The Project Gutenberg eBook of The shadow between them;

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Title: The shadow between them;

or, A blighted name

Author: Mrs. Alex. McVeigh Miller

Release date: February 10, 2023 [eBook #70010]

Language: English

Original publication: United States: Street & Smith, 1900

Credits: Demian Katz, Krista Zaleski and the Online Distributed Proofreading Team at (Images courtesy of the Digital Library@Villanova University.)


Transcriber’s Notes

Obvious typographical errors have been silently corrected. Variations in hyphenation and accents have been standardised but all other spelling and punctuation remains unchanged.

The table of contents has been added as an aid for the reader.

THE SHADOW BETWEEN THEM By Mrs. Alex. McVeigh Miller

Table of Contents

CHAPTER I. “I Love Him Whoever He Is!”
CHAPTER II. The Vendetta.
CHAPTER III. The Verdict of the World.
CHAPTER IV. “I Renounce You Forever!”
CHAPTER V. An Awful Grief.
CHAPTER VI. Sweet Bells Out of Tune.
CHAPTER VII. A Weird Funeral.
CHAPTER VIII. A Debt of Honor.
CHAPTER IX. Under Her Spell.
CHAPTER X. A Chord of Memory.
CHAPTER XI. Gran’ther Hears from Eva.
CHAPTER XII. For Eva’s Sake.
CHAPTER XIII. The Death of Gran’ther.
CHAPTER XIV. Driven from Home.
CHAPTER XV. The World Well Lost.
CHAPTER XVI. A Former Soul-mate.
CHAPTER XVII. Eva Discovers Her Lover.
CHAPTER XIX. Under a Cloud.
CHAPTER XX. Dreams of Happiness.
CHAPTER XXI. Doctor St. Clair’s Revenge.
CHAPTER XXII. Doctor St. Clair’s Clue.
CHAPTER XXIII. The Truth at Last.
CHAPTER XXIV. Father and Daughter.
CHAPTER XXV. The Old Love Is Master.
CHAPTER XXVI. Reginald’s Proposal.
CHAPTER XXVII. Thrown Together Again.
CHAPTER XXVIII. Her Duty to the Dead.
CHAPTER XXIX. A Deserved Repulse.
CHAPTER XXX. Love and Pride.
CHAPTER XXXI. “We Shall Meet Again!”
CHAPTER XXXII. Patty’s Ambition.
CHAPTER XXXIII. Eva Accepts Reggie.
CHAPTER XXXIV. “One Kiss Pays For All.”
CHAPTER XXXV. The Handwriting on the Wall.
CHAPTER XXXVII. How Eva Bore the Blow.
CHAPTER XXXVIII. “Justice Shall Be Done.”
CHAPTER XXXIX. “Only You, My Darling!”

New Eagle Series


Carefully Selected Love Stories

Note the Authors!

There is such a profusion of good books in this list, that it is an impossibility to urge you to select any particular title or author’s work. All that we can say is that any line that contains the complete works of Mrs. Georgie Sheldon, Charles Garvice, Mrs. Harriet Lewis, May Agnes Fleming, Wenona Gilman, Mrs. Alex McVeigh Miller, and other writers of the same type, is worthy of your attention, especially when the price has been set at 15 cents the volume.

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If you are looking for clean-cut, honest value, then we state most emphatically that you will find it in this line.


1 Queen Bess By Mrs. Georgie Sheldon
2 Ruby’s Reward By Mrs. Georgie Sheldon
7 Two Keys By Mrs. Georgie Sheldon
9 The Virginia Heiress By May Agnes Fleming
12 Edrie’s Legacy By Mrs. Georgie Sheldon
17 Leslie’s Loyalty
(His Love So True)
By Charles Garvice
22 Elaine By Charles Garvice
24 A Wasted Love
(On Love’s Altar)
By Charles Garvice
41 Her Heart’s Desire
(An Innocent Girl)
By Charles Garvice
44 That Dowdy By Mrs. Georgie Sheldon
50 Her Ransom
(Paid For)
By Charles Garvice
55 Thrice Wedded By Mrs. Georgie Sheldon
66 Witch Hazel By Mrs. Georgie Sheldon
70 Sydney
(A Wilful Young Woman)
By Charles Garvice
73 The Marquis By Charles Garvice
77 Tina By Mrs. Georgie Sheldon
79 Out of the Past
By Charles Garvice
84 Imogene
(Dumaresq’s Temptation)
By Charles Garvice
250 A Woman’s Soul
(Doris; or, Behind the Footlights)
By Charles Garvice
255 The Little Marplot By Mrs. Georgie Sheldon
257 A Martyred Love
(Iris; or, Under the Shadows)
By Charles Garvice
266 The Welfleet Mystery By Mrs. Georgie Sheldon
267 Jeanne
(Barriers Between)
By Charles Garvice
268 Olivia; or, It Was for Her Sake By Charles Garvice
272 So Fair, So False
(The Beauty of the Season)
By Charles Garvice
276 So Nearly Lost
(The Springtime of Love)
By Charles Garvice
277 Brownie’s Triumph By Mrs. Georgie Sheldon
280 Lovers Dilemma
(For an Earldom)
By Charles Garvice
282 The Forsaken Bride By Mrs. Georgie Sheldon
283 My Lady Pride By Charles Garvice
287 The Lady of Darracourt
By Charles Garvice
288 Sibyl’s Influence By Mrs. Georgie Sheldon
291 A Mysterious Wedding Ring By Mrs. Georgie Sheldon
292 For Her Only
By Charles Garvice
296 The Heir of Vering By Charles Garvice
299 Little Miss Whirlwind By Mrs. Georgie Sheldon
300 The Spider and the Fly
By Charles Garvice
303 The Queen of the Isle By May Agnes Fleming
304 Stanch as a Woman
(A Maiden’s Sacrifice)
By Charles Garvice
305 Led by Love
Sequel to “Stanch as a Woman”
By Charles Garvice
309 The Heiress of Castle Cliffs By May Agnes Fleming
312 Woven on Fate’s Loom, and The Snowdrift By Charles Garvice
315 The Dark Secret By May Agnes Fleming
317 Ione
(Adrien Le Roy)
By Laura Jean Libbey
318 Stanch of Heart By Charles Garvice
322 Mildred By Mrs. Mary J. Holmes
326 Parted by Fate By Laura Jean Libbey
327 He Loves Me By Charles Garvice
328 He Loves Me Not By Charles Garvice
330 Aikenside By Mrs. Mary J. Holmes
333 Stella’s Fortune
(The Sculptor’s Wooing)
By Charles Garvice
334 Miss McDonald By Mrs. Mary J. Holmes
339 His Heart’s Queen By Mrs. Georgie Sheldon
340 Bad Hugh. Vol. I. By Mrs. Mary J. Holmes
341 Bad Hugh. Vol. II. By Mrs. Mary J. Holmes
344 Tresillian Court By Mrs. Harriet Lewis
345 The Scorned Wife By Mrs. Harriet Lewis
346 Guy Tresillian’s Fate By Mrs. Harriet Lewis
347 The Eyes of Love By Charles Garvice
348 The Hearts of Youth By Charles Garvice
351 The Churchyard Betrothal By Mrs. Georgie Sheldon
352 Family Pride. Vol. I. By Mary J. Holmes
353 Family Pride. Vol. II. By Mary J. Holmes
354 A Love Comedy By Charles Garvice
360 The Ashes of Love By Charles Garvice
361 A Heart Triumphant By Charles Garvice
362 Stella Rosevelt By Mrs. Georgie Sheldon
367 The Pride of Her Life By Charles Garvice
368 Won By Love’s Valor By Charles Garvice
372 A Girl in a Thousand By Mrs. Georgie Sheldon
373 A Thorn Among Roses
Sequel to “A Girl in a Thousand”
By Mrs. Georgie Sheldon
380 Her Double Life By Mrs. Harriet Lewis
381 The Sunshine of Love
Sequel to “Her Double Life”
By Mrs. Harriet Lewis
382 Mona By Mrs. Georgie Sheldon
391 Marguerite’s Heritage By Mrs. Georgie Sheldon
399 Betsey’s Transformation By Mrs. Georgie Sheldon
407 Esther, the Fright By Mrs. Georgie Sheldon
415 Trixy By Mrs. Georgie Sheldon
440 Edna’s Secret Marriage By Charles Garvice
449 The Bailiff’s Scheme By Mrs. Harriet Lewis
450 Rosamond’s Love
Sequel to “The Bailiff’s Scheme”
By Mrs. Harriet Lewis
451 Helen’s Victory By Mrs. Georgie Sheldon
456 A Vixen’s Treachery By Mrs. Harriet Lewis
457 Adrift in the World
Sequel to “A Vixen’s Treachery”
By Mrs. Harriet Lewis
458 When Love Meets Love By Charles Garvice
464 The Old Life’s Shadows By Mrs. Harriet Lewis
465 Outside Her Eden
Sequel to “The Old Life’s Shadows”
By Mrs. Harriet Lewis
474 The Belle of the Season By Mrs. Harriet Lewis
475 Love Before Pride
Sequel to “The Belle of the Season”
By Mrs. Harriet Lewis
481 Wedded, Yet No Wife By May Agnes Fleming
489 Lucy Harding By Mrs. Mary J. Holmes
495 Norine’s Revenge By May Agnes Fleming
511 The Golden Key By Mrs. Georgie Sheldon
512 A Heritage of Love
Sequel to “The Golden Key”
By Mrs. Georgie Sheldon
519 The Magic Cameo By Mrs. Georgie Sheldon
520 The Heatherford Fortune
Sequel to “The Magic Cameo”
By Mrs. Georgie Sheldon
525 Sweet Kitty Clover By Laura Jean Libbey
531 Better Than Life By Charles Garvice
534 Lotta, the Cloak Model By Laura Jean Libbey
542 Once in a Life By Charles Garvice
543 The Veiled Bride By Laura Jean Libbey
548 ’Twas Love’s Fault By Charles Garvice
553 Queen Kate By Charles Garvice
554 Step by Step By Mrs. Georgie Sheldon
557 In Cupid’s Chains By Charles Garvice
630 The Verdict of the Heart By Charles Garvice
635 A Coronet of Shame. By Charles Garvice
640 A Girl of Spirit By Charles Garvice
645 A Jest of Fate By Charles Garvice
648 Gertrude Elliott’s Crucible By Mrs. Georgie Sheldon
650 Diana’s Destiny By Charles Garvice
655 Linked by Fate By Charles Garvice
663 Creatures of Destiny By Charles Garvice
671 When Love Is Young By Charles Garvice
676 My Lady Beth By Mrs. Georgie Sheldon
679 Gold in the Gutter By Charles Garvice
712 Love and a Lie By Charles Garvice
721 A Girl from the South By Charles Garvice
730 John Hungerford’s Redemption By Mrs. Georgie Sheldon
741 The Fatal Ruby By Charles Garvice
749 The Heart of a Maid By Charles Garvice
758 The Woman in It By Charles Garvice
774 Love in a Snare By Charles Garvice
775 My Love Kitty By Charles Garvice
776 That Strange Girl By Charles Garvice
777 Nellie By Charles Garvice
778 Miss Estcourt; or Olive By Charles Garvice
818 The Girl Who Was True By Charles Garvice
826 The Irony of Love By Charles Garvice
896 A Terrible Secret By May Agnes Fleming
897 When To-morrow Came By May Agnes Fleming
904 A Mad Marriage By May Agnes Fleming
905 A Woman Without Mercy By May Agnes Fleming
912 One Night’s Mystery By May Agnes Fleming
913 The Cost of a Lie By May Agnes Fleming
920 Silent and True By May Agnes Fleming
921 A Treasure Lost By May Agnes Fleming
925 Forrest House By Mary J. Holmes
926 He Loved Her Once By Mary J. Holmes
930 Kate Danton By May Agnes Fleming
931 Proud as a Queen By May Agnes Fleming
935 Queenie Hetherton By Mary J. Holmes
936 Mightier Than Pride By Mary J. Holmes
940 The Heir of Charlton By May Agnes Fleming
941 While Love Stood Waiting By May Agnes Fleming
945 Gretchen By Mary J. Holmes
946 Beauty That Faded By Mary J. Holmes
950 Carried by Storm By May Agnes Fleming
951 Love’s Dazzling Glitter By May Agnes Fleming
954 Marguerite By Mary J. Holmes
955 When Love Spurs Onward By Mary J. Holmes
960 Lost for a Woman By May Agnes Fleming
961 His to Love or Hate By May Agnes Fleming
964 Paul Ralston’s First Love By Mary J. Holmes
965 Where Love’s Shadows Lie Deep By Mary J. Holmes
968 The Tracy Diamonds By Mary J. Holmes
969 She Loved Another By Mary J. Holmes
972 The Cromptons By Mary J. Holmes
973 Her Husband Was a Scamp By Mary J. Holmes
975 The Merivale Banks By Mary J. Holmes
978 The One Girl in the World By Charles Garvice
979 His Priceless Jewel By Charles Garvice
982 The Millionaire’s Daughter and Other Stories By Charles Garvice
983 Doctor Hathern’s Daughters By Mary J. Holmes
984 The Colonel’s Bride By Mary J. Holmes
988 Her Ladyship’s Diamonds, and Other Stories By Charles Garvice
998 Sharing Her Crime By May Agnes Fleming
999 The Heiress of Sunset Hall By May Agnes Fleming
1004 Maude Percy’s Secret By May Agnes Fleming
1005 The Adopted Daughter By May Agnes Fleming
1010 The Sisters of Torwood By May Agnes Fleming
1015 A Changed Heart By May Agnes Fleming
1016 Enchanted By May Agnes Fleming
1025 A Wife’s Tragedy By May Agnes Fleming
1026 Brought to Reckoning By May Agnes Fleming
1027 A Madcap Sweetheart By Emma Garrison Jones
1028 An Unhappy Bargain By Effie Adelaide Rowlands
1029 Only a Working Girl By Geraldine Fleming
1030 The Unbidden Guest By Mrs. Alex McVeigh Miller
1031 The Man and His Millions By Ida Reade Allen
1032 Mabel’s Sacrifice By Charlotte M. Stanley
1033 Was He Worth It? By Geraldine Fleming
1034 Her Two Suitors By Wenona Gilman
1035 Edith Percival By May Agnes Fleming
1036 Caught in the Snare By May Agnes Fleming
1037 A Love Concealed By Emma Garrison Jones
1038 The Price of Happiness By Mrs. Alex McVeigh Miller
1039 The Lucky Man By Geraldine Fleming
1040 A Forced Promise By Ida Reade Allen
1041 The Crime of Love By Barbara Howard
1042 The Bride’s Opals By Emma Garrison Jones
1043 Love That Was Cursed By Geraldine Fleming
1044 Thorns of Regret By Mrs. Alex McVeigh Miller
1045 Love Will Find the Way By Wenona Gilman
1046 Bitterly Atoned By Mrs. E. Burke Collins
1047 Told in the Twilight By Ida Reade Allen
1048 A Little Barbarian By Charlotte Kingsley
1049 Love’s Golden Spell By Geraldine Fleming
1050 Married in Error By Mrs. Alex McVeigh Miller
1051 If It Were True By Wenona Gilman
1052 Vivian’s Love Story By Mrs. E. Burke Collins
1053 From Tears to Smiles By Ida Reade Allen
1054 When Love Dawns By Adelaide Stirling
1055 Love’s Earnest Prayer By Geraldine Fleming
1056 The Strength of Love By Mrs. Alex. McVeigh Miller
1057 A Lost Love By Wenona Gilman
1058 The Stronger Passion By Lillian R. Drayton
1059 What Love Can Cost By Evelyn Malcolm
1060 At Another’s Bidding By Ida Reade Allen
1061 Above All Things By Adelaide Stirling
1062 The Curse of Beauty By Geraldine Fleming
1063 Her Sister’s Secret By Mrs. Alex McVeigh Miller
1064 Married in Haste By Wenona Gilman
1065 Fair Maid Marian By Emma Garrison Jones
1066 No Man’s Wife By Ida Reade Allen
1067 A Sacrifice to Love By Adelaide Stirling
1068 Her Fatal Gift By Geraldine Fleming
1069 Her Life’s Burden By Mrs. Alex McVeigh Miller
1070 Evelyn, the Actress By Wenona Gilman
1071 Married for Money By Lucy Randall Comfort
1072 A Lost Sweetheart By Ida Reade Allen
1073 A Golden Sorrow By Charlotte M. Stanley
1074 Her Heart’s Challenge By Barbara Howard
1075 His Willing Slave By Lillian R. Drayton
1076 A Freak of Fate By Emma Garrison Jones
1077 Her Punishment By Laura Jean Libbey
1078 The Shadow Between Them By Mrs. Alex McVeigh Miller
1079 No Time for Penitence By Wenona Gilman
1080 Norna’s Black Fortune By Ida Reade Allen
1081 A Wilful Girl By Lucy Randall Comfort
1082 Love’s First Kiss By Emma Garrison Jones
1083 Lola Dunbar’s Crime By Barbara Howard
1084 Ethel’s Secret By Charlotte M. Stanley
1085 Lynette’s Wedding By Mrs. Alex McVeigh Miller
1086 A Fair Enchantress By Ida Reade Allen
1087 The Tide of Fate By Wenona Gilman
1088 Her Husband’s Other Wife By Emma Garrison Jones
1089 Hearts of Stone By Geraldine Fleming
1090 In Love’s Springtime By Laura Jean Libbey
1091 Love at the Loom By Geraldine Fleming
1092 What Was She to Him? By Mrs. Alex McVeigh Miller
1093 For Another’s Fault By Charlotte M. Stanley[Pg 1]
1094 Hearts and Dollars Ida Reade Allen
1095 A Wife’s Triumph Effie Adelaide Rowlands
1096 A Bachelor Girl Lucy May Russell
1097 Love and Spite Adelaide Stirling
1098 Leola’s Heart Charlotte M. Stanley
1099 The Power of Love Geraldine Fleming
1100 An Angel of Evil Effie Adelaide Rowlands
1101 True to His Bride Emma Garrison Jones
1102 The Lady of Beaufort Park Wenona Gilman
1103 A Daughter of Darkness Ida Reade Allen
1104 My Pretty Maid Mrs. Alex McVeigh Miller
1105 Master of Her Fate Geraldine Fleming
1106 A Shadowed Happiness Effie Adelaide Rowlands
1107 John Elliott’s Flirtation Lucy May Russell
1108 A Forgotten Love Adelaide Stirling
1109 Sylvia, The Forsaken Charlotte M. Stanley
1110 Her Dearest Love Geraldine Fleming
1111 Love’s Greatest Gift Effie Adelaide Rowlands
1112 Mischievous Maid Faynie Laura Jean Libbey
1113 In Love’s Name Emma Garrison Jones
1114 Love’s Clouded Dawn Wenona Gilman
1115 A Blue Grass Heroine Ida Reade Allen
1116 Only a Kiss Mrs. Alex McVeigh Miller
1117 Virgie Talcott’s Mission Lucy May Russell
1118 Her Evil Genius Adelaide Stirling
1119 In Love’s Paradise Charlotte M. Stanley
1120 Sold for Gold Geraldine Fleming
1121 Andrew Leicester’s Love Effie Adelaide Rowlands
1122 Taken by Storm Emma Garrison Jones
1123 The Mills of the Gods Wenona Gilman
1124 The Breath of Slander Ida Reade Allen
1125 Loyal Unto Death Mrs. Alex McVeigh Miller
1126 A Spurned Proposal Effie Adelaide Rowlands
1127 Daredevil Betty Evelyn Malcolm
1128 Her Life’s Dark Cloud Lillian R. Drayton
1129 True Love Endures Ida Reade Allen
1130 The Battle of Hearts Geraldine Fleming
1131 Better Than Riches Wenona Gilman
1132 Tempted By Love Effie Adelaide Rowlands
1133 Between Good and Evil Charlotte M. Stanley
1134 A Southern Princess Emma Garrison Jones
1135 The Thorns of Love Evelyn Malcolm
1136 A Married Flirt Mrs. Alex McVeigh Miller
1137 Her Priceless Love Geraldine Fleming
1138 My Own Sweetheart Wenona Gilman
1139 Love’s Harvest Adelaide Fox Robinson
1140 His Two Loves Ida Reade Allen
1141 The Love He Sought Lillian R. Drayton
1142 A Fateful Promise Effie Adelaide Rowlands
1143 Love Surely Triumphs Charlotte May Kingsley[Pg 2]
1144 The Haunting Past By Evelyn Malcolm
1145 Sorely Tried By Emma Garrison Jones
1146 Falsely Accused By Geraldine Fleming
1147 Love Given in Vain By Adelaide Fox Robinson
1148 No One to Help Her By Ida Reade Allen
1149 Her Golden Secret By Effie Adelaide Rowlands
1150 Saved From Herself By Adelaide Stirling
1151 The Gypsy’s Warning By Emma Garrison Jones
1152 Caught in Love’s Net By Ida Reade Allen
1153 The Pride of My Heart By Laura Jean Libbey
1154 A Vagabond Heiress By Charlotte May Kingsley
1155 That Terrible Tomboy By Geraldine Fleming
1156 The Man She Hated By Mrs. Alex McVeigh Miller
1157 Her Fateful Choice By Charlotte M. Stanley
1158 A Hero For Love’s Sake By Effie Adelaide Rowlands
1159 A Penniless Princess By Emma Garrison Jones
1160 Love’s Rugged Pathway By Ida Reade Allen
1161 Had She Loved Him Less By Laura Jean Libbey
1162 The Serpent and the Dove By Charlotte May Kingsley
1163 What Love Made Her By Geraldine Fleming
1164 Love Conquers Pride By Mrs. Alex McVeigh Miller
1165 His Unbounded Faith By Charlotte M. Stanley
1166 A Heart’s Triumph By Effie Adelaide Rowlands
1167 Stronger than Fate By Emma Garrison Jones
1168 A Virginia Goddess By Ida Reade Allen
1169 Love’s Young Dream By Laura Jean Libbey
1170 When Fate Decrees By Adelaide Fox Robinson
1171 For a Flirt’s Love By Geraldine Fleming
1172 All For Love By Mrs. Alex McVeigh Miller
1173 Could He Have Known By Charlotte May Stanley
1174 The Girl He Loved By Adelaide Stirling
1175 They Met By Chance By Ida Reade Allen
1176 The Lovely Constance By Laura Jean Libbey
1177 The Love That Prevailed By Mrs. E. Burke Collins

In order that there may be no confusion, we desire to say that the books listed below will be issued during the respective months in New York City and vicinity. They may not reach the readers at a distance promptly, on account of delays in transportation.

To be published in January, 1925.

1178 Trixie’s Honor By Geraldine Fleming
1179 Driven from Home By Wenona Gilman

To be published in February, 1925.

1180 The Arm of the Law By Evelyn Malcolm
1181 A Will of Her Own By Ida Reade Allen
[Pg 3]

The Shadow Between Them





“Her Life’s Burden,” “The Strength of Love,” “Married in Error,” etc.

79-89 Seventh Avenue, New York

[Pg 4]

Copyright, 1900

The Shadow Between Them

[Pg 5](Printed in the United States of America)




“Fly around there, little Eva, and pack the lunch basket while me an’ the other girls get ready for the hay ride an’ the party. Put in the half o’ thet caramel cake, an’ the thickest punkin pie, a big hunk o’ home-made cheese, a loaf of salt-risen bread, a glass o’ plum jelly, an’ some cucumber pickles. They got to find room in the hay wagon for that basket o’ pervisions, even if they do have to pack themselves like sardines, for I beant going to starve on a Hallowe’en party till after midnight!”

This was the rather long-winded pronunciamento of Miss Tabitha Ruttencutter, spinster, as she flounced around and snatched a hot flatiron from the top of the big stove, then turned back to the board where she was ironing handkerchiefs and piles of white ruffled lingerie.

The scene was in the clean, roomy kitchen of a West Virginia farmhouse up in the oil regions, where fortunes were made and lost in a day in rash speculations almost as quickly as in Wall Street.

The roomy old farmhouse was going fast to ruin[Pg 6] for lack of means to repair it, for the thirty-acre farm was rocky and sterile, and only afforded a support to its owner by reason of being within the famous oil belt. He eked out a frugal subsistence by leasing part of the ground to the oil men, who were numerous in that section, reaping rich rewards from their speculations.

Some of the neighbors had got rich by oil, and Gran’ther Groves, as his neighbors called him, expected prosperity, too, if the lessees ever put down oil wells on his place, so that he could get some royalties on the yield. But they were “dretful slow,” he complained, adding that he was like to be dead and in his grave before luck struck the family.

Grandfather Groves, indeed, had been in hard luck many years, having four orphan grandchildren to rear and support in his old age.

His son and his son’s wife had died in Kansas in their youth, leaving one boy, Terry, and twin girls, Patty and Lydia. Sympathizing neighbors, not wishing them to come upon the town for support, had promptly raised a purse and sent the orphans, tagged, by express to their Grandfather Groves, in West Virginia.

Pretty Nell, his daughter, had eloped with a fine young Northerner, who was on a hunting trip in the neighborhood, and for three years little was known or heard of her, till she returned one stormy winter night, ill and faded and heartbroken, coming home to die, she said.

[Pg 7]

She had quarreled with her husband and left him forever. His family, the grand, rich Somervilles, had disliked her and were always coming between them, so she would never go back.

She had had one child, but it died at a year old and was buried in the Somerville vault at Greenwood.

Nell died when her second child was born, though she lived long enough to kiss the pictured face of her husband, and say:

“You may write to him when I am dead. He can have little Eva if he wishes.”

But the father and mother, loath to part with all that was left of their bonny Nell, never wrote. They resented the coldness that had kept the husband from following his wife and suing for a reconciliation. They kept the child for their own.

“We will bring her up with Fred’s little orphans, and her cold, proud kin in New York need never be troubled with poor Nell’s child,” they said, and devoted themselves to their grandchildren.

But when Terry was eighteen, the twins sixteen, and Eva barely fourteen, dear old grandma died of a fever. Then Miss Tabitha Ruttencutter, a distant cousin, rising forty, and “homely as sin,” came to reign over the farm, substituting an iron sway for the loving rule of the one who was gone.

As she soon announced frankly to the neighbors, she “never took to Eva Somerville.” All natures like Miss Ruttencutter’s must have a scapegoat. The youngest girl served the spinster in that capacity.

[Pg 8]

At the time of the opening of this story the twins were nineteen years old, handsome brunettes both of them, and Eva seventeen, a radiant young beauty of medium height, exquisite form, and combining her mother’s starry dark eyes with the golden locks of her Northern father, forming that fascinating type of loveliness, a dark-eyed blonde.

All four of the young women were invited to go on a Hallowe’en hay ride, but, as usual, Miss Tabby tabooed Eva’s going.

“She must stay at home with Gran’ther Groves. He might take one o’ them fits he’s subject to, and die if he was left alone,” she said bluntly.

Eva’s starry dark eyes suddenly brimmed over with rebellious tears, and she protested with tremulous red lips:

“I think you might stay with gran’ther yourself, to-night, Cousin Tab, and let me go and have some fun.”

“And who pays you for thinking about what I ought to do, Miss Smarty? Ain’t I one o’ the chappyrones, and in a manner ’bleeged to go?” was the tart rejoinder.

“There’s a-plenty chaperones without you, Cousin Tab. Indeed, I never could see why all the frisky widows and cranky old maids in the country must go poking along with every little frolic the young folks have, as if one settled old woman wasn’t enough to keep them straight! I believe the hateful old things go just to have a good time themselves, thinking to cut the girls out and get a young husband!” ejaculated[Pg 9] Eva angrily, in her disappointment, so that Gran’ther Groves, from his corner seat, where he was patting the big dog’s head between his knees, looked around and chuckled:

“Good for you, Eva, my honey; you hit the nail square on the head! I’m thinking, too, that the boys and girls could be trusted together without so many old women to keep ’em from sparking; eh, Pat and Lydia?”

The twins, deprecating the spinster’s wrath, wisely made him no reply, but little Eva flew to his side and, clasping her soft arms about his neck, cried, with her rosy cheek pressed against his dear, white head:

“Dear old gran’ther, please make her let me go on the hay ride if I can persuade Dan to stay with you.”

“Sartain, sartain, child,” the old man answered soothingly.

Dan was the chore boy, a stout, stupid fellow, fond in his way of little Eva, but he had his own plans to go out with the boys on Hallowe’en larks to-night, so he resisted all the little beauty’s blandishments, and would neither be coaxed nor bribed to stay.

Then Gran’ther Groves, pained at his darling’s disappointment, valiantly announced he would stay alone.

Pooh! what was he afraid of, he who had shouldered a musket four long years in the Civil War and marched with Sherman through Georgia.

But, alas, that wound he had got in the last battle had impaired his health for life. He was never able to till the soil any more, and he had never been left[Pg 10] alone again since the day he had fallen with his face in the creek in a dreadful fit and been saved by a passing fisherman, who dragged him out just in the nick of time.

The old doctor had said the fit resulted from his wound, and that he must never be suffered to go about alone, lest he should come to grief.

For a while Terry had been his companion, but he was gone away to the university, at Morgantown, to study law, so the duty fell by common consent on Eva.

At his cheerful little speech she hushed her sobs and exclaimed tenderly:

“Say no more about it, for I will never leave you alone, gran’ther, dear.”

“Then quit your fooling and pack the lunch basket for us,” interpolated Patty, who was sewing a new red ribbon into the neck of her waist.

“Yes, do,” added Lydia lazily, from her rocking-chair and novel.

“I won’t, so there!” declared Eva pettishly. “You may wait on yourselves, Pat and Lyd, since you like so well to leave me at home like a poor little ashcat, and go off and have all the fun yourselves. I won’t even help Dan to milk Spots and Dapple! I’m going to sit down and rest and read my love letter over again!” throwing herself into a chair and drawing a large, square, white envelope from her apron pocket and unfolding a closely written sheet, which she began to read with demure interest.

[Pg 11]

“A letter? Where on airth would that child get a letter?” demanded the spinster, while the twins faced about with equal wonder.

A letter! Why, little Eva had never received a letter in her life, they were sure.

Yet there she sat, demurely rustling the large, satiny white sheets of paper, while its delicate scent of violets exhaled into the room above the kitchen odors of pumpkin pie, caramel cake, and the homely white loaf of salt-risen bread dear to the West Virginian’s heart—the bread his mother made.

“Humph, it smells mighty sweet! Is it from your beau? You don’t mean to say Terry has written you?” demanded Patty sharply.

Eva’s starry eyes flashed angrily at the question, and she answered, with subtle scorn:

“Terry? Why, if Terry had written me this letter I’d take hold of it with the tongs and lay it on the fire.”

The luckless Terry had aroused her ire on a recent visit by too free lovemaking, and had gotten in return a tingling cheek from a rough contact with a little white hand.

“Don’t you ever dare kiss me again against my will, you brute!” she had stormed, rubbing her offended lips till they burned in her rage to be rid of the hated caress.

Bitterly had the twins resented their brother’s repulse, cruelly had they punished her, working through Cousin Tabby, for her daring.

[Pg 12]

They darted angry looks at her now, and Patty taunted sharply:

“You ought to be grateful to Terry for life. He’s the only fool I ever saw that wanted to be your lover.”

“I should have had dozens before now if you three jealous old maids had not kept me from the chance of knowing any young men,” retorted Eva maliciously, adding, with keen triumph: “But I have a splendid lover, in spite of all your arts.”

“Bah, you are fibbing, Miss Vanity,” cried Lydia mockingly, but at the same moment she made a rush behind Eva’s chair and pinioned her arms to her side, shouting gayly to her sister:

“Snatch the letter, and see who wrote it.”

There was a sharp little scuffle, and Patty came off victor, seizing the letter and springing upon the kitchen table.

Lydia cheered her on:

“Read it aloud, while I hold her down, and we’ll soon know all about that boasted lover!”

Little Eva was like wax in the grasp of her stronger cousin. She wriggled and twisted, but escape was impossible, so, at length, she drooped her head with a dejected sob, while Gran’ther Groves looked on benignly, thinking it was all just a girlish frolic between the girls. His honest mind never suspected their secret malignity toward his pet.

“Why, it’s poetry! What weak rot! It makes me feel sick!” ejaculated Patty.

“I want to know! But read it, anyway. I’ll listen[Pg 13] if it makes us all sick,” put in the spinster curiously, so Patty cleared her throat and read with an air of fine disdain:


“When Eva laughs the dimples play
At hide-and-seek upon her cheek,
Like butterflies ’mong roses gay,
While twinkling, starry eyes bespeak
A mirthful mind, a nature kind,
A heart all true and warm and pure,
And music floating down the wind
No sweeter than her laughter’s lure!
“When Eva laughs I seem to hear
Glad echoes of the joyous spring;
The lilting birds, the humming bees,
The skylark on its soaring wing;
The murmur of the rippling stream,
The minor chords of ocean’s tone;
The lover’s sigh, the maiden’s prayer,
The rustling leaves, the wind’s low moan!
“When Eva laughs it drives away
Life’s shadows as the golden dawn
Dispels upon its rosy way
The darkness of the night time born.
As though the azure slipped aside
From heaven and let a sweet song through,
Her happy laugh can thrill the heart
Till fainting hope springs up anew!”

Gran’ther Groves slapped his knee a resounding blow and chuckled with delight.

“I swan, it’s true as the Gospel—every word on’t! Now, what smart young man writ that pretty verse, honey?”

[Pg 14]

“Who writ it, indeed?” echoed Miss Ruttencutter, with open scorn and secret envy.

But Eva could only blush up to the edge of her curly hair and falter:

“I—I—don’t know!”

They could not believe her; they plied her with curious questions until, in self-defense, to get rid of their importunities, she confessed all she knew.

“I found the verses on my window sill one morning in September—and afterward others just as pretty. And sometimes flowers, and now and then boxes of candy—real chocolates!”

“Chocolates—oh!” breathed Lydia, with upturned eyes of ecstasy.

“And you have devoured all the heavenly things by yourself, greedy little pig!” groaned Patty, jumping down from the table in disgust.

“Oh, no; I’ll give you all some if you like,” cried Eva, running upstairs, followed by gran’ther’s entreaty:

“Bring some more of that spark’s pretty rhymes!”

All blushing and smiling, she returned with a large box of candy, and passed the plump, brown dainties all around.

“Ain’t it nice, gran’ther?” she cried.

“Best chocolate drops I ever ate,” he agreed, adding: “Did you bring some more poetry?”

“Just one little piece. I didn’t want to make Patty sick again,” laughed Eva archly, and she handed it[Pg 15] to Lydia, whose curiosity led her to follow Patty’s example, and read this aloud:


“My heart is on each wind that blows
Toward you, dearest, in the spring—
I send a message by the rose,
My love, by every bird that goes
Your casement near to lift and sing.
“My heart is in the sun that shines
Upon the ripples of your hair,
The moonlight’s kisses bring you mine,
Dream kisses upon lips divine,
Love’s messengers are everywhere!”

“Just as pretty as t’other piece; but I wonder who on airth writ it to you, Eva?” exclaimed gran’ther in admiring wonder at his pet’s mysterious lover.

“I don’t know, gran’ther, but I feel sure I could find out if Cousin Tab would let me go out like other girls, and meet the young gentlemen of the neighborhood. It must be one of them, surely, and I do not believe he could keep his secret if we were face to face. His eyes must surely betray the love in his heart, and then I should know him for my heart’s choice, for I love him, whoever he is, and I am not ashamed to own it. I will never marry any one but my poet-lover!” declared Eva, with a willful toss of her bright curly head.

“You are a silly little love-sick goose!” commented the spinster, with frank disapprobation.

[Pg 16]



Had an angel from heaven pointed out the way to Eva’s heart, her mysterious lover could not have known more surely how to win the little beauty’s love.

She was intensely romantic, like the most of pretty young girls. She loved poetry and flowers, and she loved love for its own dear sake. Incidentally she doted on bonbons, and her unknown lover had catered to all these passions, adding to them the delicious flavor of a romantic mystery.

What a lover must he be who risked his life climbing to a two-story window at midnight to leave tokens of his love on her casement!

Vainly she had tried to entrap him, watching night after night for his coming behind her little white curtain.

Some instinct seemed to tell him when she was awake, so that he never ventured near until her tired eyes closed and she nodded wearily in her chair. Then her bold lover would leave his token on her window sill, beneath the embowering honeysuckles, and escape undetected by the beautiful object of his passion.

It was all so beautiful and romantic, it gave new zest and pleasure to her dull, prosaic life, and all her[Pg 17] thoughts went out to him in gratitude and love. Those were the happiest days she had ever spent, dreaming of her splendid unknown lover—her lover whom she fancied must be as handsome and as noble as a demigod.

But now she reflected with regret and pain that everything would be at an end, for if he came again he must surely be detected by that stupid Dan, who had overheard outside the door her confession of her mysterious love affair, and on entering the kitchen had stolidly announced that he would watch for “that impertinent feller, an’ yank him down by the legs if he ever caught him climbing up to Miss Eva’s window again. It would break down all the vines, and was enough to skeer the pore gal to death, anyway, and he would put a stop to him with a gun if anybody told he might do it.”

“No, no, Dan; I forbid you to watch for him at all! I—I don’t want it stopped; I like for him to come. I love him!” the young girl cried breathlessly, but her cousins laughed, and urged Dan on, saying they would give him a quarter if he would find out the identity of Eva’s unknown lover.

Urged on by a secret jealousy, for he doted himself on lovely Eva, Dan declared that he would never rest until he found out the truth.

Chagrined to the point of tears, Eva flung out of the room, determining to go for a little canter on Firefly before the early autumn twilight set in darkness. There was nothing like a swift gallop in the[Pg 18] cold, clear, bracing air to set the blood a-tingling and drive out the blues.

Firefly was her very own, a spirited colt that gran’ther had raised and given her when she was fourteen, because Grandma Groves had said before she died she wanted Eva to have it. It was the only property she possessed in the world, and the twins grumbled because she had that, but held their peace from reproaching gran’ther with partiality, because Miss Tabitha assured them they needn’t envy the red-headed little spitfire the possession of that wild colt, that would certainly throw her some day and break her proud neck.

The spinster persisted in calling Eva’s golden locks red, through sheer spite and envy of the loveliness she would never acknowledge.

“Not half as pretty as the twins, with their black hair, black eyes an’ red cheeks! I never could abide red-headed gals with black eyes. They have the devil’s own temper!” she said.

But Eva had been riding Firefly several years, and was not killed yet, nor likely to be; for Firefly, though wild and spirited, knew and loved his mistress too well; and as she cantered up the long country road alone, with her golden, curly hair flying loose beneath her jaunty Tam o’ Shanter cap, the pair made a vision of strength and force and beauty to turn an old man young.

Over the distant mountaintops and the autumn-tinted woods the purple haze of twilight was lingering,[Pg 19] and it was so still and peaceful, with only the woodland sights and sounds about that an unconscious calm breathed over her ruffled spirits from the tender benisons of nature.

After she had met and passed young Doctor Ludington within a mile of her home, she saw no one else until she drew rein at the farmhouse gate returning home.

As for the doctor, she had cantered past without salutation, her golden head crested scornfully, and a heightened color on her dimpled cheek. He was the handsomest young man in the neighborhood, but “they never spoke as they passed by.”

The cause of their aversion dated back more than thirty years ago, to the Civil War, since when there had existed a vendetta between the families of Groves and Ludington, handed down from the principals to their descendants.

Briefly stated, Gran’ther Groves had been a Union man, and carried a gun beneath the Stars and Stripes for his country. Old Doctor Ludington, a Confederate, had resented his neighbor’s political views, and denounced him as a traitor to the South. Wordy encounters at length resulted in blows, and an estrangement that only widened with the flight of years.

The Ludingtons had the best of it, too, for all the country round about were on their side and the Groves family were almost ostracized for their unpopular sentiments in favor of the Union.

[Pg 20]

When old Doctor Ludington was imprisoned as a spy several months during the war, all the family, root and branch, denounced Gran’ther Groves as the man who had caused his arrest. Innocent or guilty, his broad shoulders had borne the opprobrious charge ever since.

One of the worst features of the case, too, was that their farms adjoined each other, and now, in their old age and dotage, they squabbled over the merest trifles, such as transgressions of stock, boundary lines, and even over the possession of some crab apples, the tree growing on Ludington’s side, the fruit falling on Groves’ land.

“Them two old fools!” said Miss Tabitha severely, “actilly quarreled an’ fit, an’ had to be parted from scratching one another’s eyes out, all on account o’ some pesky crab apples nyther one o’ them cared a rap about, an’ wa’n’t no airthly use except to make jelly; and enough then to supply the hull neighborhood, jest ’cause they was sp’ilin’ for another fuss.”

As Eva drew rein at the gate she saw the immense hay wagon drawn by six strong horses lumbering heavily away with its load of youths and maidens, and argus-eyed chaperones, to the music of tinkling bells and merry laughter, and her heart sank as heavily as a stone in her breast.

“Perhaps my mysterious lover may be among them!” she thought tearfully. “If he is, how his heart must be aching because I am left behind! And how cruel and unfeeling of Patty and Lydia to laugh[Pg 21] when they saw me coming on Firefly, and knew I must stay at home like poor Cinderella in the fairy tale.”

The twins had indeed laughed aloud as they left her behind, in malicious enjoyment of a cunning plot they had schemed for her humiliation.

Upstairs, while they were putting on their finery, one had said to the other:

“Did you notice that Eva did not eat any supper? Nor a single chocolate, either! You may depend on it, she is fasting to try her fortune to-night!”

“To try her fortune? How?”

“Why, Patty, don’t you remember what Cousin Tab was saying only yesterday? That if a young girl will fast all day on Hallowe’en, and spread a table of dainties by her bed when she retires, her future husband will appear at midnight and sup with her in love and joy!”

“Fudge! I tried that last Hallowe’en, when I visited over in Nichols, but nothing came of it!”

“Then you must be cut out for an old maid,” laughingly.

“No more than you, miss. Indeed, I believe I shall be the first one married!” retorted Patty tartly, adding: “So Eva is going to try the charm, too? Well, I only wish we could get up some joke on her, so that she might have to sup with a perfect fright!”

“Some horrid old thing like Doctor Binks, with a bald head and toothless gums, and a hooked nose a yard long! She would die of chagrin, thinking she had to marry such a beast!”

[Pg 22]

“Perhaps we could manage to send Doctor Binks there! What a capital joke that would be! We owe her something, Lydia, for getting ahead of us with that anonymous lover, and the airs she is taking over us. Come, let us put our wits together and do it.”

They laughed in malice, and when they saw Eva cantering up to the gate on Firefly they laughed again with dangerous significance, little dreaming they were plotting a tragedy that was to recoil with fearful force on their own hearts.

But they were right about Eva. She was indeed fasting to try her fortune that night, dear little romantic girl.

And with her healthy, girlish appetite, she could scarcely refrain from devouring the plates of dainties she placed on the little white-covered table beside her bed. But she bravely abstained, and, going to her window, drew back the white, ruffled curtain, and gazed long and thoughtfully out upon the clear moonlight night, with the light fog rising from the river and wrapping the bases of the mountains in impenetrable mist.

In his room across the hall Gran’ther Groves had already retired, with the little bell by his side to summon Eva if he felt any sudden stroke of illness. He had sat up later than usual, because they were expecting Terry to come home to spend Hallowe’en, but the train was hours and hours late, so he retired at last, disappointed.

“How I hate Terry! I wonder why it is I’ve always[Pg 23] hated him, when he is not such a bad fellow, after all, and my cousin, at that?” mused Eva, as she lay down in bed after her little evening prayer, and cuddled down under the warm blankets and snow-white spread, until only the top of her golden, curly head was visible in the glow of her small night lamp.

She went to sleep, with her pretty little nose under cover, so as not to be tempted by the delicious smell of the cake and candy, when she was so tantalizingly hungry from her long day of fasting.

