YES ! I had, indeed, a glorious revenge ! Other people have had home, love, happiness; they have had fond caresses, tender cares, the bright faces of children shining round the board. I had none of these ; my revenge has stood to me in place of them all. And it has stood well. Love may change ; loved ones may die ; the fair-faced children may grow up hardhearted and ungrateful. But my revenge will not deceive or disappoint me ; it cannot change or pass away; it will last through Time into Eternity.

I was left an orphan in early childhood. My father was an officer in the American Navy; my mother a Spaniard. She was very beautiful, I always heard ; and her miniature, which my father’s dying hand placed about my neck, proclaimed her so. A pale, clear, olive tint, eyes of thrilling blackness, long, lustrous hair, and a look of mingled tenderness and melancholy made it, in my thought, the loveliest face that mortal eyes could see.

My parents left me no fortune, and I fell to the care of my father’s only brother, a man of wealth and standing. I have no story to tell of the bitterness of dependence, — of slights, and insult, and privation. My uncle had married, somewhat late in life, a young and gentle woman ; when I was twelve years old she became the mother of twins,—two lovely little girls. No one, unacquainted with the family history, could have supposed that I was other than the elder sister of Florence and Leonora. Every indulgence was granted me, every advantage of dress and education bestowed upon me. So far as even I could see, my uncle and aunt regarded me as their own child. Nor was I ungrateful, but repaid them with a filial reverence and affection.

I did not inherit the fulness of my mother’s beauty, but had yet some traits of her,—the pale, clear skin, the large, black eyes, the glossy and abundant hair. Here the resemblance ceased. I have heard my uncle say, — how often ! — "Your mother, Juanita, had the most perfect form I ever saw, except in marble”; all Spanish women, indeed, he told me, had a full, elastic roundness of shape and limb, rarely seen among our spare and loose-built nation. I was American in form, at least, — slight and stooping, with a certain awkwardness, partly to be imputed to my rapid growth, partly to my shyness and reserve. I was insatiably fond of reading, little attracted toward society. When my uncle’s house, as often happened, was full of gay company, I hdrew to my own room, and read my rite authors in its pleasant solitude. I was ill at ease with lively, fashionable people,—very much at home with books. Thanks to my uncle’s care, I was well educated, even scholarly, for my age and sex. My studious habits, far from being discouraged, were praised by all the household, and I was looked upon as a prodigy of cleverness and industry.

A widow lady, of the name of Haughton, came to live in the little cottage near us when I was fifteen years old. She was well-born, but poor, and had known many sorrows. My aunt, Mrs. Heywood, soon became interested in her, and took pleasure in offering her those numerous attentions which a wealthy neighbor can so easily bestow, and which are so grateful to the recipient. Mrs. Haughton and her sons were frequent guests at our house ; and we, too, spent many pleasant hours in the vine-covered porch of the cottage. I had few companions, and John and William Haughton were very welcome to me. They were somewhat older than I,—John twenty-two, and William two years younger; and I was thus just able to escape regarding them with that profound contempt which the girl of fifteen usually feels for "boys.” After knowing them awhile I felt how baseless such contempt would be; for they possessed a depth and maturity of character rarely seen except in men of much experience. John was grave and thoughtful; his livelier brother often said he had come into the world some centuries too late,—that he was meant for an Augustine or a Pascal, so studious was he, and so saintly. Do not fancy that he was one of those stiff, bespectacled, pedantic youths who cannot open their lips without a classic allusion or a Greek quotation ; nothing could be farther from the truth. He was quiet and retiring; very few guessed how beneath that exterior, so unassuming, lay hid the noblest aspirations, the most exalted thought. It was John I should have loved.

But it was William who won my heart, even without an effort. I, the pale, serious girl, loved with a wild idolatry the gay and careless youth. Never, from that day till now, have I seen a man so perfect in all manly beauty. Strength and symmetry were united in his tall, athletic figure; his features were large, but nobly formed ; his hair, of a sunny hue, fell in rich masses over a broad, white brow. So might Apollo have looked in the flush of his immortal youth.

At first I gazed at him only with the enthusiasm which his extreme beauty might well awaken in the heart of a romantic maiden; then I grew to see in the princely type of that beauty a reflection of his mind. Did ever any fond fool so dote upon her Ideal as I on mine ? All generous thoughts, all noble deeds, seemed only the fit expression of his nature. Then I came to mingle a reverence with my admiration. We were friends ; he talked to me much of his plans in life, — of the future that lay before him. What an ambitious spirit burned within him!—a godlike ambition I thought it then. And how my weak, womanish heart thrilled with sympathy to his ! With what pride I listened to his words! with what fervor I joined in his longings !

There came a time when I trembled before him. I could no longer walk calmly arm-in-arm with him under the linden-trees, hearkening joyfully. I dared not lift my eyes to his face; I turned pale with suppressed feeling, if he but spoke my name—Juanita—or took my hand in his for friendly greeting. What a hand it was!—so white, and soft, and shapely, yet so powerful! It was the right hand for him,—a fair and delicate seeming, a cruel, hidden strength. When he spoke of the future my heart cried out against it; it was intolerable to me. In its bright triumphs I could have no part; thereto I could follow him only with my love and tears. The present alone was mine, and to that I passionately clung. For I never dreamed, you see, that he could love me.

My manner toward him changed; I was fitful and capricious. I dreaded, above all things, that he should suspect my feelings. Sometimes I met him coldly ; sometimes I received his confidences with an indifferent and weary air. This could not last.

One night—it was a little time before he left us—he begged me to walk with him once more under the lindens, I made many excuses, but he overruled them all. We left the brilliantly-lighted rooms and stood beneath the solemn shadow of the trees. It was a warm, soft night; the harvest moon shone down upon us ; a south wind moaned among the branches. We walked silently on till we reached a rustic seat, formed of gnarled boughs fantastically bound together ; here he made me sit down and placed himself beside me.

"Juanita,” he said, in a tone so soft, so thrillingly musical, that I shall never forget it, “what has come between us? Are you no longer my friend ? ”

I tried to answer him, and could not; love and grief choked my utterance.

“ Look at me,” he said.

I looked. The moon shone, full on his face ; his eyes were bent on mine, What a serpent-charm lurked in their treacherous blue depths ! If, looking at me thus, he had bidden me kill myself at his feet, I must have done it.

"Juanita," he said, with a smile of conscious power, "you love me! But why should that destroy our happiness?"

He held out his arms; I threw myself on his bosom in an agony of shame and joy. Oh, Heaven ! could it be possible that he loved me at last ?

