תמונות בעמוד

young ladies.

An unwilling yet irrepressible smile flitted opened, the people that passed thought of “Cousin Elizabeth ;" therefore, she chose to across Mrs. Basil's vexed countenance; but her, and not of burglars. They bowed and make her visit on a Sunday morning, when the judge had been an indulgent husband, smiled, and she bowed and smiled in return. the Ruffners would surely be out of the way. and she an exemplary wife, and she could She seemed to know everybody, and every. She didn't mind shocking Mrs. Stargold's afford to smile at a threadbare pleasantry. body seemed to know her.

seuse of propriety. She had always had * Do you mean to say, Arthur," she asked, “How handsomely she dresses !” said the money enough of her own to enable her to after a moment's pause, “that you have no

follow the bent of her inclinations in most definite idea as to what constitutes a judi. “ And how wonderfully well-preserved she things, and she was accountable to nobody; cious marriage? This is, you know, an im- is !” said the old ladies. “ Miss Hawkesby the result was an independence of character, portant matter for a young man to consider." must certainly be over sixty."

manner, and speech, that sometimes made “Oh, yes, indeed ! ” replied Arthur, “But it's easy enough to be well-dressed people open their eyes at Miss Hawkesby, laughing. “Pretty girl, good family, indo. and well-preserved when one has money," which was a sort of homage Miss Hawkesby pendent fortune, polite education, refinement, said the middle-aged ladies, sighing.

enjoyed. She was not abashed, therefore, style. I can't think it would be reasonable “She's not so very rich, though," said when Mrs. Stargold stared speechlessly at to ask more-or less than this!"

an old gentleman, one of the kind that knows ber as she entered. “My dear boy!" said Mrs. Basil, witb ef- every thing about everybody ; “but she's “I've taken you by surprise, I know," fusion. “I am not deceived by your jesting sharp, you see; knows how to compel a little said she, coolly, “just as I meant to do." tone. I see that I may rely upon the discre- to go a great way, and dazzle as it goes. Olivia," remonstrated Mrs. Stargold, in tion of a Hendall; and if I seemed to doubt Never knew a sharper woman.”

a thin, tremulous voice, “are you not going your judgment, I beg your pardon."

“She's a dreadful old dragon,” said a to church this morning ? Have you forgot“ Aunt," said Arthur, struck with sudden

very young gentleman, who was probably an ten that this Sunday?" admiration,“ do you know you look just like unprofitable dangler after the dragon's niece. The two bad known each other from girl. a fairy godmother, with that killing old staff? “There you go, talking about me, I hood, and they still adhered to the old faAre you going to find me the piece of perfec. know," Miss Hawkesby commented to her- miliar style of address. tion just described ?"

self; “ but you can't one of you say I'm a "No," answered Miss Hawkesby - and But this was a demand for which Mrs. fool, and you can't one of you say I'm not her voice was neither thin nor tremulous; it Basil, who was discussing her pephew's mar- suitably dressed.”

was deep and sonorous, with a slight, peculiar riage in the abstract, was totally unprepared. And Miss Hawkesby, who cared nothing hoarseness, and altogether in admirable keepHowever, it gave her an opportunity to make for the world's opinion, so long as the world | ing with her general appearance—"no; look a politic speech. “My dear boy," she said, pronounced her clever and well - dressed, at my dress; do I seem to have forgotten with a slight, low laugh, “I have no one in passed, thoroughly well satisfied with her. that it is Sunday? But I'm not going to view, I assure you; you are your own man, self, into the house, and went up-stairs to church; when I've something on my mind, and a Hendall is capable of judging for him. Mrs. Stargold's room.

what's the use of going to church ? I shouldn't self."

A delightful room it was, just in the way be able to fix my attention, so I would better “My dear aunt,” said Arthur, audacious- of catching the breeze, and furnished with a be honest, and remain away.” l, "the sight of you is enough to make a studious regard to comfort. There was cool “But doesn't Anita sing to day at St. man proud of being a Hendall.

Upon my

matting on the floor, there were dark shades Stephen's ?” Mrs. Stargold said, as though word, you are a handsome old lady; you look at the windows to shut out the glare, there she would by any means in her power peras if you were made expressly for diamonds were lounges, there were easy-chairs, and in suade Miss Hawkesby to ber duty. “Sam is and velvet; and yet you don't need these ad- one of these, near a window, sat Mrs. Star- gone expressly to hear her.” Fentitious aids, for poverty can't impoverish gold, with a large prayer-book open on her “I hope he'll enjoy it,” said Miss Hawkesyour style, you know. Is it your white hair, knees.

by. “Yes, Anita sings to-day at St. Steor is it your astonishing staff ?”

