A Celebration of Women Writers


Daisy in the Field,
by Elizabeth Wetherell [aka Susan Warner] (1819-1885)
London: Frederick Warne and Co., n.d.

Part III of the "Daisy" Trilogy:
Melbourne House, Daisy, Daisy in the Field


DAISY IN THE FIELD

BY
ELIZABETH WETHERELL

Author of "The Wide Wide World." "Queechy" etc. etc.

LONDON
FREDERICK WARNE AND CO.


CONTENTS

I. THE FIRST SMOKE OF THE BATTLEFIELD
II. AT THE RENDEZVOUS
III.IN REVIEW
IV. ON FOOT
V. ON HORSEBACK
VI. IN THE FIRE
VII. DETAILED FOR DUTY
VIII. DAISY'S POST
IX. SKIRMISHING
X. WAITING
XI. A VICTORY
XII. AN ENGAGEMENT
XIII. A TRUCE
XIV. FLIGHT
XV. OLD BATTLEFIELDS
XVI. THE FORLORN HOPE
XVII.OUT OF THE SMOKE
XVIII. A MARKED BATTERY
XIX. ONE FALLEN
XX. THE WOUNDED
XXI. THE HOSPITAL
XXII. ORDERS
XXIII. "HERE!"

 


"My half-day's work is done;
And this is all my part –
I give a patient God
   My patient heart.

"And clasp his banner still,
Though all the blue be dim.
These stripes, no less than stars,
   Lead after Him."


CHAPTER I.
THE FIRST SMOKE OF THE BATTLEFIELD.

WHILE Miss Cardigan went with her nephew to the door, I remained standing by the fire, which could have witnessed to so much done around it that night. I felt strong, but I remember my cheeks had an odd sensation as if the blood had left them. I did not know Miss Cardigan had come back, till I saw her standing beside me and looking at me anxiously.

"Will you go and lie down now, my lamb?"

"Oh, no!" I said. "Oh, no – I do not want to lie down. I have not done my studying yet, that I came to do."

"Studying!" said Miss Cardigan.

"Yes. I want something out of some of your books. I have not done it. I will sit down and do it now."

"You're much more fit to lie down and go to sleep," said she, sorrowfully. "Let be the study, Daisy; and take some rest, while ye can."

"I shall have plenty of time," I said. "I do not want any rest, more than I shall get so."

Miss Cardigan sighed – I had heard more sighs from her that night than in all my knowledge of her before; and I sat down on the floor again, to pull out again the volumes I had put up, and begin my school work anew. As I touched them, I felt how much had come into my hands, and fallen out of my hands, since I took them up before, just a few hours ago. It would not do to think of that. I resolutely put it back, and set myself about getting out of the books the facts I wanted for my work. Miss Cardigan left the room; and for a time I turned over leaves vigorously. But the images of modern warfare began to mix themselves inconveniently with the struggles of long ago. Visions of a gray uniform came blending in dissolving views with the visions of monarchs in their robes of state and soldiers in heavy armour; it meant much, that gray uniform; and a sense of loss and want and desolation by degrees crept over me, which had nothing to do with the ruin of kingdoms. The books grew heavy; my hands trembled; yet still I tried to make good work, and bade myself deal with the present and let the past and the future alone. The "present" being represented by my school day and my studies. Could I do it? The past and the future rushed in at last, from opposite sides as it were, and my "present" was overthrown. I dropped my books and myself too, as nearly as possible; my heart gave way in a deep passion of tears.

Now I tried to reason myself out of this. What had I lost? I asked myself. What were these tears for? What had I lost, that I had not been without until only twelve hours before? Indeed rather, what had I not gained? But my reasonings were of no use. Against them all, some vision of Thorold's face, some sparkle of his eyes, some touch of his hand, would come back to me, and break down my power and unlock fresh fountains of tears. This passion of self-indulgence was not like me, and surprised myself. I suppose the reason was, I had been so long alone; I had been working my way and waiting, in exile from home as it were, so many days and years; nobody that loved me better than I loved myself had been near me for so very long; that the sweetness so suddenly given and so suddenly taken away left me a little unsteady. Was it wonderful? The joy and the grief were both new; I was not braced for either; the one seemed to add poignancy to the other; and between the two facts, that Thorold loved me, and that he was gone from me into what might be a duty of danger, – that he was gone into danger and that he loved me, – for a little while my soul was tossed back and forth like a ship on a stormy sea, unable to make any headway at all. And so Miss Cardigan found me. She half lifted half drew me up, I remember; made me lie down again on the sofa, gave me some hot tea to drink; and when she had made me drink it, she sat still looking at me, silent, and I thought a good deal disturbed. It would be difficult to tell why I thought so. Perhaps it was because she said nothing. I lay quiet with my face hid in my hands.

"What do you think to do with yourself to-day, now?" – was at last her practical question.

"What o'clock is it?" I whispered.

"It's just on the stroke of six, Daisy."

"I'll get up and go on with my work," I said; and I raised myself to a sitting posture accordingly.

"Work!" echoed Miss Cardigan. "You look like much of that! Your cheeks" (and she touched them) "they are the colour of my magnolia there that has just opened. A night's work Christian has made of it! I suppose he is travelling off as content as if he had something to praise himself for. The pride of these men! – "

I could not help laughing, and laughing made me cry. Miss Cardigan promptly put me back on the cushions and bade me lie still; and she sat in front of me there like a good shaggy human watch dog. I should not say shaggy, for she was entirely neat and trim; but there was something sturdy and uncompromising about her which suggested the idea. I lay still, and by and by went off into a sleep. That restored me. I woke up a couple of hours later all right and quite myself again. I was able to rush through the bit of study I had wanted; and went over to Mme. Ricard's just a minute before school opened.

I had expected some uncomfortable questioning about my staying out all night; but things do not happen as one expects. I got no questioning, except from one or two of the girls. Mme. Ricard was ill, that was the news in school; the other teachers had their hands full, and did not give themselves any extra trouble about the doings of so regular and trusted an inmate as myself. The business of the day rolled on and rolled off, as if last night had never been; only that I walked in a dream; and when night came I was free to go to bed early and open my budget of thoughts and look at them. From without, all was safe.

All day my thoughts had been rushing off, away from the schoolroom and from studies and masters, to look at a receding railway train, and follow a gray coat in among the crowd of its fellows, where its wearer mingled in all the business and avocations of his interrupted course of life. Interrupted! yes, what a change had come to his and to mine; and yet all was exactly the same outwardly. But the difference was, that I was thinking of Thorold, and Thorold was thinking of me. How strange it was! and what a great treasure of joy it was. I felt rich; with the most abounding, satisfying, inexhaustible treasure of riches. All day I had known I was rich; now I took out my gold and counted it, and could not count it, and gave full-hearted thanks over it.

If the brightness wanted a foil, it was there; the gold glittered upon a cloudy background. My treasure was not exactly in my hand to enjoy. There might be many days before Thorold and I saw each other's faces again. Dangers lay threatening him, that I could not bear to think of; although I knew they were there. And even were this cloud all cleared away, I saw the edges of another rising up along the horizon. My father and my mother. My mother especially; what would she say to Daisy loving an officer in the Northern army? That cloud was as yet afar off; but I knew it was likely to rise thick and black; it might shut out the sun. Even so my treasure was my treasure still, through all this. Thorold loved me and belonged to me; nothing could change that. Dangers, and even death, would not touch it. My mother's command could not alter it. She might forbid his marrying me; I must obey her; but the fact that we loved each other was a fact beyond her reach and out of her power, as out of mine. Thorold belonged to me, in this higher and indestructible sense, and also I belonged to him. And in this joy I rejoiced, and counted my treasure with an inexpressible triumph of joy that it was uncountable.

I wondered too, very much. I had had no idea that I loved Thorold; no dream that he liked me had ever entered my head. I thought we were friends, and that was all. Indeed I had not known there was anything in the world more, until one night ago.

But I winced a little, privately, in the very bottom of my heart, that I had let Thorold have so much liberty; that I had let him know so easily what he was to me. I seemed unlike the Daisy Randolph of my former acquaintance. She was never so free. But it was done; and I had been taken unawares and at disadvantage, with the thought of coming danger and separation checking every reserve I would have shown. I had to be content with myself at all events; Thorold knew my weakness and would never forget it another time.

I thought a great many other thoughts that night; some of them were grave enough. My sleep however, when I went to sleep, was as light as the fall of the dew. I could not be careful. Just seventeen, and just come into life's great inheritance, my spirit was strong, as such spirits are, to throw off every burden.

For several days it happened that I was too busy to see Miss Cardigan. I used to look over to her house, those days, as the place where I had begun to live. Meanwhile I was bending my energies to work, with a serious consciousness of woman's life and responsibility before me. In one way I think I felt ten years older, when next I crossed the avenue and went into the familiar marble-paved hall and opened Miss Cardigan's door. That Thorold was not there, was the first thought with me. Certainly the world had made a revolution; but all things else looked as usual; and Miss Cardigan gave me a welcome just as if the world had not turned round. She was busy with the affairs of some poor people, and plunged me into them as her custom was. But I fancied a somewhat more than usual of sober gravity in her manner. I fancied, and then was sure of it; though for a long time nothing was said which touched Thorold or me. I had forgotten that it was to come; and then it came.

"And what have ye been doing, my bonnie lady, since ye went away at eight o'clock o' the morn?"

I started, and found that I had lost myself in a reverie. I said, I had been studying.

"You and me have need to study some new things," Miss Cardigan said, soberly.

"Yes ma'am," I said. But then – "What, Miss Cardigan?"

"There's our duty" – she said, with a pause at that part of her sentence; – "and then, how to do it. Yes, Daisy, you need not look at me, nor call the bloom up into your cheeks, that Christian says are such an odd colour. Don't you think you have duties, lassie? and more to-day than a fortnight syne?"

"But – Miss Cardigan," I answered, – "yes, I have duties; but – I thought I knew them."

"It will do no harm to look at them, Daisy. It is good to see all round our duties, and it's hard too. Are you in a hurry to go back to school?"

"No, ma'am – I can have the evening."

Miss Cardigan pushed her work-baskets and table away, and drew her chair up beside mine, before the fire; and made it blaze, and sat and looked into the blaze, till I wondered what was coming.

"I suppose this is all a fixed thing between Christian and you," she began at last.

I hardly knew what she meant. I said, that I could not unfix it.

"And he will not, no fear! So it is fixed, as we may say; fixed as two hearts can make it. But it's very sudden, Daisy; and you are a young thing, my dear."

"I know it is sudden," I said, meekly. "It is sudden to me. But he will not like me less for my being so young."

Miss Cardigan laughed a short laugh.

"Troth, he's no right, being young himself, we may say. You are safe for his liking, my bonnie Daisy. But – your father and mother, my dear?"

"Yes, Miss Cardigan."

"What will their word be?"

"I do not know, ma'am."

"You will tell them, Daisy?"

This was very disagreeable to me. I had thought over these things, and made up my mind; but to outline on canvas, as it were, and put in full depth of shadow, all the images of opposition real and possible that might rise in my way – which I knew might rise, – I liked not to do it. Still Miss Cardigan had reason; and when she repeated, "You will tell them at once?" I answered,

"No, Miss Cardigan; I think not."

"When, then, will you tell them?" she said shortly.

"I think I will not tell them at all. I will wait, till – "

"Till Christian does it?"

"Yes."

"When will that be?"

"I do not know. It may be – a great while. Why should I tell them before, Miss Cardigan?"

"For many reasons, as they seem to my mind, Daisy; and I thought, as they would seem to yours. 'Honour thy father and thy mother.' Daisy, would it be honouring them, to let them not know?"

There were so many things, of which Miss Cardigan was ignorant! How could I answer her? I sat silent, pondering the difficulty; and she was silent on her side, waiting for me to think over it. It was never her way to be in a hurry; not to leave her work half done neither, as I knew.

"I will honour them the best way I can," I said at length.

"Then you will write them next steamer. Is it not so, Daisy?"

"That would make it very difficult for me to honour them," I said; "to honour them in action, I mean."

"Why so? There is no way so short as a straight way."

"No, ma'am. But – I cannot undo what is done, Miss Cardigan."

"What our cheeks say your heart has done. No, child." And again I heard the unwonted sigh from Miss Cardigan's lips.

"Not my heart only," I went on, plucking up courage. "I have spoken – I have let him speak. I cannot undo it – I cannot undo it."

"Well?" said Miss Cardigan, looking anxious.

"It was done before I thought of mamma and papa. It was all done – it is done; and I cannot undo it now, even for them."

"My dear, you would not marry without your parents' consent?"

"No, Miss Cardigan. They may forbid that."

"What then? What harm would be done by your letting them know at once how the case stands? They would care for your happiness, Daisy."

Not with a Northerner, a farmer's son, and an officer in the Northern army. I knew how it would be; but I could not tell Miss Cardigan.

"What is it you cannot undo, little Daisy?" she said softly, I suppose seeing me look troubled. And she stretched out a kind hand and took hold of mine. It was very hard to bear. All this was a sort of dragging things into light and putting things in black and white; more tangible and more hard to deal with for ever after.

"What is it you cannot undo? Since you confess, that if they desired, you would undo the whole."

"Not my faith, nor my affection," – I said, slowly. "Some things they may forbid, and I obey; but these things are passed beyond their power, and beyond mine. I will be true. I cannot help it now, if I would."

"But, Daisy – " said Miss Cardigan, and she was evidently perplexed now herself. – "Since you are ready to obey them in the utmost and give up Thorold if they say so, what is there, my dear, which your father and mother could command now in which you are not ready to obey them?"

"The time has not come, Miss Cardigan," I said. "It may be – you know it may be – long, before they need know anything about it; before, I mean, anything could be done. I am going abroad – Christian will be busy here – and they might tell me not to think of him and not to write to him; and – I can't live so. It is fair to give him and myself the chance. It is fair that they should know him and see him before they hear what he wants of them; or at least before they answer it."

"Give him and yourself the chance – of what, Daisy?"

"I don't know," I said faint-heartedly. "Of what time may do."

"Then you think – my dear, you augur ill of your father's and mother's opinion of your engagement?"

"I can't help it now, Miss Cardigan," I said; and I know I spoke firmly then. "I did not know what I was doing – I did not know what was coming. If I had known, if I could have helped myself, I think I ought not to have loved anybody or let anybody speak to me without my father and mother choosing it; but it was all done before I could in the least help it; and you know I cannot help it now. I owe something besides to them now. I will not disobey them in anything I can help; – but I will be true, – as long as I live."

Miss Cardigan sat a long while silent, holding my hand all the while; sometimes clasping, and sometimes fondling it. Then she turned and kissed me. It was very hard to bear, all of it.

"I suppose you are a great heiress," she said at last; as if the words escaped her, and with a breath of a sigh.

"It is not that!" I exclaimed. "No, I am not. I am not – I shall not be a great heiress, or an heiress at all, I think. Christian is richer than I."

"My dear!" said Miss Cardigan. "Christian never said a word to me about it, but your friend Mrs. Sandford – she told me; she told me you would be one of the richest women in your State."

"She thought so," – I said.

"My dear, your parents are very wealthy; and they have only one other child, Mrs. Sandford told me. I remember, for it took me with a pity at my heart, little Daisy, for you."

"Yes, they are wealthy," I said; "and Ransom, my brother, is the only other one. He will be rich. But I shall not."

"Do you mean he is the favourite?" said Miss Cardigan.

"Oh, no!" I said. "At least, if he is, so am I. It isn't that. But I shall never be an heiress, Miss Cardigan. I shall be very poor, I rather think."

I smiled at her as I said these words – they were upon the first pleasant subject that had been touched for some time between us; and Miss Cardigan looked quite bewildered. I remembered she had good reason; and I thought it was right, though very much against my will, to explain my words.

"You know what makes my father and mother rich?" I said.

"My dear!" said Miss Cardigan – "They have large Southern properties."

"And you know what makes Southern wealth?" I went on.

"Rice – cotton – "

"No, it isn't that," I said.

"What then, my dear? I do not know what you mean. I thought it was mainly cotton."

"It is unpaid labour," I said. "It is hands that ought to work for themselves; and men and women that ought to belong to themselves."

"Slaves," said Miss Cardigan. "But, Daisy, what do you mean? It's all true; but what can you do?"

"I can have nothing to do with it. And I will have nothing. I would rather be poor, as poor as old Darry and Maria, than take what belongs to them. Miss Cardigan, so would you."

She settled herself back in her chair, like a person who has got a new thought. "My dear child!" she said. And then she said nothing more. I did not wish she should. I wanted no counsel, nor to hear any talk about it. I had only spoken so much, as thinking she had a right to hear it. I went back into my own meditations.

"Daisy, my child," she said suddenly after a while, – "there is only one thing to be said; and the word is not mine. 'If the world hate you, ye know that it hated me before it hated you.'"

"Why, Miss Cardigan," said I, smiling, "do you think the world will hate me for such a thing?"

"It hates all those who pretend to tell it it is wrong."

"I do not pretend to tell it anything," I said.

"There is no preaching like that of the life. Daisy, have you well considered this matter?"

"For years."

"Then I'll know how to pray for you," she said. And there our conversation ended. It had laid on my heart a grave burden of well-defined care, which went with me thenceforth. I could never ignore it nor doubt it was there. Not but I knew well enough each several point in our discussion, before it had come up in words between Miss Cardigan and me; but having so come up, and taken form, each was a tangible thing for ever after. It is odd, how much we can bear unspoken, to which words give an unendurable weight and power. However, these troubles, in their present form, were not unendurable. I only felt them constantly from that time.

My visits to Miss Cardigan now were what they had always been; only perhaps she was a little more tenderly affectionate and careful of me. We did not go back to the discussions of that day, nor to any other regarding my affairs; but she and I scanned the papers well, and talked to each other of the items that seemed now to touch Thorold's and my future as well as the future of the country. We talked, – I could not help it; and yet often I would as lief not; the subjects were not quieting.

The first thing, was the going to Washington of Christian and his class. He wrote to me about it. They went in haste and zeal; waiting for nothing; losing not a train; going by night. Some in civilian's dress; some in cadet clothes, with the black stripe torn off the leg; all eager for their work. What work? It was peaceful enough work just at first. Thorold and others were set to drill the new citizen soldiers who had come in, answering to the President's proclamation, and who knew simply nothing of the business they were to be wanted for, if wanted at all. It was likely they would have something to do! Already a second proclamation from the President had called for a second supply of men, to serve for three years, if the war was not sooner ended. Seamen for the navy also, in like manner.

For three years or the war! It went to my heart, that requisition. It looked so terribly in earnest. And so unhopeful. I wondered, those days, how people could live that did not know how to pray; when every one had, or might have, a treasure at stake in this fierce game that was playing. I have often since felt the same wonder.

I do not know how studies and the usual forms of school recitations went on; but they did go on; smoothly, I suppose. I even recollect that mine went on successfully. With my double or treble motive for desiring success, I had also a reason for prizing and remembering the attainment. But my head was on graver matters, all the time. Would the rebels attack Washington? It was constantly threatened. Would fighting actually become the common news of the land? The answer to this second query began to be sounded audibly. It was before May was over, that Ellsworth's soldiers took possession of Alexandria, and he was killed. That stirred people at the time; it looks a very little thing now. Alexandria! how I remembered driving through it one gray morning, on one of my Southern journeys; the dull little place, that looked as if it had fallen asleep some hundred or two years ago and never waked up. Now it was waked up with rifle shots; but its slave pen was emptied. I was glad of that. And Thorold was safe in Washington, drilling raw soldiers, in the saddle all day, and very happy, he wrote me. I had begun to be uneasy about his writing to me. It was without leave from my father and mother, and the leave I knew could not be obtained; it would follow that the indulgence must be given up. I knew it must. I looked that necessity in the face. A correspondence, such a correspondence, carried on without their knowing of it, must be an impossibility for me. I intended to tell Christian so, and stop the letters, before I should go abroad. My difficulties were becoming daily more and more clear, and looking more and more unmanageable. I wondered sometimes whither I was drifting; for guide or choose my course I could not. I had got into the current by no agency and with no fault of my own. To get out of the current – perhaps that might not be till life and I should go out together. So I was a somewhat sober and diligent student those closing weeks of the term; and yet, very happy, for Christian loved me. It was a new, sweet, strange, elixir of life.

The term was almost out, when I was called to the parlour one day to see Mrs. Sandford. All winter I had not seen her; she had not been in New York. I think she was unaffectedly glad to see me; somehow my presence was pleasant to her.

"Out of school!" she exclaimed, after a few greetings had passed. "Almost out of school. A woman, Daisy. My dear, I never see you but I am struck with the change in you. Don't change any more! you are just right."

I laughed and asked her, what was the change in me? I had not grown taller.

"No – " said Mrs. Sandford – "I don't know that you have; but your figure is improved, and you have the air of being taller, Daisy. I never saw you looking so well. My dear, what work you are going to do now! now that you are out of the 'elements.' And by the by – what are you going to do, when school closes and you are set free?"

I said I could not tell; I had received no directions. I was waiting for letters from somewhere, to tell me what I must do.

"Suppose you go with me to Washington."

"Washington!" – I ejaculated, and therewith the power of speech left me.

"Yes. You are not afraid, Daisy, that you look at me so? Some people are afraid, I know, and think Washington is going to be stormed by the Southern army; but that is all nonsense, Grant says; and I always trust Grant. He knows. He wants me to come. He says Washington is a novel sight just now, and I may never have such another chance; and I think I shall do as he says and go. Washington is full of soldiers, and no ladies in it. You are not afraid?"

"Oh, no. But – Dr. Sandford has not written to me to come."

"Yes, he has; or something very like it. He asked me to come and see you as I passed through the city – I was not likely to need his admonition, Daisy, my dear, for it always does me good to see you; – and he added that I might suggest to you that I was coming, and ask you if your curiosity inclined you to take the trouble of the journey. He said he thought it worth while, – and that we would both find it so."

I was dumb. Dr. Sandford little knew to what he was inviting me; and I – and Thorold – What a strange chance.

"Well, what are you pondering?" Mrs. Sandford cried gaily. "Dresses? You don't care for dresses; besides, we can have them made in two minutes. Don't you want to go, Daisy? I am sure you do; and I am sure Grant will take famous good care of us, and you specially, and show us the camps and everything. And don't you want to see the President?"

"I have seen him."

"When, and where?"

"In the street – when he went through, on his way to Washington."

"Well, I don't care much for Presidents; but this one they say so many different things about, that it makes me curious. Don't you want to see him again?"

"Yes – I would like it."

"Then you'll come with me – I see it; and I'll have everything in readiness. Thursday, does your school-work end? Then we will go Saturday. You will want one day perhaps, besides, they say Friday is unlucky. I never go a journey on Friday."

"I would as lieve go Friday as any day," I said.

"Oh, well – Saturday will be soon enough; and now good-bye, my dear; you to your work and I to mine. You are beautiful, my dear Daisy!" she added, kissing me.

I wondered if it was true. If it was, I was glad, for Thorold's sake. I knew it would be a pleasure to him. And to my father and mother also; but that brought other thoughts, and I went off to my studies.

CHAPTER II.
AT THE RENDEZVOUS.

THE examination was over and school ended for me, before I had one half hour to spare to go to see Miss Cardigan. The examination had passed as I could have wished it might; all had gone well; and I could afford to put by that whole train of thought, even as I put up my school-books and stowed them away; being things that I should not immediately want again. Some time would pass, it was likely, before I would need to refresh my memory with mathematics or philosophy. My music was another matter, and I kept that out.

I put my books hastily as well as securely away; and then took my hat and rushed over to Miss Cardigan's. It was a very warm June day. I remember now the cool feeling of her marble hall. Miss Cardigan sat in her matted parlour, busy as always, looking quiet and comfortable in a white muslin wrapper, and neat as a pin; also an invariable thing. Something in the peaceful, settled, calm air of the place impressed me, I suppose, with a feeling of contrast; of an uninvaded, undisturbed domain, which changes were not threatening. I had gone over the street hurriedly; I walked into the room with a slow step.

"Daisy! my dear child!" Miss Cardigan exclaimed, – "is it you? and is all over? I see it is. Just sit down, and you shall have some strawberries; you look tired, my love."

I sat still, and waited, and ate my strawberries.

"Miss Cardigan," I said at length, "what is Christian's address in Washington?"

"In Washington? I don't know. Did he never give it to you?"

"No, ma'am; nothing except 'Washington.'"

"I suppose that is enough. Haven't you written to him?"

"I have written once. – I have been thinking, Miss Cardigan, that I must stop the writing."

"Altogether?"

"Yes, ma'am."

"His writing too?"

"Yes. My father and mother do not know – and I cannot ask them, – and – "

"You are right," Miss Cardigan answered sorrowfully. "And yet you will let your engagement stand, Daisy?"

"I cannot break my part of it, ma'am. I – nor they – cannot change what is, and what has been done. The future is in their hands – or in God's hands, rather."

Miss Cardigan sighed.

"And what then, dear, about the address?" she said.

"Because, Miss Cardigan, I am going there. I am going to Washington."

She stopped her work to look at me.

"I am going Saturday. My guardian has sent for me. It is very strange, Miss Cardigan; but I must go; and I thought I would like to know in what part of the city Christian is."

"Will you write to let him know? You will, of course. Write just as usual, child; the letter will reach him."

"Why should I, Miss Cardigan? What use? He cannot come to see me."

"Why not?"

"I would not dare. My guardian watches me well; and he would not like my seeing Mr. Thorold of all people."

"Why not? Ah, child! There is a rose leaf in each of your cheeks this minute. That tells the story. Then, Daisy, you had better not go to Washington. Christian will not bear that very well; and it will be hard for you too. My dear, it will be hard."

"Yes, ma'am – and hard not to go. I shall go, Miss Cardigan."

"And mayn't I tell him you are there?"

"No, ma'am. If I can, I will let him know somehow."

But a sense of the difficulties, dangers, doubts and uncertainties, thronging my way, therewith pressed heavily upon me; and I sat in silence and weariness, while Miss Cardigan put up her work and ordered tea, and finally went off to her greenhouse. Presently she came back with a rose in her hand and held it under my face. It was a full dewy sweet damask rose, rich and fragrant and lovely as such a rose can be. I took it and looked at it.

"Do ye mind," my old friend said, "how the flowers spoke to you and brought you messages, when Daisy was a child yet and first came to see me?"

"I know – I remember," I said.

"Does that no tell you something?"

"What does it tell me?" I said, scarce able to command my words, under the power of association, or memory, which was laying its message on my heart, though it was a flower that bore the message. Inanimate things do that sometimes – I think, often, – when the ear of the soul is open to hear them; and flowers in especial are the Lord's messengers and speak what He gives them. I knew this one spoke to me.

"Listen, and see," Miss Cardigan said.

I looked, and as I looked, these words came up in my mind –

"Why are ye fearful, O ye of little faith?"

"The Lord over all is rich unto all that call upon Him."

And still as I looked, I remembered, – "In all their afflictions He was afflicted;" – and, "My God shall supply all your need, according to His riches in glory by Christ Jesus." The words came into my head; but apart from the words, the rose seemed to say all these things to me. People who never heard flowers talk would think me fanciful, I suppose.

"And you will go to that city of trouble, and you will not let Christian know?" Miss Cardigan said after a while.

"Yes ma'am. – No ma'am," I answered.

"Suppose he should be angry about it?"

"Does he get angry?" I asked; and his aunt laughed.

"Does the child think he is perfect?"

"No, certainly," I said; "of course he has faults; but, Miss Cardigan, I did not think anger was one of them, – or getting angry."

"He will never get angry with you, Daisy, it is my firm belief."

"But does he, easily, with other people?"

"There! I don't know," she said. "He used to be gay quick with his temper, for all so gentle as he is. I wouldn't try him too far, Daisy, with not letting him know."

"I cannot tell him – " I said, sighing.

For I knew, better than she did, what thorough good care would be taken of me, and what small mercy such a visiter as Mr. Thorold would meet at the hands of my guardians. So with a doubtful heart I kissed Miss Cardigan, and went back over the way to prepare for my journey. Which was, however, thrown over by a storm till the next week.

The journey made my heart beat, in spite of all my doubts. It was strange, to see the uniforms and military caps which sprinkled every assemblage of people, in or out of the cars. They would have kept my thoughts to one theme, even if wandering had been possible. The war, – the recruiting for the war, – the coming struggle, – the large and determined preparation making to meet it, – I saw the tokens of these things everywhere, and heard them on every hand. The long day's ride to Washington was a long fever dream, as it seems to me now; it seemed a little so to me then.

It was dark when we reached Washington; but the thought that now became present with me, that anywhere Thorold might be, could scarce be kept in check by the reflection that he certainly would not be at the railway station. He was not there; and Dr. Sandford was; and a carriage presently conveyed us to the house where rooms for us were provided. Not a hotel, I was sorry to find. By no chance could I see Thorold elsewhere than in a hotel.

Supper was very full of talk. Mrs. Sandford wanted to know everything; from the state of the capital and the military situation and prospects for the nation, to the openings for enjoyment or excitement which might await ourselves. The doctor answered her fast enough; but I noticed that he often looked at me.

"Are you tired?" he asked me at length; and there was a tone of gentle deference in his question, such as I often heard from Dr. Sandford. I saw that my silence struck him.

"Nonchalant," said Mrs. Sandford, half laughing. "Daisy does not care about all these things. Why should she? To see and to conquer are the same thing with her, whatever becomes of your Southern and Northern camps and armies."

"Indeed I do care," I said.

"For receptions at the White House? – or military reviews? – or parades, or encampments? Confess, Daisy."

"Yes, I care," I said. "I care about some of these things."

"I am glad to hear it," said Mrs. Sandford. "I really thought, Daisy, you were superior to them all. Why, child, you have done nothing but meditate, in the gravest manner, ever since we took seats in the cars this morning. I was thinking that nothing but cabinet ministers would interest you."

This would not do. I roused myself and smiled.

"What do you think of your ward?" said Mrs. Sandford pointedly.

"I think more of her guardian," said the doctor somewhat dryly.

"How soon are you going to send Daisy to Europe?"

"According to orders, just as soon as I can satisfy myself with a good opportunity. I wish you would go."

"Meanwhile, it is a very good thing that she should come here. It will keep her from ennui at least. Washington is alive, that is one thing; and Daisy, my dear, we may mount muskets yet. Come, let us go and get a good night's sleep while that is possible."

I was glad to be alone. I took off my dusty travelling dress, refreshed myself with a bath, put on a wrapper, and sat down to think.

I found my heart was beating in a way that shewed some mental fever. What was I about? what was I going to do? I asked myself.

I sat with my head in my hands. Then I got up and walked the floor. I found that I was determined to see Mr. Thorold, and to see him as soon as possible. Yet I had no certain means of communicating with him. My determination was a vague determination, but it sprung from the necessity of the case. I must see Mr. Thorold. Both of us in Washington for a little while now, no foresight could tell when again we might be near each other. It might well be never. I would see him. Then came the question, – Daisy, what are you going to say to him, when you see him? I walked and thought.

Our correspondence must cease. I must tell him that. – It was dreadfully hard to think it, but I knew it must cease. I could not receive letters from Christian in Switzerland, and certainly I could not write them, without the knowledge of my father and mother; – and if I could, I would not. We must stop writing; we must be hundreds of miles apart, know that dangers clustered round the path of one if not both, know that clouds and uncertainties hung over all our future, and we must not write. And I must tell Mr. Thorold so. It was very hard; for I did not flatter myself with an easy bright clearing away of our difficulties by and by, even if the storm of the war should roll over and leave Christian to encounter them with me. I did not hope that explanations and a little persuasion would induce my mother and my father to look favourably on a Northern suitor for their daughter's hand. My father? – he possibly might give up his pleasure for the sake of my happiness; with my mother I saw no such possibility. It was useless to hope they would let me write to an officer in the Union army. If any chance at all for my happiness were in the future, it must lie in changes not yet accomplished, or in Mr. Thorold's own personal power of recommending himself; rather in both these. For the present – I could not tell how long – now, soon, as soon as I should leave Washington again, we must be separated. I wished I could see Thorold that very evening! In Washington – maybe not far off – and days so few – and I could not see him! I sat down again and put my head in my hand. Had I done wrong, made any unconscious mistake, neglected any duty, that this trouble had come upon me? I tried to think. I could not find that I had to blame myself on any such score. It was not wrong to go to West Point last summer. I held none but friendly relations with Mr. Thorold there, so far as I knew. I was utterly taken by surprise, when at Miss Cardigan's that night I found that we were more than friends. Could I hide the fact then? Perhaps it would have been right to do it, if I had known what I was about; but I did not know. Mr. Thorold was going to the war; I had but a surprised minute; it was simply impossible to hide from him all which that minute revealed. Now? Now I was committed; my truth was pledged; my heart was given. My heart might be broken, but could never be taken back. Truth must be truth; and my life was Mr. Thorold's if it belonged to anybody but my father and mother. I settled that point. It was needless ever to look at it again.

I had something else to tell Mr. Thorold; and here I took up my walk through the room, but slowly now. I was not going to be an heiress. I must tell him that. He must know all about me. I would be a poor girl at last; not the rich, very rich, Miss Randolph that people supposed I would be. No yearly revenues; no Southern mansions and demesnes; no power of name and place. Would Mr. Thorold care? I believed not. I had no doubt but that his care was for myself alone, and that he regarded as little as I the adventitious circumstances of wealth and standing which I intended to cast from me. Nevertheless, I cared. Now, when it was not for myself, I did care. For Mr. Thorold, I would have liked to be rich beyond my riches, and powerful above my power. I would have liked to possess very much; that I might make him the owner of it all. And instead, I was going to give him as poor a wife as ever he could have picked up in the farm-houses of the North. Yes, I cared. I found I cared much. And though there was not, of course, any wavering of my judgment as to what was right, I found that to do the right would cost me something; more than I could have thought possible; and to tell Mr. Thorold of it all, was the same as doing it. I walked down a good many bitter regrets, of pride or affection; I think both were at work; before I dismissed the matter from my mind that night.

I think I had walked a good part of the night while I was cogitating these things and trying to bring my thoughts into order respecting them. While I was at last preparing for sleep, I reflected on yet another thing. I always looked back to that evening at Miss Cardigan's with a mixture of feelings. Glad, and sorrowful, and wondering, and grateful, as I was in the remembrance, with all that was mingled a little displeasure and disapproval of myself for that I had allowed Mr. Thorold so much liberty, and had been quite so free in my disclosures to him of my own mind. I did not know how it had happened. It was not like me. I ought to have kept him more at a distance, kindly of course. One, or two, kisses – my cheek burnt at the thought – were the utmost he should have been allowed; and I ought to have been more reserved, and without denying the truth, to have kept myself more in my own power. I resolved I would do it in the future. I would keep my own place. Mr. Thorold might indeed know what he was to me and what I was to him; I did not mean to hide that; but he must be satisfied with knowing it and not take any liberties with the knowledge.

So I went to sleep; but my sleep was heavy and scarcely refreshing. I woke up, startled with the thought that I was in Washington and might see Christian to-day. And I found the desire quite outran the possibility.

I was therefore ready to agree to all the plans of my companions; which included for that day a ride to the camps and the President's reception. Abroad, amidst the stir of men, especially where soldiers were or soldiers' work was done, I might hope to see Christian. What then, if I saw him? I left that point. One thing at a time.

CHAPTER III.
IN REVIEW.

THERE were a party of us that went that morning to see the sights in the neighbourhood of Washington. On horseback we were; Dr. Sandford and Mrs. Sandford, Colonel Forsyth, whom I had seen at West Point, another gentleman, and myself. I suppose my senses were keened by anxiety; I never shall forget the wonderful beauty of the afternoon and of what we came to see. In some intense moods of mind, it seems as if every sunbeam had daguerreotyping power, and memory the preparedness to receive and retain. And I could tell even now, where there was a sunny bank, and where a group of sun-touched trees; the ring of our horses' hoofs is in my ear with a thought; and I could almost paint from memory the first view of the camp we went to see. We had crossed over into Virginia; and this regiment, – it was Ellsworth's they told me, – was encamped upon a hill, where tents and trees and uniforms made a bright, very picturesque, picture. Ellsworth's corps; and he was gone already. I could not help thinking of that; and while the rest of the party were busy and merry over the camp doings, I sat in my saddle looking over some lower grounds below the hill, where several other regiments were going through certain exercises. It looked like war! it went through my heart. And Ellsworth's soldiers had lost their commander already. Very likely there was somebody to miss and mourn him; somebody at home; his mother – a young wife, perhaps –

"Is Daisy tired already?" Dr. Sandford's voice was at my side.

I roused myself and said we had had a pretty brisk ride, and I had not been on horseback in a long time; which was true and I felt it.

"Has it been too much for you?" he said, with a change of tone.

I disclaimed that.

"These war-shows make you thoughtful?"

"They give me something to think about."

"They need not."

"How can they help it?"

"Daisy, I am confident there is not the slightest danger to Washington. Do you think I would have brought you into danger?"

"Oh, I am not thinking of danger to myself!" I exclaimed. "I am not afraid in that way."

"For the country, are you afraid?"

"Dr. Sandford, do you think there is real danger to the country?" I asked.

"The South will do what they can."

"Do you expect the North will be able to stand against them?"

"You do not," – he said smiling.

"I know nothing about it," I said; "or at least, I know very little of what the North can do. Of course, I know some Northern soldiers will fight as well as any; but, do you think, Dr. Sandford, they can stand – the greater part of them – do you think they can meet the bravery and skill of the South and get the better?"

I asked anxiously. Dr. Sandford's brow grew grave.

"Daisy, I don't know, as you say; but I have lived among the Northern people in my life; and when a Yankee 'takes a notion,' he is as tough a customer as ever I wish to have to deal with."

"But they are not accustomed to fighting," I said.

"I am afraid they will be, before it is through."

"Then you think they are as brave as the South? Can they be?"

Dr. Sandford laughed at me a good deal. Nevertheless, I could not find out what he thought; and I knew, I thought, what he did not know so well. I knew the fiery proud spirit of my native portion of the people. While his banter fell on my ears, my eyes went off to the sunlit green fields where the troops were parading; on Southern soil; and I saw in imagination the rush and fury of vengeful onset, which might come over those very fields; I saw the unequal contest; I saw – what happened soon after. I sighed as I turned my eyes to the doctor again.

"You are more of a Southerner than I thought you," he said. And I fancied some gratification lurked behind the words.

"But you are true?" I exclaimed.

"True!" said the doctor, smiling. "True to what? I hope I am true."

"I mean, you are a true Northerner? You do not sympathize with the South?"

"I do not think they are in the right, Daisy; and I cannot say I wish they should succeed. It is very natural that you should wish it."

"I do not," I said. "I wish the right to succeed."

"I believe you do, or you would not be Daisy. But, with a woman, – excuse me, – the right is where her heart is."

Dr. Sandford touched so much more than he knew in this speech, I felt my cheek grow hot. I thought at the same time that he was speaking with the intent to find out more than he knew. I was silent and kept my face turned from him.

"You do not plead guilty," he went on.

"The charge is not guilt, but weakness," I said coolly.

"Weakness!" said the doctor. "Not at all. It is a woman's strength."

"To be misled by her feelings?"

"No; to be led by them. Her feelings tell her where the right is – generally. You are Daisy; but a woman, and therefore perhaps no exception. Or are you an exception? How is it, Daisy?"

"I do not wish the South to succeed, Dr. Sandford – if that is what you mean."

"It is quite enough," he said, "to constitute you a remarkable exception. I do not know three more at this minute, in this cause. You will not have the sympathies of your father and mother, Daisy?"

"No, Dr. Sandford."

"Your cousin, Mr. Gary, whom we saw last summer; – on which side is he?"

"I have not heard from him since he came to Washington. I do not know where he is. I want to find out."

"We can easily find out," said the doctor. "If Colonel Forsyth does not know, we shall see somebody this evening probably who can tell us about him."

We rode home through the lingering sunlight of that long day; uniforms, camps, fortifications, cannon, on all sides proclaiming the new and strange state of things upon which the country had fallen; busy people passing and repassing in all directions; an air of life and stir everywhere that would have been delightful, if the reason had been only different. It saddened me. I had to make a constant effort to hide the fact from my companions. One of them watched me, I knew. Dr. Sandford thought I was tired; and proposed that we should defer going to the White House until the next occasion; but I could not rest at home and insisted on carrying out the original scheme for the day. I was in a fever now to see Mr. Thorold; keeping up a constant watch for him, which wearied me. To watch with more hope of success, I would go to the President's reception. Mr. Thorold might be there.

Mrs. Sandford, I remember, was very earnest about my dress. I was in no danger from gratified or ungratified vanity now; it was something else that moved me as I robed myself for that reception. And I met my escort in the drawing-room, forgetting that my dress could be a subject of interest to anybody but one, – who might not see it.

"Why, that is – yes! that is the very same thing you wore to the cadets' hop; the last hop you went to, Daisy?" Mrs. Sandford exclaimed, as she surveyed me.

"It will do, won't it?" I said. "I have had nothing new made this spring."

"Do!" said the lady. "What do you think, Grant?"

Dr. Sandford's face was a little flushed.

"Anything will do," he said. "It makes less difference than ladies suppose."

"It has more to do than gentlemen ever imagine!" Mrs. Sandford returned indignantly. "It is very good, Daisy. That pure white somehow suits you; but I believe everything suits you, my dear. Your mother will be a proud woman."

That sentence laid a little weight on my heart, which had just been springing with undefined hope. I had been thinking of somebody else who might perhaps be not displeased with me.

I sought for his figure that night, among the crowds at the President's reception; amidst all the other interests of the hour, that one was never forgotten. And there were many interests certainly clustering about Washington and Washington society then. The assembly was very peculiar, very marked, very striking in many of its characteristics. The women were few, much fewer than make part of ordinary assemblies; the men were unusually well-looking, it seemed to me; and had an air of life and purpose and energy in definite exercise, which was very refreshing to meet. Besides that, which was generally true, there were in Washington at this time many marked men, and men of whom much was expected. The last have been first, it is true, in many an instance; here as elsewhere; nevertheless, the aspect of things and people at the time was novel and interesting in the highest degree. So was the talk. Insipidities were no longer tolerated; everybody was living, in some real sense, now.

I had my second view of the President, and nearer by. It did not disappoint me, nor change the impression produced by the first view. What a homely face! but I thought withal, what a fine face! Rugged, and soft; gentle, and shrewd; Miss Cardigan's "Yon's a mon!" recurred to me often. A man, every inch of him; self-respecting, self-dependent, having a sturdy mind of his own; but wise also to bide his time; strong to wait and endure; modest, to receive from others all they could give him of aid and counsel. But the honest, keen, kindly eyes won my heart.

The evening was very lively. There were a great many people to see and talk to, whom it was pleasant to hear. Dr. Sandford, I always knew was a favourite; but it seemed to me this evening that our party was thronged. Indeed I had little chance and less time to look for Mr. Thorold; and the little I could use availed me nothing. I was sure he was not there; for he certainly would have seen me. And what then? It would not have been agreeable. I began to think with myself that I was somewhat inconsistent.

It was not till I got home that I thought this, however. I had no time for private reflections till then. When we reached home, Mrs. Sandford was in a talkative mood; the doctor very silent.

"And what do you think of General Scott, Daisy? You have not seen him before."

"I do not know," I said. "I did not hear him talk."

"You have not heard Mr. Lincoln talk, have you?"

"No, certainly not; not before to-night."

"You know how you like him," Dr. Sandford said pointedly.

"Yes."

"My dear, you made him the most beautiful reverence that I ever knew a woman could make; grace and homage in perfection; but there was something else in it, Daisy, something more; something most exquisitely expressed. What was it, Grant?"

"You ought to know," said the doctor, with a grim smile.

"I do, I suppose, only I cannot tell the word for it. Daisy, have you ever seen the President before?"

"When he passed through New York," I said. "I stood in the street to see him."

Dr. Sandford's eyes opened upon me. His sister-in-law exclaimed,

"You could not see him then, child. But you like him, don't you? Well, they tell all sorts of stories about him; but I do not believe half of them."

I thought, I could believe all the good ones.

"But Grant, you never can keep Daisy here," Mrs. Sandford went on. "It would be hazardous in the extreme."

"Not very," said the doctor. "Nobody else is going to stay; it is a floating community."

So we parted for the night. And I slept, the dark hours; but restlessness took possession of me the moment I awoke. Dr. Sandford's last words rung in my heart. "It is a floating community." "Nobody else is going to stay." I must see Mr. Thorold. What if he should be ordered on, away from Washington somewhere, and my opportunity be lost? I knew to be sure that he had been very busy training and drilling some of the new troops; and I hoped there was enough of the same work on hand to keep him busy; but I could not know. With the desire to find him, began to mingle now some foretaste of the pain of parting from him again when I – or he – should leave the city. A drop of bitter which I began to taste distinctly in my cup.

I was to learn now, how difficult it sometimes is in new forms of trial, to be quiet and submissive and trust. I used to be able to trust myself and my wants with God; I found at this time that the human cry of longing, and of fear, was very hard to still. I was ready to trust, if I might only see Mr. Thorold. I was willing to wait, if only we might not be separated at last. But now to trust and to wait, when all was in doubt for me; when, if I missed this sight of my friend, I might never have another; when all the future was a cloudy sea and a rocky shore; I felt that I must have this one moment of peace. Yet I prayed for it submissively; but I am afraid my heart made its own cry unsubmissively.

I was restless. The days that followed the President's levee were one after the other filled up with engagements and amusements, – if I can give that term to what had such deep and thrilling interest for me; but I grew only more secretly restless with every one. My companions seemed to find it all amusement, the rides and parades and receptions that were constantly going on; I only saw everywhere the preparation for a desperate game soon to be played. The Secessionists threatened Washington; and said "only wait till the Fourth." The people in Washington laughed at this; yet now and then I saw one who did not laugh; and such were often some of those who should know best and judge most wisely. Troops were gathered under Beauregard's command not very far from the capital. I knew the dash and fire and uncompromising temper of the people I was born among; I could not despise their threats nor hold light their power. My anxiety grew to see Mr. Thorold; but I could not. I watched and watched; nothing like him crossed my vision. Once, riding home late at night from a gay visit to one of the neighbouring camps, we had drawn bridle in passing the grounds of the Treasury Building, where the Eleventh Massachusetts regiment was encamped; and slowly walking by, were endeavouring to distinguish forms and sounds through the dim night air – forms and sounds so novel in Washington and so suggestive of interests at stake and dangers at hand; when the distinct clatter of a horse's hoofs in full gallop came down the street and passed closed by me. The light of a passing lamp just brushed the flying horseman; not enough to discover him, but enough to lift my heart into my mouth. I could not tell whether it were Mr. Thorold; I cannot tell what I saw; only my nerves were unstrung in a moment, and for the rest of that night I tossed with impatient pain. The idea of being so near Mr. Thorold, was more than I could bear. One other time, in a crowd, I heard a bit of a laugh which thrilled me. My efforts to see the person from whom it came were good for nothing; nobody like my friend was in sight, or near me; yet that laugh haunted me for two days.

"I do not think Washington agrees with Daisy," Mrs. Sandford said one morning at breakfast.

"She never looked better," said the doctor.

"No. Oh, I don't mean that; she looks all herself; yes, she is in great beauty; but she is uncommonly abstracted and uninterested."

"Not being in general a sensitive person," observed Dr. Sandford.

I explained that I had never been more interested in my life; but that these things made me sober.

"My dear Daisy!" Mrs. Sandford laughed. "You were never anything but sober yet, in all your little life. I should like to see you intoxicated."

I felt on dangerous ground and was silent. The doctor asked why? – to Mrs. Sandford's last speech.

"No matter!" said the lady. "The first man she loves will know why."

"The first," said Dr. Sandford dryly. "I hope she will not love more than one."

"She will be an uncommonly happy woman then," said Mrs. Sandford. "Nonsense, Grant! every woman loves two or three before she has done. Your first liking will come to nothing, – Daisy, my dear, I forewarn you; – and most probably the second too; but no one will be the wiser but yourself. Why don't you blush, child? On my word, I believe you are growing pale! Never mind, child; I am not a prophet."

I believe the blushes came then, and they all laughed at me; but Dr. Sandford asked me very kindly if I was too tired to see the review that day? I was not tired; and if I had been, nothing would have tempted me to be absent from the review. I went everywhere, as far as I could; and Dr. Sandford was always with us, indulging every fancy I expressed or did not express, it seemed to me. He had to work very hard at other times to make up for it; and I thought Washington did not agree with him. He looked pale and jaded this day.

I thought so after the morning's work was done; at the time I had no leisure for such thoughts. The morning's work was a review of many thousand troops, by the President. Dr. Sandford and our friends had secured an excellent place for us, from which we could well see all we wished to see; and I wished to see everything. For various reasons. The platform where Mr. Lincoln stood had its own peculiar attractions and interests. It held himself, first of all, standing in front, in plain view much of the time. It held besides a group of men that one liked to look at just then. General Scott was there, and I know not how many other generals; the members of the Cabinet, and inferior military officers; and each colonel of the regiments that passed in review, after passing, dismounted and joined the group on the platform. I looked at these officers with particular interest, for they and their command were going straight across into Virginia expecting active service soon. So I looked at their men. While each regiment marched by, the band belonging to it halted and played. They were going to the war. In good earnest they were going now. This was no show of pleasure; it was work; and my heart, it seemed to me, alternately beat and stood still. Sometimes the oppression of feeling grew very painful, obliged as I was to hide carefully the greater part of what I felt. A little additional stir was almost more than I could bear. One regiment – the Garibaldis, I think, had bouquets of flowers and greens in their hats. I did not indeed notice this, until the foremost came just in front of the platform and the President. Then the bouquets were taken out from the hats, and were tossed, in military order, rank by rank, as the files passed by, to Mr. Lincoln's feet. It was a little thing; but how it shook me! I was glad of the rush which followed the passing of the regiment; the rush of people eager to secure these bunches of flowers and evergreens for memorials; the diversion of interest for a moment gave me chance to fight down my heart-swelling.

"Daisy! you are – what is the matter? You are not well – you are tired," – my guardian exclaimed anxiously, as he came back to my side with one of the Garibaldi flower bunches.

"I am well – you are mistaken, Dr. Sandford," I made myself say quietly.

"For which side are you so anxious?" he inquired. "You are paler than you ought to be, at this moment, with a smile on your lips. I got this for you – will you scorn it, or value it?"

"You would not waste it upon me, if you thought I would scorn it?" I said.

"I don't know. I am not infatuated about anybody. You may have the bouquet, Daisy. Will you have it?"

I did not want to have it! I was not amusing myself, as many and as Mrs. Sandford were doing; this was not an interesting little bit of greens to me, but a handful of pain. I held it, as one holds such handfuls; till the regiment, which had halted a little while at Willard's, was ordered forward and took the turning from Pennsylvania Avenue into the road leading to Virginia. With that, the whole regiment burst into song; I do not know what; a deep-voiced grave melody from a thousand throats, cheering their advance into the quarter of the enemy and of actual warfare. I forgot Dr. Sandford then, whose watchful eyes I generally remembered; I ceased to see the houses or the people before me; for my eyes grew dim with tears it was impossible to keep back; and I listened to nothing but that mellow, ominous, sweet, bitter, strain, till the sound faded away in the distance. Then I found that my cheeks were wet, and that Mrs. Sandford was wondering.

"This is what it is to have an ear for music!" she said. "There is positively no possession which does not bring some inconvenience on the possessor. My dear Daisy, you are in pain; those were not tears of joy; what did that chant say to your sensibilities? To mine it only sounded strength, and victory. If the arms of those – what are they? – that regiment, – if their arms are only constituted proportionately to their throats, they must do good fighting. I should think nothing would stand before them. Daisy, they will certainly bear down all opposition. Are you afraid? Here is the Fourth, and Washington safe yet, for all the Southern bluster."

"I do not think you had better try to go to the Capitol," the doctor put in.

"What, to see the meeting of Congress? Oh, yes, we will. I am not going to miss it."

"Daisy will not?" he asked.

But Daisy would. I would try every chance. I did not at the moment care for Congress; my wish was to find Mr. Thorold. At the review I knew I had little reason to hope for what I wanted; at the Capitol – after all, what chance there? when Mr. Thorold was drilling troops from morning till night; unless he had been already sent out of Washington. But I would go. If I had dared, I would have expressed a desire to see some troops drilled. I did not dare.

I remember nothing of the scene at the Capitol, except the sea of heads, the crowd, and the heat; my intense scrutiny of the crowd, and the weariness that grew on me. Mrs. Sandford had friends to talk to; I only wished I need not speak to anybody. It was a weary day; for I could not see Mr. Thorold, and I could not hear the President's Message. I was so placed or so surrounded that it came to me only in bits. Wearily we went home.

At least, Dr. Sandford and I. Mrs. Sandford tried in vain to rally us.

"There is to be a marriage in camp," she said. "What do you think of that, Daisy? We can have invitations, if we like. Shall we like? Wouldn't it be a curious scene? Daisy is interested, I see. Grant, no. What is the matter, Grant?"

"I hope, nothing," said the doctor.

"Will you go, if I get you an invitation?"

"Who is to be married?"

"La fille du régiment."

"It takes two," said the doctor.

"Oh! The other is a sergeant, I believe; some sergeant of the same regiment. They are to be married to-morrow evening; and it is to be by moonlight and torchlight, and everything odd; up on that beautiful hill where we were the other day, where the trees and the tents make such a pretty mingling with red caps and everything else."

"I hope the ceremony will be performed by comet light, too," said Dr. Sandford. "It ought, to be in character."

"You do not feel well to-night, Grant?"

"Tired. So is Daisy. Are you tired of Washington, Daisy?"

"Oh – no!" I said eagerly. "Not at all. I like very much to be here."

"Then we will go and see the sergeant's wedding," said he.

But we did not; for the next day it was found to be only too true that Dr. Sandford was unwell. Perhaps he had been working too hard; at any rate, he was obliged to confess to being ill; and a day or two more settled the question of the amount of his indisposition. He had a low fever, and was obliged to give up to it.

CHAPTER IV.
ON FOOT.

MRS. SANFORD devoted herself to the doctor. Of course, a sudden stop was put to our gay amusements. I could not ride or drive out any more; nor would I go to entertainments anywhere. The stir and the rush of the world had quietly dropped me out of it.

Yet I was more than ever eager to be in it and know what was doing; and above all, what one was doing. I studied the newspapers, more assiduously than I had hitherto had time for. They excited me almost unbearably with the desire to know more than they told, and with unnumbered fears and anxieties. I took to walking, to wear away part of the restless uneasiness which had settled upon me. I walked in the morning; I walked at evening, when the sun's light was off the avenue and the air a little cooler; and kept myself out of the house as much as I could.

It was so that I came upon my object, when I was not seeking it. One evening I was walking up Pennsylvania avenue; slowly, for the evening was warm, although the sun had gone down. Slowly and disconsolately. My heart began to fail me. I pondered writing a word to Mr. Thorold, now that I was completely at liberty; and I wished I had done it at once upon Dr. Sandford's becoming ill. Two or three days' time had been lost. I should have to take the note to the post-office myself; but that would not be impossible now, as it had been until now. While I was thinking these things, I saw a horseman riding down the avenue; a single horseman, coming at a fast gallop. I had never seen Mr. Thorold on horseback; yet from almost the first sight of this mounted figure my heart said with a bound who it was. I stood still by the curbstone, looking breathlessly. I felt more and more sure as he drew nearer, if that can be when I had been sure all along; but, would he know me? Would he even see me, in the first place? So many ladies walk on Pennsylvania avenue; why should his eye pick me out? and he was riding so fast too, there would be but one instant to see or miss me. I would not like to go again through the suspense of that minute, though it was almost too intense to be conscious pain. I stood, all eyes, while that figure came on, steady, swift, and moveless, but for the quick action of the horse's muscles. I dared not make a sign, although I felt morally sure who it was, until he was quite close to me; then, I do not know whether I made it or not. I think not; but the horse wheeled, just as he was past me; I did not know a horse could wheel so short; and the rider had dismounted at the same instant it seemed, for he was there, at my side, and my hand in his. I certainly forgot at that minute all I had stored up to say to Mr. Thorold, in the one great throb of joy. He did not promise to be easily managed, either.

"Daisy!" was his first question – "Daisy, where have you been?"

"I have been here – a while."

"I heard it from Aunt Catherine yesterday – I should have found you before another day went over – Daisy, how long?"

I hardly liked to tell him, he looked so eager and so imperative, and so much as if he had a right to know, and to have known. But he did not wait for the answer; and instead, drawing my arm within his own, bent down to me with looks and words so glad, so tender, so bright, that I trembled with a new feeling, and all the blood in my heart came surging up to my face and away again. The bridle was over his other arm, and the horse with drooped head walked on the other side of him, while Mr. Thorold led me on in this fashion. I do not know how far. I do not know what he said or what I answered, except in bits. I know that he made me answer him. I was not capable of the least self-assertion. What startled me at last out of this abstraction, was the sudden fear that we might be observed. I looked up and said something about it. Only to my confusion; for Thorold laughed at me, softly, but how he laughed – at me. I tried a diversion.

"Have you been drilling troops to-day?"

"All day; or I should have come to find and scold you. By the way, how long have you been in Washington, Daisy?"

"I should not have thought you would ride such a pace at the end of a day's work – you did not ride like a tired man."

"I am not a tired man. Didn't I tell you, I had a letter from Aunt Catherine yesterday. I have felt no fatigue since. When did you come here, Daisy?"

"Christian, I could not let you know, for I was with my guardian – he is a sort of guardian for the time – and – "

"Well? I know your guardian. Dr. Sandford, isn't he?"

"Yes, but he would not like to see you."

"I don't care whether he likes it or not, Daisy."

"Yes, but, you see, Christian, it would be not pleasant if he were to carry me off away from Washington; as he took me from West Point last year."

"To get you away from me?"

"He would, if he suspected anything."

"Daisy, I do not like suspicions. The best way is to let him know the truth."

"Oh, no, Christian!"

"Why not, little one?"

"I would rather my father and mother heard it first from you in person," I answered, stumbling in my speech.

"So would I, Daisy; but the times are against us. A letter must be my messenger; and Dr. Sandford has nothing to do with the matter."

"He would think he had," I answered, feeling the difficulties in my way.

"Aren't you my Daisy?" he said, looking down into my face with his flashing eyes, all alight with fire and pleasure.

"But that – " I began.

"No evasions, Daisy. Answer. Aren't you mine?"

I said "yes" meekly. But what other words I had purposed to add were simply taken off my lips. I looked round, in scared fashion, to see who was near; but Thorold laughed softly again.

"It is too dark for people to make minute investigations, Daisy."

"Dark!" said I. "Oh, Christian, I must go home. I shall be missed, and Mrs. Sandford will be frightened."

"Will the doctor come after you?"

"Oh, no, he is sick; but Christian, I must go home."

He turned and went with me, changing his tone, and making a variety of tender inquiries about my situation and my doings. They were something new; they were so tender of me, so thoughtful of my welfare, so protecting in their inquisitive care; and moreover they were the inquiries of one who had a right to know all about me. Something entirely new to my experience; my mother's care was never so sympathetic; my father's never so fond; even my guardian's was never so strict. Dr. Sandford to be sure had no right to make his care like this. I did not know that Mr. Thorold had; but I found it was indisputable. And in proportion it was delightful. We had a slow, very busy walk and talk until within a few doors of my Washington home; there we parted, with a long hand clasp, and the promise on my part that Mr. Thorold should find me at the same hour and place as to-day on the next evening.

Nobody was looking for me, and I gained my room in safety. I was very happy, yet not all happy; for the first use I made of my solitude, after getting rid of my bonnet and mantilla, was to sit down and cry. I asked myself the reason, for I did not like to be in the dark about my own feelings; this time they were in a good deal of confusion.

As I look back, I think the uppermost thing was my happiness; this new, delicate, strange joy which had come into my life and which I had never tasted so fully or known the flavor of it so intimately as this evening. Looks and tones, and little nameless things of manner telling almost more yet, came back to me in a small crowd and overwhelmed me with their testimony. Affection, and tenderness, and pleasure; and something apart from these, an inexplicable assuming of me and delight in me as so assumed; they found me or made me very weak to-night. What was the matter? I believe it was, first, this happiness; and next, the doubt that rested over it and the certainty that I must leave it. Certainly my weeping was hearty enough to answer to all three causes. It was a very unaccustomed indulgence to me; or not an indulgence at all, for I was not fond of tears; but it did act as a relief. I washed away some of my trouble in my tears; the happiness sprung to the surface; and then I could almost weep for joy and thankfulness that I was so happy. Even if the grounds of my happiness were precarious, I had trusted God all my life with all I cared for; could I not trust Him still? My tears stopped; and I believe one or two smiles could not be checked as I remembered some look or word of Mr. Thorold's.

