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the North is new to me yet.” Then, starting to his, its surface, with Pleasure at the helm. It was a merry, feet, and stretching out his arms, he exclaimed: wild, free little stream, disporting itself after no known
“I like the air. Shan't we go out? I never pen law, careering onward through green woods, wild myself when I can help it."
forests, jagged and dark clefts, hurling itself down He walked to the door, and out upon the lawn, we rocky heights, leaping with its glad young life over following him.
impeding objects, and rushing away with its gay, glee“Ah! This is fine. Beautiful! I like mountains— some laugh, reckless of its future, of the storms that rivers. Do you, Miss Harlow ?”
were to darken over its surface, or the turbulent, never“Both,” replied my sister, looking into his face with resting sea into which at last it was to plunge, stained, a wondering, abstracted air.
wearied, and heavy-laden. “Nothing suits me but the wild. I don't like the The valley through which coursed this river, was one South, Mark. I want the rugged, the grand. My heart of the most beautiful I ever beheld in America. It exbounds on the mountain top. Look at that high peak. tended between two ranges of high hills, or mountains, I will go there to-morrow."
sometimes compressed into a narrow clove, at others “ You love adventure,” said Imy.
expanding into a sea of meadow, undulating and green, He stretched out his arms as if grasping at some- with the river's course marked by its willow fringe, thing. I soon discovered this to be his habit.
save where orchards and groves and cottages varied “I want quick blood." His eyes seemed to blaze for and beautified its banks. Spurs of the forest at interan instant and then go out.
vals shot down the mountain sides far into the valley; “Mark is fond of adventure, too. You can pace and occasionally green pasture land had thrust itself these mountains together.”
laboriously and obstinately up some less rugged peak. “I like to go alone,” said he, abruptly.
My father had selected his grounds upon a narrow part “Oh, well, then,” laughed Imy, “Mark and you are of the valley, where a lawn-like bank extended to the suited to each other, for he is a perfect recluse. He water's edge, thickly studded with grand old trees, with spends whole days in the mountains-alone, so he tells the opposite shore rich wooded, abrupt, and wildly pic
turesque, and below, the valley opening into a wide and I could not help blushing a little, as Imy mischiev- rare panorama of wood and glade, orchard and meadow. ously glanced at me during this speech-why, the reader Below some miles where the hills converged again, the shall know anon.
valley was crossed by a rail-road viaduct, of many “ Alone with a lady ?" quietly inquired Harold, as massive granite arches, reminding one by this unusual he detected the glance Imy shot at me.
adjunct to an American landscape, of some Continental “Oh, no, indeed,” exclaimed Imy, gleefully, “for scene. pure love of the woods. He takes such long rides to We reached the river's edge, and walked along its see new prospects; he spends hours in merely gathering winding bank. Harold's reserve wore off rapidly. mosses ; he's so fond of botany, that entire days are Strange fancies, and wild, fantastic thoughts began to occupied in hunting ap a single rare plant. He disdains break from him. His temper showed an ever-varying company—that is, he disdains mine."
mood—bitterness and gentleness, sarcasm and pathos, “He is in love," said Harold, with his characteristic light gay humor, and deep, dark passion. He was imbluntness. Imy clapped her hands and laughed. Imy, pressed by every change in the scene around him. He whose high spirits had been slightly dampened by young shivered when the sun passed behind a cloud; a gloomy Clarefield, on his first appearance, was now recovering shadow seemed to rest upon him until it emerged again. the natural gleeful and buoyant temper of her mind, The smooth, soft scene lulled him; the wild and rugged and I could see that her laugh, her joyous, sunny inspired him. He reminded me of Hamlet's antic disnature, fell athwart the gloomy dark current of Harold position. Clarefield's thoughts, with a softening and beneficial The river appeared to fascinate him. He would influence. He seemed attracted to her. His eyes fol- pause and look at it with eager, straining eyes. He lowed every movement. He listened greedily as she walked down and let the waves ripple over his feet. spoke, with his gaze fastened on her face. He even " I see life in a river always,” said he, musingly; drew near her, and lifted a stray curl that had fallen then adding with a sudden gloom, “and death someover hier shoulder, putting it with nervous fingers to its times.” place.
