Newspaper Page Text
tUconcsbaß Slanting, Inku I, 1849.
(From Blnekwood'i Magazine.]
. Ti'd U 1 t
THE VILLAGE DOCTOR'S STORY,
BY MADAME D'ARBOUVILLE
What is this?" exclaimed several persons as
sembled in the dining-room of the chateau. of Bo-
The Countess of Moncar had just Inherited, from
a distant and slightly regretted relation, an ancient
chateau which she had never seen, although it was
at. barely fifteen leagues from her habitual sum
mer residence. One of the most elegant, and al
'most one of the prettiest women in Paris, Madame
loncar was but moderately attached to the
country. Quitting the capital at the end of Jtine.
to return thither-early in October, she usually took
with her some of The companions of her winter
gaieties, and a few young men, selected amor.gst
iier most assiduous partners. Madame de Moncar
was married to a man much older, than herself,
who did not always protect her by his presence.—
fVolinut abusing the great liberty she enjoyed,
she was gracefully coquettish, elegantly frivolotra.
pleased with trifles—with a compliment, an amia
ble word, an hour's triumph—loving a ball for the
pleasure of adorning herself, fond of admiration,
and not sorry to inspire love. When some g.ravb
ill aunt ventured a sage remonstrance—" Mon
Dim r she replied ; "do let me laUgh and lake
life gaily. It is far less dangerous than . to listen in
soli:ide to the beating of one's heart. For my
ma Ido not Isnow if I even have a heart!'' She
spoke the truth, and really was uucertain upon that
De,irrths to remain so. she thought it pm
dent to leave herself no time for reflection.
glue line morning in September, the countess and
her guests set mit for the unknown chateau, intend
ing tn.pas; the day there. r A Cross road, reputed
pranricalrle. was to reduce the journey to twelve
lon:tres. The cross road proved execrable: the
travellers lost their way in the forest: a carriargd`
broke down; in short it was not till mid-day that
the pry. much fatigued, and but moderately grat
ified lr) the pi:turesque beauties of the scenery,.
reach".' ::,o chateau of flurey, whose as i , ner w as
scruccly such as to console them 'for the annoyan
ce, 01 the tourney. It was a large sombre build
g dingy walls. In its front a garden, then
net of cultivicion, descended from terrace to ter-,
race :,foi the chateau, built upon the slope of a
wooded hill, had no level ground in its vicinity. Qn
all- , irlcs it was herrimed in by mountains, the trees
which sprang up amidst locks, and had a
aik and gloomy fuhage that saddened the eye
sight. Man's neglect added to the natural wild
disorders of the scene. Madame de Moncar stried
motionless and disconcerted upon the threshold of
bet newly.acquired mansion. "
. "This is very unlike a party of pleasure," said
she; " I could weep at sight of this di-tnal abode
Nevertheless here are noble bees, lofty rocks, a
cataract: doubtless, there is a certain beau
ty in all that; /rut is of too "Tare an order for my
humour," added she with a smile. •• Let us go in
and view the interior."
The hungry guests, eager to see if the cook, who
had been sent forward upon the previous day, as
an advance guard, hail safely 'arrived, willingly as
sented. !laving obtained th% agreeable certainty
that an abundant breakfast would soon be upon the
table, they rambled through the chateau. The old
fashioned furniture with tattered coverings, the
armchairs with three legs, the tottering tables, the
discordant sounds of a piano, which for a good
score of years had not felt a finger, afforded abun
dant fond for jest and merriment. Gaiety returned.
