Part 3 out of 7
"How far had you wandered?" he asked, his face full of glowing
sympathy; "far enough to gather a new impetus for the soul?"
"I fear not. I was questioning my motives, and looking for my
"I fear I should have been absent much longer on such an errand," he
said, and then dropping their badinage they resumed their true
earnest relation to each other.
"Tell me, Hugh, you who have so often illumined my dark states, if
all this contest is of any avail; if it is any use to put forth our
words and have their meaning misinterpreted?"
"I question," she continued, "if we should project our thought until
mankind is impelled by the actual need of something new, to seek
"Our thoughts and soul exchanges are not like the merchant's wares,
to be held up for a bid. The soul is too grand and spontaneous a
creation to be measured. Yes, we must often speak our deepest
thoughts, even though they are cast away as nought, and trampled
upon. There would be little richness or worth without this free
offering, this giving of self for truth's sake, even though we know
that we and our words may be spurned. You are cloudy to-day, my
friend; you have been too long alone, and are consumed by your own
"I am mentally exhausted, Hugh. I needed you to-day, for my soul has
lost all vision. I know by my own experience, that we must speak
when we are full, no matter who misapprehends or turns upon us. It
is this fear that keeps too many from great and noble utterances. We
forget that truth can clear itself, and that principles are not
dependent upon persons. You have given me myself, as you ever do,
when the mist of doubt hangs over me."
"Yes, we must give when there is no approving smile, no look of
recognition; give when our giving makes us beggars, alone and
friendless in the chill air of neglect."
"This is but your own life. I have but put it into words for you
"O, Hugh, you are ever on the mount, looking with calm, steady gaze
over the dark mists. Your head rests in eternal sunshine, like the
towering hill whose top is mantled with the golden light, even
though its base is covered with fog. Shall we ever see the day when
these inner, pivotal truths will be accepted?"
"We shall behold it in the lives of thousands. It matters not when,
or where. Our part is to labor, to plant the seed, though it may not
be our hands that garner the harvest."
"True. I was selfish and looking for grain."
"Not 'selfish.' The human soul seeks recognition, and finds it often
a difficult task to wait for the presence of that human face which
says in every line and feature, 'I know you; I feel your salient
thoughts and motives.' A long time it takes us to learn to do
without the approving smile of man, and go on our way with none but
God and angels to sanction our efforts. I, too, have hours of
darkness. All souls are at times tossed on heaving waters, that they
may rise higher than their weary feet can climb."
"You have done me good to-day; but do not go," she said, seeing him
rise to leave.
"I must; but first tell me if I can have your aid in a material
matter, which I had nearly forgotten?"
"I am at your service."
"Well, then, I am going to have a party, which I suppose is the last
thing you would have imagined of me."
"I should have thought of any thing else; but what has put such an
idea into your head?"
"Some fairy, perhaps. I expect to get some life out of it, and the
satisfaction of seeing my guests enjoying themselves. I shall bring
together a strange medley,--counterparts, affinities, opposites, and
every form of temperament which our little village affords, besides
drawing on places largely remote from here. I must go now. Will you
come and help us to-morrow?"
"I will. My love to Dawn and Miss Vernon."
"Thank you," and he passed out, leaving her bright and full of hope.
She felt the transfusion of his strong life into her own, and
neither herself nor her friend was the same as yesterday.
The day for the party was fair and balmy. Dawn and Miss Vernon rode
to the green-house and purchased flowers for the occasion, and the
home seemed like a fairy bower, so artistically and elegantly had
they arranged the fresh and fragrant blossoms.
Miss Evans glided from room to room, placing a vase here, and a
statuette there, as her feeling suggested, and what was her fancy
was Hugh's, for their tastes were one, and their lives ran parallel
in natural, innocent ways, never able to translate their feelings to
another, but giving and enjoying each other more and more at every
Poor Mrs. Norton thought how pleasant it would be to her, to see a
room full of beautiful things, pleasant faces, and elegant clothes:
it would be such a contrast to her own dull life, which would be
still more lonely but for the frequent visits of Mr. Wyman's family,
and the substantial evidence often given by them that they did not
forget the poor and needy. She arrayed herself neatly in her black
alpacca, the gift of a friend; and when she looked in her little
glass which hung above the table, just were it did thirty years ago,
when her good husband was alive, a rush of better thoughts and
feelings came over her. She lived over again the happy days of her
married life, and almost thought she was making ready to walk by her
husband's side to the little church on the hill. Then the scene
changed, years rolled away, and it seemed but yesterday when she
leaned over the coffin, and looked on the still, pale face that
would never light her home again. Thoughts grew into words, and she
"How little to keep me here. I have far more to recover by death
than to lose; and somehow it seems as though it would not be long
ere I go."
She was not sad; far from it. The thought was pleasant to her, and
folding her white handkerchief over her breast, she surveyed herself
once more, and then putting on her shawl and bonnet, was soon on her
way to Mr. Wyman's, thinking again and again how much good it would
do her to see so many people together.
Mrs. Clarke wondered if Mrs. Simonds would be dressed in great
style, for she had a wish not to be outdone in that direction, and
yet possessed a sufficient degree of good sense to feel that
overdress would be out of place at such a gathering; so she arrayed
herself in a blue silk, not over-trimmed, and put pearls in her dark
hair to match her jewels.
And thus, from different sections, arose a kind of magnetic life, as
each individual's thoughts went out and centered there.
Dawn was dressed in white, with scarlet sash, and coral ornaments.
She seemed like a ray of light flashing through darkness. Her soft,
brown hair hung in wavy curls over her shoulders, and the
involuntary exclamation was, "How beautiful," as the pure light and
brightness of her inner being shone through and over the external.
At dusk, the carriages began to appear, winding up the long avenue,
which led to the house. Then came a few persons on foot, and in an
hour all the bustle and stir attendant upon a crowd was heard in the
hall, on the stairs, and in every room. The house was all aglow with
life, and lines of care and sorrow were swept away by radiant
Masks were drawn over aching hearts; jealousies, envyings, and all
strifes were put at bay, and the better natures of all were called
forth, and responded, each to each. Palm grasped palm, that had not
in the ordinary relations of life thrilled with contact for many
years. Hearts that had grown cold and callous under slights, and
chilling indifferences, were warmed anew in the social atmosphere
which filled the whole house; and then the sound of music swept
through the rooms, lifting all out of their narrowness into higher
and better states.
Mr. Wyman had a word of cheer and love for all, and delicately
brought such temperaments together as could best enjoy
companionship, and for the time kept himself aloof from those he
loved best, that others might partake of their genial natures.
"Can you tell me who that tall, graceful lady is?" asked Miss
Vernon, before Mr. Wyman was aware that she was at his side.
"A Mrs. Hammond," he replied, without looking at her.
"She is very elegant," continued Miss Vernon.
"She is, externally."
"What, not lovely in mind? Can it be that such an exterior covers
"I fear it does. I have known her many years, and although she is a
woman of decorous manners, and some polish, she has none of the
elements of a true lady, to me."
"Why, Mr. Wyman, see how thoughtful she seems of those around her,"
said Florence, her eyes still fixed upon the engaging stranger.
"Yes, I see all that, and all the externalism of her life. It is all
acting. Within, that woman is cold and heartless. She is sharp
enough, and quick in her instincts, but give me hearts in
conjunction with heads."
"Why, then, did you invite her?" she accompanied this inquiry with a
most searching glance.
"For the same reason I invited all. I want them to mingle, for the
time to lose their sense of individual importance, their feelings of
selfishness, or in a few words, to throw off the old and take on the
"Are you enjoying yourself, Florence?"
"Yes, very much. I like to see so many people together, and absorb
the spirit of the occasion."
"I am glad you do. Come this way." He led her to a remote part of
the room, where stood a tall, dark-eyed stranger.
"Miss Vernon, Mr. Temple" and he watched their eyes as they met, and
knew he had linked two souls for at least one evening's enjoyment.
A bustling woman, who could not conceive of any christianity outside
of church-going, came and stood beside Miss Evans, and commenced a
conversation by saying,--
"There seems to be plenty of people in our village, though we don't
see many of them at church."
This was put forth as a preface, designed to exhibit the character
of a forthcoming volume, but Miss Evans adroitly changed the subject
to one of general interest.
Just at this point, a stir was made, a rustling of silks was heard,
and the way opened for a young prodigy in music, considered by his
parents to be the wonder of the nineteenth century; one of those
abstracted individuals who seem to live apart from the multitude,
speaking to no one, save in monosyllables, and walking about, with
an air of superiority, constantly nurtured by his doating parents'
admiration,--at home a tyrant, abroad a monkey on exhibition.
After a flourish of sounds, and several manipulations, each
accompanied with a painful distortion of countenance, he commenced a
long and tedious sonata,--tedious, because ill-timed. On a suitable
occasion it would have been grand and acceptable. Of course the
music was wasted on the air, because it had only a mental rendering.
The anxious parents looked around for the expected applause. It did
not come. Only a few murmured, "How very difficult," while a sense
of relief was so manifest, that none could have failed to realize
that such elaborate performances should be reserved for a far
different occasion. But we are slow in learning the fitness of
things, and that everything has its proper time and place.
The next performer was a sprightly girl of seventeen, who played
several airs, and sung some sweet and simple songs, charming all
with their light and graceful beauty.