“And death ?" said Imy, with a shudder, who was “Let us walk," said he suddenly; "how beautiful affected by his changes of feeling. the river is !"
It certainly is like life," said I, tritely enough. Imy ran in to get her bonnet, and then we walked “It flows, every drop in the wide world, onward to down to the river's edge. The stream upon whose the ocean. That's why it is life.”
“But how is it death p” said Imy, clinging to the of St. Mark's Place, New York, had erected his country painful image. house, ran through a small valley on the line of one of “ Is it not often a grave? Oblivion is in its depths. the rail-roads that diverge from the great city. It was It ought to be the common cemetery — with life a narrow, devious stream, never touched by the keel of flowing for ever
life sucking at your vessel, save the tiny crafts that were sent dancing over | dead heart and rushing on with it particles to eter
, and |
nity. I would rather mingle with a river than with the father see that you watch the movements of his dust."
son too closely. He is sensitive that way." “Why, Clarefield," exclaimed I, “let us forswear such That night Imy and I sat together discussing our dark subjects. Can't we talk of happier things ?” strange visitors. “No," said le, “I like it besi."
“ Harold affects me strangely,” said she;
“I shudder at " Not death ?”
his wild words, and yet he almost fascinates me. It is He stretched out his arms again.
sad, very sad." “Not death, but something more than this. Life is a We talked of his singular, unearthly beauty, of his lie. It has mocked me long enough. It offers plea- wonderful eyes, of his too certain doom, of the extrasures that prove bitter, sensations that are torments, feel- ordinary, but happy influence exercised over him by his ings that are adders."
father, of the great depth of the love between them, I looked at him with astonishment, and instinctively of the sad, care-worn countenance of the elder, of the drew my sister nearer to my side.
object of their visit here, yet unexplained—we talked “I would rather be a bird,” he continued, walking upon the theme in all its many aspects, lingering up and down the river's edge, with his head bared, some- upon the subject with thrilling interest hour after times splashing into its pools.; "a beast, anything than hour. what I am. Don't I know? Don't I feel ? Life is a As I ascended to my chamber near midnight, I was tug at the heart, a bránd upon the brain. It is some- attracted while passing through one of the passages of thing to be rid of—to be thrown off. I cannot even the second floor, by a flood of light streaming through sleep. I cannot breathe."
the open door-way of the room in which young ClareAgain that grasping, eager, out-stretching of the field was lodged. My course took me past the open arms. He was not addressing us now, but giving un- door, and instinctively impressed by the silence of the conscious vent to his emotions.
hour, and the mystery which surrounded the unhappy “Life lies a weight upon my breast—thrusts its hot youth, I passed cautiously and noiselessly on, until I fingers into my
veins-holds my brain in a vice. I will reached the spot, when the rapid glance I sent into the be free some day.”
room, arrested and chained my feet to the floor. That “Great Heaven," I whispered in Imy's ear, “this is single glance revealed to me a scene which has always madness.”
lived in my mind as a condensation of the unhappy Hot tears of pity sprang into my sister's eyes, but she history of this father and his son. did not reply. The unhappy youth turned suddenly Harold was tossing in a restless sleep—his breathing towards us.
heavy- his arms tossed above his head. Upon the “You like the world," said he, "to dance through bedside was seated the father-one hand pressed upon its puzzling mazes, to whirl through its follies, to drink the heart of the sleeping boy, the other smoothing back its tasteless pleasures. I defy it. I hate it. I strike the damp locks from his moist forehead—while tears, my foot upon it!"
unrestrained, hot, and full of anguish, rolled down his “Harold! Harold !” said a calm, gentle voice over features, and dropped one by one upon the cheek of the our shoulders. I turned and saw my father approach- stricken boy. ing with Mr. Clarefield. A smile broke upon the fea- I could not move, and scarcely breathed. I stood tares of the lad. His flash of misanthropic bitterness and looked upon the scene with a profound sense of expired, and he went up to his father's side and awe and reverence, until a broken cry from the sleeper placed his hand upon his arm, in a subdued, ten- startled and alarmed me, and then I crawled off to my der way, which contrasted remarkably with his previous own couch, to lay for hours musing upon this single
insight into a mighty sorrow which chance had afMy father presented us to Mr. Clarefield. He bowed. forded me.
