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"No; it does not visit our western villages."
does to your mother's fancy that she is going to die. It “Then, I advise you to take refuge in one of them only argues a depressed state of mind, corresponding to a for the next three months. It is certain to visit Berganton low state of body. Nevertheless, it is well to do what. ere long."
ever can be done to raise her spirits, and I suspect that “Indeed!” said Bergan, with more curiosity than your presence at her bedside will avail much to that end. alarm. “Why do you think so?”.
Of course, you set out at once?" “From the weather, the atmosphere, the present type “Certainly. Can you tell me at what hour the next of disease-a dozen indications patent to the eye of ex- train leaves Savalla ?” perience. Besides, I am informed by a private letter that Doctor Remy glanced at his watch. “In an hour it has already appeared in New Orleans. Its arrival here and a half. That gives you ample time-fifteen minutes is but a question of time, and I assure you that its to throw a few things into a portmanteau, and tell me acquaintance is to be avoided.”
what I can do for you while you are away; five minutes “Doubtless; and I shall do my best to avoid it, for adieur, and an hour and ten minutes to reach Savalla, except by running away."
in the saddle, with a swift horse." “You might as well say,” answered Doctor Remy, “If I can find one at such short notice," said Bergan, drily, “that you will take every precaution against doubtfully. drowning, except to keep your head above water. Don't Doctor Remy pulled a bell-wire, and Scipio's black be foolbardy, Arling. Yellow Jack has a keen appetite head appeared as instantaneously as if he had been for strangers ; that is to say, for all who are not native- attached to the other end of it. born. If he spares any, it is usually the sickly and “Saddle the roan, and take him round to the front feeble, not the strong and vigorous. He would consider gate,” said Doctor Remy. “Mr. Arling will ride him you a toothsome morsel. Take my advice, and go home, to Savalla. You will go after him, by the stage, this or go north, or take a sea-voyage; do anything rather afternoon. Quick now!” than remain here during the last of summer and the The head ducked, and disappeared. beginning of autumn. It will be no loss to you. After “How can I thank you ?” exclaimed Bergan, wringing the first of next month, there will be absolutely nothing the Doctor's hand. for a lawyer to do here but try to keep cool.”
"By attending to the portmanteau business at once. “And you ?” asked Bergan.
I will come with you; we can talk while you work. I “Oh, I stay, of course. An epidemic is a phy- want to ask something about this Doctor Trubie. Does sician's harvest time. Besides, I have had the yellow he keep up with the times-in medicine, that is ?" ft ver."
“I don't know-I believe so.” :“Then the native-born do not all escape ? "
“ H'm; there have been some recent discoveries of “By no means. Besides, I lost my birthright by great value in the treatment of typhoids, when they run many years' absence in Europe. It was immediately long and low, as they are apt to do. Suppose I write after my return that I was taken. Now I may consider down a few suggestions, which, if there is grave need, you myself acclimated."
can commend to Doctor Trubie's favourable consideration, “As I must be,” replied Bergan, “if, as is likely, I Otherwise, don't interfere." am to spend the remainder of my life at the south. Bergan tried once more to express his gratitude, as the Thank you for your friendly warning, but I think I folded paper was put in his hand; but Doctor Remy cut must stay."
him short. Doctor Remy shrugged his shoulders, and said no “If you really want to thank me," said he, "do it by more. He had merely tried the first and simplest expe- staying away until the sickly season is over ; I shall have dient which occurred to him for removing Bergan from yellow fever patients enough without you. Indeed, you the neighbourhood. He was not surprised nor troubled must; having left, it would be suicidal to come back that it had failed; he had expected as much. But there before the first of November. Tell your mother that I were other and surer means to his end, he believed, at said so, when she is convalescent." his command.
“When she is convalescent," repeated Bergan, quickly. However, he was not obliged to resort to them. Early “Then you do hope?" next morning Bergan came into his office, with an open. “Of course I do. There is every reason for it. letter in his hand and a most anxious face.
