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Cummins, Maria Susanna, 1827-1866 [1857], Mabel Vaughan. By the author of The lamplighter. (John P. Jewett and Company, Boston) [word count] [eaf533].
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Front matter Covers, Edges and Spine

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Hic Fructus Virtutis; Clifton Waller Barrett [figure description] 533EAF. Paste-Down Endpaper with Bookplate: heraldry figure with a green tree on top and shield below. There is a small gray shield hanging from the branches of the tree, with three blue figures on that small shield. The tree stands on a base of gray and black intertwined bars, referred to as a wreath in heraldic terms. Below the tree is a larger shield, with a black background, and with three gray, diagonal stripes across it; these diagonal stripes are referred to as bends in heraldic terms. There are three gold leaves in line, end-to-end, down the middle of the center stripe (or bend), with green veins in the leaves. Note that the colors to which this description refers appear in some renderings of this bookplate; however, some renderings may appear instead in black, white and gray tones.[end figure description]

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H. M. Rounds.
Feb. 23. 1864.

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Entered according to Act of Congress, in the year 1857, by
In the Clerk's Office of the District Court for the District of Massachusetts
Office of American Stereotype Company,

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Fear is the virtue of slaves; but the heart that loveth is willing;
Perfect was, before God, and perfect is Love, and Love only.
Longfellow's Tegner.

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On a pleasant midsummer's afternoon, a middle-aged lady,
with a mild and thoughtful face, sat alone in her quiet parlor,
busily engaged in sewing. It was a country home in which
she dwelt, and her low window opened directly into a green
and sloping orchard, now fragrant with new-mown hay, the
sweet breath of which was borne in on every passing breeze.
She was a woman of many cares, and but little leisure, and for
more than an hour had not lifted her eyes from her work,
when, suddenly attracted by the merry voices of children, she
arrested herself in the act of setting a stitch, and, with her
needle still poised between finger and thumb, leaned her elbow
on the window-sill and for several minutes gazed earnestly and
attentively upon a little group collected beneath an opposite
tree. They were too far off for their words to be distinguishable,
but happiness shone in their faces, mirth rang in their
careless shout, and joy danced in all their motions. Whether
chasing the light butterfly, pelting each other with tufts of hay,
or, in the very exuberance of their spirits, scampering without
purpose or rest in the sunshine, they were in every view pictures
of infant glee, cheering and happy sights to a mother's
heart. Though now and then smiling on their sport, however,
the gentle-faced lady at the window was watching them with a

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more thoughtful and observant gaze than the occasion seemed
to warrant, for she saw amid their play what a less careful eye
might have failed to discern, and from it she drew a moral.

Three among this little group, were her own children; but
while they shared her notice, and from time to time excited
her sympathy in their innocent enjoyment, it was not by them
that her thoughts were at this time peculiarly engrossed.

There was among them a fourth, who, although not hers by
the tie of nature, might almost be said to have become so by
adoption, since she had now been three years under her roof,
with the prospect of continuing there for an indefinite period;
and it was on this little girl, who stood to her in the relation
of a pupil, that the teacher's thoughtful attention was fixed.

She was between eleven and twelve years of age, and the
eldest of the little band; a bright, rosy-cheeked, animated
child, of a lively, adventurous spirit, the invariable leader
in every youthful pastime. But on the present occasion
she seemed only partially to share in the sport, for after
every outburst of glee in which she indulged, far outdoing her
companions in extravagant merriment, and inciting them to
new hilarity, she would hastily resume her seat at the foot of
an old apple-tree, snatch a well-worn book from the grass where
she had thrown it, and appear for a time wholly engrossed in
study. Her fits of diligence, however, were but short lived.
At the first temptation held out by her companions, she would
again fling aside the volume, spring to her feet, and bound with
them to the farthest corner of the orchard, from which excursion
she would return, heated, weary, and out of breath. Now
a mischievous urchin had stolen her bonnet, and dared her to
its recovery; and now a pet rabbit had just rushed past, and
she must follow with the others in full pursuit. It was in vain
that after each fresh interruption she applied herself anew to
her lesson, and placing her fingers to her ears, strove to shut
out the bewildering voices of her playmates. The effort, after
all, was but a mock endeavor, for her heart was anywhere but
in her book; and, at length, an unseen hand having snatched
the much abused grammar from her lap and thrown it over the

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boundary wall, the unwilling student felt a sense of relief at its
disappearance, and was the first to raise the shout of approval
that succeeded.

Just at this moment a bell sounded, and with a glance of
surprise and alarm in the direction of the house, the girl hastened
to recover the book and proceed to her recitation, for
which this was the signal.

She came into the presence of her instructress with a flushed
face, and, in place of her recent smiles, a half-mortified, half-vexed

The teacher took the book from her pupil's hand without
comment, and commenced hearing the lesson, which, as may
well be supposed, proved a failure in the very onset.

The child stood in silence for a few moments, and then said,
while tears of impatience rushed into her eyes, “I can't learn
this lesson, Mrs. Herbert, it is too hard.”

“You have not tried, Mabel,” said Mrs. Herbert, mildly.

“Yes I have,” answered Mabel; “I have tried just as hard
as I could, and I can't learn it. I wish I needn't study Latin.”

“Were you studying, my dear, when you lay for ten minutes
hid in the hay, while the children tried in vain to find you, or
when you stood on the highest bough of a cherry-tree and
strained your eyes with looking into a robin's nest?”

Mabel gave a quick glance out of the window from whence
she had thus been observed, then looked up into the friendly
face of Mrs. Herbert, and seeing there a smile, which invited
confidence and disarmed her of timidity, exclaimed, with natural
and childlike frankness, “How could I study any better, when
they were all having such a good time?”

“Ah! that is the true secret of the matter,” said Mrs. Herbert,
drawing Mabel towards her and wiping the moisture from
the child's heated brow. “I have been watching you for this
half hour, and knew very well how it would be with the lesson.
Do you remember what I told you about it this morning?”

“You said it was hard, the hardest thing in the book.”

“Not exactly, my dear; I told you, to be sure, that it was
more difficult than any task you had yet attempted; but, at the

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same time, I assured you that with a little patience you could
quickly learn it, and that this verb once mastered, all the rest
would seem comparatively easy. I did not promise, however,
that you would find the orchard a good place to study in, or
that the noise of the children would help you to fix your
thoughts on your book. You should have gone to your own
room, shut the door, and made up your mind to apply yourself
diligently for an hour at least. Will you do so now?”

Mabel hesitated, gave a longing look at her recent play-ground,
and then cast down her eyes, which were fast filling
with tears.

After waiting in vain for a reply, Mrs. Herbert passed her
arm round the waist of her pupil, fixed her mild eyes upon her
face with a look which enforced attention, and gently but forcibly
made use of such arguments as were most likely to excite
her ambition and prompt her to the necessary effort. The girl
was possessed of excellent capacity, but had not yet formed
habits of application, and needed powerful motives to stimulate
her to exertion. These Mrs. Herbert was able to supply, and
soon had the satisfaction of witnessing the effect produced by
her words, for Mabel gradually withdrew from her side, straightened
her figure with a determined air, and exclaimed, with
energy, “I suppose I can learn it, and I will.

“And remember,” said Mrs. Herbert, as she bestowed a
glance of affectionate interest and approval upon her hastily
retreating pupil, “remember for your encouragement what I
told you yesterday, that the more perfectly you learn this one
lesson, the easier will every future task become.”

It was the verb am&abar;re—to love—of the first regular conjugation,
and a formidable task did it appear in Mabel's eyes.

She was, however, possessed of an excellent memory, and
every requisite for successful study, and bringing, as she now
did, her whole heart to the labor, she was able in less than the
allotted time, to overcome all its difficulties.

Before the hour had expired, she presented herself once
more, grammar in hand, and her face bright with smiles, to
beg that Mrs. Herbert would hear her recite, assuring her

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that she knew every word perfectly, and had twice repeated
the synopsis to herself without looking on the book. It was
true, and the young student went triumphantly through the

“And see,” exclaimed she, as, after receiving the praise her
efforts had merited, she took the grammar from her teacher's
hand, “it is just as you said. I have been looking at the verb
that comes next, and it is so much like this that it will not be
hard at all,” and Mabel eagerly pointed out the tokens of similarity.

Mrs. Herbert, smiling at the little girl's earnestness, suggested
still further marks of resemblance, congratulated Mabel
upon the advantage she had gained, and then, laying her hand
upon the child's shoulder, said, impressively, “And so it is with
life, my dear Mabel. The great lesson of love once learned,
learned patiently, truly, and with the whole heart, not carelessly
scanned, or foolishly toyed with, but diligently received into
the soul, and planted there forever—this lesson will relieve all
life's trials and illumine all its mysteries. But, believe me,
my child, it is seldom learned amid life's sunshine and its joy.
Its teachings come to us in the silent chambers of thought,
when noise is shut out, and the voice of mirth for a time is
stilled, and eager pleasure gives place to patient duty. While
chasing the butterflies of folly, or wasting the summer hours in
play, we cannot take life's great lesson to heart; but, planted
perhaps in sorrow, and nourished perhaps in tears, it will one
day blossom in joy and peace. Rouse yourself to this last
lesson, Mabel, bring to it your soul's best powers, pursue it
with the energy which has been victorious to-day, and I shall
have no fear for your future.”

Mabel did not quite understand at the time, the full force of
these spontaneous words, which, prompted by earnest feeling,
took rather the form of soliloquy, than an address suited to
the child's years. But they were not lost upon her. Like
seeds of future promise, they were planted in her young heart;
memory kept them warm, and at last, matured by time, they
brought forth fruits unto righteousness.

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And once again. When Mabel had reached her eighteenth
year, and the summons had at length been received, which was
to call the pupil from the teacher who, during more than half
of the young girl's existence, had been to her less an instructress
than a parent, words of a similar import were the last
warning and the last charge which fell from the revered lips
of age and experience upon the listening ear of youth.

“Learn above all things, my dear girl,” said Mrs Herbert,
as they sat together the evening before Mabel's departure,
“to beware of self-love, and cultivate to the utmost degree a
universal charity. It is the best advice I can give you for
your safety, and the surest for your happiness.”

“Do you think me so selfish then?” exclaimed Mabel, half
grieved at the implication conveyed in her teacher's words.
“Oh, there are so many whom I love better than myself!”

“I accuse you of no unamiable quality, my dear Mabel, and
your generosity has always been proverbial among us; but,
when I charge you to cultivate love for others, even to the forgetfulness
of self, you must not misunderstand my meaning.
It is because it is so easy and natural to you, my dear child, to
love all and everybody, that I wish to warn you of a time,
when, instead of being your happiness, and so demanding of
you no sacrifice, it may become your trial and your misery;
and it is then that I bid you love on as woman can and must.
O, Mabel, there is nothing so insidious as self-love, nothing so
noble and so womanly as that divine love which finds its happiness
in duty.”

Mrs Herbert's voice trembled with emotion as she spoke,
and had anything been wanting to impress her words upon
Mabel's heart, that want would have been supplied when she
looked in the face of her revered friend, and felt that the lesson
she was now so earnestly imparting, was one taught her by
experience and proved by faithful practice.

Amid the pain of parting with old friends, and the joys and
hopes attendant upon her entrance into a new home, this lesson,
and that equally impressive one of her early childhood
which it had served to call up, were both for a time effaced

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from Mabel's recollection. But they were not lost. There
are lessons which penetrate our hearts like Heaven-sent whisperings,
lessons, simply spoken, scarce heeded when uttered,
but proving by their deep and lasting influence that they have
their source in the eternal fountain of truth.

And so it was with these simple teachings of a faithful, truehearted
woman. It was not the power with which they were
spoken, it was not eloquence nor a passion-stirring voice, nor
was it the effect of time or circumstance, that stamped them so
indelibly on Mabel's heart, but nevertheless they struck upon
a chord within, which thrilled at the word, and vibrating
through many years, reminded her again and again of the
Heavenly lesson which her soul needed for its purification.

It was long before the page fully unfolded itself on which that
lesson of love was written, and only by years of patient striving
were its difficulties overcome; but often amid the struggle
did memory whisper in Mabel's ear the encouraging assurance,
that this task once learned, the rest of life's path would be
made easy.

And is it not so? Is not woman's mission truly a mission
of love? And can she fail to fulfil all its duties nobly, and
find all its trials lightened and relieved when she has once
taken to heart that lesson, once fortified herself with that spirit
so beautifully exemplified in Him whose life on earth was a
glorious manifestation of love made perfect?

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A lovely being scarcely formed or moulded,
A rose with all its sweetest leaves yet folded.

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Mabel Vaughan was the daughter of a New York merchant,
a man of remarkable business capacity, undoubted
integrity, and reputed wealth; one who although of highly
respectable parentage, good education, and fair advantages for
a start in life, had nevertheless been in a great degree the fram-er
of his own fortunes, having passed through all the phases
incident to the accumulation of a large property.

While thus sacrificing his youth, however, and with it all
his best and noblest powers to the pursuit of wealth, he found
no opportunity for the forming of domestic ties, and it was not
until he was fast verging upon middle life that he even meditated
matrimony. He had by this time gained that point in
the social scale, when he was marked as a rising man of wide
commercial influence, and this distinction, together with his
gentlemanly bearing, found him faver in the eyes of a beautiful
and fashionable woman, whose fair face had captivated his
fancy, and whose family connection was such as to gratify his

There was between them no similarity of taste or habit,
however, and the union which succeeded their short acquaintance,
was productive of but little happiness to either party.
Mr. Vaughan had hoped to find at his own fireside that quiet
and relaxation from care, of which he had experienced the
want, and failing in this, he sought amid the speculation and
excitement of business to forget the disappointment he had
experienced in his home, while his wife, after pursuing for a
time those gaieties which her husband refused to share, became

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the victim, first, of complaining self-indulgence, and finally of
positive ill health.

Fatal as this utter want of sympathy proved to the welfare
of the ill-assorted pair, its consequences were still more injurious
to their children, especially to the eldest, a daughter, who
from infancy to womanhood was exposed to all its unfortunate
influences. At the birth of this little girl, Mr. Vaughan's
interests and affections were again turned from his countinghouse,
to centre in the home where he once more began to
meditate upon those fireside and domestic joys which had
always figured in his dreams of married life. But his wife
did not share these fond aspirations, and the child proving an
insufficient object to win her from a course of dissipated gayety,
was soon abandoned to the care of strangers, save as the father
strove at intervals, by fond and injudicious indulgence to atone
for the mother's neglect. During six succeeding years, this
daughter continued the sole occupant of the nursery, and the
sole victim of her parent's mismanagement. At the end of
that time a boy, and, a few years after, another girl were added
to the household. Louise, however, the eldest, was by this
time promoted to the companionship of her mother, who now
become a restless and nervous invalid, sought to divert her
mind with the pretty and graceful child, whose education and
accomplishments she resolved herself to superintend. And
the result of such superintendence was this. Louise, at six-teen
was a fine dancer, a tolerably skilful musician, and a
complete mistress of all the arts of coquetry. Nature had
given her a pretty face, and symmetry of form, and early practice
had taught her to turn both to good account. Despite her
youth, too, she had, by sedulous cultivation, acquired many socalled
fascinations of manner, which acted powerfully upon
those who shut their eyes to her extreme affectation; and her
utter want of mental and moral discipline was atoned for in
the eyes of her mother's circle of friends, by a natural quickness
of intellect, and a proverbial amiability of disposition.

These latter qualities, however, so far as she in reality possessed
them, were given her at birth. They could not be

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numbered among her acquirements, for unfortunately her heart,
mind, and soul had been quite overlooked in her education.

Such being the consequence of the mother's supervision, it
could scarcely be a matter of regret that Harry and Mabel
were, for the most part, shut out from her presence and her
care. Harry was so noisy, and his little sister had adopted so
many of his rude ways, that both were unfit for her sacred
precincts, even if she had considered them of a suitable age
to profit by her instruction; and as it was, she condemned
them wholly to the care of a newly-hired nurse.

Fortunately this nurse, though ignorant, was faithful; though
severe, impartial; and though unimaginative, true. She could
rarely give satisfactory replies to the questions suggested by
their innocent curiosity, but at the same time she taught them
no evil. Her management was often such as to thwart their
favorite schemes, but she never punished them unjustly, or
complained of them without reason; and if her dull and uncultivated
intellect failed to furnish diversion for theirs, she at
least practised upon them no deception, and entertained them
with no gossip.

Thus, while their young natures failed to ripen as rapidly as
they might have done under other tutelage, and their faculties
found little scope for development or growth, they were spared
many of the evil influences which had early corrupted the
mind of the less fortunate Louise; and if their young souls
were checked in their infant expansion, they at least were not
poisoned in the bud.

Before Harry had reached his ninth year his impatient spirit
burst the bounds of nursery restraint, and obtaining from his
indulgent father permission to attend school, he was sent from
home to form boyish connections and friendships, leaving his
little sister deprived of her cherished playmate, her only companion
in thraldom.

Then followed a dreary season, long remembered by poor
Mabel, when, during many tedious months, she kept on with her
lonesome plays, having no variety in her monotonous life, save
a daily walk with her nurse, a short visit from her often

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abstracted father, or a summons to the parlor, from which she
was sure to be banished on occasion of the slightest childish

And then came the release! Alas, that a mother's death
should have imparted new life to her child! But so it was,
though none but angel eyes perhaps traced out the workings of
that infinite love which recalled the unfaithful, earthly parent,
that a heavently father's hand might furnish a better guardianship
for his child. The well-dressed groups who assembled to
pay the last honors to her who had once been the ornament of
their circle, and who bestowed upon her awe-struck and sableclad
daughter the epithets “Poor Mabel!”—“Poor little
motherless one!”—this short-sighted group would have started,
perhaps, at the lesson and shrunk from the warning, had the
voice of truth whispered in their ears that the holiest trust
committed to the parent is sometimes recalled, in mercy to the

Mabel was eight years old when her mother died, and being
the only one of the children who was under the paternal roof
at the time, she became the more immediate object of her widowed
father's thoughts. Louise had recently been sent to a fashionable
boarding-school; Harry still continued at his academy;
but Mabel must be provided for. Both the calls of business
and his own choice combined to render Mr. Vaughan desirous
of leaving the country and closing his house for an indefinite
period; but in this case some arrangement must be made
which would furnish a suitable home for his little girl.

As she sat on his knee one evening, about a week after his
wife's death, and his thoughts, sobered by that solemn event,
and concentrated more ardently than was their wont upon his
children's future welfare, were especially bent upon the promotion
of Mabel's happiness and improvement, there darted into
his mind one of those Heaven-directed ideas, whose happy and
far-reaching results seem to prove the divinity of their source.

He had, within the past month, received a letter informing
him of the death of an old friend, one who had been a playmate
of his boyhood, and for whom he had ever continued to

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feel a warm and consistent regard. This regard had recently
been attested by the loan of a sum of money, trifling in the
eyes of the wealthy merchant, but of infinite importance to his
friend, who, with an increasing family and pursuing a poorly-paid
literary career, had become sadly embarrassed for the
want of this small amount.

He died, however, before an opportunity had ever arrived for
defraying the debt, and Mr. Vaughan's recent letter from his
widow was written less with the view of informing him of her
loss, than to acquaint him with her inability to meet his just
demands, and to request his indulgence for the present. This
was readily accorded, and with a sigh of regret for his friend,
Mr. Vaughan dismissed the subject from his mind.

Now, however, as he gazed in the face of his little daughter,
reflected upon the disappointment he could not but feel in
Louise, and resolved that a wholly different course should be
pursued with Mabel's education, he conceived a sudden desire
to place her under the sole charge of Mrs. Herbert,—the widow
of his friend,—confide to her the trust of which he felt conscious
he was scarcely more worthy than his wife had been, and
delegate to her the entire authority which had thus far been
neglected and abused.

Mrs. Herbert was poor; she had three children to support
by her own exertions, and was eager and anxious to employ
herself profitably. The proposal, therefore, which Mr. Vaughan
made without delay, accompanying it with the most generous
pecuniary offers, was as promptly accepted; and thus it happened
that Mabel became, as we have seen, one of Mrs.
Herbert's household.

We may not pause to trace the benefits which resulted from
this event to the widow and her family. The child's coming,
indeed, was the signal and forerunner of many blessings; it
roused Mrs. Herbert to hope and to exertion; it laid the foundation
for what became in time a well-established and prosperous
school; and long after, when she had acquired independence
for herself, and beheld with joy the prosperity of her children,
she failed not to look back to Mabel's entrance into her

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household as the date of all her after success. Often are mercies
thus combined, and far-reaching are the schemes of Providence;
but it is with their influence upon Mabel alone that we
now have anything to do.

She remained ten years under Mrs. Herbert's care, often
passing her vacations in that home which was to her the
happiest she had ever known, and never, during this long
period, revisiting her native city, save on the occasion of
her sister's marriage with a wealthy banker, which took place
when Mabel was still a mere child. Mr. Vaughan's house was at
that time leased to strangers, and the wedding ceremonies were
held under the hospitable roof of a Mrs. Vannecker, a distant
relative of the late Mrs. Vaughan, who had been proud to
usher Louise into society, and now boasted that she had made
the match.

Here the family were assembled to participate in the preparations
and festivities attendant upon the event, all of which
were entered into with eager zest by Mabel, and remembered
by her afterwards rather as a brilliant dream than an actual

With this exception she never left her school, save for a
yearly visit to her grandmother, whose residence was within a
day's journey from Mrs. Herbert's; and these visits were of
longer or shorter continuance, according to the old lady's state
of health, or the convenience of Mabel's aunt, Miss Sabiah
Vaughan, who continued to live with her mother, and had
charge of the housekeeping. From these absences, however,
which from one cause or another were usually of limited duration,
she invariably returned with joy to her kind teacher and
beloved playmates, by whom she was sure to have been sadly
missed, and was always warmly welcomed back, for Mabel was
the life of the household.

And here, amid healthful influences, and under the judicious
training of one of the best of women, she rapidly developed
those powers and capacities which had in her early childhood
found little scope for their expansion.

Mrs. Herbert was a religious woman, and she spared no

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pains to impart to Mabel the knowledge and love of virtue.
She had sound judgment and a highly cultivated intellect, and
patiently sought to guide and strengthen the mind of her pupil,
and store it with lasting treasures. She was possessed, too, of
those social qualities which give a charm to home and render
a fireside comfortable and happy; and the youthful group
around her were encouraged by her example to the cultivation
of every endearing and feminine grace.

Nor was she less a practical than an accomplished woman.
She understood every branch of house keeping, every art in
needle-work, and had acquired, through years of rigid practice,
economy, prudence and skill, in all of which branches her
pupils reaped, in a greater or less degree, the benefit of her

Thus, during ten years passed in a plain but well-ordered
New England homestead, where the highest mental discipline
was combined with instruction in the simplest female duties, Mabel
acquired strength of principle, soundness of knowledge, cheerfulness
of disposition, and useful and industrious habits. Meantime,
her physical development had kept pace with her mental
and moral growth; pure air, healthful exercise, and wholesome
diet, strengthening and hardening her frame, while with
every succeeding year she grew in beauty and grace, until Mrs.
Herbert gazed at length with inward pride and delight upon
the fair blossom that her own hand had reared, and which had
ripened beneath her very eye.

When Mabel, at eight years of age, was first placed under
Mrs. Herbert's charge, she was a shy, unformed child, rude in
her manners and speech, and wholly unused to any kind of
application. At eighteen she was not only beautiful in person,
cultivated in mind, and amiable and affectionate in disposition,
but to her rich personal and mental gifts she added a winning
frankness and cordiality of manner, which, springing as they
did from a warm and sincere heart, combined with her other
attractions to render her the favorite as well as the pride of
her companions.

But Mrs. Herbert was not infallible, nor Mabel faultless.

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True, the former had labored diligently for the improvement
of one who, next to her own children, was the principal object
of her endeavors and prayers, and had met undoubtedly with a
proportionate degree of success. But there were faults in
Mabel's character which time and diligence had not yet
uprooted; faults of whose full extent Mrs. Herbert was scarcely
aware, and which were fostered by circumstances beyond her control.
Mabel's very popularity among her schoolmates exposed
her to danger; and amid the varying characters with which she
came in familiar contact, she could not wholly escape pernicious
influences, especially during the latter years of her school
life, when the number of Mrs. Herbert's pupils had greatly

These faults, however, were not vital. They were such only
as are common to most girls of her age, and we need not pause
to dwell upon them, for in due season they will present themselves
to notice as we follow her in her after career.

Conscious as Mrs. Herbert was of a faithful discharge of
duty, and well rewarded as her efforts had for the most part
been, she had too much good sense, too much knowledge of the
waywardness of the human heart, to believe for a moment that
Mabel was henceforth secure from temptation, or proof against
its assaults. And, therefore, as she read the few hasty lines
from Mr. Vaughan, which summoned his daughter to the superintendence
of his house, and the enjoyment of city gayeties, she
trembled at the thought that thenceforward Mabel must mark
out her own path, unsustained by the guiding hand and almost
maternal love which had thus far fostered and protected her.

It needed, indeed, no prophetic eye to foresee the peculiar
exposures and dangers which awaited Mabel's future. Already
had Mrs. Herbert observed the pride with which the fond
father, in his occasional visits, gazed upon his daughter's daily
increasing charms, and already had she more than once been
compelled to remonstrate against the lavish and profuse indulgence
with which he proposed to gratify her girlish whims.
She knew, too, the gay and thoughtless circles in which
Mrs. Vaughan had moved, in which Louise now shone

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triumphant, and in which Mabel would be sure to be admired, flattered,
and caressed.

And because she knew all this, and because she rightly conjectured
that in this new sphere no pains would be spared to
gratify Mabel's vanity, encourage her ambition, foster her
pride, and administer to her self-love, did she tremble for her
purity of heart and disinterestedness of purpose.

She feared that in time of trial, when pleasure stood on one
side and duty opposed to it on the other, Mabel's unaided
strength would fail in the bitter contest. She feared lest selfishness,
worldliness, and pride, would triumph at last over the
barriers of christian truth and virtue, which she had sought to
rear in the young girl's heart. And so, since henceforward she
could protect her only with her prayers, she gave her for a
watchword and a shield that simple precept, so gentle in its
workings, yet so mighty in its power,—that potent spell which
disarms every spirit of evil, and is woman's surest weapon, both
of warfare and defence,—for she sent her forth to the conflict
with the armor of christian love.

And Mrs. Herbert and Mabel never met again. Not that
either was speedily called from a career of earthly usefulness;
but their paths henceforth lay apart. Often would Mabel
gladly have turned to this well-tried confidant and friend
for counsel, sympathy, and advice. But it might not be.
Other interests soon became bound up in her own, interests in
which Mrs. Herbert might not share; and only partially, and
at long intervals, could she, even by letter, impart to this friend
of her childhood and youth the secret cares and anxieties which
burdened her woman's heart.

But there was a spiritual bond between them still, a bond
which strengthened with time, and was tempered in adversity,
for in her last warning charge, her last earnest lesson, Mrs.
Herbert had imparted to Mabel the great truth that woman
needs to learn. It slumbered awhile, then awoke in power;
at first as a still, small voice, and anon as a flaming sword,
it led her on to victory.

-- --


Buoyant, cheerful, happy, bright,—
I see thee with a quiet grace,
“Make sunlight in a shady place.”
W. Story.

[figure description] Page 021.[end figure description]

Mabel's emotions on bidding farewell to the home of her
girlhood were of a mingled character, pain alternating with
pleasure, according as memory dwelt upon past joys, or anticipation
pictured forth a brilliant future. Had she foreseen the
length of time that would elapse ere she would again set foot
in a spot endeared to her by a thousand associations, and had
imagination hinted to her the changes which that time would
effect, both in herself and in those she left behind, the fond
whisperings of hope would have been silenced, and sorrow
and regret would alone have filled her heart. But she had a
happy, buoyant nature, and in planning schemes for many a
summer excursion which should restore her to the old homestead,
and many a winter vacation which should bring Mrs.
Herbert and her children to share the hospitalities of her father's
roof, she forgot the possibility of the separation's being otherwise
than temporary.

The moment of parting was indeed a trying one to her affectionate
nature, and long after the intervening hills had shut
even the village spire from her sight, her thoughts lingered with
the beloved teacher and companions, whom she still seemed to
see grouped together on the doorstep, where they had assembled
to bid her a sad and tender farewell. But, although her
travelling companions gave one day only to a trip which is
usually performed in two, it afforded her ample tim to rally
from her grief, and long before the journey drew to its

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termination her busy fancy had taken another direction, and gone
forth to rehearse the joys attendant upon her welcome home.

She pictured to herself the reception she should probably
meet from her father, whom she had not seen for months.
Mabel had but little knowledge of him who stood to her in this
tender relation, save from his occasional visits and periodical
letters; and the former had often been suspended for years,
owing to his absence from the country. He was, therefore,
imaged to her mind as the tall, gray-haired gentleman, whom,
some dozen times during her school life, she had been hastily
summoned to Mrs. Herbert's parlor to see; each of which
occasions was associated in her recollection with a holiday, a
rich gift, and a drive to the railroad station, some six miles
distant, to which she always accompanied him on his departure.

That he was the most indulgent of men she had not a doubt,
since she could remember no instance in which he had ever
denied her requests, or refused to gratify her whims. Of his
liberality, her gold watch, her jewelled rings, her well-stocked
wardrobe, and ample allowance, had long since furnished evidence;
nor, though he seldom gave expression to his feelings,
could she be unconscious of the love and pride with which he
watched the development of her intellect and her beauty, and
triumphed in every added accomplishment and grace. Her
intercourse with him, however, had been wanting in that familiarity
which leads to confidence, and, being wholly unacquainted
with his habits of life and mode of thought, her spirits always
received a slight check, and her freedom a slight restraint, in
his presence. His letters had been even less indicative of
character than his visits; for, although kind, they were brief
and somewhat formal, and, on the whole, he inspired in Mabel
more of the respect and gratitude due to a thoughtful guardian,
than the trusting love which is wont to subsist between a father
and child.

She felt conscious, however, that this restraint was unnatural,
and as the time had now come when she was to make her
father's house her permanent abode, busy fancy suggested that

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[figure description] Page 023.[end figure description]

the warmth with which he would welcome her to his heart
and home would at once break down every barrier of reserve.

Of her sister Louise, now Mrs. Leroy, she had still less
knowledge. She had seen her but twice since her marriage,
and on each occasion for a few hours only. Once she had received
a hasty note, informing her that a party, including the
Leroys, were travelling in the vicinity of her school and would
dine the following day at a neighboring town, where they
begged that she would come and meet them. It was about a
year after Louise's marriage, and Mabel, then a child, obtained
Mrs. Herbert's consent to the plan, and returned in ecstacies
with the whole party, especially her beautiful sister. Nor was
this impression weakened when, a few years later, Louise accompanied
her father on one of his periodical visits, and came,
richly clad, to pass a day at Mrs. Herbert's; a day which served
to heighten the young school-girl's enthusiasm with regard to
the surpassing charms of her sister, an enthusiasm which was
kept alive, inasmuch as it was, to a great degree, shared by all
her young companions. She looked forward, therefore, to daily
companionship with one so lovely, accomplished and fascinating,
as scarcely less an honor than a happiness.

Nor in her visions of a joyous welcome did Mabel fail to
give a prominent place to her little nephews, two beautiful
boys, whom she had never yet seen; and, naturally warm of
heart, extravagantly fond of children, and eminently qualified
to excite affection on their part, it was no slight addition to her
looked-for happiness that fancy pictured these little ones bounding
to embrace an aunt whom they had doubtless already been
taught to love.

But, although father, sister, and nephews all figured in the
vision which Mabel mentally formed of her future home, not
one of them stood in the foreground of her imagination—for
memory furnished no link which associated them with the home
of her infancy. Bright and joyous as her anticipations were
of what these relatives might become to her in the future, there
were no sweet, childish recollections connected with them, to
awaken the tender thoughts which cling around a parent's

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[figure description] Page 024.[end figure description]

hearth. They were all, in truth, more or less strangers to her,
and her conjectures concerning them, however pleasing, were
necessarily vague and indistinct.

But there was one member of her family whose very name
was suggestive to Mabel's heart of happiness, kindred, and
home. There was one whose relation to herself was natural
and true; who, from the cradle upwards, had shared her interests,
her sorrows, and her joys; who had been the playmate of
her infancy and the confidant and companion of her girlhood.
Her dutiful affection for her father and her admiring love for
her sister were of comparatively recent growth, but memory
could recall no time when she had not dearly loved her brother.
With him was connected every association of that early age
when, shut out from the sympathy of the rest of the household,
they were all in all to each other. Her mother's neglect and
her sister's indifference were either unnoticed at the time or
had long since been forgotten by Mabel; so, too, had the brilliant
and richly furnished rooms from which she had often been
banished in disgrace; but there still rose, fresh and clear to her
recollection, the nursery where she and Harry played, the little
hopes which they had mutually shared, and the little disappointments
over which they had wept together. Nor were
these tender memories all that had hallowed their affection;
for, while time, separation, and absence, had built barriers between
the other members of the family, Harry and Mabel had
been in the habit of yearly intercourse, often passing many
weeks in the enjoyment of each other's society. Not only did
they usually meet on occasion of the annual visit to old Mrs.
Vaughan, but nearly all Harry's school vacations were passed
at Mrs. Herbert's, or at a boarding-place in the neighborhood,
so that the happy home which Mabel had found with her kind
instructress came to be considered scarcely less a home by
Harry, who voluntarily went there for the holidays.

A longer separation than usual intervened during two years
which the latter passed at West Point; but this was atoned for
by the happiness with which Mabel welcomed the young cadet
on occasion of his short leave of absence, and the mingled pride

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[figure description] Page 025.[end figure description]

and delight with which she listened to her schoolmates' whispered
encomiums of her soldier-brother.

And when, a few months later, he engaged in a boyish frolic,
and was suddenly dismissed from the Military Academy, whose
strict rules he had infringed, Mabel readily accepted his apologies,
allowed herself to be convinced that he was the most
injured of mortals, and loved him all the more for the injustice
he had suffered.

Mr. Vaughan then sent him abroad to spend two years at a
German University, since which time he had been permitted to
make the tour of Europe, a tour which the son had protracted
beyond the original intentions of the father, but from which he
had now unexpectedly returned.

This long absence from Mabel, however, had only served to
unite him more closely to her in interest and in heart. Their
correspondence had been constant. It was, moreover, full, free
and unrestrained, being not only a faithful communication of
facts and events, a familiar interchange of thoughts and ideas,
but an affectionate outpouring of mutual love.

There was no corner of the old world which Harry's foot had
trod to which Mabel had not in spirit followed himl; no city,
river, or mountain which was not enshrined in her memory as
the spot which had furnished Harry with some gay adventure,
some historic musing, or some vision of glory; and there was
no partner in his winter studies or summer wanderings who did
not henceforth stand high in her regard, because he was her
brother's friend.

Thus, from childhood upwards they had been united in each
other's love, and every year had but served to strengthen the
bonds of mutual dependence and mutual trust. Isolated as
both had been from any other strong family tie, the repose, the
sympathy, the confiding love which are the most hallowed influences
of home had been more fully perfected in their relation
to each other, and ready as Mabel was to acknowledge the
claims of the rest of her family, her heart assured her, as she
drew near her father's house, that it was Harry's presence there
which alone entitled it, in her estimation, to the name of home.

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[figure description] Page 026.[end figure description]

The first intimation she had received of her brother's return
from his foreign tour, was contained in the recent letter from
her father, which had summoned her to meet Harry in New
York and preside over the festivities attendant upon the reunion
of the long scattered family.

“I cannot arrange matters,” wrote he, “so as to join you at
any point on your journey; you will be rejoiced, however, to
hear that not only Louise, the children and myself will be in
New York to welcome you, but your brother Harry is on board
the steamer which was yesterday reported at Halifax, and he
will arrive here by to-morrow at the latest.”

It was a dismal autumn afternoon when Mabel reached the
city. She had travelled in company with a party of Mr.
Vaughan's friends, of whose proffered attendance he had
gladly availed himself, and, unfortunately for her hopes of a
cordial greeting, she arrived one day sooner than had been
anticipated. A less gay and joyous spirit than hers would
perhaps have received a sudden check, at the air of soberness
and gloom which the paternal mansion wore on her first
entrance, at the utter silence which pervaded the hall and parlors,
and the stately formality with which she was received by
the grave and elderly footman. At first, indeed, she looked
round in some anxiety, lest she had mistaken the house, especially,
as the tall, stiff figure of a lady dressed in black was just
disappearing, at the head of the staircase, with the air of one
who is hastily retreating from the sight of visitors. Mabel
knew of no such person in the family, and in order to quiet
her doubts turned to the footman, and exclaimed inquiringly,
“This is Mr. Vaughan's, my father's?” “Certainly, Miss,”
replied the man, “but you were not expected until to-morrow.”

A pretty waiting-maid now advanced from the end of the
hall, to offer her services to her new mistress, and at the same
moment, the tall, stiff lady who had been leaning over the
bannisters to listen, began slowly and cautiously to descend the
stairs. Mabel looked up, and to her astonishment, perceived
her aunt, Miss Sabiah Vaughan, the last person in the world
whom she had expected to see. Rejoiced, however, at

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[figure description] Page 027.[end figure description]

recognising a familiar face, she sprung to meet her, embracing her
with more than her usual warm-heartedness, and exclaiming
as she did so—“Aunt Sabiah! How glad I am to see you!”

Miss Vaughan partially returned the salutation, although
awkwardly, and with evident effort, for she was unaccustomed
to such hearty demonstrations of feeling, and putting up her
hands, she began nervously to smooth down her collar, which
Mabel, in her joy, had slightly disarranged. But although her
manner was thus constrained, her face betrayed symptoms of
satisfaction which were easily detected by Mabel, who was
accustomed to every variation of which her aunt's features
were capable. Her nervous agitation, too, Mabel knew to be
only the effect of pleasurable excitement, and holding her affecttionately
by the hand, the young girl accompanied her up
stairs, the pretty waiting-maid preceding them, and throwing
open the doors of the chamber and dressing-room which Mr.
Vaughan intended for his daughter's use.

“But where are all the rest? where is Harry?” inquired
Mabel eagerly, when she had drawn her aunt into the room,
and with some difficulty persuaded her to be seated.

“Why you were not expected until to-morrow, child,” replied
Miss Vaughan,” and Harry has gone up the river with a party
of young fellows, and will not be back until late.”

“He is come then? he is safe and well?”

“Yes, indeed; and altered so I hardly knew him.”

“Oh, how I long to see him!” exclaimed Mabel; and then
followed questions and replies concerning the different members
of the family. There was no one at home, however, nor
any prospect of an arrival until Mr. Vaughan should return,
at six, the usual dinner hour. So, with some difficulty composing
her excited feelings, Mabel resolved to occupy the
intervening time in making those changes in her dress which
the dust and smoke of travelling had rendered necessary, stipulating
that her aunt should remain where she was, and
gratify her curiosity on many points, concerning which she was
far from being satisfied.

She could not conceal her astonishment at finding Miss

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[figure description] Page 028.[end figure description]

Vaughan apparently domesticated in her father's house, no
mention having been made of her in his recent letter. It
seemed that Miss Sabiah had reached New York, only the
previous day, and had spent the entire morning, unpacking her
trunks in an upper chamber, which, being in the most retired
part of the house, she had chosen for herself in preference to
the room which had first been allotted to her. Since the death
of the old lady Vaughan, which took place about a year previous,
Sabiah had boarded in her native village, and had now
come by special invitation from her brother to pass the winter
in his family. She appeared deeply hurt on learning Mabel's
utter ignorance of the plan, having supposed that it would be
communicated to her niece as a fact of some importance. The
poor lady had experienced her share of neglect in this world,
but was none the less sensitive on that account. She looked
discontented, too, and ill at ease, and so far from contributing
to the cheerfulness of the house, and giving it a home-like
aspect, her presence seemed to reflect a far more sombre
shadow upon the room than those which were cast by the now
gradually deepening twilight. Mabel's quick eye and ready
sympathies, saw and understood her aunt's state of mind at a
glance; but, although disappointed herself at her father's and
brother's absence, and the chilly nature of her reception, her
buoyant nature was far from indulging useless regrets, or dismal
forebodings. Her spirits, on the contrary, rose with the
necessity of exerting herself to please and cheer one whom she
was really delighted to find an inmate of the household, and
she hastened to complete her toilet, and divert her aunt's
thoughts by a proposition that she should accompany her on a
tour through the house, which the young girl was eager to
inspect. All was new to Mabel. Mr. Vaughan's residence
had recently been subjected to a thorough course of repair
and enlargement. Old rooms had been converted into others
of far different size and construction, and even the well-remembered
nursery, to which Mabel had fancied that instinct
would guide her at once, had given place to an octagon apartment,
lit from the ceiling, and evidently intended for a picture

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[figure description] Page 029.[end figure description]

cabinet. Miss Sabiah, who was even more unaccustomed than
Mabel to the display of luxury and elegance which met them
at every turn, and who was overawed and oppressed by the
magnificence of her brother's house and furniture, felt a sense of
relief as she observed the easy and careless step with which
her niece trod the velvet carpets, and the confident and unconcerned
air with which, as they passed through different rooms,
she threw open the blinds, raised the curtains, and altered the
position of light articles of furniture and adornment. Darkness,
silence, and gloom, seemed to flee before her, and the
shadow upon Miss Sabiah's feelings being proportionately dispelled,
she at length gave vent to her sentiments in the sudden
excalmation—“Well Mabel, I am glad you have come to make
some of these improvements. Everything is beautiful, to be
sure, but it has looked very dull to me, and I believe my
brother finds it so too, for he lives entirely in the library, below
stairs, and he told me yesterday, that he had not sat in the
drawing-room since it was furnished. As for Harry, he has
scarcely been at home since I came. Your father asked him
at breakfast how he liked the house. I was shocked at the
answer he made, and yet I could not wonder much.”

“What did he say?” questioned Mabel.

“Why, that it seemed to him pretty much like any other old
tomb; and your father laughed and said `Oh, well, when Mabel
comes she will manage to brighten it up a little.' ”

And Mr. Vaughan prophesied truly. Already had his daughter's
fresh young spirit begun to exert its magic influence.
Already had the rooms assumed the air of cheerfulness, which
youth and taste know so well how to impart. Already had the
halls and parlors resounded more than once with her free and
joyous peals of laughter. And, stranger still, Miss Sabiah's
rigid and indifferent expression had begun to soften into an
occasional smile, while her dull eye had caught something of
the animation which danced and sparkled in that of her niece.
Even the servants, as they heard her merry voice while she
passed from room to room, seemed to catch the inspiration of
her presence. The neat waiting-maid might be seen tripping

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[figure description] Page 030.[end figure description]

through the chambers with a freer step and a lighter heart, and
even the grave footman, as he took the plate from the sideboard
and spread the table for dinner, found himself humming
a tune which he had not heard since he was a boy.

Truly there is no sunshine so refreshing as that which beams
from a happy youthful heart.

“Now for your favorite song, aunt Sabiah,” exclaimed Mabel,
as she threw open the grand piano-forte and seated herself
before it. “No one praises my singing as you do,” and the
young girl commenced playing a simple air which she had
found, many years before, in an old music-book at her grandmother's,
and often sung, to the accompaniment of a cracked
and worn-out instrument, for her aunt's especial benefit. To
sing was as natural to Mabel as to laugh, nor was it any wonderful
proof of thoughtful love that she should select the song
which would be sure to please her listener best. The appeal
to Miss Sabiah's feelings, however, was irresistible; and, as a
moment before, her niece's playful sallies had called a smile to
her sunken cheek, so now, at this simple proof of loving remembrance,
a solitary tear started to her eye and was wiped
away unseen. What wonder-working power there must have
been in the girl, who could thus summon both smiles and tears
from out the withered and wasted heart which had long seemed
callous to any strong emotion!

Mabel, however, quite unconscious of the effect of her music,
had sung but a few lines, when she started from her seat, exclaiming,
“I hear my father's voice,” and in an instant more
she had bounded down the stair-case to meet him. He was not
in the hall, but the familiar tones proceeded from the library,
the door of which stood open. An eager word of greeting escaped
Mabel's lips at the threshold of the room, but her step was
suddenly arrested by the presence of a stranger, who stood
near the door, while her father, with his back towards her, was
engaged in unlocking a secretary at the opposite end of the
library. Mr. Vaughan turned, however, at the sound of her
voice, and throwing on the table a large roll of papers which
he had just taken from the shelf of his cabinet, he came towards

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[figure description] Page 031.[end figure description]

her with an air of surprise, lifting his spectacles from his nose as
if to make sure that the glasses were not deceiving him, and exclaiming,
as he stretched out a welcoming hand, “Mabel? my
daughter? is it possible? Why, where did you come from?”

Mabel answered only by a glad smile; for, before she could
proceed to make any explanation of her unlooked-for arrival,
she caught the sudden glance of embarrassment which (the
first surprise being past) overspread the countenance of her
reserved parent, at the conciousness of the stranger's presence.
Mabel, too, shared this sensation of awkwardness, for
her father did not introduce the individual, who appeared to be
a business-agent, as he had by this time unfolded the papers
and spread upon the table a number of maps and charts,
which he was diligently studying.

“You are busy,” said Mabel, in an undertone. “I will go
back to my aunt.”

Her father hesitated, glanced toward his visitor, but still retained
her hand in his.

At the same moment, the stranger, who was handling the
charts in a hurried manner, and seemed to be in haste, made
an abrupt inquiry as to the extent and value of certain landed
property, and as Mr. Vaughan turned to reply, Mabel slipped
quietly out of the room.

Miss Sabiah had but just determined to follow her niece
down stairs when she met her returning.

“Father is busy now,” said Mabel, in explanation, “let us
go back and finish the song.”

The song was finished, and several others had been successively
sung, when Mabel, who had paused between each to
listen for the stranger's departure, at length announced that
he had gone, and now at her persuasion her aunt accompanied
her to the library. She was once more, however, doomed to
disappointment, and to the mortification of feeling herself an
intruder. The papers were still spread on the table, and on
entering, Mabel thought her ears must have deceived her, for
Mr. Vaughan was still attentively engaged in examining them,
with the aid of another person, whose head was bent down so

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as to conceal his face, and whom, at a first glance, Mabel concluded
to be the man whom she had heard a few moments before
bidding her father good-night.

It proved, however, to be her brother-in-law, Mr. Leroy,
who had come in unheard, and who rose on her entrance and
greeted her cordially, although with an absent air; so abstracted
was he that he did not observe Miss Sabiah, until Mr.
Vaughan had twice introduced her as his sister, and even then
he failed to notice the icy stiffness with which she returned his
forced and indifferent bow. His manner was restless and uneasy,
and after a few words of inquiry as to Mabel's health
and journey, he was evidently anxious to resume the subject
in which he and Mr. Vaughan appeared to be mutually interested.

The latter interfered, however, greatly to the relief of Mabel,
who was beginning to look with an almost jealous eye upon
these important charts, which seemed so many barriers between
herself and her father, so many rival claims to his notice
and interest. “Not now, Leroy,” said he, in a decided tone,
thrusting the papers aside and removing his spectacles. “Mabel
has but just come,—I have scarcely seen her. I shall be
at leisure to-morrow, and we can then come to a decision; but
about those eastern stocks—” and then followed a few hasty
words in a low tone, to which Mr. Leroy assented by a quick
but earnest nodding of the head, after which he immediately
took his hat to depart. Mabel asked after her sister. “I think
it probable she is under the hair-dresser's hands,” was the reply.
“I believe she is going to Mrs. D.'s ball to-night.” Mabel
expressed a hope that she would come to see her the next
day, if not too much fatigued, and Mr. Leroy, having declined
an invitation to dinner, took his leave.

Mr. Vaughan gathered up the scattered papers, placed them
in the secretary, closed and locked the door, and, as he put the
key in his pocket, his face assumed a relieved and satisfied expression,
which seemed to say that for the present he had done
with business and was free to enjoy the society of his sister and
child. He was not naturally a talkative man, and Mabel had

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[figure description] Page 033.[end figure description]

never been in his company without experiencing a consciousness
of his inability to maintain an animated conversation. He
was one of that large class of individuals whose characters unbend
most fully under their own roof, and who never appear to
such advantage as in the privacy of their domestic circle. He
had also many inquiries to make concerning Mabel's journey,
her travelling companions, and the hour of her arrival, and, as
he drew a chair to the fire, bestowing upon her at the same
time a pleased and affectionate glance, she felt emboldened to
address him with something of the ease and familiarity of a
privileged child. She also by degrees beguiled her aunt into
the conversation which was fast assuming a lively tone, and
before long, the little group so suddenly brought together, presented
the air of a home-circle engaged in familiar fireside

There was no mistaking the proud satisfaction with which
Mr. Vaughan presided at his dinner-table that day, realizing at
once the comforts, the freedom, and the retirement of home,
from which he had so long been debarred, and which his increasing
age now rendered more than ever desirable. The
quiet dignity and precision which were his striking characteristics
could not wholly hide the pleasurable emotions with which
he once more felt himself a family man. Beneath the veil of
strict courtesy towards Miss Sabiah might be detected no small
degree of brotherly kindness, and although his voice dwelt with
evident pleasure upon the words “my daughter,” his mild eye,
as it turned upon Mabel, bespoke a deeper well-spring of
fatherly love than any words which his lips knew how to utter.

Nor was the gleam of pleasure any less evident which overspread
Miss Sabiah's features when Mabel insisted upon her
occupying the seat of honor opposite her father, which the
elder lady with an awkward show of humility was disposed to
resign, but which Mabel disclaimed the possibility of filling,
assuring her aunt that she alone was entitled to preside there.
Whatever might have been Mr. Vaughan's preference in the
matter he was too well-bred to interfere, and the deference with
which Mabel thus yielded to her aunt's superior claims gratified

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her sensitive and watchful pride, and was a soothing balm to
feelings which had been roughly chafed by her past experience.

Harry's absence was the only drawback to the happiness of
the party. “Do not sit up for him Mabel,” said Mr. Vaughan,
as, dinner concluded, he prepared to leave the house. “Nor
for me either,” continued he; “I have an appointment at nine
o'clock, and shall not be in until late. You must be fatigued
with your journey, and you will find enough to do to-morrow.
Louise will want to take you on a grand shopping expedition,
and Harry, I have no doubt, has his head full of plans.”

Once more left to themselves, Mabel and Miss Sabiah returned
to the cheerful and well-lit library; and soon the former,
taking a low seat near her aunt, begged to hear some account
of her solitary journey to town, the particulars of which she
had not yet learned.

Miss Sabiah, pleased and gratified at having so ready an
audience to several little misadventures of the previous day,
proceeded to relate them at length, and found in Mabel an
attentive listener.

In less time than Miss Sabiah occupied in narrating her travels
we will take a glance at the history of her life.

The life of an old maid! A desert, a blank, an unwritten
page to the careless, the thoughtless, the unobservant mind.
But to the initiated eye which faithfully scans its past, its present,
and its future experience, may it not prove a world of
strong affections, conflicting duties, anxious cares, and busy
memories, whose only register is hidden in one human heart?

Sabiah Vaughan was the youngest of three children, having
besides her brother a sister who was a few years her senior.
Their father was a man of good standing in his own town, a
respectable country trader, and, during the latter years of his
life, president of the village bank. Their mother was a notable
housewife, somewhat imperious in her temper and ambitious in
her views. This ambition centred principally upon her children's
success in life, and was proportionately gratified when
her son became a successful merchant, and her eldest daughter
married a man of property and went to reside in a neighboring

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town. Sabiah was still young and could afford to wait awhile;
or, as her mother used occasionally to say to her neighbors,
“Now that John is doing so well, and Margaret is settled so
much to my mind, I feel quite easy about my family. I am
not particular about Sabiah's marrying at all, or, if she does,
there is plenty of time yet for her to look about and make as
good a match as her sister has done.”

But, unfortunately, a barrier had already arisen to Sabiah's
ever making what her mother considered a good match. During
those years when Mrs. Vaughan's mind had been chiefly
occupied with the welfare of her other children, Sabiah's affections
had become fixed upon one whose poverty was his only
unworthiness. But he was a good scholar, and although his
father was a farmer in narrow circumstances, the son aspired
to one day studying for the ministry; and in looking forward
to becoming a clergyman's wife, Sabiah never dreamed of insulting
the dignity of her family. So, when the simple-hearted
girl made a confidant of her mother, she was as much astonished
as grieved at the torrent of reproach which her communication
called forth. She was reminded of her brother's wealth,
her sister's high position, and asked if she were willing to bring
disgrace upon her father's house by connecting herself with
beggars. She was reluctantly compelled to admit that it would
be years before her lover and herself could reasonably hope to
marry, and was at length commanded by both her parents to
break at once an engagement to which they would never give
their consent.

Sabiah was a gentle-spirited girl. She had been taught from
her childhood to yield strict obedience to parental government.
She dared not listen to those secret whisperings which termed
it, in this instance, parental tyranny, and after a few months of
what was, by the united voice of the family, termed obstinate
persistence in folly, she at length reluctantly consented to abide
by their decision.

That her heart, however, was not unfaithful, the sorrow of
years bore witness.

Her lover left their village soon after his mortifying

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[figure description] Page 036.[end figure description]

dismission, studied for the ministry, and eventually married another.
Sabiah remained in her father's house, patiently fulfilling a
daughter's duties and struggling with a life-long regret.

Nor did the filial obedience and filial respect which had
prompted this greatest of sacrifices, diminish or falter during
many years of severe privation and trial. So long as her
father lived, her devotion to him was most exemplary; a devotion
which was painfully tested during the months of distressing
illness which preceded his death, when Sabiah's face grew pale,
and her figure wasted with constant care and watching.

His affairs in the meantime suffered some disorder, and at his
death the widow and her daughter were quite cut off from their
usual means of subsistence, their only property consisting in
the house and a few acres of unproductive land. “They will
be very well off, however,” said the neighbors. “John will
settle something upon his mother, and Margaret is rich.” And
when, in the course of years, Sabiah's health became feeble and
her hair turned gray, and the village gossips remarked that her
temper was getting sadly soured, they said one to another,
“Now what can Sabiah Vaughan have to vex or wear upon
her, with such a comfortable home and such a quiet life as she
leads? If she had a husband that was hard to please, and
children that were sick and fretful, and a great dairy like mine
to attend to, I could conceive of her being irritable now and
then, and looking old and careworn, but really there is no excuse
for her with nothing in the world to trouble her.”

Was it nothing, then, that for ten long years Sabiah's monotonous
existence had been varied only by the petty and vexatious
cares and economies which dependence and a narrow
income entail? Was it nothing, that during all that time she
had experienced constant trials of spirit in consequence of her
mother's arbitrary temper, which, since her husband's death,
was deprived of its only check? Was it nothing, that all her
dutiful efforts and habitual sacrifices called forth no praise,
while for every omission or neglect she was reproved as if she
had still been a child? Was it nothing that, while the ostentatious
gifts of her wealthy brother and purse-proud sister

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called forth grateful acknowledgements quite disproportioned to
their value, her life-long services were received with coldness
and indifference, and that while the wealth and position of these
more favored relatives were a constant theme for the old lady's
self-congratulation the prospects of Sabiah were seldom referred
to saving for the sake of contrast?

If with simple faith and childish trust the solitary heart could
have found repose in Him who suffereth not these things in
vain, such outward trials might not have had power to mar her
inward peace; but as, while she yielded submission to her
earthly parents, she had been debarred from that great solace
and sweetener of existence which is found in human love, so,
while she made no outward rebellion to the lot apportioned to
her by a Heavenly Father, she failed to recognize in it the
hand of love divine.

Was it strange, then, that her heart grew cold? Or who
can wonder that, with affections chilled, and sympathies blunted,
she became at last irritable, distrustful, and reserved? She
had drank from a bitter cup, and the gall had penetrated into
her heart.

That heart was not wholly callous, however. Its sensibilities
were not wholly destroyed. There was one little oasis
in the desert, one little spring of life and hope amid the wilderness.
It was the only one, but its source lay deep, and its
power might be made sufficient to fertilize the whole; for there
was one being in the world in whose welfare Sabiah still felt a
tender and affectionate interest. And that was Mabel.

Strangely enough, this affection for her brother's child was
closely associated with that deep parental respect and reverence
which formed so strong a trait in Sabiah's character, and which
years of injustice had not power to efface. For it was the fact
that the child was named for her grandmother Vaughan, which
first gave her a claim to Sabiah's love. It seemed to ally her
more closely to their side of the house, and distinguish her
from her mother's fashionable connections, for whom Sabiah
felt a mingled awe and dislike. Moreover, the circumstances
of her childhood and school life kept her entirely aloof from

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[figure description] Page 038.[end figure description]

family ties and prejudices, thus giving to her maiden aunt a
tolerable chance to win some share of the little girl's affections.

Nor was this strong predisposition in Mabel's favor in any
degree lessened during those periodical visits to her grandmother,
to which we have already alluded. She was then
thrown wholly upon the care of her aunt, and was in a great
degree dependent upon her companionship, especially during
those later years in which Harry had ceased to accompany his
sister. And Sabiah welcomed the care, which was her only
labor of love throughout the year, and rejoiced in the companionship
which cheered and enlivened her otherwise dull and
monotonous life, while with every succeeding summer her
heart became more and more closely linked to the child.

Nor did Mabel fail to appreciate this kindness, and reciprocate
this love. It was true she often wearied of her visits,
and was impatient to return to her schoolmates, for Mrs.
Vaughan's house furnished but little diversion for youth. But
Sabiah, nevertheless, had the satisfaction of seeing that she
had found a place in the heart of her niece; and this happy
conviction was confirmed by the fact, that as Mabel grew into
womanhood, she seemed to find not only contentment, but
pleasure in her society, and gave still further evidence of her
gratitude and affection by many a word, letter, and token of
remembrance. How those words sank into Sabiah's heart,
how those letters were read and re-read, and with what fondness
those gifts were treasured up, Mabel little knew. As
little did she guess that a deep love for herself was the one
green spot in a withered heart; that it rested with her to let
that heart remain a wilderness, or bid it blossom like the rose.

How lightly the responsibility rests upon her now; and yet
she is unconsciously fulfilling it in part, while she sits with
upturned and attentive face, lending a ready ear to a story of
misadventure and alarm, her beautiful and expressive features,
as seen in the flickering fire-light, proclaiming her warm-hearted
sympathy in the tale.

-- --


The world before her smiles—its changeful gaze
She hath not proved as yet; her path seems gay
With flowers and sunshine, and the voice of praise
Is still the joyous herald of her way.
Mrs. Hemans.

[figure description] Page 039.[end figure description]

Two or three hours passed away. Miss Sabiah's recent
experience had been fully detailed, more remote reminiscences
had in turn been called up and dwelt upon, and now the elder
lady began to exhibit manifest signs of weariness. Mabel,
although somewhat fatigued, would not allow herself to think
of sleep until she had seen Harry; but, compassionating her
aunt, whom she suspected of one or two naps already, she proposed
that they should ring the bell, inquire if the gas was lit
above stairs, and then seek their rooms. She mentally resolved
to return to the library and await Harry's arrival, as soon as
she had accompanied her aunt to her chamber and ascertained
that her wants were all supplied; but she said nothing of this
intention, and after receiving Sabiah's assent to the first proposition,
she rose to summon a servant. At the same moment
the door-bell sounded, and Mabel, who was listening intently
for her brother's footsteps, heard a merry peal of laughter, and
several lively female voices. In an instant more, a party of
ladies, in gay cloaks and full evening toilet, were unceremoniously
ushered into the room, to the astonishment of Mabel and
the discomfiture of her aunt, whose fit of drowsiness was at
once dispelled by this unexpected, and, to her, unwelcome

Mabel's first glance at their visitors betrayed only surprise
and bewilderment, but her face became radiant with pleasure
as she recognized Mrs. Leroy, who was foremost in the group,

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[figure description] Page 040.[end figure description]

and who, smiling at the confusion their entrance had occasioned,
greeted her young sister with a manner which was at
once affectionate and marked by perfect grace. She then
turned towards her aunt, who maintained a stiff position in
front of the sofa, and touched the tips of her fingers with an
easy and careless air, at the same time bestowing on her dress
and figure a somewhat contemptuous scrutiny.

Meanwhile, her companions claimed Mabel's attention. The
one, a middle-aged lady, dressed in a brocade of butterfly hues,
and wearing white ostrich feathers in her hair, waited for no
introduction, declaring that forms might be dispensed with in
her case, as she loved her already for her dear mother's sake,
and for the sake of Louise, who was her most intimate friend.
She then presented her daughter, a sylph in tarleton, who
pressed Mabel's hand with a warmth which seemed an earnest
of the friendship that her mother hoped before long to see
existing between them.

Mabel was both pleased and flattered. She believed them
to have left the ball-room at an early hour, in order to bestow
on her this unceremonious and cordial welcome, and she met
their advances with a proportionate degree of animation and

At this moment, while they were still standing near the
door-way, the bustle which attended their entrance not having
wholly subsided, the bell rang again, and this time Mabel distinctly
heard Harry's step in the hall. As the familiar sound
of his voice at the same instant met her ear, politeness gave
way to sudden and joyful excitement, and breaking from her
guests without explanation or apology, she ran hastily out of
the room.

They stared at one another in mutual astonishment; but
their conjectures concerning her behavior were short lived, for
before Louise could follow, to learn the cause of her sister's
agitation, Mabel returned, leaning on the arm of her tall and
handsome brother, who, unconscious of the presence of visitors,
playfully drew her into the strongest light the room afforded,
and after scanning her features with evident satisfaction, and

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[figure description] Page 041.[end figure description]

many an exclamation of surprise and pleasure, sealed his approbation
with several hearty kisses.

Mrs. Vannecker, the elder of Mrs. Leroy's companions, now
betrayed her presence by a loud and boisterous laugh, accompanied
by a slight giggle from her daughter, while Louise
exclaimed, in a tone which conveyed astonishment, if not reproof,
“Well, Harry, you are very demonstrative!”

Harry, nothing disturbed, however, by the presence of witnesses,
paid his respects to the ladies with perfect unconcern,
still holding his blushing sister by the hand. Mrs. Vannecker
commenced some bantering comments upon his brotherly enthusiasm,
while Mabel addressed herself to the difficult task of
entertaining Miss Victoria. The latter, however, had neither
eyes nor ears for any one but Harry, and the conversation soon
became general.

If Mabel could have had her choice, she would have preferred
a more private opportunity for this long-desired meeting
with her brother, but now she thought nothing could be more
agreeable than the pleasant little confusion of friendly voices
which his coming had only served to increase,—nothing could
be more exciting than the discussion of plans which immediately
ensued,—nothing more gratifying to her self-love than the fact
that all these plans had more or less reference to her enjoyment
and advantage.

And happy herself, she did not even notice (naughty girl)
that her aunt Sabiah had retreated to a distance from the company,
and sat with her back nearly turned towards them,
moodily gazing into the fire, and apparently ill at ease; she did
not even pause to consider whether Louise might not, like herself,
have forgotten to introduce her to the strangers in the
party, and thus, as it were, excluded her from the conversation.

Harry, while he expressed many regrets that neither his
father nor himself had been at the boat-landing to meet
Mabel, seemed greatly satisfied with the result of his afternoon's
expedition, declaring that it had been the means of his
securing such a pair of horses as could not be matched in the
city. “Father gave me unlimited authority to make the

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[figure description] Page 042.[end figure description]

purchase,” said he, “and I was determined that Mabel's first drive
should be with her own horses, and that there should not be a
finer pair to be seen in Broadway.”

“Her first drive must be on a round of shopping,” exclaimed
Louise. “I, too, have father's authority for making
purchases of equal or even greater importance. If you will
postpone your excursion until the next day,” continued she,
laughing, “I will see that Mabel has a bonnet suitable to the
occasion. But Harry are you not going to the ball?”

Before he could reply, Mrs. Vannecker began to expostulate
warmly against his remaining at home, and Miss Vannecker
added in a persuasive tone—“Oh, I am sure your sister will
excuse you—it is to be such a splendid affair, and she has
been travelling all day, and must be too much fatigued to enjoy
even your society any later.”

It was with some difficulty that Mabel could be brought to
realize that they were going to the ball at this hour of the
night, instead of returning as she had supposed, and as in her
ignorance of city times and seasons she had thus betrayed her
own more simple habits, this fact furnished a new argument
for Miss Vannecker, who now insisted that it would be but
common charity on Harry's part to bid Mabel good-night, and
follow them to the ball.

Mabel accompanied her sister and her new friends to the
hall door, to listen to Louise's plans for the morrow, and
receive their gay parting words, and while Harry waited upon
them to the carriage, she returned to the library, exclaiming,
“O, aunt, isn't my sister beautiful?”

“She looks very well,” said Miss Sabiah tartly, “but I wish
she wasn't so conscious of it herself. It was ridiculous to see
her and that Miss what-do-you-call-her looking at themselves
in the glass every two minutes, while they were here;”—and
Miss Sabiah rose from her chair with a jerk, which seemed to
say—“well! now they're gone, I suppose we can go to bed!”

“How good they were,” said Mabel, in a half soliloquy, as
she followed her aunt up stairs, to come here and see us for a
few minutes, when they were on their way to a ball.”

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[figure description] Page 043.[end figure description]

“The very reason they came,” responded Miss Sabiah, in the
same sharp tone in which she had previously spoken; and a moment
after, as if carrying out the same train of thought, she
continued, “I hate to see folks make such a display! it don't
impose upon me though.”

Mabel could not find it in her heart to impute the visit to
other than the most disinterested and amiable motives, and
remembering now, for the first time, that her aunt had kept
aloof, and seemed an alien to their gay circle, the suspicion
crossed her mind that a sense of neglect prompted the severity
of her remarks.

Anxious to atone for this, she accompanied her to her room,
explained the working of the window-shades, and the management
of the gas (both of which were mysteries to Sabiah),
and proposed several plans to be carried out on the morrow,
for the promotion of her comfort and convenience.

Miss Sabiah seemed gratified with these little attentions.
The hard expression of her face softened somewhat, and the
tone of her voice, as she said good-night, was sufficient evidence
that whatever might be the cause of her dissatisfaction,
she attached no blame to the conduct of her favorite niece.

As Mabel descended the staircase which led from her aunt's
chamber, she observed a bright light streaming from a room
adjoining the parlor, the door of which, although locked in the
earlier part of the evening, now stood ajar; at the same moment,
she heard Harry's voice calling to her from within.

To her surprise, she found him stretched in an indolent attitude
upon a sofa, attired in dressing gown and slippers, and
evidently with no intention of going to the ball. The interest
with which he had listened to Miss Vannecker's entreaties, and
the apparent assent which his manner implied, had deceived
her as to his real intentions.

“What! go to a ball the first evening of your arrival,”
exclaimed he, in reply to her looks and words of astonishment,
“and that, too, when I have not seen you these four years!
You must think I care a great deal for balls, or very little for
my sister;” and as he spoke, he drew her affectionately to a

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[figure description] Page 044.[end figure description]

seat beside him. “You are not tired,” continued he, “at least
you do not look so.”

She did not indeed. Not only was her face radiant with
pleasure at this proof of her brother's unchanged affection, but
every object around her served to summon up such emotions
of delighted surprise, as quite put to flight every thought of
weariness. The little room, which she had now entered for the
first time, seemed to the young school-girl a perfect vision of
enchantment. The costly furnished parlors, the well-filled
library, the wide stair-cases, and lofty halls, had pleased her by
their magnificence, and impressed her with new convictions of
her father's wealth. But there was something in this little
apartment, which appealed to that higher sense, and that more
refined taste which were by no means wanting in Mabel, in
spite of her light and thoughtless gaiety. The draperied walls
and windows gave to the room that air of seclusion and repose
which had been wanting to the rest of the house, while a
flower-stand of delicate wire-work was covered with choice
plants in full bloom, imparting to the atmosphere the freshness
and fragrance of a garden. The pictures were few, but their
subjects appealed to Mabel's heart, and she felt, rather than
recognized, the power of a master's hand. There was no glare
of mirrors, no rich display of gilding to dazzle the eye, but
there were vases of classic form, tables exquisitely inlaid, a
rich buhl writing desk, a miniature book-case of well chosen
books, and a few statuettes, while the silvery light which
streamed from an alabaster lamp of curious workmanship,
gave to the whole a softened and subdued effect.

Harry watched his sister with evident satisfaction, while she
made an eager survey of each beautiful object, her eye kindling
with pleasure, and many an expression of enthusiastic
delight escaping from her lips. “O, Harry,” exclaimed she,
at last, “how beautiful your room is!”

“Mine!” replied Harry. “You surely do not think all this
lady-like trumpery belongs to me. A seat in the corner of the
sofa I mean sometimes to claim, but everything else here is at
your own disposal.”

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[figure description] Page 045.[end figure description]

This was too much for Mabel's composure. She had left
her brother's side to examine more minutely the attractive
decorations of the room, but as he proclaimed her the mistress
of them all, she hastily stole behind him, where he could not
see the fast gathering tears called up by gratified feeling, and
bending her head over his shoulder, she strove, by earnest
words and caresses, to manifest her appreciation of his kindness,
for she rightly conjectured that this little treasure-cabinet
contained the gleanings of Harry's foreign tour.

“You are too lavish of your thanks, my dear,” said Harry
in a lively tone, after Mabel had again and again enlarged
upon his generosity, taste, and forethought. “It cost me no
self-denial to spend my father's money, of which I always had
such a liberal supply, and I assure you, I had very little to do
with the selection of these fancy articles, except it be a few of
the books. All you have to thank me for, is the fact that the
Terpsichore did not arrive here minus the tips of her fingers,
and that Apollo was saved a broken nose. It cost me a world
of pains to get those things properly packed, and passed
through the custom-houses in safety. I would not have done
it for anybody but you, May, but since you are pleased, I feel
very well paid for the trouble.” “Can you speak German?”
continued he, rising and walking towards the book-case.

“No,” answered Mabel, “but I read it a little.”

“You must study it with me,” said Harry; “you will soon
like it as well as I do; we will read these together,” added
he, placing his hand upon the works of some of the best German
authors, “and I will teach you to enjoy Schiller and

“So you will take me for a pupil!” exclaimed Mabel. “Oh,
that will be delightful; and this shall be our school-room.”

Harry had taken a richly bound volume from the shelf, and
was now glancing at it with the eager and almost fond interest
of one who cherishes a keen appreciation of an author; for
Harry's intellectual tastes had of late developed rapidly. As
he closed the book and replaced it, he said,—

“The only difficulty in the way of your studious plans, is

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[figure description] Page 046.[end figure description]

that Louise and the Vannecker set will have the advantage of
me, and engross all your time. Louise is a complete woman
of fashion,—just what you will be in a week,” added he, playfully.

Mabel eagerly and almost indignantly repelled the suggestion.
A woman of fashion she should never be,—not if he
meant by that a mere worldling. She should enjoy society, of
course, as she supposed Louise did; but that need not interfere
with her reading, studying, and faithfully keeping up an extensive
correspondence with her school friends.

Harry smiled good-naturedly, but with an incredulous look,
and an admiring glance at her beautiful face and figure,—a
glance that seemed to say “the world will claim you, whether
you will or not.”

But there was no replying to a smile, however expressive it
might be, and Mabel, not appearing to observe its meaning,
turned to the Terpsichore, which stood in a little alcove, and,
after expatiating upon the shame it would have been if such
an exquisite thing had been injured in its removal, she inquired
to whom she was indebted for its selection.

“You tell me that you did not consult your own taste; do
you mean that these gems were recommended to you by the
artists themselves?”

“No, indeed; but I had the benefit of counsel more reliable
than my own, or the artists' either. Dudley was with me in
Florence, and in most of the studios I visited abroad. His
taste is perfect; more than that, May, he seemed to flatter himself
that he thoroughly understood yours. It was really ridiculous,
the way in which he insisted upon my bringing that
musical genius home; he declared we had seen nothing in all
our travels so suited to your refined and youthful taste; and
the Iris, too,—nothing would do but I should secure that gossamer
belle, at any rate. He confidently assured me that they
would be of priceless value, in your eyes. I long to have you
see Dudley, Mabel; he is a splendid fellow.”

Mabel turned away to examine the picture, and, at the same

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[figure description] Page 047.[end figure description]

time, to hide a blush at what she felt to be no ordinary compliment
from a man like Lincoln Dudley.

Although some years her brother's senior, Dudley had been
his companion, not only during a few months spent in Paris,
when Harry first went abroad, but also, more recently, on a
most interesting pedestrian excursion through Switzerland,
Germany, and some parts of Italy. Thus, for years, his
praises had been familiar to her, through Harry's letters; and,
from this source, too, she had become inspired with the greatest
respect for his uncommon talents, and a most romantic interest
in his somewhat eccentric character. She was well
aware that her weekly correspondence with her brother had
brought her to Dudley's knowledge, and, in some degree, to his
acquaintance; still she felt not a little flattered at his having
thus studied her character, and divined her tastes, among which,
enthusiasm for art was inherent, though, as yet, but little cultivated.

“When does Mr. Dudley return?” asked she, with apparent

“In a few weeks. We should have come together, but he
was unexpectedly detained in Paris. You will be unlike most
ladies, if you do not admire Dudley; he is, generally speaking,
very popular. I wonder what he will think of those horses I
bought to-day?”

“Is he a judge of horse-flesh?” asked Mabel, in some surprise.

“No more than he is of everything. I doubt whether he
understands a single point about a horse; still he could tell at
a glance whether a gentleman's equipage was complete, and I
would trust to his judgment in a purchase of any sort.”

Here Harry's panegyric of his friend was interrupted by
his father's return home. He glanced at his watch, discovered
the lateness of the hour, and, blaming himself for keeping Mabel
up so late, went away in spite of her assurance that she was
not in the least fatigued. A few moments after, Mr. Vaughan,
hearing her voice, and seeing a light in the room, looked in to

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[figure description] Page 048.[end figure description]

reprimand her for not being asleep, and bade her a kindly
good-night; after which, she was left to her own thoughts.

Exciting thoughts they were; and such as, it may well be
imagined, robbed Mabel of sleep during many an hour of that
first night spent under her father's roof.

What indulgence, what love, what pride were evinced in the
demeanor of each member of her family towards her! What
plans had they already formed for her happiness! With what
bounty had every want been foreseen, and provided for! Now
the thought of her father's affectionate liberality was uppermost
in her mind; then came the recollection of her manly brother,
his warm-hearted welcome, and the promise of future happy
days in his society; and this, in its turn, was dispelled by the
vision of her graceful sister, who seemed a fitting type of that
select and elegant circle into which Mabel was soon to be introduced,
and in which she already foresaw the future triumphs
that awaited her.

But there were some things which she did not think of, the
very things which Mrs. Herbert had feared she would forget,
and had labored to impress upon her memory. She did not
think of her kind teacher's last injunction, last warning, and
last lesson. She quite forgot the duty which every blessing
entails, the obligation which is bound up in every privilege,
and while her cup was running over, she forgot to ask whose
hand had filled it. Not that her heart was cold, or that generous
emotions were lost in selfish satisfaction. The tenderest
love shone in her affectionate smile, gratitude sparkled in the
quick-starting tear, and the unquestioning trust with which her
young heart reposed in each new assurance of affection, proved
the depth of her faithful, confiding nature.

But, alas! her love is not for Him who has meted out her
lot so graciously; her moist eye is not uplifted in thankfulness to
the Source whence all these blessings flow; her ardent trust is
not in Him, without whom all confidence is vain. Not yet has
Mabel learned the sacredness of her mission; not yet has she
realized its duties, or its pangs. For the present it is her
business to be happy, and her joy to be beloved.

-- 049 --

[figure description] Page 049.[end figure description]

Well for her, if, when pleasure's altars are shattered,—
when self-love awakens from its dream, and life be no longer a
pastime, her spirit can bow in meek submission, and the
inner temple of the heart be consecrated to the service of Him
whose love can impart to a life of toil and trial a foretaste
of the joys of Heaven'

-- 050 --


So forth she sallied, blithe and gay,
And met dame Fashion by the way;
And many a kind and friendly greeting
Passed on their meeting:
Nor let the fact your wonder move,
Fashion and she are hand and glove.
Mrs. Barbauld.

[figure description] Page 050.[end figure description]

Mrs. Leroy's home was on the second floor of a fashionable
hotel. The cares of housekeeping were so irksome to
Louise, and so ill-fulfilled, that her husband at length acceded
to her often-repeated entreaty that she might be promoted to
the independence and luxury of hotel-life; and she had now
been for two successive winters the occupant of an elegant
suite of rooms, in close proximity to the apartments of her
friend, Mrs. Vannecker, whose example had stimulated the
fickle Louise, and encouraged her inherent love of change.

Mr. Leroy, who at first opposed this arrangement, had now
become its warmest advocate; for, while his natural indolence
had prevented his exercising any efficient check upon his
wife's domestic mismanagement, he had been the chief sufferer
from the anarchy and confusion which pervaded his establishment;
and he found under the present system, if not an increase
of actual happiness, a release from many petty annoyances,
and a marked lessening of his yearly expenditure.
And whatever accustomed comforts his new home failed to
supply, were amply compensated for at his club, of which he
was a constant frequenter.

Louise found here, as she had elsewhere, continual sources
of discontent, and was often restless and dissatisfied; especially
did she murmur at the peeuliar misfortune and

-- 051 --

[figure description] Page 051.[end figure description]

hardship which restricted her in her present mode of life from
many social privileges to which she had been accustomed in
her own house, and it was, therefore, with proportionate joy
that she received the first intimation of her father's intentions
and plans.

The reception of guests under his roof would be less onerous
and far more agreeable than furnishing entertainments of her
own. Mabel, being but a school-girl, must be properly introduced
into society, and who could be so capable as herself of
superintending the festivities attendant upon her entrance into
city life? What, indeed, was to prevent the rooms of her
wealthy parent from becoming the scene of all those fashionable
and social gatherings, over which Louise felt herself well
fitted to preside?

Certainly not any opposition on her father's part,—for Mr.
Vaughan, while he dreaded to see Mabel become a mere fine
lady, or Harry an idle fop, was, nevertheless, too easy-tempered
and yielding to oppose any schemes which would tend to his
children's gratification and happiness, and, in matters of expense,
it was neither his nature nor habit to place restrictions
upon the extravagance of his family,—certainly not any want
of energy on the part of Mrs. Leroy, whose capacities were
never so thoroughly called out as on an occasion like the present,
when she was actuated by the three-fold motive of establishing
her young relative in the gay world, promoting her
own enjoyment, and strengthening her influence in her father's

Nor was she destined to disappointment. It was the universal
voice among the leaders of fashion, that nothing could be in
better taste than Mr. Vaughan's house and equipage, nothing
more successful than the grand reception, held in honor of
Mabel and gracefully conducted by Louise, nothing more certain
than the fact, that the former would rank as the unrivalled
belle of the season, and the latter continue one of its choicest

Thus, borne on the tide of happy fortunes, and launched into
gay life under the most flattering auspices, our young

-- 052 --

[figure description] Page 052.[end figure description]

school-girl achieved, almost without conscious effort, the position to
which nature and circumstances seemed to destine her.

“Let me see!” exclaimed Harry one morning, looking up
from a daily journal and glancing mischievously at Mabel, “it
is a week to-day since your arrival in this great city,—yes,
just a week,” added he, “and my prediction fulfilled already!”

“What prediction?” asked Miss Sabiah, lifting her eyes
from an intricate piece of knitting work and fixing them somewhat
anxiously upon Harry, who, lounging over a late breakfast,
was, at the same time, carelessly scanning the morning

“A piece of shrewd foresight on my part, aunt, which informed
me, that seven days and seven nights only would be
required for the transformation of a chrysalis into a butterfly.”

Aunt Sabiah, to whom Harry's vague and ironical replies
were often unintelligible, moved no further inquiry, but looked
down at her work, with the vexed and injured expression of
one who has failed to obtain a satisfactory answer.

Mabel, who better understood the allusion, continued to occupy
herself with feeding Harry's great dog, holding high
above the head of her huge playfellow the dainty bits she had
taken from the table, and obstinately refusing to meet the eye
of her brother, which she knew to be fixed upon her.

“Two wedding receptions, and an evening concert, on Tuesday,”
reckoned Harry, counting with his fingers; “fashionable
promenade, opera, and ball, on Wednesday.”

“Let me disentangle that worsted for you, aunt,” exclaimed
Mabel, still feigning inattention, and taking a low seat near
Miss Vaughan.

“Three magnificent parties on Thursday,” continued Harry,
“and the grand ball of the season on Friday! Well done,
Mabel! well done! I said one week would make a fine lady
of you; what a pity I did n't take a bet on it.”

“I deny the charge,” said Mabel, warmly, “it is n't true, is
it, Tartar?” and she patted the head of the dog; “fine ladies
do n't play with great dogs, nor understand the mysteries of
knitting work either,” and, as she spoke, she drew the needles

-- 053 --

[figure description] Page 053.[end figure description]

from the entangled worsted, unravelled a piece of the work, and
began patiently to take up the stitches.

“Ah! but I have the proof,” said Harry triumphantly, rising
from the table; “here we have it in black and white, and what
the newspaper says must be true,” and he laid before her the
paragraph in question.

It was a description of last night's brilliant ball, and among
the noted beauties of the evening, Mabel's name stood first.
As she read the flattering description of her own personal and
mental charms, an indignant flush overspread her face. “An
impertinent paragraph like that proves nothing!” exclaimed
she, with spirit.

“It merely affixes a seal to the fact,” rejoined Harry, “that
our school-girl of a week ago has ripened into the woman of
fashion,” and he pointed to the heading of the article, “Our
Fashionable World.”

“Then you meant Mabel,” said Miss Sabiah sharply, “when
you talked about the chrysalis and the butterfly. A mighty
civil speech, I must say. You may think it a compliment to
call her a butterfly now, but I've never seen the time yet when
she deserved the name of a chrysalis,—an ugly chrysalis. For
my part I liked her quite as well last week as this. I expect
you will spoil her among you,” muttered she in an under tone.

“Why, Aunt Sabiah,” said Harry, with animation, and in a
voice whose irony was lost upon Miss Sabiah, “you do n't mean
so! Do you really pretend to say that you were as fond and
as proud of Mabel, when she was fresh from Mrs. Herbert's,
as now that she has the dress, the polish, and the homage of a
city? She was a very good girl, and one of the family, and of
course, we felt a regard for her. But just think what she is
now. The belle of the metropolis, the queen of fashion, with
dozens of brainless coxcombs at her beck and call, and hundreds
of intimate friends, who live upon her smiles! Think
what a transformation, what a victory!”

“Do n't be so absurd, Harry,” interrupted Mabel, amused
herself, but dreading lest her aunt should take her brother in
earnest, or worse still, be offended at his playful sarcasms; “we

-- 054 --

[figure description] Page 054.[end figure description]

butterflies, for you are one no less than myself, will fold our
wings for awhile; this promises to be my first rainy day in
New York, and we will have a charming sociable time at home,
to make amends for a week's gaiety.”

“A rainy day!” cried Harry, walking to the window, and
looking anxiously at the clouds; “no, I hope not, our Jersey
excursion is to come off this afternoon, and fine weather is indispensable;
but, Mabel, how does it happen that you are disengaged?
where is the arch enemy?”

“How should I know what you mean, Harry? What strange
titles you do bestow on people!”

“No more than is deserved in this instance. Who is the
chief enemy of our domestic peace, the ringleader in all these
fashionable plots, despoiling us of your society, and inflicting
upon us her own at will? If you can't guess who I mean, my
aunt can. She is no more friendly to the Vannecker influence
than I am.”

“O, Harry,” said Mabel, laughing, “how ungrateful, when
Mrs. Vannecker and Victoria both admire you so much.”
Harry shrugged his shoulders. “You are safe for to-day,”
continued Mabel; Mrs. Vannecker and Louise are going to
make visits, at some distance out of town; happily I am off
duty. What a pity you are engaged on that excursion party;
we might have commenced studying our German!”

“Hear her!” exclaimed Harry, with mock gravity, “the devoted
and ardent student, only debarred from indulging her
intellectual tastes by the unavoidable absence of her tutor!”

“Indeed, Harry!” replied Mabel, “I assure you I have
looked at those books again and again, with longing eyes; but
I can't find a moment's time for anything but what Mrs. Vannecker
calls the claims of society.”

“Oh, hang Mrs. Vannecker!” retorted Harry, warmly.

“And her accomplices too?” questioned Mabel, archly.

“No, spare the innocent,” said Harry, yawning; “give our
soft-headed Louise the privileges of youth, and a chance under
another leader; by the way, what a languishing little piece of
nonsense—” then, meeting Mabel's astonished and reproachful

-- 055 --

[figure description] Page 055.[end figure description]

glance, he hesitated, laughed, and interrupted himself with, “Oh,
she's our sister, is n't she? mum's the word.”

The quick and emphatic nodding of Miss Sabiah's head
manifested her approval of Harry's half uttered sentiments, and
it was with something like animation that she said, in a partial
soliloquy, “So, at last, we are going to have a quiet day!”

“Yes,” responded Mabel. “It will be a fine chance for me
to read those old letters of Grandma Vaughan's, and to pin up
the bows for your new cap. We'll have luncheon up stairs,
aunt, and not come down until dinner time.”

Miss Sabiah's face lighted up with unmistakable satisfaction
at this proposition, but became proportionably overshadowed
with disappointment when, a moment after, the impulsive Mabel
exclaimed to her brother, “Harry, I have a great mind—”

“Well,” replied he, stepping into the hall and returning with
his overcoat on his arm, “we know you have a great mind,
what does it suggest?”

“That I should walk down town with you as far as—

Harry lifted his eyebrows expressively, saying, “but I
thought my lady Finery had driven six miles out of town.”

“I know it,” said Mabel, “but I want so much to see the
children, and they would be at home this morning.”

“Very well,” said Harry, “I am going directly by there, and
shall be charmed with your company; but it may rain; why
not take the carriage?”

“Louise has our carriage.”

“Our carriage!” exclaimed he, in a half provoked tone;
“there's a plot for you! what has become of her own?”

“One of Mr. Leroy's horses is lame, and he has sent them
both into the country for the winter.”

Harry whistled expressively, and Mabel, with unfeigned
alacrity, declared a preference for walking; she was not at all
afraid of the rain—was accustomed to brave all sorts of weather,
and did not choose to become a hot-house plant.

“I hope you'll be paid for your trouble,” said Miss Sabiah,

-- 056 --

[figure description] Page 056.[end figure description]

in a tone of characteristic tartness, “It'll be one while before I
put myself in the way of those children again.”

“How so, aunt?” questioned Harry, in a tone of lively interest.
Harry took a mischievous pleasure in encouraging
Sabiah's occasional outbursts of antipathy and pique.

Mabel, who was just leaving the room to prepare for her
walk, did not hear her aunt's reply, but on returning, equipped
for the excursion, she found Harry convulsed with half suppressed
laughter, and was greeted with the exclamation on his

“Ah, Mabel, you are prepared for an encounter with wild
beasts, I hope; according to good authority you are going to
face a monkey and a bear this morning; both are dangerous,
but one is open and frequent in his mischievous attacks, while
the other sucks his claws and meditates deeper injury; that is
a fair state of the case, as proved by melancholy experience;”
and again Harry laughed immoderately.

Miss Sabiah's face wore the half-vexed, half-puzzled expression
which was invariably called up by Harry's raillery, and
Mabel, who was always a little apprehensive when he thus
ventured to sharpen his wit on the flat surface of her aunt's
obtuseness, hurried him away, playfully remarking, that thus
warned she should certainly be on her guard.

Miss Sabiah gathered up her work, and, with the customary
cloud on her countenance, was proceeding up stairs to the
retirement of her own room, when Mabel paused at the hall
door to assure her that she should soon return, and while in
Broadway would avail herself of the opportunity to purchase a
few yards of ribbon which would be required for the cap she
proposed to trim.

Miss Sabiah looked gratified at Mabel's thoughtfulness, and
the latter good-naturedly waited, while her aunt counted out
from an old-fashioned purse the precise sum required for the
purchase, and gave the most minute instructions concerning
the quantity and quality of the article,—Harry, meantime,
impatiently shaking the door-lock with his hand.

-- 057 --

[figure description] Page 057.[end figure description]

“So you have not seen these wonderful boys yet?” said
Harry to Mabel, as they walked down the street.

Mabel recounted several disappointments she had experienced,
with regard to seeing her little nephews, and declared
herself quite excited with curiosity and interest concerning

“They must have made a riotous invasion into Aunt Sabiah's
room yesterday,” said Harry, again giving way to merriment,
as he recalled Miss Vaughan's description of the scene. “She's
down on them this morning. She's too hard upon that little
Murray, though; he's a splendid fellow—the other, to be
sure, has rather a hang-dog look.”

