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HE same day, when her father had dined and was enjoying his pipe, seated by his favourite window, Marguerite came behind him and, leaning over his chair, said very quietly:
"Father, listen to me; I have something to tell you. Maurice and I have found out that we don't suit each other, and that it is better for us not to marry."
would have married me if I had consented But I would not consent. I wish him t marry Claire."
"Come round here. Marguerite," s her father, "come opposite to me. Let i see thy face."
Very unwillingly, Marguerite obeyed. i was an ordeal from which she shrank. she trusted that the crimson tints refle to from the stained glass of the window wo! conceal her paleness.
"Kneel down, child--- here, close best.. my chair," said Christian Kneller, “I war "What is that, Marguerite? Let me hear to get a good look at that honest face, wie that again," said Christian Kneller.
Marguerite repeated her words as quietly
knows not how to deceive. Marguerite
"I told you that long ago, did I not?" said lips, and those dark circles under such & her father.
"Yes, father, but I did not believe you then. You were right, however, and you see we have found it out before it was too late. You are glad of that, father, are you
and heavy eyes? I understand it all, 1. poor girl. The heartless fool! He sh never have Claire."
There was a little pause. Then M guerite rose, and sitting on the arm of er father's chair, put her arm round his ne
"Yes, Marguerite, if thou art content; and said softly. thy happiness is mine."
And Marguerite answered her father, as she had answered Maurice, "I am content." Then she continued: "But, father, I have, something else to say. Claire and he were made for each other; let Claire be his wife instead of me."
"Claire ! Does he want to marry Claire ? I see it all, Marguerite. I always knew this young troubadour-painter was not worthy of you, and now see what has happened. He has deserted thee for Claire's pretty face.". and he laid down his pipe with an emphatic gesture of disgust.
"Father, you say y
understand all this; but I think you do n
"God forbid! Thou art too rare a jewe my Marguerite of Marguerites, my pearl all pearls, to be worn by any one who die not prize thee beyond anything else earth."
"Well, then, father, ought I to die of broken heart, or pine away my life in hop less sorrow? Ought I not rather to forget "He has not deserted me, father; he I had ever loved him ?"
"But that is impossible for thee;" said her father, shaking his head-"I know thee too well."
"Father," said Marguerite, "you have often called me strong; now is the time for me to prove that I am so. But you must help me. You must let Claire marry Maurice."
"Never, Marguerite, never!"
"She loves him, father, and he adores her. He will make her a good husband. It is not his fault that he loves Claire better than me; he cannot help it. She is beautiful as an hearted"And thou, my Marguerite, art the noblest of women. As for him, he is selfish, neartless and false."
“That means, father, that Claire has your permission to marry Maurice."
"Yes, yes. To please thee, Marguerite, I would consent to anything."
Marguerite kissed her father gratefully, and then left him to finish his pipe and his afternoon slumber.
HOW MARGUERITE BEARS HER PAIN.
angel, gay, sweet, bright- TH
"No, father, he is not heartless, he is not false he did not mean to be selfish. He deceived himself when he thought he loved me, that was all. Many a one has done the same."
"Yes, many a one among the vain, the weak, the fickle. And shall such a one be made happy with a loving and lovely wife ike Claire, after having trampled on such a heart as thine? I say again, never!"
"But you must not say it, father. Do not grieve for me, beloved father. Shall I not have all that sufficed to make me abundantly happy before I knew him? Shall I rot have the glorious heavens and the beautful earth, my beloved father, and my divine art? But before I can be happy you must let Claire marry Maurice. Trust to me, father, he is good, and kind, and honourable, and he will make our Claire happy.”
"Well, daughter," said Christian Kneller, "I have never refused thee aught, and I suppose I must not begin now. I am glad thou art not to marry Master Maurice, I own; and I have no doubt thou wilt soon rejoice, in thy escape as much as I do. Kiss me, my brave girl, and let it be as thou wilt."
