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lot; for Philip was never irritable, and rarely allowed her to witness his attacks of despondency. But who can deceive a woman, especially a true-hearted one, who knows herself wanting, and who is prepared, at all points, for any of the emergencies of life? And Helen was prepared, and ready, at any moment, to be up and doing “with a heart for every fate.” Her great trial rose in the person of Mrs. Wraxham, Philip's cousin; for that baneful woman seemed to be ever at hand to worki mischief and to do ill. To induce Philip to sue for a divorce from his banished wife had, in the early days of the separation, been her constant endeavour, and once she had nearly succeeded in her object. The occasion alluded to was that of her presenting her cousin with a letter, 'which, she averred, she had opened by mistake. It was addressed to Lady Thornleigh, and contained these few lines:
"I cannot discover the exact date of the death, for, as you are well aware, we had parted company some time before I told you of the report. I remained with him as long as I could venture to associate with one whose character was blackening day by day; if I can learn anything further on a subject of such vital importance to your son's interests, you shall be the first to be informed of
This letter was shown to Thornleigh about a month after Gertrude's flight. It had neither date nor signature, but was written in the hand he knew so well, and had such fatal reasons for remembering! He asked no questions of his cousin as to the manner in which the letter fell into her hands, but read it with deep attention, and then pondered deeply on its contents.
No light was (through those written words) thrown on the mystery which veiled Lady Thornleigh's conduct; but, on the contrary, the darkness had become deeper and more impenetrable than ever. Philip shrank from rushing into it shrank as do those who, when constrained to move within a room where thick darkness reigns, recoil in affright from imaginary obstacles, holding out protecting hands to save themselves from blows and pain. But Mrs. Wraxham, persevering, restless, and ambitious, would not allow him to take the side of mercy with impunitý, nor suffer the man by whom her vanity had been" wounded to escape unpunished. She had her surmises likewise, to which many a small corroborative testimony lent weight, that in Lady Thornleigh's early history there was that which might affect the legitimacy of the heir apparent to Philip's title and estates.
1: To describe the manner in which, by means of these conjectures, she tortured her unhappy cousin, would be impossible.'She threatened law proceedings in the event of her surviving him, for shel was for ever indulging the hope that Thornleigh Abbey might still be hers, and her son's after her. She was as a thorn in his side, and as a perpetual blister to an irritating wound. It was only Helen who could soothe him when he was thus tried and wearied by many cares only Helen who could whisper words of comfort, and lay his spirit, like that of a tired child, to rest.
But in the heart of neither Philip nor Helen was the voice of conscience mute, for there were moments when the latter doubted the existence of the one cause for the which alone, by the laws of God, a wife may be "put away;" and Helen, even while she strove to
believe that she had not erred in returning to her wifelike duties, and in breathing again her vows of truthful love, trembled oft-times in the silence of the night, and feared to pray for a blessing on their lives.
And thus they lived together. Not openly and world-defyingly, nor with the passionate love of their early years tingling through their veins. But an affection, born of their former deep devotion, and nursed by the tender compassion that each felt for each, filled their hearts; and together, half in sorrow and half in gladness, they passed their years away,
"Thank you pour homme aucun vraj malbouer qui est de se trouver en faute,
Les malheureux qui ont de, l'esprit, trouvent d
des ressources en
When Helen 'left the bed in which lay the mortal remains of Philip, she broke forth into no vehement expressions of grief or of despair. She was, as we have shown, not a woman of many tears, for her nerves were strong, and the connection between them and what is called feeling is often near enough. She closed the eyes that had looked their last upon her, and after pressing a tender, reverential kiss upon his clay-cold brow, she left him there alone. Very near to those dear remains she laid her down; and then, wearied with watching, she fell into a deep and untroubled slumber.
Who has not experienced a dislike almost amounting to loathing to the bright lustre of the morning sun, when it shines upon the awakening to a great sorrow? What business has it there, that glowing, mocking light? And thus asking, we shun and shrink from it; and covering our faces with a mantle, we turn them to the wall. Even thus did Helen feel, when (awakening after the heavy sleep of utter exhaustion) she knew that another day, with its sorrows, its trials, and its responsibilities, had dawned upon her life.
She was no longer young, and the elasticity of her. Recommended to Mercy. I.
spirit had lost something of its spring; moreover she had enjoyed a long respite from grief and anxiety, and we all know how unwelcome is often the necessity for exertion, after a period of protracted rest.
She was close to him. A door, that she half fancied was open, led from that room into the one on the couch of which she had thrown herself. It had been his dressing-room, and all within it spoke of the daily habits of him who would enter'it no more. On one table were costly ornaments of crystal and of china;
another, the luxurious toilet wstood displayed."
"Each silver vase in mystic order laid." His last toilet had been made now, and that'masterpiece of expensive ingenuity, the dressing-case, whose cost might have served as a little fortune, conducive, perhaps, to the saving both of a soul and body, must be laid by as a wasted thing: Flashing across the brain of the waking and half-bewildered woman came some such thoughts as these, and then, remembering the goodness and mercy of Him who knoweth all things, she prayed that the sins of omission engendered by force of habit, might not be recorded against him whose soul that night had been required of him. She rose from her couch as if moved by no will of hers; for at that moment, life seemed to have for her neither an object nor a wish. She had not undressed ere she slept, and haggard and worn was the face she saw. reflected in the large mirror, as she stood before it. For the first time in her life a feeling of utter despondency stole over her, and creeping back to her pillow, she turned her face again to the wall and groaned aloud.