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the sick can supply. So she was very glad to leaving her in her loneliness and sorrow without relinquish her charge into Kathleen's hands, and one word of sympathy or kindly interest. the latter at once took her place as nurse.
And sometimes, in spite of her loving woman's For a few days hands and heart and brain were faith, a darker suspicion would come. Had he, fully occupied, and the girl had no time to think, perhaps, only been playing with her? Had her which was, perhaps, quite as well. Under her sudden departure given him an easy solution to tender care, the sick one came gradually back to what was becoming a rather troublesome question? life, helpless still as a little child, but quite con She had heard of such things. But no one who scious and free from pain. Doctor Lancaster knew Mark Delavan could believe such a thing said she might live weeks, perhaps months, in that possible, still less the woman who loved him. state.
More than most men, he impressed upon every And now that the first fierce strain of care and one his perfect, straightforward, uncompromising anxiety and constant watching was lifted from her integrity. His was pre-eminently the face heart, Kathleen began to wonder why she got no
“True and tender and brave and just, letters. She knew Mark Delavan too well to think
That man might honor and woman trust.” that he would give her up so easily. She loved him too well to lose faith in him. That he loved And this woman, upon whose brow his kiss had her, she would not doubt. She knew the patient, fallen, never faltered in her faith, though her persistent, steadfast nature, and she never doubted cheeks grew pale and the light faded from her that he would write to her, perhaps would come eyes, and her heart grew very weak and weary to her. A week went by, and still no tidings. from its long waiting. Sitting one day thinking it over, she suddenly Winter came, and the snow fell closely about the remembered that by some strange oversight she lonely farm-house, and there were short, sharp had forgotten to mention in her note, or to the days and long, sorrowful nights. Kathleen brought Arbuthnots, or even to Mrs. Morris, the name of her easel into the sick-room, and in her few brief the place in Connecticut where Aunt Mary was intervals of leisure worked away at her brush, “to stopping. For a moment her heart stood still. keep busy," she said, when good Dr. Lancaster Then she remembered that Mrs. Morris knew her expostulated with her. Quinticook address, and that letters would prob- The doctor shook his head; he did not know ably be sent there with the request that they be the sharp pain at the girl's heart, that made it remailed to her. So she wrote at once to the necessary for her to “keep busy," that she might postmaster at Quinticook, ordering all the letters not think. sent to Chequishnoc and again waited patiently. When the first bright days of spring came, and Still no letters. Weeks grew into months. Aunt the snows were melting from the brown hillocks Mary lingered on in the gentle, helpless state of beneath the April sun, Aunt Mary's summons childhood, a steady care and burden, yet the came, and she entered upon the eternal springdearest of cares to Kathleen, who never faltered time. Kathleen's long watching was over and she in her tender ministry, and kept always a brave, was alone in the world. bright face and cheerful tone and sweet smile for She went down to Quintnook and laid Aunt the sick-room, and never wavered, though her Mary in the old church-yard, where all the Macheart was breaking with the double strain of sor- Leods slept. Then she went back to the old house, row and suspense, and that “hope deferred that her only home, to rest for a few days and to plan maketh the heart sick."
for the future—the dark, desolate days that Still there was no word from her lover. Had stretched before her, and that must be livedhis forebodings proved true, and had he never somehow. Friends came about her, old schoolreturned from that trip to Boston from which he mates and neighbors, and would have welcomed had shrunk so? Or had he, after all, taken her her to their homes, but she steadily refused. She at her word when she asked that he might be her wanted to be alone in those first desolate days. good friend always; and was he, then, content to Her old place in the seminary was filled. There be only that and nothing more? Yet he was was nothing for her to do in Quintnook, and work hardly acting the part of friendship even in thus must be sought elsewhere.
She was at liberty now to carry out a long- after we had the sewing-circle; and the last time cherished plan of going abroad to study, but let me see—December! no—it must have been Aunt Mary's long illness, and the consequent idle about New Year's, and he stayed a long time, and ness, had made sad inroads on her slender funds. seemed to hate to go away, and asked if he could A year of patient and paying work would be ne- get boarded here, or anywhere in town, and said cessary before she could venture to carry out her perhaps he should come back, but he never has." purpose.
The good lady looked curiously at Kathleen as But she was ready to work; not, indeed, with she concluded, as if hoping that she might throw the old girlish enthusiasm and ambition, but still some light on the strange occurrence; but the girl with a steady purpose and a noble aim. Since live turned away indifferently and began to talk of she must, it should not be a useless life. If the something else. sweetest earthly blessing was denied her, she could But the bitterness of her cup was gone. He yet show to an incredulous world
had loved her then-he had tried to find her, and
she knew he would never give up the search. “ How grand may be life's might, . Without love's circling crown."
