By the Lake by
Ita Aniol Prokop
"Who is she?" asked Maurice Grey of the lady with whom he
"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
"'Pretty is as pretty does'—a motto especially true of
"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
"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
"Then introduce us."
"She won't speak to me."
"What have you quarreled about?"
"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
"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
"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
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
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
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
"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
"The clavicle is fractured."
"Is that very dreadful?" and now her eyes sought his for the
"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
"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
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
"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.
"They are waiting for you: come quick, please."
"I rather think you are mistaken: suppose you look up some
"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
"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
"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.
"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
"Of course you have presentiments?" said he ironically.
"And they always come true?"
"Sooner or later. The time is indefinite, but the result is
"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
"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
"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
"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
"That might have happened to any one. Why did you run away
"It was an impulse I could not restrain."
"I hope the oracle has not been traducing
"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
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
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
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
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.
"Because you have been in love with me for several
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,
"I want to believe—I do believe you. I will risk my
life for you: I—I—I love you, Maurice."
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
"You are cruel."
"Indeed it is for your good."
"Maurice, do you think we are justified in thus tempting
He smiled at her as if she were a child: "I have no
Her eyes shone solemnly as she replied, "Then lead me, even
"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
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
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
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
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
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.