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reign to her usual character of face, and looked | longer. She ran out of the room and went up to her ily the index of what might be expected of her if chamber. She shared hers with me, and Mr. Gardle should ever be exasperated to fight against her ner's was adjoining ours. It was rather late, beestiny. But so far destiny seemed to wait humbly tween ten and eleven o'clock, and presently Mr. n her pleasure ; she was beloved by all, and though Gardner, who was somewhat fatigued, bade us goodft early an orphan, had found in the indulgent ten- night and ascended to his own apartment. I then erness of her brother and his wife a delightful home. went to Mary's room : I found her in a state of great
“A little while after our return, Mr. Dunbar look excitement and indignation, and yet though I sympan opportunity when business did not press, for he thized fully with her, there was something so comical vent daily into Boston and left Mary and me to our in the business-like way of doing the thing, which elves through the day, just to mention the little mat- Mr. Gardner had adopted, and his entire unconsciouser of Mr. Gardner's proposal to Mary; and to say ness of the sort of person he was to deal with, that I e had accepted it so far as he was concerned. began to laugh heartily.
“Now, girls, you must not ask me about charac- "Hush! hush! for Heaven's sake! he can hear ers, I shall tell you the facts, and you must guess at every word! my heart !-do you believe, be he characters of persons by them, the whys you can has come up stairs and gone straight to bed, and is uscertain as well as I could tell you. When Mr. this minute fast asleep! there-hear him! don't Dunbar had told Mary, who received the intelligence laugh! he 'll wake as sure as you do!! n silence, he dismissed the topic and no further “But laugh I did, for I could not help it, albeit illusion was made to it.
Mary's pallid face and earnest eyes checked me in "I asked Mary soon after if she considered her the midst. self engaged to Mr. Gardner.
"Now I am going down stairs this minute to put “Certainly not.
a stop to all this at once. I could not have believed “I asked her if she liked him, and she gave me stupidity could have gone so far. I shall see my he same laconic answer. So I, too, dismissed the brother and have an end put to his journeys here: topic. There was a little mystery in Mary's manner good heavens! to ibink of it.' about this time. If she did not like Mr. Gardner “ This I could not object to, of course. Indeed, she did like young Randolph, a Southerner, and a from the first of this very peculiar “arrangement' I student, who walked with her, and sent her flowers, had not been consulted by either Mary or her broand notes, and all sorts of pretty and poetical things ther, and I had a dreamy sort of feeling that by and 10 read-poems marked for her eye, and the sweetest by we should all wake up and find Mr. Gardner was and newest music for her piano. Then of a moon. only an incubus, instead of the unpleasant reality he light night we had serenades without number, and was getting to be. soft strains sung in a deep, rich voice, so that what " I sat still for nearly or quite half an hour, when with flowers, music, notes and very expressive Mary returned to her chamber on tiptoe and looking looking and sighing, the prospect was all but shut out very pale. for poor Mr. Gardner, and opening an interminable “Now, what is it?' said I earnestly, for I saw it vista for Randolph.
was no joke to poor Mary: her very lips were pallid “Weeks went on-oh, I forgot; in the meantime and trembling, and her hand was pressed to her side Mr. Gardner wrote two letters, one to Mr. Dunbar as if to still the convulsive springing of her heart. about Mary, and one to Mary herself, but not much "" I-I have been talking it over to William,' she about her. It was mostly a business letter, written said, in a thick, hasty voice; 'I told him I could go in a calm, friendly style, and asking her opinion no further with this man—this no man--who is wilabout some alterations he proposed making in the ling to take me, without so much as inquiring if I house, adding a wing, I think. He seemed to con- have a heart to bestow-but oh! oh, Susan-Ransider her a person who had a right to be consulted dolph has gone!' she sobbed out in a complete pasin his arrangements, and I remember he finished his sion of grief, that could not brook further concealleiter with “Yours, &c.' Mary handed the letter to ment or restraint. me with a look of extreme vexation, which at length " But how do you know this?' I asked, after, as subsided into a hearty laugh. I laughed too, but Mr. you may suppose, I had soothed and hushed her as Dunbar did not, and looked rather surprised at us. far as I was able.