She was a woman of a delicate physique, phen's; but Anita's singing is nothing new “ It is character, my dear boy, character," just the person, apparently, to be shocked to me; in fact, I'm tired of it. I've somesaid Mrs. Basil, unconsciouly expanding. irreparably by any sudden fright; yet she thing on my mind, as I told you, and I must - “ The Hendalls were always distinguished for was known to be a very determined woman, have a talk with you." cbaracter." and because she had lived alone for years

“ Olivia! On Sunday?” Never before bad she been so well pleased she had gained the reputation of being abso- “Sunday or Monday, my dear, I must with her nephew.

lutely fearless. But at last it had come to have my say out; and you'll find you'll end pass, just as everybody expected. Mrs. Star- by hearing me through. You'll have to do gold's possessions had tempted some desper- it, to be rid of me," said Miss Hawkesby,

ate wretches, and Mrs. Stargold had received with the air of a woman who always carried CHAPTER VI.

a severe fright: the effect was to be seen in her point. “How do you do to-day, Elizaher pale, anxious countenance, and her trem- beth ?"

bling hands, that had never ceased shaking, “I'm better to-day," said Mrs. Stargold, It was half-past ten o'clock on a Sunday it was said, since the night the “two stal. wearily; and her voice sounded far away ; morning; and, though it was early in April, wart ruffians," in whom more people than “ but I've had a great shock, Olivia-a great the sun was shining hot upon the Westport Mrs. Basil liked to believe, entered her house. shock." pavements, along which a summer-clad multi. Mrs. Stargold had been so prostrated by the And she looked at Miss Hawkesby pitetude were going to church. Everybody that shock that her devoted relatives the Ruffners ously, as though she sought some earthly passed a certain plain but commodious house had found it necessary to be with her con- support against trouble. of yellow brick, with tall, glistening-green stantly, in order to protect her from the well- “Nonsense!” said Miss Hawkesby, in her pomegranate - bushes in front, and stiff cen. meant but ill-advised intrusion of anxious deep voice. “You'll get over it if you don't tury-plants on each side of the porch, glanced friends. It was not easy to gain access to persist in giving up to it.” up, and began immediately to talk of burg- Mrs. Stargold's presence now, as Miss Hawkes- Mrs. Stargold shook her head. lars; for here lived Mrs. Elizabeth Star- by knew; but, though proudly conscious “I shall never get over it,” she said, “nevgold.

of the fact that she was more than a match er! I've bad a summons to yield up my pog. Presently, a lady, richly dressed, tall, el for the Ruffners on any field, she did not sessions." derly, and formidable-looking, stepped out choose to try her powers against them. She In spite of her friend's solemnity, Miss of the throng, opened the iron gate in front preferred to use finesse. She knew that Mrs. Hawkesby began to laugh, a deep, volumi. of this house, walked up the steps, and rang Stargold was too strict a church-goer her- nous laugh, that matched her voice. the bell with a vigorous peal that made itself self to permit Mrs. and Miss Ruffner to re- “Yes, yes,” she said, “I hear that you've beard even in the street. While she stood main away on any account ; and she knew seen the lawyers. What a joke! Now did - upon the porch, waiting for the door to be that the Ruffners were studious to please ! you really, Elizabeth ?”



“Yes," said Mrs. Stargold, solemnly; in the way of entertaining company? I mean believe my niece Joanna may have had some“I've had a warning, Olivia ; I must put my is she able to have her friends visit her! In thing to do with my distaste for the place. affairs in order before I go hence, and am old times we never asked such a question She was about two years old, and she lament. seen no more."

about people living in the country; but times ed incessantly for somebody she called 'Me“You've had a warning to take some one are changed."

la. I was glad when she went away. A to live with you," said Miss Hawkesby. “I'm “No, I'm not going to my cousin's,” said regular Basil. Now Anita is all Hawkesby; considered a bold woman, but I wouldn't live Mrs. Stargold. “She has friends with her she does not resemble me personally, but alone as you do: it's bad for the spirits. If every summer, I believe; but I wish to be she is all Hawkesby. I couldn't take both, you had a pretty young girl on your hands, quiet, I wish to get away from people; I've so, very naturally, I took Anita. Now, there now, to be provided for, you'd have some- too much on my mind for company; so I've is a Miss Basil, a cousin of old Judge Ba. thing lively to think about; and it wouldn't taken a small house in Middleborough for sil's, who ought to be willing to do every be burglars exactly that you would be afraid the summer.

thing in her power for Joanna, for the old of--oh, no! it would be impecunious young “And what good do you expect from such judge was the best of friends to her.” men. You'd find, with a young girl on your a change as that ?” asked Miss Hawkesby, “ I'm sure I don't know any thing about hands, that you must keep alive and wide dryly. “You ought to go to the springs— it, Olivia," said Mrs. Stargold, helplessly, as. awake. Why, look at me! I'm a year older the Wbite Sulphur, say; it would divert you, if she feared a direct attack; for Miss than you, and I'm not thinking of making my and you need diversion."