Some passing object here diverted Harry's attention, and,
amid various subjects of conversation and interest, the youthful
couple ceased to speak or even think of their young relatives.

Indeed, Mabel's girlish spirits were so elated by the keen
morning air, and the lively sallies of Harry, that in the pleasure
of the walk she half forgot its object, and was fairly taken by
surprise when she found herself at the entrance of the hotel,
and her companion pausing to bid her good-morning. Exercise
had imparted a more than wonted glow to her cheeks, and
her face wore its most beaming expression, as, standing for a
moment with her hand in Harry's, she gayly urged him to
return home in season to make one of their family circle in the
evening. He readily promised to do so, and as she disappeared
within the doorway, the affectionate glance which followed her
for an instant, bespoke a marked degree of brotherly tenderness
and pride.

“Have you turned astronomer, Vaughan?” asked a well-known
voice, close at his side, “you appear to be watching the
disappearance of a star of the first magnitude.”

“Dudley, my dear fellow!” was Harry's quick and eager
exclamation, and in the cordial greeting which followed, the latter
paid no heed to his friend's first inquiry. Having satisfied
Harry's astonishment with regard to his sudden arrival, Dudley
again glanced in the direction in which Mabel had

-- 058 --

[figure description] Page 058.[end figure description]

disappeared, and asked, with evident interest, “Who is yonder brilliant

“A new arrival, almost a stranger in the city,” answered
Harry, with feigned indifference; “you will soon see her, I
have no doubt, moving in her orbit.”

“Not I,” responded Dudley, carelessly; “I start for Washington
this afternoon, and there is no knowing when I shall

Harry felt disappointed, for he was really impatient to introduce
his friend to Mabel.

“I have half an hour to spare,” said Dudley, looking at his
watch, “and a hundred things to say to you, Vaughan,” and
putting his arm within Harry's, he accompanied him down

-- 059 --


Oh, when she's angry, she is keen and shrewd!
She was a vixen when she went to school,
And though she be but little, she is fierce.

[figure description] Page 059.[end figure description]

As Mabel, after parting with Harry, ascended the wide
staircase leading in the direction of her sister's rooms, she
heard a loud noise, as if some one were striking the floor above
with a heavy stick. In a moment more a little figure appeared
in sight, riding upon a stout cane. He was galloping, in imitation
of the motions of a horse, and at every step the cane rattled
upon the floor behind him. At the same time he was shouting
to the imaginary steed in a voice which at least bespoke healthy
lungs. He was a beautiful child, with long curls of fair hair
hanging upon his shoulders, and his dress, though disordered
and somewhat slovenly, was gay and fanciful in the extreme.
That he was wholly unmanageable was evident from the fact
that he paid no attention to the voice of a young, tired-looking
girl, who was following and vainly calling upon him to stop.
Just as Mabel reached the top of the staircase, the girl overtook
the child, and attempted, with a restraining arm, to check,
him in his course. At this moment, and when the long passage-way
was ringing with the sudden and violent cries of the
now angry and excited boy, a door opened from a neighboring
room and a gentleman exclaimed, in a severe tone, “Really,
if you cannot keep that child still, I must complain to the landlord,—
my wife is very ill, and that boy has been troubling us
all the morning.” The poor girl looked in despair, especially
as the little horseman had, in the meantime, escaped from her
grasp, and was continuing his sport, regardless of the impatient

-- 060 --

[figure description] Page 060.[end figure description]

voice and threatening manner in which the gentleman now
called to him, in the words—“Stop, sir!”

In the meantime, Mabel, half-smiling at the scene, kept on
her way towards her sister's apartments, which were in an
opposite direction, and passing the spacious parlor and bed-room,
paused at the door of a chamber beyond, which she knew
to be used as a nursery. She knocked slightly, but perceiving
at the same moment that the door was ajar, opened it and went
in. Directly opposite to her, seated at a high table, and with
his feet dangling from his chair, was one of the young gentlemen
whom she had come to seek. He could not have been
more than eight years of age, but as he sat with his forehead
resting on both hands, and his eyes fixed upon a book, there
was in his stooping attitude, and the grave, fixed expression of
his face, something which it was painful and unnatural to witness
in so young a child. There was but little life or animation
in his features; his complexion was dark and sallow, and
his thin fingers were thrust through his long hair in such a
manner that it fell over them in distinct and heavy locks,
shadowing and nearly concealing his otherwise high and open
brow. He did not move or change his position as Mabel
entered, but glancing at her from beneath his hand with a
wholly indifferent air, said, abruptly, “Mother's gone out;”
and then kept on with his reading.

Before Mabel had time to reply, she was roughly thrust
aside by the same little urchin whom she had seen in the entry,
and who now rushed by her into the room, still riding on the
stick, with which he made the circuit of the apartment two or
three times, drawing in his chin, and opening and shutting his
mouth, as if in the act of champing a bit. At length, as he
drew near the table of the young student, who had not hitherto
bestowed on him the least notice, he commenced a series of
caracoles, and then, bobbing his head, as if irritated by the
pressure of a tight rein, contrived to hit the book, which had
been propped in an upright position on the table, and succeeded
in throwing it on the floor. His brother, for both were in
truth Mrs. Leroy's children, received this bit of pleasantry

-- 061 --

[figure description] Page 061.[end figure description]

with a glow of sullen anger, and stretching forth his foot from
beneath the table, bestowed a sudden kick on the unruly author
of the mischief. Mabel, still standing near the door, was an
attentive witness of the whole proceeding. Alick, the bestower
of the reprimand, perfectly aware that he was observed, cast
upon her a half-mortified, half-defiant look, which seemed to
say, “you saw! I don't care if you did;” and then stooping
down, he picked up his book and replaced it in precisely the
same position which it had occupied before.

He appeared, meanwhile, quite indifferent to the cries of the
younger child, who, although in reality but little hurt by his
brother's blow, had thrown himself upon the floor, and was
screaming and sobbing with all his might.

Shocked at Alick's rudeness, and repelled by the sullen expression
of his face, Mabel's sympathies were now wholly with
the younger boy, who, in spite of his wilful and riotous behavior,
seemed the more amiable of the two. She took him, therefore,
upon her knee, soothed his cries, and, with the view of relieving
the astonishment of the children's attendant, who looked at
her with surprise, made haste to announce her relationship.
As she said, “I am your Aunt Mabel,” Alick looked up quickly
from his book, gave her an earnest and searching glance, and
then looked down as before. Murray, however, the other,
appeared careless and unconcerned on this point, but submitted
to her caresses, allowed himself to be comforted, and upon
being permitted to search her pockets for the confectionary
which she informed him was to be found there, quite forgot his
past injuries, and became sunshiny and good humored.

Mabel could not win from him, however, any recognition of
her claims upon his love. He received her attentions and
favors as a part of the homage due to a petted child, but shook
his head when she asked him if he did not remember the many
kisses Aunt Mabel had sent him in her letters to mamma, and
the pretty toys which came in a box at Christmas. Convinced
by his manner, that her name awakened no emotion of interest
in the boy, and failing to perceive the expression of eager
scrutiny with which Alick had for an instant regarded her, she

-- 062 --

[figure description] Page 062.[end figure description]

felt a momentary pang of disappointment, in the thought that
the children she had been so impatient to see, looked upon her
as a stranger. But her loving nature would not permit her to
be easily repulsed, and she resolved that since it rested wholly
with herself to awaken the affection of her little nephews, no
pains should be wanting on her part. So she exerted herself
most sedulously for the entertainment of the younger boy, at
the same time endeavoring to excite the attention of his silent
brother. During the half hour that Murray sat upon her
knee, the increasing interest with which he gazed into the face
of his beautiful young relative, and the eagerness with which
he listened to her playful and lively words, were sufficient evidence
of the success which seldom failed to attend her efforts
to engage the ear and win the heart of childhood. She more
than once turned from him to address a remark to Alick, but
he either gave her no reply or answered in such a sulky tone,
that she was at length deterred from any attempt to become
better acquainted with him.

In the meantime, there was still another in the room who,
although unnoticed herself, watched Mabel with no small
degree of admiration and curiosity. This was the young girl
who had the charge of the children, and whose weary-looking
face had excited Mabel's compassion as she came up the stairs.
Her's was indeed a hard task,—a task which under the most
favorable circumstances, might have worn upon the strength
and spirits of so young a girl, and which was rendered doubly
difficult, by reason of her having in Mrs. Leroy's employ several
different parties to please, any one of which it was impossible
to satisfy. Moreover, she had been delicately brought
up, and her present employment was new and irksome to her.

To have the restless Murray quiet and amused for one half
hour, to be spared the necessity of furnishing diversion for
him, and to be permitted to sit by and listen to the pleasant
words and lively sallies which were no less entertaining to
herself than to her little charge, was a pleasure the more
keenly appreciated because so rarely enjoyed; and Mabel
little knew with what a smile of satisfaction she was watched

-- 063 --

[figure description] Page 063.[end figure description]

by another pair of eyes, beside those which beamed brightly
upon her from the face of the child. At length a sudden gust
of wind, and heavy rain drops pattering against the window,
gave Mabel the first intimation that the storm which was
threatening when she left home, had now commenced with
great severity. Imprisoned as she thus was, in the hotel, and
fearful lest her aunt would be anxious at her continued
absence, she was revolving in her mind the possibility of sending
a messenger to her father's house, when she recognized in
the neighboring passage-way the voice of Mrs. Leroy, and
the loud laugh of Mrs. Vannecker. At once conjecturing that
the storm had hastened their return, she hurried to meet her
sister, in hopes that she might be in season to detain the carriage.
But she was too late; the coachman had already driven
off. Louise gaily reproached her, however, for desiring to run
away the moment she had reached home. “To whom, pray,
was your visit intended?” asked she.

“To the children,” replied Mabel. “I have seen them at

“And how do you like them? Is n't my precious Murray a
darling little pet? and as for Alick—I hope he was in his
usual good humor?”

Her tone was sincere when she spoke of Murray, but she
turned to Mrs. Vannecker with a short laugh, as she uttered
the latter clause, and both the laugh and the tone of her voice
betrayed that the remark was made in irony.

Mabel understood the insinuation and, while she wondered
that her sister could speak lightly on so grave a matter as the
bad temper of her own child, she said to herself,—“I have
seen him then in his usual mood;—what a very disagreeable
boy he must be!”

They now bade Mrs. Vannecker good-morning, and Louise
led the way to her own apartments, Mabel following her, at
the same time requesting that some one might be sent to summon
the carriage, as, on her aunt's account, she felt the importance
of returning home at once.

But she found it impossible to resist the pressing and

-- 064 --

[figure description] Page 064.[end figure description]

graceful manner in which Louise insisted that she should stay, at
least until after lunch, assuring her that it was the height of
folly to make herself such a slave to the whims and fears of
the old lady, who, she plainly saw, was disposed to play the
tyrant; and Mabel, too easily yielding to her sister's persuasions,
consented to remain. As they entered the drawing-room,
Murray came bounding to meet his mother, who took him in
her arms, lavished upon him many an endearing and flattering
epithet, and throwing herself upon the sofa, in an affected
and languishing attitude, permitted the indulged child to trample
at will upon her rich dress, and play with the artificial
roses that adorned her bonnet.

As Mabel looked at them, she thought she had never seen a
more interesting picture of maternal loveliness, and child-like
beauty; but the scene thus presented was as short-lived as
the effect was striking; for Louise's vanity, both on her own
account, and that of her child, being quite satisfied by this little
display of tenderness, she could not long restrain the impatience
and irritability which rendered such companionship
irksome, and after a few moments, the rash and wilful hand
of the boy having assailed the delicate lace of her collar, she
thrust it hastily aside, and abruptly lifted him from the sofa to
the floor. As she did so, he succeeded in snatching a rich
ermine mantle from her shoulders, and retreated to the other
end of the room, dragging the delicate white fur behind him
on the carpet.

Louise, who was expatiating to Mabel upon the attractions of
a dramatic performance to take place that evening at the house
of one of the leaders of fashion, seemed at first quite unconscious
of this feat on the part of the child; but in a moment
more she rose suddenly from her seat, and still continuing in
an earnest strain of conversation with Mabel, took a few steps
towards Murray, who was roughly playing with his prize, and
snatching one end of the mantle, which lay stretched upon the
carpet, endeavored to wrest it from his grasp. Her manner
was resolute, but the boy was nothing daunted. He clung to
his new toy, and by a sudden effort, extricating it from his

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mother's hands, gathered it in his arms, and escaped to the
opposite corner, casting over his shoulder a triumphant glance
at his bafiled parent. So far from following up the pursuit,
however, or uttering a word of reprimand, she appeared rather
to glory in the rebellious spirit of the child; her only comment
upon the failure of her attempt consisting in a smile of amusement
at the success with which he had asserted his independence
of control. Nor did the risk of injury to the mantle further
engage her thoughts, but, passively yielding to the little
conqueror, she resumed her seat, and continued the scarcely
interrupted strain of her discourse upon the music, dresses, and
decorations of the evening's entertainment.

Mabel, while engaging with animation upon the subject of
pleasures which had for her all the zest of novelty, scarcely
gave a thought to this little contest between parent and child,
save as she considered it a proof of that sweet softness, and
amiability of character, which forbade Louise to exercise severity,
or exact obedience. As she sat, however, in full view
of the child, who was now mounted upon a chair, acting in his
favorite capacity of an imaginary horseman, with the long ends
of the mantle serving as a bridle, she more than once had her
fears excited for the safety both of the boy, and the ermine.
A slight start on her part caused Louise, at one time, to turn
her head in that direction, but, dreading a stormy altercation
with the little rebel, she closed her eyes to the possibility of
the mischief that might ensue, and, with a languid smile, permitted
him to continue his sport. At length, a sudden jerk on
Murray's part, and the mantle, which towards the end was
narrow and slender, became rent, and gave way, precipitating
the child to the floor, the fragment of the torn fur still grasped
tightly in his hand.

Mabel sprung to his assistance, for, although his fall was not
heavy, or from a great height, he uttered a succession of piereing
shrieks, and the feared he might be seriously hurt. Louise
started at the same moment, but Mabel had lifted the boy to
his feet before his mother reached the spot. The eager question
of the former, “are you hurt, darling?” was scarcely

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answered, and he still continued sobbing, when Louise caught
sight of the torn fur, which she angrily snatched from his
hand. Alas! now, for that softness of manner of which many
beside Mabel had often experienced the charm! It vanished
in an instant. The subdued voice of Louise was changed to
loud tones of reproach; words of sudden anger took the place
of her usual languid accents, and the little hand, so perfect in
contour, so graceful in gesture, now gave added force to her
words, as she inflicted with it a sudden blow upon Murray's
offending palm. But the urchin was no unresisting
victim of her displeasure; he boldly maintained his defence,
and Mabel became the witness of a violent and noisy struggle,
which ended in Mrs. Leroy's forcibly expelling the child from
the room, amid a succession of kicks, screams, and threats, which
would, probably, have alarmed the household, had not such
outbursts been a matter of almost daily-occurrence. Grieved
and shocked at the scene, Mabel expected to see her sister
still more painfully affected by so unnatural a conflict. But,
on the contrary, Louise turned to her with a smile, and on observing
her half-embarrassed, half-distressed expression, laughed

“I am afraid he is hurt,” suggested Mabel, “he cried so
loud when he first fell.”

“Oh, no,” answered Louise, in a careless tone, “he always
cries so;” and she proceeded to the examination of her mantle,
fitting the piece in her hand into the place from which it was
torn, and saying “what a shame! I wonder if I can get it
mended at Lefarge's?”

So intent was she in considering the best mode of repairing
the damage, that for several minutes she took no notice of Mabel,
who gradually recovered from her surprise at the contradictions
in her sister's temper, especially as she found that this
little outbreak of maternal indignation exercised no lasting
check upon the merriment of the child, whom she soon heard
in the neighboring nursery, engaged in happy play.

Two or three hours had elapsed, the season of lunch was
long passed, and Mabel's conscience beginning once more to

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reproach her for this continued stay, she had persuaded Louise to
send for a carriage. It had not yet arrived, and she was somewhat
impatiently awaiting it, when a loud cry was raised in
the nursery, and a moment after, Murray came screaming into
the room, evidently in some new distress, and, quite forgetful
of past difficulties, running to his mother for sympathy. She
opened her arms to receive him, begged to know what was the
matter with her sweet pet, and with many tender and exaggerated
expressions of solicitude, promised that whoever had
harmed him should be punished.

Alick had harmed him, had pushed and kicked him, and
both he and Lydia had called him ugly names.

“I called him no ugly names,” exclaimed the tired-looking
young nurse, appearing at the door, her face, at first pale, becoming
quite red as she observed the presence of Mabel.

“Be quiet!” said Mrs. Leroy, in an imperative voice to the
girl; and going to the open door of the nursery, she demanded
of Alick, in a severe tone, what new injury he had been doing
his brother, adding, in the same breath, “I know you are
always rude to him.”

“He's rude to me,” was the boy's surly reply.

His mother, unsparing of words and threats, continued to
reprove him, but he made no further apology, receiving her
rebukes with indifference, not to say inattention, and deigning
no answers to her inquiries into his behavior. He found an
advocate, however, in Lydia, who commenced at once, “Alick
was not to blame, Mrs. Leroy,—”

“You need not tell me that, Lydia,” replied her mistress,
“I know who is always to blame in these quarrels.”

“He called me names,” muttered Murray, “he did. He said
I was a beggar!”

“I didn't!” retorted Alick, speaking bluntly, and between
his teeth.

“No ma'am,” exclaimed Lydia, earnestly. “I was telling
them what a good little sister I had at home; Alick said he
should like to see her, ma'am, and I promised to take him
there, if you had no objections. It was Murray himself who

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spoke of beggars. I'm sure Rosy is no beggar, and if my
mother isn't rich, she is very respectable.”

“I said I didn't want to go and see any beggar girls, and no
I don't!” said Murray, “and then Alick said I wasn't any
better than a beggar myself. I am, aint I, mother?”

“Certainly, my dear. Alick you are a bad boy to talk so
to your brother,—and, Lydia, don't let me hear any more of
this. Of course, you are not to take either of the boys to any
low places. The children you are used to may be good children,
and they may not, but, at all events, they are not fit
company for my children.”

“Indeed, Mrs. Leroy,” exclaimed Lydia, her face becoming
suffused with the deepest crimson, her eye flashing angrily, but
the trembling of her lip, at the same time, giving evidence of
an emotion deeper than wounded pride,—“indeed, ma'am, I
only wish you could see such children as I am used to; there's
some among 'em that might teach a lesson even to a lady.”

If there was incivility in this remark from a young girl to
her mistress, it was almost lost sight of by Mabel, who was
struck by the deep earnestness and feeling with which it was
spoken. Not so with Louise. She viewed the girl's words
merely as an outbreak of impertinence, and passed judgment
upon them accordingly. It would have been well for her dignity,
if she could have so far commanded her temper as to
speak Lydia's dismissal with calmness. But this was not the
case. In the violent and abusive language with which she assailed
her for forgettulness of place, and neglect of the respect
due to her superiors, she more than forfeited her own position
as a lady, nor could Mabel fee! otherwise than shocked at the
harshness with which she assured the poor girl that she had
forfeited her month's wages, at the same time forbidding her
to leave her service until a new nurse was provided.

It was some consolation to perceive that these fits of temper
were as transient as they were severe. As Louise closed
the nursery door upon Lydia, she seemed to exhaust her displeasure
in the words, “there, I have done with her;—now
I shall have the trouble of finding another nurse for those

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children,—little plagues;” and the next moment she addressed
some light remark to Mabel on the subject of her
dress for the approaching evening,—adding, “I will go this
minute and borrow Mrs. Vannecker's ear-rings, to try if coral
is becoming to me!”

-- --


Not every flower that blossoms
Diffuses sweets around;
Not every scene hope glids with light
Will fair be found.
Mrs. S. J. Hale.

[figure description] Page 070.[end figure description]

Engrossed with this new scheme for the indulgence of
her vanity, Louise hastened at once to her friend's apartment,
and lingered there so long, that before her return the carriage
came for Mabel, who could not find her scarf, and supposing
that she must have left it in the nursery was compelled to go
there and seek it. As she opened the door unheard, and stood
unperceived in the room, a sight met her eyes which excited
both her sympathy and her interest. Poor Lydia, overcome
with grief, had thrown herself upon the narrow bed usually
occupied by one of the children, and so vehement were the
sobs she uttered, that they shook her whole frame convulsively.
Her eyes were fixed and vacant, and there was an hysterical
gasping in her throat, which frightened Mabel, lest the girl
might be choking with an emotion which she evidently could
not control. Alick was standing beside her,—his face no
longer apathetic and indifferent, but expressive both of sorrow
and indignation. He seemed to be making an endeavor to
soothe her, and as Mabel entered the room she heard him
say, “I shouldn't care for her, Lydia,—she's a cross old
thing.” At first Murray was no where to be seen; but on
taking a nearer view, Mabel perceived the little fellow, who,
really affectionate in his disposition and truly grieved at his
own share in causing Lydia's distress, had crept upon the bed,
and was nestled close beside her, with one arm round her neck.
At the sound of Mabel's voice speaking kindly to her, Lydia
gave a sudden start, and the presence of a stranger seeming

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to act as a powerful motive for self-control, she succeeded in
somewhat mastering her agitation. Mabel took a glass of
water from the table and sprinkled a little of it on her face, as
she had seen Mrs. Herbert do on a similar occasion. The
shock acted as a restorative, and after a few more gasps the
excited girl found relief in natural and fast flowing tears.

Mabel, although a stranger to such emergencies, spoke a
few words of comfort to her, which drew forth in return an
expression of poor Lydia's overcharged feelings. “Indeed,
miss,” she sobbed forth, “I meant no harm, but I felt so bad
at what she said about the children, you wouldn't wonder if
you knew—” here her words were lost in tears, but she soon
recovered herself and added,—“So now I've lost my place,
and I don't know what I shall do.”

“I'll ask mother to keep you,” said Murray, in a soothing

Lydia smiled upon the wayward child, but said nothing.
Alick, in the meantime, stood a little in the background,
gazing in the face of Mabel, who looked concerned for the
girl, but uncertain what part to take in the matter herself.
As, after a few moment's pause, she turned to leave the room,
she was arrested by Alick, who exclaimed, as if in further
explanation of Lydia's conduct, “She can't get her money
now, and its too bad; she wanted it for her mother and Rosy.
Mother said she wouldn't pay her, and she won't, she's just
so ugly.”

Mabel's countenance evinced how much she was shocked
by the boy's unfilial language, but he did not perceive this;
his eyes were following the hand with which she now sought
her purse. Poor Lydia, in the meantime, was the picture of
mortification and distress. Words of bitter disappointment on
her part had betrayed to the observing Alick the secret of
her family's necessity, but despite her dependent situation,
she had a sensitive pride which shrank from Mabel's becoming
a partner to this knowledge.

Mabel, scarcely less disconcerted, for she was a novice in

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[figure description] Page 072.[end figure description]

such circumstances, inquired the amount due her for the services
which were now at an end.

“Six dollars,” said Lydia, in a faltering voice, “but, O miss,
it's no matter.”

The sum was in her hand before she had finished speaking.
“Never mind,” said Mabel, soothingly, and putting aside the
hand which offered to return the money, “keep it,—do,—and
I will arrange the matter with Mrs. Leroy some other time.”

Then, anxious to escape the half-audible thanks of Lydia,
she hastily left the room, followed by the wondering, admiring
gaze of Alick. Murray manifesting his satisfaction in an
equally characteristic manner, by attempting to turn a somerset
on the bed.

A quick blush of surprise and embarrassment overspread
her face, as, on re-entering the drawing-room, she discovered
Louise standing near the half-open door of the nursery, where
she must have plainly overheard all that had passed within.
She was trying the effect of the coral ear-rings at an opposite
mirror, and did not even turn her head, on Mabel's sudden
entrance. Had the latter been detected in a mean, instead of
a generous action, she could scarcely have been more disconcerted
than she now felt, at the consciousness of having played
what her sister might consider an officious and censorious part
in a matter with which she had no immediate concern. There
was an awkward silence between them, interrupted at length
by Louise, who, after impatiently jerking one of the ear-rings,
and finally entangling it in her hair, exclaimed in an imperious
and ruffled tone of voice, “Do, Mabel, see what is the matter
with this,—I can't do anything with it!”

Mabel hastened to extricate and clasp the refractory ornament,
and then stood by the side of the irritable little beauty,
who, after surveying herself for a moment with no slight
degree of satisfaction, exclaimed, “How pretty they are! I
wish they were mine! If I had money to throw away,” continued
she in a meaning tone, “as some folks have, I would
buy me a pair this very day!”

“Yes, they are quite pretty and becoming,” said Mabel, with

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[figure description] Page 073.[end figure description]

an absent air. She understood her sister's allusion, and fearing
she had given deep offence, was meditating an excuse for
her own presumption on the score of poor Lydia's necessities.

“I hope,” added Louise, tartly, and with a short, contemptuous
laugh, “that you do not mean to charge me with
all that wastefulness you have been guilty of in the next
room; your purse must be longer than mine if you can afford
to pay people for putting on airs and getting up scenes.”

Mabel, astonished at her sister's meanness and indifference
to distress, was at a loss for a reply to this unexpected outburst;
but Louise, having thus given vent to her vexation,
and at the same time disowned a debt which she never intended
to discharge, seemed to be immediately restored to
good humor, and dismissing the subject with the same ease
with which a child forgets its little annoyance at the sight of
a new toy, she entered with flippant and eager gaiety upon
the subject of the evening's entertainment.

Mabel could not so easily free herself from the agitation
and embarrassment to which her sister's words and her own
awkward situation had given rise; but, relieved to find the
affair amicably settled, although at the expense both of her
purse and her feelings, she lent a ready ear to all the theatrical
details which Mrs. Leroy had gleaned from Mrs. Vannecker,
and from Victoria, who was to take part in the performance.
It would be a charming occasion, but it was on
Mabel's account, chiefly, that Mrs. Leroy professed to congratulate
herself at the opportunity; it would be something
so new to her, and so interesting. Harry, too, would be delighted
to escort them.

Mabel hesitated. She was strongly tempted by her sister's
glowing description of the exciting scene they should witness,
the lovely little theatre, its decorations, etc.; but at the mention
of Harry's name, she remembered the understanding between
herself and her brother, that they were to have a quiet evening
at home. She mentioned this circumstance to Louise as a
motive for relinquishing the project, and once more the good-humored
smile vanished from the face of the latter, who,

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[figure description] Page 074.[end figure description]

resuming, as it were, her previous right to be angry with
Mabel, turned coldly away, saying in an offended tone, “Very
well,—I shall stay at home then, of course; I have no wish
to go alone.”

Mabel's countenance betrayed signs of indecision at sight
of Louise's disappointment and displeasure. She had already
given offence once this morning; she could not bear to be
thought censorious or disobliging; but what would Harry think
of the proposal?

Reflections of this and a similar nature were interrupted by
a fretful expostulation from Louise, who, comprehending her
chief cause of hesitation, exclaimed, “It is nonsense to think of
staying at home on Harry's account, for I will venture to say,
he is full of the idea himself before this time. Several of his
friends are among the dramatis personœ; he will hear of the
performance in the course of the day, and be quite enthusiastic
on the subject.

This last suggestion had the effect of overruling Mabel's
scruples, and just as she was on the point of departure she
yielded a reluctant promise to send the carriage to the hotel,
and be herself in readiness at an appointed hour, for which
obliging concession she was rewarded by a radiant smile, and
affectionate pressure of the hand, from the conciliated and satisfied

But though Louise was satisfied, the case was far otherwise
with Mabel; and the shadow which, during the homeward
drive, clouded her usually happy features, had its rise in many
contending, contradictory, but alike painful emotions.

A young girl of eighteen, of a happy temperament, impulsive
character, and warm affections, is not likely to prove a strict or
severe judge of those faults and foibles which are concealed or
atoned for by a pleasing and fascinating exterior; but Mabel,
with all the romance, sensibility, and ardent imagination of
girlhood, had a deep and steady love of justice, an unsophisticated
sense of right, and an honest contempt for meanness and
duplicity. She could not be blind or indifferent to those unexpected
traits in her sister's character, which the events of the

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[figure description] Page 075.[end figure description]

morning had brought to light, and in proportion as fancy had
hitherto invested Louise with mental and moral loveliness, did
she shrink from the reality disclosed on a nearer view. The
emotions awakened in Mabel's mind, however, were somewhat
indistinct and undefined, and she did not even attempt to analyze
them. She felt, but did not reason, and the rambling
nature of her reflections resulted only in a general sense of dissatisfaction
and disappointment.

The succession of vague doubts, regrets, and apprehensions,
which chased each other through her mind, was suddenly put
to flight as the carriage stopped at her father's door, and a
more immediate and pressing cause of anxiety forced itself
upon her recollection. “What will Aunt Sabiah say to my
long absence?” was her mental inquiry as she entered the
house. The hall clock struck four as she passed up the stair-case.
“So late,” was her inward exclamation; “is it possible?”
And then came the still more startling remembrance,
that she had returned without the promised bit of ribbon.
Truly, thought she, this is one of the days when everything
goes wrong.

Everything had certainly gone wrong thus far. Miss Sabiah
had passed a lonely, cheerless day, and was proportionately depressed.
With martyr-like spirit she had declined taking luncheon,
a meal of no slight importance to one of her country
habits, and it was with difficulty that she could be persuaded
that it was not yet too late for a biscuit and a cup of chocolate,
which Mabel brought with her own hands from the dining
room; she declared that Mabel's forgetfulness to purchase the
ribbon was of no consequence,—O, no,—not the least: what
consequence could it be whether she wore a new cap or an old

From this hopeless state of despondency it would have been
in vain for any one but Mabel to attempt to arouse her; but in
the partial eyes of the aunt the favorite niece was never the
chief delinquent; and after inveighing at intervals against
Louise's growing influence over her sister, and declaring herself
quite resigned to the loss of Mabel's future society, Miss

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[figure description] Page 076.[end figure description]

Sabiah allowed herself to be cheered and comforted by listening
to the contents of a bundle of old letters, which Mabel read
aloud until dark, manifesting a degree of girlish interest in the
musty heap of ancestral details which truly warmed the heart
of her maiden aunt.

Both then and afterwards, Mabel carefully avoided all reference
to her visit at the hotel, unwilling to excite her aunt's
prejudices by relating the stormy occurrences of the morning,
and Miss Sabiah, on her part, scorned to make any inquiries
concerning Louise and her mode of life, subjects on which she
professed perfect indifference.

But the perplexities and annoyances of this unfortunate day
were not yet at an end. At dinner, Mabel waited in vain in
the hope that Harry, who had returned home from his excursion-party
fatigued but in high spirits, would broach the subject
of the theatricals; he remained provokingly silent on the subject,
however, and when, after dinner, he called for his slippers
and proposed going for his flute to accompany her on the piano,
she was reluctantly compelled to confess the promise she had
made to Louise, explaining at the same time her own reluctance
to accede to the proposal, until over-persuaded by her
sister's confident assurance that he would be delighted to accompany

She hardly knew whether to be hurt or amused at the raillery
which her communication called forth. “And so you
really believed that humbuggery!” exclaimed Harry. “Here
have I been, these last two days, employing all the arts of a
blackleg to keep clear of those jackanapes, who were trying to
entice me into that nonsensical farce. Why, I have hardly
dared show myself in any of their haunts, and have been half
afraid of my own shadow lest it should take the form of a stage
manager; and you, innocent lamb that you are, would lead me
into the very thick of the fight. Why, they would condemn me,
without mercy, to the part of Julius Cœsar, or worse still, that
of Vic Vannecker's lover; upon my word, my dear, they are
a perfect set of harpies.”

Miss Sabiah now began to expostulate against Mabel's life

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[figure description] Page 077.[end figure description]

being sacrificed to late hours and bad weather, and Mr. Vaughan
taking alarm at these intimations, looked up from his news-paper
to remark, that it was a very wet evening, and that he
hoped she did not think of going out.

The discussion, however, was interrupted by the arrival of
Mrs. Leroy, whose wilful obstinacy was proof against all opposition.
Mabel would now gladly have retracted her promise,
but Louise exacted its fulfilment, and the most that could be
peaceably effected was a compromise, by which it was agreed
that they should return home early. At Mabel's earnest entreaty,
seconded by that of her father, Harry was persuaded to
accompany them, with the express understanding that he was
at liberty to make his escape, if there was any attempt made to
enlist him for future service among the theatrical corps. At
the carriage door, however, they were greeted by the voices of
Mrs. Vannecker and her daughter, who were comfortably ensconced
on the back seat.

A low exclamation of impatience escaped from Harry.
“I'm off,” whispered he to Mabel; then added aloud, “there
are enough of you to take care of each other, I see—good

If Mabel felt vexed at this inauspicious commencement of
the evening, this feeling was scarcely allayed by the events
that succeeded. The much vaunted performance proved to be
merely a rehearsal; the parts were ill-learned, the stage ill-lighted,
the actors out of humor. Louise betook herself behind
the scenes and mingled in the petty contentions of the
rival aspirants; while Mrs. Vannecker wearied Mabel's ears
with an excited recital of Victoria's wrongs, and her successful
retaliation upon the offenders. Long before Miss Vannecker
and Louise could be persuaded to depart, which was not until
near midnight, Mabel had, despite her good-nature, arrived at
the uneasy conclusion that her sister and friends were making
her the tool of their own love of pleasure, and ceasing to feel
any interest in the histrionic disputes and failures, her
thoughts became occupied with compassion for her aunt and
Harry, who were awaiting her at home, and sympathy for her

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[figure description] Page 078.[end figure description]

weary coachman and restless horses, exposed to a wintry rain,
and, like herself, the victims of imposition.

But the vexations of the evening did not end here. A more
provoking disappointment was yet to come.

It was half-revealed in the triumphant expression of countenance
which met her on her return home, and Mabel felt a
deeper sense of regret than she would have been willing to acknowledge,
when she learned that during nearly the whole of
her absence, Harry and Miss Sabiah had been in the enjoyment
of Lincoln Dudley's society, listening to his rich strains of anecdote,
poetry, and learning, borne, as her imagination suggested,
into those regions of thought and fancy to which such a mind
as his could not fail to lead the way. She even fancied there
was something malicious in the relish with which Harry quoted
some of his friend's best sayings,—something positively taunting
in the assurance of her usually unimpressible aunt, that she
would not probably have any opportunity during the winter to
make the acquaintance of this uncommonly agreeable man, for
that he had missed the cars by accident that afternoon, had
devoted his only evening to them, and would leave for Philadelphia
in the Sunday morning train.

So ended a day of vexations; and Mabel's weekly calendar
of pleasure, excitement, and gratified pride, closed with a confused
but certain sense of weariness, regret, and disappointment.

How impossible it is to please everybody, thought she, as
in the retirement of her own room, she mentally reviewed the
events of the day, dwelling with peculiar bitterness upon that
climax of misfortunes,—the loss of Dudley's visit.

And having thus come to the conclusion that it was impossible
to please everybody, she composed herself to sleep with
the half-formed resolve, that henceforth she would attempt
only to please herself.

Happily, neither this dangerous resolve, nor the painful
emotions which had given it birth, were destined to survive a
night's repose, and the Sabbath sun shone on no more radiant

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[figure description] Page 079.[end figure description]

face than Mabel's, and enkindled in no youthful breast more
generous impulses.

A deeper cloud may one day settle on her pathway, and involve
her bright spirit in a deeper conflict. Well for her then,
if the powers of darkness flee away at the dawn of light, while
faith whispers to her burdened heart that earth has no night
of trouble and despair from which the Sun of Righteousness
may not at length arise with healing in his wings.

-- --


How wondrous are God's secret ways!
The chastening furnace of affliction
Taught this young maiden's heart to praise
Her Lord in streams of benediction!
Sorrow, and poverty, and pain,
Might hide from sight the blessing streaming
From Heaven on her fair head; but plain
Unto the eye of faith 'twas gleaming.
E. L. Night Watches.

[figure description] Page 080.[end figure description]

Leaving Mabel to the soothing influence of youthful slumber,
let us follow one of equal years, but of far different fortunes,
who, at a somewhat earlier hour in the evening, might be seen,
alone, unprotected, and on foot, hastening down a neighboring

The duties of the day fulfilled, the children sunk in sleep,
and her mistress' evening toilette completed, the weary Lydia
sought Mrs. Vannecker's apartments, and having persuaded
that lady's good-natured maid to take her place in Mrs. Leroy's
nursery, threw on a well-worn bonnet and shawl, and promising
to return in an hour, passed down a back stair-case and
left the hotel at a quick pace.

The night was dark, and the walking bad, being in some
places wet, and in others slippery with the half-congealed rain.
Lydia was thinly shod, and had not walked many rods before
her feet were thoroughly soaked, and her whole frame shivering
with the cold. She felt timid, too, at being alone in the
streets at so late an hour, and as she ventured into the narrower
and darker lanes of the city, cast more and more anxious
glances around her. Once, in her haste, she slipped, and
would have fallen, but a rude, though kindly hand, was suddenly
stretched forth for her safety, and before she could see

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[figure description] Page 081.[end figure description]

whence came the friendly aid which had abruptly restored her
to her feet, her beggarly-looking benefactor had passed on.
Still more alarmed at the attention which this little circumstance
attracted, and disturbed at the quick, and as the overexcited
girl imagined, the curious glances bestowed upon her
by one or two passers-by, she now commenced running, and
had proceeded some paces without looking to the right or left,
when, as she gained a street corner, a hand was suddenly laid
upon her shoulder. She gave a quick and nervous start,
but, re-assured by the sound of a familiar laugh, checked herself
in her rapid progress, and exclaimed, quite out of breath,
but in a tone of evident relief, “Why Jack, is that you? How
you frightened me?”

“What are you afraid of?” asked the other, in a rough, but
boyish tone.

“Afraid of everything,” said Lydia. “I am not used to being
out in the night, and you ought not to be either; who is
that with you?” added she, in an undertone, as she caught
sight of a figure lingering near them.

Jack hesitated, and then replied, somewhat reluctantly,
“Bob Martin.”

“Oh, Jack!” was the only response the girl made, but the
tone of her voice conveyed reproof.

Her brother, for such was the relation between the two,
looked down, marked a little circle on the snow with his foot,
and was silent.

“Come,” said Lydia, “I am going home, and I am in a
hurry. I have only an hour to stay. Come with me, Jack.”

The boy made a reluctant movement to accompany her, at
the same time whistling significantly to his companion, a youth
much taller than himself, and who, with an independent and
swaggering air, had sauntered down the street in the direction
the brother and sister were pursuing.

“Hush!” whispered Lydia; “don't call that boy,—I don't
want him.”

“Well, come along, then,” said Jack, roughly, and he moved
in the direction of home. They had not proceeded far,

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however, before they overtook Bob Martin, who was purposely
loitering under the shadow of a building, and as they passed
him, Jack spoke, under his breath, but loud enough to be distinctly
heard by Lydia, “You wait here, Bob,—I'll be back
in a jiffy.”

The two walked on for a few moment in silence, then Lydia
exclaimed, with considerable irritation of manner, “I wonder
what mother would say, Jack, if she knew you were out with
Bob Martin at this time of night!”

“Mother doesn't know anything about him,” replied the
boy, “nor you either. Bob's a real good fellow!”

“Why Jack,” cried Lydia, “how can you say so? You
know he is the most idle, profane boy in the neighborhood; I
should think you had had warning enough to keep out of his

“I don't care,” said Jack, “he is a real good-hearted fellow,

“I should think you would be ashamed of yourself, Jack,”
said Lydia, vehemently, “to be standing up for such a fellow
as he is!”

“Didn't he stand up for me, I should like to know?” retorted
Jack, angrily.

A glance of scorn shot from Lydia's eyes, as she replied in
a contemptuous tone of voice, “Well, if I were in your place, I
wouldn't say much about that.”

“Why not?” asked Jack, turning almost fiercely upon her.

“Because,” answered she, with temper, “if you like to talk
about it, I don't.”

“Poh!” exclaimed Jack, attempting a braggart tone, in
spite of the evident mortification which overspread his face at
his sister's words.

A long silence ensued, broken only by an occasional whistle
from the boy, who walked at Lydia's side with a shuffling gait
and a forced air of unconcern. At length, the latter asked, with
some abruptness, “How is Rosy?”

The question seemed to have a magical effect upon the boy.
He ceased whistling, and the careless, blustering tone in which

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he had previously spoken, became subdued and tremulous as
he replied, “She aint any better; I don't believe, Lyddy, she
ever will be.”

Lydia did not answer, and they reached their destination
without another word being spoken. Jack, having accompanied
her to the door, now drew back, as if he had no thought
of entering, and she, seeing the movement, paused and looked
in his face with eager scrutiny, while she said, “You don't
mean to go back to him to-night?”

“But I do, though,” was the defiant reply.

Lydia expostulated with injudicious warmth, and a short
and somewhat sharp dialogue between the two, resulted
finally in the irritation of both parties, and a resolve in the
mind of the self-willed boy to enjoy the society of his friend
whenever he pleased, in spite of his sister's well-meant but
unavailing interference.

The truth of the case was this. The Hope family, of which
Lydia and Jack were members, had, a few weeks before, been
subjected to agitation and alarm by the sudden tidings that the
latter, with a party of rude companions, had been engaged in
a street brawl, and was shut up in the watch-house for the night,
with the prospect of being next day committed to jail. From
this situation he had only been rescued upon the payment of a
heavy fine, which consumed the hard-earned savings of his
mother, and compelled his hitherto indulged sister to seek the
service she now fulfilled at Mrs. Leroy's.

The poor widow, already nearly weighed down by misfortune,
bowed her head in silence at this new stroke, uttered few
complaints, greeted her son on his return home with few reproaches,
save those which were conveyed in every line of her
despairing countenance, and pursued her daily labor with a
slow step and apathetic air, which spoke of a weary, care-worn
frame, and a heart grown old and seared amid anxiety and

But Lydia had not yet reached that degree of hopeless submission,
nor had she learned in the school of hardship and disappointment
that meek forbearance which has its source in

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Christian faith. Moreover, her spirit could not easily brook
the mortification and distress which Jack's misconduct had entailed
upon them all, and she assumed more than an elder sister's
privilege in the harsh rebukes which she bestowed upon
the offender, and the bitter scorn which she heaped upon his
idle and profligate companions, especially Bob Martin, a recent
and most unprofitable associate.

Jack could not deny the fact that Bob had led him into difficulty,
but he still insisted, with grateful warmth, on the debt
he owed him for the ability and shrewdness with which he had
conducted their mutual defence, obtaining their liberation after
a single night's imprisonment at the police station.

To every accusation brought against his new friend by the
incensed Lydia, he was ready, as we have seen, with the prompt
rejoinder, “He's a good-hearted fellow, any way, and stood up
for me when all the rest were only thinking how they should
get clear of the scrape themselves.”

Thus, this mortifying adventure served, on the whole, to
confirm rather than weaken the influence which the experienced
offender had gained over his young and unsophisticated companion,
who, long since emancipated from his mother's control,
and still less disposed to submit to Lydia's dictation, now appeared
to acknowledge no authority save that of the city magistrates,
of which his recent experience still held him in awe.

But, although blind to the silent woe painted on his mother's
features, deaf to the unsparing rebukes of the injured Lydia,
and steeled against the ill-opinion of the neighborhood, there
was one gentle influence against which the boy's rebellious
spirit was not proof. There was one eye which followed him,
even when absent from its presence,—one voice which never
spoke to his ear unheard,—one little hand whose restraining
pressure had power to check him in his headlong career.
Gently and noiselessly had the spell been cast around him; but
the boy's rude nature softened, and his heart bowed down with
something like holy awe, when he listened to the sweet, loving
words, or gazed upon the little withered form of his invalid
sister, Rosy.

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She alone had received him after his disgrace, in that spirit
which at once whispers to the contrite heart of sorrow, forgiveness,
love, and hope. She had extended her little trembling
hand, and while the tear started to her large blue eye, had
pressed it to her fevered cheek, and murmured, in broken
accents, “you will not stay away from Rosy another night?”
and he had laid his head on her pillow and wept, though no
one but Rosy knew it.

There was a chord in his heart, the secret spring of which
this sick little sufferer alone had power to touch. Often, amid
noisy and contentious scenes, did this one tender and plaintive
note break in upon the discord; and thus it happened that, on
the evening in question, when Lydia, in the tumult of excited
feeling, was about to lay an impetuous hand upon the latch of
her mother's door, she was checked by a sudden and hasty caution
from Jack, who, immediately after a storm of angry
invective, exclaimed, in a more gentle tone, “Hush! Lyd,—
don't make a noise,—like enough Rosy's asleep,—she was
when I came away.”

This door, the upper part of which consisted of glass, and
thus answered the purpose also of a window, led directly into
a low, dimly lighted, and ill-furnished shop; and notwithstanding
Lydia's precautions, a little bell attached to the entrance tinkled
loudly as she entered. She paused a moment, until the sound
should have died away, and was then advancing into an inner
room, when she was met by her mother, whose quick ear had
caught the ever-welcome sound of the bell, and who was eagerly
hastening to wait upon the supposed customer.

“Why, Lyddy, is that you?” she exclaimed, her sober face
relieved by a sickly smile, as the parent prevailed over the
shop-keeper, and her disappointed hopes of a purchaser for her
goods gave place to maternal satisfaction at the sight of her

Then, bestowing on her a more careful glance, she added, in
an anxious tone, the smile at the same time dying away from
her pale face, “What is the matter, child? How wet you are!
here, come into the back room—I've got a fire in the stove;”

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and she stepped into a small apartment behind the stop, Lydia
following her with a languid step and quivering lip. It was a
mere box of a place, uncarpeted, scantily furnished, and with a
close, unwholesome atmosphere. The flames which were crackling
in the stove had evidently been but recently kindled, for
the mixture contained in a large kettle, placed directly over
them, had not commenced boiling, and the air in the room was
chilly. Lydia threw her bonnet on a table, seated herself in a
chair beside it, and fixed her eyes moodily in the direction of
the stove. Her mother stirred the mixture. Neither of them
spoke. At length a long sigh from Lydia broke the silence.
“Do tell me what has happened,” said Mrs. Hope; “something
has gone wrong, and I may as well know first as last;”
and as she spoke she stretched out her hand and gently closed
the door which led into a little sleeping-room beyond. Then,
as Lydia still continued silent, she added, “have you left your

“Not yet,” exclaimed Lydia, the self-control which had been
but ill-maintained before, now giving way entirely, and her
voice half-choked with sobs; “nothing so dreadful is the matter,
and I wish I had n't come here to-night; I don't see what
I did for,—only—only—” and here she covered her face with
her hands, and fell to weeping so bitterly that she found it
impossible to utter another word.

The poor mother looked distressed, and continued her operations
at the stove with a vacant air, her eye resting on her
child. A somewhat commonplace and practical character, and
constant familiarity with trouble, forbade any more marked
demonstration of anxiety. Her sympathy was none the less
keen, however, and from time to time she uttered interjectional
phrases, designed to call forth an explanation of this new sorrow,
and subdue its effects.

Not until the girl had indulged in a short but hearty fit of
weeping, did she pay any regard to the “Come, Lyddy!—now
don't Lyddy!” with which her mother from time to time addressed
her. At length, however, she lifted up her head, shook
it with a determined air, wiped the tears from her stained face,

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and drawing near the stove, took off her shoes and placed her
wet feet upon the hearth. Encouraged by these favorable
symptoms, Mrs. Hope seated herself in an opposite chair, and
soon had the satisfaction of hearing from the now loosened and
voluble tongue of Lydia an explanation of her agitated state of
mind. Greatly relieved was she, also, to become assured
that this unusual agitation had sprung from causes far less
serious than her imagination had pictured.

Still the poor woman could not listen unmoved to a detailed
account of the injustice and abuse which her child had suffered,
nor could she fail to share the suspicion and dread which had
been excited in Lydia's mind by Jack's recent display of obstinacy
and self-will, a full report of which was unhesitatingly
poured into her ear.

Had Lydia been a heroine, had she even been a girl of
spirit, she would not have fled to her mother with this long list
of troubles. She would either have staid away from the abode
of poverty and sickness, or would have come hither with a
cheerful countenance. She would have drawn a veil over her
own grievances, and pondered deeply upon Jack's disposition
for bad company, before she had saddened her mother's heart,
and perhaps caused her a sleepless night, by expatiating upon
his violence and folly.

But Lydia was no heroine; she was only a tired, irritated
servant girl, whose fortunes and spirits were both under a
cloud; and so she came—as hundreds of us have done in our
turn—to pour all her grievances into a mother's ear, and lay
her weight of sorrows on a heart already sufficiently burdened
with its own.

“Well,” said Mrs. Hope, with a deep groan, “if you can't
stay at your place you must come home—that's all. We
can't be much worse off than we have been; and as to Jack,
why—if he will go to ruin, he will, and its no use to worry
about it.”

Such philosophy was not very consoling; still Lydia's load
of care seemed lighter, now that her mother had taken up the
burden; and recalling the one bright feature in her day's

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[figure description] Page 088.[end figure description]

experience, she proceeded to relate the incident of Mabel's interference,
at the same time drawing from her pocket the price of
her painful services, advanced to her from such an unexpected
quarter. But, greatly to her surprise and grief, her mother
refused to receive the money. “You will find plenty of use
for it yourself, before you get another place,” said the poor
widow, who inwardly shrunk from appropriating the wages of
Lydia's daily slavery. “You have n't a decent pair of shoes
to your feet,” added she, glancing at the worn and almost useless
slippers now drying on the stove.

“Oh, take it, mother, do take it!” exclaimed the mortified
and repentant Lydia, at once perceiving the effect of her own
selfish murmurings.

“Hark!” said Mrs. Hope, softly, without seeming to notice
her extended hand. They both listened. A low sound was
distinctly audible through the closed door of the bed-room.
Mrs. Hope made a motion to rise, and at the same instant
the shop-bell was heard to ring. Lydia started forward, saying,
eagerly, “I will see if Rosy wants anything, mother, while
you mind the shop.”

Let us follow Lydia into the bed-room. There is a taper
dimly burning there, an indulgence always craved by the sick
child, who propped up by pillows is reclining on the bed. It
would be difficult to guess her age; for though her little
wasted limbs and tiny hands would seem those of a young
child, there is no youthful glow in the pale and sunken face
resting on the pillow. Her hair is light, and has a golden
tinge; her transparent forehead is marked with deep blue
veins; there is a dark circle beneath her eyes; her features are
narrow and contracted; her thin lips pressed close together as
if sealed in that position by long and persevering efforts to
repress every indication of the pain which has, nevertheless,
set its seal on each line of her expressive face. There is no
beauty, no loveliness, no childish promise in that pinched and
narrow countenance, on which disease has stamped itself for
years. Only in the deep blue eyes, which like brilliant jewels
seem starting from their withered settings can one read aught

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[figure description] Page 089.[end figure description]

of hope; nor is it any earthly hope with which the soul seems
ever looking forth from those bright windows, on—on through
the mists of time, to some happy, though unknown land, where
the patient little sufferer may hope to rest.

Lydia opened the door so noiselessly, that the sound was
unheard by her sister, who had awaked from sleep with the
moan which had been heard in the next room, but who now
commenced singing, if that could be termed singing which consisted
merely of a low, warbling sound,—a few soft syllables,
chanted again and again,—to a tune of her own composing.
Her eyes were fixed on the opposite wall, and she did not observe
Lydia's entrance, until the latter stood close beside her.
She then turned her head slightly, unclasped her thin hands
and laid one of them on the hand of her sister, saying softly,

Lydia sat down on the side of the bed. Who would have
believed, to see the pretty, well-grown young woman, and the
puny, sickly child, that there was a difference of but five years
in their ages! but so it was, for Rosy's little withered form
had already numbered thirteen summers.

“Have you been very sick to-day, Rose?” asked Lydia in
a low voice.

“O Lyddy,” said the child “I've had to sing all the time
when I have been awake.”

Lydia sighed, for Rose had told her in confidence, just
before she left home, that she never sang except when in
great pain.

“O, poor Rosy!” she exclaimed, in a tone of deep compassion.

“No, not poor,” said Rose, thoughtfully, “not poor;” and
fixing her eyes upon the opposite wall with that earnest gaze
which seemed to look far off into the future, she added—
“little pilgrim and I have kept each other company all day,—
the path is dark, Lyddy, but God's blessed angels keep watch
above the clouds, and the way grows brighter at the end, you

As Rosy spoke, Lydia's eyes unconsciously sought the

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[figure description] Page 090.[end figure description]

object to which the child's attention seemed riveted, as if striving
to discern in it the source of that rapt and serene joy,
which now lent a momentary glow to her sister's sunken features.
The feeble light of the taper shone directly upon a
small, but exquisite engraving, which, neatly and even richly
framed, was strangely incongruous with the meagre furniture
and time-stained walls of the apartment, being the only object
of taste or luxury which the room afforded. A portion of the
picture was in shadow, but the figure of a youthful traveller
was discernible in the foreground, above whose head rolled
many a dark and threatening cloud, while the path beneath
his feet was obscure and narrow. He trod with an assured
step, however, and an eye uplifted to the spot where, in the
clearer firmament, three cherub heads might be distinctly seen,
looking forth from above the silvery summits of those very
clouds, which at their base were so dark and fearful.

It was no new appeal which this little fellow pilgrim made
to the sympathizing heart of Rosy,—no fresh lesson of encouragement
and hope which she drew from the sight of the angelguard,
set above life's dreary pathway. For many a year, the
picture had accompanied her from one room to another, hanging
always opposite her bed, during the long weeks of illness
that had often confined her to her pillow. But its eloquence
was not exhausted yet. Every day, on the contrary, her spirit
drank deeper of its heavenly lesson, and became more and
more convinced of the reality of its blessed promises; while to
her lonely hours of pain, it acted as a soothing balm, none the
less effectual from the frequency of its application.

A moment's glance at the familiar picture was sufficient for
Lydia, whose mind was not open to the language of art, more
especially to those things which are spiritually discerned.
None could be blind to its sacred truths, however, as they were
seen reflected in the holy patience, the religious calm, which
overspread the pale face of Rosy; and a deep and humble
sense of contrition stole into the heart of Lydia, as she compared
her own fretful murmurings with the saint-like submission
of the child. “O Rose!” cried she, her self-reproach

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[figure description] Page 091.[end figure description]

bursting forth with a sudden vehemence which startled the
invalid girl,—“you make me quite ashamed of myself—indeed
you do! I wish I were half as good as you are. My
troubles are nothing to yours, and yet I make myself and
everybody else miserable; while you,—you make the best of

Rose looked anxiously into her sister's face, and answered
soothingly—“O Lyddy! no wonder you get discouraged, you
have so much to do, and so many to please, while I only
have to be patient with myself. I have thought about you all
the week, and have wished—Oh, how I have wished,—I could
see you once in a while, and know how you were getting along,
and whether the boys were very naughty, and if you had to sit
up late every night for Mrs. Leroy. You are all tired out,
aint you Lyddy?” continued she, observing the languid, and
despairing attitude into which the weary girl had thrown herself.
“Here, lie down by me a few minutes and rest!”
Rose threw her arm over her sister, and as the latter laid
down beside her, she went on in a soft and soothing voice,—
“tell me all about them, Lyddy dear.”

“What shall I tell?” asked Lydia.

“Oh, everything, whatever troubles you most?”

But that Lydia could not do. The petty vexations of the
week, had sunk into insignificance in view of Rose's patient
endurance, nor could she relate to the sick child the deeper
wound she had suffered on her account, with all its unhappy

“I will tell you,” said she, after a moment's hesitation, “of
some one I have seen to-day, who is as beautiful as—

“As Mrs. Leroy?” inquired Rose, interrupting her.

“Oh, yes indeed,” answered Lydia, in a tone which seemed
to disdain the comparison.

“But you thought her so pretty at first!”

“Did I? Well, I don't now; but never mind. Miss Mabel
does n't look one bit like her, though she is her sister;” and
warming with the subject, Lydia lifted her head from the pillow,
and leaning on her elbow with her eyes fixed upon Rosy,

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[figure description] Page 092.[end figure description]

entered upon a glowing panegyric of her new and kind young

Rose seemed to catch her enthusiasm as she proceeded, and
at length exclaimed with eager interest, as Lydia paused in
her animated description, “Tell me more; what did she say to
Alick? did he like her?”

Lydia, once embarked on the subject, gave a faithful narrative
of Mabel's visit, with the exception of those particulars
which related to her own difficulty with Mrs. Leroy and consequent

“Fresh, bright and beautiful! and just from the country!”
said Rose meditatively,—“Oh, how I should like to see her!”

Lydia sighed as she thought how improbable it was that this
wish would ever be gratified.

“You will see her again?” said Rose in an inquiring tone.

“Perhaps so.”

“And you will remember everything she says, and does,
so as to tell me?”

“I will try.”

“Just from the country!” again soliloquized Rose. “How
I should like to see some one from the country.” Poor Rose
had never in her life been beyond the city streets, and the
country, to her imagination, was an earthly Paradise.

“Rose,” said Lydia, in a hopeful tone of voice, “you must
get better, so that next summer you and I can go up to the old

Rose shook her head, and then as if a thought had suddenly
occurred to her mind, said in a quiet whisper, “Lyddy, where's

“Gone off with Bob Martin,” replied Lydia, some returning
bitterness mingling with her tone of voice,” and I may as
well go back alone,” continued she, making a movement to
rise from her place by Rose's side, “for like enough he won't
be home till morning.”

“Yes he will,” said Rose confidently; “he will come to give
me my drops at ten; he has never forgotten it since you went
away. Is it near that time now?”

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[figure description] Page 093.[end figure description]

“It can't be far from it,” said Lydia. “I will go and get
my bonnet and see if my shoes are dry.”

At this moment Jack's voice was heard in the shop, and just
as a church clock near by struck the hour of ten, he entered
Rose's room on tiptoe, holding in his hand a cup and phial.
Lydia had not yet left the room, but sat behind the bed, quite
out of sight, and Bob Martin himself could scarcely have been
more astonished than she was at the sight which now met her

Could this be Jack, the noisy and oftentimes profane boy,
who now stood near the light, carefully measuring out and
counting the drops? Could it be his rough hand which was
tenderly passed beneath his sister's neck, while he gently
rested her head on his shoulder, and placed the medicine to
her lips? Above all, could it be his rude accents which were
now softened to the affectionate inquiry, “Do you feel any
better, Rosy?”

Yes, it was Jack; there could be no doubt of that, for as
Lydia followed him into the kitchen, after his labors as a nurse
were completed, he betrayed his ordinary self by the abrupt
and harsh manner in which he addressed her with, “Well, Lyd!
you here yet?”

“Of course I am,” said Lydia, half provoked, half grieved,
at his surly manner towards her; “did you snppose I had
gone back alone?”

“Jack!” called Rose from the next room.

He was instantly by her side.

“You'll go home with Lyddy?”


“And then come back to me?”


“That's a good boy.”

“Good night, Rose,” said Lydia, stooping over her bed to
kiss her, while Jack went to look for his cap. “I can't tell
when I shall see you again; give this to mother when I am
gone. Good night, darling;” and she left in Rose's hands the
bank-bills which her poor mother had declined receiving.

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It was a very dreary walk back to the hotel—still raining,
and very wet under foot. Jack and Lydia proceeded rapidly
and in silence, the former somewhat in advance, while the latter
tried to pick her way so as to avoid the puddles in the side-walk.
Both were thoughtful; both perhaps a little mortified
at their recent ill humor; at all events, neither felt disposed
for conversation, and a hasty good-night from Lydia, and a
sulky response from her brother were all that passed between

Perhaps the walk, with the mediations to which it gave
rise, left an impression upon Lydia's mind, for her sleep that
night was haunted by the vision of a dark and dreary road on
which she and Jack were travelling; sometimes Mabel seemed
to be with them, leading her little nephews by the hand; and
always the path was hard, and the sky overshadowed with
clouds. But they went on, it seemed to her, in safety, and
the way grew brighter as they went, while on every cloud an
angel rode triumphant, and every angel wore the face of

-- --


And oft though wisdom wake, suspicion sleeps
At wisdom's gate, and to simplicity
Resigns her charge, while goodness thinks no ill
Where no ill seems.

[figure description] Page 095.[end figure description]

Several weeks passed away, during which Mabel continued
to enjoy an almost uninterrupted round of gaiety. A
city belle, however, should, notwithstanding the precautions of
modern luxury, be possessed of a constitution insensible to
every injurious influence; and Mabel, despite her usual high
health, was not proof against the combined effects of excitement,
exposure, and fatigue. A sudden cold, accompanied by
feverish symptoms, compelled her, at length, to forego all
society, save that which her home afforded; and now for the
first time, perhaps, did she learn to estimate the full extent of
that solicitude of which she was the cherished object. Her
father's affectionate anxiety, her aunt's assiduous and patient
nursing, and Harry's brotherly attention and devotedness, far
outweighed the gratification derived from the numerous bouquets
and notes of condolence which covered her dressingroom
table; and during a few days of positive illness, and a
week of convalescence, she had an ample opportunity of appreciating
the value of those domestic blessings and privileges,
which had hitherto been obscured by the more brilliant pleasures
of fashion and the world.

This temporary and forced seclusion from society occurred,
too, at the time when Mabel was first beginning to be conscious
of the monotony which existed in those gay circles, which to
Louise constituted the world. A certain fondness for admiration,
and a natural gratification at the large share of it which

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[figure description] Page 096.[end figure description]

her position and charms excited, had served for a time to
blind her to the insipidity of the sources from whence it was
bestowed; and the attractions of dress, excitement, and display,
enlisted her interest so long as they continued to be
novelties. But she had too much freshness of feeling to find
any lasting pleasure in the same unvaried round of engagements,
especially as her intellect occasionally rebelled at the
endless repetition of ball-room nonsense, which constituted the
conversation of Mrs. Leroy's set.

The power of habit is strong, however, and she probably
would not have had the force of will to break through the
charmed ring of fashion, had not necessity laid its iron hand
upon her. Her cheerful and loving disposition now found the
means of both receiving and conferring pleasure in her home,
and her conscience more than once reproached her for previous
neglect of the spot, to which her presence, even as an invalid,
evidently had the power to impart sunshine.

Aunt Sabiah was like a new being, now that she had the
happiness of Mabel's society and the occupation of officiating
as a nurse. Mr. Vaughan went later to his office in the morning,
and passed his evenings with his family in the library,
where the numerous charts, which usually engrossed his mind
were never once unrolled. As for Harry, he seemed suddenly
relieved from his wonted press of convivial engagements, and
found time to read aloud to his aunt and Mabel, translate German
songs for the latter, and entertain himself and torment Sabiah
by rallying her upon the subject of the ill-shaped stockings
which constituted her favorite knitting work, and which,
although displaced in the parlor by some more elegant employment,
were gladly resumed in the retirement of an invalid's
room. Their distorted calves and shrivelled ancles afforded
Harry's fancy continual play, as to the sort of animal for whose
use they might be intended; and although he never called
forth any other than the invariable retort, that “it was a poor
leg that wouldn't shape its own stocking,” he seemed quite
contented to have the war of wits all to himself. So happy
was he, apparently, under this new order of things, that he

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seldom left the house for any great length of time, except
when warned away by the arrival of Mrs. Leroy, who made
a daily visit of bustle and inquiry, and the rattling of whose
flounces was usually the signal for her brother to walk off,
whistling an opera air.

Louise was half provoked at the contentment with which
Mabel submitted to a week's imprisonment; more especially as
she felt herself in some degree called upon to enliven her
seclusion now and then with her presence, a species of self-sacrifice
which she found intolerably irksome. She always
contrived, however, to make some plausible apology for the
shortness of her visits, and came and went with such graceful
ease, and so many affectionate inquiries and complimentary
messages, that Mable was very naturally gratified by her
attentions, and far from disposed to question her sincerity.

But the very circumstance which repelled Mrs. Leroy,
opened a new source of happiness to her children, who now,
for the first time, began to enjoy the privileges of a grand-father's
house. Mabel sent for them occasionally during her
short illness; and though Harry thought it a bore to have
Alick poring over a book in the corner of the room, or staring
moodily out of the window, and aunt Sabiah was sure that
Murray's noise would throw Mabel into a fever-fit, these visits
served, on the whole, to establish natural relations between
the boys and the different members of the family, and to sow the
seeds of that future influence which each was destined to exercise
upon all the rest. How far this experience of domestic
joys, with the reflections and sentiments to which it gave rise,
might have served to divert Mabel's mind from the enjoyments
of gay life, and dispose her to serious and lasting considerations
of her own responsibilities and powers, it is impossible
to determine; for by the time she was restored to health, and
consequently to society, a new weight was added to the scale
of influence heretofore possessed by the outward world, and a
new sentiment engrossed both her intellect and heart, to the
exclusion of all rival claims.

Lincoln Dudley returned unexpectedly to the city, and

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Mabel met him under circumstances calculated to encourage
and increase the romantic interest she had long cherished for
her brother's friend.

A birth-night ball was given by one of her young friends,
who, not content with urging Mabel's attendance, both by note
and message, came herself to protest against the disappointment
of being refused. Mabel had not been exposed to the
evening air since her illness, and the invitation was only accepted
with the proviso, on the part of her father, that she
should not dance. Louise declared that, under such conditions,
it would be better to stay at home; but Mabel, with her usual
amiability, was glad to gratify her friend on such easy terms.

She was surrounded by a gay group of flatteres, when she
first caught sight of a gentleman, who, leaning against a mantel-piece
with an easy and self-possessed air, appeared to be
leisurely scanning the assembly. Perhaps there was a magnetic
power in those dark, dreamy eyes, for, at the moment
when Mable glanced at the spot where he stood, they were
fixed upon her with a glance of scrutiny as well as admiration.
When she next observed him, however, he was conversing
in an animated manner with a sprightly lady, who
evidently found great pleasure in his conversation.

Had his previous criticism of Mabel been less marked, he
could scarcely have failed to engage her attention, he was so
very unlike any one she had ever met before. His personal
appearance was striking, for, although scarcely of the medium
height, his figure was well-formed and graceful, while his attitude
and manners denoted an independence, and a freedom from
conventional restraint, which distinguished him amid the company
as one who could venture to dispense with the minor rules
of etiquette. Nevertheless, he was courtly in his demeanor,
especially towards ladies, and had evidently the power of making
himself generally agreeable—for, as Mabel continued her
ob ervations, she could not fail to remark the eager reception
which his civilities met with from persons of various ages and
tast s.

He soon disappeared amid the crowd, however, and the

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thoughts of the city belle were once more engrossed by the
little throng of admirers who were congratulating themselves
upon her reäppearance in society, and who remained true to
their allegiance, in spite of the music and dancing in an adjoining

It was with some surprise, therefore, that she felt the light
touch of a fan upon her shoulder, and turning, found Mrs.
Leroy beside her, accompanied by the stranger, who had evidently
sought Louise for the purpose of obtaining an introduction
to her sister.

Either Louise, in her haste to return to the dance, failed to
pronounce his name in an audible tone, or a little confusion on
Mabel's part prevented her catching the sound distinctly; at
all events, she remained quite in ignorance of the fact that she
was making the acquaintance of Dudley.

The self-possessed serenity of his manners, however, quickly
restored her wonted composure; and she knew not how it was,
that before many minutes she found herself engaged in a conversation
wholly free from the restraint usually consequent
upon an abrupt and hasty introduction. Neither did she
attempt to account for the fact that, one after another, even the
boldest among her attendant beaux retreated to the ball-room
or elsewhere, leaving Dudley in full possession of the field.

She only knew that she was listening to one, who, in beauty
of language, originality of thought, and play of fancy, was, in
comparison with those who had just left her side, like a being
of a different order in nature; and, flattered at finding herself
the object of attraction to a superior mind, and inspired, perhaps,
by the glance of Dudley's eloquent eyes, she felt conscious
of mental aspirations which her intercourse with society had
never before awakened. Finding that she did not dance,
Dudley obtained a seat for her, and leaning against an opposite
window-frame in his wonted easy and half-indolent attitude,
continued to exert his own brilliant powers of conversation, at
the same time emboldening her, by his apparently careless
address, to do justice to that native grace and force of intellect
with which she was amply endowed.

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Not until Mr. Leroy, who chanced to be present on this
occasion, came to inform her that the carriage was waiting, and
Louise also in readiness to depart, did she realize the length
of time in which she had been so agreeably entertained; and,
although the acquaintance of an evening only, she could not
conceal from herself the satisfaction she felt at Dudley's parting
assurance that he hoped to have the pleasure of soon seeing
her again.

Harry, contrary to expectation, had not made his appearance;
detained, as it proved, by some friends whom he met at
his club; and it was not until the next day at dinner that Mabel
had any opportunity to speak to him concerning the occurrences
of the evening. Her communications then were somewhat
involuntary, and only drawn from her by pointed questions on
his part. He compelled her at length, however, to acknowledge
the new acquaintance she had formed, and even drew her on
to give a somewhat minute description of the individual. After
amusing himself with her conjectures concerning him, and especially
her suspicion that he must be a poet, because he had
dark eyes, was guilty of long hair, and some little eccentricities
of dress, and was, moreover, very agreeable, he astonished her
with the abrupt remark, “In a word,—you have seen Lincoln
Dudley, and the satisfaction seems to be mutual.”

A glow of delighted surprise overspread Mabel's face at the
first part of Harry's announcement, while a quickly succeeding
blush betrayed her sensibility to Dudley's good opinion. Aunt
Sabiah at once became interested to learn Mabel's opinion of
one who had impressed her most favorably. Mr. Vaughan
had some curiosity concerning Harry's friend, and Harry himself
was disposed to ply Mabel with further questions.

But Mabel perseveringly evaded all inquiries, and at length
contrived to change the topic of conversation. It continued
none the less the subject of her thoughts, however.

There is, perhaps, no flattery to which a young girl is so
susceptible, as that of finding herself an object of interst to a
man some years her senior, possessed of a superior mind, and,
moreover, one of the most popular and influential members of

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the society in which she moves. More especially is this the
case, when natural refinement of thought and feeling have
fitted her for the enjoyment of more elevated and intellectual
pleasures than those which are ordinarily furnished in the
world of fashion. Even Louise, and the frivolous set with
which she had entire sympathy, felt the honor which Mr.
Dudley's attentions were capable of conferring, and diligently
strove to attain them; for his social standing was as confirmed
as his abilities were acknowledged. How much more highly,
then, might Mabel be expected to appreciate the man, who
satisfied at once the demands of the most select circles, and
inspired that involuntary respect which youth is ever ready to
offer at the shrine of genius.

Dudley's genius, indeed, was of a most universal character.
Educated mostly abroad, passing rapidly from one school of
knowledge to another, viewing European society in all its
phases, and profiting by opportunities which are open to but
few, he had become cosmopolitan in his habits, artistic in his
tastes, completely versed in the knowledge of society, and
everywhere fitted to shine. Those who knew him best declared
him qualified for success in whatever profession he
might adopt; but, although now nearly thirty years of age, his
choice was yet undetermined.

Thus, at the time of his introduction to Mabel, he was still a
gentleman of leisure, enjoying a moderate income, which was
sufficient for the wants of one who, though fastidious and luxurious
in his mode of life, was not disposed to reckless extravagance,
and whose weight and influence in society were, strange
to say, wholly independent of wealth.

We shall soon see the effect which this uncommon influence
had power to produce upon the young and enthusiastic Mabel.

Her acquaintance with him ripened rapidly. His intimacy
with Harry, and the certainty of a cordial reception at Mr.
Vaughan's house, would alone have favored this. But, although
he frequently made one of their family circle at dinner,
and was received at all hours with the familiarity of a privileged
guest, these were not the only occasions which afforded

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him the opportunity of exciting Mabel's interest, and winning
her confidence. She met him everywhere in society; and his
singular powers of fascination were never more successfully
exercised than when, amid the distractions of a crowded assembly,
he would now and then seek her side, and, for a longer or
shorter time, as the case might be, enchain her thoughts, enkindle
her imagination, or excite her merriment, by drawing
upon his seemingly inexhaustible stores of information, poetry,
wit, and satire. He never danced; and from the period of
Mabel's introduction to him her love of this amusement became
less engrossing. Not that he sought to win her from gayer
pleasures by the charm of his conversation, or strove to monopolize
any considerable portion of her time. On the contrary,
he had too much delicacy and tact to make his attentions conspicuous;
and his preference and admiration were only to be
inferred from the eagerness and self-gratulation with which
he availed himself of those accidental opportunities which
chance or good fortune might throw in his way.

But, while Mabel's general popularity continued undiminished,
and she was still the ornament and life of the ball-room,
her face was never animated by a more brilliant glow than
when, owing to a pause in the music, or a casual movement
among the company, she found herself released from her recent
partner in the dance, and brought within the magic influence
which Dudley's musical voice and eloquent eye had power to
exercise upon her imaginative spirit.

All the other events of the evening might well serve to
minister to her vanity and self-love, but these little episodes
had a deeper significance, and produced a more subtle and
lasting effect upon her heart and life.

A new ambition, as well as a new sentiment, had been suddenly
awakened; and the young girl, who a month before could
scarcely credit the triumph which had placed her beyond the
rivalry of fashionable competitors, now felt a deeper thrill of
gratified pride as she became conscious of those more ennobling
gifts, which caused her to be appreciated by a man of rare
cultivation and fastidious taste.

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A fresh impulse was thus given to mental powers which had
hitherto lain dormant; and although the routine of her daily
life underwent little change, a close observer might detect many
an indication of the new direction which had been given to her
motives and aims, and the unwonted interest which was imparted
to every scene in which Dudley played a part.

And while the charm which his presence exercised in the
gayer circles effectually vanquished the hesitation with which
she resumed her round of fashionable engagements, the ascendency
of his empire over her thoughts was no less perceptible
in her moments of retirement and meditation. The topics on
which he had awakened her interest became the subject of
after thought; the books from which he had quoted, frequently
lay open upon her dressing-table, and the little apartment so
choicely furnished by Harry was frequently resorted to for the
more careful study of those works of art which possessed the
merit of having been selected by Dudley.

Mr. Vaughan, who had been over-anxious on account of his
daughter's health, felt too deep a satisfaction in her entire restoration
to complain of his deserted fire-side, and patiently betook
himself to the usual resource afforded by his papers and charts.
Harry, at first gratified by his friend's evident admiration of
his sister, began at length to weary of the subordinate part
which he filled in relation to them both, and occasionally, in
the domestic circle as well as the public assembly, would quietly
absent himself from their society, without being much missed
by either party. Miss Sabiah, whose prejudices were all in
Dudley's favor, forbore to utter any reproaches at the thoughtless
and unintentional neglect which sometimes fell to her lot,
and fostered her niece's growing preference by the unqualified
praise which she bestowed upon its object.

What wonder, then, that Mabel, unquestioned, unchecked,
and unwarned, lent herself without fear or doubt to the emotion
of the hour? What wonder if he, whom all the world
admired as the scholar, the poet, and the wit, became in her
eyes the noble, the generous, the true, and the disinterested
man which he should have been,—but which, alas! he was not?

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With all his varied acquisitions,—his knowledge, taste,
culture and refinement,—with all his appreciation of the beautiful,
both in art and nature, and all the seeming fairness of a
reputation which knew no stain, there yet lurked within the
well-springs of his being a secret but fatal poison, dwarfing all
his higher purposes, and blighting all his nobler hopes.

Free from all outward forms of vice, he had, nevertheless,
no true love of virtue; bowing at the shrine of female loveliness,
he had no high faith in woman; and scorning the world in
which he lived, he had no power to rise above it.

Early distrust of all things good had palsied the noblest
gifts of nature; and the life which might have been a blessing
to mankind had thus far proved a failure.

And shall Mabel's trusting heart be exposed to this chilling
influence? Shall the young mind yearning for truth and
knowledge share the sophistries of a perverted intellect? Shall
the soul open to great and lasting impressions find all its generous
aspirations quenched in the cold reasoning of a falso

Ambition, self-love, pride of heart, a deceived imagination,
and a host of worldly allies, will urge her on in the dangerous
path which her feet seem doomed to tread. But one shall
meet them by the way, a childlike form, clad in holy faith,
who shall oppose them with the gentle might of an humble
heart, a pure life, and a whispered prayer. Unequal seems
the contest, but it is God who giveth the victory.

-- --


A thousand pretty ways we'll find
To mock old Winter's starving reign;
We'll dress his withered cheeks in flowers,
And on his smooth bald head
Fantastic garlands bind.
Mrs. Barbauld.

[figure description] Page 105.[end figure description]

About a fortnight after the period of Dudley's return to the
city, the patience of Miss Vaughan and the good nature of the
whole family were put to a somewhat severe test, by an instance
of Mabel's generous but inconsiderate hospitality.

Some children, at the same hotel where Mrs. Leroy resided,
were seized with a prevailing epidemic, and Mabel, hearing
her sister complain of a circumstance which threatened the
health of the boys, cordially urged their coming to their grand-father's,
to remain until the danger of infection should have
passed. The little fellows were delighted to exchange the
restrictions of the nursery for the freedom they enjoyed in Mr.
Vaughan's spacious house, and their mother was only too cager
to take advantage of a proposal which freed her from a most
unwelcome responsibility. They came at once, therefore,
accompanied by Lydia Hope, who, in spite of her abrupt dismissal,
still continued in Mrs. Leroy's service. Louise's temper
being always subservient to her selfish convenience,
Murray's pleadings had scarcely been needed to induce her to
retain in her employment a girl of such unquestioned capability
as Lydia; and although it was only by the exercise of great
self-control that the latter could receive her mistress' concession
in a becoming spirit of gratitude and humility, she felt
amply repaid for the effort, in the opportunity now afforded her
of spending some weeks in the home of her youthful benefactress.

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This invasion of the domestic peace was, at first, endured
with a very good grace by the whole household; but Murray's
riotous behavior, and Alick's dogged obstinacy, soon gave rise
to difficulty and disturbance. Mr. Vaughan escaped the annoyance
by shutting himself up in his library, and Harry, after
amusing himself awhile by sharing the boys' noisy sports,
exciting their spirits, and often involving them in quarrelsome
disputes, would hurry out of the house, leaving others to reap
the fruits of the mischief which he had sown. Miss Sabiah
and the much tormented servants were the chief sufferers from
the introduction of these unruly and rebellious inmates; for
Mabel, when not engrossed with other objects, seldom failed to
find pleasure in the companionship of her young guests. It
was true, she was often called upon to quiet the disputes and
reconcile the disagreements which were continually arising,
but she had a happy, careless way of settling every vexed
question to the satisfaction of all parties; and by a mingling of
kindness and authority she contrived to exercise a certain
degree of government over her little nephews.

This restraining influence was due; in part, to the respect
which her consistent truthfulness inspired in children who had
hitherto been subjected to a system of artifice and bribery, and
still more to the cordial interest with which she occasionally
entered into their plans and participated in their enjoyments;
for, preöccupied as her mind might be, nothing could dispel
her earnest love of childhood and her sympathy in its pleasures.

Thus a long-talked-of sleigh-ride, to which the boys had been
looking forward from the commencement of the winter, was
anticipated with scarcely less zest by Mabel; and the snow-storm,
which was its precursor, was hailed by her, as well as
by the children, with unfeigned satisfaction.

It commenced falling at dusk, and the next morning the entire
city was decked in a rich garb of white, untrodden snow,
which certainly presented a tempting prospect to pleasure-seekers,
of all ages. Before noon, Broadway and the principal
avenues were thronged with sleighs of every shape and hue,
which, with their joyous occupants and eager, prancing horses,

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gave to the scene the aspect of a Carnival; while among the
many rich and gorgeous equipages, none was to be seen more
graceful in its style, or more complete in its appointments
than that which contained the happy, blooming Mabel and her
triumphant and excited little companions.

They glided rapidly up and down the principal thoroughfares,
threading a swift course among the crowd of huge,
open omnibuses, gay with decorations and laden with passengers;
fashionable turn-outs, with liveried servants, and rich
draperies of fur; miniature boats, drawn by fast horses, and
driven by fast young men;—in a word, vehicles of all descriptions,
and every grade of pretension, thus suddenly introduced
upon the scene of action, and rivalling one another in beauty,
grotesqueness, display, or speed.

“See!” cried Murray, springing to his feet in the enthusiasm
of his joy, “there's mamma, with Miss Vannecker, in Mr.
Earle's new sleigh. Drive faster, Donald!” shouted he to the
coachman, “drive faster, and see if we can't beat those gray
horses ahead!” and as they dashed gaily past Mrs. Leroy's
party, and, one after another, distanced all competitors, Mabel
was obliged to grasp the arm of the excited child, lest in the
exuberance of his spirits he should lose his balance and be
thrown from the sleigh.

“Look, aunt Mabel,” exclaimed the equally observing, but
more composed Alick, “look at that beantiful little white seashell
that seems to be cutting through foam; the wolf's robe,
the horse, and even the harness, as white as the snow itself.
Oh, that is the handsomest of all! Mr. Dudley is driving, and
he sees us, I am sure he does,—he is trying to catch up!”

“But he can't?” cried Murray, whose attention was attracted
by this new rival, “I'll bet he can't beat our bays, won't
you, aunt Mabel?”

“He will, though,” said Alick, who was carefully measuring
the chances.

Mabel's heightened color and kindling eye betokened the
interest with which she watched the race, but she was far
from sharing Murray's disappointment when the snow-white

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steed gradually gained upon them; and if she experienced
any mortification at the consciousness of approaching defeat,
there certainly was no evidence of it in the brilliant smiles
with which she welcomed Dudley, as the little equipage finally
came alongside.

The latter, on his part, seemed indisposed to make any show
of success; but, satisfied with having thus achieved a parallel
position, continued, in spite of obstacles, to maintain it for some
minutes; a species of compromise which, flattering and agreeable
as it might be to Mabel, was far otherwise to her impetuous
little nephew, who, still anxious to achieve a victory, persisted
in exclaiming to the coachman, “Hurry up, Donald!—
whip 'em up!”

The man, however, who read a contradictory order in the
expression of his mistress' countenance, as she responded to
Dudley's congratulation upon the pleasures of the day, forbore
pressing his horses to the top of their speed,—a fact of which
Murray soon became conscious. “See here, Al!” exclaimed
he, after an interval which he had occupied in clumsily moulding
a snow-ball, for which a huge drift furnished the material,
“I'll make 'em go!” Then, watching an opportunity when
Mabel was most deeply engrossed with some object to which
Dudley had directed her attention, he raised himself upon the
front seat, and flung his missile at the head of one of the
horses. His aim proved as accurate as its effect was instantaneous.
The spirited and startled animal gave one wild
leap, then dashed suddenly forward; and the panie being thus
communicated to its mate, the pair were, in an instant more,
rushing madly down the wide avenue, clearing for themselves
a passage through the quickly-parting throng of vehicles, but
utterly beyond the control or guidance of the coachman.

Meanwhile, in another part of the city, and under circumstances
of a wholly different character, a pair of watchful,
thoughtful eyes were busily engaged in scanning the various
individuals and scenes which came within the scope of the observer's
vision. It was a limited prospect, of no very inviting nature;
but, such as it was, little Rose Hope had found in it

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material for thought and study during many a long year. The
dingy shop, which constituted her mother's principal support,
was situated in a narrow street, and the floor of the sunken
building was considerably below the level of the sidewalk.
Thus, the cheerful sun, which rose behind the house, and set
behind that on the opposite side of the street, never found its
way into the close, cellar-like apartment where the Widow
Hope sold needles, tape, and various other articles of trifling
value, including candy of her own manufacture.

There were two windows to this room, both fronting the street.
One contained samples of the widow's scanty stock in trade,
arranged and re-arranged many times a year, for the purpose
of producing a more marked effect upon her patrons, but seldom
diminished by an active custom, or increased by dint of
surplus capital. A few cards of buttons, discolored by exposure,
or soiled by time; a few clay pipes, in an earthen mug,
which had long been deficient in a handle; with here and there
a paper of pins, a skein of coarse thread, or a last year's almanae,
sufficed to give the public an intimation of what might be
found within.

Besides these articles of positive significance, there were
some little attempts at ornament, which should not be omitted,
as they constituted the more marked tokens of Mrs. Hope's
establishment. These were two clumsy wooden figures,—the
one representing a parrot, gorgeous in green and yellow paint,
which, in aristocratic and proud disdain of its unworthy surroundings,
seemed to challenge the passer-by to remove it to a
more congenial sphere; the other, a laughing, portly, old sailor,
who, with his hands on his sides, and his feet in the position
for commencing a hornpipe, appeared resolved to be jolly, in
spite of circumstances.

But the parrot had maintained its dignity, and the sailor his
light-heartedness, for years, without this commendable perseverance
having won a purchaser for either.

These decorations were hung out as symbols for the public
generally; but for the immediate neighborhood, the opposite
and ungarnished window had a deeper and far more impressive

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meaning; for here might invariably be seen the little arm-chair
of the invalid child, whose emaciated face was as familiar
as the day, to every individual who frequented the narrow

Few were so indifferent, so thoughtless, or so hurried, as to
pass the widow's shop without bestowing a kindly glance upon
one who was the object of universal love and compassion.
Little children, on their way to school, paused a moment to
look smilingly up at the well-known window, assured of an
answering smile in return; old women pressed their faces
against the glass and spoke a word of inquiry or kindness;
and hard-faced men assumed a softened air while they exchanged
some friendly signal with Rosy. Or if, as was sometimes
the case, the arm-chair was vacant for a day, many an eye
missed the little invalid from her accustomed place, and peering
anxiously into the room beyond, wondered how it fared
with the child.

Thus, a good understanding had come to subsist between
Rose and the humble neighborhood in which she lived; and,
who shall measure the priceless value of that chain of tender,
though often unspoken friendships, which the force of human
sympathy had wrought from out the hard material of busy life?

More numerous than usual were the tokens of pleasure and
congratulation which greeted her on the morning after the
snow-storm. For some days past she had been absent from
the window, confined to her bed in the little room behind the
shop; but this bright morning found her better, and her re-appearance
was observed and hailed with general satisfaction.

The men who were removing the snow from the sidewalks,
paused now and then, and leaning on their shovels looked up,
as if to bespeak her approbation of their work; the women
who came out with their pitchers to meet the noisy milk-boy,
nodded a kindly good-morning, as they caught sight of her
welcome countenance; and the milk-boy himself, despite his
somewhat surly countenance, forbore the customary harsh cry
as he paused at the shop door, and patiently awaited the widow's
coming, whistling in the meantime a popular air, and glancing

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[figure description] Page 111.[end figure description]

good-naturedly up at Rosy, as he thrashed his arms to and fro
to keep himself warm.

These and many other familiar greetings were responded to
by Rose, with her usual touching smile; but now and then
some simple incident served to call up a deeper glow of animation
or pleasure. Such was the appearance of a little deaf
and dumb child, who was in the habit of daily presenting himself
at her window, tapping on the glass to attract attention,
then making various gesticulations of delight when Rose feigned
a sudden surprise at seeing him, and whose happiness on this
morning, reached its climax upon his being summoned within
to receive a bit of crisp, brown candy, which she had begged
for him from her mother. The little fellow was one of Rose's
most devoted friends; and, among those with whom she had
never exchanged a word, he had but one rival to her partiality.
This was a tall and rosy-faced youth, the driver of a heavy
team, which, punctual to a moment, might be regularly seen
emerging from beneath an opposite arch-way.

On the present occasion the passage was so much impeded
by snow as to create some doubt in Rosy's mind, whether the
young teamster might not be deterred from venturing forth to
his daily duties. But no; just as the clock struck eight, the
spirited leader appeared in sight, flinging the snow like powder
from his hoofs, and tossing his wavy mane as if in defiance of
obstacles. The sun, which never shone on Rosy's side of the
street, was reflected in glittering rays from the brazen knobs
that ornamented the head-piece and bridle of the noble animal
and which, thickly set and polished to the last degree, dangled
and glistened like a dandy's watch-chain. Not a whit less
proud were the step and bearing of the shaft-horse, a fit companion
and a perfect match to the tall and well-shaped leader;
and both, in truth, formed a striking contrast to the brokendown
and half-starved hacks which performed most of the
draught labor of the city. Rose had watched and hailed their
approach for so many successive days and months, that she had
come to feel a sort of ownership in the handsome pair; a sentiment
which acted, perhaps, as a bond of sympathy between her

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and their smart young driver, who took no small pride in their
fine forms, glossy coats, and perfect training. There was something
healthy and cheery about the whole establishment, and
especially in the ruddy face of the teamster, who, standing upright
and firm, issued punctually from beneath the archway, a
fit type of honest labor coming forth to its daily toil.

