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ton; and his perplexity was at least equal to his regret. It was impossible for him to marry. His mother, who had for years been in infirm health, was dependent upon him for all the comforts of life—her own property barely sufficing for mere subsistence; and the allowance he had made her was so large in proportion to his income as to leave him only sufficient for his expenses. The question now was,
without expressing his sentiments to Cornelia, or had he already so plainly showed his attachment that an open avowal was due to himself as well as to her ?
He was too excited to judge calmly. One moment he would mentally exclaim against his wwn vanity, in supposing he had made any impression on her heart; and again memory would present vividly some scene or conversation, until he forgot to reason, in the sweet remeinbrance of bright hours gone. He could satisfy himself in neither case, and at last remembering that he had an engagement at Mrs. Lyndsay's, where he hoped to meet Cornelia, he decided to tell her of his intended departure, and let circumstances shape the result, as they have done so often before, even in spite of the best-laid plans.
On arriving at Mrs. Lyndsay's, his eyes eagerly sought the only face they had ever loved to rest on, but sought in vain. At last he approached Marion, and learned from her that Cornelia was gone, and that there was no hope of her return before his own departure. With the undefined, and unacknowledged superstition, that is inseparable from all imaginative temperaments, the tidings fell on his heart as an omen of separation. At any rate the decision was made for him now, whatever the future might bring.
When Cornelia returned home, it was not until all the details of her visit, and her friend's wedding festivities had been duly rehearsed, that her sisters, in giving the news of their own circle, mentioned, “Oh, by the way, Nela, Captain Vernon is ordered off: he was at Aunt
Lyndsay's last week, and was desperately dis appointed at not being able to bid you goodbye.”
It is wonderful how rapid in its action is the instinct of self-control. Cornelia neither started nor flushed, but continuing her work for a moment—“Where is he gone?” she said, carelessly.
“I do not know-I did not think to ask him; but we shall miss him very much, he was so pleasant."
“Very pleasant," echoed Nela, tranquilly; and, after a few minutes, she quietly left the
She was quiet even when she reached her own room, locked the door, and sat down in the wide easy-chair by the table. The blow was too sudden and overwhelming, to cause outward agitation; but within the tempest was fearful: for the sorrow and desolation were embittered by a feeling of shame and self-reproach that she should have suffered her heart to become so entangled.
But the ordinary course of their acquaintance, in their casual meetings, had never awakened a suspicion in her mind of any deeper interest, She knew that his circumstances would not justify him in seeking an engagement, and although she felt certain, on reviewing his conduct, that he thought more of her than of others, she respected him for his forbearance.
She thought long and deeply, and more calmly as she became convinced that neither party was to blame; and at last she could resolve that this trial, instead of subduing her, should be an incentive to a higher life, and she could feel and value the privilege of having known so pure and noble a spirit. And thenceforward, though there was no change apparent to the eyes of others, she was changed for ever
From this hidden sorrow, patiently received, grew heroic strength and endurance. From the love of one whom she considered so far above her, resulted a striving after that perfection she reverenced.
Are there not sorrows in life whereof it
may be truly said that we entertain angels unaware? How much of our highest joy hereafter may be the fruit of the untold griefs of earth, with their deep spiritual discipline.
There is an old legend of a fairy changeling, reclaimed by her mother at the fairy raid ; and though, while clasped in her arms, the maiden turns to many fearful shapes, and at last to a flame of fire, the mother holds her firmly, till at dawn she sees her delivered child, her heart's best treasure. Perhaps in the dawn of the eternal day, our treasures may be found among the fiery trials that we have clasped to our hearts in patience through life's long weary night.