Hawkesby, warming with her subject, had a will; I mean to live as long as possible. “No, I don't,” said Mrs. Stargold, irrita- threatening air. Now, I tell you, you would have done much bly. “I need quiet."

“But I do, you see," said Miss Hawkesbetter to send for the doctors, though as a “And you'll get it by that arrangement,” | by. “People who go about the world as I rule I don't believe in doctors — they give said Miss Hawkesby, who always spoke her do, are pretty sure to hear every thing about physio they would never take, you know. If mind. "All alone in Middleborough,” everybody, if tbey take care to keep their I were in your place (you know I always “But I sha'n't be all alone,” interrupted ears open and their mouths shut. Now I've speak my mind frankly), I would pack up and Mrs. Stargold, with increasing impatience. heard some dark hints as to Miss Basil's leave. What is the use of immuring your. “ The Ruffners will go with me and stay with past, and I know that she owes Judge Basil self here forever, when you don't need to

a debt she may be thankful enough to repay economize ? Depend upon it, there's noth- “Oh, indeed!” said Miss Hawkesby. She to his granddaughter. Mrs. Basil need not ing like change of scene for keeping fresh. was surprised again, but not enough so to make it a reproach to me that Miss Basil is People say, 'Oh, Miss Hawkesby has no local show it. Then, after a pause, she asked, ab- not capable of giving Joanna the highest attachments !' but that's a mistake: I have ruptly, “What kind of a person is your polish. Dear me ! Haven't I my hands full very strong local attachments. That's the cousin Mrs. Basil ?"

with Anita ? If Anita were to marry, inreason I never can stay long in any one “Why, she is like other people, I sup- deed—but look at the girls who marry now! place, there are so many places I like. You pose,” said Mrs. Stargold. “I haven't seen What sort of matches do they make ? Now know, last winter I was in Charleston. I her in a number of years."

I tell Anita there is no manuer of sense in was powerfully drawn to the place, I had so “ Then of course you can't know much marrying a poor man." many pleasant recollections of Charleston about her," said Miss Hawkesby. “ Even if “People do often marry very recklessly," and Charleston people, but I hadn't been you've kept up a regular correspondence with said Mrs. Stargold, with a sigh; “but I there since before the war, and I'll never go her, you can't be said to know her; for peo- suppose it is possible to be happy without again. Before the winter was over I had to ple generally don't show themselves as they money—" come here. I used to know this place years really are, in their letters. She wrote me a No, it isn't," said Miss Hawkesby. ago, and a nice place it is, this Westport. letter, you know" (this after a pause); “you “Wealth is a great burden," sighed Mrs. People here take a little trouble to enjoy sent it me yesterday evening."

Stargold. themselves : they don't spoil the present by “Yes; it came inclosed to me; she did “You say that only because you are putting on mourning for the future. But I not know your address.”

afraid of robbers," said Miss Hawkesby. sha'n't be here next winter; it wouldn't be “ That's not at all surprising, I change it “No," replied Mrs. Stargold, nervously, altogether the same place to me; I must have so often," said Miss Hawkesby, with an air no, no;

I think not. But it is a great reentire change. As to expense, I've just so of accounting for every thing philosophically. sponsibility-when, for instance, you must much to live on, and I may as well live on it “But the surprising thing is that she should decide who is the right person to inherit your in the way I like. I don't pretend to be write to me at all. She has some object in wealth." rich ; I'm poor, in fact, but the worst policy view, of course.”

She looked appealingly at Miss Hawkesin the world is to seem poor--poor in purse, “ Indeed, Olivia, how should I know what by, as though she would fain have had her or poor in spirit. However, that is not the slie has in view !” said Mrs. Stargold, peev

counsel. point under discussion. I want to advise ishly.