The horses always made their exit with a slow and stately
pace, but the moment they gained the street the lad would
crack his long cart-whip, with a sound which made the neighborhood
ring, but which was a token of his coming intended for
Rosy's car, if one might judge by his cheerful smile and wave
of the hand in the direction of her window, while the horses,
which seldom suffered from the application of the lash, pricked
up their ears as if at the sound of music, and broke into a brisk
and voluntary trot.

To Rosy, who had no opportunity of seeing the costly equipages
which were thronging the great avenues of the city, and
the courteous salutations which were being exchanged in the
world of fashion, there was nothing more imposing than the
bearing of these working steeds, nothing more truly kind and
courtly than the demeanor of her assured friend, the healthy
and robust teamster.

The passage of this and many similar vehicles, however, of
clumsy construction, and moving on wheels in defiance of the
snow, soon had the effect of marring the purity and roughening
the surface of the streets in this, the business quarter of the city,
and the view became gradually less fair to the eye than even on
ordinary occasions. The day was wearing towards noon, and
Rosy's eyes, dazzled by the snow and weary from past sleeplessness,
were closed in momentary slumber, when she was
startled by a rushing noise, accompanied by the sound of bells
in rapid motion, and a sudden cry of alarm. In a moment
more a pair of unmanageable horses might be seen rushing
furiously down the street, dragging after them a light but richly
ornamented sleigh, gay with showy trappings and the rich
dresses of its occupants. It was in vain that the skilful coachman
endeavored to guide the frightened animals, which

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bounded forward in uncontrolled terror, threatening the destruction
of the whole party. As they approached the widow's shop
their driver made a final effort to check their progress, by
turning them suddenly under the opposite arch-way, but the
attempt was ineffectual; they bounded aside, bringing one of
the runners of the sleigh upon a heap of bricks which lay, just
beyond the sidewalk, deceitfully covered with snow, and the
vehicle was at once overturned. Fortunately, however, for its
inmates, they were all, with the exception of the coachman, who
still clung to his reins, thrown upon a soft snow-bank in front
of the shop door, and thus escaped wholly uninjured.

A young lady, who was no other than Mabel, was upon her
feet in an instant, and, without pausing to shake the snow from
her garments, she hastened to the assistance of Murray, who,
half buried in snow, was screaming lustily, but making no effort
to rise. Alick, however, who had, from the first moment of
alarm, shown a manly degree of courage and composure, had
already dashed the snow from his own clothes and bounded off
to recover Mabel's muff, which was tossed to some little distance,
and the ostrich feather, which had escaped from Murray's
hat, and was borne by a gust of wind rapidly down the street.

“Why, what a splendid fall we have had, and how beautifully
we came down in the snow, didn't we, Murray?” exclaimed
Mabel, speaking in a gay tone for the encouragement
of her little nephew, and at the same time lifting him from his
soft resting-place to the side-walk; then, as he still continued
to cry so loudly as to attract the attention of a crowd of
people who were rapidly collecting around the scene of the
accident, she hastily lifted the latch of the widow Hope's door,
hesitating whether or not to seek shelter within. At the same
moment she caught sight of Rosy, looking eagerly from the
window and beckoning, as if inviting them to enter. This
hospitable indication decided her; and, leading Murray by
the hand, and calling to Alick to follow, she stepped quickly
into the shop,—too quickly, indeed, for, in her haste, she
failed to perceive the little step downward from the side-walk,
and would have fallen but for the support afforded by the

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door-latch, while Murray, startled by the loud ringing of the
shop bell, and stumbling at the unexpected descent, was thrown
head-foremost upon the floor. This inauspicious entrance
alarmed the widow Hope, whose slow movements now brought
her upon the scene, where her offers of assistance proved very
acceptable. The little party indeed, in spite of their recent
deliverance from danger, were in a somewhat deplorable condition.
Murray was, in reality, slightly bruised by his second
fall, and, although he could scarcely cry any louder than he had
done before, he made as much tumult as possible, and required
all Mabel's attention. It was almost unconsciously, therefore,
that the latter was relieved of her cloak, now dripping with the
fast melting snow, and it was not until the child was somewhat
quieted that she even thought of attempting to remove her
delicate gloves, which, thoroughly soaked, were clinging obstinately
to her half-frozen fingers. Her bonnet, also, was so
crushed as to be almost shapeless, Murray had lost a shoe,
and Alick, although he made no complaint, had grazed his knee
against the pavement, which he had struck in falling.

These causes of discomfiture, trifling as they were, created
no little excitement in the contracted limits which the shop
afforded; and for some minutes a general confusion prevailed,
of which Rose was a silent spectator, her infirmities disabling
her from being of any service. A chair was at length procured
from the back room for Mabel, who, disencumbered of
bonnet and cloak, soon made herself quite at home, with Murray
sitting on her knee, and now gradually becoming soothed
and quiet. Alick declined a low seat which was offered him,
and, stationing himself directly opposite Rose, stood gazing at
her with unmistakable wonder and curiosity.

Mabel's only anxiety now was for the safety of the coachman,
who soon, however, appeared at the door unharmed, but
presenting a rueful countenance, as he informed her that his
master's sleigh lay an utter wreck upon the sidewalk.

“No matter, Donald,” answered Mabel promptly, “since we
are all safe.”

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“But what shall be done, Miss Mabel?” inquired the man;
“how will you get home?”

“What has become of the horses?” asked Mabel, with difficulty
restraining a smile at the man's utterly disconcerted

“They are just at the end of the street, Miss, at a poor kind
of a livery, but there isn't a sleigh to be had hereabouts—none,
sartain, that would be fit for you and the young gentlemen.
I'm afeard Mr. Harry will be a good deal disappinted, Miss,
when he sees what a smash-up we've had down yonder.”

“O, never mind that,” said Mabel, good-naturedly; “you
did the best you could, Donald. Mr. Harry will be only too
glad to see us home in safety.” And having learned that the
horses were uninjured, and quite sobered from their recent
fright, she suggested that Donald should lead them back to
their stable, inform the family of what had occurred, and return
with the carriage for herself and the boys.

The man hesitated,—expressed a fear that it would take a
long time to accomplish this, especially as wheels would not
run well on the snow; and at the same time, looked around
the dark shop, as if he considered it a very unworthy place of
refuge for his young mistress; but Mabel, understanding the
look, declared herself quite content to remain in her present
quarters during whatever time might be required; “That is,”
continued she, turning with true courtesy to Mrs. Hope, “if
our good friend will give us permission to stay so long.”

The pale, rigid features of the widow assumed an expression
that might be pronounced sincere, if not positively cordial,
as, in answer to this appeal, she expressed in a few words
her desire to accommodate, and make them as comfortable as
possible in so poor a place.

Thus assured, Mabel dismissed the man, calling to him, however,
just as he was leaving the shop, and adding, “Donald,
tell Lydia that I should like to have her come in the carriage;
and ask her to bring a pair of shoes for Murray, and my cloth

“Mother,” exclaimed Rose, drawing a deep breath the

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moment the door was closed, and speaking as if giving vent to
suppressed feeling, “Mother, is is her! it's Miss Mabel!”

Mabel turned and looked at the sick child in utter astonishment
at this unexpected recognition.

“Aunty,” said Alick, approaching Mabel's side and speaking
in a whisper, “I shouldn't wonder if that girl was Rose—
Lydia's sister Rose.”

“What makes you think so?” asked Mabel, speaking aloud
and glancing at Rose as she spoke.

“I know it is,” answered Alick, confirming the remark by a
confident nodding of his head; “she's just so little, and sick
and good, and sits all day in an arm-chair with a pillow in it.”

Mabel rose and moved her seat nearer to that of Rose, at
the same time displacing Murray from her knee. “Alick
thinks,” said she, laying her hand on the arm of Rose's chair,
“that this is little Rose Hope; and I begin to think so, too,”
added she, observing the ray of pleasure which overspread
Rosy's face at her words.

The fact certainly needed no other confirmation than that
expressed in the little invalid's countenance, as she discovered
the recognition to be mutual. “Only think,” exclaimed she to
her mother, who was incredulously surveying her visitors, “of
my seeing Miss Mabel! What will Lyddy say? O,Mother!
what will she say when she comes in the carriage!”

Mabel, amused and gratified at the child's enthusiasm, hastened
to express her own sense of the good fortune which had
brought her to the shop of Lydia's mother, and won that
mother's heart by the friendly interest with which she spoke of
her daughter's capability and faithfulness.

Meantime Alick, contrary to his usual custom with strangers,
entered into eager conversation with Rose, betraying, in a
rapid series of questions, a knowledge of the sick child's tastes,
habits, and character, which, together with his unwonted sociability,
astonished Mabel, who was unaware of the interest
which Lydia's description of her sister had awakened in the
mind of the thoughtful boy.

“Is that your slate?” asked he, glancing at one which lay

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on the wide window-sill, and whose well-worn frame and scanty
bit of pencil attested the frequency of its use; “and is this
what has been sold to-day?” he added, pointing to a neat list
of figures in one corner. Then, having received an affirmative
reply to both inquiries, he continued, “That's your big Bible—
it's a real old one, is'nt it? But here's a cunning little
book,” and he eagerly seized her “Daily Food,” which was
seldom absent from her side, and opening at the first page
commenced reading, but seemed disappointed in its contents,
as he quickly threw it aside and looked about him for other
objects of interest.

“Don't trouble the little girl, Alick,” interposed Mabel, who
was struck with Rose's pallor and evident feebleness; “you
must remember she is sick and will not like to be tired with

“O, no, no! he will not tire me,” said Rose, disclaiming such
a possibility with an earnestness which seemed to beseech Mabel
not to repress his curiosity.

Alick's eye now fell upon a rough wooden box, upon which
he pounced with an eagerness that denoted a knowledge of its
contents. “These are the jack-straws, ar'n't they?” said he,
looking inquiringly in Rose's face, as he vainly tried to remove
the cover.

Rose assured him that he was right, and taking the box from
his hand, she slid aside its ingenious fastening, and emptied the
neat little articles upon the window-sill for his easier inspection.

Alick had jack-straws of his own, but they did not compare
with Rosy's in variety, number, or neatness of finish. “Here's
the bow!” exclaimed he, as if he recognized a familiar object,
“it's finished, and it's a beauty! But where is the arrow?
hasn't Jack made the arrow yet?”

“Yes, he made one last evening,” answered Rose; “but it
was too slender, and it got broken; I guess he'll make another

Murray's attention was by this time attracted. He had
hitherto stood at a distance, out of humor and disdainful, but
he now came forward a few steps, and leaning on Mabel's

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knee, stood on tiptoe and peered over Alick's shoulder at the
toys. Rose perceived the motion, and, gently drawing aside,
made room for him between herself and the window. Alick
was disposed to keep him at a distance and engross the enjoyment
of the jack-straws, but yielded at once to Rose's gentle
remonstrance, “Let Murray see, too, Alick.”

-- --


No mortal doth know
What he can bestow,
What light, strength, and comfort do after him go;
Lo! onward I move,
And, but Christ above,
None guesses how wondrous the journey will prove.

[figure description] Page 119.[end figure description]

A brisk conversation, consisting for the most part of questions
and answers, was now maintained between the three children;
Rose every now and then stealing a glance at Mabel,
who was observing the little trio with evident interest. Mrs.
Hope had returned to some employment in the kitchen, which
had been interrupted by the arrival of her visitors, and Mabel
sat quietly watching the progress of this singular intercourse
between the children, responding to Rose's occasional glances
by a smile of approval and encouragement. She would gladly
have taken part in the conversation and expressed in some
way her sympathy with Rosy's misfortunes, but she found herself
disconcerted at the first attempt, being utterly at a loss
how to treat a child whose serious gravity inspired a respect
scarcely warranted by her years, and the patient contentment
of whose countenance forbade the pity which her infirmities
would otherwise have awakened. So she left it to the boys to
draw out the singular characteristics of their novel acquaintance,
an office for which they proved themselves amply competent.

Rose explained to them the use of various articles of which
the jack-straws furnished models, interesting the boys by the
clearness of her descriptions, and astonishing Mabel by the
intelligence they displayed. Things which could never, by

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any possibility, have come within the sick child's observations—
gardening utensils, carpenters and joiners' tools, and even complicated
pieces of machinery, were explained and their purposes
illustrated, with a force and accuracy which fascinated
the attention of Alick, and even imparted information to Mabel,
while Murray stood leaning on Rose's knee in a listening attitude,
his eyes fixed reverently on the face of their youthful
entertainer, who sat winding his long glossy curls around her
thin and wasted fingers.

It was certainly an incongruous group thus assembled in the
widow's shop. The sons of wealth, in gay attire and radiant
with health and vitality, drinking in knowledge at the feet of
one who, reared in poverty, wasted by disease, and isolated
from the world, formed a no less striking contrast to her youthful
listeners, from the superiority of her mental powers.

Perhaps Mabel felt conscious of the mortifying deficiencies
in her sister's children, for she asked herself, for the first time,
how it happened that the boys had never been sent to school,
and had been suffered to remain in such deplorable ignorance.

That they were not destitute of intellect, however, was evident
from the interest which they both manifested in Rosy's
engaging conversation; and the subjects to which the jackstraws
had given rise, might have engrossed the whole period of their
stay, had not their attention been at length attracted by another

A sudden movement caused Alick to hit his head against a
sharp corner, and looking up he espied Rosy's engraving,
which, removed from the little bed-room, hung against the
window frame. He immediately claimed acquaintance with
it. “Your picture!” cried he, “the picture of little pilgrim
and the angels! Let me see it—do! Lydia has told me
about that;” and he stretched forth his hand to snatch it from
the nail where it hung. It was beyond his reach, however,
and Mabel, after asking Rose's consent, assisted him in taking
it down, and placing it in an upright position on the window

As she did so she observed the chaste richness of its oval

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frame; and when she resumed her seat, and for the first time
saw the picture in a good light, she was struck with the exquisite
finish of the engraving, and the simple beauty of the subject.

“Where did you get it?” asked Alick, who, like Mabel,
perceived at once how inconsistent it seemed to be with its

“It was brought to the hospital while I was there trying to
be cured. It belonged to a young gentleman; and a lady, who
was one of the directresses, brought it there for me to see.
She left it for a week hanging at the foot of my bed, and then
it was that the doctor said I never could be cured, and might
as well come home again. I had got very fond of the picture,—
it told me stories and kept me company, and so, because I
loved it, and because I never could be cured, the gentleman
(I think it was the lady's son,) sent word for me to keep it

“Was n't he good?” exclaimed Alick, with feeling, at the
same time looking anxiously into the face of Rose, from whose
eyes, as she recalled the past, one or two tears had escaped
and were slowly trickling down her cheeks.

“What tells a story?” asked Murray, pulling at Rose's
sleeve—“Can the picture speak?”

“It speaks to me,” answered Rose, smiling sweetly through
her tears. “I can't tell you all it says, but some of the stories
are very plain to be seen,—don't you think so?”

“I do n't,” answered Murray, with a dissatisfied air, while
Alick carefully examined the picture.

“Why, you see,” said Rose, “that is little pilgrim going a
journey, and those three angels go with him.” Here Rose
paused, and looked inquiringly and diffidently into the face of
Mabel, as if seeking encouragement to continue the story.
Mabel answered by rising so as to obtain a better view, while
she herself listened attentively to Rose's description of her

Rose went on. “That is Hope,” said she, pointing to a
cherub figure peering above the clouds, with its hand outstretched,
and its eye fixed upon a light spot in the distance,

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which seemed intended to represent the glow of a brilliant

“And what does he say?” asked Murray.

“Oh, he says, `keep up a good heart, little pilgrim.' ”

“And what is that one's name?” inquired Alick, pointing
to another on the right, whose head was thrown back, while
both eye and hand were turned heavenward in an attitude of
rapt devotion.

“That is Faith,” replied Rose, and he says, `trust in God.' ”

“But that is the prettiest,” said Murray eagerly, placing his
finger on the central figure, whose eyes were downward bent,
and whose hand was pointing earthward, while the countenance
was illumined with the benignant smile of a pure benevolence.

“Yes, that is the prettiest,” said Rose, “and the best; that
is Charity, or Love, for it goes by both names.”

“We'll call it Love, then,” said Alick, “won't we?”

“Yes,” said Rose, “that is Love.”

“And what does Love say to Pilgrim?” continued Alick.

“Oh, a great many things,” answered Rose. “It tells him
to lend a helping hand to everybody he meets on the way, and
do all the good he can, and be patient, and gentle, and kind.”

“And is he? Does he do it?”

“Yes, indeed.”

“How do you know?”

“Can't you see?” asked Rose—“it is all told in the picture.”

The boys looked intently—so did Mabel—but neither
detected the proofs which seemed so evident to Rosy. Mabel
kept silent, but the boys confessed their ignorance.

“Don't you see,” said Rose, after a pause, “all the flowers
that have sprung up behind him as he goes; the path is dark,
and overhung with brushwood, so that he cannot see a step
before him on the road; but look where his feet have worn
that little track, and you will see all along beside it the flowers
that he has strewn there. Some have taken root and grown
up tall; there is a rose that has nearly climbed to the top of

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that high tree. How sweet it will smell to the next traveller
that comes along that way! “Those are his virtues,” added
Rose, after another pause, during which her listeners stood
carefully scanning the objects she had pointed out; “it was
Charity that went with him and helped him strew the flowers,—
don't you see he has a basket in his hand? that contains
the roots and seeds, and Charity shows him the best places to
plant them in, and how to make them grow.”

“He's got a cane,” said Murray—“what does he carry a
cane for?”

Rose looked up at Mabel and smiled. “That is the staff
of faith,” said she, “he leans on it when he is tired.”

“Where is he going?” asked Alick. “Is it a long journey.”

“Not very long; some people find it very short. He is
going to that city in the distance; do n't you see it with the
light shining on its walls and towers? That is the Eternal
City, Alick—the city of our God,” added she, solemnly, laying
her thin hand on Alick's arm; “we are all travelling on
the same road as pilgrim,—and we must try to strew flowers
behind us as we go.”

Children are always much impressed with anything in the
nature of an allegory. They wholly understand the actual
story, while they often catch a dim conception of its hidden
meaning. Murray was only capable of comprehending the
former, but Alick caught an idea, faint indeed, but still impressive
in its character, of the lesson which Rose's story had partially
revealed to his untaught soul; and Mabel, who, in spite
of good principles and high aspirations, was a child in religious
experience, felt awed by the simple teachings of virtue, and
subdued by the sublime power of truth. Thus Rose herself
had unconsciously planted seed by the wayside; and who shall
tell when and how such seed may spring up into everlasting

There was a silence in the little company for a short time
after Rose had finished; then Murray yawned, as children
will yawn when they have been agreeably entertained and
find the entertainment suddenly withdrawn. “How soon are

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we going home?” asked he of Mabel, “I'm hungry.”

“Hush!” said Mabel softly, unwilling to make further claim
upon the widow's hospitality by the expression of any new
wants; we shall go soon; it is time for Donald to be here
now;” then bethinking herself of the best mode of repaying
those attentions which she had already received, she proposed
to make some purchases from the widow's stock. It was difficult
to make a selection of articles in any degree appropriate
to her station in life, Mrs. Hope's goods being intended for the
accommodation of her own humble neighborhood. With the
children's assistance, however, she contrived to expend, in
trifling purchases, all the money she had in her purse; and
Murray had just received into his arms the gorgeous, but
long-neglected parrot, when the shop door was suddenly thrown
open, and Lydia entered with a flushed and excited countenance.

She was laden with shawls and wrappers, which, in addition
to the articles sent for by Mabel, had been despatched by her
anxious aunt, and was so breathless with haste and astonishment
that Mabel strove in vain to obtain from her an intelligent
reply to her inquiries, what had become of the coachman
and horses, and why she herself had come thither on foot.

The half-laughing, half-crying girl, overjoyed at the safety
of Mabel and the children, and excited to the last degree by
the circumstance of their having taken refuge in her mother's
shop, could only embrace Rose and the boys by turns, uttering,
meanwhile, interjectional phrases, expressive of her own and
Miss Sabiah's fears, and the prompt action of Mr. Dudley,
whose name was strangely mingled with her exclamations.

Finding it impossible to calm her, Mabel hastily opened the
shop door, to satisfy herself whether or not the carriage was
in sight, and as she did so, encountered Dudley at the very
threshold. She blushed with pleased surprise, not having in
the least understood Lydia's broken communication, and the
color deepened in her cheeks when he seized her hand with an
eagerness that betrayed his anxiety on her account,—an anxiety
which evidently had not been wholly quieted by Donald's

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assurance of her safety. His fears were wholly allayed, however,
at the sight of her smiles, and she now learned that the carriage
awaited them at some little distance, Mr. Dudley having judged
it imprudent to venture on wheels into the narrow, crowded
street, encumbered as it was with snow.

He also informed her, in few words, that he had pursued her
sleigh as long as he could keep the frantic horses in sight, and
then, not being able to recover their track, had, after a fruitless
search, hastened to Mr. Vaughan's house, hoping that, though
the frightened animals were beyond the coachman's control,
instinct would guide them thither. He arrived there but a
few moments in advance of Donald, and having learned from
him the welcome tidings of her safety, resolved still further to
assure himself of it by accompanying him on his return to the
spot where she had found shelter.

“What a wretched place you have been obliged to wait in!”
exclaimed he, looking down into the low, dark shop, and seeming
to shrink from its close atmosphere.

“We have been hospitably, and even agreeably, entertained
here,” answered Mabel; “the boys and I have made the
acquaintance of a sick child, who proves to be the sister of
their nurse; she is an interesting little creature,—do come in
and see her, Mr. Dudley.”

“The room seems to be pretty well stocked already, in proportion
to its dimensions,” answered Dudley, smiling, “especially
as you pronounce it to be a sick-room; and in view of the
latter fact, Miss Mabel, I feel bound in conscience to hurry
you away from this miserable place. I have made myself
responsible to Miss Vaughan for your safe return, and a heated,
distempered air may sometimes prove as fatal as a pair of
runaway horses.”

Mabel made haste to repel this suggestion, assuring Dudley
that the child's illness was chronic, and not of a contagious
character, and that the room, though naturally close, from its
low, damp situation, was otherwise comfortable, and in all
respects neat.

He smiled complacently at the warmth with which she

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defended her place of refuge from unjust aspersions, and, as if
to satisfy her that he had no fears on his own account, stepped
within the door, and still holding it ajar, awaited her pleasure.

As there was no motive for further delay, the little party
were not long in making ready to depart; especially as Mabel
had previously resumed her cloak and bonnet, now restored by
Mrs. Hope's care to their original appearance, and Lydia had
recovered her composure and partially equipped the boys for
their return home. Mabel was much touched at the deep feeling
evinced by Rose, as she spoke her simple farewell, expressing
in a few words how happy the visit had made her, and
pressing Mabel's hand to her lips with mingled respect and
fervor. “I will come again, Rose,” said Mabel, in a low voice.

She would gladly have said more, being anxious to testify
in some way the tender sympathy she felt for the little invalid.
But Dudley stood looking on; he would mentally accuse her
of affectation or parade; so she contented herself with the
promise to repeat her visit, and with a lightly spoken good-by,
took her friend's offered arm to accompany him to the
carriage, leaving the boys to follow with Lydia.

“The fresh air is really delightful,” exclaimed she, as the
clear, wintry breeze, tempered by the warmth of a noon-day
sun, fanned her cheek, which was slightly feverish with the
excitement of the morning.

“If I may be allowed to advise,—and you will pardon whatever
there may be of selfishness in the suggestion,” said her
companion,—“I should declare a walk home preferable to a
drive, under existing circumstances.”

The sight of the carriage, which they had now reached,
served to enforce Dudley's opinion. The wheels were so
clogged with snow that it was evident they could move but
slowly, and in a lumbering manner, through the streets, and as
Alick also expressed a preference for walking, it was decided
that Murray and Lydia should proceed in the carriage, and
the others continue up Broadway on foot.

Although the hour passed in the widow's humble dwelling
had been replete with interest, the sudden change from the

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confined atmosphere and narrow limits of the shop to the bracing
air, active exercise, and brilliant spectacle afforded by the
crowded street, had a corresponding effect upon the spirits of
Alick and Mabel. The former, whose movements were usually
slow and languid, trod with a light step, as if rejoicing in an
unwonted share of liberty, which he was, in truth, experiencing,
since it was rarely that he went out on foot, except for a short
and monotonous walk with Lydia. Availing himself of the
license afforded on the present occasion, he would now and
then pause to survey at his leisure whatever object attracted
his attention, and then bounding forward, overtake his somewhat
careless protectors, who, engrossed with each other, left
him at liberty to do as he pleased; a freedom of which, however,
he took no undue advantage. Mabel, meanwhile, flattered
by Dudley's marked interest in her safety, and rejoicing
in the exuberance of youthful spirits, excited the increased
admiration of her companion by the variety of her conversation
and her natural and eager enjoyment of the gay, wintry
scene. It was, in truth, the simple and unperverted freshness
of this child of nature which had captivated the experienced
man of the world. The inborn dignity, grace, and animated
sweetness of manner, which had fitted her to take at once a
distinguished place in society, might have existed independently
of that child-like enthusiasm which was, perhaps, the most
interesting feature of her character; but this latter trait had at
once been discerned by Dudley, and, cautious as he was of
yielding to impressions, its charm had completely fascinated
him. So true it is, that a mutual attraction often exists between

The prevailing character of the incidents in which their walk
invited them to participate, was that of mirth and laughter;
but an opportunity soon occurred for the further and more
complete development of Mabel's ready and universal sympathies.
At just that point in Broadway where the crowd was
most dense, and their movements the most hurried, our party
suddenly encountered a little boy, ragged, dirty, and bending
beneath the weight of an old basket filled with half-burnt coals.

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The little urchin was directly in the path of the throng of foot
passengers, who were hurrying up and down the side-walk, and
in endeavoring to avoid a collision, he stumbled and fell upon
one knee, striking his burden heavily upon the pavement.
The time-worn and shattered basket had hardly held together
before, and now, as he lifted it to resume his progress, it gave
way entirely, and its whole contents were scattered in the deep
snow which bordered the side-walk. Some of the passers-by
laughed, some looked compassionately over their shoulders,
and one or two paused for an instant, out of curiosity, to see
whether the boy would attempt to repair the misfortune.

“Oh! poor little fellow;” exclaimed Mabel, who reached
the spot at the moment of the accident, and whose compassion
was at once excited by the expression of blank dismay which
overspread his childish face at the sight of his lost and wasted

The boy, hearing a kindly voice, and seeing the shadow of
some person who evineed a pitying interest by coming to a full
stop, looked up from the wreck on which his gaze had been
hitherto fixed, and met the glance of Mabel's eye with such a
look of appeal as went straight to her heart. It was an innocent
countenance, and a sad one, and told a story of want and
disappointment somewhere.

“It's a pity!” said Mabel, glancing from the face of the boy
to the spilt coal and useless basket; and, as the mournful eyes,
now fast filling with tears, still spoke a touching entreaty, a
moisture gathered in her own, and her hand, as usual, sought
her pocket.

Alick, who had been lingering behind, now came up, and,
with childhood's quick instinct, reading the whole story, exclaimed
eagerly and confidently, “Oh, Aunt Mabel, do give
him some money!”

But alas, the purse was empty; the money had all been
spent at the widow's shop! The consciousness of this did not
flash upon Mabel, until she had drawn the little silver reticule
from her pocket and exposed her destitution; then blushing
with mortification and disappointment at having encouraged the

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child's hopes, to dash them the next instant, she turned to Dudley,
supposing that the act had awakened his observation, and
would induce him to supply her deficiencies by a prompt contribution
on his part. But the case seemed not to have touched
his sympathies, at least not in such a way as to conduce to the
boy's benefit. He stood at the distance of a step or two,
quietly surveying the scene with an interested and amused air,
and, although manifesting no impatience, seemed to be viewing
Mabel's proceedings as those of a capricious child indulging a
wayward impulse.

Mabel could not be sure whether he perceived her embarrassment;
but it being very evident that he felt no disposition
to charity, she was reluctantly compelled to restore her purse
to her pocket, and leave the child to bear his misfortune as he
best might, with no other encouragement than that conveyed
in a kind word. “My money is all gone,” said she; “I am
sorry,—perhaps some other lady will give you a sixpence.”

She spoke confusedly, and with evident regret, which increased
to actual pain as the little fellow replied, with sad simplicity,
“It's very hard to find a lady that'll give me a sixpence.”

Grieved as she felt for the little fellow, there was nothing
more to be said or done, and the next moment she was continuing
her walk, exchanging salutations with gay friends, and
listening to Dudley's conversation.

Alick staid behind a moment, to scan the boy's face with his
ever-curious eyes, and solace his disappointment, if possible, by
saying, “She has spent all her money,—I have not got any
either—it's too bad.”

“Your compassion is awake I see, Miss Vaughan, like
every other amiable emotion,” said Dudley, as they proceeded
up the street. “You are new to scenes like that younder, but
you will soon, I fear, become accustomed to them, if you go out
frequently in New York, especially on foot.”

“Oh, I have seen a great many miserable objects already,”
said Mabel; “enough to make my heart ache; but that little fellow
interested me particularly, he had such a plaintive look;”

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and Mabel sighed, as her thoughts again recurred to the unspoken
appeal which had moved her so forcibly.

“That boy had rather a beautiful countenance,” said Dudley;
“he reminded me of a most exquisite group I saw in Florence
last winter, Picciotti's Beggars. I wish you could see that
piece of statuary, Miss Vaughan—I am sure you would appreciate
it; it is his masterpiece—a wonderful work of art! I
was struck immediately with that boy's resemblance to the
younger of the two beggars.”

“He was not a beggar!” exclaimed Alick, who had joined
them unobserved, and caught Dudley's last word only. “He
didn't ask for anything!”

“There are various kinds of begging,” responded Dudley,
replying to Alick's remark, though not looking at him, or appearing
to observe from what quarter the suggestion had proceeded,
for he seldom took much notice of children. “That is
the most specious, certainly, which addresses itself to the eye
and not the ear. That stroke was capitally executed, however,”
added he, laughing good humoredly; “it would have
done credit to one of the junior members of the Ravel troupe.
It is astonishing how quickly those little practitioners become
adepts in their art.”

“Why, you surely do not think—” exclaimed Mabel, in

“That that was an accident done on purpose?” said Dudley,
in continuation of her query, and smiling at her genuine astonishment;
“perhaps so—perhaps not;” and he shrugged his
shoulders expressively. “At all events,” continued he, as if
hesitating to pronounce decisively in the present instance, “we
will not be severe upon him, since your judgment is evidently
in his favor, Miss Vaughan; but these artifices to excite sympathy
are no doubt very common. Modern institutions are
partially responsible for it; they cry out against street begging,
and street cunning rises up in its stead. Ah, they manage
these things much better abroad! a few bajocchi will disperse an
Italian rabble, and there is the end of it; but here, society is
to be reörganized, poverty put down, and I don't know what

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not. Very well; I am willing to give philanthropists a fair
chance for my part—but if they will put restrictions on our
benevolence, the poor must take the consequences, I suppose,
if they starve.”

And having thus involved what had previously seemed
a simple appeal to charity, into a complicated case of political
economy, Dudley gracefully and easily waived any
further consideration of the difficult question, by resuming
his analysis of the merits of Picciotti's Beggars, and leading
Mabel's thoughts into the wide field of beauty and of art.
Here he was completely at home; and, with his wonderful
gift at description, and his unrivalled and varied powers of entertainment,
he completely enchained her attention for the
remainder of the walk.

That evening, however, as she stood in front of a brilliant
fire which was burning in the dining room, and heard the cold
wind whistle round the corner of the house, she thought again
of the little boy and the spilt coals. He might be an impostor,
the very prince of rogues, but, despite her reason, instinct and
good heart whispered otherwise, and, do what she would to
restrain them, painful visions rose before her of dreary garrets,
where half-starved children and despairing mothers crouched
beneath scanty coverings, and cried and shivered with the cold.

Mabel's experience and knowledge would not warrant her in
deciding the comparative claims of beggars and philanthropists;
but one thing at least was certain, misused as her bounty might
have been by the boy, it's bestowal would have left a blessing
with the giver. As it was, she could only sigh for the poverty
which was beyond her reach, and soothe her regret with the
newly awakened idea, that a too liberal distribution of money
was dangerous, and might defeat the best interests of society.
Not that she could persuade herself that it would have done
harm in the present case, for she felt an honest conviction of
the truthfulness of her first impressions. Who shall say, however,
that her heart warmed as readily towards the next child
of misfortune that came in her path? or, that the spirit of distrust
once awakened in her hitherto unsuspecting bosom could

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be easily laid to rest? Rosy was right in saying, that we need
in life's pathway an angel guide, to teach us where to plant the
flowers of charity. Alas for earth's youthful pilgrims, when a
cold and worldly calculation banishes the gentle spirit of human
love and sympathy! More fatal still, when the sister spirits of
faith and hope give place to gloomy doubts and discouraging

-- --


Who scoffs these sympathies,
Makes mock of the divinity within;
Nor feels he gently through his breathing soul
The universal spirit.
R. H. Dana.

[figure description] Page 133.[end figure description]

Among the engagements of the following week, there was
one of a somewhat different character from the gay assemblies
which constituted the chief social enjoyment of Mabel's circle.
This was a party given on occasion of some family anniversary,
by a lady of high position, whose wealth, accomplishments, and
superior cultivation, gave her an undisputed preëminence in the
eyes both of people of consequence and of those who considered
themselves such.

Even Mr. Vaughan was induced to accept an invitation to a
house where he would be sure to meet many guests of his own
age, and no small number of persons distinguished in the literary
and political world. Louise was not willing to lose the
honor of being present at an entertainment where the company
would undeniably be the most select the city afforded. Harry,
while he voted these old Knickerbocker affairs pretty slow concerns,
declared it an object to see things done up in good shape
once in a while; and Mabel, for all these reasons combined,
and, perhaps, also from the knowledge that the hostess was a
near connection of Dudley's, looked forward to the evening
with unusual interest.

Miss Sabiah was seldom included in the numerous invitations
received by her brother's family, not from any intentional
slight, but because she had systematically avoided becoming
generally known as an inmate of the household, and had nervously
shrunk from being found in the drawing-room on reception
days. She would never have dreamed, however, of

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mingling in society; and was satisfied, for her part, with the simple
enjoyment derived from the sight of her favorite Mabel, richly
attired, and appearing on each new occasion more beautiful in
the eyes of her aunt. Therefore, on the evening in question,
she experienced no small satisfaction from the survey of a
superb dress, worn for the first time by Mabel, and her elation
reached its height as she observed the ill-concealed envy which
it awakened in Louise, who entered the dressing-room just as
her sister's toilette was completed. It was no wonder that the
partisan spirit of the aunt was gratified, for Mabel certainly
outshone herself.

She wore a white flounced silk, each flounce being bordered
with a pattern of delicately wrought green leaves and half-blown
roses, and the graceful garland of flowers on her hair
was in perfect harmony with the Parisian fabric. The waist
fitted closely to the throat, where a collar of point lace was
fastened with a brilliant spray of diamonds; and sleeves of the
same delicate material as the collar, lightly draped her wellrounded

Louise, whose little, fairy-like form never looked so well as
in the light and gossamer fabrics in which she floated or
whirled through the dance, felt a sharp pang of jealousy, as
she noted the almost regal figure of her sister, set off to advantage
by the closely-fitting and heavy material which would
have severely tested a less exquisite shape than Mabel's.

“I hate to go to these half-and-half parties,” said she, in a
sharp and irritable tone, as she drew out the folds of her velvet
dress to give it a more graceful flow, and straitening her
figure at the mirror, tried to believe herself just the right
height, and Mabel a little too tall. “One has to dress up as
if afraid of the rheumatism, and no wonder, for if ever people
do take cold, it is from standing round in corners, as we shall
do to-night. It will be shockingly stupid. I've half a mind
not to go;” and although she could not resolve to stay away
from an entertainment which anybody else thought worth attending,
Louise contrived by her ill-humor to make herself
and every one about her so uncomfortable, that her friends

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were glad at last to arrive at their destination, and to see her
established in one of the corners she had spoken of, where,
with Victoria Vannecker, and a little knot of companions, she
amused herself with making comments upon the company.

The assembly was not large, and there was no music, but,
as Harry had foreseen, everything was conducted in good taste,
and spacious and superb as were the house and furniture,
nothing gave evidence of extraneous ornament, or an attempt
at display.

Some of the company had evidently been their hostess'
guests at dinner, and coffee was passed round promiscously at
quite a late hour.

This circumstance, and the fact that the size and number of
the rooms thrown open afforded opportunity for the dispersion
of the visitors into little knots, gave the whole assemblage
the air of a somewhat overgrown tea-party. A few
elderly gentlemen, grouped together on the hearth-rug and
occasionally sipping their coffee, were holding a political discussion;
and a similar association of literary friends were
laughing heartily at a series of amusing anecdotes related by
one of their number. A travelled lady and a boyish artist
were examining a book of etchings together; and a group of
youths and girls, scarcely beyond childhood, had taken possession
of the music room, and while one played the piano, the
rest were having a merry dance.

These, and various other social scenes, were indicative of
the different ages, tastes, and characters, which were blended
in the company; and although nonsense, scandal and ill-natured
criticism, were not without their representatives, they instinetively
felt themselves out of their sphere, and kept in the background;
while the assembly, as a whole, was eminently distinguished
for harmony, elegance, good breeding, and refinement.

Mabel felt, from the first moment of her entrance, the total
dissimilarity between this and most of the fashionable parties
which she frequented; but, unlike Louise, at once recognized
its superiority. Nor, although the youthful circle which claimed
her as its ornament could assemble here but a small number

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of its members, did she find herself by any means destitute of

Dudley's partiality had not only awakened her ambition for
cultivated society, but had, to some degree, gratified this preference,
and already, through his introduction, had she been
brought into occasional intercourse with persons of distinction,
taste, and learning.

Politicians, artists, noted travellers, titled foreigners, and
literary lions in every department, were included in Lincoln
Dudley's extensive circle of friends; and more than one individual
of some distinction among the present company, now
seized the opportunity to revive and strengthen his knowledge
of the beautiful girl, whose naturalness of manner, freshness
of feeling, and exuberance of thought and fancy, had
increased the admiration inspired by her personal charms.

But, although this species of homage was an undoubted
triumph, there was no evidence of gratified pride in the demeanor
of Mabel, whose sparkling eye and intelligent smile
denoted an eager interest and an animated pleasure in the
conversation of a select group, of which she was the central
attraction. Conscious, as she could not fail to be, of her power
of pleasing, she, nevertheless, employed it without affectation
or artifice; and in whatever estimation her success might be
held, no one could fail to acknowledge that it was fairly won.

Unwilling as Dudley was to yield allegiance to any single
object, and often as he absented himself from her neighborhood,
to pay his addresses elsewhere, an irresistible attraction
drew him back, and a short interval only would elapse, before
his clear tones would mingle again in the conversation of the
little group, to which his racy and eloquent, or occasionally
abrupt and ironical, contributions invariably imparted additional
zest; nor did the consciousness of his vicinity fail to
give an added glow to Mabel's features, and a renewed lustre
to her eye.

“Do you see that magnificent girl yonder?” said an elderly
painter of repute, to one whom he knew to be a lover of his
art. “I will paint her picture, before the winter is over. I

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promise you I shall accomplish the point, and obtain a sitting.
How superb she would be as Corinne crowned in the temple!”

“There is talent there,” exclaimed a first-rate lawyer, significantly
glancing at Mabel, with whom he had been conversing.
“She has beat me in an argument, just now, good-naturedly,
and without pedantry, too, and before I knew what
she was at.”

“I would not trust myself against her before a jury, independently
of argument,” replied the gentleman to whom the
remark was addressed.

“Your sister is a young lady to be proud of,” said a somewhat
taciturn old bachelor, who, standing near Louise, had
been silently observing Mabel. “I see she is amiable, as well
as agreeable, and dispenses her smiles with equal favor upon

“Rather too much so, I should think,” said Louise, with a
short laugh, “judging from some of her friends. Pray, who is
that Father Noah whom she seems to find so interesting?”

“That thin gentleman in the long-bodied coat? I forget his
name,—a clergyman, I believe.”

Louise now turned to Miss Vannecker, and exclaimed, in a
low and half-confidential tone: “It is very ridiculous for Mabel
to stand there, directly in the centre of the room, and talk to
everybody that chooses to be introduced to her. She'll make
some most absurd acquaintances!”

A little later in the evening, when Mabel was listening, in a
reverential manner, to the conversation of the interesting clergyman,
Louise and Miss Vannecker paused as they were
crossing the room, and the former remarked abruptly to her
sister: “You have chosen a conspicuous place for holding your
court, this evening, my dear; the news-papers to-morrow will
describe the assembly room, and say the centre ornament was
a flower-piece of exquisite form, consisting of successive tiers
of rose-wreaths, surmounted with a garland?”

“Besides,” added Miss Vannecker, as if taking it for granted
that Louise's remark was designed to be censorious, “it is

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very unbecoming to stand directly beneath the gas-light.” And
having thus rebuked her vanity, they passed on.

Mabel blushed and looked somewhat disconcerted, but innocent
of any intention at display, maintained a dignified composure,
and, covering her vexation with a smile, confirmed the
good opinion already formed of her by her new friend.

Dudley chanced to be standing near, and overheard the
rude speeches of Louise and her companion. Always courteous
himself, he could not endure rudeness in others, especially
when its motive was as palpable as in the present instance;
for his knowledge of Louise's character, at once suggested to
his discerning mind the jealousy by which she was actuated.

Anxious, therefore, to free Mabel from the slight embarrassment
which he detected in spite of her assumed serenity, he
availed himself of the first opportunity to invite her to visit
the conservatory, which contained a choice collection of plants.
Mabel, relieved by the proposal, the thoughtful delicacy of
which she fully appreciated, gladly accepted his offered arm
for the purpose.

Dudley was just enough of a botanist and florist to make his
observations upon flowers attractive and charming; he forbore
the use of scientific terms, called them all by their simple and
expressive names, and, without sentimentality, understood and
expatiated on the poetic and touching language which they
were capable of conveying.

There might be minds to which these gifts of nature appealed
with deeper significance, but few who could more gracefully
express the gratification afforded by them to a refined sense of
the beautiful.

While admiring, however, his knowledge of every species of
plant, including the rarest exotics, and sympathizing in most
of his preferences, Mabel was astonished at his indifference to
many of her favorites, especially among the common wild
flowers of our fields and woods. She could not resist paying
the tribute of affection to these wayside friends, and in answer
to his inquiry—which of all the summer blossoms she preferred?
she answered frankly, “If you ask me which I love the best,

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I must confess, though you will wonder to hear me say so,—
the dandelion—the friendly, yellow dandelion.”

Dudley smiled incredulously.

“I truly mean so,” said Mabel, earnestly; “it comes so early
and stays so long. It is earth's golden star of promise, speaking
of warmth, and sunshine, and summer. It has such sweet
associations, too. Why, did you never,” exclaimed she, forgetting
for the moment that she was addressing the polished man
of the world,—“did you never sit on the grass and make long
chains of the hollow stems, and sigh to think how frail they

“Never,” replied Dudley with decision.

“Nor tear them to shreds with idle fingers, and float them
in the brook to watch how they would curl? Nor pluck the
downy seed-vessels, on your way from school, and blow on
them three times to see if your mother wanted you?”

“Never,” replied Dudley again, in a tone which intimated
that his childish reminiscences included no such follies.

“Then you cannot imagine,” said Mabel, her enthusiasm a
little damped by his manner, “how many happy hours I associate
with their common, familiar faces.”

“I suppose not; but I nevertheless love flowers for the sake
of association,” said Dudley; and, stooping down, he picked
up a sprig of mignonette, which she had held in her hand a
moment before and then thrown negligently away.

Mabel blushed as she observed the action, and if at the same
moment she did not feel absolutely ashamed of her love for
dandelions, she was ready to confess it a childish folly, for
which she had no right to expect the sympathy of grown

In the criticism of works of art Dudley was even more
skilled than in the analysis of the floral kingdom; and he next
directed Mabel's attention to a number of paintings and statues
which adorned the spacious hall adjoining the conservatory.
Under his tutelage Mabel had already acquired some little
skill in judging of an artist's merit, and almost fancied that she
could distinguish between the works of rival schools. She was

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[figure description] Page 140.[end figure description]

still so unsophisticated, however, as always to bestow her first
thoughts on the subject, rather than the execution of a piece;
and her attention was at once attracted by an ancient-looking
picture, representing an angel-messenger bearing to Heaven
the tidings of a sinner's repentance. The seraphic beauty of
the countenance, the joy, love, and holy triumph which it depicted,
inspired in Mabel an emotion of religious awe. She
gazed at it a moment in silence, then turned from it to her
companion, with a look which bespoke her admiration.

“Miserable thing!” observed he, without appearing to notice
the sentiment it had awakened in Mabel. I never can see it
without smiling at the absurd discussion it has caused. You
must know that my honored cousin—he here lowered his
voice expressively and looked over his shoulder to see if any
of the family were within hearing—has the vanity, or the
credulity, to believe that picture a work of one of the old masters.
No one, with the slightest knowledge of paintings, could
cherish such a supposition for a moment. It is unquestionably
a counterfeit, or at most a mere copy.”

Whether copy or counterfeit it had its value, as was evident
from the emotion it had awakened in Mabel; but she had no
further opportunity to examine it. The seraph face having
been pronounced the guilty medium of a deception, she was
hurried away from it by Dudley, who assured her that it was
a daub—a mere imposture, not worth a moment's study.

So, also, in passing judgment on the statues. Two figures
of Mercy and Truth absorbed Mabel's notice, and were, in
many respects, the finest in the collection; but Dudley could
see nothing in the former but a most remarkable distortion in
the little finger; and the latter, unless his eye was more incorrect
than usual, betrayed a slight disproportion in the size of
the throat.

No one could dispute, however, the accuracy with which he
pointed out the exquisite finish observable in the painting of a
Dutch kitchen, the work of a celebrated artist, or the justice
with which he commented upon the remarkable lightness of limb
portrayed in a favorite bronze Mercury. For the true

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[figure description] Page 141.[end figure description]

enjoyment of art, Dudley evidently considered it necessary to comprehend
it in detail. He had no conception of the highest
power which it is capable of exercising, restricting its influence,
as he did, to the enlightened and aristocratic few, and wholly
ignoring its agency in ennobling and elevating the masses.

The conversation naturally passed from art to artists; and
as Dudley had an intimate acquaintance with many persons
of this profession, he was able to impart much curious and interesting
information concerning the labors and struggles, the
triumphs and failures of genius.

They now occupied a position where the company, most of
whom were promenading the hall, passed successively under
their review; and, forsaking abstract topics, he proceeded to
entertain her for some time with his comments upon various
individuals—their peculiar characteristics, family histories, or
public services.

She listened with interested and often amused attention, but
at length her eye wandered to the farther end of the hall; and
Dudley, observing the direction of her earnest gaze, perceived
at once the object that had attracted her notice. An elderly
lady, accompanied by a stout and stately military gentleman,
had entered the hall at its farther extremity, and was slowly
approaching the spot where they stood. She was considerably
above the ordinary height of woman, with an erect and imposing
figure, while her manner and bearing at once commanded
respect by their composed and serene dignity. There was
nothing forbidding, however, in her mild and benignant face,
shaded and softened by the snowy flutings of her widow's cap,
and her features were such as must in youth have rendered
her preëminently beautiful. Nor had time had power to dispossess
her of personal charms, although she had numbered
nearly threescore years and ten. Her skin was still fair, her
eye bright, and her silver hair, which was smoothly parted on
her forehead, escaped from her cap in the form of a few soft
and shining curls, which hung over either cheek. Her step,
too, was firm—almost elastic—and her hand rested lightly
on the arm of the portly officer

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[figure description] Page 142.[end figure description]

Mabel's eye followed her with curiosity not unmixed with
respectful admiration, as moving leisurely up the hall she
acknowledged the courtesies of numerous friends, and at length
approached the spot which Dudley had chosen as a favorable
point of observation.

“Here comes the salt of the earth, miss Vaughan,” said he,
in a tone of irony; she is leaning on an arm, too, of the highest

“They are a noble-looking couple,” said Mabel with warmth,
at the same time turning to him with an inquiring eye, as if
she would gladly hear more concerning them.

“That woman,” continued Dudley, “is generallissimo of the
forces of modern innovation—the chief of a battalion of amazonian
philanthropists who carry all before them; she will
drag us before a court-martial,” exclaimed he, feigning a sudden
alarm as she drew near. “How shall we escape? We
shall be caught, tried, convicted, and sentenced in less than five

“She seems to carry only peaceable weapons,” said Mabel
with a smile; “and allowing it were otherwise, what have we
done to expose ourselves to an attack?”

“We are fair subjects for it,” replied Dudley; “yourself
especially. Do you not see that she is on the recruiting service?”

The venerable lady of whom Dudley ventured to speak so
lightly had just encountered some young girls, who were crossing
the hall, and as she stood for a moment conversing with
the more sprightly of the two, her hand rested tenderly on
the head of the other, a slight, fair-haired creature, who looked
up at her aged friend with a countenance full of affectionate

It had seemed to Mabel, as she saw the evident affection the
old lady inspired, that nothing would delight her more than
to be honored with her friendship; and although Dudley's
manner somewhat damped her enthusiasm, she could not resist
watching every motion of one whose appearance seemed to
rebuke ridicule.

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“You see,” continued he, “Madam Percival is supreme
among her subalterns. Her energies are unparalleled, and her
valor invariably places her in the front rank of every quixotic
enterprise. She carries a current coin of golden opinions, and
her credit is unlimited. It is astonishing what capital can be
made now-a-days out of the sufferings of the poorer classes.”

Mabel still continued silent, revolving her companions words,
and waiting to hear more.

“She wears the same uniform as ever, I see,” said Dudley,
after a pause—“black satin and brussels lace, and has the
same military escort; the gentleman with her is her step-son,
General Percival, of the regular army. They have appeared
together on parade for these twenty years. It tells vastly well
for family concord and unanimity under trying relations; I
have heard, however, that there was great difficulty in settling
the family estate.”

Dudley lowered his voice, as he concluded, for the subject
of his remarks was now within a few steps of them, and, as if
in confirmation of his fears, had fixed her eye upon him intelligently.

“Shall you venture to meet the charge, and be victimized?”
asked Dudley, in an understone, and at the same time looking
about him, as if for a place of refuge.

“I have no fears,” answered Mabel, “I am not the object
of her notice.”

“You will allow me, then,” said he, with ready tact, “to
hand you some refreshment;” and he darted off in pursuit of
a servant, who was passing with a tray of ices, thus avoiding
the necessity of the apparently dreaded recognition.

There was such a mingling of humor and satire throughout
this conversation, that Mabel could not possibly determine
whether a single word of it was spoken in earnest; nor was
she convinced that Dudley's anxiety to avoid the lady was
otherwise than feigned. Still his words and conduct were not
without effect, and her generous, confiding disposition was
tinged with unpleasant conjectures. So impressed was she,
indeed, with a suspicion of the old lady's eccentricities, that

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when the latter paused directly in front of her, she was fully
prepared to be addressed, without the ceremony of an introduction,
and was consequently somewhat disconcerted when
a person seated behind her, and whom she was unconsciously
obscuring, laid a hand upon her arm and said, in a gentle voice,
“I think that lady is looking for me: will you please move a
little to the right?” Mabel instantly stepped aside, and as she
did so, brushed against a pair of crutches, which, falling to the
floor, revealed the helplessness of the object of her seeming

As she stooped and restored the crutches to their owner, at
the same time apologizing for her unintentional rudeness, the
sincere grace of her manner called forth an approving smile
from Madam Percival, who, however, took no further notice of
her, but entered into conversation with the interesting lame
lady, and before Dudley returned with the iced sherbet, accompanied
her and Gen. Percival into another room.

Later in the evening Mabel accepted, with her usual good
nature, an invitation to join the youthful dancers, who had
taken possession of the music room and wanted one more
couple to complete their set. Young as she was, they were
nearly all her juniors, privileged to be present on this occasion,
which partook of the character of a family jubilee, and
her boyish partner scarcely equalled her in height. She
entered with ready glee, however, into their juvenile gaiety,
and won the hearts of the youthful company by her sympathy
in their enjoyment. It was an old-fashioned country dance,
and Mabel, after faithfully fulfilling her part, reached the bottom
laughing and out of breath.

“Your dance is going off gloriously, grandmama!” exclaimed
her partner, stepping gaily within the open door of an adjoining
room, and addressing Madam Percival, who, while watching
the progress of the dance with evident pleasure and
interest, was conversing in an animated manner with the gentleman
in the long-bodied coat, whom Louise had denominated
Father Noah. She smiled and nodded pleasantly in acknowledgment
of the boy's congratulations; and Mabel observed

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that each successive couple, as they came down the dance,
exchanged with her similar tokens of satisfaction.

“This performance was undertaken for grandmother's benefit,”
said Mabel's partner to her, by way of explanation. It
was danced at our hostess's wedding twenty-five years ago.
My mother was bridesmaid on the occasion, and grandmother
proposed the dance to-night, for the sake of old times.” As
the boy named his mother he glanced affectionately towards
the lady who was presiding at the piano, and Mabel, for the
first time, observed that the owner of the crutches had been
furnishing the youthful party with music.

What a charming bond of sympathy subsists among these
people, thought she; and that remarkable old lady is evidently
the connecting link. Can there be hypocrisy beneath such a
countenance as hers? Mr. Dudley must have been joking.

This latter conviction was still further strengthened in the
cloak room, where she had an opportunity of witnessing the
affectionate care which Madam Percival bestowed on her lame
friend, declining for herself the attentions to which her years
entitled her, and anxious only for the comfort of the invalid.
“Offer your arm to your mother, my dear,” said she to her
grandson, who came to the head of the stairs to escort them to
their carriage; and General Percival not being in sight, the
venerably lady herself followed, unattended.

“She is a noble woman! I am sure of it,” thought Mabel,
“but what could Mr. Dudley have meant?”

The ingenuous tribute of praise, and the intruding inquiry
which followed it, were alike indicative of Mabel's impressible
character. In the former her heart spoke out, in the latter
might be detected the haunting influence of an enkindled
doubt. Alas, what a shadow may be flung over the fairest
things by a single whisper from the brooding demon of distrust!

-- --


And who art thou that, in the littleness
Of thine own selfish purpose, would'st set bounds
To the free current of all noble thought
And generous action, bidding its bright waves
Be stay'd, and flow no further?
Mrs. Hemans.

[figure description] Page 146.[end figure description]

It was not strange that Mabel was susceptible to the subtle
influence of Dudley's insinuations, for she possessed a quick
and active mind, ever open to the teachings of those whose
knowledge and experience might entitle them to be the guides
of youth. It was, indeed, one of her sweetest, gentlest, and
most womanly qualities, which made her thus open to conviction;
and great, therefore, was the responsibility incurred by
any who presumed to check the genuine impulses of her
nature. Not that Mabel was alike destitute of character and
principle, ready, like the pliant wax, to be moulded by every
fluctuating circumstance. On the contrary, she had a high
sense of duty, a stern reverence for virtue, and a noble desire
to excel, while certain fixed principles of right served as the
outposts to guard the citadel of her conscience.

But duty does not always assert itself with a force which
may not be evaded; the standards of virtue and excellence
are capable of variation; and the citadel which would repel
an open attack, may, insiduously, be undermined. Thus, although
Mabel's temper might occasionally be irritated, and her
good nature put to the proof by Louise's flagrant and open
violations of truth and justice, her character stood in far less
danger from this source, than from the plausible, specious,
and yet pernicious opinions and principles which Dudley
intimated, rather than openly avowed.

The day succeeding the evening above described, was that

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on which Mabel held a weekly reception for guests, when, as
usual, she was assisted by Louise, who seldom failed to be
present, to share the honors and responsibilities which might
accrue. There had been an unusual number of guests, but
all had left save Dudley. Mr. Vaughan, contrary to his usual
custom, was to give a dinner party that evening, and Dudley,
who was to make one of the guests, had come early, bringing
with him some very rare and valuable prints. These consisted
of accurate and beautiful representations of foreign costumes,
and Dudley, Mrs. Leroy, and Mabel, were examining
them with interest, for the purpose of selecting characters for
an approaching fancy ball, when there was a sudden ring of
the door bell.

It was too late to expect morning visitors, and too early for
the arrival of the strangers who were to constitute the dinner

“Who can that be at this hour?” said Mabel, and with
girlish curiosity she stepped within the shadow of a bay window,
and looked out into the street. “There is no carriage
here,” said she; “it must be father or Harry.”

As she turned from the window, however, she observed
Mrs. Leroy carelessly twirling a card round her forefinger,
and at the same time giving a hasty message to the footman
from whom she had received it.

As the man withdrew into the hall, Louise flung the card
upon the table, exclaiming, “Was there ever anything so ridiculous?
Father Noah will be coming here next!” and she
glanced reproachfully at Mabel.

The latter, slightly coloring, took up the card and read,
“Mrs. Abraham Percival.”

A ray of manifest pleasure shone on her face, as she ejaculated,
in a low voice, and a manner full of expectation, “Oh!
that beautiful old lady!”

Louise, with a scornful expression, resumed the study of the
plates, while Mabel, apprehensive of some rudeness on her
sister's part, walked towards the door to receive her guest, her

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countenance evincing some surprise and embarrassment at the
unexpected visit.

After waiting a moment, however, she heard the hall door
close, and the footman retreat into the back passage. A new
light seemed to break in upon her at these significant indications,
and she turned upon Louise with the sudden inquiry,
“Can she have gone?”

“I suppose so,” replied Louise, feigning astonishment at the
question; “you surely would not have had her admitted!—
Though there is no knowing what you might do,” added she,
with a contemptuous laugh, “you seem to have such a fancy
for antiquities.”

“I have,” said Mabel, decidedly; “did she ask for me?”

“She certainly did,” answered Louise, assuming a somewhat
defiant manner, as she observed the color mount into Mabel's
cheek, “and I did you good service, and saved you from a most
intolerable bore, by sending word that Miss Vaughan was not
at home,—for which, I think, you might at least thank me.”

“Louise!” exclaimed Mabel, expressing in the simple enunciation
of her sister's name all the amazement, regret, and
mortification which were roused by this cool declaration—for
there was not even the conventional excuse for the falsehood,
it being Mabel's reception day.

Louise, who, however much she might be in fault, was always
ready with a retort, met Mabel's indignant expression of censure
with the retaliating and cutting observation, “Do not be
so angry, my dear, Mr. Dudley will think you are a vixen.
When father Noah comes,” added she, in a mockingly soothing
tone, “you shall give your own orders, and have his society all
to yourself, for I trust I shall not be present to share the honor,”
and with her usual light laugh and tripping air, the little lady
stepped to the open piano and commenced playing a lively
tune, accompanying it with the words, “Oh, no, I shall not be

The righteous indignation which had overspread Mabel's
face, and given rise to her sister's accusation of anger, now
yielded to an expression of grieved and wounded feeling, and

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a tear glistened in her eye, as she said, with a mildness that
was truly dignified, “I am not angry, Louise, but I am sorry
on every account;” and then, embarassed at the consciousness
that Dudley's eye was upon her, she hastily walked to the bay
window, and, half hid beneath the shadow of its heavy curtains,
watched the retreating figure of Madam Percival, who, in
serene unconsciousness of irreverent treatment, was moving
leisurely down the street.

Mabel still stood engaged in painful meditation, when she
was slightly startled by Dudley's voice close beside her, saying,
in a low and sympathetic tone, “I am sorry, too.”

“Sory for what?” asked Mabel, confusedly.

“That you should have been so disturbed. It was very
unfair, certainly,—there can be no question who ought to be
mistress here.”

“Oh, it was not that,” said Mabel, quickly; “I beg you not
to think me so childish;” and her eye again followed Madam
Pereival,—“but she is so much older than I, and she came
on foot, too,—besides,” added she, with simplicity, “I am at

“Very true,” said Dudley; and then ensued a momentary
pause; for to condemn Louise was scarcely to satisfy Mabel,
and it seemed impossible to give the matter an agreeable turn.

Dudley found means, however, to place it in a new light.
“A most unchivalrous mode of escape, without doubt,” said he,
meditatively; an artifice such as you would have scorned to
employ, Miss Mabel; but, while questioning the means, I cannot
help congratulating you on the deliverance.”

“Do you count it as a fortunate escape?” asked Mabel,
looking at him with some surprise. “The visit seems to me a
most unmerited, as it was unexpected, honor.”

“Unexpected to you,” said Dudley, with a meaning smile,
and his peculiar and expressive shrug of the shoulders, “but I
felt assured you would be too valuable a recruit to be over-looked.
I have trembled for you ever since I observed that
you had attracted the attention of the gentleman whom Mrs.
Leroy styles Father Noah. He is a minister at large, which

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means a recruiting sergeant. He has, no doubt, reported you
to the commander-in-chief, who would scarcely overlook the
auxiliary forces you would be able to bring into the field.”


“Yes, certainly; have you not time, influence, and money,
all at command?”

Mabel's countenance fell, and a shadow passed over her face.
“It was not myself, then,” thought she, “who was capable of
inspiring interest, but my father's position, and the length of
his purse.”

“Yes, certainly,” continued Dudley, in a self-gratulatory
tone; “my mind is relieved, I assure you, from many distressing
visions which that lady's card conjured up. I had already
imagined you in the sober gray uniform of a professor in some
foundling educational institute, rapping the heads of unruly
members with the knuckles of one hand, and holding up the
forefinger of the other, in a monitory manner, while you cried,
`attention!' ”

Mabel smiled.

“Or, attired in a long apron of factory cotton, and armed
with a huge pair of shears, officiating as assistant directress in
a scientific cutting-and-basting academy, for the elevation of
indigent needle-women;—or, with a pen behind your ear, and
a huge account-book under your arm, your brow wrinkled with
the responsible duties of treasurer to the corporation for encouraging
the emigration of foreign paupers.”

Mabel laughed outright at the ludicrous and, in point of
taste, repulsive picture thus represented.

“Come!” exclaimed Louise, rising from the piano, “why
don't we go on selecting our characters? I have almost made
up my mind to be comedy, if you will only be tragedy,

“I have been suggesting tragic characters to your sister,”
said Dudley, with readiness, “but I do not think any of them
exactly meet her approbation. Some fifty years hence,” added
he, in a side voice, to Mabel, “will surely be time enough to

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hide your smiles behind the black hood of a sister of charity.
In the mean time, let us seek something more attractive.”

And in the indulgence of idle fancies that succeeded, the
venerable Christian matron and her noble schemes of usefulness
passed from Mabel's mind; or, if remembered, the former
was henceforward dimly characterized as one who had desired
to divert Mr. Vaughan's wealth to her own quixotic enterprises,
and decoy his daughter into sacrificing her youth to
painful and, at best, unprofitable labors.

It was not until nearly a month after Madam Percival's
visit, that Mabel bethought herself of the necessity of acknowledging
the civility; and this she did by merely leaving a card
at her address.

Such is the power of ridicule and wounded self-love.

At the commencement of dinner, Louise's want of truth and
decorum found another opportunity for display, and here, also,
Dudley acted as mediator. Miss Sabiah was being handed in
to dinner by a grave, elderly gentleman, who naturally looked
upon her as the hostess, when Louise, accompanied by a more
youthful escort, brushed past them and took the lead, saying,
over her shoulder, as she did so, “by your leave, aunt; father
desires me to preside to-day;” and the next moment found her
seated at the head of her father's table, gracefully and unblushingly
filling the post always heretofore occupied by Miss

It would have been amusing, if it had been one whit less
provoking, to witness the audacious effrontery of this usurpation.
It was lost upon most of the company, who were strangers
in the city; but Mabel, who overheard this second barefaced
falsehood, and stood aghast at the presumption of her
sister, could scarcely contain her agitation and annoyance;
while Harry's eye flashed angrily from the opposite end of the
table, and Mr. Vaughan's mild countenance betrayed signs of

As for Miss Sabiah, her nervous distress was such as must
have attracted the notice of any one in her neighborhood, had
not Dudley, who chanced to sit next to her, covered her

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confusion, by engaging her for a few minutes in a conversation of
which he bore the whole burden himself, thus giving her time
to rally her usual stiff and formal self-possession.

This high-bred facility in playing the part of a gentleman,
which always imparted to Dudley an extremely obliging air,
was never more appreciated by Mabel than in this instance;
for her indignation at the conduct of Louise was only equalled
by grief at her aunt's wounded feelings. She could not thank
him in words, but her grateful smile sufficiently indicated her
sense of his considerate kindness. His seat was between her's
and her aunt's and as he turned from the latter and met Mabel's
approving glance, he remarked, in a low voice, “Miss Vaughan's
nerves are sensitive.”

“Very,” said Mabel, glancing anxiously at Miss Sabiah, who
was now attempting monosyllabic replies to her next neighbor
on the other side.

“We are all creatures of habit,” remarked Dudley, “and I
notice that elderly ladies love the little dignities of office. If
called upon to resign them, they ought at least to have the satisfaction
of seeing the heir apparent installed in their place.”

His countenance plainly expressed it as his opinion, that of
the two sisters, Mabel was best entitled to the place at the head
of her father's table, and he even expressed himself more plainly
in the words, “Miss Vaughan is, I presume, a visitor merely,
and scarcely endowed with the qualifications for playing the
part of a hostess,—but Miss Mabel is unquestionably the presiding
genius here, and we naturally look to see her enthroned
in the chair of state.”

“He is right,” thought Mabel; and for the first time she
realized her aunt's awkwardness and ignorance of society, felt
her own competence to shine in the position Miss Vaughan had
hitherto occupied, and half regretted the generous, and, as it
now seemed, inconsiderate impulse, which had prompted her,
on her first return home, unhesitatingly, to resign it.

Who shall venture to say how far self-love mingled in this
regret, and how much of her natural reverence for old

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associations and superior years was extinguished in the cold calculations
of expediency!

But this was not the only, nor the most vital form in which
her sentiments of veneration were this day destined to be assailed.
Mabel had a sincere love of her native country, a
strong faith in its republican institutions, and its Heavendesigned
destiny among nations, and when the conversation of
some talented members of the company took a political turn,
her interest and attention were at once awakened.

More than one political party were ably represented, but the
discussion was conducted in an amicable though earnest spirit,
and all were united in the depth of their patriotic zeal for the
honor and welfare of their country, and a deep conviction of
the influence she was destined to exercise in the establishment
of liberal principles throughout the world.

Mabel's face glowed, and her eyes sparkled, as she listened
to the hopeful and stirring prophecy of one, who, having survived
several administrations, watched the working of our governmental
system, and exulted in the growth of truth and
justice in the national heart, ventured to predict, that the day
would come at last, when, purged from the stain of entailed
abuses, she would become a perfect model for future republics.

“You are a politician, I see, Miss Vaughan,” said Dudley,
who had watched her with an interest equal to that with which
she had watched the speaker.

“I!” exclaimed Mabel, turning suddenly towards him and
blushing, as she always did at the consciousness of her betrayed
enthusiasm, “Oh, no!”

“A female patroit, then?”

“Hardly that,” replied Mabel. “I am afraid I have not the
heroism of a patriot, but I do hope that prophesied day of glory
will come at last, and that I shall live to see it.”

“I hope,” said Dudley, with a tone that was calculated to
chill the ardor of her feelings, “that you will not, on the other
hand, see this much-boasted confederacy sink as low in the
scale of nations as my fears predict. The elements of disorganization
and failure are already at work; it is astonishing to

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see the blind confidence with which these self-styled statesmen
endeavor to uphold, with high-sounding words, the crumbling
edifice of national prosperity;” and, turning to the individual
whose eloquence had inspired Mabel with a kindred zeal, he
begged a solution of some of those difficult and intricate problems
in the future career of the republic which distract the
common mind and tax the best abilities of the wisest.

The question called forth a response, which, in its turn, gave
rise to a short but spirited debate, conducted ably on both sides,
but with especial skill on the part of Dudley, whose opponent
was no match for him in clearness of argument and subtle force
of reasoning; and not Mabel alone, but older and wiser heads
than hers, were compelled to acknowledge the justness of his
apprehensions, and almost felt the social fabric totter beneath
them, as he enlarged upon the imminent peril which threatened

It was neither his taste nor his policy, however, to push the
controversy beyond the interchange of a few prominent ideas
and suggestions, and he gracefully and ingeniously waived the
continuance of a subject ill-suited to the time and place, even
suffering his antagonist to enjoy the benefit of the last word,
which was to the effect, that no one could foresee how these
things would terminate,—that Mr. Dudley's queries were,
doubtless, unanswerable—but, as he had said before, he had
confidence in the nation at large, and the over-ruling Providence
which had thus far sustained it.

“The gentleman has an astonishing confidence in the elements
of which this community is composed,” said Dudley to
Mabel, when conversation around the table had again become
general; “he seems to place great reliance too on the Divine
partiality. Does he think the American Republic superior in
intelligence to those of classic Greece and Rome? or that the
former is destined to perennial growth, while the latter were
doomed to decay?”

The inquiry was specious, and acted powerfully upon Mabel's
mind, for there was no one to suggest the reply,—that in the

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Christianity of the nation lay the true safety of its children, and
the hope of its future glory.

It was not strange that Dudley should cherish dark and
gloomy doubts of a triumph whose germ he totally overlooked.
Alas, how much he overlooked in this world, so rich to him in
its arts, its sciences, its wealth, its knowledge, and its pride!
How poor are all these treasures in comparison with that pearl
of price, which he, in his self-reliance, scornfully disdains, and
scorning it himself, hesitates not to despoil another of that child-like
simplicity and trust, which invest earth with a halo of
heavenly brightness, and constitute the choicest gem in her
womanly crown!

And what shall he give her in return?

He may ransack the stores of learning, exhaust the mines of
knowledge, or drain to their utmost depths the resources of
fancy, wit, and imagination—but he can never give her back
the holy joy that springs from the love of common things, the
cherishing of natural sentiment, the faith in human virtue and
the providence of God.

The time is coming when she will need them all. Ah!
what shall atone for their fatal loss, when her heart crieth out
in its bitter agony and no answering voice replieth?

-- --


Oh! but ill,
When with rich hopes o'er fraught, the young high heart
Bears its first blow!—it knows not yet the part
Which life will teach—to suffer and be still.
Mrs. Hemans.

[figure description] Page 156.[end figure description]

A FEW weeks more pass away. The gay world is as gay as
ever. Music, laughter, dancing, fashion, and display, still gild
the surface of that phase of humanity, which hides its throbbing
heart behind the veil of conventional usages, or crushes down
its aching sorrows beneath the weight of an assumed gayety.
A little while ago, and Mabel was one among the crowd who
wore no such veil, and bent beneath no such weight. Her
motions were free, her smiles genuine, and her heart light.
But the case is altered now; the immunity exists no longer;
and Mabel is changed. It is not that the world has withdrawn
its favor, though its admiration is, perchance, somewhat tainted
with envy. It is not that her health is undermined, though the
roses have paled a little in her cheeks; nor is it the effect of
satiety, for the new element, which a superior mind has had
power to infuse into her daily life, has lost nothing of its charm.
Yet the once buoyant, happy, careless Mabel, is suddenly and
strangely changed.

The dull-eyed world notes it not; even affection is blinded to
the fact, and scarcely does her own heart acknowledge its painful
but unutterable burden.

Still its influence penetrates every spring of action, and
modifies every thought; for, hid as it might be from others, and
struggled with as it might be by herself, Mabel, the hitherto
light-hearted Mabel, has something on her mind.

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Whatever it may be, it is something of a saddening nature;
for the spirits which were wont to be spontaneous are now
forced and fitful; it is something alarming, if one may judge
from the nervous starts and occasional tremblings which are
significant of anxiety and dread; it is something secret, for she
tells no one, maintains an assumed composure herself, and scans
the faces of others with eager scrutiny.

Her altered habits, moreover, betray a corresponding change
in her feelings, motives, and designs. She no longer approaches
the breakfast-room carolling a gay song, or trips with a light
step to her aunt's door, and bids her a lighter good morning,—
but pauses within her own room, listens for the footsteps of the
rest of the household assembling for the morning meal, and
when she makes her own appearance, glances around the table
with a troubled air and an inquiring eye. And when she returns
at night from those gay scenes, into which she plunges
with more eagerness than ever, she seems quite forgetful of
the rest which youthful weariness is wont to crave, and, dismissing
her maid, paces her room with unequal steps, looks out of
her window at the night, or, noiselessly turning the door-lock,
moves through the house like a ghost, listening at cracks and
peeping through key holes; then, startled by some slight noise,
retreats hastily within her own room, perhaps brushes away a
tear, and retires for the night with a lamp still burning.

In society, also, many and frequent are the indications which,
though unmarked by others, betray to one observant eye, at
least, the secret fear which is ever present to her thoughts.
The quick flush upon the countenance, the rapid and excited
conversations upon subjects of trifling interest, the nervous
start on being suddenly addressed, and an occasional absence
of mind—all bear witness to the fact, which it is now the chief
anxiety of her life to conceal.

Yes, even her pathway, sunny as it seemed, stretches across
those dreary wastes which humanity is doomed to tread. She,
like the rest, has taken up her burden, and must bear it as best
she may. It came upon her suddenly. A premonitory shadow,
indeed—an undefined dread—had once or twice taken

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possession of her mind; but the blow aimed by cruel hands finally
struck home without preface or warning.

It happened thus. She was sitting for her portrait to the
very artist who had been so earnest to obtain the opportunity,
and who, with Dudley's recommendation in his favor, met Mr.
Vaughan's ready encouragement.

It was the morning after the fancy ball, already alluded to
as in course of preparation. The festivities having been prolonged
until a late hour, it was with some reluctance that Mabel
made the effort to keep her appointment with the artist; but
his time was valuable, and she was unwilling to disappoint him.
Miss Sabiah usually accompanied her on these occasions, but
as the venerable years and character of the portrait painter
rendered her presence superfluous, and the coachman had
taken his horses to be shod that morning, Mabel proceeded
alone and on foot to the studio, requesting her aunt to send the
carriage to meet her at an appointed hour.

Mr. Geraldi, whose conversational gifts rivalled those of the
pencil, and who seldom failed to relieve the monotony of these
sittings by his agreeable discourse, had this morning enlarged
with more than ordinary enthusiasm upon topics connected
with his profession, and either accidentally or with conscious
tact, had, by a warm eulogium upon his friend Dudley's knowledge
and taste, called up in Mabel's face that expression of
animation and interest which he was most anxious to transfer
to his canvas. He had reached a critical point in his labors,
and his countenance consequently manifested no little annoyance,
when the outer door of his studio was unceremoniously
thrown open, and a party of fashionable young ladies entered,
having come thither, out of idle curiosity, to inspect some portraits
which were on exhibition.

A wide screen, which stretched the whole length of the
apartment, concealed Mr. Geraldi and Mabel from the observation
of the visitors, but their loud voices and extravagant mirth
were scarcely less embarrassing to the artist than their actual
presence would have been; more especially as, however he
might profess to despise the criticism of the uninitiated, he

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could not be wholly insensible to the unqualified comments
which they bestowed upon his works.

“Do see,” cried one, “that is Mrs. Leonard!” “Looks
about as much like her as it does like me,” cried a second. “I
hope she has paid him well for making a beauty of her,” again
exclaimed the first speaker; while a third, exposing to view an
unfinished portrait which was turned towards the wall, pronounced
it a genuine likeness of Miss Oldbelle, minus her
rouge and hair-dye.

Mr. Geraldi smiled. Mabel blushed, recognizing as she did
the voices of some of her friends, and anxiously anticipating
some more cutting sarcasm.

Well might she tremble—but not for the artist; the poisonous
shafts of these idle tongues were destined to take a nearer,
closer aim, and pierce her own heart.

“Where's Mabel Vaughan?” cried Victoria Vannecker.
“Geraldi is painting her; that's the only picture I care about

“You feel a sisterly interest, Vic!” exclaimed another voice.
“No wonder!” And then followed many foolish and coarse
jokes, implying the near relations likely to exist between Miss
Vannecker and the Vaughan family.

Mabel's lips, as she listened, curled with a slight expression
of scorn at these unwelcome and preposterous projects of alliance.

“I will do the Hammerlys the credit of saying,” cried the
eldest and loudest-spoken of Victoria's companions, “that there
has been nothing this winter that has gone off half as well as
that ball last night. The whole thing was managed splendidly,
and that last dance was so exciting—it almost takes me off
my feet to think of it!” and she concluded by humming a few
notes of the most popular waltz of the season.

“They say there was no end to the champagne that was
drank,” said Victoria.

“I should think so,” said another and somewhat gentler
voice; “did you see Mr. Van Rosberg and that young creole

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that wore a Spanish dress? I was afraid they would really
get to fighting. I am sure they were both excited with wine.”

“Oh, that is nothing,” cried the loud-voiced lady. “I know
from good authority, that two or three of our set didn't go
home until daylight, and then not without help. Your Knight
of Malta, Vic, had his share of the champagne, if any body

Miss Vannecker laughed.

“What were you doing in the supper-room just before the
last dance? drinking healths?”

“Oh, Robin Hood gave the funniest toast,” said Victoria; “I
wish I could remember it—it was something about a horn;
and Little John—that was Fred Earle, you know—he responded;
and my Maltese Knight made a little bit of a speech—
all to ourselves, you know, up in that corner of the room;
but oh, it was so funny! Fan and I laughed so! I declare,
Fan—Fan Broadhead, the fairy queen—was so diverted,
that she forgot to take care of her gauze wings, and that great,
stout Mrs. Makeway brushed against her and crushed one of
them, so that it looked ridiculously. Fan was dreadfully provoked!
It served her right, though, for she never would have
dreamed of taking that part if she had not known that I thought
of it for myself. How mad she was when the Malta Knight
said something about its proving that she was a false fairy.
That was just as we went off to dance,” added Victoria, with
an affected and self-satisfied air, “and I don't know how she
managed to repair the mischief.”

“Your devoted knight was very light, both of head and
heels, at that time in the evening,” said her friend. “What
with my partner and yours, Vic, the dance had a right to be
lively. They do say, though,” and here she lowered her voice
sufficiently to impart added meaning to her words—“the Hammerlys,
and some others who have a right to know, do say, that
it is not the first time that the Knight of Malta has needed the
services of his father's footman. But, lah! they say so of
half the young men!”

“To be sure,” said Victoria, as the party, who had long

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ceased their inspection of the pictures, prepared to take leave,
and the door closed behind them with these words from the
frivolous lips of one of their number—

“Poh! What is champagne made for if not to drink?”

Mr. Geraldi, who with his head bent over his palette had
been mixing a few colors, while he impatiently awaited the
departure of the talkative group of visitors, now looked up at
Mabel, with the view of resuming his labors at the easel, but
could scarcely believe that he saw before him the same face
which he had been studying a few moments before. The
mobile features had become rigid, the lips compressed, the
complexion almost colorless; while the expression of animated
intelligence, which he had been so anxious to retain, had wholly
vanished, giving place to that vacant and absent air which
often takes possession of the countenance when the mind is
engaged in painful introspection.

Thought was almost suspended in Mabel, but memory and
imagination had called up in vivid colors a long array of living
facts, upon which her mental gaze was riveted. She had experienced
strange doubts and questionings before. It was all
explained now. The coldness between Dudley and Harry—
the latter's exaggerated attentions to Miss Vannecker—his
avoidance of herself—her solitary return home the previous
night—and the unusual noise upon the stairs which had disturbed
her slumbers at daybreak—these idle tattlers had accounted
for it all—for Harry was the Knight of Malta.

Not until the loud banging of the street door and the sudden
silence which succeeded, recalled her to herself, did she realize
the necessity for self-control. As she looked up and found Mr.
Geraldi's eyes fixed upon her, a sudden flush overspread her
cheeks and brow, and she rose quickly from her chair, as if
deprecating any further analysis of her face and, possibly, of
her emotions.

“You are fatigued, my dear youg lady. I have kept you
too long!” said the kind old artist, who had heard but a portion
of the conversation that had just transpired in his studio,

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and who had recognized nothing in it which could have power
to agitate her.

“Yes,” said Mabel, in a broken voice, and scarcely knowing
what she said, “I will go now;” and rising, she mechanically
resumed her cloak and bonnet, and walked to the door, forgetting,
until she had nearly left the room, her customary salutation
and farewell, which were at length performed with but
little of her wonted grace.

She had gained the sidewalk before she even thought of the
carriage, but then perceiving that it had not arrived, she walked
slowly up the street, and turning, walked back for a little distance,—
and this she did, again and again, unconscious of observation,
and thankful only to be in the fresh air and alone.

“Miss Mabel!” called Donald, as she was unconsciously
passing the carriage, which had at length reached the artist's
door. He was obliged to follow his young mistress and repeat
the call, before he could arrest her attention.

“O, Donald! is that you?” she exclaimed, in sudden surprise;
and then, without any explanation of her singular preoccupation,
she turned, hastened to the carriage, and springing
in, threw herself upon the back seat with evident relief, and
told him to drive on.

“Where?” asked he, and receiving no answer, repeated the

“Home,” cried she, at length, in answer to his inquiries, and
for the first time astonishing him by the irritability of her tone
of voice.

Fortunately it was a quiet street, and there was no one but
Donald to feel or express any astonishment at her movements.

They had gone but a few steps, when she suddenly pulled
the check-string. “Drive to Mrs. Leroy's!” exclaimed she, a
little imperatively, as if the man had willfully misunderstood
her first direction.

Poor girl! she scarcely knew what she said or did. Louise
was at home, and Mabel found her attired in a rich dressing-gown,
and lying on a sofa, too much fatigued with the dissipation
of the previous evening to attempt any exertion.

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Not till she was seated opposite to her sister, and a pause
succeeded the usual interchange of civilities, did Mabel ask
herself for what purpose she had come. Certainly not to betray
to Mrs. Leroy the subject which was uppermost in her
thoughts. Perhaps, though she could not herself be sure, it was
to learn whether Louise was yet conscious of the fatal secret,
which was no secret; and if so, to discover the nature of her
sentiments in relation to the melancholy fact.

“Been at Geraldi's ever since ten o'clock?” was the exclamation
with which Mrs. Leroy broke the momentary silence.
“O, Mabel,” continued she, languidly, and settling herself
more comfortably on her pillows, “how strong you are; why,
I hardly felt able to go to the breakfast-table, after the fatigue
of last night.”

“You danced more than I did,” said Mabel with an absent
tone, and the half-timid, half-searching glance at her sister,
which she had worn from her first entrance.

“Yes, very true,” responded Louise, with the flattered air
of a youthful belle, “somehow I never can get excused. How
do you manage, Mabel? However,” continued she, without
waiting for a reply, “you are not so passionately fond of it as
I am; I was brought up to it. I danced the cracovienne with
castanets, when I was only four years old, for the entertainment
of mamma's visitors. There was a Count in the room
one evening,—I can't think of his name, but I remember
perfectly what he said to me about my dancing.”

Once launched upon this topic, Louise did not pause until
she had detailed, for Mabel's benefit, the successive tributes of
flattery which had poisoned the ear, first of the child, and then
of the woman, up to the present period; and Mabel, to whom
these petty parades of vanity were nothing new, breathed more
freely as she listened. She could never be thinking of herself,
and of such trifles, if she knew what I know, thought Mabel;
and she felt a sense of relief in the idea that there was one of
the family, at least, who was ignorant of Harry's disgrace.

At length, after Louise had roamed from one frivolous topic
to another, for the space of half an hour, failing amid her own

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volubility to take note of Mabel's unusual silence and constraint,
the latter rose to go.

“Do hand me that cologne, Mabel,” said her sister; and receiving
the bottle from Mabel's hand, she poured some of its
contents on her handkerchief, and applied it to her forehead.
“I believe I have got a headache to-day,” drawled she, “I feel
very dull and stupid, at any rate; I suppose it's the champagne
I drank last night. Close the shutters, will you, Mabel?
if Lydia will only keep those children out, I may get a nap.
Was Harry up to breakfast this morning?” added she, laughing.

Mabel's hand trembled, as with her back to Louise, she attempted
to close the shutters, and her voice betrayed no slight
agitation, as she answered, “Why?”

“Oh, nothing,” replied Louise, “only I fancy he returned
rather late, and had a pretty heavy dose to sleep off.”

Mabel made no answer, except by rattling the latch of the
shutter, which she tried in vain to fasten.

“It was two o'clock when we came away,” continued Louise,
“and Mr. Leroy says that some of the young men in the hotel
did not come home until three or four hours later. I will venture
to say, Harry was one of the last to leave, for nobody
seemed to enjoy it more than he did. I never saw him in
such spirits in his life—thanks to the supper, I think, rather
than Vic Vannecker's wit, though Vic would not thank me for
saying so,” added she, in a somewhat indifferent tone.

Mabel turned slowly round, lifted her long lashes, and fixed
her eyes full and wonderingly upon her sister's face. Louise
met this glance of deep concern and reproach with her usual
light and scornful laugh.

“Don't look so shocked,” exclaimed she at length, a little
irritated by Mabel's silence, which was far more expressive
than any words of which she could have made use; “you are
just like Mr. Leroy. He talks about Harry's having got into
a bad set, and all that nonsense. I am sure his acquaintances
are the first young men about town. For my part, I like to
see gentlemen have a little life and spirit about them; I can't

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bear these spoonies who are always measuring their conduct;
afraid of losing caste among the saints; they don't turn out
a bit better in the end. But, la, Mabel, how solemn you
look,” added Louise, almost angrily. “You'd make an anchorite
of Harry, I dare say, and advise me to become a nun,
and go out into the wilderness, next month, with Mr. Leroy,
as he proposed I should do this morning. My motto is, to enjoy
as much as one can, and take life easy.” And once more
composing herself upon her couch, she commenced putting her
motto into practice by closing her eyes for a nap.

Mabel was not slow to avail herself of the hint which this
action afforded, and now hastening from the house, gave the
coachman the unhesitating order to drive home.

In that one long, silent look which she had fastened upon
her sister's face, she had pierced, as it were, to the depths of
that shallow and worldly nature,—she had measured the wide
difference between her own vehement heart-throbs, and the
feeble pulsations of feeling in Louise, and had learned the sad
truth, that in the deep experiences of life she must seek in
vain, in this direction, for a sister's counsel and sympathy.

To whom, then, shall she look for comfort in this hour of
bitterness? Not to her father, who, she trusts, may long be
left in ignorance of his son's misconduct; not to her aunt, who
would inveigh against it with a severity of which Mabel could
not bear to think; and of higher and heavenly aid, though she
was far from denying its power, she had not yet learned to
avail herself. So, for the first time in her life, as she sought
her solitary room, she felt herself truly alone,—alone with an
aching sorrow.

With what crushing force did it weigh down and paralyze
her heart! The world might excuse the folly at which it
laughed so lightly, the frivolous might defend, and the weak
applaud, but Mabel could only tremble and weep.

She looked not to the end, she measured not the fearful consequences
that might ensue in the future; her feelings had
received too severe a shock to admit of any other consciousness,
than that of a deep and irreparable calamity.

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Harry, her noble brother, a laughing stock and a by-word!—
his manly figure and handsome face a mark for the finger of
scorn, his intellectual nature lowered to the level of a brute!
It was too much; and the necessity for self-control being past,
she threw herself on her bed, and gave way to a paroxysm of

Who shall tell the agony of the mental conflict that she experienced?
It is sufficient that she rose from that suffering crisis
a new and altered being. The iron hand was upon her which
moulds the child into the woman, and she went her way, shrink
ing beneath its cruel touch. Henceforth, her inner and outer
world were no longer in harmony. The drama of her life was
double, and she had two parts to play.

-- --


Oh, that men should put an enemy in
Their mouths, to steal away their brains! that we
Should, with joy, pleasure, revel and applause,
Transform ourselves to beasts.

[figure description] Page 167.[end figure description]

There is a species of brutish self-indulgence which takes
possession of the poor, the hard-working and the untaught
nature. It revels in the low, degarding, and under-ground
haunts of vice. It walks both by night and day, striding before
the eyes of men in all its unglossed deformity, telling of starvation
and rags, of wayside gutters and unmarked graves. It
excites the disgust of the refined worldling, and the efforts
of the brave philanthropist.