“Will he indeed appear at my bedside and sup with me this Hallowe’en?” she murmured, with delicious thrills of commingled hope and fear, then slid softly into the land of dreams.

The moments and hours slipped away until it was midnight and past, and in the distance sounded the shrill whistle of the belated express train coming into the station half a mile away.

Terry Groves was coming, although too late for the hay ride. Ah, Terry, how much better had you stayed away!

Another was coming, too, before him. Lightly, stealthily, footsteps crept up the stairs, and along the broad hall to Eva’s door, that was always left slightly ajar, that she might more easily hear the least sounds of illness from gran’ther’s room.

The intruder slipped into the room with light, noiseless footsteps, and paused to watch the beautiful sleeper in her warm, white nest.

She had tossed one arm over her head, disturbing[Pg 24] the covers, and her upturned face was rosy with health, and smiling as with happy dreams.

The daring intruder into this white bower of maidenhood was a tall, handsome young man, in a well-fitting business suit of dark gray. He stood like one fascinated, gazing on Eva, his dark-blue eyes sparkling with admiration.

“How beautiful! And the very picture of health! What a strange message! I do not understand it, but I will not arouse her! I will wait till she wakes!” and he was about to sink into a chair by the table when the floor creaked at his movement, and she opened her eyes.

For a moment they gazed speechlessly at each other, the man wondering, the young girl slightly dazed, believing her eyes must have played some trick on her brain.

Here before her stood certainly the very handsomest man she had ever seen—tall, elegant, fascinating—and she was certainly expecting something like this to happen—or, at least, hoping it.

But her great dreamy, dark eyes suddenly dilated from wonder to surprise and horror, her cheeks blanched, her lips parted with a gasping cry:

“What is this? Have I lost my senses? Is it you, Doctor Ludington? How dare you?”

She sat up in bed, huddling the covers about her with one hand, the other pointed at him in dismay.

Doctor Ludington stood still, with his hand on the back of the chair, and answered gravely:

[Pg 25]

“Are you not ill, Miss Somerville? Then why did you send for me?”

“I send for you, sir? Never, never! I am not ill! If I were, I would die before I sent for you, the son of gran’ther’s enemy! Go, go, at once!” cried Eva, with bitter scorn.

But he stood still, replying gravely:

“Hear me, Miss Somerville, before you banish me in scorn! We have fallen into the snare of some practical joker, who sent for me to come here, saying that you were ill, dying—ah,” and his eyes fell on the table bespread with dainty viands, and he smiled in the face of her scorn. “I understand now,” he added. “You spread your table for a phantom lover, and some jester sent me to personate him. Ah, Miss Somerville—Eva—what a happy chance! Am I pardoned for coming, believing you were ill and needed me? Will you permit me to sup with you, indeed, since I am really quite famished, having been far into the country without food since breakfast, on my rounds to the sick?”

Still half dazed, Eva motioned him to eat, and with a grateful smile he drew up his chair to the feast, saying gently:

“But not one morsel without you, Miss Somerville. Permit me,” and he passed her the cake with a profound bow.

A strange spell seized on her, intoxicating her senses with subtle pleasure, so that she mutely obeyed his gentle command, and, accepting the cake, began[Pg 26] to eat, feeling almost as famished as he had declared himself to be.

“Thank you; I am going in a moment, but we have broken cake, if not bread, together, and we may be friends hereafter, may we not?” pleaded Doctor Ludington earnestly, bending his blue eyes tenderly upon her troubled face.

What she might have answered, whether with friendship or scorn, we may never know.

An unheard footstep had come along the hall, and Terry Groves listening a moment to the murmur of voices in the room, suddenly stalked in with blazing eyes and a face purple with fury.

Words of denunciation leaped from his lips; epithets of scorn for her who had dishonored the good old family name, curses for the man who had trailed her honor in the dust.

“You shall not live to boast of her dishonor!” he hissed savagely, drawing a weapon from his breast.

“Listen! I can explain it all!” cried the other, striking up his hand, but not before the bullet was buried in his breast. Then the men closed in mortal combat, hand to hand, the one in blind fury, the other to avenge the death he felt closing down upon him.

[Pg 27]



Like a bolt of lightning from a summer sky came that terrible hour into the hitherto calm existence of Eva Somerville—an hour that was destined to change the whole current of her life, as a little rippling brook, singing along in sunshine and shadow, between green, flowery banks, suddenly empties into a wide, tumultuous torrent, rushing on with irresistible force and thunderous noise to some mighty falls.

Little Eva, half dazed by the strangeness of the night’s events, and horrified by her cousin’s sudden entrance and frenzied accusations against her honor, had crouched down among her pillows in an agony of alarm, unable to utter a word in self-defense until the two men clashed in mortal combat, and the crash of the discharged revolver, filling the room with blue smoke, assured her that murder was being done.

Instantly, and with a moan of despair, she comprehended Terry’s fatal mistake that had driven him into murderous frenzy.

He believed that Doctor Ludington was her clandestine lover. For, how else could he ever have chanced to be there in her room at midnight, alone with her, a trespasser; a Ludington, a member of that family—sworn foes to the Groves’ clan for over thirty years, maintaining a smoldering vendetta after the deplorable[Pg 28] fashion of some West Virginia and Kentucky sections, a survival of the savage spirit of their feudal ancestry.

Jealous rage fired Terry’s heart also, for Eva, even as a child, had felt for him a subtle aversion she could never overcome, and that was only increased in the past year by some lover-like advances he had imprudently made.

“Poor Terry, how strange the instinct that draws him to me, while I, in my turn, recoil from him. He is not such a bad fellow, truly,” she had thought more than once, in girlish pity.

But he appeared to her in the light of a fiend now, as the scathing words of his denunciation burned her cheeks with shame.

Now she comprehended her mysterious aversion to him always; a premonition of the evil he was destined to bring into her life.

And he was murdering Doctor Ludington in cold blood; a man who had never harmed him, who, although led into the house by a hideous practical joke, had dared its dangers on an errand of mercy.

He was the enemy of her house, but somehow she could not forget the tenderness of his dark-blue eyes and the wistful pleading of his musical voice as he said:

“We have broken bread together—may we not be friends?”

And he was being murdered before her eyes. It must not be, and shriek after shriek rang from her lips[Pg 29] as the men fought wildly together for possession of the revolver, while upon the light matting that covered the floor she saw ghastly bloodstains dripping down from Ludington’s breast.

Heedless of her little bare feet and her white night robe, she leaped from the bed and clutched Terry’s coat, trying with all her feeble strength to drag him off his victim, crying:

“Let him go! Let him go! He is innocent! You are a coward to shoot an unarmed man!”

Angrily, viciously, as if she had been a feather, Terry shook off her light hold so that she fell to the floor before gran’ther’s feet, who, aroused by the disturbance and Eva’s shrieks, now came stumping into the room, leaning heavily on his cane.

At the same moment Miss Tabitha and the twins, followed by several young men, came hurrying to the scene along the dimly lighted hall.

The hay wagon, returning with its load of happy revelers, had stopped at the gate just in time for them to hear the shot and the frenzied shrieks of Eva following upon it.

“Heavens, what is that?” they all cried together, except the twins, who thought they understood it, for Patty exclaimed:

“It is only Eva. She has been trying some silly Hallowe’en charms, and has frightened herself, fancying she sees a face in the glass over her shoulder, or some such nonsense!”

“But you forget the pistol shot! Something really[Pg 30] must have happened. Some of us had better go in with you and see,” said one of the young men, so several followed them into the house.

And just as Eva fell at gran’ther’s feet they trooped in behind him and came upon the startling scene.

They all saw how Doctor Ludington was trying to wrest the weapon from his assailant’s hand; they all saw that, just as he grasped Terry’s wrist, turning it aside from himself, the weapon was accidentally discharged.

The bullet buried itself in Terry’s brain.

At the same moment the failing strength of Ludington made him lose his grasp and the antagonists reeled apart, each sinking heavily down, their dying groans mingling on the air of the Hallowe’en night.

The frenzied screams of the women added to the horror of the scene.

The twins had rushed to their brother’s side and knelt down by him, quickly followed by gran’ther, who caught his hand, moaning:

“Poor Terry; poor boy! What is it all about? The fighting? My poor head is dazed.”

He did indeed have a piteous look, as he grasped the hand that was already growing cold in his as Terry Groves, with his eyes fast glazing, made a supreme effort and gasped:

“I was going along the hall to my—room—heard voices—peeped in Eva’s door—Ludington was with her—the vile hussy. To wipe—out—the foul—stain—I shot him! I—I——”

[Pg 31]

“Oh, Terry, Terry! don’t die!” shrieked Lydia wildly.

“He’s dead!” added Patty, in awe-struck accents, as his jaw dropped and the gray pallor of death settled on his boyish face, for he was but one-and-twenty.

Gran’ther Groves crouched down, gazing like one turned to stone, while the sobs and cries of the bereaved sisters, weeping in each other’s arms, filled the room.

Meanwhile, Miss Tabitha, after the first moments of consternation, had taken dire alarm in her maidenly bashfulness at Eva’s dishabille, and tearing the long wrap from her own shoulders, hastily threw it around the girl, muttering as she did so:

“Hain’t you ashamed o’ yourself, gal, walking round here in your bare feet an’ nightgown before all these men? An’ what are them two doing in here, this time o’ night, anyway, an’ fighting like Indians, I want to know?”

But Eva answered nothing, and did not even seem conscious of her words or presence, for at that moment the second horrible report of the revolver rang in her ears like the trump of doom.

“Oh, my God, have mercy!” she cried as the combatants fell apart, each sinking heavily to the floor with piteous, dying groans.

It seemed to her as if the point of a sword had entered her own heart, and she threw out her arms toward heaven with that wild invocation to her God for mercy.

[Pg 32]

As the smoke of the revolver cleared away she saw them all running toward Terry, leaving Ludington alone, but for herself, and with a moan of anguish she flung herself by his side.

She saw that his white shirt front was crimson with his lifeblood; that the gray pallor of death was on his handsome face; that his blue eyes were dim and set.

A great wave of anguish and pain, mixed with tenderness, surged over the girl.

She bent her face close to his, and impulsively kissed his cold brow with yearning lips, and murmured:

“Good-by, good-by! If you had lived I would have loved you!”

They heard her wild words, all of them. They used them against her afterward.

But, as for Eva, she had forgotten all but the man who lay before her, dying. She hardly thought that his dulled senses could comprehend her words, but, to her surprise, his drooping lids flew open wide, and a sort of radiant surprise and joy gleamed for a moment in his eyes, ere they grew dim again with the mists of death.

One of the young men knelt by him and gently, closed the staring blue eyes.

“He is gone, poor fellow!” he said gently.

All had heard Terry’s dying words, and by the verdict of the world Eva was guilty, though pure as snow in the sight of Heaven.

[Pg 33]



For a moment it seemed as if Gran’ther Groves would break down and weep like a woman as he saw poor Terry, his only grandson, lying dead on the floor in his young manhood, cut off so suddenly in the bloom of youth and hope.

He had looked for him to be the prop of his feeble, advancing years, and to carry on the honest name to posterity, but all in a moment these cherished hopes were blasted forever.

There at his feet lay his last male descendant, slain by the hand of the enemy of his house.

One long, piercing cry came from his quavering lips, and then his stern manhood quickly reasserted itself, and his blood leaped again through his veins with the fire of youth.

Rising quickly to his feet, he pointed with abhorrence at the young doctor’s body where it lay with its feet to Terry’s, as they had fallen apart, sinking with their mortal wounds.

His eyes gleamed with anger and his voice was tense with rage as he shouted hoarsely:

“Send for them to take it away before I drag the dastard out with my own hands and spurn his body into the road.”

[Pg 34]

“Come away, sir, into your own room, and the body shall be removed directly,” one of the young men said, leading him gently away.

Meanwhile Miss Tabitha, even in that tragic moment, could not forget that shocking dishabille of poor, distracted Eva, and, pushing her behind a screen, she began to help her to huddle on her clothes.

“A pretty sight you look, Eva Somerville, and all these men about, and more coming, for o’ course the crowner will be here directly to sit on the corpses! Here, pull on your stockings an’ shoes! You can’t? Lawk a-massy, stick out your foot an’ I’ll help you. There, now, stand up an’ let me get your clo’es on! Why, you can’t help yourself no more than a baby. An’ I vow to gracious I wouldn’t tech you with a ten-foot pole only to make you look decent before us other decent females. I never did take to you, Eva Somerville, an’ I never expected no good of you! Set down there, now, in that cheer, and don’t go to swooning, as I see you’re like to do.”

She snatched a glass of water and flung it square in the girl’s face, bringing her back to consciousness with a strangling gasp.

At that moment Gran’ther Groves, still in his long red flannel bedgown, his gray locks awry like one distraught, his aged face purple with rage, reëntered the room and hobbled across it till he stood in front of Eva, crying out to her in terrible wrath:

“I jest natchelly ought to kill you, gal, same as Terry killed your vile partner in shame!”

[Pg 35]

“Oh, gran’ther, I am innocent!” little Eva answered, in wild remonstrance.

But, heedless of her passionate protest, the half-crazed old man began to pour out the most scathing denunciation, drawing every one around to listen except the two whose ears were dulled in death.

In a lull of his passionate accusations she cried frantically:

“Oh, stop and let me speak, dear, dear gran’ther! Do not believe your little Eva the vile thing you say! No, no, if I were, I would bare my breast for your deathblow! I tell you, there was some fatal mistake. If Terry had but waited a moment, Doctor Ludington would have explained all to him!”

“Perhaps you can explain it!” the angry old man sneered incredulously.

“Yes, yes, if you will listen in kindness, and not glare at me in such fury, like a wild beast about to spring and devour me! Oh, gran’ther, how can you be so cruel to your poor little Eva, that loved you so!” she sobbed reproachfully.

“Go on with your explanation,” he answered, with brutal impatience in his unreasoning wrath, and she sobbed on:

“I never spoke to Doctor Ludington in all my life until to-night. Some one—some wicked practical joker that ought to be hung—sent him here, telling him I was ill, dying, and wished him to come. Seeing how angry I was, he explained to me, and was about to go when—when Terry entered in a senseless[Pg 36] rage—because he loved me and was jealous. Then he would listen to nothing! He fell upon an unarmed man, the coward, and killed him! That is the true story, gran’ther, and I swear to you I am innocent!”

But Patty and Lydia, who had stopped their lamentations to listen, joined in with Miss Tabitha in derisive sneers:

“A likely story, indeed! Never spoke to him until to-night!”

“Of course it was he that was bringing you the flowers, and poetry, and candy every night and being entertained in your room, you shameless thing, trying to pretend you had an unknown, honorable lover!”

“Didn’t all of us see you down on your knees, kissing him and telling him you loved him, before he died—that bad man, the son of gran’ther’s enemy?”

So they overwhelmed her with reproaches, stifling the voice of mercy in gran’ther’s breast by their plausible accusations, to which she only answered sadly:

“I pitied him because he suffered for my sake! But, gran’ther, I swear to you I am innocent. Do not let my cruel enemies turn your heart against me!”

No one saw the twin sisters whisper dismayedly to each other:

“How did Dan come to make such a terrible mistake?”

“God only knows!”

“We must never let him confess the truth.”

[Pg 37]

“That will be easy enough. Tell him he was the cause of all the trouble, and that he will be hung for murder if it is ever found out.”

Then they turned back again to listen to Gran’ther Groves, seeking to embarrass his decision by crying out:

“No wonder she hated poor Terry and was always so mean to him! Doctor Ludington was making love to her all the while, setting her against our poor brother.”

“Yes; no doubt she went to meet him this afternoon when she rode out, to tell him to come and see her to-night, as every one would be away; only poor gran’ther fast asleep in his room. She did not count on Terry’s coming in the nick of time and catching them.”

In the midst of their coarse denunciations Eva could but think, with a swelling heart, of how coldly and scornfully she had passed the young doctor in her canter on Firefly. Many times had they thus met and parted, never exchanging a word until to-night, and now—oh, the pity of it!—he lay there dead for the sake of one who had never given him a smile or a kind word!

Her heart swelled within her almost to bursting. She felt a passionate regret surging over her that she had not been friends always with the handsome young man that, as boy and man, had been their neighbor.

She remembered how all the girls had raved over him when he graduated at the West Virginia University,[Pg 38] two years before, and succeeded to his father’s practice, the old man retiring in his favor. He was very young, scarcely older than Terry; handsome, and manly, and winning. Every girl in the neighborhood except three had set their caps at him.

It all rushed over Eva now with keen regret that she had been so scornful to one whom fate had destined to lay down his life for her sake.

She comprehended soon that the kiss and the kind words she had given to him in his dying hour were being used to her disadvantage now, but it seemed to her that, not to have saved her life would she have repented or taken back her impulsive farewell, for if she lived to be a hundred she would never forget the look of love surprised that shone in his dark-blue eyes the moment of his death.

“How strange; how very strange! Perhaps he did not hate me, after all!” she thought, in wonder, and turned back to her grandfather, pleading:

“Gran’ther, do not judge him hardly. He is dead, and cannot defend himself against your blame. Indeed, I do not believe he was a bad man.”

“Oh, no, for you loved him! You told him so before us all!” mocked Patty, with fiery scorn.

“Yes, you loved him!” hissed Gran’ther Groves, in a sort of fury. “You loved him, the enemy of your family; you trailed our honest name in the dust for the vile wretch who stole into his neighbor’s house to dishonor its fairest flower! No woman of our race ever thus stained our clean name before, but, before[Pg 39] Heaven, if it had been any one but a Ludington you stooped to I might have pitied and forgiven you because you were so young, and motherless, and ignorant! But this was a crime that never can be forgiven. I renounce you!”

“But, gran’ther, I am innocent!” she shrieked, in agonized pleading, her young face as white as death.

Unheeding her words, he went on fiercely:

“I renounce you, Eva Somerville, and disown and disinherit you. Terry Groves branded you with shame in his dying moment, and dying lips dare not speak falsely. You are no longer my granddaughter, and this roof can never shelter you more. I have told you of your father, from whom you must have inherited this vile streak in your blood. Go, now, and seek him in New York; tell him who you are, and that your future home must be with him!”

He flung a well-filled purse into her lap, adding furiously:

“Begone at once! There is money for your journey! Tabitha, her cloak and hat! Help her to get ready, the sooner the better! Not an hour longer shall she sully the air of this home!”

He turned his back on her and hobbled out, leaving Miss Tabitha to obey his mandate with cheerful alacrity.

[Pg 40]



“Must I really go? Oh, surely, gran’ther did not mean to be so cruel! He is so fiery in his tempers, but presently he will be gentle as a lamb again! Let me wait till he grows calmer! Oh, Heaven, it is midnight, and freezing cold, and I have nowhere to go!” sobbed Eva, clinging to the spinster, who shook her off scornfully, exclaiming:

“Yes, your gran’ther meant every word he said, an’ told me to start you, an’ I’m going to do it! Decent females like Patty, an’ Lydia, and me ain’t going to stay under the same roof with the likes o’ you till morning.”

To do her justice, the woman believed implicitly in the truth of Terry’s story, thinking that Eva’s explanation was a falsehood trumped up on the spur of the moment to save herself.

Her virtuous soul boiled over with indignation against the “little baggage,” as she called her in her thoughts, and she felt that Eva well deserved the punishment that was meted out to her for her sin.

So she shook off the clinging grasp of the little white hands as if they had been contamination, and turned a stony gaze on the big, pleading dark eyes and tremulous red lips of the lovely outcast, adding harshly:

[Pg 41]

“Don’t say you’ve nowhere to go, for there’s money in that purse to take you to your dad in New York, where your gran’ther told you to go, an’ where you should ha’ been all this time by good rights, instid o’ here, taking the bread out o’ others’ mouths! Go, now, right to the station, an’ you’ll ketch the New York train in time if you walk fast. Good-by, an’ try to be a better girl hereafter. Well, I never!” recoiling from the purse that Eva aimed at her head in a paroxysm of indignant anger as she reached the door, flitting out like a shadow of the autumn night, penniless, despairing, outcast from home and love, with a blight upon her name.

“Let us keep the purse and divide it between us three. Gran’ther needn’t ever know Eva didn’t take it!” Patty cried greedily, heedless that it was her grandfather’s only wealth, the hoarded fifty dollars he had been saving for his funeral expenses that his grandchildren need not be embarrassed by his death.

There was no one to betray them, for the others had gone out to spread the awful news of the tragedy, some to old Doctor Ludington’s, to awake him to the awful truth; others to the town for the coroner and the undertaker.

Meanwhile, Eva, dazed with grief and despair, had flitted out like a shadow of the fateful Hallowe’en into the chilly night toward the stable for Firefly.

She had no intention of seeking her father in New York, as she had been bidden. Instead, her wistful thoughts turned in fancy toward a dear, kind, old[Pg 42] woman, a friend of her dead grandmother, who lived about nine miles away on a high mountain. She would seek refuge with her, biding gran’ther’s repentance, which she felt sure must come before many days.

Alas! the mischievous spirits of Hallowe’en had worked havoc with her plans.

The stable doors stood wide open, and Firefly and the other two horses were gone, just as on last Hallowe’en, when they had been chased several miles from home by youths on mischief bent.

“I must walk, and, oh! it is so cold, and the air is so smoky from the forest fires that the moon gives no light. What if I get lost on the mountain, and the wolves eat me up?” shuddered hapless Eva, setting out, nevertheless, on her way toward the only refuge she knew, for, in the near neighborhood, the Groves family had no warm friends by reason of gran’ther’s unpopularity during the war, which had clung to him tenaciously ever since.

She trudged on wearily, with the weight of an awful grief at her heart, and great, burning tears blinding her sombre dark eyes, so that it was no wonder that she could not see through the dense, overhanging smoke from the mountains, where the woods had been on fire for days, until all the neighbors were praying for rain to quench the spreading flames.

Wearily, tremblingly, the little thing plodded along the road, shivering with cold, and starting at every[Pg 43] sound of the eerie night, for she had always been called timid, considering she was a country girl, who oughtn’t to be afraid of anything.

Mile after mile she went through the night, little dreaming that she had long ago lost her way and was wandering deeper into the woods at every fearful step, till at last she walked into a little creek up to her knees in the icy water.

Trying to get out, she fell sprawling down upon the rock bed, and floundered there several moments before she extricated herself and scrambled out, drenched and freezing, on the bank.

“Oh, Heaven, where have I wandered? I am lost in the woods, for there is no creek in the road between here and Goody Brown’s!” she thought, in despair.

She knew not which way to turn; she could not see her hand before her in the darkness; but she felt that she would perish of cold and wet if she did not keep moving, and the bitter thought came to her that she could not keep going much longer for sheer fatigue, so that she must sink down presently and freeze to death in the biting cold.

She was so young to die, and she loved life in spite of the cruel disappointments it had brought her, still hoping for something brighter in that distant future to which youth’s eyes are ever turned; so she dragged herself up to her feet and ran with all her strength a little way, then fell down, panting and exhausted, her wet garments freezing to her limbs, the shoes torn[Pg 44] from her tender feet by the rocky road, the salt tears freezing on her cold cheeks.

She rested a few moments, then began to crawl along over the ground, tearing her soft little hands on rocks and thorns till they bled, and sobbing as she went:

“Oh, God, have mercy! Don’t let poor little Eva die of the cold out in the lonesome woods without a friend to close her eyes!”

Oh, the night, how long and terrible it seemed. Though it was past midnight when they had driven her out from home, and she seemed to have been walking hours, and hours, and hours, no welcome rays of daylight glimmered through the dense wooded gloom of the long night. In the distance she heard the tu-whit of the mystic owl, and the almost human scream of the terrible panther, thirsting for prey, and trembled and shuddered with fear of becoming his victim. She moaned to herself that if she lived until to-morrow all her golden hair would be turned white by the agony of these interminable hours. She would be changed into an old woman in a night.

Oh, the terror of the awful darkness and solitude, without one ray of light or welcome sound! If she had possessed a fortune, little Eva would have given it gladly for one sound of a human voice, even though it spoke to her in chiding.

And through all the darkness there was one sight ever before her eyes—the two men lying stark and dead in those crimson pools upon the floor of her[Pg 45] dainty little white-hung room, her maiden retreat from all the world. That sight would haunt her till she died, be her years few or many.

“I was not to blame. The sin lies at another’s door. Why did they drive me out like a leper, to perish on the highway?” she moaned, dragging herself on and on, until, finally, she sank down unconscious.

She lay like one dead on the carpet of dead leaves and briery vines. Moments went by unheeded, until at last a dim, gray light filtered through the darkness and the yellowish smoke from the distant fires. The light spread and spread, grew bright, then golden.

She came to herself again with the sunlight slanting through dead, leafless boughs, down into her pallid face, and, opening her dark eyes wide, she sat up and looked around.

She was couched in the pathless woods. She heard the faint whir of the pheasant’s wing, the plaintive call of the partridge, the low sough of the wind in the pine trees, but no human voice mixed with the echoes of woodland life.

She was stiff and sore, and her wet clothing clung to her limbs, a little steam arising from them in the sun’s warming rays.

[Pg 46]



Scarcely had the echo of Eva’s footsteps died away as she fled from Stony Ledge, the old home farm, in disgrace and exile, ere it was discovered that Gran’ther Groves had fallen down in one of the fits to which he was subject.

Dan, the chore boy, who had just come in with a startled face, having heard of the tragedy from the returning party in the hay wagon, grew as pale as ashes when the twins quickly drew him aside and whispered some eager warnings in his ear.

He whispered back hoarsely, with starting eyes:

“Mum’s the word, I promise you, for I ain’t going to put my own neck in the halter! But ’twan’t my fault that things went wrong. I done jest what you paid me for—went to old Doctor Binks’ office, near midnight, and tole him to go to little Eva at once, ’cause she was ’most strangling with a croupy cold, and might choke to death if he didn’t go to her right away. But the ole fool was drunk as a biled owl, on one of them dretful sprees he takes now and then, and says he to me, says he, ‘Dan, I’m sick as the devil! I’m too sick to git into my buggy, but I’ll send my assistant right off to see the poor little thing.’ So I come away in a hurry, for I promised to go with[Pg 47] the boys to take ole Jimison’s gate offen the hinges, and turn his cows into Ludington’s pasture, and a few other things! But, darn it all, I never thunk about young Doctor Ludington assisting of ole Binks, or I’d knowed that he could not come to Stony Ledge without an all-fired racket!”

“Well, it has happened, and all three of us will get into an awful mess if our part in it ever comes to light. Indeed, we daren’t tell the truth about it, although a hundred questions may be asked us at the inquest to-morrow. The secret is between us three, for Doctor Binks, being drunk, may not remember anything, and, if he does, we can deny it. So remember that you know nothing at all, and be as dumb as an oyster,” said Patty.

The frightened Dan had just assured them that he would carry the secret to the grave, when Miss Tabby sharply called to him that he must go and fetch Doctor Binks in a hurry to his suffering master.

Patty quickly arose to the occasion.

“Oh, Cousin Tab, we were just asking him to go, and he says he saw Doctor Binks lying in the fence corner three miles away, so drunk that no one could induce him to stand on his feet a minute, and they had to leave him there till morning. So what shall we do, with the nearest doctor fifteen miles away, only for old Doctor Ludington?”

She said this in a tone of despair, for all knew that even if the hot-headed old ex-Confederate could be coaxed to the bedside of the Union soldier, Gran’ther[Pg 48] Groves himself would have preferred death rather than a life saved by his enemy.

So it was settled that no physician could be gotten for the old man, and they must do their best for him, an undertaking that gave very poor results, so that Miss Tabitha was presently wringing her hands and lamenting:

“Nothing we do don’t help him at all! See how purple his face is getting, how his limbs twitch an’ draw up, poor soul, an’ how awful hard he breathes, like as if he was dying! ’Clar’ to goodness if I’d ’spected this was going to happen, I’d never a druv little Eva off so soon! She allays could doctor him better nor any of us!”

“’Cause she took more intrust in him, that’s why!” remarked Dan bluntly, adding with a certain wistfulness: “Lemme run after her, Miss Tab, and bring her back! She cain’t be gone very fur; the smoke will git in her eyes, so’s she cain’t find her way!”

But at that moment the whistle of the east-bound express train sounded loud and clear, and Lydia cried, with smothered triumph:

“It’s too late, she’s gone! There’s the train, now. Eva’s off to her rich father in New York, and we have seen the last of her, thank goodness!”

“And I’m sorry for’t! She was the nicest one of you all!” Dan exclaimed, drawing his rough sleeve across his eyes.

The girls started to giggle at his self-betrayal, but[Pg 49] they remembered just in time that this was a house of illness and death, and Patty said sharply:

“Hurry to the kitchen, Dan, and heat some water, quick, to bathe gran’ther’s feet. It’s the way Eva always did in his worst spells.”

Not a touch of pity stirred their hearts for Eva, thus cruelly banished from the only home she had ever known, to seek refuge with an unknown father, from whom her very existence had heretofore been carefully concealed. They remembered nothing but their spiteful jealousy because she had always been her grandfather’s pet, and because of her aversion to Terry that she had but vainly tried to conquer or conceal. They thought they were only paying off old scores by the terrible silence that was staining with dishonor both the living and the dead.

It was blackest treachery to keep still over the dread mistake that had sent two promising young men to bloody graves, and an innocent young girl into cruel exile, when a word from their lips could have cleared Ludington’s fame, and recalled the victim of circumstances from her martyrdom.

But those two young girls, barely nineteen years old, were hard and cruel at heart. They did not choose to save Eva, and bear the blame that must fall on them if they confessed their malevolent scheme to send old Doctor Binks to their cousin’s bedside, when the romantic young girl was expecting a vision of her future husband.

They put a seal on their lips, they hardened their[Pg 50] hearts, they did not even take the spinster, their whilom ally, into their confidence, fearing lest a certain sense of rugged justice inherent in her nature might lead her to censure them for their silence. They justified themselves by saying to each other that Eva was the same as Terry’s slayer, since her lover had murdered him.

Soon the sympathizing neighbors from roundabout farms came in to help and to sympathize, and the men took a turn with the sick man; but as for those two lying stark and ghastly nothing could be done but to wait for the inquest.

The news had been quickly carried to Fernside, Doctor Ludington’s home, and it was whispered about that nothing like it had ever been seen—the grief and rage of the old doctor, when they told him his son lay dead in his enemy’s house.

His son, his only boy, the prop of his house, his idol—for his older children were both girls, and long ago gone from Fernside to the distant homes of their husbands. It was well that the mother was absent on a visit to them, or the sudden shock of Rupert’s terrible death must have broken her fond heart.

The stricken father could not believe the tale the dying Terry told—that his noble son had clandestinely met a neighbor’s daughter and brought shame upon himself.

“It is a foul lie,” he swore. “There has been some terrible mistake. Rupert never spoke a word to Eva Somerville, old Groves’ granddaughter, in all his honorable[Pg 51] life! Have I not seen them pass each other with averted eyes or looks of scorn? They inherited the hatred of their ancestors. Go, bring him home to me, my murdered son! Let him not lie beneath my foeman’s roof!”

When they told him that his son’s body must not be removed till after the inquest his rage was terrible to witness. He flung himself with his face to the ground, raving like a madman that he himself would go and drag Rupert away.

Heaven knows how it all would have ended had not a young medical student in the party ventured to insert some morphine into his arm, drugging him into a restless sleep.

So the night wore away, and early morning brought the inquest and a curious crowd to Stony Ledge.

All the family were rigidly examined, but no light was thrown upon the mystery; nothing was learned either to support or refute the theory of Eva Somerville’s dishonor that had driven her cousin to avenge her by murder.

A simple verdict was rendered in accordance with the facts—the two men had come to death by each other’s hands in a battle over Eva Somerville.

Then the body of Doctor Ludington was borne away to Fernside, and at Stony Ledge the preparations went forward for Terry’s burial on the next day.

Meanwhile, every one believed that the exiled[Pg 52] granddaughter had gone away as ordered the previous night to seek her father in New York.

Every tongue was busy in pity or blame. Some said it was a pity that Doctor Ludington richly deserved his fate; others declared that Eva was old enough to know better than to carry on a clandestine love affair with the enemy of the family. She might have known he meant no good.

But, strangely enough, so biased was the evidence that no one doubted her guilt. All thought she had been very lucky to have a father to go to in New York, where perhaps her story need never become known.

And while the busy tongues wagged all day over the scandal and the tragedy that had set the whole countryside agog, no one dreamed that as the day waxed old, and the winds raged, and the rain and snow drove through the bleak, bitter air, putting out the forest fires, and clearing the smoky atmosphere so that one could see the mountain tops again, that little Eva, freezing and starving, lost in the lonely wood, bereft of reason by the weight of her woe, was wandering back and forth beneath the bare trees, over the rustling leaves, wreathing her golden locks with blossoming briers and scarlet leaves.

Miles and miles had she wandered from Stony Ledge, but though she had lost the road in the stifling smoke and darkness, she had indeed come upon the lands of Goody Brown’s lazy spouse, not more than a mile from their comfortable home.

[Pg 53]

And that bleak afternoon, while the winds raged and the rain descended, the old woman was rating her partner:

“See how cold it’s getting, Sam Brown, and not a dozen sticks in the woodpile to keep us from freezing till morning. Say no more about it, but hitch up the wagon and go to the woods for a load of wood, you shif’less mortial!”

Lazy Sam having ignored this daily rating till they had come to almost the last stick in the woodpile, knew that even the rain would not save him now, but rather add to the fury of his spouse’s wrath.

So he sighed and drew on his “slicker,” as he called his old rubber overcoat, and went out to the stable to help the chore boy hitch up the horses to the old wagon.

And presently they drove toward the wood, the old man shouting back to his wife in the kitchen door:

“If I catch my death o’ cold, it’ll be your fault, Goody!”

“My back is broad enough to bear the blame!” she retorted nonchalantly, adding to herself:

“He knows he’s as tough as a pine knot!”

Sam Brown drove on into the wood, and by and by he pricked up his ears at a strange sound.

“Lord a-massy, Jinkins, who can thet be singing like a loonytic yonder ’neath the trees?” he exclaimed.

It was such a strange, eerie sound that they stopped[Pg 54] the horses to listen to the weird chanting to the tune of the bleak wind.

“Gosh, how crazy-like it sounds? Though pretty, too!” snorted Jinkins, as they drove on nearer and nearer into the wood, and came close enough for a sight of the singer.

Eva, for it was she, was kneeling down, a slim, drenched figure, golden-haired and flower-crowned with the blossoming briers and scarlet leaves, the rain pouring down upon her through the bare boughs overhead, while she sang a weird song.

“I swan to goodness, I never had sech a turn in my life, Goody, as when I see that awful sight—little Eva that we always sot sech store by, a-singing like mad,” Sam confided to Goody that evening over the blazing logs that he had made a second trip to get.

For the first thing he did was to gather up the poor, drenched girl in his arms and press her to his warm heart, while he said huskily to his man:

“Fust thing we do, Jinkins, let us carry this poor lamb home to Goody, and make a second trip for the logs. I don’t know how she come to be here crazy, but it’s little Eva that we all love, and her gran’ma was my wife’s dearest friend!”

Little Eva was melancholy mad. The weight of woe had turned her brain. Gentle and irresponsive as an infant, she suffered Goody Brown to undress her by a cheerful fire, after feeding her with brown bread[Pg 55] and new milk, and put her to bed between warm white blankets.

Then, overpowered by weariness, she slept almost as soundly as the dead.

Goody wept in sympathy as she wrapped the scratched and bleeding little hands in salve and linen bandages, saying tenderly:

“Poor little dear, she had started to see us, maybe, and got lost in the smoke, so she couldn’t find the way. Then she went out of her head with uneasiness, but no doubt she will be just like her own sweet self in the morning. Do you think we ought to send word to her gran’ther that she’s safe, Sam?”

“Well, p’r’aps, to-morrow,” replied her husband, adding apprehensively: “You cain’t expect nobody to ride nine miles to Stony Ledge to-night in sech a snowstorm as is coming up now!”

“No, I reckon not,” she returned placidly, for she could not urge him to forsake the blazing open fire and homely cheer of the kitchen to encounter such a storm, even to allay Grandfather Groves’ anxiety. Goody was a splendid housewife, and Sam an appreciative husband, though he did rile her sometimes by what she called “his shif’less, percrasterinating ways!”

But they did not have to wait till morning to find out the news, for presently a belated wayfarer happened in, craving shelter for the night; and then, over the apples and cider, and fresh gingerbread and pipes, he told them the story of the awful tragedy at Stony Ledge.

[Pg 56]

They listened open-mouthed, with bated breath, to every word, their ruddy cheeks paling with horror.

Now they understood why dear little Eva had been wandering crazed in the woods, driven mad by the awful consequence of her sin.

For like others, they could not doubt that she was guilty, with the difference that a great pity surged up in their hearts for the erring girl.

“She was so young, and Ludington was a handsome, smooth-spoken young scamp—not but we thought he was all right till now. You remember how soon he cured your rheumatiz last winter, wife?” said Sam.

“Yes, and I said I would never call in that drunken old Binks again, long’s I could git Ludington,” she replied, adding, with a long sigh: “He was very pretty spoken, to be sure, but now I think he was a wolf in sheep’s clothing, for who else could have wronged sweet little Eva?”

“’Tis to be hoped that her folks in New York will never find out the truth, and turn her out so onmarciful as her gran’ther did!” observed the guest, who inclined to the side of mercy.

What was his surprise to be told that little Eva was sleeping under the same roof!

“Mad as a March hare!” added the host, after relating the story of how he had found Eva.

“She couldn’t never have started to New York. I b’lieve in my heart, Sam, the poor gal was coming right to us in her mis’ry! She was on our land, skeerce a mile away!” cried Goody, with a choke in[Pg 57] her throat at thought of Eva’s confidence in their love.

The guest replied thoughtfully:

“Well, you’ve got her for keeps, sure, unless you turn her out like her own folks, or write to her father in New York to take her home. ’Twon’t be no use to send word to Stony Ledge. Them folks has washed their hands of her forever.”

“And ’tain’t likely her dad will be willing to have her, neither. Proud, rich folks like him that broke his poor wife’s heart, ain’t like to own a daughter that has brought disgrace to the family,” Sam answered despondently, as he refilled and lighted his pipe, obscuring the warm air with curling blue rings of smoke.

“Whatever on earth will you do with her, then? Let her stay here?” questioned the guest, and Goody answered with a troubled air:

“I’ve never took to girls as went wrong like her, but yit I ain’t the heart to turn her out, homeless, like a stray dog. I think me and Sam will have to pray over it to-night and consult the preacher to-morrow, before we can rightly decide our duty to her and the Lord.”

But they did not consult the preacher the next day, for all night on the bleak mountain the storm raged, and the snow drifted, until all the roads were impassable for days and days.

The guest did not get away for three days, but he made his company acceptable by lending a hand in clearing away the snow from the paths, and assisting[Pg 58] Jinkins at the hog-killing and sausage-making; which beguiled the time till the sun came out and melted the snow with its genial rays, when he mounted his horse and rode away, calling back as his last word:

“I see nothing for’t but to send little Eva off to Weston!”

Sam and his wife both shuddered at the word, and turned back, without answering, into the house, where Eva sat upon the floor like a child, moving her head and her hands in a restless fashion, and singing low to herself aimless words and snatches of songs, all in a wearisome, tuneless monotone, enough to drive a sane person mad.

She was ill, too, and coughed often between her chanting, from a terrible cold she had contracted that night when she was lost on the mountain.

She did not recognize her kind friends, and no light of reason had glimmered in her big sombre, dark eyes since Sam Brown had brought her home, drenched and shivering, in his kind arms.

Tears came into Goody’s eyes as she said sorrowfully: “I see nothing for’t, as he said, but to send the poor thing off to Weston!”

The nearest insane asylum was located at Weston.

[Pg 59]



When old Doctor Ludington in his young manhood inherited the pretty estate, Fernside, from an uncle, and went there with his young wife to live, he left a home twenty miles away that had sheltered the Ludingtons for several generations, and where, in their near-by burial grounds, rested every scion of the race that had died in America.

So it was deemed meet and right that Rupert Ludington be taken back to the old-home place to rest among his kindred.

As it happened, one of his sisters had married back in the old neighborhood two years before, and his mother was visiting there now.

So a messenger was sent ahead on a swift horse, to break the news to the family, and make arrangements for the burial two days later.

Two hours after the inquest at Stony Ledge the dismal train set forth, two covered Jersey wagons following the hearse. In them were the heartbroken old doctor and the pallbearers, six young men selected from the dead man’s most intimate friends in the neighborhood.

Slowly and in the teeth of the advancing storm, buffeted by driving wind and rain, the solemn train proceeded[Pg 60] along the winding road and up the lonely mountainside, out of sight.

It was not expected to make the journey in a day, or to travel all night. At dark they would stop over at a mountain inn, and proceed on their way at dawn.

But darkness and the advancing storm found them far from the inn, their lamps blown out, in total gloom, wrapped in the fury of the most blinding snowstorm known to the country for several years.

It was dangerous driving over those shelving mountain roads in the broadest daylight. It required a keen eye and a steady hand to hold the horses to the road then, that they might not step aside and go rolling down, over precipices that one shuddered to behold. How much more terrible the journey now to the drivers, as their horses crawled along, guided only by their own keen instincts, for the blackness was such that one could not see his hand before him.

“A gruesome funeral train,” one pallbearer lamented to another, who answered gloomily enough:

“I should not wonder if we all come to our deaths before to-morrow!”

Nothing indeed was more likely, as they all realized in the depths of their heavy hearts.

The bereaved father in the forward wagon roused himself from the apathy of grief in which he was sunk, and muttered:

“If we could have but reached the inn before dark! But it would have been unseemly driving fast with the dead. This is terrible, for we may plunge over the[Pg 61] road, and down the precipice, any moment. Might we not better halt until morning?”

“We should freeze! Let us trust to the horses’ instincts to go on and save us!” answered the others, and they continued to crawl along, the old doctor sinking again into his abstraction of grief, with his white beard sunk on his breast.

Colder and more piercing grew the wind, till the cold seemed to strike to the marrow of every one’s bones, and their thick clothing did not seem to keep out the chill any more than coverings of paper.

Too late they repented that they had ventured out in the teeth of the storm, not dreaming it would increase to such unusual violence for the season of the year.

They were just wondering over their whereabouts, and how far they could be from the inn, when the noisy tumult of a river rushing over its rocky bed came to their ears from the base of the mountain, as they wound around its summit.

“Hark! do you hear the river? We are at that dangerous turn in the road, going around the cliffs. God help us if we should go over here! We would be dashed to pieces on the rocks, or go into the water!” cried one of the drivers, and the other one, just ahead, shouted back encouragingly:

“Do you hear the river plunging through the narrows, going to the falls? Well, it is only half a mile from here to the inn! We shall soon be safe!”

Scarcely were the words out of his mouth when[Pg 62] terrible sounds came back to them from ahead, where the grim, black hearse was dragging through the snow with two stalwart men on the box, leaving the reins loose on the horses’ backs that the faithful animals might better pick their way in the darkness.

The bewildered beasts had lost their footing and plunged headlong over the cliffs with their human freight of dead and living passengers!

The loud screams of the two men, the agonized snorting of the horses, the grating noise of the overturned hearse as it crashed on its side and hurtled over the rocky road down the hill to the precipice overhanging the river, were sounds of horror to ring in one’s ears till death.

“The hearse has gone over into the river! God help the men!” groaned the men in the wagons.

And in the first one the men had as much as they could do to hold back a half-crazed old man, wild with grief, from springing out into the night, and following his dead son down to the depths where the swollen river thundered far below.

They held him down by main force, their hearts as heavy as lead and their lips dumb with horror, until after what seemed interminable lengths of time their horses guided them safely to the mountain inn.

