Augusta J. Evans
Part 2 out of 11
Again her hand was raised to put him aside.
"No. You too would hate me for my ugliness. Let me hide it in the
grave with Lilly. They cannot separate us there." He lifted her
head; and, looking down into the haggard face, answered kindly:
"I promise you I will not think you ugly. I will make you happy.
Come to me, child." She shook her head with a moan. Passing his arm
around her, he raised her from the carpet, and leaned her head
"Poor little sufferer! they have made you drink, prematurely,
earth's bitter draughts. They have disenchanted your childhood of
its fairy-like future. Beulah, you are ill now. Do not struggle so.
You must come with me, my child." He took her in his strong arms,
and bore her out of the house of death. His buggy stood at the door,
and, seating himself in it, he directed the boy who accompanied him
to "drive home." Beulah offered no resistance; she hid her face in
her hands, and sat quite still, scarcely conscious of what passed.
She knew that a firm arm held her securely, and, save her
wretchedness, knew nothing else. Soon she was lifted out of the
buggy, carried up a flight of steps, and then a flood of light
flashed through the fingers upon her closed eyelids. Dr. Hartwell
placed his change on a sofa, and rank the bell. The summons was
promptly answered by a negro woman of middle age. She stood at the
door awaiting the order, but his eyes were bent on the floor, and
his brows knitted.
"Master, did you ring?"
"Yes; tell my sister to come to me."
He took a turn across the floor, and paused by the open window. As
the night air rustled the brown locks on his temples, he sighed
deeply. The door opened, and a tall, slender woman, of perhaps
thirty-five years, entered the room. She was pale and handsome, with
a profusion of short chestnut curls about her face. With her hand
resting on the door, she said, in a calm, clear tone:
He started, and, turning from the window, approached her.
"May, I want a room arranged for this child as soon as possible.
Will you see that a hot footbath is provided? When it is ready, send
Harriet for her."
His sister's lips curled as she looked searchingly at the figure on
the sofa, and said coldly:
"What freak now, Guy?"
For a moment their eyes met steadily, and he smiled grimly.
"I intend to adopt that poor little orphan; that is all!"
"Where did you pick her up, at the hospital?" said she sneeringly.
"No, she has been hired as a nurse, at a boarding house." He folded
his arms, and again they looked at each other.
"I thought you had had quite enough of protegees." She nervously
clasped and unclasped her jet bracelet.
"Take care, May Ohilton! Mark me. Lift the pall from the past once
more, and you and Pauline must find another home, another protector.
Now, will you see that a room is prepared as I directed?" He was
very pale, and his eyes burned fiercely, yet his tone was calm and
subdued. Mrs. Chilton bit her lips and withdrew. Dr. Hartwell walked
up and down the room for a while, now and then looking sadly at the
young stranger. She sat just as he had placed her, with her hands
over her face. Kindly he bent down, and whispered:
"Will you trust me, Beulah?"
She made no answer; but he saw her brow wrinkle, and knew that she
shuddered. The servant came in to say that the room had been
arranged, as he had directed. However surprised she might have been
at this sudden advent of the simply clad orphan in her master's
study, there was not the faintest indication of it in her
impenetrable countenance. Not even the raising of an eyebrow.
"Harriet, see that her feet are well bathed; and, when she is in
bed, come for some medicine."
Then, drawing the hands from her eyes, he said to Beulah:
"Go with her, my child. I am glad I have you safe under my own roof,
where no more cruel injustice can assail you."
He pressed her hand kindly, and, rising mechanically, Beulah
accompanied Harriet, who considerately supported the drooping form.
The room to which she was conducted was richly furnished, and
lighted by an elegant colored lamp, suspended from the ceiling. Mrs.
Chilton stood near an armchair, looking moody and abstracted.
Harriet carefully undressed the poor mourner, and, wrapping a shawl
about her, placed her in the chair, and bathed her feet. Mrs.
Chilton watched her with ill-concealed impatience. When the little
dripping feet were dried, Harriet lifted her, as if she had been an
infant, and placed her in bed, then brought the medicine from the
study, and administered a spoonful of the mixture. Placing her
finger on the girl's wrist, she counted the rapid pulse, and,
turning unconcernedly toward Mrs. Chilton, said:
"Miss May, master says you need not trouble about the medicine. I am
to sleep in the room and take care of this little girl."
"Very well. See that she is properly attended to, as my brother
directed. My head aches miserably, or I should remain myself."
She glanced at the bed, and left the room. Harriet leaned over the
pillow and examined the orphan's countenance. The eyes were closed,
but scalding tears rolled swiftly over the cheeks, and the hands
were clasped over the brow, as if to still its throbbings. Harriet's
face softened, and she said kindly:
"Poor thing! what ails you? What makes you cry so?"
Beulah pressed her head closer to the pillow, and murmured:
"I am so miserable! I want to die, and God will not take me."
"Don't say that till you see whether you've got the scarlet fever.
If you have, you are likely to be taken pretty soon, I can tell you;
and if you haven't, why, it's all for the best. It is a bad plan to
fly in the Almighty's face that way, and tell him what he shall do
and what he shan't."
This philosophic response fell unheeded on poor Beulah's ears, and
Harriet was about to inquire more minutely into the cause of her
grief, but she perceived her master standing beside her, and
immediately moved away from the bed. Drawing out his watch, he
counted the pulse several times. The result seemed to trouble him,
and he stood for some minutes watching the motionless form.
"Harriet, bring me a glass of ice-water."
Laying his cool hand on the hot forehead of the suffering girl, he
"My child, try not to cry any more to-night. It is very bitter, I
know; but remember that, though Lilly has been taken from you, from
this day you have a friend, a home, a guardian."
Harriet proffered the glass of water. He took it, raised the head,
and put the sparkling draught to Beulah's parched lips. Without
unclosing her eyes, she drank the last crystal drop, and, laying the
head back on the pillow, he drew an armchair before the window at
the further end of the room, and seated himself.
Through quiet, woody dells roamed Beulah's spirit, and, hand in
hand, she and Lilly trod flowery paths and rested beside clear,
laughing brooks. Life, with its grim realities, seemed but a flying
mist. The orphan hovered on the confines of eternity's ocean, and
its silent waves almost laved the feet of the weary child. The room
was darkened, and the summer wind stole through the blinds
stealthily, as if awed by the solitude of the sick-chamber. Dr.
Hartwell sat by the low French bedstead, holding one emaciated hand
in his, counting the pulse which bounded so fiercely in the blue
veins. A fold of white linen containing crushed ice lay on her
forehead, and the hollow cheeks and thin lips were flushed to
vermilion hue. It was not scarlet, but brain fever, and this was the
fifth day that the sleeper had lain in a heavy stupor. Dr. Hartwell
put back the hand he held, and, stooping over, looked long and
anxiously at the flushed face. The breathing was deep and labored,
and, turning away, he slowly and noiselessly walked up and down the
floor. To have looked at him then, in his purple silk robe de
chambre, one would have scarcely believed that thirty years had
passed over his head. He was tall and broad-chested, his head
massive and well formed, his face a curious study. The brow was
expansive and almost transparent in its purity, the dark, hazel eyes
were singularly brilliant, while the contour of lips and chin was
partially concealed by a heavy mustache and board. The first glance
at his face impressed strangers by its extreme pallor, but in a
second look they were fascinated by the misty splendor of the eyes.
In truth, those were strange eyes of Guy Hartwell's. At times,
searching and glittering like polished steel; occasionally lighting
up with a dazzling radiance, and then as suddenly growing gentle,
hazy, yet luminous; resembling the clouded aspect of a star seen
through a thin veil of mist. His brown, curling hair was thrown back
from the face, and exposed the outline of the ample forehead.
Perhaps utilitarians would have carped at the feminine delicacy of
the hands, and certainly the fingers were slender and marvelously
white. On one hand he wore an antique ring, composed of a cameo
snake-head set round with diamonds. A proud, gifted, and miserable
man was Guy Hartwell, and his characteristic expression of stern
sadness might easily have been mistaken by casual observers for
I have said he was about thirty, and though the handsome face was
repellently cold and grave, it was difficult to believe that that
smooth, fair brow had been for so many years uplifted for the
handwriting of time. He looked just what he was, a baffling,
fascinating mystery. You felt that his countenance was a volume of
hieroglyphics which, could you decipher, would unfold the history of
a checkered and painful career. Yet the calm, frigid smile which sat
on his lip, and looked out defiantly from his deep-set eyes, seemed
to dare you to an investigation. Mere physical beauty cannot impart
the indescribable charm which his countenance possessed. Regularity
of features is a valuable auxiliary, but we look on sculptured
marble, perfect in its chiseled proportions, and feel that, after
all, the potent spell is in the raying out of the soul, that
imprisoned radiance which, in some instances, makes man indeed but
"little lower than the angels." He paused in his echoless tread, and
sat down once more beside his protegee. She had not changed her
position, and the long lashes lay heavily on the crimson cheeks. The
parched lips were parted, and, as he watched her, she murmured
"It is so sweet, Lilly; we will stay here always." A shadowy smile
crossed her face, and then a great agony seemed to possess her, for
she moaned long and bitterly. He tried to arouse her, and, for the
first time since the night she entered his house, she opened her
eyes and gazed vacantly at him.
"Are you in pain, Beulah? Why do you moan so?"
"Eugene, I knew it would be so, when you left me."
"Don't you know me, Beulah?" He put his face close to hers.
"They killed her, Eugene! I told you they would; they are going to
bury her soon. But the grave can't hide her; I am going down with
her into the darkness--she would be frightened, you know." Making a
great effort, she sat upright. Dr. Hartwell put a glass containing
medicine to her lips; she shrank back and shuddered, then raised her
hand for the glass, and, looking fixedly at him, said: "Did Mrs.