There is another, and a like species of consuming demon,
which treads the high places of the earth, its ugliness clothed
in the garments of pride, and its depravity hid beneath the veil
of luxury. Wealth ministers to its grasping influence, and
oftentimes, youthful beauty and woman's smile foster the devouring
flame. Not until its fell work is well-nigh done, does the
world take note of the destruction which lies in its path; but
the record of its fearful march is written on many a bowed
head and broken heart, while secret tears and midnight watchings,
and the unuttered groans of disappointed hope, sap the
very life-springs of a mourning household.

The friend of humanity spares no effort to baffle the brutish
wayside enemy which drags the once honest and industrious
laborer down to idleness, poverty, and ruin. Shall no voice,
then, be lifted up to warn, threaten, and perchance to save,
the victim of that far more insidious and equally ruinous foe,
which walks hand in hand with pleasure, is sanctioned by fashion
and encouraged by wealth, but which leaves behind it,

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when its easy victory is won, a blighted intellect, a shattered
frame, and all the conscious degradation of an abused and
fallen nature?

Oh, that the silent and secret agony which has wrung so
many an innocent heart could find for itself an utterance!
that the vioceless and anguished groan of the repentant spirit
could give vent to its warning cry! Then might the youth
just launched on a career of dissipation, vice and folly, be
startled betimes by the fearful knell of disappointed hope, which
rings out from the shoals and quicksands that are scattered
amid the sea of pleasure.

But, alas! the ill-fated victim who learns his first lessens in
self-indulgence within the charmed ring of fashionable conviviality,
and plunges thence into the deeper haunts of iniquity
and vice, comes not back to shake the skeleton finger at those
who yet linger on the threshold. Lost to self-respect, and
banished from the courts which lured him on to ruin, he sinks
into disgraceful oblivion, while the hearts that his misconduct
has broken, betray him not with a cry.

It was no sudden bound which had brought Harry to the
verge of this dark gulf. Freedom from parental restraint,
unlimited supplies of money, and a naturally gay and adventurous
disposition, had early exposed him to the temptations which
beset boyhood and youth. The love of mischief that resulted
in his banishment from West Point, had been succeeded by
a course of foolish extravagance, which was, however, in some
degree checked by the simple mode of life that prevailed in
the German university which he next attended, and the interest
in literary and scientific pursuits which was there awakened.
The two following years of travel served to make him well
acquainted with men and manners; and amid the various trials
and tests to which the youth was subjected, it must be acknowledged
that he sometimes overleaped the bounds of prudence
and sobriety. Fortunately the excitement of journeying, and
the generous aspirations which it awakened, furnished a vent
to the ardor and impetuosity of his disposition, and tempered
the exposures which threatened him on every hand; still his

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character became gradually marked by a certain recklessness
and self-indulgence which boded ill for the future.

But it was not until his return to his native city that he gave
himself up to a life of pleasure, and relinquished nobler pursuits
for the petty gratifications of the day and hour. Idleness,
however, the difficulty in choosing a profession, and the satiety
of his present mode of life, all combined to undermine his
strength of manly purpose; while his convivial traits and command
of money, caused his society to be appreciated, and his
presence sought by those who were alike skilled in administering
flattery and in contaminating the heart.

The point where a man loses his self-respect, usually precedes
that in which he loses the respect of others.

Mabel became conscious that a barrier had arisen between
herself and her brother, before she suspected its cause.

Perhaps, had she been less engaged with a new sentiment,
she would have felt more keenly the gradual withdrawal of
Harry's confidence, and would have probed more deeply the
secret of his seemingly diminished affection; at least, she would
have asked herself why it was that their pleasures, interests,
and tastes, which had hitherto lain in the same direction, had
ceased to be in harmony.

As it was, the conviction that Harry was in some degree
supplanted in her own heart, forbade her to question too closely
any want of devotion on his part; and if she occasionally felt
wounded at his reposing less trust in her than formerly, she
doubted her right to complain of a reserve which she knew to
be in some degree mutual.

But if the consciousness of his own unworthiness caused
Harry to dread his sister's scrutiny, the barrier between them
was doubled now that she had come to share this knowledge.
He no longer had occasion to avoid the eye which nervously
shrunk from encountering his, or dread any expression of those
suspicions on her part which, though they were ever on the
alert, she sought only to hide from his observation. And yet,
while Mabel had no anxiety so great as to conceal from him
her participation in his fatal secret, her very anxiety betrayed

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her; and he became instinctively conscious that his innocent
sister was suffering for his misdeeds.

The consequence was, a painful and daily increasing estrangement;
not the estrangement which springs from harsh looks,
angry words, and mutual accusations; there were none of these.
Scarcely less bitter to Mabel's heart, however, were the averted
or stealthy glance, the unexplained absence, the constrained
silence, or the ill-timed hilarity, which proclaimed a mind ill at

How far Mr. Vaughan and his sister shared her solicitude, it
was difficult to determine. The former, in spite of his daily
increasing abstraction of mind, now and then cast on his son a
look of deep concern and serutiny; and the puzzled air with
which Sabiah was wont to regard her nephew, occasionally
gave place to a sharp glance of reproof, as she observed his
growing indifference to the happiness and convenience of the
whole household. No further utterance, however, was given to
their thoughts, nor was there as yet any positive evidence that
the indications of misconduct in Harry had not wholly escaped
their observation. Still, it could not be denied that an air of
constraint had gradually crept over the family, while whatever
might be the apparent subject of interest, an under current of
feeling evidently pervaded their little circle.

To shun the society of her aunt and father became at length
scarcely less an object with Mabel, than to avoid encountering
the eye of Harry. She never paused to ask herself whether
it was wise or right to shrink from meeting, face to face, the
calamity which she saw no way to avert; but blindly following
the instinct of nature, she sought to flee from the harrowing
dread which, nevertheless, pursued her like a shadow.

Thus she now rushed more recklessly than ever into that life
of excitement and fashion which, in reality, had lost for her
the charm that it once possessed, seeking in the gay and heartless
whirl of society to drown the bitter fears and forebodings
which pressed painfully upon her in her home.

It must be confessed, too, that her first agony of regret at
Harry's disgrace had been succeeded by a less disinterested

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emotion, as she thought of the mortification it would entail
upon herself; and, shrinking from the companionship of her
brother, she almost unconsciously gave the preference to those
scenes of gaiety from which he would be sure to absent himself.

The time had been when Mabel would have repelled every
pleasure or honor which Harry might not share, and would
have scorned to possess any interest distinct and separate from
his. The school-girl of six months ago would boldly have
declared, that in the face of all the world she and her brother
would fall or rise together. But the Mabel of to-day, be it
remembered, was not the simple-hearted pupil of Mrs. Herbert.
She had recently been trained in another school, and
had unconsciously imbibed other maxims. It was not the
influence of fashionable life; for that, though it might engross
her time with frivolous pursuits, had failed to corrupt the
generous emotions of her heart. It was the deeper, subtler
influence of one who, knowing no disinterested sentiments,
and believing the rest of the world as false and hollow as himself,
had insidiously contaminated her innocent and affectionate
nature with that refined species of selfishness which shrinks
from contact with the rough edges of this world's experience,
and wards off with shrinking dread the realizing sense of
aught that might interfere with its luxurious repose.

Thus striving, as she did, to free herself from the consequences
of Harry's misconduct, the gulf between the brother
and sister was widening day by day; and Mabel, if not aiding
in the downfall of the misguided youth, was lending no
hand to rescue him from ruin.

Nor did she escape the mortification which she was so
anxious to evade. Frequently did her cheek blanch, and the
light word tremble on her lip, as she suddenly became conscious
of Harry's unexpected presence on an occasion when
she had least apprehended his approach. Sometimes he would
enter the assembly-room at a late hour, his face flushed with
wine, and his voice elevated a pitch above its usual tone;
sometimes she would meet him on her drives, careering

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through one of the avenues in an open gig, drawn by a steed
noted on the race-course; and more than once he had attracted
attention to her opera-box, by the boisterous conversation and
merriment with which he had disturbed the rest of the audience.

In the eyes of some of Mabel's fashionable companions
these might be evidence of spirit; but—to her credit be it
said—her good sense, no less than her sensitive affection,
were keenly alive to the disgrace and censure which they

Such experiences, and the apprehension of them, were sufficient
to cloud her joyousness. But this was not all. Other
evils soon followed in their train. Mabel's excitable, and apparently
inconsistent demeanor, exposed her to misconstruction,
and that, too, in a quarter where she was most anxious that
her conduct should be favorably interpreted. In the early
stages of her acquaintance with Dudley, when he merely
sought a mental stimulus in the satisfaction of awakening her
genius and developing her intellectual nature, he had felt no
disposition to put a check upon her lighter enjoyments, and
had been coolly indifferent to competition. But, in proportion
as he realized the power he had gained over her mind and
heart, did he become jealous of any interference, real or
imaginary. He made no open profession of that deeper
interest with which she had inspired him—an interest which
had awakened in his sophisticated soul something like a genuine
emotion. He even refused to acknowledge to himself
the force of the feelings by which he was actuated. Their
manifestation, however, took precisely the form which might
have been anticipated from one of his distrustful character;
and often did Mabel find herself controlled by a jealous tyranny
which she could not understand, or grieved by a displeasure
for which she could not account. It was easy, however, to
submit to a tyranny which usually took the form of watchful
devotion, and to allay a displeasure which was seldom more
than momentary; and until the period when Mabel's mind

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[figure description] Page 173.[end figure description]

became harassed by contending emotions, no serious cause of
alienation had arisen between herself and Dudley.

But experience now proved that, although there was no one
who could so effectually win her from the painful thoughts by
which she was oppressed, Dudley was not her most efficient
aid in moments of sudden agitation. Her only refuge, then,
was in assumed gaiety; and it often happened that there was
an individual in her vicinity who possessed at once the ability
and the will to second her efforts at animation, and afford her
the most easy and obvious means of concealing and overcoming
her mortification and chagrin. This was a young man of lively
temperament, unfailing spirits, and proverbial good nature, who
was ever ready to join in a playful war of words, laugh at a
pleasant joke, or take the lead in those popular and fashionable
dances in which he excelled. These available qualities were
always at Mabel's disposal, for Mr. Marston was one of a
numerous throng who perseveringly sought to render themselves
acceptable to the belle of the season.

Anxious only to maintain her composure, at any cost, Mabel
did not realize the undue encouragement she was bestowing
on her highly flattered admirer, or the severity with which
Dudley inwardly commented upon her coquetry and frivolity.

One evening, however, when, being more than usually
oppressed by anxiety, she had sought to divert her feelings
and ward off the observation of others, by accepting Mr.
Marston's invitation to join in a rapid and giddy dance, she
was startled, on coming to a pause, by perceiving Dudley
standing directly opposite to her, with an expression of unmistakable
scorn upon his features, while Harry was at the same
moment rendering himself conspieuous, by bestowing upon
Miss Vannecker, in an audible tone, a series of absurd compliments,
which he would never have uttered in his sober

Half fainting from a conflict of painful emotions, she sank
upon a chair, and her agitation reached its height when Dudley
crossed the room, and addressed her in the sarcastic tone
which he so well knew how to assume: “Miss Vaughan,”

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[figure description] Page 174.[end figure description]

said he, “I am glad to see you in such spirits to-night;
the recollection of your animated enjoyment of this scene will
cheer me during my absence from the city.” And with a
frigid bow he left the room.

He despises me, thought Mabel, for my frivolity and seeming
indifference to what every one must perceive. But, too
proud to bend beneath the weight of his displeasure, she
returned his salutation with haughty coldness, and accepted
Mr. Marston's invitation to take another turn in the dance.

Bitter, almost heart-breaking, were Mabel's reflections that
night. For the first time, she began to doubt the wisdom, the
propriety even, of the course she had thought proper to adopt,
in order to veil her actual sufferings from the eye of the world.
Even Dudley, thought she, believes me heartless; for attributing
to him a worthier motive than that by which he was
really actuated, she never doubted that it was his warm friendship
for Harry which caused him to be shocked at her levity;
nor dreamed that it was an overwrought and involuntary jealousy
on his own account, which prompted his sarcastic comment
upon her apparent enjoyment of Mr. Marston's society.

And thus mistaking, as she did, the cause of his disapprobation,
nothing could exceed her regret at having given offence
to the friend who, valued as he had long been, was never so
deeply prized as in this her time of painful and humiliating
sorrow. His desertion of her at this crisis seemed more than
she could bear.

Disappointed in her brother, blamed and forsaken by him
whose voice had hitherto been a charm against utter despondency,
and dreading the watchful eyes of her father and
aunt, she dared not fathom her own unhappiness; but, continuing
her customary round of engagements, performed her
part with automaton accuracy, masking her face in smiles, and
crushing down the emotions to which she dared not give way.

-- --


Humble love,
And not proud science, keeps the door of Heaven;
Love finds admission where proud science fails.

[figure description] Page 175.[end figure description]

During the fortnight that Dudley continued absent from
the city, which was also the limit of his estrangement from
Mabel, the only companionship from which she obtained any
relief was that of her sister's children. Her efforts to win the
affections of the boys had not been without success; and each
in his way gave evidence of a strength of attachment to their
young aunt, which she, in her turn, reciprocated with all the
warmth of a loving heart. The shout of joy with which Murray
hailed her presence, was only equalled by the glow of
unspoken pleasure which overspread the face of Alick, and
their mutual admiration of their aunt Mabel was the one point
on which they never disagreed. Murray's restlessness subsided
into happy, childish enjoyment, when he was permitted
to climb her knee at the twilight hour, and prattle to her of
the events of the day; and nothing made him so supremely
happy, as to fall asleep at night with his hand locked fast
in hers. Often, while he was visiting at his grandfather's,
had Mabel loitered from the fashionable dinner party to listen
to the little nothings which he was so eager to impart;
and more than once her rich evening dress had swept the
carpet while she knelt beside his couch and soothed his infant
slumbers. Both nature and habit had made Alick independent
of caresses; but the gratified look with which he glanced up
from his book the first time she questioned him upon the subject
of his reading, had taught her the way to his heart, and the
boy never again had reason to complain that no one was interested
in his pleasure and improvement.

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[figure description] Page 176.[end figure description]

She had her reward. Childish love is a refreshing balm to
the soul; and nothing so quieted her restless spirit as to feel
around her the pressure of Murray's little arms, and observe
the sturdy manliness with which Alick, on all occasions, appointed
himself her attendant and champion.

She had nothing to dread, moreover, in her intercourse with
the children. They would neither suspect her uneasiness, nor
seek to pry into its source, and experiencing a sense of security
in their presence, Mabel availed herself of their society on
every possible occasion.

One Sunday they accompanied her home from church after
the morning service, and, the early dinner being concluded,
followed her, with their pockets full of nuts, into the little
apartment adjoining the drawing-room, which she could never
enter now without feelings of inexpressible sadness. The boys
seated themselves in the window and commenced eating their
nuts, while Mabel wandered listlessly about the room, reading,
in its abundant decorations, the evidences of Harry's affection,
and wondering where he might be spending the Sabbath, for
she had not seen him since morning.

She paused in front of her richly inlaid writing-desk, and,
lifting the lid, took up a little heap of letters recently received
from her former teacher and schoolmates. They were in reply
to some she had written a few weeks ago in all the extravagance
of youthful spirits, and their tone grated strangely on her present
feelings. The dear girls congratualted and envied her, and
her beloved friend, Mrs. Herbert, believing her to be happy,
wrote only a brief message of affection, sympathizing in the
pleasures of her lot, and gently cautioning her not to be too
confident of their continuance. Alas! the caution came too

She closed the desk, and taking a book threw herself upon
the sofa and tried to read; but her mind wandered from the
page, and, after indulging a long fit of gloomy meditation, she
rose and walked to the window, where the children were watching
the numerous passers by. The day, though cold, was clear

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[figure description] Page 177.[end figure description]

and bright, and the family groups that moved through the
street formed a pleasant picture.

“Should you like to take a walk?” asked she, moved by a
sudden impulse to run away from her thoughts.

The proposition was hailed with acclamations of delight.
The boys ran for their coats and hats, while Mabel prepared
for the excursion with an air of indifference strangely at variance
with her once elastic movements. They had proceeded
some distance down one of the avenues, without any special
destination in view, when Alick suddenly exclaimed, “O
Aunt Mabel, why can't we go and see Rosy?”

“We can,” said Mabel, “if it will not be too long a walk for

Murray protested against the possibility of his being fatigued,
and they at once took the direction toward Mrs. Hope's humble
dwelling. The quarter in which she lived was poor, but
respectable and orderly, and they reached the house without
adventure, though not without attracting the attention of the
neighborhood, who seldom had an opportunity to witness the
dress and bearing of the wealtheir classes. They found the
windows of the little shop closed, with wooden shutters; and
the door, too, was fastened; so that Mabel's repeated knocks
were unanswered. Disappointed at having come so far to no
purpose, and fearful that some misfortune had befallen the
family, she looked about her to find, if possible, some other
mode of entrance—and, at length, proceeding to the end of the
building, discovered a low, dark alley, which appeared to lead
to the rear of the dilapidated tenement.

She felt some hesitation in entering this unexplored passage-way,
but it was no part of her character to be turned from a
worthy purpose by the indulgence of idle fears, and bidding
the children follow her closely, she penetrated to the extremity
of the alley, and found herself in a narrow yard, enclosed by
mouldy walls of brick, encumbered with rubbish, but extending,
as she had conjectured, across the rear of the entire building.
Several doors opened upon this common court-yard, and she
was at a loss to distinguish that of Mrs. Hope, when the widow

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[figure description] Page 178.[end figure description]

herself emerged from one of them with a pail in her hand, and
was proceeding in the direction of the pump that stood against
the wall; but seeing and recognizing Mabel, she gave a quick
start of surprise, and, setting down her pail, came to meet her,
with an air of mingled pleasure and embarrassment.

The latter feeling partially subsided, as Mabel made haste to
apologize for her seemingly clandestine entrance, and inquired
with cordial interest concerning Mrs. Hope's welfare, and that
of Rose.

“Rose is pretty well, just now, for her,” said the widow.
“She'll be right glad to see you, Miss Vaughan. She's got
her little Sunday-school in the back room this afternoon, and I
suppose it was their singing that drowned your knock; they've
got considerable voice, little tots as they are. They are most
through now; walk in, Miss Vaughan, it's a sort of a pretty
sight. You wont disturb them,” added she, observing that
Mabel hesitated—and, stepping within the woodshed at the
rear of her own contracted tenement, she threw open the door
of the kitchen, and motioned to Mabel to advance as far as the

She did so without attracting observation, and, holding up
her finger, she enforced silence upon the boys, who also pressed
forward and peeped in.

Rose was seated in her little arm-chair in the centre of the
room, and around her were grouped some half dozen children,
none of whom could have been more than seven or eight years
of age. Their eyes were fixed upon Rose's face, while she repeated,
slowly and distinctly, the last verse of the hymn they
were singing. It ran thus:

Bright in that happy land
Beams every eye;
Fed by the Father's hand,
Love cannot die;
Oh! we shall happy be,
When, from sin and sorrow free,
Lord, we shall reign with thee,
Blest, blest, for aye.

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[figure description] Page 179.[end figure description]

As Rose spoke the last word, the children commenced singing.
It was sweet and touching to hear their childish voices
uniting in the simple melody which Rose had taught them.
But it was sweeter and more touching still to see them, when
the hymn was finished, assume a kneeling posture, and repeat
after her the words of the little closing prayer with which they
were accustomed to separate.

The tears started to Mabel's eyes, and with instinctive deference
to the solemnity of the service, she retreated at its conclusion,
and, drawing Alick and Murray back into the outer
shed, closed the door noiselessly, that the little company might
not be conscious of intrusion.

“They're mostly German children,” said Mrs. Hope to
Mabel, in explanation; “this is a German neighborhood,
rather; they can't get much education in the schools for want
of knowing the language. Rosy first taught them English, and
then how to read and say their prayers; singing comes natural
to'em That makes fifteen she's taught, and some of'em are
bigger than she is, poor child. It aint much,” added the mother
with a meditative air, “but then it's better than nothing, to be
sure; and it makes Rose happy.”

“Better than nothing!” exclaimed Mabel earnestly, “yes,
indeed, it is everything.”

And Mabel felt what she said. In that moment of excited
feelings, the wealth, the learning, and the pride of this world
sank into nothingness, in comparison with the pure and child-like
faith which takes hold on eternal life.

Alick and Murray were no less impressed than Mabel, as
was evident from their awe-struck silence and inquiring faces;
there was no opportunity, however, for any further expression
of interest, for a confused murmur within the room was followed
by the sudden exit of the little band of children, who,
after casting curious and lingering glances at Mabel and her
nephews, dispersed in different directions—while Mrs. Hope
ushered the freshly arrived visitors into her neat though humble

Rose, somewhat exhausted with her labors, had thrown

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[figure description] Page 180.[end figure description]

herself back in her chair, but she revived at sight of Mabel, and
exclaimed with fervor, “O dear Miss Mabel, how glad I am
to see you!”

It was with something like reverence that Mabel seated herself
beside Rose on a low stool, from which one of the children
had just risen, and taking her little shrunken hand, pressed it
with affectionate fervor.

“I am glad to see you looking so well, Rose,” said she, gazing
into the child's face with a warm expression of interest. “She
really has a color in her cheeks,” observed she to Mrs. Hope,
who stood watching Rose's countenance with mingled pleasure
and anxiety.

“Yes,” replied the widow, with some hesitation, “I'm afraid
it ain't quite natural, though; she's apt to be feverish about
this time of day.”

“You are tired, Rose, with teaching your little class,” said
Mabel. “It is too much for your strength, I think.”

“Oh, no!” exclaimed Rose, eagerly. “It is very easy teaching
them—I love to.” And then, as if anxious to turn the
conversation from herself, she addressed numerous inquiries to
Alick and Murray, both of whom had pressed close to her
side, asking them concerning Lydia, their mamma, and the
mode in which they had come thither. Now and then she
turned her smiling countenance upon Mabel, with deep and
admiring affection, her glance in some degree expressing the
two-fold happiness which she experienced in the presence of
one in whom her own loving nature recognized a kindred spirit,
while the appreciation of the beautiful, which was inherent in
the little invalid, found in this new friend the perfect and only
illustration of its ideal.

It was with mingled emotions that Mabel perceived the influence
she exercised. As she met the admiring glance of
Rose, a glow of self-satisfaction overspread her face, such as
all the flatteries of the ball-room could not call up. But this
sentiment of gratified vanity was chastened and subdued by
an unwonted sense of unworthiness, which forced itself upon

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[figure description] Page 181.[end figure description]

her as she compared her own aimless life with the self-devotion
of the invalid child.

This latter sentiment asserted itself still more strongly before
the conclusion of the visit.

The little company were met together on more free and
familiar terms than on the occasion of their first becoming acquainted.
Mabel's easy cordiality disarmed all embarrassment
and reserve, and even the awkward constraint of the widow
Hope was not proof against the considerate kindness of her
manner. Thus the conversation became brisk and general,
the contrast in social position was well-nigh forgotten, and the
previous good understanding of the parties was ripening into
the confidence of friendship.

Something of Mrs. Hope's family history was elicited, some
reminiscences of her better days were called up, and her hopes
and fears for the future welfare of herself and family, touched
upon. Rose's week-day employments, and her Sabbath labors
and pleasures, were enumerated and discussed, and Jack was
for the first time brought to Mabel's knowledge, through the
frequent mention which was made of him.

Into all this Mabel entered with ready interest, while a
corresponding sympathy was expressed in return, in the countenances
of both Rose and Mrs. Hope, when allusion was
incidentally made to the circumstance of her having been
motherless from her childhood.

Alick, meanwhile, was content to listen to the conversation,
but Murray, not satisfied with playing the part of a silent spectator,
began to look about him for amusement; and, espying
on the table an exceedingly ragged and shabby-looking book,
he tossed it on the floor, and commenced kicking it contemptuously
from one end of the kitchen to the other. Observing
Rose's eye wander towards him, Mabel turned, saw the nature
of his occupation, and starting forward, checked his play and
rescued the volume, at the same time saying, good-naturedly,

“Murray, don't kick the poor old book. I'm afraid you
have no respect for age, my dear.”

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[figure description] Page 182.[end figure description]

Rose smiled. “It has done good service,” said she. “Perhaps
I like it better for that.”

Mabel opened it; it was an ancient copy of “Pilgrim's Progress.”
As she turned over the leaves she directed Alick's
attention to the fact, that it was a copy of the same work she
had bought for him, at his own request, a few weeks before,
when he chanced to be with her in a bookstore and took a
fancy to the richly-bound and beautifully illustrated book.

“Mine ain't like that,” said he, with rude disdain; “Mine is
handsome—that is a real ugly old thing.”

As he finished speaking, his quick eye detected the mortification
which Rose's face evinced at his unflattering comparison;
and, regretting his thoughtlessness, he at once endeavored
to atone for it, by exclaiming—

“Rose ought to have one like mine, aunt Mabel.”

“She shall have one,” said Mabel, unhesitatingly. “I will
bring you one like Alick's, with pleasure, Rose, if you would
like it.”

Rose smiled pensively, but with evident satisfaction.

Alick's face glowed with delight as, without giving Rose
time to reply, he proceeded to expatiate to her upon the rich
binding, gilt-edged leaves, and illuminated margins of the volume
she was to possess.

“Shan't you like it, Rose?” said he, when he had finished
the description.

“Will it cost much?” asked Rose, thoughtfully.

“Oh, yes!” said Alick, confidently.

“As much,” said Rose, looking at Mabel, and at the same
time taking up a well-worn testament which lay beside her,
and a few stray leaves from a primer,—“As much as two new
ones like these would cost?”

“As much as half a dozen like each of those,” replied Mabel,
a little astonished at the question.

“Oh!” exclaimed Rose, with deep-drawn breath, “I should
rather have them.” Then, the excitement of her tone subsiding,
she added, with slight hesitation, “But perhaps I ought
not to be the one to choose.”

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[figure description] Page 183.[end figure description]

“Yes, you ought,” replied Mabel, while Alick looked greatly
disappointed. “You shall have whichever you please, or both.”

“Oh, yes, both!” said Alick, with a relieved and brightened
expression of countenance.

“No, not both,” said Rose, with unmistakable decision. Her
practical mind, trained in the school of necessity, had seen no
impropriety in suggesting the change, but her deeply sensitive
nature recoiled from voluntarily placing herself under a double

“You shall have your own way, Rose,” said Mabel, who had
been watching her face with intense interest.

“Then I should like the testament and primers, best,” said
Rose. “These are all we have had to read and study in, Sunday
afternoons, and they are almost worn out. The little children
can't read mother's bible, because the long ff's puzzle
them so; how glad they will be to have each a testament of
their own—and how good you are, Miss Mabel.”

“I good!” exclaimed Mabel, with the deepest sense of humility
she had ever known, “It is nothing for me to furnish
the books, but how much they owe to you, Rosy?” And rising
from her low seat and drawing her fur mantle around her, as
if about to depart, she stooped down and imprinted a kiss upon
Rose's forehead, the action at the same time serving to hide
the emotion which had been excited by the child's unhesitating

“Is there nothing else I can bring you?” asked she. “Can
not you think of something that you could relish—something
that would relieve you when you felt feverish at night?”

“Oranges!” shouted Murray, from a corner of the room,
where he had seated himself astride of one of the low stools.
Murray had but one pleasant association with fevers and sick
rooms, and that was oranges. Every body smiled, and Mabel
availed herself of the suggestion.

“I will bring her some oranges, certainly,” said she, glancing
at Mrs. Hope, “if you think they would be wholesome for her.

“I dare say they might be refreshing,” said Mrs. Hope;
“she usually has a pretty hot spell towards morning. I tell

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[figure description] Page 184.[end figure description]

her it would not be so if she'd go to bed early, and not have
any excitement evenings; but she sits up, playing jack-straws
and so on, and sometimes after she's in bed Jack props her up
with one thing and another, and there she stays working out
puzzles, and models, and I don't know what they call'em, until
her poor back aches and she can't go to sleep.”

Rose looked uneasily at her mother as she entered this complaint,
and Mabel glanced inquiringly at Rose, surprised at a
charge which seemed to intimate a want of prudence and docility
in the youthful invalid.

“You should not do that, Rose,” said she, as with both her
soft hands she smoothed the light hair from the child's transparent
temples. “Do you like games and puzzles so much?”

“Jack does,” said Rose, in a soft, meaning whisper, meant
only for Mabel's ear.

The words penetrated to the heart of the listener. There was
a depth of sisterly love, and a power of self-sacrifice expressed
in that simple utterance, which were irresistibly touching in
one whose feebleness might seem to excuse her from all responsibility.

Mabel felt the full force of the example, which was to her,
at once, a lesson and a reproach. For a moment she stood
gazing at Rose, as if striving to read in her face the secret of
that divine strength which was victorious over the infirmities
of the flesh; then, at a loss for words, and afraid perhaps of
betraying how deeply she was moved, she made haste to bid
her farewell; and the boys having also taken leave of the little
invalid, they all followed Mrs. Hope into the shop, from
whence, having unbarred the front door, she ushered them into
the street. Before taking her leave, Mabel begged that she
might be kept informed through Lydia of Rose's state of health,
and be applied to without reserve if there was any way in which
she could minister to her comfort.

The day was fast drawing to a close, and after accompanying
her little nephews to the hotel, Mabel proceeded with haste towards
her own home.

What a change had two short hours effected in her air, her

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[figure description] Page 185.[end figure description]

countenance, and her thoughts! She had gone forth excited,
restless, and unhappy, and thus, also, she returned; but
how chastened, subdued, and changed, were all these emotions!
Then, she was excited by vehement regrets, restless with vain
longings, and unhappy from disappointed hopes. Now, her
spirit was disturbed, but it was by a new revelation of things
hitherto unseen; she was eager and uneasy, but it was with a
vague longing to rise above her former self; she was dissatisfied,
but it was the discontent whose fruit is repentance unto
life eternal.

How soft, how gentle was the voice which had thus unconsciously
roused a sleeping conscience! It was no startling
warning, no stern alarum, which had awed and bewildered the
trembling soul. It was but the soft breathing of a loving
heart, giving utterance to the gentlest tones; but a still small
voice within responded to the whisper, and thenceforth could
not be silenced. She might resist it,—she did resist it,—for
earthly temptations are strong, and heavenly impulses brief
and evanescent. But it came again, an unwelcome intruder
on her gayer hours, a patient supplicant pleading with her in
her solitude. Like an angel sitting at the gate, warding off all
hostile influences and ever waiting to be heard, it silently, secretly
gathered strength for the hour when the heart should be
aroused by its trumpet-call, when the conflict should be ended,
and the victory won.

-- --


But deeper signs
Than the radient blush of beauty,
The maiden finds,
Whenever his name is heard;—
The young heart thrills,
Forgetting herself,—her duty,—
Her dark eye fills,
And her pulse with hope is stirred.
Mrs. Osgood.

[figure description] Page 186.[end figure description]

While under the influence of her visit to Rosy, and while
actuated by the gentle charities it had awakened, Mabel made
more than one effort to recover her former influence with
Harry, and regain his confidence.

She met with partial success. He seemed, at once, touched
and pained by the revival of those little sisterly attentions,
which had of late been carelessly performed, or wholly omitted.
Occasionally, he manifested something of his old pleasure
in her society; but in other instances, hurried away, as if her
presence were an unwelcome restraint. He avoided the slightest
reference to his late irregularities of conduct, but at the same
time hesitated not to express a deep disgust and weariness with
what he termed New York life.

Sisterly sympathy and perseverance on Mabel's part, might,
in time, have done much toward restoring the confidential relations
which had been wont to subsist between them; but it must
be confessed, she soon met with a signal discouragement to her

She had returned home at a late hour one evening, had
learned from the footman that Harry had not come in, and
feeling herself oppressed with more than usual anxiety, had
determined to await his arrival before retiring to rest. Youth,

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[figure description] Page 187.[end figure description]

however, craves its season of refreshment, and weariness gradually
overpowering her senses, she threw herself upon a couch
in her own room and fell asleep.

She was awakened some hours later by the shuffling of feet
out-side her chamber door, accompanied by a confused and
noisy altercation. Starting up, her nerves trembling and her
whole frame agitated with a sudden dread, she distinctly recognised
the voice of her father's footman, uttering vain and fruitless
expostulations, while Harry, in rough and abusive language,
heaped upon him the most unsparing invectives and
threats. At the same instant a neighboring door was suddenly
thrown open, and a third, and equally well-known voice min-gled
in the debate, addressing Harry in stern, though suppressed
tones of command. A moment more, and there was the tread
of several feet upon the stair-case leading to the next floor; a
muttered resistance was evident on Harry's part, which gradually
became lost in the distance, and then all was silent.

For several minutes Mabel stood, pale and breathless, with
her ear pressed close to the key-hole, but hearing no sound. at
length ventured to open her door and look out. She started
back, however, as if pierced by an arrow; for, though she
gave but one glance without, it had revealed to her the figure
of her father descending the stair-case, wrapped in his dressing-gown,
and shading with his hand the lamp which he carried,
while its light, falling full upon his face, proclaimed that he
knew the worst.

Mabel had long anticipated this or a similar scene; still, as
her eye met the woe-struck countenance of her parent, pity
for Harry and mortification for herself gave place to a deep
and indignant resentment against the youth who could thus
bring down his father's gray hairs with sorrow to the grave.
She did not weep, she threw herself into no despairing attitude,
but slowly paced up and down the room, her soft hazel eye
glowing with an unwonted excitement, her delicately arched
lip curved with something not unlike scorn. It was long before
she could calm the tumult of her feelings, and when she
did so, there remained a dull, heavy, and despairing

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consciousness of misfortune, such as she had never felt before. The
family calamity had reached its crisis; it was no longer a secret,
stinging anxiety, hid in her own bosom; it was a melancholy
but acknowledged fact.

With this thought, however, painful as it was, there yet
mingled a sense of relief. She had hoped that her father
might long be spared this blow, but, since it had come, it
rested with him to ward off, if possible, future strokes. Some
decisive means might yet be adopted for reclaiming the misguided
youth, and if so, the afflicted parent would not fail to
take the necessary steps. Whether or not these bolder measures
required the aid of her gentle influence, she did not pause
to consider; but too easily discouraged in her own feeble endeavors,
and too readily excusing herself from further participation
in efforts for the reformation of her prodigal brother, she
gladly cast off her share of the burden. Thus, with a heavier
heart, but a lightened sense of personal responsibility, she
finally sought her couch.

It was at this crisis that Dudley returned to the city. Two
week's sojourn in the climate of Canada, to which place anxiety
concerning some property had suddenly called him, had
effectually cooled his petty jealousy, and he now strove sedulously
to obliterate the recollection of it from Mabel's mind.
It was no difficult task. In the quick beating of her heart at
his presence, she forgot all past estrangement, while the light
in her eye, and the glow on her cheek, proved that no painful
remembrance was suffered to interfere with her pleasure at
his return.

It was now the month of March. The winter gayeties of the
city had subsided, and the fashionable world were already beginning
to look forward, with eager anticipation, to the approaching
summer campaign. In this comparative lull between
the dissipations of the metropolis and the watering-place, Dudley
found the opportunity to engross more exclusively than
ever the mind and heart of Mabel. The brilliant scenes of
fashion no longer claimed their queen; the accomplished opera
troupe had sailed for Havana; Mabel's circle of admirers had,

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[figure description] Page 189.[end figure description]

for the most part, either boldly urged their unsuccessful suits,
or timidly withdrawn their hopeless claims to her favor; the
weather was unfavorable for the popular drive or promenade;
and now, if ever, was the time when intellectual amusements,
refined tastes, and artistic pursuits, might easily claim their

Scarcely a day passed without affording Mabel the pleasure
of Dudley's society. A new book, a rare flower, the announcement
of an exhibition of choice paintings, the discovery of
some interesting fact in the scientific world,—any of these were
sufficient excuse for a visit; or, if these failed, such were his
address and tact, that he well knew how to render himself
essential in any scheme of pleasure or entertainment which
met her approbation. In Dudley's society, within the magic
sound of his low, persuasive voice, and under the fascinating
influence of his dark, dreamy eyes, Mabel had no leisure for
any other contemplations or thoughts than those which his
presence awakened; while, in searching with him after the
beautiful in poetry, nature, and art, she was unconscious that
life afforded the opportunity for higher or nobler pursuits.

Fatal as this ascendancy was to her truest and purest aspirations,
it may well be believed that it did not tend to encourage
those schemes of sisterly benevolence and charity which
she might otherwise have cherished; for Dudley was not the
man, under any circumstances, to risk his own unstained reputation
by the attempt to countenance and uphold a falling
friend. Mabel was not long in becoming conscious of the
gradual decay of his intimacy with Harry, and thus both his
example and influence tended to discourage her efforts and
hopes in her brother's behalf; while his dominion over her
thoughts was such as to soothe the mortification she suffered
at the misconduct of the unhappy youth, and allay her fears
for his possible fate.

Whatever might be his motive,—or even if he had no
serious motive at all,—Dudley spared no pains to establish
an exclusive empire over Mabel's heart and life, and voluntarily
submitting to his guidance, she yielded herself to his wishes

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[figure description] Page 190.[end figure description]

and tastes, allowed herself to be swayed by his opinions, and
blindly adopted his maxims.

Thus he was satisfied, and she was happy.

At least she believed herself happy. It was a strange,
fitful, capricious mingling of emotions, unworthy of that name
which expresses what is rarely found on earth, the essence of
all joy. It was a happiness purchased at the price of much
imagined, much hoped for, much forgotten. It was but the
fluttering of a young heart which had not yet found a resting-place.
Alas! like the dove let loose from the ark, it would
long seek repose in vain.

Such as this so-called happiness was, it was subject to many
interruptions. Like all selfish natures, Dudley was ungenerous
even in his affections. He demanded more than he gave. He
scrupulously avoided any other declaration of his sentiments
toward her than that which his whole manner conveyed; but
still, assuming rights to which he had established no claim, he
hesitated not to exercise his influence over her habits of
thought and life, and even presumed to criticise, and occasionally,
as we have seen, take umbrage at her conduct.

It was true, he possessed a grace and tact which knew how
to veil what was in reality officious, beneath an air of flattering
assidurty, and his eccentricities furnished an excuse for what
would have been overbearing in another; still, Mabel's spirit
could not easily brook the inequalities of his manner toward
her, and she occasionally met his sudden coldness and constraint
with a haughtiness equal to his own air of petrified

Then followed intervals of unacknowledged but evident
alienation, when Mabel, suddenly thrown upon her own resources,
experienced a reaction which made her past elation of
spirit seem a delusion and a mockery.

During these intervals, all the elements of unhappiness in
her home presented themselves with redoubled force.

Her aunt's complaints and inuendoes, which had formerly
been limited to the unamiable deportment of Mrs. Leroy, and
the impositions she continually practised upon her circle of

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relatives, had now found a new and inexhaustible subject,
in that still greater cause of apprehension and distress, which
Mabel had so dreaded to have come to her knowledge, but
with which she had inevitably become acquainted. Louise
had acquired more boldness than ever in her schemes of deception
and self-indulgence; while Mabel's temper was incessantly
tried by her sister's heartless indifference to her pleasure
and convenience. A certain fixed rigidity of expression served
to cover and conceal the emotions and purposes of Mr. Vaughan's
mind, but there was a stoop in his hitherto erect figure,
and a hollowness in his pale cheeks, which stamped him as an
old man, worn with care. And Harry! Ah! poor Harry!
Where and what was he? Mabel dared not ask or think.
But the eye that could no longer look fearlessly into that of
his fellow-man; the hand that hesitated ere it grasped the
hand of him who had once been a friend; the face from which
youth and beauty were rapidly passing away;—all these were
silent witnesses to a sad and sorrowful tale.

But, not only did these intervals of solitary reflection bring
up in long array the trials of Mabel's lot; they brought with
them, also, another remembrance, which was banished from
her gayer and happier hours,—the remembrance of one who,
amid privation, hardship, and pain, had learned life's holiest
lesson, and finding in her little sphere a humble path of duty,
trod it with the heroism of a martyr and the patience of a
saint. She could not be blind to this living example, nor deaf
to the secret monitor it had awakened in her heart. False
theories and selfish reasonings might shake her faith in abstract
principles, but no sophistry could refute or obscure the
sacred truth which emanated from the life of Rosy.

The thought of this pious little pilgrim, and her daily walk
with God, could not fail to awaken in a nature so candid and
impressible as Mabel's, many a pang of self-questioning and
self-reproach; but with these salutary stings of conscience
there came other and no less beneficent influences, which were
at once welcome and sweet.

The heart that was wounded and grieved by unkindness,

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misconstruction, and reserve, found repose and refreshment in
the thought of one, whose spirit, bathed in divine love, scattered
abroad the heavenly dew of a true and tender sympathy;
while hopes that were rudely crushed under a weight of trial,
were renewed and sanctified by the blessed assurance that there
is a rest, even on earth, which remaineth for the people of

Mabel's spirits were invariably calmed and soothed by a
visit to Rosy; her mind at once subdued and strengthened.
She felt something of the patience which springs from submission;
some ray of the hope that comes by faith. She went her
way, if not fortified with a holy purpose, at least imbued with
a humble desire to imitate, while self was for the time forgotten
in the strong and living desire to do something for the
welfare and happiness of others.

These disinterested and generous aspirations were often discouraged
by difficulties, or palsied by indifference, before an
opportunity presented itself for proving their existence; but
occasionally their influence might be detected in the generous
earnestness with which she sought to carry out some benevolent
or praiseworthy purpose.

She was driving one day through a street not very distant
from Mrs. Hope's residence, when her attention was attracted
by some uncommonly fine fruit, displayed in the window of a
grocer's shop. She had observed, on a recent visit to Rosy,
that the stock of oranges with which she had of late kept her
constantly provided, was nearly exhausted, and it occurred to
her that she would take advantage of being in the neighborhood
to renew the supply. She hastily pulled the check
string, and Donald, in obedience to her orders, drew up his
horses in front of the shop, his somewhat scornful countenance
expressing the surprise he felt that his young mistress should
have occasion to enter so insignificant a grocery establishment.
Mabel, however, much more independent than her fastidious
coachman, quite unconscious indeed of derogating from her
dignity, alighted without hesitation, and entering, commenced
making her purchases.

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While the youth who waited on her was engaged in weighing
some grapes, her attention was attracted to a couple of
boys who were lounging outside the counter.

“I say, Jack,” said the taller of the two,—“if you'll wheel
that 'ere load o' shells down to Tattam's, at the river side, I'll
treat to seats in the pit at the Bowery, to-night. Come, old
feller, what do you say to that? Tom Ratlin plays `The
Devil among the Scullions'—that'll be sport. Tom Ratlin's
the boy for me! Come, say done to that.”

“I won't touch none o' your old oyster shells,” answered
the boy who was thus addressed,—a short, stout, freckled,
and thick-lipped urchin, whose great prominent teeth gave a
peculiar expression to his face, but who had, nevertheless, a
frank, honest, and on the whole, prepossessing countenance.

“You won't?” answered the first speaker—“more fool
you. It pays enough sight better than sellin' your mother's'
lasses candy;” and he glanced contemptuously at a tray loaded
with that article, suspended by a leather strap around the neck
of his companion.

The latter, evidently mortified and touched by this allusion
to his occupation, which he had in truth somewhat outgrown,
turned very red in the face, and with mingled shame and
anger retorted, “Candy sellin' is better business, any how, than
workin' for folks that promise big and do n't pay at all. Better
settle old scores 'fore you talk o' runnin' up new ones.”

“I do n't owe yer nothin',” replied the first speaker angrily.

“Do n't yer?” exclaimed Jack. “What did ever I get, I
want to know, for luggin' them two kegs of oysters from your
old man's cellar down to the Jersey ferry? Nice kind o' business,
was n't it? to see you jump on board the boat with your
kegs, and go off a leavin' me in the lurch. I ain't forgot it, I
tell yer.”

The larger boy laughed boisterously at this reminiscence,
seeming to think it a capital joke. “Why, what could I
do?” exclaimed he—“could n't keep the boat a wait'n—
had n't no chance to bribe the capt'n; had to be off in a
jiffy. But, look here Jack,” continued he persuasively, “you

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wheel the shells down to Tattam's, and I'll pay up—honor

“What, pay for both jobs—this and t' other one too?”

“I guess so. I'll see,” said the tall boy evasively.

“No, none o' yer guessin', Bob,—we'll have a clear bargain
this time.”

“Well, well,” said Bob, “you shall have a chance at the
theatre, any way.”

“And the cock-tail, too?”

“'T wa'n't a cock-tail I promised,” said Bob.

“'T was a cock-tail,—'t wa'n't nothin' else,” retorted Jack,
with spirit.

“Oh, Jack! you 're a goin' it like a fine feller,” exclaimed
Bob, slapping him on the shoulder; “Tom Ratlin and a cock-tail.
Well, you shall have both on 'em if you'll go right away.
I'll have the shells round there in the wink o' your eye. I
left the wheelbarrow just round the corner; you hold on till I
fetch it,” and with these words Bob shot off through a side door,
to complete his bargain.

“What does he mean? what is he going to give that boy?”
asked Mabel, of the youth who was tying up her purchases.

The lad looked up, met her earnest, inquiring eye, and
stooping down to bite off a piece of twine, endeavored to hide
a smile which was creeping over his face.

Mabel, observing his hesitation, repeated her question, and
the youth looking up again, and seeing the immovable gravity
of her features, composed his own, while he said, in answer to
the second query—

“Mean by what, ma'am? a cock-tail?”


Something to drink,” replied the young man; and unable
now to conceal how much he was amused at Mabel's curiosity,
he laughed outright, at the same time collecting his parcels
with the view of taking them to the carriage.

“I thought so—I was afraid so,” said Mabel, her features
still grave and reproachful; “it is a shame!” Then, as the

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shopman's clerk passed out with the packages, she hesitated,
and finally walked directly up to Jack, who was casting a side-long
glance at her, as if he suspected himself to be the subject
of remark.

“Don't you take it,” said she kindly and impressively, at
the same time giving more force to her words by laying a gentle,
restraining hand on Jack's arm.

Jack—Jack Hope, for he it was, though Mabel had no suspicion
of the fact—looked up, met her mild, reproving glance,
cast an eye at the same time at her rich garments, striking air,
and noble figure, and then looking down with a half-defiant,
half-mortified expression, stood kickling one foot against the

“What shall I give you not to take it?” asked Mabel, after
a pause.

Once more Jack's eye met hers, but drooped the next instant
beneath the compassionate and imploring expression with
which she gazed into his face.

There was another instant of silence, for Jack made no reply
to her question.

Mabel now drew a gold dollar from her purse, and laid it on
the counter. Jack glanced at it with an eager longing that
could not be mistaken, but this time he did not venture to look
up at Mabel.

“Do you want that?” said she.

“I want it bad,” said the boy, “but—but—”

“But what?”

Jack hesitated, then said, bringing out his words with a jerk,
as if they were forced from him, “I don't like to be bought off,—
it's mean.”

Mabel was struck with the boy's rude sense of honor; she
looked puzzled for a moment, then said, “Is n't there some one
at home you could spend it for? have n't you a mother, or a
sister? it would not be mean, if you bought something for

Unconsciously she had struck the master-chord. Jack looked

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searchingly up in her face, forgetting his former awe in the
deeper curiosity to discover how she had pierced his secret

Mabel saw her advantage, and acted upon it.

“Do not take what that wicked boy promised you,” said she,
“and don't go to the theatre either; keep out of such bad company,
or you will be ruined; here, you shall have the dollar,
and welcome, only don't put it to a bad use; perhaps you can
think of something to buy with it that will please them all at
home, and make them proud and happy.”

“I do want it for somethin' particklar,” said the boy; “it
a'n't nothin'bad, as true as the world it a'n't.”

“Well, then,” said Mabel, “take it; I believe you, for you
look as if you were speaking the truth; here, put it in your

“What shall I tell Bob?” said the boy, in audible soliloquy.

“Oh, don't tell him anything,—run off before he comes back—
that's the best way.”

Jack smiled at the earnestness of his beautiful mentor, and
lifted his tray of candy, which he had lain down in anticipation
of entering Bob's service.

In her eagerness to see him depart, Mabel stretched out her
delicately gloved hand and assisted him in fitting the leather
strap to his shoulder.

“There, now, run,” said she, smiling with pleasure at her
own success. “Good-bye! remember!” and Jack trudged off,
looked back once or twice to watch her as she entered her carriage,
and then took to his heels, according to her recommendation.

About half an hour afterwards, as Mabel was sitting in the
widow Hope's shop, talking with Rose, while Donald was
pacing his horses up and down at some little distance from the
house, the shop-door was violently flung open, the bell which
was attached to it rung unmercifully, and Jack rushed hastily
in, holding up his dollar and exclaiming, “Hurrah, Rose! no
matter now where I got it, but here is just money enough to

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pay for—” her had reached this point in his exclamation, when
he suddenly caught sight of Mabel, who had hitherto been concealed
by the door behind which she sat. He stopped short,
staggered back in his astonishment, turned very red in the
face, and without pausing for question or apology, clapped
both fists to his mouth and darted out as abruptly as he had

Rose, sadly mortified at this unmannerly entrance and exit,
endeavored to excuse him to Mabel by remarking, “That is
Jack—he isn't much used to company.”

But Mabel, whose mind was wholly occupied with the coincidence
which had thus proved the candy-boy to be identical
with Rose's brother, did not seem to hear her, and Rose, fearing
from her silence that she was displeased, suggested in further
extenuation of Jack's behavior, “He is not always so rude,
Miss Mabel.”

“Rude, Oh, no!” answered Mabel promptly, recovering from
her momentary abstraction, and observing Rosy's troubled expression;
“he did not mean to be rude; he was surprised,
that was all. I feel very much interested in Jack, Rose. He
seems to be a good-hearted boy.”

Rose looked inexpressibly gratified. “He is—he is, Miss
Mabel,” exclaimed she earnestly; and thus encouraged to
speak on the subject, she did not pause until she had exhausted
the catalogue of his good qualities.

Mingled with her praises, however, it was not difficult to
detect a secret anxiety and doubt lest these very good qualities
should become corrupted by the evil influences to which his
street traffic inevitably exposed him, and with the clue furnished
her by the occurrences of the morning, Mabel understood better
than ever before the self-devotion and perseverance with which
his little invalid sister strove to keep him as much as possible
at her side.

This little incident failed not to leave a strong impression on
Mabel's mind. It had afforded her the happiness of performing
a benevolent action; it had created a new bond of

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sympathy between herself and Rose,—above all, it had revealed to
her a fresh proof of the beauty and power of that holy love
which no selfish doubts can chill or blight, but which, living on
through suffering, change, decay, and death, beareth all things,
believeth all things, hopeth all things, and endureth all things.

-- --


And some we trusted with a fond believing,
Have turned and stung us to the bosom's core—
And life hath seemed but as a vain deceiving,
From which we turn aside—heart-sick and sore.
Mrs. M. T. W. Chandler.

[figure description] Page 199.[end figure description]

The early spring months had passed away, the silent process
of nature had nearly reached its full development, and summer
was close at hand. The city parks were carpeted with a bright
green sod, and the elm trees waved over them the opening buds
and tassels of verdure, which were daily forming a thicker and
thicker canopy of shade. Birds sang in the branches, and now
and then perched on the eaves or open windows of the tall city
houses, while the soft breezes, the warmth of the mid-day sun,
the sound of children's voices, and the glow of animal life and
spirit which pervaded the streets and thoroughfares, gave evidence
of the renewing and revivifying power with which summer
and sunshine penetrate even to the heart of the great

It was a lovely morning, towards the close of the month of
May, when Mabel, with a miniature watering-pot in her hand,
stood listlessly gazing from out her dressing-room window into
a beautiful open square directly opposite. She had been engaged
in watering a few plants, Harry's thoughtful gift many
months before; but her mind had wandered from her occupation,
and though her eye was fixed upon the sunny green sward
of the little park, the dreamy smile upon her countenance proclaimed
her to be roaming far away in the pleasant fields of
imagination. Home still had its cares; the present, its bitterness;
the future, its anxiety; but these had no part in her
present reverie, for, giving the reins to a charmed fancy, and,

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for the time, banishing every painful thought, she was dwelling
with fond and eager anticipation upon that ever fruitful prospect
of enjoyment, a young girl's first journey.

Even before she left school, when all the pleasures of freedom
were yet untasted, there had been no theme more exciting
to her youthful enthusiasm, than the confident hope of one day
visiting the romantic Falls of Trenton, the gigantic cataract of
Niagara, and the St. Lawrence, with its Thousand Isles—
national elements of beauty and grandeur, with which she
rightly deemed it desirable to become acquainted, before indulging
still more glowing anticipations of foreign travel.

These were but vague yearnings, however, in comparison
with the alluring visions which had recently been awakened in
her youthful and ardent nature, by one who, himself familiar
with the beauties of American scenery, possessed the power to
kindle her imagination and excite her feelings by his animated
description of the scenes of his boyish homage.

And if the eloquent tongue of Dudley had power to clothe
these grand and picturesque regions with a new halo of beauty
and romance, it may well be believed that Mabel's heart was
stirred with no common glow of delighted anticipation, at the
added hope she was now indulging, of visiting these favored
spots in his companionship, being initiated by him into the peculiar
charms which pertain to each, and being suffered to
believe that the sight of her fresh enjoyment would awaken in
him a pleasure, equal, if not superior, to that he had once
experienced in his own.

Early in the spring, when Mabel's friends were discussing
their plans for the season, she had frequently mentioned her
expectation of spending the month of June in travelling. As
the time drew near, however, and Mr. Vaughan declared his
engagements to be such as to forbid all thought of the journey,
she freely expressed, amid her own little circle, the disappointment
which she felt at the project's being thus unexpectedly

“Why cannot we make an excursion party to the Falls?”
exclaimed Dudley, one evening when, a small party being

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assembled in Mrs. Leroy's drawing-room, the subject was accidentally

“Mrs. Leroy, Mrs. Broadhead, does the idea strike you
agreeably? Come, Mr. Earle; you just confessed yourself at
a loss how to get rid of next month,”—and turning to various
others, who chanced to be present, he found some ingenious
method of recommending his proposition to each.

The challenge, though playfully made, met with general acceptance,
and Dudley had the satisfaction of seeing his apparently
careless suggestion acted upon at once. Most of the
company consisted of this world's idlers,—the acknowledged
drones of society, who were restricted by no claims of business
or of duty,—and the plan and route which Dudley proceeded
to sketch were unanimously adopted.

Mr. Leroy had left New York early in May, to attend to
some important transactions at the West, and Louise was at
liberty to follow her own inclinations; while Mabel, never
doubting the consent of her indulgent father, lent a ready ear
to a scheme which she believed to be designed for her especial

Thus a plan was concerted, which, gaining in popularity from
day to day, soon became the engrossing topic of interest and
conversation between Mabel and her friends; and while all
found in it a welcome source of pleasure, Mabel's heart thrilled
with a dreamy ecstacy of delight, as she listened to the lowspoken
words of hope and expectation which Dudley breathed
into her ear, as he talked of the promised journey, or as she
pondered in secret on the vague, half-uttered terms in which he
confessed his happiness to be in this, as in all things, dependent
on her own.

None of the party were willing to leave New York until after
a fashionable and long-talked-of wedding reception, which was
to take place at a country seat a few miles from the city, and,
in anticipation of which, the fashionable world had been content
to linger in town to a later period than usual.

This festive occasion was now close at hand, and, as Mabel
stood at the window and counted up the days which must elapse

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before the commencement of her little tour, her pleasant reflections
were interrupted by the thought, that she had not yet
found an opportunity to broach the matter to her father. So
confident was she, however, that the independence she had
hitherto enjoyed would not be interfered with in this particular,
that she was dismissing the subject from her mind, with the
simple conclusion, I must not forget to mention it to him to-morrow,—
when her meditations were still further disturbed by
the unusual sound of his footsteps within her room, and looking
up, she found him close beside her with an open letter in his

He replied at once to the inquiring expression of her face,
saying, “I have news from your Aunt Margaret, my dear.”

Mabel started, and a look of sudden alarm passed over her
face, for her Aunt Sabiah had left them a week before, in compliance
with an invitation to pass the summer with her recently
widowed sister, and Mabel feared some accident had befallen
her. “Is anything the matter?” asked she quickly. “Aunt

“Your aunts are both well,” interrupted her father; “this
letter is in reply to a message I sent by your Aunt Sabiah last
week; it comes very opportunely,—it is very kind, very hospitable
in your Aunt Margaret; it gratifies me exceedingly,”
and he handed the letter for her perusal.

Mabel's face was expressive of mingled emotions as she read,
but puzzled surprise predominated; and as she finished, she
looked up with the abrupt remark, “About Harry? I do not
understand it father.”

“Harry goes to L. next week,” said Mr. Vaughan, speaking
decidedly, with compressed lips, and in a tone which deprecated
curiosity or inquiry. “He is to study law with my old friend,
Judge Paradox, and will commence immediately.”

Mabel was about to express astonishment at this sudden
choice of a profession, and question her father more closely,
but observing the expression of his countenance, she checked
herself, satisfied rather to await such explanation as he might
think proper to give.

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He gave none, however, but, as if deeming the announcement
of his intentions with regard to Harry sufficient, went on
to say, in quick disjointed sentences, and much as if soliloquizing,
“Your aunt not only proposes to receive Harry until his
rooms are in readiness, but gives you, I think, a very cordial
invitation to accompany him. I am very glad of this,—I wish
you to know your aunt,—I have not seen her myself for these
five years,—it will be pleasant for you to be with Harry, and
the plan will in every way be a great relief to me. I have just
heard from Mr. Leroy, and find that my affairs will compel me
to join him at the West, immediately; so I shall close the house,
and come to L. to meet you when I return, which I hope will
be before many weeks. I dread the journey very much, but it
cannot be postponed any longer.”

Mabel's countenance fell, as she listened to this programme
of her father's intentions and wishes; even the sight of his
haggard and anxious face, failed to win her from the contemplation
of her own disappointment. She stood silent and
thoughtful, looked out of the window, bit her lip, and made no

Mr. Vaughan, who was slowly pacing the room, glanced up at
length, as if awaiting some response to his own expressions of
satisfaction, and then said, watching her face meanwhile, and
speaking in the tone of considerate kindness with which he
always addressed her—“I hope you like the plan, my daughter;
your Aunt Margaret is a stranger, to be sure, but Sabiah
is there, you know.” Already he had detected her repugnance
to the arrangement, and was solicitous to place it in the best
possible light.

“Yes,” said Mabel, hesitating, “but I was in hopes”—

Her voice faltered as she spoke, but her father reassured
her, drawing near, standing with his hands clasped behind him,
and patiently awaiting what she had to say, while he aided her
with the inquiry—“What did you hope, my dear? had you
any other plan at heart?”

Thus encouraged, she acknowledged the scheme of pleasure
which she found it so hard to forego, explained the route,

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[figure description] Page 204.[end figure description]

enumerated the party, and, while she forbore to urge the point,
made no secret of her preference.

“Louise is going?” asked Mr. Vaughan, as he thoughtfully
resumed his walk up and down the room.


“And Harry?” added he, with hesitation, “did he expect
to make one of the party?”

“No,” answered Mabel, with a thrill of pain which was like
the sting of conscience, for she well knew that no one had
requested Harry's company on the excursion.

“And you are very anxious to go?”

“I was,” said Mabel, hesitatingly, “Yes.” And with nervous
agitation she stood picking the withered leaves from a geranium,
while she awaited her father's decision.

Her cause was in safe hands. Mr. Vaughan had no courage
to disappoint her; he could far better bear to be disappointed
himself. So, after a short pause, he said, “Very well, you
shall do as you please, my dear; only I hope in the course of
the summer you will find time to make your aunt Margaret a
short visit, at least. Suppose you answer the letter, and tell
her you will come in July or August.”

Mabel promised to do so, and the matter being settled, Mr.
Vaughan, who had no time to waste, hurried away to his office.

Mabel stood and looked after him as he crossed the little
park—her kind, indulgent father, who could refuse her nothing.
How she thanked and blessed him! Her aged and care-worn
father, with a stooping gait and a shadow on his brow,—was
the deeper whisper of her conscience. Did she deserve from
him a blessing in return?

Her pathway, it is true, is free. He has left her at liberty
to go when and where she will; his restraining hand places no
clog upon her footsteps, his love has broken down every barrier
to her looked-for happiness—every barrier save one, and that
a dull, heavy, impatient knocking at her heart, an intruding
thought, a stern and solemn appeal, striving to make itself
heard. Shall she give the strange, unwelcome guest admittance?

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The question was answered by the sudden entrance of Louise,
who was full of excitement in view of the approaching wedding
and pleasure-party, and whose voluble tongue soon put to flight
every serious thought which had taken possession of her sister's
mind. She was criticising and commenting upon various rich
articles of dress which formed a part of Mabel's spring wardrobe,
when a figure of ample proportions presented itself within
the door of the dressing-room, and a loud voice exclaimed,
“Ah, here you are! Cecilia admitted me, and I ventured to
come up stairs without waiting to be invited. Oh, Mabel, what
a sweet bonnet!—fresh from Paris, I'll bet a trifle! And
this is your travelling suit—a shade darker than Vic's, but
beautifully trimmed, isn't it Lu?” And the stout Mrs. Vannecker,
exhausted and breathless, sank panting upon the sofa.

“Throw off your mantle, and take a seat at this open window,”
said Mabel, observing the flushed and heated condition
of her visitor.

“No, no, thank you, let me sit here,” replied the lady, taking
a fan which Mabel offered, and fanning herself vigorously.
“Oh, these are lovely!” observed she, examining some rich
flounced silks which, just received from the dressmaker's, hung
over the arm of the couch. “That shade of green is very trying,
though, and the pink is rather pale. I dare say it will
light up well, though. Vanity of vanities!” she continued, in
a theatrical manner, uttering at the same time something between
a sigh and an endeavor to catch her breath; “What
would Mr. Lincoln Dudley say, with his contempt for finery,
if he should see all this exhibition of the fine arts, as he
calls it?”

Mabel looked up quickly, as Mrs. Vannecker thus quoted
her friend, but the tongue of the loquacious lady did not need
even the encouragement of a look.

“I declare, girls,” exclaimed she, “I say to you as I said to
Vic, this morning,—I almost wish Mr. Dudley wasn't going
with us on our journey. I can't say I think him much of an
addition to the party, he has become such a stoic—cynic, I

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[figure description] Page 206.[end figure description]

mean,” added she, after a pause, during which she discovered
her mistaken use of terms.

Mabel turned away and smiled—not at the mistake, but at
Mrs. Vannecker's desire to exclude Mr. Dudley from a party
of his own arranging, into which she had intruded herself and
her daughter, uninvited.

“Is he a cynic?” said Louise, absently. “Mabel, what did
De Trou make you pay for those flowers?”

“To be sure he is,” said Mrs. Vannecker, replying to the
first question. “I don't know any better name for him. You
heard how he abused every body and every thing that night
at your house; and last evening I met him at the Earle's, and
such a setting-down as he gave the New Yorkers!—so many
jackanapes among the young men—so many fine women
spoiled by fashion! I assure you, I felt myself called upon to
act as their champion, and trust I was tolerably successful. I
talked him down, at all events—that was one comfort.”

“It must have required a large stock of words, I should
think, Mrs. Vannecker, to defend so poor a cause,” said Mabel,
betraying in her manner, no less than her remark, a disposition
to justify Dudley's severity.

“A poor cause!” exclaimed Mrs. Vannecker. “So you side
with my lord Dudley, do you, Mabel, and condemn society in
the same wholesale manner? Well, I have understood you
were a pupil of his.”

“I do not speak of society generally,” resumed Mabel, “but
an intellectual man, like Mr. Dudley, can not be expected to
have much sympathy with silly women and coxcombs.”

“And how many of us, do you suppose, he excludes from
that list? Not me, though I came under the privileged head
of `Present company,' nor you, my dear,” added she with a
coarse laugh, “though you are so ready to ratify his opinions.
You had your share of the lash, as well as the rest of us;
however, don't look so crest-fallen,” added she, seeing Mabel
suddenly change color and look down; “one must pay some
penalty for being the most popular belle of the season; and if
nobody finds fault with you but a crusty old bachelor, like Mr.

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Dudley, you mustn't complain, even if the world does give him
the credit of being a genius and all that.”

“Old!” remarked Louise, who engaged in trying on Mabel's
new bonnet only caught a word, now and then, of a conversation
to which she felt wholly indifferent. “I don't call Mr.
Dudley old; he can't be much over thirty.”

“I don't know his age,” answered Mrs. Vannecker, tartly.
“I only know he has outlived his good humor. Why, when
Mr. Earle said something about Theodore Marston's beauty
and accomplishments, and the splendid establishment in which
he would instate the lady of his choice,”—and she gave a
meaning glance at Mabel,—“Mr. Dudley snarled as if somebody
had stepped on his toes. I declare, if it had not always
been said that he never bowed at any shrine, and was
not a marrying man, I should certainly think he had been
refused years ago by some reigning star, and had not yet recovered
from the mortification. I suppose he comes under the
head of `poor and proud,' and that accounts for his being such
a fault-finder.”

“Why, I thought Mr. Dudley liked society,” said Louise;
“we always meet him everywhere.”

“To be sure,” said Mrs. Vannecker, “and what is he there
for? To play the agreeable in company, and abuse people
behind their backs. Now, that is what I call being a downright
hypocrite! For instance: we all know how much he
has patronized Mabel this winter—all because he thought it a
feather in his cap to be in the van of her admirers—and now,
I will just tell what he said about her, if it's only to convince
the child that I didn't waste words, as she calls it, without

Mabel stooped down and appeared to be busily searching for
some missing article in her bureau drawer, while Mrs. Vannecker

“You must know we were talking, as every body is now,
about Fan Broadhead's marriage with the colonel, and Mrs.
Earle remarked that she thought it a capital match.”

“`Capital!' said Mr. Dudley, echoing Mrs. Earle's words.

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A most thorough-going, complete, and satisfactory conformity
with the usages of society. Beauty, youth, and all the modern
accomplishments set off against a town-house, a country-house,
a cottage at Newport, and a carriage for every season of the
year. Capital, upon my word!'

“You can't imagine,” said Mrs. Vannecker, “how bitter and
sarcastic his tone was; and Mr. Earle, who is Fan's cousin,
you know, could not help noticing it.”

“`So, Mr. Dudley,' said he, `you don't think there is much
sentiment in the matter.'

“`Sentiment,—pshaw!' said Mr. Dudley, `what has a
fashionable girl to do with sentiment? The heart is the last
thing to be consulted when a New York belle marries.'

“`Why,' said I, `there's Mabel Vaughan and Mr. Marston—”'

“Mrs. Vannecker!” exclaimed Mabel, looking up with
crimson face and flashing eyes, “how could you couple my

“It was only by way of argument, my dear,” responded
Mrs. Vannecker.

“Yes, but connected as you are,” faltered Mabel, “it would
be thought—”

“Nothing would be thought, but what is true, I suspect, or
will be one of these days; if not, you can contradict the reports
that are circulating, my dear; but let me go on with my story,
and you shall judge what Lincoln Dudley's opinion of you is.

“`There's Mabel Vaughan and Mr. Marston,' said I, `they
are both young, and handsome, and accomplished; do you
mean to say that is a match where there is no romance, no
affection between the parties?'

“`I do,' said he, looking at me as if I had insulted him.
`Miss Vaughan has too much sense to bestow her affections
on such a paltry bit of frippery.'

“`And yet, you believe she will bestow her hand on him?'
said I.

“`I do not pretend to question it,' said he, in his decided
way. `Why should she not? All fashionable girls are alike;

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they live for the world, marry to please the world, and
would die sooner than defy the world's opinion. Love in a
cottage is no longer to be thought of. I will venture to say
that I do not know a woman in New York capable of sacrificing
the love of display to any higher sentiment; and Miss
Vaughan is the last who could be expected to prove an exception
to the rule. She has passed through all the phases of a
fashionable career, except the phase matrimonial,—she will
scarcely stop short of the blissful climax.”'

“There, that was a long speech, but I treasured up every
word of it, Mabel, for I was determined to tell you. I assure
you I was quite indignant at hearing him talk as if girls now-a-days
hadn't any feeling. I gave him a pretty sharp piece of
my mind, too, and I dare say he felt it, though he never made
me a bit of an answer, but bowed all round the room, in his
provokingly graceful manner, and went off as unconcerned as
you please. What do you think now, Mabel, of the justice of
Mr. Dudley's criticisms?”

Wounded feeling, pride, and indignation, were all depicted
in Mabel's countenance. “I think, Mrs. Vannecker,” said
she, evading a direct reply, “that it is very unpleasant to be
made the subject of a drawing-room discussion, and in future
I must beg—”

“O, my dear,” interrupted Mrs. Vannecker, in a conciliating
tone, “it was not an occasion of any consequence, there
were only half a dozen persons present, and I only mentioned
you and Mr. Marston, as an instance of a young couple who
were every way suited to each other.”

“But it was a very mistaken instance,” persisted Mabel.
“I have no interest whatever in Mr. Marston, and wish it to
be so understood.”

“Oh, la! what a fuss about nothing!” exclaimed Louise.
“You know, May, if you are not engaged to Theodore Marston,
very likely you will be one of these days,—there is not
another such match in the city.”

“Why, Louise, I don't know what you mean,” exclaimed
Mabel, tears of vexation starting to her eyes.

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Louise only replied by glancing with an incredulous smile
at Mrs. Vannecker, at the same time humming a popular air,
and practising before the mirror a few steps of a new and difficult
dance. “It is growing very warm,” drawled she, in a languishing
manner, “I must go before it is any hotter. You'll
call for me in good season Thursday morning, May. I wonder
if Fan Broadhead will make a handsome bride.”

“Wait a moment, Lu,” said Mrs. Vannecker, snatching
np her parasol and scarf, and looking about her for her
gloves. “Vic will wonder what has become of me. So you
don't mean to have your engagement with Mr. Marston come
out yet, pet?” said she, tapping Mabel lightly under the chin,
as the latter stooped to pick up one of the fallen gloves.

“No,—never!” said Mabel, with a vehemence unusual to

“Oh, don't say that,” replied Mrs. Vannecker, coaxingly, as
she squeezed through the doorway. “Ask Harry to come in,
dear, and talk the journey over with us. Vic has twenty questions
to put to him.”

“Harry is not going on the journey,” said Mabel, quickly.

“Not going!” ejaculated Mrs. Vannecker, in a tone of unmistakable
chagrin. “Do you really mean so? Why, you
astonish me. I took it for granted he was going,—so did
Vic. How came we to be so mistaken?”

Mabel did not reply; and the dismayed lady, after repeated
expressions of self-condolence, left the room, with the words,
“I am disappointed,—Harry not going,—what will Vic

-- --


O changing child and woman,
Thou hadst not second sight!
Or bending down thy forehead white,
The human to the human,
The idol's shadow would have made
Its light to vanish like a shade.
Mrs. Browning.

[figure description] Page 211.[end figure description]

Mabel returned to her dressing-room, threw herself into a
seat at the open window, and, with her hands dropped listlessly
on her lap, and her eyes gazing vacantly into a piece of blue
sky opposite, became lost in thought.

“So, Dudley thinks me a complete fashionist, a mere worldling,”
was her inward meditation. “Who has had such an
opportunity of knowing me as he has? To whom have I confided
my thoughts, hopes, and aspirations, so freely as to him?
and, can he have thus misunderstood me? Can he really believe
me the cold, calculating, mercenary creature, whom he
professes to despise? How unjust! how cruel! Is it my
fault that I move in a circle of fashion? Is it anything but the
accident of my lot that placed me here? Are my views, motions,
actions, all to be measured by the standard of my frivolous
acquaintances? I did not choose them, they were chosen
for me, and I only play my part in the sphere assigned by nature.
These fine clothes,” thought she, as rising impatiently from
her seat, her eyes fell on the rich silks and laces which were
profusely scattered around, “do I want them? do I care for
them? Are they not the mere accompaniments of my present
position? This face and figure which the world calls beautiful,”
and she paused before the mirror, “do I covet beauty, save
as it may make me attractive in his eyes? He must know—
he does know, that all else may frown and I care not, so he

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only smiles. He talks of sacrifice, and yet believes that I
would crush my heart down rather than relinquish the prospect
of a brilliant establishment. Ah, which would be the greater
sacrifice? He does not know the power of a woman's love. I
knew he despised others, but I never dreamed that he had no
faith in me.”

Ah! that was a bitter pang indeed, that he should place her
thus on a level with the vain crowds, at whom she had so often
heard him sneer. Poor child! She had trusted, with all the
warmth of her generous affections, in one who knew not what
it was to trust. The poisoned arrows, with which she had
thoughtlessly played, had rebounded and pierced her to the
heart. No wonder that she smarted at the sudden wound.

But her generous confidence was not weary yet, and the first
struggle with injured feeling being past, she was ready, with a
true woman's inventive charity, both to palliate the offence, and
excuse and pardon the offender.

“Mrs. Vannecker dislikes Mr. Dudley,” thought she, “and
has no doubt given her own coloring to his words;—things
sound so differently when repeated;—besides, she says he is
poor,—I never thought of that. He can not be poor, and
his talents would be priceless in any profession; but in comparison
with Mr. Marston's, his present means, perhaps, are limited.”
And Mabel's heart softened as she reflected on the bitterness
which a sensitive man might feel, as he contrasted his
narrow estate with the princely fortune of his rival. “I have
been careless and imprudent, too,” thought she; “no wonder
he is vexed, when strangers even are deceived.” And here
Mabel called to mind the frequent instances, unexplained till
now, when Mr. Dudley had turned coldly away at Mr. Marston's
approach, or, with harsh and cutting sarcasm, had commented
on the frivolous tastes and manners of the amiable and
harmless young man.

“I must be more careful in future,” thought she. “For my
own sake, and the sake of the world's opinion, I shall be circumspect,
and he shall never again have cause to feel vexed
with me on this point.

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“And so he believed me dazzled by the prospect of a brilliant
fortune; and is that so very strange? it has blinded
many a better girl than I. What should he know of my
actual tastes, my love of simplicity, my hatred of display? He
has seen me only surrounded by the trappings of wealth, and
the object of the greatest flattery. Can he picture me as I was
in my country home at Mrs. Herbert's? or imagine with what
joy I should shake off the fetters and chains of this artificial
life, and devote myself to the sweet and welcome tasks which
constitute the comfort of a domestic fireside? I have been
unjust to myself and to him; I have appeared before him only
in a false character, and yet I expect him to believe me true.
Henceforward he shall know me as I am.”

Thus, by a process of reasoning, in which the heart, and not
the head, furnished arguments, Mabel had finally arrived at a
conclusion which left her, as she believed, still mistress of her
own destiny. She had but to exercise the frankness, simplicity,
and truth, which were her own native characteristics, and, with
the knowledge she had obtained of Dudley's sensitive distrust,
she should have no difficulty in removing it.

More precious than ever now seemed the opportunity
afforded by the approaching journey! We have seen with
what fond and romantic anticipations she had already looked
forward to the escape from city thraldom, to the enjoyment of
a few weeks commune with nature, and with one whom she
deemed nature's fit interpreter, but now this long-talked-of
excursion had suddenly assumed a new significance, a vital
interest; it had become, as it were, the crisis of her life.

“No need of all this finery,” thought she, as she hastily
folded and put out of sight the offending articles of dress, the
nervous trembling of her busy fingers keeping time to the
impatient fluttering of the young heart yearning for an occasion
to prove the genuineness of its devotion. “Travelling
furnishes no necessity for elaborate toilettes,” was her exulting
reflection; “it imposes none of the restrictions of city life.
For a while, at least, I can act myself, and be happy in the
way I love best.”

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And how were these sentiments responded to by the man
for whose sake this devoted young heart would have deemed
nothing a sacrifice? Was this ready self-consecration met
with corresponding zeal?

Alas! Mrs. Vannecker—manœuvering, gossiping, worldly
woman though she was—had spoken some homely truths.
The cold, calculating, selfish Dudley well deserved the name
of hypocrite,—for who is a greater hypocrite than he who
stamps another as a coward, while he himself is ready to play
the poltroon. He had dared to question Mabel's disinterestedness
and capability of self-sacrifice; could his own soul have
denied the truth, that he himself was guilty of the very weakness
he contemned in another? Mrs. Vannecker had proclaimed
his want of confidence in the woman he professed to
love, but this was but half the truth; for truer, sadder, more
fatal still—he had no confidence in himself, the idol whom he
loved supremely.

Thus, while seeing more plainly than Mabel did the obstacles
to their union, unlike her he felt no generous ardor to
overlap them at a bound. It was true her habits were expensive,
but so too were his, and confirmed by long indulgence.
The whole of his moderate income was but just sufficient for
his selfish wants; was there, then, anything to spare? He
knew very well that only by a strenuous and manly exercise
of his talents and gifts, only by entering heart and hand into
the contest with fortune, could he achieve such a position of
usefulness and honor as would bring with it the pecuniary
independence which he lacked. And for this he had neither
the energy, the will, nor, above all, the faith; faith in his own
powers of persevering endeavor,—faith in noble purpose, and
in the providence which is sure to reward well directed effort
with success.

What! forego his wayward journeyings, desultory studies,
and artistic pursuits, and, plunging into the vortex of busy
life, task all his powers to win for himself a place among
earnest men! His self-indulgent sensitiveness recoiled from
the idea. Abandon the refined circles of conventional society,

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[figure description] Page 215.[end figure description]

forego the privilege of intellectual opportunity, and relinquish
the luxurious ease of a bachelor's establishment, for the seclusion,
the privations, and the every day responsibilities of domestic
life! His aristocratic and fastidious nature spurned
the thought.

“A few weeks more within the sphere of pretty Mabel's
smiles,” was his reflection, as whiling away the warm hours of
the day, stretched on a couch in an apartment at his club, he
lazily watched the blue curling smoke of his cigar—“a journey
to the Falls in company with this interesting and beautiful
young enthusiast, and then,”—he sighed,—for he would have
loved Mabel, had there been room in his heart for so disinterested
an emotion. “Well—ah, well! each season brings
with it its pleasures and its claims. A trip to the Sandwich
Islands next, perhaps,—they say the climate is unsurpassed.”

Had there been an electric communication between his heart
and Mabel's, her airy castles of bliss would have fallen as
beneath the lightning blast; but there was no such magnetic
link, and she went dreaming on.

She was still occupied with her own glowing and painfully
exciting meditations, when her solitude was suddenly broken in
upon by one, who of late seldom intruded within her precincts.

It was Harry. He came in, heated with exercise, and there
was something of the ease and freedom of his old manner in
the unconcerned air with which he stretched himself on his
sister's comfortable sofa, and wiped the moisture from his

“It is very warm,” said Mabel.

“Confounded hot,” replied Harry, taking up the fan Mrs.
Vannecker had been using. “I never knew such weather in
May before. I believe you've got the coolest place in the
house, though.”

There was a pause; the subject of the weather exhausted,
this brother and sister, once so confiding, were at a loss for
anything to say.

After a few moments, however, Harry broke at once the
silence and constraint with the abrupt remark, “So we are to

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[figure description] Page 216.[end figure description]

have a new character in the family.” Mabel colored and experienced
a nervous tremor; she feared the remark had some
reference to herself. She was reässured on this point, however,
as Harry continued in a tone of half-playful, half-indignant
irony, “Yes, nothing less than a lawyer,—a rusty, fusty
lawyer. It is all cut and dried, without the slightest reference
to the principal party concerned; old Judge Paradox's office
in L. is, I am told, the mint in which I am to be coined into a
legal instrument;” and Harry laughed a bitter laugh.

Mabel made no reply to this communication; she felt reluetant
to acknowledge to Harry that she had already learned the
tidings from her father.

Harry, evidently engaged in some mental process, uttered
at intervals an exclamation of angry scorn, then at length
gave further vent to his feelings in the sudden outbreak;—
“A pretty piece of business! a ridiculous farce! to undertake
to treat a man as if he were still a boy! Though a boy, even,
if he had any spirit, would object, I think, to being disposed
of in this way!”

Mabel now understood that Mr. Vaughan's arrangements
had been made without Harry's knowledge, or the slightest
reference to his wishes, and her quick mind saw at once the
probable consequences of this injudicious step. She knew
how vain it was to endeavor thus to control the youth, who
never, from his infancy, had submitted to restraint.

As if to give plausibility to the scheme, however, she remarked,—
“But, Harry, you always preferred that profession;
I always supposed you would decide upon it.”

“What if I did,” said Harry, sharply. “Is this the season
of the year to commence a dry study; and is the atmosphere
of L. likely to awaken a man's ambition? No, my father is
much mistaken if he thinks I shall put myself under the government
of an antediluvian judge, or be tied to the apron
strings of two old women. You can take up your residence
with the aunties if you choose, and sit between them all day,
learning the art of stocking-knitting; but as for me, I can
assure you, my imagination takes a higher flight.” And as he

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finished speaking, he compressed his lips, and threw his head
back on the sofa cushions with an air of resolution not to be

“But, Harry,” exclaimed Mabel, “think how you will disappoint
father. I have no doubt his arrangements with his
old friend are all completed.” Her conscience smote her as
she spoke. Was it for her to remind her brother of his duty?
Had she not also been included in her father's plans, and had
she not in like manner proved refractory?

“Look well to your diplomacy, then,” said Harry. “I
shall charge you with a commission to his old friend, and trust
to you to execute it faithfully. Tell him that the air of his
neighborhood does not suit my constitution,—that I feel myself
called upon to try a different climate,—that I have a
great repugnance to being buried in L. You start next week,
I suppose, on your enviable visit?”

“Mine?” asked Mabel, with evident embarrassment.
“What, my visit to my aunt Margaret?”

“Certainly; have you not yet been informed of your agreeable

“Yes—no,” said Mabel with hesitation; “at least, I

“You don't mean to back out, I hope,” said Harry, drawing
down the corners of his mouth, and speaking in a tone of mock

With mortification and difficulty, Mabel faltered out the
words, “Why—it happened so, that I was thinking of another
journey just at this time, and I concluded that—that—”

“That the air of L. would not suit you,” said Harry, with
emphasis, and a meaning laugh; and here he precisely echoed
her tones of a moment before,—“think how you will disappoint

“Oh, but it does not matter so much where I go,” said
Mabel, anxious to excuse herself.

Harry would listen to no such excuse, however. Her self-indulgence
and opposition to their father had, for the present,
placed her precisely upon his own level. He rallied her upon

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her hypocritical attempt to awaken his filial sentiments, congratulated
her upon her escape from parental thraldom, and on
the strength of the kindred tie established by their mutual rebellion,
so far resumed his brotherly right to her confidence as
to inquire into the nature of the trip she had in view, and the
expected companions of the journey.

Mabel sketched the plan of the tour, and enumerated the
party, closing with the name of Lincoln Dudley.

At the last utterance, Harry's only comment was an audible
“pshaw!” which Mabel well understood; for she had become
instinctively conscious that the friendship once existing between
her brother and Dudley had given place to something less than

Harry had risen from his recumbent posture on the sofa, and
stood apparently surveying a picture which hung on the wall,
but there was a bitterness in his expression that could scarcely
have been called up by the subject represented on the canvas.

“If you don't go to L.,” said Mabel, diffidently, and with
painful hesitation, “you had better go with us.”

“I!” exclaimed Harry, turning upon her almost fiercely—
“not I. I certainly should start for L. at once, if joining that
party were the only alternative;” and, with these words, he
abruptly turned on his heel and left the room.

Once more alone, Mabel would gladly have resumed her
castle building—but in vain; flattering visions might dazzle
and bewilder her, but she no longer dared unhesitatingly pursue
them. There was a something which held her back.
Never had the simple voice of duty asserted itself with such
force as now. It seemed to whisper in stern and solemn tones,
“Child of earth, beware! thy pathway here divides; thou art
free to turn either to the right hand or the left, but thou canst
not act for thyself alone. Perhaps thy choice may involve
thine aged father's peace, and determine the ruin or reformation
of thy brother. Mark then, and choose aright.”

It haunted her until nightfall. It robbed her of her earlier
hours of sleep, it mingled in her later dreams, it greeted her at
the morning light,—and still she refused to listen.

-- --


They who have rarest joy, know joy's true measure;
They who most suffer, value sufferings pause;
They who but seldom taste the simplest pleasure,
Kneel oftenest to the Giver and the Cause.
Mrs. Norton.

[figure description] Page 219.[end figure description]

Summer, gentle, balmy summer, had found its way even to
the dreary part of the city in which Rosy lived. It came not
in bright streams of sunshine, breezes heavily laden with
sweets, or the music of gaily singing birds. The close, dark
rows of buildings obscured the light, barred out the prospect,
and interrupted the refreshing gales, while the harsh and unharmonious
noises of the street alone fell on the listening ear.
Still Rosy, patiently sitting at her open casement, with a soul
alive to its opportunities and a heart grateful to their source,
saw more of nature's handiwork, and read in it more of God,
than many a dull-eyed, thoughtless traveller who, permitted to
rove amid earth's fairest scenes, shuts his eye to their beauty
and grandeur, and closes his ear to their sacred influence.

The little tufts of grass which had sprung up at the corners
of the opposite archway, had been watched in their growth by
Rosy, ever since the first green blade obtruded between the
uneven pavement and the foundation stones of the wall. The
morning sun, for an hour or more, shone on them with its
cheering beams, the afternoon shower refreshed them with its
gentle moisture, and day by day the sick child gleaned from this
her humble garden plot fresh proofs of the love of Him who
watcheth over all. Within the narrow range of her vision,
early vegetables and summer fruits were disposed in tempting
array, each rivalling the other in its perfection and richness;
and every successive luxury of the season, as it appeared in its

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[figure description] Page 220.[end figure description]

turn, awakened in Rosy's heart, loving and grateful thoughts
of Him who is the universal and bountiful Provider. The
noble team-horses, whose morning exit from the archway she
hailed with a daily smile of welcome, seldom now returned at
noon or nightfall without a branch of oak, willow, or birch,
waving above their heads, while the glow of contentment and
self-satisfaction which shone in the young teamster's face, no
less than the sprig of lilac which occasionally adorned his hat,
proved that he had been engaged in more cheering labors, and
among more exhilarating scenes, than those which the city

The little tufts of grass were all that poor Rosy knew of
green fields and verdant waysides; the early vegetables and
fruits which she saw, but seldom tasted, furnished her sole experience
of summer's wealth and bounty; and the branches
which waved over the heads of the heated and weary team-horses,
alone afforded proof of the sweet and refreshing repose
which might be found beneath the greenwood shade.

But it was something to know, that somewhere beyond the
city lay the country, as beyond this world the Heaven of her
hopes; and imagination could sun itself in the joys of the one,
as the yearning soul could long and pant for the glory, the
peace, and the final rest of the other.

As she watched the grass grow beneath the archway, in the
sweet dreams of fancy her crippled form strayed among verdant
fields and sat down by rippling streams; as she surveyed
the tempting display in the green-grocer's shop, she tasted, by
means of some inward sense, rich fruits whose names she
scarcely knew; as the gentle breeze waved the green boughs
above the horses' heads, she seemed to hear the soft sighing of
the summer wind as it swept through the arches of a boundless
forest. And when, to crown her satisfaction, the ruddy, laughing
teamster gaily lifted his hat, removed the lilac branch from
its crown, and flung the cluster of purple flowers into the lap
of the pleased, astonished child, Ceres herself, with all her
treasures, was not more richly laden.

But summer, among its precious gifts, has brought no glow

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[figure description] Page 221.[end figure description]

of health to the cheek, no renewal of strength to the limbs of
the wasted girl. The close confinement of the long winter had
left her more enfeebled than ever; the rough winds of the early
spring had rudely pierced to the seat of her fragile life; and
now, the sudden heat which has succeeded serves only to enervate
still further her sunken and perishing frame. Cheerfully,
serenely, hopefully as ever, the calm blue eyes are searching
with their earnest, steadfast gaze, into the things which are not
but are soon to be;—looking into the depths of that future, no
longer distant, but seemingly close at hand. Like the pilgrim
who, after long wanderings, arrives at last without the walls of
the promised city, and is anxious only for the morning light
which shall admit him within its gates, so she, standing at
Heaven's portal, seems only to await the dawn which shall
usher her in.

