Gambar halaman

another soul there, and Laurie meant steadfastly to share his knowledge with Caryl and give her up; but it was very hard just now, when she was choosing him out to put aside Caryl, and share her walks and talks, and, with woman's perversity, throwing away what she longed for.

When Caryl came back from the post-office Lily was singing. She seldom sang; but to-night with a sudden power and sweetness her voice came back to her, and gave beauty to her simple song :"Oh, silence! Oh, darkness! Oh, days that he came no more ! Days when the sunset crimsoned, nights when the clouds drew o'er ; The sunset crimsoned the door-stone, shadows were never a one; The cloud swept over the starlight, and light for my life was none. “My heart went wandering weary, asking the reason why: For fear of tears has he sailed without word, to the cold, clear northern sky? Or is it trouble the sorest, has my love forgotten me? Has he found him a fairer sweetheart, for the fisher's home by the sea ? “ The silence was drear, the darkness shadowed my soul, my life ! Silence broken by thunder, dark by the flash of a knife ! Oh, silence! Oh, darkness! The silence of buried dead ! Oh, darkness of narrow grave, with grass at the foot and head ! Yet, oh! my love who loved me, while I mourn for thee long and sore, At last will be music and glory : I long for them evermore ; And, oh, darkness and silence! when trouble doth sore beset me, I remember he waits for me yonder — I know he will not forget me!”

The charm of the darkening room invested her song, the pathos of her voice thrilled them softly through and through. The souls of those listening went softly away into a land of dreams and echoes, and it was as if a mist had unfurled and floated away and a charm been broken when she stopped.

She stopped, and the light faded out of her eyes. “I am so tired,” she said ; “Goldie, let's go up stairs, I have so many things to tell you.," she added, as they left the room. “I have something in particular to say.”

Yet I think her courage failed her at sight of the appealing face of her sister ; Goldie's passionate pain and clinging love would be too much for her. She was ready to drift away beyond the shadow herself; but to tell Goldie that she was going, and see her stretch out imploring arms after her, were too much.

She lay down to rest, and only said, as Goldie knelt by her bed, playing with the curly hair, “Tell Uncle Caryl he must tell you all hé told me. Ask him to-night.”

So when Lily slept, Goldie lingeringly left her, and coming down, found Caryl alone.

She wanted to ask him, yet feared it. She had tried before to discover what her uncles thought of Lily's illness ; but they were so evidently, cruelly smooth in talking to her of her only sister! “Uncle Caryl,” she said, “what have you told Lily? Have you promised to make her well ? Was that what you came home for ?

Caryl was startled. He wished that this duty has fallen elsewhere; he could not but think that it was Laurie's part, since he was evidently betrothed to her. “Goldie,” he said, “I am afraid that I came

” , for Lily - too late!”

He saw the doubtful, startled look leap to her eyes, and could not bear it. He opened the door abruptly, and left the room in search of Laurie. He met him in the hall, and stopped him. “Laurie," he said, "there is a very hard thing to do. Lily can never she is in the shadow of death now. You, as Goldie's nearest and dearest, should break it to her. Tell her all has been done that can be, and comfort her. Stand by her, Laurie ; you must be her support now, if ever."

Laurie had grown pale, his eyes were full of sudden tears of regret for the fair, dying cousin asleep upstairs. But he knew the truth must be told now. “ Dr. Erle,” he said, “I cannot comfort Goldie. She never had but one ruler, she never cared for praise or censure, comfort or anger, from any one but you." And you,

Laurie.' "I? I love her, I have loved her long and dearly; I love her better, oh! far better than myself; and therefore I tell you that Goldie cares for you only. Go to her like a man and give her the only comfort the world has ever denied her, the only comfort she wants. Yes, I know her better than you do. I love her dearly as I say," — his face was white and full of contending passions,—"and therefore I would make her happy. Go to her."

Swept back, momentarily impressed with conviction by the earnestness of the boy's own conviction, Dr. Erle went back to Goldie.

She was sitting by the lamp, her hands clasped on her knees, her head bowed in a reverie. An empty envelope lay on her knee, with Lily's name on it, in Charlie Burke's hand.

