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“HOLD on!” cried my travelling companion. “The
gentleman has dropped something.”

The driver pulled up his horses; and before I could prevent
him, Westwood leaped down from the vehicle, and
ran back for the article that had been dropped.

It was a glove, — my glove, which I had inadvertently
thrown out, in taking my handkerchief from my pocket.

“Go on, driver!” and he tossed it into my hand as he
resumed his seat in the open stage. “I once found a romance
in a glove. Since then, gloves are sacred.”

“A romance? Tell me about that. I am tired of this
endless stretch of sea-like country, these regular groundswells;
and it 's a good two hours' ride yet to our stopping-place.
Meanwhile, your romance.”

“Did I say romance? I fear you would hardly think it
worthy of the name,” said my companion. “Every life
has its romantic episodes, or, at least, incidents which appear
such to those who experience them. But these tender
little histories are usually insipid enough when told.
I have a maiden aunt, who once came so near having an
offer from a pale stripling, with dark hair, seven years her
junior, that to this day she often alludes to the circumstance,
with the remark, that she wishes she knew some
competent novel-writer in whom she could confide, feeling
sure that the story of that period of her life would make
the groundwork of a magnificent work of fiction. Possibly


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I inherit my aunt's tendency to magnify into extraordinary
proportions trifles which I look at through the
double convex lens of a personal interest. So don't expect
too much of my romance, and you shall hear it.

“I said I found it in a glove. It was by no means a
remarkable glove, — middle-sized, straw-colored, and a
neat fit for this hand. Of course, there was a young lady
in the case; — let me see, — I don't believe I can tell you
the story,” said Westwood, “after all!”

I gently urged him to proceed.

“Pshaw!” said he, after kindling a cigar with a few
vigorous whiffs, “what 's the use of being foolish? My
aunt was never diffident about telling her story, and why
should I hesitate to tell mine? The young lady's name, —
we 'll call her Margaret. She was a blonde, with hazel eyes
and dark hair. Perhaps you never heard of a blonde with
hazel eyes and dark hair? She was the only one I ever
saw; and there was the finest contrast imaginable between
her fair, fresh complexion, and her superb tresses and delicately
traced eyebrows. She was certainly lovely, if not
handsome; and — such eyes! It was an event in one's
life, sir, just to look through those luminous windows into
her soul. That could not happen every day, to be sure!
Sometimes for weeks she kept them turned from me, the
ivory shutters half closed, or the mystic curtains of reserve
drawn within; then, again, when I was tortured with unsatisfied
yearnings, and almost ready to despair, she would
suddenly turn them upon me, the shutters thrown wide,
the curtains away, and a flood of radiance streaming forth,
that filled me so full of light and gladness, that I had no
shadowy nook left in me for a doubt to hide in. She must
have been conscious of this power of expression, — she used
it so sparingly, and, it seemed to me, artfully! But I
always forgave her when she did use it, and cherished resentment
only when she did not.


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“Margaret was shy and proud; I could never completely
win her confidence; but I knew, I knew well at last, that
her heart was mine. And a deep, tender, woman's heart
it was, too, despite her reserve. Without many words, we
understood each other, and so — Pshaw!” said Westwood,
“my cigar is out!”

“On with the story!”

“Well, we had our lovers' quarrels, of course. Singular,
what foolish children love makes of us! — rendering us
sensitive, jealous, exacting, in the superlative degree. I
am sure, we were both amiable and forbearing towards
all the world besides; but, for the powerful reason that
we loved, we were bound to misinterpret words, looks, and
actions, and wound each other on every convenient occasion.
I was pained by her attentions to others, or perhaps
by an apparent preference of a book or a bouquet to me.
Retaliation on my part and quiet persistence on hers continued
to estrange us, until I generally ended by conceding
everything and pleading for one word of kindness to end
my misery.

“I was wrong, — too quick to resent, too ready to concede.
No doubt it was to her a secret gratification to exercise
her power over me; and at last I was convinced that
she wounded me purposely, in order to provoke a temporary
estrangement and enjoy a repetition of her triumph.

“It was at a party; the thing she did was to waltz with
a man whom she knew I detested, whom I knew she could
not respect, and whose half-embrace, as he whirled her in
the dance, almost put murder into my thoughts.

“`Margaret,' I said, `one last word! If you care for
me, beware!'

“That was a foolish speech, perhaps. It was certainly
ineffectual. She persisted, looking so calm and composed
that a great weight fell upon my heart. I walked away;


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I wandered about the saloons; I tried to gossip and be
gay; but the wound was too deep.

“I accompanied her home, late in the evening. We
scarcely spoke by the way. At the door, she looked me
sadly in the face, — she gave me her hand; I thought it

“`Good night!' she said, in a low voice.

“`Good by!' I answered, coldly, and hurried from the

“It was some consolation to hear her close the door after
I had reached the corner of the street, and to know that
she had been listening to my footsteps. But I was very
angry. I made stern resolutions; I vowed to myself that
I would wring her heart, and never swerve from my purpose
until I had wrung out of it abundant drops of sorrow
and contrition. How I succeeded you shall hear.