Your mother, being a Bergan, has a sound constitution, “Read that,” said he, huskily, “and tell me if there and an almost indomitable vitality; and she is not yet is any hope.”
old. If Trubie makes a good fight, he is sure to win. Doctor Remy obeyed, reading the letter not once At any rate, never despair till the breath is out of the only, but twice, and looking long and meditatively at the body; nor even then, till you are certain that it cannot be signature. Then he lifted his eyes to Bergan's face. brought back."
“Plenty of hope, in my opinion,” said he. “I do Bergan could not but feel a pang of self-reproach for not attach as much importance as this Doctor Trubie bis long-smothered dislike and distrust of the man who
was thus loading him with obligations-help on his way to his mother, ready encouragement, and valuable professional advice. It did not occur to him that there is such a thing as doing good that evil may come.
Doctor Remy looked after him with a triumphant smile. “One out of my way already!” he exclaimed. " It would seem that the devil (another name for fate or chance) has helped me."
Bergan next sought Mrs. Lyte and Astra, for a parting word. He found the latter in her studio, sitting idly by a window, with her hands folded listlessly in her lap, and a weary, dejected face that went to his heart. Never before had he seen her otherwise than busy, bright, and earnest ; never had she met his look with so faint and transient a smile.
"I am sorry that you are going," said she, sombrely ; ** sorrier, perhaps, than the occasion may seem to warrant; but I cannot rid myself of a suspicion that this phase of our life and friendship is finished ; and who can tell what the next may be? Do you remember our first meeting under the oaks, and the red sunset-light, and the dark sunset-cloud? You interpreted them to mean that we were to know sunshine and shade together, did you not? Well, we have had the sunshine ; now it is time for the shade.”
"You forget," said Bergan, kindly," that the cloud was but for a moment, and the sunshine returned.”
"No, I remember it well. But the cloud was very dark while it lasted, and the shine was not quite so bright afterward. It was nearer to its setting.”
Bergan could scarcely believe that it was Astra who spoke. Hitherto she had been the moral sunshine of the house, felt even where it did not directly fall. Her spirit, in its potency of cheer, resembled the sunbeam which, though it kindle but one little spot on the floor into actual brightness, diffuses its light and cheerfulness throughout a whole room. As every article of furniture, every picture, every face, in the room, is the brighter for the sunbeam, so every inmate of Mrs. Lyte's rambling old dwelling had been the happier for Astra's presence and influence. The sound of her clear, buoyant voice, the thought of her light, busy figure, just across the hall, had always served to quicken and brighten his own energies. It had been very much his wont to bring all his shadows, discouragements, and despondencies, to be dissipated by contact with her breezy activity and cheery hopefulness. What had come over her, that she met him now with such dreary premonition of ill, such persistent dwelling upon the dark side? He looked down upon her with the question in his eyes, if not on his lips.
She understood and answered it.
" It is only a dark mood," said she, passing her hand over her brow, “ not an actual trouble-at least, not yet. But forgive me for afflicting you with it now, when you are under the shadow of a real cloud. Let us hope that it will pass quickly. When you reach home, may the sunshine be already there!"
“ Thank you. I shall expect to hear from you through Doctor Remy-all of you, I mean. He has promised to let me know how everything goes on here."
Astra lifted her eyes searchingly to his face. Her fine perceptions had not failed to take note of his inadvertent linking together of Doctor Remy and herself, and his quick attempt to conceal it. She divined that he knew her secret. Her eyes fell, and her face flushed.
Bergan took her hand, and lifted it, in gentle, chivalrous fashion, to his lips. “I wish you every happiness," said he, in a tone that said more than the words—"every sunshine, and few clouds. Good-bye."
“Good-bye,” she answered, withdrawing her hand, yet not without a certain lingering pressure, that seemed even sadder than her face, and that Bergan felt long afterwards. And he left her sitting where he found her.
Mrs. Lyte and Cathie followed him to the door, the one with much quiet sympathy and regret, the other with passionate tears and lamentations.
