"I know it. But it is of the greatest consequence to me that the case should be tried at this time, and not carried over to another term. It was in the hands of Squire Fielder, one of our Williston lawyers; but he was taken sick this afternoon,—fell down in court, some brain difficulty or other,—and is forbidden by the physicians to do a thing. So I inquired for a lawyer that hadn't got his hands full of business, and somebody mentioned you. I remembered your name; I happened to be North five years ago, and heard your Commencement speech, and knew what sort of a reputation you graduated with; so I quickly made up my mind that you were the man for my need. I've brought all the papers,—Squire Fielder's notes and all,—he couldn't well do less than give them to me, under the circumstances. I understand matters pretty well myself; and we've got the night before us. If you'll undertake to master the case by ten o'clock to-morrow morning, I am willing to put it in your hands.""Then it will not do to encourage him in coming here," said Mr. Bergan, after a pause. "I could never give Carice to a drunkard, though he were fifty times as handsome and talented."
"Eh!" exclaimed Mrs. Bergan, absently, extending her hand toward the cream pitcher."Not yet up," he muttered, "or that wren wouldn't be trotting up and down there so complacently! To be sure, he may have gone out, but it isn't likely."
"Good morning. Have you a vacant room for me?"Hubert had duly received the notice of his uncle's funeral. It had struck him as a little odd at first, that it should be addressed jointly to his brother and himself; but he set it down as an absurd legal formality, and thought no more about it. He had intended to ride over this morning, in time for the funeral; but just as he was about to start, Mr. Youle had slipped and fallen on the office steps, and received several severe cuts and bruises; which had made it necessary for him to take him home, and do what he could to assist him and reassure his family. Thus it happened that he had arrived at the Hall to find the funeral over, and to learn, to his surprise and alarm, that his brother was not there, and that nothing was known of his whereabouts, except that he was last seen at Oakstead. There, also, he was told Doctor Remy might be found. Accordingly he had hastened thither.
Nor was the benefit wholly on one side. Astra found real help and cheer in Bergan's intelligent interest and hearty appreciation. Moreover, he was quick to see whenever mechanical contrivance or manly strength could come to her aid; and he knew how to furnish both, in fit and delicate measure. His perceptions were scarcely less nice than her own; he knew just when to extend the helping hand, and when to withdraw it; neither hesitation nor officiousness marred his aid."I have lived to grow wiser," replied Astra,Roath gave a violent start, and seemed about to speak, but his lips only trembled nervously. He was evidently confounded, almost bewildered, by the suddenness and fierceness of the accusation.
Five days afterward, as Major Bergan was about to sally forth for his customary morning visit to his beloved rice fields, a letter was put into his hands. It ran as follows:
"What other will?" asked Dick, innocently.One of these proved to be very close at hand. As he drove mechanically through the principal street of Berganton, revolving various probabilities and possibilities in his mind, and trying to make some provision for each, he espied Miss Ferrars coming up the sidewalk,—easily recognizable, at almost any distance, by her peculiarly mincing and swaying gait. In all similar encounters with the slightly faded maiden,—whom he shrewdly suspected of designs upon his bachelor liberty,—it had been his wont to slide swiftly past, with a low and deprecatory bow, suggestive of his deep regret that the urgency of his haste denied him the pleasure of stopping to inquire after her health. On this occasion, therefore, she was agreeably surprised to see him rein his horse up to the sidewalk, with the obvious intention of speaking to her. Perhaps her heart beat a little more quickly, as she stopped to listen.
"Father, I cannot be Doctor Remy's wife!"
"There, that will do, Arling," he said, humorously, when Bergan had helped him carefully to a chair; "the old gentleman is as comfortable as he's likely to be,—or deserves to be, for that matter. Well, how goes on our case?"Coralie explained what was wanted. "Would you like it?" she inquired, twining her arm round her friend. "There will be some fine artistic effects."
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He turned and plunged into the darkness, not knowing whither he went.Cathie gave him no time for a second. "Look at the dear little boy, Mr. Arling; do look at him!" she exclaimed, joining her hands over her head, and executing a rapturous pas seul around the object of her delight. "See his cunning little whip, and his funny little feet, and isn't he a little white darling!"详情
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