“I had previously engaged her to attend a series of
concerts with me; an arrangement which I did not now
regret, and for good reasons. Once a week, with extreme
punctuality, I called for her, escorted her to the concertroom,
and carefully reconducted her home, — letting no
opportunity pass to show her a true gentleman's deference
and respect, — conversing with her freely about music,
books, anything, in short, except what we both knew to be
deepest in each other's thoughts. Upon other occasions
I avoided her, and even refrained from going to places
where she was expected, — especially where she knew that
I knew she was expected.

“Well,” continued Westwood, “my designs upon her
heart, which I was going to wring so unmercifully, did not
meet with very brilliant success. To confess the humiliating
truth, I soon found that I was torturing myself a
good deal more than I was torturing her. As a last and
desperate resort, what do you think I did?”


Page 364

“You probably asked her to ask your forgiveness.”

“Not I! I have a will of adamant, as people find, who
tear away the amiable flowers and light soil that cover it;
and she had reached the impenetrable, firm rock. I neither
made any advances towards a reconciliation nor invited
any. But I 'll tell you what I did do, as a final trial of
her heart. I had, for some time, been meditating a European
tour, and my interest in her had alone kept me at
home. Some friends of mine were to sail early in the
spring, and I now resolved to accompany them. I don't
know how much pride and spite there was in the resolution,
— probably a good deal. I confess I wished to make her
suffer, — to show her that she had calculated too much
upon my weakness, — that I could be strong and happy
without her. Yet, with all this bitter and vindictive feeling,
I listened to a very sweet and tender whisper in my
heart, which said, `Now, if her love speaks out, — now, if
she says to me one true, kind, womanly word, — she shall
go with me, and nothing shall ever take her from me
again!' The thought of what might be, if she would but
say that word, and of what must be, irrevocably, if her
pride held out, shook me mightily. But my resolution
was taken.

“On the day of the last concert, I imparted the secret
of my intended journey to a person who, I felt tolerably
sure, would rush at once to Margaret with the news.
Then, in the evening, I went for her; I was conscious that
my manner towards her was a little more tender, or, rather,
a little less coldly courteous, that night, than it had
usually been of late; for my feelings were softened, and I
had never seen her so lovely. I had never before known
what a treasure I was about to lose. The subject of my
voyage was not mentioned, and if she had heard of it, she
accepted the fact without the least visible concern. Her


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quietness under the circumstances chilled me and disheartened
me. I am not one of those who can give much
superfluous love, or cling with unreasonable, blind passion
to an object that yields no affection in return. A quick
and effectual method of curing a fancy in persons of my
temperament is to teach them that it is not reciprocated.
Then it expires like a flame cut off from the air, or
a plant removed from the soil. The death-struggle, the
uprooting, is the painful thing; but when the heart is
thoroughly convinced that its love is misplaced, it gives
up, with one last sigh as big as fate, sheds a few tears,
says a prayer or two, thanks God for the experience, and
becomes a wiser, calmer, — yes, and a happier heart than

“True,” I said; “but our hearts are not easily convinced.”

“Ay, there 's the rub. It is for want of a true perception.
There cannot be a true love without a true perception.
Love is for the soul to know, from its own
intuition; not for the understanding to believe, from the
testimony of those very unreliable witnesses called eyes
and ears. This seems to have been my case; my soul
was aware of her love, and all the evidence of my external
senses could not altogether destroy that interior faith.
But that evening I said, `I believe you now, my senses!
I doubt you now, my soul! She never loved me!' So
I was really very cold towards her — for about twenty

“I walked home with her; we were both silent; but
at the door she asked me to go in. Here my calmness
deserted me and I could hardly hold my heart, while I
replied, `If you particularly wish it.'

“`If I did not, I should not ask you,' she said; and I
went in.


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“I was ashamed and vexed at myself for trembling so,
— for I was in a tremor from head to foot. There was
company in the parlors, — some of Margaret's friends. I
took my seat upon a sofa, and soon she came and sat by
my side.

“`I suppose,' said one, `Mr. Westwood has been telling
Margaret all about it.'

“`About what?' Margaret inquired, — and here the
truth flashed upon me, — the news of my proposed voyage
had not yet reached her! She looked at me
with a troubled, questioning expression, and said, `I felt
that something was going to happen. Tell me what
it is.'

“I answered, `Your friend can best explain what she

“Then out came the secret. A shock of surprise sent
the color from Margaret's face; and raising her eyes she
asked, quite calmly, but in a low and unnatural tone, `Is
this so? You are really going?'

“`I am really going.'

“She could not hide her agitation. Her white face betrayed
her. Then I was glad, wickedly glad, in my heart,
and vain enough to be gratified that others should behold
and know I held a power over her. Well, — but I suffered
for that folly.