Mr. Wyman then led his friend and guest, Mr. Temple, to the
instrument. He touched it with a master hand. One forgot everything
save melodious tones; forgot even that there was a medium, through
which those tones were conveyed to the senses. The performer lost
self, lost all save the author's idea, until, at length, the
ecstatic sounds came soft and clear as light from a star. There was
no intervention of self; his whole being was subordinate to the
great creation--the soul of the theme. Eyes grew moist as the music
floated on the air in one full, continuous strain. Hearts beat with
new pulsations; hopes soared anew; sorrows grew less; life seemed
electric, full of love; sharp lines, and irregularities of mind were
touched, softened, and toned to harmony under the swelling notes,
now soft, sweet, and dulcet; now broad, high, and upsoaring. No
words broke the heavenly spell when the performer left the
instrument, but each thrilled heart became a temple, in which only
love and beauty dwelt.
There, in that holy atmosphere, a soul burst its fetters and went
home. Old Mrs. Norton, who came with such glorious anticipations,
sank back upon the pillow upon which she was resting, while
listening to the soul-ravishing sounds, and died.
No feeling of awe came over the people assembled; but all felt as
though they, too, had entered within the confines of the silent
Gently they raised her form as one would a child who had fallen
There, in the presence of the still, pale face, they parted, with
better, truer natures than when they met.
The months wore away, and Margaret applied herself closely to her
labor, and became a favorite with her companions. Gladly would she
have changed places with most of them, but they knew not the secret
sorrow which was wearing her bloom away. Her sighs grew more
frequent, as the time rapidly approached when she must leave them.
Again and again she resolved to go to Mrs. Armstrong, and tell her
all her grief, but the remembrance of her kindness made her cheek
turn scarlet when the thought suggested itself. No, she could not
reveal it to one whom she loved so well. She must go far away, and
hide her shame from the eyes of all who had befriended her, and she
had made many friends, yet would have lingered a few weeks longer,
had she not one evening just at dark espied an old gentleman from
her village, an acquaintance of her father's. She could not bear the
thought that she must be carried back, to scenes so closely allied
to her sufferings, and bear the scorn of those who knew her. She
could not endure that, and fearing that the person whom she had seen
might some time meet and recognize her, she hastened the
preparations for a change. Again she collected her clothing, now
more valuable, packed it and awaited some indication of the
direction in which she should move.
She must once more see the face of that good woman, who had been so
faithful and kind to her; and after many efforts to call upon her,
finally gained courage and did so.
A strange thrill came over Mrs. Armstrong, as she heard the gate
close, and a well-known step on the gravel walk. Margaret patted her
old friend Trot as she approached the house, and somewhat surprised
Mrs. Armstrong with her presence when she entered.
"I am glad to see you," said Mrs. Armstrong, with her usual kind
look of welcome, but with a deep tremor in her voice. "Come and sit
by me, Margaret, and let me see if your hard labor is wearing you
out. I have thought for some weeks that you looked pale."
Margaret trembled in every limb, as she took the seat her friend
offered her, for a searching glance accompanied her friend's words.
Just then a strange thought flashed through Mrs. Armstrong's mind-a
thought she could not put aside, and she tried in every way to win
the poor girl's confidence, and perhaps might have succeeded had
there not been heard the sound of footsteps outside. Trot's loud
bark made them both start and turn their faces to the window.
Margaret gave one glance,--and she needed not a second to assure her
that the caller was none other than the old gentleman she had seen
on the street. In a moment there was a knock at the door. While Mrs.
Armstrong answered the call, Margaret made one bound from the
sitting room to the kitchen, and from thence into the open air, and
flew as fast as her feet could carry her, towards her boarding
As she turned from the principal street, a woman accosted her, and
inquired the way to the Belmont House. Glad of anything that would
even for a moment take her thoughts from herself, she offered to
show her the way.
The darkness was so great, she had no fear of being recognized, as
she walked in silence with the stranger. One thought filled her
whole being, and the problem with her was, how she could escape from
N--, and where should she find shelter?
"Perhaps you can tell me," said the lady, in a clear, silvery voice,
"of some young girl, or two, or three even, whom I can get to return
with me to B--."
"I am here," she continued, "in search of help; good American help.
I am so worn with foreign servants that I can endure them no
Margaret's heart gave one bound. Here was her opportunity, and she
only needed the courage to offer her services.
"Perhaps you would go?" said the stranger, who looked for the first
time on Margaret's face, as they stopped in the light that shone
brilliantly in front of the Belmont House. "Or, maybe you do not
work for a living. Excuse me, if I have made a blunder."
"I do," answered Margaret, "and would like to go with you if I can
earn good wages."
"I will see that you are well remunerated, provided you suit me. I
shall go to-morrow, in the noon train. If I do not succeed in
getting any others beside yourself, will you meet me at the
Margaret replied in the affirmative, and retraced her steps,
pondering upon how she should secrete herself during the intervening
She walked rapidly back to her home, and thought how fortunate it
was that her room-mates were absent that night, and good Mrs.
Crawford would never suspect that the quiet girl up stairs was
planning how she could escape with her clothing. The darkness of the
evening favored her, and the noise within prevented any that might
be without, from being noticed.
She enclosed the balance due for her board, in an envelope, sealed,
and directed it to Mrs. Crawford, and laid it on the little table at
which she had stood so many mornings, weary in body and sick in
She hoped she would not encounter any one on the stairs, and to her
relief she did not. For an instant she paused, as she heard the
footsteps of the good housewife walking from the pantry to the
dining-room, intent on her useful life, uncouth, illiterate, but
kind and well-meaning. A tear stole over her cheek as she listened
for the last time to that firm step, which never seemed to flag in
its daily rounds, and one which often, when the day's work was over,
went lightly to the bedside of the sick. But no time must be lost;
the door was opened and closed, and she was once again out in the
world, a wanderer. She knew not what her next step was to be.
Standing there in the silence and darkness of the night, she clasped
her hands, and with earnest prayer, implored Divine guidance.
Down through the earthly shadows, through clouds of oppression,
swept a mother's pure, undying love. Love for her wronged child, and
pity for her state; for angel's missions are not in halls of light,
amid scenes of mirth, but far away in desolate homes, with the
oppressed and the forsaken, bringing hope to the despairing, comfort
to the lonely, joy to the sad, and rest to weary hearts.
A thought darted through her mind, and she rose firm and collected,
as though a human hand had been outstretched for her aid. Who shall
question that it was a mother that spoke to her at that moment?
She arose, and as noiselessly as possible wended her way to a small
and obscure dwelling, inhabited by a strange old woman, known to all
the villagers, as possessing a wondrous power of vision, by which
she professed to foretell the future, and decide questions of love
Margaret had often heard the girls in the factory speak of her, and
knew that they frequently consulted her; but she had always shrank
from the thought of going to her dwelling, though often importuned
by them to do so. Now, how gladly her feet turned that way, as to
her only refuge, for she well knew if she was searched for, no one
would think of going there to find her.
She reached the place at last, and with beating heart and dizzy
brain, raised her hand and rapped very softly at the door. Then the
thought flashed over her, that some one might be there who knew her,
and hope fled for an instant.
The rap, low as it was, soon brought the old woman, who opened the
door and said in a voice tremulous but sweet, "Come in, my dear. I
saw last night that a stranger was to visit me at this hour; yes,
it's the same face," then motioned for her to pass in.
Margaret's first thought was that some evil was intended, and she
trembled and grew pale.
"No fears, my child," said the woman, as though she had read her
very thought, "angels are around you, guarding your life. I do only
my part of the work, which is to keep you to-night."
And this was the strange woman of whom she had heard so munch. Her
fears vanished, she took the proffered seat, and without a shadow of
distrust, drank the glass of cordial which was passed to her.
A feeling of rest came over her,--a rest deeper than sleep imparts.
She leaned back in the chair, pillowed her head against the cushion,
and felt more peaceful than she had for many months.
A strange curiosity pervaded her being, as she watched the woman
moving about the room, to know of her former life-the life of her
maidenhood,--and learn if others beside herself had loved and been
"I shall have no visitors to-night," said the woman, seating herself
opposite to Margaret.
"Do you often afford a shelter to strangers, as you have to me
"Yes, child; many a sorrow-laden traveller, worn with life, seeks my
"Sorrow-laden and worn with life," said Margaret, repeating the
words to herself; "she must have known my past experience;" and she
wished she would go on, for somehow her words comforted her.
"Yes, there are more sinned against than sinning," she continued. "I
knew that you was coming, or rather some one, for last night in my
dreams I saw a form, and now I know it was your own, floating on a
dark stream. There was no boat in sight, no human being on shore, to
save you. The cold waters chilled you, till you grew helpless, and
the waves bore you swiftly to the ocean. I cried for help, and was
awakened by my effort. That stream represents your past, and here
you are now in my dwelling. Some one has wronged you, girl?"
She did not see the tinge on the pale cheek of Margaret, but
continued, "Yes, wronged; but I see clouds and darkness before you,
and then happiness, but not the joys of earth. Something higher,
holier, my child."
A light seemed to have gathered over the face of the speaker, and
her words, although strange and new to Margaret, seemed full of
truth and meaning.
"Shall I find rest on earth?" she inquired.
"No, not here; above," the old woman lifted her eyes toward heaven,
"You are stepping into sorrow now; going with one who will degrade
you. Do not follow her. Though her outer garments are of purple and
fine linen, her spiritual robe is black and unseemly."
