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“Take it out of my sight!” she cried, furiously, “and burn it!" Then, full of wrath and forebodings dire, the old lady rose and tied on the silk handkerchief with the purple border. Her head was beginning to ache violently, and her temper did not improve under this infliction, Candace had hardly gotten to the kitchen with her news, when Miss Hawkesby's bell again rang, loud and long. This time it was Miss Joanna she demanded.
“But Miss Joanna ain't here," said Candace, with an air of mystery.
“Didn't Miss Basil come home last night ? ” asked Miss Hawkesby, snappishly. “ Tell her I must see ber immediately." “ Miss Basil didn't come home till broad
and she hadn't been here more'n a hour or so before she was sent for to go to Mrs. Stargold, who's dying, suppose from that; Miss Basil is always sent for to death-beds.”
“ Have you any more news?” said Mrs. Hawkesby, with dry severity.
“Yes’m,” said Candace, briskly. “There's been a turrible storm, and Middleborough bridge is carried clean away; and people is now crossing in skifts."
“Jas that any thing to do with the young ladies?” asked Miss Hawkesby, irately.
“I thought you'd like to hear, ma'am,” Candace made answer, in an offended tone.
“No, I don't like to hear,” said Miss Hawkesby, ungratefully. “Go ask how Mrs. Basil finds herself this morniag. She was complaining last night. I suppose she, at least, is at home?"
Candace went, and returned with the informntion that Mrs. Basil was not at all well, and would breakfast in her own room; and the request that, as neither Miss Basil nor the young ladies were at home, Miss Hawkes. by also would order her breakfast up-stairs.
“She's going round to Mrs. Stargold's herself, as soon as she feels a little strength. ened,” added Candace, of her own accord.
“I don't believe Elizabeth Stargold is going to die,” said Miss Hawkesby to her. self; then aloud to Candace: “I'll take a cup of coffee; nothing more."
While Miss Hawkesby was drinking the coffee, she looked out of the window and saw her niece Joanna coming up the broad walk to the house. The child was pale and hag. gard, and had, altogether, a very disordered appearance; but Miss Hawkesby, when she saw her, hardened her heart. “If she has gotten herself up for effect, she'll find she can't impose upon me," said the old lady, aloud, as she poured herself out a second cup. But when she had had her coffee, she did not send for Joanna to come to her; she went herself to Joanna, and found her on her knees. The sight only moved her wrath.
“You do well, my young lady,” she said, severely, as Joanna rose; a guilty conscience should bring you to your knees.” She had no doubt whatever that Joanna had convived at Anita's flight.
“Aunt Hawkesby," said Joanna, shrinking before that awfully-stormy visage, “I deserve your displeasure; I am unworthy of all your kindness."
" Where is your sister !” asked Miss Hawkesby, sternly.
The dread question made Joanna pause, should have spoken her mind. At last she as if loath to admit in words the unwelcome said, disdainfully: truth that Anita was gone. Her eyes wan. “ This young lady is under my protection. dered slowly round the room, and rested at Mrs. Redmond." last upon a full-length painted photograph “That's not my name, aunt," said Anita, of her sister pinned against the wall, in the coolly. place of the chromo, “ The Bluebird's Nest.” Miss Hawkesby stareå. Anita had pinned it there before she made “And why is it not your name, I should her confession to Joanna, and had afterward like to know? I won't have any quibbles forgotten it; and it bad escaped Joanna's played off upon me." notice hitherto. But now, from where she “Joanna can tell you why it isn't my stood, she could read the word “ Farewell ” name," said Anita. “It is all her fault; sbe penciled beneath. She covered her face with wouldn't hear to it." her hands, and said, faintly, “ Gone!”
“Do you mean to say that you didn't run Miss Hawkesby, following the direction away and get married ? ” asked old Viss of Joanna's glance, strode up to the picture, i Hawkesby, anxiously. snatched it down and tore it into fragments. “No; I meant to do it, but Joanna Joanna uttered a cry of pain that only in- wouldn't let me. She says people ought to flamed her aunt's anger.
be married respectably at home." “What had you to do with this pretty " Joanna is a wise little girl," said Miss business, you meek-faced baby ?" she cried, Hawkesby, going over and kissing Joanna. shaking Joanna, angrily.