“`I feel hurt,' she said after a little while, `because
you have not told me this. You have no sister,' (this was
spoken very quietly,) `and it would have been a privilege
for me to take a sister's place, and do for you those little
things which sisters do for brothers who are going on long

“I was choked; it was a minute before I could speak.
Then I said that I saw no reason why she should tax her
time or thoughts to do anything for me.


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“`O, you know,' she said, `you have been kind to me,
so much kinder than I have deserved!'

“It was unendurable, — the pathos of those words! If
we had been alone, there our trial would have ended. But
the eyes of others were upon us, and I steeled myself.

“`Besides,' I said, `I know of nothing that you can do
for me.'

“`There must be many little things; to begin with,
there is your glove, which you are tearing to pieces.'

“True, I was tearing my glove; she was calm enough
to observe it! That made me angry.

“`Give it to me; I will mend it for you. Have n't you
other gloves that need mending?'

“I, who had triumphed, was humbled. My heart was
breaking, — and she talked of mending gloves! I did not
omit to thank her. I coldly arose to go.

“Well, I felt now that it was all over. The next day I
secured my passage in the steamer in which my friends
were to sail. I took pains that Margaret should hear of
that, too. Then came the preparations for travel, — arranging
affairs, writing letters, providing myself with a
compact and comfortable outfit. Europe was in prospect,
— Paris, Switzerland, Italy, lands to which my dreams
had long since gone before me, and to which I now turned
my eyes with reawakening aspirations. A new glory arose
upon my life, in the light of which Margaret became a
fading star. It was so much easier than I had thought to
give her up, to part from her! I found that I could forget
her in the excitement of a fresh and novel experience;
while she, — could she forget me? When lovers part,
happy is he who goes! alas for the one that is left behind!

“One day when I was busy with the books which I was
to take with me, a small package was handed in. I need


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not tell you that I experienced a thrill when I saw Margaret's
handwriting upon the wrapper. I tore it open, —
and what think you I found? My glove! Nothing else.
I smiled bitterly, to see how neatly she had mended it;
then I sighed; then I said, `It is finished!' and tossed
the glove disdainfully into my trunk.

“On the day before that fixed for the sailing of the
steamer, I made farewell calls upon many of my friends, —
among others, upon Margaret. But, through the perversity
of pride and will, I did not go alone; I took with me
Joseph, a mutual acquaintance, who was to be my travelling-companion.
I felt some misgivings, when I saw how
Margaret had changed; she was so softened, and so pale!

“The interview was a painful one, and I cut it short.
As we were going out, she gently detained me, and said,
`Did you receive — your glove?'

“`O yes,' I said, and thanked her for mending it.

“`And this is all — all you have to say?' she asked.

“`I have nothing more to say, — except good by.'

“She held my hand. `Nothing else?'

“`No, — it is useless to talk of the past, Margaret;
and the future, — may you be happy! Good by!'

“I thought she would speak; I could not believe she
would let me go; but she did! I bore up well until
night. Then came a revulsion. I walked three times
past the house, wofully tempted, my love and my will at
cruel warfare; but I did not go in. At midnight I saw
the light in her room extinguished; I knew she had retired,
but whether to sleep, or weep, or pray, — how could
I tell? I went home. I did not close my eyes that night.
I was glad to see the morning come, after such a night!

“The steamer was to sail at ten. The bustle of embarkation;
strange scenes and strange faces; parting from
friends; the ringing of the bell; last adieus, — some, who


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were to go with us, hurrying aboard, others, who were to
stay behind, as hastily going ashore; the withdrawal of
the plank, — sad sight to many eyes! casting off the lines,
the steamer swinging heavily around, the rushing, irregular
motion of the great, slow paddles; the waving of handkerchiefs
from the decks, and the responsive signals from
the crowd lining the wharf; off at last, — the faces of
friends, the crowd, the piers, and, lastly, the city itself,
fading from sight; the dash of spray, the freshening breeze,
the novel sight of our little world detaching itself and
floating away; the feeling that America was past, and Europe
was next; — all this filled my mind with animation
and excitement, which shut out thoughts of Margaret.
Could I have looked with clairvoyant vision, and beheld
her then, locked in her chamber, should I have been so
happy? O, what fools vanity and pride make of us!
Even then, with my heart high-strung with hope and
courage, had I known the truth, I should have abandoned
my friends, the voyage, and Europe, and returned in the
pilot's boat, to find something more precious than all the
continents and countries of the globe in the love of that
heart which I was carelessly flinging away.”

Here Westwood took breath. The sun was now almost
set. The prairie was still and cool; the heavy dews were
beginning to fall; the shadows of the green and flowered
undulations filled the hollows, like a rising tide; and the
horses moved at a quicker pace. Westwood lighted his
cigar, drew a few whiffs, and proceeded.

