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throb is disinterested in the wide world! But away, dreamer, she is not for
He turned quickly, and following the line of residences which extends along the north side of the square, walked with the vehemence of a madman. His atten. tion was soon attracted, however, by the enlivening 'notes of a harp, and drawing near the windows of the mansion from which they proceeded, he listened. The accomplished fingers of the musician swept lightly from the strings the notes of a popular waltz. And then all was still again, save the faint whispering of the chill breeze in the trees. Hark! the gentle tones of a woman's voice. The delicious melody steals out upon the darkness, and the excited heart trembles in the fulness of its rapture, as the listening ear receives the full gush of mingled joy and tenderness.
Entranced and motionless stood the listener; and his eyes, raised to heaven, glistened in the intensity of his delight. But suddenly a change passed over his features. Intense bewilderment was quickly followed by an expression of unbounded eagerness, and he planted one foot upon the lowest of the door-steps, as if to spring up to the entrance. Then he listened earnestly again, and pressing both hands tightly against his forehead, as if in sudden pain—“Yes ! yes!" he muttered, “she is here-I must see her-if but for an instant. I love her--for she is worthy of love, and passion, and devotion. But no! I will go. She shall never know it. Farewell, dear Lulu. I have conquered. I have conquered.”
He kissed his hand toward the window, and then, pale and trembling with intensity of emotion, wrapped his cloak about him and walked rapidly away. He paused when he reached the corner of the square, where the angle in the street would hide the view of the dwelling, and looked back. A light streamed from the window as before. He pressed his lips tightly together and turned again down the street; but he was praying in his heart that he might be permitted to speak with Lulu. Along the broad avenue sped his flying footsteps, and the moonbeams trembled upon his dusky figure as if in sympathy with his emotion. Onward, past the gay hotels and the music of the ball-rooms, sped that brave heart, and none knew that a hero passed them on the avenue. Yes, a hero in firmness, in self sacrifice, and in principle, was leaving behind him an idol whose influence was with him and in him by day and by night; an idol exquisitely lovely and gifted. He was foregoing the happiness of meeting in her own home, surrounded by those who cherished her, the beautiful Lulu whom he had saved from the very jaws of death. He had relinquished that overflowing cup of gratitude which was prepared for his lips by those who loved her. He had denied himself the delicious draught of her sweet thanks renewed with quivering lip and moistened eye. And he was fleeing from these, lest he might be overcome and powerless to do right in her presence. And in this triumph he possessed that quality which makes the greatest heroes an eager longing, it may be desultory if you will, but a sincere longing to please the Eternal Ruler of the universe.
Pale and excited, he finally reached the door of his hotel, and mounting the stairs with nervous step, passed along one of the long halls till he reached a door near the extreme end. An impatient rap brought a young lady to the door, and he entered with the familiarity of an intimate friend.
“What, all alone! Where is aunt ?" he inquired.
“She has gone to the ball,” replied the young lady, looking in surprise at the ashy paleness of his face, and his ill-concealed agitation. "What ails you, Harry are you sick? Give me your cloak and lie down on the sofa. What is the matter :" she inquired again, following him to the sofa and sitting down beside him,
"Ah! dear Bess," he replied, taking her little hand in his own, and endeavouring to avoid the anxious gaze of herokeen grey eye, “my heart is broken, and I am utterly unhappy and tired of life. I am lonely and blaze, and I came to you, Bess because I knew how dearly you loved me, and you would sympathise with me. I am glad I find you alone, but you mustn't ask me what the matter is—for I cannot tell you as long as I live; no ! never; not even you, Bess."
She looked intently into his face for an instant, and then said, “I know, cousin Harts, what has made you trouble; there is a peculiar expression in your eye—it's a woman."
"I told you it was utterly impossible for me to tell you what the matter is, Bess. I only want you to pity me, to sit close by me and talk to me, so that I shall forget it. I wouldn't tell any one in the world but you that anything was the matter. No woman has slighted me, or said or done anything to displease me in any way. Now are you satisfied, Bess ?"
“No, I am not,” she answered emphatically. “If any one had died you would tell me; if you had lost money you would tell me that ; if your friends were in trouble you would say so; if any one had insulted you you would have knocked him down; and I know you wouldn't do anything that you need be ashamed to tell; so I know that some girl has caused the trouble. Own it, Harry!"
She drew closer to him and looked earnestly into his eyes. “ Bess,” he exclaimed, “ you are an angel; you can soothe my heart if you can't mend it; you are so beautiful and so lovely I will tell you all some day; but not now. Do not ask me, I entreat you."
