Imatges de pÓgina
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must have worked under the inspiration not draw her hand away or move. It of your music.”

had all happened in an instant, and he Roberta stood gazing intently upon raised his head again with a deprecatthe picture, as if she had not heard ing, entreating motion. A transient him. She spoke slowly:

pink blush swept over Roberta's face, "I do not like Rowena. The two but she shivered as though the cold women should have understood each breath of an iceberg had struck her in other better, since they both loved the summer's heat. same man. There should have been “Say that you do not hate me for it," tender pity shadowed in the eyes, in- he cried, filled with a sudden sense of stead of that curious stare. Her great her majestic simplicity. “Because I love should have quickened into life her could not help it, you will forgive me. powers of sympathy."

Speak to me; tell me that you are not “But it is not Rowena I look at. The angry." face of Rebecca is grand; don't you “Angry?- why should I be? My think so?"

life has not had such a surfeit of love,” "Perhaps so, yet I can not say. I Roberta forced herself to say, and then should like to see her face after that was silent. Louis was silent, too, with door had closed between them and she an instinctive feeling that it was better was alone; then I could tell.”

thus between them than any words, for They remained a moment longer, when Roberta was as unconventional as the Roberta moved to the closet-door and veriest child of nature. opened it.

You must carry the picture down; “Let me get the frame for you. Tell you have forgotten that they are waiting me where it is,” said Louis, following for it.” It was Roberta who spoke after her.

again; her voice was all entreaty. She “Just above, on the shelf, I think. must be alone, and Louis understood That is it,” as he took it down.

perfectly. A moment after she heard “It will be a miracle if it fits at all. the hall- door open and close, and she Picture-frames should be made to order, was alone with the moonlight beaming like ladies' dresses,” he observed, tak- on her hand, and such a feeling of sading the picture from the easel.

ness in her heart that she closed her “O, it will fit; we tried the effect yes. eyes to shut in the tears — to shut out terday."

the light-to think, if she could, of what “In that case it will take but a mo- had happened. From the first moment ment to arrange it. If you will be so of their meeting these two had been irrekind as to place your hand there." sistibly attracted to each other. Neither

“You ought to have a light,” said Ro- could have told how or why it was, only berta, doubtfully, though the moonbeams they seemed to know each other as filled the room with a bright light like thoroughly, as intimately, as if their past that of day. It gleamed upon the fairy lives had been blended together. Rowhiteness lying so near his bright face berta said less to Louis, perhaps, than bending over the frame, bewitching him to any other. There was no need, for with a mad folly. Hardly conscious of he divined her thoughts, as she his. what he did, he bent nearer, and a show- When he read aloud, as he often did er of kisses fell from his lips upon it, to Fay and herself in the mornings, he mingled with broken passionate words, knew by instinct, without lifting his eyes, which Roberta might have heard but just when Roberta would smile, just never could have understood. She did when the melancholy would shadow her


eyes, just when the glow of enthusiasm world of beauty, love, and romance had or sympathy would light up her face. awakened for her. Not a shadow of Roberta had not questioned herself. mist veiled the face of the morning. Life was all so new to her. Even dur- The air was southern in its warmth, and ing the days in which Louis had been floated from south to north and from absent, she had been conscious of no east to west with the tremulous rocking difference in her life. She had been just motion of the waves of the sea. Creaas happy, for insensibly to herself had tion chanted a new symphony. The litthe feeling grown within her whose force tle yellow - bird building his nest in the and strength paralyzed her with terror maple - tree by the window stopped to when his words forced her to recognize pour forth all his heart in a liquid gush them. She could no more have brought of melody. The blossoms swayed to herself to have given expression to her and fro, to and fro, and shook their feelings in word or act than she could heads in a rapture of delight. Brilliant have silenced them to death by an effort smiles chased each other over the sky of her will. To noble natures conceal- and glanced down through Roberta's ment is a thing abhorrent; yet a deli- face to her heart. A warm bright glow cate reserve, subtle as the perfume of suffused her cheeks and shone through flowers, forever withholds them from her eyes, as if she had caught the radishowing the height and depth of their ance of earth and sky, and yet her heart tenderness.

ached with that rush of feeling. Under It was not long before Roberta joined it all, the dim presentiment of the tranthe others; her bearing was as free and sitoriness of all things, which haunts unconstrained as before. But of all that even our happiest moments, stirred withwas said she heard nothing, remembered in her. She could not think; her senses nothing. She listened to her own words were steeped in a delicious reverie, in even as to a stranger's. Alone at last which the broken fragments of a dream in her own room, there was no moon- first shaped themselves distinctly. light, and the stars had veiled their Roberta had sat up late into the night, brightness.

her soul vibrating too painfully for her

to think of sleep; yet, singularly enough, It was the morning after-a lovely the last thought of which she had been spring morning. Over all the sky was conscious in her waking moments had a tender blue, cloudless and deep; over been her father's words, which she had all the earth a green more tender, with overheard: “Another Alice; one can the bloom of summer sweetening its never depend upon a character such as freshness.

