The globe. (Huntingdon, Pa.) 1856-1877, July 14, 1858, Image 1

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seit.ct Vottr#.
Whate'er the grief that dims the eye,
Whate'er the (MUM of sorrow r
We turn us to the weeping tky,
And !say,'" Well Emile tomorrow."
And Mien from theft we love we part,
From home we comfort borrow,
Anti whiver to our aching heart,
Well meet again to-murrovv.
lint IN lion to-morrow collies 'tis still
An linage of to-day;
Stilt tears our heavy eyelid; till,
Still mourn we those away.
And when that morrow too is pit,t—
(A. yesterday of sorrow)
Hope, smiliue, cheats us to the liest,
With visions of to-rnorrow.
` - ,;1 ci)cictt ,stoq.
Why did I marry her? I often asked my
f:(llE the question in the days that succeeded
. our hone v-moon. By right, I should have
married no one. Yet I loved her, as I love her
She was, perhaps the strangest character
of her age. In her girlhood, I could not
comprehend her ; and I often think, when I
raise my eyes to her grave, quiet face, as she
sits oppol:ite me at dinner, that I do not com
prehend her yet. There are many thoughts
working in her brain of which I know noth
ing, and flashes of feeling look out at her eyes
now and then, and go hack again, ds captives
might steal a glimpse of the outer world
through their prison bars, and turn to their
brick walled solitude once more. She is my
wife. I have had her, and hold her as no
other can. - She bears my name, and sits at
the head of my table ; she rides beside me in
my carriage, or takes my' arm as we walk ;
and yet 1 know and feel, all the time, that
the darling of my past has fled from me 14
ever, and that it is only the ghost of the gay
Alice, whom I won in all the bloom of her
bright youth, that lingers near me now.
She was not a child when I married her,
though she was very young. I mean that
life had taught her lessons which are gener
ally given only to the gray-haired, and had
laid burdens upon her which belong-of right
to the old. She had been an unloved child,
and at the age of sixteen she was left to her
self, and entirely dependent on her own ex
ertions. Friends and family she had none,
so she was accustomed laughingly to say; but
1 have since found that her sisters were
and in happy homes, even at the time
when she accepted that awful trust of herself,
and went out of the world to fulfil it. Of this
part of her life she never speaks ; but - one
who knew her then has told me much. it
was a time of struggle and pain, as well it
might have been. Fresh from the life of a
large boarding school, she was little fitted for
the bustle of a great selfish city ; and the
tears come to my eyes as I think, with a kind
of wonder, on the child who pushed her way
through difficulties at which strung men have
quailed, and made herself a name, and a po
sition, and a home. She was a writer,—at
first a drudge, for a weekly press, poorly paid,
and unappreciated. Bye-and-bye, brighter
days dawned, and the wolf went away from
the door. She was admired, read, sought
after, and—above all—paid. Even then, she
could nut use the wisdom she had purchased
at so dear a rate. She held her heart in her
-hand, and it was wrung and tortured every
I may as well stop breathing as stop lov
ing," she would say, with a happy smile.—
" Don't talk to me about my folly. Let me
go on with my toys; and if they break in my
hand, you cannot help it, and 1 shall not conic
to you for sympathy."
She \Nils not beautiful ; but something—
whether it was her bright, happy face, or the
restless gaiety of her manner—bewitched peo
ple, and made them like her. Men did the
maddest things imaginable for her sake; and
not only young men in whom fully was par
donable, but those who should have been too
wise to be caught by the sparkle of her smile,
or the gay ringing of her laugh. She did nut
trust them ; her early life had taught her bet
ter; but I think she liked them for awhile,
till sonic new fancy came, and then site
danced past them, and was gone.