The people that came out to meet them were not astonished at the terrible story they told. They rather wondered that any had escaped destruction on such a night.

“They went into the river, and are dead before now,[Pg 63] but to-morrow we will organize a searching party,” they said, as they warmed and fed the survivors of the strange funeral train.

But to-morrow the snow was drifted to the second-story windows, and no man dare venture forth. Not until the third day did the sun peep forth again with renewed warmth and splendor, melting the snow into sluggish rivulets, running down the mountainsides to the valleys below, and swelling all the streams till they overflowed their banks.

On the fourth day the searching party went back to the scene of the accident.

The shattered remnants of the hearse were found, and the horses, dead and crushed to pulp, on the cliffs above the river. Splinters of the heavy oaken casket were discovered also, and, when no trace of the corpse was found, it was agreed that it must have bounced from the cliffs in a terrible recoil down to the river’s depths. But strange to say, the two drivers had escaped death and contrived to exist under the cliffs.

They had jumped from the box when the hearse toppled over, then they rolled down the mountain and through a fissure in its side, down under the cliffs, where it was warm and dry.

[Pg 64]



The governor of West Virginia sat at his desk in the State House, with a bored and weary air. Although inaugurated barely nine months before, the cares of state seemed to rest heavily on his mind, for it was becoming worse than a Chinese puzzle to fill all the official places to the entire satisfaction of the people.

He had just dashed off a letter making an appointment over which there had been a fierce political squabble, and he sighed as he thought how the battle would be fought over again by the opposing sides of the press as soon as his decision became known.

At that moment Private Secretary Boggs came quietly into the room.

“A caller, your excellency!”

“Ah, Boggs, I was just thinking of going over to the mansion. His card?”

“He had none, and he refused me his name.”

“Rather curious.”

“He said you would remember him as a young man to whom you had promised a favor.”

The private secretary’s lips twitched with mirth that he coughed to hide, but Governor Atkinson frankly laughed outright.

[Pg 65]

“He must be a wit,” he remarked dryly.

“It sounds like it, yet I don’t think it was intentional, your excellency. He seemed to be in earnest.”

“And yet his message makes him very difficult to identify. Have I not promised places to more men than I can remember?” groaned the governor.

“A sight of the young man might refresh your memory,” suggested the secretary respectfully.

“I will try the experiment. Send him in.”

Boggs retired, smiling.

A tall, slight young man, thin to emaciation, with a pallid, handsome, close-shaven face, lighted by hollow, dark-blue eyes, curling brown hair falling down upon his coat collar, well-dressed, well-mannered, entered the chamber.

“Ah, my friend, I am glad to meet you,” began the affable governor. “But somehow your name has escaped my memory.”

“Then my face does not suggest it, your excellency?”

“I beg pardon. It looks familiar, but really I cannot place you.”

“I am very sorry, for that is the object of my call,” smiled the mysterious stranger. “Permit me to refresh your memory, my dear governor. Two years ago I was a student at the West Virginia University, and I had the pleasure of saving your son from injury in a football game. Prompt medical aid rescued him from a very precarious state, and he was pleased to insist that I saved his life. Afterward, when I met[Pg 66] you, you were very grateful, and promised to do me, if it ever lay in your power, a favor. I may add that my vote helped to make you governor—although I am not claiming a reward for what was my pleasure, and for the good of my State.”

The governor thanked him for the delicate compliment, and, gazing at him keenly, said:

“It was Ludington that saved George—I recall it distinctly. But he is dead, poor fellow! You are perhaps a relative. I notice now a strong resemblance. If you wore short hair and a mustache, the likeness would be striking.”

“I should then be Rupert Ludington himself,” grimly.

The governor grew slightly pale and grave at so unseemly a jest. The young man added earnestly:

“Your time is precious, I know, but you have a kind, true face. Can you keep a secret for me?”

“Sit down and unbosom yourself, my friend,” returned the executive cordially, as he resumed his own seat and gazed curiously at his strange visitor, who blurted out with strong agitation:

“I am Rupert Ludington himself!”

It was no wonder that Governor Atkinson half started from his chair and grew slightly pale, as he exclaimed, fancying this a madman:

“But the grave cannot give up its dead!”

“The grave has never claimed me!” returned Doctor Ludington, and, seeing the governor too astonished to reply, he continued:

[Pg 67]

“As you seem to have heard of my tragic death, perhaps you know also of the strange tragedy of my funeral journey?”

“Yes, yes! It created a great sensation, and all the newspapers printed it. The hearse went over the precipice in the blinding snowstorm, and your casket was shattered into fragments. It was supposed that the corpse fell into the river,” exclaimed the governor.

Doctor Ludington smiled, and replied:

“The corpse did not go into the river, but instead bounded down the hill, into the back yard of an old ferryman, who, with his deaf-and-dumb sister, lived in a hut below the hill, close to the river. And it was no corpse, for I was alive, and had been in a strange trancelike state ever since my seeming death, in which I was conscious of everything transpiring, but unable to move or speak.

“I spare you the recital of the horrors I endured. Your time is too valuable to waste on the story, and the tale too harrowing for your ears. Suffice it that the mere fact of the casket lid being but loosely screwed down saved me from suffocation, and the accident to the hearse must have been God-sent, as it kept me from being buried alive. The shock of my fall restored my faculties, and the old ferryman presently found me in the snow and carried me into his wretched hut, little thinking I had fallen out of a hearse on my way to the grave. I took care that he should not find it out, either, for I decided it was best to remain dead to the world.”

[Pg 68]

“But, my dear Doctor Ludington, why should you do so?”

“Do you not remember that my antagonist, Terry Groves, died by my hand in an accidental discharge of the revolver I was trying to wrest from him? Well, if I had lived I should have been tried for his murder, and, being in the house of my enemy, to which I had been falsely lured, I should have had no witness in my favor, and the Groves clan, that hated me, would have hounded me to my death. Public sentiment would have been so dead against me I might have been mobbed and lynched.”

“Quite true. But then the young lady? Would she not have testified in your favor?”

“I could scarcely have expected it, your excellency. She had always been my enemy, like the rest.”

“Indeed? Then how explain your presence in her room at midnight?”

“By no connivance of hers, and by no fault of mine, for Eva Somerville is pure as snow. Here are the simple facts: Old Doctor Binks, who is the family physician, employed me often to attend to his patients when he was under the weather. That night, while he was on one of his sprees, I went his rounds for him, and, calling in at his office, while returning home, was entreated to go to Stony Ledge, where he represented Miss Somerville was ill, dying. Duty led me to her room, where I found we had both been made the victim of a practical joke.

[Pg 69]

“She was asleep, with the bloom of health on her lovely cheeks, and as I stood gazing in bewilderment, she awoke and upbraided me with angry words. A spirit of mischief entered into me, and I lingered, chaffing her over the table of refreshments she had spread for a phantom lover, expected at midnight by all the Hallowe’en traditions. In a moment Terry Groves rushed in, purple with anger, heaped on her terms of disgrace, and, ignoring my attempted explanations, fired a bullet into my breast. You know the rest.”

“He was too hasty, and his terrible mistake cost him his life.”

“Yes, but not by my wish. I was only trying to knock the weapon out of his hand when it was discharged, perhaps by himself, and the ball went into his brain. Poor fellow, how I pity him in his premature grave to-day, and would gladly restore his life to him if I could,” exclaimed Doctor Ludington, with strong emotion, realizing the terrible provocation Terry had had for his fatal haste. Then he added:

“I hope you understand my motives in remaining incognito until public opinion calms down enough to hear reason; then I may disclose my identity. At present my secret must remain locked in your breast alone, and I am here to claim the promised favor.”

“Name it, my dear friend,” replied the governor, with a slight sinking of the heart as he reflected that all of the “fattest jobs” had already been given out. He had such a big heart for his friends that he wished[Pg 70] to do something splendid for this young man whom he esteemed so highly.

Doctor Ludington replied quickly:

“I have heard that one of the three assistant physicians at the Weston Insane Asylum is going to resign because of ill health. Will you give me the position?”

“My dear doctor, those appointments are made by a hospital board of nine directors.”

“There is a power behind the throne,” returned Ludington, with a slightly significant smile.

“You mean that I may be able to influence them in your favor?” returned the governor, with an uneasy conviction that he had been interviewed on this subject before by several aspiring young physicians. Secretly he thanked his lucky stars that he hadn’t written to the directors in their favor yet. So he said cordially:

“I will write to the directors and recommend you for the place. I will also see the member from Alderson personally when he passes through Charleston next week, en route to the next board meeting at Weston. I will certainly secure the place for you if I can!”

“A thousand thanks, your excellency. You make me your debtor forever. I would rather have that position at Weston than sit in a senator’s seat at Washington.”

“I do not understand your enthusiasm.”

[Pg 71]

“Will you understand it better when I tell you that Eva Somerville is a patient at Weston?”

“Insane? Poor girl!”

“Yes, driven mad by the scandal that smirched her name, and the awful tragedy for which that cruel old man Groves banished her from home.”

“It was cruel. But you—can you take such an interest in the girl, your enemy?”

“Through my innocent fault she suffered. I long to be near her, to aid if possible in her restoration. And with my altered looks she will never recognize me.”

“But how will you get over your name?”

“Will you please recommend me to your friends, the hospital directors, as Doctor Rupert, of Ohio?”

“We shall all be scorched by our political foes for appointing an Ohio man at Weston,” lugubriously.

Doctor Rupert, rising to take leave, smiled admiringly at the handsome executive, and answered:

“You are celebrated all over the country for sticking to your friends through thick and thin.”

“Yes, yes. I can never turn my back on a friend. It’s not in my nature. Let the enemy rage. My shoulders are broad enough to bear it,” genially answered the governor, with a cordial parting handshake.

[Pg 72]



Among twelve hundred patients in various stages of insanity it was difficult to notice one above another, but gradually all the physicians and attendants began to take an uncommon interest in the pretty dark-eyed, golden-haired young girl who had been brought to the asylum in November.

They could not help noticing her exquisite beauty, though she had become pale and slight, like a snowdrop, with the wasting illness that had followed on her exposure to the storm the night of the tragedy. She was very quiet, and gave no trouble, save that her low, pathetic singing sometimes gave the young lady attendants such a turn that they said it fairly went to their hearts. No one wondered at it, as her story became known—the story of tragedy one could read so clearly in the big, sombre, dark eyes, with their wistful appealing.

The attendants said that they had never seen such a docile patient before. She was not violent or troublesome in any way, only intensely sad; never a smile on her red lips, that were always drooping in pathetic sorrow.

“It is the most pathetic case I ever saw. It is scarcely madness, only a settled melancholy that is breaking down her health, and will end in death unless[Pg 73] she is roused to some new interest in life. It was cruel in her people to send her to Weston. They should have kept her at home and soothed and petted her like a child until she took some notice of things,” said the clever young woman doctor of the asylum, speaking of the case to her new colleague, Doctor Rupert.

He had only entered on his new duties the day before, and Doctor Bertrand was showing him through the wards, never noticing how nervous he became when she pointed out to him the interesting patient.

“Her name is Eva Somerville, and she has lost her reason through one of the most appalling tragedies that ever occurred in the State. Perhaps you read of it in the newspapers—the case where Doctor Ludington and Terry Groves murdered each other in her bedroom on Hallowe’en?”

“Yes, yes; I remember it well. So this is the heroine of the story? A very childish, innocent creature she looks, though the newspapers made her out very wicked,” returned Doctor Rupert, fairly devouring the hapless girl with his eyes, without surprising Doctor Bertrand, who was accustomed to every one admiring Eva Somerville.

She answered frankly:

“I believe the newspapers lied. There was some doubt as to her guilt, some mystery about the whole affair. For my part, I believe little Eva is wronged and innocent.”

[Pg 74]

“You are the first person I ever heard take her part. God bless you for a true, good woman, Doctor Bertrand!” exclaimed her hearer, grasping her hand and pressing it with emotion.

The young lady smiled with pleasure and answered:

“Then you also agree with me, as do many others here at the asylum. It is indeed hard for any one to look at that lovely, pure-faced girl and credit her guilty. Eva,” she called softly to the young girl, who sat motionless at a window, paying no attention to them.

The big dark eyes came back from their contemplation of the dreary January landscape with a vacant stare.

“Eva, this is a new doctor, dear, who is going to help us cure you, so that you will laugh and be happy again. Shake hands, dear, with Doctor Rupert.”

The sombre eyes did not light with intelligence, and the tiny white hands remained folded on her lap, until Doctor Rupert himself stepped forward and took one of the chilly little hands in his, pressing it warmly, while he trembled with emotion.

He had seen her grow up from lovely babyhood, but he had never touched her little hand before, never met her eyes save with the black, cold stare they wore now, but once, and that one thrilling moment rushed over him instantly.

That night, when she believed that he was dying, her pity had conquered her pride and anger, and she[Pg 75] had knelt by his side and pressed her soft lips to his cold brow.

“Good-by, good-by! If you had lived I would have loved you!” she had murmured so sweetly that he could never forget.

His heart shook with the memory of her sweet words, and he wondered if she had meant them—proud little Eva, who had always ignored him, flashing past when he met her out riding on Firefly with a proudly poised head and curling lips. She would never even look at him—never. She hated him so because he was a Ludington.

It was only out of hysterical pity she had spoken such tender words. If she knew that he was living still, if she could recognize him now, she would be as cold and scornful as of yore.

He held the small hand as long as he dared, almost crushing it in his clasp, as he longed to crush the slight form against his heart and claim the love she had promised him if he lived.

“We must be friends, little Eva,” he said to her huskily, with a yearning smile in his eyes; but she made no reply, only looked at him fixedly and wistfully, and broke into her haunting refrain:

“Fair Diantha loved a lover,
Madly, madly, madly——”

“We will go on,” Doctor Bertrand said gently, drawing him away, and adding kindly: “I see you have fallen under her spell like all the rest of us.”

[Pg 76]

“Who could help it, poor girl?” he answered abstractedly, moving on by her side and continuing:

“Have you tried to rouse her interest in anything? I should fancy she would like books and flowers, like any young girl. There is a conservatory here, I believe?”

“Yes, and little Eva shall have some of the sweetest flowers to-morrow. I am sorry I did not think of that before,” answered the bright young woman cordially.

“And I will bring her a book. Of course she would like poetry. Every young girl does, naturally. What a blessing if we could restore her to reason again!” he cried.

“And yet the pity of it,” she said thoughtfully. “Even if she were restored to her right mind again, there is no home open to poor little Eva, unless the old people that sent her here would take her back. It is the saddest case in the world!”

She was not aware that the superintendent of the asylum, Doctor St. Clair, was in the ward, until he spoke close to her elbow:

“Do not give your kind heart any uneasiness over that, my dear Doctor Bertrand. If Miss Somerville ever recovers her reason, we can easily make her self-supporting by giving her a position here.”

“That will be very kind of you,” the young lady replied quietly, and he turned affably to the new physician.

“You find little Eva an interesting patient, as we[Pg 77] all do. She is so pretty and childlike, it is hard to believe her the heroine of so terrible a scandal.”

“It is impossible!” Doctor Rupert answered curtly, with a flash in the eyes under the long, drooping lashes, so that the astute superintendent, a middle-aged man himself, thought shrewdly:

“Such a wonderful power has beauty in distress, that this callow young man believes in her innocence already, although nothing could be clearer than the evidence of her guilt. Dying men do not lie.”

He shrugged his shoulders and dropped the subject, but walked on with them through the ward, making himself very cordial, and even confidential, after his fashion, by recurring to his own personal grievances, some arbitrary rulings of the board of directors at their session last week. They had a most reprehensible habit of clipping the doctor’s soaring wings.

[Pg 78]



Of his own choice, Doctor Rupert would have preferred any other work than this—to labor among the poor demented souls at Weston, some of them pitiable, some amusing, only a few, as in the case of little Eva, interesting.

He ached to the core of his heart with yearning sympathy for the unfortunates, but not for all his pain would he desert his self-appointed task of watching over hapless Eva, whose wretched lot was cast among these lunatics.

He found that Doctor Bertrand, the earnest young woman physician, and Doctor Merry, his other colleague, ably seconded him in every effort to alleviate the sadness of her fate.

Flowers were at first given her, rousing a faint interest and pleasure. She would keep them in her hands until they faded and more were brought, brooding over them with tender eyes.

Then they brought her novels and books of poetry. But it was some time before Eva showed any interest in these. The sweet flowers pleased her better.

Doctor Rupert remembered the roses that had grown in the front yard at Stony Ledge, with other homely vines and flowers dear to rural hearts—old-fashioned[Pg 79] pinks and sweet lady-fingers, and hyacinths and bleeding-hearts, and many others that he had seen the fair golden head bending over as he rode by to tend his patients. His heart swelled with pain as he thought she would never be there again in the old home she had loved so well.

He would have been willing to lay down his life to convince the world of Eva’s innocence and purity, so that her grandfather would have taken her back to his heart again.

But he knew that if he went back to-morrow, and reiterated the story he had told to Eva—that he had been sent there by a pretense that she was ill—every one would laugh him to scorn.

But old Doctor Binks, on getting over his spree, plainly remembered sending Doctor Ludington to see his patient, and said so. Nay, more: He had sternly accused Dan Ellis of bringing him the hurry call to Eva’s bedside.

The frightened chore boy, acting under instructions from the twins, flatly denied the charge. He swore he had never been near the office of the drunken old doctor that night, and proved an alibi by the gang of neighborhood boys who had helped him in his mischievous Hallowe’en pranks.

He succeeded in convincing every one that Doctor Binks was mistaken—every one, at least, but the old man himself, who was quite sure of his facts, and horrified by the tragedy, raged at the liar, and started[Pg 80] out to have his life for the falsehoods that made it impossible to clear little Eva’s name from obloquy.

Dan being warned in time of his murderous intentions, fled from the neighborhood, and it knew him no more for many a long day, while justice slumbered.

So Doctor Rupert knew too well how futile would be a crusade at present in Eva’s defense, for he realized that there was more behind the scenes than he at first suspected.

He did not doubt the truth of Doctor Binks’ accusation against the stupid Dan Ellis; he only wondered why he had denied it and fled from the doctor’s wrath.

There was a mystery in that flight that Doctor Rupert said to himself grimly would bear investigation when he could find time.

But first in his thoughts was the duty of restoring Eva’s reason. To that task he bent himself with ardor all the more eager because it had to be concealed.

But he had stirred such a zeal in Doctor Bertrand that in her capacity of a sister woman she could approach Eva oftener and show her more kindness than he dared to do.

This keen sympathy of her anxious friends seemed to surround Eva with an atmosphere of love and good will, through which the light of reason began to penetrate to her bewildered mind. Now and then she had a shy, sweet smile for the woman doctor; now and then she offered a light caress, and presently she began to open the books that were given her, and stare[Pg 81] dreamily at the illustrations. She ceased chanting her soul-piercing melancholy songs, and talked to herself instead, sometimes like a little child at play.

One day Doctor Rupert, pausing at a little distance to watch her, while he seemed to be busy with another patient, saw her pick up a paper that had fallen from her book and open it with trembling fingers.

He was close enough to see that the unfolded sheet had some verses written on it in a large, masculine hand, and he glanced curiously at Eva’s face.

It was startling, the flash of joyous comprehension that changed her face like lightning from its dull blank of indifference, as her great sombre dark eyes ran over the verses.

“What has happened to little Eva? She looks brighter—almost sane! Has she a letter?” asked Doctor Bertrand, coming up to Rupert.

He answered huskily:

“In one of the novels I brought her I must have left a copy of some verses I had written, for she seems to be reading them.”

They moved a little closer, and she looked up at them with a smile of childlike confidence and joy, exclaiming eagerly:

“See, my poet-lover has sent me some more of his sweet verses!”

It was the first comprehensive sentence she had uttered since coming to the asylum, nearly four months before.

[Pg 82]

They could not answer for surprise, and Eva added, with gentle happiness:

“Now I know that my unknown lover is not dead. It is so long—so long—since he sent me my tokens of his love that I thought he was dead.”

“My dear Eva!” Doctor Bertrand cried, with tender sympathy, and catching hold of her hand, Eva continued:

“Many times I have looked on the window sill at dawn for the tokens he used to leave there—the wildflowers with the dew on their fragrant petals, the boxes of candy, the poetry books, and, sweetest of all the dear poems in praise of me that thrilled my heart with joy in every word. Do you remember how jealous and angry the twins were when I first told them about my splendid unknown lover?” She stopped and pressed her lips to the paper in her hand, thrilling one heart to a secret, inexpressible ecstasy.

“How wonderful! She seems almost sane. She has never talked as much as that to any one here before. I am glad you left your verses in the book. They seem to have struck some vibrating chord in her fancy. Can it be fancy, or a reality?” Doctor Bertrand murmured excitedly to her companion, who answered with gleaming eyes:

“It is hard to tell!”

He felt like breaking down and confessing all his secret to the sympathetic woman at his side, but prudence restrained his confidence.

[Pg 83]

She might laugh at him, and in his present nervous tension he could not bear it.

He had tried an experiment, and it had succeeded beyond all his hopes. He gazed at Eva longingly, trying to keep the sparkling lovelight out of his face.

Doctor Bertrand actually stooped and kissed the mad girl’s smiling face, carried out of her usual self-possessed pose by true, womanly sympathy; but she did not guess how Doctor Rupert envied the caress, and she said tenderly:

“I am glad your lover has written to you at last, Eva, and I hope you will get another letter to-morrow.”

“I shall be sure to look again on the window sill,” answered the happy girl; then she would not take any more notice of them, nor answer a word. She sat dreaming over the verses all day, with a tender, wistful light in her great dark eyes, as if trying to piece together some scattered links of memory.

As they turned away Doctor Rupert said, low and earnestly:

“The incident turned out so happily, would it be wise to repeat it?”

“By all means try it again. But let me have the verses, and I will humor her fancy by placing them on her window sill. I declare I am quite excited and hopeful. What if we have stumbled on the key to unlock her darkened mind to the light of reason?”

“God grant it!” Doctor Rupert replied earnestly,[Pg 84] and he worked as well as prayed for the result he wished, having the verses ready each day, with other tokens that Doctor Bertrand always placed on the casement, ready for Eva’s eager waking eyes.

It was a unique way to cure insanity, but it was certainly succeeding. Eva improved so rapidly that the aberration of her mind was almost cured.

She took delight in the tokens of a lover’s kindness that came to her hands each day, and from her first childish confidences she relapsed into maidenly shyness, keeping her verses sacredly to herself, though she generously shared her sweets with all.

“This is very encouraging. We can soon discharge the young girl as cured,” said the superintendent cheerfully, but one bright morning they had an unpleasant shock of surprise.

Eva Somerville was missing from the asylum!

[Pg 85]



During the winter that Eva had spent in the insane asylum at Weston, changes had come to the old home, Stony Ledge.

Grandfather Groves had never been as well and strong as before the night of the Hallowe’en tragedy, although fortune’s fickle wheel had begun to turn in his favor.

The long-hoped-for drill had been put down on his rocky farm by capitalists of his section to bore for oil. If the greasy fluid spouted as expected, old Mr. Groves would be a rich man.

Once the excitement would have thrilled his heart with joyful expectancy, but now it awakened only slight interest, although the twins could not talk of anything else.

Said Patty joyously:

“If we strike oil, gran’ther, mayn’t we move down to Clarksburg, to live in a nice house? I should admire to live in the city, and see and be seen!”

Lydia added:

“We should want fine clothes and jewelry, too, and to go to the theatres every night, and money to buy chocolates every day. Oh, I shall be so happy! And what if we could afford to go to Niagara Falls, the[Pg 86] dream of my life!” she clapped her hands in delight, while Miss Ruttencutter chimed in:

“The dream of my life is to have a brown silk frock, with jet trimmin’s onto it; an’ a brown velvet bonnet, all covered in green feathers; an’ a seal plush cape to go with ’em. An’ if I had a ch’ice to go anywheres on the kyars, I’d ruther go to Charleston an’ see the gov’ner an’ the legislatour, an’ all the big men o’ our State.”

“A fig for the big men, unless I could marry one, and I don’t know as I care so much about that! I’ve heard tell that all these celebrated men have to get old before they get famous, and I don’t want any old man, thank you, but a handsome young one!” cried Patty. “If I could go to any grand place, ’twould be New York, where all the poor girls have romantic adventures and marry grand swells!”

“Pooh, that’s only in novels, Pat!” laughed Lydia.

“I’d take my chances on its being true!” Patty retorted confidently, with a glance at her glowing brunette charms in the little cracked mirror.

Thus they beguiled the long, snowy days of the dreary winter with hopeful anticipations, but with Gran’ther Groves it was quite different. To the two girls life was in its hopeful spring, but his in the sere and yellow leaf.

And the tragedy of Hallowe’en had added years to his age in a night. The breakdown of that night had left him nervous and ill; too ill to go to the grave with Terry, when two days later they bore him solemnly[Pg 87] to his long repose in the family burial ground on top of the hill, from whence the granite headstones of the family could be seen far in the distance shining in the sun.

Gran’ther could only sit by the window with a neighbor for company and watch the solemn funeral train driving away with the hoped-for prop of his old age hidden away under the black pall, and his heart sank with grief and despair, for his two best beloved grandchildren, Terry and Eva, were now gone from him forever—Terry to the lonesome grave; Eva, as he doubted not, to her rich father in New York, where she would have all the luxuries of life, except the love of her old grandfather, he thought, arguing to himself that no one else could ever love her as well as he had done before her sin turned his love to hate.

All the neighborhood, as well as himself, believed that Eva was indeed in New York.

There were three exceptions—the ones who had secretly appropriated the money given to Eva for her trip; but they kept their own counsel.

They sometimes wondered where the young girl had gone, and dreaded lest she should come back and be forgiven by the weak old man; but they remained as ignorant as any of her whereabouts until two weeks later old Sam Brown dismounted from his bay mare at their gate, and stalking into the warm kitchen, announced without preamble that Eva was at his house, mad as a March hare, and he was going to send her to Weston.

[Pg 88]

“’Cause how I’ve had two doctors setting on the case, and they both pernounce her crazy, poor little thing, and though not violent now, she may git so any time, and it’s better to let the State take care of her, unless you folkses want her back here!” he said pointedly.

“Oh, why did you blurt it out before gran’ther? ’Tis so dreadful, we didn’t want him to know!” frowned Patty. But she was too late. The old man had heard all.

He could not speak; he only gazed at his visitor with glazing eyes and a horrified face, while Patty, emboldened by his silence, added angrily:

“No, indeed, we don’t want her back here, she who caused our poor Terry to be murdered for her badness! Gran’ther drove her away, and he won’t never take her back. He hates her like poison! You can send her off to Weston to-morrow. We don’t want no crazy people at Stony Ledge!”

Cousin Tab and Lydia backed her up in her declaration so vehemently that the old farmer regretted he had ridden nine miles through nipping cold, on his errand of mercy.

But yet he thought Gran’ther Groves ought to have leave to express himself, so turning to him he said:

“Do you ’low your women folkses to speak for you, gran’ther, ’ithout a word for yourself?”

Gran’ther Groves mumbled something in a voice of agony, but his words were indistinguishable because his tongue had suddenly begun to swell in his[Pg 89] mouth and his eyes were rolling wildly about in their sockets, presenting a ghastly sight.

Patty stamped her foot at Mr. Brown in a towering rage, hissing:

“You silly old fool, let him alone! Don’t you see you’re tormenting him into another of his awful fits, and may be the cause of his death with your meddling?”

“Lordy, I never meant to rile you wimmen folkses up! ’Cause I understand that poor little Eva’s disgrace goes agin’ her with you all! But I thought as it might be diff’runt with that ole sinner that turned her out o’ doors to freeze and starve to death! I had a mind he might be repenting by now, but if he lets you wimmen folkses speak for him, I’ve done with meddling, as you call it. So good-by, and may God reward you all according to your evil works!” testily answered Brown, striding toward the door.

But before he reached it he turned his head unwillingly at sound of a blood-curdling groan from gran’ther, and saw him falling from his chair in a fit, as Patty had foreboded.

It was only Christian charity to run back to help them, but Miss Ruttencutter said severely:

“It will jest make him ten times wuss to come to hisself an’ find you here! He would ricolleck it all ag’in in a minute! You kin help us more by going for Doc Binks than by staying.”

At this curt dismissal Farmer Brown bounced violently out of the kitchen and into the saddle, digging[Pg 90] the astonished mare sharply with his spurs as a vent for his angry feelings, sputtering as he galloped to the physician’s office:

“I’ll be dinged if them wimmen has any better manners nor a hog! I swan it will be a month o’ Sundays before I set foot in that house again! Seems as if ole gran’ther must be afeared to say his soul’s his own before that sassy pack, as why did he sit there glum as a dog, and let ’em lay down the law for him, by gosh?”

Doctor Binks was out, so he left his message on the slate and hurried to the nearest tavern to refresh himself and the mare before returning to Goody with the news of his rebuff at Stony Ledge—a rebuff that made them enemies to the Groves family forever after.

And it did not occur to either of the good old souls that gran’ther, instead of being under the dominion of his womenkind, and afraid to speak, had struggled with might and main to have his say, and been totally unable to make himself understood.

“So she will have to go,” Goody said, looking pitifully at poor demented Eva, yet not feeling that her duty required her to keep her when her own folks cast her out.

So she had the commission on lunacy report the case to the proper authorities, and a few days later a ward attendant from Weston was sent to take charge of Eva and convey her to the asylum.

Poor little soul, she knew no one or nothing. She went meekly with the woman on the short journey[Pg 91] of a few hours, and the heartless women at Stony Ledge breathed freer when they saw in the country newspaper that she had gone.

As for Granfather Groves, he remained ill in bed for a week—so ill they would not let him talk, though they understood but too well the mute pain in the fading blue eyes.

At last he could sit up, feeble and tottery, in his old armchair in the warm corner, with the big dog’s head between his knees; and then they all three agreed that it was time to let him ask questions and have it out with him once for all.

“I mind what Neighbor Brown had to say about little Eva being at his house, and crazy, and all that. And did they send her to Weston?” he asked, with painful slowness, so that Cousin Tab ejaculated spitefully:

“Massy, how slow an’ poky you talk, gran’ther! Slow as cold merlasses! Yes, Eva was violent crazy, an’ they sent her to Weston. She was sick, too, they say, and will die soon. And now me an’ the other girls is plum down resolved that we don’t want to hear even her name spoken under this roof ag’in, seeing it’s insulting to decent wimmin to be named in the same breath!”

[Pg 92]



“Just to go home again and see gran’ther, and have him say he believed in me and loved me once more, I’d be willing to lay down my life the next moment!” little Eva sobbed to herself in the long, wakeful hours of the night before she ran away from the asylum.

With the first dawning of reason and memory had come a pathetic yearning for home—that strange malady, nostalgia, that sometimes breaks the heart.

Mixed with her pleasure in the daily offerings of her unknown lover, was the longing for the old home and gran’ther, and all the simple pleasures of the farm.

There had been drawbacks, it is true, in the spinster’s waspish temper, and the spiteful envy of her cousins, but gran’ther’s love atoned for it all. In his quiet way he had tried to make it up to his little pet.

That night a terrible yearning seized upon her, a longing for the old man that she could not overcome. In her own mind Eva was sure he must have forgiven her before now, even if not convinced of her innocence, for he had a gusty temper, that soon became sunny again; and she had never known him to bear malice toward any but the Ludingtons, who had wronged him by unjust accusations during the war.

[Pg 93]

“If I could just get back to him again—if I could lay my face on his old gray head and twine my arms around his neck and say, ‘I love you still, dear; you did not mean to be so cruel,’ I know he would say, ‘Little Eva, come home; I have missed you, and I am not angry any more!’” she sobbed to her lonely pillow, that was wet with the tears that had fallen from her lovely eyes.

She could not sleep, she could not rest; she seemed to hear gran’ther calling her through the darkness of the night, stretching yearning arms to his little pet. She moaned feverishly:

“He wants me as bad as I do him! I will go back to gran’ther! I will run away!”

All her love for the new friends she had made at the asylum, among the doctors and attendants, seemed to fade away before this mighty yearning for the old home and love.

She feared to ask leave to go home lest she meet with a refusal. She supposed she had to stay at the asylum all her life, little dreaming that Doctor St. Clair had said she would soon be well enough to get her discharge.

“I will run away!” she decided, for she knew that some others of the patients had done the same thing since she came there. Some had been detected and brought back, but others had never returned.

“Gran’ther will never let them take me back, for I don’t think I am much crazy now,” she thought meekly, and before daylight she had stealthily made[Pg 94] up a bundle of all she wanted to take with her—the books and verses from her unknown lover, that had contributed so largely to the restoration of her reason.

That morning she was missing. She had craftily effected her escape and gotten away on a train before her flight was discovered.

She reached the station just as the train was pulling out, and swung herself up desperately to the platform, reeling forward with the motion into the car, where she stumbled and fell.

The conductor assisted her up and into a seat, saying kindly:

“You should not have jumped on the train after it started. You might have fallen under the wheels and got killed.”

“I—I don’t care!” she sobbed desperately, in the nervous tension of her mind, and huddled down in her seat with great frightened eyes, like a startled fawn’s, dreading the moment when he should come back and demand her ticket.

She had none, nor any money to pay her fare. But she had decided on a way to manage that, though she feared he might be a little vexed at her asking for credit.

He went out into another car, and she tried to divert her mind by looking at the few passengers.

Two men in the seat just in front of her engaged her attention by their animated discussion of the oil business. They seemed to be business men, both rich[Pg 95] and prosperous, but strangers met for the first time. One was in reality a West Virginia oil king, bragging of his luck, and giving points to the other, a New Yorker, come out, he said, to see about some investments he had made in the State years ago, and almost forgotten until the present oil boom had recalled them to his mind.

“It is almost nineteen years since I was in West Virginia before,” he said. “Then I was on a hunting trip, and just for speculation I took several leases on oil lands, and afterward I lent an old farmer money and took a mortgage on his rocky farm. It has never been paid, and I wonder if he has forgotten it, as I almost did, till lately?”

“Whereabouts is it situated?”

“In Harrison county, not many miles from Clarksburg.”

“Like as not the old farmer has struck oil and got rich. It’s in one of the richest oil fields. Do you remember his name?”

After a moment’s hesitancy the New Yorker answered that it had slipped his memory. He would have to apply to the county court where the mortgage was recorded.

Then he seemed to relapse into thoughtfulness, and Eva mechanically studied his face.

It was blond and handsome, with whitening hair and mustache, and deep lines of care that told a story of sadness her unskilled eyes could not read. He[Pg 96] must be approaching fifty, and was tall and well-dressed, with a decidedly aristocratic air.

Suddenly the conductor returned, taking up the tickets, and Eva looked out of the window with reddening cheeks and a fearful thumping of the heart, at the flying landscape.

It seemed to her that he was scarcely a moment taking up the dozen or so tickets in the car before he stood by her side, saying, brusquely:


“I—I haven’t any!” she murmured faintly.

“How far are you going?”

“To—to Clarksburg.”

“Oh, then you can just pay your fare. It is only a small sum.”

Little Eva gasped once or twice before she found voice to murmur, with scarlet cheeks and down-dropped eyes:

“But I haven’t any money either.”

By this time every eye in the car was attracted to the pair, for the conductor began to harangue her indignantly.

Then Eva’s big dark eyes fairly scorched him as she answered angrily:

“You are no gentleman, accusing me of dishonesty, before you give me time to explain. I didn’t mean to cheat the railroad company. I was only traveling on credit, and my grandfather, that I am going to see,[Pg 97] will send to the station at Clarksburg and pay you to-morrow.”

Everybody in the car tittered audibly at her ignorance—all but the New Yorker, who turned in his seat with a sympathetic glance at the lovely crimson face and flashing dark eyes.

“But—but really, miss, it’s not the company’s rule to give credit on fares. Pay as you go is our motto. And really, now, you see, I don’t know your grandfather from Adam!” sputtered the annoyed conductor.

“You don’t? Why, everybody in Harrison county knows old Mr. Groves, of Stony Ledge, and would trust him, too, to pay any debts. Please don’t put me off, sir, but let me go on to dear gran’ther, and he will be sure to send you the money to-morrow,” pleaded Eva humbly, fearing that her little flash of anger might have damaged her cause.

While the conductor hesitated, the New Yorker furtively slipped him a banknote.

“All right, miss,” began the railroad man with alacrity, but her quick eyes had caught the little byplay, and she turned her dark eyes gratefully on the stranger.

“You paid my fare; I saw you slip it to him so quietly,” she cried. “Oh, I thank you very, very much, for I’m afraid the conductor would have put me off at the first station. Please tell me your name, so I can send you the money as soon as I get home.”

The conductor went on, and the New Yorker smiled and said easily:

[Pg 98]

“If I tell you my name, you must tell me yours, little girl.”

“I—I’d rather not! I don’t want you to know it!” she cried, fearfully in dread of being recognized and taken back to the asylum.

“Just your first name,” he coaxed with so winning an air that she felt strangely drawn toward him, and answered softly:

“It is Eva.”

“Eva Groves!” he laughed gayly, adding, at her startled look: “You see, I can put two and two together. You told the conductor your grandfather’s name was Groves, so I guess yours must be the same.”

“Now tell me yours,” she answered non-committally.

“It isn’t necessary. I’ll call on your grandfather for the money when I come into Harrison County next week,” he answered, unfolding a newspaper and dropping the conversation.

He had no intention of doing so, but his mind was in a tumult.

Eva Somerville and her unknown father had crossed each other’s paths without the slightest recognition.

He knew not that his dead wife had borne him a daughter, but he was familiar with the fact of the only son’s death in Kansas, and the adoption of the orphans by their grandfather. He said to himself:

“This beautiful little Eva is my dead wife’s niece, and so like her that it gave me quite a turn when I looked into her face. Why should I go into Harrison[Pg 99] County at all to harrow up my mind with old memories? Why should I trouble that old man that hates me? I am rich enough already. Let the mortgage go for the sake of little Eva’s beautiful eyes!” and he sighed.

[Pg 100]



“Now that I’ve signed the will that will make them rich when I am dead, my heartless gran’darters don’t care how soon I’m gone! And I don’t care neither! ’Tis lonesome lying a-bed these weary weeks all alone ’cept when they come to wait on me with sour looks and short words. And the neighbors, they ain’t over-sociable, coming in to watch with the sick! Sometimes I think ’tain’t their fault, mebbe, for I overheard Patty saying downstairs at the kitchen door to Neighbor Miller: ‘Gran’ther ain’t feeling well enough to see comp’ny to-day. He’s most always dozing, and would ruther be alone!’ She knows ’tis a story. I’m dretful lonesome all the time, and I can’t sleep much for the aching in my bones!” groaned Gran’ther Groves, turning over restlessly in his bed, staring with dim eyes at the flickering shadows of the firelight on the wall.

He was bedridden now, but Miss Ruttencutter and the twins had left him alone and gone in the Jersey wagon, with the new chore boy for driver, to a tawdry circus that had pitched its tents in the neighborhood, and was delighting the rustic heart.

“You will be asleep, gran’ther, and not miss us,” consoled Lydia, who had the kindest heart of the three.

[Pg 101]

He had begged to have his dog for company, but they said it must be left in the yard to keep off tramps.

He was very weak and childish now, and the tears came into his eyes as he sobbed:

“Cain’t even have my dog no more! They are mistresses of everything now, and I’m to blame for it all. If I hadn’t druv little Eva away I shouldn’t be laying here so lonesome, to die by myself. How good she always stayed with me, and laffed and talked so sweet, same like I was some young spark she thought all the world of! Never give me one cross word in her hull life, didn’t little Eva! Yet I was blind ’nuff and fool ’nuff to make that tur’ble mistake of my whole life and run her off, poor innocent lamb! They egged me on, Tab and the twins, that’s what they did! Doctor Binks said he knowed she wa’n’t guilty, and made me see it, too! He said: ‘There’s a devil’s job behind that Dan Ellis’ skulking, and I’ll cut his heart out if he don’t confess the instigator!’ Them’s his very words, and he meant ’em, too! But Dan runned away, and Eva went out of her mind, and I’m dying and will meet her mother and grandma soon, and when they ask me how’s their sweet little Eva, oh, Lord, how can I answer and tell ’em what I done?”

He groaned in remorseful agony, and, as if in answer, there was a light rustling among the darkest shadows near the door and a slight gray figure flew across the room to his side.

“Gran’ther! Gran’ther, darling!”

[Pg 102]

Two soft arms were wound about his neck, two warm lips pressed his cheek, and he felt her raining tears.

“Gran’ther, I’ve been listening at the door and heard all the kind things you said of me! Oh, I guessed already you had got sorry for that night and wanted me back! When I got over the craziness I kept longing for you always! I could hear you calling in the lonesome nights for your little Eva!”

“’Twas me you heard calling, little Eva, sure enough, for many’s the night I couldn’t sleep and kept praying to God for a sight of you, and last night I told Him, if He would forgive me for my sin to you, to send me just a vision of you if you couldn’t come yourself. He has answered my prayer and forgiven me, though I cain’t forgive myself! Is it really you, lovey, or jest a vision?” quavered the old man, fondling the bright head on his breast with a tremulous hand.

“It’s your own real Eva, gran’ther, that ran away from the asylum and begged her way on the train, and walked miles and miles from the station, hiding in the woods all day, until she dared to venture out like an outcast by night just to see you again,” sobbed the girl. “You won’t let them take me back there any more, will you? I am not crazy now!”

“No, darling little pet, you sha’n’t never leave me no more,” he promised, in his blindness, adding proudly:

“Turn the lamp up higher, little Eva, so I can see[Pg 103] you better. We don’t have to be saving on kerosene now! And we have chicking for dinner every day—and pie, too! And the girls have new flim-flams, all sorts of fineries from Clarksburg! I have struck ile at last!”

“Oh, gran’ther!” and she caught her breath in joyous sympathy. He had been hoping for this so long.

But as the lamplight flared on his pallid face, with the blue lips, thin, pinched nostrils and sunken eyes, her heart sank like lead.

How awfully he was changed from their last meeting. Years had gone over his head in those few months. Was this death?

His feeble, halting voice went on:

“’Pears like I didn’t care much ’bout my luck while you was gone, the other girls are so selfish! But now I’m glad, for your sake, little Eva. Did I tell you they made me sign my will and cut you off with five dollars when I was so mad, jest at fust? Yes, they did, but since we struck ile I got sorry for it. Two wells a-spouting on old Stony Ledge, honey, enamost a hundred barrels a day, and me getting more’n forty dollars a day on my royalties and other leases. Coming in every day, Eva, all that money, and me not turning a hand to work for it! You shall have your share, too—the biggest share of all, for I’ll alter my will and make you my heiress, and jest a legacy to them other selfish ones that don’t care how soon I die!”

“You shan’t die now, gran’ther. I’ll nurse you back[Pg 104] to health!” Eva sobbed, winding her fond arms about him to keep at bay the grim destroyer that never drew back from such weak defense.

“Eva, would you mind taking Firefly and cantering over to Lawyer Gilmer’s for me? Tell him to come with you right away. I want to change my will before to-morrow.”

“Oh, gran’ther, I wouldn’t leave you alone; no, no! Wait till they come back, and I’ll send the chore boy for the lawyer. Now, perhaps, I have talked to you too much. I’ll dim the light and sit by you while you sleep, as I used to, dear; don’t you remember?”

She kissed him and he closed his eyes gently and fell into a waking doze.

With her little hand locked in his chilly fingers, Eva leaned her golden head against his pillow, napping gently, too, trying to gain strength for the ordeal of her cousins’ return.

She had an idea that they would not welcome her with open arms, like her grandfather. Instead, they were sure to be very angry.

But she was determined not to be angry with them—to be on good terms, if possible, with all, for the sake of poor gran’ther’s happiness.