“You know my son already,” said he, in a low tone; “he is eccentric sometimes. You will learn to understand him in a little while."
OHAPTER II. We all turned back towards the house, father and son walking together. Between these two a perfect chord of sympathy seemed to exist. The quick nature of Harold was soothed, calmed and softened by the I AWOKE the next morning from a dream, in which mere presence of his father.
Harold Clarefield was oddly and painfully associated “What am I to think ?” said I to my father, as we with one who was a frequent guest to my sleep-rocked fell back a little behind the others.
fancies. Why Grace, the fair object of a deep, and “ Think charitably," was his characteristic and laconic sweetly-treasured passion, should come to me in my reply.
dreams that night, coupled with Harold, is stranger to “ But who is Mr. Olarefield ?"
me now than it was then. We would all be prophets, if " An old friend--unfortunate, as you see.”
we knew how to interpret the signs that lie about us. " Is Harold really_"
The veil is often lifted, but while this “muddy vesture “His son ?" said my father, cutting my query short ; of decay doth grossly close us in,” we cannot read the " Yes. But yield me, Mark, one request. Don't let revelation. Who, in looking back, cannot see where
THE PORTRAIT-A MORNING RIDE,
the fore-knowledge was vouchsafed, could the sense In the midst of this re-action of feeling, there canie have only understood the sign-clear, and plain enough a knock upon the door, and, in answer to my response, after the fulfillment ?
it opened and my father entered. This was something The sun came streaming through my window, its rays unusual, and I looked surprised. falling upon a portrait of my dead mother, which hung “ I have come to talk to you, Mark,” said he, crossing above the mantel. I was fond of this portrait as I had over to the window, and taking a seat. been deeply fond of the original. I stood before it "Well, sir ?" every night before extinguishing the candle; and every
“ About our guests. morning when I rose. My mother's death took place “I am very curious, sir, believe me." in my sixteenth year. I had just entered college, when “I dare say, Mark. There is no difficulty in believ. I was summoned home to her death-bed.
ing that, I assure you." Let me not forget that hour! May it live in my “Who are they sir ? Who is Mr. Clarefield ?" memory for ever green! May it come between me and “A distant relative, Mark—but not of mine." every thought of wrong!
I glanced involuntarily and quickly at my mother's The tears rush thickly into my eyes as I think of it portrait. My father observed me. now. It was the saddest and yet the sweetest scene I “Yes, my son, of your poor mother. Mr. Clarefield ever beheld. But who has not been one of just such a was her cousin, one removed.” circle—who does not bear abont him the remembrance “Did they resemble each other—at any time-whec of a loved friend's dying hour-speaking to him with young ?" deep eloquence—flooding his lieart in calm moments “I never heard it remarked. Very slightly, if at all. with thrilling tenderness, and lifting him up to solemn I but rarely saw them together. When I first knew aspirations of holiness?
him, which was not until two years after my marriage It is not our moments of pleasure that leave the with your mother, he was a widower. He married lingering taste of sweetness. Heaven help that man again—with what sad consequences you have only parwho has never felt a sorrow! He can have no holy tially seen. Within three years from his marriage, his and soft spots in his heart—no remembrances to cherish young wife was taken from his roof, fearfully and hope-no links with the Past crowded with its dim shadows lessly mad.” --no temple in his breast where memory and he can
“She livesworship together!
* She does. But this I tell you, Mark, preparatory to Sorrow glides into charity — charity into happi- something I wish to say. Harold knows nothing of his ness."
