A Story for You.
MINNIE MARY LEE.
"There is a way which seemeth just to a man, but the end thereof leadeth unto death."—Prov. xlv, 12.
Baltimore: Published by John B. Piet Late Kelly, Piet & Co. Entered, according to an act of Congress, in the year 1873, by Kelly, Piet & Company, in the office of the Librarian of Congress, at Washington, D. C.
I. A Black Conference 1 II. The Master of Kennons 7 III. An Interruption to Duncan's Reverie 14 IV. Philip St. Leger 19 V. The Missionary's Retrospect 30 VI. Missionary Life 37 VII. The Distinguished Traveler's Views 45 VIII. The Visitation by Spirit and by Death 52 IX. The New Choice 60 X. "A Dream which was not all a Dream" 71 XI. Althea's Guardians 77 XII. The Christening 88 XIII. New Mistress at Kennons 97 XIV. China—Uncle Mat's Prayer Meeting 109 XV. Kizzie 118 XVI. Time and Change 126 XVII. The St. Legers 135 XVIII. St. Mark's or St. Patrick's? 145 XIX. "In such an hour as ye think not" 154 XX. Juliet 164 XXI. "The Spider and the Fly" 172 XXII. Althea—Death of Little Johnny 181 XXIII. Hubert Lisle at Vine Cottage 193 XXIV. Jealousy 201 XXV. The Awakening 208 XXVI. Light after Darkness 213 XXVII. The Convert's Trials 221 XXVIII. Mysterious Disappearance 231 XXIX. Hubert's Second Visit 235 XXX. "And the Sea shall give up its Dead" 240 XXXI. Conclusion 243
A BLACK CONFERENCE.
It was the night after the funeral. Ellice Lisle, the loving wife, devoted mother, kind mistress, and generous friend, had been laid away to rest; over her pulseless bosom had been thrown the red earth of her adopted Virginia, and, mingled with its mocking freshness, was the bitter rain of tears from the eyes of all who had known the lowly sleeper. Even Nature joined the general weeping; for, though the early morning had been bright and beautiful, ere the mourners' feet had left the new-made grave, the skies had lowered, and a gentle rain descended.
"You have pity upon me, O Heaven, and you weep for me, O earth," had exclaimed Duncan Stuart Lisle, as, leading his little Hubert by the hand, he turned away from his lost Ellice.
As night deepened, the rain increased, and the darkness became intense. The house-servants, timid and superstitious, had all congregated in Aunt Amy's cabin. Amidst their grief, sincere and profound, was yet a subject of indignation, which acted as a sort of safety-valve to their over-much sorrowing.
"A nice, pretty piece of impudence it was, to be sure, when she hadn't been in the house for five year, to 'trude herself the minute Miss Ellice's breath had left her precious body, the poor dear!" ejaculated Chloe, the cook, who was intensely black, and fat to immensity.
"Much as ever Massa Duncan 'peared to notice her, not'standing she make herself so 'ficious," said Amy, who looked more the Indian than African.
"He never set eyes on her but once," said young China, the favorite housemaid, whose dialect and manners were superior to those of the other servants, "only just once, and that was when she looked at him so long and fierce-like he couldn't actually keep his eyes down."
"I see it my own self," added Chloe, whose small orbs were almost buried beneath overhanging cliffs of brow and uprising mountains of cheek, "and I'll tell you what I tinks: I tinks just den and dere, dat if we's meet de ole one hisself he wouldn't hab no eyes, cause Misses Rusha Rush jes done gone an' stole 'em."
This dark reference caused a closer grouping of the sable dames and damsels. Trembling hands drew small plaid shawls closer about the shoulders, while one bolder than the rest cast a huge pine-knot upon the glowing coals.
Amy was first to break the brief silence.
"Mighty pity Jude Rush ever fell off 'Big Thunderbolt' and broke his slim neck! But Massa Duncan knew nuf once to let Miss Rusha 'lone; he's not gwine to be 'veigled by none o' her hilofical airs—you may 'pend on dat; 'specially when he's had dat sweet saint all to hisself now dese so many year—no, neber."
And Amy reiterated this over and over, as if to kill the secret thought which haunted her against her will.
"She persume to come here and order you dis way an' I dat way, an' all us all 'round ebry which way—oo—but I gived her a piece o' my mind," spake Margery, the weaver, very irate.
"Umph! I never seed ye speak to her," said Amy, doubtingly.
"Not wid my tongue, mind ye. I knows better den dat. But I jes spit fire at her out of my eyes."
"Fire neber burn Miss Rusha; she too ugly for dat. S'pose fire burn de ole Nick? Den he be done dead and gone, which ain't so; derefore nuthin' ever fall Miss Rusha; she never sick, nor die, nor drown, nor burn up. Miss Ellice she sick, she die, 'cause she be an angel; she go home to glory; but Miss Rusha she live, jes to trouble white folks, jes to torment niggers."
Wrathful Amy, as she said this, glanced triumphantly at Margery, who was about to speak, when Chloe took the floor, figuratively.
"Tank de Lord, we ain't de niggers what she's got to torment; and she needn't be setting her cap for our own good Massa Duncan; she may jes hang up high her fiddle on de willows o' Bab'lon; she sit down an' weep on de streams; she neber hab good Massa Duncan; neber while de trees on Kennons grow and de stars 'bove Kennons shine."
Kennons was the name of the Lisle plantation.
"She'd like to jine the two plantations. One is too little for her to rule. She's allus wanted our south 'bacco patch. Her hundred niggers and Massa's hundred would make a crew. O, she's a shrewd one; she sees further than her nose. She'd make my shettle fly fast as Aunt Kizzie's."
"Somebody ought to make your shuttle fly faster than is its habit, Margery," returned China, usually quiet and gentle. "But what if you are all mistaken, and Mistress Rush has no idea of making a rush upon Kennons and our good master."
"O, you poor innocent," quoth Chloe and Amy at the same time. "Haven't we eyes? What's they for if not to see with? They ain't in the backs of our heads neither. We've got ears too; we don't hear with our elbows. What for did she bring nice things and pretties for Hubert? and what for did she take such a wonderful interest in de poor baby? Bress us, is de baby wake or sleep, or what is come of it? We's all forgettin' de dear precious objec. Sakes alive, an' its nearly smuddered in its soft blankets, worked so beau'fully wid its own moder's hand."
A sleeping-powder, administered to the three days' old infant had, for a time, quieted its incessant cries. This sudden mention brought every dark face to bend low over the cradle, which Bessie, the nurse, had brought hither from the house, that she might share the gossip of her companions.
Worn out with weeping and watching, Bessie lay prone and sleeping upon the floor at the cradle's side. Satisfied that the baby still breathed, Chloe, Amy, Margery, China and Dinah settled back into their seats, like so many crows upon a branch.
Dinah, the last-named, had been thus far fast asleep; and provoked with herself that she had lost a share of the gossip, she gave Bessie a vigorous push with her foot as she passed her, not through charity, nor yet through malice, but through a sudden spasm of ill-nature.
Bessie gave a groan and sat up. She gazed around wildly—slowly comprehended the scene, the present, the past, and, with another groan, flung herself upon the floor again.
"You ought to be ashamed of yourself, Dinah, to disturb Bessie in that way," said China, between whom and Bessie was a warm friendship. "She has cried so, and broken her heart."
"She needn't be in people's way, then—who's going 'round Robinhood's barn for sake o' likes o' her?" said Dinah, complainingly.
"Shut your mouth, black Dinah," cried Amy authoritatively. "Ye's a pretty one to knock around a sleepin' nigger. You's been asleep yourself the last hour. S'pose we'd all been like you—you'd been kicked into a heap—but we ain't—and you never did have a drop o' human kindness."
"O, go 'way wid your quarreling. Dinah is jis like a firebran'; let her 'lone. What she got to do wid dis subjec-matter in han', I like a-know?" queried Aunt Chloe, swaying up to the mantle, filling her pipe with tobacco, and adding thereto the smallest glowing coal upon the hearth. Meantime, while she is preparing for a smoke, her companions have taken from their pockets, each a tin snuff-box and a mop, which mop consists of a small twig, chewed at the end into threads or fibers. This mop, wet with saliva, is thrust into the box of Scotch snuff, thence thrust into the mouth, and worked around upon the teeth much to the delight and constant spitting of the performer. This operation, so prevalent both among white and black women of the South, is called "dipping snuff."
Having followed our sable friends from grief to indignation, and from indignation to the charming amusement of snuff-dipping, we will enter the house and make acquaintance with its master.
THE MASTER'S CONFERENCE WITH HIMSELF.
It was late in September, and chilly for the season. A bright fire glowed upon the hearth in the "lady's chamber" at Kennons. Red curtains shaded the windows, and drooped in folds to the floor. Roses and green leaves seemed springing up out of the carpet to meet the light and warmth that radiated from the small semicircle behind the glittering fender. A bed hung with white curtains, a dressing bureau, with its fancy pincushion, and numerous cut-glass bottles of perfumery, a lounge covered with bright patchwork, and furnished with log-cabin cushions, easy-chairs and ottomans, together with the workstand and its inseparable little basket filled with every indispensable for needlework—all, all bore the trace of woman's hand.
For nine years this had been the loved family-room of Duncan and Ellice Lisle.
Now, Ellice was forever gone. Her foot had passed the threshold, to come in, to go out, no more. Her canary hung in the window; how could he sing on the morrow, missing her accustomed voice? Her picture hung over the mantle, looking down with the old-time brightness upon the the solitary figures beforefire—Duncan and his child.