It was in the country that I met her first;
and there she was more herself than in the
city. We were distant relatives, though we
had never seen each other, mid the fates sent
me to spend my summer vacation with my
mother's aunt, in a country village, where
she was already domesticated. Had I known
this, 1 should have kept my distance; for it
was only a fourteenth or fifteenth cousinship
that lay between us, and 1 had a kind of hor
ror of her. I hardly knew why. I was a
steady going, quiet sort of lawyer, and hated
to have my short holiday of rest and quiet
broken in upon by a fine lady. I said as
much to my aunt, in return for her announce
ment of "Alice Kent is here," with which
she greeted me. She looked over her spec
tacles m quiet wonder as I gave her a slight
sketch of the lady's city life, as I had it, from
the lips of " Mrs. Grundy" herself.
"Well—live and learn, they say. But who
ever would think it was our Alice you are
talking of, Frank! However, I'll say no
more about her 1 You'll have plenty of time
to get acquainted with her, in the month you
mean to pass here. And we are glad to see
you, and your bed-room is ready,—the one
you used to like."
I took up my hat, and strollod away to
have a look at the farm. Bye-and-bye, I got
over the orchard wall, and crossed the brook,
and the high-road, and went out into the
grove behind the house, whose farthest trees
were growing on the side of the hill which
looked so blue and distant from my chamber
window. It was an old favorite place of
mine. A broad wagon track led through
the woods, out to a clearing on the other
:tide, where was a little sheet of water called
41 50
3 do.
.-3, 30
. 1 00
2 00
1 50
2 25
the Fairy's Looking-Glass, and a beautiful
view of a lovely country, with the steep
green hills lying down in the distance, wrap
ped in a soft fleecy mantle of cloud and haze.
could think of nothing when I stood there,
on a fine sunshiny day, but the long gaze of
llun . yan's Pilgrim through the shepherd's
gloss, at the beautiful city towards which he
was journeying. And it seemed sometimes
as if I could wander " over the hills and far
away," and lose myself in one of the fair
valleys at the foot of those hills, and he con
tent never to come out and face
. the weary
world any inure.
I walked slowly through the woods, with
the sunshine falling through the green leaves
of the young beeches in chequered' radiance
on my path, drawing in long hreaths of the
fresh air, and feeling a tinglino , in my veins
and a glow at my heart, as if the Wood were
flowing newly there, until I came to the little
circular grove of pines and hemlocks that
led out upon the Fairy's Looking-Glass.—
Something stirred as I pierced my way thro'
the branches, and I heard a. low growl.
A girl was half sitting, half lying, in the
sunshine, beside the little lake, throwing
pebbles into the water, and watching the
ripples that spread and widened to the other
shore. A great black Newfoundland dog
standing between me and her, showino , a for
midable row of strong white teeth, and look
ing me threateningly in the face.
She started, and looked sharply round, and
saw me standing in the little grove with the
dug between us. She burst out laughing.
I felt that I was cuttin. , rather a ridiculous
figure, but I put a bold face upon the matter,
and asked cooly,
" Are you Alice Kent ?"
" People call me so."
"'Then I suppose I may call you cousin,
for I ant Frank Atherton Y"
" Cousin Frank ! We have been expecting
you this week. When did you come ?"
"Just now."
She made room for me beside her. We
talked long, about our family, our mutual
friends, and the old homestead of _the Ather
tons, which she had seen, though I had not.