"Where? O, tell me, then, where to go," exclaimed Margaret, her
whole face pale with terror.
"Go nowhere at present. I see nothing now; all is dark before me.
Stay beneath my roof, till light breaks. I see that you will need a
mother's care ere long."
Here the poor girl's long pent up tears flowed in torrents; tears
such as angels pity. It was a long time ere she grew calm; and when
peace came, it was like that of a statue, she was cold and silent.
No future stretched before her, nothing but a present, sad and
hopeless, in which circumstances had placed her.
"Shall I tell you the story of my girl-life," said the strange,
weird woman, putting a fresh supply of wood upon the fire, which had
fallen into embers.
Margaret's interest manifested itself in her face, as she answered,
"I would like to know if others have suffered like myself?"
"It will help you bear your own burden better, and perhaps show you
that none escape the fire. I will proceed with my narrative."
"Many years ago, so many that it seems as though ages must have
intervened, I loved a young and elegant man, who returned my
affection with all the devotion which an earnest, exacting nature
like mine could desire. I was the only child of wealthy parents, who
spared no pains or expense on my education. With them I visited
Europe, and while there, met this person, who seemed to be all that
mortal could aspire to; refined, educated, and the possessor of a
fortune. The alliance was the consummation of my fond parents'
wishes. I will pass over the weeks of bliss which followed our
engagement, and speak of scenes fraught with the most intense
excitement to myself and others. We were at Berlin when my
engagement was sanctioned by my parents. A few weeks subsequent,
there arrived at the hotel at which we were stopping, a family of
most engaging manners. We were at once attracted to them, and in a
few days words of kindly greeting were exchanged, and finding them
very genial, a warm friendship soon existed between us. The family
consisted of parents, three sons, and two daughters. Laura, the
eldest, was the one to whom I was particularly drawn. She was tall,
graceful, and had about her an air of elegance, which showed
unmistakably, her early associations. But to the point: I had been
walking with my lover one evening, in the summer moonlight, and had
retired to my room, strangely fatigued. I had never before parted
from Milan, my betrothed, with such a lassitude as then pervaded my
entire being. I had always felt buoyant and strong.-That night, as I
laid on my bed, seeking in vain the rest which sleep might give me,
I seemed suddenly to float out in the air, to rise above my body,
and yet I distinctly felt its pulsations. The next moment, the sound
of voices attracted me, and though I was in my room, and the persons
in conversation in a distant apartment, yet I could hear every word
which was uttered. What was my horror to see, for my sight was open
as strangely clear as my hearing, the beautiful Laura sitting beside
Milan, his arm encircling her waist. I tried to speak, but no sound
came from my lips. I shook with fear and wonder. I had surely died,
I thought, just then, and this is the vision and hearing of the soul
released from flesh. 'O, Milan, hear me, hear me,' I cried in
anguish. But no sound of my own lips floated on the air. Nothing was
heard but their words, which I was obliged to hear. And O, how my
heart was turned to stone, and my brain to fire, as these words came
to my ears:
"'Love her! Why, dearest Laura, whom I have adored so long, and whom
chance has again brought into my path,--how can you question my
affection for you,' and then I saw that he knelt at her feet!
"'I think I heard but yesterday, that you were engaged,' continued
the fair and brilliant girl, at whose feet he still remained.
"'O, angel of my heart, will no words convince you that I love you
beyond, above all women? I have in times past exhausted the language
of love in speaking to your heart, Laura, are you heartless? I can
plead no more.'
"'I saw the tears glitter on her face as purely white as marble,
then her lips parted and these words fell on my ear,--
"'O, Milan, I would that I could divine my feeling towards you. My
heart is full of love for you, but my reason falters, and something
within me tells, I must not accept you. I feel thrills of horror at
times, even when my affection turns toward you. I cannot fathom the
strange mystery.' She bowed her face in her hands and wept. I saw
him rise from his kneeling posture, and walk away to hide his
emotions. I felt the fearful contest going on within himself, and
then all grew dark. I heard no sound again, though I listened
intently. I seemed back again in my form-sleep at last came to my
weary senses. In dreams, then, I was walking again with him, by a
beautiful lake, over which a storm had just passed, leaving a lovely
rainbow arching its bosom. I felt the pressure of his hand, as he
held mine, and saw his eyes beam tenderly into mine own.
"'The storm is over,' he said, 'see how the waves are tipped with
"Cheered by these words, I looked on the scene-the calmed lake, the
bow of promise,--with a feeling of rapturous delight thrilling my
whole being. Gazing thus earnestly, my attention was drawn to a
curious ripple on the lake's surface. Then I beheld a female form
rising from the waters, upon whose broad, white brow were these
words:-Loved and Deserted. Startled by this, I turned to look upon
Milan, but I saw him not. He had fled, and I was alone. All was
lonely and still as death.
"Tremblingly I pursued my way back. The sun was sinking behind the
hills, and darkness would overtake me before I could reach home. I
quickened my speed, when suddenly I stumbled over something in my
path. A light from the heavens, a flash of summer lightning revealed
a grave, from which the form of a fair, sweet girl arose, and said,
'Beware! He, too, loved me, and for his love I pined and died.' The
form vanished and the air seemed full of sounds of admonition, while
around me appeared hosts of beings of another world. My senses
reeled. I called for help, and must have cried aloud, for just then
I heard my mother's voice from the adjoining room,--'What is it,
Sibyl?' and when I awoke she was at my side.
"'Bring a light,' I cried, as I placed my hand on my forehead, which
was cold and damp with perspiration. Mother went to her room, and
returned with a candle and came to my bed side.
"I can remember her look of horror, as though it was but
yesterday-and her voice when she sobbed, rather than spoke these
words:-'My child, O, my poor child, what has happened?' Then she
"I learned on the morrow, that my beautiful hair had turned white;
not one thread of my deep brown tresses was left, and my features
too, were shrunken. That night's vision had done the work of years
of suffering, and Sibyl Warner, the belle, the heiress, was no
longer an object of love.
"A physician was summoned the next morning, who pronounced me
suffering under mental hallucination, for I had told my mother all
my strange dream or vision. I had no way to prove that my lover was
treacherous, and I alone must suffer. But Laura. What was my duty
towards her? was my dominant thought, even while I sat writing, a
day or two after, a note to Milan, releasing him from his
engagement. Vainly my mother entreated me to see him just once more.
I was inexorable, and there being nothing now to bind us to Europe,
we made all possible haste to return to our native land.
"Laura came to bid me good-bye. I tried to speak my fears to her,
but my tongue seemed paralyzed. I kissed her warmly, and the tears
flowed over her pale, lovely face. We parted. I knew she would be
his bride ere long. I hoped she would be happy; but the revelation
of that night led me to fear that such might not be the case.
"The first week of our voyage home was very pleasant, but soon
after, a gale arose, and then a fearful storm set in. After being
tossed by wind and wave five days, our ship went down. O, that
morning so vividly present to my memory now. My parents were both
lost. I was saved with a few of the passengers, and most of the
ship's crew,--a vessel bound to my own native port, took us on board.
But what was life to me then, alone, and unloved as I must ever
"It was not the Sibyl Warner who stepped on shore the day of our
arrival who had left it years before; not the young girl of
seventeen, but a woman, with love, trust, hope, all departed-a wreck
of her former self, and yet within, a strange light glittering. As
one sees, hung over dangerous, impassable ways at night, or half
sunken rocks, a light telling of danger, so I had thrown over my
entire being a blaze of fire, which, while it guided others, seemed
to be consuming myself. I possessed what is now called 'second
sight,' and could see the motives of persons, and their most secret
thoughts and designs. Life became burdensome because I could not
balance the power with any joy, until I learned that I must live for
others and not for myself, alone.
"My father's estate was settled at last, and I had means enough to
live in luxury and ease the rest of my days; but a strange inward
prompting continually urged me to give up my former mode of living.
I disposed of my property, exchanging it for ready money, and one
day found myself penniless, through the treachery of one who
professed to be my friend. I had not been allowed to learn his
motives, and fraudulent designs, because, as I subsequently saw, my
experience must be gained through toil and want, but when others
were in danger of losing their material goods, I could readily
discern their perils, and warn them.
"Since then, I have travelled years and years, following this light;
when I did not, I have failed in my mission. I am not understood.
This little village, to which seven years ago I found my way, has
not a soul in it that knows me as anything but a 'Witch'-a diviner
of events. I have sat in halls of splendor, and revealed strange
things to men and women. I have visited the sick and
down-trodden-and everywhere this power has gone with me, carrying
comfort and light. I think my earthly mission is almost over. I seem
to see a light, like the glimmer of a lamp which shines for a
traveller to guide him home."
She paused. The story was told. Margaret sat silent, too much
occupied with her own deep thoughts, to look on the woman's face.
It was past midnight. The fire was out, on the hearth. A strange
stillness pervaded the room. It grew oppressive. Margaret rose and
went towards the old woman, who seemed to have dropped asleep. She
took the withered hand in her own. It dropped lifeless. She was
dead; the two whose lives had become as one by suffering, were
parted. Sibyl had gone to that world where the erring are forgiven.
Margaret was left to struggle on with an adverse fate, and thereby
ripen for the kingdom.
