Ebooks, Fiction, Non-Fiction 1000s of Free books and stories online to read now ~ Main Page

 

 

 

By the Lake by Ita Aniol Prokop

"Who is she?" asked Maurice Grey of the lady with whom he was walking.

"Fay Lafitte," replied the latter curtly: then, as if by chance, she turned in another direction, saying, "You left them all well at home?"

The young man halted, forcing his companion to do the same, and with his eyes fixed on a figure pacing up and down the opposite alley, he remarked, "I suppose she is one of the reigning belles here?"

"Rather a solitary belle," laughed his cousin.

"I should think even a belle might enjoy solitude at times," rejoined Maurice, argumentatively.

The lady, Mrs. Clare Felton, slightly raised one shoulder, indicating thereby that the point in question did not interest her, and asked, "Shall we walk on?"

"Couldn't you introduce me? That's a good soul, do."

"My dear cousin, it is impossible: the girl has a particular aversion to me."

"Nonsense, Clare! Don't be ill-natured the first day I arrive. How do you know she has?"

"We are neighbors at Felton, and—"

"Neighbors in the country, I perceive. Did their chickens destroy your flower-beds, or their cock wake you by crowing at unearthly hours in the morning? Had they a barking dog they refused to part with, or was it the servants?"

"If you mean to be sarcastic I shall need support. Now go on, and, notwithstanding your provoking innuendo, I will try to satisfy your curiosity."

"Firstly," began Maurice, seating himself on the rustic bench near her, "why isn't Miss Lafitte a belle?—she is certainly beautiful."

"'Pretty is as pretty does'—a motto especially true of belles."

"Which, interpreted, means she is not agreeable. Yet she has mind, or she would not keep that thoughtful position for so long a time."

"She may be planning the trimming for her next ball-dress," remarked his cousin.

"She is too serious for that."

"It is a serious affair at times."

"There is something about her extremely interesting to me."

"Maurice, of course you will think me odious"—and Mrs. Felton checked her bantering tone—"but don't sit here allowing your imagination to run wild, deifying Miss Lafitte before you know her. Either make her acquaintance in the ordinary way, or, which I should like better, avoid her."

"Do you think I am falling in love at first sight?"

"I think any idle young man tempts Providence when he sits weaving romances about a very beautiful girl before he knows her."

"Then introduce us."

"She won't speak to me."

"What have you quarreled about?"

"Nothing."

"Very mysterious. Clare, listen! If you don't tell me the whole secret, I will fall in love with her for spite, and make a terrible fool of myself."

"An easy task."

"Shoot it off, Clare: I know you are dying to tell me."

"I would rather you heard it from some one else: I would indeed. Still, if you insist—"

"I command, I entreat."

"Incorrigible! For your own good I—"

"My peace of mind depends on it."

"I wish you were not so obstinate." Then, lowering her voice, "The report is that the poor girl is insane."

"What a horrible slander!" exclaimed the young man, springing to his feet.

"Yes," remarked the widow, "if it is not true."

"It is heartless." Then looking at her sharply, "There is no foundation for it, is there?"

"She has strange fancies, takes aversions to people—I can't say. Let us continue our walk. I have told you I am not acquainted with her."

"We will walk that way: I want to see her closer."

Not satisfied with merely passing, Dr. Maurice Grey—to give him his full title—crossed the path when near the solitary figure, so as to have a full view of her face. At that moment Miss Lafitte raised her eyes, and their expression when they rested on Mrs. Felton was hard to interpret. It seemed a mixture of repulsion and dread. She drew back as they went by, and involuntarily shuddered.

"What do you think of that?" asked the widow as soon as they were at a safe distance.

"Unquestionably she is a good hater," answered Maurice.

Maurice again saw Fay Lafitte that evening at a ball given at the hotel by the lake where they were both staying. She was standing among a group of girls laughing and talking gayly, but to a close observer this light gayety might appear a symptom of restlessness rather than a proof of enjoyment. With her shining eyes and her crimson cheeks and lips she looked the Allegro of her morning's Penseroso. The young doctor took a station where he would not be remarked, and, forgetting Mrs. Felton's sage advice, kept his eyes fixed on the graceful girl. She gave him the impression of one who had been brought up in some foreign land, where public opinion is more exacting and the bounds of propriety more restricted than in ours. She was clearly a favorite among the ladies with whom she conversed. Several middle-aged gentlemen approached her with their wives and met a kind reception, but she avoided young men with a perversity that was amusing. In a person speaking to her he recognized an acquaintance, and, awaiting his opportunity, addressed him. After the first salutations he asked, "Mr. Allen, do you know Miss Lafitte?"

