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she was not in truth husbandless, the se- to Rosseau there was a moment when, quel would prove her conviction, unsup- touched by something he had said, she ported by a shred of evidence or even had almost broken her reserve and thrown probability, to be right? The answer she herself weeping upon his breast. She had made to this, woman-like, was illogical; a woman's tenderness of heart, and she but not the less was the idea to be dis- had also a woman's weakness for symmissed from her thoughts. She simply en- pathy. Nor, given a worthy subject, such tertained the conviction; and, continuing as she had near her, on whom to expend to nurse it in her mind, it became the more her worship and love, was she to be chiddifficult, if not impossible, Leighton found, den for showing that she was but a woman. to dislodge it. To this extent, however, Her life, save for the passing gleam of the two cases were not parallel, and the wedded felicity, had had more than its discovery appeared to give comfort to his share of gloom and sorrow.
Should we surpassingly sweet companion. In the wonder now, when Love came again offercase of Leighton's friend, the husband had, ing to brighten that life with sunshine, that from mere motives of vanity, concealed she should peer behind the veil of her widhis escape from death; for in his fall he owhood at the little god's fair face? had not been killed, though he had per- On the return to Maplehurst, Leighton manently injured his spine. In poor Wil- and Lady Isabel, as we have already said, ton's case, had the accident not been fatal found themselves volubly catechized by - such at least was Isabel's argument- Mrs. Kinglake as to the cause of their his motive, she was sure, was not vanity, tardy appearance. In this lady's mouth but, being a man of great refinement of the catechizings, however, were a bit of feeling, delicate concern for herself. Only pleasant banter, not a seriously intended for her elopement with Wilton, Leighton interrogation. Knowing this to be the was reminded, she would have had to case, the interrogations were met by swallow her loathing and marry, as her Leighton's jocose answer that after borfather insisted, a gilded hunchback. It rowing a carriage and span it was incumwas the knowledge of this, as well as of bent upon them to go and return them. his probably crippled and helpless condi- Late in the evening of the same day the tion, that made it bitter for her husband steamer arrived from the foot of the lakes, to return to her. Rather than disclose the bringing Mr. Lewis and his son-in-law. fact that in his disablement and deformity Mr. Kinglake brought news from Toronto he still lived, he preferred - so Isabel ar- which, while it cast a gloom over the party gued — that she should think him dead. and was the cause of much indecision and
To all this what could Leighton say, hesitancy of action, strangely emphasized what argument could he possibly use, that the afternoon's colloquy between Lady would not wound the feelings of the beau- Isabel and Leighton. This was nothing tiful woman by his side, if he attempted less than the confirmation of Isabel's longto treat her cherished convictions as illu- cherished conviction that her husband still sory? He saw this and compassionately re- lived. Mr. Kinglake, it seems, had found frained. Yet would he have been willing, a cablegram at Toronto from his partner if the way had beun plain, to have dissuaded in London, saying that among the personal Lady Isabel from her broodings, to urge letters that, in his absence, had come to her to be kind only to herself, and to lure the office for him, was one from the Contiher thoughts to a new lover. With his nent, marked on the envelope “Immedisympathetic disposition and chivalrous na- ate.) This, it was found, was a message ture, he could not bear, however, to turn dictated by Mr. Wilton, from a monastery the loved one at his side from her dear in the Austrian Tyrol, informing his cormisery, far less obtrude himself and his respondent that he was still alive, and own happiness upon one whose heart was that, though his life had been prolonged bound up in being loyal to its first and for four years since his accident and disperhaps only love. Yet Isabel was neither
appearance, he was now dying, and wished morbid nor callous in her sorrow. Her Mr. Kinglake to bring Lady Isabel, if she heart, she herself admitted, was suscepti- was still unmarried, to his side. To none ble to new influences; and time was gra- of the party did the news come with less ciously, if slowly, doing its work. For surprise than to her who had allowed herLeighton she felt - she hardly knew why self to be persuaded that she was a widow. - a real affection; and on the drive back Mrs. Kinglake, of the two ladies, was
indeed the more visibly affected. Over-' in the earliest steamer had been secured come with emotion, this loving friend and by telegraph; and a messenger was to meet confidante threw her arms around Isabel, them at the station to say if it was necesbewailed the poor wife's unhappy fate, and sary that, to catch the steamer, Lady pleaded to be taken home with her on her Isabel should go on to Quebec that night. sad mission. The necessity of instant ac- There was therefore little time for hesitation, in whatever was to be done, all ad- tion. Moreover, there was no one of the mitted; though so suddenly had the news party but felt that not only would their come upon them that no one was prepared fair friend be safe in Leighton's care, but at first with a suggestion. The first to that it would be the greatest kindness to break silence was Lady Isabel herself. her that one who had so deservedly gained With a kiss she disengaged herself from their whole confidence should be permitMrs. Kinglake's embrace and said kindly ted, as he wished, in her hour of trial, to but firmly that she would go at once serve her. When they arrived at Toronto, to England and go alone. Each of the they found that Isabel must go on at once. party endeavored to induce her to accept In the now bitter parting and on a journey Mrs. Kinglake's company, at least as far which would put to the strain every feelas England, but of this Isabel would not ing and emotion, no one could gainsay that hear; nor would she even accept a Leighton should be Isabel's convoy.