I was to see him the next evening; and it would behove me to lose no time in telling him all the various matters I had wished him to understand. It seemed to me there was something to reconsider in my proposed communications. I had to tell him that our correspondence must be stopped. Would he agree to that? I had thought he would agree, and must, to anything I desired. To-night assured me that he had a will in the matter too, and that his will was strong. Further, it assured me that he had a right; and knew it. Yet it was impossible that we should write to each other without my parents' leave; and impossible that we should gain the leave. Mr. Thorold would have to see the matter as I looked at it; but a doubt came over me that to make him do so might prove difficult. That was one thing. Then about my not being an heiress. I suddenly found a great dislike in myself to speak to him on the subject. There was no doubt that it would be right to tell him what I had thought to tell him; wrong not to do it; the right and the wrong were settled; my willingness was not. A little inner consciousness that Mr. Thorold would relish any handling of the matter that savoured of the practical, and would improve it for his own ends, made my cheek hot. Yet I must tell him. The thing stood, with only an addition of disagreeableness. And what chance should I have, in the street?

I meditated a good while, before there suddenly started into my mind a third subject upon which I had meant to take action with Mr. Thorold. I had thought to qualify a little the liberty he had assumed upon our first betrothal; to keep at a somewhat more reserved distance, and make him. Could I? Was Mr. Thorold under my management? He seemed to take me under his. I pondered, but between laughing and rebellion I could make nothing of the subject. Only, I resolved, if circumstances gave me any chance, to act on my proposed system.

The next day was swallowed up in like thoughts. I tried to arrange my subjects and fix upon one to begin with; but it was a vain effort. I knew that as soon as I began to get ready for my walk. Things must come as they would. And my cross tides of purpose resolved themselves into one long swell of joy, when I discerned the figure I was looking for, waiting for me on Pennsylvania avenue; too soon, for it was near the place where we parted the night before.

"This is very dangerous – " I said, as we began to stroll up the avenue.

"What?" said Mr. Thorold, looking down at me with his eyes as full of mischief as ever.

"It is so light yet, and you come so near the house."

"You walk with other people, don't you?"

"I am not afraid of the other people."

"Are you afraid of me?" said he smiling; and then growing grave, "We may have only a few times, Daisy; let us make the most of them."

How could I start anything after that. I was mute; and Mr. Thorold began upon a new theme.

"Daisy, how long have you been in Washington?"

"Christian, I could not let you know. I was always hoping to see you somewhere."

"Sounds as if you felt guilty," he said. "Confess, Daisy; you look as if you were afraid I would be angry. I will not be very hard with you."

I was afraid; and he was angry, when I told him. His face flushed and his eye changed, and turned away from me.

"Christian," I said, "I was very unwilling that Dr. Sandford should know anything about it; that was my reason. If I had written to you, you know you would have come straight to where I was; and the risk was too great."

"What risk?" he said. "I might have been ordered away from Washington; and then we might never have met."

"Are you vexed?" I said gently.

"You have wronged me, Daisy."

It gave me, I do not know whether more pain or pleasure, the serious grave displeasure his manner testified. Neither pain nor pleasure was very easy to express; but pain pressed the hardest.

"I have been looking for the chance of seeing you; looking the whole time," I said. "Everywhere, it was the one thing I was intent upon."

"Daisy, it might have been lost altogether. And how many days have been lost!"

I was silent now; and we walked some steps together without anything more. But the next words were with a return to his usual clear voice.

"Daisy, you must not be afraid of anything."

"How can I help it?" I asked.

"Help it? – but have I brought those tears into your eyes?"

It was almost worth while to have offended him, to hear the tone of those words. I could not speak.

"I see you are not very angry with me," he said; "but I am with myself. Daisy, my Daisy, you must not be so fearful of unknown dangers."

"I think I have been fearful of them all my life," I answered. "Perhaps it is my fault."

And with unspeakable joy I recognized the truth, that at last my life was anchored to one from whom I need neither fear nor disguise anything.

"To fear them is often to bring them." he added.

"I do not think it will, in my case," I said. "But, if Dr. Sandford had known you were coming to see me, he might have carried me off from Washington, just as he did from West Point last year."

"From West Point?" said Mr. Thorold, his eyes making a brilliant commentary on my words; – "Did he carry you away from West Point for any such reason? Is he afraid of me?"

"He would be afraid of anybody," I said in some confusion, for Mr. Thorold's eyes were dancing with mischief and pleasure; – "I do not know – of course I do not know what he was afraid of; but I know how it would be."

Mr. Thorold's answer was to take my hand and softly draw it through his own arm. I did not like it; I was fearful of being seen to walk so; yet the assuming of me was done in a manner that I could not resist nor contravene. I knew how Christian's eyes fell upon me; I dared not meet them.

"Is the doctor jealous of you, Daisy?" he whispered laughing. I did not find an answer immediately.

"Does he dare?" Mr. Thorold said in a different tone.

"No, no. Christian, how imperious you are!"

"Yes," he said; "I will be so where you are concerned. What do you mean, Daisy? or what does he mean?"

"He is my guardian, you know," I said; "and he has sharp eyes; and he is careful of me."

"Very careful?" said Mr. Thorold, laughing and pressing my arm. "Daisy, I am your guardian while you are in Washington. I wish I had a right to say that you shall have nothing more to do with Dr. Sandford. But for the present I must mind my duty."

"And I mine," – I added, with my heart beating. Now it seemed a good opening for some of the things I had to say; yet my heart beat and I was silent.

"Yours, Daisy?" he said very tenderly. "What is yours? What present pressure of conscience is giving you something hard to do? I know it will be done! What work is this little soldier on?"

I could not tell him. I could not. My answer diverged.

"What are you on, Christian?"

"The same thing. Rather preparing for work – preparing others. I am at that all day."

"And do you expect there will be real work, as you call it? Will it come to that?"

"Looks like it. What do you think of Fairfax Court-house? – and Great Bethel? – and Falling Waters, and so on?"

"That was bad, at Great Bethel," I said.

"Mismanagement – " said Mr. Thorold calmly.

"And at Vienna."

"No, the troops behaved well. They behaved well, Daisy. I am content with that."

"Do you think – don't be angry, Christian! – do you think the people of the North generally will make as fiery fighting men as the people of the South, who are used to fighting, and commanding, and the practice of arms?"

"When you get a quiet man angry, Daisy, he is the very worst man to deal with that you ever saw."

"But the people of the North are all accustomed to peaceful employments?"

Mr. Thorold laughed, looking down at me with infinite amusement and tenderness mixed.

"I see what your training has been," he said. "What will you do when you have one of those quiet people for your husband?"

"Quiet!" said I. "When your eyes are showering sparks of fire all over me!"

"Daisy," he said, "those rose leaves in your cheeks are the very prettiest bits of colour I ever saw in my life."

"But we are wandering from the subject," I said.

"No, we are not," he said decidedly. "You are my one subject at all times."

"Not when you are training soldiers?" I said half laughing. But he gave me a look which silenced me. And it nearly took away all the courage I had, for everything I wanted to say to him and had found it so difficult to say.

"Christian," I began again after an interval, "were the troops that were sent over into Virginia just now, sent, do you suppose, to meet Beauregard?"

"I suppose so."

"You are not going?" – I asked, because the question was torturing me.

He looked down at me again, a steady, fixed, inquiring look, that grew very full of affection before he answered,

"I hope so, Daisy."

"You are not ordered!"

"No; not yet."

"But if you were to go, would you not know it by this time?"

"Not certainly. Some troops will be left here of course, to guard Washington."

I walked with my heart in my mouth. I knew, what he did not say, that orders might be issued suddenly and as suddenly obeyed; with no beforehand warning or after delay. How could I speak anything of what had been in my mind to be said? Yet the very circumstances which made it more difficult made it also imperative, to speak them. I fought myself, while Mr. Thorold sometimes watched me and constantly took care of me, with a thoughtful care in little things which was eloquent.

"Christian" – I began, feeling my voice changed.

"That is to tell me we must turn homeward?" he said gayly.

"No; I want to speak to you. But we must turn homeward too."

"To speak to me? In that voice? Look at me, Daisy. – No, I won't hear it now, and not here. We must have something better. Daisy, go and ride with me to-morrow evening!"

"Oh, I cannot."

"Yes, Daisy. I ask it of you. Dr. Sandford is in bed. He cannot go along. Then you can tell me all that is on your mind about Northern soldiers."

"Oh, I only thought Christian – You know, I know the temper of the Southern people."

"You will know the temper of the other section of the country some day," he said, with a smile at me which was half serious and half personal in its bearing. But he made me promise to go and ride with him if I could; and so left me.

I met Mrs. Sandford as I went into the house. She said she was glad I kept up my walks; she was sorry I had such a terribly dull time; it was a pity I came to Washington. Dr. Sandford was no better, and much worried about me, that I should be so cut off from amusement.

"Tell him I am doing very well, and having time to read the papers," I said.

"Those horrid papers!" said Mrs. Sandford. "They make my hair stand on end. I wouldn't read them; Daisy."

"But you do."

"Well, I cannot keep my hands off them when I see them; but I wish I was where I could never see them. Ever since I read General Beauregard's proclamation, I have been in a fury with everything South; and it is uncomfortable to be in a fury. O dear! I wish Grant would get well and take us away. Come in and let us have a cup of tea, dear. Isn't it hot?"

I took the tea and bore the talk, till both were done and I could shut myself into the seclusion of my own room. And tears did not come to-night, but dry heart-aching pain instead; with which I struggled till the night had worn far on. Struggled, trying to reason it away and to calm it down by faith and prayer. Ah me! how little reason could do, or faith either. For reason only affirmed and enlarged my fears; and faith had no power to say; they might not come true. The promise, "He shall not be afraid of evil tidings," belongs to those who have their will so merged in God's will as not to be careful what that will may be. I had not got so far. A new lesson was set me in my experience book; even to lay my will down; and nobody who has not learned or tried to learn that lesson knows how mortal hard it is. It seemed to me my heart was breaking the whole livelong night.

CHAPTER V.
ON HORSEBACK.

A LITTLE sleep and the fresh morning light set me up again. I was to ride with Mr. Thorold in the evening; my mind fixed on that nearest point, and refused for the moment to go further. I heard from Mrs. Sandford at breakfast that Dr. Sandford was no better; his low nervous prostration continued and threatened to continue. Mrs. Sandford was much troubled about me. All this suited my convenience; even her unnecessary concern; for I had made up my mind to tell Mrs. Sandford I was going to ride; but I would not till our late dinner, that there might be no chance of her consulting the doctor. At dinner I mentioned that a friend had asked me to ride and I had half consented. Mrs. Sandford looked somewhat startled and asked who the friend might be?

"Another officer," I said quietly; "his name is Thorold. I saw him last summer, Mrs. Sandford; and I know about him. He is a good one to go with."

"I can't ask Grant anything," she said, looking doubtful. "He knows everybody."

"It is not needful," I answered. "I am going to take the indulgence this once. I think it will do me good."

"Daisy, my dear!" said Mrs. Sandford – "You are as good as possible – but you have a will of your own. All you Southerners have, I think."

I replied that I was a Northerner; and the talk went to other things. Mrs. Sandford left me with a kiss and the injunction to take care of myself. I was very glad to get off so, for she looked a little unsatisfied. My way was clear now. I dressed with a bounding heart, mounted, and was away with Mr. Thorold; feeling beneath all my gladness that now was my time and my only time for doing all the difficult work I had set myself. But gladness was uppermost, as I found myself in the saddle and away, with Mr. Thorold by my side; – for once free and alone together; – gladness that kept us both still I think; for we exchanged few words till we were clear of the city and out upon the open country. There we slackened bridle, and I began to feel that the minutes were exceedingly precious. I dreaded lest some words of Christian's should make it impossible for me to do what I had to do.

"Christian," I began, "I have things to talk to you about."

"Well," said he brightly, "you shall. Will it take a great while, Daisy? Because I have things to talk to you about."

"Not a great while, I hope," I said, almost stammering.

"You shall talk what you will, darling. But wait till we get a better place."

I would have liked the place where we were, and the time. Better where the road was rough than where it was smooth; easier where there was something to make interruption than where Christian could give too exclusive heed to me. But I could not gainsay him; and we rode on, till we came to a piece of pretty broken ground with green turf and trees. Here Mr. Thorold stopped and proposed that we should dismount; he said we should talk more at our ease so. I thought my predetermined measures of dignity could be more easily maintained on horseback; but I could not bear to refuse him, and he did not mean to be refused, I saw. He had dismounted even while he spoke, and throwing his horse's bridle over the branch of a tree, came to lift me down; first throwing his cap on the grass. Then keeping me in his arms and bending a brilliant inquisitive look on my face, he asked me,

"Daisy – is this my Daisy, as I left her?"

I could not help answering a plain yes. Nothing in me was changed; and come what might, that was true. No other answer would have been true. And I could not blame him that he held me fast and kissed me, almost as he had done that first time. Almost; but the kisses were more grave and deliberate now; every one seemed a seal and a taking possession. Indeed the whole manner of Mr. Thorold had taken gravity and manliness and purpose; he was changed, as it would have taken much longer in other circumstances to change a man. I stood still and trembled, I believe; but I could no more check him than I could that first night.

Still holding me fast, he lifted my face a little and smiling asked me, what Daisy had to say to him? The tone, tender and happy, was as much as I could bear; more than I could answer. He led me a little way, arranged a seat for me on a green bank, and threw himself down by my side. But that was very inconvenient, for he could look up right into my face.

"Business, Daisy?" he said gayly and tenderly at once. The tone seemed to .touch the colour in my cheeks and the droop of my eyes.

"Yes," I said. "It is business."

"Well, what, love?"

"Christian," said I, putting my hand in his, "you know papa and mamma do not know of this."

"They shall know, as soon as I can write to them, he answered. "I understand – you do not wish that, Daisy; but see – I cannot leave it unsaid, as long as your thought would leave it. Till they know, I have only half a right to you. I cannot live so."

"You must," I whispered, – "till this war is over."

"What then?" said he quickly. "How will that help the matter?"

"Then they may see you for themselves. A letter would not do."

"If you please, how do you expect I am to live till then?" he said smiling. "With half a right to you."

"Yes – with that, – and without writing to me," I answered.

"Daisy!" exclaimed Thorold, raising himself half up.

"Yes," I said – "I know – I have been wanting to talk to you about it. You know, Christian, I could not write nor receive your letters without my father's and mother's permission."

"Can you bear that, Daisy?" he asked.

My heart seemed to turn sick. His words suggested nothing new, but they were his words. I failed to answer, and my face went down in my hands.

"There is no need of that, darling," he said, getting one of them and putting it to his lips. "Here you are fearing dangers again. Daisy – with truth on your side and on mine, nothing can separate us permanently."

"But for the present," – I said as soon as I could speak. "I am sure our chance for the future is better if we are patient and wait now."

"Patient, and wait?" said Mr. Thorold. "If we are patient now? What do you mean by patience? You in Switzerland, with half a hundred suitors by turns; and I here in the smoke of artillery practice, unable to see twenty yards from my drill – and that, you think, does not call for patience, but you must cut off the post-office from our national institutions. And to wait for you is not enough, but I must wait for news of you as well!"

"Christian!" said I, in desperation – "it is harder for me than for you."

He laughed at that; laughed and looked at me, and his eyes sparkled like a shower of fireworks, and then I was sure that a mist was gathering in them. I could scarcely bear the one thing ands the other. My own composure failed. He did not this time answer by caresses. He got up and paced the turf a little distance below me; his arms folded, his lips set, and the steps never slackening. So he was when I could look up and see. This was worse than anything. And the sun was lowering fast, and we had settled nothing, and our time was going. I waited a minute, and then I called him. He came and stood before me, face and attitude unchanged.

"Christian," I said, – "don't you see that it is best – my plan?"

"No," he said.

I did not know what to urge next. But as I looked at him, his lips unbent and his face shone down at me, after a sort, with love, and tenderness and pleasure. I felt I had not prevailed yet. I rose up and stood before him.

"Indeed it is best!" I said earnestly.

"What do you fear, Daisy?" His look was unchanged and feared nothing. It was very hard to tell him what I feared.

"I think, without seeing you and knowing you, they will never let us write; and I would rather they did not know anything about the – about us – till you can see them."

He took both my hands in his, and I felt how hard it is for a woman to move a man's will when it is once in earnest.

"Daisy, that is not brave," he said.

"No – I am not," I answered. "But is it not prudent?"

"I do not believe in cowardly prudence," he said; but he kissed me gently to soften the words; "the frank way is the wisest, always, I believe; and anyhow, Daisy, I can't stand any other. I am going to ask you of your father and mother; and I am going to do it without delay."

"I wish they could see you," I said helplessly.

"And as I cannot be present to do my pleading in person, I must trust you to plead for me."

"You forget," said I; "it is against you that you are a Northern officer."

"That may depend upon the event of the war," he said; and I saw a sparkle again. Wilful and manly as he could be; but he did not know my father and mother. Yet that last word of his might be true; what if it were? The end of the war! When might that be? and how? If all the Northern army were Thorolds, – but I knew they were not. I felt as if my magazine of words was exhausted. I suppose then my face spoke for me. He loosened his hold of one hand to put his arm round me and draw me to him, with a fine tenderness, both reverent and masterful.

"My Daisy" – he said, – "what do you want of me?"

And I could not tell him then. As little could I pretend to be dignified. Pain was too sharp. We drew very close to each other, and were very silent for those minutes. I would command myself, and did, hard work as it was, and though my face lay on his shoulder. I do not know how his face looked; when he spoke again the tone was of the gravest tenderness.

"What do you want of me, Daisy?"

"I think, this," I said, raising my head and laying my hand on his shoulder instead. "Suppose, Christian, you leave the question undecided – the question of letters, I mean, – until I get there, – to Switzerland, – and see my father and mother. Perhaps I can judge then what will be safe to do; and if I can write, you know I will write immediately."

"And if you cannot?"

"Then – I will write once, to let you know how it is."

He stood still, reading my face, until it was a little hard to bear, and my eyes went down.

"Suppose your father and mother – suppose they are obdurate, Daisy, and will not have me, being a Northern man and in the Government service?"

What then? I could not say.

"Suppose it, Daisy."

"Well, Christian?" I said, raising my eyes to his face.

"What will you do?"

"You know, Christian, I must obey my father and mother."

"Even as I my other duty. Well, we are both soldiers. But what would you do, Daisy?"

"Do? – " I repeated.

"Yes," he said very gravely, and with a certain determination to have the answer.

"I should do nothing, Christian. I should be just the same." But I believe my cheeks must have answered for me, for I felt them grow pale.

"What if they chose a Southern husband for you, and laid their commands in his favour?"

"I am yours – " I said, looking up at him. I could not say any more, but I believe Mr. Thorold understood it all, just what I meant him to understand; how that bond could never be unloosed, what though the seal of it might be withheld. He was satisfied.

"You are not brave, Daisy," he said, holding me again very close; "here are these cheeks fairly grown white under my supposings. Does that bring the colour back?" he added laughing.

"Christian," I said, seizing my time while my face was half hidden, "what would you do, supposing I should prove to be a very poor girl?"

"What is that?" said he, laughing more gayly, and raising my face a little.

"You know what our property is."

"No, I do not."

"You know – I mean, you know, my father's and mother's property is in Southern lands mostly, and in those that cultivate them."

"Yes. I believe I have understood that."

"Well, I will never be the owner of those people – the people that cultivate those lands; and so I suppose I shall not be worth a sixpence; for the land is not much without the people."

"You will not be the owner of them?"

"No."

"Why do you tell me that?" said Mr. Thorold gravely.

"I wanted you to know – " I said, hesitating and beginning very much to wish my words unsaid.

"And the question is, what I will do in the supposed circumstances? Was that it?"

"I said that," – I assented.

"What shall I do?" said Mr. Thorold. "I don't know. If I am in camp, I will pitch a tent for my wife; it shall have soft carpets and damask cushions; as many servants as she likes, and one in especial who will take care that the others do her bidding; scanty accommodations, perhaps, but the air full of welcome. She will like it. If I am stationed in town somewhere, I will fill her house with things to please her. If I am at the old farm, I will make her confess, in a little while, that it is the pleasantest place she ever saw in her life. I don't know what I will do! I will do something to make her ashamed she ever asked me such a question."

"Oh, don't!" said I, with my cheeks burning. "I am very much ashamed now."

"Do you acknowledge that?" he said, laughing and taking his revenge. "So you ought."

But then he made me sit down on the grass again and threw himself at my feet, and began to talk of other things. He would not let me go back to the former subjects. He kept me in a state of amusement, making me talk too about what he would; and with the light of that last subject I had unluckily started, shining all over his face and sparkling in his eye and smile, until my face was in a condition of permanent colour. I had given him an advantage, and he took it and played with it. I resolved I would never give him another. He had gone back apparently to the mood of that evening at Miss Cardigan's; and was full of life and spirits and mischief. I could do nothing but fall in with his mood and be happy; although I remembered I had not gained my point yet; and I half suspected he had a mind I should not gain it. It was a very bright, short half hour; and then I reminded him it was growing late.

"Moonlight – " he said. "There is a good large moon, Daisy."

"But Mrs. Sandford – " I said.

"She knows you are your own mistress."

"She thinks I am," I said. "You know better."

"You are mine," said Mr. Thorold, with gentle gravity, immediately. "You shall command me. Do you say go, Daisy?"

"May I influence you in something else?" I said putting my hand in his to enforce my words.

"Eh?" said he, clasping the hand. "What, Daisy?"

"Christian, I want you not to write to my father and mother until I give you leave." I thought I would let go arguing and try persuasion.

He looked away, and then looked at me; – a look full of affection, but I saw I had not moved him.

"I do not see how we can settle that, Daisy."

"But you said – you said – "

"What?"

"You said just now, you intimated, that my wishes would have weight with you."

He laughed a little, a moved laugh, and kissed me. But it was not a kiss which carried any compromise.

"Weight with me? Yes, a little. But with me, Daisy. They must not change me into somebody not myself."

"Would that? – "

"If I could be content to have your faith in secret, or to wait to know if I might have it at all? I must be somebody not myself, Daisy."

I pondered and felt very grave. Was it true, that Mr. Thorold, though no Christian, was following a rule of action more noble and good than I, who made such professions? It was noble, I felt that. Had my wish been cowardly and political? Must not open truth be the best way always? Yet with my father and mother old experience had long ago taught me to hold my tongue and not speak till the time came. Which was right? I felt that his rule of action crossed all my inner nature, if it were not indeed the habit which had become second nature. Mr. Thorold watched me.

"What is it, Daisy? – my Daisy?" he asked with a tender inquisitiveness, though looking amused at me.

"I was thinking – " I answered, – "whether you are a great deal better than I am."

"Think it by all means," he said laughing. "I am certainly a good deal braver. But what else, Daisy? There was something else."

"That," said I. "I was thinking of my habit, all my life long, of keeping things back from my father and mother till I thought it was safe to shew them."

"Are you going to let that habit live? What lessons you will have to learn, my little Daisy! I could never bear to have my wife afraid of me."

"Of you!" I said. "I never should." – But there I stopped in some confusion, which I knew my neighbour enjoyed. I broke up the enjoyment by standing up and declaring that it was now time to go.

We had a pretty ride home. My mind was disburthened of its various subjects of care which I had had to communicate to Mr. Thorold; and although I had not been able entirely to prevail with him, yet I had done all I could, and my conscience was clear. I let myself enjoy, and the ride was good. Mr. Thorold said we must have another; but I did not believe that feasible.

However, it fell out so. Dr. Sandford lingered on in the same disabled state; his sister-in-law was devoted to her attendance on him; I was left to myself. And it did come to pass, that not only Mr. Thorold and I had walks continually together; but also we had one more good ride. I did not try moving him again on the point of my father and mother. I had read my man and knew that I could not. And I suppose I liked him the better for it. Weakness is the last thing, I think, that a woman forgives in men, who ought to be strong. Christian was not weak; all the more he was gentle and tender and thoughtful for those who were. Certainly for me. Those days, those walks, – what music of thought and manner there was in them! The sort of protecting care and affection I had from him then, I never had from any other at any time. Care that seemed to make my life his own; affection that made it something much before his own; but all this told, not in words, which could not have been, but in indescribable little things of manner and tone; graces too fine to count and measure. Once I had fancied I ought to put more reserve into my manner, or manage more distance in his; that thought fled from me after the first afternoon's ride and never came back. I did not take care for myself; he took care for me. The affection that held me as a part of himself, held me also as a delicate charge more precious than himself; and while he protected me as one who had a right to do it, he guarded me also as one whose own rights were more valuable than his. He never flattered, nor praised, nor complimented me; or with rare exceptions; but he shewed me that he lived for me, and sometimes that he knew I lived for him.

What days and walks! The extreme and impending gravity of the time and the interests at work, lent only a keen and keener perception of their preciousness and sweetness. Any day our opportunities might suddenly come to an end; every day they were welcomed as a special fresh gift. Every evening, as soon as Mr. Thorold's engagements allowed it, he met me on the avenue, and we walked until the evening was as far spent as we durst spend it so. I basked in a sunshine of care and affection which surrounded me, which watched me, which catered to my pleasure, and knew my thoughts before they were spoken. We were both grown suddenly older than our years, Mr. Thorold and I; the coming changes and chances in our lives brought us to life's reality at once.

One ride besides we had; that was all. Except one other experience; which was afterwards precious to me beyond price.

As it became known that Dr. Sandford's illness was persistent and not dangerous, and that I was in consequence leading a (supposed) bitterly dull life; it naturally happened that our acquaintances began to come round us again; and invitations to this or that entertainment came pouring upon me. I generally refused; but once thought it, best, as a blind to Mrs. Sandford, to accept an invitation to ride. Mrs. Sandford as before demurred, but would not object.

"Who is it this time, Daisy?" she asked.

I named Major Fairbairn; luckily also an officer whom I had known the last summer at West Point.

"Nothing but officers!" she remarked in a dubious tone. "Not much else to be had here."

"And nothing much better anywhere," I said, "when one is going on horseback. They know how to ride."

"All Southerners know that. By the way, Daisy, I have heard yesterday of Lieutenant Gary. He is in Beauregard's army."

"Are you sure?" I asked.

"Quite, I think. I was told by Mr. Lumpkin; and he knows all the Southern doings, and people."

"Then he ought not to be here." I said. "He may let them know our doings."

"Ours!" said Mrs. Sandford. "How fierce you are. Is Major Fairbairn South or North? I don't remember."

"From Maine."

"Well. But, Daisy, what will your father and mother say to you?"

There was no use in considering that question. I dismissed it, and got ready for the major and my horse. Mounted, my companion asked me, where should we go? I had considered that point; and after a little pause asked, as coolly as I could, where there were any troops drilling in cavalry or artillery exercises. Major Fairbairn pondered a minute and told me, with rather a rueful countenance.

"Let us go there first," I said. "It is an old story to you; but I never saw such a thing. I want to see it and understand it, if I can."

"Ladies like to see it, I know," said the major.

"You think, we cannot understand it?"

"I don't see how you should."

"I am going to try, Major Fairbairn. And notwithstanding your hopeless tone, I expect you to give me all the help you can."

"I think, the less you understand of it, the better," said the major.

"Pray why?"

"Doesn't seem comfortable knowledge, for those who cannot use it."

"Men think that of many things," I said. "And they are much mistaken. Knowledge is always comfortable. I mean, it is comfortable to have it, rather than to be ignorant."

"I don't know – " said the major. "Where ignorance is bliss – "

"Ignorance never is bliss!" I said energetically.

"Then the poet must be wrong."

"Don't you think poets may be wrong as well as other people, Major Fairbairn?"

"I hope so! or I should wish to be a poet. And that would be a vain wish for me."

"But in these war matters," I resumed, as we cantered on, "I am very much interested; and I think all women ought to be – must be."

"Getting to be serious earnest – " said the major, resignedly.

I was silenced for a while. The words, "serious earnest," rang in my heart as we went through the streets.

"Is it getting to be such serious earnest?" I asked as lightly as I could.

"We shall know more about it soon," the major answered. His carelessness was real.

"How soon?"

"May be any day. Beauregard is making ready for us at Manassas Junction."

"How many men do you suppose he has?"

"Can't tell," said the major. "There is no depending, I think myself, on any accounts we have. The Southern people generally are very much in earnest."

"And the North are," I said.

"It is just a question of who will hold out best."

I thought I knew who those would be; and a shiver for a moment ran through my heart. Christian had said, that the success of his suit with my father and mother might depend on how the war went. And certainly, if the struggle should be at all prolonged and issue in the triumph of the rebels, they would have little favour for the enemies they would despise. How if the war went for the North?

I believe I lost several sentences of my companion in the depth of my musing; remembered this would not do; shook off my thoughts and talked gayly, until we came to the place where he said the drilling process was going on. I wondered if it were the right place; then made sure that it was; and sat on my horse looking and waiting, with my heart in a great flutter. The artillery wagons were rushing about; I recognized them; and a cloud of dust accompanied and swallowed up their movements, a little too distant from me just now to give room for close observation.

"Well, how do you like it, Miss Randolph?" my major began, with a tone of some exultation at my supposed discomfiture.

"It is very confused – " I said. "I do not see what they are doing."

"No more than you could if it was a battle," said the major.

"Won't they come nearer to us?"

"No doubt they will, if we give them time enough."

I would not take this hint. I had got my chance; I was not going to fling it away. I had discerned besides in the distant smoke and dust a dark figure on a gray horse, which I thought I knew. Nothing would have drawn me from the spot then. I kept up a scattering fire of talk with my companion, I do not know how, to prevent the exhaustion of his patience; while my heart went out at my eyes to follow the gray horse. I was rewarded at last. The whole battery charged down upon the point where we were standing, at full gallop, "as if we had been the Secession army," Major Fairbairn remarked; adding, that nothing but a good conscience could have kept me so quiet. And in truth guns and horses and all were close upon us before the order to halt was given, and the gunners flung themselves from the wagons and proceeded to unlimber and get the battery in working order, with the mouths of the cannon only a few yards from our standing-place. I hardly heard the major now, for the gray horse and dark rider were near enough to be seen, stationed quietly a few paces in the rear of the line of guns. I saw his eye going watchfully from one point to another of his charge; his head making quick little turns to right and left to see if all were doing properly; the horse a statue, the man alive as quicksilver, though nothing of him moved but his head. I was sure, very sure, that he would not see me. He was intent on his duty; spectators or the whole world looking on were nothing to him. He would not even perhaps be conscious that anybody was in his neighbourhood. I don't know whether I was most glad or sorry; though indeed, I desired nothing less than that he should give any sign that he saw me. How well he looked on horseback, I thought; how stately he sat there, motionless, overseeing his command. There was a pause now; they were all still, waiting for an order. I might have expected what it would be; but I did not, till the words suddenly came out –

"Battery – Fire!"

The voice went through my heart; but my horse's nerves were immediately as much disturbed as mine. The order was followed by a discharge of the whole battery at once, sounding as the burst of one gun. My horse, exceedingly surprised, lifted his fore feet in the air on the instant; and otherwise testified to his discomposure; and I had some little difficulty to keep him to the spot and bring him back to quietness. It was vexatious to lose such precious minutes; however, we were composed again by the time the smoke of the guns was clearing away. I could hardly believe my eyes. There lay the cannon, on the ground, taken from their carriages; the very carriages themselves were all in pieces; here lay one wheel, there lay another; the men were sitting around contentedly.

"What is the matter?" I exclaimed.

"The officer in charge of the drill, seeing what mischief his guns have unwittingly done, you see, Miss Randolph, has taken his battery to pieces. He will not fire any more while you are here. By George!" said the major, "I believe here he comes to tell us so."

I wished myself away, as I saw the gray horse leap over some of the obstacles before him and bear down straight towards me. I bowed low, to hide various things. Mr. Thorold touched his cap gravely, to the major as well as to me, and then brought his gray horse alongside.

"Your horse does not like my battery," he remarked.

I looked up at him. His face was safely grave; it meant business; but his eyes sparkled a little for me; and as I looked he smiled, and added,

"He wants a spur."

"To make him run? I had difficulty enough to prevent his doing that just now, Mr. Thorold."

"No; to make him stand still. He wants punishing."

"Miss Randolph deserves a great deal of credit," said the major. "But all Southern women know how to ride; and the men to fight."

"We are going to have a hard time then," said Thorold; with a wilful presuming on his privileges.

"But what have you done with your battery?" I asked.

"Taken it to pieces – as you see."

"Pray, what for? I thought something was the matter."

"Nothing was the matter, I am glad to know," Thorold said looking at me. "It is sometimes necessary to do this sort of thing in a hurry; and the only way to do it then in a hurry, is to practise now when there is no hurry. You shall see how little time it will take to get ready for another order to fire. But Miss Randolph had better be out of the way first. Are you going farther?"

The major said he hoped so, and I answered certainly.

"I shall fire no more while you are here," Thorold said as he touched his cap, and he gallopped back to his place. He sat like a rock; it was something pretty to see. Then came an order, which I could not distinguish; and in an incredibly short time wheels were geared, guns were mounted, and the dismantled condition of everything replaced by the most alert order. The major said it was done very well, and told me how quick it could be done; I forget, but I think he said in much less than a minute; and then I know he wanted to move; but I could not. I held my place still, and the battery manœuvred up and down the ground in all manner of directions, forming in various forms of battery; which little by little I got the major partially to explain. He was not very fluent; and I did not like his explanations; but nevertheless it was necessary to give him something to do, and I kept him busy, while the long line of artillery wagons rushed over the ground, and skirted it, and trailed across it in diagonal lines; walking sometimes, and sometimes going at full speed of horses and wheels. It stirred me, it saddened me, it fascinated me, all at once; while the gray horse and his rider held my eye far and near with a magnet hold. Sometimes in one part of the line, sometimes in another, the moving spirit and life of the whole, I followed and watched him with eye and heart, till my heart grew sick and I turned away.

CHAPTER VI.
IN THE FIRE.

MY ride with Major Fairbairn made me unsettled. Or else it was my seeing Mr. Thorold at his drill. A certain impatience seized me; an impatience of the circumstances and position in which I found myself privately, and of the ominous state and position of affairs in public. The horizon black with clouds, the grumble of the storm, and yet the portentous waiting and quiet which go before the storm's burst. It irked me to see Mr. Thorold as I had seen him yesterday; knowing ourselves united, but standing apart as if it were not so, and telling a lie to the world. It weighed on me, and I half felt that Christian was right and that anything openly acknowledged was easier to bear. And then Major Fairbairn's talk had filled me with fears. He represented things as being so very threatening, and the outbreak of the storm as being so very near; I could not regain the tranquillity of the days past, do what I would. I did a very unwise thing, I suppose, for I went to reading the papers. And they were full of Northern preparations and of Southern boastings; I grew more and more unsettled as I read. Among other things, I remember, was a letter from Russell, the Times correspondent, over which my heart beat wearily. For Mr. Russell, I thought, being an Englishman, and not a party to our national quarrel, might be expected to judge more coolly and speak more dispassionately than our own writers, either South or North. And the speeches he reported as heard from Southern gentlemen, and the feelings he observed to be common among them, were most adverse to any faint hope of mine that the war might soon end, or end advantageously for the North, or when it ended, leave my father and mother kindly disposed for my happiness. All the while I read, a slow knell seemed to be sounding at my heart. "We could have got on with those fanatics if they had been either Christians or gentlemen" – "there are neither Christians nor gentlemen among them." "Nothing on earth shall ever induce us to submit to any union with the brutal, bigoted blackguards of the New England States, who neither comprehend nor regard the feelings of gentlemen." That was like what Preston said. I recognized the tone well. And when it was added, "Man, woman, and child, we'll die first" – I thought it was probably true. What chance then for Christian and me? "There is nothing in all the dark caves of human passion," Mr. Russell wrote, "so cruel and deadly as the hatred the South Carolinians profess for the Yankees." The end of the letter contained a little comfort in the intimation of more moderate counsels just then taking favour; but I went back to my father and mother, and aunt, and Preston, and others; and comfort found no lodgment with me. Then there was an extract from a Southern paper, calling Yankees "the most contemptible and detestable of God's creation" – speaking of their "mean, niggardly lives – their low, vulgar and sordid occupations" – and I thought, How can peace be? or what will it be when it comes?

I went out for my usual evening walk, longing and half dreading to see Mr. Thorold; for I did not like to shew him my fears; they gave him pain; and yet at the same time I wanted him to scold them away. But this time I did not see him. I walked the avenue, at first eagerly, then anxiously; then with an intense pressing pain and suspense which could hardly be borne. Neither Thorold nor Thorold's horse appeared among all the figures moving there; and after walking as long as I dared, I was fain to go home with that pain in my heart. It seemed, as I went up the stairs to my room, almost as if I could die at once with it. Yet I had to make my hair smooth and meet Mrs. Sandford at tea, and hear all her little details about Dr. Sandford's illness; which, as they were precisely the same as those of the day before, had nothing even to hold my attention for a moment. But I attended. It was necessary. And I eat toast and drank tea. That was necessary too; with every mouthful a stab of pain, and every little ordinary incident of the tea-table a wrenching of my heartstrings. One does those things quietly and the world never knows. But I hailed it as a great relief when Mrs. Sandford rose from the table.

"Poor Daisy!" she said. "I must leave you to yourself again – all alone. It's too bad!"

"I like it very well so," I told her.

"It mustn't go on," she said. "Really it must not. You will mope, if you don't already. Don't you, Daisy? Where are all your admirers?"

She had touched my face caressingly with her fingers, and I had to look up and meet her. It was one of the hardest minutes of self-control I ever knew. I met her and answered calmly, even coldly; and she went; and I sat down and shrank, I remember how I shrank, lowering my head and neck and shoulders in a crushing reaction from the erect self-assertion of the moment before. The next thing, two hands were on my shoulders and a voice whispered in my ear a question, "what was the matter?" so as no other voice ever asked me that question; – with the tender assumption of the right to know, and an equally gentle hint that there was comfort and help somewhere not far off. Now, however, I only started up with terror at hearing that voice there; – terror instantly displaced by another terror at the reason of its being there. I knew, I can't tell how I knew, by the first glance into Mr. Thorold's face.

"Yes," said he, in a low voice, "I have got orders."

"Where?" I managed to ask. "To do what?"

"I must take a battery across the country to General Patterson."

"That will take you out of the way," I said.

"Out of the way of what?" said he, drawing me to his breast, and looking down into my face with his hazel eyes sparkling over a depth of something that was not merry. "Out of the way of what, Daisy?" he repeated. "Out of the way of fighting, do you mean? Is that your way of being a proper soldier's wife? It is out of your way, love; that is what I think of."

I hid my face and we stood still. It was no time then to be dignified.

"How long?" – I whispered at last.

"Impossible to tell, you know. I could not meet you this evening. I must be off in an hour."

"To-night?"

"Yes."

There was another silence.

"What is General Patterson doing?" I ventured then.

"I suppose he has to keep Johnston in order. How long will you stay in Washington? – can you tell?"

"Till Dr. Sandford can travel. – He is no better."

"Well!" – and a breath of a sigh came then which went to my heart – "Something will be decided before a few days; and then we shall know a little better where we stand. I must go!"

He clasped me close and gave me kisses all over my face; but I would not have lost one this time. Then he gently put me on the sofa, pressed his lips to mine one last time, and was out of the room in an instant. I listened to every step in the hall; I heard him open the door and shut it; I heard his foot upon the stone steps outside two or three times; and then I had lost all.

I sat very still and stunned for a long time. There seemed nothing to do. I could not rouse myself. It was the fear of being found there that roused me at last. I gathered myself up, and went to my room. Oh days, days! How much one lives through.

I was keen-set now for news, army news especially; and I spent hours in studying all the public prints that were within reach of my hand. So contradictory they were, and so confusing, that they made me only the more long for actual living advices. The second day, Major Fairbairn came to ask me again to ride; and though at first I thought I could not, the next feeling of restless uncertainty and suspense decided me. Better be on a horse's back than anywhere else, perhaps. And Major Fairbairn was not a bad person to talk to. But I had to nerve myself forcibly to the task of entering upon the subject I wanted.

"How perplexing the papers are," I remarked, by way of making an easy beginning.

"Find them so?" said the major. "That is because you read all sides."

"How else can one make up one's mind? How can you know what is the truth?"

"Apparently you do not know it that way," said the major, smiling. "No; the way is, to choose your side, and stick to it. Then you stand a chance to be comfortable."

"But you cannot go into society without hearing more sides than one."

"Silence the wrong."

"I want to know first which is right."

"Haven't you found that out yet?" my companion said, with a surprised glance at me. "I thought, Miss Randolph, you were a safe person; all right for the good cause."

"Oh, yes, of course, that is not the question. I do not want to hear both sides to decide that. But I mean lesser questions; movements, probabilities, dangers; the truth of actual events. Those I want to know about."

"I am sure, so do I," said the major.

"I hoped you could enlighten me, Major Fairbairn."

"About movements?" said the major. "Well, our forces are moving; there is no doubt. McDowell is going forward in earnest at last."

"Against Beauregard?"

"Against whatever he meets; and I suppose Beauregard will meet him."

"Then there will be a battle?"

"I hope so."

"Why do you hope so, Major Fairbairn?"

"It is the shortest way to peace, Miss Randolph. But it is not likely that one battle will do it."

"I know it will not if the North succeed," I said; "but how if the Southern army should get the better?"

"You aren't a rebel in disguise?" said the major, looking askance at me. "Is my reputation in danger, to be riding with you?"

"It is just as well to look the truth in the face, Major Fairbairn."

"So it is; you are right there," said my companion seriously enough. "Well, I look for a long tussle of it, whichever way this particular game goes to-day. It will be well if there is anything left to fight for, by the time it is over."

"There is always the truth," – I said.

"The truth gives poor board wages to its servants, though," said the major. "It is all very well to cry 'victory,' when there is no corn in the hopper."

"Is it likely that Patterson will fight?" I asked, with my heart in my mouth. I had been trying to get this question out; and it seemed to me now as if every word were as big as two.

"Humph! – I don't know," said the major. "I suppose he will, if he can't help it."

"What do you mean?"

"Why, he has got work enough to do," said Major Fairbairn. "I don't know if it is work that he likes. I have some private acquaintance with the man. His business is to keep Johnston busy, so that he will not have leisure to look our way."

"And suppose Patterson does not do his duty?"

"Then we may have too much on our hands. Beauregard doesn't want any help just now." And weary, no doubt, of the subject, the major diverged to some lighter matters of conversation. I tried to answer and make talk, but my heart was very sick. I could hardly know what he was saying; Beauregard, and Patterson, and Johnston, so ran in my thoughts. I suppose the major did not find it out, for he seemed very well satisfied, and at parting said that "after the victory" he would come and have another ride with me.

So I waited now for news. Dull, dreadful days; long with an interminable length of quarters and half hours; heavy with fear. They were not many; for the morning but one, I think, after my last ride, a gentleman stopped me in the street to tell me that firing had been heard that morning, and McDowell had, it was thought, met his enemy. I calculated the days since I had seen Mr. Thorold; speculated on Patterson's probable activity or non-activity, and Christian's consequent place and duty in the position of affairs; and could only know that it was all a confusion of pain. At first I thought to go at once back to the house and give up my walk; but a second thought of that dull weary waiting inside of walls sent me on up the avenue. I might hear something more; at any rate, the open sky was a better breathing-place.

The open sky! Blue and calm as ever; moveless and pure; while the grim strife of a battlefield was raging beneath it. Was there another struggle where Johnston's forces were opposed by General Patterson? And why could I not leave my cares now, as so many a time I had left them, as I longed to leave them this minute, – in the hand that upheld that blue sky? I could not. That is to say, I did in some fashion, which kept me from utterly fainting; but I was not confident; I was not willing that the will of God should be done irrespective of mine. I writhed from under the pressure of a coming possibility. Could I help it? My one first earthly joy, the treasure that gathered up all life's riches for me; could I think of that treasure being scattered and not know that I should be left poor? And what if God willed I should be thus poor? Ah, I was not ready.

I had a long, feverish walk, made as long as I could; and came home with a sort of thirst of heart, and very weary. Mrs. Sandford met me, and I had to turn into the parlour.

"Grant is a little better, I think," she said.

I could not find words to speak to her. If he was better, why, then, he would be taking me from Washington. I knew how it would be.

"He is certainly better," she repeated, with exultation in her voice; "and now, my dear Daisy, we will get away from this horrid place. My dear, how – how gray you look! What is the matter? You are tired to death."

I almost wished I was. However, I commanded myself, and told her I had been walking far, and it was hot, and no doubt I was gray with dust.

"And do you know," Mrs. Sandford went on, "they say the attack has commenced. Firing has been heard from some direction down in Virginia; the doctor told me."

"Mr. Vinton told me."

"Did he? while you were out? and you never mentioned it? Daisy, you are the coolest creature! I envy you for that more than for everything else you have got; though people do say – some people – that Miss Randolph's gray eyes are depths of delight. My dear! whose possible encomiums have I hit in your memory, that your cheeks are taking up the matter with such a delicious rose colour?"

She did not know what she touched. It was no vanity, but her words brought up suddenly what Thorold had told his aunt about Vermont lakes, and all the bitter-sweetness of that evening. My heart swelled. I was very near bursting into tears and astonishing Mrs. Sandford.

"Daisy, my dear," she said fondly and half seriously, "you are too great a treasure to be risked out of your parents' hands. The responsibility is weighing upon me. I hope Grant will get well, I am sure, and take us away. What with one sort of danger and another, it is really too much. Fancy, what it would be if we were to lose this battle! Why, the rebels would be here in no time; the doctor said so."

"Well – " I said. I could not tell all my thought; that in such an event I would not be anywhere but where I was, for worlds; unless indeed I could be with the army of General Patterson before Johnston.

"Is Dr. Sandford really better?" I asked.

"He certainly is; I am so glad! and I will tell him you asked so earnestly about him, and that will make him better still. Yes, we will get away now from this dismal place some time, I do believe. Do go and lie down, Daisy; and I will send you some lemonade."

The lemonade stood by me all day; while I thought of the smoke and the conflict to which no refreshment could come. I could not touch the lemonade.

I cannot tell now whether that day was Friday or Saturday. I have tried to recollect, and I cannot. I am not sure whether it was not Thursday. But I know it was Saturday evening when the next thing happened which stands clear in my memory. I was in my own room, forlornly endeavouring to work some worsted embroidery; – though the sickness of my heart seemed to find its way into my fingers, and it was with pain and difficulty that they pulled the needle in and out. It was only more difficult to sit still and do nothing; and to read was impossible. I sat drawing the wool through the canvas – drawing long threads of thought at the same time – when Mrs. Sandford burst in.

"Daisy! – they say McDowell has had a bad time – they have driven him back, or something; isn't it dreadful! – and there you sit embroidering as quiet as can be. But bless me, child! you haven't a bit of colour. Washington will kill us all yet."

"Who told you?"

"Doctor Barnard says it's so; it's all through the city. And if the rebels get the better of McDowell, they'll come straight here, Daisy, and take Washington. Oh, I wish Grant was well enough to set right off to-morrow! but he isn't. How can you be so quiet? I tell you, our army has been repulsed, and how bad it is nobody knows."

"We had better wait till somebody does know," I said. "We have had repulses before. There was Big Bethel – and Vienna – and a great many."

"But this is McDowell and the great army; and Beauregard has hosts at his back."

"Well!" I said.

"But you are dreadfully pale, Daisy. How can you keep so quiet? What are you made of?"

"I do not think they will take Washington," I said. "I am in no hurry, for my part, to get away. Look – do you say maroon or dark purple for this bit of grounding? I cannot make up my mind."

Mrs. Sandford dived into the purples and browns of my coloured wools; came back again to McDowell and Beauregard, but came back quieted, and presently left the room. Then, I put down my needle and laid my head on the table, and shook from head to foot with the trembling she had given me. And a longing to see Christian took possession of me; a sick, crying thirst for the sight, if it were only for a minute; the impatient agony of self-will. Necessity's bands and manacles put it down after a time.

The next day was Sunday. I went to church alone, and with my usual average of calm. But I heard some one say to his neighbour, that there was a great battle going forward – with what promise nobody knew. The words sent me home with a sort of half breath. I avoided Mrs. Sandford, took no dinner; and in the afternoon feverishly crept out to church again. The air seemed to me full of bodings. Yet I heard nothing. I saw people whisper each other, and nod; I thought good news was given and received, and I breathed a little easier. It was not till I was coming out from the service that any one spoke to me. I found myself then near a gentleman whom we knew.

"Glorious news, Miss Randolph!" he half whispered. "General Scott will dine with a good appetite to-day."

"What is the news?"

"Oh, a great victory! We have not got the details yet, of course; but it seems all is going right."

"It seems going right."

"Yes. You know we have not details yet. There's been heavy fighting, though."

"Is it a general engagement?"

"Oh, yes! All in that could be in. And some that had no business to be in. They say, Johnston has reinforced Beauregard; but they are totally routed, I believe. So it is said."

"Who says it?"

"The accounts from the battlefield, I presume. They are coming in all the time. The Nation has triumphed. I congratulate you. I know you are loyal. Mrs. Sandford will be rejoiced. Good afternoon."

It was too sudden, too soon, and too confused. I could not breathe freely yet. Johnston reinforced Beauregard? That was just what Patterson was expected to prevent; ought to have prevented. Then, probably, Patterson had done no fighting? I was pondering, when I suddenly found Major Fairbairn beside me. He belonged with the troops left to guard Washington.

"Oh, Major," said I, "what is the news?"

"Firing down in Virginia, – " said the major, laconically.

"Is it true, that a battle has been won by McDowell?"

"I wish it were," said he; "but in general it is safe not to speak of a fight till it is over."

"Then it is not over?"

"I have not heard that it is."

"But they tell me a fight has been won."

"They tell every conceivable thing in war-time," said the major. "Don't you know that? It is safe to believe nothing."

"Has Johnston joined Beauregard?"

"I am afraid he has. The advices seem to put that beyond disbelief."

"You are afraid! Then the news means nothing to you; nothing good, I mean?"

"The rumours mean nothing to me," said the major, smiling. "The reliable news is really, so far, not much. It is certain there is a battle going on, Miss Randolph, and a battle along the whole line. And it is certain that Patterson had orders to follow up Johnston, and keep him from troubling us. And I am afraid it is also certain that he has not done it – confound him! Excuse me; but a man who don't obey orders deserves to have people swear at him, Miss Randolph."

I left the major at a corner, and before I got home, another acquaintance informed me that the victory was undoubted, though severely purchased, and that the city was in a state of exultation. I did not know what to think. I said as little as possible to Mrs. Sandford; but later in the evening Dr. Barnard came with the details of the day, and the added intelligence that since seven o'clock the firing had recommenced.

"What for? if the victory is sure?" said Mrs. Sandford; and I went to my room feeling that it was not sure. Nevertheless I slept that night. I cannot tell why, or how. Whether it were most akin to weariness or despair, I slept, and quietly, and the whole night through. But I know very well that I awaked with a full sense that it was not to quietness nor peace. I took up my burden as I got out of bed.

My room was at the back of the house. Consequently I heard and saw nothing of the outer world till I came down to the breakfast-room. Nobody was there yet, and I went to the window. The first thing I saw then made my heart stand still. A group was gathered just before the window, on the sidewalk. In the midst a soldier, one of a gay Zouave regiment, not at all gay now, stood talking to a little crowd of listeners; talking in a pouring rain, which nobody seemed to care about. He was wet; his bright uniform was stained and draggled; he had no musket; and his tasseled cap sat on a head which in every line and movement expressed defeat and disgrace. So they all listened who stood around; I read it as well as if I had heard the words they were hearing. I saw dejection, profound sorrow, absorbed attention, utter forgetfulness of present bodily discomfort. I noticed that one man who carried an umbrella had put it down, and stood listening in the rain. Occasionally the soldier raised his arm to eke out his words with a gesture; and then moved a step as if to go on, but they closed around him again and staid him with eager questions or urgings. I was very near throwing up the sash to ask what it all was; and then I thought, what matter! I should know soon enough, But I could not move from the window; and Mrs. Sandford entering and seeing me there came and looked over my shoulder. I did not know it, till I heard her –

"Good Heavens! – Daisy, my dear, what is the matter?"

"We shall hear presently," I said, turning away from the window.

"But what is it?" – And Mrs. Sandford first took my place, and then did what I had been tempted to do; – threw up the sash.

"What is the matter?" she said. "Is there news? Men, is there news?"

I do not know what was answered; I did not hear; I had gone into the middle of the room; but Mrs. Sanford closed the window presently and came to me, looking even pale. A rare thing for her.

"Daisy, there is trouble," she said.

"Yes, – " I answered.

"How do you know? They say – they say, the army is all cut to pieces!"

I could not speak about it. We knew nothing yet; but Mrs. Sandford went on –

"He says, everybody is killed. All routed and destroyed, the army is. Can it be possible?"

I thought it was very possible: I never had doubted but that the Southerners – as a body – were the best fighters. But I said nothing; while Mrs. Sandford poured out sorrows and fears and speculations in a breath. I could have smiled, but that I could not have smiled. We stood still, looking at each other, nobody remembering breakfast. I was thinking, if the cause was lost, where would Mr. Thorold be then. And I ceased to hear Mrs. Sandford.

"But Daisy!" she said suddenly – "the other army – Beauregard's – they will be here directly to take Washington, if all this is true; and it must be true; or that soldier would not have been out there in the rain. They will be coming here directly, Daisy. And, bless me! how wicked I am! You are standing there, patient and pale, and you have had no breakfast. Come here and let me give you some coffee. Grant said he would be down to dinner perhaps; and how angry he would be."

We drank cups of coffee, but I do not think either of us broke bread.

That was a weary day. All the day long new groups were forming and dispersing in the street, telling and talking over the news; groups of all sorts. Soldiers discoursing to audiences like the one in the morning; knots of officers; twos and threes of business men; debating, inquiring, discussing; all under the dark rain, all with downcast faces and dispirited bearing. Late in the day Major Fairbairn called. He somewhat reassured us. The carnage was not so great; the loss not so tremendous, as we had at first been told; the damage done not so absolutely overwhelming.

"Then you do not think Beauregard will come and take Washington?" Mrs. Sandford asked.

"I don't know!" the major said, with a smile. "He must be quick about it, or it will be too late."

"But is this a final settling of the question, Major Fairbairn?" I inquired. "That is what I want to know."

"We have been whipped," he said, looking at me.

"Yes, I know; but the North – will they take this as a settlement of the question?"

"The North!" echoed the Major. "Will they give up, you mean? Not just yet! The Government does not feel like it. Do you?"

"I am so ignorant – " I answered.

"You must be, – pardon my saying so. Not at all. The sting of the whip will make us move faster. Orders are issued already for the reinforcement and reorganization of the army. General McClellan is to take command here; and we will get things upon a new basis."

"Is McClellan the man we want?" Mrs. Sandford inquired.

"I cannot say. If he is not, we will wait for another."

"You are very cool, Major Fairbairn!" said the lady.

"It is the best plan, in July."

"But it is very hard to keep cool."

The major smiled and looked at me.

"What has Patterson been doing all this while?" I asked. Smiles died out of the major's face.

"He has kept cool," he said. "Easy – when a man never was warm."

"And you think, major," said Mrs. Sandford, "you really think that the truth is not so bad as it has been reported. Why, Mr. May was positive the rebels would come and take Washington. You think there has not been such dreadful loss of life after all?"

"A tenth of the story will be nearer the mark," said the major. "But we shall know more particulars to-morrow; and I will step in again, as I can, and let you know what I know. I must not stay now." And with a bow to me, the major went.

I did not stop then to inquire what his bow meant. Nor did I hear Mrs. Sandford's long string of comments and speculations, any further than was necessary to enable me to reply from time to time with some show of connectedness. I was eagerly calculating chances, without any basis of data to go upon. Trying to conjecture General Patterson's probable coming duty, and to what it might lead. If his foe had disappeared from before him, must he not follow on this way, where (I thought) men were so imperatively needed? If he came, there would be fighting for him, certainly, the next time! Beauregard would muster again for the fray; I knew that; and it seemed the Union army was going to make ready also on its side. If Patterson and his command staid where he was, to take care of that part of the country, perhaps it might be a bloodless charge for a while; it might, till the two grand armies should encounter once more, and one or the other get the mastery. Then, how long might it be, before these two armies would be ready to try another, a third tussle together? and would Mr. Thorold be willing to stay permanently where inaction would be his portion? Twenty such incongruous unreasonable questions I was mooting and turning over, while Mrs. Sandford's running fire of talk made it impossible for me to think to any conclusion.

When I went up to my room, however, and got free of her, I sat down to it. There had been no fighting for this bout in that part of the army where Patterson commanded and where Thorold served. So far he had escaped. Now, if Patterson could only be kept in that region, for a little time, and the question between the North and South be brought to an issue meanwhile and decided here –

I was in a fever of hope and fear, cogitating deeply things which I had no means of knowing or settling, when the question suddenly occurred to me, What was I doing? What was I doing? Only, trying to arrange the wheels of Providence; trying to make peace and war; to kill and to keep alive. I was taking and bearing on my shoulders the burden of the nation's armies and of their destiny. It fell on my heart all at once, what I was doing. And my nerves were straining, even now, to throw around my beloved the shield of circumstances; to keep him where he would be safe; to put my hand between his life and a blow. Could Daisy do that? Was her arm long enough, or her eye enough far-seeing? In despair and in humiliation both, I fell on my knees. This must be given up. I must leave armies and battles, yes and every several bullet and cannon ball, yes, yes, and more; I must leave Mr. Thorold's life and heart in other hands than mine. I must put the care of them out of mine; I must give up even the thought of shielding him, or arranging for him. More. Yes, though it pressed upon my heart with the great difficulty, I must be willing to have God do, with him and with me, just what He pleased. How else could I live, with the struggle before me? How else could I live at all as a believing and obedient child of God? "I must," and "I will," are not words for a child to say.

My heart, my heart, how it died within me as I saw my duty! as I saw that it behoved me to give up all, and then wait in patience to see what the Lord would let me have. My heart died first, and then rose again to the struggle. But those only know what a struggle it is, who have tried. It seems to me, most people, even Christians, do not try. Yet, to "forsake all," the test of discipleship, what is it but to cease saying "I must" and "I will," about anything, and to hold everything thenceforth at the will of God. I spent that night on my knees, when I was not walking the floor. I spent it in tears and in pleading the promises; sometimes almost in despair. But I reached at last a place of great calm. I gave up insisting upon my own will; and though with every nerve of affection throbbing, as it were, I gave up the care of myself and of Thorold; I gave up the disposal of the lives of both. And when the calm was once reached, it grew deeper and quieter, and the throbbing nerves were stilled, and a great burden was taken off my shoulders. And then, the sense of a love better than mine, and of a power stronger than mine, stole over my heart with an infinite sweetness; the parched and thirsty places of my spirit seemed to catch the dews of heaven; and still soothed and quieted more and more, I went to sleep with my head upon the bed's side, where I was kneeling.

CHAPTER VII.
DETAILED FOR DUTY.

I AWAKED in the peace of one who has laid his burden down. My joints were a little stiff, from the position in which I had slept; my mind was set free. The charge of the rival armies and their conflicts was no longer on my shoulders; even the care of individual life and safety I thought no longer to secure. Myself I was a soldier, in a different army; and I had been forgetting my business and presuming into the General's province. No wonder my nerves were strained and my heart almost broken. That was now all given up; and I went through my morning duties in a quiet that was profound, if it was also very humble. I had found the only harbour of rest that can be found on the shores of this world; that one which is entered by paying the tribute of one's self-will. The tides of the great sea do not rise and fall there; the anchorage is good; the winds that weep over the waters bring balm with them; and the banner that floats at the entrance bears this inscription –

"He shall not be afraid of evil tidings; his heart is fixed, trusting in the Lord."

The first thing I heard from Mrs. Sandford was that the doctor was almost well, and would come down-stairs after breakfast. I knew what that portended for me; thought I knew; but as I said, I had given up the management of myself and my concerns. "If ye be not able to do that thing which is least, why take ye thought for the rest?" I got my worsted and sat down-stairs at my work, to be ready to see the doctor when he should come. Mrs. Sandford took post at the window; and so we waited. The weather to-day was clear and bright; the street full yet of motley groups, returned soldiers and gathered civilians, looking however far less dismal than the day before. Mrs. Sandford from the window detailed all she saw; while my worsted needle went in and out to an interrupted refrain – "He shall not be afraid of evil tidings" – "Why take ye thought?" –

Then Mrs. Sandford said, "Here comes the major, Daisy. It seems to me he is very attentive – " and in the major walked.

