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FAR back in the old colonial days of Boston there stood, upon what was then its most aristocratic street, a large foursquare family mansion, substantially built of the small dark bricks imported from Holland, relieved and enriched by freestone copings and ornaments.

This house belonged to a family prominent enough in their day, although now forgotten-a family whom all men respected, and some loved, and who had gained by their leading characteristic the title, almost universal among both those who feared and those who loved them, of the Proud Pulsifers. However this title may have been deserved, or however it may have been gained by his ancestors, it belonged to Major Plantaganet Pulsifer, as his stern dark eyes and gray hair and stately figure did, by the right of birth, necessity, and the eternal fitness of things. It was a common saying among the common people that Major Pulsifer trod the earth as if it were not worthy of such honor, and certain it is that he found its ordinary level too low to serve as his dwelling-place; and when the street whereon his building-lots lay was graded and lowered, he refused to have a single shovelful of earth removed from his own premises, so that after the work of street-making was accomplished the Pulsifer estate remained high and dry above the levelling flood, like Ararat above the waters; and upon this pinnacle, this pedestal, did Major Plantaganet Pulsifer build his house, gaining access to it by four long flights of sandstone steps reaching from the pavement to the front door.

To this elevated position Major Pulsifer one day brought home a bride, daughter of a family as old and wellnigh as proud as his own; and yet despite birth, marriage, and elevated position, Death, that terrible democrat and

leveller, found out the poor lady while yet in her earliest bloom, and summoned her away from husband, house, and her little daughter Margaret, not yet old enough to know her loss.

Major Pulsifer did not marry again, and he and the little girl remained alone with four servants in the aristocratic seclusion of the great house at the top of its four flights of steps. The child grew to girlhood, to womanhood, and upon her twentieth birthday her father, Major Pulsifer, announced to her:

"I have settled an alliance for you, Margaret; you are to become the wife of my friend Morgan's son."

"John Morgan?" asked Miss Pulsifer coldly; but her father saw the sudden light which kindled in her eyes, the swift blush that rose to her cheek at the name, and he smiled almost like other men, as he said,

"Yes. You have seen the young gentleman. He is not disagreeable to you, I trust."

"He is not disagreeable to me, sir," replied Miss Pulsifer, and there the conversation ended. That evening the Morgans, father and son, climbed the four flights of sandstone steps, and in the grim old library, with its oak wainscoting, and its shelves filled with books, each one of which was a sentinel set to defend the domain of the past from the encroachments of the future, the marriage contract was agreed upon, the formal consent of the parents given, and finally the two young people were left to express their own opinions upon this matter, so thoroughly their own, and yet in which they had been allowed, so far, so little voice. John Morgan was, as befitted his sex, the first to speak, and he found nothing better to say than


And Margaret said nothing, but suf

fered her hand to lie in that which had clasped it so tenderly, and laid her head upon the breast to which it was so closely drawn, and in very truth behaved not like a daughter of the Proud Pulsifer at all, but like the veriest village-maid who ever confessed herself both loving and beloved.

There is a picture painted by one of Copley's predecessors, and already in his stately style, representing Margaret Pulsifer in the early days of her betrothal: it shows her tall and slender, and queenly of figure, wearing her brocade and point-lace and smouldering rubies as if they were as much part of herself as the form they clothe; it shows her with the dark hair and hazel eyes of her race, with a clear brunette complexion, and proud sweet lips on which a smile of triumphant love seems forever dawning-a smile so subtle and so full of an inner joy knowing not its own revelation, that no observer has looked long upon that pictured face without turning from it to its proud possessor, and asking in some form, "What made her so happy? What is her story?"