“ In the course of four weeks from the time of our "6William told me so himself. I told him I could return, this ardent lover appeared in person. He not, would not marry Mr. Gardner-and he would drove up to the door in a very handsome carriage, not believe me-called me a foolish, nonsensical and with his servant, all looking very stylish. I saw child, who did n't know my own mind--and at last, Mary color extremely, but she sat quile still, and when nothing else would have any effect on his when Mr. Gardner entered and went toward her mind, I said—I said-ah! Susan, how hard it was holding out his hand, she remained in her place, and and is to say it! I loved another!' did not move her hand at all. He shook hands with "And how then, my poor child ?' the rest of us. Mary made tea, and one or two per- "Then-he just in his quiet, calm way, that kills sons coming in, Mr. Gardner became rather ani- one, you know-for it seems the death-blow to all mated, and appeared as he was a very gentlemanly, sentiment-he said, “Mary, if you mean young Ranintelligent person. At last Mary could bear it no dolph, whom I have sometimes met here, playing the
lover, all I can say is, he is too discreet to contest, her room till after Mr. Gardner's departure; ID the field, witness this note of farewell which was left her, at her own request, to silent reflectie sent to my office this afternoon. He desires his very “And now you will think all the trouble WBT respectful compliments to you, Mary.' Would you But did ever faint heart win fair ladie? Neve, kes believe it, Susan? I took that note-and read every Mr. Gardner's heart did not sink when be was in word of it; yes, and I smiled, too, as I gave it back the true story of Mary's indifference and aresa to him, as if it were the most indifferent thing in the Both brother and lover had deceived themse teko world—though I felt then, as I do now, every line of rather they had not thought about it. But now 2 it chilling my heart like ice.'
he did think about it, Mr. Gardner was not incizi. “Dear Mary,' I said, still very quietly, for she to relinquish the pursuit. He knew that were. grew almost wild with excitement, 'how is this? were fickle and strange beings, and oft-times refced Why has Randolph gone? have you had any quarrel?' | the very happiness they were dying to pred
"Quarrel ! God help you—no!-how should that Whether Mary were of this species be knew it, bu be? do n't I love the very dust he treads on!' she at all events the prize was worth trying for. screamed out violently at last, and went into a hys- he told Mr. Dunbar he would not trouble Mar teric fit. The sound of her maniacal voice brought more at present, but leave it to time. Time did a her brother to the door with anxious inquiry, but as great many things. Time might make him accepi I told him Mary was a little over excited, and quiet able to the very heart that now tossed him as : would soon restore her, at my earnest request he re
scorned thing away. tired. In a short time I was able, with bathing her “Now Alice, my dear child, don't give up o! head in cold water, and constantly soothing her with Mary, nor think her a heartless being, when I te. low murmuring tones of endearment, to see her sob- you that in six months from that time she becase bing herself into a troubled sleep, and as I looked on Mrs. Gardner. A very lovely bride she was, tioher beautiful face, pale as marble, and the black hair pale as a snow-drop, and graceful as the lake-li wetted and matted back from her fine brow, I felt She smiled, too, with a sort of contented smile, va that I saw a double victim to the cruel indifference radiant, not heartfelt, not joyous; there were te of others, and the violent emotions of her own untu-deeps of her being stirred as she stood calm and per lored nature."
sionless by the altar, and promised to love and baie Alice and Louisa Stanwood had gazed steadily into Mr. Gardner, but a very quiet and pensive sort of the face of their grandmother, while in the relation pleasure. A part of her soul seemed to bave been of this true story, it lighted up with remembered buried with the past, and to have been forcibly cruste. emotion.
down with all its young ardor and bloom furerer “Poor, poor girl!” said they; "but where, then, but above it was an everyday being, full of deter was Mr. Gardener all this while ? Surely he must mination to do her duty, to make her husband bapps have relented."