So voy to Quebec. All she would agree to wrung with sorrow was the poor lady's was the return of her friends in the morn- heart, that she herself seemed a passive ing to Toronto. From there she would agent in the arrangements that had been alone proceed to Quebec and take the first kindly made for her. Farewells were haststeamer to England. As no argument of ily said, and with a hurried exchange of love or fear could dissuade her from this addresses, to govern future corresponddecision, the whole party found themselves ence on both sides, the east-bound train the following morning proceeding down severed Lady Isabel from her friends, the lakes, and early in the afternoon they and Leighton also took cordial leave of took train at Gravenhurst for Toronto. those who were now bound for the West.
The young Canadian artist, we need Very touching was the wail that broke hardly say, was of the party. Leighton's from the heart of poor Lady Isabel as relations, not only with the ladies, but she now experienced what it was to part with the two English gentlemen, were by from friends who had been so kind and this time of the inost cordial, indeed inti- dear to her, and began to realize what it mate, character. Besides being apprised meant to commit herself to the mission of Leighton's gallant rescue of, and subse- on which she was about to set out alone. quent kind service to, Lady Isabel and Mrs. Putting her hand in Leighton's, she acKinglake, Mr. Lewis and his son-in-law knowledged with a look of infinite sadhad learned much while at Toronto of the ness that, so far, she was not alone. artist's social and professional repute, and Presently she added that she owed more of his great kindness of heart. Both at to Leighton's kindness and outflowing Quebec and at the lakes they had also sympathy than she had ever hoped to their own experience and had formed a receive, or ever again to accept, from one favorable opinion of Leighton. So highly
of his sex. To these heartfelt words the did they think of him that between them- young artist was fain to reply; but his selves they had begun to talk of him as a compassionate heart was too full for probable future husband for Isabel. Be- utterance. He could but look tenderly fore the telegram had been received from into the divine face before him; and, ere England, the two gentlemen had resolved the fair soft hand was withdrawn, raise it upon asking the artist to go with them as reverently to his lips. their guest to the Northwest. Under these In the long journey to the old historic circumstances it was natural that Leighton seaport there was no attention that Leighshould be of their party in the return to ton failed to pay his companion; nor was Toronto; and it was even now being de- there even an unexpressed wish of her bated whether they should not consent to heart that he did not endeavor to anticihis accompanying Isabel to Quebec, as he pate. Nor, on Lady Isabel's part, was had offered to do, prompted by feelings of there aught of all his loving-kindness that the deepest commiseration and respect. passed unnoticed by her, or that failed by
On the way down to Toronto, a passage look at least to find acknowledgment. But never for a moment did Leighton for- one thing Leighton was not left in doubt, get that the dear traveller by his side was and that came out quite naturally in their still wife and not widow. The conscious- talk down the river. The old love, he saw, ness of this—novel under the circumstances was not dead in Lady Isabel's heart, and as it was, and suddenly as the fact had the message from the far-off monastery, it come upon them — was indeed clear in the was clear, had revived in her breast more minds of both. To Leighton this con- than the sense of duty. sciousness carried a pang to his heart, for By this time the evening had come on, did it not suggest to him that Wilton and the steamer's pulsing screw was fast might recover, and that in that event he bringing separation to both loved and could never be Isabel's wooer ? Whatever lover. Hurried now were the parting words might betide, her lover, he felt, he must of the two, though the emotion of both be; and yet it seemed hard that he must made those words few and fitful. The continue to love but never possess. But steamer at first slowed, and then stopped; possession just now was not, and in truth next came the sound of shuffling feet along had scarcely ever been, in Leighton's the deck and the touch on Leighton's thoughts. It was nearness to, not posses- shoulder of the hand of the shore-going sion of, his idol that he longed for; and pilot. Isabel now rose and held out her now his fears mocked him with the dread hand with words of broken farewell. thought that the separation might be for- Leighton, greatly moved, was about to ever. Some inkling of what was passing raise the dear hand to his lips, when, with through his brain seemed to occur to a swooning