These were my father's words. I think he mother-never be his informant. His ignorance is never said a truer thing.
immeasurably his bliss." As I stood this morning before the portrait, the fall
“I will heed, sir.” of the light, or an unusual shadow, or the confusion of
“What I have come here to tell you, Mark, is, that my only partially awakened senses, warped the features this unhappy father has brought his son here, at my into a momentary resemblance of Harold's. I started solicitation, with a hope, I need not say how fruitless, and rubbed my eyes. The likeness seemed to linger for but none the less fondly clung to, that either our air, an instant, and then faded away. It was something companionship, or the wholesome influences of our about the brow and mouth-an expression, an apparent placid life, will accomplish what physicians bare movement of the lips, a fleeting configuration as through failed to do—bring back the poor boy's wandering intela transparency, which, when passed, I tried in vain to lect into some kind of healthy action. I do not share recall. The brow and lips, it is true, were not widely the hope, but the father is very sanguine; and his life different from those of Harold's, but I could not con- is knit into that of the boy's. He could not survive the jure up the likeness again with all my endeavors, shift downfall of his son's reason; the frail strands that link light or position as I would.
Harold's tottering sense to sanity, are those which "I am possessed,” I muttered, turning away from the unite him to life.”
“It is strange and sad.” I shook myself roughly as if to arouse from a stupor. “It gives us a double duty, Mark—to win the father It was strange, I thought, that Harold's features should from his too absorbing affection into a calm contemplation become so impressed upon my mind as to haunt my of the worst—lo try what medicine we can minister to a dreams in company with the fair face of Grace Elling- mind diseased. Mr. Clarefield is keenly sensitive to his ton, and cause my waking senses to strangely mingle son's affliction. He shrinks, from officious commiserawith those of my mother. I found myself, as my mind tion. Be cautious of his feelings. In what you do to brooded over these circumstances, giving them a super- guide and soothe the boy, let not the father see too xtitious significance, until, by some turn of thought, plainly your knowledge of his son's evil.” aroused to the absurdity of iny meditations, I dismissed
“ I understand you, sir.” the subject with a hearty laugh, very contemptuously “You are discreet, I have reason to think. This is reminding myself that nothing was more natural than all I have to say, Mark." for the strong impressions of the previous night to hover He walked over to the door, and stood with the knob about me in sleep, and even to retain their influence in in his hand. the half-wakeful condition of a sluggish riser.
“One thing, sir—is there no danger ?”
“Of violence from Harold? Not the slightest. His , ried to the stable, and in a few minutes rejoined them, frenzy exhausts itself in wild words."
duly mounted. He still remained, hesitatingly, in the doorway. “Come, Frank,” said I, “True is in splendid condi
“There is something else I have on my mind, tion. He will give · Bloomer' a breather." Frank had Mark."
named his horse after himself. “What is it, sir? Do not hesitate to confide in me.” “ Twenty minutes is all I can give you,” said Imy; He left the door, and came close to me.
“breakfast is nearly ready." “ Tell me frankly, Mark, do you—are you—that is, Why don't you ask Frank to come back with me?" you know Grace-I mean Miss Ellington ?”
said I bluntly. Imy blushed. "I do, sir," replied I, with the consciousness of “He has already consented," said she. blushing very red, and speaking confusedly.
“Oh!” replied I, with a look that sent the blood "Mark, you are,” he still hesitated; "you are much mantling over her face; “but come, Frank, twenty in her society, so I hear."
minutes is a short leave." “Yes, sir.”
The next instant we were stretching in fine style over “She is Dr. Ellington's daughter ?”
the dew-gemmed turf. “His ward, sir.”