Grayson say I must take it? Is it poison that kills quickly? There;
don't frown, Eugene, I will drink it all for you." She swallowed the
draught with a shiver. He laid her back on her pillow and renewed
the iced-cloth on her forehead; she did not move her burning eyes
from his face, and the refreshing coolness recalled the sad smile.
"Are we on the Alps, Eugene? I feel dizzy; don't let me fall. There
is a great chasm yonder. Oh, I know now; I am not afraid; Lilly is
down there--come on." Her arms drooped to her side, and she slept
Evening shadows crept on; soon the room was dark. Harriet entered
with a shaded lamp, but her master motioned her out, and, throwing
open the blinds, suffered the pure moonlight to enter freely. The
window looked out on the flower garden, and the mingled fragrance of
roses, jasmines, honeysuckles, and dew-laden four-o'clocks enveloped
him as in a cloud of incense. A balmy moonlight June night in our
beautiful sunny South--who shall adequately paint its witchery? Dr.
Hartwell leaned his head against the window, and glanced down at the
parterre he had so fondly fostered. The golden moonlight mellowed
every object, and not the gorgeous pictures of Persian poets
surpassed the quiet scene that greeted the master. The shelled
serpentine walks were bordered with low, closely clipped cassina
hedges; clusters of white and rose oleander, scarlet geraniums,
roses of countless variety, beds of verbena of every hue, and
patches of brilliant annuals, all looked up smilingly at him. Just
beneath the window the clasping tendrils of a clematis were wound
about the pedestal of a marble Flora, and a cluster of the delicate
purple blossoms peeped through the fingers of the goddess. Further
off, a fountain flashed in the moonlight, murmuring musically in and
out of its reservoir, while the diamond spray bathed the sculptured
limbs of a Venus. The sea breeze sang its lullaby through the boughs
of a luxuriant orange tree near, and silence seemed guardian spirit
of the beautiful spot, when a whip-poor-will whirred through the
air, and, perching on the snowy brow of the Aphrodite, began his
plaintive night-hymn. In childhood Guy Hartwell had been taught by
his nurse to regard the melancholy chant as ominous of evil; but as
years threw their shadows over his heart, darkening the hopes of his
boyhood, the sad notes of the lonely bird became gradually soothing,
and now in the prime of life he loved to listen to the shy visitor,
and ceased to remember that it boded ill. With an ardent love for
the beautiful, in all its Protean phases, he enjoyed communion with
nature as only an imaginative, aesthetical temperament can. This
keen appreciation of beauty had been fostered by travel and study.
Over the vast studio of nature he had eagerly roamed; midnight had
seen him gazing enraptured on the loveliness of Italian scenery, and
found him watching the march of constellations from the lonely
heights of the Hartz; while the thunder tones of awful Niagara had
often hushed the tumults of his passionate heart, and bowed his
proud head in humble adoration. He had searched the storehouses of
art, and collected treasures that kindled divine aspirations in his
soul, and wooed him for a time from the cemetery of memory. With a
nature so intensely aesthetical, and taste so thoroughly cultivated,
he had, in a great measure, assimilated his home to the artistic
beau ideal. Now as he stood inhaling the perfumed air, he forgot the
little sufferer a few yards off--forgot that Azrail stood on the
threshold, beckoning her to brave the dark floods; and, as his whole
nature became permeated (so to speak) by the intoxicating beauty
that surrounded him, he extended his arms, and exclaimed
"Truly thou art my mother, dear old earth! I feel that I am indeed
nearly allied to thy divine beauty! Starry nights, and whispering
winds, and fragrant flowers! yea, and even the breath of the
tempest! all, all are parts of my being."
"Guy, there is a messenger waiting at the door to see you. Some
patient requires prompt attendance." Mrs. Chilton stood near the
window, and the moonlight flashed over her handsome face. Her
brother frowned and motioned her away, but, smiling quietly, she put
her beautifully molded hand on his shoulder, and said:
"I am sorry I disturbed your meditations, but if you will practice--
"Who sent for me?"
"I really don't know."
"Will you be good enough to inquire?"
"Certainly." She glided gracefully from the room.
The whip-poor-will flew from his marble perch, and, as the mournful
tones died away, the master sighed, and returned to the bedside of
his charge. He renewed the ice on her brow, and soon after his
"Mr. Vincent is very sick, and you are wanted immediately."
"Very well." He crossed the room and rang the bell.
"Guy, are you sure that girl has not scarlet fever?"
"May, I have answered that question at least twice a day for nearly
"But you should sympathize with a mother's anxiety. I dread to
expose Pauline to danger."
"Then let her remain where she is."
"But I prefer having her come home, if I could feel assured that
girl has only brain fever."
"Then, once for all, there is no scarlet fever in the house."
He took a vial from his pocket, and poured a portion of its contents
into the glass, which he placed on a stand by Beulah's bed; then,
turning to Harriet, who had obeyed his summons, he directed her to
administer the medicine hourly.
"Guy, you may give your directions to me, for I shall stay with the
child to-night." As she spoke, she seated herself at the foot of the
"Harriet, hand me the candle in the hall." She did so; and, as her
master took it from her hand, he said abruptly:
"Tell Hal to bring my buggy round, and then you may go to bed. I
will ring if you are wanted." He waited until she was out of
hearing, and, walking up to his sister, held the candle so that the
light fell full upon her face.
"May, can I trust you?"
"Brother, you are cruelly unjust." She covered her face with her
"Am I, indeed?"
"Yes, you wrong me hourly, with miserable suspicions. Guy, remember
that I have your blood in my veins, and it will not always tamely
bear insult, even from you." She removed the handkerchief, and shook
back her glossy curls, while her face grew still paler than was its
"Insult! May, can the unvarnished truth be such?"
They eyed each other steadily, and it was apparent that each iron
will was mated.
"Guy, you shall repent this."
"Perhaps so. You have made me repent many things."
"Do you mean to say that--"
"I mean to say, that since you have at last offered to assist in
nursing that unconscious child, I wish you to give the medicine
hourly. The last potion was at eight o'clock." He placed the candle
so as to shade the light from the sick girl, and left the room. Mrs.
Chilton sat for some time as he had left her with her head leaning
on her hand, her thoughts evidently perplexed and bitter. At
length she rose and stood close to Beulah, looking earnestly at her
emaciated face. She put her fingers on the burning temples and
wrist, and counted accurately the pulsations of the lava tide, then
bent her queenly head, and listened to the heavily drawn breathing.
A haughty smile lit her fine features as she said complacently: "A
mere tempest in a teacup. Pshaw, this girl will not mar my projects
long. By noon tomorrow she will be in eternity. I thought, the first
time I saw her ghostly face, she would trouble me but a short
season. What paradoxes men are! What on earth possessed Guy, with
his fastidious taste, to bring to his home such an ugly, wasted,
sallow little wretch? I verily believe, as a family, we are beset by
evil angels." Drawing out her watch, she saw that the hand had
passed nine. Raising the glass to her lips, she drank the quantity
prescribed for the sufferer, and was replacing it on the stand, when
Beulah's large, eloquent eyes startled her.
"Well, child, what do you want?" said she, trembling, despite her
assumed indifference. Beulah looked at her vacantly, then threw her
arms restlessly over the pillow, and slept again. Mrs. Chilton drew
up a chair, seated herself, and sank into a reverie of some length.
Ultimately she was aroused by perceiving her brother beside her, and
"How is Mr. Vincent? Not dangerously ill, I hope!"
"Tomorrow will decide that. It is now ten minutes past ten; how many
potions have you given?"
"Two," answered she firmly.
"Thank you, May. I will relieve you now. Good-night."
"But you are worn out, and I am not. Let me sit up. I will wake you
if any change occurs."
"Thank you, I prefer watching tonight. Take that candle, and leave
it on the table in the hall. I need nothing but moonlight. Leave the
door open." As the flickering light vanished, he threw himself into
the chair beside the bed.
It was in the gray light of dawning day that Beulah awoke to
consciousness. For some moments after unclosing her eyes they
wandered inquiringly about the room, and finally rested on the tall
form of the watcher, as he stood at the open window. Gradually
memory gathered up its scattered links, and all the incidents of
that hour of anguish rushed vividly before her. The little table,
with its marble sleeper; then a dim recollection of having been
carried to a friendly shelter. Was it only yesterday evening, and
had she slept? The utter prostration which prevented her raising her
head, and the emaciated appearance of her hands, told her "no." Too
feeble even to think, she moaned audibly. Dr. Hartwell turned and
looked at her. The room was still in shadow, though the eastern sky
was flushed, and he stepped to the bedside. The fever had died out,
the cheeks were very pale, and the unnaturally large, sunken eyes
lusterless. She looked at him steadily, yet with perfect
indifference. He leaned over, and said eagerly:
"Beulah, do you know me?"
"Yes; I know you."
"How do you feel this morning?"
"I am very weak, and my head seems confused. How long have I been
"No matter, child, if you are better." He took out his watch, and,
after counting her pulse, prepared some medicine, and gave her a
potion. Her features twitched, and she asked tremblingly, as if
afraid of her own question:
"Have they buried her?"
"Yes; a week ago."
She closed her eyes with a groan, and her face became convulsed;
then she lay quite still, with a wrinkled brow. Dr. Hartwell sat
down by her, and, taking one of her wasted little hands in his, said
"Beulah, you have been very ill. I scarcely thought you would
recover; and now, though much better, you must not agitate yourself,
for you are far too weak to bear it."
"Why didn't you let me die? Oh, it would have been a mercy!" She put
her hand over her eyes, and a low cry wailed through the room.
"Because I wanted you to get well, and live here, and be my little
friend, my child. Now, Beulah, I have saved you, and you belong to
me. When you are stronger we will talk about all you want to know;
but to-day you must keep quiet, and not think of what distresses
you. Will you try?"