“And where have you been, then, Anita ?” " Aunt Hawkesby, forgive her!” said Jo- “ Looking for Joanna,” said Anita. “O anna, sinking down, for she could no longer Aunt Hawkesby, all night long I have been stand. “She has done wrong; but she had half-wild about the fate of this child, and I an evil counselor in that Miss Caruthers. I dared not tell you. You don't know what tried, oh, I tried so hard to prevent it all. I danger she has gone through. She has risked went across the bridge in the storm yester- her life twice in order to persuade me to be day, but I did not know Miss Caruthers when married respectably home." I met her. And then the bridge went down, “I wish you would tell a plain story in a and I couldn't get back."
plain was, Anita," said Miss Hawkesby, “You knew it all, and you would not tell querulously. “ I'm not going to scold, child; me!” said Miss Hawkesby, furiously. I'm too glad to have you back. You see, “I could not betray my sister," said Jo. I'm old, as Joanna says, and it would be a
“I have done wrong, I know ; but it bitter thing to have the child l're reared was because I could see no way for me to do bring derision and contempt upon my gray right. I could not betray my sister.”
hairs." And Miss Hawkesby wiped her “Well, well, Joanna," said Miss Hawkes.
eyes. by, relenting a little, “everybody does wrong “So Joanna reminded me," said Anita, some time or other in life, and you are very gently. Then, after a moment's hesitation, young."
she put her arms around her aunt, and whis“And she is young, too!” cried Joanna, pered: “Forgive me, for Joanna's sake! 0 eagerly. “O Aunt Hawkesby, forgive her, Aunt Hawkesby, if I had never found my because she is young; and you—you are sister again! I lay awake all night long in old !"
agony of mind—” But the unconscious pathos of this speech “Ah, if you had only had a dose of did not touch Miss Hawkesby.
chloral!" said Joanna. “I won't forgive her!” she cried, wrath- “And then," continued Anita, "just as. fully. “She is young, and I-am old; I thank soon as it was day, I roused Miss Caruthers, you for reminding me, Miss Joanna Hawkes. and we went down to the river-bank. But by; but for that very reason I tell you I won't she-well, we quarreled on the way," forgive her.
Last night Miss Anita coolly “I'm glad of that," said Miss Hawkesby; objects to my company because I snore ; and “ I'm heartily glad of that." this morning you remind me that I am old! “I don't know what became of ber—" A graceless pair, both of you! But I'm not “ She's safe enough,” said Joanna ; “sbe in my dotage. You may write and tell Mrs. says herself, naught is never in danger." Redmond that I discard her forever; and “That's spoken like a true Hawkesby, after that, if ever you attempt to hold any child,” said her aunt, approvingly. “And communication with her, I'll discard you. wbat then?" Do you understand? These are the terms “And then," continued Anita, “ Chancel. upon which I forgive you."
lor Page met me, and took me into his “Aunt Hawkesby! Aunt Hawkesby!” bouse; and after a while Mr. Leasom came cried Joanna, with bitter tears, "she is my and brought me the joyful tidings of Joanna's sister!"
safety." Here the door was thrown open sudden- “Well, you two girls are enough to drive ly, and, to the surprise of both, Anita herself a steady-minded woman crazy!” said Miss ran in, crying, “ Joanna ! Joanna ! you child, Hawkesby. “Now begin at the beginning," how wretched I've been about you !”
But here a violent ringing of the door. Joanna uttered a little cry and sprang bell interrupted them, and brought Mrs. Ba. toward her; and the two threw their arms sil out of her room in alarm. “I don't know around each other, utterly regardless of old what this may mean," said she, tremulously; Miss Hawkesby, who stiffened and stiffened "will you come with me down-stairs? I feel with wrath and virtuous indignation ; but
very feeble.” So Anita and Joanna each she had no intention of going away until she gave Mrs. Basil an arm, and Miss Hawkesby
followed behind, bearing the ivory - headed ter lamp, were having an uproarious buzz- “I suppose your imaginary hero must staff, like an usher.
meeting over the reopening of their favorite come from the uttermost parts of the earth, The bell was speedily answered by Can- south-window, untroubled by the whipping and take you captive with a single glance of dace, who had been on the alert all the morn. out which a limp red rag not far away could his eagle-eye. An old playmate for a lover! ing; and the doors of Basilwood opened to do.
How unromantic! What would become of admit a procession of three, led by Mrs. For the little creatures well knew the hab. the cherished dream of love at first sight if Ruffner, flushed, agitated, and fanning her. its of its wielder, and they had seen that in the commonplace love of years should be alself with inelegant vigor as she trotted lifting her pretty foot upon the lower shelf, lowed a hearing? along. Behind her came Miss Ruffner, with so that with a skillful flirt of her great dust- “I suppose it would have about as much her head very ligh, her lips compressed, and cloth she could sweep a cobweb out of the effect as usual to tell you once more that I her eyes ablaze. Sam brought up the rear, sky, she had thrown the emblem of cleanli- haven't any imaginary hero; that so far in lounging along with a decidedly sheepish, ness in such fashion that a corner of its am- my life it is women and not men who interest downcast look.
