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Sumner about a novel lately issued, the plot of which gave him precisely the opening he desired

“Then you believe, Miss Sumner, that first love is not always the only love."

“I believe,” said she, smiling, “that such characters as the hero and heroine of that book, could love just as well half a dozen times, and that there are plenty of good people in the world of the same moderate capacity.”

“But stronger natures—those who can feel genuine, deep love ?"

“I think there is a love that can only be experienced once; and that having once been felt no after affection can replace.”

“But if misplaced ; if a person has been deceived ?"

“I can imagine a person loving, and finding after all, that they had loved an ideal, not the being they had invested with false attributes; and the possibility of such a one afterward loving rightly and truly."

" And would such love content you ?"

There was a tremulous eagerness in his tone, that made Marion look up surprised, but her eyes fell under the burning gaze that met her.

“Oh, Marion, do not answer hastily. Let me tell you all, and then judge whether I may ever hope to win what has become dearer to me than life. I have loved before; most intensely loved a beautiful girl whom I knew in my youth. She had the most perfect face, as far as outline and color went, that I ever beheld; and her large dark eyes could look full of soul. There was one thing that might have, in some measure, undeceived me. Her voice, carefully trained as it was, remained cold even in its lowest tones. There was not a heart-note in it.

“Well, I loved her, and of course thought her perfection. I was studying my profession, and was considered promising, and a good match; she was the child of worldly people, who were known to live far beyond their

She had many admirers, but few suitors : in the company she kept a portionless girl was not easily married.


“We agreed that after my admission I should go to the west, and as soon as I was well established should return for her. How I labored during those three years! They were years of incessant, unwearied toil; cheered alone by the prospect that hope held constantly before me. We corresponded, and precious as I held those letters, I found myself excusing, even to my own mind, a something felt to be wanting; yet they were affectionate letters, full of all that should have been satisfying.

“ At last the term of probation was over. I had prepared a home for her, and had a steadily increasing practice among people who liked and trusted me.

“All was ready, the day of our marriage fixed, and I was writing a last letter to announce my journey to bring home my bride.

“In that very hour I received her wedding cards! She had been married a week, to a man I had often heard her ridicule-whom I knew

she despised; narrow-minded, ill-educated, unprepossessing in appearance, he had but one recommendation—he had lately fallen heir to an immense fortune.

“I could not, rather, I would not, believe it. I hurried to the city, to find it was but too true; and worse, that I was not the only one she had deceived.

“With no other person had she gone so far ; but there was more than one, who had good reason to believe that he was the favored suitor of the heartless girl, whose vanity would be gratified whoever might suffer.

“I never saw her again. It seemed an overwhelming misery; and it was long, very long, ere my ideal rose again bright and pure above the ruins of the broken idol I had so long vainly worshipped. I believed that my heart was dead, that no love could ever bid it throb again, at the voice of any woman breathing. But I have learned at last to know that it is not so. I have found in you all that I had believed lost to me for ever. Hopes and dreams have

risen in my heart, with brighter radiance than ever before. Marion, I know you are true; may I, dare I hope to win your love? If that cannot be, I shall still love you, and you only, to the end of my life. But if-ah, Marion, grant me one word to decide my fate.”

How that decision was pronounced, it were needless to tell.

Doctor Wood for once did not see Marion ready to meet him when he came home that evening, and his first greeting next morning was,

“So, I must look out another assistant! But you have chosen well, my darling,” he added, as he kissed her cheek, “God bless you both.”

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