The widow Hope moves about her little domain with the
same measured, dragging step as ever, presides at her narrow
counter, and displays her humble wares with the same mechanical,
half-vacant air, and betrays in her demeanor a rigid, unaltered
apathy of grief and disappointment. Now and then,
however, her dull eye is fixed upon her child with a deep,
searching glance of maternal anxiety and dread, and as she
turns away and engages in some household task, a deep-drawn
sigh, or half-uttered groan, gives evidence that the poor heart's
capacity for suffering is not exhausted yet.

Nor is the remembrance of past happiness effaced beyond
recall. The softness of the summer air, the sight of Rosy's
lilac branch, the well-known perfume of its flowers,—all serve
to awaken within her the recollection of days gone by. She
lifts the broken-handled mug which contains the fragrant blossoms,
and, as she inhales their familiar breath, a vision rises
before her of her childhood's home,—the green and sloping
meadow which stretched before the door, the old stone step,
worn smooth by childish feet, the lilac bushes which graced it
on either side, and the robins which yearly built their nests
and sang there. She hears her brothers and sisters at their
play, her mother's step within the house, her father's voice

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outside, and the voice of Rosy's father whispering in her ear.
It might be sad to muse on joys forever flown, but, if so, it was
a pleasing sadness, for again and again she bends her care-worn
head over the rustic nosegay, reads in it a record of her
girlhood, and turns away to muse upon the page.

“O Rose!” exclaimed she, as her thoughts, after straying
awhile amid the past, led her back to the stern reality of the
present, “O Rose! how I wish you could go up to the old
farm, if it were only for a week; your uncle Jonas would be
glad to have you come, I know, and the very sight of the place
would do you good!” And as the poor mother reflected on
the impossibility of carrying this wish into effect, she drew the
deepest sigh that had escaped her yet.

Rose sighed, too—a soft, low, scarcely audible sigh. If the
poor child had a selfish wish on earth, it was to visit the old

The same bright morning which bore witness to the widow's
heart-sick despondency, and the hopelessness of Rose's earthly
longings, found the fashionable world of New York elated and
eager in the prospect of a festive occasion, which promised to
be as brilliant and successful as it was exciting and novel. It
was the day of Fan Broadhead's marriage with the Colonel,
and after the nuptial ceremony at Grace church, the bridal
party were to proceed to the bridegroom's country residence, a
few miles up the Hudson, where a grand reception of guests
was to be held in the open air; the beautiful grounds belonging
to the estate having been decorated and prepared in a style
rarely attempted in our fickle and unpropitious climate. Everything,
therefore, depended on the weather; and if sunshine and
gentle breezes could have been propitiated or bribed, a more
perfect day could not have cheered the hearts of the numerous
aspirants after pleasure. Hair-dressers and ladies-maids were
called into requisition at day-break; spring bonnets, whose exquisite
array of buds and flowers had been carefully secreted
until now, bloomed out of their various band-boxes; the flounces
of rich silks rustled and rattled as if asserting their rival merits;
and white-gloved coachmen, mounted on the boxes of

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freshlyvarnished carriages, surveyed their own stately equipages with
pride, and bestowed disparaging glances on those of their masters'

And now, one after another, these showy establishments,
decked like their occupants in all the panoply of pride, rolled
in various directions from street to street, and finally swept up
the wide avenue leading from the city, bearing with them the
beauty, the wealth, and the fashion of the metropolis.

“Mabel, what in the world can have become of Donald?”
exclaimed Mrs. Leroy, in an agony of impatience;—a state of
mind which was not improved by a sudden rent in her delicate
glove, the consequence of an angry twitch on the part of the
irritated lady.

“I can not imagine,” replied Mabel, outwardly more calm
than her sister, but betraying scarcely less annoyance, as she
glanced at a clock on the mantle-piece, and then looked anxiously
down the street.

“We shall be too late,” said Louise, in a reproachful tone;
“every body has driven by. I wish I had gone by myself.
Donald is always behind the time.”

Mabel made no reply, but continued gazing from the window,
not a little chafed at the selfishness of her sister's complaints.

This unforeseen delay and disappointment were the result
of a discovery made by Mabel's coachman, as she alighted at
the hotel where she had, according to agreement, called for
Mrs. Leroy. One of the wheels of the new barouche, a recent
birth-day gift from her father, was imperfectly adjusted, and
Donald declared it impossible to take the anticipated drive until
the difficulty was remedied. He was suffered to depart, therefore,
for this purpose, upon the assurance that he should be
absent half an hour only, at the most.

The time was long past, however, and still he did not return.
Mrs. Leroy's childish and fretful impatience increased every
moment; and Mabel, in addition to her own share of vexation,
found herself the victim of Louise's uncontrollable ill temper
and unsparing invective. She should not have suffered Donald

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out of her sight for a moment on such an important occasion,
faithless creature that he was. Or, at least, why did she not
tell him to bring the close carriage instead of the barouche?
he could have made the exchange in half the time that he had
kept them waiting—it would have been better to go in that
stifled thing than not to go at all. It was no more than fair
that Mabel should abide by her own poor management, but it
was hard—yes, she must say it was a little too hard—that
she also should be the sufferer by such folly. And angrily
calling to Lydia to bring her a fresh pair of gloves, and harshly
repulsing Murray, who accidentally trod on one end of her lace
mantilla, she threw herself into a seat in a despairing attitude,
and pouted and sulked for some minutes like a spoiled child.

“Hark!” exclaimed she at length. “Isn't that Mr. Earle's
voice? Yes, it certainly is; he was to call here for young
Van Rosberg, and Van Rosberg is gone. He was invited to
act as groomsman, and went early with the bridal party.” And
the next moment her light figure disappeared through the door
which opened into the hall, and Mabel lost her final words,
which were to the effect that there would probably then be a
vacant seat in Mr. Earle's carriage. “How fortunate if it
were so!”

A moment after, a waiter appeared at the drawing-room door,
to say that Mrs. Leroy had gone to Riverside with Mrs. Earle,
and hoped Miss Vaughan would be in season to overtake them
on the road.

Characteristic as this manœuvre was in Mrs. Leroy, Mabel's
feelings were deeply hurt at the selfishness and unsisterly
effrontery which it evinced. “I can not go now, at any
rate,” thought she. “Louise knew very well that I should
give it up altogether if she deserted me in this way.” And no
longer anxious for the arrival of the carriage, she deliberately
removed her bonnet and sat down to meditate on her disappointment.

Unconsciously to herself, she had looked forward to this festivity
with an interest never before awakened by any similar
occasion. Not because the bride and bridegroom were at the

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height of fashion; not because all the world would be present to
do them honor; nor because it would be for her a new opportunity
to achieve conquests and triumphs: such motives and reflections
had given no glow to her anticipations, and now added no
sting to her disappointment. The simple thought of her heart
had been, “Dudley is the bridegroom's nephew; Dudley will
be there. I shall read my triumph in his presence, and achieve
in his approving smile the only conquest that I crave.”

Perhaps, too, though she knew it not, her secret soul looked
to him to exorcise with his eye, his voice, his smile, the spirits
of disquiet and self-questioning which had for the last few days
warred constantly with her peace; perhaps she trusted to his
magnetic influence to hush the voice of warning, make a treaty
with her conscience, and reconcile her to herself.

How aggravating, then, the loss of this opportunity, the only
one she could possibly expect before starting on her journey,
it being Dudley's well-known purpose to accompany the bridal
party to Albany, where other festivities awaited them, and join
the excursionists on their arrival at that city, which was to be
the first point on their route.

Whatever hopes she might have based on this long-anticipated
occasion, she now found them suddenly annihilated, and
herself oppressed with a painful sense of loneliness, injustice,
and injury. She would have given vent to her feelings in a
burst of tears, but for the presence of her sister's children, who,
while they acted as a restraint upon her, evinced at the same
time a childlike sympathy in her disappointment, which touched
and soothed her sensitive nature.

“Has mother gone without you, auntie?” exclaimed Alick;
“that's real mean!” while Murray, climbing into a chair,
stretched his head out of the window and made, every instant,
eager but, as it proved, false reports of the arrival of the carriage.

“Never mind, Murray, I sha'n't go now,” said Mabel, after
nearly an hour had elapsed; “it is too late.”

“Oh, here it is, really,” shouted Murray, “I see Donald
driving like any thing! Oh, what a splendid barouche!” and

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Alick, convinced that this time his brother's announcement was
to be relied upon, ran to the window and confirmed the joyful
fact, by joining in Murray's panegyric upon the gay and beautiful

“Are n't you going, after all?” inquired he, in a disappointed
tone, observing that Mabel was standing behind him, gazing
moodily and vacantly into the street, and making no movement
to resume her bonnet.

“No, Alick.”

The boy hung down his head, as if a veto had been put upon
some favorite scheme of his own, but Murray, conceiving a
new idea, cried out, eagerly, “Then, auntie, take me to ride.
Oh, do, take me a little way in the new barouche.”

“Very well,” said Mabel, indifferently; “ask Lydia for your
hat,—get yours, too, Alick,” and pleased at the delight exhibited
by Murray, she tried to assume a gay tone, as she said,—
“We will go and have a good time by ourselves.”

Alick's face brightened, as Mabel seemed thus to promise
herself a compensation for being excluded from the wedding
festival, and by the time they gained the carriage, the boys, at
least, were both in high spirits.

Donald, comprehending at once the consequences of his long
delay, had a tedious story to relate in reference to its cause;
but Mabel, scarcely hearing his explanation, and caring little
for the trivial details which had resulted, as she deemed, so
disastrously, accepted his apology in silence, and bade him
drive on, purposely choosing a direction opposite to that leading
to Riverside.

They had proceeded but a little distance down Broadway,
however, when, seized with a new idea, she suddenly altered
her purpose, and requested the coachman to turn and drive
home. Alick looked at her inquiringly; Murray began to
whimper; but her smile re-assured them. “Only for a moment,
darling,” said she, in a soothing tone, to Murray; “I shall not
get out of the carriage, I wish to speak to Cecilia. Ring the
bell, Donald,” said she, as they stopped before her father's
door; and as the footman appeared and ran down the steps to

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take her orders, she exclaimed, to the astonishment of her
hearers, “ask Cecilia to bring my warm Scotch shawl and a
pillow—two pillows, Robert,” continued she, as he turned to
fulfil her directions.

The smiling Cecilia soon appeared with the articles, which
were deposited in the carriage.

“Are we going to be gone all night?” asked Murray, in
some alarm, while Alick's face contained a volume of questions.

But Mabel only smiled in reply.

“Turn here,” said she, at length, to Donald, as they reached
the entrance of a narrow street.

“Oh! I know, I know!” shouted the usually quiet Alick, as
he observed that they were taking the direction leading to the
widow Hope's, “you are going to take Rosy out to drive.”

Mabel nodded in assent.

Murray sprang up and down on the carriage seat, and clapped
his hands in an extasy of delight.

Alick scanned his aunt's face pensively, admiringly. Mabel
almost forgot her recent and bitter disappointment, in the
thought of the pleasure she was about to impart.

But who shall paint the rapture of surprise, excitement, and
delight, which reigned in the widow's home, when the prancing
horses were reined in before the door, when the object of their
coming was announced, and the thoughtful preparations for the
little invalid's comfort placed the incredible fact beyond a doubt.
Tears streamed down the cheeks of the happy, grateful child,
and the undemonstrative mother so far forgot her wonted reserve
as to lay her hand on Mabel's shoulder and exclaim,
“Bless your heart, she was just longing to have a peep at the
country! Why, it will be like taking her to paradise!”

A few moments more, and Rose, supported by pillows, and
with Mabel's shawl across her lap, was rolling down Broadway,
in the easy, luxurious carriage, her thin, pale face, and slight,
attenuated figure, forming a striking contrast to the rich beauty
and graceful proportions of Mabel, who was leaning forward,
re-arranging the cushions at her feet, and gently inquiring

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whether the motion of the carriage fatigued her. Rose's eyes
wandered up and down the street, taking in at a glance a
thousand interesting objects, while Alick and Murray, as they
watched her from the opposite seat, directed her attention now
to one thing and now to another, betraying in their animated
faces how deeply they enjoyed and participated in her pleasure.

But city sights and sounds were comparatively familiar to
Rosy, and although the drive was enlarging her knowledge
and experience, nothing as yet had served to arouse emotions
altogether unprecedented and novel. As they approached the
battery, however, and through the arches of its lofty elms she
caught sight of the deep blue waters of the bay, the white sails
glistening in the sun, and the green islands beyond, her large
eyes dilated, her little form seemed to expand and elevate
itself, her breast heaved, she clasped her thin transparent hands,
and uttered a long-drawn exclamation of wonder, reverence,
and awe. Mabel and the boys gazed in silent satisfaction at
the rapt and excited child, as, lost in the contemplation of this
panorama of ocean, earth, and sky, she manifested in her face
and gestures an extasy of delight such as words would have
been powerless to express.

With parted lips and straining eyes she continued to gaze,
as if every other sense was absorbed in that of sight, and not
until some overshadowing buildings shut out the bewildering
prospect, did she relapse into her wonted composure. As the
carriage paused a moment at the ferry, while awaiting the boat
which should transport it to the opposite shore, the child slowly
turned her head, met Mabel's sympathetic glance, drew a long
breath, and, with a smile of holy joy, sought the hand of her
friend and pressed it with grateful fervor. Still she spoke not
a word, as if fearful to break the spell that was upon her, but
with patient though trembling expectation, waited until the
revelation of beauty and enchantment should again burst upon
her sight.

A moment more and they were launched upon the transparent
waters of the bay, where, with nothing to interrupt the
vision or disturb the harmony of the scene, the eye might rove

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at will in all directions, and sweep to the very verge of the
distant horizon. With her head bent forward, the light breeze
stirring the hair on her blue-veined temples, and her cheek
tinged with the faint flush which pleasure and excitement had
called up, the invalid girl seemed borne into a new creation
and animated by a new life. As if some earth-born mortal
had strayed beyond its native sphere, and stood with bounding
pulse on the threshold of a higher existence, so this suffering
child, emerging from the darkness, seclusion, and obscurity in
which her life had hitherto been shrouded, seemed to rejoice,
expand, and glow, as if in the presence of Deity.

Nor were her emotions unshared by her companions. Mabel's
heart beat high with unselfish joy, as she beheld the
light which sparkled in Rose's eye, and the rapture which shone
in her beaming features; while Alick forgot his wonted interest
in the shipping of the harbor, to follow her earnest gaze as it
peered now into the azure depths of sky, then watched the
motion of the rolling waves, and finally rested with serene
repose on the luxurious verdure of the shore. Even Murray
now and then threw himself on the carriage floor at her feet,
looked up, and reading her pleasure in her face, exclaimed,
“Rosy likes it, don't you Rosy?” to which Rose responded
with a smile so expressive that the little questioner comprehended
its meaning and was satisfied.

Nor were these the only friends destined to sympathize in
her enjoyment this day. Scarcely had they gained the streets
of New York's sister city, when a familiar rumble greeted
Rose's ear, and coming towards them from the opposite direction,
she saw the well-known cart horses which she had that
morning hailed as they came through the arch-way. Never
had the brazen knobs of the harness glittered as now in the
afternoon sunlight, never had the cart seemed of so deep a
blue, never had the young teamster's face worn so astonished
an expression, so joyous and cheering a glow, as that with
which he now saw and recognized his little invalid neighbor.
With one glance of his quick eye, he took in the whole establishment,
the spirited horses, their showy accoutrements, the

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beautiful carriage, its pleasure-bound occupants, and Rose
preeminent in their midst. It was too much for his equanimity.
As he passed, he laughed, cracked his long whip, took off his
hat, swung it round his head three times, and then gracefully
kissed his hand to her in tokon of congratulation.

This gay and exultant salutation exerted a corresponding
effect upon the spirits of the little party. The boys became
quite excited in view of it; and Rose, to whose satisfaction this
little incident had imparted additional zest, leaned out of the
carriage and waved her hand in triumphal glee.

“He knows you! he is looking back after you! he is glad
you are taking a ride!” cried the voices of Alick and Murray,
while Mabel herself could not resist turning round for another
glimpse of the honest face, which evinced such an evident participation
in Rose's joy.

Truly this was a great day for Rose,—the one gala day of
her life. Not only nature, but the heart of man, seemed to
rejoice and sympathize in the occasion. Even Donald, that
proud, handsome Donald, who presided on the box, manifested
a certain tenderness for her infirmities, drove gently over the
pavement, and avoided every rough spot in the road, as if to
spare her any unnecessary jolting or fatigue.

And now they gradually left the city behind them, and
struck out into the open country. Green fields and smiling
gardens met them at every turn; sweeping elms overarched the
roads and refreshed them with their shade; birds flitted among
the branches, and flowering shrubs rejoiced the senses with
their perfume. Here and there, at intervals, might be seen
the neat Dutch farm-houses, each of which seemed in turn,
to Rose, the counterpart of her mother's early home, while,
occasionally, as they gained some slight elevation, there burst
upon them in one comprehensive view the wide range of rolling
meadows, green orchards, and sunny slopes, which mark
the scenery of Long Island; while in the distance, the eye
might discern, at intervals, the blue waters of the sea.

At sight of the rural homesteads, the cattle peacefully grazing,
or reposing in the shade, and innumerable other objects

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with which frequent descriptions had rendered Rose partially
familiar, her enthusiastic and artless delight would find vent in
words; and Mabel's heart was deeply touched as the child recounted,
in simple phrase, the oft-repeated tale of her mother's
happy life at the old farm, the revisiting of which blessed spot
had ever constituted the day-dream of her city-bred children.

“You must go there, Rose!” exclaimed Mabel, eagerly, as
she observed the child's intense and ill-concealed longing; “you
must go there with your mother one of these days, and see the
good old place.”

Rose only replied, however, by shaking her head with an air
of sad and pensive resignation and Mabel forbore to urge the
point, for they had now gained the height of a hill up which
the horses had long been toiling, and were greeted by one of
those lovely and extensive views, the sight of which effectually
sealed Rose's lips, while a hush of holy awe crept over the
little face, the working of which, nevertheless, revealed unutterable
things. Who shall tell how much she discerned which
is shut from the eye of sense, how much she heard which
is whispered only to the ear of the spirit?

The happiness of Alick and Murray was only secondary on
this occasion to that of Rose. Like her, they were privileged
beyond their wont, and evinced their satisfaction, the one in
the eagerness of his observations and questions, and the other
in the laughter, shouts, and unchecked glee of childhood.
Now and then, at some shady point in the road, or some pleasant
opening in the prospect, the horses were drawn up for a
few moments, and the boys were suffered to alight, to challenge
each other to a run, or to pluck the wild flowers by the roadside,
with which they playfully showered their indulgent aunt
and her happy little companion.

Occasionally Mabel's thoughts would wander to the gay
scene at Riverside; a slight pang of envy would pierce her
heart as she mused upon the happy throng assembled there,
and she would anxiously ask herself, “Am I missed amid the
crowd?” But a look at Rose's enraptured face, or the shouts
of the joyous boys, were sufficient to chase away every

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obtruding regret, and satisfy her with the reflection, “They surely
could not spare me here.”

But time is a tyrant, and though Mabel had left her watch
at home, the slowly descending sun began to give notice of the
day's decline. In spite of innumerable pauses and delays,
they had more than half completed the circuit appointed for
their afternoon's excursion, and were already homeward bound.
Alick and Murray were somewhat weary with unusual exercise,
and a quiet, placid sense of enjoyment had crept over
the little party to the exclusion of conversation and merriment.
The road, following the undulations of the bay, now and then
swept close to the shore, on whose pebbly margin the light
waves broke with a soft and pleasant murmur, and all nature
wore that air of repose which marks the close of a summer's
day. Reclining on her cushions, with her head gently resting
on Mabel's shoulder, Rose lay watching the light, airy clouds,
which, gradually forming into masses of greater volume and
richer coloring, hung suspended above the western horizon.
So soft and soothing was the scene, so still and motionless the
figure of the child, who was revolving in new wonder the miracle
of creation, that Mabel believed and hoped she had fallen
asleep, and forbore to disturb her by a word. As a sudden
turn in the road, however, brought them in full view of the
city, Rose raised her head, and, like one abruptly awakened
from a pleasant dream, gazed long and fixedly at the huge assemblage
of buildings, amid which her young life had hitherto
been imprisoned.

Mabel divined her thoughts. “New York is but a poor
place compared with the country, is it, Rosy?” asked she.

Rose smiled and shook her head.

“I have thought of a fine plan for you,” continued Mabel,
“and one that I am sure you will like. You and your mother,
Rose, must go up to the old farm and stay until you get strong
and well. There you can see plenty of woods, and fields, and
wild flowers, and watch the sun set every night. It is not a
long journey,” added she, with animation, her interest in the
scheme increasing as she observed the ray of pleasure and

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hope which had overspread Rose's face at the suggestion, “it
will only take one day. I will see that it is no expense to you,
and Jack will stay at home and take care of the house and
shop. We will talk it over with your mother this very evening.”

The glow of delight which had been called up in Rose's
countenance, as Mabel first named this welcome proposal, gave
place to an expression of pain and anxiety as the pronounced
the concluding phrases of the plan. Tears started into her
eyes, and she made haste to lay her hand on Mabel's arm, and
check the glowing anticipations she was indulging of her little
friend's happiness and possible restoration to health, in the
broken words, “Dear Miss Mabel! you are very good, but
don't mention it to mother,—please don't; I can't go,—indeed
I can't!”

“But why not, Rose? you feel strong enough for the journey?
you will go if your mother consents?”

“Yes,—no,—please don't ask her,—indeed I had far
rather stay in New York.”

Mabel looked puzzled and disappointed; she could not
understand the child's eagerness to deny herself so great a

“Miss Mabel,” added Rose, after a little hesitation, seeing
that Mabel still awaited an explanation, “you wouldn't think
anybody needed me here, a poor sick girl that has been a care
and a trouble all my life, but I could not be happy to go away
and leave my dear Jack. Miss Mabel, he is a rough boy, perhaps,
but he is never rough to me. Lyddy says he has learned
wicked words, but he uses good words to me; they tell me he
loves bad company, but I know that he loves his little Rose.
He has sat up all night to bathe my aching head,—he has
carried me in his arms all day. He would miss me from my
little room; the bad boys would whistle round the corner, and
there would be no little voice to say, `Oh, Jack! stay with

Innocent, artless Rose! Little did she think that every word
of her simple apology pierced like an arrow to the heart of

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Mabel; little did she comprehend the sudden sting of conscience
which caused the quick blush to flood the face, the eyes to
droop, and the hand to be nervously withdrawn from her fond
and affectionate clasp. She thought she had offended her
friend, and continued in urgent tones, “indeed—indeed, I am
very thankful, and you are too good; I do not deserve it; but
you are not vexed with me?” And laying her hand on Mabel's
arm, and fixing her large eyes full and searchingly upon
her, she added, in a touching, pleading tone, “O, dear Miss
Mabel, have you a brother, and do you love him as I love

The look, the question seemed empowered with authority to
probe Mabel's very heart. Shrinking from their scrutiny, she
sought to evade the one and respond to the other by hiding her
face in the folds of Rosy's shawl, as she drew her to her in a
close embrace; and Rose believed herself understood and was

And now they have bid farewell to the blue waters of the
bay, the verdant islands, the sky still glowing with the lingering
rays of crimson light, and once more are dashing through the
city thoroughfares, crowded with vehicles and ringing with bewildering
sounds. Many an eye follows them with loving and
grateful interest, as they sweep down the narrow street, where,
at her humble door, the widow Hope watches for the return of
her child. All the neighborhood has missed her, has learned
her whereabouts, and is sympathizing in her joy. The mother
greets her with an eager smile; the old woman over the way
hobbles to the door, doubting her very eyes, and adjusting her
spectacles to be sure that she sees aright. The little deaf and
dumb boy stands braced against the side of the house, transfixed
in mute astonishment; and, as the restive horses, panting for
their stable, require the restraining hand of Donald, the brisk,
young teamster makes his appearance from beneath the arch-way,
hastens to the carriage, lifts Rose gently in his arms, bears
her into the house, and places her in her arm-chair. She looks
up, smiles at Mabel and the boys, receives answering smiles in
return, and the carriage whirls rapidly away.

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Many a noble steed has that day returned to the city heated,
dusty, and jaded. But how many of their gay and fashionable
owners have been engaged in a like labor of love? Certain it
is, that in after years, and amid other scenes, memory could
recall no festive occasion in the annals of the New York belle
so blessed in its simple pleasures, so hallowed in its lasting
results, as that which constituted to little Rose Hope the one
bright spot on this side Heaven.

-- --


She hath put on
Courage, and faith, and generous constancy,
Ev'n as a breastplate.
Mrs. Hemans.

[figure description] Page 236.[end figure description]

Well, I believe I have told you all that is of any consequence,
all that is worth telling. It was a fine affair! I would
not but have been there for the world.” Thus exclaimed the
unabashed Louise, who, adopting her usual tactics, and ignoring
any unsisterly conduct on her own part, had, with many affected
airs and a more than ordinary toss of the head, detailed for
Mabel's benefit such particulars of the wedding reception as
seemed to her most noteworthy. As these consisted chiefly of
the compliments paid to herself on the occasion, the attention she
had received from various quarters, the admiration and envy
her new mantilla had excited, and the striking contrast between
the awkward arrangement of Fan Brodhead's veil and the taste
displayed on the event of her own bridal, it may well be supposed
that Mabel's interest in the subject was soon exhausted,
especially as Louise declared that she had a thousand messages
of regret from her sister's numerous friends, but could not
remember a word of them, or say exactly who inquired for her,
and who did not. “But, mercy! I did not come here to talk
about the wedding,” exclaimed Louise. “Tired as I am, and
with so much to think about, only conceive of my being plagued
to death as usual by that provoking Lydia! To think of her
declaring now, at this last minute, that she had never had any
idea of staying in my service after last month was out, and that
she supposed I had got some one else to go with me on the

“Hadn't she given you any notice?” asked Mabel, in surprise.

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“Oh, yes; she says she has told me several times that she
could not go so far away, and I dare say she has, but I never
believed her; servants are always threatening in that sort of
way, just to show their consequence. She says her sister is
failing very fast; her mother needs her, and so on.”

“It is very true,” replied Mabel, gravely. “Rose can not
live long; I do not wonder Lydia does not like to leave her.”

“Rose!” exclaimed Louise, sneeringly. “You speak her
name with as much familiarity as if she were an intimate acquaintance!
I heard about your taking her out to drive yesterday;
my children are full of it. I can't conceive of your
doing anything so ridiculous.”

Mabel made no reply; she had learned by experience that
it was vain to argue with Louise.

“That child,” added the latter, in a provoked tone, as if Rose
had intentionally done her a serious injury, “has been dying
ever since Lydia lived with me; if she is really going to die
now, Lydia can't keep her alive; and what difference does it
make whether she's here, or in some other part of the country?”

Mabel looked deeply shocked at her sister's heartlessness,
and answered, “A very great difference I should think, Louise.”

The temper of Mrs. Leroy, however, becoming more excited,
as she saw how little her sister sympathized in her view of the
matter, now burst forth with redoubled vehemence; she did
not believe in the child's illness; it was all counterfeited;
Lydia was the most ungrateful of mortals, and Mabel was silly
enough to be the dupe of this miserable family's impositions.
She could not conceive of her being so indifferent to the welfare
of the boys, of whom she professed to be so fond; poor children,
they were accustomed to Lydia; how would they like being
away from home, and travelling too, under the care of a perfect

This appeal was irresistible to Mabel, and, with prompt
generosity, she excalaimed, without a moment's hesitation, “take
Cecilia, Louise. I can spare her. I can do without any maid;
she is a good girl, and is used to the boys.”

Mrs. Leroy walked to the window, to hide her satisfaction at

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this proposition. It was the point at which all her diplomacy
had been directed, for, however Cecilia might supply Lydia's
place to the children, her skill as lady's maid and hair-dresser
was such that her services had long been coveted by the mother.

Unwilling, however, to acknowledge her obligation to her
sister, she continued to make an excessive show of annoyance;
declared Cecilia to be wanting in every quality requisite in one
who was to fill Lydia's place, and finally ended by saying, in a
condescending tone, that if the latter persisted in leaving, and
she could not do better, which it was not very probable she
could at this late hour, she would try and be satisfied with
Cecilia, and should be glad at all events to have her come to
the hotel for a while, and assist in packing her trunks.

The consequence was, that in less than an hour after Mrs.
Leroy reached home, a messenger was dispatched for Cecilia,
requesting that she should come to the hotel without delay, and
Mabel, thus unceremoniously deprived of her skilful attendant,
was left to complete those personal preparations for travelling
which had unexpectedly devolved upon her.

It was night, and she was alone in her quiet room. Her
mind was troubled; and inwardly congratulating herself on the
absence of her maid, whose presence would have been a restraint,
she was, with alternate listlessness and feverish energy,
engaged in packing for the morrow's journey. Various articles
of her wardrobe were spread out upon the bed. She folded a
rich dress with care, as if to place it in the trunk, then, forgetful
of her purpose, laid it away on the closet shelf. Now she
hastily opened and shut her drawers and caskets, then withdrew
to the window, and leaning her head on her hand looked out
into the moonlight. The tempter, though absent from her side,
was present to her thoughts; but ever as her heart dwelt fondly
on his last persuasive words, there came between her and his
treacherous image, the form of her better angel, the sick and
saintly Rose, whose mild, searching eyes seemed to follow
her with a reproachful glance, whose little hand seemed lifted
in timid yet fervent appeal, and whose low, childlike voice was
continually whispering in her ear the simple words, “Miss

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Mabel, have you a brother, and do you love him as I love

Her heart told her that she had not loved him thus, and she
felt humbled at the contrast between her own shrinking, doubtful
spirit, and the child's unhesitating generosity. She pressed
her throbbing head against the cool glass, and while she meditated
on the pleasures of the morrow, strove to shut out every
thought that preyed upon her peace. But conscience was
aroused and would not be thus easily silenced, and the necessary
preparation for the journey was forgotten, while her heart
struggled with contending emotions.

Just then quick steps were heard in the street below, and, as
they drew nearer, voices also were distinguishable. Mabel
held her breath to listen, for she recognized the familiar tones
of Harry, who paused at the street door, and seemed to be bidding
adieu to one of his companions.

“Family all going out of town! House going to be shut up.
Ah!” exclaimed the voice of a strange individual, in reply to
a remark from Harry, the words of which had escaped her ear.
“And you, Vaughan, what is to become of you? Where are
you bound for the summer? Come, I'll play your cicerone,”
continued the person, in a coarse and yet insinuating tone, “I'll
back you up for any place you'll name.”

“You may well say that,” replied Harry, in a tone of bitter
irony; “I'm going to the devil; as you very well know, but
I'll warrant you'll keep me company;” and the unhappy
youth accompanied this desperate acknowledgment with a hollow
and joyless laugh, which was loudly and boisterously echoed
by his companion, who, as Harry abruptly entered the house,
proceeded down the street.

Bitter as were Harry's words of despairing self-abandonment,
his mocking laugh was more bitter still. It thrilled
through every fibre of Mabel's frame. It seemed to ring out
the knell of hope, and fix a seal to his impending doom. And
yet it was so indescribably sad, so heart-rending in its mournful
significance,—it told such a story of vain struggles,

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useless regrets, and final desperation. It was like the cry of a
fallen spirit, which sneeringly derides itself.

All the tender compassion of Mabel's nature was aroused—
“My poor brother! my poor Harry!” was her mental exclamation,—
“is there no good angel to save him yet?”

She listened to his heavy and measured steps, as, after parting
with his evil associate, he came slowly up the staircase;
he paused a moment at her door; she thought he meant to
enter, and bid her farewell, for he knew she was to depart
early on the morrow; but no,—he passed on and ascended
the next flight to his own chamber, which he entered, and
closed the door.

“I cannot leave him thus,” thought Mabel, as she pictured
him to herself, alone, ruined, uncared for; and yielding to a
sudden and tender impulse, she resolved to seek him, speak an
affectionate word, and assure him of her love.

She feared to knock at his door, lest she should be repulsed,
or dismissed with a hasty good-bye; so, gently opening it, she
presented herself unexpectedly before him. He was pacing
restlessly up and down the room,—seemed almost angry at
being intruded upon, as if he suspected that she had come to
pry into his secret thoughts, and turning upon her with an
abrupt, imperative air, appeared to demand the object of her

“Harry,” said she, her lip trembling with the effort to
speak in a natural tone of voice, “I could not bear to go away
without bidding you good-bye;” she passed her arm, coaxingly,
through his as she spoke, and accompanied him for a
few steps in his walk up and down the room.

With his face now obstinately turned from her, he answered
only in the brief words, “Are you going early in the morning?”

“Yes, and I was afraid you would not be up in season to
see me off; but you will write to me, won't you, Harry?”

“I sha'n't know where you are,” he replied curtly.

“I will write, and tell you where to direct.”

Still he did not promise.

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“I shall have no one else to write to me; father will be
away, and I have always depended on you, Harry,” added
she, in a tone calculated to impress him with the value she
should place upon his letters.

“Poh!” exclaimed he, with a slight nervous jerk, which
was sufficient to induce her to let go his arm “I shall have
nothing worth telling,—you'll have plenty of better entertainment.”

“Where shall you be?” she asked timidly.

“I? I do n't know, I'm sure. I have not made up my

She found it hard to press the subject further, he was so
short in his answers. She walked to the window and looked
out, then strayed to the bureau and occupied herself in examining
the trinkets which lay upon it, hoping Harry would broach
some topic of mutual interest, but he remained perseveringly
silent. She would gladly have drawn near, thrown her arms
round his neck, and entreated his confidence, his renewed
affection at parting, but he gave her no encouragement. “It
is late, I suppose,” said she at length, seeing that he appeared
surprised, if not impatient, at her lingering. “So good-bye,
Harry,” and approaching him, she laid her hand on his shoulder.

He started as if her touch pained him. She looked in his
face earnestly, imploringly; his features twitched, and there
was a nervous embarrassment in his manner as, studionsly
avoiding her eye, he stooped down, returned her parting kiss,
and responded to her good-bye.

With hurried and tremulous step Mabel hastened back to
her room, threw herself on a low seat opposite the empty
trunk, and burst into tears. She had sought her brother with
a view to appeasing her overcharged feelings, and defraying a
debt to her conscience, but neither purpose had been effected
by the brief and unsatisfactory interview.

She had found him in a desperate mood,—she had read in
his face the mental torture under which he writhed,—she
had failed to break down the barrier between her own heart

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and his, and with little more than a mechanical farewell she
had turned her back upon his misery.

Should she leave him thus, abandoned by his sister as well
as by his better self?

The deep and almost hysterical sobs which escaped her,
proved that the struggle of contending feelings had now
reached its height, and for some minutes she wept as children
weep, without any effort at self-control. As this storm of
grief subsided, and she sat for a while maintaining an inward
war, but apparently gazing into vacancy, she stretched forth
her hand with an absent air and raised the inner lid of her
trunk. As she did so she caught sight of a little package
lying in a corner, directed to herself, in the familiar handwriting
of Mrs. Herbert. It had been placed there when she left
school, and, by Cecilia's carelessness, had remained undiscovered
until now. Almost believing it to be a message of
counsel and advice from that friend who had always come to
her aid in moments when she was at a loss for guidance, she
hastily tore off the wrapper, and found it to contain a little
pocket bible. Touched by this proof of affection, and by the
nature of the gift, she opened the book, with reverence, at the
first epistle of St. John, where a slip of paper was inserted,
and her eye at once fell on the words, carefully marked, as if
to attract her attention: “My little children, let us not love
in word, neither in tongue, but in deed and in truth.”

Awed by the solemn charge, which she realized to be armed
with divine authority, Mabel bowed her head upon the lid of
her trunk, and, with the volume clasped in her hands, sunk
upon her knees.

Now rose before her that long forgotten scene in her childhood,
when first Mrs. Herbert had striven to impress upon
her this great lesson. How vividly still did memory recall
that last evening of her school life, when her faithful teacher
had bid her beware of that insidious foe, whose existence in
her heart she had so proudly denied,—that demon of selflove,
which undermines the holiest affections and enslaves the
corrupted soul.

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She could no longer deceive herself; with all her enlarged
opportunities, with all her self-confidence and pride, with all
her boasted love for Harry, she felt that she had been weighed
in the balance and found wanting,—that she had been out-done
in generosity by a feeble, invalid child,—that she had
not loved like Rosy.

Contrite, humbled, eager to be enlightened in the path of
duty, she lifted her bowed head and again opened the inspired
book; but this time her eyes fell on the words, “For if our
hearts condemn us, God is greater than our heart, and knoweth
all things.”

As if suddenly, and for the first time in her life, made conscious
of the invisible presence of Him to whom all hearts
are open, all desires known, she now ceased to wrestle with
herself, and looking up for the help she so earnestly craved,
she poured out her soul in prayer. The form, the attitude,
the words of devotion, if not habitual, were at least not new
to one who had been a member of a religious household, and
shared the benefits of religious instruction. But never before
had she come, in all the submission of a child, to lay before
God's throne the sincere offering of a humble, contrite heart;
never before had she approached in that spirit of self-consecration
which cries out, “Thy will, not mine, be done.”

And with prayer came strength. She rose from her knees
armed with a Christian resolution, and fortified with a
Christian hope; the resolution to meet evil face to face;
the hope to triumph at length over sin. It was not her own
sin only that she was thus to combat; for in that hour of
high communing she had dedicated herself to a sacred cause,
and charged herself with a solemn trust. Not in word and
tongue only, but in deed and in truth, would she prove a
sister's devotion, and labor for a brother's welfare. With her
watchword, duty, and her banner, love, she would place herself
boldly at Harry's side, and, with the blessing of God, prove
herself the good angel who would save him yet.

It was with no blind zeal, no inconsiderate impulse, that
she had thus set herself to the fulfilment of her

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heaven-appointed mission. She had thoroughly measured and fully
understood the sacrifice it would involve. She knew that, in
consecrating herself to duty and to God, she must dethrone
her young heart's earthly idol; that the selfish love must yield
to the purely disinterested, the human to the divine. Had it
been otherwise, she would not so long have been deaf to the
call which summoned her to her Master's service.

Beguiled by a persuasive intellect, enthralled by the power
of genius, and a willing captive in the chains which flattery so
well knows how to forge, she had wandered awhile through
the flowery fields of pleasure, had reached the pinnacle of her
ambition, had sunned herself in dreams of future bliss; but
there came a time when the simple words of an infant tongue
had aroused the voice of a sleeping conscience, and, led by the
hand of a little child, she had at length been brought back to
the feet of that faithful monitor of her youth, by the memory
of whose warning counsels and by the aid of whose blessed
gift she would henceforth pursue in patience the path which
leadeth unto life; ambitious only to accomplish the work which
was given her to do, and cheered by the hopes which are full
of immortality.

In this hour of exaltation, this season of the spirit's victory,
the task did not seem hard. Already was the self-imposed
duty lightened by that sweetener of life's heaviest toils which
relieves the laborer of half his burthen; for, in the moment
when, denying self, she assumed with holy fortitude the sacred
guardianship of her brother, back to her heart, in a full, strong
tide, came all the depth and tenderness of that sisterly love
which had only been subdued and crushed by the force of a
rival passion. Thus, not only would she devote herself to
Harry's cause because duty pointed in that direction, but because,
in view of every touching memory of their childhood,
every sweet record of their maturer years, her heart forbade
her to desert him.

As she now moved through the room preparing to put her
purpose into execution, her countenance was marked by the
serene composure of one animated by a high resolve and

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inspired by a holy mission. Her manner was no longer indicative
of hesitation or uncertainty; and the hands which an hour
ago had trembled with nervous indecision, performed what they
had to do quickly and well.

She wrote a hasty note to Louise, explaining her change of
plan, but giving no other reason for abandoning the journey
than the simple truth—that, at the last moment, she had become
convinced that her presence was needed at home. She
begged her sister to write to her frequently, sent her love to
the boys, hoped Cecilia would faithfully supply Lydia's place,
and that Louise would in the enjoyment of other society have
little occasion to regret her absence; which latter hope, we will
remark in passing, she might reasonably indulge, since Mrs.
Leroy was, when in general society, extremely indifferent to
family ties.

It was nearly midnight when Cecilia returned from the hotel,
weary, and with her own preparations for the journey still incomplete.
She was amazed at the sight of Mabel's trunk,
which was still empty, while every article of her scattered
wardrobe was restored to its customary place.

“I am not going, Cecilia,” said Mabel calmly, in answer to
her look of astonishment. “Take this note to my sister in the
morning, when you meet her at the boat. Robert will see to
your baggage; remember, and take good care of the boys.”
And she dismissed her with a parting charge to retire as soon
as possible, as she would be obliged to rise early.

Not until she had thus confirmed by act the heroic resolution
of her mind, did she realize the exhaustion consequent upon
agitation and excitement; but now, with a welcome sense of
relief from tormenting doubts, and a humble reliance upon the
power to which she had looked for strength, she gladly sought
the rest which tired nature craves, and fell into a sweet and
dreamless sleep, such as for many a week had deserted her

-- --


In her deep, melancholy eye,
Life's brilliant hues no longer lie,
And love itself, its sweetest light,
Has left behind a starless night.
A night? Ah, no! 'T is early dawn—
The long, dark, hopeless hours are gone;
And Faith, the day-spring from on high,
Is beaming through her heavenward eye.
Mrs. S. C. E. Mayo.

[figure description] Page 246.[end figure description]

If the exaltation of soul under which a high resolve is
usually formed could be maintained during the period required
for its fulfilment, the battle would be fought and the victory
achieved almost without an effort. But who has not experienced
the reaction, weakness, and self-distrust which are the
natural consequence of an unwonted strain upon the physical
and mental powers. Then, indeed, do we learn how little we
can depend upon our own feeble efforts, unless sustained and
strengthened by help and guidance from on high.

So it was with Mabel, when she awoke the morning after
her supposed self-conquest, oppressed with a painful sense of
lassitude and despondency, which made it an effort to rise and
dress, and a still greater effort to look back upon the past with
composure, and forward into the future with cheerfulness. She
fully realized the unexpected truth, that not by one spasmodic
effort can the soul achieve the sublime heights of self-denying
virtue, but only by continual and persevering struggles, and a
patient resting upon Him whose promise is steadfast,—“I will
never leave you nor forsake you.”

Fortunately, her little Bible was close at hand, with its
blessed words of encouragement and peace; and after resorting
to its pages for counsel, and commending herself to Heaven in

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prayer, she felt in some degree prepared to meet the events of
the day. In the hall leading to the dining-room she met Robert,
who reported the departure of the pleasure-party, all, according
to his account, in high spirits except Alick and Murray,
both of whom were crying with disappointment at her absence.

Mabel felt a rising in the throat, and a painful sinking of
the spirits, as she thought of the dear children's grief and the
still greater void which would be felt in the company by one
who would join them at noon, would look for her amid the
party, and, astonished at her absence, perhaps misconstruing
its cause, would vainly seek from Louise a satisfactory solution
of the mystery. Her drooping courage revived, however, at
the unmistakable satisfaction which succeeded her father's
first glance of surprise, as she entered the dining-room and
approached the table where he was seated at breakfast. He
had seen Robert return with the carriage, and supposed her
already on her way to Albany; but listened with evident
pleasure to her assurance that she had concluded, since she
parted from him the previous day, to abandon the scheme altogether.

Attributing this change in her plans to some trifling disagreement
with Louise, or dissatisfaction with the proposed
arrangements, he forbore questioning her as to the cause of
her apparently fickle conduct, but quite contented with the
result, expressed himself with more than his ordinary decision
in the words, “I am glad of it, my dear,—very glad. I have
not approved, from the first, of your travelling with so large a
party. Now, I trust, there is nothing to interfere with your
visit to your aunt Margaret.” So much was he gratified, indeed,
that as he rose to leave the room, having finished his
early breakfast, he laid his hand upon her head in an affectionate
and paternal manner, which, considering his usual undemonstrative
and reserved character, might almost be termed a
caress, and at least signified a marked degree of approval.

Light as was the touch, it drew tears from Mabel's eyes, and
left its impress on her heart for many a long day afterward.
It seemed to reward her sacrifice with a father's blessing.

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Harry's views and feelings, as he entered a moment after,
were not so easy to determine.

“You see I have not gone,” said Mabel, with an attempt at
playfulness, as he made his appearance in the door-way and
stopped short at sight of her.

“So I perceive,” said he, advancing into the room and seating
himself at the table with a languid air.

“We women have such a blessed privilege of changing our
minds, you know,” added she in the same tone.

“Yes, I should think so; you seem to have veered about
with as much ease as a weather-cock. It is not many hours
ago that I saw you plumed and winged for flight.”

“My plumes drooped and my wings refused to soar, when
it came to the trial!”

“Aren't you well?” asked he quickly, at the same time
looking her anxiously and inquiringly in the face.

“Oh, yes, quite well, but I concluded to stay at home and
make tea and coffee for father and you; taste and see if that
is sweet enough,” continued she, as she handed him a cup of
steaming Mocha which she had been preparing.

He received the cup with an unsteady hand, rattled the
spoon nervously, added several lumps of sugar in an absent
way, then ladled them out carefully into his saucer, helped
himself to a piece of steak, ate voraciously for a minute or two,
and, finally, laying down his knife and fork, pushed back his
chair and seized the newspaper, which had fallen on the floor
beside him.

Mabel could not be sure whether he were suspicious or not
that her journey had been abandoned on his account; but she
was pained at the evident annoyance which her presence and
attentions occasioned him. So manifest was his desire to escape
her observations, that she strayed to the window, busied herself
in feeding a canary, whose cage was suspended there, and
when Harry suddenly and impatiently started up and left the
room, forbore to question or follow him. She knew very well
that the recovery of her influence over her brother must be

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the work of time and patience, and that he would not endure
to be either watched or catechised.

So this day proved no exception to the ordinary rule, and,
as usual, he strolled from home soon after breakfast, without
giving her any hint of his destination, or the probable time
of his return.

It was hard to see him walk away so indifferent to her newly
roused affection, her anxiety, her prayers in his behalf, and to
be left alone to reflect on the seeming uselessness of the
sacrifice she had made. Had this sacrifice involved some
active labor, some constant employment for head and hands, it
would have been comparatively easy to one of Mabel's energetic
temperament. But passive endurance, patient waiting,
hoping against hope, heroic virtues as they are, offer little
stimulus to resolution, and require the severest exercise of selfdenying

Thus it was not strange that her spirits flagged, as she
wandered listlessly from room to room; that her thoughts
strayed to the pleasure-bound company of whom she had hoped
to make one; and that as the remembrance of a still dearer
hope agitated her heart, she could not resist the obtruding
regret or check the rising tear.

But Mabel by nature was neither weak nor desponding;
uncertainty and doubt had, it is true, to some degree paralyzed
her powers, and while halting between two opinions her irresolute
conduct had betrayed the indecision of her mind.

The path of rightt made plain, however, and conscientiously
adopted, there was a firmness, stability, and self-respect in her
character which, with the aid of Christian principle, gave
promise that, cost her what it might, she would pursue it faithfully
to the end. “I have made my choice,” thought she, as,
starting up from an indolent and meditative posture, she seemed
at the same time to shake off the morbid and disciuraging fancies
which were gradually settling down upon her mind. “If
Dudley loves me truly, he can trust me; if not,—but I will
not suppose that possible,—he knows how much I depended
on the journey, he will believe that no slight cause has detained

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me here,—he will return and assure himself of the truth. In
the mean time I will not waste my energies in useless repining.”

So, resorting to the well-remembered remedy always recommended
by Mrs. Herbert in cases of home-sickness and other
mental maladies, she at once sought employment, and commenced,
reluctantly, the task of answering numerous letters
from her school-mates. She made every effort to write in a
cheerful strain, and her young friends saw nothing in her communications
to indicate the circumstances under which they
were written; but as Mrs. Herbert, who was permitted to
peruse them, observed that her once glowing descriptions of
city life were wholly superseded by tender and touching reminiscences
of her school days, she inwardly suspected that the
former had already palled upon her taste, and that she yearned
once more for the simple joys of her childhod and her country

Mabel made more than one attempt to thank this long-tried
friend for her recently discovered and precious gift, to express
some sense of the earnest gratitude she felt for all her love and
counsel, and rejoice her heart with the assurance that the lessons
so faithfully imparted to her in youth were destined to be
the guide of her womanhood; but each time she shrunk from
the difficulties involved in such an attempt, and at length laid
down her pen in despair of succeeding to her own satisfaction.
She dared not boast of resolutions not yet confirmed by practice;
she feared to betray the secret of her disquiet and unhappiness,
nor could she compromise Harry by replying truthfully
to the many inquiries concerning him, which Mrs. Herbert's
affectionate interest in his welfare had suggested. So the difficult
duty was for the present abandoned altogether.

At two o'clock Mr. Vaughan came home to an early dinner,
as had been his custom since the weather became warm. Harry
did not make his appearance, however, and Mabel, as she sat
opposite her father at table, was struck with his extremely
anxious and haggard countenance. He was more than usually
taciturn, only rousing himself from his abstraction once during

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[figure description] Page 251.[end figure description]

the meal, and then to remark, rather abruptly, “You are all
alone, my dear,—it is very dull for you,—I hope we shall
break up here before many days.'

Mabel declared herself ready to go or remain, as he thought
best, and no more was said on the subject; but after a hurried
repast, he rose to repair to his office.

The weather was tempting, there was no prospect of Harry's
return for some hours, and Mabel proposed to accompany her
father a part of the way.

He assented to the proposition in an absent manner, and
paced the hall impatiently until she appeared ready for the
walk. So silent and self-engrossed was he, that Mabel walked
beside him for the distance of several squares, without his
addressing a syllable to her, nor could she fail to observe with
pain an increased stoop in his figure, and tremulousness in his
gait. She left him at the corner of the street leading to the
widow Hope's dwelling; and as she proceeded thither to inquire
after Rose, her sadness at these symptoms of old age and debility
in her recently strong and vigorous parent, was mingled
with a fresh glow of self-gratulation that she had not suffered
herself to act in direct opposition to his wishes.

Rosy was overjoyed at seeing her, and Lydia, who stood
behind the counter waiting upon a customer, was so excited
with pleasure that she could scarcely command sufficient arithmetic
to make the simple calculations which her office involved.
None of the family had seen her since Rosy's never-to-be-forgotten
drive; and of all the kindnesses she had rendered them,
none had ever called forth so warm an expression of gratitude.

“She's been brighter and better ever since,” exclaimed the
mother, with tears in her eyes, “and so happy!”

“Miss Mabel,” cried the excited Lydia, “it was splendid;
how came you to think of it? it has half cured her! and those
dear boys,—they were as pleased as if they'd never had a
ride before, and all on Rosy's account, too,—look at her, Miss
Mabel, see how she has brightened up.”

She did, indeed, seem changed; there was an expression on
the little face such as Mabel had never seen there before; it

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seemed to tell of some inward rapture, some foretaste of coming

“Miss Mabel,” said Rose, in her little quiet voice, when her
mother had walked away, and Lydia had returned to the
counter, “it isn't that I am any better, but it has given me
such beautiful thoughts all day, and such beautiful dreams all
night. I know I shan't be here long, but I am not afraid to
go. Oh, Miss Mabel, if God's earth is so glorious, what must
his Heaven be!”

“Earth is but a sad place, after all, Rosy,” said Mabel, with
a sigh.

The child's ear, tuned to that plaintive minor chord which
reveals the suffering of the heart, recognized as by intuition
the mood of Mabel's mind, and turning upon her a face full of
tender anxiety, she said, “Do you call it sad? are you a weary
pilgrim, too? and is your path ever dark? I thought it was
always as bright as sunshine.”

“Oh, Rosy,” said Mabel, glancing up at the engraving from
which, as usual, Rose's figure was drawn, “I cannot see my
way at all, there is such a thick cloud over head.”

She had not calculated upon the effect of this acknowledgment,
which she would have shrunk from making to one less
simple-hearted and innocent than Rose. It seemed to establish
at once the only bond of sympathy ever wanting between
herself and the suffering child, who seized her hand, pressed it
to her thin lips, and exclaimed, fervently, “God will show the
way, Miss Mabel; he will lighten your path as he has lightened

The child's solemn and prophetic assurance of heavenly
guidance, both awed and touched the soul that yearned for
encouragement and strength. Mabel could not answer, except
by the tears which started to her eyes. Rose went on.

“There used to be long days and nights, Miss Mabel, when
I lay on my little bed in great pain, worrying to think how
much trouble I gave, how poor we were, and, more than all,
about Jack, and what would become of him. I could not see
God always then. I could not understand how so many

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sorrows could be sent in love. I tried to be patient. I tried to
be hopeful and believing; but I could not understand. I see
it all now, though,” she added, a glow overspreading and
irradiating her pale face, while the eyes that had lost their
strained appearance seemed calmly to contemplate a near and
visible joy. “The pain is all gone. I am not anxious now,
not even about Jack; the picture promised truly,—the end
has almost come, and the light I see is that which streams
from the Paradise of God.”

She looked, indeed, like one already half translated, as, borne
on the wings of faith, she saw all her past sufferings merged
in the fulness of joy.

Such a clear discerning of God's providence in one who had
groped her way through a sea of suffering, was like a light
shining in a dark place. The cloud seemed lifted from Mabel's
future, as she listened to the child's grateful tribute to the love
which had crowned her days.

“Dear Rose, dear child,” said she, “it does me good to see
you so happy. You certainly have a heaven in your heart,—
I must try and learn some of your secrets.”

The child smiled at the last word, then with mingled sweetness
and gravity, whispered, drawing Mabel down so that her
mouth came close to her ear, “God will send his blessed angels
to teach you all my secrets, and I will pray to Him every
night to take away your cloud.”

From this time, the relations hitherto subsisting between
Mabel and Rose seemed totally reversed. Until now, the former
had acted the part of the elder, stronger, wiser friend, but
in this, and in all their future interviews, the strength, the wisdom,
and the riper years, which had constituted her superiority,
instinctively gave place to that experience in Heavenly
truth, that knowledge of things divine, in which Rose was the
thoroughly-gifted teacher, and she but the humble disciple. It
is true there was no outward and visible token of their altered
position. Beauty, wealth, and a high place in the social scale,
all combined to render Mabel, as she had ever been, the object
of the sick girl's respectful admiration; and the infirmities of

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Rose, more than ever, claimed the tenderest compassion in return;
but a shadow had fallen on the path of the one, while
the other had reached the point where all shadows flee away;
and the maiden who had but just begun to meet the battle of
life, gladly caught up the sacred weapons with which the child
had achieved her victory.

Thus, almost daily, she found herself drawn to that little
sanctuary of holy hopes, devout meditations, and serene joy,
where not she alone, but many a troubled heart besides, learned
a true and lasting lesson from the unconscious glow of piety
which illumined the face of the wasted and now dying girl.

Almost to the last, she occupied her little flag-bottomed arm-chair,
in the window of her mother's shop, reluctant to give up
her daily and loving intercourse with the numerous friends
who looked to see her there, and so much was Mabel with her
during the last fortnight of her life, that her face, too, became
familiar to the neighborhood, which seemed animated by a
grateful affection for Rosy's beautiful friend.

They knew how unsparing she had been in attentions and
gifts to the little invalid; they had measured with their eyes
many a parcel of books, fruit, and wholesome food, which they
had seen carried into the widow's dwelling, and they had rejoiced
in Rosy's joy on the eventful day of the drive.

But they did not know the precious blessings she had carried
away, they could not measure the refreshing nourishment her
soul had imbibed from this fountain of childish wisdom, they
could not rejoice in the holy and penitent emotions there
awakened—emotions such as make joy in Heaven.

Only in after years did Mabel herself fully realize the source
whence most of her holy aspirations were drawn; only when
she had proved the fallacy of more presumptuous teachers, and
learned that the sublimest truths are often those which God has
hid from the wise and prudent, and has revealed unto babes!

On the day of the conversation with Rose, some portion of
which has been related in detail, she left the widow Hope's
shop to return home, with a heart wonderfully cheered and
lightened of its burthen. It was nearly dark, when, as she

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crossed the little park in the direction leading to her father's
house, she overtook Harry. He had entered the square from
a different street, and seeing her hastening towards him, stopped
and waited for her.

“You have been walking fast,” said he, as she came up.

“Yes,” she answered, a little out of breath, “I saw it was
getting dark.”

He did not ask where she had been, but walked beside her
in silence, and when they reached the house, accompanied her
up the steps and rang the bell.

As Robert appeared, however, and opened the door, he
turned to walk away.

“Oh, don't go, Harry!” exclaimed she, adding with womanly
tact, “I shall be all alone.” She knew how much more
readily in his present mood he would confer than receive a
favor. “Father has not come in, has he?” asked she, turning
quickly to Robert.

“No, Miss.”

“Oh, do stay then, Harry, and take tea with me.”

“Tea,” muttered he, as he reluctantly followed her into the
hall, “who wants tea such a warm evening?”

“Aunt Sabiah says one is always cooler after tea in summer,”
replied she playfully, leading the way as she spoke to
her little treasure apartment.

“Because the sun has gone down,” replied he, with a smile,
almost with a laugh.

Far as it was from being a genuine, hearty laugh, Mabel
hailed it as of good omen, and flinging her bonnet upon the
table, and throwing open the blinds of a wide window extending
to the floor, she at once gave admittance to the breeze, and
imparted an attractive air to the little apartment. Harry drew
an arm chair to the window, threw himself into it, and looked
out. Mabel sat down on the window-sill resting her feet on a
little balcony outside. The moon presently began to shine on
the little park, and the trees to cast long shadows. It was a
pleasant scene, presented by this June evening, even in the
city. It reminded Mabel of similar evenings at her

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grandmother's, or Mrs. Herbert's, when she and Harry had sat together
for hours on the door-step in the moon-light. She ventured
some reference to those bygone days, and Harry, falling
in with her train of thought, listened without impatience to her
reminiscences, and even called up incidents in their childhood
which had quite escaped her recollection.

Tremblingly rejoicing in the success which was attending
her efforts, Mabel spared no pains to render the occasion
agreeable. She ordered tea to be brought to them instead of
descending to the dining-room, and bade Robert light the alabaster
lamp, which threw a scarcely less soft and pleasant
glow of light through the room than that which prevailed out-side.

Now and then Harry rose and paced the room nervously, as
if on the point of leaving her; then, seeming to think she
would be lonely,—possibly timid,—for there was an unusual
noise of voices in the street below, he sat down again, and so
the evening passed away. Mabel could not but suspect that
he had staid with her reluctantly, but it was no slight triumph
that he had remained on any terms, and it was an inexpressible
satisfaction to bid him good-night, and see him ascend to
his own room, like the Harry of former times.

Taught by this instance of success, she afterwards made frequent
appeals to his kind and brotherly feeling, and occasionally
with a similar result. She needed exercise,—would he
take a walk with her? she longed for the country air,—would
he not drive her out? selfish pleas, which she might reasonably
urge, for her life was one of unusual restraint and monotony.
She chose for her constant occupancy a seat in her little room,
where Harry was almost sure to find her whenever he felt the
disposition, and it soon became evident that his desire to avoid
her society was somewhat abated, as he often lounged in for a
few moments at a time, either after breakfast, or when he
chanced to return home to dinner. But though he no longer
seemed to look upon her as one seeking occasion to watch and
censure him, and though now and then she succeeded in engrossing
a short interval of his time, these grounds of hope were slight

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and infrequent, while her discouragements were continual and
pressing. Day by day his countenance grew more unnatural,
his step more unsteady, while his expression of nervous distress
and uneasiness had become fixed and habitual. Midnight
and the early morning hours often found Mabel at her solitary
window, awaiting his return; and the disappointment of his
failing to come at all was less bitter than the coarse jokes, angry
oaths, or wild, wandering glances, which at times betrayed
his sad condition.

Her father, too, was evidently the subject of more than one
harassing anxiety. Those fatal charts over which he had
pored all winter, engrossed his time whenever he chanced to
be at home, and, frequently, when he left the house, he rolled
them up and took them under his arm, while Mabel watched
him as he came and went every time with a deeper shadow on
his brow.

And there was still another for whom she watched and
waited, who came not at all; another footstep whose fancied echo
now and then caused her a sudden start; another form which
haunted her by day and stole into her dreams at night; but step
and form were alike imaginary. Had there been a letter, or a
message simply, it might have afforded some solace to her
aching heart—had Louise even written, and incidentally alluded
to the companions of her journey; but no, all was blank
silence, and Mabel was forced to the conclusion—he does not
trust, perhaps he never loved.

All her faith, indeed, was needed to sustain her drooping
spirits in the many lonely hours to which she was condemned.
As she wandered through the solitary rooms of her father's
spacious house, she sometimes longed for the idle rattle of
Louise, the merry voices of the boys, or even the light foot and
busy tongue of Cecilia, to break the dreary silence and monotony.

But in these seasons of sad and solitary reflection, deprived
of all human sympathy, Mabel began to experience how sweet
it is to draw near to the ever-present friend, who has bid His
children cast all their cares upon Him, for He careth for them;

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she learned to realize in these bitter hours of life, that there is
one eye that never sleepeth, one ear that is ever open to the
suppliant's cry; and often, rising above her sorrows and forgetting
her solitude, she was ready to exclaim, “I am not alone,
because the Father is with me.”

-- --


No studied words of sympathy
Were coldly whispered round;
The silence of the humble throng
Told more than measured sound.
And children touched the cold, white brow,
And then in awe stood by,
Their new-learnt lesson thinking o'er,
Of angels in the sky.
A. M. F. Annan.

[figure description] Page 259.[end figure description]

The month of June had nearly half expired. Mr. Vaughan
still delayed his journey to the West, and gave Mabel no new
intimation of his wish that she should start for L. Perhaps he
still hoped that Harry, who had listened in moody silence to
the declaration of his wishes in respect to his profession, and
had thus far shown no disposition to carry them into effect,
would at length manifest some symptoms of compliance and
accompany her. He forbore to urge the point, however, and
in spite of the increasing heat, no departure from the city was
alluded to, until one evening, when all three having been present
at dinner, Mr. Vaughan rose at its conclusion and gravely
announced to Harry his wish to speak with him in the library,
to which room he himself immediately repaired. Harry lingered
a few moments at the table, then rising with the air of a
detected culprit, followed his father, closed the door behind
him, and the two were closeted together for nearly an hour.

This period was one to Mabel of painful suspense; the formality
of the interview left her little doubt of its importance,
and she could easily conjecture the nature of the subjects likely
to be brought up. Deeply agitated, trembling so that she could
scarcely stand, and straining her ears to catch the slightest
sound, she remained in the spot where they had left her, until
she heard the library door open and saw Harry leave the house,

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folowed soon after by Mr. Vaughan, who, walking slowly, with
his bands behind him, looked like one upon whom trouble has
fallen with a sudden weight, which he is calculating the chances
and possibilities of relieving.

She learned, afterwards, that her father and brother had been
engaged in settling the preliminaries of the latter's leaving New
York for L.; and that these preliminaries consisted of a confession
on Harry's part of a heavy debt (a debt of honor, so
called, contracted at the gaming table), which effectually prevented
his leaving the city, and of an agreement, with difficulty
entered into by his already embarrassed parent, to meet the
demand and free him from the mortifying shackles, upon condition
of his conforming strictly to his views, and at once commencing
the study of law with Judge Paradox. She learned,
too, to her surprise, that this was the first interview Mr.
Vaughan had ever had with Harry on the subject of his misconduct,
and that even now, he received his confession and dismissed
him without any other reprimand than that which the
dullest eye might detect in his countenance; this course being
simply characteristic of his extreme reserve, even with his
family, and want of force in regulating the conduct of his household.
It was only after a considerable lapse of time, however,
that Mabel became aware of these facts, and at present she was
left to all the pain of uncertainty and apprehension.

This was somewhat allayed by the circumstance that her
father and Harry both returned home at an earlier hour than
usual, and by her observing that, thought excessively constrained
in each other's society, they seemed individually to be relieved,
and in a slight degree cheered; the one that he had made a
confession which it was no longer possible to escape, and the
other from a conviction that, bad as the case was, he now knew
the worst.

Mr. Vaughan took an early opportunity of informing his
daughter that it was his desire that she should leave for L., the
following week, with Harry, and the latter indirectly confirmed
the tidings of his intended departure, by some accidental reference
to the journey. Mabel also learned that her father's long

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postponed trip to the West would take place immediately upon
his having dismissed the servants, and closed the house, measures
which he had resolved to adopt, as he should be absent
for an indefinite period.

She had now plenty of employment. For the first time she
realized the necessity of looking over her father's wardrobe,
and providing for his comfort, during the many weeks of his
absence; and this, with similar cares for herself and Harry,
promised ample occupation, and caused her to rejoice in that
womanly skill and capability which made her independent of
Cecilia, who had usually officiated with her needle in this department.

She was busily engaged the next morning, going from room
to room, collecting verious articles which were in need of some
slight repair, when she received a summons to the hall door,
where a little girl stood waiting to deliver a message from Mrs.
Hope. Rose was very low, had been anxious to see her,—
would she try and come at once?

Had Mabel had more experience in cases of slow decline
she would not have been astonished at this summons, for, to
those who understood Rose's symptoms, it was only a matter
of surprise that she had lingered so long; but Mabel had not
realized, until now, how surely and speedily death must follow
the decay, whose progress she had marked step by step, and a
chill and shudder cerpt over her frame as she hastily prepared
to follow the little messenger, who had run back as swiftly as
she came. Although the day was oppressively hot, she would
not wait for the carriage, but walking a short distance, and then
availing herself of a Broadway omnibus, she soon reached her

An air of unusual quiet and sadness seemed to pervade the
little street; the neighbors looked after Mabel as she passed,
wondering whether she, like them, knew of the fearful change
which a few hours had made; the children had ceased their
play, and two of the elder ones sat weeping on the door-step of
the closed shop. Mabel approached the little alley which communicated
with the rear of the building, and at its entrance

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encountered Rosy's sturdy friend, the youthful teamster, who was
brushing his rough sleeve across his eyes, and did not see her
until she paused to let him pass. As he looked up, recognized
her, and read an anxious inquiry in her face, he said in a low,
tremulous voice, “She's going,—they tell me she can't last
the day out.” Then pressing his lips firmly together, as strong
men do when their feelings threaten to get the mastery of them,
he rushed by her, crossed the street, and darted down the arch-way.

In the humble courtyard, women were engaged at their washtubs,
or in hanging out clothes, and as she stooped in passing
beneath the wet linen more than one eye followed her with
mournful interest, while now and then a childish face glanced
up with a pitiful, imploring look, as if hoping she had come
indued with some magic power to make Rosy well again. Just
as she reached the widow's door, she stopped short, believing
that the angel of death had preceded her, for outside the shed,
stretched across a little wood-pile, lay a forlorn figure, convulsed
with sobs, which she at once recognized as that of Jack.
The poor boy had evidently thrown himself there in an agony
of grief, and in the self-abandonment of a first heart-breaking
sorrow was utterly unconscious of everything around. His
head rested on his arms, and his hands clutched at the wood,
as if he were wrestling with outward obstacles to case his inward
woe, the depth of which might in some degree be measured
by the spasmodic heaving of his chest, and an hysterical
choking in his throat.

Overwhelmed with pity for the boy, to whom she could not
venture to speak, and suspecting that a similar scene prevailed
in doors, Mabel was hesitating whether she should not depart
without intruding into the house of mourning, when the widow,
who had caught sight of her figure through the window, came
out to meet her. Mabel took her hand and glanced from her
face, which was perfectly calm, to that of the agitated Jack.

“Poor fellow!” said Mrs. Hope, compassionately, “he takes
it hard, and no wonder. She's been talking to him,” added
she in a whisper, “and so beautifully,—he won't forget it to

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his dying day. She's asleep now, as quiet as a lamb; it's a
chance whether she ever wakes, but if she should, Miss Mabel,
I thought she'd like to rest her eyes on your face again; she
asked for you once or twice in the night,—so if you'll come

Mabel followed without speaking,—for she could not speak,—
into the little room. She was indeed sleeping sweetly, her
little hands clasped on her breast, her golden hair thrown back
upon the pillow, and a smile upon her face, which seemed to
tell of heavenly dreams. An hour passed on and still she
slept; the room was so quiet, that each breath of the little
sleeper might be counted; there was no noise outside, for love
had set its faithful guard around the house, and every footfall
in the neighborhood was softened, every loud voice hushed.
By-and-by a flushed, swollen, and tear-stained face appeared
in the doorway, and Jack, in his stocking-feet, came slowly, cautiously
in, and sat down among the watchers. There was
another pause, and at length softly, and without warning, the
blue eyes once more unclosed, with one more fond, loving
glance, they rested in turn on each of the assembled group,—
not eye to eye, but soul to soul, they seemed to stand, taking
their last farewell of her who, in a moment more, would be a
disembodied spirit. The breath grew shorter, the blue orbs
closed,—they listened,—there was no breath at all, and then
the glory came and settled on the little face.

As if the parting spirit, which had left its radiance on the
mortal clay, still hovered above their heads, they all for a
while stood motionless and awed; then, as a consciousness of
the dread reality rushed upon them, Jack darted from the
room with a loud cry of anguish, Lydia buried her head in
her mother's lap, and Mabel, drawing her veil over her face,
glided noiselessly away.

The little form which had taken birth within the close
atmosphere of the city, and pined and perished in the narrow
limits of a dark and gloomy street, was not destined to
sleep its last sleep within those crowded and improsoning
walls. They buried her on a quiet hill-side, where the grass

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and wild flowers might grow on the little grave, where summer
insects and soaring birds might chirp and sing above it, and
where the murmur of running water fell upon the ear.

“Will they give her a place among the city poor,” asked
the milk-boy of the ruddy teamster, nodding his head significantly
in the direction of the vacant window.

Owen Dowst,—for that was the teamster's name,—feared
so, but it seemed to him a pity.

He but echoed the thought of the boisterous milk-boy,
who had a heart as big and tender as his voice was deep and
sonorous. “There's a little Dutch burying-ground in the
corner of my father's milk-farm,” said the boy; “it slopes
down of the East River, and is out o' use now. There's no
crowding there,—room enough, and a plenty for many a
child like that; tell'em so; and look here, Owen, if the idea
suits the widder, drive out with your team to-night, and I'll
be there myself with a spade.”

And so it was that no hired hands dug the little grave.

“The blessed Lord spared our Jemmy to us, it's now six
months ago, wife,” said a pale-faced undertaker, whose workshop
was not far off, “and there's the box I worked away at,
that long week, while you watched to see him die. I couldn't
ever sell it, no how. I've cried over it many a time, and
often thought, when I've laid eyes on't since, that it seemed
like a keepsake, to remind me o' the mercy o' the Lord. But
I've been a thinkin' to part with it. If 't wouldn't be no
offence to anybody, I'd like to see the little golden-haired gal,
that had such a pretty smile for everybody, laid in the cradle
I made for my boy. It's the best o' stuff, and I driv every
nail myself. S'posen you go round to-night and speak on't
to the poor woman. Speak kind o' gentle, wife; poor soul,
her child is gone.”

A messenger was dispatched in due season by Mabel, to
make every possible offer of assistance, but all that love
could dictate had been done already; the humble neighbors
had vied with each other in their efforts to comfort the family
and honor the memory of the angel child.

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[figure description] Page 265.[end figure description]

The funeral was appointed for the day preceding that on
which Mabel was to leave New York, and she was in attenance
at an early hour. The house was quiet and in perfect
order; she entered at the shop door, but the bell was muffled
and gave forth no sound. The kitchen into which she passed
was vacant, save that the child, clad in her snow white robes,
seemingly lay sleeping there. The little hands were peacefully
folded on the breast, the serene smile still rested on the
face, and beauty was stamped upon the features from which
pain had forever fled. Death had not only glorified the soul,
but had transfigured the mortal part.

“She is not here,—she is risen,” said a low, solemn voice,
close at Mabel's side.

She looked up, unconscious that any one had entered the
room, where she stood absorbed in contemplation. It was the
tall and venerable man, known to us as Father Noah. Mabel
recognized him at once, though she could not recall his name.
He seemed regardless, however, of ceremony, in resuming his
acquaintance with her, and continued—

“You have known this child,—for she was a child in
years,” he added, as if feeling that in some sense the term
was misapplied.

Mabel bowed in assent, her tearful face speaking plainly of
the affection she had felt for her.

“She was a wonderful child,” he exclaimed, meditatively,—
“wonderful! She has accomplished a beautiful work in this
neighborhood,—it puts to shame many of my profession.
Death has no power over such as she, except to release them
from pain. I am glad you knew her,” he said, after a pause.

Perhaps Mabel's expression as he spoke, revealed some surprise
at the personal interest implied in his remark, for he
said again,—“Yes, I am very glad you knew her. I have
no doubt it has been a benefit to her,—I am sure it has been
to you.”

“She,—she has been my better angel!” exclaimed Mabel
fervently,—“she is still.”

“Her life has been a lesson to us all,” said the good

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clergyman. “I pray God,” he continued, laying his hand solemnly
on Mabel's head, “that He will perfect and finish the good
work which, through one of his humblest servants, He has
begun in you.” So saying, he went to meet Mrs. Hope in the
little inner room, and Mabel turned away to recover her self-command.

As she stood resting her hand on the mantel-piece above
the kitchen stove, she caught sight of an open daguerreotype
case, which, on a nearer inspection, she discovered to contain a
likeness of Rosy. It had been taken at some happy moment
when the gentle smile was on her face, and the little arm-chair,
her simple dress, and all the features of her ordinary
life, were faithfully impressed by the magic instrument.
Mabel was wondering that she had never seen it before, and
was blessing God in her heart for that beneficent invention in
which rich and poor may almost be said to share alike, when
Jack appeared at her side and attempted to speak. Except
at Rosy's death-bed, Mabel had never seen him since the day
they met in the grocer's shop, and the latter scene rose full
before her as she turned and met his eager face. Impressed
by her glance, and half choked with his own grief, the boy
made one or two vain attempts to articulate. Then, pointing
at the likeness of his sister, he gasped out, in broken phrase,
the words, “I—I—paid for it—with—that dollar,” and
overcome by his emotion, he clapped his rough hands to his
face and disappeared through the doorway.

The little neighborhood now began to assemble, and Mabel,
retreating to a corner, was touched to see them enter. There
was no formality, no ceremony, in receiving them or awarding
them their place; they came in crowds, but there was no confusion;
the little house could not contain half of them, and
they entered in turn to gaze once more at the features of the
neighborhood's child, and those for whom there was no room
patiently waited without. All ages were represented. Old
women were there, leaning on their staffs, and children were
borne in their father's arms to take one more look at Rosy.
The girls of her little class were there, wearing no badge of

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mourning, but each, with instinctive and grateful prompting,
bearing under her arm the little testament,—pledge of Rose's

The service at length commenced. It was performed by
the clergyman already alluded to, and was simple, solemn,
beautiful, interrupted only by the sobs which rung through the
house. It concluded with a hymn—a voluntary and touching
tribute, the sweet lifting up of childish voices, the simple offering
of loving hearts. There was a pause, and then the crowd
began to file away, lingering without the door until the little
form should be borne through their midst. There had been
no concerted arrangements with regard to bearers, and a slight
hesitation ensued in consequence, when a tall youth stepped
forward, closed the casket, lifted it gently in his strong arms,
and bore it slowly and tenderly through the parting crowd.
The widow and her children followed Owen Dowst as he thus
cleared for them a passage through the friendly throug, took
their place in the humble vehicle which awaited them, and in
a moment more moved on. With one consent the assembled
neighborhood formed in long and regular procession, and treading
the sidewalk with slow and solemn pace, kept the carriage
in sight for the distance of a mile or two and then reluctantly
and sadly dispersed.

Mabel found herself alone in the deserted house. She had
left her carriage at some little distance, feeling that its rich
trappings would be a mockery in this place of humble, sacred
sorrow. She looked round the little shop as if bidding it a
long farewell, then stepped upon the sidewalk. An old woman
stood there leaning upon her staff—a very old woman, too
infirm to follow the mourning procession—the same old woman
who lived in the opposite house and had been accustomed
to watch Rosy from the window.

“We shan't ever see her there no more,” said she to Mabel,
pointing with her crutch to the little empty arm-chair, “but,”
and she looked up to the sky above, “Heaven don't seem so
far off to an old body like me, now that I know she's sittin' at
some bright winder up there, watchin' to see me comin' in.”

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“Drive out on the Bloomingdale road, Donald,” said Mabel,
when she reached the carriage. “You will overtake the child's
funeral; follow, but keep at a distance.”

They did so; and as the little train moved into the unpretending
cemetery, Mabel alighted and joined the mourners,
who were grouped around the grave. They saw the child laid
in her quiet resting-place,—they waited and listened with sad
hearts, while Owen and the milk-boy, who had reached the
spot before them, gently heaped the earth upon her grave, and
then they went away. Mabel lingered a little behind the rest,
feeling, as the earth closed over the remains of her little friend,
scarcely less bereaved than the broken-hearted group who had
looked their last upon the darling of their hearts. “Dear
Rosy,” thought she, as seating herself on the grass of the sloping
hill-side, she strewed the mound with the flowers which she
had brought for the purpose, “ `He maketh thee to lie down in
green pastures, he leadeth thee beside the still waters;' thine
earthly pilgrimage was hard, but its end is peace, joy, and
everlasting life.”

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Her love is firme, her care continuall,
So oft as he, through his own foolish pride
Or weaknes, is to sinful bands made thrall.

[figure description] Page 269.[end figure description]

My daughter Margaret takes after me,” was a favorite
exclamation of the old lady Vaughan. “She has more shrewdness
in her little finger than Sabiah has in her whole body.”

This was very true; for Mrs., now the widow, Ridgway, was
preëminent for nearly all the qualities which were conspicuous
in her mother, and in which Sabiah was totally deficient. Thus
she was proud, ambitious, calculating, and selfish. Money was
in her eyes the chief good; and the social standing and distinction
which it helped to purchase were among the most precious
consequences of its possession. Keen and far-seeing in her
observation of men and things, she rarely failed to gain her
point, and no one was ever known to win the advantage of her
in an argument or a bargain. She prided herself upon being a
good manager and upon conducting her household on the most
thorough, economical and saving principles. The neighborhood
always gave her the credit, also, of managing her husband,
a patient, plodding man, who set an exalted estimate upon her
capacity, and practically acknowledged her as his better half.

Hospitality was a virtue to which she had no claim; for,
unless prompted by some ulterior motive, she was seldom
known to throw open her doors for the entertainment of guests.
After the death of Mr. Ridgway, indeed, her utter solitude
might seem sufficient to render her sister's society desirable;
but this was by no means the prominent cause of her extending
an invitation to Sabiah. In the first place, her brother John
had set her the example, and she would not be outdone by him

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in patronizing their destitute relative; and secondly, her sagacious
mind saw various ways and means by which Sabiah
might be made a useful auxiliary in her household. It was
pride and policy, therefore, rather than natural affection, which
induced her to offer her sister a home.

Nor was the apparent cordiality with which she begged a
visit from her nephew and niece due to any more disinterested
motives. Though Mrs. Ridgway would never have acknowledged
the fact, she did not feel quite satisfied with her social
position in L—; and as the town of L—was to her the
world, the attainment of this desirable position was her highest
earthly ambition. It was true, her husband had long been the
moneyed man of the place, and so had his father before him.
There was scarcely a family of standing in the neighborhood
which had not, in some remote generation, or in the person of
some one of its members, been brought into close business relations,
or even under personal obligations, to the elder or younger
Ridgway; and the widow of the latter could boast an acquaintance
with every onward and retrograde step of their affairs,
every intermarriage they had made, every inch of their pedigree.

This intimate knowledge of the aristocracy of L—, however,
had never ripened into that actual intimacy with them
which Mrs. Margaret Ridgway coveted. The member of
Congress for the district had been in the habit of talking freely
with Mr. Ridgway on the church steps; the handsome daughters
of Judge Paradox bowed politely to his widow, when they
met her in the street or the shops; and all subscription papers
and charity petitions were promptly handed to her door.

Still there was an easy, every-day intercourse prevailing in
this choice circle, which existed quite independently of the
loud-spoken, bustling, and not over-refined woman of wealth,
who eagerly sought admittance within its pale; and it was with
the view of breaking down this nicely-defined line of separation,
that she now proposed to add to her own claims those of her
nephew and niece.

Though her sphere of action and observation had been

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limited, Mrs. Ridgway understood the world and was not deceived
in her calculations. Mr. John Vaughan was known by repute
in this his native county. New York was not so far distant
but that reports of his wealth, standing, and fashionable alliance
had reached the ears of those who remembered him in his boy-hood,
and the busy tongue of Mrs. Ridgway was not needed to
circulate the beauty of his daughter or the accomplishments of
his foreign-bred son.

Thus, when the aunt, presuming upon the attractions of her
expected visitors, ventured to stop the carriage of the member
of Congress, converse somewhat more familiarly than usual
with his wife, and close with “I expect my nephew and niece
next week—your young people must call,” a girlish face on
the front seat looked very bright and animated, and the lady
herself replied without hesitation, “They will do so, certainly;
what day did you say you expected them?”

And when, too, she joined Mrs. Paradox, coming down
the church aisle, and remarked somewhat abruptly, “So my
nephew is to study law with your husband, I hear!” the stately
Mrs. Paradox pressed Mrs. Ridgway's hand with rather more
warmth than usual, saying, “Yes, a very agreeable addition to
our circle,” and thinking, “a capital chance for one of my
handsome daughters.”

Thus the arrival of the judge's student, and his sister, the
New York belle, imparted no little excitement to the place.
Mabel's first appearance with Mrs. Ridgway at church, was
the realization of a long delayed hope, and it was with proportionate
disappointment that many an eye looked in vain for
her brother, who, in spite of his aunt's offended looks and
protestations, lay stretched on a sofa at home. It was well,
perhaps, that he staid away on this occasion, for the presence
of Mabel alone proved sufficient to turn the heads of all the
young girls in the congregation. Her height, her dress, her
complexion, were duly studied, and more than one little piece
of vanity spent the whole of the sermon time mentally endeavoring
to cut the pattern of a graceful fall of lace, which
gave Miss Vaughan's straw bonnet such a genteel air.

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In the course of the week everybody called, and various
festivities, purposely postponed until now, began to be talked
of and prepared for. The young strangers, meanwhile, were
the universal subjects of notice and conversation. Mabel's manners,
beauty, and becoming attire, furnished no small source of
novelty and interest, but the innovations and surprises which
Harry introduced, were of a still more startling and original
nature in the eyes of the quiet towns people. His English
gig was of a style never before seen in L.; his long-tailed
gray ponies were not to be surpassed in the country; but these
wonders were eclipsed by the arrival of his famous trotting
mare, Mad Sallie, which he had ordered to be sent after him,
and which, with its fancy blanket and braided tail, was talked
of and canvassed for ten miles round.

Thus the town of L., so far from proving a place of summer
retirement and repose, had been suddenly thrown into a ferment,
and Mabel and Harry found themselves in the very
centre of a whirl and excitement of their own creating.

“Why need I go down, Aunt Sabiah?” Mabel would say,
when morning visitors were announced. “They do not
come to see me, and it is so pleasant to be quiet and at leisure
in the country.”

“Oh, do n't call it country, dear,” Sabiah would reply, in a
deprecating voice; “she wo n't like it,—besides, you must go
down. Why, they have called on purpose to see you,—she'll
be dreadfully put out”—she, with Sabiah, always meaning
her sister Margaret.

In a moment more the bustling, flurried, impatient Mrs.
Ridgway would put her head inside the door, exclaiming,
“Make haste, Mabel. O child, I wish you had on your
lilac dress! It's the So and So's; do hurry down, they're
such pleasant people,—been so attentive to me since Mr.
Ridgway died,” and Mabel, dressing her face in the smile which
masked a heavy heart, would go down and do her best to give

As for Harry, he soon found his level in this new sphere.
There is a freemasonry among fast young men, and, go where

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they will, they speedily find their compeers, and are recognized
in their turn. Change of scene, and relief from the embarrassments
he had woven around himself in New York, for a
time checked him in his self-indulgent course, and Mabel
began to hope that her never-ceasing care and influence, the
restraints of her aunt's house, and interest in the study of his
profession, would prove efficient and salutary safeguards, and
finally restore him to himself. It happened unfortunately,
however, that a neighboring university had just released its
students for a summer vacation, and among the idle young
men thus thrown upon the community, Harry found more congenial
minds than those which were embalmed on the walls of
Judge Paradox's office. The dashing city blade, whose fast
horses were the admiration of the neighborhood, and whose
attractive manners and generous habits won him universal
popularity, could not resist the temptation to forsake the musty
study of the law, and engage in those excursions, drives, sporting
and fishing parties, which would have been harmless, but
for the loss of time they involved, and the imprudence, folly,
and extravagance to which they eventually led.

Whatever good resolutions he might have formed, whatever
efforts at self-control he might have made, it soon became evident
that the former had become undermined by temptation,
and the latter had proved insufficient to resist it. With aching
heart, Mabel saw her short-lived hopes extinguished, and trembled
more than ever for the consequences of her brother's
reckless and wild career. She had but two rules for her own
conduct regarding him,—there were but two agents which
she employed for his salvation, and these were love and prayer.
Not by word or look did she censure or blame him. She well
knew that judgment belongeth unto God, and can only be
rashly assumed by any,—least of all by a sister. But she understood
in all its force the right which that sweet relationship
implies, and, counselled by her tender affection alone, she
patiently strove to be true to its faithful dictates.

Not less gentle, beneficent, and self-sacrificing, were these
loving counsels, from the fact that they had their source in the

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secret depths of a humble and contrite, as well as deceived,
forsaken, and disappointed heart. Though forbearing to reproach
her brother, bitterly did Mabel now reproach herself
for the many wasted and misspent hours which had robbed her
of his society and confidence, and given her in return only
blighted hopes, wasted affections, and a grieved and wounded
spirit. Shrink from it as she might, disown, as she long did,
the cruel thought, the conviction gradually forced itself upon
her, that her heart had been perseveringly sought to be lightly
discarded, that it had garnered up its treasures in one who
prized not the gift, and that the friendship which to her had
seemed the crowning circumstance of life, had been to him
but a winter's pastime.

Had this conjecture still admitted of a doubt, that doubt
would have been effectually removed by a letter received from
Mrs. Leroy about a fortnight after Mabel's arrival in L.

It was dated from Trenton, where the party, after spending
four weeks in travelling, had agreed to pass a few days before
finally separating. After giving a general account of the
journey, Louise added, “It has not been so very pleasant after
all,—there has been so much disagreement about our route,
and as to who were entitled to the best rooms in the hotels.
Fan Broadhead seemed to think the world was made for her.
Mrs. Vannecker manœuvered, as she always does, to get the
best of everything, and I stood up for my rights now and then,
for I had no idea of being trampled on by anybody. Fan and
the Colonel quarrel so, it's perfectly scandalous; and Mrs.
Earle has given a great deal of trouble too;—she has been
ill ever since we left Niagara; and my boys have plagued me
to death,—Cecilia can't manage them at all. Nobody has
seemed to enjoy it much but Mr. Dudley and a Mrs. Wolfe, the
English widow who was at Fan's wedding, and joined her and
the Colonel on the trip. She is young, and pretty, and sentimental,—
talks poetry and so on, and Mr. Dudley is perfectly
devoted to her. They take moonlight walks, and sit on
the rocks and compose sonnets. It is a regular flirtation.
Mr. Earle calls her Mr. Dudley's last. I can't see what he

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finds to fancy in her; she makes herself very disagreeable to
every body else. I shall go from here to Newport, and advise
you to join me there; if you have been at Aunt Ridgway's a
fortnight, you must need change of air and scene. I made her
a visit once when I was a little girl, and I never shall forget it.
I have n't heard from Mr. Leroy for a month. I suppose
there are letters for me in New York. Tell Harry he had
better come to Newport and bring his horses.”

Mabel had read and re-read this letter some half dozen
times; had thought and wept over its contents, and it still lay
open on her lap, when her solitude was broken in upon by
the entrance of her aunt Sabiah; it was one of her trials now,
that she seldom had an hour which she could enjoy without
interruption. Sabiah was rarely the intruder, however, it
being usually the bustling Mrs. Ridgway, who robbed her of
all peace and quiet. She tried to look a welcome, therefore,
as her aunt came cautiously in, glanced around, and then carefully
shut the door behind her.

“Seems to me I would go to the party to-night, Mabel,”
said she in a subdued voice, as if she believed some one were
listening at the key-hole, “she's got her heart so set on it.”

“Oh, do n't ask me to do that, aunt,” replied Mabel, a little
impatiently, rising abruptly from her seat, and thrusting her
letter into her pocket. “I can't go,—I do not feel like it,—
I'm out of spirits. Every body is at times,” added she, as
Sabiah glanced from the letter to her face.

