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weakness, and resolved to "be very kind" to her still. He could be kind with perfect safety now that he was going to be married, and he had always been fond of Anne.


MISS PARKER turned out to be very like her photograph-a pretty person, with a very elaborate coiffure, and a very handsome dress; thoroughly trained in London society, full of references to dear Lady Julia and the parties at Stafford House. She asked Anne whether she was going to Lady Uppingham's that night, and told her that she understood it was to be the first of a series of parties, and wasn't it delightful? Everything was so charmingly managed at dear Lady Uppingham's. She had such taste. Now, the Hartleys had never been in the way of such supreme delight as Lady Uppingham's parties, and poor little Cinderella-Anne did not know what answer to make. Fortunately for her, a little sense of fun came in to help her while she was undergoing these interrogations-invaluable auxiliary for which those who possess it cannot be too thankful. The humor of the situation saved her. But Mrs. Hartley was much impressed by the aspect of her new daughter-in-law.

"They are evidently in the very first society, Anne," she said, "as, of course, was to be expected in their position. What a thing for Francis to be among people who will appreciate him. There is only one thing that troubles me."

"What is that, aunt ?"

"Her health, my dear," said Mrs. Hartley, solemnly shaking her head.

"Oh, her health!" said Anne, with something of the contempt of youth and strength. "What danger could there be about any one's health at twenty ?"

And she paid no attention to her aunt's maunderings (as I am afraid she thought them) about the character of Miss Parker's complexion, its variableness, and delicacy of tint. Indeed, poor Anne had enough to think of without that. She had to conceal her own feelings and master her own heart. And she had to endure the affectionateness of Francis, who was more "kind" than he had ever been before, and would indeed be tender to her when he saw her alone, until, between despite and bitterness, and proud sense of injury, and a still prouder determination not to show her sufferings, Anne felt often as if her heart would break. Fortu


nately, he was not often at home in the evenings, and at other times she could keep herself out of his way.

And then came the marriage, an event of which Anne was almost glad, as it ended this painful interval, and carried Francis away to another house, where he could no longer gall her by his kindness, or touch her heart by old tones and looks, such as she had loved unawares all her life. Poor Anne -she played her part so well, that no one suspected her; or rather, better still, the sisters who had suspected her decided that they had been mistaken. Mrs. Hartley had never taken any notice at all; and if any one in the house had a lingering consciousness that Anne was not quite as she was before, it was John, the second son, a very quiet fellow, who communicated his ideas to no one, and never gave to Anne herself the least reason to believe that he had found her out. After the wedding, however, when all the excitement was over, Anne fell ill. No, she was not ill, but she was pale and languid, and listless, and easily tired, and so frightened Mrs. Hartley, that she sent for the doctor, who looked wise, and ordered quinine, and hinted something about codliver oil. As Mrs. Hartley, however, was able to assure him, which she did with much vivacity and some pride, that disease of the lungs had never been known in her family, Anne was delivered from that terrible remedy. No, she was not ill, whatever the doctor might say. doctor might say. She was, as all highly strung and delicate organizations are, whom sheer "pluck" and spirit have carried through a mental or bodily fatigue which is quite beyond their powers. The moment that the

heart fails, the strength goes; and when the great necessity for strain and exertion was over, Anne's heart did fail her. Life seemed to stop short somehow. It grew fade, monotonous, a seemingly endless stretch of blank routine, with no further motive for exertion in it. All was flat and blank, which a little while before had been so bright. She made no outcry against Providence, nor did she envy Miss Parker, now Mrs. Francis Hartley, or bemoan her own different fate. Anne was too sensible and too genuine for any of these theatrical expedients. cursed nobody; she blamed nobody; but her heart failed her: it was all that could be said. Her occupations and amusements had been of the simplest kind; nothing in them at all, indeed, but the spirit and force of joyous, youthful life, with which she threw herself into everything; and now that spirit was


gone, how tedious and unmeaning they all seemed.