The morning flooded through the narrow windows of the humble cot,
and lit up the pale, dead features with a strange light. Margaret
must leave. Though heeding the woman's words of warning, and
resolving to avoid the stranger she had met, she saw but one course
before her, and that was, to go to the city and seek refuge in some
hospital, during her approaching need. She struggled with her
feelings a long time at leaving the dead alone, and so irreverently,
but circumstances were pressing her on; she could not do otherwise,
and stepping out from the shelter, where her soul had been so deeply
thrilled, she walked rapidly to the station, and sat with her veil
closely drawn, awaiting the hour for the departure of the train. It
came at last, though the time seemed very long to her, the more so,
as she was in constant fear of being recognized, but fortunately no
one saw her whom she knew.
She trembled all over, as she took her seat in the car, and saw an
elegantly dressed woman enter and look about as though in search of
some one; for under the "purple and fine linen" was the stranger,
the willing destroyer of hundreds of young, innocent lives. To her
relief, however, the woman passed on to another car, and Margaret
felt as though all danger was over. It gave her a respite from her
fears, that was all, for she did not know that the woman's keen eye
recognized, and was quietly laying her plans to ensnare her.
One weary form was through with its earthly toil; one bark was
moored to celestial shores, beyond this rough clime, this imperfect
world, in which all are judged by externals. She was no longer old
and wrinkled,--"But a fair maiden in her father's mansion."
The town buried her and sold the few articles of furniture to defray
expenses. Thus ended the life of one who was once the belle of a
great city, the child of luxury and tender care, and her body was
laid in the town lot among the graves of the poor. All supposed she
died alone, at night, and a few words of real pity fell from some
lips as all that remained of her on earth was borne through the
Before the winter snows fell, Mrs. Armstrong planted a white rose
beside her grave, remarking to her husband, that it was hard for one
to die alone unloved, and a stranger to all about her. "She may have
been once lovely and beloved," she said, as she pressed the sod
close about the tree. "I should not like to die away from my
kindred, with none to care for my last resting place." This done,
the kind woman walked home happier for the deed of goodness she had
performed, while unseen hands dropped their heavenly benedictions on
In a small parlor in the city of Berlin, where, fifty years ago,
young Sibyl's heart had thrilled to words of love, sat a party of
young men, over their wine, while mirth and song flowed freely.
Light-hearted, and free from care, they had met to pass the evening
hours, with songs and wondrous tales.
"Come my good fellows," said the eldest, who appeared to be the
leader of the group, "we must relate our stories, as the hours are
waning. Krepsel, we will hear from you first, to-night."
"Shall the tale be sad or gay?" said Krepsel, looking around the
"Either," exclaimed the voices in chorus. He took a glass of wine
and then commenced.
"Many years ago a young man was studying in a Military Academy in
this city, who, a few weeks after his entrance, had a strange dream,
or vision, which changed all the future which he had mapped out for
himself. He had a great love of art, and was often found with his
pencil and paper, apart from others, instead of mingling in their
recreations. For several nights, he dreamed that a lovely female
approached his bed-side, and bent over him with a look of
"The vision so vividly impressed him that he employed his first
leisure moment in sketching the lovely face. At every touch and
line, his admiration grew more intense, until at length he could
scarcely keep the fair image from being ever prominent in his mind.
It haunted his day dreams, till he could scarcely conceal his
impatience to relate the strange vision to his mother and sister.
The fair one stood each night at his side, until the first day of
his vacation season arrived, and he left to pass its days at home.
When within a few miles of his destination, he saw the same face
before his waking vision. This time her features were sad, but not
less lovely. Indeed the air of melancholy gave the features a deeper
charm, and more strongly than ever he desired to reach his home, and
find, if possible, a solution of the strange apparition.
"At last the hills of his native town rose to his view; then the old
pines which sheltered his home. Soon he felt the warm tears on his
cheek, and the soft arms of his mother and sister around his neck.
"'Where is Reinhold?' he asked, after he had released himself from
"He is away to-day; gone to a fair, but will be back by supper time,
and bring his fair affianced.
"'Reinhold engaged!' exclaimed Conrad, in tones so strange that
Marie, his sister, turned pale. But his quick return to himself
assured her that he was not angry, as she supposed, only surprised;
and taking his proffered arm they walked together in the
garden-talking of old scenes and pleasures, till even the fair face
of his vision was forgotten, and he rested his eyes in tender,
brotherly love, on the fair girl at his side.
"They were in close conversation, so earnest, they did not hear the
approaching footsteps, when the well-known voice of his brother
"'Welcome, Conrad; welcome home,' and the next instant a pair of
stout arms were around him.
"'I believe he is stronger than you, Con., with all your military
drills,' said Marie, laughing to see her brother trying to extricate
"'I am so glad you have come,' said Reinhold, 'I want you to see
your new sister,' then he called her from where she stood apart from
them, behind a clump of trees. Conrad's back was towards her when
she approached, and he turned, at his brother's words.
"'Miss Rosa,--Conrad, my brother,' and for the first time he looked
on the face that had so long haunted his dreams.
"'My God!' he said, 'It is the same,' and fell prostrate on the
"The poor girl flew to the house, laid her head on the shoulder of
Reinhold's mother, and wept bitterly. She, too, had seen his face in
her dreams, and supposed it an ideal which she should never meet.
She had seen it before she met Reinhold, and thought as she looked
on him, that he approximated somewhat to it, nearer then she even
hoped to see, and had grown day by day to love him, not as one ought
a lover, but tenderly like a brother.
"The deepest anxiety seized the good parents, and Marie, to fathom
the cause of Conrad's strange state. They carried him to the house,
where he lay insensible for hours, but once only his lips parted,
and then he breathed the name of 'Rosa,' in accents so tender, that
his brother, who stood bending over him, in agony of grief at his
state, flew from the room.
"In half an hour Conrad started as though shot, and rose from the
bed with blood-filled eyes, and wildest terror on his features. He
placed his hand upon his heart, and then sinking on his knees,
cried, imploringly, 'God forgive me; I have killed my brother!'
"'Go and call Reinhold, Marie,' said the affrighted father, 'and
prove to the poor boy that his brother is alive and well. O, what
has come over our happy home.'
"Marie flew from room to room; no Reinhold was to be found. Then to
the garden, calling his name at each step. A wild fear seized her
young heart; her brain grew giddy; yet on she went, calling again
and again his name. As though impelled by an unseen force, she flew
till she reached the edge of a wood, where herself and brothers had
played together. She went on. Something lay on the ground; an
object, she could not at first discover what. A cold chill run
through her frame. The blood seemed to stagnate in every vein, for
there, under an old oak, lay the lifeless body of Reinhold.
"She fainted, and fell. The cool air blew on her temples and
restored her to consciousness. She passed her hand over her
forehead, as though trying to recall some terrible dream,--and then
it all burst upon her mind, more fearful and appalling in its
"'My mother, my father,' were the only words that broke from her
lips, and she went back, slowly, for the fright and agony had almost
paralyzed her brain and limbs.
"'You were gone a long time,' said her anxious parents, who did not
see her face when she entered; 'where is Reinhold?'
"She had no words. The deathly face, the beating heart, and the
trembling limbs, told all. She led them to the spot, and the mystery
appeared still deeper.
"Seven days Conrad lay in a raging fever. At their close, reason
returned, and they learned from him the vision which had so haunted
him, and wondered over the strange phase of life, in which action
had been involuntary, but dual.
"They buried Reinhold under the tree where he had shot himself, and
kept it covered with flowers, watered by tears.
"Poor Rosa returned to her home with her good parents, and pined
slowly away. Conrad held his brother's memory sacred, and never
breathed words of love to his affianced. 'She will be his in
Heaven,' he said, as he walked with his sister one day to his grave;
and when the Summer flowers faded they made another beside it, for
Rosa went to join Reinhold, and to guard, with tender love, Conrad
Krepsel rose from the chair. The hours were waning.
"We can have but one more," said the leader, "and from whom shall it
"From Berthhold," cried several voices.
"I have seen his eyes full of strange, weird tales to-night," said
"I know by his far-off look he has something interesting to say,"
"Berthhold, take the chair," said the leader.
He rose, walked like one in a dream, took the seat, gazed a few
moments around, and then commenced:
"My story will be told in a few words. It is not of tradition, but
All eyes turned to the youth, whose face glowed with a strange
light, as he commenced.
"While sitting here to-night, listening to the story just narrated,
my eyes have seen something I never saw before, and I pray I may not
again see, at least until my nerves are stronger."
"What was it? What was it like?" they all cried together, while
Berthhold looked around the room, as though expecting the vision to
They were called to order by their leader, and he went on,--
"A soft, misty light filled the room, and rested at last just before
me. I strained my eyes to assure myself that I was not dreaming, and
looked upon all your faces to assure myself that I was of the earth,
and not a spirit. Then my eyes seemed to be fastened upon the light.
In vain I tried to remove them; I could not; and only hoped none of
you would notice me.
"Soon a face, radiant and fair, burst from the mist; one almost too
lovely to gaze upon. I was spellbound as I gazed, then the vision of
the face faded. I seemed to float away, far over the sea, and there
came before my sight a low, humble cot, whose walls offered no
resistance to my vision. They seemed like glass as I looked through
them, and saw sitting in a chair an old woman, wrinkled and faded,
her hair white as snow, but on her face a peace which gathers on
those who sleep the last sleep.
"I also felt conscious of another presence, but could not see any
one. Then all was dark again. I saw neither mist nor cot, but
something spoke to me. A voice whispered in my ear, 'Tell Milan I
forgive him.' That is the name of my mother's father."
