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now, no more than my sister's husband. I would rather go over the whole wide earth, than to Barbadoes: but the sense of duty impels me."
"You always did think so much about 'duty,'" peevishly remarked Ursula. "Your conscientiousness must be very strong."
"I suppose it is I believe it is. And there is another thing which urges me to go," added Susan, "my love for Emma. Although she acted as she did, I cannot forget how fond I was of her; and since the arrival of this letter, when I have thought of her as ill, anxious, lonely, not (as it seems) too happy, all my old dear love for her has come back to me."
"You would go sailing out, and make yourself a slave to the humours of Mrs. Carnagie, and stop there as nursemaid to her children!" cried the vexed Ursula. "In twenty years from this, we should not see you home again."
"Not so," answered Susan. "When once Emma is safely over her illness, I shall come back. I shall certainly not stop to make my home there, in their house. But she does seem so anxious for what she calls my forgiveness, and so apprehensive that she shall not live! I must go, Ursula."
"How could you go? Who is to take you ?"
"I can go alone. Under the charge of the captain of the ship. I have thought of my plans."
"Oh! if you have made up your mind, there's nothing more to be said, for it would not turn you," resentfully spoke Ursula. "Shall you start to-day?" she ironically added.
"No," smiled Susan, "but I should like to be away by this day fortnight should a vessel be sailing. My own preparations will not take long."
"Susan! you are not in earnest ?"
"Now that I have made up my mind, the sooner I am away the better. I must be there before Emma's illness."
"That's not going to happen in a week."
"Neither can I reach Barbadoes in a week. I wish you could see this in the light that I do, Ursula: you would not grumble at me then." It was the loving spirit of charity, of forgiveness, that was urging Susan Chase to take this long journey to visit her sister. A season of bitter desolation had passed over Susan, during which her heart had been purified to wiser and better things than the daily gratification of self. Ursula had not yet found this spirit: her time for it was not come: she was proud and unforgiving. Never, since her sister's marriage, had she called her by her familiar Christian name, always "Mrs. Carnagie:" and yet, Emma had not sinned against her, but against Susan, for she had wiled away the intended husband to whom Susan had been engaged for years. When Susan saw that they loved each other-or thought they did-and that Mr. Carnagie had forgotten her in his new passion for her young and handsome sister, she sacrificed her prospects and her love to them, gave Mr. Carnagie his release, and suffered them to marry. To visit them in-as Ursula expressed it-the first year of their marriage, could not be pleasant to her feelings; but Emma had written home a long and most heartrending letter, every page of which implied a wish, though it was not expressed, that Susan was with her to comfort and forgive her, and to take care of her in an approaching time of peril. Susan
asked herself how she could refuse to go-she who had promised their mother, on her death-bed, always to cherish Emma.
When her resolution became known, the neighbourhood troubled itself amazingly about it, neighbourhood fashion. It chiefly adopted the views of Ursula. But Susan was not to be dismayed, and with as little delay as necessary, she started on her voyage.
THE house occupied by Lieutenant and Mrs. Carnagie was called the Pines, and was situated near the capital of Barbadoes, where Mr. Carnagie's regiment was quartered. A small house for a West-Indian country house, but it was very pretty, of gay, cheerful appearance, with a cool verandah running along the front and the west side, whence a few steps descended to the garden-a well-kept garden, full of trees, flowers, and tropical fruits. Marriage-frantic as they were for it-had not brought to Mr. and Mrs. Carnagie the happiness they had possibly anticipated. It may be, that some fault lay on both sides; it is generally so, where dissensions take place in early-married days. Mrs. Carnagie was exacting and warm in her temper, and the lieutenant was more careless to please her than he might have been.
She was sitting one evening in a sullen mood, full of anger at her husband, for he ought to have been home to dinner, but had not come, and she had taken it alone. The sudden darkness succeeding to the garish day, with scarcely any twilight, and to which Mrs. Carnagie had grown accustomed, had scarcely overspread the room, when she heard her husband's horse canter up. She rose from her sofa, touched a handbell for lights, and prepared a loud reproach as she waited for him. Mr. Carnagie, tall and dark as ever, entered listlessly, and, ere she could speak, laid a letter before her, with a remark that the packet was in. Why did you not come home to dinner ?"