She looked up, suddenly, for he took the envelope in his hand. She half rose. He dropped it; took both her hands in his, and to the startled, wondering face, told the old, old story of love.

No one came into the library again, for Laurie was having a long talk with his uncle, and preparing the way for Caryl ; and the sweet old story was told through, and the sweet new life was begun. The blessed rest had fallen, now that Goldie had become patient in trial ; and the sweet, sudden, gracious giving was wonderfully and strangely rich,

[ocr errors]
[merged small][ocr errors][merged small]

Next day, Laurie rode swiftly down Glengoldy's park to telegraph for Charlie Burke, to carry a letter and a message to Belle Travers.

[ocr errors]
[ocr errors]



[ocr errors]
[ocr errors]

Charlie came late that night, travel-stained and weary; he went straight to Lily's room, and the others left them alone.

“I never knew she loved him,” said Goldie to Dr. Erle, sitting hand-in-hand with him on the deep window-seat. She has given herself up to Caryl's control again like a child, and the tender, masterful expression has come back to his face. She comes out from that sick room to him with anguish in her eyes, and with trembling lips ; the suffering is too great. And he comforts her, he helps her to endure, he lets her give way a little to her tears and sobs, and then he soothes her and sends her back, like a rested child whom its mother has kissed and comforted.

Who, of all the old gay set knowing her in Paris and Rome, or in the first beauty of her season in New York, would recognise Lily Ashe in the pale, wasted figure, lying long and slender on the bed? Who would know the sweet beauty in the patient suffering face ? Ah! little frivolous life, all its sweetness and glory and beauty have been drawn into the last few weeks and months of it, to adorn her for the burial. She is grown “perfect through suffering."

Lily has written to Belle Travers. She began to tell her all the story, eked it half out with pauses and little silences that told much, and has not strength to finish it. Yet her heart yearns over Belle. She loved her in the old days when they were so much together, and she wants to see Guy's sister and tell her of a little constant love she has borne her, even when they only talked fashions together. She wants Belle to know all and forgive all, and kiss her before she passes away and out into the great unknown. So she sends the half finished letter. If she never finishes the story, Goldie will, or Charlie, her true and tender brother. Laurie carried the letter to tell Belle how Lily lay dying

The tears and sobs that Belle gives way to, with the sympathy of youth for another so young and fair, opens Laurie's heart to her. He is very sorrowful himself. He has lost Goldie ; he is to lose a kindly, teasing, pretty little cousin more irrevocably still — Belle, in her deep mourning for Guy and her sorrow for Lily, comes home to his heart. One of these days — oh, prophet, we thank thee for telling it to us! Belle will find one to be dearer and nearer than even the handsome brother so miserably dead, and Laurie will not grieve for Goldie always.


In Glengoldy, the brothers Goldsboro' have been sitting and talking together long. Now the minister has gone to his niece, and his brother Philip sits, mournful and desolate, alone. Mrs. Philip Goldsboro' glances into the room from that beyond to where he sits; she wonders if she should go to him. The old man seems desolate. Her duty is to go to him. Yet oh, how can he sorrow as she does ? She has been wrapped up in the child from the time when she first saw the golden flossy curls and blue eyes, and now she must let go her darling The old bitter cry comes to her also, “Was ever sorrow like unto my sorrow?”

Yet this husband of hers, he has faults. He wearies her at times, and is at times selfishly absorbed in his own feelings and plans; yet he loved her dearly. She knows her very presence could comfort him, even now; she rises, still young and beautiful Mrs. Philip Goldsboro', nine-and-thirty years of age. She conquers her reluctance, goes to her husband, and putting her arm around his shoulder, draws his head, the gray head of a man fifty-and-five years old, upon her shoulder. The tender caress and comfort of the beautiful wife take all bitterness from him, even now. She sees it.

She knows she suffers most, yet she knows that his man's selfishness will never find it out. With a woman's unselfishness, she resolves in this hour of grief to love and comfort him forevermore.

Lily Ashe, our beauty, is dead.

Yield her, oh, clasping arms ! our Father has gently taken her into his own.