"From a child: her father is my oldest friend."

"Was she educated abroad?"

"Bless you! no: she is altogether American in training."

"Isn't she rather peculiar?" ventured Maurice.

"If by peculiar you mean the sweetest girl in the world, she is that," replied the old man enthusiastically.

"Is she generally liked?"

"Not by dandies and coxcombs: my little girl over there adores her. But let me introduce you."

"Willingly," ejaculated the other.

"Wait a moment: I will ask her permission."

As Mr. Allen went to prefer his request the doctor narrowly watched the result. A slight accession of color on the lady's face as her old friend indicated him told Maurice he had been recognized; which fact rendered her answer more annoying, for "Miss Lafitte begged to be excused: she was fatigued and wished to retire."

But she did not retire, as he saw with an irritation that grew as the evening advanced. For what reason did she refuse to make his acquaintance? Did she extend to him the dislike she had for his cousin? Did she class him among the fops, or was it but a caprice?

Now, Dr. Grey was a truthful man, and he told himself the case interested him. When, later, he was accosted by an old college-chum, George Clifton, who proceeded to give him the newest confidential slander at the lake, it was but natural he should try to unravel this mystery.

"What do you fellows mean by not surrounding that beauty over there? Where are your eyes?" he asked.

"Miss Lafitte? We have dubbed her the man-hater. She has never been known to make herself agreeable to any male creature under fifty, and not then if he were either a bachelor or a widower. A fellow is obliged to marry before he can be received. Rather too great a sacrifice, isn't it?"

"French blood?" insinuated the doctor.

"French?—as if wickedness had a country and was too patriotic to travel! You are an olive-gray, Maurice. Besides, you could as truthfully accuse an oyster of light behavior."

On making further inquiries one lady told him that she understood the beauty was a bluestocking, and when he asked another why Fay appeared to shun gentlemen's society, "To make them more eager to seek her," was the reply.

"What an amount of trash one can hear at these places in a single hour!" muttered Dr. Grey as he retired that night: then he added, thoughtfully, "I shall certainly make her acquaintance."

The night brings counsel. Maurice decided, on awaking, that he must depend on himself if he would succeed in overcoming Miss Lafitte's prejudice. What if he should make an excuse and speak to her without an introduction? Chance must determine. About the same hour that he had met her the day before the young man directed his steps to the alley where she had been walking. There she was, pacing to and fro meditatively, enjoying the morning air.

"She looks the sanest of sane people," thought the doctor as he noted her calm expression, but the next moment he had occasion to retract his opinion. The girl caught the sound of his footstep, looked up, recognized him, and, turning, ran like a frightened roe in the opposite direction.

Dr. Grey, giving forth a prolonged low whistle, stood motionless with astonishment, but suddenly he too was running at full speed. The Atalantis had stepped into a hole made by the washing of the rain, and falling forward with violence lay motionless.

The instincts of the physician replaced those of the man as he gently raised the insensible form and laid it on a grassy bank. But her antipathy, whatever its cause, seemed more potent than the injury she had received, for as he touched her she moved uneasily, and opening her eyes said with difficulty, "Thanks. I am not hurt: I do not need your assistance."

"I am a physician," returned Maurice gravely. "Your foot has had a terrible wrench: permit me." He dropped on his knee before, her and proceeded to make an examination with so much quiet authority that she ceased to resist. "There is nothing wrong here: do you feel pain elsewhere?"

She was trembling, for the nervous reaction of the shock had taken place, but she endeavored to conceal it: "I have an oppression on my chest, and this arm—I cannot lift it."

"Do not be alarmed: lean against this tree."

She reluctantly submitted as he carefully felt the arm—nothing; the shoulder, across to the neck—a cry of pain.

"The clavicle is fractured."

"Is that very dreadful?" and now her eyes sought his for the first time.

"Oh no: it happens every day. It will be tedious perhaps, but can scarcely be called an accident at all—only a mishap. I think I will bring you a little brandy before you try to walk."

"Don't speak of it at the house: my father would be troubled. And hurry back: I do not want to be alone."

"What an inconsistent prescription she is!" thought Maurice as he went. "However, fright will make the most obstinate woman docile."