“Well, I dare say you've got a letter from Louise; no
wonder it has put you out of sorts—it would me. But, la!
you'd feel better to go to the party and see all the young
people, and have a good time. She did n't like what you said
yesterday about not going.”

“It can't make any difference to her,” said Mabel. “She
thinks I enjoy these things, but I do not in the least, Aunt. I
can't bear to see so many people. She does not go to such
places herself, and I had rather stay at home with her and

“Well, but you see, my dear, this is n't a common occasion.

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Mrs. Bloodgood, who gives this party, is wife to the member
of Congress from this district. They're a very fine family—
one of the oldest families anywhere round. I used to hear of
them and of all their fine doings when I lived at home. She
never knew them much before you came, and she counts on
your going and making a fine show and all that. 'T would be
a pity to put her out; you don't know how set she is about a
thing, when she has made up her mind to it.” Sabiah spoke
rapidly, urging her sister's cause as if it had been her own,
and betraying at the same time her dread of that displeasure
of which she had early learned to stand in awe.

Under ordinary circumstances Mabel would have felt bound
to comply with the wishes of either of her aunts, even at some
sacrifice to herself; but her present state of mind rendered the
thought of appearing among a crowd of strangers harrowing in
the extreme; and she endeavored to parry Sabiah's arguments
with the words, “But I should not make a fine show. I
couldn't do any credit to myself or Aunt Margaret either—I
do not feel well—I am sad, unhappy, miserable.”

She spoke the last words almost at random; but Sabiah,
putting a very natural interpretation upon them, replied in a
half sympathizing, half expostulatory tone, “Well, child, I
suppose you are—a part of the time, at least. It's not strange
you should be. No doubt you are worrying about Harry, and
thinking he has come here to run the same rig he did in New
York. But, la, you can't help the matter, and it's no use to
think any thing about it. He won't go to the party, you may
depend, so it isn't worth while to be troubled about that. It is
a beautiful ride out to Mr. Bloodgood's place, and a beautiful
place when you get there. Mrs. Paradox just sent round to
invite you to go in her carriage, and you can send back word
that you will, and so it will be all settled, and you'll have a
nice time, and Margaret will be suited, and—”

Sabiah's enumeration of the happy results of Mabel's compliance
was here interrupted by the loud voice of Mrs. Ridgway,
calling to her on some household matter, and she was
compelled to hurry away, Mabel saying to her as she went, “I

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can not go, Aunt Sabiah; indeed, I can not. I wish you would
tell Aunt Margaret so.”

Quite a new turn was given to the affair, however, when at
dinner Harry unexpectedly declared his intention of accepting
the invitation.

“That's right, Harry!” cried his aunt Margaret, who, having
heard him express his contempt for parties of this description,
had scarcely expected he would be prevailed upon to
attend. “You won't be the loser by improving your acquaintance
with the Bloodgoods, I'll venture to say; there's nobody
in this part of the country entertains as they do.”

“It is a pleasant drive out there, at any rate,” said Harry,
with a somewhat indifferent air. “Every body seems to be
going. I was introduced to young Bloodgood at the Lake
House, this morning, where I went fishing, and he's a right fine
fellow. He urged my coming to his father's this evening, and
I told him I would. It seems there's a young man in town—
I've forgotten his name—some one that has visited here in
college vacations and is very popular in the neighborhood,—
this affair is got up on his account. He's been somewhere at
the other end of the world, and is to start again to-morrow;—
just here to have a peep at his friends and then be off.”

“Who can it be?” exclaimed Mrs. Ridgway; “Can't you
remember his name, Harry? Did you say he was a relation
of the family?”

But Harry could tell nothing more; and the curiosity and
speculative wonder of his aunt being excited to the utmost, she
now rehearsed the Bloodgood pedigree in all its branches,
enumerating the ages of all the male members, and endeavoring
to fix upon the identical individual whom the family were
so eager to honor. The fortune and merits of some half dozen
having been fully discussed, and each in turn pronounced the
undoubted object of so much attention, she at length arrived at
the satisfactory conclusion that, if it was not one of these, it
must be somebody else—at all events, somebody of wealth,
family, and distinction. “There, Miss, think what you will

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lose!” said she sharply, turning upon Mabel, whose interest
she had evidently been striving to awaken all the while.

Mabel, who, lost in a reverie, had been conscious of nothing
beyond Harry's announcement of his intentions, looked up with
an absent air, and when he immediately added, “Why, you
mean to go, don't you, May?” she faltered out, “Yes, if you
will take me with you.”

“Ah, ah!” exclaimed her aunt, in a manner at once taunting
and self-gratulatory, “So you can not resist this handsome
young stranger. I thought that was all that was wanting—
some distinguished guest for whom it was worth while to
put on your best smiles.”

With only a dim conception of her aunt's meaning, but willing
that her change of purpose should be attributed to any
thing rather than the real motive, Mabel allowed the remark
to pass unchallenged, and even submitted patiently to a succession
of similar petty sarcasms, which were coarse rather than
ill-natured, for Mrs. Ridgway was too well satisfied with the
triumph she had achieved to be intentionally severe. She
little suspected, meanwhile, the far greater triumph Mabel had
gained over her own feelings in thus consenting to accompany
Harry, for whom she dreaded some less desirable companionship
if she should indulge her own wishes by remaining at

“Now wear something handsome,” was the eager and almost
imperative remark with which poor Mabel was assailed a few
hours later, when, seated alone in her room, with Louise's
letter once more in her hand, she had for the moment forgotten
the cruel ordeal in store for her that evening. “Come, let me
see your dresses;” and, without ceremony, her pertinacious
aunt lifted the lid of a travelling-box which contained the
richer articles of her wardrobe, and one after another spread
them out for inspection.

As might have been expected, she at once made choice of
the gayest and richest ball dress among them all, and Mabel
could have cried with vexation at the persevering energy with
which she insisted upon her niece's appearing in a costume as

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ill-suited to the occasion as to her painfully depressed state of
mind. A compromise was at length effected, by which an
exquisite flounced muslin was substituted for the gay silken
fabric; and although the delicate texture of the former, and
its choice trimming and embroidery, rendered it unsuitable in
Mabel's eyes for a six miles' drive, she was thankful to have
in some degree overruled her aunt's bad taste, and to be allowed
to indulge the hope that, clothed in spotless white, she should,
at least, fail to be conspicuous.

It was a proud moment for Mrs. Ridgway when Harry's
little phaeton drove to the door; when her handsome niece
came down stairs, attired in the newest fashion—though she
did wish she had put on a gayer sash—when Harry appeared
with such beautiful little shirt-frills as she had no idea young
gentlemen wore now-a-days; when she accompanied them down
to the gate, to tuck in Mabel's dress and spread a shawl across
her lap; when Judge Paradox passed by at the moment and
bowed; when the neighbors ran to the window to see the young
New Yorkers start; and when, finally, the intractable mare,
after many vain attempts to get away, dashed furiously down
the street,—Sabiah in the meantime standing in the doorway,
vexing her poor heart lest Mad Sallie should break Mabel's
neck, and she never forgive herself for having persuaded the
dear child to run such an awful risk.

-- --


The ear inclined to every voice of grief,
The hand that oped spontaneous to relief,
The heart, whose impulse stay'd not for the mind
To freeze to doubt what charity enjoin'd,
But sprang to man's warm instinct for mankind.
New Timon.

[figure description] Page 280.[end figure description]

Have you seen her, Uncle Bayard? tell me, have you?”
eagerly exclaimed the animated sixteen-year-old girl, who was
seated in the carriage of the member of Congress on the day
when Mrs. Ridgway proclaimed the expected arrival of her
guests. This earnest remark was addressed to a tall young
man, with a broad forehead, and singularly frank and noble
countenance, whom the little fairy had joined, on the evening
of the party at Mrs. Bloodgood's house, and playfully caught
by the arm while she put the important question.

“Seen who?” asked the gentleman, with a smile which betrayed
that he knew very well whom she meant. “Seen
who?” repeated the girl with a mocking air. “Oh, now, Uncle
Bayard, you needn't pretend; I saw you watching her for as
much as five minutes; so tell me, what do you think of her?”

What ought I to think of her? come, teach me my lesson
again, puss,” said the young man, evading a direct reply.

“Ah! you needn't ask me, said the pretty little miss, looking
archly up into his face. “You have been studying at the
fountain head; I saw you in the looking-glass, and you never
took your eyes off her for five,—yes, for ten minutes.”

“And what was the result? Did you see my thoughts reflected
in the mirror too?”

“Yes,—pretty clearly; you thought her the most beautiful,
elegant, magnificent creature that ever you beheld in your

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life;—if you didn't, I'll never forgive you. Now tell me,”
continued she coaxingly. “isn't she splendid?”

“Yes, Bessie, and so is an iceberg.”

“Oh, what a cruel, wicked, unjust comparison!” exclaimed
the enthusiastic Bessie, resentfully flinging away the hand
which in her earnestness she had a moment before affectionately
clasped. “You would not say so if you knew her. She
is as pleasant and charming as she is beautiful.”

“I wouldn't know her on any account,” persisted the provoking

“Now why not?” challenged Bessie, throwing back her
head with a defiant air.

“I should be afraid of a chill,” and he feigned a slight shudder,
as if he suddenly felt a current of cold air.

“It is enough to give one a chill to hear you talk,” retorted
beauty's champion, with spirit. “You don't deserve to get acquainted
with her, and I almost hope you won't have a chance.
I won't introduce you.”

“A charitable resolution,” responded her youthful uncle.
I cannot conceive of a greater danger than being brought into
collision with that brilliant”—

“Stop! stop! don't you speak that word again,” cried Bessie,
trying to reach his lips with her little hand.

The tall young man threw back his head, to escape this check
upon his freedom of speech, and laughingly continued—“I am
ready to admire her to your heart's content, Bessie,—only at a
distance, mind.”

“Fie, uncle, what a coward!”

“True enough, little Bess, I plead guilty to the charge,”
said Bayard, assuming a more serious tone than that in which
the dialogue had hitherto been conducted. “A man living as
I do, where life is plain, simple, and robbed of all conventionalities,
learns to love, esteem, and reverence, to the last degree,
a warm-hearted, true, devoted woman, one who can quite forget
herself in the glow of her zeal for another, as a little friend of
mine has done to-night;—but, Bessie, if I read her face

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aright, this Miss Vaughan of yours is cold, proud, and self-confident.
I confess I am afraid of such a woman.”

“O uncle! her smile is bewitching and her manners are full
of warmth,” exclaimed Bessie.

“But the smile seems to come by rule, and her manners are
too studied to be attractive. All the graces in the world will
not compensate for the want of natural cheerfulness and simple”—
He here checked himself abruptly, as Bessie put up
her finger in a warning manner. This time she was evidently
in earnest, and a slight rustling movement in the immediate
vicinity of the speaker likewise recommended a caution, which
had, however, come too late to save the embarrassment which

The conversation had taken place in Mrs. Bloodgood's library,
which chanced to be vacated at the moment by the crowd
of visitors which thronged the hall and parlors, and the parties
engaged in it had been quite oblivious of the fact, that, standing
as they did close to the open folding-doors which led thence
into one of the drawing-rooms, every word of their animated
dispute could be distinctly heard by any person standing on the
other side of the partition. Weary with the unsuccessful effort
to rally her wounded and agitated spirits, Mabel had a moment
before sought refuge in a recess formed by a projecting mantel
piece and the partition wall of the library, and, while ostensibly
endeavoring to make the acquaintance of a child permitted to
sit up beyond its usual bed-time, she was striving to collect
and refresh her scattered senses, and already exhausted powers.
It may well be believed that she was but little aided in the
effort by the above dialogue, every word of which reached her
ears, though until her name was spoken at its close, she had no
suspicion to whom it referred. Like a hunted deer, which in
seeking a place of rest only finds itself the subject of new and
painful embarassments, she started, and without looking in the
direction of the voices, crossed with a quick step to the other
extremity of the well-filled room, thus putting a little throng
of people between herself and the unwary speakers. She had
recognized Bessie's lively tones, but those of her uncle were

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unfamiliar; and having gained the shelter of the crowd, the
impulse was irresistible to look back and discover who it might
be who had judged her with so much severity. She had crossed
the room in such a direction that she would have been enabled
to do this, had Bayard retained his former position, but a like
impulse had led him to step within the archway of the folding-doors;
and as she timidly lifted her face, suffused as it was with
a deep and burning blush, she met the clear, blue, honest eye
of the young man fixed full upon her, and her own dropped
again instinctively, while her agitation visibly increased as she
thus encountered his gaze and felt that her quick movement
was understood and appreciated.

Had his good heart experienced anything but pain and regret
at his censorious words having been thus overheard, the
latter emotions would have been at once excited by the patient,
deprecating, reproachful glance of the misjudged and sensitive
girl. There was no proud contempt, no haughty defiance in
the gentle drooping of the head, the painful blush which overspread
her cheeks and brow on thus hearing herself condemned
for emotions the very reverse of those by which she was in
reality actuated; there was no shade of anger in the countenance
which expressed hurt and wounded, but not bitter or
resentful, feelings.

“O Uncle Bayard,” exclaimed Bessie, as soon as she could
recover from her consternation, “she has heard every word!”

“She must have,” said Bayard, in a tone which indicated his

The good-natured Bessie forbore to reproach him, though
feeling scarcely less grieved than Mabel herself. She experienced
a partial triumph, however, when the young man, after
following with his eyes the object of his remarks, and watching
the quick blood mount to her temples, turned to his little niece
and said, “Bessie, she has convinced me, where you have failed.
I yield the point, and stand convicted; she is not an iceberg.”

It was the concession of a candid, truth-loving mind, but
Mabel, unfortunately, could not have the benefit of it, and
was left, as many have been under like circumstances, to the

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stinging consciousness that a burdened, humiliated, anxious
heart, while seeking to hide its oppressive secrets from the unsympathizing
eye of the world, too frequently lays itself open
to misconstruction and undeserved reproach. But it was some
consolation to believe, that, except in one unguarded moment,
she had successfully feigned a composure which she did not
feel, and this thought once more restoring her to apparent calmness,
she continued to measure out her words and smiles, which
Bayard, with no little discrimination, had discovered to be
artificial and forced. It was a relief, however, when music
was proposed, and all save the performers were permitted to
relapse into silence.

There were several fine voices among the company, and
some popular glees being called for, Mabel readily consented
to preside at the piano, and furnish the accompaniment, a difficult
accomplishment for one who does not take part in the singing;
but, although diffident in respect to her vocal powers, she
had an exquisite ear for music, and this had always at school
been her disinterested province.

Satisfied with an office which, to one so familiar with it,
involved little more than a mechanical effort, and soothed and
cheered by the sound of Harry's fine bass voice, which she
rejoiced to hear, lending depth to the song, she played a long
time without consciousness of fatigue, and finally received, with
much of her natural sweetness and grace, the thanks of the
group who were assembled around the piano. She still occupied
the music-stool, and was engaged in conversation with the
senior Mr. Bloodgood, who stood beside her, when she suddenly
became conscious that some one was waiting to take her
place at the instrument, and looking quickly up, she recognized
the individual, who, a little while ago, had made her the subject
of his criticism.

Perhaps, as she promptly vacated the place and withdrew
outside the circle, he was reminded of the dread he had expressed
of her vicinity. If so, however, it must have been his
conscience rather than her manner which so reminded him, for
she returned his gentlemanly acknowledgement of her rising

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with a graceful courtesy, and there was nothing marked or rude
in her quietly retreating to a distance.

As the instrument was so situated that the performer faced
the company, and she dreaded the embarrassment of again
meeting his eye, she purposely strolled through the back parlor
into the library, leaning on the arm of her obliging host, who
was soon after summoned away by a servant. Thus left alone
among strangers, she could not resist listening with pleasure to
the slow, impressive, and beautiful symphony which proceeded
from the piano, and was inwardly commenting on the taste and
skill of the performer, when he suddenly commenced singing;
and, as a lull among the company immediately succeeded, the
rich, mellow notes of his voice fell upon her ear, the effect
seemingly unmarred by distance.

Never before had Mabel heard such music. It was true her
enjoyment of the art had been limited, but a far wider experience
might well have failed to awaken such impressions as
those which were inspired by the strains of this gifted singer.
His voice, of great natural breadth and sweetness, possessed,
also, the advantage of the highest cultivation, and these qualities
were enhanced and their effect heightened in no slight
degree by the purity of his enunciation and the expressive
power and pathos which he imparted to the words. It was
eloquence married unto harmony. He now sang, by request,
a glorious air from Rossini's “Stabat Mater,” and the effect of
the sublime music was evident in the hush which prevailed
throughout the rooms, and the strained and eager attention of
those even who were not ordinarily susceptible to emotion from
a similar source. Though the clear, full notes penetrated
through all the lower apartments of the house, Mabel found
herself instinctively drawn in the direction whence they proceeded,
as if to make sure that they did not have their source
in some illusion of the senses, and, half forgetting, wholly disregarding
her previous desire to avoid the presence of the young
stranger, she noiselessly but unhesitatingly glided through the
hall and stationed herself among a little throng of listeners, in
the doorway opposite the piano. She had not dared to scan

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his face attentively before; now she could not resist doing so,
nor could she fail to acknowledge that it was a countenance
worthy of the inspired song,—a countenance in which gentleness
and force were most harmoniously blended. He might
have been five and twenty years of age, though the freshness
and fairness of his complexion gave him a more youthful appearance.
He wore no beard, and his light, wavy hair was
tossed back in some careless fashion, revealing a finely developed
and intellectual brow; his full, blue eye was calm, clear,
and truthful, and all his features were indicative of resolution
and energy. His unusual heighth and breadth of figure, his
well expanded chest, and firm, erect position, were all significant,
moreover, of physical power and endurance; in short, his
whole appearance might be pronounced typical of those ancient
northern races, noted both for beauty and hardihood. In proof
of this, Mabel was forcibly reminded by his striking exterior,
of a picture she had once seen representing some youthful
Norsemen of the times of Hengist and Horsa, to one figure in
which group she detected in him a marked resemblance.

It added not a little to the effect produced by his music that
he sang with no apparent effort, and seemed quite unconscious
of the impression produced upon his audience, while the half
smile upon his face indicated the joyousness with which he thus
gave vent, as it were, to the natural emotions of his soul; and
when he at length finished and rose from his seat amid the
breathless silence of the assembly, there was not the slightest
evidence of triumph in his manner; but receiving without affectation
the plaudits of those in his neighborhood, and declining
to reseat himself at the instrument, he entered, with respectful
earnestness, into conversation with Mrs. Bloodgood's father.
The latter, an extremely elderly gentleman, appeared to be
questioning him with interest, and listening with attention to
his animated replies; while the youngest child of the household,
who had leaned against him, looking up in his face while he
sang, continued in the same trusting attitude, and suffered him
to toss her silken curls with his hand; his relation to both being
significant of his rare and beautiful character; for noble

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firmness of heart and will was in him so united with gentle and
cheerful benignity, that he was one whom old men might reverence,
and little children love.

Though Mabel might be excused for terming the neighborhood
of L. a country district, in comparison with New York,
Mrs. Ridgway was right in asserting that no one could entertain
company more elegantly than their Member of Congress;
and she might also have added, with truth, that no city could
furnish a choicer collection of guests than would be sure to
assemble at his house. All the most cultivated families for
ten miles around were represented, men of political note were
present from a still greater distance, and pretty girls and gay
young collegians made the time pass merrily; while no pains
were spared on the part of the host to render the occasion a
memorable one. The beautifully decorated supper-room had
been thrown open from the commencement of the evening;
and from the moment supper was announced until the company
left the house, it was more or less frequented. During the latter
portion of the time, however, it was almost exclusively
occupied by gentlemen, who, after devoting themselves assiduously
to the ladies in the first instance, returned thither to partake
of the second course of hot oysters, and drink each other's
health with more freedom than they had ventured upon in the
presence of their mothers, daughters, and wives. It was with
trembling heart that, towards the close of the evening, Mabel
lingered near the door of this room, vainly hoping to attract
Harry's attention and, under the plea of a long drive, persuade
him to return home. He stood directly opposite to her, but the
supper-table was between them, and in the increasing hilarity
which prevailed she found it impossible to catch his eye, while
every moment of delay rendered it more doubtful whether he
would regard a sister's summons. Several of her acquaintances
passed and re-passed, and more than one invited her to
return to the drawing-room; but she persisted in declining,
remarking that she found it cooler in the hall. Now and then
a loud peal of laughter rang through her ears like a sudden
pain, while the rapid uncorking of fresh bottles of wine caused

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a nervous shudder to agitate her whole frame. In the midst
of a circle of thoughtless young men stood Harry,—no, not
Harry,—but the strange, unnatural being that Harry became,
when no longer master of himself. The light joke was passing
from lip to lip, and each had his foaming glass raised awaiting
the coming toast, when Bayard, approaching with a quick step
from the drawing-room, passed Mabel without observing her,
and stepping to the table took from it a tumbler and a pitcher,
which proved to be empty.

“Ah, Lewis!” exclaimed he, to a man-servant who stood
near, and whom he evidently knew, “there is no water here;
I want a glass of water for Miss Bessie.”

The servant took the pitcher to replenish it, and, during the
instant of delay which ensued, the young man stood gazing at
the convivial group opposite to him, with a serious, contemplative
face, which had in it, however, less of contempt than
anxiety and commiseration. As the servant presently handed
him the glass of water and he started to leave the room, he
was followed by two or three of the noisiest of the youths, who,
passing through the door-way at the same moment as himself,
were heard to say to one another, “Fred has bet with that young
New York chap, as to which will drink the most champagne,
and Bloodgood is to stand umpire. Fred has beat already;
New York is making a fool of himself. I am going to hand
my mother into her carriage and then come back and see the
sport.” At the same moment the voice of Harry within the
room boisterously exclaimed,—“Look here, waiter! bring on
some more wine.”

In the hurry and excitement of their movements, one of the
reckless youths who passed through the door at the same moment
with Bayard, roughly jostled the arm of the latter, causing
a large proportion of the water which he carried to be suddenly
spilled on the dress and arm of Mabel, who stood, as we have
said, just within the hall. He turned quickly to apologize for
the accident; but the words died on his lips as he recognized
her and observed the expression of her countenance, realizing
as he did, at the same moment, the painfulness of her situation.

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Her face was deathly pale, her colorless lips were tightly compressed,
and her hand nervously clasped the railing of a hattree
which was within her reach; while the intense suffering
which was written on her features, the earnest, pleading, and
half-bewildered look with which she met the eye, now fixed
upon her, were such as to excite the tenderest compassion in
her behalf.

Unconscious as was this silent appeal on the part of the unhappy
girl, Bayard was not the man to be insensible to it, and
though she could not have explained the reason, she took
encouragement from his answering glance, although he passed
on without a word, without even an apology for spattering her
hand and arm with cold water; a circumstance for which she
could almost have thanked him, since she felt as if it had saved
her from fainting.

A moment after, and the brave youth, who feared neither
censure nor ridicule in the cause of truth and humanity, had
passed through the parlor, disposed of his glass of water, and
returning through a side entrance, stood beside his friend
Bloodgood, in the spacious china closet, adjoining the supper-room,
where the latter had been superintending the unpacking
of a new supply of wine, and now held a bottle which he was
preparing to uncork.

“Charlie!” exclaimed he, laying his hand on the shoulder
of his friend.

Young Bloodgood turned, colored, and became confused, as
he met the calm, reproachful eye of Bayard, and answered
with some embarrassment.

“Ah! Bayard,—you here? You'll find a glass”—

“No, no, Charlie,” continued Bayard, “you know that is not
what I am here for.” “Come, added he, coaxingly, “you have
proved your hospitality enough to-night; let Lewis keep this out
of sight; it is the greatest kindness you can do those fellows.”

“Poh, nonsense! Bayard,” replied the other; “we are
bound to entertain our guests”—

“But not to shame and ruin them. This plot to disgrace a
stranger here to-night is scandalous and ought not to go on.”

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“It's a plot of his own contriving,” answered Bloodgood,
laughing. “If a man will make a buffoon of himself, he is the
best judge of his own conduct and the only sufferer by it.”

“Oh, no, Charlie, you are mistaken,” responded Bayard,
earnestly. “The greatest sufferer is that noble looking, beautiful,
unhappy girl, who stands in the doorway with a heart
bleeding for her poor brother. I will not see her proud head
brought low by his glaring folly and misconduct; I will not
look on and not lend a word and a hand to save her from mortification
and him from scorn.”

A shout of merriment from the next room, and an impatient
cry of “What has become of Bloodgood,” now caused the
well-intentioned, but somewhat irresolute youth to endeavor to
parry his friend's arguments, and break away from him altogether,
with the lightly-uttered words, “Ah, ha, Bayard! the
girl has made a conquest of you, I see, and expects you to run
a tilt on her light-headed brother's account; but you cannot
expect to make such a Don Quixote of me—a man is not
responsible for his guests.”

“Bloodgood,” exclaimed Bayard, in a tone which had
changed from simple earnestness to that of a just and
righteous indignation,—“I think a man is, to a great degree,
responsible for his guests, and to them. It is folly for
you to talk of any personal interest I can feel in either Miss
Vaughan or her brother; I, who have never spoken a word
to either, and to-morrow leave this part of the country for as
many years, perhaps, as have passed since I was last an
inmate of your father's house. But one is a woman, and as
such has a claim on your tenderness, and the other is a fellow-man,
and is thus entitled to your sympathy. Charlie,” added
he, in a tone at once affectionate and firm, “we have known
each other from boys, have passed our college life and vacations
in each other's company, and I have hoped most earnestly
to welcome you one day to my distant home; but you
and I cannot clasp hands in friendship to-night, or meet as
friends in years to come, if you compel me to believe that

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you can be indifferent to a fellow being's reputation and his
sister's peace.”

The young man thus addressed hung down his head for a
moment, fumbled with the cork-screw, which he held in his
hand, then threw it on the closet shelf, and, with a candor
which did him infinite credit, caught the hand of Bayard and
shook it with hearty warmth, exclaiming, “Bayard, I cannot
afford to lose your friendship; it has been the greatest blessing
of my life; this is not the first time you have saved me
from folly, if from nothing worse,” and energetically kicking
the champagne basket underneath the shelf, he locked his arm
in that of his friend, and they entered the supper-room together,
when Charlie, following Bayard's example, employed
himself with ready tact in dispersing the group awaiting him
around the supper-table.

“No, no, Fred,” said he, shaking his head emphatically,
“Vaughan has drank enough,—it is too bad. Boone, I believe
your sisters are wishing to say good-night to my mother.
Lander, will you come into the library and see the picture I
have had taken of my dog?”

Bayard, in the meantime, after intimating to such as would
be likely to heed the suggestion, that the young ladies in the
drawing-room were wondering what had become of the gentlemen,
obtained through Bloodgood an introduction to Harry,
and gradually contriving to withdraw him from his now scattering
circle of associates, led the way to a little room where
coffee was served. As the maniac, or the wild beast, may
frequently be calmed and subdued by the power of a fixed eye
and a resolute will, so the unfortunate young man, dispossessed
at once of reason and self-government, yielded himself, without
resistance, to the guidance and control of one who, by a
union of persuasion, tact, and unyielding purpose, contrived to
gain an immediate and complete mastery over his bewildered
and excited mind. With wandering eye and unsteady hand
he lifted to his lips the cup of coffee, which Bayard hoped
might in some degree serve as a restorative; and then, with a
strange mingling of submission and free-will, suffered the latter

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to lock his arm within his, and conduct him through a low,
open casement, leading to the piazza which ran around the
house. Once only, as they left the lighted room behind them,
and stepped out into the cool night-air, Harry manifested some
slight uneasiness, and a disposition to break away from his new
acquaintance; but either the animated conversation, the firm
grasp, or the determined eye of Bayard, restrained him from
this purpose; for it was abandoned as suddenly as formed, and
he made no further opposition to the effectual ascendancy of
superior physical and mental force.

From the moment when Bayard thus came to the rescue,
until that when he left the house with his self-assumed charge,
he was followed by the anxious gaze of the agitated and
trembling Mabel. She watched his face, his motions, understood
his generous intentions at a glance, read the secret of
his power, witnessed his success, and at length, with a heart
relieved from an inexpressible weight, comforted herself with
the assurance, that come what might, both she and her brother
were under safe and certain guardianship.

It was comparatively easy now to rally her self-possession,
to converse with the friends, who almost at the same moment
claimed her attention, to accompany them to the drawing-room,
and once more resume her part in that social scene,
which to all but her seemed replete with gaiety and pleasure.
From the window near which she stood she could distinguish
two tall figures walking slowly up and down at a distance
beneath the trees. As if they had been the sentinels stationed
without some post of danger, she felt herself animated with
new confidence and hope, as at regular intervals they passed
and repassed within her sight. So long as they continued
thus to pace the grounds, Harry was saved from further exposure,
and herself from embarrassment and shame. This
knowledge afforded security for the present moment, and
beyond that she dared not think.

It was growing late, however. Some persons who lived at
a distance had left already, and there was a murmur among the
company, such as usually precedes departure. The figures of

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the young men were no longer discernible in the dim moon-light,
and Mabel began once more to experience a painful
uncertainty and dread, which reached its height, when, on
looking up, she saw Bayard standing just within the room,
unaccompanied by Harry, and apparently looking about him
in search of some one. Suddenly he caught her eye, and
instantly crossing the room, approached, and spoke in a voice
inaudible to any one but herself.

“Miss Vaughan,” said he, as if certain of being understood,
“your brother is engaged in giving some orders about his
horse; if you will allow me the honor, I shall be happy to
accompany you to our hostess, and afterwards see you to your

Unhesitatingly, and without a word, she took his offered
arm; in some mechanical manner, she scarcely knew how, said
farewell to Mrs. Bloodgood, and with a hurried step ran up
stairs for her cloak. He awaited her in the hall on her return,
but so hasty had been her preparations for the drive,
that when they reached the door-step the carriage was not
brought up. By this time she shook and trembled violently;
the night air was damp and chilly, and Bayard, perceiving
her agitation to be such that she could scarcely stand, proposed
her re-entering the house for a few moments.

She shook her head to express her unwillingness to return,
but did not speak; and he, seeing that she trembled more and
more, unfolded a heavy shawl which she had brought down
stairs over her arm, and wrapped it around her. As he did
so, one or two hot tears fell upon his hand, while a shiver ran
through her whole frame, which was not the effect of cold.
Unwilling to leave her, and yet anxious concerning Harry,
fearful, too, that others of the company would pour out upon
the door-steps, he begged her to take his arm again, and proposed
that they should walk a short distance in the direction
of the stable, to learn the cause of the delay.

With the simple confidence of a child she did as he requested,
and just at the rear of the house they encountered Harry, who,
engaged in an idle dispute with a groom on the subject of his

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mare's harness, seemed quite unconscious that his sister was
awaiting his movements. Mad Sallie, meanwhile, irritated and
unmanageable beyond her wont, was starting from side to side
and now and then plunging furiously forward.

Bayard's presence and prompt interference soon restored
harmony, however. Both Harry and the groom were ready
to submit their difference to him, and even Mad Sallie was
soothed into quietness by his voice and hand, as he spoke
gently to her and stroked her mane while he critically examined
every point of the harness. “Do not be afraid,” said he in a
low voice as he handed Mabel into the light vehicle; “I am
confident you will reach town in safety.” He drew back as he
ceased speaking, for Harry, who was already seated in the
carriage, had taken up the reins and now incautiously snapped
his whip. Mad Sallie started, reared, plunged forward, then
backed for a pace or two, and finally dashed off at full speed.
The groom held up his lantern once more to see that all was
right, and as the carriage swept rapidly round the corner of
the house, the glare fell full on the face of Mabel, who had
lifted her hitherto bowed head, and turned to bestow a parting
glance on her own and her brother's benefactor.

How much of grief and how much of gratitude may be
revealed in a single look! Had Bayard's humane and generous
deed involved a tenfold effort, and demanded a tenfold
sacrifice, his noble heart would have asked no higher reward
than the glow of deep, fervent, and grateful feeling which
flashed out from that pale, tearful, sorrow-struck face, turned
towards him for an instant, and then borne away into the

“Only by bearing each other's burdens can we read the
secrets of each other's hearts,” thought he, as he stood listening
until the carriage had passed in safety through the gateway at
the end of the avenue. “How strangely did I misjudge and
wrong that suffering girl.”

His mental recantation was interrupted by the blunt voice of
the Irish groom. “Go it, yer young rascal;” exclaimed the man,
“and the blessed angel beside ye be the savin' o' yer bones”.

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“Bring up my horse as quick as you can, Patrick,” said
Bayard, turning abruptly to the fellow, who was starting in the
direction of the stable.

“Sure, Misther Bayard, ye'll not be afther goin'to L—

“Yes, I have concluded to sleep at the hotel there; and,
Patrick, I shall be much obliged to you if you will bring my
luggage over in the morning in season for the early train. I
will speak to Mr. Charles about it,” and so saying he hastened
into the house.

Mabel's first sensations as she drove down the avenue and
gained the open road, were those only of indescribable relief
and deliverance from dreaded danger. But though her brother
was rescued from further disgrace, no trifling peril of a far
different nature awaited them both. She could not disguise
from herself the fact that Harry was incapable of managing
his spirited steed or of distinguishing the road, the intricacy of
which she well remembered. The night was dark; there was
more than one bridge to be crossed, while, at a certain point,
their way wound along the verge of a precipitous bank, and
was protected only by a slender railing. Fortunately, for the
first mile or two the road was wide and unencumbered, so that
the rapid pace at which they started was maintained for awhile
without disaster of any kind. Then Harry, who had been
boisterous and talkative, relapsed into silence, slackened his
reins, and suffered the mare to fall into a walk. They proceeded
at this rate for some little distance, and were just
approaching a point where the road branched, when Harry's
head sank upon Mabel's shoulder, and she perceived that he
had fallen asleep. Tremblingly she caught the reins as they
dropped from his powerless hands, and suffering him to retain
his recumbent posture, assumed for the first time and under
the most painful circumstances, the responsible office that had
thus devolved upon her.

At this crisis, she heard the welcome sound of horses' hoofs,
and although in the darkness she could distinguish nothing
with certainty, she soon became convinced that for her all

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danger was past. A horseman soon overtook them, and then
slackening the pace at which he rode, silently performed for
the remainder of the drive the combined duties of protector,
guide, and friend. At every fork in the road he led the way,
and Mad Sallie instinctively followed. At every point of danger
he kept perseveringly at the animal's side, and more than
once Mabel was conscious that he led her by the rein. Now
in advance and now in the rear, sometimes quite obscured in
the darkness, and again dimly discerned as he loitered on the
brow of a hill, but always near enough for the sound of his
horse's feet to be distinctly audible, he might have been deemed
an accidental traveller on the road, but for the watchful and
efficient care which he exercised over his voluntarily assumed
charge. It was a strange situation for a young and delicatelyreared
girl;—supporting with one arm the sleeping form of
him who should have been her natural protector, grasping with
her white-gloved and trembling hand the reins which ordinarily
she would not have dared to touch, and dependent in the darkness
of midnight and the solitude of the lonely road, upon the
guardianship of a stranger. Such was the confidence, however,
with which Bayard had inspired her, that from the moment
when she instinctively realized the presence of one whom in
the obscurity she could not otherwise recognize, she experienced
an undoubted sense of security, and felt the force of his prophetic
assurance, that there was no cause for fear. Not until
they gained the partially lit streets of the town did he fail to
keep within her hearing. As they rattled over the pavements
of the principal thoroughfare, however, the sound of his horse's
feet in the rear gradually became more and more indistinct;
and Mabel, as she now realized her position more fully by the
light of the street lamps, and attempted to rouse her sleeping
brother, was almost tempted to believe that she herself had
been under the influence of a strange, wild dream, and that
their fancied outrider was merely an hallucination of the senses.
It was no easy task to arouse Harry's slumbering faculties, and
even after they had reached their aunt's door in safety, Mabel
hesitated and feared to alight, lest he should prove incapable

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of guiding Mad Sallie to her stable at some distance down the

Trusting partly to the creature's instinct, and encouraged by
some signs of renewed vivacity and intelligence in Harry, who
stretched himself energetically, declared it was a deused bore to
ride so far at night, and pettishly shook the reins which he had
snatched from her hand, she stepped, unassisted and at some
risk upon the sidewalk, and stood watching him as he continued
on his way. At this moment her doubts, if such actually existed,
concerning the reality of their midnight escort were at
once dispersed, for as she lingered anxiously in the gate-way,
looking down the street, he rode suddenly past her, and disappeared
in the direction Harry had taken. Nor was his identity
with Bayard any less evident, when, a half-hour later, she
cautiously opened the door of her aunt's house to admit her
recreant brother, and, as he staggered in, the light shone full on
the retreating figure of one who, from first to last, had proved
himself a friend.

It mattered not to Mabel that he had misunderstood and
falsely interpreted her character. On the contrary, it but added
to the heroism of his conduct, that it admitted of no selfish
construction, that it was as disinterested as it was manly and
humane. He had freely expressed, in her hearing, his unflattering
opinion of herself, and of Harry he might almost believe
the worst, and yet to both he had acted a Christian part.
Mabel was not ungrateful for his kindness to the beauty and
the belle, the general admiration of whom he did not profess
to share, but it was not for this that she most fervently thanked
and blessed him. It was for the benefit conferred on Harry,
and through him, on her. It was because he alone of all the
world had lent a willing and a helping hand to her sinking,
sunken brother.

We rejoice and triumph when the world bestows its homage
and its smiles upon our great, our noble, and our virtuous beloved;
but the deeper fountains of the heart are stirred when
a hand is stretched out in sympathy and in aid to our poor, our
fallen, and our sinful ones. We feel that the honor paid to

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worth is a sentiment which ennobles humanity; but the voice
that whispers of hope to the fallen is more than half divine.
Thus, the emotion which Bayard had awakened in Mabel was
that of reverent gratitude, and was treasured in after years as
a sacred memory. They had met, as it were, on one of the
cross roads of life; she dimly comprehended that on the morrow
he was to depart into some unknown but distant exile; she
had parted from him without a word of acknowledgement or of
thanks. Still she felt that for his service to virtue and humanity
he would never go unrewarded, and on bended knee,
in the silence of the night, she prayed that the God of Heaven
might be with him in his wanderings, and that He might minister
to him in his hour of need, who has said of the simplest
deed of charity, “Inasmuch as ye have done it unto one of the
least of these my brethren, ye have done it unto me.”

-- --


Something was there, that, through the lingering night,
Outwatches patiently the taper's light;
Something that faints not through the day's distress,
That fears not toil, that knows not weariness.
Mrs. Hemans.

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Mrs. Ridgway was very indignant the next morning, when,
in reply to her pointed questions, Mabel assured her that she
had not been introduced to the distinguished guest of Mrs.
Bloodgood, whom she supposed, however, to be a Mr. Bayard,
such an individual having been present. So much was the
ambitious aunt piqued at this neglect, that she effectually restrained
her curiosity, and forbore making any inquiries of her
neighbors concerning the stranger, lest she should be compelled
to acknowledge that her niece had not made his acquaintance;
and thus, much to Mabel's relief, he was not again referred to
in her presence.

But the vexation which this circumstance occasioned to Mrs.
Ridgway was slight in comparison with the resentment she felt
against her nephew, when, in the course of the day, she heard
from Hannah, her cook,—who had it from Mrs. Paradox's parlor
girl, who had it from Mr. Bloodgood's man, Patrick,—that
“the young New York chap, who was a stayin' at the widder
Ridgway's, had been pretty considerable sprung,” the previous
night, and “must have got back to town by a miracle, with his
dragon of a baste.”

So long as Harry maintained the position of a gentleman,
and was courted throughout the vicinity as a foreign-bred youth,
of wealth, accomplishments, and spirit, Mrs. Ridgway, prudent
as she was in her own affairs, cared not how thoughtlessly he
idled away his time, or how recklessly he squandered his

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father's money. The moment, however, that he overstepped
the outermost limits of that decorum which society enjoins,
her worldly-wise sagacity took alarm; and now that she heard
his name lightly used even by servants, she began to apprehend
that instead of an honor, he would prove a cause of discredit
and disgrace to her house. She was not one to be
restrained by motives of delicacy from expressing, in Mabel's
hearing, her contempt and disgust at what she termed this
scandalous exposure, nor did she hesitate to acquaint Harry,
by the broadest hints and inuendoes, with her knowledge of the
shameful events of the evening, which she declared to be common
talk, and against which she inveighed as reflecting not only
upon the delinquent, but upon all who had the misfortune to be
connected with him.

Whatever indifference Harry might feel or feign at these
home thrusts and sarcasms with which he was constantly
assailėd, they were the cause of the most poignant suffering
to Mabel, and the more so as she plainly saw that although
apparently listened to by Harry in dogged unconcern, they
coöperated with other circumstances in angering and driving
him to desperation.

Conscious that he had disgraced himself in the estimation of
the respectable portion of the community, feeling it little less
than an insult to the venerable Judge Paradox to present himself
in the office, where he was but a nominal student, and
driven from his aunt's house by her worse than useless invectives,
he now gave himself wholly up to a life of excitement,
and sought only those associates among whom he was sure to
find a ready welcome. Thus, he was sometimes absent for
days together; the time of his return was always uncertain, and
although his departure was invariably the signal for Mrs. Ridgway
to denounce his idle and reckless habits, the ungracious
reception which she gave him after every absence, was little
calculated to render his excursions from home less frequent or

The rooms which he had expected to occupy were in a new
building, not yet completed. The work might, perhaps, have

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been hastened, but neither he nor his aunt cared to press the
point, for it was now generally conceded that Harry's residence
in L— was not destined to be permanent. Nothing, however,
had been heard from Mr. Vaughan with reference to the
probable time of his return, and, although the presence of his
children in Mrs. Ridgway's house was fast becoming burdensome,
there seemed no other alternative than for them to remain
there for the present.

“Do go to bed, child! Dear me, you'll make yourself
sick!” Aunt Sabiah would anxiously exclaim, when creeping
cautiously into Mabel's room at the midnight hour, she would
find the faithful sister watching at the window for her brother's

But Mabel would gently shake her head in reply to her
aunt's expostulations, and say, “O no, aunt; I am not tired. I
could not sleep.”

“There is n't one chance in ten that he'll come home to-night,”
Sabiah would, perhaps, rejoin. “You're getting pale
and miserable, and what's the use, after all?”

“I feel anxious,” was sure to be the answer. “He'll come
soon, I think,” and with a few persuasive words, Sabiah would
be coaxed back to bed, and Mabel would persist in her lonely

It was a principle with Mrs. Ridgway that her doors should
be locked at ten o'clock precisely,—a rule which had been
occasionally infringed during the few weeks succeeding the
arrival of her young visitors, but which had been rigidly enforced
from the time of her becoming acquainted with Harry's
irregularities. Thus, it was only by the most unwearied
watchfulness that Mabel could ensure her brother's ready admittance;
and who shall tell how often the wanderer was
beguiled back by the certainty that, come at what hour he
might, whether of the night or day, the same gentle voice
which had lamented his departure, would greet him at his
return, and the same sweet face which had anxiously watched
him as he went, would welcome him with a smile, mournful,
perhaps, but always kind?

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All the fatigues and dissipations of the previous winter had
not so weighed upon Mabel's frame and exhausted her strength,
as did these prolonged and midnight vigils, when, with straining
eye and ear, she thus waited and hoped and prayed. But
though the color was each day fading from her cheek, and her
step had lost its elasticity, she gained, in these lonely communings
with God and her own heart, a power which is born of
endurance, and a strength which comes only through suffering.
With the world and its bewildering sounds shut out, and the
page of duty open before her, she was patiently learning that
great lesson of life which is the key to all the rest; and in humble
forgetfulness of self, and serene reliance on Heavenly aid,
she was gradually divining that precious secret which had rendered
Rosy's little life a blessed ministry.

Her willingness both to do and to suffer was soon put to the
very test of which she had long had a foreshadowing and
presentiment. She was sitting one moonlight night at her
accustomed window, which commanded a view of the street,
and with her tired head resting on her hand, was listening for
the familiar sounds which betokened Harry's return, when she
was startled by a vehicle, which was none of his, approaching
her aunt's door, and the strange, hurried voices, significant
motions and words of caution and alarm which succeeded,
served at once to confirm the cruel conviction which had already
flashed upon her. The scene was precisely such as her
imagination had long since conjured up. Mad Sallie had but
executed the destructive work which might well have been
anticipated from a refractory beast driven by a mad man, and
Harry was brought home insensible, perhaps already bereft of

“Don't be scared; I guess he'll come to,” said a rough but
kindly voice, as Mabel met, at the door, the benevolent farmer
and his sturdy sons, when bearing in their heavy burden.

“Oh, he is dead!” exclaimed she, in a hollow whisper, as
she fixed her eyes with a rigid stare upon her brother's ghastly

“No, no, not a bit of it; don't you believe any such thing,”

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said the countryman, as having laid the helpless form of the
young man on the entry sofa, he took a silk handkerchief from
his hat and wiped his heated brow. Then, seeing that Mabel
stood like one turned to stone, watching his face as if to read
in it her brother's fate, he went on to state in earnest terms his
belief that the young fellow was only stunned; that he had
spoken since they lifted him from the ground; that he appeared
to have no broken bones; that he had been on a bit of spree
and was pretty well corned;—no offence to the young woman—
he hoped she was n't a near relation of the poor dog whose
horse, devil of a beast as it was, seemed to have the most
sense of the two; “never you mind,” added he, in a truly
fatherly tone, patting with his rough hand the head of Mabel,
who now leaned over Harry's prostrate form, listening to his
feeble but regular breathing—“he's got a lesson that's better'n
preachin',—p'r'aps 't'll be the savin' on him, soul and

“Bring him up stairs,” ejaculated Mabel, in a low, imploring
voice; her subdued tones proving, even at this exciting
moment, the force of that habit of watchful stillness with
which, night after night, she had evaded her aunt Ridgway's

The precaution was unnecessary now, however. The house
was by this time fully aroused, and poor Harry's bearers were
met on the staircase by its bustling and voluble mistress, who,
but for the old farmer's obstinate resistance, would have compelled
them to pause then and there, and acquaint her with
every circumstance of the accident, before they were suffered
to proceed with their burden. The bustle and confusion which
ensued, were such as usually attend similar events in a household,
save that in this instance, they were aggravated by the
irritation and annoyance which succeeded Mrs. Ridgway's first
outburst of astonishment and alarm. Her earliest impulse
was, as we have said, to possess herself of every particular;
her next, to rid the house of strangers; and her last thought
seemed to be of the poor sufferer, over whom Mabel hung, in
an agony of suspense, while Sabiah wrung her hands, groaned

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and anxiously asked herself—“how will sister Margaret put
up with this new trouble?” Mabel, though the most afflicted,
was the only one of the household who had the presence of
mind to send for a physician or attempt to apply restoratives;
and her simple efforts, unavailing as they were, served to calm
her mind and render her capable of affording that assistance
which the medical man required on his arrival. While Sabiah
gave up to the despair which had taken possession of her, and
while Mrs. Ridgway examined her parlor carpet to discover
whether it had been stepped on by dirty feet, and looked into
the kitchen cupboards to make sure that no stragglers had taken
advantage of the confusion to conceal themselves there, Mabel
held the lamp for the doctor, furnished him with bandages and
other necessary articles, replied to all his questions, and received
at last the comforting assurance that, except some severe
bruises and a slight cut on the back of the head, there was no
perceptible injury, and that nothing serious need be apprehended,
unless fever supervened.

“Cannot you do something to restore him to consciousness?”
she anxiously asked.

The doctor shook his head. “I cannot judge,” said he,
“how much his present condition is to be attributed to the accident,
and how much to previous excitement of the brain. I can
tell better to-morrow.”

Morning, however, brought no change for the better, and before
night the fever, which had been the chief cause of apprehension,
set in. Now followed days and weeks of continued
nursing, anxiety, and suspense, during which Mabel was the
constant and unwearied attendant at the bedside of her brother.
As the stupor, in which he had lain for some hours, gave place
to feverish excitement, he manifested, in no measured terms,
his preference for his sister's presence and care; barely tolerating
his aunt Sabiah, and, with fierce imprecations and threats,
driving Mrs. Ridgway from the room whenever she ventured
to set her foot within the door. From Mabel's hand only would
he receive the cooling draught, and to her alone was he gentle
and submissive.

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The wild words of delirium would die upon his lips as his
eye met her loving glance, and his excited gestures would
often give place to quiet and repose when he felt the pressure
of her soft hand on his burning temples. Sometimes, as
she sat patiently by his side through the long watches of the
night, he would reveal to her in measured whispers the confession
of his past folly, extravagance, and dissipation; gazing into
her face meanwhile with a holy awe, as if he believed her some
angel messenger sent thither to gather up the burdensome
secrets which lay upon his conscience. A less excited imagination,
indeed, might almost have mistaken her for an apparition,
as, clothed in a long white wrapper, and becoming each
day more pale and worn, she moved noiselessly about the
darkened chamber, anticipating the sufferer's slightest want,
and patiently soothing his restlessness.

Her aunt Margaret, exasperated by the abuse with which
Harry assailed her, washed her hands, as she said, of all responsibility
in regard to him, and both by her own indignant
and unaccommodating spirit, and by the strict orders which she
gave her servants, contrived to double Mabel's cares and anxieties,
and impress upon her a most painful sense of the difficulties
which sickness made in a household. Poor Sabiah, divided
between love for Mabel and dread of her sister's anger, hovered
stealthily in the vicinity of Harry's room, haunted the staircase
and passage-way, and patiently strove to relieve her niece's
weariness; but in her perturbed state of feeling, she effected but
little in Mabel's favor, and brought down on her own head a
torrent of reproaches from Mrs. Ridgway, who, having no other
hearer, took every opportunity of expressing to Sabiah a piece
of her mind, and declaring that she had no idea of being imposed
upon by her relations.

But, although Mabel's task was at once solitary and trying,
it had its alleviations. It was far better to see Harry lying
there in his helplessness, than to picture him amid scenes of
folly and vice; and in the gentle ministries of affection her own
bruised and wounded spirit found a healing balm, while in the
hearts of both, a silent influence was at work which hallowed

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those lonely hours, and made that quiet chamber the nursery
of blessed and immortal fruits.

It was about three weeks after the accident, and at the dim
hour of twilight, when Mabel, believing her brother to have
fallen asleep, threw herself on her knees beside him, and remained
awhile lost in meditation and prayer. It had been to
her a day of no ordinary suspense. The doctor pronounced
his patient to be nearly free from fever, declared that the crisis
was past, and gave her encouragement that he would soon be
well. This assurance had, however, failed to satisfy her. It
was true that Harry now slept quietly, breathed with ease, and
took submissively the nourishment that was offered him. Still
she felt that there was something about him unnatural and
strange. Since he ceased his incoherent ravings, he had not
been heard to utter a syllable; and although she was conscious
that he watched her continually, he made no reply to her gentle
inquiries, and, when she approached him, turned away his head,
closed his eyes, and remained in one position for hours. Could
his intellect have become dimmed? did he cherish bitter
thoughts toward her? or what was the cloud which had thus
settled upon him?

Exhausted by harrowing doubts and fears, she had rested a
long time with her face shrouded in the bed clothes, and her
soul laid bare to the all-seeing Father, when a hand was gently
laid upon her head, and a faint, broken voice, murmured,
“Mabel.” She looked hastily up, and met the earnest, tearful
gaze of Harry, fixed full and eagerly upon her. The tender
glance, and penitent tones of the chastened spirit were not to be
mistaken; he stretched out both his feeble arms, and, with a
cry of joy, she fell upon his bosom, and they wept together.
As in the days of their innocent childhood, when nestled on one
pillow, they had mourned over their little griefs, and soothed
each other's little sorrows, so now, with cheek pressed to cheek,
every shadow of past estrangement was washed away in a soft
rain of tears, while many a cherished hope for the future
dawned amid that refreshing dew of sympathy. Not a word
was spoken, not an explanatory phrase was breathed by either;

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—nor were they needed. In that moment of the heart's recognition,
that outpouring of mutual confidence and restored affection,
Mabel felt herself repaid for every trial, every sacrifice,
every suffering. She had watched, and waited, and hoped, and
prayed. In spite of weariness, alienation, disgrace, and sin,
led by patience, fortitude, and holy love, she had sought and
found her brother.

-- --


From the sun's might, away may the calm planet rove?
How easy, then, for man to wander from God's love!
Yet from each circle's point to the centre lies a track;
And there's a way to God from furthest error back.

[figure description] Page 308.[end figure description]

Harry, I promised to give you these as soon as you were
well enough. Perhaps you will feel able to look them over
to-day,” said Mabel, and she put a little bundle of papers into
her brother's hand and hastily left the room.

The young man, pale and thin from the effects of his recent
illness, but so far recovered as to be seated in an arm-chair at
a table from which he had been breakfasting, unfolded the
papers one by one, examined their contents, and, with an air
of mingled thoughtfulness and shame, spread them out before
him. They were bills of various amounts, including many contracted
under circumstances of which he had no recollection,
and nearly all of a nature calculated to make a sober man blush
at his own folly and extravagance; long accounts at a neighboring
hotel for dinners and suppers shared by unworthy and
ungrateful associates, petty debts contracted at most of the
places of resort and entertainment for a dozen miles around,
heavy charges at stable-keeper's and blacksmiths, and an
alarming balance in favor of an unprincipled horse-jockey with
whom he had had frequent dealings. During the hour that
Mabel purposely continued absent from the room, Harry sat
studying these written records of his own disgrace, anxiously
calculating the extent of his creditors' demands, and revolving
with still deeper bitterness the far heavier account which lay
upon his conscience.

When she at length returned, he was systematically filing

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the bills and noting the sum of each on a slip of paper.
“Mabel,” said he, looking up as she entered, “will you write a
note for me to young Bloodgood? My hand is not quite steady
yet, and I want to ask him to call and see me this evening, if

Mabel did as she was requested, and Charlie responded to
the summons by presenting himself at an early hour. Harry,
who had not yet been below stairs, received him in his own
room; and so earnest and prolonged was the conversation
between them, that Mabel, as she sat in the adjoining chamber,
became fearful that her brother would be over-fatigued, and
listened impatiently for the visitor's departure. “Good bye,
Vaughan,” he was at length heard to say, as he left the room
and lingered a moment in the passage-way. “I will see you
again in a day or two. There will be no trouble in disposing
of the greys. I know of one or two persons who would take
them and the phaeton off your hands at any moment. Mad
Sallie will bring a better price perhaps in the city, but don't
give yourself any uneasiness about the business—I'll attend
to it with pleasure. I am glad to find you so much better.”

Later in the evening, when Mabel was sitting beside her
brother and there had been a short silence between them,
Harry exclaimed in a tone of deep and mournful feeling,

“Mabel, do you believe in such a thing as repentance?”

“O Harry,” she promptly replied, “what hope would there
be for any of us, if we were cut off from that blessed refuge?”

“But I do not mean any common sorrow for a common
fault;—do you believe in a repentance broad and deep enough
to cover such a record of folly as that?”—and he pointed to
the roll of bills—“or to wipe out such a sense of shame and
sin as is written here?” and he placed his hand upon his heart.

“Do not doubt it for a moment, dear Harry,” replied Mabel,
in a tone of affectionate encouragement. “The sin which we
have learned to hate is robbed of half its power, and the soul
is never so strong as when it realizes its own weakness.

“But the sting of memory!” exclaimed Harry with bitterness;
“the burning sting! Can that ever be rooted out?”

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[figure description] Page 310.[end figure description]

“It may become the spur to a higher virtue than we ever
dreamed of before. O Harry!” she continued, her voice
half choked with sobs and her face hid upon his shoulder, “I
know, for I have felt it. Nothing has ever so fortified me
against my own weak and selfish indulgence, as the remorse
and penitence with which I now look back upon a wasted,
misspent, and dissipated winter.”

“You!” responded Harry, fondly caressing her, for she was
striving in vain to repress her tears; “dear child! What do
you know of misspent and dissipated time? You shame me
more than ever, when you try to lighten my load by pretending
to share it.”

“It is no pretence, Harry. I can never forgive myself for
being so faithless to a plain and simple duty. We had such a
beautiful home, and might all have been so happy together! I
might have done so much to make it pleasant for you and my
father and aunt! But your prophecy of me was true—I was
the first to yield to temptation, and to become the slave of my
own vanity and self-love. Yes, it is in vain to deny it—I
was not the daughter and sister that I should have been.”

“You have been a faithful sister to me, Mabel,” said Harry.
“If you had a fault in the world, it was because your nature
was so open to impressions that, like your poor brother, you
were easily led captive; but you women have a deeper insight
than we into the depths of human character, and so you can
stop short where we must fall, unless some gentle hand follows
and upholds us.” What a confiding look he gave her while he
spoke the last words—proving by it how fully he realized
that she was the staff on which he leaned.

She made no reply, and he went on. “There was a time
when I thought that the same plausible, treacherous mind that
had brought me to the verge of ruin and there left me to stand
or fall as I best might, was striving with all his powers to
establish an influence over you. I thought you cherished his
opinions, trusted his false professions, and would sacrifice every
other friend for one whom all must acknowledge to be the most
insinuating of men. I knew my interference would fail to

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open your eyes, for he was the chosen companion of my better
days, and it was I who had filled your ears with his praises.
The self-willed, ruined dog (for so I once heard him call me)
could not hope to establish his testimony against the accomplished,
spotless Dudley. But instinct taught you, I believe,
to repel the hypocrite, and something better than instinct bids
you cling to the poor dog, who is at least sincere when he tells
you how much he loves you.”

Mabel clung to him the closer, but was silent.

“Yes,” continued he, with forced and bitter composure, “I
have no right to blame any one but myself for my fall; but if
there is one man more than another who is in any degree
responsible for it, it is Lincoln Dudley. It was he whose
elegant taste for play first led me to the gaming-table; whose
systematic self-indulgence fostered in me the love of wine;
whose professed idleness robbed me of all impulse to exertion,
and whose sceptical principles made me question the very
existence of virtue. He would leave the gaming-house with
moderate winnings, while I had staked and lost every thing;
he would coolly drain the bottle, one glass from which had set
my hot blood to boiling; and when at last, in some unguarded
moment, I had betrayed my weakness, this polished favorite of
society was the first to point at me the finger of scorn, and
drive me to desperation by his contemptuous neglect. I deserved
contempt, but not from him. Nor was it the least of
my torments that, while turning his back upon me, he dared
offer his unworthy homage to the person I loved best in the
world. Thank Heaven, Mabel, you had the discernment and
the strength of mind which are needed to understand and cope
with such a man.”

“O Harry,” exclaimed Mabel, making an effort to speak,
only as she felt herself called upon to disclaim this tribute
of praise, “I am not the strong-minded girl you think me. I
did not question his sincerity. I believed him everything that
was noble and true. I would gladly believe him so still, but
I cannot.”

The tone of her voice betrayed her; it told of misplaced

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affection, disappointed trust, and weariness of spirit. Harry
put his arm around her, drew her face close to his, and whispered,
“You gave him up for my sake?”

“I could not find it in my heart to leave you alone, Harry,”
was her simple answer.

“Bless your loving heart, Mabel,” responded he, kissing her
tenderly; “Dudley and I are alike unworthy of it.”

This conversation, serving as it did to throw new light upon
the cold and artificial character of Dudley, had at the same
time the effect of sensibly weakening the hold which he still
had upon Mabel's interest and imagination. Conscious as she
was of his duplicity towards herself, she was still more deeply
shocked as she contemplated the faithlessness of his once
boasted friendship for Harry, and she henceforth began to
realize that in freeing herself from the influence of this selfish
and worldly-wise man, she had secured her own no less than
her brother's welfare.

It was one morning towards the end of August when Harry,
who had now wholly recovered, entered his aunt Ridgway's
sitting-room with a New York paper in his hand, and glancing
over the items of intelligence, read them aloud for the benefit
of his aunt Sabiah and Mabel, who were seated there.

“Regatta next week at Cape May—Disastrous fire in
Canal street—Splendid fancy ball at Newport,—the beautiful
Mrs. Leroy of New York one of the belles of the evening.”

“More shame for her,” muttered Sabiah, in an under tone.
“Where's her husband, I wonder?”

“Shocking railroad accident,” continued Harry, disregarding
the interruption; “nineteen persons killed and wounded.”

“Oh, dear, how common those things are becoming!” said
Mabel. “Where was it, Harry?”

“Good heavens!” exclaimed the latter, making no reply to
the question, and turning suddenly pale.

“What is the matter?” cried Mabel in alarm. “Did the
accident happen at the West? Father”—

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“Father is safe,” said Harry, at once relieving her fears,—
“but Mr. Leroy”—

“Is killed?” gasped Mabel, with a countenance full of
dread, while Sabiah laid down her work and stared at Harry
with strained and horror-stricken features.

Harry answered by covering his face with one hand and
passing Mabel the paper, with his thumb on the following

“We regret to learn that our esteemed fellow-citizen, Alexander
Leroy, Esq., was among the victims of this fatal catastrophe.
Mr. John Vaughan, a well-known and highly respected
merchant of our city, was also a passenger on board the train,
and, at the moment of the accident, occupied the same seat with
his son-in-law, Mr. Leroy; but the former providentially
escaped with only a few bruises, while the latter was instantly

Mabel ran her eye hastily over this account, and, as she
read the partial confirmation of her fear, uttered a low cry,
and handed the paper to her Aunt Sabiah. Not a word was
spoken for some minutes,—all seemed struck dumb by the
sudden and awful nature fo the shock, and solemn thoughts
chased each other through the minds of each.

Thanksgiving for her father's deliverance was mingled in
Mabel's mind with horror and grief at the sudden death of
Mr. Leroy; and in spite of her sister's cold-hearted frivolity,
she shuddered as she thought of the heavy blow which awaited,
if it had not already reached, her. Perhaps Harry experienced
the same train of thought, for he at length broke the silence
by the abrupt inquiry, “Mabel, where is Louise?”

“I do not know,” replied Mabel; “I wish I did, so that I
might go to her.”

“She is not at Newport, then?”

“No. She was to give up her rooms the day after the
ball, and either visit the Earles at West Point, or go to Cape
May with Mrs. Vannecker,—it was quite undecided when
she wrote last.”

“You will stay here then, I suppose, until you hear from

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her,” said he; “but I think I had better go immediately to

“Yes, do, Harry,” replied Mabel eagerly; “he may be
more hurt than we suppose; at all events, he will need you.
Oh, how I wish we could learn the particulars, and be sure of
his safety.”

Mrs. Ridgway at this moment entered the room, and seeing
the unusual agitation which was written in every countenance
exclaimed with her wonted abruptness, “Well, what's to pay
here? Sabiah, what's given you such a long face?”

Sabiah gravely communicated the intelligence to her.

“Upon my word,” cried she, “brother John has had a narrow
escape. And so that gad-about of a Louise is left a
widow, is she? Well, I daresay she has not found it out
herself yet. The blow that reaches her has got to strike her
on the wing.”

No one, not even Sabiah, felt disposed at this moment to
echo Mrs. Ridgway's remark, while the roughness of her
words and manner grated so painfully upon Mabel's overcharged
feelings, and she hastened to her own room to give
vent to the emotions which she could no longer control.

An hour or two afterwards she was joined by Harry. He
had made some inquiries concerning the route which it would
be advisable for him to take, in order to reach the distant
scene of the accident in the shortest possible time, and had
decided that it would be best to start that evening. Mabel
could not but perceive, even at this agitating season, that he
seemed inspired with new energy, by the sudden necessity for
exerting himself in other's behalf; nor could she help hoping,
that in the breaking up of evil associations, and the escape
from the scene of his recent mortification, he would gain new
strength for carrying out his earnest and manly purpose of

By the judicious management of young Bloodgood in the
sale of Harry's horses and their expensive equipment, a sufficient
sum had been raised to defray his numerous debts.
There was but little remaining, however, and he was obliged

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to beg assistance from Mabel's purse, to furnish him with funds
for the journey. Proud of the promptness with which he had
rendered justice to his creditors, and feeling this expedition to
be one in which they had a common interest, Mabel would
gladly have transferred to him every cent of her ample supply
of pocket money. But he would receive only what his actual
expenses demanded, forcing back the rest into her hand, and
saying, “You forget how much you may need it yourself.”

It had been agreed that Mabel should write to Louise at
both the points where a letter might possibly reach her, and
that, until she had some certain knowledge of her sister's
plans, she should remain at L., to which place Harry's letters
should be directed, whenever he had anything to communicate.

Two days after her brother's departure, Mabel's suspense
was to some degree relieved by a few hasty lines from her
father, dated from a Western post-town, and simply confirming
the fact of Mr. Leroy's death, and his own safety.

The next mail, also, brought tidings from Louise. Mrs.
Vannecker wrote from Cape May, stating that Mrs. Leroy had
accompanied her thither the preceding week, and had learned
the terrible news the day after her arrival.

“She bears the stroke with more composure than I had expected,”
added Mrs. Vannecker. “At times she is excited and
hysterical, but for the most part she is tolerably cheerful, and
allows herself to be comforted and consoled by the attention
and sympathy which she receives from every one in the hotel.
Alick seems to feel his father's death, but Murray, poor child,
is too young, I suppose, to realize the loss. Louise is now
asleep on a couch in my room. When she awakes, she will
add a postscript in reply to your sweet, affectionate letter which
was received last evening.”

Mrs. Leroy's postscript consisted of a strange medley of
self-compassionating and congratulatory phrases, the former,
that she had experienced such a cruel shock to her nerves, and
lost such a kind, indulgent husband; the latter, that she had
foreseen this or some similar catastrophe, and had wisely
refused to accompany Mr. Leroy into that shocking Western

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wilderness. The only really coherent passage was that in which
she deprecated the idea of her sister's coming to Cape May
where the house was so crowded, on account of the approaching
regatta, that it would be impossible to obtain any accommodation.
She expected to return to New York in the course of a week
or two; should be glad to have Mabel meet her there, and
would write again to let her know when she should leave the

The next ten days were weary ones to Mabel. She seemed
to be oppressed by a fever of the spirits, and to be weighed
down by some haunting fear. She found it impossible to rally
her cheerfulness notwithstanding Mrs. Ridgway's declaration
that it was nonsense to pretend she was so much overcome by
the death of Mr. Leroy, who could have been little more than a
stranger to her. The violence of the shock she had received,
a not unreasonable anxiety concerning her father, and a painful
sense of the impropriety of her sister's situation at a public
watering-place, all acting as they did on a system weakened
by protracted labors in a sick-room, might well account for
this seemingly unnatural depression. But so heavy was the
cloud which hung over her mind during this interval, that
Mabel was afterwards tempted to believe it a foreshadowing of
the calamities about to ensue.

A letter, at length, arrived from Harry, and with it an awkward,
square-shaped epistle, directed in a strange, unsteady
hand, and post-marked New York. In her eagerness to learn
the contents of the former, Mabel threw the latter aside, while
she perused her brother's communication. It ran as follows:

Dearest May:—After three days and nights of constant
travelling, I arrived at the miserable town from which father
wrote to you, and found him wretchedly accommodated in a
mere barn of a place, every tolerable room in the tavern, and
every spare corner in the few private houses, having been
appropriated to those of the passengers who were more seriously
injured. Father's escape seems almost miraculous, as
he was in the front car, which rolled over twice as it fell down

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the embankment. He has suffered considerably from a bruise
on his back, and a sprain in the ancle, which made him quite
helpless for a few days. He has, also, had an uncomfortable
sensation of dizziness in the head, but that is merely the natural
effect of the jar, and has already begun to subside. Do not be
anxious about him, for I flatter myself I make a capital doctor,
nurse, cook, and housekeeper, all of which offices have devolved
upon me.

“As soon as he could be moved without pain, we came to
the farm-house, situated on father's property, where he and Mr.
Leroy have had a temporary residence this summer. It may
truly be termed a lodge in the vast wilderness, for though situated
on a street of imposing breadth, in the heart of an extensive
township, the place is literally a city in prospective, a few
straggling houses constituting the village, while a wide, rolling
prairie stretches from the rear of our habitation to the verge of
the horizon. The situation, however, is at once grand and
picturesque; for on the western side we overlook a beautiful,
winding river, whose well-wooded banks form a refreshing belt
of shade, and in the grove, which is but a short walk from
the house, we have buried poor Leroy. You would be amused
with our house-keeping. The man who has had charge of the
place is unmarried, and we keep a complete bachelor's hall.
The house, however, is convenient, and has been tolerably well
fitted up during the summer campaign, so that, although we
are not luxuriously accommodated, we are very comfortable;
as much so, at least, as men can be independent of woman's
genius and aid. I tell you this because we shall probably
remain some time in our present quarters, and you will be
desirous to know how we are situated.

“Father's affairs, which were somewhat involved, are rendered
more so by Mr. Leroy's sudden death. I find I can be of
essential service, especially as an amanuensis, and shall not think
of leaving him until his business is settled. He seems to take
it for granted that you will continue in L. for the present,
and that Louise will remain at the sea-side, or go to some
quite boarding-place in the country. If we should be detained

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here into the winter however, which I have little doubt will be
the case, he will probably suggest some other plan. At present
he is too weak, and too much harassed by perplexities, to
decide upon anything more than a temporary arrangement.
I cannot bear to think, dear May, of your being subjected any
longer to Aunt Ridgway's over-bearing temper and restrictions.
I can almost believe you would be happier here, where, at
least, one is independent. This is indeed a glorious country.
I feel a larger life stirring within me, when I breathe the free
air of these noble woods and prairies. It inspires me with
new energy, and gives me strength to believe that with God's
help I may yet live to some worthy purpose, and that my darling
sister may never again have cause to weep at the disgrace
of her brother,


It is doubtful how long Mabel might have sat pondering the
contents of Harry's letter, and especially its final clause, had
not her aunt Ridgway, as she crossed the room, observed the
other document laying in her niece's lap, and exclaimed, “What
a queer looking letter! Missent twice,” added she, as she
took it up and surveyed it with those keen eyes which had
never yet required spectacles. “Strange that anybody who
could write at all shouldn't know how to spell the name of
this town.”

Mabel's curiosity being thus rëawakened, she tore open the
letter. It was from Lydia Hope, and dated a week back.

“Dear Miss Mabel,” wrote Lydia, “I'm afraid you don't
know that Mrs. Leroy is very sick at the hotel here in New
York. I hated to frighten you, and didn't know how to tell
you of it without; but mother says you ought to know, for it
wouldn't be like you not to come right away. When she first
took sick, Cecilia sent for us, and we've been here ever since.
Cecilia has gone back to Cape May to wait on another lady.
Mother does the best she can, and I try to be of some use.
The folks in the hotel are very good, and the doctor comes
ever so often; but he can't seem to help her, and she's getting

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very bad. Oh, Miss Mabel, we wish you were here, and we
hope you will start as soon as you get this.

“Very dutifully and respectfully yours,
“Lydia Hope.”

With a trembling heart, but maintaining, nevertheless, that
self-command and energy with which a strong mind braces itself
to meet every emergency, Mabel at once prepared to obey this
trying summons. There was no time to be lost, for she might
already be too late to render any assistance to poor Louise;
and her resolution to depart immediately, was equally unshaken
by her aunt Margaret's inveighing against the solitary journey,
as being the height of impropriety, and her aunt Sabiah's tearfully
remonstrating against the exposure to a disease which she
felt sure was something contagious. By starting a little before
day-break the next morning, she could reach New York at
night-fall; and whatever dread she might at another time have
felt at the thought of travelling unprotected and alone, the still
greater dread of delay banished every minor consideration.

Mrs. Ridgway, who, if she agreed with Sabiah on no other
point, shared all her prejudices against Louise, and felt for her
neither affection nor sympathy, took more than one opportunity
of protesting that this hot-headed proceeding on Mabel's part
was entered on with her entire disapprobation, and that she
never again would undertake the responsibility of having
young people in her house. As this expression of her
resolution was still further enforced by the energetic orders
which she that evening gave her servants, in Mabel's hearing,
to take up the carpets the next day, and otherwise prepare to
renovate the rooms which had been occupied by herself and
Harry, Mabel plainly understood that she had nothing further
to expect from her aunt's hospitality; and when, therefore, she
drove from the door, in the dim morning light, it was with the
full consciousness that she was bidding the town of L. a final

-- --


The songs of joy are funeral cries become,
And luxury's board is covered with a pall;
The chamber of the banquet is a tomb;
Death, the pale autocrat, he rules o'er all.

[figure description] Page 320.[end figure description]

It was between eight and nine o'clock in the evening, and an
unusual bustle prevailed in the lower hall and offices of a popular
New York hotel. It was the principal season for Southern
and Western travel; the British mail steamer had come to her
dock that morning; the coaches were just driving up from the
Eastern railroad, and porters, waiters, and other officials were
clattering over the pavement and jostling each other in the
passages. A boy about nine years of age was leaning heavily
over the bannisters of the wide staircase, his listless attitude
and gloomy countenance betokening his indifference to the
exciting scene which was transpiring below, while a younger
and gayer little fellow, mounted on the clerk's desk, was smoking
a cigaretto, and declaiming, in a droll, bombastic style, for
the entertainment and applause of a crowd of idlers, who now
and then interrupted him with cheers and peals of laughter.

“Hallo! hold on! give us some more, young America,”
shouted several voices, as the little orator, flinging away the
cigaretto with which he had been bribed, made a sudden effort
to spring from the arms of the individual who supported him
on his elevated platform.

“Let me go, let me go,” cried the boy, struggling lustily to
escape; “my aunt Mabel has come,—I see my auntie; let
me go, I say.”

“Don't keep the boy from his auntie,” exclaimed one or two
of the spectators, at the same time turning to give a broad stare

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at Mabel, who had been observed by Murray the moment she
entered the hotel, but whose face was hid as she now stooped
to embrace the eager child. The light laugh and the meaning
whisper which succeeded, gave place to respectful silence, however,
as Mabel glanced around with grave and dignified wonder,
and then, with the boy still clinging to her neck, hastened up
the staircase.

Alick did not advance to meet her as she approached; he
even tried to hide his face; but when she took his forehead
between her hands and tenderly kissed him, questioning him,
meanwhile, with her earnest look, he uttered a smothered cry,
and, grasping her by the dress, followed, sobbing.

“Take me to my mamma, Aunt Mabel,” cried Murray, vehemently;
“they won't let me see my pretty mamma.” Not
daring to breathe to the children the question which trembled
on her lips, Mabel hurried on in the direction of the rooms her
sister had been wont to occupy, and, as she turned a corner,
encountered Lydia Hope, who, hearing Murray's voice, had
hastened to meet and quiet him. In the dim light, she did not
recognize Mabel, until the latter caught her by the hand and
said, in a low, unnatural voice, “Lydia, how is Mrs. Leroy?
is she living?”

“O Miss Mabel, is that you?” cried Lydia; “you have
come at last.”

“Is she living?” asked Mabel, repeating her inquiry, as
she observed that Lydia evaded a direct reply.

“Yes, she is; I can just say that,” replied Lydia, with hesitation;
“but—Oh, he mustn't go in,” added she, interrupting
herself, in a distressed voice, as Murray attempted to rush

“Stop, Murray; stop, darling,” exclaimed Mabel, intercepting
and staying him in his progress. “I will go and see if you
can come in, and will come back by-and-by and tell you. Alick
will try to amuse you, and so will Lydia. Stay with them,
Lydia, and coax them down for a few minutes, if you can,”
she added, in an under tone. “I will go in by myself.”

How the paltry distinctions and petty vanities of life

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disappear before that mighty leveller which overleaps the bulwarks
of custom, and tramples into the dust the boasted elements of
beauty, power and pride! Disease, which spares neither prince
nor beggar, now reigned triumphant in that apartment, where,
a little while ago, fashion and luxury had held undisputed
sway. The spacious mirrors were shrouded, lest they should
reflect too vividly the harrowing scene within. The appliances
of dress and ornament had given place to the stern
necessities of illness, and the rich draperies that shaded the
windows and couch had been removed for the freer admission
of air. All these were signs of the desolation and fear which
cometh like a whirlwind; but what were these to that deeper
seal which was set on the face of her against whom the flat had
gone forth! Though believing that she had armed herself
against the worst, Mabel felt all her powers paralyzed with
horror, as entering the chamber, unwarned and unannounced,
she beheld the face and form of her who, but a few weeks
before, had graced the dance and been the ornament of the
ball-room. Her beautiful wavy hair was cut short to her temples,
the once laughing eye was sunken, fixed and glassy, a
deep red spot mounted in each hollow cheek, while a dark line
around the mouth gave added ghastliness to the countenance.
The little hand, no longer graceful and bewitching in its gestures,
now nervously clutched the counter-pane; the breath was
short and interrupted, and a vehement, and, at times, incoherent
muttering, betrayed the disordered mind. The grave physician,
stationed at the bedside, with his fingers on the feeble pulse,
shook his head discouragingly, as the widow Hope applied to
the dry lips of the patient a spoonful of liquid, which she had
no longer the power to swallow.

Heart-rending as was this picture, its painful effect was still
further enhanced by the nature of the wild words which burst
at intervals from the poor sufferer; who retained, even in this
awful moment, the imperfect power of speech. “What! give
up my beautiful rooms!” exclaimed she, in a strained and hollow
tone, “and go out into that dreadful prairie! No, no, I
say; I will not bury myself in the country! Do you hear me,

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Mr. Leroy?”—then, again, after a few low mutterings, her
wandering thoughts seemed to take a different turn, and she
cried out as if disputing a contested point; “They shall not
take my jewels—no, nor my plate! Diamonds are not property;
they cannot be seized to pay his debts!” and then, exhausted
by this outburst, her clenched hands dropped powerless and
her lips suddenly closed.

With form bent forward, and eyes dilated with sudden fear
and dread, Mabel stood for a moment unobserved, just within
the doorway, taking in at a glance the whole agonizing scene;
then a sudden faintness seized her, a film overspread her sight,
her heart seemed to cease its beating, and she sank upon the

They carried her into the next room, where she was speedily
restored to consciousness, and having drank a cup of tea (for
she had fasted since morning), she was enabled to overcome her
temporary weakness, and assume a composure which, with
heroic effort, she succeeded in maintaining to the end.

“You have arrived at a distressing hour, Miss Vaughan,”
said the physician; “is there no one whom you would like to
send for, to be with you to-night?”

Mabel thought a moment, then shook her head. Among her
wide circle of acquaintances there were none whose presence
could sustain her at such a moment; and, looking gratefully at
Mrs. Hope and Lydia, she answered—“No one; I have no
better friends than these.”

It was a terrible night. A violent thunder-storm came on,
and seemed to shake the house to its foundations; the inmates
of the hotel were excited and noisy; a number of arrivals and
departures served to increase the tumult; and few, if any, who
shared that public shelter, enjoyed an hour's repose.

And while the lightning flash and the reverberating roar
caused many a heart to tremble, while the wind rattled the
window-panes and whistled through the chimneys, while doors
banged loudly and hurried footsteps tramped across the marble
floors, and voices shouted from the halls below, and bells rang
in angry rivalry from every quarter of the building, and heaven

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[figure description] Page 324.[end figure description]

and earth seemed alike contentious, a fiercer conflict still went
on within those narrow walls where an imprisoned soul sought
to burst its tenement of clay; and amid the noise, the hurry,
the discord, and the strife, the flattered favorite of fashion and
the world encountered the merciless foe, did battle with the
keen destroyer, experienced the last dread struggle and the
mortal agony.

“If I can be of any use to you, I beg you will command my
services, Miss Vaughan,” said the gentlemanly, but somewhat
formal physician, who had spent the night at the hotel, but
whose professional attendance being no longer required was
about to take leave.

“You will send the person of whom you spoke?”

“Yes. I have already despatched a messenger for him; he
is usually employed on these occasions, and will see that every
thing is properly arranged.”

“Thank you; that is all the assistance I require,” said Mabel,
and the medical man bowed and left her.

She went and lay down on the foot of the children's bed,—
not to sleep, but to be still and watch the peaceful slumber to
which she herself had soothed them. She was there when they
awoke, and when, amid their morning caresses, they questioned
her concerning their mother, she gently told them the truth.

“Mamma is dead, and so is papa,” said Murray, “and so is
Rosy. But auntie, you wrote us in a letter that Rosy had
gone to a beautiful world, and so then has my mamma! And
I shall go too, one of these days,” added he, with a sort of triumph.
“Oh, won't they be glad when they see me coming!”

Alick did not speak, he only wept; not because he had more
reason than Murray to love his parents—but because his heart
was more deeply sensitive, and his mind mature beyond his
years. He could not be comforted, nor would he give any
reply to Murray's often repeated inquiry why he cried.

Mabel was soon obliged to leave them, being summoned to
meet the individual whom the doctor had sent to her assistance.
She listened calmly and patiently while, taking the matter into
his own hands, he informed her that he needed no directions; he

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[figure description] Page 325.[end figure description]

understood the circumstances perfectly, and knew what the occasion
demanded;—what would be expected from Mrs. Leroy's
position in society,—and should see that the whole ceremony
was conducted with taste and elegance. It was a sad thing,
he added, that Mr. Leroy should have been taken off so suddenly,
and left his affairs insolvent too—Mabel here gave a
slight start of surprise; she need not fear, however, that he
should regard this circumstance in his arrangements, for he had
faith to believe, in spite of reports to the contrary, that her
respected father was not so deeply involved but that he would
retrieve himself, and be happy to meet every demand.

“The only wishes I have in this matter,” said Mabel, with
difficulty concealing the alarm and embarrassment excited by
these inuendoes, “are, that my sister's funeral should be conducted
as simply as possible, and should take place from my
father's house.”

She was answered by a look of utter astonishment, and the
abrupt words, “Is it possible, Miss Vaughan, that you are ignorant
of the sale which took place last week; your father's estate
was put up at auction, and knocked off at considerably less than
its value, I should judge.”

“Sold! Are you sure?” asked Mabel. “I speak of the
family residence in town.”

“Certainly; I am not likely to be mistaken,” replied the
man, whose authority in all matters connected with the good or
ill fortune of his patrons was seldom called in question, and
who felt, therefore, a little piqued at the implied doubt. “It
all went under the hammer; house and contents. I heard
there were some orders sent on in regard to pictures and other
ornamental articles, but they came too late, and nothing could
be reclaimed. It is very unfortunate, to be sure,” continued
he, in a tone of compassion, but studying her face meanwhile
with vulgar curiosity;—“these little knick-knackeries that one
naturally sets by, are the very things that give a certain style
to an establishment, and our rich upstarts that snap at such a
wholesale chance would not part with one of them—no, not if
they had come down from your great-great-grandfather.”

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[figure description] Page 326.[end figure description]

He would have declaimed still further on the subject, but
Mabel, shocked at the unexpected revelations thus made
through a stranger, unwilling to accept condolence from such a
quarter, and only anxious to terminate the conversation, interrupted
him before he had time to proceed. “I have been in
the country,” said she, with an air of reserve, “and had not
become aware of these particulars; they are of no consequence
at present. If the house has been disposed of, as you say, the
funeral will, of course, take place from here;” and, leaving to
him the furtherance of all other arrangements, she hastened
from the apartment.

In the hall, she met a porter with a trunk upon his shoulder,
and the next instant encountered a gentleman, who was just
vacating a neighboring room, and who, coming hurriedly out
with a cloak over his arm, had nearly run against her in the
passage. He stepped politely aside to let her pass, and commenced
a graceful apology, but checked himself with ill-disguised
embarrassment; and for once, the courtly and accomplished
Dudley (for he it was), stood humbled and awed in the
presence of the young and unsophisticated girl. Not that
Mabel, in this moment of mutual recognition, made any assumption
of arrogance or disdain, or that indifference had
already succeeded to her first romantic preference; but sorrow
has a dignity all its own, and great calamities calmly met, and
solemn duties bravely done, set a seal upon the countenance
which may well make the selfish and the worldly tremble.
Thus, while she returned his awkward salutation with forced
but serene composure, and the blood, which rushed wildly to
her heart, never tinged the marble pallor of her cheek, the self-convicted
man of the world shrank from her glance as if it had
power to penetrate to the depths of his cowardly soul, and felt
himself abased by the consciousness that he was detected in the
very act of wilfully forsaking, in her hour of need, one whom he
had once professed to love; for Dudley had arrived the previous
night, had learned, in common with the rest of the household,
the sad events of the last few hours, and was seeking, by an
abrupt flight, to excuse himself from any call upon his

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[figure description] Page 327.[end figure description]

sympathy or aid. So heartless were the calculations and so contemptible
the devices of this self-seeking, time-serving man, who,
never knowing a genuine emotion himself, was as incompetent
as he was reluctant to enter into another's woes.

It was in vain, therefore, that he strove to rally his self-possession.
Mabel had the superiority and she maintained it; and
when, after a bow of feigned solemnity in deference to her
bereavement, and a gesture of imperative haste as an apology
for his brevity, he kept on his way with a downcast eye, which
had ventured to meet hers for an instant only, she looked after
him less in anger, less in pride, and less in wounded affection,
than with the generous compassion which virtue must ever feel
for meanness and duplicity.

“Poor, dear child!” exclaimed the widow Hope, who met
her at the door of the children's bed-room, where she had once
more sought a safe place of refuge; “you look dead beat, and
no wonder, poor lamb! How Rosy would have felt to see you
in such a strait as this!” and the widow wiped her eyes.
“Come, lie down again, and let me fetch you some breakfast.
Lyddy has taken the children down to get some, and I told her
to keep them out of the way for a while, so that you might
manage to get a nap.”

Utterly exhausted in heart and mind, Mabel had not the
strength to resist the persuasions of her kind friend; so she ate
without appetite a few morsels of food, and permitted herself
to be coaxed into putting on a wrapper and lying down in a
darkened room. How long she thus lay quiet and undisturbed
she scarcely knew, for although slumber never once visited her
senses, thought was sharpened to such intensity as to forbid
her taking note of time; and so unconscious was she of all that
was passing around, that she gave a start of surprise when,
after the lapse of some hours, she opened her eyes and saw the
good Mrs. Hope, who believing her to be asleep, was patiently
watching beside her. That these hours of quiet meditation
had not, however, been fruitless in resolve, was at once made
evident by the conversation which ensued between the

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careworn but heroic girl and her humble but faithful counsellor
and friend.

“Mrs. Hope,” said Mabel, speaking with calm decision, but
at the same time looking fixedly in the face of the widow, as
if to judge of the effect of her announcement, “I intend to take
the boys and go out West to my father.”

“You do n't really mean so, Miss Mabel,” said the widow in
a deprecating tone, but looking less surprised than had been
anticipated by her hearer.

“I have been thinking it over,” continued Mabel, “and have
come to the conclusion it is the best thing I can do.”

“Well, Lyddy said perhaps you'd be for going out there,”
remarked the widow, “but, laws me, it seems such a long way

“Yes, it is a long journey,” said Mabel, rising from the bed
as she spoke, with a countenance and manner which were
suggestive of the fresh energy inspired by the greatness of the
enterprise, “but I am not afraid, Mrs. Hope. Alick and Murray
will be brave little travellers, and I have learned already
that in this country a lady can always depend on the public for
kindness and protection.”

“Dear me, what would your pa say,” asked Mrs. Hope,
“if he knew you had such an idea in your head?”

“He does not, of course, know how I am situated,” said
Mabel, “and I can not be sure what he would think best; so I
am obliged to judge for myself. We have no longer a home
in New York; I cannot take the children to my aunt Ridgway's,
even if I felt at liberty to go back there myself; I can
not stay here or anywhere else in the city; besides,” continued
she, as if bringing forward the strongest point in her argument,
“my father needs me—I am sure of it. He is still suffering
from the accident, and has nobody but my brother to nurse
him; they both need my help, and I must go.”

“Go where, mother?” asked Lydia in a whisper; “out

She had come in unperceived, and Mabel could not but
observe the earnestness of her inquiry.

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Mrs. Hope nodded in assent. Lydia looked significantly at
her mother, whispered again, and then turned away and busied
herself at the other end of the room. Mrs. Hope hesitated,
and Mabel, perceiving that she wished to make some suggestion
but was waiting for encouragement, said, with a faint
attempt at a smile, “What is it, Mrs. Hope? tell me.”

“Why, we were thinking,” said the widow,—“that is, we
were talking it over this morning—and if we felt sure you
would not take it amiss—Lyddy has a friend—I mean we
have a friend, who is going out West day after to-morrow.”

“Well, Lydia,” said Mabel, “and what of this friend?”

