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aunt and cousins, for whom she had a Emilia's varied occupations; but they sincere affection, and who had taken her told too of a life unfettered by active dupart throughout in her disagreement with ties, unclaimed by others, a life to be her husband. She could live with them longed for by some self-sufficing spirit, without feeling that she was a burthen; some devoted worshipper of self-culture, on the contrary, her ample means were of but one which filled 'Emilia now with a practical use in the wandering life which sudden sense of indescribable weariness, modern ideas and ill-health combined, in- of heart-sickening monotony: She went duced her sickly aunt to lead; carriages up to the table; she opened one or two could be had, expeditions could be of the books; she took up a water-color planned when Emilia was there, un sketch and laid it down again. A deadly thought of at other times. With her sameness, a fatal mediocrity seemed to aunt, for many years a widow; with her her eyes to be written on every page, to elder cousin Sophy, also a widow, young, deaden everything she touched." What handsome, and childless, and expected to was to be the end of it all? To what could marry again some day; with her younger she look forward ? What aim or hope did cousin Clarice, a charming young woman, the future hold? too full of sentiment to care about marry. She sat down by the table and thought. ing just yet, Emilia, in her somewhat du. For three years she had been answering bious position, felt safe. They lived an the question in her own fashion; she had exclusive life, with a select circle of answered it in every letter she had burned friends, who gathered round them in the unopened, in every appeal from her hus. winter, whom they met at different tarry- band she had
left” without response. ing-places in the summer; and in this Emilia was less generous than her huslimited world every one understood. For band; she knew that she had been at least outsiders, and mere acquaintance, for partly in the wrong; but she had not their opinions and conjectures, Emilia wanted to own it- not yet. She felt a cared but little. She went out not at all; dull shrinking from explanations, from a she saw only the society she met at her return upon a past which had been so aunt's house at Cannes, with which she filled with pain. She said to herself that mixed unaffectedly, but with reserve. she wanted peace, not change. What She avoided all complications. Always could change bring her but fresh trouble? gentle and intelligent, with a certain dig. She had spoken truly when she told her nity and gracious kindliness to those husband she did not want to read his letabout her, she was liked and admired by ters. The past was dead. Oh, let it rest! all who knew her; but nothing more. But to-night another letter lay before Some people wondered whether Mrs. her, a letter which she inight leave unread Lawrence had a heart at all – Emilia indeed, but which she could not ignore. wondered herself sometimes; there was Should she leave it unread ? Should she little to remind her of its existence, and burn it as she had burned the others she did not want to be reminded of it. and refuse to see Lawrence to-morrow? This quiet round of days, varied by books, Should she burn it? For a moment she by travelling, by acquaintance,' by the held it towards the flame of the candle. small family interests she shared with her A moment and all would be ended; toaunt and cousins, just suited her, she had morrow he would go away, and she would the habit of saying to herself. She had return to her old dead peace, to the old made a mistake; that was past and irre. indifferent life with her aunt and cousins, mediable. Given the mistake, she had the aimless travelling, the purposeless done the best she could with her life. sight-seeing - a darkness seemed to setAnd yet what a life it was!
tle down upon Emilia at the thought. No, The thought came into her mind, as, that could never be again; anything, any pausing in her walk, she glanced round change, any pain even as a relief from her apartment. It was an ordinary hotel that. The meeting with her husband had room, but in the few days she had occu- shaken her to her very soul; she felt it pied it, it had already become transformed now, she felt herself torn away from the by the hundred trifles with which a wom old life with its unexpectant dulness, to an of ample means and cultivated tastes take part in a drama of vital interest. creates an unvarying atmosphere around with a quick movement she drew the let. her. Books and nagazines and papers ter away from the candle, she laid her scattered on the table, a heap of silks and hand upon the envelope to open it a square of fine embroidery, a glass with A knock at the door startled her. wild flowers, a water-color block, told of " Come in,” she cried. She glanced at
the timepiece on her table; it was not | knew, into a singular being, possessed of late. She had come early to her room, a will and energy of her own. And sud. and it was little past ten o'clock.