"How strange," said the listeners, who had followed him closely to
"Does your grandfather still live?" inquired one.
"He was alive this morning, and is now, for aught I know."
The party were about to separate, when a messenger entered in great
haste, and called for Berthold, stating that his (Berthold's)
grandfather was very ill, and greatly desired his presence.
He was not long in answering the summons, leaving those who had
listened to his story wondering over it, which wonder was not a
little increased by this sudden call.
It was thought that the old gentleman was dying, but when Berthold
went and sat by his side he brightened up, and motioned for the
others to leave the room.
"I have been very ill," he said, grasping the hand of his grandson,
"and have had a terrible dream. For fear I may some day depart
suddenly, I wish to tell you of a portion of my early life, that you
may avoid the sin, and escape the suffering which I have endured."
He then related the wrong of his early years, in deluding a young
and pure girl, while loving another.
"Have you a picture of the one you allude to," asked Berthold.
His grandfather started as though a voice from the other world had
spoken to him.
"Why, how do you know that? No one but myself knows that I carry her
miniature about me."
"May I see it?" asked his grandson, not a little alarmed at the
excited manner of the sick man.
"Yes,--that is if no one knows it,--not even Laura. Mind, Berthold,
your grandmother knows nothing of this,--not a word."
Berthold's word was sacred, and the old man drew from his pocket an
oval case of blue velvet, ornamented with pearls.
"Here, look, and be quick; I fear some one may come; and if, if I
should die, Berthold, take this and keep it forever."
"I will," said the faithful boy, as he unclasped the case.
Was he dreaming? There, before him, was the same; yes, the very same
fair face he saw in the mist. He could not take his eyes from the
picture, so strange was the spell.
"I have seen this face to-night, grandfather," said Berthold, going
close to him, and laying his hand upon his brow.
"Seen what! seen her? Sibyl! O, God, she must have died."
He sank back exhausted on his pillow.
"Did it-did she speak?" he gasped, as he revived.
"Yes. She said, 'Tell Milan I forgive him!'"
"Berthold, Laura, quick! O come,--my breath is go-. I--am--dy--."
He, too, was gone; gone before his wife could be summoned; gone to
meet one he had so greatly wronged, perhaps to learn of her
beautiful truths, which her sad life experience had taught her; and
perchance to woo her soul, this time with truth and love.
Berthold kept the miniature, and when, after a few months, the club
met again, confirmed the truth of the story he had startled them
with that night. He could never account for the lowly cot, and the
old wrinkled woman, but he remembered his grandfather's dying words,
and never wooed where he knew he could not give his heart and soul;
nor was his vision ever again unfolded, but one of heaven's
choicest, purest women was given him to love, and in her high and
spiritual life, his soul grew to sense that which by sight he could
Three years had swept by, with their lights and shadows, bringing no
change to the house of Mr. Wyman, save the daily unfolding of Dawn's
character, and the deepening happiness of all.
Mr. Wyman had promised Dawn that when she was eighteen he would take
her to Europe.
Miss Vernon passed her time very happily, dividing it between
teaching, study, and labor, and found herself improving daily, both
spiritually and physically; indeed, such a change had come over her
whole nature, that she could scarce believe herself the same being
that entered Mr. Wyman's home, three years previous. Life opened
daily to her such rich opportunities for usefulness and growth, that
no day seemed long enough to execute her plans.
Mr. Temple, whom the reader will remember as one of the guests of
the party, came often to Mr. Wyman's, and soon found himself greatly
interested in Miss Vernon.
It was a new experience to her to contrast him with Hugh, and to
learn to analyze the new feeling which suffused her being,--that
deep, undercurrent which lies beneath all surface emotions and
interests, namely, Love.
How broad, deep and rich her being grew. How near and dear to her
now seemed Hugh, her friend and brother. How sharply were the lines
of their true relation defined,--a relation as pure as untrodden
snow. Her heart overflowed with thankfulness to the giver of all
good, who had brought her feet into such pleasant paths of peace.
In the same spot where ten years ago Mr. Wyman and fair Alice were
seated, sat Herbert Temple and Florence. The night was as fair and
cloudless, while the rustle of the trees alone broke the stillness.
Pale moonbeams rested at their feet, while words of love flowed
"I think I found my way to your heart the first evening I saw you,
for I felt my being thrill as though I had another life pulsing with
my own; am I right?"
She raised her eyes to his, and answered in words which he ever
"It was so, Herbert. I felt as though I was stepping from my own
confines; as though some strong hand had taken mine, and infused new
life into my being. It was when you played, Herbert, that I was
absorbed in your soul."
"It was you, Florence, who helped me to play. I felt and was
inspired by your interest, your appreciation, for no one can do such
things alone. I never play as I did that night, when alone. Now,
that I shall have you always to help, shall we not be happy?"
"O, Herbert, will these days last? Will love bind us the same in
years to come?"
"No, not the same; but deeper, holier, if we do not exhaust
ourselves by free ownership."
"You talk like Hugh," she said, resting her hand on his arm, and
looking out on the soft, still scene before them.
"I would I could talk like him. While I admit no oracles, I confess
I admire his views, and his life which is a perfect transcript of
"He is a noble man, Herbert, and has done much towards my
development. I thought I loved him all I could, but since you have
come to my life, I feel nearer than ever to him."
"Such is the law, and beautiful it is, that true love expands our
being, while the opposite contracts it. Hugh's views at first seemed
wild, and rather disorderly, but close contact with the man, and
opportunities of knowing him, in public and private, have made me
acquainted with his worth. Love him always, Florence, and when I
take you to my home never fear that I shall not understand you need
to see him at times alone, for he will need you. You have been
friends, and friends need each other. I am not taking you from him
in soul and heart; I will but help you to give yourself to him, with
your being made richer by my love."
Florence had no words with which to thank him. She only nestled
closer to the heart which loved her so well.
"How lovely this night is," she said, breaking the long silence
which followed; "the stillness is so sacred, I would not for worlds
disturb it with a sound, even of the sweetest music."
"Your words give me much comfort, Florence, for long have I wanted
some one who could sympathize with me on that subject. To most
persons, sound alone is considered music; to me, a night like this
should not be jarred save by soft vibrations of ‘olian strings. And
the same of beautiful scenery. I cannot bear to hear one burst forth
in song, for the landscape is to me, in itself, a Te Deum, a perfect
song of praise."
"I am made happy by your words, Herbert, for there are moments when
music seems to me to be so sadly out of place, that I feel almost
like crushing the instrument and performer together. And now may I
ask you, why the music of some performers gives me pain instead of
pleasure? I know, but I want your answer. We will take Miss York,
for instance; she is full of hearty, earnest life, robust and
strong. I know she plays in time and tune, and sings correctly, but
I feel all out of tune, and completely disharmonized when she
performs in my presence."
"I fully comprehend your feelings. I have had the same myself, and
my interpretation of it is that I cannot accept the music through
her organism; or, rather, her atmosphere being between the subject
and the auditor, the latter feels only time and sound, not music,
not the idea the composer designed to convey. Is not that it?"
"Exactly. After all, there are very few who are organized
sufficiently delicate to translate music."
"True, Florence; how many seek the glorious art, not for its
uplifting power, but as a means of display. Let us love it for the
good it does for mankind, and use it, not for the end, but as a
means, of enjoyment."
"I play but seldom, Herbert, dearly as I love it."
"I am not sorry to hear that. I think that greater good is obtained
by not being too much in its immediate sphere. Of course greater
mechanical skill is acquired by constant practice, but I know by my
own experience that when the soul has reached a certain height of
culture, the physical nature becomes subordinate to the spiritual,
and is controlled by it, because the two natures are then replete
with harmony, and the fullness of the one finds expression through
the other,--the hand moves in complete obedience to the spirit.
Dearly as I love music, I cannot hear or execute it too often. On
this I am pleased to see we agree. The air is growing chilly; we
will go in and sing one song before we part. What shall it be?"
"The Evening Song to the Virgin," she answered.
Seating himself at the instrument, he played the prelude soft and
low, then their voices mingled in that graceful, gliding song, as
only voices can mingle that are united in the harmony of love.
It filled the whole air with sweetness, and Hugh's senses revelled
in the holy spell, as he sat alone on the piazza, thinking of the
past, his lovely Alice, and the beautiful child which was left to
bless his years.
No other song followed; none could. Florence listened to the
retreating footsteps of her lover, and then sat in the moonlight to
think of her joys.
Howard Deane was weary. Life had not gone pleasantly with him, since
we introduced him to the reader. His business, so lucrative and once
full of interest, demanding his closest attention, now seemed of no
account. Existence had become to him a round of duties mechanically
performed. The very air was leaden, and void of life. He needed a
revivifying influence, something to invigorate him. His energies
languished, and there seemed no one to extend to him a helping hand,
as his wife was at deadly variance with those who could have given
him what he was so much in want of.
The fire had gone out on his domestic altar, for no trusting wife
sat there. She was dark and heavy in soul. They had become strangers
to each other, not by roaming, but by a too close relationship.
Mrs. Deane had returned only bodily to her home; her heart and mind
were on a sea of doubt, at the mercy of every wind and wave. No
ripple of love broke their long silence, as they sat together in
their home. They each felt lonely, and would have been far less so
apart. Mr. Deane at length broke the spell, by saying,--
"I am going to the mountains next week, Mabel; would you like to
"I am going home. Mother has sent for me. I may as well be there as
here; no one will miss me."