HE next few weeks were like a wild bewildering dream to Marguerite, in which past, present, and future seemed all mingled together, filled with a confused throng of fleeting images of misty objects and shadowy faces-vague, unmeaning words and uncertain voices sounding in her When not engaged with her father, she employed herself on Claire's new wardrobe, and other preparations for the marriage, which was to take place immediately. Her only thought about herself was that she must not have a moment's time for rest or reflection. Day after day she persisted in walking to the most distant part of Paris, to make the purchases that were needed; and, coming home foot-sore and weary, would sit down to work at her needle far into the night; till, at last, thoroughly exhausted and worn out, she would throw herself on her bed and in sleep, more resembling the stupor of disease than healthful slumber, find a short oblivion. From this she would waken dizzy and bewildered, only conscious that a burden, no effort could remove and no eye must see, oppressed her, till the truth would pierce her heart with a sudden pang, and she would rush up and hasten to find some work to do--something that might aid in the struggle against thought. and feeling, which now filled her days. Yet she looked better at this time than perhaps she had ever looked before. The strained tension of mind, the hurry of spirits, the
forced excitement, with which she tried to banish thought and deaden feeling, flushed her cheeks and gave a false brightness to her eyes, which made her as unlike the stereotyped love-lorn damsel as could possibly be; and no one ever seemed to suspect that, instead of being signs of health and happiness, they were only the symptoms of that fever of the heart which is, perhaps, the very worst phase of anguish. Claire never doubted that Marguerite, who was so strong and wise, was able to give or take away her love just as she chose, and, therefore, had ceased to love Maurice the very instant she had known that he no longer loved her; and Maurice, in the brief moments he thought of her at all, came to the same satisfactory conclusion. Even her father, seeing more colour and animation in her face, than had been there for many a day, and finding her ready hand and kind voice always near him when he needed them, smoked his pipe in peace, and said, "She is not weak and silly like other women. If she gave away her heart foolishly, she took it back bravely, when she found the gift was slighted. I can forgive the fellow now, when I find he has planted no thorn in her breast. He is far better fitted for Claire than for Marguerite."
The only one, who sometimes said that it was the canker within which gave such an unnatural brightness to Marguerite's cheek and eye, and such hectic energy to her frame, was Mère Monica; and with watch ful and silent affection the faithful woman strove to save her from every annoyance and discomfort she could keep away from her. Claire she treated, half with pity, half with anger, as a selfish and silly child, and for Maurice she had always a short answer and a gloomy brow, though he had once been a great favourite with her. But her sympathy, pity and anger were alike thrown away on them all. Maurice and Claire were too much absorbed in each other to notice any change in Monica; and though Marguerite
lived in a region very different from theirs, it was far beyond the reach of all around her.
Sometimes Monica would contrive to get Marguerite into the garden, when she knew that Claire and Maurice were not there, by begging her help in gathering fruits or vegetables. Then she would try to rouse her interest by descriptions of country work and country pleasures in fair Normandy, where she had lived when a girl. On this theme Monica would grow almost eloquent, and it was one which had always possessed strong attractions for the city girl As she listened, the picturesque old Norman chateau and farm houses seemed to rise up before Marguerite, bringing with them glimpses of great strong horses; of patient cows, of gentle sheep ;-of fowls strutting and cackling round the barn-doors; pigeons fluttering and cooing. swallows twittering: —visions of all the sights and sounds of ' happy rustic life and labour. She saw the gnarled old orchard trees, so laden with fruit that their branches bent to the ground; the fields of golden grain; the little patches of woodland with wild flowers growing in every opening. There were the brown hay-cocks rising in the stripped meadows, the rustling shocks of yellow corn; the ripe, juicy apples gathered for the cider-press ;-and there too were the dance and song when the day's work was over, the village Fêtes on Saints' days and Sundays. She saw a bright little fishing village, with the fishermen's nets spread on the beach, the little children at play among them, and the fishing craft riding at anchor near; the shining sands strewn with shells and sea-weed, over which tiny waves danced in pleasant weather, or tumbled swollen and dark in the wild autumn gales. Even now, when Monica repeated her oft-told tale, in spite of herself, Marguerite would listen, and sometimes as she did so, a breath of peace and quietness, as if blown from that simple country life seemed to pass over the weary girl's spirit, and she
would long to be where she could hear the free wind sounding through the forest branches, or rustling the waving corn-the birds singing among the leaves, the streamlet rippling over its pebbly bed, or the waves dashing on the shingly shore. She longed. She longed to stand among the ripening corn and gather the blue scabious, or the scarlet poppy yet "crumpled from its sheath," to catch the scent of wild thyme when the bees were clustering, and sit on banks yellow with cowslips or purple with violets-or, best of all, to bury herself in the depth of leafy woods, and forgetting the dark and mocking past, live a new life alone with that benign nature, which
she moved restlessly. "I cannot be quiet," she said wildly, "for quiet brings thought, and thought maddens me."
Starting up, she went to a table, on which lay some of her favourite volumes. One was a copy of the first Aldine edition of Dante, bearing the date 1502, and the simple title of "Le Terze Rime di Dante." Maurice had sent it to her from Italy before doubt had come to darken the brightness which his love for her had cast over the world, and the sight of it made her start as if the ghost of her lost happiness had risen before her. Throwing a piece of cardboard over it, she took up Goethe's Egmont, and began to read where the volume
"Never yet betrayed the heart that loved her!" first opened.