denly Emilia's mood changed. Why It was her cousin Clarice who entered, should she not go? If life must ever be pale and with dilated eyes.
a bondage, had she not chosen this one "Oh Emmy,” she said, “we have had in preference to that other bondage such a scene ! Poor mamma
against which she had revolted, from “ Aunt Clarice is not ill?” said Emilia which she had fled? Had she not borne hastily.
it for three years, and held herself con" Not now
She was a little hys-tent? terical at first, but that is over now. No, "I will go, Clarice," she said, smiling it is not that; but we have had a letter a little at her cousin, “ don't look so mis. from Stevens. It came up by a messenger erable, child. I believe we shall find from Pau; poor little Marquise is taken Marquise perfectly well, and that it is ill, and from what Stevens says, mamma only a device of Stevens's to get away is convinced that it is one of the attacks from Pau, where he is tired of being lest she had before we left Cannes, and that alone. But I will go, and if you
will Stevens will not know how to treat it. kindly send Maria to me at once, she can Mamma is frantic; you know what it is, pack up all that I shall want for to.mor. dear Emmy. She wanted to go off at row; the rest can come in the evening once, only of course there is no possibility with Hardman.” of getting a carriage to-night, and so I But when her maid had once more left came to tell you that she wants us all to her and all was quiet for the night, Emilia start at eight o'clock to-morrow morning. again paced the room from hour to hour Hardman will stay behind to do the pack with unquiet steps. She could not sleep; ing, and follow in the evening. You won't she could not even rest; for unresting mind, will you, Emmy?”
thought possessed her, and her past and “I shall mind immensely,” said Emilia, future held each other in.ceaseless strife, with an energy that surprised herself, “ I the past with its remembered pain, the cannot possibly go to-morrow.”
future with its uncertain promise. She Her cousin looked aghast. Never since had thought to end the conflict, and it Emilia bad lived with them had she as- had hardly begun; she had thought to serted herself in this way; never had she put a seal on her decision, and already the shown anything but a half-indifferent ac. seal was broken, her purpose rent. She quiescence in whatever was proposed. paused presently, and taking up Law.
“Why, Emilia,” she said in her plain- rence's letter again, stood looking at it in tive voice, " I don't see what we are to a strange hesitation and uncertainty. do. I tell you, mamma is frantic about Suddenly, with a brusque movement, slie Marquise, and after all, it is only starting tore open the envelope, and sinking back a day or two earlier than we proposed.” in her armchair, she took out the letter
“ You can go without me,” said Emilia, and read. “why not? I will follow with Hardman She read with mixed feelings of pride, when the packing is done ; or I will keep of remorse, of struggling pain; but she Maria, and then Hardman can go with read the letter through twice, thrice; then you. Aunt Clarice might prefer that." throwing it down, she rose, and resumed Clarice stood speechless with dismay her restless pacing of the room.
All at for a moment. Why, Emilia,” she said once, moved by some sudden thought, she again, “you know mamma cannot bear took a candle from her writing-table, and that we should separate, and just now approached the looking.glass. She set when she is so nervous too and then if down the light, and twisting back her poor little Marquise were reaily to die, loosened bair with one band, stood gazshe would be miserable. You know how ing at the reflection of her own face. she adores her
For years she had hardly cared to glance Emilia nearly laughed. She thought at the pallid, indifferent countenance that of her husband awaiting her reply to had met ber view in the mirror; but tomorrow, while she should already have night that same face, flushed, excited, started on her way to Pau to help nurse startled from its mask of coldness into a sick dog. But her cousin's widening new warmth and color, arrested her. She eyes and look of dismay checked her. recognized that she was young, that she Evidently Clarice thought some strange was beautiful, that life after all was only spirit had entered into her cousin, chang- beginning for her. “Would to God that ing the gentle, indifferent Emilia she I were free!” she cried in a passionate
outburst, clasping her hands above her | wind, no sound but the rushing of the torhead. Her hair loosened from her grasp, rent; the earth rested dark and dim and fell in long, untwisting coils below her undefined under the dark sky, and in that waist. Emilia took up one of the wavy mighty peace, that silent pause before chestnut locks, and looked at it, half smil- the awakening day, earth and sky seemed ing, passing it to and fro between her in harmony apart from humanity, apart white fingers. Then, with a sudden shiv: from struggling souls that cannot grasp er, she gathered it all together again and their meaning and feel only an alien pain coiled it into a tight twist at the back of in presence of that immense concord. her head.