She thanked God dumbly that she had been taken back into the old home with love and rejoicing. She begged him to spare gran’ther many years to enjoy his new-found prosperity.

Then she dozed gently and started broad awake[Pg 105] presently because the old man was wandering in his mind and talking deliriously.

He had been thus several nights, but no one knew it. His nurses were very careless. As he said, so bitterly, they did not care how soon he died.

He was back in his old soldiering days, on the march, in the camp, and before the enemy. Little Eva heard his voice ring out in stern command to the company he had commanded under the Stars and Stripes, then sink in pity, as he asked that the wounded be carried to the rear.

She was terrified as he half rose in bed, with glaring eyes, brandishing his arm as though it held a sword.

“Lie down, gran’ther; lie down, that’s a dear! You are having bad dreams!” she cried, pushing him down under the covers again.

“Is that you, little Eva? Go home to your mother, child! The battle is raging and you will get hurt! That was all a lie of Ludington’s! I never got him arrested as a spy. How could I harm my old neighbor? I was slandered by them all, the traitors, because I fought for my country’s good! Hark! the enemy! they are retreating!” He rose wildly in bed again. “Follow, my men, follow!”

Eva burst into loud, frightened sobs that dimly arrested his attention. He muttered:

“There’s a woman weeping because her man is dead. Poor soul—died for his country! How many of us[Pg 106] came back from that grand charge? Yes, we shall know at roll call.”

Eva flew to the window and pushed it up, leaning forward to scan the moonlighted road with frantic eyes.

“Oh, if some one should be passing by that I could call to help me! He is very, very ill! The doctor ought to see him at once!” she moaned.

She heard sudden steps and voices in the room, and, dropping the sash, looked back over her shoulder.

Her three cousins were all in the room, glowering at her in rage and consternation.

The spinster was the first to recover from her trance of dismay, and, darting forward, she clutched Eva with an iron grasp.

“Lawk a-massy, here’s that crazy Eva got loose from the madhouse and come back! She has skeered pore ole gran’ther outen his senses, an’ she might ’a’ murdered him if we hadn’t come in the nick o’ time!”

“Lock her up until we can send her back to the asylum!” screamed Patty viciously, and between the three they dragged her across the hall and thrust her inside her own little room, while she sobbed to them:

“No matter what you do to me, cousins, please send and get the doctor to gran’ther! I’m afraid he’s dying!”

“If he’s dying, you’ve kilt him, coming back like[Pg 107] this, you loonytic!” screeched the spinster, and Patty added gibingly:

“Back you go to Weston to-morrow, and till then you’ll be locked in your room with the ghosts of poor Terry and wicked Doctor Ludington, that fight their battle over in the same place every night.”

The door slammed, and she was locked alone in the darkness.

She groped her way with a dry, choking sob to the bed, guided by the gleams of moonlight shining through the uncurtained window, and buried her pale face in the pillows, as if to shut out the grim sight that Patty had taunted her with—the spectres of the untimely dead fighting over again their fatal combat of Hallowe’en.

It all rushed over her as freshly as yesterday, the horror, the despair, the banishment, and herself out in the night and the gloom alone—an outcast, despised thing, without a friend, mad with misery that drove reason from its throne.

But she had one comfort that even her bitterest enemies could not take away. Her grandfather believed in her, loved her, and had taken her home again.

It was true Patty had threatened to send her back to Weston to-morrow, but Eva was not sure that she would do it.

“Gran’ther will take my part—if he lives! Yet, oh, how ill he looks! What if he should die while they are keeping me from him? I will not bear it!” she[Pg 108] sobbed, getting up and rattling the door, and screaming at the top of her voice when she found it would not yield to her efforts.

She thought that her grandfather might hear her, and demand her release; but no one came near. They could all hear her plainly enough, but they made capital of it to declare that she was as crazy as bedlam, and Patty quickly sent off a telegram to the insane asylum, asking the superintendent to send for her immediately, as she was violent, and in danger of injuring herself or others.

After that, as they were tired and sleepy, all went to bed, and left Grandfather Groves to his raving, that grew worse, because Eva’s long-continued screams and the rattling of her doorknob blended in with his delirious fancies.

They would not call a doctor, as Eva had begged them—no, indeed! Physics couldn’t help him how, and his bedridden life was a weariness even to himself. Let him slip away as soon as nature willed to death.

That was what they frankly said to each other without pretense, for his will was made, and he had struck oil, so they had no further use for him.

Just as long as he lived they must vegetate here at Stony Ledge, for he had sternly refused to move to Clarksburg when they struck oil.

“I was born at Stony Ledge, and, please Heaven, I’ll die here!” he answered to all their entreaties, and[Pg 109] they knew they must abide by his decision. They could not remove him by force.

In their angry disappointment they wished him dead, and did not want a doctor to hinder him even an hour from his haste to the grave.

Terribly frightened lest he should recover sense enough to send for some one to change his will, giving Eva a part of his good fortune, they locked him in as they had done little Eva, and left him there till morning.

At length Eva’s wild shrieks died away from sheer exhaustion, and by and by the old man sank into deep, hard-breathed slumber, loud enough to disturb the chore boy in his room downstairs.

It was near daylight, anyhow, so he ventured to rouse the spinster with a rap on her door.

“I b’lieve the old man’s dyin’. I kin hear him breathin’ hard all over the house!” he said.

“Nonsense—only snoring,” she answered testily, but she dressed and aroused the girls.

“He’s goin’ at last,” she said unfeelingly, as she unlocked the door, and they filed in, shivering with the chill of the early morning air.

Gran’ther trying to get out of bed in his delirium had tumbled face downward on the floor, and lay there half-stifled, purple and breathing heavily. They had to call Nick to help them put him back under the covers, and he was cold as death already.

“Not a word of this to any one,” they cautioned[Pg 110] the boy. “Folks are so fault-finding, they might say we neglected him, when the truth is we are all worn out nursing him.”

“I’ll fetch the doctor if you want me,” Nick said, with a feeling glance at the pitiful figure on the bed.

“’Tain’t no use—not a mite! He’s too fur gone for a doctor. You go an’ start up the kitchen fire, and do up your chores soon’s possible. You hear?”

Nick went down, and they stood around watching the dying man, who breathed a little more freely now, and suddenly opened his deeply sunken, fading blue eyes, and glanced at them in turn with a weak inquiry that solved itself into the one word:


Patty frowned and answered:

“Gran’ther, Eva ain’t here, you know. You sent her away.”

He faltered weakly:

“But she came back last night.”

“Oh, no!” each of the three exclaimed innocently, all together.

In vain he cried piteously that while they were all gone last night little Eva had come back and stayed with him.

“I can see her now, and feel her arms around my neck. Oh, Eva, little Eva, come back!” he moaned; but they assured him he had dreamed it all, that there was no chance of poor crazy Eva coming back any more.

[Pg 111]

Their assurance was so complete that they staggered his belief, and convinced him it was all a vision of his sleep. He sighed, and murmured:

“I saw her so plain I thought it was real! But send for a lawyer. I want to add a codicil to my will, so that if little Eva ever gets well she may share the fortune with you.”

What significant looks they cast on each other, and the spinster answered quickly:

“Very well, gran’ther, we will have Mr. Gilmer here directly. Now take your nourishment and go to sleep.”

He shook his head, and would take nothing, waiting wearily with failing strength for the coming of the lawyer they had never summoned.

Toward noon he grew drowsy and delirious again, and the spinster, realizing that his end was too near to be helped or hindered now, sent out for the neighbors.

They came gladly enough, full of pity, but Grandfather Groves was too far gone to be glad of their neighborly company now, much as he had fretted for it when the women selfishly kept them away. They could only offer the last kind ministrations to the dying man, who had sunk into a gentle sleep, with gasping breaths coming slower and slower.

When some one, a woman, wiped the death damp from his brow with her soft handkerchief he stirred slightly and smiled with a broken murmur. Those[Pg 112] who heard it plainest said afterward that the murmured word was “Eva.”

With that murmur he died, sinking away gently as a child in its mother’s arms into the calm repose of death.

[Pg 113]



Exhausted by her wild outcries and her frenzied efforts to break down the door, as well as by her long fast of twenty-four hours, Eva sank unconscious to the floor, and lay there for a long time ere she revived.

When consciousness returned she was too spent and weary to do aught but creep to her bed and lie there shivering with the chill of the cool April night, and sobbing like a weary child that weeps all its tears dry ere it falls asleep.

Everything was very quiet; not a sound broke the stillness but the loud voice of Mr. Groves’ big Newfoundland, Link—short for Lincoln—as he bayed at the moon, now low, now loud, but always in direst anguish, as if convinced in the canine mind that some disaster was happening to the ones he loved best, his old master and little Eva.

He knew that the exile had returned, for he had had a most affectionate meeting with her outdoors when she came.

Though he howled and yelped most dismally under her window, he could not coax her out again, but he heard her voice in those prolonged shrieks that assured him she was in trouble.

[Pg 114]

So, even when all grew still, Link could not rest, but wandered round and round the house, occasionally hurling his huge form against the kitchen door in a vain attempt to force an entrance. Then he would sit down on his haunches and dolorously bay at the moon again.

But despite these mournful sounds of honest canine woe, and despite her own woes, the weary girl at last slept deep and dreamlessly, losing for a while the bitter realization of her griefs.

When she awoke at last the sun rode high in the heavens, and for a moment, as it shone in her face, she forgot her sorrows, and seemed to be again the happy little Eva that used to spring up so eagerly to draw back the curtains to look for the offering of love that so often lay there mutely appealing to her in the name of the giver.

But the white ruffled curtain had been taken away now, and as the midday sun glared on the bare floor that was streaked and stained with dark spots that would not “out,” she gasped and remembered all.

The white matting had been removed, but the blood had soaked through it, and remained to bear terrible witness against the two who had done each other to death that fatal night.

Springing from the bed, she softly tried the door again, but it was still tightly closed, and she wondered if her heartless cousins had forgotten her existence, or intended to starve her to death.

She had not tasted food since her supper the previous[Pg 115] night at the asylum, and she was faint from fasting.

She went to the window, wondering if she would dare try to escape down the honeysuckle vine, but it had been cut down by her jealous cousins, who thought to thus circumvent her daring, unknown lover, if he ever returned. The window, too, was tightly nailed down, having been left to gloom and disuse since the night of the Hallowe’en tragedy.

The air was close and stifling, and full of dust motes, so she caught up a book and dashed it against a pane of glass, shattering it, and letting in a little of the fresh outer air of the morning.

She did not know that Nick observed her action, and reported at the first opportunity that “that poor crazy gal was goin’ on dretful, a-breakin’ out the panes of glass in the winder, and throwin’ out things to hit people.”

The last statement was pure romance, but it added to the interest of his story.

Then, as she sank wearily into a chair, Eva heard strange steps and voices going into Mr. Groves’ room. As they went in another terrifying sound came out to her ears, even through her own close-shut door—the loud, hoarse breathing of the dying man.

Eva was no stranger to death. She had seen her grandmother die. She knew the awful voice of the approaching destroyer.

“Gran’ther is dying—going away from his little Eva forever!” she burst out in anguish, and flew to[Pg 116] the door, beating on it with frenzied little white hands, calling piteously:

“Let me out, let me out! Let me kiss gran’ther good-by!”

No one heeded or heard, and at length she comprehended the full heartlessness of her cousins, who would not even let her approach her grandfather’s deathbed and receive his blessing.

She knelt by the bed and buried her face in the pillows, praying that God would let her die, too, if dear old gran’ther was going, for there was no one else to love her in the wide, weary world.

She forgot in her despair the unknown lover she had adored. He seemed so far away, and perhaps she would never know more of him than now. She only wished to die.

And while she knelt there weeping, the old man passed away with her name on his lips.

She heard the people filing out of the room with noisy whispers of comfort to the twins, who were seized with vociferous grief. She knew that he was dead, and awed by the awful presence of death, sobbed on softly and heartbrokenly, as though fearing she might disturb that peaceful rest.

Moments of sorrow pass so slowly she could not realize that it was but a few moments later that her door opened, admitting an asylum attendant, accompanied by Patty, loudly urging that the dangerous lunatic be taken at once away.

Poor Eva, pale from grief and fasting, her eyes red[Pg 117] and swollen with tears, her cheap gray gown crumpled and disordered, was a piteous sight to the kind-hearted attendant, but her misery made no impression on Patty, not even when she sobbed humbly:

“Oh, Cousin Patty, mayn’t I stay here, please, until after gran’ther’s funeral? Oh, I want to see him again. Please, please, please!”

The pleading eyes, the trembling lips, might have moved a heart of stone, but Patty only went on talking glibly to the attendant:

“I positively will not have her longer in the house! We are all in terror of our lives! She has been breaking the window glass, and throwing things out upon our heads, and screaming and disturbing gran’ther’s last hours in her senseless malice! Indeed, I believe her return and the fright she gave him has caused his death. The house is mine and Sister Lydia’s now, and we will not permit her to stay longer. But if you can get her to take some breakfast before she goes, I do not object. She must be hungry, for she has thrown all we brought her out of the window, even the plate and cup and saucer, hoping to kill some of us.”

“Oh, Patty!” remonstrated the astonished girl; but the attendant took her gently by the hand, saying:

“Come, dear, let us find your hat and go. I have a carriage waiting at the door. But would you like some breakfast first?”

“Oh, yes, yes,” murmured the wretched victim, going docilely enough out of the room, and downstairs[Pg 118] to the kitchen, where Cousin Tab was bustling about, giving orders to Nick, who stopped and stared in wonder.

“We would like some tea, please,” the attendant said civilly, sitting down with Eva’s cold little hand still fast in her own.

How familiar the old place looked outdoors, with the lilacs swelling and pushing out their purple buds in the sunshine. Eva remembered the last time she had been in the dear old kitchen that fatal Hallowe’en, when she had been refused leave to go on the hay ride. Oh, the changes since that night!

And now gran’ther was dead, and she was being sent away, never to return, because Stony Ledge belonged to the twins now. They had made him disinherit her. He had told her so.

She stifled a bursting sob, because she was afraid of a sharp reproof from the glowering spinster, and the tears brimmed over in her eyes and rained down her cheeks.

A meal was soon spread, but Eva found it impossible to swallow a mouthful. All her hunger had fled, thinking of her terrible bereavement, and when the attendant had satisfied her appetite she followed her in silent despair out to the closed carriage in which she had come from Clarksburg.

Several of the neighbors who had heard of Eva’s flight from the asylum, and her return, were waiting curiously about the door, and she looked at them with a wistful glance, as if imploring their pity.

[Pg 119]

But no one spoke to her, no one held out a friendly hand, and in silence she passed to the carriage with a mute farewell in her heart to the dear old man lying dead upstairs.

The carriage was closed, and as it rolled away along the pleasant country road she turned to the attendant with a passionate protest, crying:

“I am not mad. Oh, no, no! I wish you would let me tell you all.”

“Tell me what you choose, little Eva,” she replied, in her soothing way, and although she had believed the girl insane at first, she listened now in wonder to her pathetic story, smiling kindly at her vehement denial of the violent behavior Patty had laid at her door.

“Do you not see now that I am not crazy? That they are sending me away through malice, not fear of me?” she cried.

The kind attendant thought to herself:

“How pitiful she talks! These lunatics they are deep ones, and could fool many a one with their tale of woe.”

But aloud she only said:

“Yes, dear; you have been treated very bad, and we must lay the case before the superintendent as soon as we get back to the asylum.”

[Pg 120]



“Oh, how good you all have been to me, but I wish you had let me die and go to heaven with dear old gran’ther! There is no place for little Eva in all the wide, cruel world!” moaned the poor girl from among the pillows, where she had lain for a week following her return to Weston.

She had met at least a welcome there, but she was ill and sinking with fatigue, so she scarcely heeded anything. For a week they doubted if she would live to take up the weary burden of her shadowed life again.

But they knew that she was cured of her mental illness—knew it well without her pitiful remonstrances in the delirium of fever.

“Little Eva is not crazy now! Gran’ther has forgiven her, and she is happy!”

Doctor Bertrand shrugged her shapely shoulders when the attendant told her the tales of Eva’s violence she had heard at Stony Ledge.

“They were invented for the purpose of getting rid of her by her heartless relations. They hated her for her beauty and sweetness!” she said, for Doctor Rupert had confessed to her that he knew more of little Eva than he seemed to at first.

[Pg 121]

He had visited once in that neighborhood, he said, and people had told him how the young girl was domineered over by her selfish cousins, and debarred from all the pleasures of youth, because they were jealous of her beautiful face and winsome ways. He had seen her out riding sometimes on Firefly, her pony, and she had looked to him the prettiest thing alive. He knew that every young man in the country would have liked to court her if he had had the chance.

“But she was never allowed to go with any of them, and as for Doctor Ludington, who was said to be her lover, I have heard that she had never spoken to him in her life,” he added.

“Then you have seen the young doctor? Was he handsome?” asked Doctor Bertrand, quite as eagerly as any romantic young girl.

“Oh, men never think each other handsome!” he replied carelessly, with an averted face that she might not notice the flush on his cheek.

Rupert Ludington had always secretly worshiped the lovely girl from her childhood, without the slightest hope of ever dispelling the shadow that lay between them—a gulf that had opened before he was born, and continued to widen with the flight of years.

It had wrung his manly heart to hear the tales of how her cousins treated her at Stony Ledge, and how barren of girlish pleasures they made her young life. There were times when he had fairly raged over it to himself, longing to bear her away to the love and[Pg 122] happiness he felt sure he could give her if she had but loved him in return.

But it was hopeless dreaming of such a thing, though for her sake he would have been willing to renounce every relative he had on earth, and go with her into exile forever.

It was with such thoughts that he had set about brightening the dull monotony of Eva’s life.

“She is old enough to have a lover, but those cruel women would not permit her to see a young man’s face if they could prevent it! Yet she shall know that one true heart is all her own, in spite of them!” he had vowed.

It was not very easy to carry out his plans, but he made friends with Link in the very beginning, because no one had ever told that faithful animal of the family vendetta. If he had been aware of it he would most likely have devoured Doctor Ludington.

Link placated, the doctor had followed out his little schemes to make Eva happy, finding their accomplishment simpler because his night practice in the neighborhood often took him past Stony Ledge in the “wee small hours,” when darkness covered his Romeo-like ascent to her window.

Unconsciously, scarcely daring to hope for it, he had thus won her love, and now that she was cast off by her family, a terrible temptation beset him to win her for his own.

Not as Doctor Ludington, though, for he did not believe he could overcome the race hatred. Besides,[Pg 123] there was now another terrible shadow between their hearts—the blood of her Cousin Terry on his hands!

If he won her, it must be at the price of eternal renunciation of his family and name, but for such a prize he could count the world well lost.

[Pg 124]



“But where can I go?” cried little Eva.

Her face was a picture of wistful joy when she was first told that the doctors considered her cured of her mental malady, and that she was free to leave the asylum whenever she chose.

She wept with relief, and murmured low some words of thanksgiving to God. Then her face clouded with perplexity as she cried:

“But where can I go for shelter, branded with a scandal, though innocent of any wrongdoing? I have no friends, no home.”

“You forget your rich father in New York,” suggested Doctor Merry, who had heard her story, and believed this would be her best refuge.

She shook her head.

“He was cruel to my mother, and he will never hear from me that she left him a daughter,” she said, with a little flash of spirit.

“Quite right, Miss Somerville,” said the superintendent, coming up to them where they lingered in the beautiful grounds talking, and he added, with his most genial smile:

“I shall be glad to make you one of the attendants[Pg 125] here, if you wish to stay and earn your own living.”

“I shall have to do that hereafter, so I accept your offer with thanks,” she replied instantly, in her relief at finding a home open to her, even though it was under the roof of a lunatic asylum.

But she had met warm hearts here, dear and true friends, and their kindness was a balm to her pain. The middle-aged superintendent was kind and fatherly, the woman physician sisterly, the two young men doctors frank and sociable, as well as all the attendants. No one passed her with cold looks, or burned her heart with cruel words. They did not seem to remember that she was under a cloud, her fair name stained by scandal. She would stay here and work among them as long as she lived.

“You may begin your new duties to-morrow. Come to me in my office early in the morning for assignment to a ward,” said Doctor St. Clair.

Then they all slipped away to their duties, and she walked alone among the beautiful flowers and trees of the wide grounds, her heart swelling with gratitude that she need not go away out into the cold world, where no one believed in her innocence, and no one loved her any more.

She could have gone down on her knees to thank the fatherly superintendent for letting her stay, only she was just a little bit frightened at his easy ways, so different from any she had been used to. She did not like for him to catch her hand and hold it so[Pg 126] tight when he was talking to her, and look so deep into her eyes with admiration that made her blush.

She had noticed that he had the same way with others—always young and pretty ones—and only yesterday she had spoken to dashing Miss Blue about it.

“Don’t you think he is too familiar with us girls, catching our hands so tight and looking in our eyes that queer way?” naively.

Miss Blue laughed lightly.

“Oh, the doctor means no harm. He is just jolly and fatherly. He always has his little joke with me when I go in his office at night to make my report. Besides, if we were to resent his little cordialities we might lose our positions.”

“I see,” little Eva answered quickly, and now that she was engaged as an attendant, too, she thought:

“I would have thanked him more cordially, only I didn’t want him to catch my hand and squeeze it tight, and look at me as if he thought that I was very pretty! Somehow I don’t believe his wife would like it. She seems cold enough, especially to that Miss Blue that the doctor is always chaffing.”

She had wandered away by herself, out of sight and hearing of the poor lunatics disporting themselves in the sunshine, and now she sat down beneath a tree to rest, a lovely picture on which one man’s eyes rested in rapture, as if he, too, like the superintendent, thought her pretty.

He came slowly to her side.

“Do I intrude, Miss Somerville?”

[Pg 127]

She glanced up into the eyes of Doctor Rupert, deeply, darkly, beautifully blue, behind the glasses he habitually wore, and met a winning smile. Her cheeks dimpled and turned a warm pink as she faltered:

“Oh, no. Will you have a seat?”

He sat down on the bench at the farthest end, not to startle her, and held out a bunch of pansies.

“The gardener just gave them to me. Aren’t they lovely? Will you have them?”

Their hands touched as she accepted them, and a thrill of pleasure shook either heart. She had been thinking him handsome a long time, in spite of the glasses and the long curling hair down on his coat collar, that gave him rather an elderly air, though the eyes behind the glasses were quite young and merry.

“Why does it always seem to me as if I had met you before I came here? Where did you come from?”

“Ohio!” he replied, with a quickened heart throb.

“Then it must be only my fancy. I have certainly never been to Ohio, or anywhere else,” naively. “Yet the first moment we met, even when I was a little off in my head, you know, you did not seem like a stranger to me, but as if you somehow belonged to my past.”

“We have perhaps met in some former periods of existence, and you recognize me as a former soulmate. That is my theory. What is yours?”

Before she could reply a poor, melancholy-mad[Pg 128] wretch came up to them with the startling complaint:

“I have been dead a week, and they will not bury me! I went into the deadhouse and got into a coffin, but four men shook me out of it, and said it was a shocking misfit! Do you know where I can find a coffin for myself, doctor?”

One of the most gruesome of all the manias of the melancholy-mad patient is the fixed conviction of one’s death and impending burial.

Doctor Rupert had met with the hallucination before, but coming at this moment of his budding happiness, it struck him with a strange chill like an evil omen, as if the shadow of a grave stretched dark and forbidding between their hearts.

They turned to the poor lunatic, a pale young man whose mind had given way at college from overstudy, in a sort of dismay, and Doctor Rupert exclaimed with unusual impoliteness:

“Do go away, Alden, with your dismal croaking! You are not really dead, you know, but only in a trance, and presently you will come out of it, and thank your lucky stars that you were not buried alive.”

But the maniac tossed back the long hair from his pale brow dejectedly and protested firmly:

“You are mistaken. I am dead, and it is time to bury me! Martin is dead, also, and he was saying to me just now that it is not right for old Charles, that grinning darky over there in his red monkey suit, to[Pg 129] be playing the fiddle and dancing when there are so many of us dead and unburied. It is not the kind of music for a funeral. He ought to play the dead march.”

“Nonsense!” answered the young doctor; but Alden lingered, gabbling on vacantly:

“I have a note up my sleeve to slip to the directors when they come again, complaining of the superintendent for not having us buried when we are dead. He spends too much time flirting with Miss Blue and the others, and neglects us. I’ll bet you a dime the directors will make him squirm when they read my note. Want to see it?” cordially.

Doctor Rupert shook his head kindly. He had already seen several of these Round Robins gotten up by querulous patients and complaining of everybody and everything. The directors were always deluged with them when they met, and usually comforted the writers with tobacco.

“Now, I will tell you, Alden, why you and Martin have not gotten your caskets yet,” the young doctor said, concluding to humor his whim. “It is because you have not given your order, and the superintendent does not know what style you want. Take my advice, and go and ask him for the style book on undertaking, and you and Martin can make your own selections. Fashions in caskets have changed, you know.”

Alden listened attentively with his eyes cast down, and replied briskly:

[Pg 130]

“I shall choose a metallic casket, hermetically sealed, so that the rascally doctors cannot steal me out and cut up my head to find what was the matter with my brain!”

He was going away, but seeming for the first time to become aware of Eva’s presence, he gave her a shifty glance from the corner of his eye, saying earnestly:

“I heard you had got well and were going to leave Weston, little Eva. I wish I was in your place. If you see any of my relatives when you get out, please tell them I am dead, and that I died a most horrible death. I wish they would come to my funeral. Good-by,” and he put out his cold, clammy hand and pressed hers, sending a shudder through all her veins. He was so horribly realistic it seemed as if he were indeed a living corpse now stalking away in grim intent to seek the style book on undertaking.

“How pitiful!” she cried, looking up at Doctor Rupert with such pearly tears in her eyes that he longed to clasp her in his arms and kiss them away. She added almost bitterly:

“It is a cruel fate that dooms me to spend my life amid such sad surroundings.”

He answered gently:

“It is not likely you will stay here long. Like all the other pretty girls, you will be sure to marry soon and leave here to be the queen of a happy home.”

His voice trembled with emotion, his eyes were bent[Pg 131] on her with wistful tenderness, and little Eva blushed and dimpled exquisitely.

“Why do you think so?” she murmured softly, a smile chasing away her tears.

“You have a lover,” he answered frankly.

She was too ingenuous to deny it, but she said, with a stifled sigh:

“I do not know his name.”

“And yet you love him?”

Little Eva was all one rosy blush now, and she hung her head, faltering:

“How can one love a person one has never seen?”

“Because his full heart has spoken to you in his offerings of love, and yours has responded to the test. You are deeply interested in your unknown lover who has chosen so romantic a way to win your heart.”

“You are very confident that he has won my heart,” she pouted with pretty coquetry, avoiding his eyes and playing with the pansies on her breast.

“Is there any doubt of it?” he asked hoarsely, paling with sudden alarm lest he had been mistaken.

She was so dear and so lovely, and he had been so sure she was won—too sure, it seemed, for she answered again, half pettishly, as if in offense:

“How could a young girl love one that she had never seen?”

“I have known young people to fall in love from carrying on a correspondence without ever having met,” he replied eagerly.

[Pg 132]

“But they must surely have exchanged photographs—they must have known how they each looked,” she objected.

“No; they only saw each other’s beautiful souls through their letters.”

Did Eva have any suspicion of him? She suddenly flashed her dark eyes at him full of dawning mischief, and said lightly:

“I’m not ethereal enough to fall in love with just a soul, for they sometimes inhabit very plain bodies. If I ever love, it must be one who is very handsome and winning. Oh, I would give almost anything for one glimpse of my mysterious lover!”

“I still insist that you love him without seeing him. He would be a dangerous rival to any other lover who came to woo you in person,” he said.

“Are you so sure?” cried the girl, with delicious new-fledged coquetry that made his nerves thrill with ecstasy. Another laughing glance from her large, dark, flashing eyes almost made him fall at her feet in frank adoration.

She suspected his passion, and was coquettishly playing him off against her unknown lover.

Carried out of himself, encouraged by her fascinating mood, in another moment he would have gone to the length at least of confessing himself a rival to the unknown, had not a sudden interruption occurred.

“Doctor St. Clair would like to see you immediately,” said an attendant, coming up.

[Pg 133]

He did not like to disturb the handsome pair at their tête-à-tête beneath the tree in the soft May sunshine, but the superintendent’s orders were imperative.

As soon as Doctor St. Clair had seen the pair alone down in the grounds so close together on the bench, it occurred to him that he would like an immediate consultation with Doctor Rupert upon the case of a patient who had for several days been very ill.

So he sent an instant message to break up the too suggestive tête-à-tête.

“Excuse me,” Doctor Rupert said, rising, with a low bow to Eva. “Or will you walk back to the house with me?”

“I think I will remain out in the sunshine. It is my last day of freedom, you know. To-morrow I shall be imprisoned in the wards,” she answered, nodding at him as he walked away, with a smile of such subtle radiance it warmed his heart like wine.

[Pg 134]



Eva sat smiling in the sunshine with a warm, pink glow on her dimpled cheek and a dreamy light of joy in her large, dark eyes, while she clasped her little white hands to her side as if to still its wild throbbings, murmuring:

“Oh, my foolish heart!”

From vague, sweet pondering over her treasured poems and their unknown sender, there had come upon her, so gently it was almost unawares, woman’s heritage of joy and sorrow—love!

The thrill of a tender voice, the magnetic glance of a pair of beautiful dark eyes, had touched an electric chord in her heart that answered instantly with love awakened from a dreamy sleep.

Before she realized it she was singing softly to herself a little ballad of love and joy known to her earlier, happier days, forgotten in her days of sorrow.

It bubbled up from her heart now to her rosy lips, and before she knew it, she was singing it through like a happy child—singing, although the shadow of a tragedy hung over her golden head, although gran’ther was gone from her forever, though she was homeless and almost friendless, poor, and despised.

Doctor Rupert’s eyes had told her without words[Pg 135] that he loved her, and her heart had leaped in her breast with a sudden joy so sweet it was almost pain.

How beautiful those eyes were, deeply blue, now grave, now laughing. And the broad, white forehead, the arched, finely drawn, dark brows, the brown, curly hair, the regular features, the red lips, and beautiful white teeth—all were very much to Eva’s liking.

She further considered that his tall, straight figure was quite to her liking, and his hands and feet small and well-shaped.

“He would look younger with his hair short. Perhaps I shall mention that to him some day,” she reflected, adding: “Seems to me I have known some one like him, only with shorter hair, and very likely a small mustache. It puzzles me, that resemblance. It must be as he suggests, that we knew each other in a former period of existence. Heigho! were we indeed soul-mates?”

How beautiful it was out there in the balmy sunshine among the flowers! She wished that he could come back to her presently and talk again, or even sit silent by her side, so that she could shyly feast her eyes on his dear face—yes, dear already, she owned it to her heart.

Alas! he could not come. He must consult with the other doctors over the dangerous case in Ward H. Then he must go his rounds among the patients. The superintendent, too, stuck to him like a burr, determined to cut short, if possible, the incipient flirtation with Eva. He thought there was too much courting[Pg 136] going on at the hospital among the marriageable men and maids. They should attend more strictly to their duties.

So Eva did not see her lover again that day, not even at meals, for she did not eat at the same table with the doctors and officers of the institution.

But the day slipped away very rapidly because of the thoughts nestling sweetly in her heart, and late that evening, just as she was retiring to the new room that had been assigned her, an attendant brought her a bunch of spicy white carnations, with a little note:

“The superintendent has sent me away on a business trip for a week or two. I shall think often of what we talked about last, and you must not forget me while I am gone, little Eva.


She shut her door and dropped into a chair, kissing the sweet white flowers and murmuring happily:

“As if I could forget!”

She kept reading the words over and over till she knew them all with her eyes shut, then a sudden remorseful memory pierced her heart.

Was she untrue to her first love?

Just so had she read and dreamed over the anonymous verses that had given her such deep pleasure, vowing in a girl’s romantic rashness that she loved him and would marry no one else.

The memory of him was still dear, the verses were written on her heart; but here she was dwelling on[Pg 137] another with her mind full of his blue eyes, and soft words, and ringing laughter. She was indeed fickle, untrue!

For a moment little Eva began to despise herself, then came a lightning thought, a hope:

“If they should prove to be the same?”

Trembling with excitement, she unlocked a drawer and took out the treasured poems and read them again.

“Oh, how sweet they are—sweeter every time I read them over!” she exclaimed, then started, with a wild tremor, adding:

“The note! Why, the writing is the same—surely the very same! Oh, my silly heart! Are you going to jump out of my breast with rapture?”

Her cheeks burned, her eyes shone, her hands trembled, as she compared the note with the verses, finding the writing identical in both. Apparently Doctor Rupert intended to throw off his disguise and permit her to identify him as her mysterious lover.

The truth flashed over her mind, thrilling her with perfect joy.

“Oh, I am the happiest girl in the world!” she cried, clasping the flowers and the poems to her breast with adoration.

She had not heard her door open and close noiselessly a moment ago, the sound was drowned in the rustle of the papers she held; but suddenly the sense of an alien presence thrilled her with alarm, and, looking up, Eva saw a tall form standing at her side.

[Pg 138]

Eva gave a gasp of surprise and sprang up, remembering that in the excitement of receiving the flowers and note she had forgotten to lock her door.

“Do not be frightened. I only wish to ask you how you like your new room?” said a bland voice that somehow made her shiver.

“Oh, Doctor St. Clair, how you frightened me! I—I like my room very well, but I thought my door was locked,” she cried nervously, moving a little back from him as he reached out to pat her hand in his familiar way.

“It did not matter—no one will disturb you. I only looked in to see if you liked your new room. I like all my girls to be comfortable,” he answered, in the fatherly tone that always impressed all the new girls with his kindness.

“I—oh—yes, it’s very comfortable,” Eva faltered, keeping her hands out of his reach and retreating as he approached, saying suavely:

“What sweet flowers you have—love letters, also, perhaps!”

“Yes—they are, and I was busy reading them,” she said a little defiantly; then, with returning self-possession:

“Please go, doctor. You are very kind, but this is my private apartment. You should have knocked.”

“I mean no harm, little Eva, but I must speak to you privately. You are so beautiful no one can see you without loving you!”

“Hush—go!” she cried, in sudden consternation.

[Pg 139]

“Not yet,” he answered calmly, and went on: “I came to make you an offer of my friendship. This position as an attendant is not worthy of you, my dear, and if you will permit me, I will send you away to school and educate you to take a better place—as my little friend and darling pet. What do you say, pretty one?”

She was so young and so innocent she could not comprehend his villainy, or that his words meant all they did; but she trembled at the passion in his eyes and waved him back as he tried to embrace her, saying curtly:

“I must decline your offer, and I do not wish to be your pet. Please go now, for I do not like to have you in my room.”

“This is a poor return for my kindness to you,” he exclaimed, overmastered with sudden anger at her coldness.

“I am sorry to seem ungrateful—but please go,” she answered entreatingly.

“Are you aware that I can discharge you and thrust you penniless into the cold world?” he demanded harshly.

“Yes, yes, I realize your power for good and evil in this place, and I entreat you as you are strong be merciful!” she faltered, pointing steadfastly at the door.

He laughed softly.

“I was only jesting with you! I love you too well, sweet little Eva, to harm you. Forget what I said,[Pg 140] since you scorn my proffered kindness, and let us be friends again. Will you shake hands and forgive?”

“No, no—but I shall scream unless you leave the room instantly!” she exclaimed, with rising anger at his obstinacy, every maidenly instinct taking alarm at his presence there in her private room at night.

“Do not scream, I am going,” he started across the room, then smiled back at her:

“Just one kiss, little Eva. I am a lonely man with no one to love me.”

“You have a wife and children,” she reminded him, so cuttingly that he withdrew with a muttered imprecation, and Eva flew at the door, slammed and locked it in a fury, and sank sobbing into a chair.

“The wretch! Surely he meant to insult me! There was more than fatherly kindness in his eyes. There was wickedness! Oh, I hate him—I will not stay here! I will go away to-morrow!” she sobbed in a passion of anger and misery, wondering where under heaven she could go unless it were back to kind old Goody Brown.

She wondered what Doctor Rupert would say when he came and found her gone.

“He will wonder if I ran away from his love,” she sobbed, and just then came a low tapping on the door, and she sprang upright, shivering.

“The wretch! Has he dared to return?” she exclaimed angrily.

A low voice called through the keyhole:

[Pg 141]

“It is only Ada, my dear. May I come in and speak to you?”

Little Eva unlocked the door and drew her friend inside, quickly turning the key again.

Ada Winton was the attendant Eva loved best of all, a pretty, sparkling brunette whose bright black eyes instantly saw the agitation of the unhappy girl.

“You have been crying, and I saw old St. Clair dodging out of your room. What did he want?” she asked pointblank.

“I—I hardly know,” the poor girl answered, so forlornly that Ada exclaimed brusquely:

“Up to his meanness again, eh, under the mask of fatherly kindness? Wanted to have you for his darling little pet, and send you off to school to fit you for the place, didn’t he?”

“Oh, Ada, were you listening at the keyhole?”

“Oh, no, dear; but the kind, fatherly old man has talked the same way to me—you aren’t the only pebble on the beach, my darling!” returned the vivacious Ada, a little slangily.

Thereupon Eva fell upon her neck and told all, reiterating her intention to leave the asylum to-morrow.

To her amazement she was told that some others of the girls had met the same treatment from the old superintendent, but being poor and compelled to earn a living, they had contented themselves with snubbing their elderly admirer and remaining in their places.

“I should not leave, if I were you,” said Ada.[Pg 142] “Keep your door locked hereafter and snub him if he attempts any familiarity, and he will not trouble you again. All the girls hate him but that frisky Matty Blue, and she is always going on with him, making lots of gossip. She says she does it to keep her place, and it’s true that we have to bear much insolence to keep from being discharged,” sighed Ada from the depths of her heart.

[Pg 143]



“A poor girl’s lot is indeed hard and cruel. She must bear with wrong and injustice without daring to complain,” thought Eva the next morning, reviewing the disquieting incident of the night before with the conviction that it was better, after all, to take Ada Winton’s practical advice.

For where could she go if she left the asylum as she had first meant to do—where could she shelter her homeless head?

The Browns were her only friends outside the hospital, and she did not know whether they would receive her under their roof or not.

Besides, she had no money to get away with—not even a penny. And she could not adventure another railway trip on credit. Then she gave a little gasp of dismay, suddenly remembering the gentleman who had paid her fare when she ran away from the asylum.

“Oh, dear, oh, dear, what must he think of me?” she sighed. “Oh, why did he withhold his name, and say he would call on gran’ther next week for his money? What did he think if he went and found no one to pay him? That I was a wretched little cheat, of course.”

Scalding tears rushed to her eyes and she crimsoned with mortification. She had liked the kind New[Pg 144] Yorker so much that she hated for him to believe her mean and dishonest.

A bright thought came into her mind and she seized a pen and wrote rapidly on a slip of paper:

“If the gentleman who paid a young girl’s fare on the train going to Clarksburg will send his address to Miss Groves, Weston, stating the amount paid, he will receive the money at once, with the thanks of the one benefited.”

“I called myself Miss Groves because he called me that,” she thought; “and now if dear Doctor Bertrand will lend me enough money to pay for this advertisement I will pay the nice gentleman as soon as I begin to earn a salary here. I should like to see the kind stranger again some time.”

She made up her mind to work on at the asylum patiently until some better opening presented itself, and she would be so distant and dignified with the superintendent he would not presume on her poverty again to offer her a love that was a cruel insult.

But her cheeks were burning, and she trembled like a leaf when she entered his office next morning to be assigned to her ward. Her spirits rose the minute she saw Miss Blue looking over the newspapers, and she knew she would not be alone with him.

The doctor was curt and cold. He looked her over as though she were a stranger, and dismissed her with a few sharp orders. But she did not mind; she was only too glad to escape.

[Pg 145]

She could not guess at the mingled rage and love seething in his undisciplined heart. It was his misfortune that he could never resist a fair face. He was like a butterfly, roving from flower to flower, culling sweets wherever he could. To Miss Blue he remarked, with fine sarcasm:

“Such a shy, trembling little birdie; one would never take her for the heroine of a terrible scandal, would they, my dear Mattie?”

She flashed her keen black eyes at him, shrugged her shoulders, and retorted poutingly:

“You would make her the heroine of another great scandal if you had your way, sir!”

“Bah! you’re jealous, Mattie,” he answered gayly, and the pert young lady kicked over his waste basket, tousled his gray locks with her white fingers, threw him a saucy kiss, and flirted out of the room.

He gazed after her admiringly, muttering:

“Great fun, that girl! I wish little Eva had her spirit and liked me as well. She is only acting the prude, of course. The heroine of so awful a scandal cannot be hard to win. She is worth an effort, the proud little beauty, and I will not give her up, though I will act distant and offended till I throw her off her guard. Ah, those pouting red lips! A kiss were well worth half my year’s salary, would she but sell it at that price!”

He let Eva severely alone for a week, and she faithfully performed her duties, silently looking and hoping every day for a sight of Doctor Rupert again.[Pg 146] Every day of his absence was like a month to her heart, and she caught herself wishing that he would write her a few lines just to let her know that she was not forgotten.

But no letter came, no token save a beautiful box by mail of her favorite bonbons. Inside the lid was a card with his name only, but it was traced in the same familiar writing as the love poems, and Eva instantly thrilled with joy, though presently came a perplexing thought:

“How did he know me before I came to the asylum, when I lived at Stony Ledge? I never saw any one there like him. It is very strange.”

She racked her memory hopelessly for some means of identifying him with her past.

She remembered at last that on infrequent occasions the whole family had sometimes attended worship at a church seven miles away, going all together in gran’ther’s large Jersey wagon.

Eva decided that Doctor Rupert must have made one of the congregation at this Methodist church in the woods.

“He must have fallen in love with me at first sight! How charming! One must certainly be quite pretty to win a lover’s heart at first sight,” she thought, lingering before the mirror and noting each several charm with questioning eyes.

She decided that, after all, she must be rather pretty, although she had not given much thought to it before, in the quiet days at Stony Ledge. Cousin Tabby and[Pg 147] the twins had always insinuated that she would never “set the river afire with her beauty.”

Perhaps they thought it wise to throw a damper on any little maidenly vanity that she might be cherishing. Now that they had wickedly thrown her upon the world they could not keep her ignorant of her charms any longer.

She would read the truth in men’s eyes that she was wondrous fair. Doctor St. Clair had not hesitated to tell her so with eager lips. But she remembered his words with detestation, and thought only of the flash in Doctor Rupert’s eyes that told her without words she was lovely and adorable.

She cared for his praise and no other, with her heart just awakened to love’s sweet song.

How slowly the days passed in her uncongenial labor of caring for the wretched insane patients for the sake of daily bread, while the twins were fine and rich on gran’ther’s inheritance.

Eva would have felt bitter over it, but she knew that her grandfather had not wished it to be so; that if she had gone for the lawyer as he wished that night she might have been his heiress.

“I would not have left him alone for all the money in the State!” she murmured.

[Pg 148]



Eva would never forget the sunny May day when her lover returned to Weston. Everything was so green and lovely on the wide grounds, the sky was so bright and blue, the flowers so sweet, and the pretty feathered songsters in the trees were fairly splitting their very throats with joyful songs of love that found a happy echo in her heart.

When Doctor Bertrand came into Eva’s ward that afternoon, she just happened to mention that Doctor Rupert had returned, and straightway the whole world was transformed, glorified, to Eva. Her eager heart leaped with joyful emotion and she turned her face quickly aside that no one might see the lovely crimson that overspread it at mention of his name.

Doctor Bertrand just smiled to herself and passed on without a word to betray that her kind eyes had read the secret of two fond hearts. She thought it was a pretty love story that was going to end happily in a wedding, as all sweet love stories mostly ended.