Instead of grumbling at the inconveniences of this
uncomfortable mansion, it was agreea to laugh at
everything. Moreover, for these young and idle
pet-cons, the expedition was a sort of event, an al
most perilous campaign, whose originality appeal
ed to the imagination. A faggot was lighted be
urtath- the wide chimney of the drawing-room;,
Inn Mewls of smoke were the result, and the corn
pail) took refuge in the pleasure grounds. The
aspect of the gardens was strange enough; the.
strine•benches were covered with moss, the walls:
MA's. terraces ; crumbling in many places, felti
space between their iltjoined stones for the growth ,
of numerous wild plants, which sprung out erect
and lofty, or trailed.with flexible grace towards the:
nail. The walks were overgrown and :obliterat i
ed by grass', the Parteres, reserved for garllen flow-!
cis. were invaded by wild ones, which grow
wherever the heavens afford a drop of water and
a ray of sun; the insipid bearbine envelopekanit
stilled in its envious embrace the beauteous rose"
01 Provence; the blackberry mingled its acrids
fruits With the red clusters of the current-bush;
terns, wild mint with its faint perfume ; thistles
with their thorny crowns, grew beside a few for
gotten lillies. When the company entered the en
closure, numbers of the smaller animals, alarmed
at the unaccustomed intrusion ; darted Into the long
grass, and the startled buds flew chirping from
branch to hranoh. Silence, for many years the un
disturbed tenant of thi; peaceful spot, flea at the
sound of human voices and of jOyous laughter.—
The solitude was appreCiated by none—none grew
pensive under its influence ; it was recklessly bro
ken and profaned. The conversation ran upon the
eveniogs of the prst season, and was inter
speised with amiable allusions, expressive looks;
covert compliments, with all the thousand nothings,
in short, resorted to by persons desirous to please
each other ; but who have not yet acquired the
rdt to be serious.
The steward,,after long search for a breakfast-
WI along the dilapidated walls of the chateau, at
I.u•t made up his mind to shout from the steps that
was ready—the hall-smile with which he
4L ,- ..nli!anied the announcement, proving that, like
..BRADFORD REPORT S'
his betters, he resigned himself for one day to a
deviation from his habits of etiquettes and proprie
ty. Soon a merry party surrounded the board ---
The gloom of the chateau, its desert site and un
cheery aspect, were all forgotten; the conversation
was general _and well sustained ; the health of the
lady of the castle—the fairy whose presence con
verted the crazy old edifice into an enchanted pal
ace, was drunk by all present. Suddenly all eyes
were turned to the windows of the 41in:tug-room.
"What is that 1" exclaimed several of the
_A small carriage of green wicker-work, with
great wheels as high as the windows, had stopped
at the door. It was drawn by a gray hone, short
and punchy, whose eyes seemed in danger from
the,sbafts, which, from their point of junction with
the carriage, sloped obliquely upwards. The hood
of the little cabnolet was brought forward, conceal
ing its contents, with the exception of two arms
covered with the, ? sleeves of a blue Um/sc r am] of a
whip which fluttered about the ears of the gray
"Mon Dieu!" exclaimed Madame de Affluent.
"1 forgot to tell you I.was obliged to invite the vil
lage ductor to our -breakfast. The old man was
formerly of some service to my uncle's family, and
I have seen him once or twice Be not alarmed
at the addition to our party: he is very taciturn.—
After a few civil word, we may forget his pres
ence; besides, I do not suppose he will remain
At this moment the•dining.room door opened,
and Dr.tainaby entered. lie was a iittle old man,
feeble, find insignificant-looking, of calm and gentle
countenance. His gray hairs were collected into a
cue, according to a by-gone fashion; a dash of
powder whitened his temples, and extended to his
furrowed brow. Ile wore a black coat, and steel
buckles to his breeches. Over one arm hula a
riding-coat of puce-colorsp taffety. In the oppo
site hand he carried his hat and a thick cane. Ills
whole appearance proved that he had taken unu
sual pains with his toilet; but his_ black stockings
and coat were stained with mud, la.: it the poor old
Man had fallen into a ditch: lie paused at the
door, adonidied at the presence of so many per
sons. :For an instant, a tinge of embarrassment ap
peared upon his face; but recovering himself, he
silently saluted the company. The strange man
lier of his entrance gave the guests a violent incli
nation to !nigh, which they repressed more or less
successfully. Madame de Moncar alone, in her
character of mistress of the house, and incapable
of Idditig to poleeness, perfectly
" Dear me ; doctor: have yoll had an overturn,!'
was her first enquiry.