ple folds caught upon the card-board and “What in the name of wonder brings | blue-riboned surface of a book-mark which “Yes," interrupted Elmer, "you overdo these people here, at this time of day?" said told her heart of a favorite passage in a fa- matters in the other direction from a certain Miss Hawkesby to lierself, as she composed vorite book, and, while her right hand low-| girl who need not be named. She never ber features for the occasion.
ered the battle-flag of purity, her left hand chances to allude to her own sex without a drew down the volume, and the world was spiteful little fling, while you do not despise
clean and beautiful at once, or, if it was not, exactly, but just ignore, all men except as “ WHAT AILS THIS HEART it made no difference. Soft, gray plumes, they may be of use for such women as George O' MINE?”
the broken homes of the cunning, keen-eyed Eliot and Mrs. Browning to work up scenes workers in the air, formidable dust-mounds, with, and may be convenient to hand the might float or darken around her:
coming woman out of her chariot when she THE windows of a pleasant, old-fashioned
“She heeds not, she hears not,
arrives in this man-cursed land. Sincerely, house, which bad evidently been closed
She's free from all pain."
Myra, you admit this one-sided reverence?” in obedience to the summer instinct for vagil- Her cheek is pale and her eye brimming “I don't know, Elmer–I truly do not bondizing, were all thrown“ wide open to the with the delight which her intellect receives know. I certainly don't deserve what you sun" of an Indian-summer day in the beau- and her heart fancies. As she thrills with have just been bateful enough to say; but, tisul autumn of 18—, and a young woman the heroine, Hope whispers that her own life somehow, I cannot understand men, and when stood directly opposite one whose originally may be yet stronger and more bliesful. I read about them I never feel sure that they deep recess had been curved into the modern "Myra, what are you up to? I thought are painted to the life. I would rather not bow. The prospect it opened upon was as you said you could finish dusting in five min- be bothered thinking about them anyway.” rural as one could hope to find in the re- utes, and help me to set out the croquet.” “ That's just it, Myra ; you do not underspectable and shaded street of a small inland With a little start the girl's face was lift- stand them because you will not take the city, as it embraced lawn, greensward, and ed hastily toward the handsome youth who, trouble. O my beautiful, my dearest friend, shrub.
brushing aside a vine that had outgrown its if you would give a little serious thought to But the maiden's eyes saw none of these; trellis, was leaning in upon the window-sill. the nature and needs of one man, he could for the windows of her soul were not so Her cheek mantled with something like afford to let you go crazy about women for much used just now for her own outlooking shame; but her brown eyes lost the warmth the rest of a happy life. In fact, I know his as for the inpeeping of the curious like our- which they had gathered in the land of far jealous disposition so well, that I can swear selves. Through their transparent depths romance.
he would wish you to carry your studies of what might we not see if she would but raise “Why will you vex me so forever?” con- men no further. But what's the use of wastthem from the hurrying fixedness with which tinued Elmer's impatient voice. “Dream-ing hope and breath ?” he added. “I have she followed, line after line, down llaw- land again, and I, poor wretch! still dancing never forgotten the tone in wbich you said thorne's witching page ?
attendance on a will-o'-the-wisp. It isn't the that a pretty boy could always find a comShe was not reclined upon couch or easy. first time a befogged traveler has followed at forter.' I tell you I am a boy no longer. chair, which might almost hide her slight and breakneck speed a shining something which Ilave you ever thought so ?” graceful form, as the magic veil of romance he fondly trusted was the light of a cozy “I tell you frankly, Elmer, that I have had hidden her thoughts—she was standing bome."
thought so lately, very lately, but I bave realin a rather critical and not at all comfortable Myra blusher again, and this time more ized it only through a new shrinking from position, with one foot on the floor and one consciously. The metaphor was too forcible your passionate fancies and words, and it is upon the lowest shelf of a tall bookcase, and to pass for nothing, even with her modesty, that wbich makes me bold to tell you that from her right hand hung an ample, old-fash- and the manner of putting it was very differ- you must turn the feelings which can strengthioned, red-silk handkerchief, such as com- ent from the old grumbling fashion of talking en with your strength toward some one who pletes a young lady's wardrobe only when which she had pooh-poobed a hundred times will not disappoint you continuallyshe is bent upon the never-ceasing warfare before. Besides, the girl's heart was as sen- one less cold and unsympathetic-what you with the dust of this dirty world. In fact, it sitive as a touch-me-not, and it quivered at would call ‘more womanly.' was only eight o'clock in the morning, and the hint of a something unmaidenly which As these words fell from her full yet deli. the girl was in slippers, calico, big apron, and the hide-and-seek figure seemed to imply. At cate lips, and as the deep, soft tone in which dusting-cap, all neat and sweet as honey in that thought the pride which acquitted her she uttered them stirred the fragrant air the honey.comb, to be sure, but all merely of so false a charge came to her relief, and about them, the young man felt a dim apprethe properties, so to speak, of the drama she she answered:
hension that the revelation he had been en. was enacting--a farce without the fun ; for Elmer Halstead, it is a pretty thing for deavoring to make of her own nature to his the spiders only shake out their horrid long you to be getting sentimental. We have heart's idol was somehow shallow and mis. legs and climb a little higher, and the dust spent too many bright days playing tag for taken. Could it be that it was he and not only whirls around and settles a little more you to become a befogged traveler at sight she who failed to read the whole ? At all timidly into the old familiar places.