The strong, stern man shuddered, as she looked up at him with an
expression of hopeless desolation, and said slowly:
"I have nothing but misery to think of."
"Have you forgotten Eugene so soon?"
For an instant the eyes lighted up; then the long lashes swept her
cheeks, and she murmured:
"Eugene; he has left me too; something will happen to him also. I
never loved anything but trouble came upon it."
Dr. Hartwell smiled grimly, as though unconsciously she had turned
to view some page in the history of his own life.
"Beulah, you must not despond; Eugene will come back an elegant
young man before you are fairly out of short dresses. There, do not
talk any more, and don't cry. Try to sleep, and remember, child, you
are homeless and friendless no longer." He pressed her hand kindly,
and turned toward the door. It opened, and Mrs. Chilton entered.
"Good-morning, Guy; how is your patient?" said she blandly.
"Good-morning, May; my little patient is much better. She has been
talking to me, and I am going to send her some breakfast." He put
both hands on his sister's shoulders, and looked down into her
beautiful eyes. She did not flinch, but he saw a grayish hue settle
around her lips.
"Ah! I thought last night there was little hope of her recovery. You
are a wonderful doctor, Guy; almost equal to raising the dead." Her
voice was even, and, like his own, marvelously sweet.
"More wonderful still, May; I can read the living." His mustached
lip curled, as a scornful smile passed over his face.
"Read the living? Then you can understand and appreciate my pleasure
at this good news. Doubly good, because it secures Pauline's return
to-day. Dear child, I long to have her at home again." An expression
of anxious maternal solicitude crossed her features. Her brother
kept his hand on her shoulder, and as his eye fell on her glossy
auburn curls, he said, half musingly:
"Time touches you daintily, May; there is not one silver footprint
on your hair."
"He has dealt quite as leniently with you. But how could I feel the
inroads of time, shielded as I have been by your kindness? Cares and
sorrows bleach the locks oftener than accumulated years; and you,
Guy, have most kindly guarded your poor widowed sister."
"Have I indeed, May?"
"Ah! what would become of my Pauline and me, but for your
"Enough! Then, once for all, be kind to yonder sick child; if not
for her sake, for your own. You and Pauline can aid me in making her
happy, if you will. And if not, remember, May, you know my nature.
Do not disturb Beulah now; come down and let her be quiet." He led
her down the steps, and then, throwing open a glass door, stepped
out upon a terrace covered with Bermuda grass and sparkling like a
tiara in the early sunlight. Mrs. Chilton watched him descend the
two white marble steps leading down to the flower beds, and, leaning
against the wall, she muttered:
"It cannot be possible that that miserable beggar is to come between
Pauline and his property! Is he mad, to dream of making that little
outcast his heiress? Yet he meant it; I saw it in his eye; the
lurking devil that has slumbered since that evening, and that I
hoped would never gleam out at me again. Oh! we are a precious
family. Set the will of one against another, and all Pandemonium
can't crush either! Ten to one, Pauline will lose her wits too, and
be as hard to manage as Guy." Moody and perplexed, she walked on to
the dining room. Beulah had fallen into a heavy slumber of
exhaustion, and it was late in the day when she again unclosed her
eyes. Harriet sat sewing near her, but soon perceived that she was
awake, and immediately put aside her work.
"Aha! so you have come to your senses again, have you? How are you,
"I am weak."
"Which isn't strange, seeing that you haven't eat a teaspoonful in
more than a week. Now, look here, little one; I am ordered to nurse
and take charge of you till you are strong enough to look out for
yourself. So you must not object to anything I tell you to do."
Without further parley, she washed and wiped Beulah's face and
hands, shook up the pillows, and placed her comfortably on them. To
the orphan, accustomed all her life to wait upon others, there was
something singularly novel in being thus carefully handled; and,
nestling her head close to the pillows, she shut her eyes, lest the
tears that were gathering should become visible. Harriet quitted the
room for a short time, and returned with a salver containing some
"I can't eat anything. Thank you; but take it away." Beulah put her
hands over her face, but Harriet resolutely seated herself on the
side of the bed, lifted her up, and put a cup of tea to the
"It is no use talking; master said you had to eat, and you might
just as well do it at once. Poor thing! you are hiding your eyes to
cry. Well, drink this tea and eat a little; you must, for folks
can't live forever without eating." There was no alternative, and
Beulah swallowed what was given her. Harriet praised her obedient
spirit, and busied herself about the room for some time. Finally,
stooping over the bed, she said abruptly:
"Honey, are you crying?"
There was no reply, and, kneeling down, she said cautiously:
"If you knew as much about this family as I do, you would cry, sure
enough, for something. My master says he has adopted you, and since
he has said it, everything will work for good to you. But, child,
there will come times when you need a friend besides master, and be
sure you come to me when you do. I won't say any more now; but
remember what I tell you when you get into trouble. Miss Pauline has
come, and if she happens to take a fancy to you (which I think she
won't), she will stand by you till the stars fall; and if she don't,
she will hate you worse than Satan himself for--" Harriet did not
complete the sentence, for she detected her master's step in the
passage, and resumed her work.
"How is she?"
"She did not eat much, sir, and seems so downhearted."
"That will do. I will ring when you are needed."
Dr. Hartwell seated himself on the edge of the bed, and, lifting the
child's head to his bosom, drew away the hands that shaded her face.
"Beulah, are you following my directions?"
"Oh, sir! you are very kind; but I am too wretched, too miserable,
even to thank you."
"I do not wish you to thank me. All I desire is that you will keep
quiet for a few days, till you grow strong, and not lie here sobbing
yourself into another fever. I know you have had a bitter lot in
life so far, and memories are all painful with you; but it is better
not to dwell upon the past. Ah, child! it is well to live only in
the present, looking into the future. I promise you I will guard
you, and care for you as tenderly as a father; and now, Beulah, I
think you owe it to me to try to be cheerful."
He passed his fingers softly over her forehead, and put back the
tangled masses of jetty hair, which long neglect had piled about her
face. The touch of his cool hand, the low, musical tones of his
voice, were very soothing to the weary sufferer, and, with a great
effort, she looked up into the deep, dark eyes. saying brokenly:
"Oh, sir, how good you are! I am--very grateful--to you--indeed, I--
"There, my child, do not try to talk; only trust me, and be
cheerful. It is a pleasure to me to have you here, and know that you
will always remain in my house."
How long he sat there, she never knew, for soon she slept, and when
hours after she waked, the lamp was burning dimly, and only Harriet
was in the room. A week passed, and the girl saw no one except the
nurse and physician. One sunny afternoon she looped back the white
curtains, and sat down before the open window. Harriet had dressed
her in a blue calico wrapper, which made her wan face still more
ghastly, and the folds of black hair, which the gentle fingers of
the kind nurse had disentangled, lay thick about her forehead, like
an ebon wreath on the brow of a statue. Her elbows rested on the
arms of the easy-chair, and the weary head leaned upon the hands.
Before her lay the flower garden, brilliant and fragrant; further on
a row of Lombardy poplars bounded the yard, and beyond the street
stretched the west common. In the distance rose a venerable brick
building, set, as it were, in an emerald lawn, and Beulah looked
only once, and knew it vas the asylum. It was the first time she had
seen it since her exodus, and the long-sealed fountain could no
longer be restrained. Great hot tears fell over the bent face, and
the frail form trembled violently. For nearly fourteen years that
brave spirit had battled, and borne, and tried to hope for better
things. With more than ordinary fortitude, she had resigned herself
to the sorrows that came thick and fast upon her, and, trusting in
the eternal love and goodness of God, had looked to him for relief
and reward. But the reward came not in the expected way. Hope died;
faith fainted; and bitterness and despair reigned in that once
loving and gentle soul. Her father had not been spared in answer to
her frantic prayers. Lilly had been taken, without even the sad
comfort of a farewell, and now, with the present full of anguish,
and the future shrouded in dark forebodings, she sobbed aloud:
"All alone! All alone! Oh, father! Oh, Lilly, Lilly!"
"Do pray, chile, don't take on so; you will fret yourself sick
again," said Harriet, compassionately patting the drooped head.
"Don't talk to me--don't speak to me!" cried Beulah passionately.
"Yes; but I was told not to let you grieve yourself to death, and
you are doing your best. Why don't you put your trust in the Lord?"
"I did, and he has forgotten me."
"No, chile. He forgets not even the little snow-birds. I expect you
wanted to lay down the law for him, and are not willing to wait
until he sees fit to bless you. Isn't it so?"
"He never can give me back my dead."
"But he can raise up other friends for you, and he has. It is a
blessed thing to have my master for a friend and a protector. Think
of living always in a place like this, with plenty of money, and
nothing to wish for. Chile, you don't know how lucky--"
She paused, startled by ringing' peals of laughter, which seemed to
come from the adjoining passage. Sounds of mirth fell torturingly
upon Beulah's bleeding spirit, and she pressed her fingers tightly
over her ears. Just opposite to her sat the old trunk, which, a
fortnight before, she had packed for her journey up the river. The
leathern face seemed to sympathize with her woe, and, kneeling down
on the floor, she wound her arms caressingly over it.
"Bless the girl! she hugs that ugly, old-fashioned thing as if it
were kin to her," said Harriet, who sat sewing at one of the
Beulah raised the lid, and there lay her clothes, the books Eugene
had given her; two or three faded, worn-out garments of Lilly's, and
an old Bible. The tears froze in her eyes, as she took out the last,
and opened it at the ribbon mark. These words greeted her: "Whom the
Lord loveth, he chasteneth." Again and again she read them, and the
crushed tendrils of trust feebly twined once more about the promise.