“He will not come back! he will not come back !" she screamed, wringing her hands, as he rode away; and the mournful cry followed him down the street, like a prophecy of woe.
A little farther on, he discovered that Nix was trotting quietly alongside of his horse. And so intimately had the dog been connected with all his sojourn under Mrs. Lyte's roof, that, in sending him back, he seemed to close the final page of this whole epoch of his life.
His road skirted a retired portion of the grounds of Oakstead. Suddenly he espied Carice, standing on the bank of the creek, with her eyes thoughtfully fixed upon its rippling flow. His sad heart yearned towards her with irresistible force. Glancing at his watch, he saw that there was yet time for a brief, parting word. He Aung himself from his horse, threw the bridle over a gatepost, and ran quickly towards her.
“I am so glad to find you here!” he exclaimed, as he drew rear; “ otherwise, I must have gone without saying good-bye. I am sent for, in great haste ; my mother is very ill, and-_"
He stopped, his grave face said the rest.
“I am very, very sorry!" putting her hand in his, with quick, earnest sympathy. “When did you hear?”
“ This morning. She insisted that I should be sent for, as soon as she was taken ill; she believed that she could not recover. It is the typhoid fever."
Carice's face blanched suddenly. “Ah! that has a fearful sound,” she said, shiveringly. “My two brothers --"
Her voice failed, and her slight frame shook with sudden emotion. It was the first time that Bergan had heard her allude to the only sorrow which she had yet known ; but the effect of which had been all the more keenly felt, doubtless, because, for her parents' sake, she had shut it resolutely into the depths of her heart, never allowing its shadow to be seen for a moment on the face wherein they now looked for consolation and cheer.
At the same time, Doctor Remy stood smiling to himself, in his office,-a dark, ominous smile.
“I am sure of three months," said he. “And in three months, tact and perseverance can accomplish a great deal.”
At the same time, too, Astra rose suddenly from the chair, where Bergan had left her sitting, and begun to pace up and down the room.
“I have been idle too long," she said to herself; “ I have let myself dream till my world is peopled with shadows, and I cannot distinguish the false from the true. Work is what I want. Work will exorcise these phantoms, and make my brain clear and strong again."
She stopped and looked fixedly into vacancy, striving to recall a former conception that had been dazzled out of sight in the golden dawn of her love. In a moment, it rose again before her ; a great, stalwart, straining figure, a man struggling up out of the waves that had well nigb worsted him, with a little child on his shoulders.
Quickly she improvised a kind of platform, and brought out her fertile box of clay. Nervously, she fastened her supports together; rapidly around them rose the soft grey plastic material in the rude, rough resemblance of a human form.
Much moved, Bergan put his arm round the slender tremulous form. At first, it was only the blind, manly instinct of help and support that prompted him ; but with the act there came a swift revelation, a great rush of tenderness that almost took his breath away. Though he had never suspected it till now, he knew, in an instant, beyond the possibility of a doubt, not only that he loved Carice, but that he had loved her long.
Carice, on her part, was quick to feel the sudden, subtile change in the character of the support given her, and made a fluttering movement of escape. But Bergan would not let her go.
“Carice," said he, gravely," if I should return sorrowing, will you console me?"
“If I can,” she answered, simply, raising her blue eyes to his face.
“If you can!” he repeated, with a deep, tender intonation,—“oh, Carice! it must be a heavy sorrow indeed that you cannot console!”
As he spoke, the day, which had hitherto been cloudy, suddenly broke into a smile, pouring a flood of golden light on the river, trickling through the boughs of the overhanging trees in great shining drops, and flinging a yellow gleam far down their grey trunks. Wondrous sympathy of Nature with the bliss of two spirits made one,—the tender joy that keeps, throughout the musty years, the freshness and fragrance of its Eden birth! Yet, had the day still held its gloom, it would have been bright in Carice's eyes, and bright in Bergan's. Wherever Love is newly born, it creates a sunshine of the heart, which overflows upon the outward world, and fills it with celestial radiance.
