapter XXXVIII. Visions of Happiness.

Chapter XXXIX. Reaching a Decision.

Chapter XL. A Great Sacrifice.

Chapter XLI. A False Witness.

Chapter XLII. Remarried.

Chapter XLIII. A Lovely Widow.

Chapter XLIV. A Mother’s Yearning.

Chapter XLV. Supreme Joy.


Love Conquers Pride

BY Mrs. Alex.

Cover illustration.


New Eagle Series


Carefully Selected Love Stories

Note the Authors!

There is such a profusion of good books in this list, that it is an impossibility to urge you to select any particular title or author’s work. All that we can say is that any line that contains the complete works of Mrs. Georgie Sheldon, Charles Garvice, Mrs. Harriet Lewis, May Agnes Fleming, Wenona Gilman, Mrs. Alex. McVeigh Miller, and other writers of the same type, is worthy of your attention, especially when the price has been set at 15 cents the volume.

These books range from 256 to 320 pages. They are printed from good type, and are readable from start to finish.

If you are looking for clean-cut, honest value, then we state most emphatically that you will find it in this line.


1—Queen BessBy Mrs. Georgie Sheldon
2—Ruby’s RewardBy Mrs. Georgie Sheldon
7—Two KeysBy Mrs. Georgie Sheldon
9—The Virginia HeiressBy May Agnes Fleming
12—Edrie’s LegacyBy Mrs. Georgie Sheldon
17—Leslie’s LoyaltyBy Charles Garvice
(His Love So True)
22—ElaineBy Charles Garvice
24—A Wasted LoveBy Charles Garvice
(On Love’s Altar)
41—Her Heart’s DesireBy Charles Garvice
(An Innocent Girl)
44—That DowdyBy Mrs. Georgie Sheldon
50—Her RansomBy Charles Garvice
(Paid For)
55—Thrice WeddedBy Mrs. Georgie Sheldon
66—Witch HazelBy Mrs. Georgie Sheldon
70—SydneyBy Charles Garvice
(A Wilful Young Woman)
73—The MarquisBy Charles Garvice
77—TinaBy Mrs. Georgie Sheldon
79—Out of the PastBy Charles Garvice
84—ImogeneBy Charles Garvice
(Dumaresq’s Temptation)
85—Lorrie; or, Hollow GoldBy Charles Garvice
88—Virgie’s InheritanceBy Mrs. Georgie Sheldon
95—A Wilful MaidBy Charles Garvice
98—ClaireBy Charles Garvice
(The Mistress of Court Regna)
99—Audrey’s RecompenseBy Mrs. Georgie Sheldon
102—Sweet CymbelineBy Charles Garvice
109—Signa’s SweetheartBy Charles Garvice
(Lord Delamere’s Bride)
111—Faithful ShirleyBy Mrs. Georgie Sheldon
117—She Loved HimBy Charles Garvice
119—’Twixt Smile and TearBy Charles Garvice
122—Grazia’s MistakeBy Mrs. Georgie Sheldon
130—A Passion FlowerBy Charles Garvice
133—MaxBy Mrs. Georgie Sheldon
136—The Unseen BridegroomBy May Agnes Fleming
138—A Fatal WooingBy Laura Jean Libbey
141—Lady EvelynBy May Agnes Fleming
144—Dorothy’s JewelsBy Mrs. Georgie Sheldon
146—Magdalen’s VowBy May Agnes Fleming
151—The Heiress of Glen GowerBy May Agnes Fleming
155—Nameless DellBy Mrs. Georgie Sheldon
157—Who WinsBy May Agnes Fleming
166—The Masked BridalBy Mrs. Georgie Sheldon
168—Thrice Lost, Thrice WonBy May Agnes Fleming
174—His Guardian AngelBy Charles Garvice
177—A True AristocratBy Mrs. Georgie Sheldon
181—The Baronet’s BrideBy May Agnes Fleming
188—Dorothy Arnold’s EscapeBy Mrs. Georgie Sheldon
199—Geoffrey’s VictoryBy Mrs. Georgie Sheldon
203—Only One LoveBy Charles Garvice
210—Wild OatsBy Mrs. Georgie Sheldon
213—The Heiress of EgremontBy Mrs. Harriet Lewis
215—Only a Girl’s LoveBy Charles Garvice
219—Lost: A PearleBy Mrs. Georgie Sheldon
222—The Lily of MordauntBy Mrs. Georgie Sheldon
223—Leola Dale’s FortuneBy Charles Garvice
231—The Earl’s HeirBy Charles Garvice
(Lady Norah)
233—NoraBy Mrs. Georgie Sheldon
236—Her Humble LoverBy Charles Garvice
(The Usurper; or, The Gipsy Peer)
242—A Wounded HeartBy Charles Garvice
(Sweet as a Rose)
244—A Hoiden’s ConquestBy Mrs. Georgie Sheldon

Title page.

Love Conquers Pride



Author of “The Man She Hated,” “A Married Flirt,” “Loyal
Unto Death,” “Only a Kiss”—published in the New Eagle

Publisher logo.

79-89 Seventh Avenue, New York

Copyright, 1888

Renewal for 28 years, from
November 8, 1916, granted
to Mrs. Alex. McVeigh

Love Conquers Pride

(Printed in the United States of America)



Pretty Pansy lay lazily in the hammock at the foot of the lawn, and listened to the south wind rushing through the tree tops overhead, thinking to herself, with a blush, that it seemed to be whispering a name—whispering it over and over:

“Norman Wylde!”

At the top of the green, sloping lawn stood a big white farmhouse, with long porches shaded by rose vines and honeysuckles. Pansy’s uncle and aunt lived there, and she had come on a month’s visit to them. The month was slipping away very fast now, and she must soon return to her work in Richmond, for Pansy Laurens was no pampered favorite of fortune, but an employee of one of the great tobacco factories.

Pansy was only fifteen when her father, a machinist at the Tredegar Works, had died and left his wife and five children penniless, save for what[6] they could earn by the labor of their own hands. Pansy was the eldest, and her mother had to take her from school that the labor of her little white hands might help to earn the family support.

Nothing offered but the tobacco factories, and Pansy went there, while her brother Willie found work as a cash boy in a dry-goods store on Broad Street. The three younger ones, being too small to work, were continued at school, while the mother took in sewing to help eke out the family income.

It was hard on them all, most especially on Pansy, who was so intelligent and refined, and who hated to leave school and toil at repulsive tasks among companions who were mostly uncongenial, for, although some of the girls were sweet and pretty as herself, others were coarse and rude, and sneered at her, calling her proud and ambitious, although they knew at heart that they were only jealous of the lovely face, so round and dimpled, with its big purplish-blue eyes, shaded by such a beautiful fringe of long black curling lashes.

They all envied her that fair face and those silky masses of wavy dark hair that made such[7] a becoming frame for the transparent white skin, with its wild-rose tints and delicate tracery of blue veins.

But, pretty or ugly, it did not matter, the girl said to herself sometimes, with bitter discontent, as she looked at her fair reflection in the mirror. She was nothing but a factory girl, after all, and there were people who looked down on her for that act as if the very sound were the essence of vulgarity. To have been a shopgirl even, or a dressmaker, or milliner, would have been far more genteel, she said to herself.

This was the first time in three years that she had got away from the factory, and she would not have done so then if she had not been given a furlough from work because there was a temporary dullness in trade.

Then Uncle Robbins had come to Richmond from his country home on a little business, and, struck by her pale cheeks and air of languor, invited her to go home with him. Mother urged her to accept the invitation, declaring that she could get along without her, and Pansy went gladly away on her little summer holiday, which was now drawing to an end.


Her heart was full of this as she swung to and fro in the hammock beneath the trees, and listened to the wind rustling the leaves so musically, seeming to murmur over and over that name so dear to her heart:

“Norman Wylde!”

He was a summer boarder at her aunt’s, and he had been kind to her, not cool and supercilious like the others, who looked down upon her because she was a working girl.

Pansy thought him the handsomest man she had ever seen, and she was grateful to him for the courteous way in which he treated her, never seeming to realize any difference in the social position of herself and Miss Ives, the Richmond belle, who was here with her mother because the doctors had tabooed any gayety for the elderly lady this summer on account of a serious heart trouble.

Juliette Ives was as much in love with the handsome young gentleman as Pansy herself, and she sneered at the factory girl in her cheap lawns and ginghams.

“Actually setting herself up as an equal among her aunt’s boarders,” she said disdainfully. “I[9] mean to put her down at once, and let her know that we do not desire her company.”

So she boldly asked Pansy if she could hire her to do the washing for her mother and herself.

“I am not a servant,” Pansy answered, flushing angrily.

“You are a factory girl, aren’t you?” disdainfully.

“Yes, but not a servant.”

“I don’t see much difference,” said the rich girl insolently; and from that moment the two were open enemies.

Juliette Ives knew in her own heart that her spiteful actions had been the outcome of jealousy because Norman Wylde had looked so admiringly at Pansy when he first met her, and Pansy was quick enough to understand the truth.

“She is in love with him, and is jealous of me, in spite of my poverty and my lonely position. Very well, I’ll pay her back for her scorn, if I can,” she resolved, with girlish pique.

And as she possessed beauty equal to, if not greater than, Juliette’s blond charms, and was fairly well educated and intelligent, she had some[10] advantages, at least, with which to enter the lists with the aristocratic belle who scorned her so openly.

And Norman Wylde, who had a noble, chivalrous nature, could not help taking Pansy’s part when he saw how the boarders tried to put her down.

“Poor little thing! It’s a shame, for she is as sweet and pretty as a wild rose, and they ought to be friendly with her and help to brighten her hard lot,” he thought, with indignation.



The boarders had organized a fishing party, and everybody had gone, even Mr. Wylde, so it was very quiet at the farmhouse. Aunt Robbins and her servants were busy making preserves, and Uncle Robbins was in the meadow, hauling and stacking the wheat he had cut a few days before. Pansy had helped to peel apples for the preserves until her back ached and her hands smarted, so at last Aunt Robbins sent her out to rest.

“I shan’t need you any more to-day, so you had better go and take a nap in the hammock before that stuck-up Jule Ives comes to turn you out of it,” said the good woman.

Pansy went out, but she took off her calico dress and gingham apron first, and donned her prettiest dress, an organdie lawn with a white ground sprigged with blue flowers. A pretty bow of blue ribbon fastened the white lace at her throat, and another one tied back the mass of rippling dark hair from the white temples, leaving[12] just a few bewitching love locks to curl over the white brow. Thus attired, she looked exquisitely fair, cool, and charming, and she knew well that when the boarders returned, tired and hot from the day’s amusements, they would envy her sweet, comfortable appearance.

She was not disappointed, for by and by, when they came trooping through the big white gate close by her, every one stopped and stared, and Miss Ives exclaimed, in a loud, sarcastic voice:

“Good gracious, is it Sunday?”

“Why, no, of course not, Juliette,” said Chattie Norwood. “Why, what made you think of such a funny thing?”

“Why, Pansy Laurens has on her Sunday dress, that’s all,” with a loud laugh.

“Oh, pshaw! Her other one is in the washtub,” tittered Miss Norwood, and every word came distinctly to Pansy’s ears. An angry impulse prompted her to make some scathing reply, but an innate delicacy restrained her, and she would not lift her beautiful, drooping lashes from the book she pretended to be reading, although the angry color deepened to crimson on her cheeks.

The tittering party passed on toward the house,[13] but, although Pansy did not look up, she was conscious that one had lingered and stopped. It was Norman Wylde, and he came up to the hammock, and said gently:

“Poor little Pansy!”

Her sweet lips quivered, and she looked up, meeting the tender, sympathetic gaze of his splendid dark eyes.

“You are a brave little girl,” he continued warmly. “I was glad that you proved yourself too much of a lady to reply to their coarse sneers. Your sweet dignity makes me love you all the more.”

Pansy gave a little start of surprise and rapture. Did he indeed love her? The color flamed up brightly on her delicate cheeks, and the lashes drooped bashfully over her eyes.

“Look at me, Pansy,” said the young man, in a tone made up of tender command and fond entreaty. “You are not surprised. You guessed that I loved you, didn’t you?”

“No. I was afraid that—that you loved Miss Ives,” she faltered, and a frown darkened his handsome face.

“Do not speak to me of her,” he said impatiently.[14] “Who could love her after the meanness and injustice of her conduct to you?” He imprisoned both her little hands in his, as he continued ardently: “Pansy, do you love me, my little darling?”

A bashful glance from the sweet blue eyes answered his question, and, stooping down, he was about to press a kiss on her beautiful lips when a stealthy footstep came up behind them, and an angry voice exclaimed:

“Really, Mr. Wylde, when you want to flirt with factory girls you should not choose such a public place, especially when the girl you are engaged to is close at hand.”

He started backward as if shot, and Pansy sprang from the hammock with a shriek:

“It is false!”

Juliette Ives laughed scornfully, and replied:

“Ask him. He will not deny it.”

Pretty Pansy, with a face that had grown white as a lily, turned to Norman Wylde.

“Is it true? Are you engaged to her?” she demanded sharply.

“Yes, but——”


“That is enough!” interrupted Pansy, with flashing eyes. She would not let him finish his sentence, so keen was her resentment at his trifling, as she deemed it; and, looking scornfully at him, she said:

“Never presume to speak to me again, sir!”

Then she walked rapidly from the spot, and Norman Wylde and Juliette Ives stood looking at each other with angry eyes.

“Are you not ashamed of yourself?” she cried indignantly.

“Eavesdropper!” he retorted passionately, forgetting his gentlemanliness in his resentment at her conduct.

“Traitor!” she retorted defiantly, then burst out fiercely: “Call me what names you will, I have borne your trifling until I could bear no more. If you wanted to flirt, why couldn’t you have chosen some one in your own station in life, instead of that miserable tobacco-factory girl?”

He had folded his arms across his chest, and was listening with a sneer to her angry speech. When she paused he answered, in a low yet distinct voice:


“I beg your pardon. It was not flirting, but earnest.”

A sharp remonstrance sprang to her lips, but, without taking any note of it, he continued coldly:

“I had a fancy for you once, Juliette, but it perished when I saw how mean and base you could be to a less fortunate sister woman. I have watched you and your clique, Juliette, and I have been ashamed of you all—ashamed and indignant, and my heart turned away from you to that sweet persecuted girl with a deeper tenderness than it ever felt before. I made up my mind to snap the bonds that held me as your slave, and to win her for my own. But I acted prematurely in declaring my love for her first. You drove me to it with your unwomanly conduct of a little while ago, else I had not been so hasty.”

She stood staring at him with angry incredulity, wondering if he spoke the truth, if he really meant to throw her over for the sake of a girl he had barely known a month.

“What if I refuse to give you your freedom?” she asked harshly.’

“You would not wish to hold an unwilling captive,”[17] he replied, with a touch of scorn, and she saw that it would be impossible to hold him without a sacrifice of her pride. Curbing herself a little, she asked humbly:

“Hadn’t we better take time to think it over, Norman? I admit I was jealous and a little hasty.”

He looked disappointed and uneasy. Was she really going to hold him to that bond of which he was so weary, against which he chafed so fiercely?

She caught that look, and comprehended it with bitter mortification. Anger came to her aid. “Go—you are free as air, and I am well rid of a fickle flirt,” she exclaimed hotly.

“I thank you, Miss Ives,” he replied, in a tone of relief, and, bowing coldly, he walked away toward the house, leaving Juliette stamping on the soft grass in a tempest of fury and disappointment.

He was anxious to find little Pansy and explain his conduct to her. Surely she would forgive him when she knew that it was for her sake he had broken faith with Juliette Ives. Of course she would be ready to make up with him.


And his heart throbbed madly at the thought that sweet Pansy’s love was all his own. He knew that there would be a bitter battle with his relatives, but he was determined to make her his wife.



Juliette Ives rushed up to the house presently and poured the story of her lover’s treachery into the ears of her mother, who became quite indignant at the turn affairs were taking.

“I will go at once to the farmer’s wife, and give her a piece of my mind about her impudent niece,” she said, and she went immediately to Mrs. Robbins, who was in the pantry, labeling the nice jars of preserves she had made that day.

“I have come to complain of your niece, that bold factory girl, who has been making trouble between my daughter and the gentleman she’s engaged to,” she began.

Mrs. Robbins looked around in amazement.

“What has Pansy done, ma’am, to be called sech names?” she exclaimed, rather resentfully; and then Mrs. Ives poured out a garbled version of poor Pansy’s flirtation with Norman Wylde, making it appear that she was a bold, forward creature, who had actually forced the gentleman to pay her attention.


“Maybe she thinks he will marry her and make her a fine lady, but she’s mistaken,” she sneered. “It’s only a way he has of flirting, but it means nothing, as many a poor girl in Richmond and elsewhere knows to her cost. He’s very wild, but he promised my daughter, when she accepted him, that he would reform. I believe he was trying to do so, but when Pansy Laurens kept throwing herself in his way he couldn’t resist the temptation to make a fool of her. So when my daughter caught him kissing the girl, just now, in the hammock, she discarded him at once, and he’s so angry he’ll maybe fall into some mischief that will make Pansy Laurens rue the day she ever saw him. If I were you, Mrs. Robbins, I’d send the girl home to her mother at once,” she advised eagerly.

Mrs. Robbins sat silent, gravely cogitating. She was a large, fleshy woman, good-natured, and slow to anger. It did not occur to her to fly into a passion and resent Mrs. Ives’ harsh opinion of Pansy.

On the contrary, to her calm, equable nature, it seemed best to weigh the pros and cons in the case. Besides, Pansy was her husband’s niece, not hers, and she had no special fondness[21] for the girl, whom she had never seen till this summer.

Mrs. Ives watched her closely, and, seeing how quietly she had taken everything, took heart to continue pouring out her venom.

“I’m afraid that girl is going to make you lots of trouble,” she ventured. “She will want to hang on to Mr. Wylde, of course.”

Mrs. Robbins turned her large, ruminating eyes on the lady’s face, and remarked:

“Perhaps he means fair. Rich men have married poor geerls before now. And Pansy Laurens is a good-looking geerl—as pritty as your Jule, I think, ma’am.”

Mrs. Ives grew quite red in the face with anger, but she restrained herself, hoping to mold the simple-minded woman to her will. Shaking her head vehemently, she replied:

“Ah, you don’t know the Wyldes! They are the proudest people in Richmond, rich and fashionable, and belong to one of the oldest families in Virginia. All of them have been professional men, and they consider working people as no better than their servants. If Norman Wylde was fool enough to want to marry a mechanic’s daughter[22] and a working girl, which you may be sure he isn’t, his folks would disinherit him, and never speak to him again.”

Mrs. Robbins shook her head and sighed.

“I hate to think of my husband’s niece a-being in sech a scrape. Ef she’s been bold and forrard, ma’am, I never noticed it.”

“Of course not. She was too sly,” sneered Mrs. Ives. “But I see you’re bound to take her part, Mrs. Robbins, and I’ll say no more, only this: If disgrace comes on your family through that audacious piece, remember I warned you.”

“I’ll talk to Mr. Robbins,” was the only answer from the woman of few words.



Meanwhile poor Pansy, half crazed with shame and grief, was sobbing forlornly up in her little chamber under the eaves.

She believed that Norman Wylde had been amusing himself with her, and the thought was agony to her fond, loving heart.

“I loved him so! Oh, I loved him so! And it was cruel, cruel for him to deceive me,” she moaned bitterly, while the shame of it all weighed heavily on her sensitive spirit.

Suddenly the hired girl, a bright mulatto, put her head into the room, and started at seeing Pansy lying on the floor in tears.

“Lor’, Miss Pansy, what’s de matter? You sick?” she exclaimed.

“No—yes. What do you want, Sue?” fretfully.

“Mr. Wylde tole me to tole you to come downsta’rs. He wants to tell you sumfin.”

Pansy’s blue eyes flashed through their tears.


“Tell him I won’t come, that I don’t want to see him!” she replied spiritedly.

Norman Wylde sighed when he received the message, and turned away without a word. Going to his room, he dashed off a hasty letter to Pansy, explaining everything, and begged her consent to become his wife. Then he went down, and, finding Sue alone in the kitchen, gave her the letter to take to Pansy, liberally rewarding her for the service.

Just outside Pansy’s door she came upon Juliette Ives, who said carelessly:

“Give me that letter. I’ll hand it to Pansy.”

She held up her hand, with a silver piece shining in its palm. Sue snapped at the bait, and immediately delivered up the precious letter, which Miss Ives hid in her pocket, then ran away to her own room.

Her pale-blue eyes sparkled with fury as she read the tender love letter Norman Wylde had written to Pansy.

“She shall never be his wife if I can prevent it!” she vowed bitterly.

The impatient lover waited in vain for a reply to his letter, for Pansy did not come down that[25] evening, and when he arose, very early the next morning, he learned, to his dismay, that Farmer Robbins had taken his niece away on the midnight train.

He went impatiently to Mrs. Robbins, and she told him, in her cool, straightforward way, that Mr. Robbins had taken Pansy away because he did not approve of her flirting with young men.

“But, my dear madam, my intentions were strictly honorable. I wished to marry Pansy,” he expostulated.

“You are engaged to Miss Ives, ain’t you?” she returned curtly.

“I was, but I am no longer. I broke off with her that I might ask Pansy Laurens to marry me.”

He seemed so manly and straightforward that Mrs. Robbins must have been forced to believe in his sincerity had not her mind been poisoned beforehand by the slanders of Mrs. Ives. But the poison had done its work, and she looked on him as a liar and a libertine. So she answered curtly again:

“Rich young men like you, Mr. Wylde, don’t marry poor working geerls like little Pansy Laurens.[26] I’ve heerd all about your character from Mrs. Ives, sir, and I know you didn’t mean any good to Pansy, so her uncle up and took her away out o’ harm’s reach.”

His black eyes flashed with anger.

“I shall follow her!” he exclaimed hotly, and rushed out on the lawn, where Mrs. Ives was leisurely promenading under the trees.

She cowered a little when she saw his handsome face so pale with anger, and his burning dark eyes fixed on her with such resentful passion.

Controlling his fierce anger by a strong effort of will, he advanced toward her, and said, with forced calmness:

“I am curious to know, Mrs. Ives, what kind of character you have given me to Mrs. Robbins, since it had the effect of incensing her so bitterly against me?”

She tossed up her head defiantly, and replied:

“It was your flirting with her niece that angered Mrs. Robbins.”

His brow darkened, and he waved his hand, as if thrusting aside her petty subterfuge.


“Mrs. Robbins told me that she had had my character from you.”

“Oh, pshaw! What was the foolish creature thinking of?” cried the lady airily. “She asked me about you, and I merely said that you were fickle-minded—that was all. You will grant that I had room to say that much, after your treatment of my daughter?”

He recoiled from the envenomed thrust, and turned away, with a cold bow. He felt sure that she had said much more, but she was not a man—he could not force her to answer for the slanders she had uttered against him.

As he left her side, Juliette approached eagerly, and inquired what Norman had said. Mrs. Ives repeated it, and added, with a chuckle of triumph:

“He did not believe me, but he dared not say so.”

“Have you written to the Wyldes, mamma?”

“Yes; and colored the whole affair as highly as possible.”

“You do not believe they will allow him to marry that upstart girl?”

“No, indeed; for I have given her a fine character,[28] you may be sure,” replied the heartless woman complacently.

“I should die of spite if he married her,” cried Juliette jealously.

“He will not marry her, my dear, for I am determined to thwart her, if possible. I have poisoned the minds of all her relations against him, and they will be sure to keep him at a distance. Besides, you said yourself that she was angry with him, and declared she would never speak to him again.”

“Yes; but if he had a chance to explain——”

“They will have no chance to explain. Their relations will keep them apart,” interrupted her mother firmly.



Arnell & Grey, the firm at whose immense tobacco factory Pansy Laurens worked, were noted for their kindness and liberality to their employees. Every year they planned and carried out, at their own expense, some pleasant entertainment, to which every one in the factory was cordially invited; and this summer it took the form of a delightful excursion.

A crowded steamer carried the large number of employees down the James River, and a fine band furnished music for the gay young people, who danced all day upon the deck, under the blue sky and bright sunlight of August. Downstairs a dinner was waiting, and nothing that could conduce to the pleasure of the occasion had been forgotten by Arnell & Grey, who delighted in the success of their generous undertakings.

Pansy Laurens went, of course—naughty Pansy, who had been in disgrace for a month with her relations, on account of her crime of stealing a rich girl’s lover away. Yes, it was[30] almost five weeks now since Uncle Robbins had taken Pansy back to Richmond and told her mother sternly that he was sorry he had ever taken her away, since she had made serious trouble among his boarders, and flirted boldly with a young man who was engaged to another girl.

He had brought her home to get her out of harm’s way, he said, and he advised his sister to keep a sharp lookout upon the willful girl, as Norman Wylde had vowed he would follow her to Richmond.

Mrs. Laurens expressed herself to her brother as being ashamed of her daughter’s bad conduct, and determined to keep her in strict bounds hereafter.

She scolded Pansy, and threatened to lock her in her room on bread and water if she ever spoke to that dangerous young man again.

Poor Pansy could do nothing but tell her own side of the story.

She had not been bold and forward. She had not known Norman Wylde was engaged to anybody, and she did not know that he was amusing himself only, when he made love to her in those[31] bright summer days. When she found out that he was only flirting she had told him never to speak to her again.

“Stick to that, little gal, and there won’t be no more trouble,” said Uncle Robbins approvingly.

“Yes; don’t let him come near you again as long as you live,” added Mrs. Robbins sharply, and Pansy thought to herself that she never would.

She was overwhelmed with shame and grief at this pitiless exposé of her futile love dream, and down in her little heart was a secret resentment, too, at the hardness of everybody. Why should they declare that she had been bold and forward? She knew that it was untrue, and their blame cut deep into the sensitive heart. Norman Wylde, too—how could he have been so cruel, so unkind? Her pillow was wet with tears every night as she strove through long, sleepless hours to banish from memory the false, sweet smiles and loving dark eyes that haunted her and made so hard the bitter task she was essaying.

She was not among the dancers to-day, although she was the prettiest girl on board, and[32] had many invitations from gallant young men. But she chose rather to sit leaning pensively over the handrail and gaze with grave blue eyes into the foamy depths of the water. Many eyes wandered to the pretty figure in the snowy-white dress and wide, daisy-trimmed straw hat; many wondered why she seemed so sad, but none guessed that she was thinking that she would like to be at rest under those softly lapping waves, with the story of her young life ended here and now.

Ah, how suddenly her despondent mood was changed! A shadow came between her and the light—some one sat down beside her and facing her. She looked up, startled, and saw—Norman Wylde.

Norman Wylde, pale and impassioned-looking, with a determined light in his splendid dark eyes.

As she made a movement to rise, his strong hand closed over her weak little white ones, and forced her back into her seat.

“Sit still,” he whispered hoarsely, desperately. “I must speak to you, and you shall listen.”

She glanced about her with frightened eyes. No one was looking. The music was pulsing sweetly on the air, and the dancers were keeping[33] time with flying feet. She looked up at him, pale with emotion.

“You can have nothing to say to me that I wish to hear, Mr. Wylde, for I despise you,” she answered bitterly.

“That is not true, Pansy, for a month ago you owned that you loved me, and you have not unlearned your love so soon. Falsehoods have been told you, and you knew no better than to believe them without giving me a chance to defend myself. I have written to you, but my letters came back to me unopened. I have dogged your footsteps on the streets, but you fled from me, and, as a last resort, I came upon this excursion, determined to force a hearing from you. Will you listen to me? Will you let me explain the meaning of that scene with Juliette Ives that day?”

She struggled under his detaining hand, anxious to escape, yet not wishing to make a scene.

“You were engaged to her, yet you made love to me; that is enough for me to know,” she answered, turning crimson in her humiliation; but her indifference and eagerness to get away only made him more determined to conquer her pride.


“Pansy, you are driving me mad,” he cried imploringly; then, with sudden passion, he added: “Unless you will sit still and listen to what I have to say to you, I swear I will drown myself before your eyes!”



Pansy was so startled by the threat of her desperate lover that she sank back into her seat without a word, her slight form trembling with terror. She certainly did not want him to drown himself, although he had treated her so cruelly.

So she consented to listen to him. There could be no great harm in that, for it would not alter her opinion of him at all. He had been false to Juliette Ives and false to her. She was quite sure that she despised him, although her heart was beating furiously as she looked up into the pale, impassioned face, with its eager, burning dark eyes, that seemed fairly to devour her white, startled young face.

Now that he had his chance, he improved it in eloquent fashion. He explained everything clearly, making her understand that he was not the villain they made him out, and that if he were to blame in any way it was for breaking loose from the bonds that held him to a girl whose[36] selfishness and cruelty had changed his love to hate.