As she sat there, wondering why suffering and sorrow always fell on
those whom the Bible calls "blessed," and trying to explain the
paradox, the door was thrown rudely open, and a girl about her own
age sprang into the room, quickly followed by Mrs. Chilton.
"Let me alone, mother. I tell you I mean to see her, and then you
are welcome to me as long as you please. Ah, is that her?"
The speaker paused in the center of the apartment, and gazed
curiously at the figure seated before the old trunk. Involuntarily
Beulah raised her eyes, and met the searching look fixed upon her.
The intruder was richly dressed, and her very posture bespoke the
lawless independence of a willful, petted child. The figure was
faultlessly symmetrical, and her face radiantly beautiful. The
features were clearly cut and regular, the eyes of deep, dark violet
hue, shaded by curling brown lashes. Her chestnut hair was thrown
back with a silver comb, and fell in thick curls below the waist;
her complexion was of alabaster clearness, and cheeks and lips wore
the coral bloom of health. As they confronted each other one looked
a Hebe, the other a ghostly visitant from spirit realms. Beulah
shrank from the eager scrutiny, and put up her hands to shield her
face. The other advanced a few steps, and stood beside her. The
expression of curiosity faded, and something like compassion swept
over the stranger's features, as she noted the thin, drooping form
of the invalid. Her lips parted, and she put out her hand, as if to
address Beulah, when Mrs. Chilton exclaimed impatiently:
"Pauline, come down this instant! Your uncle positively forbade your
entering this room until he gave you permission. There is his buggy
this minute! Come out, I say!" She laid her hand in no gentle manner
on her daughter's arm.
"Oh, sink the buggy! What do I care if he does catch me here? I
shall stay till I make up my mind whether that little thing is a
ghost or not. So, mother, let me alone." She shook off the clasping
hand that sought to drag her away, and again fixed her attention on
"Willful girl! you will ruin everything yet. Pauline, follow me
instantly, I command you!" She was white with rage, but the daughter
gave no intimation of having heard the words; and, throwing her arm
about the girl's waist, Mrs. Chilton dragged her to the door. There
was a brief struggle at the threshold, and then both stood quiet
before the master of the house.
"What is all this confusion about? I ordered this portion of the
house kept silent, did I not?"
"Yes, Guy; and I hope you will forgive Pauline's thoughtlessness.
She blundered in here, and I have just been scolding her for
disobeying your injunctions."
"Uncle Guy, it was not thoughtlessness, at all; I came on purpose.
For a week I have been nearly dying with curiosity to see that
little skeleton you have shut up here, and I ran up to get a glimpse
of her. I don't see the harm of it; I haven't hurt her." Pauline
looked fearlessly up in her uncle's face, and planted herself firmly
in the door, as if resolved not to be ejected.
"Does this house belong to you or to me, Pauline?"
"To you, now; to me, some of these days, when you give it to me for
a bridal present."
His brow cleared, he looked kindly down into the frank, truthful
countenance, and said, with a half-smile:
"Do not repeat your voyage of discovery, or perhaps your bridal
anticipations may prove an egregious failure. Do you understand me?"
"I have not finished the first. Mother played pirate, and carried me
off before I was half satisfied. Uncle Guy, take me under your flag,
do! I will not worry the little thing--I promise you I will not.
Can't I stay here a while?" He smiled, and put his hand on her head,
"I am inclined to try you. May, you can leave her here. I will send
her to you after a little." As he spoke, he drew her up to the
orphan. Beulah looked at them an instant, then averted her head.
"Beulah, this is my niece, Pauline Chilton; and, Pauline, this is my
adopted child, Beulah Benton. You are about the same age, and can
make each other happy, if you will. Beulah, shake hands with my
niece." She put up her pale, slender fingers, and they were promptly
clasped in Pauline's plump palm.
"Do stop crying, and look at me. I want to see you," said the
"I am not crying."
"Then what are you hiding your face for?"
"Because it is so ugly," answered the orphan sadly.
Pauline stooped down, took the head in her hands, and turned the
features to view. She gave them a searching examination, and then,
looking up at her uncle, said bluntly:
"She is not pretty, that is a fact; but, somehow, I rather like her.
If she did not look so doleful, and had some blood in her lips, she
would pass well enough; don't you think so?"
Dr. Hartwell did not reply; but, raising Beulah from the floor,
placed her in the chair she had vacated some time before. She did,
indeed, look "doleful," as Pauline expressed it, and the beaming,
lovely face of the latter rendered her wan aspect more apparent.
"What have you been doing all day?" said the doctor kindly.
She pointed to the asylum, and answered in a low, subdued tone:
"Thinking about my past life--all my misfortunes."
"You promised you would do so no more."
"Ah, sir! how can I help it?"
"Why, think of something pleasant, of course," interrupted Pauline.
"You never had any sorrows; you know nothing of suffering," replied
Beulah, allowing her eyes to dwell on the fine, open countenance
before her--a mirthful, sunny face, where waves of grief had never
"How came you so wise? I have troubles sometimes, just like everbody
Beulah shook her head dubiously.
"Pauline, will you try to cheer this sad little stranger? will you
be always kind in your manner, and remember that her life has not
been as happy as yours? Can't you love her?"
She shrugged her shoulders, and answered evasively:
"I dare say we will get on well enough, if she will only quit
looking so dismal and graveyardish. I don't know about loving her;
we shall see."
"You can go down to your mother now," said he gravely.
"That means you are tired of me, Uncle Guy!" cried she, saucily
shaking her curls over her face.
"Yes, heartily tired of you; take yourself off."
"Good-by, shadow; I shall come to see you again to-morrow." She
reached the door, but looked back.
"Uncle, have you seen Charon since you came home?"
"Well, he will die if you don't do something for him. It is a shame
to forget him as you do!" said she indignantly.
"Attend to your own affairs, and do not interfere with mine."
"It is high time somebody interfered. Poor Charon! If Hal doesn't
take better care of him, I will make his mother box his ears; see if
She bounded down the steps, leaving her uncle to smooth his brow at
leisure. Turning to Beulah, he took her hand, and said very kindly:
"This large room does not suit you. Come, and I will show you your
own little room--one I have had arranged for you." She silently
complied, and, leading her through several passages, he opened the
door of the apartment assigned her. The walls were covered with blue
and silver paper; the window curtains of white, faced with blue,
matched it well, and every article of furniture bespoke lavish and
tasteful expenditure. There was a small writing-desk near a handsome
case of books, and a little work-table with a rocking-chair drawn up
to it. He seated Beulah, and stood watching her, as her eyes
wandered curiously and admiringly around the room. They rested on a
painting suspended over the desk, and, wrapt in contemplating the
design, she forgot for a moment all her sorrows. It represented an
angelic figure winging its way over a valley beclouded and dismal,
and pointing, with a radiant countenance, to the gilded summit of a
distant steep. Below, bands of pilgrims, weary and worn, toiled on;
some fainting by the wayside, some seated in sullen despair, some in
the attitude of prayer, some pressing forward with strained gaze and
pale, haggard faces.
"Do you like it?" said Dr. Hartwell.
Perhaps she did not hear him; certainly she did not heed the
question; and, taking a seat near one of the windows, he regarded
her earnestly. Her eyes were fastened on the picture, and, raising
her hands toward it, she said in broken, indistinct tones:
"I am dying down in the dark valley; oh, come, help me to toil on to
Her head sank upon her bosom, and bitter waves lashed her heart once
Gradually evening shadows crept on, and at length a soft hand lifted
her face, and a musical voice said:
"Beulah, I want you to come down to my study and make my tea. Do you
feel strong enough?"
"Yes, sir." She rose at once and followed him, resolved to seem
The study was an oblong room, and on one side book-shelves rose
almost to the ceiling. The opposite wall, between the windows, was
covered with paintings, and several statues stood in the recesses
near the chimney. Over the low marble mantelpiece hung a full-length
portrait, shrouded with black crape, and underneath was an
exquisitely chased silver case, containing a small Swiss clock. A
beautiful terra-cotta vase, of antique shape, stood on the hearth,
filled with choice and fragrant flowers, and near the window sat an
elegant rosewood melodeon. A circular table occupied the middle of
the room, and here the evening meal was already arranged. Beulah
glanced timidly around as her conductor seated her beside the urn,
and, seeing only cups for two persons, asked hesitatingly:
"Shall I make your tea now?"
"Yes; and remember, Beulah, I shall expect you to make it every
evening at this hour. Breakfast and dinner I take with my sister and
Pauline in the dining room, but my evenings are always spent here.
There, make another cup for yourself."
A long silence ensued. Dr. Hartwell seemed lost in reverie, for he
sat with his eyes fixed on the tablecloth, and his head resting on
his hand. His features resumed their habitual expression of stern
rigidity, and as Beulah looked at him she could scarcely believe
that he was the same kind friend who had been so gentle and fatherly
in his manner. Intuitively she felt then that she had to deal with a
chaotic, passionate, and moody nature, and, as she marked the
knitting of his brows and the iron compression of his lips, her
heart was haunted by grave forebodings. While she sat pondering his
haughty, impenetrable appearance, a servant entered.
"Sir, there is a messenger at the door."
His master started slightly, pushed away his cup, and said:
"Is the buggy ready?"
"Yes, sir; waiting at the door--"
"Very well; I am coming."
The windows opened down to the floor, and led into a vine-covered
piazza. He stepped up to one and stood a moment, as if loath to quit
his sanctum; then, turning round, addressed Beulah:
"Ah, child, I had almost forgotten you. It is time you were asleep.
Do you know the way back to your room?"
"I can find it," said she, rising from the table.
"Good-night; let me see you at breakfast if you feel strong enough
to join us."
He opened the door for her, and, hurrying out, Beulah found her own
room without difficulty. Walking up to Harriet, whom she saw waiting
for her, she said in a grave, determined manner:
"You have been very kind to me since I came here, and I feel
grateful to you; but I have not been accustomed to have someone
always waiting on me, and in future I shall not want you. I can
dress myself without any assistance, so you need not come to me
night and morning."