He gave his hand to me, and his eye glanced at the figure in the window. I could not help the thought that he wished it not there. But things too far down had been stirred in me, for a little surface matter like this to move my calm.

"What news, major?" my friend asked.

"Good. How do you do, Mrs. Sandford? I told you yesterday that it would be good."

"Yes, but how good is it, Major Fairbairn?"

"Fine."

"Well, go on and tell us. You are a nice major."

"Thank you. In the first place, as you may remember I said it would be, the lists of casualties are greatly reduced."

"Casualties?" said Mrs. Sandford. "What is that? I am learning so many new things."

"The lists of the killed and wounded."

"Oh! That is what a military man calls casualties, Daisy, my dear."

"It is the term in common use – " said the major, looking somewhat taken aback.

"I know. Pray, Major Fairbairn, have the officers of the army the reputation of making good husbands and heads of families?"

"I have always heard that they did," said the major, colouring a little and by no means free of his astonishment.

"I don't see how they can have any sympathy for little common heartaches and headaches, though, when to be run through the body is such a trifle. They can't, I think, major."

"But Mrs. Sandford – "

"For instance," the lady went on, unmercifully, – "for instance, Miss Randolph has her head taken off by a cannon ball. The doctor and I are desolate; but Major Fairbairn says it is a 'casualty.' Or, the doctor himself may be hit by a shot not intended for him, and put out of charge of his hospital for ever. Miss Randolph and I are in ashes; but our friend Major Fairbairn says it is only a 'casualty.'"

"But friends, Mrs. Sandford, – " the major began.

"Everybody has friends," said Mrs. Sandford. "I was reading in the paper just now a list of these little accidents. One man had his leg shattered by a minie ball; it killed him in a few hours. Another had a charge of grape-shot in his breast; it struck the spine. He is dead. What is grape-shot, Major Fairbairn?"

The major hastily passed to the sideboard in the other room and brought me a glass of water.

"Daisy!" Mrs. Sandford exclaimed. "Are you faint, my dear? These are only casualties. My dear, are you faint? what is the matter? – Bless me, how white you are! What is it?"

I drank the water, and struggled back into composure, at least outwardly; being very much surprised at myself.

"But what is the matter, Daisy? what is the matter? I have said nothing in the world. Cannot you bear that?"

"Major Fairbairn was going to tell us something, ma'am," I said, endeavouring to throw my thoughts off.

"That can wait until you are better."

"No," I said, "do not wait. I am well. What were you going to say, major?"

"Only that things are much better than they were supposed to be yesterday."

"You said that before. Please go on."

"Well, it is always so," said the major. "At first all the stragglers are counted for lost. Then they come in. They are coming in now, by scores, all the while. Instead of thousands killed and wounded, it is found to-day that there are but five or six hundred; and without being particularly hard-hearted, I rejoice at it. That is part of what I was going to say."

The major spoke gravely, and looked at me with an anxious expression. I assured him I was better, and begged him to tell us the rest.

"You have put it all out of my head, Miss Randolph. Will you have – won't you have – something else? – wine? Pardon me, you have not regained your usual colour."

"The best thing would be some more of your good news. I have a great appetite for good news, after yesterday."

"Naturally. Well, the rest of my news is very good. The country is answering the call made upon her."

"The call for fortitude?" said Mrs. Sandford.

"The call for men, – and for pluck, if you like," said the major.

"More men," – said Mrs. Sandford.

"Certainly. We must have men. And from every quarter, wherever we have heard, there comes an enthusiastic response. Sixty thousand new men have been accepted already by the Government; and they are coming in all the while. There will be a very great number of fresh arrivals here in a very few days. Miss Randolph, your question is answered."

"What question, Major Fairbairn?"

"Whether the North would give up, you know."

"I am glad," I said. "I am glad!"

"And even in saying it, you grow pale again, Daisy. You are not well!" Mrs. Sandford exclaimed.

"Perfectly well. These times are exciting."

"Rather too exciting. I like the excitement that brings the blood into the cheeks. Do go out and take a walk; you want fresh air; or yesterday has unstrung your nerves. But you were so quiet, I thought nothing moved you. Do go and take a walk, Daisy."

The major added a quiet word of urging, saying that if I could go at once, he would see that I did not faint before I got home.

I was bewildered, I think, or I should not have gone; but I wanted to get away from the talk and to feel the fresh air; I was stifled; and I went. My nervous perturbation was a surprise to me. I had given up everything, I thought; I was quite calm, ready for everything. I thought I was; and yet, so little a word had unsettled me. So I went with the major. And then, I was brought to myself presently by more than the fresh air; for I found my friend somewhat too happy in his charge, and more careful of me than I chose he should think there was any occasion for. Moreover, I could not bear to accept his care. I summoned my forces and plunged him into a depth of political and philosophical discussion which he could not get out of till he left me again at my own door. I reassured Mrs. Sandford then; and sat down to my worsted embroidery with a profound sense of how little my strength was. A few minutes afterwards Dr. Sandford came in.

I had not seen him now for several weeks; and I never saw him look better. It immediately struck me, that with him well, it mattered comparatively little whether Mr. Thorold and I were in the same place together or not. Dr. Sandford's clear blue eye was not to be braved with impunity. No more was it to be shunned. But I needed not to shun it. I met it full now. I could, since last night. The disposal of my affairs, if it was not in me, it certainly was not in him. He met me with a smile and a look of pleasure; and sat down by me to watch the progress of my worsted work. So ostensibly; but I soon knew that he was watching not my work, but me.

"How have these weeks been with Miss Randolph? Dull?"

"No," I said; – "not dull."

"How have they escaped that?"

"There has been too much to interest, Dr. Sandford."

"Yet I see you at your Berlin wools. Pardon me – but whenever I see a lady busy with her needle and a bit of canvas, I always think she is hard up for something to think of. Pardon again, Daisy. I know you have no mercy upon slang."

"See how mistaken you are, Dr. Sandford."

"In that? Not in that."

"No; but in your notions about wool and canvas."

"They are true!" said the doctor.

"Ah, but don't you know that extremes meet?"

"What extremes?"

"All extremes, perhaps. I have been working worsted for a day or two, just because I had so much to think of."

"They have been exciting days," said the doctor slowly, "to a sick man who could do nothing."

"Why not to a woman, for the same reason?"

"Have they tried you very much, Daisy?"

"Why, she was turning faint here a little while ago," broke in Mrs. Sandford, "because I was giving an account of some wounded soldiers I had read about in the papers; and the major and I persuaded her to go out and take a walk to recover herself."

"The major? – that is indefinite, though you use the definite article. What major?"

"Oh, we have a number of military friends. They have kept us alive since you have been shut up. What is this one, Daisy? He is a very good one. Major Fairbairn."

"Fairbairn? I do not know him," said the doctor.

"It is not necessary that you should know everybody," said his sister-in-law. "Daisy knows him very well."

"And likes him – " said the doctor; "or he could not have a share in persuading Miss Randolph to anything."

"Yes, I like him," I said. I thought, the more friends in the army I had, the better; and also, that Dr. Sandford must not be permitted to push his lines too far.

"Who is Major Fairbairn?"

"I do not know; he is from Maine or New Hampshire, I think."

"Your parents, Daisy, would not desire these Northern associations for you; would they?"

I do not know with what calm I faced the doctor and answered him. "These Northern associations" – the words touched the innermost beatings of my heart – if such an expression can be used. Yet I looked at Dr. Sandford in absolute calm, knowing all that the doctor did not know, and spoke with perfect composure.

"I cannot escape them, you know, Dr. Sandford, unless I were to go over to the enemy's lines; and I cannot do that."

"I would not wish that," said the doctor.

"Then your feelings continue all with the Northern men, Daisy?"

"All – " I said.

I went back to my worsted work, but I had a sense that the doctor was studying me. One cannot judge, of course, of one's own manner, or know what is in it; so I cannot tell what had been in mine. The doctor sat and considered me; I thought, in some perplexity.

"Daisy's feelings are appreciated and returned by the Northern men," Mrs. Sandford said, laughing. "Rides and walks – how many rides and walks have you taken, Daisy, these forlorn weeks, with officers of the Northern army? Oh! they are not ungrateful."

Dr. Sandford made no answer, and when he spoke I knew he was not making answer to these words. But they startled me.

"Is there anybody engaged in this struggle, Daisy, that you are concerned for?"

"Certainly!" I said; – "several."

"I was not aware – " the doctor began.

"Some whom you know, and some whom you don't know, and on both sides."

"You have a cousin, I believe, somewhere in the Southern army. He was at West Point, if I remember."

"Preston Gary. I do not know where he is now, only he is among them. They say, he is with Beauregard. I was very fond of him. Then there is my brother; he either is with them or he will be; and there are still others."

"On the Southern side," said the doctor.

"Those two are on the Southern side," I said. "Others are on the Northern. I am there myself."

"Not exactly in the struggle," said the doctor; "and yet, I do not know. These women!"

I think the doctor was baffled by my perfect quietness and readiness. He spoke presently in a disengaged manner.

"Mr. Ransom Randolph is in no danger at present. I know from a word in a late letter from your father, that he is in Europe still. Would you not like to get out of this confused state of things, and join them there?"

"I would like better to go if it was peace here," I said.

"Would you? Then you are not afraid lest the rebels should take Washington and confiscate the whole of us?"

"Major Fairbairn thinks the danger of that is past."

"He does! However, other dangers might arise."

"I knew you would not think Washington very safe ground for us," Mrs. Sandford rejoined.

"Mrs. Sandford is at her own risk. But I should hardly be doing the duty of a good guardian if I risked anything, where so important a charge is committed to me. I shall get you away from here without delay. How soon can you both be ready?"

I wanted to say I was ready, but I could not get out the words. My two friends debated the matter, and the doctor fixed his own time. The day after to-morrow.

It was good for me, that I had given up the charge of my own interests; or I never could have maintained the ease of manner which it was desirable to maintain in face of this proposition. I was very calm, remembering that "a man's heart deviseth his way, but the Lord directeth his steps." I went on with my worsted stitching under the eye of the doctor. I do not know why he watched me so.

"Has anybody ventured to tell you, Miss Randolph, that you have changed within a few months?" This question was put after I had forgotten the doctor and was marching somewhere before a battery in Patterson's column. I started a little.

"Yes, indeed! has she not?" exclaimed Mrs. Sandford. "Changed! She came out of school the dearest little school-girl that ever lived; or I should say, she went back to school so, last year. What has the year done to you, Daisy?"

"What has it done to me?" I replied, smiling at her. "How am I changed?"

"Changed!" Mrs. Sandford repeated. "Tell her, Grant, what is she now?"

"She would not thank me for telling her," said the doctor.

"But I will thank you, Mrs. Sandford," I said. "I was 'the dearest little school-girl.'"

"My dear, you are not that now," Mrs. Sandford said solemnly.

"It all comes to this, Daisy," said the doctor. "You are a psychological puzzle to me. For the matter of that, now I think of it, you always were. When you went to visit Molly Skelton, and carried rose-bushes round the country in your pony-chaise, just as much as now. You are not the same Daisy, however."

"Yes, I am; just the same," I said earnestly.

"Fancy it!" said Mrs. Sandford. "My dear, you do not see yourself; that is clear."

"I would like to do the same things again," I insisted. But that nearly choked me. For a vision of myself in my happy pony-chaise; the free, joyous child that I was, ignorant of soldiers and wars, further than as I knew my dear Captain Drummond; the vision of the Daisy that once was, and could never be again; went nigh to shake all my composure down. The emotion came with a rush, and I had nearly succumbed to it.

"Miss Randolph has a philosophy," the doctor went on, still watching me, – "which is not common to the world, and which I have hitherto in vain endeavoured to fathom. I have always fancied that I should be happier if I could find it out."

"Did I never tell you what it was, Dr. Sandford?"

"Never – intelligibly. You will excuse me. I do not mean to accuse you, but myself."

"But you know what it is," I said, facing him. "My philosophy, as you call it. It is only, to live for the other world instead of this."

"Why not live for this world, while you are in it, Daisy?"

"I am not going to stay in it."

"I hope, very long!" said the doctor – seriously. "And do you not think that people are meant to enjoy this world, while they have it?"

"Yes, when they can," I answered; remembering vividly that enjoyment is not always the rule. "But I enjoy the world better than you do, Dr. Sandford; because, living for the other, I take the good of both. And if this fails at any time, the other – cannot."

Dr. Sandford's blue eye went as deep into mine, and into me, I think, as it could; and he did not look satisfied.

The preparations for our journey were pressed with a diligence that admitted of no delay, all that day and the next. I was quietly busy too, thinking that it did not matter; that the time must come, and as well then as ever.

I had miscalculated my strength, or my weakness. Or perhaps the emotional part of our nature is never to be depended on. That dim morning of our early departure is fixed in my memory as one of the most heart-sinking times my heart ever knew. My companions were brisk and bright, in travelling mood, taking cars and porters and ticket offices and crowds, as pleasant concomitants of a pleasant affair. Glad to get away from Washington, both of them. And I, alone in my heart, knew what a thread was breaking for me; knew that Thorold's path and mine were starting from that point upon divergent lines, which would grow but further and further apart every day. Until that moment I had not realized what it would be, to leave the neighbourhood of his work and his danger, and cut off all but the most distant and precarious communication between him and me; what it would be, too, to him, to know that I was gone. It did seem then for a minute as if I could not go; as if I must, as necessity, remain within hailing distance of him, and at the headquarters of information. But there was another "must," stronger than mine; I was seated in the car, the whistle blew its mockery of me; and the slow movement which immediately followed was the snapping of the thread, – the parting of the lines. It was something that no human action could stay or avert now; and the gentle motion soon grew to a whirl of speed which bore me relentlessly away. The slow pang of that first stir of the cars, I can feel yet.

It was a dumb pain at my heart all day. I could not understand myself. For several days I had been quiet and prepared, I thought, and submissive; now to-day all was disorder; no preparedness; no quiet. Instead were heartaches and regrets and wild wishes; sometimes in dull and steady force, like a still rain-storm; and sometimes sweeping over me with the fury of a tempestuous blast. I had not strength to resist; my utmost was to keep a calm front before my friends. I did that, I think. But what torture is it not, to be obliged to hear and answer all manner of trifling words, to enter into every trivial thought, of people at ease around one, when the heart is bending and bowing under its life burden; to be obliged to count the pebbles in the way, when one is staggering to keep one's footing at all. Yes, and one must answer with a disengaged face, and one must smile with ready lips, and attention must not wander, and self-absorption for a minute cannot be allowed. Perhaps it was good for me.

My companions attended to me well, so that I got no respite all day. Not till night, when I reached my room; and when I had respite, I found no rest. It was great relief to put my head down without fear lest somebody should ask me if it ached; but all night long I struggled with the pain that had fought me all day. The next morning I went to find Miss Cardigan. To my great disappointment she was not at home; and would not be at home, I was told, under a week.

I passed slowly in, over the familiar stones of the marble floor, in through the empty rooms, to the innermost one which opened upon the little conservatory. That too was stripped of its beauties; most of the plants were set out in the open ground, and the scaffolding steps were bare. I turned my back upon the glass door, which had been for me the door to so much sweetness, and sat down to think. Not only sweetness. How strange it was! From Miss Cardigan's flowers, the connecting links led on straight to all my sorrow and heartache of the present and perhaps of many future days. They had led me here; and here Mr. Thorold had said words to me that had bound him and me together for the rest of our lives, and made his welfare my welfare. And now, he was in the shock of battlefields; and I – afar off – must watch and listen. And I could not be near and watch. I must be where even good news would be no news, except of the past; where nobody would speak to me of Mr. Thorold, and where I could not speak of him to anybody. I was sure, the more I thought of it, that the only possible chance for a good issue to our engagement, would be to wait until the war should be over; and if he persisted in his determination of speaking to my father and mother before such a favourable conjuncture, the end would be only disaster. I somewhat hoped, that the pressure of active duty on his part, or some happy negligence of post-office officials, or other contingency, might hinder such a letter as he had threatened from coming to my father's hands at present.

Meanwhile, in Miss Cardigan's little room, I struggled for a right mind. If I was sorrowful, I told myself, I was also glad. If I pitied myself a little for all that had happened, it was also true that I would not have undone it – that is, my part in it, – for the world. I would rather belong to Mr. Thorold, even through all this pain, than be nothing to him and have him nothing to me. Yes, even going away on my distant journey to Europe, the knowledge of his love was a richer jewel in my heart than any other of earth's jewels that I carried. So what was I crying about?

I washed away some of the soreness of the days past in those tears. And then I came quietly back to my position; willing that God should dispose of me and do with me what He pleased; send me away or bring me home; give or take from me. At least so far I was willing, that I gave up all care-taking and ceased to struggle. My mood grew even sunshiny as I walked back to the hotel where we were all stationed. Hope began to execute little dances before me.

The doctor was busy now, I understood, with trying to find some party with whom I might make the journey to Switzerland. Mrs. Sandford was eager to get back to Melbourne, or its neighbourhood; I always called the whole region by that name. How I wished I could be allowed to go with her, and wait there till an opportunity offered for my further journey! But such were not the views of my guardian.

"Here's devotion!" exclaimed Mrs. Sandford as I came in to tea one evening. "My dear, he says he will go with you himself."

"Where? – who?" I asked.

"Why, Grant, to be sure. He says he will go with you, himself, and then his mind will be easy."

"How can he?" I said. "An army surgeon, – how can he get away?"

"Yes, and in war-time," said Mrs. Sandford. "But the truth is, that he needs to get away, he says; he is not fit for duty; and the voyage over and back will just set him up. I think it is a capital plan, for my part. He won't be gone any length of time, you know; and indeed he must not; he will just run across and put you in the hands of your friends; and so your passage is engaged, Daisy, in the Persia. I only wish I was going along, but I can't. I advise you never to marry, Grant. It ties one up terribly."

"It does not tie you very close," the doctor answered.

"When does the Persia go?" I asked.

"Yes, indeed; that is a question," said Mrs. Sandford. "Just think – she sails Saturday, and this is Thursday. Only one single day for you, Daisy; but after all, it is best so. You can be ready just as well, and the sooner you are off now the better. I shall miss you dreadfully, though."

I felt my cheeks turn cold, and I busied myself with my cup of tea.

"You are not so eager to be off, Miss Randolph, as my good sister is to have you," I heard the doctor say.

"No, not quite. I would like better to go if all this trouble in the country were ended."

"That would be to wait some time, I am afraid," said the doctor, helping himself to a piece of toast. And I do not know what in his motion and his manner of speech conveyed to me the notion that he was glad I could not wait. And, my mother's child though I was, I could not thwart him this time.

"It is a good time to be away, I think," said Mrs. Sandford. "I'd keep the news from her, Grant, if I were you. She sits and studies the papers as if her life were in them."

"There will be no news on board the steamer," said the doctor.

Yes, I knew that. The very beginning of my journey was to cut me off from tidings. How should I get them in Switzerland? And I must go too without seeing Miss Cardigan. Well, I thought, nothing can take my best Friend from me.

CHAPTER VIII.
DAISY'S POST.

DR. SANDFORD and I stood together on the deck of the steamer, looking at the lessening shore. I was afraid the doctor should see how I looked, yet I could not turn my eyes from it. I had given up the care of myself; I could bear to see America fading out of my sight; yet it seemed to me as if I left Daisy and her life there, and as if I must be like a wandering spirit from another world till I should come back to those shores again. I would minister to my father and mother, but nobody would minister to me. And I thought it was very likely very good for me. Maybe I was in danger of growing selfish and of forgetting my work and all happiness except my own and Thorold's. I could do nothing for either of those now; nothing actively. But I called myself up as soon as that thought passed through me. I could always pray; and I could be quiet and trust; and I could be full of faith, hope and love; and anybody with those is not unhappy. And God is with his people; and he can feed them in a desert. And with that, I went down to my stateroom, to sob my heart out. Not altogether in sorrow, or I think I should not have shed a tear; but with that sense of joy and riches in the midst of trial; the feeling of care that was over my helplessness, and hope that could never die nor be disappointed in spite of the many hopes that fail.

After that, my voyage was pleasant, as every voyage or journey is when one goes in the Lord's hand and with Him for a companion. I had no news, as the doctor had said, and I laid down all the matter of the war; though I was obliged to hear it talked of very much and in a way that was often extremely hard to bear. The English people on board seemed to think that Americans had no feeling on the subject of their country, or no country to feel about. Certainly they shewed no respect for mine; and though Dr. Sandford and one or two other gentlemen could and did answer their words well and cogently, and there was satisfaction in that; yet it was a warfare I did not choose to enter into unless good breeding could be a defence on both sides. They abused Mr. Lincoln; how they abused him! they have learned better since. They abused republics in general, rejoicing openly in the ruin they affected to see before ours. Yes, the United States of America and their boasted Constitution were a vast bubble – no solidity – rather a collection of bubbles, which would go to pieces by their own contact. Specially the weight of dislike and maligning fell on the Northern portion of the country; sympathy was with the South. These natives of the free British Isles were unmistakably disposed to cheer and help on a nation of oppressors, and wished them success. It was some time before I could understand such an anomaly; at last I saw that the instinct of self-preservation was at work, and I forgave as natural, what I could not admire as noble.

This element in our little society troubled somewhat my enjoyment of the voyage. I had some patriotic nerves, if I was an American; and every one of them was often tingling with disagreeable irritation. Besides, ill-breeding is of itself always disagreeable enough; and here was ill-breeding in well-bred people, – worst of all. And I had my own private reasons for annoyance. A favourite theme with the company was the want of soldiers or generals at the North, and the impossibility that a set of mechanics and tradesmen, who knew only how to make money and keep it, should be able in chivalrous and gentlemanly exercises to cope with the Southern cavaliers, who were accustomed to sword and pistol and the use of them from their youth up. Bull Run, they said, shewed what the consequence must always be, of a conflict between soldiers with the martial spirit and soldiers without it. It would be much better and cheaper for the North to succumb at once. I had Southern prejudice enough to believe there might be a good deal of truth in this, but I could not bear to hear it or to think it; for besides the question of country and right, the ruin of the North would be disaster to Mr. Thorold and me. I shunned at last all conversation with our English companions, as far as I could, and bent my thoughts forward to the joyful meeting which lay before me with father and mother and brother. Brighter and brighter the prospect grew, as each day brought it nearer; and I sat sometimes by the hour looking over the waters and resting my heart in the hope of that meeting.

"Almost in, Miss Randolph," said the doctor, coming to my side one of those times.

I brought my eyes from the dancing sea, and answered "You are glad."

"Very glad."

"What route will you take, when we get to land?"

"The shortest."

"You do not wish to see anything by the way?"

"I can see enough, after I get to them," I answered.

"You are at a happy time of life!" the doctor said after a pause.

"Are you past it, Dr. Sandford?" I asked, replying, I think, to something in the tones of his voice.

"I do not know. I think, yes. Cologne cathedral will never be to me what it will be to you."

"What will it be to me?"

"I wish you would tell me, when you see it."

"Does it lie in our route?" I asked somewhat eagerly.

"It can – if you choose."

"But I should not want to stop to look at it," I said; "and I could not see it without stopping, I suppose."

"I suppose not. Well, we will push forward as fast as possible. To Lausanne, is it?"

"They were at Lausanne. They were talking of going to Lucerne."

"To stay?"

"For some time, I think. Papa was getting tired of Lausanne. We shall know as soon as we reach our port."

"Wonderful things will crowd upon you now, Daisy," the doctor said meditatively. "And you are as ready for them as ever."

"Don't they crowd upon everybody?" I said, remembering what strange ones life had lately brought to me.

"Everybody does not see them – does not know it. You have this peculiarity, that you will not fail to note every one that comes within your knowledge. Europe will be a wonder gallery to you. And life, perhaps."

"Oh, life is now, Dr. Sandford."

He had been looking very grave. He smiled at me then, one of his bright, winsome smiles that the child Daisy used to get. It made my heart sore with longing for him, and sorrow.

"Isn't it a wonder, that I live, and that I shall live for ever?" I said. "That this world is only the portal to glory? Isn't it a wonder, that there is a highway from these low grounds to Heaven's court, and that the gates of brass and bars of iron that stopped the way, are broken asunder? Isn't it a wonder, that the Prince of Heaven came down to open the way and to shew it to us? and is there any wonder so great as that, after this, any mortal should refuse to walk that way?"

"Grant Sandford, to wit!" said the doctor with an odd expression, something between pleased and displeased. "I am afraid, Daisy, he would want an angel to go before him after all."

I remember this little talk well, for it puzzled me and did not seem like Dr. Sandford. I remember nothing else of any interest till we came to Switzerland and I was near my journey's end. We had pushed on, sometimes by night and day; stopping only for necessary meals and refreshment. I wanted no delay. When we reached the glories of the Swiss mountains, even yet distant, my mood oddly changed, and I was no longer in a hurry. My life, I knew, would take a new turn, in among those mountains somewhere; and it might not, I had a shrewd suspicion that it would not, be a turn for my ease and comfort; and even while I was as eager as ever to see my father and mother, at the same time I was willing to take the last steps of the way more slowly, and enjoy what I had and what I hoped for together, before reality should displace anticipation. This is my understanding of the mood as I look back to it; at the time I did not reason, but only was conscious of being ready to linger and willing to lose nothing of novelty and beauty on my way. However, lingering was not possible. By one conveyance and another we pushed our way on, till Lucerne, our place of destination, was reached.

I saw nothing in the town, almost literally, while we were making our way through its streets. I was in a breathless state; my senses could not play, or my mind could receive no impression from them. It was disappointment and relief too, when coming to the house where my father and mother lived, we were told that the family were gone out of town on some excursion and would not be back till evening. The servants told us. This was no hotel, but a nice little private house which my father had hired and where he and my mother were living entirely at home.

I knew I was at home, as my feet pressed the stairs going up to the little drawing-room. "At home." Not since we left Melbourne had the exquisite sensation come over me. It came now like a subtle perfume, pervading and surrounding everything. My eyes filled with tears of great joy, as I mounted the stairs. I would not let Dr. Sandford see them. He, I knew, felt like anything but crying for joy. He was certainly very honestly fond of me and of my company, and I was grateful for it.

The servant led us to a little drawing-room, out of which another opened; over the simple furniture of which my mother's hand had thrown a spell of grace. And luxurious enjoyment too; that belonged to her. A soft rug or two lay here and there; a shawl of beautiful colour had fallen upon a chair-back; pictures hung on the walls, – one stood on an easel in a corner; bits of statuary, bronzes, wood-carvings, trifles of art, mosaics, engravings, were everywhere; and my mother's presence was felt in the harmony which subdued and united all these in one delicious effect. My mother had almost an Oriental eye for colour and harmony. It was like seeing a bit of her, to be in her room. I lost my head for a moment, standing in the middle of the floor; then I turned to Dr. Sandford.

"Now you are happy," he said, extending his hand – "and I will leave you."

"No, Dr. Sandford – you will sit down and be happy too."

"You could command me to sit down, undoubtedly; but I am afraid my happiness is beyond your power."

"I wish it was not!" I said earnestly. "You have been very good to me, Dr. Sandford."

His face flushed a little and paled, and the eyes which were so fond of reading other people's seemed now to shun being read. I could not understand his expression, but it troubled me.

"Happiness is always beyond other people's power," I said; – "but not beyond one's own."

"That's your confounded theory!" he answered, bringing the word out very gingerly and with a little laugh. "I beg ten thousand pardons, Daisy; but a slight expression of indignation was an unavoidable indulgence just then. You would make every one responsible for all the troubles that come upon him!"

"No – only for their effect upon his happiness," I ventured, doubtfully.

"You think the effect of troubles upon happiness is then optional!" – he said, with a humorous expression so cool and shrewd that I could not forbear laughing.

"I do not mean exactly that."

"Your words were well chosen to produce that impression."

"No, Dr. Sandford – yes, perhaps they were; – but the real truth is, that we may have a happiness that is beyond the reach of trouble. So much is optional."

"With Daisy Randolph," said the doctor. "For the rest of the world, a brown study will never be a golden reflection." He held out his hand as he spoke.

"But are you going?" I said; – "before my father and mother come home?"

"I will call before I leave Lucerne."

"How soon do you expect to do that?"

"Immediately, Daisy; to-morrow. I must hasten back to my post, you know; before there is another Bull Run, if possible. It is very good that you are out of the way of such things," he said, eyeing me earnestly. "The very mention of them – do you know what it does?"

"It gives me a great feeling of pain, I know," I said, trying to rally.

"It does that, I see. I did not know the power of imagination was so strong in you. I thought you were rather a literalist."

"And I think I am," I answered as calmly as I could. "It does not require much imagination. It did not, when I was in Washington."

"It does not now," said the doctor; "for your cheeks have not got back their colour yet. What banished it, Daisy?"

It was the old tone and look I used to meet in my childhood, and to which I always then rendered obedience. For an instant the spell was upon me now; then I threw it off, shook hands with the doctor and parted from him with a bow and smile which told him nothing. And he succumbed in his turn; made me a profound reverence and left the room.

My first feeling was of gladness that he was gone. My next was, the sense that I was under my natural guardians once more. I felt it with a thrill of delight, even though I had a full consciousness that I was going to be far less my own mistress than for some time I had been accustomed to find myself. Dr. Sandford rather took laws from me, in most things. This however did not give me much concern. I went round the rooms to quiet myself, for I was growing more and more excited. I went studying one by one the objects in the little home museum, for such those drawing-rooms were to me. I read, not natural history but family history in them; here my father's hand had been, here my mother's, leaving some token of study, or luxury, or art, or feeling. A very handsome meerschaum seemed to give also a hint of my brother's presence. The home review did not quiet me; I found it would not do; I went to the window. And there I sat down immediately, to hear all that nature said to me; as once Miss Cardigan's flowers.

I had expected to see the town; and it was part of the town no doubt that stretched away before me, but it had rather the beauty of the country. There was nothing regular in streets or buildings, nor compact; the houses scattered away down the hill, standing here and there, alone and in groups, with fields or pieces of fields intermingling. Pretty houses, with quaint dormer windows and high sloping roofs. We were on a height, I found, from which the eye went down delightfully over this bit of the rambling old town. A courtyard, with grass and young trees, was the first thing next the house on this side; which I found was not the front; then the ground fell sharply, and most of the houses stood upon a level below bordering the lake. A stretch of the lake lay there, smooth, still, bearing the reflection of some houses on its opposite edge; where softened under a misty atmosphere another little town seemed to rest on a rising bank. And then, just behind it, rose the mountain, looking down upon lake and towns as if to forbid a thought of foolishness in any one who should ever live there. So, in its beautiful gravity, Mont Pilatte seemed to me, then and always. Are not mountains always witnesses for God? This first time I saw it, a misty cloud had swept across the breast of the mountain and hid part of the outline; but the head lifted itself in sunlight just above the veiling cloud, and looked down in unspeakable majesty upon the lower world. Always my eyes went back to that wonderful mountain head; then fell to the placid lake and the little town sleeping in misty sunlight on its further border; then caught the sharp pointed towers of a church or cathedral close by at my left hand, just within my picture; I could not see the whole church; then back to the soft veiled mountain. A more picturesque combination never went into a view. I sat still in a trance of pleasure, only my eyes moving slowly from point to point, and my heart and soul listening to the hidden melodies which in nature's great halls are always sounding. I do believe, for the matter of that, they are always sounding in nature's least chambers as well; but there is the tinkle of a silver bell, and there is the thunder of the great organ. At any rate I was quieted, comforted, soothed, and entirely myself again, by the time I had listened to Mont Pilatte for a couple of hours.

The day wore on, and the lights changed, and the cloud deepened on the mountain. The lights had not begun to fade yet, though it was the time of long shadows, when a little bustle below and steps on the stairs drew me away from the window and brought me to my feet; but I stood still. The first one was mamma, and her first word of course broke the spell under which I had been standing and brought me into her arms. And that word I pondered many a time afterwards. It was simply, "Why, Daisy!" – but the letters put together tell nothing of what was in the expression. Pleasure and affection there were, of course; and there was something beside, which I could not help thinking gave token of gratified surprise. What should have excited it I do not know, unless it were that my appearance pleased her better than she had expected. It was not surprise at my being there, for the servants had told of that. My father, who was next, said exactly the same words; but his "Why, Daisy!" had an altogether different expression. I flung myself into his arms, and then almost broke my heart with the thought that I had been so long out of them. My father pressed me very close, and kept very still. I felt my mother touch me on the shoulder, and heard her tell me not to be so excited; but I could not mind her. And papa, sitting down, kept me in his arms and held me fast and kissed me, and I sobbed myself into content.

"Is that Daisy?" said mamma. I was sitting on papa's knee yet. I looked up at her. She was standing beside us.

"Doesn't she look like it?" my father said, fondly, stroking my hair.

"She does not act like it," said my mother.

But I hid my face in papa's neck at that, and he kissed me again.

"Don't you mean to speak to anybody else?" said mamma, with an amused voice.

"Nobody else has any right," said papa. I looked up however, eagerly, and saw what I could only guess was Ransom, he had so grown and changed. He was looking curious and pleased. I got up to salute him.

"Why, Daisy!" said he, returning my embrace with more new than old emotion as it seemed to me, – "you are a sister of whom a fellow may be proud."

"Can't you say as much for him, Daisy?" said my mother.

"As far as looks go – " I answered slowly, surveying him. He was excessively handsome, and his mother's own boy in grace of person and manner. I could see that in the first moment.

"As far as looks go" – my mother repeated. "That is like Daisy. Is it the very same Daisy?"

I looked up at her, and they looked at me. Oddly enough, we were all silent. Had I changed so much?

"Mamma, there is the difference between ten and seventeen," I said. "I don't think there is much other."

"And between formed and unformed," said my brother Ransom; for my father and mother were still silent, and I could hardly bear to meet their eyes.

"What is formed, and what is unformed?" I asked, trying to make it a light question.

"My opinion is not unformed," said Ransom, – "and your destiny is – formed."

"Papa," said I, "Ransom is very quick in deciding upon my destiny." But with that look into each other's eyes, Ransom's words were forgotten; my father clasped me in a fresh fond embrace and my head went down upon his shoulder again. And we were all still. Words are nothing at such times. I think one rather speaks light words, if any; thoughts are too deep to come out. At last my mother remarked that our toilettes were among the unformed things, and suggested that we should go to our rooms for a little while before dinner. I got up from papa's knee and followed mamma; and passing Ransom with a smile, he suddenly clasped me in his arms and kissed me.

"I am proud of you, Daisy," he whispered.

Arrived in mamma's room, her tenderness came out after her own fashion. She examined me; her hands touched me caressingly; she helped me to dress, although her maid was at hand.

"You did not tell me you had such beautiful hair," she said, when I had unbound it to put it in order.

"Mamma!" I laughed. "Why should I?"

"And there are a great many other things you have not told me," she went on. I had to control myself to prevent a start, though her words meant nothing.

"Of course, mamma," I answered.

"Yes; you could hardly have been expected to give me a catalogue raisonné of your advantages. Do you know them yourself, Daisy?"

"Mamma, – I suppose I know some of them."

"Do you know, for instance, that your skin is exquisite, in colour and texture?"

"Mrs. Sandford used to tell me so," I said.

My mother drew the tips of her fingers over my cheek.

"And now, at my saying that, comes a little rose hue here, as delicate as the inside of a shell. But you have lost all the look of delicate condition, Daisy; this is the colour of perfect health."

"Dr. Sandford has taken care of me, mamma."

"Your father trusted a great deal to Dr. Sandford. Do you think his trust was well placed?"

"Nobody could have taken more care of me, mamma. Dr. Sandford has been very good."

"He always was your favourite," she remarked.

"Well, mamma, he deserved all I have given him."

"Don't give anybody much, – unless I bid you," my mother said, laughingly. "Daisy, you have matured better even than I ever thought you would, or than your aunt Gary told me. Your figure is as good as ever mine was."

She took up one of my hands, looked at it, kissed it, and as she let it drop asked carelessly, –

"What has become of Preston now?"

I felt as if breakers were all around me. "He has joined the Southern army," I said.

"When did you see him?"

"Not since a year ago."

"Where then?"

"At West Point, mamma. He only graduated this spring."

"Were you long at West Point?"

"Yes, ma'am – some weeks."

"Dr. Sandford did not shew remarkable care in that."

"He thought so, mamma, for he found me not well, and took me away immediately from school, without waiting for the term to close. Mrs. Sandford and he were going to West Point – and so – "

"West Point did you good?"

"I grew well there."

"Your aunt tells me, your voice is very uncommon, Daisy. Is she right in that?"

"Mamma – you can judge better than I. It is not so easy for me to judge how it sounds."

"You know how it sounds to you."

"Yes, but then I am thinking of the music. I cannot tell, mamma, how it sounds to other people."

"Well, we shall be able to judge by and by," my mother said, in a satisfied tone. "Your speaking voice is as calm and sweet as I ever heard."

"Calm? mamma," I said, laughing.

"Yes, child. Don't you know most people's voices have a little thread, if it is not more, of sharpness or roughness, coming out somewhere. It is sure to come out somewhere; in one form of speech or another; with some people it only appears in the laugh, and they should never laugh. Your voice is like a chime of bells." And my mother took me in her arms, half-dressed as I was, and pressed her lips full upon mine; looking into my face and playing with me and smiling at me; finishing with another pressure of her mouth to mine.

"Your lips are very sweet," she said, with a half sigh. "I wonder who else will think so!"

And if one bit of vanity or self-exaltation could have been stirred in my thoughts, though it were by my mother's praises, these last words banished it well. I was sobered to the depths of my heart; so sobered, that I found it expedient to be busy with my dressing, and not expose my face immediately to any more observations. And even when I went down-stairs, my father's first remark was, –

"It is the same Daisy!"

"Did you doubt it, papa?" I asked, with a smile.

"No, my pet."

"Then why do you say that as soon as I make my appearance!"

"I can hardly tell – the consciousness forced itself upon me. You are looking at life with a microscope, – as of old."

"With a microscope, papa!"

"To pick up invisible duties and find out indiscernible dangers – "

"When one is as old as I am," I said, "there is no need of a microscope to find out either dangers or duties."

"Ha!" said my father, folding me in his arms – "what dangers have you discovered, Daisy?"

"I believe they are everywhere, papa," I said, kissing him.

"Not here," he said, fondly; "there shall be none here for you."

"Mr. Randolph," said mamma, laughing, "if Daisy is to be meat and drink as well as scenery to you, we may as well dispense with the usual formalities; but I hope you will condescend to look at dinner as usual."

CHAPTER IX.
SKIRMISHING.

THAT first dinner at home! how strange and sweet it was. So sweet, that I could scarcely hear the note of the little warning bell down in the bottom of my heart. But mamma had struck it up-stairs, and its vibrations would not quite be still. Yet there was a wonderful charm in my own home circle. The circle was made larger in the evening, by the coming in of two of Ransom's friends, who were also, I saw, friends of my father and mother. They were two Southern gentlemen, as I immediately knew them to be; MM. de Saussure and Marshall, Ransom's worthy compeers in the line of personal appearance and manner. De Saussure especially; but I liked Marshall best. This I found out afterward. The conversation that evening naturally went back to America which I had just come from, and to the time of my leaving it, and to the news then new there and but lately arrived here. I had to hear the whole Bull Run affair talked over from beginning to end and back again. It was not so pleasant a subject to me as to the rest of the company; which I suppose made the talk seem long.

"And you were there?" said Mr. de Saussure, suddenly appealing to me.

"Not at Manasses," I said.

"No, but close by; held in durance in the capital, with liberators so near. It seems to me very stupid of Beauregard not to have gone in and set you free."

"Free?" said I, smiling. "I was free."

"There will be no freedom in the country, properly speaking, until that Northern usurper is tossed out of the place he occupies."

"That will be soon," said my mother.

"In what sense is Mr. Lincoln a usurper?" I ventured to ask. "He was duly elected."

"Is it possible Daisy has turned politician?" exclaimed my brother.

"He is not a usurper," said Mr. Marshall.

"He is, if being out of his place can make him so," said De Saussure; "and the assumption of rights that nobody has given him. By what title does he dare shut up Southern ports and send his cut-throats upon Southern soil?"

"Well, they have met their punishment," my father remarked. And it hurt me sorely to hear him say it with evident pleasure.

"The work is not done yet," said Ransom. "But at Bull Run rates – 'sixty pieces of splendid cannon' taken, as Mr. Davis says, and how many killed and prisoners? – the mud-sills will not be able to keep it up very long. Absurd! to think that those Northern shopkeepers could make head against a few dozen Southern swords."

"There were only a few dozen swords at Manasses," said De Saussure. "Eighteen thousand, Mr. Davis puts the number in his Richmond speech; and the Northern army had sixty thousand in the field."

"A Richmond paper says forty thousand instead of eighteen," Mr. Marshall remarked.

"Mr. Russell, of the London Times, estimated Beauregard's force at sixty thousand," I said.

"He don't know!" said De Saussure.

"And Mr. Davis does not know," I added; "for the whole loss of cannon on the Northern side that day amounted to but seventeen. Mr. Davis may as well be wrong in one set of facts as in another. He said also that provisions enough were taken to feed an army of fifty thousand men for twelve months."

"Well, why not?" said Ransom, frowning.

"These gentlemen can tell you why not."

"Pretty heavy figures," said Mr. Marshall.

"Why are they not true, Miss Randolph?" Mr. de Saussure asked, bending as before a most deferential look upon me.

"And look here, – in what interest are you, Daisy?" my brother continued.

"Nothing is gained by blinking the truth anywhere, Ransom."

"No, that is true," said my father.

"Daisy has been under the disadvantage of hearing only one side lately," my mother remarked very coolly.

"But about the provisions, Miss Randolph?" Mr. De Saussure insisted, returning to the point with a willingness, I thought, to have me speak.

"Mamma says, I have heard only one side," I answered. "But on that side I have heard it remarked, that twelve thousand wagons would have been required to carry those provisions to the battlefield. I do not know if the calculation was correct."

Mr. De Saussure's face clouded for an instant. My father seemed to be pondering. Ransom's frowns grew more deep.

"What side are you on, Daisy?" he repeated.

"She is on her own side, of course," my mother said.

"I hope there is no doubt of that, Mrs. Randolph," said Mr. Marshall. "Such an enemy would be very formidable! I should begin to question on which side I was myself."

They went off into a long discussion about the probable movements of the belligerent parties in America; what might be expected from different generals; how long the conflict was likely to last, and how its certain issue, the discomfiture of the North and the independence of the South, would be attained. Mingled with this discussion were laudations of Jefferson Davis, scornful reviling of President Lincoln, and sneers at the North generally; at their men, their officers, their money, their way of making it and their way of spending it. Triumphant anticipations, of shame and defeat to them and the superb exaltation of the South, were scattered, like a salt and pepper seasoning, through all the conversation. I listened, with my nerves tingling sometimes, with my heart throbbing at other times; sadly inclined to believe they might be right in a part of their calculations; very sadly sure they were wrong in everything else. I had to keep a constant guard upon my face; happily my words were not called for. My eyes now and then met papa's, with a look that gave and received another sort of communication. When the evening was over, and papa was folding me in his arms to bid me good-night, he whispered, –

"You and I cannot be on two sides of anything, Daisy?"

"Papa – you know on what side of most things I am – " I replied to this difficult question.

"Do I? No, I do not know that I do. What side is it, Daisy?"

"On the Lord's side, papa, when I can find out what that is."

"Make me sure that you have found it, and I will be on that side too," he said, as he kissed me.

The words filled me with a great joy. For they were not spoken in defiance of the supposed condition, but rather, as it seemed to me, in desire and love of it. Had papa come to that? The new joy poured like a flood over all the dry places in my heart, which had got into a very dry state with hearing the conversation of the evening. I went to bed tired and happy.

Nevertheless I awoke to the consciousness that I had a nice piece of navigation before me, and plenty of rough water in all probability. The best thing would be for me to be as silent as possible. Could I be silent? They all wanted to hear what I would say. Every eye had sought mine this past evening.

I was the first in the breakfast-room, and papa was the next. We were alone. He took me tenderly in his arms and held me fast, looking at me and kissing me by turns.

"Are you well now, papa?" I asked him. "Are you quite well again?"

"Well enough," he answered; "not just as I was once."

"Why not, papa?"

"I have never quite got over that unlucky fall. It has left my head a little shaky, Daisy; and my strength – Never mind! you are my strength now, my pet. We should have gone home before this, only for the troubles breaking out there."

I leaned my head upon his breast, and wished the troubles were not! What a division those troubles made, unknown to him, between his heart's happiness and mine – yes, between him and me. Mamma came in and looked at us both.

"It is a very pretty picture," she said. And she kissed me, while papa did not let me out of his arms. "Daisy, you are a beauty."

"She is a great deal better than a beauty," said my father. "But, now I look at you, Daisy – yes, you are a beauty, certainly."

They both laughed heartily at the colour which all this raised in my face.

"Most exquisite, her skin is," said my mother, touching my cheek. "Did you ever see anything superior to it, Mr. Randolph? Rose leaves are not any better than that. Pshaw, Daisy! – you must get accustomed to hear people say it."

"Nobody shall say it to me, mamma, but you."

"No," said my father. "That is my view of it, too."

"Nonsense!" said mamma – "there are a thousand ways of doing the same thing, and you cannot stop them all. Your hair is as fine as possible, too, Daisy, although it has not had me to take care of it."

"But I did just as you told me with it, mamma," I said.

She kissed me again. "Did nobody ever tell you you were beautiful?" she asked archly. "Yes, I know that you did just as I told you. You always did, and always will. But did you not know that you were beautiful?"

"Speak, Daisy," said papa. Said as it was with a smile, it brought childish memories vividly back.

"Mamma," I said, "I have heard something of it – and I suppose it may be true."

They laughed, and mamma remarked that I was human yet. "There is a difference between the child and the woman, you will find, Mr. Randolph."

Papa answered, that it was no very remarkable token of humanity, to have eyes and ears.

"Daisy's eyes were always remarkable," said my mother.

"But, mamma," said I, "in other things there is no difference between the child and the woman. My outside may have altered – my mind is not changed at all; only grown."

"That will do," said mamma.

I was obliged to leave it to time, and hoped to make myself so pleasant that what I could not change in me might be at least tolerated, if it were not approved. It seemed an easy task! I was such a manifest subject of joy, to father and mother, and even Ransom too. A newly discovered land, full of gold, is not more delightfully explored by its finders, than I was watched, scrutinized, commented on, by my family.

That first day, of course, they could not let me out of their sight. It was nothing but talk, all day long. In the evening however our last evening's guests reappeared. The conversation this time did not get upon American politics, so everybody shewed to better advantage; I suppose, myself included. We had music; and the gentlemen were greatly delighted with my voice and my singing. Mamma and papa took it very coolly until we were left alone again; then my mother came up and kissed me.

"You have done your duty, Daisy, in improving your voice," she said. "You are a Daisy I am perfectly satisfied with. If you can sing as well in public as you have done to-night in private, papa will be proud of you."

"In public, mamma?" I said.

"Yes. That does not frighten you. Nothing does frighten you."

"No, mamma, but – what do you mean by 'in public'?"

"Not on the stage," said mamma.

"But mamma, – papa," – I said, anxiously, "this is what I want you to understand. I will do anything in the world you wish me to do; only, I am – I must be, – you know, – a servant of Christ."

"I said nothing against that," my mother replied. But my father, clasping me in his arms, whispered, –

"We will be servants together, Daisy."

That word sent me to bed with a whole heartful of thankfulness. I could bear anything now, if his words meant what I hoped they did. And I should have security, too, against any too great trial of my affection and duty to him and to mamma.

An expedition had been arranged for the next day; in which my brother and his friends were to take me upon the lake. Mamma and papa would not go. It was a day, in one sort, of such pleasure as I had never known till then. The beautiful water, the magnificent shores of the lake, the wonderful lights on the mountains, almost took me out of this world; to which they seemed scarcely to belong. I cannot tell what a pang in the midst of this pleasure the thought of Mr. Thorold brought with it. The life I was living now was so very far from his life, and so unlike; my part of the world was now so very distant from his, – there was such an abyss between; – and yet the Swiss hills were so glorious, and I was enjoying them. I began to wonder, as we were sailing towards home in the end of the day, what work I had to do in this new and strange place; why was I here? Perhaps, to learn patience, and have faith grow strong by trial, while all my life hopes waited upon a will that I did not know and must trust. Perhaps, to stand up for Christian truth and simplicity in the face of much opposition. Perhaps, to suffer, and learn to bear suffering.

"You are fatigued, Miss Randolph?" said the soft voice of De Saussure.

"Or beauty of scenery, so much beauty, makes you melancholy," said Mr. Marshall. "It always makes me so, if I let myself think of it."

"Why should it make any one melancholy?" I asked. "I think beauty has the contrary effect."

"A little beauty. But very great and wonderful loveliness – I don't know why, it always moves me so. It is something too far beyond me; it is unlike me; it seems to belong to another stage of being, while I am held fast in this. It mocks me, – somehow."

"It does not do so with me," I said.

"Ah, it is your world!" De Saussure said, laughing. "It could not do so with you very well."

"But look at Mont Pilatte now," resumed Mr. Marshall, – "with that crown of light on its brow; – does it not give you the feeling of something inapproachable – not literally but spiritually, – something pure, glorious, infinite – something that shames us mortals into insignificance?"

I looked, and I thought I knew why he felt as he did; but I did not think I could explain it to him just then.

"Have you a little of my feeling?" he said again. "Do you understand it?"

"I understand it, I think," I said.

"And do not share it at all?"

"No, Mr. Marshall. Of course, the mountain is great, and I am small; but the purity, and the glory, – that is not beyond reach; and no human being ought to be insignificant, and none need be."

"Not if his life is insignificant?"

"Nobody's life ought to be that," I answered.

"How can it be helped, in the case of many a one?"

"Yes indeed," said De Saussure; "there is a question. I should like to hear Miss Randolph answer it."

One spoke lightly and the other earnestly. It was not easy to answer them both.

"I should like to have you define insignificance first," I said.

"Can there be a more significant word?" said Mr. De Saussure. "It defines itself."

"A life of insignificance, is a life that does not signify anything," Mr. Marshall added.

"Most people's lives signify something," I said, stupidly, my thoughts running on far ahead of my words.

"Yes, to somebody in the corner at home," Mr. Marshall said, "whose affection cannot make a true estimate. But do most people's lives signify anything, except to some fond judgment of that sort?"

"Who is estimating you, in a corner at home?" said Mr. de Saussure.

"Nobody – and that you know. Nobody, except my old mammy."

"You are a lucky fellow, Hugh. Free as air! Now I have five or six dear appraisers at my home; who are of opinion that an epaulette and a commission would add to my value; or rather, to do them justice, they are very desirous to have my life – or my death – tell for something, in the struggle which occupies all their thoughts at present. I do not mean that they have no choice, but, one or the other. And so am I desirous; but – Lucerne is so very captivating! And really, as, I said, one signifies so little."

"One is half of two," said Ransom – "and a hundredth part of a hundred."

"I should like, I think, to be half of two," said De Saussure, comically. "I don't care about being the hundredth part of anything."

"But you are going when I go?" said Ransom.

"Mrs. Randolph says so; and I suppose she will command me. What does Miss Randolph say?"

"Yes, to my question," said Hugh Marshall.

"I do not quite know what is either question," I replied; "and a judge ought to understand his cause."

"Is it my duty to go and plunge into the mêlée at home, because my mother and two aunts and three sisters are all telling me they will renounce me if I do not? I say, what does one signify?"

"And I say, how may one escape from insignificance? – anyhow?"

"A man with your income need not ask that," said Ransom.

"What does Miss Randolph say?" De Saussure insisted.

"If you will tell me, Mr. De Saussure, what the South is fighting for, I can better answer you."

"That speech is Daisy all over!" said Ransom impatiently. "She never will commit herself, if she can get somebody to do it for her."

"Fighting for freedom – for independence, of course!" Mr. De Saussure said, opening his eyes. "Is there any question?"

"How was their freedom threatened?"

"Why," said Ransom, hotly, "what do you think of armies upon the soil of Virginia? – invading armies, come to take what they like? What do you think of Southern forts garrisoned by Northern troops, and Southern cities in blockade? Is that your idea of freedom?"

"These are not the cause, but the effect, of the position taken by the South," I said.

"Yes, we fired the first gun, Randolph," said Mr. Marshall.

"Sumter was held against us," said Ransom.

"Not till South Carolina had seceded."

"Well, she had a right to secede!" cried Ransom. "And this right the Northern mudsills are trying to trample out. If she has not a right to be governed as she likes, she is not free."

"But why did she secede?" I asked. "What wrong was done her?"

"You are a girl, and cannot understand such matters!" Ransom answered, impatiently. "Just ask mamma to talk to you; – or I will!"

"Miss Randolph's question is pertinent though," said Mr. Marshall; "and I am ashamed to confess I am as little able to answer it as she. What wrong had they to complain of?"

"Why, Hugh, you certainly know," his companion answered, "that Lincoln was elected; and that if the government is to be in the hands of those who do not think and vote with us – as this election shews it will – we shall be pushed to the wall. The South and her institutions will come to nothing – will be in a contemptible minority. We do not choose that."

"Then the wrong done them was that they were out-voted?" Mr. Marshall said.

"Put it so!" De Saussure replied, with heat; "we have a right to say we will govern ourselves and sail our own boat."

"Yes, so I think we have," said the other. "Whether it is worth such a war, is another question. Such a war is a serious thing."

"It would be mean-spirited to let our rights be taken from us," said Ransom. "It is worth anything to maintain them."

"It will not be much of a war," resumed De Saussure. "Those poor tailors and weavers will find their workshops are a great deal more comfortable than soldiers' tents and the battle-ground; and they won't stand fire, depend upon it."

"Cowardly Yankees!" said Ransom.

"That is Preston's favourite word," I remarked. "But I am not clear that you are not both mistaken."

"You have lived among Yankees, till it has hurt you," said Ransom.

"Till I have learned to know something about them," I said.

"And is your judgment of the probable issue of the war, different from that I have expressed, Miss Randolph?" Mr. De Saussure asked.

"My judgment is not worth much," I said. "I have doubts."

"But you agree with us as to the right of preserving our independence?" Mr. Marshall said.

"Does independence mean, the governing power? Does every minority, as such, lose its independence?"

"Yes!" said De Saussure – "if it is to be permanently a minority."

"That would be our case, you see," Mr. Marshall went on. "Are we not justified in endeavouring to escape from such a position?"

I was most unwilling to talk on the subject, but they were all determined I should. I could not escape.

"It depends," I said, "the settlement of that question, upon the other question, whether our government is one or twenty."

"It is thirty!" said Ransom.

I had thrown a ball now which they could keep up without me. To my joy, the whole three became so much engaged in the game, that I was forgotten. I could afford to forget too; and quitting the fair lake and the glorious mountain that looked down upon it, ceasing to hear the eager debate which went on at my side, my thoughts flew over the water to a uniform and a sword that were somewhere in that struggle of rights and wrongs. My heart sank. So far off, and I could not reach him; so busy against the feelings and prejudices of my friends, and I could not reconcile them; in danger, and I could not be near; in trouble, perhaps, and I could not help. It would not do to think about. I brought my thoughts back, and wondered at old Mont Pilatte which looked so steadily down on me with the calm of the ages.

CHAPTER X.
WAITING.

FOR weeks after this sail on the lake my life was like a fête day. Expeditions of all sorts were planned and carried out for my pleasure. One day we were exploring the lake shores in a boat; the next, we went back into the country, as far as we could go and return before evening; a third day we climbed the mountains somewhere and got glorious new views of what the world is. Nothing could hinder, in those days, but that my draught of pleasure was very full. Whatever weight might lie at my heart, when I found myself high, high up above the ordinary region of life, resting on a mountain summit from which I looked down upon all that surrounded me other days; a little of that same lifting up befel the thoughts of my heart and the views that have to do with the spirit's life. I stood above the region of mists for a little. I saw how the inequalities of the lower level, which perplex us there, sink into nothing when looked upon from a higher standpoint. I saw that rough roads led to quiet valleys; and that the blessed sunlight was always lying on the earth, though down in one of those depths one might lose sight of it for a time. I do not know how it is, but getting up into a high mountain has a little the effect of getting out of the world. One has left perplexities and uncertainties behind; the calm and the strength of the everlasting hills is about one; the air is not defiled with contentions or rivalries or jealousies up there; and the glory of creation reminds one of other glory, and power, and wisdom and might; and one breathes hope and rest. So I used to do. Of all our excursions, I liked best to go up the mountains. No matter how high, or by how difficult a road.

Mamma and papa were only now and then of the party. That I was very sorry for, but it could not be helped. Mamma had seen it all, she said; and when I urged that she had not been to this particular "horn," she said that one "horn" was just like another, and that when you had seen one or two you had seen them all. But I never found it so. Every new time was a new revelation of glory to me. If I could have had papa with me, my satisfaction would have been perfect; but papa shunned fatigue, and never went where he could not go easily. I was obliged to be content with my brother and my brother's friends; and after I had made up my mind to that, the whole way was a rejoicing to me, from the time I left the house till we returned, a weary and hungry party, to claim mamma's welcome again. Our party was always the same four. Mr. de Saussure and Hugh Marshall were, I found, very intimately at home with my father and mother, and naturally they were soon on the same footing with me. As far as care went, I had three brothers to look after me, of whom indeed Ransom was not the most careful; and as to social qualifications, they were extremely well-bred, well-educated, and had a great deal of general and particular cultivation. In the evenings we had music and conversation; which last was always very pleasant except when it turned upon American affairs. Then I had great twinges of heart, which I thought it wise to keep to myself as closely as possible.

I remember well the twinge I had, when one evening early in September De Saussure came in, the utmost glee expressed in his eyes and manner, and announced his news thus; –

"They have had a battle at Springfield, and Lyon is killed."

"Who is Lyon?" I could not help asking, though it was incautious.

"You should not ask," he said more gently as he sat down by me; "you have no relish for these things. Even the cause of liberty cannot sweeten them to you."

"Who is Lyon, De Saussure?" my father repeated.

"A Connecticut fellow." The tone of these words, in its utter disdain, was inexpressible.

"Connecticut?" said my father. "Has the war got into New England? That cannot be."

"No, sir, no, sir," said Ransom. "It is Springfield in Missouri. You find a Yankee wherever you go in this world."

"Wilson's Creek is the place of the battle," Mr. De Saussure went on. "Near Springfield, in Missouri. It was an overwhelming defeat. Lyon killed, and the next in command obliged to beat off."

"Who on our side?" asked my mother.

"Ben McCulloch and Price."

"How many engaged? Was it much of an affair?"

"We had twenty thousand or so. Of course, the others had more."

"It doesn't take but one or two Southerners to whip a score of those cowards," said Ransom.

"Why should not the war have got into New England, Mr. Randolph?" my mother asked. "You said, 'That cannot be.' Why should it not be?"

"There are a few thousand men in the way," said my father; "and I think they are not all cowards."

"They will never stand before our rifles," said De Saussure.

"Our boys will mow them down like grass," said Ransom. "And in New Orleans the fever will take care of them. How soon, mother, will the fever be there?"

Mamma and Ransom compared notes upon the probable and usual time for the yellow fever to make its appearance, when it would wield its scythe of destruction upon the fresh harvest of life made ready for it, in the bands of the Northern soldiers in Louisiana. My whole soul was in a stir of opposition to the speakers. I had to be still, but pain struggled to speak.

"You do not enjoy the prospect – " Hugh Marshall said, softly.

I only looked at him.

"Nor do I," said he, shaking his head. "A fair fight is one thing. – It is a terrible state of affairs at home, Miss Randolph."

I had the utmost difficulty to keep quiet and give no sign. I could have answered him with a cry which would have startled them all. What if Thorold were ordered down there? He might be. He would go where he was ordered. That thought brought help; for so would I! A soldier, in another warfare, I remembered my ways were appointed, even as his; only more wisely, more surely, and on no service that could by any means be in vain. But yet the pain was very sharp, as I looked at the group who were eagerly discussing war matters; my father, my mother, my brother, and De Saussure, who in the interest of the thing had left my side; how keen they were! So were others keen at home, who had swords in their hands and pistols in their belts. It would not do to think. I could but repeat to myself, – "I am a soldier – I am a soldier – and just now my duty is to stand and bear fire."

There was little chance in those days at Lucerne for me to be alone with papa. The opportunities we had we both enjoyed highly. Now and then mamma would be late for breakfast, or even take hers in bed; once in a while go out to a visit from which I begged off. Then papa and I drew together and had a good time. One of these chances occurred a few days after the news came of General Lyon's death. We were alone, and I was drawing, and papa had been watching me a little while in silence.