Well, and haven't you decided that you to try change; complete change is what “If you studied human nature as I do,” con- point yet?” asked Miss Hawkesby, coolly. you need."

tinued Miss Hawkesby, who seldom thought it "No," said Mrs. Stargold, uneasily. “I “ That is what the doctors tell me," said worth while to take offense at what any one want light on the subject-I want light." Mrs. Stargold, with a sigh.

said, or at the way in which it was said, “ you “I suppose it was to have light on the “ Sensible, decidedly,” said Miss Hawkes. would understand that a woman who never subject that you invited young Hendall by; "and I hope that you are going to be saw me wouldn't care to be telling me, mere- here?” asked Miss Hawkesby, with a search. sensible, too, and follow that advice. It is ly for the purpose of giving me pleasure, that | ing look. much better than swallowing physic." my niece Joanna is growing to be a tall girl, Perhaps it was," said Mrs. Stargold,

“I am making my preparations,” said and developing many fine traits of charac- leaning her head on her hand, and looking Mrs. Stargold. “I am going to Middlebor- ter.” And, oh, what a deal of scorn! didn't apparently through and beyond Miss Hawkes. ough.”

it look beautiful in the contempt and anger by, into infinite space. “The ways of Provi. " To Middleborough !” exclaimed Miss of her lip?

dence are past finding out. For more than Hawkesby. She was not often taken by sur- “ I didn't know you had a niece Joanna," a quarter of a century I have enjoyed the prise, or, at least, not often betrayed into said Mrs. Stargold, with faint interest. wealth that was my poor brother's; and how any expression of surprise; but, in mention- “ Anita's half-sister,” explained Miss do I know what sore need has troubled some ing Middleborough, Mrs. Stargold was com- Hawkesby. “A regular Basil. I never saw poor soul for lack of that very money ? " ing near the subject that occupied her mind the child but once. When I was on a visit “Elizabeth !" said Miss Hawkesby, rising most weightily just now. "I beg your par- to Eastcliffe her father brought her to see mo. impatiently, "positively you are growing don for repeating your words so rudely; I Eastcliffe, you know, is only about thirty morbid, and the sooner you have a change, was not prepared for such an announcement. miles from Middleborough, and it is one the better. Who has a better right to FranI suppose you go to your cousin's ? Is she | place I never have desired to see again, and cis Hendall's money than you ? Weren't you.

[ocr errors]
[ocr errors]
[ocr errors]
[ocr errors]
[ocr errors]
[ocr errors]
[ocr errors]

you mad?”

[ocr errors]
[ocr errors]


his own sister? Now, don't you be a goose console my mother for the loss of her only « That will remain to be seen."
and leave your money to some asylum or

“Otto, do not deceive yourself. If you till other. Leave it to some of your relations; Are

now have not been able to accomplish what they are all nice people."

“Unfortunately, no! One of us must you so ardently desire, how can you hope, “I mean to leave it to my relations,” give way to the other: either he or I! Do after a catastrophe so bloody," said Mrs. Stargold, with a mysterious air. you think a' man of honor and courage can “Oh, then I will resort to other measures.

" That's sensible,” said Miss Hawkesby; look calmly on and see a shameless intriguer If the despotic mother persist in opposing “but don't go, now, and fancy that you need rob him of his betrothed ? Fate must de. our wishes, I will throw consideration to the be making your relations rich before you die. cide between us."

dogs. If need be, I am determined to resort Nobody will ever thank you for such stupid “You are betrothed? This is the first I to abduction." generosity as that.”

have heard of it. And may I be allowed to “ That sounds romantic enough, but I “I must do my duty," said Mrs. Stargold, inquire who the lady is ?”

doubt whether your lady-love will consent. plaintively.

“So long as she is promised to another, While I have no reason to doubt that the Miss Hawkesby stared at her. “ Your her name shall not pass my lips.”

lady is clever, I will venture the opinion that duty;" said she, severely, "evidently is to “Otto, I fear you see the situation in a she has not sufficient energy to consent to have a change as speedily as possible. When false light.”

your resorting to such extreme measures. do you go?

"How so?"

If maternal authority has been able to make “Not before May, I think."

“Reflect : A lady who has broken faith her accept a man she does not want, the “Don't put off going; I tell you, you with you, who gives a rival the preference—" dutiful child will allow herself to be still need a change. Middleborough is a nice “Oh, I understand. But such is not the further tyrannized over. One does not emanplace, I'm told, and I know some people real state of the case. Were she the mis. cipate one's self in a night.” there: Mrs. Carl Tomkins—I met her at the tress of her own acts, the fellow's intrigues Otto looked down and kept silent. White Sulphur summer before last — and would have been fruitless. She is the vic- “If, however, I am in error," continued Mrs. Paul Caruthers, and a Miss Caruthers ; tim of a calculating mother, and is as unhap- his interlocutor, “why, then, I would sug. I didn't think much of her "-which, indeed,py as I am; but, being only a young girl, she gest that you carry the girl off at once. was patent enough from that withering in. must tamely and silently submit."

Such a course would spare us the tragedy, definite article. “I met them at Sewanee “And who is her fiancé ? "

and—who knows ?-perhaps the expense of last year."

