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"Ah, that I do not yet know. I am so anxious. He will not like it."
The lady shook her head. "A strange world!” she said.
When Lisbeth went to her room in the evening, she did not look at her drawer. There were her clothes and her two dresses, but no longer a picture. Toward morning she dropped asleep. Wilhelmina had to wake her. She cleared up the room as usual. Below the Frau Doctor sat at breakfast. The chambermaid, who was coming and going, left the door half open.
"The gentleman is coming at last! Frau Doctor could not understand what was keeping him. He had been called out at six o'clock, to a stranger, who lived in the hotel. Something unlucky must have happened. I almost know
They both listened. The firm step of the doctor was heard on the stairs. They heard what he said to his wife.
"What, dear child, you are still waiting for me with the tea. You should not do that. Yes, it is a sad story. A young man. Shot in the breast. It is all over now. And strange-the whole time, while he was struggling with death, he had his eyes, already failing, fixed upon a picture, a sketch of one of the modern French, such as you admire. I looked at it myself and read the name on the back of the frame, it was by Helleu!"
The two girls heard a low scream. Then quick questions and answers, Then another scream – The doctor called for Wilhelmina. She ran in. Lis. beth stood with the broom and the dust cloth in her hands and knew nothing of herself and nothing whatever but that her heart and her head and she herself were turning around, more and more rapidly, all alone in a great, great void
"How you stand there!" cried Wil. helmina, who came in again, and hurriedly got flasks and cloths. "Frau
Doctor has fainted. Come and help. Somebody is dead."
And Lisbeth braced herself and knelt beside the sofa and supported the head of the young woman, while her husband and the chambermaid loosened her clothing and bathed her forehead with ice water.
"I thank you, dear child," said the doctor, “do not be so disturbed, it is already over; fortunately it is not much. But you,-you look as white as a cloth because my wife has fainted. And my poor wife here lost her consciousness because she heard that a man, whom she does not know, had shot himself. -Now-she will soon recover. It will be better for her not to see so many people when she comes to. Wilhelmina can stay. You may go without anxiety to your work.
She slipped out and wiped the dust from the furniture as she had been doing before.
In the afternoon, Frau Hertha lay on the lounge, which was drawn up to the window, her head propped up, while she turned over the leaves of a book. Lisbeth knocked softly. The two looked in each other's eyes a minute and then turned away from each other almost simultaneously.
"Frau Doctor," said the girl softly, “I only want to ask the Frau DoctorI-I must go away. If it is all the same to the Frau Doctor, then I will hunt another place."
Frau Hertha had raised herself. She wrung her small, white hands. And then she sprang up and passed through the room with trembling steps and then stood still before Lisbeth.
“How can you stand there so quietly? How can you be so still? Do you feel nothing? You have killed him, You!
The girl took the end of her apron and laid it in little folds and held it so. One could see how she pressed her teeth together. Then she spoke, her
young voice sounded as usual, scarcely Weber, and others, who looked at me even trembling.
I was continually ashamed of myself. "Frau Doctor, I wrote to my be- That I could not help. And so—and on trothed, that is true. Frau Doctor also that account-" said that I was not suited to him, that Frau Hertha sadly shook her head: I was entirely unfit for him. It could "It is incomprehensible. Such a person! not be otherwise. And_I knew well But only go, Lisbeth-you know your that he would take it badly from me. way, as you wish to take it, better than But that-No, I did not think that. And I. Yes, only take it." that I never wished. And if I had The girl bo'wed her head in thanks known it-"
and went out of the room, in her red "Does one ever know what will come dress of a serving maid, with the little out of her actions?” sighed the lady. "If I had known, imagined, when I Before Frau Geheimrath Ehren, sitwas talking to you last evening."
ting at her accustomed place by the "Frau Doctor," said the poor girl. “It window, was the white frame with the is done. It must remain done."
etching by Helleu, and on the knees of “And you will take another place ?" the old lady was spread out the letter asked the lady, looking at the girl un- which they had found on her dead comprehendingly from her tearful son: eyes, “how will you do that, how can
My dearest Hubert:you do that?"
I can not come this evening. I am “I must, Frau Doctor, I dare not do
very sorry. And I also can not come that too; it would be very bad. Beside
to morrow evening and no other evenI have my sister to look out for. If ing. I can not marry you.
Your Frau Doctor will allow me to go, I will mother saw it yesterday and now I
also know it; it would not be suitable. stay home for a couple of days. My
And that the picture is so wonderfully mother will scold. But that also is
beautiful as you found it and also the nothing much. I must look after my
Frau Doctor- no, I can not see it so. sister and see if I can bring her away Therefore I send it back to you. Do at once. And if she is ready I would not be angry with me. Truly I can
not. It is very sorrowful to me myself, rather go to some house where we can
but it can not be. Therefore I say stay together. And I would rather not
adieu to you. be here in this town."