She told about the house, and our cousins
who were then living there, and I sat listen
ing, looking now and then at her, as she sat
with the sunshine falling round her, and the
el-eat lyingat her feet. I wondered n
most as my aunt had done, if this was indeed
the Alice Kent of whom I had heard so
much. She NVOS dressed plainly, very plain
ly, in a kind of gray material, that fell around
her in slight soft folds. A knot of plain blue
riblmu fastened her linen collor, and a gipsy
hat, lying beside her, was trimmed with the
same Collor. Her watch chain, like a thread
of gold, and a dimond ring, were the only
ornaments she wore. Yet I had never seen
a dress I liked su well. She was tall (to()
tall, 1 should have said, had she been any
one else ; fur, when we were standing, her
head was almost on a level with mine) and
slender, and quick and agile in all her move
ments. Her brown hair was soft and pretty,
but she wore it carelessly pushed away from
her forehead, not arranged with that nicety
I should have expected in a city belle. Her
features were irregular, full of life and spirit,
but decidedly plain ; her complexion fair,
her mouth rather large, frank and smilling ;
her eyebrows arched, as if they were asking
questions ; and he'd eyes large, and of a soft
dark grey, very pleasant to look into, very
puzzlinr , too, as I found afterwards to my
cost. Those eyes were the only beauty she
possessed, and she unconsciously made the
most of them. Had she been a Carmelite
nun, she would have talked with them ; she
could not help it. When they laughed, it
seemed their normal state—the bright beam
ing glance they gave ; but, when they dark
ened suddenly and grew softer and deeper,
and looked up into the face of any unfortu
nate Wight with an expression peculiar to
themselves, heaven help him!
Though I had known her only five minutes,
I felt this, when I chanced to look up and
meet a curious glance she had fixed on me.—
She had ceased to talk, and was sitting, with
her lips half apart and a lovely color man
tling on her cheek, studying my face intent
ly-, when our eyes met. There was an elec
tric kind of shock in the gaze. I saw the
color deepen atja go up to her forehead, and
a shiver ran o*r me from head to foot. It
was dangerous for me to watch that blush,
but I did ; and I longed to know its cause,
and wondered what thought had brought it.
" Fred, bring me my hat," she said to her
dog, affecting to yawn. "It is time fur us
to go home to supper I suppose. Are you
hungry, cousin Frank ?"
" Yes—no," I answered, with my thoughts
still running on that blush.
She laughed good-naturedly, and I took
the hat from the New Foundland, who had
brought it in his mouth.
" How fond are you of that great dog," I
said as we rose from our seat beneath the
" Fond of him ?" She stooped down over
him with a sudden impetuous movement,
took his head between her two hands, and
kissed the beauty spot, on his forehead.—
" Fond of him, cousin Frank ? Why, the
dog is my idol! He is the only thing on
earth who is or has been true to me, and the
only thing---." She stopped short and
" That you have been true to," I said, fin
ishing the sentence for her.
" So people say," she answered, with a
laugh. " But look at him—look at those
beautiful eyes, and tell me if any one could
help loving him. My poor old Fred ! So
honest in this weary world."
She sighed, and patted his head again,
and he stood wagging his tail and looking
up into her face, with eyes that were as she
had said, beautiful, and what was better far,
brimful of love and honesty.
" I doubt if you will keep pace with us,"
she said, after we had walked a few steps ;
" and Fred is longing for a race ; I always
give him one through the woods. Would you
" Oh dear, no !"
" The next moment she was off like the
wind, and the dog tearing after her, harking
till the woods rang again. I saw her that
night nu more.
I was, as I have already said, a grave,
steady-going lawyer, verging towards a re
spectable middle age, with one or two grey
hairs showing among my black locks.
had had my dreams and fancies, and my hot,
eager, generous youth, like most other men:
and they had passed away.- But one thing . I
had ndt known, one thing I missed, (save in
my dreams,) and that was a woman's love.
If I ever gave my visions a body and a
name, they were totally unlike all the reali
ties I had ever seen. The wife of my fire
side reveries was a slight, delicate, gentle
creature, with a pure pale face, sweet lips,
the bluest and clearest of eyes, the softest
and finest of golden hair, and a voice low
and sweet, like the murmurings of an 2Eolian
harp. And she sat by my chair in silence;
loving me always, but loving me silently,
and her name was Mary. I dare say, if I
had met the original of this placid picture in
life, I should have wooed and won her, and
have been utterly miserable.
