The Senator's Bride

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10 Cents

No. 20

The Senator's Bride



All Stories Copyrighted
Cannot be had in any
other edition


Publishers, New York

EAGLE LIBRARY A weekly publication devoted to good literature.
By subscription. $5 per year. July 12, 1897
Entered as second-class matter at N. Y. post-office.
NO. 20

An Explosion in Prices!

The Sensation of the Year!




12mo. Copyrighted Books.


No. 1 of this series contains 256 pages full size, 12mo. Succeeding issues are of similar bulk. Paper and printing equal to any 25 cent book on the market. Handsome and Attractive Cover of different design for each issue.


16—The Fatal Card. By Haddon Chambers and B. C. Stephenson.
15—Doctor Jack. By St. George Rathborne.
14—Violet Lisle. By Bertha M. Clay.
13—The Little Widow. By Julia Edwards.
12—Edrie's Legacy. By Mrs. Georgie Sheldon.
11—The Gypsy's Daughter. By Bertha M. Clay.
10—Little Sunshine. By Francis S. Smith.
9—The Virginia Heiress. By May Agnes Flemming.
8—Beautiful but Poor. By Julia Edwards.
7—Two Keys. By Mrs. Georgie Sheldon.
6—The Midnight Marriage. By A. M. Douglas.
5—The Senator's Favorite. Mrs. Alex. McVeigh Miller.
4—For a Woman's Honor. By Bertha M. Clay.
3—He Loves Me, He Loves Me Not. By Julia Edwards.
2—Ruby's Reward. By Mrs. Georgie Sheldon.
1—Queen Bess. By Mrs. Georgie Sheldon.





STREET & SMITH, Publishers,
31 Rose Street.

Entered according to Act of Congress, in the year 1887,
By Street & Smith,
In the Office of the Librarian of Congress, at Washington, D. C.






"Once those eyes, full sweet, full shy,
Told a certain thing to mine;
What they told me I put by,
Oh, so careless of the sign.
Such an easy thing to take,
And I did not want it then;
Fool! I wish my heart would break—
Scorn is hard on hearts of men."

Jean Ingelow.

It was 1866, on the evening of a lovely spring day, and my heroine was gathering flowers in one of the loveliest of the lovely gardens of that sea-port city, Norfolk, Virginia.

A lovely garden indeed, with its spacious area, its graveled walks and fountains, its graceful pavilions, its beautiful flowers, and the tasteful villa that rose in the midst of this terrestrial paradise looked very attractive outlined whitely against the dark green of the lofty grove of trees stretching far into its rear. Built on the suburbs of the city, in the portion of it known as Ocean View, you could scarcely have imagined a fairer prospect than that which met the eyes of the two gentlemen who idly smoked and talked on the wide piazza fronting the sea.

The sun was setting in a blue May sky, sinking slowly and sadly beneath the level of the sea, while far away, just faintly outlined by its fading beams, glimmered the white sails and[Pg 4] tapering spars of an outward-bound ship. How lonely it looked on that vast ocean in the fading light,

"Like the last beam that reddens over one—
That sinks with those we love below the verge."

To a poetic mind, the sight suggested many exquisite similitudes, and Bruce Conway took the cigar from between his lips and mused sadly as befitted the occasion, till the voice of his companion jarred suddenly on his dreamy mood.

"Bruce, my boy, will you favor me with the earthly name of the white-robed divinity whom I have observed for the last half-hour flitting about this paradisiacal garden? Since my advent here at noon to-day, I have not had the pleasure of meeting my amiable hostess, yet I am persuaded that this youthful creature cannot be your aunt."

"Smitten at sight—eh, Clendenon?" answered Mr. Conway, with an attempt at archness. "That, my dear fellow, is my aunt's companion, Miss Grey. She is coming this way, and I'll introduce you."

He puffed away indolently at his fragrant cigar, while the young girl of whom he had spoken came up the broad avenue that led to the piazza steps, bearing on her arm a dainty basket heaped high with flowers and trailing vines that overflowed the edges of her basket and clung lovingly about her white robe. She was, perhaps, seventeen years of age, and endowed with a rare and peerless loveliness. A Mary of Scots, a Cleopatra might have walked with that stately, uplifted grace, that rare, unstudied poetry of motion. Slender, and tall, and lithe, with her pale gold ringlets and marvelous fairness was combined so much innocent sweetness that it brought the guest to his feet in involuntary homage and admiration, while Mr. Conway himself tossed away his cigar, and, hastening to meet her, took the flowery burden from her arm, and assisted her up the steps.

"Miss Grey, allow me to present to you my friend, Captain Clendenon," he said, in his graceful, off-hand way.

"Perfectly beautiful, faultily faultless!" murmured the captain to himself, as he bowed over the delicate hand she shyly offered.

With quiet grace she accepted the chair he placed for her,[Pg 5] and, taking up a great lapful of flowers, answered a question Mr. Conway asked:

"Yes, your aunt's headache is better, and she will be down this evening. These flowers are for the drawing-room. You know how she loves to see a profusion of flowers about the house through the whole season."

"'Ah! one rose—
One rose, but one, by those fair fingers culled,
Were worth a hundred kisses pressed on lips
Less exquisite than thine.'"

It was like Bruce Conway's graceful impudence to quote those lines, smiling up into the Hebe-like face of the girl. He was the spoiled darling of fortune, the handsome idol of the fair sex, as perfect in his dark, manly beauty as she in her opposite angelic type. Yet she hesitated, trifling saucily with her flowers, and half denying the rose he craved.

"I am chary of giving away roses obtained at the price of so many thorns," said she, holding up a taper finger with a dark-red scratch marking a zigzag course over its whiteness. "Gather your roses yourself, sir."

"If I might gather those that blossom on your cheeks, I might take the risk of the thorns," he answered, daringly.

The roses referred to deepened to vivid crimson, the golden lights in the pansy-colored eyes sent a fiery gleam along the black-fringed lashes, as she answered, indignantly:

"You forget yourself, and presume, sir."

"I did, indeed, but you know my idle habit of jesting. Pardon me."

"Willingly, so that the offense is not repeated," she answered, more gently, as she continued at her task, grouping the flowers into tasteful bouquets, and ending by a fragrant gift to each gentleman of a tiny posy for his button-hole, that restored sociability and brought back the ease that had marked the first of the interview.

"And to-morrow, Bruce," said the captain, presently, "I shall see the last of you for years, if not forever. What possesses you to go wandering off to Europe in this mad fashion?"

A smothered cry of astonishment caused him to look at Grace[Pg 6] Grey. She was looking straight at Bruce Conway, the rose-bloom dying away from her cheeks, and the beautiful eyes, eager, questioning, startled, with a woman's love looking out of them, and a woman's love revealed, alas! too plainly, in that mute gaze.

Conway's dark eyes met hers for a moment with answering love in their dark depths. Only a moment, though, and then they wavered and fell, and he indifferently answered her mute question:

"You look surprised, ma petite. Well, it is true that I leave here to-morrow for an extended tour over Europe. I have long thought of it, and the time has come at last."

No answer. She could not have spoken if life or death had hung on a single sentence from those sweet lips, from whence the rose-tint had faded, leaving them cold and white, and drawn as if in pain. She gathered up her fragrant burdens and carried them into the house, leaving a momentary shocked silence behind her.

Presently the captain spoke, in the calm, assured tone in which we chide a dear and intimate friend:

"Bruce, have you been flirting with that pretty, innocent child?"

Conway fidgeted a little, but he answered nonchalantly enough:

"Why do you ask? Have you fallen in love with her?"

"I was not speaking of myself; we will keep to the subject, if you please. She loves you." His voice grew tender, reverential.


That simple monosyllable might have expressed many things. In Bruce Conway's non-committal tone it meant nothing.

"You will marry her?"

"Why, no."

The words came out with a jerk, as if they must be said, and the sooner the better. The purple twilight hid his face and expression, yet the captain persevered:

"Yet you love her?"

[Pg 7]

"Taking your assertion for granted," said Conway, coolly, "is that any reason why I should marry Miss Grey?"

"It seems one to me."

"Very probably; but, mon ami, your view on this, as on many other things, are old-fashioned and absurd, or, at least, behind the times we live in. Do you happen to know, old fellow, that I have completely run through my handsome fortune, and that my 'great expectations' as my aunt's solo heir and favorite are all I have to depend on?"

"I know it. What then?"

"'What then?'" boyishly mimicking the sober tone of the older man. "If I must tell you, Clen, my aunt has positively interdicted me from making love to her fair companion. I might be courteously polite, soberly kind—nothing more, on pain of disinheritance and eternal banishment from my relative's imperious presence."

"You have disobeyed her."

"Not I. I have debarred myself from that exquisite pleasure, and kept strictly to the letter of my aunt's command. I have never told her I loved her, never addressed her a single word of love, save in the ideal, poetical quotations to which she can attach no real meaning. I am not to blame," talking a little savagely; "and I suffer, too. I must go away. It is madness for me to stay here longer, and cruel to her. My heart aches for her—she is so fair, so pure, so trusting. I dare not stay here another day, or I should break through Aunt Conway's prohibition and tell her all that is in my heart. But once away from the sight of her maddening beauty, I can forget her, and returning home some time, take possession of my handsome inheritance, and thank my lucky stars for the decision I made to-day."

"Think a moment, dear friend. Is it not just as possible that a day may come when you shall bitterly regret that decision? When for the sake of the loving, trusting, friendless child you desert to-day, you would peril not only your hopes of present fortune and earthly prosperity, but your aspirations for a brighter world?"

"Why pursue a useless subject? I have let you have your say out, and heard you in patience. Now hear me. I do love[Pg 8] Grace Grey so passionately that, having had everything I wanted heretofore in life, it is a hard struggle to be compelled to resign her. But though I feel that I am acting almost a villainous part, I cannot incur my aunt's penalty. Love of ease and luxury is inherent in my nature, and I would not resign the power of gratifying these propensities for the sake of any woman's love. Even if I risked all to do the love-in-cottage romance, what have I left to offer Miss Grey along with my name and love?"

"Your broad breast to shield her; your clear brain and strong arms to toil for her."

"Mere visionary fancies! I am too indolent to work with head or hands. My vocation is that of an idler. I shall go to Europe, see all that is to be seen, shiver foggy London, plunge head and soul into the gay and giddy circles of dear delightful Paris, return, inherit Aunt Conway's fortune, marry some heiress of her choosing, and live happy ever after."

"I doubt it. Good-night."

"Come back—you are not going? I shall drive you into town after tea—my aunt expects to see you—Clendenon, I say!"

He hurried down the walk after the tall, proud form stalking coldly away, and stopped him with a hand upon his shoulder.

"Clen, are you angry with me? Don't think of it! You know there are some subjects on which we never agree. I am sorry I did not hear your expostulations with more patience. That is saying more than I would say to any other man living, but I don't forgot that it is for me you wear that empty sleeve across your breast—that you gave freely to save my worthless life the strong arm that was worth more than a dozen such men as I. And are we to separate at last for a woman's sake?"

It was true. They had shared the same camp-fire, slept under the same scanty blanket, battled side by side in the far-famed gray uniform, and when death threatened the one the strong arm of the other had been raised to shield him. Had it been necessary he would have given his life as freely as he gave his strong left arm.

He could not forget in a moment the friendship of years, but[Pg 9] he yielded half-reluctantly to the detaining hand that drew him back to the house.

"I confess that I go back with you unwillingly," he said, in his grave, frank way. "You have shown me a new phase of your character, Bruce, and I do not in the least admire it. I trust yet to hear you repudiate your decision as unworthy of yourself as well as unjust to the girl whose sacred love you have trifled with."

"Perhaps I may yet," was the hurried reply. "I am so divided between conflicting emotions that I scarcely know my own mind yet. I may yet decide as you wish me to do."

Part of this was said to conciliate his friend, and part of it was true, for Bruce Conway did not err when he said that he scarcely know his own mind. The most of his failings and follies, as of a great many other people, arose from this amiable trait in his character.

He had not decided when the pleasant social ceremony of the nine o'clock tea was over, and leaving Captain Clendenon deep in converse with his stately hostess, he beguiled the younger lady into a walk down to the sea-shore. There standing, arm in arm, on the pebbly beach, he almost made up his mind. For she was so beautiful, and he loved beauty. A love of beauty was inherent in his luxurious nature, and Grace Grey was the fairest creature he had ever beheld as she lifted her shy glance to his in the brilliant moonlight, while as yet neither had spoken a word.

Why need they have spoken? It needed but that his hand should seek and hold hers in that lingering clasp that tells the all and all of love. But the soft breeze went sighing past like a spirit, the eternal sea surged strangely on, the stars burned, and the moon went under a transient cloud, while far away in the southern heavens a great red meteor flamed out and shone brilliantly among the silver stars. Both saw it at once, and both uttered an affected cry of surprise—affected, I say, because I do not think anything would have surprised them then, they were so absorbed in each other, so happy and yet so unhappy, as they stood together there, their young hearts throbbing "so near and yet so far."

She did not dream as she watched that fiery orb of light that[Pg 10] her future hung on its transient beaming. She knew, with a woman's keen intuition, that he had brought her there to learn her fate. What it was to be she could not guess. Certainly she did not think that the man beside her had staked their two futures on the hazard of a meteor, and that when it paled and faded from the stormy sky he whispered to himself: "As was my love for her! Burning and comet-like as was that meteor, it shall fade as soon and leave me free."

Was it? Did the future prove so? Tenderly—more tenderly than he had ever done—he lifted the thin white drapery, half falling from her shoulders, and folded it closely about her.

"How heavily the dew falls," he said, kindly. "We had better return to the house."

Mrs. Conway looked curiously up as the pair came slowly into the drawing-room, and was content with what her keen glance read in the faces that wore the light mask of indifferent smiles.

"Gracie, child," in her most affable way, "don't let our guest leave us without the rare treat of hearing you sing. Captain Clendenon, will you turn the music for her?"

"The attraction of Grace's music, its greatest charm, lies in its wonderful pathos and expressiveness," condescended the haughty hostess, as the guest's firm lip softened while listening to the spirit-like melodies that sobbed and wailed along the piano keys, answering to the touch of the skillful fingers and the sweet voice.

At length she selected an old song, and with a single glance at Conway, sang the first stanza through:

"Sweetheart, good-by! the fluttering sail
Is set to bear me far from thee;
And soon before the favoring gale
My ship shall bound upon the sea.
Perchance, all desolate and forlorn,
These eyes shall miss thee many a year;
But unforgotten every charm,
Though lost to sight to mem'ry dear!"

The wounded young heart could sustain itself no longer. She rose and passed hastily from the room. It was her farewell to[Pg 11] her unworthy lover. When he left home in the early dawn, amid the tearful lamentations of his adoring aunt, Miss Grey had not arisen from her feverish slumbers.



Ay, I saw her—we have met—
Married eyes how sweet they be!
Are you happier, Margaret,
Than you might have been with me?
Come, but there is naught to say,
Married eyes with mine have met,
Silence, oh! I had my day!
Margaret! Margaret!—Jean Ingelow.

Mrs. Conway was not wearing the willow for her wandering nephew. On the contrary, her elegant rooms constantly witnessed merry gatherings, where mirth and music reigned supreme. She was still a handsome woman, still a brilliant woman, and the world of society, fashion, and folly held her as one of its leaders. The delicate state of her health had improved, she had dispensed with her fair companion, and on a sweet spring night, just four years from the date of the beginning of this story, she was giving a splendid ball in honor of the wife of the distinguished and handsome Senator Winans, of Virginia.

The elite of Norfolk was gathered there, the house was garnished with wreaths and garlands of flowers, till the long drawing-rooms opening into each other looked like fast succeeding vistas of intoxicating bloom. Music rose voluptuously overall, and the proud hostess moved among her guests looking handsome as a picture, and young for her fifty-four years, in the sea-green silk and misty laces that accorded so well with her dark eyes and hair, and sweetly smiling mouth.

But under all her brightness and gayety Mrs. Conway carried an uneasy pang in her proud heart. It was the neglect of her[Pg 12] idolized nephew. She had never had any children of her own, and at the death of her husband the orphan boy of her only brother crept into her heart, and held the only place in it that was worth having; for the heart of a fashionable fine lady, I take it, has little room to spare from the vanities of dress and fashion; but whatever vacant room there remained in Mrs. Conway's, it all belonged to her self-exiled nephew, and for many months no news had come of the traveler. He had roved from one end of Europe to the other, and wearied of it all, but still talked not of coming home, and his aunt missed him sadly. He had been unfeignedly fond of her. He was her nearest living relative, her chosen heir, and she wanted him home for the few remaining years of her life. But with the underlying strength of her proud heart she kept those feelings to herself, and none were the wiser for them.

And in the midst of the music and dancing a stranger crept to the door of the anteroom, and looked anxiously in—Bruce Conway. A little thinner, a little bronzed by travel, a little more grave looking, but every bit as handsome as the dashing young follow who had gambled with a meteor for his chance of happiness and—lost.

Was he looking for his aunt? Twice she passed near enough to have touched him with her hand, but he smiled and let her pass on, not dreaming of his near presence.

At last his eyes encountered what they sought, and, half unconsciously, he drew nearer, and scanned the peerless vision framed in the door-way of the conservatory, in the soft but brilliant light of the wax-lights half-hidden in flowers.

Was she a creature of this lower earth? He had thought, that spring four years ago, with Grace Grey at seventeen, leaning on his arm, looking into his face in the moonlight, that she was more a creature of heaven than earth. He thought so again to-night, as he looked at her leaning there under the arch of flowers that framed the conservatory door. He thought of all the living loveliness, the sculptured perfection, the radiant beauty that seemed to breathe on the canvas—all he had seen in his wanderings from shore to shore—and nothing he could recall was half so glorious as Grace Grey at twenty-one, in her calm repose, standing quietly looking on at the scene, seeming herself, to the[Pg 13] fascinated eyes that beheld her, like a young angel strayed away from paradise.

Mr. Conway slipped around and entered the room by a side door in the rear of where she stood. At sound of his footstep she turned slowly and looked at him carelessly, then looking again, threw up one hand. Was she going to faint? Not she! Her face whitened, her pansy-violet eyes grew black with intense emotion, but without a tremor she offered the little cold hand he had dashed away from him so long before. It was as cold now as it had been then—had it never been warm since, he wondered.

"Welcome home!" he heard in the remembered music of her voice.

"Oh, Grace, my darling, my wronged little love!" He knew his own mind at last, and was down on his knees before she could prevent him, passionately entreating, "My darling, will you forgive me, and give yourself to me? I have come home to make reparation for the past. I never knew how dear you were, how entirely I loved you, till the ocean rolled between us."

For a moment the silence of unspeakable emotion fell between them; she struggled for speech, waving her hand for him to pause, while over her pure, pale face a flood of indignant crimson warmly drifted.

"Rise, sir," she answered, at last, in low, proud tones, "such words are an insult to me!"

"And why? Oh! Grace, can you not forgive me, can you not love me? You loved me once, I know. Don't send me away. Promise that I may still love you, that you will be my worshiped wife!"

She did not laugh at him, as you or I might have done, my reader. It was not in the nature of the girl Bruce Conway had scorned for her low estate to be anything but sweet and merciful. She looked at him, still faintly flushed and excited, but answered with unconsciously straightening figure, and a firm but gentle dignity peculiar to her always:

"Possibly you are not aware, Mr. Conway, that your words of love are addressed to one who is already a wife—and mother."

Mr. Conway had never fainted in his life, but with a feeling that sense and strength were giving way, he rose, and, dropping[Pg 14] into a chair, white as death, looked at the young creature whose quiet assertion of matronly dignity had fallen on his ears like a death-warrant. And as he looked, with that strange power we have of discriminating details even in the most eventful hours, he noticed many things that went far to prove the truth of her words. He had left her poor and almost friendless, her richest dress a simple white muslin, and scarcely another piece of jewelry than the simple trinket of gold and pearls that clasped the frill of lace at her white throat. To-night she wore a sweeping robe of costly white silk, with flouncings of real lace, that was worth a small fortune in itself. There were diamonds on the wavering swell of her white bosom, depending from the pearly ears, scintillating fire from her restless taper wrists, clasping her statuesque throat like sunshine glowing on snow. She was wealthy, prosperous, beloved now, he read in the restful peace that crowned her innocent brow; and bitterest thought of all to the man who had loved and deserted her—another man called her his wife—another man's child called her mother.

While she stood with that flush of offended wifely dignity burning hotly on her pure cheek, while he looked at her with a soul's despair written on his handsome features, a gentleman entered the room carrying an ice. He was tall and splendidly handsome, his countenance frank, and pleasant, but a slight frown contracted his brow as he took in the scene, and it did not clear away as the lady said, distantly:

"Mr. Conway, allow me the pleasure of presenting to you my husband, Senator Winans."

Both gentlemen bowed ceremoniously, but neither offered the hand. Mr. Conway hated Winans already, and the gentleman thus honored felt intuitively that he should hate Conway. So their greeting was of the briefest. The discomfited traveler turned and walked over to the Hon. Mrs. Winans.

"I beg your pardon," he said, in low, earnest tones; "I did not know—had not heard the least hint of your marriage."

He was gone the next moment. Senator Winans looked inquiringly at his beautiful young wife. She did not speak; he fancied she shrank a little as he looked at her, but as he set down the ice on a small flower-stand near by, she took up the little golden spoon and let a tiny bit of the frozen cream melt[Pg 15] on her ruby lip, while a faint smile dimpled the corners of her mouth.

"My love," he said, lifting the small, white hand, and toying with its jeweled fingers, "are you ill? Your hand is cold as ice."

"I never felt better in my life," smiling up into his questioning eyes, and nestling the small hand still closer in his. "The cold cream chilled me after dancing so much, or," her natural truthfulness asserting itself, "I may be a little nervous, and that makes my hands cold."

"And what has made you nervous to-night?" his tone unconsciously stern and his thoughts full of the dark, despairing face that had looked up from the depths of the arm-chair at his queenly looking wife.

"Nothing," she answered, dreamily, while a swift flush burned on her cheek, and she turned away a little petulantly and began to trifle with the ice again.

"I beg your pardon, but it was something, and that something was the man who has just left us. Who and what is he?"

"Mr. Bruce Conway, nephew and heir of our hostess. He has been abroad four years, I think, and but just returned."

"An old acquaintance of yours, then?"

"Well, yes."

She turned toward him with marvelous sweetness and self-command.

"During my stay with Mrs. Conway I was naturally brought frequently in contact with her nephew. I found him a pleasant acquaintance."

"Nothing more—was he not a lover?"

His beautiful dark eyes seemed to burn into her soul, so full were they of jealous pain and sudden doubt.

She came up to him, crossing her round white arms over one of his, looking up at him with an arch, merry smile.

"I really cannot say, since he never confessed to a tender passion for me. The difference in our stations precluded anything of the sort. You must remember that there are few men like you, my loyal love, who stooped to lift a beggar-maid to share your throne."

Her eyes were misty and full of unshed tears, partly out of[Pg 16] gratitude and love for him, and partly—she could not help it—because she was conscious of a sharp, agonized remembrance of a night four years before, the very thought of which made her turn white and cold as death as she leaned upon her husband's arm.

One hand beneath her dimpled chin lifted her face to meet his gaze. She met it sweetly and frankly, but he knew her well enough to know that the intense blackness of her dilated eyes denoted deep emotion.

"Tell me the truth, Gracie," he entreated. "That man looked at you as no mere acquaintance ever looked at a woman—looked at you as he had no right to look at the wife of another man! What mystery is this you are trying to withhold from me? If you refuse to answer what I have a right to know you force me to seek satisfaction from him."

He was terribly in earnest. The baleful fire of doubt and jealousy burned in his eagle gaze, and startled the young creature who read its language with a vague doubt creeping into her soul. She did not want to deceive her husband—still less did she want to tell him the truth for which he asked.

"Spare me!" she entreated. "There is nothing to tell, my love—nothing of any consequence, I mean. It would but annoy you to hear it, mortify me to tell it," and once more the warm blush of insulted matronly pride tinged the girlish cheek with crimson.

"For all that I insist upon having an explanation of the scene I witnessed here after leaving you scarcely a minute before!"

Unconsciously to himself he shook off the small hands that clasped his arm in his eager interest and excitement. She did not replace them, but, folding both her arms across her breast, lifted her pale, earnest face to his.

Her answer came low and sweet, though perhaps a trifle impatient, as though the subject seemed to her scarcely worth this "wordy war."

"Well, then, Mr. Bruce Conway startled me very much by entering here quite suddenly and making me an offer of his hand, declaring that he had learned to love me while abroad. I checked him by telling him that I was a wife and mother. You[Pg 17] heard his apology to me—he did not know of my marriage. That is all there is to tell."

He looked at her and half smiled at thought of Conway's discomfiture; but the passing merriment was displaced in a moment by the sharp pain tugging at his heart-strings. He had the jealous Southern nature to perfection. He could not endure even the thought that another had ever enshrined in his heart the image of Grace, his lovely girl-bride. So sharp a pang tore his heart that he could not move nor speak.

"Paul, my husband"—she looked up at him as wondrously fair in his eyes as she had been in Bruce Conway's, and with a timid grace that was infinitely becoming to her—"surely you do not blame me. I could not help it. I am sorry it has happened. I cannot say more."

It was not in human nature to withstand the mute pleading of her manner, or the soft gaze that met his own. He stooped and touched his lips to her pure brow.

"Let us go, love," he said. "I confess that I shall feel better away from here and in our pleasant home."

"But this reception was given for us. Our hostess will feel offended at so early a departure."

"I will tell her we were called away—that is, unless you wish to remain."

"No, indeed; I would rather be at home with my precious baby; and your wishes are always mine, Paul."

How exquisitely she tempered wifely submission and obedience with gentleness and love! If there was a cross in her life, she wreathed it over with flowers. Her soothing voice fell like the oil of peace on the troubled waters of his soul.

Long after their adieus to their hostess had been spoken, and his arm had lovingly lifted her into her carriage, Bruce Conway's eyes watched vacantly the spot where she had vanished from his sight, while that haggard wanness of despair never left his face. Never until the hour in which he knew her irrevocably lost to him did he realize how deeply rooted in his soul his love had been. Amid all the glories of the old world he had felt that life was a desert without her, and in the Arabian deserts the knowledge had dawned slowly upon him, that even here her mere presence would have created a paradise of bliss.[Pg 18] Far away from her, unconsciously to her, he had mentally renounced his anticipated inheritance, and come home with the fixed intention of winning her, and toiling, if need be, cheerfully for her.

Not a thought of disappointment, not a possibility of her marriage had crossed his mind. It was left to this hour, when he stood there listening to the slow crunch of her carriage wheels that seemed grinding over his heart as they rolled away, to know his own heart truly, and to feel how much better than he knew himself his friend had known him when he said, on almost the same spot where he now stood alone:

"Is it not just as possible that the day may come when for the sake of the loving, trusting, friendless child you desert to-day, you would peril not only your hopes of present fortune and future prosperity, but your aspirations for a brighter world?"

It had come. Passionate heart, undisciplined temper, unsatisfied yearnings clamored fiercely for the woman who had loved him as he would never be loved again. He would have given then, in his wild abandonment to his love and despair, all his hopes of fortune, his dreams of fame, his chances of futurity, to have stood for one hour in the place of the man who, even then in his beautiful home, clasped wife and child in one embrace to his noble heart, while he thanked God for the treasure of a pure woman's love.

A touch on his shoulder, a voice in his ear jarred suddenly on his wild, semi-savage mood.

"Be a man, Bruce, old fellow, be a man. It is too late for unavailing regrets. Call all your manhood to your aid."

"Clendenon, is it you?" He turned and wrung his friend's hand with a grip that must have pained him. "Have you come to exult over my misery with the stereotyped 'I told you so?'"

"Can you think it of me? Bruce, I have watched you for the last five minutes, and I understand your feelings. From my soul I pity you!"

"Don't! Sympathy I cannot bear—even from you, old boy. Clen, how long has it been—when was she,"—a great gulp—"married?"

"More than eighteen months ago Senator Winans saw her[Pg 19] first at one of your aunt's receptions, where she was brought forward to perform a difficult sonata for a musical party. He saw and loved (what man could see her and not love her?) There was a brief courtship, a brilliant marriage, under the rejoicing auspices of your aunt, and the beautiful Hon. Mrs. Winans was the belle of last season in Washington, as her husband was one of the most notable members of the Senate. She has been 'the fashion' ever since."

"So she was like all other women, after all," sneered Conway, in jealous rage. "Sold herself. So much beauty, intellect, and frivolity—for a brilliant establishment, a proud name, and high position."

"I think not. They live very happily, I am told. He is worthy any woman's love, and has won hers, no doubt. And, Bruce, I don't think anything could make her worldly or calculating. As much of the angel is about her as is possible for mortal to possess."

Conway looked suddenly up into the handsome, inscrutable face of the speaker.

"Clen, mon ami, if it had to be any one else than me, I wish it had been you that had married her. You are deserving of any blessing that can come into a good man's life."

"Thanks," his friend answered, simply, and moved aside to make way for Mrs. Conway, who swept out on the piazza and up to the side of her nephew. Somehow the news of his return had been noised about the rooms, and she had come to seek him, vexed and mortified that he had not come to her, but still very happy to know that he was there at all.

"My dear boy," she said, as she clasped his hand and took the gallant kiss he offered, "this is, indeed, a joyful surprise. Will you come up into my boudoir, where we can have a quiet chat to ourselves, before your many friends claim your attention?"

Silent and moody he followed her. Once within the quiet seclusion of her own special apartment, and she turned upon him with a sudden storm of reproaches.

"Bruce, what is all this I hear? That gossiping old maid, Miss Lavinia Story, has spread from one guest to the other a sensational report of your meeting Mrs. Winans in the conservatory[Pg 20] just now, and proposing to her under the impression that she was still Miss Grey, my late companion. It can't be true of you; don't say it is, and make me ashamed of you in the very hour of your return. You could not have been guilty of such rashness and stupidity. Give me authority to deny it to our friends."

"I can't do it." He was always rather laconic in his way of speaking, and he answered her now in a moody, don't-care, scarcely respectful sort of style, without even looking at her. "It's all true, every word of it, and more besides."

"Bruce, Bruce, what madness!"

"Was it? Well, I suppose you did not expect as much manliness as that even from one who had been so ready to sell himself for your gold. But I could not do it, Aunt Conway. You know well enough that I loved her. That was why you were so willing I should go away. But I did not forget her so easily as I thought I would. My love only strengthened with time until I resolved to resign my claims to your fortune, come home, win her, and work for her like a man. I came, saw her, forgot all about the proprieties, and spoke at once. I didn't stop to think why she wore silk instead of muslin, diamonds instead of flowers. I saw only her heavenly, sweet face, and blundered straight into—making a laughing-stock of myself for all your acquaintance!"

"Exactly!" groaned Mrs. Conway. "Miss Story eavesdropped—she pretends to have heard it purely accidentally. The old—"

"News-carrier!" grimly suggested her nephew, finding her at a loss for a word.

"You may well say that! She will have it all over Norfolk to-morrow. Oh! how it mortifies my pride to have anything occur to disgrace me so! Bruce, I could almost find it in my heart to curse you!"

"And I you! You are to blame for it all. But for you and your foolish pride of wealth and position, I might have wooed and won her; but while I wavered in my shameful vacillation and selfishness, a better and nobler man has stepped in between us! You are proud to welcome him, proud to do him honor; proud to welcome her in her beauty and grace, now that you have put her forever out of my reach. But you are well repaid[Pg 21] to-night. Look at my blasted hopes and ruined life, and curse yourself, your gold, everything that has come between two loving hearts and sundered them forever!"

He threw the words at her like a curse, stepped outside the door, and slammed it heavily after him.

She saw him no more that night.



"Alas! how light a cause may move
Dissension between hearts that love!"

"You may go, Norah," said Grace Winans, looking up from the child on her breast at the sleepy-eyed nurse. "If I need you again I can ring the bell;" and, smiling, Norah bowed and withdrew.

It was almost twelve o'clock, and Grace had exchanged her ball-dress for a white neglige, and sat in the nursery, holding her babe in her arms, and smiling thoughtfully down at the tiny, winsome face. Mother and child made a wondrously fair picture in the soft shade of the wax-lights, that burned with subdued brightness in the dainty, airy, white-hung room. The girlish mother leaned a little forward as she sat in the low rocking-chair, her bright curls falling over the loosely flowing white dress like a golden glory. Her pure, innocent eyes looked down at the babe that nestled in her arms, and a low murmur of tenderness escaped her lips.

"My Birdie! my baby!"

"Still sitting up, Grace?"

It was the voice of her husband entering to pay his nightly visit to the little bright-eyed babe—sole heir of his proud name and wealth.

"I am not tired," she answered, in her fresh young voice, "and our little darling is so sweet I cannot bear to lay him down. Only look at him, Paul!"

[Pg 22]

Paul Winans bent down and clasped mother and child in one fond embrace.

"My two babes!" he whispered.

A sunny smile broke over the young wife's face. The pet name pleased her, for she was still scarcely more than a child in her quick appreciation of affection, and, like a child, she could scarcely have understood an affection that did not express itself in tender epithets and warm caresses. She nestled her bright head against his arm, sighing softly in the fullness of her content.

Tender and trustful as a little child, always ready to sacrifice her own wishes to those of others, only asking to love and be loved, our pretty Grace made a charming wife and mother. Prosperity had not spoiled her warm heart nor her clear judgment, and the greatest aim of her loving life was to please her noble husband in all things—her highest ambition to be to him always, as she was then, the guiding star of his life.

"Some flowers of Eden we still inherit,
But the trail of the serpent is over them all."

Over this exquisite picture of domestic peace and love broke the storm-cloud and the tempest. It was but a moment after Paul Winans kissed his happy wife before the stillness of the midnight hour was broken by a sound that rose from the street below, and was directly beneath the window.

First, a mournful guitar prelude; then a man's voice singing in the very accents of despair, and he finished the song of which Grace had sung the first stanza for him four years before:

"Sweetheart, good-by! One last embrace!
O cruel fate! two souls to sever!
Yet in this heart's most sacred place
Thou, thou alone, shalt dwell forever!
"And still shall recollection trace
In fancy's mirror, ever near,
Each smile, each tear, that form, that face—
Though lost to sight, to mem'ry dear!"

Husband and wife listened in unbroken silence to the strain. The senator's arm tightened about his wife and child, and she[Pg 23] sat mute and still, every line of her face as moveless as if carved from marble. But as the lingering notes died away, her hand sought and touched the tiny blue-and-silver tassel that depended from the bell-cord, and sent its low tinkle through the house.

Norah, who always answered the nursery-bell, came in after the lapse of a moment. To her Mrs. Winans said, in a voice that sounded stern and cold for her silver-sweet tones:

"Norah, go to the front door and tell that madman that he had better move on—that the family do not wish to be disturbed by such nonsense at this hour of the night."

The woman withdrew obediently.

Paul Winans turned, and walked restlessly up and down the room.

"So he dares come and serenade my wife directly under my window!"

His dark eyes blazed, his cheeks flamed, and his hand involuntarily clenched itself.

Grace looked up at him, still immovably calm and silent; but a slight nervous movement of her arm showed that she heard and understood. She looked up questioningly as Norah appeared in the door-way.

"He was gone, ma'am, before I got down to the door."

"Very well; you may go, then."

And, as before, Norah went out, with her small courtesy, and left the pair alone.


"Well, dear?"

Her voice had the same sweet cadence as usual, and her smile was as gentle as ever when she looked up at the princely form before her. His voice, his look, showed his insulted pride and outraged heart. Her only trace of emotion showed in marble pallor and darkening eyes.

"I do not understand this!" his voice slow and intense. "I thought I had found a pearl so pure and isolated that no other man's eyes had ever looked on it to covet its beauty for himself. That was my highest glory. Fame, fortune, pleasure were nothing to me in comparison with my pride in my wife, and that pride was the greater because a passionately jealous[Pg 24] nature like mine is only satisfied in holding the first place in the beloved heart. And this I thought I held in yours. To-night I learn for the first time that long before I ever met you another man looked on you to love you; perhaps you loved him."

His voice died away in a throb of passionate pain. He leaned against the rosewood, lace-draped crib, and looked down at her with their child in her arms, hoping she would deny it. She did not. Dead silence fell between them, and her soft eyes never wavered in their frank, upward look at him. They met his calmly, expectantly, their starry, inscrutable depths telling no secrets.


"What is it, Paul?"

"Say something—you are so cold—anything to allay the fire that burns in my veins. I think I am mad to-night."

"My dearest, what can I say more than I have already told you? Mr. Conway proposed to me under a most mortifying mistake. I am not answerable for a man's infatuation with a fair face. I do not know what has induced him to make such a demonstration here to-night. Possibly he is under the influence of wine, and hardly knows the folly he is perpetrating; possibly we may never see or hear of him after this. Let us dismiss him from our thoughts."

Spoken so sweetly, so calmly, so indifferently. Her seeming calmness subdued and quelled momentarily his stormy feelings, as a strong, well-balanced mind always curbs a fitful, unquiet one.

"Then you do not care for him, Grace?"

She was threading her slim fingers meditatively through the dark curls that clustered on the brow of her child. She glanced up, her snow-white cheek flushing a fitful scarlet, her voice and look full of proud reproach.

"Paul, you are speaking to the mother of your child."

That quiet dignity recalled him to a sense of what was due to his wife. His brow cleared, his voice softened, as he answered:

"I beg your pardon, Gracie, dearest. I ought to have known your pure heart better than to insult it by a doubt. Your heart, I know, is mine now, or you would never have been my wife.[Pg 25] I know your pure honor and truth too well to think otherwise. But oh, my love, my sweet wife, if I knew—if I knew that your warm, true heart had ever throbbed with one sigh of love for another, I should, even though it had happened before I ever saw you, never again know one happy moment. You may think it is jealous madness—it may be—but it is inherent in my nature, and I cannot help it. I repeat that I could never, never be happy again."

No answer. Grace Winans' white arms wreathed themselves around her baby, pressing it closer, as if to still the sharp pang that struck home to her very heart. A faint shiver thrilled her, and rising, she laid the little sleeper in its downy nest, smiling a little sadly as she looked, but smiling still, for this tiny rosebud was the sweetest and most wonderful thing that had ever come into her lonely life. Deeply as she had loved the first object of her young affections, purely and truly as she loved her gifted husband, the strongest, deepest, most intense passion of her life was her maternal love. Some one has written half jestingly that "the depths of a woman's love can never be sounded till a baby is dropped into her heart," but it is true of the majority of women. It was especially true of Grace Winans. That little, rosy, lace-robed slumberer, small as it was, enshrining a human soul, was the idol of the young mother's life. Perhaps she was excusable. It was the only thing that had ever loved her purely and unselfishly. She could scarcely recollect her parents, she could not recall any one who had ever lavished on her such love as this child gave her, so devoted, so unreasoning, so absorbing; and deeply, unselfishly as she loved her husband, she loved his child better, though no word nor sign ever betrayed the fact to his jealous eyes. She reached up to him now, and drew him to her side, holding his arm about her waist with both dimpled white hands.

"My darling," she whispered, "don't be so unreasonable. You have no cause to be jealous, none at all. My whole heart is yours—yours and the baby's. You must have faith in me, Paul—have faith in me, and trust me as you do your own heart."

Drawing his moody face down to hers she kissed him with child-like simplicity. At the persuasive touch of those tender lips his brow cleared, his listless clasp tightened around her,[Pg 26] and both arms held her strained closely to his breast, his lips raining kisses on her brow, her cheeks, her lips, even her fair golden hair.

"Now you are like yourself," the musical voice whispered gladly. "You will not be jealous and unhappy again. I am yours alone, dear one—heart, and soul, and body—your own loving, happy little wife."

The sunshine on her face was tenderly reflected on his. She was so sweet and winsome, so womanly, yet withal so child-like and oh, so beautiful! His strange, unusual mood was not proof against the witchery of her loveliness, her flowing hair, the subtle perfume breathing from her garments, the tenderness of her words and looks.

"I don't think another man in the world has such a precious wife!" he said.

And though she knew that every man's private opinion regarding his own wife was the same, she took heart at his words of praise, and laughed archly. They two were that novel sight "under the sun," a pair of married lovers. Why need he have gone back to the forbidden subject? Ah! why have we always "done that which we ought not to have done?" Because he wanted to make himself miserable, I suppose. There is no other reason I can assign for his persistence; and, as for that, there is no reason whatever in a jealous man. "He is simply jealous for he is jealous," and where Shakespeare could not find a reason for a thing, how can I?

"Gracie, may I ask you one question?"

"You may—certainly."

"And will you answer it truthfully?

"If I answer it at all," she gravely made answer, "it must needs be truthfully, for I could not reply to you otherwise. But why ask a question at all? I do not care to question you of your past; why should you question me of mine? Let past and future alone, Paul. The present only is ours—let us enjoy it."

And heedless of the warning shadow that fell across her pathetic face, he persevered:

"Only tell me this, my precious wife. This Bruce Conway, who went away to Europe to learn that he loved you, and came[Pg 27] back to tell you so. Gracie, in that past time when you knew him—before you ever knew me—did you—tell me truly, mind—did you ever love him?"

The question she had dreaded and shrunk from all the time! She knew it would come, and now that it had, what could she say?

How easy it would have been to confess the truth to a less passionate and jealous mind. It was no sin, not even a fault in her, and she was not afraid to tell him save with the moral cowardice that makes one dread the necessary utterance of words that must inflict pain. What harm was there in that dreamy passion that had cast its glamour over a few months of her girlhood? It was unkind in him to probe her heart so deeply. She dared not own the truth to him if its telling were to make him unhappy! And along with this feeling there was another—the natural shrinking of a proud woman from laying bare the hidden secrets of her soul, pure though they be, to mortal sight. A woman does not want to tell her husband, the man who loves her, and believes her irresistible to all, that another man has been proof against her charms, that the first pure waters of love's perennial fountain had gushed at the touch of another, who let the tide flow on unheeding and uncaring, and a man has no business to ask it. But where does the line of man's "little brief authority" cross its boundaries? We have never found out yet. It is left, perhaps, for some of the fair and curious ones of our sex who are "strong-minded" in their "day and generation" to solve that interesting problem.

So, Gracie, debarred by confession by so many and grave considerations, in desperation, parried the question.

"Paul, do you know that I am sleepy and tired, while you are keeping me up with such idle nonsense? If we must begin at this late day to worry over our past loves and dreams, suppose you begin first by telling me how many separate ladies you loved before you ever met me! Come, begin with the first on the list."

"It begins and ends with—yourself," he said, gravely and firmly.

"Like the story of Mrs. Osgood's Evelyn," she rejoined, smiling, and beginning to hum lightly:

[Pg 28]

"It began with—'My Evelyn fairest!'
It ended with—'Evelyn best!'
And epithets fondest and dearest,
Were lavished between on the rest."

Then breaking off, she says more seriously and softly:

"Then try to think that is the same with me. Don't worry over such idle speculations. I am tired and half sick, dear."

"Gracie, you drive me to desperation. I asked you a simple question—why do you try to evade it?"

"Because it is unfair to me. I haven't asked you any such ridiculous questions. I won't submit to be catechised so, positively, I won't! Don't be angry, dear. I am sure the slightest reflection on your part will convince you that I am right. I have partly forgotten the past; have ignored it anyhow, not caring to look back any further in my life than the two years in which I have known and loved you. All the happiness I ever really knew has been showered on me by your lavish hand. Be content in knowing that and spare me, Paul."

"I thank you, Grace, for your sweet tribute to me, but I asked you a question and I am—waiting for your answer."

"I thought I had answered you plainly enough, Paul. Why will you persist in making us both unhappy?"

"Gracie, will you answer or not?"

"Oh, darling! you have worried me into a nervous chill. I am cold as ice," and to prove the truth of her words she pressed two icy little hands upon his cheek, and for the first time in his life he pushed his fairy away from him.

"You must not trifle with me, Grace."

"You still insist on it, Paul?"

"I still insist on it."

"At the risk of your own unhappiness?"


She looked at him sadly as she leaned across the crib near him, but not touching him.

"Paul," she ventured, suddenly, "even supposing that I had loved another before I ever met you, what difference can that make to you? I love you truly now."

"So much difference, my wife, that I think I could never[Pg 29] again be happy if I knew you had ever loved another than myself; but I cannot bear this suspense. I ask you nothing about other men. I only ask you, did you ever love Bruce Conway?"

She could not utter a falsehood; she could not escape his keen, persistent questioning; she must be frank with him and hope for the best. That was the only way the poor little heart reasoned then; so with down-dropped eyes, and a sound in her ears that recalled the whisper of the ocean in her ears one parting night, she drew a little farther away from him, and answered, in a hushed, low voice, much like a chidden child's:

"I did."

A silence fell between them so hushed that she could hear her own heart beat. He had put up his hand to his face, and she could not see his features nor guess what effect her words had on him.

"Paul," she ventured, almost frightened at the sound of her own voice in the stillness, "don't think of it any more. I was nothing but a simple, dreaming child, and it is just as natural for a young girl to fancy herself in love with the first handsome young man who flatters her as it is for our baby there in his crib to cut his teeth and have the measles when he grows older. It seems absurd to make yourself miserable over so trifling a thing. I didn't like him so very much, indeed I didn't. I soon learned how unworthy he was of any woman's love. He is a fickle, wavering, unprincipled man, who never knows his own mind, unworthy a second thought of yours, my noble husband."

Unflattering verdict! but a true one. She understood the man who had trifled with her young heart almost better than he did himself. In that time when he had wavered so fatally between his pride and his happiness she had fathomed his very soul with her suddenly awakened perceptions, and she understood him well. She could look back now and thank Heaven for what had seemed then a calamity scarcely to be borne. What it had cost her only Heaven knew, for in her way she was a proud woman, and never "wore her heart on her sleeve;" but nobody stops to question how hard a struggle has been so that victory crowns it at last. To the world it matters little[Pg 30] who of its toiling, striving atoms have been patient pilgrims to

"That desert shrine
Which sorrow rears in the black realm—Despair!"

so that they return with palms of victory in their hands and the cross of honor upon their breasts. And Gracie, too, had fought a battle in her life and conquered; if it left ineffaceable scars they were hidden in her heart and left no token upon her fair, inscrutable face.

He made no reply to her wistful defense.

She went up to him and touched his hand with hers, still intent on making peace with this proud, impatient spirit. He only put her very gently but firmly away from him, and in a moment after turned suddenly and left the room. She heard him go down to his study, close his door, and fall heavily into a chair.

Then her repressed impatience and anger broke out, as she paced back and forth, like a spirit, in her flowing hair and long white robe.

