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What can this be?” said Mrs. Milling, as she returned
from the door on Christmas morning, bearing a
small square package in her hand. “For you, Matilda,
I dare say.”

The package was unrolled, and was found to contain
a little rosewood casket of rare beauty, upon opening
which a beautiful necklace of oriental pearls was discovered,
pendent from which was a cross of the same,
arched by a golden ray, on which was wrought in delicate
letters the word “Memory!” On a card in the
box was the simple name, “Lily.”

“It is for Lily,” said her sister, with a tone of
marked disappointment. “Why did he send it to her?
It must be a mistake.”

She threw the bracelet into the box, with a petulant
gesture, and handed it to her mother. Lily was called,
and, to her great surprise, was presented with the
beautiful gift. The fair girl stood as if spell-bound a


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moment, when, kneeling by her sister's side, she laid
the box upon her lap, and bowed her head before her,

“Sister, it is for you. You alone are worthy to wear
it. My heart accords it to you.”

The proud girl threw it from her, with a disdainful
motion, and said, sharply,

“Never will I accept it, nor wear it! Such trifling I
will not endure!”

She rose from her seat as she spoke, and left the
room. Lily continued to kneel by the chair she had
just left, and when she arose she found herself alone.
The box was at her feet, opened, and the necklace lay
upon the carpet. She looked upon it with a feeling of
sorrow, half regarding it as the means of a new misery,
when the card on which her name was written attracted
her attention. She examined it minutely, and then proceeded
to where the letter was kept that had proposed
to pay for her education, and compared the writing. It
was the same, beyond a doubt. But, though one wrote
them both, who the one was was a matter still of impenetrable

Mr. Savage had never been at the home of the Millings
since the death of his old patron. His diffident
and abrupt nature made him withdraw himself from
other besides business association, and, though he entertained
as far as he could a friendly feeling for the
family, he did not dare to intrude himself upon their
time. His partner's confession had awakened in him,
apparently, a new interest for them; and, one day, in
response to the question why he never visited them,
he promised to join his partner there in a visit on
Christmas night.

The night came, and found Mr. Partelot at Mrs. Milling's


Page 250
house. The little parlor was neat and bright. A
wood-fire burnt briskly upon the andirons, and flashed a
ruddy light around the room. An air of comfort prevailed,
that mocked the inclemency of the night outside.
Presently the door opened, and Matilda entered. Her
brow was gloomy and dark, and the welcome she extended
was very stately.

“I 'm sorry,” said he, “that Savage is n't coming. I
don't see what is the matter. He has just sent me a
note, saying he is unavoidably called away to Mulberry-street
on business.”

Some brief expression of regret alone was uttered in
response. He resumed:

“A strange man that — the most singular man I ever

“I hope he is sincere,” said she, with a significant

“I think he is,” said he.

“Is he accustomed to pretend an attachment for one
person, and then to insult her by bestowing gifts upon
her sister and slighting her?”

“Upon my word, I think not; I never had the least
idea he was such a person. By the way, I have brought
you a small token for the festive season.”

He took a small paper from his pocket, and handed it
to her. She unrolled the package, and a pair of lady's
gloves met her view.

“Thank you,” said she, with seeming delight. “Do
you present these to me at the invoice price, or retail?”

“We have them invoiced to us; but why do you

“Only to know how to compare your present to me
with that of yours to my sister.”


Page 251

“To your sister!” said he, with a tone of alarm. “I
have made none.”

“Then you did not make the generous proposition
with regard to Lily's education?”

“I never said that I did,” replied he, nervously twisting
Savage's note around his finger.

“No,” said she, “but you allowed me to infer that
you did; and the man who can meanly take to himself
the credit that belongs to another is below contempt.”

“Well, madam,” said he, “then, as I am below contempt,
I am below your graciousness, and hence am not
worthy of you. Good-evening.”

He took his hat and passed out, as a butterfly vanishes
at the approach of a chill, leaving the fair being
that he was to have soon claimed as his own to a new
mortification. Her mother and sister soon after found
her in tears, and another dreary Christmas folded its
wings over the home of the Millings.

The next morning Lily was alone in the parlor, engaged
in her studies, when she saw a paper upon the
floor. A thrill passed over her frame as she took it in
her hand, — an indefinable commingling of fear and joy.
She opened it, and read:

Dear Partelot: Please excuse me to the family.
I am suddenly called to Mulberry-street. My sister has
arrived from the country. My regards to Mrs. M., and
Misses Matilda and Lily.


“It is the same writing as the letter and the card,”
said she; “there is no mistaking the word `Lily.' But
shall I betray the secret thus confided to me, though
unsought? I will regard the delicacy that prompted it,


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and keep the secret hidden. And this is the nature
that has been looked upon as base, uncouth; this is he
who has been treated by those he has so much benefited
as a clown!”

The fair girl had forgotten the little seed of kindness
sown in his heart a long time before, — sown as unconsciously
as the birds spread luxuriousness and beauty
in their flight, and make hitherto barren and inaccessible
places pleasant and fruitful. She had forgetten
— so unconscious was she — the words of kindness addressed
to him in the library of their old home; but
acts and words of kindness, springing from the God in
man, partake of the eternal nature of God, and cannot

Mr. Partelot came no more, and his name was not
mentioned in the circle where he had formerly been so
constant a visitor. But bitter tears were shed for him,
as men bend over a grave and weep, by eyes that had
once beamed for him so brightly. It was worse than
the grave, for the grave is honest; there is no treachery
there to add poignancy to grief, — and there is a
resurrection beyond, but none to buried friendship.

And Lily kept her secret locked within her breast,
nourishing a gratitude, approaching to idolatry, for the
noble being who was doing good secretly, expecting
and hoping for no return, and even incurring the suspicion
of churlishness from those around him. She grew
in grace of mind and body, and her eyes lost none of
the spiritual power that seemed to enter within the