Living or dying, they loved each other, and no
time or space could quite part them. Sometime, “I thought once that I did not care for him," perhaps, in this world, or beyond, they would she said to herself in those days. “I meant to find one another. Meanwhile, she would wait. live for my art,—to do grand work and win a Almost happy, she repeated to herself a little name,-and God has taken me at my word. He snatch of poetry that she had grown fond of: has just shown me how beautiful life might be; He has let me see the worth of that which I esteemed “Because I am my Love's I'll keep my life of little value, and now He has taken it away and
Washed clean of every soil in thought or deed;
And bear my heart with ever steadfast heed given me my choice. I was not worthy, and I
Like a shut rose, through days of dusty strife. will be patient, and by and by, perhaps, content."
Because I am my Love's I'll rise at dawn, But a little comfort came to her at this time. She And hasten to my toil, and toiling, sing, learned that her order, requesting letters sent to That from my own poor talent there may spring Chequish noc, had never been received at Quint
Something for my Love's eyes to shine upon, nook post-office, and, therefore, all her letters
And so make good the empty years agone.
Because I am my Love's I will not diehad been sent to the Dead-Letter Office, that
As lovers might-to prove my fealty; grave of so many unfortunate epistles.
But I'll so live, that, in some distant time, “ There were some," the old postmaster said, in My love shall say, 'Bless God, who made you mine.'" answer to her anxious inquiry, looking musingly over his glasses; “I don't justly know how many. Going back to her lonely house, she found a I believe there was a gentleman here inquiring letter from Doctor Lancaster, at Chequishnoc. about them, too, and about your address, but it He asked if she had anything special in view in was while I was gone to Philadelphy, and Sim the way of work; she ought to rest, but he supHiggins was here, and he didn't know, nor I, posed she would not; if not, why their assistant either, for that matter." And one of her old teacher at the high-school was just getting marneighbors told her that twice a gentleman had ried; would she take the place for the spring term? called there, it being next door to her old home, She could board in his family; the work was not and inquired about her and the name of the place hard-small school-fair pay-iime to paint, or, where Aunt Mary went. “But I couldn't remem- better still, to rest—would she come? ber it to save me, dear, nor Hezekiah, neither; it | The next day she was on her way, and a week was a kind of outlandish name, you know. He saw her quite at home in Doctor Lancaster's was a tall man with a light moustache, and eyes pleasant family. He had a lovely wife and two that looked right through you,-handsome, if he daughters, bright, sweet New England girls. One hadn't looked so down-hearted like, and he walked of them wanted to take drawing-lessons of her, all around the old house and sat down on the door and, by teaching her, Kathleen could pay her step and sat there a long time. The first time was board. in October. I remember because it was the day she grew almost contented in the new, restful home atmosphere; with a quiet yielding to the well-trained choir of fresh young voices, and was inevitable, which was almost sad in one so young. always looking out for new talent. He had not She was but twenty-four, and she seemed to have been long in discovering that Kathleen possessed lived her life. Patient, brave, and hopeful, she a remarkably sweet contralto,-not strong, but was still even merry sometimes, and no one sus with rare depth and wonderful pathos, -and had pected the hidden sorrow that darkened the young lost no time in securing her services. Just now life. No one, save, perhaps, Doctor Lancaster, Chequishnoc, like all attractive country towns, who, with the keen insight of his profession, was full of summer visitors, and Mr. Peters took sometimes watched her closely, and possibly read much pride in being able to show the city visitors in the pale face and patient mouth more than he that good music was occasionally to be heard in ever spoke of to any one. Certainly he uttered the country. 10 word; only treated her always with unfailing He was proud of Kathleen, too, and had selected kindness and tender solicitude.
for this Sabbath morning a fine anthem for the So the spring passed away. June came, the opening of service, with a solo passage especially rare, sweet days bringing to Kathleen memories of adapted to her voice. She was a little late, thanks that June one year ago.
to Doctor Lancaster, and as she entered she saw Again it was midsuminer. Her term of school that the house was unusually full. It was a new was over, but the Lancasters would not let her go church, built but a few years previously, and the away. She had quite a class of private scholars choir and organ were directly in the rear of the in drawing and painting. She was already en pulpit. The voluntary was just over, and the gaged for the next school year, to open in Sep-choir were taking their places for the anthem. tember. One warm Sunday morning, toward the There was a little hum of expectation through the last of July, she came down ready for church, congregation, and a slight bustle as some strangers wearing a dress of some thin black material with were ushered in and seated in a prominent posia knot of white lace at her throat, and a little tion. Then all was hushed as the first sweet words plain hat of black straw with only a fold of lace floated out. around the crown, and a tiny white ruche under
| “O Lord, our desires are before Thee, and our griefs are the brim.
not hid from Thine eyes," The black dress made her look paler even than usual, and Doctor Lancaster, meeting her in the sang the sweet alto voice, with the stifled pleading hall, exclaimed : “My child, you are not well ; of a heart to which this was no unfamiliar prayer. don't go out this hot day."