Long, long, we sat there in the moonlight, his arms around me, my hand clasped in his. Poor hand ! even by that faint radiance how dark and thin it looked beside his, so white and rounded ! How gloriously beautiful was he ! what a poor, pale shadow I ! And yet he loved me ! He did not talk much of it; he spoke more of the future,—our future. It all lay before him, a bright, enchanted land, wherein we two should walk together. We bad not quite reached it, but we surely should, and that ere long.

The steps toward it were pros enough, save as his imagination bri ened them. An early friend of his dead father, a distinguished lawyer, wishing to further William’s advancement in life, gave him the opportunity of studying his profession with him,—offering him, at the same time, a home in his own family. From these slender materials William’s fancy built air-castles the most magnificent. He would study assiduously ; with such a prize in view, he fondly said, his patience would never weary. He felt within himself the consciousness of talent; and talent and industry must succeed. A bright career was before him,—fame, fortune ; and all were to be laid at my feet; all would be valueless, if not shared with me.

"Ah, William," I asked, with a moment's sorrowful doubt, “are you sure of that ? Are you certain that it is not fame you look forward so eagerly to possess, instead of me ? ”

“How dare you say such a thing?” he answered, sternly. I did not mind the sternness ; there was love behind it.

"And what am I to do while you are thus winning gold and glory?” I asked, at length.

“I will tell you, Juanita. In the first place, you are not to waste your time and spirits in long, romantic reveries, and vain pining because we cannot be together.”

“Indeed, I will not!” was my quick reply, though I colored deeply. I was ashamed that he thought me in danger of loving him too well. “I know you think me foolish and sentimental; but I assure you I will try to be different, since you wish it.”

"That is my own dear girl! You must go out,—you must see people,—you must enjoy yourself. You must study, too; don’t let your mind rust because you are engaged. It will be quite time enough for that when we are married.”

“You need not be afraid ; I shall always wish to please you, William, and so I shall always endeavor to improve.”

“Good child ! ” he said, laughing. “But YOU will not always be such an obedient infant, Juanita. You will find out your power over me, and then you will want to exercise it, just for the pleasure of seeing me submit. You will be despotic about the veriest trifles, only to show me that my will must bow to yours.”

“That will never be! I have no will of my own, where you are concerned, William. I only ask to know your wishes, that I may perform them.”

“Is that indeed so?” he said, with a new tenderness of manner. “I am very glad; for, to tell the truth, my love, I fear I should have little patience with womanish caprices. I have reasons always for what I do and for what I require, and I could not long love any one who opposed them.”

Again I assured him that he need feel no such dread. How happy we were !— yes, I believe he loved me enough then to be happy, even as I was.

It WAS so late before we thought of going in, that a messenger was sent to seek us, and many a fine jest WE had to encounter when WE reached the drawing-room.

The next day, William spoke to my uncle, who seemed to regard the matter in a light very different from ours. He said, we were a mere boy and girl, that years must elapse before we could marry, and by that time we should very probably have outgrown our liking for each other; still, if we chose, we might consider ourselves engaged ; he did not know that he had any objection to make. This manner of treating the subject was not a flattering one ; however, we had his consent,—and that was the main point, after all.

So we were troth-plight; and William went forth on his career of labor and success, and I remained at home, loving him, living for him, striving to make my every act what he would have it. I went into company as he had bidden me; I studied and improved myself; I grew handsomer, too. All who saw me noticed and approved the alteration in my appearance. I was no longer awkward and stooping; my manner had acquired something of ease and gracefulness; a faint bloom tinged my cheek and made my dark eyes brighter. I was truly happy in the change ; it seemed to render me a little more suited to him, who was so proudly, so splendidly handsome.

I remembered what he had said too well to spend much time in love-dreams; but my happiest moments were when I was alone, and could think of him, read his letters, look at his picture, and fancy the joyfulness of his return.

His letters! — there the change first showed itself. At first they were all, and more than all, I could wish. I blushed to read the ardent words, as I did when he had spoken them. But by-and-by there was a different tone: I could not describe it; there was nothing to complain of; and yet I felt—so surely !—that something was wrong. I never thought of blaming him ; I dreaded lest I had in some way wounded his affection or his pride. I asked no explanation; I thought, to do so might annoy or vex him, for his was a peculiar nature. I only wrote to him the more fondly,—strove more and more to show him how my whole heart was his. But the change grew plainer as months passed on; and some weeks before the time appointed for his return, the letters ceased altogether.

This conduct grieved me, certainly, yet I was more perplexed than unhappy. It never occurred to me to doubt his love; I thought there must be some mistake, some offence unwidingly given, and I looked to his coming to clear away all doubt and trouble. But I longed so for that coming! — it seemed as if the weeks would never end. I knew he loved me; but I needed to hear him say it once more, — to have every shadow dispelled, and nothing between us but the warmest affection and fullest confidence.

In such a mood I met him. The house was full of guests, and I could not bear to see him for the first time before so many eyes. I had watched, as may well be believed, for his arrival, and a little before dark had seen him enter his mother’s house. He would surely come over soon ; I ran down the long walk, and paced up and down beneath the trees, awaiting him. As soon as he came in sight I hastened toward him; he met me kindly, but the change that had been in his letters was plainer yet in his manner. It struck a chill to my heart.

"I suppose YOU have a house full of company, as usual,” he remarked presently, glancing at the brilliant windows.

"Yes, we have a number of friends staying with us. Will you go in and see them ? There are several whom you know.”

"Thank you,—not to-night; I am not in the mood. And I have a good deal to sav to you, Juanita, that deeply concerns us both.”

“Very well,” I replied; “you had better tell me at once.”

We walked on to the old garden-chair, and sat down as we had done that memorable night. We were both silent,—I from disappointment and apprehension. He, I suppose, was collecting himself for what he had to say.

"Juanita,” he spoke at last, taking my hand in his, "I do not know how you will receive what I am about to tell you. But this I wish you to promise me: that you will believe I speak for our best happiness,—yours as well as mine.”

“Go on,” was all my reply.

“A year ago,” he continued, “we sat here as we do now, and, spite of doubts and misgivings and a broken resolution, I was happier than I shall ever be again. I had loved you from the first moment I saw you, with a passion such as I shall never feel for any other woman. But I knew that we were both poor; I knew that marriage in our circumstances could only be disastrous. It would wear out your youth in servile cares; it would cripple my energies ; it might even, after a time, change our love to disgust and aversion. And so, though I believed myself not indifferent to you, I resolved never to speak of my love, but to struggle against it, and root it out of my heart. You know how differently it happened. Your changed manner, your averted looks, gave me much pain. I feared to have offended you, or in some way forfeited your esteem. I brought you here to ask an explanation. I said, 'Juanita, are you no longer my friend?’ You know what followed; the violence of your emotion showed me all. You remember ? ”

Did I not?—and was it not generous of him to remind me then ?