The rubies were John Morgan's betrothal gift, and from the necklace depends a single gem, heart-shaped, and of surprising size and beauty, whose shifting fire has been so cunningly caught and imprisoned by the artist, that one seems to see it flicker and change with every breath of the proud bosom that bears it; and he turns again to the morsel of yellow paper in his hand, remnant of the letter in which well-nigh two hundred years ago John Morgan wrote, in the crabbed Saxon script of his day,

"And this ruby hearte I send you, true love, that bye it you may see how firm of constancie is the hearte that I long agoe gave you, and as the ruby is bright and warm of color, so burns my love within that other hearte, and as the stone is cold and sad of itself, so is that other hearte cold and sad wanting warmth from you, and as I humbly pray you mistresse to hange the jewel about your neck, and warm its coldness with the warmth of your own bosom,

so would I, did I dare, beseech of you to grant my lowly and despairing love. some hope of return, some warmth of life, some promise of shelter within the sanctuary of that same gentle bosom."

It was the fashion of the day to thus profess despair and lowliness of mind, but the promise that the wily lover asks was his already, as who can doubt that reads the eyes and lips of that fair lady's pictured face and marks the glow in the dusky core of the ruby heart.

The picture was but just finished, so says the story, and the splendid preparations for the bridal were but just begun, when Death once more mounted the stately steps, ringing his scythe against each one as he advanced, and grimly holding above the solid sandstone the shifting sands of his glass in which so few grains yet remained for him whom Death had come to seek.

"Major Plantaganet Pulsifer! "

"Here!" replied the soldier, too proud to disobey, even had the power of disobedience been his, and forth from the mansion upon its scornful eminence was borne the body of its master; and of all the Proud Pulsifers only that weeping girl remained, heiress and sole representative of her line.

All thoughts of marriage and merrymaking were laid aside at once, and a short time after the funeral John Morgan, in the interests of his betrothed, took passage for Virginia to settle there some matters connected with the estates Major Pulsifer had possessed in that country before coming to the Massachusetts colony.

A voyage to Virginia was in that day something more of an affair than the tour of Europe is to-day, and when Margaret Pulsifer bid her lover goodby, it was with the feeling that she was risking all that life had left to her, and her farewells partook of the solemnity of a renunciation. The lover, man-like, laughed at her fears, and failed to comprehend the vital importance to her of what to him was but an event in the ordinary course, and rather a pleasing excitement than a danger.

"I know not what it is that you

dread so much, sweetheart," said he in their final interview. "Certes it is not the time, for it will be but a few months at most, and not my health, for I am a stout fellow, not to be upset by changes of climate or the discomfort of travel. Nor do you fear that I should forget you, my Margaret; surely not that?"

"I should be loth to offer myself such slight, even if I could so insult you as to suppose you false," replied proud Miss Pulsifer, with a faint light breaking through the tears in her hazel eyesa light which John Morgan was well pleased to see, and kissing the heavy eyes, laughed a little as he said,

"Nay, Margaret, I should be afraid to play thee false were I so inclined, for thy father's daughter would slay me with a look."

But Margaret at this looked pained, and remained silent, and John Morgan, still in his light way, fillipped at the ruby heart at her throat, and said,

"And moreover, lady mine, do not I leave my heart always with you, and its visible emblem always before your eyes? Look at the ruby day by day, Margaret, and remember all that I wrote when I gave it you."

"I will remember, John, and you, too, remember," sighed Margaret; and then came the parting, which left one so lonely, so sad, so objectless in the seclusion of her mourning home, while the other, thrown at once into the excitement of a new life, new scenes, new companions, his attention and his resources constantly called into action, soon felt the pain of separation become intermittent, and very tolerable to be borne, even in its most serious attacks.

Eight months from the day when John Morgan sailed out of Boston for the Virginia colony, he set foot again in his native city, and hastened at once to the house upon the hill, where Margaret Pulsifer, her heavy mourning a little lightened, lest it should too much dampen the joy of her lover's return, and her own face as bright as if mourning, or loss, or sorrow, were words stricken once and for all out of the language, waited for him.

But spite of the brightness and the joy, John Morgan saw at the first glance that all was not well with his betrothed. Her slender figure had become fragile, her rich color came and went with hectic brilliancy and haste, her eyes were over-bright, her thin hand parched and hot, and an ominous low cough disturbed her speech.