Before replying. Dr. Bamaby glanceil'at all these
young people in she midst of whom he found him
self, and, simple and arEess though his physiogno
my was, he could not but guess the cause of their
hilarity. Ile replied quietly:
"I have - not been oveiturned. A poor carter fell
under the wheels of his sehiele: I was passing
and I helped him up." And the doctor took pos
session of a chair left vacant for him at'the table.
Uefolding his napkin, he pa.sled a corner through
the buttonhole of his coat, and spread out the rest
over his waistcoat, and knees. At these prepara
tions, smiles 'hovered upon the lips oi'many of the
guests, and a whisper or two• broke the silence;
but this time the doctor did not raise his eyes.—
' Perhaps he observed nothing.
" Is there so much sickness in the village ?" in
(pined Madame de Moncar, whilst they were help
ing the new comer.
" Yes , madam ; a good dea:."
i f' This is an unhealthy neighborhood ?"
L " No, madam."
" But the sickness. What causes it ?"
"The heat of the sun in harvest time, and the
cold and wet of winter.
One of the guests, affected great gravity, joined
in the conversation.
".cl that in this healthy district, sir, people are
ill all the year round ?"
The doctor raised his little grey, eyes to the
speaker's lace, looked at him, hesitated, and seem
ed either to check or to Peek a reply. Madame
de Moncar kindly came to his relief..
fknow," she said, " that you are here the guar
dian genius of all who sutler."
"Oh, you are too good," replied the old man ,
apparen .1y much engrossed with the slice of pasty
• upon his plate. Then the gay party left Dr. Barn
aby to himself, and the conversation flowed in its
previous channel. If apy notice was taken of the
peaceful old man, it was in the form of some slight
sarcasm, which,, which mingled with other dis
course, would pass, it was thought, unperceived liy
its object. Not that these young men and women
were generally otherwise than polite and kind.
hearted; but upon that day the journey, the b:-eak
fast, the me-omen t and slight exciiet;nent that had
attended all the events of the morning, had brought
on i sort-of heedless gaiety and communicative
mockery, which rendered them pitiless to the vic
tim whom chance had thrown in their way. The
doctor continued quietly to eat without looking up
or tittering a word, or seeming to hear one; they
voted him deaf and dumb, and he .was no re
straint upon the conversation. .
When the guests rose from the table, Dr. Bama
by took a step or two backward, and allowed each
man to select the lady ho wished - to take into the
drawing-room: One of Madame de Moncar's
friends remaining without a cavalier, the village
doctor timidly advanced, and offered her his hand
—not his arm. His fingers scarcely touched hers
as he proceeded, his body slightly beat in sign of
respect, with measured steps towards the drawing
room. Fresh smiles greeted his entrance, but not
a cloud appeared upon the placid countenance of
the old man, who was now voted blind, as well as
deam and dumb. Quitting his companion, Dr.
Bamaby selected the smallest, humblest-looking
chair in the room, placed it in a comer, at some
distance from everybody else : put his stick between
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" REOARDLIOIS OF DENOIMATION FRI* LAT QUARTER."
his knees, crosse3 Ms hands upon.the knob , and
rested his chin upon his hands. in this medlative
attitude be remain silent,. and from time to time
his eyes cloised, as if a gentle slumber, which he
neither invoked nor repelled : were Stealing over
"Madame de Moncar !.' cried one of the - guests,
"I presume it is not your inteniion to inhabit this
ruin in a desert?"
°• Certainly I have no sucli project. But here
are lofty trees and wild woods. Di, de Dloncar
may very likely be tempted to pass a few weeks
ner 3 in • the shoofmgreason."
"In that case you must pull down and rebuild
clear, alter, and improve !"
"Let u. make a planreried ere young emintess.
" Let us mark uut the future garden of my du•
It was decreed that this party of pleasure should
be unsuccessful. At that moment a heavy cloud
burst, afid a close fine rain began to fall. Impos
sible to leave the house. •
"How very vexatious!" ciied Madame de Mon
con 0 What shall we do with ourselves? The
horses require several hours' rest. will evident
ly be a ww•et ailernoon. For a week to come, the
grass, which overgrows everything, will not be
dry enough to walk upon: all the strings of the
piano are broken; there is not a book withic ten
leagues. This room is wretchedly dismal. What
can we do with ourselves?''