Five minutes later, and Carice was alone by the river's bank, blushing to hear how persistently the little stream kept whispering and singing of what it had just seen and heard. The leaves, too, seemed to be softly talking it over among themselves; and a red bird and a grey one were gossiping merrily about it among the branches. .
Still more plainly, Carice's face told the story, when she sought her parents. They saw at once that it was not the same face which had gone out from them an hour before. It had changed as an opening rosebud must have changed in the same time, under the balmy breathing of the warm south wind. Its merely girlish loveliness was over; playing about the mouth, and shining from the eyes, there was a bright and tender smile that seemed gushing from the very heart of awakening womanhood. Never had she seemed so lovely, never so radiant. Looking upon her, it was easy to divine the secret of angelic beauty. The heavenly existences are immortally beautiful because immortally happy.
“Did you engage yourself to him?” asked Mr. Bergan almost sternly, when her brief tale was told.
“Of course not,” answered Carice, opening wide her blue eyes at the unusual tone,—"not until you and mamma are consulted. Only we know that we love each other."
WITH A Double Heart. Now and then, on a summer's day, the air is suddenly filled with minute, swarming insects of the genus ephemera. They come unnoticed and unheralded; the air is thick with them ere one is aware ; ears, mouths, and nostrils are filled with them, despite all efforts to the contrary; they are variously regarded from the scientific, the poetic, and the moral point of view, or merely as nuisances; by and by, they are gone as they came.
In just such wise, a swarm of rumours prejudicial to the reputation of Bergan Arling suddenly filled the air of Berganton; coming no one knew whence, but quickly circulating everywhere, to be variously met with surprise, doubt, belief, regret, anger, and indifference. It was averred that he had gone home deeply in debt, at least to his good friend Doctor Remy, who certainly deserved better treatment at his hands. It was alleged that he was hopelessly the victim of a depraved appetite for strong drink, although, by the help of the same good friend, he had managed, thus far, to save himself from public exposure. It was affirmed that he had persuaded Astra Lyte into a secret engagement, perhaps for the sake of mere, pastime, perhaps with a view to the ultimate possession of the roof which had so long sheltered him, or to the union of his own with Astra's chances for the future ownership of Bergan Hall. Finally, it was shrewdly suspected that, having grown weary alike of the debts, the engagements, and the measure of constraint only too glad to prescribe immediate change of air and
which he had hitherto exercised over himself, he had suddenly broken away from all three, with the trumped-up excuse of his mother's illness, and taken himself off, not to return.
Coming, as has been said, no one knew from whence, and having no apparent vouchers, these rumours nevertheless penetrated to counting-rooms and boudoirs, to offices and to bar-rooms, to Major Bergan on his vast estate, and Dick Causton in his narrow cabin, to Godfrey Bergan at his desk, and Carice beside her mother-everywhere, save to the two persons most directly interested; namely, Bergan Arling on his rapid way homeward, and Astra Lyte in her studio.
Astra was hard at work now. Every hour, her clay model grew in strength or symmetry under her rapid touches. Yet her hope of finding clearness and quietness of mind in the exercise of her beloved art, had been woefully disappointed. The phantoms of doubt and anxiety which had haunted her idleness were not laid by her industry, but only held in abeyance until the inevitable moment of exhaustion, or of suspended inspiration, brought them
upon her again, with tenfold power to annoy. Do what she would, she could not shut her eyes to the fact that a change had come over Doctor Remy, nor prevent herself from speculating as to its nature and cause.
At first, it was only that miserable and dream-like change of look and manner which forbids one to complain, because it gives no lucid explanation of itself to the intellect, however it
may disturb and depress the heart. Its effect was magical, nevertheless, in clearing Astra's vision from that soft, transfiguring haze of the imagination through which love delights to gaze at its object, and in giving her occasional glimpses into the depths and intricacies of Doctor Remy's character. Unconsciously, whenever he came near her, she fell to watching his words, his tones, his looks, even his motions and attitudes, for indications of the hidden, inner man, upon whose qualities and tendencies her happiness so largely depended. The object of this scrutiny was too keen-witted not to be aware of it, and too subtle not to avail himself of it to further bis own ends. With apparent carelessness, but consummate art, he allowed more and more of his true character to come to the surface; he showed himself scornful toward religion, faithless toward mankind, indifferent and unsympathizing toward herself, in the hope of quickly transforming her affection into disgust, and forcing her to put a speedy end to their engagement. Doing this whenever he met her, he none the less took good care o make it manifest that he avoided her as far as possible.