“We had a voyage of eleven days. But to me an immense
amount of experience was crowded into that brief
period. The fine exhilaration of the start, — the breeze
gradually increasing to a gale; then horrible sea-sickness,
home-sickness, love-sickness; after which, the weather
which sailors love, games, gayety, and flirtation. There is


Page 370
no such social freedom to be enjoyed anywhere as on board
an ocean steamer. The breaking up of old associations,
the opening of a fresh existence, the necessity of new
relationships, — this fuses the crust of conventionality,
quickens the springs of life, and renders character sympathetic
and fluent. The past is easily put away; we become
plastic to new influences; we are delighted at the
discovery of unexpected affinities, and astonished to find
in ourselves so much wit, eloquence, and fine susceptibility
which we did not before dream we possessed.

“This freedom is especially provocative of flirtation.
We see each fair brow touched with a halo whose colors
are the reflection of our own beautiful dreams. Loveliness
is tenfold more lovely, bathed in this atmosphere of romance;
and manhood is invested with ideal graces. Don't
think I am now artfully preparing your mind to excuse
what I am about to confess. Take these things into consideration,
if you will; then think as you please of the
weakness and wild impulse with which I fell in love
with —

“Call her Flora. The most superb, captivating creature
that ever insnared the hearts of the sons of Adam.
A fine olive complexion; magnificent dark auburn hair;
eyes full of fire and softness; lips that could pout or smile
with incomparable fascination; a figure of surprising symmetry,
just voluptuous enough. But, after all, her great
power lay in her freedom from all affectation and conventionality,
— in her spontaneity, her free, sparkling, and
vivacious manners. She was the most daring and dazzling
of women, without ever appearing immodest or repulsive.
She walked with such proud, secure steps over the commonly
accepted barriers of social intercourse, that even
those who blamed her and pretended to be shocked were
compelled to admire. She was the belle, the Juno, of the


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saloon, the supreme ornament of the upper deck. Just
twenty, — not without wit and culture, — full of poetry
and enthusiasm. Do you blame me?”

“Not a whit,” I said; “but for Margaret —”

“Ah, Margaret!” said Westwood, with a sigh. “But,
you see, I had given her up. And when one love is lost,
there sink such awful chasms into the soul, that, though
they cannot be filled, we must at least bridge them over
with a new affection. The number of marriages built in
this way, upon false foundations of hollowness and despair,
is incomputable. We talk of jilted lovers and disappointed
girls marrying `out of spite.' No doubt, such
petty feeling hurries forward many premature matches.
But it is the heart, left shaken, unsupported, wretchedly
sinking, which reaches out for sympathy, and clings like
a helpless vine to the sunny-sided wall of the nearest consolation.
If you wish to marry a girl and can't, and are
weak enough to desire her still, this is what you should
do: get some capable man to jilt her. Then seize your
chance. All the affections which have gone out to him,
unmet, ready to droop, quivering with the painful, hungry
instinct to grasp some object, may possibly lay hold of
you. Let the world sneer; but God pity such natures,
which lack the faith and fortitude to live and die true to
their best love!

“Out of my own mouth do I condemn myself? Very
well, I condemn myself; peccavi! If I had ever loved
Margaret, then I did not love Flora. The same heart cannot
find its counterpart indifferently in two such opposites.
What charmed me in one was her purity, softness, and
depth of soul. What fascinated me in the other was her
bloom, beauty, and passion. Which was the true sympathy?

“I did not stop to ask that question when it was most


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important that it should be seriously considered. I rushed
into the crowd of competitors for Flora's smiles, and distanced
them all. I was pleased and proud that she took no
pains to conceal her preference for me. We played chess;
we read poetry out of the same book; we ate at the same
table; we sat and watched the sea together, for hours, in
those clear, bright days; we promenaded the deck at sunset,
her hand upon my arm, her lips forever turning up
tenderly towards me, her eyes pouring their passion into
me. Then those glorious nights, when the ocean was a
vast, wild, fluctuating stream, flashing and sparkling about
the ship, spanned with a quivering bridge of splendor on
one side, and rolling off into awful darkness and mystery
on the other; when the moon seemed swinging among the
shrouds like a ball of white fire; when the few ships went
by like silent ghosts; and Flora and I, in a long trance of
happiness, kept the deck, heedless of the throng of promenaders,
forgetful of the past, reckless of the future, aware
only of our own romance and the richness of the present

“Joseph, my travelling-companion, looked on, and wrote
letters. He showed me one of these, addressed to a friend
of Margaret's. In it he extolled Flora's beauty, piquancy,
and supremacy; related how she made all the women jealous
and all the men mad; and hinted at my triumph. I
knew that the letter would reach Margaret's eyes, and was
vain enough to be pleased.