Hubert, the son, in his eighth year, sitting clasped in his father's arms, had pierced anew that tortured heart by asking questions about his mother and the mystery of death, which no human mind can answer. The child was in a vortex of wonder, grief and speculation. It was the first great lesson of his life, and he would learn it well, the more that it was so severe and incomprehensible. But sleep and fatigue overcame Hubert at length. The light from the fire no more danced with his shifting curls, but settled down in a steady golden glow over the mass that mingled its yellow-brown with the black beard of the stricken man. For the father would not lay away his sleeping child. He held him close, as the something, the all that was left to him of his lost love. His head drooped low and his lips rested in a long embrace of the child's soft wealth of hair.
Mayhap some watching spirit took pity upon the man bereaved; for while he gazed into the fire, the heavy pressure of the present yielded to a half-conscious memory of the past, and a dream-like reverie brightened and darkened, flickered and burned in and out with the red of the flame, and the white of the ashes.
Duncan Lisle was a boy again. With two little brothers and a half-dozen black child-retainers, he hunted in the woods of Kennons, sailed boats on the red waters of the Roanoke, rode break-neck races over the old fields, despising fences high, and ditches deep, and vigorously sought specimens of uncouth, out-of-the-way beast, bird and insect. He studied mathematics and classics, played pranks upon one tutor, and did loving reverence to another. He planted flowers upon his own mother's grave, and filled the vases of his stepmother with her own favorite lilacs and roses. He made houses, carriages, swings, sets of furniture, and all sorts of constructions for his half-sister Della, who was his junior by ten years at least.
He edified, not to say terrified, the dusky crowd of juveniles with jack-o'-lanterns, impromptu giants and brigands, false faces, fire crackers, ventriloquism and sleight-of-hand performances.
With a decided propensity for fun and mischief, there was also in his disposition as evident a proclivity to seriousness and earnestness. If it gave him delight to play off upon a stranger the joke of "bagging the game," he enjoyed with equal ardor the correct rendering of a difficult translation, or the solution of an intricate problem.
If sometimes he annoyed with his untimely jest, he always won by his manly openness and uniform kindliness of nature. He cherished love for all that was around him, both animate and lifeless. Soul and Nature therefore rendered back to him their meed of harmonious sympathy.
Duncan was scarcely seventeen when the Plague swept over Kennons. That mysterious blight, rising in the orient, traveling darkly and surely unto the remotest West, laid its blackened hand upon the fair House of Kennons.
Cholera! fearful by name and by nature, it was not so strange that thy skeleton fingers should clutch at the myriad-headed city, situate by river and by sea, but thou wert insatiable! Proud dwellings and lowly cots in green fields and midst waving woods thou didst not spare; for thy victim, the human form, was there.
In the middle of August, the skies shone over Kennons happy and fair. Some cousins came down from the city seeking safety—bringing, alas, suffering and death!
In one little month, how fearful a change!
Duncan Lisle, sitting before the fire on this sad rainy evening, after the lapse of twenty years, shudders as he recalls the blackened pall that seemed spread over earth and air.
Strange to say, the disease prevailed least amongst the frightened servants.
The hundred were perhaps decimated.
In the house only Duncan and his half-sister Della survived; they in fact escaped the contagion. The father, a strong, healthy man, struggled bravely with the fierce attack; he even rallied, until there was good hope of his recovery. But a sudden relapse bore him swiftly beyond mortal remedy. Duncan, in his reverie, closes his eyes, to shut out the fearful memory. He glides over his college years and his sister's course at school. He sees Jerusha Thornton in her youth and pride and beauty. She waves off the many suitors in her train, only to smile winsomely at the young master of Kennons. Her estate is equal to, and adjoins his own. He has known her from her childhood—he loves no other—and still he loves not her. He revolves the reason of this in his own mind. She has beauty, wealth, accomplishments. He gives no credence to rumors of her cruelty to servants, though aware of her haughtiness to all, and her disdain to inferiors. The high favor which she showed to him would be welcomed with joy by at least a half-dozen of his acquaintance. But this, her manifest preference, did not please Duncan Lisle—there might be no accounting for it, but it was a fact.
What was to be done? Kennons needed sadly a woman at its head. Its master had come to be nearly twenty-eight, and not married yet!
The servants were in a state of terrified suspense, lest he should bring Miss Rusha as their mistress. They wished their master to marry—they would dance for joy—but it must be some other young lady than the heiress of Thornton Hall.
Delia had been to a Northern school nearly five years; she would soon be eighteen, and was about to graduate.
As very young girls, Della and Rusha had known each other. For many years, however, having been at different schools they had rarely met.
Duncan held a faint impression that his half-sister had never been at all partial to this near neighbor of his. She was coming home so soon, he had such confidence in her judgment and womanly intuitions, he would await her coming, and see if she could divine why it was that while he would be attracted to Rusha Thornton he could not.
Besides, Della was not returning home alone. Ellice Linwood had been for five years her most intimate chosen friend, and room-mate. Ellice was the only child of a widowed Presbyterian clergyman. Her father had spent all he had to bestow upon her, in her education. This being thorough and complete, in the way such terms are used, she was henceforth to support herself by teaching.
In order to avoid a deplorable separation, these two young friends had put their wits together, and lo, the result! Through Della's good brother Duncan, a situation had been secured for Ellice in the family of Col. Anderson, not over six miles from Kennons. They would speedily become excellent equestrians, these friends, and annihilate the narrow space every day in the year.
AN INTERRUPTION TO DUNCAN'S REVERIE.
Duncan Lisle, still gazing vacantly into the varying flames, performed anew the journey, not from Kennons to Troy on the Hudson, but from the latter city, via New York, back to his Virginian plantation. His sister and Ellice Linwood were his companions, for it had been arranged that, though Ellice's session of school was not to commence for a couple of months, yet she should thus early undertake the journey for sake of the company; and Della's home was to be hers also in the intervening time.
Della and Ellice! They flitted hither and thither before Duncan's mental vision, as they had on that memorable journey. Just free from the irksome restraints of the school-room, full of joyous anticipations, they gave way to that girlish gayety, and that unbounded enthusiasm, which a thorough sense of happiness and enjoyment cannot fail to inspire. Life was before them beautiful, glorious, and without end! This was only nine years ago—and now!
As we look through Duncan's eyes, we see that Della was the taller and more graceful of the two. Her hair and complexion were rather dark than fair; long, dark eyelashes shaded eyes deep blue, dreamy and wondrous in expression. We never mind much a nose, unless it be ugly to a deformity, or a model for the sculptor. An Angelo would have thrilled at sight of Della's nose, and straightway wrought it into immortality, alto relievo. Her mouth and chin were as lovely and divinely rounded as any Madonna's. The shape of her head was superb; and she wore her hair, which was truly a glory in itself, somewhat like a crown, which left her finely curved ear liberty to show itself and to hear everything that was going on. Many would have rhapsodised over her lithe, slender form. Not we. More admirable that faithful approach to those olden models of the human form that exist in artists' studios and adorn grand rooms of princely connoisseurs.
Nature is everywhere lovely. Had the ancient Greeks chiselled but the wasp waists of our modern belles, their hideous works would have sunk into oblivion in as little time as our self-made martyrs drop into early graves.
Not saying that Della Lisle, whose waist you could not "span with your two hands," had foolishly contributed to make less its natural size, but it was painfully suggestive of weakened lungs and an early translation.
Ellice, on the contrary, possessed a low, plump figure, all curve and dimple, with no appearance of angularity or stiffness. She had a fair, round face, cheeks in which roses came and went, laughing blue eyes, a wide, low brow, auburn curls, nose not retrousse, but the least bit inclined that way, white teeth, somewhat large, but pretty, that really did look like pearls between such cherry-red lips.
You might stand in respect and admiration before the dignified and intellectual Della Lisle; but Ellice Linwood you would take to your heart. If you were gay, she would laugh with you; if serious, she would become pensive; if sick, she would soothe and comfort you.
She was the most unselfish creature in existence. Self-denial ceased to become such to her; her happiness was in yours alone.
All things about the plantation brightened in presence of these two young maidens. Old servants grew more youthful, the young wiser and happier, and all, from black to brown, from young to old, as they looked upon the bright face of the northern stranger, turned dreamer and prophet. And this is what they dreamed and wished and foretold: that Master Duncan would make Ellice his wife and keep her forever.
And Duncan? Well, while such a spirit of prophecy reigned all around him, it is not to be supposed that it fell not on him also. He thought no more of seeking from his wise sister the solution of his antipathy to Miss Thornton. There was no room in his mind now for aught outside his home.
In three weeks he asked Ellice to be his wife. The same day he dispatched a letter to the Principal of the Troy Ladies' Seminary, soliciting a teacher for Colonel Anderson; another message, also, to the father of his affianced, begging him to come down at once and perform the marriage ceremony for his daughter.
This was doing up business very expeditiously. Of course it was soon noised near and far, that great quantities of snow-white cake were being made at Kennons kitchen. Servants would talk; little pitchers had ears, and birds carried news.
Miss Thornton went in state to call upon the strangers. She saw at a glance how matters stood, or were going to stand. She could have torn out Ellice's happy heart. As it was, she bowed to all haughtily as a queen, casting her last contemptuous glance at Miss Linwood's face.
Miss Thornton ordered to be driven rapidly homeward; and, as she was whirled along, her thoughts, in a swifter whirl, she meditated and resolved.
Before the bewildered clergyman could make his way down from the North, before the goddess of Rumor herself had even suspected such a thing, Miss Thornton's whole retinue of suitors, and the people at large were electrified by the astounding intelligence that Mr. Harris, from Flat Rock, had been summoned to Thornton Hall to unite in marriage its beautiful mistress, Miss Jerusha Thornton, to Doctor Jude Rush!
