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instance, that I have a good reason for what I do, you will be able to trust me hereafter."
"I will, indeed, I will!" exclaimed Astra, eagerly.
“The worst of it is,” pursued the Doctor, “that you compel me to betray a trust-your mother's trust."
Astra's cheek Alushed. She had been miserable at the idea of keeping anything from her mother ; was she, then, the one really excluded from confidence ?
“Stay,” said she, proudly, “I do not wish to hear anything that my mother desires to conceal from me.”
“Then,'' replied the Doctor, “it is impossible for me to explain why our engagement must not be made known at present to your mother."
Astia looked bewildered, as well she might, at this apparently inscrutable complication.
Doctor Remy seemed to take pity on her perplexity. “ Listen, dear,” said he, “and you will soon understand. Your mother consulted me professionally a fortnight since.”
Astra's cheek grew white with sudden fear. is it?” she gasped.
“ There is no immediate danger," said the Doctor, “and may not be for years with due precautions. But there is a tendency to heart disease, and it is imperative just now that she should not be agitated; and this, Astra, is the reason why she must not hear of our engagement for some time to come."
Astra looked down thoughtfully. “I think you are mistaken," said she. “I believe it would be a relief to her to know that my future is in such good hands.”
“Doubtless, that would be the ultimate effect," replied Doctor Remy; “but there would be emotional excitement, at first, more than is good for her; so much that I, as a physician, am bound to forbid it.”
Astra could not but admit that the prohibition was just. Mrs. Lyte had seemed very fragile and feeble of late. Astra had urged that application to Doctor Remy which, it now appeared, her mother had made, but in regard to the results of which she had chosen to keep silence-from a loving wish, probably, to
save her daughter from unavailing anxiety. Astra's heart swelled at the thought.
“ Are you sure,” she asked, “that there is no immediate danger ?"
“ As sure as one can be in such cases, if she is kept
“ You see," suggested Doctor Remy, “how easy it is to be misled by appearances, even with the best intentions. The faith, of which I used to dream, would never have fallen into that error."
“I will try to have it hereafter,” said Astra.
And yet,” returned Doctor Remy, “ you will doubt. less insist upon a further explanation of the reason why I do not wish our engagement to be known to the outside world.”
“Indeed, I shall not,' returned Astra, glad of an opportunity of proving that she was neither so distrustful nor so curious as he believed. “Of course, the outside world must wait till mother is informed; she has the right to the first telling. If you have any other reason for keeping the matter secret, I do not seek to know it."
Could Astra have seen the look of triumph in Doctor Remy's face she would have been startled; but he only said, quietly
Thank you for so much trust." And, after a moment, he added, As you say, it is your mother's right to know first. Of course, then, you will not indulge in any confidences to intimate friends."
“Certainly not,” said Astra, a little surprised. “Indeed, I have none, except, perhaps, Carice Bergan."
“I would not mention it even to her," said the Doctor.
“I do not intend to," replied Astra, decidedly. “But I must go in; mother will miss me."
THE FOUNDATIONS Fail.
Astra's light form being quickly lost behind the intervening foliage, Doctor Remy turned slowly and meditatively toward his office; which, inasmuch as it bad been built for the use and behoof of the late Doctor Lyte, possessed its own door of convenient communication with the garden.
And so, it had come to pass that, as Doctor Remy walked up the shady garden walk, he had good reason to congratulate himself upon the success, thus far, of his plans. Not only was Astra won, but she had consented to keep silence about the wooing, for awhile. Thus he was saved from the awkwardness of having to account to Mrs. Lyte for his unwillingness to have the engagement made public. It would be difficult to invent a reason likely to commend itself to her judgment; yet it was out of the question to give her the real one--namely, his reasonable doubt whether he should be altogether acceptable to Major Bergan as the future husband of that gentleman's heiress, and so, in some sense, as his heir ; and his consequent fear lest the will in her favour should be set aside. Such a confession might give a mercenary tinge to his suit, in Mrs. Lyte's eyes, which he wisely deprecated. So far as he knew, neither she nor her
"And is there any probability that the disease may be eventually cured?”
“There is a possibility, with the same indispensable condition.”
Doctor Remy waited for a moment, in order that Astra might be duly impressed with this answer; then he asked, with a kind of proud humility
“Have I justified myself in this matter?”