cry, she withdrew it from his Isabel, for, just as they were approaching grasp and flung both arms around the neck Quebec, and had the evening before them of her lover. The captain called to him ere they were to be parted by the mor- that in another moment the ship would be row's steamer, she asked him if they off; but Leighton did not need, though he might not walk out together to the little must heed, the warning. Twining his chapel in the suburbs where they had arms around the slight figure that hung on first met. To this Leighton readily agreed, his breast, he bore it to a seat near by, and thither, after dinner at the St. Louis, fervently kissing, as he did so, the lips of they went, spending an hour together in the woman he loved. Recommitting his the chapel. A service was being held charge to the captain's care, he bounded when they reached the place, in which to the open gangway at the steamer's side, both joined, the fair and reverent English- caught the rope ladder, and was gone. woman staying for a brief while thereafter in silent prayer at the altar.
More than a year has passed since the Early in the morning Leighton saw his occurrence of the events we have related, dear charge transferred to the steamer, and Leighton still finds himself in the the poor lady endeavoring with but ill suc- thrall of his consuming love. Within a cess to keep up the appearance of being month after the parting scene
on the stayed by a stout heart. To her unfeigned waters of the lower St. Lawrence, the delight, Leighton, through the courtesy queenly Isabel became in reality a widow. of the captain, whom he had previously Arriving duly at Liverpool, she hastened known, brought her the news that he was at once to the Continent and made no halt permitted to accompany her down the St. until she reached the monastery in the Lawrence as far as Rimouski, where they Bavarian Alps on the northern frontier of would stop for the mails and to land the river the Tyrol. When she was admitted to the pilot. In her loneliness and affliction she hospital of the Order, the good priest who felt deeply thankful for what she rever- took her name said compassionately that ently termed «this new mercy.” In the her husband still lived, but that in another passage down the river Leighton consid- day it would have been too late. Poor erately tried to divert her thoughts from Wilton, she found, was barely conscious; her brooding trouble. Even his own sor- the angel of death was even now hovering row he put aside by giving Isabel some over his pallet. The same evening he died practical counsel as to how she was to and on the morrow was buried. proceed in the different stages of the long Just before the end there was a brief journey before her. What were to be the lucid moment, during which the wan face issues of this journey neither could foresee, of the dying man was lit by a brief ray of and so neither referred to the future. Of recognition. This, with a feeble pressure
of the hand, was all the solace that was flowers on her husband's grave, and tryvouchsafed to the disconsolate wife. It ing to read the riddle of life in the preswas too late to receive from Wilton's own ence of the eternal hills. At the village lips the story of his escape from death and she was joined by her aunt, to whom the the motives which led him to hide from Kinglakes had written, giving her the his wife what had really occurred and his few facts that were in their possession, place of concealment. Lady Isabel had and begging her to have a care of Isabel, the facts afterwards narrated to her by the as they knew she would, until their reabbot of the monastery. These, however, turn to England. we need not recite, as, curiously enough, This lady, who was much attached to they closely corresponded with what had her niece, took the bereaved widow from long been her own convictions. But it the Tyrol to her home in Devon, and did was not, it seems, the injuries her hus- much to bring back to her cheek the hue band met with in his fall from the cliff of health and to her mind its wonted tone that killed him, though they left him and vigor. In this she was greatly assisted maimed and deformed. More than three by the return of the Kinglakes, with years after the occurrence a gloom fell whom, after a while, Isabel went to reupon the poor man, and at times he was side. the victim of strange delusions. During In the meantime, the reader will doubtone of these periods of mental alienation less ask, what of Leighton? He, poor felhe made an attempt upon his own life, and low, for a year after he heard of Wilton's it was from the effects of this that he died. death, had his days of uncertainty and
After Wilton's death, one of the friars nights of tribulation. Isabel of course corof the monastery, who was a special fa- responded with him, though at first at long vorite of the deceased artist, put a packet intervals. His delicacy of feeling prein Lady Isabel's hands, which in view vented him from obtruding more frequentof his death had been entrusted to his ly with his own letters. But he had become