“I have no mind to go into particulars. burying you." Then Miss Hawkesby sat silent a few mo. You will, I ain sure, do what you can to con

good suggestion, certainly; but, bements, studiously contemplating Mrs. Star- sole my mother, should Fate decide against fore an opportunity to act upon it presents " Elizabeth is like all old women with me.

itself, she may be forced to wed. It is a money to leave," she said to herself. “Partly Otro, how can you talk so foolishly? / question of only a few weeks." she doesn't wish any one to know what she will Take a little time for reflection, I entreat!" A few weeks! Time enough to conquer do with her property, and partly she doesn't “I have reflected sufficiently."

a kingdom. Listen! Look at me! Promherself know what she will do with it."

· Impossible, or you would talk more sen- ise me to wait patiently—to let things have “Well," she said, presently, as she rose sibly. You are on the point of committing a their course at least a week" to go, “I had rather decided that Mrs. Ba- great crime."

“Why?" sil's letter need not be answered ; but I feel Otto shrugged his shoulders.

“ To please me. During that time some more amiable since expressing my mind to “Indeed, the course you contemplate is better plan than any that has thus far occurred you, and I think now I'll write and tell her thoroughly senseless, since it cannot prove to you will suggest itself. Or, better stillthat I'm glad to hear my niece Joanna is other than fruitless."

will you not take me entirely into your congrowing tall—I'm tall myself—and that it is “Fruitless ?"

fidence ?." a great satisfaction to know that she is de- “Certainly, my dear Otto. Let us look Ah! what would I not do, if I could veloping fine traits of character; but that I at the matter dispassionately-from a practi- only see—" cannot help Miss Basil's lack of polish.” cal stand-point. If you are killed—"

“ At all events it will not injure your And she did write in just such a strain ; “ Then this swindle called existence will cause for us, at some convenient time, to bat Mrs. Basil's uneasiness had been lulled to end for good and all."

thoroughly discuss it." rest by Arthur before this letter reached "Promptly but not very logically an. Certainly not, but," her, and its tone of indifference did not dis- swered. I have always thought that love- “I'll tell you: come to me to - morrow turb her. She could not now be troubled sick souls preferred this side of the Dark between four and five o'clock, and we will see about Joanna, and it was long before she River' as long at least as the objects of their further. But, till then, remember, no 'rash thought again of writing to Miss Hawkesby. affections remained."

and bloody deeds.'" “What! Though they be forever sepa- “Never fear. At balf.past four, preciserated ?"

ly, I will be at your house. A propos, do you A PARTY OF FOUR.

“Tut, tut ! so talk the faint-hearted." dance?"
“We have done every thing in our pow.


“If you did, I should have begged you Who knows? But let us see: if you are to favor me with your hand for the next set.” my dear Otto! If you would have killed, you will cause your friends, and above “You are very kind. Devote yourself one understand you, you must express your- all your lady-love, untold grief, and will clear- rather to the young girls, and, remember, no self a little more clearly."

ly fail to attain the desired end. Can you more of killing. Beaucoup de plaisir et-au “But, my dear cousin, he—" deny this simple truth?

revoir!" “He! Who is he?" “I will not try to, but,"

The young officer rose, kissed the lady's “No matter about his name. My only Very well. Thesis one is admitted. Now hand, and disappeared in the crowd. object in taking you into my confidence" let us consider point number two. Suppose Immediately thereafter an aged gertle.

“ You call this taking me into your confi. you kill your rival: what will be the conse- man, whom the lady was wont to characterize dence! You know that I am your friend.

as the “interminable professor," presented Your peculiar frame of mind astonishes me. Otto's eyes shone with an unwonted lustre, himself. He was accompanied by a gentleWhat do you contemplate ? Drop the myg. and around the corners of his mouth played man of a commanding figure, apparently terious and tell me. You know you can a triumphant smile.

about thirty years old. count on my assistance, if I have it in my “What the consequence will be ? If I “Allow me, madame, to introduce to you power to serve you."

kill him his presumption will be punished as the son of one of my dearest friends-Dr. " Assistance ? No! All you do for me it deserves, and the lady"

Leopold Winther, of Rodenstadt-Frau von is, in case any thing should happen to me, to “Will never be your wife.”


[ocr errors]
[ocr errors]



“ You talk such nonsense again to-day,

[ocr errors]

quence ?"



[ocr errors]
[ocr errors]
[ocr errors]

Louise started slightly, and her color “ Ob, I only jested.”

been since, so much in love as I was at that heightened visibly. The young man, too, “But your jest was deeply serious at time with you!” seemed greatly surprised.

bottom. You say you often felt that my “ Indeed?" "Is it possible?” he cried, bowing low. manner toward you was peculiar--that you “Far, far more than at present with my “Fräulein Louise von Gerhard!”

did not understand me. I, too, on my part, betrothed." Ah! you know each other?”

was equally incapable of accounting for your “ IIa, that's naïve, truly. The poor girl !" “We are from the same neighborhood, manner toward me."