The lovely girl saw from his manner that he was determined not to reveal his secret to her at that time, and suppressing her curiosity, she endeavoured to amuse him and divert his mind from the subject, which she discovered, by the peculiar compression of his lips, must occasion him excessive torture. Devoted to her cousin with the earnestness of a sister, if the sentiment was not even of a more tender nature, she had long studied every varying expression of that changing countenance, until she had become so faniliar with its manifestations of feeling that she could recognise his thoughts when he imagined his features to be a perfect disguise to them. She had studied his character so faithfully that its many noble traits were all known to her, and appeared, indeed, overpowering to her loving heart, beside the faults into which she also knew his impetuosity sometimes led him.
She was staying in Washington with her father, and her heart leaped with exultation when her cousin informed her that the suit in which Levins was engaged would probably detain him some time in her society at the same hotel.
She said to him, “Mr. Levins was taken very sick to-night; did you know it, Harry ?”
He knew of his indisposition at dinner-time, but supposed it to be trifling, and
her words occasioned a feeling of self-reproach that he had not been interested enough in his friend's condition to visit him before this.
“How did you hear, Bess ?” he inquired. “I supposed it was nothing serious.”
“Father told me before he went to the ball," she answered, “and I remember now he said Mr. Levins had a few minutes before asked to see you. But don't go now, Harry, you look so pale and exhausted that I believe you are really ill. i would like to get hold of that girl who has occasioned my own noble Harry so much trouble. She must have poor taste not to prefer you and your wishes to everything in the wide world. Is she pretty, Harry? No, I will not annoy you; don't look so distressed. Here, I will move along so you can lie down. Do you remember that summer when we used to sit in the shade of the trees a little way from your father's, on that nice point where we could look out upon the see? I never shall forget that as long as I live. Do you remember lying on the grass while I read to you, and the white sails glided so beautifully by out on the calm sea. That was a dear summer, you were so happy and light-hearted, but now you are so changed; ever since you came here you have been uneasy and restless, and your eyes appear to yearn after something you cannot attain. Oh! If I could only make you happy now as you said I did then. Hark! there is some one at the door."
He raised his head quickly and said, “I will go to the door.”
SOMEONE TO LOVE.
HARRY CARTER followed the servant, who had been sent to summon him to Levin's bedside, with a sensation very like relief. The unrest of his mind for months, coupled with the shock of his unexpected discovery of Lulu's home and exquisite voice, had filled his heart with overwhelming passion; and the utter hopelessness of that passion was crushing his intellect to the verge of madness, or, at least, his ardent nature induced him to think so. The diversion of his thoughts from the absorbing subject, by the call to the bedside of his sick friend, afforded him, therefore, a certain measuro of relief.
The servant conducted him to an apartment on the lower floor of the house, where a piazza, enclosed for the winter with glass, shut out from the tier of small rooms all the cheering influences of full and fooding sunlight. There was an air of sadness and dungeon-like obscurity about these rooms, which occasioned, in the mind of a stranger, feelings of apprehension that dampness, and consequent sickness might lurk in these secluded and dusky corridors. As the young law-student glanced along the piazza, gloomy enough in the daytime, but now enveloped in the uncertain folds of night, and aggravated by a sickly-looking lamp, he shuddered and muttered to himself, “Poor Levins ! No wonder he is sick in such a pit as this !"
He sent off the servant with a shilling, and knocked lightly at the door of Levins' apartment. An Irish girl admitted him with a “Hist, sir, the poor gintleman is jist aslape. There's a sate be the bed, an' I'll go to me work, for the boss is worried wid the crowds of people that's cum this night.”
Harry Carter took the chair, and the poor girl, who had been in the room to look after the "sick gintleman ” many times during the afternoon aud evening, hastened away to attend to the swarms of strangers who were pouring into the hotel, in expectation of witnessing in a few days the inauguration of a new President of the United States.
The lamp had been shaded for the benefit of the sick man; but the young student discovered at a glance the too familiar evidences of his friend's malady. Levins was in a stupor from the excessive debauch of the previous night. That mighty intellect was lying a helpless victim to wine. It had required but a few days' sojourn in the city to reveal this weakness of the great lawyer to the young student; and he had already, on several occasions, beeg forced to witness the degradation of the friend whose intellect and generous heart he so much admired.