"Chard was out, and I had to take the afternoon duty," was Mr. Carnagie's reply.
Mrs. Carnagie did not know whether this was true. She felt inclined to tell him it was not. But to what use? since he would be sure to persist in the story. He had grown indifferent to coming home, of late, and the excuse was always the same-duty. She generally broke out into reproaches; which were not quite the way to win his allegiance back again.
"You might have sent me word that you did not intend to come home," she said. "Not have kept me waiting an hour for my dinner." "That was your own fault. I have desired you never to wait. An
officer's time is not his own."
"It is sufficiently his own when he chooses to make it so," significantly responded Mrs. Carnagie.
Why do you not open your letter, Emma?"
"Oh-I suppose it is like the last one of Ursula's stiff epistles, calling me 'Mrs. Carnagie.' I wonder she writes at all!"
"This is from Susan."
"From Susan!" echoed Mrs. Carnagie, taking up the letter.
do you know?"
"It is her handwriting."
"Yes! of course you remember keep, tied up in a bundle in your see the outside of, were from her. than you love me now."
Mrs. Carnagie was very foolish. her husband knew she did not, but proaches from nothing.
that! I am positive those letters you desk, and that you never will let me You love her remembrance far better
She did not really think this, and she was in a temper to get up re
"I have told you they were not from Susan," he angrily said. burnt Susan's letters the day after I brought you out here."
With a gesture of impatience, he went out on the verandah, and, stretching himself on one of the cool seats there, lighted his cigar. His wife opened the newly-arrived letter, and ran her eyes down it.
"Charles! Charles!" she exclaimed, her tone changing to one of joyful eagerness. “Charles, I have such news! Do come here." "What is it?" he asked, re-entering.
"Who do you think is coming out?-to be with me in my illness. Who do you think?”
"Susan! Coming here!"
"Susan is coming here. Oh, how kind she is! She is on her passage
"It is more than you-more than we both deserve,” was his remark. "Are you sure it is Susan that is coming?"
"She gives her reasons: and says, 'Show this letter to Mr. Carnagie.' She thinks it is her duty to come and take care of me in my unhappiness, not only because she loves me, but because she remembers her promises to my mother. Is she not good, Charles ?"
"Yes," answered Mr. Carnagie, "she always was."
"Charles, tell me the truth-why you did not come home to dinner." "I have told you. Duty." And Mr. Carnagie walked out to his cigar again, and Emma frowned.
Mr. Carnagie sat, and smoked, and ruminated. Taking one consideration with another, he did not know that he was glad Susan Chase was coming. For his wife's comfort in her approaching illness, he certainly was, but he was conscious that his domestic home was very unlike what Susan must have pictured to herself, years ago, of one which owned him for its lord and master-as he was now unlike what she had then thought him; and he did not altogether care that she should come behind the scenes and see this.
Not until the last week in April did Susan reach Barbadoes. The passage from England had been long, the ship having met with contrary winds. Amidst the confusion of the arrival, people coming off from the shore, and people leaving the ship, Susan felt confused and anxious. She expected to see her sister, or Mr. Carnagie, or both; but neither arrived to claim her.
"Suppose my letter should not have reached them!" she suddenly exclaimed to herself, and her cheeks burnt with crimson at the thought of appearing there without warning, and having to make the explanations for her doing so by word of mouth. At that very moment, an exceed
ingly good-looking English officer, who had just come on board, approached her.
"I think I must be right," he said, with a friendly smile, "that I have the honour of speaking to Miss Chase, for I see a great likeness to Mrs. Carnagie."
That was through poor Susan's momentary flush. "I am Miss Chase," she replied. "Are my sister and Mr. Carnagie not here ?"
"Mrs. Carnagie is not well; and Mr. Carnagie requested me, last night, to board the ship, if she arrived before he got back."
Susan found the gentleman speaking to her was a Captain Chard: but ere many more minutes had elapsed, Mr. Carnagie came on board. Susan's manner was self-possessed and calm: it would never be otherwise to Mr. Carnagie again. He hurried her on shore, and into the carriage not giving time for any luggage whatever to accompany them, but ordering it to be sent on.
