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ed my manner with more than maidenly re- thing from a person who loves you, and whom serve, resist always his noble and generous na- you love, unless indeed it impoverishes them to ture, his high ideas, his truth stainless as a give. I could not accept even a flower, gladly, knight's honor, and his gentleness that was but from a person who had injured or hurt me, or the ripple of his strength.
whom I did not respect, though I might love “So, in spite of myself, we learned to know them most deeply; but from him I would have each other well, and before the year returned in taken the world with no other expression of its circle, before even the sultry August noons thanks than a smile or a kiss. came back, Xavier Henry had asked me of my “What happy hours we spent in that house! mother, and, with a thrill of fear and resistance long evenings on the vine-sheltered piazza, or even in the vailed rapture of the hour, I had in the little library, lit with the flickers of a learned—that I loved him. Marion ! there is woodfire, talking of every thing in heaven aboro much that is sweet and tender in the blind love or the earth beneath, with interspaces of exof a young girl, in the dreamy idealization of quisite silence, when it was enough to be conearly love, and the new emotions that banish scious of ourselves. I have a stranye memory; childhood before the child knows what it is to erery word that is said to me by those I love, be a woman; but I believe there is no love so whether they give me keen pleasure or sting me utterly absorbing, so intense, so devout, as the with pain and distrust, I remember always, I passionate homage of a mature heart, the strong can not forget; and so I recalled afterward how and pure devotion that has the assent of ripened rarely Xavier and I spoke of my brother, and judgment, and the wisdom of experience and especially how one evening we were sitting on discipline. I know it is not in the heart of any the piazza, listening to the ripple of Gottschalk's woman to love more entirely, more intensely aeriel fingers upon his quick-dropping accentuthan I loved.
ated sparks of keys, as they sounded from the “I was twenty-five, and had known no early window of a musical neighbor whose house he passion or fancy; I had lived a lonely and toil-frequented. The music had died away in a low some life, set aside from all companions of my rustle of rapid notes, like a shower passing away own age, without friendship, without amuse over an oak forest, and we sat quiet, as if the ment; nothing but the unremitting need of la- fitful spirit, undisturbed, might return again. bor had kept my heart from preying upon itself, I sighed softly, and Xavier felt the long breath but nothing had given its homesick weariness I drew against his arm, for he asked, “Why?' an hour's repose. It is true I was religious, So I told him I was thinking how glad Francis formally, not with any living power, but the would have been for me. He did not answer humanity of nature too often outruns its spirit- directly; a sort of magnetism made me know uality, and now I was, at once, and for all time, that he restrained a shudder. I thought it was at home, safe, appreciated, loved! Over-bless- the sudden dream of death crossing our perfect ed Alix! crowned with the woman's crown— life of joy, and I was troubled that I had spoken, loved!
but he said before I could “You probably think me exaggerative, but “6 • We do not know, Alix. All things are to myself my words seem weak. I was so ut- sequences. I might not have known you.' terly absorbed in this new emotion that I believe “ And again the mystical sphere of the aura life itself might have ebbed from me unnoted, warned me that he shook inwardly, and I lifted till the final pang of parting with him should his hand to my face. It was deadly cold; but come. I had endured living before as a heavy the caress soothed him, and he left me that night but necessary burden ; now every breath I with a smile deep and sweet as ever. In the drew was palpable joy. But I spare you fur- autumn it was resolved that we should be marther recital of a passion so egotistic even in its ried in June, and Mr. Henry bought a house review. How the summer months went by in Eighth Avenue--the house you know so well, rapidly. Almost directly after our engage- Marion--and set himself to the task of arrangment Xavier had bought a pleasant house, in ing it for our home. I would have liked well a quiet, up-town street, furnished it with every to stay where I was, but he did not please, comfort even to luxury, and given it to my and it was good that he should have some ocmother; thither we all removed, and establish- cupation, for he had invested all his money, ing Dr. Bellanger as our permanent guest, and having no business, his active nature pined, Mr. Henry himself assumed the care of the and I noticed painfully that he began to have family, asserting, by way of excuse for an ar- attacks of depression and silence, when he sat rangement that his delicacy suggested, that he for hours with listless hands at my side, uncould only dine so far away from his business, moving and idle, only sometimes fixing his eyes he must lodge and breakfast at his usual place. on me with a look of such melancholy passion
