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Page 230


Mr. Milling occupied the finest house in Chestnutsquare.
It was built at a time when land was plenty,
and men had expansive ideas of room and comfort. The
rooms were spacious and magnificent. Large staircases
led from broad entries to broad galleries above, upon
which a twilight gloom was shed from a Gothic window
over the entrance. Heavily corniced and massively finished
in all particulars, the house was a fitting residence
for a merchant prince. Herein luxury had expended
its utmost art, aided by good taste and abundant means.
The grounds without were in keeping with the elegance
within, and everything bespoke the abode of wealth and

Mr. Milling was happy in his domestic relations. He
had married his wife when he was a clerk with a salary,
and had arisen to his present eminence in the commercial
world with much of the freshness of feeling which
had marked his beginning. He was a domestic man, and
delighted in the society of his wife and two daughters.
The eldest, Matilda, was a tall, imperial-looking,
and elegant girl, of some twenty years — handsome,
but proud; the youngest was a fair and gentle
creature of ten, delicate as a snowdrop, and almost
as frail. A sickly infancy had left her an object of
deep solicitude, and care was taken that naught but
the most tender attention should be paid her. She was
kept free from the restraints of study, and at the age of
ten was as artless and undeveloped a little creature,
intellectually, as ever was made the subject of culture.
But she had grown in spirit. The angelic wealth of
her nature had developed in flowers of soul, and made


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her life one constant joy. There was none of the waywardness
of childhood in her seeming, and her blue eyes
were ever lustrous with tender womanly light. There
was a marked contrast between Lily and her sister — as
wide a difference as between their ages. The one was
admired for her beauty of person and accomplishments,
the other was loved for her sweetness of disposition
and unselfishness. There was but little external sympathy
between the sisters, but deep in their natures was
a bond which knit them closely together, exhibited outwardly
in gentle authority on the one part, and passive
obedience on the other.

Mr. Milling had always acted upon the belief that the
best way to make sure of the moral worth of his clerks
was to encourage intimacy between them and himself,
and, through a close acquaintance with them, obtain an
insight into their characters, and learn the motives that
operated to control their conduct. He had thus opened
his doors to them on all occasions, made them welcome
to his fireside, and given them the assurance that he was
their friend.

John Upshur had been specially favored. Possessed
of a very prepossessing appearance, from the first Mr.
Milling had been struck by him. Acquaintance had
proved him intelligent, high-minded, and faithful. From
a boy in the store, he had risen, step by step, through
the encouragement of his employer, until he had become
confidential clerk and junior partner in the house
of Milling & Co., with an irreproachable reputation as
regarded honesty, and a character for business capacity
and shrewdness that was not to be excelled.

Eugene Partelot and George Savage, the two clerks
previously introduced to the reader, had likewise enjoyed
the almost parental regard of Mr. Milling. Mr.


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Upshur, however, had come before them. His light was
at its zenith, and the beams of their small lanterns were
ineffectual in its superior blaze, in the eyes of Miss Matilda,
who was from the first specially significant in her
attentions to the polite and handsome clerk, until, as his
position enlarged in the firm of J. Milling, and enabled
him to be known as the Co. that was added to the sign
on the first of January previous, he became the accepted
lover of the young lady, and the particular friend of
the family.

There was a wide difference between Eugene Partelot
and George Savage. The former possessed great suavity
of manner, paid much regard to personal appearance,
was punctilious in all his habits, and possessed a
full consciousness of his own transcendent merits. He
was called by all a good fellow, and his society was
sought on all occasions. His presence gave life to a
party, his figure in a ball-room was indispensable, and
there was not a wedding or a party in the neighborhood
to which he was not invited. With George Savage it
was entirely the reverse. His appearance was uncouth
and careless, his voice rough and uncourteous, his manner
abrupt and startling. A thorough conviction of his
honesty alone made him tolerable to Mr. Milling, who
never received him at his house with the cordiality that
he extended to the other, it being evident, although
he used him well, that his companion was the favorite.
He would often find himself left alone by his employer
and more favored associate, to amuse himself as
best he might. It was on one of these occasions, while
sitting in moody discontent in Mr. Milling's library, that
the door opened, and little Lily came tripping in. He
had seen her frequently before, but had never spoken to
her, deeming that she avoided him. Now she broke


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upon his darkness of spirit like a light from the spheres.
She approached where he sat, and reached out her hand
to him, with a smile, saying,

“You are all alone, Mr. Savage?” The tone was so
kind, that the Savage was melted. He took her hand,
saying, as gently as he could,

“No, Miss, they have all left me for more agreeable

“Well, then,” said she, “I will take their place, and
amuse you the best I can. Shall I sing for you?”