Your Elizabeth. "And serve, serve, ever and ever, making beds and scrubbing stairs for And the desolate old mother, as she strange people, your whole life long, compared the childish, uncertain lines and he dead-and you loved him?" of the short letter with the face which
“Yes, Frau Doctor. But how does looked so earnestly from the frame of that help things now? I would gladly the etching, for the first time underhave been his wife. And at first I did stood the love of her dead son, felt all not think of anything else. But Sun- at once through all her pain a compreday, when I was with him, then I al- hension, a something in common with ready knew it; that which he thought that which he had perceived in her. I could not be—and so beautiful as I A child, as Hubert had said, but a had imagined it—that was very stupid child who knew what she ought to do, of me and his mother was quite and without caring for the opinion of friendly, but so strange. And he also the world could take the best way to was strange. I did not understand the preserve her "Ego" and her individual half. And then all the people, Mrs.
A REAL TREASURE.
twice, when he had occasion to be in
Brierly-Stoke, she saw her father; but It must not be supposed that Nancy Thomas Seaward was a quiet man, in. Seaward deliberately set herself in the disposed to curiosity, and he asked few first instance to avoid her kinsman. She questions. For the rest, Henry the had on taking up her duties at Laurel milkman, who supplied Laurel Grove, Grove been diffident of her own pow. sufficed as the bearer of any needful ers, and the excuses she made for not
message. obtruding herself upon him were per- Grannie, who vastly enjoyed the digfectly natural. Her hands were full, nity of her soli ry state, was very kind and she had no time for society. But to the girl. She smoothed her path as the days went on and she realized with the refractory and jealous Eliza, how entirely John Whipp's thoughts she lent her books, she insisted on takwere centred upon his own comfort, a ing her out for airings in the oldcertain contempt for him grew up in fashioned barouche, careful, however, her heart. Being for the moment the not to pass the bank. custodian of his purse she could not Nancy alone of the sisters had inherfail to know that his charities were ited her father's reticence. She was a many and unstinted. Spending largely girl whom it was not very easy to upon himself, he also gave freely to know, but few young people could long those in need; but his generosity was remain proof against Grannie's stately fatally flawed in her eyes by the readi- charm, and Nancy half unconsciously ness with which he pandered to appe- yielded to it like the rest. As for Grantite. There is perhaps no fault so con- nie, the more she knew of the girl the temptible in a young girl's estimation better she liked and respected her; she as a love of good eating. John Whipp even began to ask herself whether after lived but for the pleasure of dining; in all-then came a vision of the sisterher scorn for his weakness she dis- hood at Roots, and she shrank back owned him as a cousin. As his hired timidly from the wandering idea. Bethandmaid she would give him faithful ter let things take their course, service; since to eat was the chief aim They pursued their tranquil way till and pleasure of his life, his board the heat of August as it merged into should be spread with delicate cakes, September parched the land. John had but as one of her own blood she would long ceased to trouble himself about his have none of him.
mysterious inmate; he had almost forHer resolution was the more easily gotten her existence, save when a supported since at this season of the worse report than usual came to him year all the younger members of the of Eliza's condition or some new dish Whipp family, as well as their neigh- attracted his attention. bors and acquaintances, were seeking A thunderous night had kept him refreshment at the sea; even Ethel had tossing wakefully, and at six o'clock gone upon a round of visits, and Gran- he was fain to rise, feeling it vain to nie was left alone at the White House. woo sleep longer. He drew the blind As for her own people, stress of sum- and looked out upon his garden. The mer work at the farm kept them too twelve years of its growth had estabbusy to pay many visits. Once or lished the lawn, now glittering with the
night's dew-it lay in fair expanse be- lessly, investigating with interest the fore him, ilanked by glowing beds of promise of fruit. Suddenly at the end crimson, yellow and white dahlias. A of a long alley which diverged to the few well-grown oaks spared in the lay- right he perceived the two maidens, ing out of the ground gave a mature whose existence he had forgotten. Jane, look to the smiling acre. John took selecting Victoria plums from a sunny pride and pleasure in his garden, but, wall, saw her master and dropped a a late sitter at night, he had seldom little timid curtsey; the other girl stood seen it at so early an hour. He resolved motionless, lost in a reverie. The basto wander out in it now. As he turned ket at her feet was half filled, and infrom the window, two women, each deed Nancy was thinking of nothing provided with a basket, emerged upon more serious than the menu for the day. the side path and rapidly made their The French beans were growing too way to the end of the garden. A nar- old even for the most skilful cookery. row and little frequented lane there She cast a critical eye over the beds; divided the pleasure portion of his do- parsnips, cauliflowers, carrots, cabbage, main from the large and well-stocked parsley-her basket already held these; kitchen garden and orchard, but a light vegetable-marrow-she shook a doubtrustic bridge, overarching the lane, con- ful head; artichokes--her lips pursed nected the two. He watched until the themselves thoughtfully; spinach-one maidens appeared upon its crest, and had spinach so often. disappeared from his view as they John stood arrested in wonder, startripped down the steps on the opposite ing in forgetfulness of his manners. side. The one he recognized as Jane, Surely this was no maid-servant, this the other he supposed to be some tall, slim girl with the delicate profile? kitchen helper; he had heard that an He studied her amazed. She wore the attendant had been secured for Eliza. plainest of close-fitting indigo-blue cot