The party, lately so joyous, was gradually losing
its gaiety, The little laugh and arch whisper were
succeeded by dull silence. The guests sauntered
to the windows and examined the sky, but idle sky
remained dark and cloud-laden. Their hopes of a
walk were completely blighted. They established
themselves as comfortably as they could upon the
old chairs and settees, and tried to revive the eon
verzation , but there are thoughts which, like flow
ers, require a little sun, and which will not flour
ish under a bleak sky. All these young heads ap
peared to droop, oppressed •l , y the storm, like the
poplars in'the garden, which bowed their tops at
the will of the wind. A tedious hour dragged by.
The lady of the castle, a limit, disheartened by
the failure of her party of pleasure, leaned languid
ly upon a window-sill, and gazed vaguely at the
"There, - said she—" yonder, upon ihe hill, is a
white cottage that must come down: it hides the
" Thewl ite cotta;e 7' cried the doctor. For up
wards of an hour Dr. Burnaby had bccn mute
and motionless neon his chair. Mirth and weari
ness, sun anti rain, had succeeded each other with
out elit lung a syllable from his lips. Ills presence
was lorgotten by every body ; every eye turned
quickly upon him when he uttered these three
words---" The , white cottage !"
"What interest do you lake in it, doctor r ask
ed the countess. •
" Mon Dieu, Madame! Prey forget that I spoke.
The cottage %%ill come down, undoubtedly, since
such has been your good pleasnr?."
" But why should you regret the old shed r
" I Mon I.hea! it was in'utbited by persons I
" And they think of returning !n it, tIo7tor!"
- "They are long since dead madam ; they died
when I was young!" And the old man gazed
mournfully a: the white cottage, which rose
amongst the trees upon the hill-side, like a dairy
in a green field. There was a brief silence.
MaA4m," said one of the guests in a low voice
to Madame de Moncar, " there is mystery heir..
Observe the melancholy of our Esculapius. Some
pathetic drama has been enacted in yonder house ;
a tale of. love, perhaps. Ask the doctor to tell it
to us." .
"‘ Yes, ;Yes !" was murmured on all siiles 4 " a
tale, a story ! And shoull! it prove of little inter
est, at ally rate the narrator will divert us."
" Not so, gentlemen," replied Madame de Mon.
car, in the same suppressed voice. "it 1 ask -Dr.
Barnaby to tell us the bistory'bf the white cottage,
it is on the express condition that no one laughs."
All having promised to be serious and well-behav
ed. Madame de Moncar approached the old man.
" Doc or," said she seating herself beside. him,
"that house, I plainly see, is cotmected with some
reminiscence of former days, stored preciously in
your memory. IV'II you tell it us? I should be
grieved to cause you a regret which it is my power
to spare you ; the house shall remain, if you tell
me why you loved it."
Dr. Barnaby scented surprised, and remained si
lent. The countess drew still nearer to him. " Dear
doctor!" said she, "see abet wretched weather;
how dreary everything looks. You aro the senior
of us all; tell us a tale. Make us forget rain, and
fog, and cold."
Dr. Barnaby looked at the countess with great as
" There is no tale," he said. " What oacurred
in the cottage is very simple, and has no inter es t
but for me, who loved the young people; strangers
would not call it a tale. Aud lam unaccustomed
to speak before many listeners. Besides, what 1
should tell yoti is sad, and you came to amuse your
selves." And again the doctor rested his chin upon
" Dear dot-tor," resumed the countess, " the
white cottage shall stand, it you say you love it."
The old man appeared somewhat moved ; he
crossed and uncrossed his legs ; took out his snuff
box, returned it to.his pocket without opening it;
then looked at the countess—" You will not pull it
down ?" he said, indicating with his thin and 'tre
mulous hand the habitation visible at the horizon.
" l . promise you' *ill not."
" Well, so be it ; I will do that much for them ;
I will save the house in which they were happy?'