"The idiot! the madman! to come back here after all this time, and throw the shadow of that unhappy love all over my future life! Did he think that I had no pride? that I would bear coldness, carelessness, neglect, and be glad to meet him after four years had passed, and say yes to the question that in all honor he should have asked before he went? I think I could spurn him with my foot if he knelt before me again as he did to-night!"

How she scorned him! How superb she was in her just anger and resentment! Her changeful eyes darkened and flashed with pride, her lip curled, her cheek glowed, her light step seemed to spurn the floor.

"Mamma, mamma!" The soft, frightened voice of her child, waking suddenly from his rosy sleep, recalled her to herself. In an instant she was by his side, bending over him, kissing his brow, his lips, his hands, his hair, in a passion of grieving tenderness.

"My darling, my comfort, my pretty boy! I am so glad that you are a boy! You will never know the pains, the penalties, the trials and crosses of a woman's life. If you were a little[Pg 31] girl, and I knew that if you lived you must bear all that I have borne and must still endure, I could bear to see you dead rather than live to say, as I have done: 'Mother, why didn't you let me die when I was a little child?'"

The little clock on the marble mantel chimed out the hour of three in soft musical notes. She lifted the child in her arms, and, passing into her sleeping apartment, laid him down on her own bed, for she never slept without her treasure in her arms. Then, kneeling by his side, she whispered a brief, agonized petition to Heaven before laying her tired form down in the snowy nest of linen and lace.

When the soft summer dawn began to break faintly over the earth, Paul Winans rose up from his tiresome vigils and stole up stairs with a noiseless footstep that did not waken her from her exhausted sleep. Her child nestled close to her heart, and her lips, even in her fitful slumber, were pressed upon his brow just as she had fallen asleep. The long curls of her golden hair flowed over both, and wrapped them in a mantle of sunshine. Her face wore a look of remembered pain and grief that went to his heart, as kissing both so softly that they did not stir, he laid a note upon the pillow, and went down the stairs and out into the street.



"Am I mad that I should cherish that which bears but bitter fruit?
I will pluck it from my bosom, though my heart be at the root!"


A misty, overcast morning dawned gloomily after the night of Mrs. Conway's ball. In spite of it the lady rose early. She had not slept at all, and, nervous and depressed, she roamed over the disordered house, from which the servants were busily removing the debris of the evening's entertainment. Every moment she expected to see her nephew enter, and as the day wore on and he failed to present himself, her impatience brooked control no longer, and she sent a messenger into Norfolk to the[Pg 32] National Hotel, his usual stopping-place in the city, to inquire after him.

The boy's swift horse carried him into the city and back in two hours. He came into the lady's presence bowing and grinning, the very picture of a sleek, good-natured, well-fed darkey.

"Did you see him, John?"

"Yaas'm, I see him," grinned John, his hands in his pockets complacently jingling the nickels his young master had just bestowed on him.

"You gave him my message? What did he say?"

"Yaas'm; he say as how"—here John stopped jingling his nickels long enough to make a low dip of his woolly head, as befitting the proper deliverance of the message he had—"he will do heself de hon'r ob takin' tea wid you dis even."

"Was that all he said?"

"All he says to you, ma'am—he ast me how come I stay 'long wid ole mis' all dis time, and not go off like do rest of de little nigs? I tell him——"

Here John stopped to chuckle softly at the remembrance.

"Well, you told him what?"

"As how old mis' couldn't git 'long 'thout me nohow," and here John turned and made a hasty exit in obedience to a "Go along, you impudent little monkey!" from the said "ole mis'."

He was at the gate that evening, ready to take his master's horse when he cantered up in the gloom of the overcast sunset.

"Glad to see you, Marse Bruce. Hopes you've come to stay. De ole place nuvver seemed like home without you," said the young darkey, who as a boy had blacked Bruce Conway's boots, run his errands, served as an escape-valve for all his ill humors, and withal adored him, now welcoming him home with the hearty affection that was so deeply rooted in his simple nature.

Freedom had not spoiled John in the least—possibly because so far as kind treatment and almost unlimited indulgence went, he had been free all his life.

But the young man merely threw him the reins, and with a careless "Take good care of him, John," walked off in the direction of the house.

"Humph!" commented the merry little darkey, as he led the horse off to the stable. "Sulky! I dersay he's come to give[Pg 33] the madam fits for lettin' of his sweetheart git married afore he come back. Serves him right, though. Why didn't he marry her fust, and take her 'long wid him to that furrin parts? Poor, pretty little dear! she did look just like an angel las' night, and they do say Marse Bruce took on some when he seen her."

For the servants had all been woefully disappointed when Bruce hurried off to Europe without the grand wedding that the cook had prophesied would take place between himself and Miss Grey; and the story of the last night's contretemps having been duly rumored from parlor to kitchen, was the all-absorbing subject of comment between cook, chambermaid, and boy-of-all-work—their sympathies and indignation being in such a fluctuating state just now that they could hardly decide who was the most deserving of their sympathy—the young man who, as they phrased it, had gone off and apparently jilted his sweetheart, or the young lady whom he had returned to find had really jilted him.

And the young man who was furnishing food for so much feminine gossip and conjecture that day, quite heedless of it all, walked on up the steps and into the stately presence of his expectant aunt.

She came forward very cordially, concealing any possible annoyance she felt under an appearance of affection. She began to see that reproaches and anger were not the way to bring this vacillating, reckless young fellow to his senses.

"I trust you are feeling well after your fatigue of last evening," he pleasantly observed, as they shook hands.

"No, I cannot say that I am. I have had no sleep, and felt worried and anxious about you, my dear boy."

"I am sorry to have caused you any such annoyance," he answered, repentantly, throwing himself wearily among the cushions of a luxurious sofa—"very sorry, indeed, Aunt Conway. I am not worth being a source of anxiety to any one."

The inflection of sadness and weariness in his tone touched her heart, and swept away all lingering resentments. She looked at him as he lay among the bright embroidered cushions, looking so handsome, yet so worn and hopeless, and her womanly pity found vent in the simple words:

"My poor boy!"

[Pg 34]

"Don't pity me!" he answered, impatiently. "I am not deserving of pity, and I don't want it. A man must sink very low, indeed, to become the object of a woman's pity."

What a strange mood he was in! Accustomed to him as she was, she could not fathom him this evening. She folded her hands in her lap and looked at him wistfully. He grew restless under her gaze, shifting his position so that the light should not strike on his features.

"You sent for me to give me a scolding, I suppose," he said, with a short, dry laugh. "I am here to receive it."

"I did not," she answered. "I sent for you because this is your home, and I want you to stay with me if you will. It is very lonely here with no one of my kindred, Bruce, and I am getting to be quite an old woman now. Why cannot you give me the solace of your company and affection for my few remaining years?"

"My affection!"

No words can do justice to the reckless cynicism of his look and tone.

"Aunt Conway, I have very little affection to give any one. My heart seems dead in my bosom. I came home, so full of noble resolves, so full of hope, that my downfall has almost banished reason from its throne. And as for my company, I fear I cannot even give you that. I owe it to myself, to you, more than all to the wife of Senator Winans, to take myself away from here, where no sight of me can recall my injustice to her, and my crowning folly of last night."



"You shall not talk so—shall not leave me again. Let Mrs. Winans alone. You have been in banishment three—nay, four years for her already. You shall not go again. Norfolk is surely large enough for you two to live in without crossing the path of each other. As for what happened last night, it is rather mortifying, but it will soon be forgotten. Stay with me, Bruce; there are plenty of beauties in Norfolk who will soon teach you to forget Mrs. Winans."

"Forget her! Is it likely, when the prevailing topic of Norfolk is the lovely Mrs. Winans, the brilliant Mrs. Winans, the[Pg 35] accomplished Mrs. Winans, with her accomplishments of fashion and folly? It seems quite the fashion to talk about her now. No, Aunt Conway, you cannot dissuade me from my purpose. I shall go away from here until I can learn to be a man. Here I renounce my ill-fated love for her, and pledge myself to forget her as an honorable man should do."

His aunt looked at him, her regret and pain mingled with admiration. He looked so noble, so proud, so manly as he spoke, that for a moment she felt a pang at the thought of the wrong she had done; for that she had done wrong she knew full well. She had known of her nephew's passionate love for Grace Grey and knew that with her he would have found all the happiness that is vouchsafed to mortals. But for a scruple of worldly pride and position she had separated them, punishing herself thereby; for in the long years of his banishment she had felt too truly that she had, in tearing apart those two loving hearts, bitterly wounded her own. The repressed longing for her boy, the pain of knowing herself unloved and uncared for, had been a daily thorn in her heart, a wound

"No after gladness
Could ever wholly heal."

For a moment, as she looked at him in his manly beauty and brave renunciation, a better impulse stirred her heart, and thinking of the fair young creature who had made such sunlight in this dreary, splendid home, a vague wish came into her soul that she had let them have their way, and not so rudely sundered what God had joined together.

Too late! When we take it upon ourselves to shape the life-destinies of others we must not expect to undo our work when we find it completed and unsatisfactory to us. When we see the hearts that our intermeddling has bruised and torn go from us hungry and empty we must not expect them to turn to us for the happiness we denied them.

Oh, fathers and mothers, maneuvering sisters, aunts, and relatives, when the young birds are mating and building, why cannot you let them alone? Why cannot you understand that your special experience and wisdom were given you by God for your guidance alone, and that every one cannot walk the same[Pg 36] chalked-out path, that every thinking, living mind must choose for itself whether or not it be wisely or well?

"As we make our beds we lie" has passed into a truth, but is it likely that any other will make it better for us than we try to do for ourselves? To be plain, no one has a right to dictate to us the way we are to walk in life; or, if they have, why has God given to every one of us thinking, reasoning, yearning minds, capable of knowing what we want and what we need better than any one can know for us?

"Bruce," she said, gently, "I have wronged you, you know. It was wrong of me to tempt you with my gold to desert the girl you loved, and who loved you. I never felt until this hour how basely I had acted. If I could undo my work I would. But I trust you may yet find happiness, and that the memory of all this suffering may pass from your soul as rain-drops from a rose, leaving it brighter and lovelier after the storm."

"Nay," he said, smiling faintly and sadly, "since you have descended to simile, let me remind you that there are two sides thereto. How often have I seen in this lovely garden of yours the crushed rose-leaves covering the ground, rain-beaten, pallid, and torn, as the storm had passed and left them. So it is most likely to be with me."

"I trust not. At any rate, Bruce, I ask your forgiveness. It is asking much, I know, when I reflect that but for me you would have wedded the girl you loved, and who, through my fault, is irrevocably lost to you. But you are all I have to love—all I have to love! Don't deny me."

"I do not," he answered, slowly. "Don't blame yourself entirely Aunt Conway. Blame my weak, wavering, vacillating will, that made me hesitate between Grace Grey and the noble inheritance you offered me. We are about equal, I think. I sold myself—you bought me!"

Oh, Grace, you are avenged! Deeply as you scorned him your contempt was not deeper than that which in this hour he felt for himself.

"I thank you, Bruce, dear boy, that you do not accord me all the blame, though I feel I fully deserve it. Let us change the subject to one more pleasant."

[Pg 37]

"In one moment, but first I have a confession to make. You may hear it from others, so I would like you to hear it first from me. You know that I am truthful, though unstable, and you can believe just what I say—not all the varnished reports you may hear."

"Go on," she said anxiously, as he paused.

"Well, then, I left you last night in a bad state of mind. I was mad, I think—simply mad—and in Norfolk I took more wine than was good for me. I swore to myself that I would not give up Grace. I hated her husband for having won her—I hated the child that calls her mother and him father—I hated you for separating us, and I swore that as she had loved me once she should love me again. Under the influence of this madness I took a guitar and sung under the window of the grand Winans' mansion a love-song—yes, aunt," laughing a little as she recoiled in dismay, "I dared to sing a love-song—I dared to serenade the married belle of society and queen of beauty with a love-song she had sung for me on the eve of our parting four years ago."

"Oh, Bruce! what have you done?"

"Gotten myself into a difficulty, perhaps. The question is, did they hear me, or were they all asleep? If they heard and know me, I have undoubtedly provoked the wrath of that haughty Senator who calls her his own. I propose to extricate myself from this dilemma by leaving the place as quietly as I returned; not through cowardice, Aunt Conway, I won't have you think that," his eye flashed proudly, "but because I have caused her trouble enough already. I'll not stay here to bring further trouble and comment upon her. I won't have her pure name dragged through the scandal of an affair of honor. The only thing is to go away—that is the only reparation I can make, to go away and forget her, and be myself forgotten."

There was much that was noble in him yet; much that was high-toned, chivalric, high-spirited, and tender—all of it, alas, marred by that vacillating will, that wavering, doubting nature that was so long in making its mind up, and when made up soon changed it again.

The tea-bell suspended further converse on the subject. He gave her his arm in courtly fashion, and they descended to the[Pg 38] dining-room, both too preoccupied to observe the curious kindly black faces that peeped at them from obscure stations, eager to see the handsome young master they remembered so well, and to see how he looked "since he'd come back and found his sweetheart married and gone," as if people wore their hearts in their faces. Ah, if they did what a gruesome looking crowd would meet us whithersoever we went.

Dainty and elegant as was the evening meal, I think Bruce Conway and his handsome old aunt scarcely did justice to it. Her callous, worldly heart was stirred as it had not been for years. For Bruce, I think he might as well have eaten chips for all he enjoyed the spring chicken, the pickled oysters, the rosy ham, and warmly-browned biscuit, the golden honey and preserves, the luscious fruits, the fragrant tea and chocolate. Across the glimmer of flowers, and silver, and dainty cut-glass, and edibles, a shadowy form sat in the vacant chair at the opposite side of the table, which had been the wonted place of the rosy reality. A girl's fair face looked across at him, her white hands trifled with the silver knife and fork, reached the preserve across to him, poured the cream into his tea, showed him a dozen kindly attentions, and once he said, absently, "No, I thank you, Grace," and looked up into the shiny black face of John, who was changing his plates for him, and who nearly exploded with repressed laughter, but said, with mock earnestness, and a pretense of misapprehension:

"Ole mis' nuvver say Grace afore meals, Marse Bruce, cepen' 'tis when de minister stays to tea, sir."

"Leave the room, you young scamp," said Mr. Conway, irascibly, and John went, nothing loth to indulge himself in a fit of laughter at the expense of his beloved young "Marse Bruce." But the little incident served to make Bruce more wide-awake, and rousing himself to realities the pansy-eyed phantom fled away from Mrs. Conway's well-appointed table.

"That boy is a perfect clown," complained the lady; "he's not fit to wait on the table at all. I shall have to secure a good dining-room servant."

Mrs. Conway had said this so often that there was small danger of its being put into execution. She was attached in a great degree to the servants around her, all of whom had belonged to[Pg 39] her in the days of slavery, and who when "set free," during the war, had, unlike the majority of the freedmen who sought new homes, promptly taken service at extravagant wages from their whilom mistress and owner. John had grown up to his seventeenth year in the service of his indulgent "ole miss," and he was fully persuaded of the interesting fact that she "couldn't do 'thout him, nohow."

After tea the two repaired to the brightly lighted drawing-room. The dull damp day rendered the closed shutters rather agreeable than otherwise, and shut out thus, from the sight of much that would have pained him, the young man made an effort to entertain his aunt, narrating many of his adventures abroad, and interesting an unthought-of listener, who was lazily curled up outside the door listening to the sprightly converse of the returned traveler.

"Wonder if all dat kin be true," pondered John, dubiously; "but course 'tis, if Marse Bruce says so. John Andrew Jackson Johnson, you ain't fitten to be a Conway nigger if you can't believe what your young gentleman tells," and thus apostrophizing himself, John relapsed into silence. Nevertheless, his mouth and eyes during the next hour were often extended to their utmost capacity, and I fear that if any other than Bruce Conway had presumed to relate such remarkable things, John would have been tempted to doubt his veracity.

A sharp peal of the door-bell compelled him to forego his pleasant occupation to answer it. He came back with a card on a silver salver.

"Gentl'man to see Marse Bruce; showed him into libr'y, sir; he wished to see you 'lone, sir," announced John, with much dignity.

Mr. Conway took the card, and Mrs. Conway looked over his shoulder.

"Captain Frank Fontenay, U. S. A.," he read aloud, and Mrs. Conway said:

"A military gentleman—who is he, Bruce? I don't know him."

"Nor I," said her nephew, grimly.

He was white as marble, but his dark eyes never wavered in their firm, cold glitter. Whatever else he was, Bruce Conway[Pg 40] was not a coward. He gently released himself from his aunt's detaining hand.

"I will go and see this gentleman," he said.

"Oh, Bruce!"—she clung to him in a nervous, hysterical tremor—"I feel as if something dreadful were going to happen. Don't see him at all."

He smiled at her womanly fears.

"My dear aunt, don't be hysterical. John, call Mrs. Conway's maid to attend her. Aunt Conway, there is nothing to alarm you—nothing at all;" and, putting her back on her sofa, he went out to meet his unbidden guest.

The captain was a fine-looking man, of perhaps forty years, blue-eyed, blonde-haired, and much be-whiskered. He stood very courteously in the middle of the floor, hat in hand, as Bruce entered the library.

"Mr. Conway?" he interrogated, smoothly.

"At your service, sir," said Bruce.

"Mr. Conway," said the gentleman, with a glittering smile that showed all his lovely white teeth, "I am the bearer to you of a message from Senator Winans. My friend, sir, considers himself insulted by you, and demands such satisfaction as all gentlemen accord each other."

He placed an open note in Mr. Conway's hand, who silently perused it.

It was a challenge to fight a duel.

"Any friend of yours can call on me to-morrow at three to settle the preliminaries," suggested the blonde captain, placidly smiling up into Mr. Conway's impassive face, and taking his acceptance for granted.

"Very well, sir; I will send a friend of mine to you quite punctually at three to-morrow. Is that satisfactory for the present?"

"Quite so, sir; very much so, sir," smoothly returned Captain Fontenay, bowing his quite imposing military presence out.

[Pg 41]



"Here are a few of the unpleasant'st words
That ever blotted paper."—Shakespeare.
"Farewell!—a word that hath been and must be,
A sound that makes us linger—yet, farewell!"

Byron's Childe Harold.

Grace Winans waked from her troubled sleep with a vague presentiment of impending evil. She heard the small clock on the mantel chiming seven, and looked about her half bewildered.

The shaded taper burned faintly in the room, and the gray morning light stole dimly through the closed shutters and lace curtains. Her baby lay on her arm, sleeping sweetly in his warm white nest. She raised her head a little, only to sink back wearily with a dull, fevered throbbing in her temples, and a sharp pang of remembrance that forced a low cry from her lips:

"Oh, Paul!"

Where was he? She thought of the study, and with a pang at fancy of his tiresome vigil, eased the baby lightly off her arm, and tucking him softly round, donned dressing-gown and slippers, and stole gently down stairs, rapped slightly at the door, then opened it and entered.

The light still burned in the room, looking garish and wan in the pale beams of morning; the easy-chair was drawn near the writing-table, but vacant. She glanced around her. He was not there, and no trace of him remained.

The young wife slowly retraced her steps.

"He will come presently," she whispered to herself, "but I wonder where he is;" and as she bent over little Paul, laying her round, white arm on the pillow, the sharp edge of the note grazed her velvet-like skin. She looked at it, shrinking, afraid,[Pg 42] it seemed, to touch it for the moment; then, with a terrible effort over herself, her trembling hand took it up, her shady, violet eyes ran over the contents:

"Oh Grace!" it read, "you know that I adore you—too well, too well! for I cannot bear to live with you and know that your heart—the heart I thought so wholly and entirely mine—has ever held the image of another! You should have told me of this before we married. You wronged me bitterly, Gracie, but I will not upbraid you. Still, until I can learn to curb this jealous passion of mine, I will not, cannot remain where you are. I should only render you miserable. You and my boy will remain in my home—remember, I command this—and you will draw on my banker as usual for what sums you may need or want. I do not limit you in anything, my wife, my own idolized wife—please yourself in all things, do as you like, and try to be content and happy. If I can ever overcome this jealous madness—can ever reconcile myself to knowing that I was second instead of first in your pure heart, I will come to you, but not till then. Try to be happy with our little boy, and forgive your own, erring, unhappy


White and still as marble, the deserted wife sat holding that mad note in her hand, looking before her into vacancy, moveless, speechless—yes, and pallid as she would ever be in her coffin.

A terrible, overwhelming sense of her desolation rushed upon her; but, strangely enough, her first thoughts were not of her husband in his jealous grief, but of herself—of the scandal, the disgrace, the nine-days' wonder that would follow all this. She knew her husband well enough to know that once his mad resolve was taken it would be adhered to.

He was no Bruce Conway, with wavering, doubting will, that could be blown aside by a passing breeze. Firm, proud, sensitive, but unbending as adamant, was Paul Winans when once his resolution was taken. No one knew it better than his wife, though he had ever been kind and loving to her.

A dumb horror settled on her soul as she realized the meaning of his letter. He blamed her as having willfully deceived him. She had not meant to do so; she had not thought it a matter of any moment to Paul Winans whether or not she had loved before she met him. Other men would not have cared—why[Pg 43] should he? He had not questioned her, had taken her past for granted. How could she tell him of that unsought, scorned, neglected love that had darkly shadowed the joy of her young girlhood? He was unjust to her. She felt it keenly in the midst of her sufferings.

Were all men like these two whom she had loved, she questioned herself, mournfully. Not one of them was worthy of a true woman's love—no, not one.

It had come to this—a deserted wife—through no fault of hers was this tribulation brought on her. She felt that the world had used her hardly and cruelly. The passion and pride that underlie firm yet sweet natures like hers, surged up to the surface and buoyed her up above the raging billows of grief and sorrow. She felt too indignant to weep. She had almost wept her heart out long ago. She meant to sit still with folded hands and tranquil heart, and let the cold, harsh world go by heedless of its pangs, as it was of hers.

Her husband was using her cruelly in bringing this unmerited disgrace upon her and her child. She half resolved to flee far away with her boy where he could never find her in the hour when shame and repentance should drive him back to her side. It was but for a moment. Then she remembered the brief sentence in his note that commanded her to remain in his home, and then her resolution wavered; for when Grace Grey had taken that solemn oath before God to "love, honor, and obey," she had meant to keep her word.

Poor child! for hers was a strangely complex nature—a blending of the child and woman that we often meet in fine, proud feminine natures, and never wholly understand.

A hundred conflicting emotions surged madly through her as she sat there, motionless and pale, until moment after moment went by, and the overtaxed brain, the overwrought heart gave way, and blessed unconsciousness stole upon her. With her hands folded loosely in her lap over that cruel note, a sharp despair shadowed forth in that lovely face, the stately head fell forward and rested heavily on the pillow beside the child, whose rosy, unconscious slumber was unbroken, as though the hovering wings of angels brooded above him and his forsaken mother.

Norah found her thus when the cooing voice of the awakened[Pg 44] babe reached her ears in the nursery. His pretty black eyes were sparkling with glee, his rosy lips prattled baby nothings, his dimpled, white fingers were twisted in the bright curls of his mother's hair as they swept luxuriantly over the pillow.

With all the art of his babyhood he was trying to win a response from his strangely silent mother.

She came back to life with a gasping sigh, as Norah dashed a shower of ice-water into her face, opened her eyes, said, "Don't, Norah, don't!" and drifted back to the realms of unconsciousness; and so deep was the swoon that this time all the restoratives of the frightened Norah failed for a long time of any effect.

"Looks like she's dead!" muttered the Irishwoman, divided between her care for the child's mother and the child itself, who began to grow fretful from inattention and hunger.

Better for her if she had been, perhaps. There are but few women who find the world so fair that the grave is not held as a refuge for their tired souls and bodies. But Grace came back, with a little gasping sigh, to the life that had never held much attraction for her, and with a trembling arm drew her baby to her breast.

"Poor little Paul!" she quavered, "he is hungry and fretful. Go and get his bath ready, Norah. I can't think how I came to faint. I feel well enough now, and it is quite unusual to me to lose consciousness so easily."

She was herself again. Pride sat regnant on her brow, on her curling lip, in her quiet eyes. It held her up when the poor heart felt like breaking. She had learned the lesson long ago—learned it too thoroughly to forget.

So the day passed quietly away. She had briefly explained to the curious servants that their master had been called off by an emergency that required his absence from home. She did not know at what time he would return—he did not know himself yet. In the meantime all would go on in the house as usual. And with this miserable subterfuge, for which she despised herself, the young wife tried to shield her husband's name from the sharp arrows of censure.

Two or three visitors were announced that evening, but she quietly declined seeing company; and so one of the longest[Pg 45] days of her life wore to its close, as even the longest, dreariest days will, if we only have patience to wait.

She was not patient, nor yet impatient. A dull, reckless endurance upheld her in that and succeeding days of waiting that passed the same. She heard nothing from her husband. In the excited, unnatural state of her mind, smarting under the sense of injustice and wrong, it seemed to her that she did not care to hear.

She spent her time altogether with her little son, never seeing company nor going out. When Norah took the child out for his daily airing and ride through the fresh air, she whiled away the time till his return by reckless playing on the grand piano or organ, in the elegant drawing-room. She could not settle herself to reading, sewing, or any other feminine employment. She filled up the great blank that had come into her life as best she might with the sublime creations of the old masters.

Sometimes the very spirit of mirth and gayety soared in music's melting strains from the grand piano; sometimes the soul of sadness and despair wailed along the organ chords, but the fair face kept its changeless, impassive calm through all, while the white fingers flew obedient to her will. Sometimes she tried to sing, but the spirit of song was wanting. She could not even sing to her child, could scarcely speak, and started sometimes at the hollow echo of her own sweet voice.

And thus a dreary week passed away. But even this semblance of calm and repose was destined to be rudely broken. Miss Lavinia Story effected an entrance one day, being determined not to be kept out any longer by the stereotyped "not at home;" and with her tenderest smile she took both hands of Mrs. Winans in hers, and looked with deep solicitude into her calmly beautiful face.

"Dear friend, you must forgive me for this intrusion, but I felt that I must see you, must condole with you in your trying situation. You are very pale, my dear, looking wretched I may say, but you bear up well, remarkably well, I think, considering everything."

Mrs. Winans invited her visitor to a seat with freezing politeness and hauteur. Then she went back to her place on the music-stool.

[Pg 46]

"I was playing when you came in," she remarked, coolly. "If you will tell me what music you like, Miss Lavinia, I will play for you."

"Not for the world would I lacerate your feelings so much," sighed the old maid, putting her lace handkerchief to her eyes to wipe away a tear that was not there. "What, when all Norfolk is sympathizing with you in your distress and mortification, and commiserating you, shall I be heartless enough to beg you to play for me, even though you are bearing up so sweetly and wonderfully. No, my love, don't exert yourself for me. I understand your feelings, and only wish to sympathize with you—not to be a source of annoyance."

"I beg your pardon, Miss Lavinia"—the soft eyes looked gravely at her, the fair face keeping its chilling calm, the musical voice its polite indifference—"I did not know myself so honored by the good people of Norfolk, and really, I must say their commiseration is wasted in a bad cause, and I do not know what has given them occasion for its exercise. When I need sympathizers and 'Job's comforters,' I will seek them. At present I do not feel their need."

"Dear me! how high and mighty Mrs. Conway's companion has got to be," thought Miss Lavinia, spitefully, but she only said: "My dear, I am glad to see you bear up so well. Your strength of mind is quite remarkable. Now, had such a thing happened to me I feel sure I should have been extremely ill from shame and terror. But," with a simper, "I am such a timid, nervous girl. With your beauty and notoriety you have no doubt grown accustomed to this kind of thing, and do not mind it. But my sympathy is truly great for your little boy."

"Miss Story!"—her hostess whirled around on the music-stool, an ominous fire blazing under her long dark lashes—"I pass over your contemptible innuendoes to myself as unworthy my notice, but will you kindly inform me what you are talking about—that is if you know yourself, for I assuredly do not."

What superb anger there was in her look and tone. It was scarcely like her to be so irritable, but she was not herself this evening. The tamed leopard, when goaded too hard, sometimes turns on its keeper, and the gentlest heart has a spark of fire smoldering in its depths that may be rudely stirred into a[Pg 47] destructive flame. Miss Lavinia recoiled timorously from the fire that blazed in those wondrous dark eyes.

"I beg your pardon, Mrs. Winans," she answered, smoothly. "I did not know you were so angry about it, though, of course, you feel irritated about it, as every right-minded person must feel. I think myself Mr. Conway has acted unbecomingly. You had a right to change your mind in his absence if you liked, and it was silly in him to make such ado about it all, when the best plan was to let it all blow over."

"Do you mean to insinuate that I was affianced to Mr. Conway during his absence, and threw him over for a wealthier rival, Miss Story?" demanded Grace, indignantly.

"That is what rumor assigns as the cause of the late 'unpleasantness,' to call it by a mild name," returned the persevering spinster, carefully taking down mental notes of the conversation to report to her gossips.

"Then rumor is, as usual, mistaken. Mr. Conway never has been, never can be, more than the merest acquaintance to me," answered Mrs. Winans, briefly and coldly.

"Indeed! Thank you, my dear friend, for reposing such implicit confidence in me. I am glad to know the truth of the matter, and to be able to tell people that you are not the heartless flirt they try to make you out. Mr. Conway's folly is indeed reprehensible, and he no doubt deserves all he suffers."

All he suffers! The pale listener wondered if he suffered half so much as she did. What was his selfish disappointment to the disgrace, the trouble, the sorrow he had brought on her and her innocent baby. Her heart hardened toward him as she listened.

"Let us drop the subject," she said, proudly. "Mr. Conway is hardly worth being the protracted subject of our conversation. It were better had he remained on the other side of the ocean."

"That's the truth," said Miss Lavinia, briskly. "The foolish fellow. To come all the way home to be shot down for a woman who never even cared for him, and a married woman at that."

"To be shot down did you say, Miss Story? I confess I do not understand you. Will you explain yourself? You have been talking in enigmas all this time."

Mrs. Winans rose from her seat, and taking a step forward,[Pg 48] looked at the incorrigible old gossip, her red lips half apart, her dusk-blue orbs alight, her whole appearance indicative of eager, repressed excitement.

"Why, you seem surprised," said the spinster, maliciously. "Why Mrs. Winans, didn't you know of the almost fatal termination of the duel? Ah, that accounts for your calmness and composure. I thought you were not utterly heartless. I see it all. They have kept the papers from you."

"The duel! What duel?"

"Why, the duel between your husband and Bruce Conway, to be sure," answered Miss Lavinia, in surprise at Grace's apparent stupidity.

"Miss Story, do you mean to tell me that there has been a duel between these two—my husband and Mr. Conway?"

"Why, certainly there has. Haven't I been talking about it ever since I came in here? And is it possible that you knew nothing at all of the affair?"

"I did not." Very low and sad fell the words from her white lips, and she leaned one arm on the grand piano to steady her graceful figure. "Miss Story, my husband—he was unhurt, I trust?"

"He was not injured at all, and I hear has left the city, but that unfortunate Mr. Conway fell at the first fire, and is very seriously wounded, they say. Indeed, I believe the surgeon has small hopes of his recovery. It's very sad, very shocking. It ought to be a warning to all young men not to go falling in love with other men's wives."



"There is many a maiden more lovely by far,
With the step of a fawn and the glance of a star;
But heart there was never more tender and true
Than beats in the bosom of darling Lulu."


Go with me, my reader, not many squares distant from that stately Winans' mansion, to an humbler home—a small brick[Pg 49] edifice standing near to the street, and bearing over a side-door a small sign, with the name of Willard Clendenon, Attorney-at-law, inscribed thereon in very handsome gilt letters. But we have no business to transact with the gallant captain, so we will not even look into his dusty office, but pass on up the stairs, and without even knocking, enter the guest-chamber of the house.

It is a large, airy, prettily appointed chamber, but the shutters are closely akimboed, the lace curtains are drooped over the windows, and the quiet air of a sick-room pervades the apartment. On the low, white bed that occupies the center of the apartment is the recumbent figure of a man, in whose handsome features, even though his eyes are closed in a death-like sleep, we recognize Bruce Conway. He looks like marble as he lies there, his black hair flowing back from his broad, white brow, his closed eyes encircled with purplish rings, the dark mustache slightly shading his mouth, only revealing more plainly the deathly pallor and suffering of the lips.

Standing by the side of the bed, Captain Clendenon looks down at him with infinite pity and tenderness in his dark-gray orbs.

And standing by the captain's side is a little figure that looks fairy-like by contrast with his manly proportions. She clings to his arm as he stands there, and her brown head leans lightly against him, her fair girlish face wearing a look of sadness and pain as she gazes at the sufferer's sleeping face.

"Oh, Brother Willie," she whispers, "I am so sorry for him! Oh, it is so dreadful!"

And then her red lips quiver like a grieved child's, and two pearly tears start on her cheeks, and, rolling down, are lost in the ruffles on the breast of her blue morning-dress.

Captain Clendenon did not answer. He looked down at the quiet, handsome face that the surgeon thought might never wake from that death-like sleep, or if it did, it might only be to take on the deeper sleep of eternity. He had lain like that all day—it was noon now.

The duel had taken place a few days before, at a little distance out of Norfolk. The captain had done everything in his power to prevent the terrible affair, but in vain; had refused[Pg 50] the application of Bruce that he should become his second, in the hope that he might be enabled to compromise the affair by prevailing on Bruce to offer Winans an apology for his untimely serenade.

Bruce had changed his mind about going away, and chose to feel offended at the view taken by the captain of the whole affair; so he left him out of his councils, and the duel came off without the captain's knowledge or consent. A mere accident had brought the matter to his knowledge at almost the hour appointed for it, and hurrying off to the scene of action, he had arrived only in time to see him fall at the first fire.

The appointed place was seven miles from Mrs. Conway's residence, and after the surgeon had dressed the wound and declared its serious nature, the captain took the right of an old friend to convey him to his own home in Norfolk, which was nearer, more especially as the surgeon thought the last lingering hope of recovery would be destroyed by jolting him over seven miles to his home at Ocean View.

That was how he came to be lying there in that pleasant chamber, with Captain Clendenon's pretty sister crying her brown eyes out over him.

"Poor boy! poor Bruce!" he murmured. "How the bitter consequences of his wrong-doing has followed him! And now, in all probability, he must die; yet, after all," thought this loyal heart, "it cannot be so very hard to die for her."

The noiseless entrance of his pleasant-faced mother made him look up. Taking a seat by the bed, she quietly dismissed them from the room.

"I will watch by him myself," she said, kindly, "and the fewer in the room the better, you know. Both of you go and rest yourselves."

They both withdrew with lingering steps, and eyes that seemed loth to quit that pale sleeper, but quietly obedient to their mother's wishes, and content in knowing that she would do for him all that lay in human power.

But down in the quiet little parlor the brother and sister sat down to talk it all over.

"Oh, brother! what did Mrs. Conway say when you told her?"

[Pg 51]

"Went off into strong hysterics. The maid had to put her to bed. I sent the doctor out there as I rode in town."

"How dreadful! all she had to love, poor, proud old lady; how I pity her!" and the little maiden's tears flowed afresh from her sympathizing soul.

"She may thank herself for the most of it," he answered, half bitterly. "Why did she tempt his weak mind with her wealth and pride? She knew better than any one else how wavering a will was his. Why did she continually thwart all his best impulses?"

"But, brother, he ought to have had more manliness. But it is too late to blame him now. I wonder if Mrs. Winans knows—how she feels about it? Do you know, brother Willie, I would give much to see this wonderful woman whose beauty has only been for bane. You have seen her. Is she so very beautiful? What is she like?"

"Like nothing you ever saw, little Lulu—like some fair saint, or angel."

The passion in his heart broke through his words. A faint red flushed his brown cheek, and his eyes drooped as his sister looked up with soft, astonished gaze.

"Why, brother, did you love her, too?

"That is the first time you have accused me of loving any one but yourself, little sister," he answered, lightly, parrying the question.

"Well, tell me this, brother. Did you ever go to see her at all? Did you like her—did she like you?"

"I went there sometimes—not often," his glance falling with unconscious pathos on the empty sleeve that lay between him and any aspiration toward woman's love. "I liked her very much indeed. She was very sweet and attractive, very obliging always. She liked me a little; I suppose, as a mere friend. I never presumed to ask for a deeper regard. I knew she loved Bruce. I felt, Lulu, it seemed to me then, in her dark days, every pang that struck home to that trusting and deceived young heart. I felt sorry for her, and admired her for the brave yet womanly strength that carried her through that bitter ordeal. I rejoiced with her when she married a better man than Bruce and seemed to have forgotten the past."

[Pg 52]

The tender brown eyes looked gravely at him as he spoke, reading his heart with a woman's quick intuition. She put both arms about his neck and touched her lips to the noble brow over which the brown curls fell so carelessly. The mute caress told him that she understood and sympathized in his unspoken grief. The man's heart in him could not bear it. He rose, putting her kindly and gently aside.

"Lulu, she has a noble husband; a handsome, generous fellow, a 'man among men,' but he is marred almost as much by his unreasoning jealousy as is Bruce by his unstable character. I pity her. She is worthy of confidence and all respect. It is an honor to any man to have loved her even though hopelessly."

"And Senator Winans has left her, they say, Brother Willie?"

"So rumor says," he answered, meditatively.

"Why don't you see him, brother, and talk with him, and try to make him look at things fairly? It seems a pity she should suffer so, through no fault of hers, too. My heart aches for her in her loneliness."

He did not answer. He was walking slowly up and down the floor, pausing now and then to look out of the window which overlooked the Elizabeth River and the wharves crowded with the shipping of all nationalities. His sister rose and paced the floor, also, her young heart full of sympathy for the four people whose life-paths crossed each other so strangely and sadly. She shuddered and hoped she would never love. Of the three men who each loved Grace Winans in his own fashion, she wondered which was the most unhappy; the husband who had stained his hands in human blood for his selfish passion; Bruce Conway who was dying for her, or her brother whose heart was silently breaking for her. The little maiden who was all unversed in the lore of life found herself bewildered in the maze of metaphysics into which she was drifting. She sat herself down with a sigh, and thought of the handsome face lying so deathly white up stairs, and half wishing her mother had not banished her from the room.


"Yes, Brother Willie."

He was looking at her as she looked up at him with a flitting[Pg 53] blush on her round, dimpled face. She was wonderfully pretty, this Lulu Clendenon, with her arch brown eyes, and pink and white skin, the wavy brown hair that was gathered in a soft, loosely braided coil at the back of her small head, and her blue lawn dress, with its frillings, and flutings, and puffings, was very becoming, setting off the whiteness of her throat and wrists as no other color ever does for a pretty woman.

"Well," she said, as he did not answer her first reply.

"My little sister, I won't have you tangling your brain up with useless speculations over things that must happen as long as the world stands and men and women live, and breathe, and have their being. Don't let me see that pretty brow all puckered up again. What would mother and I do if our household fairy became dull, and dreamy, and philosophical."

"Brother Willie, am I always to be a child?"

"Always, my sweet? Why how old are you—sixteen?"

"I am nineteen, brother, and this Mrs. Winans of whom all Norfolk is raving, who is a wife and mother—she, it is said, is barely more than twenty."

"Yes, love; but the loss of parents and friends forced Grace Grey into premature womanhood and premature responsibilities; she took up the cross early, but you, dear little one——"

A low tinkle of the door-bell cut short whatever else he meant to say, and he answered the summons himself. It was a messenger from Mrs. Conway to inquire concerning her nephew. He sent back a message that he still lay sleeping quietly. For the rest of the day the house was besieged with callers and inquirers from all parts of the city, and Captain Clendenon found himself kept busy in replying.

In the midst of it all, in his deep grief and anxiety for his friend's life, in his pity and sympathy for the exiled duelist, a fair face brooded over all his thoughts, a pang for a woman's suffering struck coldly to his heart. To know that she was mourning alone, bowed to earth in her unmerited sorrow and shame, was the height and depth of bitterness to the man who loved her tenderly and purely as he did his own little sister.

And the spring day wore to its close, and the silence of the balmy spring night, with its wandering breeze of violets, its mysterious stare, fell over all things. The string of inquirers[Pg 54] from among the friends of the wounded man thinned out, the surgeon came and went, and still Bruce Conway lay locked in that strange pallid sleep on whose waking so many hearts hung with anxiety and dread.

At ten o'clock the captain admitted John, who had come to seek fresh tidings for his mistress. His honest black face looked up in vague, awe-struck grief at the captain's mournful features.

"Oh, marse cap'en!" he pleaded, "lemme see him, if you please, sir, once more before he dies!"

"Be very quiet, then," said the captain, "and it will do no harm for you to go in."

The black boy went in with footfalls noiseless as the captain's own. Lulu and her mother were there, one on each side of the bed, watching the sleeper with anxious eyes. They looked up at the strange face of the boy as he paused and gazed at the still, white face on the pillow. His dark skin seemed to grow ashen white as he looked, his thick, ugly lip quivered convulsively, and two tears darted from his black eyes and rolled down upon his breast. He gazed long and mournfully, seeming to take in every lineament of that beloved face; then, as he turned reluctantly away, stooped carefully down, and touched his rough lips tenderly and lightly on the cold, white hand that lay outside of the coverlid.

"Twas a hand that never struck me, and was always kind to me," he murmured, mournfully, as he went out, followed by the injunction from Mrs. Clendenon to report that Mr. Conway was still in the same condition—sleeping quietly.

Lulu looked down at the hand lying so still and lifeless on the counterpane. A tear-drop that had fallen from the eyes of the poor black boy lay on it, shining purely as a pearl in the subdued light. Lulu would not wipe it away. It was a precious drop distilled from the fountain of unselfish love and sorrow; it seemed to plead mutely to the girl for the man who lay there so still and pale, unable to speak for himself.

"There must have been much good in the poor young man," she thought, impulsively, "or his servants would not have loved him like that."

By and by she stole down to her brother, who was still pacing,[Pg 55] with muffled footfalls, the parlor floor. He turned to her, inquiringly.

"Well?" he queried.

"No change yet—not the slightest."

"Probably there will not be until midnight. I trust it will be favorable, though we have no grounds to expect it. The surgeon fears internal hemorrhage from that great bullet-wound in the side—it narrowly escaped the heart. He will be here again to-night before the crisis comes."

Once more comes a low, muffled door-bell. Lulu drops into an arm-chair, shivering, though the night is warm. Willard goes to the door.

Presently he comes back, ushering in a stranger. She rises up, thinking as a matter of course that this is the surgeon.

"My sister, Lulu, Senator Winans," said her brother's quiet tones.

Lulu nearly dropped to the floor in astonishment and terror. She was very nervous to-night—so nervous that she actually trembled when he lightly touched her hand, and she almost pushed his away, thinking, angrily, that that firm white hand had done Bruce Conway to death.

He was not so terrible to look at, though, she thought, as with woman's proverbial curiosity she furtively scanned the tall, fine figure.

He was very young to fill such a post of honor in his country—he certainly did not look thirty—and the fine white brow, crowned by curling, jet-black hair, might have worn a princely crown and honored it in the wearing. Beautiful, dusk-black eyes, gloomy now as a starless midnight, looked at her from under slender, arched, black brows. The nose was perfectly chiseled, of Grecian shape and profile; the mouth was flexible and expressive—one that might be sweet or stern at will; the slight, curling mustache did not hide it, though his firm chin was concealed by the dark beard that rippled luxuriantly over his breast.

It was a face that breathed power; whose beauty was thoroughly masculine; that was mobile always; that might be proud, or passionate, or jealous—never ignoble. Altogether he was a splendidly handsome man. Lulu could not help acknowledging[Pg 56] this to herself—the very handsomest man she had ever seen in her life. But for all that, after she had politely offered him a chair, she retreated as far as possible from his vicinity. Why had he come there in his proud, strong manhood and beauty, and Bruce Conway lying up stairs like that? He did not take the offered seat, but merely placing one hand on the back of it, looked from her to her brother.

"I feel that this is an unwelcome intrusion, Captain Clendenon," he said, slowly, and in soft, sad tones, that thrilled the girl's heart, in spite of the anger she felt for him, "but I cannot help it, though you may not believe me when I tell you that it was so impossible for me endure the suspense and horror of to-night that I have come here to beg you for news of the man whom I have almost murdered."

Black eyes and gray ones met each other without wavering. Soul met soul, and read each other by the fine touchstone of a fellow-feeling. Even in his anger for his friend, Willard Clendenon could not withhold a merited kindly answer.

"I do believe you," he answered, quietly, "and am glad you came, though I can tell you nothing satisfactory. The patient has slept all day—still sleeps—— he will awaken to life or death. We are only waiting."

"Waiting!" That word chilled the fiery, impulsive soul of Paul Winans into a dumb horror. Waiting!—for what! To see his work completed. What had he done? Taken in cold blood a human life that at this moment, in his swift remorse and self-accusation, he would have freely given his own to save; in the height of his jealous madness committed a deed from which his calmer retrospection revolted in horror. He looked from one to the other in pale, impotent despair. He had gone his length—the length of human power and passion—now God's hand held the balance.

"Then, at least, you will let me wait," he said. "If he dies, I shall surrender myself up to justice. If he lives, I shall all the sooner know that I am not a murderer."

"You shall stay, certainly, and welcome," Willard said, cordially, touched by the evident suffering of the other.

"Very well; I will sit here and wait, with thanks. I do not deserve this kindness."

[Pg 57]

Lulu stole from the room, leaving them alone together, and resumed her place up stairs. The patient slept calmly on, her mother placidly watching him. Once or twice her brother looked quietly in, and as quietly withdrew. There was something on his mind that must be spoken. He turned once and looked at his companion as he sat upright in his chair, still and pale almost as his victim lay up stairs.

"Winans," he said, slowly, "we have known each other for a long time, and I knew your wife long before you ever met her, and knew her but to reverence her as a pearl among women. Will you pardon me if I confess to an interest in her that lends me to inquire frankly if you think you are doing her justice?"

"Clendenon, I know that I am not. I know that I am unworthy of her—pure, injured angel that she is—but what can I do? I dare not remain near her. I should but make her miserable. It maddens me, in my jealous bitterness, when I remember that young, fair, and sweet as she was when I first met her, the pure page of her heart had already been inscribed with the burning legend of a first love. Her first love lost to me, her second only given to me, I cannot bear! When I can overcome this fiery passion, and if Bruce Conway lives, I will return to her—not till then."

"You are wrong, my friend—bitterly wrong. Think of what she suffers, of the scandal, the conjecture that your course will create. You should be her defender, not leave her defenseless to meet the barbed arrows of caviling society. Return to your injured wife, Winans. Take the candid advice of one who esteems you both. It is so hard on her. She suffers deeply, I feel."

"Clendenon, hush! You madden me, and cannot shake my firm resolve—would that I had never met her."