If it was fright, it certainly worked marvels. When he returned Fay obediently followed every direction given by him, even taking his arm for support as they walked to the hotel. Having seen his patient to the door of her room, professional delicacy prompted the doctor to withdraw. As he bade her good-morning she became embarrassed, hesitated a moment, then abruptly throwing open the door which gave entrance to a parlor, she said with a suspicious quaver in her voice, "Won't you come in? I must thank you, and papa must thank you."

"Not at all necessary," he replied lightly. "I will see you again if you permit me, but I must go now."

"You are offended because I—No matter: it is best. Go, then;" and she held out her hand, which he took, while her face became grave, almost sad; or was it but the young man's fancy?

"She is a warm-hearted, impulsive, spoilt child," was Maurice's final dictum as he left. "I must go now to Clare, to be warned or scolded or lectured about her; but first a cigar. Query: when a man forgets his morning cigar, what does it portend? There was a special providence in the rain washing that hole. A pity for the poor girl, but it gave me just the excuse I needed."

Maurice had been smoking for about an hour on the piazza when he was accosted by a servant, who had the air of really trying to find some one for whom he had been sent.

"Are you a doctor?" asked the man.

Grey nodded.

"They are waiting for you: come quick, please."

"I rather think you are mistaken: suppose you look up some one else?"

"Have been all about, sir. I can't get any one else. You'll do, I think: won't you come? The governor is deuced easy with his money."

"That accounts for your eagerness to serve him. Well, I suppose I must go and see about it."

He was taken, as he had anticipated, to Miss Lafitte's room. A gentleman with very white hair and an anxious face was alone in the parlor, who, introducing himself as Mr. Lafitte, repeated the servant's question: "Are you a physician?"

"As much as a diploma and three years' practice can make me," answered the young man.

"My daughter has had a severe fall," he explained: "she is suffering. I hope you can relieve her."

"Excuse me when I tell you that I am here for absolute rest. Is it possible to get another doctor?"

"No, we have tried. I beg that you will undertake the case without further delay."

Maurice felt the position awkward. "On one condition," he answered finally, at the same time giving his card: "that is, if the lady is willing."

Perhaps the father was accustomed to the whims of his child, for he did not appear surprised at the proviso, but immediately went to the next room to inquire. In a moment the communicating door was opened and the doctor invited to enter.

He found his patient very much excited—pulse high and cheeks flushed. She did not wait for Mr. Lafitte to present him, but commenced pettishly, "It would have been much better to stay when you were here, instead of keeping me waiting so long. It is of no use to resist. Oh what shall I do?"

"Your dress must be removed," said Dr. Grey briefly.

"I cannot put my arm back: I can't breathe. Do you think there could be something broken in my lungs?"

"Not likely: do not talk so much. Some of the ladies in the house must have valerian: I will beg a little for you. In the mean time your maid can rip your dress on the shoulder and round the sleeve: it will then come off without trouble."

"He is a fine doctor," said Jane as she quickly obeyed the directions. "One of them quacks would have cut this good dress to pieces, and never thought but it grew on a person without a seam. If he can save a dress, he is safe to know how to save a life."

"We will not call it saving a life," replied Maurice entering. "Take this and lie still while I prepare the bandages: it will soon be over."

"You did hurt me fearfully," murmured Fay reproachfully when at last the bone had been set.

"Not fearfully," he smiled. "Now sleep and forget it."

"Unless a doctor kills some one outright, he thinks it no operation at all," she exclaimed with sudden change of mood. "Now, please don't neglect me, but come often—twice a day until I am better."

On leaving Miss Lafitte the young man went to his cousin and told her how he had become acquainted with the beauty.

"Well?"

"She is but a spoilt child, Clare."

"Infatuated," exclaimed the lady.

"Jealous," returned the gentleman.

The young doctor, though he had frequent opportunities of being with his fair patient, soon chafed at a relation which, while it permitted him to see her, prevented him from taking advantage of his intimacy. The confidence with which she now treated him was an additional grievance: she was too friendly. Her position toward the outside world had also changed. Three, four, five weeks passed by, and had any one gathered the opinions of the crowd who surrounded Miss Lafitte, he would have heard but praise. Perhaps her capricious nature was tired of seclusion, for at present she had smiles for all. Piquant, original and clever, her popularity became as great as it was sudden, while she was only invalid enough to enlist sympathy or exact attention. But in one particular the girl had never varied—that of her rooted dislike to Mrs. Felton.

One morning when Maurice was paying a professional visit, which afforded his only chance of seeing her alone, he curiously asked, "Miss Lafitte, what is the cause of your aversion to my cousin?"

She was silent a few moments, then with apparent irrelevancy said, "Do you believe in premonitions?"