Save that little rhetoric for some events, just as it always was, he loved her But on this particular morning not even girl who hasn't 'run over' so many times to more wildly now than five minutes ago, and the accustomed but half-forgotten tremor of see if you couldn't come out and play school." yet what was the result of her brief answer! perpetual moving-day had stirred the quietly She spoke gayly; but there was some Was he nearer to her? No. The blushing, obtrusive little gray particles, and the flies, hidden uneasiness through it all, and some- half-yielding repulsion with which she had which had whipped in out of the air as yet a how she could not coax up the old amused met him until this moment was more hope. shade too cool for their constitutional passion smile when Elmer cried out, half petulantly, ful than this new frankness. “Elmer, I have for being frizzled up by summer sun or win. half commandingly:
thought so." He would rather she were ut
terly thoughtless and yet tolerant of his love sound of Elmer's voice at the gate and the and other fancifully-named places as sweet What could he say that should rushing up-stairs of one of the gay party.
and dangerous. give him some vantage-ground? What could The three flocked down again in very dis- As they reached the landing the torment. he do that should remove the hateful barrier orderly fashion; for, from some unknown ing discoverer of the glove exclaimed: his folly had raised between them ? Nothing cause, three people seemed to set all the pro- When we reach this lauding there is al. now, poor fellow; for the garden-gate was prieties at defiance. Two girls fall into de. ways the most delightful uncertainty about creaking on its hinges, and the world which lightful tête-à-tête, but three girls can only the disposition of the crews. Only one thing delighted to play the marplot would soon be plan mischief. Conversation is destroyed, is an unfailing certainty. Mr. Halstead and looking in. He had only time to say, before and nonsense instantly fills up the gap. So Myra De Lancy will be in the same boat; the interruption, “Will you go down the two of the girls began to giggle immoderate- so wouldn't matters be facilitated if they river with the party this afternoon if I call ly after a snickering little whisper with each stepped in and sailed at once for the Kingdom at three o'clock?"
other, and Myra was left to follow them with of Ponemah, for the Land of the Hereafter, “Yes," said Myra, and he was gone, leav- a troubled look unusual to her.
toward which we are bound ?" ing her with dust-cloth still in hand and still " Here is something we found among
“ All the rest are bound to the Land of dreaming ; but her position was strangely Myra's treasures, Mr. Halstead,” said Clara Heretofore, I suppose. And certainly you changed. Her mind, as well as her body, Pearson, one of the girls. “She intends to are growing silly enough to turn babies had seemed to cross over to the light when throw it at your feet to-day, with the old again," said Myra. Elmer's face appeared at that window oppo- symbolism of defiance," she added, as she “What do you say, Myra?" said Elmer. site. And yet, did she really understand any | flung to the floor in front of him Elmer's “ Forward with me, or backward with the rest better what her life must do with his? She glove, dropped that morning in the bow-win- of the world ?" had told him a new thing, to be sure, or, at dow, and carried off by Myra to avoid the “Forward forever, I should have thought least, an old thing in a very different way; foolish jokes of the household, to which she from every instinct of my nature; but when but were the emotions that were growing was becoming sensitive.
the question has actually been put, there is into a struggle hushed ? She could not The instant Myra appeared on the stairs a strange longing to return to the days when tell.
she had seen in Elmer's eye a new expres- no decisions vex us,” she answered, playful. Mechanically, she shook the dust-cloth, sion of eager watchfulness, and this little in- ly; but the absolute truthfulness of her which had far less need than should be, out cident, although a mere nothing to the tor- words only she could guess, while their plainupon the gilded air, and the act so recalled ment which daily gossip was inflicting, added ness gave her a needed relief, her that she shook off with it fancies and toit-completed the work of ccnfusion. She “Don't shrink from the inevitable, Myra, facts, and in a minute more there was a gen- blushed, and cast her eyes down in sheepish | especially when it comes in such pleasant eral shaking up of "all things ca'nel," and it misery, depressing herself and abominating i guise. We girls are all dying of envy—or was dinner-time before her aunt was able to the silly girls who giggled at what they cou- should be, if other beaux were not 90 plenty," put her head in and say that that room was sidered their triumphant joke. Yesterday continued the girls, as they laughingly seized “ready and regulated.”
