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heart, and hence that joyous postscript to you! Before the night was over, how gladly would I have recalled it!

My toilet for the evening was completed, all but the rosebuds; they should wait till the last moment, that their beauty and freshness might be unimpaired. Meanwhile, I heard little Bella crying in the nursery; the child was timid and forlorn in her new nurse's hands, and sorrowful for the old one, lately discharged. I opened the door, and she held out her little arms to me with a piteous wail and a look of entreaty, not to be resisted. My heart was so full of happiness that it was most fit the little one should profit by the overflow, I thought-there was enough for both of us, and to spare; so I took her into my room, and gave her a blissful half-hour of stories and caresses.

Then Aunt Belle's maid knocked at the door, "Would you please step to Miss Flora's room a moment? she wants your advice about her hair."

I opened the door into the nursery, called hurriedly, "Elise, come and see to Bella!" and went. Twenty minutes Flora kept me, commenting, altering, discussing, till her coronal was arranged to her liking. "Thank you," said she, at length, "it is quite right now. Go and finish your self; it is nearly time for the carriage."

I entered my room, humming an air. It was the last of my singing for many days. On the floor sat Bella,—by her side an upturned box,—all around a litter of creamy petals and green leaves. She held up the last fragment of a rosebud to me, with a smile. At the same time the nurse entered.

"Why did you not come when I called?" I asked, faintly.

"Did you call?” returned the woman. "I did not hear you. I just ran down stairs a moment. Shall I take Miss Bella out?"

The child cried, and ran from her. Captured at last, she was carried out, wailing. I sat quite still, cold, and silent.

The maid reappeared. "The carriage is waiting, Miss. Mrs. Frost begs you will hurry." She put a shawl round me, and I descended mechanically.

In the carriage I gathered courage. Paul would misinterpret at first, of course; but it would be easy to undeceive him as soon as we spoke together; some way for explanation must open. I could not admit any other conclu

sion.

The reception-you know what those things are like— a crush of silk, tulle, and broadcloth; snatches of talk, snatches of music, snatches of supper-I need not describe it. I moved through it all like one in a dream, a single thought in my heart.

Midnight drew near. Standing by the mantel, I heard the French clock strike the sombre hour in the midst of the gay scene. Some quick intuition made me look up. In the doorway opposite, between two smiling faces, I saw another, so pale, so gloomy, so stern, that I scarcely knew it for Paul's. One moment, its sad reproachful gaze met mine, and it was gone!

Unconsciously, I took a step or two toward the vacant place. The crowd surged heavily between, and threw me back.

Half an hour after, Flora found me, sitting stonily in a corner. "Why, how pale you are!" she said, in alarm, "and you shiver like an aspen leaf. What's the matter? Are you ill?" And she went for Aunt Belle, whose stiff satin soon rustled by my side. She ordered Uncle John and the carriage, and sent me home with a charitable hope that I was "not going to be sick."

I was not sick. The next morning, to be sure, I rose with a dull pain in head and heart; but I went about much as usual, and not particularly wretched. Paul would return in due time, I thought; we should meet; all would be made right. In that conviction, I lived and breathed.

Two months went slowly by. About the middle of

May, Marcia Bodley called. "Have you heard the news?" she asked. "Paul Venner is to be married to a young lady in New Orleans."

"Impossible!" burst from my lips.

"Indeed, it is not. Here is a letter I received yesterday from cousin Hallie. Seeing is believing; read that paragraph."

I read accordingly: "Tell me what is pretty for a bridesmaid to wear; I am to stand with Adele Roche. She will be married in June to Mr. Paul Venner, recently made a partner in the house of 'Venner & Co.'-you must know the New York branch. He is a splendid fellow, and she is as good as she is pretty, which is saying much,” etc., etc.

I crept up to my room, after she had gone, and felt as if the foundations of the earth were shaking under my feet!

grew pale; I grew thin; I lost my appetite; I forgot how to smile. The doctor gave me a course of “iron,”unnecessary trouble, so much had already entered into my soul! Finally, at his wit's end, he prescribed country air, change of scene, etc. And so I came to Shiloh, seeking a "Place of Rest "-rest from the bitterness of Paul Venner's memory. I have found it, too, in "Shiloh;" but I think not now of the quiet little hamlet, so fair under the dreamy autumn haze, so restful, even to sluggishness, in its aspect, -oh, Francesca, how could I have missed so long that deeper, sweeter meaning of the word which lends such music to Israel's blessing of Judah! "Until Shiloh come into the heart, and until the gathering of its hopes and affections be "unto Him;" there is no place of rest for it in the universe! But, with Him, entereth the fulness of rest unutterable, the soft ripple of peace "that floweth as a river!"

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And now si taccia del passato. Here hath it its decent burial, its sufficient epitaph. It hath done God's work ;driving me out of myself because introversion was so intolerable, forcing me to live in the present and in eternity,

because earth's future was so blank, it hath brought me to see wherein life's real value lies; to taste the sweetness that comes, not of the work done, but of the doing it unto the Lord. So, let it rest in peace!

In finishing this letter, I seem also to have gotten to the end of all my energies. A strange languor, that is half weariness and half delicious peace, has hung about me all day, and grown with every word I have written. Good night!

XLIII.

THE FINDING OF THE CLUE.

[Francesca to her Husband in Europe.]

TRUCE to domestic historiography in this letter. Content yourself in knowing that the home-world revolves smoothly, by sunshine and starshine. My mind is too full of Winnie and her affairs for possibility of other chronicle. Besides I want to make confession, and get absolution-yours, the only mortal remission I care for!

I have been meddling. I am a would-be Providence, with a rankling fear of turning out an evil genius. Needless to say (to you!) that I have been yielding to a headstrong impulse, and now begin to question its right to obedience. Write tout de suite, and pronounce that I have done well, or that I have not done ill, and deliver me from this bond of fear, this gall of uncertainty.

To afford you the necessary standpoint for your judg ment, I enclose Winnie's last letter. Stop, precisely here, and read it.

Have you done so? Now recall the fact that, next to you, she is the dearest thing I have on earth. Ere your love lapped me in incalculable opulence, I counted myself rich in hers. Remember how she stood by me, in my trial "as by fire." Reflect what a woman she is,-strong of mind, lofty of soul, tender of heart. Then, knowing me as

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