“ Forgive me," said Astra, penitently. “Of course I never really distrusted your motives ; I only fancied that my duty to my mother could not be affected by them.”
daughter had heard of the Major's declaration of his gracious intentions toward the latter ; or, if they had, they regarded it only as a meaningless ebullition of his rage at Bergan Arling. Such, in truth would the Doctor himself have thought it, except for certain later inquiries respecting Miss Lyte, put to himself by the Major ; which seemed to show that the matter had not escaped his memory. Besides, in consideration of the Major's bitter resentment toward his brother and nephew-extending, apparently, to everybody connected with either no more eligible heir to the Bergan estate was to be found than Astra Lyte. If the Major had made his will, as he threatened, there was no one, in the whole Bergan connection, with so strong a claim upon his favourable con sideration.
Here the Doctor paused for a moment in his slow walk. “If!” he muttered, peevishly. “To think that the whole thing turns on a miserable if !' I must contrive some way of finding out whether that will—or any will-was ever made. There must be no defective nor missing links in this chain, nothing to invite the meddling of the cursed fate which has followed me so long. The Major must not be permitted to die, one of these days, by the interposition of Providence and delirium tremens, or something vastly like it-and leave me with an abortive plan and a portionless fiancée. To be sure, I should not be long in getting rid of the latter, but there would be no help for the former.”
His soliloquy had brought him to his office door. Suddenly bethinking himself, then, that a certain patient had been overlooked in the catalogue of the day's duties, he called for his horse, and set out to make good the omission.
His road led past the Bergan estate. As he was galloping swiftly onward, absorbed in his own reflections, he heard an energetic “Halloo !" Pulling up his horse, and looking back, he beheld Major Bergan leaning over a small gate, which opened into the fields near the quarter.
" Are you deaf?” was his angry salutation, duly emphasized with an oath. “Here I've been hollering after you till I'm black in the face. I wish I had saved myself the trouble !"
"All the fault of my horse's hoofs,” replied the Doctor, good-humouredly, as he turned his horse toward the gate; “they made such a clatter under me, that I could not well hear anything else. How can I serve you?”
Major Bergan hesitated. Apparently his business did not come readily to his lips.
“Perhaps you are on your way to a patient,” he finally observed, as if he would be well enough suited to find an excuse for not broaching it at all.
His reluctance only stimulated the Doctor's curiosity. “The case is not urgent,” said he, carelessly ; " by and by, or even to-morrow morning, will do just as well. There is no reason why I should not be entirely at your service—as I am.”
“Come in, then,” returned the Major, in a tone that
was far from gracious, but swinging open the gate, nevertheless, for Doctor Remy's admission.
The latter dismounted, led his horse through, and slipping the bridle over his arm, walked by the Major's side to the cottage. On the way, the latter vouchsafed a brief explanation of his wishes.
“I've been thinking a good deal of the advice that you gave me awhile ago,” said he, “and—and—I've concluded to make my will. So, seeing you riding by, just as my mind was full of the subject, it occurred to me that I might as well call you in, and have the thing over with.”
“And a very sensible decision," returned Doctor Remy, as quietly as if he were not filled with unexpected delight that the information which he had hoped to gain only at cost of some deep and difficult scheming, was thus placed within easy reach. “I only wonder that you have not done it before.”
“I don't see why I should,” replied Major Bergan, sharply ; “I've always been strong and hearty—what had I to do with making wills? And, now that I think of it, what have I to do with it now? I'm not in a decline yet, by any means."
“So much the better for your work,” replied Doctor Remy, composedly. “Deathbed wills are often contested. No one will question your soundness of mind at present.”
“I should think not,” said the Major, decidedly. “If he did, he wouldn't be apt to doubt the soundness of my sinews—I'd horsewhip him into instant conviction."
“Are you provided with witnesses?" asked the Doctor, when the Major's chuckle had subsided.
“Witnesses? How many does it want?”
The Major mused for a moment. “I can have them here by the time they are needed,” said he. “My new overseer at Number Two will do for one, and I'll send for Proverb Dick for the other. Step into the cottage, and make yourself at home for a moment, while I see about it."
Doctor Remy Aung himself into the first chair that presented itself, and sank into a fit of thought. A vague disquietude oppressed him, notwithstanding that events seemed to be shaping themselves so much in accordance with his wishes. He believed himself to be on the eve of victory, or at least of a certain measure of present success which would ensure victory; but both religion and philosophy, he knew, were agreed in representing human expectations as of the nature of the flower of the field, in various danger from the frost, the knife, and the uprooting wind. To this general testimony he could add the special confirmation of his own experience. Like most men, Doctor Remy had the sobering privilege of looking back upon a career of which the successes were few, and the failures and disappointments many. The track of his earthly pilgrimage, thus far, he bitterly thought, was tolerably well strewn with wrecks and abortions.