“If I ever really loved her, which seems doubtful to me now,” he said. “It was last winter that we became engaged, and, although I admired her fair face and enjoyed her society, I swear to you, Pansy, that the thought of marrying her never crossed my mind until one night in the conservatory, when I was, somehow, drawn into asking her to marry me. I hardly know how it was, unless it was the romance of the moment. You remember the lines:

“Azure eyes, golden hair, scented robes—

“They had crazed my hot, foolish brain then.

“Ah, the silliest woman can make
A fool of the wisest of men!”

“But they say that you are fickle,” murmured Pansy, speaking for the first time.

“It is not true, my little darling. I never really fell in love until your sweet face dawned on my vision. Then I began to realize that my engagement to Juliette was a terrible mistake, and that I would be wrong to continue it. But I kept waiting from day to day, hoping she would see how[37] things were and throw me over herself, as she did at last, but only after I had bungled matters by telling you too soon of my love.”

Where was Pansy’s bitter resentment now? It was melting like snow in the sunshine under his eager words. Everything looked so different now in the light of his manly, straightforward explanations.

Her sad heart bounded with renewed hope, and a leaden weight seemed to be lifted from her spirits.

“Now, Pansy, you see that I was not to blame,” said her lover eagerly. “You will forgive me, will you not, and promise what I was going to ask you that day—that you will be my own little wife?”

She blushed brightly, and could not utter a word. He took her little hand tenderly in his, and whispered:

“‘Silence gives consent.’”

Presently she lifted her little head from his breast, where he had drawn it in reckless defiance of the whole world, if it had been looking on. But, fortunately, no one saw or heeded the pair of happy lovers.


“But how can I be your wife?” she whispered, in a troubled tone. “Mrs. Ives told Aunt Robbins that your family was very rich and grand—that they would never permit you to marry me.”

“Never mind, I will bring them around,” he replied, with pretended carelessness.

He would not tell her that he had spoken to his parents about her, and that both had sternly forbidden him to think of marrying one so far beneath him in position, birth, and fortune.

“Remember that you are descended from one of the first families of Virginia,” exclaimed his haughty mother.

“I shall only regret that fact if it is to separate me from the girl I love,” he replied angrily, and then his father threatened him with disinheritance if he did not give up Pansy Laurens. He told Pansy nothing of all this, although it lay deep in his own heart, like a leaden weight, for he knew that he could not support a wife if his father threw him over. He had no fortune of his own, and, although he had been educated for the law, he had only just hung out his “shingle,” as he humorously called it. It was folly, madness,[39] to woo Pansy Laurens in the face of such prospects, and yet he went straight on, hoping against hope that something would turn up in his favor.

“I will bring them around in time,” he repeated, and she, looking up at her splendid lover in worshipful adoration, believed him, and bright visions of happiness flitted before her mind’s eye. She could not help triumphing in her thoughts over her insolent rival, Juliette Ives.

Oh, how suddenly the face of all the world was changed to the girl who such a little while ago was so unhappy that she wished herself dead! The beautiful face grew so animated that he was charmed and delighted. He told her that she had the fairest face he had ever seen, and that he would like to be a king, that he might make her a queen.

All too soon that happy excursion came to an end, but it stood out brightly forever in Pansy’s memory. She had been so happy, so blessed; and when she parted with her lover it was to look forward to secret meetings—pleasant walks with him that would take away the dreariness and loneliness of her life. He told her that it would not[40] be wrong, and she loved him too well to doubt his word.

Several weeks afterward Pansy’s mother was quite sick one day with a headache, and the girl had to stay home from work. Toward afternoon she grew much better, and then Pansy, who was sitting near the bed with her sewing, said timidly:

“Mamma, I am afraid that we have all been too hard on Norman Wylde. Perhaps he did love me and mean to marry me.”

“Nonsense!” the mother exclaimed curtly, and then she saw tears in Pansy’s blue eyes, much to her dismay, for she thought Pansy had got over her fancy for Norman Wylde.

“But, mamma——”

“I do not wish to hear anything about that villain,” answered the mother sharply, and, although the girl had made up her mind to confess everything to her mother, she was frightened out of it by her harshness; and the next time she saw Norman she told him that she had made the effort to tell her mother all, but had failed through dread of her anger.

They were in the Capitol Square, for it was[41] Sunday afternoon, and Pansy had told her mother that she was going for a little walk.

Norman Wylde was waiting for her under the tree in a secluded part of the grounds, and they sat down together on a rustic bench while Pansy, half in tears, related her failure with her mother.

“I am sorry, for I have wished so much that I might be able to visit you at your own home,” said her lover. Then his face brightened, and he added:

“But never mind, darling, it does not matter so much now, for I am going away from Richmond very soon. Do not look so woebegone, my little Pansy, for I have good news for you.”

She started and looked up eagerly, wondering if his parents had relented.

But it was nothing like that.

In a moment he continued:

“Congratulate me, my dearest. I have at last found a client!”

“Oh!” cried Pansy gladly.

“Yes, and a wealthy one, too,” said the young man exultantly. “He wishes me to go to London upon some law business for him, and if my mission proves successful my reputation will be[42] made at once, and I shall earn a princely fee, also.”

“But to go away so far—oh!” cried Pansy, in unutterable distress.

But her lover laughed.

“Pshaw! Not so very far,” he said lightly, then, pressing her little hand warmly, he whispered: “We can bear the separation, my darling, since, in reality, it only brings us nearer together, as, of course I shall be in a position to marry then.”

But Pansy had burst into tears. A dark cloud had settled over her spirits.

No one was near them, and he bent tenderly over her, trying to soothe her girlish distress.

“It is only for a few months, dearest, and we will write to each other every week. Then, when I come back, we will be happy.”

“I feel as if we were parting forever,” she sighed, but he smiled tenderly, and answered:

“No, no, Pansy—only for a little while.”

But his own heart was heavy, too. He adored his lovely little sweetheart, and vague fears assailed him lest some one should win her away from him during his enforced absence. She was[43] so young, so untaught, what if she learned to doubt him? What if the enemies that encompassed both should turn her heart against him?

A sudden mad resolve came over him. With quickened breath, he whispered:

“Pansy, in a week I must go and leave you. What if I married you before I went, and left my own sweet wife waiting for my return?”

She started and gazed wildly at him.

“They—they—would not permit it,” she returned breathlessly.

He smiled triumphantly.

“We could run away, my pet,” he said. “For instance, suppose when you started to work to-morrow morning I should meet you? We could take the early morning train for Washington, be married, and return by the time the factory closes for the day. You could go quietly home again, and no one need know our sweet secret until I came back to claim you.”



Mrs. Laurens would have been only too glad to listen to her daughter, if she had had any idea that Norman Wylde’s intentions toward Pansy were strictly honorable. But her brother’s representations had so thoroughly alarmed her that she deemed it proper to repress the girl with the utmost sternness, while at the same time her motherly heart yearned tenderly over her and she longed for the means of lightening the girl’s hard lot in life. And it was for her children’s sake more than aught else that the yet young widow began to contemplate the idea of a second marriage.

She was still a pretty and attractive woman, and for a year past she had had an admirer who had pressed his suit more than once, and would have been accepted only for the fact that her five children were, with one accord, vehemently opposed to having a stepfather.

The widow could not help feeling vexed with her dictatorial brood.


Her suitor was a groceryman with a fair business, and owned a neat brick house, well furnished, from which a wife had been carried out more than two years ago to her grave.

The widower sadly wanted a housekeeper, and it seemed to him that pretty little Mrs. Laurens was the proper one to fill the position.

The children were rather a drawback, it was true, but he had decided that Pansy could go on earning her living at the factory and Willie at the store.

Mrs. Laurens, all unconscious of her suitor’s sordid intentions, wished very much to marry Mr. Finley, and at last permitted him to overrule her objections and persuade her that her children had no right to dictate to her in regard to a second marriage. It seemed quite a coincidence that, on the very Sunday when Norman Wylde was persuading pretty Pansy to a secret marriage, her mother was listening to counsel somewhat similar from her elderly lover.

And on Monday evening, when Pansy got in, rather late, flustered and frightened lest her mother should chide her for her tardiness, she found the children sitting around, supperless[46] and forlorn, and manifestly relieved at her entrance.

“Where is mamma?” she asked, glancing around, rather guiltily; and Alice, the eldest of the three younger children, replied:

“Mamma had on her gray cashmere dress when we got home from school, and she put on her bonnet and said she was going out a while, and that we must be good children till she got back.”

“Very well; I will get you some supper,” their sister answered, relieved to think that her own escapade would pass undetected. She bustled around with glowing cheeks and curiously bright eyes, until, in a few moments, carriage wheels were heard pausing in the street before their door, and the eager children hastened to open it, tumbling over each other in their gleeful excitement.

What was their surprise to find that it was their own mother who had come in the carriage. She was accompanied by Mr. Finley, who came with her into the house and stood by her side with a consequential air, while she said, in a half-frightened voice:

“Now, don’t get mad, children, for it won’t do[47] any good. I was married half an hour ago to Mr. Finley.”

Sheer surprise sealed every mouth, and, taking advantage of the momentary pause, she continued:

“I did it this way to escape the fuss I knew you would all make. I am going with Mr. Finley on a wedding tour of a week, to visit his relations in North Carolina. I packed my trunk to-day, and I depend on you, Pansy, dear, to keep house for me while I’m gone. You needn’t go to work any more till I come back. Now, come and kiss me good-by, my precious children, for the carriage is waiting to take me to the train.”



Poor Mrs. Laurens! Her anticipation of a brighter future for her children very speedily dissolved into thin air.

She came back in a week from her wedding tour, and moved into her new home, Mr. Finley’s nice brick residence on Church Hill; and then she hinted broadly to her new-made husband that she would like to take Pansy from the factory and Willie from the store, and send both to school again.

To her grief and dismay, Mr. Finley promptly refused her requests.

“I married you, not your family, Mrs. Finley,” he said coarsely.

“But I surely expected—and you certainly let me think, sir—that you would support my children,” faltered the bride.

“The three younger children, who are yet too young to work for themselves, I expect to board and clothe, certainly, but not the two others. They must remain at work, clothe themselves,[49] and pay a small sum monthly for board,” was the stern reply, which so angered the astonished woman that she cried out resentfully:

“If I had known this I would not have married you!”

“If you married me with mercenary motives you deserve to be disappointed,” was the cold reply of her liege lord, and, as may be supposed, the honeymoon did not proceed very smoothly after that.

Willie kept on at the store, the children at school, and Pansy at the factory. She had not expected anything else, she told her mother, with some slight bitterness, when she half apologized to her for the necessity of her keeping on at work.

She resented with silent jealousy her mother’s marriage to this stern, hard man, so unlike her own father, who had been so gentle and loving, and the breach between her heart and her mother’s grew wider still as days passed on and brought the cold, dark days of winter.

For one day one of the little children had unwittingly let out a secret that Pansy had adjured her to keep. It was the fact that Norman Wylde[50] had several times visited the house during Mrs. Finley’s absence on her wedding tour.

There had been a scene between mother and daughter, harsh reproaches and upbraidings, answered first by tears, then by girlish resentment.

“I had as much right to deceive you as you had to run away and marry that horrid man!” the girl cried, with flashing eyes.

Then Mrs. Finley had so far forgotten love and dignity as to strike her rebellious daughter—slapping both cheeks soundly, and threatening something of the same kind unless Pansy broke off with Norman Wylde.

“He is gone to England,” the girl answered sullenly, and the mother prayed in secret that he might never return, unwitting of the terrible interest Pansy had in the absentee.

So the long winter days wore away, and Pansy’s companions at the factory began to remark a great change in the young girl. Her cheeks had grown pale and wan, and her eyes dim, as if from constant tears. Her light, dancing step had become heavy and dragging, and she no longer seemed to care about her personal appearance, for her dresses were cheap and ill-fitting,[51] and she was always shivering with cold, although constantly wrapped in a thick shawl. The gay girls at the factory often teased her about her chilliness, and told her she must be going into a consumption.

Poor child! If they had guessed what was aching at her heart they must have pitied her. Not a word or line had she received from Norman Wylde since the day he had sailed away from Richmond, after the one week of delirious happiness in which she had been his adored wife.

Faithfully had she kept the secret of her marriage, but the time was coming when it must be declared, or she would have to bear the burden of a bitter shame. Unless Norman Wylde returned soon, she would be the mother of a child on whom the world would frown in scorn, while she, poor girl, would never be able to lift up her head again.

Oh, how she repented her disobedience to her mother! If she had listened to her she would not have come to this terrible pass. Perhaps Norman was false to her, perhaps that marriage in Washington had been a fraudulent one. She had read of such things.


“Heaven pity me, how shall I ever confess the truth to my mother?” she sobbed nightly, as she lay wide awake in her little room, too wretched and frightened to sleep, wondering why her husband did not write to her, and praying always that Heaven would remove her very soon from a world that she had found so dark and cruel.

A dark, terrible day came to her at last—dark, although the sun was shining in the sky, the green grass springing, and the gay birds chirping in the budding trees, for it was May now, and the world was made new again—she was discharged from the factory.

No reason was given, none asked. She understood.

For many days she had seen that her companions at work shunned and sneered at her. She had had many friends among them once, but now not one. She did not blame them. In their place she would perhaps have acted the same. There is a wide, wide gulf between womanly purity and fallen virtue, and they believed that she was a lost and ruined creature.

As she went slowly, wearily homeward she felt that she could not bear to tell her mother of[53] her discharge, for then she would have to confess all the rest.

“I could more easily die than confess to her, for, oh, she will be so angry, so angry!” she shuddered weakly, and a desperate resolve came to her.

She would run away and hide herself from all who had ever known her.

Perhaps she would die when her trouble came. She hoped so, for she was weary of her life.

Out of the money that remained from her wages after paying her board, she had saved a few dollars. She would take it and go away. Mamma would not miss her much. She had never seemed the same to her children since she married the hard, stern man who kept her at work even more slavishly than when she was a widow, for he would not hire a servant, and she was compelled to do the drudgery of the house herself.

Pansy went into the house very quietly, then helped her mother with the supper, as was her usual custom. She pretended to eat something herself, then went up to her own little room,[54] eager to make her arrangements for getting away.

There was not much to do, only to make up a bundle of such clothing as she would need the most and could conveniently carry. There were some tiny garments, too, clumsily fashioned by the poor girl’s unskillful hands; they must not be left behind. She tied them all up securely, put on her hat, and sat down to wait until the house should be still, when she would slip quietly out and make her way to the station, where she could take the first train to Petersburg.

She felt ill and wretched. Her heart was throbbing to suffocation. How dreadful the suspense was, how slowly the time crept by!

Thank Heaven, they were all abed at last, and she could go now.

She rose up with her bundle, shrinking a little at the thought of being alone in the streets by night.

At that inauspicious moment Mrs. Finley suddenly entered the room.



At the opening of the door, mother and daughter recoiled from each other with smothered cries of amazement.

Pansy, who had counted herself so sure of escaping, saw herself detected in the act of flight, forced to confession, shamed, disgraced; but after that one exclamation of alarm she hurriedly determined to brave it out, if possible; so, clutching her bundle tightly, she assumed an expression of calmness that she was very far from feeling.

“Why, Pansy, what does this mean? I expected to find you abed,” exclaimed her mother, staring in astonishment at the shrinking girl.

“I—I—wanted to go out a few minutes, mamma, dear. My new calico, you know, I must take it to that sewing girl on the next square, for I shall need it next week,” stammered Pansy, trying to push by her mother; but Mrs. Finley suddenly put her back against the door, exclaiming suspiciously:

“Going to the dressmaker’s at this time of[56] night? I don’t believe it! You are up to some mischief, Pansy Laurens! Running away, perhaps, and it’s a good thing I caught you in the nick of time. Give me that bundle and let me look into it.”

There was a brief, short struggle, then Mrs. Finley triumphed, and Pansy flung herself, bitterly weeping, upon the floor, while her mother rummaged through the telltale bundle.

“Aha, just as I thought! Change of clothes—oh, you wicked girl! What is this? Oh-h-h, heavens! Pa-a-n-sy Lau-rens, what does this mean?”

She was holding up sundry tiny bits of soft flannel and linen trimmed with homemade crochet edging. Pansy did not lift her head. She knew without looking, and she moaned despairingly:

“Oh, mamma, mamma, if only you had let me go away in peace you need never have known!”

“You say that she will live, doctor? Oh, I am so glad! And yet it would be better, perhaps, for my poor girl if she had died.”


Pansy’s eyelids felt too tired and heavy to lift from her eyes, but she seemed to struggle back to consciousness and hear those words spoken above her head. In that moment, too, came a confused memory of the stormy scene with her mother when she had been forced to tell all her story and to bear such bitter reproach and shame as almost maddened her, so that she was glad of the unconsciousness that stole upon her, blotting out for a few weeks all the bitter past and shameful present.

Yes, it had been three weeks since that terrible night, and when Pansy heard those words spoken over her head in her mother’s voice she guessed aright that she had had a dangerous illness.

She opened her blue eyes with an effort, and saw the doctor standing with her mother by the bed.

“See—she is conscious at last. She will begin to get well very fast now,” he said, and gave her an encouraging smile; but Pansy had none to give in return.

It seemed to her that she should never smile again.


When he had gone, she looked wistfully at her mother, without daring to speak, fearing to hear again the scathing reproaches with which she had been assailed that night; but Mrs. Finley had been softened by her daughter’s illness, and she spoke to her very kindly:

“My dear, you have been ill three weeks of fever, but the doctor thinks you are going to get well now.”

Pansy thought of the words she had overheard:

“It would be better, perhaps, for my poor girl if she had died.”

She could not speak just yet, but her big, mournful blue eyes asked a question that Mrs. Finley quickly understood.

“Yes, it is all over long ago. It happened that night when I kept you from running away. You were so ill you never knew.”

She paused, but the big, beseeching blue eyes were still asking silent questions, and, putting her hand up to her face, Mrs. Finley said, in a broken voice:

“Your child only lived one day, Pansy. It was better so.”



That one wailing cry broke the stillness, then low and bitter sobs heaved Pansy’s breast. The mother who had never seen the face of her child was weeping over its death.

“It was better so, my dear, better so. Had it lived it could but have added to your disgrace,” Mrs. Finley kept repeating, and at last the poor girl, stung by the words, answered petulantly:

“How can you talk of disgrace? I told you that I was the wife of Norman Wylde.”

“You were deceived, my poor child,” answered her mother sadly.


“Yes, Pansy. I told Mr. Finley everything. He went to Washington to find out the truth. My poor girl, that villain deceived you. There was no license taken out; there was no minister of the name you told me, and you had no marriage certificate. By your confidence in a villain against whom we all warned you, you have ruined yourself and brought disgrace upon your relations.”

There was a long, long pause of utter consternation, then the stricken girl moaned pitifully:

“Oh, mamma, why did you nurse me back to life? You should have let me die.”


One week later Pansy was sitting up, a pale little ghost of the bright, pretty girl who, just a year ago, had gone home with Uncle Robbins to find so cruel a fate. She had been watching the sun set, and turned with heavy, listless eyes when her mother entered with a slice of toast and some tea for her supper.

“Mamma, will you tell me why you always lock my door on the outside? Are you afraid that I will run away?” she asked sadly.

“Oh, my dear, do not be frightened, but—I am afraid of your brother.”

“Mamma—of Willie?”

“Yes, he is sixteen now, you know—old enough to feel keenly the disgrace that has fallen on the family. He is so angry, and he has been egged on, I know, by Mr. Finley. I—I—hope he will come to his senses some time,” sighing.

“Mamma, you said you were afraid. You locked the door whenever you went out. Why?” panted Pansy, with dilated eyes; and the wretched mother, leaning over her wretched child, whispered plaintively:

“Try to forgive him, my poor child, for he is half crazed now, and his passionate boyish temper[61] all ablaze with anger. Poor lad! The disgrace has blighted all his future, he says, and he has sworn revenge.”

“Revenge—on me?” questioned Pansy faintly.

“Yes, on you. He has got hold of a pistol somehow, and he is no longer very steady at his work. I fear he drinks some. He vows he will shoot you on sight.”

“Oh, my Heaven!”

“But do not be frightened, dear. It is nothing but boyish bluster, I am sure. Only I am afraid of him just yet, while the drink fires his blood. So it is better to keep your room a while.”

“Every one knows, then, mamma?” with a burning blush.

“We could not keep it a secret. Every one suspected you,” sighed the unhappy woman, bursting into a flood of tears.

But she wept more bitterly still next morning, for, in spite of the locked door, Pansy was missing, and a tiny note on her pillow told the story:

Bless you, my faithful mamma, and help you to forgive me for my willful ways that caused you so much sorrow. Tell Willie not to drink any more. I will never come back, never disgrace him again.

Unhappy Pansy.



Pansy Laurens meant to keep her word when she wrote to her mother that she would never come back. She felt that this would be best.

If she remained at home the shadow of her deep disgrace would be reflected on her family. If she went away people would forget it in time.

“I should like for them to think that I am dead. Then mamma would not feel any further anxiety over my fate. Her mind would be easy. She would feel that I was at rest,” she thought, and it was this that led her to take away with her a small bundle of clothing marked with her name, and throw it into the river. “It will be found by some one, and then they will say that I drowned myself. It will be a great relief to Willie,” she said to herself, with sorrowful satisfaction, and with a bravery born of despair, she escaped from her room by means of a rope plaited of torn sheets.

Her hands were torn and bleeding when she[63] reached the bottom, but, without a murmur, she took up the bundle she had thrown down, and made her way to Libby Hill, that beautiful eminence overlooking the historic James River. She sat down there a while to rest in the soft gleam of the summer moonlight, and to think of the times when she had met Norman Wylde there and wandered with him through the beautiful park, while her young heart thrilled with love, and hope.

“Alas, alas! he was but amusing himself with the humble working girl; he but plucked the flower of my love to trample it under his feet,” she murmured, in bitterest despair; and presently she went through the park and past the line of stately houses that guarded it on the left side, and dragged herself down the steep declivity to the river.

How beautiful, how silvery white it gleamed in the clear moonlight as it pursued its winding course toward Chesapeake Bay. The factory girl, whose soul was deeply imbued with a love of the beautiful, gazed with a sort of solemn rapture on the magnificent scene outspread before her, and as she flung her little bundle into the[64] glittering waves, lifted her sad eyes to heaven, murmuring, in a tone of awe:

“I am tempted to spring into those bright waves and end all my sorrow.”

Then she saw a dark form moving toward her at some little distance, and fled away, fearing lest she should be arrested by a policeman, for it was nearing midnight, and she knew that it would seem strange to see a woman alone in the streets, deserted as they were by almost every one.

She went along slyly and quietly, like a fugitive fleeing from justice, over the long distance—two miles and more—that intervened between her and the railway station, at which she meant to take a train for the West.

How strange it seemed to be stealing along Main Street like a shadow, frightened at the glare of the street lamps, lest they should reveal her hurrying form to some alert policeman. She was glad when she reached Seventeenth Street Market, and darted inside of it, gliding nervously along between the brick stalls as far as they went, and coming out at last almost at the end of her journey, for soon Broad Street was gained, and then, a little later, the depot.


There was a midnight train making up for the West. She hurried to the ticket office and bought a ticket for Cincinnati.

“I shall be sure to find work in a great big city like that,” she thought, as she took her place in a car and sank wearily into a seat, bursting into tears as the whistle blew and the train rushed out of the station, at the thought that she was leaving behind her forever mother, home, and native city—dear old Richmond, on its green, smiling hills—the place where she was born, and where she had spent her eighteen years of life.

She had never known how well she loved Richmond until she felt herself leaving it forever behind her, with all the associations so dear to her heart. Tears blinded her beautiful eyes, and a sort of passionate hatred for the lover who had wrought her so much woe swelled her young heart.

“Oh, did he think of all this when he betrayed me?” she wondered bitterly, and a yearning for revenge came to her, a bitter longing to pay him back in his own coin for all that she was suffering now.

“Heaven will send me the chance, and I will[66] wring his heart as he has tortured mine,” she vowed to herself, with eyes that flashed through her tears, and just then the conductor came along to take up the tickets.

The car was not crowded, and he had time to observe how Pansy’s face was all wet with tears, and how nervously her little hand shook when she presented her ticket.

“Are you ill, miss?” he asked politely. “Can I do anything for you?”

“No, I am not ill; there is nothing I wish, thank you,” she answered; but, as she saw how surprised he looked, she added: “I was only crying because I am leaving my native city forever, to go among strangers. I am an orphan, and must seek work in the West.”

“I should think you could certainly find work in Richmond,” he said; but she shook her head and put her hand to her white throat in such a pathetic way that he knew she was choked with tears.

He turned away with a heart full of pity, thinking of his own pretty daughter at home, and hoping that she might never come to this. The next[67] day he heard that a beautiful young working girl of Richmond had drowned herself in the James River, and his thoughts involuntarily flew to the one who had left Richmond last night, although he did not think of connecting the two together, save as sisters in sorrow.

“There was a tragedy of woe in the beautiful face of that orphan girl,” he thought often, for the memory of her grief did not fade from his mind for some time.

Pansy was touched by his manly sympathy, but she pretended not to notice it. She did not want him to find out who she was, or anything about her, lest it should interfere with the success of her plan for making everybody believe she was dead.

But, oh, that long, weary night in which she was whirled away so rapidly from all that she had ever known—it would stay in her memory forever, with all its pain and sadness.

When they reached Staunton, quite a large crowd came in, and there was another conductor, who had so many tickets to take up that he did not pay much attention to the sad young traveler who seemed so lonely and friendless, and who at[68] last fell into a deep sleep of exhaustion, and did not awaken for many hours afterward—not, in fact, until a terrible railroad collision near Louisville, Kentucky, derailed the train and sent many of the passengers into their last long sleep.

Pansy was rudely awakened by the shock and jar, and found herself fastened down beneath some timbers which had, fortunately, formed a sort of arch over her form, holding her down, yet still protecting her, so that she was quite unhurt, although so frightened that she fainted dead away at hearing the shrieks of the wounded and dying all around her.

Busy, helpful hands were soon at work, and within an hour she was released from her uncomfortable position. They carried her out into a grassy field, where the survivors of the accident were sitting around in the burning sunshine. Pansy was struck by one lady, who looked as if she were far gone in consumption, and who was sobbing bitterly over the death of her maid.

“I was quite alone but for her, and we were traveling to California for my health,” she said. “Oh, I know not what to do! I am too weak and ill to travel alone.”


Pansy went up to the poor invalid, and said timidly:

“Lady, I am an orphan, and I was going to Cincinnati to seek for work. Perhaps you would be willing to take me in the place of your maid that was killed. I would try very hard to please you.”

“Oh, thank you, thank you, my child! I am only too glad to get some one to go on with me,” cried the invalid, eagerly accepting the offer.



Pansy Laurens had found that “friend in need” who is “a friend, indeed,” when she became acquainted with Mrs. Beach, the invalid lady. She took a deep, kindly interest in the lonely, friendless girl, and during the few days when they stayed over at Louisville to recover from the shock of the accident mastered much of her story.

She was surprised when she learned that the lovely girl was of the working classes, for she had fancied that Pansy’s wonderful beauty had descended from aristocratic, high-bred parentage, but Pansy proudly undeceived her.

“My father was a mechanic, and my grandfather was a farmer. My mother was a farmer’s daughter, too, so we were only plain, hard-working people. I left the public school where I was educated as soon as my father died, and worked in a tobacco factory three years.”

Mrs. Beach, who was a Southerner, and “a born aristocrat,” looked honestly surprised, and spoke out frankly her astonishment.


“I thought,” she said, “that the girls employed in the tobacco factories of the South were of a very low and ignorant class, indeed. I have received that impression somehow.”

Pansy thought of Juliette Ives and the scorn she had displayed toward her, and answered bitterly:

“Many have thought the same, Mrs. Beach; but in the three years I spent in a tobacco factory I met many girls as beautiful, as refined, and as good as are met with in the highest circles of what is called good society. I cannot believe that nobility is only to be met with in the ranks of the rich and well-born. The good and bad are met with in all classes.”

“That is quite true, my child,” said the lady, to whom Pansy had not confided the story of her cruel experience among the aristocrats of her native city. She gazed admiringly at the flushed face of the excited girl, and added: “I do not wish to flatter you, my dear girl, but I will say frankly that both your mind and person fit you to adorn the highest society. It would be an injustice to you to lower you to the position of my personal attendant; therefore you shall remain[72] with me as my companion, and as soon as we reach San Diego, my destination, I will try to secure some elderly woman as my maid.”

Pansy’s tears of gratitude amply thanked the noble woman for her generous words, and she sighed to think that she dared not confide to her the whole story of her life.