that.” More than once before she had In silence everything is carried on in caught some such indirect allusion; but the workshop of nature. At night we of the Alice spoken of Roberta knew close our eyes, and when we open them, only that her father's twin sister was lo! the dewy buds have opened also, meant, who had died a long time before. the fragrant blossoms have expanded, Once Roberta had questioned Fay about the dull earth smiles in brilliant beauty. her, and Fay had answered: “I know It may be so with our lives.

nothing, only that it is a painful subject Sitting by the open window, with hands to papa. He loved her much, and there idly clasped on the low broad sill, and was something so sad in her death that head bent eagerly forward, Roberta was he can never endure to speak of her." drinking in the brightness and freshness Roberta had also derived from some without, dimly conscious that a brighter source, she hardly knew what or how,

VOL. 15.-9.


the impression that she resembled this other. Thrust it from you as you would Alice. Perhaps that was why the words a plague-spot. It will turn to poison in made such an impression upon her. your grasp.” Again the voice spoke,

Roberta dreamed, and in her dream and it seemed in answer to some enit seemed that Alice came to life again; treaty of her own: “In the convent we nay, that she had never been dead, but have no past, no present; only the great that time had stopped with her. As future: that will compensate.” And so vividly and clearly as she had ever seen she dreamed herself awake. her own face mirrored in the glass, Ro- The impressions of the dream remainberta saw the face and form of her who ed with Roberta as vividly as in her had in life been Alice Lingarde, and her sleep. Elsie, who had been a servant in brightness and beauty were dazzling. the house since her father's childhood, She would have closed her eyes, but a was putting the room to rights with soft nightmare spell seemed to hold them touch and noiseless tread. A sudden open. While she looked, the furniture impulse possessed Roberta. of the room seemed to change, to be- “Elsie,” said she, and the calm in her come old and quaint, of that heavy mas- voice was commanding, "tell me about sive kind which belongs to a past gen- Alice Lingarde.” eration. Faded crimson curtains frin- Elsie stopped short, and looked in ged with gold draped windows and bed. motionless surprise. The carpet, too, was crimson with deli- “Why do you ask?” she stammered. cate vine - like tracery of gold —a little “Because I wish to know'_with the worn in places, but the faded splendor same imperious manner. "Was she only intensified the fresh loveliness which very happy, or very wretched ?” sunk into them as a picture into a frame. “Who can answer that?” said Elsie, Looking upon her, Roberta felt an op- with a gloomy shake of the head. pressive sense as of one beating and “Tell me about her, then. Am I like struggling against a narrow, dead-tinted, her? For I can make out nothing from commonplace existence, dimmed with that baby portrait hanging in the great dullness and stified with a want which hall." will not be silenced. The face seemned “There was once another portrait, in to say: “All the joy of a life-time of he- which you might have recognized yourroism and poetry could be by me press- self.” ed into a single cup, and longing and “Another?-where is it? Why is it desire would be over. Why should I not with the others?” Elsie made no fear?"

“But I will know.” The unspoken words filled Roberta “It can do you no good, Miss, and I with sharp terror, and she seemed to am quite sure your father would object." awake and find herself again within the Then she continued, rather hesitatingly: convent walls. They were bare and “It has been so long since her name has desolate. A horrible sense of vacancy passed my lips, that it makes me shiver and emptiness struck like a chill to her as if a ghost were in the air. I never heart, until a gentle face and gentler think of her now only as a child, or did voice filled the emptiness and made the not until the master brought you home.” desolation eloquent. Often she had lis- “Am so like her, then?" asked Rotened to that voice, and always it had berta, a sudden pang thrilling her as the brought her rest: “Roberta, never al- conviction thrust itself upon her that in low yourself to be tempted to take a hap- that resemblance lay her father's indifpiness which shall bring sorrow to an- ference to her; more than indifference,



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she thought, bitterly - it was aversion tangible, yet exciting you more than all and distrust.

the rest. The eyes followed you to ev“Like her?” repeated Elsie — "you ery part of the room; you could not esare her shadow. You were born with cape their appealing gaze, nor could you that strange resemblance in your baby satisfy it. There was no ornament but face, and as you grew older it grew with a deep scarlet rose in the dark hair. you. Your walk, all your little childish Roberta sighed; even so had the vision ways, the very tones of your voice, are looked in her dream. the echoes of hers. Only you are not

“Thus she looked eighteen years ago," so beautiful. You could not be that and said Elsie, solemnly. live."