Why, he asked bimself, had he failed ? Because of
his mistakes, no doubt. Let every man bear the blame of his own acts, and not try to throw it off on his neighbours, or that convenient scapegoat, Providence. Looking back, he could discern many a point (and notably one) where he had committed a grave error. But his mistakes had been his instructors, nevertheless. He had gained from them knowledge that should stand him in good stead yet. To his former qualities of boldness, energy, perseverance, and skill, he now added the experience that could use them to better effect. It would be strange indeed if he could not henceforth command success.
He had just reached this conclusion when Major Bergan joined him. Ample provision of lights, paper, pens, and ink, being then placed upon the table, together with the inevitable brandy bottle, the two gentlemen sat down opposite each other, and Doctor Remy began his task of drawing up the will. He first wrote the usual legal preamble, in a clear, rapid band, and read it aloud for Major Bergan's approval. Some small legacies followed, taken down nearly verbatim from the Major's dictation. Doctor Remy then waited, for some moments, with his pen suspended over the paper, while the Major seemed trying vainly to arrange his thoughts.
“ I don't quite know how to word the next,” said he, at length, “ you must put it into shape yourself. I hold a mortgage of the place where Catherine Lyte lives; and I want it cancelled, at my death, in her favour, or, if she does not survive me, in favour of her daughter Astra."
"You surprise me," remarked Doctor Remy, as he began to write ; "I have always understood that the place was free from incumbrance.”
“You understood wrong, then," replied Major Bergan. “Though, for anything that I know, Catherine Lyte may think so herself. You see, Harvey got into difficulties eight or nine years ago, and I lent him money, and took a mortgage on the place. He kept the interest paid up until his death; and since then, nothing has been said to me about either interest or principal; from which I concluded that Catherine did not know of the fact. And as I felt sorry for her, I decided to say nothing about it myself, as long as I was not in need of the money, nor likely to be. But it will not do her any harm to know, after I am dead, that I have been kinder to her than she knew of.”
Doctor Remy looked up with a smile. "I suspect, said he," that it would not be well for her to offend you."
“I don't know about that,” replied Major Bergan, complacently. “She did offend me, when she took my nephew in; and I came pretty near foreclosing then. But Maumer Rue convinced me that she could not afford to refuse a good offer for her rooms; and moreover, as Harry only had his office there, and took his meals at the hotel, she need not have much more to do with him than I did, if she did not choose."
Doctor Remy did not think it necessary to enlighten the Major in regard to Bergan's familiarity with the
family of Mrs. Lyte, since such a disclosure must needs militate directly against his own ends. He silently put the Major's wish into correct legal phrase and form, and then lifted his head with the question :
Major Bergan's face grew grave and troubled. Thus far, it had been easy work, merely giving away what he did not care for, and should not miss. But now that the bulk of his property, real and personal, was to come in question, he groaned inwardly at the necessity of bequeathing it to any one. Did it not represent all the hopes, energies, labours and results of his whole life? What a naked, shivering, miserable soul he would be without it! He had a feeling that he should never be quite certain of his own identity, in eternity, without the houses, and the lands, the negroes and the gold, for which he had lived in time.
“Well!” said Doctor Remy, by way of reminding him that he was still waiting.
The Major frowned; nevertheless, after another moment, he resumed his dictation.
"I give and bequeath," said he, slowly,"my house known as Bergan Hall, with all the lands thereto pertaining, including the rice-plantation known as “Number Two;' also my three houses in the town of Berganton : also my block in the city of Savannah; also my negroes, horses, mills, and plantation implements; also, my household furniture and other personal property, including all bonds, mortgages, monies, and all other property whereof I die possessed, to —"
Doctor Remy had written down the items of this comprehensive inventory with a delight that he could scarcely keep from shining out in his face; and he now held his pen over the paper, while the Major paused, in real enjoyment of so timely an opportunity for pleasurable recapitulation and anticipation. The pause being a long one, however, he finally raised his eyes to the rugged features opposite, and saw that they were tremulous with emotion. Words, too, soon began to break from the Major's lips, according to the habit which had grown upon him in his solitude ;-he had forgotten for the time, that he was not alone.
