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A WOMAN'S RIGHT.

IX.

WIAT CAME OF PAUL'S WOOING.

was now.

long lived, sat down, and went on with OFTENER than we think, even while his work. He took an immense amount a man sincerely loves a woman, if he of credit to himself for all this. Just finds himself bound to her by an irrevo- now, nobody admired Paul so niuch as cable vow, it chafes him like a fetter, Paul admired himself. He felt sure and he instinctively begins to lament that he was making tremendous sacrihis lost liberty-at first, perhaps, almost fices for the sake of his love, and felt unconsciously, and only while he finds proud of himself beyond expression to himself restrained and held back by a think that he, Paul Mallane, was able moral obligation from some old pastime to do it. In writing to Eirene, he took or pleasure, in which, until now, he has pains to impress faithfully upon her always felt perfect freedom to indulge. mind the great sacrifice that he made For Paul Mallane to come to a sudden and the untold temptation which he reconsciousness that he had no longer a sisted for her sake. He thought it right to flirt with every woman who would increase the value of his love, would flirt with him, was, indeed, a the more she realized the innumerable new sensation. To do him justice, benefits which he relinquished on its through the entire winter he had no behalf. Eirene, in the crowded shop desire to do so. He had never been so and in Seth Goodlove's bare little chamthoroughly and honorably busy as he ber, did marvel more and more that

His graduation from the such a transcendent gift should have law-school reflected great credit upon come to her. Every letter that she rehimself and his friends. He was just ceived from Paul made it seem more about entering a law-firm, which offered wonderful and more enchanting that him the opportunity of complete suc- such a god could stoop to her lowly cess in his profession. He was going estate, to love her! But when, at to pay his debts. He was going to be Christmas, Paul came up to Busyville, married to the only girl he had ever and, with the certain knowledge that loved. He was going to make his own his mother was watching him from the home without any body's assistance. window, knocked deliberately at Seth He had never felt himself to be so Goodlove's door, and spent at least two much of a man, and he never had been hours visiting with Eirene in the best so much of a man before. He hung Goodlove“ front room,” with the smoke Eirene's picture over the table where perversely blowing out of the “dumhe sat at work, and, when he felt any my” stove till it nearly extinguished of his old lawless impulses stirring him, their four eyes; and when, with the any temptation from within or without eyes of Busyville fixed upon him, he he looked at that face, and they all escorted Eirene to church in open day, died. September, that divine Septem- Paul's admiration of himself reached ber of pure love, came back; he breathed its climax. There might be more awful again in her presence; he saw the look tests to a man's love, but they were unin her eyes, he felt the touch of her known to Paul Mallane. The latter hand; he was with her once more; sight—that of Paul Mallane escorting and, being with her and loving her as a shop-girl to church-drove the mind he did, he resolutely turned from the of Busyville wild. The maidens of the world of pleasure in which he had so mansion-houses regarded it as a per

for a

sonal injury, if not an insult. The secluded hills, which he missed walkmaidens of the shops, knowing that no ing with her on the Busy ville street, mortal power could induce him to es- with all Busyville staring at him. But cort one of them, regarded it as a base Eirene was no less Eirene because of action that he should walk to church the Busyville eye and a smoky "dumwith Eirene Vale. " That was the rea- my.” The enchantment of that last son, was it, that she never went with September had not yet faded so far but shop-people, and spent her time study- that he saw it and felt it, even through in'? She intended to catch the boss' the Goodlove smells and smoke. He son-the minx !"

looked at Eirene's picture, and was A deep distrust of Paul Mallane per- comforted. vaded the Busyville mind. It had con- But a little more opposition would templated and pronounced upon his have been stimulating. He had been flirtations since he was a boy in the used to being opposed, and then doing Busyville Academy. Hitherto it had as he pleased. It had a depressing known them to be of a very unstable, effect on him to be let alone. There if not doubtful, character; and it natu- was nothing that he missed more than rally pronounced that this one, of all the opposition of his mother. others, could come to no good.