“I saw you loved me, and the great joy of that knowledge made me forget prudence, reason, everything. Afterwards, when alone, I tried to justify to myself what I had done, and partially succeeded. I argued that we were young and could wait; I dreamed, too, that my ardor could outrun time, and grasp in youth the rewards of mature life. In that hope I left you.

“Since then my views have greatly changed. I have seen something—not much, it is true—of men and of life, and have found that it is an easy thing to dream of success, but a long and difficult task to achieve it. That I have talent it would be affectation to deny; but many a poor and struggling lawyer is my equal. The best I can hope for, Juanita, is a youth of severe toil and griping penury, with, perhaps, late in life,—almost too late to enjoy it,—competence and an honorable name. And even that is by no means secure ; the labor and the poverty may last my life long.

“You have been reared in the enjoyment of every luxury which wealth can command. How could you bear to suffer privations, to perform menial labors, to be stinted in dress, deprived of congenial society, obliged to refrain from every amusement, because you were unable to afford the expense ? How should you like to have a grinding economy continually pressing upon you, in every arrangement of your household, every detail of your daily life ? to have your best days pass in petty cares and savings, all your intellect expended in the effort to make your paltry means do the greatest possible service ?”

It was not a pleasant picture, but, harshly drawn as it was, I felt in the fulness of my love that I could do all that, and more, for him. Oh, yes! for him and with him I would have accepted any servitude, any suffering. Yet a secret something withheld me from saying so; and how glad I soon was that I had kept silence !

"You make no reply, Juanita,” he said. "Well, I might put on a pretence of disinterestedness, and say that I was unwilling to bind you to such a fate, and therefore released you from your engagement. It would not be altogether a pretence, for nothing could be more painful to me than to see the brightness of your youth fading away in the life I have described. But I think of myself, too; comforts, luxuries, indulgences, I value highly. Since my father’s death I have tasted enough of poverty to know something of its bitterness ; and to be doomed to it for life is appalling to me. The sordid cares of narrow means are so distasteful, that I cannot contemplate them with any degree of patience. After a day of exhausting mental effort, to return to a dingy, ill-furnished home,— to relieve professional labors by calculations about the gas-bill or the butcher’s account,—I shrink from such a miserable prospect! I love the elegant, the high-bred, the tasteful, in women; I am afraid even my love for you would alter, Juanita, to see you day by day in coarse or shabby clothing, performing such offices as are only suited to servants,—whom we could not afford to keep.

"I have thought of it a great deal, and it seems to me that, it is useless and hopeless, that it would be the wildest folly, to continue our engagement. With our tastes and habits, we must seek in marriage the means of comfort, the appliances of luxury. Others may find in it the bewildering bliss we might have known, had fortune been favorable to us; but, as it is, I think the best, the wisest, the happiest thing we can do is —to part! ”

Oh, Heaven! this from him !

"Still, Juanita, if you think otherwise,” he went on after a moment’s pause, —“if you prefer to hold me to our engagement, I am ready to fulfil it when you wish.”

It was like a man to say this, and then to feel that he had acted uprightly and honorably!

I said nothing for a time; I could not speak. All hell woke in my heart. I knew then what lost spirits might feel,— grief, and wounded pride, and rage, hatred, despair! In the midst of all I made a vow; and I kept it well!

How I had loved this man !—with what a self-forgetting, adoring love ! He had been my thought, day and night. I would have done anything,—sacrificed, suffered anything,—yes, sinned even,—to please his lightest fancy. And he cast me coldly off because I had no fortune!—trampled my heart into the dust because I was poor !

“You make no answer, Juanita,” he said, at length.

"I am thinking,” I replied, looking up and laughing slightly, “how to say that I quite agree with you, and have been planning all day how I should manage to tell you the very same thing.”

Miserable falsehood ! But I spoke it so coolly, that he was thoroughly deceived. He never suspected the truth,—my deep love, my outraged pride.

“It is just as you have said, William. We have elegant tastes, and no means of gratifying them. What should we do together ? Only make each other miserable. You need a rich wife, I a rich husband, who can supply us with the indulgences we demand. To secure these we can well make the sacrifice of a few romantic fancies.”

“I am glad you think so,” he replied, yet somewhat absently.

“You must wait awhile for Florence,” I continued ; “she is four years old, and twelve years hence you will yet be quite a personable individual. And Florence will have a fortune worth waiting for, I assure you. Or perhaps you have somebody more eligible already in view. Come, William, be frank,—tell me all about it.”

“I did not expect this levity, Juanita,” he answered, severely. “You must know that I have never thought of such a thing. And believe me,” he said, in a tenderer tone, “that, among all the beautiful women I have seen,—and some have not disdained to show me favor,—none ever touched my heart for a moment. Had we any reasonable prospect of happiness, I could never give you up; I love you better a thousand times than anything in the world.”

“Except yourself,” I said, mockingly ; and I looked at him with a mischievous smile, while a storm of passion raged in my heart and my brain seemed on fire. "Be it so! I do not complain of such a splendid rival. But really, William, I cannot boast of constancy like yours, even; though I suppose most people would consider that rather a poor, flawed specimen. It hurt my dignity very much when Uncle Heywood called our attachment a boy-and-girl affair; but I soon found that he knew best about it. For a time I kept my love very warm and glowing; but it was not long ere the distractions you bade me seek in society proved more potent than I wished. I found there were other things to be enjoyed than dreams of you, and even— shall I confess it ? I can now, I suppose —other people to be admired as well as you !"

"Indeed!" he said, with ill-concealed annoyance. “You had a great talent for concealment, then ; your letters showed no trace of the change.”

“I know they didn’t,” I answered, laughing. “I hated very much to admit even to myself that I had altered; it seemed, you know, so capricious and childish,—in short, so far from romantic. I kept, up the illusion as long as I could ; used to go off alone to read your letters, look at your picture, and fancy I felt just as at first. Then when I sat down to write, and remembered how handsome you were, and all that had happened, the old feelings would come back, and for the time you were all I cared for. But I am very glad we have had this explanation, and understand each other. We shall both be happier for it.”

I had a little taste of vengeance, even then, when I saw how his vanity was wounded. He tried to look relieved, I dare say he tried to feel so,—but I question very much whether he was pleased with himself that he had been so cool and philosophical. He did not wish to make me wretched; but he had expected I would be so, as a matter of course. To find me so comfortable under the infliction perplexed and disconcerted him.