"Why, Margaret! why, darling! you are not well, you are ill, and I never heard of it," exclaimed the lover, holding both the fevered hands, and looking anxiously into the delighted eyes that devoured his face.

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O no, John, not ill, never fear! A little ailing just now, perhaps, and not quite so strong as when we used to ride our ten miles before breakfast; but now you have come, I shall be well anon. I have fretted too much after you, though shame on me for confessing it."

But John Morgan remembered the beautiful young mother, object of his boyish admiration, who had faded and died in her earliest bloom in spite of all that love and wealth and the Pulsifer will and pride could do to keep her. So busy was he with these thoughts that when, a few minutes later, Miss Pulsifer asked playfully,

"And where is the little cousin you promised me?" he started and stared aghast, then struck his hands together in comic despair, exclaiming,

What, Ruby? what will she say to me when she knows that I altogether forget her; for when the ship touched the wharf I bounded off, meaning but to speak to you, and look upon your sweet face, and then be back before she missed me. And here I have been with you these two hours, and might have stayed two more, but for your reminder." "Is her name Ruby?" asked Miss Pulsifer with a smile. "Do you know, John, that you never told it in your letter? You only said, 'the child of your mother's cousin, Pynsent, is left an orphan and penniless, and what will you do for her?" "

"And you replied like your own noble self, my Margaret, 'Bring her to me,

and I will be her mother, and her fortune.' I showed her that letter, Margaret."

"Showed it to her! She is old enough to understand such matters, then?"

"Old enough? why, she is a woman grown, eighteen years old, at least," replied John, laughing at the great eyes Margaret fixed upon him, and laughing a little nervously, too.

"A woman grown! Why do not you call her Mistress Pynsent, then?" asked Margaret a little haughtily.

"What, when she is your cousin, and so soon to be mine as well?" replied John tenderly, and the proud head sank to the resting-place he offered, and the warm blood flowed again into the dusky cheek, but now so pale.

"There, then! Go and fetch my cousin, and see that you take the blame of your neglect upon your own shoulders, truant!" said Margaret at last; and when her lover was gone, she rang the bell, and bid Judith, her grim-visaged old housekeeper, prepare a separate apartment for the guest, whom, fancying her a child, she had intended to take into her own chamber.

"For she is a young lady, Judith, and not a baby, as I fancied," continued the mistress absently-"a woman grown, and her name is Ruby."

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half believing that her nursling bad suddenly gone mad.

"My heart, my ruby heart! It is gone, and I can find it nowhere! Oh, what will he think, when he bid me keep it so safely."

"Nay, it is no fault of yours, dearie. Sure you did keep it like the apple of your eye. Sit you there and rest, while I look for it; it will not be far away, for I saw it the moment before Master Morgan came up the steps. We will have it anon-just a little patience, Mistress Meg; we will have it, we will have it."

And murmuring her phrases of encouragement over and over, the old woman, upon her hands and knees, began groping beneath the chairs and tables, turning up the edges of the heavy Turkey carpet which covered the middle of the room, peering into the dark corners, poking away the ashes in the wide fireplace, searching in fact in every place likely and unlikely of which she could think, and in one as vainly as in another. The ruby heart was lost, and Margaret, who had alternately aided in the search and returned exhausted to her chair, was repeating for the thousandth time,

"It is gone, it is gone forever; and what will he think of me?" when a carriage drove to the door, and old Judith, who was just then shaking the folds of the moreen curtains, already thoroughly searched three times, glanced through the window, and exclaimed,

"Here is your cousin, Mistress Margaret, and your eyes red, and your dress in disorder!"

"Take her to her own room at once, Judith, and leave some one to wait upon her; then come back to me, and make me ready to receive her," ordered Miss Pulsifer, struggling back to the needs of daily life, chief among which she had been bred to consider the preservation of her own dignity. But when Judith returned to her mistress she found her

An exclamation, almost a scream, arrested Judith on the threshold and brought her to the side of her mistress as she stood tottering and pale, one hand grasping at her throat, her wild eyes searching the floor in every direc tion. "It is gone, Judith! O Judith, find prostrate upon her bed, and gasping it, find it!"