At this dreary time, however, Anne had one distraction which often answers very well in the circumstances, and, indeed, has been known to turn evil into good in a manner wonderful to behold. She had a lover. This lover was the Rector of the parish, a good man, who was one of Mrs. Hartley's most frequent visitors, and a very eligible person indeed. Everybody felt that had it been a luckless curate without a penny, it would have been much more in Anne's way, who had not a penny herself. And probbably had it been so, Letty and Susan said, with justifiable vexation, Anne would have fancied him out of pure perversity. For the first moment, indeed, she seemed disposed to "fancy" the Rector. Here would be the change she longed for. She would escape at least from what was intolerable around her. But after a while there seized upon Anne a visionary disgust for the life within her reach, which was almost stronger than the weariness she had felt with her actual existence. And she dismissed, almost with impatience, the good man who might have made her happy. Perhaps, however, Mr. Herbert was not altogether discouraged; he begged to be considered a friend still; he came to the house as before. He was of use to Anne, though she would not have acknowledged it; and perhaps in the natural course of affairs, had nothing supervened, a pleasant termination might have come to the little romance, and all would have been well.

"The Francis Hartleys" came back after a while and settled in their new house amid all the splendors of bridal finery. They "went out" a great deal, and happily had not much time to devote to "old Mrs. Hartley," who liked that title as little as most people do. Mrs. Francis was a very fine and a very pretty bride. She was a spoiled child, accustomed to all manner of indulgences, and trained in that supreme self-regard which is of all dispositions of the mind the most inhuman, the least pardonable by others. It was not her fault, Anne would sometimes say with perhaps something of the toleration of contempt. She had been brought up to it; from her earliest years she had been the monarch of all she surveyed; her comfort, the highest necessity on earth; her pleasure, the law of everybody about her. Sometimes even this worst of all possible trainings does a generous spirit no harm; but poor little Mrs. Francis had

neither a generous spirit nor those qualities of imagination and humor which keep people often from making themselves odious or ridiculous. She had frankly adopted the pleasant doctrine of her own importance, and saw nothing that was not reasonable and natural in it. Further, the fact crept out by degrees that Mrs. Francis had a temper: undisciplined in everything, she was also undisciplined in this, and even in presence of his family would burst into little explosions of wrath against her husband, which filled the well-bred Hartleys with incredulous dismay. At these moments her pink color would flush into scarlet, her bosom would pant, her breath come short, and circles of excitement would form round her eyes. The pretty white of her forehead and neck became stained with patches of furious red, and the pretty little creature herself blazed into a small fury out of the smooth conventional being she generally appeared. That Francis soon became afraid of these ebullitions, and that Mrs. Francis was often ill after them, was very soon evident to his family. He came more to his mother as time went on, and though he did not speak of domestic discomfort, there was a tone in his voice, an under-current of bitterness in what he said, that did not escape even less keen observers than Anne. She, poor girl, had managed with infinite trouble to withdraw herself from the dangerous intimacy which her cousin had tried to thrust upon her. It was better, she felt, to allow him to draw conclusions favorable to his vanity than to permit him to hold her hand, to show her a tenderness which was fatal to her, and unbecoming in him. She gained her point, though not without difficulty, and it would be impossible to describe the mixture of softening compassion, sympathy, pain and contempt, with which Anne came to regard the man whom she had loved unawares all her life. Yes, even contempt-though perhaps it was not his fault, poor fellow, that he was under that contemptible sway of weakness, which even the strong have to bow to, when an ungoverned temper is conjoined with a delicate frame and precarious health. But it was his fault that he had married a woman for whom he had no real love, no feeling strong enough to give him influence with her, or power over her; and it was his fault that he came back and made bitter speeches at his mother's fire-side instead of making some effort worthy of a man to get his own life in tune. These were the reflections of an inexperienced girl, one of

the hardest judges to whose sentence weak human nature can be exposed. Anne began to look on pitying, to feel herself disentangled from the melancholy imbroglio, regarding it with keen and somewhat bitter interest, but no personal feeling. The position was painful to her, but yet buoyed her up with a certain sense of superiority to the man who had wronged her.