Emilia leaned from the window; her "O God!” she cried again," why was vision pierced those mountain cliffs, that I sacrificed? Why am I not free? rocky barrier; it sought the ruddy dawn,
And yet Lawrence's letter worked upon the sunrise land, the far East that beckher. Against her will, as it were, she oned her, where already domes and mintook it up and read it through once more; arets and golden waters were shining in in spite of herself, the kind words, the the early morning sun. She lifted her kinder for their implied reproach, touched face, she stretched out her arms in the her heart. Here was a generous nature, chill air that precedes the dawn. "Not she could not doubt, a good and kindly peace," she cried, “but life!” heart. She had behaved hardly, ungenerously to him, and he had no words of harsh reproach to give her; still less a LAWRENCE also passed a sleepless strain of misplaced sentimentality that night. would have repelled her. He advanced Lawrence, somewhat strangely, perno claim; he made no demands; he only haps, was more sensitive to the world's appealed to her more generous nature, gossip, more irritated by the false posiand that appeal she was free to accept or tion in which he and his wife stood to reject. Free — for these three years towards each other, than Emilia. Prob. past she had been free to shape her life ably more of that gossip reached his ears. as she pleased; and what had she made Emilia, conscious that her conduct was of it? What poor, empty, shattered thing irreproachable, knowing that at the time was it that time had left on her hands ? she left her husband she had thought to Nay, if she were quite and altogether have excellent reasons for taking that free, if her husband were to die to-mor- step, wrapped herself in an impervious
A thrill ran through Emilia; cloak of pale virtue, a cloak that gave no she did not want him to die, she said to warmth to her heart, but kept off the chill herself hastily and pitifully, as though of the censorious world; and safe within some one had reproached her with the the shelter of a circle of sympathizing involuntary thought. He had been kind friends, heard nothing, and held that she to her that afternoon; she had not thought cared nothing, for comments on her life. him kind years ago, when they both hated But Lawrence chafed in his position of an indissoluble bond — but he had been deserted husband, at the odious breach in kind, and patient, and thoughtful this af. his domestic life that allowed a flood of ternoon. It was long since any one had light to fall on his private affairs and perbeen kind to her in that way — yes, she mitted them to be matters of public dis. must see him to morrow, if it were only to cussion. His wife was above suspicion bid him a friendly farewell. They would of reproach; he had no uneasiness on part friends this time
that point; but it was impossible for him She went to the window and looked out. not to feel that the very fact that was his The night was nearly over, spent in these consolation, shifted the entire responsibil. restless communings, the dawn was at ity on to his own shoulders. Was he hand; but Emilia felt no fatigue. The looked upon as a tyrant or a libertine ? he unwonted excitement was to her as the sometimes wondered bitterly. And then strength given by wine; it was like new it angered him that a young and lovely blood coursing through her veins. She woman whom he had the right to call his threw the casement wide open and leaned wife, should be less to him than the last
The rain had ceased; the clouds pretty girl he took down to dinner; that were clinging low, in long, faintly gleam- the circumstances of a loveless marriage ing masses against the dark mountain- forbade himn in all generosity from pressside; some setting stars crowned the ing his claims in a bond which she hated mountain peak; below stretched the black and had done her best to sever. and motionless forests. There was no gered him, and it grieved him, for his was