“I simply state a fact that is casily exprofessor," answered Leopold.

“ Indeed!"

plained." “When you spoke to me of the charming “If I was sometimes—involuntarily, per- “Easily explained ? Are you going to say Frau von Ustendorff I did not dream that—" haps-abrupt and ironical, it was because I something flattering? Let me assure you in

Ah, I see, I see! An unexpected ren. –because I was convinced that you, for advance that I am very insusceptible." contre-quite romantic! Then you are old some cause or other, had taken a serious dis- “A comparison was far from my thought, friends. Well, I will not disturb your téte-do like to me."

madame, The Louise von Gerhard whom I tête."

Louise's face reddened to the temples. once knew was so very different from my “Oh, but you will not disturb us, pro- “You were in error," she replied, forc- quiet little Emma, that a comparison would fessor."

ing a faint smile. “I saw that you could be impossible. But at thirty one loves more “I fear I should-you will excuse me." be very agreeable when you-chose to be; | rationally than at twenty." And, with a low bow, he left the two old and”

“More rationally? It was certainly very acquaintances to themselves.

She hesitated.

irrational to see any thing lovable in LouLeopold was the first to break silence. “And-? Pray proceed."

ise." "Mein Fräulein-gnädige Frau, I should “And it angered me to see that you nev- “You are certainly very clever at misconsay—Heavens, how strange that sounds !” er chose to be when you were with me.” structions. I mean to say that the heart, at Louise smiled.


,” said Leopold, in an carnest thirty, is no longer capable of that glowing, “Well, when one suddenly and unexpect- tone, “may I be frank with you?"

self-forgetting, superabundant love, which edly meets a lady whom he has always known “Why not? Go on.”

throws gladness or gloom over life's early as Fräulein von So-and-so, and finds her a “You are married, I am betrothed—there spring.” Frau von So-and-so-you yourself must ad- is no reason, therefore, why we should aot be “ What do you call glowing, self-forgetmit, madame_"

entirely unconstrained. I told you just now ting, superabundant ? If you truly love your “ Bah! so goes the world, Ierr-Doctor. that my sister omitted mentioning you in her ma, then these three predicates are as apYou, too, have changed titles since I had the letters in obedience to my wishes."

plicable now as when you were younger." pleasure of seeing you."

“Which seemed to me any thing but flat

“I do not think so. At my age, a man “How long is it since we met at the fan- tering."

has already passed the period of sweet illucy.dress ball given by your little friend Hen- “But you were ignorant of the reason." sions. My blood now courses so calmly, so riette ?"

" True, and I am curious to learn it." coldly if you will, through my veins, that I Six, yes, seven years."

I loved you."

can speak of my first love as I would of any “ You know that Henriette has been mar- Louise laughed.

other episode in my past life, and I thank ried for some years ? "

“ Time has not changed you for the bet- Heaven that I can." “I have supposed so. She was at that ter, I see," said she. “I think you expressed Louise looked thoughtfully at the brilliant time betrothed. We long since ccased to yourself once in this sense to Henriette-a assemblage in the hall before her, and played correspond.”

jest which I found it hard to excuse." mechanically with her ivory fan. "And at that time she numbered you “But I assure you, madame--"

You are betrothed, you tell me," said among her best friends."

"Oh, no protestations, I beg. When she, after a while. “Would you think me “Out of sight out of mind. The fault is IIenriette told me, she amused herself at my inquisitive if I inquired who your fiancée is hers. Is she happy with her Reinhold ?" expense till I lost all patience, and became and what she is like ?" “What Reinhold ? She married a Berlin seriously angry with her.”

“ Certainly not. She is the only daughter banker, and poor Reinhold, in his despair, “The little serpent! What did she tell of the widowed Hofräthin Fabricius, eighteen went to America."

years old, blond, rosy, and rather slight, “ The fool!"

“ How can you suppose I remember?” speaks French, and plays passably well, and “Strange that you should lose all trace Try.”

is very modest and sweet-tempered.” of the most intimate friend of your girlhood, “Oh, it does not matter now."

“What more could you desire ? Allow and in so short a time, too!”

“ But it does matter. What did she say me to congratulate you." “But how do you chance to know so to you?

“ Thank you. You do not know the fam. much about her?"