"Daisy," he began, "am I wrong? It seems to me that you do not look upon matters at home with just the eye that the rest of us have for them?"

"What matters, papa?" I said, looking up, and feeling troubled.

"You do not like the war."

"Papa, – do you?"

"Yes. I think our countrymen are right, and of course I wish that they should have their rights."

"Papa," said I, "don't you think it must be very strong reasons that can justify so dreadful a thing as a war?"

"Undoubtedly; but the preservation of liberty is one of the strongest that can be conceived."

"Papa – you know I want liberty for the blacks."

"It is like you, my dear child," my father said, after pausing a minute; "it is like your generous nature; but Daisy, I think those people do not want it for themselves."

"Papa, if they did not, I should think it would be one of the strongest arguments on my side; but I am sure they do. I know a great many of them that do."

"Did not you, perhaps, bring about that desire in them, by your kind and possibly somewhat misjudged indulgences?"

"No indeed, papa; it was our overseer, with his wicked ways. That Mr. Edwards is dreadful, papa!"

"All overseers are not good," said my father with a sigh. "The people at Magnolia are as well treated, on the whole, – as they can be anywhere, I think, – I hope."

"You do not know, papa. If they are, you have said all. And there is our old Maria, who has nothing to do with Mr. Edwards; she has no hope nor anticipation which does not go beyond this world; and it is so with a great many of them. They have that hope; but they sing, "I am bound for the promised land!" – in a minor key; and to a plaintive air that makes your heart ache."

"Yours, Daisy," said my father with a somewhat constrained smile.

"Papa," I went on, trembling, but I thought it best to venture, – "if the issue of this war could be to set all those people free, I could almost be glad."

"That will not be the issue, Daisy," he said.

"Papa, what do you think will?"

"It can have but one issue. The Southern people cannot be put down."

"Then, if they succeed, what will be the state of things between them and the North?"

"It is impossible to tell how far things will go, Daisy, now that they have actually taken up arms. But I do not think the Southern people want anything of the North, but to be let alone."

"How would it be, if the North succeeded, papa?"

"It cannot succeed, Daisy. You have heard a different language, I suppose; but I know the men, – and the women, – of the South. They will never yield. The North must, sooner or later."

I could not carry this on, and turned the conversation. But I had to listen to a great deal of the same sort of thing, in which I took no part. It came up every day. I discovered that my mother was using her influence and all her art to induce our two young friends to return home and enter the Southern army. She desired with equal vehemence that Ransom should take the same course; and as they all professed to be strong in the interests and sympathies that moved her, I was a little puzzled to understand why they delayed so long. For they did delay. They talked, but nothing came of it. Still we went on fresh excursions and made new expeditions; spending days of delight on the mountain sides, and days of enchantment in the mountain valleys; and still our party was of the same four. It is true that papa did not at all share mamma's eagerness to have Ransom go; but Ransom did not greatly care for papa's likings; and in the case of the others, I did not see what held them.

The printed news from home we had of course, regularly; and as far as I could without being watched, I studied them. The papers after all were mostly Southern, and so filled with outrageous invective and inflated boasting, that I could not judge anything very certainly, from what they said. Nothing of great importance seemed to be transpiring between the belligerent parties. I supposed that it wanted but some such occurrence or occasion to send off our three young men like a ball from a rifle, straight to the seat of war. Meanwhile we enjoyed ourselves. Others did, and I did also, whenever I could put down fear and lift up hope; and I was young, and that happened to me sometimes. So the weeks ran on.

"I really don't see why I should be in a hurry to plunge myself into that angry confusion of things at home," Hugh Marshall said one day. "It seems to me, they can get through it without my help."

"Well, you are not in a hurry." I answered.

We were out as usual for a day's pleasure among the mountains, and Hugh and I were resting on a sunny bank waiting for the others to come up. We had distanced them.

"What do you think about it?" he said, suddenly drawing himself up from the grass and looking in my face.

"Men do not rule their course by what women think," – I answered.

"No, you are wrong; they do! Sometimes they do," – he said. "I have no mother nor sister to counsel me; only Mrs. Randolph bids me go home and be a soldier; but I would as lieve take advice from you. What would you tell me to do – if I were your brother?"

"I do not tell Ransom anything."

"He is under his mother's tutelage; but I am not. Tell me what to do, Miss Randolph. I am sure your counsel would be good. Do you wish me to go and fight the North, as your mother says I ought?"

"I wish people would not fight at all," I said, with my heart straitened.

"Of course; but here we are in it, or they are; and it is the same thing. Don't you think they can get through it without me? or do you say as your mother, – 'Every one go!'"

He looked at me more earnestly than was pleasant, and I was greatly at a loss what to answer. It was wisest for me not to commit myself to a course opposed to my mother's; and yet, truth is wisest of all. I looked to see Ransom and Mr. De Saussure, but they were not in sight.

"You are not speaking in jest," I said; "and I have no business to speak in earnest."

"You never speak any other way," he rejoined. "Tell me your mind. You are never violent; do you feel as Mrs. Randolph does about it? Would you like me better if I went heart and soul into the fray at home?"

"That would depend upon the views and motives with which you went into it."

"Well – if I did it for love of you?" he said smiling.

"I cannot imagine that anybody should do such a thing for love of me. Nothing but the strongest and purest convictions of duty can justify such a thing as fighting."

"I suppose I know what that means," he said somewhat gloomily.

"No," said I hastily, "I don't think you do."

"What does it mean, then?" he asked.

"Permit me to ask first, Are your convictions strong and clear, that it is your duty to go home and enter the war for the South?"

"That's a searching question," he said laughing. "To say yes, would be to condemn myself at once. To say no, – what would that do for me with Mrs. Randolph?"

"You are not speaking to Mrs. Randolph," I said, half under my breath.

He looked up eagerly in my face. "You do not think as she does!" he said. "You do not believe in fighting, under any circumstances?"

"Yes, I do, Mr. Marshall," I said; and I felt myself colour. "I do believe in fighting, when it is to relieve the oppressed, to deliver those who are trampled upon, or to save ourselves or others from worse than death."

"Our friends at the South can hardly be said to be in such extremity," he said, looking rather perplexed; "unless you believe all that the papers say about Yankee invaders; and I for one am not ready to do that."

"Nor I," I said; "I know them too well."

"Then who is so bitterly oppressed just now, Miss Randolph?"

"If you do not know of anybody, I would not fight, Mr. Marshall."

"Really?" said he. "Perhaps I ought to go home and take care of my twelve hundred people at Vincennes. Is that your thought?"

"Are they in need of care?" I asked.

"'Pon my word, I don't know. Perhaps it would be nearer right to say, take care of myself; for if the war should come the way of Vicksburg, and Yankee arms have a little success, there might be the mischief to pay at Vincennes. On reflection, I don't see how I could take care of myself, either. Then you do not bid me go?" he asked again.

"You remember our words one day about insignificant lives?"

"Yes!" he cried eagerly; "and I have been longing ever since to ask you to explain more fully what interested me so much. I never could get a chance. I assure you, I have felt to the bottom of my heart what it is to have one's existence really worth nothing, to anybody. How may it be better? My life has to do with nothing but insignificant things."

"But you must define insignificance," I said.

"Is it needful?"

"I think so. What makes things insignificant? Not their being small, – or common?"

"What then, Miss Randolph?"

"Small things, and common things, are often to the last degree important, you know, Mr. Marshall."

"Yes; but however small and common, I cannot feel that I am important, in any degree," he said, half laughing.

"We were talking of lives, and things."

"Yes. Excuse me. Well?"

"I think I see the crowns of two hats, down below, which belong to some people that we know."

"Is it they?" he exclaimed; – "and I wish they were farther off. Finish what you were going to say, Miss Daisy! Do not leave me in ignorance now, after bringing me so far."

"I can only tell you what I think," I said.

"And that is precisely what I want to hear," he answered earnestly.

"You will not agree to it, though, and I do not know that you will even understand me. Mr. Marshall, I think that nothing is insignificant which is done for God; and that everything which is not done for Him, directly or indirectly, is insignificant or worse."

"I do not understand – " he said thoughtfully. "In what sense can a thing be 'done for God?' Unless it is building a church or founding a hospital."

"Very few churches have been built for God," I said. " At least I think so."

"Why, the old monks – " Mr. Marshall began. But just then our missing companions came up, and he stopped. They had been lured aside from the way by the sight of some game. We had no more private talk; but Hugh Marshall was sober and thoughtful all the rest of the day.

He sought such talks with me now whenever he could; and seemed to enter into them like a man, with an earnest purpose to know the truth and to do his work in the world if he could find it. I grew, in a way, very fond of him. He was gentle, well-bred, happy-tempered, extremely careful of my welfare and pleasure, and regardful of my opinions, which I suppose flattered my vanity; well-read and sensible; and it seemed to me that he grew more agreeable every day.

The accounts from the seat of war in America were not very stirring just then; nothing great was done or expected; and the question of our young men's return to take part in what was going on, was suffered for a time to fall out of sight. Meanwhile we left Lucerne and went to Geneva. There was more society, in a quiet way; and there was a fresh harvest of pleasure to be reaped by me and for me in the domains of nature.

CHAPTER XI.
A VICTORY

"DAISY, – you are very happy!" my father said one day when I was sitting with him. We were looking out upon the lake, which our windows commanded; but I found papa's look had come back from the window to me.

"You are very happy!" he said.

"Yes, papa, – pretty happy."

"Pretty happy?" said he, putting his hand under my chin and turning my face again round to him, and then kissing me. "Pretty and happy, you mean."

"No, papa," I said laughing; – "I don't mean that."

"It is true, though," said he. "There was a bit of a smile upon your mouth just now – before I spoke; – what were you thinking of?"

"Papa, it is so glorious, – the lake and its shores in this sunlight."

"That was all?"

"No, not quite all, papa."

"I thought not. What was the rest of it, Daisy?"

"Papa, I was thinking with joy, that I belong to the wonderful One who made all that; and so, that the riches of his power and glory are in a certain sense mine; – just as everything good in you is mine, papa."

He folded me in his arms and kissed me again, very fondly.

"There is not much good in me, Daisy."

"Yes, papa, – for me."

"But there is a great deal in you, – for somebody."

"For you, papa."

"Nobody else, Daisy?"

He was holding me close in his arms and looking down into my face. I believe the colour must have come into my cheeks.

"Ah, I thought so!" he said. "Even so soon, Daisy, you are leaving me for somebody else."

"Papa!" I exclaimed, hiding my face in his neck, – "I will never leave you, till you say so."

"Till I say so? I will not be over selfish, my dear child. I do not mean that."

"Who is it to be, Daisy?" my mother's voice said behind us.

I started up in absolute terror. What had I said? and what did she mean? I looked at her, speechless.

"Well?" she said laughing, "what is the matter? You need not turn white about it. Is your father the only one to be in your confidence? I will withdraw then."

"Stop! – Mamma!" I cried; "what are you saying? There is no confidence. What are you talking about?"

"I only asked, who it was to be, Daisy? I thought you were talking of leaving us, and naturally concluded it was to be with somebody."

"Mamma – oh, mamma, I was speaking only in the abstract."

Mamma laughed. "In the abstract! Well, you will have to come from generals to particulars, Daisy. Abstractions will not satisfy anybody long."

I was in great difficulty and great confusion. Papa drew me into his arms again and kissed my lips and cheeks and eyes, as if he would have hid my blushes.

"You shall be as abstract as you like," he said; "and as long as you like. I give you leave."

"That's nonsense, though, Mr. Randolph," said my mother, standing at the back of his chair. "Daisy cannot live in abstractions for ever. She must choose, and let her choice be known; and the sooner the better. Nobody can guess it now. She has been abstract enough."

I was in the greatest perplexity at this speech, which conveyed to me no meaning whatever. Let my choice be known? Did mamma know about Mr. Thorold? I knew she could not; but then, what did she mean?

"There is no hurry, Felicia," said papa.

"I will not have Daisy marry any but an American, Mr. Randolph."

"Agreed. There is no present likelihood that she will."

"But when we get to Florence, Mr. Randolph, and she is seen in the great world, things may not absolutely be within your control – or mine."

Mamma stood tapping her fingers upon the back of my father's chair, and I thought her very odd indeed. Her last sentence, however, had a word that I could answer. I stood up and faced her.

"Mamma," I said, "I am going to say something that you will not like."

"Then do not say it, Daisy."

"I would not, if I could help it. But you know, mamma, I am a servant of God – I have not changed, – and I and the 'great world' have nothing in common."

"Well? – " said mamma calmly.

"I do not belong to it. I have no place in it."

"No, of course. You are just out of school. A few months more will change all that."

"No, mamma, – please!"

"Yes, Daisy, – please!" she said, tapping my cheek with her finger, and then leaning forward to kiss me with smiling lips. "You do not know what you are talking about, my love. You are made for the great world, Daisy. There is no danger of turning your head; so I have no objection to explain to you that you are magnificent."

"Mamma, what difference can that possibly make?"

They both laughed at me, and mamma said I would soon see.

"But, mamma," I urged, "that world and I have nothing in common. I should be out of my place in it, and it would find me something strange."

"It is quite time to have that altered then," she said. "You may be a nun if you choose afterward; but you shall know what the great world is, before you give it up; and it shall know you. You may spend your odd minutes in considering what dress you will wear for your first appearance, Daisy. Don't ask me for a white cambric and an apron with pockets."

I stood in much perplexity, not resolved what I ought to say next. Papa took my hand.

"It is not much, to shew yourself," he said kindly. "What is the difficulty, Daisy?"

"You mean, shew myself in a fine dress and in a fine assembly, papa?"

"I don't care about the dress," he answered.

"Yes, but you do, Mr. Randolph," said my mother. "Daisy would not wear a print, for instance, to the Grand Duke's ball. Your complexion, Daisy, will take any sort of colour; but rubies will look especially well on this skin, and pearls." She touched my face caressingly as she spoke, pushing back the hair from my temple and then bringing her hand down to take hold of my chin. "Little fool!" said she laughing – "does it dismay you?"

"Yes, mamma, – the thought of crossing your pleasure."

"You shall not do that. Good children always obey their mothers. I am not going to have you settled down on a plantation at home, east or west, without at least letting the world see you first."

"Daisy does not want jewels," said my father. "She is too young."

"One day she will," said mamma; "and an occasion might make it proper, even now. I hope so; for I want to see the effect."

Mamma went away, with that; and I sat down again by papa's side. Not to dream over the sunlight on the lake any more; I was busy with cloudy realities. "Children, obey your parents in the Lord." Oh, why did duty bid me go contrary to the pleasure of mine! I would have so gladly pleased them to the utmost limits of my power. Papa was watching me, though I did not know it, and presently said very gently, –

"What is it, Daisy?"

"Papa, I want to please you and mamma so much!"

"And cannot you?"

"Not in this, papa."

"Why? Explain to me. I do not understand your position, Daisy."

"Papa, I am a servant of Christ; and a servant is bound to do his Master's will."

"But you are begging the question."

"If you will have patience, papa, I will try to tell you how it is. You know the Lord said, 'If any man serve me, let him follow me.' You know how He lived and what He lived for. Should I be following in his footsteps, when I was dressing and dancing and talking nonsense or nothings and getting so tired that I could do nothing but sleep all the next day? And papa, that is not all. It is so difficult, when one is dressed to look well and others are dressed in like manner, or for the same object, I mean, – it is very difficult not to wish to look well, and to wish to look better than other people, and to be glad if one does; and then comes the desire for admiration, and a feeling of pride, and perhaps, emulation of somebody else; and one comes home with one's head filled with poor thoughts, and the next day one is fit for nothing. And is that following Christ? who went about doing good, who sought not His own, who was separate from sinners. And He said to His people, 'Ye are not of the world, even as I am not of the world.'"

"Why, Daisy," said my father, passing over the last part of my speech, "how do you know all this? Have you been out into the great world already?"

"No, papa; but if the little world has such effects what must the great one do?"

"Pray, what little world have you seen?"

"The little world of West Point, papa. And something of the world of Washington."

"That is not much like a European court," said my father. "How did you like West Point?"

"Very much indeed."

"Did you go to balls there?"

"Oh, no, sir! only little hops, that the cadets have in the evenings."

"Was Preston there then?"

"He was entering upon his last year at the Academy."

"Had he improved?"

"Papa – I thought he had not."

My father smiled. "Which of these young friends of ours do you like the best, Daisy?"

"Mr. Marshall and Mr. De Saussure, do you mean?"

"I mean them."

Something in papa's tone made my answer, I was conscious, a little constrained. I was very sorry, and could not help it.

"Papa – I think – Don't you think, Mr. Marshall has the most principle?"

"Do you always like people best that are the best, Daisy?" said papa laughing. "Because, I confess I have a wicked perverseness to do the other way."

After this conversation I seemed to see several clouds rising on my horizon in different quarters. I thought it was wisest not to look at them; but there was one that cast a shadow always on the spot where I was. It was so long since I had heard from Mr. Thorold! I had told him he must not write to me; but at the same time he had said that he would, and that he would enclose a letter to my father. Neither letter had come. It was easy to account for; he might not have had a chance to write; or in the confusions at home, his despatch might have been detained somewhere; it might reach me after a long interval, or it might never reach me! There was nothing strange about it; there was something trying. The hunger of my heart for one word from him or of him, grew sometimes rapacious; it was a perpetual fast day with me, and nature cried out for relief. That cloud cast a shadow always over me now; only except when now and then a ray from the eternal sunshine found a rift in the cloud, or shot below it, and for a moment my feet stood in light. I had letters from the Sandfords; I had even one from Miss Cardigan; it did me a great deal of good, but it broke my heart too.

Mamma and I kept off the subject of the great world for a while; I think my father purposely prolonged our stay at Geneva, to favour my pleasure; and I hoped something after all might prevent the discussion of that subject between mamma and me, at least for the present. So something did.

I came down one afternoon to the green bank behind the house, where a table stood, and where we took our meals when the weather was fine. Our three young men were around it and the air was fragrant with the fumes of their cigars. The cigars of two of them were tossed away on my appearance. Ransom held his in abeyance.

"I did not know you were here," I said, "or I should have scrupled about interrupting anything so pleasant."

"You do not think it pleasant, confess, Miss Randolph," said De Saussure, drawing near to look over the progress of my work.

"Do you dislike it, honestly, Miss Randolph?" said Hugh Marshall.

"I don't dislike sugar-plums," I said.

"Daisy likes nothing that ordinary people like," cried Ransom. "I pity the man that will marry you, Daisy! He will live within a hedge-row of restrictions. You have lived among Puritans till you're blue."

I lifted my eyes to Ransom without speaking. What there was in my look, I do not know; but they all laughed.

"What connection is there between cigars and sugar-plums?" Hugh Marshall asked next.

"None, I suppose," I said. "Only, – what would you think of a lady who sat down regularly to eat sugar-plums three or four times a day and the last thing before going to bed? and who evidently could not live without them."

"But why not take a sugar-plum, or a cigar, as well as other things – wine, or fruit, for instance?" said Marshall.

"It is an indulgence – but we all allow ourselves indulgences of one sort or another."

"Besides, with a lady it is different," said De Saussure. "We poor fellows have nothing better to do, half the time."

I had no wish to lecture Mr. De Saussure, but I could not help looking at him, which again seemed to rouse their amusement.

"You seem to say, that is an insignificant way of life," Hugh Marshall added.

"We'll try for something better to-morrow," said De Saussure. "We have laid a plan to go to see the lake of Annecy, Miss Randolph, if we can secure your company and approbation. It will just take the day; and I propose that each one of us shall go prepared to instruct the others, at luncheon, as to his or her views of the worthiest thing a man can do with his life; – cigars being banished."

"Cigars are not banished yet," said Ransom, taking delicate whiffs of his own, which sent a fragrant wreath of blue smoke curling about his face.

"What do you say, Miss Randolph?" Hugh asked.

"Wouldn't you like to see the house of Eugène Sue?" said De Saussure.

"Who was Eugène Sue?" was my counter question; and they laughed again, our two friends with sparkling eyes.

"Look here, Daisy!" said Ransom, suddenly bringing down his chair on four feet and sitting upright, – "I wish you would put an end to this indulgence of sight-seeing and your society, and send these gentlemen home with me. I must go, and they ought to go too and do their duty. A word from you would send either of them straight to Beauregard's headquarters. Talk of indulgences!"

"I do not wish to send either of them there," was my incautious answer.

"Do you think it is always wrong to fight?" De Saussure asked.

I said no, with an internal shiver running through me from head to foot. They went into a mutual gratulation on the causes for fighting that existed on the part of the Southern States, and the certainty that the warlike spirit of the North would "die off like a big fungus," as one of them phrased it. I could not discuss the point with them, and I got away as soon as it could gracefully be done.

But something in this little talk, or in what went before it, had unsettled me; and I slept little that night. Anxieties which had lain pretty still, and pain which had been rather quiet, rose up together and shook me. My Bible reading had given me a word which for a time helped the confusion. "No man that warreth entangleth himself with the affairs of this life, that he may please Him who hath chosen him to be a soldier."

Not to be entangled with the affairs of this life! – and my heart and soul were in a whirl of them; I might say, in a snarl. And true the words were. How could I please Him who had chosen me to be a soldier, with my heart set on my own pleasure, and busy with my own fears? I knew I could not. The quiet subjection of spirit with which I left Washington, I had in a measure lost at Lucerne. Somehow, opposition had roused me; and the great distance and the impossibility of hearing had made my imagination restless; and the near probability that mamma would not favour our wishes had caused me to take a sort of life and death grasp of them. The management of myself, that I had resigned, I found I had not resigned it; but my heart was stretching out yearning hands to Thorold and crying for a sight of him. Meanwhile, the particular work that I had to do in Switzerland had been little thought of. What was it?

I spent that night waking. My room looked not to the lake, but over an extent of greensward and orchards, lit up now by a bright moon. I knelt at my window, with a strong recollection of former times, and a vain look back at my little old self, the childish Daisy, whose window at Melbourne, over the honeysuckles, had been so well used and had entertained such a quiet little heart. Then there had been Miss Pinshon's Daisy; but all the Daisies that I could remember had been quiet compared to this one. Must joy take such close hold on sorrow? Must hopes always be twin with such fears? – I asked amid bitter tears. But tears do one good; and after a little indulgence of them, I brought myself up to look at my duty. What was it?

I might love, and fear, and hope; but I must not be "entangled." Not so concerned about myself, either for sorrow or joy, that I should fail in anything to discern the Lord's will, or be unready, or be slow, to do it. Not so but that my heart should be free, looking to God for its chief strength and joy always and everywhere, – yes, and holding my hopes at his hand, to be given up if he called them back. With Thorold parted from me, in the thick of the war struggle, almost certain to be rejected by both my father and my mother, could I have and keep such a disentangled heart? The command said yes, and I knew there were promises that said yes too; but for a time I was strangely unwilling. I had a sort of superstitious feeling, that the giving up of my will about these things, and of my will's hold of them, would be a preliminary to their being taken away from me in good earnest. And I trembled and wept and shrank, like the coward I was.

"And if a man also strive for masteries, yet is he not crowned, except he strive lawfully."

"God's way is the way," I said to myself, – "and there is no other. I know, in what I said to mamma that afternoon about dressing and going into the world, it was not all principle. There was a mixture of selfish disinclination to go into society, because of Mr. Thorold and my feeling about him. My thoughts and will are all in a tangle; and they must be disentangled."

The struggle was long and sore that night. Worse than in Washington; because here I was alone among those who did not favour Mr. Thorold, and were opposed in everything to his and my views and wishes. Temptation said, that it was forsaking their cause, to give up my will about them. But there is no temptation that takes us and God has not provided a way of escape. The struggle was sharp; but when the dawn broke over the orchards and replaced the glory of the moonlight, my heart was quiet again. I was bent, before all things, upon doing the will of God; and had given up myself and all my hopes entirely to His disposal. They were not less dear hopes for that, though now the rest of my heart was on something better; on something which by no change or contingency can disappoint or fail. I was disentangled. I stood free. And I was happier than I had been in many a long day. "The peace of God." If people could only possibly know what that means!

CHAPTER XII.
AN ENGAGEMENT.

THE expedition to Annecy had been determined on, and papa and mamma were to go. I went in a carriage with them, while the others were on horseback; so I had a nice quiet time, which suited me; a time of curious secret enjoyment. It seemed as if a gratulation came to me from every blade of grass and every ray of sunlight; because I was a servant of God, and as wholly given up to do His will as they were. There was communion between them and me. Of those "ministers of His, that do His pleasure," I would be one; to do what He had for me to do in the world, should be my care and joy at once; and the care of myself – I left it to Him. One goes light when one does not carry that burden.

"Daisy, you are dreadfully sober," said mamma.

"Not dreadfully, mamma, I hope," I said with a smile.

"You are pale too," she went on. "Mr. Randolph, Daisy thinks too much."

"It is an old weakness of hers," said papa. "I am afraid it is beyond our reach, Felicia."

"I will break it up for to-day," said mamma as the carriage stopped and Mr. De Saussure came to the steps. "Charles, Daisy has got into a brown study. I give her to you in charge, not to allow anything of the sort again till we get home. And order luncheon at once, will you. I can't go walking or sight-seeing without that."

Mr. de Saussure gave me his arm and took me with him, as he said, to help about the luncheon. It was soon spread out of doors, beneath the shade of some large trees, and we gathered round it in holiday mood. Bread was sweet, with that page of beauty spread out before my eyes all the time; – for between the boles of the trees and under their hanging branches I could see the glittering waters of the lake and a bit of its distant shore. I did not go into a brown study, however, not wishing to give occasion to Mr. De Saussure's good offices. I thought he had quite enough enjoyed his charge during the business before luncheon. To my disappointment, after the meal papa declared himself tired and went to lie down.

"We have forgotten our agreement," said Mr. De Saussure. "At luncheon, we were all to tell, Mrs. Randolph, what we think the worthiest thing to live for."

"Were we?" said mamma. "That sounds like one of Daisy's problems."

"It is not hers, however," he rejoined; "any further than that I am mainly curious to know what she will say about it."

"You ought to be equally anxious about my opinion, it seems to me," mamma said.

"Do I not know it already? Pour la patrie, – does anything go before that in your mind? Honestly, Mrs. Randolph, – is it not in your opinion the worthiest thing anybody can do, to fight, or to die – still better, – for the independence of the South?"

"You do not think so," said mamma, "or you would be there."

"I am selfish, and have selfish hopes and fears. But you think so?"

"Let us hear what you consider the worthiest object of life," said mamma.

"It is not my turn. Miss Randolph, your mother has spoken – the next honour belongs to you."

"The worthiest object of life?" I said. "Is that the question?"

"It will not be a question, when you have answered it," De Saussure said gallantly.

"You will not like my answer," I said. "I should think it would be, To please God."

"But that is not an answer, pardon me. Of course, the Supreme Being is pleased to see people following the worthiest object; and the question is, What is the worthiest?"

I did not like to hear Mr. De Saussure's tongue touch themes where it was not at home. The conversation was too serious for light handling; but I could not get out of it.

"You will find that my answer includes all," I said. "It is impossible to lay down a rule, as to particulars, that will fit all cases. It is the best thing one man can do, to lay down his life for his country; the best thing another man can do is to stay at home and devote himself to the care of an infirm mother or father; but in either case, for God."

"I do not understand – " said Mr. Marshall.

"Suppose the one goes to the battlefield for his own glory, and the other stays at home for his own ease?"

"Don't you think glory is a thing to live for?" said Ransom, with an indignant expression that reminded me painfully of our childish days.

"Yes," I said slowly, – "I do; but not the praise of men, which is so often mistaken. The glory that comes from God, – that is worth living for."

"What an incomprehensible girl you are!" Ransom answered impatiently.

"She'll mend – " said mamma.

"But, Miss Randolph," said Mr. Marshall, "the care of infirm relatives, a father or a mother, can anything make that unworthy?"

"Not in itself," I said; "but suppose a man's duty calls him away? It might. You can suppose such a case."

"I see what I have to expect," mamma said with a laugh. "Daisy will take care of me, until some duty calls her away. I will not count upon you, Daisy, any longer than that. De Saussure, what is your estimate of life's objects? On honour, now!"

"I can think of nothing better than to live for somebody that one loves," he said.

"I knew you would say that," she rejoined. "Hugh, what do you say?"

"I need to go to school, Mrs. Randolph."

"Well, go to school to Daisy," said mamma with another light laugh. "And come, let us walk, or we shall not have time. Eugène Sue, is it, that we are going to see?"

"Only his house, madam. Miss Randolph, I am charged, you know, with your studies to-day."

I was not in the mood of accepting Mr. De Saussure's arm, but just then it was the only thing to do. My mother and Ransom and Hugh Marshall were presently some little distance behind, an interval separating us; and Mr. De Saussure and I followed the shores of the lake, taking such counsel together as our somewhat diverse moods made possible. I was thinking, what a life of hard work the two prophets Elijah must have known in their time; he who was first of the name, and his greater successor, John the Baptist. Each of them worked alone, against a universal tide of adverse evil that flooded the land. If I found it so sorrowful to be alone in my family and society, what must they have felt with the whole world against them. And Elijah's spirit did once give out, brave as he was: "It is enough, O Lord; take away my life." I thought I could understand it. To be all alone; to have no sympathy in what is dearest to you; to face opposition and scorn and ridicule and contumely while trying to do people good and bring them to good; to have only God on your side, with the bitter consciousness that those whom you love best are arrayed against him; your family and country; – I suppose nobody can tell how hard that is to endure, but he who has tasted it. My taste of it was light indeed; but a half hour with Miss Cardigan would have been inexpressibly good to me that day. So I thought, as I walked along the bank of the lake with Mr. De Saussure; and then I remembered "my hiding-place and my shield."

"You are very silent to-day, Miss Randolph," said my companion at length. I may remark, in passing, that he had not been.

"It is enough to look, and to think," I answered, "with such a sight before one's eyes."

"Do you know," said he, "such independence of all the exterior world, – of mortals, I mean, – is very tantalizing to those disregarded mortals?"

"Do you find it so? It is fair then to presume, in a place like this, that what takes up my attention has not so much charm for you."

"That is severe!" he said. "Do you think I do not see all this beauty before us? But pardon me, – have you seen it?"

"I have tasted it every step of the way, Mr. De Saussure."

"I am rebuked," he said. "You must excuse me – I had counted upon the pleasure of seeing you enjoy it."

"One's enjoyment is not always heightened by giving it expression," I said.

"No, I know that is your theory – or practice," he said. "My sisters are always so vehement in their praises of anything they like, that nobody else has a chance to know whether he likes it or not. I generally incline to the not."

I added no remark upon Mr. De Saussure's or his sisters' peculiar way of enjoying themselves.

"But you are uncommonly silent," he went on presently; – "triste, rêveuse. It is impossible not to suffer from it, – in one who values your words as much as I do."

"Why, I thought you were apt to look upon things from a different point of view, – not from mine," I said.

"I must be wrong then – always. Miss Randolph, you are of a gentle and kind disposition, – I wish you would be my Mentor!"

"I am not old enough to be Mentor," I said.

"To be mine! Yes, you are," he rejoined eagerly. "I would not have you a day older."

"I shall be that to-morrow," I said, laughing.

"But if you were mine," he said, changing his tone, "every day would only add to your power and your qualifications for doing me good. And I know that is what you love."

"I cannot see that I have done you the least good, so far, Mr. De Saussure," I said, amused. "I think you must be mistaken."

"Will you try, Daisy?" he said insinuatingly, and stopping short in our walk.

"Try what, Mr. De Saussure?" I said, beginning to be bewildered.

"Surely you know! You are a little cruel. But you have the right. Be my Mentor – be my darling – promise to be, one of these days, my wife."

I dropped my arm from Mr. De Saussure's and stood in a maze, I might say with truth, frightened. Up to that minute, no suspicion of his purpose or mind regarding me had entered my thoughts. I suppose I was more blind than I ought to have been; and the truth was, that in the utter preoccupation of my own heart, the idea that I could like anybody else but Mr. Thorold, or that anybody else could like me, had been simply out of sight. I knew myself so thoroughly beyond anybody's reach, the prior possession of the ground was so perfect and settled a thing, that I did not remember it was a fact hidden from other eyes but mine. And I had gone on in my supposed walled-in safety; – and here was somebody presuming within the walls, who might allege that I had left the gate open. However, to do Mr. De Saussure justice, I never doubted for a moment that his heart might be in any danger of breaking if I thrust him out. But for all that, I lost my breath in the first minute of discovery of what I had been doing.

"You hesitate," said he. "You shall command me, Daisy. I will go instantly, hard as it would be, and give all my power to furthering the war at home; – or, if you bid me, I will keep out of it, which would be harder still, were you not here instead of there. Speak, won't you, – a good word for me?"

"You must do nothing at my command, Mr. de Saussure," I said. "I have known you only as mamma's and my brother's friend; – I never thought you had any other feeling; and I had no other towards you."

"Mrs. Randolph is my friend," he said eagerly. "She does me the honour to wish well to my suit. She looks at it, not with my eyes, but with the eyes of prudence; and she sees the advantages that such an arrangement would secure. I believe she looks at it with patriotic eyes too. You know my estates are nearly adjoining to yours. I may say too, that our families are worthy one of another. But there, I am very conscious, my worthiness ends. I am not personally deserving of your regard – I can only promise under your guidance to become so."

A light broke upon me.

"Mr. De Saussure" – I began; but he said hastily, "Let us go on – they are coming near us;" and I took his offered arm again, not wishing more than he to have spectators or hearers of our talk; and now that the talk was begun, I wished to end it.

"Mr. de Saussure," I said, "you are under a serious mistake. You speak of my estates; I must inform you that I shall never, under any circumstances, be an heiress. Whoever marries me – if I ever marry – will marry a poor girl."

"Pardon me – " he began.

"Yes," said I interrupting him; – "I know of what I speak."

"What can you mean, Miss Randolph?"

"I assure you, I mean exactly what I say. Pray take it so."

"But I do not understand you."

"Understand this, – that I shall be a penniless woman; or something very like it. I am making no jest. I am no heiress – as people think."

"But you confound me, Miss Randolph," he said, looking both curious and incredulous. "May I ask, what can be the explanation of your words? I know your Magnolia property – and it is, I assure you, a very noble one, and unencumbered. Nothing can hinder you from inheriting it – at some, we hope, of course, very distant day."

"Nevertheless," I said, "if I live to see that day, I shall be very poor, Mr. De Saussure."

"You will condescend to explain so extraordinary a statement?"

"Is not my word sufficient?"

"Pardon me, a thousand times; but you must see that I am in a difficulty. Against your word I have the word of two others – your mother and your brother, who both assure me of the contrary. May it not be, that they know best?"

"No, Mr. De Saussure; for the fact depends on something out of their knowledge."

"It is out of my knowledge too," he said.

I hesitated a little, and then said, –

"I will explain myself, Mr. De Saussure, trusting to your honour to keep silence about it. I am a friend of the coloured people."

"Oh! – So are we all," he said.

"And I will never be rich at their expense."

"By their means, is not necessarily at their expense," he said gently.

"It is at their expense," I repeated. "I do not choose to be rich so. And the religion I live by, forbids me to do to others as I would not like they should do to me."

"I am sure, by that rule, your dependants at Magnolia would implore you not to give them over to other hands. They will never have so kind a mistress. Don't you see?" he said with the same insinuating gentleness.

"I shall give them over to no other hands. I would make them as free as myself."

"Make them free!"

"That is what I would do."

"You cannot mean it," he said.

"You see, Mr. De Saussure, that I shall be very poor."

"You are playing with me."

"I am very serious."

"It is rank Northern madness!" he said to himself. "And it is Mrs. Randolph's daughter. The thing is impossible."

"It is Mrs. Randolph's daughter," I said, withdrawing my hand from his arm. "I pray you not to forget it."

"Pray, forgive me!" he said eagerly. "I was bewildered, and am yet. I did not know where I was. It seems to me I cannot have heard you aright."

"Quite right, Mr. De Saussure."

"But just reflect!" he said. "These creatures, whose cause you are advocating, they are but half human; they cannot take care of themselves; their very happiness is identified with their present position."

"It is not the view they take of it."

"They are incapable of forming any judgment on the matter."

"At least they know what they mean by happiness," I said; "and in their mouths it is not a synonym with slavery. And if your words are true, Mr. De Saussure, in the case of some of those poor people, – and I know they are, – it is one of the worst things that can be said of the system. If some of them are brought so low as to be content with being slaves, we have robbed them of their humanity."

"It is absolutely Northern radicalism!" said Mr. De Saussure to himself.

"No," I said, – "it is Christian justice and mercy."

"You will allow me to represent to you, without any presumption, that there are very many Christians, both at the South and North, who do not look at the matter with your eyes."

"I suppose they have never really seen it," I answered sadly. "People that have always lived close to something, often do not know what it is. My father has never seen it – nor, my mother. I have."

"They would not agree with you; your views would not harmonize with theirs."

"And therefore I trust to your honour to keep silence respecting mine."

"I am bound," he answered gloomily; and we walked a few minutes in silence.

"You will change your manner of thinking, Miss Randolph," he began again. "Yours is the vision of inexperienced eyes and of impulsive generosity. It will not remain what it is."

"Inexperienced eyes see the clearest," I answered. "The habit of wrong is no help towards judging of the right."

"You will think differently by and by."

"Not while I am a servant of God and He commands me to break every yoke, to do as I would be done by, to look not on my own things, but also on the things of others. We owe our poor people not liberty only, but education, and every advantage for restored civilization; – a great long debt."

"And is this the reason why you will not look favourably on my suit?" he said after another interval.

"It is a reason why you will not wish to prosecute it, Mr. De Saussure."

"You are very severe!" he said. "Do you really think that?"

"You know it is true. I do not wish to be severe."

"Have you then no kindness for me?"

"Why do you ask?"

"You are so dreadfully calm and cool!" he said. "One has no chance with you. If this matter were not in the way, would you have any kindness for me, Daisy? Is this all that separates us?"

"It is quite enough, Mr. De Saussure. It is as powerful with you as with me."

"I am too late, I suppose!" he said, as it seemed to me, rather spitefully. As he was too late, it was no use to tell him he could never have been early enough. I was silent; and we walked on unenjoyingly. Vexation was working in his countenance, and a trace of that same spite; I was glad when we came to the end of our way and the other members of our party closed up and joined us.

As I cared nothing for the house they had come to see, I excused myself from going any nearer, and sat down upon the bank at a little distance while they gratified their curiosity. The view of the lake and lake shores here was very lovely; enough to satisfy any one for a long while; but now, my thoughts only rested there for a minute, to make a spring clear across the Atlantic. Mr. Thorold was very close to me, and I was very far from him; that was the burden of my heart. So close to me he had been, that I had never dreamed any one could think of taking his place. I saw I had been a simpleton. Up to that day I had no suspicion that Mr. De Saussure liked me more than would be convenient; and indeed I had no fear now of his heart being broken; but I saw that his unlucky suit made a complication in my affairs that they certainly did not need. – Mamma approved it; yes, I had no doubt of that. I knew of a plantation of his, Briery Bank, only a few miles distant from Magnolia and reputed to be very rich in its incomings. And, no doubt Mr. De Saussure would have liked the neighbourhood of Magnolia, and to add its harvest to his own. And all the while I belonged to Mr. Thorold, and nobody else could have me. My thoughts came back to that refrain with a strong sense of pain and gladness. However, the gladness was the strongest. How lovely the lake was, with its sunlit hills!

In the midst of my musings, Hugh Marshall came and threw himself on the ground at my side. I welcomed him with a smile; for I liked him; he was a friend; and I thought, – This one does not want me at any rate. I was a great simpleton, I suppose.

"I was afraid you had deserted me to-day," he said.

"I am sure, it is I who might rather have thought that of you," I answered; and indeed I had wished for his company more than once.

"You could not have thought it!" he said.

"Have you satisfied your curiosity with Eugène Sue's house?"

"I do not care to look at anything that you don't like," he replied.

"Cigars? – " I suggested.

"No indeed. If you disapprove of them, I shall have no more fellowship with them."

"That is going quite too far, Mr. Marshall. A man should never give up anything that he does not disapprove of himself."

"Not to please somebody he wishes to please?"

"Of course," I said, thinking of Mr. Thorold, – "there might be such cases. But in general."

"This is one of the cases. I wish to please you."

"Thank you," I said earnestly. "But indeed, I should be more pleased to have you follow your own sense of right than any notion of another, even of myself."

"You are not like any other woman I ever saw," he said smiling. "Do you know, they all have a passion for command? There are De Saussure's mother and sisters, – they do not leave him a moment's peace, because he is not at home fighting."

I was silent, and hoped that Mr. De Saussure's friends might now perhaps get him away from Geneva at least.

"You think with them, that he ought to go?" Hugh Marshall said presently with a shadow, I thought, on his words.

"I would not add one more to the war," I answered.

"Your mother does not think so."

"No."

"Mrs. Randolph has almost signified to me that her favour will depend on my taking such a course, and doing all I can to help on the Confederacy."

"Yes, I know," I said rather sadly; "mamma feels very strongly about it."

"You do not?"

"Yes, Mr. Marshall, I do; but it is in a different way."

"I wish you would explain," he said earnestly.

"But I do not like to set myself in opposition to mamma; and you ought to do what you yourself think right, Mr. Marshall; not what either of us thinks."

"What do you think is right?" he repeated eagerly.

"My thoughts do not make or unmake anything."

"They make – they will make, if you will let them – the rule of my life," he answered. "I have no dearer wish."

I was struck with dismay.

"Please do not say that!" I said trembling. "My thoughts should rule only my own life; not anybody, else's."

"One more!" said Hugh Marshall. "They must rule one more. There will be one, somewhere, whose highest pleasure will be to please you, as long as he has a life to give to it. – Will you take mine?" he said after a pause and in a lower tone. "I offer it to you undividedly."

It cannot be told, the sickness of heart which came over me. The mistake I had made in my blindness, the sorrowfulness of it, the pain I must give, the mischief it might do, I saw it all at once. For a while, I could not find words to speak. Hugh studied my face, and must have seen no ground of hope there, for he did not speak either. He was quite silent and left it to me. Oh, Lake of Annecy! what pain comes to me now with the remembrance of your sweet waters.

I turned at last and laid my hand upon Hugh's arm. He did not mistake me; he took my hand in his, and stood looking at me with a face as grave as my own.

"What is the matter, Daisy?" he said sorrowfully.

"I have made a miserable mistake!" I said. "Cannot we be friends, Mr. Marshall? – dear friends, and nothing more?"

"Why 'nothing more'?"

"I can be no more to you," I answered.

"Why not?"

"I have not the feeling. I have not the power. I would, if I could."

"It is I who have made a mistake," he said, as he dropped my hand.

"No, it is I," I said bitterly. "I have been childishly wrong. I have been foolish. It never entered my thought, that you – or anybody – liked me, except as a friend."

"And he got your heart without your knowing it?"

"Who?" said I, frightened.

"De Saussure, of course."

"De Saussure! No indeed. I would a thousand times rather give it to you, Hugh. But, I cannot."

"Then it will come," said he, taking my hand again; "if you can say that, it will come. I will wait."

"No, it will not come," I said, as we looked one another in the face. "I can be only a friend. May I not be that?"

He eyed me keenly, I saw, and my eyes for a moment fell. He let go my hand again.

"Then, I understand," – he said. "Shall we go? I believe it is time."

"Where is mamma?" I asked, looking about in some bewilderment now.

"Mrs. Randolph and the rest have gone on; they are some distance ahead of us by this time."

And what were they all thinking too, by this time! In great dismay I turned to go after them with my unwelcome companion. We walked in silence; I blaming myself greatly for stupidness and blindness and selfish preoccupation, which had made me look at nobody's affairs but my own; and grieving sadly too for the mischief I had done.

"Mayn't we be friends, Mr. Marshall?" I said somewhat timidly at last; for I could not bear the silence.

"I can never be anything else," he said. "You may always command me. But I have not misunderstood you, Daisy? You meant to tell me that – some one has been more fortunate than I, and been beforehand with me?"

"I did not mean to tell you that," I said in a good deal of confusion.

"But it is true?" he said, looking searchingly at me.

"Nobody knows it, Hugh," I said. "Not my mother nor my father."

The silence fell again and again became painful. The others of our party were well in advance. – We caught no glimpse of them yet.

"We will be friends, Mr. Marshall?" – I said anxiously.

"Yes, we will be friends, Daisy; but I cannot be a friend near you. I cannot see you any longer. I shall be a wreck now, I suppose. You might have made me – anything!"

"You will make yourself a noble name and place in the world," I said, laying my hand on his arm. "The name and the place of a servant of God. Won't you, Hugh? Then you will come to true joy, and honour – the joy and honour that God gives. Let me have the joy of knowing that! I have done so much mischief, – let me know that the mischief is mended."

"What mischief have you done?" he asked, with his voice roughened by feeling.

"I did not know what I was leading you – and others – into."

"You led to nothing; except as the breath of a rose leads one to stretch out one's hand for it," he answered. "The rose has as much design!"

He turned aside hastily, stooped for a little twig that lay on the roadside, and began assiduously breaking it up. And the silence was not interrupted again, till we came in sight of our friends in advance of us, leisurely walking to let us come up. Then Hugh and I plunged into conversation; but what it was about I have not the least remembrance. It lasted though, till we joined company with the rest of our party, and the talk became general. Still I do not know what we talked about. I had a feeling of thunder in the air, though the very stillness of sunlight beauty was on the smooth water and the hilly shore; and I saw clouds rising and gathering, even though Mont Blanc as we returned that evening shewed rosy hues to its very summit in the clear heaven. I can hardly tell how, my mother's manner or something in it, made me sure both of the clouds and the thunder. It was full of grace, tact and spirit, to such a point of admiration. Yet I read in it, yes, and in that very grace and spirit, a certain state of the nervous powers which told of excitement at work, or a fund of determination gathering; the electric forces massing somewhere; and this luminous play only foretold the lightning.

CHAPTER XIII.
A TRUCE.

IT is odd with what significance little things become endued, from their connection with other things which are not little. I remember the white dress mamma wore the next day, and the red cashmere scarf she had wrapped round her. I remember how happy and easy the folds of her drapery were, and how I noticed her graceful slow movements, Surely grace is a natural attribute of power, even though power be not always graceful; at least any uncertainty of meaning or manner is fatal to gracefulness. There was no uncertainty about mamma ever, unless the uncertainty of carelessness; and that itself belonged to power. There was no uncertainty in any fold of her cashmere that morning; in any movement of her person, slow and reposeful as every movement was. I knew by a sort of instinct what it all meant. Indeed these were mamma's ordinary characteristics; only appearing just now with the bloom of perfection upon them. She was powerful and she knew it; I knew myself naturally no match for her. It was always very hard for me to withstand mamma. Nothing but the sense of right ever gave me courage to do it. But striving for the right, the Christian is not at his own charges, and has other strength than his own to depend upon.

"You do not eat, my darling," papa said to me.

"Daisy has too much to think of," said mamma with a sort of careless significance. " I will have another bit of chicken, if you please, Mr. Randolph."

"What is she thinking of?"

"Girls' thoughts are unfathomable," said mamma.

"Is it thoughts, Daisy?" said my father.

"I suppose it may be, papa."

"Then I shall do something to break up thinking," he said.

But I knew I must not look for help so. To appeal to one of my parents against the other, was what it would never answer to do, even if I could have done it. I felt alone; but I was as quiet as mamma. I had not so good an appetite.

In the course of the morning she had me up-stairs to consider the matter of dresses and fashions; and we were turning over a quantity of laces and jewels. Mamma tried one and another set of stones upon me and in my hair.

"Rubies and pearls are your style," she said at length. "Diamonds are out of harmony, somehow. You are magnificent, Daisy; and pearls make you look like the Queen of Sheba. I cannot imagine why diamonds do not suit you."

"I do not suit them, mamma."

"Pardon me. You do not know yourself. But girls of your age never do. That is where mothers are useful, I suppose. Which is it to be, Daisy?"

"I do not want either, mamma."

"Yes; that is of course too. But which do you like best, of the two? I suppose you have some preference."

"Mamma, I think I prefer the pearls, but you know – "

Mamma stopped my mouth with a kiss. "Little goose!" she said, – "I am not talking of pearls. Did I not say what I was thinking of? I supposed we both had the same thought, Daisy, and that you would understand me."

"I thought it was pearls and rubies, mamma."

"Well, now you know it is not; and again I come back to my question, – Which is it to be?"

"Which – of what, mamma?"

"Nonsense, Daisy; – you know."

"I know nothing of any choice that I have to make, ma'am, if you do not mean about jewels; and of them, as I said, I should prefer neither."

"You may choose and refuse among jewels," said my mother, – "and refuse and choose; but among some other things it is necessary to make a choice and stick to it."

"Yes, mamma; but I am not in such a necessity."

"What choice have you made, then? It is the same thing, Daisy; only I want to know. Do you not think it is reasonable that I should know?"

"Please explain yourself, mamma."

"Hugh Marshall, then, and Charles De Saussure. What is your mind about them?"

"I like them, mamma, as your friends and as mine, – very well, – but no more."

"Only very well."

"No more, mamma."

"Very well, is a good deal," said mamma coolly. "Which of them must I like a little more than very well, Daisy?"

"Mamma? – "

"Whoever owns and possesses you, I should wish to like very much. Which is it to be, Daisy?"

"Neither of these gentlemen, mamma."

"Did De Saussure propose to you yesterday?"

"Yes."

"What did you say to him?"

"I made him understand that he was nothing to me."

"He is something to me," said mamma. "He is one of the first young men I know, and has one of the finest estates – close by yours, Daisy."

"Estates are nothing in such a matter, mamma."

"That is like saying that pearls and rubies are nothing on such a skin as yours," said mamma laughing. "But you may think of the men, Daisy, and I will think of the estates; that is all en règle."

"I do not wish to think of these men, mamma."

"It is late in the day to say that. You must have thought of them both, Daisy, and long ago."

"It never entered my head till yesterday, mamma, that either of them liked me."

"You must have seen it for weeks past."

"I did not, mamma, – I never thought of such a thing as possible, till yesterday."

"Is it a possible thing," said mamma, "that a daughter of mine can be such a simpleton? It is time you were married, Daisy, if you can break hearts like that, without knowing it."

"Better be a simpleton than wicked," I said.

"And that comes to the point," said mamma. "You have most unaccountably encouraged the addresses of these gentlemen – and seeing that you did, so have I; – now, to clear both yourself and me, let your preference be made known. It need not take you long to make your mind up, I suppose."

"I am very sorry, mamma. I have done wrong; I have been very foolish; but I cannot do worse. I do not like either of these gentlemen well enough for what you mean."

"If you have done wrong, you can mend it," said mamma. "Liking will come fast enough, Daisy; a girl like you does not think she can like anybody but her father and mother; she finds out her mistake in time. So will you. I will decide for you, if you have no choice. Charles De Saussure is my friend, and I think he is most of a man of the two. I will tell Charles that you will make him happy by and by."

"No, mamma, I will not. Do not tell him so."

"Do you like Hugh Marshall better?"

"I do not like either of them in the way you mean."

"Do you like Hugh better? Answer me."

"Mamma – "

"No, answer me. A plain answer. Do you like Hugh better?"

"A great deal better; but – "

"That settles it," said mamma. "You shall be Hugh Marshall's wife. Don't tell me a word against it, Daisy, for I will not hear you. I do not like Marshall as well, myself, but his property is even larger, I believe; and as I am not in love, I may be allowed to think of such things. It is away over on the Mississippi; but we cannot help that. I will make Hugh happy to-day, and then – you shall, Daisy."

"No, mamma, – never. It cannot be."

"It must, Daisy. You have compromised yourself, and me. You have allowed these gentlemen's attentions; you have been seen everywhere with them; you owe it to yourself and them to declare your choice of one of them now. You must make up your mind to it. If you are not in love, it cannot be helped; that will come in time; but I think you are. Hey, Daisy?" she said, lifting my chin with her forefinger and looking into my face, – "isn't it true? Isn't it true? Ah, silly thing! – Eyes that are wells of sweetness for somebody – for all down they go, – a mouth that has smiles enough for somebody, – though it trembles, – and what does this rose leaf mean, that is stealing over every one of your two cheeks? It is a witness to somebody, who has brought it there. Go – I know all about it. You may make your confession to Hugh, if you like it best."

I thought mamma would have broken my heart. I rose up in despair.

"To-day, Daisy," mamma repeated. "It must be done to-day."

What could I say? I did not know.

"Mamma, it is not as you think. I do not care for Hugh Marshall."

"Is it De Saussure, then?" she asked, turning quickly upon me.

"No, mamma."

"Is it Preston Gary?" she asked, with a change in her voice.

"No, Oh, no, mamma!"

"Then it is one of these. Daisy, I protest I have not skill enough to find out which of them; but you know, and that is sufficient. And they must know too; there can be no more of this three-cornered game. It is time to put an end to it. I have read you, if you have not read yourself; and now, my child, you must be content to let the rose blossom, that you keep so carefully folded up in its green leaves. One of these gentlemen will leave us presently; and the other, whichever it is, I shall consider and treat as your acknowledged suitor; and so must you, Daisy. He will be going home to the war, he too, in a short time more; and he must go with the distinct understanding that when the war is over, you will reward him as he wants to be rewarded. Not till then, child. You will have time enough to think about it."

My mother had shut my lips. I was afraid to say anything good or bad. She had read me; yes, I felt that she had, when she looked into my face and touched my cheeks and kissed my lips, which I knew well enough were trembling, as she had said. She had read me, all but the name in my heart. What if she had read that? The least movement now on my part might bring it to the light; what if it came? I did not know what then, and I was greatly afraid. An old awe of my mother and sense of her power, as well as knowledge of her invincible determination, filled me with doubt and fear. She might write to Mr. Thorold at once and forbid him ever to think of me; she might send him word that I was engaged to Mr. De Saussure. And indeed I might also possibly clear my own action to Mr. Thorold; but change hers, never. My faith failed, I believe. I was like Abraham when he went into Egypt and feared somebody would kill him to get possession of his wife. I did not, like him, resort to a fiction for my safety; but neither did I trust God and dare tell the truth.

My own will was as good as mamma's. I was not afraid of weakly yielding some time or other; I was only afraid of her outside measures.

She resumed her occupation of trying laces and jewels on me; finally laughed, chucked me under the chin, kissed me, called me a pretty goose, and bade me go and dress myself "for whomever I liked best." I went to my room to have the heartache.

I had given up the management of myself; I was not struggling now; I knew there would be a way out of all my perplexities some time; but nevertheless my heart ached. I did dress myself, however, for that is an important part of a woman's work; and I went down-stairs with a vague hope in my heart that I might see Hugh and somehow enlist him on my side, so far at least as to make him delay his departure; though I could not imagine how I could ask it, nor what I could say to him of any sort that would benefit me or that would not do him harm. But I thought in vain. I did not see him. Mr. De Saussure came, and played chess with me all the evening. I played very ill, and he won every game, till I thought he would stop for the very stupidness of it.

Some painful days followed that day; during which mamma managed to make me accept Mr. De Saussure's attentions in public and in private. She managed it; I could not escape them without making a violent protest, and I did not of course choose that. Hugh Marshall was gone; he had come only to take a hurried leave of us; suddenly obliged to return home, he said; "he had lingered too long." Mr. De Saussure's eyes flashed with triumph; every line of mamma's face (to me) expressed satisfaction, of course gracefully concealed from everybody else. But Hugh and I parted with a great grasp of the hand, which I am sure came from both our hearts and left mine very sore. Then he was gone. After that, Mr. De Saussure took Hugh's place and his own too in our little society; and for a few days things went on in a train which I knew was preparing mischief.

Then one night the explosion came. We were out on the lake in a boat; mamma, Mr. De Saussure, and I; we had gone to see the colours come and go on the great head of Mont Blanc. In the glory of the sight, I had forgotten who was with me and where I was, for the moment; and I was thinking of the colours and lights of the New Jerusalem, than which those before me seemed scarcely less unearthly. Thinking, with a pang at the distance between; with a longing for those pure heights where human life never casts its flickering shadow; with a cry for Thorold in my heart, whom every sight of joy or beauty was sure to bring before me. I was rudely recalled from my momentary dream, though it was by my mother's soft voice.

"Daisy – "

I started and came back to earth and the Lake of Geneva.

"Mr. De Saussure is going soon to leave us and return home – you know for what. Before he goes, he desires the satisfaction of kissing your hand. I suppose he would have liked a little more, but I have only promised the hand."

"I have explained myself to Mr. De Saussure, mamma; he is under no mistake."

"So I have told him. He could not ask more than you have given him; but leaving us for a long while, Daisy, and on such a service, a little further grace would not be ill bestowed. I shall give him leave, if you do not," she added laughing; "and I may give him more than you would like, Daisy."

I think at that minute I felt as if I would like to make one spring out of this world and all its confusions into that other world I had been thinking of; but one does not get quit of one's troubles so easily. That minute on the Lake of Geneva was one of the ugliest I have ever known. Mamma was smooth and determined; Mr. De Saussure looked triumphant and expectant; for a moment my heart shrank, but I do not think I shewed it outwardly.

"Daisy – " said mamma, smiling.

"Yes, ma'am."

"Mr. De Saussure is waiting. Will you speak the word? – or shall I?"

"I have spoken to Mr. De Saussure," I said, coldly.

"Not very clearly. He understands you better now. "

"Permit me to say," put in blandly Mr. De Saussure, – "that I am rejoiced to find I did not understand you at a former conversation we held together. Mrs. Randolph has been my kind interpreter. You will not now refuse me?" he said, as he endeavoured to insinuate his fingers into mine.

"Kiss her, Charles!" said mamma; "she is a coy girl. I give you leave."

And before I could anticipate or prevent it, Mr. De Saussure's arm was round me and the salute was given. I think mamma really thought she could bestow me away as she pleased. I am sure she had no idea of the nature she was combating. Nobody had ever withstood her successfully; she did not think that I could be the first. But this little thing – it was not a little thing to me at the time – cut the knot of my difficulties. Released from Mr. De Saussure's encircling arm, I removed myself to the other side of the boat and drew my shawl round me. I do not know what significance was in my action, but mamma said, "Nonsense!"

"I have not offended, have I?" said Mr. De Saussure. "Remember, I had liberty."

"Mamma," I said, "if you will sit a little further that way, you will restore the balance of the boat."

"Which you have entirely disarranged, Daisy," she said as she moved herself.

"Daisy will acknowledge I had liberty," Mr. De Saussure repeated.

"Mamma," I said, "don't you think it is growing chill?"

"Row us home, Charles," said my mother. "And, Daisy, don't be a fool. Mr. De Saussure had liberty, as he says."

"I do not acknowledge it, ma'am."

"You must give her line, Charles," mamma said, half laughing but vexed. "She is a woman."

"I hope she will grant me forgiveness," he said. "She must remember, I thought I had liberty."

"I shall not forget," I answered. "I understand, that respect for me failed before respect for my mother."

"But! – " he began.

"Be quiet, Charles," my mother interrupted him. "Pull us to shore; and let fits of perverseness alone till they go off. That is my counsel to you."

And the remainder of our little voyage was finished in profound silence. I knew mamma was terribly vexed, but at the same time I was secretly overjoyed; for I saw that she yielded to me, and I knew that I should have no more trouble with Mr. De Saussure.

I did not. He lingered about for a few days longer, in moody style, and then went away and I saw him no more. During those days I had nothing to do with him. But my mother had almost as little to do with me. She was greatly offended; and also, I saw, very much surprised. The woman Daisy could not be quite the ductile thing the child Daisy had been. I took refuge with papa whenever I could.

"What is all this about De Saussure and Marshall?" he asked one day.

"They have both gone home."

"I know they have; but what sent them home?"

"Mamma has been trying to make them go, this long while, you know, papa. She wanted them to go and join Beauregard."

"And will they? Is that what they are gone for?"

"I do not know if they will, papa. I suppose Mr. De Saussure will."

"And not Marshall?"

"I do not know about him."

"What did you do, Daisy?"

"Papa – you know I do not like the war."

"How about liking the gentlemen?"

"I am glad they are gone."

"Well, so am I," papa answered; "but what had you to do with sending them home?"

"Nothing, papa, – only that I unfortunately did not want them to stay."

"And you could not offer them any reward for going?"

"Papa, a man who would do such a thing for reward, would not be a man."

"I think so too, Daisy. Your mother somehow takes a different view."

"She cares only for the soldier, papa; not for the man."

Papa was silent and thoughtful.