But she could not bring herself to repeat to a stranger, however kindly, the sorrows of her unfortunate love affair.

“And, then, I dare not, for she would perhaps spurn me from her presence, deeming me wicked where I was only unfortunate,” she thought shrinkingly.

She had told Mrs. Beach that her name was Pansy Wilcox, and that she had left home because her mother had married a man who was unkind to his stepchildren. Mrs. Beach thought the reason was a fair one, and did not blame the young girl much. She had some reason for knowing how unpleasant a girl’s home could be made under such circumstances.

They safely reached San Diego, one of the most beautiful and romantic places in California,[73] and for a while Pansy was so enchanted with her new home and its Italian-like surroundings that she ceased to grieve for her native Richmond and the dear ones left behind. A new life opened before her: one of comparative ease and luxury, compared to what she had known, for with the gentle invalid lady her duties as companion were usually light and pleasant. Mrs. Beach had soon found a clever maid, and, as she rented a small furnished cottage near the beautiful bay of San Diego, and hired two Chinese servants, life began to flow on very smoothly and fairly to those who made up her household.

She had told Pansy very little about herself, save that she was a widow with a fair income that would cease at her death.

“I have no relatives save a distant one of my husband, who will, perhaps, be glad when I die, as he will then inherit the property,” she said, adding: “But I mean to live as long as I can, and this charming climate makes me feel almost as if I am going to get well again.”

“Heaven grant you may,” exclaimed Pansy, but when she looked at the wan cheeks and sunken eyes of the hapless lady it seemed to her that Mrs.[74] Beach could not live much longer, even in this charming climate.

“And when she dies I shall be thrown homeless upon the world again,” she thought, with a shudder of fear and terror.

Perhaps Mrs. Beach thought of this, too, for she took a deep interest in her fair young companion. One day she said gravely to Pansy:

“Do you ever expect to marry, Pansy?”

Pansy grew crimson first, then deadly pale.

“No, never. I hate men!” she exclaimed, with such energy that Mrs. Beach, a keen student of human nature, exclaimed:

“Ah, then, you have had a lover?”

Pansy saw that she had betrayed herself by her vehemence, and, hanging her head bashful she sighed:

“Yes, I had a lover once, and he proved false to me. No one else shall ever make love to me again.”

“Poor child!” said the lady compassionately. She remained silent a few moments, then said: “I hope you will not think me a meddlesome old lady, Pansy, but I have been thinking of your[75] future. If I should die, what would become of you?”

Pansy burst into passionate tears. “I should never find such a noble friend again,” she sobbed.

“I have been thinking of that,” said Mrs. Beach, laying her thin hand gently on the bowed head. “Your future has been on my mind for some time. You ought to be learning something by which you could support yourself. There are many avenues of support open to women now.”

“Oh, I know it, but I have had no chance to learn anything. Dear, noble friend, if only you could suggest something!” cried Pansy gratefully.

“I will think over it a few days, and then advise you,” answered Mrs. Beach gravely.

And at the end of a week she told Pansy that she believed that typewriting would prove a remunerative business for a young girl.

“I will purchase a good machine, and you shall learn,” she said kindly.

“Oh, how kind you are to me! I wish I knew how to thank you for all your goodness,” cried the poor girl, with tears of gratitude.

Mrs. Beach smiled and answered:


“Only stay with me while I live, Pansy, and I shall be well rewarded. After all, my kindness to you is only a species of selfishness, for I wish to have you with me. It brightens my lonely life to have the beautiful face of a young girl about me all the time.”

They stayed in San Diego a year, and every month made the exquisite place more dear to them. Pansy worked industriously at her typewriting machine, and became quite proficient; but she did not neglect her kind benefactress.

It was both her duty and her pleasure to add as much of happiness as possible to the life of the suffering invalid. In doing so she reaped the rich reward of those who try to lighten the sorrows of others, for she had less time to think of her own, and in consequence was far less unhappy.

There was not a day in which she did not thank Heaven for providing such a safe haven for her when she had fled, frightened and despairing, from her old home; not a day in which she did not pray for the dear ones she had left behind. Most bitterly she repented the willfulness that had led to all her sorrow.


“Had I only minded my mother, no harm would have come to me,” she sighed over and over.

Suddenly over the calm, peaceful life they were leading in the little cottage home fell a dark shadow.

Mrs. Beach had been failing for some time, and at last it became only too evident to Pansy and the few friends they had made in San Diego that her days were numbered. The invalid herself was not ignorant of the fact, for after an interview with her physician one day she sent for Pansy and gently broke the sad tidings that she had, in all probability, but a few weeks to live.

“Do not grieve, my dear. You know I have been prepared for this some time,” she said, with sweet resignation. “It only remains now for me to make my arrangements for the end.”

Pansy’s irrepressible sobs drowned her voice for a while, but when the agitated girl had grown calmer she continued:

“I have telegraphed for my husband’s cousin, who will inherit the fortune whose income I am using, to come at once to San Diego; and he will attend to all the final arrangements. I will be[78] buried here, as my husband was lost at sea many years ago, and it matters not to me where my ashes repose, as they can never rest beside his. I wish, my dear girl, that I had a fortune to leave you, more especially as the man who will inherit mine does not need it, being already very wealthy. But my husband’s wealth, as I never bore him any children, reverts by his will to his own family.”



Colonel Falconer, the man whose coming was so anxiously expected by Mrs. Beach, arrived in ten days at San Diego; but the invalid had died just a few hours before his arrival.

Poor Pansy was once more alone in the world, for Colonel Falconer, though full of pity and sympathy for the friendless girl, could not be to her such a friend as he wished. He was fifty years old, and a bachelor, therefore if he had offered to divide with her the fortune that had come to him by Mrs. Beach’s death the world would have caviled.

He was a typical Virginian, generous and true-hearted, and he grieved that such should be the case, for he would willingly have made ample provision for the support of the lovely, penniless girl who had been so dear to his deceased relative.

“It is a deuced shame that my hands are tied in this way. I feel mean, taking all that money and seeing that beautiful little creature go out to[80] earn her own living,” he said to himself the day after the funeral, when Pansy had come to him to tell him, with a pale, sad little face, that she had been so fortunate as to be offered a place in a real-estate office as a typewriter.

“I have accepted the place, and will enter on my duties to-morrow,” she said simply; and then he drew forward a chair, and begged her to be seated.

“It seems very sad that you should be left alone like this. Have you no relations, no friends, Miss Wilcox?”

Pansy flushed warmly, then grew pale again, and, after a moment’s hesitancy, said:

“I came from Louisville to this place with Mrs. Beach because I wished to work for myself. My father was dead, my mother had married again, and my stepfather was not kind to me. I prefer to remain in California alone, rather than to return to my own home.”

“She is a plucky little thing,” thought the colonel admiringly, and he answered, aloud:

“I don’t know but what you’re right, Miss Wilcox, and I admire your independence. I want you to promise one thing: You will let me be your[81] friend? I shall remain in San Diego some time yet, and if you will permit me to call on you sometimes I shall be very glad.”

He did not mean to lose sight of her if he could help it, for he had a fancy that if Mrs. Beach had lived to see him again she would have commended her protégée to his care.

“Hang it all, if I were twenty years younger I’d marry her if she would have me,” he said to himself, when she had gone out, after giving her consent to his request and telling him where she should go to board. It was at a very simple, unpretentious place, for in San Diego, as in all of the rapidly growing towns of southern California, board and lodging were very high. It would take all of her salary to support her even in a simple fashion.

Colonel Falconer knew this well, and his heart ached for the brave, beautiful girl who had made a stronger impression on him than any woman he had ever met. When she bade him good-by that afternoon and went away with Mrs. Beach’s maid, who was also rendered homeless by the death of her mistress, he felt a strangely tender yearning to take the beautiful girl in his arms and[82] kiss away the tears that he saw trembling on her long, curling lashes.

He retained the Chinese servants, and stayed on at the cottage during the summer, and in that time he managed to see a great deal of beautiful little Pansy, although he knew that it was unwise, for he soon found that his ardent admiration for the lovely girl was deepening into love.

If he had been younger he would have proposed to marry her; but it seemed to him that Pansy would only laugh at the idea of having such an old fellow for a husband.

He did not know how Pansy was touched by his kindness and friendship. She was very lonely, for the few acquaintances she had made during Mrs. Beach’s life did not trouble themselves about her now that she was poor and friendless. They were rich, fashionable people, too, who had no time, if they had had the inclination, to look after any one not in society. They were very gracious to Colonel Falconer, but that little typewriter girl to whom he was so attentive—that was altogether different. Some there were who hinted to him that it was a mistake on his part to show her so much kindness. It would spoil her for her[83] humbler lot, awaken in her aspirations for higher things than she could reasonably expect.

They set Colonel Falconer thinking, and the upshot of it was that he went away to San Francisco for several months. He did not go to bid Pansy good-by, but simply sent her a note of farewell, saying that he would write her sometimes and requesting the favor of a reply.

“Oh, how I miss him! It was like having a kind elder brother,” Pansy sighed to herself, and now the evenings and Sundays grew very lonely, indeed.

There were no more pleasant drives Sunday afternoons, spinning over the sands past the glittering bay; no more books, nor fruits and flowers. There was a young clerk in the office where she worked who would have made love to her if she would have noticed him, but she never did, and in her loneliness her thoughts went back more and more to her lost love and her dead past.



Perhaps it was the brooding over the past and the pain and remorse that wore upon Pansy until she fell ill and had that long fever, although some of the little household declared that it was something she had read in a Southern paper.

When Colonel Falconer, who had grown uneasy because his last letter to Pansy was not answered, came suddenly back to San Diego, he found that the girl had been ill of a brain fever for several weeks.

The mistress of the boarding house, who had been very kind to the sick girl, explained everything as well as she could:

“She had been looking droopy an’ peaked some time, an’ her appetite no better than a baby’s, when she kem inter the parlor one Sunday after church, an’ set down to read. All at once she screamed out, an’ fell in a faint. She had this paper in her hand, an’ I’ll allus believe she read something in it that was bad news to her. But[85] I’ve read it through an’ through, and I can’t guess what ’tis. Maybe you kin.”

She put the newspaper in his hand—one almost two months old. It was a daily paper, published at Richmond, Virginia.

“I do not think anything in this could have affected her. She was from Kentucky. Where did she get this?” he asked.

“Some transient boarder must have left it, I think. It had been laying around on the parlor table several days when she picked it up.”

He went over the paper carefully—the deaths, the marriages—but he saw nothing about any one by the name of Wilcox. There was a society column, and he went over that, too, although he did not expect to find anything relating to her, for she had been very careful to impress upon his mind, with a sort of proud humility, that she belonged to the humble walks of life.

“Ah!” he exclaimed suddenly.

“You’ve found it?” exclaimed Mrs. Scruggs.

“Oh, no, nothing relating to her,” he answered quickly.

The paragraph that had surprised him was this:


Norman Wylde has returned from his long sojourn abroad, and his much-talked-of marriage to the beautiful Miss Ives will take place very soon.

Major Falconer knew both parties very well, but he had never spoken of them to Pansy. He forgot both almost immediately in his anxiety over the sick girl.

“Mrs. Scruggs, I wonder if I might see her? I am a very old friend,” he said.

“She is sitting up a little while to-day. I know she would be glad to see you,” was the answer, and she immediately conducted him to Pansy’s room.

The sick girl was so surprised that she uttered a cry of joy. Her blue eyes lighted with pleasure.

“Oh, I am so glad!” she exclaimed impulsively.

Mrs. Scruggs went quietly out. He knelt down by her side and kissed her little hands with the ardor of a younger lover.

Yes, all his prudent resolves had melted before his joy at seeing her again, and his pity for her suffering. Gently, so as not to startle her from him, he told her of his love, and begged her to be his wife.


“I am old enough to be your father, I know; but my heart is young, and, then, I could take such good care of you, my darling,” he said.

“Oh, you are too good to me, and I—I could not love you enough,” she faltered.

“I would teach you to love me,” he answered. And she had such a deep regard for him that it seemed to her that it would be very easy to learn that lesson.



San Diego had a sensation when Colonel Falconer, the rich Southerner, married the beautiful young typewriter within a few days after his return from San Francisco.

He had pleaded for an early marriage, and she, after some hesitancy, had consented.

“There is no one whose consent I have to ask, I suppose?” he said; and, after a moment’s silence, she answered:

“No, there is no one. I have reason to think that my mother believes me dead. I have no wish to undeceive her.”

“But does not that seem cruel?” he asked, and tears started to her eyes as she answered bitterly:

“She has her new husband and other children to comfort her for my loss.”

He said no more on the subject, and preparations were made for a speedy marriage. He declared that that would be best, and Pansy could not gainsay the assertion. Her small stock of[89] money had been exhausted during her illness, and she was still too weak to go back to work.

So when her lover declared that they would be married quietly this week, and go at once upon a wedding tour abroad, she did not make any objection to the plan. She was glad to have her way smoothed out before her by his kindly, generous hand.

“Oh, how good he is to me—how noble! I wish that I could love him more in return for all his goodness,” she thought, sadly contrasting her gentle, quiet affection for this good man with the passionate love she had felt for one less worthy.

“Perhaps even now he is the husband of haughty Juliette Ives,” she thought, and grew cold and pale at the fancy.

She believed that she hated Norman Wylde, and she trusted that she might never meet him on earth again. To Colonel Falconer she gave the utmost respect, and a placid, gentle affection utterly unlike that ardent passion which she had outlived and outworn, as she believed, in her heart.

She thought it a little strange that he never[90] mentioned any of his relatives, and, the day before they were married, she said:

“Are you sure that none of your grand relatives will object to your marrying a poor little typewriter girl?”

To her surprise, he started and looked visibly embarrassed.

“Ah, I made a clever guess!” she exclaimed, with faint sarcasm, and then he recovered himself.

“No—yes,” he stammered, and then added: “I have no near relatives, Pansy, except a widowed sister. She has one child—a beautiful daughter, who has counted confidently on being my heiress. I think they both will feel disappointed at hearing of my marriage, but they have no right to do so. My sister has a neat little fortune of her own, and her daughter is soon to marry a rich man.”

“Then you have not written to ask their consent?” Pansy asked, with unconscious bitterness, feeling an unaccountable antagonism to those two unknown ones.

“Certainly not,” Colonel Falconer answered, with some surprise, and continued: “I’m ashamed[91] to confess that I don’t pretend to keep up any correspondence with my sister. I have written her once since I came to San Diego. She has not answered yet, so I shall not take the trouble to announce my marriage to her until we are safe on the other side of the Atlantic. She will be glad for such bad news to be delayed,” laughing grimly.

Afterward it seemed strange to her that she had never thought of asking the names of these people, who would soon be related to her so closely by her marriage with Colonel Falconer. And it seemed equally strange that he did not tell her without the asking. There was a fate in it, she told herself, when she came to know, for if she had heard those two names she would never have married Colonel Falconer, and run the risk of again meeting Norman Wylde.

The next day they were married quietly at church, but there were quite a number of people present, for the affair had become known through the gossip of the delighted Mrs. Scruggs. Pansy remembered with a bitter thrill that ceremony in Washington, which had made her so blindly happy.


“Poor, deluded fool that I was!” she sighed, thinking how much sadder and wiser she had grown since then, for now she was past twenty, although she looked so fair and girlish no one would have thought she was more than sixteen.

They left San Diego directly, and went abroad. They spent a year in travel, and in that time Pansy learned much and improved much. The clouds passed from her beautiful face, and she was tranquilly happy with her husband, save when one blighting memory intervened. It was the thought of Norman Wylde and the dark episode in her life that she had concealed from Colonel Falconer.

“He believes me pure and good; he has the greatest confidence in my goodness; yet all the while I am hiding from him a dark secret which I dare not disclose. Heaven grant he may never find out the truth, for it would be so hard for me to convince him that I was innocent, although so foully wronged,” she thought often, when the unfailing kindness of her husband touched her with ardent admiration for his noble nature and awakened self-reproach within her sensitive mind.



Colonel Falconer had written, quite six months before, to his relatives, apprising them of his marriage to a beautiful young girl in California, but apparently they did not have any congratulations to offer him, or they were deeply offended, for no reply came to his letter.

“I am glad that they can afford to be so independent,” he thought, with pique and contempt commingled.

He felt quite sure that they were indignant at the marriage that deprived his niece of her anticipations of being his heiress, and he resented the way in which they had treated him.

“Not even to wish me joy, after all the kindness they have received from me,” he said bitterly; and, dismissing them from his thoughts, he gave all his attention to his lovely young bride, who was so grateful for his love, and who seemed to return it in a shy, gentle fashion that was very pleasing.


They had not given a thought to returning home yet, when one morning he found in his morning’s mail an American letter, broadly edged with black. He turned pale as he caught it up, exclaiming:

“Juliette’s handwriting! My sister must be dead!”

And, tearing it open, he ran his eyes hastily over the black-edged sheet.

Pansy watched him with startled eyes. That name Juliette had touched an unpleasant chord in her memory.

Colonel Falconer heaved a long sigh, and placed the letter in her hands.

Pansy, womanlike, read the name at the end first. It was traced in ornate characters, but it stung her like a serpent’s fang:

Your unhappy niece,
Juliette Ives.

She glanced at the top of the sheet, and read:

Richmond, Virginia.

Colonel Falconer had walked to the window of their pretty breakfast room, and was looking out—perhaps to hide a moisture in his eyes.


He did not see how pale grew the beautiful face of his young wife, nor how her jeweled hands trembled as they held the letter before her eyes. She read on, with a sinking heart:

Dear Uncle: This is to tell you that mamma died yesterday, although I do not suppose you will care much, as you are so happy with the wife who crowded poor mamma and me out of your heart. She died suddenly, of heart disease, from which she suffered so long, and I am left penniless and friendless, for she spent everything she had before she died. We would have been more saving, but you always let us think I would have your money, and I think the news of your marriage hastened her death, she was so disappointed.

Now what am I to do? I have no money, as you know, and I am not fitted to work for my living. Has your wife turned your heart against me, or are you willing to take mamma’s place and support me in the style I’ve been used to? I suppose I’ll be married, some time, although poor girls don’t stand much chance. I don’t think Norman would care for poverty, though, if only he would come to his senses in other things. I am here in your house still. We were glad you left us that when you married so suddenly and strangely. I’ve promised the servants you will pay their wages. I hope you will come home and settle with the people mamma owed. I charged the funeral expenses to you. I knew you wouldn’t mind. Please answer at once, and let me know what to expect from you.

Your unhappy niece,
Juliette Ives.


“So she is my husband’s niece? What a fatality!” Pansy murmured to herself, fighting hard against the weakness and faintness stealing over her. “And Norman Wylde has not married her yet,” her thoughts ran on, with a sort of bitter triumph.

She sat silent, crushing the black-bordered sheet in her hands, her heart beating slowly and heavily in her breast, a chill presentiment of evil stealing over her mind.

“Is it possible that I shall have to come in contact again with that proud, cruel girl? Oh, if I had only known this I should never have married Colonel Falconer,” she thought bitterly.

Colonel Falconer turned around suddenly from the window.

“Well, my dear, what do you think of my niece’s letter?” he asked.

Pansy’s face flamed and her eyes flashed.

“I think it is impertinent, selfish, and heartless,” she answered spiritedly.

He sighed, for that was his own impression of the letter, although he hated to acknowledge it, even to himself. What hurt him most was her half-contemptuous allusions to his wife, and the[97] fact that she had disdained to send a single kindly message to the woman who was, by marriage, at least, her near relative.

“Juliette is a spoiled child. She has been pampered and indulged until she considers no one but herself,” he said uneasily.

“That is easy to be seen,” she answered, with a touch of scorn.

“But there is some excuse for her just now,” continued the colonel, who could not overcome at once the habit of long years of affection. “We must consider the petulance of affliction, so natural in one reared selfishly and luxuriously, as Juliette has been. Then, too, the poor girl has had a love trouble that has helped to sour her temper.”

“A love trouble?” Pansy questioned, in a thick voice, without looking up.

“Yes; she was engaged several years ago to a Mr. Wylde, of Richmond—a fine young man in every respect, handsome, rich, and of fine family. Juliette adored him, and was very jealous, so that when he engaged in a flirtation with a designing little beauty of the lower classes Juliette would take no excuses, but dismissed him in bitter[98] anger. He went abroad, leaving her to repent her harshness, and to try to mourn her haste; for love soon conquered pride, and she would give the world now to win him back. I had reason, a year ago, to believe that they had made up their quarrel and would soon be married, but I was mistaken, and Juliette no doubt is still pining for her lost lover.”

Pansy made no comment, for her husband’s words still rang in her ears:

“‘A designing little beauty of the lower classes.’ Oh, what if he knew! what if he knew!” she thought, in terror that held her lips dumb.

Colonel Falconer took up a package of newspapers, and drew out one—the Richmond Dispatch.

“Ah, this, too, is from Juliette. No doubt it contains the notice of her mother’s death,” he said.

His surmise was correct. It recorded the death of Mrs. Ives, at the age of fifty-four, for she had been his elder by several years.

He placed the paper, as he had done the letter, before Pansy’s eyes; and she read and reread the words announcing her enemy’s death, but in a[99] dull, mechanical way, without any triumph in the fact that those cruel lips would never utter any falsehoods against her again. She felt half dazed by the suddenness with which the past had risen before her just as she began to hope and believe that it was buried forever.

Her dull eyes traveled soberly up and down the short list of married and dead, and suddenly a wild gleam came into them. A familiar name had caught her attention. She read:

On the 6th instant, at the residence of her mother, on Church Hill, Rosa Laurens, aged nine years and seven days, of diphtheria. Funeral private.

It was Pansy’s youngest sister—the baby, as she was always called in the family. A wave of passionate grief overflowed Pansy’s heart and forced a cry of despair from her white lips. Then she slipped from her chair and lay in a long swoon upon the floor.

When reason returned she was lying upon her bed, with her maid chafing her cold hands anxiously, and her husband bending over her with frightened eyes.

“Oh, Pansy, what a shock you have given me!” he exclaimed; and as everything rushed quickly[100] over her she realized that she must hide her troubles under a mask of smiles.

With a pitiful attempt at gayety, she faltered:

“You must learn not to be frightened at a woman’s fainting. It means nothing but temporary weakness.”

“Are you sure of that?” he asked. “Because——” Then he paused.

“What?” she questioned.

“I feared you had read something in that paper that grieved or frightened you,” he answered, remembering at the same time that when she had that illness in California Mrs. Scruggs had asserted that something she had read in a paper was the primary cause.

But Pansy denied that anything in the paper had affected her in the least.

“How could it be so, when I had never been in Richmond, and knew no one there?” she said. “Besides, I had but just taken the paper and had read nothing but your sister’s death, when suddenly I felt my strength leaving me, and I fell. Tell him, Phebe,” she said, looking at her maid, “that it is a very common occurrence for ladies to faint.”


Phebe asserted that all fashionable ladies were given to fainting, and his own experience bore him out in the fact. The only difference was that he had never regarded Pansy in the light of a society lady. She was a beautiful, natural child of nature, he had been proud to think.

She insisted on getting up to dress and to drive in the park.

“I want fresh air,” she said; and, looking at her pale cheeks and heavy eyes, he thought so, too.

“Mind you don’t give me another such scare shortly,” he said, as he went out to order the carriage, for they had taken a pretty house in Park Lane for the season, and surrounded themselves with luxuries. They had been going into society some little, but neither cared much for it. He had seen enough of it to be blasé, and she was timid.

When they were driving along he said abruptly:

“I suppose we must make some plans for my poor niece. What do you say, darling? Shall we go home and take care of Juliette?”


“Oh, must we go home? I am so happy here!” she cried.

“But I shall be obliged to go back and settle up my sister’s affairs, Pansy.”

“Couldn’t you leave me, and come back when you had fixed everything?” she inquired vaguely.

“But—Juliette?” he objected.

“Couldn’t you give her some money, and leave her there with—with some of her friends?”

He looked in surprise at the girl who was usually so sweet and gentle. Her words sounded heartless.

“How strangely you talk—as if you had taken a dislike to that poor orphan girl whom you have never even seen,” he said severely.

“Oh, forgive me!” she cried, frightened at his displeasure. Nestling closer to his side, she murmured: “It is naughty of me, I know, but I can’t help feeling jealous of that girl you like so much. She will come between us. We will never be as happy again as we were in this past year.”

“Nonsense!” he answered; but he was secretly pleased at her jealousy, although there was really no cause for it, as he hastened to assure her. “I am only thinking of what people will say,” he[103] explained. “I am sure we should be happier without her, spoiled little beauty that she is. But she has no relative but me, and if I desert her people will say that it is all your fault. Do you realize this, my pet?”

Yes, she began to realize it with a sort of wonder. The fate of Juliette Ives, her bitter enemy, lay in her hands to make or mar. She knew that she could mold her noble husband to her will if she chose; could make Juliette Ives’ life infinitely bitter and hard. For a moment she was pleased with the thought, half tempted to use her power.

Then her better nature triumphed. She flung revenge to the winds.

“I cannot do it. I cannot be so mean,” she thought, with keen self-scorn. “Poor soul! Why should I blame her? We both suffered through his falsity, and now I will be her friend if she will let me.”

With all that she knew of Juliette, she did not fully comprehend the girl’s ignoble soul. She pitied her, and, out of a generous impulse, resolved to stand her friend.

“I will go back with you, Colonel Falconer, and I will try to be a true friend to your orphan[104] niece,” she said, believing that as his wife she could fairly run the risk of a return to her old home.

“I look older now. No one will recognize me,” she decided confidently.



In due course of time Juliette Ives received a kind letter from her absent uncle, stating that he would return with his wife to Richmond within the month.

“You may rest assured, my dear girl, that I intend to act fairly by you,” he wrote. “Of course I cannot leave you my fortune, as I expected to do if I died single; but you shall receive a fair portion of it, so you need not consider yourself penniless. I will also pay your mother’s debts. For the rest, your home will be with us. My charming wife, who is even younger than yourself, will be your warmest friend if you show any disposition toward friendship. I inferred from your letter—in which you neglected to send Mrs. Falconer a single kind message—that you seriously resented my marriage. Of course you understand that my young wife is to be treated with all respect and consideration. While you have a strong claim on my love and kindness, she has a stronger one, which you must never for an instant forget. But I need hardly caution you on these points, as your own good sense will sufficiently instruct you. Besides, I expect that you will at once fall in love with Pansy’s sweet disposition and lovely face.”

“Pansy—Pansy!” Miss Ives muttered sharply, as she flung the obnoxious letter on the floor. “So[106] that is her name! Strange that, as that name once came between me and love, it should now come between me and fortune. Why, if I had not hated her already, I should loathe her for that name!”

She was alone in the spacious and elegant parlor of Colonel Falconer’s elegant residence on Franklin Street. She wore deep, lusterless black that set off her delicate blond beauty to great advantage, and she moved with the air of some princess, so proud was her step, so haughty the curve of her white throat.

“It is going to be war to the knife between us—I foresee that,” she muttered hoarsely. “I mean to make her life as disagreeable as I can, out of revenge for the evil she has wrought for me. Yes, she shall not sleep upon a bed of roses in this house! I shall be as disrespectful as I please. They dare not turn me out of the house for fear of people talking, as I am his own niece.”

A few days later she received a telegram from New York, stating that Colonel Falconer and wife had arrived in that city, would remain there a week, and then come on to Richmond.


Pansy had persuaded her husband to remain in New York and show her the sights of the great city. At heart she cared little for it, but it served as a pretext to delay for a little her return to her old home, and to the memories that would crowd upon her there.

But at last the time was over, and no further pretext could delay her going. Pale and heartsick, she was standing on the steamer’s deck beside her husband while they rounded the last curve of James River, that brought picturesque Libby Hill into full view, with all its bittersweet memories.

It was three years and a half since she had crouched on yonder hill, a forlorn little figure with wet eyes and a pale, pale face, watching the steamer bearing away her young husband on that mission which he said was to make him rich enough to claim the bride he had wedded in secret. How it all rushed over her again as she stood there by the side of her proud, rich husband, and listened mechanically as he pointed out with pride and enthusiasm the beauties of the river and the land.

“How glad I am to be in Virginia again!” he[108] exclaimed; but Pansy’s smile was sadder than tears.

Juliette had sent the family carriage, with its high-stepping bay horses, to meet them, and soon they were borne swiftly toward their home; but while Colonel Falconer’s thoughts went toward Franklin Street and its aristocratic environments, his fair young bride was thinking of the humble house on Church Hill, where her mother was mourning the loss of her youngest born—the household pet.

“Oh, mother, mother, mother, if only I dared go to you in your sorrow!” was the cry of her heart.