A GLIMPSE OF ANOTHER LIFE.
T last Claire's wedding-day came.
was married in an old, very old church, brown with age, which stood at the opposite side of the street; and which, during all the years it had been standing there, and among all the bridal parties that had entered its doors, could never have received a fairer bride. Immediately after, she set out with her young husband to spend the honeymoon at his old home in beautiful Provenge.
On the evening of that day so eventful to those few hearts who make up the little world of this simple story, Christian Kneller had fallen into his usual afternoon's slumbers; Mère Monica had begun to put the house into order after the late hurry and bustle which had somewhat disarranged the regularity of its arrangements; and, for the first time for several weeks, Marguerite went into her atelier and sat down by the window.
"Now it is all over," she said, 66 now I may be quiet!" But in less than a minute
"MOTHER.-Youth and happy love have an end, and there comes a time when one thanks God if one has any corner to creep into.
"CLARA. (shudders, and after a pause stands up).-Mother! let that time come, like death! To think of it beforehand is horrible. And if it come-if we mustthen we will bear ourselves as we may ! Live without thee, Egmont ! (weeping) No! it is impossible!"
Hastily turning from Clara's joyful surprise as her lover enters, Marguerite found her death scene, and read it eagerly. Then she shut the book. "I will paint her," she said, "holding the phial to Brackenburg with one hand, and pointing to the lamp with the other, the pale and livid hues of despair, and of the deadly draught she has taken, darkening her beauty, but the great might of her love still illumining her eyes, and shining through the gathering shadows of the grave. I see her standing before me now, and I hear her softly saying, 'Extinguish the lamp silently, and without delay. I am going to rest. Steal quietly away. Close the door after thee. Be still. Wake not my mother!'"
In getting pencils and paper to make a sketch of the picture she had been imagin
tone in their chimes, like a faint whisper of hope amidst a wail of sorrow. The church, as has been said before, was very old, and the bells were very old too, but the tones were wonderfully rich and harmonious. Marguerite had always loved the strange and solemn music of those old bells, laden, as she often thought, with the sufferings and sorrows, the hopes and prayers of all the
ing, she caught sight of the picture of Apollo and Clymene still on the easel. There was the face of Maurice, beautified and exalted as the light of her love and genius had beautified and exalted it, his radiant eyes shining into her own. Back on her memory rushed all the glad hopes, the bright visions which had filled her with such happiness while she had worked at that picture. While she had painted it she, long centuries through which they had had thought only of Maurice, she had worked only for him; his pleasure and praise were to have been her great reward, -and now, the picture and she who had painted it were alike indifferent to him.
sounded; and now their plaintive tones, their fitful changes, their unearthly sweetness seemed to penetrate the room with a holy pathos and power, drawing her soul away from earth and all its anguish towards that diviner region where passion and pain shall cease and vanish, merged in everlasting rest. Softly she opened the window, and kneeling down as she had knelt on that a night of agony which now seemed so far away, she listened to the deep, clear, drop
Hastily covering it, she began her sketch, but very soon she had to stop to brush away the tears which, in spite of all her efforts, began to fall in large drops from her eyes. Soon she could not wipe them away as fast as they came, and throwing down her brush, she let them flow without mak-ping tones, every one of which seemed to ing any effort to restrain them.
"I think I will never paint any more," she said within herself. "What do I care for any success, any triumph now? And how could I achieve any if I tried, when my very soul seems dead within me. But what then am I to do? I cannot die as Clara did, and break my father's heart. No one shall suffer through me, least of all he who alone has truly loved me. If I live I must have work, but not such work as I have hitherto loved. Work that will blunt the imagination and stifle the feelings, work that will make me as cold, mechanical and insensible as a machine-that is the work I must find to do now.
Farewell love and
hope and fancy-farewell poetry and art; bright visions of ideal beauty and perfection, farewell! Henceforth I am to live a dull, monotonous, joyless, uninspired existence, a life from which all the sunshine and glory have fled !"
At that instant the bells in the old church began to toll a slow, sad funeral dirge, yet with a soft and soothing under
fall on her aching heart like dew on the parched earth, bringing healing as it fell.
As she thus knelt and listened, softened and subdued, she saw through the grey November evening a funeral train coming down the street. There was a bier covered with its long black pall, and attended by a little company of black-robed priests and mourners; and as the slow procession moved along with measured tread, a strain of rich music seemed to float before them. The priests and choristers were chanting an ancient Latin hymn, well known and loved, in Dr. Neale's English translation:
"Oh one! Oh, only mansion!
O Paradise of joy!
And joy has no alloy !
With amethysts unpriced,
And the corner stone is Christ!
"Thou hast no shore, fair ocean!
Thou hast no time, bright Day!