Dr. Jude Rush had the year previously emigrated to Mecklenburg county from the State of Maine. There was about him nothing so extraordinary as to require particular description. He was an ordinary country doctor, about thirty in years, had sandy hair, was sandy complexioned, and wore sandy clothes. This is not much to our taste, but then we did not marry him. We will assert, however, that had we been Madam Jerusha Thornton Rush, our first business would have been to engage him a black suit at the tailor's; but not a bottle of hair dye. We believe in adhering to nature, though insisting that nature can be much assisted, particularly in the matter of dress.
Duncan Lisle had naught for which to reproach himself. He had never made love to Miss Thornton, or given her reason for believing himself otherwise than indifferent. It had, however, been to him a source of uneasiness, this very knowledge of her unmistakable partiality for him. Of this he was quite relieved at news of her marriage, which news he received, with a bountiful supply of bridal cake, as soon as possible after the ceremony. He chewed his cake and sweet fancies of Ellice together. A week later, Mrs. Rush threw his wedding cake to the dogs, her own bitter fancies being sufficient for her to consume.
Faithful memory is on a race to-night, and she hurries Duncan Lisle from the beautiful picture of Ellice, his bride, over ground of a year or two, to that other picture, no less dear, that of Ellice, the mother of his child. The rose has paled a little in her cheek, but the love-light is in her eye; and can he ever, ever forget how, though he never called himself a Christian, his heart almost burst with thanksgiving to God when he clasped in his arms his world, his all—wife and child!
Three years from the other wedding, and another takes place at Kennons. Philip St. Leger has finished his course at Princeton, and come to take away his long-promised bride. The first wedding had been altogether joyous; this second was saddened and sorrowful. Della had become the wife of a missionary, and was to go at once to New York, taking ship thence to Turkey.
The cruel separation had come then at length to the tried and true friends; it might, nay, probably would, be forever in this world.
In the light of memory, Duncan beholds his sister for the last time. She is very dear to him, one only more dear. He turns to comfort Ellice; but Ellice, brave, heroic, crushes down her grief to comfort him.
With Della gone, the wife appears alone in the succeeding years. Alone, but ever bright and shining, whether amid her ebony domestics, or enthroned as wife and mother. Patient, cheerful, wise, and kind.
O, Ellice Lisle! model of all womanly virtues! Shall a Cady Stanton preach to such as thou? How wide with wonder and dismay would open those frank blue eyes at windy declamations about woman's rights, woman's freedom, and man's tyranny.
Woman voluntarily assumes the chains of matrimony. Be they of iron or of silk, the good wife discovereth not; for it is only in an unholy struggle that they bind and fetter.
Memory was hurrying Duncan Lisle apace to-night; scenes in the last few years shifted with surprising rapidity; everywhere Ellice was the centre-piece, her fair, pleasant face beaming from its framework of brown curls, that were almost ever in perpetual motion from the frequent toss of the busy little head.
But memory, though faithful, was pitiful, and kept presenting, one after another, undarkened pictures, full of glow and sunshine; she had not come down to the last three days of suspense and pain, of agony and desolation. Ere that cruel curtain of gloom should shut from the dreamer's eye his pleasant fancies, and with them the dying flames, the loud barking of dogs, soon succeeded by hurried steps and voices, aroused the half-conscious master of Kennons to the stern reality of the present moment.
PHILIP ST. LEGER.
Duncan Lisle, at once thoroughly aroused, laid his sleeping child upon the lounge, and then hastily opening the door, which led upon the veranda, encountered the bronzed face and flashing eyes of his brother-inlaw, Philip St. Leger. Now this gentleman from Turkey was not a ghost, nor had he rained down. A staunch ship had brought him from Constantinople to New York; a week he had spent with his friends at Troy; the lightning express, then so-called, from the latter city to Richmond; thence a stage had set him down at Flat-Rock; here, public conveyance went no farther. The best and only means of transportation was on horseback. The roads were in too wretched a condition for the "Bald Eagle's" one rickety carriage to attempt to plough through.
The returned missionary, almost distracted with care and fatigue, made a virtue of necessity. With black Sam as guide, he set off amid the rain and darkness for Kennons.
"It were better," he said, mentally, "that I should myself remain until the morning; but having come so far, so near, I should be on thorns; I must go."
Philip St. Leger was not a Virginian by birth. He was a native of the city at whose distinguished school Della Lisle had graduated. Only on the day of graduation and at the time of her marriage had the brother and husband of Della met.
It was a sad meeting now, on this dreary night. These men, still in the flush of manhood, clasped hands, and looked into each others' eyes, with a despairing, inquiring eagerness.
Their chill fingers were scarce unlocked when Duncan asked:
"And did you come alone?"
"I brought her child; but Della— I left her sleeping beneath the shadow of the minarets."
Duncan stamped his foot. His cup of sorrow had been full. He had quaffed with what patience possible its bitter draughts, and still were they poured in afresh.
"I wrote you particulars of her death a year ago: I learned at Flat-Rock that you never have received the mournful tidings. I learned also"—but his voice trembled, and he could not go on.
"Of the sudden death of my wife. Good God! it may as well be spoken. Yes, she was to-day buried out of my sight."
"O, my friend, speak not with such wildness."
"But all is gone—all but dreary, wretched, useless life. O, what a world!"
"See here, my good brother," said the missionary, in a more cheerful tone, "I have come a long journey; I am tired to death, wet through, hungry, and cold."
Before he had finished, Duncan's hand had rang the bell violently. His right-hand man, Grandison, appeared. In a brief space of time, the fire was replenished, dry clothes produced, a small table of refreshments spread in the same cheery room, and the missionary, with commendable zeal, proceeded to refresh the inner man.
Duncan paced the floor in a desperate manner. The missionary paused amidst his slices of cold chicken and ham, and thus addressed him:
"My friend, I am greatly distressed for you, but that helps you nothing. I have been through the same fiery trial; and I not only believed, but wished I might not survive the ordeal. I would not eat nor sleep, but grieved incessantly. It was so sudden, so unforeseen. Was it not singular that Della and Ellice, loving each other so well, should have gone so near each other and in the same way? That is hardest of all; martyrs were they in a true sense. But I had a friend, who aroused, warned, and induced me to eat, sleep, and go on with the duties of life. After one first great effort it is easier. If one must suffer, he may assuage his pain by bearing it bravely. The over-tending of a wound may produce worst consequences. Exposure to the air, frequent ablutions, occasional frictions, create healing processes, reduce sensitiveness, and restore somewhat of the old life and vigor. I dare say you have not eaten a mouthful to-day; come eat, drink with me. I will not preach you a sermon, but let us philosophize like sensible men."
Thus solicited, Duncan drew up his chair opposite his friend. With evident disgust he swallowed the first mouthful, but this morsel seemed to awaken appetite, and he made a respectable meal.
Having thus broken his involuntary fast, he felt, in a sense, refreshed, and producing some fine cigars, the friends sat down before the fire, where, looking through the blue wreaths, they seemed to gain a soothing and an inspiration. The missionary gave to his host a brief history of his life with Della, of her sickness and death, and then incidentally gave a sketch here and there of his own youth. We will commence where he left off, giving but the substance in brief, instead of his own words, so often interspersed with irrelevant allusions and interrupted by remark and question.
Philip St. Leger was the son of a sea captain. His youth, of course, he spent mostly at school, its monotony varied more than once by a prolonged voyage with his father at sea. His mother was a woman of society, and left her children much to the care of servants. Consequently, she had much trouble with them in after years. Philip was the oldest child. He was naturally good-dispositioned and tractable; but, owing to a false system of training, became headstrong and altogether beyond maternal control.
At the age of nineteen, after a wild and fruitless career at college, and after repeated suspensions, he was really expelled near the beginning of the senior year. To his parents this was a severe mortification, and his father, being at that moment at home, sent him to some distant cousins, who lived among the white hills of New Hampshire.
Colonel Selby, in whose family Philip found himself domiciled, was a fine specimen of the country gentleman. Genial, hospitable, full of wit and anecdote, he was also a member of the Baptist Church, an ex-Senator of the United States, and ex-Governor of his own State. His eldest son was married, his youngest still in college, and his only daughter, about the age of twenty-two, was still an almost idolized child beneath her father's roof. The mother of these children had died a few years previously, and a widow from the city had supplied her place in the father's home and heart.
Philip St. Leger, black-haired, black-eyed, melancholy and romantic in look, cityfied and aristocratic in air and manner, attracted much attention among the simple people of the quiet town of Newberg. He could not help perceiving that, for the first time in his life, he had become a veritable lion. The very fact that he was Col. Selby's guest and relative gave to him importance; another fact, that he was the son of a wealthy sea captain from a distant city, was all-powerful.
It had indeed crept out somehow that he had been wild and extravagant, that he had been sent to rusticate among rocks and hills so sterile there would be little chance for his wild acts to take root; but then, to some old ladies and young ones too, this rumor lent but additional interest.
"Poor boy! what else could one expect? With such comeliness of person, endless wealth, unlimited advantages—the only wonder was he was not completely ruined." And he was compassionated and pitied for being obliged to remain in so old-fashioned and out-of-the-way country town as insignificant Newberg.
This pity was quite thrown away. Philip St. Leger was in his element; he had never been so happy in his life; Newberg was made up of hills, in the midst of grander mountains; it nestled in the western shadow of Keansarge; and King's Hill and Sunapee reared loftily around her their bold bleak fronts. A beautiful lake of the same name lay blue and clear at Sunapee's foot. "Pleasant Lake" lay in another direction, famous for its delicious trout and fragrant pond lilies.