“I see the Rutledge pride sparkle in your as struck me to the soul, and cost me many efeye, Marion ; you, of all wonen, would never forts to return with a serene or gay expression. owe such obligation, even to the man you loved. But this remodeling and furnishing our house But I am not so; I knew Xavier liked to take amused him, and the perpetual contest between care of me as well as I liked to have him; was his ‘furious taste' and lavish ideas and my I not his own ? I can not, and never could, quieter, more economic fancies, atforded just understand any reluctance in accepting any that piquant zest to our daily excursions among
upholsterers, dry-goods shops, fresco painters, | diffusing their faint, refined perfume like a mist and all house-craftsmen that made him enjoy over the room; and on the vail I was to wear them more healthily, if not more profoundly, lay a garland of orange-buds and flowers, dethan the days passed wholly with me in the spoiled of every glossy leaf, but delicate and diviner airs of intense emotion and hope. I see graceful as are the flowers of frost upon a winnow, as then I could not see, what self-absorbed dow, and breathing the glow and delirium of and solitary creatures we might have become, the tropic summer from every milk-white petal living as if Paradise were again found, and we and golden anther within. I dreamed too long two the sole and irresponsible inhabitants of over these heaped blossoms, full of thought, earth. But, O God! it pleased Thee to set a trembling with a strange mingling of emotions, flaming sword at either gate, and we might not nor was I ready just at the hour, for I took due even be together in the desert, lest so our Eden pains with my dress, and was rewarded by the should never have its end !
lingering rapturous look with which Xavier re“By May the house was finished and ready ceived me, as I came to him when the carriages for its occupants. Our tastes had curbed each were ready for us. other, and the result was, to our own fancy,
“What followed I do not care to descant upon, perfect. The day it was all done, even to the there is something too awful and solemn in such lighting of a fire in every grate and furnace, to an hour when the blessing of Heaven stoops to test their accurate arrangement, Xavier came consecrate and exalt the tumultuous passion of to me with a strange expression of gravity and earth, for words that are only earthly to portray. curious expectance, and said he had brought I know not why no bride has ever died at the me a gift. Hitherto he had only given me altar, appalled by the transcendent import of flowers in all our acquaintance. Flowers were, the hour; but it may be that, as with me, even and are, my loves, and he knew it. Even the consciousness reels, and the soul is dazzled into troth-ring he brought me was a quaintly enam- merciful blindness. eled pansy, with a diamond drop of dew in its “I knew that Xavier was there, I knew that heart. But now he had brought me a big brass I was taken in silence utter and expressive to key and a roll of paper. I put my face in my my new home, that his arms lifted me over its hands and laughed.
threshold, that my first welcome there was his ""Open them, Alix !' said he, in a grave but clasp and kiss, and the whispered words, “My somewhat jarred voice, and unfolding the papers wife.' Then I knew that those useful safetyI saw that they were a deed of gift of the new valves, the ceremonies that in this world accomhouse, its furniture and appurtenances, and a pany every crisis, and vindicate the trivial eleset of certificates of a hundred thousand dollars ment which alleviates and preserves life in the in stocks, all made out to Alix Thuriot. I have hour of intensest emotion were at hand; that I told you, Marion, what I think of giving and must submit to the usages of society when I felt receiving, still this amused me, for it seemed most absent from and careless of them; so I useless.
was re-arranged and put in position at the head “I don't want it, Xavier !' said I, looking of my parlor to receive our guests; Xavier surup at him; he laughed at me for a moment, I reying me with a look of pride that sheathed a hardly know why, now, but it seemed to amuse deeper pang of pain, only that I knew it not. him, and then he said,
“They came one after another, very few, and “No, I suppose not, but it is best, Alix; if a strange mixture, but I was too happy not to any thing should happen to me, you will at least be glad and genial in receiving them, and while be safe from one suffering.'