“At last, one morning at daybreak, I went on deck,
and saw the shores of England. Only a few days before,
we had left America behind us, brown and leafless, just
emerging from the long gloom of winter; and now the
slopes of another world arose green and inviting in the flush
of spring. There was a bracing breeze; the dingy waters
of the Mersey rolled up in wreaths of beauty; the fleets of


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ships, steamers, sloops, lighters, pilot-boats, bounding over
the waves, meeting, tacking, plunging, swaying gracefully
under the full-swelling canvas, presented a picture of
wonderful animation; and the mingling hues of sunshine
and mist hung over all. I paced the deck, solemnly joyful,
swift thoughts pulsing through me of a dim far-off Margaret,
of a near radiant Flora, of hope and happiness superior
to fate. It was one of those times when the excited
soul transfigures the world, and we marvel how we could
ever succumb to a transient sorrow while the whole universe
blooms, and an infinite future waits to open for us its
doors of wonder and joy.

“In this state of mind I was joined by Flora. She laid
her hand on my arm, and we walked up and down together.
She was serious, almost sad, and she viewed the English
hills with a pensiveness which became her better than

“`So,' she sighed, `all our little romances come to an

“`Not so,' I said; `or if one romance ends, it is to give
place to another, still truer and sweeter. Our lives may
be all a succession of romances, if we will make them so.
I think now I will never doubt the future; for I find that,
when I have given up my dearest hopes, my best beloved
friends, and accepted the gloomy belief that all life besides
is barren, — then comes some new experience, filling my
empty cup with still more delicious wine.'

“`Don't vex me with your philosophy!' said Flora. `I
don't know anything about it. All I know is this present,
— this sky, this earth, this sea, and the joy between, which
I can't give up quite so easily as you can, with your beautiful
theory that something better awaits you.'

“`I have told you,' I replied, — for I had been quite
frank with her, — `how I left America, — what a blank


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life was to me then; and did I not turn my back upon all
that to meet face to face the greatest happiness which I
have ever yet known? Ought not this to give me faith in
the divinity that shapes our ends?”

“`And so,' she answered, `when I have lost you, I shall
have the satisfaction of thinking that you are enjoying
some still more exquisite consolation for the slight pangs
you may have felt at parting from me! Your philosophy
will make it easy for you to say, “Good by! it was a
pretty romance; I go to find prettier ones still;” and
then forget me altogether!'

“`And you,' I said, — `will that be easy for you?'

“`Yes,' she cried with spirit, `anything is easy to a
proud woman, who finds that the brief romance of a ten
days' acquaintance has already become tiresome to her
friend. I am glad I have enjoyed what I have; that is
so much gain, of which you cannot rob me; and now I
can say good by as coolly as you, or I can die of shame,
or I can at once walk over this single rail into the water,
and quench this little candle, and so an end!'

“She sprang upon a bench, and, I swear to you, I thought
she was going down! I was so exalted by this passionate
demonstration, that I should certainly have gone over
with her, and felt perfectly content to die in her arms, —
at least, until I began to realize what a very disagreeable
bath we had chosen to drown in.

“I drew her away. I walked up and down with that
superb creature panting and palpitating almost upon my
heart; I poured into her ear I know not what extravagant
vows; and before the slow-handed sailors had fastened
their cable to the buoy in the channel, we had knotted a
more subtile and difficult noose, not to be so easily undone!

“Now see what strange, variable fools we are! Months
of tender intercourse had failed to bring about anything


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like a positive engagement between Margaret and myself;
and here behold me irrevocably pledged to Flora, after a
ten days' acquaintance!

“Six mortal hours were exhausted in making the steamer
fast; in sending off her Majesty's mails, of which the
cockney speaks with a tone of reverence altogether disgusting
to us free-minded Yankees; and in entertaining the
custom-house inspectors, who paid a long and tedious visit
to the saloon and our luggage. Then we were suffered
to land, and enter the noisy, solid streets of Liverpool,
amid the donkeys and beggars and quaint scenes which
strike the American so oddly upon a first visit. All this
delay, the weariness and impatience, the contrast between
the morning and the hard, grim reality of midday, brought
me down from my elevation. I felt alarmed to think of
what had passed. I seemed to have been doing some wild,
unadvised act in a fit of intoxication. Margaret came up
before me, sad, silent, reproachful; and as I gazed upon
Flora's bedimmed face, I wondered how I had been so

“We took the first train for London, where we arrived
at midnight. Two weeks in that vast Babel, — then, ho!
for Paris! Twelve hours by rail and steamer carried us
out of John Bull's dominions into the brilliant metropolis
of his French neighbor. Joseph accompanied us, and
wrote letters home, filled with gossip which I knew would
reach Margaret. I had not found it so easy to forget her
as I had supposed it would be. Flora's power over me
was sovereign; but when I was weary of the dazzle and
whirl of the life she led me, — when I looked into the
depths of my heart, and saw what the thin film of passion
and pleasure concealed, — in those serious moments which
would come, and my soul put stern questions to me, —
then, sir, — then — Margaret had her revenge.