Philip, the young scapegrace from city and from college, was in an ecstacy; he had never beheld skies so blue, lakes so fair, landscapes so lovely; with every breath he seemed to draw in life, vigor, and a new sense of beauty. Every morning he was up at sunrise, scouring the country upon the back of Nellie, a graceful, fleet young mare which Col. Selby had generously set aside for his use. Maids, matrons, and small boys stood in gaping amaze, stool in one hand and milk pail in the other, watching half-fearfully, half-admiringly, the fearless young equestrian, who shot by like a comet, his long, black hair streaming in the wind.
It was Philip's delight to create this stare and wonder, to which poor Nellie was obliged to contribute still more than her young master's pleasure. If he could leap over some low garden wall, dart over a famous strawberry bed, or amidst the melon patch, he thought he had done something splendid. The owner's dismay, not alone at the ruin, but at the untamed spirit that dared it, gave him peculiar delight.
Those old ladies who found their fattest goose dangling half-dead from the apple-bough in the early morning, or who looked in vain for patient cows within the yard, whose bars had mysteriously disappeared, began less to admire this youthful metropolitan.
Complaints poured in upon Col. Selby. At first he laughed and made light of them; then he consulted his wife. She was a staid, proper person, careful of the family's good name and popularity. It would never do. Philip ought to have some sense of what was due to his host; since he had not, he must be put in mind of it. She would undertake the task herself.
This she did, but without effect. Philip had promised sorrow and amendment with a long face, but inwardly he laughed, and after, became seven times worse than before.
Complaints multiplied. Not only were geese and cows interfered with, but dogs and horses were found tied to saplings or shut up in most unimaginable places. Burdocks and thistles appeared in meeting-house pews, where they surely had never before been known spontaneously to spring; teachers in the Sunday school were shocked to learn that they had distributed dime novels with books and tracts. The minister, one morning in the pulpit, solemnly opened his Bible, and unexpectedly beholding a most ludicrous picture, laughed outright, to the great scandal of every looker-on.
Now this was too much. Mrs. Selby had passed by stories of green-apple showers falling upon homeward-bound school children's heads; she had even smilingly held her peace when laughingly assured that a troop of dogs and cats had gone madly wailing and howling through the streets, a miniature world flaming with fire attached by means of wires to each caudal appendage—even that was too much decidedly. But this tampering with the meeting-house! Mrs. Selby consulted first her husband, as in duty bound; that is, she called him aside, told him the latest pranks of their protege, and emphatically added that there should be an end of them.
"But wife, I cannot turn the boy out of my house."
"You need not, my dear; that is my privilege, particularly since he is my relative, not yours. Forbearance now would cease to be a virtue; there is a limit to human endurance; there shall at once be an end to this boy's mad pranks. He is on the piazza, perhaps studying some new mischief; send him in to me, please."
"But are you not too hasty, wife?" urged the soft-hearted ex-Governor, who remembered his own follies and frolics of long ago.
"Too hasty, when we have all borne so much? Gov. Selby"—with a smile—"allow your wife to command you; send that naughty boy hither."
An hour later, Philip having sought her in house and garden, stood in presence of Mary Selby, at last discovered in her attic studio.
"Your mother has banished me; she has already spoken the fatal words; I must leave Newberg, this garden spot of God's glorious earth—most of all, I must leave you, cousin Mary, and I shall be lost, forever lost," exclaimed this strange youth, in tones melodramatic.
Mary laid aside her palette and brushes.
"Why then, cousin Phil, haven't you done better, after so many repeated warnings?"
"It is easy for you to ask that question, and you can answer it better than can I. Why do you not ask the wind why and whence it blows? Why do the waters overflow their banks, why ocean waves engulf life-freighted ships?"
"No, Philip, there is no analogy. Be reasonable; you are a being of will; you can do or not do. He is only a child who exercises no self-control, who is governed only by caprice, whim, or whatever passion of the moment. These follies, of which my mother makes account, and rightly, are beneath one of your age. There is in them nothing ennobling, charming; nothing that should gratify a mind that has the faintest conception of the good, the beautiful, and the true."
"I suppose so, cousin. But I have so long indulged in this fun-loving propensity"—
"That it has grown into an inveterate habit. Is this, then, a part of your better nature? Is there no depth beneath this evanescent surface—froth and foam? I believe there is. But in order that it may be discovered to the light and made fit for cultivation, this trivial surface-crust must be turned under, kept down, lest light and heat nourish its weeds into luxuriance."
"Why have you not talked to me thus before? You could do anything with me, cousin Mary."
"I will tell you the truth, Philip, because I think I owe it you. I went not with you to ride or walk, I have kept myself aloof from you, because my parents thought you too wild for my association."
"I am not a bear, and I might be better than I seem," said the proud boy, humbly.
"Yes, Philip, I believe you. And I have often thought I might do you good. Had you been my brother I should not have hesitated; but I had a suspicion that you might regard any persuasions or lectures from me as a piece of self-righteousness, for which you might have, as do I, supreme contempt."
"O, no, cousin. You are the best woman in the world. I would do anything for you."
"Leave off all of those mischievous pranks which are the cause of your present disgrace?"
"Yes, even that—and more. But it is too late now. I go to-morrow."
The result of this and still further conversation to the same effect produced a conviction upon the mind of Mary that the spoiled child was not beyond hope of redemption. She laid the case before her parents, and, with the aid of her father, obtained a reluctant consent from her mother that one more trial might be given the recreant Philip.
Even without this Mary would have gained her point, for on the next morning Philip, burning with fever, was unable to leave his bed.
A severe attack of typhoid ensued.
When Philip St. Leger, after a dangerous illness of many weeks, became convalescent, he was a changed person. Not alone through the influence of Mary, but Colonel Selby, and especially his wife, were brought to realize how prone they had been to reproach and condemn without having made the slightest efforts to reform. A neglected, untutored, un-Christianized young man had been placed in their care—was it too late to redeem the past? No effort was left untried, though exercised with the greatest delicacy to bring the young heathen's mind to a proper state of its former unhealthfulness, of its present pressing needs.
Mary read to him biographies of the good and great. She read ennobling works of poetry and counsel. She brought before his mind by example how superior was earnestness to trivialty, strict integrity to knavery and falsehood, goodness and piety to wickedness and infidelity. As she read and commented, her voice became to Philip as the voice of an angel. Her work was indeed accomplished when, after having listened to her rendering of St. Paul's grand epistles, there sprang up in his heart, first: "Almost thou persuadest me to be a Christian;" then this full, heart-swelling sympathy with the Apostle's words:
"For I am persuaded that neither death, nor life, nor angels, nor principalities, nor powers, nor things present, nor things to come, nor height, nor depth, nor any creature, shall be able to separate us from the love of God, which is in Christ Jesus our Lord."
THE MISSIONARY'S RETROSPECT.
Though Philip St. Leger would have done, in almost all things, as Mary Selby directed, upon one certain point he was inflexible. This was upon the subject of immersion; he would not go down into the waters of Lake Sunapee, following the custom of the Newbergians.
During his boyhood his mother had been a member of the Presbyterian society; latterly, for some good reason or other, she had made a move into the Episcopal; whether through whim for popularity, or for conscience' sake was best known to herself. Her puritanical cousin, Mrs. Col. Selby, and a very worthy woman she was, regarded Mrs. St. Leger as a heretic, and looked upon the troubles with her children as a just punishment for having left the Church of her fathers. She had herself, however, meantime made very considerable concessions to her own religious convictions. For, while stoutly believing in sprinkling, in infant baptism, in open communion, and in each and every tenet of Presbyterianism, she had actually been received into the Calvinistic Baptist Church! What an unheard-of thing! It created no little talk among the good people of Newberg, and more for this reason: Mrs. Job Manning, a farmer's wife, who dutifully assisted her husband in earning a frugal living on the rocky sides of King's Hill, having been a Congregationalist, had been refused years previously, admittance to this same Church. She was poor, had a family of young children, had no way of traveling thirty miles to her own nearest meeting-house, and had humbly begged, with her husband, who was already a good Baptist, to be received into the Church. Failing this, since she could not consent to immersion, and shrank from the doctrine of close communion, she, or rather her husband, demanded that she might be allowed to partake occasionally of the Lord's Supper.
Rev. Mr. Savage, and the dignified Deacon Gould, and his equally dignified colleague, Deacon Drake, gazed very solemnly down upon the communion table, pursing up their mouths most decidedly, as if a sacrilege had already been committed by so astounding a proposition. Of course the duty fell upon Mr. Savage, the minister, to declare before all present that the demand of brother Manning, in behalf of his wife, was unreasonable, incomprehensible, and un-Christian.
Was Mrs. Manning a Christian? Then let her be baptized in a Christian manner, and thereby show herself worthy to eat the bread and drink the wine. Until such time there could be no admittance.
The two solemn-looking deacons on either side of the dogmatic speaker raised approvingly their eyes, and after balancing themselves a moment upon their toes, settled back upon their heels as grave and decorous as before.
Brother Job Manning arose hastily, and said:
"My wife, Nancy Manning, is as good a Christian woman as the town of Newberg holds. I eat with her at home, thank God, and if she ain't good enough to eat with me at the table of the Lord, then I ain't good enough neither, and you can have it all to yourselves."
And Job Manning, somewhat angry, it must be confessed, strode out from the assembled body of Christians, up to his pew in the side aisle, and plucking his wife by the sleeve, who arose and followed him, marched out of the Baptist church for good and all.