Under these circumstances, no wonder that Astra grew pale and thin, that alternately she worked as in a fever, or stood idle as in a dream, that her old, cheery alacrity gave place to sombre restlessness, and her glow of happy spirits to pale depression, that, in short, she peedily became so unlike herself as greatly to alarm Mrs. Lyte, who finally appealed to Doctor Remy. He was
Mrs. Lyte stood aghast. “I do not see how I can manage it,” said she, slowly. My income is just sufficient for our present mode of life; there is no surplus to meet the added expense of a health trip."
Doctor Remy mused for a moment. « We will talk over this matter again," said he, at length, looking at his watch; “just now I have an engagement. But trust my assurance that wherever there is a plain necessity for a thing, there is a way to obtain it. Good morning."
Doctor Remy's engagement did not prevent him from repairing straightway to Bergan Hall, whither the rumours already alluded to had preceded him. And so artfully did he work upon Major Bergan's hasty and arbitrary temper as to induce him forthwith to warn Mrs. Lyte of the existence of the forfeited mortgage, and his intention to foreclose at an early day. Be it said, however, in the Major's behalf, that he graciously designed said warning to play somewhat of the part of a blessing in disguise. For, having first shown Mrs. Lyte how completely she was in his power, it was his generous intention to offer her the largest mercy thereafter, even to the immediate relinquishment of every claim against her estate, on the easy condition that she and her daughter should at once break off all relations and engagements with his nephew, Bergan Arling. Thus, he would save Astra from what he was easily persuaded would turn out to be a most unhappy marriage ; at the same time that he would gratify a certain odd itching in his fingers to meddle in Bergan's affairs. The whole business was arranged in less than an hour, and Doctor Remy returned homeward triumphant.
Nor was his elation at all shadowed by any thought of the suffering about to be inflicted at his instigation. Men of his naturally hard and forceful character, intensified by long culture of the intellect at the expense of the sensibilities, are apt to take a terribly straight path in one sense, if a woefully crooked one in another, to whatever end they have in view. The feelings of others, where they cannot be made to subserve their purposes, are regarded as so many obstructions in their way ; to be pushed aside, or trampled under foot, as the case may be.
Possibly, too, they do not credit others with a greater depth of feeling than they are conscious of in themselves. Certainly, Doctor Remy, knowing nothing by experience, of the tender and sacred associations that cluster around the home of years, was not likely to concern himself about the probable grief of Mrs. Lyte, at leaving hers, except as it might hinder or prevent her departure. For, go she must-at least, for a time-since Astra would not be likely to go without her. His present task was so to smooth and clear the way for them, on the one hand, while he furnished the necessary degree of motive power on the other, that they should be gone ere Major Bergan was aware, or had submitted his terms of compromise to their consideration.
A slight Aush rose to Astra's face, and her eyes lit;
but she kept her seat, and she answered not a word, OverBURDENED.
