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his skill and his tact; but he likewise . like me, but it's no place for a fine placed a becoming degree of reliance young lady like you,” said the nurse, upon his solid personal qualities, — quals looking at Gertrude's muslins and ities too sober and too solid, perhaps, laces. to be called charms, but thoroughly “ I 'm not so fine as to desert a adapted to inspire confidence. The friend in distress,” said Gertrude. “I Major was not handsome in feature; shall come again, and if it makes the he left that to younger men and to poor fellow worse to see me, I shall lighter women ; but his ugliness was stay away. I am ready to do anything of a masculine, aristocratic, intelligent that will help him to get well.” stamp. His figure, moreover, was good It had already occurred to her that, enough to compensate for the absence in his unnatural state, Richard might of a straight nose and a fine mouth; find her presence a source of irritation, and his general bearing offered a most and she was prepared to remain in the pleasing combination of the gravity of background. As she returned to her the man of affairs and the versatility of carriage, she caught herself reflecting the man of society.

with so much pleasure upon Major In her sudden anxiety on Richard's Luttrel's kindness in expending a coubehalf, Gertrude soon forgot her own ple of hours of his valuable time on so immaterial woes. The carriage which unprofitable an object as poor Richard, was to have conveyed her to Mrs. that, by way of intimating her satisfacMartin's was used for a more disinter- tion, she invited him to come home ested purpose. The Major, prompted and dine with her. by a strong faith in the salutary force After a short interval she paid Richof his own presence, having obtained ard a second visit, in company with her permission to accompany her, they Miss Pendexter. He was a great deal set out for the farm, and soon found worse ; he lay emaciated, exhausted, themselves in Richard's chamber. The and stupid. The issue was doubtful. young man was wrapped in a heavy Gertrude immediately pushed forward sleep, from which it was judged im- to M-, a larger town than her own, prudent to arouse him. Gertrude, sigh- sought out a professional nurse, and ing as she compared his thinly furnished arranged with him to relieve the old room with her own elaborate apart- woman from the farm, who was worn ments, drew up a mental list of essen- out with her vigilance. For a forttial luxuries which she would imme- night, moreover, she received constant diately send him. Not but that he had tidings from the young man's physician. received, however, a sufficiency of home. During this fortnight, Major Luttrel ly care. The doctor was assiduous, and was assiduous, and proportionately sucthe old woman who nursed him was full cessful. of rough good-sense.

It

may be said, to his credit, that he “ He asks very often after you, Miss," had by no means conducted his suit she said, addressing Gertrude, but with upon that narrow programme which he a sly glance at the Major.

“ But I had drawn up at the outset. He very think

you

'd better not come too often. soon discovered that Gertrude's reI'm afraid you 'd excite him more than sentment — if resentment there was you 'd quiet him.”

— was a substance utterly impalpable “I'm afraid you would, Miss Whit- even to his most delicate tact, and he taker,” said the Major, who could have had accordingly set to work to woo hugged the goodwife.

her like an honest man, from day to “Why should I excite him?" asked day, from hour to hour, trusting so deGertrude, “I'm used to sick-rooms. voutly for success to momentary inspiI nursed my father for a year and a ration, that he felt his suit dignified by half."

a certain flattering faux air of genuine “O, it 's very well for an old woman passion. He occasionally reminded

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a loss

himself, however, that he might really be “I tell the good news first,” he said, owing more to the subtle force of acci- gravely. “I have some very bad news, dental contrast than Gertrude's life- too, Miss Whittaker.” long reserve — for it was certain she Gertrude sent him a rapid glance. would not depart from it - would ever “ Some one has been killed," she said. allow him to measure.