I was talking gayly with an old French gentle“My voice I know quivered, as I answered, man, a friend of Dr. Bellanger, the waiter came *I should care —' He stilled the speech there, to me and said that Mr. Henry requested me to and I did not refuse to be quieted with caresses, step into the library a moment.
I excused myfor my heart was at flood-tide, and would have self, and went; there was Xavier divested of spent its pain in an agony of tears had but one his ceremonial dress, attired for the street, with drop led the way.
his hat in his hand, and a tense expression in his “Now the day of our marriage drew on like face, as if he were self-controlled by some great a dream. Xavier did not even propose that the will for the instant. ceremony should take place in our new house, "Alix,' said he, 'I have heard that there is afterward I knew why; but it was arranged that a person I know, staying at the Astor House, we should go from my mother's house to church, who is to sail for California this afternoon at and thence to our own home, and there receive five in the steamer; I must see him on busiour very few friends at noon.
ness before he goes; will you forgive me if I “Shall I ever forget that day, that rose like leave you for an hour to entertain our friends perfect sapphire from the sea, and swung from alone, my wife?' garden and conservatory every odor of summer “I could have done any thing for the tone through the dawn? I went to my own room of that last phrase, and I gave him a gay assent. after breakfast to dress, and found that in my "* * How lovely you are !' said he, drawing brief absence it had been visited by a hand that nearer; and clasping me with a strict embrace, asserted itself in its own way; masses of pearl- and a long, long, almost fierce caress, he said white roses adorned my toilet-table and mirror, I good-by. I do not know why I lingered, but as
he left the door he turned, returned, for I was "He is not there, Alix !' said my faithful still there, and he reiterated the caress. With friend, he has not been at the Astor House, a strange instinct my girlish shyness left me, I nor has any person gone from there to the Cal. was his wife, some inexpressible presentiment ifornia steamer, and, Alix, there is no trace of impelled me, I threw myself upon his neck, and him at his room; three days ago the lodgingclung to him as if life depended on my hold house keeper tells me his trunks were removed. there, and for the first time I kissed his lips with Were they brought here ?' my own, untrembling and fearless; then he left “Mother said they were not; nothing of Xa
vier's dress except his claborate toilet for the “I went again to the parlor, made Mr. day was there. Henry's apologies, entertained my guests as best "Now,' said I, ‘Dr. Bellanger, go to the I might, first with conversation, then with re- police; give them any thing.' freshments, and in due time they left, but my “So he went, and I resumed my watch. My husband had not come. Mother would have mother slept on the sofa ; and the night crept had me take off my bridal dress, and be quietly on like a long year, the city sounds died into attired for dinner, but I would not; he had called sleep, even the roar of wheels ceased. One solme lovely in it, and should I so soon lay aside emn half hour's hush fell like a prayer over all, the impression ? I drew a deep low arm-chair even the footsteps passed no more--and then all to the long window of the parlor, turned the began again. The ragged wretch who gathers blind a little, and sat there to watch for him; food from the street, such as dogs and vermin the cool sea-wind blew, and brought to me the spare ; the earliest laborer plodding for bread expressive scent of white locust-blooms from a even before dawn-these passed one by one, and tree in the little turfed inclosure on either side then came the rising turmoil of life in full roar. of the door; I hate the scent of locusts to this Silence was over, and Dr. Bellanger came again. day. Two hours, three, had passed, and he had How pale he was! for there was no trace of said ' an hour,' but yet he did not come; every Xavier. Did I dream? Should I, with one passer-by I thought was Xavier, and yet none desperate struggle against this horrid semblance, of them were. Six struck from a near steeple, awake, and find myself again in our little lodgand one upon another distant clocks repeated ings, or in my mother's house, or perhaps even the stroke. Mother called me to dinner, but I in Xavier's arms? Alas, it was too real! Dr. could not go; still the sea-wind blew, and the Bellanger told me to take some wine he brought, locust-flowers perfumed it. "Seven !' and again and I obeyed like a child; then he said I must seven, in blank repetition on those bells. I go up stairs, be warmly dressed, and lie down, looked up and saw Dr. Bellanger.