"• Ladies," continued the old man, " I am but a
poor speaker; but I believe that even the least elo
quent succeeded in makingthemtelves understood
when they toll what they have seen. This story, I
warn you beforehand, is not gay. To dance and to.
sing, people send - for a musician ; they call in the
physician when they Eufer, and are near to death."
A circle was formed round Dr. Bamaby, who,
his hands still c. ossed upon his cane, quietly com
menced the following narrative, to an audience
prepared bef•reliand to smile at his discourse.
"It was a long time ago, when I wak young—
for f, ton, hare been young ! Youth is a fortune
that belongs to all the world—to the poor as well as
to the rich—but which abides with none. I had
jna passed my examination ; I had taken my phy
siciams degree, and I returned to my village to ex
ercise my wonderful talents, well convinced that,
thanks to me, meu would now cease to die.
My village is not far from here From the little
window of my room. I beheld 3 under white house
upon the opposite side to that you now discern.
Von certainly Would not find my village handsome.
In my eyes, it was superb: I was born there, and
loved it. We all see with our own eyes the things
we love. God suffers us to be sometimes a little
blind ; for he well knows that in this lower world
a clear sight is not always profitable. To me, then,
this neighborhood appeared smiling and pleasant,
and I lived happily. The white cottage alone,
each morning when I opened my shutters, impress-,
ed me disagreeably; it was always closed, still
and sad like a forsaken thing. Never had I seen
its windows o pen and shut, or its door ajar; never
Mel I knoWn its hospitable garden-;.;ate give pass
age to human being. Your. uncle, madam, who
had no occasion for a cottage so near his chateau,
Fought to let it; but the, rent was rather higher than
anybody here was rich enough to give. ft remain
ed empty, tlierefore, whilst In the hamlet every
window exhibited two or three childreit's fares
peering through the branches of gilldlovrer at the
first noise in the street. But one morning, on get
ting np, I was (mite astonished to see a long ladder
resting aga inst
, the cottage wall; a painter was
painting the window shutters green, whilst a maid
servant polished the panes, and a gardner hoed the
"All the better,' . .said Ito myself ; "a good roof
like that, which covers no one. is SO much losL"
From day to day the house improved in appear
ance. Pots of flowers veiled the nudity of the
walls; the parterres were planted, the walks wee
ded and gravelled, and muslin curtains, white as
snow, shone in the suns rays. One day a post
chaise rattled through the village, and drove up to
the little house. Who were the strangers? None
knew, and all desired to learn. For a long time
nothing transpired without of what passed within
the dwelling. The rose•trees bloomed, and the
fresh lawn grew verdant ; still nothing was known
Many were the commentaries upon the mystery.—
They were adventurers concealing themselves.—
they were a young man and his mistress—in short,
everything was guessed except the truth. The
truth is so simple, that one does not always think
of it ; once the mind is in movement, i: seeks to
the right and to the loft, and often forgets to look
straight before it. The mystery gave me li . tle con
cern. No matter who is there : thought I ; they are
human; therefore they will not be long without
snffenng. and then they will send fur me. I wait
At, last one rapping a messenger came from Mr.
Williain Mereditn, to request me to call upon him.
I put on my best coat; and. endeavoring. to assume
a gravity suitable in iiiy profession, I traversed the
village, not without some little pride at my impor
tance. That day many envied me. The villagers
stood at their doors to see me pass. "He is going
to the white cottage!" they said ; whilst I, avoid
ing all appearance of haste and vulgar curiosity,
calked deliberately, nodding to my peasant neigh
bors. ' Good-day, my friend-, I said ; I will see
you by-and-by ; this morning I am busy." And thus
I reached the hill-side.
On enterinrhe setting-room of the mysterious
house, the scene I beheld rejoiced my eye-sight.
Everything was so simple and elegant. Flowers, the
chief ornament of the apartment, were so tastefully
arrange.), that gold would not better have embell
ished the medest interior. White muslin was at
the windows, white calico on the chairs—that was
all; but there were roses and jessamine, and flow
ers of all kinds, as in a garden. The light was
softened by the curtains, the atmosphere was fra
grant; and a young girl or woman, fair and fresh
as all that surrounded her, reclined upon a sofa,
and welcomed me with a smile. A handsome
young man seated near her upon an ottoman, rose
when the servant announced Dr. Baniaby.