But she knew that she must remain dead to that beloved mother. There was her husband and her position to be considered, and there was Willie, who had sworn in his wrath to kill the sister who had brought disgrace on a respectable family. Her own safety, if nothing else, demanded silence.

“Here we are, my darling, at home!” exclaimed Colonel Falconer’s voice, seeming to come from far away, so intently had she been brooding over her sorrows.


She glanced out, and saw the sunset gleams lighting up, like jewels, the windows of an old-fashioned red brick mansion, set in a pretty green lawn studded with shrubbery and flowers. He looked up at the broad porch, guarded by two lions, and said, in a tone of disappointment:

“Juliette is too dignified to come out on the porch to welcome us home. She will be waiting in the hall.”

He led his lovely bride up the steps, and, with a strong effort of will, Pansy threw off her agitation and braced herself to meet Juliette Ives with pride and dignity equal to her own.



Yes, Juliette was waiting in the hall.

The day was warm, and she wore a black dress, rich in quality, but of a soft, diaphanous material, through which her neck and arms gleamed snowy white. Her golden hair was arranged so as to make the very most of its beauty. She wished to overawe her uncle’s wife, if possible, with her dignity and beauty.

The door opened, and as soon as Colonel Falconer appeared she rushed to his arms with theatrical effect. He returned her kiss, and disengaged himself as soon as possible from her embrace, that he might present her to the beautiful creature waiting in the background:

“My wife, Juliette.”

Juliette looked, and saw a figure of medium height, but so exquisitely slender, though rounded, that it looked taller. It was clothed in a Parisian suit of dove gray, and from under the demure little bonnet looked the loveliest face in the world—sweet yet spirited, with exquisite features, dazzling[111] complexion, and eyes of purplish blue under lovely curling lashes, dark as night.

But what was it that made Juliette stare in wonder and gasp in fear? She caught her uncle’s arm, and he felt her trembling from head to foot.

“Juliette, my poor girl, this meeting has unnerved you,” he exclaimed pityingly, and Pansy advanced, as if to offer assistance, but was instantly repulsed, Juliette flinging out a frantic arm to keep her off.

“Keep back, keep back! Do not come near me with that face!” she hissed angrily; and Pansy looked at her husband in cold amazement.

“Has Miss Ives gone suddenly mad?” she demanded haughtily, and at the sound of her voice, so cold yet silvery sweet, Juliette shrank closer to her uncle, crying out:

“I am not mad, uncle, but I shall be soon if you do not take away that ghost! Oh, that face, that voice! They have been drowned almost three years, and now they rise to haunt me from their watery grave!”

She began to scream with actual terror, bringing the housekeeper and several servants to the scene. Her uncle caught her in his arms and[112] carried her into the parlor, saying to Pansy over his shoulder:

“Keep out of sight a few moments, dear, and I will bring her to her senses. She has evidently been startled by your likeness to some one she has known.”

Pansy sat down just inside the parlor door, which she carefully closed, thus shutting out the gaping servants. Colonel Falconer set himself to the task of quieting his hysterical niece.

Believing herself alone with him, she soon grew calmer, and asked:

“Oh, uncle, where did you find that girl? I thought she was dead!”

“Of whom does she remind you, dear?” he asked soothingly.

Shivering with terror, she replied:

“Of Pansy Laurens, the girl who made all the trouble between Norman and myself. You know, it was thought she drowned herself, but now I can no longer believe it, for surely this is no other than Pansy Laurens!”

Pansy sat motionless, and heard her husband saying sternly:

“You will oblige me, Juliette, by never making[113] such foolish remarks again. I never saw Pansy Laurens; but if my wife resembles her, that is nothing but a chance likeness. Mrs. Falconer was a Miss Wilcox, of Louisville, and has never been in Richmond until to-day.”

“Oh, uncle, are you sure? For indeed she frightened me with her awful likeness, although I believe she is prettier than that Laurens creature,” gasped Juliette.

“Prettier—well, I should say so! My wife is the loveliest creature on earth!” exclaimed the jovial colonel.

But Juliette, still shivering, sighed:

“How can I live in the same house with that face and voice?”



Colonel Falconer began to grow angry at Juliette’s foolishness, as he called it to himself. Drawing back from her, he said stiffly:

“If you cannot live in the same house with my wife, Juliette, you are quite at liberty to seek a boarding house anywhere you choose, and I will pay your board and furnish you pin money.”

Juliette sprang upright in a perfect fury, shrieking out:

“You are planning to get rid of me already!”

Before the poor, badgered man could reply, Pansy came gliding forward, and said sweetly:

“Perhaps Miss Ives would prefer for us to go away, and leave her in possession of the house. If so, I am perfectly willing to do so, as I fear we shall not get on together, judging from what I have already seen of her disposition toward me.”

She hoped that Juliette would take her at her word, and that by this means she would be enabled to leave this once dear, now dreaded, city.[115] She was frightened, too, at Juliette’s recognition of her, and foresaw trouble if she remained.

But Juliette was startled at her uncle’s proposition, and she began to come to her senses. She remembered that but for his liberality she must be a beggar, and she dared not try him too far. Summoning a false, sweet smile to her lips, she turned to him, and exclaimed:

“Dear uncle, forgive me. I fear I have been acting very foolishly. Of course, I do not want to go away from the only relative I have in the world, now that poor mamma is dead. I love you too well to leave you, or to drive you from me. And, indeed, I was preparing to welcome my new aunt with affection, when her striking likeness so startled me that I behaved ridiculously, I fear, on the impulse of the moment. You will excuse me, Mrs. Falconer, will you not?” turning to Pansy and holding out a hand sparkling with costly gems.

Pansy clasped the offered hand with one as cold as ice, even through its tiny gray kid glove, as she replied:

“Certainly, Miss Ives, for I am anxious to be your friend, if you will let me.”


“Oh, thank you! I shall only be too glad, for I had feared that a beautiful young wife would prejudice my uncle against me, and I am glad to find that it is not so,” exclaimed Juliette, with pretended cordiality. Rising to her feet, she continued: “Excuse me one moment, while I see if your rooms are in readiness.”

She ran hastily to her own apartment, where she secured a framed photograph of Norman Wylde, which she placed conspicuously on the mantel of Pansy’s room.

“I believe she is Pansy Laurens, and I shall prepare many a severe test for her,” she muttered angrily, as she returned to the parlor and told Pansy, with a show of friendliness, that her rooms were in readiness, and she was ready to show them to her.

They walked side by side through the broad hall, with its Turkish carpet, statuary in niches, and stands of blooming flowers, up the broad stairway to a suite of beautiful rooms in cream and scarlet.

“I hope you will like these rooms. Mamma had them furnished over but a few months ago. Mine are like these, only in blue,” said Juliette,[117] with a patronizing air that at once aroused a teasing mood in Pansy, and she exclaimed:

“Then I ought to have had your rooms instead of these, for blue is my color, too!”

She saw a frown contract Juliette’s eyebrows, but she took no notice, and walked over to the mantel, where the first thing she saw was the handsome face of Norman Wylde smiling on her from an easel frame. It gave her a start, but she had nerved herself to meet even the original in this house, and now she merely lifted her arm to take up a piece of bric-a-brac and examine it more closely, when the hanging sleeve of her light gray wrap caught the top of the small easel, and it was instantly hurled to the floor.

“Oh, what have I broken?” she cried, in pretended dismay. And Juliette came forward to gather up the fragments.

“The easel is broken, but the photograph is unhurt. See,” she said, holding it up before Pansy’s eyes and watching her closely; but Pansy glanced at it with the careless interest of a stranger.

“What a handsome young man!” she said. “Is he one of your admirers, Miss Ives?”


“I was once engaged to him,” Juliette answered. “I will take it away,” she added, hurrying out of the room to conceal her chagrin at the failure of her first test.

She could not decide whether the accident had been a real one or not. Pansy had carried it out with such perfect ease that she began to falter in her belief that this was Pansy Laurens.

“I may possibly be mistaken, but the likeness is so startling that I shall test her in every way,” she decided.

The next morning Pansy appeared at their late breakfast in such an exquisite and becoming morning gown that Juliette could not repress her admiration, in spite of the anger with which she saw her uncle’s wife take her place in front of the coffee urn.

“I thought you would be too tired to pour coffee this first morning,” she said, almost angrily.

“Oh, no, indeed. I feel quite well, thank you,” was the bright reply, and, as her white hands fluttered like birds over the china and silver, she continued: “Colonel Falconer, I hope you are going to take me for a long drive to-day so that I[119] may see some of the beauties of your historic Richmond.”

“Just what I was thinking of, my love,” said her husband. “You will join us, will you not, Juliette?”

“Gladly,” she replied, thinking that she would thereby have another opportunity of testing Pansy’s identity.

After breakfast Pansy invited her to come upstairs, where her maid was unpacking her trunks, saying that she had brought her some presents from London.

“Of course, as I had never seen you, I could not have decided what would be most becoming to you had not my husband assisted me with a description of your style and tastes,” she said. And when Juliette saw the beautiful gifts that had been chosen for her she could not help being pleased, both with the taste and generosity displayed by Pansy, whom she thanked quite prettily, saying:

“I did you an injustice, feeling jealous of uncle’s love for you, when all the time you were planning these pleasant surprises for me.”


Pansy hardly knew whether to trust these sweet protestations or not. She would have liked to be at peace with Juliette Ives, but she could not help distrusting her, and she resolved to watch her closely before she quite discarded her distrust.

Juliette lay lazily back in a great crimson chair and watched Phebe, the maid, unpacking Pansy’s beautiful clothes. She was obliged to own that she had never seen such a magnificent trousseau as that with which Colonel Falconer had provided his lovely bride.

“You are a woman to be envied, Mrs. Falconer,” she said; and Pansy sighed faintly, although Juliette could not have told whether the sigh meant supreme content or some hidden sorrow.

“She does not look as if she had always been really happy. There are pensive curves about her lips when she is not smiling, and now and then her eyes look anxious,” the girl decided.

In the afternoon an elegant open barouche took the three out riding, and Colonel Falconer felt very proud of his beautiful wife and almost[121] equally beautiful niece, in their carriage costumes.

It was a lovely May day, and the city presented its best appearance under a blue, smiling sky, which every Virginian believed as fair as that of Italy. They rode out upon the popular Grove Road, then the most fashionable drive in the city, and to that beautiful place, the New Reservoir, with its bright waters glittering in the sun. Pansy exclaimed with delight at the miniature lake, with the water lilies fringing the green banks, and the little boats rocking on its breast.

Then the beautiful cemetery of Hollywood, with its magnificent monument to the Confederate dead, was the next point of interest. Colonel Falconer then gave the command to drive through the principal parks and streets.

“Do not forget Seventh Street,” Juliette whispered to the driver, and when they were rolling along before an immense structure on that street she said: “That building, Mrs. Falconer, is the great tobacco factory of Arnell & Grey. They employ an immense number of girls and women to work for them—twelve hundred at least, I am told. Would you not like to go through the[122] factory? I presume it would furnish some interesting sights to one unfamiliar with our Southern institutions.”

“I dare say it would, but unfortunately the smell of tobacco always makes me very ill. Colonel Falconer, cannot we drive faster, so as to escape this unpleasant odor?” exclaimed Pansy. He saw that her face had certainly grown very pale, while her eyes were half closed. He directed the driver to hasten out of the neighborhood.

“I am sorry it sickened you, but the odor was strong,” said Juliette. “I do not know how those poor girls endure it. Their very clothing must be impregnated with the disagreeable odor. But perhaps they do not mind it like you and I, Mrs. Falconer—useless, fine ladies that we are.”

Mrs. Falconer’s blue eyes flashed, and the color rushed back into her pale cheeks. She answered, with a flash of girlish spirit:

“You and I, Miss Ives, are made of the same clay as those factory girls. We are more fortunate, that is all.”

“Goodness, Uncle Falconer, I hope your wife isn’t a socialist!” exclaimed Juliette, shrugging her shoulders.


He frowned, and answered:

“My wife is an angel, Juliette, and has the kindest, tenderest heart in the world. I’m glad to hear her speak up for our Richmond working girls. I have the greatest respect for them all, as well as sympathy for the poverty that makes their lot in life so hard. I know also that many of them are from good families that were reduced to poverty by the late war.”

Juliette turned her back on him impatiently, and addressed herself to Pansy:

“You remember how foolishly I behaved last night, taking you for a girl that disgraced her family and drowned herself three years ago?”

“Yes,” Pansy answered coldly.

“Well, she was a tobacco-factory girl, and worked at Arnell & Grey’s. Her name was Pansy Laurens—similarity in names, as well as faces, you see. Your name is Pansy, too, isn’t it? She was a low, designing creature, and, by her boldness, caused a rupture between my betrothed and myself, over which he grieves to this day.”



Bravely as Pansy carried off everything, she began to fear that her life with Juliette Ives would never be one of friendship or peace, for the girl seemed to bristle at all points with poisoned arrows for her uncle’s wife.

Not that Juliette was outwardly repellent. She had false, sweet smiles in plenty for Pansy; but she had also the sharpest claws beneath her silky fur. She lost no opportunity of wounding, when she could do so with impunity.

A week passed away, and several of the best families in the city had called upon Colonel Falconer and his wife. None saw her but to praise her wonderful beauty and her graceful ease of manner; although they had gathered from Juliette that her origin was obscure, they decided that she must certainly have been used to good society, and they made due allowance when Juliette sneered for her disappointment in losing her uncle’s money.

But the supreme trial of all had not fallen on[125] her yet. Norman Wylde had not called, although Juliette had given several intimations that he would do so soon. Sometimes Pansy resolved that she would not see him, but then that course would be sure to excite remark. The meeting must take place some time, and she made up her mind at last that she would face it without a falter.

“I despise him, but I will treat him with the same courtesy that I do others, that none may suspect what lies hidden beneath the surface,” she thought.

She had been home something more than a week when Colonel Falconer told her one morning, with a tender caress, that he should have to leave her to her own devices, or to Juliette’s society, all day, as he would have to spend some hours with his lawyers, settling up his sister’s affairs.

“I have a new book. I will interest myself in that,” she replied, returning his kiss in her gentle, affectionate way.

He went away, and, lest Juliette should think her unsociable, she took her book into the parlor. It was a warm day, and she wore a lovely morning[126] dress, all white embroidery and lace, with fluttering loops of blue ribbons. Her lovely dark hair was drawn into a loose coil on top of her head, and some curling locks strayed prettily over her white forehead.

“How pretty you are in that white wrapper, Mrs. Falconer. I do not see how such a plain old fellow as my uncle ever induced a beautiful young girl like you to marry him. But, then, these rich old fellows can marry any one they choose!” exclaimed Juliette.

“I do not consider Colonel Falconer old,” Pansy answered resentfully, but further words were prevented by the loud ringing of the doorbell.

Juliette sat upright, with a gleam of expectancy in her pale-blue eyes, and the next moment a servant appeared at the door, saying that a man wished to see Mrs. Falconer a few moments.

“Show him in here. It is no doubt some message from uncle,” quickly exclaimed Juliette.

Instantly there darted into Pansy’s mind a quick suspicion:

“She has laid another trap for me.”


And she braced herself to bear anything unflinchingly.

The door opened again, and Mr. Finley, the grocer, her hated stepfather, entered the room.

Pansy grew pale, but, still holding her book, she arose in a stately way, fixing on the intruder a cold glance of inquiry.

Mr. Finley, coming in from the outer daylight into the semigloom of the parlor, did not at first see very clearly. He bowed profoundly to both ladies, in an awkward way, and began to speak briskly:

“Mrs. Falconer, I am a grocer, and enjoyed the custom and confidence of the late Mrs. Ives. I have called to solicit——” He stopped and stared. The beautiful face looking at him struck him with fear and terror.

He made a retrograde movement toward the door, keeping his bewildered eyes on her face, and then he caught a glance from Juliette’s eyes that suddenly loosened his tongue.

He stopped short, exclaiming:

“Heavens, I can’t be mistaken! It—is—she! Mrs. Falconer, excuse me, please, but are you not my missing stepdaughter, Pansy Laurens?”


A gay little laugh trilled over Pansy’s lips as she blandly assured him that she had never seen him before in her life, that her maiden name was Miss Wilcox, and that she was a native of Louisville.

“This is the second time I’ve been told of my likeness to Pansy Laurens. It is a coincidence, nothing more. Such things often happen,” she observed carelessly. “By the way, you called to solicit custom for your business, I believe. You may leave your card, and I will refer it to my husband.”

Thus coolly dismissed, and quite ignoring the request for his card, Mr. Finley stumbled out, with a fixed conviction in his mind that Pansy Laurens had never been drowned at all, but had married this rich man and come back to triumph over them all.

He understood now why Juliette had sent him that little note, saying that her uncle’s wife would be glad to have him call, as she wished to make arrangements with him about supplying the family groceries.

“She recognized her, and wished for me to do so, unaided by any hint from her,” he thought[129] and wondered: “What ought I to do about it? I hope I shall see Miss Ives soon, for this discovery places a mine of gold in my reach, and I must speedily find out in what way I am to make the most of it. Miss Ives is poor now, and Norman Wylde is comparatively so, as he will have no money until his father dies. I do not know which I should blackmail—Falconer or his wife.”



When Pansy went to dress for dinner she was so particular that the maid smiled, and thought:

“Her husband has been gone all day, and she wishes to look her best this evening.”

But Pansy, looking for Norman Wylde’s appearance every hour, was anxious to appear as beautiful as possible in the eyes of the man who had wronged her so deeply.

A lovely dress of cream-colored mull and Valenciennes lace was donned. The sleeves were short, and the bodice was a low V neck. She wore no ornaments, except a diamond locket on the black velvet band at her throat and a bunch of creamy-white roses at her slender waist. Thus attired, she was so dazzlingly lovely when she descended to the parlor that Juliette fairly hated her, and could scarcely keep from saying so.

Colonel Falconer came in presently, with his kind, intelligent face and fine military bearing, and was charmed with the beauty of the two girls,[131] for Juliette looked her best in a dress of black net with pearl jewelry.

“It is a pity for so much loveliness to be wasted on an old fellow like me. I hope we shall have some callers after dinner,” he said gayly.

After dinner he begged Juliette to give them some music, but, with a malicious glance at Pansy, she exclaimed:

“I do not like to touch the piano, as I am sure your wife plays ever so much better than I do.”

Pansy smiled, and answered coolly:

“Then your musical attainments must be very superficial, indeed, Miss Ives, for I only know enough of music to play my own accompaniments to a few songs.”

“Then you will give us a song, won’t you, and I will play afterward?” cried artful Juliette, thinking that here, at least, she could outshine her uncle’s wife.

“Certainly,” Pansy answered carelessly, and moved toward the piano, secure in her consciousness of an exquisitely sweet voice, which had had careful culture when she was a simple schoolgirl, before her father died.

Colonel Falconer leaned against the piano, with[132] his back to the door, and Juliette began to turn over the piles of music.

“Don’t trouble yourself. I will sing some little thing from memory,” said Pansy.

Juliette flung herself into an easy-chair and listened with a sneer, saying to herself:

“I would not try to play if I knew nothing but a few accompaniments.”

But when that low, sweet, thrilling voice broke the silence, she started in wonder and delight, for she was intensely fond of music, and Pansy’s touch and voice were both exquisite.

No one noticed that the door had opened to admit visitors, who paused uncertainly on the threshold, to listen, too, for all were absorbed in the singer.

At last the white hands dropped from the piano keys, the thrilling voice became silent. Touched in spite of herself, Juliette said softly:

“Oh, how sweet and sad! You have brought tears to my eyes, Mrs. Falconer.”

Before Pansy could reply, all three became aware that visitors were advancing into the room.

“Oh, Mrs. Wylde, I am so glad to see you—and[133] you, too, Rosalind. Oh, Judge Wylde, it was so kind of you and Norman to come!” rattled quickly from Juliette’s lips, as she hastened to welcome the newcomers.

Colonel Falconer also greeted the visitors as if they were old friends, and hastened to present his wife.

She, the poor little factory girl whom they had scorned, stood by her husband’s side like a queen, and greeted his friends with a calm and stately dignity that made a profound impression. She glanced only slightly at Norman Wylde, or she would have seen that he was terribly agitated. When their hands touched each other both were cold as ice.

When all were seated, Pansy saw that he had retreated to a distant corner, and, as the conversation proceeded, he took little or no part in it. He was almost stricken speechless by her marvelous likeness to one he had loved and lost, and, but for the interval for thought afforded him while she was singing, he could not have preserved his calmness; he must have spoken out on the spur of the moment, and claimed her, as Mr. Finley had done, as Pansy Laurens.


When he had first beheld the beautiful face in profile from the door his senses had almost reeled; but before her song ceased he had persuaded himself that he was mistaken in thinking her the counterpart of Pansy. She was more beautiful, more distinguished-looking. Pansy had been very shy and bashful, but this girl held her small head high. There was a likeness—a great one—but nothing more. One was the wayside rose, the other the cultivated flower.

From his distant seat he watched the lovely face and form with a throbbing heart. How the rich, creamy-hued robe and diamond locket set off the flowerlike face, with its background of dark, rippling hair. The beautiful white hands played with some rose petals she had plucked from her belt, and he noticed how small they were, with pink palms and finger tips, dimpled at the joint, like a child’s. Pansy had had just such dainty hands, although she was only a working girl.

“I wish I had not come,” he thought, with bitter pain. “Mrs. Falconer’s face has brought everything back. Oh, how am I to bear it? Does Juliette see the likeness, I wonder? Surely not,[135] or else she could scarcely endure to be haunted so by the image of one she hated.”

Pansy, on her part, felt a bitter triumph in seeing that he took such slight notice of Juliette. Surely he did not care for her, else his eyes would have wandered to her face sometimes, for it was plain to be seen that she worshiped him.

“He does not care for her,” Pansy said to herself, as she saw how carelessly he answered the remarks Juliette addressed to him. “He has a fickle heart.”

And she gazed with silent admiration at her noble husband, who loved her so devotedly, and who had not been too proud to marry a simple working girl and lift her to his own station in life. Although she did not love him in a romantic fashion, she admired his noble, manly nature more and more daily.

And she found a bitter satisfaction in seeing that her betrayer did not look so gay and debonair as in the past. He was certainly altered; his face was pale and grave, his eyes were sad and serious.



Something more than a week after the Wyldes had called upon the Falconers, Juliette suggested, one day, that it was time that they should return the call.

“You and Pansy can do so this afternoon,” Colonel Falconer replied. “As for me, I cannot spare a day from those lawyers until I get through my business, for I am hurrying all I can, that I may take my family away from the city before the heated term sets in.”

“Then we will call to-day, and we can then find out where they intend to summer, for I should like to go to the same place,” exclaimed Juliette.

So at noon that day they found themselves ringing the doorbell at a residence on Grace Street, quite as elegant as the one they had left. They were shown into an elegant and tasteful drawing-room, and told that the ladies would be down directly.

Pansy sat silent, with her eyes fixed on the door, when suddenly it was pushed ajar by a[137] dimpled little hand, and the figure of a child became partly visible—a beautiful child, of perhaps three years old. The little fellow was simply clothed, in a white Mother Hubbard slip, and his big, dark eyes looked fearlessly at the two ladies.

Pansy’s heart thrilled strangely at sight of the child, for there was something in his face that suggested Norman Wylde. Holding out her hands, she cried coaxingly:

“Come here, you pretty little darling!”

The child hesitated a moment, then pattered lightly across the carpet with his little bare feet to her side. She placed him on her knee, and, clasping him in her arms, kissed the pretty, rosy face repeatedly.

“What is your name, dear?” she asked.

“Pet!” he replied, while Juliette looked on coldly.

Apparently the child quite reciprocated the fancy Mrs. Falconer had shown for him. While she smoothed his sunny curls with loving hands, he patted her cheek tenderly, and cooed:

“Pretty yady, pretty yady!”

Suddenly the door unclosed, admitting Mrs.[138] Wylde, the stately matron, and her handsome daughter, Rosalind. They frowned at sight of the pretty child, and, after exchanging greetings with their guests, Rosalind exclaimed sharply:

“What are you doing here, Pet? Get down this instant, and go away.”

But, to her astonishment, the little one clung to Pansy, and cried out rebelliously:

“No, no, me stay ’ith pretty yady!”

“The little monkey! He never offered to disobey me before,” exclaimed Rosalind, frowning, and she removed him by force from Pansy’s lap, for he screamed and struggled to stay.

“Oh, please let me keep him. I love children!” exclaimed Pansy pleadingly; but just here Mrs. Wylde chimed in:

“You do not quite understand, Mrs. Falconer. The child belongs to my housekeeper, who adopted him in infancy. She has her orders to keep him in her own part of the house, but occasionally he slips away and intrudes upon us, although this is the first time he has ever ventured into the drawing-room.”

“It was my fault. I called him in when I saw him peeping in at the door. He was such a lovely[139] little child, and I thought he belonged to you,” said Pansy, as her yearning eyes followed Rosalind, who was leading the sobbing child from the room.

“He is a very pretty child, and usually a very good-tempered, affectionate one,” Mrs. Wylde acknowledged. “This is the first time I ever saw him display any temper. Indeed, I have felt myself on the verge of falling in love with the little creature often, only I would not allow myself to do so, being convinced that he must be a child of shame.”



“A child of shame!” Pansy echoed, and a wave of hot color rushed over her face as she remembered the little child that had died before its young mother ever saw its face.

“Yes,” answered the stately lady, rather coldly. “He is a foundling, and was left on our steps almost three years ago. We would have sent it to the almshouse, but our old housekeeper, who has been with us so many years that we like to indulge her some, took a fancy to the little one, and begged to keep it.”

“It is a beautiful little child. I could not help falling in love with it,” said Pansy earnestly, while Juliette sneered:

“It is a pity you have not a child of your own to love!”

“I wish I had,” Pansy answered. “I am very fond of children.” And she wished within herself that she could have little Pet to carry home with her, for a wild suspicion was growing up in her heart: What if this were her own child?


Her mother had told her that her child had died, but perhaps she had deceived her. Perhaps Mr. Finley, whom she had always disliked and distrusted, had taken the child away and forced her mother to utter that falsehood. What more natural than that he should have placed it on the threshold of the Wylde mansion?

Wild suspicion grew almost into agonized certainty as she recalled the startling likeness of the child to Norman Wylde.

“Is it possible that his family can fail to see the likeness in his face?” she wondered, and, while she held with difficulty her part in the conversation going forward over the merits of different summer resorts, she was thinking wildly:

“I do not believe now that my baby died. This child, with Norman’s eyes, belongs to me. My heart claimed him the moment he appeared at the door. And he was fond of me, too. He struggled so hard to get back to me when Rosalind forced him away. Oh, I must manage somehow to see that old housekeeper soon, and find out all that I can about little Pet.”

“I think I shall go to White Sulphur Springs,”[142] said Mrs. Wylde. “Have you decided where you shall go, Mrs. Falconer?”

“No, I cannot come to a decision, so I shall leave it to my husband,” replied Pansy.

“Oh, then you must go to White Sulphur! It is charming there,” cried Juliette, who wanted to go wherever the Wyldes went.

“One place will please me quite as well as another,” Pansy replied indifferently; and when they took their leave it was quite understood that the Wyldes and the Falconers were to form a party for the springs as soon as possible.

“But,” said dark-eyed Rosalind to her mother, “Juliette is going to be disappointed, for, of course, she thinks Norman is going with us.”

“Norman must go. It is quite foolish, his being so stiff with us, and resenting things that were only done for his good,” Mrs. Wylde replied, in a displeased tone.

When Pansy and Juliette were riding home, the latter observed:

“Mrs. Falconer, did you notice what a strong resemblance that foundling child had to Norman Wylde?”


Pansy looked at her with a startled air, and answered:

“You know I’ve only seen Norman Wylde once, and can’t really recall his features exactly. Does the child really resemble him? And, if so, what does it mean?”

“Norman Wylde has lived a very fast life, you know,” Juliette answered. “I have long suspected that the child is his own, flung upon his doorstep in desperation by some one of his victims. Perhaps he suspects, perhaps he does not—but I feel almost certain of its parentage.”

“And the family?” Pansy asked faintly.

“I do not believe they suspect anything. If they did, they would not permit it to be kept beneath their roof. They would be perfectly furious,” replied Juliette, with an air of certainty, and watching Pansy closely for some signs of emotion.

But the beautiful girl seemed to grow suddenly weary of the subject, for she said:

“I wonder if my trousseau will do for the White Sulphur, or if I ought to order anything new?”

“You will not need a new thing, nor shall I,[144] as I am in mourning, and cannot dance this season,” replied Juliette.