An emphatic "No" was the answer.

"Why should they not be true? Our thoughts arise from the same source as our actions; or, rather, there must be a creative thought for every separate act. Now, whether the act follows its producing impulse by moments, days or years, the fact remains the same."

"So that a man can tell before he goes into battle whether he will be brave or cowardly?"

"Certainly: we are conscious of our disposition, of our general manner of thinking, and consequently can judge of our course of action."

"That would make life plane sailing.

"No, for though you know your own qualities, you can seldom force events to fit them. As long as he can avoid danger the coward may be brave, but if danger is thrust upon him, off he runs."

"Of course you have presentiments?" said he ironically.

"Yes."

"And they always come true?"

"Sooner or later. The time is indefinite, but the result is certain.

"Can you predict for others?"

"Not unless I love them: I can for my father. Either you must know a person well, or have naturally a great deal of penetration, insight, quick observation. Give it what name you please, it is the gift of seers, by which they interpret the marks that character leaves upon face and form."

"When you fall in love—"

"I shall not do that," she interrupted: "I have been warned."

"How? Tell me about it."

"I do not see as clearly as some: I only vaguely feel that a certain occurrence will bring a certain catastrophe. If I love, I shall die."

"Nonsense! And is that the reason you avoided gentlemen's society?"

"Yes. I was afraid, really afraid;" and she made the expression stronger by a slight shudder.

"And you are so no longer?" he questioned hopefully.

"After I knew you I saw there was no danger in simply being acquainted with gentlemen."

Dr. Grey winced, and was silent for a time; then resumed energetically: "I am glad you have told me this. What will you think when I say that what you call presentiments are common to every delicately organized person? They are purely physical; an indigestion, a change in the weather or fatigue will cause them; a dose of medicine or a night's repose will cure them. The brain becomes indisposed with the rest of the body, but to allow such morbid fancies to influence you is preposterous."

"They are prophetic: I have often proved it."

"Mere coincidences. My advice is to begin to fight them at once. In regard to my cousin—"

"She has already brought me trouble. I knew it would be so when she crossed my path the other day. Look at my accident."

"That might have happened to any one. Why did you run away from me?"

"It was an impulse I could not restrain."

"I hope the oracle has not been traducing me?"

"I have had no premonitions lately: when I was suffering I could think of nothing. But you have been so kind it seems impossible you should bring me harm."

"I would not for the world," he broke in earnestly.

"I am drifting blindly, and my mind misgives me that all is not right. I may be walking toward danger unaware. I believe I am," she continued dreamily, "but so long as I do not fall in love, nothing dreadful will happen."

"You had better fall in love than become a monomaniac," exclaimed the young man with more warmth than the occasion seemed to warrant. "If your premonitions have ceased, it is evidence of an improved state of health, and as your physician I forbid you to indulge in them."

"Doctors think they can treat everything," she said impatiently; then continued in an explanatory tone: "I inherit my foreknowledge from my mother, who was a gypsy celebrated in her tribe for reading the future. You see that the faculty is hereditary with me, and a dose of medicine will not cure it. My poor mother died at my birth: she was very young and beautiful. My father was past forty when he married. I have never spoken of it before, as he dislikes it to be mentioned. But you look like a man who could keep a secret, and I want to prove that I am not as foolish as you think."

Maurice saw it was useless to argue further: the delusion must be firmly established to have caused this young creature to seclude herself from general society for so long a period. The facts of her parentage must have been imprudently confided to her when young, and an imaginative temperament had done the rest. The secresy with which she guarded these ideas served to strengthen them. He could only hope that the life she was now leading would diminish their influence, or perhaps totally destroy her singular belief. Maurice thought it would be easy to wait for time to effect this change, but he had not counted on jealousy.

It was, of all people, that rattlecap George Clifton. George was a man who invariably attached himself where notoriety was to be obtained, and since Miss Lafitte had become the rage he was her shadow. Maurice, soon after this conversation, had discontinued his professional visits. He wished gradually to make it evident to Fay that his attentions had a deeper meaning. Besides, he was scarcely in a state to coolly feel her pulse when he was ready to devour her hand with kisses. The consequence of this change was that he seldom saw her alone: he had less opportunity than ever of winning her affection, and he was tormented by thinking that if she became cured of her eccentric fancy, it would be to marry Clifton.