Those early morning scrambles were my delight. Not “ His ward, and the same name ?"
unfrequently, however, my companion was one I liked “Is that very singular ?"
even better than Frank Bloomer. "No." My father drew his hand over his mouth, It was a crisp, glorious morning, and the horses led and stared upon the floor for a minute.
off in fine style, True a little ahead. We cut the air “I will see you again, Mark. You must confide in like an arrow, and the blood sped through my veins in me—as I will in you.”
wild riot. But I soon saw that Frank was not quite so For an instant I was on the point of making a clean merry, nor in such high spirits as usual. He seemed breast of it, but my father turning abruptly to withdraw, thoughtful. When we drew up to breathe our horses the impulse was checked and the word left unspoken. he was very silent, and when I rallied him, he only Had it been spoken, how much of suffering would have stammered and looked confused. At last he began to been saved me!
talk, but, which he rarely did, he talked about himI went on leisurely completing my toilet, musing on self. Frank was frankness itself, with vut a taint of what my father had told me, and pausing occasionally vanity or egotism. I knew very well, therefore, that before my mother's portrait with the hope of catching all this was preliminary to something of importance. once more a glimpse of its likeness to Harold, which I He commenced by saying that in three days he would had so distinctly though fleetingly seen, when a well-be twenty-one; that he was to give a ball and have a known voice called me loudly by name beneath the fine frolic; that of course we all, every one of us, would window.
be sure to come; that now he was twenty-one, or so "Why Frank, Frank Bloomer!" I exclaimed, running near to it, he had found it necessary to decide upon his to the window. “What's in the wind, Frank ?" future career; that one time he was very ambitious and
“A gallop," he replied, “nothing more. Don't you wante to make a noise the world, but was bravely want to try the speed of True ?”
over such youthful folly (almost twenty-one, recollect); “Never doubt it, Frank. I will be with you in an that he believed it was his duty, as his father was instant."
dead, to settle down at the old homestead with his Frank Bloomer was the handsomest, the best natured, mother-and-and-(here he broke down a little, but and the best hearted fellow in the county. Nobody soon resumed)—and be an old country gentleman; that ever knew him without liking him. His honest, frank he didn't know but he should like it—indeed, he was hand was out to everyone. Generous deeds, kindly sure of being the happiest of men-if-if-he only words, and bright smiles, made up his history. I had could be happy; that I was his friend, and he liked me always liked him immensely, from the first day I knew very much, and liked my father very much, and likedhim, but that was only what the whole neighborhood in fact, liked us all very much; that he wasn't rich, nor did.
very poor; that the farm would all be his own, and it In a very few minutes I was with him on the lawn. was considered quite a good one; that some people He was still mounted, his reins dropped over the neck thought twenty-one very young, but it didn't seem so of his horse, who was leisurely cropping the grass at his to him, and what did I think? And here he stopped feet. But, by this time, he was not alone. Imogene his horse in the road, and looked at me very anxiously, was standing near him, and Frank was bending down with his countenance pale and red by turns. to whisper a word in her ear.
“Why Frank, what is the matter ?” I wonder why Imy started and blushed when I came "Mark, the fact is, Mark-I want to tell you all up; I wonder why she nervously plucked a flower and because you are my friend—Imy and I—that is, began pulling it to pieces; I wonder why she twisted I-" he spurred his horse up close to my side, and and patted her little foot, and looked so very confused; grasped my arm, “I want you, you and your father to I wonder why—but pshaw! I say too much. I speak give me, Mark, a jewel the world isn't rich enough my part, cues and everything, all at once.
to buy." I did not stop long to note those love-signs. I hur- “Imy? Do you mean it? Hurra!" I threw up my
cap in the air with such a shout, and burst out in such some, for delicate balance and difficult footing. Suda wild ringing peal of laughter, that Frank stared at me denly he gave a leap into another branch, aud catching as if I were mad.
a long pendant in his arms, gave a clear, startling “Give you Imy? To be sure
bound into the air and landed by our very sides, “Great Heaven! Look there!"