The packet contained, beside some a fast friend of the Kinglakes, and both pathetic references to the blight that had husband and wife were his regular correfallen upon both their lives, a memoran- spondents. It was chiefly through them dum of moneys due to him, which he that he heard of the object of his affecbequeathed to his wife, from the sale of tions; and in fragments of their epistles, pictures from his brush that had been and on messages occasionally enclosed in sent from time to time to Munich while them from Isabel, he kept his love alive. he was cloistered in the monastery. Of late, however, he had heard more often, These pictures had commanded high fig- and directly, from the regal widow, and ures, though the name of the painter had always in terms of unmistakable affection. never been disclosed; and the price Wil- It was from her he learned that Mr. Lewis's ton had received for them had enabled sons were not going that year to Canada, him not only to become a princely patron but that they would sail early in the folof the monastery but to leave a comforta- lowing spring, accompanied by their sisble sum to his widow. The subjects of ter and her husband, Mr. Kinglake. By the paintings were chiefly ecclesiastical; the following mail Leighton received a many of them being Madonnas of such letter from Mr. Lewis himself, confirming rare beauty that they had been sought the news Isabel had given him and extendafter as altar ornaments by the great ing a cordial invitation to him to visit dignitaries of the Church. One of these England as his guest. This Leighton was the artist had set aside in the monastery sorely tempted to do, and indeed, before as a gift to his wife; and the poor friar receiving the invitation, he had resolved who informed Isabel of the fact was rash upon a trip to the Old World on his own acenough to add that the faces of all the count. This he found, however, from the Madonnas were replicas of the face of her number of commissions that now crowded with whom he now spoke. For this car- upon him as a rising artist, was at present nal but natural remark, the poor monk, out of the question. Perhaps later on in no doubt, would speedily scourge himself the year, he added, the project might be and do humble penance.
undertaken. For a month or more after the burial of To Mrs. Kinglake he wrote, begging her Wilton, Lady Isabel lingered in the vil- to intercede with Destiny in his behalf, that lage hard by the monastery, tending the it might be possible for him soon to be in
not this time as a visitor, but as an immigrant and settler. Leighton, though he could not go to England in person for a wife, found that the woman he loved was gracious enough to consent to be wooed and won by correspondence !
England. Never was lover, he confessed, more eager to worship at the shrine of his love. Meantime, with what patience he could command, he would live on hope and hourly offer up the incense of his devotion.
Since despatching to Mr. Lewis his apologies for inability to accept his invitation some months have elapsed; and Leighton now finds that he is compelled to abandon his visit to England. The regret which this news occasioned to all has given place to joy in Leighton's mind at the announcement contained in a late letter from Mrs. Kinglake. This letter informed the artist that the writer and her husband were to accompany her brothers (Mr. Lewis's sons) in the spring to Canada, and that Lady Isabel was to be of the party. The following mail brought the artist another letter, from the same friendly correspondent, with an explanation of Lady Isabel's design in consenting to come to Canada. The explanation was not needed by Leighton, for he had already, and from a more direct source, been apprised of its purport. It is, however, due to the reader that we should divulge this lover's secret. It is that Lady Isabel is coming to Canada,
Our story is now told.
In the spring the little chapel at Quebec is to be decked with flowers, not for a peasant's but for an artist's wedding. For the happy event Leighton has already written a nuptial ode which is at once a Song of Welcome and an Epithalamium. The ode, which is being set to music, is to be sung by some of the best voices drawn from the choirs of the Quebec and Montreal churches. Nor is the event to be commemorated only by human agency. Nature in that happy spring time will awake from the torpor of her winter sleep and break into the glorious rhythmic chant of summer. Not man merely, but the whole world about us, is under the thrall of love. The woods, therefore, will deck themselves in their brightest attire, and every stream under Canadian skies will, at the coming of the Lady Isabel, rejoice and be glad.
G. MERCER ADAM.