But in the case of Mrs. Colonel Selby it was altogether different. She was a woman of wealth and influence. She could do so very much for the Baptist church, it would never do to offend her. And the Colonel was so devoted to her, he might go off in a huff as poor Job Manning had done, and stand it out to the bitter end. It was a dilemma, no disputing about that. A bad precedent, more particularly after the precedent in the Manning case. But it must be got along with, and it was, and Mrs. Colonel Selby, a strict and ultra Presbyterian, always open and outspoken, became an honored member of this closely-guarded Baptist fold. What was to hinder? Who was to say, why do you so? No bishop with his interdict, no Pope with his "thunders from the Vatican." Here was one of the beauties of the Protestant system.
"System," says Webster, "is an assemblage of things adjusted into a regular whole, or a whole plan or scheme consisting of many parts connected in such a manner as to create a chain of mutual dependencies." It is not at all strange that Protestantism should protest against this definition, and should establish its own instead: An assemblage of things so adjusted and built up as that they may easily be rearranged or completely demolished as occasion may require, or a whole plan or scheme consisting of many parts so connected as to create a gossamer-thread of mutual independencies.
Mrs. Selby was too shrewd and sensible not to see the inconsistency involved. But then she was quite used to inconsistencies. Moreover, she deemed herself quite in the right, and the Baptist Church had mounted upon the plane it behooved itself to stand; at all events, it must answer for its own right and wrong doing, as Mrs. Selby expected to answer for her own.
Mary Selby sought not to influence Philip in the matter of his baptism. She saw where his inclination tended and was silent. He accompanied his mother's cousin to her native city, and was there received into the First Presbyterian by Mrs. Selby's venerable and beloved friend, Rev. Mr. Storrs.
Colonel Selby used his influence in infringing upon the college rules of Dartmouth, and the young man, expelled from one college, was received into another. So bad use had he made of his former advantages that he was obliged to go back to the sophomore year; even here he had to study early and late to maintain his position.
After three years of assiduous diligence, he graduated with honor, when, for the first time since the day of his disgrace, he visited his paternal home.
His fashionable mother viewed her handsome, scholarly son, not only with amazement, but with pride and satisfaction. His three sisters, all grown into womanhood, the youngest being sixteen, were at first rather shy of him. They had not forgotten how he used to annoy and vex them. They early perceived the change, and became distressingly fond of him. It would be so nice to have an elder brother to go with them everywhere. And such a brother! so fine-looking, who had an air so distinguished, a face so poetical and classical! O, wouldn't all the other girls envy them this splendid brother? They would make a grand party, and exhibit him at once.
What was their dismay on finding that he absolutely refused to show himself to the guests! The wealthiest, most learned, most elite of the city were all in the drawing-rooms, beauty and fashion were in full glow and flow, music all atremble to stir into life, bright eyes were flashing expectation, and dainty lips had sweet words waiting to say, and he would not appear! In vain the mother coaxed, flattered, and got angry; in vain the sisters pleaded, begged, cried, and insisted. He was inexorable. But they had made the party on purpose for him!
Why had they not informed him sooner? He could have saved them all the trouble and disappointment. He could have told them he was no lion, and would not be paraded. He had not been in society for three years; he was never again going into society.
This, then, came of going off into the country! Buried alive. Come out so peerless and beautiful, and all to no purpose! He might just as well have been a grub!
By great efforts the mother and daughters choked down their wrath and mortification, bathed their swollen eyes, put on fresh lily white and carmine, and joined their guests. What should they have for an excuse? O, a sick headache—sudden and distressful—he was subject to them; poor Philip!
Later in the evening, Estelle St. Leger led Della Lisle up to her own room. They were passing through the hall. Opposite her door, Estelle stooped to lace her slipper, for which purpose she had left the drawing-room.
"So he has no headache," said Della, "and absents himself only from aversion to society?"
"That is all," replied Estelle, pettishly. "Isn't he stupid?"
"No, I just begin to think right well of him. I have no respect for some of those effeminate butterflies down stairs, who say only silly nothings, because, forsooth, they think we can appreciate nothing better, or because they have nothing better to offer."
"But I thought you were quite captivated with Edward Damon? You two, for the last half hour, have seemed to be unconscious that there was aught else in the world save that one corner that held you."
"Edward Damon is an exception. He is intelligent, unaffected, and agreeable. He is not all simper and softness. He can talk with one without being lost in his own self-conceit, fancying you deep in admiration of his own charming self. Yes, I really like Edward Damon."
The shoe was laced, and the girls passed on, but the voice of Della Lisle seemed still to linger upon the ears of Philip. His own door opened upon the hall very near to the waiting girls; he had heard every word. First, the voice of Della was pleasant and gentle; it powerfully attracted him; second, her words were not those of an ordinary city lady.
"A sensible girl, that—Della, Estelle called her; a pretty name. And Edward Damon is there, it seems, the best fellow I ever knew. Who knows? Maybe a shoe-string influences my fate. At all events, I am influenced in a way I may not resist."
And Philip St. Leger, with extraordinary inconsistency, soon appeared among his mother's guests. There was but one drawback to the joy and gratification of that mother and the three sisters—his necktie was not of the very latest style.
In falling in love with Della Lisle at first sight, Philip pleased himself only and his sister Estelle; that is, if we leave Della out. His mother had the tall, graceful daughter of a millionaire selected for him; Leonora, the elder sister, had her pet friend Miss De Rosier, secretly engaged and under promise; Juliet, the younger, wished him never to fall in love, never to marry, but to remain forever her dear, only, adorable brother Philip, for whom she would give up all the world and live a maiden to the end of her life.
This engagement with Della, however, was not the worst that might be. They discovered this to their discomfiture when shortly after he announced to them one morning at the breakfast-table that on the following week he should leave for Princeton.
A theological course at Princeton! A true-blue Presbyterian, a long-faced, puritanical minister, who would deem it a sin to laugh, speak, or wink on a Sunday. And this was what their brother was coming to. This was why it had been impossible to get him to go with them to St. Mark's Church, though they had told him how beautifully High Church it was; how it had a high altar and candles, almost like the Romanists, only that it was not at all Romish, but entirely and truly Catholic! Was ever such like woful perversity? When they had just got a brother to be proud of, who could take them to theatres, concerts, balls, operas, and everywhere, for him to go and degenerate into an old solemn Presbyterian minister! It would be bearable, if he must be a minister, if he would only be a High Churchman, and would be called a priest, and wear the surplice, and read the service in his charming voice, and be rector of such a fine, rich church as our own St. Mark's! They could put up with that, because he could still go with them to places of amusement, and would not be likely to scold them for dancing all night and sleeping all day. Besides, his praise would be in everybody's mouth, he would speedily get a D. D. to his name, the ladies would all admire him, and he would still be their own, own brother. They wished he had never seen Newberg, nor Colonel Selby's family, nor Dartmouth College. They forgot or were ungrateful for his transformation from a state of good-for-nothingism to comparative Christian virtue.
Philip perceived and was pained at the folly and frivolousness of his mother's household, but any attempt at change more favorable appeared to him so herculean, that he made scarcely an effort in its behalf. He was conscious that therein lay neglect of duty; they might owe to him what he owed to Mary Selby. Often when he thought of her he bowed his head reverently, and said: I have two saviours—an earthly and a heavenly—Mary Selby and my Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ.
To the near relatives of Philip his going to Princeton was so much like burying him, that when, after three years, he returned finally to his home and announced that in one month he was both to marry and sail as missionary to Turkey they were scarcely surprised. They made no outcries and no ado; they had given him up long ago; he would be no company for them in their rounds of gaiety and fashion; he might as well be teaching heathens or Musselmen in the kingdoms of the Brother to the Sun as a dry, dull parson in America, ever in danger of offending their aristocratic tone and ideas by his sober, old-fashioned notions.
After his marriage, before embarking for Turkey, Philip, with his bride, paid a visit to Newberg. His second sermon he preached in the Baptist church. To those simple-minded country people, he stood before them a living illustration of what the grace of God might effect. Six years previously he had startled and amazed them, as though he had ridden through the air on a broomstick; now he came back to them in peace and gentleness. Before he had laid sacrilegious hands upon the Holy Bible in the sacred pulpit; now he opened the same reverently and read from thence the words of eternal life. The change was indeed marvellous, and Newberg proudly set him down as a second Paul the Apostle.
Della was dreadfully seasick on the ocean voyage, and, as she often declared, it seemed she never became completely well again. Owing to this delicate state of her health, the St. Legers did not accompany their companions to the field assigned them, a small town in the interior, but remained in Constantinople, at the house of Dr. Adams, resident Protestant minister of that city.
It was not until after the birth and death of her first child, when her health became somewhat reinstated, that Della was able to accompany her husband to their contemplated mission. Here they rejoined their companions of a year ago; Mr. and Mrs. Fisher, and Mr. and Mrs. Dodd. It had been a former mission until recently abandoned; the houses, small and inconvenient at best, had either been appropriated or fallen to decay.
A few rooms had been made habitable, and here the missionaries had taken up their abode. Cheerless it seemed and disheartening to Philip and Della, as they saw no progress at all made in the objects of their long journey, but every effort consumed in struggles for daily bread.
"What have you been doing?" asked the St. Legers, so wonderingly as to convey almost a reproach.
"The same as yourselves," retorted the Fishers and the Dodds, "nursing our healths to make us well."
"We will all begin together then," said Philip pacifyingly.
"As soon as you please; you shall lead and we will follow," answered the associates.
Notwithstanding this ebullition of energy at the outset, month after month, nay, year after year elapsed without the least material progress. What was termed a school would be sometimes kept up for weeks together, at which some few children could be coaxed to come; but after the supply of pictures, ornaments, etc., with which they had been attracted gave out, the attendance languished and the idle urchins sought amusement elsewhere.