and be as happy herself as she could. So she was “Truth compels me to say, my romantic girls, married; and so she stepped into a handsome carriage that this quiet-loving lover, to all human appearance, with Mr. Gardner, and the bridemaids and grooms was not in the least disturbed. Indeed, as I listened to men followed in another; and never was there i the painful breathings of Mary, every now and then gayer and merrier cavalcade than at Mary Dunbar catching, as if for life, at a breath, and then hushed marriage. into all but dead silence, I was distincily aware of certain audible demonstrations of profound com. posure on the part of Mr. Gardner. In sooth, he
CHAPTER II. was not a lover for a romance writer at all; but such “Now, my dear girls, you must skip over a fer as he was—and you must remember our agreement years, during which I neither saw nor heard of Mary was that I should only relate facts, not account for Dunbar. I returned from a journey which I had been them-such as he was, he rose with the lark and taking, and was glad to feel that Mr. Gardner's best took his usual walk, to promote his appetite and pro. lay in my nearest route home. I longed to see Nar; long his life.
in her new character, now that she had had time to “When he returned, as Mary was too unwell to go feel and perform her duties, and proposed to be wil down stairs, I descended to the breakfast-room where her for a few days, that I might form my own opinica I found Mr. Dunbar uneasily walking the room. touching this mariage de convenance.'
"" How is Mary?' said he, the moment he saw me? "Mr. Gardner's house was one of some pretension 'No better? Tell her to be comforted—be quiet. originally ; that is to say, it had been built in the style God forbid I should do any thing to make her un- of country gentlemen in New England forty years happy. I will speak to Mr. Gardner about the ago. A row of white-pine pillars surrounded the matter myself, and tell him it can't be.'
house from root' to basement, and formed a piazza “ His earnest manner quite convinced me that how walk very convenient in a dull day. Six chimney! ever he might seem, his sister was really very near crowned the roof, and the whole arrangement was his heart, and “albeit unused to the melting mood,' I tasteful and imposing. There was a terrace of green felt my eyes fill with tears, as I turned and ran up to turf all round the house, and the offices and owMary's room to comfort her poor heart. She was buildings were at a short distance from the main comforted and quieted, though she declined leaving building. As the stage-coach wound up the a vente,
I noticed in the disposition of the grounds and shrub- | fortable for me. The muslin window.curtains hid bery the evident hand of female taste. Fantastic the view outside, and the stately high-post bedstead, arbors, almost hid behind clematis and honeysuckle; with its gilded tester, looked as if sleep would be little white arches supporting twining roses of twenty afraid to 'come anear' it. My trunks were brought sorts, and trees arranged in picturesque groups, gave up, and then a silence like death was in the house. a character of beautiful wildness to the scenery. No child was in the house, that was clear—and no
“I fancied Mary the presiding genius of the place body else it would seem. Well, I must wait. I as I last had seen her, white and bright, with a little should know all in good time. I dressed and went rose-tint on her cheek, caught from nature and the down to the parlor. Mary still hovered over the happy quiet of her life-for I had heard that she re- fire, looking, in her white wrapper and whiter face, joiced in an infant, whose beauty and promise I more like a ghost than any living thing. I had inknew must renew all the affectionate sympathies of tended to be calmly cheerful, to talk to Mary about her woman's heart.
old times, and by degrees to lead her to speak of so "The stage-coach stopped. A servant opened the much of her present life as would give me an insight door, and to my inquiry for Mrs. Gardner, answered into the mysterious sorrow that reigned like a prehesitatingly, that "he believed she did not wish to sence over the dwelling. see company.' How much of apprehension was “But as poor Ophelia says, "we know what we compressed into that brief moment. What could are, but not what we shall be.' So no more did I have happened to her? Much might have happened, know how to look at that crouching figure and be and I not know it, for I had been living in great cheerful and calm. I lost all presence of mind, and seclusion, and had had no correspondence with could only sit down and cry heartily. Mary rose at Mary. However, I gave my card 10 the man, and the sound of my weeping and came to me. bade him take it to Mrs. Gardner, meanwhile sitting “Do you know I cannot weep, Susan ? These with a throbbing heart in the carriage.