As their carriage rolled along Grace Street, they saw Norman Wylde among the pedestrians on the pavement. He lifted his hat, and passed on without stopping, to the chagrin of Juliette, who hoped he would stop and chat with her a while.

Her conscience did not reproach her for the falsehoods she had uttered against his fair fame, although she knew that there was not a purer, more high-minded young man in the whole city. But while she was still uncertain as to the identity of her uncle’s wife, it suited her best to pretend that Norman Wylde was dissolute and guilty. Although she suspected that little Pet was the child of Pansy Laurens, she was not certain, and she did not wish Mrs. Falconer to believe it.

“She will, if she is really Pansy Laurens, hate him more if she believes that the child is some other woman’s,” she thought shrewdly, and smiled when she saw the signs of trouble that Pansy could not wholly disguise on her fair face.

Poor Pansy! Her heart was well-nigh breaking,[145] and when she reached home she feigned a headache, that she might have an excuse for shutting herself up in her own room to think over the events of to-day, which had aroused suspicions never to be laid again until they were either confirmed or proved baseless. The dark eyes of the little child had aroused the mother’s heart within her breast, and it ached with a bitter yearning.

“Oh, if my baby did not die, they were cruel and wicked to deceive me, to cheat me out of its love all these years! But only let me find out if that child is mine, and I will have it—I will!” she sobbed wildly, in a mood of passionate recklessness.

But suddenly she heard her husband’s voice in the hall, and shivered.

“Oh, what am I talking of? How dare I claim my child in the face of everything that is against me?” she moaned bitterly; and just then Colonel Falconer entered, with a face full of anxiety.

“They told me you had a headache. Can I do anything for you, my darling?” he asked tenderly.

“Only love me and pity me,” the girl answered, almost despairingly, out of her hidden sorrow.


He was alarmed at her tone, and feared she was suffering greatly.

“Let me send for a physician,” he urged.

“No, no, I do not need medicine—only rest and quiet,” she pleaded, with a feeling of remorse in her heart that she could not love him better—he was so good and true.

But since she had come back to Richmond, she was conscious that there was less chance than ever for her to love her husband in the ardent fashion to which he had the best claim. Her affection for him was so calm, so friendly, only, while, to her dismay, all her old madness had returned at the first sight of Norman Wylde’s handsome face.

“Oh what a tyrant love is!” she sighed bitterly. “I thought I hated him—I know I ought to hate him—yet his face haunts me as it did in those old days when I loved him first. I dream of him by night, and I think of him by day, in spite of every endeavor to forget him. Heaven help me, for I am wretched!”

Days passed, and Pansy found some relief from the haunting image of Norman Wylde in thinking of the little child that she firmly believed to[147] be her own. She struck up a great intimacy with the Wyldes in hopes of seeing the little one more frequently; but she was disappointed.

Apparently the housekeeper had received strict orders, for Pet’s black eyes were no longer to be seen laughing around the drawing-room door, nor his footsteps heard pattering through the halls. There was a sunny plot of grass in the back yard where he played all day now, except when he was in that part of the house allotted to the housekeeper.

But he had never forgotten the “pretty yady,” and he often asked Mrs. Meade, the housekeeper, about her, prattling so sweetly that the good old woman grew quite curious, and at last asked Mrs. Wylde about Mrs. Falconer.

“Yes, she is very beautiful—the most beautiful woman I ever saw,” Mrs. Wylde admitted. “She took quite a fancy to Pet, and admitted she was fond of children.”

“He is always talking about her. I never knew him so fond of any one before,” said Mrs. Meade. “Did you say she came from California, ma’am?”

“Colonel Falconer married her in California, but she is a native of Kentucky, and was never[148] in Richmond until now,” was the reply, which, if Mrs. Meade had harbored any suspicion, at once dissipated.

Still she cherished a desire to see the woman who had been so kind to her little adopted child as to win its warm little heart.

“I’d like to thank her for noticing the poor, forsaken little lamb,” she said to herself. “No one ever shows it any kindness, except Mr. Norman, and Heaven knows he ought to love it, for I firmly believe he is the father, though whether he suspects it or not, I can’t tell. Anyway, he’s fond of it, and kind to it.”



Fate helped Mrs. Meade to the accomplishment of her wish.

One day all the negro servants had leave of absence to attend a meeting of some society very popular with all of their race, and there was no one left to answer the doorbell but the housekeeper.

In the afternoon Mrs. Wylde and Rosalind went out to do some shopping, and Mrs. Meade seated herself with Pet in the wide, cool hall, that she might be within hearing of the bell.

“Ain’t you doin’ to take me on the Capitol Square dis even’?” queried Pet.

“No, my precious, I can’t take you out to-day,” answered the kind old woman, putting down her knitting to caress the beautiful boy, whose sunny curls and bright black eyes were so dear to her heart.

“Den I wish dat pretty yady would tum adin,” exclaimed the child, looking longingly at the front door.


At that moment there came a hurried, nervous peal at the doorbell.

Mrs. Falconer had been driving out alone when she saw Mrs. Wylde and her daughter entering a store on Broad Street, and she almost instantly left her carriage and directed the driver to wait for her, as she desired to do some shopping.

Entering the same store, she bought a box of handkerchiefs, then, slipping out quietly, she made her way on foot to Grace Street, scarcely knowing what she meant to do, but thrilled by a wild longing to see once more the lovely child that she believed was her own.

In the absence of the family, she believed that little Pet might perhaps be permitted the freedom of the house. She might make some pretext for entering the house and awaiting Mrs. Wylde’s return. Thus she might catch a glimpse of the little one whose charms had won her heart.

She rang the bell with a trembling hand, and, to her joy and amazement, the first thing she saw when the door opened was little Pet, clinging to the dress of the white-haired, kindly looking old woman who invited her in.


“Pretty yady! pretty yady!” screamed the child, and those words acquainted Mrs. Meade with the fact that Mrs. Falconer stood before her.

“Will you walk in, ma’am? The ladies are out shopping, but they may come in at any minute,” she exclaimed eagerly, anxious that little Pet should have a few minutes at least with the woman he loved so dearly.

Mrs. Falconer trailed her soft summer silk through the doorway, and held out her hands to the eager child.

“Well, I will rest a few minutes, anyhow, as I walked from Broad Street and feel quite tired,” she exclaimed, adding gayly: “Oh, how cool and nice it is here in the hall. I will not go into the parlor, please.”

She sank down upon the broad antique sofa, and little Pet, as clean and sweet as a rosebud, in his little white dress and slippers, climbed into her lap and clasped his chubby arms about her neck. Mrs. Meade closed and locked the door, and began to expostulate with him.

“Oh, please don’t scold him! Let him stay with me. I love children so dearly!” exclaimed Pansy,[152] pressing the child to her heart and kissing him many times.

Then she looked up a little apprehensively at the old woman, asking timidly:

“Are you—his—mother?”

“No, madam; he’s my adopted child. He was left at this door almost three years ago, and I begged the family to let me keep the poor little forsaken baby for my own. I’m only the housekeeper, ma’am, and the child’s company for me,” explained Mrs. Meade, looking curiously into the beautiful, agitated face before her and wondering if Mrs. Falconer could possibly know anything of the child’s parentage, for the tender interest she took in him seemed very strange.

“Can you remember what month it was when the child was left here?” queried Pansy eagerly.

“It was on the night of the twenty-eighth of May, ma’am, and I feel sure it wasn’t more than an hour old—a poor little deserted newborn baby,” said Mrs. Meade, and Pansy sternly repressed a cry of joy as she hid her startled face in the boy’s plump neck, pretending to bite him, that she might hear his vociferous baby laughter.


“He is mine! It is just as I thought. I was deceived by my mother, and my child stolen from me. Oh, what am I to do, for I feel that I cannot live without him?” she thought wildly.

The little one clung to her, showering her face with kisses, and filling Mrs. Meade with wonder, for he was usually very shy of strangers.

“Would you like to see the clothes he wore when he came here?” she asked, and went away, returning presently with a bundle, which she unrolled before Pansy’s eyes.

“See this little linen shirt and gown, so neatly trimmed with crochet edging, and this fine soft flannel petticoat,” she said; and Pansy almost fainted when she saw the selfsame baby garments on which she had worked, in silence and secrecy, so many nights when she was at home, a wretched creature, looking forward with dread to her baby’s coming.

She wound her arms about the child, and said faintly:

“You ought to take good care of these things, for by their aid you might be enabled to trace the child’s mother some time.”


But she flushed deeply when Mrs. Meade answered:

“I mean to take care of them, but I don’t know as I care to trace the mother. She must be a hard-hearted creature, to abandon her baby like she did.”

“Oh, don’t judge her so hardly, please. Perhaps—perhaps—it was not her fault. They might have taken it from her,” exclaimed Pansy pleadingly, then paused in dismay, for, by the sudden lighting up of Mrs. Meade’s face, she saw that she had made a mistake in speaking so impulsively. Anxious to remove any suspicion from the woman’s mind, she went on apologetically: “Of course, the mother might have been hard-hearted. There are plenty such women, but it does seem strange that any one could desert such a beautiful child as this one.”

“He is beautiful, and as good and sweet as he is pretty,” said Mrs. Meade warmly, and Pansy exclaimed, almost passionately:

“I wish he had been left at my door! I would certainly have adopted him for my own. I love him dearly.”


“I ’ove oo!” cried little Pet, gazing into her beautiful face with shining eyes, and she strained him close to her heart again, exclaiming:

“Oh, you sweet little darling!”

Mrs. Meade gazed on the pretty scene with wonder and suspicion, asking herself why Mrs. Falconer and the child were so strongly attached to each other. She knew that Norman Wylde had been in trouble several years before on account of a pretty factory girl, who was reported to have drowned herself, but she had never heard that there was a child in the case. She wondered now if that unfortunate girl had looked like Mrs. Falconer.

“I mean to find out,” she resolved, just as Pansy looked up and asked pleadingly:

“Won’t you give me this child if my husband will allow me to adopt him? I will be like a mother to him, educate him, bring him up to a noble manhood, if he lives.”

“Would you like to go with the lady, and leave your poor old Meade, my pet?” exclaimed the housekeeper, and the little one murmured a delighted affirmative.


“You see!” cried Pansy triumphantly. “Now, may I have him?”

Mrs. Meade shook her head.

“Colonel Falconer would never permit you to have him,” she said.

“My husband has never refused a request of mine in our whole acquaintance,” cried Pansy impatiently.

“But he would refuse this,” said Mrs. Meade. “You will have some children of your own some time, Mrs. Falconer, then this poor little one would be thrust aside. No, no—I could not part with him, even to one who likes him as much as you do, dear lady.”

Pansy gazed at her with a grieved and baffled air. Her red under lip quivered and tears started to her beautiful eyes. For a moment she could not speak, so bitter was her disappointment; and Mrs. Meade folded up the tiny garments in an embarrassed fashion, ashamed of refusing the lady’s request, but feeling that she was acting for the best.

Suddenly a bright thought came to Pansy.

“Mrs. Meade, I see that you love Pet too well[157] to give him up,” she said gently. “I don’t blame you, for I love him dearly myself. But couldn’t you come and be my housekeeper? Then I could see him every day.”

Mrs. Meade threw up her hands in dismay.

“Leave the Wyldes!” she cried. “Oh, my dear young lady, I’ve kept house for them these twenty-five years, and to leave them now would be like pulling up an old tree by the roots. I’m too old to be transplanted. I should die.”

Pansy clasped the child close to her aching heart with a cry of despair that she could not repress.

“Oh, my little darling, my little darling, I shall see you no more, then! Fate is too strong for us,” she cried.

Mrs. Meade took off her spectacles and wiped the moisture of tears from them. She was deeply touched by Pansy’s affection for Pet, and, after a moment, she said significantly:

“Mrs. Falconer, I’m sorry to seem harsh and unkind, refusing to give you the child, but I know you will forget it directly. While, as for me, my heart is bound up in him, and I’ve always said that I’d never give up my claim, except to[158] some one who had a better right to him than I have.”

Pansy glanced up, startled, and met the significant gaze of the kind old eyes. She understood.

With a burning blush, she put the little one out of her arms and rose to go.

“Then, of course, I can urge you no longer. Your claim is too strong,” she said, trying to speak coldly, as a mask for her bitter disappointment.

“As for not seeing Pet any more, Mrs. Falconer, if you care about it I can make it easy enough for you to see him. I take him to the Capitol Square every pleasant afternoon,” said Mrs. Meade; and then she asked eagerly; “Won’t you come in the parlor and play the piano for Pet? He loves music so dearly.”

“I ought to go this minute,” she said, but yielded to the tiny, persuasive little fingers that clasped hers, and stayed almost an hour longer, playing and singing for the delighted little one.

When she took leave she slipped a golden coin in the baby fingers.


“To buy candy,” she said, kissing him fondly, and promising to come to the Capitol Square the next afternoon to see him. Then she tore herself away, and Mrs. Meade had hard work to console Pet, who wept bitterly at the parting.



How strange it seemed to Pansy to be going again, after the lapse of more than three years, to the Capitol Square to meet one whom she loved, but whom she must see in secret because a cruel fate kept them sundered in life, but one in heart. Then it was the father—now it was the child.

While she was wondering how she was to get away from the lynx eyes of her husband’s niece, Juliette came in to say that she would like to have the phaëton for her own use that afternoon, if Mrs. Falconer was not going out.

“One of my dearest friends, Miss Norwood, is just home from a long visit in New York, and I would like so much to take her for a drive,” she said.

“Pray do so. I shall not need the phaëton this afternoon,” Pansy answered eagerly.

“You are not going out yourself?” Juliette asked.

“I don’t know. Should I do so, it will only be for a short walk.”


Juliette thanked her and hastened away.

“Colonel Falconer is busy with his lawyer, Juliette away, and the field clear. I will go and see my child,” she thought gladly.

It was July, and the day was warm and sultry. Pansy dressed herself simply, in a plain white dress and leghorn hat, and, taking a large sun-shade in her hand, started for the Capitol Square.

Her heart throbbed painfully as she walked slowly along the old familiar streets, thinking of those past days, so full of love and pain.

It was only four o’clock when she reached the square, and the nurses and children were just beginning to come in. She looked everywhere, but there was no sign of Mrs. Meade and little Pet.

“I am too early. I must sit down in some quiet, secluded spot and wait,” she thought, and sought a shady seat on the slope of the hill back of the Capitol building.

“It was here we sat that day when Norman told me he was going to London,” she murmured sadly, and then she recoiled with a sudden cry:



The quiet bench she sought was already occupied, and by Norman Wylde himself.

She could scarcely repress a wild and passionate cry of pain and reproach. As it was, she dared not trust herself, and turned to flee.

But Norman Wylde had been aroused from a deep abstraction by her low exclamation of dismay, and, starting up, he confronted her, coming out of such a mood that he for a moment fancied his lost love had come back from the other world to comfort his sad heart. A glad cry came from his lips:


That name arrested her footsteps. She paused, frightened, moveless. Had he recognized her? Would he tax her with her identity?

“Pansy!” he repeated tenderly, and, although she trembled and grew faint at the passion in his voice, it came to her suddenly that she must make some defense for herself. She, the honored wife of the proud Colonel Falconer, must never own herself to be that Pansy Laurens whom the man before her had deceived and betrayed. She would be brave and proud for her husband’s sake, as well as for her own.


Steeling her heart and her nerves as well as she could, she turned toward him, saying coldly:

“It is quite true, Mr. Wylde, that my name is Pansy, but as you and I have never met but once before to-day, it seems to me that I should be Mrs. Falconer to you.”

Norman Wylde could only stare for a moment with bewildered eyes at the lovely speaker, and mutter helplessly:

“Mrs. Falconer!”

“Yes,” she replied coldly, and suddenly he struck his hand against his forehead, exclaiming:

“I am a fool, a madman! Madam, pardon me. I—I—was mistaken.” Then, seeing that she lingered, he added, with an imploring gesture: “Will you not sit down here for one moment and let me explain?”

She knew quite well that she ought not to stay, but she could not turn from him. She sank down on the rustic bench and waited with throbbing pulses for an explanation. What would he say—what could he say?

He sat down beside her, pale with emotion, but so splendidly handsome in his cool summer suit[164] and spotless linen that her heart throbbed madly, and she thought:

“Oh, my false love! How grandly handsome, how winning you are! It is no wonder that I lost my heart to you, innocent child that I was! Oh, would that you had been true and good, as well as fascinating.”

But no one who saw how coldly and proudly her blue eyes looked at him would have thought that such passionate thoughts thrilled her heart. He himself believed that she was bitterly angry, and he hastened to say deprecatingly:

“Mrs. Falconer, you are so startlingly like one I used to know that when you appeared before me I did not remember you as Mrs. Falconer, and I called you by that name unwittingly. No offense to you was intended. I did not know that you were called Pansy.”

“Yes, that is my name. I was Pansy Wilcox when Colonel Falconer married me. And so you say that I resemble some one you used to know, Mr. Wylde? How strange!” Pansy said, trying to draw him into some reminiscences of the past, womanlike, wishing to know whether he remembered her with love or remorse.


He sighed heavily, and answered:

“Yes, you are the image of one I loved and lost. Do you remember the night I came to your house, Mrs. Falconer? I came very near calling you Pansy then—I was so startled at the first sight of your face. But while you were singing I recovered myself so that I could greet you calmly. It was different just now, for I was thinking of that other Pansy, and you came upon me so suddenly that I had no time for thought, and I called you by her name.”

“It was some one you loved?” Pansy said, in a low, soft voice.

“Loved!” exclaimed Norman Wylde hoarsely, and his dark eyes seemed to burn into her soul as he added: “Love is hardly the word. I worshiped, adored my little Pansy.”

“Did she die?” asked Pansy gently.

“Yes, she died,” he replied hoarsely; then, pausing abruptly: “Has not Juliette Ives told you all about it?” he asked.


“It is a wonder,” he muttered.

“You make me quite curious. I think unfortunate love affairs are so sad and romantic. Was[166] yours unfortunate, Mr. Wylde?” asked Pansy, still leading him on.

“It was tragic,” he answered gloomily; and she was glad when she saw he was suffering some remorse for the ill that he had wrought. Her heart began to grow softer toward him.

“He is sorry for his sin. Perhaps he would undo it if he could,” whispered her heart.

Norman Wylde lifted his sad, dark eyes and looked at her gravely. Oh, how strong was the resemblance to his lost love, and how strangely his heart thrilled at the sound of her voice! No one but Pansy Laurens had ever made his heart beat faster by a voice of music.

“I wish you would tell me all about it,” she said persuasively.



Pansy had quite forgotten why she came to the Capitol Square. She could think of nothing but Norman Wylde and the sorrow on his handsome face. She lingered beside him until he consented to tell her the story of his unhappy love affair.

“I was engaged to Juliette Ives, but I was not very much in love with her. I met, in the country, a beautiful young girl named Pansy Laurens,” he said. “The young lady was not in our set. She was poor, and worked at Arnell & Grey’s tobacco factory; but she was the fairest, sweetest, most charming little creature I ever met. We fell in love at first sight, and I broke my engagement with Juliette for her sake. But, of course, you think, as every one else did, Mrs. Falconer, that I acted badly.”

He stopped and looked searchingly into her pale face. Oh, how like it was to his lost love’s, only with a proud smile on it that made it a[168] little different from Pansy’s, that had been so sweet and gentle.

“I am very much interested; please go on,” she murmured. And, sighing heavily, Norman Wylde continued:

“Of course, everybody set themselves against us, Pansy’s relations as well as mine.”

Pansy trembled, for the deep, sweet, thrilling voice went to her heart, which began to beat heavily and painfully. How her thoughts went back to the past, when he had been her worshiped lover, and she had thought him true!

“We met in secret, my sweet little love and I,” continued Norman, “but we could not see each other very often, because she had to work in the factory all the week. But on Sundays I saw her at church, and in the afternoons she would come here, or to Libby Hill Park, always to a different place, that no one might suspect us. I would have married her at once, but we should have had nothing to live on, as I had no clients yet, and my father had threatened to disinherit me if I did not give her up. But I vowed in secret that I would not do that, and, at last, fate—as I thought—opened out a way for us to be happy. I found a[169] client who wished me to go to Europe and manage an important case.”

“And you went?” she asked, for he paused so long that she feared his confidences were at an end.

“Yes, I went,” he answered slowly; then he looked at her gravely, and said: “You are a stranger, Mrs. Falconer, and there is something connected with my trip to London that I should not betray, perhaps, for the sake of my family.”

“Whatever you tell me will be held sacred,” she said, almost inaudibly, and the dark eyes looked at her in a sort of wonder.

“I ought not to betray this to any one but a dear friend,” he said hesitatingly. “Mrs. Falconer, I wonder if you could like me well enough to be my friend? It would be very pleasant to me. You look so much like her that I should find comfort in your friendship.”

Many and many a time Pansy Laurens had said to herself that Norman Wylde was the greatest enemy she had on earth. But now she held out her hand to him, in its soft silken glove, and he took it and pressed it eagerly.


“I will be your friend,” she said, wondering if he was going to confess to her now about the secret marriage that was no marriage, after all. She was so curious to hear how he would justify that that she did not hesitate to promise him her friendship.

But, to her wonder and indignation, he skipped quite over that important era in his love affair, and went on telling her about his trip to London:

“Mrs. Falconer, that tour on which I prided myself was a plot, a trap, laid by my parents to get me away from Richmond and from Pansy. My client was a paid tool of my father’s, and his craft followed me to London, where, for almost a year, I remained, vainly seeking links in a case that never had existed, save in the fertile brain of those who invented that pretext for the purpose of luring me away from home and love. My brain whirls yet when I recall how I was duped and deceived, my life and hers made pitiable wrecks for the sake of a despicable pride of birth and position.”

His agitation was terrible for the moment. His dark eyes blazed, great drops of perspiration started out on his pallid brow. As for her, she[171] could not speak; she sat staring at him with parted lips and blue eyes full of misery.

“Oh, I ought not to have gone back to that time, for it stirs the smoldering ashes into fire again,” he cried bitterly. “Think, Mrs. Falconer, how I suffered all that time, never hearing a word from my darling, although I wrote to her every week, and she had promised to write to me. And, at last—oh, Heaven!—there came to me a Richmond paper, saying that she had drowned herself.”

“Oh!” sighed Pansy sympathetically, but he did not seem to hear her. His head drooped, and his eyes sought the ground. He seemed to be oblivious to all but his own pain.

For her, she was thinking bitterly:

“I am glad he is capable of some remorse for his sin. It makes me think a little more kindly of him.”

Then she shuddered at herself, for she knew that she was thinking of him more than kindly—fast falling under the old glamour—and she knew this must not be, that she ought to fly as from the tempting of a serpent. She made a motion to rise, but he looked up quickly.


“Do not go—yet,” he said pleadingly. “Somehow, it is a sad pleasure to me to see you sitting there, with that face so like poor dead Pansy’s that it brings back all the perished past.”

At those words she could not rise. She seemed to have no volition of her own. She sat still, comparing herself to a bird charmed by a serpent.

“Do you know,” he went on, “we sat here on the very bench one Sunday, just a week before I sailed for England. She wore a white dress and wide straw hat, something like you wear now. I told her of my good fortune, but, poor child, a presentiment seemed to come over her gentle spirit, and she wept most bitterly because I was going away.”

“He will tell me now of that most shameful marriage,” Pansy thought; but again she was mistaken.

“Poor little darling! No wonder she felt so gloomy, for our parting was the knell of her fate,” said Norman Wylde. “I feel quite sure that by some underhand means our letters to each other were suppressed, for not a line ever came to me, though I shall never doubt that she wrote often, and I feel quite certain that it was the agony of[173] suspense and hope deferred that drove her to suicide.”

“You came home, then, did you not?” she asked.

“No; for I could not have borne to return and find her gone. What was there to come back to, Mrs. Falconer? Not even a grave, for her body was never recovered from the river.”

He raised his downcast eyes and looked into her face with such a searching expression that she trembled lest he was going to tax her with her identity.

But he did not do so. He only said:

“I was too miserable and distracted to come home then. Besides, I had not yet discovered the fraud that had been perpetrated on me. I stayed in London almost a year longer, vainly prosecuting my search for the missing links in my client’s case, and then, by accident, I found out how I had been deceived. I came home at once then, and taxed my parents with the truth. They acknowledged the deception, but claimed that it had been done for my good, and begged my pardon. I would not forgive them, yet, for the sake of family pride, I kept secret their perfidy,[174] and you are the first one to whom it has been revealed.”

“Oh, what a sad, what a miserable ending for so sweet a love story! It seems a pity you did not marry the girl and take her away with you!” cried Pansy.

“I wish that I had done so, for then I might have been happy, instead of the most miserable and remorseful man in the whole world,” groaned Norman Wylde; and she wondered how much of this was acting and how much reality.

“Perhaps he loved me better than he knew, and repented when too late the miserable betrayal that wrecked my life,” she thought, softening more and more toward him whom she knew she ought to hate.

But before either one could utter another word, the prattling voice of a little child was heard, and Pansy looked up and saw Mrs. Meade and little Pet coming along the path toward where she sat.

Pet caught sight of the two sitting there together, and ran forward with a cry of delight.

“Pretty yady, pretty yady!” he cried joyously, and climbed into Pansy’s lap and kissed her.



Norman Wylde seemed almost petrified with amazement at the scene before him. He gazed in wonder at Pansy and the child, and from them to Mrs. Meade.

The old housekeeper, on her part, was surprised, too. She scarcely knew what to make of finding Norman Wylde here with Mrs. Falconer, but she knew not what to say. She could only stand and stare with a look of wonder on her fat face, which was flushed crimson from walking in the hot sun.

Perhaps Pansy understood something of the surprise she was exciting in Norman Wylde’s mind, for the color rose warmly into her face as she returned the child’s caress and arose in a hasty way, gently putting him down upon the seat, and turning toward Mrs. Meade.

“Good afternoon, Mrs. Meade. I am glad you have brought your sweet little boy out for a holiday,” she exclaimed, adding sweetly: “I wish I could stay for another romp with him, such as I[176] had the other day. But I have an engagement in a few minutes. Good afternoon, Mr. Wylde. I have quite enjoyed my little chat with you while I rested under these beautiful trees.”

He rose and bowed courteously, giving her a glance of grave friendliness that made her heart beat faster as she walked away, leaving all her heart behind her with her child and the father of her child, for—guilty wretch though she believed him—she could not strangle her yearning love.

“I believe that he is sorry for his sin,” she kept telling herself, as some palliative of her tenderness for him, when suddenly she heard quick footsteps behind her and a hand stealthily touched her elbow.

“He has followed me,” she thought, with some alarm, and turned her head quickly.

Then a low cry of dismay and anger came from her lips.

Mr. Finley, the grocer, her feared and hated stepfather, was walking along by her side, leering wickedly down into her face with an air of recognition that almost made her heart stop its beating.

“Good afternoon, Pansy. I am glad to see that[177] you are making it up with your old lover. I was behind a tree, watching you two while you sat on that bench talking. You find the old love as sweet as ever, eh? Well, no one can blame you for not loving that old man you married for his money,” were the impertinent words that greeted her astonished ears.

She drew herself up haughtily, and tried to freeze him with her indignant glance.

“Get out of my path, you wretch! How dare you persist in pretending to recognize me as some one you have known?” she exclaimed angrily; but he only laughed, and, staying close by her side, retorted:

“Somebody else recognized you as some one he had known before, too, Mrs. Falconer. Didn’t I hear Norman Wylde calling you Pansy an hour or so ago, when you first came up to him?”

She trembled with horror at the accusation, but, remembering that she had not admitted the truth to Norman Wylde, took courage.

“Pshaw! Resemblances are common,” she said carelessly. “I do not deny that Mr. Wylde took me for some one else, but he immediately[178] apologized for his mistake, and if you had the instincts of a gentleman you would do the same.”

“But I have not made a mistake,” leered Finley. He kept along by her side, although she was walking fast, and continued: “Pansy, you had as well own up to me, for I have recognized you, and I mean to make money out of my knowledge. I am poor, and I have your mother and sisters to support. You are rich, and you must give me some money for them, or I will betray you to your husband.”

Although Pansy trembled inwardly at his bold threat, she determined that she would not yield to his demands.

“Once own that I am Pansy Laurens, and all is lost. I could never satisfy the man’s rapacity, and he would only betray me at last. Besides, he cannot prove my identity; he only suspects it,” she thought wisely; and, to his angry astonishment, she laughed scornfully.

“Why are you laughing?” he demanded; and, lifting her bright face defiantly, she answered:

“I am pleased because I see a policeman up there near the governor’s mansion, and I am going to give you into custody for annoying me.”


He followed her glance and grew pale as he saw the blue-coated custodian of the law pacing along the walk she indicated. Stopping short, he growled fiercely:

“You wouldn’t dare!”