Elmer would have turned off the matter; but her, and almost put her into the dainty bark. At three o'clock Myra was ready, but far to-day his own feelings were too keenly alive, According to the contraries which things from regulated. She longed for one moment and it followed too singularly upon Myra's love to go by, the legend Coquette" Fas to gather lost courage and compose her top- morning remark to him, and he only said : painted in flaming colors upon the little res. sey-turvey emotions. And why should she “I shall not pick it up. Is it true, My- sel's side. need to calm herself? why were her emotions ra!"
“ Is it a bitter sarcasm upset ? and what possible excuse could she “ Am I accustomed to send my challenges, truth?” said the sensitive Myra to herself, give to her own intelligence and womanly Elmer ?” she answered, and, leaving the as she gathered her drapery and settled her. pride for such an idiotic state of things? | glove untouched, they left the house.
self upon the seat with a kind of hopeless Ilere was a boy-no, not a boy, a man, why Wandering along the pleasantest streets, feeling that, after all her heroic struggles, should she shrink from the word ?-whom she they picked up recruits of young inen and perhaps the laughed - at rhymes were true, had known from babyhood, who had always maidens, and then wended laughing on their and life was a river, and man “a little bark liked her, and who she had no reason to way, the incident unknown to most and for- floating down the stream" with the drifting suppose liked her much better this moment gotten by all but two, who were making the current. What, then, would become of her ? than ever, and, even if he did, what matter? kind of struggle to seem to have forgotten Should she sail to the haven of her dreams, She had never felt in her deepest nature that it which is the surest evidence of failure. or be dashed upon the rocks of an unknown he was congenial to her, and she had not a Winding and picturesque was the foot- misery? distant dream of allowing him to misunder- / path that skirted the dusty road, till it turned She hardly heard the light laughter of stand that fact. Her heart acquitted her of a way to the forked and flowing “Murmuret- the other crews as they launched thoughtany thing insincere or unwomanly; indeed, ta," as the girls had named it; and, when | lessly for fairy-land. There was something she knew that she had always been almost the rush of its fall and the babbling sound singularly earnest in the stroke of Elmer's brusque in her truthfulness, and that every of its broken shallows met their ears, they oar, and faney might have thought that he word might do her honor, so far as purity paused to pay tribute to the sweet-toned was a bold buccaneer fleeing to a familiar and honesty of sentiment were concerned.
The banks were glorious with the covert with his heart's stolen treasure. It And yet, and yet, she could often have torn beauty that comes only with passing life and was the desperate pull of his right arm that out her cheeks for blushing like a silly girl fading loveliness. The spray of the fall had affected her quick imagination. or a lovesick damsel; and a thousand unin- misted rainbows in the mellow light, and “Is that Elmer Halstead and Myra De tentional acts would haunt her, which in an- earth and air seemed to have hushed their Lancy, or Captain Kidd and Hildebrand's other would have looked like desperate fiir- quiet noises to drink in the beauties of light fair daughter in 'The Skeleton in Armor ?!" tation or desperate love. What was it? and color.
said one of the other rowers, with a faner What could it be? This day she would con- They clambered down the banks and sat blending toward weird tales of the “wild quer this silliesi of weaknesses before she upon the rocks, and sunned themselves " for New England shore." completely loathed herself.
all the world like a party of clams, even to "They are strangely changed," said anAll this while she tied on her hat-strings; the open mouths,” said Myra.
other. “I would not like to make a third in for thought is swister than the moments of With pleasant talk and laughter they rose their society to-day.” Old Time, and when we leave this mechanical and sauntered toward the river's broader Elmer pulled fiercely past the shores measurement of our days the most skillful and stiller sweep, where the little barks where he and Myra had dreamed away many thinker will be seen to have the longest life. were swaying to and fro the length of their a summer hour, without a thought in either And this time it was an accustomed track musical chains; for the old boatman kuew breast of a day when the heart of one should over which the poor girl's mind was flying. where they would want to ship for the “Isl. seem mocked by the light which flooded their It had all been passed over between the ands of the Blessed,” the “Siren's Rock,” | beautiful slopes—a light which was filame
or a hated
color, and yet burned not—and the heart of Too late! Too late! At the instant came mented upon before the next day's light had the other should seen mocked by the wave a grating, crushing sound, and, with a draw- dawned upon the principal actors in the which forever stirred to every faint impressing as of some mighty and resistless hand
But Myra's old-fashioned aunt was a sion, and which closed upon itself without a beneath, the waves closed over boasted person whom gossip could not approach ; lasting trace. Myra wondered how she ever strength and conscious weakness.