“He is the natural heir, as Maumer Rue insists," he muttered, " and the only one justified by the old family precedents. But," he went on, as Doctor Remy began to tremble, vicariously, for Astra's prospects," he left me without so much as saying good bye;' he did just what he knew I was most bitterly opposed to; and he has never come near me since. No, he shall not have it! he never shall have it, in spite of Maumer Rue's prophecies-I'll take care of that!”
And he began to repeat slowly, “bonds, mortgages, monies, and all other property whereof I die possessed, to -to
Again he paused.
“Why can't he say “to Astra Lyte,' and have done with it?" thought Doctor Remy, impatiently, as he suddenly
checked his pen in the midst of the first curve of the letter A.
The Major made another effort ;—"To my niece, Carice Bergan,” he concluded, with a sigh.
Doctor Remy's face fell so suddenly, that it attracted the Major's attention.
"Well! what is the matter now ?” he demanded, sharply.
Doctor Remy could not immediately answer, His mind was in a whirl of confusion, disappointment, and anxiety. Mechanically, he put his hand to his brow; and the gesture helped him to a plausible explanation.
“A sudden pain,” said he, in a low, shaken voice; “I have felt it several times of late. Wait a minute, it will soon be over."
And covering his eyes with his hands, he addressed himself at once to the task of answering the difficult question :
What is to be done now?
It was well for him that he was accustomed to think rapidly and clearly, in the immediate presence of danger, that he was tenacious of purpose too, and that his instinct, in the midst of overthrow and ruin, was to commence at once to rebuild. Yet, for some moments, not an available suggestion presented itself, not a shadow of help for the exigency that had so unexpectedly arisen.
" Then, suddenly, a thought came to him, and with it, a gleam of hope. He took his hands from his eyes, and looked the Major gravely in the face.
“Before we go any farther," said he, “ I feel bound in honour to make a confession. If I had writing your will was going to put me in such an awkward position, I should certainly have desired you to look elsewhere for a lawyer. However, it cannot be helped now. Well, the truth is "-he stopped for a moment, as if to overcome an excessive reluctance," the truth is, I have long admired your niece; and now, as my practice is steadily increasing, and I think I could take care of a wife, I had made up my mind to ask permission to pay
Major Bergan uttered a prolonged “Whew!” and settled himself back in his chair. “ That alters the case, certainly," said he, after a brief consideration of this new phase of the matter.
“I am glad to hear it," exclaimed Doctor Remy, eagerly. “Pray-if it is not too selfish in me to ask itpray give bergan Hall to the next most eligible claimant, and leave me Miss Carice."
The Major raised his eyebrows, and, leaning forward, fixed his eyes on Doctor Remy, as if he had found a new and interesting subject of study.
“Do you mean to say,” he asked, gravely, “ that you would rather have Carice without Bergan Hall than with
don't want to be a pensioner on my wife's bounty. It is doubtful if I could ever make up my mind to address the heiress of Bergan Hall. And thus, you see,
you perist in making Miss Bergan your legatee, you are playing the mischief with my hopes and plans."
Major Bergan continued to stare, thoughtfully, at the Doctor. He was beginning rather to like this disinterested suitor.
"Have you any reason to think that Carice favours you?” he asked, finally.
Doctor Remy hesitated. “I really don't know how to answer that question. If I should say “yes,' in view of the 'trifles light as air,' from which I have ventured to draw some slight encouragement, I should seem, even to myself, to be a conceited'ass; and yet, if you
would only be good enough not to throw Bergan Hall into the scale against me, I should not be absolutely without hope.”
Major Bergan gave a short laugh. “ Who will know,” he asked, that Carice is to have Bergan Hall? I expect you to keep my counsel in this matter. That is why I asked you to do the business. I had an idea that you were closer-mouthed, both by nature and training, than those lawyers in Berganton.”
“I shall know it,” replied Doctor Remy, virtuously, answering the Major's question, and taking no notice of the compliment which followed it. “And I shall know, too, that the heiress of Bergan Hall, if she were aware of her position, might reasonably expect to find a better match than a mere country physician.”
“On my soul,” exclaimed the Major, heartily, “I think she might 'go farther and fare worse!' Doctor, and win her, if you can ; you have my best wishes for
your success. Leave Bergan Hall out of the question ; indeed, it may never come into it, after all. refuse you—"
("Little doubt of that," thought the Doctor.)
I may alter my will a dozen times, or make a new
“You will have to be in a hurry if you do," thought the Doctor again, grimly.)