“This will not make any coldness between us, I hope ? ” he said, at last. "We will be friends still, dear Juanita?"

“Yes,” I replied, “we will be friends, dear William. We are a great deal more in our true relations thus than as lovers.”

“And your uncle’s family,” he inquired,—“shall we explain all to them?”

"There is no need of that,” I answered, carelessly. “Let things pass. After a time they will perhaps notice that there is a change, and I can tell them that we are both tired of the engagement. They will ask no further questions.”

“Thank you,” he said. “It will save me some embarrassment.”

"Yes," I replied, looking at him steadily, “I think it would have been a rather awkward topic for you to broach.”

His eye fell before mine ; through all the sophistry he had used, I think some slight sense of the baseness of his conduct forced itself upon his mind.

“Now I must return to the house,” I said, rising; “will you not come with me ? My uncle and aunt, will expect to sec you, and Anna Gray is here. You can make your first essay toward the rich match this evening.”

“Nonsense !" he said, impatiently, yet he accompanied me. I knew he did not like to lose sight of me.

Never had I exerted myself so much to please any one, as I did that night to charm and attract him;—not, indeed, by any marked attention ; that would have failed of its object. But I talked and danced ; I displayed for his benefit all that I had acquired of ease and manner since he left. I saw his astonishment, that the pale, quiet girl who was wont to sit in some corner, almost unnoticed, should now be the life of that gay circle. I made him admire me most at the very moment he had lost me forever,—and so far, all was well.

I went to my room that night a different creature. That place had been a kind of sanctuary to me. By its vinedraped window I had loved to sit and think of him, to read the books he liked, and fashion my mind to what he could approve. But the spot which I had left, a hopeful and loving girl, I returned to, a forsaken and revengeful woman. My whole nature was wrought up to one purpose,—to repay him, to the last iota, all he had made me suffer, all the humiliation, the despair. It was strange how this purpose upbore and consoled me; for I needed consolation. I hated him, yet I loved him fiercely, too ; I despised him, yet I knew no other man would ever touch my heart. He had been, he always must be, everything to me,—the one object to which all my thoughts tended, to which my every action was referred.

I took from a drawer his letters and his few love-gifts. The paper I tore to fragments and threw into the empty fireplace. I lighted the heap, and tossed the gifts, one after another, into the flame. Last of all, I drew his portrait from my bosom. I gazed at it an instant, pressed it to my lips. No,—I would not destroy this,—I would keep it to remind me.

I remember thinking, as I watched the flickering flame, that this was something like a witch's incantation. I smiled at the idea.

The next morning there was only a heap of light ashes left in the grate.

I pursued my purpose determinedly and with unflagging zeal. I did not know exactly how it would be realized, but I felt sure I should achieve it. My first care was to cultivate to the utmost every faculty I possessed. My education had been hitherto of rather a substantial order; I had few accomplishments. To these I turned my care. "What has a woman," I thought, "to do with solid learning ? It never tells in society.” I had observed the rapt attention with which William listened to music. Hitherto I had been only a passable performer, such as any girl of sixteen might be. But under the influence of this new motive I studied diligently; the best masters were supplied me ; and soon my progress both astonished and delighted myself and all who heard me.

I have before said that a change for the better had taken place in my person ; this I strove by every means in my power to increase. I rode, I walked. I plied the oars vigorously upon our little lake. My health grew firm, my cheeks more blooming, my form fuller and majestic. I took the greatest pains with my toilet. It was wonderful to see, day by day, as I looked into the mirror, the alteration that care and taste could effect in personal appearance. Could this erect, stately figure, with its air of grace and distinction, be one with the thin, stooping form, clad in careless, loose-fitting garb, which I so well remembered as myself? Could that brilliant face, with its bands of shining hair, that smile of easy self-confidence, belong to me? What had become of the pale, spiritless girl? My uncle sometimes asked the question, and, looking at me with a fond, admiring glance, would say,—“You were made for an empress, Juanita !" I knew then that I was beautiful, and rejoiced in the knowledge ; but no tinge of vanity mingled with the joy. I cultivated my beauty, as I did my talents, for a purpose of which I never lost sight.

It was now I learned for the first time that John Haughton loved me. When it became generally understood that William and I were no longer engaged, John came forward. I do not know what he, so good, so high-minded, saw in me; but certainly he loved me with a true affection. When he avowed it, a strange joy seized me ; I felt that now I held in my hand the key of William’s destiny. Now I should not lose my hold on him; we could not drift apart in the tide of life. As John's bride, John’s wife, there must always be an intimate connection between us. So I yielded with well-feigned tenderness to my lover's suit,—only stipulating, that, as some time must elapse before our marriage, no one should know of our attachment,—not even William, or his mother,—nor, on my part, any of my uncle’s family. He made no objection ; I believe he even took a romantic pleasure in the concealment. He liked to see me moving about in society, and to feel that there was a tie between us that none dreamed of but ourselves. Poor John ! he deserved better of Fate than to be the tool of my revenge !

William came home, soon after our engagement, for his annual visit. He was succeeding rather better than his dismal fancies had once prognosticated. He was very often at our house,—very much my friend. I saw through all that clearly enough ; I knew he loved me a hundred-fold more passionately than in our earlier days ; and the knowledge was to me as a cool draught to one who is perishing of thirst. I did all in my power to enhance his love ; I sang bewildering melodies to him ; I talked to him of the things he liked, and that roused his fine intellect to the exercise of its powers. I rode with him, danced with him; nor did I omit to let him see the admiration with which others of his sex regarded me. I was well aware that a man values no jewel so highly as that which in a brilliant setting calls forth the plaudits of the crowd. I talked to him often of his prospects and hopes; his ambition, all selfish as it was, fascinated me by its pride and daring. "Ah, William!” I sometimes thought, "you made a deadly mistake when YOU cast me off! You will never find another who can so enter, heart and soul, into all your brilliant projects!”

He came to me, one morning, rather earlier than his wont. I was reading, but laid aside my book to greet him.

“What have you there, Juanita? Some young-ladyish romance, I suppose.”

“Not at all, — it is a very rational work; though I presume you will laugh at it, because it contains a little sentiment,—you are grown so hard and cold, of late.”

“Do you think so ?” he asked, with a look that belied the charge.

He took up the volume, and, glancing through it, read now and then a sentence.