"Possibly she might have been happier," Clendenon says, with sudden scathing sarcasm, "but I will say no more. It is not my province to come between man and wife. May God have more mercy on her than you have!"

The words pierced that proud heart deeply. The erring, passionate man arose and looked at the other in his calm, truthful scorn, and burning words leaped to his lips.

[Pg 58]

"Clendenon, you don't know what you are talking of. You blame me for what I cannot overcome. Do you know where I was born? Under the burning skies of Louisiana. The hot blood of the fiery South leaps through my veins, the burning love of the Southern clime pours its flood-tide through my heart, the passionate jealousy of the far South fires my soul. I cannot help my nature. I cannot entirely control nor transform it into a colder, calmer one. Blame me if you will, think me unmanly if you will, but I have told you the truth. It shall be the study of my life to bring this madness into subjection. Till then I will not hold my wife in my arms, will not kiss her dear lips. It is for the best. I will not frighten her from me forever by showing her how like a madman I can be under the influence of my master-passion."

Slowly, slowly the hours wore on until midnight. Mrs. Clendenon fell into a light doze in the sick-room, but Lulu was still watching that still form. The shaded lamps burned dimly, the room was full of shadows, the strange silence and awe that fill a room at an hour like this brooded solemnly over all things.

Poor Lulu looked at her mother. The sweet old face, framed in its soft lace cap, was locked in such gentle repose the girl had not the heart to awaken her. It grew so lonely she wished her brother would return to the room.

Presently she bent forward and looked into Conway's face, and laid her hand tenderly on his brow; it felt warmer and more natural; he stirred slightly. Before she could move her hand his white lids unclosed, the dark eyes looked at her with the calm light of reason in their depths.

"Gracie, is it you?" he whispered, faintly.

"Not Gracie—Lulu," she answered.

"Not Gracie—Lulu?" he slowly murmured after her, and wearily closed his eyes.

"I think he will live," said a voice above her.

She looked up. Her brother and the surgeon had come in so quietly she had not heard them. She rose from her wearisome vigil and glided softly down stairs, moved by a divine impulse of pity for the pale watcher below.

"I think it is life," she said, simply.

[Pg 59]

He sprang up and looked at her, two stars dawning in the dusk eyes, a glory shining on his darkly handsome face.

"Thank God!" he cried, "I am not a murderer!"

And strangely as he had come he was gone.



"When first I saw my favorite child,
I thought my jealous heart would break,
But when the unconscious infant smiled,
I kissed it for its mother's sake."


With the rosy dawn of the summer day consciousness returned to Bruce Conway—a dazed, half-consciousness, though, that only took in part of the scene, and a memory that only held Grace Winans. He muttered of her in his distracted slumbers; he waked and asked for her with a piteous anxiety that went to Lulu's tender heart.

"Had we better send for her?" she wistfully queried of her brother.

"No, indeed, little sister; it would only complicate matters. She would not come; he does not deserve it. Poor boy! I am sorry, but we can do nothing."

"Nothing, brother?"

"To bring her here, I mean. Try to reason with him, Lulu, and talk him out of this feverish fancy."

"Grace—Gracie!" came in a whisper from the bed.

Lulu was by him in an instant.

"Will not I do as well as Grace?"

"No." His pallid brow contracted in a vexed frown. "Go away; you are not Grace."

"No, but I am Willard's sister. Cannot you like me a little for his sake, and not worry yourself so much?" she asked, gently and persuasively.

"Cannot you get Grace to come—won't you try?" he whispered, in a faint voice.

[Pg 60]

A low tinkle of the door-bell seemed to echo his words. Half raising his handsome head, he looked at her eagerly.

"That may be Grace now," he said. "Won't you go and see?"

"Yes," she answered, gently, though she sighed as she went; "I will go and see."

She started in astonishment when she opened the door. Outside was a pleasant-faced Irishwoman, dressed plainly and neatly, with a pretty babe in her arms. It was Mrs. Winans' nurse and child.

Grace had learned from Miss Story where Bruce was, and when Norah went out to take the little boy for his morning airing, she had directed her to call and inquire of Captain Clendenon how Mr. Conway was getting on.

Norah introduced herself and her business briefly and clearly, and Lulu invited her in and gave her a seat.

"And this is Mrs. Winans' baby?" she said, taking the beautiful boy from the nurse's arms and kissing his rosy face. "How lovely he is!"

Little Paul smiled fearlessly back at her, and something in the dark flash of his eyes so vividly recalled his father that she thought suddenly of Bruce Conway waiting up stairs for her.

"I will bring my brother down to tell you exactly how Mr. Conway is," she said; and turning away with the little bundle of lace, and cambric, and laughing babyhood in her arms, she went back to Bruce Conway's room.

Her brother looked surprised at the strange little visitor. She smiled and went up to the bedside, holding triumphantly up the tiny baby that, quite unabashed by the strange scene, jumped, and crowed, and smiled brilliantly at Bruce.

"Mrs. Winans did not come, but she sent her representative, Mr. Conway," she said, thinking it would please him to see the pretty child. "This is her son."

"Her son!" Bruce Conway's eyes dwelt a moment on that picture of rosy health and beauty, and a shudder shook him from head to foot. "Her child! his child! Take it away from me, Miss Clendenon. I hate it! I hate her!"

Lulu recoiled in terror at the sharp, angry tones and the jealous pain and madness that gleamed in his eyes. She turned[Pg 61] away surprised and frightened at the mischief she had done, and was about to leave the room.

"Lulu, let me see the baby," said her brother's voice, as she reached the door.

His tones wore strangely moved, and as he came across to her she noted the faint flush that colored his high forehead. He took it in his arms and looked long and earnestly at the little face, finding amid its darker beauty many infantile beauties borrowed from the fair lineaments of its mother.

"God bless you, little baby," he said, touching reverent lips to the innocent brow, with a prayer in his heart for her whose brow was so mirrored in that of her child that he flushed, then paled, as he kissed it, thinking of hers that his lips might never press.

He loved the child for its mother's sake.

Bruce hated it for its father's sake.

It was a fair exponent of the character of the two men.

He gave it quietly back to Lulu, but she, explaining her errand sent him to tell Norah, with the child in his arms, while she went back to soothe the irritated invalid.

"I am sorry," she began, penitently, "I would not have brought the babe, but I thought, I fancied, that you would like it for its mother's sake. Forgive me."

The moody anger in his eyes cleared at sound of her magical, silver-sweet tones.

"Forgive me," he said, feebly. "I was a brute to speak to a lady so—but I was not myself. You don't understand a man's feelings in such a case, Miss Clendenon. Thank you for that forgiving smile."

He caught up the little hand gently straightening his tumbled pillows, and with feeble, pallid gallantry, touched it to his lips. A shiver of bitter-sweet emotion thrilled the young girl as she hastily drew it away.

"You must not talk any more," she said, gently, "or brother will scold, and the surgeon, too. Brother will be back in a minute, so be quiet. Don't let anything occupy your mind, and try, do, to go to sleep and rest."

She put her finger to her lip and nodded archly at him.

He smiled back, and half-closing his eyes, lay looking at her[Pg 62] as she took a chair at the other end of the room, and busied herself with a bit of fancy work.

"How pretty she is," he thought, vaguely, and when he fell into a fitful slumber, her fair face blent with Grace's in his dreams, and bewildered him with its bright, enchanting beauty.



To aid thy mind's development, to watch
The dawn of little joys, to sit and see
Almost thy very growth, to view thee catch
Knowledge of objects, wonders yet to see!
To hold thee lightly on a gentle knee,
And print on thy soft cheek a parent's kiss.

Byron's Childe Harold.

To Bruce Conway the months of slow and tardy convalescence seemed like dead weights on his impatient, restless soul; to Grace Winans, in her splendid but strangely silent home, where but few guests were received, and which she rarely left, time passed as it did to Mariana in the Moated Grange. But for all that, the summer passed like a painful dream, and the "melancholy days" had come; "time does not stop for tears."

Mrs. Conway had prevailed on Bruce to compromise his intention of going abroad again by spending the winter with her amid the gayeties of Washington—the "Paris of America."

How far a pretty face had influenced him in making this decision it is impossible to say; but Mrs. Conway, in her gratitude to the Clendenons for their kindness to her idol, had fairly worried them into consenting to let Lulu pass the winter with her in the gay capital city. For Lulu it may be said that no persuasion was needed to obtain her consent, and how far her fancy for a handsome face had influenced her, we will not undertake to say either. However this may be, the Washington newspapers duly chronicled for the benefit of fashionable society the interesting intelligence that the elegant Mr. Bruce Conway, the hero of the much talked of Norfolk duel, and his still[Pg 63] brilliant aunt, Mrs. Conway—both so well known in Washington circles—had taken a handsome suite of rooms at Willard's Hotel for the winter. And the newspapers—which will flatter any woman in society, be she fair or homely—added the information that Mrs. Conway had one of the belles of Norfolk for her guest—the lovely Miss C.—concluding with the stereotyped compliment that her marvelous beauty and varied accomplishments would create a stir in fashionable society; and thus was Lulu Clendenon launched on the sea of social dissipation.

A deep flush of shame and annoyance tinged the girl's dimpled cheeks, as leaning back in a great sleepy hollow of a chair in their private parlor, skimming lightly over the "society news," she came upon this paragraph about a week after their arrival.

Bruce Conway, lounging idly in an opposite chair, marked that sudden rose-flush under his half-closed lids, and wondered thereat.

On her pallid cheek and forehead came a color and a light.

"As I have seen the rosy red flushing in the Northern night," he spouted, in his old non-commital fashion of quoting Tennyson to pretty girls.

She glanced across at him, her color brightening, "all the spirit deeply dawning in the dusk of hazel eyes," but she uttered no word.

"Well, Brownie, what is it?" he queried, giving her the name he often called her for her nut-brown hair and eyes.


She folded down the paragraph and tossed it across to him, with a willful pout of her red lips, and watched with solicitude for the sympathetic indignation she expected to read in his eyes.

He finished it, and laughed.

"Umph! Some people wake up and find themselves famous. Well, what is the matter with that? Is not the notice sufficiently flattering?"

"It is not that!" She sprang up and began walking excitedly up and down the floor. "I do not like it—I—it is a shame to drag a young girl's name before the public that way. It puts a modest girl to the blush. A 'stir in society,' indeed!" her lip[Pg 64] curling, a comical anger in her brown eyes. "I have a great mind to go home to mamma and Brother Willie."

Bruce Conway opened his sleepy eyes in polite amazement at this home-bred girl, whose pure modesty recoiled from what was so grateful to the ears of most modern belles.

"Well, but you are a novelty," he laughed. "In these days of women's rights, and shoddyism, and toadyism, and all the rest of the isms! Why, the majority of the belles of society would give their ears for a notice like that! That is why they court the journalists—assiduously inviting them to receptions, soirees, and the like. They always expect a flaming compliment. And new arrivals are always honored by a flattering notice. The thing is quite a la mode."

"Well, I do not like it. I think it is an abominable fashion," persisted the little maiden.

"I agree with you," said Bruce, seriously. "It is 'brushing the delicate bloom from the grape.' But don't air such opinions in public, Lulu, or Barnum will be wanting you for one of his curiosities."

His glance turned from her and roved down the society column—then he rose, his face a trifle paler, and crossing to the window, read a paragraph almost directly beneath the one which had incited the indignant protest of the little Norfolk beauty.

"And by the way, society will miss its most brilliant jewel from its setting, in the absence of the youthful and lovely Hon. Mrs. Winans, of Norfolk. Rumor reports that the fair lady is so devoted to her infant son that, with the concurrence of the indulgent Senator, she gladly foregoes the dissipations of fashionable life to watch the budding and unfolding of his infantile charms."

And it, this grandiloquent style society, which knew perfectly well all about the difference between Senator Winans and his lovely wife, was informed that he did not intend to bring her to Washington during the ensuing session of Congress.

Conway ground his firm white teeth.

"So he dares show the world how he neglects her," crushing the paper viciously in his hand as though it were Paul Winans himself. "Poor Gracie—poor wronged and injured girl!" sighing deeply. "Neither Winans nor I was worthy of her."

[Pg 65]

Lulu, who had resumed her seat, looked up wondering at the clouded brow and unintelligibly muttered words. He smiled, subduing his emotion by a strong effort of will.

"You have not told me yet what are your plans for to-day—ah! here comes my lady aunt. Dear madam, will you kindly designate what are your plans for to-day, and command your humble servant?"

Mrs. Conway smiled her brightest smile on her idol.

"Let me see," glancing at her watch: "only ten o'clock. You can be off for your morning cigar and stroll on the avenue—when you come back we will have decided."

He rose, handsome, smiling, debonaire, but desperately ennuied, and glad, if truth must be told, to get away. Small talk was a bore to him just then, in his perturbed mood. He picked up Lulu's embroidered handkerchief that she had carelessly let fall to the floor, and presenting it with a jaunty "by-by," went his way followed by their admiring eyes. He was his aunt's acknowledged idol; Lulu's unconscious one.

Mrs. Conway plunged at once into the subject of amusements for the day.

"Let us see—there is Mrs. R's reception at two—we musn't fail them. You will see the creme de la creme there, my dear. When we get away we will have a drive over to the little city of Alexandria; at six, dinner; at eight, the opera; at twelve, you and Bruce shall have an hour for the German at Mrs. Morton's ball, and then—well, home again."

"Quite an attractive programme," smiled her companion, from the depths of the "sleepy hollow."

Mrs. Conway smiled musingly, as she fixed her dark eyes on the pattern of autumn-tinted leaves that trailed over the velvet carpet.

"Yes," she said, with the indifference of one who is used to it all, "it is last season over again; it is all very charming to one unaccustomed to the round. Poor Gracie was here last winter—these, by the by, were her rooms then, the handsomest suite in the hotel—we went everywhere together. She enjoyed it all so much."

A look of interest warmed the listless gaze of Lulu. The pet curiosity of her soul was Grace Winans, heightened, perhaps,[Pg 66] by an indefinable jealousy that went far back into the past, when Grace Grey's violet-pansy eyes had been the stars of Bruce Conway's adoration. She said, regretfully:

"Is it not a wonder that I have never seen Mrs. Winans? And there is no one I would like so much to see. Is she so very beautiful?"

"'Perfectly beautiful, faultily faultless,'" was Mrs. Conway's warmly accorded praise, "and as lovely in mind as in person. She inherits both qualities, I believe, from her mother, who was, I have heard, the most amiable and beautiful woman in Memphis to the day of her death."

"Ah! Is Mrs. Winans not a Virginian, then?"

"No, only by adoption. Her father was a slave-holder before the war—one of the out and out aristocrats of Memphis. He was a colonel in the Confederate army, and killed at the head of his regiment during the first of the war. He was a very noble young fellow, I believe, and devoted to his wife and little daughter. The wife died broken-hearted at his loss, and left this little Grace to the care of relatives, who placed her in a boarding-school, where she remained until the close of the war freed the slaves her father left her, and she was penniless. I advertised about this time for a companion; she answered, and I engaged her. She has been in Virginia ever since. She was just sixteen when she came to me—a charming child—she is about twenty-one now."

A tender throb of sympathy stirred Lulu's heart as she listened. Brought up in the warm fold of a mother's love, caressed, petted, beloved, all her life, she could vaguely conjecture how sad and loveless had been the brief years of Grace Grey's life.

"I regret that Bruce's unfortunate affair has, in some sort, put an end to our intimacy," Mrs. Conway went on, pensively. "I was fond of Grace, and had grown so used to her in her long stay with me, that she seemed almost like one of my own family. I would have been proud of her as my daughter. She might have been something almost as dear but for—well, let us call it an error of judgment on my part and my nephew's." She paused a moment, sighed deeply, and concluded with, "I would[Pg 67] like you to know her, Lulu. Your brother admired her very much, I think."

"I think he did," Lulu answered, simply.

"Next week Congress convenes," said the older lady, brightening; "then I shall take you quite frequently to the capitol to hear the speeches of the eminent men. Winans will be there, I presume. I hear he has been traveling all summer, but he must, of course, be here in time for the session. He is quite a brilliant speaker, and was excessively admired last session."

"Has all the far-famed Louisiana eloquence and fire, I presume?" says Lulu, curiously.

"Yes, although he has been many years away from there, but he has the hot temper and unreasoning jealousy of the extreme South, as one may see from his cruel treatment of his wife and child."

"I have just seen him," said Bruce's voice at the door.

"Seen whom?"

"Winans, to be sure, the man you're talking of," sauntering in and flinging his handsome person recliningly on the divan and looking extremely bored and fatigued in spite of the shy smile that dawned on Lulu's lip at his entrance.

"Where did you see him?" Mrs. Conway queried, in some surprise and anxiety.

"Oh, tearing down the avenue on a magnificent black horse as if he were going to destruction as fast as the steed would carry him—that is just his reckless way though."

"You recognized each other?" his aunt made haste dubiously to inquire.

"Oh, certainly," says Bruce, with a light smile. "I threw away my cigar to make him a polite bow; he returned it with a freezing salutation, but there was something in his face that would have stirred a tender heart like Brownie's here into pity for him, though stronger ones like mine, for instance, acknowledge no such sentimental feelings."

"How did he look?" queried Brownie, unmoved by his half-jesting allusion to her.

"Like a proud man who was trampling on the heart he had torn from his bosom to save his pride; pale, cynical, melancholy,[Pg 68] defiant—pshaw! That sounds like a novel, doesn't it, Lulu?"

"Poor Paul Winans!" she answered only; but the compassion in her voice for him was not so great as the pained sympathy that looked out of her speaking glance for Bruce Conway.

For Lulu saw with preternaturally clear vision, the struggle that was waging in the young man's soul; saw how truth, and honor and every principle of right were battling for one end—the overthrow of the love that having struck down its intertwining roots in his soul for years, was hard to be torn up. She pitied him—and, ah! pity is so near akin to love.

Something of her pity he read in her expressive face, and straightway set himself to work to dispel her gloom. Bruce never could bear to see the face of a beauty overshadowed.

"Brownie, have you tried that new song I sent you yesterday?"

Lulu confessed she had not.

"Try it now, then," he answered, rising, and throwing open the piano.

She rose, smiling and happy once more, and took the seat at the piano. He leaned by her side to turn the pages, and presently their voices rose softly together in a sweet and plaintive love-song. But his heart was full of another, and, as he turned the pages for Lulu with patient gallantry, he remembered how he had turned them for another, how his voice had risen thrillingly with hers in sweeter songs than this, mingling with her bird-like notes as it never should "mingle again."

[Pg 69]



The airs of Paradise did fan the house,
And angels offic'd all, I will be gone!"


"And underneath that face, like summer's oceans,
Its lip as noiseless, and its cheek as clear,
Slumbers a whirlwind of the heart's emotions,
Love—hatred—pride—hope—sorrow—all, save fear."

Fitz-Green Halleck.

It was January, and the keen, cold sea-air swept over Norfolk, freezing the snow as it fell, and chilling the very marrow of the few pedestrians whom necessity compelled to be abroad that inclement morning. The fast-falling flakes obscured everything from view, but Mrs. Winans stood at a window of her elegant home gazing wistfully out at the scene, though the richly appointed room, the fragrance of rare exotic flowers that swung in baskets from the ceiling, the twitter of two restless mockingbirds, all invited her gaze to linger within. But the delicious warmth, the exquisite fragrance, the sweet bird-songs, held no charm for the fair and forlorn young wife to-day. Now and then she moved restlessly, disarranging the fleecy shawl of soft rose-color that was thrown about her shoulders, and turning at last, she began to walk swiftly across the floor, wringing her little white hands in a sort of impotent pain.

"I can't bear this, and I won't!" stopping suddenly, and stamping a tiny slippered foot on the velvet carpet that scarcely gave back the sound. "I am to stay here because he says so; because he chooses to desert me. He wearies, perhaps, of his fetters. Why cannot I go to Washington, if I choose, for a few days anyhow? I could go up to the capitol vailed, and see his face, hear his voice once more. Ah, heaven! that I should have to steal near enough to see him! My darling—beloved,[Pg 70] though so cruel to me—how can I bear this and live? I must, must go—must look in for the last time in life, on your dear, too cruelly dear face!"

The violet eyes brightened strangely as the words fell from her lips whose firm curves showed a fixed resolution.

"Yes," she whispered to herself, firmly, "I will go!"

What was it that seemed to clutch at her heart like an icy hand, freezing in her veins the warm blood that but a moment before had bounded with passionate joy at thought of seeing her husband again? What meant that chill presentiment of evil that seemed to whisper to her soul, "You are wrong—do not go!"

"I will go!" she said again, as if in defiance of that inward monitor, and folding her arms across her breast, she resumed her slow walk across the floor.

The pretty shawl fell from her shoulders, and lay, like a great brilliant rose, unheeded on the floor; the long, sweeping train of her blue cashmere morning-dress flowed over it as she walked, the white ermine on her breast and at her throat trembling with the agitated throbs of her heart. Her pure, pale cheek, her eyes darkening under their black lashes, the white, innocent brow, the mobile lips, all showed the trace of suffering bravely borne; but now the patient spirit, tried too deeply, rose within her in desperate rebellion.

For this one time she would take her own way, right or wrong. Go to Washington she would, see her husband, herself unseen, once more, she would; then she would go back to her dull, wearisome life—her rebellion extended no farther than that. But she wanted, oh, so much, to see how he looked; to see if suffering had written its dreary line on his face as on hers; to see him because—well—because her whole warm, womanly heart hungered, thirsted for a sight of the dusk-proud beauty of her husband's face.

The honest Irish face of Norah, entering with little Paul, clouded as she took in the scene. She had grown wise enough to read the signs of emotion in the face of the young lady, and now she saw the stamp of pain too plainly written there to be misunderstood.

"Pretty mamma!" lisped the toddling baby, stumbling over[Pg 71] the pink shawl in his eagerness to grasp the skirt of the blue dress in his baby fingers.

She stooped and lifted her idol in her arms, pressing him closely and warmly to her aching heart.

"What should I do without my baby, my darling? Why, I should die," she cried, impulsively, as she sunk among a pile of oriental cushions and began to play with the little fellow, her soft laugh blending with his as he caught at her long sunny curls, his favorite playthings, and wound them like golden strands about his fingers.

The shadow of her clouded life never fell upon her child. In her darkest hours she was always ready to respond to his mirth, to furnish new diversion for his infant mind, though sometimes her heart quailed with a great pang of bitterness as the laughing dark eyes, so like his father's, looked brightly up into her face.

But sad as her life was, it would have been unendurable without her baby. He was so bright, so intelligent, so full of rosy, sturdy health and beauty. The slowly increasing baby-teeth, the halting baby-walk, the incoherent attempts at speech, were all sources of daily interest to Grace, who was ardently fond of babies in general, and her own in particular. And this baby did for Grace Winans what many another baby has done for many another wretched wife—saved her heart from breaking.

"Norah," she said, looking suddenly up with a flitting blush, "what do you say to a trip to Washington next week, after this snow-storm is quite cleared away—do you think it would be safe for little Paul?"

"Hurt him! I think not. He is so strong and healthy; but has the Senator written for you to come on?" asked Norah, eagerly.

"No"—her brow clouded, and that warm flush hung out its signal-flag on her cheek again—"he has not. I do not mean for him to know anything about it. I shall stay but a day or two, only taking you and baby; then we shall return as quietly as we went, and no one be the wiser; and now, Norah, baby is falling asleep, take him to his nursery, and bring me the Washington papers, if they have come in yet."

"They came hours ago; it is eleven o'clock, Mrs. Winans, and[Pg 72] you have taken no breakfast yet. Won't you have it sent up here to you?" said the kind-hearted nurse, solicitously.

"Have I not taken breakfast? I believe I do not want any; I have been thinking so intently I have lost my appetite, and was actually forgetting that I had not breakfasted," then noting the pained look that shaded Norah's face, "Oh, well, you may bring me a glass of milk with the papers."

But Norah, after depositing her sleeping burden in his crib in the nursery, brought with the papers a waiter holding a cup of warm cocoa, a broiled partridge, stewed oysters, warm muffins and fresh butter, the specified glass of milk crowning all. Depositing the waiter on a little marble table, she wheeled up a comfortable chair and installed Mrs. Winans therein.

"You are to take your breakfast first," she said, with the authority of a privileged domestic, "then you can read the papers."

She laid them on a stand by the side of her mistress and softly withdrew to the nursery. And lifting the glass of milk to her lips with one hand, Grace took up the Washington Chronicle with the other and ran her eyes hastily over the columns, devouring the bits of Congressional news.

As she read her cheek glowed, her pearly teeth showed themselves in a smile half-pleased, half-sorrowful. Praise of her husband could not but be dear to her, but her pride in him was tempered by the thought that he cared not that she—his wife—should be witness of and sharer in his triumphs.

And turning away from the record of his brilliant speech on Southern affairs, she glanced indolently down the column of society news, recognizing among the names of women who stood high in the social scale many who had been among her most intimate friends the preceding winter. She had been the queen of them all then, reigning by right of her beauty and intellect no less than by her wealth and high position—best of all, queen of her husband's heart—and as the thought of all that she had been "came o'er the memory of her doom," the dethroned queen sprang from her chair and paced the floor again, burning with passionate resentment, stirred to her soul's deepest depths with the bitter leaven of scorn, not less a queen to-day though despoiled of her kingdom.

[Pg 73]

And thus one vassal, still loyal, found her as the servant ushered him quite unceremoniously into the bright little parlor, startling her for a moment as he came forward, a few wisps of snow still clinging to his brown curls, and melting and dripping down upon his shoulders in the pleasant warmth diffused around.

She glanced at him, shrank back an instant, then came forward with rising color and extended hand.

"Captain Clendenon! This is indeed a pleasant and very welcome surprise."

He bowed low over the slim white hand, murmured some inarticulate words of greeting, and stooped to replace the shawl that still lay unheeded where she had dropped it on the floor.

"Allow me," he said, with grave courtesy, and folded it with his one arm very carefully, though perhaps awkwardly, about her shoulders.

Then a momentary embarrassing silence ensued, during which he had seated himself in a chair indicated by her, and opposite the one into which she had languidly fallen.

In that silence she glanced a little curiously at the face whose dark gray eyes had not yet lifted themselves to hers. She had not seen him in some months before, and he looked a little altered now—somewhat thinner, a trifle more serious, but still frank and noble, and with an indescribable respect and sympathy in the clear, honest eyes that lifted just then and met her glance full.

"I must ask your pardon for intruding on the entire seclusion that you preserve, Mrs. Winans," he said, with the slight pleasant smile she remembered so well. "The fact that I am your husband's lawyer, and that I come on business, must plead my excuse."

She bowed, then rallied from her surprise sufficiently to say that an old and valued friend like Captain Clendenon needed no excuse to make him welcome in her home.

A faint flush of gratification tinged his white forehead an instant, then faded as a look of pain on the lovely face before him showed that some indefinable dread of his mission to her filled her mind.

[Pg 74]

"I am not the bearer of any ill news," he hastened to remark.

"Ah! thank you—I am glad," the fading color flowing back to her lips, "we women are so nervous at thought of ill news—and—and I get so depressed sometimes—I suppose all women do—that I can conjure up all sorts of terrors at that word—the woman's bugbear—'business.'"

"Yes, I presume all women do get depressed who preserve such inviolate seclusion as you do, Mrs. Winans," he answered, gravely, "and that brings me to my object in coming here this morning. I had a letter from your husband yesterday, in which he made special mention of you in alluding to various reports which have reached him relative to your utter retirement from society."

"Well," she asked, coldly, as he paused, a little disconcerted by her steady gaze, and by his consciousness of touching on a delicate subject.

"And," he went on, "your husband seemed annoyed, or rather fearful that your health might suffer from such unwonted seclusion. He begged me to speak with you on the subject, and assure you that he would rather hear that you took pleasure in the society of your friends, and passed your time in walking, driving, and, in short, all the usual pursuits that are so conducive to your health and the diversion of your mind from brooding over troubles that cannot at present be remedied."

A faint sarcastic curve of her red lip betrayed her contempt before it breathed in her voice:

"Is that all?"

"Not quite," he flushed again beneath her steady gaze, and said, abruptly, "Mrs. Winans, I trust you do not blame me for fulfilling your husband's trust. It is not intended, either by him or myself to wound you, and I have undertaken it, not—well, because I thought I could express his wishes regarding you, to you better than another."

"I am not thinking of blaming you," she said, gently, "not at all. I thank you for your kindness; I do indeed. Captain Clendenon, you should know me well enough to think better of me than that implied. Please go on."

"There is but little more," he answered, more at ease. "You[Pg 75] will recollect, I suppose, having signified to Senator Winans a wish to revisit the home of your childhood?"

She slightly bowed her head.

"He merely wished me to tell you that should you still desire it, you are at liberty to visit Memphis now, or whenever you wish to do so, to remain as long as you please."

He rose at the last word, and she rose also, pale, proud, defiant, woman-like, having the "last words."

"Ah, indeed! I may go to Memphis, then, if it so please me?"

"Yes, Mrs. Winans;" and taking a step forward, he looked down at the fair face that he saw for the first time shaded with contempt and anger. "You are not angry?"

A mutinous quiver of the red lip answered him; just then it seems impossible for her to speak. A great, choking lump seems to rise into her throat, and prevent her from speech. Her heart is in a whirl of contending emotions—joy that her husband remembers and cares for her comfort—grief, pain, indignation evoked by his message—he is willing she should go far away from him, he is indifferent about seeing her, while she—she has been so wild to see him.

While she stands thus, the captain says, in his grave, singularly sweet tones:

"Mrs. Winans, I have known you so long, and am so much older, and perhaps, wiser, than you—I have learned wisdom knocking around this hard old world, you know—that you will pardon a word of advice from an old friend, as you were kind enough to call me just now. Try and overlook what seems to you injustice in your husband. His course toward you seems to him the wiser one, and he is perhaps the best judge of what was right for him—in this lately expressed wish of his he seems actuated solely by a desire for your comfort and happiness—he wishes ardently that you may content yourself during the period of his voluntarily enforced absence. Think as kindly as you can of him. I am sure that all this tangled web of fate will come straight and plain at last."

She responded to his wistful smile with another, as chill and pale as moonlight.

"Thank you; and, Captain Clendenon, you may tell your correspondent[Pg 76] that I shall avail myself of his gracious permission to visit another city—not Memphis. I have no desire to visit there at present."

He looked down at the sweet, flushed, mutinous face with a yearning pity in his eyes, and a great throb of pain at his heart—the anguish of a man who sees a woman that is dear to him bowed beneath sufferings that he cannot alleviate.

All he could do was to clasp the small hand in sympathetic farewell, and beg her earnestly to call on him if ever she needed a friend's services.

"Since you will not go to Memphis," he said, relinquishing the small hand.

"No, I will not go—at least, not now," she answered, supplementing the harsh reply by a very gentle good-by.

When she did go, Paul Winans would have given all he possessed on earth to have recalled that freely accorded consent.

"I like Captain Clendenon so much," she wrote, in daintiest of Italian text, that night, within the sacred pages of her journal. "There is something so supremely noble about him, and to-day he looked at me so sorrowfully, so kindly, as I have fancied a dear brother or sister might do, had I ever been blessed with one. I used to shrink at seeing him; he brought back the first great shock of my life so vividly, and does still, though not so painfully as of old. It is only like touching the spot where a pain has been now—'what deep wound ever healed without a scar?' And I do not mind it now, though the unspoken sympathy in his great gray eyes used to wound my proud spirit deeply. I don't think he ever dreamed of it, though. Mrs. Conway used to think that he liked me excessively. I don't know—I think she was mistaken. I cannot fancy Willard Clendenon loving any woman except with the calm, superior love of a noble brother for a dear little sister. And he has a sister, though I have never seen her—charmingly pretty, Norah says she is. I believe I should like to know her, if she is at all like her brother. But all women, as a rule, are so frivolous—or, at least, all those whom fate has thrown in my way. At least, I should like to have a brother like this quiet, unselfish captain—this sterling, irreproachable character with the ring of the true metal about it—and a sister like what I fancy his pretty sister must be. Oh,[Pg 77] Paul, were you not so cruel my poor heart would not be throwing out its bruised tendrils so wildly, seeking for some sure support on which to lean its fainting strength. It is so hard to stand alone——"

She closed the book abruptly at a sound of baby laughter from the nursery, and gliding into the room stood looking at Norah's busy movements. She was giving Master Paul his nightly bath on the rug in front of the fire. Up to his white and dimpled shoulders, in the marble bath of perfumed water, the little fellow was laughing and enjoying the fun to his heart's content. It won the child-like young mother to laughter too. She seated herself on a low ottoman near him, and watched the dear little baby, with its graceful, exquisite limbs flashing through the water, a rosy, perfect little Cupid, and something like content warmed her chilled and perturbed spirit.

"I can never be utterly desolate while I have him," she murmured, running her taper, jeweled fingers through the clustering rings of his dark hair.

Norah, looking across at her mistress, asked, timidly, if she were quite resolved on going to Washington next week.

Mrs. Winans' soft eyes fixed themselves on the bright anthracite fire in the grate, as if an answer to the question might be evoked from its mystic hearth. Her baby seized the opportunity thus afforded to catch the nearest end of one of her floating ringlets, and dip it in the bath with mischievous fingers. She caught it from his fingers with a fitful smile, and began wringing the water from the golden tendrils, and asking absently:

"What was it you asked me, Norah?"

"I asked if you really intended visiting Washington next week," explained Norah, clearly and intelligibly. She was an educated Irishwoman, and did not affect the brogue of her countrymen.

"Yes, I certainly do so intend," decisively this time, and leaning a little forward, twisting the damp curl into a hundred glittering little spirals, she went on: "for a few days only though, as I believe I told you this morning."

"You will not take much baggage, then, I suppose?"

"No," smiling at the baby's antics in the water, and dodging[Pg 78] the drops he mischievously splashed in her direction, "only a small trunk with necessary changes for baby and myself. I certainly shall not stay more than three days at the most."

Shall not? On the mystic page of our irrevocable destiny our resolves are sometimes translated crosswise, and will sometimes becomes will not, and shall not oft becomes shall! We, who cannot see a moment beyond the present hour, undertake in the face of God to say what we shall or shall not do in the unknown future! But poor human hearts,

"Feeble and finite, oh! what can we know!"



"Alone she sat—alone! that worn-out word,
So idly spoken and so coldly heard;
Yet all that poets sing and grief hath known,
Of hopes laid waste, knells in that word—alone!"

The New Timon.

"How changed since last her speaking eye
Glanced gladness round the glittering room;
Where high-born men were proud to wait,
And beauty watched to imitate."


It was a crisp, cold, sunny morning toward the last of January, and all the world—at least, all the Washington world—was packed in the Senate galleries at the capitol, the occasion being the speech of one of the master minds of the Senate on a very important subject that was just then agitating the country North and South. But we have nothing to do with this brilliant speech. We will leave the gentlemen in the Reporters' Gallery to report it in irreproachable short-hand. For ourselves we are looking for friends of ours who have eddied thither with the crowd, and are occupying seats on the east side, where they command a good view of the Senate floor. There they are—Mrs.[Pg 79] Conway in black silk, bonnet to match, gold eye-glasses, and the yellowest and costliest of real lace shading throat and wrists—an out-and-out aristocrat from the tip of her streaming ostrich plume to her small kid boot. Near her sits Lulu Clendenon, the brilliant center of many admiring eyes. The little Norfolk beauty has become a noted belle under the chaperonage of Mrs. Conway, and to-day she looks rarely beautiful in her brown silk dress, with soft facings and trimmings of seal-brown velvet, her soft brown furs, and a sash of fringed scarlet silk at her throat, confining the soft lace frill. Her great velvet-brown eyes hold two restless stars, her round cheeks are dashed with fitful scarlet, all her nut-brown hair is arranged on the top of her head in a mass of lustrous braids, and one long heavy ringlet floats over her sloping shoulder. The daintiest little hat of seal-brown velvet, with the scarlet wing of a bird fluttering one side crowns the small head, whose stately poise is grace itself. Bruce Conway, languid, handsome, elegant, in attendance on the little beauty, is the envy of half the Washington fops.

They sit dutifully still and listen to the learned harangue from the Senator on the floor below, admire his tropes, follow his gestures, wonder how much longer he is going to continue, until Bruce, who has come there every day that week, and listened to "that sort of thing" till he wearies of it all, loses his interest in the subject, and allows his appreciative glance to wander over the galleries at the beaming faces of the "fair."

"Lots of pretty girls here," he whispers to Lulu.

"Yes," she murmurs back, then stifling a pretty yawn. "What a long speech this is! Don't you think so?" bending one ear to him and the other to the speaker.

"Awfully slow," he answers, glancing at his watch. "Oh! I say, did I tell you, Brownie, or did you know that Winans is expected to reply to this speech?"

"No. Is he?" she asks, eagerly.

"Yes; and the other is winding up his peroration now, I think. Ah! there he sits down, and there is my lordly Winans rising now—how kingly he looks!" says Bruce, in honest admiration of the man who is his enemy.

Lulu settled herself for strict attention, as did every one else, a low hum of admiration echoed through the galleries, and then[Pg 80] silence fell as the musical, resonant voice of Paul Winans filled the grand old Senate Chamber, weakening the strong points of his opponent in the political field with clear practical reasoning, handling his subject skillfuly and well, keen shafts of wit and sarcasm flashing from his lips, his dark eyes burning with inspiration, his whole frame expanding with the fiery eloquence that carried his audience along with him on its sparkling tide. He had never spoken so ably and brilliantly before, and low murmured praises echoed on all sides from the audience and the members, and pencils flew fast in the Reporters' Gallery.

Lulu sat still and speechless, charmed with the eloquence of the speaker, her eyes shining, her full red lips apart. At some argument more telling than the rest, something that appealed forcibly to her clear mind, she turned instinctively to seek sympathy in the eyes of Bruce Conway, only to discover, with dismay, that he was not looking at her nor the speaker. His face was strangely white, his eyes were looking across at the opposite gallery at some one—a pretty girl Lulu judged from the expression of rapt interest he wore. Silently her glance followed his, roving over the sea of faces till it found the focus of his, and this is what she saw:

Near to, and on the right of the Reporters' Gallery, a lady leaning forward against the railing, her dark, passionately mournful eyes following Paul Winans with deep, absorbing interest. All the faces of fair women around her paled into insignificance as Lulu looked at that pale, clear profile, as classically chiseled, as "faultily faultless," as if cut in white marble by some master-hand; the vivid line of the crimson lips, the black, arched brows so clearly defined against the pure forehead, the ripple of pale-gold hair that, escaping its jeweled comb at the back, flowed in a cascade of brightness over the black velvet dress, that fitted so closely and perfectly to the full yet delicate figure as to reveal the perfection of gracefulness to the watcher. A tiny mask vail of black lace that she wore had been pushed unconsciously back over the top of her little black velvet hat, and so she sat in her pure, melancholy loveliness before the eyes of the girl who interpreted Bruce Conway's look aright, and knew before she asked a word that this could be no other than the being she had so long wished to gaze upon—the fair, forsaken[Pg 81] wife, the beautiful and determined recluse—Grace Winans.

She touched his arm with an effort, her heart throbbing wildly, her breath coming in a sort of gasp.

"Will you tell me the earthly name of the divinity who absorbs your flattering notice?"

He started violently and looked round like one waking from a dream. Her voice in its tones was much like her brother's, and she had used almost his very words at Ocean View when he first saw Grace. No effort of his will could subdue his voice into its ordinary firmness, as he answered:

"Oh, that is the Hon. Mrs. Paul Winans."

And Lulu answered, with an unconscious sigh:

"I could not have imagined any one so perfectly lovely."

"Grace here—is it possible?" commented Mrs. Conway, lifting her eye-glass to stare across at the young wife. "Well, really, I wonder what has happened, and why she is here, and where she is staying? I must find out and call."

In which laudable desire she continued to gaze across, trying to catch the young lady's eye; but Mrs. Winans had neither eyes nor ears for any one but her husband. Her whole soul was intent on him, and when the speech came to an end she remained in the same rapt, eager position until, just as he was resuming his seat amid the prolonged applause, one of those strange psychological impressions that inform one of the intense gaze of another caused him to look up, and his dark eyes, still blazing with eloquent excitement, met the deep, impassioned gaze of her violet orbs, swimming in unshed tears; he sank into his seat as if shot.

As for her, she started up, horrified at having betrayed her presence, and was trying to get out of the thronged gallery when a sudden request to have the galleries cleared while the Senate went into executive session set all the crowd on their feet and moving toward the doors. Mingling with them and quite unaccustomed to visiting the capitol unaccompanied, Grace found herself suddenly alone, and quite lost in a maze of corridors far away from the moving throng of people. Perplexed and frightened at she knew not what, she hurried on, only losing herself more effectually, seeing no outer door to the[Pg 82] vast, wandering building, and, strangely enough, meeting no one of whom to learn the way out, until as she desperately turned into yet another long corridor she stumbled against a gentleman coming in the opposite direction. Looking up she met the surprised eyes of Bruce Conway, and remembering only that she wanted to get out of that place, that she was in trouble, and that he had been her friend, her white detaining hand caught nervously at his coat-sleeve.

"Oh, Mr. Conway," she almost sobbed, "I have lost my way and cannot get out of the capitol; will you set me right?"

Before a word had passed his lips, while she yet stood with her dark, uplifted, appealing eyes burning in Conway's soul, a quick, ringing step came along the corridor, and Paul Winans stood beside them, towering over both in his kingly height and beauty.

And the untamed devil of a jealous nature rose in his eyes and shone out upon the two.

"Great God!" he breathed, in tones of concentrated passion, "Grace Winans, are you as false as this?"

The small hand fell nervelessly from Conway's coat-sleeve and transferred itself to her husband's arm, her eyes lifted proudly, gravely to his.

"I am not false," she answered, in a ringing voice; "you know that I am not, Paul."

"Am I to disbelieve my eyes?" he questioned, in fiery tones. "I saw you in the gallery—here in Washington, without my knowledge or consent—I go to seek you and place you under proper protection, and find you—you my wife—clinging to this man's arm, your eyes uplifted in such graceful adoration as would make your fortune on the tragic stage—and yet you are not false! It would seem that Mr. Conway has not suffered enough at my hands already."

The latent nobility in Bruce Conway's nature passed over the taunt unnoticed in his solicitude for the young creature who stood trembling between them, beloved by each, rendered so fatally unhappy by both.

"Senator Winans," he said, coldly, but earnestly and remarkably for one of his wavering nature, "there is no need for this scene. I encountered your wife in a purely accidental manner[Pg 83] only this moment. She could not find her way out, and requested me to show her the entrance. She was frightened and alarmed, and had you not come up as you did, I should have complied with her wish, placed her in her carriage, and left her. I could not do less for any lady who needed my momentary protection. This is all for which you have to upbraid Mrs. Winans, whom, pardon me, you have injured enough already."

Senator Winans passed over the concluding home thrust, and bowed coldly but disbelievingly. He turned to his wife, still burning with resentful anger, but the words he would have spoken faltered on his lips as he looked at her.

She had removed her hand from his arm, and fallen back a pace or two from him, her slender figure thrown back, the trailing folds of her rich black velvet robe sweeping far behind her on the marble floor. Her small hands hung helpless at her sides, her fair face looked stony in a fixed despair that seemed as changeless as the expression on the marble face of the statue that stood in a niche near by.

Poor child! Her heart was aching with its unmerited humiliation. Here stood the man who had won her young heart in earlier days, only to cast it aside as a worthless toy, a mute witness of the same thing re-enacted by another, and that other one who had promised to love, cherish, and protect her through all the storms of life. To her proud, sensitive soul it was like the bitterness of death to stand there as she stood between these two men.

"Well, madam, I am waiting to hear what you have to say for yourself," her husband said, coldly.

She whirled toward him, a sudden contempt burning under her black lashes, her voice cool, clear, decisive.

"This: that I do not choose to stand here and bandy words with you, Senator Winans, exposed to the comment of any chance passer-by. Whatever more on the subject you can have to say to me I will hear at my private parlor at Willard's Hotel this evening between eight and nine o'clock, if you will do me the honor to call. At present, if one of you gentlemen will take me to my carriage, which is in waiting, I will put an end to this scene."

[Pg 84]

She looked quite indifferently from one to the other, feeling all her latent pride rise hotly to the surface, as neither stirred for an instant. Then her lawful master drew her hand through his arm, with the cold deference he might have accorded a stranger. She bowed to Mr. Conway, and was led away and placed in the carriage that awaited her, without a word on either side.

And Bruce went back to his aunt and Lulu, whom he had left talking with some friends in the rotunda. He said nothing to them, however, of the scene that had just occurred.

But the fact of Mrs. Winans' presence at the capitol was very well known by this time. Some of her "dear five hundred" friends had seen her when the little mask vail had been unconsciously thrown back in her eager excitement, and those who had not seen her were told by those who had. Many eyes curiously followed the hero of that long past love affair, whose shadow still brooded so pitilessly over Grace Winans' life, as he moved away by the side of the brown-eyed belle to whom society reported him as affianced.

"What next?" he queried, smiling down into the slightly thoughtful face.

"I don't know—that is—I believe Mrs. Conway spoke of the Art Gallery next," she answered, listlessly.

"After luncheon, though. We go to the hotel first for lunch," interposed Mrs. Conway, briskly, who not being young, nor in love, was blessed with a good appetite. "After that the Art Gallery, and there is that masquerade ball, you know, to-night."

"As if our daily life were not masquerade enough," he thinks, with smothered bitterness, as he attends them down the terraced walks to the park, thence to the avenue, for they decide on walking to the hotel, Lulu having a penchant for promenading the avenue on sunny days like this when all the city is doing likewise.

"For I like to look at people's faces," she naively explains to the young man, "and build up little romances from the materials culled thereby."

"Ah, a youthful student of human nature! Can you read faces?" he retorts, brusquely.

"Sometimes, I fancy, but very imperfectly," she says, flushing[Pg 85] a little under his keen gaze, as she walks on, her silken skirts sweeping the avenue, in the perfection of grace.

"Read mine, then," he answers, half jestingly, half curious as to her boasted power, as they fall a little behind the elder lady.

"I cannot," she answers, "I would not attempt it."

"Nay," he insists, "fair seeress, read me even one expression that has crossed my tell-tale face to-day—come, I want to test your power."

"Well," she answers, half-reluctantly, "once to-day in the gallery, there was a look on your face—flitting and momentary, though—that reminded me of this line which I have somewhere read:

"'Despair that spurns atonement's power.'"

"Was I right?" looking away from him half-sorry that she had said it, and fearful of wounding him.

And "silence gave consent."



"Enough that we are parted—that there rolls
A flood of headlong fate between our souls."


