Hark! is not that the sound of footsteps, falling airily, yet heavily, too, in some distant chamber? And there, in the upper gallery, is certainly the rustle of the supernaturally stiff silk robe of the first Lady Bergan, who was found dead in her bed, so many years ago! And now creaks the door at the end of the wing, through which old Sir Harry is wont to march majestically forth, sword in hand, to take vengeance on any degenerate scion of the house that he encounters in his path! This last apparition is too much for their nerves. They shrink together, and flee noiselessly to their cabins, hearing the footsteps of the angry knight following them all the way, and leaving the old house untenanted save by the-ghosts, and the few faithful watchers in the death-chamber.
"I like no one—but you. I think I might respect him in time. As for you, little one, take care you do not like him too well."
October found her bound fast by a promise, held irrevocably to a day. The outward conflict was over; but the inward struggle, she found, was scarce begun! Under that, she paled and wasted; sleep and appetite forsook her; her eyes grew to have the pathetic, pleading look of a dumb animal taken in a net. Finally, worn-out nature took refuge in apathy that nothing seemed to disturb.
Coming out, Dr. Remy found Brick waiting for him, on the bench where he had left the Major."Yes, uncle," replied Bergan, taking his hand; "Rue sent for me, and I came at once. I am sorry to see you so ill."
Yet it was no sudden change, for all his life had been a preparation for it. Oftenest the kingdom of God cometh without observation. The stones of the spiritual temple may be fashioned amid clamor and discord, but they are laid in their places with a silence that is full of meaning."My uncle, Mr. Bergan, I presume," said the young man, taking off his hat, and bowing low: "I am Bergan Arling." And he added, after a moment, seeing that the other did not speak, "I bring you a letter from my mother."
"It never hurt mine," answered Major Bergan, rather surlily, as if he suspected a covert insinuation in the doctor's words."He did, but, Master Bergan, a blind woman's ears are quick at catching meanings as well as words, and he did not mean to come very soon,—not, I reckon, till all is over."
Bergan shook his head. He remembered that Doctor Remy was the husband of Carice. He sat silent, his heart swelling with unselfish pain and pity for the pure, delicate nature thus linked to the dark and vile one; he hoped that the latter had not lost the art of concealing somewhat of its hideousness.
"It is well," she said, after a moment of reflection. "You could not stay here, of course,—you would be eating your heart out in this dull place. Do your duty in the path that lies so straight before you, and trust God for the rest."详情
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