“What say you to this, Juanita? 'If we are still able to love one who has made us suffer, we love him more than ever.’ Is that true to your experience ? ”

“No,” I answered, for I liked at times to approach the topic which was always uppermost in my mind, and to see his perfect unconsciousness of it. "If any one had made me suffer, I should not stop to inquire whether I were able to love him still or not; I should have but one thought left,—revenge !”

“How very fierce!” he said, laughing. “And your idea of revenge is—what? To stab him with your own white hand ?”

“No!” I said, scornfully'. “To kill a person you hate is, to my mind, the most pitiful idea of vengeance. What! put him out of the world at once ? Not so! He should live,” I said, fixing my eyes upon him,—"and live to suffer,— and to remember, in his anguish, why he suffered, and to whose hand he owed it!”

It was a hateful speech, and would have repelled most men ; for my life I dared not have made it before John. But I knew to whom I was talking, and that he had no objection to a slight spice of diahlerie.

“What curious glimpses of character you open to me now and then,” he said, thoughtfully. “Not very womanly, however.”

“Womanly !” I cried. “I wonder what a man’s notion of woman is ! Some soft, pulpy thing that thrives all the better for abuse ? a spaniel that loves you more, the more you beat it? a worm that grows and grows in new rings as often as you cut it asunder? I wonder history has never taught you better. Look at Judith with Holofernes,—Jael with Sisera,—or if you want profane examples, Catherine de Medicis, Mademoiselle de Brinvilliers, Charlotte Corday. There are women who have formed a purpose, and gone on steadily toward its accomplishment, even though, like that Roman girl,—Tullia was her name ?—they had to drive over a father’s corpse to do it.”

“You have known such, perhaps,” said Richard.

“Yes,” I answered, with a gentle smile, “I have. They wished no harm, it might be, to any one, but people stood in their way. It is as if you were going to the arbor after grapes, and there were a swarm of ants in the path. You have no malice against the ants, but you want the grapes,—so you walk on, and they are crushed.”

I was thinking of John and of his love, but William did not know that.

“You are a strange being !” he said, looking at me with a mixture of admiration and distrust.

“All! Well, you see my race is somewhat anomalous, — a blending of the Spaniard and the Yankee. Come, I will be all Spanish for a time; bring me the guitar. Now let me sing you a romance.”

I struck the tinkling chords, and began a sweet love-ditty. Fixing my eyes on his, I made every word speak to his heart from mine. I saw his color change, his eyes melt;—when the song ended, he was at my feet.

I know not what he said; I only know it was passion, burning and intense. Oh, but it was balm both to my love and hate to hear him ! I let him go on as long as he would,—then I said, gently caressing his bright hair,—

“You forget, dear William, all those lessons of prudence you taught me not so very long aeo.”

He poured forth the most ardent protestations ; he begged me to forget all that cold and selfish reasoning. Long since he had wished lo offer me his hand, but feared lest I should repel him with scorn. Would I not pardon his former ingratitude, and return his love ?

“But you forget, my friend,” I said, “that circumstances have not altered, but only your way of viewing them; we must still be poor and humble. Don’t you remember all your eloquent picturings of the life we should be obliged to lead? Don’t you recollect the dull, dingy house, the tired, worn-out wife in shabby clothing”—

“Oh, hush, Juanita! Do not recall those wretched follies ! Besides, circumstances have somewhat changed ; I am not so very poor. My income, though small, will be sufficient, if well-managed, to maintain us in comfort and respectability.”

“Comfort and respectability!” I exclaimed, with a shudder. “Oh, William, can you imagine that such words apply to me? The indulgences of wealth are necessary to me as the air I breathe. I suppose you would be able to shield me from absolute suffering; but that is not enough. Do not speak of this again, for both our sakes. And now, good friend,” I added, in a lighter tone, “I advise you to get up as soon as may be ; we are liable to interruption at any time; and your position, though admirable for a tableau, would be a trifle embarrassing for ordinary life.”

He started to his feet, and would have left me in anger, but I recalled him with a word. It was good to feel my power over this man who had slighted and rejected me. Before we parted that day he had quite forgiven me for refusing him and making him ridiculous ; I thought a little of the spaniel was transferred to him. I saw, too, he had a hope, which I carefully forbore to contradict, that I preferred him to any other, and would accept him, could he but win a fortune for me. And so I sent him out into the world again, full of vain, feverish desires after the impossible. I gave him all the pains of love without its consolations. It was good, as far as it went.

John and I, meanwhile, got on very peacefully together. He was not demonstrative, nor did he exact demonstration from me. I had promised to marry him, and he trusted implicitly to my faith; while his love was so reverent, his ideal of maiden delicacy so exalted, that I should have suffered in his esteem, I verily believe, had my regard been shown other than by a quiet tenderness of manner.

About this time my uncle’s family went abroad. They wished me to accompany them, but I steadily declined. When they pressed me for a reason, I told them of my engagement to John, and that I was unwilling to leave him for so long a time. The excuse was natural enough, and they believed me; and it was arranged that during the period of their absence I should remain with a sister of Mrs. Heywood.

The time passed on. I saw William frequently. Often he spoke to me of his love, and I scarcely cheeked him; I liked to feed him with false hopes, as once he had done to me. He did not speak again of marriage ; I knew his pride forbade it. I also knew that lie believed I loved him, and would wait for him,

I heard often from our travellers, and always in terms of kindness and affection. At last their speedy return was announced; they were to sail in the "Arctic,” and we looked joyfully forward to the hour of their arrival. Too soon came the news of the terrible disaster ; a little while of suspense, and the awful certainty became apparent. My kind, indulgent uncle and all his family, whom I loved as I would my own parents and sisters, were buried in the depths of the Atlantic.

I will not attempt to describe my grief; it has nothing to do with the story that is written here. When, after a time, I came back to life and its interests, a startling intelligence awaited me. My uncle had died intestate; his wife and children had perished with him ; as next of kin, I was sole heir to his immense estate. When my mind fully took in the meaning of all this I felt that a crisis was at hand. Day by day I looked for William.

I had not long to wait. I was sitting by my window on a bright October day, reading a book I loved well,—“Shirley,” one of the three immortal works of a genius fled too soon. As I read, I traced a likeness to my own experience ; Caroline was a curious study to me. I marvelled at her meek, forgiving spirit; if I would not imitate, I did not condemn her.

Then I heard the gate-latch click ; I looked out through the vine-leaves, all scarlet with the glory of the season, and saw William coming up the walk. I knew why he was there, and, still retaining the volume in my hand, went down to meet him.