"How is Emma?" she inquired of Mr. Carnagie, as the carriage drove away, for really his movements had been so hasty, there was not time to put the question before.
She has a little boy."
"Since when ?"
"Oh-I am sorry you should have left home to meet me. have found my way to you, I make no doubt. Is she well ?" "Yes: I believe so. Chard had sent me word that the ship was casting anchor, so I thought the best plan was to come and bring you at once to Emma."
When Susan arrived at the Pines, she had to wait before she could go into her sister's room, and Mr. Carnagie left her in one of the sittingrooms. Susan was very hot: she was sure she should not like a West Indian climate, and she sat admiring the cool matting, and the cool, floating fans which kept up a perpetual breeze, when the door opened, and Ruth came in. The girl burst into tears when Susan shook her by the hand, so delighted was she to see a home face. She had lived with them in England, and had accompanied Emma on her marriage.
"Ruth," asked Miss Chase, "was not this event rather sudden? I thought to have been here for it. I understood from my sister it was not expected till May."
"That is what we all thought, Miss Susan," was the girl's answer. "I think my mistress made herself ill."
"What do you mean, Ruth ?"
"The night before last she was put out about something, and she quarrelled with Mr. Carnagie. Quite violent she was, and I believe that took effect upon her. She is a good deal altered from what she used to be, miss, and puts herself out over the least thing."
Mrs. Carnagie improved in health. At the end of a week Susan laughingly asked her where her presentiment of non-recovery had flown to. "It is all owing to your care and to your good nursing," answered Emma. "Oh, Susan! you are a deal kinder to me than I deserve. Charles said so, the evening that your letter arrived. After our con
"We will bury the past in the past," interrupted Susan, "It is the only request I make you."
"Well-so be it. But let me just tell you one thing, Susan; that if I had foreseen all, you should have been the one to have him, if you would; but not I. If you knew how very different he is from what he appeared that month at our house"
"Emma, I entreat you, let us find some other topic of discourse." "You will not hear anything against him: I see what it is," cried the perverse invalid. "You think him an angel, and everything that's good; but he is just the contrary. You can't deny that you had used to think him one, Susan; and of course you do still."
Susan was pained. She did not like the charge, and yet scarcely liked to condescend to refute it. She began to think Emma more childish than ever, and suffered her to run on.
"I don't believe he cares for me at all; not half or a quarter as much as he used to care for you. I am thankful, for your sake, Susan dear, that you did not have him. He has grown indifferent to his home, stops out, and never cares to apologise; and one day-it was about last Christmas-he frightened me nearly out of my senses. I never saw any rational being in such a passion in all my life: his fury was frightful. Did you know he could put himself into these fits of passion?"
'I never saw him in one," was Susan's somewhat evasive answer; for she remembered what Frances Maitland had once said to her.
"Well, he can; though I believe it takes a good deal to excite him to Never marry a passionate man, Susan."
"Do you never lose your temper, yourself, and fall into a passion ?" asked Susan, in a half-joking manner.
"I? If I do lose my temper I have cause," returned Mrs. Carnagie. "There are some things one cannot and ought not to put up with: even you, Susan, patient as you are, would not.'
"Whatever they may be, ill temper will not mend them," replied Susan. "A pleasant spirit, one with the other, would soothe the rubs and aggravations of life, and render you both so much happier. Besides, as your little child grows up, what an example anger and discourtesy would be to set before him."
"You are not aware what lives some of these officers lead, out here, especially the single ones. They make what they call left-handed marriages. Hardly one but what has done it."
"Left-handed marriages!" echoed Susan, puzzled. "Who with ?" "With the Creoles, chiefly. Some of these false wives are as white as we are, some darker, some black-fastidious tastes, they must have, certain of these officers! And then come a troop of horrid little naked children! Half the little reptiles you see about, are theirs. Charles did this."
"Oh no!" involuntarily uttered Susan.
"Oh no, you say! You think him better than others, do you! He is worse. All those years when you deemed him so constant, he was playing truant to you with that Creole wife. Wife! Now do you think I could bear that, and put up with it tamely? When I heard, after I came out, what had been going on, I felt inclined to run away from Charles, and never come back to him."
"But," cried Susan, her mind rebelling at being made the receptacle of such news, "if I understand you rightly, this happened years ago."