for I was death-cold; but that I could not do "Will you go to the Astor House, and to without one more look. I threw open the shuthis room, and ask ? said I.
ters, and stepping out on the iron balcony, took “Yes, Alix, if you will promise me one a long survey of the street—the locust-scents thing; promise to sit here till I return, to stay smote me like a fever, and sickened my sense quiet?'
with their bitter sweetness till I felt as if a " "I will,' said I; indeed nothing could have nightmare choked me with kisses-and Xavier tempted me to move, to be away if Xavier should was nowhere there!
So he went, and the day passed into “Afterward, long afterward, I heard there twilight, presently it became dark, dew fell, and was a house in the avenue haunted by a mura heavier sweetness flowed from the flowers with-dered bride, who appeared in the gray dawn in out, and the garland that confined my vail with- her wedding garments, herself as white as they, ered with sickly odors, dropping here and there wringing her hands at the window! a faded petal, in awful portent, that my soul “Then I went up stairs. I had not been owned with a shudder. There was a gaslight into my room before that day, but he had; for directly opposite our door, so that I could see about the oval mirror of my dressing-table a distinctly as in the day whoever passed under white passion-flower, springing from a porcelain it, and I sat stone-like, watching, knowing that vase, wreathed its mystic, spiritual blooms, calm my mother went to and fro with perfumes and and sacred as the flowers of Heaven are; and cordials, imploring me to take something lest I upon the table itself lay a massive gold rosary should faint, but I put them all away; I knew and crucifix, that since I have ever worn, but I should not faint; if I did, how could I see Xa- on the back of the cross were graven only two vier come? then more clocks struck, eight! nine! names— Alix Thuriot.' ten! they seemed to be in my brain, to send 'Marion, I had never prayed before that their brazen thrill through every vibrating nerve, hour except with my lips ; but now, disarrayed and make sense and soul reel with an ominous of the bridal mockeries I wore, and folded up clang, as if they were funeral bells, knelling in warmth and silence, I prayed myself asleep. the death of all time; the appalling, whirling Oh, could I only never have awaked! I need dismay of eternity, and its inextricable cycles. not tell you what such a waking is, and yet a
"Eleven! I heard such steps as once be- loss like mine is perhaps in one thing harder fore I heard, Dr. Bellanger came. I saw him than widowhood, for I could never quiet my pause under the lanıp, irresolute, but he came sorrow with resignation, it was so fed on faint in and looked at me. I could not ask, I gasped. and pitiloss hopes from day to day; and there
was in it another and exquisitely painful ele- him through that sun-stroke which had so crazed ment—the ever-present, never-answered won him, and without doubt Francis had talked to der why Xavier had left me so; for a thousand him of us, of his own motives in gold-seeking, little things, one after another, came to light, of our poverty and dependence on him; and in proving that he had intended and planned this an agony of regret and remorse he had resolved flight long, long before.
to make at least this small atonement, to sup“Two years, lingering as years must be whose ply to us pecuniarily the loss he had caused. moments are noted one by one with anxious I did not think he meant to love me as he did; expectance, passed in this way, with no intel- but I thought, too, he accepted that as another ligence of my husband. Dr. Bellanger and my pang of penance for the past. Nor did I bemother staid with me, and I was not alone; lieve even then that he had ever meant to injure but ah! how lonely! I hid my bridal dress, Francis; I knew him too well. How the affair the crushed vail, and withered garland in a had been brought on and so terminated, I could chest, even as that happier bride hid herself, not know; but I am sure, perfectly sure, there and was found - - a skeleton ! Ghastly and was some evil or wrong that left Xavier blamemournful as that symbol did they seem to me less. Neither did it seem to me, as it might in the annual hour I permitted myself to look to many, that I should refuse to accept his aid, back upon their first and fresh estate, and mine! his atonement that he had so fully, so zealously
“ About the middle of the third year, Dr. wrought out. Could I let all this pain, and laBellanger came to me one morning with a bor, and self-denial be poured upon the ground, strange look of trouble in his kindly face. and wring afresh the heart which, for all I Alix,' said he, 'I have something to tell thee, knew, might be watching me afar off with pas
In any emotion he remembered sionate regret and unspeakable longing? Behis French “tutoyer,' and I knew from that he sides, I loved him ! had been agitated; there was but one key to "Another year went by. I had thought it my thoughts.