Between eight and nine o'clock Grace had specified as the hour when her husband might call—and the French clock on the mantel of her private parlor at Willard's hotel chimed the half-hour sharply as he was ushered in by an obsequious waiter.

The room was entirely deserted—no, a child was toddling uncertainly across the floor, jingling in its baby hand that infantile source of delight an ivory rattler, with multitudinous silver bells attached thereto.

What discordance will not a mother endure and call it music for the baby's sake?

One searching glance, and Paul Winans had his child in his arms, clasped close to his hungry, aching heart.

[Pg 86]

His boy! his! Long months had flown away since he had looked on the face of his child, and now he held him close, his proud, bearded lip pressed to the fragrant lips of the babe, his breath coming thick and fast, his jealous, passionate heart heaving with deep emotion.

But the child started back, frightened at the bearded face of the stranger, and his low cry of fear struck reproachfully to his father's soul.

"A stranger to my own child," he muttered, bitterly. "Why, my baby, my baby, do you not know your own papa?"

"Mamma! papa!" repeated the child, and with a sunny, fearless smile, he stroked the noble brow that bent over him.

Grace had taught his baby lips to love the name of "papa," and now at the very sound his terror was removed, and he nestled closer in the arms that held him as though the very name were a synonym for everything that was sweet and gentle.

The unhappy mother entering at that moment with pride and reserve sitting regnant on her brow, reeled backward at that sight, with a quivering lip, and pale hands clasped above her wildly throbbing heart.

It was but for a moment. As he turned to the rustle of her silken robe, with their child clasped in one strong arm, she came forward slowly, very slowly, but standing before him at last with bowed head and hands clasped loosely together.

Captain Clendenon had said of her long before, that as much of an angel as was possible for mortal to possess was about her. I don't know about its being so much angel—I, who know women better than the captain did, think that the best of them have quite sufficient of the opposite attribute about them; but, at this moment, all of the angel within her was roused by the sight of her husband with their child in his arms.

A moment before her soul had been charged with desperate anger and rebellion—now her face wore a soft, sad tenderness, her lifted eyes the clear glory of a suppliant angel's.

"Oh, my husband," she breathed, in low, intense accents, "you have scorned all words of mine, turned away from me with my defense unheard—let the pure love of our innocent babe plead for its innocent mother!"

[Pg 87]

It was like the low plaint for forgiveness from a wayward child that comes sobbing home to its mother with its small fault to confess—and she was so child-like, so very young, so very wretched. A sharp thrill of agonized pity and self-reproach made his firm lip quiver as he looked down at her, fiery love and hate struggling in his soul. A wild impulse to clasp her to his bosom—to crush against his sore heart all that pale yet glowing beauty, for one moment rushed over him, to be sharply dispelled by the memory of his jealous vow, and he answered not, but gazed on her for speechless moments, marking with eyes that had hungered weary months for a sight of her, every separate charm that distinguished this fatally fairest of women.

And she was looking very lovely to-night. Her entire absence of color, while it robbed her of one charm, bestowed another. That glowing yet perfect pallor of impassioned melancholy—that dark brilliance of eyes that could, but would not weep—made her beauty more luring than before; for a sorrowful face always appeals most directly to the heart.

She wore a dress he had always admired—a dinner-dress of pale, creamy-hued silk, shading, as the lustrous folds fell together, into pale wild-rose tints. A fragrant, half-blown tea-rose blossomed against her whiter throat, among frills of snowy lace, and a slender cross of pearls and diamonds depended from a slight golden chain that swung almost to her slim, girlish waist; a bandeau of rare pearls clasped on her brow with a diamond star held her golden hair in place, and gave the last touch that was wanting to make her fairly royal in her loveliness.

This was his wife! In all his jealous love and hatred, that name thrilled his soul like a pæan of triumph. All that beauty was his, his own; but—the undying thought thrilled him like a sword thrust—it might have been another's, had that other asked it first.

That other! he had seen her clinging to his arm that day, her magical eyes uplifted to his in deep emotion. In the anger that rose at the remembrance, he forgot the passionate pride and love that had shown on him from the gallery that morning—forgot everything but that later scene; and as it rushed vividly back to his mind, he put his hand to his face and groaned aloud.

And still she stood mute, moveless, with that hunted look[Pg 88] deepening on her face, as no word or sign betrayed his answer.

"You will not even answer me!" she moaned, at last.

"It needs not his love to plead your cause, Grace," he answered, in heart-wrung accents. "While I thought that your only fault was in deceiving me before our marriage, my own love pleaded unceasingly for you, my every effort was directed to the destruction of my fiery jealousy and anger toward you. I was succeeding. God knows this is true. The message I sent you by Captain Clendenon was the outgrowth of that milder mood. In all probability I should soon have returned to you—glad to call you mine, even though I knew you to have once loved another. Once! My God! how little I knew of the dark reality! how little I dreamed of your deception until I saw you here to-day—with him!"

"Oh! not with him!" she cried, in indignant denial—"oh! not with him! I had met him but that moment, and by the merest accident. Paul, was I to blame for that?"

"Mamma, pretty mamma!" lisped the baby, reaching his arms to her in vague alarm at the papa who was grieving her so, and, with cold deference, he laid him in his mother's arms, as he answered:

"Not to blame for meeting him accidentally, of course, Grace; but you were to blame for stopping him, for clinging to him, for looking into his eyes as you did, knowing what you did of the feelings existing between himself and me—deeply to blame."

"I was frightened," she pleaded. "I did not think—it would have happened just the same had it been a stranger, and not Mr. Conway."

"Ah, no!" he sneered, beside himself with jealous passion. "I have learned, too late, that your marriage with me was one of ambition and pride. There was love in the look you gave him, Grace—such love as you have never accorded me."

He was walking excitedly up and down the floor, never even glancing at her. She sighed bitterly, pillowing her burning cheek against her child, as though to gather strength before she spoke again.

"You are mistaken; it was fright, alarm, foolish nervousness; not love, God knows; anything else but that! I do not know[Pg 89] how to please you, my husband. You are fearfully, causelessly jealous—oh! what did you want me to do?"

"I did not want you to touch him; I did not want you to speak to him or notice him. I am jealous, Grace," stopping suddenly beside her, and gathering all her long fair ringlets into his hands, and lifting one bright tendril caressingly to his lips—"so jealous that I am almost angry with the very winds when they dare lift this treasured glory from your shoulders."

She trembled so violently that she was forced to put down the child on a cushion at her feet. As she turned, with a mute gesture, as if to throw herself into his arms, he dropped the golden mass from his hands and coldly turned away.

"I would like to know, madam," after a long pause, his voice ringing, clear, cold, steady, from the opposite side of the room, "why you chose to come to Washington at all—knowing it to be against my wishes—what object could you possibly have had, unless it were to see him?"

That cruel insult struck the warm fountain of tears, too oft repressed by the proud, loving young wife. Her face dropped in her hands, bright tears falling through her fingers; her voice came to him mournfully earnest through its repressed sobs and moans:

"Because, oh! because I wanted to see you, Paul, so much—oh, so much!—that I felt I could brave your blame—dare all your anger, but to look on your dear face once more! I hoped you would not see me. I did not know you could be so cruel and unjust to me, or I would have fought harder against the temptation to come."

Moving toward her, he half opened his arms, then dropped them again at his sides, with something like a moan.

"Oh, God, if I could only believe you!"

"And do you not?" she asked, slowly.

"I cannot. The miserable doubt that you have never loved me, the fear that your marriage with me arose from selfish considerations while your heart was in the keeping of one who valued it so little then, however much he may now—Gracie, with all these torturing doubts on my soul, I try to believe you, and—I cannot."

"Once for all," she says, still patiently, "let me tell you,[Pg 90] whether you credit or not, Paul, that my love for Bruce Conway compared with my love for you was as moonlight unto sunlight, or as water unto wine. He was the ideal of my silly, inexperienced girlhood—nay, childhood—he never could have been the choice of my maturer years. You are all I can ask for in perfection of manliness, saving this unhappily jealous nature, and my whole heart is yours. I did not marry you for any selfish consideration, except that I loved you and wanted always to be near that strong, true, noble heart, sheltered by its warm affection. Paul, can you believe these things if I tell you so on my very knees?"

He flung himself away from her with a heart-wrung sigh.

"God help my jealous nature, I cannot!"

"And you will leave me again after this—indefinitely—or forever?" leaning her elbow on the low marble mantel, and looking at him with a sort of wistful wonder in her tear-wet eyes.

"I must. My vow is recorded—I cannot help myself—it must be fulfilled."

She smiled slightly, but with something in her smile that half maddened him. The tears were quite dry on her lashes, her cheeks were pink as rose-leaves, her bosom rose and fell more calmly. The smile that played on her lips was not "all angel" now. She had sued for the last time to her unjust lord.

"Since this is your decision," she answered, in calm tones, that belied her tortured heart, "would it not be as well to separate altogether? Would not your freedom be better insured by a complete divorce from one who has so deeply deceived you that it seems impossible to trust her again? I confess that it is irksome to me to live upon the splendors your wealth supplies while I am an exile and an alien from your heart. Once fairly divorced, and we could go away—my baby and I—and never trouble you again. I have worked for myself before; I am sure I can do it again."

He glared at her speechless, her cool, quiet words stinging him sharply, and widening the gulf between them. Before it was a turbulent stream; now a rushing river.

"And then you might be Bruce Conway's wife," he says, bitterly, at last, "and be happy ever after in his love. Is that what you mean, fair lady?"

[Pg 91]

"Oh, no, no, no! I should never marry again! I should not want to—nor dare to! Oh, Heaven, what has love ever brought me but agony?" with a despairing gesture of her clenched white hand.

"Ta, ta!" he says, with a light, sarcastic laugh. "You should not judge the future by the past. You 'may be happy yet,' as one of your songs prettily expresses it. Certainly, you may have a divorce if you wish, only,"—stooping to lift his boy in his arms—"in that case, you know, the law will give this dear little fellow into my sole care and keeping; though, of course, the blissful bride of Conway will not miss the child of the man she never loved."

If that last taunt struck home she did not betray it, save that she whitened to her lips as she slowly reiterated his words.

"The law would take my baby from me?"

"Yes, of course; that is the law of the land—do you still desire to have a divorce?"

"Oh, God, no! I never did, except for your sake. I felt myself to be a burden on your unwilling hands, on your unwilling heart, and I simply could not bear the thought. But my baby—don't take him from me, Paul! I have suffered until I thought I could bear no more, and that, oh! that would be death. He is all I have to love me now."

She caught her child from his arms and held him strained to her beating heart, feeling for the first time the awful agony of a mother's dread of losing her loved one. Her husband looked at her with no trace of his feelings written on his still face, and merely said:

"Do not fear; I shall not take him from you, unless in the event to which we have alluded. But I hope you will let me see him while he is so near me. When do you propose to leave Washington?"

"On the day after to-morrow. I only came yesterday."

"Ah! then I shall look for Norah, to-morrow—you have Norah with you?"

"Yes, of course."

"Then I shall expect Norah and my baby to call on me quite punctually, at ten to-morrow. I want to see all I can of the little fellow while he is here."

[Pg 92]

He penciled his address on a card, and laid it on the marble mantel. She watched him mutely as he turned toward her, thinking gravely to herself what a great, grand, kingly nature was marred by the jealous passion that laid waste the fair garden of this man's soul.

"Hear me now, Grace, and understand that what I wrote you in my parting note is still my wish. You will remain in our home with our little boy; command my banker for unlimited sums, and be as happy as you can. Do not, I beg of you, seek to see me again."

"No," she answers, slowly and proudly; "the next time, you will seek me!"

"Indeed, I hope so," he gravely answers, "so do not worry, and think as kindly of me as you can until we meet again."

"Until we meet again," she murmurs, under her breath.

"Until we meet again," he repeats, with a lingering look, and a deep, low bow.

She makes a pained, impatient gesture. He turns and goes out, humming with a cruel lightness that breaks her heart, the sad refrain of an old song:

"It may be for years, and it may be forever."



"I touch this flower of silken leaf my earlier days that knew,
Its soft leaves wound me with a grief whose balsam never grew."


Four o'clock striking in Mrs. Conway's parlor, and our three friends variously disposed therein; Mrs. Conway trifling with some light affair of fancy work, in bright-colored Berlin wool; Bruce with the daily paper; Lulu, a trifle restless, and sitting before the piano, striking low, wandering chords and symphonies, turning now and then an impatient glance at the newspaper that diverts the gentleman's attention from her. Women are invariably jealous of newspapers.

[Pg 93]

"What a nice thing it is to be interested in politics," she says, petulantly, at last.

He is deeply immersed in a synopsis of the speech of Senator Winans, having missed it the preceding day by being absorbed in contemplation of the Senator's wife; but he looks up to retort, lightly:

"What a nice thing it is to be a belle and take on airs."

She pouts, with a toss of her small head, then smiles.

"Meaning me?" she queries.

"Meaning you," he answers, glancing at the white fingers that go straying over the keys, waking a low accompaniment, to which she sings, softly:

"Violets, roses,
Sweet-scented posies,
Who'll buy my roses,
All scattered with dew?"

"Meaning the mammoth bouquet that came this morning with the captain's compliments?" he interrupts her to ask, with a glimmer of fun in his dark eye.

She breaks off, laughing, half-blushing, and saucily retorting:

"Indeed, no. Were I ever so avaricious a flower-vendor I could not part with the gift of the gallant captain."

"By the way," he says, suddenly and mischievously ("by the way" being a byword of the captain under discussion), "it strikes me as rather droll that such a charming flirtation should have sprung up between you and Captain Frank Fontenay—the man who tried to help kill me, and the little fairy who helped cure me."

"Ah, yes, now I think of it," with an infinitesimal shudder, "he was Senator Winans' second in that affair. Well," saucily this, "you could not have been seconded by a finer gentleman."

He rises and saunters over to her side, out of reach of Mrs. Conway's ears, who is near the window (exactly what Lulu wishes him to do). Long ago he has read, like an open page, the pure, adoring heart of this girl—no vanity in him, for it is so palpable to all; to a certain degree he loves her, admires her[Pg 94] fresh, young beauty, her sunny ways; means certainly some day to make her his wife; and something under her surface gayety now that reveals a wistful, unsatisfied yearning touches him to greater tenderness than he has ever felt for her before. As he bends to speak she turns her head, with a deepening flush; the movement wafts to him the subtle fragrance of a white rose worn in her brown hair, and the words she longs to hear die unspoken on his lips. What is there in the fragrance of a flower that can pierce one deeper than a sword-thrust with the sweet-bitterness of memory? What kinship does it bear to the roses that blossomed in other days, in other hands that we have loved? Who can tell?

Impatiently he disengages it from its becoming brown setting and tosses it far from him.

"Never wear white roses where I am, Lulu; I cannot bear their perfume—it absolutely sickens me. I like you best in scarlet. It suits your piquant beauty best."

"Did she wear white roses?" she queries, with inexpressible bitterness, and reaching conclusions with a woman's quick wit.

"She wore white roses—yes," he answers, slowly, as if impelled by some power stronger than his own volition; "and, Lulu, she sat one evening with her lap full of white roses, and her hands glanced among them as white as they—you have heard the whole story before—and the only really cowardly act of my life, the only dastardly speech of my life, was made then—oh, Heaven! I shall never forget the eyes she lifted to my face; white roses always stir me with remorse—always breathe the funereal air of dead hopes."

"It is a sin to love her so—now," she whispered, under her breath.

"I know, I know; but cannot you understand, Lu, that this is remorse that has built its habitation over the grave of love? Another love is rising in my heart above the wreck of my earlier one, but my regret for what I caused her to suffer then—for what I have unwittingly caused her to bear since—is, and must ever be, unceasing."

"You need not grieve so deeply," she urges, trying to comfort him. "She found consolation—she has 'learned to love another.'"

[Pg 95]

"Yes, my loss was his gain, but still the influence of what I did in the past throws its blighting consequence over her life; but let us not speak of it, Lulu. There are themes more pleasant to me—ah, if I mistake not," glancing out of a near window, "there's the captain's faultless equipage outside—do you drive with him this evening?"

"I believe I did promise him," she says, reluctantly, and the next moment the fine-looking captain is ushered in, and Bruce goes back to his former seat.

Coolly polite are the greetings between the two gentlemen. The words that pass between them are of the briefest, while Lulu goes for her wrappings.

He smiles, as standing at the window he meets her regretful smile, and knows how much rather she had been with him than dashing off in that handsome phaeton.

She carries that smile in her heart as they whirl down the avenue, past the White House, and off by a pretty circuitous route for the little city of Georgetown. There is a glow on her cheek, a sweet, serious light in her eyes, a slight abstraction in her manner, that charms her companion. He bends near her, a sparkle in his blue eyes, a gratified smile on his lips, for he fancies that he has called that added charm to her face.

She has taken his heart by storm, and before she can realize it, he has capitulated and laid the spoils of war at her feet—namely, the battered old heart of a forty-year-old captain in the U. S. A., a brown-stone front on Capitol Hill, and fifty thousand dollars.

She looks up in utter amaze at the fair blonde face of the really handsome veteran, with its rippling beard and sunny expression of good-humor, then her eyes fall, and she softly laughs at his folly in the charmingly incredulous way with which some women refuse an offer.

"My dear sir, you do me too much honor, and I would not for the world exchange my maiden freedom for 'a name and a ring.'"

The captain is not so very much disheartened. He is of a sanguine temperament, and says he will not despair yet—in short, means to try again at some fitting future period; and she, leaning back, listless, half sorry for him, and a little flattered[Pg 96] at his preference, wishes with all her heart that this were Bruce Conway instead.

"Ah! by the way," he breaks in presently, "there is a rumor—I beg your pardon if I offend—but is it true, as society declares, that you are to marry Conway?"

Her heart gives a great muffled throb, that almost stifles her, then the small head lifts erect and calm.

"It is not a fact—at least, I am not aware of it—unless, indeed, society means to marry us willy-nilly."

"Society has made worse matches," he lightly rejoins. "Conway is a prize in the market matrimonial—Miss Clendenon certainly has no peer!"

She laughs. Indeed, it is one of her charming ways that she laughs at everything that can be possibly laughed at, and since her laugh is most musical, and her teeth twin rows of pearls, we can excuse her—ah, how much nonsense we pardon to youth and beauty!

"Ah, by the way," (this favorite formula), "talking of Conway reminds me of my friend, Winans—in the Senate, you know. A strange affair that of his child—don't you think so?"

She is busy fighting the wind, that blows the long loose strands of her solitary brown ringlet all over her pink cheeks, and turns half-way to him, the sunny smile utterly forsaking her lip, answering vaguely and in some surprise:

"What about it? I have heard nothing."

"Have not?—ah!" as they turn a corner and come upon a lovely view of the noble Potomac. "There you have a fine view, Miss Clendenon."

She looks mechanically.

"Yes, it is grand, but—but what did you say about the child of Senator Winans?"

"Ah, yes, I was going to tell you, I had not forgotten," he smiled. "Why, it seems that his wife was in the city, and he called on her last evening at the hotel where she is stopping—he told me, poor fellow, in confidence that they parted more bitterly alienated than before. I blame him, though, the most. I know his hot temper, you see, Miss Lulu—and he desired her to send the child and nurse around to his hotel this morning, that he might see as much as possible[Pg 97] of the child before she returned to Norfolk, as she designed doing to-day."

"Well?" she breathes eagerly.

She is twisting the wayward ringlet round and round one taper finger and listening with absorbing interest as he goes on.

"Well, Norah O'Neil, the nurse, took the child very punctually to its father at ten o'clock this morning. He received them in his private parlor that opened on a long handsome hall, where similar parlors opened in a similar manner. And—but this cannot be interesting to you, Miss Clendenon, since you do not know the parties."

"On the contrary, I am deeply interested," she said. "Go on if you please."

"Well, it seems that Winans kept the little thing so long with him that it began to grow hungry and fretful. Winans suggested that Norah, the nurse, you know, should go down to the lower regions of the hotel and bring up some warm milk and crackers for the hungry child. She went, attended by a waiter Winans summoned for the purpose, and remained some time—ah! Miss Clendenon, here we are on Prospect Hill with a charming sea-view before us—and there—you see that romantic-looking cottage not a stone's throw from us—that is the home of the well-known novelist, Mrs. Southworth."

"Ah!" she said, brightly, turning a look of deep interest at the spot. "But about the child—what happened while the nurse was gone?"

"In a moment, Miss Lulu," touching whip to the prancing iron-gray ponies and setting them off at a dashing rate. "Yes, as I was saying, Winans played with the child that kept fretting for Norah and the milk, and I dare say he grew tired of playing the nurse—I should in his place, I know—and thought of taking a comfortable smoke. He left the baby sitting on a divan, stopped into his dressing-room, selected a good weed, lighted it, and stepped back again."

"And what happened then?" Lulu inquired.

"Would you believe it!—the little thing that could no more than toddle by itself—that he had left but a moment before,[Pg 98] sitting on the divan, fretting for Norah and its milk—it was gone."

"Gone—where?" asked Lulu, staring blankly at him.

"The Lord in heaven knows, Miss Clendenon. Winans ran to the door—it had stood ajar all the time for fresh air—and looked up and down the hall for him, in vain though. Then the nurse came up with the milk, and they began to search together, called up the waiters, alarmed the whole house, in fact; and all was useless. Every room was searched, every one inquired of, but not a trace of the child was found; he was clearly not in the house. I happened in just then and joined in the search. At four this evening the search had become widespread; two detectives have scoured the city, and it seems impossible to throw the least light on the affair. Winans is perfectly wild about it—never saw a man suffer so."

"Oh, how dreadful!" breathed Lulu, "and who broke it to her—the wretched mother?"

"Norah absolutely refused to go to her with news which she said must certainly kill her. Winans shrunk from the task in the same desperate horror. She does not know it yet, and he clings to a hope of finding it before dark, and sending it back by Norah as though nothing had happened; but I fear he will fail. Little Paul has undoubtedly been stolen for the sake of a ransom, no doubt, or his fine clothes; and it is probable they will get him back, but scarcely to-day."

"Oh, poor unhappy Grace!" murmured Lulu, and all her miserable, half-indefinable jealousy of the beautiful woman melted in a hot rain of tears for the terribly bereaved young mother.

The captain, greatly surprised at this feminine outburst, was really at a loss to offer consolation. Having all a man's horror of woman's tears, he let the sudden rain-storm have its way, and then hazarded a remark:

"Why, you do not know her; I beg your pardon, do you?"

"No," brushing away the pearly drops with a dainty lace-bordered handkerchief. "I have seen her, heard her trouble, and take a very deep interest in her, and," as she dried the last tear and looked pensively up, "I am such a baby that my tears are ready on all occasions."

[Pg 99]

"An April day," is his oft-quoted comment, "'all smiles and tears.'"

Silence falls. Captain Fontenay looks a little sad, intensely thoughtful, evidently revolving something in his mind.

"You speak of having heard of Mrs. Winans' troubles," he ventured at last. "Mrs. Conway is one of her friends, I believe?"

"Yes, she has known Mrs. Winans for years—loves and admires her greatly."

"Perhaps then," pulling his mustache doubtfully, as they drive slowly on, and looking anxious as to how his remark will be received, "perhaps since Winans and the nurse both are so reluctant to carry the news to Mrs. Winans—perhaps Mrs. Conway would be a proper person to break it to her—that is if she would undertake the painful task."

"I am sure she would do so; painful as it would be to her I feel she would rather it were her than a stranger; she could tell it more gently than one unaccustomed to Grace—I call her Grace because I have gotten into the familiar habit from hearing Mrs. Conway call her so," she said, apologetically.

"Then, if you think so," he makes answer, "I will call on our return and ask her to do so, seeing Winans afterward to let him know of her willingness to assume the unpleasant task. Then, if he thinks best, I will call and take Mrs. Conway to her hotel."

They drove back, and broke the sad news to Mrs. Conway. Shocked, surprised, and grieved as she was, she eschewed for once the nerves of a fashionable, and professed herself willing and anxious to go to the bereaved young mother.

At seven o'clock that evening the captain called for her.

"No tidings of him yet," he said, "and Winans is anxious you should go to her at once and break it with all possible tenderness, with the assurance that he expects at any hour to find the baby and bring it to her. Norah will come back after it is told. Poor lady! fate has done its worst for her."

At the door of Grace's room let us pause, dear reader. We have heard the moan of that aching, tortured heart so often, as she quailed before the shafts of fate, that we dare not look on the agony whose remembrance will haunt even the callous heart[Pg 100] of the fashionable and world-worn Mrs. Conway through all her future years. It was the agony of Rachel weeping for her children, and would not be comforted, because they were not.



"Wan was her cheek
With hollow watch, her mantle torn,
Red grief and mother's hunger in her eye."

Tennyson's "Princess."

"There is none
In all this cold and hollow world, no fount
Of deep, strong, deathless love, save that within
A mother's heart."


At dusk of the next day Paul Winans walked impatiently up and down the floor of his room at the Arlington House. He was waiting for the appearance of Keene, the best detective in the District, who had promised to meet him at six o'clock that evening, to report progress.

Norah had gone back to her suffering mistress the night before, and a vague report that had reached Winans to-day relative to Grace's illness weighed heavily on him, as, with clasped hands and a beating heart, he walked up and down, restlessly, striving with his agony.

Remorse was busy with his soul. In this great shock that had come upon him and his wife he lost sight of his own personal grievance, and thought only of her, forgetting his hot rage of two nights before, and thinking only that the breach his senseless jealousy had made between their two hearts was now immeasurably widened by the hand of fate. In some sort he felt himself an innocent agent in the child's loss, and scarcely dared hope for his wife's forgiveness.

"Come in," he said, pausing, as a knock echoed on the door with military precision. "Ah! Fontenay, is it you? I expected Keene, the detective. Come in—sit down."

[Pg 101]

Captain Fontenay did as requested, turning a silent look of commiseration on his friend.

"I have just come from calling on Miss Clendenon," he observed, "and learned that Mrs. Conway has not yet returned from Mrs. Winans' hotel. In fact, I believe she thinks best to remain with her until she gets better. She has, as Miss Lulu informed me, taken rooms for herself, and Miss Clendenon, of course, who is to rejoin her there this evening—Conway remaining at his hotel."

"Ah! that is kind of Mrs. Conway," said Winans, surprisedly. "I should not have expected so much kind feeling from one who has always appeared to me a mere cold-hearted devotee of fashion and pleasure."

"The devil is not as black as he is painted," the captain quotes, sententiously.

"This Miss Clendenon seems a pleasant, or rather, a sweet little creature," mused the Senator, aloud; "one of the sort of women, I think—don't you?—who is worthy the devoted affection of any one."

"I think so," says the captain, with enthusiasm.

"I was thinking"—musingly this—"that I would like her to know my wife—like to see a cordial friendship grow up between the two. Grace has never had an intimate female friend. She is singularly quiet, reticent, and reserved with every one. It would, I think, be something of a comfort to her to be brought into familiar intercourse with Willard Clendenon's sister. She needs the sympathy and society of one of her own sex."

"Let us hope they may become friends," says the captain, heartily.

"But, Fontenay, this illness of Grace—I heard a rumor of it to-day—our unfortunate affairs are by this time a town-talk. She is not seriously out of sorts, I presume, and I am not brave enough to go there now, and look on the desolation I have wrought."

Fontenay walked across the room and laid his hand on the other's arm, gravely and sympathizingly.

"No—yes," he says; "well, the truth is, Winans, I hate to be the bearer of the tidings, but the fact is simply this: Mrs.[Pg 102] Winans' excessive agitation and grief have culminated in what the physician calls a serious attack of brain fever."

"Great Heaven! what have I done?"

The strong man reeled backward as if from a blow just as another professional rap sounded on the door.

"Come in," he says, with a strong effort at self-control.

This time it was Keene. Slender, small, and shrewd-looking, he fits his name, and his name fits him. He bows to both gentlemen, leisurely taking the seat he is offered.

"Anything new?" he is asked.

"A moment, if you please. Senator, if you will be so kind as to order up the chamber-maid who attends the ladies' parlors on this floor, I will ask her a few questions."

Winans rang the bell violently.

"You do not suppose she has stolen the child?" he queries, a little astonished.

"Not at all," Mr. Keene smiled cheerfully back.

A white-aproned waiter answered the bell just then, Winans gave the desired order, and resumed his moody walk again, until interrupted by the entrance of the maid he had summoned. A rather pretty and pleasant-faced girl she was, neatly dressed, and with a due modicum of modesty, for the color came into her smooth, round cheek, and she looked down and trifled with her apron-string as Mr. Keene smiled approval at her.

"What is your name, my girl?"

"Annie Brady, sir."

"Ah, yes. Well, Miss Annie, you preside over the ladies' rooms on this floor? Attend to the ladies, I mean?"

"Oh! yes, sir."

"Well, Annie, I have heard—you can tell me if it is true—did any of the ladies you have been waiting on in this hotel leave here yesterday for a foreign port?"

The pretty Irish girl reflected.

"Yes, sir," with a small courtesy; "and indade I believe there was wan."

"You believe. Are you quite certain?"

"Yes, sir, I am quite certain. It were the poor English lady whose room was opposite this one—number 20, sir."

[Pg 103]

She half-opened the door and indicated number 20 with her finger.

"Just across the hall."

"The poor English lady; and why do you call her poor?" asked the detective, curiously, while the two gentlemen listened in silence, and the girl herself edged nearer the door in surprise and bewilderment commingled. "Was she in bad circumstances?"

"Why, no, sir, not that way; she seemed quite comfortable so far as money went. It were her mind, sir," said the girl, tapping her forehead significantly. "She seemed not quite right here, sir."

"And what sort of a lady was she, and what was her name?"

"Her name? It was Mrs. Moreland, sir, and she looked about thirty year old—a pretty little blue-eyed lady, quite broken down with trouble and grief. She came on here a few days ago from New York, and was going home to her friends in London."

"Ah! and was she alone? Did she talk with you much, and tell you the cause of her trouble?"

"She did talk to me sometimes. She seemed lonely and unsettled-like, and I thought it did her good to talk to some wan of her trials. A sore heart, ye know, sir, is all the betther for telling its griefs over to a sympathizing heart," said Annie, apologetically.

"Yes," said Keene, a little impatiently, "but you have not told us what her trouble was."

"To be sure," answered Annie, good-humoredly. "She had come over some two years since from London with her husband to seek a better fortune, and just when they were so snugly settled down in a dear little home in Brooklyn, and beginning to do well in the world, and wan little baby-bird come to make sunshine in the home, the husband and baby sickened and died, wan after the other, sir, and the poor heart-broken widdy is just going back to her friends almost crazy with the grief of it all," concluded Annie, quite breathless with her long speech.

A sparkle of blue lightning flashed in Keene's eyes.

"She had lost a child, you said?"

"Yes, sir, a pretty boy, scarce a year old. She showed me a[Pg 104] photograph of them all—five little ones she had lost, he the last of them all—black-eyed, curly-headed little beauties they were—like their poor father, she said."

"And she was inconsolable at the loss of the baby?"

"Yes, sir; she fretted for it all the long days, sir—not quite right in her head, she was not, I know, but," said Annie, wiping away a glittering tear from her pink cheek, "it were pitiful like to see her a tossing on the sofa, and moaning, and like as not laughing wildly as she talked of baby Earle, as she called him."

"Seemed insane, you think?" asked Keene, in his quick, short manner.

"Not like that," answered Annie, with mild wonder at the gentleman's pertinacious curiosity, "but a little out of her mind—you've heard of people being melancholy mad, sir."

"Yes, oh, yes," said Keene, "and so you said good-by to this interesting little widow yesterday at about between eleven and twelve o'clock, and she left here and took the steamer for Liverpool?"

"She did go away at that time, sir, but I told her good-by earlier as my duties called me to another part of the building. She told nobody good-by. Indeed, all the waiters in the house—she always had a kind word for them, ye see—they all wondered they did not see her go out, and so missed saying good-by to her."

"But her baggage, Annie? How did her baggage go down?"

"Oh! her passage was taken, and her baggage sent to the steamer, yesterday."

"Yes; thank you, Miss Annie, and I believe that is all I want to ask you this evening."

Senator Winans supplemented Keene's thanks with a banknote, and Annie went bowing and smiling back to the regions whence she came.

The three men looked at each other, Keene breaking the ominous silence that had fallen:

"This is what I came to tell you, Senator Winans. Mrs. Moreland is on the ocean with your little boy. I have already telegraphed to Liverpool to have her stopped when she lands there. I have found that a woman answering her description[Pg 105] left on the steamer yesterday with a child answering the description of yours; with the cunning of insanity that poor creature probably saw the child at the moment of leaving, and kidnapped it with the thought that it was her own."

He turned away, inured as he was to sorrow, from the white anguish of the father's face.

"It is very probable you will get him back; don't give up all as lost," he said, cheerfully.

"I will not," the stern energy of the man asserting itself. "We will follow them on the next steamer, and track every inch of ground till we find him. Every dollar I own shall be expended if necessary. But, oh, Heaven! I cannot—his mother—she is ill, wretched—perhaps death-stricken. I dare not leave here."

"I don't know that it is necessary to follow them," Keene said, doubtfully. "If they get him in Liverpool, he can be sent home in the captain's care. You will not care, I suppose, to punish her. She is probably half insane, and under a natural hallucination that it was her own, and abducted it."

"No, poor creature! she has already suffered enough," said Winans, pityingly.

"Ah, by the way, Winans," here interposed the captain, "why not call and see your wife to-night, and learn if her illness is too serious to admit of your leaving; she may be better, and you at liberty to go. It seems the best thing under the circumstances, in my humble judgment, that you should pursue this woman as speedily as is possible."

"Perhaps so. Then, Mr. Keene, I suppose we can do nothing more till to-morrow. If you will call on me at an early hour in the morning we will discuss the best steps to be taken in the matter."

And there being no more to say on the subject, the detective bowed himself out, leaving the two friends alone together.

"Fontenay, I am afraid to go to her. She would spurn me from her presence; I deserve it."

He strode across the room, and began stirring the coal fire, shaking down the ashes, and tearing open its burning heart, just as wounded love and bitter pain and yearning were sweeping[Pg 106] the ashes of pride and jealousy from his, and showing him the living fire that burned undimmed below.

"You can but try," said the gallant captain. "'Faint heart never won fair lady.'"

And Winans resolved to "try."



"The boon for which we gasp in vain,
If hardly won at length, too late made ours,
When the soul's wing is broken, comes like rain."


"Fare thee well! Yet think awhile
On one whose bosom bleeds to doubt thee;
Who now would rather trust than smile,
And die with thee than live without thee."


Sitting at her window watching the radiant day hiding its blushes on the breast of night, Lulu Clendenon's heart was full of a strange, aching pain. She had, as Captain Fontenay had told Winans, removed to the hotel where Mrs. Conway had taken rooms, to remain until Mrs. Winans recovered from her attack of impending brain fever.

As yet she had not seen Mrs. Winans, no one being permitted to enter the sick-room excepting those who were in close attendance on the patient; and, truth to tell, Lulu was lonely. She missed Bruce Conway. For many weeks now the twilight hour had been the pleasantest of the day to her, for it had been passed in his company. Now as she sat at the window, cuddled up in a great easy-chair, her cheek pressed down in the hollow of her little white hand, her wistful brown eyes watching the fairy hues of sunset, Lulu was waking to a realization of her own heart.

The little sister that Captain Clendenon had wanted to keep a child forever was a child no longer. Love—the old, old story, old as the world, and yet new and sweet as the blushing[Pg 107] flowers of to-day's blossoming—had opened for her the portals of a broader existence, and Lulu was learning the strength and depth of her woman's heart first by its intense aching.

According to the verdict of the world, it is a woman's shame to love unsought; and yet I think that that is scarcely love which waits to be given leave to love. Flowers blossom of their own sweet will, and often as not their sweetest perfume rises under the heedless feet that trample them down. It is much so with the human heart. It gives love, not where it is asked always, but often where it is uncared for and unknown; and the cold steel of disappointment is but to such love as the knife that digs round the roots of our flowers—it makes the fibers strike deeper in the soil of the heart.

"Successful love may sate itself away,
The wretched are the faithful."

Lulu wished idly that she were floating in ether on the top of that gold-tinged cloud that rose in the far west, wave on wave, over masses of violet, rose, and crimson; or that she might have laid her hot cheek against that white drift that looked like a chilly bank of snow, and cooled the fever that sent its warm flushes over her face.

The pretty lip trembled a little, and Lulu felt as if she wanted to go home, like a tired and weary child, to her mother.

Mrs. Conway's light footsteps, as she entered softly, startled her from her painful reverie. She roused up into a more dignified posture, and inquired touching the state of the young patient.

"She has been delirious to-day, but is now for the time being quite rational, though still and silent. I want to take you to see her, my dear. You will have to help nurse her (we cannot leave her solely to the care of that nurse and the doctor—it would be cruel), and it is better to have her get acquainted with you now, and accustomed to seeing you about her room. You can come now, if you please, dear. I have spoken to her of you, and she will be prepared to see you."

Lulu rose from her easy-chair, shook out her tumbled skirts, trying to shake off a portion of her heart's heaviness at the same[Pg 108] time, and smoothing her dark braids a little, followed her friend.

But her heart rose to her throat as they crossed the threshold of the sick-room, and stood in the presence of a woman who had always been such an object of interest to her.

The fading winter sunshine glimmered into the apartment and shone on Norah, where she sat, grave and anxious-looking, at the side of the low French bed, whose sweeping canopy of lace thrown back over the top revealed the form of Grace Winans lying under the silken coverlet, like some rare picture, her cheeks flushed scarlet with fever, the white lids drooping over her brilliant eyes, her arms thrown back over her head, her small hands twisted in the bright drift of golden hair that swept back over the embroidered pillow.

"Dear Grace," Mrs. Conway said, softly, "this is my young friend, Lulu, Mrs. Winans, Miss Clendenon."

Slowly the sweeping lashes lifted, and the melancholy gaze dwelt on Lulu's face, but the lips that opened to speak only trembled and shut again in that set, firm line with which proud women keep back a sob. One little hand came down from over her head, and was softly laid in Lulu's own. As it lay there, warm, feverish, fluttering like a wounded bird, the young girl's heart swelled with a throb of passionate sympathy.

She bent impulsively and pressed her cool, dewy lips on the fevered brow of the other, while she registered a vow in her unselfish soul, that she would stand between Grace Winans and every sorrow that effort or sacrifice of hers could avert.

How potent is the spell of sympathy! The light pressure of those soft lips touched a chord in Grace's tortured heart that never in after years ceased to vibrate. Her husband had spoken truly in saying that she had no intimate woman-friend, but it was scarcely her fault. Her nature was a singularly pure and elevated one; the majority of the women she knew had few feelings in common with her, and she was too much superior to them not to be an object of envy rather than a congenial friend to most. She had found a kindred spirit at last in the sister of Willard Clendenon; and if the shifting current of fate had ordered her life otherwise than what it was—had she married[Pg 109] Willard Clendenon, maimed, comparatively poor, unskilled in the current coin of worldly compliment though he was, she would have found her soul-mate. But these strange mistakes lie scattered all along the path of life, and it is true that matches, if made in heaven, sometimes get woefully mismatched coming down.

"Her fever is getting higher," Mrs. Conway said, as she anxiously fingered the blue-veined wrist.

It rose higher and higher; delirium set in, and in restless visions the young mother babbled of her lost child; she was seeking him—seeking him everywhere, through the wide, thronged avenues of Washington, the long corridors of the capitol, the dull, narrow streets of Norfolk, by the moonlit shores of Ocean View; and the red light of a meteor in the sky was blinding her so that she could not see; and when it faded she was in darkness—and now burning reproaches scorched the sweet lips with their fiery breath, and Paul Winans' name was whispered, but with inexpressible bitterness. The impression on her mind, strengthened by his words at their last interview, was that he had intentionally secreted her baby to punish her in some sort for what seemed to him faults in her. He had struck a blow at her heart where it was most vulnerable; she had told him it would be her death, and he had wanted her to die; and this dismal refrain haunted her fevered slumbers through long hours. In vain Norah cooled the burning head with linen strips, holding masses of powdered ice; the white arms tossed restlessly, the lips still babbled incoherent grief and anger; the physician came, watched her for an hour, went through the formula of prescribing, and shaking his head and promising to see her in the morning, went his way; and the hours went on—it was ten o'clock, and quieter slumbers seemed to fall upon the worn-out patient; she talked less incoherently, tossed and moaned less often.

"A gentleman to see Mrs. Conway," was announced by the subdued voice of a servant at the door.

Supposing that it was her nephew, she glided softly out, returning in ten minutes, to find Grace feebly tossing again and staring with wide-open eyes at every object in the dimly lighted[Pg 110] room. She bent over her and tried to fix her wavering attention.

"My dear, will you see your husband? Senator Winans desires an interview with you."

Something in the name seemed to fix and hold her wandering thoughts. She half-lifted herself, resting on her elbow and sweeping her hand across her brow.

"My husband—did you say that?"

"Yes; listen, dear. He has come to see you, and is waiting in the parlor. May I bring him in? Will you see him?"

A flash of hope in the fever-bright violet eyes, a hopeful ring in the trembling voice:

"The baby—he has brought the baby?"

"No, not yet; he hopes to soon," taking the small hands and softly caressing them with hers, "indeed, you are mistaken, Gracie, in thinking, dear child, that he is deceiving you in this matter. He is in great distress, longs to tell you so, and to try to comfort you; say that you will see him."

"No, not I; you do not know him—he is so cruel. Oh, my poor heart!" clasping her hands across her heaving breast, "He has come to triumph in my anguish, to laugh at the wreck he has made of my life."

"Not so, Gracie, dear little one, he has come to sympathize with you—won't you let him come?"

"No, no, never!" rising straight up and shaking herself free of Mrs. Conway's detaining hand, the delirium clouding her brain again. "Oh, never till he comes to me with our baby in his arms will I look upon his face again. Tell him this, and say that if he entered that door I would most surely spring from that window rather than look on his face with its smile of triumph at my suffering."

She fell back, exhausted and quite delirious now, and Mrs. Conway turned with a heavy heart to carry the ill tidings to the man who waited in the next room. She was spared that pain. The clear, bell-like voice, sharpened by anger and scorn that was strange to that gentle spirit, had penetrated the next room, and he knew his doom and felt it to be just, as he stood in the middle of the floor, his hands clasped behind him, his head bowed on his breast, a perfect picture of humiliation and despair.

[Pg 111]

"I have heard," he said, with a ghastly smile, as her fingers touched his arm.

"My poor boy!" she said.

"It is just," he said, in a whisper of intense pain. "God knows I merit worse at her hands, but, all the same, it goes hard with me—the worse because, as I told you just now, I leave for Europe to-morrow in quest of our child. Oh! Mrs. Conway, take care of her while I am gone. Don't—don't let her die!"

"She shall not die," said Lulu's soft, low tones, as she glided into the room and up to his side. "I will—we all will—do everything to keep her for you until you come back to make her happiness your chief care in life hereafter. She must not, will not, die!"

He looked up, caught her hand, and touched it gratefully to his lips.

"God bless you for those words, Miss Clendenon! You always come with renewed life and promises of hope. Oh! watch over her well, I entreat you; and, oh! teach her, if you can, to think less harshly of me. May God forgive me for my folly and wickedness to her, and give me a chance to retrieve the past by the future."

The two ladies looked at each other, deeply moved.

"I am coming back at the very earliest possible day after I recover my child," he went on; "but never till then. I have heard my doom from her own lips." Then he stopped, too deeply pained for words, and with only a heart-wrung "good-by," was gone.

"The next time you will seek me," she had said, at their last fatal interview.

There are many thoughtless words spoken that afterward seem like prophecies.

Mrs. Conway and Lulu went back to the room where they were doomed to watch for many long weeks yet to come over the sick-bed where life and death were waging fierce warfare over a life-weary, reckless victim. But the "balance so fearfully and darkly hung" that a touch may turn the scale toward "that bourne whence no traveler returns," wavered, and dropped its pale burden back into the arms of those who loved her; and, shadowy, wasted, and hopeless, Grace Winans took up the cross[Pg 112] of her life again, with all the sunshine gone out of it, the only comfort left to her bruised heart that "comfort scorned of devils"—that comfort that is "sorrow's crown"—"remembering happier things."



"Ah! one rose,
One rose, but one by those fair fingers culled,
Were worth a hundred kisses, pressed on lips
Less exquisite than thine."

Tennyson's "Gardener's Daughter."

It is the latter part of the month of February, and Norfolk is waking up from its winter torpor. Our friends who wintered in Washington are all at home again. Mrs. Conway and her well-beloved nephew are located once more at Ocean View. Mrs. Winans, only just recovered from her severe and lengthy illness, is once more established in her handsome residence in Cumberland street, and has prevailed on Miss Clendenon to spend the first few weeks after their return with her—Mrs. Clendenon, though lonely without her, willingly giving up those weeks of her daughter's treasured society to the fair woman of whom both son and daughter speak in terms of such unqualified praise.

They are very fond of each other—Grace and Lulu—and, indeed, the fair mistress of that grand home feels as if life will be a blank indeed when Lulu, too, leaves her, for her pleasant company helps to dispel the aching sense of waiting and suspense that broods drearily over her own heart.

Senator Winans has not returned to the United States—indeed, seems in no haste to return—for he has resigned his seat in Congress, and writes that he will never return until accompanied by the child so strangely lost.

At present the fate of that little child is wrapped in impenetrable mystery. The detectives in Liverpool who were watching for the arrival of the steamer there, were eluded by the cunning of his poor, half-insane abductor, and not a trace of her[Pg 113] afterward could be found, though the story was widely circulated in the prominent papers, munificent rewards offered for his restoration to his father, and the best detectives employed to hunt the woman down. In vain.

Whether the little Paul yet lived was a matter of doubt to many who considered the subject carefully, and remembered how irresponsible, how poorly fitted to take care of the tenderly nurtured babe, was the poor, grief-stricken, demented creature. But Winans remained abroad, resolved that he would never give up the search nor return home until success crowned his efforts. And with him, to make a resolve was generally to keep it.

As for Grace, the first sharp agony of her grief being past, a sort of apathy settled upon her, a quietude that appeared to infold her so closely it seemed as if joy or pain could never touch her more. Very still and quiet, though sweet, and gently observant of the cares of others, she glided through the elegant rooms of her strangely quiet and solitary home, and books and music, and long, lonely drives, shared only by Lulu, formed the only objects of her daily occupation. Health returned to her so slowly that life seemed slipping from her grasp by gradual declining, and the fair cheek, never very rosy, wore the settled shadow of an inward strife, the girlish lip a quiet resolution that moved the gazer to wonder.