“You will see, my clever friend,” she replied airily, also stopping and looking up at him again so coolly that he wondered at her unconcern.

“You had better leave me,” she said calmly, though white to the lips with anger. “I do not desire to have you arrested, for I know my husband would have you punished to the full extent of the law. He knows all about my past, and your talk of betrayal is the senseless chatter of a madman. Will you go now, or shall I call the policeman, or any of these gentlemen sitting around?”

He was baffled by her cool assumption of fearlessness, for he did not dare to drive her to bay. No one knew so well as himself what cause he had to dread exposure.

Glowering fiercely on her from his small, beady black eyes, he hissed, low and threateningly:

“I am going now, but not that I’m afraid of you, nor that policeman, either, only for your[180] mother’s sake, because it would break her heart to know that her shameless child was still alive. But you will hear from me again—remember that, my saucy madam, and live in fear of my vengeance.”

“I am not in the least afraid of you, and I am going to call that policeman this minute,” Pansy answered, walking briskly away; and, to her joy, Mr. Finley turned and walked quickly off, going out of the square at a gate directly opposite.

“He is a coward, despite his threats, and he will not trouble me again, I hope,” she murmured, leaving the square and going quickly toward home with no other drawback, except meeting several factory girls going home from work whose faces were perfectly familiar to her, and who had not forgotten hers, either, for one nudged the other and exclaimed audibly:

“Good gracious, the very image of poor Pansy Laurens!”

Pansy’s heart gave a wild throb, and she hurried past the girls, thinking:

“I ought never to have come back here. I am not changed as I thought I was. Every one knows my face, and I fear trouble will come of it yet.[181] Suppose I were to meet my mother, or sisters, for instance, and they were to claim me, I do not believe I could be brave enough to deny my identity.”

That night she begged her husband to hurry up his business, that he might take her away from the city.

“It is so warm and sultry here that I am almost afraid I shall fall ill if I stay,” she said; and he, remembering her headache of a few days before, took alarm at once.

“It is very vexatious, this law business. My sister’s affairs were in a terribly tangled condition, and I’m afraid it will be several days yet before I can get away,” he said; then, smiling and encircling the graceful figure with his arm, he added; “But that is no reason, my darling, that you and Juliette should remain here. Both of you are quite ready to go, you say. Then why not start to White Sulphur to-morrow, and let me follow when I get through my task here?”

Her heart leaped with joy, then she inwardly chided herself for her eagerness to leave him.

“It would not be kind to leave you—and—I should miss you so,” she murmured, speaking[182] quite truthfully, for she had a gentle affection for him still, in spite of the truant heart that fluttered so at the very thought of Norman Wylde.

“But if I can get away from Richmond I shall not think so often of him, and I can be truer in heart to my husband,” she thought, for she had heard the Wyldes say that Norman would not consent to accompany them.

Colonel Falconer was pleased at the knowledge that she would miss him, but he declared that he was afraid she would be sick if she remained any longer in the city.

“And as I cannot get away yet, you must not wait for me any longer. You can write to me every day, and that will be some consolation for your absence,” he said.

Juliette was delighted when she heard that they were not to wait for her uncle. She hurried around to the Wyldes the next morning to persuade them to go, too, and was successful in her mission.

“Only Norman says he can’t get away from his business this summer,” said Rosalind.


“And he won’t go?” Juliette asked, bitterly disappointed.


“Oh, very well. There will be plenty of other beaus!” Juliette said, tossing her head and pretending to be indifferent. “Well, it is settled that we meet at the depot this evening, Mrs. Wylde?”

“Yes,” replied the lady; and Juliette hurried home to make her arrangements, and to vent her spleen on Norman Wylde by saying to Pansy:

“Norman Wylde won’t go because I have treated him so coldly, Rosalind says; but he may sulk all he chooses. I shall not make up with him in a hurry.”



When Pansy had left Norman Wylde, Mrs. Meade sat down on the seat she had vacated, and her face was very grave and thoughtful.

It had appeared very strange to her to find Norman Wylde and the beautiful Mrs. Falconer alone in the park together, and seeming to be on very amicable terms with each other, whereas she had supposed them to be almost utter strangers.

“Perhaps she is a flirt,” she thought suspiciously; and just then Norman Wylde turned his head, after watching Pansy until she disappeared, and said:

“How does it happen that Mrs. Falconer and Pet are so well acquainted with each other?”

The old housekeeper, who had known him ever since he was a little boy, answered dryly:

“Mr. Norman, I was just going to ask the same question about yourself and Mrs. Falconer.”

He smiled at first, then flushed a dark red at her searching glance, and answered:


“But I do not know Mrs. Falconer very well. I have never met her but once or twice until she came down this path, quite by accident, a while ago, and I invited her to rest a few minutes—she looked so tired and warm.”

“I was afraid she was one of them married flirts that’s getting so fashionable nowadays,” muttered Mrs. Meade.

“A married flirt! No, indeed! I believe Mrs. Falconer is as pure and sweet and shy as a child. She is so much like one I knew years ago that she could not be otherwise,” exclaimed Norman Wylde earnestly, as he fondled Pet, who had crept to his knee, thus consoling himself for the departure of his “pretty yady.”

Mrs. Meade looked up, all eager interest.

“Like some one you knew?” she exclaimed eagerly.

“Yes,” he replied, with a heavy sigh, and the housekeeper asked coaxingly:

“Would you mind telling me whom she looked like, Mr. Norman?”

“Curiosity, thy name is woman!” he said, with a low laugh, half dreary amusement, half bitterness; then, with another sigh, he went on: “Mrs.[186] Meade, I suppose you know all about my unfortunate love affair of three years ago?”

She nodded, and then he said:

“This beautiful Mrs. Falconer is the image of the girl I loved, and from whom my parents parted me. She committed suicide by drowning within a year after I went away, you remember?”

“Ah!” exclaimed the old housekeeper, and her face began to glow with excitement.

“Mr. Norman, are you sure she drowned herself?” she asked eagerly.

“Sure!” he repeated, turning toward her, with wondering eyes. “Why, what do you mean, Mrs. Meade?”

“Was her body ever recovered from the river?” retorted the housekeeper significantly.

He started violently, then answered:


“So I thought,” said Mrs. Meade, and, following up her train of thought, she added: “There isn’t any possibility that Mrs. Falconer can be the same girl, is there, Mr. Norman?”

He sprang from his seat, pushing Pet unconsciously from him, and confronted her, pale with surprise and excitement.


“You must be mad!” he exclaimed. “This lady was one of the belles of Louisville—never was in Richmond until this summer, I am told.”

“Sit down, Mr. Norman, and forgive me for talking like an old fool, although maybe I’m not such a fool, after all,” answered Mrs. Meade. But he would not sit down again; he remained standing in front of her and looking down consciously into her agitated face as she continued, in a low, grave voice:

“Being such an old woman, Mr. Norman, and knowing you ever since you was no bigger than Pet here, you needn’t mind my asking you questions that might be impertinent from some people.”

“Ask what you please, Mrs. Meade. I am too much your friend to take offense at your plain speaking,” he replied encouragingly; and, without any further preamble, she queried:

“In that unfortunate love affair of yours, Mr. Norman, was there any prospect of—a—child?”

“No!” he answered quickly, almost angrily, yet she saw the hot color shoot up to his brow, and his glance fell before hers.

She sighed, and exclaimed:


“Then I’m all at sea again, for, to tell you the truth, Mr. Norman, I’ve been half believing all this time that Pet here was your own child!”

He started as if shot, and, dropping into a seat again, caught Pet’s hand and drew him forward, scrutinizing his beautiful features with eager eyes:

“Can’t you see that he has your eyes, your features?” exclaimed Mrs. Meade triumphantly, and, with something like a groan, he muttered:

“And something of her, too!” he said. “That smile, those dainty dimples, how like, how like! Now I understand what drew my heart so strongly to the child. Mrs. Meade,” looking up at her with blazing eyes, “you must answer now the question I asked you first: How is it that Pet and Mrs. Falconer know each other so well?”

And, for answer, she began at the first meeting of Mrs. Falconer and the child, and related all that had taken place since, dwelling strongly on their mutual passionate attachment for each other, and on the lady’s eager desire to adopt the child.

“I will tell you the truth, Mr. Norman: I strongly suspect that this beautiful lady is the[189] child’s own mother, and if there is no chance that the little one can be yours, why, then I ought to let her have him, maybe. I refused because I thought he was yours,” she said.

“You were right not to let her have him,” he exclaimed hurriedly. Then his face dropped into his hands a moment, and passers-by looked curiously at the old woman, the pretty child, and the handsome man bowed in an attitude of deep dejection.

Little Pet was so grieved at the man’s sorrowful attitude that he went up to him and encircled Norman’s neck with his chubby arms, and inquired tenderly:

“Oo kyin’ tause pretty yady gone?”

The young man caught him in his arms, straining him to his breast, and again gazed eagerly into his lovely face.

“My little darling, what if it were to prove true?” he muttered hoarsely; then, looking around at Mrs. Meade, he asked:

“Do you know where Mrs. Laurens, the mother of poor little Pansy, lives?”

“No, I do not know,” she replied; and a look of bitter disappointment came over his face.


“I have been trying ever since I came home to trace that woman,” he exclaimed. “I remember that just before I went away she was married a second time, and went on a bridal tour with her husband. But I do not know the name of the person she married, nor where she is living now, for she has moved away from where she resided when I went away.”

Was it fate, or only a blind chance, for at that moment there came along the walk a plainly dressed, stooping figure, with a sad, worn face that had once been very pretty, though now faded and forlorn. Norman had seen Pansy’s mother only once, but he recognized her again in this passer-by, and, springing to his feet, exclaimed:

“Mrs. Laurens!”

The pale, sad-looking creature recoiled from him with a frightened denial:

“I—I—that is not my name!”

Norman caught her wrist in a firm yet tender clasp, for she was trying to get away.

“Wait!” he said sternly. “Denials are useless, for I know that you are Mrs. Laurens, and I think you know that I am Norman Wylde. I was just speaking about you and wishing I knew where[191] to find you. I want you to tell me the truth about this child here. Is it not your daughter Pansy’s?”

“No—oh, no!” she exclaimed wildly; but just then Mrs. Meade exclaimed surprisedly:

“La, me, that’s the very woman I have seen dozens of times, hanging about when I took Pet out, but never mistrusted who she was!”

Mrs. Laurens looked at her imploringly, and faltered out:

“You must be mistaken. I never saw you before, ma’am.”

“Well, I never!” ejaculated the housekeeper, and little Pet himself gave the lie to Mrs. Laurens’ denial, for he came to her with a smile, and cooed sweetly:

“Is oo dot any more tandy to-day?”

“You see, the child knows you. Confess the truth now! Are you not his own grandmother?” exclaimed Norman, low but eagerly.

Mrs. Laurens writhed under his grasp, and looked from right to left with frightened eyes.

“Answer me!” persisted Norman. But a dogged look came over her face, and she replied:

“No, my daughter Pansy never had a child. Why do you want to throw disgrace on my poor[192] dead girl?” And she suddenly burst into tears, and, tugging at his hand, wailed out: “Oh, let me go! I promised to meet my daughter Alice when she was coming home from the factory, and—and—it’s past the closing time now.”

“Will you swear that this is not Pansy’s child?” Norman insisted hoarsely; but at that moment she succeeded in freeing her hand from his clasp and darted away like a startled deer. Not wishing to create a sensation, he had to refrain from following her.



Mr. Finley had left Pansy and sought his home again in a tempest of fury and baffled cupidity, realizing fully that his scheme of blackmailing her would not succeed, and that he must look elsewhere for booty.

Pansy’s dauntless bravery and defiance had certainly staggered his bold courage, and he began to fear that he was not going to receive such a windfall as he had expected from Pansy’s secret. Having a dangerous secret of his own, which would be sure to come to light if he proceeded openly against her, he found himself in a quandary.

“The plucky little wretch! Who would have believed that she would openly defy me, and deny her identity? Why, she would have handed me over to that policeman in another moment if I hadn’t cut and run,” he exclaimed angrily, feeling that he would like to shake the little beauty for her bold defiance.


He slept but little that night for thinking about her, and the next day he came to the conclusion that, of all those concerned in the drama in which he was so cleverly enacting the villain’s part, there was no chance of blackmailing any but Colonel Falconer.

“He is rich and will pay liberally for the keeping of the secret I hold against his wife,” he decided, and then he set his cunning brain to work to devise a plan by which to approach Colonel Falconer on the delicate subject of his wife.

Poor little Mrs. Finley, whom he had long ago reduced to the status of a trembling, obedient slave, looked at him in wonder as he lounged about the house, paying no attention to the grocery, for he had long ago placed Willie in his store as a clerk, and the youth was very reliable. She thought fearfully:

“There is something brewing in his cunning mind. Has he found out that I have been seeing my poor little grandchild by stealth, and is he planning some punishment for me?”

She trembled at the thought, for she knew that he was both cunning and vindictive. He ruled her and her children with a rod of iron.


He had never forgotten or forgiven the assertion of his wife, that she would never have married him if she had known that he would not care for her children, and he made her and them suffer for it in various ways. One of his favorite methods was to taunt them with the disgrace that Pansy had brought upon them, and another was to keep alive in Willie’s breast the fierce resentment and murderous wrath that had taken hold of him when he first learned that his beautiful sister had gone astray.

Left to himself and to the remorseful pleadings of his mother, the young man might have got over some of his anger, more especially as poor Pansy had atoned for her fault with her life. There were times when the remembrance of her message to him, her pitiful promise that she would never disgrace him again, stung keenly, and forced him to accuse himself of being accessory to her death; but these moods never lasted long, for whenever Mr. Finley found these kinder impulses taking root in the youth’s mind he would dispel them by maliciously hinting that, in all probability, Pansy was yet alive, and might turn up at any time to recall to the world the scandal[196] that had trailed its slime over the name of Laurens.

“Pretty Kate North would not smile so sweetly then when she saw you waiting at the church door on Sundays,” he suggested, with a leer that brought the hot color to Willie’s cheeks, for this, his first real love affair, was a very tender point with him, and he had often wondered to himself if pretty little Kate North, with her black eyes and dimpled red cheeks, thought any the less of him because of the family disgrace.

His love for Kate made him all the more bitter in his thoughts toward Pansy.

“How dared she disgrace the family so? I hate her memory, even though believing her dead and if I knew she were alive I should be tempted to carry out my threat, and shoot her on sight,” he replied angrily to the taunt of his stepfather that day on which Mr. Finley’s mind was so engaged in plotting the best means by which to extort money from Colonel Falconer for keeping the dark secret of his wife’s past.

He did not know that his malice had overreached itself, and that the fury smoldering in Willie’s impetuous mind, and fanned into flame[197] by his sneers and gibes, would bear fruit to disappoint him of all his avaricious hopes.

Willie was almost twenty now, with an overstrained sense of honor, sharpened in intensity by his sister’s fault. He was sensitively alive to the disgrace that rested on the family name, and had brooded over it until he had grown morbid. His handsome young face remained dark and cloudy after Mr. Finley went out, and his thoughts were so absorbed that he could scarcely wait upon the customers who came in and out of the neat store.

“Strange that he is always suggesting the thought that Pansy may be alive, after all. Perhaps he knows more than he chooses to tell,” he muttered. And the thought wore on him so that he went to the corner of a shelf, where his stepfather kept a private bottle, and took a drink of brandy to steady his shaking nerves.

Then, from a case in a hiding place of his own he took a small pistol and examined it with gloomy eyes.

“It is all right,” he muttered hoarsely; then, at the sound of a step entering the store, he replaced[198] it hurriedly, and turned around, to face Mr. North, the father of the girl he loved.

“Good afternoon, Mr. North. What can I do for you?” he inquired politely.

Mr. North was only a clerk, but he was inordinately proud and ambitious, and his face darkened with anger as he returned brusquely:

“I want a few words with you, young man. My wife tells me that you have been paying some attention to my daughter Kate?”

“Ye-es, Mr. North,” Willie stammered, with a boyish flush, adding anxiously: “I trust you have no objection to my love for her?”

“Nonsense! You are nothing but a boy,” replied Mr. North curtly, and the handsome young face before him deepened in color at the taunt; but he answered, in a manly way:

“I am almost twenty, and my stepfather has promised to give me a partnership in the store when I am twenty-one. My prospects are fair.”

“I care nothing for your prospects! It is your family I object to,” was the brusque, startling reply. Then, as if ashamed of the taunt, Mr. North went on, more gently: “I am sorry to wound your feelings, Willie; I believe you are a[199] good boy, in the main, although it was said at one time that you were dissipated and wild. Still, you had an excuse for that—the same excuse that I have in forbidding your attentions to my daughter.”

“Mr. North!”

“I said that I forbade any more attentions to Kate. When she marries, it must be one with a stainless family record. Your sister’s fault has disgraced her family, and may do so even more terribly, for there are many who doubt that she was ever drowned, and she may reappear at any time.”

“Mr. North, are there any grounds for this belief?” the poor fellow asked hoarsely.

“A face like hers has been seen several times in Richmond lately. Some of the factory girls believe that they saw her yesterday as they came from work. She is always richly dressed, and it must be that she is leading a life of gilded shame in this city.”

A hoarse groan came from the stricken young man’s lips; then, with flashing eyes, he exclaimed:

“Then she is running a terrible risk, for only[200] let me find her, and I will send a bullet crashing through her shameless heart!”

“No, no!” the gentleman exclaimed, recoiling in dismay, but Willie Laurens angrily reiterated his threat.

“You will see,” he said. “She wrecked my life, and I will wipe out the family disgrace in her heart’s blood.”

“You are mad, simply mad! Would you become your sister’s murderer, and break your poor mother’s heart?” cried Mr. North, shocked and pained by his furious mood, and not dreaming of the fiery fluid that had inflamed the young man’s blood. He turned away from the reckless boy, and was going abruptly out of the store when a horseman drew rein on the pavement before him, and asked excitedly:

“Does the mother of Miss Alice Laurens live here?”

“Yes; is there anything wrong?” inquired Mr. North curiously, and at the same moment the pale, agitated face of Willie Laurens appeared in the doorway, and he said:

“I am the brother of Alice Laurens. What is wrong?”


The man looked at him with pitying eyes, and answered:

“Heaven knows I hate to tell you, but I have no choice. An accident has befallen your sister. She fell through an open hatchway at Arnell & Grey’s a few minutes ago, and—break it to her mother as gently as you can, for they are bringing her here now. She is very badly hurt. It is not believed that she can live.”

“Terrible!” cried Mr. North, as he flung out his arms to support Willie Laurens, who had reeled and staggered in agony at that heart-rending announcement.



Pretty sixteen-year-old Alice Laurens looked wonderfully like her elder sister as she lay, with pale face and close-shut lids, upon her little bed, with her mother and only remaining sister, Nora, weeping over her, while Mr. Finley hovered, like a bird of prey, in the background, heartlessly calculating in his own mind how far this accident might be turned to his advantage in forcing Pansy Falconer to own her identity, and to pay his price for keeping her secret from her proud husband.

Alice Laurens had a broken arm, and had remained unconscious ever since her fall, so that the physicians feared she had sustained internal injuries that would speedily result in death. One of them had accompanied her home, and sat in grave silence, watching the scene, while Willie Laurens, utterly crushed and disheartened, had flung himself into a chair, and, with his convulsed face hidden in his hands, seemed utterly oblivious to everything but his sorrow.


Altogether, it was a sad scene on which the parting sun’s rays fell, as they slanted in at the open door and penciled with golden beams the prematurely silvered head of the unhappy mother as she knelt by her unconscious child, uttering piteous moans of grief and despair, for her afflictions pressed heavily on her heart.

Minutes passed, and there was apparently no change in Alice. That she still lived was only evident from a faint pulsation which the clever physician could barely detect in her wrist, and every moment he expected that even that faint, fluttering spark would go out in death.

The lingering sunset began to fade. Some of the neighbors came in with hushed footsteps and sympathetic faces. On the dark, frowning face of Mr. Finley a light of satisfaction began to dawn.

When twilight began to darken the summer sky, he slipped from that solemn chamber, where they were watching for death to come in and dispossess the mother’s heart of its treasure, and disappeared from the scene.

He made his way quickly to Franklin Street, and rang the bell at Colonel Falconer’s door.[204] When a servant appeared he pushed past him and unceremoniously entered the wide hall.

“Tell Mrs. Falconer that a man is waiting with an important message from her husband,” he said boldly.

The servant showed him into a small reception room, and disappeared, while Finley waited—rather nervously, it must be confessed, for he was by no means certain that Colonel Falconer was out. What if he should appear, and kick the lying intruder out of doors?

But fortune favored him, for in a very few moments the rustle of a woman’s garments was audible, and then Pansy appeared before him, simply clad in a pale-gray traveling dress, and with a tear-stained face and swollen eyes. She closed the door carefully behind her, then started back as she beheld her visitor.

“You!” she exclaimed, in horrified tones.

He rose and bowed profoundly.

“I came to bring you the sad news of poor Alice, but I see from your face that you have already heard,” he said pointedly.

Pansy made a scornful gesture, and sank into a seat.


“What do you mean?” she demanded, trying to keep up an assumption of indifference that was only too plainly belied by her trembling voice and swollen eyelids.

“Your sister Alice, Mrs. Falconer, fell, by accident, through an open hatchway at Arnell & Grey’s this afternoon, and is now on her deathbed. She raves for you—calls for you every moment. Can you have the heart to refuse to go to your dying sister?”

She looked steadily at him, and answered defiantly:

“I have heard of that accident at Arnell & Grey’s, but what is that to me? I do not know the poor girl.”

“What is the use your trying to fence with me like this, Pansy? I know you!” cried Finley harshly, adding: “But I did not know your cursed pride was so strong, else I had not come for you, even to please that poor, dying girl, who begged me so piteously to come.”

“She did not send you. She believes that her erring sister died,” Pansy answered irresolutely.

“She believed that once, but not lately. There have been rumors that she is still alive, that she[206] had been seen of late on the streets of this city, and that she is living a life of gilded shame. The story has preyed on the poor girl’s mind, and she sent me to seek you, that she might pray you with her dying breath to forsake your sinful life.”

“You have told those base falsehoods to that poor, credulous child!” Pansy flashed forth indignantly, but he denied the accusation, and continued:

“I cannot bear to return to her without you. The disappointment in her dying eyes would haunt me. I will make you a proposition, Pansy: Come with me to her dying bed, and I will manage things so that you shall see her alone. Not even her mother shall enter the room, and you shall go away again, and not a living soul be any the wiser for your presence there.”

She saw that he was very much in earnest, that he would do as he said, and, twisting her little hands together in an agony of indecision, she exclaimed:

“Do you know that in little more than an hour I am to leave here for the White Sulphur Springs? Miss Ives has already gone around to her friends[207] who will accompany us. My husband will come home presently to drive with me to the depot.”

“And in the meantime your poor, dying sister is calling for you in vain. Pansy Laurens, you are utterly heartless!” exclaimed Mr. Finley, with a fine show of indignation.

She trembled perceptibly, and grew pale as a snowdrop under the glare of the gaslight.

“May her uneasy spirit haunt you, and drive repose from your breast!” he cried tragically.

Whirling toward him with a disdainful gesture of her white hand, she exclaimed:

“What if I went with you, simply to humor the fancy of this poor, dying girl—mind, I own to no relationship with her—what would be the price of your silence?”

Without moving a muscle, he answered coolly:

“A thousand dollars!”

“You are certainly rapacious! I could not give you such a sum to-night.”

“I should not expect it. I would give you a week to raise it, if you would leave with me some of your diamonds as a guarantee of good faith,” he replied, with an air of business that amused while it disgusted her.


“Unfortunately, my jewels are packed and my trunks are gone. You will have to depend upon my simple word of honor, or go back as you came,” she replied coldly.

He studied her face a moment, then said sullenly:

“I will take your word of honor, then. You have too much at stake to risk disappointing me. So that is settled. Of course, if you did not pay me in a week I should follow you to the White Sulphur Springs. Will you come with me now?”

“Go out and hail some passing cab, and keep it waiting at the corner around the next square. I will join you there in a few minutes, for I have no time to lose. I must return here in time to join my husband,” Pansy answered, dismissing him with a wave of her hand, and then hastening upstairs to don a concealing bonnet and veil, and to leave some plausible excuse with Phebe for Colonel Falconer, who might return at any moment.

She left the house regretfully, with unsteady steps and a foreboding heart, fearing that she was doing wrong, but drawn by a passionate yearning to the deathbed of her beloved sister.


“How could I refuse her dying prayer, even though its granting be attended with so much risk and cost to myself?” she thought, with generous pity and self-sacrificing love.

“Remember,” she said to Finley, as they were whirled swiftly up the steep grade of Broad Street toward his home on Church Hill, “I must see Alice Laurens alone. You will go in first, and see that every one else leaves the room.”

“I will do so,” he promised, and no more was said between them. At the corner below his residence the hack was stopped. He got out, and directed her to wait until he returned for her.

When he reëntered the house he found that a great change had taken place in the invalid.

She had recovered full consciousness, and appeared so much better than had been expected by her physician that he declared it quite likely she would recover, if no untoward circumstances intervened. Fortunately for Finley’s purpose, the physician was watching by her bed alone, having persuaded the family to go into the dining room and partake of tea. A clever thought came to Finley, and he exclaimed:

“Doctor Hewitt, a man has fallen in a fit on[210] the corner two squares below, and they are hunting a physician everywhere. I will watch beside Alice if you will go.”

The physician seized his hat, and, promising to return after a while, darted out, leaving the grocer in possession.

He stooped over Alice, who was regarding him with wide-open, loathing eyes, for he was universally hated by his stepchildren, and, bending down, whispered hurriedly:

“Your sister Pansy is coming to see you. Mind, there must be no outcry, and you must never tell any one she came, for she can stay but a few minutes, and no one must ever know she has been here.”

In a few minutes more the two long-parted sisters were weeping in each other’s arms.

“Do not try to talk, my darling sister,” whispered Pansy fondly, while Finley adroitly lowered the gas and turned the key in the door. Tenderly caressing Alice, Pansy continued: “I was not drowned, Alice, but I made you all think so that you might not worry over my fate. I am the wife of a good man, but he does not know my[211] sad story, and I can never own my relatives, for then he would find out everything, and he is so proud he would cast me off. But I could not stay away, dear, when they told me you were dying, so I came in secret.”

“I am glad that you came, my precious sister; but there is some mistake about my dying, for the doctor says I have a fair chance of getting well,” Alice answered feebly.

“Thank Heaven!” murmured her beautiful sister, and the silence of deep emotion fell over them as they clung to each other.

Finley looked on with exultation. These moments of reunion between the long-parted sisters were worth a thousand dollars to him now, and much more in the future; for, having once established a claim on Pansy, he would never rest satisfied until he had wrung from her every dollar she could command for years to come.

“Oh, Alice, I long to see our mother, but I dare not do so. She must never know that I am living. You must keep the secret of this meeting, and, oh, you must love her well, and be very good to her for my sake, as well as your own,” murmured Pansy, with tears in her beautiful eyes, as she[212] drew herself reluctantly from Alice’s clasping arms.

“Must you go so soon?” sighed the suffering girl.

“I dare not stay longer,” sobbed Pansy. She bent down and whispered hurriedly: “Alice, I will send you some money anonymously, and you must let no one know it came from me. Spend it for yourself, mamma, and Nora. Good-by, darling!” And, pressing her lips to her sister’s cheek in despairing love, she rose upright, and said anxiously:

“Mr. Finley, I must go now, or they will come in and find me here.”

She had pushed her thick veil back to the top of her bonnet, and her beautiful, pale face was clearly defined, even in the dim light of the room. Mr. Finley had forgotten that in this room, which was upon the first floor, there was a window that opened upon a narrow alley. The shutters were drawn, but the sash was raised, and Willie Laurens, anxious to see how Alice was, but fearful of intruding on the strict quiet prescribed for her, had tiptoed through the alley and slanted the shutters that he might gaze into the room.


He saw with amazement the beautiful form kneeling by Alice and clasping her in its tender arms, saw the fond parting kiss, heard the words addressed to Mr. Finley, and beheld with mad, murderous rage the beautiful, despairing face of the sister whose sin had disgraced him and put the girl he loved so far above his reach.

The seed Mr. Finley had industriously planted in his pliant mind had grown by now into a tree that was ready to bear deadly fruit. With a smothered imprecation, he rushed back into the store, and presently, when Pansy came stealing through the darkened hallway on her way to the street, her brother was waiting for her with the fires of hell in his young heart.

He lifted the pistol in his hand, fired, and Pansy fell, bathed in blood, just inside the doorway.