"I am obeying master's orders. He said I was to 'tend to you,"
answered Harriet, wondering at the independent spirit evinced by the
"I do not want any tending, so you may leave me, if you please."
"Haven't you been here long enough to find out that you might as
well fight the waves of the sea as my master's will? Take care,
child, how you begin to countermand his orders, for I tell you now
there are some in this house who will soon make it a handle to turn
you out into the world again. Mind what I say."
"Do you mean that I am not wanted here?"
"I mean, keep your eyes open." Harriet vanished in the dark passage,
and Beulah locked the door, feeling that now she was indeed alone,
and could freely indulge the grief that had so long sought to veil
itself from curious eyes. Yet there was no disposition to cry. She
sat down on the bed and mused on the strange freak of fortune which
had so suddenly elevated the humble nurse into the possessor of that
elegantly furnished apartment. There was no elation in the quiet
wonder with which she surveyed the change in her position. She did
not belong there, she had no claim on the master of the house, and
she felt that she was trespassing on the rights of the beautiful
Pauline. Rapidly plans for the future were written in firm resolve.
She would thankfully remain under the roof that had so kindly
sheltered her, until she could qualify herself to teach. She would
ask Dr. Hartwell to give her an education, which, once obtained,
would enable her to repay its price. To her proud nature there was
something galling in the thought of dependence, and, throwing
herself on her knees for the first time in several weeks, she
earnestly besought the God of orphans to guide and assist her.
"Do you wish her to commence school at once?"
"Not until her wardrobe has been replenished. I expect her clothes
to be selected and made just as Pauline's are. Will you attend to
this business, or shall I give directions to Harriet?"
"Certainly, Guy; I can easily arrange it. You intend to dress her
just as I do Pauline?"
"As nearly as possible. Next week I wish her to begin school with
Pauline, and Hansell will give her music lessons. Be so good as to
see about her clothes immediately."
Dr. Hartwell drew on his gloves and left the room. His sister
followed him to the door, where his buggy awaited him.
"Guy, did you determine about that little affair for Pauline? She
has so set her heart on it."
"Oh, do as you please, May; only I am--"
"Stop, Uncle Guy! Wait a minute. May I have a birthday party? May
I?" Almost out of breath, Pauline ran up the steps; her long hair
floating over her face, which exercise had flushed to crimson.
"You young tornado! Look how you have crushed that cluster of
heliotrope, rushing over the flower-beds as if there were no walks."
He pointed with the end of his whip to a drooping spray of purple
"Yes; but there are plenty more. I say, may I?--may I?" She eagerly
caught hold of his coat.
"How long before your birthday?"
"Just a week from to-day. Do, please, let me have a frolic!"
"Poor child! you look as if you needed some relaxation," said he,
looking down into her radiant face, with an expression of mock
"Upon my word, Uncle Guy, it is awfully dull here. If it were not
for Charon and Mazeppa I should be moped to death. Do, pray, don't
look at me as if you were counting the hairs in my eyelashes. Come,
say yes: do, Uncle Guy."
"Take your hands off of my coat, and have as many parties as you
like, provided you keep to your own side of the house. Don't come
near my study with your Babel, and don't allow your company to
demolish my flowers. Mind, not a soul is to enter the greenhouse.
The parlors are at your service, but I will not have a regiment of
wildcats tearing up and down my greenhouse and flower garden; mind
that." He stepped into his buggy.
"Bravo! I have won my wager, and got the party too! Hugh Cluis bet
me a papier-mache writing-desk that you would not give me a party.
When I send his invitation I will write on the envelope 'the
writing-desk is also expected.' Hey, shadow, where did you creep
from?" She fixed her merry eyes on Beulah, who just then appeared on
the terrace. Dr. Hartwell leaned from the buggy, and looked
earnestly at the quiet little figure.
"Do you want anything, Beulah?"
"No, sir; I thought you had gone. May I open the gate for you?"
"Certainly, if you wish to do something for me." His pale features
relaxed, and his whole face lighted up, like a sun-flushed cloud.
Beulah walked down the avenue, lined on either side with venerable
poplars and cedars, and opened the large gate leading into the city.
He checked his horse, and said:
"Thank you, my child. Now, how are you going to spend the day?
Remember you commence with school duties next week; so make the best
of your holiday."
"I have enough to occupy me to-day. Good-by, sir."
"Good-by, for an hour or so." He smiled kindly and drove on, while
she walked slowly back to the house, wondering why smiles were such
rare things in this world, when they cost so little, and yet are so
very valuable to mourning hearts. Pauline sat on the steps with an
open book in her hand. She looked up as Beulah approached, and
"Aren't you glad I am to have my birthday frolic?"
"Yes; I am glad on your account," answered Beulah gravely.
"Can you dance all the fancy dances? I don't like any so well as the
"I do not dance at all."
"Don't dance! Why, I have danced ever since I was big enough to
crawl! What have you been doing all your life, that you don't know
how to dance?"
"My feet have had other work to do," replied her companion; and, as
the recollections of her early childhood flitted before her, the
"I suppose that is one reason you look so forlorn all the time. I
will ask Uncle Guy to send you to the dancing school for--"
"Pauline, it is school-time, and you don't know one word of that
Quackenbos; I would be ashamed to start from home as ignorant of my
lessons as you are." Mrs. Chilton's head was projected from the
parlor window, and the rebuke was delivered in no very gentle tone.
"Oh, I don't mind it at all; I have got used to it," answered the
daughter, tossing up the book as she spoke.
"Get ready for school this minute!"
Pauline scampered into the house for her bonnet and sachel; and,
fixing her eyes upon Beulah, Mrs. Chilton asked sternly:
"What are you doing out there? What did you follow my brother to the
gate for? Answer me!"
"I merely opened the gate for him," replied the girl, looking
steadily up at the searching eyes.
"There was a servant with him to do that. In future don't make
yourself so conspicuous. You must keep away from the flower beds
too. The doctor wishes no one prowling about them; he gave
particular directions that no one should go there in his absence."
They eyed each other an instant; then, drawing up her slender form
to its utmost height, Beulah replied proudly:
"Be assured, madam, I shall not trespass on forbidden ground!"
"Very well." The lace curtains swept back to their place--the fair
face was withdrawn.
"She hates me," thought Beulah, walking on to her own room; "she
hates me, and certainly I do not love her. I shall like Pauline very
much, but her mother and I never will get on smoothly. What freezing
eyes she has, and what a disagreeable look there is about her mouth
whenever she sees me! She wishes me to remember all the time that I
am poor, and that she is the mistress of this elegant house. Ah, I
am not likely to forget it!" The old smile of bitterness crossed her
The days passed swiftly. Beulah spent most of her time in her own
room, for Dr. Hartwell was sometimes absent all day, and she longed
to escape his sister's icy espionage. When he was at home, and not
engaged in his study, his manner was always kind and considerate;
but she fancied he was colder and graver, and often his stern
abstraction kept her silent when they were together. Monday was the
birthday, and on Monday morning she expected to start to school.
Madam St. Cymon's was the fashionable institution of the city, and
thither, with Pauline, she was destined. Beulah rose early, dressed
herself carefully, and, after reading a chapter in her Bible, and
asking God's special guidance through the day, descended to the
breakfast room. Dr. Hartwell sat reading a newspaper; he did not
look up, and she quietly seated herself unobserved. Presently Mrs.
Chilton entered and walked up to her brother.
"Good-morning, Guy. Are there no tidings of that vessel yet? I hear
the Grahams are terribly anxious about it. Cornelia said her father
was unable to sleep."
"No news yet; but, May, be sure you do not let--"
"Was it the 'Morning Star'? Is he lost?"
Beulah stood crouching at his side, with her hands extended
pleadingly, and her white face convulsed.
"My child, do not look so wretched; the vessel that Eugene sailed in
was disabled in a storm, and has not yet reached the place of
destination. But there are numerous ways of accounting for the
detention, and you must hope and believe that all is well until you
know the contrary." He drew her to his side, and stroked her head
"I knew it would be so," said she, in a strangely subdued,
"What do you mean, child?"
"Death and trouble come on everything I love."
"Perhaps at this very moment Eugene may be writing you an account of
his voyage. I believe that we shall soon hear of his safe arrival.
You need not dive down into my eyes in that way. I do believe it,
for the vessel was seen after the storm, and, though far out of the
right track, there is good reason to suppose she has put into some
port to be repaired."
Beulah clasped her hands over her eyes, as if to shut out some
horrid phantom, and, while her heart seemed dying on the rack, she
resolved not to despair till the certainty came.
"Time enough when there is no hope; I will not go out to meet
sorrow." With a sudden, inexplicable revulsion of feeling she sank
on her knees, and there beside her protector vehemently prayed
Almighty God to guard and guide the tempest-tossed loved one. If her
eyes had rested on the face of Deity, and she had felt his presence,
her petition could not have been more importunately preferred. For a
few moments Dr. Hartwell regarded her curiously; then his brow
darkened, his lips curled sneeringly, and a mocking smile passed
over his face. Mrs. Chilton smiled, too, but there was a peculiar
gleam in her eyes, and an uplifting of her brows which denoted
anything but pleasurable emotions. She moved away, and sat down at
the head of the table. Dr. Hartwell put his hand on the shoulder of
the kneeling girl, and asked, rather abruptly:
"Beulah, do you believe that the God you pray to hears you?"
"I do. He has promised to answer prayer."