So, as a matter of course, I fell into danger
now. When Alice Kent went singing and
dancinn , through the house, leaving every
door and window open as she went, I used
often to lay down my-pen and look after her,
and feel as if the sun shone brighter for her
being there. When she raced through the
grove or orchard with the great dog at her
heels, I smiled, and patted Fred on the head;
when she rode past the house at a hand gal
lop on her grey pony; Fra Diavolo, and leap
ed him over the garden gate, and shook her
whip saucily in my face, I laid aside my
book to admire her riding, and never thought
her unwomanly or ungraceful.
We grew great friends—like brother
and sister, I used to say to myself. How
that liking glided gradually into loving, I
could not have told. I met her one day in
the village street. I turned a corner, and
came upon her suddenly. She was walking
slowly along, with her dog beside her, and
her eyes fixed upon the ground, looking
graver and more thoughtful than I had ever
seen her before. At sight of me her whole
face brightened suddenly ; yet she passed me
with a slight nod and a smile, and took her
way towards home. Seeing that flash of
light play over her grave face, and feeling
the sudden bound with which my heart
sprang up to meet it, I knew chat we were
to each other.
It was not late when I reached home, after
a musing walk. The fanner and his wife
had gone to -bed, the children were at a
merry-making at the next house, and a soli
tary light burned from the parlor window,
which was open. The full moon shone fairly
in a sky without a cloud. 1 unfastened the
gate and went in-; and there in the open
door sat Alice, with a light shawl thrown
over her shoulders, her head resting on the
shaggy coat of the Newfoundland dog. His
beautiful br,own eyes watched me as I came
up the path, but he did not stir.
I sat down near her; but on the lower
step, so that I could look up in her face.
" Alice, you do not look well."
" But I am. Quite well. I am going
away to-morrow."
" nome. To London. Well? What ails
you, cousin Frank ? Did you never hear of
any one who went to London betore?"
" Yes ; but why do you go ?"
" Why ?" She opened her eyes and look
ed at me. For many reasons. Firstly, I
only came fur six weeks, and I have stayed
nearly three months ; secondly, because I
have business which can be put off no longer;
and thirdly, because my friends are wonder
ing what on earth keeps me here so long.—
They will say soon, it is you, Frank. They
vow they cannot do without me any longer,
and it is pleasant to be missed, you know."
And so you are going back to the old
life, Alice ? And bye-and-bye I suppose you
will marry?"
I would not ad-vise any man, be he old or
young, in case he does not think it wise or
prudent to marry the woman he loves, to
linger with her in the doorway of a silent
farm-house, and hold her hand, and look out
upon a moonlight night. The touch of the
small slight fingers was playing the mischief
with my good resolutions, and my wisdom
(if I had any.)
"Alice," 1 said, softly; and I almost start
ed, as she did, at the sound of my own voice,
it was so changed. "Alice, we have been
very happy here."
I took both her hands, and held them close
in mine. But she would not look at me,
though her face was turned that way.
"There is a great difference between us,
dear Alice. lam much older than you, and
much graver. I have never loved any wo
man-but you in my life, while you have
charmed a thousand hearts and had a thous
and fancies. IT you where what the world
thinks you, and what you try to make your
self out to be, I should say no more than
this—l love you. But I know you have a
heart. I know you can love, if you will.—
And so I beseech you to talk to me honestly,
and tell me if you can love me, or if you do.
I am not used to asking such questions of la
dies, Alice, and I may seem rough and rude;
but believe me when I say you have won my
whole heart, and I cannot be happy without
you." Y
"es, I believe you," she said.
"But do you trust me, and do you love
me ?"
She might trifle with a trifler, but she was
earnest enough with me.
"I trust you, and I," she answer
ed, frankly. "Are you wondering why I can
stand before you, and speak so calmly ? lie
cause, I do not think I shall ever marry you.
You do not love me, as I have always said
my husband should love me. I am way
ward and exacting, and 'should weary your
life out by my constant cravings for tender
ness. I was made to be petted, Frank.; and
you, though loving, arc not an affectionate
man. You would wish me at the bottom of
the Red Sea before wo had been married a
month ; and, because you could not get me
there, _you would go to work and break my
heart, by way of amusement. I know it
as well as if I had seen it all—even now."