She had better have left the words unsaid, and saw it herself in the
dark, contracted brow of her husband, who replied,--
"I shall go alone. It is best I should. You can remain with your
parents the remainder of the season, for I shall not be back for
months," then abruptly left the room.
The words were as decisive as his manner. She felt she had gone too
far, and would have given worlds to retract. But it was too late; he
was now out of hearing.
What had come over their lives? They were treading a road thick with
dust, which rose at every step, soiling their once white garments.
Surely they needed a baptism to make them pure.
The cloud which overhung their sky held the heavenly water which
would make them clean.
It came in the form of sickness. Their eldest boy laid ill and near
unto death. Hope and fear alternated in their hearts as they stood
beside the little one, and saw a raging fever course through his
veins, and day by day the full form wasted away. Thus the baptismal
waters flowed over their souls, and they wept together. Joy beamed
from their faces when the dread crisis was past, and they were told
he would live. Through sorrow they were reunited. They had wandered,
but were returning with life and love in their hearts, and crowns of
forgiveness in their hands. Thus do we ever become strong through
our sufferings, and seeming evils work our good, for they are parts
of the great unity of life.
Mrs. Deane lessened her prejudices, and learned to know and love
those whom her husband had found worthy, and among them, Miss Evans.
With her she passed many pleasant hours, and that noble woman made
known to her, many paths of rest and peace which she had previously
through her ignorance and jealousy, persistently shunned.
The years sped on; some were gathered to their homes above; some
found new relations and strong ties to bind them here, until, at
length, Dawn's eighteenth birth-day came, bright and sunny over the
eastern hills. On the morrow, with her father, she was to leave for
the city where they were to embark for England. The morning was
passed in receiving the calls of friends, and later Mr. and Mrs.
Temple and Miss Evans came to dine with them. The evening was spent
by Dawn alone with her father.
The next day, Florence, now a happy wife and mother, came to see
them off. It had seemed to her for a month previous that all her
partings with them had been final adieus, and now the moment was at
hand which was really to separate them-for how long she knew not. It
was not strange that a vein of sadness ran through the pleasure of
the hour. But each strove to conceal aught that would mar the joy
with which Dawn anticipated her journey, and the gladness which
Florence would experience on their return was by her made to do
service at this their time of departure.
Hugh took the hand of Florence in his own, and held it so closely
that his very soul seemed to vibrate its every nerve. Then his lips
touched her brow; fond good-byes were exchanged, the quick closing
of the carriage door was heard, and they were gone.
Statue-like stood Florence for several moments, then going to the
room she had for so many years occupied, she permitted her tears to
flow, tears which she had kept back so nobly for their sake. Her
husband walked through the garden with a sense of loneliness he
scarce expected to experience; and then back to the library, where
he awaited the appearance of his wife.
She came down soon with a smile on her face, but the swollen eyes
showed the grief she had been struggling with.
"We must look cheerful for Miss Evans' sake," he said, kissing her;
for, somehow he felt as though she too had gone, and he must assure
himself that it was not her shadow alone that stood before him.
"It is so nice," she said brightly, "that Hugh has prevailed on Miss
Evans to remain here during his absence. It would be so lonely with
only Aunt Susan at home. As it is, we can see the library and
drawing-room open, and we shall not feel his absence so keenly."
"And what a charming place for her to write her book in," remarked
Herbert, walking to the bay-window that overlooked the garden.
"We can come over every week and see her and the house, which will
be next thing to seeing Dawn and her father," said his wife,
Despite all his theory, his large and unselfish heart, a strange
feeling came over him, a cloud flitted over his sunny nature. It was
hardly discernable, and yet were it to take a form in words, might
have displayed itself thus: "I fear she loves them better than me."
He shook the feeling off, as though it was a tempter, and said
"As our friend Hugh arranged that we take tea in his home to-night,
we will go and meet Miss Evans, who, I think, must be near by this
It was Mr. Wyman's desire that Miss Evans should be at his house as
soon after they were gone as possible, and establish herself within
it. She granted his wish, and requested them to bid her adieu at her
own home, which she would close immediately after, and repair to
"What an atmosphere she will have to work in," said Florence, as she
arranged a delicate vine over a marble bust. "But come, it will be
lonely for Miss Evans to walk all the way by herself, to-day."
They met her just turning into the path. She had a wreath on her
arm, Dawn's parting gift, and a beautiful moss rose-bud in her hair,
which Hugh gave her when he bade her good-bye.
"How were they, happy?" were the first words of Florence, anxious to
hear a moment later from her dear ones.
"Very happy and bright," answered Miss Evans, with an inward
struggle to keep back a tide of emotion. Florence clasped her hand,
and held it in a manner which said, "Let us be close friends while
they are away, and help each other."
The firm pressure assured her that we may talk without words, they
entered the house, and sat down to a nice repast, which Dawn had
prepared with her own hands, while the room was fragrant with
blossoms which she had gathered an hour before her departure.
After supper they walked in the garden, and when twilight came on,
returned to the house, and listened to the charming music which came
from the instrument, under Herbert's magic touch.
"I expect we shall all dream of sunny France, and dreamy Italy,"
said Miss Evans, after the music had ceased, and the time for words
"If we expect to dream, we must place ourselves in proper condition;
so we must bid you good night, Miss Evans," said Mr. Temple, rising.
"I did not expect my words to hasten your departure, Mr. Temple. Can
you not stay longer?"
"Not another moment," he answered, taking his wife's bonnet and
shawl, which she had brought from the hall, and putting them upon
her. "I expect Florence has gone with our good friends. Come and see
us, Miss Evans, soon. Good night; I will speak for both. Florence
has gone away in spirit."
At this Florence roused, and kissed Miss Evans good night. She had
no words. She was very weary, and felt glad to know that her home
was not far off, only a pleasant walk, for Hugh would not consent
that there should be a great distance between them, so long as the
freedom to build where they chose was allowed.
Florence was indeed weary; neither the morrow, nor the deep love and
devotion of her husband brought her strength back, but she pined day
Miss Evans carried flowers, Dawn's favorites, to her each day, with
the hope that she would revive. On the contrary, they only served to
keep the spell of languor upon her. At last her husband grew
alarmed, and one evening after she had retired to rest, earlier than
usual, he sought Miss Evans, who, hearing his step on the carriage
path, knew he was alone, and expected to be summoned to his wife.
"How is Florence, to-day?" she inquired, as soon he was seated.
"The same languor oppresses her, and I have come to speak with you
about it. Can you enlighten me in regard to her state? Some strange
fears have crept into my mind, I suppose, because my nerves are
weak, in my anxiety for her." Here he paused, as though he dared not
entertain the thought, much less make it known to another.
In an instant she read his fears.
"I think I understand the cause of your wife's languor, for,
although not an educated physician, I lay some claim to a natural
perception of the causes of physical and mental ills."
"Some people are magnetically related." She continued. "I think Hugh
and your wife were bound by spiritual laws which are as sacred as
physical. They lived upon each other's magnetism. She will droop for
a while, but revive when she receives his letters. He will not feel
the change so sensitively, as he has new life and interests before
him every moment. This relation ought to be better understood, and
will be, I trust, with many others, which are not now recognized as
having an existence."
"Then you think she will recover?"
"Certainly; and a change for the better will be apparent as soon as
she receives his first letter. She is only attenuated now, reaching
after him, her friend and instructor for so many years."
"I feared-I almost-forgive me, Miss Evans, for the strange thought,
that Florence might, after all, have loved Hugh better than myself.
I will not stand in her or any woman's way to happiness, if I know
"Drive that thought from your mind, Herbert." As she said this with
so much depth of earnestness, he noticed that her manner and tone
betrayed not a shadow of surprise at his confession, and his face
turned inquiringly to her.
"It was a wicked thought, I know; let it rest with you, Miss Evans."
"It is buried," she said, "and will never know a resurrection. But
as to its being wicked, it was far from that, and very natural."
"Your words allay my fears, and strengthen my trust."
"They have lived such an earnest life together that his was a
constituent, a part of her own. No wonder that she drooped when this
union of vital sympathy was divided. Neither is it strange that you
should be agitated by doubts and fears; but let me assure you again,
that she by this attraction is none the less your own. She will feel
an infusion of his life through his letters, and regain her wonted
strength. She is yours, and his too; and more to you because she is
much to him."
A smile of peace settled over his disturbed features, as he took her
"You have made me strong and trustful, and from this hour my life
will flow in broader and deeper channels. My present is bright; my
future all radiant with hope."
"I am very glad that your call has resulted so pleasantly," said
Miss Evans, and as Mr. Temple left she sent her love to Florence,
with the assurance that she would soon have the pleasure of
welcoming her again to the home of Dawn.
There are two classes that are specially liable to disease,--those
who live grossly, and whose lives are spent in scenes of excitement,
and those who are finely organized, so delicately constituted, that
their nerves vibrate to every jar, not only of the physical but of
the moral atmosphere.
There are persons whose routine of daily life is seldom if ever
disturbed; whose minds are at ease on material questions. Having
enough, and to spare, they seek their pleasure from day to day, with
scarcely an interruption of their established course. Such may well
be free from the ills of the flesh, and being so, they complacently
attack the less fortunate, those whose lives are tumultuous and
heavily-laden with their own and other's needs; applying to them
such remarks as, "They might live more regular." "They work too
much." "They do not work enough." "They go about too much." "They do
do not go about enough;" and having delivered their opinions, these
self-satisfied mortals settle themselves down in their comforts,
thanking God they are not as other men.