Page 376

“A month, crowded and glittering with novelty and
incident, preceded our departure for Switzerland. I accompanied
Flora's party; Joseph remained behind. We
left Paris about the middle of June, and returned in September.
I have no words to speak of that era in my life.
I saw, enjoyed, suffered, learned so much! Flora was
always glad, magnificent, irresistible. But, as I knew her
longer, my moments of misgiving became more frequent.
If I had aspired to nothing higher than a life of sensuous
delights, she would have been all I could wish. But —

“We were to spend the winter in Italy. Meanwhile, we
had another month in Paris. Here I had found Joseph
again, who troubled me a good deal with certain rumors he
had received concerning Margaret. According to these, she
had been in feeble health ever since we left, and her
increasing delicacy was beginning to alarm her friends.
`But,' added another of Joseph's correspondents, `don't let
Westwood flatter himself that he is the cause, for she is
cured of him; and there is talk of an engagement between
her and a handsome young clergyman, who is both eloquent
and fascinating.'

“This bit of gossip made me very bitter and angry.
`Forget me so soon?' I said; `and receive the attentions
of another man?' You see how consistent I was, to condemn
her for the very fault I had myself been so eager to

“Well, the round of rides, excursions, soirées, visits to
the operas and theatres, walks on the Boulevards, and in
the galleries of the Louvre, ended at last. The evening
before we were to set out for the South of France, I was
at my lodgings, unpacking and repacking the luggage
which I had left in Joseph's care during my absence among
the Alps; I was melancholy, dissatisfied with the dissipations
which had exhausted my time and energies, and


Page 377
thinking of Margaret. I had not preserved a single memento
of her; and now I wished I had one, — if only a
withered leaf, or a line of her writing. In this mood I
chanced to cast my eye upon a stray glove, in the bottom
of my trunk. I snatched at it eagerly, and, in the impulse
of the moment, — before I reflected that I was wronging
Flora, — pressed it to my lips. Yes, I found the place
where it had been mended, the spot Margaret's fingers had
touched, and gave it a kiss for every stitch. Then, incensed
at myself, I flung it from me, and hurried from the
room. I strolled through the Elysian fields; stopped by
the concert gardens, and listened to the glorified girls singing
under rosy and golden pavilions the last songs of the
season; wandered about the fountains, — by the gardens
of the Tuileries, where the trees stood so shadowy and
still, and the statues gleamed so pale, — along the quays
of the Seine, where the waves rolled so dark below, —
trying to settle my thoughts, to master myself, to put
Margaret from me.

“Weary at length, I returned to my chamber, seated
myself composedly, and looked down at the glove which
lay where I had thrown it, upon the polished floor. Mechanically
I stooped and took up a bit of folded paper. It
was written upon, — I unrolled it, and read. It was as if
I had opened the record of doom! Had the apparition of
Margaret herself risen suddenly before me, I could not
have been more astounded. It was a note from her, —
and such a note! — full of love, suffering, and humility, —
poured out of a heart so deep and tender and true that
the shallowness of my own seemed utterly contemptible
in comparison with it. I cannot tell you what was written,
but it was more than even my most cruel and exacting
pride could have asked. It was what would once have
made me wild with joy; now it almost maddened me


Page 378
with despair. I, who had often talked fine philosophy to
others, had not a grain of that article left to physic my
own malady. But one course seemed plain before me, and
that was, to go quietly and drown myself in the Seine,
which I had seen flowing so swift and dark under the
bridges, an hour ago, when I stood and mused upon the
tragical corpses its sullen flood had swallowed.

“I am a little given to superstition, and the mystery of
the note excited me. I wonder if there was n't some
subtile connection between it and the near presence of
Margaret's spirit, of which I had that night been conscious.
But the note had reached me by no supernatural method,
as I was at first half inclined to believe. It was perhaps
the touch, the atmosphere, the ineffably fine influence
which surrounded it, which had penetrated my unconscious
perceptions, and brought her near. The paper, the glove,
were full of Margaret, — full of something besides what we
vaguely call mental associations, — full of emanations of
the very love and suffering which she had breathed into
the writing.

“How the note came there upon the floor was a riddle
which I was too much bewildered to explain by any natural
means. Joseph, who burst in upon me, in my extremity
of pain and difficulty, solved it at once. It had fallen out
of the glove, where it had lain folded, silent, unnoticed,
during all this intervening period of folly and vexation of
soul. Margaret had done her duty in time; I had only
myself to blame for the tangle in which I now found myself.
I was thinking of Flora, upon the deck of the steamship,
in a moment of chagrin so near throwing herself
over, — wondering to what fate her passion and impetuosity
would hurry her now, if she knew, — cursing myself
for my weakness and perfidy; while Joseph kept asking
me what I intended to do.

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Page 379

“`Do? do?' I said, furiously, `I shall kill you, that is
is what I shall do, if you drive me mad with questions
which neither angels nor fiends can answer!”

“`I know what you will do,' said Joseph; `you will go
home and marry Margaret.'