though Doctor Remy waited a moment, as if he expected Carice BERGAN was gifted with instincts singularly her to speak. Seeing her silent, however, he went on quick and delicate. She had not long breathed the same slowly, and with seeming reluctance; yet, to a keen and atmosphere with Astra and Doctor Remy, before she felt disinterested observer, it might have appeared that he it growing heavy around her with some intensity of was trying his best to provoke her. emotion which she neither shared nor understood. It “I once told you that it was not in my nature to might be sympathy, it might be aversion ; in either case, trust,” said he. “But I have trusted you, Astra, even its effect was to make her feel confused and constrained to blindness, else I should not have been indebted to in their presence. At one moment, she seemed to behold others for the first intimation of things that I ought to them afar off, as it were, in a sphere of their own, whither have seen for myself. I should have discovered what she had neither the right nor the ability to follow them; sort of game you were playing, before the knowledge was at another, she felt herself standing between them, barring forced upon me at the hands of public rumour. I their way to a free and satisfactory interchange of thought suppose that I ought to take shame to myself for being and feeling; and again, she believed that Doctor Remy so easily deceived—I do; nevertheless, your shame is alone was responsible for her discomfort, interrupting, certainly the greater for having so deceived me." by his presence, the cordial flow of sympathy between The flame in Astra's eyes was kindling brightly now, Astra and herself. At any rate, it would be a relief to and her breath came quick and short; nevertheless, it escape from so oppressive an atmosphere; accordingly, was in a tone of the coldest and quietest dignity that she she took her departure, leaving the lovers—if such they answeredcan be called-together.
“I am not quick at reading riddles; be so good as to Certainly, there was nothing lover-like in the manner tell me, plainly, what you mean." with which they faced each other, a few moments after . “As plainly as the subject allows," returned Doctor the door had closed behind her. That brief interval had Remy, in a tone that was in itself a taunt. “I mean been spent by both in preparation for the crisis which that the names of Astra Lyte and Bergan Arling are the one knew, and the other felt, to be approaching. ringing together from one end of the town to the other Astra awaited it with a mixture of eagerness and dread; in a way which, it may readily be believed, is not pleasant she was weary of wearing the checkered tissue of suspense to my ears. It is confidently asserted-and believed and anxiety; she would be glad to know exactly what that a secret engagement exists between them; that is to was in store for her, even though the bitter fruit of such say, the lady has long admitted the gentleman to a knowledge should be mortification and anguish. Doctor degree of daily intimacy and familiarity, which she could Remy's face was set and hard ; over it a sombre emotion, not with propriety have accorded to any other than her like the grey shadow of a cloud on a rock, now and then promised husband ; some say, not even to him. Mr. passed swiftly, taking nothing from its sternness, but Arling has been observed to be in her studio for hours adding much to its gloom. He looked like a man who, together; he has been seen strolling with her in the outat no slight cost to himself, has braced his soul with iron skirts of the town; the twain have been noticed talking for the performance of some heavy, but necessary, task. earnestly together in that out-of-the-way spot known as Little as he likes it, he will carry it out pitilessly to the oak amphitheatre. On all these occasions the lady the end.
has been observed to be so much the more demonstraWith an inauspicious frown on his brow-none the tive of the two, as to give rise to the suspicion that the less dark because it must have been assumed-he now gentleman's sudden journey westward has been taken, opened the conversation by saying, abruptly
mainly, for the purpose of freeing himself from entangle"Astra, I have heard some very strange rumours of ments not approved by his better judgment." late."
. As these atrocious sentences fell, one by one, with “Indeed!” she returned, with a note of disappoint distinct and cutting emphasis, from Doctor Remy's lips, ment, as well as of surprise, in her voice. This was but Astra rose to her feet; the flush on either cheek settled a roundabout road to explanation, she thought; it would into a vivid crimson spot, in the midst of a deadly pallor ; have pleased her better had the Doctor chosen a more her eyes darted fire ; her lips trembled with the rush of direct one. She looked round for a chair, and sat down an indignation too tumultuous, as yet, for word or action. wearily, as if to wait his pleasure with such patience as Noting these signs, Doctor Remy congratulated himself she could command.
upon the successful progress of his experiment. Already, However, Doctor Remy was going as straight to the the lioness was at bay; with a little more provocation, point-his point, at least—as could be wished. . “Per- she would think only of vengeance. haps you will be less indifferent to these rumours," he He resumed his statement. “At first, of course, I continued, insinuatingly, “when you understand that paid no attention to these rumours; my ears and eyes they concern you, and your good name, much.”
were closed against them by that blind, foolish trust in