Lydia did not look round nor answer; the tips of her ears
were very red, and she pretended to be exceedingly busy—
so her mother saved her the necessity of replying. “Why, he
is a very clever fellow,” said the latter, “and knows his place.
Yes, Owen is too proud to be presuming, and he knows all
about the railroads and steamboats, and you might be sure
he'd do his best to be of service and take care of your baggage
and so on.”

Mabel now understood that these thoughtful friends had
foreseen the probability of her projecting this long and trying
journey, and were anxious to provide her with a trusty attendant
and escort. So far from being offended at the proposition,
she thanked them cordially for their considerate kindness, and
reserving any decision in the matter, expressed a wish to see
the young man, who, she was told, would be at the hotel that
evening. Accordingly, when Owen Dowst presented himself,
and Mabel recognized in him the ruddy teamster who had
been Rose's friend, she at once decided in her own mind to
accept his protection, which was offered with a respectful
civility accompanied by manly independence.

It seemed that Owen had relinquished his former business,
having been induced to part with his noble horses by the liberal
offer of a gentleman who coveted the superb stud for his family
carriage, and that he was now about to seek his fortune at
what was then termed the far West. As the point to
which he was bound was within one day's journey of Mr.

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Vaughan's estate, and as he intended to accomplish the distance
in the shortest possible time by travelling day and night, his
purpose and route were found to correspond wholly with Mabel's;
and it was agreed that, on the following day but one, she
and the children should proceed to Albany, and thence on their
westward trip, under the guardianship of their honest though
unpretending escort.

“Well, now that it's all settled, and it seems probable you'll
get there safe,” said Mrs. Hope, in a confidential tone to Mabel
when she was alone with her that night. “I must say, I think
it's the very best thing you could do, and I'm glad you made
up your mind to it. You don't seem to have many relations
any where 'round, and we're only humble folks, and I for one
couldn't bear you should stay here and be slighted.”

“How do you mean, Mrs. Hope?” said Mabel; “the people
in the house are civil, I believe.”

“Well, yes, after a fashion; only, you see, they've got it all'
round about the `smash-up,' as they call it, among the highfellin'
folks. Not that anybody's any reason to say that of
you, Miss Mabel; but your poor sister there—it was a pretty
hard rub for her. She heard sort o' rumors down to the seashore,
and she hurried up, Cecilia said, to find out if it was
true, and look after the things she 'd left here that she thought
were her own by right, and they weren't very ready to let her
have the rooms; and the servants, they 'd got their mouths full
of it, and kind of flung it at her—and it seemed as if every
thing came together. Laws me! 't was that more 'n the heat
or any thing else that took her down.”

Mabel shuddered as she thought of the trial that must have
been so bitter to her vain and worldly sister, and wept as she
meditated on its fearful consequences. She had no fear of
disrespect herself, but she could well imagine the nature of the
retaliation which had been visited on Mrs. Leroy, whose supercilious
manners, barely tolerated in her days of prosperity,
would have been sure to excite ridicule and contempt for her
in her fallen fortunes.

Alas for the honor which has wealth alone for its foundation,

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and the hope which is dependent on frail mortality! With
one blast of misfortune, the former is changed to ignominy and
insult, and the latter gives place to desperation, decay, and

In spite of Mabel's directions to the contrary, there was yet
one more scene of worldly show, in which the remains of the
once brilliant Mrs. Leroy were destined to form a part. Simplicity
was not in the code of that professed fashionist, who had
charge of the funeral arrangements; and they were therefore
conducted with all that pomp and parade which he deemed
essential to his own dignity, if not that of their more immediate
object. Due notice had been given of the time and place
of the solemnities; but, except by Mabel, the children, Mrs.
Hope and Lydia, whose feelings were sincerely affected, and
a few of the residents and servants of the hotel, who came
out of curiosity, the services were unattended. The clergyman
at whose church Mrs. Leroy had now and then occupied a
richly furnished pew, was absent from the city, and the cere-mony
was performed by a stranger. Still, except that Mabel
wore no mourning, which she had neither the time nor the
means to procure, there was no omission of any of the custom
ary symbols of grief, and every thing was conducted on a
scale of profuse magnificence. The carriages, nearly all of
which were empty, filed off one by one,—a melancholy pageant—
a seeming mockery of her whose whole life had been a
pageant—and, in an expensive tomb, in the heart of the noisy
city, the strange officials, each wearing a solemn badge, laid
the form of her who was destined to be speedily unmissed and
forgotten in the very scene of her boasted triumphs.

It was the dim hour of twilight, and Mabel, who had a few
hours before returned from paying the last tribute of respect
and affection to her sister, was seated, with Murray on her
knee, and one arm round the waist of the other orphan boy.
A note had just been handed to her, written on rose-colored
paper, and expressing in high-flown terms the regret of Mrs.
Vannecker that she could not come to her aid. “Cecilia returned
to the Cape yesterday,” wrote she, “to engage as waiting

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maid to a Southern lady, and brought me news of dear Louise's
distressing illness. It is truly shocking. My heart yearns to
be with her and to comfort you, if you have arrived, as was
expected; but the regatta is to take place to-morrow, and Vic
has so set her heart upon it, that we cannot leave until it is
over. I shall then hope to see you, my darling, and to find
that our dear Louise's illness is taking a favorable turn. Of
course you employ Gregory; there is nobody like him.”

Mabel was placing the note in her pocket, with a long sigh,
when there was an abrupt knock at the door. An unfamiliar
name was spoken by the servant, and a visitor was unceremoniously
ushered into the room. She started up, violently
agitated, as if the venerable form before her had been that of
a spectre; for, as she recognized the aged man, known to us
as Father Noah, there flashed across her the remembrance
that Louise had once prophesied this visit, and that, in the same
breath, she had lightly and confidently sung the equally prophetic
words, “But, oh, I shall not be there.”

Where was she? We may not question the mercy of an
infinite Providence; but the thrill which shot through Mabel's
heart at the moment, proved the strength of her conviction,
that her poor sister had not, while on earth, earned a title to a
heavenly birthright.

The good clergyman saw her agitation; but in no degree
attributing it to his own presence, took her hand gently and
sat down beside her. “If Mrs. Hope tells me truly, my dear
young lady,” said he, “you are realizing the truth, which has
passed into a proverb, that misfortunes seldom come singly.”

“I am,” said Mabel, solemnly.

“Can I help you?” he asked, in a simple, fatherly tone.

“Your kindness helps me,” sobbed Mabel, “and I would
gladly have a place in your prayers.”

“Shall I pray with you?” he added.

Mabel sunk upon her knees, and the children instinctively
followed her example, while the old man asked a blessing on

It was no common prayer that followed. It betrayed a

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perfect knowledge of the sorrows and the wants of the little
group; and as it commended them to the mercy of Heaven,
and besought for her, who was to be the guide of youth, the
strength which cometh from God only, Mabel felt herself sanctified
for the work that was given her to do, and ready to go
out into the wilderness, with a brave heart, at the commandment
of the Lord.

She rose up, therefore, composed and strengthened; and, as
the venerable man sat down, drew the children to his knee, and
expressed the simple interest which he had long cherished in
Mabel's welfare, she felt her heart opened towards him, and
talked freely of her coming experience and its possible duties
and trials. He gave her much wise counsel, expressed for her
much tender sympathy, and did not forget to impress upon the
children, and especially upon Alick, who was listening to him
with respectful attention, the obligation which rested upon them
to behave, as he said, like little men, and be to her a comfort
rather than a care.

Thus, in the hour of her spirit's need, when those who had
walked with her in high places shrank from the gentle ministries
which affliction craves, this faithful servant of the poor
had learned the story of Mabel's grief from the lips of her
humble friends, and had come to soothe her with his sympathy
and fortify her with his prayers; while, actuated by a like spirit
of Christian love, the family whom Louise had injured, and
the venerable man whom she had despised, had vied with each
other in offices of love to herself and her orphan children.

“Your visit has done me good, sir,” said Mabel, taking both
his hands, as he rose to go; “I thank you for it with all my
heart. It has made me strong.”

“May the Lord strengthen and bless you,” said he, fervently,
in reply, “and may the peace of God, which passeth all understanding,
dwell in your heart forevermore.”

-- --


In the dark winter of affliction's hour,
When summer, friends, and pleasures haste away,
And the wrecked heart perceives how frail each power
It made a refuge, and believed a stay;
When man, all wild and weak is seen to be—
There's none like Thee, O Lord! there's none like Thee!
Mrs. Jewsbury.

[figure description] Page 334.[end figure description]

The morning of departure came. The landlord of the
hotel had been summoned, and on Mabel's expressing her
regret that her funds were only sufficient for her present
wants, had cordially assured her of his perfect readiness to
wait Mr. Vaughan's convenience for the settlement of his
accounts, and had himself accompanied her to the steamboat.
Mrs. Hope was there with shawls over her arm, and parcels
in her hand; Jack was there with a huge basket of cakes and
candy, provided by his thoughtful mother; Lydia was there,
her eyes red with crying, and her hands busy in giving the
finishing touch to Murray's curls; and Owen Dowst was at
the further end of the wharf attending to the baggage.

At length they took their places, Mabel and the boys in the
centre of the deck, where they were protected by an ample
awning, and Owen modestly choosing a seat at the stern of
the boat, where, without intrusion, he could keep the little
party in sight. The bell rang and they moved off;—Jack
waved his cap, Mrs. Hope cried out “Good-bye,” and Lydia
timidly threw a kiss,—not at Mabel, however, or the boys,
but in response to one from the stern of the vessel, where
Owen stood, leaning over the railing, and looking back with a
tear in his honest eye.

The first day's journey passed without any important incident.
The weather, which had promised to be fair, soon

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became dull, and at length a pouring rain drove the passengers
to the cabin, where, for many successive hours, they were
crowded together, deprived of fresh air, and with no prospect
of being able to venture again on deck.

Here all Mabel's powers were called into action, for the
diversion and entertainment of Murray, whose restlessness
could ill brook the restraint to which he was subjected in the
ladies' saloon, and who continually threatened to stray beyond
its limits. Fortunately, however, Owen, who had stationed
himself in the vicinity of the door, contrived to decoy him to
a place on his knee, and amused and entertained him there
until the bell sounded for dinner. While watching the good-natured
youth, as he cut an apple into a fanciful shape, or
whittled a figure from a bit of wood, the child was completely
happy, and Mabel was freed from all anxiety concerning him.

These ingenious and friendly devices, however, though not
lost upon Alick, had no power to win him from his position
beside Mabel, where, with the basket of provisions at his
feet, and his arm passed through the handle of the carpet
bag, he sat upright and firm as a sentinel at his post. Whether
Father Noah's exhortation, to “behave like a little man,”
still influenced him, or whether he felt a proud and instinctive
consciousness of being in some degree his aunt's protector, he
manifested no sign of weariness, and never once during the
day uttered a single complaint.

They dined and supped on board the boat, the thoughtful
Owen having secured seats, and recommended them to the
care of one of the waiters, whom he chanced to know, and
with whom he afterwards took his own repasts at the second

But although the gentle motion of the boat, the comparative
privacy of the ladies' cabin, and the respectful devotion of her
attendant, contrived to render this first day's experience satisfactory
to Mabel and soothing to her anxieties, the interval
between the arrival of the party in Albany, and their departure
in the night-train for Buffalo, was replete with those
incidents which constitute the trials of the traveller, and

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render journeying an uncertain and hazardous experiment. The
boat was late at her wharf; there was some delay and difficulty
in the distribution of baggage; noise and confusion
prevailed in every direction, and before Owen could collect
his own boxes and Mabel's trunks, the carriages, loaded with
passengers for the cars, had all driven off. Among the coaches
that remained, all had one or more occupants bound in a different
direction, and none of the drivers would agree to reach
the station in season for the Western train. Mabel's countenance
betrayed her agitation and alarm, Alick looked piteously
from one rough face to another, and Murray, dimly comprehending
that something was the matter, as usual began to

“Look here—I say,” cried Owen, catching a burly, roundfaced
fellow by the button, and glancing significantly towards
Mabel, “don't disappoint that lady now,—it's too bad,—her
folks were hurt,—one on 'em killed by that bad accident last
week,—she's a goin' out there to her father,—don't you be
the means of her losin' the train.”

What a revulsion of feeling such an appeal will oftentimes
produce. “Do tell,” said the man. “Now that's a case.
Hullo, Sam,—haul those trunks up here, will yer? Give a
hand, boy,—her father” (in his turn, nodding at Mabel,)
“was killed on the cars last week. Look here, you,” speaking
to a gaily dressed fop inside, who, seeing his valise unceremoniously
thrown on to the sidewalk, was already preparing
to alight; “this gentleman,” (waving his hand towards Sam)
“will take you up to the hotel; I'm bound to get these tother
folks down to the Buffalo cars; in with you, Bub,” and he
lifted Alick, basket, carpet-bag and all, into the carriage;
Mabel and Murray followed; Owen sprung up outside, and
they were off.

There are few things more trying to the patience, and more
exciting to the nerves, than driving through the crowded
streets of a city, with the apprehension that every moment's
delay may be fatal to one's hopes. During the ten minutes
that they were hurrying and rattling over the pavements,

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Mabel endeavored in vain to quiet her disturbed feelings, and
strove, with equal want of success, to soothe the weeping Murray,
while Alick silently watched his aunt's countenance, as
if it were the dial-plate of destiny. They were barely in season
after all; there was just time for the luggage to be thrown
hastily on board, and the last bell was sounding as Owen
entered a car, with Murray in his arms, followed by Mabel
and Alick, almost breathless with the haste they had made,
and carrying between them the basket and travelling bag,
which Alick could not transport alone, but which the sturdy
boy was unwilling to relinquish.

This little incident served at once to excite Mabel's anxieties
for the future, and to impress her with a sense of her
dependence on Owen. She felt sick at heart, as imagination
conjured up the possible disasters and delays which might
ensue before the termination of the journey, and, as the darkness
of the night came on, and a thick gloom settled over
every object, an undefined dread took possession of her; and
when Murray exclaimed with convulsive sobbing, “Auntie,
Murray is tired,—Murray can't ride all night,” she was
tempted to fold the child to her bosom, and weep with him
over their multiplied misfortunes.

Her weakness was rebuked, however, by the confiding tone
in which Alick responded to his brother's complaint,—“I
ain't tired, Murray,” said he,—“I would n't mind going anywhere
with Aunt Mabel.”

“I would,” said Murray. “I want to go home.”

“Let me take him a little while, Miss Vaughan,” said
Owen, who had observed his fretfulness; “I see he's getting
pretty uneasy. Will you come and sit by me, Murray?”

The child hesitated, too thoroughly weary to have any preference.

“I'll coax the little fellow off to sleep,” said Owen, lifting
him in his strong arms, and bearing him to his own seat at the
further end of the car, where, wrapped in a heavy pilot-cloth
coat, and with his head resting on Owen's shoulder, he soon
fell into a quiet slumber. Two or three hours passed away,

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Alick, despite his efforts to the contrary, had fallen asleep,
though still sitting as upright as a grenadier, and Mabel had
once or twice forgotten her anxieties, and enjoyed a few moments'
repose, when a bright light shone in their faces, and
suddenly awaking, they discovered that the train was stopping
at a place of some importance, if one might judge by the
bustle which pervaded the platform in front of the station.
Murray, also, awakened by the noise and lights, ran to his
aunt, rubbing his eyes, and petitioning for something to eat.

“Milk, too, Auntie—I must have some milk,” he cried, as
she proceeded to open the luncheon-basket.

“No, Murray, I have no milk for you,” was the reply; “a
cake will do without milk, won't it?”

“I can get him a glass of milk, or some water, at least, Miss
Vaughan,” said Owen, who was about to leave the car, and
paused to offer his services. “The train stops here five
minutes—plenty of time, Miss. I'll hand it in at the window.”

“Take my purse, Owen,” said Mabel, “and pay for it, if
you please.”

The milk was brought to the window in a pitcher. Owen
had a tumbler in his hand, and all were by turns refreshed
with the sweet and wholesome beverage. There was still a
moment or two of delay at the station—ample time for the
young man to return, pay for the milk, and take his place in
the cars. Still, the bell rang, and the train proceeded on its
way without his having made his appearance. Mabel looked
back with some anxiety, but supposing that he had entered a
rear car and would soon make his way to them, she did not
feel any positive alarm and was therefore wholly taken by
surprise when a few moments after, the conductor, as he passed
with his lantern in hand, held it up to her face and said inquiringly,
“Wasn't that young fellow in the pilot-cloth coat with
you, ma'am?”

“Yes,” answered Mabel. “Why?”

“He got left behind at the last station,” said the man coolly.

“Got left!” exclaimed Mabel, repeating his words in

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[figure description] Page 339.[end figure description]

astonishment and fright, while Alick groaned aloud and Murray set
up a shrill and prolonged cry.

“Yes, they took some of his boxes out there by mistake, so
the baggage-master says, and he caught sight of'em and sprung
off the platform just as we were starting.”

“Couldn't you stop for him?” asked Mabel, in a tone of
mingled appeal and reproach.

“Couldn't, no how,” said the man, though speaking in a tone
of regret. “We're behind our time now. If there's any
mistake it ain't our fault; he couldn't have had his things
marked right in Albany. He'll come on to-morrow, I reckon.”

“To-morrow,” thought Mabel, “but where shall we be by
that time?” And at the same instant the remembrance flashed
upon her that he was in possession of her purse, containing all
the money she had in the world.

“What shall I do?” was the involuntary exclamation which
burst from her lips as, trembling with agitation, she started up
impulsively, then in a despairing manner sank back into her

“Can't we go on without him, Auntie?” asked Alick anxiously,
while Murray continued to cry, loudly threatening, amid
his sobs, to “beat that old conductor, and make him go back
for Owen.”

“Oh, I don't know, Alick, what we shall do,” said Mabel, the
self-command which she had hitherto maintained in the presence
of the children forsaking her at this unforeseen crisis.

The interest and compassion of the other passengers were
evidently awakened. Many outstretched forms were suddenly
raised from a recumbent position, and many sleepy eyes turned
in the direction of our little group of travellers, while a murmur
of inquiry and response ran through the car. The conductor,
however, had passed hastily out with his lantern, and as the
feeble and expiring light from an ill-trimmed lamp above
afforded little satisfaction to curiosity, most of the weary company
soon subsided into their former dreamy state of uncon

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[figure description] Page 340.[end figure description]

“God will take care of us, Auntie,” said Alick, in a comforting
tone; “that old minister said so, and I believe him.”

“So do I,” answered Mabel, drawing both the children as
closely to her as possible, and feeling, for the second time,
rebuked by Alick's child-like faith—first in her, and now in a
higher power.

At the same instant, a voice proceeding from the seat directly
behind them, addressed Mabel in a tone of gentle but earnest
inquiry. “I have been asleep, my dear; but, if I understand
right, your servant has got left at Utica.”

“Not my servant, except by free-will, ma'am,” answered
Mabel, her face as she turned being brought close to that of
the person who was leaning forward to speak to her, but whose
features were undistinguishable in the dim light.

“Oh, I was mistaken, then,” said the lady, apologetically. “I
only judged from appearances, when you came into the car at

“Yes, ma'am, it is not strange,” said Mabel; “I don't
wonder at it, he was so kind to the boys and so civil to me.
He was a good friend, and we depended upon him, and now,—

Her voice choked; she could not go on.

The old lady—for the stranger was advanced in years—
quietly rose, came forward, and taking the seat beside Mabel
from which Alick had risen in the moment of excitement, said
kindly, “And do you need a friend now, my dear?”

Mabel could not answer except by putting her hand into that
of the old lady, who pressed it tenderly.

“Little brothers?” said she, drawing Alick toward her, and
gently soothing Murray with the words, “Poor boy! there,
don't cry!”

“She's our auntie,” said Alick, proudly.

“And where's mamma?”

“She's gone to another world,” answered Murray, promptly.

“She died last Saturday,” whispered Alick.

Their new friend uttered an exclamation of pity, and, grieved

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[figure description] Page 341.[end figure description]

at the result of her natural inquiry, forbore all further questioning.

“Poor little fellows! you must both be tired,” said she.
“Come, I will put you to bed.” And rising, she beckoned to
a woman just behind them, and with her assistance proceeded
to carry her purpose into execution. “Don't stir; we will
make them very comfortable,” she added, as Mabel proposed
to assist her. And taking advantage of some vacant seats
opposite, she spread upon them her own and the woman's surplus
supply of shawls, and in a few moments the exhausted
children were disposed of for the rest of the night.

“My child, you have seen trouble, I fear,” said the benevolent
lady, as, resuming her seat by Mabel, she passed one arm
round the young girl's waist, and drew her head upon her

Mabel had in some degree steeled herself against the hardships
and trials which she might encounter, but this unexpected
kindness wholly overpowered her; the floodgates of her soul
were opened, and her tears poured forth like rain. Her judicious
comforter did not attempt to restrain her. She well
knew the relief it sometimes is to weep, and without interrupting
her by a word, suffered her feelings to have vent.

“Lie still, dear,” said she, as Mabel, having at length become
more composed, made a movement to sit upright.

“You are very good; but I shall fatigue and distress

“Do not disturb yourself on my account,” was the reply.
“I only require a few hours sleep, and I have had that already.
I want to see you take some rest.”

“Oh, I cannot sleep,” said Mabel, “I am too unhappy.”

“Perhaps I can help you,” said the old lady. “There are
two sides to trouble,—let us try and look at the bright side.”

“I never gave up so before,” said Mabel, “and I know I
ought not to now, but this seemed too much.”

“Was this young man so essential to you, then, that you
cannot get on without him?”

“He was very considerate and kind,” said Mabel. “I shall

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[figure description] Page 342.[end figure description]

miss him, and so will the boys; but that is not the worst,—he
has got all my money. I gave him my purse to pay for some
milk for the children just before he left the cars.”

“Well, that is bad,” said the old lady, “but not beyond remedy.
How far are you expecting to travel?”

Mabel named the town and county in the eastern part of
Illinois, which were her destination.

“And you were to take the steamer at Buffalo?”

“Yes, to-morrow night.”

“There is no boat until the night following,” said the old
lady, confidently. “I have made particular inquiries, as I am
to pursue the same route myself. So you see Owen will have
time to join you, and, meanwhile, you shall be under my care;
and afterwards, too,” added she, “if you can feel confidence in
an old lady who is a stranger to you, but who has seen much
of the world, and is an experienced traveller.”

Mabel thanked her heartily in her own name and the children's.

“Do not thank me,” said her kind friend, “the benefit will
be mutual. I am fond of young people, and glad to be of use in
the world. If my three score years and ten can afford you
comfort and protection, then I have not grown old in vain.”

“Oh, I cannot tell you the relief it will be, if you will only
let me keep within sight of you,” exclaimed Mabel, eagerly.
Then, as she recalled the lady's previous allusion to her being
a stranger, she added, with simple candor, at the same time
lifting her head, and speaking with great earnestness, “But
you are very good, ma'am, to feel confidence in me. It must
seem strange to you that I should be travelling so far, with the
charge of these children, and dependent myself upon a young
man who is not of my own station in life.”

“Yes, a little singular, perhaps,” answered the lady, “but no
more so than many things which admit of easy explanation; or,
even if I were still left to wonder at the circumstance, it would
not deter me from offering my aid to one who seems to need

“May I tell you how it happened?” asked Mabel.

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“Certainly, my child, if you please to do so. Tell me anything
that you feel willing to confide to one old enough to be a
safe, but not too old to be a sympathizing friend.”

Thus encouraged, Mabel suffered her head to drop once
more upon the shoulder of the tall and strongly-framed, though
venerable lady, and in the darkness of the night, and amid the
hush which prevailed among the sleepers who were stretched
around, she poured into her willing ear, in a low and broken
voice, the story of her recent family bereavements, and the
sufferings, responsibilities, and perplexities, which had ensued.
Her bitterest griefs and anxieties were such, indeed, as can be
breathed only in the ear of Heaven, but the partial revelation
which she made was enough and more than enough to excite
all the tender compassion of her aged friend, as was evident
from the gentle expressions of condolence which escaped her,
and the affectionate solicitude with which she drew a cloak
round the weary girl, and now and then pressed her closer to
her side. So sweet, indeed, was this welcome assurance of
protection and sympathy, that, at length, the tale being ended,
and the aching heart, in some measure, relieved of its burden,
tired nature asserted its claims, and a soft and refreshing sleep
stole over Mabel's senses.

It was daylight when she awoke. The sun was streaming
through the car; most of the passengers were sitting bolt upright
in their seats, their firm attitudes seeming to defy any one
who should accuse them of having slept a wink on the journey;
and the whole scene was so different from that which had prevailed
a few hours before, that Mabel could not for a moment
realize where she was, or whether the events of the previous
night had not all been a dream. There could be nothing
imaginary, however, in the friendly shoulder on which her
head was comfortably pillowed, nor could anything be more
kind and cordial than the smile which reassured her, as starting
up, she suddenly exclaimed, “Why, how long I have lain
here! How I must have tired you!”

“No, you have not tired me in the least. I am rejoiced

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that you have slept so long. How do you feel this morning,
my dear?”

But Mabel did not seem to heed the kind inquiry. Her
eyes were fixed earnestly on the face of her new friend, while
a glow of pleasure radiated her features. There could be no
mistaking that benevolent countenance, that dignified form,
those silver curls peeping from the snowy fluting of the widow's
cap, above all, that cheering and animating smile; and, snatching
the hand of the good lady, Mabel pressed it to her lips,
exclaiming, “You are not a stranger after all! I have seen
you before. You are Mrs. Abraham Percival!”

“Do you know me, then?” was the reply. “That is pleasant.
I have been studying your face, my dear, and thought
it seemed familiar, but you must help my memory a little. I
cannot recall the name.”

“Mabel Vaughan; but perhaps you have never heard the
whole name.”

Madam Percival shook her head. “No,” said she, after a
moment's thought, “never; but I once knew a Miss Vaughan,
possibly a relative of yours. She must be somewhat advanced
if she is still living, which I presume to be the case, as I exchanged
cards with her in New York last winter, though we
had not the pleasure of meeting. We used to call her Sabiah,
in her younger days.”

“My aunt,” faltered Mabel, a new light dawning upon her
in reference to the memorable visit, which had, as it proved,
been so wholly misinterpreted.

“Ah! then you are a daughter of her brother John. You
see,” added she, with her winning smile, “we old-fashioned
folks are always acquainted with the family tree; however, I
lived in your father's native town some years; I was an assistant
teacher in the village academy, and your aunt was one of
my pupils.”

“Was she, indeed?” said Mabel, with interest. “Dear
aunt Sabiah, how she would like to see you!”

“I was in hopes to revive our acquaintance last winter,”
said Madam Percival. “I have always continued to feel an

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interest in your aunt, and as I happened to learn her address
in New York, through one of her village friends, I took an
early opportunity to call; but I think it probable she has
nearly or wholly forgotten me, or perhaps would only recognize
me by my maiden name.”

“She never knew of your visit,” said Mabel, with a blush
of mortification, “she never had a chance to know. I had the
vanity to take it to myself, and I was the Miss Vaughan who
left a card at your door. Oh, how sorry I am!”

A shade of disappointment passed over Madam Percival's
countenance also, for a moment, then she exclaimed quickly, as
if anxious to relieve Mabel's evident regret, “It was very
natural, however. Your aunt probably lived a retired life.”

“Yes, very,” said Mabel, “but she would have been so glad
to see you.”

“Ah, well!” said Madam Percival, “do not lament it too
seriously, my child. Time has made great changes with us
both, and the meeting might not have been wholly pleasurable.
But tell me, my dear, where it is that I have seen your face

Mabel named the occasion.

“Yes, indeed, I remember now,” said Madam Percival, with
evident pleasure in the recollection. “You were my grandson's
partner in the country-dance. Ah! that was a pleasant
evening. We all enjoyed it much.”

This reference to her own enjoyment, and that of her
friends, led Mabel to speak in grateful terms of one of their
number, the good clergyman, to whom she was so much indebted.
Madam Percival was deeply interested by the young
girl's narrative of his deeds of Christian charity, and by the
time it was concluded, the boys awoke, eager to make an attack
upon the luncheon. Madam Percival left room for the children
beside their aunt, by herself returning to the seat next the
female attendant, who was the companion of her journey, and
for some hours the ordinary events of travelling succeeded.

“We shall soon be in Buffalo, my dear,” said Madam

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Percival at length, leaning forward and laying her hand on Mabel's
shoulder, to attract her attention.

Mabel, thus suddenly roused from a sad and painful reverie,
into which she had fallen, a train of thought superinduced no
doubt by the disclosures and coincidences of the morning,
started, turned, and said, in an abstracted manner, “Yes, and
what shall we do then?”

“Whatever you like, my poor, tried child; you need rest
and refreshment for body and mind. I was thinking where
we could best find it?”

“Wherever you please,” said Mabel. “I shall be only too
contented and thankful to stay with you.”

“Have you ever been to Niagara?”

“Never, ma'am,” answered Mabel, with a slight tremulousness
in her voice, at the mention of a spot she had once so
yearned to visit, but which was now associated with many a
bitter memory.

“We shall have twenty-four hours to spare before the steam
boat leaves,” said Madam Percival. “I have consulted my
little friend here (and she tapped with her spectacles the railroad
guide which she held in her hand), and find that we can,
if we choose, proceed directly to Niagara, and remain there
until within a few hours of the boat's sailing. It will be an
uncomfortable night in the city. I am well known at the Cataract
House, and we shall be sure of every outward comfort, to
say nothing of the inexpressible pleasure of having a glimpse
at the Falls. Do you like the plan?”

“I don't know,” said Mabel, hesitating. “I would rather
you should decide.”

“You can scarcely be expected to have any preference under
the circumstances, my dear,” said Madam Percival, laying her
hand anxiously on Mabel's flushed cheek, “but I am convinced
there could be no better prescription for you than the one I recommend.
The boys require rest and fresh cool air to invigorate
them after the journey, but you need something more; it is the
tired heart and brain which sends this feverish blood to your
cheek, rather than any physical fatigue, though you have had

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your share of that. You are my guests for the present,—my
adopted children I would say,—and so I feel myself at liberty
to study your wants, and endeavor to supply them. Besides,”
added she, with a persuasive smile and tone, which made it
almost appear that she was begging, instead of conferring a
favor, “we old folks, who pride ourselves on our experience,
love to try our favorite remedies; so, if you leave the decision
to me, we will keep on to Niagara, and risk the additional
fatigue in consideration of the benefits we hope to derive from
the effort.”

Comprehending at once the disinterestedness of this scheme
to divert her troubled mind from the contemplation of its corrows,
Mabel hastened to deprecate the idea of her aged friend's
incurring any unnecessary fatigue on her account; but Madam
Percival assured her that she never suffered from the effects
of travelling, and that in the present case, the necessity for one
day's delay rendered the temptation to visit the Falls irresistible,
apart from the satisfaction it would be to introduce her
young friends to one of the grandest wonders of nature, in
which, as Americans, they had all a common birthright.

So the excursion was determined on; and night found them
established in a comfortable hotel, where, within hearing of the
roar of the mighty cataract, they all experienced the welcome
refreshment and repose which weary travellers crave.

-- --


My soul were dark
But for the golden light and rainbow hue
That, sweeping heaven with their triumphal arc,
Break on the view.
Enough to feel
That God indeed is good! enough to know
Without the gloomy clouds he could reveal
No beauteous bow.
William Croswell.

[figure description] Page 348.[end figure description]

At an early hour, the next morning, a pleasant voice was
heard outside Mabel's door, saying, softly, “Are you awake,
my dear?” and was answered by Mabel's presenting herself,
already dressed and equipped for going out.

“You are on the alert, I see,” said Madam Percival, who
also wore her bonnet and shawl, as if prepared for a walk.
“I thought I heard your step in the room, or I would not
have disturbed you. How have you slept?”

“Very soundly until daylight; but then I awoke, and, hearing
the noise of the Falls, could not resist going out to see
them before breakfast.”

“Ah, you are a girl after my own heart,” said Madam Percival,
drawing Mabel's arm through hers. “I have left word
with my woman, Mrs. Patten, to go in and attend to the
children's wants, whenever they awake, so you need feel no
anxiety about them;” and the old and the young lady left the
hotel together.

“This is the direction leading to the bridge over the rapids,”
said Madam Percival, when they had gained a side street.
“I see an old acquaintance of mine—that Indian woman, just
opening her little store of wares over opposite—she knows

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me;” and Madam Percival bowed in kindly recognition to the
dusky squaw, whose face was full of eagerness. “I must go
and speak to her. Do not wait for me; I will overtake you.”
Thus speaking, Madam Percival crossed the road leading to
the bridge, and Mabel proceeded alone.

How tumultuous and how mingled was the rushing tide of
thought which assailed her during that short, lonely walk!
The time, the place, the solitude—how suggestive were they
all! How many of her childhood's hopes, her girlish anticipations
had centred around Niagara! How fondly had she looked
forward to this fulfilment of her early dreams! How little
had she foreseen the cruel chain of circumstances which had
brought her to the spot at last, disappointed, forsaken, and
bereaved. A moment more, and, in the stillness of the morning,
for the sun had not yet risen, she found herself alone on
the bridge, beneathw which flowed the angry torrent. Panting
from exercise, breathless with her own agitating reflections, and
dumb with astonishment and awe, she stood, with parted lips,
gazing up that gigantic slope, down which, in wild and frantic
speed, the waters were hastening to their fearful plunge.
Whence came they and whither did they go—those mad,
triumphant waves—which, scorning all opposition and beating
down all obstacles, seemed like the very messengers of doom!
An instinctive dread took possession of Mabel's mind, as, gazing
long and fixedly at these witnesses to God's power and
majesty, she saw in them types of those recent events which,
bearing down like a mighty flood and overwhelming her beneath
a torrent of trouble, had left her to struggle helplessly
with the current. “All thy waves and thy billows have gone
over me, great God,” she exclaimed aloud, at length withdrawing
her gaze from a scene whose sublime and solemn grandeur
was, to the excited girl, almost lost in a nervous sense of terror.

Then, as the roar still continued sounding in her ears, an
irresistible impulse seized her to hasten on and witness the end,
which, at present, she could image to herself only as a dire
catastrophe; and, as if fearful that, by a moment's delay, she
should lose something of the awful spectacle which she half

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longed, half dreaded to behold, she commenced running, and,
without pausing to take breath, continued at the same rapid
pace until she suddenly gained an elevated point, where, at a
glance, she could discern the two rival divisions of the farfamed
cataract. She gazed for an instant only, at the dark
and angry waters, on which the sun, now just below the verge
of the horizon, had not yet shed his beams, and which, as they
plunged down the fearful vortex, seemed to her bewildered
senses to utter only a message of stern and angry wrath; then
throwing herself on the ground, with her face hid against a
huge overhanging rock, she burst into a fit of passionate and
uncontrollable weeping. Her excited feelings having thus
found vent, however, and her strained nerves being relieved by
this free and natural outburst, she soon became more calm, and
at length lay quite still, listening, without terror, to the roar
of the waters, when, suddenly, she heard, close beside her, in
measured and familiar accents, the solemn words,—“And I
heard, as it were, the voice of a great multitude, and as the
voice of many waters, and as the voice of mighty thunderings,
saying, Alleluia; for the Lord God omnipotent reigneth.”

There was a pause; then a long-drawn sigh escaped Mabel,
and attracted the attention of Madam Percival, who had not
until then perceived her.

“What! are you here before me, and in my favorite spot, my
child?” exclaimed she; then seeing the despairing attitude and
covered face of Mabel, and at once conjecturing that, in the
weak state of her nervous system, she had been overcome by
the scene, she sat down beside her and said, in a self-reproving
tone, “Ah! I should not have let you come here alone.”

“It frightens me,” said Mabel, with a shudder. “I should
not have minded the fall so much,—but those dreadful rapids!”
and again a slight shudder passed over her frame. “It seemed
as if everything were pouring down at once just as—just as”—

“Just as trouble comes upon us poor mortals, you would say,
my dear.”

“Yes, I could not help thinking of myself.”

“I have often had the same thought,” said Madam Percival,

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soothingly; “but I have also found here a lesson of faith and
hope, which has fortified me in the hour of trouble, and which
I trusted you would have learned here, too. Often are we
borne through the rushing waves of anxiety, suspense, and
pain, and plunged at last down the gulf of a mighty sorrow;
but let us not be faithless or despairing. He who has meted
out the bounds of the earth has said to human suffering, as to
the mighty torrent, `Thus far shalt thou go and no farther;'
and even amid the shock of a great calamity, we know that
the raging torrent of affliction is spanned by the rainbow of
His love. Look up, my dear, look up.”

Mabel lifted her head quickly, as her attention was thus
earnestly claimed, and above the watery abyss, which a few
moments before had been so dark and fearful, a glorious rainbow
danced and quivered in the beams of the newly-risen sun;
and, as the glittering spray caught and reflected the rays of
light in new forms of radiance, another and another brilliant
arch stretched its graceful curve across the foaming flood.

A smile of joy flashed out from Mabel's face, effecting in it
a transformation scarcely less striking than that which had so
suddenly been wrought in the face of nature; she clasped her
hands, and stood for some moments in a rapt and serene

Madam Percival watched the play of her features with
affectionate interest; and, as the anxious and troubled expression
of her countenance was gradually superseded by the glow
of a Heavenly peace, she said in a low and fervent tone,
“Ah! my child, it is only when the light of the Sun of Righteousness
comes to illumine our darkened hearts, that we can
comprehend the love of Him who is continually confirming his
ancient promise—“It shall come to pass when I bring a
cloud over the earth, that the bow shall be seen in the cloud.”

“I have realized it many times,” said Mabel, eagerly; “I
realize it now.”

“It is shining in your face, my love,” said Madam Percival.
“Come, let us go back to the hotel, and cheer with it the little

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orphan hearts which must look to you henceforward to be the
sunshine of their lives.

“Is it not grand? is it not encouraging and ennobling?” said
Madam Percival, when, some hours later, they sat together on
the flat surface of Table Rock, watching the gigantic waters
of the Horse Shoe Fall. “In the course of a long life, I
have visited this spot many times, and I have invariably gone
away refreshed and strengthened, as if I had been listening to
the voice of a sacred oracle. Especially when the chastening
of God's providence was heavy upon me, have I been cheered
by this glorious proclamation of the truth, that His power
goes hand in hand with His love.”

“I cannot thank you enough for bringing me here,” said
Mabel;—“it is a remembrance for a life-time.”

“I confess,” said the old lady, “my first thought was merely
to divert your mind from dwelling too fixedly on your recent
trials. I did not realize how fully you were open to impressions
from nature. Now I cannot be too thankful for the
prompting which bade me lead you to this school of high
thoughts and noble purposes. God grant, my child, that your
young life, sanctified by the divine blessing, may flow on in as
strong, deep, and tranquil a current, as that of this noble river,
whose waters, henceforward, with only now and then a temporary
interruption, sweep calmly on to the eternal ocean. You,
indeed, need moral courage and strength, my child, for it is a
noble mission which you have before you.”

“You mean the care of the children,” said Mabel, observing
that Madam Percival's eye was fixed upon the boys, who were
playing at a little distance?”

“Yes,—the training of these young minds and hearts is
an office of true dignity and greatness, and one in which you
have all my sympathy. I, too, have educated boys, and my
work is not yet finished. If I read those little fellows' characters
aright, your responsibility is as great as your influence is
unbounded. That eldest child loves you with a devotion which
I have rarely seen equalled in one of his years. It is through
that love that he must learn to cherish those universal

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sympathies, in which I suspect him to be deficient, and that happy,
affectionate, beautiful, spoiled plaything yonder, who is at this
moment attracting the attention of strangers, will develope
impulses and propensities of so wide a range, that all the ardor
of his nature must be early taught to concentrate itself on the
pure, the elevated, and the good. Remember, my dear, that
your counsels may rule in many generations of hearts, and, if
the thought will add sanctity to your office, cherish the belief
that the principles you instil, may help to mould the future
fortunes of this free republic.”

A shade of earnest thought and holy resolution was stamped
on Mabel's attentive face, as, with her eyes intently fixed on
the children, she listened to the solemn charge of her experienced
and venerable friend. It would have been difficult to
pronounce which was the nobler countenance of the two; that
of the benevolent and Christian matron who thus uttered the
words of warning and of wisdom, or that of the enthusiastic
and truth-loving girl, into whose heart they sunk with a deep
and lasting power. Madam Percival gazed into the earnest
face of Mabel, and her heart warmed anew towards her, as
she read in every expressive feature a hopeful prophecy for the
future,—a prophecy which after years saw gloriously fulfilled.

We pass over the departure from Niagara, after a visit
which, though brief, was memorable to at least two of the
little company, between whom there had, then and there, been
sealed the compact of a friendship, rendered the more sacred
by the wide difference in their years. All were refreshed
and strengthened for continuing the journey; and the joy of
the children, and the relief and satisfaction of Mabel were
complete, when, at the steamboat wharf in Buffalo, they met
Owen, who, poor fellow, had suffered the most intense anxiety
on their account, and who at once became a sharer in their
gratitude to Madam Percival, as was evident from his clumsy
but honest expression of thanks, and still more from his unwearied
and deferential services to her during the remainder
of the journey. “Upon my word, Ma'am,” said he, “when I
found they were off, and nobody to see to 'em, I was e'en

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a'most crazed; and when, to crown the whole, I found Miss
Vaughan's purse in my pocket, I believe I went clean mad.
Why, I'd a fired one of the engines, and come off on my own
hook, but 't was no use; I just had to cool down and learn
patience by waitin'. But I see, and bless the Lord for it too,
the young lady wa' n't without a protector, nor never will be in
this world, I've a notion,—sartin not if she has her deserts;
and I make bold to thank you for your goodness on my own
account, Ma'am, and for the relief it is to my conscience;” and
taking off his hat and bowing, as he had been wont to bow to
Rosy, he drew back a step and added, “Owen Dowst's your
servant for life, Ma'am.” Madam Percival was one who could
appreciate the simplicity and worth of Mabel's humble escort;
and before their travels together were at an end, he had learned
to look upon this lady, as almost every one did who came under
her influence, as a reliable friend. She talked intelligently
with him of farms, stock and crops; gave him much valuable
information regarding Western life, and when he finally ventured
to consult her with reference to the investment of his little
property, she entered into his schemes with as ready an interest
as if she had been a professed land-agent and he a wealthy

Thus all went on happily and harmoniously, and Mabel,
with Madam Percival for her counsellor and friend, Owen as
the devoted attendant of herself and the children, and Mrs.
Patten, who shared all the interests of her beloved mistress,
to minister to her wants, and relieve her of little cares, found
her formidable journey drawing to a safe conclusion, and
almost sighed as she thought how soon she must part from
these valued and tried friends of her adversity.

The last night of their sojourn in each other's company was
passed on board a canal-boat. The children had gone to
sleep in the cabin; Mrs. Patten was watching beside them;
Owen, at the stern of the boat, was giving voluntary aid in
the stowing of some freight, and Madam Percival and Mabel
were seated on deck, holding the last of those pleasant and
valuable conversations which they had enjoyed together.

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“I am glad you like this Western country,” said Madam
Percival, “and that you do not feel discouraged by its yet
rough and undeveloped character. It is a great field, and one
in which comparatively little has yet been accomplished. You
will find much that is strange, uncouth, and utterly at variance
with all your preconceived ideas; but to a noble mind there is
a satisfaction in overcoming difficulties, and every effort is
sure to find its reward in a land which makes such a rich
return for the labor bestowed on it.”

“It excites all my enthusiasm,” said Mabel. “I have felt,
a hundred times on our journey, as if I would gladly stop
short at any given point, and remain a year or more, to watch
the progress which could almost be seen in passing, and of
which I hear such wonderful accounts on every side.”

“Say rather,” said Madam Percival, “to take part in that
progress. Do not consider yourself excluded by your age or
sex from exerting an active influence on the growth and true
civilization of any spot in which you are either temporarily or
permanently a resident. In a country whose physical development
is so unexampled as this, too much effort cannot be
made to insure a proportionate advance in moral and spiritual
growth. It may be that your influence and example must be
confined to a narrow circle, but do not forget that, however
restricted may be your sphere, it is woman's peculiar privilege
and province to exert that softening, elevating, purifying spirit,
which sanctifies the ruder labors of life, and sheds abroad
in the community a nobler ambition than that of building
cities in the wilderness, and subduing the elements to human
will. Above all, my dear, do not consider your life in the
West a period of exile; this is but a part of our mother
country, destined, in time perhaps, to become in its influence,
what it already is in its locality,—the centre and heart of the

“I am already accustoming myself,” said Mabel, “to look
upon it as my future home, for such it may eventually become.”

“Make it a home, my dear,” said Madam Percival, “for

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yourself and your family; at least, while you remain in it,
give it your affection and your best efforts,—it is the only
way to render it a happy residence or a useful one. I have
homes in several parts of our country, and it would be hard
for me to say which I love best. It is now fifteen years since
I accompanied my husband into this then unsettled region.
He was one of the pioneers of civilization, and the affection
which I then conceived for this Western valley has continued
in full force ever since. It has been with great satisfaction
that I have made successive pilgrimages hither, and now that
I have come to finish my days, perhaps, in this land of promise,
I do not feel willing to consider it the home of my adoption,
but simply my native soil.”

“If you were only to be near me,” said Mabel, “it would be
such a comfort; your counsel would be so precious.”

“Forty miles is not counted a very great distance in this
part of the world, my dear; and that, as nearly as I can judge,
is the distance between your father's estate and that of my
son. My hand, owing to one of the infirmities of age, has
recently been disabled from writing, but I shall find a way,
one of these days, to communicate with my young friends, and
shall always be rejoiced to hear from you in return. But,
good night; I will not keep you up any longer to listen to an
old woman's preaching.”

Before morning they had reached the bustling Western city
where their united route terminated. Mabel and the children
took passage in the clumsy carriage in which they were to
commence their last day's journey; Owen set out for another
part of the country; and Madam Percival, having seen her
adopted charges on their way, proceeded to the house of a
friend, where she was to await her son's arrival in the city.

It was a cold, rainy, and uncomfortable evening, when, with
the horses weary and steaming, and the children exhausted
with cold and fatigue, Mabel, almost hopeless of ever reaching
their destination, which had seemed all day to recede as they
advanced, at length heard from their driver the joyful words,

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“That 'ere's Mr. Vaughan's house where you see the light
over yonder.”

“Don't cry; we are almost there, Murray!” she exclaimed,
encouragingly, to the poor weeping child, who, sadly feeling
the want of Madam Percival's shawls and Owen's pilot cloth
coat, was shivering with the cold, from which all Mabel's care
could ill protect him, and who, hungry, dissatisfied, and out of
humor, had complained and cried bitterly for the last half hour.
“Look over there, beyond the river—that is grandpa's house;
you will soon see him and Uncle Harry.”

“I don't want to see them! I hate this place! I won't
stay here!” sobbed Murray.

“It will be better than riding all night, though, Murray;
won't it?” said Alick, in the same patient, philosophical tone
which the little man had maintained from the commencement
of the journey.

“Ye'll have to get out here and step up a piece,” said the
driver, halting within a few rods of the house. “My road
turns off here to the post-office, and these horses is dead beat,
that's a fact.”

Mabel needed no second bidding; she was only too glad to
trust to her own feet, to which eagerness lent wings, and in an
instant more, with Murray in her arms and Alick close beside
her, she hastened in the direction of the light, opened the unlocked
door of the house, and entered. She found herself in a
dark passage, and was groping for the inner door, when it was
suddenly thrown open; and, with a cry of joy, she set Murray
on the floor, and flung her arms around the neck of her astonished

Had it been the ghost of Mabel instead of Mabel herself, it
could have created no greater surprise and consternation. Mr.
Vaughan, who was sitting in an arm-chair by the fire, turned
his head as Harry uttered her name, and seeing his daughter
before him, became pale, tried twice to rise from his seat, then
sank back as if seized by sudden giddiness, while a look of
deep distress passed over his haggard features.

“Mabel here!” was his exclamation.

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She had thrown herself on the floor beside him, and with
both arms resting on his knee, was looking him earnestly in
the face before he had finished speaking the words. “Yes,
father; Mabel and the boys.”

“Alick! Murray! What does it all mean?” cried the old
man, greatly agitated—“their mother?”

There was a pause—a long, long pause—no one spoke.
Alick hung down his head. Murray crept to the fire and kept
on sobbing.

“Their mother, Mabel?” said Mr. Vaughan, again, in a
tone of anxious inquiry.

“They have no mother in this world but me, father,” answered
Mabel, in a hollow whisper.

The head of the afflicted parent dropped upon his bosom.
Harry came up, untied Mabel's bonnet, smoothed her hair with
his hands, kissed her hastily, and walked to the other end of
the room to hide his agitation. She rose and stood looking
into the fire.

“Is she dead? How did it happen? When did she die?
Where?” asked Mr. Vaughan, at last, in a choked voice.

Mabel gave a simple outline of the facts. Mr. Vaughan
held fast to the sides of his chair, as if needing support, and
presently Harry came back, and watching Mabel's countenance,
listened also to the story. Now and then, one or the other
asked some anxious question, and at length amid sighs, sobs,
and secret shudderings, the sad tale was fully told. There
was a second long silence, broken only by Murray's cries, and
then succeeded other questionings and other cares; the weary
young travellers—their long, hard journey; the trying experiences
of Mabel; the exposures and deprivations of the poor
children; their present necessities and wants—all in turn demanded
consideration, and were in turn discussed. Murray's
loud complaints of cold and hunger were promptly responded
to by Harry, who piled on more wood and went to consult the
larder, and, through his good housekeeping and Mabel's ingenuity,
arrangements were soon made by which the

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newlyarrived party could be comfortably accommodated for the

“How happened you to think of coming here, Mabel?” asked
Mr. Vaughan, when, supper being concluded and the children
gone to bed, she had quietly seated herself beside him, with the
satisfied, contented air of one who having suffered much has
found a place of repose at last.

“I did not know what else to do, father,” was her simple

The same distressed look returned to his face which had
marked it on the first announcement of her arrival; he moved
uneasily in his chair, glanced at the bare, plastered walls and
meagre furniture of their only parlor, and then, gazing at her
with mingled pride and pity, ejaculated mournfully, “It is
not a fit place for you, my child. I would have spared you

Mabel, grieved at perceiving how deeply he felt the trial of
seeing his beloved daughter reduced to such humble fortunes,
made haste to assure him of her perfect satisfaction and joy in
sharing his Western abode. He interrupted her, however,
shook his head in a troubled, discontented manner, and glanced
once more around the room, saying, “Ah, well! it may do for
awhile, perhaps—a week or so, until I get my affairs settled.”

It seemed, indeed, as if his paternal grief at the death of
Louise was secondary to this one absorbing regret; and as if
in contemplating the trials and mortifications to which his
favorite child had been suddenly reduced, he had forgotten
every other cause of sorrow; for, when at last he took his
candle to retire for the night, he laid his hand on Mabel's head,
and said in a consolatory tone, “Never mind, my daughter!
It is only for a season, while Harry practises a little shooting
and I settle up my affairs, and then we will all go home again.”

“I am afraid father is sorry I came, Harry,” said Mabel, as
the brother and sister were also about to separate.

“No, no, indeed,” replied Harry; “only he feels, as any
body must, that this is a new style of things for you to be

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brought to—this bivouac in the wilderness—this hunting-lodge
in the prairie—for that is all it is fit for.”

“If he only cares on my account—if you are sure of that,
Harry, I am content,” said Mabel. “He shall see how happy
I can be here.”

“Dear Mabel,” said Harry, looking at her tenderly, “how
much you have suffered—how much you have been through
since we parted!”

“We will not think of it now,” said she, smiling through her
tears. “I am with my father and you, Harry. I have nothing
more to ask.”

-- --


But never, in her varied sphere,
Is woman to the soul more dear
Than when the homely task she plies,
With cheerful duty in her eyes;
And, every lowly path well trod,
Looks meekly upward to her God
Caroline Gilman.

[figure description] Page 361.[end figure description]

Out West” is an indefinite term, whose limit has never
been circumscribed, and never can be fairly reached until civilization,
marching on with its measured stride, has set its foot
upon every inch of ground between the Atlantic and the Pacific
shores. At the time of which we write, however, the States
which form the eastern and western boundaries of the Mississippi
were the chief theatre of emigration; though many a bold
trapper and backwoodsman began to feel the atmosphere oppressive
with the breath of numbers, and to yearn for still
deeper solitudes.

The tract of land which, about a year before, had recommended
itself to Mr. Leroy as a favorable object of speculation,
and had subsequently become the joint property of himself and
his father-in-law, was a wide and level belt of alternate woodland
and prairie, which, stretching for many miles along the
shore of a considerable river, afforded an obvious and practicable
route for a newly projected railroad. It was with the view
of monopolizing the locality, and profiting by the enormous rise
in value which was anticipated, that the original purchase had
been determined on; and, as the scheme gained new favor in
the eyes of the eager speculators, and the subject became more
engrossing, larger and larger investments were made, until, at
length, all other considerations were excluded, and their landed
interests became to both gentlemen a subject of vital importance.

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Unfortunately, however, for the realization of their hopes, the
River Valley Railroad, with all the expectations which were
centred in it, still continued a mere project of the brain. True,
it was thought of, talked of, and planned, but as yet the fulfilment
of the enterprise was postponed; some believed that the
cities which it was destined to connect were not of sufficient
importance to warrant the undertaking, and all were agreed to
wait until the time was more fully ripe for action;—all, save
the disappointed land-owners, whose fortunes and patience
could ill brook this unforeseen and fatal delay. Meanwhile,
Mr. Leroy's affairs began to suffer embarrassment; a large
portion of his capital was embarked in an adventure which
yielded him no returns; he was obliged to look to Mr. Vaughan
for assistance, and by degrees nearly all his share of the Western
property was transferred to his father-in-law, in consideration
of heavy sums advanced for his relief. Nor could Mr.
Vaughan long sustain the double burden of his own and Mr.
Leroy's responsibilities. His resources became gradually crippled,
and a train of pecuniary disasters succeeded, which, together
with Harry's debts, involved him in financial difficulties
to an alarming extent. It was at this crisis that he hastened to
the scene where all his hopes for the future were centred, firm
in the belief that his presence and influence would give new
vigor to the enterprise which was destined to restore and redouble
his fortune, and resolved at all hazards and at every
sacrifice to pursue the object of his excited anticipations. Thus,
when Mr. Leroy's sudden death, his declared insolvency, and
the fresh embarrassments which ensued, rendered a large
amount of capital necessary for redeeming his remaining share
of the property and confirming Mr. Vaughan's shattered credit,
the latter hesitated not to adopt the only expedient left him,
and part with his residence in New York rather than relinquish
his great financial scheme, or admit any new partner to his
plans and prospects. And when, finally, having by this desperate
remedy secured himself from interference, he relaxed his
zealous efforts, and, worn with labor, anxiety, and the shock of
disaster, sought for awhile the repose and seclusion of his

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[figure description] Page 363.[end figure description]

Western farm-house, it was merely with the view of recruiting his
exhausted energies and preparing for a further contest with
difficulties and opposition.

That his residence there would be otherwise than temporary,—
that Mabel would ever dream of joining him, and sharing his
deprivations,—still less than his grandchildren would be brought
thither for protection and shelter, had never once entered the
old man's busy and overtasked brain; and yet, by a train of
circumstances, at once natural and strange, the remnant of his
diminished family were united under the humble roof, where
they seemed destined for an indefinite period to constitute a
common household.

Mabel Vaughan was not the first among the women of this
fair land who have suddenly waked from a dream of luxury to
the homely realities of Western life. Many are the daughters,
mothers, and wives, who, born and reared amid wealth and
fashion, have gone out into the wilderness with hearts brave
enough to meet adversity, and strong enough to conquer it;
proving by their self-denying fortitude, that there is no sphere
of life so exalted that it may not be made the school of the
humblest virtues, and none so lowly, that it may not become
the scene of the purest and most lasting triumphs. Nor is it
too much to affirm, that, while manly enterprise and vigor have
been put forth with unparalleled energy, the success which has
redeemed the waste land, and made the wilderness glad, is no
less due to the cheerful sacrifices, the patient toil, and the sympathizing
heart of woman.

The sphere into which Mabel was thus suddenly introduced
was one which gave scope to every faculty, and taxed her powers
to the utmost. There was not only much to do, but much
that was to be undone and recommenced, for Harry's boasted
housekeeping presented a singular medley of successes and
failures, and, in the eyes of a capable woman, a gradual but
thorough reformation was essential to domestic comfort. The
establishing of order in the household was, however, but a small
part of her task. There was an aged father to cheer, a brother
to whom her sympathy and companionship were the only

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safeguard, and two orphan boys to be cared for, governed, and
educated. The contemplation of the toils and trials which
these duties must necessarily involve, might well cause the
heart to shrink with dismay, and the hands to refuse their unwonted
office. But Mabel did not pause to contemplate them,
and here lay her chief security from dejection or apathy. She
was strong in youth and health; with spirits which had retained
their elasticity in spite of severe discipline, and a heart so
imbued with earnest faith and Christian self-devotion that, in
the cause of those she loved, no effort could be hopeless, and
no labor burdensome. Thus she counted not up her toils, and
brooded not upon her difficulties, but setting herself with cheerful
alacrity to the work which lay nearest at hand, she performed
it with ready zeal, and one by one, unconsciously to
herself, the various offices which she filled assumed their due
order and significance, and her daily life became a beautiful
and a sacred mission.

“Doesn't the tea-kettle boil yet, Harry?” exclaimed she, in
a lively tone, as she joined her brother in the kitchen the
morning after her arrival, and found him engaged in his bachelor
task of preparing breakfast.

“Alick,” she cried to her little nephew, who was cowering
over the fire, “do you see that great heap of pine chips out by
the wood pile?—suppose you run out and get some; let Murray
go with you, and carry the basket, that's a good boy; run
Murray, and get warm. Oh, Harry!” and she lifted a cover,
“how beautifully you have broiled that chicken!—you are
equal to any French cook, but you have forgotten the coffee!”
and she glanced at the empty coffee-pot.

“Just like me,” said Harry, good humoredly; “a fair specimen
of my ability. I have nearly let the fire out, too.”

“Never mind, here comes Alick with his chips; how many
times I have helped Mrs. Herbert make the tea-kettle boil on a
Sunday evening, when Bridget was away.”

A few moments more, and the important omission on Harry's
part was amply atoned for;—the coffee was foaming and bubbling
merrily. Mabel had placed the white bread, and sweet,

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fresh butter, upon the table—a few new-laid eggs had been
produced from the cupboard, and everything gave promise of a
sumptuous meal.

“Here comes Murray; what has he got?” shouted Alick,
as the little fellow entered, rosy and eager with excitement, and
hugging to his breast a small, fur-clad animal.

“A 'possum,” answered the child, “a live 'possum! James,
the farmer, gave it to me.”

Alick pressed forward to see this novel pet, Harry laughed,
and Mabel exclaimed, “Why, Murray, what would the New
York boys say, if they knew you had an opossum? You must
get James to make a house for it to live in. Go and take hold
of grandfather's hand, Alick,” whispered she, “and ask him to
walk in to breakfast.”

“Boots on top of the flour-barrel, and powder and shot on
the same shelf with the sugar-bowl!” was Mabel's inward
comment, as, an hour or two later, she made a careful inspection
of some of the closets. “That will never do! What is
there in that cupboard under the stairs, Alick?” she inquired
aloud of her active and willing little assistant.


“Then that is just the place for boots and shoes; it must
have been made for the purpose. The sporting materials must
stay here, I suppose, until Uncle Harry can find a better place
for them. But this nice China tea-set must be taught to keep
better company; how came it among all this crockery and
earthen ware, I wonder!”

These and similar marks of carelessness could be corrected
on the instant; but it was a less easy task to remedy the numerous
inconsistencies which the house and furniture everywhere

The plain wooden dwelling, though in many respects convenient,
was utterly destitute of ornament, and, in its interior
finish, was rough and homely in the extreme. It was one of
those cheap structures, which, in the order of progress, rank
next to the log house, and which, built solely for purposes of
practical utility, offer nothing attractive to the eye, and barely

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insure the comfort of their occupants. It had been furnished
with the simple necessaries of life by the former owner of the
land on which it stood, and came thus into the possession of
Mr. Vaughan, having been included in the original purchase
of the estate.

Immediately upon Mr. Leroy's arrival in the West, however,
when this place became his head-quarters, he had endeavored
to make it a comfortable summer residence for himself and his
father-in-law, by sending thither from the nearest city those
articles of luxurious living, in which it was most obviously
deficient; and these being purchased for temporary use, and
with little care and discretion, constituted, together with the
rude specimens of furniture which had been found there, an
incongruous mass of household utensils and appliances, which,
thrown together in utter disregard of convenience or good taste,
imparted to the rooms a most unsettled and desolate appearance.

But the same quick eye and hand which, a year before, had
been so prompt in relieving the dull uniformity of a superb
city mansion, knew how to reduce this bewildering chaos to
harmony and order; and, although Harry still persisted in
playfully styling it a bivouac and an encampment, their dwelling
soon assumed, under Mabel's superintendence, all the
essential characteristics of a home. It was true no one could
be blind to the fact, that the rich and gaily-colored carpet of
their only parlor contrasted painfully with the bare, plastered
walls and smoke-stained ceiling; that the heavy brass andirons
were but little in keeping with the rough, ill-painted chimneypiece
and wide brick hearth; that the stuffed arm-chairs and
sofa, which were among the imported articles, were strangely
at variance with an old pine table and wooden clock, which
were as indispensable as they were ugly; and that silver forks
and damask napkins only served to make the rude cutlery and
clumsy tin coffee-pot more conspicuous features in the breakfast

Woman, however, has an art unknown to man, by which due
prominence may be given to the attractive side of the domestic

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[figure description] Page 367.[end figure description]

picture, while the reverse is atoned for or kept wholly out of
sight; and Mr. Vaughan and Harry were not the first who
have felt the power of a cleanly swept hearth, a neat tablecover,
a well-ordered meal, a tasteful work-basket, and a box
of mignionette in the window, without being able to define the
cause of their unwonted sense of comfort.

Upon the unpacking of Mabel's trunk, a treasure had come
to light, which had awakened in her many a touching reminiscence
and emotion, and which excited Alick to tears and Murray
to an ecstasy of delight. It was Rosy's picture of the little
pilgrim, packed in a snug corner by Mrs. Hope, and marked
on the back in Lydia's hand-writing, with Rosy's dying message,
“Give this to my dear Miss Mabel.” They hung it on
that side of the plastered wall to which Mr. Vaughan's eyes
were often turned in his half-absent fits of dejection, where it
stood out from the cold white surface, as much alone and as
highly prized as in Rosy's humble room, and silently proclaimed
those blessed truths of which Rosy's voice and life
had furnished the interpretation.

It had been obvious, from the first moment of Mabel's
arrival, that nothing would so mortify and distress her father
as to see her reduced to the performance of menial offices; and
this feeling, which his whole manner conveyed, was expressed
almost immediately in the decisive words, “Harry, we must
look out at once for servants. James has done very well for
us, with what assistance he has been able to obtain in the
neighborhood; but the case is quite different now. Even if
Mabel should only be here for a week or two, we must have
female servants, if there are any such to be obtained, and make
her as comfortable as possible.”

The saving clause in Mr. Vaughan's remark was well introduced,
for the difficulty of securing female help in a new
country is proverbial; and, though Harry fully coincided with
his father's views, and was indefatigable in his efforts, he met
with only partial success, and that not until he was nearly
discouraged. At length, however, a young and inexperienced
girl, daughter of a recent settler in the vicinity, consented to

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enter Mabel's service, and through the latter's perseverance in
training both herself and her hand-maiden, some degree of
system was introduced into the kitchen department, and there
was at least the show of a waiting woman in the establishment.

Of the trials, disappointments, and difficulties, which a young
house-keeper endures during her novitiate, most women know
something by experience, and most men by hearsay; while all
will agree, that no small credit was due to the girl who bore
her trials cheerfully, laughed over her disappointments, patiently
contended with difficulties, and maintained, meanwhile,
a happy contentment of spirit, which spread sunshine through
the house, and even forbade her anxious parent to consider her
an object of compassion.

Meanwhile, Mr. Vaughan was frequently absent from home,
on those excursions which had reference to his scheme of future
wealth and aggrandizement, and, on his return, his mind was
generally too much abstracted to admit of his making any
observation upon his family circumstances, beyond that of the
general health and welfare of the household. He accepted the
arrangements which were made for his comfort, without seeming
to trace them to their source, and sometimes came and
went without communicating a single fact connected with his
journeyings, or making a single inquiry concerning the events
which had transpired in his absence. The roll of charts,
descriptive of his landed property, was usually spread out
before him, upon the table, and when not actually engaged in
consulting it, he would restlessly pace the room; while, more
than once, Mabel was startled by hearing his step in the
night time, and, on hastily descending the stairs, discovered
him, in night-cap and dressing-gown, poring over the engrossing
maps, tracing out the course of the river, or the boundary
line of his estates. “Go back to bed, my child,” he would say,
looking up from his labors, but not removing his finger from the
place which it marked; “I am sorry I disturbed you; I only
wished to satisfy my mind upon a certain point.”

“I thought you might be ill,” Mabel would perhaps remark;

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and he in his turn would answer, a little impatiently, “Ill? Oh,
no, I am perfectly well,—perfectly.”

The autumn, however, was fast changing into winter, and
the subject of a return to New York was as wholly dropped as
if such a thing had never been contemplated. Time did not
appear to hang heavily upon Harry's hands; he was out almost
constantly with his dog and gun, and his health and figure
were becoming robust under the influence of this active life.
Nor did Mabel's high hopes suffer any diminution, nor her
fears become in any degree excited, on his account, although
his frequent and prolonged shooting excursions brought him into
contact, not only with the reckless hunter and backwoodsman,
but, also, with many a gay sporting-party from Canada and
the Western cities, who were, at this season, finding recreation
in the hunting grounds of the West. He invariably returned
home laden with game, which was no trifling feature in their
larder; and, by his thoughtfulness for Mabel's comfort, by his
anxiety to lighten her cares in providing for the wants of the
family, and by the exercise of a discretion and good judgment
which had never before characterized him, he gave evidence
of his growth in manly purpose and true generosity of heart.

Mabel's social deprivations might seem one of the most
striking trials of her lot. But although her father and brother
were much from home, and the neighborhood offered few
advantages, she found more than enough in her present situation
to compensate for all she had lost by the exchange of a
crowded city for a life on the open prairie.

The children were her constant companions. Alick could not
long be contented out of her sight, and the chivalrous devotion
which had marked his demeanor on their journey suffered no
diminution at its termination. He was her invariable attendant
and fellow laborer, and under her sunny influence the best
traits of his character were rapidly developing; while Murray,
in the keen enjoyment of simple pleasures, was overcoming
the false tastes and unreasonable temper which were due to
flattery, and the injurious influences that hotel life is sure to
exert upon a child.

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But there was still another source from which Mabel derived
sweet and welcome companionship, learning in the exercise
of a warm and tender friendship how much more precious is
the intercourse with one true and congenial mind, than with
hundreds of those chance acquaintances who are thoughtlessly
termed friends.

She was standing one day at the front window of her parlor,
watching the boys who were at play outside, when her attention
was attracted by a little, shaggy, white pony, approaching
the house at a quick canter. As the village had been laid out
with reference to that immense growth which it had not yet
attained, and a wide open common intervened between Mr.
Vaughan's residence and the opposite street, the figure of the
rider, who, regardless of the beaten track, pursued a direct
course over the rolling prairie ground, was strongly defined on
the open space and against the clear blue sky, and was watched
by Mabel with intense interest and curiosity. It was a young,
slight, and delicate-looking girl, who, dressed in a light gray
habit, with a straw hat, bound and tied with green ribbon, and
her fair hair floating on the breeze, presented a novel and picturesque
appearance. She rode with careless ease and grace,
and seemed to guide and control her little steed by a species
of magic, for as she drew near the house she suddenly threw
the reins on its neck, checked it with a word, and springing
lightly from its back, apparently bestowed no further thought
upon the animal, which followed her for a few paces, then
tossed its head, snuffed the air, and bounded to a little distance,
where it stopped and quietly commenced grazing.

Gathering her skirts lightly in her hand,—they were not so
long as to interfere materially with her walking,—she came tripping
up to the door, but did not appear to be in haste, for seeing
the children, she paused in evident surprise, stooped down
and stroked the head of Harry's dog, with which they were
playing, and asked them a few questions, to which, however,
she failed to obtain satisfactory answers. Mabel was just considering
whether she should go to meet this unexpected visitor,
when, without the ceremony of a knock, the door was opened

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and she entered unannounced, with several letters and papers
in her hand, which she was about to lay upon the table and
retire; but seeing Mabel, she paused, blushed slightly, then
with the simple confidence of one who has never known cause
for more than momentary embarrassment, advanced and cordially
extended her hand. “It is Miss Vaughan,” exclaimed
she, with unaffected astonishment and pleasure. “But I did
not know you had come. I had no idea you thought of coming.
I am very glad to see you.”

Mabel shook the young girl's hand warmly, for her appearance
was very prepossessing; she could not, however, disguise
the curiosity she felt concerning her, and the little horsewoman
ingenuously responded to it in the words—“I am Helen
Gracie, the clergyman's daughter, the village letter carrier,
my father's curate, and your father's earliest acquaintance in
the place, and medical adviser, too, I may say, if you will not
think me proud.”

Many more were the titles to honor and to love which Helen
might with equal truth, though not with equal modesty, have
claimed; for this fair flower of the wilderness, this lily of the
prairie, as she was rightly termed, was known and beloved for
a circuit of twenty miles around, and the various offices she
filled were as numerous as they were beneficent.

It was enough for Mabel, however, that she recognized in
her the gentle nurse who had ministered to her father's wants,
and earnestly pressing the little hand which had applied the
healing balsam and prepared the wholesome nourishment for
her wounded and invalid parent, she proceeded to thank her
in no measured terms for the friendly and neighborly part
she had played. She had heard her father speak frequently
of Miss Gracie's attentions, and Harry, too, had referred to
her by name; but having pictured to herself some ancient and
withered crone, laden with a huge bag of herbs, and prating
of her skill, she could not sufficiently express her pleasure at
this agreeable surprise.

Helen, however, disclaimed all praise; she had merely
recommended an application for Mr. Vaughan's sprain, which

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had fortunately proved effectual, and the dear old gentleman's
kindness had made it a pleasure to ride over and inquire after
his health. She then apologized for her present intrusion, by
saying that she had frequently been in the habit, during the
summer, of calling and leaving the letters, on her way from the
post-office to a neighboring settlement which she visited almost
daily, and as Mr. Vaughan and Mr. Leroy were seldom at
home, she usually came in and left them on the table. Mabel,
charmed with her fresh and lady-like simplicity, begged that she
would always thus dispense with ceremony; and, Helen having
been persuaded to take a seat, the two girls were soon chatting
together with a freedom which gave the promise of speedy
intimacy and mutual happiness in each other's society.

There was no question which Mabel could ask concerning the
country, or the neighborhood, to which Helen could not give a
prompt and intelligent answer, and no advice or counsel which
she required in her present circumstances, which her new
friend was not competent to bestow; for Helen had been born
in the West, and the greater part of her young life had been
passed in this very locality, to which her father, a devoted
minister of the gospel, had brought his only child in her
infancy, and where, unbiassed by worldly prejudice, he had
reared and educated her according to his own ideas of female
loveliness and duty.

“You have been a housekeeper ten years!” exclaimed
Mabel, as Helen laughingly declared that her experience dated
back to that remote period. Then, reviewing with a smile the
sweet, infantile features which seemed to mock the assertion,
she added, “No one would believe you such a veteran in the
service; but I shall take you at your word, and rely on your
advice in all domestic matters, as well as in the wider range of
subjects we have been discussing. If you please, before you go,”
for Helen was about to depart, “will you step into the kitchen,
and tell me if Melissa's bread is risen enough to put into the

And Helen accepted the invitation with the same playful

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air with which it was given, and the bread was all the better
for her suggestions.

She then spoke her farewell, and the pony, obedient to its
mistress' call, came trotting up with the playful and waggish
capers of a little dog. “Will you take a ride, sir?” said Helen
to Murray, who stood attentively watching the animal's motions.

The courageous boy answered readily in the affirmative, and
in an instant the lively girl had lifted him to the saddle, and
was laughing merrily at his delight, as she led the docile pony
round in a wide circle; then helping him to alight, she sprung
into his place, waved her hand gaily to Mabel, who stood
watching them in the doorway, and cantered off over the prairie
in an opposite direction to that from which she had come.

A moment after Harry crossed the bridge, and emerging
from the thicket which bordered the river, joined Mabel on
the doorstep, while the figure of Helen was still in sight,
though gradually lessening in the distance.

“I do believe,” exclaimed he, “you have had a visit from
that little desert sprite. This is the third time I have come
up just in season to see her beat a retreat, and never yet have
I had a glimpse of her face, though father speaks of her so
familiarly that she can not be utterly a myth.”

“Harry,” said Mabel with enthusiasm, “she is the dearest
little creature in the world.”

“I have had a suspicion of the fact,” replied Harry, “but
that is all. I invariably catch sight of her riding off as she is
now, with her curls floating behind her, and almost think she
sees me coming and makes her escape on the instant.”

“She lives in the cottage yonder; you can see the smoke
from the chimney,” said Mabel. “We are the best of friends
already, and I have promised to return her visit soon; you
must go with me.”

Harry did so, not unwillingly; and as time passed on and
the intimacy between the families continued to ripen, Mabel's
declaration and his suspicions regarding their new friend seemed
destined to become confirmed.

-- --


Labour is good for man, bracing up his energies to conquest,
And without it life is dull, the man perceiving himself useless.
M. F. Tupper.

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The short, frosty days of winter were gradually giving way
to the bright influences of spring, though as yet there was little
indication in the bare, brown prairie, the leafless trees, or the
chilly atmosphere, of any other reign than that of the wintry
tyrant. The sun, however, rode higher in the firmament and
continued longer above the horizon, and the light snows which
fell now and then during the night, could not resist the power
which his rays had acquired at noon. It was that season when
good housewives improve the long days for the accomplishment
of what they term their spring work; and Mabel, in virtue of
her thriftiness, devoted all the time she could spare from her
other vocations, to the diligent plying of her needle, a species
of industry which the family wants imperatively demanded.

She was sitting at the window towards the close of an afternoon
in the early part of April, busily occupied at her sewing,
and Harry, at the opposite side of the room, was engaged with
a book. Mr. Vaughan was absent on one of his frequent
excursions; the boys, wrapped in their warm great coats, had
gone with James the farmer to enjoy his skill in calling together
the cows, which had strayed to a distance, and the house was
quiet and undisturbed. Occasionally Harry laid down his
book and yawned, then rose, gazed first from one window
and then another, and finally resuming his seat, with his
elbow resting on the half-closed volume, watched Mabel attentively
and thoughtfully, as, unconscious of observation she
stitched away on the garment, which she was anxious to finish
that evening. Neither of them had spoken for a half hour or

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more, when Harry suddenly startled his sister with the abrupt
remark, “Mabel, I am tired of this kind of life; I am going to

She lifted her earnest, brown eyes for an instant to his face,
with a half incredulous, half inquiring look, then dropped them
again and kept on sewing.

“It does very well,” continued he, “to call our farm-house
here a bivouac, an encampment, and a hunting-lodge. It sounds
temporary, and seems encouraging, and answers for a jest; but
it is no jesting matter,—this Western life to which we have
become reduced—it is a sober reality.”

Mabel made no reply; she only looked more steadily at her
work. He studied her face for a moment, but could not read
its expression, the features were so fixed. “All we can do
now is to make the best of it,” said he, as he rose once more
and walked up and down the room. Then pausing opposite to
her he exclaimed, in a tone at once emphatic and full of deep
and tender feeling, “Mabel, this is all a humbug—this great
scheme of father's. The poor old gentleman is laboring under
a delusion.”

Her head dropped lower and lower on her bosom, a great
tear fell upon her needle and glittered like a dewdrop,—
another blinded her eye; still she feigned to be busy as ever
with her work.

“He is wasting his life away chasing after a shadow. Did
you know it?” asked Harry, in a tone of gentle, anxious inquiry.

She answered only by an affirmative nod. She had known
it so long; she had read it so many times in the old man's face;
she had felt it so to her heart's core, and treasured it there so
religiously, as a fatal secret, that now to hear it spoken out,
and to find herself assenting to the truth, seemed almost like a
sacrilege, or the betrayal of a trust.

“And you knew that the rest of the property was lost; that
every thing had been sacrificed to this hopeless speculation;
that the New York house and all its contents went under the
hammer long ago; and that this was our only home?”

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Harry put these questions in quick succession, as each
received the same silent but expressive reply with which
Mabel had responded to his first query; then added, gazing
into her face meanwhile with wonder and admiration, “So
you have never been blinded for a moment to the true state
of things? You have never been deceived by all the prophecies
of better days? You have realized from the beginning
that we were a ruined family, and yet you have seemed
as cheerful as if we were at the top of fortune's ladder, and
have labored as steadily as if you had the most brilliant ends
in view! I never would have believed it of any woman.
Mabel, you are an angel!”

“No, I am not an angel,” said she, looking up with a half
smile; “nor are we a ruined family. I have learned to appreciate
a home if it is ever so humble; and if it were not for his
disappointment, of which I can not bear to think, we might be
very happy yet. You, and the boys, and I, will all acknowledge
that this winter has been much better spent than the last.”

“Yes, in the highest and best sense, we have all improved,”
said Harry; “and we know who we have to thank for it.
You and I have been but idle dogs,” continued he, patting the
head of his favorite setter, “but we have at least done no harm
for the last six months, and one of us has not found the time
wholly wasted, since it has sown the seeds of some good resolutions.
Yes, Mabel, your industry and patience have been at
once a reproach and an incentive to me. I am determined to
be no longer a drone in the hive—I am going to work.”

There was a manly earnestness in Harry's tone which made
it impossible to doubt his sincerity, and Mabel, both by voice
and countenance, expressed an eager interest and pleasure in
his declaration, which encouraged him to explain himself still

It seemed that the young man's time during the winter
months had not been wholly devoted to hunting, though it was
on an excursion of this nature that the impulse became awakened
which eventually led to important results. He had gone
to a greater distance than usual from home, and in company

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with some young English officers from beyond the Canadian
frontier, had been on the track of a deer which had recently
been seen in the vicinity, and, in the engrossing interest of the
chase, had become separated from his companions just at the
close of the short winter's day. In the darkness which immediately
ensued, he was for some hours lost in the forest; but
at length, guided by the friendly light of a log hut, he succeeded
in reaching a place of shelter, which he recognized as the cabin
of an Indian half-breed who had once before been his host on
a similar occasion.

But he was not now, as before, the only guest. A rival
huntsman had preceded him, and, outside the door, lay the carcass
of the deer, slain by this successful follower of the chase.
It proved, however, to be neither of Harry's previous companions
who had thus borne away the honors, but an accidental
competitor for the prize, who, travelling in the neighborhood,
was indebted to his quick eye and ready rifle for a success
which he could scarcely be said to have sought. The stranger
was a young man, not many years Harry's senior, and in the
close proximity to which the new lodgers were subjected in
their narrow quarters, an acquaintance naturally ensued, which
the next day's journey, passed in each other's society, was also
destined to confirm.

The manners and bearing of the expert hunter had at once
proclaimed him to be a gentleman, and his knowledge and cultivation
proved him to be one of no ordinary attainments; for,
while his whole conversation was marked by elevation of sentiment
and refinement of taste, his information ranged over a
wide field of topics, and he seemed equally at home on a question
of foreign policy, or the details of Western farming. Of
the latter he had, considering his youth, enjoyed a large experience—
enjoyment being most truly the term for expressing the
enthusiastic and hearty interest which he felt in the growth and
development of the resources afforded by the extensive plantation
lands of which he was the proprietor. These lands were
not very far distant from one portion of Mr. Vaughan's estate;
and as Harry listened to the young stranger's animated account

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of his own successful experiments in agriculture, and the almost
fabulous crops which the rich soil was capable of yielding, his
attention was, for the first time, directed to the uncommon
facilities he himself possessed for embarking in similar pursuits.

Mr. Vaughan's Western property, although purchased solely
with reference to one absorbing scheme, included large tracts
of arable land, which, at present lying waste, might be easily
brought under cultivation. Industry and perseverance alone
were wanting to compel them to yield their tribute. The
broad acres which had disappointed the eager speculator might
yet reward the patient husbandman; and while the father only
dreamed of golden harvests, the son might sow and reap them.

The ambition thus awakened was not destined to die out for
want of encouragement. The accident which had introduced
Harry to the owner of a model farm, had also secured to him
a wise counsellor and a judicious friend;—a man who had the
force and energy of character which are calculated to command
influence, and the disinterested and lofty aims which insure its
being exercised in a right direction. Moreover, he seemed to
have Harry's welfare particularly at heart, and spared no pains
to establish his manly purposes, and aid him in their accomplishment.
He invited him to visit his estate, pointed out the
evidences of remarkable success and occasional failure which
constituted his own experience, and accompanied him on a survey
of that part of his father's land which was best adapted
to agricultural purposes.

Thus, at the opening of spring, Harry's plans were ripe, and
he himself ready and eager for action. The simple structure
which was for the present to constitute his dwelling, was
already in process of erection, and he had only delayed communicating
these facts to Mabel because he dreaded to disclose
those other truths which were involved in his decision, and
which, he feared, would prove crushing to her hopes.

He had not counted on that womanly instinct which could
not be deceived in reference to their broken fortunes, nor
measured the strength of that woman's heart which rose superior

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to the shock. Nor had he anticipated, therefore, the exultant
and joyful emotions which the revelation of his own projects
awakened in his warm-hearted and sympathizing sister. Not
only was the thought of honest labor, in the tilling of the generous
soil, attractive to her newly-developed tastes, but, in
devoting himself with such ardor to the work, Harry had set
the seal, as it were, to his hoped-for reformation. If there was
one thing she had dreaded for him more than another, it was
idleness, the almost certain harbinger of evil. That temptation
was now at an end; and, looking through the long vista of
coming years, Mabel seemed, with prophetic vision to behold
her stripling brother, over whose idleness and folly she had
often wept bitter tears, developing into the athletic, honored,
redeemed, and useful citizen.

“We shall miss you sadly, Harry,” said she, when the story
of his plans and expectations was fully told; “but oh, how
happy you will be! and what a fund of interest we shall have
in your new farm and its prospects!”

“You will not be ashamed of me then, when I come home
on my Sunday visits?”

“Ashamed? I shall glory in you, Harry. I only wish you
were to be with us constantly; and I do not quite understand
now why you thought it best to commence operations on such
a distant part of the property.”

“For many reasons,” answered Harry. “First and foremost,
the advantages of transportation are infinitely better
there. For more than two miles the land borders on the canal,
and there is a large and growing city some twenty miles distant,
which will furnish a permanent market for grain. Then,
although you and I appreciate the dignity of labor, and feel its
necessity, it is quite the reverse with father, who still clings to
his charts, and sees a fortune marked out on them. It would
be a daily torture to him to watch the upturning of this land,
for any purpose so humble as that to which I propose to convert
it. Besides, I am not sure but what influences me more
than anything else is the fact that my friend Percival's farm
will be within half a day's ride of my own. By the way,

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Mabel,” added he, observing an eager lighting up of her countenance,
“I did not think, did I, to tell you that my excellent,
whole-souled neighbor is the son of your charming old lady—
and she is a fine old lady, to be sure. I saw her for the first
time last week. She inquired particularly after you and the
children, and sent her love, which I should think you would be
proud to have.”

“I am, indeed,” exclaimed Mabel with delight, “and proud
that you should have her son for a friend; he must be a noble
man, educated by such a mother. Why did you not tell me
this before? It wholly alters the case. What a pleasant coincidence!
and how fortunate you are, Harry! You will have
constant enjoyment in the society of that family. I almost
envy you the privilege of living near our dear Madam Percival.”

Harry laughed at her enthusiasm, but, at the same time
acknowledged how fully he shared it. “Although I have
learned by experience,” said he, “to be cautious in forming
friendships, or boasting of them, I do believe that Percival's
example, and the influence of his cheerful, high-toned character,
will do more than anything else to save me from becoming
disheartened and desponding,—especially as I shall not always
have you at hand, May. It is strange what a recollection
constantly haunts me of having seen his handsome face somewhere
before. I cannot help thinking I must have met him
when I was travelling in Europe. I told him so the other
day, when he spoke of having been abroad, but he only answered—
`possibly.' ”

As the season was now nearly at hand when Harry's presence
would be constantly required at his farm, and many of
his arrangements were still incomplete, his communication to
Mabel was but the precursor to his bidding her farewell, and
a few weeks later saw him established in his bachelor's cottage,
at about thirty miles distance, which, with the exception
of an occasional visit to his family, thenceforward constituted
his permanent residence. His father, incredulous of his perseverance,
and indifferent to such trivial schemes, assented

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readily to the proposition which his son made, in due form, for
the use of the land, but manifested neither interest nor confidence
in the result. Mabel, on the other hand, strong in
hope, and relying on Harry's diligence and skill, encouraged
him with her strong faith, and strengthened him with words
of cheer; and Harry, remembering and believing in the
promises, sowed his seed in the morning, and in the evening
withheld not his hand; and the early and the latter rain
watered and refreshed his furrows, and finally, when the
autumn came, the earth brought forth her increase.

-- --


To nurse the sickness, to assuage the care,
To charm the sigh into the happier prayer;
Forestall the unuttered wish with ready guess;
Wise in the exquisite tact of tenderness.
New Timon.

[figure description] Page 382.[end figure description]

A letter from Mabel to Mrs. Herbert, written about a
year and a half subsequent to her arrival in the West, furnishes,
in her own words, the best index to her mode of life,
and the successive changes which had, within that period,
transpired in the household. It ran as follows:—

“Dear Mrs. Herbert:—Your kind New Year's letter,
with all the pleasant reminiscences, affectionate messages, and
loving inquiries from yourself and the dear girls, was a most
welcome proof of the tender interest with which you have
followed me to my new home, and claims a hearty response;
though before I have answered half your questions, I fear
you will weary of my Western experiences. We have now
passed two winters in our new home, and begin to feel ourselves
old settlers;—the more so, as no less than thirty families
have established themselves in the village since our arrival.
As we are a little on the outskirts of the town, however, we
have no near neighbor, except Mr. Gracie, the clergyman,
who lives across the opposite bit of prairie, and who, with his
daughter, are our most intimate and esteemed friends. I have
frequently spoken of Helen in my letters, so her name and many
points of her disposition and character are no doubt familiar to
you. But you cannot imagine the treasure she has been
to me, ever since the first moment of our acquaintance. Next
to yourself, there is no one to whom I am so much indebted
for the ease and pleasure with which I have been enabled to

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adapt myself to our new circumstances. Care sits so lightly
on her shoulders, and she knows so well how to combine employment
and recreation, that in her society the most important
duties cease to be burdensome, and little mishaps afford
only new occasion for merriment. The children of the rough
backwoodsmen, who are among her father's parishioners, hear
the sound of her horse's feet, and run to meet her the moment
she is in sight, sure of some trifling gift, a story, or a ride on
the pony, which seems to be common property. If she goes
with her basket of medicines to visit the sick, at a distance,
she comes back so laden with flowers, you would think she
had been a Maying; and an old Canadian Indian woman, to
whom she daily reads a chapter in her French Bible, declares
her voice more musical than running water. I have never
seen father so abstracted with the cares of business that he
has not a pleasant word for his fairy nurse, as he calls her,
and no bribe is so effectual with the boys, or inducement
rather (for I, like you, scorn the use of bribes), as the promise
of an evening visit to Helen. As for Harry—but never
mind about Harry—sisters are so suspicious, you know, where
their brothers are concerned.