The doctor was a man of expedients. One evening, when on the shore with Miss Lafitte at a little distance from a party of gay companions, he spied one of those flat-bottomed boats which are a feature of the place, and invited her to enter. Without a word he sent the tiny craft far over the water, out of hearing, almost out of sight, when, resting on his oars, he began: "I am glad to see you have entirely given up your faith in premonitions, Miss Lafitte."

She was sitting, her hands lying idly in her lap, gazing dreamily at the drifting clouds above. Without taking the trouble to change her position, she asked, "How so?"

"You are in love with George Clifton."

"What an amount of penetration you have, Dr. Grey!"

"You are always with him."

"Why should I not be? he is the safest man I know."

"I hope your confidence is not misplaced." Maurice turned, and, shading his face with his hand, looked at the setting sun, although he would have required the eye of an eagle to enjoy its brilliancy. "She acknowledges her preference," thought the young man bitterly, but in the midst of the turmoil her words occasioned he heard her tranquilly saying, "If I were with him a hundred years there would be no danger of my falling in love with him."

Maurice gave a start that caused the water about the boat to dance, but before he could enjoy in full the satisfaction of her last remark, another fear suggested itself. "Perhaps you come with me for the same reason," said he.

"You are my physician."

"I find to my cost that physicians are as capable of loving as other men, but whether their love will be returned is another matter."

Emotion has its peculiar language. Though he strove to be calm, there was a ring in his voice that was unusual, and Fay could not but notice it. "Are you in love, doctor?" she asked gently. "I might help you if I knew with whom it is. Could you tell me?"

Was it worth while to reply to so unconscious, so friendly, a question by the truth? Why ask? What man, having gone so far, would be content to stop? Letting his eyes speak for him, he met her innocent questioning look by a long imploring gaze as he whispered, "You."

As he spoke the expression came over her face that he had noticed when he had first crossed her path with Mrs. Felton: the color forsook her cheeks, the dreamy composure of her attitude vanished, and she murmured in a scared, helpless tone, "Do you want to kill me?"

"No, no: do not think that," he hastily replied. Then seeing the boat had drifted behind a little island that hid them from view, he moved and sat on the floor beside her. "Dear Fay, believe me there is no reality in your foreknowledge. Such a thing is impossible. Love me, Fay, and I will shield you from any evil that may happen. Do not let those sick fancies mislead you: they are gone never to return."

"Take me home, take me home," she sobbed, covering her face with her hands. "Oh why do you talk to me in this way? It is unkind. You know it cannot be. I will not listen to another word. Take me home."

Dr. Grey was too wise to insist. Love had quickened his intuitions. He would have liked to take her in his arms and chase this threatening horror from her mind: he was eager to plead his cause, to assure her of his devotion, but without a word he resumed his seat and obeyed.

The generosity shown in thus preferring her wishes to his own touched Fay more than any pleading could have done. She was convinced of his unselfishness, and her confidence in him remained unshaken. For some time after the scene in the boat she was very shy; but seeing he avoided the forbidden subject, and unconsciously growing each day fonder of his society, she allowed herself to drift into that closer intimacy which can have but one reason for its charm. Maurice saw and rejoiced. If he had won her heart he felt sure of surmounting the imaginary objection to his suit, and he resolved on a bold stroke.

One evening after a long walk they were seated on a huge table-rock jutting from the shore into the water, nothing but the lake before them, the sky above, the forest behind. "Is it not a matter of surprise that you should still be living, Miss Lafitte? he asked, concealing his trepidation under the appearance of raillery.

"Why?"

"Because you have been in love with me for several weeks."

Struck with the truth rather than the audacity of his assertion, she looked down, pondering intently a little space; then, not considering what the admission involved, she said in a choked voice, "You are right."

"And it has not hurt you," he went on eagerly. "I cannot hurt you. Won't you believe me?"

Another longer pause, and the words came trembling forth: "If it could be so!"

"It is so. It has been already proved." He took her hand gently: she permitted it to lie in his, and silence, the language of full hearts, ministered between them.

She broke it finally by the whispered question, "You are quite, quite sure that these warnings are not peculiar—that science can account for them?"

"On my honor, yes."

"I want to believe—I do believe you. I will risk my life for you: I—I—I love you, Maurice."

"My darling!"

She was very quiet, even sad, that evening. Conversation seemed an effort, and after some vain attempts to shake off her depression she hastily retired. After a long search Grey found her walking in one of the alleys of the garden, and could perceive by her tones that she had been weeping.

"In a very few days you will laugh at these pet superstitions. Do not indulge this mood: come and walk," he said persuasively.

"You are cruel."

"Indeed it is for your good."