And for Lulu, also, a slight paleness has usurped the place of the brilliant roses she carried to Washington. The starry brown eyes hold a grave thoughtfulness new to their soft depths, and sometimes, when suddenly spoken to, the girl starts, as if her thoughts had strayed hundreds of miles away, though the truth of the matter is they never strayed further than Ocean View, where the handsome object of their thoughts dawdled life away, "killing time" and thought as best he might, and seldom coming into Norfolk—"recruiting after a fatiguing season," he was wont to say, when rallied on the subject by his numerous friends in the city, and had Lulu been at her mother's, he would very possibly have called occasionally to see her, but while she staid with Grace she was debarred the pleasure of seeing him, for Bruce never expected to cross the threshold of the house that called Mrs. Winans its mistress, and[Pg 114] where Lulu sat one bright, sunny morning, toward the last of the month of February. As is often the case, February had borrowed a windy day from March, and the "homeless winds" shrieked around the corners, and moaned dismally in the trees that were just putting out the safest and greenest of velvet buds, and Lulu, sitting alone in the cozy morning parlor, idly turning the pages of a new volume, started up in surprise and pleasure as a servant ushered "dear brother Willie" quite unexpectedly into the room.

"So glad to see you," she said, brightly, putting both hands in his one, and rising on tiptoe for a kiss.

He stooped and gave her a dozen before he accepted the chair she placed for him beside her own.

"Mother is well? I haven't seen her these two days," she queries, anxiously.

"Mother is well—yes, and sent her love."

"Now," she chattered, laying aside her book, and concentrating all her attention on him, "give me all the news."

"Well, Lulu, all the news I have is soon told. I am come to bid you good-by. Winans has been urging me so earnestly in his letters to join him abroad in his search for the little Paul, that I have not the heart to refuse, if I wished, which I do not, and I start to-night. There is no use putting it off, and I do not need to. The only thing I regret is that this will curtail your stay with Mrs. Winans, as mother cannot spare us both at once, and will want to have you with her to console her anxieties while 'with a smile at her doleful face, her Willie's on the dark blue sea.' Still, dear little sister, you can spend much of your time with Mrs. Winans, which I hope you will do."

"I certainly will do so," she gravely promises.

"It is solely for her sake that I go," he concluded. "Otherwise I do not care for the trip, and it rather encroaches on my business at this time. But if I can help lift the cloud from her life, no effort of mine shall be wanting. Noblesse oblige, you know, little sister."

She glanced up into the soft, serious, gray eyes, that met her gaze so kindly with a smothered sigh.

[Pg 115]

"How noble and calm was that forehead,
'Neath its tresses of dark curling hair;
The sadness of thought slept upon it,
And a look that a seraph might wear."

"My darling," he bent and looked into the face that lay against his shoulder, "you are not well—you do not look like my bright, happy bird. What is it—what has troubled you?"

"Nothing; indeed it is nothing. I have the least bit of a headache, but it is wearing off in the joy of seeing you," she answered, smiling a little, and then, woman-like, touched by a sympathizing word, breaking into tears and sobbing against his shoulder.

He put his arm around her, inexpressibly shocked and pained.

"Something has troubled you, and I know it. Tell me, Lulu, or I cannot be content to cross the ocean leaving you with some untold grief in your happy young heart. Come, you do not have any secrets from brother Willie."

"No, no, it is nothing, dear brother, but I am so nervous of late—have learned to be a fashionable lady, you know," smiling faintly to allay his anxiety, "and I am so shocked to think you are going away—so far, and so soon—how long do you mean to stay?"

"I cannot tell. I shall write to you often, anyhow, so that you and mother shall not miss me so much. I shall throw all my powers into this undertaking. And, Lulu, I think—that is—I should like to see her and say good-by—if you think she would see any one?"

"She would see you, certainly; she is very fond of you; talks often of you. You can go down into the conservatory; she was there a little while since. I know she is there still. After you tell her good-by, you will come back to me—will you?"

"Yes, dear," he answered, as he rose and left her, passing on through the continuation of the elegant suite of rooms leading out to the door of the conservatory and glancing in for her he sought.

She was there. He caught his breath with a pang as he saw the slender figure standing under a slim young palm tree, looking like a sculptured image of thought with her downcast[Pg 116] eyes and gravely quiet lips. A furred, white morning robe of fine French merino, girded at the waist by silken white cords and tassels, fell softly about her form and trailed its sweeping length on the marble floor. There were faint blue shadows around the glorious eyes, though they may have been but the shadow of the sweeping black lashes—there was a glow but no color on the pure, fragile cheek, and a dumb suggestion of quiet martyrdom in the droop of the hands that loosely clasped each other, as

"Stiller than chiseled marble standing there,
A daughter of the gods, divinely tall,
And most divinely fair,"

the eyes of Captain Clendenon dwell on her for a moment with a mist before their sight, and then—but then she lifted the sweeping lids of those rare pansy-vailed eyes, and looked up at him.

The ghost of a smile touched her lips as she gave him her hand.

"It seems a long time since I saw you," she said, "though it really is not two months."

"Sometimes," he answered, gravely, "so much suffering can be crowded into two months that it may well seem two centuries."

"Ah! yes." She set her lips suddenly in the straight line with which she was wont to keep back a sob. After a moment, "Have you seen Lulu?"

"Yes, I have seen her," going over patiently, and at more length, the information he had just given his sister, talking this time brightly and cheerfully. "I feel almost assured he will be found; he must be—'there is no such word as fail,' you know, in the 'lexicon of youth,'—and I think you are giving up too easily. You will undermine your health already weakened by your severe illness. Why, you have the appearance of one who has given up all hope."

"And I have," she calmly made answer.

"That is simply suicidal," he said, trying to rouse her into hope with all the strength of his strong, true nature.

"You are so kind, Captain Clendenon," she flashed a blinding[Pg 117] ray of gratitude from her dusk eyes upon him, "so kind to go and look for him—my baby—believe me, I never, never can forget it, though I feel that all search will be in vain—still, still, it is so kind, so noble in you to do all this, and I know you are doing it for me," laying her small hand mechanically on his coat-sleeve in a childish fashion she had, and keeping the grateful eyes still on his face.

"Mrs. Winans," he answered, quite gravely, "I would go to the ends of the earth to serve you—any man who knows your unmerited sufferings, and appreciates you as well as I do, could not do less, I think."

"Thank you," she murmured, with the faintest quiver in the music of her voice.

"And now," he spoke less gravely, and more brightly, "I think I must be saying good-by. Is there anything I can do for you on the other side of the Atlantic—any commission for Parisian finery—any message for your husband?"

"Nothing—thanks," she answered, decisively.

He sighed, but did not urge the matter.

"You are not going to send me to Europe without one flower, and so rich in floral blessings?" his glance roving over the booming wilderness of beauty and fragrance all around her.

"No, indeed, but you are not going yet. You will certainly stay to luncheon, will you not?"

"I cannot—thanks!"

"You shall have all the flowers you want. What are your favorites? Pray help yourself to all you fancy, and welcome," she urged, earnestly.

He glanced around. Everything rare, and sweet, and bright he could think of, glowed lavishly around him, but the only white rose that had blown that day she had quite mechanically broken and placed on her breast.

"I only want one flower. I like white roses best," he answers.

She turned her head, bending forward to see if any were there, and one of her long, fair curls swept across and tangled itself in a thorny bush beside her. She caught it impatiently away, leaving a tangle of broken gold strands on the thorny[Pg 118] stem. Before she turned back to him he had broken off the spray and hid it in his breast.

"There is not a rose," lifting regretful eyes to his face, "excepting this one I wear. I carelessly broke it, but it is still fresh. You are welcome to that, if you will have it," she said, sweetly.

"If you please."

She disengaged it, and put it in his hand. He retained hers a moment.

"Thanks, and—good-by."

"Good-by," her voice said, regretfully, then added: "Oh! Captain Clendenon, find him for me, if you can! Oh, try your best!"

"I pledge you my word I will," he answered, "but promise me that you will have faith in my endeavor; that you will live in hope."

"Oh! I cannot, I cannot! I feel that I can never hope again!" she cried, but with a brightening glance.

"But you will," he answered, cheerily. "Health, and hope, and love will all come back to you in time. 'Hope springs eternal in the human breast.' God bless you, and good-by."

Their hands met a moment in a strong, friendly clasp; her violet orbs dusk and dewy with feeling; her voice scarce audible as it quivered:


[Pg 119]



"Come, rouse thee, dearest; 'tis not well
To let the spirit brood
Thus darkly o'er the cares that swell
Life's current to a flood."

Mrs. Dinnies.

"And if I laugh at any mortal thing,
'Tis that I may not weep; and if I weep,
'Tis that our nature cannot always bring
Itself to apathy, which we must steep
First in the icy depths of Lethe's spring
Ere what we least wish to behold will sleep."


"Lulu, I have come to take you for a drive," said Grace Winans, as she glided lightly into Miss Clendenon's sanctum, looking fair and fresh, and smiling, in faultless summer costume of frilled and fluted white muslin, and the daintiest of gray kid driving-gloves, for it is six months since Captain Clendenon went to Europe, and the last days of August are raining their burning sunshine on the sea-girt city of Norfolk.

But Lulu's room, cool, fresh, inviting, a very bower of innocent maidenhood—offers an exquisite relief from the burning heat and general parched look of the world outside. A cool, white India matting covers the floor; the chairs are light graceful affairs of willow-work; the windows are shaded with curtains of pale green silk and lace, swaying softly in the faint breeze that stirs the trees outside. A few rare paintings adorn the creamy-hued walls—pictures of cool woodland dells and streams, with meek-eyed cows standing knee-deep in meadow grass; a charmingly romantic sketch of the Chesapeake Bay, and over the white, dainty-covered lounge, where Lulu is reclining at ease, a picture of a cross, to which a slender form, with a vail of sweeping hair, clings with dark, uplifted eyes that breathe the spirit of the inscription beneath: "Helpless[Pg 120] to thy cross I cling." A vase of fragrant and beautifully arranged flowers adorns the marble center-table where the poems of Tennyson, Hemans, Owen Meredith, and all the authors, peculiarly the favorites of young ladies, are ranged in bindings of green and gold. Lulu, herself, lying idly with white arms clasped over her head, her face like a rose, her dainty white morning-dress loosely flowing, "a single stream of all her soft brown hair poured on one side," looked as if Rose, the "Gardener's Daughter" had stepped down out of Tennyson and laid herself down to rest.

"To drive—where?" she asked, as she rose to a sitting posture, and "wound her looser hair in braid."

"To Ocean View, to call on Mrs. Conway. My neglect of her since her great kindness to me in my illness is really unpardonable, so we will drive down this morning, make a long, informal call, stay to luncheon, and drive back in the cool of the afternoon."

"Hum! is not nine miles a long distance to drive this warm day?" asks Lulu, rising and flitting into her dressing-room, the door of which stands open beyond.

"What! Through the cool leafy arches of the woods, with the birds singing, the bees humming, the flowers wasting their perfume for our sole benefit, the spirit of summer abroad in the air—it will be exquisite!" Mrs. Winans answers gayly, as she floats up and down the room, and, pausing before a mirror, settles her broad straw hat a little more jauntily on her waving ringlets.

"Sit down, won't you?" Lulu calls, from the dressing-room, where she is attiring herself in fresh white robes similar to those of Grace.

"I thank you, no," she is answered back. "I am fidgety. I am restless—not in the mood for keeping quiet. I prefer to walk about."

"Ah! Hysterical, I presume—is that it?" questions Lulu's rosy lips at the door, glancing at her with gently solicitous eyes.

"I dare say," not pausing in her restless walk, and Lulu, looking closer under the light mask of gayety, reads with a sigh traces of unrest in the fair, proud face.

[Pg 121]

It is a peculiarity of Grace's constitution or temperament that she can never keep still under the pressure of excitement or trouble. She is always in a quiver, and even when sitting down she is always rocking or tapping her foot, or perhaps it is only in the convulsive pressure of her pearly teeth on her red lips that she betrays inward unrest. I cannot give any psychological nor physical reason for this. I only know that it is so, and Lulu had found out this characteristic of Grace long ago.

"Darling," she says, coming into the room, swinging her broad straw hat by its blue ribbons. "Darling, what is it that troubles you?—anything new?"

"Anything new?" Mrs. Winans laughs, provokingly. "Lulu, dearest, is there anything new under the sun?"

"I am certain the sun never shone on anything before as rare as yourself," Lulu answers, with winning affection, lifting the small, half-gloved hand to her tender lips.

Mrs. Winans pulls it away, and dashes it across eyes that look suspiciously misty and dark.

"Don't, Lulu, you silly child! You are always making me cry."

"And I wish I could," she answers. "I am tired of this surface gayety, my liege lady. Oh, I am going to talk plainly! You don't mean it—I know how you suffer, Grace, darling, bravely as you repress it, and I know, too, that you would feel better if you let it all blow over in a great passionate storm—rain! But you won't. You have been living the last few months in a whirl of gayety and pretended pleasure, and damming up the fountain of feeling, till now it is breaking over all your frail barriers of pride and scorn, and you will not give it way, and it is bearing you on its current—where, oh! dearest, where?"

"Hush!" came in a stifled moan, from behind the hands that hid the girlish wife's convulsed face. "You shall not talk so—I cannot bear it!"

"But I must, love," and Lulu's arm stole around the convulsed form that still held itself proudly erect, as if disdaining human help and sympathy. "I must, and you will forgive poor Lulu, for it is her duty, and I must be less your devoted friend than I am if I did not speak. Oh, you know you are[Pg 122] not taking the right course to procure oblivion of your sad and grievous troubles! It does not make you happy to whirl through the thoughtless rounds of society amusements and pleasures; it does not make you happy nor contented to dazzle men's eyes and hearts with your inaccessible beauty, when seas are rolling between you and the only man in whose eyes you care to seem fair. Darling, I know when you go back to your silent home your heart sinks heavier by the contrast; I know that when you lay this lovely head upon its pillow you recall, with agony, the time when your baby's cheek was pillowed there against your own——"

"Oh, Heaven!" shuddered the listener, "be silent, Lulu. You will drive me mad. I cannot, cannot bear the least reference to my child! Only just now, as I drove up Main street in my little phaeton, taking a silly sort of triumph to myself at the sensation created by my pretty face and cream-white ponies, I met the funeral of a little child on its way to the cemetery—the casket was covered with lilies and roses—and, oh, Lulu, I thought of my own little one, and its probable fate! and, oh, I wished my heart would break! Why, why does not God let me die!" and, shivering with repressed agony, the young wife suffered Lulu to hold her in her close-clasped arms, while she wept and moaned on her breast.

And Lulu, wise in her young experience, let the saving tears flow on, until Mrs. Winans lifted her head and said, mournfully;

"Oh, Lulu, you should not reproach me for trying to fill up in some way the great blank in my life as best I can! I dare not brood alone over my vacant heart and wretched doom, for I should go mad. I must seek diversion, oblivion!—what would you have me do?"

Lulu's brown eyes lifted to the picture that hung over the lounge.

"Gracie," she said impressively, "is there no other way to fill up your vacant heart and life than by utter abandonment to the pleasures of the social world?"

The listener's eyes followed hers.

"'Simply to Thy cross I cling,'" she repeated listlessly.

"If you must have a salve for your wounded heart," Lulu[Pg 123] went on, as she toyed with the bright curls that lay against her shoulder still, "there is nothing on earth that so fills up vacant heart and life as the cross of Christ the Crucified; Gracie, do you ever pray?"

"I am too wretched," she answered, hopelessly.

"Too wretched! Oh, Gracie, dear friend, do you forget how in the darkest hours our Lord spent in the Garden of Gethsemane that, being in an agony, He prayed more earnestly? It is in hours of the deepest suffering that we should pray most. When we feel that earth offers no consolation, where can we look but to heaven? And the blessing of God must follow such prayers, since Christ himself has set us the example," continued the young mentor, earnestly.

"No blessings ever follow my prayers," answered the mourner, with her eyes fixed sadly, through a mist of tears, on the figure that clung "helpless" to the cross, "even when I pray, which I do—sometimes."

"You do not pray in the right spirit, then," said her friend, gently but firmly. "You do not expect a blessing to follow your prayers, and we are only healed by faith, not by the simple act of prayer, but by the faith that breathes in it. If you asked a blessing nightly, it would follow prayer, be sure. Remember His promise, 'Ask and it shall be given you, seek and ye shall find.'"

"I know, I know," answered Grace, mournfully; "but heaven and earth alike seem to have no mercy on me. Come, Lulu, my little ponies are impatient waiting so long," and pausing a moment to bathe her tear-stained face in a basin of perfumed water, she floated down the stairs, followed by the sweet little preacher.

"Now, then," with a forced laugh, as they disposed the elegant blue silk carriage-robe over their white dresses to keep out the summer dust, and dashed off in the exquisite little phaeton that was the envy of all Norfolk; "now, then, we are off like the wind for Ocean View."

She was a skillful driver, and the beautiful, spirited little ponies knew no law but her will. They flew like the wind, as she had said; but as they rode on out of the narrow streets of Norfolk, and into the cool, shady forest road, the sunshine[Pg 124] glinting down through interstices of the trees, the leafy boughs bending till they swept against the brims of their broad straw hats—in the midst of all her idle and incessant chatter, she heard one low sentence ringing in her ears, and an involuntary prayer was rising in her heart: "Lord, teach me to feel that simply to Thy cross I cling." She had been too proud almost to humble herself even before the throne of God; she had felt that God himself was unjust to her, and willful and wretched, she had gone on her darkened way, asking no pity from God nor man. To-day, the kind words of Lulu had stirred a chord in her thoughtful heart that vibrated painfully as the question forced itself on her mind: "Have I been unjust to and neglectful of my God?" In a mind so pure and clearly balanced as was hers, the seeds of evil could not take very deep root, and the word spoken "in season" by the gentle Lulu was beginning to bear fruit already, though Lulu dreamed not of it, as she kept time with the stream of light and careless words her companion unceasingly kept up.

"Let me drive," she said, at last, noting the unwonted rose-tint that colored the fair cheek, and thinking it was the effect of fatigue; "you have been driving nearly an hour, and it will be another hour before we see Ocean View," and taking the reins with gentle force, drove on; while the other, relieving her fair hands of their damp driving-gloves, folded them across her lap, and laying back her head, gave herself up to mournful retrospection, watching the blue heavens smiling over their heads, the play of the sunshine on the leaves and flowers as they flashed past, and the transient glimpses of the sea now and then glimmering through openings in the woods. Lulu's gaze dwelt pityingly on the fair face that looked so child-like as it lay back against the silken cushioning of the phaeton, the long black lashes shading the flushed cheek, the golden locks, moist with the warmth of the day, clustering in short, spiral rings all about the pearl-fair forehead, whose blue veins were so distinctly outlined that Lulu could see how they throbbed with the intensity of her thoughts. There was so much fire and spirit, combined with sweetness in that face; its exquisite chiseling, its full yet delicate lips, its round, dimpled chin, the small, sensitive nostril, the perfection of dainty coloring and expression, that Lulu[Pg 125] could well understand how this beauty, joined to so sweet a soul, could hold men willing captives, and at thought of her brother, Lulu sighed deeply, and to shake off the depression that was creeping over her, she said, gayly:

"A penny for your thoughts, lady fair."

The black lashes fluttered upward, and the pansy eyes met Lulu's own with such impotent anguish in their soft depths that the girl started.

"Darling, what can you possibly be thinking of?"

"Of nothing that need alarm you, my dearest," answered Grace, summoning a smile to her lips as she said, "and here we are at last at Ocean View."

"And there is John to take the horses," jumping lightly out, and shaking her tumbled skirts. "Is Mrs. Conway at home, John?"

"Ya'as'm, ole miss is at home," answered John, with a grin of delight, as the fairy idol of the Conway retainers sprang lightly out, and stood looking listlessly about her, nodding graciously to John as she followed Lulu's example by shaking out her innumerable white frills and embroideries, and leading the way to the house.

"Clar to gracious!" John said, looking open-mouthed after them, "if she don't grow mo' angelical every day of her life! Shouldn't wonder if she took wings any day and flew away to heben. T'other's pretty enough for anything, but she—oh! she's a fitter mate for de President!"

With which compliment he led away the ponies for food and water.

Mrs. Conway was charmed at the arrival of her two favorites.

"Just thinking of you both," she said, in her graceful way. "Talk of angels and you'll see their wings."

The young ladies pleasantly returned the compliment as they refreshed themselves with the iced wine and sponge cake she had ordered for them immediately after their long and tiresome drive.

"And, indeed, Grace," she said, with some concern, "you do not look as well as you should be doing by this time—really seem harassed and worn. I am afraid you are too gay. I hear so frequently of your appearance in social gatherings and society[Pg 126] in general, that I hope you are not overtaxing your strength."

"I think not," Mrs. Winans answered, with her grave, sweet dignity. "My constitution is superb, you know."

"I should say it was," Mrs. Conway said, "after all it survived in Washington. Still you are not looking over strong now. Your drive in the warm sun has wearied you. Won't you go up to your old room and lie down to rest?"

"No, thank you; I am feeling very well;" and Lulu, seeing the rapid flutter of Grace's fan, knew she was getting excited and nervous, and interposed with some trifling remark that diverted the attention of their amiable hostess, who remembered then to ask when Captain Clendenon had written, and how he was progressing in his mission abroad.

"He writes hopefully," Lulu answered, checking a sigh; "has nothing definite, but still keeps on with the search, which he thinks must at last be crowned with success."

"Let us hope so," Mrs. Conway said, fervently.

Presently our old friend, Bruce, saunters in, handsome, perfumed, elegant as ever. He bows low to Mrs. Winans, offers a light congratulation on her improving health, and shakes hands with Lulu, who is blushing "celestial rosy red," for she has not seen him for a month before, and her fluttering pulses move unsteadily, her whole frame quivers with subdued ecstasy. Oh! love, conquerer of all hearts, whether high or lowly, what a passionate, blissful pain thou art!

"And you had the energy to drive out here this sweltering day?" in subdued surprise he queries.

"Yes, giving Mrs. Winans the credit of planning the trip—her energy is untiring in creating pleasurable surprises for my benefit."

Grace turns aside from her chatter with her hostess to acknowledge the compliment with a passing, fond smile on her favorite.

"If I remember rightly," Mr. Conway bows slightly toward her, "Mrs. Winans has always had a quiet fund of energy in her composition that is a reproach to many who are stronger physically, but, alas! weaker in mental gifts. I am, unfortunately,[Pg 127] Miss Lulu, one of those unstable ones who shall not excel in anything."

Mrs. Winans never glances that way. She holds her small head high, her underlying pride never more noticeable than now as she goes on talking with Mrs. Conway, languidly fanning herself the while.

Is memory busy at her heart? We think not, or if it is she would not go back to those happy, idly dreaming hours this spot recalls could they bestow all the happiness they promised then, and denied her. So often in our maturer experience we see the wisdom of God in withholding gifts we craved, whose attainment could but disappoint expectation and anticipation.

Bruce Conway would make Lulu, with her loving capacity of twisting love's garlands over wanting capabilities, a very happy wife—he never could have quite filled up the illimitable depths of Grace's heart, nor crowned her life with the fullness of content.

"Will you go to see our flowers?" he asks, bending to Lulu with one of his rarely sweet smiles. "You favor my aunt so seldom in this way that I must needs do the honors in as great perfection as is possible to me—one never expects any great quota of perfection from my indolence, you know."

She smiles as she dons again the broad straw hat that, by Mrs. Conway's request, she has laid aside, and rises to go.

He rises, too—oh, how peerless in her eyes, in his suit of cool white linen, and his graceful indolence.

"I am going to rifle your flower-garden of its sweets, Mrs. Conway," she says, lightly, as she follows him out on the broad piazza, down the steps, and into that exquisite garden that lay budding and glowing in the burning August sunshine.

"Ah, life is sweet when life is young,
And life and love are both so long!"

[Pg 128]



Ah, me! what matter? The world goes round.
And bliss and bale are but outside things;
I never can lose what in him I found,
Though love be sorrow with half-grown wings;
And if love flies when we are young,
Why life is still not long—not long.

Miss Muloch.

"It has been almost a month since I saw you," Conway says, drawing the small hand of Lulu within his arm as they saunter down a shady path where the crape myrtle boughs meet over their heads, showering pink blossoms in prodigal sweetness beneath their feet.

No answer. She is looking ahead at a little bird hopping timidly about the path, and only turns to him when he goes on pathetically:

"I have missed you so much."

"You know where I lived," she answers, dryly.

An amused smile outlines itself around the corners of his handsome mouth.

"So you think it is solely my own fault that I have missed you—have not seen you. Well, perhaps it is—yet——"

"Yet what?"

"Oh, nothing—it does not matter."

"No, I suppose not," she responds, a little scornfully. "Nothing seems to matter much to you, Mr. Conway. I believe you have found the fabled Lotos. It would suit you, and such as you,

"In the hollow Lotos land to live and lie reclined
On the hills like gods together, careless of mankind."

"Whew! since when has my little Brownie learned to be sarcastic?" he queries, in genuine astonishment, trying to look into her face, but it is turned away from him, and she is idly stripping[Pg 129] the thorns from the stem of a rose she has just broken. Ah! if she could only as easily eradicate the thorns that rankle in her gentle heart!

"Why don't you talk to me?" he says, pettishly.

"And have I not been talking?" turning an innocent, unconscious face toward him, a piquant smile on her lips.

"I know, but without taking any interest," he says, in an injured tone. "Don't you care to talk? Are you weary of me?"

"Weary of you!" she laughs. "Ah! that gives me a pretext to quote poetry to you," and she repeats, with a very faint tremor in her voice, the delicious lines of Mrs. Osgood:

"Weary of you! I should weary as soon
Of a fountain playing its low lute tune,
With its mellow contralto lapsing in
Like a message of love through this worldly din."

He looks down into the faintly flushed face with a light, triumphant smile she does not see. He knows as well, and better than herself, how much she means the poetry that she has repeated in that light, jesting tone.

"Thank you," he answers only. "I wish I could think you meant it."

She stoops suddenly and breaks off a half-dozen great purplish velvet pansies from a bed on the side of the patch, and puts them into his hands.

"'There's pansies—that's for thoughts,'" she says, gayly. "Think what you will."

"May I think that you love me?" he queries, audaciously, as only Bruce Conway can do.

"I have said think what you will," she answers, growing suddenly crimson. "But why are you throwing my pansies away?"

A faint flush crimsons his fair forehead, too. Their eyes look at each other as he answers:

"I—I do not like pansies; they are too sad. Sometimes when I stroll down this path with my morning cigar, Lu, they look up at me bathed in glittering dew, and—I am not romantic, child, but they always remind me of blue eyes swimming in tears."

[Pg 130]

"They always remind me of the velvet darkness of Grace Winans' eyes," she says, meditatively.

"'There's rue!'" he says, and is suddenly silent. The little, irresistible feminine shaft has struck home.

He looks down at the flickering sunshine lying in spots on the graveled path, and reflects on the acute perceptions of woman—this little woman—in particular. She sees his pain, and is sorry.

"I wonder"—stirring up a little drift of pink blossoms on the path with the tip of her small slippered foot—"I wonder if all our life-path is to be flower-strewn!"

A light flashes into his handsome dark eyes as he clasps in his the small hand lying within his arm.

"Lulu dearest," he murmurs, "if you will promise to walk hand in hand with me through life, your path shall be strewn with all the flowers love's sunshine can warm into life."

A shiver thrills her from head to foot; the blue heavens darken above her head; the warm and fragrant air that rushes down the myrtle avenue sickens her almost to fainting. Passionate bliss is always closely allied to passionate pain.

"'To be, or not to be!'" he questions softly, bending over the drooping form, though he feels very sure in his heart what the answer will be.

She is silent, leaning more heavily on his arm, her face growing white and mournful.

"Dear, am I to take silence for consent?" he persists, as though talking to a petulant child who is going to yield, he knows. "I asked you is it to be or not to be?"


She outdoes his usual laconics in this specimen of brevity. It is fully a minute before he recovers from his astonishment enough to laugh:

"Don't jest with me, Lulu, I am in earnest."

"So am I."

For answer he lifts her face and scrutinizes it closely. The soft gaze meets his—half-happy, half-grieved—like a doubtful child's.

[Pg 131]

"You are not in earnest, Lulu. You do love me—you will be my wife?"

"I cannot."

He stops still under a tall myrtle and puts his arm around her slim, girlish waist.

"Brownie, willful, teasing little fairy that you are—you cannot, you will not deny that you love me—can you, honestly, now?"

"I have not denied it—have I?" her gaze falling before his.

"Not in so many words, perhaps; but you refuse to be my wife—if you loved me, how could you?"

"If I loved you I would still refuse."

"Brownie, why?"


"That is a woman's reason. Give me a better one."

"How can I, a woman, give you a better one?" she answers, evasively, tilting the brim of her hat a little further over her face. She does not want him to see the white and red flushes hotly coming and going.

"Because a better one is due me," he persists, his earnestness strengthened by her refusal. "Surely, a man, when he lays his heart, and hand, and fortune at a lady's feet, deserves a better reason for his refusal than 'because.'"

Her cheek dimples archly a moment, but she brightens as she says, almost inaudibly:

"Well, then, it is because you do not love me."

"Lulu, silly child, why should I ask you to be my wife then? I do love you—as love goes nowadays—fondly and truly."

"Ah! that is it," she cries, bitterly, "as love goes nowadays—and I do not want such love—my heart, where it loves, resigns its whole ardent being, and it will not take less in return."

"And have I offered you less?"—reproachfully this.

She nods in silence.

"Lulu, dear, unreasonable child that you are—why do you think that I do not love you? Be candid with me and let us understand one another. I will not be offended at anything you say to me."


[Pg 132]

"Nothing! If you can show just cause why and wherefore such a thing as my not loving you can be, I surely cannot be offended."

"I know you love me a little," she returns, trying hard to speak lightly and calmly, "but I also know, dear Bruce, that your heart, it may be unconsciously to yourself, still retains too much of its old feeling for one I need not name, for you to love me as I should like to be loved. Understand that I am not blaming you for this, but you know in your heart, Bruce, that were she free, and would she listen to your suit, you would not look twice at poor me."

Another home-thrust! He stands fire like a soldier, rallies, and meets her with another shot.

"This from you, Lulu! I did not think it in you to twit me with loving another man's wife!"

"I did not mean it that way," she answers, flushed and imploringly. "I meant—only meant to show you, Bruce, that I could not—oh! that I cared too much for you to be happy with you unless your love was strong and deep as mine."

"I did not think you could be so jealous and exacting, child."

"I am not jealous nor exacting. I am only true to my woman's nature," she answers, sweetly and firmly.

"Nonsense!" he answers, brusquely, "let all that pass—I do love you, Brownie, not as I loved her, I own it. But you are so sweet and lovable that it will be easy for you to fill up my heart, to the exclusion of all other past love. Try it and see, dear. Promise me that you will give yourself to me."

"I cannot."

"Is that final?"

"Final!" she gasped, as white as her dress, and leaning unwillingly against his shoulder.

"Why, Brownie, child, dearest, look up—heavens! she is fainting," cried Bruce, and taking her in his arms, he ran into a little pavilion near by, and laying her down on the low, rustic bench within, opened the gold-stoppered bottle of salts that swung by a golden chain to her belt, and applied it to her nostrils.

She struggled up to a sitting posture and drew a long breath, while tears rolled over her cheeks. Both lily white hands were[Pg 133] uplifted to prevent another application of the pungent salts.

"Don't please," she said, "you are taking away all the breath I have left."

"You deserve some such punishment for your cruelty to me," he retorts, in a very good humor with himself and her, for he feels he has done his duty in his second love affair, and if she will not marry him, why that is her own affair, and he cheerfully swallows his chagrin, and also a spice of genuine regret as he smiles down at her.

"I am going back, if you please." She steps out of the pavilion while speaking, and he attends her. As they walk silently on he gathers a flower here and there, the rarest that blow in the garden, and putting them together they grow into a graceful bouquet before they reach the house. Then he presents it with the kindest of smiles and quite ignoring the unkind cut she has given his vanity.

She takes it, thanks him, and notes with quick eyes that no roses, no white ones at least, nor pansies are there—those flowers are sacred to memory, or, perchance, remorse.

"We may be friends at least?" he queries, trying to look into the eyes that meet his unwillingly. And "always, I hope," she answers, as they reach the piazza steps.

Mrs. Winans is at the piano singing for her hostess. A dumb agony settles down on Lulu's racked heart as the rich, sweetly trained voice floats out to them as they ascend the steps, blending its music with the deep melancholy notes of old ocean in the plaintive words of an old song that is a favorite of Mrs. Conway's:

"Oh! never name departed days,
Nor vows you whispered then,
O'er which too sad a feeling plays
To trust their tones again.
Regard their shadows round you cast
As if we ne'er had met—
And thus, unmindful of the past,
We may be happy yet."

"Let us take that for an augury, little one," he says, cheerfully; "'we may be happy yet.'"

[Pg 134]



"There's a stone—the Asbestos—that flung in the flame,
Unsullied comes forth with a color more sure—
Thus shall virtue, the victim of sorrow and shame,
Refined by the trial, forever endure."


Mrs. Winans sat in her dressing-room before the mirror in the softest of easy-chairs, the daintiest of dressing-gowns, under the skillful hands of Norah, whom she had retained as her personal attendant.

It was a chilly night in November, but a soft warmth pervaded the rooms, which were heated by Latrobe stoves in the basement of the house, and the light, and fragrance, and beauty within seemed even more delightful by contrast with the cold winds that whistled sharply and sullenly without. A look of sadness was noticeable on Norah's rosy face as with gentle touches she brushed out the long curls of Grace's hair that crinkled and waved in spite of all effort to straighten it.

"Norah," Mrs. Winans had said, a moment before, "it is the fifteenth day of November—do you recollect? Little Paul—dear little baby—is two years old to-night."

"And sure did I not recollect?" answered Norah, brushing away a quick-starting tear; "but did not speak of it to you hoping it had escaped your own memory."

"As if I could forget," murmured Grace, looking down, and beginning to slip the diamond ring that blazed on her taper finger nervously off and on; "as if I could forget."

"'Tis so strange he can't be found," mused Norah, keeping time to her words with the brush that she was plying on that lovely hair, "and such a great reward offered by his father for his restoration—forty thousand dollars—why that's a fortune itself. Mrs. Winans, have you heard nothing of the matter lately?"

"Miss Clendenon received a letter from her brother yesterday—she[Pg 135] came around to tell me this morning—in which he stated there was positively not the slightest cue yet. The supposition is that—oh, Norah, think of it!—is that my little boy is dead. Captain Clendenon is coming home by Christmas—he has been in Europe ever since February, now, and even he, hopeful as he was, has given up the search in vain!"

"And your husband, ma'am? Has he also given up the search? Is he, too, coming home?" asked Norah, cautiously.

"He has put the whole affair in the hands of skillful detectives to be kept up six months longer; then if unsuccessful to be abandoned as hopeless. Captain Clendenon has the management of his business affairs, and will take charge of this as of the others. Senator Winans himself, Norah, has gone over to Paris—to France."

"To France?" Norah echoes in surprise, "why there is a war there—the French are fighting the Dutch."

"Yes, there is a war there," comes the low reply, "my husband is by birth a Louisianian, Norah, and partly, I believe, of French extraction—his whole sympathies are with that nation. He has joined the French army and is gone to fight the Germans—ah! there goes my ring—pick it up, Norah. It has rolled away under the sofa."

Norah obeys and in silence replaces the ring on the little hand that in spite of the warmth pervading the room is cold and icy as she takes it in hers.

"You are nervous," she ventures to say, watching the still, impassive face, "will you take some valerian, wine, or something?"

"Nothing, Norah," but, all the same, Norah goes out and comes back with a silver salver holding a small Venetian goblet of ruby wine.

"Just a few drops," she urges with loving voice, and touching the glass to the pale lips.

"I think you always take your own way, Norah," her mistress answers, as she takes the goblet and drains it obediently. "Now, finish my hair, please, and you can go. It is almost eleven o'clock."

Silently Norah obeys, gathering up the shining mass in her[Pg 136] hands, and twisting it into a burnished coil at the back of the small head where she confines it with a diminutive silver comb. Then with a wistful sigh, and pitying backward glance, she says good-night and Grace is left alone.

Alone! how cruelly alone! All her life-time now it seems to her she will be thus solitary. She leans her small head back, and stares vacantly at the face whose wondrous beauty is reflected there in the mirror, and a light scornful smile curves her lips as she thinks:

"Is this the form—
That won his praise night and morn?
She thought: my spirit is here alone,
Walks forgotten, and is forlorn."

Rising suddenly she threw up the window and looked out into the night. A gust of cold wind and rain blew into her face. She faced it a moment, then, shutting down the window and dropping the crimson curtains together, passed into her sleeping apartment. But she could not rest. Her downy pillows might have been a bed of thorns. She rose, and gliding across the floor and, pausing one moment in grave irresolution, put her hand on the sliding door of the adjoining nursery, pushed it open and entered by the light that streamed from her own apartment.

All was still and silent here. Shadows lay on everything as heavy as those that clouded her life. She stood gazing mutely around her for an instant; then, with a low, smothered sob of agony, rushed forward, and pushing up the sweeping Valenciennes canopy of the rosewood crib that stood in the center of the room, buried her face in the small pillow that still held the impress of a baby's head.

Then silence fell. Some women carry beneath a calm, perhaps smiling, face, a deeper pain than was ever clothed in words or tears. The acme of human suffering crushes, paralyzes some hearts into terrible silence. It was thus with Grace. Her sorrow had sunk to the bottom of the sea of anguish, so deep that not a ripple on the surface, not a sparkling drop, leaped up to show where it fell.

[Pg 137]

Ten, fifteen, twenty minutes went by. She lifted her face at last—as white and chill as that of the dead, but lighted by

"Melancholy eyes divine,
The home of woe without a tear."

She comes to this room as to a grave. Over the grave of the child of her heart she may never kneel. She fancies it in her mind sometimes away off under foreign skies, lying in the shadow of some frowning English church, with not a flower on its low mound, unless Nature, more loving than cold humanity, has dropped it there like a jewel in the grass. She sees the sunshine lying on it in the quiet days, hears the birds—the only thing that ever sings in a graveyard—warbling matin songs and vesper hymns in the ivy that clings to the imaginary old church. There she may never kneel—here are gathered all her simple mementoes of him—

"Playthings upon the carpet,
And dainty little shoes—
With snow-white caps and dresses
That seem too fair to use."

There is the crib where she has watched his rosy slumbers; there in the corner is the little bathing-tub where she has seen the dimpled struggling limbs flashing through the diamond spray of cold water, like polished marbles; there upon the wall, smiling down at her in its infantile beauty and joy, hangs the pictured semblance of the face that her foreboding heart whispers to her is moldering into kindred dust beneath the coffin-lid. This room is to her alike a shrine and a grave.

How it rains!

In the dead, unhappy night, when the rain is on the roof, with what vivid distinctness does memory recall scenes and hopes that are past. Poor Grace hears the winds and the rain as they hold their midnight revels outside, and shudders as the thronging ghosts of memory flit by. Her brief and exquisite wedded happiness, her love for the dark-eyed husband who has wronged her so cruelly—she shudders and tries to put these thoughts away.

But she cannot. She has tried before. So long as her child[Pg 138] was left, with "baby fingers" to "press him from the mother's breast," she had tried to put her husband away from her heart; tried to be content with his darling little prototype; tried with all the strength of her resolute young soul to crush her love for him. But there are some things that the strongest and bravest of us cannot do. Love is "beyond us all;" the battle is not always to the strong; success does not always crown the bravest efforts. It is something to know that they who fail are sometimes braver than they who succeed.

Now, when the little child that was such a darling comfort to her sad, lonely life is so rudely wrested from that yearning heart, her thoughts irresistibly center about the father of her child. She had loved her baby best—the maternal love was more deeply developed in her than the conjugal—but even then her husband had been blessed with a fervent, tender worship that is the overflow of only such deep, strong natures as hers—natures prodigal of sweetness. Latterly, when the terrible news that he had six months before joined the army of France had come to her with all its terrible possibilities, she had only begun to fathom the depths of her unsounded love for him. It amazed herself—she put it from her with angry pain, and rushed into the whirl of social life to keep herself from thinking; wore the mask of smiles above her pain, and sunned herself in the light of admiring eyes, but though fashion and pride and station bowed low to the Senator's deserted wife, acknowledging her calm supremacy still, though sympathy and curiosity—(softly be it spoken) met her with open arms, though the wine-cup circled in the gay and brilliant coterie, it held no Lethean draught for her, and weary and heart-sick she turned from it all, and sought oblivion in the seclusion of home, and the ever welcome company of cheerful Lulu Clendenon. But her heart would not be satisfied thus. Failing in its earthly love and hope, true to itself through all her mistakes and follies, the heaven-born soul yearned for more than all this to fill up its aching vacancy, for more than all this to bind round the tortured heart and keep it from breaking.

"Where shall I turn?" she asked herself, as with folded arms she paced the floor with rapid steps, keeping time to the falling rain outside that poured in swift torrents as "though the heart[Pg 139] of heaven were breaking in tears o'er the fallen earth." Human love, human ties seemed lost to her, earth offered no refuge from her suffering. Poor, wronged, and tortured young spirit, "breathing in bondage but to bear the ills she never wrought"—where could she turn but to Him who pours the oil of comfort on wounds that in His strange providence may grow to be "blessings in disguise?"

She paused in the middle of the floor, lifting her eyes mournfully upward, half-clasping her hands, wavered an instant, then falling on her knees, lifted reverent hands and eyes, while from her lips broke the humble rhymic prayer:

"Other refuge have I none,
Helpless to Thy cross I cling;
Cover my defenseless head
With the shadow of Thy wing."

Surely, if "He giveth his angels charge concerning us," that pure, heart-wrung petition floated upward on wings seraphic.



"And why, if we must part, Lulu!
Why let me love you so?
Nay, waste no more your sweet farewells,
I cannot let you go—
Not let you go, Lulu!
I cannot let you go!"

Mrs. Osgood.

On the following Christmas morning Mrs. Clendenon, Mrs. Winans and Lulu, together with the returned captain, all attended divine service at the Protestant Episcopal Church.

It seems strange how many of us become recognized members of the Church of Christ under religious conviction, without ever having any great and realizing sense of the saving power of God, not only in the matter of the world beyond, but in the limitless power of sustaining us among the trials of this.

This had been peculiarly the case with our heroine. She had[Pg 140] for years been a member of the Episcopal Church, and, as the world goes, a dutiful member. But religion had been to her mind too much in the abstract, too much a thing above and beyond her to be taken into her daily life in the part of a comforter and sustainer. She had gone to the world for consolation in the hour of her trial. It had failed her. To-day as the glorious old "Te Deum" rose and soared grandly through the arches of the temple of worship, filling her soul with sublime pathos, she began to see how He, who had dimly held to her the place of a Saviour in the world beyond, is an ever-present Comforter and sustainer in the fateful Gethsemane of this probationary earth.

Captain Clendenon, as he sat by her side and heard the low, musical voice as it uttered the prayerful responses to the Litany, thought her but little lower than the angels. She in her deep and newly roused humility felt herself scarcely worthy to take the name of a long misunderstood Saviour on her lips. Few of the congregation who commented, on dispersing, relative to the pearl-fair beauty and elegant apparel of the Senator's deserted wife, fathomed the feelings that throbbed tumultuously beneath that pale calm bearing as they left the sacred edifice.

"Lulu," she queried later, as up in the young lady's dressing-room they had laid aside their warm wrappings and furs. "Lulu, what do you do for Christ?"

Lulu turned about in some surprise:

"What do I do for Christ?" she repeated. "Oh, Gracie, too little, I fear."

"'Tell me," she persisted.

"Well, then, I have my Sabbath-school class, my list of Christ's poor, whom I visit and aid to the best of my ability, my missionary fund, and finally, Gracie, dearest, whatever my hand 'findeth to do,' I try to do with all my might."

Gracie stood still, twisting one of the long curls that swept to her waist over one diamond-ringed white finger.

"Darling, why do you ask?" Lulu said, with her arm about the other's waist.

The fair cheek nestled confidingly against Lulu's own.

"I want to help you, if you will let me—let me go with you on your errands for Christ. I belong to the world no longer.[Pg 141] Show me how to fill up the measure of my days with prayerful work for the Master."

One pearly drop from Lulu's eyes fell down on the golden head that had pillowed itself on her breast.

"God, I thank Thee," she murmured, "that there is joy in heaven to-day over the lamb that has come into the fold."

She whispered it to Brother Willie that day at a far corner of the parlor when they happened to be alone for a moment together.

He glanced across at the slender, stately figure standing at the window between the falling lace curtains, looking wistfully out.

"It is natural," he said. "A nature so pure, so strong, so devotional as hers must needs have more than the world can give to satisfy its immortal cravings. Poor girl! she is passing through the fire of affliction. Let us thank God that she is coming out pure gold."

After awhile, when Lulu had slipped from the room, leaving them alone together, he crossed over to her side, and began telling her of his experiences and adventures abroad. She listened, pleased and interested, soothed by his kind, almost brotherly tone.

"You do not ask me after Winans," said he, playfully, at last.

She did not answer, save by a heightened flush.

"You did not know that through his reckless bravery, his gentleness and humanity to his men, he has risen to the rank of general in the army of France?" A soldierly flash in the clear gray eyes.

"Yes," she answered in a low voice; "I have seen it in the newspapers."

"You have? Then you have seen also that he——"

He paused, looking down at her quiet face in some perplexity and doubt.

"That he—what?" she asked, looking up at him, and growing slightly pale.

"I do not know how to tell you, if you do not know," his eyes, full of grave compassion, fixed on hers.

[Pg 142]

One of her small hands groped blindly out, and clung firmly to his arm.

"Captain Clendenon, I know that the Franco-Prussian war is ended. Is that what you mean? Is he—my husband—is he coming home—to America?"

She read in his eyes the negative she felt she could not speak.

"Tell me," she said, desperately, "if he is not coming home, what is it? I am braver than you think. I can bear a great deal. Is he—is he—dead?"

"May God have mercy on your poor, tired little soul," he answered, solemnly. "It is more than we know. In the last great battle, General Winans was wounded near unto death, and left on the field. When search was made for him he was not found. Whatever his fate was—whether he was buried, unshrouded and uncoffined, like many of those poor fellows, in an unknown grave, or whether an unknown fate met him, is as yet uncertain. We hope for the best while we fear the worst."

One hand still lay on his coat-sleeve—the other one followed it, clasped itself over it, and she laid her white face down upon them, creeping closer to him as if to shield herself against his strong, true heart from the storms that beat on her frail woman-life. One moment he felt the wild throb of her agonized heart against his own; then all was still. Lifting the lifeless form on his arm, he laid it on a sofa and called to Lulu:

"I had to tell her!" he exclaimed. "She did not bear it as well as we hoped. I am afraid I have killed her."