“I wish you could see Harry, Mrs. Herbert; you would
never recognize in him the youthful dandy who wore such exquisite
straw-colored kid gloves, and boasted such a faultless
necktie. Not that he has grown slovenly—quite the reverse—
but, except under his curls, where his forehead is as white as
ever, his complexion is completely embrowned by the sun; his
figure has become broad and firmly knit, and he lifts me in his
arms as if I was only a feather's weight; while the lassitude of
manner which was always apparent in him, has given place to
the quick, earnest movements of a man with determined motives
in life and an honorable aim. Then too, he is so happy, and
brings such animation into the house whenever he returns home
for a day or two, and I am so proud of him! Dear Mrs. Herbert,
you must come out here sometime or other, and see what
a worthy member of society you have helped, by your influence,
to rear. My boys, too, I consider in some degree objects of

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your training, for they are daily practising the same round of
lessons in which, I now thank you most sincerely for having
me thoroughly drilled. I am their only teacher, except that
Alick studies Greek for an hour every day with Mr. Gracie,
and their improvement is regular and encouraging. Murray
is backward and rather dull at his books, though a very smart
boy at his play. He is a good reader, but has not yet learned
to spell correctly; and he experiences all the distaste I once
had for the Latin Grammar, which he is just commencing; he
has lately made great progress in his Arithmetic, which I
attribute entirely to his uncle Harry's having told him, on his
last visit to us, that he must devote himself especially to Mathematics,
if he ever wished to become an engineer, a vocation on
which he has set his heart. I hope I shall be equally fortunate
in suggesting an impulse which shall influence him in other
pursuits. With Alick I am obliged to adopt quite another
course; the only fear being, that he will injure himself by his
devotion to books. He devours all the reading matter which
comes in his way, and his greediness for knowledge is insatiable.
I am obliged to invent out-of-door employments for him, and
entice him into the open air by every possible means, lest his
health should suffer from too close application. He is a remarkable
child, and the responsibility of his moral and mental
training would alarm me, if I were not blessed with the aid of
our good Mr. Gracie, who is as judicious and lovely in his disposition
as he is wonderful in his attainments. We do, indeed,
enjoy a rare privilege in having such a man for our friend and
pastor. His little church is a fountain of good works, and his
life, as well as his preaching, is a beautiful illustration of the
Christian doctrine. Beside Hebrew, Greek, and Latin, in
which he is a proficient, he is an excellent French and German
scholar, and is so versed in the natural sciences that he is able
to impart a lively interest to all our simple pursuits and
pleasures. You will naturally wonder that the talents of this
gifted man should be restricted to so narrow a sphere; but it
gives added power and beauty to his self-sacrificing labors, that
he left a flourishing church at the Eastward, and came hither

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in a truly missionary spirit. He is the only man in the neighborhood
who is my father's equal in years, and each seems to
find pleasure and benefit in the other's society.

“Of my housekeeping I have already furnished you, in past
letters, with many of the details. I never can be thankful
enough for those lessons in domestic economy which I learned
under your roof, and which, although uncalled for during one
short winter in New York, have been invaluable ever since.
I do not believe that people generally realize how much girls
acquire from observation, and how much of their future skill in
every branch of household matters is due to this sort of unconscious

“Do you remember how perseveringly Em and I used to
watch all your operations in the kitchen on baking days, artfully
suggesting the propriety of your testing the heat of the
oven with a taster, of whose merits, when well baked, we
expected to be the judges? I was reminded of it, and had
reason to thank you for your patience with us, when, on occasion
of my making my first Thanksgiving pies, Helen Gracie
came over to assist me, and declared she knew I must be an
expert in the business, from the manner in which I held the
rolling-pin, buttered the paste, etc., in all which proceedings I
was only the creature of imitation. I still retain Melissa in
my service, thanks to the attractions of James, the farmer, who
seems very slow to comprehend the partiality with which he is
regarded by my handmaiden. James is not what our neighbors
would call a forehanded man, and is blind to his own interests
in more ways than one. He is at liberty to cultivate as much
of my father's land as he pleases, at the halves, and yet he is so
wanting in energy that I can not perceive the slightest extent
in the boundaries of his wheat and corn fields, or in the number
of his flocks and herds, which can be maintained so easily in
this excellent grazing country.

“You refer to my lack of books, periodicals, etc., but in this
respect I enjoy a rare advantage. Harry resides at only ten
miles distance from a beautiful estate, called the Lake Farm,
owned by a gentleman of taste and cultivation, with whose

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venerable mother I have the privilege of claiming a warm
friendship. From them I receive regularly everything that is
new and valuable in English literature; and have also derived
great encouragement in the study of German, which Helen and
I are pursuing together, and for which I contrive to reserve a
little time every day, in spite of my numerous avocations;—for
I have learned the truth of what you used to tell us, dear Mrs.
Herbert, that the more we have to do, the more time we find
to do it in.

“I wish I could close this long letter by giving you favorable
accounts of my father's health, in which you always express
so kind an interest. You would think him greatly changed;
his hair is snowy white, his figure attenuated and bent, and he
suffers from a slight lameness, consequent upon his injuries at
the time of the railroad disaster. If, however, he could be persuaded
to relinquish the cares and anxieties of business, which
I trust may soon be the case, we might still hope to see him
enjoy tranquility and length of days; and for this happy termination
of his arduous life, I never cease to pray. With the
warmest love to Sue, Em, and Charlie, and those of the girls
who were my fellow pupils,

“Ever truly and affectionately yours,
Mabel Vaughan.

About this time Mabel received a communication through
the post-office, which proved the occasion of much thought,
and eventually of decisive action. Upon first perusing it, her
countenance expressed a just and generous indignation, and
this continued to be the prevailing tone of her feelings during
the remainder of the day. The quiet evening hours afforded,
however, an opportunity for meditation, and for holding counsel
with her father, who assented to her suggestions with his usual
air of indifference to all things connected with their present
mode of life, and the next morning gave evidence of the conclusion
to which she had arrived; for, after carefully inspecting
the size and furniture of their best vacant room, taking
an inventory, as it were, of its contents, and of the various

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comforts which that and the house generally afforded, she
seated herself at her little table, and committed her thoughts to

Dear Aunt Sabiah:—thus she wrote—I have been
wandering about the house for the last half hour, asking myself
whether the cottage-roofed chamber above can be made
warm in winter, and cool in summer, whether the stairs are
not too steep for any but youthful feet to climb, whether our
parlor is not too contracted for comfort, and the view from its
windows too strange and dreary to ever wear the look of home;
and I have concluded, in spite of all disadvantages, that, with
love on our side, and the earnest wish to make you happy, you
would be far more comfortable here, than in my aunt Ridgway's
spacious and richly-furnished mansion. I never dared
say this before. I never ventured to breathe the hope I have
long had at heart, for I knew your love of old associations, and
your dislike of change. But your last letter has made me
bold. I cannot bear the thought that you are subjected to
such trials, such hardships, and such absolute indignities, as I
plainly perceive you have lately been made to suffer, when
here you would be independent, appreciated, and beloved. It
is true we have not, as we once had, luxuries to offer, but we
have all the necessaries and most of the comforts of life, and
these, too, in abundance; for our Western lands are so lavish
in their produce, that hospitality with us almost ceases to be a
virtue. Then, too, although my father, as you well know, has
sacrificed everything but this Western property for the payment
of his debts, and is unwilling to dispose of any portion of
the estate at present, Harry is gradually bringing a large part
of it under cultivation, and, if his success continues, the rent
which he insists upon paying, will not only furnish us with
every needed supply, but enable us to lay by something for
the children's education. So, even if your poor hands are dis
abled with the rheumatism, you need not fear that your presence
here will be the burden which you say it is to my aunt
Margaret. On the contrary, we shall hail your coming with

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delight, and shall rejoice to contribute in every way to your
happiness. I have consulted father, who quite agrees with me
in my view of the matter, and will, I am sure, be rejoiced to
welcome you. The boys are improving very much as they
grow older, and now that they have such an ample play-ground,
you will not suffer at all from their noise. Our village shop-keeper
goes to the eastward every spring for the purchase of
goods, and will be a most excellent escort on the journey. You
see I am quite taking it for granted you will come, but it is
because I feel so truly, dear aunt, that your rightful and
natural place is at our hearth-stone, as well as in our hearts;
and because I know you so well that I venture to believe you
will not disappoint the earnest wishes and hopes of

“Your own dear, loving

This cordial invitation, as Mabel had justly anticipated,
resulted in the arrival of Aunt Sabiah, who, so far from refusing
the summons, accepted it with joyful gratitude; and one
evening in the month of May, the parlor door was suddenly
thrown open, and Murray rushed in, waving a stick in his
hand, and exclaiming, “She's come! I've seen her! I saw
her old black bonnet just getting out of the stage.”

“Run, then, and help bring her parcels up to the house,”
cried Mabel. “See, Alick has got the start of you already,”
and, without waiting for bonnet or shawl, she herself hastened
to meet her aunt, who, left by the inexorable stage-driver,
according to his custom, at the turn of the road, was looking
about her with a bewildered air. A moment more, and Sabiah
was toiling up the gentle slope which led to the house, leaning
on the arm of her joyfully excited niece, whose circle of loved
ones was now complete, while Alick and Murray, whose shout
of welcome had been followed by eager offers of assistance,
were stumbling along as they best might, laden with the traveller's
smaller articles of baggage.

“Bless my heart, do see them boys!” cried Sabiah, as Murray
rushed past with a band-box on his head (upside down, as

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an examination of its contents afterwards proved), and Alick
might be heard breathing hard, as he followed behind, tugging
at a small, old-fashioned trunk. “Now ain't they grown considerate
and strong? La's me! they don't look like the
same children; and how civil spoken they are, too! And so
I've got here at last, have I?” continued she, as she entered
the family sitting-room, and weary with her long journey, sank
into the nearest chair, exhausted, and not a little agitated.
“Well, it's a long road, but it has come to a blessed end;” and
after fumbling in vain with a trembling hand at her shawl pin
and bonnet strings, she submitted, as she never had submitted
in her life before, while Mabel, kneeling on the floor
beside her, gently removed her various wrappings, and succeeded
in discovering her cap amid the chaos which Murray
had created in the band-box.

Nor was it merely the fatigue of travelling, and the agitation
of arrival, which had reduced Sabiah to helplessness and
dependence. Two years residence with Mrs. Ridgway had
accomplished what her mother's injustice and fretfulness, and
years of loneliness and neglect had failed to do; and with a
spirit and health utterly broken, and a self-reliant will entirely
subdued by her sister's hard and overbearing treatment, the
crushed, enfeebled, and prematurely aged woman had thankfully
sought the repose and shelter of her brother's humble
home, and Mabel's unquestioned affection.

And how welcome were they to the aching heart which,
amid the abodes of wealth, had sighed for some quiet, unpre
tending spot, where, without the oppressive sense of intrusion
or restraint, she might spend the remainder of her days in a
round of simple usefulness, and in an atmosphere of love.
Mabel would scarcely have apologized in her letter for the
plain furniture, the clumsy stair-case, the low-roofed rooms, or
the solitude of the place, could she have foreseen the sense of
peace and security which their very simplicity imparted to her
aunt, awakening at once the thought, “Here I can feel at
home!” Nor would she for a moment have doubted her own
unaided power to make the new inmate happy, could she have

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realized the ever increasing satisfaction with which the desolate
heart would treasure up for days and years her first impulsive
outbreak, as she threw her arms around the tottering
figure, exclaiming, “Dear aunt, we have got you back at last;
we shall never let you go again!”

“Well, really now, Mabel,” said Sabiah, as she seated herself
after tea, at a window, and drawing a huge ball of yarn from
her pocket, commenced setting up a stocking, “I do n't see such
a great difference, after all, between this country and what I've
been used to at the East. That 'ere great field, prairie, or whatever
you call it, is pretty much like our meadows at home, only
it ain't fenced off; and rivers are rivers anywhere, and always
will run down hill, and trees are trees, and sky's sky, and as to
the people, you say they're most all New England settlers so
I do n't see as there's anything heathenish about the place after

“Heathenish!” exclaimed Mabel, who had been replacing
the tea-cups in the closet, putting the room in order, and arranging
everything pleasantly for the evening, but who now came
and stood looking over her aunt's shoulder, “who calls this
noble country heathenish?”

“Oh, your aunt Margaret calls it by that name, and plenty
that are worse.”

“I was going to say I should resent the charge,” said Mabel,
laughing; “but I should have so many more serious ones to
settle with her first on your account, aunt, that her abuse of
the country merely, would come very low on the list; so we
must let it pass, I suppose. But these boundless woods, and
lakes, and prairies, are well able to defend themselves;—they
excite one's activity and energy, too, by their richness and
munificence. I am sure I never look upon them without feeling
strengthened for everything that is good, and great, and

“La, dear,” said Aunt Sabiah, “you never needed to look
out of doors to learn that; you always had it in you. Have n't
you given up everything for other folks? Did n't Louise
impose upon you as long as she lived? And were n't you the

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making of Harry? And don't these healthy, good behaved
boys speak for themselves? And I—well, I can't speak—
I can only just thank the Lord inwardly for my share of the
blessing, and pray that you may get your reward one of these
days—that's all.”

“Reward, aunt!” said Mabel, fervently, “I have done little
enough, and have wasted many a good opportunity that will
never come again,—but what reward can I ask that I have
not got already?—my duties all bring their pleasures with
them. I am so proud of Harry, and the boys and I love each
other so dearly,—and I have got my good auntie back to knit
stockings for us all, and—but here comes my father,” and her
playful tone changed to one of deep sadness; “I cannot boast
that I have kept him well and strong;—poor old gentleman—
see how changed he is.”

“Can that be my brother John? Well, he is altered, I
declare,—but it isn't your fault, child;—he has grown old,
to be sure, though,” and Mabel and her aunt watched him with
mournful interest, as, alighting from a shabby wagon, he fastened
his jaded horse to a post, with the air of one not yet
familiarized to the necessity of performing such offices for himself,
and then walked feebly in the direction of the house. He
seemed really glad to see Sabiah; there was something touching,
too, in his reception of her, as if misfortunes had replaced
him in the position from which she had never arisen, and so
united them more closely in interest and in heart. He felt
instinctively that she would not perceive or suffer from the
deficiences in his present establishment, and there was something
soothing in the sight of her, and in the thought that she
would relieve Mabel's solitude, and perhaps share the labors to
which he could not, though he strove to, be blind; and so,
whatever her fears might have been in regard to the welcome
she should receive from her brother, they were relieved at once
by his manner, and Sabiah felt herself fully installed in the

And now succeeded days, months, and even years, of almost
uninterrupted calm. Mabel's life, like most human lives, had

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presented a period of rapid incident, startling vicissitudes, sudden
bereavement, and great and increasing responsibilities.
But to her, as to most persons who have experienced such a
crisis, there had come a season when the spirits of revolution,
disquiet, and change, which are ever rife in the world, seemed
for a time to have forsaken Mr. Vaughan's quiet dwelling, and
time in its noiseless and scarcely realized progress, marked no
striking or memorable event on the household calendar. Harry
still continued at his farm, gradually widening the limits of his
rich grain lands, planting young orchards, building store-houses
and barns, and reaping the fruits of his manly toil in the high
health, cheerful spirits, and sturdy independence, which are the
sure rewards of honest and well-directed labor. From this
source, too, his father's family derived their chief means of support;
for though Mr. Vaughan had scorned to receive his son's
yearly apporpriation in the form of rent, and seemed with
strange pertinacity to ignore the wants of his household, he
could not shut his eyes to the fact that all the family supplies
were forwarded by Harry, nor could he be insensible to the
comforts which were purchased with the surplus cash, paid
regularly into Mabel's hands, and by her expended for the
common good.

The old man persisted, however, in considering these mere
temporary expedients, and still continued to dream by night
and day of the prospective fortune which he and his children
were yet to realize, forgetting, in his sad infatuation, that on a
swifter and a surer road than that for the success of which he
planned and schemed, his only adversary, relentless time, was
steadily bearing him downward to the grave.

Meanwhile, Sabiah's bruised and wounded spirit revived
under the soothing influence of affection; her stiff and angular
traits, both of thought and action, became softened by Mabel's
persuasive and winning grace, and gently and unconsciously
she slid into that household niche for which nature had seemed
to destine her. The light and irresponsible, though somewhat
monotonous duties which she voluntarily assumed, became her
pastime and her pride; the respectful attention with which she

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was invariably treated laid to rest every suspicion that she
might be deemed an intruder; and the confidence with which
she was received into family discussions and counsels, made
her interests one with those of her young relatives.

Her dread of strangers seemed as great as ever, for Mabel
could not but observe that the first allusion to Helen Gracie,
as a neighbor and friend, caused her aunt to start and shrink
with seeming annoyance and alarm, exclaiming at the same
time, “Who is she? I never heard of her before.” And when
Mabel replied, “A dear little friend of ours, daughter of our
minister,” Sabiah turned away rather shortly, as if (at least, so
Mabel interpreted the movement,) ministers and their daughters
were among the inevitable trials of earth. It was surprising,
therefore, what a cordial and tender friendship eventually
sprang up between the faded spinster and this sweet fragile
flower of the prairie. At first Sabiah only watched her with
an observant, critical eye; then, after a few interviews, spoke
to her with a more than common interest, and Mabel smiled to
see how frequently she would lay her hand on the fair girl's
head with a degree of tenderness which she was not wont to
manifest. Finally, no one could tell how or why, it became
an established custom and a well-confirmed understanding, that
the seat next to Aunt Sabiah, whether at the table or the fire-side,
was sacred to Helen whenever she chose to occupy it;
and it was an equally acknowledged fact, that no one, not even
Mabel herself, held a more certain place in her shrunken and
exclusive heart, than the minister's lovely and loving child.

With the minister himself, however, Sabiah never seemed
disposed to cultivate any acquaintance. Perhaps his conversation
was too elevated to please her taste; for he was such a
philosopher, scholar, and naturalist, that he frequently soared
into the regions of scholastic lore, and it might be that such
“high talk,” as Sabiah used in old times to stigmatize conversation
of this class, wearied her; for she never engaged with
Mr. Gracie in conversation upon any topic, often left the parlor
when he was seen approaching, and sometimes, when every one

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else thought him uncommonly interesting, she would quietly
slip out of the room and go to bed.

These very circumstances, however, were a manifestation of
that independence which, in her present simple and unartificial
life, Sabiah now enjoyed, and in all things it was easy to perceive
that at last the solitary woman had found the sanctuary
which her spirit craved, and was an honored, respected member
of a happy home.

And in this home Mabel continued to be as she had been
from the beginning—the presiding genius. She walked, talked,
studied, and played with the boys, encouraging them by her
example, inciting them by her earnestness, cheering them by
her mirth, and governing them by her love.

And if she sometimes felt half impatient with the tedious
and self-imposed tasks which their education involved, and
sighed with weariness as she bent her head over the difficult
translation or intricate problem which she must herself master
before she could play the part of instructress to her nephews,
she was more than recompensed for the effort when she noticed
the respect which they involuntarily paid to her superior
knowledge. Nor was the advantage which she thus acquired
confined to a single occasion. It served to confirm her general
influence, and strengthen her power to guide and direct their
minds; for no boy is less susceptible to the loving sway of
woman because his intellect, as well as his heart, pays her

With her own and Harry's friends at Lake Farm she was
in constant correspondence; and though, as yet, there had been
no opportunity for an often-projected exchange of visits, she
was daily brought into close proximity with their minds and
thoughts. Madam Percival seemed ever to have her happiness
and improvement at heart. Books, pamphlets, and news-papers
were forwarded to her almost weekly, and during a
period of more than a year, which was passed by the good lady
herself in New York, there was no deficiency in the supply.
While thus receiving continual proof of the thoughtfulness of
her brother's friend, she was also, by the selection of authors,

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the marked passages, and the notes pencilled in a manly hand,
brought into familiar intercourse with the vigorous, cultivated,
and original intellect, the generous, expansive, and philanthropic
heart of Percival. Nor was it by these means only that she
learned to set an exalted estimate upon the character of this
noble-spirited, enterprising, and truly gifted man. The voice
of public opinion, as likewise Harry's confirming testimony,
soon marked him as one destined to do honor to his country
and the world. Though his flourishing estate, which he had
himself redeemed from the wilderness, was the place dearest
to his affections, it was not here alone, or principally, that his
duties centred, for he had been trained to the profession of the
law; and while all his leisure time was devoted to agricultural
pursuits, the large and rapidly increasing city, at some ten
miles' distance, was the scene of his legal labors. Here it was
his exalted province, and one which he strove to prove worthy
of man's highest powers,—not to foster differences, but to allay
them; not to embitter the heart, but to reconcile human disagreements
and rights;—at once seeking to promote peace on
earth and good will to men, and redeeming one of the noblest
professions from the discredit which has been heaped upon it
by false, designing, and self-seeking slaves of sin, unworthy to
style themselves servants of the law. Nor holding, as he did,
to the highest standard of truth and right, and bringing to the
cause the most shining abilities, could his talents long continue
obscure, or his name unknown. He was acknowledged far
and wide as the man whom the people trusted, and though he
had perseveringly declined all public office, his personal influence
and sway were widely felt and exercised.

Had Mabel known no other interest in him than that which
one earnest, truth-loving mind cherishes for another of the same
scope and order, her enthusiasm would have been readily
enkindled by the reports which reached her of his honorable
and well-earned fame. As it was, she read his arguments
with as intense a zeal as if the cause had been her own; studied
his character through the various means which were open to
her; sympathized in his principles, and, unconsciously to herself,

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made him the model by which she strove to mould her nephews
to the stature of honest and upright men.

Thus, dwelling in a neighborhood which presented but few
of the refinements of life, associating constantly with boys just
ripening into manhood, engaging with them in some of the
sterner studies usually confined to their sex, and cultivating an
intimate acquaintance with a mind accustomed to grapple with
subjects of vital interest to society and the State, it might have
been feared that Mabel's manners would lose something of their
delicacy; that the sweet and feminine graces which constitute
woman's highest charm, would give place to bustling activity,
or misplaced enthusiasm, and that her tone of thought, if not
her mode of expression, would become masculine and harsh.

But could Mabel have been so utterly false to her truer self,
to that divine and saintly spirit, by the aid of which all her
victories had hitherto been won, there was an influence ever at
work to keep alive the tenderest emotions of her heart, and
call into action all those gentle sympathies which soften, chasten,
and subdue the soul.

For there was one shadow ever darkening on the hearth-stone,
and reflecting itself in the heart and on the countenance
of the young girl, who watched over her aged, care-worn, disappointed
father, as if she had been the fostering parent and
he a feeble child. And, as a mother's heart grows purer,
stronger, holier, amid her anxieties, cares, and fears for her
suffering infant, the soul of Mabel became more and more imbued
with sweet, womanly tenderness, as she learned a new
lesson of sacred love at the altar of filial duty.

Thus, as time passed on, and every succeeding year ripened
and enlarged her mind, and her genial and sunny temper shed
light and gladness on her earthly sphere, there was ever one
sad and plaintive strain mingling in the harmony of her life,
one subject of faith, and hope, and prayer, which kept her heart
turned heavenward.

-- --


The heart's affection—secret thing!
Is like the cleft rock's ceaseless spring,
Which free and independent flows
Of summer rains or winter snows.
The fox-glove from its side may fall,
The heath-bloom fade, or moss flower white;
But still its runlet, bright though small,
Will issue sweetly to the light.
Joanna Baillie.

[figure description] Page 397.[end figure description]

Of Mabel Vaughan, the brilliant ball-room beauty, we have
given no detailed description; merely hinting at the peculiar
charms which characterized her, and leaving it to the reader's
fancy to fill out the picture, since beauty is the same all the
world over, subject only to differences of taste. Mabel Vaughan
at twenty-five, however, merits a less brief introduction; for
time, without robbing her of youthful bloom, has developed in
her traits which are less universally recognized, which are felt
rather than acknowledged, and which are but the outward sign
and expression of an inward truth. The face, doubtless, is the
same. The complexion has lost nothing of its fairness; the
full brown eye glows with as soft a light; the smile which plays
around the mouth is as spontaneous and attractive; and the
chestnut hair, on which Cecilia had been proud to lavish all her
skill, is as rich and glossy as ever, though far less elaborately
arranged. But the face is the mirror of the soul, and as such
it unconsciously reveals the emotions that are passing within,
and borrows from the chastened heart a serene and holy radiance,
which illuminates every feature, like a halo on the brow
of a saint. Thus, the light which now beams from her eye is
not excited by gratified vanity, nor by flattering tongues, but by
the quick fire of earnest purpose and of ardent truth the smile

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upon her countenance springs not from the mere effervescence
of girlish spirits, but from unfailing cheerfulness and sympathy
with other's joy; the serene peace which enfolds her like a
mantle, has not its source in the promise of pleasure, or luxurious
ease, but in calm, confiding trust, and in the reflection of
each day's duty done.

It is a balmy summer's evening, and, with her head resting
on her hand, she sits on the door-step of her father's house,
looking out upon the wide prairie, on which the moonlight falls
in an unbroken sheet of silver light, giving to the long grass, as
it waves to and fro in the gentle breeze, a strange likeness to
the rolling swell of ocean. The prospect is vast, grand, and
unbroken; the hour is a quiet one, and Mabel is lost in meditation,—
not in a meditation proportioned to the sublimity of the
scene, though she now and then gazes into the dim distance,
with reverential awe, but in simple, loving thoughts, concerning
her home and its various members—wondering where the
boys can be, for they went fishing early in the afternoon, and
whether her father may not be spending the evening with Mr.
Gracie, and if it is not probable that her aunt, in the inner
room, has fallen asleep in her chair, and what can have become
of Harry, who is at home for a day, but has been out of sight
for some hours. The latter subject of self-inquiry is presently
set at rest, as, looking in the direction of the grove by the river
bank, she sees him approaching, and some one with him.
“Yes—no—yes, to be sure, it is Helen.” But she does not
wonder at that; they are walking slowly and talking confidentially,
too—but neither does she wonder at that. She does
wonder, however, as, on drawing near the house, Harry leaves
his companion and goes off to speak with farmer James, while
Helen, seeing her on the door-step, springs towards her, throws
her arms around her neck, hides her cheek against hers, and
sobs like a child.

“Why Helen, dear Helen,” cries Mabel, in alarm, “what is
the matter? Have you and Harry had a quarrel?”

“No. Oh, no, we never had a quarrel in our lives,” exclaims

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Helen. “Dear Mabel, how I love you. I never knew until
now, how much reason I had to love you!”

“What! for Harry's sake?”

“Yes, and for mine, and for everybody's that loves him, and
is proud of him; he has been telling me,” said she, lowering
her voice to the softest whisper, “what he never told me before,—
how he struggled and fell, and never could have risen again
but for you; how you followed him and prayed for him, and
loved him, and saved him.”

Helen's tones were broken, as she uttered these few words.
Mabel tried to speak, but her voice also failed her, and, for a
few moments, the two girls mingled their tears.

Helen was the first to recover herself. “Think how noble
he has been, Mabel!” exclaimed she. “He never asked me to
be his wife before. I do not believe he would have now,

“I know,” exclaimed Mabel, with a soothing tenderness of
tone; “dear child, I know!”

“Papa spoke in his hearing, this afternoon, of leaving me all
alone in the world,” said Helen, “and I could not bear to hear
him talk so; and Harry could not bear it,—and so it gave him
courage to say to me to-night what he never dared say before.
Oh, the coward, to think I would not trust him!”

“Poor fellow, he has undergone a long probation,” said

“Five whole years,” said Helen. “Think of it! It has
been so different for me; I knew all the time that he loved me,
and I had so much to do for father and the people, and we have
all been so happy together, hearing from Harry, and enjoying
his little visits, and the time has seemed so short; and I never
looked forward to the future—but he, living all alone, serving
out an apprenticeship to his conscience, with nobody to cheer
him, and all the while dwelling on the past, and doubtful for the
future—O Mabel, he has proved himself a hero!”

“You do not love him any the less then, Helen, for his confessions?”

“No, indeed! but far, far better; he has gained a victory

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over himself, and is greater in my eyes than if he were the
conqueror of nations.”

“He has his reward,” said Mabel; “he will be able to boast
of the best little wife in the world, and I of the dearest of sisters,”
and she kissed her affectionately.

“We ought to love one another, all of us,” said Helen, with
deep feeling, as she returned Mabel's embrace, “and the more
so, because we do not know how soon it may be God's will to
part us. Oh, how our best blessings and bitterest sorrows are
mingled together in this world. My dear, dear papa! I must
go home to him now;” and, as Harry made his appearance
round the corner of the house, she bade Mabel good night,
joined him, and, putting her arm confidingly in his, walked
away in the direction of the parsonage.

Mabel was still sitting on the steps when Harry returned,
although he had been gone an hour, for he staid to receive an
old man's blessing and the free gift of his only child. It was
now his turn to claim her loving sympathy. “Mabel,” said he,
as he took a seat beside her, and put his arm around her waist,
“have I done wrong?”

“Wrong in waiting so long, Harry, and enduring so much
unnecessary suspense?”

“No, in claiming Helen at last. What right have I to such
a blessing?”

“The right of a man who has proved himself worthy of it.”

“But, ought I thus to take advantage of Helen's guileless,
simple-hearted nature? Would a less unworldly woman confide
in me as she does, knowing all?”

“A less unworldly woman could not appreciate your self-conquest,
Harry; it is only the humble, Christian heart which
can sympathize with human weakness, and rightly estimate
human victories. I should not think Helen worthy of you,
if she undervalued the firm and noble effort by which you
have overcome evil with good. It is because she knows how
to prize the hero of such a hard-fought battle, that I feel
sure she can be trusted with the future happiness of my

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“There are few who have such encouragements for effort,
and such motives for perseverance as I have had,” said Harry.
“Helen's love may be my reward, but it is yours, Mabel,
which has saved me. God bless you for it! There would be
more such victories among men, if there were more such sisters
as mine in the world.”

The failure in the health of the village pastor, and the prophetic
warning of his approaching death, which had brought
about the mutual acknowledgment of a five years attachment
between his daughter and Harry, were followed by still more
alarming signs of physical prostration, and it soon became evident
that this faithful servant of God must soon be called from
the sphere of his earthly usefulness. He had for many weeks
ceased to officiate in his church—a neat edifice recently erected
by his now prosperous congregation—and though his interest
in the people of his affections was undiminished, his labors
among them were at an end, and his duties were about to be
assumed by another. This immediate choice of a successor
had been made at Mr. Gracie's urgent request, as it was his
wish, before his departure, to see one fitted for the sacred office
installed in his place; and, although now reduced to excessive
feebleness, he listened with eager attention as, from Sabbath to
Sabbath, he was cheered with accounts of the success with
which the new laborer wrought in the vineyard of his planting.

“I have left papa alone,” said Helen, one Sunday afternoon
at midsummer, as she presented herself at Mr. Vaughan's door,
“but he insisted upon it; he is so anxious I should hear the
continuation of this morning's discourse. Come Mabel! Alick,
you are going too, I hope; your memories are better than mine,
and papa will depend upon a full report of the sermon.”

Mabel and both the boys at once rose to accompany her;
Mr. Vaughan took his hat and cane, and, in an absent way,
offered Helen his arm—he was such a gentleman still in spite
of cares and years; but Sabiah, contrary to custom,—for
she was usually a regular attendant at church,—expressed
no wish to go, even resisted a little persuasion, and was left at
home alone.

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She sat listening until the last sound of the church bell had
died away into silence, then rose, went to the door, and watched
until the last straggler had entered the church, which was just
within sight; and finally, when all was still, calm, and peaceful,
put on her black bonnet, took her old-fashioned parasol,
and prepared for a walk. First, however, she crept quietly
into the milk cellar, lifted from under a cover a little cottage
cheese, which her own hands had made the day before, and
covering it with a snowy napkin, carried it carefully in her
hand. To whom could she be going? and for whom could
the choice and delicate preparation be intended?

It was one of those rare summer days when all nature
seems wrapt in the luxury of repose. There was scarcely a
breath stirring in the air, the wild flowers scarcely bent on
their slender stalks, the grass could not be seen to wave. The
birds in the thicket by the river had forgotten to sing; even
the hum of the insects under foot seemed an almost unconscious
murmur. All around was quiet and beautiful, wrapt
in the holy hush of a summer Sabbath; why, then, was there
such a restless beating, such an impatient flutter, in the heart
of the lonely woman, who, with an unequal step, was pursuing
the narrow path across the village green? Perhaps she was
thinking of such Sabbath days, long, long ago,—of such
pleasant strolls across a village green, when she was not
alone; perhaps, as she carefully handled the plate which held
the little cheese, she was reminded of some loved friend who
had been wont, in times long past, to esteem this work of her
hands a luxury; or perhaps she was recalling the words with
which beloved lips had been heard to praise her skill. Whatever
might be the thought, it was one so all-engrossing, that
she heeded not the heat of the burning sun beating down upon
her head, and was unaware of the trembling of her aged
limbs, until at length she stood hesitating in the shade of a
blooming locust tree in front of the minister's dwelling.

The open door led directly into the principal room of the
house, a cheerful, pleasant apartment, at once the study of the

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father, the sitting-room of his child, and the favorite resort of
the young and old of his parish.

Now, for the first time, however, Sabiah stood upon its
threshold, and looking in, beheld the form of the feeble invalid,
wrapped in a calico dressing-gown, and seated in an arm-chair,
his head carefully propped up by pillows. His back
was towards her, his eye fixed upon the window opposite
which he sat, and his thoughts soaring into those blue heavens,
at which he gazed through a net-work of woodbine and fragrant
roses now in full bloom. Beside him lay a number of holy
books, and a volume of sacred hymns was open on his knee.

Sabiah knew not how long she had stood silently within the
room, when the rustling of her dress, the reflection of her
shadow, the sigh which escaped her, or, possibly, only the
instinctive consciousness of human presence, caused the invalid
to turn his head slowly round, and their eyes met. A
look of sweet benignity overspread the pale face; he held out
his thin, transparent hand; she laid her burden gently on the
table, and, coming forward, took the offered hand in her own
withered palm, murmuring, “Reuben!”

“Sabiah!” said the aged man with a glance of touching
tenderness, “this is kind.”

Not another word was spoken,—but he lifted the pile of
books from the chair close beside him, and Sabiah, comprehending
the action, sat down, with her hand still locked in

“I have been thinking all day,” said he, at last breaking the
expressive silence, “of a Sabbath like this, many years ago
when we both were young. Do you remember that July
afternoon when you wore the bonnet trimmed with blue, and
we sat together in the choir, and the last tune sung was `Arlington.'?
We walked home, I know, through the meadows,
and sat down under the walnut tree, and spoke but little, and
yet were very happy; we loved one another then, Sabiah.”

“We did, Reuben.”

“It seemed good in the sight of God that our earthly paths
should lie widely apart; it has seemed good to Him, also, that

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we who rejoiced in each other's affection in the morning of
our days, should clasp hands once more in friendship at life's
solemn close. How precious the thought, that there shall
dawn for us both a brighter morning, when those who have
truly loved one another shall be once more united where there
are no more partings.”

“Life is a hard journey, Reuben,” said Sabiah; then added
with a half-complaining sigh, “I trust it leads to rest.”

“It is hard, my dear friend,” said the good elergyman,
bestowing on her a look of half-anxious, half-pitying interest,
“but the soul's true rest may yet begin below. Our painful
discipline is lost upon us, unless it teaches meek submission to
God's will; but a patient confidence in His love is rest, and
joy, and peace to the burdened soul.”

“You have found that rest, Reuben?”

“I have, Sabiah, but only through the struggle of a bitter
and early disappointment; without the trial, comes not victory,
nor without the cross, the crown. Once found, however,
it is an all-sufficient balm, and let every other consolation
perish, that precious love will atone.”

“I will seek it,” said Sabiah.

“Do so,” exclaimed the old man, “and I pray God,” he
added fervently, “that His peace may descend upon you like
the heavenly dew.”

There was another long pause, like the first; then Sabiah
made a movement to rise.

“Must you go?” said the sick man quietly. “It is very
sweet and pleasant to feel that you are here beside me. I
even forget to speak, my mind is so busy with the past.”

Sabiah, even more hesitating and irresolute than usual, sank
back into her seat.

“Time has laid his hand on both our heads, Sabiah,” said
the old man, “but the heart is true to its tender memories. I
have loved and lost a good and faithful wife since our youthful
days; but now, in the evening of my life, the thought of her
has been strangely mingled with the memory of an earlier
love. A few days more, and one of us shall depart and be
no more seen; but true affection is not a thing of time, and I

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cannot but hope this renewal of sacred ties may be sanctified
to us both. God bless you, Sabiah! You were very kind to

“I am very glad I came, Reuben,” said Sabiah; “I felt I
must see you once more.”

“Farewell, dear friend,” said he, for she had again risen to
go, “we shall meet again beyond yonder blue vault of heaven.”
He pressed her withered hand to his thin, sunken lips,—they
exchanged one more farewell—and she passed slowly out of
the house.

Turning in his arm chair, he watched her retreating figure
as she re-crossed the green, then looked upward, and breathed
a silent prayer. She entered the door of her home, wiped a
tear from each dim eye, and sat down in her accustomed seat.

The romance of her life was over, but not so its mighty
influence. Thenceforth her heart, already softened towards
humanity, was subdued towards God, and from the solitary
rock in the desert there gushed forth a fountain of calm, religious

All around her felt it, but none knew the source of this well-spring
of heavenly peace, for the ancient lovers passed away,
and no one shared their secret.

Not until Helen came to bring back the plate and napkin,
was Sabiah reminded of the cottage cheese which, without a
word of explanation, she had left on the pastor's table.

“Papa enjoyed your cheese so much, Aunt Sabiah,” said the
unconscious girl; “it is the only thing he has relished for a
week past.”

Mabel lifted her large, brown eyes inquiringly to her aunt,
but Sabiah made no reply, and the circumstance was forgotten,
save that the thought passed through the mind of Mabel, “how
illness excites one's sympathy,—even Aunt Sabiah, it seems,
has done her part in ministering to dear Mr. Gracie, whom she
always used to avoid in his healthier days.”

A few weeks more, and the good pastor was laid in the
village church-yard; and, shortly after, a weeping-willow was
planted above his grave; but it was never suspected whose
trembling hands had placed it there.

-- --


Ay, years had passed,
Severing our paths, brave friend, and thus we meet at last.
Mrs. Hemans.

[figure description] Page 406.[end figure description]

One bright morning in September, a few months after the
events related in the last chapter, a modest equipage might be
seen stationed at Mr. Vaughan's door, awaiting a youthful party
who were about to start on a short pleasure excursion. The
first shock of bereavement being past, the orphaned Helen had
not refused to admit Harry's claim to constitute himself henceforth
her protector by the holiest ties; and about a week previously
she had exchanged the sympathy and hospitality of
Mr. Vaughan's roof for a permanent and honored place in the
home and heart of Harry. The neat dwelling-house which the
prosperous young farmer had recently built, and furnished with
tasteful simplicity for the reception of his bride, had never yet
been seen by any of his own family, and it was, therefore, with
no ordinary interest and excitement, that Mabel, Alick, and
Murray had projected a visit to the newly wedded pair.

The weather being lovely, but the road in some places heavy
and rough, a light, open wagon had been procured, as the most
desirable vehicle for a thirty miles drive, and old Sorrel, a
strongly-built animal belonging to Mr. Vaughan, was expected
to perform the labor of the journey. Murray, a handsome,
animated boy of thirteen, stood outside the door, cracking his
long whip-lash and his dry jokes, while Alick, two years older,
and nearly grown to man's stature, was patiently stowing away
numerous packages under the seats and on the floor of the

“Aunt Mabel, are you thinking of establishing an express
line?” cried Murray, “you seem to be testing the capacity of
this wagon to the utmost.”

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Mabel laughed. “Those are articles of Helen's property,
left in my care,” said she; “handle that gently, Alick, it is her
mother's picture. Oh, there is the luncheon basket!—we
must not forget that!”

“No, nor old Sorrel's dinner,” cried Murray, snatching up a
little bag of oats which lay on the ground.

“Here is the box of papers and books,” exclaimed Sabiah,
anxiously, as she stood looking on from the doorway; “you
are leaving no room for that, and it is the most important of

“That is true,” responded Mabel; “Helen would be disappointed
enough, if her father's letters and sermons were left
behind. What shall we do with that box, Alick?”

Poor Alick glanced at it with a blank expression of countenance;
but he was not one easily to be discouraged, and lifting
it to the back of the wagon, he tried it one way, then turned
it round and tried it the other way, but the vacant space would
not accommodate it.

“It's no use, Al!” exclaimed Murray; “you'll have to
take out the back seat; it is the only way.”

Alick hesitated.

“Never mind,” cried Murray, who, when Alick's patient
expedients failed, was always good-naturedly ready to accommodate
even at a personal sacrifice; “out with the old bench!
now, you and Aunt Mabel sit in front and I'll ride on the
box—the favorite seat always for sporting characters.” And,
suiting the action to the word he vigorously exerted himself in
the proposed arrangement, threw a buffalo robe over the rough
packing-case, and sprung upon it, with his back to the horse
and his feet dangling behind. “It's pretty much like an English
dog-cart, after all, is n't it, grandfather?” continued he, as
the spare from of old Mr. Vaughan appeared on the door-step,
“only a thousand times more jolly!”

The old gentleman, whose face had worn a most mournful
gravity, at what appeared to him the degrading dilemma to
which the party were reduced, could not resist a faint smile, as
he seldom could when challenged to it by this merry-andrew

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of the family; and, descending one step more, he handed Mabel
to her seat.

Alick gathered up the reins. “Now give him the road, Al!”
cried Murray, flinging back his head and speaking over his
shoulder. “I saw that the old fellow had four quarts extra
last night, and this morning, too—hurrah!” and, as they left
the village behind them, and passed through the adjacent farms,
he waved his hand to the sturdy husbandmen, whom they met
by the way-side, with a mingled joyousness and civility, which
drew smiles from many an honest face.

For some miles their road led directly along the bank of the
river, which was glowing brightly in the morning sunshine;
then, branching to the left, it stretched across the rolling prairie
and through the rich grain-fields, now ripening for the harvest;
and anon, a heavy oak thicket refreshed them with its shade.
Towards noon, they again halted by the river bank, when the
boys released the horse from the wagon, removed his bridle,
and placed before him his provender. Mabel, meanwhile, converted
the packing-case to a new use, by spreading a napkin
over it, and making it answer the purpose of a table, from
which she and her nephews enjoyed an excellent luncheon.

Then, after refreshing themselves and old Sorrel with a
draught of cool water from the river, they proceeded on their
way. It still wanted some hours of sun-set, when they came
within sight of Harry's new residence, which Alick and
Murray recognized even more readily than Mabel, as occasional
visits to their uncle, in times past, had made them
familiar with the situation and out-buildings, while she had
been there once only, and that some three years before.

We pass over the cordial greeting which they received on
their arrival, the delight they expressed at the evidences
of comfort and taste which met them on every hand, and the
cheerful evening which they passed around the fireside, when,
as the night proved chilly, a bright blaze was kindled, and the
young couple had, literally, their first house-warming. It would
be equally in vain to attempt to follow them through the succeeding
day, when the boys accompanied Harry for miles about

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his farm, took an inventory of his promised crops, examined
his fat cattle, and drove a pair of newly-broken colts, while
Mabel, beside bestowing her time and praise upon all these
objects, had a thousand and one subjects of in-door interest to
which Helen was eager to call her attention.

“You ought to stay with us a week, a mouth, a year, Mabel,
before we should be satisfied,” exclaimed Harry, on the second
evening of their visit, as he drew her to a seat beside him.
“But, since you must go home to-morrow, there is one thing
which reconciles me to it: my friend Percival is to speak in
your town hall to-morrow night, on some of the great political
subjects that are being agitated at present, and I ventured to
extend the family hospitalities to him. I felt sure you would
be glad to give him a welcome.”

“Glad! we shall be delighted,” exclaimed Mabel; “I shall,
and so will father, I have no doubt. Boys, do you hear that?
Mr. Percival is to give us a political address to-morrow night.
I say `us,' Harry,” added she, with an arch smile. “I hope
ladies are not excluded.”

“No, indeed; you must go by all means, May. I would not
have you lose such an opportunity on any account. He is the
most eloquent man I ever heard speak, and he is bringing his
whole power into the field, for his heart is in the work he has
undertaken. If father should not feel able to attend the lecture,
the civilities of the house will devolve on you, Alick.
Judging from your face, you will not think the occasion an
unworthy one for their exercise.”

Alick's countenance was indeed full of enthusiasm at the
prospect of seeing and hearing this gifted stranger, and Murray's
scarcely less so; for while the elder lad aspired eagerly
to an intercourse with a man famed for high moral and intellectual
attainments, the mind of the younger was equally well
stored with facts illustrative of his taste for manly exercises,
and his skill in all those physical exploits which captivate the
mind of an adventurous boy.

“It was a mere accident which prevented you from seeing
Percival, Mabel, when you were here three years ago,” said

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Harry, “and both seasons since, he would gladly have accompanied
me on a visit to my father's, but I could not leave home
at the time agreed upon. Now, however, he is sure to be
there, for he never fails to keep an appointment; and, lest
the duties of hostess should devolve after all upon poor Aunt
Sabiah, Helen and I will speed the parting guests with an
early breakfast to-morrow; eh. Helen?”

Helen consented to this disinterested act of hospitality on
condition of a long visit from Mabel a few weeks later, and a
partial promise to that effect having been obtained, the hour
for departure was fixed upon, and shortly after sunrise the
travellers were on their homeward road.

Old Sorrel, however, did not, like the rest of the party, appreciate
the importance of the occasion, and had no sympathy
with their desire to make a quick passage. The creature did
not even seem, like most animals of his class, to comprehend
the fact that his face was turned towards home; for Sorrel's
earlier and happier days had been passed among a drove of
wild horses which enjoyed all the freedom of the open prairie;
and, although now for many years reduced to servitude, he had
imbibed few of the instincts of civilized life, and his temper
was surly and pertinacious in the extreme. He had rewarded
Murray's care by travelling with unusual promptness, on the
upward trip, but no coaxing could induce him to repeat the
experiment, and at mid-day the travellers had not yet reached
their previous halting place, which marked somewhat less than
half the journey. It was, therefore, towards the middle of the
afternoon when they at length found themselves at a point
where the road, leaving the river bank, took a direct line across
a prairic some six miles in extent. For the last half hour,
their winding course had led them through a belt of rich woodland,
under whose refreshing shade, they had paused to rest
their horse, and Mabel, meantime, removing her bonnet for
the freer enjoyment of the breeze, while Murray crept down
the river bank and made a collection of brilliant wild flowers,
which, as they continued their drive, he busied himself, on
his box behind, in wreathing into a tasteful garland. “Come,

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old Sorrel,” cried he, standing upright on the now empty box,
and, as he spoke, placing the wreath, with an air of playful
homage, on the uncovered head of Mabel, “here's a glorious
race-course for you. Try now and do some credit to your
mistress, while I crown her queen of the prairie.”

He had scarcely uttered these words, accompanied as they
were by a quick snapping of the whip on Alick's part, when a
sudden jerk and wrenching of the vehicle threw him from his
elevated position, prostrate to the ground, and a scene ensued
which wholly altered the face of affairs, leaving old Sorrel
master of the race-course indeed, and Mabel an enthroned, but
utterly helpless queen.

The road, where it left the thicket, diverged into two travelled
routes across the prairie, which, though pursuing the
same general direction, were wholly distinct from one another,
and Alick had purposly avoided that which they had chosen on
their previous trip, on account of a wide gully that intersected
it, and which recent rains had transformed into a slough of
deep, black mud. This same gully stretched across the opposite
road, but a bridge of logs had been thrown over it for
the convenience of travellers. Unfortunately, however, the rain
which had made the one almost impracticable, had rendered
the other positively dangerous, by displacing one of the logs,
and leaving a most insidious flaw in the rough and hastily-constructed
bridge. With a stumble and a plunge, old Sorrel
had escaped falling into this trap for the unwary, but the impetus
given to the animal's speed both by Alick's stroke of the
whip, and the disaster which immediately followed, proved
fatal to the safety of the vehicle.

In a single moment of time, before the travellers had discovered
their danger, the front wheels of the wagon were precipitated
into the hollow between the logs, the shafts were
instantaneously broken into shivers, and the frightened horse
had succeeded in clearing himself from the traces and bounded
off to a distance.

No one was injured, for Alick and Mabel had maintained
their seats in spite of the shock, and Murray was unharmed by

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his sudden fall; but their situation was ludicrous and provoking
in the extreme. Before them lay the wide expanse of prairie,
on which not a single object was discernible save the figure of
their raw-boned steed, who, prancing and throwing up his heels
in the distance, seemed to be taunting them with their misfortune
and triumphing in the sense of freedom. Behind them
was the little thicket from which they had just emerged, and
they well knew that there was not a human habitation within a
distance of several miles in either direction. But desperate as
the case might seem in a practical point of view, its comic effect
was irresistible; and, after exchanging with each other a single
glance of dismay, the united trio broke into a simultaneous fit
of laughter. Alick and Mabel presently controlled their sense
of the ridiculous so far as to utter a few ejaculations of inquiry
and regret, but Murray, as he stood first glancing at the pair
who occupied in regal state the seat of the broken wagon, and
then at the enfranchised horse who at a safe distance was performing
an evolution around them, shook with a merriment so
hearty and contagious, that it was impossible to take counsel
in reference to their difficulties.

At this crisis a sound was heard proceeding from the adjacent
thicket, which had the effect of composing the group into
an attentive and listening attitude; and in the silence which
now reigned among them, it was not difficult to recognize a
human voice breaking on the air in most harmonious song,—a
song so deep, full, and clear that its music seemed to make the
wild prairie ring.

All strained their ears to catch the welcome notes, and as
they came nearer and nearer, Mabel's face flushed with excitement
and expectancy. She had heard the voice, the words,
the glorious harmony but once before, and yet, though years
had passed over her since, and it seemed a marvel too great
to be fully realized, she knew that she could not be mistaken
in their source.

A moment more, and a figure on horseback emerged from
the wood, and as he caught sight of his unexpected audience,
ceased singing and came forward, looking about him as if

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striving to comprehend the scene. He was a young and powerfully-built
man, dressed in a simple hunting-suit; and the
rifle which was slung over his shoulder, and the string of
prairie-fowl suspended from his horse's neck, proclaimed him
to have been shooting successfully in the vicinity. He was a
traveller, moreover, as might be conjectured from the saddle-bags
and heavy surveyor's blanket strapped to his saddle, and
travelling quite at his leisure, too, if one might judge from the
pace at which he rode. Nor was it strange that the natural
burst of song died upon his lips, and his face indicated inquiry
and surprise at the novel and picturesque scene which presented
itself before him. Two youths, one a boy, the other a mere
stripling, stood beside the broken vehicle (for Alick had by
this time alighted), and alone in her elevated position, in the
midst of an unbroken prairie, sat a young and beautiful girl,
unconsciously crowned with the brilliant wreath which Murray
had placed on her head at the moment of the accident, while,
at some distance, the sorrel steed, with a portion of his harness
sweeping the ground, was triumphantly curvetting in forgetfulness
of his years. The ludicrous nature of the occasion would
have provoked the most stoical nature to a smile, and such was
the effect of a first glance at the little group, upon the face of
the new-comer. As he drew nearer, however, and surveyed
the party more attentively, other and less easily defined emotions
were depicted on the young man's countenance, and
Mabel's face was suffused with the deep and conscious blush
of the mutual recognition. For they were, and yet they were
not, strangers. They had met before, and then, as now, he
had come to her rescue, though in a far different cause. It
was six years and more since, in Mr. Bloodgood's dwelling, on
the night of Harry's disgrace, she had first beheld that manly
form and those noble features; and now, after this lapse of time
and under the most opposite circumstances, they had met again
in the solitude of a Western prairie.

The embarrassment which ensued, however, was but momentary,
for Bayard was a man of action; and before a second
glance could be exchanged between them, he had read with his

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[figure description] Page 414.[end figure description]

quick eye the exact condition of affairs, and, without drawing
near enough to ask or obtain a syllable of explanation, he had
darted off in pursuit of the runaway steed. The task which
he had thus promptly undertaken was no easy one; to an unpractised
rider it would have been next to impossible, for time
and habit have no power to efface from the once wild horse of
the prairie the recollection of his ancient freedom, and the
sudden recovery of it seemed at once to have restored old Sorrel
to his juvenile strength and fleetness.

But Sorrel, even in his best days, had never been a match for
the superior animal on which Bayard was mounted; and this
fact, combined with a degree of dexterity which the young man
had acquired from experience, gave him an advantage over the
runaway which resulted in his speedy capture. Mabel and
the boys looked on with intense and eager interest, while now
describing a rapid circle, and now darting in an unforeseen
direction, the accomplished horseman, partly by speed and
partly by skilful manœuvre, gained the advantage of the deserter,
and, after a few moments' hot pursuit, grasped him by
the bridle and came bounding over the prairie with his unwilling
captive. Mabel, who had stood upright in the wagon
during the excitement of the chase, now gave her hand to
Alick and sprang to the ground, just in time to greet with a
smile of acknowledgment and thanks the victor in the animated
chase, who rode up, laughing himself at the nature and success
of his exploit; and springing lightly from the saddle, put the
bridle of old Sorrel into the hand of the admiring Murray, and,
with one arm passed through that of his own horse, lifted his
hat and bowed respectfully and gracefully to Mabel, saying—
“You have met with a serious accident and delay, Miss
Vaughan, but I hope you have none of you suffered any personal

“None at all, thank you,” replied Mabel; while the boys
looked their astonishment at hearing her name so confidently
spoken by the stranger. “You have paid the heaviest penalty
for our mishap, in the exertion you have so kindly made. We
were truly fortunate in having a friend at hand.”

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[figure description] Page 415.[end figure description]

She spoke the simple word friend with an accent which
expressed how deeply and gratefully she felt its force; perhaps
he understood that it had reference to the past as well as the
present, for he replied in a tone equally impressive in its sincerity,
“Nothing can make me happier than to be of service to
you;” and then, as Murray eagerly commenced relating the
circumstances of the accident, he proceeded to an examination
of the disabled vehicle, which, with the boys' assistance, he
easily raised from the hollow into which it had sunk.

Its shattered condition, however, proved to be such as to
wholly unfit it for use, and the possibility of removing it across
the prairie was even doubtful. Some of the principal bolts had
given way, and the springs were also broken; but Alick volunteered
to supply the place of the former by strong wooden pegs,
while Bayard, placing his saddle-bags and blanket on the floor
of the wagon, employed the straps by which they had been
fastened in binding up the splintered shafts; after which, old
Sorrel was once more harnessed to the wreck, and it was found
that by carefully leading the horse over the level road, the
decrepit equipage could be safely transported.

“The frail nature of our repairs, Miss Vaughan, and the
broken springs, render it impossible to occupy the wagon,” said
Bayard, approaching Mabel, who stood a little apart, “but if
you will do me the honor to make use of my horse, we can
render the saddle comfortable for you with the help of this
blanket;” and, as he spoke, he unfolded the rich and ample
mantle of deep blue cloth and commenced laying it in heavy
masses over the back of the animal, which stood arching its
glossy neck, as if it, as well as its master, were proud of the
proposed honor.

Mabel earnestly deprecated the arrangement; begged that
he would not suffer them to interfere further with his journey,
and insisted that she could walk, in company with her nephews;
but Bayard, having assured himself that her refusal did not
proceed from any fear of his high-spirited horse, answered all
her objections with the simple assurance that he was not in
haste; that a walk of ten miles, which was the distance to the

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village, their common destination, was a trifle to one of his
pedestrian habits; and the boys having united their persuasions
to his, she blushingly and gratefully suffered herself to be
assisted to the saddle.

“Have you seen my bonnet, Alick?” said she, as they were
about to start. He handed it to her from the wagon, and as
she prepared to put it on she became, for the first time, conscious
that the garland, which she had noticed when Murray
commenced weaving it in the wood, rested on her brow.

“Murray, you rogue!” exclaimed she accusingly, as she
snatched it from her head, and flung it with such precision that
it rested on the crown of his hat.

All burst into an involuntary laugh, in which Mabel could
not resist joining, though glad to hide beneath her bonnet the
face which became crimson as she reflected on the singular and
ludicrous inconsistency which Bayard must have detected between
her crowned head and the awkward dilemma in which
he had discovered their party. She little knew that she had
never, in all her life, looked so radiantly lovely as when he first
caught sight of her, with the drooping scarlet blossoms contrasting
with the pure whiteness of her noble brow, and mingling
with the smooth folds of chestnut hair, to which the sun
imparted that golden tinge at once so rare and so beautiful.

There is nothing which more effectually relieves embarassment
than the presence of children; and whatever constraint
might have been occasioned by the peculiar reminiscences subsisting
between Bayard and Mabel was at once subdued by the
mediatory influence of the two lads, who, excited by their recent
adventure, were unusually loquacious and animated. Even
Alick, though looking up with enthusiastic admiration at the
stranger, whose attention to Mabel was alone sufficient to insure
his grateful regard, shook off, to a great degree, the modest
reserve which characterized him, and won, in his turn, the
friendly interest of the young man, who never undervalued the
ingenuous and original, though immature, intellect of boyhood.

Thus, with Bayard and Alick walking on either side of the
horse which Mabel rode, and Murray a little in the rear,

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performing the self-appointed office of leading old Sorrel, and
interlarding the others' conversation with his drollery, they proceeded
at the moderate, though regular pace suited to good
pedestrians, with a ten miles' journey in prospect.

“At what hour is this caravan expected to arrive at its
destination,” cried Murray, when they had gone about a mile.

Mabel looked at her watch. “It is now five o'clock,” said
she, then added in a tone of regret, “I had no idea it was so

“I thought of Uncle Harry,” said Alick, “at the moment
of the crash. I believe, when he hears of this delay and disappointment,
he will complain of the broken bridge more bitterly
than any of us.”

“More haste, worse speed,” said Murray. “It was that
last cut of the whip, Al, which settled the business so thoroughly
for us.”

“The boys were urging our old horse to the top of his speed
at the moment of the accident,” said Mabel to Bayard, by way
of explaining this little dialogue. “We already felt ourselves
somewhat belated, being anxious to reach home in good season,
on account of a lecture that is to be delivered in our village
this evening, which we are all anxious to attend.”

“I think you will yet have an opportunity of doing so,”
said Bayard, glancing at his own watch; “it is now five. A
lecture at this season would not commence before eight, or
half past seven at the earliest. We ought, certainly, to be
able to accomplish the remaining distance in two hours and a

“But Auntie is expected to play the part of hostess to the
orator,” said Murray. “If we meet with any further delay, I
fear she will strike spurs to your horse and leave us.”

Mabel smiled. “Your grandfather will be prompt in claiming
the privilege of having Mr. Percival for his guest, Murray,”
said she. “I fear I can plead only selfish motives for
being in haste. This gentleman is a stranger to us,” added
she, turning to Bayard, “but one for whom we have reason

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to feel the most grateful esteem, and we anticipate the highest
pleasure from his oratory.”

“We shall do but little credit to our physical training if we
are so late as to deprive you of the opportunity of hearing
him,” said Bayard. “I have less fear of that than of your
being disappointed in the orator, whose abilities you, perhaps,
estimate too highly.”

“I think not,” said Mabel confidently. “If we are in season,
and we have not caused you too much fatigue, I hope you
will share our enjoyment by being present at the address.”

Bayard bowed, and a moment after gave a new turn to the

It was nearly sunset when the party reached the extremity
of the prairie; the road then followed the river bank, and as
day was merging into night, and their path was, at intervals,
overshadowed by foliage, the figures of the little group were
gradually obscured in the twilight gloom, and their brisk and
lively discourse, now and then relapsed into thoughtful silence.
The church bell was ringing out clear and loud, when, at
length, shortly after dark, they entered the outskirts of the
now populous and thriving village.

“That bell must be for the lecture,” said Alick; “it is a
new acquisition to the church,” continued he, addressing Bayard,
“and the sexton loves to make it heard on all occasions,”
and the little party simultaneously quickened their pace.

“Here we are at last,” cried Murray, as they came in sight
of the familiar homestead. “Aunt Sabiah has put a light in
the window, and is, no doubt, watching anxiously for our arrival.”

Murray was right;—Aunt Sabiah was not only watching,
but listening, and his merry voice and laugh brought her
directly to the door.

“Will you not come in, Sir, and take some refreshment
with us?” said Mabel to Bayard, as he assisted her from his

He thanked her, but politely declined,—he had an appointment,
and was expected elsewhere.

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“I am greatly indebted to you,” said Mabel, with feeling, at
the same time frankly offering him her hand. “I do not know
how to express my sense of your repeated kindness.”

“Do not speak of it,” said he, receiving her hand with the
same unaffected cordiality with which it was offered; “it is I
who am under a lasting obligation. You have made my journey
across the prairie a delightful and a memorable one.”

Alick, meanwhile, was industriously restoring the saddle-bags
and blanket to their original places. “Keep those, if
you please,” said Bayard, as the youth was also about to suspend
the fruits of his shooting excursion around the horse's
neck; “if the poor fowls can be made serviceable for your
grandfather's table, my conscience will acquit me of mere
wanton destructiveness;” and, having shaken hands with Alick
and Murray, and glanced up at the house, where Mabel now
stood in the doorway, gaily relating their adventures to her
aunt, he mounted his horse and rode off at full speed.

“Father has gone to the lecture already,” said Mabel to the
boys, when, having delivered their dilapidated equipage into
the charge of James, they came bounding into the house; “but
see, Aunt Sabiah has a tempting supper prepared for us.”

“Let us make haste and devour it, then,” cried Murray,
throwing down his cap. “I am as hungry as a bear.”

“Aren't you tired, Auntie?” inquired Alick.”

“Not at all,” was the answer. “I have had a charming

“You'll all feel the better for your supper, I should think,”
said Aunt Sabiah, as she poured out tea for them. “I never
did see anything like you, though,—you, every one of you,
look as fresh as roses. I believe you could travel from Dan
to Beersheba and never feel tired.”

“It would depend considerably upon the kind of company
we had on the way,—wouldn't it, Aunt Mabel?” said Murray,
somewhat mischievously.

Mabel colored slightly, but with an unhesitating and intelligent
smile assented to Murray's remark.

“Auntie,” said Alick, “that gentleman knew you; he called

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you by name once or twice. How do you suppose that happened?
Did you ever see him before?”

“Yes, I met him in company once, Alick, some years ago,
when I was staying at Aunt Ridgway's, in L.”

“Well, now, if that isn't a coincidence!” exclaimed Sabiah.

“But,” added she, with a sigh scarcely warranted by the occasion,
“this is a strange world we live in; people are brought
together one way and another, who never expected to meet
again this side of the grave.”

-- --


“Men of thought! be up and stirring
Night and day;
Sow the seed, withdraw the curtain,
Clear the way!
Men of action, aid and cheer them,
As ye may!
There's a midnight blackness changing
Into grey;
Men of thought and action,
Clear the way!”

[figure description] Page 421.[end figure description]

The village in which Mr. Vaughan's homestead was located
was fortunate in having been started (to use a familiar expression)
by a number of intelligent and enterprising men, who
had, through their praiseworthy exertions, given the place an
established character and a prominence among the thriving
towns of the country. Beside churches of three different
denominations, it now boasted a neat school-house, an extensive
flour-mill, and a handsome block of stores, the upper story of
which constituted a convenient and capacious town-hall, which
was first made use of for the purpose of public speaking on the
night of Percival's address. This latter circumstance, together
with the wide-spread popularity of the young orator, caused
the occasion to be one of universal interest, and at an early
hour the spacious room was thronged by an eager and attentive
audience. A stout and honest trader, a supervisor of the
of the town, occupied a seat on the platform at the left of
that intended for the speaker; and in a similar place of honor
on the right sat Mr. Vaughan, who, as the oldest citizen, the
largest land-owner, and, above all, the perfect type of a grave,
respectable gentleman, invariably received from his fellowtownsmen
similar voluntary marks of distinction and deference.

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The hour appointed for the address was just at hand. No
orator had yet made his appearance, and a murmur of disappointment
and inquiry was beginning to circulate through the
crowd, when the tall and commanding form of Percival issued
from its midst. With a perfectly calm, unruffled air he
ascended the platform, shook hands with Mr. Vaughan and
the supervisor, and looking round upon his audience with a
smile of approbation, sat down and exchanged a few words
with the gentlemen on either side of him. Then, observing
that the hand of the clock pointed exactly the time agreed
upon, he signified by a gesture his readiness to commence, and
the sturdy trader, in fulfilment of his functions, rose and introduced
him to the audience, who having in the meantime scanned
his countenance and proportions, and, as American citizens
are wont to do, established their individual opinions of his
merits, greeted him with a unanimous and unqualified round
of applause.

It was at this moment that Mabel and her nephews, somewhat
heated and out of breath from their hasty meal and rapid
walk, entered the gallery, which, although the entire assembly
was freely interspersed with females, had been especially
reserved for ladies.

“There's Miss Vaughan and her boys,” said a cousin of
Melissa, wife to the innkeeper, addressing herself to two young
girls whom Mabel was in the habit of instructing in the Sabbath
School. “Move up, Elizy. Can't you make a little room,
Euphemy? I want to offer her this seat here in front. La,
now! don't she look splendid? If the speaker could only
catch sight of her, wouldn't he be inspired?” And standing up
and gesticulating violently to Alick, she contrived to let him
understand that his aunt could be accommodated beside her, to
which place Mabel was with some difficulty piloted; and after
thanking the obliging landlady and expressing a hope that she
should not incommode any one, she seated herself, and as the
din of applause subsided, her eye for the first time sought the

Had the young man indeed depended on Mabel for his

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inspiration, he could scarcely have bestowed on her a more earnest
look than that which met her gaze, as at this moment he lifted
his face and fixed his full blue eye upon her. As she encountered
that expressive glance, her face, neck, and brow were
suffused with crimson; and when next it was turned upon his
audience, she listened with straining ear and breath suspended,
as if the fate of nations hung upon his first word.

“Aunt Mabel,” exclaimed Murray, in an eager, excited
whisper, at the same time leaning forward from a seat behind
her and striving to attract her attention, “It is, yes, it is our
hunter—our prairie friend—our fellow-traveller!”

“Hush!” cried Alick, in an earnest, dissuasive tone; his
quicker sensibilities revealing to him at a glance the emotions
which were depicted in Mabel's countenance; “There is no
need to tell her that; she sees, she knows.”

There was indeed no mistaking the identity of the two individuals,
for except that the wide-awake hat was laid aside and
the hunting-suit exchanged for one of plain black cloth, the
Percival who stood before them now, was the Bayard who had
bade them farewell less than half an hour ago.

The silence that succeeded the first burst of enthusiastic
welcome which had greeted the speaker was so intense and
profound, that even the warning words of Alick sank to the
faintest whisper, lest they might disturb the motionless expectancy
which prevailed through the assembly, as Percival, in a
clear and melodious voice, opened his address by a simple
statement of the causes and motives for his presenting himself
before them.

His calm but earnest manner, his language, at once plain,
forcible, and marked by perfect truth, and, perhaps, more than
all, his commanding presence, and an eye which seemed to address
its appeal to each individual heart, had the effect of at
once concentrating and riveting the attention of an audience
composed, for the most part, of plain and unpretending, but
intelligent and self-respecting men. Accustomed to the noisy
rant and bombastic parade of professed caucus oratory, and
manfully steeled against the wily sophistry and noisy

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partizanship of the greedy aspirants after popular favor, they were all
the more ready to give a willing and impartial hearing to one
who, unshackled by the excitement of political ambition, made
no appeal to their prejudices or their passions, but addressed
himself, and recommended his cause, to that sound reason and
enlightened conscience on which they prided themselves as free
men and worthy citizens. Thus, as he stated his argument in
plain, unvarnished terms, many a corroborating and assenting
nod, on the part of the audience, proclaimed their conviction of
its truth. As he announced the conclusion to which he himself
had been led, a murmur of approbation seemed to intimate that
each mind acknowledged him as its fit interpreter; and when,
finally, with that pathos and eloquence which have their source
in the deep emotions of a true and noble nature, he sought to
rouse them, and bid them listen to the solemn call of duty, the
heart of the multitude throbbed responsively, like the heart of
one man.

No studied oratory, no hollow declamation, could thus have
fired with generous warmth that rude, but candid and earnest
assemblage. The secret of the speaker's power lay in his sincerity;—
in the fact that the cause which he came to proclaim
had stirred and roused his own spirit like a trumpet-call. He
had hitherto voted at the polls, and expressed his political views,
as a simple, conscientious discharge of manly duty; but, busy at
home, and seeking nothing from abroad, he had wisely forborne
to put himself forward as a gladiator in party strife. The case,
however, was changed now. A great issue had arisen and a
great crisis was at hand—an issue between injustice and oppression
on one side, and the law of right and humanity on the
other. The crisis involved a country's prosperity and a nation's
honor. Therefore a true man (and such was Bayard Percival)
could not remain a silent and inactive spectator, in a scene
where he was nobly fitted to bear a part. He knew his power
and felt his responsibility. His power was that of an honest
man; his responsibility, that of a Christian. Had it been otherwise,
he might have spoken to closed ears and failed to
convince a single heart. But a character as free from wild

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fanaticism on the one hand, as from cold conservatism on the
other, had given him the people's confidence; while the purity
of his motives and aims inspired him with a wisdom and a
power which caused his words to be received as little less than

“Had one come among you,” exclaimed he, “who, possessed
of the spirit of misrule, prompted by one-sided and misdirected
zeal, or excited by a blind enthusiasm, should bid you
set at defiance every claim but that which he came to advocate,
and rush into indiscriminate warfare with the enemy
against whom all his passions were inflamed, I would simply
charge you to beware, lest, while seeking by desperate and
unsanctified means to promote the welfare of one brotherhood
of men, you trampled under foot the rights, the property, and
the lives of another, which should be to you equally dear and

“But, on the other hand, I would with equal fervor bid you
beware of that sluggishness of the soul, that fatal indifference
to truth and humanity, to which our very prosperity renders us
prone, and would charge you as freemen, as citizens, and as
Christians, to maintain inviolate the principles which you profess,
and stand ever as sentinels on the watch-tower reared for
the protection of civil liberty and the promotion of individual
freedom. We may not at once extirpate the poison which has
distilled itself into some portion of our body politic; but we
can at least guard the members which are free from its subtle
influence, and preserve pure and unsullied those fresh fountains
of strength which are at length destined to infuse new health
and vigor throughout the length and breadth of the Republic.”

Then, changing his tone from that of earnest appeal to one
of simple, descriptive power, he directed the thoughts and
attention of his audience to that beautiful sister soil, then beginning
to be the subject of national legislation, and painted,
with all the warmth of the enthusiastic traveller, and all the
simplicity and force of the practical husbandman, the beauty,
the wealth, and the resources of that favored land. His countenance
and words bore the impress of perfect truth, as, in

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[figure description] Page 426.[end figure description]

an unvarnished narrative of facts, he described the richness of
her virgin soil, and the nature and extent of the productions it
was capable of yielding. His eye glowed with the animation
of the sportsman, and the inspiration of the poetic soul, as he
dwelt on the grandeur of those primeval forests in which he
had hunted, and roamed, and meditated, his broad chest seemed
to expand and his form to rear itself to increased height, as he
expatiated on the generations of noble men and women which
such a land was capable of inspiring to high thoughts and generous
deeds. And when, finally, having stirred the hearts of
the assembly by his faithful representation of what this fair
domain might, at no distant period, become, he commended her
to their brotherly love, all were not only ready, but eager to
extend the right hand of fellowship to their young and promising

But there was another and darker side to the picture, and this
he now hastened to set before them in all its sad deformity
and gloom. He employed no fanatical abuse or tirade for the
furtherance of his purpose, but with calm, prophetic warning,
pointed to the blight already hovering in the air, the cloud already
darkening in the distance and threatening to overshadow and
destroy the fair harvest of men's hopes. “To what,” asked he,
“are you indebted for your own unexampled prosperity? is it
not to the equality of human rights, the dignity which attends
free and honest labor, the universal education of your children
and the spread of Gospel truth? And shall any or all
of these be denied to our sister territory? I charge you, as those
who have a voice in this great decision, to answer the solemn
question—shall that fatal institution be suffered to settle down
upon the land, which dooms one race to slavery and dishonor
and another to stagnation and decay? Shall that rich soil become
the ground of the task-master,—those noble woods the
retreat of the fugitive? Shall progress be checked, and the voice
of truth be silenced, and man's better nature crushed? Forbid
it, Heaven! Forbid it, ye who by word, by look, by honest
vote, may command one breath of influence and bear a freeman's
part in averting so fearful a catastrophe! Let it not be said

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[figure description] Page 427.[end figure description]

that the poison has penetrated to the seat of life, and that here,
in the heart of our free and enlightened State, there are traitors
to the cause of truth. Let us at least, a united and determined
band, present our closed ranks against the inroads of perfidious
counsels, and let the district which we serve be foremost in
proclaiming that—Nebraska shall be free.”

At this period in Percival's address, the audience, who had
more than once expressed their enthusiasm by unqualified
applause, rose simultaneously from their seats, and amid the
waving of hands, hats and handkerchiefs, caught up and echoed
by common consent his closing words—“Nebraska shall be

Great as was the clamor, however, it subsided almost instantly,
as looking around him with unmoved countenance he continued
in a calm, earnest tone. “I have not come hither my friends,
so much to excite, as to convince you—not merely to rouse
your generous patriotism, but to urge upon you now, and in
view of similar contingencies, that fair, firm and consistent action
by which alone you can lend your aid to the security and
extension of the cause of freedom. It is because a crisis has
arisen, to which the nation at large seems strangely indifferent,
and because such occasions must from time to time occur so
long as we are a people divided upon one great topic, that I have
endeavored to awaken you to the importance of the event; for
while I may speak and you may honor me by a hearing, responsibility
and action belong to us all alike. As good men and
true, let us see to it then that in our hearts and in our homes,
in the every-day walks of life, and at the polls, we cherish and
maintain those high and sacred principles which policy, reason,
and an enlightened christianity, alike approve.” Then, with the
solemnity and fervor of one whose daily walk with God kept
him ever mindful of the Sacred Presence, he commended the
assembly to the guidance and direction of Him in whose hands
all men are but as instruments, and the address was ended.

From the commencement of the lecture to the moment when
applause was at its height, the impulsive and excitable disposition
of Murray had exhibited itself in the animation of his

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countenance, the eagerness of his gestures, and the vehemence
of his cheers; Alick, in the meantime, remaining thoughtful,
quiet and attentive, manifesting to those around him no other
sign of emotion than that conveyed by the intense earnestness
with which his eye was fixed upon the speaker. The most
ardent sensibilities, however, are seldom those which appear on
the surface, and the soul of the elder boy was none the less
stirred, that it found no outward expression save in a single
movement, which appealed to but one person present, and that
perhaps the only one in the throng capable of appreciating his
delicately organized and susceptible nature. At that crisis in
the feelings of the assembly when with one accord they rose
and joined in common acclamation, the youth might have been
observed to leave his seat, a little in the rear of Mabel, and darting
down the aisle which divided the gallery, ensconce himself
on the lowest step directly beside his young aunt, who turned,
met the earnest look which he fixed upon her face, responded
to it with an answering smile, clasped his extended hand, and
the boy feeling himself to be understood by the only being whose
sympathy and approbation he craved, was satisfied and content;
nor did he once again change his position or remove his eye
from that of Percival until the close of the oration.

We may not probe the reflections which coursed through
the mind of the boy, far less can we follow all the windings of
that train of thought and emotion which partially revealed
itself in the face of Mabel, as she, too, watched the expression
of Percival's countenance, and drank in the inspiration of his
words. For the first half-hour succeeding her entrance she
was wholly engrossed by the tumultuous and agitating thoughts
which attended her recognition of the speaker. Already,
though known to her only by the report of his manly virtues,
she had imaged him to herself as the impersonation of all that
was truly noble, disinterested, and heroic; and now, in addition
to every other claim which he possessed to her esteem, respect,
and gratitude, he had suddenly proved to be identical
with the man who, years before, in the hour of her bitter agony
and humiliation, had won for himself a lasting place in her

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memory and her prayers, and who once more, on this very day,
had by his zealous efforts in her behalf confirmed her sense of
deep and personal obligation. No wonder then, that from the
moment when the harmonious tones of his voice fell upon her
ear, confirming, as it were, the evidence of her other senses, she
was for a while unconscious of the subject of his discourse,
and realized only his individual presence.

She could not long, however, continue indifferent to the topic
which evidently, for the time, engrossed all the powers of his
master mind, and reacted proportionately upon his audience.
Her kindling eye and cheek soon gave evidence of the intelligence
with which she grasped the ideas, and the fulness with
which she shared the enthusiasm of the speaker; the tear
which now and then trembled on her eyelid, was significant
of the sensibility awakened by the pathos which marked some
portions of his appeal, and when, finally, the Christian orator
commended them all to the keeping of their common Father,
her face was expressive of the fervent aspirations of the uplifted

The heart that has been stirred to its utmost depths by the
power of an eloquent and truthful tongue, shrinks almost with
a sense of pain from those common-place questionings and
rejoinders which disturb an elevated train of thought, and grate
harshly upon the refined taste. Thus, the impulse which led
the shy and reserved Alick to exclaim in a whisper to Mabel,
as soon as the address drew to a termination, “Let us try and
get out before the crowd, Auntie,” met with a corresponding
prompting on her part; but finding that the suggestion could
not be carried into effect without indecorous haste, and the possibility
of giving offence, she made the best of her situation,
suffered herself to be carried along with the rest of the throng,
and responded good-naturedly to the various comments and
criticisms upon the orator and the oration which saluted her
on every side. Murray, meanwhile, acting as their pilot, made
himself, as he never failed to do, universally popular by his
boyish gallantry to the farmers' wives, his rattling and jocose
conversation with sturdy and rough-looking men, and his droll

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and mischievous pranks with little children, and boys of his own
age, preserving, at the same time, a spice of aristocratic dignity
which characterised him, and so marshalling his aunt and
brother through the thickest of the press, that to their astonishment
they found themselves among the earliest to leave the

“Isn't he a splendid fellow, Aunt Mabel?” exclaimed Murray,
as they hastened in the direction of home. “Didn't you
feel proud of him? I did. Wasn't it grand to think our
prairie friend turned out, after all, to be the orator of the

“Yes, very,” replied Mabel, in an absent way; but Murray,
too much excited to need further encouragement, rattled on
for some time in a similar strain, and closed by saying in a
tone of confidence, “Al liked it, I know, because he didn't say
a word; he never does when he's pleased; but,” added the boy,
who had now learned to love and appreciate his brother,
“he'll prove it to us one of these days, I expect, in a way
that speaks louder than words.”

“Alick will not forget it very soon, shall you, Alick?” said

“Nobody who heard it will ever forget it,” said Alick.

“Aunt Mabel,” cried Murray, “did you see how interested
grand-father was?”

“Yes, Murray, he looked ten years younger than usual

“And he will bring Mr. Percival home with him, wont he?
I saw him shaking hands with him after the lecture.”

Mabel had no doubt of it, as their uncle Harry had assured
her that his friend brought a note of introduction to her

“Well here we are,” cried Murray, as he threw open the
house door. “Aunt Sabiah talks about coincidences. We
have got one to tell her now that will make her open her

“My sister, Miss Vaughan—my daughter—my grandsons,”
said Mr. Vaughan, with ceremonious gravity, as about

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half an hour later he ushered Percival into the parlor, and
introduced him to his family.

Miss Sabiah made her usual stiff courtesy, but the young
people, to the no small astonishment of Mr. Vaughan, came
forward, almost before the words had left his lips, and shook
hands with their guest, not with the air of those who are making
a new acquaintance, but with the prompt cordiality with
which one welcomes a familiar friend; while the smiles which
were interchanged, and the mutual congratulations and good
understanding which succeeded, proved them to have previous
knowledge of one another.

“You perceive, Sir, that I am not a stranger to your family,”
said Percival. “I had the pleasure of travelling in company
with them, this afternoon.”

“And we,” said Mabel, “in our anxiety to do honor to our
expected guest, suffered him to walk nearly a dozen miles over
the prairie. We could not have taken advantage of your kindness
with a quiet conscience, if we had known the effort you
would be called upon to make this evening.”

“I assure you, that neither walking nor public speaking are
an effort to me,” said Percival. “I have accustomed myself,
in the superintendence of my farm, to twice the amount of
exercise I have had to-day, and, perhaps, the same cause has
insured me healthy lungs. I only hope that yourself and my
young friends here feel as little sense of fatigue as I do.”

They all disclaimed any weariness from their journey; and
then, to relieve Mr. Vaughan's perplexity, Percival gave an
outline of their little adventure, treating the matter lightly,
however, and claiming no merit for the essential aid he had

As it appeared, upon inquiry, that he had had no opportunity
for refreshment of any sort since he halted at a village tavern,
a little before mid-day, Mabel hastened from the room, “on
hospitable thought intent,” and while Mr. Percival engaged
her father upon the subject of agriculture, and especially Harry's
successful farming, in which the old gentleman had never
before appeared to take the slightest interest, she assisted

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Melissa in spreading a table and preparing an inviting repast.
All were soon gathered round the neat and plentiful board, at
which Mabel presided with as much grace and dignity as if she
had held the seat of honor in her father's New York mansion,
with Robert, the well-trained waiter, standing behind her chair.
Aunt Sabiah, who had long since resigned all responsible
offices, occupied a seat at her niece's right hand, and, as she
only joined the rest for sociability's sake, kept on with her knitting—
that favorite employment which she now no longer pursued
from habit merely, since Alick, Murray, and even Harry,
despite his former raillery, had long since found a way to give
shape to the warm stockings, for which they were indebted to
her industry. Mr. Vaughan, contrary to his usual habits,
sipped a cup of chocolate, while Percival and the boys (boys
are always hungry) did justice to the cold ham, bread, and
tarts. The appetites of all were fully satisfied, however, and
still they lingered at the table. Mr. Vaughan, ordinarily silent
and reserved, was roused to animation and interest, as he conversed
with Percival on the great events of the day. Sabiah
forgot her shyness, and the drowsiness which usually overtook
her at intervals was effectually dispersed, as their young guest
illustrated the subjects under discussion by many a sparkling
anecdote or striking incident. The boys were encouraged to
contribute their share to the social interchange of thought; and
Mabel's opinions and feelings were deferred to with that consideration
which highminded men are ever ready to pay to
intelligent women. Thus midnight found them still enjoying
each other's society, and it was not until the loud striking clock
reminded them of the hour, that, with mutual expressions of
surprise at its being so late, the little party separated for the

“Good morning, Auntie,” cried Murray, as, the next day soon
after sunrise, he called to her from outside the pantry, adjoining
the kitchen, where she was busy in making some preparation
for breakfast; and, as he spoke, the affectionate, thoughtless
boy flung open the blinds and disclosed the figure of Mabel

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standing just within the open window moulding some biscuit
with the cover of the dredging-box which she held in her hand.

His salutation was responded to with heartiness and good
humor, nor did the young housewife blush, or seem in the least
disconcerted, upon perceiving their guest, who, dressed in his
hunting suit, and with rifle on his shoulder, was leaving the
house with the boys, and who, like them, paused to inquire
after her health and speak of the beauty of the morning.

And why should she blush? On the contrary, she had
reason to be proud of the picture which the sunshine revealed,
as it streamed through the apartment. The spotless shelves,
with their glittering rows of pans, the almost polished floor, the
exquisite order and neatness of all the domestic paraphernalia,
were only equalled by the good taste and harmony observable
in the person of the fair mistress of the establishment, who,
attired in a simple lilac print (none the less becoming to her
faultless figure because her own hands had made it), with a
snowy collar, and smooth, glossy hair, stood radiant with the
beauty of the girl, and serene with the chastened benignity of

“We have heard some wild ducks in the direction of the
river,” said Percival, “and are going to have a shot at them.”

“I shall come home with a proof of my skill; see if I don't,
Aunt Mabel!” cried Murray, running forward and gaily tossing
his cap in the air.

Percival and Alick followed, laughing at Murray's confidence
and zeal. Mabel wished them success, and stood looking after
them a moment, her rosy-tipped fingers, slightly besprinkled
with flour, resting meanwhile on the moulding board; then
closing the blinds, without, however, shutting out from the
mind's eye the image of that manly form and open countenance
which carried with them a cheerful and magical influence, she
quietly resumed her occupation. After delivering the pan of
biscuit to Melissa's charge, and leaving to her, also, the cooking
of Bayard's prairie fowl, in the serving of which she was an
adept, Mabel joined her aunt in the parlor, and had not yet laid
down the Bible, from which she had, by Sabiah's request, been

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reading a chapter aloud, when the sportsmen returned from
their excursion to the river-side.

“Ah, you have been fortunate, Murray!” said she, as she
observed a pair of silver-breasted ducks, which the latter had
thrown down upon the grass.

“Yes,” said the boy, in a slightly disappointed tone, “but
Alick shot them.”

“Murray spoke just before he fired,” said Percival, “and
startled them so that they rose; then Alick fired the other barrel
and shot them on the wing.”

Mabel looked meaningly at Murray and laughed.

“I know,” said Murray, good-naturedly. “I thought of it
myself; it is just as you always say, Auntie; I do the boasting
and Al carries away the prize.”

“Must you leave us so early?” said Mr. Vaughan, in a tone
of positive regret, as immediately after breakfast Bayard's
horse was brought to the door.

“I fear I must, sir,” replied Percival, turning away from
Rosy's picture, at which he had been gazing attentively; “a
similar duty to that which brought me here last night summons
me to-day to a distance of some forty miles; but I hope at some
future time to have the privilege of enjoying and returning
your hospitality.”

Mr. Vaughan, seeming for the first time to realize that his
present home could be rendered attractive, pressed upon Bayard
his desire to welcome him there as often as might be, and
still further astonished his family by declaring that he was soon
going to see Harry, and would take the same opportunity of
paying Mr. Percival a visit.

Mabel was standing on the door-step when Bayard came to
bid her farewell. He had shaken hands with Sabiah in the
inner room. Mr. Vaughan and the boys had walked down to
the roadside, where James was attaching the saddlebags to the
saddle. For the first time, therefore, she saw him apart from
the rest of the household. She gave him a few last messages
for his mother; then, as he lingered, evidently loth to depart,
she said in a hesitating, tremulous voice, “It is now more than

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six years, Mr. Percival, since you did me a kindness which
few would have attempted, and which few could have done.
I have never thanked you; I never can,—but I trust you
believe that I can never forget it.”

“Miss Vaughan,” said he, “I did only what common humanity
demanded of one who had the soul of a man; it has
been left for you to teach me the higher and holier lesson of
what may be accomplished by a woman. Your brother makes
no secret, with his friends, at least, of the priceless blessings
which he owes to a sister's love.”

“Harry has an appreciating disposition,” said Mabel, “and
his good heart makes him grateful for the affection and kindness
which he always feels to be beyond his merits. The
events of that night, which are so fixed in my memory, have
happily passed from his, but of your consistent friendship in
later years he can never say enough.”

“It is a friendship which is invaluable to me,” said Percival.
“Harry is a noble fellow,—worthy of the sister who has made
him what he is. I am most proud and happy to have met
you again, Miss Vaughan.” He paused, seemed anxious to add
something more,—hesitated, and then, with an embarrassment
foreign to his usual manner, bade her an abrupt farewell.

Mr. Vaughan and the boys, after seeing him ride off, walked
slowly back to the house, and the ordinary events of their
daily life succeeded. But, although Percival had been their
guest for one night only, his presence and influence had left
no ordinary impression upon every individual of the family,
and it was long before any of them could cease to be conscious
of the void which his departure had created in their circle.

-- --


Bread of our souls! whereon we feed;
True manna from on high!
Our guide and chart! wherein we read
Of realms beyond the sky.
Bernard Barton.

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Ever since the period of Mr. Gracie's sickness and death,
the mind of Mr. Vaughan had seemed to some degree weaned
from the one haunting and harrowing subject to which its
energies had for the last ten years been directed, and the
River Valley Railroad, with all the expectations involved in
it, though not abandoned by him, had ceased to absorb his
thoughts. The saddening and solemnizing event which had
deprived him of a valued friend, could not fail to remind him
of the mortality which sets bounds to all earthly schemes.
The presence of the bereaved orphan in his household had
excited in him a truly paternal sympathy; and finally, her
marriage with his son, in which he took a deeper satisfaction
than was suffered to appear, had imparted to his present experience
a genuine and touching interest, which had for a time
dispelled the eager and calculating spirit by which he had
hitherto been actuated.

Thus he was, as we have seen on the occasion of Percival's
visit, more than usually alive to topics relating to the public
welfare, and not only took upon himself readily the duties of
a host, but manifested in the young man's society a pleasure
and animation truly astonishing to those who knew him only
as the abstracted, self-absorbed, and disappointed man.

Scarcely had this agreeable episode in his ordinary life
terminated, however, when the old man once more became a
prey to the all-engrossing object of his fond aspirations, and

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the mind which had partially recovered its equanimity, was
plunged into the mad vortex of bewildering and exciting emotions.