THE threads of Fate which tangle round unwary feet and bring them by all kinds of unthought-of paths to fall into some tragic net, are only now spoken of in melodramain the primitive and artless exhibitions of dramatic art which please the vulgar; and when we speak more piously of Providence, we attribute to that benign power those plans which bring happiness and well-being, and not those darker evils of circumstance which lead to misery or death. And yet it is still true that at the most unguarded moment the darkest cloud may rise on a blameless life-that innocence may be made to bear the guise of guilt, and heart and soul may be petrified, and all bright prospects and happy hopes come to nothing by an unconsidered momentary act. So long as this dread possibility remains, tragedy cannot be far from the most commonplace existence. And thus it was that the innocent days of Anne Maturin, most commonplace, most ordinary as they were, were suddenly swept into a destroying current, which ravaged the best part of her existence before it finally left her exhausted on the strand to snatch a late and shadowed peace.

Francis had been for some time married, and all the evils attending his marriage had become known to his family, as well as the social success and advancement which made a large counterpoise in favor of his wife, when one day he arrived at his mother's house breathless and excited.

"I want you to come to Maria directly, mother," he said. "I want you or Anne. She has had a worse attack than usual, and is really ill. Her mother is in Ireland, heavens be praised! I don't want Lady Parker in my house. I have sent for the doctor, and there is no one but the maids to be with her. She won't have me."

"Won't have you, Francis? Why?" "Oh, it is needless entering into particulars," he said, with rising color. "The past is enough. But, in the meantime, if you would go to her,—or Anne."

"Anne can go.

to be of much use in a sick-room, and you know how it knocks me up," said Mrs. Hartley, who could sit up night after night with Letty or Susan without thinking of fatigue. "But Anne will go. Anne, my dear, put on your bonnet at once."

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"Will Mrs. Francis like to have me? said Anne, hesitating. It was no very pleasant office for her, but she no more thought of resisting Mrs. Hartley's disposal of her, than did that lady of recommending that she should go directly. Letty or Susan would have been consulted-would have been allowed their own opinion on the subject; but on Anne all such punctilios would have been thrown away.

"Of course she will like to have you," said the old lady, and Anne obeyed without further struggle.

She walked with her cousin to his house, checking the confidence which he seemed to wish to bestow upon her.

"Never mind the cause," she said. "If your wife is ill I will be of what use I can, Francis. What does it matter how it came about?"

"Perhaps you are right," said Francis sullenly. He was excited, angry, and yet frightened. "She has never been crossed all her life," he said, with a half apologetic, half-resentful air. "I don't know what is to come of it, for my part. When a woman is married, how is it possible to keep up all those pretty fictions about her? She must get to understand the necessities of life.”

Anne made no reply. How strange was it that this man, for whom she herself would have undergone anything, should thus murmur to her over the difficulties of the lot he had chosen! Her heart swelled with a certain proud indignation, but with that came a feeling of natural repulsion, almost of disgust. Had she made a similar failure, how proudly, with what desperation, would she have concealed it from him! But he, if she would have permitted him, would have bemoaned himself to her. Was this another of the characteristic differences between men and women, or was it individual feebleness, cowardice on the part of Francis? She turned from him, feeling herself expelled and alienated. She had never felt her individuality more distinct, or her independence more dear to her. She had nothing to do with him or his house or his troubles, thank Heaven! She would help if she could, but she had neither part nor lot with them. Her life might be dismal enough, but yet it would

As for me, I am too old be her own.

With these thoughts in her mind, she put | aside her bonnet and cloak, and went into the room of the patient. Mrs. Francis lay raised up on pillows, breathing quick, and with a high and unnatural color. When she saw her husband she uttered a shrill shriek. "Oh, go away, go out of my sight, monster. I know what you want. You want to kill me and be rid of me. Send for mamma, and go, go, go away. I hate you; go away. What did you marry me for, to bring me to misery? Go away, go away, go away."