" Sir," said be, with a strong foreign accent, " I
have beard so much of your skill that I expected to
see an old man."
" I have studied diligently, sir," I replied. " 1
am deeply impressed with the i.nportance and re•
sponsibility of my calling, you may confide in mo."
"'Tie well, I recommend my wife to your be-t
care. Her present state demands advice and pre
caution. She was born in a distant land : for my
sake she has quitted family and friends. 1 can
bring but my'aflections to her aid, for 1 am without
experience. I reckon, upon you, sir. if possible,
preserve her from all suffering."
As he spoke, the young man fixed upon his wife
a look so full of love, that the large blue eyes of the
beautiful foreigner glistened with gratitude, she
dropped the tiny cap she was embroidering, and
her two hands clasped the hand of her husband. I
looked at them, and I ought to have found their lot
enviable, but somehow or other, the contrary was
the case. I felt sad; I could not tell why. I had
often seen persons weep, of whom I said—they are
happy! I saw William "Meredith and his wife
.n smile, and I could not help thinking they had much
'sbrrow. I seated myself near 'my charming patient.
Never have I seen anything so lovely as that Sweet
face, shaded by long ringlets of fair hair.
" What is your age, madam ?"
•• Is the climate (A par native land very differ
ent from ours?"
'' I was born in America, at New Odeater. Oh!
the sun is far brighter than befe.'
Doubtless she feared she had tittered a regret, fur
" But every country is, beautiftil when one is in
one's husband's house, with hunt and awaiting his
Her gaze sought that of William Meiedith; then,
in a to ague I did not understand, she spoke a few
words so soh that they sounded like werdsof love.
After a short visit I took my leave, promising to
return. I did return, and, al the end of two
months, I was almost the-friend of this young coup
le. Mr. and Mrs. Meredith were not selfish in
their happiness they found time to think of others.
They saw that to the poor village doctor, whose
sole society .was that of peasants, those days were
festivals upon which he passed an hour to hear the
language of cities. They encouraged me to fre
quent them—talked to flan of their travels, and soon
with the prompt confidence charamenzinv youth :
they told me their story. It was the girl-wife Mat
" Doctor," she said, " yonder beyoild the seas, I
have father, sisters, family, friends, whom I long ,
loved, until the day that I loved William. But then
I shut my heart tcr those who repulsed my lever.
William's father forbade-him to wed me, because
he was too noble for the daughter of an American
(planter. My father forbade tne to love William,
because he was too proud to give, his daughter to
a man whose family refuieli her a welcome. They
tried to separate usi; but,we loved each other. Long
did we weep and kupplicate, and implore the pity
of those to whom we owed obedience ; they re
mained inflexible, and we loTed ! Doctor, did
you ever love? I would you had, that you might
be indulgent to us. 'We were secretely married,
and fled to France. Oh how beautiful the ocean
appeared in those early days of our aflection! The
sea was hospitable to the fugitiveS. Wanderers
upon the waves, we passed happy days under the
shadow of our vessel sails, anticipating pardon from
our blends and dreaming of a bright tuture. Alas!
we were too sam.pline. They pursued us; and,
upon pretex of some irregularity in thsform of our
Clandestine marriage, William's family cruelly
thought to separate us. We found concealment in
the midst of these mountains and forests. Under
a name which is not rims we live unknown. My
father has not torg iven—he has cursed me ! That
is the reason Doctor why I cannot always smile,
even with my dear William by my side."
How Ilinse two loved each other! Never have
I seen a be* more completely wrapped up in an
other than was Eva Meredith and her husband !
Whatever her occupation, she always so placed
herself, that on raising, her eyes she had William
before them. She never read but in the book he
was reading. Her head against his shoulder,' her
eyes .following the line upon which William's
eyes were fixed : she wished the same thoughts to
strike them at the same moment : and, when I
crossed the garden to reach the door; I smiled al
ways to see upon the gravel the trace of Eva's litt:e
foot closa to the mark of William's boot. IVhat
a diflerence between the deserted old house you
see yonder and the pretty dWelling of my young
trienis! What sweet flowers covered the walli!