“If mother would only go on as she Deep was Eirene's distress, on enter- begun, what a zest it would give a feling the factory on Monday morning, to low to take his own way!” he said. meet listed shoulders, averted eyes, and Then, as Spring came on, after a scornful glances, from those with whom really hard winter's work, he began to she had always been used to exchange want “a little variety”-a little of the daily courtesies. All day she was made exhilaration of comradeship that he used the subject of mysterious looks and to feel when he and his chums went off whisperings; the air was full of dis- “high old time.” If they had trust and mystery; and before night, only come to ask him, he would not without knowing wherefore, she felt have found it difficult to have said that she was being treated like a cul- "No" on every necessary occasion; prit. As for Tilda Stade, awful was but he wanted at least the pleasure of her silence. Nothing could be more refusing. It piqued him, not to be inawful, except the silence of Tabitha vited. His self-admiration was Mallane; for, the moment that she wit- longer a sufficing compensation for nessed Paul knock at Seth Goodlove's self-denial, much less for neglect. That door, she resolved to be silent, and in was indeed a new state of affairs, when silence to execute a strategic movement, Paul Mallane was neglected or forgotin a small way, worthy of Napoleon. ten by his comrades. The truth was, In that moment Aunt Comfort's legacy they had been refused so often during was consecrated to the annihilation of the winter, that they had grown tired the girl across the street; the vegetable of coming. garden was sacrificed, and the white “Let him alone, boys, for a while,” house painted tea-green.

said Dick Prescott. Just leave him If Paul's ardor and steadfastness of to love and to law, and, if he finds devotion suffered any diminution after himself left alone to support one by his return to Boston, he was not con- the other, he'll be glad enough to forscious of it. To be sure, there was a sake both. But not if you oppose him. difference-and he felt it-between love- Oppose him, and he'll hang to both making beside a lovely river on a soft with a death-grasp. I can tell you, September day, and love-making in a Prince Mallane is the last fellow on small room filled with the smell of earth to submit to being left out. Let soup, of soap-suds, and of smoke. him alone, and you'll see how soon he'll There was a charm in walking with get tired of it.” Eirene along the grassy road, amid the If Dick Prescott's words had been

no vances.

false—if Paul could have gone on with his promised wife, Paul had given Miss the same perseverance with which he Isabella Prescott to understand, by bis began--he and Eirene would have been manner, that he was preoccupied ; married; they would have "lived hap- whether with law or with love, he left py ever afterwards,” and this story for her to decide ; but, whatever her would never have been written.

decision, that it was perfectly useless Alas for love, when the mind begins for her to make further coquettish adto assure the heart that it is unchanged

His cool indifference piqued —that it is as fresh, as fervent, as abso- her till she hated him. In the privacy lute, and as all-sufficing, as it used to of her own room she indulged in all be! This very assurance is born of a sorts of feminine rages on his behalf. doubt. The all-satisfying love can nci- She stamped her feet and ground her ther be questioned nor assured; it is teeth, and, one night, after a party, sufficient unto itself and unto all things. frightened Dick nearly out of his wits

Perhaps it was not Paul's fault that by taking laudanum enough to inake his mind was facile and mercurial. her sick, and by declaring, between her

“I love you, little girl, just the same spasms, that she wanted to die-that as ever. I never loved you better than she would die; or, if she couldn't, I do this moment,” he said, looking at that she would live only to punish him lier picture. “I am going to spend my for snubbing her, and for sitting in a life with you, and, when you are my corner all the evening with that old wife, I am sure I shall never feel the Helena Maynard." want of any other company. But why After Mrs. Mallane's visit to Marlboro should I make a martyr of myself so Hill, Paul drifted slowly and insensibly long before ?"

back towards his old relations with the This would have been far from a dan- Prescotts. If their visit to Busyville gerous question for a man of a more had not been a settled thing, it would equable temperament to have asked; have been different; but, this anticibut when Paul put it, from the depths pated, it was a perpetual reminder, and of a restless mind, he had no conscious- a most fruitful source of communicaness whatever that the very law of his tion. Mrs. Mallave was continually moods was in extremes; that the bless- sending messages to Bella by Paul, ed medium of consistency was some- which, of course, involved a visit to thing that he rarely touched, and never Marlboro. Then, Bella had as many to maintained.