In the very moment that Willie Laurens beheld his doomed sister fall by his hand, a torrent of remorse and despair overwhelmed the anger that had hurried him on to the awful deed, and, hurling the pistol from his grasp, he rushed to her side, and fell down on his knees, uttering bitter cries of remorse and self-reproach.

Mr. Finley, coming instantly upon the scene, dragged him furiously to his feet.

“You devil, you have killed your sister! Now fly, fly, and save yourself from the law!”

But even while he spoke, the dining-room door was thrown violently open, and Mrs. Finley, followed by Nora, rushed upon the scene.

By the light thrown from the open doorway of the room they had left, Pansy’s recumbent figure, with the blood flowing from it, was plainly seen on the floor.

“Oh, Heaven, what is this?” cried the distracted woman, and Willie wrenched himself[215] loose from his stepfather’s hold, and answered despairingly:

“Mother, it is Pansy. She came back, as this wretch here was always hinting she would, and my fiendish temper got the better of me——”

“And you killed her, you devil!” interrupted Mrs. Finley. She lifted her arm, shrieking hoarsely: “Go, go—with a mother’s curse on your wicked head! You are no longer a child of mine.”

But Mr. Finley exclaimed sharply:

“Hush your clatter, you parcel of fools! Perhaps she is not dead, after all. Doctor Hewitt will be back in a moment. Willie, go to your room, and stay there until I come to you!”

Trained to habits of the strictest obedience to his harsh stepfather, Willie mechanically obeyed, and then Mr. Finley turned to his wife and said sharply:

“I shall tell Hewitt that this is a case of suicide, and don’t either of you dare contradict me!”

At that moment Doctor Hewitt appeared upon the doorstep, returning from his fool’s errand, and Mr. Finley hurriedly drew him in, and shut[216] the door, turning the key in the lock. Strangely enough, no one had been attracted to the scene by the sound of the pistol shot, and he felt safe to carry out the deception.

“Doctor, here is a new case for you!” he exclaimed, and, turning up the gas, the dreadful scene was revealed in all its horror and pathos.

Doctor Hewitt had been physician to Arnell & Grey for many years, and, in the beautiful girl lying unconscious in a pool of blood on the floor, he instantly recognized the little factory girl who had come to harm years ago and then disappeared so mysteriously as to leave abroad the impression that she had drowned herself.

“Pansy Laurens!” he exclaimed, in a shocked tone, and Mr. Finley replied:

“Yes, it is poor Pansy. Is it not dreadful to think that, after staying away all these years, she should return to commit suicide in her mother’s house?”

“Suicide?” echoed Doctor Hewitt.

“Yes; we all heard a shot, and, rushing into the hall, found Pansy lying like this, and this pistol on the floor, where it had dropped from[217] her hand,” exhibiting the pistol Willie had thrown down.

Doctor Hewitt was on his knees by Pansy’s side, examining her wound, and in a few minutes he looked up, and said, in a tone of relief:

“She has not succeeded in her awful design. The bullet only went through her shoulder, and she is not likely to die from that.”

“Thank Heaven!” cried Mrs. Finley gladly, and her wicked husband could not help slightly echoing her words, for he was beginning to feel like a murderer, remembering how he kept at white heat, by his taunts and sneers, the fire of murderous rage in Willie Laurens’ heart.

“She must be put to bed at once, and her wound dressed,” said the physician; and they carried her upstairs to her own room, where she had spent such unhappy hours four years ago. Then Mr. Finley said:

“Doctor Hewitt, I would be glad to keep this whole miserable affair, even Pansy’s presence in this house, a secret, for the sake of her innocent young sisters. Will you help me to do it?”

“Yes,” Doctor Hewitt replied, and then he sent Mr. Finley down to see after the patient who had[218] been forgotten for the moment in the horror of this new calamity.

When Pansy’s wound had been dressed she revived, and found her mother and sister by her side. They greeted each other with solemn, tender sadness, and then Pansy recognized the physician, and asked him quietly if she were going to die.

“I hope not. Your wound is a painful one, but not necessarily dangerous. With good nursing, you will recover,” he replied pleasantly, and then he went down to see about Alice.

Pansy lay for a long time in silence, then asked that Willie might come to her. When he came into the room, it seemed as if years had gone over his head, he was so changed by his grief and remorse.

If she knew that his hand had fired that fatal shot, she made no sign of her knowledge. Greeting him with tender sisterly love, she drew him down to her, and whispered softly:

“Go to Franklin Street, and tell Colonel Falconer to come with you to see his wife. Yes, I am his wife, Willie,” as he started wildly. “Do[219] not tell him I was wounded. It would startle him too much. Only ask him to come to me.”

She realized that further concealment of her past, after all that had happened would be useless. She must confess all, and throw herself on Colonel Falconer’s mercy.



Willie Laurens found Colonel Falconer pacing up and down the walk in front of his house, watching impatiently for his wife’s return from the errand of kindness on which she had vaguely told the maid she was going.

It was no wonder he was impatient, for it lacked scarcely ten minutes to train time. The carriage was waiting for Pansy, and Phebe, the maid, was already seated within it.

“You are Colonel Falconer, sir?” Willie Laurens asked politely.

“Yes. Have you any business with me?”

“A message from your wife. She wishes that I should conduct you to her side.”

“Has anything happened to my wife?” exclaimed Colonel Falconer excitedly.

“You will soon know if you will accompany me,” returned Willie evasively.

“Where is she?”

“At my mother’s house on Church Hill.”

Colonel Falconer gave a keen, scrutinizing[221] glance into the young man’s face by the light afforded from a gas lamp near by.

Then he started violently.

In the boyish beauty of Willie’s face he detected a strong likeness to his wife.

“Your name?” he exclaimed.

“Willie Laurens.”

“Are you related to my wife?”

“That is for her to say, Colonel Falconer,” replied the young man modestly.

“But I don’t understand this at all. My wife should be here to accompany me at once. She will miss her train,” exclaimed Colonel Falconer testily.

“I think she expected that, sir,” was the answer he received from Willie, who began to grow nervous as he scrutinized the big, good-looking colonel, wondering what he would say if he knew that the slight youth before him had attempted his wife’s life.

“He would strike me down at his feet in a moment,” he decided nervously, and, in order to ward off all further questions, he said:

“I think, sir, that if you would come at once[222] with me to Mrs. Falconer she would explain everything to your satisfaction.”

“Very well, then, I will do so, for I am very much puzzled over all this. Will you come with me in my carriage, Mr. Laurens?”

“I shall be glad of a seat with you, sir, as it will enable us to reach Mrs. Falconer sooner.”

“Come, then!” And they entered the carriage, where they found Phebe in a fever of curiosity.

“Would it be advisable to take my wife’s maid?” the colonel then asked; and Willie, remembering that Pansy would need a nurse, and that his mother would have her hands full in caring for Alice, replied in the affirmative.

He then gave the address to the driver, and in a very short time they arrived at their destination.

“Perhaps you had better leave the maid in the carriage,” suggested Willie, and Colonel Falconer readily acquiesced, thinking that Pansy would be ready to accompany him home in a few minutes.

During the drive to Mr. Finley’s house he had come to the conclusion that Pansy’s warm sympathies had been enlisted by some charitable object for which she wished to secure his pity and[223] aid. For this laudable purpose she had doubtless delayed starting on her trip, thinking that to-morrow would do as well.

“But Juliette and the Wyldes will have already gone,” he thought. “No matter; Mrs. Wylde can chaperon Juliette until Pansy goes.”

But his complacent feelings were soon dissipated, for, as they went upstairs, Willie Laurens said reluctantly:

“Colonel Falconer, your wife was seized with a sudden sickness an hour ago, and you must not be surprised or frightened if you find her still in bed.”

Then he threw open Pansy’s door.



Colonel Falconer was so shocked and startled by Willie Laurens’ words that he staggered rather than walked across the threshold of the room where Pansy was lying, with close-shut eyes, among the white pillows of the bed, carefully watched by Nora Laurens, who now, at a sign from her brother, arose and left the room.

Colonel Falconer found himself alone with Pansy, and, at the closing of the door, she opened wide those wondrous eyes of violet blue, and looked mournfully up into his face.

Oh, the pain, the grief, the despair of that glance! It went straight to the man’s loving heart, and he fell on his knees with a groan, and pressed his lips to her white brow in passionate love.

She lay still and sorrowful, while fond words of love poured from his lips, and kisses rained on her fair face. She said to herself that if he repudiated her and cast her off after he had heard her sad confession, she would have the memory[225] of these caresses to comfort her when her noble husband was lost to her forever.

By and by he lifted his head, and said reproachfully:

“You should not have gone out, my darling, if you were not feeling well. You know you have not been strong for some time.”

She knew that she must speak now, and so she answered faintly:

“I have had an accident, Colonel Falconer. I have been shot in the shoulder.”

He recoiled with a cry of dismay, and she continued, in a low but distinct voice:

“Stay here by me, and—I—will—tell you all—about it. I am not going to die, they say, although it—might—be—better if I were.”

“Pansy, you must be raving! You do not mean that,” he exclaimed, in alarm, and with such a tender look that she exclaimed remorsefully:

“Ah, how good you are to me! But I do not deserve it, for I have deceived you shamefully, and when I have confessed my sin you will—cast me off—you will never—speak—to—poor—Pansy again!”


“Now I am quite sure that you are raving. You have done nothing, my precious wife, for which I could visit you with such harsh punishment as that,” exclaimed her husband fondly, as he bent over her and smoothed back with loving hands the curling locks that strayed over her blue-veined brow.

A heavy sigh drifted over the lips that were pale with pain, and Pansy murmured sadly:

“I am not raving. Although I am in great pain from the wound in my shoulder, I know quite well what I am saying. I have deceived you, my kind, noble husband, and when you know all you will hate me.”

“Nonsense!” he replied cheerily, and, clasping her cold little hand warmly and closely in his, he murmured reassuringly:

“Come, let us have that dreadful confession, my pet, that your foolish alarms may be speedily dissipated.”

But no answering smile met his. Pansy was as pale as death as she began:

“Louisville was not my—native place—as I told you. I—I—was born—in Richmond—and I am at this moment—under my mother’s roof.”


Colonel Falconer started violently, but he still kept fast hold of her little hand as she continued:

“That is not all. I—I—had run away from my home when I met Mrs. Beach. There—there—was a stain—upon my name—although,” passionately, “I swear to you it was not my fault! I am—Heaven pity me!—that girl whom Juliette Ives hates so relentlessly because she caused the breaking of her engagement with Norman Wylde.”

“Pansy Laurens!” Colonel Falconer uttered, in a voice of horror; and he dropped her hand and started back.

She made no reply. Her confession had exhausted her strength, and she had fainted.



Colonel Falconer stood gazing like one petrified at his unconscious wife until suddenly his own face whitened to a marble pallor, an expression of keen agony convulsed his features, and, clasping both hands upon his breast, he sank backward into a chair, while a low moan of pain escaped his lips.

He had been seized with a spasm at the heart, a misfortune that had befallen him at various times in his life, but of which he had never spoken to Pansy, being very sensitive on the score of the heart disease, which was hereditary in the Falconer family, and of which his sister, Mrs. Ives, had died.

For a few moments he lay back in the chair, struggling with all his strength of mind against his misery; then, putting his hand into his breast pocket, he brought out a small vial, from whose contents he swallowed a few drops. The effect soon became apparent in a cessation of the terrible[229] pain. Then a low, frightened cry from the bed made him look toward Pansy, and he found that she had revived and was staring at him with a glance of wonder and fear.

“Oh, what is it? Have I killed you?” she gasped faintly.

“It is nothing—a slight spasm of the heart, brought on by excitement. I am better now,” Colonel Falconer replied coldly, and just then the door opened and Mrs. Finley came nervously into the room.

“Mamma, this is Colonel Falconer,” Pansy half whispered, adding anxiously: “I have told you how good he has been to me, and I have told him who and what I am, but briefly. Now I want you to tell him the story of my willful girlhood, and the full extent of my sin.”

“Will you listen, sir?” asked the pale, gray-haired little woman timidly.

A dark frown came between his eyebrows, but he answered impatiently:


And so, in the little room where Pansy lay, pale with pain and despair, the story of her girlhood[230] was told to the husband she had deceived—told kindly and gently by her mother’s lips, yet without abating one jot of the truth.

“If she had taken her mother’s advice, sir, she would never have come to this pass. I told her that a rich young man like Mr. Wylde wouldn’t think of marrying a poor little factory girl, but she didn’t believe my warning. She wouldn’t heed me,” sighed poor Mrs. Finley, when she had told, in her pitiful little way, the story of Pansy’s willfulness and disobedience.

But she, poor thing, looked pleadingly at her pale, silent husband.

“But you see how it was, don’t you?” she cried imploringly. “I loved him so, and I fell under his fascinations so that I couldn’t help myself; and I thought mother would be so pleased when she found out I was his wife she would forgive all the rest. Ah, Heaven! I paid dearly, dearly for that disobedience!”

He sat silent, rigid, looking and listening without a word, and Pansy sobbed bitterly:

“Did I not say you would never forgive me? But I deserve it. I have not one word to say for myself, only this: You will keep my miserable[231] secret, for when Norman Wylde charged me with my identity I denied it bitterly. Oh, he must never know the truth, and if I recover from my wound I will go away from here, Colonel Falconer, and never trouble your peace again.”

He smiled a sad, derisive smile at those words, as if in mockery of her promise, and then said:

“But I have not yet heard how you came by that wound.”

“My brother Willie swore that he would kill me for the disgrace that I had brought on the honest name of Laurens. When I came back home to see my sister he tried to carry out his threat. I do not blame him, nor must you, for my stepfather had goaded him to madness by his taunts and slurs. Poor boy! He is sorry now for his insane deed, and the world must never know.”

He smothered some angry words under his dark mustache, for Pansy was beginning to speak again in her soft, hopeless little voice:

“While I lay here waiting for Willie to bring you, I made some clever little plans. Juliette went with the Wyldes, did she not?”

“Of course.”


“Then you will telegraph her to-morrow that I have changed my mind, and will go North to some gay watering place, but that she will remain under the chaperonage of Mrs. Wylde. My presence in this house can be kept a dead secret until I get well enough to go away—into a convent, perhaps—into lasting exile, certainly. Do not grieve, mamma,” as a whimper of protest came from the little woman’s grieved heart. “You will have your other children, you know.” Then, looking back at her husband, went on plaintively: “In the meantime, you will have gone away, and by and by you will write back to your friends that poor little Pansy is dead and buried. You will come home to Juliette then, and—after a while—you will forget.”

The plaintive voice broke, and Colonel Falconer sat still for a few moments, lost in deep thought. Suddenly he spoke:

“You are very clever,” he said.

“I thought it all out for your sake. I was so anxious that no disgrace should touch you,” she answered humbly.

“Poor little one!” he muttered; then rose and laid his hand solemnly on her head. “Dear, you[233] have been bitterly punished for your girlish fault,” he said gravely; then, in tones vibrating with tenderness, he added: “You are my beloved wife still. I forgive your deception, and I will never forsake you.”



“Rosalind, what do you think of this?” asked Juliette, coming up to her friend with an open letter in her hand.

It was the second day after her arrival at the White Sulphur Springs, and they were out on the lawn before the grand hotel. All was brightness and gayety. Throngs of beautiful women and handsome men lent variety to the sylvan scene, and the merry music played by the band made one’s step light and one’s heart gay.

“What is it, Juliette?” asked Miss Wylde curiously.

“A letter from my uncle, in which he explains the cause of his wife not joining us here.”

“Is she not coming, then?” asked Mrs. Wylde, in a tone of regret.


“But why not?”

“She was taken suddenly ill that afternoon, but would not send us word, lest we should wait for her and be disappointed in going. She is better[235] now, and has taken up an idea that sea air would be of more benefit to her than the springs,” replied Juliette, reading from her uncle’s letter.

“Oh, I am sorry she will not join us. I had fallen in love with her,” exclaimed Mrs. Wylde, and her daughter echoed:

“I had, too, mamma.”

A frown crossed Juliette’s pearl-fair face, and she read on slowly:

“So I will take her away to the sea, and you can remain with Mrs. Wylde if she will have the kindness to chaperon you.”

She looked at Mrs. Wylde, and that lady said cordially:

“Your uncle ought to know that I will take great pleasure in doing that.”

“Thank you,” cried Juliette; then, crushing the letter in her hand, she said spitefully: “I believe Pansy had all that planned before, and did not mean from the first to accompany us here.”

Mrs. Wylde and Rosalind looked startled.

“Why should she deceive us?” cried Rosalind.

“Oh, she had some hidden design in it, of course. She is naturally deceitful. I never liked her from the first!” Juliette cried peevishly,[236] goaded to jealous anger by their declaration that they were fond of Pansy.

“Well, you ought to know, of course, having lived in the same house with her,” exclaimed Rosalind, in astonishment, adding: “But I never should have supposed that dear little thing could be deceitful and designing.”

“Nor I, for she always seemed so frank and open,” said her mother. “Indeed, I had taken a great fancy to her.”

Every word stung Juliette more deeply, for she hated Pansy with an intense hatred. She would have hated her for marrying her uncle if for nothing else, but added to this was always her suspicion of Pansy’s identity, and this fanned the fire of her rage into fury.

She made an excuse for leaving the Wyldes, that she might give full vent, in the privacy of her own room, to the spite that possessed her, and then Rosalind observed:

“Mamma, I do not think Juliette quite does justice to Mrs. Falconer. She hates her because she married Colonel Falconer and disappointed her expectations of getting all her uncle’s money.”


“That is it,” replied Mrs. Wylde. “Mrs. Falconer is without doubt a charming woman, and Juliette’s suspicions of her deceitfulness have their sole origin in nothing but envy and jealousy.”

While Juliette, alone in her own room, was saying bitterly:

“Oh, yes, they have fallen in love with her, have they? That is because she is the rich Mrs. Falconer. They have no admiration to spare for Norman’s sweetheart, the poor little tobacco-factory girl, who was quite as beautiful, innocent, and charming as my uncle’s proud wife.”



When Colonel Falconer, out of the generosity of his great heart, forgave his unhappy wife the deception she had practiced upon him, he made up his mind that he would take her away from the fatal city of her birth, never to return.

They would go abroad, and begin a new life, in which they would be all in all to each other; and he would try to forget the dark shadow that lay on his wife’s past, and make her happy as she had seemed before they came back to Richmond and the tragedy of her buried sin rose to overwhelm her again with its ignominy.

He made arrangements for keeping Pansy’s presence in her mother’s house a secret from the world. Phebe was told only such facts as were strictly necessary, and then installed as the faithful nurse of her mistress.

Colonel Falconer himself came in disguise to visit her; and Doctor Hewitt, who was the only one outside the house who was in the secret of Pansy’s continued existence, never dreamed that[239] the invalid was the wife of one of the grandest, noblest men in the city, and mistress of a palatial home on Franklin Street. He pitied her very much, and advised her one day to remain with her mother and begin a new life.

Pansy wept bitterly, but made no reply, and he went away feeling very sad over her probable future, for both she and Alice were so much better now that there was no occasion for his further visits. He would see the beautiful erring girl no more, and he feared that, with the return of health and strength, she would drift back to her old sinful life.

In the meantime, Colonel Falconer busied himself generously in trying to brighten the lives of Pansy’s relatives.

In the first place, he had to bribe that wretch, Finley, to silence on the fact that Pansy Laurens was still living. He accepted gladly enough a much smaller sum than he had demanded from Pansy, fearing that if he demurred he might not get anything.

Colonel Falconer, with his keen insight into human nature, soon saw that Pansy’s mother was unhappy and ill-treated—a mere slave to her sullen,[240] brutal husband. He proposed to Pansy to settle a sum of money on her mother that should be strictly her own, and the income from which would enable her to lead a life of ease, independent of her miserly husband.

“How shall I ever repay all your goodness?” Pansy cried, when he told her that he had settled twenty-five thousand dollars on her mother, and that Alice and Nora were to be sent to Staunton to boarding school. His kind intentions toward Willie were all frustrated, for the young man, ashamed and remorseful over what he had done, and standing in great awe of his aristocratic brother-in-law, had abruptly left home the same night on which he had wounded Pansy, and as yet no tidings had been received from him.

The time came when Pansy was to leave home and mother for the second time, and it was, indeed, a sad parting; yet not as bitter as the first, for then Pansy was going alone into exile, but now there was a strong arm and a brave heart between her and the world.

“Only love me, my poor little darling,” he had answered, gently and gravely, in reply to her expressions of gratitude, and she had promised that[241] she would, while, at the same time, she contrasted his noble soul with that of Norman Wylde.

“One so noble and high-minded, the other so false and cruel! Oh, Heaven help me to tear his image from my weak womanly heart, and enshrine there this good and noble husband!” she prayed passionately.



Two months had passed since Colonel Falconer had taken Pansy away from Richmond. They were summering quietly at a little mountain retreat in the Adirondacks, but his mail was sent to Cape May, and, by an arrangement with the postmaster there, was forwarded to him.

He had done this to conceal the place of his residence from Juliette and others, not wishing that any prying eyes should intrude upon their seclusion, for Pansy was still weak and delicate, and her nerves had been sadly shattered by the trying scenes she had gone through.

They had taken a little cottage in the mountains, and, with Phebe and a few servants, were keeping house in a simple, quiet way, waiting for the roses to come back to Pansy’s cheeks, that the colonel might leave her long enough to return to Virginia and settle up his business, preparatory to taking up his future residence in Europe.

“You will not take Juliette with us? She hates[243] me, and every word and glance has a sting for me. She suspects my identity, in spite of all my denials,” pleaded Pansy.

“She shall not go with us,” he said; then a thoughtful frown came between his dark eyebrows. “But what under heaven shall I do with her?” he asked.

“Let her stay in the house on Franklin Street with a chaperon,” answered Pansy readily.

“That will do very well, I suppose; but I wish she would get married. I should feel better satisfied over her then,” said the colonel, and they both thought at once of Norman Wylde.

The color rose to her delicate pearl-fair face in a warm tide of crimson, and Colonel Falconer grew pale, and smothered an oath between his lips.

“Pansy, I feel like I ought to kill that fellow for his villainy to you,” he said abruptly.

“Let him alone. Heaven will punish him for my wrongs,” she answered, and then, clasping her beautiful hands imploringly, she wailed: “But, oh, my poor, deserted little child, my heart aches when I think of him! If I only had him with me I could be content.”


“Do not grow impatient, darling. I have promised to try to get the child for you, but it must be done very quietly, for no one must suspect that we had anything to do with abducting him. He must be abducted, you understand that, do you not, Pansy?”

“Yes, for I know well that no amount of bribery would induce Mrs. Meade to give him up, and I dare not assert my legal claim to him,” sighed poor, unhappy Pansy.

He tried to comfort her, as if she had been a little child, and at last she sobbed herself to sleep in his arms, and he held her thus for more than an hour, gazing on the sweet, sad little face with eyes full of love and pity.

“Poor little darling, how bitterly and undeservedly you have suffered,” he thought, adding bitterly: “Curses on the false-hearted villain that betrayed her innocent youth! I hope I may never meet him again, for if I did I fear I should take vengeance into my own hands.”

The next morning, when the colonel’s valet brought in the mail, it consisted of nothing but the New York papers. He had finished breakfast, and took them out on the porch to read.[245] Pansy followed him, and sat down in her little rocking-chair to enjoy the beautiful mountain scenery that lay outspread like a succession of pictures before her eyes.

Colonel Falconer selected his favorite paper, lighted his morning cigar, and disposed himself comfortably to read.

And none seeing the quiet, homelike picture, the handsome man, and the lovely woman, seeming so calmly happy in their domestic life, would have dreamed that a heavy storm cloud surcharged with woe was about to burst in fury upon their heads.



Colonel Falconer opened his fresh paper, and the first thing that caught his eyes were these words, in staring headlines:



He uttered an exclamation of interest, and Pansy looked around.

“What is it, dear?” she asked languidly.

“Nothing—that is—— Well, you shall have the paper presently,” he answered, and read on:

Something more than three years ago there was a ripple of excitement in the fashionable society of Richmond over the fact that an engagement of marriage between two prominent people had been dissolved, owing to a sudden infatuation on the young man’s part for a beautiful, charming young girl, an employee at Arnell & Grey’s tobacco factory.

The girl, though of poor parentage, and compelled to labor for her own support, was said to be wonderfully lovely, fairly well educated, and of so fair a character[247] that it had never been sullied by a breath of scandal. But parents on either side proved unkind. The young man was forbidden to marry the little beauty, and she on her part had stern orders from a widowed mother never to hold any communication with her lover.

In a few months afterward, the young man was sent on a mission to Europe, and it was supposed that all was at an end with the unfortunate love affair. But nine months later there was a scandalous story circulated about the young girl, to which a color of truth was lent by her suicide by drowning in the James River. At last, some of her clothing was found in the river, but her body was never recovered. At the same time a beautiful, newborn boy baby was left on the steps of the young man’s father, and adopted by the old housekeeper.

Two years later the hero of that long-past love affair returned, and seeing the adopted child, conceived the idea that it was his own. He sought the mother of his dead love in order to ascertain the truth, but could not find her, she having married a second time and removed to another part of the city. Lately, in desperation, he placed a detective on the woman’s track, with the result that she was soon found, and a story of sorrow laid bare that maddened the hero of the story.

He told the mother that her daughter had been his wife by a secret marriage in Washington, and by this declaration was laid bare the perfidy of a wicked stepfather and a slighted love, who for revenge had bribed the man to lie about the marriage. This man, Finley by name, was sent to Washington to verify Pansy Laurens’ declaration that she was the wife of Norman Wylde. He was bribed by a fair and slighted lady to declare that there had been no marriage, thus breaking the heart of the poor girl, who[248] had never received a line from her young husband during his absence.

When Norman Wylde learned of this horrible perfidy that had made of his beloved young wife a suicide, and of his legitimate child a foundling, he went wild with rage against the villain who had made these things possible, and struck him with all the fierce strength of an outraged arm. He fell heavily, and striking his head against the counter in his store was rendered unconscious by concussion of the brain.

He is lying now in a state of coma, never having returned to consciousness since his fall. Norman Wylde is under heavy bonds pending the result of Finley’s injuries, but it is believed that a chivalrous Virginia jury will acquit him of blame in the vengeance he took against the destroyer of his domestic happiness.

Pansy turned her head at hearing a strange, choking sound, and saw her husband with his head fallen backward, and his face convulsed with pain, as it had been on the night when she made her confession to him.



When Pansy saw the condition of her husband she uttered a scream of terror that brought Colonel Falconer’s valet and her maid rushing to the scene from the back of the cottage, where they had been flirting with each other in default of something better to do.

Charles, the valet, immediately ran into the house for his master’s drops, while Pansy lifted her husband’s head and pillowed it against her breast. Phebe could do nothing but wring her hands and utter excited ohs and ahs.

“You had better leave him to me, ma’am,” said Charles, with a composure that betrayed his familiarity with these painful attacks. He took her place with polite insistence, and then Pansy remembered that her husband had seemed a little excited over something in the paper he was reading.

She took the paper up from the floor, where it had fallen, and, in a very few moments, had[250] found out the cause of Colonel Falconer’s sudden seizure.

Forgetful of everything but herself in the wild rush of joy that overwhelmed her soul, she rushed upstairs to her room, and, throwing herself into a chair, read and reread the precious paper, while her love for Norman Wylde, so long repressed and denied, thrilled her whole being again with inexpressible rapture.

“Oh, my love, my love! You were true to me—you loved me, you mourned for me, for I was, indeed, your wife! The dark stain of disgrace is effaced from me, and the whole world may know now that Pansy Laurens was an honored wife, and that her child had a right to its father’s name. Oh, my little Pet, my precious child, would that I could fly this moment and take you by the hand and lead you to your beloved father, telling him how much I love you both!” she sobbed passionately, forgetting for the moment the man downstairs, whose heart was so bound up in her.

It was not natural that she should remember him at that moment, for the shock of joy had been so great as to blot out everything else for the time being. Joy in Norman’s constancy and love,[251] and horror at the sin of Mr. Finley and Juliette Ives, filled her whole mind.

She forgot Colonel Falconer and his illness, forgot that she was another man’s wife, forgot everything but her love for Norman Wylde, the young husband from whom she had been sundered by such a cruel fate.

“Oh, my love, my darling, would that you were here now,” she kept murmuring over and over, forgetful of the lapse of time, until she was startled from her blissful reverie by a low tap upon the door.

“Come in!” she exclaimed, and the door unclosed, admitting Colonel Falconer, who was ghastly pale, and staggered unsteadily across the threshold.