Anticipating every moment that Levins would awake, he sat by his bedside and listened to his heavy breathing. Weary at length with watching for his awakening, he moved his chair to the table, which was covered with the lawyer's scattered repers, and sought to discover in the disarranged manuscripts some clue to the matters of business as to which he supposed he had been sent for. The loose sheets of paper generally, were devoted to the arrangement of the legal points, and the notes of the authorities by which they were to be sustained, in the matter of the important argument soon to be made before the Supreme Court, in the case of Alexander Broadhead versus Fornell, Horton, & Co. Familiar as he had become with the law pertaining to this case, he discovered nothing new in these papers to interest him or to induce him to think that Levins desired him to hunt up additional authorities bearing upon the suit. Carefully placing the documents relating to the patent suit by themselves, he discovered a few loose sheets of paper containing fragments of somebody's last will and testament in the handwriting of Levins. He started in surprise to find his own name in the following clause.
"Tenth.- I give, devise, and bequeath unto Henry Carter, who nobly hazarded his life to save my bel ved niece, Lulu Rogers, and her father, Captain Rogers, from the treck of the frigate Union, the sum of five thousand pounds, if he shall be living at the time of my death."
Then followed similar bequests to the other rescuers of the captain and his daughter, and then provisions as to the disposition of the several sums if any of the rescuers should not survive the testator. As his eye glanced over the other fragments of the unfinished will it came upon the clause bequeathing large sums to the testator's niece, Lulu Rogers, and then a bewildering clause, giving to the said niece a particular property in the city of New York, until such time as she SHOULD MARBY, and then followed a bequest to her sister Mary, wife of an officer in the nary.
Harry Carter's cheek paled with excitement, and his hands trembled as he turned over the scattered leaves of the will. Then, as the full force of the facts burst upon his reason, he sprang to his feet with one wild thrill of delight in every vein. "Lulu's not married-not married-thank God!" Nervous with excitement he glanced over the papers again, for he feared something was wrong in his mind;
and that the oppression which had been upon his heart for months had unsettled his reason, so that he saw unreal objects, and the connection of his ideas was broken. But no, the ink was fresh upon the leaves, and the testator described her by her
maiden name; and gave her the use of property until her marriage, and all this subsequent to her rescue from the sea. Blake Eastman had evidently confounded Lulu with something he had heard at the seaside hotel concerning the daughter of Captain Rogers having married the officer. It was evidently Lulu's brother-in-law who 'had escaped death. Strange mistake this, which had filled his soul with unnecessary pain, and given to the angel Hope the fearful drapery of despair. Then lifted the heavy cloud from his existence, and the stars gleamed out again in the firmament of his young life. Then a shudder passed over his frame. “Will she love me? Is her heart another's ? Is there hope, indeed ?” Unrest again stole into the chambers of his heart; and while it tarried face to face with hope, Levins moaned, and called him to the bedside.
“Is that you, Harry ?” he muttered, rising his head partly from the pillow; “here, sit down--here, by the bed. I've been very queer. I can't stand much, lately. It seems to me the wine about this place must be doctored, it makes me so feverish and nervous. I wish I could give it up altogether. It's ruining both mind and body. Poor Syl, I wish I could gratify her gentle heart by shaking off this habit. But, Harry, I can't, positively. The iron claws of this appetite are tightening about my vitals. I am more consious of it this last month than ever. But Harry, I can't do without it; I tell you solemnly, I have not the moral force to stop this craving. Come here, close to me, and give me your hand. There now, I will say one word to you which will save your prospects in life to you, if you will follow my counsel. Harry! there is not on the face of the earth a more insidious and yet despotic master than this same drink. No man is certain for an hour that he may not become some day its slave. I used it for years without apparent injury to myself; but it was gradually undermining my constitution, and now I cannot abandon it. Listen to me, now; I am your friend, you know it; you have legal talents of a high order, and you will win distinction in the profession if you will apply yourself steadily to it, and forswear drink. Give it up, entirely, unqualifiedly, if you desire happiness in life.”
Levins turned uneasily upon his bed, and directing his blood-shot eyes upon the student's countenance, continued
“I sent for you, Harry, to find somebody to assist me in conducting this suit. I am growing so weak, and my nerves are so unsteady, that I think it best not to risk the interests of my client on the day of the argument upon so uncertain a basis as my health and competency. The fact is, I distrust Inyself. This appetite is gaining such power over me, that I apprehend something may happen when I am most needed in the court-room. Oh, the bitter disgrace of such an admission. But, Harry, you must hunt up one of the most competent lawyers in this city, to aid me on the day appointed for the argument. Don't say anything to Broadhead about it. Harry, that same client of mine is the greatest rascal that ever went unwhipt of justice. Here, I will tell you a secret. I have never received a penny from him for my services in this suit.”
Harry Carter exclaimed in astonishment, "What do you say? you have received no fees for your services ? Why! you have devoted the principal part of your time, for more than a year, to this business alone. Didn't he pay you anything for conducting the case before the circuit court ?"