in truth a generous nature. He did not have seen her pass, and I can go and look believe that Emilia was happy; how for her.” could she be happy in this chill and Lawrence, who had also risen early, anomalous position in which she had was standing on the hotel steps, a dis. placed herself? She did not look happy. mayed spectator of the packing of the Lawrence knew far more of Emilia than travelling-carriage. It was for Lady Mershe had known of him during these three iton's party, he was told by a waiter years. He had taken the habit lately of standing by; they were leaving unexpecttracking his wife's footsteps when it was edly. What, were they all going, all the possible for him to do so, of spending a ladies? Yes, all; all the rooms were day or two in the town which was her given up; only one of the lady’s-maids abode for the time being, and disappear. remained behind to do the packing, and ing before she could be aware that he she was to follow in the evening. was there. There were few promenades Lawrence felt hurt and indignant as he in southern cities with which he had not had never felt before. That Emilia should become familiar, where at one time or elude him now, wounded him inexpressianother he had not recognized his wife's bly. Something more than this, he said graceful head and indifferent glance as to himself, he had a right to expect from she sat driving at ber aunt's side. The his wife. He had counted — all night he Cascine, the Chiaja, the Pincian Hill, the had counted upon seeing her to-day; she Promenade des Anglais, knew his pres- had no right to refuse him another interence as well as hers; for in the crowds of view, to deny him the answer he had much-frequented places he had little dif- asked for. She was no slave to her aunt, ficulty in eluding her, in escaping the she was independent, she could assert reproach of pursuing one to whom his herself. At this moment, Maria appeared presence, as he had been made to believe, to inquire if anything had been seen of was odious. It was in fact by the merest Mrs. Lawrence. Lawrence heard the chance that they had met now. Some question and the answer ; he saw the attraction had indeed drawn him to the man point in the direction Emilia had Pyrenees when he knew that she was taken when she passed him half an hour there ; but he had avoided seeking her at before. Without a moment's hesitation Luchon. And yet to-night he reproached he started to follow her. This time he himself for a weak-minded fool, in not would have an answer; she should not having sooner dared a meeting, in not escape him this time having insisted on being heard, and break- Emilia had not gone very far, and she ing down the barrier his wife had raised was at that moment hardly a hundred between them. And yet would it have yards from the house. A turn of the road availed anything would it avail any-hid her from sight; but only a few steps thing now?
afforded her a view of the hotel door, and
assured her that she was not lingering too When Clarice came to seek Emilia long. She herself could hardly have told early the next morning, she found her why she had come out. Some childish room empty, save for the lady’s-maid, who impulse to escape and hide herself, some was engaged in locking her mistress's half-formed hope that being missed they travelling-bag. Clarice inquired for Mrs. might start without her, one chance she Lawrence.
gave herself in a hundred that she might She had gone out, the maid replied; yet see Lawrence. For a thousand uncerand further stated that she had found her tainties, a thousand varying emotions held mistress already dressed when she took her still. Now she determined to remain, her in her early cup of tea, and that she behind, now the thought of her aunt's ner. had gone out immediately after, saying vous worry determined her to go; now that she should have time for a walk' be- she would see her husband, and now fore they started.