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Maria," said Francis, who was trembling with passion, "I have brought my cousin to be with you. I cannot alarm your mother for so little. I have sent for the doctor, who will be here directly, and here is Anne to do what she may. You know the remedy is in your own hands."


Oh, is it Anne?" said Mrs. Francis. "Come in, Cinderella-Anne; so they have sent you, because you can't help yourself. It is like the Hartleys. Come in, Cinderella; come here. Oh, you didn't know he called you Cinderella, did you? But I can tell you some pleasant things. Oh, help me, help me; give me something. I shall be suffocated. I shall die."

The sudden change in her tone was caused by a fresh paroxysm of her malady. She placed her hands upon her side, and panted and struggled for breath, with great patches of scarlet upon her whiteness, while the bed on which she lay vibrated with the terrible struggle. Anne forgot even the sharp impression which Mrs. Francis' words had made upon her, in natural compassion and terror. She rushed to the window and threw it open. She hastened to the bedside to take the place of the terrified maid, who, uttering as many exclamations as her mistress had done, wavered, and trembled in her task of holding up the pillows which supported the sufferer. "Go away; go away," Anne said sharply to her cousin. She, too! Sullen, angry, miserable, Francis went out of the sick-room, and left the woman he had slighted alone to tend the woman he had preferred, with the comfortable conviction that all the utterances of his vanity by which he had amused his bride at the expense of his cousin, were now about to reach that cousin's ears. What a fool he was to have brought Anne, to expose her and himself to such an ordeal! The other one, confound her! ought to have the penalty of her own folly. But when the thought had passed through his mind, Fran

cis Hartley, who was not bad, was ashamed of himself. She was in real danger, which touches the hardest heart; and she was so young, and his wife.

The paroxysm ended after a time, and the doctor came, and the ignorant panic of the attendants was somewhat mitigated. The doctor was one who had watched over Miss Parker through all her youthful existence, and he was very severe upon her husband for allowing her to be excited.

"Don't you know she will die one of these days if this is repeated ?" he said, somewhat sternly. "Did not I warn you of the state she was in when you married her? Did not I tell you that she must not be crossed ?" For God's sake, Doctor, listen to reason," cried the unhappy Francis. "How is it possible for a woman to marry and enter upon the cares of life without being crossed ?" The doctor shrugged his shoulders.


"Thank Heaven, that is your affair, not mine," he said. "I only tell you the fact, if you don't give over exciting her or allowing her to be excited, she will die."

"It is not I who excite her, she excites herself," said Francis, sullenly; but then instinct came in to remind him that domestic squabbles must not be published. "I will do my best, Doctor," he said. "In the meantime, my presence seems to excite her, would you advise me to keep away?"

"Till she wants you," said the doctor; "it might be as well perhaps. Miss Maturin, whom I left with her, seems very kind and attentive. I have left full instructions with her, and a gentle opiate to be taken at night. That, I hope, will give her some sleep and perfect quiet. I must insist upon that."

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The quiet was procured, the gentle opiate administered, and the patient had a good night. Anne's presence somehow-or so at least Francis thought-stilled the house. The maids no longer ran up and down the stairs to inquire for "my poor missis, sir," as they had done before, making Francis furious. He went and dined with his mother quietly, and she was sorry for him. "A married woman and not to be crossed, forsooth," the old lady cried. It was preposterous, beyond expression, and Francis went home more and more convinced of his grievances. The next morning he went up to inquire after his wife. Exhausted as she was, and ill as she had been, she received him with that sudden rallying of animosity, that flush of battle which often shows itself when an opportunity occurs of renewing a not fully terminated matrimonial quarrel.

"Oh, I am much better, I thank you," | said Mrs. Francis, with rising color. "It is quite kind of you to think of asking for me, at last."