And the chorus answered : She smiled. “Just as well as usual, my dear
Yucal Like as a father pitieth his children, so the Lord pitieth doctor, and I think I must go this morning ; Mr.
them that fear Him." Peters is depending upon me for that solo, I think, and he does not like to have any one fail, you Again : know, especially now that there is so much com
much com- “ Thou that hearest prayer, unto Thee shall all flesh come,”
Thou pany in town."
"But you are not fit to go. I will make it all pleaded the pathetic voice, and the chorus caught right with Peters," expostulated the doctor. up the refrain and repeated it in low chanting
" Thank you, doctor, but I think I must go measure, while the sweet voice rose higher, thrillthis morning; don't be afraid. I never faint, ing with passionate longing, and sinking softly at and I am quite well," answered Kathleen, and last to a low, restful strain, growing fainter, and ran hastily out, to avoid further discussion. then blending triumphantly in the grand “Amen."
Chequishnoc church was not far from Doctor People whispered, “What a sweet voice !" and Lancaster's, and had attained quite a celebrity some of the city visitors said, “Who would have among the neighboring towns for its fine music. expected anything equal to this up here in this Mr. Peters, the chorister, was a true musical en / out-of-the-way place ?" thusiast, with a clear, well-cultivated voice, and One of the strangers who came in last, a tall, a genius for organizing and developing the some- fair gentleman, leaned forward as the first note what crude material at his command. He had a fell on his ear and listened spellbound, and he only fathomed the depths whence that rare voice, lips, and you have kissed me, and then I have with its burden of passionate sorrow, sprang. He awakened to find it only a dream !" grew so pale that his companion leaned forward “But it is not a dream now.” And Kathleen and whispered:
lifted her head, smiling through her tears. “See, “What is the matter, Mark, are you faint?" I am your own Kathleen !" And she wound her
But Mark Delavan shook his head and sat up arms about his neck and put her lips to his. right, his eyes resting on one face.
“My own, my own!" he murmured softly. And Kathleen? She had felt rather than seen “My Kathleen mavourneen! And you have loved his presence as she rose to sing, but the strong me all this time! Tell me that you love me, will and steady nerves never failed her. She did sweet !” not faint, and she sang as she never sang before. | “Oh! how I do love you, Mark !" she answered, When it was over, she sank into her seat white looking up into his eyes. And then he kissed her and trembling, and leaned her head on the rail- brow and lips and hair passionately, and they were ing in front of her.
silent for a long time. By and by he told his story. It was some minutes before she dared to raise it “I came back to Content Cottage that night," and look-a long, eager look-at him. He was he said, “ to find my forebodings realized; but I the same, yet how changed-how pale and worn had a 'crumb of comfort' in that little note; only he was ! But gradually the old smile came into you gave no address, and I was half afraid that it his eyes, and once he gave her just one little look. was an intentional oversight,—that you didn't There were two more hymns and the sermon, and want to be bothered with such a troublesome felat last it was over. The two Lancaster girls, Mr. low, and an Englishman too; forgive me, dear. Peters, and half the choir gathered about her, the I know better now, and I did not believe it then, moment service was ended, with anxious inquiries; for I had your sweet good-bye to give me courage. and when Kathleen was well-nigh desperate, Dr. I knew my darling loved me when she looked up Lancaster came to the rescue. “She is tired, of in that pleading way into my face that night. I course—anybody would be. Too outrageous hot went to Mrs. Morris and to Mrs. Arbuthnot, but day to go to church. Let her alone, do !” he neither of them knew your address. Then I wrote scolded, and took her away. As they walked into to Quintnook, supposing that the postmaster there the cool hall at home, Nettie Lancaster came run-would forward the letters to your address, as I rening excitedly to meet them. “There is a gentle- quested him to do. I went back to New York in man in the parlor to see you, Kathleen; one of September, and all this time I was writing and those strangers in the Vaughn pew, come up just waiting. At last, in October, I went down to ahead of me!" Doctor Lancaster opened his Quintnook, hoping to get some clue there that mouth. “A gentleman! She isn't fit- " But should aid me in finding you; for, dearest, I did Kathleen was gone, and the sentence was never not mean to give you up until I knew from your finished.
own lips that there was no hope for me. I found Mark Delavan, pacing the parlor floor impa- out nothing except that my letters had never been tiently, turned as she came in, and, taking one forwarded to you, because the postmaster did not step forward, caught her in his arms. “My little know where you were, and had received no direcKathleen !"