What bright nosegays- decked the tables! How
many charming books were there, full of tales of
love that resembled their love! HOw gay the birds
that sang around them ! How good it was to live
there, and to be loved a little by those who love'
each other's° much ! But those are right who say
that happy'days are not long upon this earth, and
that, in respect to happiness, God gives but a li t tle
at a time.
One morning Eva Meredith appeared to stiffer.
I questioned her with all the interest I telt for her.
She answered me abruptly.
" Do not feel my pulse doctor," she said : " it is
my heart that beats too quick. Think me childish
if you will, but lam sad this morning. William
is going away. He is going to the town beyond
the mountain, to receive money." .
"And when will he return !" inquired I, gently.
She smiled; almost blushed, and therii, with a
look dot seemed to say, Do not laugh at me, she
replied, " This crating!'.'
Notwithstanding her imploring glance, I could
not repress a smile. Just then a servant brought
Mr. Meredith's horse to the door. Eva rage from
her seat, went out into the garden, approached the
horse, and, whilst stroking his mane, bowed her
head upon the animal's neck, perhaps to conceal
the tear that fell from her eyes. William came
out, threw himself lightly into the saddle, and gent
ly raised his wife's head.
"Silly grrl !" said he, with love in his eyes and
voice. And he kissed her brow.
, 4 William we have never yet been so many
hours apart !"
Mr. Meredith stooped his head towards that of
Eva, and imprinted a second kiss upon her beau
tiful golden hair; then he touched his horse's flank
with the spur, and set off at a full gallop. I am
convinced that he, too, was a little moved. Noth
ing is so contagions as the weakness of those who
love; tears summon tears, and it is not very lauds
ble courage that keeps our eyes dry by the side of
a weeping friend. 1 turned my, steps homeward,
and, once more in my cottage, I set myself to med
itate oo the happiness of loving. I ask myself if
an Eva would cheer my poor d xelling. I did not
think of examining whether I were worthy to iX3
loved. When we behold two beings thus devoted
to each other, we easily discern that it is not fur
good and various reasons that they love because it
is necessary ; they love en account - of their own
hearts, not of those of others. Well, I thoug,ht how
I might seek and find a heart that had need to love,
just as, in my morning walks, I might have thought
to meet, by the road-side,- some flower of sweet
perfume. Thus did I.muse, although it is perhaps
a wrong faeling which makes us, at sight of others'
bliss, deplore the happiness we do not owselves
possess. Is not a little envy there! and if joy
could be stolen like gold, should we not then be
near a larceny
e day passed, and I had just completed my
frugal supper, when I received a message !tom'
Mrs. MekLiliilt, begging me to visit' her. Iu five
minutes I wait aCtslie door cf the white cottage. I
found Eva, still alone, seated on a sofa, without
work or book, palekind trembling. " Come doc
tors come," said she, in
: her Soft' voice'; " I can re
main alone no longer; see how late it is!—he
Anuld have been home two hours ago, and has not
I war* surpriited at Ntr. Meredith's prolonged' ab
sence; but to comfort his wife, I . replied quietly,
"flow can we tell the time necessary to transact .
his business? They may have made him wait;
the notary was perhaps absent. There were pa
pers to draw up' nd sign." -
'• Ah, doctor, I was sure you would find words
of consolation ! I needed to hear some one tell
me that it is foolish• to - tremble thus ! Gracious
heaven, how long:the day has been ! Doctor, are
there really persons who live alone ! Do they not
dielromedtately, as' if robbed of half the atmos
phere essential to life? But there js eight o'clock !".