Lift the coffin-lid. Say, all who listen, what makes anything lovely in this? What gives the peace and beauty to her smile? What only avails? What redeems this from the bare and ugly fact of death? This only, that her soul is forgiven and saved, and gone " happy and

pure to God.

A page in two lives is turned. One sees how bright the stars are when the night-cloud is swept aside. The new leaf is written with “Faith."

And for the other is written in letters of gold —“ Peace.”
And God keeps them both.



one who has not witnessed the storm of excitement which

periodically sweeps over San Francisco during a mining stock rise or depression, can form any adequate idea of its intensity. California street from Montgomery to Sansome, seems a perfect sea of confusion. The mining stock exchange is situated about half-way of the block, and within its walls a scene which can only be compared with Babel is enacted from two to four hours daily. The rapid call of the caller, the shouts and screams of the buyers, the hurrying to and fro of clerks and messengers, the intense excitement of the spectators, the varied emotions depicted on their faces as they see or hear the sales which have plunged them in ruin or given them fortunes, are wonderful to witness. The brokers then are in their glory. Their percentage, when they have any business, amounts to Targe sums; but there is an amount of mental and physical excitement about their business which almost unnerves them when the stock market is in a feverish state for any length of time. Men have been known to drop in their seats perfectly overcome, and there have been frequent cases of prolonged illness caused by their labors. During the greatest excitement immense fortunes are made or lost in a few hours ; though it takes time, pains and labor to prepare for the struggle. Men combine to force certain stocks up or down at times, taking days of careful study to perfect their plans, and pursuing certain systems of buying and selling. They work so secretly that

apparently no one knows or suspects the persons who are most actively engaged; but when the plan is once prepared, and the plot ripe, it bursts upon the city as startlingly as one of its severest earthquakes, and thrills and throbs all over the State. Then men see their fortunes crumble, their hopes blasted; pallor settles upon their faces and despair in their hearts, and the seething mass of human forms which congregate about the stock-board bear in their faces unmistakeable evidences of ruin. Some look hopeless, crushed; some defiant, and ready to spring anew to the struggle ; for it is a struggle of the utmost desperation, a struggle almost of life and death to some. Sometimes, however, others see the first indications of a movement in certain stocks; they see the drifting of it into certain silent channels without apparent cause, and they just as quietly watch and work to counteract the movement or render it unavailing. The same secrecy, the same caution, the same painstaking planning, go on side by side; the bulls and bears are at work; the same forecast is displayed, the same amount of brains is used - and it requires great financial ability to work these plans — and at the very moment when everything seems ready for a giant outburst, it only swells out a gigantic bubble, bursts, and the whole scheme fails, perhaps with the ruin of its contrivers. A capacity that would have placed its possessors at the very head of a world's financiers, has often been exhibited in these more than questionable encounters; and though generally the defeated are forced to accept the situation, yet bitter animosities are often engendered, which are carried into other walks of life, and have ended in the bitterest and most unrelenting enmities. The brokers themselves are not very often the planners of these immense schemes, though some of them do engage in them; and public opinion generally places the odium on the most active visible participants. If the ill effects of this state of affairs fell upon those who were absolutely engaged in the stock operations, the result would not meet with much sympathy; but the mining-stock mania has spread its infection to every city, village, and hamlet in the State, and the principal sufferers are among those of small means, who have been inveigled into the plans of others by their tendency to excitement, or by the artful allurements of those that are interested.

At the time of these excitements it is not only the stock that causes the excitement that rises in value or is depressed, but all stocks feel the impulse. Any "wild cat" that may be thrown upon the market is greedily swallowed, and being procurable at low prices, is more generally “dabbled in ” by the poorer classes. This gives an opportunity for a class of sharpers whose only brains are cunning and heartlessness, to ply their trade and catch the dupes. As with gambling, no age, condition, or sex is free from the infatuation stock speculation produces when engaged in to any extent. The business man and merchant invests his surplus, then his capital, then his credit. Before the hope of speedy enrichment, the principles of a life-time have been thrown to the winds, the miser's grasp has been relaxed, and the scruples of conscience dissipated in a moment. An instance occurring in the experience of a clergyman of San Francisco will illustrate the influence the mining fever has at times upon the poorer classes.

« SebelumnyaLanjutkan »