There are lives that are shaken with convulsions; circumstances over
which no mortal has control, surge their wild, tempest-waves over
them, and all their wishes are of no avail; they must take what is
borne to them. Raying out life every moment; pressed on every side,
with every faculty strained to its greatest tension, is it a matter
of wonder that they become weak, that they sicken and suffer?
Sickness is not a sin, neither is its presence derogatory to our
nature. It implies a susceptibility to the inharmonies of life, and
is complimentary than otherwise to our organization. They are not to
be envied who have never known an hour of pain and languor, for they
come not under the discipline and instruction of one of life's great
teachers. They are apt to be harsh, and cold, and unfeeling towards
their fellows; apt to be boastful of their own strength, and
regardless of the delicate sensibilities of others. While we should
studiously endeavor to live in harmony with the laws of our being,
it is nevertheless true that with all the caution we may exercise,
we cannot avoid, if we are spiritually true, the jarring of the
inharmonies of this world, and from this as much if not more than
from any other cause, come the ills and pains of our earthly life.
These disturbances of the spirit produce to those of fine natures a
similar disturbance of their physical condition; then disease
follows and makes sad havoc with the temple of the soul.
On a subject so intricate as the cause of disease, only a few hints
can here be given.
People become sickly from living too long together; from pursuing
continuously one branch of study or labor; from meeting too often
with one class of minds; from living on one kind of food, or on food
cooked by one person; besides, there are countless other causes;
agitations of mind, overtasked and irregular lives are constantly
generating impure magnetisms, with which the whole atmosphere is
tainted, and which those who are susceptible are forced to absorb.
As there are many causes of disease, there must be many ways of
cure. No one system can regulate the disturbances of the complex
machinery of the human frame.
Dr. Franklin subjected himself to what was denominated the air bath,
as a remedial agent. Others believed in the direct action of the
sun, placing themselves beneath glass cupolas to receive it; while
still later we have the water-cure, which is thought by many to heal
all diseases. These are right in combination, but no one will cure
Does the strong man, with steady nerves, compact muscle, and perfect
arterial circulation, need the same remedy when ill, as a less
vigorous person, one whose hourly suffering is from a diseased
One member of a family argues that because he can bathe in ice
water, another, with more feeble circulation, can do the same, and
realize the same results. One man will take no medicine, another
swallow scarcely anything else, and thus we find extremes following
One ideaism in this direction is as much to be avoided as in any
other. The man of good sense says, "I will take whatever is required
to restore the balance of my system."
Of mental disorders we know little. Asylums for their treatment have
multiplied in our midst, but few of the thousands of educated
physicians are qualified to minister to a mind diseased. Past modes
will not do for to-day. Our conditions are not the same. Our lives
are faster, our needs greater. Our grand-parents lived in the age of
muscle; we exist in the nerve period, and have new demands, both in
our mental and physical structure.
And new light will come in answer to the demand. The eye of
clairvoyance is already penetrating beyond science, and traversing
the world of causes.
Eagerly Florence broke the seal of her first letter from Hugh. He
had arrived safely, and wafted over the sea his own and Dawn's love
"Dawn desires to go to Germany, first," he wrote, "and as I have
business with parties in Berlin, I shall gratify her wish. I
thought, all along, how much I wished you were with us, but since
writing I feel different. I need you at home to express myself to,
when I am overflowing with thought. If you were at my side, when I
am seeing all these things, we should both have the feast together,
and be done. Now, in rehearsing it to you, I enjoy it over again.
Very much we shall have to talk about, when we meet again. How I
would like to transmit to your mind the vivid impressions of my own,
when I first put my foot on the soil of England; but such things are
not possible, and sometime I hope you will be here yourself, and
feel the thrill of the old world under your feet."
This portion of the long and interesting letter so refreshed her,
that Miss Evans, when she came in after tea, guessed at once the
cause of the sparkling eye that greeted her.
"Letters are wonderful tonics," said Mr. Temple, laughingly, as he
glanced toward Florence.
"That depends from whom they come," she answered, and repented of it
as soon as said. She looked up after a while, but there was no
shadow on his face. She saw that he was sharing her joy, and then
she knew that not a ripple of doubt would ever disturb their
smoothly flowing life.
Miss Evans left at an early hour, and reaching her home, wrote till
nearly midnight. Her nature was one that was most elastic at night;
her brilliancy seemed to come with the stars.
Page after page fell from her desk to the floor; thought followed
thought, till the mortal light seemed to give place to the divine.
At length the theme grew so mighty, and words seemed so feeble to
portray it, that she laid down the pen and wept,--wept not tears of
exhaustion, but of joy at the soul's prospective. Sublime was the
scene before her vision; enrapturing the prospect opening before
earth's pilgrims, and she felt truly thankful that she was
privileged to point out the way to those whose faith was weak, and
who walked tremblingly along the road.
She gathered her pages, laid them in order, and then wrote the
following in her journal:
"Night, beautiful night; dark below but brilliant above. I am not
alone. These stars, some of them marking my destiny, know well my
joys and my griefs. They are shining on me now. The waters are
darkest nearest the shore, and perchance I am near some haven of
rest. I have been tossed for many a year, yet, cease my heart to
mourn, for my joys have been great. The world looks on me, and calls
me strong. Heaven knows how weak I am, for this heart has had its
sorrows, and these eyes have wept bitter tears. The warm current of
my love has not departed; it has turned to crystals around my heart,
cold, but pure and sparkling. There is a voice that can melt them,
as the sun dissolves the frost.-I turn a leaf. This shall not record
so much of self, or be so tinged with my own heart's
pulsations,--this page now fair and spotless.
"I thought, a month ago, this feeling would never come again. I hold
my secret safe; why will my nerves keep trembling so, when down, far
down in my soul, I feel so strong?
"To-night I must put around my heart a girdle of strong purpose, and
bid these useless thoughts be gone. I must not pulsate so intensely
with feeling. My fate is to stand still and weave my thoughts into
garlands for others. I must lay a heavy mantle on my breast, and
wrap fold after fold upon my heart, that its beating may not be
heard. Why have we hearts? Heads are better, and guide us to safer
"'T is past the midnight hour. What scratches of the pen I have put
upon this virgin page. So does time mark us o'er and o'er. We must
carry the marks of his hand to the shore of the great hereafter.
Beyond, we shall drink from whatever fount will best suffice us.
Here, we must take the cup as 't is passed to us, bitter or sweet-'t
is not ours to choose. These boundaries of self are good. Where
should we roam if left to our inclinations? Let me trust and wait
God's own time and way."
"Dear Florence," wrote Dawn, some months after they had been away,
"I have seen gay, smiling France, and beautiful Italy with its
wealth of sunlight, and its treasures of art. I have seen classic
Greece,--of which we have talked so many hours,--and its fairy islands
nestling in the blue Archipelago,--isles where Sappho sang. I have
been among the Alps, and have seen the sunset touch with its last
gleam, the eternal waste of snow; but more than all, I love dear
Germany, the land of music and flowers, scholarship and mystic
"Now, my good friend and teacher, how shall I describe to you my
state amid all this new life? At first I felt as though my former
existence had been one long sleep, or as I suppose the mineral
kingdom might feel in passing to the vegetable order, as some one
has expressed it.
"It was an awakening that thrilled my being with intensest delight;
a fullness which left nothing to hope for. A new revelation of life
has arisen within me, as sudden and grand as the appearing of those
mysterious isles which are upheaved in a single night from the
depths of the ocean.
"A deeper pulsation than I have ever known, now stirs my blood. I
feel the claims of humanity calling me to labor. My purpose is
strong; I shall return with this thrill in my heart, and become one
of God's willing instruments. That He will own me, I feel in every
heart-beat. My mission is to erring women, and you, my friend, will
smile, I know, on my purpose.
"The other night I dreamed that a beautiful being stood by my side,
while a light, such as I have never seen on earth, shone about her.
"'Tell me,' I said, 'why this heavenly halo is around you? and if I,
too, may become like you?'
"'Listen.' She answered. 'Years ago, I lived on earth and passed
through much suffering. I seemed to be placed in a close, high
building, into which all the light that could enter came from above.
I could only look up, with no power to turn to the right or left.
After being years in this state, the rays coming thus directly from
above, cleansed my soul, whitened my garment, and made it spotless.
This light became a part of myself; it followed me to the other
world, and now, when I approach earth, it enables me to see all the
errors and virtues of humanity. Wouldst thou be willing to become a
light by which pilgrims can see the way to Heaven?'
"'I would. My only desire is to do good,' I replied.
"'It is easy to desire this,' she remarked, sadly.
"'But wouldst thou be willing to be almost annihilated, were it by
that only you might become a lamp to the pilgrim's feet?'
"I looked into my heart, and think I spoke truthfully, when I
answered that I would.
"'Then thou art accepted,' the angel said. 'It shall not be literal
annihilation, although akin to it, for all your earthly desires must
be swept away; all ambition, fame, learning, friends, must be
sacrificed upon this altar. The light you will bear is fed alone
from heavenly sources. Think again, child, if all these things can
be as naught.'
"I searched my soul once more. One answer, one word broke from my
"'T is well,' the angel visitant said; 'thy being shall be turned to
"I awoke. The morning sun shone in my windows, and laid in golden
bars upon my bed. I thought long of the vision of the night, and
then sat down to pen it to you. To me it is significant. Write and
tell me if it seems but a dream to you. I should like to be
permitted to glorify my name, and be the 'Dawn' of light to some of
earth's weary pilgrims."