"Then, get up and be satisfied, and eat your breakfast. You have
asked him to save and protect Eugene, and, according to the Bible,
He will certainly do it; so no more tears. If you believe in your
God, what are you looking so wretched about?" There was something in
all this that startled Beulah, and she looked up at him. His chilly
smile pained her, and she rose quickly, while again and again his
words rang in her ear. Yet, what was there so strange about this
application of faith? True, the Bible declared that "whatsoever ye
ask, believing, that ye shall receive," yet she had often prayed for
blessings, and often been denied. Was it because she had not had the
requisite faith, which should have satisfied her? Yet God knew that
she had trusted him. With innate quickness of perception, she
detected the tissued veil of irony which the doctor had wrapped
about his attempted consolation, and she looked at him so intently,
so piercingly, that he hastily turned away and seated himself at the
table. Just then Pauline bounded into the room, exclaiming:
"Fourteen to-day! Only three more years at school, and then I shall
step out a brilliant young lady, the--"
"There; be quiet; sit down. I would almost as soon select a small
whirlwind for a companion. Can't you learn to enter a room without
blustering like a March wind or a Texan norther?" asked her uncle.
"Have you all seen a ghost? You look as solemn as grave-diggers.
What ails you, Beulah? Come along to breakfast. How nice you look in
your new clothes!" Her eyes ran over the face and form of the
"Pauline, hush! and eat your breakfast. You annoy your uncle," said
her mother severely.
"Oh, do, for gracious' sake, let me talk! I feel sometimes as if I
should suffocate. Everything about this house is so demure, and
silent, and solemn, and Quakerish, and hatefully prim. If ever I
have a house of my own, I mean to paste in great letters over the
doors and windows, 'Laughing and talking freely allowed!' This is my
birthday, and I think I might stay at home. Mother, don't forget to
have the ends of my sash fringed, and the tops of my gloves
trimmed." Draining her small china cup, she sprang up from the
table, but paused beside Beulah.
"By the by, what are you going to wear to-night, Beulah?"
"I shall not go into the parlors at all," answered the latter.
"Why not?" said Dr. Hartwell, looking suddenly up. He met the sad,
suffering expression of the gray eyes, and bit his lip with
vexation. She saw that he understood her feelings, and made no
"I shall not like it, if you don't come to my party," said Pauline
slowly; and as she spoke she took one of the orphan's hands.
"You are very kind, Pauline; but I do not wish to see strangers."
"But you never will know anybody if you make such a nun of yourself.
Uncle Guy, tell her she must come down into the parlors to-night."
"Not unless she wishes to do so. But, Pauline, I am very glad that
you have shown her you desire her presence." He put his hand on her
curly head, and looked with more than usual affection at the bright,
"Beulah, you must get ready for school. Come down as soon as you
can. Pauline will be waiting for you." Mrs. Chilton spoke in the
calm, sweet tone peculiar to her and her brother, but to Beulah
there was something repulsive in that even voice, and she hurried
from the sound of it. Kneeling beside her bed, she again implored
the Father to restore Eugene to her, and, crushing her grief and
apprehension down into her heart, she resolved to veil it from
strangers. As she walked on by Pauline's side, only the excessive
paleness of her face and drooping of her eyelashes betokened her
Entering school is always a disagreeable ordeal, and to a sensitive
nature, such as Beulah's, it was torturing. Madam St. Cymon was a
good-natured, kind, little body, and received her with a warmth and
cordiality which made amends in some degree for the battery of eyes
she was forced to encounter.
"Ah, yes! the doctor called to see me about you--wants you to take
the Latin course. For the present, my dear, you will sit with Miss
Sanders. Clara, take this young lady with you."
The girl addressed looked at least sixteen years of age, and, rising
promptly, she come forward and led Beulah to a seat at her desk,
which was constructed for two persons. The touch of her fingers sent
a thrill through Beulah's frame, and she looked at her very
Clara Sanders was not a beauty in the ordinary acceptation of the
term, but there was an expression of angelic sweetness and purity in
her countenance which fascinated the orphan. She remarked the
scrutiny of the young stranger, and, smiling good-humoredly, said,
as she leaned over and arranged the desk:
"I am glad to have you with me, and dare say we shall get on very
nicely together. You look ill."
"I have been ill recently and have not yet regained my strength. Can
you tell me where I can find some water? I feel rather faint."
Her companion brought her a glass of water. She drank it eagerly,
and, as Clara resumed her seat, said in a low voice:
"Oh, thank you! You are very kind."
"Not at all. If you feel worse you must let me know." She turned to
her books and soon forgot the presence of the newcomer.
The latter watched her, and noticed now that she was dressed in deep
mourning. Was she too an orphan, and had this circumstance rendered
her so kindly sympathetic? The sweet, gentle face, with its soft,
brown eyes, chained her attention, and in the shaping of the mouth
there was something very like Lilly's. Soon Clara left her for
recitation, and then she turned to the new books which madam had
sent to her desk. Thus passed the morning, and she started when the
recess bell rang its summons through the long room. Bustle, chatter,
and confusion ensued. Pauline called to her to come into lunchroom,
and touched her little basket as she spoke, but Beulah shook her
head and kept her seat. Clara also remained.
"Pauline is calling you," said she gently.
"Yes, I hear; but I do not want anything." And Beulah rested her
head on her hands.
"Don't you feel better than you did this morning?"
"Oh, I am well enough in body; a little weak, that is all."
"You look quite tired. Suppose you lean your head against me and
take a short nap?"
"You are very good indeed; but I am not at all sleepy."
Clara was engaged in drawing, and, looking on, Beulah became
interested in the progress of the sketch. Suddenly a hand was placed
over the paper, and a tall, handsome girl, with black eyes and
sallow complexion, exclaimed sharply:
"For Heaven's sake, Clara Sanders, do you expect to swim into the
next world on a piece of drawing-paper? Come over to my seat and
work out that eighth problem for me. I have puzzled over it all the
morning, and can't get it right."
"I can show you here quite as well." Taking out her Euclid, she
found and explained the obstinate problem.
"Thank you! I cannot endure mathematics, but father is bent upon my
being 'thorough,' as he calls it. I think it is all thorough
nonsense. Now, with you it is very different; you expect to be a
teacher, and of course will have to acquire all these branches; but
for my part I see no use in it. I shall be rejoiced when this dull
school-work is over."
"Don't say that, Cornelia; I think our school days are the happiest,
and feel sad when I remember that mine are numbered."
Here the bell announced recess over, and Cornelia moved away to her
seat. A trembling hand sought Clara's arm.
"Is that Cornelia Graham?"
"Yes. Is she not very handsome?"
Beulah made no answer; she only remembered that this girl was
Eugene's adopted sister, and, looking after the tall, queenly form,
she longed to follow her and ask all the particulars of the storm.
Thus ended the first dreaded day at school, and, on reaching home,
Beulah threw herself on her bed with a low, wailing cry. The long-
pent sorrow must have vent, and she sobbed until weariness sank her
into a heavy sleep.
Far out in a billowy sea, strewed with wrecks, and hideous with the
ghastly, upturned faces of floating corpses, she and Eugene were
drifting--now clinging to each other--now tossed asunder by howling
waves. Then came a glimmering sail on the wide waste of waters; a
little boat neared them, and Lilly leaned over the side and held out
tiny, dimpled hands to lift them in. They were climbing out of their
watery graves, and Lilly's long, fair curls already touched their
cheeks, when a strong arm snatched Lilly back, and struck them down
into the roaring gulf, and above the white faces of the drifting
dead stood Mrs. Grayson, sailing away with Lilly struggling in her
arms. Eugene was sinking and Beulah could not reach him; he held up
his arms imploringly toward her, and called upon her to save him,
and then his head with its wealth of silken, brown locks
disappeared. She ceased to struggle; she welcomed drowning now that
he had gone to rest among coral temples. She sank down--down. The
rigid corpses were no longer visible. She was in an emerald palace,
and myriads of rosy shells paved the floors. At last she found
Eugene reposing on a coral bank, and playing with pearls; she
hastened to join him, and was just taking his hand when a horrible
phantom, seizing him in its arms, bore him away, and, looking in its
face, she saw that it was Mrs. Chilton. With a wild scream of
terror, Beulah awoke. She was lying across the foot of the bed, and
both hands were thrown up, grasping the post convulsively. The room
was dark, save where the moonlight crept through the curtains and
fell slantingly on the picture of Hope and the Pilgrims, and by that
dim light she saw a tall form standing near her.
"Were you dreaming, Beulah, that you shrieked so wildly?"
The doctor lifted her up, and leaned her head against his shoulder.
"Oh, Dr. Hartwell, I have had a horrible, horrible dream!" She
shuddered, and clung to him tightly, as if dreading it might still
prove a reality.
"Poor child! Come with me, and I will try to exorcise this evil
spirit which haunts even your slumbers."
Keeping her hand in his, he led her down to his study, and seated
her on a couch drawn near the window. The confused sound of many
voices and the tread of dancing feet, keeping time to a band of
music, came indistinctly from the parlors. Dr. Hartwell closed the
door, to shut out the unwelcome sounds, and, seating himself before
the melodeon, poured a flood of soothing, plaintive melody upon the
air. Beulah sat entranced, while he played on and on, as if
unconscious of her presence. Her whole being was inexpressibly
thrilled; and, forgetting her frightful vision, her enraptured soul
hovered on the very confines of fabled elysium. Sliding from the
couch, upon her knees, she remained with her clasped hands pressed
over her heart, only conscious of her trembling delight. Once or
twice before she had felt thus, in watching a gorgeous sunset in the
old pine grove; and now, as the musician seemed to play upon her
heart-strings, calling thence unearthly tones, the tears rolled
swiftly over her face. Images of divine beauty filled her soul, and
nobler aspirations than she had ever known took possession of her.
Soon the tears ceased, the face became calm, singularly calm; then
lighted with an expression which nothing earthly could have kindled.
It was the look of one whose spirit, escaping from gross bondage,
soared into realms divine, and proclaimed itself God-born. Dr.