best to keep this discovery a secret from my "You have heard of Xavier!' I exclaimed, mother; and I had learned, at length, to find trembling in every limb.
peace in the duties and offices of religion-in "Nothing from him, but of him I have the charities to which a widowed and solitary heard,' answered he.
woman could well devote her life and superflu66 "Is he alive?' I said in a sort of hiss; it ous fortune—and a deeper peace in the prayers was so hard to speak it.
I offered daily and hourly for the husband I “I do not know that; but what I have to had lost, and the souls of my dead. It was now tell thee is of time before, not since he left us,' nearly four years after our marriage, when, one said the doctor, “and it is hard for thee.' morning at breakfast, Dr. Bellanger received a
“So with a kindly meant caution and delay note from the physician of the hospital, asking which I will not repeat, he proceeded to tell me him to come down as soon as he could, and see that he had that morning met in the street the a man, brought in the night before, who could keeper of the lodging-house where Xavier roomed, scarcely live out another night, and insisted on who, remembering Dr. Bellanger's inquiries, and seeing Dr. Bellanger. As soon as our meal interested in the story, was coming to bring him was over he went, and in half an hour returned a gold pencil that had been found in the room with a carriage, seeming much agitated, and which was Xavier's in the course of some re- told me I must dress and go with him, for the cent repairs. He said Mr. Henry had missed man, whose name was Essinger, had something the pencil, and requested him to inquire for it to tell us both of Francis. I was ready almost of the servants; but it had never been found, instantly, and we drove to the hospital in sitill now it came to light where it had slipped lence; but such a sight as that man was I nevdown in a crack of the wood-work together with er saw before-I trust never to see again. Livseveral other things lost there from time to id, death-smitten, bloody from the gnawed untime by different occupants apparently, but all der-lip, bitten in mortal pangs; his hair all useless waifs, except that above this pencil lay wild and tangled, his eyes full of fire and evil, the cover of a letter. Dr. Bellanger handed I was almost afraid to come near him ; and not me the pencil and the envelope when he had even the face of a woman could restrain the finished his story; the one was marked H. X. oaths which he mingled with his story. But it Thorne, the other directed first to the same was a story such as no oaths could obscure for name, except that the first initial was expanded me—the triumph of truth and reality over ap
into Harry, and then redirected to X. Henry. palling circumstances and the judgment of men "I stared at both a moment before I remem -even the self-conviction of one man, and that
bered; then the miner's letter came back to me man Harry Thorne ! fresh and distinct. “Harry Thorne.' I had “I will not detail to you Essinger's story in married-oh! worse, worse i I had loved—my his words, for my own has attained a weary brother's murderer/-deepest horror of all, I length. It was, in effect, a confession. It lored him still! Now all became clear; the seems that upon the voyage out Francis had mystical investment of my life dropped away, given him mortal offense, and he had sworn reand I knew at once why Xavier had done what venge, but seeming to be friendly, had followed he did. He knew Francis well; he had nursed him to the diggings, and there won from him
at the gambling table almost all the proceeds of ous and ghostly in the long halls and corridors his labor, and then, finding he could not him- of the hospital. self take his life without danger of retaliative " I left Dr. Bellanger to make the necessary Lynch law, he had taken advantage of my poor arrangements for his burial, and went home brother's paroxysms of derangement to enrage alone, but in strange peace-for now doubt and him against Harry Thorne, his best friend and fear were gone, the inexpressible terror of unfaithful nurse, and made him challenge Harry, certainty forever fled. I ho a right to love at the same time taking a fearful oath that he my husband as fully, as proudly, as openly as I would shoot him in cold blood if he refused to would. Mother, who had pined and lamented fight-or so Essinger represented it when he much over my anomalous position, was most carried the message.
