"About my nephew, the mad cavalier who so nearly came into collision with Carice yesterday," replied her husband."And he—he dared to ask for my daughter?"
There was a sudden silence—the shadow of God's hand. In it the lately agonized, writhing body lay at peace, the anxious spectators stood awed and motionless. Yet this silence was more voiceful than any sound,—full of solemn questionings and more solemn answers, subtle suggestions, grave warnings, and momentous intimations. Of the value and the valuelessness of life, of the night and the morning of death, of the character and the import of the Hereafter,—on all these topics it discoursed more eloquently than the most silvery of oratorical tongues."You forget," said Bergan, kindly, "that the cloud was but for a moment, and the sunshine returned."
He unclasped his arms, and her bridesmaids, again clustering round her, led her upstairs in triumph.
Who yet, at least, can think of nothing wrong;"At your service," was the reply, with a bow of mock courtesy.
Yet no one could talk after those heartbreaking strains. So Bergan quietly took his leave.
A pleasant family picture was before him. Bergan Arling, on one side of the crimson-covered centre-table, looked up, smiling, from the book out of which he had been reading aloud. Two of his sisters sat near him, busy with crotchet needles and bright worsteds. Still another was drawing at a side-table; and over her, giving her the benefit of his criticism, leaned her brother Hubert, scarce two years younger than Bergan, and so strikingly like him, that one was often taken for the other, outside the family circle. At one side of the fire-place sat the master of the house, a tall, noble-looking man, with eye undimmed and hair unfrosted by the snows of over sixty years. Opposite him was the home's true light and centre, the house-mother. She reclined in a large, low easy chair, the paleness on her face half concealed by the glow of the blazing fire, and her eyes shining with that tender joy and peace which convalescents sometimes bring back from the edge of the grave,—a reflection, perhaps, from the paradise that was already opening before the gaze of the half-freed spirit.
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She could now think of herself. Unselfish anxiety and effort had been very good for her thus far, there was not a doubt of that. Nevertheless, she was beginning to feel urgent need of quiet,—opportunity to commune with her own heart, and be still,—time to deal justly and thoroughly with questions seething in her mind ever since her talks with Bergan. But it was vain to look for quiet at Farview; the house was fast filling up with gay guests; and having once dropped her ice-mantle of reserve, she could not resume it without giving pain to her hosts. So, as Coralie was now quite capable of taking her rightful place as queen of the festivities, and as she had already stayed twice as long as had been contemplated at first, Diva went back to her studio.详情
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