Eight o'clock was indeed striking. !could not im
agine why William was not back. At all hazard
I said ‘to Mrs. Meredith, "Madam, the sun is hard
ly set ; it is still•daylight, and the everting is bean
tiful ; come andvisit your flowers. If we walk
down the road, we shall doubtless meet your hus
'Sits took my arm, and We walked towards the
gate of the little garden. I endeavored to turn bet
attention to surrounding objects. At fitst she re
plied, as a child obeys. But I felt that her thoughts
went not with her words. Her anxious gaze was
fixed upon the lime green gate, whielchad remain
ed open since William's departure. Leaning upon
the paling, she suffered me to talk on, smiling from
time to time, by way of thahks; for, as the even
ing wore away, She lacked ceuraga to answer me.
Gray tints succeeded the red sunset, foreshadowing .
the arrival of night. Gloom gathered around us.
The road, hi•herto risible like a white line wind.
ing through the forest, disappeared in the dark
shade of the lolly trees, and the village clock struck
nine. ,Era started. 1 myself telt every stroke vi.
brute Ton my heart. I pitied the poor woman's.
" Remember, madam," 1 replied, (she had not
spoken, but I answered the anxiety visible in her
features,) " remember that Mr. Meredith must re
turn at a walk ; the roads through the 'forest are not
in a state to admit last riding."—l said this to en
courage her; but the truth is, I knew not how to
explain %Valiant's absence. Knowing the distance,
I also knew that I could have gone . twice to the
town and back since his departure. The evening
den! began to penetrate our clothes, and especially
Eva's thin muslin dress.. Again I drew her arm
through mine and led-her towards the house. She
followed unresistingly ; her gentle nature was sub
missive even in affliction. She walked slowly,
her head bowed, her eyes fixed on the tracks left
by the gallop of her husband's horse. How mel
gneholy it was, that evening walk, still without
William ! In vain we listened : there reigned
around us the profound stillness of a summer- night
in the country. how greatly does a feeling of un
easiness increase under snit circumstances. 'We
entered the house. Eva seated herself on the sofa,
her hands clasped upon her knees, her head, sunk
upon her bosom. There was a lamp on the chim
ney-piece, whose light fell full upon her face. I
shall never' forget its suffeting expression. She
was pale, very paleher brow and cheeks exactly
the same calor ; her hair, relaxed by the night
damp, fell in, disorder upon her shoulders. Tears
filled her eyes, and, the quivering of her colorless
lips showed how violent was the effort by which
she avoided shedding them. She was; so young
that her face resembled that of a child flarbidden to
I was greatly troubled, and knew not what to
say or how to look. Suddenly I remembered (it
was a doctor's thought) that Eva, engrossed by her
uneasiness, had taken nothing since morning, and
her f situation rendered it imprudent to prolong this
Gist. At my first reference to the snbject she rais
ed her eyes to mine with a reproachful expression,
and the motion of her eyelids caused two tears to
flow down her cheeks.
" For your hild's sake, madam," said I.
"Ali, you are right !'' she murmured, and she
passed into the dining-room ; but there the little
table was laid for two, and at that moment this tri
fle so saddened me as to deprive me of speech
and motion. My increasing uneasiness rendered
me quite awkward I had the wit tO say what I did
nor think. The silence was prolonged; "and yet,"
said Ito myself, " am here to console her; she
sent for rue for 'that purpose. There must be fifty
ways of explaining-this delay—let me find one."
I sought and sought and still f remained silent, in
wardly cursing the poverty of invention of a poor
village doctor. Eva, her head• resting on her arm
forgot to eat. Suddenly she tamed to me and
burst out sobbing
rr Aholoctor r' she exclaimed, " I see plainly
hat you too are uneasy.
" Not so nu:dam—indeed not scr." replied 1;
speaking at random. " Why shluild Ibe uneasy I
He has doubtlesis ditied . with the notary. l'he
roads are sate and no one knows he went for trio-
I had inadvertently revealed one of my secret
causes of uneasiness. I knew that a band of for.
eign reapers had that morning passed
village, on their way to a neighboring department.
Eva uttered a cry.
" Robbers ! Robbers !" she exclaimed.
6 I never thought of that dangcr."
" But, madam, 1 only mention it to tell you that
it does not exist.
"Oh ! the thought struck yon, doctor because
you thought the misfortune possible ' William rily
own William! why did you lettie me?',' cried
she, weeping bitterly.
[ro 1:11.: CON IINUED.I