"What is gone, dear mistress? What shall I find?" asked the old woman,

under an attack of the pain at her heart which so often of late tormented her. The best alleviation for this was perfect

rest and darkness, and thus it chanced that neither John Morgan nor his charge, Ruby Pynsent, saw Miss Pulsifer again until, in the early twilight, she glided ghost-like into the great drawing-room, where he sat sad and silent beside the fire, while restless Ruby flitted about the room, glancing at every thing, asking questions, making exclamations, standing on tiptoe to look at herself in the concave and convex mirrors hung upon opposite piers, spinning round and round in a dizzy dance, trying the notes of the neglected harpsichord, behaving herself, in fact, like the very spirit of youth and mirth and gay unrest.

As Miss Pulsifer entered the room, John Morgan sprang to his feet, and hastening to meet her, detained her a few moments near the door to hear his whispers of sympathy and trouble at her illness, and joy at once more seeing her, for indeed he had been very sad and lonely in the last hour.

This over, he led her toward an armchair by the fire, and smiling at the fairy who stood watching them, he said,

"And this, dear Margaret, is your cousin Ruby, as she allows me to call her. She has like me been waiting most impatiently for your appearance and better health."

"You are welcome, cousin,” said Miss Pulsifer, with more, perhaps, of stately courtesy than hearty cordiality in her tone; but it was an age of ceremony, and this was one of the Proud Pulsifers, remember. However, she held out her hand as she spoke, and drawing the girl toward her, kissed her upon the forehead, then stood looking smilingly down upon her, for this little Ruby was in the mignonne style, with floating golden curls, childish blue eyes, skin of rose and pearl, and the tiniest stature, as pretty and as charming altogether as can be imagined; and so her stately cousin seemed to think, for as she looked down upon the little thing, her eyes grew softer and the smile upon her lips sweeter, until Ruby suddenly raised her face for another kiss, exclaiming,

"I'm so glad I came, dear cousin Margaret!"

VOL. VL-26

Miss Pulsifer stooped to meet the lips so confidingly raised to hers, but as she did so a sudden and startling change swept over her own face, and she paused as if stiffened to stone in that bending attitude, her eyes fixed in absolute horror upon the white throat of the girl before her. And well might she pause, for hung about that slender throat by a tiny gold chain was a ruby heart, her own ruby heart, as she knew the moment her eyes fell upon it-the ruby heart which her lover had so meaningly given to her as a pledge of his own heart, and which she had worn that morning, and lost when he departed. And as she fixed her swimming eyes upon the token, the flickering fire shot up in brilliant flame, lighting the inmost centre of the jewel with a vivid glow, like the eye of a merry demon exulting over her dismay. For one wild moment heaven and earth seemed mingling in the mad confusion of Margaret Pulsifer's brain, but in the next the pride of her proud race rose up like armor and shield and staff; and standing upright, she said some words of courtesy, dropped the hand of the young girl, and returned to her chair unaided. John Morgan, with a lover's privilege, drew a stool to the side of the easy-chair and seated himself close beside her, with a whispered phrase which should have called the blush to her cheek and smile to her lip, but Margaret, neither blushing or smiling, answered the love-whisper with a few calm words of little meaning, and led the talk to other matters.

Presently, when once more quite sure of her own strength, she spoke the words that pride had silenced in their first wild outburst, and which now came almost carelessly from her lips:

"That is a pretty jewel at your throat, cousin. I suppose you chose it for its name.”

"Yes, it is a ruby, to be sure, and I am Ruby," replied the girl, laughing and dimpling, and withal casting so conscious and so mischievous a glance toward John Morgan, that Margaret felt a cold, sick faintness creeping over her, and feared that she should swoon before

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