“Did my father love her much?” Roberta smiled at her earnestness. “Love her! He idolized her — they You are to tell me all about her," she were inseparable. The twin half of his said gently, her eyes burning with ex- soul he used to call her, and so she was. citement; "or, if not, I must ask my You will never know your father, he has father.”

changed so much since then. Before "I think she would dare anything," that he was all gentleness and kindness muttered Elsie, and then aloud: “Come —more yielding in his nature than Alice. with me, then. I can not talk to you I often used to think that their spirits about her here, for this was her room.” should have changed bodies. Alice was

Roberta followed Elsie through a long willful, proud, impetuous, and full of hall with many windings, until she paus- generous impulse and intense feeling. ed at a door, which she opened with a She knew no half-way state of indifferkey. Roberta, with a feeling of curios- ence. She loved or she hated-she ity which was more like awe, followed would do all for you, or else she would her. Elsie closed the door carefully do nothing. She was her father's idol, and locked it again. The room was and he was foolishly indulgent to her, empty save three trunks — two of them though to everyone else he was a stern very large, and one smaller.

To Alice he would grant Neither spoke a word or even looked favors which her brother would have at the other, until Elsie advanced to the feared to ask. 'I mean always to have smaller trunk, after a moment's trial with my own way,' Alice used to say with the lock opened it, took therefrom an contemptuous disdain. I remember as unframed picture, and motioned 10 Ro- if it were but yesterday when she plantberta to look at it. Roberta looked – ed a climbing rose-bush by her window. looked until the tears filled her eyes and It was to please her that all the roses streamed down her cheeks. It was a were planted. She was a little thing, painting in oil, exquisite in its perfect- but full of spirit and energy, and though ness, yet carrying with it the impression both of the boys stood by she insisted that the artist had painted in despair of upon doing it all herself. When she realizing the original. The delicate oval had finished, she stooped over and kisscontour of the face, the pure expanse of ed it, saying: the forehead, the deep melancholy eyes, "Now grow very fast, my red red the very silence of the parted lips, the rose, that I may have one blossom this

I dimpling smile mocking the thoughtful summer.' brow, the haughty disdain of the poised “One of the boys, who overheard her, head - all these were there, and some- said teasingly: thing more, besides, which you could “If it should not prove to be a red not grasp; a something vague and in- rose, Alice, what would you do?"

severe man.


"Do!' I will make it red, even if it sides, you have always said that you is white,' she answered, with an imperi- could do anything you wished.' ous stamp of her foot, “because I mean "And so I can, anything but love.' it to be red. Do you know what I shall “In September your father was mardo? I shall breathe upon it every day ried, and the next June the second weduntil the white leaves draw the red from ding was to be celebrated.” my lips, and then it can not help but be Elsie paused in her recital. It seemred.'

ed to Roberta that she could not wait “The boys — I mean your father and for her to finish, yet she said not a word Mr. Llorente (or Ray, as we called him in question or to hasten her. At last then, for he came to the house every Elsie began again: day to take his lessons with them) “Early in the spring your father were always suffering punishments for brought his young wife here, and in the her misdoings. As much as they loved weeks that followed, the house was each other, so much more did they love thronged with guests coming and goAlice. Both were bound up in her, and ing. Your mother and Miss Alice were through her bound together. Mr. Llo- always together, and with them oftener rente was as a boy what he is now as a than any other a cousin of

your mother's man, and he bore with all Miss Alice's —an artist, Laurence Haight. He was freaks of pride and disdain with a pa- a handsome dashing man, gaining with tience and endurance greater even than no apparent effort everyone's good-will. her brother's; for his sometimes failed He and Miss Alice were always quarhim, Ray's never.

reling in a playful manner, though it “When they were fifteen, the children seemed to me, as the days passed on, were separated. Miss Alice was sent to that an indefinable change was worka convent—for no other reason, I think, ing in her. The girlish joyousness was than because no one could do anything more subdued; she was more gentle and with her at home. The boys went to thoughtful in her manner toward Ray, college. Once a year they were all to- and in every way more fascinating. gether here, and when the four years “About the last of May, I think it slipped away they were all at home for was, Mr. Haight proposed to paint Miss good. It was during the last vacation Alice's picture, and the proposal was that Mr. Llorente and Alice became gladly accepted by her father and brothengaged. Everyone had expected and er. Strangely enough, Miss Alice herlooked forward to that event, and so self objected, but at last consented, and were not surprised. Your father was the sittings commenced. They were almost beside himself with joy, and wish- generally in the morning. Sometimes ed the marriage to take place upon the I was in the room, sometimes your mothsame day with his own, which was to be er, but no one else was admitted; Haight in the fall after he graduated; but Miss declaring that he could do nothing while Alice refused, and Mr. Llorente would others were present and talking upon innot allow her to be urged. “Because,' different subjects; and so it became unshe used to say, 'I may change my mind. derstood that they were to be left alone. I must be very sure that I really like “It seemed that Haight would never Ray, or else I shall hate him.'

be satisfied with his work, and it was “What nonsense you talk, Alice,' only the week before the wedding that her brother would answer. *As if you he pronounced it finished and invited did not know whether you loved Ray, the criticism of the others. Everyone as long as you have known him! Be- was delighted with it, excepting your fa

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