Hartwell was watching her countenance, and, as the expression of
indescribable joy and triumph flashed over it, he involuntarily
paused. She waited till the last deep echoing tone died away, and
then, approaching him, as he still sat before the instrument, she
laid her hand on his knee, and said slowly:
"Oh, thank you! I can bear anything now."
"Can you explain to me how the music strengthened you? Try, will
She mused for some moments, and answered thoughtfully:
"First, it made me forget the pain of my dream; then it caused me to
think of the wonderful power which created music; and then, from
remembering the infinite love and wisdom of the Creator, who has
given man the power to call out this music, I thought how very noble
man was, and what he was capable of doing; and, at last, I was glad
because God has given me some of these powers; and, though I am
ugly, and have been afflicted in losing my dear loved ones, yet I
was made for God's glory in some way, and am yet to be shown the
work he has laid out for me to do. Oh, sir! I can't explain it all
to you, but I do know that God will prove to me that 'He doeth all
She looked gravely up into the face beside her, and sought to read
its baffling characters. He had leaned his elbow on the melodeon,
and his wax-like fingers were thrust through his hair. His brow was
smooth, and his mouth at rest, but the dark eyes, with their
melancholy splendor, looked down at her moodily. They met her gaze
steadily; and then she saw into the misty depths, and a shudder
crept over her, as she fell on her knees, and said shiveringly:
"Oh, sir, can it be?"
He put his hand on her head, and asked quietly:
"Can what be, child?"
"Have you no God?"
His face grew whiter than was his wont. A scowl of bitterness
settled on it, and the eyes burned with an almost unearthly
brilliance, as he rose and walked away. For some time he stood
before the window, with his arms folded; and, laying her head on the
stool of the melodeon, Beulah knelt just as he left her It has been
said, "Who can refute a sneer?" Rather ask, Who can compute its
ruinous effects. To that kneeling figure came the thought, "If he,
surrounded by wealth and friends, and blessings, cannot believe in
God, what cause have I, poor, wretched, and lonely, to have faith in
him?" The bare suggestion of the doubt stamped it on her memory, yet
she shrank with horror from the idea, and an eager, voiceless prayer
ascended from her heart that she might be shielded from such
temptations in future. Dr. Hartwell touched her, and said, in his
usual low, musical tones:
"It is time you were asleep. Do not indulge in any more horrible
dreams, if you please. Good-night, Beulah. Whenever you feel that
you would like to have some music, do not hesitate to ask me for
He held open the door for her to pass out. She longed to ask him
what he lived for, if eternity had no joys for him; but, looking in
his pale face, she saw from the lips and eyes that he would not
suffer any questioning, and, awed by the expression of his
countenance, she said "Good-night," and hurried away. The merry hum
of childish voices again fell on her ear, and as she ascended the
steps a bevy of white-clad girls emerged from a room near, and
walked on just below her. Pauline's party was at its height. Beulah
looked down on the fairy gossamer robes, and gayly tripping girls,
and then hastened to her own room, while the thought presented
"Why are things divided so unequally in this world? Why do some have
all of joy, and some only sorrow's brimming cup to drain?" But the
sweet voice of Faith answered, "What I do, thou knowest not now, but
thou shalt know hereafter," and, trusting the promise, she was
content to wait.
"Cornelia Graham, I want to know why you did not come to my party.
You might at least have honored me with an excuse." Such was
Pauline's salutation, the following day, when the girls gathered in
groups about the schoolroom.
"Why, Pauline, I did send an excuse; but it was addressed to your
mother, and probably she forgot to mention it. You must acquit me of
any such rudeness."
"Well, but why didn't you come? We had a glorious time. I have half
a mind not to tell you what I heard said of you, but I believe you
may have it second-hand. Fred Vincent was as grum as a preacher all
the evening, and when I asked him what on earth made him so surly
and owlish, he said, 'It was too provoking you would not come, for
no one else could dance the schottisch to his liking.' Now there was
a sweet specimen of manners for you! You had better teach your beau
Cornelia was leaning listlessly against Clara's desk, and Beulah
fancied she looked very sad and abstracted. She colored at the jest,
and answered contemptuously:
"He is no beau of mine, let me tell you; and as for manners, I
commend him to your merciful tuition."
"But what was your excuse?" persisted Pauline.
"I should think you might conjecture that I felt no inclination to
go to parties and dance when you know that we are all so anxious
about my brother."
"Oh, I did not think of that!" cried the heedless girl, and quite as
heedlessly she continued:
"I want to see that brother of yours. Uncle Guy says he is the
handsomest boy in the city, and promises to make something
extraordinary. Is he so very handsome?"
"Yes." The proud lip trembled.
"I heard Anne Vernon say she liked him better than all her other
beaux, and that is great praise, coming from her queenship," said
Emily Wood, who stood near.
Cornelia's eyes dilated angrily, as she answered with curling lips:
"Eugene one of her beaux! It is no such thing."
"You need not look so insulted. I suppose if the matter is such a
delicate one with you, Anne will withdraw her claim," sneered Emily,
happy in the opportunity afforded of wounding the haughty spirit
whom all feared and few sympathized with.
Cornelia was about to retort, but madam's voice prevented, as,
leaning from the platform opposite, she held out a note, and said:
"Miss Graham, a servant has just brought this for you."
The girl's face flushed and paled alternately, as she received the
note and broke the seal with trembling fingers. Glancing over the
contents, her countenance became irradiated, and she exclaimed
"Good news! The 'Morning Star' has arrived at Amsterdam. Eugene is
safe in Germany."
Beulah's head went down on her desk, and just audible were the
"My Father in Heaven, I thank thee!"
Only Clara and Cornelia heard the broken accents, and they looked
curiously at the bowed figure, quivering with joy.
"Ah! I understand; this is the asylum Beulah I have often heard him
speak of. I had almost forgotten the circumstance. You knew him very
well, I suppose?" said Cornelia, addressing herself to the orphan,
and crumpling the note between her fingers, while her eyes ran with
haughty scrutiny over the dress and features before her.
"Yes, I knew him very well." Beulah felt the blood come into her
cheeks, and she ill brooked the cold, searching look bent upon her.
"You are the same girl that he asked my father to send to the public
school. How came you here?"
A pair of dark gray eyes met Cornelia's gaze, and seemed to answer
defiantly, "What is it to you?"
"Has Dr. Hartwell adopted you? Pauline said so, but she is so
heedless that I scarcely believed her, particularly when it seemed
so very improbable."
"Hush, Cornelia! Why, you need Pauline's tuition about as much as
Fred Vincent, I am disposed to think. Don't be so inquisitive; it
pains her," remonstrated Clara, laying her arm around Beulah's
shoulder as she spoke.
"Nonsense! She is not so fastidious, I will warrant. At least, she
might answer civil questions."
"I always do," said Beulah.
Cornelia smiled derisively, and turned off, with the parting taunt:
"It is a mystery to me what Eugene can see in such a homely,
unpolished specimen. He pities her, I suppose."
Clara felt a long shiver creep over the slight form, and saw the
ashen hue that settled on her face, as if some painful wound had
been inflicted. Stooping down, she whispered:
"Don't let it trouble you. Cornelia is hasty, but she is generous,
too, and will repent her rudeness. She did not intend to pain you;
it is only her abrupt way of expressing herself."
Beulah raised her head, and, putting back the locks of hair that had
fallen over her brow, replied coldly:
"It is nothing new; I am accustomed to such treatment. Only
professing to love Eugene I did not expect her to insult one whom he
had commissioned her to assist, or at least sympathize with."
"Remember, Beulah, she is an only child, and her father's idol, and
"The very blessings that surround her should teach her to feel for
the unfortunate and unprotected," interrupted the orphan.
"You will find that prosperity rarely has such an effect upon the
heart of its favorite," answered Clara musingly.
"An unnecessary piece of information. I discovered that pleasant
truth some time since," said Beulah bitterly.
"I don't know, Beulah; you are an instance to the contrary. Do not
call yourself unfortunate, so long as Dr. Hartwell is your friend.
Ah! you little dream how blessed you are."
Her voice took the deep tone of intense feeling, and a faint glow
tinged her cheek.
"Yes, he is very kind, very good," replied the other, more gently.
"Kind! good! Is that all you can say of him?" The soft brown eyes
kindled with unwonted enthusiasm.
"What more can I say of him than that he is good?" returned the
orphan eagerly, while the conversation in the study, the preceding
day, rushed to her recollection.
Clara looked at her earnestly for a moment, and then averting her
head, answered evasively:
"Pardon me; I have no right to dictate the terms in which you should
mention your benefactor." Beulah's intuitions were remarkably quick,
and she asked slowly:
"Do you know him well?"
"Yes; oh, yes! very well indeed. Why do you ask?"
"And you like him very much?"
She saw the gentle face now, and saw that some sorrow had called
tears to the eyes, and sent the blood coldly back to her heart.
"No one can like him as I do. You don't know how very kind he has
been to me--me, the miserable, lonely orphan," murmured Beulah, as
his smile and tones recurred to her.
"Yes, I can imagine, because I know his noble heart; and, therefore,
child, I say you cannot realize how privileged you are."
The discussion was cut short by a call to recitation, and too calmly
happy in the knowledge of Eugene's safety to ponder her companion's
manner, Beulah sank into a reverie, in which Eugene, and Heidelberg,
and long letters mingled pleasingly. Later in the day, as she and
Pauline were descending the steps, the door of the primary
department of the school opened, and a little girl, clad in deep
black, started up the same flight of steps. Seeing the two above,
she leaned against the wall, waiting for them to pass. Beulah stood
still, and the sachel she carried fell unheeded from her hand, while
a thrilling cry broke from the little girl's lips; and, springing up
the steps, she threw herself into Beulah's arms.