Ah! grief seldom kills. If it did, this fair world would not have so many of us striving, busy atoms struggling for its possession.

She came back to life again, lying still and white in Lulu's loving arms. Captain Clendenon and his mother went out and left them together. They would not intrude on the sore heart whose wound they could not heal.

"After all we can hope still," Lulu said, cheerily. "All is uncertainty and mere conjecture. We can still hope on, until something more definite is known."

"Hope," repeated the listener, mournfully.

"Hope, yes," was the firm reply. "Hope and pray. One of[Pg 143] Brother Willie's favorite maxims is that hope springs eternal in the human breast!"

"I can bear it," came softly from the other. "I have borne so much, I can still endure. With God's help I will be patient under all."

"Whom He loveth He chasteneth," answered Lulu.

When New Year's Day came with its social gayeties, receptions, and friendly calls, one of Lulu's latest and most surprising visits was from our old friend, Bruce Conway. He had not called on her for a long time, and she had heard that he was in Washington. The warm blood suffused her face as she stood alone in the parlor, with his card in her hand, and it grew rosier as he entered, and with his inimitable, indolent grace, paid the compliments of the season.

"You do not ask me where I have been these many days," he said, as he sipped the steaming mocha she offered him in the daintiest of China cups. She never offered her friends wine.

"I had heard that you were in Washington," she answered, apologetically.

"Right—and what was I doing there? Can you undertake to guess?"

"I am sure it is beyond me." This with her most languid air. "Flirting, perhaps."

A light smile curves his mustached lip. Certainly this little beauty, he thinks, is "good at guessing."

"Have your callers been many to-day?" he asked.

"Quite a number of my friends have called—all, I think. I expect no more this evening," she answers, demurely.

"I am glad of that. I shall have you all to myself, Lulu—willful, indifferent still, since you will not ask my object in Washington, I will e'en tell you anyhow."

"Go on—I am listening."

Putting down the cup he had finished, he seated himself on the sofa by her side, good-humoredly taking no notice of the fact that she moved a little farther away from him.

"How pretty you are looking, ma belle. Your blue silk is the loveliest shade—so becoming; your laces exquisite. Scarlet geraniums in your hair—ah! Lulu, for whose sake?"

[Pg 144]

"Not for yours," she flashes, with a hot remembrance that he has always liked her in scarlet geraniums.

A slow smile dawns in his eyes—his lips keep their pretense of gravity.

"Her hair is braided not for me,
Her eye is turned away."

he begins to hum.

"All this is not telling me what mischief you were at in Washington?" she interrupts.

"Oh," trying to look demure, but woefully failing, "no mischief at all—only paying off old scores—spoiling Fontenay's fun for him as he did for me last winter.

"Satan finds some mischief still
For idle hands to do."

"Miss Clendenon, you are hard on a poor follow. Why don't you ask her name; if she is pretty; if she is in the 'set;' if she is rich; and so on, ad infinitum?"

"I hardly care to know," she answers, with pretty unconcern.

"Hardly care to know—now, really? I shall tell you anyhow. Well, she is an heiress; is pretty; in her second Washington season; father in the banking business, and Fontenay, despairing of winning you, has transferred his 'young affections' to her. She rather likes him—will marry him, perhaps, but then——"

"But then?"

"She likes me, too, and I have teased the gallant captain considerably. Oh, the drives I have had with the fair Cordelia, the gas-light flirtations; the morning strolls to the capitol; the art-gallery; everywhere, in short, where you went with the major. I am not sure but she would throw him over for me altogether."

Her heart sinks within her. Has his fickle love turned from her so soon to this "fair Cordelia?" Better so, perhaps, for her in the end; but now—oh! she has never loved him so well as at this moment, sitting beside her in his dusk patrician beauty, with a certain odd earnestness underlying his flippant manner.

"Mrs. Conway is well, I hope?" she says, to change that painful conversation.

[Pg 145]

"Is well?—yes, and misses you amid the gay scenes of the capital. What have you been doing secluded here in your quiet home, little saint?"

"Oh! nothing particularly."

"You have not been falling in love, have you?"

"Why?" with an irrepressible blush.

"I wanted to know—that is all. Brownie, Aunt Conway, and I are going abroad this spring to stay, oh, ever so long."

He is watching her narrowly. She knows it, and changes her sudden start into one of pretty affected surprise.

"Oh, indeed! Will wedding cards and the 'fair Cordelia' bear you company?"

"Not if some one else will. Brownie, cannot you guess why I have come here this evening?" his voice growing eagerly earnest, a genuine love and earnestness shining in his eyes.

"To make a New Year's call, I guess," she answers, with innocent unconsciousness in her large dark eyes, and the faintest dimples around her lips.

"Guess again, Brownie?"

"I cannot; I have not the faintest idea," turning slightly from him.

"Then, Brownie," taking her unwilling hand in his. "I have come to ask you for a New Year's gift."

A scarlet geranium is fastened in with the lace at her throat. She plucks it out and holds it toward him with a mischievous smile.

"Will you take this? I am sorry it is all I have to offer."

He takes the hand that holds the flower and puts it to his lips.

"It is all I ask; so your heart comes with it."

Vainly she tries to draw back; he holds the small hand tighter, bending till his breath floats over her forehead.

"Lulu, I did not come here for the gift of a hot-house flower, though coming from you it is dearer than would be a very flower from those botanical gardens that are the glory of Washington. I wanted a rarer flower—even yourself."

Her face is hidden in one small hand. In low tones she answers:

[Pg 146]

"I thought this matter was settled long ago. Did I not tell you no?"

There is a long pause. Presently he answers, with a wondrous patience for him:

"You did, and rightly then, for I did not fully appreciate your pure womanly affection. I thought I could easily win you, and having lost you I loved you more. Lulu, I am woefully in earnest. Refuse me now, and you, perhaps, drive me away from you for years—it may be forever. I love you more than I did then—a thousand times better."

Still she is silent.

"Brownie," he pleads, "I am not so fickle as you think me. I have fancied many pretty women, but only loved two—Grace Grey and yourself. My love for her is a thing of the past, and has to do with the past only—'echoes of harp-strings that broke long ago'—my love for you is a thing of the present, and will influence my whole future. You can make of me a nobler man than what I am. Willard is willing, your mother is willing, I have asked them both. Brownie, let us make of that Continental trip a wedding tour?"

Her shy eyes lifted, meeting in his a deeper love than she has ever expected to see in them for her.

"Let me see," he goes on, "Aunt Conway and I are going to Europe in June—that is time enough for you to get ready. Think of it, Brownie, I am to be gone months and months. Can you bear to let me go alone?"

"No, I cannot," she sobs, hiding her face against his shoulder; and Bruce takes her in his arms and kisses her with a genuine fondness, prizing her, after the fashion of most men, all the better because she was so hard to win.

[Pg 147]



"Now she adores thee as one without spot,
Dreams not of sorrow to darken her lot,
Joyful, yet tearful, I yield her to thee;
Take her, the light of thy dwelling to be."

Fair Lulu found so little time amid the preparations that went so swiftly forward for her marriage that she was very glad to avail herself of Grace's offered assistance in looking after her poor people, her missionary box, &c., and so the lonely and depressed young creature found something to occupy her time as well as to fill up her thoughts. She was of great assistance, too, to Lulu in the selection and purchase of the bridal trousseau in which she took a pleasant feminine interest.

Lulu, who deferred always to her friend's exquisite taste, would suffer nothing to be purchased until first pronounced comme il faut by Mrs. Winans; and Bruce Conway, who had returned in the midst of the season from Washington, and haunted Lulu's steps with lover-like devotion, declared that his most dangerous rival in Lulu's heart was Mrs. Winans.

The old yearning passion he had felt for Grace had passed into a dream of the past; something he never liked to recall, because there was something of pain about it still like the soreness of an old wound—"what deep wound ever healed without a scar?" But they were very good friends now—not cordial—they would never be that, but still very pleasant and genial to each other.

Mrs. Conway, who was very well pleased to see Bruce about to marry, wished it to be so, Lulu wished it to be so; and these two who had been so much to each other, and who were so little now, tried, and succeeded in overcoming a certain embarrassment they felt, and for Lulu's sake, and not to shadow her happiness, endured each other's presence.

"Mrs. Winans," he had said one day, when some odd chance[Pg 148] had left them alone together in Lulu's parlor, "it is an unpleasant thing to speak of. Yet I have always wanted to tell you how, from the very depths of my soul, I am sorry that any folly of mine has brought upon you so much unmerited suffering. Can you ever forgive me?"

She glanced up at him from the small bit of embroidery that occupied her glancing white fingers, her eyes a thought bluer for the moment with the stirring of the still waters that flowed through the dim fields of memory and the pure young spirit came up a moment to look at him through those serene orbs.

"Can I, yes," she answered, gravely. "When I pray, nightly, that Our Father will forgive me my trespasses as I forgive those who trespass against me, my heart is free from ill-feeling toward any one. How else could I expect to be forgiven?"

And Lulu's entrance, with a song on her happy lips, had put an end to the conversation that was never again revived between them.

And days, and weeks, and months went by and brought June. In that month the wedding was to be, and Lulu and her mother, beginning to realize the parting that loomed up so close before them, began to make April weather in the home that had been all sunshine.

But "time does not stop for tears." The fateful day came when Lulu, in her white silk dress, and floating vail and orange blossoms, stood before the altar and took on her sweet lips the vow to be faithful until death do us part, and, as in a dream, she was whirled back to her home to the wedding reception and breakfast, after which she was to depart on that European tour.

Is there any need to describe it all? Do not all wedding breakfasts look and taste very nearly alike? Do not all our dear "five hundred friends" say the same agreeable things when they congratulate us? Is it not to be supposed that the bridal reception of the charming Miss Clendenon and the elegant Bruce Conway is comme il faut? We are not good at describing such things, dear reader, so we will leave it all to your imagination, which we know will do it ample justice. We want to follow Captain Clendenon and Mrs. Winans as they slowly[Pg 149] promenade the back parlor where the wedding gifts are displayed for the pleasure of the wedding guests.

"Now, is not that an exquisite set of bronzes?" she is saying, with her hand lightly touching his arm. "And that silver tea-service from the Bernards—is it not superb? That statuette I have never seen equaled. Ah, see! there is the gift of Major Fontenay, that ice-cream set in silver, lined with gold. That is generous in him—is it not, poor fellow?"

"To my mind, that exquisitely bound Bible is the prettiest thing in the collection," he returns.

"It is beautiful. That is from her Sunday-school children. This ruby necklace, set in gold and pearls, is from Mrs. Conway——"

"And this?" he touches a sandal-wood jewel casket, satin-lined, and holding a pair of slender dead-gold bracelets with monograms exquisitely wrought in diamonds—"this is——"

"My gift to Lulu."

"Oh! they are beautiful, as are all the things. But, do you know, Mrs. Winans, that I am so old-fashioned in my ideas that I do not approve of the habit of making wedding presents—no, I do not mean where friendship or love prompts the gift—but the indiscriminate practice, you understand!"

"You are right; but in the case of your sister, Captain Clendenon, I think that the most of her very pretty collection of wedding gifts are the spontaneous expressions of genuine affection and respect. Lulu is very much beloved among her circle of friends."

"You, at least," he says, reflectively, "will miss her greatly. You have so long honored her by your preference for her society and companionship. How will you fill up the long months of her absence?"

She sighs softly.

"She has left me a precious charge—all her poor to look after, her heathen fund, her sewing society—much that has been her sole charge heretofore, and which I fear may be but imperfectly fulfilled by me. Still I will do my best."

"You always do your best, I think, in all that you undertake," says this loyal heart.

"Whatever is worth doing at all is worth doing well, I think,"[Pg 150] she answers, with a faint flush evoked by his quiet meed of praise.

Then people begin to flock in to look at the wedding gifts and at Grace Winans, who is the loveliest thing of all. She has on a wedding garment in the shape of pale violet silk, with overdress of cool muslin, trimmed with Valenciennes, white kid gloves and turquois ornaments set in pearls. The wedding guests wore their bonnets, and she had a flimsy affair of white lace studded with pansies on the top of her graceful head. Her dress was somewhat after the style of fashionable half-mourning. She had selected it purposely because not knowing if she were wife or widow a more showy attire was repugnant to her feelings.

"This," she said, touching a costly little prayer-book with golden cross, monogram, and clasps. "This, I fancy, is from you."

"You are right," he answered. "This set of the poets so handsomely bound is from mother. But are you not weary of looking at all these things? Shall we not go and find Lulu?"

"By the way," she says, idly, as they slowly pass through the politely staring throng, exchanging frequent nods and smiles with acquaintances, and occasional compliments with more intimate friends, "there is a report—have you heard it?—from Memphis, Tennessee—of the yellow fever."

"Yes," he answers, slowly. "I have heard the faintest rumor of it," looking down with a cloud in his clear eyes at the fair inscrutable face. "Are you worried about it? I remember to have heard you say your nearest relatives were there."

"Only distant relatives," she answers, composedly. "I am no more worried about them than about the other inhabitants of that city. My relatives had little sympathy for me in the days of my bereavement and destitution, and though one may overlook and forgive such things one does not easily forget."

He was looking at her all the time she was speaking, though her eyes had not lifted to his. On the sweet, outwardly serene face he saw the impress of a growing purpose. What it was he dared not whisper to his own heart.

The cloud only leaves his brow when they reach his radiant sister. She stands beneath a bridal arch of fragrant white blossoms,[Pg 151] roses, and lilies, and orange blossoms dropping their pendant leaves down over her head as she receives the congratulations and adieus of her friends before she goes to change her bridal robe for the traveling-dress in which she is to start for the other shores of the Atlantic. Conway is beside her, nonchalant, smiling, handsome, very well satisfied with himself and the world. As his glance falls on the fair, pensive face of the Senator's deserted wife, the smile forsakes his lip, one sigh is given to the memory of "what might have been," and turning again to his young bride, the past is put away from him forever, and he is content.

And presently the new-made Mrs. Conway flits up stairs with Gracie, to array herself in the sober gray traveling-silk.

Grace parts the misty folds of the bridal vail and kisses the pearl-fair forehead.

"Oh, darling!" she whispers, "may God be very good to you—may he bless you in your union with the man of your choice."

Lulu's tears, always lying near the surface, begin to flow.

"Oh, Gracie," she says, suddenly, "if all should not be as we fear—if I should chance to see your husband on the shores of Europe, may I tell him—remember he has suffered so much—may I tell him that you take back the words you said in the first agony of your baby's loss?"

"What was it I said?" asked Gracie, with soft surprise.

"Do you not remember the night you were taken ill, when you were half delirious, and he came to see you——"

"Did he come to see me?" interrupts Grace.

"Certainly—don't you remember? You were half delirious, and you fancied your husband had hidden away the child to worry you, and you said——"

"I said—oh, what did I say, Lulu?" breathed the listener, impatiently.

Lulu stopped short, looking, in surprise, at the other.

"Gracie, is it possible that you were entirely delirious, and that you recollect nothing of your husband's visit and your refusal to see him?"

"This is the first I ever knew of it," said Grace, sadly; "but go on, Lulu, and tell me, please, what I did say."

"You refused to see him, though entreated to do so by Mrs.[Pg 152] Conway; you said you would never see him—never, never—unless he came with the missing child in his arms."

"Did I say all that, Lulu?" asked Grace, in repentant surprise.

"All that, and more. You said that if he attempted to enter your room you would spring from the window—and he was in the parlor; he heard every word from your own lips."

"Oh, Lulu, I must have been delirious; I remember nothing of all that, and it has, perhaps, kept him from me all the time," came in a moan from the unhappy young creature, as she leaned against the toilet-table, with one hand clasping her heart.

Lulu caught up a bottle of eau-de-cologne and showered the fine, fragrant spray over the white face, just as Mrs. Clendenon hurried in.

"My darling, do you know you should have been down stairs before this time—hurry, do."

And too much absorbed in her own grief to observe the ill-concealed agitation of Mrs. Winans, or attributing it to her sorrow at losing Lulu, the mother assisted the young bride to change her white silk for her traveling one.

Then for one moment Lulu flung herself in passionate tears on her friend's breast, with a hundred incoherent injunctions and promises, from which she was disturbed by the entrance of Mrs. Conway, radiantly announcing that the carriage waited and they had no time to spare. And Lulu, lingering only for a blessing from her mother's lips, a prayerful "God bless you" from her brother's, went forth with hope on her path, love in her heart, and the sunshine on her head, to the new life she had chosen.

When the last guest had departed, the "banquet fled, the garland dead," Mrs. Winans removed her bonnet, and spent the remainder of the day in diverting the sad mother whose heart was aching at the loss of her youngest darling.

"It seems as if all the sunshine had gone out of the house with her," Willard said, sadly, to Grace, as they stood looking together at the deserted bridal arch that seemed drooping and fading, as if in grief for the absent head over which it had lately blossomed. "I fancied we should keep our baby with us always in the dear home nest; but she is gone, so soon—a wife[Pg 153] before I had realized she had passed the boundaries of childhood."

"The months of absence will pass away very quickly," she said, gently, trying to comfort him as best she could, "and you will have her back with you."

"I don't know," he said, with a half-sob in his manly voice, lifting a long, trailing spray of white blossoms that an hour before he had seen resting against the dear brown head of his sister, touching it tenderly to his lips—"I don't know, Mrs. Winans. I don't believe in presentiments—I am not at all superstitious—but to-day, when I kissed my sister's lips in farewell, a chill crept through my frame, a voice, that seemed as clear and distinct as any human voice, seemed to whisper in my ear, 'Never again on this side of eternity!' What did it mean?"

Ah! Willard Clendenon—that the fleshly vail that separates your pure spirit from the angels is so clear that a gleam of your near immortality glimmered through!



"Hope, cheated too often when life's in its spring,
From the bosom that nursed it forever takes wing;
And memory comes as its promises fade
To brood o'er the havoc that passion has made."

C. F. Hoffman.

The gossips of Norfolk are weary of wondering at the vagaries of the Hon. Mrs. Winans. They admired and envied her very much in the role of queen of beauty and fashion; they are simply amazed when she glides before the foot-lights in the garb of a "ministering angel."

When she first began to aid and assist Miss Clendenon in her charitable undertakings they thought it only natural, in view of the sudden intimacy that had sprung up between the two, that the one should be found wherever the other was.[Pg 154] But it was quite a different thing when the Senator's lovely and exclusive wife assumed those duties alone. Society, wounded by her quiet and almost complete withdrawal from its fascinations, set it down to a lack of a new sensation, and predicted that as soon as the novelty wore out Mrs. Winans would seek some newer and fresher hobby.

But quietly oblivious to it all, the young lady went her way, smoothing with gentle advice and over thoughtful bounty many a thorny path where poverty walked falteringly on, lending a patient and sympathetic ear to the grievous complaints that rose from the homes of want and distress, strangely gentle to all little children, careful of their needs, thoughtful of their future, dropping the gentle promises of Christ along darkened paths barren of such precious seeds, and often society was scandalized by the not unfrequent sight of the young lady taking out for an airing on the cool, breezy suburbs or sea-shore some puny child or ailing adult from the haunts of poverty and making them comfortable by her side in that darling little phaeton that all Norfolk ran to their windows to gaze at when it passed.

Miss Lavinia Story—dear old spinster!—undertook to interview the lady on the subject of her going so far in alleviating the "fancied wants and grievances of those wretched poor trash," and was fairly driven from the field when Mrs. Winans, with a glimmer of mischief under her black lashes and a very serious voice asked her if her leisure would admit of her joining the sewing society, of which she was manager.

"For indeed," said Grace, half playfully, half in earnest, "we are in want of workers very badly. A lady from 'our set' volunteered very kindly last week as operator on the sewing-machine I donated the society, and they are so dreadfully in want of basters. Surely, Miss Lavinia, you will enlist as baster—that, if not more. Think of the poor people who need clothing so badly, and say 'yes.'"

"I? I would not spoil my eyesight with everlasting stitching for poor people, who are always lazy and shiftless, and smell of onions," said Miss Story, loftily.

"I beg your pardon, I am sure," smoothly returned her merciless tormentor. "I forgot that your eyesight cannot be as[Pg 155] strong as it once was. Perhaps you would not object to becoming a visitor of the sick, or something of that sort."

"My eyesight not as strong as it once was?" returned the lady, in perceptible anger. "You mistake very much, Mrs. Winans; my eyes are as young as they ever were" (she was fifty at the least), "but I can use them to better advantage than by wearing them out in the service of your sewing circle."

"It is rather tedious—this endless stitching," confessed the zealous advocate of the sewing society, "but perhaps you would not object to taking a little sewing at home occasionally—little dresses or aprons, and such trifling things for the little folks—even that would be a help to us in the present limited number of workers—won't you try to help us out that much?"

Miss Lavinia adjusted her spectacles on her high Roman nose, the better to annihilate with a flashing glance the persistent young lady whom she felt dimly persuaded in her own mind was "laughing in her sleeve at her," and Mrs. Winans, with the pearly edge of one little tooth repressing the smile that wanted to dimple on her lip, sat demurely expectant.

"I did not call on you, Mrs. Winans, I assure you, to solicit a situation as seamstress. I never allow myself to be brought into personal contact with the filthy and odious poor. I do my share in taking care of them by contributing to the regular poor fund of the church."

"Oh, indeed?" said the listener, still unmoved and demure. "I am sure it is very considerate of you and very comforting to the poor people besides."

"I think, my dear," answered Miss Lavinia, pacified by the rather equivocal compliment, "that it would be better for you to confine yourself to the same plan. Let those who have not our refined and delicate instincts minister to those of the poor class who are really deserving of pity and of assistance, while we can do our part just as well by placing our contributions in the hands of some worthy person who can undertake its proper distribution. It hardly looks well for a lady of your standing to be brought into such frequent and familiar intercourse with the vulgar and low people to be met in the homes of poverty, if you will pardon such plain speaking from an old friend and well-wisher."

[Pg 156]

"And so you will not undertake to help us sew," persisted the placid little tormentor, as the rustle of Miss Story's brown silk flounces announced impending departure.

"No, indeed—quite out of the question," answered the irate spinster, as she hurried indignantly away to report to her gossips, and only sorry that it was out of her power or that of any of her peers to socially ostracize the self-possessed young advocate of the sewing society.

"The most persistent little woman you ever saw," she said. "I fairly thought she'd have coaxed me into that low sewing-circle, or sent me away with a bundle of poor children's rags to mend. I won't undertake to advise her again in a hurry; and my advice to all of her friends is to let her alone. She is 'joined to her idols.'"

And the "persistent little woman" ran up stairs and jotted down a spirited account of her pleasant sparring with the spinster in her friendly, even sympathetic journal—the dear little book to which was confided the gentle thoughts of her pure young heart.

"Dear little book," she murmured, softly fluttering the scented leaves and glancing here and there at little detatched jottings in her pretty Italian text, "how many of my thoughts, nay hopes and griefs are recorded here."

Now and then a smile dawns in her blue eyes, and anon her sweet lip quivers as the written record of a joy or grief meets her gaze. Looking back over earlier years, the pleasures of the fleeting hours, the dawning hopes of maidenhood, the deep, wild sorrow of her slighted love, she suddenly pauses, her finger between the pages, and says to herself with a half-sad smile:

"And this was about the time when I fancied myself a poet. Why have I not torn this out long ago? I wonder why I have kept this foolish rhyme all these years?"

In soft, murmuring tones she read it aloud, a faint inflection of scorn running through her low, musical voice:

"Violets in the spring
You gave me with the dew-tears in their eyes,
[Pg 157] I said, in faint surprise:
Love do not tearful omens round them cling?
You answered: Pure as dew
Our new-born love, no omens sad have we
From morning violets, save that love shall be
Forever fresh and new.
"Roses, through summer's scope,
You brought me when the violets were flown—
Flushed, like the dawn—full-blown;
No folded leaves where hope could 'live in hope,'
I moaned; the perfume soon departs;
The scented leaves fall from the thorny stem.
You said: But they were sun-kissed, child, what then?
The fragrance lingers yet within our hearts.
"November's 'flying gold'
Drives through the 'ruined woodlands,' drift on drift,
Nor violet nor rose, your later gift,
Love's foolish, sun-kissed story has been told.
Dear, were you false or true?
I know not—only this: Love had its blight;
Nor dews nor fragrance fill my heart to-night—
But only—Rue!

"Ocean View, November, 1866."

"Rue!" she repeats, with a low, bitter laugh; "ah, me, I have been gathering a harvest of rue all my life."

The leaves fall together over the sorrowful, girlish rhyme, the book drops from her hand, and, sighing, she throws herself down on a low divan of cushioned pale blue silk, looking idly out of the open window at the evening sky glowing with the opalescent hues of a summer's sunset.

"I daresay it's quite natural to make a dunce of one's self once in a life-time," she muses, "and I presume there is a practical era in every one's life. All the same I wish it had never come to me; the consequences have followed me through life."

Her small hand goes up to her throat, touching the spring of the pearl-studded locket she wears there. The lid flying open shows the dusk glory of Paul Winans' pictured face smiling on her through a mist of her own tears.

[Pg 158]

"And I drove you from me. Lulu says I did it; spoke my own doom with fever-parched, delirious lips! Why did they believe me? Why did they not tell me of it long ago? They should have known I could not have been so cruel! All this time you have thought I hated you, all this time I have thought you hated me! You did come; you did want to make peace with your wronged though willful wife. It is joy to know that though too late for hope even. Why did I go to Washington? Why did I go in defiance of his will? All might have been well with us ere this. Both of them—the darling baby and the darling father—might have been mine now. Instead—oh, Heaven, Paul dearest, you will never know now—unless, perchance, you are in heaven—how deeply, how devotedly I loved you! Who is to blame? Ah, me! It is all rue!"

A moment her lips trembled against the pictured face, then she shuts it with a snap, and lies with closed eyes and compressed lips, thinking deeply and intensely, as "hearts too much alone" always think. But with the passing moments her sudden heart-ache softens a little. Rousing herself she walks over to the window, saying, with a faint, fluttering sigh:

"Ah, well! 'Fate is above us all.'"

How sweet the air is! The salt breeze catches the odor of the mignonette in her window, and wafts it to her, lifting the soft tresses from her aching temples with its scented breath, and with the sublime association that there is in some faint flower perfumes and grief, the bitter leaven at her heart swells again with all the painful luxury of sorrow.

"I am so weary of it all—life's daily treadmill round! What is it worth? How is it endurable when love is lost to us?"

Ah! poor child! Love is not all of life. When love is lost life's cares and duties still remain. We must endure it. Well for us that God's love is over all.

Some thought like this calms the seething waves of passion in her heart. She picks up her journal from the floor where it had fallen, and listlessly tears out the page that holds the simple rhyme of her girlhood's folly. Leaning on the window she takes it daintily between her fingers and tears it into tiny bits that scatter like snow-flakes down on the graveled path of the garden below.

[Pg 159]

"Loved by two," she says, musingly. "What was Bruce Conway's love worth, I wonder? Or Paul Winans' either, for that matter? The one fickle, unstable, the other jealous, proud, unbending as Lucifer! Not quite my ideal of perfect love, either one of them! After all, what is any man's love worth, I wonder, that it should blight a woman's life?"

Loved by three she might have said, but she did not know. How much the fleshly vail between our spirits hides from our finite eyes. How often and often a purer, better, stronger love than we have ever known is laid in silence at our feet, over which we walk blinded and never know the truth.

And yet by some odd chance, nay, rather unconscious prescience, she thinks of Willard Clendenon, recalling his words on the day of his sister's marriage:

"Never again on this side of eternity."

"What did it mean?" she mused aloud. "It was strange at the least. I trust no harm will come to Lulu, little darling. She is still well and happy, or at least her letters say so." And drawing from her pocket a letter lately received from Lulu, she ran over its contents again with all a woman's innocent pleasure in re-reading letters.

"How happy she seems," a faint smile curving the perfect lips; "and how devoted is Mr. Conway; how her innocent, joyous, loving heart mirrors itself in her letters! Sunshine, roses, honeymoon, bliss. Ah, me," with a light sigh chasing the smile away, "how evanescent are all things new and sweet; like that sky late aglow with the radiance of day, now darkening with the shades of twilight."

Norah comes in to light the gas, and is gently motioned away.

"Not yet, Norah. I have a fancy to sit in the twilight. You can come in later."

And Norah goes obediently.

Then she incloses the perfumed pink epistle in the dainty envelope bearing the monogram of the newly made wife, and laying it aside rests her head upon her hands, watching with dusk pained eyes the shadows that darken over the sky and over her golden head as she sits alone, her heart on fire with that keenest refinement of human suffering—"remembering happier[Pg 160] things." All her brightness, all her love lies behind her in the past, in the green land of memory. The present holds no joy, the future no promise. The dimness of uncertainty, of doubt, of suspense, lies darkly on the present hour, the hopelessness of hope clouds the future. Heaven seems so far away as she lifts her mournful gaze to the purple, mysterious twilight sky, life seems so long as she remembers how young she is, and what possibilities for length of days lie before her. What wonder that her brave, long-tried strength fails her a little, that her sensitive spirit quails momentarily, and the angel of the human breast, hope,

"Comes back with worn and wounded wing,
To die upon the heart she could not cheer."



"If it be a sin to love thee,
Then my soul is deeply dyed
With a stain more dark than crimson,
That hath all the world defied;
For it holds thine image nearer
Than all else this earth hath given,
And regarded thee as dearer
Almost than its hopes of heaven!"

A period of three months goes by after Lulu's marriage, swiftly to those who are gone, slowly to those who remain. Mrs. Clendenon, in quiet household employments, in prayerful study of her Bible, fills up the aching void of her daughter's absence. Grace, in pursuance of the charge Lulu has left her, finds much of her leisure employed in scenes and undertakings that gently divert her mind from her own troubles to those of others. Under it all, the wound that time has only seared lies hidden, as near as she can hide it, from the probing of careless fingers.

Captain Clendenon shuts himself up in his dusty law office with his red-tape documents and law books. Of late he has[Pg 161] covered himself with glory in the winning of a difficult suit at law, and Norfolk is loud in praise of the one-armed soldier, the maimed hero who has grown into such an erudite lawyer. He takes the adulation very quietly. "The time has passed when he sighed for praise." A shadow lies darkly on his life—the shadow of Grace Winans' unhappiness. In that strong, pure heart of his, no thought of himself, no selfish wish for his own happiness ever intrudes. Had peace folded his white wings over her fair head she would long ago have become to his high, honorable heart, a thing apart from his life, as something fair and lovely that was dead; and with her safe in the shelter of another man's love he would have tutored his heart to forget her. As it was, when he looked on the fair face that was to him but a reflex of the saintly soul within, his whole soul yearned over her; his love, which had in it more of heaven than earth, infolded her within the sphere of its own idolizing influence. She became to him, not the fair, fascinating, but sometimes faulty mortal woman the world saw in her, but rather a goddess, a creature most like

"That ethereal flower—
No more a fabled wonder—
That builds in air its azure bower,
And floats the starlight under.
Too pure to touch our sinful earth,
Too human yet for heaven,
Half-way it has its glorious birth,
With no root to be riven."

Such worship as this has always been the attribute of the purest, most unselfish love.

He sat alone in his office one day, his head bowed idly over Blackstone, his thoughts far away, when the sharp grating of wheels on the street outside startled him into rising and glancing out of the window. She was springing from her little pony-phaeton, and in another moment came flitting down the steps and into the room like a ray of sunshine.

"Moping, are you?" she asked with her head on one side, and a glimmer of her old-time jaunty grace.

"Not exactly," he answered, cheerfully bowing over the[Pg 162] gloved hand she extended with frank sweetness—"only thinking; our life is too short for moping."

She might have added:

"I myself must mix with action
Lest I wither by despair."

"Are you busy?" glancing, as he offered her a seat, at the table littered with books and papers.

"Not at all; I am at your service," he replied.

"I want to talk to you; but—excuse me—your office looks so gloomy—makes me blue," she shivered a little. "Is your mother quite well?"

"Quite well—thanks. Will you not go up and see her?—or shall I bring her down?"

"Thanks—neither, I believe. I saw her a day or two since, and I am come on business now. Captain Clendenon, is it quite comme il faut for a lady to ask you to take a drive? If so, my phaeton is at your service. I want to ask you something; I cannot here. Some of your tiresome clients may disturb me."

The soft appealing eyes and voice work their will with this infatuated man. If she had asked him to lie down under the hoofs of her cream-white ponies and be trampled on, I fear he would have done it. A man's love for a woman sometimes rises above its ordinary ridiculousness into the sublimity of pathos, and how little it is for him to consent to sit by her side and hear those magical tones, perhaps give some advice to that ever restless young spirit. He calls his office boy, takes his hat, and goes. Presently they are rolling over one of Norfolk's handsome drives, and censorious people, looking from their windows, exchange opinions that Mrs. Winans is "rather fast."

"Alas! for the rarity
Of Christian charity
Under the sun."

"I have been over to Portsmouth this morning," she says, in the midst of their small talk. "It is rather a nice little jaunt over there on the ferry-boat over the Elizabeth River—don't you think so?"

"Yes, I do think so; had you a nice time?"

[Pg 163]

"I don't know—yes, I suppose so. I visited some friends, and we went down and saw the beautiful grounds of the Naval Hospital—what a handsome building it is! The pride of Portsmouth. And what romantic grounds! I sat there a long time and looked at the sea."

To what is all this idle chatter leading, he wonders, seeing perfectly well with what consummate art she is leading the subject whither she wants it to go.

"We were all talking of that dreadful fever at Memphis," she resumes, constrainedly. "What swift progress it is making! The newspaper accounts of it are just terrible—heart-rending, indeed; and they are so fearfully in need of nurses and money. I have sent them a small sum—a mere 'drop in the ocean.'"

"So have I," he answers, white to the lips. He knows what is coming.

She gives him a flitting glance, fanning herself energetically the while. A useless proceeding, for the sea-breeze, that flutters her fair curls like golden banners, is simply delicious.

"I heard something about you over there," she ventures. "One always has to go abroad to hear news from home, you know."

"Very likely; you can hear anything you want to over there. Little Portsmouth is the hot bed of gossip," he answers, smiling dryly.

"Well, for that matter, all places are," she returns. "But you do not ask what it was that I heard?"

"Is it worth the repetition?"

"I think so, but you are not interested, I see;" and she leans back with some displeasure—a pout on the curve of her crimson lip.

He rouses himself, all penitence and forced gallantry.

"I beg your pardon, Mrs. Winans. Any remark from yourself cannot fail to be interesting."

"I heard—I wonder you did not tell me of it yourself—that you and your mother are going next week to Memphis to help to nurse the fever patients."

No answer.

"Is this true?"

[Pg 164]

Her eyes are seeking his. He looks down on her, answering constrainedly:

"It is perfectly true, Mrs. Winans."

"Why have you kept it from me?" in some wonder this.

"We intended telling you, of course, before we left; but it is such a harrowing topic—the sufferings of those poor yellow fever patients—that I have hesitated in mentioning it to you."

"Was that your only reason?"

No answer. He cannot bear to speak.

"I know," she resumes, "why you have not told me. You feared I would want to go, too, and so kept it from me in your good, true, brotherly love; but in this case," smiling willfully up into his disturbed face, "your painstaking has been 'Love's Labor Lost.' I have been making my mind up to go all along, and now I mean to make the trip there under the protection of your mother and yourself—if you will permit me."

The murder is out. She looks away from him demurely, waiting his reply. It comes, full of a shocked horror.

"Mrs. Winans, are you mad?"

"Not at all; are you? I am quite as strong, quite as able to help those poor sufferers, as your mother is; and yet you do not think she is mad," she answers, half offended.

"No; for she has had the fever, and so have I. You have heard of the fever that desolated Norfolk and Portsmouth in 1855? Mother and I both had the yellow fever in its worst form then, so you see it is perfectly safe and our bounden duty for us to go to the relief of those poor sufferers. But you are frail and delicate yourself. You have never had the fever; you are not acclimated there, and would only fall a victim. It would be a sort of disguised suicide, for you would be voluntarily rushing into the jaws of death."

"No, no," she answered, half bitterly. "I bear a charmed life. Nothing seems to check the current of my doomed existence. And you forget that Memphis is my native home. I lived there the first sixteen years of my life, and am quite accustomed to the peculiar climate. And what if death should come? It would only be to 'leave all disappointment, care, and sorrow, and be at rest forever,' But no, I shall not die. I have borne illness, suffering, sorrow—everything that breaks the[Pg 165] heart, and snaps the frail threads of existence—yet here I am still, quite healthy, passably rosy, and willing to devote my strength to those who need it. I have been 'through the fire,' Captain Clendenon, and really," with a subdued smile, "I think I am fireproof."

"Some are refined in the furnace of affliction," he repeats, very gently.

Soothed by the softly spoken words, she asks, timidly:

"Tell me if I may go under your care?"

"If you will go, I shall be most happy to take all the annoyances of travel off your hands; but, little friend, think better of it, and give up this mad, quixotic scheme."

"Do you think it such a mad scheme?" she asks, mortified and humiliated. "Do you think I could do no good to those poor suffering victims who need gentle womanly tending so badly? Do you think the sacrifice of my ease, and luxury, and comfort, would count as nothing with Christ? If you think this, Captain Clendenon, tell me so frankly, and I will remain in Norfolk—not otherwise."

There is nothing for him to urge against this appeal. She touches up the ponies with her slim, little whip, lightly and impatiently. They are off, like the wind, for home again, as he makes the last appeal he can think of to this indomitable young spirit.

"News may come of your husband at any time, Mrs. Winans. Were you to go, and he, returning, found you gone, he would be most bitterly displeased. Remember, it was his express desire that you should remain in your home here. I beg your pardon, if I seem persistent, but it is only through friendly interest in you and yours that I take the liberty."

"Ah! but," a gleam of triumph lightening under her black lashes, "you forget that I have my husband's consent to visit Memphis? You brought it to me. I'm returning to the home of my childhood. I am not violating any command or desire of his."

"Once more," he says, desperately "let me beg you not to think, for the sake of all those who love you, all you love, of going to that plague-stricken city."

"It is useless." She set her lips firmly. "I am sorry to refuse[Pg 166] your request, but the call of duty I must obey. My arrangements are all made. Norah is to stay and to take care of my home. My visit to Portsmouth this morning was for the purpose of leaving Lulu's precious charge in the hands of a dear Christian friend; so," trying to win him to smile by an affected lightness, "you may tell your mother she will have company she did not anticipate, though you were so ungallant as to persuade me not to come."

"When a woman will she will."

She carried her point against the entreaties of all her friends, and in less than two weeks, three dusty travelers—weary in body, but very strong in prayerful resolves and hopes—were entered as assistants in nursing in one of the crowded hospitals of the desolated, plague-stricken city of Memphis.



"To be found untired,
Watching the stars out by the bed of pain,
With a pale cheek, and yet a brow inspired,
And a true heart of hope, though hope be vain,
Meekly to bear with wrong, to cheer decay,
And, oh! to love through all things—therefore pray."


One of Grace's first acts after reaching Memphis was to inquire for her relatives, whom she had not seen, and but seldom heard from, since leaving Memphis, in her sixteenth year, to make her own way in the hard world. Not that she owed them much affection, or any gratitude—only the natural respect and remembrance of kinship induced her to seek them out. But her efforts were not crowned with success, for she learned that they had been among the first of the native families to flee the city at the approach of the pestilence, and Grace was greatly disappointed thereat.

For a few weeks her voluntarily assumed duties were arduous and embarrassing in the extreme. Mrs. Clendenon and Willard,[Pg 167] having had the fever themselves, and having been witnesses of its ravages in their own city, entered at once with confidence and experience on the task of caring for the poor victims who filled the hospitals, and even private houses. To Grace it was all new, and strange, and terrible, and though her will was strong, her sensitive spirit quailed at the horrors she daily saw, so unused was she to these scenes, and so diffident of her own powers for service, that she half doubted her abilities, and was, for a time, overwhelmed by the feeling which we have all experienced at times of willingness to perform duties from which we are deterred by ignorance, or lacking self-confidence.

But this feeling was not long suffered to deter her from usefulness. Laborers were too sadly needed in the terrible harvest of death, and as her increasing familiarity with the details of the awful disease rendered her more efficient, she became an invaluable nurse to the patients, and a reliable and prized aid to the physician of the ward where she was placed.

The Clendenons were in the same hospital, and in the performance of their several duties the trio often met, when a sweet sentence of praise from the lady, and a cheerful word of encouragement from him, went far to keep up her flagging spirits, and stimulate her to renewed exertions.

Her strong, healthy constitution upheld her well in those days; for the fiery scourge rolled on and on like some great prairie fire, hourly seizing fresh victims, and erecting its everlasting monuments in the long rows of new-made graves in the cemeteries that swelled upward, side by side, close and many, like the green billows of old ocean, save that they gave back no solemn, tolling dirge, to tell where youth and love, hope and beauty, old age and infancy, joy and sorrow, went down to the stillness of the grave.

In the universal suffering, the universal grief of those around her, the anguish of those bereaved of whole families, of friends the young lady put away her own griefs from her heart, and threw herself, heart, and soul, and body, into her work; and, though her two friends were doing precisely the same thing, they pleaded, expostulated, scolded and warned in turn.

All in vain; for a rock would have flown from "its firm base" as soon as Grace Winans from the position she has taken. She[Pg 168] had, as she pathetically protested, so little to live for, that she was all the more willing and desirous to sacrifice herself for the sake of saving others who had more ties in life than herself.

"That is a poor policy," Mrs. Clendenon argued, stoutly. "You have no right to commit a moral suicide, however few your ties in life may be. Your life is God's, and He has some plan in life for you, or He would not have placed you on the earth."

"And this may have been His plan for me, then," persisted the candidate for self-sacrificial honors. "He may have meant for me to take up this very cross. I have been brought to it by many subtle windings."

"I do not know," Mrs. Clendenon answers, with sweet seriousness, "that God gives it to us to fathom exactly what are His plans for us. I think He means for us to take proper care of the health and strength He has given us, and to do His will in all things as near as we can, leaving to Him the fulfillment of the grand plan under which, by His fixed laws, every created being is a necessary and responsible agent."

And Grace answers only by silence and sadness. For Captain Clendenon, he has long ceased to argue the question with her willful spirit, having very implicit confidence in the grand old adage that

"When a woman will, she will—you may depend on't!
And when she won't, she won't—and there's an end on't!"

"Oddly enough," he says, trying to change the conversation from its theological turn, "I met with an old comrade to-day—one of the boys from my company—a Virginian, and one of the bravest in the regiment. He had drifted down here since the war."

"What was he doing to-day? Nursing in the hospital?" Mrs. Clendenon asks, curiously.

"Dying in the hospital," the captain answers, with a break in his clear voice. "Down with the fever—died this evening."

"Poor boy!" his mother said, pityingly, and a tear in the younger woman's eye echoed it.

"The worst of it is," the captain goes on, "he leaves a poor,[Pg 169] timid little wife, and two rosebuds of children—the mother as childish and fragile as the rest."

"And what is to become of her?" query both ladies at once.

"I want to send her home to her relatives. She was a Richmond girl. I remember meeting her there once when my company passed through on its way to Manassas. Arthur, poor fellow! invited me to call on her. She was then a charming little creature, very different from the heart-broken little thing she is now. Mother, I would like it very much if you would call on her to-morrow, and try to comfort her a little—she seems so friendless and desolate. You, too, Mrs. Winans, if you can conveniently do so."

Both ladies expressed a desire to visit the bereaved young widow and her little ones.

"Then I will take you down there to-morrow," he said, gratefully, with a smile in his honest gray eyes. "Ah! how it pains me to meet, as one must frequently do here, old friends and old faces, only to close the lids over eyes that have been so dear! Poor Arthur! poor boy! but it is one of the sad inevitable experiences of life."

"Grace, my love," Mrs. Clendenon went on to say, "I have Doctor Constant's authority to forbid your appearance at the hospital to-night. He says you are so unremitting in attentions to his patients that there is danger of your falling sick, and our losing your valuable services altogether, if you persist in taking no rest at all."

In the quiet hotel at which all three are registered they are seated at supper in the small private dining-room. The round, neatly appointed table at which they sit is loaded with luxuries to which they are doing but meager justice. It is late in October, and a small fire burns on the hearth, tempering the slightly chilly air, and lending cheerfulness to the room. Bright gas-light glimmers down on crimson carpets, curtains, chairs, that throw into vivid relief the faces of our three friends—pale all of them, and thin, earnest, and full of thoughtful gravity. It is no child's play, this nursing the yellow fever patients in houses and hospitals. These faces bear the impress of sleepless nights and days, and the silver threads on the elder lady's brow are more abundant, while in Captain Clendenon's curly brown locks[Pg 170] one or two snow-flakes from the winter of care, not time, are distinctly visible. There are slight hollows in the smooth cheeks of Grace, faint blue circles around her large eyes, and no color at all in her face except the vivid line of her red lips. She looks like a little Quakeress in the pale gray dress that clings closely about the slight figure, relieved only by white frills at throat and wrists. All her bright hair is drawn back in soft waves from her face, and confined at the back with a silver arrow that lets it fall in a soft, bright mass of natural curls below the waist—lovely still, though pallid, sad, and worn; and in this quiet nun-like garb, with a beauty that grows daily less earthly, and more heavenly.

The pensive shade of a smile dwells on her lip a moment as she looks across on Mrs. Clendenon in mute rebellion at the physician's mandate.

"You need not look defiance," the lady returns, "for I shall add my commands to those of Doctor Constant. This is Thursday, and you have not slept a single night this week, while I have had two nights' rest. My dear child, listen to reason, and remain at the hotel to-night and get some sleep."

"I am not so very tired. I can hold out to watch to-night."

"Oh, of course! and die at your post. What can you be thinking of, Grace? Flesh and blood cannot stand such a strain. You must take needful rest, or you will fall a victim to the fever through sheer exhaustion."

"I cannot rest," she answered, wearily. "It is a physical impossibility for me to take rest and sleep when I know how many are suffering and needing attention that I could render them."

"There are others who will supply your place," interposed the captain. "I learned this evening that you were at two death-beds to-day. This, I think, is too much strain on your nervous system, and did I dare I should add my commands to the rest that you remain in your room and take needful repose to-night. As it is, I can only offer my earnest entreaties."

The resolute look on her face relaxes a little. She looks up to this quiet, clear-headed captain much as Lulu does; has great respect for his judgment; wishes sometimes that he were her brother, too—that her tired young heart might rest against his[Pg 171] brave and grand strength. He sees the half-relenting in her face, and desists for fear of saying too much.