fountains are drained dry. See, there are no tears in “The man returned in a short time with a message my eyes, though God knows my heart is drowned all requesting me to stop, and to have my trunks taken day and night. It is dreadful to have such a burning off. Not a welcoming voice or face met me—and head as mine, and no tears to wet it withal.' in silence I followed the servant to the parlor. Mary “I wiped my eyes and grew calmer when I saw the was sitting there; some fire was in the grate, though wild brightness of her eye; and dreading another it was in July; and she hovered over it as if she nervous attack, I did my best to quiet both her and sought to warm her heart enough to show proper myself. The day passed on without further reference feeling at the sight of an old friend
to any present griefs; she showed me her little con“. Mary Dunbar !' I cried out, with my arms out. servatory, with a few rare flowers in it, which she spread, for the figure before me of hopelessness and had reared with much care, and led me over the gloom gave me a feeling almost heart-breaking. pleasantest paths in the grounds and groves attached
"The sound of her own maiden name acted like to the house. In one of these groves, at some dismagic on Mary. She sprung to my arms like a tance from the house itself, was a little cleared space, frightened bird, and clung to me with such intensity and in the centre of that a small, a very small mound. of sad earnestness in her face, that it brought back to “I knew at once what it was. There slept the child me all the old sorrow of that night of suffering at I had heard of. So bad been broken the dearest tie her brother's. Once more I soothed her, smoothed Mary had felt binding her to life. She stood with back the dark plumage of her hair, and with soft me a moment, looking at the mound with a steadfast words and gentle caresses, brought her to quietness. look, and then putting back her hair from her fore
" . You are ill, my poor Mary,' I said, as I looked head, as if she tried to remember something, she al her sunken cheek, and the deep gloom about her smiled sadly, and said in a broken voice, eyes. "Where is Mr. Gardner?'
" You see I cannot shed one tear, even on my “Oh, he is gone most of the time,' said she hastily, child's grave.' I led her gently away among the old and then, for the first time, seeming to recollect her trees and quiet paths, and we sat in the warm July duty as hostess, she added, but you are tired and shadows till the sun went down. travel-soiled, and hungry, too, I dare say; let me “You may guess how thankful I was to see at last, make you comfortable. She laughed a little as she as we turned homeward, the tears slowly falling over spoke, but not like her old laugh, it was affected, and her face and dropping on her dress, as she walked died in its birth.
on, evidently unconscious of the blessed relief. 'Like "She rang the bell, gave orders for lunch to be music on my heart' sunk these tears, for I knew that brought in, and a room prepared for me, with some with them would come the coolness, 'like a welthing of her old activity, and saying cordially, “Now coming' over her burning pulse, and I carefully abyou must stay with me; now I have got you here, I stained from saying a word that would interrupt the cannot spare you again.' She relapsed into thought- feelings rather than thoughts which now agitated her. fulness and absence. This strange manner puzzled We returned to the house; tea was served silently, me not a little.
for even the domestics hardly spoke above a "I went up stairs. The white dreariness of my whisper; and then we sat in the soft moonlight and room chilled me. Mary did not accompany me as looked on the sleeping scene before us. The summer she would once have done, to see that all was com- sounds of rural life had long died away, and nothing
but the untiring chirp of the tree-toad was to be heard. “Mary's good spirit was still at her ear, and she The melancholy monotony of the scene hushed said with some difficulty, Mary's spirit to a quiet she had not for a long time " Mr. Gardner, the writer of this letter was once known, and at last she became conscious of having much interested in me.' wept freely.
“ And you in him, eh? Well, my love, those “I have wept, thank God! that shows I am hu- things are all gone by; I can fully trust you. So man. Now ask me all about what you want to again, I say, correspond with any body you like, know. I think I can talk about it. Mr. Gardner ? provided you don't ask me to read the letters.' Oh, he is gone-he is gone a great deal, you know; The generous confidence of her husband deeply his business leads him continually away from home, affected Mary; bul, unhappily, it did not induce bet and that leaves me, of course, very dull-very. to the safe course of declining the correspondenx Should n't you think it ought to, Susan dear?' with this fascinating and dangerous friend. The cor
“Thus incoherently she began; bui the first step respondence went on for years, nay, it was continued taken, and secure of sympathy in her hearer, she up to the time of my visit. And now, my dears, I went on, and you will believe me when I tell must stop the current of my story for a minute, to you we talked till midnight, and that then Mary utter my protest against this most dangerous and sunk, like a weary child, into my arms in a sound wretched of all theories-Platonie friend skips be. sleep.
tween a married woman and her male friends. “I cannot give you her precise words, but the im- But for the false notions of safety in such a friend port of her relation I shall never forget. A few words ship, Mary Dunbar might now be a loved and loving will suffice to tell you what it took her hours of emo- woman. This you will not believe could have been tion and tears to reveal.