And she did not dream of the terrible barrier between those two yearning hearts—the barrier of a kinsman’s blood!

For the carping world said that Doctor Ludington[Pg 149] had murdered Terry Groves—that his hands were red with his foeman’s blood. No one excused him because it had really been an accident. They chose to put the worst construction on the tragedy.

So that if the young doctor had returned to them from the dead, the side of the clan that sympathized with the Groves family would have been ready to howl execrations upon his head.

Of the keen, bitter pain in his heart at his fate, at the isolation from home and parents, who could tell? He bore it in silence for the sake of the one sweet drop in the bitter cup.

In renouncing home and kindred love, in giving up his birthright and his name, there was one compensation that would pay for all—he would be free to woo and win little Eva.

Once he had put the past behind him there was no looking backward, no futile regret for what was lost. Of all that the wide world could have offered him he would have chosen bonnie, dark-eyed Eva as the best of all.

And fate was going to grant him his heart’s desire.

He was not conceited, but he had read aright the blushing cheek, the flashing eyes, the trembling tones. Her young heart had answered to his own.

But for Doctor St. Clair’s malicious interference he would have told her his love that day beneath the trees, when he had read her heart by the light of his own.

Wearily the day passed in the round of mutual duties[Pg 150] that held them apart until evening, when they met at last in the ballroom where the weekly dance for the patients was given.

“Will you give me a dance?” the dear voice said suddenly in her ear, as she was watching with casual amusement the gyrations of an insane woman whirling around with a hospital employee, the manager of the ice plant.

She started with joy, and looked up at him in a little tremor.

“You startled me,” she said, putting out her little hand to meet his, and trembling at his warm, strong clasp.

“Did you not know I had come, little Eva?”

“Oh, yes; but I did not know you were in the ballroom.”

“I came in to look for you. My eyes were aching for the sight of you. Will you dance with me? Or would you prefer to take a stroll outdoors? There is a lovely moon”—eagerly.

“I prefer outdoors,” she answered, letting her eyes droop shyly before his ardent, questioning glance.

He was leading her out when Doctor St. Clair hurried after them.

“Miss Somerville, will you not give me one dance?”

She hesitated, recoiling from him in secret repugnance, and he added hastily:

“It is obligatory, you know, on the attendants to take part in the dancing for the pleasure of the patients.”

[Pg 151]

“Very well; I will dance when I come back. I am going out now for a breath of fresh air. Excuse me,” and she brushed hastily past him and disappeared with her lover by her side.

The doctor stood looking after them with an ominous frown.

“How I hate that upstart fellow! I wish I could find out something bad enough about him to warrant his dismissal from the hospital. Wonder if I could not do a little detective work to that end. The governor ought to know all about him. He recommended him to the board. What if I take a run down to Charleston and interview his excellency on Doctor Rupert’s antecedents,” he was musing to himself, when a white hand clasped his arm and a gay voice exclaimed:

“Come, doctor dear, and try that new waltz with me! It’s exquisite. No use frowning after Rupert. He has cut you out with the little Somerville beauty, that’s clear.”

“Who cares?” he replied curtly, encircling her waist closely with his arm and whirling her into the ring of merry waltzers, while his angry thoughts followed the handsome young pair who had gone out into the moonlighted grounds to enjoy each other’s society while he was left to be bored by sprightly Miss Blue, of whom he was weary now, though he could not shake her off.

Eager to escape from the uncongenial air and company of the ballroom, the lovers wandered out into[Pg 152] the beautiful grounds beneath the light of the full May moon shining in the blue and starry sky, a night so sweet and balmy it seemed made for love and lovers.

The young doctor had drawn Eva’s small hand within his arm, and as they slowly paced the broad, secluded walk, he pressed her arm close to his heart, murmuring:

“You received my letter, little Eva?”

“What letter?”

“The one I wrote from Parkersburg the day after I went away.”

“Then you wrote to me? I did not receive it,” she answered, quickly remembering how she had secretly longed for a letter, and felt disappointed because she had failed to receive it.

“That is very strange. I wrote you a long letter and addressed it to the hospital, Drawer H, as is usual. It must have miscarried, or—been intercepted,” exclaimed Doctor Rupert, wondering if he had a rival for Eva’s affection in the place, not dreaming of the superintendent’s admiration for the lovely girl.

“I received the bonbons only—oh, how sorry I am that I missed the letter! Now, Doctor Rupert, you must begin and tell me every word that was in it,” cried Eva radiantly, her eyes beaming with pleasure as she lifted them innocently to his handsome face.

Doctor Rupert smiled tenderly down into the eager face, and answered softly:

“I shall be very glad to tell you in a few words the[Pg 153] subject of my long letter. Much has been written on that subject, and the same story has been told by many lips and eyes, but three words will comprise it all—I love you.”

Little Eva started tremulously, but her dark eyes clung to his face without faltering as he paused and continued passionately:

“Yes, I love you, Eva, with all the strength and passion of my honest manhood, and I pledge you my lifelong devotion if you will be my wife. Is my love returned?”

The little golden head was very close to his breast while he uttered the words, and the next moment it drooped against him and nestled there with a confidence sweeter than all words.

His arms went quickly round the yielding form and he bent his lips to hers, sealing their betrothal with a caress that recreated the whole world for them with its rapturous joy.

Then he led his darling to the same seat they had occupied the day his declaration of love had been twice interrupted, and, sitting down together, with arms about each other, they fell into tender converse, little recking how fast the hours flew, or that the ball was over, until they saw the few people of the town who always attended to look on going home through the moonlighted grounds.

“Heavens! we have been here over two hours, but it does not seem more than five minutes!” he exclaimed, looking at his watch.

[Pg 154]

“I must go in at once. It is almost midnight,” Eva cried, in a little alarm, and rising to fly from him, but he walked by her side, saying:

“I am going back with you. If there is any fault to be found, we will say that we are engaged and will be married soon.”

“Oh,” she cried, in shy alarm, for they had not set the day yet.

“Yes, we must be married soon,” he repeated tenderly. “My little Eva must not toil her life out here. She must have some one to love and care for her in a dear little home of her own. Now, good night, my little darling. You must dream of me, as I shall of you,” kissing her fondly in the shadows before they parted outside the door.

He remained outside to smoke a cigar and revel in his happiness, while Eva hurried along the dim corridor to her own little room.

Doctor St. Clair’s office door opened and he intercepted her, saying in a low, imperative tone:

“I have been waiting for you. Come in; I must speak to you a moment. You need not hesitate. There is no harm coming in my office. Many of the young ladies come in here to make their reports.”

“I am very sleepy. Will you please wait till to-morrow?” she faltered shrinkingly.

“I cannot wait. Come,” he said so sternly that Eva followed him like a frightened child over the threshold.

[Pg 155]

“Sit down,” pushing forward an easy-chair.

“I—I don’t want to sit down, please,” she answered, just leaning for support against the back of the chair, and continuing nervously:

“If you are going to discharge me, please say so at once, doctor, without scolding me, and let me go.”

“Why should I scold you?” smiling.

“For shirking my duty—dancing with the patients. But I really forgot all about it. I was talking, and—time slipped away so fast.”

“You must have found Doctor Rupert very entertaining to remain out with him until so unseemly an hour,” grimly.

“I—I did not know it was getting so late! I am very sorry,” Eva murmured, with a kindling blush.

“Well, I shall not discharge you this time, nor scold you, though you have acted very imprudently, staying out so late with a young man whose character is almost wholly unknown to you. You must not let it occur again.”

“Oh, no, sir,” she answered meekly, edging toward the door, but he said quickly:

“One minute more. I would have discharged any other attendant for such an offense, but I am interested in you, as I have told you before. In fact, I have been planning for several days a pleasure trip for you.”

Eva caught her breath with a gasp of surprise. Her employer continued with an ingratiating smile:

“We have to send an attendant for an insane girl[Pg 156] at Clarksburg. It would be a pleasant trip—all your expenses paid. Would you like to go?”

“Oh, no, thank you. I am not used to travel. I should be afraid!” Eva cried out quickly, deprecatingly.

“You dear little coward!” he cried gayly. “But I was about to explain that you need not go alone. I am going to Washington to-morrow and would bear you company on the trip. In fact, so well do I like you, little Eva, that I will take you to Washington with me for a day or so and show you all the sights and give you a good time generally. Then you could go and get the patient from Clarksburg and come back here, and no one be the wiser of your jolly little escapade. What do you say to my clever plan, my pretty little dear?”

Her great eyes blazed on him as he tried to approach her, continuing:

“I know that some of the other girls would give anything for such a trip with me, but I asked you first because I love you best—ay, better than any one else on earth! My little darling, you need not hesitate. You would never be found out.”

“How dare you make your vile proposition to me?” she found voice to utter scathingly.

“Tut, tut; you need not be so prudish, little Eva. I know all about your shady past—how your cousin killed a man that he found in your room at midnight. Do you pretend to have reformed your morals now?”

[Pg 157]

How she hated the leering smile, the sneering tone; how she longed to strike him in his face, to throw open the door and denounce him to every one.

Yet her horror of a scene and of another scandal associated with her pure name made her hesitate and answer brokenly:

“I am under a cloud, Doctor St. Clair, but I am innocent. Doctor Ludington came to my room that night in a professional capacity alone, and I must beg you not to regard me as a sinner, but as a martyr.”

His low, incredulous laugh grated harshly on her ears, and stung her into adding:

“I am loath to betray you and make a scandal of your vile propositions to a supposedly defenseless girl, but I had better say that the next insult from you will be reported to my future husband.”

“You are to marry!” he exclaimed, in astonishment, mixed with grief and chagrin.

With flashing eyes and her head thrown back in pride, Eva answered:

“I am betrothed to Doctor Rupert, and we are to be married soon.”

The man’s face grew deeply livid with rage and disappointment. He fairly struggled to hold himself in check, and Eva started quickly toward the door, eager to escape.

At that he started forward, breathing hoarsely and muttering vengefully:

“Consider yourself discharged from the hospital,[Pg 158] Miss Somerville, on account of being out so late with a young man to-night.”

She bowed coldly without replying, and darted from the room, almost falling over Ada Winton in her headlong flight.

“Where away so fast, my dear, that you bolt out of the doctor’s office like a shot fired from a cannon?” cried that young lady, catching her around the waist.

“Oh, Ada, come to my room and I will tell you all!” Eva sobbed in hysterical excitement.

“The villain! To think of insulting you again, after your first decided repulse!” exclaimed the young lady indignantly, when she had heard the piteous story, and she added warmly:

“Do not worry yourself, dear, because you are discharged. I have an aunt living in Weston who will receive you as a guest until you are married to your handsome doctor.”

“But, oh, Ada, I have no money for anything—neither to pay my board nor to buy a wedding gown,” sobbed the hapless girl.

“Aunt Susan will not charge you any board, my little dear, and I will lend you my best white gown for your wedding.”

[Pg 159]



“Oh, what will Doctor Rupert say to my being sent away in disgrace? Ought I to tell him all?” cried Eva anxiously, despairingly.

Miss Winton negatived the question vigorously.

“No; it would only stir up a scandal and involve your lover in a quarrel. ‘A still tongue makes a wise head,’ little Eva, but there are not many still tongues in this hospital. They are always wagging over other people’s business. So let us try to keep silent, even under wrongs and injuries, as long as possible. For what if we denounced this smooth villain who insults us, believing we cannot resent it, being poor and helpless? Well, he would simply deny the charges and try to villify our characters and make us out great liars, don’t you see?”

“Yes, I see, for I know already from a terrible experience how an innocent person may be slandered and discredited,” Eva answered, breaking down suddenly and sobbing in an abandonment of grief over her cruel fate.

It all rushed over her freshly again—the tragedy that had blighted her fair name with an indelible stain and exiled her from home, driving her mad with despair.

[Pg 160]

“Oh,” she cried, through raining tears, “I would almost rather die than go through such sorrows again.”

“Let us pray Heaven that you will not be called upon to endure any further trials,” her friend said encouragingly. “Now that you have won such a handsome, noble lover, your future life must be bright and sunny. You are weary and unnerved by what has occurred to-night. Now, try to forget the last unpleasant hour, and remember only that you have won a noble lover who will fill your whole future life with happiness. Try to get some sleep now, and in the morning I will take you over to my aunt in town, where you will be sure of a safe retreat until you are married.”

“Oh, Ada, how good you are to me! May Heaven grant me the power to repay you some day. I will pray that God will send you a lover as noble and handsome as mine,” cried Eva, embracing her with girlish fervor in a fond good night.

She locked her door carefully and sat down to think, too nervous and excited to retire.

Putting from her the indignation and disgust evoked by her middle-aged adorer’s loathed advances and cruel revenge, she tried to think only of her lover and of the happy two hours spent out in the silvery moonlight by his side.

She recalled every look, every word, every tone, with trembling ecstasy. There was none like him; none, in all the wide world, she told herself. To her joy he had admitted his identity with her unknown[Pg 161] lover. He was the author of the poems, the donor of the candy, the books, the flowers. Yes, he had climbed to her casement to lay these tokens of love on her window sill, choosing this method of wooing because he had been told her cousins did not allow her any acquaintance with young men.

Then he had adroitly let her do some guessing, and admitted that he had seen her at the church in the woods when she asked him.

“You see, I was visiting a college chum of mine in that neighborhood,” he said truthfully.

His bonnie sweetheart had gazed at him in innocent rapture, crying:

“To think that you came from Ohio, leaving so many pretty girls behind you, and fell in love with little rustic me!”

“None was half so beautiful as you, my darling,” he replied truthfully, though she hardly knew how to credit such an extravagant compliment.

She did not know how peerlessly lovely she was; she thought the whole world was full of women as fair as herself.

And she felt grateful to Heaven for fixing his dear love on her alone. The thought came to her that if he had not loved her now she would be so terribly alone in life she could hardly bear her existence.

So thinking, she fell asleep in her chair and rested thus till daylight, dreaming of the handsome lover God had sent to bless her loneliness.

Very soon Ada Winton came to conduct her to[Pg 162] her aunt, saying that it was better to go early, without facing the wonder that would be excited at the hospital when it became known that she had been so abruptly discharged.

“I will tell Doctor Rupert all about it myself and send him over to see you,” the kind young girl said when she had safely established Eva in her aunt’s simple cottage home and was leaving to return to her work.

Aunt Susan was a dear, kind, pious old lady, so fond of Ada Winton that she would do anything to please her, so she made Eva as welcome as a daughter to her homelike little house, with the neatness of a place inhabited by one woman alone.

There, when the day was a few hours older, came Doctor Rupert to see his exiled lady love, taking to himself all the blame of her discharge.

“I kept you out too late, forgetting that the rules are very strict, but I think I should have rated Doctor St. Clair this morning for his severity had he not gone away on a trip to Charleston before I heard of it,” he said.

“He told me he was going to Washington,” Eva cried inadvertently.

“He must have changed his mind, but it does not matter,” Doctor Rupert said carelessly, adding:

“After all, I’m glad you have left that place, for now I can persuade you to an immediate wedding. Will you marry me this day week, Eva?”

“So soon?”

[Pg 163]

“Why should we postpone our happiness, darling? I have waited long enough for it already—longer than you dream. And, somehow, I can never feel quite sure of you until the magic words are spoken that make you mine.”

Who could hold out against such pleading words and tender looks? Not Eva, who was so alone and lonely that he was her whole world. So she consented to his prayer, though she said tearfully:

“Do you know that I shall have to marry you, dear, in borrowed plumes?”

“That will not matter in the least. We will go on a little bridal tour to Parkersburg the next day, and do all the shopping you like,” he answered, kissing the pearly tears from the beautiful dark eyes, and thanking her over and over for her sweet consent.

He was like a man drunken with bliss. The desire of his heart was going to be granted to him. He had loved her so long, so faithfully, without hope, that he could scarcely realize fate’s kindness, now that, overleaping all adverse barriers, it was going to give him bonnie, golden-haired Eva for his own.

How fast the days flew!

He could scarcely attend to his duties at the hospital, he was so eager to spend every moment with his darling. When he came to see her he could scarcely tear himself away from her side.

He dreamed all night of her dark eyes, her rosy lips, her curling golden hair, her sweet kisses, the warm clasp of her soft, clinging hands. His every moment[Pg 164] was a pæan of joy and gratitude because God was going to give him the desire of his heart.

Every one in the town and at the hospital knew that he was going to marry little Eva in a week. He was so proud of it that he could have shouted it aloud to the winds.

He had engaged board at the hotel—the very prettiest room in the house. He wished to shrine his jewel in the finest setting.

And all the time Doctor St. Clair remained mysteriously absent.

No wildest stretch of fancy could have persuaded the young doctor that that protracted stay meant disaster to his hopes and his happiness.

[Pg 165]



The chagrined superintendent had indeed gone away with a distinct purpose of doing some little detective work of his own, by which he hoped, in the malignity of his heart, to get Doctor Rupert ousted from his position at the hospital.

He hardly knew what he was hoping for; he barely expected success to crown his mission. But he vaguely scented a mystery about the young physician because he had been appointed from another State, over the heads of several applicants from West Virginia, who felt aggrieved at the preference shown the handsome stranger.

Doctor St. Clair knew that the governor himself had recommended Rupert, therefore he called on him first, and, while cleverly reporting on affairs at Weston, adroitly threw in some leading questions on the subject nearest his thoughts.

To his keen disappointment he found the chief executive dumb as an oyster regarding Doctor Rupert’s claims for recognition by the party in power. He said in an off-hand way that the young doctor was an old acquaintance whom he had been glad to favor. After that he was genially non-committal, and the private secretary, when cautiously interviewed afterward, was[Pg 166] in the same mood. He knew absolutely nothing about Doctor Rupert. He had never seen him but once, and was not sure he should recognize him if he ever met him again.

The amateur detective went away despondent, and if chance had not furnished him the right clue in the very nick of time, he would have been disappointed of the revenge he craved.

Ada Winton was the lovers’ veritable good angel in those brief happy days.

“I am going to get up a hasty trousseau for the bride,” she said gayly, but with latent earnestness, and every minute she could spare from her work she spent at the cottage helping Aunt Susan to get Eva ready.

Ada was in mourning for her father, and in her trunk she had several pretty dresses, scarcely worn, among them her dainty white graduating gown.

With slight alteration the sweet white organdie fitted Eva as if it had been made for her, and it was the same with the dark-brown tailor-made suit, just the thing for the short wedding journey that had been planned.

“Oh, how can I take your pretty gowns?” cried Eva timidly.

“Say no more about it. They will get moth-eaten and old-fashioned locked away while I am in mourning. If it will ease your mind, you may buy my wedding[Pg 167] gown when I get married,” laughed the brilliant Ada jestingly.

“I shall take the greatest delight in doing it,” cried Eva earnestly, feeling the weight of obligation thus removed from her mind.

How happily the days flew. To her and her lover that week between their betrothal and their wedding day stood out forever in memory like a beautiful gem in a golden setting.

They were not rich nor famous, but they were young and loving, with the whole world before them, and they asked nothing of fate but each other’s love.

So the golden days, love-freighted, slipped away and brought the fateful hour.

They were to be married very quietly at the cottage with just a few friends, such as Doctor Bertrand, Doctor Merry, and others from the hospital. After an hour or so of pleasant converse and light refreshments they were to start on a little wedding journey.

Doctor St. Clair, who returned on the day before the wedding, was courteously invited to the ceremony by Rupert, who, in ignorance of his hidden vileness, chose to bear him no ill will for discharging Eva.

“It has only hastened my wedding day—the happiest hour of my life,” he said, in his blindness.

The superintendent accepted the invitation with one of his blandest smiles and a few words of congratulation, ending with:

“You seem to be made for each other.”

[Pg 168]

Others thought so, too, when the handsome pair stood before the minister that balmy May evening in the flower-decked room, surrounded by their admiring friends.

Doctor Rupert was pale and trembling with exquisite happiness. As the aged minister opened his book to begin the wedding service, the bridegroom, looking down at the sweet white figure by his side, wondered if indeed it could be a reality and no dream that God was going to give him bonnie Eva for his own.

As though in answer to his thought, the rude tramp of two uninvited guests sounded loudly in the stillness of the room, and a heavy hand fell on his shoulder, whirling him around to face a grim, stern officer of the law, whose words fell on his ears like the trump of doom:

“Doctor Ludington, your identity is known, and I have a warrant here to arrest you for the murder of Terry Groves!”

It was like the bursting of a bombshell.

The minister dropped his holy book in consternation.

The guests exclaimed loudly in amazement all together.

And the man most concerned, turning on his interlocutors a face of startled terror, demanded hoarsely:

“Your proofs?”

The officer of the law answered sternly:

[Pg 169]

“They will be forthcoming at the proper time, and you must come with me now, for Miss Somerville will surely not wish the ceremony to go on, now that she knows your identity as the murderer of her cousin!”

The malicious thrust seemed to quiver like a sword point in the accused man’s heart.

He started, shuddered, then looked down with burning blue eyes at the white-faced girl clinging to his arm with both trembling white hands, while she cried out to him wildly, beseechingly:

“Tell them they are mistaken, that they have accused you falsely! Tell them you never could have won my heart if you had been gran’ther’s enemy!”

But over both their minds flashed at the same moment a memory of the words she had said to him when she believed him dying:

“If you had lived I would have loved you!”

How he had treasured those words, hugged them to his heart in rapture, found in them a palliation for his deceit.

“If you had lived I would have loved you!”

She would have loved him, knowing he was a Ludington, a son of the man her grandfather despised. She would have loved him despite that barrier, her sweet, girlish lips had frankly told him so as she gazed with pity and sorrow into his dying eyes.

Her words had come true. He had wooed and won sweet Eva, believing that his deception was no great harm at all, since she had in a manner consented to it[Pg 170] in the impulsive words with which she bade him, as she believed, an eternal adieu.

But with her last words, uttered under the stress of terrible shock, she was gainsaying her former declaration, cutting the ground from beneath his feet.

There was a breathless moment in which they gazed silently into each other’s anguished eyes, searching each the other’s heart, while every one wondered what would be the outcome.

The young doctor’s dark-blue eyes, beautiful, tender, troubled, like some hunted creature’s at bay, mutely implored her pardon and her love. Hers, wild, incredulous, agonized, were seeking and finding the startling truth.

Yes, she recognized him now, understood her subtle, half recognition of him all along.

Oh, why had she been so blind that a little alteration in his personal appearance had misled her so fatally that she had been tricked into a misplaced love, had found heaven in his presence, bliss in his voice, and touch, and glance, happiness with him and no one else.

A sense of ingratitude, of remorse, of falsehood to gran’ther’s revered memory pierced her tender heart like a thorn.

Oh, he was looking down on her from heaven; could he know that she had been about to wed his enemy, at whose door, whether willfully or in self-defense, lay her cousin’s blood?

[Pg 171]

The tortured lover searched her face with eager, haggard eyes for some sign of relenting.

“Eva, Eva!” he murmured imploringly, but he would never forget the reproach, the despair, the anger of the beautiful upturned face, or the bitterness of the voice in which she answered:

“Oh, I know you now, Doctor Ludington, and I will never forgive you!”

Then her senses reeled with agony, her white hands slipped from his arm, and she sank like one dead at his feet.

No one who saw the piteous sight ever forgot how like a dead girl she looked, the beautiful little bride, lying prone on the floor in her filmy white robes, and the fragrant garlands crushed in her golden locks even as her heart was crushed with the weight of despair.

Doctor St. Clair would have felt himself well avenged for her scorn if he had witnessed that scene, but he had absented himself from the wedding, contenting himself that he had set in motion the adverse influences to wreck the budding happiness of the lovers.

The women all flung themselves down by unconscious Eva, and the officers hurried Doctor Ludington away, scarcely giving him time for a word with the few men friends who gave him the hand of sympathy.

He attempted no denial of his true identity. What was the use?

[Pg 172]

Eva was lost to him forever. Nothing else mattered much.

On the one hand had stood home, kindred, wealth—for the Ludingtons had struck oil, too, and were fast getting rich—but he had been willing to sacrifice them all for the little dark-eyed girl on the other side.

Fate had snatched her away, and given him back what he had forsaken. A telegram went flying to his father confessing all; then he started with the officers on a journey to Clarksburg that was to end in prison instead of bridal happiness.

[Pg 173]



It was the oil excitement that took Doctor St. Clair up into Harrison County. He hoped to buy or lease some land in the famous oil belt.

The ferryman at whose shanty Doctor Ludington had stayed, after his lucky escape from death, owned fifteen sterile acres quite near to Fernside and Stony Ledge, but he refused Doctor St. Clair’s offer of two thousand dollars down pointblank.

“I ain’t as green as I look, stranger,” he said brusquely. “Why, a man that stayed with me a while last fall, and knowed the right vally of all that land, told me whatever I done, never to sell for less than ten thousand dollars!”

“Who was the man?” demanded the doctor, with an inward anathema against the intermeddler.

“Friend o’ mine,” briefly.

The doctor sneered.

“Well, I should like to talk to him and convince him of his mistake. He must be crazy, I think, setting such an undue value on these rocky acres!”

“He’s not in the neighborhood now. I don’t know where he went to when he left here,” returned the ferryman, going out abruptly to answer a call for a boat.

[Pg 174]

“Some ignorant tramp likely, that did not know what he was talking about,” the doctor sneered to the ferryman’s wife, venting his spite on the absent offender for spoiling a good trade.

“No, I don’t think he were a tramp. He were dressed in fine new clothes, though soakin’ wet with the snow the night we found him lyin’ like a dead man out in the back yard, the time o’ the turble storm,” she replied coldly.

“Drunk, maybe,” sniffed the resentful doctor.

“No, nor drunk, neither, I don’t believe. He were sick and wounded, with a shot through his breast. A long time he laid here sick, and me and my ole man nussed him like our own son, and said nothing to nobuddy, acause the young feller ast us not. He didn’t want folks to know as he had been in that scrimmage! My, what am I blabbing about now?” cried the woman, suddenly cutting herself short.

“No harm talking to me, a stranger without any interest in it,” Doctor St. Clair said reassuringly, with a bland smile. “I hope the young fellow compensated you well for your trouble?”

“Oh, yes, sir; yes. Since he went away he paid up liberal. Sent my ole man fifty dollars and me a gold watch. Think o’ that, now!”

“Very clever!” exclaimed the doctor. “What did you say his name was, madam?”

“A Mr. John Rupert, from way off somewhere,” she replied incautiously, having an uncontrollable propensity for gossip.

[Pg 175]

“From Ohio?” cried the doctor, his thoughts reverting to his bête noire, Doctor Rupert.

“I dunno,” she answered curtly, suddenly becoming tongue-tied.

But the doctor’s languid interest, suddenly stimulated to malignant activity by that name, prompted him to further inquiry.

Could there be any coincidence? he wondered. Had he stumbled on a clue to a disgraceful mystery in the life of the man he hated?

He determined to board with the couple a day or two, and ferret out every particular about “John Rupert, from way off somewhere,” as the woman said.

His evil genius favored him, for, when the ferryman returned he was somewhat excited, and exclaimed to his wife:

“You’d never think who ’twas I put across the river!”

She made some futile guesses, and then he said jestingly:

“I knowed you was too stupid to ever guess, so I’ll tell. ’Twere that runaway, Dan Ellis!”

Her surprise made the doctor ask some leading questions, and the replies elicited soon showed him that he was on the track of a subject most interesting to him—the Hallowe’en tragedy that had resulted in the sending of Eva Somerville to the insane asylum.

The doctor had heard something of it before, but not so fully as now, when related by people of the[Pg 176] neighborhood familiar with the simplest details of the story.

He plied the unsuspecting, easy-going pair with questions, and as they never wearied of the thrilling tragedy, they gave it to him in full, with all the embellishments, down to the great funeral of Terry Groves, that all the people for miles about had attended, and the strange fate of Doctor Ludington’s corpse, that had burst from its casket en route to burial, and rolled into the river.

Then they dwelt at length on the fearful storm of that night, and the woman exclaimed:

“’Twere the same night, you know, Jake, that we found the wounded stranger in our back yard!”

The doctor started violently, and Jake frowned darkly at his loquacious better half.

“You wa’n’t called on to refer to that, Mandy, far’s I kin see!” he observed rebukingly.

“Well, you needn’t kick my shin so hard! ’Tain’t a hangin’ secret, as I knows on!” she retorted.

The doctor played him skillfully as a wary trout.

“If you can keep me until to-morrow, perhaps I can make arrangement with you, but just now I’m taken all aback by the stiff price you ask. I’d like to sleep on it and clear my head.”

“We kin keep you overnight, if you kin put up with a straw bed and corn pone and bacon,” the host returned with homely hospitality, which the doctor complimented by declaring he desired nothing better.

He would willingly have rested on a plank rather[Pg 177] than forego the opportunity of remaining till to-morrow, and still further probing the mystery of the wounded stranger, whom these stupid, kindly people had nursed without a suspicion of his connection with the funeral train that had been wrecked on the hill above.

The doctor’s keen, clever, analytical mind was rapidly putting two and two together. As he turned uneasily on his straw cot that night he was scarcely conscious of the discomfort, he was so busily, eagerly, saying to himself:

“If the corpse went into the river it would have come to the surface ere now. What if it rolled down instead into the stupid ferryman’s back yard?”

If he could only prove his suspicions true his revenge was ready to his hand.

If Doctor Ludington and Doctor Rupert were the same man, Eva would turn with bitter scorn and abhorrence from her cousin’s slayer.

There would be no joyful wedding, no happy bride and bridegroom. Doctor Ludington would go to prison instead.

In his malignity he was not content with having banished Eva in disgrace and thrown her penniless on the world. He was eager to wreck her life to satiate his jealous pain.

He thanked his lucky stars that fate had led him to this spot in the nick of time. He would never leave it till he got some clue to work upon.

Racking his brain with futile plans, he scarcely slept[Pg 178] at all, and rose early the next morning, prying about the garret in which he was lodged, in idle curiosity.

A box of faded photographs and yellowing kodak pictures amused him for a while with their rustic delineations; but he was about to throw them aside at last, when one attracted his attention at a second glance, and a stifled cry burst from his lips:

“Heavens, it is Doctor Rupert himself!”

The picture was of a man’s face and shoulders framed in the window of the very room where he was now—evidently a snapshot taken while he was not aware. It was cleverly done, and no one could mistake it, though Doctor Rupert’s flowing locks were much longer now.

Doctor St. Clair carried it downstairs with him, and, finding the hostess alone preparing breakfast, held it out to her, exclaiming:

“How did you get Doctor Ludington’s picture?”

“Tain’t him! I wouldn’t have the grand vilyun’s picter in my house!” she replied, with a sniff of scorn.

He was well aware from their talk last night that they sympathized with the Groves family, and detested the Ludingtons. Every family in the county was a partisan on one side or the other.

“It’s the image of Doctor Ludington,” he repeated, just as the ferryman stumped heavily in, demanding:

“What is it you’re saying of?”

“I said this is the image of Doctor Ludington. Did you ever see him?”

“Oncet or twicet, maybe, and I cain’t say but that[Pg 179] it does look like the feller, and, come to think on’t, Mr. Rupert did look like the doctor more’n this before he shaved off his mustache!” returned Jake, giving himself away thoughtlessly, as the doctor hoped he would.

“So this is John Rupert, the wounded stranger?” he exclaimed.

“Well, now, mister, I’ve let the cat out o’ the bag, ain’t I?” the ferryman exclaimed, in dismay. “Well, well, as wife said last night, ’tain’t a hangin’ secret, and I never could see why the young feller objected to my havin’ his picture, so that I had to get a snapshot at him on the sly one day when he was lookin’ out o’ the garret winder. He was mighty close-mouthed, and I don’t talk about him much, ’cause I know as he wouldn’t wish it, and he was kind and liberal to us, sending us money and presents after he went away, you see!”

Doctor St. Clair began to feel so sure of his ground that his eyes gleamed, and a sinister, exulting smile played around his bearded lips.

“What air you a-grinnin’ at, stranger?” demanded Mandy resentfully, fearing his derision was directed at her shabby gingham gown.

“I was laughing at your credulity, my good friends,” he replied.

“As how?” queried Jake, wrinkling his bushy gray brows in an angry frown. Mountaineers are very dignified, and resent ridicule of themselves.

Doctor St. Clair repressed his smile and answered coolly:

[Pg 180]

“My good friends, you have been duped. You have nursed a viper in your breast.”

“As how?” the ferryman demanded stupidly.

The stubbly gray hair seemed almost to stand erect on his head with horror as his guest replied:

“Doctor Ludington’s corpse did not roll into the river, as you supposed, but into your back yard, and the shock of the fall restored him to life from the trance in which he must have been lying. So you and your kind-hearted wife nursed the villain back to health, and then it was no wonder he was afraid for any one to find him out!”

The homely pair were incredulous at first, but little by little he brought them to believe in his theory, and then they were enraged to think how they had been imposed upon by a Ludington.

In this mood he found it easy to persuade the man to lodge his information with the authorities, adding himself the facts of Doctor Ludington’s residence at Weston as Doctor Rupert.

But he took care to impress on them that he did not care to be mentioned in the case at all. He had no personal interest in it. He had only been interested in the story, and struck by the coincidence, so that he had worked out the truth for himself. He would not even divulge his name, but he made sure before he left that the officers were en route to Weston to arrest the suspected Doctor Rupert.

[Pg 181]



“What mystery is here?” cried a man’s voice sharply, with a note of subtle pain.

It was the man who had paid Eva’s fare that morning she went to Clarksburg—the handsome New Yorker, who had refused her his name, but whom we know already was her own father, Clyde Somerville, of New York.

He was sitting in the office of a Parkersburg hotel reading the Sentinel just a few days after the arrest and imprisonment of Doctor Ludington.

The reporter on the Sentinel had served up what he called the second installment of the Groves-Ludington tragedy in a very sensational column.

Mr. Somerville, attracted by the name of Groves, read it through attentively, starting when he came to the name of Eva Somerville.

Enough facts had been given to make him sure that she was the same girl he had encountered on the train, the granddaughter of old Grandfather Groves.

But why call her Somerville?

It gave him such a violent start that he read it over again with feverish haste, though he found in it no answer to his tremulous question.

A terrible suspicion crossed his mind, and his handsome[Pg 182] face paled to an ashen hue, while he cried out aloud in mingled pain and wonder:

“What mystery is here?”

He was quite alone, or people would have thought him demented, he looked so wild and talked so strangely. He lost all his elegant self-possession, he strode hurriedly up and down the room with the paper crushed in his shaking hand.

His thoughts were in a whirl. He thought of the beautiful little Eva he had met on the train; the piteous, frightened creature, so ignorant of life outside her rustic neighborhood that she thought she could ride on the train, and pay her fare afterward. He had not had the heart to laugh at her mistake like the other passengers, because she had pierced his heart with her subtle likeness to one long dead—the fair young wife who had wearied of him and the luxurious home he gave her, and fled from him back to her old home and her rustic surroundings to die.

Had she carried with her an unsuspected secret, poor, willful Nell? Had her people dared keep from him the truth that, in dying, she had left him a daughter? Had they let him go childless all these years, keeping him from his own, and turning her out upon the world in disgrace and despair?

His heart was on fire within him. He stifled an oath on his ashen lips.

The next moment the sharp peal of a bell summoned an attendant to his presence.

[Pg 183]

“A carriage at once!” he said hoarsely, and within five minutes he sprang into it, saying to the driver:

“The office of the Sentinel!”

A few minutes more and he was in the office of the editor.

“I wish to see the reporter who wrote this article,” he said, pointing to the Groves-Ludington tragedy in the paper he still held crushed within his hand.

“He is out, but I will call him,” going to the telephone.

Within ten minutes the reporter responded, gazing in wonder at the pale, excited-looking visitor in the editorial office.

“What can I do for you?” he inquired blandly, wondering the while if the man had escaped from Weston.

Mr. Somerville, still on fire with excitement, answered almost imploringly:

“I have just read the article in the Sentinel, and found it of such absorbing interest that I should like to read or hear the rest.”

“Ask me any questions you please,” was the reply.

“Who was this Eva Somerville?”

“The daughter of Nellie Groves, who married a rich New Yorker named Somerville, and afterward left him, returning home to die of a broken heart.”

The deserted husband’s anger was terrible, but he calmed himself with a violent effort, asking simply:

“Are you sure?”

“Of my facts? Yes. I went down into the neighborhood and wrote up the story.”

[Pg 184]

“The girl’s father—where was he?”

“I heard nothing of him, except that the Groves family, resenting his treatment of their daughter, had kept him in ignorance of his child’s existence.”

“Curses on them!” he muttered hoarsely, thus betraying his identity.

“You are——”

“Clyde Somerville, the deserted husband of poor, willful Nell, and father of little Eva—the wronged, unhappy girl!”

“Great heavens! The third installment of the tragedy!” exclaimed the startled reporter.

“Yes, and you may write it up for your paper if you choose,” was the answer. “You may say that I was parted from my beloved wife by the wicked machinations of my proud relations, and her loss has ever been a thorn that rankles ceaselessly within my heart. After she ran away I was a long time ill and helpless. When I grew better and was about to sacrifice pride to love, and follow her to her old home, begging her return, they wrote me she was dead, but naught of the child.”

“And little Eva?” asked the eager reporter.

“You may say that I left for Weston within the hour to claim my child!”

[Pg 185]



It was enough to unbalance Eva’s mind again, the terrible shock of her interrupted marriage, declared all her friends. So they watched her anxiously to see how it would end—that terrible apathy of mind that settled on her after the first outbreak of frenzied despair, when she had rashly tried to end her fevered existence by swallowing poison.

Fortunately Doctor Bertrand had not left the house, and her vigorous dosing soon put the wretched girl out of danger, though her bitter reproaches were heart-rending.

“You should have let me die! Life is too cruel!”

They could not scold her. They could only pity her for the awful shock she had sustained.

Only once had any one dared to name the lover who had deceived her so fatally.

“Can you not forgive him? He loved you so, and you seemed to be made for each other!” said Ada Winton gently.

The great dark eyes lifted to hers with a sombre flash, and Eva answered solemnly:

“My cousin’s blood flows like a crimson sea eternally between our hearts. Let no one ever name him to me again!”

[Pg 186]

And she sank into a strange, apathetic state, from which no one could rouse her, sitting all day with her small hands folded in her lap, her dark, solemn eyes fixed on vacancy, never a word to any one to hint at what was passing in her tortured mind.

“Unless we can rouse her to some interest in life again we shall have her back in the asylum wards soon,” sighed Doctor Bertrand on the third day, as she left after making her daily visit.

Ada Winton, who remained by her night and day, wept her bright eyes dim.

“It fairly breaks my heart. Oh, why was Doctor Ludington ever found out? I am sure it was no sin for him to marry her, as he killed her cousin by an accident,” she said over and over, and some agreed with her, while others took Eva’s view that her cousin’s death was an impassable barrier between their hearts.

That day, after Doctor Bertrand went away, as Eva sat drooping in the small parlor with her far-off, dreamy gaze, the kind Aunt Susan suddenly appeared at the door, ushering in a tall, gray-haired, distinguished-looking stranger.

“A gentleman to see you, little Eva,” she said, rousing the dreamy girl with a gentle touch on her shoulder.

Clyde Somerville, quivering with emotion, went and stood before his unhappy daughter, saying in a broken voice:

“Little Eva!”

[Pg 187]

With a little tremulous start she lifted up her heavy eyes and met his tender, compassionate glance.

“Oh!” she cried, in swift, half-shamed recognition.

“You remember me?”

“Oh, yes—yes, sir. You were kind to me that day on the train when I ran away from the asylum to see poor gran’ther, who—who died, you know,” with a quick sob. “So—so there was no one to pay you when you went there, and—and you thought me a wretched little cheat. But you have seen that I advertised in the paper for you to send to Weston and get your money. But I am discharged, and I am penniless. Oh, I am ashamed to ask you to wait a little longer!”

He let the torrent of words flow on; he thought they would ease her overburdened heart. Then, as she paused with a sob of distress, he knelt by her side and took her cold little hands in his own with such infinite tenderness that she let him hold them, gazing at him in mute wonder as he answered:

“You owe me no money, little Eva, but you owe me years of love that I was defrauded of by your grandfather’s mistake. I am your forsaken father!”

At that word she recoiled from him as though in fear, but he held the small hands tight, crying eagerly:

“Do not shrink from me, my daughter, for when you have heard how your parents were deceived and forced apart by cruel schemes to separate them, that succeeded, alas, too well, you will pity both of us, and you will not withhold your love from one who has been already too deeply wronged.”

[Pg 188]

“But they taught me to hate you,” Eva faltered, drawn to him against her will.

“I could curse them in their graves for that wrong!” he cried out bitterly; then restraining his fiery anger, he added: “But no, they thought I had wronged their child, and they could not help resenting it, little dreaming of the artifice that separated us, and that I have never known a happy hour since I found her gone in jealous anger that had no foundation, save in a schemer’s lies. But now that I have found I have a daughter, I shall not be lonely any more. Now that you have been cast off by those that kept you from me, my darling, you will come to your father’s heart and rest there.”

Every word sank into Eva’s hopeless heart, drawing her close to him for comfort in her despair.

But she held back from him, faltering humbly:

“You would not take me, father, if you knew all—my cruel past, my blighted name!”

A cloud passed over his face. He was proud, very proud, and the truth was very bitter. But he held her hands tighter; he leaned nearer till his lips touched her brow.

“I knew it all before I came for you, Eva,” he said gently. “But whether innocent or guilty, you are still my daughter, and you must come with me to a new life so far away that your sad past can never rise again to blight you with its shame, and I will make your future happy!”

[Pg 189]



“Two years since I left West Virginia and began this new life with my dear father in New York! The time has slipped away so fast I can scarcely realize it!” cried Eva as she swept aside with a white, jeweled hand the rich lace curtains from the window and looked out upon Fifth Avenue through a misty veil of fast-falling December snow.

You would scarcely call her “Little Eva” now, she had changed so much from the slender maiden of seventeen to a tall, exquisitely rounded young lady of nearly twenty, more beautiful now than in her first youth, with all the added advantages that travel, culture, and wealth could give.

The rich golden hair had caught a deeper sheen of gold, the great dark eyes were like shadowed pools that held a sorrowful secret, the smile of the rare red lips had a subtle touch of sadness, as if in her very gayest moods Eva Somerville could not forget the past.

No, she could not forget; she bore a haunted heart within her heaving breast—haunted by the memory of the love she had put away—a love that was always crying to her by day or night, in the gayest or the saddest scenes, for recognition.

[Pg 190]

Many changes had come to Eva since that golden May day when her father had brought her away from West Virginia into this new life of luxury and ease; she had traveled in many lands, she had learned to know the world, and many lovers had knelt at her feet; but none had touched her heart, none had dimmed the image of the handsome face of him from whom she had been parted at the altar by so cruel a tragedy, who had so nearly been her husband that it seemed to her as if their souls were eternally one, though their lives were sundered by the cruel vendetta of hate, begun by their families before they were born.

While she traveled those eighteen months abroad with her father, acquiring the culture and polish necessary to her new station in life, Eva kept up a constant correspondence with her friend Ada Winton, and through her kept informed of all that had transpired since she left.

She had been nearly wild with fear lest Doctor Rupert Ludington should be hanged for her cousin’s murder.

She knew in her heart that he was not guilty, that the accident had happened while he was defending his own life. But she feared lest the jury would not believe the plea for the defense.

She said to herself that, though she was parted eternally from her heart’s beloved, she could not bear her life if they found him guilty—if they punished him for his innocent sin.

She looked eagerly for the letters from Ada Winton;[Pg 191] she read them over and over; she wept with joy at the news that he was found guilty only of manslaughter and his punishment fixed at only three months in prison.

The two young men who had been eyewitnesses of the tragedy had boldly come forward and testified that Terry Groves’ death was an accident caused by the struggle for the weapon with which he had first shot Doctor Ludington.