Bibles were flung out with a lavish hand to men, women, and children who had never before possessed such a treasure as a book; and this book might for them just as well have been a bundle of old almanacs, for all printed language was Greek to them. And they, these missionaries, did not believe that the mere possession of the holy word of God could impart or draw down God's grace upon the possessor; for that would be akin to the miraculous, and they eschewed faith in miracles.
An attempt was made at expounding and hearing the word of God on Sundays. There was good enough will in these expositions, but the ears and the hearts for receiving were far away. People, it is true, would come some days in crowds, but it was not for instructions; they went as young America goes to see a band of turbaned Turks, or Barnum's latest humbug.
Where was the use of spending so many persons' energies upon such a stolid, indifferent, intractable people? They were wedded to their idols, why not leave them alone? Why should they cast pearls before swine?
These were questions the missionaries asked themselves; and answered too, if not to their satisfaction, to the best of their ability. Their time became more and more consumed in the care of their increasing families.
These missionaries in their home-reports might well speak of hardships. The women were often sick, help could but rarely be obtained, and then of the poorest quality; thus these gentlemanly graduates of Yale, Dartmouth, and Princeton had often not only to cook meals for the family, but to wash, iron, attend the sick wife and helpless infants, and suffer all the anxieties and annoyances that human flesh is heir to. What wonder that they came gradually to lose sight of the grand aspirations that had animated their early manhood? To forget, as it were, the objects and aims of their holy mission, and to sink into the mere paterfamilias, like other good masters of families? There seemed no alternative; the routine of domestic duties must be accomplished; the sick must be attended to; hungry mouths must be fed, fast-coming forms must be clothed. Where was the time to go forth seeking the heathen or compelling him to come in? The wife and children could neither be taken nor left alone. In fact, the missionaries found to their great surprise, as all experienced men have found, that the care of a family is a never-ceasing, all-engrossing responsibility. The outside work could be very small indeed; all had to centre in that one spot, home. They cultivated small gardens, and in this way eked out their subsistence on the small salaries received from the Board of Missions.
Thus lived they from year to year, hopeless of the present, but overflowing with hopes for the future. Though they could labor not now in Christ's vineyard, they might do so by and by; though they might live to behold no fruit of their labors, they might, unknown even to themselves, have sown the good seed, and their children's children, and the children of heathendom might arise up and call them blessed.
Della Lisle's life—or rather Della St. Leger's—in the land of her adoption, lasted but five years; she had buried two little children, who, so brief was their existence, could scarcely be said to have lived at all. As her third trial was approaching and her health in wretched state it was deemed best that she should be taken by easy stages to Constantinople, where English medical advice could be procured. The journey proved invigorating, and Della landed at Dr. Adams' in almost as good health as when she had left, more than four years previously.
There was always good company at the house of Dr. Adams. English and American travelers, whether religious or not, were wont to claim his hospitality.
Upon the arrival of the St. Legers, a very interesting gentleman was spending a few days; he bore the common name of Chase, but he was no common man. Though still in the prime of life, he had traveled the world over, made himself conversant with all languages, manners, and customs, studied into all fanaticisms and all religions, and if he had ended in having faith in none, as such people often do, he admirably kept his own counsel.
After coffee, the Doctor with his guests withdrew to the open court; distributing a Turkish pipe to each, he sat himself down upon his cushion, prepared to listen to this traveled friend with his usual animation.
Dr. Adams' house being head-quarters for missionaries coming and going, and Philip St. Leger being at this time the third who had arrived within a day or two, the others being still present, the conversation naturally turned upon missionary life.
Now, Mr. Chase was a Yankee; and though a cultivated one, he had not parted with an innate inquisitiveness, and had an off-hand way of asking such questions as first presented. He catechised these three missionaries as faithfully, even in presence of Dr. Adams, as if he had been President of the American Board. He desired to know the number of years spent in the work, the size and extent of their missions, the number of actual converts, and also all about their own families and modes of living.
Having apparently satisfied himself, Mr. Chase said, wheeling around to the Doctor:
"The same story. In my various travels I have come frequently across these missionary stations; you will pardon me if I tell you what you cannot fail to know, that they are complete failures. In my opinion, the money might be better expended in planting gunpowder."
The three youthful missionaries opened wide their eyes, but the Doctor smoked away complacently.
THE DISTINGUISHED TRAVELER'S VIEWS.
Mr. Chase dropped his pipe, as if in a great hurry, and continued:
"Now, here are three missionaries, and they will excuse me, as I am about to present to them a great truth—each of whom has left at his respective station from two to four colleagues. There are then from ten to fifteen men, with as many women and more children; the difficulty is with these women and children; they are very dear, precious objects, I have no doubt, in their own homes and in Christian lands, but they are only clogs and drawbacks in such an enterprise as these young men are engaged. A man alone can dive into forests, scale mountains, swim rivers, fight lions, eat raw birds, make his bed in caves, or on solid rock, lie down with the Indian, rise up with the Hindostan, do any and every conceivable wild outlandish thing that the world's nations do; but with a woman—pshaw, that alters the case."
"But there are instances of brave women," remarked the Doctor, "Look at Lady Hester Stanhope, and Lady ——"
"But they were unmarried women. There are the Amazons of old too, and Amazons are not wanting at the present time—but such do not come within my category. From the very nature of the case, a man with a wife is fettered; he cannot be absent from home twenty-four consecutive hours. She is afraid of the dark, afraid of dogs and lions, of robbers and murderers, afraid the children will get sick, or that 'something or other will be sure to happen, as always does if he is away.' He too is as uneasy as herself, meditates all sorts of mishaps, imagines the house on fire, Johnny in the well, Fanny with a bean in her throat or a corn in her ear, and is on thorns and briers until his own house circles him around again. This is all right and natural for the ordinary domestic man; but, as I understand it, the missionary undertakes God's work; he renounces the world, its joys, comforts, friendships; he is no longer his own; but his will, love, obedience, and work is all for God, his Master, and for the heathen who know Him not. The truth is, the man who considers himself called to missionary labors should leave his wife behind him; that is, he should have no wife."
The Doctor, who was now a man of sixty, had been thrice married, and was now entertaining thoughts of a fourth wife, took his pipe from his lips and said emphatically:
"You are an extremist, Mr. Chase, you speak thus perhaps because it has been your lot to lead a single life; but, let me tell you, I think our missionaries sacrifice enough, without being obliged to come wifeless among negroes, Hindoos, South-sea islanders, and Cannibals. A dreary life at best—unendurable without companionship. You wouldn't get a man to sail under the conditions you propose."
"Did the Apostles have wives and children pulling after them?" continued Mr. Chase. "Imprisoned, stoned, beaten, and scoffed, was their life less dreary than should be the missionary's of to-day? What says St. Paul—'thrice was I stoned, thrice was I beaten with rods, thrice I suffered shipwreck, a night and a day have I been in the deep.' Do you suppose it ever occurred to that mighty, God-like spirit, even in the lowest depth of his worldly misery, that it would be a comfort to have a wife come to weep with him, to hand him fresh gown and sandals? Never so far fell that grand soul from its exalted repose upon the bosom of the infinite! From that source whence he drew courage sublimer, faith diviner, and strength irresistible, which no woman's heart or hand could aid in evoking! Ah, that was a glorious St. Paul."
"You are eloquent, sir, as all of us might well be over such a subject," said the Doctor; "but you must remember that only one St. Paul has ever lived."
"Though he has been a model for many. I don't know—only one St. Paul? I think if we look back into history—say, take the Fathers of the Desert—there was St. Jerome, a grand old man, St. Augustine, with less of fire, but of lofty faith, St. Ephrem, there, in him you have a St. Paul in eloquence; you will remember that his words were wont to flow so rapidly that his frequent exclamation was—'O Lord, stay the tide of Thy grace.' Why, the number is countless whose labors, toils, and self-denials were gigantic. St. Benedict, St. Wilfred, St. Bernard stand out—"
The Doctor having thrown down his pipe and commenced walking the floor, here interrupted his enthusiastic guest:
"O, if you go to taking up the Roman Catholic calendar of Saints, you will find plenty of fish in illimitable waters; but that is out of our line of coasting, you must know; and we are not in the habit of associating St. Paul with any of these latter-day Saints."
"Please allow me, Dr. Adams, you know I am a privileged person. My last-named Saint, Bernard, lived at least four hundred years before Luther and John Knox, and Wilfred and Benedict much nearer to Christ than to us, the latter having been separated in time but four centuries from his Lord; but let us not contend upon this point; I cheerfully admit my own superior admiration for the converted persecutor of the Christians."
"If his like has not been seen through eighteen hundred years, we may not look for it in the nineteenth century," remarked the Doctor.
"I still insist, however," said the indomitable Mr Chase, "that he has had many imitators; and that brings us back to the subject whence we have strayed, and upon which I have not said all that I had intended. I was going to remark, after asserting that missionaries should leave their wives at home, that the success of Catholic missionaries illustrates the truth of this."
"I beg you to remember," interposed the Doctor, testily, "that we do not wish to be compared in any way, shape, or manner with the Catholic missionaries. You might just as well compare us to the heathen who worship idols."
Mr. Chase continued, a little more mildly than before:
"The question is not, my dear Doctor, a comparison between your religion and theirs. I understand very little indeed about their religion. But their object and yours is the same; by every means in your power to induce souls ignorant of the Saviour to believe and accept the truths you hold out; this is your mission, and this is theirs. You come with your families, you make a home—you stay there—waiting for the heathen to come to you; your wife is nervous, she likes not the uncouth looks and ways of your barbarians; she is neat and she does not like her white floor to be soiled by the dirty feet of your savages. Nervous, neat, and timid herself, she meets their gaze anything but smilingly—even savages are human, and know well enough how to take a hint. Her involuntary dislike is returned with interest, and her husband's influence and usefulness is at an end, even before being established."