send back; and, as Paul knew it, he As, in the winter, he had secluded would often ride over after tea, just to himself from healthy companionship in mention that "he was going to write," an altogether unnecessary manner, and and “had she any word to send to prided himself on so doing to a very

mother?” Paul understood his mounreasonable degree, now, in the rest- ther's whole game perfectly. He could lessness of reaction, he was ready to not be enlightened as to what the metarush to an opposite extreme, and justify morphosed house and the Prescott visit himself for so doing in an equally un- both meant. There was a keen excitereasonable degree.

ment in it. It was like a play at the He was in just this state, really men- theatre; and, as it was only a play, tally tired with new and hard work, Paul enjoyed the exhilaration of being and personally tired of being left to the hero, with the power to bring it to himself, and anxious for the fresh ex- a conclusion to suit his own pleasure. citement so indispensable to such a tem- Under these circumstances, it came perament, when his mother appeared at to pass that he went oftener and stayed Cambridge.

later and later at Marlboro Hill. Why To this moment, in the utterly new was it that, when he returned to his and exquisite consciousness of being room late at night, the soft eyes lookloyal to one woman, and this woman ing down upon him from the wall seemed to be full of tears? Why was lavished upon him. The supreme Sepit that he began to justify himself to tember of love faded to a dream. that gentle face —to declare to it that The summer of Marlboro was an alhe loved it the same as ever, and loved luring reality. The stars above its it alone ?—that, in his heart, all he park, the moonlight on its lake, its wanted was the power to flee with it to cool, luxurious halls, and their droopthe end of the earth? Nobody had ing mistress, pallid and lovely in the accused him of other desires or inten- moonlight, were all of the present, and, tions, yet it seemed to reproach him with all the power of the present, enmore and more, until he felt sometimes chained his imagination and his senses. that he must turn and run from it. He Potent, also, was the force of conwas conscious that a spell was cast trast. Hillside-poor, shabby Hillside, around him. Now that he knew what with its unfortunate inmates—how did love was, he knew that it was not love; it look, compared with Marlboro Hill? yet it was no less a spell. There was “ Beautiful June! Was there ever fascination in the fact that Isabella such a June !” said Eirene. Busyville Prescott had fallen in love with him. emerged from the cold rains of a Mas“Poor girl, I pity her!” he said to sachusetts May a transfigured Busyhimself. “So young, with so much to ville. The great elms stretched their live for, with such opportunities for wide arms and covered with greenery choice in marriage, to think that she the staring sharpness and whiteness of should turn from all, to really care for its houses ; they wove cool roofs of me! Dear little Belle! I did not think shadow above the village-streets; they her capable of caring so much for any joined the willows in the meadow one. She never showed any signs of it along the river's side, and made a perbefore ; and if she should never see any fect embowered arcade of Lover's Walk. one else that she could love so well, if Almost every village has its Lover's she should never marry on my account, Walk. This of Busyville was the only I should feel as if I had been the cause perfect thing in it. In this gossiping of destroying her happiness. Well, I'll town, strange to say, it was without remake all the amends to her that I can.” proach; probably because the villageHe was

so assiduous in making folk were too prosaic to people it with amends, and withal felt so many self- ghosts and tragedies. It was a decoreproaches for being quite so ardent in rous and friendly Lover's Walk, which this direction, that at last he came to divided its delicious shade with the glance at the picture on the wall with young academicians who walked there an attempt at reproach. “If I had not studying their lessons, with youths and been so unfortunate as to have loved maidens who walked there whispering you," he said, “I might have married love, and with bands of shouting chilnaturally and happily in my own sphere. dren who rushed through it, “ going aIf it were not for you, poor Belle would berrying” the nearest way. Yet, what not now be so miserable ; for, if I did stories it might have told, this little not love you (and I do), I could care grass-bordered path, running in and out considerably for her ; she is certainly among the elms and willows, beginning attractive."