There were no other intimate friends about us in Geneva; and our life became, I must confess, less varied and pleasant after the young men had gone. At first I felt only the relief; then the dulness began to creep in. Papa led the life of an invalid, or of one who had been an invalid; not an active life in any way; I thought, not active enough for his good. Some hours I got of reading with him; reading to him, and talking of what we read; they did my father good, and me too; but they were few, and often cut short. As soon as mamma joined us, our books had to be laid aside. They bored her, she said, or hindered her own reading; and she and papa played draughts and chess and piquet. Mamma was not in a bored state at other times; for she was busy with letters and plans and arrangements, always in a leisurely way, but yet busy. It was a sort of business with which I had no sympathy, and which therefore left me out. The cause of the South was not my cause; and the discussion of toilettes, fashions, costumes and society matters, was entirely out of my line. In all these, mamma found her element. Ransom was no resource to anybody; and of course not to me, with whom, now as ever, he had little in common. Mamma held me aloof, ever since Mr. De Saussure's departure; and I only knew indirectly, as it were, that she was planning a social campaign for me and meditating over adornments and advantages which should help to make it triumphant. Life in this way was not altogether enjoyable. The only conversation which could be said to be general among us, was on the subject of home affairs in America. That rung in my ears every day.

"Glorious news, sir!" cried Ransom one day as he came in to dinner. "Glorious news! The first real news we have had in a long time."

"What is it?" said my father; and "What, Ransom?" my mother asked, with a kindling eye. My heart sank. Those know who remember those times, how one's heart used to sink when news came.

"What is it, Ransom?"

"Why, a large body of them, the Yankees, got across the Potomac the night of the 20th; got in a nest of our sharpshooters and were well riddled; then, when they couldn't stand it any longer, they fell back to the river and tried to get across again to the other side, where they came from; and they had no means of getting across, nothing but a couple of old scows; so they went into the water to get away from the fire, and quantities of them were drowned, and those that were not drowned were shot. Lost a great many, and their commanding officer killed. That's the way. They'll have enough of it in time. The war'll be over in a few weeks or months more. De Saussure will not have time to raise his regiment. I don't think, mamma, it's any use for me to go home, it'll be over so soon."

"Where was this?" inquired my father.

"Some place – Ball's Bluff, I believe. It was a grand affair."

"How many did they lose?" my mother said.

"Oh, I don't know – some thousands. We lost nothing to speak of. But the thing is, they will lose heart. They will never stand this sort of thing. They have no officers, you know, and they can have no soldiers. They will be obliged to give up."

Words were in my heart, but my lips knew better than to speak them. Had they no officers? Had Christian no soldiers under him? My head was ready to believe it; my heart refused. Yet I thought too I had seen at the North the stuff that soldiers are made of.

"If I were you," said my mother, "I would not let it all be over before I had a part in it."

"The war is not ended yet, Felicia," my father remarked; "and it will take more than a few hard knocks to make them give up."

"They have had nothing but hard knocks, sir, since it began," Ransom cried.

"Your father always takes a medium view of everything," my mother said. "If it depended on him, I believe there would be no war."

"I should have one other vote for peace," papa said, looking at me.

"It is well Daisy was not born a boy!" Ransom said.

"I hope you will not make me wish you had been born a girl," my father replied. "Strength is no more noble when it ceases to be gentle."

"Must not every woman wish for peace?" I said. It was an unhappy attempt at a diversion, and if I had not been in a hurry I should not have made it.

"No," my mother answered, not sharply, but with cold distinctness. "Before the South should submit to the dictation or reproof of Northern boors and fanatics, I would take a musket myself and die in the trenches."

"It is an ugly place to die in, my dear," answered my father.

"See Daisy shiver!" Ransom exclaimed; and he burst into a laugh, "Mamma, Daisy's blood has grown thin at the North. She is not a true Southern woman. There is no fire in you, Daisy."

Not at that moment, for I was sick and cold, as he said. I could not get accustomed to these things, with all the practice I had.

"No fire in her?" said papa, calmly. "There is ammunition enough, Ransom. I don't want to see the fire, for my part. I am glad there is one of us that keeps cool. My darling, you look pale – what is it for?"

"Fire that burns with a blue flame," said mamma.

"Blue?" – said papa, with a look at me which somehow set us all to laughing.

"The carmine is coming in again," said mamma. "I profess I do not understand you, Daisy."

I was afraid she began to suspect me.

It was very true that mamma did not understand me; and it was the unhappiness of my life. I tried hard to narrow the distance between us, by every opportunity that the days or the hours gave; and a certain accord was after a time established anew in our relations with each other. Mamma again took to adorning and playing with me; again studied my toilettes and superintended my dressing; made me as exquisite as herself in all outward paraphernalia. I let her alone; in this at least I could gratify her; and no occasion of gratifying her was to be lost. Papa was pleased too, though I think it made less difference to him what I was dressed in; yet he observed me, and smiled in a way to shew his pleasure whenever a new device of mamma's produced a new effect. She sought society for herself and me now. We removed from Geneva and went to Florence. I was thankful it was not to Paris. Every foot of Italy had great charms for me; and I dreamed over Florence, with a delighted fancy that never grew tired or tame. That my evenings were spent in what I did not care for, could not spoil my days. Our walks and drives, which papa and I often now took alone, were delicious beyond expression. I forgot the whirl of the night before and of the evening to come, and I was the child Daisy again, I think, in very much. At night mamma had me.

There was a lull at this time in the news from home. Both parties in America were gathering up their strength; and in the meantime the only affairs we heard of were inconclusive skirmishes, sometimes turning out for the advantage of one side, sometimes of the other; but not to signal advantage for anybody. I hoped, with such a lull, that things might subside into a state susceptible of composition. I might have reasoned, if I looked at home, upon the unlikelihood of any such thing. No news of advantages lost or gained had any effect upon my mother and brother but to make them more keen in the cause and more relentless in pursuit of their end. The hearing of a trifling success was like a taste of blood to the lion; the loss of Beaufort and its forts was turned into an occasion of triumph because "the great naval expedition" had accomplished no greater things. They laughed at McClellan's review of troops; and counted up the gains his adversaries were to realize from the co-operation of foreign well-wishers. And then the taking of Mason and Slidell put them into a fume of indignation and scorn. My father shared, though more gently, in all this. I was alone. Could I tell them that my heart was with the Northern army; and how it went out after every gleam of one particular sabre?

My mother drew me into society by degrees. I hardly knew where the line was passed, between quiet conversaziones and brilliant and courtly assemblies. It was passed when I was unwitting of it, or when I felt unable to help it. My mother had been so much alienated by my behaviour toward Marshall and De Saussure, that I thought it needful to please her by every means in my power, short of downright violation of conscience. "Children, obey your parents in the Lord," – I did not forget; I thought I was doing the very thing. For it was not to please myself, that I let my mother make me look as she chose and let her take me where she would. My heart was too sore to be ambitious and too sober to feel the flutterings of vanity. I knew the effect of her doings was often what satisfied her; but the nearest approach to a thrill of vanity in myself was, I think, the wish that Christian could see me. And as he could not, I seemed to wear an armour of proof against other eyes. I did not care for them.

Nevertheless, I began to be sensible that they cared for me. I obeyed my mother at first because she signified her will very absolutely, and allowed me to see that any refusal on my part would make a breach between us. I left myself in her hands, to dress and adorn and lead about as she liked; I could not help it without an effort that would have parted us. And besides, I believe I accepted these engrossments of society as a sedative to keep me from thinking. They took a great deal of tine and occupied my attention while they lasted.

By degrees there came a change. As I said, I was admired. At first I cared little for any eyes but those which could not see me; but that did not last. I began to like to be admired. Soon after that, it dimly dawned upon me, that some of those whom I saw now every day, might come to admire me too much. I had learnt a lesson. There were several gentlemen, whose society I liked very well, who gave us, I began to perceive, a great deal of it. I saw them at night; I saw them by day; they met us in our walks; they even joined us in our rides. One was a German; a very cultivated and agreeable talker, well-bred, and in high position at Florence. Another was a delightful Italian; poor I think. A third was a young English nobleman; rich, but nothing more that I could discover. The German talked to me; the Italian sang with me; the Englishman followed me, and was most at home in our house of them all. I had been taking the good of all this, in a nice society way, enjoying the music and the talk and the information I got from the two first, and I am afraid enjoying too the flowers and the attentions of the third, as well as of still others whom I have not mentioned. I was floating down a stream and I had not thought about it, only enjoyed in a careless way; till a little thing startled me.

"We do not have so much time for our walks as we used, Daisy," papa said one day when he came into the drawing-room and found me with my habit on. "Where are you going now?"

"To ride, papa, with Lord Montjoy."

"My Daisy is not a daisy any longer," said papa, folding me in his arms. "She has grown into a white camellia. Going to ride with Lord Montjoy! – "

I cannot say what in these last words of papa gave me a whole revelation.

"I think you are mistaken, papa," I said. "I am Daisy yet."

"I was mistaken," said papa smiling, but rather shadowedly, I thought; – "I should have said a rose camellia. Here is Lord Montjoy, my dear. Go."

I am sure Lord Montjoy had little satisfaction in that ride; at least I am sure I had little. I was longing for time to think, and frightened besides. But when the ride was over, mamma wanted me; the evening claimed me for a grand reception; the morning held me in sleep; we had company at luncheon; I was engaged with another riding party in the afternoon, and another assembly expected me at night. I could not rest or think, as I wanted to think, till night and morning had again two or three times tossed me about as a society ball. I think one's mind gets to be something like a ball too, when one lives such a life; all one's better thoughts rolled up, like a hybernating hedgehog, and put away as not wanted for use. I had no opportunity to unroll mine for several days.

But I could not bear this state of things long; and at last I excused myself from a party one morning and went to walk with papa; and then that hedgehog of thoughts began to stir and unfold and come to life. Still I wanted quiet. We had been going through a picture gallery, where I did not see the pictures; then, as often before, I persuaded papa to walk on further and take post where we could look at our leisure on the beautiful Dome. This was an unceasing pleasure to me. Papa was not so fond of it; he came for my sake, as he often was accustomed to do. To-day, instead of soothing, its majestic beauty roused all there was to rouse within me. I suppose we were a long time silent, but I do not know.

"Daisy, you are very quiet," papa said at length.

"Yes papa," I said, rousing myself. "I was thinking."

"That is an old disease of yours, my pet. I wish I could enjoy that great Dome as much as you do."

"Papa, it is so perfect!"

"The Grecian temples suit me better, Daisy."

"Not me, papa."

"Why do they not? What can equal their grace and symmetry?"

"It is cold beauty, papa; there is nothing to lift the thoughts up; and I don't believe those who built them had any high thoughts – spiritual thoughts, I mean, papa."

"And you think the builder of the Dome of Florence had?"

"Yes, sir – I think so."

"The one means no more to me than the other, Daisy."

"Papa," I said, "don't you remember, when you sent me word I must stay two years longer in school without seeing you and mamma, you sent me a promise too? – by Aunt Gary."

"I remember very well, Daisy. Are you going to claim the promise?"

"Papa, may I?"

"Certainly."

"But, papa, – does the promise stand good, like Herod's promise to that dancing woman? Is it to be whatever I ask?"

"I believe I said so, Daisy. By the way, why do you not like dancing?"

"I suppose I should like it, papa, if I let myself do it."

"Why not let yourself do it? You do not want to make yourself singular, Daisy."

"No more than I must, papa. But about your promise."

"Yes. Well?"

"It stands good, papa? If it is 'to the half of your kingdom.'"

"That was a rash promise of Herod, Daisy."

"Yes, papa; but I am not a dancing girl."

Papa laughed, and looked at me, and laughed again, and seemed a good deal amused.

"What put that argument into your mouth?" he said. "And what is the reason that it is an argument? You are very absurd, Daisy! You are very absurd not to dance; so your mother says; and I am absurd too, by that reasoning; for I like you better than if you did. Well, not being a dancing girl, what is your petition? I reckon it will stand good, even to the half of my kingdom. Though indeed I do not know how much of a kingdom will remain to me, by the time matters are composed at home. There will be no crops grown at the South this year."

"It would not cost more to go to Palestine, would it, papa, than to live as we are doing now?"

"Palestine!" he exclaimed. "Your mother would never go to Palestine, Daisy."

"But you and I might, papa, – for a few months. You know mamma wants to go to Paris, to be there with Aunt Gary, who is coming."

"She wants you there too, Daisy, I much suspect; not to speak of me."

"What better time can we ever have, papa?"

"I do not know. I am afraid your mother would say any other would be better."

"Papa, I cannot tell you how glad I should be to go now."

"Why, Daisy?" said papa, looking at me. "To my certain knowledge, there are several people who will be desolate if you quit Florence at this time – several besides your mother."

"Papa, – that is the very reason why I should like to go – before it becomes serious."

Papa became serious immediately. He lifted my face to look at it, flushed as I suppose it was; and kissed me, with a smile which did not in the least belie the seriousness.

"If we go to Paris, Daisy? – we should leave your enemies behind."

"No papa – two of them are going to Paris when we go."

"That is serious," said my father. "After all, why not, Daisy?"

"Oh, papa, let us get away while it is time!" I said. "Mamma was so displeased with me because of Mr. De Saussure and Mr. Marshall; and she will be again – perhaps."

"Why, Daisy," said papa, lifting my face again for scrutiny, – "how do you know? Are you cased in proof armour? are you sure? Do you know what you are talking of, Daisy?"

"Yes, – I know, papa."

"I see you do. Whenever your eyes are deep and calm like that, you are always in your right mind and know it. That is, you are thoroughly yourself; and so far as my limited acquaintance with you goes, there is no other mind that has the power of turning you. Yes, Daisy; we will go to Palestine, you and I."

I kissed his hand, in the extremity of my joy.

"But this is not a proper season for travelling in Syria, my pet. I am afraid it is not. The winter rains make the roads bad."

"Oh, yes, papa. – We will be quiet when it rains, and travel on the good days. And then we shall be in time to see the spring flowers."

"How do you know anything about that, Daisy?"

"Papa, I remember when I was a child, at Melbourne, Mr. Dinwiddie told me some of these things; and I have never forgotten."

"Have you wanted to go to Palestine ever since you were ten years old?"

"Oh, no, papa; only of late. When your promise came, then I thought very soon what I would ask you. And now is such a good time."

"There will be different opinions about that," said my father. "However, we will go, Daisy. To the half of my kingdom. Your mother has the other half. But allow me to ask you just in passing, what do you think of our young English friend?"

"He has no head, papa."

Papa looked amused.

"Signor Piacevoli – what do you think of him?"

"He is very nice and kind and full of good things; but he has no principles, papa; no settled principles."

"He has a head," said papa.

"Yes, sir; out of order."

"How do you estimate Mr. Leypoldt, then? – his head is in order, and a good deal in it."

"Only the truth left out, papa."

"The truth?" said my father. "He is fuller of truth, of all sorts, than any one else I know, Daisy."

"Truth of all sorts, papa, but not the truth. He understands the world, and almost everything in it; but not who made it nor what it was made for; and he knows men; but not their work, or place, or destiny in the universe. He knows what they are; he has no idea what they ought to be, or what they may be."

"He is not a religious man, certainly. Do you carry your principles so far, Daisy, that you mean you would not let anybody approach you who is not of your way of thinking?"

A pang shot through my heart, with the instant sense of the answer I ought to give. I might have evaded the question; but I would not. Yet I could not immediately speak. I was going to put a bond upon myself; and the words would not come.

"Do you mean that, Daisy?" papa repeated. "Seriously. Is it your rule of supposed duty, that a man must be a Christian after your sort, to obtain your favour?"

"Papa," I said struggling, – "one cannot control one's liking."

"No," said papa, laughing; "that is very true. "Then if you liked somebody who was not that sort of a Christian, Daisy, you would not refuse to marry him?"

"Papa," I said with difficulty, – "I think I ought."

The words struck upon my own heart, I cannot tell how heavily. But they were forced from me. When the question came, it had to be answered. I suppose the matter had really been in my mind before, vaguely, and I had refused to look at it, while yet I could not help seeing its proportions and bearing; so that when papa asked me I knew what I must say. But the spoken words stunned me, for all that.

"I suppose," said papa, not lightly, "you will think so till you are tried; and then you will take a woman's privilege of changing your mind. But if the trial is to come in that shape, Daisy, it is very far off. There are no men of your way of thinking, my pet."

He kissed me as he said it; and I could not for a moment speak.

"But we will go to Palestine, papa?"

"Yes, we will go to Palestine. That is fixed. You and I will take a holiday, and for a while give up all thoughts of marrying and giving in marriage."

CHAPTER XIV.
FLIGHT.

I AM coming to the holiday of my life; a time that seems, as I look back to it, like a chequered mosaic of pleasure pieces laid in bright colours, all in harmony, and making out a pattern of beauty. It is odd I should speak so; for I have known other holidays, when fewer clouds were in my sky and fewer life-shadows stretching along the landscape. Nevertheless, this is how it looks to me in the retrospect; and to write of it, is like setting the pins of that mosaic work over again. Not one of them is lost in my memory.

Truly I have known other holidays; yet never one that took me out of so much harassment and perplexity. And I could not get rid of all my burdens, even in Palestine; but somehow I got rid of all my anxious trouble about them. I had left behind so much, that I accepted even thankfully all that remained. I was free from mamma's schemes for me, and cleared from the pursuit of those who seconded her schemes; they could not follow me in the Holy Land. No more angry discussions of affairs at home, and words of enmity and fierce displeasure toward the part of the nation that held my heart. No more canvassing of war news; not much hearing of them, even; a clean escape from the demands of society and leisure for a time to look into my heart and see what condition it was in. And to my great astonishment I had found the love of admiration and the ambition of womanly vanity beginning to stir again; in me, who knew better things, and who really did not value these; in me, who had so much to make me sober and keep down thoughts of folly. I found that I had a certain satisfaction when entering a room, to know that the sight of me gave pleasure; yes, more; I liked to feel that the sight of no one else gave so much pleasure. I could hardly understand, when I came to look at it, how so small a satisfaction could have taken possession of my mind; I was very much ashamed; but the fact remained. When we set sail for Palestine I got clear, at least for the time, from all this. I hoped for ever. And it was exceedingly sweet to find myself alone with papa.

How mamma ever consented to the plan, I do not know. Because papa had settled it and given his word, perhaps; for in those cases I know she never interfered; necessity made her yield. She would not go with us; she went to Paris, where Aunt Gary was come for the winter. Ransom went home to join the army; and papa and I took our holiday. I ought not to have been so happy, with so many causes of anxiety on my mind; Ransom in the war on one side, and Christian already engaged on the opposite side; both in danger, not to speak of other friends whom I knew; and my own and Mr. Thorold's future so very dark to look forward to. But I was happy. I believe, the very enormous pressure of things to trouble me, helped me to throw off the weight. In fact, it was too heavy for me to bear. I had trusted and given up myself to God; it was not a mock trust or submission; I laid off my cares, or in the expressive Bible words, "rolled them" upon him. And then I went light. Even my self-spoken sentence, the declaration that I ought not to marry a person who was not a Christian, did not crush me as I thought it would. Somebody has said very truly, "There is a healing power in truth." It is correct in more ways than one. And especially in truth towards God, in whole-hearted devotion to him, or as the Bible says again, in "wholly following the Lord," there is strength and healing; "quietness and assurance for ever." I was no nearer despair now than I had been before. And I was more ready for my holiday.

My holiday began on board the steamer, among the novel varieties of character and costume by which I found myself surrounded. I was certainly getting far away from the American war, far from Parisian saloons; I could not even regret the Dome of Florence. And I shall never forget the minute when I first looked upon the coast of Jaffa. I had been in the cabin and papa called me; and with the sight, a full, delicious sensation of pleasure entered my heart, and never left it, I think, while I stayed in the land. The picture is all before me. The little white town, shining in the western sun on its hill, with its foot in the water; the surf breaking on the rocks; and the long line of high land in the distance, which I knew was the hill country of Palestine. I was glad, with a fulness of gladness. Even the terrors of landing through the surf could not dash my pleasure, though the water was not quiet enough to make it safe, and I did not see how we were possibly to get through. I thought we would, and we did; and then out of the confusion on the quay we found our way to a nice little hotel. Few things I suppose are nice in Jaffa; but this really seemed clean, and I am sure it was pleasant. The Oriental style of the house – the courtyard, and alcove rooms, stone floors and cushioned divans, – were delightful to me. And so was our first dinner there; papa and I alone, tired and hungry, and eating with the Mediterranean full in sight, and the sun going down "ayont the sea." I established a truce with sorrowful thoughts that evening, and slept the night through in peace. The next morning papa found me standing at the window of one of our rooms that looked inward from the sea.

"Well, Daisy," said he, putting his hands on my shoulders – "I have got my Daisy of ten years old back again. What is it now?"

"Oh, papa," I exclaimed, "look at the housetops! I have read of housetops all my life; and now here they are!"

"They have been here all the time, Daisy."

"But it is so impossible to realize without seeing it, papa. It was on such a housetop that Peter was when he had his vision. You can see, it is the pleasantest part of the house, papa. I should like to sleep on the housetop, as they do in summer; with only the stars over me. How nice!"

"What was Peter's vision, besides the stars?"

"Papa! Not the stars; his vision was at noonday. I have just been reading about it. How delicious the Bible will be here!"

"It is always delicious to you, I think," papa said; I fancied rather sadly. "It is a taste you were born with. Sit down and read me about that vision."

But it was papa that sat down, and I stood by the window, and we read together those chapters of the Acts; and papa grew very much interested, and we had an excellent talk all breakfast time. The strange dishes at breakfast helped the interest too; the boiled rice and meat, and the fish and the pomegranates. I seemed to have my living in Bible times as well as places. The Mediterranean lay sparkling before us; as it was before Peter no doubt when he went up to that housetop to pray. The house is gone; but it is the same sea yet.

"I shall always look upon Jaffa with respect," said papa, at last; "since here it was that the gates of religion were publicly set open for all the world, and the key taken out of the hands of the Jews. It is a little place too, to have anything of so much interest belonging to it."

"That is not all, papa," I said. "Solomon had the cedar for the Temple, and for all his great buildings, floated down here."

"Solomon!" said papa.

"Don't you remember, sir, his great works, and the timber he had to get from Lebanon?"

"Did it come this way?"

"The only way it could come, papa; and then it had to go by land up to Jerusalem – the same way that we are going; thirty-three miles."

"Where did you learn so much about it?"

"That isn't much, papa; all that is in Murray; but now may I read you about Solomon's floats of timber, while you are finishing that pomegranate?"

"Read away," said papa. "Pomegranates are not ripe now, are they?"

"They keep, papa."

Papa laughed at me, and I read to him as much as I liked; and he was almost as much engaged as I was.

"We'll go out and look at this famous harbour for lumber," he said. "It is not good for much else, Daisy; I thought yesterday we should certainly make shipwreck on that reef. Is it possible there is no better along the coast?"

"It is not what we would call a harbour at all, papa. Nothing but little boats can get through that narrow opening in the reef; and I suppose, Solomon's cedar timber got through."

"The ships of old time were not much more than our boats, many of them," said my father. "How delightfully you realize everything, Daisy!"

"Well, papa, – don't you?"

"Not the past, child. I realize you by my side."

"Papa, if you think about it a little, you will realize Joppa too."

"I have not your imagination, Daisy. About Solomon's temple, – there is nothing of it left now, I suppose?"

"Oh, no, papa!"

"It might, Daisy. Thebes is vastly older."

"But, papa, – don't you remember, there was not one stone of all those buildings to be left upon another stone. Nothing is left – only some of the foundation wall that supported the floor, or the platform, of the Temple."

"Well, we shall see, when we go to Jerusalem," my father said.

In the meantime we went out and took a great walk about the environs of Joppa. Through the miles of gardens; the grand orange groves, and pomegranate, lemon, fig, apricot and palm orchards. The oranges and lemons getting their great harvests ready; cultivation going on beneath the trees; the water-wheels working; the curious hedges of prickly pear, four and six feet high, reminding us all the while, if nothing else did, that we were in a very strange land. What endless delight it was! The weather had just cleared the day before; and to-day, the fifteenth of January, the sun shone still and fair and warm. I saw that papa was getting good with every step, and growing interested with every hour. We went down to the beach, and strolled along as far as the tanneries; every wave that broke at my side seeming to sing in my ears the reminder that it broke on the shores of Palestine. Papa wished the oranges were ripe; I wished for nothing.

Then we entered the city again, and examined the bazars; lingering first a good while to watch the motley, picturesque, strange and wild crowd without the city gate. It was my first taste of Oriental life; papa knew it before, but he relished it all afresh in my enjoyment of it. Of course we were taken to see Simon's house and the house where Tabitha died.

"Do you realize anything here, Daisy?" papa asked, as we stood on the flat roof of the first of these two.

"Yes, papa."

"Pray, what? St. Peter never saw this building, my dear."

"No, papa, I don't think it. But he saw the Mediterranean – just so, – and he had the same sky over him, and the same shores before him."

"The same sky, Daisy? What is the sky?"

"Yes papa, I know; but there is a difference. This Syrian sky is not like the sky over Florence nor like the sky over Melbourne. And this is what Peter saw."

"You are a delicious travelling companion, Daisy," said papa. "Your mother is good, but you are better. Well, take me with you now in your journey into the past."

We sat down there on the roof of the so-called house of Simon, papa and I; he gave the guide a bonus to keep him contented; and we read together chapters in the Old Testament and chapters in the New. It was drinking water from wells of delight. Bible words never seemed so real, nor so full. And then when I thought that I was going on to Jerusalem – to Jericho – to Mount Tabor, and the Sea of Galilee, and Lebanon, – that Joppa was only the beginning, – I could hardly contain my joy. I could only give thanks for it all the time. True, I did remember, as I looked over that bright sea of the Levant, I did remember that far away there was a region of conflict where the interests nearest to me were involved; a strife going on, in which the best blood in the world, the dearest in my account, might be shed or shedding. I remembered it all. But the burden of that care was too heavy for me to carry; I was fain to lay it down where so many a load has been laid before now; and it was easier for me to do it in Syria than anywhere else; God's own land, where His people had had so many tokens to trust Him. Where Peter's doubts of conscience were resolved by a vision, where the poor worker of kindness was raised from the sleep of death, it was not there the place for me to doubt whether the Lord looked upon my trouble, or whether he cared about it, or whether he could manage it. I laid care and doubt to sleep; and while I was in the Lord's land I walked with the Lord's presence always before me. There is no want to them that fear him.

We were detained at Joppa three days by a most pouring rain, which kept us fast prisoners in doors. The time was however not lost. We had despaired of making arrangements at Joppa for our journey, any further than such as would take us to Jerusalem. Joppa is no place for such arrangements. But while we waited there in the rain, a party of English people arrived who came to take the steamer for home. They had just ended their travels in the Holy Land; and while waiting for the steamer, one of them who was an invalid sought the shelter of our hotel. We came to know each other. And the end was, we secured their travelling equipment. Tents, servants and all, were made over to papa, with mutual pleasure at the arrangement. So when the sun shone out on the fourth day, we were ready to start in great comfort. I had a dear little Syrian pony, which carried me nicely through my whole journey; papa had another that served him well. The tents and tent fittings were in the English style of perfection; cook and interpreter and other servants knew their business, and we had no reason to complain of them from the beginning to the end of our tour. Moreover, in those days of waiting at Joppa, and intercourse with the ladies of the party, I got from them some useful hints and details which were of great service to me afterwards. I had always wished to go through Palestine living in our own tents; papa had been a little uncertain how he would do. Now it was settled. I had my maid, of course; but she was the greatest trouble I had, all the way.

The morning of our setting out from Joppa is never to be forgotten. It was clear and balmy. For miles we rode through the orange gardens, getting ready fast for their superb harvest, which would be ripe a month later. Then through a pleasant open country; – cornfields and meadows interspersed with trees in patches. It was easy riding, and I liked my pony, and my heart was full of exhilaration.

"Well?" said papa, as my eye met his one time in the course of its wanderings.

"Papa, it is the plain of Sharon!"

"You speak as if it were a place where you had played, when you were a child."

"Papa, in some measure it is like that; so often I have read about the old things that were done here."

Papa smiled at me, and asked what? But I could not tell him while we were going at a canter.

"It would be pretty in spring," he said. "Where are we to stop to-night, Daisy? I have left all that to you. I do not know the country as you do."

"Papa, we set off so late, we shall not be able to get further than Latron to-night."

"What place is that? Is it any place?"

"Supposed to be the Modin of the Maccabees."

"Have you brought any books, Daisy?" was papa's next question.

"No, papa, except 'Murray', and the Bible."

"We ought to have more," he said. "We must see if we cannot supply that want at Jerusalem."

Papa's interest in the subject was thoroughly waking up. We lunched at Ramleh. How present it is to me, those hours we spent there. The olive groves and orchards and cornfields, the palms and figs, the prickly-pear hedges, the sweet breath of the air. And after our luncheon we stayed to examine the ruins and the minaret. Our master of ceremonies, Suleiman, was a little impatient. But we got off in good time and reached our camping ground just before sunset. There too, the sunlight flashing on those rocks of ruin comes back to me, and the wide plain and sea view which the little hill commands. Papa and I climbed it to look at the ruins and see the view while dinner was getting ready.

"What is it, Daisy?" he said. "You must be my gazetteer and interpreter for the land; Suleiman will do for the people."

"It is an old Crusaders' fortress, papa; built to command the pass to Jerusalem."

That was enough for papa. He pored over the rough remains and their associations; while I sat down on a stone and looked over the Philistine plain; scarce able to convince myself that I was so happy as to see it in reality. Papa and I had a most enjoyable dinner afterwards; he enjoyed it, I knew; and our night's rest was sweet, with a faint echo of the war storms of the ages breaking upon my ear.

To my great joy, there was no storm of the elements the next morning, and we were able to take up our march for Jerusalem. The road soon was among the hills; rough, thickety, wild; from one glen into another, down and up steep ridge-sides, always mounting of course by degrees. Rough as it all was, there were olives and vineyards sometimes to be seen; often terraced hillsides which spoke of what had been. At last we came up out of a deep glen and saw at a distance the white line of wall which tells of Jerusalem. I believe it was a dreary piece of country which lay between, but I could hardly know what it was. My thoughts were fixed on that white wall. I forgot even papa.

We had pouring rains again soon after we got to Jerusalem. I was half glad. So much to see and think of at once, it was almost a relief to be obliged to take things gradually. I had been given numerous good bits of counsel by the kind English ladies we had seen at Jaffa; and according to their advice, I persuaded papa that we should go down at once to Jericho and the Dead Sea, without waiting till the weather should grow too hot for it; then Jerusalem and the Mount of Olives and all the neighbourhood would be delightful. Now, they were very gray and forlorn to a stranger's eye. I wanted papa to be pleased. I could have enjoyed Jerusalem at any time. But I knew that by and by Jericho would be insupportable.

So papa and Suleiman made their arrangements. All that we wanted was a guard of Arabs; everything else we had already. The rain ceased after the third day; and early in the morning we went out of the eastern gate of the city and moved slowly down the slope of the Kedron valley and up the side of Mount Olivet.

It was my first ride in the environs of Jerusalem; and I could hardly bear the thoughts it brought up. Yet there was scant time for thoughts; eyes had to be so busy. The valley of the Kedron! I searched its depths, only to find tombs everywhere, with olive trees sprinkled about among them. Life and death; for if anything is an emblem of life in Palestine, I suppose it is the olive. They looked sad to me at first, the olives; their blue-gray foliage had so little of the fresh cheer of our green woods. Afterwards I thought differently. But certainly the valley of the Kedron was desolate and mournful in the extreme, as we first saw it. Nor was Olivet less so. The echo of forfeited promises seemed to fill my ear; the shades of lost glory seemed to tenant all those ways and hillsides. I could but think what feet had trod those paths; what hands of blessing had been held out on these hills; turned back and rejected, to the utter ruin of those who rejected them. The places of Solomon's splendour and David's honour, in the hands of the Moslem; or buried beneath the ruins of twenty desolations. And in the midst of such thoughts which possessed me constantly, came thrills of joy that I was there. So we mounted over the shoulder of the Mount of Olives, and the day cleared and brightened as we went on. Then came the ruins of Bethany. I would have liked to linger there; but this was not the time. I left it for the present.

"We must dismount here, Daisy," said papa the next minute. And he set me the example. "Our own feet will do this next piece of road most satisfactorily."

We scrambled down, over the loose stones and rock, the very steep pitch just below Bethany. I do not know how deep, but hundreds of feet certainly. Our mules and horses came on as they could.

"Is this to be taken as a specimen of Palestine roads, Daisy?"

"I believe they are pretty bad, papa."

"How do you like it?"

"Oh, papa," said I, stopping, "I like it. Look – look yonder – do you see that glimmer? do you know what that is, papa?"

"It is water – "

"It is the Dead Sea."

"Thirty-six hundred feet below. We have a sharp ride before us, Daisy."

"Not quite so much below us – we have come down some way. Papa, don't you enjoy it?"

"I enjoy you," he said, smiling. "Yes, child, I enjoy it; only I don't enjoy such villainous roads."

"But then, papa, you know it is the only possible way the road can go, and always has been; and so we are sure that Christ was here many a time. Here, papa, where our feet are treading."

Papa looked at me and said nothing.

The way was so pleasant, that we walked on ahead of our mules, till we came to the spring about a mile from Bethany. It was strange to look at the water pouring out its never failing stream, and to remember it had been doing just so ever since nineteen hundred years ago.

"How often travellers have rested here and drunk of the water, papa; how often Christ was here."

"That arch was not over the spring in those days, though," said papa.

But papa stood and looked at the spring and at the ravine, and I saw that he was catching something of my feeling. We mounted there, and the rest of the way we had no more talk. I did not want to talk. There was too much to think about, as we wound down the rough valleys or watercourses among the desolate hills; while the air grew constantly warmer as we got lower. No trees, no life, no vine terraces; and this was the way to Jericho. At the ruined khan, a good distance from the top, we dismounted and stopped to rest and take our lunch.

"Well, Daisy," said papa, "are you enjoying yet?"

"Every minute, papa."

"I am very glad. But I am very tired."

"Papa, you must take a good rest here; and here is an orange for you. I will give you something else directly."

Papa stretched himself out wearily on the stones.

"What is the source of your pleasure just now, Daisy? It is as barren a landscape as ever I traversed."

"Papa, David went this way when he fled from Absalom."

"Humph!" said papa, as if there were not much pleasure in that association.

"And Jesus and His apostles came this way, up from Jericho; up and down, I suppose, many a time; they have rested here, papa."

"And I see, Daisy, you love the ground where those feet have trod. I never could understand it before. I fancy, I could never attain power of realization to get near enough to the subject."

"Do you now, papa?"

"Hardly. By sympathy with you, Daisy."

"A little below, papa, we shall come to the Valley of Achor, where Achan was stoned."

"I don't know that story, Daisy. You may read it to me."

We had a long reading and resting there by the ruined khan. Papa was ready to listen and talk; and I saw that so long as we were in Palestine he would read the Bible as much as I liked. Then we made the rest of our way. I knew he could not but be interested with that. The scenery became so wild and grand as to satisfy even him. We got the glorious view of the plains of Jericho from the top of the steep descent, and stood still for some time to look. Papa said it was a noble view; but to me it was so full of the riches of association that I could hardly feast upon it enough. Down there, Jericho of old had stood and fallen; when the priests and the people of Israel compassed it about with trumpets of victory. There, or over against it, the Jordan had been divided to let the people pass over. In later days Elijah and Elisha had gone over single-handed. Down on that plain had stood Herod's Jericho, which Christ had gone through time and again; where Zaccheus climbed the tree to see Him, and Bartimeus sitting by the wayside had cried out for his mercy and got it. What was there before me in all that scene that did not tell of the power of faith – of the grace of God – of the safety and strength of His children – of the powerlessness of their enemies. My heart sang hymns and chanted psalms of rejoicing, while my little Syrian pony stood still with me at the top of the pass of Adummim. I even forgot papa.

At the bottom we found ourselves in a new world. Water and wood, luxuriant vegetation of many kinds; a stream even to ford, the brook which comes down from Wady Kelt, now full with the rains; a warm delicious atmosphere, and the sun shining on the opposite Moab mountains.

And then came another sight which is very pleasant at the close of a long day of fatigue and excitement; our tents, up and ready for us. Our Syrian cook gave us a good dinner; and papa was satisfied to see me so happy. I thought he was a little happy himself.

CHAPTER XV.
OLD BATTLEFIELDS.

THE next day papa was so tired that he would not go anywhere. So I had to be quiet too. It was no hardship. I was rather glad, to take in leisurely the good of all I had before and around me, and have time for it. Our tents were pitched by the beautiful fountain Aines-Sultân; which the books told me was Elisha's fountain. I wandered round it, examining the strange trees and bushes, gathering flowers; I found a great many; studying the lights and shades on the Moab mountains, and casting longing looks towards the Dead Sea and the Jordan. I took my maid with me in my wanderings, and Suleiman also kept near me like a shadow; but nobody of all our caravan behaved to me with anything but the most observant politeness. The Arabs, taught, I suppose, by other travellers whom they had attended, were very eager to bring me natural curiosities; birds and animals and shells and plants. I had no lack of business and pleasure all that day. I wanted only some one to talk to me who could tell me things I wanted to know.

The day had come to an end, almost; the shadow of Quarantania had fallen upon us; and I sat on a rock by the spring, watching the colours of the sunset still bright on the trees in the plain, on the water of the sea, and on the range of the Moab hills. From all these my thoughts had at last wandered away, and were busy at the other end of the world; sad, with a great sense that Mr. Thorold was away from me; heavy, with a moment's contrast of pleasures present and pleasures past. My musings were suddenly broken by seeing that some one was close by my side, and a single glance said, a stranger. I was startled and rose up, but the stranger stood still and seemed to wish to speak to me. Yet he did not speak. I saw the air of a gentleman, the dress of a European in Syria, the outlines of a personable man; one glance at his face shewed me a bronzed complexion, warm-coloured auburn hair, and a frank and very bright eye. I looked away, and then irresistibly was driven to look back again. He smiled. I was in confusion.

"Don't you know?" he said.

"Not – ?"

"Yes!"

"Can it be, – Mr. Dinwiddie?"

"Is it possible it is Daisy?" he said, taking my hand.

"Oh, Mr. Dinwiddie, I am so glad to see you!"

"And I am so glad to see you – here, of all places, at Elisha's fountain. The first question is, How came we both here?"

"I persuaded papa to bring me. I wanted to see Palestine."

"And I heard of you in Jerusalem, and felt sure it must be you, and I could not resist the temptation to take a little journey after you."

"And you are travelling through Palestine too?"

"In one way. I am living here – and life is a journey, you know."

"You are living in Palestine?"

"In Jerusalem. I came here as a missionary, five years ago."

"How very nice!" I said. "And you can go with us?"

He shook my hand heartily, which he had not yet let go, laughing, and asked where we were going?

"I want to see the Dead Sea, very much, Mr. Dinwiddie; and papa was in doubt; but if you were with us there would be no more difficulty."

"I shall be most happy to be with you. Do you know where you are now?"

"I know a little. This is Elisha's fountain, isn't it?"

"Yes; and just hereabouts are the ruins of old Jericho."

"I did not know. I wondered, and wanted to know. But, Mr. Dinwiddie, have you got a tent?"

"I never travel without one."

"Then it is all right," I said; "for we have a cook."

"I should not miss that functionary," he said, shaking his head. "I am accustomed to act in that capacity myself. It is something I have learned since I came from Virginia."

We were called to dinner and had no time then for anything more. Our table was spread in front of the tents, in a clear spot of greensward; in the midst, I thought, of all possible delights that could be clustered together – except one. The breeze was a balmy, gentle evening zephyr; the sunlight, hidden from us by the Quarantania, shone on the opposite mountains of Moab, bringing out colours of beauty; and glanced from the water of the Dead Sea, and brightened the hues of the green thickets on the plain. Jericho behind us, the Jordan in front of us, the confusions of the world we live in thrust to a great distance out of the way, – I sat down to the open-air meal with a profound feeling of gratitude and joy. It was also a relief to me to have Mr. Dinwiddie's company with papa; he knew the land and the people and the ways of the land, and could give such good help if help were needed. He could be such good society too.

I fancied that papa's reception of Mr. Dinwiddie was rather slack in its evidence of pleasant recollection; but however, every shadow of stiffness passed away from his manner before dinner was over. Mr. Dinwiddie made himself very acceptable; and there, where we had so much to talk about, talk flowed in full stream. It was arranged that the new member of our party should be our guest and our travelling companion during as much of our journey as his duties allowed; and I went to sleep that night with a deep and full sense of satisfaction.

Papa declared himself still the next day unable for a very long and exciting day's work; so it was decided that we should put off till the morrow our ride to the Jordan and the Dead Sea, and Mr. Dinwiddie proposed to conduct me to Mount Quarantania to see the hermits' caves which are remaining there. Of course they remain; for the walls of caves do not crumble away; however, the staircases and rock ways which led to the upper ones have many of them suffered that fate.

We had a delicious walk. First along the foot of the mountain, skirting a little channel of running water which brings the outflow of another fountain to enrich a part of the plain. It was made good for the cultivation of a large tract; although very wild and disorderly cultivation. As we went, every spot within sight was full of interest; rich with associations; the air was warm but pleasant; the warble of the orange-winged blackbird – I don't know if I ought to call it a warble; it was a very fine and strong note, or whistle, – sounding from the rocks as we went by, thrilled me with a wild reminder of all that had once been busy life there, where now the blackbird's cry sounded alone. The ruins of what had been, – the blank, that was once so filled up, – the forlorn repose, where the stir of the ages had been so restlessly active. I heard Mr. Dinwiddie's talk as we went, he was telling and explaining things to me. I heard, but could not make much answer. Thought was too full.

A good distance from home, that is, from the tents, we reached the source of all that fertilizing water the channel of which we had followed up. How wild the source was too! No Saracenic arch over that; the water in a full flow came out from among the roots of a great tree – one of the curious thorny dôm trees that grow in thickets over the plain. I believe our Arabs called them dôm; Mr. Dinwiddie said it was a Zizyphus. It was a very large tree at any rate, and with its odd thorny branches and bright green foliage canopied picturesquely the fine spring beneath it. All was wild and waste. The Arabs do not even root out the dôm or nubk trees from the spots they irrigate and cultivate; but the little channels of water flow in and out among the stems and roots of the trees as they can. Times are changed on Jericho's plain.

I thought so, as we turned up the slope of rock rubbish which leads to the foot of the cave cliffs. The mountain here is a sheer face of rock; and the caves, natural or artificial, pierce the rock in tiers, higher and lower. The precipice is spotted with them. The lowest ones are used now by the Arabs to pen their sheep and quarter their donkeys; Mr. Dinwiddie and I looked into a good many of them; in one or two we found a store of corn or straw laid up. Many of the highest caves could not be got at; the paths and stairs in the rock which used to lead to them are washed and worn away; but the second tier are not so utterly cut off from human feet. By a way chiselled in the rock, with good nerves, one can reach them. My nerves were good enough, and I followed Mr. Dinwiddie along the face of the precipice till we reached some sets of caves communicating with each other. These were partly natural, partly enlarged by labour. Places were cut for beds and for cupboards; there was provision of a fine water tank, to which, Mr. Dinwiddie told me, there were stone channels leading from a source some hundreds of feet distant; cistern and tubes both carefully plastered. A few Abyssinian Christians come here every spring to keep Lent, Mr. Dinwiddie said. How much more pains they take than we do, I thought.

"Yes," said Mr. Dinwiddie, when I said my thought aloud, – "'Skin for skin; all that a man hath will he give for his life.' But when the conscience knows that heaven is not to be bought that way, then there is no other motive left that will use up all a man's energies but the love of Christ constraining him."

"The trouble is, Mr. Dinwiddie, that there is so little of that."

"So little!" he said, – "even in those of us who love most. I do not mean to say that this love had no share in determining the actions of those who used to live here; perhaps they thought to get nearer to Christ by getting nearer to the places of His some time presence and working in human flesh."

"And don't you think it does help, Mr. Dinwiddie?" I said.

He turned on me a very deep and sweet look, that was half a smile.

"No!" he answered. "The Lord may use it, – He often does, – to quicken our sense of realities and so strengthen our apprehension of spiritualities; but just so He can use other things, even remote distance from such and all material helps. Out of that very distance He can make a tie to draw the soul to Himself."

"There must have been a great many of those old Christians living here once?" I said.

"Yes," said Mr. Dinwiddie. "On this face of the mountain there are thirty or forty caves – I think there are many more in the gorge of the Kelt, round on the south face. Do you see that round hole over your head?"

We were standing in one of the caverns. I looked up.

"I cannot get you up there," he went on, – "but I have climbed up by means of a rope. There are other rooms there, and one is a chapel – I mean, it was one, – with arches cut to the windows and doorways, and frescoed walls, full of figures of saints. Through another hole in another ceiling, like this, I got up into still a third set of rooms, like the ones below. Into those nobody had come for many a year; the dust witnessed it. Back of one room, the chapel, was a little low doorway; very low. I crept through – and there in the inner place, lay piled the skeletons of the old hermits; skulls and bones, just as they had been laid while the flesh was still upon them; the dust was inches deep. A hundred feet higher up there are more caverns. No, I should not like to take you – though the Abyssinian devotees come to them every spring. Yet higher than those, far up, near the top of the mountain, I have explored others, where I found still more burial caves like the one just here above us. Chapels and frescoes were up there too."

"And difficult climbing, Mr. Dinwiddie."

"Very difficult. Broken stairs and dizzy galleries, and deep precipices, with the vultures floating in air down below me."

"What a place for men to live!"

"Fitter for the doves and swallows which inhabit the old hermits' houses now. Yet not a bad place to live either, if one had nothing to do in the world. Sit down and rest and let us look at it."

"And I have got some luncheon for you, Mr. Dinwiddie. I should have missed all this if you had not been with me. Papa would never have come here."

There were many places in front of the cells where seats had been cut out in the rock; and in one of these Mr. Dinwiddie and I sat down, to eat fruit and biscuit and use our eyes; our attendant Arab no doubt wondering at us all the while. The landscape in view was exceedingly fine. We had the plains of Jericho, green and lovely, spread out before us; we could see the north end of the Dead Sea and the mouth of the Jordan; and the hills of Moab, always like a superb wall of mountain rising up over against us.

"Do you know where you are?" said Mr. Dinwiddie.

"Partly."

"The site of old Jericho is marked by the heaps and the ruins which lie between us and our camp."

"Yes. That is old Jericho."

"Over against us, somewhere among those Moab hills, is the pass by which the hosts of the 'sons of Israel' came down, with their flocks and herds, to the rich plains over there, – the plains of Moab."

"And opposite us, I suppose, somewhere along there in front of old Jericho, is the place where the waters of the river failed from below and were cut off from above, and the great space was laid bare for the armies to pass over."

"Just over there. And there – Elijah and Elisha went over dry shod, when Elijah smote with his mantle upon the waters; and there by the same way Elisha came back alone, after he had seen his master taken from him."

"Those were grand times!" I said, with a half breath.

"They were rough times."

"Still, they were grand times."

"I think, these are grander."

"But, Mr. Dinwiddie, such things are not done now as were done then."

"Why not?"

"Why, how can you ask?"

"How can you answer?"

"Why, Mr. Dinwiddie, the river is not parted now, this river nor any other, for the Lord's people to go over without trouble."

"Are you sure?" said he, with the deep sweet look I had noticed. "Do they never come now, in the way of their duty, to an impassable barrier of danger or difficulty, through which the same hand opens their path? Did you never find that they do, in your own experience?"

A little, I had; and yet it seemed to me that a very Jordan of difficulty lay before me now, rolling in full power. Mr. Dinwiddie waited a moment and went on.

"That old cry, 'Where is the Lord God of Elijah?' – will bring down His hand, now as then; mighty to hold back worse waves than those of the 'Descender.' Aaron's rod, and the blast of the priests' trumpets, were but the appeal and the triumph of faith. And before that appeal stronger walls than those of Jericho fall down, now as well as then."

"Then it must be the faith that is wanting," I said.

"Sometimes" – Mr. Dinwiddie answered; "and not sometimes. That earnest Sunday-school teacher, who prayed that the Lord would give him at least one soul a week out of his Bible class, and who reported at the end of the year, fifty-two brought to God, – what do you think of his faith? – and his Jericho?"

"Is it true?" I said.

"It is true. What are the walls of stone and mortar to that? We wrestle not with flesh and blood, but against principalities, against powers, against the rulers of the darkness of this world. – But our Captain is stronger."

I think we were both silent for some time; yet there was a din of voices in my ear. So it seemed. Silence was literally broken only by the note of a bird here and there; but the plain before me, the green line which marked the course of the Jordan, the Moab mountains, the ruins at my feet, the caves behind me, were all talking to me. And there were voices of my own past and present, still other voices, blending with these. I sat very still, and Mr. Dinwiddie sat very still; until he suddenly turned to me and spoke.

"Will nothing but a miracle do, Miss Daisy?"

The tone was so gentle and so quietly blended itself with my musings, that I started and smiled.

"Oh, yes," I said; – "I do not suppose I want a miracle."

"Can a friend's counsel be of any use?"

"It might – of the greatest," I answered; – "if only I could tell you all the circumstances."

"Before we go to that, how has it fared with my little friend of old time, all these years?"

"How has it fared with me?" – I repeated in doubt.

"There is only one sort of welfare I know," he said. "It is not strength to the body, or gold to the purse. I am 'well' only when God's favour is shining on me and I am strong to run the way of His commandments."

"I am not strong," I said.

"You know I do not mean my own strength, or yours," he answered.

"I have never forgotten what you used to tell me," I said.

"Good. And yet, Miss Daisy, I would rather you could tell me you had forgotten it; that you had gone on so far from that beginning as to have lost it out of view."

"Ah, but I have not had so many friends to teach me, and help me, that I could afford to forget the first one," I said. "I have one dear old friend who thinks as you do, – and that is all; and I cannot see her now."

"'If any man lack wisdom, let him ask of God, who giveth to all men liberally and upbraideth not; and it shall be given him,'" Mr. Dinwiddie said.

"I lack wisdom, very much; but it does not seem to come, even though I ask for it. I am sometimes in a great puzzle."

"About what to do?"

"Yes."

"You can always find out the first step to be taken. Jesus will be followed step by step. He will not shew you but one step at a time, very often. But take that, holding His hand, and He will shew you the next."

"So I came here," I said.

"And what is the work to be done here? on yourself, or on somebody else?"

"I do not know," I said. "I had not thought it was either. Perhaps I am learning."

He was silent then, and I sat thinking.

"Mr. Dinwiddie," I said, "maybe you can help me."

"I will gladly, if I can."

"But it is very difficult for me to put you in possession of the circumstances – or in the atmosphere of the circumstances. I do not know that I can. You know that papa and mamma do not think with me on the subject of religion?"

"Yes."

"There are other things in which I think differently from them – other things in which we feel apart; and they do not know it. Ought I to let them know it?"

"Your question is as enigmatical as an ancient oracle. I must have a little more light. Do these differences of feeling or opinion touch action? – either yours or theirs?"

"Yes, – both."

"Then, unless your minds are known to each other, will there not be danger of mistaken action, on the one part or on the other?"

"Telling them would not prevent that danger," I said.

"They would disregard your views, or you would disregard theirs, – which?"

"I must not disregard theirs," I said low.

Mr. Dinwiddie was silent awhile. I had a sort of cry in my heart for the old dividing of the waters.

"Miss Daisy," he said, "there is one sure rule. Do right; and let consequences break us to pieces, if needs be."

"But," said I doubtfully, "I had questioned what was right; at least I had not been certain that I ought to do anything just now."

"Of course I am speaking in the dark," he answered. "But you can judge whether this matter of division is something that in your father's place you would feel you had a right to know."

I mused so long after this speech, that I am sure Mr. Dinwiddie must have felt that he had touched my difficulty. He was perfectly silent. At last I rose up to go home. I do not know what Mr. Dinwiddie saw in me, but he stopped me and took my hand.

"Can't you trust the Lord?" he said.

"I see trouble before me, whatever I do," I said with some difficulty.

"Very well," he said; "even so, trust the Lord. The trouble will do you no harm."

I sat down for a moment and covered my face. It might do me no harm; it might at the same time separate me from what I loved best in the world.

"Cannot you trust?" he repeated. "'He that putteth his trust in the Lord shall be made fat.'"

"You know," I said, getting up, "one cannot help being weak."

"Will you excuse me? – That is precisely what we can help. We cannot help being ignorant sometimes, – foolish sometimes, – short-sighted. But weak we need not be; for 'in the Lord Jehovah is everlasting strength;' and 'he giveth power to the faint.'"

"But there is no perfection, Mr. Dinwiddie."

"Not if by perfection you mean, standing alone. But if the power that holds us up is perfect, – what should hinder our having a fulness of that? 'If ye shall ask anything in My name, I will do it.' Isn't that promise good for all we want to ask?"

I sat down again to think. Mr. Dinwiddie quietly took his place by my side; and we were still for a good while. The plains of Jericho and the Jordan and the Moab mountains and the Quarantania, all seemed to have new voices for me now; voices full of balm; messages of soft-healing. I do think the messages God sends to us by natural things are some of the sweetest and mightiest and best understood of all. They come home.

"Do you think," I asked, after a long silence, "that this mountain was really the scene of the Temptation?"

"Why should we think so? No, I do not think it."

"But the road from Jericho to Jerusalem – there is no doubt of that?"

"No doubt at all. We are often sure of the roads here, when we are sure of little else."

There was a pause; and then Mr. Dinwiddie broke it.

"You left things in confusion at home. How do you feel about that?"

"At home in America?" I said. "I do not feel about it as my parents do."

"You side with the North!"

"I have lived there so much. I know the view taken there; and it seems to me the right one. And I have lived at the South too; and I do not like the view held there, – nor the practice followed."

"There are some things I can fancy you would not like," he said musingly. "I have not known what to think. It seems to me they have made a false move. But it seems to me they must succeed."

"I don't know," I said. "Perhaps."

He looked at me a little hard, and then we left the hermits' caves and went down the plain to our encampment.

CHAPTER XVI.
THE FORLORN HOPE.

THE spot where our tents were pitched commands a view, I think one of the loveliest in the world. Perhaps with me association has something to do with the feeling. That broad sweep of the plains of Jericho, bright with their groves of Zizyphus trees; the lake waters coming in at the south; the great line of the Moab horizon, and the heights of the western shore; and then the constant changes which the light makes in revealing all these; I found it a study of beauty, from the morning till the night. From the time when the sun rose over the Moab mountains and brightened our dôm trees and kissed our spring, to the evening when the shadow of Quarantania stretched over all our neighbourhood, as it stretched over Jericho of old, and the distant hills and waters and thickets glowed in colours and lights of their own.

The next morning after my walk I was up early, and going a little way from my tent door, I sat down to enjoy it. The servants were but just stirring; my father and Mr. Dinwiddie safe within their canvas curtains. It was very nice to be alone, for I wanted to think. The air was deliciously balmy and soft; another fair day had risen upon us in that region of tropical summer; the breath of the air was peace. Or was it the speech of the past? It is difficult to disentangle things sometimes. I had troublesome matters to think about, yet somehow I was not troubled. I did not lay hold of trouble, all the while I was in Palestine. Mr. Dinwiddie's words had revealed to me that it might be my duty to tell my father all that was in my heart. Suspicions of the fact, only, had crossed my thought before; but "as iron sharpeneth iron, so a man sharpeneth the countenance of his friend." I saw more clearly. And the longer I sat there on my stone looking over to the line of the Jordan and to the hills through which the armies of Israel had once come down to cross it, the clearer it grew to my mind, that the difficulty before me was one to be faced, not evaded. I saw that papa had a right to know my affairs, and that he would think it became me as a Christian not to make a mystery of them. I saw I must tell papa about myself. And yet, it did not appal me, as the idea had often appalled me. I was hardly afraid. At any rate, there before me the hosts of the Israelites had passed over dry shod; though the river was swift and strong; and the appeal of Elisha, – "Where is the Lord God of Elijah?" – came home to my ear like a blast of the priests' silver trumpets. I felt two hands on my shoulders.

"Studying it all, Daisy?"

"Papa, I am never tired of studying."

"This is a wonderful place."

"Papa, you know little about it yet. Old Jericho was up there."

"You speak as if I had gone to school in 'old Jericho,' said my father, laughing. "I have the vaguest idea, Daisy, that such a city existed. That is all."

"Sit down, papa, while breakfast is getting ready, and let me mend your knowledge."

So we read the story there, on the stone by the spring. Mr. Dinwiddie joined us; and it was presently decided that we should spend the morning in examining the ground in our neighbourhood and the old sites of what had passed away. So after breakfast we sat out upon a walk over the territory of old Jericho.

"But it is strange," said papa, "if the city was here, that there are no architectural remains to testify as much."

"We rarely find them, sir, but in connection with Roman or Saracenic work. Shapeless mounds, and broken pottery, as you have it here, are all that generally mark our Palestine ruins."

"But Herod?" said papa. "He was a builder."

"Herod's Jericho was a mile and a half away, to the east. And moreover, if anything had been remaining here that could be made of use, the Saracens or Crusaders would have pulled it to pieces to help make their sugar mills up yonder, or their aqueducts."

"There is no sugar cane here now?"

"Not a trace of it. Nor a palm tree; though Jericho was a city of palms; nor a root of the balsam, though great gain was derived to Judea in ancient times from the balsam gardens here."

We mounted our horses and rode down to the site of Herod's Jericho, on the banks of the little stream that issues from the gorge of the Wady Kelt. How lovely, and how desolate, it was. The stream overhung with trees and bordered with oleanders and shrubs of which I have forgotten the names, and crossed by old arches still; and around, the desolate tokens of what once was. Foundation lines, and ruined aqueducts. Mr. Dinwiddie made us remark the pavement of the road leading up to the Kelt, the old road to Jerusalem, the road by which Jesus went when the blind men called him, and over which, somewhere on its way, stretched the sycamore tree into which Zaccheus climbed. Ah how barren and empty the way looked now! – with Him no longer here. For a moment, so looked my own path before me, – the dusty, hot road; the desolate pass; the barren mountain top. It was only a freak of fancy; I do not know what brought it. I had not felt so a moment before, and I did not a moment after.

"Where His feet lead now, the green pastures are not wanting, – "Mr. Dinwiddie said; I suppose reading my look.

"Never, Mr. Dinwiddie?"

"Never!"

"But it seems, often, to people, that they are wanting."

"Their eyes are so blinded by tears that they cannot see them, sometimes. Even then, they can lie down and feel them, – feel that they are in them."

"Are there any sycamore trees here now?" my father asked.

"Two or three poor old specimens; just enough to shew for the story. Those sycamore figs belong to the low and warm situations; this is the proper place for them."

Papa felt so well that we determined to push on to the Jordan. It was a hot, long ride, over a shadeless and barren plain; and when we came to the river papa declared himself very much disappointed. But I was not. Narrow and muddy as the stream was, it was also powerful in its rapid flood; no one could venture to bathe in it. The river was much swollen and had been yet more so; the tracks of wild animals which the floods had disturbed were everywhere to be seen. Papa and Mr. Dinwiddie reasoned and argued, while I sat and meditated; in a deep delight that I should see the Jordan at all. We took a long rest there, on its banks. The jungle was a delicious study to me, and when the deep talk of the gentlemen subsided enough to give me a chance, I got Mr. Dinwiddie to enlighten me as to the names and qualities of the various trees and plants. They were of fine luxuriant growth. Poplars and sycamores and other trees, willows, I think, and exquisite tamarisks in blossom; and what I specially admired, the canes. I understood then how people might go into the plain to see "a reed shaken with the wind." Growing twelve to fifteen feet high, with graceful tufts of feathery bloom which they bow and sway to the breeze in a manner lovely to see.

Another day we rode down to the shore of the Dead Sea; papa being none the worse for his Jordan excursion. Then the rain visited us, and for two or three days we were kept in our tents. With some difficulty I then persuaded papa to go further south, to the shore of the Dead Sea, to some pleasant camping ground by one of its western springs; there rain falls almost never. So, first at Ain Feshkah and then at Ain Jidi, we spent another couple of weeks; without Mr. Dinwiddie it would have been impossible, but his society kept papa from wearying and made everything as enjoyable as could be to both of us. It was the middle of February when we returned to Jerusalem.

The rainy season was not of course at an end yet; but a change of beauty had come over the land. We found fruit trees in blossom, almond and peach; and apricots just ready to bloom. Corn up and green; and flowers coming and come. I had my own plans, made up from the experience and counsels of my English friends; but papa wanted to see Jerusalem, and I waited. Of course I wanted to see Jerusalem too; and here again Mr. Dinwiddie was our excellent friend and guide and instructor. Papa was quite in earnest now; and went about the city examining walls and churches and rock-tombs and all the environs, with a diligent intentness almost equal to mine; and he and Mr. Dinwiddie had endless talks and discussions, while I mused. The words, "Constantine," "Byzantine," "Crusaders," "Helena", "Saracenic," "Herod," "Josephus;" with modern names almost as well known; echoed and re-echoed in my ears.