So the jury had brought in their verdict as manslaughter, and in accordance with the result he had been sentenced. The verdict created different sensations, of course, among the opposing clans of Groves and Ludingtons.

That was history now, and the young doctor had long ago been released from prison and gone away from the scenes of tragedy that had embittered his life. The Ludingtons had grown rich by the discovery of oil on their lands, and the old people dwelt in luxury at Fernside, but their son had become a wanderer, seeking surcease of sorrow in distant scenes and pleasures, Ada wrote, with generous sympathy and pity for the discarded lover.

The Groves twins had gone with Miss Ruttencutter to live at Clarksburg, and within the past year Lydia had married a rich merchant of Charleston and now made her home there. Cousin Tabby had visited her there and realized her ambition “to see the governor and the other big men,” but Patty was still sighing for New York and the great catch she hoped to make[Pg 192] there. She had been heard to remark that she was sorry she was “at outs” with her Cousin Eva, for she might otherwise have visited her there for a season.

But though Eva heard of the remark she did not take the hint; she could never forgive Patty Groves for locking her up in her room while her grandfather died. The malice and cruelty of that deed stood alone like the act of a fiend.

Coming back to New York with her father to his palatial Fifth Avenue home, Eva had been introduced to fashionable society by the widowed sister of Mr. Somerville, who presided over his stately home. His proud mother and elder sister, whose cruel scheming had deceived his young wife, and driven her from home in despair, were both dead, and the younger sister being in boarding school at the time, and now a childless widow, knew just enough of the tragedy to welcome Eva as one who had been wronged, and to whom she owed infinite love and care, in atonement for the errors of the dead. This lady, Mrs. Hamilton, had a handsome stepson, Reginald, who lived in apartments and led the gay life of a young millionaire, but came often to the mansion, ostensibly to visit his stepmother, but in reality to sun himself in the light of Eva’s bewildering dark eyes.

The young aristocrat had decided long ago, on first seeing Eva, that she would be the proper match for him when he decided to marry, after sowing a crop of very wild oats. She was beautiful, well-born, and would have an immense fortune from her father—all[Pg 193] three were requisites that Reginald Hamilton desired in a wife.

In the two months that she stayed in New York, before going abroad, he laid siege to her heart with ardor, wondering why the pretty little rustic seemed so indifferent to all his manly charms, but only piqued to greater devotion by her hauteur.

On her return home, more beautiful, more cultured, more fascinating than before, Reginald Hamilton was genuinely enthralled, and took advantage of his position as Mrs. Hamilton’s stepson to visit the Fifth Avenue home daily, a freedom he could not otherwise have ventured on.

Society soon began to couple his name with Eva’s, predicting that it would certainly be a match, and a very suitable one.

As Eva stood in the window gazing out at the fast-falling snow and listening to the merry jingle of sleigh bells, she was thinking, somewhat ruefully, of this same Reginald Hamilton, saying to herself:

“Poor Reggie, I am afraid I cannot stave off a declaration from him much longer, and I wish I knew how I could refuse him without giving mortal offense to everybody. I can see that auntie has her heart quite set on the match, and that papa silently approves, while as for Reggie himself, it is plain to be seen, despite all the snubs he gets from me, that he thinks he has only to ask and have! He is spoiled by the adulation of all the girls, and I suppose he cannot conceive of any one refusing him.”

[Pg 194]

A long, long sigh quivered over her lips. Her bosom heaved beneath the rich lace fastened with violets, costly as jewels at that season. The diamonds on her rosy fingers flashed as she clasped them together and raised them almost appealingly to Heaven.

“Oh, if I could but forget that other!” she half sobbed; “if I could but forget that other, I would be willing to do what they wish! After all, Reggie is very nice, and very handsome, too, and he has been kind to me always—kind and patient; for he must see I am putting him off every way I can. Perhaps he believes me only coquetting and meaning to take him at the last. How disappointed he will be when I refuse him! I pity him, for I know all the pain of hopeless love!”

She walked up and down the length of the long drawing-room, her little hands interlocked, her dark eyes full of burning tears.

“Oh, my lost love!” she moaned. “How cruel it is that I cannot forget you! I ought to hate you for your deception, for the fraud by which you won my heart! I told you I would never forgive you, too, but can one love without forgiving? Ah, yes, yes, yes; for if he appeared before me at this moment I should send him away from me. I should look at him with cold, proud eyes in which he could read nothing but pride and indifference; I should speak to him scornfully, as to one I hated; I should tell him to leave my presence at once and forever!”

A bursting sob swelled her throat as she added:

[Pg 195]

“He would obey me and go, but as he went, the reproachful glance of his dear dark-blue eyes would pierce my heart like a sword. When he was gone I should sink on my knees and ask God to let me die because I could not have him I loved so madly for my own; because the barrier of senseless hate stood between us; because my cousin’s blood cried out against our union!”

She went back and looked out of the window as if she could see him going away from her fancied dismissal, with his heart as heavy as her own, but she could not even see the great snowflakes falling, she was so blinded by her hot tears.

She was bidden to a grand ball, but she forgot all about it, though she had a costly gown and new jewels to wear. Her thoughts kept going back to the dead past; to the days when she was a little country girl at Stony Ledge with but two great pleasures in her life—her daily rides on Firefly and the offerings of her unknown lover whom she had enthroned as a king in her romantic heart, thirsting for love and happiness.

The twins had taken possession of Firefly when Gran’ther Groves died, and sold him, for how was she to prove that he was really her own? As for the lover, he was lost to her, too. She could never marry him, when she learned he was a Ludington, for it would shock gran’ther, even in heaven, if she had done such an awful thing!

“I wish,” she sobbed, “I wish no one had ever[Pg 196] found out the truth! I wish I had married him as Doctor Rupert and never known any different. We should have been so happy. Oh, I wonder what has become of him, and where he is at this moment? Does he love me still, or has his heart turned to another?”

The bitterness of death was in that thought—the bitterness of death, and the anguish of jealous love that tore her heart almost in twain.

Mrs. Hamilton came in so abruptly that she could not hide her pale, tear-stained face from her startled gaze.

“Oh, my dear girl, what has gone wrong?” she cried quickly.

“Everything—my whole life!” cried Eva rashly, desperately.

Mrs. Hamilton knew nothing of the tragedy of Eva’s life. Her brother had kept it a dead secret.

She gazed in wonder at the desperate girl, who added passionately:

“Auntie, dear, help me! advise me! My heart is breaking for some one I loved in the past, but whom fate forbids me ever to marry.”

Mrs. Hamilton thought quickly:

“Some country bumpkin that my brother has torn her from when he brought her home with him,” and, aloud, she answered soothingly:

“The very best advice I can give you, my dear niece, is that you should accept one of the devoted lovers always dangling after you now. In a happy[Pg 197] marriage you would soon forget the fancy of your immature girlhood.”

“Do you really think so, auntie? I am so unhappy at times I would give the whole world just to forget.”

“You will never forget as long as you brood over the dead past, dear. Put it away from you and come out into the sunshine of a new love and hope,” was the tender reply, and Eva, drying her eyes, answered sadly:

“I have tried to, but I could not do it, and my heart seems breaking.”

[Pg 198]



Eva sank into a low chair and hid her face in her hands. The sound of her low, distressful sobbing filled the long drawing-room. It was a complete breakdown—one that her aunt had never witnessed in her before.

She was so young and childish when her father brought her home, she had never suspected a lover in her past, much less the tragedy of woe that had sent her into a madhouse and left its fatal impress on her life.

She stood beside the window, pained and doubtful how to offer further comfort, and wondering if it might not be a good time to speak a word in her stepson’s favor.

Fortune favored her, for just then she saw him in front of the house in his splendid new sleigh, with his pair of Kentucky thoroughbreds in their glittering, gold-mounted harness. She cried out eagerly:

“Oh, Eva, dear, the sun has come out, and here is Reggie with his new Kentucky grays to take you for a sleigh ride! Dry your eyes quickly, before he comes in!”

Eva dabbed her eyes with her tiny lace handkerchief, but they were still dim with the tears she had[Pg 199] shed when the young man entered through the heavy portières, tall, elegant, handsome, in his long fur-lined overcoat.

He greeted them with effusion, for he was radiant with good spirits, having decided to put his fate to the test to-day, scarcely dreaming of a refusal.

“You will come with me for a spin through the park, will you not, Eva? It is the finest day I ever saw—crisp underfoot and bright overhead! It will put new life in you. Come, we must not lose a minute of this glorious opportunity!”

“Go, dear, and get ready. It will brighten your spirits,” added her aunt, so eagerly that she did not know how to refuse.

She went slowly to her room, but while she was changing her silken gown for a cloth one, and wrapping herself warmly in a sealskin cloak, she was thinking ruefully:

“If I go I cannot keep him from proposing to me! He will be sure to seize upon the opportunity. I have evaded him so long! And I grieve to wound his heart by a refusal, but I had as well have it over and done with, since it is inevitable, sooner or later.”

With a sigh of resignation she went down to her handsome suitor, wondering at her own indifference to him, and wishing she could like him well enough to marry him and please everybody.

It did not occur to her, as it might have done to many a society girl, to accept him without love for the sake of all the advantages he had to offer.

[Pg 200]

In the primitive society in which she had been raised, no young girl ever thought of marrying for any other reason but love. And Eva was true to the pure instincts of her nature. Her heart must go with her hand.

But she dreaded Reggie’s pain and auntie’s and papa’s disappointment when she had refused her suitor. She hoped they would not scold her, or sulk, as auntie sometimes did when things did not go to her liking.

With these rueful thoughts in her mind Eva was helped into the sleigh that went flying over the smooth crust of snow to Central Park, that was already filled with a joyful throng.

“See how enviously the fellows all nod at me! What wouldn’t they give to be in my place by your side, Eva?” chuckled Reggie, in high good humor with himself and the world.

“Oh, no, it is just your fancy,” she answered, blushing at his open praise.

“Not a bit of it! They are all in love with you, Eva. Do you know what the fellows say at my club? That you are the prettiest girl that ever came to New York.”

“They are very kind, I’m sure, but it cannot be true!” she answered shyly.

The handsome grays were just spinning along, the young pair in the sleigh were bowing and smiling every other minute to some of their acquaintances, the sky was blue and clear, the air was full of exhilarating[Pg 201] ozone and the music of sleigh bells. Somehow it all got into Eva’s blood like wine, and she did not feel so miserable as she did an hour before. It was pleasant, sleigh riding with such fine horses and such a handsome young man, and, like most any other young girl, she enjoyed being told that she was fair to look upon.

A little pensive smile curved her sweet, red lips and encouraged her admirer to proceed:

“It’s true, every word of it! You are really the prettiest girl in New York, Eva. I said so the first time I saw you, and I say so still. The prettiest and the sweetest.”

“It’s coming! I’m so sorry!” she thought with secret dismay, having grown in a year of belleship quite familiar with the signs.

“Oh, no,” she answered deprecatingly.

“But I say yes,” he insisted, trying to look down ardently into the dark eyes that were persistently turned away from him, while he continued:

“You know well enough all I think of you, Eva! The first time we met you wiled my heart away with one look of your big, innocent dark eyes, like a wondering child’s, and I have been in your toils ever since! But I tried to be patient. I waited till you had seen the world and had had your pick and choice of lovers, and refused one after another till I thought: ‘I will speak now, for there may be a chance for me.’ Is there, little Eva? Do you love me? Will you be my wife?”

[Pg 202]

She knew it all before, as he said; all his love and his hopes. How could she help it when his devotion was so plain?

And the pain of refusing him, the sorrow of dashing his hopes to earth, shook her heart with such pity that she did not know how to answer him; her tongue seemed to cleave to the roof of her mouth.

“You do not speak, my darling!” he added anxiously. “Why do you turn your eyes away? Are you coquetting with me? Does silence give consent?”

“Oh, no, no!” she managed to blurt out, in her alarm lest he consider himself accepted.

Reginald Hamilton’s face paled to the hue of ashes at those words from Eva’s lips, and, gripping the lines more tightly to restrain the spirited prancing of the grays that hindered hearing, he muttered eagerly:

“I don’t think I understood you rightly, Eva! Did you say yes?”

She gathered all her reluctant strength for the answer and said gently:

“No, no; I cannot marry you, because I do not love you!”

He had no more looked to be refused than he had expected the blue heavens to fall and blot him out of existence.

His brain went dizzy with the shock, his senses seemed to reel, a fury of indignation shook him so that he was obliged to wreak vengeance instantly on something or other.

Eva, shrinking by his side, heard a stifled imprecation[Pg 203] from his blanched lips as he caught the horse-whip in a shaking hand and struck the grays sharply over the back.

The spirited animals had never brooked the lash. They bolted instantly, tearing the sleigh along like mad, to the horror of every beholder.

[Pg 204]



Ada Winton had indeed kept Eva accurately informed as far as she knew relative to Doctor Ludington’s movements.

When his short sensational trial for murder was over and he had served out the three months’ sentence for manslaughter, he came out into the world again with a new purpose.

Once, led by the elusive light of tremulous hope, he had vowed to make Eva Somerville his own, defying the vendetta of hate that had held their youth so sternly apart.

He had loved her to madness; he was stunned by her pride and scorn that refused to forgive the deception he had practiced for both their sakes, that they might defy fate and be happy.

With her last frenzied words to him, hope had fallen dead in his heart. He felt she was lost to him forever.

When the prison doors clanged behind him he came forth a free man with a new purpose in his mind—to forget.

For years he had been a slave to beauty’s spell, with a dream of love in his heart. All was over now, the hopes, the fears, and the longings. He said to himself[Pg 205] over and over that he must never look again upon the fatally fair face that had wrought his undoing. He must thrust her from his heart, he must forget.

He knew that Eva’s father had claimed her and taken her away to a new life of ease and luxury, where her wonderful beauty would find its appropriate setting, and he was generously glad that it was so. For him, too, life had altered in many ways.

From being just comfortably well off, the Ludingtons were on the way to become millionaires owing to the abundant flow of their several oil wells.

He would not have to practice his profession any more unless he chose, and he decided to seek in travel and foreign study surcease for a tortured heart.

His parents did not say him nay. They realized that it would not be well for him to locate at Fernside again. It would be too painful, with its associations.

He became a lonely wanderer for a while, until time and distance had in some wise seared the bleeding wound in his heart; then he became a student in a Parisian school of medicine for specialists, studying diseases of the brain, for which he had acquired a taste in his short stay at the Weston lunatic asylum. There he remained almost two years, only returning home when he began to believe that his heart was cured of its grievous wound, that he could bear to meet Eva again if by chance their paths should cross, with the calmness of indifference, mixed with disdain at her cruelty.

[Pg 206]

He knew that she lived in New York. Perhaps it was for that very reason he decided to remain there for a time before returning home. He wished to convince himself of his perfect cure.

The poor fellow, instead of studying brain lesions, might better have investigated incurable heart maladies.

To give himself an excuse for staying he consented to act as a substitute for a famous medical friend of his in a famous New York hospital while his friend went abroad for a needed rest during the winter months.

Thus he was in a position to learn all of his lady’s life and thoughts that lay open to public view.

More than once he had seen her, too, at opera or ball, or in her carriage in the park, though she dreamed not of the nearness of the discarded lover who filled so many mournful thoughts.

He had not failed to learn, too, of her reported betrothal to Reginald Hamilton, and if it touched an aching chord in a wounded heart he made no sign; he bore it like a stoic.

When he saw the handsome young millionaire he owned to himself that it was a suitable match for Eva. She would be happy at last, and as for him—well, had he not forgotten, or, at least, learned indifference?

But after that he stayed away from places where he was likely to see her, and devoted himself with ardor to the hospital work.

[Pg 207]

Not that he needed money, for he was a millionaire now, but he could not be a drone, like Reginald Hamilton, he told himself bitterly. He had been brought up to work and he liked it, having a passion for his profession.

He wondered sometimes if Eva, in her fine-lady existence, waited on by obsequious servants, petted, adored, ever recalled the olden days when Patty and Lydia had made her a little drudge, at everybody’s beck and call. It was the little drudge he had loved, not the fine lady, lolling like a little queen on her carriage cushions in her rich attire, with her scornful dark eyes gazing languidly out upon the busy world.

He said to himself bitterly that he did not envy Reginald Hamilton now. She had a cold heart, this Eva Somerville, who could put away her promised husband with such cruel words: “I can never forgive you!”

He was always telling himself how little he cared, how entirely he despised her now. It never occurred to him to ask himself why, if he were so indifferent, he thought of her so much, and with such bitterness.

So the weeks slipped away and brought December snow and the good sleighing that he never could resist.

In a dashing little cutter, behind a fine pair of bays, he joined the gay throng in Central Park, getting not a little attention, so that the question became frequent:

“Who is that very handsome and distinguished-looking[Pg 208] young man? He must be a stranger in New York or we should know him.”

Very few could answer the question—only one or two knew that he was a physician just graduated in Paris and temporarily filling a friend’s place at the famous hospital.

Meanwhile, Doctor Ludington, exhilarated by the sport and the scene, and by no means unconscious of the admiring glances cast on him from lovely eyes, was enjoying his outing so well that a sudden uproar and confusion, blended with shouts of “Take care! Take care! A runaway!” produced an instant revulsion of feeling in his mind.

To the day of his death he would never forget that scene of awful excitement as Reginald Hamilton’s exasperated team dashed wildly forward, spurning his control upon the reins, dragging the rocking sleigh behind them with a force that threatened to overturn it every instant.

Sitting bolt upright, his face ashen, his eyes wild, every nerve alert to prevent the catastrophe his anger had precipitated, Reginald Hamilton strained on the horses’ bits to stop them, but all in vain, while Eva Somerville, maddened by fear, had sprung up to dash herself out upon the ground.

“Sit down! Sit down! Sit down!” a hundred hoarse voices thundered at her; but in her fear and bewilderment she gave no heed, but with a maddened shriek sprang out upon the ground.

And on dashed Hamilton’s horses, eluding every[Pg 209] outstretched hand that would have arrested their terrible speed, while like a grim statue of despair he leaned back, clinging with all his force to the reins as they bore him on to destruction.

Still as death lay Eva upon the ground where she fell. Her forehead had grazed a stone and was cut and bleeding; her senses had fled.

Some one recognized the half-dazed physician from the great hospital, and they almost dragged him from his cutter in their mad haste.

“Excuse us, doctor, but the young lady will bleed to death in the snow unless you hasten!” and there in the wintry weather he stood in the snow by her side again—the bride who had discarded him at the altar with that cruel sentence: “I will never forgive you!”

Had she died in her reckless plunge from the sleigh and waked up in another world?

It almost seemed so to Eva when she sighed and opened her dark, wondering eyes upon the face bending anxiously over her—the fair, handsome face with its dark violet eyes that haunted her daily thoughts and nightly dreams, the face she never could forget.

Soft, cool fingers were touching her brow like a caress, smoothing back the golden rings of sunny hair, while he deftly bound his own handkerchief about her head, saying to the eager bystanders:

“It is not at all dangerous—only a surface wound, and I will take her home and put a few stitches in it to make it all right. See, she is already reviving. Permit me, Miss Somerville,” and with a little masterful[Pg 210] air he lifted the slight form in his arms and bore her to the cutter, wrapping her closely in the warm fur robes, and saying, as he took his place by her side:

“I will soon take you home now, and if you feel faint you may lean against me while I drive.”

She did not answer a word; she was dazed with happiness, weak with despair. He was by her side again, her loved and lost.

He took up the reins and drove out of the park as fast as he could, followed by the admiring glances of the crowd, who, now that Eva was safe, began to wonder what had befallen Reginald Hamilton in the mad race of his frightened team.

As for Eva, she had forgotten all about her rejected lover in the surprised and painful joy of Doctor Ludington’s reappearance in her life, just as if he had dropped down from the skies in the nick of time to her assistance.

She was obliged to lean against him as he had bidden her, for her head was too dizzy to hold upright, and, as it rested heavily against his shoulder, a delicious thrill of unconquerable joy went through her at contact with him again.

She could no more help loving him, and thrilling in his presence, than she could help breathing.

She felt an insane desire to throw her arms about him and rest her weary head on his breast, sobbing out repentantly:

[Pg 211]

“Oh, love me, love me, love me! I cannot live without you! I was mad when I sent you away!”

But the spectres of her dead cousin and her old grandfather came coldly between these passionate yearnings and stayed the wild impulse of love, murmuring menacingly:

“Between your hearts there is a great cloud.”

She shuddered as with fear, and he felt in her nearness the thrill that shook her graceful form. Turning his face toward her for a moment, he said coldly:

“You are uneasy over Mr. Hamilton’s fate. Do not borrow trouble before it comes halfway to meet you. It is very probable that the horses have been stopped ere now, and no doubt he is safe. It is always better to sit still during a runaway than to spring out. You acted imprudently, and might have been killed.”

“I should not have cared!” she half sobbed under her breath, and the grave dark-blue eyes looked at her in frank surprise.

“Those are strange words from you, Miss Somerville. You have everything—youth, beauty, wealth, and love to make you desire life,” he replied gently.

It was on her lips to cry out to him that he was mistaken about the love. She did not know that Doctor Ludington believed her engaged to be married to Reginald Hamilton, according to the gossip of the world.

She did not dream that a jealousy as cruel as death was tugging at his heart, as he thought of her belonging to another.

[Pg 212]

The latent feeling he believed to be dead, slain by time and despair, had suddenly flamed into passionate life again.

Masking his feelings under a calm and cold exterior, he did not permit Eva to suspect them, and her swift glance at his handsome face showed it so well under guard that she felt, with a sudden treacherous sinking of the heart, that he despised her now.

It had never occurred to her before that he could forget any more than herself their brief, broken love dream.

Somehow it made her pain more cruel to feel that he loved her no longer; that he had broken loose from the shackles of their hopeless love. It might be selfish, but she could not help it any more than she could help living.

It struck her speechless, the pain of it, and she could find no words to answer him. So keen was the pang that consciousness deserted her again.

He felt the yielding form droop more heavily against him, and looking down saw that she had fainted.

Fortunately, they were at her door, and springing out upon the snowy sidewalk he took the limp form tenderly into his arms and carried her up the steps.

And he could not resist the temptation of holding her very closely against his wildly beating heart, with the feeling that their mutual love gave him the right.

Yes, it seemed to him little short of sacrilege for Eva to give herself to any other man, she who had[Pg 213] so nearly been his own fair bride, whom he loved still with desperate, hopeless despair.

He realized that he would rather see her dead than given in marriage to any other man than himself.

But while these passionate emotions surged through his heart he calmly rang the bell and was admitted with his helpless burden to the stately mansion by an astonished manservant.

“Your mistress has been hurt by an accident,” he began when Mrs. Hamilton, herself, coming down the stairs overheard the words and exclaimed:

“Will you kindly bring her upstairs, sir, to her room? Oh, I hope my dear girl is not badly hurt!”

“It is nothing serious—a flesh wound on the temple that must be closed at once,” he replied, as he followed her into Eva’s luxurious apartments.

He laid Eva down on the white couch Mrs. Hamilton indicated, putting the unconscious girl most reluctantly from his arms while he said:

“I am a physician, madam, and by your leave I will close the wound before Miss Somerville recovers consciousness.”

“Pray do, doctor——” she paused, and he supplied the hiatus.

“Ludington, of the —— Hospital, madam.”

She called Eva’s maid, and rendering him every necessary assistance, they watched with interest as he unbound the handkerchief, and, bathing the blood from Eva’s brow, closed the little jagged cut from[Pg 214] the stone with a few skillful stitches done with exquisite skill and tenderness.

Then, looking up with a pale face and twitching lips at Eva’s aunt, he hurriedly described the accident, adding the courteous hope that Reginald Hamilton would escape injury.

“I must go now. She will revive directly, and you must keep her quiet for a day or so, then she will very likely get well by Christmas,” he said, turning to go, with a pang of bitterness in his tortured heart.

“You will call again to-morrow, Doctor Ludington!” she exclaimed.

“No, I cannot come again. My—my duties at the hospital are too urgent, madam. But it is not likely she will need another physician. I have done all that is necessary. If—if she does not get on all right you must call in your family doctor!” he answered, with a mixture of coldness and excitement, bowing himself out with a brusqueness that made her exclaim:

“Dear me, how very busy he must be.”

[Pg 215]



Doctor Ludington was obliged to speak to Mrs. Hamilton coldly, and hurry away, for the sight of Eva in her pallor and unconsciousness, with the touch of her thrilling every nerve, unmanned him so that he could scarcely refrain from taking the young girl in his arms and kissing her pale, cold lips and shut eye-lids with the passion that surged in his heart.

The old love was not dead. Vainly had he tried to cheat his heart with the fancy.

She was more beautiful than in her early girlhood, more alluring than ever to the man who had watched her from childhood, noting every budding charm as it expanded into the matchless, full-blown rose.

To think of her pledged to another in all her sweetness was madness to the hopeless lover who had come so near to bliss only to be thrust back into despair. His heart cried out fiercely, imperiously:

“She is mine, mine, mine! How dare she give herself to another?”

He could not come back to see her to-morrow as her aunt wished. No, no, no! He felt he could scarcely control himself in her presence, or keep back burning words of love from his lips.

His first impulse was to rush away from the city,[Pg 216] as we all long to rush away from our pain. His self-confidence had been too great in fancying he could remain there in sight and sound of his old love—the one love of his life.

Bitterly he regretted now the promise to his absent friend to remain at the hospital during all of the winter months. He knew that he could not recall it now, because no one could be found to take his place in this special branch.

His duty to his patients, as well as to his friend, made flight impossible. He must stay, even though his heart was wrenched with pain, even though he saw her made the bride of another.

With these thronging painful thoughts he returned to his duties, endeavoring to give all his mind to them to the exclusion of jealous agonies and haunting regrets.

Meanwhile he had scarcely left the house before Eva sighed deeply and recovered consciousness, flashing her dark, wistful eyes searchingly about the room. But she encountered only the anxious gaze of her aunt and maid.

“Are you looking for the doctor, my dear? He has gone, and you will soon be all right again,” Mrs. Hamilton said, kissing her tenderly.

It seemed to her as if the red lips quivered, and the dark eyes dimmed with a mist of tears, and, believing that she must still be very nervous and alarmed, Mrs. Hamilton sat down by her side, caressing the cold, little hands in her own, as she continued:

[Pg 217]

“You will soon be quite well again. The handsome young doctor said so, and assured me that it would not ever be necessary for him to call again.”

At that she was quite sure that the little white hands trembled like frightened birds in her clasp. Clearly Eva was very nervous indeed. She must soothe her, she decided, by gentle conversation. So she added:

“I was almost sorry that he could not come again. He was so handsome and distinguished-looking I became quite interested in him. It is very fortunate he happened to be in the park at the time of the accident. He was as tender as a woman bringing you home with him, and then carrying you into the house and up here like a baby in his arms. Though to be sure, no young man would object to such a lovely burden. I am sure this Doctor Ludington liked it; he held you so close to his heart and put you down so reluctantly. It is rather strange that I have never heard of him before in New York. He told me he was of the —— Hospital, and that alone is a guarantee of his ability and high standing, so I shall send him a card to our next reception.”

The pale, trembling girl lay silent, yet swallowing every word with avidity.

When she heard how he had brought her home and carried her upstairs in his arms, so tenderly that he seemed reluctant to put her down, her heart throbbed with delight and a faint blush colored her cheek, so that she dared not lift her eyes lest her[Pg 218] aunt should read in them the story of her passionate love.

She dared not confess he belonged to her shadowed past, the story of which her proud father had bidden her never to betray even to her aunt.

She must remain silent and try to repress the love flaming anew in her tortured heart. It was an accident that had brought them together again, but the meeting was not likely to be repeated. Doctor Ludington would avoid her in his wounded pride, he would never accept the invitation Mrs. Hamilton meant to send him.

Yet how strange that he should be in New York and without her knowledge. She wondered how long he had been there, and if he had seen her before.

When Mrs. Hamilton observed that Eva was still trembling very much, she exclaimed:

“But perhaps I am making you worse, my dear, chatting to you at this rate.”

“Oh, no, auntie, I could listen to you forever,” declared Eva, with enthusiasm.

“That is very flattering,” smiled the lady, without suspecting that it was the subject of her talk that made it of such thrilling interest to her pretty niece.

The maid here suggested that her young lady might feel more comfortable if she exchanged her tight cloth gown for a loose robe, and on Eva’s assenting, Mrs. Hamilton left the room to send a messenger to find out something about her stepson, whether he had escaped uninjured or not.

[Pg 219]

She met Mr. Somerville coming up the stairs in a rush with a pale, alarmed face to see his daughter. He had just learned of the accident, and told his sister that Reginald Hamilton had been thrown from his sleigh in the park, and sustained some painful though not serious injuries, so that he would very likely be confined to his room for a week.

“We have cause to be grateful to Heaven that both were not killed,” he said very seriously, as he passed on to Eva’s apartments.

She was lying down in a loose robe with a bandaged head, but she did not look so ill after all, for there was a delicate flickering color on her cheek and a tender light in her languid eyes.

Mr. Somerville dismissed the attentive maid and bent down to embrace his daughter, with fondest affection.

“Thank Heaven you are spared to me, my darling!” he cried. “Ah, how frightened I was when I heard about the accident, until I knew you and Reggie were safe, and only slightly hurt. I cannot think what made the horses bolt. He always assured me they were so safe.”

Eva hid her face on his breast and burst into tears, remembering the cause of it all.

“Why, what is it, my pet? What troubles you? Or is it only nervous excitement?” queried the anxious father, soothing and petting her as if she had been a little child.

[Pg 220]

Eva, with difficulty, suppressed her sobs, and faltered:

“Papa, I must confess everything to you like a little child, for I cannot bear the burden of a secret. It always seems to me lighter when shared with a sympathetic heart.”

“That is very true, my precious Eva, and I have always loved your sweet confiding nature; so like the one who bore you, my angel Nellie. Go on, tell me all you wish, and be sure of my sympathy.”

“I am not so sure of that, dear papa, for I fancy you will be displeased when you hear what I must tell you, that I have refused Reginald Hamilton.”

“Impossible, Eva.”

“Ah, I knew you would be angry with me,” she sobbed.

“Not angry, my sweet daughter, only sorely disappointed. The match was a fine one even for my daughter, and it was the desire of my heart.”

“I know, I know—and of auntie’s too. I have seen it all along, and I tried so hard. I wished so much to love poor Reggie.”

“It seems strange that you could not—so handsome, so winning, so rich—half the girls in society are setting their caps at him, my dear.”

“They are welcome to him.”

“Don’t say that, Eva, for you may love him yet, as we all wish.”

“Oh, papa, if it could be! But my poor, poor heart,[Pg 221] it is too faithful to another,” she dropped her crimson face and wet eyes upon his breast in tender shame.

Softly stroking the golden head, he exclaimed:

“Then you have not forgotten him yet, Eva? the man who deceived you, whom you refused to forgive! If you cared for him so much why send him from you? And can you wish to recall him now?”

In his heart of hearts he had thought Eva wrong to break with her promised husband for the reason she had given, fairly acquitting Doctor Ludington of blood guiltiness in Terry Groves’ death, in his own mind.

But he had not told her so, and he would not now; he could not help a little selfish gladness in getting back the daughter he had been cheated of so long unincumbered by a husband. She thus seemed more entirely his own.

But since he could not keep her always he had smiled on Hamilton’s suit, believing it would be for Eva’s good to wed him, and thus break forever with her painful past.

Never till this moment had a cry of regret escaped her lips; never before had she shown him her aching heart.

The tender, loving nature yearning for sympathy in her sorrow could not bear her burden alone.

As she only sobbed in answer to his last words, he added sadly:

“You have seen him again, Eva. I heard that he had brought you home, and I knew some time ago[Pg 222] that he was filling Doctor Noel’s place at the —— Hospital while he went abroad.”

“You knew—and never told me, papa.”

“You had said long ago, my daughter, that you wished never to hear his name spoken again.”

“Yes, I remember it now,” faintly.

“Have you changed your mind on the matter now?”

“No, papa,” she faltered sorrowfully. “I can never forget how it would have grieved grandfather if I had married a Ludington.”

Touched by her sorrow, he said generously:

“Are you going to let that old man’s prejudice stand between you and your life’s happiness? Throw his memory to the winds and take Ludington back if you cannot be happy without him.”

“Do not tempt me to do wrong, dear papa,” Eva answered, pleadingly in her despair.

“I do not call it wrong, Eva. It was a foolish, senseless vendetta, unworthy of a civilized age like this, and it would have been wise for you and Doctor Ludington to end it by intermarriage of the families,” replied Mr. Somerville frankly, speaking straight from his heart in his tenderness over his child.

“Oh, you don’t understand it, dear papa,” she sighed. “Granfather was unjustly accused by the Ludingtons, and really persecuted by them. So how dreadful for his granddaughter to love and marry one of his enemy’s race.”

“Eva, you are still halfway a little savage in these hidebound prejudices inherited from your stern old[Pg 223] grandfather,” her father said, in gentle rebuke, but she sighed.

“He was fond of me and kind to me, and I must take his part.”

“He was neither fond nor kind when he turned you out of doors to perish on a wintry night, believing you had dishonored the family name,” he retorted quickly and indignantly.

Eva’s bosom heaved, and tears sparkled into her big dark eyes.

“They goaded him to it, those vipers who hated me,” she said bitterly. “He soon repented; he would have atoned if he had not died. I forgave him everything because we had loved each other so.”

“Dear heart,” he murmured, wondering at her sweetness, and she answered sorrowfully:

“I could not grieve grandfather in heaven by marrying the one who caused his nephew’s death. No, no! So, though I cannot help loving him, through the deceit by which he won my heart, I must never see Doctor Ludington any more if I can avoid it. It is impossible that I should ever be his wife.”

“Then I will help you to avoid him,” he replied. “The best way to drive him from your heart, my dear, will be to think tenderly of some one else, and I predict that you will marry Reggie yet. Once an adored wife you would soon forget the past and be happy in the present.”

“It does not seem possible,” she murmured, but he answered:

[Pg 224]

“It is the best remedy.”

The words haunted her when he had gone out, telling her to sleep and rest while he went to call on Hamilton in his bachelor quarters.

“I would do anything that would bring me forgetfulness,” she murmured bitterly, wondering if the time could ever come when she would find repose in another’s love.

She covered her face when the maid tripped back presently, and pretended to be asleep, but she was silently weeping her heart out, poor little Eva, and the silken cushion was soaked with her tears.

Meanwhile Mrs. Hamilton, downstairs, after expatiating volubly on the handsome doctor to her brother, was astonished when he forbade her to carry out her intention of inviting him to her next large entertainment.

“I prefer that you will not do so,” he replied.

“But, my dear brother, we owe him some attention.”

“I will settle that with a large fee,” he replied.

“But still, brother——”

“I prefer not to discuss the matter further,” and lest she should persevere, he went hastily out, after the manner of men.

Mrs. Hamilton’s courteous soul stood aghast. She mused:

“As if a large fee could pay for his friendliness and sympathy. Why, he carried Eva as tenderly as if she had been his own sister, or sweetheart. I shall[Pg 225] never forget how tenderly he touched her and looked at her, but then perhaps that was only natural with such a pretty young girl. Ah, I have it. My brother did not want him to see too much of Eva; he is anxious, as I am, for the match between her and Reggie, and that Doctor Ludington might be a dangerous rival, I am sure, so I had better not take him up, I suppose, though I shall always like and admire him for Eva’s sake.

“Poor, dear child; what a strange confession she made to me to-day. What chance can there be for Reggie if she loves some one else, to be sure? It must be that her father parted her from some rustic lover when he brought her away from West Virginia. I wish I knew more of her girlish life before she came here, but when I ask her any leading questions she answers so pitifully: ‘Oh, I can never talk about those old times. It makes me cry.’”

The next day Eva was better, and the third day the bandage was removed and a little golden lock trained down over the red scar on her temple to hide it till it got well.

That day she went down to the drawing-room to receive her sympathetic girl friends, and when they were gone she turned to a batch of letters awaiting her pleasure.

“It must be a love letter,” her aunt cried, watching her radiant face over the first one.

“Better than that. Ada Winton is coming to visit me at last, as I have so often invited her to do. Her[Pg 226] dear Aunt Susan is dead, her home broken up, and there is nothing to keep her from coming to me now while she is so lonely,” Eva cried gladly.

“We will give her a cordial welcome and a happy home”, exclaimed Mrs. Hamilton quickly, adding to herself:

“And perhaps I can find out from Eva’s old friend something about this mysterious lover over whom the poor child is breaking her heart.”

Hearing a carriage stop in front of the house, she glanced out of the window, and exclaimed:

“There are two strange ladies getting out of a carriage and coming in here, Eva. One is young and rather stylish, the other is old and a regular old frump in appearance. She is tall and scraggly-looking, with old maid written all over her face. I wonder where on earth she got that funny bonnet, brown velvet with green plumes nodding all over it. My, what a horrid, rusty-looking brown silk, and that seal plush cape beaded all over. Good Lord, deliver us! And, Eva, as I live, she has two gray corkscrew curls bobbing on either side her cheeks! She must have come out of the ark, or escaped from a lunatic asylum. Oh,” with a little shriek as the doorbell rang, and there was heard a slight altercation in the hall between the manservant and the visitors.

“I tell you we ain’t no strangers, an’ we ain’t gwine ter send in no cards! Me an’ Pat Groves air Eva’s cousins from West Virginia, an’ we air gwine right in the parlor where she is ’ithout no ceremony. Come[Pg 227] along, Patty, don’t look so skeered, gal. I’ll stand by ye, an’ nothin’ can’t hurt ye. You air as rich an’ grand as she is sence Grandfather Groves struck ile an’ made you a nairess!” proclaimed a shrill, confident voice, and pushing back the heavy portières Miss Tabitha Ruttencutter stood revealed in all her glory, clutching the more timorous Patty, fairly dragging the handsome, over-dressed girl into the drawing-room.

They had been in New York several weeks trying to get into “sassiety,” as Miss Tabby called it, and they believed their best chance lay in conciliating Eva, hence the present call, both agreeing that even if the outraged girl turned them out of doors they should at least know what her house looked like inside, and could brag about its splendors to admiring friends when they returned home.

“How do, little Eva,” exclaimed Miss Tabby, with hoarse cordiality in her high, rasping voice. “Ain’t forgot me an’ your cousin Patty Groves, I hope, sence you moved away. We seen it in the papers about your dretful accident, an’ come to make a sympathizing visit with you, lettin’ bygones be bygones, an’ no more hard feelings ’twixt us!”

[Pg 228]



Eva could scarcely believe the evidence of her own eyesight when the blatant spinster, Miss Ruttencutter, stalked noisily in with her silk rustling and her jets rattling, bearing the handsome brunette, Patty, boldly in tow.

Miss Groves, however, was gotten up in more style than her cousin, and looked decidedly well in her rich taffeta silk gown of a deep plum color, with a sealskin sack and large velvet hat with ostrich plumes. The diamonds at her neck and ears were rather grand for daylight wear, but they harmonized well with her large, sparkling, dark eyes and raven hair.

A passionate anger flew all over Eva at the bold, unwarrantable intrusion of the two women, whose shameless treatment of her in the past should surely have secured her from their fawning.

She did not rise from her seat; she did not utter a word; she simply sat and gazed at them in blank astonishment, but her freezing reception did not disconcert them in the least, for the spinster added affably:

“That’s right, Eva, set still! We know you was hurt yesterday an’ must keep quiet. I hope you air feeling better!” and she grabbed Eva’s cold, inert[Pg 229] hand, shaking it vigorously, and would have pecked at her cheek with deceitful lips only that Eva resolutely turned her head away.

Patty, following her cousin’s lead, caught and pressed the little hand, but it made no response and dropped heavily from her deceitful grasp, while Eva entirely ignored their presence by directing her stony gaze to another part of the room.

Nothing daunted, however, Miss Ruttencutter selected the softest, most luxurious seat in the splendid room, closely imitated in everything by the less forward Patty, in whose mind was struggling the consciousness of having so cruelly ill-treated her cousin that this attempt to reinstate herself in Eva’s good graces was, to say the least of it, simply outrageous.

Cousin Tabby now turned her gaze on the astonished Mrs. Hamilton, and observed:

“Seeing as Eva is feeling too poorly to interduce us, ma’am, my name is Miss Tabitha Ruttencutter, an’ her’n is Miss Patty Groves. What’s your’n?”

“I am Eva’s aunt, Mrs. Hamilton,” coolly replied the lady, with a smile of amusement.

“You live here?”


“Your husband, too?”

“Mr. Hamilton is dead.”

“Um-hum, poor thing! So I s’pose your brother gives you a home?”

Mrs. Hamilton could be haughty enough when she[Pg 230] chose, but she perceived that the spinster was too simple to mean anything sarcastic.

So she replied, with perfect good humor:

“I am not poor, Miss Ruttencutter, but I stay with my brother because we are both lonely, and it is pleasant to be together. It is convenient also to have me here to chaperone Eva.”

“Um-hum! Same as I chappyrone Patty,” returned the spinster, with an approving nod that made all her green feathers dance wildly.

Then she added, with another nod toward Eva:

“I guess you have your two hands full, Mis’ Hamilton, to chappyrone Eva! She never could abide chappyrones. She thought the girls didn’t need ’em.”

Eva declined to defend herself or be drawn into the conversation in any way by preserving a countenance of stony immobility that entirely ignored her presuming and unwelcome callers.

“Patty, go an’ set by your cousin an’ talk to her, won’t you, whiles I converse with Eva’s aunt?” commanded the spinster, bridling.

Patty made as if to hitch her chair closer, but an anxious glance at Eva’s face decided her to keep still. She had some knowledge of Eva’s unyielding obstinacy when seriously offended. At Stony Ledge the twins used to say, when Eva refused to talk, that “she was possessed of her dumb devil.”

So Patty sat still, and answered curtly:

“I don’t think Eva wants to talk.”

“She has a headache, poor dear,” explained Mrs.[Pg 231] Hamilton, secretly amused at the little byplay and wondering what Eva’s cousins had done to be treated so cavalierly.

But she had confidence enough in her niece to know that she must have a reason for her conduct, although, just for pastime, she herself preserved an air of courtesy toward the guests of the moment. It was as good as a comedy, that silly old maid, she said to herself with concealed mirth.

Cousin Tabby at once recommended some homely remedies, but Patty, secretly enraged and humiliated, cut in tartly:

“Maybe she would rather call in Doctor Ludington to prescribe!”

She saw by Eva’s uncontrollable start that the shot told, and gave a hateful, significant little sneer that Cousin Tabby reproved by saying quickly:

“Now, Patty, ’tain’t right to throw up the feller to her that way! She wa’n’t to blame for what he done, an’ I think she done very pretty breaking off the marriage at the last moment when she found out who Ludington was! I jest glory in her spunk, an’ I believe she would ruther die this minit than call him in to save her life!”

“He brought her home yesterday—I read it in the papers this morning,” Patty answered angrily, but the next moment she started with alarm, for Eva had sprung to her feet with the suddenness of a statue galvanized into life.

[Pg 232]

Her great, flashing, dark eyes fairly blazed upon them in the wrath of her soul, as with extended quivering fingers she pointed to the door, saying hoarsely:

“Go, go, both of you, at once! And never dare to darken these doors again!”

“Humph, very polite, I’m sure!” grunted Patty, without moving to obey the imperious command.

“Why, Eva, you hurt my feelings talking so high and mighty, child!” supplemented Cousin Tabby, also without rising, and adding, with a slightly venomous tone:

“When we come up to New York to board at a big hotel an’ enter sassiety, we concluded to let bygones be bygones, and make friends with you, even though you did have a scandalous bad name at home, an’ everybuddy in the State a’most knowed about yer carryings-on with Doctor Ludington an’ that ther old St. Clair at the crazy asylum, an’——”

“Oh, go, go, will you? And relieve me of your hateful presence! Why, I had sooner a rattlesnake crawled across my path than you two hypocrites!” almost shrieked Eva, in her passionate resentment, pointing sternly to the door.