Well, if I remember rightly, she began ily ? " My sister has always kept me advised | by congratulating me on my brilliant con. “To my regret.” of the principal events that occurred in our quest. I did not understand her. "He has “If you did, I would have inquired with neighborhood."

just confessed to me,' she whispered. 'He regard to certain details. My knowledge of “Oh, I see! In that case, it is strange adores you, and is going to sing your praises, them extends little beyond knowing that that the name Ustendorff should be wholly as Chloe, in all the magazines in the land.' Emma is a well-bred, lovable girl, and that unknown to you."

And then she laughed so immoderately that I Mamma Fabricius is a lady who-who pos“Not at all."

lost all patience with her and you too-in- sesses marvelous aptitude for discharging tho “No? and why not, if I may ask ? " deed, I thivk I wept with anger."

duties of mother-in-law." “Because she-she did not mention it, in Leopold looked down for a moment, ap. “So little do the position and circumobedience to my request."

parently absorbed in thought, then he fixed stances of the family you are about to marry “ Worse and worse! Do you know, my his eyes full upon Frau von Ustendorff and into concern you ?” dear doctor, that you are very, very ungal | said:

Que voulez-vous, madame? It is to-day lant?"

“That was either an unparalleled indiscre- just three weeks since I came here, and nine " You misinterpret."

tion or a willful falsehood. I took her into days that I have been betrothed—” “No, no; I often used to feel that with my confidence and begged her to help me- Is your happiness so young ?” me the tone of your conversation was, to say the little wretch !”

“Not an hour older. At thirty, one has the least, very peculiar. You— But pardon “It is better we should talk of something neither the time nor the inclination to spin me for recalling what should, perbaps, long else.”

love-romances. I saw my betrothed in a little. since have been forgotten."

“No, no! now that we are on the subject, private company; she pleased me; I seemed, "Madame, indeed you wholly misunder- I insist on convincing you. By all the gods, at least, not to displease her, and I decided stand me.”

madame, I had never been before, nor hare I then and there"


[ocr errors]
[ocr errors]
[ocr errors]
[ocr errors]


[ocr errors]

my card

, « what has so

" Eh, eh! that's what some people would "A stranger! I will present you as a

“ You must fight me,

sir.” call precipitate.”

friend of my boyhood, as my cousin, as my “Fight-you?” “In such matters, madame, I think I am sister, if you like. Mamma will receive you “Yes, fight me. I mean to kill you, sir." safe in trusting to first impressions. The with open arms. You will compliment Emma “The devil you do! You evidently misextreme mildness of Emma's manner charmed on her taste in selecting ribbons and stuffs, take me for some one else, lieutenant. But me. I said to myself: This innocent child and the treaty of amity will be sealed. Do allow me to observe that in any event you sin is exactly suited to you; she will seek neither you consent ?"

against usage. You ought to have apprised to tyrannize over you nor to deceive you,' and “Well, since you insist, yes. You see me of your murderous intentions through a then I was heartily tired of the gypsy-life I that, despite my six-and-twenty years, I am third person." have led for these half-dozen years. I know still ready for a lark.”

“Never mind, sir, what I ought to have half of Europe and a good slice of Asia and “Agreed, then. I will come for you to- done; but tell me whether you will fight Africa."

morrow at half-past nine. Nota bene. But “If I remember rightly, you are quite a how remiss I have been ! I have not made a “If I resuse, what then ? " large land-owner.”

single inquiry after Herr von Ustendorff. I “ Then I'll shoot you down on the spot !” “Yes, but till now I have occupied my. shall be most happy to make his acquaint- “ One “if' more. If” self as little with the management of my ance."

“Sir, don't drive me to extremities !" estates as an Esquimau with æsthetics. From Louise hesitated a moment, and then re- 'Suppose I do—what then?” the time I left home and all that was dear to plied :

The officer drew a revolver from his me, I roamed restlessly from place to place, “Herr von Ustendorff is dead.”

mantle. In an instant the stalwart Leopold always with the image of a cold, ironical, and * Dead! You are a widow ?"

wrested it from him and calmly put it in the yet surpassingly-lovely woman in my heart. “ He fell at Sadowa."

pocket of his overcoat. This phantoin, that followed me from Rome At this moment the professor approached, “Send your servant for this thing to-morto Cairo, from St. Petersburg to Nijni-Nov. and the conversation very naturally took an. row, and I will return it," said he.

" Here is gorod, from the Tagus to the Euphrates, this other turn. Leopold took part in it as well

Good-night, lieutenant.” sweet, radiant phantom was you, madame.” as he could; but when, after a few minutes, “Then you refuse me satisfaction ?"