We walked out in the grounds; it was a perfect afternoon ; all the splendor of autumn, without a trace of its swift-coming decay. Gold, crimson, and purple shone the forests through their softening haze ; and the royal hues were repeated on the mountain, reflected in the river. The sky was cloudless and intensely blue ; the sunlight fell, with red glow, on the fading grass. A few late flowers of gorgeous hues yet lingered in the beds and borders ; and a sweet wind, that might have come direct from paradise, sighed over all. William and I walked on, conversing.

At first, we spoke of the terrible disaster and my loss; he could be gentle when he chose, and now his tenderness and sympathy were like a woman’s. I almost forgot, in listening, what he was and had been to me. I was reminded when he began to speak of ourselves; I recalled it fully, when again, with all the power that passion and eloquence could impart, he declared his love, and begged me to be his.

I looked at him; to my eye he seemed happy, hopeful, triumphant; handsomer he could not be, and to me there was a strange fascination in his lofty, masculine beauty. I felt then, what I had always known, that I loved him even while I hated him, and for an instant I wavered. Life with him! It looked above all things dear, desirable! But what! Show such a weak, such a womanish spirit ? Give up my revenge at the very moment that it was within my grasp,—the revenge I had lived for through so many years? Never!—I recalled the night under the lindens, and was myself again.

"Dear William,” I said, gently, “you amaze and distress me. Such love as a sister may give to an only brother you have long had from me. Why ask for any other ? ”

“‘A sister’s love!”’ he cried, impatiently. “I thought, Juanita, you were above such paltry subterfuges! Is it as a brother I have loved you all these long and weary years ?"

"Perhaps not,—I cannot say. At any rate,” I continued, gravely, "a sisterly affection is all I can give you now.”

"You are trifling with me, Juanita ! Cease! It is unworthy of you.”

He seized my hand, and clasped it to his breast. How wildly his heart beat under my touch ! I trembled from head to foot,—but I said, in a cold voice, "You are a good actor, William!"

"You cannot look in my eyes and say you believe that charge,” he answered.

I essayed to do it,—but my glance fell before his, so ardent, so tender. Spite of mvself, my cheeks burned with blushes. Quietly I withdrew my hand and said, "I am to be married to John in December.”

Ah, but there was a change then ! The flush and the triumph died out of his face, as when a lamp is suddenly extinguished. Yet there was as much indignation as grief in his voice when he said,—

"Heaven forgive you, Juanita! You have wilfully, cruelly deceived me !"

"Deceived you !" I replied, rising with dignity. “Make no accusation. If deceived you were, you have simply your own vanity, your own folly, to blame for whatever you may suffer.”

“You have listened to my love, and encouraged me to hope”—

“Silence ! I did love you once, — your cold heart can never guess how well, how warmly. I would have loved on through trial and Suffering forever; no one could have made me believe anything against you ; nothing could have shaken my fidelity, or my faith in yours. It was reserved for yourself to work my cure,—for your own lips to pronounce the words that changed my love to cool contempt.”

“Oh, Juanita,” he cried, passionately, “will you always be so vindictive? Will you forever remind me of that piece, of insane folly ? Let it go,—it was a boy’s whim, too silly to remember.”

“You were no boy then,” I answered. “You had a mature prudence,—a careful thoughtfulness for self. Or if otherwise, in your case the child was indeed father to the man.”

“Your love is dead, then, I suppose ?” he questioned, with a bitter smile.

I handed him the book I had been reading. It was marked at these words : "Love can excuse anything except meanness ; but meanness kills love, cripples even natural affection ; without esteem, true love cannot exist.”

William raised his head with an air of proud defiance. “And in what sense,” he asked, “do such words apply to me ?”

“You are strangely obtuse,” I said. “You see no trace of yourself in that passage,—no trace of meanness in the man who cast off the penniless orphan, with her whole heart full of love for him, yet pleads so warmly with the rich heiress, when he knows she is pledged to another ?”

“You have said enough, Juanita,” he replied, with concentrated passion. “This is too much to bear, even from you, from whom I have already endured so much. You know you do not believe it.”

“I do believe it,” was my firm reply. It was false, but what did I care ? It served my purpose.

“I might bid you remember,” he said, “how I urged you to be mine when my prospects had grown brighter, and you were poor as before. I might appeal to the manner in which my suit has been urged for years, as a proof of my innocence of this charge that you have brought against me. But I disdain to plead my cause with so unwomanly a heart,—that measures the baseness of others by what it knows of its own.”

He went, and for a time I was left in doubt whether my victory had been really achieved. Then I thought it all over, and was reassured. He could not simulate those looks and tones,—no, nor that tumult of feeling which had made his heart throb so wildly beneath my hand. He loved me,—that was certain ; and no matter how great his anger or his indignation, my refusal must have cut him to the soul. And the charge I had made would rankle, too. These thoughts were my comfort when John told me, with grief and surprise, that his brother had joined the Arctic expedition under Dr. Kane. I knew it was for no light cause he would forsake the career just opening so brightly before him.

John and I were married in December, as had been our intention. We led a quiet, but to him a happy, life. He often wondered at my content with home and its seclusion, and owned what fears he had felt, before our marriage, lest I, accustomed to gayety and excitement, should weary of him, the thoughtful, book-loving man. It seemed he had made up his mind to all manner of self-sacrifice in the way of accompanying me to parties, and having guests at our own house. I did not exact much from him ; I cared little for the gay world in which William no longer moved. I read with John his favorite books; I interested myself in the sciences which he pursued with such enthusiasm. It was no part of my plan to inflict unnecessary misery on any one, and I strove with all my power to make happy the man whom I had chosen. I succeeded fully; and when we sat on the piazza in the moonlight, my head resting on his shoulder, my hand clasped in his, he would tell me how infinitely dearer the wife had grown to be than even the lover’s fancy had portrayed her.

And my thoughts were far away from the bland airs and brightening moon amid the frozen solitudes of the North. Where was William? what was he doing? did he think of me? and how? What if he should perish there, and we should never meet again ? Life grew blank at the thought; I put it resolutely away.

I had drunk of the cup of vengeance ; it was sweet, but did not satisfy. I longed for a fuller draught; but might it not be denied to my fevered lips? Perhaps, amid the noble and disinterested toils of the expedition, his heart would outgrow all love for me, and when we met again I should see my power was gone. I pondered much on this ; I believed at last that the solitude, the isolation, would be not unpropitious to me. From the little world of the ice-locked vessel his thoughts would turn to the greater world he had left, and I should be remembered. When he returned we should be much together. His mother was dead ; our house was the only place he could call his home. Not even for me, I felt assured, would he cast off the love of his only brother. I had not done with him yet. So quietly and composedly I awaited his return.