“You can have no conception of the effect of these
words, — Go home and marry Margaret. All that might
have been, — what might be still,— the happiness cast
away, and perhaps yet within my reach,— the temptation
of the Devil, who appealed to my cowardice, to fly from
Flora, break my vows, risk my honor and her life, for Margaret,
— all this rushed through me tumultuously. At
length I said: `No, Joseph; I shall do no such thing,
I can never be worthy of Margaret; it will be only by
fasting and prayer that I can make myself worthy of

“`Will you start for Italy in the morning?' he asked,

“`For Italy in the morning?' I groaned. Meet Flora,
travel with her, play the hypocrite, with smiles on my lips
and hell in my heart, — or thunder-strike her at once with
the truth; — what was I to do? To some men the question
would, perhaps, have presented few difficulties. But
for me, sir, — who am not quite devoid of conscience, whatever
you may think, — having driven Joseph away, I
locked myself into my room, and suffered the torments of
the damned, in as quiet a manner as possible, until morning.
Then Joseph returned, and looked at me with dismay.

“`For Heaven's sake!' he said, `you ought not to let
this thing kill you; and it will, if you keep on.'

“`So much the better,' I said, `if it kills nobody but
me. But don't be alarmed. Keep perfectly cool, and
attend to the commission I am going to trust to you. I


Page 380
can't see Flora this morning; I must gain a little time.
Go to the station of the Lyons Railway, where I have engaged
to meet her party; say to her that I am detained,
but that I will join her on the journey. Give her no time
to question you, and be sure that she does not stay behind.'

“`I 'll manage it, — trust me!' said Joseph. And off
he started. At the end of two hours, which seemed twenty,
he burst into my room, crying, `Good news! she is gone!
I told her you had lost your passport, and would have
to get another from our minister.'

“`What!' I exclaimed, `you lied to her?'

“`O, there was no other way!' said Joseph, ingenuously,
— `she is so sharp! They 're to wait for you at
Marseilles. But I 'll manage that too. On their arrival
at the Hôtel d'Orient, they 'll find a telegraphic despatch
from me. I wager a hat, they 'll leave in the first steamer
for Naples. Then you can follow at your leisure.'

“`Thank you, Joseph.'

“I felt relieved. Then came a reaction. The next day
I was attacked by fever. I know not how long I struggled
against it, but it mastered me. The last things I remember
were the visits of friends, the strange talk of a French
physician, whispers and consultations, which I knew were
about me, yet took no interest in; and at length Joseph
rushing to my bedside, in a flutter of agitation, and gasping,

“`What of Flora?' I demanded.

“`I telegraphed, but she would n't go; she has come
back; she is here!'

“I was sinking back into the stupor from which I had
been roused, when I heard a rustling which seemed afar
off, yet was in my chamber; then a vision appeared to my
sickened sight, — a face which I dimly thought I had seen


Page 381
before, — a flood of curls and a rain of kisses showering
upon me, — sobs and devouring caresses, — Flora's voice
calling me passionate names; and I lying so passive, faintly
struggling to remember, until my soul sank whirling into
darkness, and I knew no more.

“One morning, I cannot tell you how long after, I
awoke and found myself in a strange-looking room, filled
with strange objects, not the least strange of which was the
thing that seemed myself. At first I looked with vague
and motionless curiosity out of the Lethe from which my
mind slowly emerged; painless, and at peace; listlessly
questioning whether I was alive or dead, — whether the
limp weight lying in bed there was my body, — the meaning
of the silence and the closed curtains. Then, with a succession
of painful flashes, as if the pole of an electrical battery
had been applied to my brain, memory returned, — Margaret,
Flora, Paris, delirium. I remember next hearing myself
groan aloud; then seeing Joseph at my side. I tried
to speak, but could not. Upon my pillow was a glove, and
he placed it against my cheek. An indescribable, excruciating
thrill shot through me; still I could not speak.
After that came a relapse. Like Mrs. Browning's poet, I

`'Twixt gloom and gleam,
With Death and Life at each extreme.'

“But one morning I was better. I could talk. Joseph
bent over me, weeping for joy.

“`The danger is past!' he said. `The doctors say you
will get well!'

“`Have I been so ill, then?'

“`Ill?' echoed Joseph. `Nobody thought you could
live. We all gave you up, except her; and she —'

“`She!' I said; `is she here?'

“`From the moment of her arrival,' replied Joseph, `she


Page 382
has never left you. O, if you don't thank God for her,'
— he lowered his voice, — `and live all the rest of your
life just to reward her, you are the most ungrateful wretch!
You would certainly have died but for her. She has
scarcely slept, till this morning, when they said you would

“Joseph paused. Every word he spoke went down
like a weight of lead into my soul. I had, indeed, been
conscious of a tender hand soothing my pillow, of a lovely
form flitting through my dreams, of a breath and magnetic
touch of love infusing warm, sweet life into me;
but it had always seemed Margaret, never Flora.

“`The glove?' I asked.

“`Here it is,' said Joseph. `In your delirium you demanded
it; you would not be without it; you caressed it,
and addressed to it the tenderest apostrophes.'