"You judge us harshly," complained Dr. Adams, glancing at the dissatisfied countenances of his younger friends, "some missionaries have most excellent wives."
"Do not understand me as saying one word against any missionary's wife; far be it from me. As a class, I have no doubt they are most estimable. But women are women all the world over, and experience convinces me that in the place they occupy as wives of missionaries they are only greatly in the way. Now the Roman Catholics—and I am no friend to their religion, as you very well know—as missionaries, are those only who have met with success. They attribute it to the grace of God following their efforts, in accordance with the divine promise, 'Go teach all nations, and lo, I am with you to the end of the world.' I have visited their missions in every part of the world; in North and South America, in Africa, Europe, Asia, and many islands of the sea—and in fact this really did confound me, though I have been almost everywhere under the sun, these missionaries were already there, working away as for dear life—well, as I was saying, I have been in many a place where, to get the least comfort at all, I was compelled to put up with them; and, I always went away soothed, refreshed, and consoled. I assure you it is wonderful; they go among the natives, and to a certain extent become one of them; they win their confidence, treat them kindly, share with them food and drink, sleep in their houses and tents, and by and by insensibly have become their masters. Then how easy to teach them anything! Now they couldn't do this with troops of women and children along; so I came to the conclusion that their remarkable success in the conversion of heathen nations was to be attributed to the absence of these hindering appendages."
"But you must have found nuns as missionaries in some places."
"You know they are invisible to us profane people. They do have charge of schools in some missions—but then, cannot you perceive that a dozen of nuns, independent and self-supporting, is a very different institution from a dozen of married women and half a dozen dozen small responsibilities?"
The Doctor laughed good-humoredly.
"You stick to your point like the bark to a tree," he said. "What do you say, young gentlemen," addressing his silent, but ill-pleased guests, "are you convinced that you have made a blunder, and are you ready to set about retrieving it?"
St. Leger answered, with a voice that slightly trembled with indignation:
"I am convinced, Dr. Adams, that the learned gentleman who is so conversant with the subject of missions, should seek and find his true and proper position in the bosom of those successful idolaters he so greatly admires."
"Why, you take it to heart," said the Doctor. "Had you known Mr. Chase as long and well as I have, you would make a different estimate of his remarks;" and he turned the subject, for, in truth, he was not at all pleased with these plainly spoken views, deeming them entirely uncalled for and inapropos. He hastened to call out the distinguished traveler upon a less distasteful theme.
THE VISITATION—BY SPIRIT AND BY DEATH.
When Philip retired to his room that night he was surprised to find his wife still awake. "What a wonderful man that is who has been entertaining you this evening," she said.
"Wonderful fool!" ejaculated the pious missionary, whose disturbed temper had not yet become altogether serene.
Della was quite thrown back by so unwonted an exclamation, and remained silent. At length Philip said:
"What do you know about him? where have you seen him? haven't you spent the whole evening in this room?"
"Yes, but the windows open upon the court; I have heard every word."
"And heard no good of yourself, either," remarked Philip, snappishly.
Her husband was in so unusual a mood that Della hesitated about entering upon the conversation she had intended. She was impulsive, however, and did not like to wait.
"Philip, I want to say something," said she, gently.
"Well, say away," was his ungracious permission.
"I thought you had something to say," he said again, more gently, as Della remained silent.
"It was only this: I had been thinking the same thing," she said, almost in a whisper.
Now Philip knew very well what his wife meant. He, too, had thought the same thing. But he pretended to be in the dark, and abruptly demanded:
"The same what thing? Why must you speak so enigmatically?"
"O, Philip, you could have done so much more and better without me. I have done nothing, and have hindered you."
"And what are you going to do about it?" said Philip, coldly.
"Why, Philip, what is the matter with you? How strangely you answer me!" cried Della, excitedly.
"Never mind me now, Della I am not myself to-night; go to sleep."
Truly, thought Della, he is not himself; so she prudently resolved to defer her "something to say" to a more favorable season.
For the next eight or nine hours Philip's mind was in a whirlpool. While a student at Princeton, the lectures of Cardinal Wiseman had chanced to fall in his way. He read them with avidity, particularly those "On the Practical Success of the Protestant Rule of Faith in Converting Heathen Nations," and "On the Practical Success of the Catholic Rule of Faith in Converting Heathen Nations." They left upon his mind unpleasant impressions, and created doubts and misgivings which his tutors could with difficulty dispel. But he shut his eyes, blinded his mind, and allowed the hour of his visitation to pass by. Now, the words of this Mr. Chase, a stray traveler, roaming through the world without aim or object, so far as known, had aroused this slumbering phantom of the past, and provoked, if not challenged, him anew. He recalled the story of Catholic missions that had read to him like a continuation of Apostolic labors; statistics, gathered altogether from Protestant sources, showed them to be overwhelmingly successful; the gift of miracles and the gifts of the Holy Ghost had descended upon them, and crowns of martyrdom numerous and shining. He had even thought with a thrill that had he never met Della it would be glorious to join this lion-hearted band, whose symbol was the ever-upborne Cross! But there had avalanched down upon this temporary glow such a storm of ridicule against Transubstantiation, worship of the Blessed Virgin and of dead men's bones and cast-off garments, and the putrified corruptions of the Man of Sin generally, that the one generous, struggling spark was extinguished. Of the great Protestant Foreign Missionary Society, for which so much money had been expended, so many millions of Bibles distributed, so many glowing reports printed, Philip St. Leger was now a part, knew all its ins and outs—alas! its outs.
This was the reason Mr. Chase's remarks had so fretted him: because of the truth which he was unwilling to receive. To himself this young missionary had admitted long before that a married man was too much cumbered for his undertaking. At the same time he mentally insisted that in that foreign land life without his wife would be to him intolerable. It was truly distressing and discouraging that five years had passed by with but the most trifling results. He thought, and not for the first time, that were he settled in the faraway, quiet village of Newberg, his life might not pass away so unprofitably. But he had put his hand to the plough; should he now turn back?
The dissatisfied missionary passed a sleepless night; he murmured and repined; he was not willing to ascribe praise to his Roman Catholic brethren, nor to admit their right to claim the promise of our Lord to be with them unto the end. The result was that he resisted the spirit, and allowed this second visitation to pass by, leaving him more self-determined than before. Therefore, with the dawn of day, he resolutely dismissed the subject, with emphasis asserting: "I am a Protestant; I will live and work with my Protestant brethren. We must admit nothing on the part of our adversaries; we must make our claims as bold as theirs."
When, therefore, a few days after, Della renewed the subject, he was prepared to quiet her scruples.
"And is their success, then, so really wonderful as this gentleman declares?" she inquired.
"Not at all. Doubtless in many places they do gain a temporary success, but this is easily accounted for. The Catholic religion lies in outward observances. They have so much show and ceremony that the ignorant native is necessarily attracted. The dress, altar, lights, bell, all have their part in alluring the curious. They think there must be some great mystery connected with so much paraphernalia. They are naturally willing to be let into the secret. But there is nothing in it at all to convert the heart or convince the understanding. When these useless accessories are removed, the converted heathen, as he is called, relapses into barbarism."
"It has seemed to me, though, Philip, that if we had only something in our service to attract the attention, we would have a great advantage; that is the first and principal thing to get people together. By having something to win their curiosity, a great point is gained. Giving them a Bible is like giving them a stone for bread—they can make nothing out of it," said Della, decidedly.
"But when they have the teachings of the Bible once thoroughly impressed upon their minds, does it not stand to reason they would be better and more persevering Christians?" asked Philip.
"Very likely. But the difficulty is to make this impression. We tell the heathen, man, woman, or child, that Christ died on the Cross to redeem us. Would he not lend us more earnest attention if we illustrated our instruction by exhibiting to him an image of the Cross and the Crucified—in short, if we taught him, as did the ancients, the whole story of Redemption, and the establishment of the Church, by series of pictures and images?"
"What is the use of going back thousands of years ago when we are living in the nineteenth century? Why not make use of the art of printing since we have it?"
"Certainly, wherein it is of advantage. But the majority of those whom the missionary seeks to instruct are beyond the reach of that admirable art. Letters have for them no meaning; books are for them only to look at; and with a picture the eye is instructed and more pleased."
"Let us send to Rome for a cart-load of Madonnas, crucifixes, beads, and all the et ceteras for satisfying and perpetuating superstition and ignorance," said Philip, sarcastically.
Della was sensitive to ridicule and remained silent. Her husband continued:
"Or, since you deem yourself a supernumerary in your present vocation, suppose you allow me to pack you off in the return-cart to the Eternal City, that is said to sit over the mouth of Il Inferno. You may kiss the toe of his Holiness, and humbly ask penance for the rest of your mortal life for having presumed to be a Protestant missionary's wife, and carried the Bible to the dying heathen."
"The subject is too serious for any such nonsense," remarked the wife, gravely. "The question is how to convert the heathen. It seems to me the true missionary of the Cross should not be above receiving prudent suggestions from whatever source; more particularly ourselves, who are inexperienced in the work."
"You are right, Della, as you always are," replied the husband, more sincerely. "I have been revolving the subject over, and have come to a firm resolution to turn over a new leaf on our return to the mission. If Mrs. Fisher were not so peevish and Mrs. Dodd so distressingly particular, we could get along better in the kitchen; the native girls would do better, and improve. If you were to oversee that department, I think there would be a change greatly for the better. The truth is, I believe those women are afraid of being poisoned. They ought to give their time in the school. If they tried to make it interesting there would be a better attendance. It is all nonsense to spend one's whole time in getting up dainty dishes, and recherche toilets for one's babies. At all events we must arouse ourselves from this slough of indifference and give our best energies to the work. We have not made half a trial yet. How can we expect success to follow aught but energetic effort?"