In a pleasant room in Frankfort, on a slight eminence which
overlooked the river Maine, sat a young man, of about thirty years,
in deep meditation. His face showed traces of recent suffering; his
broad, high brow was white as marble, and his hands, though large,
were soft and delicate as a woman's. Near by sat a young girl, whose
physiogomy showed close relationship to the invalid. She was his
sister, and was travelling with him, hoping that change of air and
scenery might produce a beneficial effect on his health.
"I think you seem stronger than when we came, Ralph; don't you?" She
had been watching the color flickering on his face and lips, the
last half hour.
"Yes, the air of Frankfort has done me good, and the present fatigue
is only the result of my journey."
"I am glad to hear you say so; it confirms my impression, which is,
that you will recover."
"Heaven grant it may be so. Long suffering has robbed me of the
buoyancy of hope. I think I have not enjoyed myself more at any time
during my illness, than while we were at Heidelberg, among its
"I hope you will enjoy your stay here as much. You know how long you
have wished to see the birthplace of Goethe."
"I have, and expect to see his statue to-morrow, which will be
pleasure enough for one day; at least for an invalid. Do you
remember his 'Sorrows of Werter,' Marion? In what work has the depth
of men's emotional nature been so sounded?"
"I remember you read it to me last winter, while I was working those
slippers you have on."
"Ah, yes; delightful days they were, too. I wonder if I shall be
able to see Dannecker's Ariadne the same day?"
"I have forgotten, Ralph, the figure."
"It is that of a beautiful female riding on a panther. The light is
let in through a rosy curtain, and falling upon the form, is
absorbed and incorporated into the marble."
"How beautiful; I wish we could go to-day."
"I shall be stronger to-morrow, and perhaps be able to sketch a
little before I leave."
"Ah, if you could. What a pity that we had to come away from
Heidelburg without your being able to add anything to your folio."
"It was; but if I recover my health, as you think I will, I shall go
again, and see how that place of beauty looks to me in full vigor."
"I wonder if there are many visitors at the hotel? Taking our meals
as we do in our rooms, we see but little of them."
"There have been several arrivals to-day," she answered.
"And there are more coming. Sister, I feel strangely here. The
feeling has deepened ever since I came. I feel a soul; some one near
me; a being strong in soul and body, and more lovely than any one I
have ever met."
Marion looked distressed. She feared his mind was wandering. In vain
she tried to hide her look of concern; he saw it, and relieved her
fears by his words and manner.
"It is not mere fancy, nor mental illusion, my dear sister, but
something real and tangible. I feel it in my entire being: some one
is coming to make me whole."
"Yes; a woman such as you nor I have never looked upon."
"You are weary now, Ralph; will you not lie down?"
"I will to please you; but I am far from being weary."
She smoothed his pillow, and led him to the couch. At that instant a
carriage drove to the door, and several persons alighted.
Marion turned her gaze from the strangers to her brother. Never in
her life had she seen him look as he did then. His eyes glowed, not
with excitement, but with new life. The color mounted to cheeks and
forehead, while he kept pacing up and down the room, too full of joy
and emotion to utter a single sentence.
"What is it, brother?"
This question, anxiously put, was all she could say, for she
perceived, dimly, a sense of some approaching crisis.
Her anxious look touched him, and he threw himself on the couch, and
permitted her to pass her hand gently over his brow.
"There; it's over now."
"The strange tremor of my being. Marion, some one has come to this
hotel, who will strangely affect my future life."
"The woman,--the soul you felt in the air?" she inquired, now excited
"Yes, the soul has come; my soul. I shall look on her before
to-morrow's sun has set. I feel an affiliation, a quality of life
which never entered my mental or physical organization before. And
Marion, this quality is mine by all the laws of Heaven." He sank
back upon the couch like a weary child, and soon passed into a sweet
Marion watched the color as it came into his face. It was the flush
of health, not the hectic tinge of disease; and his breath, once
labored and short, was now easy and calm as an infant's.
Some wondrous change seemed to have been wrought upon him. What was
it? By what subtle process had his life blood been warmed, and his
being so strongly affiliated with another life? and where was the
being whose life had entered into his? Beneath the same roof,
reading the beautiful story of "Evangeline."
The next morning Ralph arose, strong and refreshed, having slept
much better than he had for many months.
"Such rest, Marion," he said, "will soon restore me to health," and
his looks confirmed the truth of his statement.
"I should think you had found life's elixir, or the philosopher's
stone, whose fabled virtues were buried with the alchemists of old.
But who is the fairy, Ralph, and when shall we behold her face?"
"Before the sun has set to-day," he answered, confidently.
Marion smiled, looked slightly incredulous, and sat down to her
books and work.
Towards the close of the day, her attention was attracted by a
graceful figure approaching the river bank. Her hat had fallen from
her head, displaying its beautiful contour, and in her hair were
wild flowers, so charmingly placed, that they seemed as though they
had grown there. She watched her with the deepest interest, and
turned to beckon her brother to the window, when lo! he was directly
behind her, and had seen the fair maiden all the while. He had been
drawn there by an irresistible power, and in the single glance he
felt the assurance that she was the being who was to bless his life.
He would have given much, then, to have seen her face, and having
watched her till out of sight, went to his couch for rest.
Marion looked on his placid features, and hope sprung up in her
breast. She felt that her brother was, by some mysterious power,
improving, and knew that he would fully recover his health. The
flood-tides of affection flowed to the surface, and she wept tears
Towards sunset they walked out together. Even the mental excitement
caused by looking upon Goethe's statue, and the beautiful Ariadne
had not exhausted him as formerly, and he was able to go into the
evening air for the first time for many months.
They returned to their rooms, and talked of the stranger.
"Is she not lovely?" asked Marion, after long silence.
But in that dreamy silence, Ralph had, in spirit, been absent from
his sister and present with her of whom she inquired. The sound of
her voice brought him back; he started and said,--
"Why the stranger, of whom we were speaking."
"Lovely?" he replied; "she is more than that, she is holy, heavenly,
pure. But let us talk no more tonight, dear; I am weary."
The link was broken; her words had called him from the sphere of the
beautiful stranger, and he needed rest.
"Just what I feared," she said to herself, "he is mentally excited,
and to-morrow will droop."
Contrary to her fears, however, he awoke fresh and bright on the
morrow, and able to visit with her, many places of interest. He did
not see the stranger that day, nor the one succeeding.
"I fear they have gone," said his sister, as Ralph walked nervously
through the room. "I saw several go last evening, and she may have
been among the number."
"No, no; she has not gone. I should feel her absence were she away.
I should have no strength, but lose what I have gained, and droop. I
feel her here under this roof. I am approaching her, and shall,
within a few hours, look on her face, and hear her voice."
"Ah, Ralph, don't get too much excited, for I want you to look well
when father and mother join us at Paris. They will be overjoyed to
see how much you have improved."
He made a hasty gesture, which she did not see, and then, ashamed at
his feeling of impatience, went and sat beside her, and arranged the
silks in her basket. Engaged in this light pastime, he did not hear
a low rap at the door.
"Come in," rose to the lips of Marion; then the thought flashed on
her mind that the caller might be a stranger, and she arose and
opened the door.
"Have you a guide-book you can loan me?"
The voice thrilled Ralph's being to its centre. He raised his eyes
"Come in; we will find the book for you."
To Marion's surprise she entered and seated herself by the window,
but never for a moment took her eyes from the features of Ralph.
His hands trembled violently as he searched for the book among a
pile on the table, and Marion had to find it at last, and pass it to
the stranger, who took it, but moved not. Her eyes seemed
transfixed, her feet fastened to the floor.
"This is the person who has drawn my life so since I came here. He
is ill, but will recover," she said, stepping towards him, and
placing her soft, white hand upon his brow.
During this time Ralph was speechless, and felt as though he was
struck dumb. He trembled in every limb, as she gently led him to the
couch and motioned him to lie down. Then his limbs relaxed, his
breath became calm, the face lost all trace of weariness, and he
passed into a deep, mesmeric sleep. "Fold on fold of sleep was o'er
him," and the fair one stood silently there, her eyes dreamy and far
off, until his being was fully enrapt in that delicious state which
but few on earth have experienced.
Then silently she withdrew, while Marion whispered in her ear, "Come
again; please do, for this is so new and strange to me."
"I will," she said, and quietly departed.
An hour passed, and he did not awake; another, and still he
slumbered. "Can it be? O, is it the sleep which precedes death? I
fear it may be," and the anxious sister, musing thus, suppressed a
rising sigh. He moved uneasily. She had disturbed the delicate state
by her agitated thoughts.
"O, if she would come," said Marion, "I should have no fear."
At that instant the door opened, and the wished for visitor glided
"Has she read my thought?"
"Fear not," whispered the stranger, in a voice and manner not her
own, "thy brother but sleepeth. All is well; disease will have left
him when he awakes. I will stay awhile."
A volume of thanks beamed from Marion's face at these words, as she
took her seat close by the side of the fair girl.
At the end of the third hour he awoke. The stranger glided from the
room just as his eyes were opening, and Marion closed the door, and
went and sat beside him.
"What was it like, Ralph? O! how strange it all seems to me."
"Like? sister mine; like dew to the parched earth; strength to the