Savage replied that he should be delighted to hear
her, and she sang for him several little airs that she had
learned, in a voice so sweet and tender, and prattled on
so prettily, that an hour passed unheeded away, and the
absence of all the rest of the household was forgotten.
When they returned they found the little prattler engaged
in her task of amusing. Her sister informed her
that she must not come down when company was in the
house unless she was invited, and George Savage saw
her no more on any of his visits. At last he discontinued
them altogether, and no question was asked why
he did so.

Mr. Milling's family were very uneasy concerning him
on the day named at the outset of our story. The dinner
was left untasted, as hour after hour passed. He
had often staid away, detained by important business,
but had always sent a message to inform his family,
in order to remove their uneasiness. His present omission
to do so was inexplicable. At last, at the hour
when night struggles with day, his step was heard upon
the pavement, but it seemed weary and slow, his hand
upon the door was less active than usual, and the lock
gave not the energetic click as was wont, denoting by
its sound the happiness of the master at returning. His


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care-marked brow was seen as he entered, and loving
voices inquired if he were ill. Lily's arms clasped his
neck in a fond embrace, and her head bowed upon his
breast in the mute expression of her heart 's full love.

“I am not ill,” he replied to their inquiries; “but I am
sad. I may tell you at once my trouble. Treachery
and fraud have done their worst with me, and I am

“Ruined!” said Mrs. Milling, in a voice of extreme
dismay, which was echoed by Miss Matilda. “Ruined!”

Lily trembled, and nestled closer to her father's heart.
She felt his arms tighten about her, and a fervent kiss
impressed upon her curls.

“By whom?” was the question that followed.

“By one whom we have all trusted too much, and
who has proved a villain.”

“Savage?” — “Partelot?” were the inquiries that
broke upon him from the astonished women.

“No!” said he, with a groan, “Upshur!”

Miss Matilda, who was watching his lips for the name,
with eager curiosity, with a shriek fell upon the floor,
as he uttered the word that crushed her hopes; and Mrs.
Milling, seemingly struck speechless with astonishment,
turned her attention to her fallen daughter, who, by the
aid of a servant, was carried to her chamber, insensible.

Mr. Milling and Lily sat alone. She had started from
his arms at the fall of her sister, but had turned to her
father again, as the rest left the room. She got upon
his knee, took his hands from his face, and gazed long
and earnestly into his eyes.

“Father!” said she, at last, with startling energy for
her, “love is left us. God gives it to the poor, instead
of wealth; and, O, how they love one another who are
bound together by the ties of a common necessity!”


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He started, while a feeling of awe crept over him,
as he looked upon her pale face, and her large, spiritual
eyes, beaming with a lustre he had seldom before

“And who told you this?” he asked, as he held her
from him, and continued his gaze upon her.

“There is something that comes from there,” replied
she, pointing upward, solemnly, “that tells me many
things I never dare speak to mortal ears — that I
dream of and think of when others are at rest. It tells
me of happiness beyond the present, and that, though
all earthly hopes may perish, and fortune fade away,
the true source of happiness is yet left us in our loving
hearts — away down below, where the storms of the
world cannot come.”

Mr. Milling bowed down his head before his child,
and caught from her words a new hope, as if an angel
had spoken.

His wife returned to his side; and, at her approach,
Lily kissed her father's heated brow and retired, turning
upon him her deep, intense glance, full of love and
pity, as she disappeared.

They sat long together in conference, the merchant
and his wife; for she was a woman who mingled no
reproaches or invidious reflections in her counsel, and
was an intelligent adviser in matters requiring prudence
of judgment, and wisdom of forethought. She
was a jewel to her husband, fully realizing the scriptural
standard — a crown! The result of their deliberation
was that, if the matter should terminate as badly as was
feared, everything should be given up to the creditors;
that, as honesty had been the corner-stone of the business
of J. Milling & Co., it should not be disgraced by
a dishonest termination.


Page 236

The next day the creditors of the firm were summoned
to a meeting, and its affairs laid before them.
Mr. Barrus, of the house of Barrus & Emms, Bangor,
was present with his claims, the large amount of which
it was found impossible to meet; and, as there were
claims supposed to be held by other parties, as Mr. Barrus
had suggested, the result was that the house of J.
Milling & Co. failed, and the property was placed in the
hands of assignees for settlement. Before Christmas
the names of Partelot & Savage occupied the position
of the once familiar name, they having purchased the
business of the assignees, by the advice of Mr. Milling.

It was a town talk for many days; but, after a while,
the waters of silence closed over the affair, as the waves
enfold themselves over the scene where some gallant
bark has gone down.