Mrs. Hamilton here interpolated gently:

“As my niece is really the mistress of this house, and too unwell to bear so much excitement, I must second her request, ladies, that you withdraw!”

Both understood that they were dismissed, and they dared not parley with this calm, dignified lady as they[Pg 233] would have continued to do with Eva, whom they looked on merely as a child, without realizing that she had come to womanhood’s years since escaping from their clutches.

They rose instantly from their seats and proceeded to beat an undignified retreat from the house, muttering as they went of “folks that didn’t have no manners, even if they did live in fine houses,” to all of which no one replied as they hurried down the steps to their waiting carriage.

When safe within it the spinster sighed lugubriously:

“Well, we made a dead failure at that, eh? We cain’t never git into sassiety through Eva Somerville.”

“Oh, but wouldn’t I just like to get revenge on the proud piece,” hissed Patty, her eyes gleaming with a tigerish glare.

She would, indeed, have liked to take hold of Eva and shake her, as she had been wont to do in her younger days when might made right.

In her father’s beautiful home, surrounded by love and luxury, Eva had seemed to her like a little queen, and rage and envy filled her heart.

They scolded all the way back home, the precious pair of schemers, and they could have killed Eva for her pride and scorn. Miss Ruttencutter said indignantly:

“We couldn’t make the least headway with her, for all we tried to forgive her everything, an’ associate[Pg 234] with her on equal terms, like as nuthing had ever been said ag’inst her character. She treated us like the dirt under her feet.”

Meanwhile Eva had flung herself, sobbing, into her aunt’s arms.

“To—to—think of having such shocking relatives,” she wailed.

Mrs. Hamilton soothed her tenderly, replying:

“Miss Groves was quite handsome and well-dressed, my dear, though the old maid was rather ridiculous in speech and dress.”

“Oh, I wouldn’t mind that if she only had a good heart, auntie,” sobbed Eva. “It’s the kind heart I look for always, and that may beat behind an uncouth exterior and under the coarsest gown! But those two vile hypocrites! Oh, I would like to tell you how wickedly they treated me before papa found me and brought me away! Some day, with his permission, I will tell you all!”

“Very well, dear; but now you are so excited I must give you a sedative or we shall have to call in Doctor Ludington again, as your cousin suggested,” Mrs. Hamilton remarked rather wickedly, as she rang for a servant and the medicine.

Eva swallowed it without protest, though she had crimsoned painfully at the reference to Doctor Ludington. She thought:

“What strange thoughts auntie must have of me after the vile innuendoes of my wicked cousins! I[Pg 235] must obtain papa’s permission to tell her my story. She deserves it for her generous loyalty to me!”

Aloud she said:

“I hope this sedative will quiet my nerves, for my dear friend Ada will arrive this evening, and I want to feel well enough to enjoy her company! Only think, what a lovely winter we shall have with dear Ada for a guest! She is very beautiful, you know, auntie, and—perhaps—she may console Reggie for losing me.”

But Mrs. Hamilton frowned slightly, and answered:

“I should not fancy such a match. I wanted him to marry you, my dear little niece, and no other.”

“I told you, auntie, I had refused his offer,” protested Eva.

“You were hasty, my dear. Perhaps you may come to reconsider the case.”

“But I told you, also, that I loved another.”

Mrs. Hamilton wondered suddenly if that “other” could be the handsome Doctor Ludington, and she quickly decided that this was the case. It explained things that were otherwise inexplicable. But aloud she said, in her calm, gentle way:

“But you told me your love was hopeless, Eva!”

“Yes, quite hopeless!” sighed the girl, stifling a sob that seemed to rend her very heart in twain.

“Then you will have to put that love away from you, and try to forget. The easiest way to do it would be to become interested in another and marry him.[Pg 236] A happy marriage is, to my mind, the only remedy for your pain.”

Her father had used the same words to her, and they recurred to her again. Was it true? Would a marriage with Reggie, who adored her, teach her to forget?

[Pg 237]



It was useless trying to disguise the truth from her own heart. Miss Winton’s eagerly anticipated visit, instead of adding to Eva’s happiness, only made her more miserable.

It brought back too clearly the dead past—the long weeks and months of wretchedness side by side with the days and hours of ecstatic joy when she had been Rupert’s plighted bride!

They could but talk of old days to each other. Eva was fain to ask questions—Ada glad to answer.

She must know how all her old friends were faring, she had such a kindly interest in them all. She learned that the clever, genial young Doctor Merry had formed a very romantic attachment for a beautiful schoolgirl whom he was to marry when she completed her education.

Ada told her that the kindly, earnest Doctor Bertrand still pursued the even tenor of her way, and that the superintendent had resigned his position and sought a more congenial field of usefulness. As the doctor’s agency in ferreting out Doctor Rupert’s secret, and preventing his marriage, had long since leaked out, he was despised and execrated by many who had formerly respected him, and few missed him[Pg 238] from the position he had disgraced. He was supplanted by a less impressionable superintendent, in whose eyes womanhood stood on a higher plane of purity and goodness.

Ada had one little item of personal news. Aunt Susan had left her a small estate that would keep her in comfort, and she need not work at the insane asylum any more.

“You might have left it long ago if you would but have accepted what I wished to do for you!” Eva answered reproachfully.

“Forgive my foolish pride, dear,” laughed Ada quickly, and to turn the subject she spoke aloud a name that was always in their thoughts, though held back from the lips.

“Dear, I know that Doctor Ludington is in New York—to tell you the truth, we have corresponded occasionally ever since he went away. Don’t turn so pale with jealousy, little Eva! I believe he only wrote for news of you—a sort of heart-hunger, you know! Have you ever seen him since he came here?”

The ice thus broken, Eva confessed everything.

Ada heard all about the two handsome lovers; the one she wished to marry but must not, the one she could marry and did not want.

“Oh, you poor, suffering darling! Are you still so set against your poor Rupert?”

“I can never, never marry him, though it breaks my heart!”

[Pg 239]

“I think you are wrong!” declared Ada, taking her former stand.

“I am sure that I am right, Ada! But, oh! I am so wretched I am almost tempted to take my father’s and aunt’s advice and marry Reggie, just for something to make me forget!” cried Eva so piteously that it made Ada’s heart ache. “Oh, Ada, do you believe that they are right? That the best remedy for my trouble is to marry another?”

“I do not know; I am sure I should not wish to try it in my own case,” declared Ada frankly. “But when I have seen this Mr. Hamilton I can judge better whether he could make you happy.”

“He is coming to-night, so you can soon decide,” cried Eva anxiously, starting as her friend added:

“Now, Eva, darling, I have something to ’fess,’ as children say. I wrote a note to Doctor Ludington requesting him to call on me here this evening, and he is coming. You will not mind my receiving him in some little reception room alone, will you, dear, if you do not wish to see him again?”

Eva’s pallor was startling. She clasped her tiny, jeweled hands over her heart to still its jealous throbbing, while she moaned:

“Oh, Ada, be frank with me! Do you love Rupert? Has his heart turned away from me to you?”

It seemed to her as if Ada really blushed, though she answered lightly:

“Don’t be such a little silly, my dear! Of course he loves no one but you, and never will as long as you[Pg 240] remain single! But if you should marry your grand New York lover you would not mind if I learned to care for your old love and tried to catch his heart in the rebound, would you?”

“I—I—am afraid I should care very much—for I am a silly girl, as you say, Ada!” moaned poor Eva, in despair that was bitter enough to soften a heart of stone.

It must have softened Ada’s, for she said tremulously, stroking the golden head pillowed on her breast:

“There, there, darling, I was only jesting with you! I only regard Doctor Ludington as a dear friend, and it is only as such that I wish to meet him this evening. You are welcome to be present if you wish.”

“Can I believe her? How could she help loving him?” Eva thought, with secret bitter jealousy that she tried to hide under a careless smile as she faltered:

“No, no, I must not, cannot meet him—just yet! Besides, Reggie will be calling on me, you know. So you must send away your caller early that you may meet my guest.”

Thus it was that Ada’s visit kept alive in hapless Eva’s heart the cruel pain of her hopeless love.

And to make matters worse, Reginald Hamilton did not call that evening, so Eva did not have his presence to distract her attention from Ada’s visitor.

He sent an excuse, saying he was detained by the unexpected arrival of an English friend, to whom he must do the honors of the city. He would call, if[Pg 241] permitted, the next evening, bringing his friend with him.

But Doctor Ludington did not fail to keep his appointment with Ada.

Eva had no right to be jealous, but she could not help seeing how beautifully her friend was dressed and what a pleasant sparkle of excitement shone in her clear, brown eyes. She envied Ada beyond all telling the happiness of that evening.

To be near him for more than an hour, to listen to his musical voice and his pleasant laughter, to gaze unchecked on his handsome face, to touch his firm, warm hand in greeting and parting—oh, how she envied Ada such perfect bliss!

She sighed to herself:

“How can I bear his presence in the house, yet apart from me, the guest of another! I am afraid I should be listening at the door for the tones of his voice; perhaps be unable to resist the temptation of entering and sharing with Ada the joy of his presence. I—I—will not remain in the house! I will go off to the theatre—or somewhere!”

Alas! Auntie was lying down with one of her spells of neuralgia, and papa was off to Philadelphia for a few days on business. She could not go anywhere unchaperoned.

She decided to seclude herself in her own room, where not a sound of his coming could penetrate to her ears. She would get a thrilling novel and read[Pg 242] it so as to lose herself in its pages and temporarily forget the world.

Alas! the gifted author seemed dull and prosy to excited Eva. She could not help listening for the ring of the doorbell; she knew when his card was brought to Ada, and when the latter went down to receive him in the pretty reception room next the drawing-room.

Her heart gave a wild leap in her breast and tears sprang to her eyes. She dashed them away, exclaiming to herself:

“I am a little silly, as Ada said! It is nothing to me whom he calls on or whom he marries. I have no claim on him!”

She threw the book aside. Then she rang for her maid to bring her some fruit and chocolate bonbons, her favorite sweets. She thought, perhaps, that aching pain came from hunger.

She remembered that she had scarcely touched anything at dinner. And now the fruit and the sweets tasted bitter, she said petulantly to her maid.

The unsuspecting Maria replied that if her lady’s tongue had a bitter taste she must be bilious and needed some calomel. She was sure the fruit and the candy were all right.

“Take them all away. I will go down to the conservatory for some flowers,” was the impatient reply.

She glanced in the long mirror as she passed and saw that she was looking her loveliest in the turquoise blue silk dinner gown with fluffy lace all about it and[Pg 243] pearls on her neck and in her hair—the golden hair that was like an aureole about her lovely head.

Rupert thought that golden hair was the prettiest in the world; he often told Eva so. She was glad that Ada’s was not golden—just a lovely chestnut brown.

She went slowly, nervously, down to the drawing-room, and as she passed near the curtains that divided it from the reception room the sound of low voices mixed with laughter came to her ears.

Their gayety went like a sword through Eva’s heart. It seemed to her as if he must indeed be in love with Ada.

She wondered how she would feel if he should fall in love with Ada and marry her, and her aching heart replied:

“I should envy her so bitterly I could never bear the sight of her again!”

She darted away from the curtains lest she should catch herself listening to their words and hear some chance sentence that would break her heart.

The possibility of his loving and marrying another had seldom occurred to her mind before. Though she had sent him away from her in the moment of their bridal, with cruel words on her lips, he still seemed in some subtle sense to belong to her. She secretly resented the bare idea of his turning from his hopeless love to find happiness with another.

How sweet and still it was in the mellow light of the conservatory. The flowers threw out rich odors,[Pg 244] and the fountain tinkled low music as it dripped back into the marble basin where the goldfish swam.

Eva wandered from flower to flower, laying her hot, burning cheeks against their cool, dewy leaves and pinning some white jasmine flowers on her breast for their sweet odor.

She murmured:

“He has been here almost an hour now, I am sure. I should think he would be going now, if he is so very busy at the hospital—unless he is in love with Ada and hates to tear himself away! I wonder what they have been talking of so long! Old times in Weston, I suppose, and of where he has been since he left there. Will they speak of me? Does he think it would be only politeness if I should go in a minute and thank him for what he did for me the other day? It would look rude otherwise. I ought to speak to him—just a minute!”

Eva could not withstand the subtle tempting of her eager heart that was drawing her by yearning cords to the presence of Doctor Ludington.

She turned with a thrill of ardent pleasure to seek his presence.

“Will he be glad to see me? Or sorry that I interrupted his tête-à-tête with Ada?” she wondered.

Then she drew back abruptly into the shadow of some tall palms. She caught the sound of voices of persons coming in. Ada was bringing her visitor to see the flowers.

Even now Eva might have escaped by another door,[Pg 245] but she stood spellbound, unable to move, held by the tones of the voice she loved so well.

“Oh, why cannot I hate him?” she thought desperately. “I used to despise him heartily enough in the old days at home, when we met and passed as strangers!”

But she could not go; she stood still, and consoled herself with the thought that it was only politeness. She ought really to thank him for his kindness the other day.

The other two came slowly along, stopping to smell the flowers and exclaim at their beauty.

“How fortunate Eva is. She has everything that heart can wish,” said Miss Winton.

“She deserves it all!” Doctor Ludington replied gently, and Eva’s heart thrilled with joy.

Then Ada broke a rosebud and fastened it in his buttonhole.

Eva, peering through the leaves, saw the fair, handsome head bent over Ada, and the smile on the lips as he thanked her for the gift.

She remembered that when she had used to pin flowers on his coat he had always taken her in his arms and kissed her lips. Would he reward Ada in the same fashion?

If he did she could not bear it. She felt as if she should fall down upon the floor and cry out to Heaven to let her die—life was too cruel to be borne any longer.

When she saw them move apart again she gave a[Pg 246] great bursting sigh of relief that what she feared and dreaded had not happened.

They came on toward her, and she knew that she must make her presence known. To remain silent any longer would seem like eavesdropping.

She put her golden head and white hand out from among the leaves with a secret prayer to Heaven for calmness, and said gayly:

“How you startled me, you two, when I thought myself alone among the flowers; but I am glad to see you, Doctor Ludington, and to have an opportunity to thank you for your kindness to me the day of the accident!”

She was actually holding out her white jeweled hand to him with simple courtesy as to an everyday acquaintance, and her clear, cool society tone had in it not one throb of her wildly beating heart.

So much for her social culture in the world.

“She has indeed grown heartless!” Doctor Ludington said to himself, with a sort of contempt for her coolness, though to match it he took and pressed the offered hand in one that was as icy cold as hers was hot and burning, while he said carelessly:

“Indeed you owe me no special thanks, Miss Somerville. I would have done the same thing as readily for any one else.”

“Perhaps even more readily!” Eva retorted, forgetting her pride in angry pique. “Well, I cannot blame you, but, all the same, I am very grateful.”

[Pg 247]

He bowed with cold, grave, blue eyes fixed on her face, and she added nervously:

“Do you like flowers? Pray, take all you want.”

“I thank you, but Miss Winton has taken the liberty to give me one. I do not care for any more!” he replied, with freezing indifference that cut her to the heart.

“Now I am quite sure that he loves Ada! He prefers her flowers to mine! Oh, I wish she had not come to be my cruel rival in his heart!”

From his careless tone and proud air she could never have dreamed that he was thinking:

“What a falsehood I told her, poor little Eva! Ah, if she could know how I have treasured all the sweet flowers she used to give me, and for which she let me thank her by taking her in my arms and kissing the sweet red lips that speak to me so coldly now!”

They stood looking at each other in momentary silence, with hungry eyes and hearts that yearned to each other across the gulf they might not bridge—the swift-running stream of a cousin’s blood.

And yet it is possible, that, if they had mutually guessed the passion of each other’s heart, they might have overleaped all barriers and sprung into each other’s arms, so mighty and resistless is the power of love!

But she thought him fickle and resentful; he believed her cold and unforgiving. So that even as they gazed at each other the rushing stream grew wider, forcing them apart.

[Pg 248]

While she struggled for calmness he smiled coldly and said:

“I am very glad that you are recovered from your slight injury, but do not trouble yourself to go out too soon to show Miss Winton the sights of the city. I shall have ample leisure to escort her around, and shall find the greatest pleasure in doing so,” and, with a parting bow that chilled her with its coldness, he took an abrupt leave.

He could not have borne the pain of this meeting a moment longer—not one; but she misunderstood him, as he intended. His pride and his jealousy of Hamilton were up in arms. She should not know he cared.

He hurried out with Ada, and poor, humiliated Eva stood there drooping among the flowers like a crushed lily.

[Pg 249]



Doctor Ludington, hurrying away from Fifth Avenue, would not take a cab to the hospital. He preferred to walk the long distance in the nipping cold of the December night, and thus cool the fever of unrest burning in his veins.

He felt a passionate anger against Eva for her seeming coldness and indifference, for so well had the poor girl worn her mask of pride that it appeared to him quite genuine. He was full of angry resentment at what seemed to him the cruelest inconstancy and forgetfulness.

How cool and calm she had been, while he was sure that he had betrayed his own heart by his very endeavors to hide it. He wondered how she could have transferred her love so quickly from him to the handsome young New Yorker that rumor assigned as her betrothed.

He resolved angrily that she should never know how she had wounded him by her heartlessness. She should not think he was wearing the willow for her sake.

In the full tide of these resentful thoughts he rushed around a corner, and bumped against another individual coming his way full tilt, knocking him down flat on the pavement.

[Pg 250]

Thus brought to a full stop, Doctor Ludington bent over his victim, exclaiming contritely:

“Beg pardon! I did not see you. Are you much hurt?”

The man lay still, groaning, and as he bent over him in the glare of the electric light, he saw that he was a rough, country-looking fellow, miserably seedy, with a cadaverous face, as from illness or pinching hunger.

“Poor wretch!” he thought, and put out kindly hands to help him up.

With this aid the young fellow got on his feet again, groaning:

“It’s the lack of food that tipped me over so easy. For the love of God, help me! I’ve not tasted food for three days. I’m down on my luck!”

“Poor chap! You certainly look it!” and Doctor Ludington gave him his arm and conducted him to a quiet restaurant.

“A private room,” he said to the waiter, who quickly obeyed the order.

There was a comfortable sofa, and he advised his protégé to lie down there and rest while the food was preparing.

The seedy young fellow obeyed, and so grateful was the rest and warmth that before the appetizing meal was brought he fell asleep.

“Poor fellow!” thought the sympathizing young physician, stopping in his excited tramp across the[Pg 251] room, and scrutinizing more closely the threadbare garb and cadaverous face.

He gave a violent start, and muttered:

“I have seen the fellow before—but where?”

He began to rack his memory in order to fit the poor wretch into his proper niche.

The waiter entered with the supper before he had succeeded in his effort.

“Come, wake up; here is food!” he said, shaking him until he shambled up, and, scenting the food with the avidity of a starving hound, he rushed to the table.

The sympathetic young physician exclaimed:

“Slowly now at first, or you may make yourself ill after so long a fast.”

The hungry wretch with difficulty restrained himself from devouring the food at a rate sufficient to choke himself, and gloated over it with a sort of rapture that precluded even a glance at his benefactor.

But Doctor Ludington never took his eyes off of him, more and more puzzled by the elusive likeness to one he had known somewhere in the dim past.

It would have been easy enough to ask his name, but he would not disturb him while he satisfied the ravenous cravings of nature. His sympathies were too keen and alert.

He simply paced up and down the room, too excited to remain still, and with only a languid interest in the fellow’s identity, after all, for Eva remained upper-most in his thoughts through everything.

It was a long half hour that his hungry protégé[Pg 252] remained at table, satisfying the demands of hunger, but at last he pushed back his chair with a sigh of content, saying hoarsely:

“Thankee, stranger, I feel like a new man, ready to begin the tussle with life again. By gum, I b’lieve you have saved my life!”

“‘By gum!’ that sounds like the mountaineers of my own West Virginia. Where did you pick it up, my man?” exclaimed the young doctor, bursting into a sudden rollicking laugh.

At that laugh, that brought back echoes from somewhere in the long halls of memory, the fellow started in surprise, and for the first time looked squarely at the man who had befriended him.

What he saw was surely not enough to pale his cheek, reddened with the generous warmth of the wine, or to bring that startled, furtive gleam into the stealthy eyes beneath the thick overhanging brows.

He only saw one of nature’s noblemen in soul as well as form; tall, erect, handsome, with a princely air that would have been as conspicuous in poor attire as in his elegant evening suit, covered by the long, fur-lined overcoat.

Yet one look startled the gazer, and the second made him get up and hustle toward the door, muttering:

“I must get along now!”

“Wait. Tell me of yourself,” answered Doctor Ludington genially, placing his back against the door while he continued:

[Pg 253]

“You said you had not tasted food for days, and your clothing is tattered and threadbare so that it does not keep out the winter’s cold. I cannot let you go like this without helping you further. Are you out of work?”

The fellow turned his face aside into the shadow muttering gruffly:

“That’s it—out o’ work!”

“Are you a stranger in the city?”

“Been livin’ here all my life!”

“You don’t look like it. I should take you for a countryman in distress.”

“But I ain’t, sir. Leastwise, I’m in distress; ’tain’t no use to deny hit, starvin’ and freezin’, ’ithout a ruff to kiver my head. Yit I ain’t no country jay, no, sir! I was borned and brung up in New York,” protested his protégé, in a quavering voice of some intangible fear.

“Then I’m mistaken in fancying I had seen you somewhere before in my own past. You were never in West Virginia, were you?”

“I nuver even heerd o’ sech a place. I better be goin’, sir, and not takin’ up your time no longer.”

“I am not in any hurry, although I see that you are. Yet I don’t understand why. You have no engagement with friends, have you?”

“Not a friend in the hull cussed place, darn hit! In that country you’re talkin’ about, sir, that West Virginny, is hit, I bet thar don’t nobuddy go starvin’ in the streets, does they?” wistfully.

[Pg 254]

“No, never, my man! There’s bread and work for all in my dear old native State!” cried the young physician with the kindling pride of the native born, and continuing:

“I could have almost sworn you were from my own State! You have the Southern twang to your voice and some of the mountains idioms. Besides, your face and voice are strangely familiar, and I almost seem to have known you before. What is your name?”

“Hit’s—hit’s—plain Smith, stranger—John Smith.”

Doctor Ludington gave one of his genial laughs, and exclaimed:

“Your name is even more familiar than your face—perfectly familiar! But as there are more John Smiths than one, I am still unable to place you.”

“I sw’ar, stranger, you nuver seen me before this night!” John Smith returned desperately, still with his eager eyes on the door through which he could not escape, because his benefactor’s broad back leaned carelessly against it.

“Have you ever seen me before?” continued the doctor carelessly.

“No—no, sir, nuver! Has you jist come to the city?” interrogated John Smith weakly.

“No, I have been here some time, and will remain all the winter. So if you ever want to see me again just look up Doctor Ludington at the —— Hospital,” the young man answered, impelled by an inexplicable goading within himself to give this information and[Pg 255] even supplementing it by putting his professional card into the other’s hand, reluctantly extended, though on top of it the doctor placed a banknote, adding:

“Take this to buy you some clothing, and food, and lodging until you find work. Now, good night, and good luck to you, John Smith.”

The fellow forgot to notice that the doctor had moved from the door, he was so dazed by the sight of the crisp fifty-dollar note.

Heaven alone knew what wealth it seemed to the penniless, tattered, hunger-goaded wretch who had just denied his birthright, his name, and his home through abject fear.

What glowing visions danced before his eyes as he clutched the bit of green paper that meant so much to him—food for his famished stomach, clothing for his freezing body, shelter for his homeless head!

He gasped weakly:

“The Lord bless you, doctor. I’ll nuver fergit that, this is a fortune.”

“Poor fellow, if fifty dollars seems like a fortune, take it, and welcome, and I am glad I can afford to make you happy at so small a cost. And look you, John Smith, if I never see you again, remember this night, and that the man that helped you told you it was the grandest thing on earth to make others happy. If you are in trouble it will take the sting out of your own pain.”

“The Lord bless you, doctor. I’ll nuver fergit that, shore, and, by gum! if I ever git a chanst to make[Pg 256] some one else happy as I am this minit, I’ll try it on ’em, for your sake, that I will. So good night, doc, good night,” and the fellow shambled out, trying to keep his face in shadow to prevent an undesired recognition.

The young doctor, while waiting to settle his bill, soliloquized:

“Poor fellow! he was lying to me right along, but I wonder why. I’d wager a hundred dollars he was born in West Virginia and hasn’t been out of the rural districts a year. It must be that he feared recognition. An outlaw, perhaps, from justice, skulking in the shadows, fearing the sound of his own name. I felt sure he scarcely deserved my charity, but I could not help being liberal with him, more than if he had been an entire stranger; for he is not a stranger, I am sure. He is identified somehow with my past; and something tells me we shall meet again.”

Doctor Ludington was right in his suspicions.

The poor wretch he had befriended was indeed a West Virginian, exiled from home by the wrath of his neighbors and the threats of a resident physician whom he had made out a liar.

Old Doctor Binks was terrible in his cups, and he had sworn to have the life of the chore boy of Gran’ther Groves, who had brought him the message the night of the Hallowe’en tragedy and then flatly denied it, putting the old physician into no end of a difficulty.

Although people had pretended to disbelieve the[Pg 257] old man’s statement at first, time had justified him, for the flight of Dan Ellis had in it elements of such grave suspicion that by and by the neighbors began to say to each other:

“The old man sticks so close to his story, it may be true. I never knew him to make a mistake in prescribing even when he was drunk.”

Little by little, after the first excitement, the neighbors began to regain confidence in Doctor Binks’ truth and Eva Somerville’s purity.

“There must have been some mistake behind the racket, and Dan Ellis was at the bottom of it all. He told that story to Doctor Binks just for a lark, and when he saw what awful trouble it caused he was afraid to confess his share in it; he just lied out of it,” the postmaster said to the merchant, who replied:

“I always set so much store by little Eva, I never could a-bear to think as she done wrong and disgraced the family. And that there Ludington, too; he was a right smart, likely feller, and I never heerd a word hinted agin’ his character. By gum! I b’lieve they was both innercent as babes unborn, little Eva and the doctor, and if Terry Groves hadn’t a-been so all-fired jealous of his pretty cousin he might have stopped to find out the truth before he began to shout so peart. If Dan Ellis ever sneaks back into this neighborhood I’m in favor of giving him some White-cap medicine!”

“Sech as a good tanning of his tough hide and a[Pg 258] coat of tar and feathers and a ride on a rail,” grimly added the blacksmith, who formed one of the group waiting in the post office for the belated mail to arrive per post boy from the distant station.

Public opinion having begun to set this way, it gathered fresh impetus every day and hour.

And on Dan Ellis venturing back, hoping the excitement had blown over, just prior to its revival by the arrest of Doctor Ludington at Weston, he found himself figuratively in a hornets’ nest.

The “tanning of his hide” was performed so prematurely, before the tar and feathers were ready, that he made good his escape without that punishment, leaving the whole neighborhood in a state of chagrin that he had missed his due.

Bruised and aching from the generous application of hickory withes, Dan concluded his old neighborhood was no longer good for his health and emigrated to the southern part of the State, whence by slow degrees he worked into the sister State, Virginia, and gradually to the North under any alias that presented itself to his mind at the moment.

But it is not to be supposed that the simple, ignorant mind of the dull-witted youth found comfort in the change from the rude, healthy toil of the farm, and its compensating pleasures, in the variety of employments that presented the means of eking out existence.

A bitter homesickness preyed on him ceaselessly and made him curse Patty and Lydia with savage fury[Pg 259] for the catspaw they had made of him for Eva’s undoing.

“Curse ’em both, the heartless pieces, for gettin’ me inter sech a confounded scrape!” he would cry, with impotent rage. “By gum! I wish I had stayed and owned the truth and faced the hull thing out. ’Twa’n’t nothin’ but a joke in the beginnin’, and they was more to blame nor I was, for they sent me to do hit, and I would a-ben tore to pieces befor I’d done hit, if I’d knowed what would happen from hit. Lord knows I loved the ground little Eva walked on, and I wouldn’t willingly done her any harm. Seems to me I’ve been punished more than I deserved fer the part I took,” half sobbed the poor exiled wretch in his despair.

Thus Doctor Ludington had stumbled on him unwittingly that night and succored him with ready charity, building better than he knew, for the seed he had sown was destined to spring up and bear rich fruit.

But the startled Dan, remembering the chastisement he received at home, and fancying the doctor might have traced him to New York to supplement it with another one, made good his escape into the cold streets, thanking the lucky stars that had saved him from recognition by the man he had so deeply injured.

He was deeply touched, it was true, by the doctor’s generosity, but as he hugged the largess close to his heart, beneath his thin coat, he muttered incredulously:

[Pg 260]

“Good thing he didn’t know ’twas me, or maybe I’d ha’ got a kick into the gutter instid o’ a helpin’ hand, by gum! But he might ’a’ come to know me any minit if I hadn’t come away so quick. He was gettin’ mighty darn suspicious, and—hello!”

The last ejaculation came from an unexpected sight. As he shambled along Broadway, where the people were coming out from the opera, he saw two faces that made him cry out in that startled way.

They were Miss Tabitha Ruttencutter and Patty, getting into their carriage to return to their hotel.

The door slammed to, and they were driven away before the exile got his breath to ejaculate:

“Patty and the ole gal, sure’s I live and breathe! Well, if this here night ain’t a stunnin’ one! Doc Ludington one minit and them the next! S’pose hit will be little Eva next? Has the hull o’ West Virginny moved inter New York?”

[Pg 261]



Patty and her redoubtable “chappyrone” were still holding their own in New York, in spite of the snubbing they had gotten from Eva.

Boarding at one of the finest hotels and lavishing money like water, they spared no effort to get into the society where Eva moved, a social queen by reason of her beauty and charm, coupled with her father’s wealth and position.

At the hotel they made some nice acquaintances, and but for the uncouth spinster the quite presentable Patty might have made some headway; but Cousin Tabby became the butt of everybody’s ridicule.

“She can never get on with that old fright dangling after her. Why don’t she engage some nice, fashionable woman of straitened means to present her in society, and send that old silly back to the woods?” Patty overheard one clever woman saying to another one morning.

She reddened with mortification, for she had secretly mistrusted all along that the spinster was a laughingstock for the cultured fashionables at the grand hotel.

She determined not to let the old woman stand in her light. She had received considerable attention as[Pg 262] the rich West Virginian heiress, and she wanted to make a good match, as grand as the one she heard Eva was going to make.

Patty never let any false delicacy stand in the way of her desires. She shortly sought an interview with the clever woman whose opinion she had overheard.

“Oh, Mrs. Putnam, what will you say when I tell you I overheard your remarks about Cousin Tabby this morning?” she smiled.

“Oh, my dear, can you ever forgive me?” with saucy penitence.

“You know I am not blaming you, dear Mrs. Putnam. I quite realize that you are right. Indeed, I never really expected to keep the silly old thing with me so long. I only brought her for a little sightseeing, expecting her to become my Cousin Eva’s guest. But when Eva declined to receive her, I had not the heart to send her home just yet.”

“Very good of you, I’m sure, my dear Miss Groves; but I think Miss Somerville showed more of her usual worldly wisdom in declining to present such a ridiculous relative to New York society,” purred Mrs. Putnam, who had been told in the beginning of their proud Cousin Eva, who had turned her back on her mother’s relations since her father elevated her to wealth and position.

Patty had also hinted that she “could tell some things Eva wouldn’t relish, if she chose.”

But she went no further, because the shrewd Miss Tabby had told her privately that a smirch on Eva’s[Pg 263] name was a reflection on themselves, being near relations.

“The higher our relations stand the higher we can climb,” she observed with real worldly wisdom that Patty readily absorbed.

Therefore she diligently paraded the relationship and accounted for the coolness by the excuse of Eva’s alienation from her mother’s relatives.

“She thinks herself too aristocratic to mix with people that got rich just by oil,” she sighed.

Mrs. Putnam had met with such pride before, so she swallowed the fiction, and on being appealed to for advice, promptly gave it.

“I should do just what I said this morning: Engage a lady of undoubted social position, with slim means, to take me under her wing for a fair consideration. You couldn’t afford to be close over money in such a case, but it would pay you back with interest for all you expended. Then send that old maid home and get yourself launched in good society.”

“I will do it, but where can I find such a lady as you speak of?” cried Patty eagerly.

“Such chances don’t grow on trees, for such ladies wouldn’t have it known for the world that they carry on these things for money. But I am interested in you, Miss Groves, and I will undertake to find you a proper chaperone, although, in my opinion, Miss Somerville ought to have you for her guest and let her aunt introduce you,” exclaimed Mrs. Putnam frankly.

“But it’s no use counting on that heartless Eva for[Pg 264] anything, though I could tell things if I chose that would mortify her enough, not that I intend to. I’d scorn to injure relations by silly airs!” cried Patty, tossing her dark head with fine indignation.

“Your good heart does you credit, my dear girl,” suavely returned the lady, though she nevertheless intended by and by to worm out of Patty all those mysterious secrets about the beautiful belle, Miss Somerville.

“But about my new chaperone. When can we get her to begin?” asked the heiress, who was so anxious to become a belle.

If there was one thing more than another she wanted it was to get acquainted with Eva’s lover, the handsome Reginald Hamilton, and measure lances with her for his heart.

“If I could just cut her out and take him away, I’d ask no more of fate. I’d have her humbled to the dust, and her proud heart breaking!” she cried vindictively.

“As to that, you may have to wait a few weeks, for the lady I have in view is on the other side now. But she will sail for home next week; so within three weeks I think we will have made a beginning,” Mrs. Putnam observed.

“It is a long time to wait,” sighed the impatient girl.

“But in the meantime I will try to help you out a little, Miss Groves. For instance, I will take you out with me this afternoon to a flower show, where I[Pg 265] could introduce you to some nice people if you will promise me to leave the old lady at home or send her off shopping or sightseeing alone.”

“In that case she might come to grief,” laughed Patty, adding: “But I will find means to keep her at home; never fear.”

[Pg 266]



“Congratulate me, Ada. I have concluded to try auntie’s and papa’s remedy for a misplaced love. I have promised to marry Reggie!”

Ada threw down her novel, and, springing up, caught her friend to her heart.

“I wish you joy, Eva! You will have a splendid husband. I almost envy you,” she declared, with a stifled sigh.

“You need not envy a queen. You will have Doctor Ludington,” Eva cried, with bitter emphasis.

“Nonsense! He cares nothing about me, Eva.”

“It looks like it, Ada, when he has called on you and taken you out every day since you came.”

“That is only ten days, dear.”

“I know it; but if it were fifty it would have been the same. He is madly in love with you, Ada, and has forgotten that he ever loved poor little me!” cried Eva, in a voice that betrayed all the bitterness of a wounded heart.

And as Ada hesitated for an answer, she continued in a different tone:

“But I will show him that I do not care, that I can love another as well as he! Reggie is a better match, anyway. I will be married to him directly and go[Pg 267] away to Europe on my bridal tour. We have planned it all out this evening, since I reconsidered my rejection and told him I would try to love him as dearly as he loves me. Oh, Ada, you cannot think how happy I have made the dear boy by my promise. After all, he is very lovable!”

“He is perfectly charming! Indeed, I envy you, darling,” exclaimed Ada frankly, while Eva responded with sudden recklessness:

“And I envy you, Ada, and wish we could make a fair exchange of lovers! Oh, what nonsense I am talking! Reggie is the dearest old darling in the world, and I want you to tell Doctor Ludington you heard me say so. Tell him, too, that I felt I never really loved before. Will you, Ada?”

“If you wish me to, dear. But I am afraid that it is not the truth, although to my mind Mr. Hamilton is actually adorable!”

“Oh, yes, he is all that is charming, I know; and he has been in love with me for years—for years, Ada; ever since papa first brought me home, a shy little country girl, ignorant of city ways and untrained in everything. But I have improved, haven’t I, dear?”

“You were always adorable, dear Eva. Then you were like the sweet, wild rose; now you are like the cultivated flower. But tell me now when the wedding is to be.”

“Reggie has coaxed for a short engagement—to[Pg 268] get ready in three weeks and sail with a delightful party of our friends who are going at that time. Not that I want to shorten your visit, darling Ada. You are to accompany me as my guest, if you will, and we both wish it. Reggie admires you very much, you see. Will you accept our invitation, Ada?”

“I—I don’t know just yet, Eva. Give me time to think it over. This is so very sudden, you see,” the beautiful brunette answered with paling cheeks and a throbbing heart.

She spoke truly when she assured her friend that she envied her, for the first sight of Reginald Hamilton had inspired in her that sweet emotion known as love at first sight.

If she had ever cherished for Doctor Ludington the secret tenderness that Eva jealously suspected, she forgot it when she met Eva’s lover, the handsome young man of the world, with his society airs and graces all brought into play for the entertainment of his sweetheart’s pretty friend from the country.

Ada lost her heart in secret to the fascinating young millionaire and wondered how Eva could remain so cold to her grand lover.

Doctor Ludington was all very well, grand and handsome, and would be very rich from his oil wells in time. But Ada had known him so long that he lacked the charm of novelty. Besides, she was convinced, in spite of his show of indifference, that his heart would never really stray from Eva, its idol.

She dared not cherish any hope of winning Hamilton,[Pg 269] yet it came as a great shock to her when Eva announced her engagement to him.

Her very lips whitened with emotion, and she added gaspingly:

“I—I—am sorry that I ever came to New York. It has only brought sorrow to us all!”

Poor Eva, distressed beyond measure, faltered:

“Oh, Ada, and we have all tried in our poor way to make you happy! I am surprised at you. If I were free, like you, to marry Doctor Ludington I would not envy the very angels in heaven!”

“Eva, you have no right to marry Reggie if you cannot give him your heart!” Ada cried out, almost harshly in her jealous pain.

“But, Ada, I am really fond of him in a way. We have always been quite good comrades, and they all say I will love him dearly when we are married. And I am willing to try it, for I need something to change the tenor of my thoughts, to take me quite out of myself. We shall be happy, I’m sure, Reggie and I together, and I want you to make Doctor Ludington think so, too,” Eva answered eagerly.

“It almost seems to me, dear, that you are marrying another just to spite Doctor Ludington, and that would be very wrong,” protested Ada.

Eva’s pale lips parted in a mocking laugh.

“What queer fancies you have, Ada! It is nothing of the kind. I am marrying to please papa, auntie, Reggie, and, of course, myself! Think how grand I shall be. I shall have the Hamilton diamonds,[Pg 270] the finest in New York. Good night, dear,” and with a burning kiss on Ada’s cheek she flitted from the room.

Ada threw herself down weeping in a paroxysm of the bitterest despair, sobbing:

“I must have it all out with myself now, and that must be the last of it. He belongs to another, and I must forget him!”

Hot, burning tears flowed down her cheeks, and she did not restrain them. She said to herself that it was the funeral of hopes she had dared to vaguely cherish, she had scarcely understood why.

He had been kind to her, very kind, every time they met, that was true, but then, of course, it was only because she was Eva’s friend. No doubt Eva had asked him to do so.

But believing that Eva never intended to marry him, she had let some romantic fancies creep into her mind along with admiration for his sparkling black eyes, broad shoulders, and musical voice.

When the tempest of grief and disappointment was over she sat up and scolded herself.

“Ada Winton, you have been a silly goose!” she cried, wiping her eyes. “Whatever made you even hope he could look twice at you, you little country mouse? Even if Eva hadn’t married him, he would have turned to some others of his set, rich and fashionable girls, not you, who have no wealth, but a pretty face and true heart. Now, don’t waste another tender hope on him, but put self aside, and try to[Pg 271] teach Eva to love him as he deserves to be loved, not with the poor half-hearted fancy she is giving for his genuine passion.”

The next morning she was calm and composed, and deceived every one with her superb acting.

Mrs. Hamilton, who already thought her a charming girl, was more pleased than ever, and condescended to say graciously:

“Really, all the West Virginia girls I have seen are beautiful and charming. It is no wonder my fastidious brother loved and married one.”

She was anxious that the girl should accept Eva’s invitation to accompany her abroad, and wondered at her gentle refusal that she could not be coaxed into reconsidering.

“She does not wish to go away from Doctor Ludington,” Eva said, with bitterness she could not repress.

Ada did not try to defend herself, and the lady looked curiously from one to the other. The tone of bitterness in Eva’s voice reminded her of the angry accusations of Patty Groves the morning of her memorable call.

Eva had promised to explain everything, with her father’s permission, but the truth was that he had sternly refused his consent.

He did not know whether his sister could be brought to believe in Eva’s innocence as he did. He knew that circumstances looked very dark against her, and he preferred not to run the risk of telling Mrs.[Pg 272] Hamilton, and have her betray everything to her stepson, and perhaps arouse a prejudice against Eva that would destroy all chances of the match on which he had set his heart.

The day came when he bitterly repented his reticence, but now he was immovable to Eva’s entreaties. It was much better his sister should not learn the truth, he said.

When he learned of the engagement and approaching speedy marriage he was delighted, and applauded himself for the reticence with which he had kept the secrets of Eva’s shadowed past.

He did not believe that they could ever rise like unquiet ghosts to vex her brilliant future. Had he known of the presence of her cousins in New York he might have felt a little uneasy, but neither Eva nor her aunt had spoken to him of their visit. They did not even know whether they were still in New York.

Without a thought of future disaster, he lent himself with eagerness to the preparations for Eva’s marriage.

As she was his only child and heiress, everything must be on a grand scale befitting his daughter and the fine match she was making.

The trousseau was ordered, putting to work an army of dressmakers, and invitations were sent out two weeks ahead of the date. Society was all agog over the expected event.

And Eva became the centre of a little whirlwind[Pg 273] of joyous bustle and confusion that left her little time for grief or retrospection.

There was one comfort in it all, Doctor Ludington did not come so much. Not that he had ever taken up any of Eva’s time. His visits had been to Ada alone, and they had never met by accident again as on the evening in the conservatory, when they had so cruelly wounded each other in the efforts to appear mutually indifferent.

But when he was in the house Eva was always subtly conscious of the fact, always a prey to restlessness and suspense.

Not dreaming of the pain he gave her, he continued his attentions to Ada, with the sole purpose of showing Eva he did not care, that his heart was very likely engaged by another.

In her turn, Eva sent him wedding cards. It was a stunning blow. He had believed her betrothed to Hamilton, but never realized the nearness of the wedding day.

In his bitter pride he had never even shown his heart to Ada, never asked her any questions of his old love. And she, dreading that the subject might be distasteful to him, had volunteered no information.

So the blow came without warning. With her own fair hands Eva had addressed her wedding cards to her old lover.

“He shall see me wedded to another,” she said bitterly. “Perhaps then he will feel a pang at his own inconstancy.”

[Pg 274]

Doctor Ludington received the cards, and for some days he did not call in Fifth Avenue again. He had some difficulty holding his feelings in check, now that he realized Eva was lost to him forever.

He realized now that always, up to the present moment, there had been a little spark of hope glowing warmly in his heart that some day Eva might repent the prejudice that had parted their lives and call him back again.

The die was cast, the hope was dead. He remained away a while to bury the corpse. Then he called on Ada again, but, quite fortunately for Eva, she was at the opera with her father and her lover, and did not have to bear the pain of knowing he was in the house.

He forced himself to speak calmly of the coming event, yet the clever girl heard the pain in his voice, and saw the ravages that grief had wrought in his looks the last few days. Her generous heart ached for him—for Eva, too, and for Reggie, who was going to get so poor a sham of love in return for his devotion.

She knew it would pain her visitor to praise his rival, so she only said:

“The family are well pleased with the match, and Eva believes she will be very happy with him.”