before the cry of terror which broke both from Frank I turned quickly, and at the sight Frank was pointing and me had died upon our lips. ont, I could feel my hair stand up on end. We were “ Harold,” said I, authoritatively, “ don't you go there near the river, not more than a hundred feet from its again. It's an awkward place. You might slip in and bank. Several hundred yards above us, on the oppo- drown, you know.” site shore, the earth had been washed out by the cur- He looked at me with surprise for a moment. rent from around the roots of a huge tree, until it had “ Drown! I like the river; why not drown, Mark ?" settled from the perpendicular to a low angle, stretch- “Stuff, Master Harold. What would your father ing across the stream and even over the opposite bank. say to hear you talk such nonsense? You know what The bank on each side was jagged and high, and the Iago says, “drown cats and blind puppies.' They'd river ran darkly and turbulently below; a few feet make better food for fishes than you or I, Harold.” beyond the tree, hissing and boiling over a rocky bed. “Food for fishes ? That's not it. You lie with The place was noted up and down the river as a dan- Heaven on your breastgerous spot, where neither boat nor swimmer could be “Come," said I, interrupting him and springing from sustained for an instant. Several large and thickly tan- my saddle; “Imy, I'll wager, is an impatient little gled boughs of the tree reached and swept the surface scold at this moment because we are gone so long. of the river, and upon one of them, supported only by Here, Harold, up quick and off.” his feet and arms wound about the lighter branches, I assisted him to mount, which he did in silence. swicging to and fro over the river's surface, was Harold Frank declared that he would walk with me, and while Clarefield. How he reached his position is my wonder Harold rode on ahead, we dropped into a slow walk, to this day.
Frank soon falling back upon the subject in which we The first glance at this sight sent the blood curdling were interrupted—assuring me how happy he was-around my heart, but in an instant I was galloping how much he loved my sister-how long he had loved rapidly to the spot. But how to rescue him? how to her-how he always would love her; didn't I think her aid him? I soon saw that everything depended on the most beautiful creature in the world ? (which I himself.
didn't) and the sweetest and the best? And wouldn't “ Harold ! Harold I” I earnestly exclaimed, then check- I plead with my father on his behalf, and prove to him ing myself, as, recollecting that to excite his quick brain that twenty-one was, after all, a remarkably mature would be only to hasten bis destruction, and that age, a very nice age, and the most suitable age in the nothing but perfect calmness and coolness on our part world ? could bring him back to his rational self, I continued in “Mark,” said he, with tears in his eyes, “I know an unconcerned manner
how much I ask. I know what a boon the gift will be. “Why, Harold, are you taking a swing? What an But I will so cherish and love herdo not doubt me, odd one! Don't you know it is breakfast-time ?" Mark."
“Is it? How deep, Mark? Hear the river sing. It I would have doubted an angel as soon. is rare music. Would you lie here forever and hear it ? I would."
“By Jove, Harold, the toast will be cold. That's better than music. Come, Harold, do? Come at once
OHAPTER III. and you shall mount True. You haven't tried her yet.”
This seemed to please him. He began to draw him- THROUGH the vast aisles of an old forest, the slanting self up the branch.
sun-rays of the evening sun were piercing in long, “If we could reach and crawl along the tree- mellow, lance-like shafts of light. The ground, green
“Hush, Frank," said I quickly in a whisper ; "we and damp, was bristling with thin inter-crossing shadows can do nothing. If we stir to aid him, he will prove of the trees. The arching bonghs, bannered with penunmanageable. Keep perfectly calm.”
dant moss, were catching shattered fragments of light. With concealed terror and forced indifference we The decayed limbs of a dead, barkless trunk glistened watched Harold's progress. A misstep would send him with a phosphorescent glow. Overhead, beneath the plunging into the stream to certain death; a single flash thick foliage, it was shadowy and dark, but through an of his wild humor, in relaxing his care, would prove no occasional opening, the topmost branches could be seen, less fatal. He drew himself along up the branch, think sheen-like and golden. ing and talking of True, which I strove by every means Against a knotted and knobbed oak, bearded fantastito keep before his mind. I feared the consequence of a cally, with gaunt dwarfed limbs that shot out low over reversion to the subject of the river. His safety grew the ground, was leaning a young girl, of twenty summore assured every moment. He was light, supple, mers, perhaps, her fingers busy working an oaken garstrong, and evidently possessed that genius, peculiar to land.
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