“`And Flora, — she heard?'

“`Flora?' repeated Joseph. `Don't you know —
have n't you any idea — what has happened? It has been

“`Tell me at once!' I said. `Keep nothing back!'

“`Immediately on her return from Marseilles, — you
remember that?'

“`Yes, yes! go on!'

“`She established herself here. Nobody could come
between her and you; and a brave, true girl she proved
herself. O, but she was wild about you! She offered the
doctors extravagant sums — she would have bribed Heaven
itself, if she could — not to let you die. But there came
a time, — one night, when you were raving about Margaret,
— I tell you, it was terrible! She would have the
truth, and so I told her,— everything, from the beginning.
It makes me shudder now to think of it, — it struck her so
like death!'


Page 383

“`What did she say? what did she do?'

“`She did n't say much, — “O my God! my God!” —
something like that. The next morning she showed me
a letter which she had written to Margaret.'

“`To Margaret?' I started up, but fell back again helpless
with a groan.

“`Yes,' said Joseph, `and it was a letter worthy of the
noblest woman. I wrote another, for I thought Margaret
ought to know everything. It might save her life, and
yours too. In the mean time, I had got startling news
from her, — that her health had continued to decline, and
that her physician had seen no hope for her except in a
voyage to Italy. She had set out in company with the
H—s, and was by that time in London. I sent the letters
to her there, and — you know the rest.'

“`The rest?' I said, as a horrible suspicion flashed upon
me. `You told me something terrible had happened.'

“`Yes, — to Flora. But you have heard the worst.
She is gone; she is by this time in Rome.'

“`Flora gone? But you said she was here.'

“`She? So she is! But did you think I meant Flora?
I supposed you knew. Not Flora, but Margaret! Margaret!'

“I shrieked out, `Margaret!' That 's the last I remember,
— at least, the last I can tell. She was there, — I
was in her arms. And Flora had gone, and my dreams
were true; and the breath and magnetic touch of love,
which infused warm, sweet life into me, and seemed not
Flora's, but Margaret's, were no illusion, and — what more
can I tell?

“From the moment of receiving those letters, Margaret's
energies were roused, and she had begun to regain
her health. There is no such potent medicine as hope and
love. It had saved her, and it saved me. My recovery


Page 384
was sure and speedy. The happiness which had seemed
too great, too dear to be ever possible, was now mine. She
was with me again, all my own! Only the convalescent,
who feels the glow of love quicken the pure pulses of returning
health, knows what perfect bliss is.

“As soon as I was strong enough to travel, we set out
for Italy, the faithful Joseph accompanying us. We enjoyed
Florence, its palaces and galleries of art, the quaint
old churches, about which the religious sentiment of ages
seems to hang like an atmosphere, the morning and evening
clamor of musical bells, the Arno, and the olive-crowned
Tuscan hills, — all so delightful to the senses and
the soul. After Florence, Naples, with its beautiful, dangerous,
volcanic environs, where the ancients aptly located
their heaven and hell, and where a luxurious, passionate
people absorbs into its blood the spirit of the soil, and the
fire and languor of the clime. From Naples to Rome,
where we saw St. Peter's, that bubble on the surface of
the globe, which the next earthquake may burst, the Vatican,
with its marvels of statuary, the ruined temples of
the old gods and heroes, the Campagna, the Pope, and —

“We had but a glimpse of her. It was one night, at the
Colosseum. We had been musing about that vast and solemn
pile by the moonlight, which silvered it over with indescribable
beauty, and at last, accompanied by our guides,
bearing torches, we ascended through dark and broken
passages to the upper benches of the amphitheatre. As
we were passing along one side, we saw picturesquely moving
through the shadows of the opposite walls, with the
immense arena between, the red-flaring torches and half-illuminated
figures of another party of visitors. I don't
know whether it was instinct, or acuteness of vision, that
suggested Flora; but, with a sudden leap of the heart, I


Page 385
felt that she was there. We descended, and passed out
under the dark arches of the stupendous ruin. The other
visitors walked a little in advance of us, two of the
number lingering behind their companions; and we heard
certain words of tenderness and passion which strangely
brought to my mind those nights on the ocean steamer.

“`What is the matter with you?' said Margaret, looking
in my face.

“`Hush!' I whispered; `there — that woman — is

“She clung to me; I drew her closer, as we paused;
and the happy couple went on, over the ancient Forum, by
the silent columns of the ruined temples, and disappeared
from sight upon the summit of the Capitoline Hill.

“A few months later, we heard of the marriage of Flora
to an English baronet; she is now my Lady, and I must
do her the justice to say that I never knew a woman better
fitted to bear that title. As for Margaret, — if you
will return with me to my home on the Hudson, after we
have finished our hunt after those Western lands, you shall
see her, together with the loveliest pair of children that
ever made two proud parents happy.

“And here,” added Westwood, “we have arrived at the
end of our day's journey; we have had the Romance of
the Glove, and now — let 's have some supper.”