"Two death-beds!" Mrs. Clendenon echoes. "Why, Allie Winters was only taken ill last night, and you have been nursing her ever since. Gracie, you don't mean to tell me that Allie Winters is dead—so soon!"

"She died this evening with her arms about my neck," Grace answers, in low, pained tones. "She had the fever in its worst and most rapid form."

"Ah, me, that poor child! So young, so sweet, so beautiful, and scarcely sixteen, I think. Was it not hard to be taken away from this bright world so young?" sighed Mrs. Clendenon.

"Well, opinions may differ as to that," Mrs. Winans answers, half bitterly. "The most fervent prayer I breathed over her still form was one of thankfulness that she was taken perhaps from 'evil to come.' She was the last of the family. They have all died with the fever. She was poor, and almost friendless—beautiful—and beauty is often the cause of poverty. Had she lived her life must inevitably have been a sad one. Better, perhaps, that she is at rest."

She pushes back her chair, folds her napkin, and makes a motion to rise. Mrs. Clendenon remonstrates.

"Gracie, you have not taken a mouthful, child."

"No, but I have taken my cocoa. Andrew," sinking listlessly back into her chair, and speaking to the white-aproned waiter, "you may give me another cup."

"There seems to be no abatement of the fever?" she says, interrogatively, to the captain, as she balances her spoon on the edge of her cup.

"On the contrary," his grave face growing graver, "the number of victims is daily augmented."

Her grieved sigh is echoed by Mrs. Clendenon's as they rise from the table. The next moment a sharp rap sounds at the door. Andrew opens it, admitting Doctor Constant himself—fine-looking, noble, with the snows of sixty earnest winters on his head and on the beautiful beard flowing over his breast—genial, cheerful, gentle, as a physician should always be—he makes a bow to our three friends, but declines to be seated at all.

[Pg 172]

"I have but a moment. I came out of my rounds to make sure that Mrs. Winans does not go out to-night," and as an eager remonstrance formed itself on her lip, he said, resolutely: "It is no use; you must not think of going. It is imperative that you should sleep. You are not more than half alive now."

"But, doctor, there are so many who need me," she says, with a last endeavor to go.

"Others can take your place. We had new and fresh nurses to come in to-day. Pardon me if I appear persistent, madam, but I was your mother's family physician, and thoroughly understood her condition. Your own resembles it in a high degree, and I warn you that you have stood as much as you can without rest. You are your own mistress, of course, and can do as you please; but if you go to-night you are very apt to fall from exhaustion."

"Very well," she answers, wearily, as if not caring to contest the point longer. "Since I do not wish to commit suicide, I will stay at home and rest to-night."

"That is right. Your nervous system is disordered, and needs recuperation. You will feel better to-morrow, and may come back to the hospital. As for Mrs. Clendenon and the captain, they may come back to-night."

She does not really know how tired she is until she goes up to her room and throws herself on the lounge, face downward, like a weary child, to rest. But, exhausted as she is, it is hours before she sleeps. Nervous temperaments like hers are not heavy sleepers. After long seasons of wakefulness she finds it almost impossible to regain the habit of natural repose. Now she lies quite still, every tense nerve quivering with weariness, but with eyelids that seem forced open by some intangible power, and busy, active brain that repeats all the exciting scenes of the past week. When twelve o'clock sounds sharply on the still of the night she rises, chilled and unrefreshed, and crouches over the dying fire that has smoldered into ashes on the hearth long since. She looks down at it vacantly, with a passing thought that it is like her life, from which the sunshine and brightness have faded long since, leaving only the chill whiteness of despair. Often in still moments like these her young heart rises in half angry bitterness, and beats against the bars of life, longing to[Pg 173] be free. "Only half alive," Dr. Constant had said to her, and patient and long-suffering as she was, I fear it had sent a half-thrill of joy to her bosom. Life held so little for her, was so full of repressed agony and pathos, pressed down its heavy crosses so reluctantly on her fair young shoulders, and sometimes even the love of God failed to fill up that empty heart that hungered, as every human soul must, while bounded in human frame, for human, mortal, tangible love. Resignation to her fate she tried sedulously to cultivate, and succeeded generally. Only in hours like this, when oppressed with a sense of her great loneliness, the past rushed over her, with all its sweet and bitter memories, and was put away from her thoughts with uncontrollable rebellion against—what she scarcely dared speak, since a higher power than mortal ruled the affairs of her destiny.

"God help me!" she murmured, as, pushing up a window-sash, she leaned out and looked at the quiet city of Memphis lying under the starry midnight sky, silent save for the occasional rumble of wheels in the distance telling the watcher that the work of death still went grimly on—the dead being hustled out of the way to make room for the sick and dying.

The chilly night air, the cold white glimmer of the moon and stars, cooled the feverish blood that throbbed in her temples, a soft awe crept into her heart—the deep, all-pervading presence of God's infinity; and as she shut down the window and went back to the lounge, her pained, half-bitter retrospections were overflowed by something of that "peace which passeth all understanding."

Sleep fell on her very softly—a deep, refreshing slumber—from which only the morning sunshine aroused her. She rose with renewed energy for her labor of love, and kept at her post for weeks afterward, with only occasional seasons of rest and sleep. Her superb organism kept her up through it all, aided and abetted by her unfaltering will. Through it all there came no tidings of her husband or child. Letters came often from the absentees in Europe, but without mention of either, and Grace began to feel herself a widow indeed.

The Clendenons, too, were indefatigable in their exertions for the victims of the fever. They were always devoted and earnest in their efforts, and kept a watchful care, too, over Grace, whose[Pg 174] zeal and willingness often outran her strength and power of endurance.

Mrs. Clendenon's gentle, placid old face began to look many months older, but it was in Willard that the greatest change was perceptible. His cheerful spirit never flagged, but gradually the two women who loved him each in her own way, began to see that the tall, fine form grew thinner and slighter, the face paler, and a trifle more serious, while silver threads began to sprinkle themselves thickly in his dark hair. He was wearing out his strong young manhood in hard, unremitting toil, and leaving his constitution enfeebled and open to the attacks of disease. The idolizing heart of his mother noted all this with secret alarm, and she would fain have persuaded him to retire from his arduous duties and return to Norfolk. His gentle but firm refusal checked all allusion to the matter, and, as the weeks wore away, and the fever began to lose its hold and abate its virulence, she hoped that they would soon be released from their wearing tasks, and allowed time for recuperation.

The contents of a letter received more than two months previous from Lulu weighed also on Mrs. Clendenon's mind, and she could not, as she often did in other matters, seek the sympathy of Grace, as Lulu had desired she should not know anything of it. So Mrs. Clendenon bore her burden of anxiety all alone, save for Him who carries the half of all our burdens.



"Even to the delicacy of their hands
There was resemblance, such as true blood wears."


"London, Eng., November 16th, 1873.

"Dear, dearest mother, whom I long so much to see that it seems impossible to write you, sitting tamely here, all that is in my heart, how can I express my grief and anxiety at hearing that you are still in that terribly stricken city, and that there seems no present prospect of the abatement of that awful epidemic?[Pg 175] Oh, mother, how could you go—you, and brother Willie, and Grace—all my dear ones—when you knew what anguish it must cause me in my absence? I know that it is right—know that it is a Christian's bounden duty to comfort the sick and afflicted, and I honor you each in my whole heart for such noble, self-sacrificing devotion as you are displaying. But oh, how my heart is aching with the dread! Oh, mother, what if one of you should be taken away? Oh, I cannot, cannot bear the thought! And yet a strange presentiment weighs on me that on one or the other of your dear faces I will never look again in this world. Bruce, dear Bruce, who is so kind and loving to me, tells me these are only homesick fancies. Aunt Conway persuades me that I am only nervous and depressed, and that my fancies are but the result of my feeble condition of health just now; but am certain that it is more than all this. I pray that it may not be, but my whole heart sinks with a sense of prophetic dread, and if Bruce would only consent, I should at once return to the United States and join you in Memphis; but neither he nor Aunt Conway will listen to such a thing—their plans being made to spend a portion of the winter in Italy, certainly—and the chances are I shall not see you, my sweet mamma, until spring, though how I shall survive our separation so long I cannot tell. I miss you—oh, I miss you so much! and I have wished for you so often! Even dear Bruce cannot make up to me my loss in you.

"I suppose it is not necessary to describe all that I have seen in this great city, as Brother Willie's letters from here were so exhaustive and entertaining that they have left no new field of description on which to waste my spare stock of adjectives.

"But, mother, I am so demure and quiet in my tastes that I care very little for all the glories of the old world, and I pine to go to you, and to be at home again, much to my dear husband's chagrin, who is disappointed that I do not enter with more enthusiasm into all the beauties of art and nature that we have seen in our travels. Mrs. Conway applauds everything, but I believe it is the fashion to do so—is it not? and she is so fashionable, you know! I honestly appreciate all I see that is appreciable, I think, but not with the keen pleasure of most travelers. I am a home-bird, I suppose—one of the little timid brown[Pg 176] birds that hop contentedly about the quiet garden paths, and though having wings, do not care to fly.

"'The world of the affections is my world,
Not that of man's ambition.'"

"Mother, do you remember when I wrote you from Brighton, England, about the little child in whom I was so strangely interested?—whose great resemblance to some one of whom I could not think puzzled and interested me so? Well, I have met again with the little darling here, and have visited his grandparents at their elegant villa just outside the city—very old people, I believe I wrote you they were—and devoted to this child, who is, so I am told, the last of the race and name, which has been in its time a very noble, as it is now, a very old one. They are very wealthy and very proud people—the old baronet, Sir Robert Willoughby, the haughtiest old aristocrat I ever met. His wife, Lady Marguerite, is of a sweeter, gentler type, yet, I fancy, very much in awe of her stern lord. Little Earle—the heir of this great wealth and proud title—is one of the most interesting little children I ever saw—wonderfully bright and intelligent. He has taken a flattering liking to me, and is always, when in my company, exerting his childish powers for my entertainment. We visit quite frequently—"charming people," Aunt Conway calls them. The little boy prattles to me, sometimes in an incoherent sort of fashion, of his mother, who seems to be a sort of faint, almost forgotten image in his baby mind. He is not more than three or four years old—well grown for his age. I have observed (Bruce, teasing fellow, says I have only fancied it,) that they do not like to hear the little boy speak of his mother. They never mention her themselves, and I have been given to understand that she is dead, but they have never said so in plain terms. The little one does not at all resemble his grandparents.

"I commented casually on this to Lady Marguerite one day, and she answered no, that, to her great regret, the child resembled his father's family most, and she colored, and looked so annoyed, that I felt sorry I had said so much, and tried to mend the matter by saying that he had more the appearance of an American child than an English one. She flushed even deeper[Pg 177] than before, and said that she had never been in America, and never to her knowledge seen an American child, but that Earle's parents were in that country at the time of his birth, and remained there some time after, which probably accounted for his American look—she did not know. We said no more on the subject, but the slight mystery that seemed to surround it made me think of it all the more; and, mother, now I will tell you why I have taken such an interest in the child. Aunt Conway and Bruce jestingly declare me a monomaniac on this subject, though they do not pretend to deny the fact of the likeness, which struck me the very first time I saw him. Mother, this little baronet that is to be, this little English child, with his long line of proud ancestry, his haughty, blue-eyed grandparents, his fragile, blue-eyed mother, whose picture I have seen in their picture-gallery—this little dark-eyed boy is enough like Paul and Grace Winans to be the child they lost so strangely in Washington two years ago! He has the rarely beautiful dark eyes, the dazzling smile of Senator Winans, the very features, expression, peculiar gestures, and seraphic fairness of Grace. It was a long time before this united likeness became clear to me. Then it dawned on me like a flash of lightning, and now I am continually reminded of dear Grace in the features and expressions of this little child. It perplexes and worries me, although Bruce assures me that it can only be one of those accidental resemblances that we meet sometimes at opposite sides of the world. Can this be so? It puzzles me, anyhow, and I heartily wish that the missing Senator—or General Winans he is now, you know—were here. I should certainly give him a glimpse of little Earle Willoughby (he bears the name of his grandparents by their wish), who is his living image, and then we should 'see what we should see.' But it seems that the prevailing belief in his death must be true for the papers now speak of it as a settled fact, and give him the most honorable mention. Poor, poor Grace! how my very heart bleeds at thought of her bereavement, and her beautiful, unselfish devotion to the cause of 'suffering, sad humanity.' Dear mother, please do not mention to her what I have written about the child. She cannot bear to have little Paul's name mentioned to her, and no wonder, poor, suffering, brave heart! But, mother,[Pg 178] darling, I mean to get at the bottom of the slight mystery that enshrouds those people. If I discover anything worth writing I will mention it in my next letter to you.

"Aunt Conway and Bruce join me in love to you all. My warmest love to brother Willie and Grace, to both of whom I shall shortly write. Be careful of your health, dearest mother, I beg, and write early and often to your devoted daughter,

"Lulu C. Conway."



"Oh, being of beauty and bliss! seen and known
In the depths of my soul, and possessed there alone!
My days know thee not; and my lips name thee never;
Thy place in my poor life is vacant forever.
We have met; we have parted. No more is recorded
In my annals on earth."

From Lucille.

Captain Clendenon is taking an afternoon cigar.

He has stepped out of the hospital, where, thank God! there are fewer patients and less need of him now, for a stroll in the fresh air, and while he meanders down the principal thoroughfare, he lights a Havana and enjoys his walk.

In financial panics one sees a crowded thoroughfare, with people rushing hither and thither, and blockading the banks; in pestilential panics one sees silent, deserted streets, and dreary, deserted-looking buildings. This is all that meets Willard's gaze as he stops on the corner, man-fashion, and looks idly up and down at the occasional passers-by, for human faces are the exception, not the rule. Now and then a man goes by, looks hard at him, and nods respectfully. He is very well known here as the noted Norfolk lawyer who has so nobly volunteered in the cause of suffering humanity. Not a woman but looks twice at the tall figure, with its fine military bearing, its handsome head, set so grandly on its broad shoulders, its empty, pathetic coat-sleeve pinned across the left breast.

[Pg 179]

Old death has been at work here. Those whom he has not mowed down with his awful scythe have fled, terrified, beyond his present harvest-field. There are places of business closed—some of whose owners are abroad in other cities, others of whom are holding commerce now with the worm and the grave. Here and there a school-house is closed, the most of whose little pupils have gone to learn of the angels. It is the dreariness of desolation, and as he puffs meditatively away, these familiar lines of Hemans come into his thoughts:

"Leaves have their time to fall,
And flowers to wither at the north-wind's breath,
And stars to set, but all,
Thou hast all seasons for thine own, oh, death!
We know when moons shall wane,
When summer birds from far shall cross the sea,
When autumn's hue shall touch the golden grain—
But who shall tell us when to look for thee?"

"A penny for your thoughts, Captain Clendenon," says a fresh, young voice, and a small hand taps him on the shoulder.

He turns with a start. One of the dusky-eyed belles of Memphis, with whom he has a casual acquaintance, has stopped to chat with him—a tall, handsome young lady in a mannish costume of navy-blue velvet, double-breasted English walking-jacket, a mannish hat set jauntily on her black hair, and a set of Grecian features, and large, black eyes.

His gray eyes light momentarily.

"Ah! Miss De Vere, this is a pleasure! About the thoughts—they were not worth your inquiry."

"I am the best judge of that," and something in her tones, not her careless words, imply that all his thoughts are precious to her.

He tosses his cigar away, and turning, asks, politely:

"Are you out for a stroll? May I walk with you?"

"Am I out for a stroll? Yes, but on my way home now. You may see me there with pleasure."

They walk on together down the quiet street, and her cheek flushes a warmer red as she chatters softly to him, he rather listening than talking. It is his way.

[Pg 180]

"I thought you were out of the city—at the North," he says, in answer to some remark. "Your father told me two months ago he meant to take his family away from the pestilence."

"And so we were. We have but just gotten back since the fever began to lose its hold. How brave you were to stay here! Ugh!" she shuddered a little, "that terrible fever! Do you know people say that you are a hero?"

"Do they?"

A low laugh ripples over his serene, finely cut lips. He wears no beard, no mustache, and every flitting emotion shows itself about his mobile mouth.

She sees a careless sort of surprise on his face now—nothing more.

"Don't you care for it? It is so pleasant to be praised," she says, in some wonder.

"I don't know—is it?"

"Is it not? Do you mean to say that you attach no value to fame—fame that is won by good deeds?"

"I don't know," he answers again, in an absent way. "I might have done it in my younger days—scarcely now. I like to do good for its own sake—not for any praise that may follow it."

"I know—I have heard at least," she stammered, with strange timidity, "that you lost your arm to—to save another man's life! Is it so, Captain Clendenon—did you give your arm for his life?" her dusky eyes kindling with a passionate hero-worship, that is characteristic of Southern women.

"Yes, I gave my arm for his life," he says, grimly. "I might as well have given him my life, for when I buried my left arm on the battle-field at Chancellorsville I buried with it all the hopes that make a man's life worth the living."

"And why?" an unspoken sympathy on her pretty face. "What hopes can there be that your misfortune can possibly destroy?"

They turn a corner into a side street, where her home lies, meeting a group coming toward them, a man with a bright-faced wife clinging to one arm, a little laughing child by the other[Pg 181] hand, and two others following after. His glance marks them out a moment, then meets hers, as he quotes, half-sadly:

"'Domestic happiness! thou only bliss
Of Paradise that has survived the fall.'

"Miss De Vere, cannot you suppose that a man getting into the 'sere and yellow leaf'—I am almost six-and-thirty years old—must feel the need of some 'fair spirit for his minister?' And," his glance falling, hers following, on his empty sleeve, "what woman could I ask to give herself to half a man?"

She slackens her pace to look up at him, in genuine honest astonishment.

"Captain Clendenon, you have never been so quixotic, so absurdly chivalrous as to think that any woman would not feel honored to cast her lot with yours in spite of your honorable misfortune—yes, if you had lost both your arms in the army as nobly as you have lost one!"

"Thank you! thank you!" he answers, deeply moved, and seeing the sudden waves of hot color breaking over the warm Southern beauty of her face, he looks blindly away and thinks what a noble-hearted girl she is, and how he has misjudged her in thinking her a fine, fashionable flirt, as all along he had been doing, when he thought of her at all, which was but seldom.

And then they are at the steps of the elegant De Vere mansion, and she gently invites him to enter. He shakes his head.

"I thank you; but I will continue my stroll. One gets so little fresh air indoors, and I have been so confined lately. To-day I am off duty, and making the most of it. My respects to the family."

"Oh!" she says, turning, with her foot on the marble step. "May I ask you one question?"

"A dozen, if you please," he returned, gallantly.

"It is only this: It is a current report here that the Hon. Mrs. Winans, who came down here with your party to help nurse the fever patients, is, or was, Miss Grace Grey of this city—do you know if this is true?" lifting eager, inquiring eyes to his face.

[Pg 182]

"Yes, it is certainly true," and she sees some sort of a change pass over his face—what, she cannot fathom.

"Indeed!" she says, in quick surprise and pleasure. "I knew her intimately as a child; we were next-door neighbors"—she nods at the handsome residence standing next to her own, and he looks at it with tender interest—"and afterward we were in boarding-school together. I always liked her so much. Will you give her Stella De Vere's love, and tell her I will come and see her if she will let me?"

"I certainly will, with pleasure," and they shake hands and say good-by again, and she runs up the steps of her father's stately home, pausing in the door-way as he turns away.

"He is a hero," she says, with a dreamy light in her dark eyes. "How I could love him, if——"

She shuts the door, half-sighing, and goes in.

For him, he walks away, stopping a moment in front of the next-door house to light a fresh cigar, and glancing at the green grounds, with their graveled paths, goes away with a fancy in his mind of a fairy child with violet eyes and golden curls at play beside the marble fountain under its dashing spray.

Grace Grey!

He walks on down the lonely street, his heart full of Grace Grey, not Grace Winans; full of the child and girl whose light steps have danced down this street in happier days—not the Senator's sad-eyed wife—he has no right to think of her. But this fairy, winning child, this innocent, joyous maiden, who grows into shape and life in his loving imagination—she is his own, his very own, to hold in his "heart of hearts," to think of, to idealize, to worship. He creates in his own mind the goddess she was, goes back from the days when he first knew her to those earlier days when Stella De Vere knew her. Then an idle remembrance of Stella's praise of him sets him thinking. Was it true? Would any woman have loved him as well with his one arm as with two? Would Grace have done it had he tried to win her? For a moment a half-wish that he had tried, that he had won her for his own idolized wife, overwhelmed him.

"She might have been quietly content with me," he thinks.[Pg 183] "At least she should never have known the suffering, the passionate pathos that darkens her young life now."

Too late! "Her place in his poor life is vacant for ever," and, as Grace has said once, he repeats:

"Fate is above us all."

He goes back to his visions of the child and maiden again; his heart thrills with passionate fondness for the happy child, the lovely girl whose dual lives have merged into the shadowed life of beautiful Grace Winans. Fancies come and go, the "light that never was on sea nor land" shining over his mild pictures of what "might have been," and never opium-eater's visions were fairer than the ideal dreams that go curling up in the blue, fantastic smoke-wreaths of Captain Clendenon's cigar.

Sunset drives him to his hotel, chilled and thoughtful. The winter sunshine, pleasant enough in this southern city, in its declining, has left a chill in the air that seems to strike to his heart. At the door he tosses away the remains of that magic cigar and goes up to his room, where a cheerful fire throws its genial warmth over everything, and brings out the stale odor of cigar smoke that clings to him. He throws off his coat, and in his white shirt-sleeves, pours fresh water from the pitcher into the basin.

"Phew!" he says, in disgust, "how smoky I am!" pushing back his neat linen cuff and bending over, in manly fashion, to dip head and hand into the water; he gives a slight cough, then, gasping, bends lower, while a crimson stream flows fast from his lips into the crystal water, turning it all to blood.

Again and again that slight cough, again and again that warm tide flowing from his lips—and yet he seems not in the least surprised, not in the least alarmed, only steadies himself, with his hand pressed on the edge of the wash-stand, and watches the flowing life-stream, his face growing white as marble.

Then the stream thins, grows less and less, and less, and gradually ceases. Taking up a glass of fresh water he rinses his mouth of the blood, and standing, looking down at the scarlet flood in the wash-basin, says thoughtfully, but not fearfully:

"This is the second time I have done it. I think I will see Dr. Constant to-morrow."

A tap at the door.

[Pg 184]

"Mother must not know," he says, and hurriedly laying a large towel over the wash-basin, is sitting comfortably in front of his fire when he calls out:

"Come in."

It is Mrs. Clendenon, just come in from the hospital, her gentle face flushed from walking, a placid smile on her lip.

"Willard, are you here? Gracie and I have but just come in and missed you—why, how pale you are—are you sick?"

"No, not sick. I have but just come in also. I was out walking and came in chilled—have not thawed out yet."

"Oh, Willard, my boy!" she cries, in a horrified tone, "what is that?"

A great spat of blood he had not observed stained his spotless linen cuff; she turned dead white as she saw it.

"It is nothing," he answers, with his handkerchief at his lips, but he draws it away dashed with minute streaks of blood; "sit down, mother, dear, don't get nervous, don't get excited."

She is leaning over his chair, her arm around his shoulder, her eyes full of piteous mother's love and fear fixed on his pale face.

"My son, what does it mean?"

"Mother, nothing much. I have only had a slight hemorrhage from the lungs—from over-exertion, I presume. It is all over now; but to make all sure I will consult Doctor Constant to-morrow, and I will be more careful of my health and strength hereafter, I promise you."

"Oh, I knew you were killing yourself," she wailed; "I knew it!"

"Don't, mother—don't talk so wildly. It was for the best, I assure you; it had to come. I shall be very much better after this; Doctor Constant will tell you so," he says, tenderly, to the wild-eyed mother, who is white with fear for her boy, and with all a woman's physical horror at the sight of blood.

She glances around her vacantly, then suddenly walks across the room, lifting the towel from the wash-basin. She looks with reeling brain and dazed eyes on that scarlet tide, and turns on her son a look of awful horror and anguish—such anguish as a mother's heart can feel—down, down, down in its fathomless, illimitable depths. He comes forth and steadies her reeling[Pg 185] form with his one arm about her waist, looking down at her with those earnest, beautiful gray eyes.

"Oh, mother, don't look so—don't grieve so! I tell you, certainly, I shall be better after this. I have only lost a little blood. Cheer up, little mother. Doctor Constant shall give me a tonic, and make it all right. You won't tell Mrs. Winans? I would rather she did not know. She would worry over it, too, and there is nothing to alarm either of your tender hearts."

He did get better of it, though Doctor Constant shook his head warningly when he met him still at his labors in the hospital. Grace knew nothing of it, by his wish, and in February a letter from Lulu, who had spent a portion of the winter in Italy, filled Mrs. Clendenon with the same perplexities, doubts, and hopes that agitated Lulu's heart in her far away home in London, which, with its foggy atmosphere and chilly rains, made itself peculiarly disagreeable to the young American lady who pined for the clear, pure atmosphere and health-giving sea-breeze of her own native home, while she gently deferred to the wishes of her husband and his aunt, and remained abroad until it pleased them to turn their faces homeward.



"Tis strange but true; for truth is always strange,
Stranger than fiction."


"London, Eng., March 20th, 1874.

"I promised to write you, dear mother if I should discover anything of interest relating to the little child of whom I wrote you in the autumn; and thanks to dear Bruce (who pretended not to take any interest in the matter at all) I have something to write you which, if nothing more comes of it, is certainly one of the strangest coincidences that ever happened. Mrs. Conway and Bruce think it can be only a coincidence, but my hopeful heart whispers that it may be more. But I will tell you of it, mother dearest, and leave you to judge for yourself.

[Pg 186]

"In the first place, then, my dear Bruce used only to be amused at my fondness for and interest in the child that bore such marked resemblance to two of my friends, though he could not but admit the likeness himself. But after he became convinced, as I was, that there was some mystery or some secret about the little one's parentage, he, quite unknown to me (not wishing to arouse hopes that might be disappointed in the end), set about making inquiries in a quiet and cautious manner, which brought to light the facts I am about to relate.

"I suppose it is hardly necessary I should remind you, mother, that the Englishwoman, Mrs. Moreland, who stole little Paul Winans from the hotel in Washington, D. C., and was traced to the steamer that left for England, told the servant-girl there that she had buried her husband in New York, as also a little girl and boy one year old, and that he was the last child of five. You will also remember that the girl, Annie Grady, and other waiters in the hotel thought that Mrs. Moreland was not quite right in her mind—that is to say, she was on the verge of insanity, and it was supposed that, under some hallucination that the child was her own, she kidnapped little Paul, and, with a lunatic's proverbial cunning, succeeded in getting away with him.

"Now, mother, this is what Bruce has discovered. First, that Sir Robert and Lady Marguerite Willoughby never had but one child, a fair and gentle young daughter, who mortally offended them by eloping with and marrying her drawing-master, a young man with the beauty of a Greek god and the humble station and sheer poverty which is too often the birthright of such beauty. For this offense she was disinherited and exiled forever from the presence of her haughty patrician father. It is said that the gentle mother would gladly have forgiven the erring child and made the best of the mesalliance, but Sir Robert's will being law, she had no choice but to abide by it. Secondly, that the disinherited daughter and her poor and handsome husband led a precarious existence in London for ten years, during which time four children were successively born to them and died; all this time the cruel parents of the willful daughter refusing her appeal for forgiveness. At the death of the last child the unfortunate but devoted pair concluded to try their[Pg 187] fortune in America, whither they accordingly went, settling in New York. There another child was born to them, and fortune, long unpropitious, began to smile on the loving pair, when the sudden death of the husband left the timid young mother a widow and a stranger, with a fatherless child. The shock nearly unsettled her reason, and she waited only for the burial of her husband before she started for England with her baby, and on reaching here, presented herself, homeless, friendless, almost destitute, before her cruel parents, with an ill and fretful babe in her arms. They would have been inhuman to have turned her away. She was taken back to their home and hearts, but too late, for she was barely sane enough to give an incoherent account of her husband's death in America before her melancholy madness reached such a violent stage that they were compelled to remove her to a lunatic asylum, where she still remains, a hopeless maniac.

"The child, whose dark beauty and lack of resemblance to his mother's family they attributed to a perfect likeness of its deceased father, they received into their home and hearts, and formally adopted as their own, since they two, being really the last of his race, this child was the only one left to perpetuate the name and title of the proud Willoughbys. Remorse for the part they acted to their unhappy daughter leads them to preserve entire silence as to her and the sad story I have been telling you. All this Bruce learned from one who is intimate with the family, and, indeed, the story is well known in London, though they never mention it to strangers. But her parents, of course, knowing of her life while in New York, have not the slightest doubt of the little boy being their grandchild, the son of their daughter, Christine, and her husband, Earle Moreland. You will remember, mother, that the kidnapper of Grace's little son was registered at the Washington hotel as Mrs. Earle Moreland. I think we only need to prove that Mrs. Moreland's child died in New York to claim this little child of Grace. But I leave you to draw all inferences, dear mother, and I know that you will agree with me that there is more than coincidence in the case.

"All that I have told you Bruce discovered before we went to Italy. Now that we have returned he intends to push the matter[Pg 188] further and try to get at the truth of the whole affair. I do not yet know what steps he will take in the matter, but pray with me, my own beloved mother, that 'the truth may be made manifest,' and that dear, patient Grace may have her child restored to her, for I feel certain that this darling little boy, of whom we are all so fond, is her own child. And, oh! what a pleasure it will be to me to see him restored to her by any instrumentality of mine.

"Still I think it best to keep her in ignorance of all this yet awhile; for uncertainty and suspense on this subject now would be, I know, more than she could bear; and, besides, we cannot yet know what the end may be. I will send you further tidings as soon as we have any. You can tell brother Willie of it all. His clear, prudent judgment may be of use to us, but he is not to let Grace know.

"I am almost counting the days, mother, between this and the happy day that shall bring me to your dear, loving arms again! I miss you so much, and brother Willie, and dear Gracie, too.

"I had intended to tell you of my pleasant time at Lady T——'s reception, my dining at the embassy, and many other interesting things, which I will have to postpone until my next, as my husband is now waiting to take me for a drive, and I, as of old, dear mother, am so fond of driving. How I used to like dear Grace's little phaeton!

"Bruce and Aunt Conway both join me in love to all, and both are well, but beginning, I believe, like myself, to feel a little homesick.

"My warmest love to dear Gracie and my darling brother Willie, and, mother, dear, do, do, all of you, take care of your health, and don't kill yourselves in that awful Memphis, and do not fail to write at earliest convenience to your

"Devoted daughter,

"Lulu C. Conway."

[Pg 189]



"The heavier cross the easier dying.
Death is a friendlier face to see;
To life's decay one bids defying,
From life's distress one then is free!
Ah! happy he, with all his loss,
Whom God hath set beneath the cross."

To Captain Clendenon, who lay tossing on the bed of sickness his mother had long foreboded, the news that Lulu's letter brought was cheering in the highest degree. His clear judgment brought him to the same conclusion as his sister, and had he been well he would have instantly started for New York to take up the missing links in the old quest for the lost child of Grace. But just as the fever epidemic had come to an end, and the three jaded nurses were thinking of a return to Norfolk, the weakness that had been growing on him for months culminated in an attack of typhoid fever, that dire enemy of an enfeebled system. He had lain for two weeks now consumed with fever, tortured with pain, and inwardly chafing because the two patient women, who had thought their labors for the sick ended for the season, were now indefatigably devoted to the task of lightening, as far as mortal power could do, his intense suffering.

Doctor Constant came and went with the last days of March, going out always with a look that Mrs. Clendenon and Grace—who had learned to read his countenance—felt almost hopeless at seeing. Weeks passed, and the strange fever that seemed playing "fast and loose" with the patient—that rises and falls, but never goes—kept its fiery hold on its victim. His mother was always by his side, mixing medicines, pouring cooling drinks, watching and noting every fluctuation of the disease with the grave, sad patience we often note in elderly women[Pg 190] who have grown so used to affliction that they bear it with a fortitude impossible to younger women like Grace, who fretted and chafed and grieved at the slow disease that held her friend in its tenacious grasp. Yet she was only second in her exertions for him to the mother. It was her small, soft hand that bathed the burning forehead in sprinkling ice-water and pungent perfume; her hand that fluttered the grateful palm-leaf fan that kept such fresh and pure air around the bedside; her hand that was always ready and willing to undertake anything that promised relief, or even alleviation; her presence that lent sunshine to the darkened chamber, where the angels of life and death were striving for Willard Clendenon's soul.

Pretty Stella De Vere, hearing of his illness, called often to inquire about him, and sent daily gifts of hot-house flowers and fruits to tempt the delicate appetite, and in the solitude of her own soul knew that a dear, dear hope was fading from her life forever.

Sometimes, when the hot, delirious fever fell, and reason held her throne against the enemy, the young man's heart ached at the sight of the pale, worn faces that always wore a cheerful smile for his waking hours. In the contest that was waging he felt very sure which would come off conqueror; but with the fortitude which had marked his life, he kept his opinions to himself, unwilling to grieve his mother and Grace, and unwilling to hasten Lulu's return on account of the investigation she was pursuing, much as he longed to see her. One unsatisfied wish troubled his feverish hours, and lent a wistful light to his eyes that Grace could not bear to see. Had it pleased God to restore his health, he would have liked to have gone to London and have brought back her child to her, that he might have had the pleasure of reviving hope in her desolate heart. Still it was a comfort to know that it would almost certainly be brought back to her some time. With this thought he must content himself, and he did as well as he was able.

"I am wearing you both out," he said, sadly, one day, to the two who were trying to hide beneath cheerful smiles the heart-ache which a recent visit from Doctor Constant had left, his grave face showing his opinion too plainly. "This long illness, after all you have endured, is unpardonable in me. Mother,[Pg 191] why not have a nurse for me, and allow yourself and Mrs. Winans some rest?"

The trembling hand of the gray-haired mother fluttered down like a blessing on the burning brow of her eldest-born—the son who had always been a blessing to her from the hour when his baby lips stirred the mother-love into life within her breast until now, when the hand that had smoothed her widowed path so gently, lay still and wasted on the counterpane, never to take up life's burden again.

"Always unselfish," she answered, in faltering tones. "No, Willie, dear boy, I cannot delegate to others the dear task of soothing your hours of pain."

"Nor can I," supplemented Grace, laying an impulsive, clasping hand on the thin one that rested outside the counterpane. "I have put myself in Lulu's place, and it is as a sister that I claim the privilege of waiting on you."

"Thanks," he answered, deeply moved, and Mrs. Clendenon, with an irrepressible sob, went gliding from the room.

"Oh, about Lulu," she says, with assumed carelessness to hide her real feelings. "Why is it you won't consent to have your mother send for her to come on while you are so sick? Don't you want to see her?"

"Don't I?" a wistful pain in his dark eyes. "Dear little sister Lulu, how I long to see her I cannot tell you! But why hasten her? She is coming shortly anyhow. She may be in time to see me; if not, we still shall meet again some time. She will come to me."

"Don't talk that way," she says, in distress and pain. "You will get better as soon as this fever breaks."

"Or worse," he amends. "You know a crisis must come then, Mrs. Winans, whether for better or worse, we cannot now tell. But we all know—you, mother, and the doctor, though you try to hide it from me—that the indications point to the worst. Yesterday, I had slight hemorrhage from the lungs again."

"Don't talk so," she pleads again. "How can any of us—the doctor, even—tell what will be the result of the crisis? We hope for the best. Do you not remember how ill I was in Washington with brain fever, and how Lulu would not let them[Pg 192] shave off my long curls? No one thought I would recover, yet I did. So, I trust, will you."

"Yes, if it so please God; but I think, Mrs. Winans, that He is going to be very merciful, and take me to Himself."

"Going to be very merciful," she repeats, with a grave wonder in her large eyes, as at something new and strange. She cannot at all understand how this quiet heart that has always seemed to her so untouched by any great joy or grief, can be so eagerly content in going "home." "Why, you do not want to die so young. The world needs good men like you so much that God will not take you yet! Why, what can you mean?"

"Just this, Mrs. Winans," he lifts his honest gray eyes to her fair face—his fever is falling, and he seems quite cool, though earnest—"that God, when he puts a life-long sorrow on our hearts, usually compensates for it by giving us a brief span in which to endure it. Sorrow like yours, that may be turned into joys again, He lets us live to bear. Crosses like mine, that may be blessing, but never joy, He lets one lay down early at the foot of the Great White Throne."

Sweeping lashes shade her cheeks to hide her great surprise. She asks nothing of Captain Clendenon's cross, though till now she has never dreamed of its existence.

"Some lost love," she guesses, with ready sympathy in her heart, and answers, sadly:

"Sorrows like mine can never turn into joys, mon ami."

"They can, they will," he cries, in glad excitement. "I know, I feel, that one of your lost ones, at least, will be restored to you."

"Oh! what can you mean?"

In eager hope she rises, looking down at him with eyes that would fain read the secret he had almost betrayed.

"Sit down," he answers, in calmer tones, "and forgive me for startling you so. I only meant that I felt like this, dear friend; and I do feel as if the shadows are passing from your life, and that, ere long, all will be well with you. It is given sometimes, you know, to dying eyes to see very clearly."

A flashing drop from her blue eyes falls down upon the hand that still lies under the soft clasp of hers, and in low tones she answers:

[Pg 193]

"Hush, now, you had better not talk any more. I fear you will overtask your strength. I am going to read some for you."

And closing his eyes he listens peacefully to the sweet, tremulous voice that reads the fourteenth chapter of St. John, beginning:

"Let not your heart be troubled."

And thus the days pass by, each one stealing a hope from the watcher's heart, and so many hours from Willard's life. Their patience does not waver, nor does his quiet courage. He knows that the world is fair outside, that the Southern sky is blue and bright—that flowers are blossoming, that birds are singing—knows, too, that all "Creation's deep musical chorus, unintermitting, goes up into Heaven," and is fain to go with it. Very bravely and contentedly he breasts the dark waters, knowing that a strong arm upholds him, even His who said to the ocean's tumult:

"Peace, be still!"

Mrs. Clendenon has written to Lulu that he is ill, but ere that long delayed letter reaches her his wasted frame may perchance "be out of pain, his soul be out of prison;" for it is the last of March now, and Doctor Constant and his consulting physicians think that the fever is almost broken, and the crisis near at hand. What the result will be they almost certainly know, but still whisper feeble hope to the agonized heart of the mother, whose yearning prayer goes up to God that He will spare her first-born.

He does not always answer such prayers in the way that seems good to us. But all the same, He who is Maker of all things, Judge of all things, judges best for us poor finite reasoners.

"Who knows the Inscrutable design?
Blessed be He who took and gave—
Why should your mother, Charles, not mine.
Be weeping o'er her darling's grave?"

"Why? ah, why?" The answer to such queries we shall find written in letters of light, perchance, within the pearly gates of the new Jerusalem.

[Pg 194]

Closer and closer yet grew the fond tie between mother and son as the long days waned to the lovely Southern twilight. Many gentle conversations blessed the absent sister from whom another letter came on the third of April, to say that no letters from home had reached her for a month; so she was still ignorant of that fatal illness her tender heart had foreboded mouths before. One portion of the letter which she specially desired her brother to read, he was too ill to see for several days after its reception. Not until after that night at whose eve Doctor Constant said sadly to his mother:

"The fever is gone. It will be decided to-night. We shall know in the morning."

And the grave-yard twilight brightened into starry night—the softest, balmiest Southern night—and three watched by the bedside, for Doctor Constant came, too, to share that vigil, in the strong, friendly love he felt for the man who had worked so bravely for the death-stricken in that doomed city. Hand in hand Gracie and the mother watched, each torn with the agony of dread, for Grace had taken him into her deep heart as a dear and faithful brother, and felt that one more pleasure would be buried for her in Willard Clendenon's early grave.

So the hours wore on; the mystic midnight came—passed—and in the morning they knew.

"It is the will of God," Doctor Constant said, holding the weeping mother's hand fast in his, and speaking in the strong assurance and resignation of a Christian faith. "He is wise and just, and knows the right better than you or I, dear friend. Be strong, for the end is near; the angels will come for him at sunset."

"Willard, dear son, there is a letter from your sister that she wished you to read. Are your eyes strong enough, or shall I read it for you?"

Lying back among his pillows, as white as they, very much wasted, with the dark curls waving back from the high, pale brow, and a very quiet peace in his grave, sweet eyes, Willard takes that letter, and reads it, slowly and painfully through.

A dimness crosses his vision as he holds it more than once, and a remembrance comes to him as he notes the clear, running[Pg 195] chirography, of how his own hand once guided the little fingers that traced these lines in their first labored efforts to write. But the light of a very sweet content irradiates his face as he turns its pages. If there is aught that can heighten the content of these, his dying hours, it is the story that is told in the pages of his sister's letter—the fair and tenderly loved young sister whom he will see no more until, as redeemed souls, they clasp each other on the sunny shores that are laved by the surf rolling up from the shadowless river.

"We part forever?—o'er my soul is sadness,
No more the music of thy voice shall glide
Low with deep feeling till a passionate gladness
Thrilled to each tone, and in wild tears replied.
"'We meet in Paradise!' To hallowed duty
Here with a loyal, a heroic heart,
Bind we our lives—that so divinest beauty
May bless that heaven where naught our souls can part."



"The earth has nothing like a she epistle,
And hardly heaven—because it never ends."


"London, Eng., April 3, 1874

"Such a joyful thing has happened, dear mother, that I could scarcely believe my own ears when (now more than two weeks ago) Bruce came in and told me General Winans was in London, not dead at all, and only just returned from France, where he had remained until thoroughly cured of the wound which had left him for dead on the dreadful battle-field. It seems that he was removed from the field by a poor and devoted young French soldier, a private in the ranks, and carried to a secure though humble place, where he was attended by a skillful old Frenchwoman who dressed his wounds with real surgical skill, and took care of him through a long period of convalescence, he[Pg 196] having two protracted relapses and nearly losing his life, sure enough. The reason he was so carefully concealed by the old woman and her nephew, was through fear of the Germans, as the war ended with that battle, you remember, and the conquerors had things all their own way. When quite recovered he rewarded the kind couple and left for London, and had been here but two days when Bruce met him quite accidentally on the street. You remember his old feud with Bruce, dear mother?

"Well, my dear husband tells me that he drew up his fine, princely figure, and would have passed him without recognition had not Bruce, with a resolution quite foreign to his easy nature, absolutely button-holed the proud fellow, and told him, all in a breath, about his marriage and his bridal-tour, and invited him to see Aunt Conway and me at our hotel. Of course, in view of Bruce's being married, he forgave him all he at present held against him, and came, nothing loth, to see us, and was so delighted—not more than I, though, I will admit. We kept him all the evening, and heard from his own lips the romantic story of his joining and fighting in the army of France, and of his rescue from death by the young French private. I used to be half afraid of him, but now I think, mother, he is the most fascinating and admirable gentleman I ever met—you know such an odor of romance and adventure clings about him.

"He had a perfect torrent of questions to ask me about Grace. All of them I answered to the best of my ability, but I was not, I confess, prepared for his great agony when I told him she was at Memphis, nursing the fever patients there. Mother, I never saw a human being turn so pallid as he did. He sat quite still for a while, his hand pressed to his brow, and only once I heard a sort of moan from his lips, that sounded like, 'Oh, Grace, you have indeed avenged yourself!' I hastened to assure him that the fever had abated, and the nurses were all returning to their homes, and I expected Grace, as also you and brother Willie, would soon return to Norfolk. And, mother, I felt so sorry for him that I at once blurted out the story of the little boy, Earle Willoughby. Oh, such happy, incredulous excitement I never saw in any one before. Bruce had to tell it all over to him.[Pg 197] I was both laughing and crying during my relation of it—'silly child!' as Aunt Conway says. Well, he and Bruce entered at once upon an investigation that has resulted in restoring hope and happiness to two that I love, and in making warm friends and allies of those two men who once stood up on Norfolk's outskirts to try to murder each other, with fiery hatred in their hearts.

"But time has changed all that. My Bruce is a better man to-day than he was then, and General Winans is reasonable, less fiery, less causelessly jealous. Painful experience has taught both of them wisdom.

"Oh, mother, it is all as I expected. I am so happy in the happiness that is to come to our beautiful Grace; my whole heart throbs with such joyous emotion,

"'I could laugh out as children laugh
Upon the hills at play.'

"General Winans and Bruce lost no time in calling on the Willoughbys to acquaint them with their suspicions. They found them away from home. Investigation disclosed the fact that they had been summoned to the mad-house of which their daughter, poor Christine Moreland, was an inmate. She was very ill, and, as I am told many lunatics do, recovered sense and reason when the cold hand of death was laid upon her. She sent for her parents to confess the crime, the full knowledge and remembrance of which first rushed upon her in that hour. Bruce and General Winans followed them at once to the asylum, which was an elegant and private one in high repute. They had no need to tell their story. Sir Robert and Lady Marguerite knew all, were in possession of all proofs, and in all their desolation gave back the child, without an objection, to its rejoicing father. He has his own again, and lacks but Grace's presence and forgiveness to make him the happiest man in the world.

"But, mother, there seems some reactionary power in the laws of this world that makes the sorrows of some the prices of others' happiness. The grief of that lonely old pair, so suddenly despoiled of all they looked on as kindred to them is something mournfully pathetic. Old, and sad, and worn, as[Pg 198] they looked, bending over the costly casket that held poor little Mrs. Moreland, at the imposing funeral, I shall never cease to compassionate them. Little Paul, or Earle, as he will continue to be called, and his father, are their guests now, as they cannot bear to give up the little boy until the last moment. But Sir Robert, in his attachment to his little adopted son, intends making him his sole heir, since the property is not entailed, and there is no kin. General Winans has promised—with the proviso of his wife's consent—that his son shall always bear the name of Earle Willoughby Winans. General Winans has promised to visit them this summer again, bringing his wife, if she will come. Gracie, you know, mother, has never been abroad, and General Winans wants to bring her over here for an extended tour.

"How my pen has run on jumbling up statements in happy, inextricable confusion! But, mother, you must all be at home in May, for in May we shall all be with you once again—oh, joyful thought!

"But, mother, Gracie, dear, patient, long-suffering darling, is not to know anything about the child until we come home. General Winans wishes it. He wants to bring her the joyful tidings in his arms, and who can blame him? Mrs. Conway thinks it perfectly natural and right, so does Bruce, so do I—and do not you think so, too, dear mother?

"The rest of the story—about General Winans being alive, and coming home so soon—I want her to know. And, mother, I would like brother Willard to tell her of it. He will take such pleasure in it! was always so fond of her, so desirous of her happiness, that I want the good news to come to her from his lips, because I think he would like it to be so.