"Daisy!" said papa suddenly in one of these talks, – "Daisy! you are not interested in this."

"Papa, it is so uncertain."

Mr. Dinwiddie laughed.

"But the question, child; don't you care about the question? how is it ever to be made certain? I thought this question would engage all your attention."

"How can it ever be made certain, papa? After those hundred and fifty years when there were no Jews allowed here, who was to remember the spot of the Sepulchre? Few but Christians knew it, in the first place."

"Oh, you have thought about it!" said papa. "But are you not interested in a probable site, Daisy?"

"No, papa."

"All these old churches and relics then do not concern you?"

"Papa, I only go to see them for your sake."

"Well," said papa, "now I will go to the Mount of Olives for your sake."

That was my plan; following the advice of the English party, who said they had enjoyed it. We hired for a time a little stone dwelling on the Mount of Olives, from which we had a fine view of the city; and to this new home papa and I moved, and took up our quarters in it. Of all my days in the Holy Land, excepting perhaps the time spent at Jericho and Engedi, these days were the best. They are like a jewel of treasure in my memory.

The little dwelling to which we had come was rougher in accommodation than our tents; but the season was still early, and it gave better shelter to papa. It was a rude stone house, with a few small rooms at our service; which I soon made comfortable with carpets and cushions. The flat roof above gave us a delightful view of the country and abundant chance to examine and watch all its points and aspects. I spent the hours up here or at the window of our little sitting-room; using my eyes all the time, to take in and feast upon what was before them. Only when papa would go out with me, I left my post; to take up the survey from some new point of view. I had a great deal to think of, those days; a certain crisis in my life had come, or was coming; I was facing it and getting ready for it; and thinking and looking seemed to help and stimulate each other. It was wonderful to watch the lights change on Jerusalem; from the first sunbeam that came over the hills of Moab and touched the city, to the full glare of the midday, and then the sunset colours on land and rock and building, transforming the dull grays and whites with a flush of rosy beauty and purple splendour. The tints that hovered then upon the red hills of Moab were never to be forgotten. I watched it, this change of light and shade and colour, from day to day. I learned to know Jerusalem and her surrounding hills and her enclosing valleys; and the barrier wall of Moab became a familiar line to me. All this while, as I said, I had a great deal to think of, and was thinking. Past, present and future chased each other in and out of my head; or rather, it seems to me, dwelt there together.

"Daisy!" – papa called to me when I was on the roof one day. I ran down.

"What are you doing up there?"

"I was looking, papa. I was studying topography."

"Let us go out and study it a little by actual survey. I think a walk would do me good."

We went down first to the valley of the Kedron, and wandered about there; sometimes sitting down under the shade of the olive trees to rest; speculating upon localities, recalling scenes of history; wondering at the path which descends into the valley from St. Stephen's gate and goes on over the Mount of Olives to Bethany. Above all things, that path held my eyes. No doubt the real path that was travelled eighteen centuries ago lay deep beneath many feet of piled-up rubbish; but the rubbish itself told a tale; and the path was there. After a long stay in the valley, we mounted the hill again, where our temporary home was; and passing that, went on to the height of the hill. There we sat down. The westering sun was casting lines of light all over the landscape, which would be soon floods of colour. Papa and I sat down to look and wait.

"It certainly is worth coming for," said papa. "Our journey realizes more than all I had hoped from it, Daisy."

"I am so glad, papa!"

"But you, Daisy, how is it with you? You seem to me a little, and not a little, distraite."

"I have so much to think of, papa."

"More than I have?"

"Why, yes, papa," I said, half laughing. "I think so."

"You must have fields of speculation unknown to me, Daisy."

"Yes, papa. Some time I want to talk to you about them."

"Isn't now a good time?" said papa, carelessly.

I was silent a while, thinking how to begin. It was a good time, I knew, and I dared not let it pass. I had been waiting till Mr. Dinwiddie should have left us and papa and I be quite alone; and he was to join us again as soon as we started on our northward journey. Now was my best opportunity. All the more, for knowing that, my heart beat.

"Papa," I began, "may I ask you a few questions, the better to come at what I want?"

"Certainly. Your questions, Daisy, I have always found stimulating."

"Then first, what is it you think of most, in looking over from this place to Jerusalem?"

"Of course," said papa, rousing himself, "the prominent thought must be the wonderful scene that was acted there eighteen hundred years ago; not the course of history before or after. Is that what you mean?"

"I mean that, papa. I mean the death of Christ. Papa, what was that for?"

"Why, as I understand it, Daisy, it was a satisfaction to the justice of God for the sins of the world. Are you going to put me through a course of theology, Daisy?"

"No, papa. But do you think it was for all the world, or only for a part of them?"

"For all, of course. The Bible words I take to be quite clear on that point, even if it were possible that it should have been otherwise."

"Then it was for you and me, papa?"

"Yes."

"And for those ignorant Moslems that live in the city now?"

"Yes, of course it was; though I think they will not have much good of it, Daisy."

"Never mind that, papa. Then it was for my old June, and for Maria and Darry and Pete and Margaret, and all the rest of our people at Magnolia?"

"Yes," said papa, rousing up a little. I did not look at him.

"Papa, don't you think the Lord Jesus loves the people for whom He died?"

"Certainly. It is inconceivable that He should have died for them if He did not love them. Though that is also a great mystery to me, Daisy."

"Papa, don't you think that, having died for them, He holds them precious?"

"I suppose so," said papa slowly.

"Every one?"

"Yes."

"Do you think He loves one man less than another because his skin is darker?"

"Certainly not, Daisy."

"Then papa – should we?"

"I do not know that we do," papa said, after a pause.

"Papa, think. What would you say to our, or anybody's, holding white men in slavery – making them work without wages – and forcing them to obey under the lash?"

"They are an inferior race, Daisy," papa answered again after a pause. His voice shewed he did not enjoy the conversation; but it was needful for me to go on.

"Papa, they have been kept down. But suppose they were inferior, – since Christ died for them, does He not love them?"

"I have no doubt of it."

"Then, papa, what will He say to us, for keeping those whom He loves and died for, at arms' length or under our feet? and what will He say to us for keeping them out of the good He died to give them?"

"We do not, Daisy! They have their religious privileges."

"Papa, I have lived among them as you never did. They may not meet together to pray, on pain of the lash. They cannot have Bibles, for they are not allowed to read. They have no family life; for husbands and wives and parents and children are parted and torn from each other at the will or for the interest of their owners. They live like the animals." "Not on my estates!" said papa, rousing himself again. "There is no selling and buying of the people there."

"Pete's wife was forcibly taken from him, papa, and then sent South."

"By whom?"

"By Edwards. And the rest of the hands were in mortal fear of him; utterly cowed. They dared not move without his pleasure."

"Abuses," papa muttered; – "nothing to do with the system."

"What must the system be where such things are possible? where one such thing is possible? And oh, papa, they suffer! there is no such thing as real comfort of life; there is no scope or liberty for the smallest upward tendency. Nothing is their own, not their own time; they have no chance to be anything but inferior."

"They have all the essentials of comfortable living, and they are comfortable," said my father.

"Papa, they do not think so."

"Few people do think so," said papa. "It is a vice of humanity."

I was silent a little bit, and then I ventured to say, –

"Papa, the Lord Jesus loved them well enough to die for them."

"Well," said papa, rather growlingly, "what then?"

"I am thinking, what will He say to us for handling them so."

"What would you do for them, Daisy?"

"All I could, papa," I said softly.

"How much could you, do you suppose?"

"Papa, I would not stop as long as there was anything more to be done."

"I suppose you would begin by setting them all free?"

"Wouldn't you wish it, papa, for yourself and me, if we were two of them? – and for mamma and Ransom, if they were two more?"

"You are mistaken in thinking it is a parallel case. They do not wish for liberty as we should."

"Then it only shews how much harm the want of liberty has done them already. But they wish for it quite enough, papa; quite enough. It breaks my heart to think how much they do wish for it."

"My child, you do not know what you are talking about!" papa answered; half worried, I thought, and half impatient. "In the first place, they would not be better off if they were set free; though you think they would; and in the second place, do you know how it would affect our own condition?"

"Papa," I said low, – "it has nothing to do with the question. I do not care."

"You would care."

"I care for this other more, papa."

"Daisy, understand. Instead of being well off, you would be poor; you would be poor. The Southern estates would be worth nothing without hands to cultivate them; and my Northern estates will go to your brother."

"I should never be rich in the way you think, papa."

"How so?"

"I would never be rich in that way."

"What would you do?"

"I would be poor."

"It is not so easy to do as to talk about," said my father. "At the present time, Daisy, – I suppose, if you had your will, you would set at liberty at once all the people on the Magnolia plantations?"

"Indeed I would, papa."

"Then we should be reduced to a present nothing. The Melbourne property brings in very little, nothing, in fact, without a master on the spot to manage it. I dare say some trifling rent might be obtained for it; and the sale of Magnolia and its corresponding estates would fetch something if the times admitted of sale. You know it is impossible now. We should have scarce anything to live upon, my child, to satisfy your philanthropy."

"Papa, there was a poor woman once, who was reduced to a handful of meal and a little oil as her whole household store. Yet at the command of the prophet of the Lord, she took some of it to make bread for him, before she fed herself and her child – both of them starving. And the Lord never let her want either meal or oil all the time the famine lasted."

"Miracles do not come for people's help, now-a-days, Daisy."

"Papa, yes! God's ways may change, His ways of doing the same thing; but He does not change. He takes care of His people now without miracles, all the same."

"All the same"!" repeated papa. "That is an English expression, that you have caught from your friends."

We were both silent for a while.

"Daisy, my child, your views of all these things will alter by and by. You are young, and have slight experience of the things of life. By and by, you will find it a much more serious thing than you imagine to be without wealth. You would find a great difference between the heiress and the penniless girl; a difference you would not like."

"Papa," I said slowly, – "I hope you will not be displeased or hurt, – but I want it to be known, and I wanted you should know, that I never shall be an heiress. I never will be rich in that way. I will take what God gives me."

"First throwing away what He has given you," said papa.

"I do not think He has given it, papa."

"What then? have we stolen it?"

"Not we; but those who have been before us, papa; they stole it. All we are doing, is keeping that which is not ours."

"Enough too, I should think!" said papa. "You will alter your mind, Daisy, about all this, if you wait a while. What do you think your mother would say to it?"

"I know, papa," I said softly. "But I cannot help thinking of what will be said somewhere else. I would like that you and I, and she too, might have that 'Well done' – which the Lord Jesus will give to some. And when they enter into the joy of their Lord, will they care what His service has cost them?"

My eyes were full of tears, and I could scarcely speak; for I felt that I had gained very little ground, or better no ground at all. What indeed could I have expected to gain? Papa sat still, and I looked over at Jerusalem, where the westing sun was making a bath of sunbeams for the old domes and walls. A sort of promise of glory, which yet touched me exceedingly from its contrast with present condition. Even so of other things, and other places besides Jerusalem. But Melbourne seemed to be in shadow. And Magnolia?

I wondered what papa would say next, or whether our talk had come to a deadlock then and there. I had a great deal more myself to say; but the present opportunity seemed to be questionable. And then it was gone; for Mr. Dinwiddie mounted the hill and came to take a seat beside us.

"Any news, Mr. Dinwiddie?" was papa's question, as usual.

"From America."

"What sort of news?"

"Confused sort – as the custom is. Skirmishes which amount to nothing, and tell nothing. However, there is a little more this time. Fort Henry has been taken, on the Tennessee river, by Commander Foote and his gunboats."

"Successes cannot always be on one side, of course," remarked my father.

"Roanoke Island has been taken, by the sea and land forces under Burnside and Goldsborough."

"Has it!" – said papa. "Well, – what good will that do them?"

"Strengthen their hearts for continuing the struggle," said Mr. Dinwiddie. "It will do that."

"The struggle cannot last very long," said my father. "They must see sooner or later how hopeless it is."

"Not in the light of these last events," said Mr. Dinwiddie. "What does my other friend here think about it?"

"About what, Mr. Dinwiddie?"

"The length of the struggle."

"Do you think Daisy has some special means of knowledge?" asked my father, carelessly.

"Well – yes," said Mr Dinwiddie. "She has been among Northern friends a good while; perhaps she can judge better of their tone and temper than I can, – or you, sir."

"I cannot hold just the view that you do, Mr. Dinwiddie, – or that papa does."

"So I supposed. You think there are some good soldiers in the Northern army."

"It would be absurd to suppose there are not," said my father; "but what they do want, is a right understanding of the spirit of the South. It is more persistent and obstinate, as well as strong, than the North takes any account of. It will not yield. It will do and endure anything first."

I thought I had heard papa intimate a doubt on that issue; however I said nothing.

"If spirit would save a people," Mr. Dinwiddie rejoined, "those walls over against us would not bear the testimony they do. No people ever fought with more spirit than this people. Yet Jerusalem is a heap of ruins."

"You do not mean that such a fate can overtake the whole South?" said my father.

"I mean, that the race is not always to the swift. The South have right on their side, however."

"Right?" said I.

"I thought that would bring you out," Mr. Dinwiddie said, with a kindly look at me.

"Daisy is an abolitionist," said papa. "Where she got it, is out of my knowledge. But I think, Mr. Dinwiddie, there are minds so constituted that they take of choice that view of things which is practically the most adverse to their own interest."

"Tell papa, Mr. Dinwiddie, that that cannot be."

"What cannot be, if you please?"

"I mean, that which is the right cannot be the wrong in any sense; cannot be even the wrong view for anybody's interest that adopts it."

"Fair theories – " said papa.

"Something else, it must be, papa. There is a promise – 'With what measure ye measure, it shall be measured to you again.' 'Give, and it shall be given unto you; full measure, pressed down, heaped up, and running over, shall men give into your bosom.'"

"Why into my bosom?" said papa. "I would rather it were into my hands, or a basket, or anything."

We went off into a laugh upon that, and Mr. Dinwiddie explained, and the conversation turned. We went into the house to have tea; and there we discussed the subject of our further journey and when we should set off. Mr. Dinwiddie was engaged to go with us to Lebanon. But it was concluded that we would wait yet a little for the season to be further advanced. For me, I was in no hurry to leave the Mount of Olives and Jerusalem.

We sat on the roof that evening and watched the lights kindle in Jerusalem, and talked of the old-time scenes and changes; till I supposed the question of home troubles and our poor Magnolia people was pretty well driven from papa's mind. But when Mr. Dinwiddie was gone, and I was bidding him good-night, he held me fast in his arms, looking down into my face.

"Little Daisy!" – he said.

"Not just now, papa."

"The very same!" he said. "My little Daisy! – who was always forgetting herself in favour of any poor creature that came in her way."

"Papa – what did our Lord do?"

"Daisy, do you expect to conform yourself and everybody to that pattern?"

"Myself, papa. Not everybody."

"Me? – "

I could not answer papa. I hid my face on his breast; – for he still held me. And now he kissed me fondly.

"We must not do what mamma would never agree to," he said very kindly. Again I could make no answer. I knew all about mamma.

"Daisy," said papa presently, we had not changed our position, – "is Mr. Dinwiddie your friend, or mine?"

"Of us both, papa!" I said in astonishment. "Of me; particularly, perhaps; because he knows me best and has known me longest."

"Then he comes here to see you?"

"And you, papa."

"I am afraid he does not come to see me," papa said. "Do you like to see him very much, Daisy?"

"Certainly, papa; very much; because he is an old, old, very good friend. That is all."

"You are sure?"

"Quite sure, papa."

"I believe that is all," said papa, looking into my face. "I am afraid, however, that our friend wishes he were not quite so old a friend."

"No, papa," I said; "you are, mistaken. I am sure Mr. Dinwiddie does not think so. He knows better."

"How does he know better?"

"I think he understands, papa."

"What?"

"Me."

"What about you?"

"I think he thinks only that, – what I said, papa."

"And how came you to think he thinks anything about it?"

"Papa – "

"Has he ever told you his thoughts?"

"No, sir; certainly."

"Then what do you mean, Daisy."

"Papa – we have talked."

"But not about that?"

"No, papa; not about Mr. Dinwiddie's feelings, certainly. But I am sure he understands."

"What, my pet?"

"My feelings, papa."

"Your feeling about himself?"

"Yes."

"How should he understand it, Daisy?"

"I think he does, papa – "

"You say, you 'have talked'? What course did your talk take?"

My heart beat. I saw what was coming now, – what ought to come. It was my time.

"It was a very general course, papa. It did not touch, directly, my feeling for Mr. Dinwiddie, or anybody."

"Indirectly?"

"I think – I do not know – I half fancied, Mr. Dinwiddie thought so."

"Thought what?"

"That it did touch some feeling of mine."

"Not for himself. For some other?"

"Yes – " I whispered.

"For whom?" he said abruptly. And then as I hesitated, –

"For one of those two?"

"What two?"

"De Saussure or Marshall?"

"Oh, no, papa!"

"Your cousin Gary?"

"Oh, no, papa!"

"Have I lost you, Daisy?" he said then in a different tone, gentle and lingering and full of regret. My breath was gone; I threw my arms around his neck.

"Why did you never tell me before, Daisy?"

"Papa, – I was afraid."

"Are you afraid now?"

"Yes."

"Let us have it over then, Daisy. Who is it that has stolen you from me?"

"Oh no one, papa!" I cried. "No one could. No one can."

"Who has tried, then?"

"A great many people, papa; but not this person."

"How has it come to pass then, my pet? And who is this person?"

"Papa, it came to pass without anybody's knowing it or meaning it; and when I knew it, then I could not help it. But not what you say has come to pass; nobody has stolen or could steal me from you."

"I have only lost, without any other being the gainer," said papa a little bitterly.

"No, papa, you have not lost; you cannot; I am not changed, papa, do you not see that I am not changed? I am yours, just as I always was, – only more, papa."

Papa kissed me, but it cut me to the heart to feel there was pain in the kiss. I did what my lips could to clear the pain away.

"Half is not as much as the whole, Daisy," he said at length.

"It may be, papa. Suppose the whole is twice as large as it used to be?"

"That is a good specimen of woman's reasoning. But you have not told me all yet, Daisy. Who is it that holds the other half?"

There was so much soreness and disappointment shewn in papa's words, rather in the manner of them, that it was extremely difficult for me to carry on the conversation. Tears are a help, I suppose, to other women. They do not come to me, not at such times. I stood still in papa's arms, with a kind of dry heartache. The pain in his words was a terrible trial to me. He folded me close again and kissed me over and over, and then whispered, –

"Who is it, Daisy?"

"Papa, it was at West Point. I never meant it, and never knew it, until I could not help it."

"At West Point!" said papa.

"Two years ago, when Dr. Sandford took me there."

"It is not Dr. Sandford!"

"Oh, no, papa! He is not to blame. He did everything he could to take care of me. He knows nothing at all about it."

"Who is it, then?"

"He was a cadet then, papa; he is in the army now."

"Who is he?"

"He is from Vermont; his name is Thorold."

"Not a Southerner?"

"No, papa. Do you care very much for that?"

"Is he in the Northern army, Daisy?"

"He could not help that, papa; being a Vermonter."

Papa let me go; I had been standing in his arms all this while; and took several turns up and down our little room. I sat down, for my joints trembled under me. Papa walked and walked.

"Does your mother know?" he said at last.

"I dared not tell her."

"Who does know?"

"Nobody, papa, but you, and an old friend of mine in New York, – an aunt of Mr. Thorold's."

"Daisy, what is this young man?"

"Papa, I wish you could know him."

"How comes it that he, as well as you, has kept silence?"

"I don't know, papa. His letter must have miscarried. He was going to write to you immediately, just before I left Washington. I was afraid to have him do it, but he insisted that he must."

"Why were you afraid?"

"Papa, I knew you and mamma would not be pleased; that it would not be what you would wish; and I feared mamma, and perhaps you, would forbid him at once."

"Does he write to you?"

"I would not let him, papa, without your permission; and I was afraid I could not get that."

"What did you expect to do then, Daisy, if I was never to be told?"

"I thought to wait only till the war should be over, papa, – when he might see you himself and you might see him. I thought that would be the best way."

"He did not?"

"No; he insisted on writing."

"He was right. What is the young man's name, Daisy? You have not told me yet."

"Christian Thorold."

"Thorold," said papa. "It is an English name. Have you heard nothing from him, Daisy, since you came to Switzerland?"

"Nothing," – I said.

Papa came over again to where I sat on the divan, bent down and kissed me.

"Am I such a terror to you, Daisy?"

"Oh, no, papa," I said, bursting into tears at last; – "but mamma – you know if mamma said a word at first, she would never go back from it."

"I know," he said. "And I choose, for the present, that this matter should remain a secret between you and me. You need not tell your mother until I bid you."

"Yes, papa. Thank you."

"And, Daisy," said he stroking my hair fondly, – "the war is not ended in America yet, and I am afraid we have a long time to wait for it. Poor child! – But for the present there are no storms ahead."

I rose up and kissed papa, with a very tender good-night given and exchanged; and then I went to my room. The Jerusalem lights were out. But a peace, deep and wide as the blue arch of the sky, seemed to have spanned my life and my heart.

CHAPTER XVII.
OUT OF THE SMOKE.

THERE was an immense burden lifted off me. It is difficult to express the change and the relief in my feelings. The next day was given to an excursion in the neighbourhood; and I never can forget how rare the air seemed to be, as if I were breathing pure life; and how brilliant the sunlight was that fell on the wonderful Palestine carpet of spring flowers. All over they were; under foot and everywhere else; flashing from hidden places, peeping round corners, smiling at us in every meadow and hillside; a glory upon the land. Papa was in great delight, as well as I; and as kind as possible to me; also very good to Mr. Dinwiddie. Mr. Dinwiddie himself seemed to me transformed. I had gone back now to the free feeling of a child; and he looked to me again as my childish eyes had seen him. There was a great amount of fire and vigour and intellectual life in his countenance; the auburn hair and the brown eyes glowed together with the hue of a warm temperament; but that was tempered by a sweet and manly character. I thought he had grown soberer than the Mr. Dinwiddie of my remembrance.

That particular day lies in my memory like some far-off lake that one has seen just under the horizon of a wide landscape, – a still bit of silvery light. It is not the distance, though, in this case, that gives it its shining. We were going that morning to visit Gibeon and Neby Samwil; and the landscape was full, for me, of the peace which had come into the relations between me and papa. It was a delicious spring day; the flowers bursting under our feet with their fresh smiles; the air perfumed with herby scents and young sweetness of nature; while associations of old time clustered all about, like sighs of history. We went first along the great stony track which leads from Jerusalem to the north; then turned aside into the great route from Jaffa to Jerusalem; not the southern and rougher way which we had taken when we came from the coast. This was the approach of almost all the armies which have poured their fury on the devoted city. We went single file, as one has to go in Palestine; and I liked it. There was too much to think of to make one want to talk. And the buoyancy of the air seemed to feed mind as well as body, and give all the stimulus needed. Mr. Dinwiddie sometimes called out to me to point my attention to something; and the rest of the time I kept company with the past and my own musings.

We visited Gibeon first, and stood by the dry pool where Abner and Joab watched the fight of their twelve picked men; and we read Solomon's prayer.

"This is a wonderful country," said papa, "for the way its associations are packed. There is more history here than in any other region of the world."

"Well, papa, it is the world's history," I said.

"What do you mean, Daisy?"

I hesitated; it was not very easy to tell.

"She is right though," said Mr. Dinwiddie; "it is the very core of the world's history, round which the other is slowly gathering and maturing, to the perfected fruit. Or to take it another way, – ever since God at the first did visit the Gentiles, to take put of them a people for His name, His dealings with that people have been an earnest and an image of His course with His Church at large. We may cut down to the heart of the world and find the perfect flower here – as we do in bulbs."

"A blossoming to destruction then, it seems," said my father.

"No!" said Mr. Dinwiddie – "to restoration and glory. The history of this land is not yet finished."

"And you think that is in store for it yet?"

Mr. Dinwiddie answered, – "'Thus saith the Lord; If ye can break my covenant of the day, and my covenant of the night, and that there should not be day and night in their season; then may also my covenant be broken with David my servant, that he should not have a son to reign upon his throne; and with the Levites the priests, my ministers. As the hosts of heaven cannot be numbered, neither the sand of the sea measured: so will I multiply the seed of David my servant, and the Levites that minister unto me.'"

"Who spoke that?"

"The prophet Jeremiah."

"And when, pray?"

"When Nebuchadnezzar and his army were just upon the point of completing the destruction of the city – and of the people."

"Then it refers to their return from captivity, does it not?"

"As the type of the other restoration," said Mr. Dinwiddie. "For 'In those days, and at that time, will I cause the Branch of righteousness to grow up unto David; and he shall execute judgment and righteousness in the land. In those days shall Judah be saved, and Jerusalem shall dwell safely; and this is the name whereby she shall be called, The Lord our righteousness.' Moreover, in Ezekiel's vision of a new temple and city, he gives the dimensions of the temple large enough to take in all Jerusalem, and the holy city as many times exceeding its utmost actual limits; and he says, 'The name of the city from that day shall be, The Lord is there.' Jehovah shammah. I wish the day were come."

"You take it as entirely figurative!" said papa. "I thought just now you made it entirely literal."

"What is a figure?" said Mr. Dinwiddie. "And if you take away the literal, where will the spiritual be?"

"True," said papa. "These are things I have not studied."

And then we mounted to the height of Neby Samwil and sat down for a good long look. Mr. Dinwiddie was here as elsewhere invaluable. He told us everything and pointed out everything to us, that we ought to see or know. The seacoast plain lay below; – spread out for many a mile, with here a height and there a cluster of buildings, and the blue sea washing its western border. We could easily see Jaffa, Ramleh and Lydda; we picked those spots out first which we knew. Then Mr. Dinwiddie pointed us to Ashdod, and to Ekron, a little to the left of Ramleh.

"And that is where Nebuchadnezzar was with his army, before he went up to Jerusalem," I said.

"The first time," said Mr. Dinwiddie. "Yes; there his hosts of Chaldeans lay in the plain; and there after the place was taken he impaled the chiefs of the town; and then flushed with power, came up to Jerusalem and cast banks against it. So he says; and we know that so Isaiah prophesied he would do; and we know that Hezekiah bought him off."

"Did he come up this way of the Beth-horons?" I asked.

"I suppose so. And down this way, Joshua chased the fleeing kings and their followers and overthrew them as they fled down the pass – what a rush it must have been! – and down there, down where the green sweeps into the hills from the plain, there is Ajalon."

"Papa, do you see?"

"I see; but I do not understand quite so well as you do, Daisy, what you are talking about."

"It is Miss Randolph's own country," remarked Mr. Dinwiddie.

"She is not a Jewess," said papa.

"Pardon me – we have it on authority that 'he is a Jew which is one inwardly;' – an Israelite indeed," Mr . Dinwiddie muttered to himself.

I saw papa was puzzled and half displeased. I hastened to turn the conversation, and shewed him where Bethel lay and the mountains of Ephraim; and finally ordered our luncheon basket to be brought forward. But we had to leave our position and choose a shaded place, the sun was growing so hot.

"How long do you expect to remain here – in Palestine, Mr. Dinwiddie?" something prompted me to ask. He hesitated a moment or two and then replied –

"I cannot tell – probably as long as I stay anywhere on this scene of action."

"You do not mean ever to come home?" I said.

"What is 'home,' Miss Daisy?" he replied, looking at me.

"It is where we were born," said papa.

"Would your daughter say so?"

"No," I answered; for I was born at Magnolia. "But I think home is where we have lived, – is it not?"

"Melbourne?" Mr. Dinwiddie suggested.

"No," said I; "it is not Melbourne now, to be sure; but neither could it be possibly any place in Europe, or Asia."

"Are you sure? Not in any circumstances?"

I cannot tell what, in his tone or look, drove his meaning home. But I felt the colour rise in my face and I could not answer.

"It is where the heart is, after all," Mr. Dinwiddie resumed. "The Syrian sky does not make much difference. My home is waiting for me."

"But we speak of home here, and properly."

"Properly, for those who have it."

"I think, Mr. Dinwiddie, that we say 'home' sometimes, when we speak only of where the heart was."

"Better not," he said. "Let us have a living home, not a dead one. And that we can, always."

"What do you know of places where the heart was?" said papa, looking at me curiously.

"Not much, papa; but I was thinking; and I think people mean that sometimes."

"We will both trust she will never come nearer to the knowledge," said Mr. Dinwiddie, with one of his bright looks at papa and at me. It was assuming a little more interest in our affairs than I feared papa would like; but he took it quietly. More quietly than I could, though my reason for disquietude was different. Mr. Dinwiddie's words had set vibrating a chord in my heart which could not just then give a note of pleasure. I wanted it to lie still. The wide fair landscape took a look to me instantly, which indeed belonged to it, of "places where the heart was;" and the echo of broken hopes came up to my ear from the gray ruins near and far. Yet the flowers of spring were laughing and shouting under my feet. Was it hope, or mockery?

"What are you questioning, Miss Daisy?" said Mr. Dinwiddie, as he offered me some fruit.

"I seemed to hear two voices in nature, Mr. Dinwiddie; – I wanted to find out which was the true."

"What were the voices? – and I will tell you."

"One came from the old heap of Ekron yonder, and the ruins of Ramleh, and Jerusalem, and Gibeon, and Bethel; – the other voice came from the flowers."

"Trust the flowers."

"Why, more than the ruins?"

"Remember," – said he. "One is God's truth; the other is man's falsehood."

"But the ruins tell truth too, Mr. Dinwiddie."

"What truth? They tell of man's faithlessness, perversity, wrongheadedness, disobedience; persisted in till there was no remedy. And now, to be sure, they are a desolation. But that is not what God willed for the land."

"Yet surely, Mr. Dinwiddie, there come desolations into people's lives too."

"By the same reason."

"Surely without it sometimes."

"Nay," he said. "'The Lord redeemeth the soul of His servants; and none of them that trust in Him shall be desolate.'"

"But their lives are empty sometimes?"

"That they may be more full, then. Depend on it, the promise is sure, – they shall not want any good thing."

"One must let the Lord judge then," I said somewhat sorrowfully, "what are the good things."

"Will we not?" said Mr. Dinwiddie. "Do we know? We must agree to his judgment, too; and then we shall find there is no want to them that fear him. The Lord is my Shepherd! – I shall not want. But the sheep follow the shepherd, and never dream of choosing out their own pasture, Miss Daisy."

My voice choked a little and I could not answer. And all the rest of the day I could not get back my quiet. The talk of leaving the choice of my life out of my own hands, had roused my hands to cling to their choice with a terrible grasp lest it should be taken away from them. The idea that Thorold and I might be parted from each other, made my heart leap out with inexpressible longing to be with him. It was not till we got home to the Mount of Olives again, and I was watching the glory of the sunset, turning Jerusalem to gold and bringing out rosy and purple and amethyst hues from the Moab mountains, that my heart leapt back to its rest and I heard the voice of nature and God again above the din of my own heart.

As soon as the season was far enough advanced, and Mr. Dinwiddie could make his arrangements to be with us, we left Jerusalem and its surroundings and set off northwards. It was hard to go. Where many a sorrowful traveller has left his little mound of farewell stones on Scopus, I stood and looked back; as long as papa would wait for me. Jerusalem looked so fair, and the thought and prospect of another Jerusalem lay before me, fairer indeed, but so distant. And I fancied storms and some rough travelling between. And here, in the actual Jerusalem, my life had been very sweet; peaceful with a whole flood tide of peacefulness. I resolved I would not lose nor forget this ungratefully; but as long as I could I would be happy. So I turned my face at last to enjoy every foot of the way to Nablous.

During our stay at Jerusalem and on the Mount of Olives, of course letters and papers had been received regularly; and sometimes a bit of news from America had made all our hearts stir. Mine, with a new throb of hope and possible exultation; for what we heard was on the side of Northern successes. Still, papa and Mr. Dinwiddie agreed these were but the fortune of war, and could not in the nature of things last. The South could not be overcome. So they said, and I feared. But a thrill of possible doubt came over me when I heard of Fort Donelson, and the battle of Pea Ridge, and the prowess of the little iron-clad Monitor. And a great throb of another kind heaved my heart, when we got the news of President Lincoln's Message, recommending that assistance should be given by Congress to every Southern State which would abolish slavery. A light broke in upon the whole struggle; and from that time the war was a different thing to me. Papa and Mr. Dinwiddie talked a great deal about it, discussing the subject in almost all its bearings. I sat by and said nothing.

I would not read the papers myself, all this time. In America I had studied them, and in Switzerland and in Florence I had devoured them. Here in the Holy Land, I had made an agreement with myself to be happy; to leave the care of things which I could not manage, and not to concern myself with the fluctuations on the face of affairs which I could not trace out to their consequences, do what I would. So. I heard the principal points of news from papa's talk and Mr. Dinwiddie's; I let the papers alone. Only with one exception. I could not help it. I could not withhold myself from looking at the lists of wounded and killed. I looked at nothing more; but the thought that one name might be there would have incessantly haunted me, if I had not made sure that it was not there. I dreaded every arrival from the steamers of a new mail budget.

From Mr. Thorold I got no letter. Nor from Miss Cardigan. From Mrs. Sandford one; which told me nothing I wanted to know. To mamma papa had written, describing to her the pleasure we were enjoying and the benefit his health was deriving from our journey, and asking her to join us at Beyrout and spend the summer on Lebanon.

Towards Beyrout we now journeyed gently on; stopping and lingering by the way as our custom was. At Nablous, at Nazareth, at Tiberias, at Safed, at Banias; then across the country to Sidon, down to Khaiffa and Carmel; finally we went up to Beyrout. Papa enjoyed every bit of the way; to me it was a journey scarcely of this earth, the happiness of it was so great. Mr. Dinwiddie everywhere our kind and skilful guide, counsellor, helper; knowing all the ground, and teaching us to use our time to the very best advantage. He made papa more at ease about me, and me about papa.

At Beyrout, for the first time since we left Jerusalem, we found ourselves again in a hotel. Mr. Dinwiddie went to find our despatches that were awaiting us. Papa lay down on the cushions of a divan. I sat at the window, wondering at what I saw. I wonder now at the remembrance.

It was afternoon, and the shades and colours on the mountains and the sea were a labyrinth of delight. Yes, the eye and the mind lost themselves again and again, to start back again to the consciousness of an enchanted existence. The mountains rising from the coast were in full view of my window, shaded with all sorts of green from the different woods and cultivation which clothed their sides. The eye followed their growing heights and ridges, till it rested on the snow summit of Sunnin; then swept round the range to the southward; but ever came back again to the lofty, reposeful majesty of that white mountain top in the blue ether. Little streams I could see dashing down the rocks; a white thread amongst the green; castles or buildings of some stately sort were upon every crag; I found afterwards they were monasteries. The sea waves breaking on the rocks of the shore gave other touches of white, and the sea was taking a deep hue, and the town stretching back from it looked gay and bright, with pretty houses and palm trees and palaces, and, bright-coloured dresses flitting here and there in the streets; and white sails were on the sea. I had never seen, I have never seen, anything more lovely than Beyrout. I had come to the city rather anxious; for we expected there to meet a great budget of news, which I always dreaded; wandering about from place to place, we had been blissfully separated for some time from all disturbing intelligence. Now we must meet it, perhaps; but the glory of the beauty before me wrapped my heart round as with an unearthly shield. Peace, peace, and good will, – it spoke, from Him who made the beauty and owned the glory; softly it reminded me that my Father in heaven could not fail in love nor in resources. I leaned my head against the frame of the open window, and rested and was glad.

Mr. Dinwiddie came back with a business step. I looked up, but I would not fear. He laid a pile of letters and papers before papa, and then sat down to the consideration of some of his own.

"What is doing at home, Dinwiddie?" papa asked.

"A good deal, since our last advices."

"What? I am tired of reading about it."

"Yes," said Mr. Dinwiddie. "You want me to save you the trouble?"

"If it is no trouble to you."

"The news is of several advantages gained by the Yankees."

"That won't last," said papa. "But there are always fluctuations in these things."

"Back in March," Mr. Dinwiddie went on, "there are reported two engagements in which our troops came off second best – at Newbern and at Winchester. It is difficult perhaps to know the exact truth – the papers on the two sides hold such different language. But the sixth of April there was a furious battle at Pittsburg Landing, our men headed by Beauregard, Polk and Sidney Johnston, when our men got the better very decidedly; the next day came up a sweeping reinforcement of the enemy under Grant and others, and took back the fortune of war into their own hands, it seems."

"Perhaps that is doubtful too," observed my father.

"I see Beauregard asked permission to bury his dead."

"Many killed?" asked my father.

"Terribly many. There were large numbers engaged, and fierce fighting."

So they can do it, I said to myself, amid all my heart-beating.

"There will be of course, some variation of success," said my father.

"The pendulum is swung all to one side, in these last news," said Mr. Dinwiddie.

"What next?"

"Fort Pulaski is taken."

"Pulaski!" my father exclaimed.

"Handsomely done, after a bombardment of thirty hours."

"I am surprised, I confess," said papa.

"The House of Representatives has passed a bill for the abolition of slavery in the District."

"Oh, I am glad!" I exclaimed. "That is good."

"Is that all you think good in the news?" said Mr. Dinwiddie a little pointedly.

"Daisy is a rebel," said papa.

"No, papa; not I surely. I stand by the President and the Country."

"Then we are rebels, Dinwiddie," said papa, half wearily. "Half the country is playing the fool, that is clear; and the whole must suffer."

"But the half where the seat of war is, suffers the most."

"That will not last," said papa. "I know the South."

"I wonder if we know the North," said Mr. Dinwiddie. "Farragut has run the gauntlet of the forts at the mouth of the Mississippi and taken New Orleans."

"Taken New Orleans!" my father exclaimed again, rising half up as he lay on the cushions of the divan.

"It was done in style," said Mr. Dinwiddie, looking along the columns of his paper. "Let me read you this, Mr. Randolph."

Papa assented, and he read; while I turned my face to the window again, and listened to Farragut's guns and looked at Lebanon. What a strange hour it was! There was hope at work and rejoicing; but it shook me. And the calmness of the everlasting hills and the mingled sweetnesses of the air, came in upon the fever of my heart with cooling and quieting power. The sea grew a deeper blue as I listened and looked; the mountains – what words can tell the mantle of their own purple that enfolded them as the evening came on; and the snowy heights of Sunnin and Kunisyeh grew rosy. I looked and I drank it in; and I could not fear for the future.

I believe I had fallen into a great reverie, during which Mr. Dinwiddie ended his reading and left the room. It was papa's touch on my shoulder that roused me. He had come to my side.

"Are you happy, Daisy?" was his question.

"Papa? – " I said in bewilderment.

"Your face was as calm as if you had nothing to think about."

"I had been thinking, papa. I was thinking, I believe."

"Does this strange news make you happy?"

"Oh, no, papa; not that."

"What then?"

"Something that is no news, and that never can grow old, papa. The mountains and the sea were just reminding me of it."

"You mean – what? You speak riddles, Daisy."

"Papa, you would give me everything good for me, if you could."

He kissed me fondly.

"I would, my child. Whether I can, or no, that troubles me by its uncertainty."

"Papa, my Father in heaven can, and will. There is no doubt about His power. And so there is no uncertainty."

"Daisy! – " said papa, looking at me in a strange way.

"Yes, papa, I mean it. Papa, you know it is true."

"I know you deserve all I can give you," he said, taking my face in his two hands and looking into it. "Daisy – is there anybody in the world that loves you as well as I do?"

That was a little too much, to bring up my heart in words in that manner. In spite of my composure, which I thought so strong, I was very near bursting into tears. I believe my face flushed and then grew pale with the struggle. Papa took me in his arms.

"You shall have no trouble that I can shield you from," he said tenderly. "I will put nothing between you and this young man if he is worthy of you, Daisy. I will put nothing. But others may. My power reaches only a certain distance."

"Papa – " I began, but I could not say what I would.

"Well? – said he tenderly, stroking my hair, "what is it? I would keep all trouble from you, my pet, if I could."

"Papa," I whispered, "that may not be best. We must leave that. But papa, if you only knew what I know and were glad as I am glad, – I think I could bear all the rest!"

"How shall I be glad as you are glad, Daisy?" he said, half sadly.

"Papa, let Jesus make you happy!"

"You are talking Hebrew, my child."

"No, papa; for if you seek Him, He will make you happy."

"Come! we will seek him from to-day," my father said.

And that was my summer on Lebanon. My mother wrote that she would not join us in Syria; she preferred to remain in Paris, where she had my aunt Gary's company and could receive the American news regularly. Her words were bitter and scornful about the successes of the Northern army and McClellan's fruitless siege of Yorktown; so bitter, that papa and I passed them over without a word of comment, knowing how they bore on my possible future.

But we, we studied the Bible, and we lived on Lebanon. And when I have said that, I have said all. From one village to another, higher and higher up, we went; pitching our tents under the grand old walnut trees, within sight or hearing of mountain torrents that made witcheries of beauty in the deep ravines; studying sunrisings, when the light came over the mountain's brow and lit our broken hillside by degrees, our walnut tree tops and the thread of the rushing stream; and sunsets, when the sun looked at us from the far-off Mediterranean and touched no spot of Lebanon but to make a glorified place of it. With Mr. Dinwiddie we took rides to different scenes of wonder and beauty; made excursions sometimes of a week or two long; we dreamed at Baalbec and rejoiced under the Cedars. Everywhere papa and I read the Bible. Mr. Dinwiddie left us for some time during the summer, and returned again a few days before we left Lebanon and Syria.

"So you are going to-morrow," – he said the last evening, as he and I were watching the sunset from the edge of the ravine which bordered our camping-ground. I made no answer, for my heart was too full.

"It has been a good summer," he said. I bowed my head in assent.

"And now," he said, "you push out into the world again. I feel about you as I did when I saw your little craft just starting forth, and knew there were breakers ahead."

"You do not know that now, Mr. Dinwiddie?" I said.

"I know there are rocks. If the sea should let you pass them in quiet, it would be a wonder."

That was too true, I knew. I could only be silent.

"How do you feel?" he next asked.

"I know it is as you say, Mr. Dinwiddie."

"And in view of it? – "

"What can I do, Mr. Dinwiddie?"

"Nothing to avoid the rocks. The helm is not in your hand."

"But I know in whose hand it is."

"And are willing to have it there?"

"More than willing," I said, meeting his eye.

"Then the boat will go right," he said, with a sort of accent of relief. "It is the cross pulls with the oar, striving to undo the work of the rudder, that draw the vessel out of her course. The Pilot knows, – if you can only leave it to the Pilot."

There was a pause again.

"But He sometimes takes the boat into the breakers," Mr. Dinwiddie said.

"Yes," I said. "I know it."

"What then, Daisy, my friend?"

"What then, Mr. Dinwiddie?" I said, looking up at him. "Then she must be broken to pieces."

"And what then? Can you trust the Pilot still?"

His great eyes were flashing and glittering as he looked at me. No careless nor aimless thought had caused such an interrogatory, I knew. I met the eyes which seemed to be blazing and melting at once, but I answered only by the look.

"You may," he went on, without taking his eyes from mine. "You may trust safely. Even if the vessel is shaken and broken, trust even then, when all seems gone. There shall be smooth waters yet; and a better voyage than if you had gone a less wearisome way."

"Why do you say all this to me, Mr. Dinwiddie?"

"Not because I am a prophet," he said, looking away now, – "for I am none. And if I saw such trials ahead for you, I should have hardly courage to utter them. I asked, to comfort myself; that I might know of a certainty that you are safe, whatever comes."

"Thank you," I said, rather faintly.

"I shall stay here," he went on presently, "in the land of my work; and you will be gone to-morrow for other scenes. It isn't likely you will ever see me again. But if ever you need a friend, on the other side of the globe, if you call me, I will come. It is folly to say that, though," he said plucking hastily at a spear of grass; – "you will not need nor think of me. But I suppose you know, Daisy, by this time, that all those who come near you, love you. I am no exception. You must have charity for me."

"Dear Mr. Dinwiddie," I said reaching out my hand, – "if I were in trouble and wanted a friend, there is no one in the world that I would sooner, or – rather, or as soon or as lief, ask to help me. Except – " I added, and could not finish my sentence. For I had remembered there was an exception which ought to be implied somewhere.

"I know," he said, wringing my hand. "I wish I could heap blessings on the head of the exception. Now let us go in."

The next day we rode down to Beyrout, and took the steamer that same evening.

CHAPTER XVIII.
A MASKED BATTERY.

MY Palestine holiday lasted, in some measure, all the way of our journey home; and left me at the very moment when we entered our Parisian hotel and met mamma. It left me then. All the air of the place, much more all the style of mamma's dress and manner, said at once that we had come into another world. She was exquisitely dressed; that was usual; it could not have been only that, nor the dainty appointments around her; – it was something in her bearing, an indescribable something even as she greeted us, which said, You have played your play – now you will play mine. And it said, I cannot tell how, The cards are in my hands.

Company engaged her that evening. I saw little of her till the next day. At our late breakfast then we discussed many things. Not much of Palestine; mamma did not want to hear much of that. She had had it in our letters, she said. American affairs were gone into largely; with great eagerness and bitterness by both mamma and Aunt Gary; with triumphs over the disasters of the Union army before Richmond, and other lesser affairs in which the North had gained no advantage; invectives against the President's July proclamation, his impudence and his cowardice; and prophecies of ruin to him and his cause. Papa listened and said little. I heard and was silent; with throbbing forebodings of trouble.

"Daisy is handsomer than ever," my aunt remarked, when even politics had exhausted themselves. But I wondered what she was thinking of when she said it. Mamma lifted her eyes and glanced me over.

"Daisy has a rival, newly appeared," she said. "She must do her best."

"There cannot be rivalry, mamma, where there is no competition," I said.

"Cannot there?" said mamma. "You never told us, Daisy, of your successes in the North."

I do not think I flushed at all in answer to this remark; the blood seemed to me to go all to my heart.

"Who has been Daisy's trumpeter?" papa asked.

"There is a friend of hers here," mamma said, slowly sipping her coffee. I do not know how I sat at the table; things seemed to swim in a maze before my eyes; then mamma went on, – "What have you done with your victim, Daisy?"

"Mamma," I said, "I do not at all know of whom you are speaking."

"Left him for dead, I suppose," she said. "He has met with a good Samaritan, I understand, who carried oil and wine."

Papa's eye met mine for a moment.

"Felicia," he said, "you are speaking very unintelligibly. I beg you will use clearer language, for all our sakes."

"Daisy understands," she said.

"Indeed I do not, mamma."

"Not the good Samaritan's part, of course. That has come since you were away. But you knew once that a Northern Blue-coat had been pierced by the fire of your eyes?"

"Mamma," I said, – "if you put it so, I have known it of more than one."

"Imagine it!" said mamma, with an indescribable gesture of lip, which yet was gracefully slight.

"Imagine what?" said papa.

"One of those canaille venturing to look at Daisy!"

"My dear," said papa, "pray do not fail to remember, that we have passed a large portion of our life among those whom you denominate canaille, and who always were permitted the privilege of looking at us all. I do not recollect that we felt it any derogation from anything that belonged to us."

"Did you let him look at you, Daisy?" mamma said, lifting her own eyes up to me. "It was cruel of you."

"Your friend Miss St. Clair, is here, Daisy," my aunt Gary said.

"My friend!" I repeated.

"She is your friend," said mamma. "She has bound up the wounds you have made, Daisy, and saved you from being in the full sense a destroyer of human life."

"When did Faustina come here?" I asked.

"She has been here a month. Are you glad?"

"She was never a particular friend of mine, mamma."

"You will love her now," said mamma; and the conversation turned. It had only filled me with vague fears. I could not understand it.

I met Faustina soon in company. She was as brilliant a vision as I have often seen; her beauty was perfected in her womanhood, and was of that type which draws all eyes. She was not changed, however; and she was not changed towards me. She met me with the old coldness; with a something besides which I could not fathom. It gave me a secret feeling of uneasiness; I suppose, because that in it I read a meaning of exultation, a secret air of triumph, which, I could not tell how or why, directed itself towards me and gathered about my head. It grew disagreeable to me to meet her; but I was forced to do this constantly. We never talked together more than a few words; but as we passed each other, as our eyes met and hers went from me, as she smiled at the next opening of her mouth, I felt always something sinister, or at least something hidden, which took the shape of an advantage gained. I tried to meet her with perfect pleasantness, but it grew difficult. In my circumstances I was very open to influences of discouragement or apprehension; indeed the trouble was to fight them off. This intangible evil however presently took shape.

I thought I had observed that for a day or two my father's eyes had lingered on me frequently with a tender or wistful expression, more than usual. I did not know what it meant. Mamma was pushing me into company all this while, and making no allusion to my own private affairs, if she had any clue to them. One morning I had excused myself from an engagement which carried away my aunt and her, that I might have a quiet time to read with papa. Our readings had been much broken in upon lately. With a glad step I went to papa's room; a study, I might call it, where he spent all of the time he did not wish to give to society. He was there, expecting me; a wood-fire was burning on the hearth; the place had the air of comfort and seclusion and intelligent leisure; books and engravings and works of art scattered about, and luxurious easy-chairs standing ready for the accommodation of papa and me.

"This is nice, papa!" I said, as the cushions of one of them received me.

"It is not quite the Mount of Olives," said papa.

"No indeed!" I answered; and my eyes filled. The bustle of the fashionable world was all around me, the storms of the political world were shaking the very ground where I stood, the air of our little social world was not as on Lebanon sweet and pure. When would it be again? Papa sat thinking in his easy-chair.

"How do you like Paris, my child?"

"Papa, it does not make much difference, Italy or Paris, so long as I am where you are, and we can have a little time together."

"Your English friend has followed you from Florence."

"Yes, papa. At least he is here."

"And your German friend."

"He is here, papa."

There was a silence. I wondered what papa was thinking of, but I did not speak, for I saw he was thinking.

"You have never heard from your American friend?"

"No, papa."

"Daisy," said papa, tenderly, and looking at me now, – "you are strong?"

"Am I, papa?"

"I think you are. You can bear the truth, cannot you?"

"I hope I can, – any truth that you have to tell me," I said. One thought of terrible evil chilled my heart for a moment, and passed away. Papa's tone and manner did not touch anything like that. Though it was serious enough to awake my apprehension. I could not guess what to apprehend.

"Did you get any clear understanding of what your mother might mean, one day at breakfast, when she was alluding to friends of yours in America? – you remember?"

"I remember. I did not understand in the least, papa."

"It had to do with Miss St. Clair."

"Yes."

"It seems she spent all the last winter in Washington, where the society was unusually good, it is said, as well as unusually military. I do not know how that can be true, when all Southerners were of course out of the city – but that's no matter. A girl like this St. Clair girl of course knew all the epaulettes there were."

"Yes, papa – she is always very much admired. She must be that everywhere."

"I suppose so, though I don't like her," said papa. "Well, Daisy, – I do not know how to tell you. She knew your friend."

"Yes, papa."

"And he admired her."

I was silent, wondering what all this was coming to.

"Do you understand me, Daisy? – She has won him from you."

A feeling of sickness passed over me; it did not last. One vision of my beautiful enemy, one image of her as Mr. Thorold's friend, – it made me sick for that instant; then, I believe I looked up and smiled.

"Papa, it is not true, I think."

"It is well attested, Daisy."

"By whom?"

"By a friend of Miss St. Clair, who was with her in Washington and knew the whole progress of the affair, and testifies to their being engaged."

"To whose being engaged, papa?"

"Miss St. Clair and your friend, – Colonel Somebody. I forget his name, Daisy, though you told me, I believe."

"He was not a colonel, papa; not at all; not near it."

"No. He has been promoted, I understand. Promotions are rapid in the Northern army now-a-days; a lieutenant in the regulars is transformed easily into a colonel of volunteers. They want more officers than they have got, I suppose."

I remained silent, thinking.

"Who told you all this, papa?"

"Your mother. She has it direct from the friend of your rival."

"But, papa, nobody knew about me. It was kept entirely private."

"Not after you came away, I suppose. How else should this story be told as of the gentleman you were engaged to?"

I waited a little while, to get my voice steady, and then I went on with my reading to papa. Once he interrupted me to say, "Daisy, how do you take this that I have been telling you?" – and at the close of our reading he asked again in a perplexed manner, "You do not let it trouble you, Daisy?" – and each time I answered him, "I do not believe it, papa." Neither did I; but at the same time a dreadful shadow of possibility came over my spirit. I could not get from under it, and my soul fainted, as those were said to do who lay down for shelter under the upas tree. A poison as of death seemed to distil upon me from that shadow. Not let it trouble me? It was a man's question, I suppose, put with a man's powerlessness to read a woman's mind; even though the man was my father.

I noticed from that time more than ever his tender lingering looks upon me, wistful, and doubtful. It was hard to bear them, and I would not confess to them. I would not and did not shew by look or word that I put faith in the story my father had brought me, or that I had lost faith in any one who had ever commanded it. Indeed I did not believe the story. I did trust Mr. Thorold. Nevertheless the cold chill of a "What if?" – fell upon me sometimes. Could I say that it was an impossibility, that he should have turned from me, from one whom such a thorn hedge of difficulties encompassed, to another woman so much, – I was going to say, so much more beautiful; but I do not mean that, for I do not think it. No, but to one whose beauty was so brilliant and whose hand was so attainable? It would not be an impossibility in the case of many men. Yes, I trusted Mr. Thorold; but so had other women trusted. A woman's trust is not a guarantee for the worthiness of its object. I had only my trust and my knowledge. Could I say that both might not be mistaken? And trust as I would, these thoughts would rise.

Now it was very hard for me to meet Faustina St. Clair, and bear the supercilious air of confident triumph with which she regarded me. I think nobody could have observed this or read it but. myself only; its tokens were too exceedingly slight and inappreciable for anything but the tension of my own heart to feel. I always felt it, whenever we were in company together; and though I always said at such times, "Christian cannot love her," – when I was at home and alone, the shadow of doubt and jealousy came over me again. Everything withers in that shadow. A woman must either put it out of her heart, somehow, or grow a diseased and sickly thing, mentally and morally. I found that I was coming to this in my own mind and character; and that brought me to a stand.

I shut myself up one or two nights – I could not command my days – and spent the whole night in thinking and praying. Two things were before me. The story might be somehow untrue. Time would shew. In the meanwhile, nothing but trust would have done honour to Mr. Thorold or to myself. I thought it was untrue. But suppose it were not, – suppose that the joy of my life were gone, passed over to another; who had done it? By whose will was my life stripped? The false faith or the weakness of friend or enemy could not have wrought thus, if it had not been the will of God that His child should be so tried; that she should go through just this sorrow, for some great end or reason known only to Himself. Could I not trust Him – ?

If there is a vulture whose claws are hard to unloose from the vitals of the spirit, I think it is jealousy. I found it had got hold of me, and was tearing the life out of me. I knew it in time. O sing praise to our King, you who know Him! he is mightier than our enemies; we need not be the prey of any. But I struggled and prayed, more than one night through, before faith could gain the victory. Then it did. I gave the matter into my Lord's hands. If he had decreed that I was to lose Mr. Thorold, and in this way, – why, I was my Lord's, to do with as He pleased; it would all be wise and glorious, and kind too, whatever He did. I would just leave that. But in the meantime, till I knew that He had taken my joy from me, I would not believe it; but would go on trusting the friend I had believed so deserving of trust. I would believe in Mr. Thorold still and be quiet, till I knew my confidence was misplaced.

It was thoroughly done at last. I gave up myself to God again and my affairs; and the rest that is unknown anywhere else, came to me at His feet. I gave up being jealous of Faustina. If the Lord pleased that she should have what had been so precious to me, why, well! I gave it up. But not till I was sure I had cause.

What a lull came upon my harassed and tossed spirit, which had been like a stormy sea under cross winds. Now it lay still, and could catch the reflection of the sun again and the blue of heaven. I could go into society now and please mamma, and read at home to papa and give him the wonted gratification; and I could meet Faustina with an open brow and a free hand.

"Daisy, you are better this day or two," papa said to me, wistfully. "You are like yourself. What is it, my child?"

"It is Christ, my Lord, papa."

"I do not know what you can mean by that, Daisy," said papa, looking grave. "You are not an enthusiast or a fanatic."

"It is not enthusiasm, papa, to believe God's promises. It can't be fanaticism, to be glad of them."

"Promises?" said papa. "What are you talking of?"

"Papa, I am a servant of Christ," I said; I remember I was arranging the sticks of wood on the fire as I spoke, and it made pauses between my words; – "and He has promised to take care of His servants and to let no harm come to them, – no real harm; – how can I be afraid, papa? My Lord knows, – He knows all about it and all about me; I am safe; I have nothing to do to be afraid."

"Safe from what?"

"Not from trouble, papa; I do not mean that. He may see that it is best that trouble should come to me. But it will not come unless He sees that it is best; and I can trust Him."

"My dear child, is there not a little fanaticism there?"

"How, papa?"

"It seems to me to sound like it."

"It is nothing but believing God, papa."

"I wish I understood you," said papa, thoughtfully.

So I knelt down beside him and put my arms about him, and told him what I wanted him to understand; much more than I had ever been able to do before. The pain and sorrow of the past few weeks had set me free, and the rest of heart of the last few days too. I told papa all about it. I think, as Philip did to Queen Candace's servant, I "preached to him Jesus."

"So that is what you mean by being a Christian," said papa at last. "It is not living a good moral life and keeping all one's engagements."

"'By the deeds of the law there shall no flesh be justified.' Even you, papa, are not good enough for that. God's law calls for perfection."

"Nobody is perfect."

"No, papa; and so all have come short of the glory of God."

"Well, then, I don't see what you are going to do, Daisy."

"Christ has paid our debt, papa."

"Then nobody need do anything."

"Oh, no, papa; for the free pardon that is made out for you and me – the white robe that Christ counsels us to buy of Him – waits for our acceptance and is given only on conditions. It is ready for every one who will trust Christ and obey Him; a free pardon, papa; a white robe that will hide all our ugliness. But we must be willing to have it on the conditions."

"And how then, Daisy?"

"Why, this way, papa. See, – I am dead – with Christ; it is as if I myself had died under the law, instead of my substitute; the penalty is paid, and the law has nothing to say to a dead malefactor, you know, papa. And now, I am dead to the law, and my life is Christ's. I live because He lives, and by His Spirit living in me; all I am and have belongs to Christ; the life that I live, I live by the faith of the Son of God, who loved me and gave Himself for me. I am not trying to keep the law, to buy my life; but I am keeping the law, because Christ has given me life – do you see, papa? and all my life is love to Him."

"It seems to me, Daisy," said papa, "that if faith is all, people may lead what lives they choose."

"Papa, the faith that believes in Christ, loves and obeys Him; or it is just no faith. It is nothing. It is dead."

"And faith makes such a change in people's feelings and lives?"

"Why, yes, papa, for then they live by Christ's strength and not their own; and in the love of Him, and not in the love of themselves any longer."

"Daisy," said papa, "it is something I do not know, and I see that you do know; and I would like to be like you anyhow. Pray for me, my child, that I may have that faith."

I had never done it in his presence before, but now I knelt down by the table and uttered all my heart to the One who could hear us both. I could not have done it, I think, a few weeks earlier; but this last storm had seemed to shake me free from everything. What mattered, if I could only help to shew papa the way? He was weeping, I think, while I was praying; I thought he sought to hide the traces of it when I rose up; and I went from the room with a gladness in my heart that said, "What if, even if Thorold is lost to me! There is something better beyond."

Papa and I seemed to walk on a new plane from that day. There was a hidden sympathy between us, which had its root in the deepest ground of our nature. We never had been one before, as we were one from that time.

It was but a few days, and another thing happened. The mail bag had come in as usual, and I had gathered up my little parcel of letters and gone with it to my room, before I examined what they were. A letter evidently from Mr. Dinwiddie had just made my heart leap with pleasure, when glancing at the addresses of the rest before I broke the seal of this, I saw what made my heart stand still. It was the handwriting of Mr. Thorold. I think my eyes grew dim and dazed for a minute; then I saw clearly enough to open the envelope, which shewed signs of having been a traveller. There was a letter for me, such a letter as I had wanted; such as I had thirsted for; it was not long, for it was written by a busy man, but it was long enough, for it satisfied my thirst. Enclosed with it was another envelope directed to papa.