Captain Severn has been shot,” It was as an honest man, then, a said the Major, “ shot by a guerilla.” man of impulse and of action, that Ger- Gertrude was silent. No answer trude had begun to like him. She was seemed possible to that uncompromisnot slow to perceive whither his opera- ing fact. She sat with her head on her tions tended; and she was almost hand, and her elbow on the table betempted at times to tell him frankly side her, looking at the figures on the that she would spare him the inter- carpet. She uttered no words of commediate steps, and meet him at the monplace regret; but she felt as little goal without further delay. It was not like giving way to serious grief. She that she was prepared to love him, but had lost nothing, and, to the best of she would make him an obedient wife. her knowledge, he had lost nothing. An immense weariness had somehow She had an old loss to mourn, come upon her, and a sudden sense of a month old, which she had mourned loneliness. A vague suspicion that as she might. To give way to passion her money had done her an incurable would have been but to impugn the wrong inspired her with a profound solemnity of her past regrets. When distaste for the care of it. She felt she looked up at her companion, she cruelly hedged out from human sym- was pale, but she was calm, yet with pathy by her bristling possessions. a calmness upon which a single glance "If I had had five hundred dollars a of her eye directed him not inconsideryear,” she said in a frequent paren- ately to presume. She was aware that thesis, “I might have pleased him.” this glance betrayed her secret; but in Hating her wealth, accordingly, and view both of Severn's death ard of the chilled by her isolation, the temptation Major's attitude, such betrayal mattered was strong upon her to give herself less. Luttrel had prepared to act upon up to that wise, brave gentleman who her bint, and to avert himself gently seemed to have adopted such a happy from the topic, when Gertrude, who medium betwixt loving her for her had dropped her eyes again, raised money and fearing her for it. Would them with a slight shudder. “I ’m she not always stand between men cold," she said. “Will you shut that who would represent the two window beside you, Major ? Or stay, tremes? She would anticipate securi- suppose you give me my shawl from ty by an alliance with Major Luttrel. the sofa."

One evening, on presenting himself, Luttrel brought the shawl, placed it Luttrel read these thoughts so clearly on her shoulders, and sat down beside in her eyes, that he made up his mind her. * These are cruel times,” he said, to speak. But his mind was burdened with studied simplicity. “I'm sure I with a couple of facts, of which it was hardly know what 's to come of it all.” necessary that he should discharge it “Yes, they are cruel times," said Gerbefore it could enjoy the freedom of trude. • They make one feel cruel. action which the occasion required. They make one doubt of all he has In the first place, then, he had been learnt from his pastors and masters.” to see Richard Clare, and had found “Yes, but they teach us something him suddenly and decidedly better. It new also.” was unbecoming, however, — it was im- “I'm sure I don't know," said Gerpossible, — that he should allow Ger- trude, whose heart was so full of bittertrude to linger over this pleasant an- ness that she felt almost malignant. nouncement.

• They teach us how mean

ex

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we are.

a

War is an infamy, Major, though it is mix them up in the most extraordinary your trade.

It's very well for you, fashion. I don't fancy myself an eswho look at it professionally, and for pecially religious man ; in fact, I bethose who go and fight; but it's a mis- lieve I'm rather otherwise. It's my erable business for those who stay at nature. Half mankind are born so, or home, and do the thinking and the sen- I suppose the affairs of this world timentalizing. It 's a miserable busi

would n't move. But I believe I'm a ness for women; it makes us more spite- good lover, Miss Whittaker.” ful than ever.”

“I hope for your own sake you are, “Well, a little spite is n't a bad thing, Major Luttrel.” in practice,” said the Major.

" War “ Thank you. Do you think now you is certainly an abomination, both at could entertain the idea for the sake of home and in the field. But as wars

any one else ? " go, Miss Whittaker, our own is a very

Gertrude neither dropped her eyes, satisfactory one. It involves some- nor shrugged her shoulders, nor blushed. thing. It won't leave us as it found us. If anything, indeed, she turned someWe 're in the midst of a revolution, and what paler than before, as she sustained what 's a revolution but a turning up- her companion's gaze, and prepared to side down? It makes sad work with answer him as directly as she might. our habits and theories and our tra- “If I loved you, Major Luttrel," she ditions and convictions. But, on the said, “ I should value the idea for my other hand,” Luttrel pursued, warm- own sake.” ing to his task, “it leaves something The Major, too, blanched a little. “I untouched, which is better than these, put my question conditionally," he an- I mean our feelings, Miss Whitta- swered, “and I have got, as I deserved, ker.” And the Major paused until he a conditional reply. I will speak plainhad caught Gertrude's eyes, when, hav- ly, then, Miss Whittaker. Do you value ing engaged them with his own, he the fact for your own sake? It would proceeded. “I think they are the be plainer still to say, Do you love me? stronger for the downfall of so much but I confess I 'm not brave enough for else, and, upon my soul, I think it's in that I will say, Can you ? or I will them we ought to take refuge. Don't even content myself with putting it in you think so?"

