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Page 253


The house of Partelot & Savage was the best house
upon the street. Their paper was as good as gold, and
both members of the firm were esteemed rich. But the
repulse of Mr. Partelot at the hands of Miss Milling
could not be healed by time or business, and, after
enduring it for a time, he thought he would try a
European tour. It was not that his heart was touched,
— that could not be reached, — but his ambition was
thwarted. Men talked about it, and his quiet partner
looked, in his disordered eyes, very knowing. So much
did these things prey upon him that he concluded to
sell out. He made Mr. Savage an offer to place the
business in his hands for a consideration, which was
accepted, and Mr. Partelot left for the Old World.

Mr. Milling had been dead six years, and his family
remained the same as at the beginning of their desolation,
save that time had done its work with them. But
time had been gracious with Lily. Her beautiful form
was a marvel of grace, her face was as bright as an
angel's, and her mind endowed with qualities that placed
her far before those of her own age and condition. All
loved her for her virtues; but there was one, of all the
rest, whom she sighed to reach, — to throw herself at
his feet and confess her indebtedness, and devote her
life to his service. He had been prompt, year by year,
in his strange benevolence, and year by year she had
received some elegant token of his care, all bearing the
same motto, “Memory,” and all addressed simply
“Lily.” Safely had she kept that secret so strangely
gained, amid the often-expressed wonder concerning it
from those near to her. While her whole nature was as


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transparent as the day to loving eyes, she kept this
little thought enshrined in a holy of holies, within
which none might enter but Him who readeth all secrets.

The singularity that had characterized her earlier
years marked her growth. There were few who
understood her, few that she recognized with the endearment
of friendship; and, although her companions
loved her, it was with a feeling allied to awe, so different
was she from them. Of those who knew her the
least were her own mother and sister. They ascribed
to indolence the listlessness which at times seemed to
mark her conduct, and to fanaticism the lifting up of
spirit, which they comprehended not. Her words fell
like music about her path, and, though she had no
wealth to give, her “God bless you” thrilled the heart
of those who received it like a heavenly benison.

Among her friends was one, with whom she had but
recently become acquainted, a little older than herself.
Endowed with more positiveness of character, she was
a desirable companion for Lily; and, drawn together by
sympathetic proclivities, their companionship was of
the most agreeable description. Agnes resided in a
distant part of the city, and Lily had never visited her
in her home, although they frequently met at the houses
of mutual friends. She had frequently spoken of her
brother, of whom she was very fond; but Lily had never
met with him.

It was again the Christmas time of year, and Agnes
Loyle was going to give a select party on Christmas
night. Cards were despatched, and preparations made
suited to the occasion. Music and conversation and social
pleasure were to form its essential features. Its ulterior
object, however, was a deeply-conceived and womanly
scheme of bringing Lily Milling and her brother together,


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though this was hidden from all but herself.
Lily, retiring and reserved, would have been better
content to have enjoyed her friend's society alone, but
she gave her assent to the arrangement. She was to be
accompanied by her sister.

The night was pleasant. The moon and stars glittered
in the frosty atmosphere, and the merry sleighbells
made music as the fleet steeds dashed on over the
flinty snow. The vehicle which bore Lily and Matilda
Milling stopped before a small but elegant house, brilliantly
lighted, and seemingly the abode of comfort and
taste. Entering, they were met by Agnes herself, who
conducted her guests into the parlor, where several of
the company had assembled, and where the rest soon
after joined them.

“Miss Matilda, shall I make you acquainted with my
brother, Mr. Savage? Lily, my brother, Mr. Savage,”
was said in the pleasant voice of Agnes Loyle. But
with far different feelings was the name heard. In one
heart it was associated with crushed hopes and buried
pride; in the other, with veneration, and love, and gratitude;
but by both it was received with evident emotion.
It was an incomprehensible mystery that George Savage
should be the brother of Agnes Loyle, and yet so
it was; she was a sister by a second marriage. She
was his only sister, and he loved her devotedly. When
their mother died, some years before, he sent for her to
come and live with him; and she arrived in town on a
Christmas day, and had been installed mistress of the
little house in Mulberry-street.

“The Misses Milling will remember in me an old
acquaintance,” said he, with a smile; “and,” he added,
to Lily, with a softened tone, “my memory recalls a


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sweet child, who was as much of an angel in character
as she is now angelic as a woman.”

He took her hand and kissed it, as he spoke.

Bravo, Mr. Savage! The ice has melted suddenly;
the ungentle and uncourtly man has bowed before a
little girl. What would Mr. Partelot say to see it? He
once called you a churl. What would the world say to
see it? It has called you a churl for years. Mr. Savage
cared not for Partelot, — for the world, — but he
cared for Lily, the sweetest flower that ever blossomed
in a human garden.

“You are confused at finding me the brother of
Agnes,” said he; “she is my half-sister, and I need not
praise her goodness to those who know her so well.
She had advantages of cultivation that I never knew,
and is the redeeming feature of my home, and gives it
its refinement.”