with a village-street, and ending where At this distance from Eirene, it made the river ran dark and deep and alone! him feel more comfortable, some way, It must be confessed that, in this to think that she had marred Bella's life, month of June, Eirene ,neglected the and, however unwittingly, was the cause study of French. It is true, she took of her unhappiness. As that was the her “Corinne” with her, and, as she case, and he loved Eirene and did not wandered on, always attempted to love Bella, he could and should be all translate it. But, with her, knowledge the more tenderly kind to her, in con- has ceased to be the supreme power ; sideration of the affection which she and as to the story, what was the romance in the book compared with the Paul's name; but whenever she saw a romance in her pocket, shut within the letter-and she took pains to see one as perfumed folds of that marvellous let- often as possible, by rushing to the ter? What were Oswald and Lucy, or Post-Office and bringing it to Eirene the incomparable Corinne, while Paul with her own hand—she groaned. By lived, and loved her, and wrote her let- this groan she informed Eirene that she ters, and was coming in August ! Not understood the exact state of affairs, much, She always began her walk and had in no wise changed her opinstudying; she always ended it reading ion. Eirene's portfolio lying within for the hundredth time, very likely, reach one day, as Tilda sat alone, she that letter. What a letter it was! opened it and took from it a letter of Written anew every day, its burden Paul's, and read it from beginning to never changed. It was ardent, passion- end. Her conscience pricking her durate, and tender, with the ardor, pas- ing the process, she exclaimed, “I do it sion, and tenderness of a young man's for her good. Unless I know her exact first, absorbing love. It had but one case, how can I befriend her in the object—that, to make her realize how end? I shall never tell any body what infinitely dear to him she was. He I know. It's the same as if it were described the life of the city—the buried. Marry her? Hum! I think I drawing-rooms of Beacon-street and of see him!” Then Tilda kneeled down, Marlboro Hill—the gay beauties who and fervently prayed the Lord to forassembled there—till they all appeared give her if she had erred in reading the in panorama before her eyes; but it letter, for He knew that she did it for was only that he might declare, “ Amid Eirene's good! them all, I think only of you. Every- In absence there is no barometer of where I am alone, because you are not love like a letter; it inevitably bears here.” With this letter in her pocketwithin it something of the unconscious its words graven in her heart, Eirene atmosphere of its writer-one sure to would return to the little chamber, and be felt by the heart to whom it is ad. she no longer saw that it was low, or dressed, although it may not be underdusty, or hot. She no longer spent her stood. evenings here, as she had done last July came, and Eirene began to wonsuminer. She knew nothing of the der why she felt as if she must burst path by the river-side then.

It was

into tears when she had finished readPaul who had told her of it as a pleas- ing one of Paul's letters. They were ant retreat-one of his own from boy- still full of protestations of love, but hood. Of course, he did not think it these were no longer coupled with necessary to add, that he had carried bright prospects of the future. Inon more flirtations in this path, told stead, there were constant allusions to more pretty falsehoods in it, than any their unfortunate destiny. other young man in Busyville. It was Two months before, how bright and very soothing to Eirene to take refuge brave these letters had been! In them under the softly-murmuring trees from Paul had declared himself strong enough Tilda Stade's reproving face ; for, to conquer any fate for her dear sake; though she left Eirene alone in speech, but now, Eirene was filled with a vague with many a glance and groan she said, apprehension, without knowing where“You are lost-hopelessly, eternally fore. Then her loving heart travelled lost.” This was not a very enlivening back to the last September, and tried assurance to have fung perpetually in to assure her that August, the dear Auone's face. Thus, what wonder that gust so near at hand, would set every Eirene, beside the river, took refuge in thing right, and bring back once more “ Corinne” and her letter ? Since he the enchantment of life. Yet, in spite had extinguished her at the Camp- of youth and hope and love, her heart Meeting, Tilda had never mentioned misgave her sometimes, when she looked

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