"Dear Beulah! I have found you at last!" She covered the thin face
with passionate kisses; then heavy sobs escaped her, and the two
wept bitterly together.
"Beulah, I did love her very much; I did not forget what I promised
you. She used to put her arms around my neck every night, and go to
sleep close to me; and whenever she thought about you and cried, she
always put her head in my lap. Indeed I did love her."
"I believe you, Claudy," poor Beulah groaned, in her anguish.
"They did not tell me she was dead; they said she was sick in
another room! Oh, Beulah! why didn't you come to see us? Why didn't
you come? When she was first taken sick she called for you all the
time; and the evening they moved me into the next room she was
asking for you. 'I want my sister Beulah! I want my Beulah!' was the
last thing I heard her say; and when I cried for you, too, mamma
said we were both crazy with fever. Oh!"--she paused and sobbed
convulsively. Beulah raised her head, and, while the tears dried in
her flashing eyes, said fiercely:
"Claudy, I did go to see you! On my knees, at Mrs. Grayson's front
door, I prayed her to let me see you. She refused, and ordered me to
come there no more! She would not suffer my sister to know that I
was waiting there on my knees to see her dear, angel face. That was
long before you were taken sick. She did not even send me word that
Lilly was ill: I knew nothing of it till my darling was cold in her
little shroud! Oh, Claudy! Claudy!"
She covered her face with her hands and tried to stifle the wail
that crossed her lips. Claudia endeavored to soothe her, by winding
her arms about her and kissing her repeatedly. Pauline had looked
wonderingly on, during this painful reunion; and now drawing nearer,
she said, with more gentleness than was her custom:
"Don't grieve so, Beulah. Wipe your eyes and come home; those girls
yonder are staring at you."
"What business is it of yours?" began Claudia; but Beulah's
sensitive nature shrank from observation, and, rising hastily, she
took Claudia to her bosom, kissed her, and turned away.
"Oh, Beulah! shan't I see you again?" cried the latter, with
"Claudia, your mamma would not be willing."
"I don't care what she thinks. Please come to see me--please, do!
Beulah, you don't love me now, because Lilly is dead! Oh, I could
not keep her--God took her!"
"Yes, I do love you, Claudy--more than ever; but you must come to
see me. I cannot go to that house again. I can't see your mamma
Grayson. Come and see me, darling!"
She drew her bonnet over her face and hurried out.
"Where do you live? I will come and see you!" cried Claudia, running
after the retreating form.
"She lives at Dr. Hartwell's--that large, brick house, out on the
edge of town; everybody knows the place."
Pauline turned back to give this piece of information, and then
hastened on to join Beulah. She longed to inquire into all the
particulars of the orphan's early life; but the pale, fixed face
gave no encouragement to question, and they walked on in perfect
silence until they reached the gate at the end of the avenue. Then
Pauline asked energetically:
"Is that little one any kin to you?"
"No; I have no kin in this world," answered Beulah drearily.
Pauline shrugged her shoulders, and made no further attempt to
elicit confidence. On entering the house, they encountered the
doctor, who was crossing the hall. He stopped, and said:
"I have glad tidings for you, Beulah. The 'Morning Star' arrived
safely at Amsterdam, and by this time Eugene is at Heidelberg."
Beulah stood very near him, and answered tremblingly:
"Yes, sir; I heard it at school."
He perceived that something was amiss, and, untying her bonnet,
looked searchingly at the sorrow-stained face. She shut her eyes,
and leaned her head against him.
"What is the matter, my child? I thought you would be very happy in
hearing of Eugene's safety."
She was unable to reply just then; and Pauline, who stood swinging
her sachel to and fro, volunteered an explanation.
"Uncle Guy, she is curious, that is all. As we were leaving school,
she met a little girl on the steps, and they flew at each other, and
cried, and kissed, and--you never saw anything like it! I thought
the child must be a very dear relation; but she says she has no kin.
I don't see the use of crying her eyes out, particularly when the
little one is nothing to her."
Her uncle's countenance resumed its habitual severity, and, taking
Beulah's hand, he led her into that quietest of all quiet places,
his study. Seating himself, and drawing her to his side, he said:
"Was it meeting Claudia that distressed you so much? That child is
very warmly attached to you. She raved about you constantly during
her illness. So did Lilly. I did not understand the relationship
then, or I should have interfered, and carried you to her. I called
to see Mr. and Mrs. Grayson last week, to remove the difficulties in
the way of your intercourse with Claudia, but they were not at home.
I will arrange matters so that you may be with Claudia as often as
possible. You have been wronged, child, I know; but try to bury it;
it is all past now." He softly smoothed back her hair as he spoke.
"No, sir; it never will be past; it will always be burning here in
"I thought you professed to believe in the Bible."
She looked up instantly, and answered:
"I do, sir. I do."
"Then your belief is perfectly worthless; for the Bible charges you
to 'forgive and love your enemies,' and here you are trying to fan
your hate into an everlasting flame."
She saw the scornful curl of his lips, and, sinking down beside him,
she laid her head on his knee, and said hastily:
"I know it is wrong, sinful, to feel toward Mrs. Grayson as I do.
Yes, sir; the Bible tells me it is very sinful; but I have been so
miserable, I could not help hating her. But I will try to do so no
more. I will ask God to help me forgive her."
His face flushed even to his temples, and then the blood receded,
leaving it like sculptured marble. Unable or unwilling to answer, he
put his hands on her head, softly, reverently, as though he touched
something ethereal. He little dreamed that, even then, that
suffering heart was uplifted to the Throne of Grace, praying the
Father that she might so live and govern herself that he might come
to believe the Bible, which her clear insight too surely told her he
Oh! Protean temptation. Even as she knelt, with her protector's
hands resting on her brow, ubiquitous evil suggested the thought:
"Is he not kinder, and better, than anyone you ever knew? Has not
Mrs. Grayson a pew in the most fashionable church? Did not Eugene
tell you he saw her there, regularly, every Sunday? Professing
Christianity, she injured you; rejecting it, he has guarded and most
generously aided you. 'By their fruits ye shall judge.'" Very dimly
all this passed through her mind. She was perplexed and troubled at
the confused ideas veiling her trust.
"Beulah, I have an engagement, and must leave you. Stay here, if you
like, or do as you please with yourself. I shall not be home to tea,
so good-night." She looked pained, but remained silent. He smiled,
and, drawing out his watch, said gayly:
"I verily believe you miss me when I leave you. Go, put on your
other bonnet, and come down to the front door; I have nearly an hour
yet, I see, and will give you a short ride. Hurry, child; I don't
like to wait."
She was soon seated beside him in the buggy, and Mazeppa's swift
feet had borne them some distance from home ere either spoke. The
road ran near the bay, and while elegant residences lined one side,
the other was bounded by a wide expanse of water, rippling,
sparkling, glowing in the evening sunlight. Small sail boats, with
their gleaming canvas, dotted the blue bosom of the bay; and the
balmy breeze, fresh from the gulf, fluttered the bright pennons that
floated from their masts. Beulah was watching the snowy wall of
foam, piled on either side of the prow of a schooner, and thinking
how very beautiful it was, when the buggy stopped suddenly, and Dr.
Hartwell addressed a gentleman on horseback:
"Percy, you may expect me; I am coming as I promised."
"I was about to remind you of your engagement. But, Guy, whom have
"My protegee I told you of. Beulah, this is Mr. Lockhart."
The rider reined his horse near her side, and, leaning forward as he
raised his hat, their eyes met. Both started visibly, and, extending
his hand, Mr. Lockhart said eagerly:
"Ah, my little forest friend! I am truly glad to find you again."
She shook hands very quietly, but an expression of pleasure stole
over her face. Her guardian observed it, and asked:
"Pray, Percy, what do you know of her?"
"That she sings very charmingly," answered his friend, smiling at
"He saw me once when I was at the asylum," said she,
"And was singing part of the regime there?"
"No, Guy. She was wandering about the piney woods, near the asylum,
with two beautiful elves, when I chanced to meet her. She was
singing at the time. Beulah, I am glad to find you out again; and in
future, when I pay the doctor long visits, I shall expect you to
appear for my entertainment. Look to it, Guy, that she is present.
But I am fatigued with my unusual exercise, and must return home.
Good-by, Beulah; shake hands. I am going immediately to my room,
Guy; so come as soon as you can." He rode slowly on, while Dr.
Hartwell shook the reins, and Mazeppa sprang down the road again.
Beulah had remarked a great alteration in Mr. Lockhart's appearance;
he was much paler, and bore traces of recent and severe illness. His
genial manner and friendly words had interested her, and, looking up
at her guardian, she said timidly:
"Is he ill, sir?"
"He has been, and is yet quite feeble. Do you like him?"
"I know nothing of him, except that he spoke to me one evening some
months ago. Does he live here, sir?"
"No; he has a plantation on the river, but is here on a visit
occasionally. Much of his life has been spent in Europe, and thither
he goes again very soon."
The sun had set. The bay seemed a vast sheet of fire, as the crimson
clouds cast their shifting shadows on its bosom; and, forgetting
everything else, Beulah leaned out of the buggy, and said almost
"How beautiful! how very beautiful!" Her lips were parted; her eyes
clear and sparkling with delight. Dr. Hartwell sighed, and, turning
from the bay road, approached his home. Beulah longed to speak to
him of what was pressing on her heart; but, glancing at his
countenance to see whether it was an auspicious time, she was
deterred by the somber sternness which overshadowed it, and before
she could summon courage to speak, they stopped at the front gate.
"Jump out, and go home; I have not time to drive in."
She got out of the buggy, and, looking up at him as he rose to
adjust some part of the harness, said bravely:
"I am very much obliged to you for my ride. I have not had such a
pleasure for years. I thank you very much."
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