“At any rate, I expect you to frame that one so that Carice's husband, whoever he may be, can have no control whatever over the property. It is to be hers, and her children's, only. So scribble away there, at your best pace, or Proverb Dick will be here before we get through."
“But your brother Godfrey," began Doctor Remy, in despair, racking his brains for some consideration that would be likely to shake the Major's purpose.
“My brother Godfrey," interrupted Major Bergan, sternly, “has nothing to do with this matter. I don't give the property to him, but to Carice. Perhaps, on the whole, I had better just give her a life-interest in it, and then have it go to her eldest son, who shall take the name of Bergan, and be christened Harry. Yes, that will be the better way. Write it down so."
Decidedly," replied Doctor Remy. “I prefer an equal match to an unequal one. I prefer to be credited with honourable motives, rather than mercenary ones.
“But- " began Doctor Remy again.
“Save your 'buts' until we get through,” broke in Major Bergan, sharply. “I tell you, Carice shall have the place. If you don't want her with it, you can let her alone. And if you can't, or won't, write my will to suit me, I'll send for some one who can and will.”
This threat effectually silenced Doctor Remy. It was essential that the matter should not be taken out of his hands, till he had satisfied himself that it could in nowise be turned to his account. “If it comes to the worst,” said he to himself, “it is something to have the document in my own handwriting. That gives me a better chance to furnish a substitute at need."
With the rigid self-control that always characterized him, therefore, he now put aside, as far as might be, his own hopes and plans, and set himself diligently to the work of completing the will, in accordance with the Major's instructions, and to his entire satisfaction. He did not even move a muscle when, in due time, the Major dictated a paragraph to the effect that if Carice should not survive him, or should die without issue, the estate should fall to a distant cousin, now in Europe, whose sole claim to his consideration appeared to be that he bore the family name. The Doctor was proof against
any further shocks this evening. Fate had done her worst for him, in forcing him to write “ Carice Bergan," where he had confidently expected to write “ Astra Lyte," and to find his account in so doing.
At the end of an hour, three closely written sheets lay upon the table, ready for the signatures of the witnesses, whenever they should appear; and the Major, drawing a long breath of relief to see his lugubrious business so nearly finished, applied himself to the brandy bottle for appropriate refreshment. Doctor Remy sat silent, abstractedly toying with the pen that had been making such havoc with his plans.
Suddenly he raised his eyes to Major Bergan's face with the question
“How did that medicine suit you?”
“Admirably,” replied the Major. “I have had one attack since you were here-a tolerably severe one, toobut the second powder acted like a charm."
"The second powder!” thought the Doctor. “I am afraid that I gave him too many! At that rate, if chance favours him, he may hold on for a year, or more."
He was opening his lips for another remark, when the door shook under a vigorous rap; and scarce waiting for the Major's invitation, Dick Causton entered.
OW that I have given my readers what may be called ourselves against, and the places we have always found
the skeleton part of my subject, we may turn to good. the more agreeable occupation of clothing it with flesh. From not having had this sort of cultivation, which The dry bones of etiquette are necessary, but it is only it is the province and the privilege of older women to where the spirit is infused into them that they make any give to younger ones, girls often make sad mistakes. man or woman truly courteous. We have studied the They do not want a schoolmistress' view of the question, laws of etiquette, now let us look at some of those un- . but that of a sympathizing counsellor, one whose experiwritten laws on tact and good manners, without which ence they may profit by or reject as they choose. the laws of etiquette will only succeed in making you an The sort of relationship that women have with men automaton.
may be classified under three heads-every man you As this magazine is especially addressed to young associate with is either an acquaintance, a friend, or a English women, there is a subject upon which I wish to lover. We will first look at our relationships with men speak to them openly—that is, their behaviour in the acquaintances. society of men. It is a rather difficult subject, because When women first go into the society of men who it is one on which little has been said to English women. are simply acquaintances, they not infrequently feel shy They have always been expected to know that by instinct. and awkward; if they are spoken to, they blush and look Now instinct is a very good thing, and woman's instinct distressed, and sometimes they giggle. Now there is has been lauded both in prose and verse, but what people often in timidity as much vanity and foolishness as there often call instinct in a woman is the result of experience, is in conceit. In either case it is because the idea of self and girls just home from school have had no experience overrides all other ideas. If you do not think about of men's society. It is for us older women, who have yourself at all, but look upon your own dignity as quite to point out to them the rocks we have avoided or hurt a secondary consideration, your manners will be natural,