The balm and freshness of the morn- tons; a pair of gauntletted gloves proing air rewarded him for his exertion. tected her hands; a white sun-bonnet He sauntered, delighted and admiring; tied loosely had slipped from her head a twitter in the tree-tops, the last faint to her neck, leaving revealed the coil echo of summer's full song, held him. of warm brown hair. For a full minute Unseen himself, he watched a bright- he looked at her unperceived, then, eyed robin flit from the oak-tree intent with a subtle consciousness that she upon the early worm; the swallows in was no longer alone, she turned and conference over their coming flight faced him. sunned themselves upon the eaves. The Instinctively he lifted his hat. Nancy blaze of flower beauty was over, but returned his greeting with a very disscarlet geranium and white marguerite tant movement of her stately head, still gaily crowned the tree-stumps while she untied and replaced her sunmasked with ivy; a late rose or two still bonnet. She looked at him from out scented the air. With a rare impulse its tunnelled depths with a pair of of vanity, he selected the most perfect calm, beautiful gray eyes, and said, and placed it in his button-hole. Then, seeing his embarrassmentwith no thought but of prolonging the "My name is Seaward." pleasure of his walk, he turned his John took a step forward. steps towards the rustic bridge and “You-you have come to help your crossed it. Here utility alone prevailed; sister?” he asked. “She has so kindly the paths between the espaliers were been taking charge for me during the turfed, and he moved onward noise- last few weeks."
"I am Nancy,” she said coldly, cor- and bridled, minced and giggled, ad. recting, his mistake.
dressed him perhaps after the first He reddened in the immensity of his abashed moment as John; yet the real surprise; she could not refuse his cor- Nancy's formal “Mr. Whipp" failed dially outstretched hand, but she al- equally to please him. With this Nancy lowed her own to remain impassive in he was willing to be on terms of cousinhis grasp.
ship. “Then it is you," he said, still be- They walked apart until, the bridge wildered—"you whom I have to thank.” crossed, they reached the wide grar
"You owe me no thanks, Mr. Whipp," elled paths of the garden; he hastened said Nancy, with dignity. “I was in then to join his companion. search of work and you employed me. "I think,” he said, “it must be a long You pay me amply for my services." time since we met. I recall your sis
“But—there is a debt which money ters very well (*only too well,' to him. can't pay."
self) but you—”. She accepted the assertion without “I have been away from home for a comment, and turned forthwith to her number of years." neglected task. In a very few minutes “Ah,” he said, “that accounts for it. her basket was filled. He found it im- Had you been at home I should cerpossible to help watching her; she was tainly have remembered you. I so quick, cool, adroit, so absolutely in- couldn't possibly have forgotten you. different to his presence.
When she You must have been a child when I last was about to turn away he sprang for- saw you." ward.
To so obvious a statement she made “Let me carry the basket," he said. no reply. He found her unresponsive
“Thank you, it is not too heavy for ness a little disconcerting. me."
“Why have you hidden yourself so But John had a masterful fibre in persistently?" he made a fresh at him and his spirit was roused.
tempt at liveliness. “It was very cruel "If you forbid me to thank you." he of you since you knew, you must have said genially, "at least you must al- known, what a pleasure it would have low me to take my own way in my been to me to see you and-and-talk to own garden." He seized the basket, you. Why, when met your father the and courteously motioned her to pre- other day I could only tell him I becede him; the grass path was not wide lieved you were all right. How odd it enough for two. As he followed her must have sounded, how absurd!" It he could not take his eyes off her. seemed so to John himself now. This Seaward-this the stirring, She looked at him calmly. “It was lively, velveteen-clad Nancy of his not necessary for us to meet; you yourimagination ? How could he possibly self"—with the faintest accent of disbe so mistaken? But-could it really dain-"did not think it necessary until be? Could Roots produce so rare a this morning. I am here to carry out creature? How slim she was, and how your wishes, your orders, and so long straight she carried herself-Nancy, in
as you can transmit them through deed, was quite capable of assuming Jane" an extra dignity, as she felt herself un- "Orders—that's an ugly word!" der his scrutiny-and with what a cold
“It is the only one that expresses composure she had met his embar- our relation.” She turned to the little rassed greeting! The Nancy Seaward maid behind her: “Jane, take the bashe had pictured would have blushed ket from your master; I will carry the