Distance lent enchantment. Now that the missionaries were hundreds of miles away, the labors of the mission seemed easy of accomplishment, and the daily, hourly difficulties and hindrances dwindled into insignificance.
Scarcely a month later and Philip St. Leger bent in thankfulness over a little daughter, which the doctor said might live.
"We will call her Della," said Philip to his wife.
"Not Della, but Althea. I give her to God, Philip. May she do for Him what I have not been able."
Philip had turned to his wife that he might the better catch her feeble whispers. O, the dread that rushed through his heart! A ghastly pallor was spread over the face, a convulsive spasm distorted for a moment the sweet mouth.
"I am going—O, Philip," she said, wildly, and ere he had time to call on God for mercy she was gone.
"Good God, doctor, is she really dead?" cried Philip, as soon as he could speak to the physician upon the opposite side, whose fingers now let fall the pulseless wrist.
"All is over," answered the physician, sadly.
"Why did you not call me sooner if you saw the danger? How dared you not inform me at once?" demanded Philip.
"Pray be quiet, my dear sir. It was very sudden—entirely unanticipated—although I had been suspecting disease of the heart. Her lungs were a good deal affected, but her heart I think the immediate cause of her death. Otherwise, she was doing nicely, bravely, better than could be expected. You have met with a great loss, sir—a wonderful loss—your wife was a noble woman. God help you!"
Della St. Leger was buried by the side of the first and third Mrs. Adams, the second having been buried on an island in the sea. The latter had been a Southern lady, and had brought with her a colored woman, at that time her slave. This person, Minerva by name, remained still an invaluable member of Dr. Adams' household. To her care the little motherless Althea was entrusted; and Philip St. Leger, with what heart may be imagined, went back alone to his dreary mission.
THE NEW CHOICE.
We have given a more thorough retrospect of the missionary's antecedents than did he to his friend on that memorable night at Kennons. But the gleam of his flashing eye, and the glow of the sparkling flame into which he gazed was like flint to flint; and to us was it given mysteriously to read the fiery flashes thus revealed.
From the death of Della, he went on to inform his brother-in-law that he had brought back his child in care of the faithful Minerva, whom he had left with his younger sister for the present. He did not tell him that the real object of his present visit to America was to take to himself a wife for the second time. This, however, he might, have told, had he not found his friend in such affliction, as that any news of this kind must have grated upon him harshly.
Indeed, several months previously he had written to the principal of the Seminary for her to select a suitable young lady for his future wife. This was not the first time her offices had been solicited in this line; but she was an elderly lady, sensible and practical, and naturally thought that a missionary's second wife should be distinguished for something more than youth and beauty.
Accordingly, when, upon Philip's arrival in his native city, he had visited his friends, and disposed of his daughter, he called upon Madame X—, she presented to him her choice for Mrs. St. Leger, in the person of Miss Arethusa Toothaker, the eldest, tallest, most sedate young lady of her establishment.
Miss Toothaker was of an uncertain age, though she called herself twenty-seven—was tall, as we have said, and slender, had a long, narrow head, which she carried on a neck too long, had very red cheeks, small snapping black eyes, very thin hair, of which she wore in front two very meagre curls done in cork-screw style, held her broad shoulders high, as if vainly striving to get them far as possible from her long, ant-like waist—well, this is enough, for at the very first glance Philip St. Leger turned away his eyes and closed his heart.
Upon taking his leave Philip informed Madame that Miss Toothaker would not do.
Madame was surprised; "She would make a worthy companion," insisted the principal, "and the dream of her life has been to become the wife of a missionary."
The missionary smiled—he would not disturb her dreams for the world—but "would Madame X—allow him to be present at the morning exercises of the school some day?"
"Certainly, any morning you please—to-morrow, if agreeable, you can open school with prayer and address some useful remarks to the young ladies."
On the following morning was great commotion in the ranks of the young ladies. The handsome, distinguished foreign missionary was to open school. At the "let us pray," a hundred young heads rested upon the upraised right hand; but it is to be feared that authorized devotional attitude was sadly infringed upon, for, when he pronounced "Amen" sooner than was anticipated, he encountered so many bright admiring eyes that a less self-possessed person than Philip might have been abashed. As our hero had studied his speech, however, he was able to commence and go through without the slightest embarrassment. His keen eye swept the array of youth and beauty before him, and so quick was he in arriving at conclusions, his choice was made before his remarks were ended.
A person of less penetration might have chosen many another than Emily Dean. There were several among her compeers of more beauty and brilliance. But Philip St. Leger was a good judge of character; he had but to look upon a face to read the heart. He had loved Della Lisle from hearing her voice, and from one glance at her countenance. Emily Dean wore her hair, like hers also in color and abundance, as had Della. In this only was resemblance, unless in a certain pensiveness of expression and pose of attitude.
Madame X—was again surprised, when, in the afternoon of the same day, the missionary asked for an interview with "the young lady who had occupied the fifth seat on the right hand side of the third row, who wore her hair somewhat like a crown, and was dressed in pale blue."
"Ah! Emily Dean—a very fine girl—but is she not too young—hardly nineteen?"
"I myself am not a Methuselah," remarked the missionary, somewhat piqued that although but thirty-one, he should be esteemed too unsuitably old for even the youngest of Madame X——'s pupils.
"Of course—O certainly—of course—I beg your pardon," said the lady hastily, "but a missionary's wife, you know—there is much to be considered."
Philip, evidently bent upon doing his own considering, pursued his inquiries, and gained the interview. He proposed to the young lady in presence of the principal, and in so very business-like a way as convinced both the elder and the younger that there was more practicability beneath that poetical exterior, than the latter would have suggested or warranted them in believing.
Philip was not long in discovering Emily Dean to be the eldest child of an independent farmer in Western New York. She had four sisters and three brothers younger than herself. "With such a family, the father can more easily part with this daughter," thought Philip; and he started off on the next train to visit the family of the Deans.
Emily he found to be a favorite in the household. His proposition to take her with him "away to the barbarous Turk" was received with consternation and tears. The more, that it was felt, from the first, that if she wished it they should have to give her up.
The enthusiastic suitor proposed the father should at once go for his daughter and conduct her home. To all objections and demurrers as to haste and postponement Philip had a ready and eloquent answer. There was no gain-saying this ardent pleader.
The farmer left his host of potato-gatherers and apple-pickers and went off on the express. In twenty-four hours he returned with his daughter. Philip would have given no time for preparations—but in this he was forced to yield.
The parents insisted their eldest daughter should have a wedding trousseau—it was not meet she should set out on so long a voyage, across the ocean of water, and the ocean of married life, in the condition of Miss Flora McFlimsey. So Philip St. Leger took this interval of time for his flying trip to his brother-in-law in Virginia.
But he found, as we have seen, the gloom of death spread over Kennons. Had he needed aught to convince him anew of the evanescent nature of all beneath the sun, he found it here. It was indeed painful to contrast the joy and happiness of this Southern home of little more than six years ago, and the present desolation. In that joy he had shared—in this gloom was his own heart wrung. In the moment of mournful silence that followed his long; discourse and Duncan's, life seemed to him not worth the living, and rising from his chair he said, with marked emphasis:
"Duncan, my friend, we are but travelers of a day. Our life, like that fire, goes out in ashes. The night comes, and we sleep. Do we rise again? Does this corruption put on incorruption—this mortal put on immortality? O, could I hear a voice from Heaven say unto me 'Yes,' I should be comforted!"
"Why, Philip! Have you, too, doubts? God Almighty help us, when the faith of His ministers falters!"
"Bear with me now, Duncan; the darkness in my soul is deep and terrible to-night; death and the grave seem the only sure certainties we have in this world. Morning may bring me right again, if another morning remain for me. Let us sleep—and good night!"
The friends separated—and Duncan pondered on the missionary's last words. They seemed prophetic; and he almost expected, when he sent Grandison to his room on the following morning, to see that servant return with direful news. Not so. Philip appeared about ten o'clock, declaring he had slept well, and felt much refreshed. He remained for several days at Kennons, during which time the grave of Ellice was opened, and a tiny coffin let down upon her own; mother and child were re-united; and as Philip offered a prayer over the fresh-thrown earth, a ray of stronger faith enkindled his heart. Philip talked of his own little girl to Duncan Lisle:
"I had intended leaving her with my sister Estelle, who was my favorite. She was much attached to Della," said Philip; "But I found Estelle's husband does not like children; besides, she has three of her own, the eldest but a baby, and twins younger. Leonora is well married, but devoted to society, has no children of her own, and no idea of being troubled with other people's. I could not leave her with my mother, even though she had not been an invalid. My only resource was to entrust her with Juliet, who was but recently married, and who, with her husband, received the child delightedly. I do not feel at all satisfied with the arrangement, but it was the best I could do. Juliet is good-hearted, over-affectionate, and will be kind to the child; but she is rather simple-minded, frivolous, and variable. Her husband is a kind, sensible man, but he was raised a Roman Catholic. Juliet tells me that he is not much of anything now; but I doubt it, for he insisted on being married by the priest, before the ceremony at St. Mark's; and then again, the idea of one who has been raised a Catholic ever being anything else but a Catholic. It is preposterous. I have charged Juliet to see that no influence is ever brought to bear upon the mind of my child as she advances in years—but I have still grave fears. Possibly the time may come when you can remove her to Kennons, say, for a year or so, at a time; it would be a source of pleasure to me to have Althea beneath the roof under which her excellent mother was reared."