and, as it was one of her boasts that she was could have thought the oar-dip melodious; As they felt the horrible sucking of the "still of her tongue,” Myra was suffered to now it seemed like the dull tread of feet that water, to Myra it was but the fitting close of regain strength of body and calmness of mind never could reach a resting place, but must ber despair, to Elmer it was a fearful awa. as quickly as she might. forever rise and sink in view of shores that kening to the vision of his own foolhardiness, Elmer's invalid sister Alice had a warm must be unattained. Her heart beat with violence, and unintentional brutality. In place in the heart which her jealous brother the falling stroke, and her life seemed stilled his inmost heart he knew that Myra did so coveted, and as often as her health ad. within her till the sound should cease. Sud. not fully love him ; but bis untrained nature
mitted she went to Myra's quiet room; and, denly it did cease, and she dared not look at had determined upon the wild experiment of although nothing was said of the cause of the youth before her, who had at last seemed | leaving her no escape which would not be the accident, the fact that her presence was to lift the frail thing that separated her from harder for her sensitive soul than an accept- especially soothing to her assured the sister the yielding, unimpassioned water at every After that he would be gentleness it- that her poor, wretched brother was not to turn of his strong wrist.
self, and she would love him in her inmost Myra the hateful object which he conceived “Myra," said he, “if I upset you, would being. He had not dreamed of such a course himself. you throw yourself into my arms for protec- until that very morning, but suddenly she In this blessed quietness of her painful tion? You have no other recourse."
had suggested a possible deterinined defiance, sick-room Myra had tried to re-read her heart. No answer.
and his fierce soul could not brook it. She At first the manner of its expression made · Myra ”—a little more softly—“my arm must be made his before she had time to Elmer's passion for her so repulsive that she is very strong; my feet can walk those waves study ber heart more, and ventured to act could not tbink of it without a shudder. But I saw you shrink from. Could you trust upon her new knowledge. Her ignorance graduully she saw more clearly its depth and them? Would you?”
had been his hope. Her long and thought- reality, and she realized the chafing effect No answer.
less reliance upon him must serve him once of her own conduct upon one so hot-headed ‘Myra, you wouldn't sink with my help at more in place of perfect affection, and that and sensitive. She had been wayward, but hand. You would rather give your life to my once must be the fatal time.
the how or the why she could not underkeeping-tell me, tell me that you would !” Was it to be the fatal time, indeed ? It stand. Her own heart was her strangest puz
The waves, the boat, the shores, the seemed so. And Elmer's better nature woke zle. Trifled with him she never had, but she clouds, the very sun, hushed and bent them- with such a bound that he really hardly dared was conscious of having been drawn toward selves to listen; but no answer came.
touch the drowning girl whom but a moment or repelled by him in a fashion that ber judg. “ Are you spellbound, Myra, or before before he could almost have held beneath the ment could not approve of. A thousand you will speak at all shall I tell you all I water until she had promised to be his. He times she questioned, “Do I love him ? " mean? It seems like this to me: Life is be. could not speak to her—the fervent names “Why do I not love him ? " “ Can I make fore us, with its smooth surface and its hid- he called her in his dreams died away unut- myself responsible for his life without my den dangers. Circumstance has set us in the tered as he clutched her and lifted her into promise ?” “Dare I make myself responsi. same frail bark, and so I solemnly believe it the sunshine of the upper world once more. ble for his life with my promise given but was intended. I am strong, strangely strong, Lifeless she lay upon his arm, simply sup- unfulfilled ? " “ It must be that I should love it seems to me, when I think of you as a ported, while the boat that had hailed them him with all my heart." “ It may be that I treasure to be safely borne. I know, I feel, drew near with its horrified occupants. The
never can." that I can carry you without a wreck ; but, strong man who thought to walk the waves Across this questioning would flash the Myra, if you trust to any one less devoted, if only he might carry such a burden, just memory of that frightful scene, and she would less eager to save you at any cost, can you sinking under the task of keeping it where shut her eyes tightly to keep out the agonizbe sure of escaping the treacherous and fatal life could find it, had hardly power to help ing remembrance. rocks? I long to take your dreamy nature lift her precious weight into the saving bark. Out of all this musing came a little note, and make a solid resting place for it, so that He climbed in and took Myra's dripping form
with which Alice was intrusted. It ran thus : it can dream on and never have a rude awa. as the rowers turned silently down-stream, king. I believe you are almost heavenly, and not to the landing from which they came, I
“ELMER: After those days of searching, I yet, somehow, I cannot so much woo you as but to the little settlement below, where they am more puzzled to know what I am made of tell you that I must hear from your lips the could obtain a carriage.