I waited to get calm again; for the joy which shot through all my veins was a kind of elixir of life; it produced too much exhilaration for me to dare to see anybody. Yet I think I was weeping; but at any rate, I waited till my nerves were quiet and under control, and then I went with the letter to papa. I knew mamma was just gone out and there was no fear of interruption. Papa read the letter, and read it, and looked up at me.

"Do you know what this is, Daisy?"

"Papa, I guess. I know what it was meant to be."

"It is a cool demand of you," said papa.

I was glad, and proud; that was what it ought to be; that was what I knew it suited papa that it should be. I stood by the mantelpiece, waiting.

"So you knew about it?"

"Mr. Thorold said he would write to you, papa. I had been afraid, and asked him not. I wanted him to wait till he could see you."

"One sees a good deal of a man in his letters," said papa; "and this is a man's letter. He thinks enough of himself, Daisy."

"Papa, – not too much."

"I did not say too much; but enough; and a man who does not think enough of himself is a poor creature. I would not have a man ask me for you, Daisy, who did not in his heart think he was worthy of you."

"Papa, you draw nice distinctions," I said half laughing.

"That would be simple presumption, not modesty; this is manliness."

We were both silent upon this; papa considering the letter, or its proposal; I thinking of Mr. Thorold's manliness, and feeling very much pleased that he had shewn it and papa had discerned it so readily. The silence lasted till I began to be curious.

"What shall we do now, Daisy?" papa said at last. I left him to answer his own question.

"Hey? What do you wish me to do?"

"Papa, – I hope you will give him a kind answer."

"How can I get it to him?"

"I can enclose it to an aunt of his, whom I know. She can get it to him. She lives in New York."

"His aunt? So you know his family?

"No one of them, papa, but this one; his mother's sister."

"What sort of a person is she?"

So I sat down and told papa about Miss Cardigan. He listened with a very grave, thoughtful face; asking few questions, but kissing me. And then, without more ado, he turned to the table and wrote a letter, writing very fast, and handed it to me. It was all I could have asked that it might be. My heart filled with grateful rest.

"Will that do?" said papa as I gave it back.

"Papa, only one thing more, – if you are willing, that we should sometimes write to each other?"

"Hm – that sounds moderate," said papa. "By the way, why was not this letter written and sent sooner? What is the date? – why, Daisy! – "

"What, papa?"

"My child, this letter, – it is a good year old, and more; written in the beginning of last winter."

It took me a little while to get the full bearings of this; then I saw that it dated back to a time quite anterior to the circumstances of Faustina St. Clair's story, whatever that amounted to. Papa was all thrown back.

"This is good for nothing, now, you see, Daisy."

"Oh, no, papa."

"For the purposes of action."

"Papa, it does not matter, the date."

"Yes, Daisy, it does; for it speaks of a man of last year, and my answer would go to a man of this year."

"They are not different men, papa."

"I must be assured of that." He was folding up his letter, his own, and I saw the next thing would be to throw it into the fire. I laid my hand over his.

"Papa, don't do that. Let me have it."

"I cannot send it."

"Papa, let me have it. I will send it to Miss Cardigan – she loves me almost as well as you do – I will tell her; and if there is any truth in mamma's story, Miss Cardigan will know and she will burn the letter, just as well as you. And so you would escape doing a great wrong."

"You may be mistaken, my child."

"Then Miss Cardigan will burn the letter, papa. I can trust her."

"Can I trust her?"

"Yes, papa, through me. Please let me have it. There shall come no harm from this, papa."

"Daisy, your mother says he is engaged to this girl."

"It is a mistake, papa."

"You cannot prove it, my child."

"Time will."

"Then will be soon enough for my action."

"But papa, in the meantime? – think of the months he has been waiting already for an answer – "

I suppose the tears were in my eyes, as I pleaded, with my hand still upon papa's hand, covering the papers. He slowly drew his hand away, leaving the letter under mine.

"Well!" – said he, – "do as you will."

"You are not unwilling, papa?"

"I am a little unwilling, Daisy; but I cannot deny you, child. I hope you are right."

"Then, papa, add that one word about letters, will you?"

"And if it is all undeserved?"

"It is not, papa."

Papa set his teeth for a moment, with a look which, however wonted perhaps in his youthful days, I had very rarely seen called up in him. It passed then, and he wrote the brief word I had asked for, of addition to his letter, and gave it to me; and then took me in his arms and kissed me again.

"You are not very wise in the world, my Daisy," he said; "and men would say I am not. But I cannot deny you. Guard your letter to Miss Cardigan. And for the present all this matter shall sleep in our own bosoms."

"Papa," I asked, "how much did mamma know – I mean – how much did she hear about me that was true?"

"It was reported that you had been engaged."

"She heard that."

"Yes."

"She has never spoken about it."

"She thinks it not necessary."

I was silent a moment, pondering, as well I might; but then I kissed papa and thanked him, and went off and wrote and posted my letter with its enclosure. Sufficient to the day is the evil thereof.

CHAPTER XIX.
ONE FALLEN.

I SENT my letter, and waited. I got no answer. The weeks rolled on, and the months. It was palpable, that delays which had kept back one letter for a year might affect the delivery of another letter in the same way; but it is hard, the straining one's eyes into thick darkness with the vain endeavour to see something.

The months were outwardly gay; very full of society life, though not of the kind that I cared for. I went into it to please mamma; and succeeded but partially; for she insisted I was too sober and did not half take the French tone of easy, light, graceful skimming over the surface of things. But mamma could be deep and earnest too on her own subjects of interest. The news of President Lincoln's proclamation, setting free the slaves of the rebel States, roused her as much as she could be roused. There were no terms to her speech or my aunt Gary's; violent and angry against not only the President, but everything and everybody that shared Northern growth and extraction. – How bitterly they sneered at "Massachusetts codfish;" – I think nothing would have induced either of them to touch it; and whatsoever belonged to the East or the North, not only meats and drinks, but Yankee spirit and manners and courage, were all, figuratively, put under foot and well trampled on. I listened and trembled, sometimes; sometimes I listened and rejoiced. For, after all, my own affairs were not the whole world; and a thrill of inexpressible joy went through me when I remembered that my old Maria, and Pete, and the Jems, and Darry, were all, by law, freed for ever from the oppression of Mr. Edwards and any like him; and that the day of their actual emancipation would come, so soon as the rights of the Government should be established over the South. And of this issue I began to be a little hopeful, beginning to believe that it might be possible. Antietam and Corinth, and Fredricksburg and New Orleans, with varying fortune, had at least proclaimed to my ear that Yankees could fight; there was no doubt of that now; and Southern prowess could not always prevail against theirs. Papa ceased to question it, I noticed; though mamma's sneers grew more intense as the occasion for them grew less and less obvious.

The winter passed, and the spring came; and moved on with its sweet step of peace, as it does even when men's hearts are all at war. The echo of the battlefields of Virginias wept through the Boulevards with met often; and it thundered at home. Mamma had burst into new triumph at the news of Chancellorsville; and uttered with great earnestness her wish that Jefferson Davis might be able to execute the threat of his proclamation and hang General Butler. But for me, I got no letter; and these echoes began to sound in my ear like the distant outside rumblings of the storm to one whose hearthstone it has already swept and laid desolate. I was not desolate; yet I began to listen as one whose ears were dim with listening. I met Faustina St. Clair again with uneasiness. Not the torment of my former jealousy; but a stir of doubt and pain which I could not repress at the sight of her.

When the summer drew on, to my great pleasure we went to Switzerland again. We established ourselves quietly at Lucerne, which papa was very fond of. There we were much more quiet than we had been the fall before; Ransom having gone home now to take his share in the struggle, and our two Southern friends who had also gone, having no successors like them in our little home circle. We made not so many and not so long excursions. But papa and I had good time for our readings; and I had always a friend with whom I could take counsel, in the grand old Mont Pilatte. What a friend that mountain was to me, to be sure! When I was downhearted, and when anything made me glad; when I was weary and when I was most full of life; its grand head in the skies told me of truth and righteousness and strength; the light and colours that played and rested there, as it held the sun's beams and gave them back to earth, were a sort of promise to me of beauty and life above and beyond this earth; yes, and of its substantial existence now, even when we do not see it. They were a little hint of what we do not see. I do not exactly know what was the language of the wreaths of vapour that robed and shrouded and then revealed the mountain, with the exquisite shiftings and changings of their gracefulness; I believe it was like, to me, the floating veil that hides God's purposes from us, yet now and then parting enough to let us see the eternal truth and unchangeableness behind it. I told all my moods to Mont Pilatte, and I think it told all its moods to me. After a human friend, there is nothing like a big mountain. And when the news of Gettysburg and Vicksburg came; and mamma grew furious; and I saw for the first time that success was truly looming up on the horizon of the North, and that my dear coloured people might indeed soon be free; that night Mont Pilatte and I shouted together.

There came no particular light on my own affairs all this time. Indeed mamma began to reproach me for what she called my disloyal and treacherous sentiments. And then, hints began to break out, very hard to bear, that I had indulged in traitorous alliances and was an unworthy child of my house. It rankled in mamma's mind, that I had not only refused the connection with one of the two powerful Southern families which had sought me the preceding year; but that I had also discouraged and repelled during the past winter several addresses which might have been made very profitable to my country as well as my own interests. For what had I rejected them all? mamma began to ask discontentedly. Papa shielded me a little; but I felt that the sky was growing dark around me with the coming storm.

One never knows, after all, where the first bolt will come from. Mine struck me all unawares, while I was looking in an opposite quarter. It is hard to write it. A day came, that I had a father in the morning, and at night, none.

It was very sudden. He had been feeble, to be sure, more than usual, for several days, but nobody apprehended anything. Towards evening he failed suddenly; sent for me, and died in my arms, blessing me. Yes, we had been walking the same road together for some time. I was only left to go on awhile longer alone.

But Mont Pilatte said to me that night, "There remaineth a rest for the people of God." And while the moon went down and the stars slowly trooped over the head of the mountain, I heard that utterance, and those words of the hymn –

                           "God liveth ever:
"Wherefore, soul, despair thou never."

I could go no farther. I could think no more. Kneeling at my window-sill, under the starry night, my soul held to those two things and did not loose its moorings. It is a great deal, to hold fast. It was all then I could do. And even in the remembrance now of the loneliness and desolate feeling that came upon me at that time, there is also a strong sense of the deep sweetness which I was conscious of, rather than able to taste, coming from those words and resting at the bottom of my heart.

I was in some measure drawn out of myself, almost immediately, by the illness of my mother. She fell into a nervous disordered condition, which it taxed all my powers to tend and soothe. I think it was mental rather than bodily, in the origin of it; but body and mind shared in the result, as usual. And when she got better and was able to sit up and even to go about again, she remained under the utmost despondency. Affairs were not looking well for the Southern struggle in America; and besides the mortification of her political affections, mamma was very sure that if the South could not succeed in establishing its independence, we should as a family be ruined.

"We are ruined now, Daisy," she said. "There can be nothing coming from our Magnolia estates – and our Virginia property is a mere battle ground, you know; and what have we to live upon?"

"Mamma, there will be some way," I said. "I have not thought about it."

"No, you do not think but of your own favourite speculations. I wish with all my heart you had never taken to fanatical ways. I have no comfort in you."

"What do you mean by fanaticism, mamma?"

"I will tell you!" replied mamma with energy. "The essence of fanaticism is to have your own way."

"I do not think, mamma, that I want to have my own way."

"Of course, when you have it. That is what such people always say. They don't want to have their own, way. I do not want to have mine, either."

"Is not Dr. Sandford attending to our affairs for us, mamma?"

"I do not know. Your father trusted him, unaccountably. I do not know what he is doing."

"He will certainly do anything that can be done for us, mamma; I am persuaded of that. And he knows how."

"Is it for your sake, Daisy?" mamma said suddenly, and with a glitter in her eye which boded confusion to the doctor.

"I do not know, mamma," I said quietly. "He was always very good and very kind to me."

"I suppose you are not quite a fool," she said, calming down a little. "And a Yankee doctor would hardly lose his senses enough to fall in love with you. Though I believe the Yankees are the most impudent nation upon the earth. I wish Butler could be hanged! I should like to know that was done before I die."

I fled from this turn of the talk always.

It was true, however brought about I do not know, that Dr. Sandford had been for some time kindly bestirring himself to look after our interests at home, which the distressed state of the country had of course greatly imperilled. I was not aware that papa had been at any time seriously concerned about them; however, it soon appeared that mamma had reason enough now for being ill at ease. In the South, war and war preparations had so far superseded the usual employments of men, that next to nothing could be looked for in place of the ordinary large crops and ample revenues. And Melbourne had been let, indeed, for a good rent; but there was some trouble about collecting the rent; and if collected, it belonged to Ransom. Ransom was in the Southern army, fighting no doubt his best, and mamma would not have scrupled to use his money; but Dr. Sandford scrupled to send it without authority. He urged mamma to come home, where he said she could be better taken care of than alone in distant Switzerland. He proposed that she should reoccupy Melbourne, and let him farm the ground for her until Ransom should be able to look after it. Mamma and Aunt Gary had many talks on the subject. I said as little as I could.

"It is almost as bad with me," said my aunt Gary, one of these times. "Only I do not want much."

"I do," said mamma. "And if one must live as one has not been accustomed to live, I would rather it should be where I am unknown."

"You are not unknown here, my dear sister!"

"Personally and socially. Not exactly. But I am historically unknown."

"Historically!" echoed my aunt.

"And living is cheaper here too."

"But one must have some money, even here, Felicia."

"I have jewels," said mamma.

"Your jewels! – Daisy might have prevented all this," said Aunt Gary, looking at me.

"Daisy is one of those whose religion it is to please themselves."

"But, my dear, you must be married some time," my aunt went on, appealingly.

"I do not think that is certain, Aunt Gary."

"You are not waiting for Preston, are you? I hope not; for he is likely to be as poor as you are; if he gets through the battles, poor boy!" And my aunt put her handkerchief to her eyes.

"I am not waiting for Preston," I said, "any more than he is waiting for me."

"I don't know how that is," said my aunt. "Preston was very dependent on you, Daisy; but I don't know – since he has heard these stories of you" –

"Daisy is nothing to Preston!" my mother broke in with some sharpness. "Tell him so, if he ever broaches the question to you. Cut that matter short. I have other views for Daisy, when she returns to her duty. I believe in a religion of obedience – not in a religion of independent self-will. I wish Daisy had been brought up in a convent. She would, if I had had my way. These popular religions throw over all law and order. I hate them!"

"You see, Daisy my dear, how pleasant it would be, if you could see things as your mother does," my aunt remarked.

"I am indifferent whether Daisy has my eyes or not," said mamma; "what I desire is, that she should have my will."

The talks came to nothing, ended in nothing, did nothing. My aunt Gary at the beginning of winter went back to America. My mother did as she had proposed; sold some of her jewels, and so paid her way in Switzerland for some months longer. But this could not last. Dr. Sandford urged her return; she wished also to be nearer to Ransom; and in the spring we once more embarked for home.

The winter had been exceedingly sad to me. No word from America ever reached my hands to give me any comfort; and I was alone with my sorrow. Mamma's state of mind, too, which was most uncomfortable for her, was extremely trying to me; because it consisted of regrets that I could not soothe, anxieties that I was unable to allay, and reproachful wishes that I could neither meet nor promise to meet. Constant repinings, ceaseless irritations, purposeless discussions; they wearied my heart, but I could bring no salve nor remedy unless I would have agreed to make a marriage for money. I missed all that had brought so much sweetness into even my Paris life, with my talks with papa, and readings, and sympathy, and mutual confidence. It was a weary winter, my only real earthly friend being Mont Pilatte. Except Mr. Dinwiddie. I had written to him and got one or two good, strong, kind, helpful answers. Ah, what a good thing a good letter is!

So it was great relief to quit Switzerland and find myself on the deck of the steamer, with every revolution of the paddle wheels bringing me nearer home. Nearer what had been home; all was vague and blank in the distance now. I was sure of nothing. Only, "The Lord is my Shepherd," answers all that. It cannot always stop the beating of human hearts, though; and mine beat hard sometimes, on that homeward voyage. Mamma was very dismal. I sat on deck as much as I could and watched the sea. It soothed me, with its living image of God's grand government on earth; its ceaseless majestic flow, of which the successive billows that raise their heads upon its surface are not the interruption, but the continuation. So with our little affairs, so with mine. Not for nothing does any feeblest one's fortunes rise or fall; but to work somewhat of good either to himself or to others, and so to the whole. I was pretty quiet during the voyage, while I knew that no news could reach me; I expected to keep quiet; but I did not know myself.

We had hardly entered the bay of New York, and I had begun to discern familiar objects and to realize that I was in the same land with Mr. Thorold again, when a tormenting anxiety took possession of my heart. Now that I was near him, questions could be put off no longer. What tidings would greet me? and how should I get any tidings at all? A fever began to run along my veins, which I felt was not to be cured by reasoning. Yes, I was not seeking to dispose my own affairs; I was not trying to take them into my own hands; but I craved to know how they stood, and what it was to which I must submit myself. I was not willing to submit to uncertainty. Yet I remembered I must do just that.

The vessel came to her moorings, and I sat in my muse, only conscious of that devouring impatience which possessed me; and did not see Dr. Sandford till he was close by my side. Then I was glad; but the deck of that bustling steamer was no place to shew how glad. I stood still, with my hand in the doctor's, and felt my face growing cold.

"Sit down!" he said, putting me back in the chair from which I had risen; and still keeping my hand. "How is Mrs. Randolph?"

"I suppose you know how she is, from her letters."

"And you?" he said, with a change of tone.

"I do not know. I shall be better, I hope."

"You will be better, to get ashore. Will you learn your mother's pleasure about it? and I will attend to the rest."

I thanked him; for the tone of genuine, manly care and protection, was in my ears for the first time in many a day. Mamma was very willing to avail herself of it too, and to my great pleasure received Dr. Sandford and treated him with perfect courtesy. Rooms were provided for us in one of the best hotels, and comforts ready. The doctor saw us established there, and asked what more he could do for us before he left us to rest. He would not stay to dinner.

"The papers, please," said mamma. "Will you send me all the papers. What is the news? We have heard nothing for weeks."

"I will send you the papers. You will see the news there," said the doctor.

"But what is it?"

"You would not rest if I began upon the subject. It would take a good while to tell it all."

"But what is the position of affairs?"

"Sherman is in Georgia. Grant is in Virginia. There has been, and there is, some stout fighting on hand."

"Sherman and Grant," said mamma. "Where are my people, doctor?"

"Opposed to them. They do not find the way exactly open," the doctor answered.

"Hard fighting, you said. How did it result?"

"Nothing is decided yet – except that the Yankees can fight," said the doctor, with a slight smile. And mamma said no more. But I took courage, and she took gloom. The papers came, a bundle of them, reaching back over several dates; giving details of the battles of the Wilderness and of Sherman's operations in the South. Mamma studied and studied, and interrupted her dinner, to study. I took the sheets as they fell from her hand and looked – for the lists of the wounded. They were long enough, but they did not hold what I was looking for. Mamma broke out at last with an earnest expression of thanksgiving that Sedgwick was killed.

"Why, mamma?" I said in some horror.

"There is one less!" she answered grimly.

"But one less makes very little difference for the cause, mamma."

"I wish there were a dozen then," said she. "I wish all were shot, that have the faculty of leading this rabble of numbers and making them worth something."

But I was getting, I, to have a little pride in Northern blood. I said nothing, of course.

"You are just a traitor, Daisy, I believe," said mamma. "You read of all that is going on, and you know that Ransom and Preston Gary are in it, and you do not care; except you care on the wrong side. But I tell you this, – nothing that calls itself Yankee shall ever have anything to do with me or mine so long as I live. I will see you dead first, Daisy."

There was no answer to be made to this either. It only sank down into my heart; and I knew I had no help in this world.

The question immediately pressed itself upon our attention, where would we go? Dr. Sandford proposed Melbourne; and urged that in the first place we should avail ourselves of the hospitalities of his sister's house in that neighbourhood, most generously tendered us, till he could be at leisure to make arrangements at our old home. Just now he was under the necessity of returning immediately to Washington, where he had one or more hospitals in charge; indeed he left us that same night of our landing; but before he went he earnestly pressed his sister's invitation upon my mother, and promised that so soon as the settlement of the country's difficulties should set him free, he would devote himself to the care of us and Melbourne till we were satisfactorily established.

"And I am in hopes it will not be very long now," he said aside to me. "I think the country has got the right man at last; and that is what we have been waiting for. Grant says he will fight it out on this line, if it takes all summer; and I think the end is coming."

Mamma would give no positive answer to the doctor's instances; she thanked him and talked round the subject, and he was obliged to go away without any contentment of her giving. Alone with me, she spoke out: –

"I will take no Yankee civilities, Daisy. I will be under no obligation to one of them. And I could not endure to be in the house of one of them, if it were conferring instead of receiving obligation."

"What will you do, then, mamma?"

"I will wait. You do not suppose that the South can be conquered, Daisy? The idea is absurd!"

"But, mamma? – "

"Well?"

"Why is it absurd?"

"Because they are not a people to give up. Don't you know that? They would die first, every man and woman of them."

"But mamma, whatever the spirit of the people may be, numbers and means have to tell upon the question at last."

"Numbers and means!" mamma repeated scornfully. "I tell you, Daisy, the South cannot yield. And as they cannot yield, they must sooner or later succeed. Success always comes at last to those who cannot be conquered."

"What is to become of us in the meantime, mamma?"

"I don't see that it signifies much," she said, relapsing out of the fire with which the former sentences had been pronounced. "I would like to live to see the triumph come."

That was all I could get from mamma that evening. She lay down on a sofa and buried her face in pillows. I sat in the darkening room and mused. The windows were open; a soft warm air blew the curtains gently in and out; from the street below came the murmur of business and voices and clatter of feet and sound of wheels; not with the earnestness of alarm or the droop of depression, but ringing, sharp, clear, cheery. The city did not feel badly. New York had not suffered in its fortunes or prosperity. There was many a battlefield at the South where the ravages of war had swept all traces and hopes of good fortunes away; never one at the North where the corn had been blasted, or the fruits of the earth untimely ravaged, or the heart of the husbandman disappointed in his ground. Mamma's conclusions seemed to me without premise. What of my own fortunes? I thought the wind of the desert had blown upon them and they were dead. I remember, in the trembling of my heart as I sat and listened and mused, and thoughts trooped in and out of my head with little order or volition on my part, one word was a sort of rallying point on which they gathered and fell back from time to time, though they started out again on fresh roamings – "Lord, thou hast been our dwelling-place in all generations"! – I remember, – it seems to me now as if it had been some time before I was born, – how the muslin curtains floated in on the evening wind, and the hum and stir of the street came up to my ear; the bustle and activity, though it was evening; and how the distant battlefields of Virginia looked in forlorn contrast in the far distance. Yet this was really the desert and that the populous place; for there, somewhere, my world was. I grew very desolate as I thought, or mused, by the window. If it had not been for those words of the refuge, my heart would have failed me utterly. After a long while mamma roused up and we had tea brought.

"Has Dr. Sandford gone?" she asked.

"He bid us good-bye, mamma, you know. I suppose he took the evening train, as he said."

"Then we shall have no more meddling."

"He means us only kindness, I am sure, mamma."

"I do not like kindness. I do not know what right Dr. Sandford has to offer me kindness. I gave him none."

"Mamma, it seems to me that we are in a condition to receive kindness, – and be very glad of it."

"You are poor-spirited, Daisy; you always were. You never had any right pride of blood or of place. I think it makes no difference to you who people are. If you had done your duty to me, we should have been in no condition now to 'receive kindness,' as you express it. I may thank you."

"What do you mean to do, mamma?"

"Nothing."

"Stay here, in this hotel?"

"Yes."

"It will be very expensive, mamma."

"I will meet the expense."

"But, mamma, – without funds?"

"I have a diamond necklace yet, Daisy."

"But, mamma, when that is gone? – "

"Do you think," she broke out with violence, "that this war is going to last for ever? It cannot last. The Yankees will find out what they have undertaken. Lee will drive them back. You do not suppose he can be overcome?"

"Mamma – if the others have more men and more means – "

"They are only Yankees," – mamma said quietly, but with a concentration of scorn impossible to give in words.

"They know how to fight," – I could not help saying.

"Yes, but we do not know how to be overcome! Do you think it, Daisy?"

"Mamma – there was New Orleans – and Vicksburg – and Gettysburg; – and now in Virginia – "

"Yes, now; these battles; you will see how they will turn. Do you suppose this Yankee Grant is a match for Robert E. Lee?"

It was best to drop the discussion, and I dropped it; but it had gone too far to be forgotten. Every bit of news from that time was a point of irritation; if good for the South, mamma asserted that I did not sympathize with it; if good for the North, she found that I was glad, though I tried not to shew that I was. She was irritated, and anxious, and unhappy. What I was, I kept to myself.

CHAPTER XX.
THE WOUNDED.

ONE desire possessed me, pressing before every other; it was to see Miss Cardigan. I thought I should accomplish this very soon after my landing. I found that I must wait for days.

It was very hard to wait. Yet mamma needed me; she was nervous and low-spirited and unwell and lonely; she could not endure to have me long out of her sight. She never looked with favour upon any proposal of mine to go out, even for a walk; and I could hardly get permission. I fancied that some latent suspicion lay beneath all this unwillingness, which did not make it more easy to bear. But I got leave at last, one afternoon early in June; and took my way up the gay thoroughfares of Broadway and the Avenue.

It was June, June all over. Just like the June of four years ago, when Dr. Sandford took me away from school to go to West Point; like the June of three years ago, when I had been finishing my school work, before I went to Washington. I was a mere girl then; now, I seemed to myself at least twenty years older. June sweetness was in all the air; June sunlight through all the streets; roses blossomed in courtyards and looked out of windows; grass was lush and green; people were in summer dresses. I hurried along, my breath growing shorter as I went. The well-known corner of Mme. Ricard's establishment came into view, and bright school-days with it. Miss Cardigan's house opposite looked just as I had left it; and as I drew near I saw that this was literally so. The flowers were blossoming in the garden plots and putting their faces out of window, exactly as if I had left them but a day ago. My knees trembled under me then, as I went up the steps and rang the bell. A strange servant opened to me. I went in, to her astonishment I suppose, without asking any questions; which indeed I could not. What if a second time I should find Mr. Thorold here? Such a thought crossed me as I trod the familiar marble floor, after the wild fashion in which our wishes mock our reason; then it left me the next instant, in my gladness to see through the opening door the figure of my dear old friend. Just as I had left her also. Something, in the wreck of my world, had stood still and suffered no change.

I went in and stood before her. She pulled off her spectacles, looked at me, changed colour and started up. I can hardly tell what she said. I think I was in too great a confusion for my senses to do their office perfectly. But her warm arms were about me, and my head found a hiding-place on her shoulder.

"Sit down, my lamb, my lamb!" were the first words I remember. "Janet, shut the door, and tell anybody I am busy. Sit you down here and rest. My lamb, ye're all shaken. Daisy, my pet, where have you been?"

I sat down, and she did, but I leaned over to the arms that still enfolded me and laid my head on her bosom. She was silent now for a while. And I wished she would speak, but I could not. Her arms pressed me close in the embrace that had so comforted my childhood. She had taken off my bonnet and kissed me and smoothed my hair; and that was all, for what seemed a long while.

"What is it?" she said at last. "I know you're left, my darling. I heard of your loss, while you were so far away from home. One is gone from your world."

"He was happy – he is happy," I whispered.

"Let us praise the Lord for that!" she said in her broadest Scotch accent, which only came out in moments of feeling.

"But he was nearly all my world, Miss Cardigan."

"Ay," she said. "We hae but one father. And yet, no, my bairn. Ye're not left desolate."

"I have been very near it."

"I am glad ye are come home."

"But I feel as if I had no home anywhere," I said with a burst of tears which were a great mercy to me at the time. The stricture upon my heart had like to have taken away my breath. Miss Cardigan let me weep, saying sympathy with the tender touch of her soft hand; no otherwise. And then I could lift myself up and face life again.

"You have not forgotten your Lord, Daisy?" she said at length, when she saw me quiet. I looked at her and smiled my answer, though it must have been a sober smile.

"I see," she said; "you have not. But how was it, so far away, my bairn? Weren't you tempted?"

"No, dear Miss Cardigan. What could tempt me?"

"The world, child. Its baits of pleasure and pride and power. Did they never take hold on ye, Daisy?"

"My pleasure I had left at home," I said. "No, that is not quite true. I had the pleasure of being with papa and mamma; and of seeing a great deal of beauty, too. And I had pleasure in Palestine, Miss Cardigan; but it was not the sort to tempt me to forget anything good."

"And pride?" said the old lady.

"Why do you ask me?"

"You're so bonny, my darling. You ken you are; and other folks know it."

"Pride? Yes, it tempted me a little," I said; "but it could not for long, Miss Cardigan, when I remembered."

"Remembered? What was it you remembered?" she said very tenderly; for I believe my eyes had filled again.

"When I remembered what I was heir to."

"And ye didn't have your inheritance all in the future, I trust?" said my old friend. "There's crumbs to be gotten even now from that feast; ye didn't go starving, my bairn?"

"I hadn't much to help me, Miss Cardigan, except the Lord's wonderful world which He has made. That helped me."

"And ye had a crumb of joy now and then?"

"I had more than crumbs sometimes," I said, with a sober looking back over the years.

"And it is my own living Daisy and not an image of her? You are not spoiled a bit, my bairn?"

"Maybe I am," I said, smiling at her. "How do I know?"

"There's a look in your eyes which says you are not," she said with a sort of long breath; "and I know not how you have escaped it. Child! the forces which have assailed you have beaten down many a one. It's only to be strong in the Lord, to be sure; but we are lured away from our strength, sometimes, and then we fall; and we are lured easily."

"Perhaps not when the battle is so very hard to fight, dear Miss Cardigan."

"Maybe no," she said. "But had ye never a minister to counsel ye or to help ye, in those parts?"

"Only when I was in Palestine; nowhere else."

"You must have wanted it sorely."

"Yes, but, Miss Cardigan, I had better teaching all the time. The mountains and the sun and the sky and the beauty, all seemed to repeat the Bible to me, all the time. I never saw the top of Mont Blanc rosy in the sunset, nor the other mountains, without thinking of those words, 'Be ye perfect, even as your Father in heaven is perfect;' – and, 'They shall walk with me in white.' – "

Miss Cardigan wiped away a tear or two.

"But you are looking very sober, my love," she said presently, examining me.

"I have reason," I said. And I went on to give her in detail the account of the past year's doings in my family, and of our present position and prospects. She listened with the greatest sympathy and the most absorbed attention. The story had taken a good while; it was growing late, and I rose to go. Not till then was her nephew alluded to.

"I'm thinking," then said Miss Cardigan slowly, "there's one person you have not asked after, who would ill like to be left out of our mouths."

I stood still and hesitated and I felt my face grow warm.

"I have not heard from him, Miss Cardigan, since – "

And I did not say since when.

"And what of it?" she asked.

"Nothing – " I said, stammering a little, " but I wait."

"He's waiting, poor lad," she said. "Have ye not had letters from him?"

"Never; not since that one I sent him through you."

"He got it, however," said Miss Cardigan; "for there was no reason whatever why he should not. Did you think, Daisy, he had forgotten you?"

"No, Miss Cardigan; but it was told of him that – he had forgotten me."

"How was that done? I thought no one knew about your loving each other, you two children."

"So I thought; but – why, Miss Cardigan, it was confidently told in Paris to my mother that he was engaged to a schoolmate of mine."

"Did you believe it?"

"No. But I never heard from him again, and of course papa did believe it. How could I tell, Miss Cardigan?"

"By your faith, child. I wouldn't have Christian think you didn't believe him, not for all the world holds."

"I did believe him," I said, feeling a rill of joy flowing into some dry places in my heart and changing the wilderness there. "But he was silent, and I waited."

"He was not silent, I'll answer for it," said his aunt; "but the letters might have gone wrong, you know. That is what they have done, somehow."

"What could have been the foundation of that story?" I questioned.

"I just counsel ye to ask Christian, when ye see him – if these weary wars ever let us see him. I think he'll answer ye."

And his aunt's manner rather intimated that my answer would be decisive. I bade her good-bye, and returned along the shadowing streets with such a play of life and hope in my heart, as for the time changed it into a very garden of delight. I was not the same person that had walked those ways a few hours ago.

This jubilation, however, could not quite last. I had no sooner got home, than mamma began to cast in doubts and fears and frettings, till the play of the fountain was well nigh covered over with rubbish. Yet I could feel the waters of joy stirring underneath it all; and she said, rather in a displeased manner, that my walk seemed to have done me a great deal of good! and inquired where I had been. I told her, of course; and then had to explain how I became acquainted with Miss Cardigan; a detail which mamma heard with small edification. Her only remark, however, made at the end, was, "I beseech you, Daisy, do not cultivate such associations!"

"She was very good to me, mamma, when I was a school-girl."

"Very well, you are not a school-girl now."

It followed very easily, that I could see little of my dear old friend. Mamma was suspicious of me and rarely allowed me to go I out of her sight. We abode still at the hotel, where we had luxurious quarters; how paid for, mamma's jewel-box knew. It made me very uneasy to live so; for jewels, even be they diamonds, cannot last very long after they are once turned into gold pieces; and I knew ours went fast; but nothing could move my mother out of her pleasure. In vain Dr. Sandford wrote and remonstrated; and in vain I sometimes pleaded. "The war is not going to last for ever," she would coldly reply; "you and Dr. Sandford are two fools. The South cannot be conquered, Daisy."

But I, with trembling hope, was beginning to think otherwise.

So the days passed on, and the weeks. Mamma spent half her time over the newspapers. I consulted them, I could not help it, in my old fashion; and it made them grewsome things to me. But it was a necessity for me, to quiet my nerves with the certainty that no name I loved was to be found there in those lists of sorrow.

And one day that certainty failed. Among the new arrivals of wounded men just come into Washington from Virginia, I saw the name of Captain Preston Gary.

It was late in the summer, or early in September; I forget which. We were as we had been; nothing in our position changed. Mamma at the moment was busy over other prints, having thrown this down; and feeling my cheeks grow white as I sat there, I held the paper to shield my face and pondered what I should do. The instant thought had been, "I must go to him." The second brought difficulties. How to meet the difficulties, I sat thinking; that I must go to Preston I never doubted for a moment. I sat in a maze; till an exclamation from my mother brought my paper shield down.

"Here's a letter from the doctor, Daisy; he says your cousin is in the hospital."

"His hospital?" I asked.

"I suppose so; he does not say that. But he says he is badly wounded. I wonder how he comes to be in Washington?"

"Taken prisoner, mamma."

"Yes, – wounded," mamma said bitterly. "That's the only way he could. Dr. Sandford bids me let his mother know. She can't go to him; even if my letter could reach her in time and she could get to Washington, which I don't believe she could; she is too ill herself. I shall not write to her."

"Let us go, mamma; you and I."

"I?" said mamma. "I go to that den of thieves? No; I shall not go to Washington, unless I am dragged there."

"But Preston, mamma; think!"

"I am tired of thinking, Daisy. There is no good in thinking. This is the work of your favourite Northern swords and guns; I hope you enjoy it."

"I would like to remedy it, mamma; to do something at least. Mamma, do let us go to Preston!"

I spoke very earnestly, and I believe with tears. Mamma looked at me.

"Why, do you care for him?" she asked.

"Very much!" I said weeping.

"I did not know you had any affection for anything South, except the coloured people."

"Mamma, let us go to Preston. He must want us so much!"

"I cannot go to Washington, Daisy."

"Can you spare me, mamma? I will go."

"Do you love Preston Gary?" said mamma, sitting up-right to look at me.

"Mamma, I always loved him. You know I did."

"Why did you not say so before?"

"I did say so, mamma, whenever I was asked. Will you let me go? O mamma, let me go!"

"What could you do, child? he is in the hospital."

"Mamma, he may want so many things; I know he must want some things."

"It is vain talking. You cannot go alone, Daisy."

"No, ma'am; but if I could get a good safe friend to go with me?"

"I do not know such a person in this place."

"I do, mamma, – just the person."

"Not a fit person for you to travel with."

"Yes, mamma, just the one; safe and wise to take care of me. And if I were once there, Dr. Sandford would do anything for me."

Mamma pondered my words, but would not yield to them. I wept half the evening, I think, with a strange strain on my heart that said I must go to Preston. Childish memories came thick about me, and later memories; and I could not bear the idea of his dying, perhaps, alone in a hospital, without one near to say a word of truth or help him in any wish or want that went beyond the wants of the body. Would even those be met? My nerves were unstrung.

"Do stop your tears, Daisy!" mamma said at length. "I can't bear them. I never saw you do so before."

"Mamma, I must go to Preston."

"If you could go there properly, child, and had any one to take care of you; as it is, it is impossible."

I half thought it was; I could not bend mamma. But while we sat there under the light of the lamp, and I was trying to do some work, which was every now and then wetted by a drop that would fall, a servant brought in a note to me. It was from Mrs. Sandford, in New York, on her way to Washington to look after a friend of her own; and asking if in any matter she could be of service to me or to mamma. I had got my opportunity now, and I managed to get mamma's consent. I answered Mrs. Sandford's note; packed up my things; and by the early train next morning started with her for Washington.

Mrs. Sandford was very kind, very glad to have me with her, very full of questions, of sympathy, of condolence, and of care; I remember all that, and how I took it at the time, feeling that Daisy and Daisy's life had changed since last I was under that same gentle and feeble guidance. And I remember what an undertone of music ran through my heart in the thought that I might perhaps hear of, or see, Mr. Thorold. Our journey was prosperous; and the next person we saw after arriving at our rooms was Dr. Sandford. He shook hands with his sister; and then, his eye lightened and his countenance altered as he turned to the other figure in the room and saw who it was.

"Daisy!" he exclaimed, warmly grasping my hand, – "Miss Randolph! where is Mrs. Randolph, and what brings you here?"

"Why, the train, to be sure, Grant," answered his sister-in-law. "What a man you are for business! Do let Daisy rest and breathe and have something to eat, before she is obliged to give an account of herself. See, we are tired to death."

Perhaps she was, but I was not. However, the doctor and I both yielded. Mrs. Sandford and I withdrew to change our dresses, and then we had supper; but after supper, when she was again out of the room, Dr. Sandford turned to me and took my hand.

"I must go presently," he said. "Now, Miss Randolph, what is it?"

I sat down and he sat down beside me, still holding my hand, on a sofa in the room.

"Dr. Sandford, my cousin Gary is a prisoner and in the hospital. You wrote to mamma."

"Yes. I thought his mother might like to know."

"She is ill herself, in Georgia, and cannot come to Washington. Dr. Sandford, I want to go in and take care of him."

"You!" said the doctor. But whatever he thought, his countenance was impenetrable.

"You can manage that for me."

"Can I?" said he. "But, Daisy, you do not come under the regulations."

"That is no matter, Dr. Sandford."

"How is it no matter?"

"Because, I know you can do what you like. You always could manage things for me."

He smiled a little, but went on in an unchanged tone.

"You are too young; and – excuse me – you have another disqualification."

"I will do just as you tell me," I said.

"If I let you in."

"You will let me in."

"I do not see that I ought. I think I ought not."

"But you will, Dr. Sandford. My cousin was very dear to me when I was a child at Melbourne – I love him yet very much – no one would take so good care of him as I would; and it would be a comfort to me for ever. Do let me go in! I have come for that."

"You might get sick yourself," he said. "You do not know what you would be obliged to hear and see. You do not know, Daisy."

"I am not a child now," – I replied.

There was more in my answer than mere words; there was more, I know, in my feeling; and the doctor took the force of it. He looked very sober, though, upon my plan, which it was evident he did not like.

"Does Mrs. Randolph give her consent to this proceeding?" he asked.

"She knows I came that I might look after Preston. I did not tell her my plan any further."

"She would not like it."

"Mamma and I do not see things with the same eyes, – some things, Dr. Sandford. I think I ought to do it."

"I think she is right," he said. "You are not fit for it. You have no idea what you would be obliged to encounter."

"Try me," I said.

"I believe you are fit for anything," he broke out in answer to this last appeal; "and I owned myself conquered by you, Daisy, long ago. I find I have not recovered my independence. Well – you will go in. But you cannot be dressed – so."

"No, I will change my dress. I will do it immediately."

"No, not to-night!" exclaimed the doctor. "Not to-night. It is bad enough to-morrow; but I shall not take you in to-night. Rest, and sleep and be refreshed; I need not say, be strong; for that you are always. No, I will not take you with me to-night. You must wait."

And I could do no more with him for the time. I improved the interval, however. I sent out and got some yards of check to make aprons; and at my aprons I sat sewing all the evening, to Mrs. Sandford's disgust.

"My dear child, what do you want of those things?" she said, looking at them and me with an inexpressible disdain of the check.

"I think they will be useful, ma'am."

"But you are not going into the hospital?"

"Yes; to-morrow morning."

"As a visitor. But not to stay."

"I am going to stay if I am wanted," I said, displaying the dimensions of my apron for my own satisfaction.

"My dear, if you stay, you will be obliged to see all manner of horrible things."

"They must be worse to bear than to see, Mrs. Sandford."

"But you cannot endure to see them, Daisy; you never can. Grant will never allow it."

I sewed in silence, thinking that Dr. Sandford would conform his will to mine in the matter.

"I will never forgive him if he does!" said the lady. But that also I thought would have to be borne. My heart was firm for whatever lay before me. In the hospital, by Preston's side, I was sure my work lay; and to be there, I must have a place at other bedsides as well as his. In the morning Mrs. Sandford renewed her objections and remonstrances as soon as she saw her brother-in-law; and to do him justice, he looked as ill pleased as she did.

"Daisy wants to go into the hospital as a regular nurse," she said.

"It is a weakness of large-hearted women now-a-days."

"Large-hearted! Grant, you are not going to permit such a thing?"

"I am no better than other men," said the doctor; "and have no more defences."

"But it is Daisy that wants the defences," Mrs. Sandford cried; "it is she that is running into danger."

"She shall want no defences while she is in my hospital."

"It is very well to say; but if you let her in there, you cannot help it. She must be in danger, of all sorts of harm."

"If you will prevent it, Mrs. Sandford, you will lay me under obligations," said the doctor, sitting down and looking up at his sister-in-law somewhat comically. "I am helpless, for I have passed my word. Daisy has the command."

"But just look at the figure she is, in that dress! Fancy it! That is Miss Randolph."

The doctor glanced up and down, over my dress, and his eye turned to Mrs. Sandford with provoking unconcern.

"But you will not let her stay there, Grant?"

The doctor looked up at me now, and I saw an answer ready on his lips. There was but one way left for me, I thought; I do not know how I came to do it, but I was not Daisy that morning; or else my energies were all strung up to a state of tension that made Daisy a different person from her wont. I laid my hand lightly over the doctor's mouth before he could speak. It silenced him, as I hoped. He rose up with a look that shewed me I had conquered, and asked if I were ready. He must go, he said.

I did not keep him waiting. And once out in the street, with my hand on his arm, I was quite Daisy again; as humble and quiet as ever in my life. I went like a child now, in my guardian's hand; through the little crowds of men collected here and there, past the sentinels at the hospital door, in through the wide, clean, quiet halls and rooms, where Dr. Sandford's authority and system made everything work, I afterwards found, as by the perfection of machinery. Through one ward and another at last, where the rows of beds, each containing its special sufferer, the rows of faces, of various expression, that watched us from the beds, the attendants and nurses and the work that was going on by their hands, caused me to draw a little closer to the arm on which I leaned and to feel yet more like a weak child. Yet even then, even at that moment, the woman within me began to rise and put down the feeling of childish weakness. I began to be strong.

Out of the wards, into his own particular room and office, comfortable enough, Dr. Sandford brought me then. He gave me a chair, and poured me out a glass of wine.

"No, thank you," said I, smiling. "I do not need it."

"You are pale."

"That is womanish; but I am not weak or faint, though."

"Do you maintain your purpose?"

"Yes, certainly."

"You had better take off your bonnet and shawl then. You would find them in the way."

I obeyed, and went on to envelope myself in my apron. Dr. Sandford looked on grimly. Very ill pleased he was, I could see. But then I laid my hand on his arm and looked at him.

"I am so much obliged to you for this," I said earnestly. And his face softened.

"I am afraid it is wrong in me," he remarked.

"If you thought it was, you would not do it," I answered; "and I hope I should not ask it. I am ready now. But Dr. Sandford, I want teaching, as to what I ought to do. Who will teach me?"

"I will teach you. But you know how to give a sick man tea or soup, I fancy, without much teaching."

"There are other things, Dr. Sandford."

"It will not be necessary. There are others to do the other things. Captain Gary has only some simple wounds to be dressed."

"But there are others, Dr. Sandford? And I must know how to do all that the nurses do. I am not here to be in the way. I am not going to take care of my cousin only."

"There is enough to do," said the doctor; "but, you will not like it, Daisy."

Something in his wistful look at me, something in the contrast between merely seeing what he was afraid I should see, and the suffering itself which by the sufferers had to be borne, touched me keenly. My eyes filled as I looked at the doctor, but I think the purpose in my heart perhaps came out in my face; for his own suddenly changed, and with a "Come, then!" – he gave me his arm and led the way upstairs and into another succession of rooms, to the ward and the room where my cousin Preston lay.

CHAPTER XXI.
THE HOSPITAL.

A CLEAN, quiet, airy room, like all the rest; like all the rest filled with rows of beds, the occupants of which had come from the stir of the fight and the bustle of the march, to lie here and be still; from doing to suffering. How much the harder work, I thought; and if it be well done, how much the nobler. And all who know the way in which our boys did it, will bear witness to their great nobleness. Patient, and strong, and brave, where there was no excitement to cheer, nor spectators to applaud; their fortitude and their patience and their generous self-devotion never failed nor faltered, when all adventitious or real helps and stimulants were withdrawn, and patriotism and bravery stood alone.

From the turn of Dr. Sandford's head, I knew on which side I might look to see Preston; and as we slowly passed up the long line of beds, I scanned breathlessly each face. Old and young, grim and fair, gentle and rough; it was a variety. And then I saw, I should hardly have known it, a pale face with a dark moustache and a thick head of dark, glossy hair, which was luxuriant yet, although it had been cropped. His eyes were closed as we came up; opened as we paused by his bed-side, and opened very wide indeed as he looked from the doctor to me.

"How do you do, this morning, Gary?" said my conductor.

"Confoundedly – " was the somewhat careless answer, made while examining my face.

"You see who has come to look after you?"

"It isn't Daisy!" he cried.

"How do you do, Preston?" I said, taking hold of the hand which lay upon the coverlid. He drew the hand hastily away, half raising himself on his elbow.

"What have you come here for?" he asked.

"I have come to take care of you."

"You," said Preston. "In this place! Where is mamma?"

"Aunt Gary is far away from here. She could not get to you."

"But you, you were in Switzerland."

"Not since last May."

"Lie down, Gary, and take it quietly," said Dr. Sandford, putting his hand on his shoulder. Preston scowled and submitted, without taking his eyes from my face.

"You are not glad to see me?" I asked, feeling his manner a little awkward.

"Of course not. You ought not to be in this place. What have you got on that rig for?"

"What rig?"

"That! I suppose you don't dress so at home, do you? You didn't use to do it. Hey? what is it for?"

"It is that I may be properly dressed. Home things would be out of place here."

"Yes; so I think," said Preston; "and you most of all. Where is Aunt Randolph?"

"You do not seem very grateful, Gary," said the doctor, who all this while stood by with an impenetrable countenance.

"Grateful – for what?"

"For your cousin's affection and kindness, which has come here to look after you."

"I am not grateful," said Preston. "I shall not have her stay."

"What has brought you here, Preston?" I asked by way of diversion.

"Me? Powder. It's an infernal invention. If one could fight with steel, there would be some fun in it. But powder has no respect of persons."

"How has it hurt you?" I asked. I had somehow never chosen to put the question to Dr. Sandford; I can hardly tell why. Now it was time to know. Preston's eye fell on me with sudden gentleness.

"Daisy, go away," he said. "You have no business here. It is of all places no place for you. Go away, and don't come again."

"Dr. Sandford," said I, "will you take me with you and give me my lesson? That is the first thing. I must earn my right to the place, it seems."

The doctor looked at me in his turn; I avoided the eye of Preston. He looked at me in a way not hard to read; quite agreeing with Preston in wishing me away, but, I saw also, respecting my qualifications for the work I had come to do. I saw that he gave me a great reverence on account of it; but then, Dr. Sandford always gave me more reverence than belonged to me. I made use of this, and held my advantage. And the doctor seeing that I was calmly in earnest, even took me at my word.

We began a progress through the ward; during which every man's condition was inquired into; wounds examined and dressed; and course of treatment prescribed. I looked on at first as a mere spectator; bearing the revelation of pain and suffering with all the fortitude I could muster; but I found in a little while that it would overmaster me if I continued an idle looker-on; and putting aside the attendant nurse at last with a whisper to which she yielded, I offered myself quietly in her place to do her work. Dr. Sandford glanced at me then, but made no remark whatever; suffering me to do my pleasure, and employing me as if I had been there for a month. He began to give me directions too. It seemed a long age of feeling and experience, the time while we were passing through the ward; yet Dr. Sandford was extremely quick and quiet in his work, and lost no seconds by unnecessary delay. Even I could see that. He was kind, too; never harsh, though very firm in his authority and thorough in his business. I could not help an unconscious admiration for him growing as we went on. That steady, strong blue eye; what a thing it was for doubt and fear to rest on. I saw how doubt and fear rested. I thought I did; though the bearing of all the sufferers there was calm and self-contained to an admirable degree. It was so, I heard, with all our soldiers everywhere.

We came round, last of all, to Preston's couch again; and the doctor paused. He glanced at me again for the first time in a long while. I do not know how I trembled inwardly; outwardly, I am sure, I did not flinch. His eye went to Preston.

"Do you see, you are to have a better nurse than you deserve?" he said.

"It is disgusting!" Preston muttered.

"Some things are," answered the doctor; "not a brave woman, or a gentle man."

"Send Daisy away from this place. You know she ought not to be here; and you can forbid it."

"You overstate my power, my friend," said the doctor. "Shall we see how you are getting along to-day."

Preston's eye came to me again, silently, with reluctance and regret in it. I was touched more than I chose to shew, and more than it was safe to think about."

"Does she know?" he asked.

"She does not know. Your cousin, Miss Randolph, has given one of his arms for his cherished cause."

"And one of my legs too," said Preston. "If it would do the cause any good, I would not care; but what good does it do? That's what I don't like about powder."

I had much ado to stand this communication. The work of examining and dressing Preston's wounds, however, immediately began; and in the effort to do my part, as usual, I found the best relief for overstrained nerves. I think some tears fell upon the bandages; but no word of remark was made by either physician or patient, till the whole business was concluded. Dr. Sandford then carried me off to a nice, warm, comfortable apartment, which he told me I might always hold as my own whenever I had time to be there; he seated me in a chair, and a second time poured me out a glass of wine, which he took from a cupboard.

"I do not drink it," I said, shaking my head.

"Yes, you do, – to-day."

"I never drink it," I said. "I cannot touch it, Dr. Sandford."

"You must take something. What is the matter with the wine? Is it disagreeable to you?"

"I will not help anybody else drink it," I said, looking at him and forcing a smile; for I was tired and very sick at heart.

"Nobody will know you take it."

"Not if I do not take it. They will if I do."

"Are you going upon that old childish plan of yours?" said the doctor, sitting down beside me and looking with a wistful kind of tenderness into my face. "Are you bent still upon living for other people, Daisy?"

"You know, the Master I follow did so; and His servants must be like him," I said, and I felt my smile was stronger and brighter this time. Dr. Sandford arose, summoned an attendant and sent him off for a cup of tea for me; then saw me take it.

"Now," said he, "are you fixed in the plan of devoting yourself to the care of this ungracious cousin?"

"Of him, and of others," I said.

"He does not deserve it."

"Suppose we waited to give people their deserts, Dr. Sandford?"

"Some people deserve to be allowed to take care of you," said the doctor, getting up and beginning to pace up and down the floor. "They deserve it; and find it hard work; or denied them altogether."

"You do take care of me," I said gratefully. "You always did, Dr. Sandford. You are doing it now; and I am thanking you all the time in my heart."

"Well," said he abruptly, standing still before me, – "you are one of those who are born to command; and in your case I always find I have to obey. This room you will use as you please; no one will share it with you; and you need a retiring-place for a breath of rest when you can get it. I shall see you constantly, as I am going out and in; and anything you want you will tell me. But you will not like it, Daisy. You can stand the sight of blood, like other women, whose tenderness makes them strong; but you will not like some other things. You will not like the way you will have to take your meals in this place."

I had finished my cup of tea, and now stood up to let the doctor take me back to my place beside Preston; which he did without any more words. And there he left me; and I sat down to consider my work and my surroundings. My cousin had forgotten his impatience in sleep; and there was a sort of lull in the business of the ward at that hour.

I found in a few minutes that it was a great comfort to me to be there. Not since papa's death, had so peaceful a sense of full hands and earnest living crept into my heart. My thoughts flew once or twice to Mr. Thorold, but I called them back as soon; I could not bear that; while at the same time I felt I was nearer to him here than anywhere else. And my thoughts were very soon called effectually home from my own special concerns, by seeing that the tenant of one of the neighbouring beds was restless and suffering from fever. A strong, fine-looking man, flushed and nervous on a fever bed, in helpless inactivity, with the contrast of life energies all at work and effectively used only a little while ago, in the camp and the battlefield. Now lying here. His fever proceeded from his wounds, I knew, for I had seen them dressed. I went to him and laid my hand on his forehead. I wonder what and how much there can be in the touch of a hand. It quieted him, like a charm; and after a while, a fan and a word or two now and then were enough for his comfort. I did not seem to be Daisy Randolph; I was just the hospital nurse; and my use was to minister; and the joy of ministering was very great.

From my fever patient I was called to others, who wanted many various things; it was a good while before I got round to Preston again. Meanwhile, I was secretly glad to find out that I was gaining fast ground in the heart of the other nurse of the ward, who had at first looked upon me with great doubt and mistrust on account of my age and appearance. She was a clever, energetic New England woman; efficient and helpful as it was possible to be; thin and wiry, but quiet, and full of sense and kindliness. With a consciousness of her growing favour upon me, I came at last to Preston's bedside again. He looked anything but amicable.

"Where is Aunt Randolph?" were his first words, uttered with very much the manner of a growl. I replied that I had left her in New York.

"I shall write to her," said Preston. " How came she to do such an absurd thing as to let you come here? and whom did you come with? Did you come alone?"

"Not at all. I came with proper company."

"Proper company wouldn't have brought you," Preston growled.

"I think you want something to eat, Preston," I said. "You will feel better when you have had some refreshment."

It was just the time for a meal and I saw the supplies coming in. And Preston's refreshment, as well as that of some others, I attended to myself. I think he found it pleasant; for although some growls waited upon me even in the course of my ministering to him, I heard from that time no more remonstrances; and I am sure Preston never wrote his letter. A testimonial of a different sort was conveyed in his whispered request to me, not to let that horrid Yankee spinster come near him again.

But Miss Yates was a good friend to me.

"You are looking a little pale," she said to me at evening. "Go and lie down a spell. All's done up; you ain't wanted now, and you may be, for anything anybody can tell, before an hour is gone. Just you go away and get some rest. It's been your first day. And the first day's rather tough."

I told her I did not feel tired. But she insisted; and I yielded so far as to go and lie down for a while in the room which Dr. Sandford had given to me. When I came back, I met Miss Yates near the door of the room. I asked her if there were any serious cases in the ward just then.

"La! half of 'em's serious," said she; "if you mean by that they might take a wrong turn and go off. You never can tell."

"But are there any in immediate danger, do you think?"

She searched my face before she answered.

"How come you to be so strong, and so young, and so – well, so unlike all this sort of thing? – Have you ever, no you never have, seen much of sickness and death, and that?"

"No; not much."

"But you look as calm as a field of white clover. I beg your pardon, my dear; it's like you. And you ain't one of the India rubber sort, neither. I am glad you ain't, too; I don't think that sort is fit to be nurses or anything else."

She looked at me inquiringly.

"Miss Yates," I said, "I love Jesus. I am a servant of Christ. I like to do whatever my Lord gives me to do."

"Oh!" said she. "Well I ain't. I sometimes wish I was. But it comes handy now, for there's a man down there – he ain't a going to live, and he knows it, and he's kind o' worried about it; and I can't say nothing to him. Maybe you can. I've written his letters for him, and all that; but he's just uneasy."

I asked, and she told me, which bed held this sick man, who would soon be a dying one. I walked slowly down the ward, thinking of this new burden of life-work that was laid upon me and how to meet it. My very heart sank. I was so helpless. And rose too; for I remembered that our Redeemer is strong. What could I do?

I stood by the man's side. He was thirsty and I gave him lemonade. His eye met mine as his lips left the cup; an eye of unrest.

"Are you comfortable?" I asked.

"As much as I can be." – It was a restless answer.

"Can't you think of Jesus, and rest?" I asked, bending over him. His eye darted to mine with a strange expression of inquiry and pain; but it was all the answer he made.

"There is rest at His feet for all who trust in Him; – rest in His arms for all who love Him."

"I am not the one or the other," he said shortly.

"But you may be."

"I reckon not, – at this time of day," he said.

"Any time of day will do," I said tenderly.

"I guess not," said he. "One cannot do anything lying here – and I sha'n't lie here much longer, either. There's no time now to do anything."

"There is nothing to do, dear friend, but to give your heart and trust to the Lord who died for you – who loves you – who invites you – who will wash away your sins for His own sake, in His own blood, which He shed for you. Jesus has died for you; you shall not die, if you will put your trust in Him."

He looked at me, turned his head away restlessly, turned it back again, and said, –

"That won't do."

"Why?"

"I don't believe in wicked people going to heaven."

"Jesus came to save wicked people; just them."

"They've got to be good, though, before they" – he paused, – "go – to His place."

"Jesus will make you good, if you will let him."

"What chance is there, lying here; and only a few minutes at that?"

He spoke almost bitterly, but I saw the drops of sweat standing on his brow, brought there by the intensity of feeling. I felt as if my heart would have broken.

"As much chance here as anywhere," I answered calmly. "The heart is the place for reform; outward work, without the heart, signifies nothing at all; and if the heart of love and obedience is in any man, God knows that the life would follow, if there were opportunity."

"Yes. I haven't it," he said, looking at me.

"You may have it."

"I tell you, you are talking – you don't know of what," he said vehemently.

"I know all about it," I answered softly.

"There is no love nor obedience in me," he repeated, searching my eyes, as if to see whether there were anything to be said to that.

"No; you are sick at heart, and dying, unless you can be cured. Can you trust Jesus to cure you? They that be whole need not a physician, He says, but those that are sick."

He was silent, gazing at me.

"Can you lay your heart, just as it is, at Jesus' feet, and ask him to take it and make it right? He says, Come."

"What must I do?"

"Trust Him."

"But you are mistaken," he said. "I am not good."

"No," said I; and then I know I could not keep back the tears from springing; – "Jesus did not come to save the good. He came to save you. He bids you trust Him, and your sins shall be forgiven, for He gave His life for yours; and He bids you come to Him, and He will take all that is wrong away, and make you clean."

"Come?" – the sick man repeated.

"With your heart – to his feet. Give yourself to Him. He is here, though you do not see Him."

The man shut his eyes, with a weary sort of expression overspreading his features; and remained silent. After a little while he said slowly –

"I think – I have heard – such things – once. It is a great while ago. I don't think I know – what it means."

Yet the face looked weary and worn; and for me, I stood beside him and my tears dripped like a summer shower. Like the first of the shower, as somebody says; the pressure at my heart was too great to let them flow. O life, and death! O message of mercy, and deaf ears! O open door of salvation, and feet that stumble at the threshold! After a time his eyes opened.

"What are you doing there?" he said vaguely.

"I am praying for you, dear friend."

"Praying?" said he. "Pray so that I can hear you."

I was well startled at this. I had prayed with papa; with no other, and before no other, in all my life. And here were rows of beds on all sides of me, wide-awake careless eyes in some of their occupants; nurses and attendants moving about; no privacy; no absolute stillness. I thought I could not; then I knew I must; and then all other things faded into insignificance before the work Jesus came to do and had given me to help. I knelt down, not without hands and face growing cold in the effort; but as soon as I was once fairly speaking to my Lord, I ceased to think or care who else was listening to me. There was a deep stillness around; I knew that; the attendants paused in their movements, and words and work I think were suspended during the few minutes when I was on my knees. When I got up, the sick man's eyes were closed. I sat down with my face in my hands, feeling as if I had received a great wrench; but presently Miss Yates came with a whispered request that I would do something that was required just then for somebody. Work set me all right very soon. But when after a while I came round to Preston again, I found him in a rage.