She looked at me, and all her woman's
heart and nature were in her eyes. They
spoke .of love and passion, and deep, deep
tenderness—and all for me. Something leap
ed into life in my heart at that moment which
I bad never felt before—something that made
my affection of the last few hours seem cold
and dead besides its fervid glow. I had her
in my arms within the instant—close—close
to my heart.
"Alice! if ever man loved woman with
heart and soul—madly and unreasonably if
you will, but still truly and honestly—l love
my darling."
"But will it fast? 0, Frank will it last?"
I bent down, and our lips met iu a long,
fond kiss.
"You, will be my wife, Alice ?"
She leaned her pretty head against my arm;
and her hand stole into mine again.
"Do you mean that for your answer? Am
I to keep the hand, dear Alice, and call it
mine ?"
"If you will, Francis."
It was the first time she had ever given
me that name. But she never called me by
any other again until she ceased to love me;
and it sounded sweetly to my dying day.
We were married not long after, and for
six months we dwelt in a "Fool's Paradise."
When I think, that but for me, it might have
lasted to our dying day, I can only sigh, and
take up the burden of my life with an ach
ing heart.
They had called Alice fickle—oh, how,
wrongly ! No human being could be truer to
another than she was to me.
I only wanted to find my master Francis,"
she used to say, when I laughed at her about
it. "I was lookinc , '' for him through all those
long years, and I began to think he would
never conic. But from the first moment when
I heard you speak, and met your eyes, I felt
that he was near me. And lam glad to wear
my master's chains," she "added kissing my
And I ant sure she was in earnest. I
pleased her best when I treated her most like
a child. She was no angel—a passionate,
high-spirited creature. She rebelled a thous
and times a day, although she delighted in
my control. But it was pretty to see her,
when she turned to leave the room, with fire
in her eyes, and a deep flush on her cheek—
it was pretty to see her with her hand upon
the lock even, drop her proud head submis
sively, and wait when said—" Stop. Shut
the door and listen to me." Yet it was dan
gerous. I, who bad never been loved before,
what could I do but become a tyrant, when
a creature so noble as this bent down before
She loved me. Every chord of her most
sensitive heart thrilled and trembled to my
touch, and gave forth sweetest music; yet I
was not satisfied. I tried the minor key.—
Through her deep affection fur me wounded
her cruelly. I can see it now. Some wise
idea found its way into my head and whisper.
ed that I was making a child of my wife by
my indulgent ways, and that her character
would never develop its strength in so much
sunshine. I acted upon that thought, forget
ting how she had already been tried in the
fiery furnace of affliction ; and quite uncon
scious, that while she was getting back all
the innocent gaiety of her childish years,
the deep lessons of her womanhood were still
lying beneath the sparkling surface of her
playful ways.
If, for a time, she had charmed me out of
my graver self. I resolved to be charmed no
more. I devoted myself again to my busi
ness, heart and soul, and sat poring for hours
over law papers without speaking to her.—
Yet she did not complain. So long as she
was certain that I loved her, she was content,
and took up her pen again, and went on with
the work our marriage had interrupted. Her
writting-desk was in my study, by a window
just opposite mine; and sometimes I would
cease to hear the rapid movements of her pen
and, looking up, I would find her eyes fixed
upon my face, while a happy smile was play
ing around her lips. One day that glance
found me in a most unreasonable mood. The
sense of her love half pained me, and I said
curtly :
"It is bad taste, Alice, to look at any one
in that way."
_ -
She dropped her pen, only too glad fur an
excuse to talk to me, and came and leaned
over my chair.
"And why? When I love some one."
This was a bad beginning of the lesson,—
I wanted to teach her, and I turned over my
papers in silence.
"Do I annoy you, Francis ?"
"Not much."