"Maurice, do you think we are justified in thus tempting Fate?"

He smiled at her as if she were a child: "I have no doubts."

Her eyes shone solemnly as she replied, "Then lead me, even to death."

"To life—to a happy life, dear Fay." He put her unresisting hand on his arm and led her to the door of her room: "Sleep, my darling, and to-morrow you will feel more tranquil."

The next day the young man congratulated himself: Fay was as bright as if evil could never touch her. On passing him at the breakfast-table she whispered, "I defy Fate."

But the struggle was not yet over: the old fear and the new love fought a hard battle. A fortnight of these alternate lights and shadows passed. In his presence the poor girl tried to put on a brave face, but what she endured when alone could be seen in her loss of flesh and color. Sometimes the doctor almost repented having brought this misery upon her, but he comforted himself by looking forward to the calm which must surely follow this storm.

One morning, Miss Lafitte not appearing at her usual time, Maurice became alarmed. Fearing she might be ill, he went to her parlor to inquire: his knock was responded to by Jane, who gave him a note evidently written in expectation of his coming. It ran thus: "Meet me this evening at seven on the rock that you know." Of course he knew the place: it was where she had acknowledged her love.

As may be supposed, the young man was not late at the rendezvous, but he found Fay already there, walking restlessly up and down the contracted space.

"Sit down," she began in the peremptory tone of extreme emotion; then clasping her hands as she stood before him, she said, "I wanted to see you—"

"Not more than I wanted to see you," he interrupted lightly.

Without noticing his remark, she continued hurriedly, "I wish to say that all between us is broken off."

"It is not: I won't submit." He made a motion to rise.

"Do not come near me," she cried with growing agitation. "You have brought me my death. Oh, Maurice!"—here her voice sank pathetically—"why did you make me love you? I shall die—nothing can persuade me to believe otherwise—and it will be soon, soon, soon."

"How very unreasonable, dear Fay! You have long acknowledged your love, yet nothing has happened."

"It is about to happen."

"Come and sit by me," he begged.

"Never again: it must be ended. All day this miserable feeling has oppressed me. I have tried to shake it off, but cannot. It is a warning—it is horrible. Death is near, close, close. I must cease loving you or pay the penalty."

Her wan face presented such a picture of grief, her, voice expressed such an excess of suffering, that Maurice felt his eyes grow dim. Scarcely less moved than herself, he replied, "You cannot cease loving me, dear, dear Fay, nor can I bear to lose you. Let us end this struggle by an immediate marriage. You will then be calm—you will be happy. I will go to your father at once and make the arrangements: he will consent when I explain. There is a clergyman at the house, and a midnight train for New York. Oh, my darling, do not hesitate: this suspense is killing you. Can't you trust me, Fay?"

She listened eagerly: his voice seemed to soothe her. Seeing this, he rose, and, still speaking words of love, approached her. Controlled by, yet fearing, his influence, she slowly retreated as he advanced. Suddenly he cried as if in agony, "Fay, come to me!"

She was standing on the brink of the rock with her back to the danger. A moment she wavered: then Maurice could restrain himself no longer, but, extending his arm, he rushed toward her.

A little step backward, a shy movement to yet delay the consent that was already on her lips, a fall, a splash, and the waters of the lake closed over the body of Fay Lafitte.

To save her or lose himself was the resolution of the doctor as he leapt to the rescue. He was a good swimmer, and soon came to the surface after the plunge, but the shadow of the rock retarded his search. At last he found her, and then a new difficulty, that of landing, presented itself. The shore was covered with a fringe of impenetrable brushwood, which gave him the scantiest support, and it was impossible to mount the face of the rock. Almost in despair, he looked across the water, where he saw in the moonlight a fisherman's boat. Slowly the little craft obeyed his repeated calls for help. Sturdy arms relieved him of his insensible burden, while he, scarcely taking time to climb beside her, hoarsely bade the men row for their lives.

It is needless to describe the scene of confusion which followed on their arrival at the hotel. The only practical man there was Dr. Grey, who gave orders and applied remedies with desperate energy. His persistence was rewarded: the veined lids opened, the white lips parted, intelligence returned: she spoke, and Maurice threw himself on his knees and bent over her that he might catch the words. "My warning was true," she whispered slowly, "but—I—am—willing—to—die—for—loving—you." Then perception faded from those gentle eyes, breathing ceased, the muscles relaxed. Fay was dead.

And the doctor?

He afterward married his cousin: she was so kind to him at the time of his sad affliction.