than I ever was in my most contradictory talk assurance that you will be mine. I must Before she had been placed within it the with you. If I have any emotion toward you now be doubly sure of that of which I will fair girl quivered with returning life, and El- worthy the name, it is one that would weary not feel uncertain—that you will be my wife, mer only feared that full consciousness would you to death with its tameness, and that my own forever. O Myra, remember this is come ere he could reach her home. Should I bave not even that I feel certain when no time for the caprice which has tried me a it do so, how could he meet her gaze ? I think with what delight I look forward to thousand times. I am in earnest. My soul He could not speak to her or touch her trying alone to carry out some cherished is listening, and you must answer with your beyond the absolute necessity of supporting plans of study and cultivation. I don't
her. How could he ever even think of her hope to be a princess,' or an Aurora A pair of white lips moved, but no sound again ? Her beautiful hair lay wet and mat- Leigh,' who, by-the-way, were both women, came. Again they stirred.
ted on her brow, but less guilty hands than after all; but I do want to devote every en“Elmer," they said, “you are so cruel his must smooth it back. In that short ride ergy to branches that men bave no sympathy that I believe I hate you. I feel as if I should he was absolutely racked with horror and with women for delighting in, and your feel. die, and I almost hope it; for I can never remorse; and, as he laid her down in the ing for me is far too exacting for such a pur. answer you, and I cannot believe you think home her presence had made so joyous, it pose. I ever gave you cause for such words," seemed that his heart must burst with an- “Unsatisfactory as this is, it is all I have Two blanched faces were uplifted, two guish.
to say, and it is far more than I should ever pairs of eyes, full of agony, gazed each into
"The morn may come with weeping,
dream of saying did I not feel absolutely certhe other.
The winds may cease to blow,
tain that the frightful past is even more pain. “Elmer! Elmer Halstead! where are you
But the gay Coquette is sleeping
ful to you in remembrance than it is to me.
A thousand fathoms low." going? What are you thinking about?
But, at least, Elmer, if your words were wild Don't you know the strong side-current News of the accident spread through the and wrong, mine were too horrible to win my there, and the sunk rocks?" rang sharply town, and a hundred representations and own forgiveness. I do not grant mine to across the water.
misrepresentations had been made and com- you, or ask yours for myself; for, somehow,
all such pretense between us seems common- | “Alice dear, you have grown so exquisite modern writer, and she was not puzzling her place after the intensity of feeling we have that I must see you. How can I wait till heart this time to know what should be done known. I know that remorse will be punish- dull time brings you home? You understand about it, for the answer had gone to meet ment enough for whatever wrong we have every emotion I hint at-you read me as I the first great boat which floated out once committed; but, in the mean time, youe con- cannot read myself. You are so patient with more to the Hereafter, and Elmer certainly duct leaves me free to say that you must con- me that it alınost breaks my heart. Wbat would have been the last one to complain of quer your unhappy fancy for both our sakes. can I ever do for you ? "
the dreamy moods. " MYRA DE LANCY."
A month had passed, gone in the sad idleThe next mail brought the largest packThe next day came a brief answer:
ness, as Myra thought, when she heard the age she had yet received.
She stole away to
gate swing in the early morning, and she “MYRA: I am utterly unworthy of one her sanctum with it, but it fell from her
knew the footfall to which it gave entrance. word from you, however consoling. I was a trembling fingers when she saw a name that
Where is her blush, where her look of brute and an idiot, and I loathe myself be. had “ been a silence in her life so long." But
old timidity, as she throws wide the great yond endurance. I shall take myself from how did it come that he had signed Alice's
door? They have fled with all doubts and your sight before you are well enough to see easy back - slope handwriting ?
self-tormentings, and a calm has taken their me, except through the medium of your pure dered a hundred wonders before she went to
place, in which she lifts her eyes to see if it mind. Frightful as I must appear there, the the right source for explanation—the letter
is true-all that her heart has told her since reality is worse, for no thought of yours could itself:
that letter came. be as unlovely as the monstrous deformity I
Elmer returned her look with his full
“Myra,” it began--and she knew the word bave turned myself into. I am not fit even was Elmer's as well as if his tone were in it
heart in his face, but very quiet and comto speak of forgiveness, for, if you gave it, you would not dream how great a wrong you
Myra, am I to have nothing for my share in monplace were the spoken words between
them. were overlooking, and so the request would
your life but a heartache and a self-reproach?