Her light hand was playing with my hair,
and her breath was warm on my cheek. I
felt my wisdom vanishing, and tried to make
up for its loss by an increased coldness of
"One kiss," she said. "Just one, and NI
go away."
"What nonsense, Alice. What time have
I to think of kisses now."
She stood up and looked me in the face.
"Do I tease you, Francis ?"
"Very much."
She gave a little sigh—so faint that I
could scarcely hear it—and left the room.—
I had scared Tier gaiety away fur that morn
This was the first cloud in our sky.
It seems strange, now, when I look back
upon it after the lapse of years, how persever
ingly I labored to destroy the foundation of
peace and happiness on which I might have
built my life. The remaining six months of
that year were months of misery to me, and
I doubt not, to Alice, for she grew thin and
pale, and lost her gaiety. I had succeeded
only too well in my plan, and she had learn
ed to doubt my affection for her. I felt this
by the look in her eyes now and then, and
by the way she seemed to cling to her dog,
as if his fidelity and love were now her only
hope. But I was to proud to own myself
in the wrong, and the breach widened day
by day.
In the midst of all this estrangement the
dog sickened. There was a week of misgiv
ing on Alice's part, when she sat beside riim
with her books, or writing all the time—
there was a day when both books and mann
s3ript were put away, and she was bending
over him, with her tears falling fast, as she
tried to hush his moans, and looked into his
fast glazing eyes—and there was an hour of
stillness, when she lay on the low couch,
with her arm around his neck, neither speak
ing nor stirring. And when the poor crea
ture's last breath was drawn, she bent over
him with a passionate, burst of grief, kissed
the white spot upon his forehead, and closed
the soft, dark eyes, that even in death were
turned towards her with a loving look.
She did not come to • me for sympathy.—
She watched alone, while the gardener dug
a grave and buried him beneath the study
window. She never mentioned him to me,
and never paid her daily visits to his grave
till I was busy with my papers for .the eve
ning. So the year, which had begun in love
and happiness, came to its close.
I sat in the study alone one morning in
the February following, looking over some
deeds that had been long neglected, when I
heard Alice singing in the balcony outside
the window. It was the first time I had
heard her sing since Fred's death, and I laid
down my pen to listen. But bearing her
coming through the hall, I took- it up again,
and affected to be very busy.
It was a warm, bright, beautiful day, and
she seemed to bring a burst of sunlight and
happiness with her as she opened the door.
Ber own face, too, was radiant, and she
looked like the Alice of the old farm-house,
as she came on tiptoe and bent over my
" Well, what is it ?" I asked, looking up.
She laid a pretty little boquet of violets,
tied with blue ribbons, before me.
" I have been to the conservatory, and
have bronght you the first flowers of the
season, Francis. And something else, which
you may not like so well."
She bent over me as she spoke, and lean
ing her hand on my shoulder, kissed me
twice. She had been chary of her carresses
fur some time; and, when she did this of her
own accord, I wheeled round in my chair,
and looked up at her.
" You seem very happy to-day, Alice."
"It is somebody's birthday," she said, sta
tioning herself upon my knee, and looking
into my eyes. " And I wish somebody very
many happy returns:"—her voice faltered a
little—" and if there has been any wrong
feeling, nancis, for the last six months, we
will to-day, now and forever."
She clung to the in silence, and hid her
face upon my breast. I was moved, in spite
of myself, I kissed the brown hair that was
scattered over my shoulder, and said I was
quite willing to forget everything (as if I
had anything to forget!) at which she looked
up with a bright smile, and I dare say,
thought me very magnanimous.
" And we will make a new beginning
from this day, Francis."
" If you will, my child."
She caressed me again, after a queer little
fashion of her own, which always made me
sm ile, and which consisted of a series of
kisses bestowed systematically on different
parts of my face—fbur, I believe, being allot
ted to my forehead, two to each cheek, two
to the chin, four to my lips, and four to my
eyes. She went through this ceremony with
a painstaking care, and then looked me in
the face. All her love and tenderness seem
ed to come up before me in that moment.
and efface the past and its unhappiness. I
held her closely to my heart, and her arms
were around my neck.