How gentlemanly he spoke, the uncouth and churlish
Mr. Savage! The visitors scarcely spoke, all busied
with their thoughts, when the voice of Agnes broke the

“Come, come, there are sports going on here that
rival those of the Olympiad, and are as rich with forfeits
as an argosy. Come and help us.”

The Christmas games had commenced, and fun and
frolic ruled the hour. Young men and young women
vied in their playful zeal; but, soon wearied with the excitement,
the noisy games broke up, and charades and
enigmas were personated.

“Let us try fortune-telling,” said one of the party;
“some rare sport comes out of it sometimes.”

Fortune-telling was at once decided upon; but who
would be the fortune-teller? Several refused to personate
the eldritch dame, when Lily was asked to


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assume the wand of inspiration, to which she assented.
It was deemed strange that she should; but the very
singularity of her consenting accounted for it. She
accordingly was installed in a large old-fashioned chair,
and before her came those whose fate she was to
determine. And wise were her words, and momentous
the matters of advice or prophecy that crossed her lips.
With intuitive keenness she enlarged on matrimonial
probabilities and collateral contingencies. The gentle
Lily's witchery was perfect and irresistible, and crowned
by an applause that knew no bound.

“And what has the prophetess to say for me?” said
George Savage, standing before the Power.

She gazed upon him with an emotion imperfectly concealed,
before she trusted her voice to speak; and then
she spoke low, in a manner that those around could not

“I have to say for you,” said she, “that the hidden
charity of a life, and its unselfish devotion to others'
good, has a reward beyond that waiting upon its gratification.”

He started, as she spoke.

“What means the enchantress?” said he, endeavoring
to assume his former light-hearted and indifferent

“I mean,” continued she, “that the flowers one plants
by the way of life do not die in meaningless beauty,
but yield a fragrant adoration for the kindness that
planted them; that a mind, enkindled by the loving and
secret care that sought to hide its own benevolence,
would be unworthy of its development, did it not show
by its gratitude that it treasured the act in memory!

She whispered the words in his ear, her face glowing
with the fulness of her delighted heart, and, lifting a


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little cross that lay upon her breast, suspended from a
string of pearls about her neck, she pointed significantly
to the word “memory!

Mr. Savage turned as pale as death, for a moment, and
then a burning flush passed over his features.

“What did she say?” said many voices, eagerly.

“Nothing,” said he; “that is, nothing which need be
spoken of. I make way for any one, and truly believe
in the sibylline character of the one you have installed.”

The Christmas evening sped merrily, and joyful hearts
throbbed in delightful harmony with the pulsing moments.
Mr. Savage was silent and gravely pleasant;
but there was a satisfaction on his face that dispelled
all idea that pain made him grave. He sought constantly
the side of the graceful Lily, who seemed imbued
with life scarce her own. At last, when away
from the gay revellers, he asked her to explain the discovery
of his secret. She did so, and told him her own
feelings upon becoming its recipient; and, as she dwelt
upon her perception of his delicacy in the affair, and
her warm appreciation, he clasped her hand, and, dropping
upon his knee by her side, said:

“The sweet budding Lily of my boyhood I have long
worn in my heart secretly. O, could I but hope to wear
the flower, in its expanded beauty, there!”

Her hand, not withdrawn, trembled in his, as he spoke,
and he accepted the emotion as an answer to his prayer.

“My secret has been my bane,” said he, with her
hand still in his. “I have avoided meeting you, for
fear of betraying it — watching you, however, as you
have grown in grace and beauty, and loving you at a
distance, until my angelic sister, who guessed my feeling,
though she did not the secret, has brought us


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Lily was happy, and true enough to tell him that she
loved him, and had long done so, but without knowing
him, save as one true heart knows another; and was true
enough, also, to tell him she would be his wife when a
year or two more should better fit her for the honorable
station, so little understood, even with six thousand
scriptural years resting on it.

And thus ended the Christmas, with mirth, and love,
and hope, to sanctify it. Memory became present joy,
and an augury of future happiness. The years rolled
on, and Lily lived the angel, rather than the wife, of
Savage, — the synonym of the true woman who truly
loves, — whose love is divine, and allows no grosser
element to mingle with it. Based on respect and gratitude,
it was a lifetime wave of devotion and trustfulness,
bearing their bark of happiness on to the heaven
of rest.

Mr. Partelot returned home, after an absence of some
years, bringing with him a foreign wife. He became
again engaged in business, and is now regarded as an
excellent man, — oily and profuse, — though he is as hollow-hearted
as ever. Matilda married a seafaring gentleman,
and wears the largest crinoline on the street.
Mrs. Milling, as if having nothing else worth living for
after she had seen her daughters disposed of, died and
was buried. Mr. Upshur was never heard of, and it
was supposed that he was devoured by the Fejee Islanders,
as it was ascertained, from a returned missionary,
that one answering his description had been served up
about that time.

Our story has no thrilling interest; but this may be
gathered from it — that scenes are enacted at our doors,
which, could we but see them, would be found to be
great dramas, where the heart plays its part, performing


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its role with painfulness or joy. But few spectators
are allowed to enter the portals, where no passport but
human sympathy can find admittance, and the curtain
often shuts down in darkness on a tragedy of ruined