“Oh!” cried Pansy, in a heart-piercing tone, for everything rushed over her at once at the sight of his haggard, pain-drawn face.

“Poor child! You were so happy that you had forgotten me,” he said gently.

“Forgive me!” she sighed remorsefully, and then suddenly the pretty dark head fell back against her chair, and she became unconscious.

Colonel Falconer made no effort to revive her.[252] He stood by her side, gazing with gloomy eyes at the white, unconscious face, and at length he muttered:

“Poor little one! I wish that you would die now, just as you are; then I should never have the pain of resigning you to one who has a better right to you than I have, and in whose love you will utterly forget him who has had no thought but of you since first he saw your beautiful face.”

But he did not have his wish granted, for presently Pansy revived of herself, and looked up dreamily into his face.

“I—I—fainted, did I not?” she murmured slowly. Then, remembering his illness, she asked: “Are you better?”

“Yes,” he answered, but his face was ghastly as he said it. Making a brave effort for calmness, he added: “You stayed away so long, Pansy, that I grew uneasy, and came to seek you.”

“While I selfishly forgot you in my absorption. Oh, forgive me! forgive me!” she cried remorsefully.

“There is nothing to forgive. Your news was startling enough to excuse you for everything,” he replied patiently. Drawing a chair near her,[253] he continued wistfully: “It must have been a great shock of joy to you, Pansy, to find that Norman Wylde was your true husband, instead of the false-hearted wretch we deemed him.”

“Yes,” she murmured faintly.

“And you will wish to be restored to him at once, dear?” he continued, masking with a brave effort the pain he felt in speaking those words.

She started wildly.

“But—I—belong—to—you!” she faltered.

“No, dear. The ceremony that bound you to me is void in law, since you had a husband living when I married you. You are free of any claim of mine. Shall you go at once to him, or will you write for him to come for you?”

She read his keen anxiety in his ghastly face, and it came to her suddenly that her happiness would prove a deathblow to this good man, who was so devoted to her that it seemed impossible for his enfeebled heart to bear the shock of her loss.

Looking up at him with troubled eyes, she said:

“Leave me here alone till morning, that I may decide what is best for me to do.”



Colonel Falconer would never forget as long as he lived, nor would Pansy, the awful suspense of that night. He spent it among the mountains, walking hard all night, in order to overcome his misery by sheer physical weakness. She spent it on her knees by her bedside, praying.

It seemed to her that it would be wrong to desert Colonel Falconer and go back to her dear love, her faithful husband, even though she really belonged to him, for it would surely break Colonel Falconer’s heart.

“And how could I be happy even with my beloved Norman and our darling child, if I knew that I had caused the death of one who loved me so well, and who had died for my sake?” the generous young wife kept saying over and over to herself, and resolutely shutting out of her heart all thoughts of the happiness she could have if she returned to Norman.

Passionately as she loved Norman, her young heart had become so inured to sorrow, that she[255] was capable of making a great sacrifice for another’s sake, and at last she decided that for Colonel Falconer’s sake she would bear the burden of a secret sorrow till the day of her death.

“Norman believes me dead long ago, and he need never be undeceived,” she thought. “Then, too, he will have our sweet little boy to comfort him, while I will pray for them both every night, and feel that I have done right to sacrifice my one chance of earthly happiness for another’s sake.”

Her resolve did not falter, although it had cost her so much to make it, and in the morning, when she went down to breakfast, she was pale as a lily, and the blue circles under her downcast eyes hinted at bitter tears shed in the lonely vigils of the night.

Colonel Falconer had come in an hour before from his wild mountain tramp, and appeared at breakfast freshly dressed, but wretchedly pale and weary-looking, with a despairing look in his eyes that it was impossible to hide.

The unhappy pair made a slight pretense at eating, then went out on the porch together, and Pansy said quietly:


“Let us walk up the mountain road a little way, that no one may overhear what I wish to say to you.”

They walked away out of earshot of Charles and Phebe, who had no idea that anything was wrong between their master and mistress, and then Colonel Falconer asked sadly:

“Have you made up your mind, dear?”

“Yes; I shall stay with you.”

He stared at her, speechless with wonder, until the warm color rose to her face; then he exclaimed:

“My dear Pansy, how could you do that? I explained to you, did I not, that our marriage was not legal?”

Placing her trembling little hand on his arm, she whispered:

“I understand all that. What I meant was that—you—should—help me—to secure a divorce—from Norman Wylde—that I might quietly remarry you. It could be done, could it not?”

His face shone with happiness and love as he replied:

“It would be easy enough, I think; but, Pansy,[257] darling, it would not be right for me to permit this sacrifice on your part.”

“I will not permit you to call it a sacrifice. I love you, and I prefer to cast my lot with yours,” she answered truly.



“Heaven help me, for I am scarcely brave enough to refuse this noble sacrifice of yours, Pansy,” groaned Colonel Falconer. “Oh, my little love, are you quite sure you will never regret this—never wish for Norman Wylde and your lost happiness?”

Clasping her slender white hands tenderly around his arm, and lifting her sad white face, with all a woman’s tenderness shining out of her soulful eyes, she replied earnestly:

“The happiness you speak of could not be mine, for if I left you for Norman the thought of you would always sadden me so that I should suffer from remorse and anxiety. I love you, though not with the wild passion I felt for my first love. But this deep, steady affection, born of admiration for your manliness and your many virtues, is so strong that it would divide the allegiance I should owe to Norman. You would be ever in my thoughts, for you need me so much, and would miss me so much, while he has long believed[259] me dead and could bear the shock of losing me better. Therefore, if you will help me about the divorce, I will be your wife again as soon as possible.”

“I will send the most clever lawyer in New York to you, Pansy, and you can commit your case to him. Bless you for your noble decision! I did not dare hope for such a sacrifice on your part, but I love you so well that I have not courage to refuse it.”

She bowed her head in silence, and he continued:

“Of course you understand, darling, that I must leave you to-day and remain away from you until the divorce is procured. Do you wish to remain here quietly with Phebe, Charles, and the other servants, or have you any other plans?”

She was silent a few moments, then she answered:

“I will remain here.”

He left the mountains for New York City that day, and on the next she was visited by an eminent lawyer, who took her case in hand, and assured her that he believed there would be no difficulty in securing a divorce.


When he had gone she fell sobbing on the floor of her chamber, crying out:

“Oh, my lost love, my lost love!”

Colonel Falconer wrote her in a few days, saying that he would go to White Sulphur Springs, to try to make some arrangements for the future of Juliette Ives.

“I shall never care for her in the same fashion as I did before I learned her treachery to you and Norman Wylde,” he wrote. “But she has no living relative but me, and she is dependent on me for support, and, for her mother’s sake, I will not shirk the responsibility.”

He found his pretty niece cool, impudent, defiant. She utterly denied her complicity in Mr. Finley’s crime.

“I did not even know the man. Never saw him in my life!” she affirmed.

He was staggered by her effrontery and scarcely knew what to say, and she went on eagerly:

“Dear uncle, please tell me the truth: You have found out at last that your wife is really Pansy Laurens, have you not?”


“Nonsense!” he answered sharply; and she opened wide her pale-blue eyes, exclaiming:

“Is it possible she can still deny it, after finding out that she was really Norman’s wife? Ah, I see it all now! She will stay with you because you are rich and her legal husband is poor.”

Colonel Falconer’s eyes flashed wrathfully.

“Beware, Juliette, how you try me too far! Remember that you are helpless and penniless, except for my bounty!”

“And because I will not cringe and fawn upon the lowbred creature you have made your wife, although, unfortunately, the tie is not a legal one, you threaten to deprive me of the pittance sufficient for my support! Very well, I can go and work in Arnell & Grey’s tobacco factory. You will not consider it a disgrace for your niece to work there, as the woman you call your wife was an employee there for many years!” she burst out spitefully, her virago temper all aflame, and goading her to such rebellion that she actually shook her little jeweled fist in his face.

She knew his good heart and generous nature so well that she believed she could defy him with impunity. He would not dare cast her helpless[262] on the world, no matter what she did to him or the wife he idolized.

But her insults to Pansy had struck a fire of rage in his nature, and, while his face whitened with pain and his eyes gleamed with anger, he turned on her, and said sternly:

“Since you are so willing to earn your own support, I wash my hands of a most unwelcome burden! Go into a tobacco factory as soon as you please, and I hope you may be industrious enough to retain a position there as long as Pansy Laurens did!”

With those words, the offended gentleman stalked out of the presence of Juliette, who comprehended instantly that she had gone too far in her spiteful defiance, and that she must either humiliate herself by apologizing or go to work, as she had threatened, to earn her own living.

It did not take her a minute to decide which of these alternatives to choose, and as soon as the door banged to behind the irate colonel she jerked it open and flew swiftly down the corridor, arresting his quick footsteps by clasping both hands around his arm.

“Oh, uncle, dear uncle, come back and forgive[263] me! I am sorry I wounded your feelings. I did not mean it; but every one had deserted me, and I felt so miserable!” she panted eagerly, as she clung to his arm.

He stopped short and looked suspiciously into her false face.

“Where is Mrs. Wylde?” he asked.

“Come back, and I will tell you. We might be overheard here,” she replied, looking uneasily down the length of the broad hotel corridor, and very unwillingly he accompanied her back to her room. Then she said:

“Mrs. Wylde and Rosalind have gone back to Richmond, and I am here alone with my maid.”

“She promised to chaperon you,” he said, frowning.

“I know,” whimpered Juliette; “but we quarreled dreadfully. They—they actually believed that man Finley’s falsehood about me, although I denied it bitterly. The truth is that they are the ones in fault, for they sent Norman off to London on a false scent, just to break up his love affair; but now they have the meanness to say that they would never have sent him if they had known he was actually married to the girl,”[264] panted Juliette angrily, adding: “So we had a bitter quarrel when they refused to believe my story. And Mrs. Wylde said she hoped you would take me from under her care soon, as she was tired of chaperoning a girl who had brought such trouble on her poor son. I told her I would never speak to her again, so then she and Rosalind packed up and went back, as Judge Wylde had telegraphed for them. She sent me a note, asking if I cared to go back with them, and I declined. But they set every one against me. I am so stared at and snubbed by people since Finley’s lies against me were published that I cannot bear to go outside my room,” concluded Juliette, going into hysterical sobs.

“This is very bad. I do not know what I shall ever do with you, Juliette,” sighed the colonel, in dismay.

“I shall go back to you, of course,” she sobbed.

“No; that plan will not answer any longer. I can never have you again as a member of my family,” he replied firmly.

She could scarcely resist the impulse to cry out against him with the sharpest reproaches, but wisely restrained herself, and presently he said:


“I will remain with you here for a week, Juliette, and in that time I will decide regarding your future.”

That same day he wrote to Pansy and explained the situation to her, asking for her advice in the matter.

When Pansy heard of the sad plight of the girl whose wickedness had wrought her so much woe she rejoiced at first, thinking that Juliette had met her just reward for her sin.

Then kinder, more pitiful thoughts intervened, and at length she wrote to Colonel Falconer:

Send Juliette here to me, and I will stand her friend if she will treat me with proper respect.

He read those words to Juliette, who curled her lip, but did not refuse, for the contempt of all her old associates in her little social world had so cowed her that she was only too happy to accept Pansy’s offer.

When they met again, Pansy said determinedly:

“Miss Ives, there shall be no further concealments between us. I am Pansy Laurens, as you thought, but I am going to procure an immediate divorce from Norman Wylde, that I may be remarried[266] to your uncle, Colonel Falconer. Wait!” as Juliette was about to make an excited remonstrance. “It will be against your own interest to betray me, for your uncle’s will is made in my favor now, and if you go against me I will use my strong influence to have you sent adrift penniless.”



Juliette Ives was walking along the mountain road just a few rods from the cottage, kicking up the dead leaves from the ground at every step, and frowning discontentedly.

“It is almost two months since I came to this place, and it is as dreary as a prison. I hope we shall certainly get away this week, or I shall die of ennui,” she was muttering angrily to herself, when suddenly she came face to face with a man who was hurrying in the direction of the cottage—Norman Wylde.

It was the first time he had seen Juliette since Finley’s sullen confession had convicted her of such a treacherous deed, and Norman’s brow grew dark at sight of the fair blond face, with its light-blue eyes, and pale golden tresses flying loosely in the wind under a picturesque little scarlet cap, for Juliette was always vain and coquettish, and even here in this secluded retreat, where she expected to see no one, paid particular attention to her personal appearance. But her charms[268] were all unheeded by Norman Wylde, who lifted his hat with grave courtesy, and was about to pass by when she arrested him with a pleading cry:

“Norman—Mr. Wylde!”

He paused, but with an impatient gesture, and, coming close up to him, she said eagerly:

“I cannot let pass this opportunity of clearing myself from the foul imputation cast upon me by that wicked wretch, Finley. Oh, Norman, I swear to you that I had nothing to do with his sin! I did not even know the man.”

She never forgot how handsome and how scornful her lost lover looked as he fixed his splendid, piercing black eyes on her false face. Regarding her with supreme contempt, he answered:

“Unfortunately for your denial, Miss Ives, Finley had written proofs in his possession that proved your guilt clearly.”

“I deny it in spite of all his proofs,” she cried desperately, but, smiling scornfully still, he answered:

“As you please, Miss Ives; but permit me to pass. I am anxious to meet my wife!”

“You have no wife!” she exclaimed, with such[269] spiteful yet earnest emphasis that he paused again, and said:

“Deny it as you will; but I have proved to the world’s satisfaction that Pansy Laurens is my wife, and a week ago, when Mr. Finley recovered from the long stupor and loss of memory that followed upon his fall, he told me my wife still lived, in the person of Mrs. Falconer. I wondered why she had not come at once to me on learning that she was truly my wife. But, guessing that it was owing to her sensitive, retiring nature, I set myself to work to learn her whereabouts. I learned that she had separated from Colonel Falconer, and was living here in strict retirement. I hurried here at once.”

“In spite of all that, I repeat my assertion: You have no wife!” answered Juliette, with savage emphasis and barbarous delight in the torture she was inflicting on his heart.

“My Heaven!” he cried, shuddering. “You do not mean to tell me that Pansy is dead!”

“No; it is worse than that.” She paused a moment, watching him keenly, the better to enjoy her triumph, then added: “She has procured a divorce from you.”


Then she shrank in spite of herself, for the rage and despair on that darkly handsome face frightened her, defiant as she was, and his voice seemed to breathe menace as he shouted hoarsely:

“It is false! False as your treacherous heart, Juliette Ives!” And, with the words, he rushed madly from her toward the cottage, wild to know the truth from Pansy’s own beautiful lips.

Juliette followed slowly after, with a white face of wrath and envy, for she well knew that, though Pansy was lost to Norman forever, he would never love another.

Phebe went up to her mistress with a message from Mr. Wylde, and, after a long interval, returned with a brief, ambiguous note:

I refuse to see you. I received my decree of divorce this morning, and to-morrow I shall be married to Colonel Falconer. Forgive me, Norman, for I have acted for the best as far as I could see my duty. Let our child comfort you. Love him, and make up to him for his mother’s loss. I go abroad in a few days, never to return. Forget me if you can, and if not, remember me with pity. Farewell forever, and may Heaven bless you!


Crushing the perfumed sheet in his hand, he staggered across the doorway with a face like a corpse. A white hand fluttered down on his coat[271] sleeve, and tender blue eyes gazed into his agonized face.

“You see now!” said Juliette triumphantly. “She was like the majority of women. She cared more for Colonel Falconer’s money than for her husband’s love! Oh, Norman,” her voice sank into a low, pleading cadence, “will you not forget her now and make up our wretched quarrel? Remember, we loved each other before you ever saw her face!”

“I never loved you—never! And for the misery your sin has brought me I curse you!” he answered. “I have lost her, but it was through your treachery at the beginning that she was forced into a position where her noble nature made her sacrifice herself and me to a mistaken sense of duty. Ah, I understand her generous soul! Do not prate to me of gold. She cared nothing for that, but, in her pity for him, she has broken both her heart and mine.” And, throwing off her touch as though it were a serpent’s coil, he rushed away.



In a short time the words were spoken that made Pansy Laurens for a second time a wife, and, though it was like a deathblow to her happiness, she bore herself with proud calmness that the good man by her side should have no cause to suspect that she had sacrificed herself for his sake.

In a few days more they went abroad, taking Juliette with them, as also the valet and the two maids. Several months were spent in Italy, then when winter was past they traveled for several months. When autumn came round again Colonel Falconer began to think of purchasing a home and settling down in the land of his adoption.

Juliette was behaving herself quite well; that is to say, she was treating her uncle’s wife with a show of respect, though hating her as bitterly as ever in her secret heart.

At times she complained to her uncle that she did not wish to remain always abroad, but he had[273] only to remind her of the snubbing she had received from her friends at home to reduce her to instant silence and submission.

At such times she would recall the Wyldes with bitter chagrin, and she made up her mind that she would marry a title if she could possibly compass it, and then go to Virginia to spend her honeymoon, in order to mortify those of her old friends who had dared to disapprove of her because of the revenge she had taken on her rival, the poor working girl, Pansy Laurens.

She was anxious to get away from the guardianship of her uncle and his wife. To live always with the rival who had triumphed over her, and to have those triumphs renewed daily—for Pansy had been a decided success wherever she had appeared in society, and the society journals always mentioned them as “Colonel Falconer’s beautiful bride, and his pretty niece, Miss Ives”—was too bitter to her pride.

“I am tired of it all! I have eaten humble pie till I loathe the taste,” Juliette muttered discontentedly; and when at last old Sir John Crowley, who was as yellow as a pumpkin, having spent the best years of his life in India before succeeding[274] to a baronetcy, proposed marriage to her, she accepted him joyfully.

“Oh, Juliette, that old man! Why, he is past sixty, and yellow and ugly and cross!” Pansy cried, in dismay; but Juliette tossed her head, and answered:

“You married an old man for his money, and I’m going to marry one for a title and money, too, that’s all!”

“But I have heard that he isn’t rich—that the title is almost a barren honor. He has nothing but a small estate in Cornwall. You will have to nurse him half your time, as he is in poor health.”

“I don’t care, and I wish you would mind your own business! Uncle has promised me a marriage portion, anyhow, and that shall be strictly settled on myself. Sir John is so much in love with me that he’ll agree to anything,” Juliette retorted. But events proved differently. Sir John would not agree to the proposition, and so Juliette, in a huff, declared the match off, vowing that the baronet was a wretched old fortune hunter.

Following hard upon the breaking of this engagement,[275] which occurred in the second winter after Pansy’s remarriage to Colonel Falconer, came a very sad event.

A beautiful villa at Florence had been purchased, and the small family had settled down there for the winter. It was a very pleasant neighborhood, and one evening they were entertaining a small party of friends, when the colonel suddenly complained of severe pains, and a physician was at once summoned to his side. But medical skill proved vain, for within an hour he died, as Juliette’s mother had died, of heart failure.

He comprehended that the end was near, for, between the paroxysms of pain, he whispered to Pansy:

“You have made this past year very happy, my darling. I have never had cause to believe that you cherished a single regret.”



“I suppose you will go home now and marry Norman Wylde!” cried Juliette spitefully.

It was almost immediately after the funeral, and the sad young widow turned a shocked face upon the heartless speaker.

“Juliette, how can you be so cruel? Do you think I do not grieve for my noble husband?” she exclaimed.

“Norman Wylde could comfort you very easily in your grief,” was the unfeeling reply that sent Pansy from the room in bitter tears.

Juliette was the trial of Pansy’s daily life. She had tried all in vain to overcome the girl’s jealous dislike of her, but it seemed a hopeless task, and she longed for the time to come when she would marry and leave her in peace.

“I believe she would murder me if she thought she could do so without being discovered,” she thought sometimes fearfully.

She did not dream that her patient endurance of her dreadful incubus and her never-failing[277] goodness had all along been having their effect on Juliette, although she struggled bitterly against that saving influence.

Just now she felt more bitter than usual, for, in addition to the fact that she believed that Pansy and Norman would be reunited in a few weeks, she had found out that her uncle’s will was made solely in his wife’s favor, with the exception of a legacy to his niece, the amount of which was to be decided by Pansy.

The next time Juliette saw Pansy she began to tease her about the will.

“It was a shame for uncle to treat me so shabbily. He might have known you would put me off with just a few hundreds!” she cried spitefully.

Pansy sighed at Juliette’s unrelenting hate, and answered patiently:

“Colonel Falconer understood me better than you do, Juliette, or he would never have trusted your future to me. When his affairs are settled there will not be more than a hundred thousand dollars left, as he made several investments lately that resulted disastrously. But of that hundred thousand I shall give you fifty thousand.”


“You do not mean it!” Juliette cried incredulously.

“Yes,” Pansy answered; and for a minute there was a silence, which the young widow broke in a tremulous, pleading voice.

“Perhaps,” she said, “when this money is settled on you, Juliette, it will please you best to leave me, and make a home for yourself elsewhere?”

“You want me to go away—you are tired of me!” Juliette cried, in a high, resentful key; and then Pansy lifted her head and looked at her with those sad pansy-blue eyes, in which tears of grief were standing thickly.

“Oh, Juliette,” she sobbed, “I—I—only want peace, and you make my life so dreary and unhappy with your unrelenting hate!”

Juliette did not answer. She gave a choking gasp and rushed from the room.

Pansy saw her no more for several hours; then she entered her boudoir with a pale face and very red eyes, and said humbly:

“Pansy, please do not ask me to leave you! I love you—yes, love you, in spite of all my wickedness. Your goodness and sweetness have been[279] growing on me for years, although I tried to steel myself to their noble influence, and your words just now opened my eyes and showed me my heart. I repent all my wickedness toward you, and beg you to forgive me for my share in your unhappiness. Henceforth I will love you as dearly as my uncle loved you, and I will do all that I can to atone for my heartless behavior in the past.”

“Oh, Juliette!” Pansy cried gladly. For it was an exquisite satisfaction to her to feel that she had conquered Juliette’s hate at last by her gentleness and patience.

She accepted Juliette’s repentance by a gentle kiss on her white brow.



Pansy wrote to her mother of Colonel Falconer’s death, and in return received some unexpected news.

Mr. Finley, after he recovered from the long spell that had followed upon his fall and the injury to his head, had become more brutal and morose than ever, and made life with him very hard to bear. Finally he announced his intention of selling out all his property and going to California to invest the proceeds in real estate. He told his long-suffering wife that he was tired of her, and did not propose to take her with him. She acquiesced very thankfully in this decision, and the brute had gone away several months before, and no more had been heard of him, much to her joy and relief, for she had long ago repented her unfortunate second marriage.

Soon after Finley left, Willie had returned, and, to her surprise, he had been hard at work in New York, and brought back his savings. He[281] was bitterly repentant for his wicked deed, and would write to his sister and tell her how much he had suffered from remorse. Mrs. Finley added that she was going to help her son set up business for himself, that he might marry little Kate North, to whom he was now engaged, with the free consent of her parents.

“Poor brother Willie! I am glad he is going to be so happy,” thought Pansy, without a shadow of anger against the hot-headed boy; and then she read on, and found that Alice and Nora were still at school in Staunton. They were learning fast, and sent much love to their sister, and grieved for the good brother-in-law who had been so generous to them all.

“But why does she not say something about my boy, my little Pet, who, perhaps, has some other name, now that Norman knows he is his son?” thought Pansy impatiently; but on turning the next page she read these words:

Judge Wylde died last week, and they say he left a pretty penny to his family, though I don’t think Norman needs it much, he’s getting rich so fast with his law business. He works so hard, they say, that he has no time for any one but his child. He has given it the name[282] of Charley for your poor, dead father, which I think was quite nice of him. I see the little fellow often, as the Wyldes are quite friendly with me; also that good Mrs. Meade, who says she was quite certain from the first that things would turn out as they have. I haven’t seen Norman since your husband died. I don’t know how he takes it, but I hope you and he will make it up some time, as it can’t do Colonel Falconer—poor, dear saint—any good for you to stay always a widow. But forgive me, dear daughter, for I know your sorrow is too deep for me to hint at such things yet.

Pansy sat silent for a long time, brooding over those words, and her breast heaved with many hopeless sighs.

“No one need ever think of that,” she thought mournfully. “Norman will never forgive me for what I did. He will think always that it was for Colonel Falconer’s money, not for pity’s sake.”

And at thought of her little child, her beautiful Charley, out of whose love she had been tricked and cheated by her wicked stepfather, Pansy wept most bitterly and longingly.

“Whether he ever forgives me or not, I must see my child sometimes,” she thought; but she determined that she would spend her year of mourning at the villa. Life was not so unhappy since[283] Juliette had repented her wickedness and fallen in love with her uncle’s wife. They had become fast friends, and Juliette now prayed earnestly that the time would come when Pansy would again be Norman’s wife.



A year went slowly past, and found Pansy and Juliette still at the villa; but it was not likely that the latter would be there much longer, for she had lately made the acquaintance of a handsome young man, a rich New Yorker, who had wintered in Italy, and who had been so very much smitten with the charms of Miss Ives that he had proposed marriage on very short acquaintance, and had been accepted, for he was the first man who had ever touched her heart since she had lost Norman Wylde.

In truth, Juliette was very much altered for the better. She had taken gentle Pansy for her model, and was fast becoming a changed and improved woman. Not content with owning her fault to Pansy, she had written to the Wyldes, mother and son, and confessed her folly and her repentance, declaring that she now loved Pansy as fondly as she had once hated her, and that her dearest wish now was for the happiness of the two she had injured so much.


When Arthur Osborne first declared his love to Juliette she had a hard struggle with her pride, but before she gave him her answer she told him the whole story of her folly and sin and repentance.

“If you had known this you would not have asked me to be your wife,” she said sadly.

But she was mistaken, for he reiterated his offer, declaring that he admired her frankness and believed in her repentance.

“I will help you to forget your bitter past,” he said; then Juliette gave him a blushing yes.

The betrothal was a month old when, one day, as Pansy sat alone in the drawing-room of her beautiful home, some visitors were announced, and Mrs. Wylde, with her daughter and a beautiful little boy, entered the room.

Pansy sprang up with a little startled cry, and was immediately half smothered in kisses and embraces from all three.

“Forgive me for my share in your past unhappiness. I had never seen you, and believed you to be a coarse, ignorant girl, unsuited to my son in every way,” murmured Mrs. Wylde regretfully.


“Let us forget the past,” answered the noble girl she had injured, as she drew her child to her breast, wondering, yet not daring to ask, about his father.

Juliette came in presently, and they met her with the cordiality of old friends. Then she looked at Pansy.

“Norman is here, too,” she said smilingly, “but I think he was doubtful of a welcome, and he stopped in the summerhouse. Will you meet him halfway, Pansy?”

The blush that rose to her face betrayed her heart without words, and Mrs. Wylde said tenderly:

“Go, dear; we will excuse you.”

Juliette took her trembling hand and led her to the door. Then she kissed her fondly.

“Bless you both, dear!” she said earnestly, and went back to the guests.

But little Charley, now almost five years old, followed his newfound mother.

Norman was waiting in the flower-wreathed summerhouse, and at one glance into each other’s eyes the two read each other’s heart.

“You will not send me away again, my darling!”[287] he murmured, as he clasped her to his heart in passionate love.

A few weeks sufficed for their second courtship. They were married on the same day with Arthur Osborne and Juliette Ives. Both the brides looked wonderfully beautiful, and both the bridegrooms handsome and happy.

In the spring they all went back to America. Juliette’s home was to be in New York, but not the least of Pansy’s pleasures was the fact that she would spend the rest of her life among the dear friends and old familiar scenes of her beloved Richmond.


No. 1165 of the New Eagle Series, entitled “His Unbounded Faith,” by Charlotte M. Stanley, is a fascinating story. The reader will sympathize with the heroine in the storms of hate and jealousy that rage around her, but they will breathe a sigh of relief when she finds a secure haven in her husband’s love and faith.

Love Stories

There is a great deal of difference between love stories and sex stories. There is something about love which commands respect and reverence.

There is nothing about the sex story which commands either. Most decent-minded people are disgusted with the sort of literature that some publishers are putting out in the guise of truth.

If you want to know what a really decent, clean, wholesome love story is, ask your dealer to sell you a copy of the Bertha Clay Library, or the Eagle Library.

In these two series, you will find everything that is necessary in fiction to hold your interest, and a great deal that is preferable to the sort of stuff which is being put out under camouflage by certain publishers who are not very careful either about the way they make money or what they publish.

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Transcriber’s Notes:

Punctuation has been made consistent.

Variations in spelling and hyphenation were retained as they appear in the original publication, except that obvious typographical errors have been corrected.

The following change was made:

p. 118: illegible words at the end of the page were assumed to be “so that I” (long drive to-day so that I)