Will any one believe it ? My wife had
scarcely left me five moments before the fan
cy came to me that I had shown too plainly
the power she had over me. For months
had been schooling myself into coolness and
indifference, and at her very first warm kiss
or smile, I was completely routed. She had
vexed, and thwarted, and annoyed me much
during those months: it would not do to par
don her so fully and entirely before she had
even asked my forgiveness. I took a sudden
resolution ; and, when she came back into
the room, was buried in my papers once
more. Poor child I she had one half-hour's
sunshine, at least.
" One moment," she said, taking the pen
out of my hand, and holding something up
over my head. "I have a holiday gift fur
you. Do you want it ?"
" If you give it to me, certainly."
"'Then ask me for it."
I said nothing, but took up my pen again.
Her countenance fell a little.
" Would you like it ?" she said timidly.
" There was a saint in old times," I said,
quietly, going on with my papers, "a name
sake of mine, by the way—Saint Francis of
Sales—who was accustomed to say, that one
should never ask or refuse anything."
"Well! but I'm not talking to Saint Fran
cis ; lam talking to you. Will you have
my little gift? Say yes—just to please me
—just to make my happy day still happier."
Don't be a child, Alice."
" It is childish, I know ; but indulge me
this once. It is such a little thing, and it
will make me very happy."
" I shall not refuse whatever you choose
to give me. Only don't delay me long, fur I
want to go on with these papers."
The next moment she threw the toy (a
pretty little bronze inkstand made like a Cu
pid, with a quiver full of pens) at my feet,
and turned away, grieved and angry. I
stooped to pick it up—it was broken in two.
" Oh, you can condescend to lift it from
the ground !" she said sarcastically.
" Upon my word, Alice, you are the most
unreasonable of beings. however, the little
god of love eau be easily mended."
y es :,
" She placed the fragments one upon the
other and looked at me.
" It can be mended, but the accident must
leave its trace, like all others. Oh, Francis!"
she added, throwing herself clown by my
chair and lifting my hand to her lips, v 11 . N -
- you try me so? Do you really love me?"
Editor and Proprietor.
NO. 3.
" Alice," I said, impatiently, "do get up
You tire me."
She rose and turned pale.
" I will go then. But first answer my
question. Do you love me, Francis ?"
I felt anger and obstinacy in my heart—
nothing else. Was she threatening me?
" Did you love me when you married me,
Francis ?"
"I did. But—"
" But you do not love me now ?"
" Since you will have it," I said.
"Go on !"
"I do not love you—not as You mean."
There was a dead silence in the room, as
the lying words left my lips, and she grew
so white and gave me such a look of anguish
that I repented of my cruelty, and forgot my
" i du not mean that, Alice," I cried.—
"Yon look ill and pale. Believe me, I was
only jesting."
I can bear it, Francis. There is nothing
on this earth that cannot be Lorne—in o ne
way or other."
She turned and left the room, quietly and
sadly. The sunshine faded just then, and
only a white, pale light came through the
window. Iso connected it with her sorrow,
that to this day I can never see the golden
radiance come and go across mypath, with
out the same sharp, knife-like pang that I
felt then, as the door closed behind her.
Alice became weaker, and grow really ill.
A tour on the continent was strongly reeoxn
mended by the doctors as the likeliest means
of restoration. It was impossible for me to
go ; but some friends of ours, one Mr. and
Mrs. Warrener, with a young daughter, were
croine , to Italy for six. months, and it was'ar
ranged that .Alice_should accompany them.
They remained abroad nine months instead
of six. People wondered and joked about
my wife's deserting me; but I only laughed,
and said, I should soon go after her if she
remained away much longer ; and they tho't
we were still a model couple. But, had they
seen me sitting in my office, at night, over
Alice's letters from abroad, they would have
known what a gulf had opened between us
two. I read those letters over and over
again, with aching throbs going through and
through my heart at every word. They
were full of incident and interest, and people
called them beautiful, who had not seen the
mixture of womanly passion and childlike
playfulness in her character that I had seen,
and which I was to see no more.