"What has come over you?" he said, looking at me with a complication of frowns. I was at a loss for the reason, and requested him to explain himself.

"You are not Daisy!" he said. "I do not know you any more. What has happened to you?"

"What do you mean, Preston?"

"Mean!" said he with a fling. "What do you mean? I don't know you."

I thought this paroxysm might as well pass off by itself, like another; and I kept quiet.

"What were you doing just now," said he savagely, "by that soldier's bedside?"

"That soldier? He is a dying man, Preston."

"Let him die!" he cried. "What is that to you? You are Daisy Randolph. Do you remember whose daughter you are? You making a spectacle of yourself, for a hundred to look at!"

But this shot quite overreached its mark. Preston saw it had not touched me.

"You did not use to be so bold," he began again. "You were delicate to an exquisite fault. I would never have believed that you would have done anything unwomanly. What has taken possession of you?"

"I should like to take possession of you just now, Preston, and keep you quiet," I said. "Look here, – your tea is coming. Suppose you wait till you understand things a little better; and now – let me give you this. I am sure Dr. Sandford would bid you be quiet; and in his name, I do."

Preston fumed; but I managed to stop his mouth; and then I left him, to attend to other people. But when all was done, and the ward was quiet, I stood at the foot of the dying man's bed, thinking, what could I do more for him? His face looked weary and anxious; his eye rested, I saw, on me, but without comfort in it. What could I say, that I had not said? or how could I reach him? Then, I do not know how the thought struck me, but I knew what to do.

"My dear," said Miss Yates, touching my shoulder, "hadn't you better give up for to-night? You are a young hand; you ain't seasoned to it yet; you'll give out if you don't look sharp. Suppose you quit for to-night."

"O no!" I said hastily – "Oh no, I cannot. I cannot."

"Well, sit down, any way, before you can't stand. It is just as cheap sittin' as standin'."

I sat down; she passed on her way; the place was quiet; only there were uneasy breaths that came and went near me. Then I opened my mouth and sang –

"There is a fountain filled with blood,
   Drawn from Immanuel's veins;
And sinners plunged beneath that flood,
   Lose all their guilty stains.

"The dying thief rejoiced to see
   That fountain in his day;
And there may I, as vile as he,
   Wash all my sins away."

I sang it to a sweet simple air, in which the last lines are repeated and repeated and drawn out in all their sweetness. The ward was as still as death. I never felt such joy that I could sing; for I knew the words went to the furthest corner and distinctly, though I was not raising my voice beyond a very soft pitch. The stillness lasted after I stopped; then some one near spoke out –

"Oh, go on!"

And I thought the silence asked me. But what to sing? That was the difficulty. It had need be something so very simple in the wording, so very comprehensive in the sense; something to tell the truth, and to tell it quick, and the whole truth; what should it be? Hymns came up to me, loved and sweet, but too partial in their application, or presupposing too much knowledge of religious things. My mind wandered; and then of a sudden floated to me the refrain that I had heard and learned when a child, long ago, from the lips of Mr. Dinwiddie, in the little chapel at Melbourne; and with all the tenderness of the old time and the new it sprung from my heart and lips now –

"In evil long I took delight,
   Unawed by shame or fear;
Till a new object struck my sight,
   And stopped my wild career.

"O the Lamb – the loving Lamb!
   The Lamb on Calvary
The Lamb that was slain, but lives again,
   To intercede for me."

How grand it was! But for the grandeur and the sweetness of the message I was bringing, I should have broken down a score of times.

As it was, I poured my tears into my song, and wept them into the melody. But other tears, I knew, were not so contained; in intervals I heard low sobbing in more than one part of the room. I had no time to sing another hymn before Dr. Sandford came in. I was very glad he had not been five minutes earlier.

I followed him round the ward, seeking to acquaint myself as fast as possible with whatever might help to make me useful there. Dr. Sandford attended only to business and not to me, till the whole round was gone through. Then he said, –

"You will let me take you home now, I hope."

"I am at home," I answered.

"Even so," said he smiling. "You will let me take you from home then, to the place my sister dwells in."

"No, Dr. Sandford; and you do not expect it."

"I have some reason to know what to expect, by this time. Will you not do it at my earnest request? not for your sake, but for mine? There is presumption for you!"

"No, Dr. Sandford; it is not presumption, and I thank you; but I cannot. I cannot, Dr. Sandford. I am wanted here."

"Yes, so you will be to-morrow."

"I will be here to-morrow."

"But, Daisy, this is unaccustomed work; and you cannot bear it, no one can, without intermission. Let me take you to the hotel to-night. You shall come again in the morning."

"I cannot. There is some one here who wants me."

"Your cousin, do you mean?"

"Oh no. Not he at all. There is one who is, I am afraid, dying."

"Morton," said the doctor. "Yes. You can do nothing for him."

But I thought of my hymn, and the tears rose to my eyes.

"I will do what I can, Dr. Sandford. I cannot leave him."

"There is a night nurse who will take charge. You must not watch. You must not do that, Daisy. I command here."

"All but me," I said, putting my hand on his arm. "Trust me. I will try to do just the right thing."

There must have been more persuasion in my look than I knew; for Dr. Sandford quitted me without another word, and left me to my own will. I went softly down the room to the poor friend I was watching over. I found his eyes watching me; but for talk there was no time just then; some services were called for in another part of the ward that drew me away from him; and when I came back he seemed to be asleep. I sat down at the bed foot and thought my hymn all over, then the war, my own life, and lastly the world. Miss Yates came to me and bent down.

"Are you tired out, dear?"

"Not at all," I said. "Not at all tired."

"They'd give their eyes if you'd sing again. It's better than doctors and anodynes; and it's the first bit of anything unearthly we've had in this place. Will you try?"

I was only too glad. I sang, "Jesus, lover of my soul" – "Rock of Ages" – and then, –

"Just as I am, without one plea,
But that Thy blood was shed for me,
And that Thou bidst me come to Thee,
         O Lamb of God, I come."

And stillness, deep and peaceful seeming, brooded over all the place in the pauses between the singing. There were restless and weary and suffering people around me; patient indeed too, and uncomplaining, in the worst of times; but now even sighs seemed to be hushed. I looked at the man who was said to be dying. His wide open eyes were intently fixed upon me; very intently; and I thought, less ruefully than a while ago. Then I sang, –

"Come to Jesus just now – "

As I sang, a voice from the further end of the room took it up, and bore me company in a somewhat rough but true and manly chorus, to the end of the singing. It rang sweet round the room; it fell sweet on many ears, I know. And so I gave my Lord's message.

I sang no more that night. The poor man for whose sake I had begun the singing, rapidly grew worse. I could not leave him; for ever and again, in the pauses of suffering, his eyes sought mine. I answered the mute appeal as I best could, with a word now and a word then. Towards morning the struggle ceased. He spoke no more to me; but the last look was to my eyes, and in his, it seemed to me, the shadow had cleared away. That was all I could know.

CHAPTER XXII.
ORDERS.

I SLEPT longer than I had meant to do, the next morning; but I rose with a happy feeling of being in my place; where I wanted to be. That is, to be sure, not always the criterion by which to know the place where one ought to be; yet where it is a qualification it is also in some sense a token. The ministry of the hours preceding swept over me while I was dressing, with something of the grand swell and cadence of the notes of a great organ; grand and solemn and sweet. I entered the ward, ready for the day's work, with a glad readiness.

So I felt, as I stepped in and went down the space between the rows of beds. Miss Yates nodded to me.

"Here you are!" she said. "Fresh as the morning. Well I don't know why we shouldn't have pleasant things in such a place as this, if we can get them; there's enough that ain't pleasant, and folks forget there is anything else in the world. Now you'll be better than breakfast, to some of them; and here's breakfast, my dear. You know how to manage that."

I knew very well how to manage that; and I knew too, as I went on with my ministrations, that Miss Yates was not altogether wrong. My ministry did give pleasure; and I could not help enjoying the knowledge. This was not the enjoyment of flattering crowds, waiting round me with homage in their eyes and on their tongues. I had known that too, and felt the foolish flutter of gratified vanity for a moment, to be ashamed of it the next. This was the brightening eye, the relaxing lip, the tone of gratification, from those whose days and hours were a weary struggle with pain and disease; to bring a moment's refreshment to them was a great joy, which gives me no shame now in the remembrance. Even if it was only the refreshment of memory and fancy, that was something; and I gave thanks in my heart, as I went from one sufferer to another, that I had been made pleasant to look at. Preston himself smiled at me this morning, which I thought a great gain.

"Well, you do know how to sing!" he said softly, as I was giving him his tea and toast.

"I am glad you think so."

"Think so! Why, Daisy, positively I was inclined to bless gunpowder for the minute, for having brought me here. Now if you would only sing something else – Don't you know anything from Norma, or II Trovatore?"

"They would be rather out of place here."

"Not a bit of it. Create a soul under the ribs – Well, this is vile tea."

"Hush, Preston; you know the tea is good, like everything else here."

"I know no such thing. There is nothing good in this place, – except you, – and I suppose that is the reason you have chosen it for your abode. I can't imagine how Aunt Randolph came to let you, though."

"She let me come to take care of you."

"I'm not worth it. What's a man good for, when there is only half of him left? I should like just to get into one other field, and let powder take the other half."

"Hush, Preston! hush; you must not talk so. There's your mother."

"My mother won't think much of me now, I don't know why she should. You never did, even when I was myself."

"I think just as much of you now as ever, Preston. You might be much more than your old self, if you would."

Preston frowned and rolled his head over on the pillow.

"Confounded!" he muttered. "To be in such a den of Yankees!"

"You are ungrateful."

"I am not. I owe it to Yankee powder."

What, perhaps, had Southern powder done? I shivered inwardly, and for a moment forgot Preston.

"What is the matter?" said he. "You look queer; and it is very queer of you to spill my tea."

"Drink it then," I said, "and don't talk in such a way. I will not have you do it, Preston, to me."

He glanced at me, a little wickedly; but he had finished his breakfast and I turned from him. As I turned, I saw that the bed opposite, where Morton had died a few hours before, had already received another occupant. It startled me a little; this quick transition; this sudden total passing away; then, as I cast another glance at the newly come, my breath stood still. I saw eyes watching me, – I had never but once known such eyes; I saw an embrowned but very familiar face; as I looked, I saw a flash of light come into the eyes, quick and brilliant as I had seen such flashes come and go a hundred times. I knew what I saw.

It seems to me now in the retrospect, it seemed to me then, as if my life – that which makes life – were that moment suddenly gathered up, held before me, and then dashed under my feet; thrown down to the ground and trampled on. For a moment the sight of my eyes failed me. I think nobody noticed it. I think nothing was to be seen, except that I stood still for that minute. It passed, and my sight returned; and as one whose life is under foot and who knows it will never rise again, I crossed the floor to Thorold. We were not alone. Eyes and ears were all around us. Remembering this, I put my hand in his and said a simple –

"How do you do?"

But his look at me was so infinitely glad and sweet, that my senses failed me again. I did not sink down; but I stood without sight or hearing. The clasp of his hand recalled me.

"It is Daisy!" he said smiling. "Daisy, and not a vision. My Daisy! How is it?"

"What can I do for you?" I said hastily.

"Nothing. Stand there. I have been looking at you; and thought it was long till you would look at me."

"I was busy."

"Yes, I know, love. How is it, Daisy? When did you come back from Switzerland?"

"Months ago."

"I did not know of it."

"Letters failed, I suppose."

"Then you wrote?"

"I wrote, – with papa's letter."

"When?"

"Oh, long ago – long ago; – I don't know, – a year or two."

"It never reached me," he said, a shadow crossing his bright brow.

"I sent it to your aunt, for her to send it to you; and she sent it; I asked her."

"Failed," he said. "What was it, Daisy?"

The question was put eagerly.

"Papa was very good," I said; – "and you were very right, Christian, and I was wrong. He liked your letter."

"And I should have liked his?" he said, with one of those brilliant illuminations of eye and face.

"I think you would."

"Then I have got all I can ask for," he said. "You are mine; and while we live in this world we belong to each other. Is it not so?"

There was mamma. But I could not speak of her. Even she could not prevent the truth of what Christian said; in one way it must be true. I gave no denial. Thorold clasped my hand very fast, and I stood breathless. Then suddenly I asked if he had had his breakfast? He laughed and said yes, and still clasped my hand in a grasp that said it was better than food and drink to him. I stood like one from under whose feet the ground is slipping away. I longed to know, but dared not ask, what had brought him there; whether he was suffering; the words would not come to my lips. I knew Dr. Sandford would be here by and by; how should I bear it? But I, and nobody but me, must do all that was done for this sufferer at least.

I left Mr. Thorold, to attend to duties that called me on all hands. I did them like one in a dream. Yet my ordinary manner was quiet, and I suppose nobody saw any difference; only I felt it. I was looking all the time for the moment of Dr. Sandford's appearance, and praying for strength. It came, his visit, as everything does come, when its time was; and I followed him in his round; waiting and helping as there was want of me. I did it coolly, I know, with faculties sharpened by an intense motive and feelings engrossed with one thought. I proved myself a good assistant; I knew Dr. Sandford approved of me; I triumphed, so far, in the consciousness that I had made good my claim to my position, and was in no danger of being shoved away on the score of incompetency.

"Doctor," said Preston when we came round to him, "won't you send away Miss Randolph out of a place that she is not fit for?"

"I will," said Dr. Sandford grimly, "when I find such a place."

"Out of this place, then, where she ought not to be; and you know it."

"It would be your loss, my friend. You are exercising great self-denial, or else you speak in ignorance."

"She might as well go on the stage at once!" said Preston bitterly. "Singing half the night to sixty soldiers, – and won't give one a thing from Norma, then!"

The doctor gave one quick glance of his blue eye at me; it was a glance inquiring, recognizing, touched, sympathizing, all in an instant; it surprised me. Then it went coolly back to his work.

"What does she sing?"

"Psalms," – said Preston.

"Feverish tendency?" said the doctor.

Preston flung himself to one side, with a violent word, almost an oath, that shocked me. We left him and went on.

Or rather, went over; for at the instant Dr. Sandford's eye caught the new occupant of the opposite bed. I was glad to find that he did not recognize him.

The examination of Mr. Thorold's wounds followed. They were internal, and had been neglected. I do not know how I went through it; seeing how he went through it partly helped me, for I thought he did not seem to suffer greatly. His face was entirely calm, and his eye clear whenever it could catch mine. But the operation was long; and I felt when it was over as if I had been through a battle myself. I was forced to leave him and go on with my attentions to the other sufferers in the ward; and I could not get back to Mr. Thorold till the dinner hour. I managed to be at his side to serve him then. But he had the use of his arms and hands and did not need feeding, like some of the others.

"It is worth being here, Daisy," said Mr. Thorold, when I came with his dinner; which was, however, a light one.

"No," said I. Speaking in low tones, which I was accustomed to use to all there, we were in little danger of being overheard.

"Not to you," said he with a laughing flash of his eye; "I only spoke of my own sense of things. That is as I tell you."

"How do you do now?" I asked tremblingly.

His eye changed, softened, lifted itself to mine with a beautiful glow in it. I half knew what was coming before he spoke.

"We know in whose hands I am," he said. "I have earned the 'right to my name,' Daisy."

Ah, that was hard to bear! harder than the surgeon's probe which had gone before. It was hard at the same time not to fall on my knees to give thanks; or to break out into a shout of glad praise. I suppose I shewed nothing of it, only stood still and pale by the side of the bed; till Mr. Thorold asked me for something, and I knew that I had been neglecting his dinner. And then I knew that I was neglecting others; and flew across to Preston, who needed my services.

"Who's that over yonder," he grumbled.

"One newly come in – wounded," I replied.

"Isn't it somebody you know?"

"It is one I used to know."

"Then you know him yet, I suppose. It is that fellow Thorold, isn't it?"

"Yes."

"What has brought him here?"

"He is wounded," I whispered.

"I am glad of it!" said Preston, savagely. "Why shouldn't he be wounded, when his betters are? Is he badly off?"

I simply could not answer at the minute.

"How's he wounded?"

"I do not know."

"You don't know! when you were attending to him. Then he hasn't lost a leg or an arm, I suppose? You would know that."

"No."

"D – n him!" said Preston. "That he should be whole and sound and only half of me left!"

I was dumb, for want of the power to speak. I think such a passion of indignation and displeasure never found place in my heart, before or since. But I did not wish to say anything angrily, and yet my heart was full of violent feeling that could find but violent words. I fed Preston in silence till his dinner was done, and left him. Then as I passed near him again soon after, I stopped.

"You are so far from sound, Preston," I said, "that I shall keep out of the way of your words. You must excuse me – but I cannot hear or allow them; and as you have no control over yourself, my only resource is to keep at a distance."

I waited for no answer but moved away; and busied myself with all the ward rather than him. It was a hard, hard, afternoon's work; my heart divided between the temptation to violent anger and violent tears. I kept away from Mr. Thorold too, partly from policy, and partly because I could not command myself, I was afraid, in his presence. But towards evening I found myself by his side, and in the dusk our hands met; while I used a fan with the other hand, by way of seeming to do something for him.

"What is the matter?" he whispered.

"Matter?" I repeated.

"Yes."

"There is enough the matter here always, Christian."

"Yes. And what more than usual this afternoon?"

"What makes you ask?"

"I have been looking at you."

"And what did you see?"

"I saw that you were hiding something, from everybody but me. Tell it now."

"Christian, it was not anything good."

"Confess your faults one to another, then," said he. "What is the use of having friends?"

"You would not be pleased to hear of my faults."

I could see, even in the dim light, the flash of his eye as it looked into mine.

"How many, Daisy?"

"Anger," I said; – "and resentment; and – self-will."

"What raised the anger?" said he; a different tone coming into his own voice.

"Preston. His way of talking."

"About me?"

"Yes. I cannot get over it."

And I thought I should have broken down at that minute. My fan-play ceased. Christian held my hand very fast, and after a few minutes began again –

"Does he know you are angry, Daisy?"

"Yes, he does; for I told him as much."

"Did you tell him sharply?"

"No. I told him coldly."

"Go over and say that you have forgiven him."

"But I have not forgiven him."

"You know you must."

"I cannot, just yet, Christian. To-morrow, perhaps I can."

"You must do it to-night, Daisy. You do not know what else you may have to do before to-morrow, that you will want the spirit of love for."

I was silent a little, for I knew that was true.

"Well? – " said he.

"What can I do?" I said. "I suppose it will wear out; but just now I have great displeasure against Preston. I cannot tell him I forgive him. I have not forgiven him."

"And do not want to forgive him?"

I was again silent, for the answer would have had to be an affirmative.

"If I could reach you, I would kiss that away," said Thorold. "Daisy, must I tell you, that there is One who can look it away? You need not wait."

I knew he spoke truth again; and I had forgotten it. Truth that once by experience I so well knew. I stood silent and self-condemned.

"Christian, I do not very often get angry; but when I do, I am afraid the feeling is very obstinate."

"The case isn't desperate – unless you are obstinate too," he said, with a look which conquered me. I fanned him a little while longer; not long. For I was able very soon to go across to Preston.

"Are you going to desert me for that fellow?" he growled.

"I must desert you, for whoever wants me more than you do; and you must be willing that I should."

"If it wasn't for confounded Yankees!" he said.

"Yankees are pretty good to you, Preston, I think, just now. What if they were to desert you? Where is your generosity?"

"Shot away. Come, Daisy, I had no business to speak as I did. I'll confess it. Forgive me, won't you?"

"Entirely," I said. "But you gave me great pain, Preston."

"You are like the thinnest description of glass manufacture," said Preston. "What wouldn't scratch something else, makes a confounded fracture in your feelings. I'll try and remember what brittle ware I am dealing with."

So that was over, and I gave him his tea; and then went round to do the same by others. I had to take them in turn; and when I got to Mr. Thorold at last, there was no more time then for talking, which I longed for. After the surgeon's round, when all was quiet again in the room, I sat at the foot of Mr. Thorold's bed with a kind of cry in my heart, to which I could give no expression. I could not kneel there, to pray; I could not leave my post; I could not speak nor listen where I wanted a full interchange of heart with heart; the oppression almost choked me. Then I remembered I could sing. And I sang that hour, if I never did before. My sorrow, and my joy, and my cry of heart, I put them all into the notes and poured them forth in my song. I was never so glad I could sing as these days. I knew, all the time, it was medicine and anodynes and strength – and maybe teaching – to many that heard; for me, it was the cry of prayer, and the pleading of faith, and the confession of utmost need. How strong "Rock of Ages" seemed to me again that night; the hymn, "How sweet the name of Jesus sounds," was to me a very schedule of treasure; my soul mounted on the words, like the angels on Jacob's ladder; the top of the ladder was in heaven, if the foot of it was on a very rough spot of earth. That night I sang hymns, in the high-wrought state of my feelings, which the next day I could not have sung. I remember that one of them was "What are these in bright array," with the chorus, "They have clean robes, white robes." "When I can read my title clear," was another. Sometimes a hymn starts up to me now, with a thrill of knowledge that I sang it that night, which yet at other times I cannot recall. I sang till the hour, and past it, when I must go to my room and give place to the night watchers. I longed to stay, but it was impossible; so I went and bade Preston good-night, who said to me never a word this time; spoke to one or two others; and then went to Mr. Thorold. I laid my hand on his. He grasped it immediately and looked up at me with a clear, sweet, bright look, which did me untold good; pulling me gently down. I bent over him, thinking he wished to speak; then I knew what he wished, and obeying the impulse and the request, our lips met. I don't know if anybody saw it; and I did not care. That kiss sent me to sleep.

The next day I was myself again. Not relieved from the impression which had seized me when I first saw Mr. Thorold; but quietly able to bear it; in a sort raised above it. To do the moment's duty; to gather, and to give, every stray crumb of relief or pleasure that might be possible for either of us; better than that, to do the Lord's will and to bear it, were all I sought for. All at least, of which I was fairly conscious that I sought it; the heart has a way of carrying on underground trains of feeling and action of its own, and so did mine now. As I found afterwards. But I was perfectly able for all my work. When next I had an opportunity for private talk with Mr. Thorold, he asked me with a smile, if the resentment was all gone? I told him, "Oh, yes."

"What was the 'self-will' about, Daisy?"

"You remember too well," I said.

"What?"

"Me and my words."

"Why?"

"It is not easy to say why, just in this instance."

"No. Well, Daisy, say the other thing. About the self-will."

I hesitated.

"Are you apt to be self-willed?" he asked, tenderly.

"I do not know. I believe I did not use to think so. I am afraid it is very difficult to know oneself, Christian."

"I think you are self-willed," he said, smiling.

"Did you use to see it in me?"

"I think so. What is the present matter in hand, Daisy?"

I did not want to tell him. But I could not run away. And those bright eyes were going over my face and reading in it, I knew. I did not know what they read. I feared. He waited, smiling a little as he looked.

"I ought not to be self-willed, – about anything," – I said at last.

"No, I suppose not. What has got a grip of your heart then, Daisy?"

"I am unwilling to see you lying here," I said. It was said with great force upon myself, under the stress of necessity.

"And unwilling that I should get any but one sort of discharge," – he added.

"You do not fear it," I said, hastily.

"I fear nothing. But a soldier, Daisy, – a soldier ought to be ready for orders; and he must not choose. He does not know where the service will call for him. He knows his Captain does know."

I stood still, slowly fanning Mr. Thorold; my self-control could go no further than to keep me outwardly quiet.

"You used to be a soldier," he said gently, after a pause. "You are yet. Not ready for orders, Daisy?"

"Christian – you know, – " I stammered forth.

"I know, my beloved. And there is another that knows. He knows all. Can't you leave the matter to him?"

"I must."

"Must is a hard word. Let Jesus appoint, and let you and me obey; because we love Him, and are His."

He was silent, and so was I then; the words trooping in a sort of grand procession through some distant part of my brain – "All things are yours; whether life, or death, or the world, or things present, or things to come; all are yours; and ye are Christ's; and Christ is God's." I knew they swept by there, in their sweetness and their majesty; I could not lay hold of them to make them dwell with me then.

A few days went past, filled with duty as usual; more filled with a consuming desire which had taken possession of me, to know really how Mr. Thorold was and what were the prospects of his recovery. His face always looked clear and well; I thought his wounds were not specially painful; I never saw any sign that they were; the dressing of them was always borne very quietly. That was not uncommon, but involuntary tokens of pain were sometimes wrung from the sufferers; a sigh, or a knit brow, or a pale cheek, or a clenched hand, gave one sorrowful knowledge often that the heroism of patient courage was more severely tested in the hospital than on the field. I never saw any of these signs in Mr. Thorold. In spite of myself, a hope began to spring and grow in my heart, which at the first seeing of him in that place I had thought dead altogether. And then I could not rest short of certainty. But how to get any light at all on the subject was a question. The other nurse could not tell me, for she knew no more than myself; not so much, for she rarely nursed Mr. Thorold. Dr. Sandford never told how his patients were doing or likely to do; if he were asked, he evaded the answer. What we were to do, he told explicitly, carefully; the issue of our cares he left it to time and fact to shew. So what was I to do? Moreover, I did not wish to let him see that I had any, the least, solicitude for one case more than the rest. And another thing, I dreaded unspeakably to make the appeal and have my doubts solved. With the one difficulty and the other before me, I let day after day go by; day after day; during which I saw as much of Mr. Thorold as I could, and watched him with intense eyes. But I was able to resolve nothing; only I thought his appetite grew poorer than it had been, while that of many others was improving. We had some chance for talk during those days; by snatches, I told him a good deal of the history of my European life; and he gave me details of his life in camp and field. We lived very close to each other all that time, though outward communication was so restricted. Hearts have their own way of communicating, – and spirits are not wholly shut in by flesh and blood. But as the days went by, my anxiety and suspense began to glow unendurable.

So I followed Dr. Sandford one morning to his den, as he called it.

"Are you getting tired of hospital life?" he asked me, with a smile. "I see you want to speak to me."

"You know I am not tired."

"I know you are not. There is something in a woman that likes suffering, I think, if only she can lay her hand on it and relieve it."

"That is making it a very selfish business, Dr. Sandford."

"We are all selfish," said the doctor. "The difference is, that some are selfish for themselves, and some for other people."

"Now you are cynical."

"I am nothing of the kind. What do you want with me?"

"Preston is doing very well, is he not, Dr. Sandford."

"Perfectly well. He will be out just as soon as in the nature of things it is possible. I suppose, or am I not to suppose, that then you will consider your work done?"

"I do not think he wants me a quarter as much as other people, now."

"He does not want you at all, in the sense of needing. In the other sense, I presume different people might put in a claim to be attended to."

"But, Dr. Sandford, I wish I knew who of all these people in the ward need me most."

"You are doing all you can for all of them."

"If I had that knowledge, though, I might serve them better – or with more judicious service."

"No you could not," said the doctor. "You are twice as judicious as Miss Yates now; though she is twice as old as you. You do the right thing in the right place always."

"I wish you would do this thing for me, nevertheless, Dr. Sandford. I wish it very much."

"What thing?"

"Let me know the various states of the patients, and their prospect of recovery."

"Most of them have a very fair prospect of recovery," said the doctor.

"Will you do it for me, Dr. Sandford? – I ask it as a great favour."

"Gary's all right," he said, with a full look at me.

"Yes, I know; but I would like to know how it is with the others. I could better tell how to minister to them, and what to do."

"The thing to be done would not vary at all with your increased knowledge, Daisy."

"Not the things in your line, I know; but the things in mine."

"You would know better how to sing, to wit?" said the doctor.

"And to pray – " I said half under my breath.

"Daisy, I haven't a schedule of the cases here; and if I told you, you might forget, among so many, which was which. Anyhow, I have not the schedule."

"No, but you could do this for me. To-night, Dr. Sandford, when you go round, you could indicate to me what I want to know, and nobody else be the wiser. When we come to any case that is serious, but with hope, take hold of your chin, so; if any is serious without hope, just pass your hand through your hair. You do that often."

"Not when I am going my rounds, Daisy," said the doctor, looking amused.

"Only this time, for me," I pleaded.

"You would not sing as well."

"I should – or I might – know better how to sing."

"Or you might not be able to sing at all. Though your nerves are good," the doctor admitted. "Women's nerves are made of a material altogether differently selected, or tempered, from that of masculine nerves; pure metal, of some ethereal sort."

"Are there such things as masculine nerves?" I asked.

"Do you doubt it?" said the doctor, turning a half reproachful look upon me.

"Dr. Sandford, I do not doubt it. And so, you will, for once, and as an extraordinary kindness, do this thing for me that I have asked you."

"The use of it is hidden from me," said the doctor; "but to admit my ignorance is a thing I have often done before, where you are concerned."

"Then I will take care to be with you as soon as you come in this evening," I said, "so as to get all you will tell me."

"If I do not forget it," said the doctor.

But I knew there was no danger of his forgetting. There was no taking Dr. Sandford off his guard. In all matters that concerned his professional duties, he was like steel; for strength and truth and temper. Nothing that Dr. Sandford did not see; nothing that he did not remember; nothing that was too much for his skill and energies and executive faculty. Nobody disobeyed Dr. Sandford – unless it were I, now and then.

I walked through the rest of that day in a smothered fever. How I had found courage to make my proposition to the doctor, I do not know; it was the courage of desperate suspense which could bear itself no longer. After the promise had been obtained that I sought, my courage failed. My joints trembled under me, as I went about the ward; my very hands trembled as I ministered to the men. The certainty that I had coveted, I dreaded now. Yet Mr. Thorold looked so well and seemed to suffer so little, I could not but quarrel with myself for folly, in being so fearful. Also I was ready to question myself, whether I had done right in seeking more knowledge of the future than might come to me day by day in the slow course of events. But I had done it; and Dr. Sandford was coming in the evening.

"What is the matter with you, Daisy?" Mr. Thorold said.

"Is anything the matter?" I replied.

"Yes. What is it?"

"How can you see it, Christian?"

"I?" – said he. "I see right through your eyes, back into the thought that looks out of them."

"Yet you ask me for the thought?"

"The root of it. Yes. I see that you are preoccupied, and troubled; – and trembling. You, my Daisy?

"Can I quite help it, Christian?"

"Can you quite trust the Lord?"

"But, – not that He will always save me from what I fear."

"No; not that. Let Him save you from the fear."

"How have you learned so much about it, so much more than I?" – and my lips were trembling then, I know.

"I have had time," he said gently. "All those months and months, when you were at an unimaginable distance from me, actually and morally, – and prospectively, – do you think I had no chance to exercise myself in the lesson of submission? I fought out that problem, Daisy."

"Were you in Washington the winter of '61?" I asked, changing the subject; for I could not bear it.

"Part of that winter," he said, with a somewhat surprised look at me.

"Did you meet in society here that winter a Miss St. Clair, who used to be once a schoolmate of mine? – very handsome."

"I think I remember her. I knew nothing about her having been at school with you, or I think I should have sought her acquaintance."

"She was said to have yours."

"A passing, society acquaintance, she had."

"Nothing more?"

"More?" said he. "No. Nothing more."

"How came the report that you were her dearest friend?"

"From the father of lies," said Mr. Thorold; "if there ever was such a report; which I should doubt."

"It came to me in Paris."

"Did you believe it?"

"I could not; but papa did. It came from Miss St. Clair's own particular friend, and she told mamma, I think, that you were engaged to her."

"I think particular friends are a nuisance!" said Mr. Thorold. "Why, she was said here, to be engaged to somebody, – Major – Major Somebody, – I forget. Major Fairbairn."

"Major Fairbairn!"

"Yes. Why?"

"That explains it," I exclaimed.

"Explains what?" said Mr. Thorold. And such a shower of fire as came from his eyes then, fun and intelligence and affection, never came from anybody's eyes beside. I had to tell him all I was thinking about; and then hurry away to my duties.

But at tea time I could touch nothing. The trembling had reached my very heart.

"Why, you ain't going to give out, are you?" said Miss Yates in a concerned voice. "You've gone a little beyond your tether."

"Not at all," said I; "not at all. I am only not hungry. I will go back, if you please, to something I can do."

I busied myself restlessly about the ward, till one of the men, I forget who, asked me to sing to them. It had become a standing ordinance of the place; and people said, a very beneficial one. But to-night I had not thought I could sing. Yet when he asked me, the power came. I did not sit down 'as usual;' standing at the foot of Mr. Thorold's bed I sang, leaning hard against strength and love out of sight; and my voice was as clear as ever.

The ward was so very still that I should have thought nothing could come in or go out without my being conscious of a stir. However, the absolute hush continued, until it occurred to me that I must have been singing a great while, and I half turned and glanced down the room. My singing was done; for there stood Dr. Sandford, as still as I had been, with folded arms near the door. I went towards him immediately.

"Do you have this sort of concert most evenings?" he inquired, as he took my hand.

"Always, Dr. Sandford."

"I never heard you sing so well anywhere else," he remarked.

"I never had such an audience. But now, you remember my request this morning, Dr. Sandford?"

"I never forget your requests," he said, gravely. And we went to business.

From one to another, from one to another. Generally with no more but a pleasant or a kind word from the doctor to the patient; but two or three times the doctor's hand came to his chin for a moment, before such a word was spoken. – It did not in those cases tell me much. I had known, or guessed, the truth of them before. I suppose every good nurse must get a power or faculty of reading symptoms and seeing the state of the patient, both actual and probable. I was not shocked nor startled. But the shock and the start were all the greater, when pausing before the one cot which held what I cared for in this world, the doctor's fingers were thrust suddenly through his thick auburn hair. He went on immediately with the due attention to Mr. Thorold's wounds; and I waited and stood by, with no outward sign, I think, of the death at my heart. Even through all the round, I kept my place by Dr. Sandford's side, doing whatever was wanted of me, attending, at least in outward guise, to what was going on. So one can do, while the whole soul and life are concentrated on some point unconnected with it all, outside of it all, in the distance. Towards that point I slowly made my way, as the doctor went through his rounds; and came up with it at last in the little retiring room which he called his own and where our conversation of the morning had been held.

"I see how little I know, Dr. Sandford," I remarked.

"Ay?" said he. "I had been thinking rather the other way."

"You surprised me very much – with the one touch of your hair."

The doctor was silent.

"I should have thought – in my ignorance – several others more likely to have called for it."

"Thorold is the only one," said the doctor.

"How is it?"

"The injuries are internal and complicated; and beyond reach."

The doctor had been washing his hands, and I was now washing mine; and with my face so turned away from him, I went on.

"He does not seem to suffer much."

"Doesn't he?" said the doctor.

"Should he?"

"He should, if he has not good power of self-control. No man in the ward suffers as he does. I have noticed, he hides it well."

I was washing my hands. I remember my wringing the water from them; then I remember no more. When I knew anything again, I was lying on an old sofa that stood in the doctor's room, and he was putting water or brandy – I hardly know what – on my face. With a face of his own that was pale, I saw even then, without seeing it, as it bent over me. He was speaking my name. I struggled for breath and tried to raise myself. He gently put me back.

"Lie still," he said. "Are you better?"

"I am quite well," I answered.

He gave me a few drops of something to swallow. It revived me. I sat up presently on the sofa, pushed back the hair from my face, and thought I would get up and be as though nothing had been. Dr. Sandford's hand followed my hasty fingers and put gently away from my brow the hair I had failed to stroke into order. It was an unlucky touch, for it reached more than my hair and my brow. I turned deadly sick again, and fell back into unconsciousness.

When a second time I recovered sense, I kept still and waited and let Dr. Sandford minister to me as he thought best, with strong waters and sweet waters and ice water; until he saw that I was really restored, and I saw that great concern was sitting upon his features.

"You have overtasked yourself at last," he said.

"Not at all," I answered, quietly.

"You must do no more, Daisy."

"I must do all my work," I said. And I sat up now and put my feet to the floor, and put up my fallen-down hair, taking out my comb and twisting up the hair in some semblance of its wont.

"Your work here is done," said the doctor.

I finished doing up my hair and took a towel and wiped the drops of water and brandy from my face.

"Daisy, I know your face," said the doctor, anxiously; "and it has just the determined gentleness I used to see at ten years old. But you would yield to authority then, and you must now. And you will."

"When it is properly exerted," I said. "But it is not now, Dr. Sandford, and it will not be. I am perfectly well; and I am going to do my work."

"You fainted just now from very exhaustion."

"I am not exhausted at all. Nor even tired. I am perfectly well."

"I never knew you faint before."

"No," I said. "It is very disagreeable."

"Disagreeable!" said the doctor, half laughing, though thoroughly disturbed. "What made you do it, then?"

I could not answer. I stood still, with cheeks I suppose again growing so white, that the doctor hastily approached me with hartshorn. But I put it away and shook my head.

"I am not going to faint again, thank you."

"Daisy, Daisy!" said the doctor, "don't you know that your welfare is very dear to me?"

"I know it," I said. "I know you are like a good brother to me, Dr. Sandford."

"I am not like a brother at all!" said he. "Cannot you see that?"

"I do not want to see it," I answered sadly. "If I have not a brother in you, I have nothing."

"Why?" he asked shortly.

But I made no answer, and he asked no more. He looked at me, made a step towards the door, turned back, and came close to me, speaking in a husky changed tone, –

"You shall command me, Daisy, as you have long done. Let me know what to do to please you."

He went away then and left me. And I gathered my strength together and went back to Mr. Thorold.

CHAPTER XXIII.
"HERE!"

FROM that time we all were, to all seeming, just as we had been before that day. Dr. Sandford went his rounds, with no change perceptible in his manner towards anybody, or towards me. I think I was not different in the ward from what I had been, except to one pair of eyes: The duties of every day rolled on as they had been accustomed to do; the singing of every night was just as usual. One thing was a little changed. I sought no longer to hide that Mr. Thorold was something to me. The time for that was past. Of the few broken minutes that remained to us, he should lose none, nor I, by unnecessary difficulty. I was by his side now, all I could without neglecting those who also needed me. And we talked, all we could, with his strength and my time. I cared not now, that all the ward should see and know what we were to each other.

Mr. Thorold saw a change in me, and asked the reason. And I gave it. And then we talked no more of our own losses.

"I am quite ready to go, Daisy," he had said to me, with a look both bright and sweet which it breaks my heart, while it gladdens me, to remember. "You will come by and by, and I shall be looking for you; and I am ready now, love."

After that, we spoke no more of our parting. We talked a very great deal of other things, past and future; talks, that it seems to me now were scarce earthly, for their pure high beauty, and truth, and joy. The strength of them will go with me all my life. Dr. Sandford let us alone; ministered, to Mr. Thorold and me, all he could; and interfered with me no more. Preston took an opportunity to grumble; but that was soon silenced, for I shewed him that I would not bear it.

And the days in the hospital sped away. I do not know how; I did not know at the time. Only as one lives and works and breathes and sleeps in the presence of a single thought, enveloping and enfolding everything else. The life was hardly my own life; it was the life of another; or rather the two lives were for the time so joined that they were almost one. In a sort happy, as long as it was so.

But I knew it could not last; and the utter uncertainty when it would end, oppressed me fearfully. Nothing in Mr. Thorold's looks or manner gave me any help to judge about it. His face was like itself always; his eye yet sometimes flashed and sparkled after its own brilliant fashion, as gayly and freely as ever. It always gave me untold pain; it brought life and death into such close neighbourhood, and seemed to mock at the necessity which hung over us. And then, if Mr. Thorold saw a shadow come over my brow, he would give me such words and looks of comfort and help, that again death was half swallowed up of a better life, before the time. So the days went; and Mr. Thorold said I grew thin; and the nurses and attendants were almost reverentially careful of me; and Dr. Sandford was a silent servant of mine and of Mr. Thorold's too, doing all that was possible for us both. And Preston was fearfully jealous and irritable; and wrote, I knew long afterwards, to my mother; and my mother sent me orders to return home to her at once and leave everything; and Dr. Sandford never gave me the letters. I missed nothing; knew nothing; asked nothing; until the day came that I was looking for.

It came, and left me. I had done all I had to do; all I wanted to do; I had been able to do it all. Through the hours of the last struggle, no hand but mine had touched him. It was borne, as everything else had been borne, with a clear, brave uncomplainingness; his eye was still bright and quiet when it met mine, and the smile sweet and ready. We did not talk much; we had done that in the days past; our thoughts were known to each other; we were both looking now to the time of next meeting. But his head lay on my shoulder at the very last, and his hand was in mine. I don't think I knew when the moment was; until somebody drew him out of my hands and placed him back on the pillow. It was I then closed the eyes; and then I laid my brow for a few minutes on the one that was growing cold, for the last leave-taking. Nobody meddled with me; I saw and heard nothing; and indeed when I stood up I was blind; I was not faint, but I could see nothing. Some one took my hand, I felt, and drew my arm through his and led me away. I knew, as soon as my hand touched his arm, that it was Dr. Sandford.

I did not go back to the ward that day, and I never went back. I charged Dr. Sandford with all my remaining care, and he accepted the charge. No illness seized me, but my heart failed. That was worse. Better have been sick. Bodily illness is easier to get at.

And there was nobody to minister to mine. Dr. Sandford's presence worried me, somehow. It ought not, but it did. Mrs. Sandford was kind, and of course helpless to do me good. I think the doctor saw I was not doing well, nor likely to be better, and he brought me on to New York, to my mother.

Mamma understood nothing of what had passed, except what Preston's letter had told her. I do not know how much, or what, it was; and I did not care. Mamma, however, was wrought up to a point of discomfort quite beyond the usual chronic unrest of the year past. She exclaimed at my appearance; complained of my change of manner; inveighed against hospitals, lady nurses, Dr. Sandford, the war, Yankees and Washington air; and declaimed against the religion which did not make daughters dutiful and attentive to their mothers. It was true, some of it; but my heart was dead, for the time, and powerless to heed. I heard, and did not feel. I could not minister to my mother's happiness now, for I had no spring of strength in my own; and ministry that was not bright and winsome did not content her. Such as I had I gave; I knew it was poor, and she said so.

As the spring drew on, and days grew gentle, and soft weather replaced the strong brace of the winter frost, my condition of health became more and more unsatisfactory. My mother grew seriously uneasy at length and consulted Dr. Sandford. And the next thing was Dr. Sandford's appearance at our hotel.

"What is the matter with you, Daisy?" he asked, very professionally. Mamma was out when he came.

"Nothing – " I answered; "except what will take its own time."

"Not like you, that answer," he said.

"It is like me now," I replied.

"We must get back to a better condition. It is not good for you to be in this place. Would you like to go into quarters near Melbourne, for the summer?"

"Better than anything! – if you could manage it. Mamma would not like it."

"I think I can convince her."

Dr. Sandford I knew had powers of convincing, and I judge they were helped on this occasion by facts in the pecuniary state of our affairs, to which my mother could no longer quite shut her eyes. She had not money to remain where she was. I think she had not been able, properly, to be there, for a good while past; though the bills were paid somehow. But now her resources failed; the war was evidently ending disastrously for the South; her hopes gave way; and she agreed to let Dr. Sandford make arrangements for our going into the country. It was very bitter to her, the whole draught she had to swallow; and the very fact of being under necessity. Dr. Sandford had a deal of trouble, I fancy, to find any house or arrangement that would content her. No board was procurable that could be endured even for a day. The doctor found at last, and hired, and put in order for us, a small cottage on the way between Melbourne and Crum Elbow; and there, early in June, mamma and I found ourselves established; "Buried," she said; "sheltered," I thought.

"I wish I was dead," mamma said next morning.

"Mamma – why do you speak so? just now."

"There is no sort of view here – nothing in the world but those grass fields."

"We have this fine elm tree over the house, mamma, to shade us. That is worth a great deal."

"If the windows had Italian shades, they would be better. What windows! Who do you suppose lived here before us?"

"Mamma, I do think it is very comfortable."

"I hope you will shew that you think so, then. I have had no comfort in you for a long time past."

I thought, I should never have comfort in anybody any more.

"What has changed you so?"

"Changes come to everybody, I suppose, mamma, now and then."

"Is that all your boasted religion is good for?"

I could not answer. Was it? What is the boat which can only sail in smooth water? But though feeling reproached, and justly, I was as far from help as ever. Mamma went on –

"You used to be always bright – with your sort of brightness; there was not much brilliance to it; but you had a kind of steady cheerfulness of your own, from a child. What has become of it?"

"Mamma, I am sorry it is gone. Perhaps it will wake up one of these days."

"I shall die of heartache first. It would be the easiest thing I could do. To live here, is to die a long death. I feel as if I could not get a free breath now."

"I think, mamma, when we get accustomed to the place, we shall find pleasantness in it. It is a world pleasanter than New York."

"No, it is not," said mamma vehemently; "and it never will be. In a city, you can cover yourself up, as it were, and half hide yourself from even yourself; in such a place as this, there is not a line in your lot but you have leisure to trace it all out; and there is not a rough place in your life but you have time to put your foot on every separate inch of it. Life is bare, Daisy; in a city one lives faster, and one is in a crowd, and things are covered up or one passes them over somehow. I shall die here!"

"Next spring you can have Melbourne again, mamma, you know."

But mamma burst into tears. I knew not how to comfort.

"Would'st thou go forth to bless? be sure of thine own ground;
 Fix well thy centre first; then draw thy circle round."

I was silent, while mamma wept.

"I wish you would keep Dr. Sandford from coming here!" she said suddenly.

"I see his curricle at the gate now, mamma."

"Then I'll go. I don't want to see him. Do give him a dismissal, Daisy!"

Our only faithful kind friend; how could I? It was not possible that I should do such a thing.

"How is all here?" said the doctor, coming in.

I told him, as well as usual – or not quite. Mamma had not got accustomed to the change yet.

"And Daisy?"

"I like it."

The doctor took an ungratified survey of my countenance.

"Don't you want to see some of your old friends?"

"Friends? – here? Who, Dr. Sandford?"

"Old Juanita would like to see you."

"Juanita!" said I. "Is she alive?"

"You do not seem very glad of it?"

I was not glad of anything. But I did not say so.

"She would like to see you."

"I suppose she would."

"Do you not incline to gratify her?"

"Did you tell her of my being here, Dr. Sandford?"

"It was a very natural thing to do. If I had not, somebody else would."

"I will go over to see her some time," I said. "I suppose it is not too far for me to walk."

"It is not too far for you to ride," said the doctor. "I am going that way now. Put on your hat and come. The air will be good for you."

It was not pleasant to go. Nevertheless I yielded and went. I knew how it would be. Every foot of the way pain. The doctor let me alone. I was thankful for that. And he left me alone at Juanita's cottage. He drove on, and I walked up the little path where I had first gone for a drink of water almost eleven years ago. Yet eleven years, from ten to twenty-one, is not so much, in most cases, I thought. In mine, it was a whole life-time, and the end of a life-time. So it seemed.

The interview with my old nurse was not satisfactory. Not to me, and I think not to her. I did not seem to her quite the same Daisy Randolph she had known; indeed I was not the same. Juanita had a little awe of me; and I could not be unreserved and remove the awe. I could not tell her my heart's history; and without telling it, in part, I could not but keep at a distance from my old friend. Time might bring something out of our intercourse; but I felt that this first sight of her had done me no good. So Dr. Sandford found that I felt; for he took pains to know.

Juanita was but little changed. The eleven years had just touched her. She was more wrinkled, hardly so firm in her bearing, not quite so upright, as her beautiful presence used to be. There was no deeper change. The brow was as peaceful and as noble as ever. I thought, speculating upon it, that she must have seen storms, too, in her life-time. The clouds were all cleared away, long since. Perhaps it will be so with me, I thought, some day; by and by.

I thought Dr. Sandford would be discouraged in trying to do me good; however, a day or two after this drive, I saw his horses stopping again at our gate. My mother uttered an exclamation of impatience.

"Does that man come to see you or me, Daisy?" she asked.

"Mamma, I think he is a kind friend to both of us," I said.

"I suppose every woman has a tenderness for a man that is enamoured of her, if he is ever so great a fool " she remarked.

"Mamma! – nobody ever accused Dr. Sandford before of being a fool."

"He is a fool to look at you. Do get a little wisdom into his head, Daisy!" And she left the room again as the doctor entered the house.

I knew he and I understood each other; and though he might be a fool after mamma's reckoning, I had a great kindness for him. So I met him with frank kindness now. The doctor walked about the room a while, talking of indifferent things; and then said suddenly, –

"Do you remember old Molly Skelton?"

"Certainly. What of her?"

"She is dying, poor creature."

"Does she know I am here?" I asked.

"I have not told her."

"Would she like to see me, do you think?" I said, with an uneasy consciousness that I must go, whatever the answer were.

"If she can recognize you – I presume there is nobody else she would so like to see. As in reason there ought not."

"Can you take me there, Dr. Sandford?"

"Not at this hour; I am going another way. This afternoon I will take you, if you will go. Will you go?"

"If you will be so good as to take me."

"I will come for you then at four o'clock."

That ride I have reason to remember. It was a fair June afternoon, though the month was almost out now; the peculiar brilliance which distinguishes June shone through the air and sparkled on the hills. With clear bright outlines the Catskill range stretched away right and left before us, whenever our road brought us in view of it; fulness of light on the sunny slopes, soft depth of shadow on the others, proclaiming the clear purity of the atmosphere. The blue of the sky, the fresh sweetness of the air, the life of colour in the fields and trees, all I suppose made their appeal at the doors of my heart; for I felt the pressure. It is the life in this June weather, I think, that reproaches what in us is not life; and my spirit was dead. Not really, but practically; and the June beauty gave me pain. I was out of harmony with it. And I heard nature's soft whisper of reproof. Justly given; for when one is out of harmony with nature, there is sure to be some want of harmony with the Author of nature. The doctor drove me silently, letting nature and me have it out together; till we came to the old cottage of Molly Skelton, and he handed me from the curricle. Still the doctor was silent.

He stopped, purposely I think, to speak to his groom; and I went in first. The rows of flowers by the side of the walk were tangled and overgrown and a thicket of weeds; no care had visited them for many a day; but they were there yet. Molly had not forgotten her old tastes. I went on, wondering at myself, and entered the cottage. The sick woman lay on the bed there, alone and seemingly asleep; I turned from her to look at the room. The same old room; little different from what it used to be; even two pots with geraniums in them stood on the window-sill, drooping their heads for want of water. Nobody had watered them for so long. Clearly Molly had not changed. Was it only I? I looked and wondered, as I saw myself again at ten years old in that very room. Here had been those first cups of tea; those first lessons in A B C; and other lessons in the beginnings of a higher knowledge. What had they all come to? Was Molly the better in anything beyond her flowers? What had eleven years wrought for her?

I turned again from the past, as the doctor came in, to look at the poor creature herself. She did not answer the words he addressed to her; I doubted if she heard them; she was evidently oppressed with disease, which was fast making an end of her. Experience had taught me now to judge somewhat of the looks and condition of sick people. Molly, I saw, was very sick; and I knew soon that it was with a combination of evils, which had taken hold of her, and made her poor existence a wearisome thing. It was near an end now.

"Speak to her," – said the doctor.

And I did, and he did; but we got no response. None in words; I fancied that the look of the face bore witness to some aroused attention; might it be more? One hand of Molly's lay stretched out upon the coverlid. She was a mass of disease; I should not have thought once that I could touch that hand; but I had had training since then. I put my hand upon that poor hand and clasped it. I fancied, I cannot tell why, that Molly was sensible of my action and that she liked it; yet she did not speak. – We sat so, my hand in hers, or hers in mine, and Dr. Sandford watching us. Time went by. I hardly knew how it went.

"How long will you stay?" he asked at length.

"I cannot leave her so, Dr. Sandford."

"You cannot stay here!"

"Why not?"

"It would be a peculiar proceeding. You would not do it?"

"I cannot do otherwise, Dr. Sandford. I cannot leave her alone in this condition."

"I cannot leave you," he said.

"There is nothing to be afraid of," I returned, looking at him. "And something may need to be done."

The doctor's look in answer was unguarded; it expressed so much that he did not generally allow himself to express; it was full of tenderness, of reverence, of affection. Full it was of sorrow too. It was not a look I could meet. I turned from it hastily; the former question was let drop; and we were again still and silent. I had enough to keep me silent, and Dr. Sandford was as mute. All three of us only breathed in company, for a long while more; though I suppose some of Dr. Sandford's meditations and mine came near together. I do not know how time went; but then, the one to break silence was the one I had thought might never speak again. Suddenly she began in a low sort of crooning voice, saying over and over the same words –

"I am in the valley – in the valley – in the valley – "

Maybe half a dozen times she repeated these words; and forlornly true as they seemed of her, I was in doubt whether she knew of what she was speaking. Could intelligence be awake, in that oppressed condition of the bodily powers? Her speech was a sort of mumbling repetition. But then, with a change of tone, clean and round the words came out –

"But there's light in the valley! – "

My heart sprang with such an impulse of joy as quite overleaped all my own sorrows and took me out of them. Then Molly had not forgotten; then the seed sown long ago had not perished in the ground or been caught away; it had been growing and springing all these years; life had sprung up in the ungenial soil, even everlasting life; and what were earth's troubles to that? One vision of unseen things, rushing in, made small all the things that are seen. The poor old cripple, deformed and diseased, whose days must have been long a burden to her, was going even now to drop the slough of her mortality and to take on her the robes of light and the life that is all glory. What if my own life were barren for a while; then comes the end! What if I must be alone in my journey; I may do the Master's work all the way. And this is His work; to set the captive free; light to the blind; the opening of the prison doors to them that are bound; riches to the poor; yes, life to the dead. If I may do this work, shall I complain, because I have not the helper I wanted; when God is my helper?

I waited but till Dr. Sandford was gone, for I made him go; and then I knelt down by Molly's bedside, very, very humbled, to weep out my confession and prayer.

Molly slumbered on, wanting nothing, when I rose to my feet; and I went to the cottage door and sat down on the step. The sun was going to set in glory beyond the blue misty line of the mountains; the June evening light was falling, in freshness and sweetness, on every leaf and blade of grass; and the harmony I had wanted I had got again.

Molly's words had made the first rift in my cloud; the first sunshine had reached me that I had seen for many a long day. I saw it at last, as I sat in the cottage door and looked at the glory of the evening. I saw, that although my life might be in shadow for most of its way, yet the sunshine was on the other side of the cloud, unchanged, and I should come out into it in due time. And others were in its full rays already; – and my poor Molly was just going to find its brightness. Could I not wait a while? – just for myself? – and meanwhile do my blessed work?

And now, in the hush of my spirit, nature came home to me with her messages. The sunbeams laid their promise at my feet, of everlasting joy; the hills told me of unchangeableness and strength, and reminded me of what Mont Pilatte used to say. The air breathed balm, comfort, the earnest of gracious supply; the beauty around me said that God would not withhold anything that was good for me. I could trust Him; and I thanked Him for the messages of His creatures; and I prayed that I, an intelligent living creature of higher order, might live to carry higher messages, for Him, to all within my reach. I gave myself to do His will. And as for the comfort of my life, God would take care of that, and be Himself my portion and my exceeding great reward.

The sun went down behind the Catskill leaving the mountains in a bath of glorified mist; and I, strengthened and comforted, left my door-step and went back to Molly. She lay as she had lain, in what I might have supposed stupor; and perhaps it was; but she had said there was light in the valley she was going through. That was enough. She might speak no more; and in effect she never did intelligibly; it did not matter. My heart was full of songs of gladness for her; yes, for a moment I almost stood up yonder, among the harpers harping with their harps. Meanwhile I put the little room to rights; even as I had tried to do when I was a little child. I succeeded better now; and then I sat down to wait; there seemed nothing more to be done. The evening shades closed in; I wondered if I were to spend the night alone with the dying woman; but I was not afraid. I think I have done with fear in this world. Even as the thought passed me, Dr. Sandford came in.

He had not been able to get any help, and he came to take my place, that I might go home. It ended in our watching the night through together; for of course I would not leave the cottage. It was a night of strange and new peace to me; peace that I had not known for many months. Molly was slowly passing away; not seeming to suffer much, needing little care; she was past it; and Dr. Sandford bestowed his attention upon me. He sent for refreshments; had a fire built, for the June night was chill; and watched me and waited upon me. And I let him, for I knew it gave him pleasure.

"How do you do?" he said to me one time when the night was far spent.

"Why do you ask that, Dr. Sandford?"

"Must you know, before you tell me?"

"No, not at all; I was only curious, because I know you always have a reason for your questions."

"Most people have, I believe."

"Yes, curiosity; but it is knowledge, not ignorance, that prompts your inquiries, Dr. Sandford."

He smiled at that; one of the pleasant smiles I used to know so well. I saw them rarely now. It made me a little sad, for I knew Dr. Sandford's life had suffered an eclipse, as well as mine.

"I have not so much knowledge that I do not desire more," he said.

"Yes, I know. I am very well, thank you."

"You were not very well when I brought you here."

"No. I was well in body."

"You are better?"

"Yes."

"If it were not impertinent, I would like to ask more."

"It is not impertinent. You may ask."

"In pursuit of my old psychological study, you know. What has happened in this poor little place, by this poor creature's bedside, to do any good to Daisy Randolph?"

Now it was not according to my nature to like to tell him. But what had I just been asking, but that I might carry messages? So I spoke, slowly.

"This poor creature is just going to step out of this poor place, into glory. The light of that glory is shining around her now, for she said so. You heard her."

"Yes," said the doctor. "Well?"

"Well, Dr. Sandford, it reminded me how near the glory is, and how little this world's things are in face of it. I have remembered that I am a servant of the King of that land, and an heir of the glory; and that He loves me now, and has given me work to do for Him, and when the work is done will take me home. And I am content."

"What 'work' are you going to do?" the doctor asked, rather growlingly.

"I do not know. What He gives me."

And even as I spoke, there was a rush of tears to my eyes, with the thought that I must do my work alone; but I was content, nevertheless. Dr. Sandford was not. His fingers worked restlessly among the thick locks of his hair; as if he were busy with a thicket of thoughts as well; but he said nothing more.

Towards morning Molly passed away from the scene of her very lonely and loveless life journey. I went to the door again, in time to see the rays of the morning brightening the blue ridge which lay clear and cool over against me.

What light for Molly now! And what new light for me.

I drove home through that new light, outward and inward. I could and did give mamma some pleasure at breakfast; and then slept a quiet, dreamless sleep, to make up for my loss of the night before.

I have got through my story now, I think. In Molly's cottage, life started anew for me, on a new basis. Not my own special gratification, but my Lord's will. And I seeking that, He takes care of the other. I find it so. And He has promised that everybody shall find it so. My only care is to do exactly the work He means I shall do. It is not so easy always to find out and make sure of that. I would like, if I followed my liking, I would like to go South and teach in the Freedmen's schools somewhere. But that is not my work now, for mamma claims me here.

We are at Melbourne again. As soon as the last tenant's term of possession was expired, Dr. Sandford had the house put in order for us, and mamma and I moved in. There is a sort of pleasure, in being here, in the old place; but it is a mingled pleasure. I think all places are pleasant to me now. Mamma reigns here queen, as of old; – for Ransom will not come North, and leaves all in her hand. All the enjoyment, that is. Dr. Sandford manages the business. I do not know how long this will last; for Ransom may marry, and in that case he may wish to live in the place himself, and mamma and I would have to go; but that day is not yet; and the blue mountains across the river, and the slopes of green turf, and the clumps and groves of trees which stand about the house and adorn the grounds, are all in even greater beauty than when I was ten years old; and I enjoy them even more.

Dr. Sandford takes care of everything that mamma cannot manage. I know why he does it; and I am sorry. He is like a good brother to me, and I am very fond of him; he is coming and going in our house continually; he furthers my plans, and ministers to all my pleasure, and looks after my well-being, somewhat as he did when I was ten years old; only with much more of freedom and acknowledged affection and authority. I think he fancies that time will befriend him and bring me to look upon him in a light more kindly for his wishes. He is mistaken. People may love truly and love again, I suppose; I have no doubt men may; but I think not women. Not true women, when they have once thoroughly given their hearts. I do not think they can take them back to give again. And mine is Mr. Thorold's.

My writing all this has been a great comfort to me and done me good. Have I accomplished what I said at the beginning I would try to do, – follow out the present truth of my life to the possible glory? Surely I have found it. Through sorrow and joy, through gain and loss, yes, and I suppose by means of these, I have come to know that all joy, even fulness of joy, is summed up in being wholly the Lord's child. To do His will, and to be filled with the happiness that He can give and He alone, that is enough for anybody. It is enough for me.

THE END

Editor: Mary Mark Ockerbloom

This book has been put on-line as part of the BUILD-A-BOOK Initiative at the Celebration of Women Writers through the work of
Daniel Fromont and Mary Mark Ockerbloom.

Editor: Mary Mark Ockerbloom