"Dear, dear brother Willie! Mother, I think sometimes that he is not as happy as the rest of us. He has never said so—it may be only my fancy—but my heart holds always such a great, unutterable tenderness for him, and a sort of sacred reverence, as for some unspoken grief of his. How happy I am that, God willing, I shall soon be folded again to his dear, loving heart!

"Mother, do try to induce Gracie to take proper rest and sleep, so as to regain her bright looks before we got home. She is never less than lovely, but I want her to be at her best for the[Pg 199] eyes of her husband. For, mother, I do like him so much—indeed, he is a fine, frank, noble follow, one whom you will like, I know. And he and Bruce are quite good friends, so that there will be no more envyings, jealousies, and such like, but the brooding dove of peace over our hearts and homes, I trust, forever.

"I am so happy at thought of seeing you all again, and at all that has happened, that I am too nervous, too glad, or too something, to write more. Aunt Conway, looking over my shoulder at this, says it is hysterical. I am not sure it is not; so, mother, dear, try to evolve order out of this confused chaos of facts, and we will tell the story more lengthily and intelligibly when we all get home, which, thank Heaven, will be very soon. I have had no letter from you for a month. Why is it?

"With tendered regards to all, I am your devoted daughter,

"Lulu C. Conway.

"P. S.—General Winans would write to Grace, but fears repulse in spite of my assurances to the contrary. He tells me he must ask pardon only on his knees for the irreparable suffering he has caused her gentle spirit. Perhaps he is right—I cannot tell. Once more with fondest love, au revoir.




"As the bird to its sheltering nest,
When the storm on the hills is abroad.
So his spirit has flown from this world of unrest,
To repose on the bosom of God."

W. H. Burleigh.

"Who has not kept some trifling thing,
More prized than jewels rare,
A faded flower, a broken ring,
A tress of golden hair?"

"Grace, love, will you go to Willard? He has something to say to you."

[Pg 200]

The southern sun hung low in the western heavens; the day was excessively warm for April, and a little cloud in the sky, "no bigger than a man's hand," foreboded a shower. Grace turned from the window where she stood watching the shifting white clouds in the blue sky, and went back to the room from which she had stolen to hide the bitter pain at her heart.

A very solemn silence hung about the white-draped chamber. The window shutters were open to admit the balmy air, and a slanting ray of sunshine had stolen in and brightened the top of the sick man's pillow, touching into golden radiance the dark locks pushed away from his brow. The wan and wasted face wore a beautiful serenity that was not of earth. "God's finger" had "touched him" very gently, but palpably.

Grace bent over him, taking his cold white hand in hers with voiceless emotion. She had grown so fond of him in a warm, sisterly fashion, reverenced his brave, pure, upright spirit so highly that it seemed to her a close and kindred soul was winging its way from her side to the bright beyond, leaving her more alone and desolate than ever.

"It is almost over," he said, looking up at her with the reflex of a smile in the beautiful dark-gray orbs that kept their luminous radiance to the last.

She answers not. How can she break with the sounds of human grief the brooding peace that shines on the pathway of this departing spirit? Her voice, the sweetest one he will ever hear on this side of eternity, rises low but firm in one of the old-fashioned hymns the old-fashioned captain loved:

"Fear not, I am with thee. O be not dismay'd,
I, I am thy God, and will still give thee aid;
I'll strengthen thee, help thee, and cause thee to stand,
Upheld by my righteous, omnipotent hand.
"When through the deep waters I call thee to go,
The rivers of grief shall not thee overflow;
For I will be with thee thy troubles to bless,
And sanctify to thee thy deepest distress."

"Amen," he whispers, lowly. "His rod and His staff they comfort me."

[Pg 201]

Silence falls for a brief space. He is gathering his fainting strength for the words that come slowly from his lips:

"I have been the bearer to you of unwelcome tidings so often, Mrs. Winans, that it absolutely pains me now to recall it."

"Do not recall it," she rejoins, earnestly. "Why should you? The power overruling such things is higher than we are. You have been a comforter to me more often than you know of—take only that thought with you."

He smiles as she re-arranges his pillows, lifting his head so that his faint breath comes more evenly. The stray end of one of her long silken curls falls over his breast an instant, and he touches it with a caressing hand.

"It is given to me," he answers, "to bear you good tidings before I go. Your memories of me—will not thus be all unpleasant ones."

The eager remonstrance forming itself on her lip dies unspoken as he goes on:

"You have borne sorrow with a very brave heart, Gracie—have been, as you once told me, and as I really think, fireproof! Can you bear joy as well?"

She cannot possibly speak. Something rising in her throat literally chokes her breath.

"Little sister, be strong. Lulu has written—well, that your husband—that Winans is in London, alive and well—and is coming home to you—in May."

There is utter silence. She is quiet always, in pain or pleasure. He sees only her small hands clasping each other close, and her violet eyes—those unerring indices of her feelings—growing dusk black under the lashes. But something in the curve of her firm lip does not satisfy him. He feebly lifts his hand to touch hers.

"You will not be hard and unforgiving? It is not like Grace Winans to be that. Promise me that you will forgive him freely! If he acted wrongly he has suffered for it. It is so easy to go wrong—to err is human, you know."

No wavering in that sternly curved red lip shows acquiescence. His voice rises higher, with a throb of pain in it:

"'If ye forgive not men their trespasses how shall my Father which is in heaven forgive you?' Gracie, say 'I promise.'"

[Pg 202]

All the sudden hot anger against the husband she had loved—the husband who had wronged her, and left desolate the sweetest years of her life—fades out of her heart. The words falter as hollowly from her lips as from his:

"I promise."

"Thanks. May God bless you—and—and make all your future years happy ones. Mother—call mother, please."

She puts a little cordial to the panting lips and tearfully obeys.

On her knees at the other side of the bed the anguished mother listens to the tender message to the absent sister, the soft words of comfort, the low farewell. With the last kiss of her son on her lips she buries her face speechlessly in his pillow.

"Gracie, will you raise me a little?"

She bends with one arm under his shoulders, the other across his breast, and lifts him so that his head rests comfortably against her shoulder—an easy task, fragile and wearied as she is, for he has wasted in the grasp of that destroying fever until he is scarcely more than a wan shadow of himself.

Bending to look into his face, she asks, softly:

"Willard, are you easy now?"

"Quite easy," he answers, in a strangely contented tone, with such a tender caress in it that Grace starts; and as he falters "good-by," she bends with a sudden impulse and just touches her lips to his in a pure thrill of sisterly affection and grief; his glance lifts to hers an instant and remains fixed; a quivering sigh, a scarcely perceptible shudder, and Willard Clendenon's spirit has flown out of the earthly heaven of her arms to the higher heaven of his soul.

Later, as Grace lay weeping in her own room, the bereaved mother came gliding in. The soft flame of a wax candle lent a faint, pure light to the room, and showed her gentle face, free from tears, but seamed with a touching resignation beautiful in the extreme. What a mournful pathos lies in the grief of an old face! It is more eloquent than tears, even as silence can be more eloquent than speech.

Sitting on the edge of Grace's lounge, gently smoothing the[Pg 203] disheveled curls with her cool fingers, it would seem as if the younger woman were the mourner, she the comforter.

"God knows best," she says, with a Christian's strong reliance; and then she added, pathetically: "And it has come to me suddenly, Gracie, child, that my poor boy was not, perhaps, quite happy, or, at least, that some grief, at which we never guessed, was mingled with the quiet thread of his life."

A sudden memory of words of his came into Grace's mind.

"God, when He puts a life-long sorrow on our hearts, usually compensates for it by giving us a brief span of life in which to endure it."

"He deserved to be happy," she answered, warmly. "He was so good, so true. If any merited perfect content, it was your son."

"You have seen him sometimes in the whirl of gay society, Grace; did you ever notice in him any peculiar attachment for a woman?"

"Never," Grace answered, wondering. "He was courteously polite, deferentially chivalrous to all, but seemed attached to none in particular. Why do you ask?"

"Because I found this—I would show it to none but you, Grace—on his poor dead heart. It tells its own sad story."

She put into the young girl's hand a broad, flat gold locket, swinging by a slight gold chain. Almost as if she touched a coffin-lid, Grace moved the spring.

It flew open. No woman's pictured face smiled back at her—the upper lid had a deeply cut inscription, February, 1871—in the other deeper side lay a dead white rose, its short, thorny stem wound about with a tangle of pale-gold hair.

That was all. A sudden memory stirred at Grace's heart, and it all came back to her. The winter morning in her conservatory at Norfolk—the white rose on her breast, the tangled, broken curl, the gentle good-by. Warm flushes of irrepressible color surged up to her pale face, and with a sudden shocked horror Mrs. Clendenon glanced from the stem of the withered rose to the soft curls she was mechanically smoothing.

It was enough. "My poor boy!" she murmured and taking Grace Winans in her tender, forgiving, motherly arms, kissed her forehead.

[Pg 204]

And the tie between the two women never grew less close and warm. The still form they carried home to Norfolk to lay in its grave was a mutual sorrowful tie between them forever.

Stella De Vere came next day, heavily vailed, on her father's arm, and kissed Captain Clendenon in his coffin, leaving a bouquet of lilies on his pulseless breast.

But at early morning's dawn a slender, white-robed form bent over him, all her golden tresses sweeping over the heart that lay under its treasured keepsake still, and a sister's pained and tender kiss rested warmly on the sealed lips whose untold secret had come so strangely into her keeping.



"My heart grew softer as I gazed upon
That youthful mother as she soothed to rest,
With a low song, her loved and cherished one,
The bud of promise on her gentle breast;
For 'tis a sight that angel ones above
May stoop to gaze on from their bowers of bliss,
When Innocence upon the breast of Love
Is cradled in a sinful world like this."

Amelia B. Welby.

The telegraphic message that flashed across the ocean to Lulu Conway with such mournful tidings never reached her; she was already on the ocean, homeward bound, having just received the letter that told of Willard's illness at Memphis. It was not until she reached home in May, and was safely domiciled at Ocean View, that Bruce went into Norfolk and brought back the sad-faced mother, whose mourning weeds were the first indication to Lulu of her bitter bereavement.

Mrs. Winans, too, was domiciled safely at home again, to the great delight of honest Norah, who had been left in entire charge of the stately Winans' mansion, and had fretted herself almost to a shadow in anticipation of losing her mistress by that "fatal yellow fever." Even now Norah was hardly morally convinced[Pg 205] that this were really she. But as the days went by and the young lady's cheek began to gather color and roundness again, and her soft, unwonted laugh to wake the sweeping echoes of the large, silent house, Norah's doubts were displaced by joyful certainty, and she began to hope that a happier life for the young lady was presaged by her returning smile and lighter spirits.

Norah did not know that the hope springing softly in the wife's heart had such sure foundation to build upon. Grace had withheld from her the fact that General Winans was coming home in May, and Norah's secret thoughts and misgivings on this subject were many.

Poor Norah had never forgiven herself for the loss of the little child that had been left in its father's care to be so strangely spirited away. She reproached herself always, in her sensitive soul feeling herself entirely to blame, and humbly wondering sometimes how Mrs. Winans could abide the sight of her, much less her daily personal attendance; while Mrs. Winans herself, always just, gentle, and considerate to her domestics as to others, never blamed her in the least, really was fond of the honest creature, and in her sensitive dread of new faces around, would not have consented to be deprived of Norah. Indeed, her whole domestic staff had entered her service when she came as a bride to Senator Winans' new and beautiful home, and were likely to remain as long as they behaved passably well. She never drew a tight rein on the poor creatures, following as nearly as she could, in her daily life, the golden rule.

A charmingly affectionate billet from Mrs. Conway, the morning succeeding their return to Ocean View, invited Grace to come out and see them, as they were all in the deepest grief for the poor, dear captain—Lulu, indeed, being excessively shocked and ill, with the physician in close attendance.

The afternoon found Gracie springing from her phaeton at the gates of Ocean View, where John, as of old, met her with an adoring smile on his dark visage.

"And what is the news with you, John?" she asked, good-naturedly, as she saw that some unusual news agitated his shallow brain. "What have you been doing all this time with yourself?"

[Pg 206]

"Only jist gittin' married, Miss Grace," he responded, with a glittering smile, "to jist the prettiest yaller gal ole mis' eber owned! You 'members of Julie, de chambermaid?"

Grace supplemented her uncontrollable smile with a solid congratulation in the shape of a bridal gift from her well-filled porte-monnaie, and swept on to the house.

Mrs. Conway and her nephew met her in the hall, both unaffectedly glad to see her, and in the midst of much whispering, they left Bruce below, and went up to Lulu's chamber.

It was so dark in here that Grace, coming directly in from the May sunshine, at first saw nothing; then, as the gloom cleared away a little, she distinguished Mrs. Clendenon's black-robed form sitting near the bed where Lulu lay, white, and still, and grief-stricken, under the white draperies, with a tiny mite of a girl-baby (prematurely hurried into the world by grief that oftenest hurries people out of it) on her arm.

She stooped and kissed the quivering lips that tried to speak, but could not; and, indeed, what could either say that breathed aught of comfort to that shocked and distressed young spirit whose life hung vibrant on a quivering thread? Silence was perhaps the best comforter then, and Grace took the little newcomer in her arms, and gently diverted the young mother's thoughts by tracing vague resemblances to its handsome parents in the pink and infinitesimal morsel of life—and what a power there is in a simple baby-life sometimes!

Lulu's pain was softened momentarily by this idle feminine chatter and small talk so vigorously maintained, and her tears remained awhile unwept in their fountains, while now and then a low whisper to her old friend showed how welcome and appreciated was that visit.

"If baby lives," she murmured in an undertone to Grace, "we mean to call it Grace Willard, for you—and—brother," with a falter over the name. "I think he would have liked it so."

And Mrs. Winans has hard work to keep back her own tears at the memories that flow while she holds Lulu's mite of a girl in her arms—thronging memories of her own early days of motherhood—her nestling baby-boy, her darling so rudely torn from her breast. She is glad when the afternoon wanes and it is[Pg 207] time to go for she cannot bear to sit there smiling and outwardly content with that heavy, aching heart.

"Gracie"—Lulu draws her down to whisper with pink lips against her ear—"you may expect him—General Winans—at any hour. He gets into Norfolk to-day. We traveled from Europe together, but he had to stop in Washington on business, and gets here this evening, I think. Will you be glad, dear?"

She cannot answer. Her heart is in a great whirl of painful feelings. Her baby! She wants her baby! The unhealed wound in the mother-heart will not be satisfied thus. Lulu's motherhood has thrilled that aching chord afresh; the years that have passed are but a dream, and she longs to hold her rosy, laughing boy again to her tortured breast. Mother-love never grows cold nor dead, mother-grief never can be healed nor even seared. It "lives eternal" in the mother's breast, the most exquisite joy, the most exquisite searching pain the human heart can know.

"You are going to be so happy," Lulu whispers again in her loving tone, "and, Gracie," with a fluttering sigh. "I have been so happy in anticipating your happiness!"

Touched to the depths of her warm heart Grace bends to leave a tender kiss on the pale brow, and promising to come again, goes out. Her adieus are hastily made to the rest, and once more in the little pony phaeton she skims over the miles between her and home. The bright roses that blossom on her cheeks are sources of undisguised admiration to Norah, who opines that Mrs. Winans ought to drive every evening.

"Never mind about that, Norah," she answers, indifferently; "only please brush my curls over fresh, and give me a pretty white muslin dress to wear this evening."

And Norah obeys in secret wonder at her mistress' suddenly-developed vanity.

She is lovely enough to be vain when Norah turns her off her hands as "finished." All that golden glory of ringlets ripples away from the fair, pure brow enchantingly, sweeping to her dainty waist in a sweet girlish fashion. A faint flush covers her cheeks, two stars burn in the violet depths of her eyes, her lips are unwontedly tender and sweet. The slim, perfect figure is draped in the misty folds of a snowy muslin, whose loose sleeves[Pg 208] falling open, leave bare her dimpled white arms and hands. The low frill of misty lace leaves the white curve of her throat exposed, with no other ornament than a tea-rose budding against its lovely whiteness. So as lovely as one can fancy Eve, fresh from the hands of her Creator, the beautiful, unhappy, wronged young wife passed from her dressing-room and into that lovely shrine of her garnered griefs that saw what the world saw not—the desolation of that sensitive heart—the nursery of her loved, lost baby!



"But all in vain, to thought's tumultuous flow
I strive to give the strength of glowing words;
The waves of feeling, tossing to and fro,
In broken music o'er my heart's loose chords,
Give but their fainting echoes from my soul,
As through its silent depths their wild, swift currents roll."

Amelia B. Welby.

"Hope's precious pearl in sorrow's cup,
Unmelted at the bottom lay,
To shine again when all drunk up,
The bitterness should pass away."

Moore's Loves of the Angels.

She pushes back the sliding-doors between her own room and this one, letting the soft, clear light flood its dim recesses, opens the windows admitting the balmy sea breeze and the moonlight. Divided then between suspense and pain she throws upward the lace canopy and stands leaning once more over the empty crib that seems to her now more like a grave.

"It was May, 1870, when we quarreled here over baby's crib," she muses to herself, "and it seems as if years, and years, and years have gone over my head—yet this is only May, 1874. Ah! me."

Did minutes or hours go by? She never knew as she steadied her soul against the rushing, headlong waves of memory that threatened to engulf her in its chilling tide. She had put the past away from her in the excitement of other pursuits and[Pg 209] other aims, and now—now it came back, relentless, remorseless, sweeping her quivering heart-strings, atuning all her sensitive nerves to pain.

Would he come? Her helpless heart throbbed a passive denial. If he came, as Lulu had asked her, would she be glad?

She scarcely knew. She loved him—loved him with a pure, deep love that having once given its pledge to last till death, no earthly power could alter. Hers was a very strong and faithful devotion, but human resentment must hold a small place in the human breast as long as life lasts. And Grace Winans, brave, patient, tried by fire as she had been, was still only mortal. If he came, strengthened, purified, enobled by suffering and sad experience, they must still meet, she thinks, with a sharp heart-pang, as over a grave—the grave of their child; the winsome baby whom she sees in fancy at his childish play on the nursery rug, toddling over the floor, laughing in her arms, catching at her long, bright curls—what shall she say to the man whose folly has deprived her of all this joy, when he comes to ask forgiveness?

"God help me!" she moans, and drops her hopeless head upon her hands.


Does her heart deceive her ears? She glances shyly up, sees him standing not three feet from her, and he lifts the little child by his side, and tossing him into the crib, growing too small for his boyish proportions, says, wistfully:

"Gracie, I have brought him back to you to plead his father's cause."

One long look into the boyish beauty of that face that has not outgrown its infantile bloom, and her arms are about the little form, though silent in her joy as in her grief no word escapes her lips.

"Mamma, my own lovely mamma!" the little boy lisps, tutored thereto no doubt by his father's wisdom, and her only answer is in raining kisses, smiles and tears.

It is so long before she thinks of the silent father that when she turns it is only to find him kneeling at her feet. On the dusk beauty of that proud face she sees the sharp traces of suffering, weariness, almost hopelessness. He takes the small[Pg 210] hand that falls passive to her side, touching it lightly to his feverish lips.

"Gracie," she hears in the low, strong accents of despair, "there is nothing I can say for myself—I am at your foot to hear my doom! Whatever you accord me, it cannot be utter despair, since I am blessed beyond measure in having looked even once more on your beloved face."

For minutes she looked down on that bowed head in silence. All the love and pride, all the good and evil in her nature are warring against each other. Shall she let the cruel past go by, or shall she—and then, between her and these tumultuous thoughts, rises the face of one who is an angel in heaven—her lips part to speak, and close mutely; she smiles, then slowly falling like the perfuming petals of a great white rose, her white robes waver to the floor, and her small hand flutters down on his shoulder, and she is kneeling beside him.

He looks up with an unspoken prayer of thanksgiving on his mobile features, and twines strong, loving arms about the form that has fallen unconscious against his breast.

General Winans takes his wife abroad to escape the "nine days wonder." Norah goes with them, in charge of little Earle, her face glowing like a miniature sun with delight at the way that "things," in her homely phraseology "have turned out."

They visit the adopted grandparents of little Earle, and are feted and flattered by them, until sweet Grace in the fullness of her own happiness and her compassion for them, promises them an annual visit. Deo volent, from the small idol of her heart and theirs.

And, "by the way," in Paris—"dear, delightful Paris"—where they sojourn awhile, they meet—who else but Major Frank Fontenay, U. S. A., "doing the honeymoon" in most approved style with the "fair Cordelia, the banker's heiress." And thus has the susceptible major consoled himself for Lulu's rejection. It is needless to say that these two couples uniting, "do" the tour of Europe in the most leisurely and pleasant manner, and are duly favored with honors and attentions.

[Pg 211]

Latest advises from Norfolk report the Winans and Conway families as on the happiest terms. Rumor says, indeed, that the two young mothers have prospectively betrothed the fragile little brown-eyed Grace Willard to the handsome young Earle Willoughby, the hopeful heir of two fortunes. "However these things be," we leave them to the future, which takes care of itself.

And far down a shady path in one of Norfolk's lovely cemeteries there rises a low green grave, over which a costly white marble shaft, never without its daily wreath of fresh white roses through all of summer's golden days, tapers sadly against the blue sky, telling all who care to know that

Willard Clendenon,
AGED 36,
Rests Here

"Nature doth mourn for thee. There is no need
For man to strike his plaintive lyre and fail,
As fail he must if he attempts thy praise."


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Vestibuled, Steam Heated, and Electric Lighted Throughout.




The most interesting historic associations and the most striking and beautiful scenery in the United States are linked together by the C. & O. System which traverses Virginia, the first foothold of English settlers in America, where the Revolutionary War was begun and ended, and where the great battles of the Civil War were fought; crosses the Blue Ridge and Alleghany Mountains and the famous Shenandoah Valley, reaches the celebrated Springs region of the Virginias and lies through the canons of New River, where the scenery is grand beyond description. It follows the banks of the Kanawha and Ohio Rivers, and penetrates the famous Blue Grass region of Kentucky, noted for producing the greatest race-horses of the world.

For maps, folders, descriptive pamphlets, etc., apply to Pennsylvania Railroad ticket offices in New York, Philadelphia, and Baltimore, the principal ticket offices throughout the country, or any of the following C. & O. agencies:

NEW YORK—362 and 1323 Broadway.
WASHINGTON—513 and 1421 Pennsylvania avenue.
CINCINNATI—Corner Fifth and Walnut streets.
LOUISVILLE—253 Fourth avenue.
ST. LOUIS—Corner Broadway and Chestnut street.
CHICAGO—234 Clark street.

C. B. RYAN, Assistant General Passenger Agent, Cincinnati, O.

H. W. FULLER, General Passenger Agent, Washington, D. C.

The New England


Travelers Between


Should always ask for ticket, via the

"Air Line" Limited Train,

Leaving either city 1.00 P. M., week
days only, due destination, 6.00 P. M.


Trains Arrive at and Leave from
Park Square Station, Boston.

Ticket Offices{3 Old State House, Park Square Station, Boston
Grand Central Station, New York

The Norwich Line,


Steamers Leave Pier 40. North River, New York. 5.30 P. M. week days
only. Connecting at New London with Steamboat Express.
Train due Worcester, 8.00 A. M., Boston, 10.00 A. M.


Trains leave Boston 7.02 P. M., Worcester 8.00 P. M., week days only.
Connecting at New London with Steamers of the
Line due New York 7.00 A. M.

Norwich Line trains leave and arrive Kneeland St. Station (Plymouth Div.
N. Y., N. H. & H. Rd.), Boston.

Tickets, Staterooms on Steamers, and full information at offices,

Pier 40, North River,NEW YORK.
3 Old State House,
Kneeland St. Station (Plymouth
Div N. Y., N. H. & H. Rd.)

W. R. BABCOCK, General Passenger Agent, Boston.

October 17, 1896.








For further information call on or address your nearest Ticket Agent, or


St. Louis, Mo.

"The D&H"




Lake George, Lake Champlain, Ausable Chasm, the Adirondack
Mountains, Saratoga, Round Lake, Sharon Springs,
Cooperstown, Howe's Cave, and the Celebrated
Gravity Railroad between Carbondale
and Honesdale, Pa., present the

Greatest Combination of Health and Pleasure Resorts in America.

The Direct Line to the Superb Summer Hotel
of the North


(Three Miles South of Pittsburgh, on Lake Champlain.)


In Connection with the Erie Railway, the most Picturesque
and Interesting Route between Chicago and Boston.
The only through Pullman Line.

Inclose Six Cents in Stamps for Illustrated Guide to

2d Vice-President.
Gen'l Pass. Agent, Albany, N. Y.












The Intercolonial Railway




Starting at QUEBEC it skirts for TWO HUNDRED MILES the MAJESTIC ST. LAWRENCE RIVER, thence through the FAMOUS LAKE, MOUNTAIN and VALLEY region of the


and on to the WORLD-RENOWNED BRAS D'OR LAKES in Cape Breton.

Connecting at Point du Chene, N. B., and Picton, N. S., for PRINCE EDWARD ISLAND, "THE GARDEN OF THE GULF."

No other railway in America presents to PLEASURE SEEKERS, INVALIDS and SPORTSMEN so many unrivalled attractions.


GEO. W. ROBINSON,  .   .   .   .  Eastern Freight and Passenger Agent,
128 St. James Street, (opp. St. Lawrence Hall), Montreal.

N. WEATHERSTON,  .   .   .   .   .  Western Freight and Passenger Agent,
93 York Street, Rossin House Block, Toronto.

Maps, Time Tables and Guide Books free on application.

General Manager.
General Pass. Agent.




Ft. Wayne, Cincinnati, and Louisville Railroad.

"Natural Gas Route."      The Popular Short Line


Peoria, Bloomington, Chicago, St. Louis, Springfield, Lafayette,
Frankfort, Muncie, Portland, Lima, Findlay, Fostoria,
Fremont, Sandusky, Indianapolis, Kokomo, Peru,
Rochester, Plymouth, LaPorte, Michigan
City, Ft. Wayne, Hartford, Bluffton,
Connorsville, and Cincinnati, making

Direct Connections for all Points East, West, North and South.



Of Ohio and Indiana, giving the patrons of this Popular Route an opportunity to witness the grand sight from the train as they pass through. Great fields covered with tanks, in which are stored millions of gallons of oil, Natural Gas wells shooting their flames high in the air, and the most beautiful cities, fairly alive with glass and all kinds of factories.

We furnish our patrons with Elegant Reclining Chair Car Seats Free, on day trains, and L. E. & W. Palace Sleeping and Parlor Cars, on night trains, at very reasonable rates.

Direct connections to and from Cleveland, Buffalo, New York, Boston, Philadelphia, Baltimore, Pittsburg, Washington, Kansas City, Denver, Omaha, Portland, San Francisco, and all points in the United States and Canada.

This is the popular route with the ladies, on account of its courteous and accommodating train officials, and with the commercial traveler and general public for its comforts, quick time and sure connections.

For any further particulars call on or address any Ticket Agent.

Traffic Manager,
Gen'l Pass. & Tkt. Agt.

There is little need of emphasizing the FACT that the

Maine Central

Has been the developer of Bar Harbor, and has made this incomparable summer home the

Crown of the Atlantic Coast.


The Natural Wonders of the White Mountains,
The Wierd Grandeur of the Dixville Notch,
The Quaint Ways and Scenes of Quebec,
The Multifarious Attractions of Montreal,
The Elegance of Poland Springs,
The Inexhaustible Fishing of Rangeley,
The Unique Scenery of Moosehead,
The Remarkable Healthfulness of St. Andrews.

Are all within contact of the ever-lengthening arms of the Maine Central Railroad.

The Renowned Vacation Line.

Or, to those who enjoy Ocean Sailing, the statement is made that the pioneer line along the coast of Maine, making numerous landings at picturesque points, almost encircling the Island of Mt. Desert is the

Portland, Mt. Desert and
Machias Steamboat Co.

The New, Large and Luxurious Steamer, "Frank Jones," makes, during the summer season, two round trips per week between Portland, Rockland, Bar Harbor and Machiasport.

Illustrated outlines, details of transportation, and other information upon application to

G. P. and T. Agt.
Portland, Me.
Gen. Mgr.



A Novelization of the Celebrated Play,


The New York World says: To "dramatize" a novel is common work, to "novelize" a play comparatively rare. The latest in this line is "Gismonda," in which Miss Fanny Davenport has been so successful, and Mr. A. D. Hall has told the story in a very interesting manner.

Philadelphia Press: The story is an interesting one, and with a plot quite out of the common.

Portland Oregonian: A story that holds the interest.

Denver Republican: The characters are exceedingly well depicted. "Gismonda" will prove a favorite with the novel-reading public and become one of the popular books of the season.

Philadelphia Item: The kind of book which one sits over till he has finished the last word. It is a clever piece of literary work.

New Orleans Picayune: It is needless to say, as it is Sardou's creation, that it is of intense interest.

Buffalo News: A vivid and powerful story.

Brooklyn Eagle: The amplification into the novel is done by Mr. A. D. Hall, who presents a full and interesting picture of modern or rather medieval Greece. The plot is quite original.

Milwaukee Journal: While its situations are dramatic, it is by no means stagy.

Albany Argus: We have every reason to believe that the excellent novelization will achieve popularity.

Boston Traveler: It has basis for great interest.

Syracuse Herald: The "novelizator" seems to have acquitted himself fairly well, and to have transformed the play into a highly romantic story.

Burlington Hawkeye: Excellent novelization, and without a dull moment from beginning to end.

Detroit Tribune: As the play has been a success, the novel will undoubtedly prove one also. The story has a unique plot, and the characters are well depicted.

Albany Times-Union: No play produced during the past year has made such an instantaneous and overwhelming success as that of "Gismonda," and we have every reason to believe that the excellent novelization will achieve the same measure of popularity.

GISMONDA is No. 1. of "Drama Series," for sale by all Newsdealers, or will be sent, on receipt of price, 25 cents, to any address postpaid, by STREET & SMITH, 25-31 Rose St., New York.

A Gentleman from Gascony.



Brooklyn Standard-Union: A most captivating story.

Buffalo Times: The story is full of dramatic situations.

Pittsburgh Leader: It is a romance well worth reading.

Philadelphia Call: An interesting and graphic story good for seashore, hammock or mountain.

The New York World: A very charming novel of the romantic school, full of love and adventure.

Albany Times: "A Gentleman from Gascony," by Bicknell Dudley, is an exciting and well-told story.

The Brooklyn Citizen: The story is full of fine dramatic situations, and is never lacking in action. The author has the knack of holding the reader's attention throughout the entire story.

San Francisco Chronicle: "A Gentleman from Gascony," by Bicknell Dudley, while it at once recalls our dear old friends of the "Three Musketeers," is a bright, clever, well-written and entertaining story. The book gives a graphic and vivid picture of one of the great historic epochs of France.

Rochester Herald: It is a positive relief to turn from the morbid fancies of the Madame Grands and the Grant Allens to such a purely romantic love tale as "A Gentleman from Gascony," by Bicknell Dudley, which Street & Smith publish in yellow covers, while deserving of more substantial garb. The story is a formidable rival of Mr. Stanley Weyman's premier effort.

Louisville Courier-Journal: It is a thoroughly readable novel that Bicknell Dudley has contributed to current literature under the title of "A Gentleman from Gascony." Although the title recalls Stanley Weyman's "Gentleman of France" and the scenes of both stories are laid in the time of Henri of Navarre, they are not alike, save in the fact that both the "Gentleman of France," and the "Gentleman from Gascony" are heroes in the fullest sense of the term from a romantic standpoint.

Pittsburgh Press: Bicknell Dudley has written another story, based on French history, around the time of the St. Bartholomew massacre. It is a tale of adventure with a single hero, who embodies in himself the wile of an Aramis, the strength of a Porthos, and the gallantry of a D'Artagnan. The adventures of the Chevalier de Puycadere are, even if impossible in these days, still redolent of the times of knight errantry, when every good sword won its way and was faithful. Although he was an illustrious chevalier both in love and war, he was certainly no chevalier d'industrie, and happily comes out triumphant.

The Argus, Albany, N. Y.: The hero is a young Gascon full of dash and courage, of good blood but impoverished estates, who comes to Paris to seek his fortune. This he accomplishes after many adventures, sometimes by bravado, sometimes by bravery. There is a strong love story between Gabrielle de Vrissac, a maid of honor to the Queen of Navarre, and the Gascon, Raoul de Puycadere. Many historical characters figure among them—Henri of Navarre, Marguerite de Valois, Catherine de Medicis, and Charles IX., and Admiral Coliquy. The author, Bicknell Dudley, exhibits literary ability of the very first order.

Baltimore American: "A Gentleman from Gascony," by Bicknell Dudley. This is a tale of the time of Charles IX., the story opening in the year 1572. Raoul de Puycadere is of a noble family, but his possessions have been squandered by his ancestors, and he leaves for Paris to better his position at court. He arrives on the eve of the massacre of St. Bartholomew, and his lady love, Gabrielle, having heard of the contemplated killing, binds a sign on his arm to protect him. By great good luck he is made equerry to the King of Navarre, and between his duties as equerry and his lovemaking passes through many exciting adventures.

"A Gentleman from Gascony" is No. 11 of the Criterion Series. For sale by all booksellers and newsdealers, or sent postage free on receipt of price, fifty cents, by the publishers.

25 to 31 Rose Street, New York.

Richard Forrest, Bachelor.

By Clement R. Marley.


"'Richard Forrest, Bachelor,' by Clement R. Marley, is a bright and pleasing story. The love story of the old bachelor, whose heart was so long steeled to woman's charms, but who succumbs at last to the girl who attempts to take the life of his best friend because she imagines he wronged her young and beautiful sister, is prettily told."—Boston Times.

"'Richard Forrest, Bachelor,' is a story whose narration is simple and direct, but it has also a freshness and vivacity which add greatly to its charms. The characters are well drawn."—Newark Advertiser.

"An entertaining story, telling of the capture of the heart of an old bachelor."—New York Press.

"A story of most unconventional type. The theme is good, and it is well told. It is all very natural and true to life, and when all is said and done it lingers in the mind as a pleasant memory."—Nashville American.

"'Richard Forrest, Bachelor,' is a very pleasing love story, most entertainingly told."—Fort Worth Gazette.

"The author tells a very unconventional story in 'Richard Forrest, Bachelor,' and it is very entertaining."—Brooklyn Eagle.

"In 'Richard Forrest, Bachelor,' the author gives a very pretty story. There are strong religious sentiments, and the author puts forth some well-defined ideas on the social relations of men and women."—Philadelphia Call.

"A novel of more than usual interest is 'Richard Forrest, Bachelor.' It describes scenes and incidents that may be seen and experienced by any one in similar circumstances. There is much that is strange and stirring in the story, yet nature is not departed from either in the incidents or characters introduced."—Brooklyn Citizen.

"A well-told tale of sustained interest and dramatic character."—Sacramento Record-Union.

"The author tells the story of an old bachelor's love. He gets well along in life invulnerable to Cupid's dart, and then he detects the woman of his heart's choice in an attempt upon the life of his bosom friend, to avenge an imaginary wrong. It is very true to life."—Atlanta Journal.

"'Richard Forrest, Bachelor,' is after the style of 'Mr. Barnes of New York,' but is rather better written."—Hartford Times.

RICHARD FORREST, BACHELOR, is No. 16 of "Criterion Series," for sale by all Booksellers or Newsdealers or sent postpaid to any address on receipt of price, 50 cents, by the publishers,

STREET & SMITH, 25-31 Rose street, New York.

The Criterion Series.

Paper Edition, 50 Cents.

In presenting this series of high-class novels to the public we take pride in announcing that every number will be of the highest merit, printed in the best style on the first quality of paper. This series will be our best, both as regards contents and appearance.

6—Miss Caprice. By the author of Dr. Jack.
7—Baron Sam. By the author of Dr. Jack.
8—Monsieur Bob. By the author of Dr. Jack.
9—The Colonel by Brevet. By the author of Dr. Jack.
10—Major Matterson of Kentucky. By the author of Dr. Jack.
11—A Gentleman from Gascony. By Bicknell Dudley.
12—A Daughter of Delilah. By Robert Lee Tyler.
13—The Nabob of Singapore. By the author of Dr. Jack.
14—The Bachelor of the Midway. By the author of Dr. Jack.
15—None but the Brave. By Robert Lee Tyler.
16—Richard Forrest, Bachelor. By Clement R. Marley.
17—Mrs. Bob. By the author of Dr. Jack.
18—The Great Mogul. By the author of Dr. Jack.
19—A Yale Man. By Robert Lee Tyler.
20—The Mission of Poubalov. By Frederick R. Burton.

For sale by all booksellers and newsdealers, or sent postage free on receipt of price, by the publishers.


The Shield Series.

Price, Paper Edition, 25 Cents.

Devoted to tales of the detection of crime, by those brave knights of the shield—the tireless sleuths of the detective force.

1—Caught in the toils (new). By Nick Carter.
2—The Old Detective's Pupil. By Nick Carter.
3—A Wall Street Haul. By Nick Carter.
4—The Crime of a Countess. By Nick Carter.
5—A Titled Counterfeiter. By Nick Carter.
6—A Woman's Hand. By Nick Carter.
7—Fighting Against Millions. By Nick Carter.
8—The Piano Box Mystery. By Nick Carter.
9—A Stolen Identity. By Nick Carter.
10—The Great Enigma. By Nick Carter.
11—The Gambler's Syndicate. By Nick Carter.
12—Playing a Bold Game. By Nick Carter.
13—The American Marquis. By Nick Carter.
14—Tracked Across the Atlantic (new). By Nick Carter.
15—The Mysterious Mail Robbery (new). By Nick Carter.
16—Brant Adams, the Emperor of Detectives. By Old Sleuth.
17—Bruce Angelo, the City Detective. By Old Sleuth.
18—Van, the Government Detective. By Old Sleuth.
19—Old Stonewall, the Colorado Detective. By Judson R. Taylor.
20—The Masked Detective. By Judson R. Taylor.
21—The Chosen Man. By Judson R. Taylor.
22—Tom and Jerry. By Judson R. Taylor.
23—The Swordsman of Warsaw. By Judson R. Taylor.
24—Detective Bob Bridger. By R. M. Taylor.
25—The Poker King. By Marline Manly.
26—Old Specie, the Treasury Detective. By Marline Manly.
27—The Vestibule Limited Mystery. By Marline Manly.
28—Caught in the Net. By Emile Gaboriau.
29—The Champdoce Mystery. By Emile Gaboriau.
30—The Detective's Dilemma. By Emile Gaboriau.
31—The Detective's Triumph. By Emile Gaboriau.
32—The Widow's Lerouge. By Emile Gaboriau.
33—The Clique of Gold. By Emile Gaboriau.
34—File 113. By Emile Gaboriau.
35—A Chance Discovery. By Nick Carter.
36—A Deposit Vault Puzzle. By Nick Carter.
37—Evidence by Telephone. By Nick Carter.
38—The Red Lottery Ticket. By Fortune du Boisgobey.
39—The Steel Necklace. By Fortune du Boisgobey.
40—The Convict Colonel. By Fortune du Boisgobey.
41—(vol. I) The Crime of the Opera House. By Fortune du Boisgobey.
41—(vol. II) The Crime of the Opera House. By Fortune du Boisgobey.

For sale by all booksellers and newsdealers, or sent postage free, on receipt of price, by the publishers.

29 to 31 Rose St., New York.

Yellow Kid Magazine

5c. per copy.

Forty-eight pages of delightfully
varied reading matter, all of which is
properly and profusely illustrated. It
is the climax of latter-day literature—neither
cheap, costly nor cumbrous.


238 William St., New York.

If your newsdealer hasn't got it, write to us.

What is a Novel Worth?

For years Novels and Magazines have been sold at
prices ranging from 25 to 50 Cents. Improved
machinery has decreased the cost of production, and
the Ten Cent Magazine has become an established
fact. Now the Eagle Library is offered
to the public as the original first quality novel at

Ten Cents

The Eagle Library is not composed of poor stories
printed on cheap paper. The Eagle
Library is not a collection of unsalable books offered
at reduced prices because they cannot be sold
otherwise. The Eagle Library is not
a series of stories by unknown authors.

The Eagle Library

Is offered at Ten Cents because that is the correct
modern price for a first class copyright novel.
In these books the type is clear and legible, the
paper of good quality, the stories by the best
known popular authors, the covers of most attractive
design and

The Price is Right

Read one and you will want another.
Do not be fooled by inferior books at a higher price.
The Eagle Library is published by

Street & Smith, New York.

Transcriber's Note:

The cover the source copy of this book was badly damaged, with missing pieces and a scrawled message from a previous owner. The image has been hand-restored by the transcriber using a clone tool and textual elements from other volumes in the series. The modified image is placed into the public domain. This should be a reasonably accurate representation of the original image, but it is not 100% authentic.

This story was originally serialized in Street & Smith's New York Weekly from July 4, 1881 to September 26, 1881.

Added table of contents.

Some inconsistent hyphenation (e.g. "chambermaid" vs. "chamber-maid") has been retained from the original.

Archaic spellings ("vail", "staid", etc.) retained from the original.

Several missing periods and a letter 'y' (probably attributable to light printing) have been added to the "Catalogue" on the inside front cover.

Page 14, corrected comma to period after "husband, Senator Winans."

Page 16, inserted "as" into "cold as death."

Page 17, corrected "you" to "your" in "your wishes are always mine, Paul."

Page 18, added missing close single quote after "I told you so?"

Page 22, corrected typographical errorg "peaae" in "domestic peace and love."

Page 24, corrected comma to period after "I think I am mad to-night."

Page 31, added missing close single quote after "when I was a little child?"

Page 32, corrected "ole miss'" to "ole mis'" for consistency in 'from the said "ole mis'."' Corrected Mars to Marse in "Glad to see you, Marse Bruce." Corrected typographical error "commennted" in "commented the merry little darkey."

Page 35, corrected "Gray" to "Grey" in "passionate love for Grace Grey." Corrected typographical error "worldy" in "scruple of worldly pride." Removed unnecessary comma after "splendid" in "dreary, splendid home."

Page 42, corrected typographical error "tesolve" in "resolve was taken."

Page 43, corrected "Gray" to "Grey" in "when Grace Grey had."

Page 46, added missing close quote after "Miss Story!" Changed "you" to "your" in "your contemptible innuendoes."

Page 50, grammatical mismatch between "consequences" and "has" retained from original.

Page 51, corrected "had have" to "have had" in "ought to have had more manliness."

Page 54, added missing quote before "or his servants would not." Removed unnecessary comma after "honest black face."

Page 56, added missing quote after "Waiting!" Corrected "William" to "Willard" in "Willard Clendenon could not withhold."

Page 57, corrected typographical error "conjucture" in "the scandal, the conjecture."

Page 61, removed duplicate "and" from "and try, do."

Page 62, corrected "Child Harold" to "Childe Harold" at head of chapter VIII.

Page 64, changed "wrong" to "wronged" in "poor wronged and injured girl."

Page 65, retained unusual contraction "musn't" from original.

Page 67, corrected typographical error "your" in "the man you're talking of."

Page 68, changed ! to ? after "that new song I sent you yesterday?"

Page 70, removed stray period and space before question mark in "her husband again?"

Page 72, corrected typographical error "privilged" in "privileged domestic."

Page 73, corrected typographical error "embarassing" in "momentary embarrassing silence."

Page 79, changed ? to ! after "What a long speech this is!"

Page 80, retained unusual spelling "skillfuly" from original.

Page 81, corrected comma to period after "first saw Grace."

Page 84, corrected double "whom" in "whom he had left talking."

Page 87, corrected "pean" to "pæan." Removed unnecessary quote before "That other!"

Page 90, corrected comma to period after "alien from your heart."

Page 93, removed unnecessary quote before "Well" in "that affair. Well."

Page 100, moved quote from after "Ah!" to before it in "Ah! Fontenay."

Page 101, changed single to double quote after "No—yes."

Page 112, corrected typographical error "brused" in "her brused heart."

Page 120, corrected single to double quote before "a single stream of all her soft brown hair."

Page 123, corrected typographical error "Gethsemene" in "Garden of Gethsemane." Added missing close single quote after "seek and ye shall find."

Page 125, added missing close quote after ""And, indeed, Grace."

Page 128, corrected comma to period after "you—have not seen you."

Page 130, corrected typographical error "alway" in "They always remind me."

Page 136, corrected typographical error "dimunitive" in "a diminutive silver comb."

Page 138, corrected comma to period after "keep it from breaking."

Page 144, removed unnecessary period between ad infinitum and question mark.

Page 147, corrected "Mr." to "Mrs." in "Mrs. Conway, who was very well pleased."

Page 149, added missing quote before "this is——"

Page 154, removed duplicate "and often" from "and often society was scandalized."

Page 156, retained unusual spelling "detatched" from original. Added missing quote before "And this was about the time."

Page 157, corrected "Pure as due" to "Pure as dew" and "Winan's" to "Winans'" in "Paul Winans' pictured face."

Page 158, added missing close quote after "It is all rue!"

Page 159, corrected "thing" to "things" in "how evanescent are all things."

Page 162, added missing quote before "It is rather a nice little jaunt."

Page 164, corrected typographical error "Bt" in "But no, I shall not die."

Page 165, corrected comma to period after "indomitable young spirit."

Page 168, added missing quote before "Down with the fever—died this evening."

Page 173, corrected "it" to "its" in "fever in its worst." Corrected typographical error "indefatigible."

Page 175, corrected typographical error "restrospections" in "half-bitter retrospections."

Page 176, corrected typographical error "belive" in "I believe I wrote you."

Page 178, corrected "passes-by" to "passers-by". Corrected comma to period after "pinned across the left breast."

Page 180, added missing quote before "Your father told me two months." Corrected "dusk" to "dusky" in "her dusky eyes."

Page 181, added space to "DeVere" in "Miss De Vere, cannot you suppose."

Page 189, corrected typographical error "heaver" in "The heavier cross the easier dying."

Page 193, added missing quote after "Why? ah, why?"

Page 194, capitalized sentence beginning "Many gentle conversations."

Page 196, corrected "left for France" to "left for London."

Page 201, removed unnecessary quote after "Little sister, be strong." Added missing comma in "Gracie, say 'I promise.'"

Page 203, removed unnecessary quote before "It was enough."

Page 205, corrected typographical error "retutning" in "her returning smile." Changed "father care" to "father's care."

Page 209, corrected comma to period after "as long as life lasts."

Page 210, added missing close single quote after "have turned out."

Maine Central Railroad ad, retained incorrect spelling "wierd" from original. Gentleman from Gascony ad, removed duplicate "a" from "There is a strong love story." Changed comma to period after publisher address at very end.