“Will you go down the river this after. be a mockery. You are not bad enough to |
noon, Myra ?” name a single word, although I have poured know how to pardon such a hapless wretch
“Yes, at three o'clock." out my heart glibly under another's. as I am, or have been. Heaven knows that
“ Alice's letters have been but partly
At three o'clock a beautiful girl tripped my repentance is at least as deep and bitter
down the stairs, "ready and regulated," and hers. Can you read on long enough to let as my sin. But I ask for nothing. I do
she carried a slighted glove within one of me tell you what may soften your indignanot even want to stain your thoughts with tion? When we first came, Alice gained
those she wore. A manly-looking youth greeted my confession. If that was love, no wonder
her in the hall, and out they went into the rapidly, and her letters lengthened and you would none of it! But you may believe
sunshine. It was June, and renewed life and strengthened in proportion; but a relapse that my penance is at least somewhat commen
radiant joy seemed to fill the earth. This surate.
came, and one day she said to me, 'Elmer,
was resurrection, and the new-born rapture When she brought the letter, Alice told tate, but I cannot write.' I took the pen
of two hearts brimmed to the full crystal Myra that she and Elmer would sail the next with a delight I need not conceal. Faith
edge of being. day for Europe—she for health, and he for
“How dare I be so bappy, Myra ? You study. Alice had kept the news from ber, that her lips, and added nothing. When I reached
have not yet told me the words I thought I their little visits might not be broken. the end I said, 'Your name, Alice, will you
could feel no rest until I heard. Say someThis was a real pang, and when these two, sign it?' She took the pen, but returned it,
thing, now." who had filled so much of Myra's life, were saying, 'My hand shakes so that your writing
“I have nothing to tell you, Elmer, esgone, Myra felt the courage she had spoken looks more like my own than mine does now.
cept that a beautiful change has taken place of fade within her, and the return to activity You sign for me; they must not know at
within you, and that you hare learned to looked dreary for a time. home of this relapse, and before they could
know and meet my nature now." But other interests began to call upon be frightened I shall be well again.'
“Myra, I have learned this : roughness her, and she overcame her dread of meeting
“ But the dear girl's hope was not ful
is not strength, and he who would love and again real people instead of ber imaginations alled so soon, and again and again we re
win a poble woman must possess something of them, and as she went about it was sin- sorted to the easy device, both in writing learned that it is not mere material support
of that woman's nature himself. I have cerest relief to know that she could not come
home and to you. At first your replies were suddenly upon Elmer. She had done what studiously kept from me, but as time wore
or blind devotion that a soul like yours must her truthful heart prompted, and if there was
have. on I had extract and paragraph from your
It is hand-in-hand sympathy—it is regret it was only that the long, happy past inner life, which Alice always felt that I did
leisure and opportunity to develop side by was happier to them both, so separated, than not comprehend, much as I worshiped it.
side with a heart that at once comprebends it possibly could be were they together.
"Myra, these hours were the sweetest I
and trusts her, and can help her guide her. She devoted herself to her pen with strong had known since that sad time.
self while she is consciously leading bim in ambition, and the feeling grew upon her that
“I could tell you a thousand times more,
spiritual things." ber life was to express itself through the mebut for the first time writing seems difficult.
"What taught you, Elmer ? " dium of that imagination which can depict I must first hear from you, and if there is the
“You did, you and my angel sister. To the beautiful and strong that might be true. slightest hope of change toward me, then I
her I owe it that I dared assume her corré. At length a letter came from Germany,
must see you, speak to you. Business calls spondence. Her insight saw the end from the brief expected one from Alice—a few me home, and if you will see me, I shall go,
the beginning, and knew that the seeming words in a feeble band. From time to time leaving Alice at the watering - place where
sacrilege was none. The veil of my hateful others came; but they grew longer and fuller she is again recovering.
self-conceit, of my silly, mannish pride, of my as Alice gained the health she sought, and
“Waiting, again, with my whole soul, but
headlong passionateness, fell from my eyes, at was able to go about with Elmer, and see the with a patience born of contrition, knowl.
first gradually, ther as if a weight had dropped new land she had gone to visit. Suddenly edge, and a truer love, I am, as rever before,
from my inward vision. I knew myself—I knew again they ceased, then recommenced, and
that my love had been true bat ignorant, and grew-oh! so delightful in their constant de
abominably presuming. I knew you better tails of every pleasure, and in their growing Tears, which had been flowing fast and than you knew yourself. I knew that the revelation of her friend's developing loveli- silently down the reader's cheek, showed how ailment of your heart was no newer trouble ness and depth of nature. changed was the Myra of old days.
than my own; but your self-consciousness A year and a balf passed, and Alice's let. That day again she stood by the half-hour was not so deep, your loyalty to the best ters had come to be the feast after every dep- in different spots about the house, with dust. instincts of your nature was truer-being a rivation, the comfort after every discourage. cloth, or pen, or darning-needle, in her hand; woman. It was love, Myra, love, love, lox Dent, to Myra. At last she wrote:
but the literature she read was from a very was it not? Love for me, not as I was, but