He came at last, and his manner when we met smote me with a strange uneasiness. It was not the estrangement of a friend whom I had injured, but the distant politeness of a stranger. Was my influence gone ? I determined to know, once for all. When we chanced to be alone a moment I went to his side. "William,” I asked, laying my hand on his arm, and speaking in a tender, reproachful tone, "why do you treat me so ? ”

With a quick, decided motion, he removed my hand,—then looked down on me with a smile. “ ‘You are strangely obtuse,’ ” he said, quoting my own words of two years before. "What can Mrs. Haughton desire from a base fortunehunter with whom she is unhappily connected by marriage, but a humility that does not presume ou the relationship ? "

I saw a bold stroke was needed, and that I must stoop to conquer. “Oh, William,” I said, sorrowfully, “ you called me vindictive once, but it is you who are really so. I was unhappy, harassed, distracted between ”—

" Between what ? "

“ I do not know—I mean I cannot tell you,” I stammered, with well-feigned confusion. “ Can you not forgive me, William ? Often and often, since you left me that day. I have wished to see you, and to tell you how I repented my hasty and ungenerous words. Will you not pardon me ? Shall we not be friends again ? ”

"I am not vindictive,” he said, more kindly,—"least of all toward you. But I cannot see how you should desire the friendship of one whom you regard as a mercenary hypocrite. When you can truthfully assure me that you disbelieve that charge, then, and not till then, will I forgive you and be your friend.”

“Let it be now, then,” I said, joyfully, holding out my hand. He did not reject it;—we were reconciled.

William had come home ill; the hardships of the expedition and the fearful cold of the Arctic Zone had been too much for him. The very night of his return I noticed in his countenance a frequent flush succeeded by a deadly pallor; my quick ear had caught, too, the sound of a cough,—not frequent or prolonged, but deep and hollow. And now, for the first time in my long and dreary toil, I saw the path clear and the end in view.

Every one knows with what enthusiasm the returned travellers were hailed. Amid the felicitations, the praises, the banquets, the varied excitements of the time, William forgot his ill-health. When these were over, he reopened his office, and prepared to enter once more on the active duties of his profession. But he was unfit for it ; John and I both saw this, and urged him to abandon the attempt for the present,—to stay with us, to enjoy rest, books, society, and not till his health was fully reestablished undertake the prosecution of business.

“You forget, my good sister,” he laughingly said to me one day,—(he could jest on the subject now,)—“ that I have not the fortune of our John,—I did not marry an heiress, and I have my own way to make. I had got up a few rounds of the ladder when an adverse fate, dragged me down. Being a free man once more, I must struggle up again as quickly as may be.”

“Oh, for that matter,” I returned, in the same tone, "I had some part, perhaps, in the adverse fate you speak of; so it is but fair that I should make you what recompense I can. I am an admirable nurse; and you will gain time, if you will deliver yourself up to my care, and not go back to Coke and Chitty till I give you leave. Seriously, William, I fear you do not know how ill you are, and how unsafe it is for you to go on with business.”

He yielded without much persuasion, and came home to us. Those were happy days. William and I were constantly together. I read to him, I sung to him, and played chess with him; on mild days I drove him out in my own little ponycarriage. Did he love me all this time ? I could not tell. Never by look or tone did he intimate that the old affection yet lived in his heart. I fancied he felt as I with him.—perfect content in my companionship, without a thought or wish beyond. We were made for each other; our tastes, our habits of mind and feeling, fully harmonized ; had we been born brother and sister, we should have preferred each other to all the world, and, remaining single for each other’s sakes, have passed our lives together.

So the time wore on, sweetly and placidly, and only I seemed to notice the failure in our invalid ; but I watched for it too keenly, too closely, to be blinded. The occasional rallies of strength that gave John such hope, and cheered William himself so greatly, did not deceive me ; I knew they were but the fluctuations of his malady. Changes in the weather, or a damp cast wind, did not account to me for his relapses ; I knew he was in the grasp of a fell, a fatal disease; it might let him go awhile, give him a little respite, as a cat does the mouse she has caught,—but he never could escape, —his doom was fixed.

But you may be sure I gave him no hint of it, and he never seemed to suspect it, for himself. One could not believe such blindness possible, did we not see it verified in so many instances, year after year.

Often, now, I thought of a passage in an old book I used to read with many a heart-quake in my girlish days. It ran thus:—“Perhaps we may see you flattering yourself, through a long, lingering illness, that you shall still recover, and putting off any serious reflection and conversation for fear it should overset your spirits. And the cruel kindness of friends and physicians, as if they were in league with Satan to make the destruction of your soul as sure as possible, may, perhaps, abet this fatal deceit.” We had all the needed accessories: the kind physician, anxious to amuse and fearful to alarm his patient,—telling me always to keep up his spirits, to make him as cheerful and happy as I could ; and the cruel friends—I had not far to seek for them.

For a time William came down-stairs every morning, and sat up during the greater part of the day. Then he took to lying on the sofa for hours together. At last, he did not rise till afternoon, and even then was too much fatigued to sit up long. I prepared for his rise a large room on the south side of the house, with a smaller apartment within it ; to this we carried his favorite books and pictures, his easy-chair and lounge. My piano stood in a recess ; a guitar hung near it. When all was finished, it looked homelike, pleasant ; and we removed William to it, one mild February day.

"This is a delightful room,” he said, gazing about him. "How pleasant the view from these windows will be as spring comes on ! ”

"You will not need it,” I said, “by that time.”

"I should be glad, if it were so," he replied ; "but I am not quite so sanguine as you are, Juanita.”

He did not guess my meaning; how should he, amused, flattered, kept along as he had been ? To him, life, with all its activities, its prizes, its pleasures, seemed but a little way removed ; a few weeks or months and he should be among them again. But I knew, when he entered that room, that he never would go forth again till he was borne where narrower walls and a lowlier root should shut him in.

I had an alarm one day. "Juanita," said the invalid, when I had arranged his pillows comfortably, and was about to begin the morning’s reading, "do not take the book we had yesterday. I wish you would read to me in the Bible.”

What did this mean ? Was this proud, worldly-minded man going to humble himself, and repent, and be forgiven ? And was I to be defrauded thus of my just revenge ? Should he pass away to an eternal life of holiness and joy,—while I, stained through him and for his sake with sins innumerable, sank ever lower and lower in unending misery and despair ? Oh, I must stop this, if it were not yet too late.

"What!” I said, pretending to repress a smile, "are you getting alarmed about yourself, William ? Or is Saul really going to be found among the prophets, after all ? ”

He colored, but made no reply. I opened the Bible and read two or three of the shorter Psalms,—then, from the New Testament, a portion of the Sermon on the Mount.

