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· Not while I hope it,' said Newton; and they walked on for some way in silence.
Her voice and manner had that old kind of tenderness that they had had on the day he had bid her good-bye. Never before had he been conscious of it during
during this whole visit. She had been cold and distant with him as if to prohibit the exhibition of any warmer feeling. To-day, for the first time, he seemed penetrating within the shrine that had been kept so zealously guarded from him.
But why was this? Was there some imaginary goddess of duty standing with her shield between her heart and his ? Was this what her words meant ? But was not Love allpowerful enough to throw down the barrier ? Such love as his, true love, strong as death!
Nesta's steps had quickened, and another turn would bring them within sight of the Villa. Newton saw the moments slipping from him, and yet something held him back.
Nesta,' he said at length, calling her by her name for the first time,“ may I not hope that the great good of my life may be granted me? It is for
It is for you to say; it rests in your
hands.' Nesta made no reply. There was a look of intense sadness, almost of pity, in her face, and she seemed composing herself to speak.
• Will you love me, Nesta ?' he continued in a more passionate tone, encouraged by her silence; will
wife?' Never,' she replied, in her calm firm way;
and the woods seemed suddenly to have become unnaturally still and silent; the wind that had rocked the branches seemed hushed, and not a leaf trembled.
“No, Mr. Newton, I can never be your wife. I am grateful for your love—Heaven knows,' she added quietly, 'how grateful ; but your wife I can never be, never. Go your way in life and forget that you have ever loved me. I have tried that it should not come to this ; but go; it would be
almost better that we had never met, but go-go. I will follow presently.'
He did as she bade him, and turned away ; loving her not the less, but strangely the more, for her sad, decided words. For with all her decision and calmness, he had seen the struggle beneath, and felt that there was a conflict within. And did not her words almost imply that she loved him? Had another been there before him, and might her emotion after all be for another's sake? As the road took a sharp turn, and brought him within sight of the Villa, he caught a glimpse of her again. She was sitting down on the root of a tree, with her head supported in her hands. He saw the expression of her face, and the sad, almost wistful, look cast after him; it was an expression never to be forgotten. From that moment he vowed that none but Nesta should ever have his heart. If life was to be lived without her—and he could scarcely believe this—the remembrance of her, he felt, would so cling to him for ever, that it would shut out all other love. But at every step he took, the sense of her stern decision seemed to come more painfully upon him ; the joy and hope that had filled his life seemed vanished all at once, and in its stead he saw a dim dark future, the only light of which would be the remembrance of Nesta. Sad hearts make the shadows for themselves, but as life goes on, gleams of light creep out beneath them, and where the flood is darkest and deepest, the bank is starred by little blue forget-me-nots that have caught the tints of Heaven.
ON THE BRINK OF TWO WORLDS.
Angels of Life and Death alike are His.—Longfellow.
WILL you come down after breakfast, and see me sail my boat?' said Dick, the moment they were seated. It was a new boat that Mr. Newton had rigged for him much to Babette's alarm and displeasure.
No, Dick, you must manage your boat without me, I am afraid, he added, turning to Mr. Stanley; 'I must return to England immediately; in fact, I find this morning that I must be off without delay. I should like to walk up to the Mässingers to bid the old fellow good-bye, and then I hope to have my traps ready to start by the evening mail.'
: No bad news, I hope,' said Mr. Stanley.
“No, no ; though my movements are not exactly regulated by pleasure.'