the conditional again, and asking you if “ Yes, if I understand you."

you could ; although, after all, I hardly “I mean our serious feelings, you know what the if understood can reaknow, — not our tastes nor our pas- sonably refer to. I'm not such a fool sions. I don't advocate fiddling while as to ask of any woman - least of all Rome is burning. In fact it's only poor, of you - to love me contingently. You unsatisfied devils that are tempted to can only answer for the present, and say fiddle. There is one feeling which is yes or no. I should n't trouble you to respectable and honorable, and even say either, if I did n't conceive that I sacred, at all times and in all places, had given you time to make up your whatever they may be. It does n't de- mind. It does n't take forever to know pend upon circumstances, but they james Luttrel. I 'm not one of the upon it; and with its help, I think, we great unfathomable ones. We've seen are a match for any circumstances. I each other more or less intimately for a don't mean religion, Miss Whittaker,” good many weeks; and as I 'm conadded the Major, with a sober smile. scious, Miss Whittaker, of having

“ If you don't mean religion,” said shown you my best, I take for granted Gertrude, “ I suppose you mean love. that if you don't fancy me now, you That 's a very different thing."

won't a month hence, when you shall “Yes, a very different thing; so I've have seen my faults. Yes, Miss Whitalways thought, and so I 'm glad to taker, I can solemnly say," continued hear you say

Some people, you know, the Major, with genuine feeling, “I

a

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have shown you my best, as every man you to take me away from this place, is in honor bound to do who approaches even if you have to take me down to

woman with those predispositions the army. I want to see the world unwith which I have approached you. I der the shelter of your name. I shall have striven hard to please you,” —and give you a great deal of trouble. I'm he paused. “I can only say, I hope I a mere mass of possessions : what I have succeeded.”

am, is nothing to what I have. But “ I should be very insensible," said ever since I began to grow up, what I Gertrude, “if all your kindness and am has been the slave of what I have. your courtesy had been lost upon me.” I am weary of my chains, and you must

" In Heaven's name, don't talk about help me to carry them,” — and Gertrude courtesy,” cried the Major.

rose to her feet as if to inform the Ma“ I am deeply conscious of your de- jor that his audience was at an end. votion, and I am very much obliged to He still held her right hand; she you for urging your claims so respect- gave him the other. He stood looking fully and considerately. I speak seri- down at her, an image of manly humilously, Major Luttrel,” pursued Ger- ity, while from his silent breast went trude. “There is a happy medium of out a brief thanksgiving to favoring forexpression, and you have taken it. Now tune. it seems to me that there is a happy At the pressure of his hands, Germedium of affection, with which you trude felt her bosom heave. She burst might be content. Strictly, I don't love into tears. “0, you must be very kind you. I question my heart, and it gives to me!” she cried, as he put his arm me that answer. The feeling that I about her, and she dropped her head have is not a feeling to work prodigies.” upon his shoulder.

“ May it at least work the prodigy of allowing you to be my wife?"

When once Richard's health had " I don't think I shall over-estimate taken a turn for the better, it began its strength, if I say that it may. If you very rapidly to improve. “Until he is can respect a woman who gives you her quite well,” Gertrude said, one day, to hand in cold blood, you are welcome to her accepted suitor, “I had rather he mine."

heard nothing of our engagement. He Luttrel moved his chair and took her was once in love with me himself," she hand. “ Beggars can't be choosers," added, very frankly. “Did you ever said he, raising it to his mustache. suspect it? But I hope he will have

O Major Luttrel, don't say that,” got better of that sad malady, too. Nevshe answered. “I give you a great ertheless, I shall expect nothing of his deal; but I keep a little, - a little," good judgment until he is quite strong; said Gertrude, hesitating, “which I and as he may hear of my new intensuppose I shall give to God.”