“Oh, no doubt,” sarcastically.

“And yet,” with gentle sympathy, “I believe she might have been happier still with her first love, had not a cruel fate forced you apart.”

[Pg 275]

“She was wrong; she had no right to throw me over so coldly and unforgivingly. All my fault was love of her, and even the law acquitted me of blood guiltiness in her cousin’s death. As for that foolish vendetta between our families, it were best that we had ended it by marriage. Oh, how it all comes back to me—our love, the broken marriage! I must not dwell on it; that way madness lies,” the poor fellow cried, giving way to passionate vehemence long repressed.

“You do not know how I feel for you,” she sighed from the depths of her own kindred pain. “Can you bear to come to the wedding?”

He laughed bitterly.

“I shall not fail to be there. She has bidden me come to the sacrifice, honored me by writing the address with her own fair hand. She wishes it. I will come. I shall even send her a wedding gift. Will you come with me to select it to-morrow?”

“With pleasure.”

“Thank you.”

When he went away she wept for him in his proud despair. She was reading his heart by the light of her own.

“He loves her with the most constant love in the world, and she does not deserve it,” she thought. “As for her, love is all merged in pride, and pique, and despair. She is jealous of me. She would have him love no one else, though she will not take him herself. Will she learn to love her splendid husband at[Pg 276] last, or find out too late that she has made a terrible mistake? Oh, how strange is a woman’s heart!”

The next morning she said to Eva:

“Doctor Ludington called last evening, and I am to go out with him this morning.”

Eva gave a strange little laugh.

“Reggie and I had a lovely time at the opera last night,” was her only answer.

[Pg 277]



Patty Groves had her ardent desire to know Reginald Hamilton granted at last. In her occasional outings with the patronizing Mrs. Putnam, pending the arrival of the lady who was to introduce her to fashionable society, the new chaperone beckoned up Reggie and presented him.

Patty quickly played her best card to win his favor—she was Eva’s cousin. When he politely expressed his pleasure in the meeting and hinted at his surprise in not seeing her in Fifth Avenue, she tossed her head and said airily:

“Oh, our families were at outs in West Virginia, you know. Maybe I will tell you why when we know each other better.”

This was a cordial invitation to continue the acquaintance, but Reggie did not take the hint to call; he was too much engrossed in his sweetheart and his coming happiness.

But Patty so persistently crossed his path, each time manifesting such delight in the rencontre, that she at least impressed herself sufficiently on his memory to make him mention her in Fifth Avenue.

“Oh, Eva, I have been seeing a girl with Charley Putnam’s widow at flower shows and places, and she[Pg 278] claims to be a cousin of yours—a Miss Groves, of West Virginia.”

Eva reddened with vexation,

“That odious Patty!” she pouted.

“Then she really is your relation?” he said carelessly.

“Yes, but I am ashamed to own it; I despise the girl!” Eva cried, with flashing eyes.

“She told me you were at outs—it isn’t anything serious, is it?” Reggie inquired, with languid curiosity.

He saw that Eva was seriously annoyed. Her cheeks flushed red and pale alternately and she exclaimed:

“What did she tell you?”

“Nothing, except that you were ‘at outs,’ and intimated that if I would call some time she would tell me all the particulars.”

“Oh, Reggie, you won’t ever go near her, will you, that’s my own dear boy? She is hateful, my cousin Patty. She will tell you shameless lies of me! Promise me!” half sobbed Eva, clutching his arm with convulsive fingers and lifting to his loving glance a little face like a snowdrop in March—all the color stricken suddenly out of it, even to the lips.

Her heart throbbed madly in her breast as she waited for his answer, in her terror that Patty should breathe in his ears the story her father so dreaded to have him hear.

But Reggie did not at all understand how deeply[Pg 279] agitated she was, and slipping his arm about her waist, he fondly kissed the quivering lips, saying lightly:

“Whew! how women can hate each other when they go at it—even relations! Of course I am not going near the girl, darling; I never intended to; and even if I did, and she told me lies of you, I should call out her big brother and shoot him!”

He wondered that she looked so wild and strange when she faltered:

“Patty has no big brother. He is dead. He—he was killed by a—a dreadful accident!”

“Ah! How was that, Eva?”

“I—I cannot talk about it now, Reggie; it makes me very nervous! I saw it, you see, and I was ill a long time afterward, so that I can scarcely bear to speak of it now. She has brought it all back coming up to New York, where no one wanted her, I am sure. But if you will not listen to her lies, Reggie, if you will not go near her, or even speak to the hateful thing, I will tell you myself the whole story of our quarrel sometime,” pleaded Eva, clinging to him with caressing hands, a desperate pathos in the sombre dark eyes searching his face.

Reggie was so charmed with her shy tenderness, she who was always so cold and reserved, that he was ready to promise anything. He laughed and answered:

“When you clasp my arms like that, Eva, and bring your tempting lips so close to mine, I would[Pg 280] promise you anything on earth for one kiss given of your own accord. Tell me to snub your cousin if you choose, to ignore her entirely, and one kiss will pay for it all.”

How handsome and eager he looked, how his dark eyes sparkled with expectancy. Her heart reproached her that she could not love him more, even while she consoled herself with her aunt’s advice:

“Love will come in time.”

She would not hesitate a moment at paying the price he asked for Patty’s discomfiture—no, no!—and quickly drawing his face down to a level with her own, Eva pressed her full red lips warmly, tenderly upon his, thrilling him to keenest bliss—the first and last kiss his shy little sweetheart ever gave him, the memory of which went with him through life and down to death.

She had triumphed over Patty; the victory was hers. Reggie never appeared to see Miss Groves afterward, and presently she realized that the snub was intentional.

“He has cut you dead; there can be no doubt of it. What can be the reason?” Mrs. Putnam wondered.

“That odious Eva has made him do it. She was afraid I would blab secrets and break up her marriage,” Patty muttered viciously.

“My dear girl, if you know of any reason why he should not marry your proud cousin, you ought to tell him before it is too late.”

[Pg 281]

“I know dreadful things—but how can I tell him when he won’t even speak to me?”

“You could write him a letter, or you could confide it to me, and I would find a means to let him know.”

[Pg 282]



Eva wondered if she ought to tell her father of Patty Groves’ presence in the city, and her veiled threats to betray to Reggie the secrets of his sweetheart’s shadowed past. She finally decided not to do so, saying to herself:

“Why vex poor papa by bringing up these old things that wound him so? There is no need of it, for all is safe since Reggie has promised never to speak to Patty again. She cannot tell her malicious stories to deaf ears.”

So she maintained a mistaken silence.

As Mr. Somerville had been absent from the city when the cousins made their raid on the family residence, and were incontinently routed by his indignant daughter, he was quite in ignorance of their visit to New York.

Had he known of it he would not have lost an hour in seeking their presence and commanding their silence by the power he held to enforce it. He had never even told his daughter of the mortgage he had held on Grandfather Groves’ property so many years, generously deciding to let the impecunious descendants have the benefit of the increased value of the land.

So it was only by his generosity that they were[Pg 283] enabled to live in luxury and cut such a dash in the world that, were the uncertain oil wells to fail to-morrow they would be relegated to utter poverty, owing to their constant extravagance.

With the knowledge of the mortgage and the threat of foreclosing it, Patty would have been glad enough to hold her tongue.

But Eva, ignorant of her father’s power, and underrating her cousin’s malignity, held her peace, and the sword of fate remained suspended over her head, ready to fall at the opportune moment.

For Patty, infuriated by Eva’s scorn and Hamilton’s snubbing, had made up her malicious mind to do her worst.

“Cousin Tabby, I don’t think it would be right to let that young man marry Eva in ignorance of her real character,” she observed tentatively to the spinster, who replied:

“Sho’, now, I wouldn’t be so spiteful if I was you, Pat. We done the girl harm enough long ago, and we oughtn’t to cheep, even if she did run us off when we wanted to make it up with her for our own benefit. We deserved all we got, that’s a fact, though I do wish we had got an invite to the grand wedding, so that we could o’ bragged on’t when we got back home. I got a great mind now to go and ask her pappy for an invite anyhow. And as to her character, Pat, you know we never b’lieved anything agin’ her in our hearts, though we ranted and raved as we did jist to influence your gran’ther agin’ her so’s to git[Pg 284] red o’ her fer good. My idee is to lay low an’ keep a close mouth, an’ maybe she’ll come ’round an’ take us up inter high sassiety arter a while, fer she allays was a good-hearted little creeter when her temper fits wore off.”

Patty snapped acidly:

“Eva’s prosperity seems to have elevated her very much in your respect.”

“’Tain’t adzackly that, Pat. I allays did have respeck for her, if it comes to that. I helped to parsecute her because she was too pritty and too clust in gran’ther’s affections, so’t I was feered he would leave her all his prop’ty an’ turn us all out in the cold. But now we got what we mistreated her for, I cain’t see no sense in keepin’ up the racket. If she kin marry well, let her do it, sez I, and I only wish you an’ me had sech a chance.”

Patty laughed with hateful sarcasm, answering:

“No one will ever marry you, Cousin Tabby.”

“While there’s life there’s hope! I hain’t but fifty-three years old yit, and folks has married older’n that. You needn’t laff so scornful, Pat; I hate that sniggerin’ way you have! Is it any wonder I want to marry an’ git settled in a home of my own when gran’ther only left me a pitiful five hundred dollars, that’s spent long ago, an’ me a-hangin’ onto you an’ Lyd for a livin’? I kin see already, with half an eye, that you want to git red a’ me, an’ air ’shamed o’ me, the woman that raised you and chappyroned you all your life,” declared Miss Tabby grumblingly.

[Pg 285]

“For Heaven’s sake, quit lecturing me! It’s hard to have to support you, and be laughed at for having such a countrified relation, without taking your jaw, I can tell you. That’s more than I will bear!” Patty retorted coarsely, in a passion.

Miss Ruttencutter sniffed and hid her long red nose in her embroidered handkerchief without daring to reply, lest Patty turn her adrift without ceremony, as she had helped to turn Eva adrift on the cold, hard world.

This was not the first quarrel they had had, and the spinster began to read with startled eyes the handwriting on the wall.

Patty did not need her any longer, was tired of her, ashamed of her, and never took her out with her any more since that scornful Mrs. Putnam had become her chaperone. She had even hinted that Cousin Tabby had better go to Charleston and make Lydia a visit now. The legislature was in session now, and she could see all “the big men.”

But Cousin Tabby had rebelled, declaring:

“I seen the guv’nor an’ the other big men two years ago, an’ they wan’t no great shakes, none o’ them, sech as I expected. Why, some o’ them men in the legislatour looked as jakey as any other mountain hoosier I ever seen! There was ole Uncle Silas Higgins, they sent him to the legislatour from our county, an’ he never did know beans; an’ there was ‘Pop’ Longanacre, how did he ever git there, I wonder? Not by brains, I reckon; only some hocus-pocus polyticks![Pg 286] No, I seen enough o’ them polytickers to last me all my life. Not a bit different from other folkses, they wa’n’t! New York suits me better’n any place else. If I could only git inter sassiety an’ git acquainted with some o’ the pritty men I see at the opery, I’d ask no more.”

So she knew better than to aggravate Patty now, when she saw her own fate hanging so clearly in the balance.

But her rugged sense of justice, clear enough when nothing was to be gained by treachery, would not permit her to join in a useless persecution of Eva. She continued to advocate pacification if possible.

Pondering deeply over the matter, she concluded that Patty’s aggravated ill temper was induced by the slight in not receiving cards to her cousin’s wedding.

“She blames me fer not getting Eva reconciled to us. She thought at first I was clever enough to do it, an’ so did I till we got there. But I was completely flabbergasted by their high an’ mighty ways, an’ crept out like a whipped dog.”

She sighed heavily to herself, and added:

“There ain’t but one way on this yearth I kin git inter Patty’s good graces ag’in, an’ that’s by gittin’ her an invite to Eva’s wedding. Well, I’ll try to do it. I’ll go to that house to-morrow and git that invite if I have to beg for it on my very knees! I’ll ask Eva’s pappy, an’ he may let me have it. Men hain’t never so spiteful as wimen! Maybe I could ketch him, too! He’s a likely old widower.”

[Pg 287]



The church and the home were both decorated for the wedding; the banquet was ready, the bride and the maid of honor were spending their last evening together.

Reggie was absent because his young friends were giving him a last bachelor supper in the grandest style.

But one more day and Eva would be a bride!

She and Ada had come upstairs early, leaving Mrs. Hamilton chatting with her brother in the cozy library.

“Come in, and let us look at the wedding gifts together,” Eva said, drawing Ada into her own rooms. She could not bear to be left alone to the companionship of her own thoughts. They kept wandering back to the interrupted bridal of over two years ago.

A fortune in wedding gifts was arranged on tables in her boudoir. They looked them over, admiring, while Ada said:

“How fortunate you are, my dear little girl!”

“Fortunate!” echoed Eva, but there was a world of tragic meaning in her tone.

She took up a white satin case and opened it. The electric light flashed on a heart pendant, set with rubies, that glowed weirdly like blood.

[Pg 288]

“I cannot keep from looking at this over and over,” she said. “It fascinates me. It seems symbolical. A bleeding heart! Why did Doctor Ludington send it to me?”

“To remind you, perhaps,” Ada answered gently.

“It was cruel—as if I ever could forget!” and her bosom shook with a long sigh as she put it from her hands again. She continued wildly:

“Oh, Ada, do you keep thinking of that other night as I do? Is it Reggie who will really be my bridegroom and not Rupert? Somehow I cannot realize it, now that it comes so terribly near. My brain is all in a whirl, my thoughts are confused; I am not happy and expectant, as on that other bridal eve. My heart feels heavy as lead in my breast! Do you—do you think anything can happen to prevent it this time?”

“What could happen, my darling? You are nervous and fanciful. There is nothing going to happen to mar your happiness this time. Come, let us look out at the beautiful moonlight,” drawing her to the window; “I have looked at jewels, and silverware, and bric-à-brac, and wedding gowns until my eyes ache. Let me refresh them with a bit of nature.”

It was a beautiful night, late in January, clear, cold, and frosty, the moon and myriad stars shining down from a cloudless sky. Below on the magnificent avenue the electric lights made it bright as day.

“What a beautiful night! You will have moonlight nights on the sea, Eva, and——” Ada broke off the sentence abruptly, beginning another one:

[Pg 289]

“Why, there’s a carriage stopping in front of the house. Who can be calling to-night? I thought we should be alone.”

“It is Reggie. Don’t you see him getting out of the carriage and coming in? Why, he told me he would be at the bachelor party to-night. I—I don’t think I want to see even him to-night. We shall be together so much afterward!” Eva faltered, with a catch in her breath like a stifled sob.

She sank down in a chair wearily, hopelessly, and hid her face in her little nervous hands.

“Don’t fret, dear. We will send down word that you have retired, and beg to be excused,” soothed Ada, wondering how Eva could be so indifferent to such a peerless bridegroom.

“Ah, if it were only me! If I only had the chance, how I would fly down to his dear arms!” she thought, with silent pain.

They sat silent, waiting for the summons; but minutes slipped away and it did not come.

“He has evidently not asked for you. Perhaps he only called for a word with his stepmother, and is going again in a minute. I will watch to see,” exclaimed Ada, with her face glued to the window pane.

The minutes slipped away till a quarter of an hour was told. They scarcely spoke to each other. Each had a curious air of expectancy.

Then Ada announced:

“He is going away again. To the bachelor party, I suppose.”

[Pg 290]

They watched him get into his carriage, heard the wheels as it rolled away. Both drew a breath of relief.

“It almost seemed strange, his coming to-night,” Eva exclaimed.

There was a light tap on the outer door, and she added:

“Auntie is coming to tell us what he wanted. Come in.”

Mr. Somerville stalked in with a face as gray and hueless as the dead.

“Oh, papa, how strange you look!” the girl cried in alarm. “Are you ill?—or—has anything happened?”

He drew her into his arms with a protecting air, groaning hoarsely:

“The worst has happened!”

“Oh, papa, I have you still—so it cannot be the worst,” she sobbed.

“Oh, my darling, how can I break the cruel truth to you? No, Miss Winton, do not go; you must hear it also. Eva, a fiend in human form, jealous of your happiness, has dealt you a cruel blow in the dark. The slanderer’s poisoned tongue has breathed into Reginald Hamilton’s ears the story of your blighted past and bitter misfortunes. He chooses to believe the worst, to break his word, to repudiate you! There will be no wedding to-morrow!”

[Pg 291]



None could tell how the ubiquitous reporters on the great morning dailies got the news of the broken marriage that night. But the next morning they announced it under various glaring headlines.

No names were given, but a slightly garbled version of the story was presented, so that “all who run may read.”

The young girl who had been the heroine of the terrible Hallowe’en tragedy, and afterward the temporary inmate of a madhouse, was represented as having deceived the scion of one of New York’s best families into an engagement that would have speedily culminated in marriage but for a fortunate happening in his favor.

A cousin of the heroine, coming to the city, and learning of the affair just in time to stop it, had written the bridegroom a long letter with all the facts, and referring him to the bride and her father for confirmation. On their admitting the truth he had renounced her with indignation, and the wedding was off, and the fair lady disconsolate.

Perhaps Mrs. Putnam and Patty could have told who furnished the reporters with their facts, but they remained quiet and enjoyed the sensation.

[Pg 292]

Fashionable New York society could scarcely credit what they read.

That sweet, innocent-looking young girl, it could not possibly be true! There must be some mistake. Perhaps the jealous cousin had slandered the lovely bride.

Excitement ran high all the morning, and everybody was wondering how poor Eva took the tragic affair. No one could have believed that it was one of the happiest moments of her life when her stricken father told her of Reggie’s visit and furious severance of the marriage engagement.

He did not tell her that hot words had been passed, after he had owned the truth of the story, though stoutly maintaining his daughter’s innocence. He did not wish her to know that he was likely to call Reggie out and fight him before the affair was settled.

He thought it was bad enough for her to hear that her bridegroom had forsaken her. He was not prepared for her reception of his news. He looked for a fainting scene, that was certain; that was why he had desired Miss Winton to stay.

It nearly broke his own heart to tell her the horrible truth. When he had gasped out the dreadful words he expected her clinging arms to drop from his neck, while she sank a dead weight on his breast.

Nothing she could have said or done would have surprised him so much as her first eager words:

“Oh, papa, then I shall not have to marry Reggie after all! What a load it takes off my heart!”

[Pg 293]


Her arms tightened about his neck, her lips pressed his cheek warmly, as she murmured:

“Dear papa, it is hard for you, but do not worry over me. I have been realizing that I made a great mistake, promising to marry Reggie. Love was so slow in coming I feared I might never find it, and that was unjust to poor Reggie. But you were all so pleased, so happy, I could not turn back. I had to go right on and make the best of it.”

“My poor darling! But you do not realize that Reggie has made you a target for the world’s scorn.”

“I can outlive it, cannot I, papa? But it is hard for you, dear, you had such pride in me! Oh, let me creep away and die somewhere, and never trouble you more, darling.”

“That is nonsense, my child. Life has been hard and cruel to you, but you were not to blame. As for Patty Groves, I shall know how to punish her for her sin.”

“Is auntie very angry with me, papa, dear?”

“She was at first—with us both. She took Reggie’s part, because we had never taken her into our confidence. She was lying on the floor in a faint when I came up to you, but I sent her maid.”

“Oh, go to her at once and make friends, papa. Then perhaps she will let me come to her, or she will come to me, and Ada will help me to tell her everything, so that she can believe me and love me again.”

[Pg 294]

Ada Winton came forward and drew her from her father’s arms.

“You are a brave little heroine, Eva. I love you more than ever. Go now to your sister, Mr. Somerville. I will care for our dear girl.”

He went out, and then the friends wept in each other’s arms—the one from relief, the other from sympathy.

“I am so glad, so glad,” was all the burden of the girl’s cry while the world thought she was disconsolate.

And by and by Mrs. Hamilton, disheveled and tearful, rushed into the room and took her into her arms.

“Poor darling, how you have suffered! How much you have gone through!” she cried, in passionate sympathy.

“Oh, auntie, you believe in me after all you have heard?” incredulously.

“As in the angels, my darling. I was angry at first, but my brother has gone over it with me, and I see my mistake. Reggie was hasty and foolish. He will repent and beg you to forgive him to-morrow.”

“I am not angry, auntie. I am only too glad to be free.”


“Yes, I was trying to love him, but there was another yet dearer, and I could not blot him from my heart.”

Long and earnestly they talked, until the midnight[Pg 295] hour chimed, and they sought the restful slumber needed so much after such excitement.

Some there were who did not rest well that night, but Eva was not of them.

Reginald Hamilton paced his floor all night, a prey to alternate rage and despair, loving and hating in the same breath.

Doctor Ludington elected to watch all night by a sinking patient, seeking in professional zeal surcease for a troubled mind, little dreaming what had happened or what the unknown morrow would bring forth.

Patty Groves, gloating over her revenge, could not sleep from sheer satisfaction.

But little Eva, with the terrible weight gone from her heart, fell asleep with tender tears on her lashes, and the pathetic thought:

“Thank Heaven, I can go on loving Rupert again now until he marries Ada. Then it will be a sin!”

[Pg 296]



And so it was that the world woke up the next morning and read the story.

The newsboys cried their papers on the streets.

“All about the broken-off wedding at Trinity!”

“All about the great sensation—the woman with a past!”

“Terrible scandal in high life!”

“Read about the Southern vendetta and the double tragedy, and the pretty girl that went mad for love!”

It was the last that attracted the attention of a loutish fellow gawking about on a street corner so that he bought a newspaper and retired into a cheap restaurant to discuss it with his breakfast.

And as he read his eyes began to bulge and his chin to drop, so that his large mouth gaped half open long before he muttered:

“By gum! I knows ’em all, every one! It’s Doc Ludington, Pat Groves and them, for I seen little Eva last week with a big, handsome man they said she was ’gaged to marry this week! Now what for did that sneakin’ Pat want to come and spile sport for, by gum! Ain’t she done devilment enuff already with her joking?”

His brow grew dark as he remembered the wretchedness[Pg 297] he had endured in keeping the twins’ miserable secret of Hallowe’en night.

He began to vaguely wonder if it had been necessary, if he might not have fared better confessing the truth and staying at home?

His thoughts flew to Doctor Ludington and the night he had succored him from misery and starvation.

“What’s that he said, I wonder, about doing good deeds and finding comfort in ’em? I might a-done a good deed oncet if I’d told the truth, and saved people from thinking bad about poor little Eva! I told a lie, and the mischief keeps going on and on, and spreading away out here in New York. I wisht now I never had of done it!”

With his chin sunk on the breast of his warm new overcoat, he mused upon the past and all the cruel events that had followed upon his falsehood.

Two men were talking earnestly near him over a little table, and he overheard one saying to the other:

“It’s never too late to mend! I’m going to turn over a new leaf!”

“By gum, so will I!” ejaculated Dan Ellis, and he got up and paid for his meal and hurried out upon the sidewalk.

“If I’ve lost that pasteboard thing he give me, I s’pose I’ll never find him!” he muttered, searching his pocket for Doctor Ludington’s card.

“Hooray, here ’tis, and I’m off! I’ll see if it makes a poor, homesick chap feel good to do the right thing[Pg 298] by the man that saved his life,” he said, setting off at almost a run for the hospital.

Arrived there, it was not so easy to find the young doctor, or at least to gain admittance to him.

“He’s shut up in his room, after staying up all night with a dying man!” an attendant told him.

“I only want him a minit!”

“He gave orders he would not be disturbed for anything. He is not feeling well.”

“I reckon not, if he read the papers this morning, poor chap!” muttered Dan; then aloud:

“He’ll see me, and be glad enough of it, though I am tough-looking, I know. Please, sir, go and tell him hit’s Dan Ellis, from West Virginny, on a matter of life and death!”

The man said afterward that the message took effect as quick as a dose of the doctor’s own medicine. He said he wanted Dan brought to him at once.

Very ill and wretched he looked, lying back in his armchair with the morning papers all about him.

“Ah, Dan, so it was you I ran into that night? I’ve puzzled over you since, knowing your face so well, though your name eluded me. Well, what can I do for you this time?” he asked kindly.

“It’s me as kin help you this time, doc!” cried Dan, and blundered into a full confession of his wrongdoing at the instigation of the twins.

The doctor’s pale face grew radiant with a holy joy. He put self aside and thought only of Eva.

“If you will come with me to Mr. Hamilton’s[Pg 299] Dan, and tell this story, you may restore little Eva’s happiness,” he cried eagerly.

“I’m in your hands, doc. Do anything you like with me!” was the glad reply.

In a few minutes they were in a carriage on their way.

After some difficulty with Reggie’s valet, they gained admittance to him, and made their business known.

What a moment for Reginald Hamilton! Doubt changed to certainty, sorrow to joy, despair to hope.

“If she will only forgive me!” he cried hopefully, but Doctor Ludington could not tell him what to expect. He only said:

“If I have any influence I will use it for you. But go now and beguile Patty Groves some way to Fifth Avenue, and I will meet you there with Dan. Justice shall be done at last, and little Eva’s fair name righted before the world, while the shame of the falsehood that marred her life shall fall on Patty Groves, where it belongs!”

[Pg 300]



Patty could scarcely conceal her joy that Reginald Hamilton should invite her to accompany him to her cousin’s home and corroborate the truth of her scandalous story.

She thought it was a grand triumph to ride by his side in his fine carriage, secretly hoping to win him yet, since Eva had lost him forever.

“What’s up now, Pat?” Miss Tabby had inquired meekly, for only that morning she had been coolly told that Patty was going to ship her home to-morrow, and have done with her forever.

“The matter is that I’m invited to Eva’s at last!”

“Oh, Patty, how kin you face the poor gal arter what you done last night?” whimpered the spinster, who had read it in the papers with silent disapprobation.

“I can face anybody!” Patty cried serenely, in her exuberant joy.

“Mayn’t I go along, Patty, to chapyrone you one more time?”

“No, you may not. I’m going with the grand Mr. Hamilton, that jilted Eva, and I want a good chance alone with him to cut her out in his heart. So go along to your room and stay there, you old idiot!”

[Pg 301]

Miss Tabby obeyed the rude command, going at once to her room, but only staying long enough to don her false frizette and best clothes. Arrayed in this splendor, she set forth at a rapid walk, all her green plumes nodding wildly in the nipping wind, while she said to herself mutinously:

“If I can’t ride in the carriage with her, I reckon I kin walk behind it. I ain’t lost the use o’ my laigs yit. But if she’s a-going to Eva’s house, I’m a-going, too, for I ain’t mistreated the chile as bad as she done, anyway, an’ I got as good a right visitin’ with her as she has!”

Puffing like a steam engine, her feathers flying like an Indian’s in a war dance, the old maid at last reached Mr. Somerville’s stately residence, and sank exhausted on the white marble steps.

“Whew! I’m about blowed!” she panted, adding curiously:

“Two carriages waitin’ before the door, like a fun’ral, or a wedding! There ain’t nobody dead, I reckon, and Pat has clar broke up the wedding, the spiteful thing! ’Clar to goodness, I’m sorry now ’at I ever went agin’ poor little Eva! Wonder if they is entertainin’ company to-day? Maybe I’m sort o’ pushing myself, but I has as good right to an invite as Patty, an’ I mean to stan’ my groun’ if the gent at the door will let me go in!”

Apparently the “gent” was just a little flustrated, for he did not oppose her entrance when she said to him humbly:

[Pg 302]

“Please, sir, do let me go in a while to see my Cousin Eva. I was coming with Patty, but the carriage was too full, and I had to walk; that’s why I am later than the rest of the company.”

This artful dodge sufficed to make the man admit her, respectfully saying:

“The guests are assembled in the library madam,” indicating a door some distance down the corridor.

Miss Tabby bridled, and answered mincingly.

“Oh, thank you, kind sir, but I’m not a madam yet, although I may take a notion to change my name any time!”

And she sailed grandly down the splendid corridor between the potted palms and gleaming white statues, pausing once to adjust her false front with a view to the enslavement of Mr. Somerville’s heart.

“If I could only ketch him, I needn’t go back to the poky country to scratch for a living!” she was thinking as she softly drew aside a fold of the rich portière and peeped in at the assembled company.

What she saw after a brief scrutiny made her drop the curtain and start back in amazement, muttering:

“Land sakes, if there ain’t Doctor Ludington an’ that there Dan Ellis that runned away arter that Hallowe’en trag’dy! Where did he fall from, and what on yearth is he doing of here? Is Mr. Somerville gwine to hire him for a chore boy? I didn’t know they had any cows to milk an’ pigs to feed up in New York. I s’pose Doc Ludington’s giving him a ricommend to the fambly! My, how uppish Pat[Pg 303] looks, setting by Hamilton’s side! An’ sakes alive, there’s a West Virginny gal on the sofy by Eva, that Miss Winton, up to Weston. What’s she doing here, too? How solemn they all look, from Mr. Somerville an’ his grand sister, even down to Dan! Guess it’s a mighty dry company; no laffin’ and jokin’ yet. I better slip in an’ not say nothin’ to no one at first, for fear they run me out before I find out what they all come together for!”

As every one seemed to be paying great attention to a remark of Doctor Ludington’s, she sidled in and sank down unperceived on the nearest chair, half hidden by a large jardiniere of flowers.

“You all know the story of the tragedy in which Miss Somerville and myself figured so prominently,” he said. “Miss Groves has chosen to revive it in all its horror, but she has not been very accurate. She has left out one link in the chain.”

Patty, who had been eyeing Dan all along with fear and trembling, now attempted to speak and utter a defiant denial, but the man by her side said to her sternly:

“Hush! Wait till he tells his story!”

Doctor Ludington continued:

“Through a hideous practical joke that Miss Groves and her sister were too cowardly or too malicious to confess, the whole horrible complication came about, causing one man’s death, and wrecking the lives of others. Get up, Dan Ellis, and tell the company your part in that hideous Hallowe’en tragedy!”

[Pg 304]

Dan shambled to his feet, looking almost manly in his eagerness to undo his mistake. He saw beautiful Eva looking at him with eager, hopeful eyes, and her glance encouraged him to speak out before the grand company.

“’Twarn’t my fault; I never would a-done anythin’ to hurt you, little Eva,” he said, looking straight into her wondering eyes. “But Patty and Lydia, they said as how you was setting supper by your bed to try your fortin’, that your intended husbin’ would come an’ sup with you at midnight in a dream. Do you remember it, little Eva?”

They were all too much interested to smile even when he kept on addressing her as if she were still a child and his social equal, but looking at her as she murmured: “Yes, Dan,” they saw her glance quickly and blushingly at Doctor Ludington, then her lashes drooped again.

Dan nodded and continued:

“Pat and Lyd said what a fine joke ’twould be for some horrid, ugly old man to ’pear at the bedside, and they give me some money to go to old Doctor Binks’ offis arter ’leven o’clock an’ tell him to come right straight off to little Eva; she was a-chokin’ with a nawful bad cold. I went and told him all right, but he was drunk as a biled owl, and so he sent his assistant, Doc Ludington, in his place. And that’s how the hull trouble come about. I could swar to it on a thousand Bibles! Then, when thet trouble come in through Terry Groves’ makin’ a mistake and shootin’[Pg 305] too soon, his sisters was ’shamed to own their part in bringing the hull thing on. They kep’ mute as mice, and told me if I confessed what I had done at their biddin’ I would be hung ackcessary to the murder, and ’vised me to run away, which I done!”

“The fellow is lying!” Patty muttered, turning pale as the dead.

“Naw, he hain’t, nuther!” cried a loud, shrill voice, as Miss Tabby started up like a Jack-in-a-box from her seat, wagging her head, her frizette awry, her feathers flying, as she added:

“He has told the gospel truth, has Dan Ellis, for Lydia told me all about it last year when she was so ill an’ feared she was a-goin’ to die. She said it laid heavy on her conscience, the way she’d helped to treat Eva, an’ if she died I was to tell the truth about it to everybuddy, but if she got well she’d be ’shamed to have it known! But I don’t feel as I had any call not to tell it now. I done parsecuted poor little Eva long enough, an’ to no good, for that ongrateful Patty has turned me off to go home an’ shift for myself, an’ I’m bound to git my revenge on her before I go!”

She might have maundered on still further, but there came an unexpected, startling interruption.

Reginald Hamilton, starting from his seat, his brilliant eyes dimmed with tears, knelt like a supplicant at Eva’s feet, crying:

“My injured angel, how much you have endured from the malice of those fiendish women! It breaks my heart to think of it, and to recall the cruel part I[Pg 306] took in it, without stopping for a moment to think that your angel face was a testimony to your angelic purity! Oh, my wronged, adored one, will you forgive me?”

Patty sneered contemptuously, but no one noticed her; they were watching so eagerly for the reconciliation of the lovers.

Very sweetly and kindly Eva looked at him, and answered:

“I forgive you, Reggie!”

“God bless you, dear. I do not deserve it, but my devotion shall atone for all. Will you try to love me again? May our wedding go on to-night?”

“Get up Reggie. You must not kneel to me; we are only friends hereafter. I can never be your wife now!”

He staggered to his feet, staring at her blankly.

“But you said that you forgave me, dear Eva!”

Eva stood up, facing him, with pity and sympathy in her eyes.

“I do forgive you freely, Reggie, dear, and I want you always for my friend. But I am going to free my mind and make a confession. I never really loved you as a girl should love the man she is to marry. My heart was desolated by a hopeless love for one I could never wed, and I turned to you for solace. My family wished it, society expected it, you urged it, and I yielded—and repented the moment after! I am grateful for my freedom. I thank Heaven that it came in time. Forgive my frankness, but it is best!”

[Pg 307]

She dropped back into her seat and hid her face on Ada’s shoulder.

Doctor Ludington started forward impetuously, but restrained himself. Where was the use?

He realized with rapture that she loved him still, but he knew she would never yield her prejudice, her blind following of what seemed her duty to the dead.

But the unbidden guest, emboldened by feeling that she had done something to redeem herself just now, came quickly forward to Eva’s side, saying curiously:

“Maybe tain’t none o’ my business, Eva, chile, but I want to know what’s your reasons for not marrying Doctor Ludington, who seems to be a pretty likely man! Seems to me it’s time for the two famblies to stop hating each other for nonsense past an’ gone!”

Eva lifted her white, tearful face wistfully, answering with a strong shudder:

“It—it is not simply the old prejudice, Cousin Tabby, but my Cousin Terry’s blood, flowing like a crimson river between our hearts!”

“Oh, it’s that way?” and a strange gleam came into the old woman’s eyes as she added:

“Well, little Eva, s’posen the man he accidentally killed hadn’t a-been your cousin a-tall, what then? Could you marry him then?”

Eva, with a furtive glance at the young doctor, faltered “Yes.”

Miss Tabby’s eyes beamed with triumphant joy. She beckoned the doctor to her side, exclaiming:

[Pg 308]

“Good news for you, doctor! She’s yours! Terry Groves warn’t never no kin to Eva!”

Every one cried out in wonder, and Patty fumed in impotent rage, but the spinster went on joyfully:

“After gran’ther’s death, when the twins an’ me went over his papers and the ones o’ their father’s, that they brung with ’em from Kansas, we found out something they never dreamed, nor I don’t think gran’ther ever suspected, either, by not reading over the papers in the little black trunk. Well, Terry Groves was John Groves’ adopted son. His mother and father both died of the fever, and the Groveses took the leettle baby to raise for their own. Terry O’Kelly was his real name. He had Irish blood—’twas that made him so quick an’ fiery. Now, Eva!”

She had put the girl’s hand into Doctor Ludington’s. She looked up at him, whispering:

“Is it too late? Do you love Ada?”

“Only you, my darling,” he replied, and with a great sob of joy she flung herself into the arms that closed round her and held her tight.

“Bless you, my children! The wedding shall go on to-night!” cried Mr. Somerville between laughter and tears, touched to the heart by this triumph of true love.

And seeing that all were crowding forward to congratulate the happy pair, he added:

“One moment, my friends, before you begin to rejoice with Eva, for I have a word for Miss Groves!”

Patty met his gaze with sullen fury as he said:

[Pg 309]

“In the early days of my marriage I took a mortgage on your grandfather’s farm that was never paid, and it stands recorded in the County Court of Harrison County. I intended never to foreclose it, but to leave to you and your sister the inheritance of which, by your persecutions, you defrauded my daughter. But I have changed my mind. I shall send my lawyer to foreclose this mortgage next week, to punish you for your malice as displayed in your last unsuccessful attempt to break my daughter’s heart.”

She cried out in rage that she did not believe him; he was only trying to frighten her; she would engage a lawyer to defend her case.

“It will not do you any good. I have the law on my side!” he returned, and after events proved this to be true.

But looking at Miss Tabby, he added kindly:

“But this poor old woman who repented her cruelty, and made atonement at last by securing Eva’s happiness, shall be rewarded by an ample annuity for life!”

Patty could not bear the look of triumph Cousin Tabby turned on her face. She rushed from the house, and returned thenceforth to the poverty and obscurity from which she had temporarily emerged.

Dan Ellis was rewarded according to his service, and had the way paved for him to return in safety to his beloved native State.

Eva’s marriage, that same night, was celebrated with as much éclat as if she had married Reginald Hamilton, and she went forth next day on her wedding[Pg 310] journey with her adored and adoring husband, on a bridal tour that was but the beginning of a lifetime of unalloyed happiness.

Her honor was vindicated, justice had triumphed, life was all sunshine.

It was a bitter blow to Reginald Hamilton, but time brought healing on its wings. As Ada continued for some time his stepmother’s guest, his sincere admiration for her beauty and charm merged into the deeper feeling of love, and when Eva returned with her husband, six months later, she had hastened her coming to be a guest at Reggie’s and Ada’s wedding!


No. 1079 of the New Eagle Series, entitled “No Time for Penitence,” by Wenona Gilman, is a story of true love and constancy, of intrigue and treachery. This is a romance that will appeal to all who enjoy a real love story.



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1 Cousin Maude By Mary J. Holmes
2 Rosamond Leyton By Mary J. Holmes
6 Beulah By Augusta J. Evans
10 The Homestead on the Hillside By Mary J. Holmes
14 East Lynne By Mrs. Henry Wood
16 A Romance of Two Worlds By Marie Corelli
17 Cleopatra By H. Rider Haggard
18 Maggie Miller By Mary J. Holmes
27 Under Two Flags By “Ouida”
28 Dora Deane By Mary J. Holmes
29 Ardath. Vol. I By Marie Corelli
30 Ardath. Vol. II By Marie Corelli
31 The Light That Failed By Rudyard Kipling
32 Tempest and Sunshine By Mary J. Holmes
35 Inez By Augusta J. Evans
36 Phyllis By “The Duchess”
42 Vendetta By Marie Corelli
43 Sapho By Alphonse Daudet
44 Lena Rivers By Mary J. Holmes
48 Meadowbrook By Mary J. Holmes
50 Won by Waiting By Edna Lyall
51 Camille By Alexandre Dumas
53 Uncle Tom’s Cabin By Harriet Beecher Stowe
54 The English Orphans By Mary J. Holmes
57 Ethelyn’s Mistake By Mary J. Holmes
58 Treasure Island By Robert Louis Stevenson
59 Mildred Trevanion By “The Duchess”
60 Dead Man’s Rock By “Q.” (A. T. Quiller-Couch)
61 The Iron Pirate By Max Pemberton
62 Molly Bawn By “The Duchess”
63 Lorna Doone By R. D. Blackmore
66 Airy Fairy Lilian By “The Duchess”
67 The Cruise of the “Cachalot” By Frank T. Bullen
69 The Last Days of Pompeii By Sir Bulwer Lytton
71 The Duchess By “The Duchess”
72 Plain Tales From the Hills By Rudyard Kipling
75 She By H. Rider Haggard
76 Beatrice By H. Rider Haggard
77 Eric Brighteyes By H. Rider Haggard
78 Beyond the City By A. Conan Doyle
79 Rossmoyne By “The Duchess”
80 King Solomon’s Mines By H. Rider Haggard
81 She’s All the World to Me By Hall Caine
83 Kidnapped By Robert Louis Stevenson
84 Undercurrents By “The Duchess”
87 The House on the Marsh By Florence Warden
88 The Witch’s Head By H. Rider Haggard
89 A Perilous Secret By Charles Reade
93 Beauty’s Daughters By “The Duchess”
100 Led Astray By Octave Feuillet
102 Marvel By “The Duchess”
107 The Visits of Elizabeth By Elinor Glyn
108 Allan Quatermain By H. Rider Haggard
110 Soldiers Three By Rudyard Kipling
113 A Living Lie By Paul Bourget
114 Portia By “The Duchess”
117 John Halifax, Gentleman By Miss Mulock
118 The Tragedy in the Rue de la Paix By Adolphe Belot
119 A Princess of Thule By William Black
122 Doris By “The Duchess”
123 Carmen and Colomba By Prosper Merimee
125 The Master of Ballantrae By Robert Louis Stevenson
126 The Toilers of the Sea By Victor Hugo
127 Mrs. Geoffrey By “The Duchess”
128 Jack’s Courtship By W. Clark Russell
129 Love and Shipwreck By W. Clark Russell
130 Beautiful Jim By John Strange Winter
131 Lady Audley’s Secret By Miss M. E. Braddon
132 The Frozen Pirate By W. Clark Russell
133 Rory O’Moore By Samuel Lover
134 A Modern Circe By “The Duchess”
135 Foul Play By Charles Reade
137 I Have Lived and Loved By Mrs. Forrester
138 Elsie Venner By Oliver Wendell Holmes
139 Hans of Iceland By Victor Hugo
141 Lady Valworth’s Diamonds By “The Duchess”
143 John Holdsworth, Chief Mate By W. Clark Russell
145 Jess By H. Rider Haggard
146 The Honorable Mrs. Vereker By “The Duchess”
147 The Dead Secret By Wilkie Collins
148 Ships That Pass in the Night By Beatrice Harraden
149 The Suicide Club By Robert Louis Stevenson
150 A Mental Struggle By “The Duchess”
152 Colonel Quaritch, V.C. By H. Rider Haggard
153 The Way of a Siren By “The Duchess”
158 Lady Branksmere By “The Duchess”
159 A Marriage at Sea By W. Clark Russell
162 Dick’s Sweetheart By “The Duchess”
165 Faith and Unfaith By “The Duchess”
166 The Phantom Rickshaw By Rudyard Kipling
209 Rose Mather By Mary J. Holmes
210 At Mather House By Mary J. Holmes
211 Edith Trevor’s Secret By Mrs. Harriet Lewis
212 Cecil Rosse By Mrs. Harriet Lewis
213 Cecil’s Triumph By Mrs. Harriet Lewis
214 Guy Earlscourt’s Wife By May Agnes Fleming
215 The Leighton Homestead By Mary J. Holmes
216 Georgie’s Secret By Mary J. Holmes
217 Lady Kildare By Mrs. Harriet Lewis
218 Kathleen’s Strange Husband By Mrs. Harriet Lewis
219 Millbank By Mary J. Holmes
220 Magda’s Choice By Mary J. Holmes
221 Sundered Hearts By Mrs. Harriet Lewis
222 Bitter Sweet By Mrs. Harriet Lewis
223 Edith Lyle’s Secret By Mary J. Holmes
224 Edith’s Daughter By Mary J. Holmes
225 A Wonderful Woman By May Agnes Fleming
226 The Mystery of Bracken Hollow By May Agnes Fleming
227 The Haunted Husband By Mrs. Harriet Lewis
228 The White Life Endures By Mrs. Harriet Lewis
229 Darkness and Daylight By Mary J. Holmes
230 The Unloved Husband By Mary J. Holmes
231 Neva’s Three Lovers By Mrs. Harriet Lewis
232 Neva’s Choice By Mrs. Harriet Lewis

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