"It. must have been very sweet,” I observed, “for those who were able to receive Jesus as the true Messiah, and his teachings as infallible, to hear these words from bis lips.”

“And do you not so receive them?” William asked.

“We will not speak of that; my opinion is of no weight.”

"But you must have thought much of these things,” he persisted; “tell me what result you have arrived at.”

“Candidly, then,” I said, "I have read and pondered much on what this book contains. It seems to me, that, if it teaches anything, it clearly teaches, that, no matter how we flatter ourselves that we are doing as we choose, and carrying out our own designs and wishes, we are all the time only fulfilling purposes that have been fixed from all eternity. Since, then, we are the subjects of an Inexorable Will, which no entreaties or acts of ours can alter or propitiate, what is there for us to do but simply to bear as best we can what comes upon us ? It is a short creed."

“And a gloomy one,” he said.

“You are right; a very gloomy one. If you can rationally adopt a cheerfuller, pray, do it. I do not wish for any companion in mine.”

There was silence for a time, and then I said, with affectionate earnestness, "Dear William, why trouble yourself with these things in your weak and exhausted state ? Surely, the care of your health is enough for you now. By-andby, when you have in some measure regained your strength, look seriously into this subject, if you wish. It is an important one for all. I am afraid I gave you an overdose of anodyne last night, and am to blame for your low spirits of this morning. Own, William,” I said, smilingly, “that you were terribly hypped, and fancied you never could recover.”

He looked relieved as I spoke thus lishtly. “I should find it sad to die,” he said. “Life looks bright to me even yet.”

This man was a coward. He dreaded that struggle, that humiliation of spirit, through which all must pass ere peace with Heaven is achieved. Yet more, perhaps, he dreaded that deeper struggle which ensues when we essay to tear Self from its throne in the heart, and place God thereon. As he said, life looked bright to him; and all his plans and purposes in life were for himself, his own advancement, his own well-being. It would have been hard to make the change ; and he thought it was not necessary now, at least.

No more was said upon the subject. Our days went on as before. There was a little music, some light reading, an occasional call from a friend,—and long pauses of rest between all these. And slowly, but surely, life failed, and the soul drew near its doom.

I knew now that he loved me still; he talked of it sometimes when he woke suddenly, and did not at once remember where he was; I saw it, too, in his look, his manner; but we never breathed it to each other, and he did not think I knew.

One night there was a great change; physicians were summoned in haste; there were hours of anxious watching. Toward morning he seemed a little better, and I was left alone with him. He slumbered quietly, but when he awoke there was a strange and solemn look in his face, such as I had never seen before. I knew what it must mean.

“When Dr. Hammond comes, let me see him alone,” he whispered.

I made no objection ; nothing could frustrate my purpose now.

The physician came,—a kind old man, who had known us all from infancy. He was closeted awhile with William ; then he came out, looking deeply moved.

“Go to him,—comfort him, if you can,” he said.

“You have told him ? ” I asked.

“Yes,—he insisted upon, hearing the truth, and I knew he had got where it could make no difference. Poor fellow ! it was a terrible blow.”

1 wanted a few moments for reflection; I sent John in my stead. I locked myself in my own room, and tried to get the full weight of what I was going to do. I was about to meet him who had rejected my heart’s best love, no longer in the flush and insolence of health and strength, but doomed, dying,—with a dark, hopeless eternity stretching out before his shuddering gaze. And when he turned to me in those last awful moments for solace and affection, I was to tell him that the girl he loved, the woman he adored, had since that one night kept the purpose of vengeance hot in her heart, —that for years her sole study had been to baffle and to wound him,—and that now, through all those months that she had been beside him, that he had looked to her as friend, helper, comforter, she had kept her deadly aim in view. She had deceived him with false hopes of recovery ; she had turned again to the world the thoughts which he would fain have fixed on heaven; while he was loving her, she had hated him. She had darkened his life; she had ruined his soul.

Oh, was not this a revenge worthy of the name ?

I went to him. He was sitting in the great easy-chair, propped with pillows; John had left the room, overcome by his feelings. Never shall I forget that face, —the despair of those eyes.

I sat down by him and took his hand.

“The Doctor has told you ? ” I murmured.

“Yes,—and what is this world which I so soon must enter ? I believe too much to have one moment’s peace in view of what is coming. Oh, why did I not believe more before it was too late ? ”

I kept silence a few minutes; then I said,—

“Listen, Wiliam,—I have something to tell you.”

He looked eagerly toward me;—perhaps he thought even then, poor dupe, that it was some word of hope, that there was some chance for his recovery.

Then I told him all,—all,—my lifelong hatred, my cherished purpose. Blank amazement was in the gaze that he turned upon me. I feared that impending death had blunted his senses, and that he did not fully comprehend.

"You will remember now what I once told you," I cried, with savage joy; “for so surely as there is another world, in that world shall you live, and live to suffer, and to remember in your anguish why you suffer, and to whose hand you owe it.”

He understood well enough now. "Fiend!" he exclaimed, with a look of horror, and started to his feet. The effort, the emotion, were too much. Blood gushed from his lips; a frightful spasm convulsed his features; he fell back; he was gone !

Yes,—be was gone ! And my life’s work was complete!

I cannot tell what happened after that. I suppose they must have found him, and laid him out, and buried him ; but I remember nothing of it. Since then I have lived in this great, gloomy house, with its barred doors and windows. Never since I came here have I seen a face that I knew. Maniacs are all about me ; I meet them in the halls, the gardens; sometimes I hear the fiercer sort raving anal dashing about their cells. But I do not feel afraid of them.

It is strange how they all fancy that the rest are mad, and they the only sane ones. Some of them even go so far as to think that I have lost my reason. I heard one woman say, not long ago,—"Why, she has been mad these twenty years! She never was married in her life; but she believes all these things as if they were really so, and tells them over to anybody who will listen to her.”

Mad these twenty years ! So young as I am, too! And I never married, and all ray wrongs a maniac’s raving ! I was angry at first, and would have struck her; then I thought, "Poor thing! Why should I care ? She does not know what she is saying.”

And I go about, seeing always before me that pallid, horror-stricken face; and wishing sometimes—oh, how vainly!— that I had listened to him that bright October day,—that I had been a happy wife, perchance a happy mother. But no, no! I must not think thus. Once I look at it in that way, my whole life becomes a terror, a remorse. I will not, must not, have it so.

Then let me rejoice again, for I have had my revenge,—a great, a glorious revenge !