"I would have come last night," said Francis. "I should not have left you at all, but that the doctor thought it best. He told me to keep away till you wanted me; but, you see, I could not consider myself banished so long as that."

"Oh, banished indeed," she said; "though, to be sure, perhaps you like to be here when Anne is here. She is fond of you, you know, fonder than I am, I suppose. But you did not marry her, Mr. Hartley. Oh, you may make faces at me as long as you like! Who was it that told me? Have you telegraphed

for mamma?"

"No," said Francis, whose face was white with passion; for Anne stood by all this time, hearing every word.

"No!" screamed his wife; "do you mean to kill me without letting her know? Oh, if she could only see what is being done to her child, or papa either! Oh, what a fool; what a fool I was to leave them who were so fond of me, and marry you, who never cared for me! Oh, what a fool I was! They took care of me-they never allowed me to be plagued; but you torment me about everything, about your mean housekeeping, and your money, and things I hate. Oh, I am going again, I am going! Send that man away. He has taken advantage of papa's position, and got to know people through us, and got himself pushed and taken out. That was all he wanted. Oh, my God, I am going, I am going! and it is he that has done it. Send him away! Send for mamma! Oh, I will leave him! I will have a separation! I will leave him. I hate him! I never cared for him!" she cried.

Mrs. Francis Hartley's maid was in the room hearing every word. And the doctor had paused on the top of the stairs and heard it also. And so did Anne, who stood by the bedside, with, as may be supposed, many a thought in her heart. Anne was not thinking of her own share in the matter, and when, on the doctor's entrance, Francis beckoned to her at the door and took her hand in his agony and begged her pardon in miserable tones, it was with scarcely any personal sensation that she answered him. She was humbled and wounded to the very heart to see him thus beaten down and humiliated. The impotent passion in his face, the rage, the shame, the miserable self

conviction were terrible to her. She seemed herself to be mortified and humbled in sight of his humiliation.

"Forgive you; I have nothing to forgive," she said. "I am very sorry for you," and then added more anxiously: "Go away, for God's sake, go away! you can do no good, and you may do harm. Go to your mother or one of the girls; but, at least, Francis, go! Go! there is nothing else to be said."

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He left her, doubly humiliated, with a flush of such exquisite pain upon his face as he scarcely thought himself capable of feeling. He was banished by both-by the one imperiously, by the other (which was worse) indifferently-and Anne-Anne, who had loved him, did not even think so much of him now as to be wounded by hearing what he had said of her; last and deepest affront a man can be called upon to bear.

Anne went back into the sick-room. She received renewed instructions from the doctor. Quiet once more, and, chiefly, not to let the husband come in to disturb the patient. "It was well meant, no doubt, but injudicious," the doctor said. Quiet was the chief thing, and a few drops of the opiate at bed-time-only a few drops. He left her, promising to return in the evening; and Anne, tired and pale, returned to the bedside and seated herself there. Wondering at herself, as at a woman in a book. How strange, that she should be there, the protector of Francis's wife, charged to keep Francis out of sight, to guard this woman's tranquillities. It was a very irony of circumstances. She sat, thus worn out and drowsy, while the pale, misty autumn day wore on, scarcely moving, lest she should disturb the patient in the half slumber, half stupor of her exhaustion. A maid came creeping elaborately on tip-toe into the room from time to time to ask if anything was wanted-if anything could be done-if Miss Maturin would take anything. Anne was sick at heart and worn out in body, and she was mortally afraid of the recurrence of another such scene. She rejected all these proposals with a wave of the hand, and an impatient "hush!" She kept the room in an unbroken silence, which gradually seemed to creep into her mind like a kind of trance. She was not sleeping, yet she seemed to be dreaming. The day lengthened, waned, sank into twilight. No sound was in it except the dropping of the ashes from the fire, the occasional movements of the sufferer in her bed, the stealthy footsteps

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