with Mr. Gardner ; but remember, Mary was getting “ You remember I told you she looked determined to love Mr. Gardner a good deal, and habit and duty to do her duty, and be as happy a wife as she could. and maternal happiness would have done much; so Did ever a wife succeed in being happy with duty that in a sort, she would have been both lored and for the material? Perhaps if Mr. Gardner had been loving. The letters from Rando!ph, which sbe an ardent lover, somewhat impulsive, and eager to showed me, were very interesting, and full of fine commend himself to her grateful affection, he would sensible remarks on education, all so interspersed have succeeded in doing so; indeed, I am sure of it, with gentle and deep interest for herself, that you in time it must have been so; but, alas! Mr. Gardner saw she was never out of his mind and heart for an was a calm, gentlemanly, sensible, phlegmatic person, instant. Just such letters as a happy married woman who thought his wife's impulsive and hasty nature would never read, and what any woman's instinct should be occasionally checked, and who had no protects her from if she listens 10 it. toleration for, nor sympathy with, her excitable “ Things had gone on in this way for two years, spirit. Consequently, she soon learned to have a or thereabouts, when the child, who had been the calm exterior when he was at home, which his fre. subject of so many theories, and in whom were garquent absences made it easy to assume. They had nered all the conscious hopes of Mary, was taken been married something like three years, and Mary suddenly ill. Her anxiety induced her immediately was the delighted mother of a healthy and lovely to summon medical assistance; and she could hards daughter. Her heart, which had almost closed in the believe her physician when he said there were no chilly atmosphere of her husband's manners, ex. grounds for apprehension. The child had a sore panded and flowered luxuriantly in the warmth of throat; there was a considerable degree of inilaramamaternity. In her happiness she reflected a part of tion about the system, and when he leít, he directed its exuberance on her husband, and smiled with much Mary to have some leeches applied to the neck of of her old gayety. 'I felt my young days coming the little girl, at the same time pointing to the spot back to me,' she said.
where he wished them to take the blood. “ One day the post brought a letter for her, which Mary was particular to place them there, but to she opened, and then left the room 10 read. The her great alarm, the blood issued from the punctures leiter was from young Randolph. The writer apolo. | in such a quantity as 10 drench the bed-linen a'most gized for his year's silence to her, by an account of immediately. In vain she tried to stop it—it flowed a long illness, &c. He knew of her happiness, of her in torrents, and before the horror-struck servants child; in short, he seemed to be informed of every could summon the pbysician, ihe life had ebbed from thing about her. He asked to be permitted to corres- the child--nolbing but a blood-stained form remained pond with her. The letter expressed the strongest and The physician said the jugular rein had been pierced. deepest interest, but couched in such respectful and and ihat it was something like half an inch Dearer friendly terms as were difficult to resist. Mary strug. the ear than he ever saw it before. I believe he wa gled long with her sense of what was due to herself not to blame-far less was the wretched instruneni, and her husband; but right at last conquered, and she whose agony I will not attempt to describe. re-entered the room with the letter in her hand. Trem- “But from that hour the nervous spasms and deblingly she gave it to her husband, who read a part pression of spirits supervened, which I found bad of it, and then said, with much kindness of manner, become the habit of her mind. I should have pre
" Correspond with any of your friends, male or mised that through all the distressing circumstances female, my dear. I have not the slightest objection,” | of the child's death Mr. Gardner was absent. ['e
oubtedly, could he have been at home, his fortitude | Then followed the shock of hearing from Mr. Dunnd calmness would have been of the greatest service bar's own lips of his sister's engagement and apo her; but he did not return until long after her ma proaching marriage. Then the farewell note of ernal agonies had sunk into a sort of stupor of wounded affection that assumed indifference. Then wretchedness, which looked like a resigned grief a long delirious fever; then the news of Mary's utwardly. Far enough was her spirit from the marriage; and then the vain attempt to conquer his Paforced com posure of her manner. By degrees she ill-fated love. His delight in his correspondence ame to look upon herself as born only to make with her; it had been the life of his life, all that whers unhappy. That she had caused the death of soothed the downward passage to the grave. To that her own child was 100 horrible a thought to dwell on grave he had gladly come, feeling that happiness was voluntarily, yet it obtruded itself always—and she forever denied him, and only begged her to believe shuddered at the grave of the being dearest to her heart. in his never-varying love from the moment he met
“I remained with Mary until her husband's return, her to this dying hour, when he signed his name to and then lefi her, promising to visit her again in the the last words he should address to mortal. course of a few weeks. I was pleased to see the “ All that she had lost-all she might have been, manly kindness of Mr. Gardner's manner to his wife. and might have enjoyed in a union with this young He evidently did not understand her, but he was man, so brilliant, so amiable, so devoted, rushed on gentle and quiet in his words to her, and so far as was my heart, and contrasting with the reality a few in his nature to do, sympathized with her. He was fre- paces off, made me weep bitterly. Oh! had they quently called away from home for weeks together, never loved so kindly! and had no idea of the effect solitude was having on "I sat long with the manuscript, looking at the the mind of his wife.