tions from you. Some of your friends had known “ Mark! oh, Mark !" And then the brave spirit the name of the place where your aunt went, but broke down, and she lay sobbing on his breast. He could not remember it. All that I had to fall back took off her hat and drew the fair head close, kiss- upon was the very definite direction that you were ing the golden braids and murmuring tender words somewhere in Connecticut. in her ear. “Oh, my darling, my darling," he "Well, I got a map of the State and wrote to whispered, “have I found you at last! Look up, an unaccountable number of places, but the letters dear, and let me be sure that it is you, and not a all came back to me. I began to wonder if you spirit that I hold here—that I shall not wake up were indeed a real being of Aesh and blood or a and find it all a dream. Oh, my love, my love! I spirit who had come to me and lingered just long have dreamed so often that I held you in my arms, enough for me to learn to love her and then vanclose, close at my heart, as now, and kissed your ished forever.
“In January I made another journey to Quint- somewhere, and is planning all manner of imnook, and half formed a plan to stay there and provements, and is full of schemes. You know board until you came back, as you told Mrs. A- he came to this country to study American ideas you should do, whenever your aunt was able. I and how to help the working people, and he thought that was my only chance of finding you; means to give all his life to their service. My but when I returned to New York I found a dis- dear, you don't mean to say that he never told patch from home, telling me of the severe illness you all this!” of my only brother. I went back to England at "He never talked much about himself,” said once, and in March he died. Just as I was ready Kathleen smiling. “I knew that his father and to return to this country I was taken with the fever mother died when he was quite young; he has and was very sick for a month. As soon as I got told me a good deal about his mother and somestrong enough I came back here to renew my thing about his uncle who brought him up, but search, for I meant never to rest until I found for a long time I did not even know that he was you. I went to the Arbuthnots and told them the English.". story, and they have helped me all they could. "Just like him," said Mrs. Arbuthnot. “I I have been up to Content Cottage, and have dare say we should never have known, only Fred traveled all over this State. I came down to has been there. He came back from Germany Lester, where the Arbuthnots are stopping,-Pro- with Mark and went to Delavan Manor and stayed fessor A— 's father lives there,—to spend Sun- a week. Such a lovely place, Fred says; Sir Hugh day, meaning to go to Quintnook to-morrow. is a real old English gentleman, and his wife very Charlie Arbuthnot proposed that we should drive good and motherly, and the two girls—there are over here to church.
no sons—are lovely English girls. The Delavans “When I went in I did not see you, but almost are a very old family. Mark's own home in instantly you began to sing. I never had heard | Wales—it has an unpronounceable name—is a you sing, sweetheart ; but I knew your voice, and charming wild place, though it has been very as I listened to it and looked into your face, I much neglected, but he means to remedy that. knew you were my darling still, and that for you | It is just like a story-book, dear. Mark is the as for me it had been a weary waiting. My love, grandest fellow! Fred says you ought to be a my love, I shall never dare to leave you again !" very happy woman !"
An hour later Doctor Lancaster came to the door Kathleen smiled-a very sweet little smile. and Kathleen made him come in and introduced “I think I am," she answered softly. him to “my friend, Mr. Delavan,” with a very | Mark, coming up just then, saw the smile and charming little blush. Then Mark told him the heard the words, and taking her hand drew it whole story, while Kathleen went up-stairs to bathe within his arm. her happy face and put on a dainty white dress. “To think how little you have told her about Coming down presently, she found that Mark was yourself, Mark !" said Mrs. Arbuthnot, shaking to stay to the early supper, which on Sundays her head at him. took the place of dinner, by the doctor's express “My dear Mrs. Arbuthnot, I did not dare to; invitation, and later the good doctor himself she does not like the English. My only hope lay drove him over to Lester.
in silence.” And there was a general laugh. The next morning the Arbuthnots came over to “And how soon do you propose to take her call on Kathleen and Mark accompanied them. away to that despised land ?”' asked Mrs. ArbuthMrs. Arbuthnot kissed and cried over Kathleen in not merrily. a way that left no room to doubt her hearty sym- “She has consented to exile herself on the first pathy. “To think what you must have suffered !” of September," was the reply. she said. “But it is all over now, and you will “And meanwhile ?" be very happy. Mark is such a noble fellow; and “And meanwhile," Mark answered, “I shall his uncle, Sir Hugh Delavan, is very fond of him. not venture far away. I shall take up my quarters He is his heir, you know, and Sir Hugh has a at the Chequishnoc House for the few remaining beautiful estate in Surrey and a fine house in Lon-weeks, as Doctor Lancaster kindly insists that we don. Mark has an estate of his own in Wales shall be married here."