again, she would not see him. But when “But the carriage is there,” said Clarice she indeed saw Lawrence coming towards in distress, “and mainma will be ready her, she knew it was the hope of meeting immediately.” She went to the window him once more that had brought her and looked out. “ They are putting the there. things into the carriage already," she He came towards her quickly with long said, "and mamma cannot bear to be kept strides. She was leaning on a low stone waiting. You don't know which way Mrs. parapet that overhung the torrent, the Lawrence went, Maria? Do go and in- fresh morning sunshine was upon her, quire downstairs; some one will perhaps and her face, shadowed by her dark hat,
showed no trace of last night's vigil. | life, and you, I think, will give me a kindly Rather, a more vivid carnation tinged her wish to carry away with me into mine. Í cheeks, a clearer light shone in her eyes; leave you with friends, to the life you for Emilia was young, and excitement lent have chosen, where you are happy – its hue more readily than weariness. Law- “ Emilia !” cried Clarice's plaintive rence forgot bis brief indignation as he voice at a little distance among the trees, came up to her. She turned and accosted “where have you gone? We are all bim gently:
ready, and mamma is waiting.” “I am glad to see you,” she said ; Emilia started. Lawrence loosened his are leaving suddenly for Pau; but I grasp of ber hand, but unconsciously her wanted to see you, I wanted” — she hesi- own grasp tightened. tated for half a second -“I wanted to " Oh !” she said, “my life is not happy wish you good-bye.”
- is not happy - is not happy, He was silent for a minute. “Well,” She dropped his hand and put her hand. he said after that pause, "good-bye is a kerchief to her eyes, a strange betrayal of hard word; but what you say I can but emotion in Emilia. In a moment she reecho. Good be with you, Emilia.” covered herself.
Neither of them moved. There was “Good-bye,” she said, holding out her again a silence, broken by Lawrence. hand to Lawrence, but with an averted
"" The time is short,” he said, looking face. He took the hand, but it was he not at her, but at the rushing waters be who now firmly held it clasped in his, as low, “and I have to say some words she tried to pass him by. which, were I only your suitor would “We cannot now part like this,” he come from me with grace, which as your said. “Not happy — you say that your lover I might utter with a passion you life is not happy? Is it possible — good could not despise, that I might urge upon God! – is it possible, Emilia, that you you with a warmth that you could not re. could trust it again to ine sent; but which being your husband, I She did not answer; pride struggled, must speak with reserve and command and reserve and doubt. Oh! to end this myself to pronounce without too much uncertainty! And there stood the trave emotion, When we married, I did not elling-carriage; she could see it through love you, as you know; I loved another he trees froin the bend of the road where woman, of whom we need not speak. they stood; her place was prepared; her But now, Emilia, I love you.”
old life awaited her — how much simpler, His voice changed involuntarily: He how much safer to return to it! She tried uttered the last words in dry and husky to free her hand from Lawrence's, but he tones, and turning, leaned his arms upon held it firmly. The moment was his at the parapet, and awaited her reply. It last. did not come; only a warm flush dyed “Be generous, Emilia,” he said, "give her cheeks and deepened as he moved at me a frank answer. So much at least I last and his glance met hers. In a min. have a right to claim.” ute he went on, speaking in his usual There came another cry of “ Emilia.” voice,
Lady Meriton had appeared on the steps “Such words between you and me are of the hotel, accompanied by the bowing folly no doubt, for as in the past, so in the landlord – Reine and Duchesse were future, I make no claim on you, Emilia. being settled on their cushions; a fainilSo far as I can set you free, you are iar bark and yelp reached Emilia's ear. free He broke off.
Then she turned and answered Lawrence. “Would to God,” he cried with gather. She spoke quickly, yet with gentleness ing passion and energy, “ that you were in and dignity. truth altogether free, so that you and I “ You have a right,” she said, “a right might meet on equal terms; that I might that I have neglected too long. Because woo you, as I believe, before Heaven, I you have been generous, I have been unmight win you yet!”
generous ; I see it now. Claiming nothHe walked away a step or two, then ing from you, I shut my eyes to a claim came back to where Emilia stood, silent you would not urge. No, my life is not and motionless.
happy. It has become an inexpressible • Farewell,” he said, holding out his weariness to me. I cannot return to ithand,“ since farewell it is to be. You I speak frankly, as you tell me to do - I cannot love me, and that is my misfor- think" – her voice faltered a little, her tune, but not your fault. We part friends, speech became nervous and more hurried and that is well. I wish you well in your
"I think that with you my life might