pleased that it should be properly asserted. I, “There was but one escape for Mr. Thorne too, was not sorry that I could wear my hus-it was in charging Essinger, who offered him- band's name. I had it blazoned upon the door, self as second, to load his pistol only with a that he might, if at any time he should pass it, light charge of powder, that he might go led by a longing that I measured by my own, through the ceremony of combat with no evil discover a welcome and a reinstation waiting resalts to Francis, whatever might be his own for him upon the very threshold. I had it addfate,
ed to the two names upon my crucifix, that I “This Essinger promised; but seizing the might pray with my lips upon the word. But, opportunity that might never recur, he broke Marion, from that hour to this—for seven long his oath, loaded the pistol with ball, and when gray years since he loved and left me—I have Thorne, discharging it, shot my brother through had no token of Xavier. Whether in some the heart, in an agony of despair and horror he mad excitement of battle he has striven to forhurled the pistol at Essinger, left the gulch get-to die—or in some far-off country labors that hour, and far away beyond the mountains unremittingly for the same end, finding, as I achieved an immense fortune, and never set well know, both efforts vain ; or whether he is himself within the reach of Essinger's eyes no more of earth, but watches me forever from again.
his celestial heights with the patient passion of “What tortures of remorse he underwent in a spirit, I know not-perhaps shall never know those two years no man may know; surely God -in time. But still I am waiting for himmust have accepted them for expiation of his still I am his wife; and I have it for my earth. unintentional sin. Essinger's story was taken ly strength and consolation, that even in the
down by a lawyer whom I sent for, sworn to, agony of prayer I can read upon the crucifix and signed as a deposition ; for I would have before me the name which here I write for you no form omitted that might possibly be a mat-1-my married name—my husband's ! ter of use or comfort to Xavier, should he ever
• Alix THURIOT THORNE." return. For my mother's certainty, I made Essinger describe him, which he did with the MY FORENOON WITH THE BABY. utmost accuracy, adding that if he lived he SOME fiend breathed ill-timed and ill-fated
Satan is like my brother's ball had scared him, just escaping scrofula, he always seizes a man by the weakest a mortal effect. I knew that scar well, and part of his constitution, remembered better how Xavier had always “I'll tell you, Aunt Fanny," I said, under eluded any explanation of its cause, often as I the impulse, with the joyous smile of one who had asked him.
brings relief at a crisis, “go you to church “It was evident enough to every by-stander with uncle and the boys. You must not lose that day in the hospital that the wretched pa- this fine day. I'U take care of the baby.” tient was dying, and I could not leave him un Aunt Fanny looked at me with some little warned and unconsoled to leap from his wretch- doubt. edness and sin into the awe and horror of an “Oh, yes," I said, with calm and confident other world. I felt that it was but a fit expo- dignity, “of course I can. Just as if a man sition of my entire forgiveness that I should of my size couldn't take care of a baby for three offer him the consolations of my religion. Alas! hours! Besides, I know exactly what to do. I could not but feel that my forgiveness was not I've seen you do it more than a hundred purely Christian—that it was impelled in part times. And children always like me.” by the tender, if unspoken, consciousness that If my Aunt Fanny had had but this one only but for him I should never have seen Xavier, darling, she would have seen me in--Hackenand in that hour I could most profoundly feel sack before she would have done it. But Sam"'Tis better to have loved and lost
my was her ninth (all the rest being, by various Than never to have loved at all.'
accidents, absent, or to be absent, that morn“For hours I prayed beside his bed, or read to ing); and I have noticed that where there are him from books of devotion, till before he died so many, people don't think quite so much of he seemed, at least, quieted and soothed; and them per head. What I mean is by no means it was upon the crucifix-my husband's parting that maternal love is like a dish of beans, to be gift—that he breathed out his life with one long divided about in smaller messes as there are shudder, just as the twilight gathered mysteri- more to partake of it, but only this—that the