At last she returned. I came home tired
enough, one evening, to find a letter lying
on my table, informing me that she would
cross to Dover on the morrow. I went down
to Dover to meet her. Our estrangement
had worn deep into my heart. She bad loved
me once; she should love me again !
I was worn, haggard. I took a bath and
made a careful toilet after my hurried jour
ney. As I was taking my last look in the
glass, the hotel waiter came to tell me they
had arrived.
I followed him, more nervous than I had
eve: been before in my life. Warrener
grasped my hands as I opened the door, and
Mrs. Warrener—bless her kind heart !
burst out crying.
"Oh, my dear Frank ! lam so glad to se©
you. And we have brought you your Alice
home, so well."
Nest moment she entered, a little King
Charles' spaniel frisking about her feet. I
had her in my arms at once, but it was not
until she kissed me that I knew how cold
and pale she was.
"Alice, are you ill ?" I asked, holding her
away from mei and looking into her face.
Iler eyes met mine ; but their old light
was quite gone.
"Not in the least ill, Frank." she said qui
etly. "But you must rememlier I have not
seen you for nine months, and you startled
►ne a little."
My household fairy had lied, and could
only mourn that I should never look upon
her sweet, young face again. It was another
Alice, this. I had slain my own Alice, and
nothing could reanimate her.
I was like one in a dream all through the
day ; and, when we came home, I could not
wake. I had made many changes in the
house, and all for her. I took her through
the rooms on the day after our return, and
showed her the improvements. She was
pleased with the furniture ; she admired the
pictures and the conservatory ; and seemed
delighted with the little gem of a boudoir
which I had pleased myself by designing ex
pressly fur her. She thanked me to. No
longer ago than a year, she would have
danced through the rooms uttering a thou
sand pretty little exclamations of wonder and
delight, and. I should have been smothered
with kisses, and called a "dear old bear," or
some such fit name at the end ; all of which
would have been very silly, but also very de
1 think 1 bore it for a month ; but one
morning, as I sat at my solitary breakfast—
for Alice took that meal in her own room
now—the bitter sense of wrong and unhap
piness and desertion cau►e over me so strong
ly that I. went up to her room.
"Are you busy ?" I asked, as she laid
down her pen and looked around.
"Not too busy to talk to you," she said.
" Alice, how long are we to live this life?"
She changed color.
What life, Frank ?"
The one we are living now. It is not
the happy, loving life we used to live. You
are not mine as entirely and lovingly as you
once were."
" 1 know it."
drearily at me.
" Why cannot the old days come back
again. If I made a terrible mistake, can
you never forgive it? I thought it was fool
ish fur us to love each other as we did—at
least, to show it as we did—but I have found
now, that love is earth's only true wisdom."
She smiled sadly.
"Give me back that love, Alice, which I
would not have. Oh, give me back the lost
And she sighed and looked
I rose from my seat and stood beside Ler,
but she drew back and shook her head.
" Frank, don't ask me for that."
" I shall know how to value it now, Alice."
"'Tat may be ; but I have it not to give
you, my pour Frank."
I clasped her to my heart. The passion
in that heart might almost have brought
back life to the dead; but she did not move.
She was like a statute in my arms, and only
looked at me and sighed:
" Too late ! Too late, Frank !"
'Will you never forgive me?"
" Forgive? Do you think I have one un
kind thought or feeling towards you, Frank?
Ah, no! But I am chilled through. My
love is dead and buried. Stand away front
its grave, and let us meet the world as wo
best may."
I leaned my head upon my hands, and my
tears fell, and I was not ashamed of them.
But they seemed to rouse her into a kind of
" You':" she exclaimed :,uddeuly, " you,