tions from other people, I propose that, Well, I shall not be jealous," said for the present, we confide them to no Luttrel.

one." * The rest I give to you, and in re- “But if he asks me point-blank," turn I ask a great deal.”

said the Major, “what shall I answer ?" I shall give you all. You know I “ It's not likely he 'll ask you. How told you I 'm not religious."

should he suspect anything?" “No, I don't want more than I give," “0,” said Luttrel, “ Clare is one that said Gertrude.

suspects everything." * But, pray,” asked Luttrel, with a “ Tell him we 're not engaged, then. delicate smile, “what am I to do with A woman in my position may say what the difference ?"

she pleases." “ You had better keep it for yourself. It was agreed, however, that certain What I want is your protection, sir, preparations for the marriage should and your advice, and your care. I want meanwhile go forward in secret; and

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reason, his

that the marriage itself should take her narration of her brother's death, and place in August, as Luttrel expected to her simple eulogies. to be ordered back into service in the Major Luttrel performed his part autumn. At about this moment Ger- quite as bravely, and much more suctrude was surprised to receive a short cessfully. He observed neither too note from Richard, so feebly scrawled many things nor too few; he neither in pencil as to be barely legible. presumed upon his success, nor mis“Dear Gertrude,” it ran, “don't come trusted it. Having on his side received to see me just yet. I'm not fit. You no prohibition from Richard, he resumed would hurt me, and vice versa. God his visits at the farm, trusting that, with bless you! R. CLARE.” Miss Whitta- the return of

young

friend ker explained his request, by the suppo- might feel disposed to renew that sition that a report had come to him of anomalous alliance in which, on the Major Luttrel's late assiduities (which it hapless evening of Captain Severn's was impossible should go unobserved); farewell, he had taken refuge against that, leaping at the worst, he had taken his despair. In the long, languid hours her engagement for granted; and that, of his early convalescence, Richard had under this impression, he could not found time to survey his position, to trust himself to see her. She despatched summon back piece by piece the imhim an answer, telling him that she mediate past, and to frame a general would await his pleasure, and that, if scheme for the future. But more vividthe doctor would consent to his having ly than anything else, there had finally letters, she would meanwhile occasion- disengaged itself from his meditations ally write to him. “She will give me a profound aversion to James Luttrel. good advice," thought Richard impa- It was in this humor that the Major tiently; and on this point, accordingly, found him; and as he looked at the she received no account of his wishes. young man's gaunt shoulders, supportExpecting to leave her house and close ed by pillows, at his face, so livid and it on her marriage, she spent many hours aquiline, at his great dark eyes, lumiin wandering sadly over the meadow- nous with triumphant life, it seemed to paths and through the woodlands which him that an invincible spirit had been she had known from her childhood. sent from a better world to breathe She had thrown aside the last ensigns confusion upon his hopes. If Richard of filial regret, and now walked sad and hated the Major, the reader may guess splendid in the uncompromising colors whether the Major loved Richard. of an affianced bride. It would have Luttrel was amazed at his first reseemed to a stranger that, for a woman mark. who had freely chosen a companion for " I suppose you ’re engaged by this life, she was amazingly spiritless and time,” Richard said, calmly enough. sombre. As she looked at her pale “ Not quite,” answered the Major. cheeks and heavy eyes in the mirror, “ There 's a chance for you yet." she felt ashamed that she had no fairer To this Richard made no rejoinder. countenance to offer to her destined Then, suddenly, “ Have you had any lord. She had lost her single beauty, news of Captain Severn? he asked. her smile; and she would make but a For a moment the Major was perghastly figure at the altar. “I ought plexed at his question. He had asto wear a calico dress and an apron," sumed that the news of Severn's death she said to herself, “and not this glar- had come to Richard's ears, and he ing finery.” But she continued to wear had been half curious, half apprehenher finery, and to lay out her money, and sive as to its effect. But an instant's to perform all her old duties to the let- reflection now assured him that the ter. After the lapse of what she deemed young man's estrangement from his a sufficient interval, she went to see neighbors had kept him hitherto and Mrs. Martin, and to listen dumbly to might still keep him in ignorance of the

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