writing, some of it years old, and written with a firm, “As soon as I could so arrange my affairs at home flowing hand, then varying through all the vicissias to leave them, I went to my sick-souled friend. tudes of health and feeling, till it trembled and died I found her in her chamber and lying on her bed away in its last farewell. The peculiar tenderness She looked paler than ever, and her eyes were dry with which we look on the handwriting of the dead, and tearless as when I first saw her before. All over however personally unknown, affected me. This the bed, and pressed in her hands, were letters strewn, young man I had seen, though seldom ; and I easily half open, and which she had evidently been reading connected the memoir before me with the memory She looked up at me when I entered, but immediately of his dark, curling hair, his olive complexion, and began gathering up the letters with a strange careful- the graceful dignity of his manner. I saw bis bright ness, placing them one above the other according to eye dim, the dew of suffering on his brow, his cheek their dates, laking no further notice of me. I sa
saw pale with anguish of heart and body, and the last something agitating had occurred, and seated myself ficker of his glorious light going out in darkness. without speaking till she should be more composed. “From these thoughts I was roused by a sudden I knew they were Randolph's letters; I had seen and deep groan; it seemed near me, and I sprung to ihem before.
my feet. Bells rang; there was a rush on the stair“Presently she spoke in a low voice and seem-caise—a shriek-another rush—the opening of doors ingly exhausted manner.
wildly; all this was in a moment–in the moment I "Susan! I was by her instantly. She gave me ran out of my room toward Mary's where an una folded manuscript. "Between you and me there is defined and terrible fear taught me 10 look. no need of words. Take this and read it. It is the “ You will guess what met my appalled gaze. Mr. last death I shall cause. Leave me now, dear Susan; Gardner, who had returned from a journey while I perhaps I may sleep, who knows !"
was reading in my own room, hastened up stairs to “She put her hands over her eyes—They were see Mary. At the moment he entered, she had comburning as coals-and tried to smile, but the lips re- pleted the act which terminated her life. He refused the mockery. I begged her 10 lie down and ceived in his arms the lifeless body. The suffering try to sleep, closed the curtains, and left the room, soul still hovered unconsciously. We believe that not a liule anxious to see the contents of the manu- God who made us, alone can try us, and He who script which I hoped would explain this new grief. knew all the wo that 'wrought like madness in her
“The first letter was from a clergyman at the brain,' can both pity and forgive." South, containing the intelligence of Randolph's A deep silence followed Madame Stanwood's redeath, after a long illness, and transmitting, at hislation. Alice and Louise were thinking how little request, the sealed packet 10 Mrs. Gardner. such an experience could bave been guessed from
"And saddening enough was the recital of the Mr. Gardner's exterior. young man's sorrows. He began with saying that “I wonder," said Louisa at last, " if he ever knew he had scrupulously abstained from ever mentioning the cause of Mary's death—did you give him the his attachment to Mary while he had lived, but he manuscript, grandmother?" could not refrain from asking her pity for him when “Well-what should I have done ?" he could never more disturb or injure her. He in- “Oh! I would have given it to him! I would have closed to her his journal, kept from the first day he rejoiced to see him one hour feeling all the agony saw her, when he loved her with all the fervor of which poor Mary had felt so long !" bis southern nature, and all the confidence of youth. “ That is very natural, my child, for you to say ;