“Did you penetrate as far into the interior the signal was given for a polonaise, he Leopold stopped. The light of a streetas the Euphratos ?" stammered Louise. bowed silently and went into the hall. But lamp fell on the young man's pale face. The

“Farther. Ob, one travels fast when one in what a strange frame of mind he was! He expression was so unhappy that it excited seeks to escape from recollection. Thank sought to fix his attention on this and that, Leopold's deepest sympathy. Heaven! in course of time I became sensible

he -I forgot the lovely demon who drove me caught himself running off into a reverie, incensed you against me? I have no recol. hence. I learned to look upon life as it is, and, before he knew it, found himself lean. lection of ever having met you before.” and in my happier and more rational mo- ing against a marble mantel opposite where “ You are the destroyer of my happiness. ments I laughed at my delicious simplicity." Louise, with the professor and two or three Is that not enough ?”

“Is-is the Euphrates a fine stream ? " other gentlemen, was engaged in an animated “Pray look at my card. I am sure you “Somso. When I wandered up and down conversation.

mistake me for some one else.” its banks, I was in no mood to enjoy or How lovely she was! How beautifully “Oh, I know the accursed name! You appreciate the beautiful. It was only six her dark brown hair encircled her faultless are a miserable intriguer.” months after that memorable fancy - dress brow! And these eyes-these soulful, be- “There is certainly no danger of misun. ball. The wound was still fresh, madame.” witching eyes! Yes, there was the same fas- derstanding you. I will pardon your incivili.

“ You talk as though I had wronged you, cinating glance that once raised such a tu- ty, if you will tell me, without further delay, Heaven knows, how deeply! Then your fian- mult in his breast. And not one tint of the how I can serve you." cée's name is Emma Fabricius ? Why is she charm had faded-on the contrary, it seemed “By leaving the city immediately, never not here?"

as though the flower was now but in full to return." “Mamma did not think she had better bloom. Recollection, longing, love, were “I can't do that, lieutenant." come. She is very busy with her outfit. suddenly awakened in the depth of his soul. “ You must !" Half a dozen seamstresses surround her from And she was now freer than ever. “O Louise! “The city is large enough, I should think, early till late.”

Louise! how cruel that Fate should thus a to shelter two of the bitterest enemies." “ Is the wedding to take place so soon ? second time separate us!” The ball no longer “But too small for two rivals."

“In four or five weeks, I believe. Mam. had any charms for him. He hastened to “ We are rivals? In what?" ma Fabricius fixes the time. I have given take leave of the lady of the house, and hur. Can it be possible that you don't know?" her plein pouvoir.”

ried out into the fresh air of a frosty March “On my word, I only know that it's bit. Then we sball not have the pleasure of night. He walked slowly and thoughtfully ter cold. Let's go have a cup of coffee." seeing the gentle Emma before the wed through the deserted streets without pausing The fiery lieutenant looked down for a ding?"

to ask which way or how far he went. Sud- moment, seemingly lost in reflection, then si. “I fear not."

denly some one seized him by the left shoul- lently followed Leopold to the nearest coffee. “ I'm sorry." der.

house, where the conversation was continued She seems to interest you."

“What the devil!” he cried, shaking off in an undertone. “Very much.”

the assailant. “ Mind what you are about, “Good Heavens, how you look !” said " H'm! I'll tell you how we can compass my friend!"

Leopold, when they were seated. it. Go with me to-morrow to the villa-that's “I began to think you were deaf,” an- The officer's reply was any thing but good. what Mamma Fabricius calls her modest little swered a voice, tremulous with emotion. natured; he could not conceal his aversion country-house."

“Who are you ? " asked Leopold.

for his interlocutor. “What are you thinking of ?”

My name is Otto von Fersen.”

“ Let us talk this matter over like two “Of taking you to see Mamma Fabricius “ The name is unknown to me."

rational beings," said Leopold, smiling. “It and her charming daughter."

“I am a lieutenant of cavalry."

pains me deeply to see you so unhappy, de. “A strange proposition, truly!”

“From an officer I should have looked for spite the recollection that you just now tried "Strange ? I don't see that it is. We'll better manners."

to blow my brains out. So young and so untake along a duenna, if necessary.”

“I adapt my manners to the people I have happy! Here, drink this glass of brandy! “I'm duenna enough myself, but—" to deal with. Will you be so good as to -So. And now tell me in what we are ri. “Well, then, do me the favor the first I listen to me?"

vals; for the life of me I can't divine." ever asked of you."

“ It is too cool to stand still, lieutenant. “No matter: I must nevertheless insist “But what would the people at the villa If you have any thing to say to me, be so on my demand. You must either leave the say—an entire stranger and a lady—?” kind as to walk on with me."

city or you must fight."

[ocr errors]
« הקודםהמשך »